I want to make sure I learn all the Thu'um, and in order to do that, I need to acquire quite a few dragon souls. Should I put off the main quest as I slay dragons and find hidden draconic words, or is this a non-issue?

Clarification: I know the dragons begin spawning after a set point in the main quest. The main crux of my question is whether they stop spawning after another (later) set point in the main quest. There are infinite dragons during the main quest, but do they stick around forever?

  • I'm not entirely sure, I'm seeking the same answer, but I know the dragons are friendly now that Alduin is dead, but there may be evil ones still, but don't take my answer as truth as this is completely theory.
    – user14441
    Nov 15, 2011 at 20:02
  • @Alex jeez, spoiler
    – Resorath
    Nov 26, 2011 at 1:03

5 Answers 5


Post main quest dragons still spawn at least for the bounty quests given by stewards. I came across a couple out in the wild but in previously undiscovered locations so no guarantees they will still random spawn.

Edit: Scratch that, just got an unpleasant surprise in riften they still spawn everywhere.

  • 3
    Oh yes, they still spawn after the main quest is over. I literally almost can't fast travel anywhere outside without seeing a dragon off in the distance.
    – Reid
    Nov 15, 2011 at 19:36
  • Yep, you can hardly walk between holds without getting weighed down with dragon bones
    – puppybeard
    Feb 6, 2012 at 13:49

Yes, there are an infinite number of random quests to do after you done the main story line. So, the game doesn't end there. The ability to harvest dragon souls has nothing to do with quests, it only has to do with killing the dragons (there are infinite of them). Some say that being near the dragon, or being involved into the fight from a distance might even be enough to obtain the dragon soul...

Given that there are 24 shouts each consisting of 3 words, you have to kill a maximum of 72 dragons to obtain all the words. Please note that some quests reward you with a shout, in which way you require to kill less dragons as the words would already be learned/activated for the other shouts. I think it would be something around 48 dragons or so, but it depends on what you were rewarded using the main quest. So, you might want to consider to continue on the main quest...

  • See my clarification in the question. Nov 13, 2011 at 3:48
  • 1
    That still doesn't answer my question. Nov 13, 2011 at 3:56
  • @StrixVaria: Infinite dragons. They do randomly spawn irrelevant to the main quest, I have had two dragons haunt me on my way to a far city. I don't think that the main quest would stop these, but I can't tell for 100% sure other than that they have mentioned that they spawn infinite. I don't think it would be smart to deny you from learning/activating the other words... Nov 13, 2011 at 3:57
  • @StrixVaria: Indeed, above is the updated comment I was still typing. Nov 13, 2011 at 3:58
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    The question wants to know if finishing the main quest stops dragons from spawning. Skyrim may have "unlimited dragons", but that's irrelevant if they stop spawning entirely. Nov 13, 2011 at 4:19

The dragons never stop spawning. You can easily test this by just travelling to various dragon nests, you can kill dragons at those spots over and over again. No idea on what the respawn timer is.

There are a few named dragons that I don't think respawn, they are patrolling.


If you find all the dragon altar places, you can pretty much do an infinite loop of dragon fighting. I like to throw in the giant camps for good measure. A great way to make money and get dragon souls. Also, what do i do with all the extra dragon souls? They should add a repeatable quest to exchange like 20 or so souls for a talent point...

Post main quest, dragons still spawn both randomly and in specific areas. There is no shortage so don't worry.

  • There's a mod for that: skyrimnexus.com/downloads/file.php?id=2063 Requires ScriptDragon (link on the mod's page) and lets you use dragon souls to purchase perk points. Default exchange rate is 10 souls per perk point, but you can set it to whatever rate you like in the ini file. Dec 2, 2011 at 15:49

After completing the main questline, dragons continue to spawn. It's less common, but random dragon encounters still happen.

  • 1
    Is there any actual evidence for the decrease in frequency, or is this just a 'I think so because it sort of happened to me' thing? Nov 18, 2011 at 16:00

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