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In lieu of a house, I'm considering clearing a dungeon and storing stuff in its chest, but I don't know if the enemies will come back. After killing everything in a dungeon, will more enemies respawn eventually?

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I myself haven't tried this at all so I do not know if this works or not, but here is a mod that will cause every cell to respawn every 1-3 days. It does break the game plot, as NPCs respawn as well, so beware. –  user14270 Nov 14 '11 at 9:14
    
I don't think it's a good idea to store your stuff there. May come up missing after a few days. –  b01 Dec 8 '11 at 17:02

4 Answers 4

up vote 20 down vote accepted

Within a couple of days, there is no respawn. Respawn now takes 30 ingame days, which is longer than in previous ES games.

You even get a "cleared" marker on the map when you eradicated an area of all its inhabitants for the duration.

However, when you have not fully cleared sites, enemies may respawn. I experienced this myself at some fort which name I can't remember right now. I killed 3 of the guys outside, went into a tower inside the fort, came out again and they respawned.

By the way, storing stuff inside containers which do not explicitly belong to you (e.g. stand in your house) doesn't seem to be safe. At least one of the loading screens explicitly says that storing anything in "wild" containers does not guarantee for it to be in there when you look for it the next time.

One way to find a dungeon which has respawned enemies inside is to accept one of the various kill quests that you can find (from innkeepers, the Dark Brotherhood, etc.), which will lead you to you to these dungeons. These procedurally generated kill-quests will send you to dungeons where the difficulty inside matches your level, which means that taking one of these at higher levels will have a higher likelyhood of taking you to a more difficult respawn-dungeon.

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This really sucks, I liked re-run certain dungeons when I was in need of certain items (certain dungeons are great for getting arrows for instance). Does this mean it is possible to clear every dungeon and really have nothing to do because enemies don't re-spawn (even though that would take a while)? –  ryanzec Nov 11 '11 at 14:54
    
Well, now that you're asking this reminded me of something. I'll add it to the answer. –  heishe Nov 11 '11 at 14:56
    
well if that is true, that make me feel better. –  ryanzec Nov 11 '11 at 15:05
    
I have edited the post, since I experienced respawn myself now and I also saw other people talk about it in forums. –  heishe Nov 14 '11 at 8:33
    
Cleared dungeons do respawn after 30 days. –  kotekzot Mar 29 '12 at 7:21

Some dungeons do repopulate themselves. It just takes 30 in-game days instead of Bethesda's previous 3 in-game days.

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Can you cite a source? –  Konerak Nov 13 '11 at 13:44
2  
See this mod which changes the default values. Vanilla respawn time is ten in-game days, thirty days for areas marked "Cleared" on the map. PS: Those might be different on consoles, for savegame storage reasons. –  faB Dec 21 '11 at 0:02

I have been playing the game for a while and though some dungeons don't respawn (typically dungeons tied to major plot lines) most do and in very short order (maybe a week tops). I've cleared one giant camp probably 5 times. I could not give you an exact figure but the rate at which they respawn seems to vary somewhat from place to place. The items in both chests and lying around on shelves do respawn and are leveled, and any items you leave in a dungeon container will be gone when it respawns (theoretically I haven't bothered trying but there is a load screen message which says as much and it was the case in oblivion)

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I've gone back to dungeons I couldn't finish earlier because they were too hard, and all the enemies and urns/shelves/containers respawned. The keys I had used to unlock the doors didn't respawn and the doors were unlocked.... but all the equipment I had left on the ground in the dungeon was still there.

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