elder scrolls vampirism

Elder Scrolls Vampirism Guide: The Spawns of Molag Bal

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The Elder Scrolls series has all sorts of interesting factions you can join, but the Werewolf vs Vampirism debate always tops the list of most confusing choices in the game. The world of Tamriel houses trolls, giants, dragons, and all sorts of weird creatures, so finding Vampires and Werewolves in the mix comes as no surprise.

Vampires have been a constant part of the Elder Scrolls series, starting from Daggerfall all the way to Skyrim and Elder Scrolls Online. Vampires have a negative rep in Tamriel, and that’s saying something. Vampires are often shunned by society due to their terrible status as bloodsuckers. Therefore, it’s unusual to find thriving Vampire communities in Tamriel.

Because of this, if you turn into a Vampire, you’ll begin to experience some unusual reactions from NPCs.

As your symptoms worsen, this becomes more and more evident, and at the highest stage of Vampirism, people will even start fighting you if they spot you. Large bounties will be placed on your head, and you may find yourself barred from joining certain factions.

In this guide, I’ll explore everything there is to know about Vampires and Vampirism, so without any further ado, let’s check out what Vampirism in Elder Scrolls means.

Bottom Line Up Front

Vampirism is a disease in the Elder Scrolls series which can be contracted by the player when you’re attacked by a Vampire. This disease goes by different names in the Elder Scrolls series, and if not cured within three game days of infection, it will turn you into a Vampire.

As a Vampire, you’ll start at stage 1 and can progress up to stage 4. Levels are reset if you don’t control your hunger and feed on an NPC. Being a Vampire will unlock lots of different abilities and a few drawbacks as well when you’re out in the sunlight.

You cannot become a Vampire if you’re a Werewolf and vice versa. The Dawnguard DLC adds the feature of upgrading to Vampire Lord for additional perks and abilities. Vampirism is curable, and you can revert back to your normal state if you don’t want to remain a Vampire or Vampire Lord anymore.

Vampirism Lore

elder scrolls daedric prince molag bal

Vampirism is a disease in the Elder Scrolls series, which goes by the name of Sanguinare Vampiris in Skyrim. You contract this disease after being attacked by a Vampire, and if you don’t cure yourself within 3 in-game days, then you’ll turn in a bloodsucker as well.

Vampires are claimed to be abundant in Tamriel, with over a hundred different varieties existent.

Daedric Prince Molag Bal, is the genesis of Vampirism. Lamae, an Arkay priestess, fell victim to his advances sometime during the First Era. According to legend, Molag Bal did not like Arkay, an Aedra who took great satisfaction in the circle of life and death, which fell within his domain.

Molag Bal left Nirn and went to Tamriel, where he brutally violated a Nedic priestess of Arkay called Lamae Beolfag.  She was rendered unconscious by the brutality of Bal’s action, and nomads who discovered her tried to nurse her back to health. It seemed as if she had passed away, so they constructed a funeral pyre for her.

In a rage, Lamae sprang from the pyre and slaughtered the nomads, becoming the first Vampire in Tamriel. The realization of who she was and what she had done caused her to spit forth curses against Molag Bal and a desperate plea for rescue from her lover, Arkay. Since he didn’t respond, she cursed at him as well.

To join the faction of Vampires, one must renounce the gods and accept Mother Lamae’s blessing.

Lamae is responsible for the creation of the first Vampire cult and the subsequent spread of Vampirism throughout Tamriel, both as a sickness that breeds new Vampires and as a way of life adopted by those infected with it.

Vampire lore has several beginnings, according to different people. Some myths suggest that humans can make Vampires by tampering with magic, suggesting that not all Vampires have Molag Bal’s origins. Vampires, in the eyes of the locals of Iliac Bay, result from a wizard’s curse.

Changing forms is another area where alchemy may be put to use. Such as Chaotica Vampiris, the offspring of an alchemist known as Lady Essenia’s experiments with many bloodlines, give birth to foul monsters called Blood knights.

Only those who are already Vampires may get this strain. Infected Vampires lose control of their most primal urges and mutate into huge, pale monsters.

Lamae’s curse manifested itself in many ways around Tamriel, defiling Arkay’s sacred realm. Many humans have struck a deal with Molag Bal since then, giving birth to new Vampire families.

Alchemy provides a means to infect oneself with Vampirism. A member of the Sapiarchs, 2E 582, alchemically duplicated the symptoms of Porphyric Hemophilia and gave it to a sailor with Ostraekeratic Fever. The Vampire infection healed the sailor’s Ostraekeratic Fever. The sailor, like all Vampires, developed an insatiable need for blood.

Even though the Tribunal Temple did all in its power to repress Vampires on Vvardenfell, Dunmer nationalists in the Third Era believed that necromancy in the west was the source of the plague of Vampirism.

This opinion may stem from the Dunmer’s innate cultural bias towards necromancers and outsiders, whom they hold responsible for introducing the practice to their land. This kind of thinking could be in line with the widespread misunderstandings people have about necromancy and Vampirism.

It’s widely thought that all vampiric dynasties may be traced back to Daedric forces. However, others have made figurative connections to the Daedric origin of Vampirism via the use of alchemy.

While in other instances, people have discovered how to drain the Vampiric energy of another. The end effect is always the same: a sun-hating, blood-craving monster.

Vampire Abilities

elder scrolls vampire abilities

Champion of the Night



Increase potency of Illusions Spells +25%



Nightstalker’s Footsteps



Sneaking Increases +25%



Vampiric Drain



Fill your health bar by stealing your enemy’s health.



Vampire’s Servant



Reanimate a dead body to fight for you.
Vampire’s Sight Get night vision for 60 seconds.



Vampire’s Seduction



Make enemies below level 10, flee.
Embrace of Shadows Become invisible once a day for 180 seconds.

Comparisons of Vampirism in Elder Scrolls

Vampires have had a larger role in games previous to Skyrim, both in terms of how they are dealt with and the role that their demography plays. They have been a constant part of the Elder Scrolls series starting from Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall. As newer installations were released, Vampirism in the Elder Scrolls series evolved as well.

You can join Vampire factions in The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall and The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. When you join a Vampire Clan in Morrowind, you’ll have access to exclusive benefits, such as increased attribute bonuses and skill reinforcements. Even though it was present in Oblivion, this element was removed from Skyrim.

Dawnguard DLC for Skyrim brought back this gameplay element, but this time it was revamped to better fit into the game’s main plot and to provide benefits depending on the character’s perk trees as they advanced.

In Daggerfall and Morrowind, Vampires formed clans made up entirely of people from the same lineage. Most Vampires you’ll meet in Skyrim will be barbaric, wild, and living entirely on their own.

Here’s how Vampires and Vampirism have evolved over the years in the Elder Scrolls series.

Vampires in Daggerfall

elder scrolls vampires in daggerfall

To join the ranks of the undead, one must get the Vampire disease from a Vampire. Getting the illness might be time-consuming and tedious due to the low risk of infection and the possibility of contracting another disease instead of Vampirism.

Vampirism is not available to level 1 character. After contracting the illness, a cutscene will play out the next time you go to bed, showing a terrifying nightmare.

You have dreams about a gorgeous lady you brutally murdered in the night. At this point, any temple should be able to successfully treat the disease. If you don’t cure the disease within three days, you will receive a notification informing you about your conversion.

You will be awakened in a tomb after getting the message. You’ll now be shown in a cemetery when your character’s details change. Once you’ve come to terms with your new life as a Vampire, you may take part in the Rite of Acceptance.

Vampires are vulnerable to sunlight and sacred sites and must constantly replenish their blood thirst by devouring human flesh or killing their enemies.  You cannot fast travel during the day, and stepping out in the sunlight will damage your health.

Vampires in Morrowind

For generations, Vampires were thought to be extinct in Morrowind, a region where strong animosity for necromancy and Vampires is ingrained in the native culture.

Vvardenfell is home to three distinct Vampire families: the strong Quarra; the powerful spellcasters of the Aundae; and the fast and easy Clan Berne, who rely on stealth. In addition, no known Vampire clan in Tamriel has ever claimed ancestry from the “Ash Vampire” of Ashlander lore.

By 3E 427, the province had seen a large resurgence of Vampire activity; however, it is unclear whether this is due to the undead making a quiet comeback or the reawakening of Vampires in the region. The mechanics are quite similar to Daggerfall.

Vampirism in Oblivion

Vampirism in Oblivion is not necessarily a choice by the player, as in other games. In the course of the game, players will very certainly get Porphyric Hemophilia from fighting Vampires. The sickness takes 72 hours to develop and convert the player. Therefore there is time to escape becoming a Vampire if the player so chooses.

However, after 72 hours, players are completely infected with Vampirism, and the recovery procedure is significantly longer and more rigorous.

Additionally, being a Vampire provides players with permanent immunity to all illnesses and paralysis, as well as a small selection of once-daily-use abilities. The capacity to become invisible, enchant people, stay silent, and have night vision are all fantastic abilities to have at one’s disposal.

Though, there are a few drawbacks as well. Vampires’ primary flaw is their susceptibility to health damage whenever they go outside in the sun. Feeding on an NPC is one way for players to avoid this, although it reduces the advantages of Vampirism.

Another drawback is lower resistance to fire, which may have serious consequences while closing the several types of Oblivion Gates. The character’s changed look makes conversing with NPCs more difficult, and the player is prevented from fast traveling or waiting during the daytime.

Curing Vampirism in Oblivion requires Grand Soul Gems and other alchemical components and is similarly administered by a mage in the guise of an isolated hedgewitch. In Morrowind, you need to retrieve a book and speak with Molag Bal in order to progress.

Vampire in Skyrim

elder scrolls lord harkon

In Skyrim, catching the Vampire sickness, Sanguinare Vampiris, and letting it go untreated for three-game days will turn you into a Vampire.

Thereafter, full-fledged Vampirism will set in, with its own features and drawbacks. Vampirism may also be obtained in the Dawnguard questline by aiding Lord Harkon and returning his daughter Serana.

Without having to wait for your confrontation with Lord Harkon in Dawnguard, you may readily catch Sanguinare Vampiris from the low-level Vampires in Movarth’s Lair. Simply reach the location, and let them attack you till you get infected with the Sanguinare Vampiris disease.

You can always check the “Active Effects” section of your spell book to see whether you’ve caught it.

Vampirism in Elder Scrolls Online

If you’re looking for a fresh way to experience Elder Scrolls Online, try your hand at Vampirism. Vampirism enables access to a new branch of powers, including the potent blood scion and mist form. As your Vampirism progresses through its stages, you’ll gradually weaken and find it harder to fight.

Vampirism alters the character’s physical appearance, grants them additional resistance, and even introduces a new set of abilities. If the player becomes infected with Vampirism, they’ll have to make the journey to the ritual location.

In Elder Scrolls Online, being a Vampire is like unlocking a whole new set of skills. In Elder Scrolls Online, there are three distinct paths to get Vampirism:

  1. Purchase it at the Crown Store,
  2. Get infected by another player.
  3. Visit one of the three Vampire shrines to get infected.

Key Vampires in Elder Scrolls Series

1. Lamae Bal

lamae bal elder scrolls

Seen in: Elder Scrolls Online

Related Quests: Scion of the Blood Matron

Lamae Beolfag was a member of the Nedic tribe and an Arkay devotee. Molag Bal raped her and wiped his blood on her forehead after the trauma, abandoning her to die. She rose as the first Vampire.

Lamae changed her bloodline using magic and blood to produce Blood Scions, vampires nearly as powerful as the vampire lords who Molag Bal himself converted.

She has accepted her disease and is looking for ways to utilise it as a weapon against her enemies. She advocates for the unrestricted use of human blood by vampires, and her genetic modifications make it possible for her offspring to gain strength via these means.

Lamae established a vampire cult with enmity for Arkay and Molag Bal as its central tenet. She calls her cult members “children,” and they call her “Mother Lamae.”

“Molag Bal, Father of Torment, we curse you! You sought to poison us with your blood. But we survived. And from your poison, we grew. King of Corruption, your children, are coming. They will defile and destroy you.”

2. Serana

Seen in: Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim DLC Dawnguard

Related Quests: Awakening, Bloodline, Prophet (Dawnguard), Prophet (Vampire), Chasing Echoes, Beyond Death, Unseen Visions, Touching the Sky, Kindred Judgment.

Serana made her debut in the Dawnguard DLC for Skyrim. You’ll have your first conversation with this NPC right at the start of the DLC, and you’ll keep developing your friendship with her all the way through the storyline.

When you first encounter Serana, she is held captive in a tomb inside Dimhollow Crypt, along with an Elder Scroll. Lord Harkon is her father and the one who sent her to get the Elder Scroll.

The members of her family committed themselves to Molag Bal in a rite, and she is one of the few pure-blood Vampires. They call Serana and other women like her who make it through the experience the “Daughters of Coldharbour.”

“My father and I don’t really get along. Ugh, saying it out loud makes it sound so… common. “Little girl who doesn’t get along with her father.” Read that story a hundred times.”

3. Lord Harkon

Seen in: Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim DLC Dawnguard

Related Quests: Bloodline, Prophet, Kindred Judgment.

The Dawnguard DLC’s last boss and primary antagonist is Lord Harkon. He rules the strong Volkihar Clan as its despotic master and is of the Nord race. H e’s the ex-husband of Valerica and the father to Serana.

Lord Harkon is extremely strict as a leader.  It seems like nothing will stop him from getting what he wants, even if it means hurting his own family.

Harkon was a great monarch whose kingdom was said to be enormous before he became Vampire. Harkon’s dread of dying developed as he aged and realised that his own death was drawing near.

He struck a deal with Molag Bal after sacrificing thousands of people in his name to stave off the inevitable. In exchange, the Daedric Prince turned him and his family into vampires of the purest blood. Harkon is one of the few people in Tamriel who can confer Vampirism to those of pure blood.

4. Vicente Valtieri

vicente valtieri elder scrolls

Seen in: Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

Related Quests: A Knife in the Dark, The Purification, Vampire Cure.

You come across Vicente Valtieri, Dark Brotherhood member and Breton vampire in Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Your first Guild contract will be issued by him. While on a mission to Morrowind, he contracted Vampirism and has spent the last 200 years as a member of the Dark Brotherhood.

He joined the Dark Brotherhood after being welcomed by the Night Mother and worked his way up to the position of Executioner.

As soon as you’ve completed your contract for The Assassinated Man quest with Vicente, he’ll stop providing you contracts and instead tell you to talk to Ocheeva for future contracts.

“I was stricken with Vampirism three hundred years ago while on an expedition deep into the Ashlands of Vvardenfell. For nearly a hundred years, I hunted in secret until the Dark Brotherhood found me.

Now I have a family that accepts and even values my unique gifts. Perhaps in the future, when I feel you have earned the right, I will offer you a chance to become a hunter of the night.”

5. Janus Hassildor

Seen in: Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

Related Quests:  Allies for Bruma, Vampire Cure, Ulterior Motives.

Information at a Price: Travel to Skingrad to receive information from Count Hassildor… at a price.

Janus Hassildor, a member of the Imperial nobility, holds the title of Count of Skingrad. It has been noted by locals that he is seldom seen out and about in public.

Inside Castle Skingrad, he leads a solitary life. Janus and his wife Rona were infected by Vampirism fifty years before the Oblivion Crisis. Although they managed to stay alive, the vampire-causing Porphyric Hemophilia eventually turned both of them into bloodsuckers.

Rona regarded her vampiric existence as simply a curse and refused to take the blood required to keep her fit, falling into a coma due to despair and malnourishment while Janus learned to embrace his new life. Janus has been trying to discover a solution for his wife so that she might finally achieve the serenity she so desperately seeks.

“I shall rest easier now, knowing that Rona no longer suffers.”

6. Arch-Curate Vyrthur

arch-curate vyrthur elder scrolls

Seen in: Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim DLC Dawnguard

Related Quests: Touching the Sky

Arch-Curate Vyrthur, along with his brother Knight-Paladin Gelebor, is one of the few surviving Snow Elves and Dawnguards’ antagonist. Vyrthur, the Arch-Curate, is a vampire Snow Elf who resides in the Forgotten Vale.

He felt abandoned by Auri-El, the main god of the Snow Elves, since the deity had failed to provide him with immunity to Vampirism.

To prevent Vyrthur’s revenge from coming to reality, Serana was able to fight and kill him towards the end of the Dawnguard DLC.

“The moment I was infected by one of my own Initiates, Auri-El turned his back on me. I swore I’d have my revenge, no matter what the cost.”

Vampire Stages

There are four stages for Vampires, and as you move up the ladder the advantages, and disadvantages increase proportionally. You can move up a stage by controlling your thirst for blood, and if you want to reset your level back to stage 1, then simply feast on an innocent NPC.

Stage 1



Health Recovery Reduced by 10%


Fire Damage Increased By 5%

Cost of Ability Increased By 3%

Cost of Vampire Ability Reduced By 6%

Feed & Dark Stalker Active


Stage 2



Health Recovery Reduced by 30%


Fire Damage Increased By 8%

Cost of Ability Increased By 5%

Cost of Vampire Ability Reduced By 10%

Strike from the Shadows Active


Stage 3



Health Recovery Reduced by 60%


Fire Damage Increased By 13%

Cost of Ability Increased By 8%

Cost of Vampire Ability Reduced By 16%

Strike from the Shadows & Undeath Active


Stage 4



Health Recovery Reduced by 100%


Fire Damage Increased By 20%

Cost of Ability Increased By 12%

Cost of Vampire Ability Reduced By 24%

Undead and Unnatural Movement, and Strike from the Shadows Active


Vampires are not easily detected by NPCs during early stages, but as you move to higher stages of Vampirism, NPCs will recognize you as a Vampire and start attacking.

Feeding as a Vampire

vampire elder scrolls

You unlock the feeding option after becoming a Vampire. Feeding on an NPC resets your Vampire stage back to level 1.

You must crouch and stealthily approach your target from behind when you get the signal to feed. The smartest move while feeding is to isolate a target away from other NPCs or find a sleeping NPC to feed.  It’s best to creep up on your prey from behind, crouching until you’re near enough that a feeding prompt to feed appears.

Suppose you’re having trouble isolating a single target. In that case, you can use an invisibility spell or a potion of invisibility to drink your victim’s blood without being spotted or getting a bounty.

The major motivation for feeding in Skyrim was to prevent NPCs from attacking you, which they do when you reach the highest stage of Vampirism. After Dawnguard DLC, the only disadvantage to not feeding includes increased vulnerability to fire and sunlight, but we can protect ourselves from these dangers with the right perks.

Therefore, it is generally not recommended to feed since doing so will have little effect other than to weaken your Vampire abilities.

In order to make feeding a more powerful mechanism, you can download the Better Vampires mod to increase your power instead of resetting it.

Vampire Lord Dawnguard DLC

You can upgrade from your current Vampire status to Vampire Lord with the Dawnguard DLC for Skyrim. After completing the Dawnguard questline, Serana, or Lord Harkon (depending on your choices), will give you a chance to become a Vampire Lord.

Becoming a Vampire Lord unlocks a new set of perks and abilities. The physical form goes through profound modifications throughout the Vampire Lord transformation. The player’s height and stature will both dramatically increase, with a pale complexion, orange eyes, and two goblin-like wings.

The wings enable the Vampire Lord to run considerably faster and hover. The carry weight doesn’t have a limit when you’re a Vampire Lord, so if you’re over-encumbered by items, you can enable the Vampire Lord spell and quickly make your way near a shop to sell extra items.


Question: How to Cure Vampirism in Skyrim?

Answer: You can cure Vampirism as soon as you contract the Sanguinare Vampiris disease by visiting a temple and receiving a blessing to remove the disease. The same effect can be done with the ‘Cure Disease’ potion to nip in the bud of Vampirism.
If you’ve already turned into a Vampire and want to return to your normal state, you’ll need to find Fallion in Fort Dawnguard and perform the ritual to revert back from being a Vampire.

Question: What is the Best Race to Play as a Vampire in Skyrim?

Answer: The Dunmer/Dark Elf is the best race as a Vampire because they are resistant to fire damage; while being a Vampire, you will be vulnerable to fire damage; hence the effects are canceled out. Moreover, you’ll get a boost in Illusion and Destruction magic.

Question: Does Sunlight Reduce Health as a Vampire?

Answer: In Morrowind and Oblivion, sunlight damages your health as a Vampire when you step in the sunlight. In Skyrim, however, your health, Magicka, and Stamina will not regenerate when you’re out during the daytime.


Vampirism is a big part of the Elder Scrolls series, so much so that they launched a separate DLC for Skyrim dedicated to Vampires and Vampirism i.e. Dawnguard.

The concept of Vampires was introduced in Daggerfall, and then it continued on to every installment of the Elder Scrolls series till Elder Scrolls Online. Each installment hosts a different setting for Vampires, but the ability to contract Vampirism remains the same (getting infected by a Vampire).

Hopefully, this guide will help you understand everything there is to know about being a Vampire in the Elder Scrolls series. 

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