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I gave my follower (Lydia) basic items to improve her chances to survive: armor, weapon, shield, bow and necklace. I also gave her some items to keep if I ever need them for immediate use e.g. fire resistance boots.

However, when I check her inventory sometimes new items appear apparently out of nowhere: usually all kinds of arrows but sometimes swords and last night enchanted stuff to turn undead.

  1. I'm 100% sure I never gave her those items.
  2. I'm 100% sure I never gave her command to pick those items up from the floor or from a container.
  3. The arrows might be explained if she picks up arrows shot at her - she take lots of those very bravely without ever complaining but so far wasn't able to see her taking arrow out her body and put in her quill.
  4. I do explore lots of places that most likely have the items appearing in her inventory.

Can I control this thing or define what she should take and what not to take? Is this behavior documented somewhere? If so, I couldn't find it so far.

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Arrows have a chance of being added to the inventory of an NPC or creature they hit. There is no animation for pulling them out, they just instantly end up in their inventory.

NPCs without a weapon in their inventory will go after weapons laying on the ground and in containers, perhaps that's the reason for melee weapons in your companion's inventory. They might also go for unattended staves, though I've never observed such behavior.

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Cheers, this explains the arrows. By "unarmed" you mean no weapon currently equipped, or no weapon in the inventory at all? – Shadow Wizard Mar 18 '12 at 9:26
I think it only happens when they don't have a weapon at all. – kotekzot Mar 18 '12 at 13:32
Hmm.. so this does not explain my case as Lydia has top notch weapons at her disposal. Not that she's always using it, but that's different matter altogether. – Shadow Wizard Mar 18 '12 at 14:23
Marked accepted, probably won't get any better answer.. – Shadow Wizard Apr 16 '12 at 7:32

This surely isn't what happened in your case, but, to add:

There is also a mod that will allow followers to equip items directly from your inventory. It can be found here.

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No mods or even console - playing the game raw and straight. – Shadow Wizard Mar 20 '12 at 7:06
@Shadow: My intention was to help people who found this page looking to find a way to make followers take items on their own, based on the title. – BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Mar 20 '12 at 14:47
No problem, I don't mind having this answer around and didn't downvote it of course just confirming it's not relevant to my specific case. :-) – Shadow Wizard Mar 20 '12 at 14:56

I'm not sure if they're suppose to but I know lydia not only picks things up on my game, she has also been known to drop the weapons I give her and pick up new ones if her inventory is too full to just have one. She'll only pick up new ones if she thinks they're better than the one she has though. She is also a bad judge as she dropped an enchanted epic dwarven sword to the ground for a run of the mill glass sword. It is also worth noting that she only takes things off the ground, but that the ground includes anything that can be seen equipped on a dead opponent. Not from their inventory though.

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