Absorb Health does not actually appear in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim as a spell that may be cast by name; instead, the Dragonborn and Vampire characters use Vampiric Drain with a virtually identical effect. Absorb Health is, however, an enchantment found on some weapons and may be learned so it may be used to enchant other weapons.
- Using this enchantment not only deals extra damage to the opponent, but also heals the player.
- Weapons with this enchantment can be disenchanted at an Arcane Enchanter.
- It is the third best enchantment you can add to a weapon to make it as valuable as possible.
- With the Extra Effect perk unlocked, combining Absorb Health with the Chaos Damage enchantment (available through the Dragonborn add-on) will greatly increase the power of the absorption effect. With the relevant perks, enchanting potions, and by wearing Ahzidal's Armor (four pieces) while enchanting, the absorption effect can approach, or possibly even reach, 100 points of health.
As a weapon enchantment, Absorb Health steals a set amount of health per hit. This amount is determined by the magnitude of the Soul Gem used when the enchantment was originally applied. As the health absorption does not scale with weapon damage, Absorb Health is best utilized on faster weapons such as daggers.
While there are two different versions of the Absorb Stamina as well as Absorb Magicka enchantments with base absorption/damage value of 8 and 10, only the base 8 value Absorb Health enchant exists in the game.
The fastest way to obtain this enchantment, along with Absorb Magicka and Absorb Stamina, is by doing the College of Winterhold quest "The Staff of Magnus". Note that the Absorb Stamina and Absorb Magicka enchantments from these weapons are different than those obtained from regular weapons.
There is a small chance to obtain this early in the game by going through Brittleshin Pass and obtaining the enchanted iron dagger on the table next to the Necromancer. There is also a small chance the Axe of Whiterun will contain this enchantment.
When General Tullius wants the Dragonborn to kill Ulfric Stormcloak during the Imperial Legion questline, they will get a leveled sword with a leveled Absorb Health enchantment to do the job, or as a reward should they refuse to do it.
You can also follow The Dark Brotherhood quest line. At the early ending of it return the Blade of Woe.
To get the Absorb Health enchantment, look for weapons for enchantment taglines from the following (possibly non-exhaustive) list:
- of Absorption
- of Consuming
- of Devouring
- of Leeching
- of the Vampire