I am so determined to kill a dragon but every time I try to melee it, it ends up with it throwing me around and killing me. I can't get out of it since it is a finishing move. I've tried keeping my distance and using only magic and archery but it seems like its not working well since I only have apprentice magic and not very leveled bow skills. So, I want to melee it most of the time.

It seems like every time it does this finishing move, my health is around half or lower (half is 50 at the moment...) How can I stop the dragon from flailing me around? Is there some criteria that needs to be met for it to do that move?

  • I would like to know this too. Specifically, what factors affect the probability of being 'finished' by a dragon? And how is the chance computed? May 12, 2012 at 4:59

5 Answers 5


Your health and random chance determine whether a finisher will be performed. Strangely, armor does not factor into the equation. If you do not wish to use mods that change the chance of a finisher move, your best bet is drinking potions, eating all the cheese or using a drain health weapon/spell when your health gets low. Killing it from a distance is also a good way to avoid a finisher. Boosting your max health is good to give you more time until you have to recover health.

  • 1
    Know how the random chance is computed (what's the probability)? May 12, 2012 at 4:56
  • 3
    Would like to add that having a weapon(preferably a 2 handed axe) with drain health enchantment will help you restore some health to your character when bashing up dragons .
    – GTX OC
    May 12, 2012 at 6:59
  • 1
    @galacticninja I don't think anybody knows, even if you change the variable responsible for killmove chance to 100 you're still not guaranteed a kill move. The chance does go up the less HP the target has.
    – kotekzot
    May 12, 2012 at 20:14
  • 2
    You don't need to be fighting dragons to enjoy a good cheese.
    – Neon1024
    May 14, 2012 at 9:19

Attacking the dragon from the side or rear helps, although if you attack from the rear he can whack you with his tail. This also helps keep him from breathing fire or frost at you.


I think your question can be rephrased as How do I not die to a dragon. If you solve that problem, you will also solve the problem of dying with the finisher animation. Unless you are okay with dying as long as the killcam is not triggered. I doubt it somehow.

There are basically two ways of approaching this problem of dying. You either need to kill your enemy quicker or you need to die slower. You kill quicker by doing more damage quicker. You die slower by having more health and armor and having appropriate resistance.

A Dragon does 37 damage per attack and a Blood Dragon does 75 damage attack. If you are fighting a Blood Dragon, and your armor is less than 275, then you will die from one bite when your remaining health is 50.

You die when enemy inflicts more damage than your remaining health. Some people believe that when killcam is triggered, the calculation is wrong. That they do not deserve to die from one attack when they have more than 100 health remaining. I have seen multiple posts that complain about the so called "bugged killcam" kill. But I have not seen anyone provide any evidence for this. And I have not seen this in my own play. When I die during a fight, I have found it to be generally reasonable.

[edit] It seems that for some people, the belief that "armor is ignored when killcam is triggered" is persistent. Fortunately, it is possible to test this urban myth.

In my case, I have a level 62 warrior character with 520 health with 35% intrinsic magic resistance. The character has a set of Steel Plate Armor that takes me above armor cap to 602, and gives me 37% fire resistance. For the purpose of the experiment, I set the difficult setting to Master, which means the you take twice as much damage from an attack compared to the default Adept level.

I have selected melee type Dremora Valkynaz (16ff8) to be my opponent. Dremora Valkynaz is a level 46 Dremora that comes with a random fire enchanted weapon that can range from Iron Sword to Daedric Warhammer. You can summon it by using console command player.placeatme 16ff8

Highest Damage I observed when not wearing any armor was 413 from a Ebony Warhammer power hit. With armor, highest damage measured was around 100.

I repeatedly summoned Dremora Valkynaz and died to it 100 times wearing max armor while looking for this killcam death that's supposed occur while you have high health.

If the "armor is ignored when killcam is triggered" assertion is true, it would have been possible to observe a killcam death when my health level was below the damage taken when not wearing armor. But no such occurrence was observed.

However, twice out of 100 trials, I observed killcam death occurring when the character had health above maximum damage the opponent can inflict with single power attack. It can happen when you are attacked and then killcam triggers right after that. So if this does happen and not my mistake in observing, characters are vulnerable to insta-death when their health falls below the damage that can be done in 2 power attacks.

  • I was at 100% health when I was beheaded by a summoned dremora. His identical twins had been whacking at me without success (~10 damage per hit) for minutes.
    – kotekzot
    May 13, 2012 at 20:17
  • @kotekzot what was your maximum health at that time?
    – Anderson
    May 14, 2012 at 2:09
  • About 300 or so, more than enough to withstand a ~10 damage attack.
    – kotekzot
    May 14, 2012 at 8:48
  • @kotekzot Dremoras comes with random fire enchanted weapons, some with Ebony Warhammer, some with iron dagger, and mostly in between. A Dremora with a Glass Warhammer can inflict 320+ damage on Master level without armor. What was your armor rating and difficulty level?
    – Anderson
    May 26, 2012 at 5:47
  • You are thinking about different Dremoras. The ones I conjured all had a daedric greatsword with 25pt fire enchantment. My armor rating was above the cap (567+) and my difficulty was either average or master.
    – kotekzot
    May 26, 2012 at 10:44

Even easier than raising up a lot of health/defense or attack is to get an immortal follower (some followers for specific quests will follow you even outside of the quest area, and there are a few that are quite powerful). Let them draw the dragon's attention, as well as deal some damage, while you sit back in a shady spot and use your ranged attacks. If the follower gets low on health and the dragon turns to you, hide in a shady spot out of sight until your follower gets up again.

Another thing you can do, which is my personal favorite, is to just 1 hit the dang thing. Train up sneak and one-handed until you get the assassin's blade perk, get something like the shrouded gloves (which are obtainable almost instantly in the start of the dark brotherhood questline and double backstab damage), and use one or two of your most powerful daggers or swords. 30x damage is quite effective, and you can get right up on top of the dragons when they are perched if you have good enough sneak and/or illusion/invisibility. You can also get a power attack multiplier of up to around 4.5x with max one-handed for all things dagger related, so even Alduin on hard with dragon aspect active would only take around 24 damage on the dagger, which is entirely possible to get.

Lastly, you could collect all the pieces of Mehrune's Razor. It's a decent base damage, but what makes it great is that it has a 1.98% chance to instantly kill the target, sneak or standing, detected or spotted. If you have it in your left hand while dual-wielding and use a power attack, it's 3.92%. You can simply quicksave at any part during the fight, slash away to try to instantly kill the dragon, and load if it doesn't work.


It does seem to have to do with health; armor and blocking may or may not contribute. I know it never happened to my tank warrior with the big shield, but when a weaker character thought the dragon's damage couldn't kill him quickly, the beasts kept killcamming him. If you have a big margin for error, you seem pretty safe.

I've even survived the killcam once or twice. Maybe it's just a critical hit effect, an occasional damage multiplier, with special animation for fun.

  • While well-written, this doesn't seem to add more information than the already-existing answers have. =/ Oct 10, 2012 at 17:36

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