Elder Scrolls

Vampire Lord

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Harkon's Vampire Lord form

"Vampires were something we didn't really do much with in the regular game. Now we can have this whole new mode, and new perk tree ideas started coming up, and then we got into the story."
―Matt Carofano, Bethesda Softworks[1]

Vampire Lord is a power available in The Elder Scrolls V: Dawnguard, that serves as an extension of traditional vampirism. During the quest Bloodline, the decision between whether continuing to assist the Dawnguard or join Harkon and the Volkihar Clan arises. Choosing the path of Harkon grants the ability to become a Vampire Lord.

Vampire Lords have an altered and sinister appearance, one that is more drastically and artfully constructed than that of a regular vampire. The Vampire Lord features 11 unique perks and two combat modes -- Melee Mode and Blood Magic mode. Of the newly added spells is the ability to use consumed blood to vitalize the Vampire Lord and the ability to summon Gargoyles the way atronachs are summoned via the use of Conjuration magic. The power bite attack adds a unique cinematic where the Vampire Lord wraps its wings around the victim and bites them on the neck.


Vampire Lords are considered to be the paragon of the species. They are typically pure-blooded vampires who have either received their vampirism through another pure-blooded vampire or Molag Bal himself.[2]

Vampire Lords are relatively rare, the only ones known to exist are Harkon, and it is assumed Valerica and Serana are as well.[3] Harkon is the only vampire ever seen assuming the form.


Harkon or Serana can grant this power during the main questline for Dawnguard. Harkon offers this power during Bloodline, Serana offering it twice, once during Chasing Echoes and once upon completing Kindred Judgment.


Vamplordcrop 03

A fully transformed Vampire Lord.

When transforming into a Vampire Lord, the body undergoes drastic changes. In addition to wings sprouting from the back and height vastly increasing, the skin will pale, the eyes will change to an orange-gold hue, and the cheeks will narrow prominently.

The wings grant the ability for much faster movement speed while sprinting and the ability to hover allows the Vampire Lord to pass effortlessly over bodies of water. In addition, carry weight is ignored, so an over-encumbered Vampire may utilize this form for faster movement.

As a Vampire Lord, the four stages of vampirism still apply and as time passes without feeding, the more severe these changes become. In direct sunlight, Vampire Lords suffer the same limitations, such as stunted and decreased Health, Magicka, and Stamina. However, weaknesses and resistances to fire and frost are significantly altered with the addition of Dawnguard:

Stage one

  • Resist Frost - Your vampiric blood gives you 20% resistance to frost.
  • Weakness to Fire - Your vampiric blood causes you to be 20% weaker to fire.

Stage two

  • Resist Frost - Your vampiric blood gives you 30% resistance to frost.
  • Weakness to Fire - Your vampiric blood causes you to be 30% weaker to fire.

Stage three

  • Resist Frost - Your vampiric blood gives you 40% resistance to frost.
  • Weakness to Fire - Your vampiric blood causes you to be 40% weaker to fire.

Stage four

  • Resist Frost - Your vampiric blood gives you 50% resistance to frost.
  • Weakness to Fire - Your vampiric blood causes you to be 50% weaker to fire.
    • Previously, at this stage of Vampirism, all characters would become hostile towards the Dragonborn and attack on sight. This no longer occurs when the Dragonborn is in default humanoid form, but does if in Vampire Lord form. The message mentioning "You are hated and feared by all" will still appear however.

Combat modes

VampireLord MeleeModeVampireLord BloodMagic Dual

A female Vampire Lord in melee mode (left)
and Blood Magic mode (right).

There are two modes of combat for a Vampire Lord:

Blood Magic mode

This mode allows the Vampire Lord to hover above the ground and cast Blood Magic spells. This mode can be augmented with Ring of the Erudite, which grants 100 extra Magicka, as well as faster Magicka regeneration.

Melee Mode

This mode allows the Vampire Lord to fight on the ground, but in doing so, all Blood Magic spells cannot be used. Instead, the primary means of combat are claw attacks. Melee mode is the only mode where the Power attack bite can be performed.

This mode can be augmented with the Poison Talons perk, which grants claw attacks 20 points of poison damage and the Ring of the Beast, which grants claw attacks an additional 20 points of damage.


"As a Vampire Lord, the inventory button will bring up the Vampire Lord perk tree. Perks are earned by killing enemies with the Drain Life spell, or with the bite attack in melee mode."
Loading Screens (Skyrim)

The Vampire Lord skill tree includes eleven perks. The left side of the tree deals with Night Powers, the right side deals with Blood Magic and the central column consists of passive perks that function like abilities.

Consuming life blood through a power attack bite or a Drain Life spell allows new perks to be gained.


Perk Description Requirements
Power of the Grave 50 point bonus to health, magicka and stamina as a Vampire Lord. None
Detect All Creatures Night Power: Detect all creatures, even dwarven automatons. Power of the Grave
Mist Form Night Power: Turn into an invulnerable mist, while health, magicka, and stamina regenerate. Detect All Creatures
Supernatural Reflexes Night Power: Everything slows down while you move faster. Mist Form
Blood Healing Killing a person with a power attack bite restores all your health. Power of the Grave
Unearthly Will Night Powers and Blood Magic cost 33% less. Power of the Grave
Poison Talons Melee attacks do 20 points of poison damage. Unearthly Will/Blood Healing
Night Cloak In combat, you are surrounded by a cloud of bats that feed on enemies within melee range. Poison Talons
Vampiric Grip Blood Magic: Can pull a creature to you from a distance, and do choking damage once it's close. Power of the Grave
Summon Gargoyle Blood Magic: Can conjure a gargoyle to fight for you. Vampiric Grip
Corpse Curse Blood Magic: Target is paralyzed. Summon Gargoyle

Perk points allocated to the tree cannot be undone, although the vampirism can be cured through Falion's ritual. Requiring a filled Black Soul Gem, the affliction is reversed but all perks remain. Aela the Huntress offers lycanthropy as a poultice for the vampirism. Unlocking perks in the werewolf skill tree also remain if the Dragonborn becomes a vampire again.


Each new perk requires a few more feedings than the last. A total of 156 people need to be fed upon to complete the entire tree.

Perks 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Total
Feedings 5 6 9 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 156

Night Powers

Harkonlordkin 03

Harkon in his Vampire Lord form.

Night Powers are activated like powers or shouts and have an associated cooldown period. They all cost magicka to activate.


This power is unlocked by default. It allows the Dragonborn to turn into a cloud of bats then flies forward several feet before reforming as a Vampire Lord. It can be activated twice in quick succession, but then requires a 20 second cooldown.

This power can be augmented with the Amulet of Bats, which adds a knockback stun when flying in the direction of enemies, but only if the Night Cloak perk has been unlocked.

Vampire Sight

This power is unlocked by default. It works exactly like Vampire's Sight when reaching stage one of vampirism. The effect grants Night Vision for 60 seconds.

Detect All Creatures

This works similar to the Aura Whisper shout and a combination of Detect Life and Detect Dead spells. It sends out a sonar-like pulse that reveals all forms of life, living or undead, in a white aura for a few seconds. It also reveals the location of corpses. Cooldown takes 3 seconds.

Mist Form

This power simply transforms the Dragonborn into an invulnerable cloud of mist for 23 seconds. During this time, health, magicka, and stamina regenerate. The invulnerability effect is similar to the Become Ethereal shout, in that even fall damage is negated. Cooldown takes 33 seconds.

Supernatural Reflexes

This power works somewhat similar to the Slow Time shout. When activated, time grinds to a near halt for 23 seconds, but the Dragonborn won't be affected as much by the disparity. Cooldown takes 45 seconds.

Blood Magic

Blood Magic deals with spells that are typically wielded in the left hand and can only be used in Blood Magic mode.

Drain Life


The Vampiric Grip spell as it appeared in the official Dawnguard trailer.

This spell is unlocked by default. It is the core offensive spell in the Vampire Lord's arsenal and is permanently equipped in the right hand when in Blood Magic mode. It works similar to the original Vampiric Drain in that it absorbs health, but rather than a stream of energy it is an area-of-effect projectile similar to the fireball spell. Killing creatures or people with this spell allows new perks to be gained.

This spell can be augmented with the Blood of the Ancients ability, which temporarily upgrades the spell to drain magicka and stamina in addition to health. The ability can be accessed upon completion of The Bloodstone Chalice.

Raise Dead

This spell is unlocked by default. It's essentially a very powerful version of the Raise Zombie spell and can raise almost any creature or person for 120 seconds. Anything reanimated with this spell collapses into ash piles after being killed again or when the spell duration ends. It is not affected by the Twin Souls perk in the Conjuration skill tree.

Vampiric Grip

Vampiric Grip allows the Dragonborn to essentially lift almost any creature or person off the ground and hold them in the air at the cost of Magicka upkeep. The target can then be flung into the air by releasing the spell. The only creatures that are not affected are Dragons, mammoths, Dragon Priests, Mistmen, Bonemen, Wrathmen and Skeletons.

Summon Gargoyle


A summoned Gargoyle.

This spell works much like any other conjuration spell. Casting the spell at the ground will summon a Gargoyle for 120 seconds. This spell can be augmented with the Amulet of the Gargoyle, which summons an additional Gargoyle for 30 seconds.

Corpse Curse

This spell works exactly like the Paralyze spell. Targets who fail to resist remain paralyzed for 10 seconds.

Other abilities

Night Cloak

This passive perk works in both modes of combat and is similar to elemental cloak spells, such as Flame Cloak. The Vampire Lord becomes surrounded by a cloud of bats during combat which Absorb Health from enemies within melee range. This passive ability can be augmented with the Amulet of Bats which increases the amount of life drained from enemies.

Power attack bite

This attack can be used while in melee mode. It is performed when power attacking a humanoid with low health and happens only a percentage of the time. It activates an animation in which the enemy is bitten on the neck and killed. This attack also counts as consuming life blood and will count towards gaining new perks.

It can be augmented with the Blood Healing perk which restores all health when a person is killed.

Revert Form

Unlike werewolves, Vampire Lords can transform in and out of the Vampire Lord form, multiple times per day.


This section contains bugs related to Vampire Lord. 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  , 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.
  •  360   PC   If Serana is a follower, the Blood Magic Drain Life spell reduces drastically in power.
  •  360   When reverting forms, the Drain Life spell may remain equipped in the right hand. The audio for the spell breaks while this is happening, and perk points can still be gained while killing foes with it.
  •  360   PC   The Blood Magic mode causes the Vampire Lord to simply float, unable to use the Drain or Raise Dead spells. In addition, feeding on targets does not accumulate to allow perk upgrades. This can occur immediately after being turned into a Vampire Lord by Harkon.
    • Solution: Reinstall Dawnguard.
  •  PS3   It is possible for the Dragonborn to transform into the Vampire Lord form, even after curing vampirism, if Vampire Lord has been "Favorited" before curing it. However, the Dragonborn will be stuck in the first stage of vampirism and will not progress into other stages. The only solution is to reload a previous save and never transform into Vampire Lord, unless the Dragonborn is a vampire.
    • Negative effects such as "Weakness to Fire" will not be shown under Active Effects menu.
    • Other effects include being unable to gain resting bonus from sleeping, Galathil can't change the Dragonborn's appearance, entry into Soul Cairn is blocked, and Falion will not offer an option to cure vampirism.


Main article: Achievements (Dawnguard)
Achievement Dawnguard Vampire Mastered
Vampire Mastered
Acquire 11 Vampire Perks
Points 20 Game points
Bronze trophy



  1. Skyrim Podcast #5: Dawnguard. The Elder Scrolls Official Site.
  2. Dialogue with Harkon
  3. Dialogue with Serana

Start a Discussion Discussions about Vampire Lord

  • Hybrid

    2 messages
    • Ok I've become a vampire lord on my ps3 and I've seen a couple videos of a glitch to become a vamp lord and a werewolf if anyone knows the ex...
    • I think it happens if youre a werewolf and you drink a potion of blood
  • How can you revert back to Human when you are Vampire Lord?

    2 messages
    • I am considering becoming a Vampire Lord after the Dawnguard quest was finished but when I transformed I tried to revert back but I couldn't w...
    • If you have Dawnguard installed you won't get attacked at stage four anymore at all, not even as a regular Vampire. To deactivate Vampire L...

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