Skyrim: How to Become a Vampire

A Vampire Lord in Skyrim.

If you’ve ever dreamt of playing a game as an all-powerful vampire, Skyrim‘s got you covered. From draining health to turning into bats, the possibilities are endless once you learn the secret on how to become a vampire in Skyrim.

Table Of Contents

    Types of Vampires

    Before the release of the Dawnguard DLC, you could still turn into a vampire in Skyrim. Now that there are multiple ways to do so, it’s up to you to decide if you’d rather become a simple vampire or put in the effort to become a Vampire Lord. A Vampire Lord has significantly more perks than an average vampire. However, you must put in much more time and effort to become a Vampire Lord. So, weigh your options carefully before deciding.

    Feeding as a Vampire

    The advantages and disadvantages of being a vampire in Skyrim vary depending on how long it’s been since you’ve fed on blood. The longer you wait to feed again, the more severe the advantages and disadvantages will be. There are four stages to vampirism, and you will be set back to stage one each time you feed.

    To feed, simply sneak up on one of Skyrim’s citizens while they’re sleeping, choose pickpocket and then feed, and have a nice snack.

    Alternatively, cast Vampire’s Seduction to make your conscious target calm before you take a bite.

    Serana's father, a Vampire Lord.

    Vampire Advantages and Disadvantages

    If you choose to become a vampire in Skyrim, your character will gain certain bonuses but also suffer some penalties. The general advantages you gain regardless of the stage of vampirism include immunity to disease, immunity to poison, 25% harder to detect while sneaking, and a 25% power boost to illusion spells. Other advantages and disadvantages change depending on which stage of vampirism you’re in.

    Every 24 hours without feeding, your vampirism will progress to the next stage. Note that since the Dawnguard DLC was released, citizens will no longer become hostile towards you as a vampire. This changes when you’re in Vampire Lord form. Additionally, the stat modifiers are different depending on whether you have the Dawnguard DLC.

    This is stage one vampirism weakness to fire.

    Stage One

    Advantages of stage one vampirism:

    • +25% Frost resistance (+20% with Dawnguard DLC)
    • Vampire’s Sight: night vision for 60 seconds
    • Vampire’s Servant: summon a powerful body to fight for you for 60 seconds (limit once per day)
    • Vampiric Drain: drain health from enemies while you gain health
    • Vampiric strength: 5 points

    Disadvantages of stage one vampirism

    • Health, stamina, and magicka decreased by 15 points in sunlight (also do not regenerate)
    • -25% Fire resistance (-20% with Dawnguard DLC)

    Stage Two

    Advantages of stage two vampirism:

    • +50% Frost resistance (+30% with Dawnguard DLC)
    • Vampire’s Seduction: dissuades people and creatures up to level 10 from attacking you (limit once per day)
    • Vampiric strength: 10 points

    Disadvantages of stage two vampirism:

    • Health, stamina, and magicka decreased by 30 in sunlight (also do not regenerate)
    • -50% Fire resistance (-30% with Dawnguard DLC)

    Stage Three

    Advantages of stage three vampirism:

    • +75% Frost resistance (+40% with Dawnguard DLC)
    • Stronger versions of existing abilities
    • Vampiric strength: 15 points

    Disadvantages of stage three vampirism:

    • Health, stamina, and magicka decreased by 45 in sunlight (also do not regenerate)
    • -75% Fire resistance (-40% with Dawnguard DLC)

    Stage Four

    Advantages of stage four vampirism:

    • +100% Frost resistance (+50% with Dawnguard DLC)
    • Upgraded Vampiric Drain and Vampire’s Servant
    • Embrace of Shadows Ability: invisibility and improved night vision for 180 seconds
    • Vampiric Strength: 20 points

    Disadvantages of stage four vampirism:

    • Health, stamina, and magicka decreased by 60 in sunlight (also do not regenerate)
    • -100% Resistance to fire (-50% with Dawnguard DLC)
    A vampire using Vampiric drain.

    How to Become a Vampire

    To become a vampire in Skyrim, the first thing you must do is contract Sanguinare Vampiris. The best way to do this is by traveling to Movarth’s Lair, which is north of Morthal. Movarth’s Lair houses many low-level vampires. This is beneficial, as you’ll need to take hits to contract the disease. Allow the vampires there to hit you repeatedly with Vampiric Drain. Eventually, you’ll see a notification on screen that tells you you’ve contracted Sanguinare Vampiris. Sanguinare Vampiris will reduce your health by 25 points before it turns into full-fledged vampirism. For the disease to progress to vampirism, wait 72 hours. After this, you’re ready to start sneaking through the shadows and feeding on the people of Skyrim.

    Vampire Lord Advantages and Disadvantages

    If you’re more of a “go big or go home” person, the Vampire Lord path might be for you. Becoming a Vampire Lord takes more work than becoming your average vampire in Skyrim, but the benefits are significant. The advantages and disadvantages of being a Vampire Lord are similar to those of a simple vampire (listed above in vampiric stages as the Dawnguard DLC numbers).

    However, the Vampire Lord also gains an entire skill tree of new abilities that you can unlock by spending points on perks. To get these points, you must feed on your enemies or use a Drain Life spell. You can switch between a human/humanoid-presenting vampire and your Vampire Lord form at any time.

    The Vampire Lord skill tree.

    All Vampire Lord Perks

    • Power of the Grave: 50-point bonus to health, magicka, and stamina as a Vampire Lord
    • Detect all Creatures (Night Power): Detect all creatures, even dwarven automatons
    • Mist Form: Turn into an invulnerable cloud of mist while regenerating health, magicka, and stamina
    • Supernatural Reflexes: Move quicker while enemies move slower
    • Blood Healing: Killing a person with a power attack bite restores all your health
    • Unearthly Will: Night Powers and Blood Magic cost 33% less
    • Poison Talons: Melee attacks deal 20 points of poison damage
    • Night Cloak: A group of bats feed on enemies within melee range
    • Vampiric Grip (Blood Magic): Pull a creature to you from a distance and do choking damage once it’s close
    • Summon Gargoyle (Blood Magic): Conjure a gargoyle to fight for you
    • Corpse Curse: Paralyze your foes with a magical blast
    The passage to Fort Dawnguard.

    How To Become a Vampire Lord

    Becoming a Vampire Lord means starting the Dawnguard DLC. To kickstart this quest, you must travel to Fort Dawnguard. Unfortunately, this isn’t as easy as it might seem. If you’ve heard the rumor about the vampire hunters, you can see Fort Dawnguard on the southeast corner of the world map—straight east of Riften. However, you cannot simply walk straight to Fort Downguard. To get there, you must find DaySpring Canyon. This location is not featured on the map, but you can find it by traveling north of Stendarr’s Beacon. Once you find this, go through DaySpring Canyon to reach Fort Dawnguard.

    Once you arrive, speak with Isran, who is inside the Fort. He will send you on a quest to explore Dimhollow Crypt. Make your way through the Crypt until you find the vampire Serana. Simply escort her back to her home, Castle Volkihar. Her father will then reward you for returning her by granting you the power of a Vampire Lord.