Dead Thrall FAQ by StuckInMyPants

Version 1.34, Last Updated 2014-03-11

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Summary

  • The highest level that you can thrall an NPC is 40. That means any NPC over level 40 cannot be thralled. Period. The exception to this is Vampires. Taking the Necromage perk in the Restoration tree will allow you to thrall level 48 vampires. By exploiting a glitch, you can thrall a level 42 Master Vampire and then commit a crime to be sent to jail. Once you return from jail, your thrall will turn into a level 53 Volkihar Master Vampire. If you level 53 Vampire dies though, you will be unable to re-thrall him.

  • Some stats listed below have a tilde ( ~ ) next to the number. This is used to denote that I don't know the exact number and the value is somewhere near the number that I have listed. For example, if I said, "The Flame Thrall has ~240 health...", it means the Flame Thrall has around 240 health but probably not exactly 240.

  • Savage Strike in the One-handed skill tree and Devastating Blow in the Two-handed skill tree are counterintuitive to Conjuration. They have a chance to decapitate enemies. Enemies that are decapitated CANNOT be raised. You may want to rethink taking these perks if you plan on doing a lot of raising, or you will have to get creative and kill them at range. Alternatively, you could reload and earlier save until you do not trigger the decapitating animation.

  • Kill your Thrall before interacting with The Statue to Meridia, otherwise they may disappear. Permanently. You'll see why when you activate the beacon.

  • Keep your Thralls far, far away from Broken Oar Grotto. This place will eat your thralls and if you're lucky, you will spend a long time trying to get them out. If you're not lucky, they'll probably stay there forever.

  • Thralls will not and cannot Sneak or be told to Wait. If you are playing a stealthy character, a thrall can get you caught. Or serve as a distraction. The only way to make them wait is by swinging a hard object really fast at them until they fall over.

  • Thralls level up with you as you level up, up to their maximum level. If you are level 20, and your thrall is able to be at level 20, it will be. Each NPC also has a specific rate at which they level up compared to your character's level. So NPCs are set to be at a slightly lower level than you. Some are set to be higher.

  • Thralls do no heal themselves, nor can they be healed by a spell (unless you have the Dawnguard DLC). They will however fully restore their health after the last enemy in battle has been killed.

  • "Stay away. That spell looks dangerous."

  • Non-permanent corpses placed in non-resetting cells (Non-resetting like your house) still disappear after 24 hours.

  • You don't necessarily have to keep your corpses in your house. Any cell that does not reset can be used to store thralls, items, and equipment. Don't just take anyone's advice: Be sure to save before checking if a cell is safe. Most cells reset after 10 or 30 days, depending on how it was programmed. To check if a cell is safe:
    • Clear the cell of hostiles (if there are any).
    • Put a few worthless items in different containers.
    • Go somewhere far away and wait 30 in game days.
    • Return to the cell. If all of the stuff looks the same, and your items in the containers are still there, the cell is then considered "safe".

  • To check if a NPC is permanent AS OF PATCH 1.9:
    • Drop them off at your house.
    • Fast travel to a far away town or place.
    • Wait at least 11 days (although 30 days is preferable). Check the Permanent Thralls section for more info.
    • Go back to your NPC. If they are there, you have a permanent corpse (probably).

  • The easiest way to kill off your Thralls is to cast Conjure Familiar or any other spell that summons a minion. Any type of Cloak spell also works. As do Maces. Be aware that if you have Dawnguard installed, you can no longer kill your thralls by casting a Cloak spell.

  • "UUUUUHHHHHHHHHHHHH"

  • If you currently don't have a Thrall, but people keep commenting on your dangerous looking magic, cast two summon spells (Conjure Familair). Flame cloak or any other type of Cloak will also work (provided you don't have Dawnguard installed), as well as going to jail.

  • If you are having trouble keeping your thrall alive, consider changing the difficulty to a higher setting. Wait, what? A higher setting? That's right. The reason being, the setting affects a global damage modifier. On Master difficulty, you deal half as much damage as you do on Adept. This also applies to every NPC in the game, meaning, your thrall will do half as much damage as they normally would to any enemy, but an enemy will also do half as much damage to your thrall. The reason enemies do so much damage to you is because a different global modifier affects the damage the player receives, and it more than likely just overwrites the previous global damage modifier. Cool, huh?

Grave Robbing

First off, huge props to masterpug53 for discovering this method. So what is Grave Robbing? In short, Grave Robbing ensures corpses are treated like corpses. Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

Something unique happens when citizens that live in walled cities die; They get buried at the local Hall of the Dead. Within a day, all of their belongings are placed inside a coffin or urn. If the citizen is from Whiterun, the urn will be named. All other denizens of walled cities will have their belongings placed inside of an unnamed urn or coffin. After a day, the citizen is buried and subsequently removed from the game. So what's the problem? Well, there are NPCs that live in walled cities that are actually permanent, but because they are buried, they end up getting removed from the game instead. Grave Robbing ensures that these corpses are treated like normal corpses instead of disappearing because of the special flag that let's them be buried. The only cities with NPCs that are affected by this are:

  • Markarth
  • Riften
  • Solitude
  • Whiterun
  • Windhelm

The process itself is actually very easy. The most important thing is to keep a couple of different saves, as this is an exploit.

  • Kill and Thrall NPC.
  • Save Game.
  • Travel to a different walled city.
  • Go into an interior in the city you just fast traveled to (a house or a shop).
  • Wait 24 hours in the interior
  • The Thrall does not have to be physically with you at this point for this to work, and more than likely it won't be since they are transported to the stables when you fast travel.
  • Fast travel back to the city where you killed the NPC.
  • At this point the Thrall should be with you. If not, try entering a nearby house or walk out to the stables since thralls get teleported to the stables.
  • You can visit the Hall of the Dead to see the NPC's coffin or urn (you don't have to, but if you want to make extra sure, you can), just to make sure the process worked correctly. Whiterun is the only town that has named coffins. All other places will just have their belongings placed inside an unnamed coffin or urn. NPCs lose everything they own during this process, except their clothes, which are duplicated.
  • Corpses now behave normally. Some disappear after 24 hours, some are permanent.
Current NPCs that are turned into Permanent corpses through Grave Robbing:
  • Legate Rikke
  • Sybille Stentor
  • Vittoria Vici
  • Nilsine Shatter-Shield
  • Dinya Balu
  • Niranye
  • Idesa Sadri
  • Ysolda
  • Carlotta Valentia
  • Saffir
  • Lisette
  • Vivienne Onis
  • Lisbet

And that's all there really is to it. If you see masterpug53 around on the boards, be sure to give him a shout out and tell him what an awesome job he's done.


Permanent Corpse Exploit

So if I were to tell you that masterpug53 found yet another exploit, would you be surprised? No? Well, you should at least be excited. This exploit allows you to place certain items into dead NPC's inventories, which will prevent non-permanent thralls from disappearing. So even though you found a really cool thrall that isn't permanent, it can be now! These items are tagged with a permanent flag and do not disappear from the game. So if any of these items are placed inside a corpse's inventory, the corpse will be considered permanent, until the permanent item is removed from its inventory. It's really as easy as that. If you want to read through the topic, you can find it here: http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/615803-the-elder-scrolls-v-skyrim/65350682

Huge thanks to masterpug53 for figuring this out. Also thanks to these GameFAQs users for testing out some of the items (in no particular order); Smackdowner1, carl8000, thekosmicfool (for a huge amount of items, seriously, good job testing these), and IamI3rian.

Be sure to keep multiple saves, as always. The last thing you'd want to happen is to lose a corpse and possibly some items. Listed below are the items that have the permanent flag. To the side of the item is a link to UESP so you can find detailed instructions on how to obtain said item.


Apparel

Aetherial Crownhttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Aetherial_Crown
Deathbrand Armorhttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Dragonborn:Deathbrand_%28quest%29
Deathbrand Bootshttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Dragonborn:Deathbrand_%28quest%29
Deathbrand Gauntletshttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Dragonborn:Deathbrand_%28quest%29
Deathbrand Helmhttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Dragonborn:Deathbrand_%28quest%29
Enchanted Ring***http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Under_Saarthal
Fjola's Wedding Bandhttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Mistwatch_%28quest%29
Rahgothttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Rahgot_%28item%29
Ring of Pure Mixtureshttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Dungeon_Delving_%28Caves%29
Saarthal Amulethttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Under_Saarthal
Shield of Ysgramorhttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Glory_of_the_Dead
Enchanted Ring***
      • A note from masterpug53: "These are the three rings you scrounge off the floor during the Saarthal quest. However, only one of them seems to work. I don't know which one, so I just dumped all three into a single corpse's inventory to be safe, and that worked just fine."

Books and Notes

A Scrawled Notehttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:The_Black_Star#Notes
Arvel's Journalhttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:The_Golden_Claw
Assassin's Writ (Dawnguard)http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Vampire_Assassin
Bandit's Journal (not sure which one)http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Bandit%27s_Journal
Bountyhttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Bounty_Quests
Breezehome Furnishingshttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Breezehome_Furnishings
Courier's Letter (Dragon shouts)http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Courier
Cultists' Ordershttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Dragonborn:Cultists%27_Orders
Declaration of Warhttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Dragonborn:March_of_the_Dead#Declaration_of_War
Dragon Investigation: Current Statushttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Diplomatic_Immunity#The_Informant
Eisa's Journalhttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:The_Pale_Lady
Eltyrs' Notehttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:The_Forsworn_Conspiracy
Gissur's Notehttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:A_Cornered_Rat#Return_to_Delphine
Gratian's Letterhttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Dragonborn:The_Final_Descent#The_Conspiracy
Heddic's Volunruud Noteshttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Silenced_Tongues#Detailed_Walkthrough
Invitation to Elewen's Receptionhttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Diplomatic_Immunity
Isabelle's Letterhttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Drowned_Sorrows#Drowned_Sorrows
Katria's Journalhttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Lost_to_the_Ages#Detailed_Walkthrough
Kodlak's Journalhttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Glory_of_the_Dead#The_Funeral
Lakeview Manor Charter (other two charters likely work too)http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Build_Your_Own_Home#Detailed_Walkthrough
Letter from a Friendhttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Letter_from_a_Friend
Letter from Falk Firebeardhttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:The_Wolf_Queen_Awakened#Detailed_Walkthrough
Letter from Ralis Sedarys (only the first letter will work)http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Dragonborn:Unearthed#Detailed_Walkthrough
Letter from the Steward of Falkreathhttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Tekla
Letter from the Vampire (Dawnguardhttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Hunting_the_Monster
Letter From Quintus Navalehttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Repairing_the_Phial#One_Last_Attempt
Merchant's Journalhttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Merchant%27s_Journal
Mogrul's Ordershttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Dragonborn:Mogrul%27s_Thug
Museum Pamphlethttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Pieces_of_the_Past#Receiving_the_Quest
Mysterious Note (from Delphine)http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:The_Horn_of_Jurgen_Windcaller#Note_for_the_Dragonborn
Mysterious Note (Dark Brotherhood)http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:With_Friends_Like_These...#A_Mysterious_Note_and_a_Good_Night.27s_Sleep
Repair Supplieshttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:A_Night_To_Remember#The_Temple
Scrap of Paperhttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Arkngthamz
Scribbles of a Madmanhttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Dragonborn:Black_Book_%28quest%29
Skorm Snow-Strider's Journalhttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Siege_on_the_Dragon_Cult#Forelhost_Stronghold
The Journal of Ralis Sedarys (All journals work)http://www.uesp.net/w/index.php?title=Special%3ASearch&search=The+Journal+of+Ralis+Sedarys&button=
The Ulen Matterhttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Dragonborn:Served_Cold#The_Ulen_Matter
Thalmor Ordershttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Thalmor_Orders
Treasure Hunter's Notehttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Treasure_Hunter_%28NPC%29
Treasure Map III (other maps may possibly work)http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Riverside_Shack
Weylin's Notehttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:The_Forsworn_Conspiracy#Weylin
Writ of Executionhttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Dragonborn:Morag_Tong_Assassin
Writ of Sealing (possibly all 3?)http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Writ_of_Sealing

Keys

Dustman's Cairn Keyhttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Dustman%27s_Crypt#Dustman.27s_Crypt
Goldenglow Safe Keyhttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Goldenglow_Estate#Basement
Gyldenhul Barrow Keyhttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Dragonborn:Deathbrand_%28quest%29#Bristleback_Mine_.28Northwest.29
Key to Alftand Lifthttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Alftand
Mani's Cellar Keyhttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Frostflow_Lighthouse
Mistwatch Keyhttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Mistwatch
Pelagius Wing Keyhttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:The_Mind_of_Madness#Blue_Palace
Raven Rock Mine Keyhttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Dragonborn:The_Final_Descent#The_Conspiracy

Miscellaneous

Balbus's Forkhttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Balbus
Diamond Dragon Clawhttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:The_World-Eater%27s_Eyrie#Skuldafn_Temple
Emerald Dragon Clawhttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Forbidden_Legend#Reachwater_Rock
Essence Extractorhttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Discerning_the_Transmundane
Glass Clawhttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Siege_on_the_Dragon_Cult
Iron Dragon Clawhttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Evil_in_Waiting#The_Catacombs
Pelagius' Hip Bonehttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:The_Mind_of_Madness#Solitude

Weapons

Bloodskal Bladehttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Dragonborn:Bloodskal_Blade
Kahvozein's Fanghttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Alteration_Ritual_Spell
Nettlebanehttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:The_Blessings_of_Nature
Zephyrhttp://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Lost_to_the_Ages

While almost all of these items can be obtained only once, it appears that certain items can be obtained multiple times. This means that you can theoretically have an infinite amount of permanent corpses. The items that respawn are things like; Mogrul's Orders, Writ of Executions, and A Scrawled Letter. Mogrul's Orders and the Writs of Executions happen to be from Dragonborn though, so if you don't have that DLC, you're best bet will be A Scrawled Letter that spawns on randomly encountered Necromancers after you complete the quest The Black Star (that is, if you're actually in need of permanent items and you've already collected the ones listed above). These encounters don't happen nearly as frequently as Mogrul's Thugs or even the Morag Tong Assassins that carry the Writ of Executions though, but they are technically infinite. And just to be clear, you need to be on Solstheim to get the first two random encounters to trigger, and once you complete the quest New Debt, Mogrul's thugs will no longer spawn. And just so you know, obtaining a copy of Mogrul's Orders is likely the fastest way if you plan on farming permanent items, as explained by masterpug53:

Mogrul's Orders seems to be the easiest to get, as the Mogrul hit squad encounter seems to have a fairly high spawn rate compared to other encounters. By repeatedly tooling around four different encounter points on the southern part of Solstheim (barely E of Raven Rock, then south of Highpoint Tower, then south of the Ramshackle Trading Post, then back to south of Attius Farm, then repeat the loop), the Mogrul's thugs encounter spawned roughly 1-in-4 times, and I walked away with at least 3 copies of the note every time I visited the island.

There is a special caveat to multiples of singular items though; if two copies of one item (like Morgrul's Orders) stack together in your inventory, then it is very likely that one of them has lost the permanency flag (which is crucial for this to work). masterpug53 explains it,

You know how sometimes repeating items will lose their potency? Well, this is because they're allowed to stack in your inventory; if two separate Mogrul's Orders becomes Mogrul's Orders (2) for any reason, one will lose its potency. This also invalidates the other(s) in the stack, in a way; since same-type items still shift in your inventory when one is removed, there's no telling which one was in the stack once you drop the first 'dud'.

So once you take a repeating note-type item into your inventory for the first time, you can't let it leave your inventory until you place it on the desired corpse; no dropping and re-grabbing to save space, no storing them in containers, nothing like that.

There's a couple exceptions to this rule. Bounties can occasionally be moved in and out of your inventory and not stack, but it's not a guarantee; best to play it safe.

On the other hand, Scrawled Notes will stack even if you're just picking up new ones for the first time, so get the one in your inventory into a corpse before the next necro-hit squad comes along (to my knowledge, the Scrawled Notes are the only ones have this particular problem).

Finally, duping these items seems to remove the "permanent" flag from the newly duped item, so while one could use glitches to obtain a numberless amount of items, it wouldn't matter since the game won't consider them permanent. Oh well. Anyways, with this glitch in your arsenal, you won't have to worry about losing those really unique thralls now. Thanks to masterpug53 and all the dedicated GameFAQs board users for doing the hard work and figuring this stuff out.


Equipping Your Thrall

Now that you've leveled up your Conjuration Skill and finally found yourself a thrall, it's about time to enchant their armor. First, a word on how their armor works. Thralls are unique to the fact that they technically can spawn an infinite amount of armor. This works by taking all of the items off of their corpse. The next step is to thrall them and then proceed through a loading zone (i.e. a door). This will make your naked thrall generate a new set of clothes. Take for instance, if you have a bandit chief, he or she will spawn a new full set of Steel Plate Armor. Or if you have a Mage, he or she will spawn a new set of robes and boots. Now there are certain caveats to this. First, not all NPCs always spawn the same amount of armor. Your bandit chief could spawn with or without a helmet. Some NPCs can even spawn with different types of armor, like Elven gloves with Steel Plate Armor. Secondly, your Thrall will not wear any -armor that you give them. They only wear the EXACT armor that they spawned in. Meaning, if you made leather gloves at a forge, and then give it to a thrall that spawned with leather gloves, they will NEVER wear the ones that you made. This means, your thrall is basically stuck with the armor that they spawn in. Thirdly, NPCs that spawn with items that are already enchanted (except for Mages' robes), tend to never equip them. Why? I don't know. It's just the way that it is.

The Exception To This

Are Forsworn thralls and any NPC that was added by Dawnguard. They'll equip most anything you give them.

It's important to note, however, that your thrall generates their gear from a table, commonly referred to as a loot table or gear table. That's why you could thrall a Bandit and see him or her spawn in Leather gear or Fur gear. So, if you don't like what gear your thrall has, just take all of its gear and then go through a loading zone. You can do this an infinite amount of times, but don't expect a whole lot of difference between their gear. You won't find a bandit that normally generates Leather Armor now generating Ebony gear. It will generally be pretty close to what they already have. Mages, for example, almost always spawn in robes. Some, however, might equip a set of Leather gear. You can just keep playing around with it for a little while to see what they spawn in.

Once you have found a set of armor that you like, you can now enchant it. Remember, that if you want your thrall to wear it, they have to spawn with it and it has to be that exact piece. If you took multiple sets of gear from your thrall, trying to get something different, you can enchant any of those pieces and give it back to them. It just has to come directly off of their body. Naming equipment is a good way of helping you keep track of it too. Your thralls can make use of a decent amount of enchantments on their armor. Assuming that they work just like followers, the only enchantments that will affect your thrall are:

  • Fortify Health
  • Fortify Heavy Armor
  • Fortify Light Armor
  • Fortify Magicka
  • Fortify Stamina
  • Fortify Unarmed
  • Muffle
  • Resist Fire
  • Resist Frost
  • Resist Magic
  • Resist Poison
  • Resist Shock
  • Waterbreathing

Weapons are a lot less restrictive than armor. Your thralls will equip any weapon that you give them and also make full use out of it. You can upgrade these weapons by using a grindstone and then you can enchant them too. It doesn't matter what you do to them, your thrall will still use these weapons. It may take a loading screen before they equip it, though. Your thrall will equip a weapon based on its material rather than it damage. So if you've smithed an Elven Dagger to a very high amount of damage, but you just gave your thrall a un-smithed Ebony Dagger to hold on to, your thrall will equip the Ebony Dagger that does less damage. Patch 1.9 was supposed to change this for followers so that now they will equip whatever does the highest amount of damage given their current skills, so I'm assuming that it would affect thralls as well. I haven't tested it yet, so take it for what you will.

Giving your thralls multiple weapon types will allow them to switch between them freely. This means they can use a Bow for long ranged attacks and then a Sword when the enemy gets close. Just remember to give them at least one arrow so they can use the bow. That's right, you only need to give them one arrow and from that point on, your thrall will have an infinite supply. And just like your followers, they'll constantly choose staves over weapons, so if you have Staves on your thrall, be mindful of that. It seems that they tend to choose Staves >>> Ranged >>> Melee. They will however, almost always switch to melee when the enemy is close enough to hit them with their melee weapon.

Now onto the even better news. Your thralls will make use out of shields and dual wielding. They will equip any shield that you give them, regardless of enchantments or material. They'll equip higher grade materials first, even if it provides a lower armor rating (might be fixed with 1.9). Now, about dual wielding: The most important thing about dual wielding is, the left hand weapon needs to be a Forsworn weapon. A Forsworn Axe or Sword will both work. Your thrall will use the Forsworn weapon in their offhand provided that you give them a weapon made of Steel or better for their right hand weapon. Anything lower and your thrall will use the Forsworn weapon in their main hand and refuse to dual wield. Dual wielding puts out by far the most damage per second. Giving your thrall a shield can help keep them alive longer as they make pretty good use out of the shield.

I saved the worst for last. After testing, equipping your thrall with any piece of enchanted gear does in fact negate the bonus from the perk Dark Souls, which increases your thralls health by 100. There is a workaround however. After giving your thrall their enchanted gear, you'll need to thrall them and then go through a long loading screen to get them to equip it (the loading screen where it shows a person or object, or a loading screen in or out of your house). Once on the other side, the bug will be in effect. Now your thrall is not receiving the health bonus. If you kill your thrall and then re-thrall it, it will now receive the proper bonus from Dark Souls. The enchanted armor will now be in effect too. The problem is, whenever you go through a long loading screen, the bug takes over once again. Meaning, you will have to kill and re-thrall your thrall each time you enter a new area. Annoying, to say the least. It basically comes down to whether or not you care about the extra health points over enchanted armor. This bug also affects mages that come with enchanted robes already equipped. If you want the health bonus from Dark Souls, then you'll need to either kill them and re-thrall them each time you enter in a new area or take their robes away and let them run around in boots only.


Introduction And General Information

While the general scope of this FAQ is about humanoid thralls, I think these too are worth commenting on. All Atronach thrall spells can be bought from Phinis Gestor at the College in Winterhold, with the exception of the Flame thrall, which is automatically received from Phinis for completing the Conjuration Ritual side-quest. Atronach thralls come in three types: Flame Atronach, Frost Atronach, and Storm Atronach. If you've played the game for a little while, you'll probably have noticed a common theme; the only elements represented in the game are fire, ice, and electricity. These are the only damaging elements you can put on your weapons, these are the only damage reducing enchantments you can put on your gear (not counting the general magic reduction), these are the only magical attacks enemies will use, and these are the only damaging magical attacks that you can use. Fire works well against Frost, and conversely, Frost works well against Fire. Lightning is in the middle with no weakness or advantage to an opposing element. Simplicity at it's finest. Atronach thralls fall into this category. A flame thrall will do well against an enemy that is weak to fire, and little damage to an enemy that resists it. A frost thrall will do well against fire and a storm thrall will be less effective (but not really since they have the highest damage potential), but not as vulnerable to a potential element. In addition to element, these thralls each have different strengths and weaknesses. A fire thrall, for example, has low health but is smaller and quicker, thus presenting a harder-to-hit target. It also tends to stay at range when fighting enemies which helps it retain its, otherwise paltry, health. In these next few sections, I'll go over potential strengths and overall detriments of these thralls.

TL:DR version, I don't think any of them are particularly bad. They are each are useful in their own ways, although the Storm Atronach certainly has an advantage in damage compared to the other two. If you like using any of the thralls, don't let me dissuade you from using a specific one because it's not the "statistically" best thrall. Each one will effectively serve their purpose and aid the player. None are "so bad that they are not worth using", so don't feel obligated to use only one because you have deemed it the strongest. Now, when the Atronachs are compared to dead thralls, well, there really isn't much comparison if you have beefed up your thralls with armor and weapons and if you have picked a strong human to thrall. A well equipped and high level dead thrall will utterly destroy any Atronach. That's just the way it is. Does this mean that Atronachs are not worth using then? On the contrary actually, I'd say that they are useful for a few different reasons. If you've read through the bulk of this FAQ, you can probably guess the first point I'm going to mention.

Thought of it yet? "That spell looks dangerous." "UUUUUHHHHHHH". Does that ring a bell? If you've played around with your dead thrall a while, you've probably already grown a little tired of these two phrases. If not, you must have the patience of a snail. You know, because a snail is slow and it takes a long time to get somewhere.....oh, whatever. The point I'm making is, any Atronach thrall that you summon will not annoy you with their constant and incessant yammering about the lack of you allowing them to sit in a chair and rest for a while. At least, that's what I take "UUUUHHHH" to mean. Aside from the soothing crackling of fire from your Flame thrall, or the thud of crunching ice underneath your Frost thrall's feet, or the quiet sound, that can be best described as having a sound akin to thunder but closer to the volume of someone speaking softly, that emanates from your Storm thrall, they are completely silent. You will hear no groans and no moans. You will not hear asinine comments that habitually spew out of the denizens of Skyrim's mouths about your current spell, that you intentionally and knowingly cast ( Yes, it really bothers me in case you couldn't tell ). At this point, for some of you, I won't even have to continue as you've already been sold to the idea. But I shall proceed nonetheless.

The next point of eminence, is the ability to summon them whenever you please. You do not have to kill someone. You do not have to worry about storing bodies in your house. You do not have to wait on your thrall to catch up to you. You do not need to revisit the previous area to look for your dead thrall because he or she sometimes forgets how to use doors and is now missing. All you need to worry about is having enough magicka to cast the spell. The player definitely has to micro-manage a lot less. The ability to freely summon whenever and wherever, as well as not having to worry about re-thralling, since they are always the same when you summon them, is a huge benefit. They can provide instant assistance with little worry to the player about maintaining track of their presence. This alone is a great benefit that Atronach thralls have over dead thralls. Being able to cast the same spell and receive the same Atronach lifts a certain "supervisory" feeling that a player can sometime perceive when maintaining and keeping dead thralls.

Really, the biggest detriment of an Atronach thrall, is the lack of potential power compared to fully realized dead thrall. I mentioned this earlier, but it is the reason why many players prefer dead thralls. However, I think the dispensable nature of Atronach thralls counteracts the lack killing power and, generally, low health pool. Atronachs have useful attributes, marred by downright physical weakness. It is, a fair trade, I think. It's also important to remember to take any perks deemed necessary in the Conjuration tree relating to the Atronachs if one is going to constantly rely on them. Notably, Elemental Potency, which increases the health your Atronach has by 50%, is the main one to strive for. Speaking of which, Elemental Potency does not increase the damage done by your Atronach, just its health. I have verified that it is a 50% increase, except the Frost Atronach (the 60 second version), which appears to get an even bigger bonus, however, the Frost Thrall (the permanent version) gets an increase to health that is much less than 50%. I'm not sure if this was intentional or not, but I'll cover it more in the Frost Thrall section. And before you ask, Atronachs are the only things affected by Elemental Potency. That means your Dremora Lord or your Familiar does not receive any extra health. Unfortunate, I know. It's a pity that there isn't permanent versions of all of the minions that you can summon.


I am 99.9% positive that thralls have static amounts of health. They have the same amount of health when the player is level 10 or level 60. From what I can tell, Atronachs do not have, or rather, have no need of magicka or stamina. Particularly, I've never witnessed them unable to cast magick, so I'm assuming that magick is treated more so as an ability rather than magick that requires magicka, at least with regards to how magicka is treated with the player or other NPCs. In other words, players use magicka to cast spells while Atronachs use no magicka but are still able to cast what is essentially the same spell, if that makes sense.


Flame Thrall


First up is the Flame Thrall, which is the first thrall that the player will have access to in the game. This is because it is a reward for completing the Conjuration Ritual Quest, as stated in the Obtaining the Dead Thrall spell section. All other thrall spells have to be purchased. The flame thrall generally is the weakest of the three, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it's the worst. It is very agile, prefers to stay at range when fighting enemies, and uses a different tactic when fighting close range encounters. The Conjure Flame Atronach spell (the 60 second spell, which summons a slightly different version of the flame Atronach, more on that in a minute) has a weak melee attack when enemies get close, doing right at 15 points of damage. Once it's AI has been triggered to switch to close range, it tends to stay that way, only switching back to long range if the enemy loses its attention or if the enemy or the Atronach happen to put a bit of distance between each other for a few seconds or more. This, however, is not carried over to the Flame thrall. The Flame thrall gets a Flames spell for its close encounters, that it casts with two hands (which apparently does NOT get the 2.2x damage bonus of Dual Casting). From what I've seen, the thralled version uses this in place of the melee attack that its weaker 60 second counterpart gets. The Flame thrall also gets a noticeable boost to it's health compared to the Flame Atronach. In fact, it gets the biggest overall percentage boost out of the three (technically two, I'll talk more about it in the Storm Thrall section), with over a 200% increase to health between the two versions, while the frost thrall gets around a 49% increase from its 60 second version to permanent version.

In addition to it's Flames spell, it gets the Firebolt spell, which does 20 points of damage and sets the target on fire. Any target that is already on fire will take 10% additional damage (of the initial damage of the attack) over the period of one second. This also applies to the dual casting of the Flames spell mentioned earlier, but to a lesser effect as it also adds 10% additional damage over the period of a second, but at lesser damage because of the difference in damage between the Flames spell and the Firebolt spell. Realistically, we're only talking about a point of damage between the additional fire damage of two spells, but it's still there. Since the Flame thrall loses its melee attack, only to be replaced by a weak version of the Flames spell (that only does 8 damage a second), it is very possible that it will do overall less damage per second while fighting close range. It should be noted that the Flame thrall's dual-casted flames spell appears to be dual-casted in animation ONLY. It does not receive the 2.2x damage bonus, which would put it at 17 damage a second, which is unfortunate. It also does not appear to receive the correct damage of casting two flames spells at the same time. If two Flames spells are not dual-casted, but instead are cast in each hand at the same time (or roughly the same time since the dual-casting perk makes this impossible), the damage should be around 16 or so a second. This however is not the case and it appears that it is only counting damage as if there was one flames spell activated, which means a meager 8 points a second of fire damage. My guess is, even though we see the animation for two flames spells being cast, it's just that. An animation. Likely, it's just one flames spell being cast but the animation was done is a way that makes it look like two are going.

When the Flame thrall is at range, it relies on Firebolt to do damage. It also has a Flame Cloak that does 10 damage a second to any enemy at close range, and an extra 10% damage per second when the enemy is on fire. Flame Cloak is always activate on the Flame thrall. One last bonus that the thrall gets is a fortified healing effect of 1pt per second. It doesn't sound like much, but it's better than nothing.

Below is listed the attributes of the thrall, compared to it's regular counterpart, as well as various abilities that it possess. Also take note that health is estimated as I have been unable to find any information regarding this. I used a 100 damage axe, a 25 damage sword, and a 9 damage dagger to test amount of health, on Adept (normal) difficulty. It's also important to note the biggest differences between the permanent thrall and the 60 second version. The thrall gets additional health, an additional attack, and a fortified healing buff. Damage done is the same between the two.


AtronachHealthHealth with Elemental Potency
Flame Atronach~115~ 172
Flame Thrall~240~ 360

  • Abilities
    • 100% Resistant to Fire damage
    • 33% Weakness to Frost damage
    • Waterwalking
    • Immune to Paralysis
    • Fortified Healing 1pt per second.
      • Unique to the Flame Thrall. The Flame Atronach does not possess this ability.

  • Attacks
    • Melee Strike - Used by the Atronach version. The Thrall version uses Dual-casted Flames in place of this.
      • Does 15 point of damage

    • Dual-casted Flames - Close range attack that does 8 points of damage per second. Enemy on fire takes an additional 10% of damage per second.
      • Unique to the Flame thrall. Flame Atronach does not possess this attack.

    • Flame Cloak - 10 points of damage per second when enemy is in melee range. Enemy on fire takes an additional 10% of damage per second.

    • Firebolt - Missile attack that does 20 points of damage. Enemy on fire takes an additional 10% of damage per second.

Frost Thrall


This is the bruiser of the bunch. He lacks any ranged attacks but makes up for it with the biggest health pool and decently damaging physical attacks. I must confess, while taking down notes on damage done, he was the source of much confusion. It appears that at least one of his attacks has a chance to do extra damage, which isn't necessarily noted by anything particular that I could tell. His Slam attack that would normally do 30 damage would now do 60, and there was no difference that I could tell in the animation. I'm not entirely sure what to call this, as it may have a percentage to do more damage based on the type of attack he is using or by some other means. I'm going to refer to it as a critical, but it's really not in the same sense as a critical for the player (as those do paltry sums of damage). The only attack that I could reliably notice this extra damage on was its Slam move. This apparent randomness makes him an interesting choice, as his attacks aren't all that strong to begin with, but he has the potential to fill his "heavy bruiser" archetype accordingly. Another interesting tidbit is all of his attacks are considered physical attacks and as such, are affected by one's armor rating. Most enemies in the game have very little armor rating, so this isn't a huge problem, but it should be taken into account all the same. He attacks in fairly rapid succession and does a decent job of keeping continual damage on the enemy. He's always within melee range, so his frost cloak is almost always adding small amounts of damage on top of that. From my testing, Frost Cloak only does 5 points of damage per second compared to that of the Flame Thrall and Storm Thrall which do 10 points of damage per second. UESP claims that the Frost Thrall's Frost Cloak does 10 points a second, but as of 1.6, it does not. Whether or not this is intentional, or whether or not this has been changed in an update, I cannot say, but it definitely is only 5 points of damage per second. Test it out in game if you don't believe me.

One prominent problem is his bulky mass can sometimes impede the player's ability to move through small spaces. At which point, the player is forced to walk backwards to kite the Frost Atronach from the said small space. A plus side is he can unintentionally take hits that were otherwise meant for the player. I have not noticed a unique effect from the permanent version compared to the 60 second version, like that of the Flame thrall's flames spell. It is more than likely because he does not have one. It is worth mentioning though that his attacks drain enemies stamina by the same damage that is done to their health. This is much like the Flame thrall's ability to do extra damage to enemies that are on fire or the Storm Thrall's ability to do extra damage to magicka.

Lastly, it appears that there is some type of mix up in the coding when the player has Elemental Potency. Normally with this perk, the Atronach receives a 50% increase to its health, but in the case of the Frost Atronach and the Frost Thrall, that is not true. The Atronach version (the 60 second spell) gets around a 65% increase to its max health, while the Thrall version only gets around a 33% increase.


AtronachHealthHealth with Elemental Potency
Frost Atronach~ 305~ 505
Frost Thrall~ 455~ 605

  • Abilities
    • 100% Resistant to Frost damage
    • 33% Weakness to Fire damage
    • Waterbreathing
    • Immune to Paralysis
    • Fortified Healing 1pt per second.
      • Unique to the Frost thrall. The Frost Atronach does not possess this ability.

  • Attacks
    • Regular attack - This includes the right hook, uppercut, and backhand.
      • Does 20 points of damage.

    • Charge - Uses this only from a distance, and very rarely at that.
      • Does 30 points of damage.

    • Slam - Staggers the enemy.
      • Does 30 points of damage.
      • Does 60 Points of damage for a critical hit.

    • Frost Cloak - Damages any nearby enemies
      • Does 5 points of damage a second to health and stamina.

Storm Thrall

The final of the three and the intended strongest. I say intended because, there is an unfortunate bug holding this version back. The Flame and Frost thralls each receive additional health and a fortified healing effect over their 60 second version counterparts. The Storm thrall, however, does not. This is more than likely an oversight and an unintended function, but it is currently part of the game (still as of 1.9). The same version of the Storm Atronach is used for both versions of the spells, instead of the thrall being a completely different version (which should have its own unique ID number). What the Storm thrall does receive however, is particularly strong melee attacks and a decently strong spell that is not resisted by any enemy. Toss in the fact that it is not weak against fire or frost and you get an all around, above average thrall. It has access to a 30 damage spell that will jump to another enemy nearby for (assumedly) the same damage. It also has available to it, huge amounts of melee damage, which is a bit of a slap in the face to the Frost thrall, as it is intended to be the melee type. Single target attacks that are in the 50 - 65 range, and a melee explosion that does a little less damage, but will hit all nearby. Unfortunately, the Storm thrall really doesn't get to bask in all it's glory because of the aforementioned bug, but despite that, it is still very usable and arguably the strongest Atronach even without the increased health. You just may end up summoning a new one pretty often though.

I know different places have the Storm thrall listed as having two spells that do 50 and 60 damage, but from my testing, I've never seen these. Just the 30 damage chain lighting spell. It's also important to note that all of the Storm thralls melee attacks are mitigated by armor, while its chain lighting spell is only affected by shock or magic reducing enchantments.


AtronachHealthHealth with Elemental Potency
Storm Atronach~ 250~ 375
Storm Thrall~ 250~ 375

  • Abilities
    • 100% Resistant to Shock damage
    • Waterwalking
    • Immune to Paralysis

  • Attacks
    • Right hand slap
      • 50 Damage

    • Left hand slap
      • 60 Damage

    • Charge
      • ~ 65 Damage

    • Short range explosion
      • 40 - 60 Damage to all within melee range (may do different damage based on how close the enemy is, not sure)

    • Chain Lightning
      • 30 Damage

    • Storm Cloak
      • 10 Damage per second, 5 damage to magicka per second.

THIS SECTION IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT

Please read the next three paragraphs about permanent thralls. It can save you a lot of trouble in the future.

These thralls listed below have one of the most desirable effects: Permanency. If you leave them in your house, they will not disappear. This gives you the opportunity to collect and use these thralls at your whim without fear of having them disappear from your game. As always, you should keep multiple rolling saves, and if you are leery of leaving a corpse alone for awhile, it's best to save and test so you can revert if something goes awry. The best way to do this is:

  • Save the game
  • Kill off your Thrall, preferably in your house
  • Leave the cell with your thrall. You need to make sure you get a long loading screen (a loading screen with an Item or NPC) before you wait. Short loading screens (No items, just smoke) will invalidate your testing.
  • Wait (the back button) for at least 24 hours, or up to 11 days
  • Return to your body

If they are still there, and you have patch 1.9, congratulations, that corpse is more than likely permanent. It's important to note that in the vanilla game and patched versions 1.2 and below, bodies will to stay around for 7 or 8 days before disappearing, so if you are playing an un-patched version or a patched version 1.2 or below, and you visit your corpse every few days, it won't disappear. As of patch 1.3 though, most bodies disappear after one day, so revisiting your house within every 24 hours can become quite difficult. I said your thrall is more than likely permanent because there are still bodies that can stay around longer than one day, but not be permanent, as of Patch 1.9. These bodies can stay an upwards of 7 or 8 days before disappearing (and even 29 days in some cases!), which to the untrained eye, can give an impression of being permanent if the player doesn't check them thoroughly enough.

Each body was stayed around for at least 7 or 8 days with patches 1.2 and below, which made keeping thralls a lot easier. So now, to fully test if a body is permanent, in my opinion, you need to wait at least 11 days to be sure (although a full 30 days is the absolute best way to confirm). It's slow and boring, but if you want to make sure, this is the best way. I am going to put "VERIFIED" in big letters under the names of NPCs that I have personally tested as lasting longer than 10 days (which means they are permanent). I am fairly sure that any other NPC listed in the permanent section, is in fact permanent, but I have yet to test it. As a precaution, you should keep multiple saves if you are worried about losing any of these thralls. Any other important notes regarding the permanency of the thrall will be listed right under their name too (like how Rigel disappears after 30 days, or if a NPC needs to be grave robbed).


  • A "(P)" besides someone's name means they are a permanent corpse.

How To Read The Stat Boxes
  • Max Player Level - This is the maximum level the player can be at and still thrall the NPC. A lot of NPC's are different in how their level is calculated with regards to the players. Some are set to be higher than the players, and some are set to be lower. This means that there will be some thralls that have a max level of 50, but the player can only thrall them if their level is 34 or below. Alternatively, some NPCs have a max level of 40 and can still be thralled after the player is above level 40. "Always" in this box means the player can always thrall the NPC, regardless of the player's level.

  • Race - The NPCs race. Altmer (High Elves), Argonian, Bosmer (Wood Elves), Breton, Dunmer (Dark Elves), Imperial, Khajiit, Nord, Orc, Redguard, and Elder (only old NPCs)

  • Gender - The NPCs Gender. Male or Female.

  • Class - The NPCs class. This isn't shown anywhere in the game. It determines how many points of skill and attributes are gained per level. A full listing of classes can be found here. --> http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Classes

  • Max Level - This is the max level the NPC will level up to.

  • Max Health - This is the NPC's max health when they have hit their max level.

  • Max Magicka - This is the NPC's max magicka when they have hit their max level.

  • Max Stamina - This is the NPC's max stamina when they have hit their max level.

  • Primary Skills - These skills are determined by their Class. The skills listed here will be the NPC's highest skills, and the ones that they are most proficient in.

  • Moans - This will tell you if the NPC constantly moans or groans. "Yes" means they do moan. "No" means they do not moan. Almost all thralls do moan. A ? means I don't know.

  • Follower - This will tell you if the NPC can be a follower while they are alive. You can have one follower at a time.


This section is written with patch 1.9 installed. If you have a different patch, these NPCs may or may not be permanent.

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