Can any non-player character of any race in Skyrim acquire a disease effect through an attack, trap, or other source? (The obvious case is a familiar, since wolves can give the player rockjoint.) If so, do they take the associated penalties?

This includes enemy NPCs, neutral NPCs, and friendly NPCs like followers. Circumstantial evidence like the lack of disease resistance on NPCs where it would be expected, like vampires, suggests the answer is no.

  • 1
    Can you clarify if you mean whether diseases can be applied to NPCs/animals during normal gameplay, or whether the diseases would have any effect if they were applied through e.g. the console? Mar 22, 2017 at 20:59
  • I don't think they can, would be interested to figure out if they can get them normally.. or if they have them subtly e.g. vampires have vampirism etc
    – Codingale
    Mar 23, 2017 at 5:14

3 Answers 3


While I cannot give you definitive evidence with a picture or such, I can tell you that I've seen enemy's show the contracted disease effect before after taking damage from a wolf's attack, whether or not it actually applied any debuff's is unknown, but it's highly likely.


Yes It does. I went to a imperial camp in the Reach trying to talk to Legate Rikkie but then a bear attacked an imperial solider then in one of his attack he got light for a second (I think he has rockjoint). I went back to a save and it always does that so I think that they can get the disease.


I don't believe they can get diseases because it would hinder their ability to protect themselves

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    Are you positive though? The way it's worded sounds like a guess.
    – Timmy Jim
    Mar 23, 2017 at 11:13
  • Well do you see any citizens of say whiterun running around as vampires after an attack? Plus it would take a lot more work if the game had to keep track of every sick person in skyrim
    – Draugr
    Mar 24, 2017 at 2:55
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    I doubt it would take more work to keep track of actually, since diseases are just a status effect like "burning" or "poisoned".
    – user91193
    Mar 26, 2017 at 2:40

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