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Lydia

Lydia, a housecarl and one of the known followers in Skyrim.

For other uses, see Follower.
Quotebg
"I am sworn to carry your burdens."
Lydia[src]

Followers are various characters found throughout Skyrim. They can travel with, battle for, perform tasks for, and carry items for the Dragonborn.

A subclass of followers is non-humanoid followers, such as dogs, armored trollsDG, rieklingsDR, steadfast Dwarven spiderDR, and steadfast Dwarven sphere.DR These followers can neither carry nor equip items, except in the case of rieklings. The interaction with these followers is limited to the wait/follow commands and dismissal, the only exception again being rieklings.

It is only possible to have one humanoid follower at a time, unless additional followers are gained via a quest or conjuration (see Multiple Followers) In most cases, there is no penalty for dismissing a follower and then recruiting the companion later.

Followers specialize in a variety of Skills ranging from Combat, Magic, Sneak, Smithing, Speech, Alchemy, and Enchanting. However, skills outside of Combat, Magic, and Sneak cannot be directly benefited from.

Certain followers can also serve as Skill Trainers. Many followers can marry the Dragonborn, and most can join the Blades after being relocated to Sky Haven Temple. With the addition of Hearthfire, some may also serve as a steward for homesteads.

Leveling

Followers will match the current Character Level of the Dragonborn up to a certain level cap which varies from follower to follower. The vast majority of followers cap at level 30. Roggi Knot-Beard and Sven notably cap at level 20.

Torvar, Ria, Athis, and Njada Stonearm of The Companions, Adelaisa Vendicci, and Beleval and Agmaer from the Dawnguard add-on cap at level 25. Mjoll the Lioness, Illia, and all mercenary hirelings (including Erik the Slayer) cap at level 40.

Erandur, Cicero, the members of The Circle (Aela, Farkas, and Vilkas), and all Housecarls cap at level 50. In Dawnguard, Serana caps at level 50 as well. As a result of patch 1.9, followers who would level with the Dragonborn to level 81 will no longer experience a level cap, and will continue to level with the Dragonborn. They include J'zargo, the Dark Brotherhood Initiates, and in the Dawnguard and Dragonborn add-ons, Celann, Ingjard, Durak, and Frea have no level cap.

If patch 1.6 or later is not installed, followers, along with all other levelable characters, are locked at the level at which they first encountered the Dragonborn, and will not continue to level up. The only way to fix this leveling error is to use console commands on the PC (disable then enable the character while they are not active followers) or use the Wabbajack to turn them into an animal, then wait for them to change back. This resets their stats to the Dragonborn's current level. This does not appear to reset their inventory or quest scripting. Essential characters cannot be transformed, and one can therefore not reset their stats without using console commands.

There are a couple very specific occasions in which certain followers will level up due to scripted events in quests. For example, Farkas will level up to the Dragonborn's current level in the quest "Proving Honor" after his scripted transformation. Likewise, Aela will level up after her transformation in the quest "The Silver Hand." This is because the game de-spawns Farkas and Aela and replaces them with a transformed version, then re-spawns them later, which is the same process that occurs when manually using the console to disable then enable a character. Similarly, Erik the Slayer and Cicero "level up" after the first encounter with them, as the version met during the first encounter is actually a different version of the character than the one that can become a follower.

Targeting a follower and typing setlevel 1000 0 1 81 will make that follower level up with the Dragonborn until they reach level 81. Replacing the last number in that command with a number other than 81 will change their level cap to the given number.

It is notable that followers with a lower level cap, such as Jenassa, have more stats (Health, Magicka, and Stamina) and skill points (One Handed, Sneak, etc.) per level than other followers with a higher level cap, such as Aela the Huntress, or even followers with no level cap, such as Frea or Ingjard. As such, it is wise to have a similar follower with a lower level cap, such as Jenassa, up until they reach their level cap, then trade for a similar follower with a higher level cap, such as Aela, to be more effective.

Combat

Morale widely varies from follower to follower. Some, like the Housecarls, will invariably fight to the death, while others, like Roggi Knot-Beard, will often flee from combat if seriously injured.

All followers favor two-handed weapons over one-handed weapons, even if they are unskilled in two-handed weapon usage. Therefore, letting followers whose primary combat skill is one-handed weapons have two-handed weapons in their inventory should be avoided. Additionally, followers appear to favor magic staves over melee weapons and will default to using a magic staff if given one, only switching to a melee weapon after spending several seconds in close combat.

Most non-magic-using followers have a bow as part of their default, non-removable equipment. This bow shoots an endless supply of iron arrows, which are not visible in the follower's inventory. To have a follower shoot more powerful arrows, a single arrow of that type should be put in their inventory. This will allow them to loose an endless supply of that arrow type. Followers will automatically choose the most powerful arrow type available in their inventory.

Followers can dual-wield melee weapons, but only if there is no shield in their inventory, and only if a Forsworn Sword, Forsworn Axe, Falmer War Axe, Falmer Sword or a pickaxe is wielded along with another melee weapon (the Housecarl of Falkreath, Rayya, can dual wield scimitars). They will also dual-wield magic staves, regardless of whatever else is in their inventory. Frea is an exception to this for she automatically begins with two war axes, and will not require a Forsworn weapon or pickaxe to dual-wield. She will use any two weapons given to her should her axes be pocketed from her.

If the Dragonborn enters sneak mode, humanoid followers will follow suit. While in sneak mode, they will not attack unless attacked first. Animal followers, e.g. dogs such as Barbas, Meeko, Vigilance, or the stray dogs, however, do not understand the concept of "stealth" and will charge straight at an enemy as soon as they see one, even if the Dragonborn is hiding.

Death

Fortunately for followers, enemies will tend to ignore them once their health is depleted and turn their attention to the Dragonborn or any other allied characters. This condition is easily spotted, as the follower will drop to one knee and stay in that position for a short period of time.

Once they have regenerated a sufficient amount of health, they will stand up and rejoin the fight. However, this does not mean that they cannot die by physical attacks from characters. In some cases, especially when left no other target, enemies will continue to attack a follower until death. Additionally, in a near-death state, a follower is not in danger of being killed outright unless hit by an attack from the Dragonborn or another follower. Extremely powerful attacks, especially area-of-effect attacks such as those from Dragons, can also kill a follower.

The Companion's Insight reward from "Black Book: The Winds of Change" allows players to use attacks without fear of hurting their allies, making it harder for non-essential followers to die, as it eliminates the possibility of friendly fire.

Some followers are marked essential, specifically: Barbas, Frea, Erandur, Mjoll the Lioness, Derkeethus, Serana, Cicero, Farkas, and Dark Brotherhood Initiates. They cannot be killed by any means — should their health be depleted, they will fall to the ground, and will get up after a certain amount of their health has regenerated. This makes them especially valuable as distractions for difficult battles.

It is important to remember that enemies employing poisonous attacks can kill followers since the poison continues its effect even after the follower drops to their knee. Caution is advised if encountering high level Falmer, Chaurus, poisoned traps, etc.

To avoid a follower's death in this scenario, the best course of action is to lead attackers away from the area where the follower is trying to recover. Followers may also be given several healing potions or Potions of Cure Poison to carry in their inventory, which they will automatically use if the need arises. In some cases, the best course of action may be to tell a follower to wait before entering a particularly dangerous area.

Other ways followers can die include:

  • Traps, such as the swinging blade hallways in dungeons or spinning floor blades in Dwemer ruins.
  • Falling from a great height.
  • Being hit by an enemy while the Dragonborn is speaking with them.

Followers can be revived using the console command resurrect.

Commands

Giving Follower Commands to Lydia

A player giving commands to a follower called Lydia

Permanent followers can be given several commands.

Initiate conversation (outside of combat), and tell them "I need you to do something." The Dragonborn may also hold down the "select/activate" button while pointing at the follower. This method can be done at a distance and is a great way to call the follower to the Dragonborn's position while they are in their "wait" mode.

They can:

  • Attack another individual or creature.
  • Wait at a given location, or just simply wait.
  • Use an object.
  • Open a locked door or container.
  • Pick up individual items or take everything from containers.
  • Sleep in a bed.
  • Sit on chairs and benches, although they will, unless told to wait, usually stand back up.
  • Activate a shrine to receive its blessing.
  • Perform jobs such as wood chopping, excluding mining.
  • Leave the Dragonborn's service.
  • Pickpocket: The Dragonborn must remain undetected.

There are some additional benefits from using certain commands. These are:

  • Followers can pick up skill books that the Dragonborn may not want to read just yet. These can be safely taken from their inventory and read at a later date.
  • Followers will illuminate dark areas with a torch, provided there is one in their inventory.
  • Followers do not require lockpicks to pick locks.
  • As a vampire, ordering a follower to sleep will allow the Dragonborn to feed off them.

If told to wait, a follower will wait roughly three days before they get to leave the Dragonborn. They will then return to their home or the location where they were originally found.

Morality

Every follower has their own level of morality. Certain followers, such as Farkas, are lawful citizens and will report the Dragonborn to the guards if they witness a crime, or simply leave their service. Other followers, such as Jenassa, will readily commit any crime they are ordered to do and will ignore any criminal behavior by the Dragonborn. Some will report the Dragonborn for a serious crime, such as murder, but not for a petty crime. All followers, regardless or their morality, will not have any possible interactions while trespassing, saying only "You're not supposed to be in here" when spoken to. Cicero and Serana are the only exceptions. They will still fight for the Dragonborn, however, and commands can still be issued by activating them from a distance (holding the "activate" button) and telling them the desired task.

If not hidden, the Dragonborn will be held responsible if a follower is asked to perform an illegal activity. However, it is possible for the guards in a town to attack the follower while leaving the player character alone. Interfering with the battle will be seen as a crime, though.

Equipment and inventory

Mjoll

Mjoll the Lioness, wearing a steel plate helmet and boots as well as ebony armor and gauntlets. She is wielding a Dwarven Shield and Grimsever.

Followers always equip the best possible weapons or armor given to them. More specifically, the weapon with the highest damage value and the pieces of apparel with the highest armor value are equipped.

Followers will not use equipment that is the same in armor or damage value as their starting equipment unless it has been improved by smithing or enchantments.

On occasion, a follower may equip a weapon that they are not skilled in over one they are. For example, Mjoll the Lioness is better skilled in Two-Handed weapons over One-Handed, but if given a sword with a higher damage rating than a battleaxe, she will equip the sword.

Each follower tends to have their own preference of armor. For example, Aela has no preference and will use heavy armor if she receives it, even though she is a marksman whose default armor is light. A Dark Brotherhood Initiate, however, strongly opposes the use of heavy armor unless it is significantly better than their current armor. This is because the initiate prefers light armor, matching their skills.

If a follower insists on using an undesirable piece of equipment, the only way to prevent this behavior is to remove it from their inventory.

Ironically, the default equipment of many followers does not correspond to their actual combat skills. For example, Aela's default armor is Heavy Armor, despite her being skilled in Light Armor, and Erik the Slayer's default equipment is Iron Armor and a one-handed sword, despite his true skills lying in two-handed weapons and light armor.

Enchantments on weapons work normally, but followers will only benefit from the following enchantment effects on their apparel and armor:

Inventory

Followers can be used to carry almost any item, either via the inventory menu or picking up world items. However, they also have an unspecified weight limit, which restricts how much they can carry. In the inventory menu, items that would over-encumber them appear grayed out. Quest-related items cannot be given to followers for storage.

An exploit is possible to make them carry over their limit. First, place the items in any container and then order the follower to take everything in the container. After this, every single item will be in the follower's inventory. However, these items will be marked as stolen. If these items are dropped and picked up again in plain sight, it will be considered a crime.  Alternatively, entering a new area will remove the "stolen" label.

An alternative exploit is to drop the items on the ground and instruct the follower to pick up each item one at a time. While potentially time-consuming, it is a handy method when containers are not present or handy.

Followers will retain their inventories even after the Dragonborn dismisses them. In this way, it is possible to use them for limited storage. If they are killed, the stored items can be looted from their body.

Ammunition

If a follower is using their own default bow, placing just a single arrow in a follower's inventory will give them an infinite supply of that type of arrow. 

Enemies may also exhibit this behavior: Shooting an enemy with an arrow more powerful than their own arrows has a small chance of adding that arrow to their inventory, allowing them to equip the more powerful arrow and return fire with an infinite supply.

Effect dismissing has on equipment

If the Dragonborn sends their follower away, i.e. dismisses them, and later decides to recruit him/her again, the Dragonborn will find the follower wearing their original equipment. The Dragonborn can fix this by either leaving the area or by simply taking away any piece of equipment from them, which will in turn "reset" them, causing them to equip their best available equipment. If the Dragonborn chooses to “reset” their follower, they will use new or better equipment again.

Multiple followers

Followers are supposed to be limited to one at a time; however, there are several ways to avoid this limit. Quest characters triggered to follow the Dragonborn, the Dark Brotherhood Initiates, Cicero, Serana and summoning more than one Atronach, zombie or Dremora. The latter is only possible wiith Conjuration at its maximum level]. For more information, see Multiple Followers. Theoretically, if all DLCs are installed, players can have a maximum of fifteen followers at one time, though this can be undesirable in cramped spaces.

It is also possible to use the spell/power gained through the Dark Brotherhood questline for an additional follower. The Spectral Assassin will stay by the Dragonborn's side until it is defeated in battle or another familiar/atronach is summoned. It will travel with the Dragonborn across Skyrim.

Followers

Housecarls

Housecarls are essentially bodyguards who protect noble and important figures from threats. Becoming Thane of a Hold will grant a personal housecarl. In the base game, almost all available housecarls are Nord warriors, however, Hearthfire adds additional housecarls for The Pale, Falkreath and Hjaalmarch. All Housecarls have a level cap of 50.

All Housecarls are one-handed warriors, with the exception of Valdimar, who is a sorcerer. A Housecarl's main skills are Heavy Armor, One-Handed, Archery and Block, again with the exception being Valdimar (Heavy Armor, One-Handed, Alteration, Destruction and Restoration).

Housecarls will fight to the death, and can be ordered to attack anybody or anything. However, they possess a set of morales. For example, if one is to trespass on the Red Wave, the follower will tell the Dragonborn that the latter is not supposed to be there, despite this act not actually charging the player with a true crime.

Name Location Prerequisite Race Marriage Blades Steward
Argis the Bulwark Vlindrel Hall, Markarth Thane of Markarth Nord Yes Yes No
Calder Hjerim, Windhelm Thane of Eastmarch Nord Yes Yes Yes
Gregor HF The White Hall, Dawnstar Thane of The Pale Nord Yes Yes Yes
Iona Honeyside, Riften Thane of The Rift Nord Yes Yes Yes
Jordis the Sword-Maiden Proudspire Manor, Solitude Thane of Haafingar Nord Yes Yes Yes
Lydia Breezehome, Whiterun Thane of Whiterun Nord Yes Yes Yes
Rayya HF Jarl's Longhouse, Falkreath Thane of Falkreath Redguard Yes Yes Yes
Valdimar HF Highmoon Hall, Morthal Thane of Hjaalmarch Nord Yes Yes Yes

Faction followers

Completing certain quests for a faction will grant access to some followers from that faction.

College of Winterhold

Name Max

level

Main skills Class Location Quest Race Marriage Blades Steward
Brelyna Maryon 30 Alteration, Illusion, Conjuration, Sneak Mage Hall of Attainment Brelyna's Practice Dunmer Yes Yes Yes
J'zargo None Destruction, Illusion, Heavy Armor, One-handed Sorcerer Hall of Attainment J'zargo's Experiment Khajiit No Yes No
Onmund 30 Destruction, Illusion, Heavy Armor, One-handed Sorcerer Hall of Attainment Onmund's Request Nord Yes Yes Yes

The Companions

Name Max level Main skills Class Location Quest Race Marriage Blades Steward
Aela the Huntress 50 Archery, Light Armor, Sneak, One-handed, Speech Ranger Jorrvaskr Glory of the Dead Nord Yes Yes Yes
Athis 25 Heavy Armor, One-handed, Archery, Block Warrior-1H Jorrvaskr Glory of the Dead Dunmer Yes Yes No
Farkas 50 Smithing, Speech, One-handed, Pickpocket Blacksmith Jorrvaskr Glory of the Dead Nord Yes Yes No
Njada Stonearm 25 Block, One-handed, Speech, Pickpocket Warrior Jorrvaskr Glory of the Dead Nord Yes Yes Yes
Ria 25 Heavy Armor, One-handed, Archery, Block Warrior-1H Jorrvaskr Glory of the Dead Imperial Yes Yes Yes
Torvar 25 Heavy Armor, One-handed, Archery, Block Warrior-1H Jorrvaskr Glory of the Dead Nord Yes Yes No
Vilkas 50 Heavy Armor, Two-handed, Archery, Block Warrior-2H Jorrvaskr Glory of the Dead Nord Yes Yes Yes

Dark Brotherhood

Name Max

level

Main skills Class Location Quest Race Marriage Blades Steward
Cicero 50 One-handed, Sneak, Archery, Light Armor Assassin Dawnstar Sanctuary Hail Sithis! Imperial No No No
Dark Brotherhood Initiate 100 One-handed, Sneak, Archery, Light Armor Assassin Dawnstar Sanctuary Hail Sithis! Nord No No No

Dawnguard

Having Dawnguard installed adds several more followers, both humanoid and non-humanoid, to the game. Most are dependent on which faction the Dragonborn decides to side with during the Bloodline quest, thus A New Order needs to be completed.

Name Level

max

Main skills Class Location Race Marriage Blades Steward
Ingjard None Heavy Armor, Two-handed, Archery, Block Warrior-2H Fort Dawnguard Nord No Yes Yes
Durak None Archery, Light Armor, Block, One-handed Ranger Fort Dawnguard Orsimer No Yes Yes
Agmaer 25 One-handed, Two-handed, Block, Light Armor Bandit Fort Dawnguard Nord No Yes Yes
Beleval 25 One-handed, Two-handed, Block, Light Armor Bandit Fort Dawnguard Bosmer No Yes Yes
Celann None Heavy Armor, One-handed, Archery, Block Warrior-1H Fort Dawnguard Breton No Yes Yes

Mercenaries

Mercenaries are typically found in taverns across Skyrim. They cost 500 GoldIcon to hire for any length of time. Dismissing a mercenary will send them back to the tavern they were found. All Mercenaries reach their maximum level at 40, the exception being Teldryn Sero, who caps at level 60.

Name Main skills Class Location Race Marriage Blades Steward
Belrand Destruction, Light Armor, One-handed, Restoration Spellsword The Winking Skeever, Solitude Nord Yes Yes Yes
Erik the Slayer Light Armor, Two-handed, Archery, Block Barbarian Rorikstead Nord No Yes Yes
Jenassa Archery, Light Armor, Block, One-handed Ranger The Drunken Huntsman, Whiterun Dunmer Yes Yes No
Marcurio Destruction, Restoration, Alteration, Sneak Mage Bee and Barb, Riften Imperial Yes Yes Yes
Stenvar Heavy Armor, Two-handed, Archery, Block Warrior-2H Candlehearth Hall, Windhelm Nord Yes Yes No
Teldryn SeroDR One-handed, Light Armor, Destruction, Conjuration Spellsword The Retching Netch, Raven Rock Dunmer No Yes No
Vorstag Heavy Armor, One-handed, Archery, Block Warrior-1H Silver-Blood Inn, Markarth Nord Yes Yes No

Quest reward followers

These followers typically have a quest attached to them and it must be completed in order to gain them as a follower.

Name Max

Level

Main skills Class Location Prerequisite Race Marriage Blades Steward
Adelaisa Vendicci 25 Alchemy, Enchanting, Smithing, Archery, Light Armor, One-handed, Sneak, Speech Citizen East Empire Company Rise in the East Imperial No Yes Yes
Ahtar 30 Heavy Armor, Two-handed, Archery, Block Warrior-2H Castle Dour Kill the Bandit Leader Redguard No Yes No
Annekke Crag-Jumper 30 Archery, Light Armor, Block, One-handed Ranger Darkwater Crossing Kill the Bandit Leader Nord No Yes Yes
Aranea Ienith 30 Destruction, Restoration, Alteration, Conjuration Mage Shrine of Azura Side with her during The Black Star Dunmer No Yes No
Eola 30 Destruction, Sneak, Alteration, One-handed Nightblade Hall of the Dead, Markarth Help her in The Taste of Death Breton No Yes Yes
Erandur 50 Restoration, Speech, Alchemy, Conjuration, Smithing Priest Windpeak Inn, Dawnstar Spare his life in Waking Nightmare Dunmer No Yes No
Faendal 30 Archery, Light Armor, Sneak, One-handed, Speech Thief Riverwood Help him in A Lovely Letter Bosmer No Yes Yes
Frea

DR

None One-handed, Alteration, Light Armor, Restoration Warrior-1H Skaal Village The Fate of the Skaal Nord No Yes No
Golldir 30 Heavy Armor, One-handed, Archery, Block Warrior-1H Hillgrund's Tomb Help him in Ancestral Worship Nord No Yes Yes
Illia 40 Destruction, Restoration, Alteration, Conjuration Mage Darklight Tower Help her in Repentance Imperial No Yes Yes
Kharjo 30 Heavy Armor, One-handed, Archery, Block Warrior Ahkari's Khajiit Caravan Retrieve his Moon Amulet Khajiit No Yes No
Lob 30 Warrior-1H Largashbur The Cursed Tribe Orc No Yes Yes
Mjoll the Lioness 40 Heavy Armor, Two-handed, Archery, Block Warrior-2H Riften Retrieve Grimsever Nord Yes Yes No
Ogol 30 Heavy Armor, One-handed, Archery, Sneak Warrior-1H Largashbur The Cursed Tribe Orc No Yes Yes
Ralis Sedarys

DR

60 One-handed, Light Armor, Block, Sneak Rogue(1H) Kolbjorn Barrow Spare him at the end of Unearthed Dunmer No Yes No
Roggi Knot-Beard 20 Alchemy, Enchanting, Smithing, Archery, One-handed, Two-handed Miner Kynesgrove Find Roggi Knot-Beard's Ancestral Shield Nord Yes Yes Yes
Serana

DG

50 Sneak, Conjuration, Light Armor, One-handed Vampire Fort Dawnguard
Castle Volkihar
Kindred Judgment Nord No No No
Sven 20 Alchemy, Enchanting, Smithing, Archery, One-handed, Two-handed Bard Riverwood Help him in A Lovely Letter Nord No Yes Yes
Talvas Fathryon

DR

25 Conjuration, Restoration, Destruction, Alteration, Sneak Conjurer Tel Mithryn From the Ashes Dunmer No Yes Yes
Ugor 30 Archery, Light Armor, Block, One-handed Ranger Largashbur The Cursed Tribe Orc No Yes No

Miscellaneous followers

These followers have no specific quest attached to them. Gaining them as a follower may sometimes be a trivial affair, such as Brawling against them and winning the match. Their levels cap at 30.

Name Main skills Class Location Prerequisite Race Marriage Blades Steward
Benor Heavy Armor, Two-handed, Archery, Block Warrior-2H Morthal Beat him in a brawl Nord Yes Yes No
Borgakh the Steel Heart Heavy Armor, One-handed, Archery, Sneak Warrior-1H Mor Khazgur Pay her dowry or persuade her Orc Yes Yes No
Cosnach Heavy Armor, One-handed, Archery, Block Warrior-1H Silver-Blood Inn, Markarth Beat him in a brawl or give him a drink Breton Yes Yes No
Derkeethus Archery, Light Armor, Block, One-handed Ranger Darkwater Pass Free him from captivity Argonian Yes Yes No
Ghorbash the Iron Hand Archery, Light Armor, Block, One-handed Ranger Dushnikh Yal Convince him to travel with the Dragonborn Orc Yes Yes Yes
Uthgerd the Unbroken Heavy Armor, One-handed, Archery, Block Warrior-1H The Bannered Mare, Whiterun Beat her in a brawl Nord Yes Yes Yes

Non-humanoid

Non-humanoid followers can be used alongside any humanoid follower, which means that the Dragonborn can have one human and one non-human follower simultaneously. Most non-humanoid followers cannot be given items and thus cannot use equipment, the exception being Riekling.

Name Type Location Preresquisite
Armored Troll

DG

Troll Fort Dawnguard A New Order, 500GoldIcon
BarbasDaedra masquerading as a dog Outside Falkreath Begin Speak to Lod
BranDG Armored War Dog Fort Dawnguard A New Order
CuSithDG Death Hound Castle Volkihar The Bloodstone Chalice
GarmrDG Death Hound Castle Volkihar The Bloodstone Chalice
Meeko Dog Wandering near Meeko's Shack None
RieklingDR Riekling Thirsk Mead Hall The Chief of Thirsk Hall
SceolangDG Armored War Dog Fort Dawnguard A New Order
Steadfast Dwarven Sphere

DR

Dwarven Sphere Kagrumez During "The Kagrumez Gauntlet"
Steadfast Dwarven SpiderDR Dwarven Spider Kagrumez During "The Kagrumez Gauntlet"
Stray Dog Dog Random location/With hunters
Vigilance Dog Markarth Stables 500 GoldIcon

† Barbas does not count as a true follower since he is tied to his quest, but unlike other quest forced companions (e.g., Farkas), the Dragonborn's current animal follower will not be dismissed.

Quest followers

These characters are scripted to tag along during a relevant quest, and do not cause your main follower to leave your service but they will not accept commands and their inventory remains inaccessible.

Name Relevant quest Method
Esbern and Delphine Alduin's Wall Proceed as per usual in the quest, tell them to follow you when asked and do not enter Sky Haven Temple.
Barbas A Daedra's Best Friend Follows you by default when you find him outside Falkreath. He is immensely powerful and can kill most enemies in a few hits, but will always shove you into a corner and bark incessantly if you drag him away from the quest. Also does not have any concept of 'stealth' and can be a potential witness if you commit crimes.
Eola or Verulus The Taste of Death Meet Eola at Reachcliff Cave or persuade Verulus to accompany you.
Mercer Frey Speaking With Silence Proceed in the quest and leave Snow Veil Sanctum.
Maurice Jondrelle The Blessings of Nature Asks you permission to be a companion after you acquire the Nettlebane and run a second errand for Danica Pure-Spring.
Thonnir Laid to Rest Talk to him and accept his help.
Enmon The Heart of Dibella Offers to accompany you to find his daughter.
Farkas or Vilkas Purity Agree to help either cleanse the beast blood. Vilkas will also tag along during Purity of Revenge.
Brynjolf Trinity Restored Wait outside Nightingale Hall after Karliah enters.
Serana Bloodline DG Escort her out of Dimhollow Crypt but do not go to her father. She remains scripted to follow you and is extremely powerful in Conjuration but will not accept orders until or unless you complete this quest.
Katria Lost to the Ages DG Proceed to the summit of Arkngthamz and talk to her before solving the tonal lock. Exit the area using the waterfall to the west and drop down the steep incline. Leave the ruins and she will accompany you for as long as you wish to. Being a spirit, and thus ethereal, she is invincible against anything. However, the option to issue her orders is absent and if you want to change her equipment you will need to pickpocket her during her initial conversation.
Anska A Scroll For Anska
Avulstein Grey-Mane Missing in Action
Thorald Gray-Mane Missing in Action
Geirlund Missing in Action Geirlund will meet with Avulstein outside Northwatch Keep only if the Dragonborn has requested Avulstein's help.
Vilrald Missing in Action Vilrald meets with the Dragonborn when they are united with Avulstein outside Northwatch Keep. This only happens if the Dragonborn has him as a companion.
Hadvar or Ralof Unbound The person who accompanies the Dragonborn is determined by who they side with after the initial encounter with Alduin.
Karliah Blindsighted Talk to her in Irkngthand.
Sinding Ill Met by Moonlight He will briefly accompany the Dragonborn during the quest if he is rescued and the hunters are killed.
Valdr Hunter and Hunted Heal him then talk to him, this allows you to choose whether or not he can accompany you into the cavern.

Trainer followers

Some potential followers are also Trainers who can train the Dragonborn in particular combat skills, allowing them to increase the skill level for those skills. The training is not free, but once these trainers become the Dragonborn's followers, they may receive training without any permanent cost; If the Dragonborn asks a follower to train him or her in a particular skill, after receiving the training, they may access the trainer's inventory and recover the spent gold. The following followers are also trainers: (Note: all but Faendal and Talvas Fathryon are Companions, who require the Dragonborn to complete the Companions quest line before they become recruitable as followers.)

Trivia

  • Almost every humanoid follower, with the exception of Cicero, Serana and the Dark Brotherhood Initiates can be recruited into the Blades and will be given a free set of Blades Armor and a Blades Sword. Up to three followers can be recruited by speaking to Delphine at Sky Haven Temple. After followers have been initiated as Blades, they will no longer return to their home or starting location, instead taking up residence at Sky Haven Temple (with the exception of Derkeethus, as he is bugged to stay at his home). The free set of Blades Armor will replace the follower's current armor, even armor given to the follower. This makes it impossible to get the items back. Higher level weapons, however, will still be chosen by the follower over their new Blades weapon.
  • Followers, dead thralls, and animal followers cannot follow the Dragonborn into a Dark Brotherhood sanctuary, with the exception of Cicero or a Dark Brotherhood initiate as a follower. This also includes particular quests where the follower will not enter the location the Dragonborn entered, such as Snow Veil Sanctum or Nightcaller Temple.
  • There are only two Bosmer, Khajiit and Redguard followers, one Argonian follower, and no Altmer followers.

Bugs

This section contains bugs related to Follower (Skyrim). Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:

  1. Please reload an old save to confirm if the bug is still happening.
  2. If the bug is still occurring, please post the bug report with the appropriate system template  360  / XB1  ,  PS3  / PS4  ,  PC  / MAC  ,  NX  , depending on which platform(s) the bug has been encountered on.
  3. Be descriptive when listing the bug and fixes, but avoid having conversations in the description and/or using first-person anecdotes: such discussions belong on the appropriate forum board.
Click to show a list of bugs
  • Occasionally, a mage follower will equip armor or clothes that is equal to their current robes (or one that has a better enchantment). This will occasionally happen if the Dragonborn waits, fast-travels, enters a building, or sleeps. However, the easiest way to make the mage follower equip other robes or clothing is by entering Apocrypha. When the Dragonborn leaves Apocrypha, the mage follower should be wearing the desirable armor they were given.
  •  PS3   Some items that are given to a follower and then taken back are classed as stolen.
  • Some followers are glitched in such a way that they will not use any bow other than their default bow, regardless of the quality of any bow the Dragonborn might provide them with. Some will only use a bow made using heavy armor materials i.e. Dwarven, ebony, Daedric. Others will only use a bow made out of light armor materials i.e. glass, or Elven. Armor type seems to dictate bow type.
  • Followers can be commanded to pick up items off the ground or from an unlocked container that would otherwise exceed their carry capacity and continue to move normally. In this way, followers can carry an infinite amount of loot.
    • The infinite follower carrying exploit can glitch, and some followers after picking up an item will not equip a weapon when the Dragonborn does. This may occasionally fix itself. If not, one must sift through the followers inventory and discard any unnecessary items.
  • When a suitably equipped follower is soul-trapping, all the empty soul gems of the same size may be filled from a single kill. This does not happen every time.
  • Followers can get stuck on terrain. In some cases, it is possible to free them by using any knockback effect.
    • It may be impossible to get to where the follower is stuck. In this case, the console command TCL can be used to turn off collision and position the Dragonborn. Pressing the tilde (~) key will open the console, typing, TCL, pressing the tilde key again will close the console. Reversing the process will turn collision back on.
  •  PC   360   In some areas, when the Dragonborn goes through a door, his follower will spawn from a different door in the same area. Meaning, if there is more than one door to enter somewhere, the follower may enter from a different door than the Dragonborn. This can cause serious problems, especially due to the fact they can get into a fight.
  •  PS3   If most followers are given Blades armor before Delphine makes the follower (if applicable) a member of the Blades, they will not receive any of the free Blades armor that usually replace their natural armors.
  •  PC   360   PS3   At some random point, potential followers will say the Dragonborn already has someone with them, even though they do not, making it impossible to hire any new followers.
    • This can be fixed by talking to Delphine and making the invisible follower a Blade Member (Only works if three followers are not Blades members already), even after making the follower a Blade, they are not going to be found in the Sky Haven Temple.
    • Be sure to complete the quest "Proving Honor" if it has been started. Farkas is designated your follower for the latter part of the quest, and it is impossible to hire any other followers until completed.
    •  PC(Fix)   Alternatively, the Dragonborn can bring up the console and type set PlayerFollowerCount to 0.
  • Dismissing and rehiring Followers can result in their default starting equipment being added again every time they are rehired. Much of this equipment may not be displayed in their inventory. As a result, followers' carry capacity will diminish every time they are rehired since this default equipment has weight. The speed at which followers will ultimately reach an effective zero carry capacity is affected by the weight of their starting equipment and the number of times they have been rehired.
    • There seems to be a couple of ways to mitigate this bug if one does not have access to the in-game console commands (i.e. PS3, 360). If the followers are dismissed, it is possible to pickpocket them and thus remove all the duplicate forms of equipment that have spawned in their inventory as a result of a bug. In some cases, however, even this will not display the cloned items. Therefore, it may be necessary to dismiss a follower then subsequently paralyze them with any method at one's disposal. Once this has been done they must be pickpocketed while the Dragonborn is hidden, which should have the desired effect of displaying the aforementioned items. Furthermore, it is possible to effectively remove anything they have equipped if the Dragonborn has the "misdirection" and "perfect touch" perks in pickpocketing.
  • If a bounty is placed on the Dragonborn's head in every region of Skyrim, followers will keep coming up and talking to him over and over and over as if they were guards pulling him over. During this time, if they are asked to follow just before killing them, the Dragonborn will never be able to have another follower as the game thinks the dead follower is still following the Dragonborn. There are no known fixes.
  •  360   If the "activate" key has been remapped to a button other than "A," followers will not listen to the Dragonborn's commands. To fix this, change the "activate" key back to default.
  • Sometimes, items given to the follower cannot be removed, displaying the message You cannot take your follower's starting armor." The only known ways to recover the item(s) are to dismiss the follower then pickpocket them or kill the follower and loot their body.
  • Most followers have unlimited arrows. If the Dragonborn gives them a stack of arrows, they will use all of them but the last. The last arrow always seems to be in their inventory. It does not work on all followers, however. Housecarls seem to have an infinite supply, but other followers, like the Dark Brotherhood Initiate, need to be re-supplied.
  •  PS3   In Hearthfire, if an animal follower (like Vigilance) is made into a house pet, Dragonborn's family and others within their home may only respond to the pet as "stupid dog" and very frequently. Sometimes, this becomes one of the only interactions of dialogue heard throughout Dragonborn's time in their home. Normally after each time the dog barks, which is quite often.
  • At an extremely rare occurrence, Dragonborn cannot make anyone their follower. The text dialogue will pop up, but the option to ask them to be a follower will not be there.
    •  PC(Fix)   killing them and then resurrecting them using the console command: resurrect. After resurrection, followers will start walking away. At this point, it should be possible to acquire them as a follower. Furthermore, they will appear to have lost all items they were previously given, but simply after fast travelling, their items should be restored.
  • At a very rare occurrence, if one uses a command on a follower, they will not do what they are commanded to and instead say "Anything else?" This will make it impossible to acquire certain objects due to lack of cooperation with the command phase.
  • Followers may rarely have their movement animation stuck in the run "position," where they will move very slowly while their legs move very quickly.
    • Fix: Drawing the Dragonborn's weapon will make their follower do the same, correcting their movement animation.

External links

  • Follower Google Doc — For a full list of followers, their stats, advantages, and perks. This only includes humanoid followers from the base game. Followers found in Dawnguard, Hearthfire, and Dragonborn add-ons are not covered.
  • Follower Google Doc #2 — For a more up to date full list of followers their stats, advantages, and perks in game. The Dawnguard, Hearthfire, and Dragonborn add-ons are covered. However please note a few stats of the Dawnguard and Dragonborn DLC followers are missing. This is the most near complete list of all humanoid followers in the game. Feel free to edit and update this guide to make it as accurate as possible.

Appearances

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