Greetings, sera. Blackblood here with something even more different that what I usually do. In keeping up with my most recent Character Profile, as well as my sudden interest into vampirism in Skyrim, I've decided to collect all of my potential knowledge and ideas and create as much of an in-depth guide to living life as a vampire in Skyrim. The goal of this guide it to give a basic ground on the mindset of the Skyrim vampire whilst allowing a little bit of wiggle room for Roleplay sake. This means that, while this is a basic guide to vampirism, these are merely tips and you don't have to follow EVERY one of them. So with all that out of the way let's get into it shall we?
Tip #1 - As a vampire, you are a powerful predator of the night"I offer you my blood. Take it, and you will walk as a lion among sheep. Men will tremble at your approach, and you will never fear death again."
You are a stalker of the night, and in the shadows are where you are the strongest. As such most, if not all, of your activities will most likely be done during such time, when you aren't burning out in the sun. Did you receive a mission from the Jarl to go kill a bandit in a radiant location? head out at 7 PM. Stuck on an incredibly long quest that might drag on for the whole night? Start it late in the afternoon and time it so that the most dangerous work is done when you're at your most powerful. Unlike the savage Werewolf, most vampires must use their intelligence to get what they want.
And on the note of intelligence, while vampires are indeed slightly stronger than the average human they are nowhere near the strength of those feral weres. This means that often, unless you're a heavily armored vampire type, you must learn to use your smarts. As masters of deception and trickery, vampires have a myriad of ways to get the job done. Tricking others to do your dirty work for you, backstabbing potential threats and enemies and getting in good with powerful people are just a few of the tactics you can take to maintain your status within a populated area, allowing you to hunt and feed more safely in your chosen town or city
When hunting your prey, remember to stick to the shadows. As was said, you are a predator of the night, so take advantage of that boost to sneak you get. And don't be afraid to take advantage of some of your Illusion spells, Invisibility in particular. Whatever gets you your next meal faster, amirite? When you're facing an opponent that you can't escape from or execute silently, think strategically with the tools in your possession. All vampires in Skyrim have at least Frost magic, with some branching to Shock. Firing long range spells whilst running to avoid their attacks isn't cowardly; it's smart. Poisons are also a fitting tool for killing the big prey. Also it makes you feel pretty badass standing over someone who got hit with a poison of Paralysis and Lingering Damage Health as you watch them slowly die before you. >:3
Some vampires must sleep during the daytime. Others don't need to sleep at all. For some, sleep is just a way to recharge their power. Either way if you decide to sleep, find a safe spot that isn't in a town or city. Caves are a good generic choice, once you clear out their previous occupants of course. If you can find a coffin, I recommend using that. It fits the lore and stuff. Should you need to sleep in a town or city for whatever reason, do so in a location where no one can find you. After all, no one likes their beauty sleep being disturbed.
Gotta love how most vampires you read about or watch on shows possess an aptitude for manipulating the minds and thoughts of others. Some vampires use it to drive fear into the hearts of mortals, or to cause brother to fight against brother. Yet one thing almost never changes in the vampire's main arsenal: Calming. After all, how can you enjoy a nice dinner when your meal is either swinging a good-sized axe in your face or running in the opposite direction for dear life? There's a reason why it's one of the vampire's greater skills you know. Fury spells are good for getting mortals at each other's throats, letting you sit back in the darkness as they quietly kill each other.
Another good thing to invest in is some skill in speech. Whether it's for getting better prices, convincing mortals to do you some favors, or to talk your way out of jail time, you'll find that a sharp tongue will serve you just as well as Illusion for keeping yourself alive for longer. The best time to converse with people is after you've just fed, during your Stage 1. This is the time when your vampirism is least prominent. That said, I don't recommend trying this at Stage 4... Also who doesn't like better prices? Come one people! Allure is pretty good for a vampire roleplay perspective, as vampires were often noted to be very attractive to the opposite sex. And who could forget persuasion? The ability to fortify your skills in tricking people is invaluable to many. Bottom line is that deception rocks, and is a key tool in the vampire's arsenal.
Your prestige is important to think about, as both prominence and unimportance have their advantages and weaknesses. On the one hand, if you are famous in a hold, you can let off the aura of a noble or a thane, deceiving the masses that you fight for the side of justice. On the other hand, it makes your actions more notable, which makes it easier to bring your vampiric nature to light. Generally, however, if you are skilled enough in manipulation this shouldn't be too grave an issue. Obscurity means that less people pay attention to you, so no one will really notice that you're gone. This means you can slip out at night, feed, then return home without anyone being the wiser (unless you slip up somehow, of course). The only real downside is the lack of protection when it comes to guarding your innocence should the foolish mortals begin to raise questions. All in all, it's your character's decision what path they want to take.
Thanks to the oh so wonderful sun, you won't always be strolling into a city like any random merchant or noble or bard. But sometimes you need supplies, weapons or armor, or maybe you just need to sell some of this goddamn junk you salvaged from your last cave raid. When times like this arise, it's always smart to have a disguise. It makes life for a vampire a whole lot easier when everyone's not rushing at you weapons ablaze. Your disguise can be almost anything, but the best disguises are the most inconspicuous ones. Clothing is one of the best, and you've so many possible choices here. You could pretend to be a pilgrim wearing hooded robes of any kind. You can wear regular clothes and come off as a traveling merchant or bard. Whatever you chose, make sure your clothes cover as much of your whole body as possible so as to reduce exposure to the sun
Another good disguise is any apparel that comes with a closed helm or similar gear. Possible gear includes Hold Guard Armor, Chitin Armor, and various Heavy Armors throughout. Remember to try to keep it light, however, as you are weaker in the sun and therefore cannot carry as much. You can wear lighter clothing and just a helm that covers your face, but I find that it makes you stand out even more. The same can be said for Dragon Priest Masks. Nothing says "I'm evil" like the mask of a dead lich. But really, as long as it covers your face, it works. Other than that try not to wear clothes that may look sinister or dark. I find that gear like that really brings out the evilness in a vampire's pale face.
Vampires need to feed. No two ways about this one. After all, vampires in Skyrim will constantly complain about that gnawing hunger eating away at them. Know that the constant desire to feed will be upon you constantly, filling your mind with thoughts of feasting. Here's a basic idea of how it should feel during each stage:
- Stage 1: You're just fine right now. You're satiated and don't need to feed. The hunger is still there, however it is but a small echo in the back of your mind.
- Stage 2: Now that echo has become loud, and the hunger forces thoughts of blood into your mind. You're hungry. Time to feed. But you can still go a little while before feeding. You shouldn't wait too long, however
- Stage 3: You should probably feed now. That echo has evolved into a full-blown cacophony inside your mind. Blood will be almost always on your mind at this point. You have to find someone to feed upon before you regress any worse.
- Stage 4: You have to feed. Like, NOW. You don't care who it is or how, you just need to find someone to bite. You're starving. You need blood NOW! Feeding on anyone while in this stage will most likely kill them. The amount of blood you had to drain from them was too much for their frail, mortal bodies.
Obviously, some are strong enough to resist the urge to drink. Others slowly lose their minds the longer they go without feeding, to the point where they'll attack the first person whose scent falls upon their nose. But yea you get the basic idea: Blood is an important part of any vampire's diet. Also another thing to consider is that the hungrier you are, the more your vampiric nature comes out, which in turn alerts those nearest to you like a big neon sign that says "HEY GUYS I'M A VAMPIRE!" ...Well at least it does without Dawnguard. With Dawnguard, they won't attack you even if you're Stage 4. Some don't prefer this, however, so for those who want a reason to feed and feel like a monster, whenever you're in Stage 4, attack everyone and anyone around you in feral hunger. The stronger vampires, however, won't need to worry about this as much, as they will have managed to repress the need to feed.
The safest way to feed would be to break into someone's home at night and drink from them whilst they sleep. The other way to feed would be to use the Vampire's Seduction power on a mortal and feed on them afterwards. But know that if you use it and you fail, you've been caught. The target has taken a glimpse at your true nature as a predator of the night and will either flee or attack you (I would), so you must kill them first. While this can be a very dangerous and should only be used as a last resort, there IS a way to use it in a way to get a good, constant supply of blood, which brings me to...
Why bother sneaking into people's houses at night or hunting people down on the roads when you can have a walking blood bank right next to you at all times? Thralls are a nice, safe way to maintain a steady blood supply without all the danger and sneaking around. However, obtaining one isn't as easy as everyone says. First, you must get someone to like you enough to want to follow you. Then, you take them to a secluded location far from others, then use your Vampire's Seduction on them. If you succeed, bite them. Congrats, you've got a thrall. If you fail well, just like above, we can't let them live sadly. Put them down, then go find yourself another potential thrall.
Thralls don't have to be strong or well-armed. Any random traveler, merchant, bard, or just a plain old citizen will do. We're not always looking for protection; if you're a strong enough vampire you shouldn't need it. What we need is a traveling food supply for our long journeys. That said, a good deal of offensive capability is preferred. Makes everything easier for you if they can carry their own weight (and yours). Just be careful not to accidentally kill the weaker thralls you create if you chose to fight with them during combat. Also if your thrall goes down to one knee in combat, kill them. If they're this weak then you will have no further use for them.
If you've got the Dawnguard expansion installed (which you probably do if you're reading this), You may eventually come to lead the Volkihar Clan as the Master Vampire. When this happens, you'll need to supply them with fresh thralls, won't you? A cool idea is to wander Skyrim, earning the trust of mortal fools. Then you can take them to the castle to be permanently enthralled and feasted upon by your underlings (in reality you're going to kill them, but let's just pretend for a while :P). Then rinse and repeat. Make sure to do so sparingly, however, so as not to tip off the mortals to your "grocery shopping".
Tip #6 - Vampires have enemies all around them
Let's face it, vampires don't exactly have a reputation for being heroes and protectors. Especially with all the random vampire attacks on holds and cities, they are seen as monsters and abominations to nature to almost everyone in Tamriel. But there are at least two groups to be wary of: The Vigilants of Stendarr and the Dawnguard. The Vigilants aren't that much of a threat; they are, and have always, been horribly unprepared to deal with vampires. However, that doesn't mean they won't try to beat your skull in with a mace at the first sight of you. Same with the Dawnguard who, and I quote: "search out and destroy those bloodsucking scum wherever we find them". So when you see any of these guys, and you're not in armor that hides your facial features, attack them. If you don't want to fight them, either because you're too weak or you just don't feel like it, try to use Calm spells on them. If it doesn't work, sucks for you. This is the price you pay for becoming a master of the night.
Another potential enemy is any priest of Arkay. They are said to root out undeath wherever it may be. Last I checked, you were undead. So yea, kill those guys too when you get the time. They aren't as good at spotting vampires, but they could stand to die. Another thing to note is that, should you get caught using your vampiric powers and it nets you a bounty, getting rid of it is a lot harder than normal bounties cuz, you know, you got caught being a bloodsucking vampire. And now the whole guard knows it. Should you get a bounty in a hold in such a way, try to avoid that hold. The guards are most likely to attack you on sight. Should they catch you don't yield, don't pay a fine and don't go to jail; fight your way out of the city and never return.
Well that's all I have at the moment for my guide. I'm pretty sure I'm forgetting something here and there... I hope you've enjoyed. As a vampire enthusiast I had one hell of a time writing this guide. And please, do post your constructive criticisms here. I'm always looking for suggestions so that I can make this build as great as possible for others to read. Take care, own the night, and thanks for giving this a read!