It is apparently possible to recruit companions/followers who will fight by your side, carry out simple tasks, and so forth. I have managed to acquire one in the very first village, but have thus far not had him travel with me because I don't know how sturdy he'll be in combat.

Do companions die permanently, like most NPCs? Or do they become incapacitated/unconscious like vital quest givers? Die but can be picked up again from their original location later?


8 Answers 8


Follower death is handled pretty oddly;

  • If their health is exhausted due to enemy fire, they just get knocked out. Healing them or finishing combat and allowing them to regenerate will bring them back to life.
  • If you kill them due to friendly fire, that's it: they're dead permanently.

But there are situations that may cause a follower to die permanently, even after they enter the "knocked out"/"cower" state: if an enemy keeps wailing on them, there's a chance they'll die permanently.

But it's not guaranteed: looking around online, I've found numerous accounts of Lydia or Faendal dying easily, but others who swear nothing they do kills them. UESP describes the follower death mechanics as such:

When your follower would die to an enemy attack or a trap, they will be incapacitated for some time and begin to recover their health, just like essential NPCs; enemies will stop attacking or targeting them during this time. However, if they lose all their health again during this period, they will die for good. Thus, you should try to move the fight away from them, so that they are not hit by a stray arrow or area-effect spell. They can also die if hit with a damage-over-time poison that is stronger than their health recovery. They can also die from enemy power-attacks.

  • 1
    Only partially true. Companions can die to some (possibly important, or high level) NPC's. My stray dog died to regular enemies, Faendral (or whatever his name is) died to a bandit boss.
    – Mr Smooth
    Commented Nov 13, 2011 at 1:26
  • 1
    @MrSmooth Yeah, I don't know what's intended. Looking around online, I've found a bunch of people saying their companions permanently die easily, even to enemy fire, and others who swear nothing kills them. Seems like follower death is buggy to say the least.
    – user3389
    Commented Nov 13, 2011 at 2:06
  • What I'm thinking is that certain companions can die very easily (like a stray dog) while others (story characters) can only die while battling other story characters.
    – Mr Smooth
    Commented Nov 13, 2011 at 2:39
  • I had one of the ceiling axes in the Gold Hand mission tragically kill my companion and push him through the wall; after getting killed myself the companion was gone. So, it is indeed kind of buggy... Commented Nov 13, 2011 at 5:03
  • 5
    I hate how I can't use Fire Ball with Lydia around...
    – Ivo Flipse
    Commented Dec 27, 2011 at 8:48

Followers can be killed sometimes.

From the Elder Scrolls Wiki, followers who can be killed can die from:

  1. Too much damage (e.g., a giant can kill Lydia easily)
  2. Being killed by the player(including shouting)
  3. Falling
  4. Poison
  5. Traps
  6. Being hit by an enemy while the player is speaking with them
  7. Being attacked by turrets

That said, there are certain circumstances where followers are immune to death. For example, Mjoll the Lioness:

Mjoll is an essential NPC and cannot be killed by other NPCs or by the player.

On the other hand, Aela the Huntress is immune to death during a single quest:

She cannot be killed while the Totems of Hircine quest is active because of her quest significance. However, once the quest has been completed, she can be killed.


Followers can die, you can even kill them yourselves.

They don't generally rush ahead, they attack if you attack or you are attacked. They won't do anything if you're not in combat. They will even sneak when you sneak. You can also command them to "wait" if you want to go it alone on a certain part.

They have a "second chance" of sorts - when they are about to die they fall to the ground and recover, just like important NPCs. The mobs will switch their attention to you. If the mobs go back to the follower after that, he will die tho.


Companions can die, however most of the time when they are low on hitpoints they start to crawl and regenerate health. At this time the enemies will start attacking something else (usually you).


It is the same concept as in Fallout: New Vegas - companions work in the same way (Bethesda being involved with both games).

Normally a follower (a stray dog is an exception) will permanently die due to friendly fire or to an enemy with an exceedingly high level like a dragon or constant enemy fire. For those rare cases where followers die instantly without even healing the cause is unknown. Possible reasons include having previously hitting your follower, which in some way make it count as friendly fire. Suggestion is to leave followers out of situations you know they cannot handle.


Yes. Followers can die permanently from any damage, including friendly fire, unless they are set to “essential”.

When a character set as essential takes nearly fatal damage, they collapse onto their hands and knees (also known as Bleedout) and stumble around for a period of time, instead of dying. [Source — UESP wiki]

Basically, the "essential" status makes followers immune to death from any source.

Also, note that:

All permanent followers become protected NPCs while they are actively following you. When your follower would die due to an enemy attack or a trap, they will be incapacitated for some time and begin to recover their health, just like essential NPCs; enemies will stop attacking or targeting them during this time. However, if they lose all their health again during this period, they will die for good. Thus, you should try to move the fight away from them, so that they are not hit by a stray arrow or area-effect spell. They can die from a damage-over-time effect that is stronger than their health recovery; most commonly those are caused by poisons. [Source — UESP wiki]

The UESP wiki's "Followers" article has a handy list indicating which followers are "essential" and which aren't.

There are ways to prevent “non-essential” followers from dying, such as the Companion's Insight ability. You can get this ability from the Dragonborn DLC by completing the quest “The Winds of Change”. This ability prevents friendly fire from damaging your followers in combat, so you won’t accidentally kill them. Its in-game description is:

Your attacks, shouts, and destruction spells do no damage to your followers when in combat.

Another option for PC players is to use console commands to set a follower as "essential". To accomplish this, follow these steps:

  • Enter the following console command: setessential <base ID> 1. Replace <base ID> with the base ID of your follower. It can be found in your follower’s respective UESP wiki article. In Lydia’s case: setessential A2C8E 1.
  • To restore the "non-essential" status, enter the same console command, but enter 0 instead of 1, e.g., setessential A2C8E 0.

There are also mods that can set followers as "essential". PC players can use the UFO - Ultimate Follower Overhaul mod (original/Legendary Edition) / (Special Edition), which lets you set a follower as "essential" through a dialog option.

Xbox One and PS4 players can use the No More Dead Followers mod (Xbox One) / (PS4):

Do you worry about casting a really powerful spell, going berserk with your two-handed weapon, or taking a risky bow shot because your your favorite follower gets in the way? Worry no more! This mod makes all followers (even animal followers) immortal, so they can't be killed--not even by you!

If your follower has died, you may still be able to use console commands (PC only) to resurrect/respawn them. See this Arqade post for more info: How do I resurrect companions / followers?


Yes. Typically they'll just get knocked out, but when I was fighting against the Snow Troll and it could 2 hit me... my NPC got knocked out over and over. Eventually I found them dead as I was running around.


Followers can also die when being sent home. But don't worry, you will earn an inheritance from them :)

After your follower dies, and you are in a city, a courier will approach you, give you condolences, and congratulate you on the 300 gold that you have inherited. (not in that order)

  • Can you elaborate on this? What form does the inheritance take and how do you collect it?
    – Ben Blank
    Commented Dec 27, 2011 at 15:16
  • 2
    This isn't so much of an Answer, as it is further comment on previous Answers. It should probably have been a comment on one of them.
    – Mufasa
    Commented Dec 27, 2011 at 15:16
  • @Mufasa but which one? :)
    – GmNoob
    Commented Dec 27, 2011 at 17:48
  • @GmNoob: If their aren't any applicable Answers, then on the Question.
    – Mufasa
    Commented Dec 27, 2011 at 17:51

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