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Skyrim vampire lord choice, powers, weaknesses and cure

Skyrim vampire
(Image credit: Bethesda)

Should you become a Skyrim vampire lord? If you have the Dawnguard DLC, players have the chance to become a full-fledged Vampire with all manner of surreal powers and abilities to match their inhuman status. Problem is, that also comes with weaknesses in Skyrim, and finding a cure isn't easily accomplished. We'll explain the pros and cons of being a Skyrim vampire here, including how to become a vampire and how it affects the Dawnguard DLC campaign - not to mention the life of your own personal Dragonborn.

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Skyrim vampire powers and weaknesses

Skyrim vampire

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Becoming a Vampire gives you a lot of new abilities, but it hampers you in certain ways and is difficult to control. Once you suffer from Vampirism, it has the following effects on your Dragonborn character.

Base stat/ability changes

  • Weakness to Sunlight: Health, Magicka and Stamina don't regenerate in sunlight and are penalised depending on your level of Vampirism.
  • Weakness to Fire: Player takes more damage from fire depending on their level of Vampirism.
  • Resist Disease and Poison: The player has total resistance to both Disease and Poison.
  • Nightstalker's Footsteps: Stealth is improved by 25% while sneaking
  • Champion of the Night: Illusion spells are buffed by 25%
  • Vampiric Strength: Boosts unarmed damage.
  • Resist Frost: Player takes less damage from frost depending on their level of Vampirism.

Vampire powers and spells

  • Vampiric Drain: Absorb health from a target. The amount absorbed changes depending on your level of Vampirism.
  • Vampire's Servant: Reanimate a corpse to fight on your side for one minute once per day.
  • Vampire's Sight: Toggle ability to see in the dark.
  • Vampire's Seduction: Calm people and creatures around you for a short amount of time once per day. Requires you to be at the second level of Vampirism.
  • Embrace of Shadows: Become invisible and see in the dark for three minutes (or until you interact with something) once per day. Requires you to be at the fourth level of Vampirism.

How to become a Vampire in Skyrim

Skyrim vampire

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Being turned into a Vampire isn't an immediate thing. Every time you're attacked by any Vampire NPC, there's a minor chance to contract a disease called "Sanguinare Vampiris". If you haven't cured it within three days like any other disease, you become a Vampire and are afflicted with "Vampirism". There are other ways to contract Vampirism, but they're often plot dependent. This is the easiest and most common way. It's also worth mentioning that if you suffer from Lycanthropy, you are immune to Vampirism completely - you cannot be a vampire, full stop.

Vampire levels and severity

Skyrim vampire

(Image credit: Bethesda)

Once you become a Vampire, things get tricky. You have to feed on a humanoid's blood every 24 hours in-game, or you progress up a "level" of Vampirism. There are four levels, and feeding resets you to level one. Here your bonuses are less meaningful, but so are your weaknesses, so sunlight, frost and fire all impact you closer to the standard level.

For every day you go without drinking blood, you go up a level. As you can see, this gives you access to a few new powers, but it also greatly increases the amount you're affected by sunlight and fire. Your Vampirism becomes a balancing act to be managed and altered accordingly.

If you have the Dawnguard DLC, these bonuses and weaknesses are affected slightly, usually by being reduced down to less extreme levels. Characters at level four Vampirism also automatically trigger hostility from NPCs, but this is removed if you have Dawnguard added.

Vampire feeding

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Vampires can feed on any sleeping humanoid by interacting with them, an act that never actually injures that character (though it will cause anybody watching to panic). You can also feed on anybody affected by your Vampire's Seduction power in an emergency, which placates them enough to feed on them there and then. You can also find Potions of Blood, which each function as one-use feedings.

How to become a Vampire Lord

Skyrim vampire

(Image credit: Bethesda)

A more powerful form of Vampirism is the Vampire Lord, which can be granted to players who pursue the Dawnguard campaign line. In the quest "Bloodline", you'll be given the choice when talking with Harkon to say "I will accept your gift and become a vampire." This makes you a Vampire Lord, an advanced form of vampirism that allows you to transform into a big, grey-skinned monster temporarily. It comes with various powers and combat enhancements, as well as a new skill tree with vampire-related powers. 

Vampire Lord Powers and Perks

Skyrim vampire

(Image credit: Bethesda)

The full list of perks you can get as a Vampire Lord is listed below. You won't have all of these to start with, you need to unlock them like any other skills in the skill tree.

  • Power of the Grave: 50 points bonus to health, magicka and stamina as a Vamp Lord
  • Vampiric Grip: Pull a creature to you from a distance, and do choking damage once it’s close
  • Summon Gargoyle: Conjure a gargoyle to fight for you
  • Corpse Curse: Target is paralyzed
  • Unearthly Will: Night Powers and Blood Magic cost 33% less
  • Blood Healing: Killing a person with a power attack bite restores all your health
  • Poison Talons: Melee attacks do 20 points of poison damage
  • Night Cloak: In combat you are surrounded by a cloud of bats that feed on enemies within melee range
  • Detect All Creatures: Detects all creatures
  • Mist Form: Transform into an invulnerable mist, while health, magicka, and stamina regenerate
  • Supernatural Reflexes: Everything slows down while you move faster

Vampire Lord or Werewolf Lycanthropy?

Skyrim Vampire

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Because these two conditions are non-compatible, players may wonder which is better: being a vampire lord or a werewolf. The answer is that it depends on your existing build and play style: werewolves support melee, tanks and weapon builds, while vampire lords do better as mages and spellcasters. That being said, the popular choice among many players is the werewolf, but a skilled player can make the most of either form.

Vampire Cure

Skyrim vampire

(Image credit: Bethesda)

If you're sick and tired of being a vampire, there is a cure: the quest "Rising at Dawn". Head to Morthal to talk to Falion, an NPC who will cure your vampirism for a filled Black Soul Gem. These gems are pretty rare, though he will sell you an empty one for at least 500 Gold. Alternatively, you can always try pickpocketing him to get one. Then give it back to him, and he'll drain the dracula from your system. If you're uncertain where to look, talking to any bartender while suffering from Vampirism will have them bring it up and put it as a trackable quest into your log.

Joel Franey

Joel Franey is a writer, journalist and podcaster with a Masters from Sussex University, none of which has actually equipped him for anything in real life. Consequently he chooses to spend his time playing video games, reading old books and ingesting chemically-risky levels of caffeine. He is a firm believer that the vast majority of games would be improved by adding a grappling hook, and if they already have one, they should add another just to be safe. You can find old work of his at USgamer, Gfinity, Eurogamer and more besides.