- Best Followers in Skyrim - December 31, 2022
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Skyrim has become as ingrained in pop culture as Star Wars or Lord of the Rings. When standing amongst those giants, the pressure to be great can start to mount. While Skyrim initially stood strong under that pressure, Skyrim’s various bugs and glitches have caused it to become a bit of a joke in the ten-plus years since its release.
Whether it’s that there are about five voice actors to voice three hundred plus NPCs in the game or that the writing is often nowhere near the quality of contemporaries like the Witcher 3, it constantly gets made fun of despite swallowing hours and hours of our lives. How does it absorb so many players?
The reason is that in spite of the bugs, the glitches, and the occasionally hokey voice acting, Skyrim’s wonderous locations, intriguing side quests, flexible combat, and incredible music score make it one of the greatest games ever made.
Part of what makes it so hard to put down are the Followers of Skyrim. From the start of the game, you’re on your own, and while you might find friendly people here and there, you don’t have anyone to turn to. That all changes shortly into the game when you find your first Follower. Who that Follower is, depends on the path you take. Regardless of the path, you’re likely to come across one of the many Followers in Skyrim at some point in your adventure.
Each Follower has a distinct personality and even comments on the proceedings throughout your journey with them. What makes them even more iconic, though, is that they can actually die. It’s tough for them to be killed off for good, but it’s a shock when it does happen.
You’re not just losing a brother or sister in arms; you’re losing a livelihood. That’s because not only do these companions have your back throughout the game, but they also have your equipment and maybe even your affection.
There is a ton of content in this game with many Followers to choose from. Each one adds their own attitude, combat specialties, and sometimes quests to the game. Here’s a look at some of the best ones.
My Tops Picks at a Glance
- Jenassa – Her interesting personality trumps her somewhat lackluster combat ability for me. Hearing a companion speak of the mysteries of Skyrim is such a cool experience that adds far more to the experience than someone with more impressive stats.
- Teldryn Sero – Simply one of the coolest looking characters an Elder Scrolls game has ever had, and a hell of a combatant to boot. The 200-year-old Teldyrn Sero is versatile in combat and also has an interesting backstory to dig into. His constant banter helps make missions feel less lonely, and his having your back in combat is a great way to feel safe, even in the most dangerous of areas.
- Location: Whiterun
- Class: Warrior
- Cost: Free; she joins you as a Housecarl automatically.
Okay, I know you probably want to throw something at me with this pick to start us off, but consider this: did anyone have your back before Lydia?
Sure, she isn’t all that thrilled to be in your service and is not the strongest in combat, but she was the first! All the Followers after her were walking in her footsteps. While I know most of you probably Fus Roh Dah’d her off of High Hrothgar the first opportunity you got, that doesn’t mean she doesn’t deserve her props.
Equipment Suggestions: All Housecarls in Skyrim are warriors except for one, but Lydia is most definitely a warrior. Because of that, you should give her your best one-handed or two-handed weapon and some heavy armor.
- Location: Dimhollow Crypt
- Class: Vampire
- Cost: None; she joins you during the Dawnguard questline.
Although she isn’t in the first release of Skyrim, she appears with the DLC addition of Dawnguard, and what a breath of fresh air she was. Not only is she a fierce combatant with some awesome and useful vampiric abilities, but her story is both tragic and engaging.
She is a pivotal part of the Dawnguard DLC regardless of which side you decide to take, and even after the storyline’s finale, she stays with you if you want to retain her services.
If all of the above doesn’t have you convinced, Serana is voiced by the incomparable Laura Bailey, who has always excelled in her roles, and that’s again the case here. She is the only character of her kind and has so many lines of dialogue that you never know what she’s going to comment on or what kind of lore she’s going to impart.
Serana is one of my must-have party members whenever I start up a playthrough in Skyrim, and she should be one of yours as well.
Equipment Suggestion: Serana is a vampire mage which is a unique thing in Skyrim. Because of that, you should teach her spells emphasizing the sapping of Health and Magicka. You can also give her traditional spells, but she’ll lean on her absorption spells much of the time, regardless.
You should also equip her with a solid cloak with a large Magicka pool bonus. This will keep her firing away from the back lines, as you don’t want her getting stuck against a powerful melee enemy because she won’t last long.
- Location: Riften, Jail
- Class: Archer
- Cost: Free, break him out of jail, and he’s in your debt.
I’m breaking the rules slightly with this one because Inigo is a mod. I know that Inigo is not a Bethesda creation, but since 2013, which was when this mod was created, he has become an integral piece of the Skyrim lexicon.
He’s a Khajit that is fully voiced with thousands of lines of dialogue that comment on everything from what you’re wearing to the happenings in the story and even has integration with several quest mods as well. Inigo is engaging from the first second you meet him locked up in a Riften cell. Whether you want to free him is your decision, but the choice should be obvious.
Once you get Inigo out of Riften, he’s immediately one of the best Followers you can have combat-wise. He is deadly with a bow and arrow, but I also found him to be an effective rogue-style character as well. His stats are a bit ambiguous due to him being a modded character, but Inigo snipes people left and right whenever I have him aboard, so it’s safe to say he’s got some archer abilities.
His quips and comments during and after combat never fail to amuse, and it helps break up those long, empty silences that Skyrim can have. If you ask a PC player who their favorite Follow in Skyrim is, I bet you that 8/10 people will tell you it’s Inigo. He’s about as lifelike and vibrant as any character I’ve come across throughout my years of gaming.
Equipment Suggestion: Any bow you or Crossbow that you have, Inigo will do just fine with. He’s a deadly archer and can make short work of basic enemies.
Against the more powerful boss enemies in the game, he’s a bit less effective, but if you give him enchanted bows and the like, he’ll do just fine lighting up the competition from afar. If you want to try him as a rogue with daggers, you can; make sure he’s got some good armor on him, as I’ve noticed he falls pretty fast without it.
- Location: Whiterun
- Class: Blacksmith, Warrior
- Cost: Joins your services after completing the Companions main questline
Stupid name aside, Farkas is one of the first Followers you might come across as a member of the Companions. This guild quest line will lead you to some very interesting places, and along the way, you can nab Farkas as one of your Followers.
Farkas is a beast of a warrior, and I mean that literally because, spoiler alert, he’s a Werewolf! Don’t get too excited because he’s against using his Beast Form, but that doesn’t stop him from being a monster in combat.
He comes equipped with a Skyforge Steel Greatsword, which is a tremendous weapon early to midway through the main story and has some solid Steel armor as well. Once you recruit him, you can take on miscellaneous quests from him, and more importantly, he will train you in Heavy Armor for free.
This is a huge benefit, as finding NPCs with this ability can be hard. Having Farkas with you or stationed nearby always allows you to improve your armor rating when you can increase it.
Equipment Suggestion: Farkas comes ready to roll with a powerful greatsword, so that should hint how you want to keep Farkas equipped. He’s a big-time damage dealer who tends to err on the side of aggression during combat, so any spare armor you’ve got with a high defensive rating will do wonders.
I tend to keep Farkas equipped with a greatsword over a Warhammer because of the speed. He swings so much faster with the greatsword, which results in much more damage. I also notice he uses power attacks more often with the greatsword, so that seems to be his wheelhouse.
- Location: Skaal Village, Solsthem
- Class: Warrior
- Cost: Free; after the quest At the Summit of Apocrypha, you have a chance to recruit her.
With the addition of the DLC Dragonborn, some new followers also came. One of those is Frea, who has a chance to join your noble cause. I say chance because, as good ole RPGs would dictate, you need to do a skill check to get her to join you. Much like her Nordic nature would entail, Frea is one cold customer, and you’re going to need a Speech level of at least 25.
If you pass, she will join you in your quest, in spite of what your actions lead to with her father. Frea comes equipped with Nordic Caved armor, boots, and gauntlets and also has dual Stahlrim and Nordic axes and a Nordic Bow to boot. If that’s not enough for you, how about the fact she knows Alteration spells Ebonyflesh, Ironflesh, Close Wounds, Fast Healing, and Heal Other.
To put it plainly, Frea is a freak of nature regarding Skyrim Followers. She is absurdly versatile in combat and makes for one of the game’s most effective followers.
You’ve got a support mage, a warrior, and an archer all in one here, and it’s pretty much a pick your poison-for enemies when engaging her in combat. Interestingly enough, Frea’s specialty isn’t in Heavy Armor, as her wardrobe would have you assume.
She’s actually a light armor specialist and has a higher skill in that regard. She’s also got elite dual-wielding skills, so whether she loses her axes or not, you’ll see her often dual-wielding with aplomb. She’s pretty much unmatched when it comes to combat prowess, and the only thing she can’t do is devastate with offensive spells. What a letdown.
Equipment Suggestion: Considering her versatility, the answer is pretty much anything. I consider her best attribute her melee ability, so if you’ve got a couple of powerful one-handed weapons that you aren’t using, send them Frea’s way and watch her become a whirling dervish of death.
You can also utilize her as an archer, but with her amazing armor keeping her protected, she’s far more useful on the frontlines. If you’re a long-range character, this is the way to go, as she can keep the heat off you while you cast spells or fire arrows.
- Location: Raven Rock, Solstheim
- Class: Spellsword
- Cost: 500
Cool name, a cooler look, and an absolute badass in every way. You can recruit Teldryn Sero by paying him a sum of 500 gold, which is an acceptable price for the value you’re getting with him.
Teldryn is easily one of the nicest Dark Elves you’ll come across, which is a rarity after dealing with somewhat rude Dark Elves you might come across in Skyrim. Your relationship with him is strictly business, but that doesn’t stop him from being incredibly observant of the world around you.
He will comment on just about everywhere you go, from Vampire Lairs to Whiterun and everywhere in between. Badass characters are sometimes overrated in RPGs and seen as too try-hard, but Terdryn Sero nails it with the perfect combination of an intriguing backstory and skillset; he makes the perfect companion for any playthrough.
Equipment Suggestions: As a spell sword, Teldryn is best with blades with a magical charge. Using his magic and melee abilities with one weapon will only improve his combat effectiveness. His starting gear is pretty damn good, but if you’ve got some legendary one-handed gear that you aren’t using, Teldryn can become incredibly efficient with it.
The reason for this is he has the Armsman Perk, which can level up to an increase of 80 percent more one-handed weapon damage. He is the only Follower in the game to have this perk, making him a tough-to-leave-home Follower.
- Location: The Drunken Huntsman, Whiterun
- Class: Ranger
- Cost: 500
So we got our nice-ish Dark Elf Follower out of the way; now it’s time for a more prickly pear in the form of Jenassa. You can find her in Whiterun at the Drunken Huntsman fairly early on in the game, and she’ll join you for the cost of 500 gold. She comes equipped with some pretty weak armor, so you’ll want to swap that out as soon as possible.
I wouldn’t say her combat abilities make her an awesome companion, but she’s no slouch there, as she’s highly skilled in Archery, Light armor, Block, and One-Handed combat.
What makes Jenassa great is her personality. Her voice is commanding, and she has an aggressive and passionate personality that stands out among many of the more mild-mannered companions in Skyrim. She’s morally grey and tends to look the other way when you’re committing one of the many crimes you’ve likely indulged in while playing. I find Jenassa to be a unique companion because of her perspective on all the locations you travel to.
In particular, she sheds some light on the nature of the Dwemer and actually mentions that they were the size of an average human, which is more than we can find out about them elsewhere in the game. She can also be recruited to join the Blades during the Rebuilding the Blades questline.
Equipment Suggestion: Jenassa is light in the health department, so you need to keep her armored up, especially if you want her to be a melee combatant. I find Jenassa is the best at long-range, mostly because it keeps her in the fight much longer. She has a solid block skill, though, so if you’re deadset on her being on the frontlines, give her a good shield and a one-handed weapon and go for it.
Just keep an eye on her because she tends to need help more often than not. I think she’s worth the protection andis an intriguing Follower to accompany you through Skyrim.
Erik the Slayer
- Location: Rorikstead
- Class: Barbarian
- Cost: Intimidating or bribing Mralki will have Erik join your services.
Erik the Slayer is a bit of an emotional choice here. For those that don’t know, Erik The Slayer is a tribute to real-life gamer Erik West, who went by the name “Immok the Slayer,” who died of cancer in 2011, right before Skyrim was released the following Fall. In a rare move for the company, Bethesda was very cool and generous to immortalize him in one of the most popular games of all time.
If you want to team up with Erik The Slayer, you can find him in Rorikstead, where he works for Mralki, the innkeeper at Frostfruit Inn.
His story in the game is pretty tragic, with Erik losing his mother at a young age. Erik dreams of becoming an adventurer, but he’s stuck on the farm. Are you made of stone? Convince the kid’s father to let him go and experience the world with you. When you do that, he will change his name to Erik the Slayer, and you’ll have yourself an enthusiastic Follower.
Erik isn’t armed to the teeth when you meet him, as it’s up to you to turn him into an adventurer. He has the skills of Light Armor, Two-handed, Archery, and Block, so he’s a pretty versatile combatant if you have the patience to build him up. He’s an aggressive fighter who works best in close-range combat and has a solid health pool to keep him chugging along.
You might not feel the same about Erik, but I feel a personal responsibility to take this would-be adventurer on the trip of a lifetime, and I make sure to at least take him on a few quests each time I start another playthrough. If you really want to treat Erik right, get him to become a member of the Blades and induct him into the most legendary warrior clan in the Elder Scrolls history.
Equipment Suggestions: I would give Erik your best two-handed weapon and some decent light armor. He also has archery skills, but he can tank up close and do a lot of damage once you level him up a bit. He’s not an MVP, but he’s a valuable and heartfelt companion that makes adventures much more fun.
- Location: Fort Dawnguard
- Class: Ranger
- Cost: Complete the quest Prophet, and he joins you for free.
I’ll be honest; I can’t get enough of these DLC Followers; they are just so much more well-rounded as characters. We’ve covered the Nords, the Dark Elves, and the Khajit, but what about the Orcs? Well, Durak is here to join the party in a big way. Durak comes with the Dawnguard DLC and presents as a ranger who also happens to be a vampire hunter.
He’s the character to give you your first Crossbow, and once you complete the Prophet quest, he will join you if you so choose. The great thing about Durak is that, although he doesn’t start off with the best stats, he’s one of the only followers with no level cap. That means he will level alongside you way past level 50, making him incredibly valuable.
Durak is equipped with some fancy Dawnguard armor and has the Dawnguard gauntlets and boots. Weapons-wise, he has a Dawnguard War Axe and a Dawnguard Shield. He’s also got a Crossbow in case long-range combat arises too.
Durak is serious in nature, and while there are certainly more talkative people you can travel with, few are as effective in combat as Durak. He’s an aggressive beast during combat, and his ability with the Crossbow is unmatched.
Equipment Suggestions: I love Durak as my ranger/archer Follower. He’s so accurate with his Crossbow, and the fact that he levels with you means that he’ll start one-shotting your enemies before too long. He also should be given some good accessories that accentuate his long-range abilities, and if you don’t have any great Crossbows lying around, he’s also extremely effective with a bow.
If you want him to be a melee character, he’s great with axes, as he has the Hack and Slash perk that causes bleeding, which can be a huge help during a tough fight. He also has good health, so you won’t have to worry about him falling in battle too often.
- Location: Whiterun
- Class: Assassin
- Cost: Spare his Life during The Cure for Madness quest
If you’re interested in having a complete psychopathic jester at your side for your adventures in Skyrim, then I believe the infamous Cicero might be what you’re looking for.
This guy is totally nuts, and from your first interaction with him, where he’s transporting a coffin, to his misdoings in the Dark Brotherhood, you know what you’re getting here. Cicero talks to himself, speaks to the Night Mother in his downtime, and is generally a very uneasy presence to be near.
What makes him a great follower is the weird jokes and observations he makes about the current quest or location you’re in. He’s far crazier than any Follower you’ve seen, but some players might want to spice up their adventures with a unique character.
Cicero is most certainly unique. Once you complete the mission, The Cure for Madness, you’ll be given the option to kill or spare Cicero. He deserves to die for sure, but if you want him as a Follower, choose to spare him, and he’s yours.
Equipment Suggestion: Cicero is an Assassin, so don’t expect a lot of health here. You can outfit him in some Dark Brotherhood armor and a good dagger if you’ve got it, and he’ll be a pretty effective.
Question: Is Skyrim still updated?
Answer: Due to Bethesda releasing about 100 different versions of the game, it still sees regular updates on Steam and consoles
Question: How many Followers can you have in Skyrim?
Answer: You are allowed one human Follower and one animal Follower in Skyrim. A simple mod allows this to be expanded, though, and it’s a better game when you use it.
Question: Who is the strongest Follower in Skyrim?
Answer: Serana is definitely up there, as her high levels in Conjuration, Destruction, One-handed, and light armor make her one of the toughest combatants there is. She isn’t a great up-close fighter, but her magic is devastating from afar.
These may be my favorite Followers, but there are many more to discover in your playthrough. There are upwards of 50 of them available, and you still have tons more to add to your game in the form of mods.
Followers make Skyrim an easier experience, but it also adds a sense of adventure and feels appropriate, considering the game’s tone. Traveling across snow-covered mountains with Companion in tow will never fail to feel epic. Hopefully, you found some cool ones on this list.
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