I have Sven as my follower at the moment and I've given him some Elven Armour (Light) and an Ancient Nord Battleaxe (2h), but I have no idea if these items work for him or not.

Do the followers have stats and skills already? I read on the wiki that Lydia is a good thief, and I know Sven is a bard. If he's a bard, then Bow and Dagger surely?

Or do followers work like the player and what items you give them shape their skills?

  • IIRC all the stats they have are the same. Commented Nov 15, 2011 at 20:44
  • 2
    Sven is good at smithing, alchemy, enchanting, and archery. I have read this from my official guidebook (which is like the size of an encyclopedia XD) So yeah, they all have different attributes and some are from guilds, favors, quests, hired, found, or in one dog's case- bought.I'm trying to find out if enchanted items i give them have an effect on them, i'm not sure..
    – user14487
    Commented Nov 16, 2011 at 1:47
  • Oooh, so does that mean you can ask your followers to create items for you? I had not tried that!
    – Neon1024
    Commented Nov 16, 2011 at 8:57
  • I have janessa, and i had the same situation. Right now im wearing orcish armor, and she is too. she used two handed weapons most of the time, but now i gave her the choice of all dwarven weapons, orchish, elvish, and (exclusively) an ebony 1handed sword. She uses the one hander and any heavy armor shield i give her.
    – user14825
    Commented Nov 19, 2011 at 20:52

5 Answers 5


Followers are generally given a set of skills that will improve, regardless of what you equip them with. These will improve with level, but nothing else will. Faendal is always going to do better with bows than with a greatsword, for example.

To this end, the official strategy guide states:

  • Sven's skills are alchemy, enchanting, smithing, and archery
  • Lydia's skills are in one-handed, heavy armor, archery, and block; not sneak

It's not clear where the rumor that Lydia would make an excellent thief started: UESP mentions she has the sneak skill on the list of followers (I suspect that's where Wikia pulled the information), but her wiki page clearly marks her as a warrior (the correct designation). Nothing about her says "stealthy": she starts with a sword and board and tells you over and over that she's there to protect you.

While the official strategy guide does list what each follower's skill is, with the exception of Lydia, UESP's version matches up with the strategy guide, so it should be pretty accurate to determine what skills your follower has.

But if you wanted to do it without consulting a guide or a wiki, it's generally common sense and usually based on what equipment they come with. Lydia comes with a sword and shield, so her skills are one-handed and block; Faedrun comes with a bow, so one of his skills is archery; and so on.

  • I figured on this, however the follower uses whatever the highest dmg item they have is. So if you give them a "Waraxe" they'll use that instead of a sword.
    – Neon1024
    Commented Nov 18, 2011 at 8:56
  • I've created a followup/related question also, gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/36961/…
    – Neon1024
    Commented Nov 18, 2011 at 8:56

All followers have different stats that are determined by their level. Their level is fixed as soon as you enter the zone and the NPC is loaded. Once that happens, you cannot change their proficiencies without the console.

To find out exactly what the stats of the follower has, you have to perform a series of console commands:

  1. Move up to the NPC you want to query.
  2. Open up the console and click on them. There should be a small text string that shows up in the console, that is their unique ID.
  3. Start querying their stats via the command getav. For example:
    • getav health shows you their health
    • getav sneak shows you their sneak ability
  4. You can use the command: showinventory to see what their default armors are, even if it doesn't show up when you ask them to open their inventory in the dialog menu.

If you ever wish to 'level up' your follower since you have leveled after meeting them:

  1. Remove all gear from their inventory (at least ones that you don't want to be blown away.)
  2. Select them via the console again
  3. use the console command: disable
  4. use the console command: enable

After this, the follower should be scaled to what your character's level is.

Most followers in Skyrim favor certain skills over others. For example, Aela typically has high marksmanship, light armor, and sneak. However, her default armor is heavy armor, so it helps her survivability a lot if you give her light armor to replace her default armor.


That's not entirely true about that they would use the item or armor whichever has the highest Atk/Def rating. For example I wanted to give Janessa a steel armor but she kept wearing leather armor. However as I gave her plate armor she used that instead, so i guess the level of her armor skill plays a role too, same goes for weapons.

  • 1
    Right. This is because the Attack/Defense provided by a piece of equipment scales with your skill. Commented Nov 19, 2011 at 21:12

Every follower has a certain set of skills from the start. Since Skyrim patch 1.6 they also level with you. You can find the the professions of every follower at the UESP and wikia wikis.

There is a mod named Ask Follower Skills (Nexus/Steam) to check out the current stats of your follower.

When you enable this mod, save a game and load it again you can ask the follower What can you do? and this will give the stats like that (Faendal as example): Skills for Faendal


You need just 2 commands: getav and setav.

Click any NPC in the world to get his/her id and then type in the console:

getav health

You will get the amount of this character's health. For example, it might give back 80.00.

At this point, you can type inside the console

setav health 10000

and voilà, the character will have 10 000 life! You can do this with any other skill or attribute you need.

I tested it and works perfectly!
However, I suggest that you do not overdo it, because it'll become boring. For example, I gave my 2 followers 250 health each; I didn't want them to be monsters.

For more information on the getav and setav commands, refer to the related pages on the Elder Scrolls Wikia or the UESP.

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