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Essential Characters (Skyrim)

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For other uses, see Essential Characters.

Essential characters are NPCs that, at some point during in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, cannot be killed in any way whatsoever. If their health is depleted, they fall to one knee, shortly recovering completely. Followers lie somewhat in this category, whereas they can only be killed if the Dragonborn is the one to deliver the final blow or if they are repeatedly attacked in this downed state. In addition, essential characters are unable to be pickpocketed of some equipped weapons, and all equipped items.

There are many characters vital to the progression of quests, and if killed, would effectively render large portions of the game completely broken. To safeguard against this, certain characters are marked as "essential" by the game. Some characters lose this essential flag after their crucial role is fulfilled; these actors then become "unessential" and can be killed.

Compass roseEdit

Yes This character temporarily cannot be killed.
No This character can be killed at any time.
Always This character can never be killed.

CitiesEdit

WhiterunEdit

Name Marked as unessential (if applicable) Can be follower
Aela the Huntress End of Totems of Hircine Yes
Alik'r Prisoner
Amaund Motierre End of To Kill an Empire.
Avulstein Gray-Mane
Balgruuf the Greater
Commander Caius
Farkas If his Purity quest has been completed. Yes
Hrongar
Irileth
Kodlak Whitemane During Blood's Honor.
Mallus Maccius
Olava the Feeble
Olfrid Battle-Born
Proventus Avenicci
Skjor During The Silver Hand.
Sabjorn
Sinmir
Vignar Gray-Mane
Vilkas If married to the player. Yes
Ysolda End of A Night to Remember*

SolitudeEdit

Name Marked as unessential (if applicable) Can be follower
Ahtar After Roggvir's execution. Yes
Adventus Caesennius
Beirand
Bolgeir Bearclaw
Bryling After Bound Until Death
Captain Aldis After Roggvir's execution
Dervenin
Dorian
Elisif the Fair
Erikur After the Civil War quest line
Falk Firebeard
General Tullius During Battle for Solitude. Temporary
Gianna
Gisli
Gulum-Ei During Scoundrel's Folly
Jaree-Ra During Lights Out!
Legate Rikke During Battle for Solitude. Temporary
Noster Eagle-Eye
Sabine Nytte
Varnius Junius
Viarmo
Vittoria Vici During Bound Until Death.

RiftenEdit

Name Marked as unessential (if applicable) Can be follower
Anuriel
Asgeir Snow-Shod During Bound Until Death.
Bersi Honey-Hand
Brynjolf After Under New Management Temporary
Delvin Mallory
Esbern Temporary
Haelga After collecting her debt first.
Hemming Black-Briar
Keerava After collecting her debt first.
Laila Law-Giver
Louis Letrush After Promises to Keep, but currently bugged.
Maramal
Maul
Mercer Frey During Blindsighted. Temporary
Mjoll the Lioness Always
Maven Black-Briar
Talen-Jei After collecting his debt first.
Tonilia
Unmid Snow-Shod
Vekel the Man
Vex

WindhelmEdit

Name Marked as unessential (if applicable) Can be follower
Aventus Aretino
Brunwulf Free-Winter
Calixto Corrium End of Blood on the Ice.
Galmar Stone-Fist End of Battle for Windhelm. Temporary
Jorleif
Niranye During Summerset Shadows.
Rolff Stone-Fist
Torsten Cruel-Sea
Tova Shatter-Shield After Mourning Never Comes, only if Nilsine is killed.
Ulfric Stormcloak End of Battle for Windhelm. Temporary

MarkarthEdit

Name Marked as unessential (if applicable) Can be follower
Anton Virane During Recipe for Disaster.
Brother Verulus During The Taste of Death. Yes
Calcelmo
Eltrys End of The Forsworn Conspiracy
Endon
Faleen
Jarl Igmund
Muiri After Mourning Never Comes.
Nepos the Nose During The Forsworn Conspiracy.
Raerek
Reburrus Quintilius
Thonar Silver-Blood After No One Escapes Cidhna Mine.
Thongvor Silver-Blood
Vigilant Tyranus During The House of Horrors.
Yngvar the Singer

FalkreathEdit

Name Marked as unessential (if applicable) Can be follower
Dengeir of Stuhn
Jarl Siddgeir
Legate Skulnar
Nenya
Sinding During Ill Met by Moonlight.
Tekla
Zaria

DawnstarEdit

Name Marked as unessential (if applicable) Can be follower
Brina Merilis
Erandur During Waking Nightmare. Yes
Frorkmar Banner-Torn
Horik Halfhand
Jod
Skald the Elder

MorthalEdit

Name Marked as unessential (if applicable) Can be follower
Aslfur
Falion
Idgrod Ravencrone
Idgrod the Younger
Joric
Legate Taurinus Duilis
Sorli the Builder
Thonnir After "Laid to Rest" is completed(Part of the mob will die if you don't talk to Thonnir about going alone) Temporary

WinterholdEdit

Name Marked as unessential (if applicable) Can be follower
Korir
Kraldar
Malur Seloth
Nelacar
Thaena
Thonjolf

College of WinterholdEdit

Name Marked as unessential (if applicable) Can be follower
Ancano During The Eye of Magnus.
Arniel Gane
Augur of Dunlain
Colette Marence
Drevis Neloren
Enthir
Faralda
Mirabelle Ervine
Phinis Gestor
Savos Aren During The Eye of Magnus.
Tolfdir Temporary
Urag gro-Shub

Dark Brotherhood SanctuaryEdit

Name Marked as unessential (if applicable) Can be follower
Arnbjorn During Death Incarnate or Destroy the Dark Brotherhood!
Astrid During With Friends Like These... or Death Incarnate.
Babette
Cicero During The Cure for Madness. Yes
Festus Krex During Death Incarnate or Destroy the Dark Brotherhood!
Nazir During Destroy the Dark Brotherhood!
Veezara During Death Incarnate or Destroy the Dark Brotherhood!

Imperial LegionEdit

Name Marked as unessential (if applicable) Can be follower
Hadvar Temporary
Legate Emmanuel Admand
Legate Fasendil
Legate Hrollod
Legate Quentin Cipius
Legate Sevan Telendas

StormcloaksEdit

Name Marked as unessential (if applicable) Can be follower
Arrald Frozen-Heart
Gonnar Oath-Giver
Kottir Red-Shoal
Ralof Temporary
Thorygg Sun-Killer
Yrsarald Thrice-Pierced

Other LocationsEdit

Name Location Marked as unessential (if applicable) Can be follower
Annekke Crag-Jumper Darkwater Crossing After completing her (radiant) quest Kill the Bandit Leader
Arngeir High Hrothgar
Avrusa Sarethi Sarethi Farm

Balagog gro-Nolob

Nightgate Inn During Recipe for Disaster
Barbas Outside Falkreath End of A Daedra's Best Friend Temporary
Borri High Hrothgar
Chief Yamarz Largashbur End of The Cursed Tribe Temporary
Commander Maro Dragon Bridge During Hail Sithis!
Curwe Loreius Farm After Delayed Burial
Deeja Red Wave During Lights Out!
Delphine Riverwood Temporary
Derkeethus Bethesda forgot to remove his essential status always(bug)
Einarth High Hrothgar
Elenwen Thalmor Embassy After Diplomatic Immunity or Season Unending
Felldir the Old Sovngarde Temporary
Gelebros College of Winterhold
Gormlaith Golden-Hilt Sovngarde Temporary
Hakon One-Eye Sovngarde Temporary
Karliah Snow Veil Sanctum Temporary
M'aiq the Liar Random locations
Nerien Mzulft
Odahviing Anywhere outdoors
Paarthurnax Throat of the World During Paarthurnax
Pactur Stonehills
Quaranir College of Winterhold
Razelan Thalmor Embassy
Ri'saad Various locations
Sabine Nytte Red Wave
Sam Guevenne Various locations
Sanguine Morvunskar
Sheogorath Blue Palace
Tandil College of Winterhold
Teeba-Ei Rockwallow Mine
Torygg Sovngarde
Tsun Sovngarde
Vantus Loreius Loreius Farm After Delayed Burial
Wilhelm Ivarstead
Wulfgar High Hrothgar
  • Only becomes unessential if Update 1.4 or lower is installed.

DawnguardEdit

Castle VolkiharEdit

Name Marked as unessential (if applicable) Can be follower
Serana Yes
Lord Harkon During Kindred Judgment.
Vingalmo If Dawnguard is joined.
Orthjolf If Dawnguard is joined.
Feran Sadri If Dawnguard is joined.
Fura Bloodmouth If Dawnguard is joined.
Garan Marethi If Dawnguard is joined.
Valerica Temporary

Fort DawnguardEdit

Name Marked as unessential (if applicable) Can be follower
Isran During Destroying the Dawnguard Temporary
Sorine Jurard During Destroying the Dawnguard
Gunmar During Destroying the Dawnguard
Florentius Baenius During Destroying the Dawnguard

Other locationsEdit

Name Marked as unessential (if applicable) Can be follower
Galathil

DragonbornEdit

Raven RockEdit

Name Marked as unessential (if applicable) Can be follower
Adril Arano
Lleril Morvayn
Cindiri Arano
Captain Veleth
Glover Mallory
Milore Ienth
Crescius Caerellius
Geldis Sadri
Drovas Relvi
Mogrul During A New Debt
Vendil Severin During Served Cold
Mirri Severin During Served Cold
Tilisu Severin During Served Cold

Skaal VillageEdit

Name Marked as unessential (if applicable) Can be follower
Frea Yes
Storn Crag-Strider During The Gardener of Men
Aeta
Baldor Iron-Shaper

Oslaf

After At the Summit of Apocrypha
Nikulas
Morwen

Tel MithrynEdit

Name Marked as unessential (if applicable) Can be follower
Neloth Temporary
Talvas Fathryon After From the Ashes Yes
Varona Nelas During Reluctant Steward

TriviaEdit

  • Although Derkeethus is unable to die, he is not necessarily an essential character; he is glitched so he is unable to die.

Start a Discussion Discussions about Essential Characters (Skyrim)

  • Can you train skills on essential characters?

    2 messages
    • Just wondering...I attacked an Imperial camp and found the commander to be essential.  I want to max out my two-handed so I whaled away at ...
    • If you attack them in bleedout state it will not make any difference but attacking them when they recover will train your skills.
  • Steward suggestion?

    9 messages
    • SonjavonRuuden wrote:"Give them good armor and weapons and you should do fine." Just as a side note, if you are playing on PS3 it seems t...
    • Might be a good idea to use mages, either from the Collage or elsewhere, as the tend to stay further back and get killed less or so I've found.

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