Facing those that feed on the blood of the living presents a number of perils. In addition to their terrifying visage, zombified Thralls, and skill at both melee and magical combat, Vampires have a unique Drain Life ability. Not only can this rapidly sap your health while restoring theirs, each time it strikes you, you have a ten percent chance of contracting the disease Sanguinare Vampiris, a disease that will eventually cause you to join their ranks.
After any battle with Vampires, check your Active Effects list. If you see Sanguinare Vampiris, quickly drink a Potion of Cure Disease or make haste to a Shrine for healing. As the diseases run its course, you'll receive a message at twilight that reads, "You feel a strange thirst as the sun sets," and a second notification the following dawn; "You feel weaker as the sun rises." After three days of this, the disease takes over complete, and you transform into a Vampire!
Stages of Vampirism
As a Vampire, you must feed on human blood! Vampirism has four distinct stages, based on how long it has been since you last fed. The more time has elapsed, the more severe the advantages and disadvantages of this condition become. In order to survive as a Vampire, it is worth knowing exactly what these benefits and drawbacks are:
- Immune to Disease: You are completely immune to disease. Any diseases you had upon becoming a vampire are instantly cured.
- Immune to Poision: You are completely immune to all forms of poison.
- Champion of the Night: Illusion spells that you cast are 25% more powerful.
- Nightstalker's Footsteps: You are 25% harder to detect while Sneaking.
- Resist Frost: The stage of your Vampirism adds to your Frost Resistance:
- Stage 1 Vampirism: Resist Frost 25%.
- Stage 2 Vampirism: Resist Frost 50%.
- Stage 3 Vampirism: Resist Frost 75%.
- Stage 4 Vampirism: Resist Frost 100%.
- Hatred: Stages 1, 2, 3 Vampirism: Citizens of Skyrim and guards will not recognize you as a Vampire, but may (25% of the time) remark that you're looking distinctly "pale" or "hungry."
- Hatred: Stage 4 Vampirism: All citizens and guards within a settlement will recognize exactly what you are, and attack you on sight.
- Weakness to Sunlight: When outdoors between the hours of 5am and 7pm, your Health, Magicka, and Stamina will not regenerate. Their maximum values are also reduced:
- Stage 1 Vampirism: Health, Magicka, and Stamina are reduced by 15 points.
- Stage 2 Vampirism: Health, Magicka, and Stamina are reduced by 30 points.
- Stage 3 Vampirism: Health, Magicka, and Stamina are reduced by 45 points.
- Stage 4 Vampirism: Health, Magicka, and Stamina are reduced by 60 points.
- Weakness to Fire: The stage of your Vampirism also gives you a Weakness to Fire:
- Stage 1 Vampirism: Weakness to fire 25%.
- Stage 2 Vampirism: Weakness to fire 50%.
- Stage 3 Vampirism: Weakness to fire 75%.
- Stage 4 Vampirism: Weakness to fire 100%.
Powers As your Vampirism progresses, you gain an increasingly powerful set of additional abilities:
- Stage 1 Vampirism:
- Vampire's Sight: For one minute, you can see better in dark environments. This Power can be used as often as you like and has no cost.
- Vampiric Drain: A special Destruction spell, Vampiric Drain absorbs 2 Health per second from your target.
- Vampire's Servant: Once per day, you can reanimate a dead creature to fight for you for 60 seconds. Only works on creatures of level 6 or less.
- Stage 2 Vampirism:
- All powers from Stage 1, plus:
- Vampire's Seduction: Creatures and people up to level 8 won't fight or flee for 30 seconds.
- Vampiric Drain: Increases to 3 Health drained per second.
- Vampire's Servant: Now affects creatures of level 13 or less.
- Stage 3 Vampirism:
- All powers from Stages 1 and 2, plus:
- Vampiric Drain: Increases to 4 health drained per second.
- Vampire's Servant: Now effects creatures of level 21 or less.
- Stage 4 Vampirism:
- All powers from Stages 1, 2, and 3, plus:
- Embress of Shadows: Once per day, you can invoke this power to gain Vampire's Sight and Invisibility for 3 minutes.
- Vampiric Drain: Increases to 5 Health drained per second.
- Vampire's Servant: Now effects creatures of level 30 or less.
Maintaining Vampirism: Feeding
As a Vampire, the only way you can continue to function in normal society is to feed. Feasting on the blood of the living can be tricky: you must find a sleeping human (citizens and guards tend to be the easiest, though a sleeping soldier, bandit, or warlock will work as well), then activate them to feed on their blood. Doing so reverts your disease back to Stage 1.
Life as a Vampire
Aside from the panic and hostility you spread as a Stage 4 Vampire, the main problems you encounter are your weaknesses to sunlight and fire. Minimize these risks here by exploring subterranean catacombs and dungeons during the daytime, and prowl the countryside at night. You may also want to draw on the power of the Lady Stone, which helps to offset the lack of normal Health or Stamina regeneration during daylight.
If you plan to let your disease progress, trading will become difficult. Learn to craft your own potions and equipment, and try to become as self-sufficient as possible. When you must interact with others, slip into a remote settlement to feed, then continue on to the nearest city to trade before your disease advances once more.
Feeding is achieved by sneaking up on sleeping or inattentive targets and using the "Feed" option in the same manner as you would the "Pickpocket" option.
As a Vampire, you receive a number of bonuses that improve your stealth abilities, making Vampirism a blessing for Thieves, Archers, and Assassins. You will also find it significantly easier to explore Falmer Hives (since you're immune to the poisons that they, their Chaurus, and their Spiders use), Nordic Ruins (since the Draugr use Frost Magic almost exclusively), and Vampire Lairs (since you no longer need fear contracting the disease). You also have a dramatic advantage when fighting frost-breathing dragons, though a corresponding weakness to fire-breathing dragons. Keep some potions of Fire Resistance on hand, just in case!
There are but three ways to cure yourself of this affliction.
During Disease Progression:
- Visit any on the Temples to cure all diseases and Receive a Blessing in the process.
After Stage 1 Sets in:
- Contract Lycanthropy. The blood ritual that transforms you into a werewolf will cure any diseases you have, even full-blown Vampirism. Of course, you now have other, more hairy problems to contend with...
- Or, you can visit the mage named Falion in Morthal, the Hold Capital of Hjaalmarch, and complete Rising at Dawn (Find and fill a Black Soul Gem for him).
Note: Vampirism can be caught more than once.