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I want to set my companions as SetEssential with the console.. that way they cant die.. will anything bad happen if I do that??

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Nope, as a rule, setting a "non-essential NPC" as "essential" won't mess anything up. Since followers are all non-essential, you can set them as essential. Except for one quest where you have to sacrifice a follower (Boethiah), which won't work if this follower is essential, obviously.

But don't, I repeat, DON'T set an "essential NPC" as "non-essential", which can greatly mess the game.

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Not unless you find it fun to kill essential NPCs off. :) – Doomsknight Jan 9 '12 at 14:11
Ulfric took it in the face quite a few times, yes.. But one should never do it without saving first, and then loading the game, since game with a dead essential is essentially screwed ("To continue the main quest, bring this axe to Ulfric!" "Oh, well... About that...") – Cristol.GdM Jan 9 '12 at 14:51

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