There are several soul categories for enchanting in Skyrim:

  • Petty
  • Lesser
  • Common
  • Greater
  • Grand

Standing aside these, there is a category for sentient beings, Black souls. I have two questions regarding these:

  • Are all black souls equal in strength? Does it matter if I use Master Necromancer's soul, or soul of some puny raider?
  • Are they all greater than any of the non-sentient being's souls? For example, better even than Ice Troll's soul - which is toughest monster I met so far.

Knowing this would help me a lot in planning the enchanting.

2 Answers 2


All black souls are considered Grand, and of the same quality.

The tradeoff is that black souls can only be held in a black soul gem, or The Black Star. In my experience, these are rarer on loot tables or NPC inventories than Grand soul gems, filled or unfilled.

  • So if I enchant items one by one, using black star, those are as good enchantments as I can get? Commented Dec 30, 2016 at 3:29
  • 2
    The quality of the enchantment heavily depends on your own enchanting skill and the perks you have. But using a soul of lower quality than Grand causes the magnitude of the achievement to receive a penalty.
    – two bugs
    Commented Dec 30, 2016 at 4:36
  • 1
    "Achievement" should be enchantment... too much eggnog, I suppose.
    – two bugs
    Commented Dec 30, 2016 at 16:38

Yes, all humanoid souls(also including argonians, khajiit, dremora and all manner of elves ie altmer, bosmer, dunmer and orcimer except falmer not just humans ie bretons, imperials, nords and redguards) are equal for enchanting purposes. However,they are not necessarily better than all animals in that respect. There is at least one animal type worthy of some time and effort.

Mammoths have grand level souls, but they may provide a significantly greater challenge to successfully soul trap compared to some humanoids. They have about as much health as a basic dragon, and hit a lot harder. They're often in pairs, as well as in the company of giants(greater souls) who have somewhat less health but hit even harder. Also, mammoths are not especially numerous and take a while to respawn. However, if you can snipe the giants and have the ability to take down the mammoths fairly quickly, they are a decent source of grand level souls.

  • Can someone explain to my why this was downvoted? Is it semantics(listing other humanoids with black souls besides just humans because the original question only said humans which I interpret as breton, imperial, nord and redguard making the premise that only those have black souls false)? Why not edit the answer instead, or leave a comment suggesting an answer edit? I will edit this a bit in the hopes it proves a more accurate answer(I think it actually better addresses the question than the other anwer, but that's me).
    – Jtenorj3
    Commented Jun 24, 2018 at 17:38
  • It's down voted because it adds almost nothing to the accepted answer. Yes, there's a lot of text, but it's not particularly relevant nor provides anything new.
    – Nelson
    Commented Jun 24, 2018 at 19:16

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