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When I...

  1. kill someone in a city, enter a house and leave a house OR
  2. kill someone in a dungeon, leave the dungeon and enter the dungeon

... will the bodies of the dead people disappear or can I still come back to loot them?

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The currently accepted answer is incorrect. – Fluttershy Apr 18 '12 at 21:51
I would think the example given in that other answer of corpses disappearing would be proof enough. – Fluttershy Apr 19 '12 at 0:15
@Fluttershy: Changed accept as per popular vote. – Tom Wijsman Apr 19 '12 at 13:08
up vote 17 down vote accepted

Bodies do not persist forever. Eventually they will be removed.

I was just beginning to think that the dragon skeleton at the College would be around forever, but when I visited it now it was gone.

Similarly, when I killed Belethor, I was surprised to see that his body had been cleaned up rather quickly.

Corpses tend to stay around longer than you would ever have need for them (I presume to give you adequate chance to loot), but they do disappear eventually, no matter their source.

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StrixVaria is correct. There is a maximum of dead bodies per "cell" in the game world. You can leave an area and come back later to loot the bodies, yes. However the bodies in each area will "recycle" eventually to make place for new ones. – faB Dec 23 '11 at 6:08
"Eventually" can be pretty fast. I once killed a dragon in Morthal on my first visit there. I did not loot it because I didn't have enough carry capacity. I fast traveled away, made room, and immediately returned, only to find the dragon corpse gone. – Hackworth Jan 31 '12 at 10:15
If you fast travel time goes by quickly so the bodies seem to go away quickly. If you walk away, the bodies go away more slowly because time is going by more slowly. Bottom line: the bodies go away after the same amount of in-game time whether you fast travel or not. – System Folder Apr 19 '12 at 8:31
@TomWijsman The dragon was not indoors, it was outdoors. I know for a fact that some hunters, Thalmor, Khajiit Caravaners, and others that I killed in the game outdoors had their bodies disappear after a while. – StrixVaria Apr 19 '12 at 11:00

protected by Community Jan 31 '12 at 10:18

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