I've been trying to use the setessential command to mark NPCs as not essential (thus killable) but certain NPCs remain essential after using the command. These NPCs are: Jarl Balgruuf, Farengar Secret-Fire (or whatever his name is), Jorleif (Ulfric's steward), all of the leaders of the Companions, Sibbi Black-Briar, members of the Theives Guild, and maybe more, but I don't know at the moment. But why isn't the command working? I have the correct BaseID and everything.

  • 1
    There's probably deeper coding set in place to prevent characters from dying, as their deaths would break the game. Without some NPCs, the game would be unbeatable. Also, possibly, the game designers do not wish for the characters to be killable, such as how the children of the game cannot be killed because the developers do not wish to condone the murder of children.
    – Aceofgods
    May 5, 2014 at 1:08
  • I think you have to look for mods at nexus.com for that. AFAIK, there is a mod that makes at least children killable.
    – Sandokan
    May 5, 2014 at 6:53

5 Answers 5


So you want to kill Jarl Balgruuf...why? He is like a major part of the story too! But, as ChaseC said, you need a MOD if you are on PC version. I am pretty sure Nexus has one, and the steam store probably does too.

Although, if you want to kill Ulfric Stormcloak, (Spoiler)

you can do the Imperial Legion questline (It takes about an hour) and kill him in the end


Some story-based NPC's essential code cannot be changed. You must download a mod to over-ride these commands.

  • Will loading the save again without the mods harm my save? Because I don't have a good enough computer to play Skyrim on it, I just brought my save from the PS3 and put it on the PC to use console commands to make people not essential.
    – Julum-Ei
    May 8, 2014 at 20:21
  • No. Loading Skyrim with the mods will not harm your save game. What Skyrim does is load your current character and erase all of the modded content as soon as your world loads.
    – FoxMcCloud
    May 9, 2014 at 12:49

Just out of curiosity, have you tried console-killing them? (bring up the console, select them with your mouse, and type "kill?"). I'm guessing they will just fall over, be unconscious for a bit, and then get up again, but I've never really been curious enough to try.

FWIW, I agree with Aceofgods; if you kill essential characters that are central to the storyline, it will break the main quest, and they (Bethesda) probably put some safeguards in place to prevent that.

  • That's exactly what happens. If they're doing an idle animation, such as leaning on a wall, instead of falling over, they may just be permanently stuck doing the idle animation until you use "resurrect" on them. That's what happens to me sometimes, at least. Don't know if that happens to other people.
    – Julum-Ei
    May 10, 2014 at 0:09

I'm not sure what you're trying to accomplish by killing them (e.g. do you just want to remove them from the game, or do you want to loot their items etc). However, if you want to do it purely to remove them from existence, you can do that very easily by opening the console (` or ~), clicking on them, typing in 'disable' (without quotes) and hitting enter. They will be removed from existence. And then if you ever want to bring them back, you can do so with 'enable'.

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    I'm doing a "screw quests, I'll just kill everyone" save.
    – Julum-Ei
    May 8, 2014 at 20:19

Whether or not you've completed a quest with them, you can't kill an essential character.

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