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I haven't played the Dawnguard Questline yet, so please try to keep this free of any major story spoilers.

I'm wondering whether I should join the Dawnguard or the Vampires. Before I make my decision, I wanted to know if chosing either faction will prevent you from acquiring certain skills/spells/items/et c. For example:

  • Can you still become a vampire if you join the Dawnguard? Even after you have completed the Dawnguard questline?
  • Can you get crossbows even if you join the vampires, or can you get them only by joining the dawnguard?

On top of that, I'd like to know if there's anything else I might miss out on by choosing either faction. Thank you!

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    Just as a minor spoiler, there is not that much difference between those two questlines (although I've found the Vampires radiant quests bit more interesting). Even the conclusion of the whole expansion is basically the same. – Yasskier Nov 21 '16 at 2:53
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The Dawnguard won't hate you if you become a vampire after joining, though they will refuse to offer you services or quest progress until you cure yourself (and they indicate as such).

Regular Crossbows are available, even to those who side with the vampires. Bolts may be harder to come by, however. If you want more advanced crossbows you'll need to side with the Dawnguard.

Regarding other bonuses, joining the Volkihar Vampires will eventually earn you some unique vampire-boosting equipment, whereas the Dawnguard will provide you with unique crossbows.

The biggest difference are the master-level trainers -- Archery, Heavy Armor, Restoration, and Smithing for the Dawnguard, and Two-handed and Speech for the Volkihar clan.

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  • Thanks! Well there are master trainers in the vanilla game as well, so I don't think I'll have to worry about that. One more thing though, taken from the Elder Scroll wikia: 'Choosing the path of Harkon grants the ability to become a Vampire Lord, although it's still possible to obtain this form if the path of the Dawnguard is chosen.' Is this true? Can you become a Vampire Lord even if you join the Dawnguard? If so, how? The article doesn't mention it again ... – MoritzLost Nov 20 '16 at 22:56
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    @MoritzLost Serana can turn you if you join the Dawnguard. Then you’ll be a Vampire Lord. – Lord Harkon Nov 20 '16 at 23:17
  • All the Dawnguard trainers are merchants. It is especially good for the Restoration trainer because he is an Alchemy merchant, not a spells merchant. I always use him to max my Restoration. – Nelson Nov 21 '16 at 7:37
  • @Nelson Why is that combination particularly good? – MoritzLost Nov 21 '16 at 18:59
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    Because you can easily make expensive potions using his own inventory and sell it back to him, or you can just grow your own reagents and basically get free training. – Nelson Nov 21 '16 at 19:28

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