When I left a cave, there was a dragon skeleton sitting right in front of me. I didn't kill it and it wasn't there when I went in the cave. It was already empty and decomposed. Can NPCs fight (or do anything for that matter) while I am in a different zone?

What happens to a dragon's soul if it is kill by an NPC? Do I have a time limit to collect the soul?

  • I killed a dragon and then ran into another zone. and I still got the soul. Maybe it's a bug?
    – Zenonv4
    Commented Nov 13, 2011 at 3:07
  • I am assuming that if you are near the dragon when it dies you will automatically collect its soul. What if an NPC miles and miles away kills a dragon?
    – user9983
    Commented Nov 13, 2011 at 3:11
  • Then there must be some limit, And i think dragons only appear where you are, E.g I'm in solitude, Then there cant be an dragon in riften
    – Zenonv4
    Commented Nov 13, 2011 at 3:48

3 Answers 3


It's a bug. Sometimes when you kill some things it will pop up near where you killed it. Sometimes you will see it fall out of the sky.

This is fixed in the Unofficial Skyrim Patch, which you can download through Steam.


Not sure about the zone stuff. But I watched a dragon fly around picking fights with everyone before getting killed by a couple of mammoths. Of course I sniped it a couple of times and took the soul ;)

  • How far away were you?
    – user9983
    Commented Nov 13, 2011 at 5:20
  • 2
    close enough to fire off a few arrows. Had to approach the corpse to get the soul.. and loot the bones, scales, etc.
    – Webhead
    Commented Nov 15, 2011 at 19:41

Please note that bodies will lie permanently on the ground, or at least for a very long time. When I return back to the first city I was in I saw the bodies I killed in the first minutes I played Skyrim.

There are quite some possibilities for this case:

  1. You have fought the Dragon in the past.

  2. Some NPCs have fought the Dragon in the past.

  3. Some event in the dungeon causes the body to be there, to denote people have fought outside.

  4. The Dragon body was there already, from the beginning of the game.
    Highly unlikely, though... Because it would then be part of the story.

  5. As Zenonv4 mentioned, it could be that nearby zones are emulated.
    Highly unlikely, though... Because that would have quite some impact on the CPU.

  • This is not what I have experienced. Dragon skeletons disappear within minutes for me. I did not kill this dragon and it was certainly not there when i went in.
    – user9983
    Commented Nov 13, 2011 at 15:33
  • @OrigamiRobot: Then it's either 3 or 5. Commented Nov 13, 2011 at 17:40

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