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How do I know what type of soul a creature has?

There are a few questions on soul gems and how they work or where to find them, but nothing on which creatures fit into which sizes of soul gems.

There are petty, lesser, common, greater and grand soul gems, as well as black soul gems.

So instead of me taking one of each gem and seeing what soul gets put into what gem, I'd like to get someone to tell me quickly which creatures can fill which soul gems.


3 Answers 3


The rule of thumb when hunting animals is that:

  • Any weak hostile animal or passive animal will go into a petty gem (rabbit, fox, goat, wolf, dog, chicken, mudcrab, slaughterfish, cow, elk, skeever).
  • Any moderately powerful animal or rare passive animal will go into a lesser gem (sabre cat, horse, snow fox, pit wolf, ice wolf, charus).
  • The strongest animals go into a common gem (bears, charus reapers)
  • The very largest animal (mammoth) goes in a grand gem.

When fighting Draugr and the undead:

  • The basic form (draugr, skeleton) goes in a petty gem.
  • The slightly stronger forms (restless, wight) go in a lesser gem.
  • The stronger forms (sourge, overlord) go in a common gem.
  • The strongest forms (deathlord) goes in a greater gem.

When fighting Atronachs:

  • Flame atronachs go in lesser gems.
  • Frost atronachs go in common gems.
  • Storm atronachs go in greater gems.

When fighting Skyrim's natural monsters:

  • Trolls and spriggans go in lesser gems.
  • Frost trolls and hagravens go in common gems.
  • Giants and wispmothers go in greater gems.

When fighting Falmer:

  • Most falmer (falmer, gloomlurker, skulker) go in lesser gems.
  • Stronger falmer (nightprowler, shadowmaster) go in common gems.

Dwemer constructs are machines, and as such do not have souls.

Grand gems are only needed for Ghosts and Mammoths, making fighting these creatures desirable for the best enchantments. They can also be used to capture "special" enemies, such as the Dragon Priests. Dragon souls are consumed by the Dragonborn; you cannot soul trap Dragons. Black soul gems are used for capturing the souls of creatures normally protected by Arkay - NPCs of any of the playable races. Their souls are of "Grand" size, making them also desirable for the best enchantments. Soul gem fragments are broken soul gems, and are not useful for anything.

  • Thanks for mentioning the soul gem fragments. I've been wondering if there was some way to put those together, or if I should just ditch them.
    – Iszi
    Commented Dec 9, 2011 at 19:03
  • Where do bandits fit in?
    – jwaddell
    Commented Dec 11, 2011 at 22:04
  • Bandits, Vampires, Forsworn and NPCs are all protected by Arkay, and so must be stored in Black Soul Gems. Commented Dec 11, 2011 at 22:11
  • @Thaumajig It may be worth noting that although you can't soul trap Dwemer constructs, most (if not all, haven't investigated) will drop an appropriately-filled soul gem when killed. E.g. Centurions drop greater (or grand, not sure) gems whereas Spiders drop petty gems.
    – Alex
    Commented Jan 13, 2012 at 14:00
  • is there any mod that should such information? to all entities? Commented Jun 26, 2013 at 2:52

Checkout the Skyrim wiki page on souls for a list.

  • Alpha Wolf Petty
  • Bear Common
  • Cave Bear Common
  • Chaurus Reaper Common
  • Chaurus Lesser
  • Chicken Petty
  • Corrupted Shade LeveledL:1x, Petty
  • Cow Petty
  • Deer Petty
  • Dog Petty
  • Dragon Priest Grand
  • Draugr Death Overlord Greater, Grand
  • Draugr Deathlord Common, Greater, Grand
  • Draugr Overlord Common
  • Draugr Restless Lesser
  • Draugr Scourge Lord Common
  • Draugr Scourge Common
  • Draugr Thrall Petty
  • Draugr Wight Lesser
  • Draugr Petty
  • Dremora Kynreeve Grand (Black)
  • Dwarven Centurion N.D.
  • Dwarven Sphere N.D.
  • Dwarven Spider Worker N.D.
  • Elk Petty
  • Falmer Gloomlurker Lesser
  • Falmer Nightprowler Common
  • Falmer Shadowmaster Common, Grand
  • Falmer Skulker Lesser
  • Falmer Lesser
  • Flame Atronach Lesser
  • Fox Petty
  • Frost Atronach Common
  • Frost Troll Common
  • Frostbite Spider Petty, Lesser
  • Ghost Grand
  • Giant Frostbite Spider Lesser
  • Giant Greater
  • Goat Petty
  • Hagraven Common
  • Hawk N.D.
  • Horker Petty
  • Horse Lesser
  • Ice Wolf Lesser
  • Ice Wraith Lesser
  • King Olaf One-Eye Grand
  • Magic Anomaly LeveledL:1.75x
  • Mammoth Grand
  • Mudcrab Petty
  • Potema's Remains Grand
  • Pit Wolf Lesser
  • Rabbit Petty
  • Red Eagle LeveledL:Special
  • Restless Draugr Lesser
  • Sabre Cat Lesser
  • Skeever Petty
  • Skeleton Petty
  • Slaughterfish Petty
  • Snow Bear Common
  • Snow Fox Lesser
  • Snowy Sabre Cat Lesser
  • Spriggan Matron Common
  • Spriggan Lesser
  • Storm Atronach Greater
  • The Pale Lady Greater
  • Troll Lesser
  • Udefrykte N.D.
  • Werewolf Lesser
  • Wispmother Greater
  • Wisp N.D.
  • Wolf Petty
  • Wounded Frostbite Spider Lesser

I believe it's like this:

Petty soul gem = creature souls below level 4.

Lesser soul gem = creature souls below level 16.

Common soul gem = creature souls below level 28.

Greater soul gem = creature souls below level 38,

Grand soul gem = any creature soul.

Black soul gem = any humanoid (e.g., bandits, elves, orcs, basically all NPCs) soul.

  • 1
    Was going to post the same. I think the only thing worth adding is the possibly ambiguous edge cases. Falmer, while descended from elves, are apparently sufficiently removed from that heritage to be considered creatures. Vampires, however, require a Black Soul Gem. Dragon souls, of course, can't be captured in soul gems.
    – brymck
    Commented Dec 9, 2011 at 7:36
  • @Bryan I think becuase they are de-evolved forms of Snow Elves and basically Dwemer slaves that they are considered lesser souls. See: elderscrolls.wikia.com/wiki/The_Falmer:_A_Study
    – Krazer
    Commented Dec 9, 2011 at 8:14

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