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Skyrim: How to Become a Vampire

Looking to become a vampire or cure vampirism? Here's what you need to know.

There are countless things you can do in Skyrim, and one of them is learning how to become a vampire. These blood-sucking creatures of the night aren’t a race unto themselves, so anyone can be converted to their devilish ranks. The only prerequisite is that you can’t be a werewolf. You can’t be both simultaneously. Which makes sense, considering their legendary blood feud. 

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How to Become a Vampire in Skyrim

To contract vampirism, you’ll need actually to contract the Sanguinare Vampiris disease. To do so, you’ll need to be hit with a Vampiric Drain spell or struck by a vampire’s weapon. A great place to find vampires is in Morvath’s Lair, where numerous low-level creatures of the night tend to roam.

You have a 10% chance of contracting the Sanguinare Vampiris with each attack, so wear armor that allows you to take more hits with less damage per hit. If you have any perks that prevent disease or items that buff disease resistance, this is the time to remove them. Wood Elves and Argonians have natural resistances to disease, so it may take more attacks to contract vampirism than with other races. 

Either way, you’ll eventually see a notice appear in the top left of the screen that says, “You have contracted Sanguinare Vampiris.” Now, you need to wait 72 in-game hours for vampirism to set in. After that, you’ll need to step into the sunlight at least once beforehand for the transformation into a vampire to take place.

Related: How to Become a Werewolf

Vampire Stages

Once you become a vampire, there are four stages of severity. Unless you feed, you’ll advance one stage for every 24 in-game hours spent as a vampire. If you feed, then you’ll reset to the first stage.

  • Stage One:
    • +20% Frost Resistance.
    • +20% Fire Weakness.
    • +5 to Strength.
    • Spells: Vampiric Drain, Vampire’s Servant, Vampire’s Sight.
    • Abilities: Champion of the Night, Nightstalker’s Footsteps.
    • Weakness to Sunlight: Inflicts 15 points of damage while in the sun.
  • Stage Two:
    •  +30% Frost Resistance.
    • +30% Fire Weakness.
    • +10 to Strength.
    • Spells: Vampire’s Seduction.
    • Weakness to Sunlight: The sun now inflicts 30 points of damage when in its light.
  • Stage Three:
    • +40% Frost Resistance.
    • +40% Fire Weakness.
    • +15 to Strength.
    • Weakness to Sunlight: 45 points of damage inflicted by sunlight.
  • Stage Four:
    • +50% Frost Resistance.
    • +50% Fire Weakness.
    • +20 to Strength.
    • Spells: Embrace of Shadows.
    • Weakness to Sunlight: Sunlight inflicts 60 points of damage while you’re in it.

How to Become a Vampire Lord in Skyrim

If you want to ascend beyond a mere vampire spawn in Skyrim, the Dawnguard DLC allows you to become a full-fledged Vampire Lord. This can be achieved naturally throughout the DLC questline, which you begin in castle Dawnguard. That said, you must be aware of the specific point where you receive this choice. Refusing it locks you out of royal vampirism until a much later point in the DLC.

This choice is located during the “Bloodline” quest after rescuing Serana. You’ll then need to escort her back to her family and her father, Lord Harkon. I recommend saving before entering Lord Harkon’s lair so that you’re secure if you mess up the dialogue choice. Speaking of which, after returning Serana and talking to Harkon, he’ll offer you the option of becoming a Vampire Lord. This is the easiest and fastest way to do so.

On the other hand, if you refuse, you’ll have another chance much later in the DLC during the “Chasing Echoes” quest where Sorana offers the same choice. Additionally, you can become a Vampire Lord by talking to Sorana at any point after finishing the finale quests “Kindred Judgement” or “Destroying the Dawnguard”.

Vampire Lord Skill Tree

Once you become a Vampire Lord in Skyrim, you’ll also have access to special Vampire Lord abilities. There are 11 skills to learn in the skill tree. There are also three different types of abilities in the tree: Night Powers, Blood Magic, and passive perks. I personally love having the ability to turn into bats and get out of a sticky situation.

Vampire Lord Passive Perks

  • Power of the Grave: 50 point bonus to health, magicka and stamina as a Vampire Lord.
  • 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.

Vampire Lord Night Powers

  • Detect All Creatures: Detect all creatures, even dwarven automatons.
  • Mist Form: Turn into an invulnerable mist, while health, magicka, and stamina regenerate.
  • Supernatural Reflexes: Everything slows down while you move faster.

Vampire Lord Blood Magic

  • Vampiric Grip: Can pull a creature to you from a distance and do choking damage once it’s close.
  • Summon Gargoyle: Can conjure a gargoyle to fight for you.
  • Corpse Curse: Target is paralyzed.

Pros and Cons of Being a Vampire in Skyrim

Pros of Being a Vampire

  • Frost Resistance.
  • 100% Resistance to Poison.
  • 100% Resistance to Disease.
  • Increased Strength.
  • Champion of the Night ability.
  • Nightstalker’s Footsteps ability.
  • Access to Vampiric spells.
  • Vampire Lord skills, including flight and the ability to turn into a swarm of bats.

Cons of Being a Vampire

  • NPCs will become increasingly hostile as you advance through the stages of vampirism. If you turn into a Vampire Lord, they’ll attack you or flee in terror.
  • Must feed to level up Vampire Lord skill tree.
  • If caught feeding on a human, you’ll be reported to the Guard.
  • Weakness to Fire.
  • Weakness to Sunlight.
  • Undead.

How to Cure Vampirism

If you want to cure vampirism, drink any Cure Disease potions during the first 72 hours. If you want to renege on your Vampire transformation but don’t have any Cure Disease potions, you can pray during that time at any shrine to have the disease removed.

You can also find a bartender of your choice and ask them about rumors until they tell you about Falion, a Morthal wizard who studies vampires. Falion can be found in the marsh in Morthal between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. or in his house otherwise. He will say that vampirism can be cured by using a filled Black Soul Gem. You can purchase a Black Soul Gem from Falion, and must then cast Soul Trap on a humanoid target to fill it. Return to Falion with your filled gem, and he will carry out the ritual to cure you of your vampirism and agree to provide you endless cures.

If you don’t have any filled Black Soul Gems or don’t want to bother finding Falion, you can turn to Aela, who will cure your Vampirism by turning you into a Werewolf. This only works if you want to be a vampire instead of a vampire or if you already have the cure for lycanthropy on hand, ready to go.

And that’s how to become a vampire in Skyrim. Though it has its downsides, playing as a vampire opens the door to so many more fun opportunities and experiences. Consider giving it a go, and if you find it’s not your thing, just head to Falion and get cured! For more, consider perusing our Skyrim guides hub!

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Ashley Erickson
Ashley, otherwise known as Glitchiee, is an avid gamer of RPGs, TTRPGS, farming sims, and survival crafting games. Playing since she can remember, she started on the SNES, GameBoy Color, and collection 1st gen Pokemon cards. Using her passion for gaming, she's written about games for a combined total of 2 years.
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Gordan Perisic
From playing RPGs and dungeon mastering for his D&D group to reading novels and scribbling about his fantasy setting, Gordan is a full-time nerd and devoted writer for GameSkinny. He loves to overshare and discuss literature, music, animation, and trees with fellow geeks. Also, he may or may not cook too much food for his friends. Cholesterol is one hell of a drug.