Recently I enchanted a weapon with a fire damage enchantment. I found a better weapon and wanted to do the same thing with that weapon. However, this time, whenever I tried to select an enchantment, the game would say something like "charge not sufficient for this enchantment".

I figured that somehow the soul gems need to be charged with souls before I can use them. However, since then, I feel like I've killed at least a couple of dozen enemies, yet the message stays the same.

I feel like I haven't understood something about the soul gems. How do they work?

  • Have you been using soultrap spells to trap the souls of slain enemies in the gems?
    – Arkive
    Nov 12, 2011 at 0:05

2 Answers 2


In order to charge a soul gem, you need to use the Soul Trap spell: merely killing enemies isn't enough. Cast Soul Trap, then kill the enemy, and the gem will get charged.

If you have a weapon with the Soul Trap enchantment, that'll work as well.

  • 3
    Note that regular soul gems will only work on creatures like wolves, and NOT Npcs (like bandits). To soultrap sentient souls, you'll need to acquire black soul gems. Nov 12, 2011 at 7:09

There is also a random enchantment that has a soul trapping effect, which can be found on randomly generated weapons.

BUT, if you give these weapons (and empty soul gems) to your followers, they WILL NOT trap souls for you.

All those poor random low level wolves that I wanted to feed to my axe get to go to doggie heaven instead. :(

  • 2
    This is completely false. My housecarl have a weapon with soul trap and empty gems, and I regularly get filled gems from her. You can even see the effect of the soul trap spell on your adversary.
    – Jupotter
    Nov 19, 2011 at 10:58
  • My archer has the same thing, and it hasn't worked yet. Perhaps this is a bug with weapon classes, or the console version itself? --Both of us carry every variety of empty soul gem, and the spell effect has only ever worked when I've cast the spell myself.
    – Faix
    Nov 19, 2011 at 11:26
  • Faix you say you are using the spell and not an enchanted weapon so the souls will only capture for your gems. Jupotter said the companion was using a soul trap enchanted weapon with empty gems and the weapon effect should function normally for any empty gems in the companion inventory. I never bother letting companions capture I just tag what they are hitting with my enchant and suck the souls that way.
    – user17239
    Dec 28, 2011 at 3:12

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