What would Skyrim be without dragons? Well, apparently not much. They are so important to the game that they continue to attack the citizens of Skyrim, even after Paarthurnax says he will teach them the “Way of the Voice.” Oh well, you can’t change everyone, although this is a good thing for fans of in-game dragon encounters. There are so many different variations found in Skyrim, from the lowly Brown Dragon to the regal Legendary Dragon to dragons who scale with the player. There is nothing more satisfying than overcoming a high-powered foe, despite their use of Drain Vitality.
However, even with 14 different variations, sometimes combat can get a little stale. This is especially true if you are a higher level player who has already slain multiples of each type. You start to notice how repetitive their attacks are and exploit them to heart’s desire. Yes, it’s a win, but where is the challenge for a level 60 Dragonborn? Well, to be honest, the challenge is found in mods. Skyrim’s modding community has breathed new life into the aging RPG by adding new species of dragons, new attack styles, and features that add to the immersion of the game.
See how you fair against dragons who can poison you, use unblockable attacks, stomp you or become so irritated that they rush you. These mods are so good they will make you want to go adventuring over and over again.
Just don’t take any arrows to the knee.
15 Skeletal Dragon
There are many species of dragon in Skyrim, but the Skeletal Dragon may be the strangest. The Skeletal Dragon is, as its name implies, a fleshless and muscleless made of nothing but bones. This unique dragon is encountered in Labyrinthian during the College of Winterhold quest “The Staff of Magnus.” Unlike the other dragons in Skyrim, the Skeletal variety cannot fly because its wings are useless. Instead, it uses them like crutches as it shambles towards the Dragonborn.
The Skeletal Dragon is not amongst the most powerful dragons in Skyrim. It is only level 20, and its health is nearly half that of regular Brown Dragons, which is probably why it doesn’t appear alone. The Dragonborn must slay the undead skeletons in addition to the dragon. Unsurprisingly, it does not drop dragon scales, and there is no soul to absorb. However, it does drop more dragon bones than the average dragon.
After slaying Falmer after Falmer in the Dwemer ruin of Blackreach, the Dragonborn stumbles upon a hanging yellow orb. Use the shout Unrelenting Force on the orb, and it will summon Vulthuryol, a hidden Ancient dragon whose name means “Dark Overlord Fire.” He isn’t the brightest dragon. When he first appears, he flies around the ruins, but during the battle he decides to fight on the ground, using his wings to help him amble about.
Vulthuryol may be level 50, but he is not very strong. His bite and Fire Breath shout attacks deal less damage than those of other dragons. Yet, what he lacks in intelligence and strength, he makes up for with health. With over 3000 points, he is still a worthy adversary for low-level players seeking a challenge.
At least he has a soul.
13 Mod: Diverse Dragons Collection SE
If you are tired of fighting the same old dragons, then the mod Diverse Dragons Collection SE is for you. It adds 28 new and unique dragons to the game, including the feathered Zephyr Dragon and the Vile Dragon whose breath attacks cause health and magicka damage.
Each dragon in the game has seven different levels of strength, and their difficulty scales with the Dragonborn’s level. This means higher level players can encounter regular dragons at levels much higher than 10 (the standard). The mod also adds over 15 new breath attacks (even ones that poison the player) and abilities to the dragons’ arsenal. However, the best thing about this mod is that it doesn’t replace the dragons that are already in the game.
"Miraak has commanded your death. So it shall be."
Krosulhah, which means “Sorcerer Day Mind,” is quite chatty during battle. He is the ultimate hype man for Miraak, making it his mission to remind the Dragonborn during the course of the battle that Miraak is the baddest dude in all of Skyrim. Okay already, Krosulhah, we get it.
Krosulhah is found outside of Nchardak during the quest “The Gardener of Men” in the Dragonborn add-on. His level is dependent upon the level of the Dragonborn, with a possible max level of 50 and 3071 hp. If you do manage to shut him up, there is a possibility that Miraak will appear and absorb his soul before you can. If that doesn’t make you want to destroy him, then I don’t know what will.
What remains of Krosulhah after Miraak’s gotten to him are dragon scales, dragon bones, and the typical coins and loot.
Durnehviir, which means “Cursed With Undeath,” is a unique dragon introduced to the game through the Dawnguard add-on. Blinded by his desire to raise an undead army, he foolishly entered into a pact with the Ideal Masters to guard Valerica until her death. He thought the job would be easy because he cannot die. Of course, they forgot to tell him that she is immortal as well.
As an undead dragon, Durnehviir’s body shows obvious signs of decay—flies are even seen hovering around him. Although he is only level 20, he is no ordinary dragon. During battle, he uses his unique shout, Soul Cairn Summon, to conjure Bonemen, Mistmen, and Wrathmen to aid him. After he is defeated, the Dragonborn can summon him. During the first three summons, he teaches them the shout Soul Tear. After that, he can be called upon to aid in battle.
10 Mod: Bloody Dragon Bones
Remember the first time you killed a dragon? It was likely Mirmulnir outside of Whiterun. You could hide in the tower, letting the guards do most of the work as you shoot the occasional arrow or you could charge headfirst into battle. Either way, your first kill is epic. You absorb the dragon’s soul, amazing everyone around you as they realize you are dragonborn. Add on epic music and a summons by the Greybeards, and your first encounter will have you feeling like a god.
However, there is only one problem. The dragon’s flesh, muscles, and organs fade away leaving a clean skeletal corpse behind. No signs of a battle are present. The Bloody Dragon Bones mod fixes this problem. Now instead of a polished corpse, the bones of slain dragons are bloodied.
When the other dragons gaze upon the corpses of their slain brethren, they will know fear.
After escaping from Helgen, Mirmulnir, translated as “Allegiance Strong Hunt,” is likely the next dragon you will encounter in the game if you happen to be in Whiterun. Mirmulnir is found at the Western Watchtower outside of Whiterun. He is often the first dragon slain by the player—revealing to all that they are dragonborn.
Likely, when encountered in the usual way, Mirmulnir will spawn at level 10. However, it is possible to fight a more powerful Mirmulnir because his level is radiant, meaning it is determined by the level of the Dragonborn. With a max level of 50, Mirmulnir can do some serious damage. Not only that, he can appear as different types of dragons, such as a Blood or Ancient Dragon, if your level is high enough.
Don’t walk the familiar path. Level up the Dragonborn and return to Whiterun to fight a battle worthy of a legend.
Odahviing, which means “Winged Snow Hunter,” is a red dragon who died during the Dragon War and was resurrected by Alduin to serve as his ally. During the quest “The Fallen,” the Dragonborn lures Odahviing into a trap to discover the location of Alduin. However, that isn’t all they discover. The cowardly dragon not only gives up Alduin’s location, but after Alduin is killed, pledges to serve the Dragonborn. Alduin needed a better vetting process.
A loss for Alduin is a win for the Dragonborn, as Odahviing is able to be summoned with the Call Dragon shout. He is unkillable and will not leave your side until every enemy is dead. Depending on the player’s level, his power can equal that of a Blood Dragon’s or rise to that of an Ancient Dragon’s. He is the perfect battle companion.
Take that, Lydia.
7 Mod: Dragons Shout With Voice
When the player discovers they are the Dragonborn, they are summoned to High Hrothgar by the Greybeards to learn how to use Words of Power. When the Dragonborn shouts, they speak actual words. However, when a dragon shouts, all we hear is their roar. This is true whether or not the dragon is able to speak to the player in-game.
The Dragons Shout With Voice mod fixes this problem by giving dragons actual voices. The modder does this by taking voices that are already in the game and combining them with the actual roars the dragons make when they shout. This results in dragons that sound as intelligible as they actually are, which only deepens the immersion further.
Because this mod doesn’t modify any assets, it doesn’t have compatibility issues with other mods.
Nahagliiv means “Fury Burn Wither” in the dragon language. He is buried in a mound on a hill southwest of Rorikstead. Once Alduin resurrects him, he is typically found flying around the town. Although, players can also encounter him at this mound before his resurrection if they want to watch it live.
Nahagliv’s level depends on that of the Dragonborn’s during their encounter. In addition, he can appear as any variation of the dragon, so be careful if you are encountering him at higher levels. At his max level of 50, he has over 3,000 health points. Now, imagine facing him as an Ancient Dragon with a 50% resistance to frost or fire with a bite that deals 300 points of damage.
This is one dragon who can be effective in the air and on the ground.
5 Voslaarum And Naaslaarum
Voslaarum and Naaslaarum are a pair of Revered Dragons who are only available if you have the Dawnguard add-on. They share this spot on the list because they appear together during the quest “Touching the Sky” as the Dragonborn walks across the frozen lake in the Forgotten Vale (“Dragon Rising” must be complete). That’s right; the player is forced to fight both dragons at the same time.
Both dragons are radiant, so their level depends on the Dragonborn’s. It is possible for their level to reach up to 62 with over 3,500 health points. Each dragon can use Drain Vitality—which drains the Dragonborn’s magicka, stamina, and health—and dive underwater to avoid attacks and catch players off guard.
It may be a tough battle, but afterward, the player is able to access the word wall to learn the word of power for Drain Vitality.
4 Mod: Bellyaches New Dragon Species SSE
The Bellyaches New Dragon Species SSE mod adds 13 unique dragon species to the game. The modder also hand placed 50 dragon encounters across Skyrim, including battles against groups of smaller dragons. Unlike, the Diverse Dragons Collection mod, Bellyaches does not increase the difficulty of battle or increase their strength beyond that of the default dragons types. This mod simply adds variety to the game to keep the dragon encounters from feeling stale. Besides, it’s fun to try and find the 50 locations where the dragons are placed. Hunting them down becomes a bit of a mini-game.
For players who happen upon one of the dragons while their health is low, they have the option to avoid a battle. The dragons have different levels of aggro warnings as the player draws near, allowing them to escape before the dragon gets irritated. Pretty neat.
The Dragonborn encounters the Serpentine Dragon, Sahrotaar, during the quest “At the Summit of Apocrypha” inside the Black Book: Waking Dreams. Earlier in the game, players see him carrying Miraak, leaving us to assume that he is Miraak’s personal dragon.
Since the first Dragonborn is one of the most powerful enemies in the game, it is only natural to expect his dragon to pack quite a punch as well. At level 58, Sahrotaar’s Frost Breath is powerful enough to take out the Dragonborn if players aren’t careful, which is why it’s better to avoid fighting him altogether. Instead of trying to survive his attacks, players are expected to use Bend Will to tame him. Once tame he will take you to battle Miraak.
Unfortunately, your alliance is short-lived as Miraak absorbs his soul during your battle.
Alduin (translated as “Destroyer Devour Master”), known as the World-Eater, is the first dragon the player encounters in the game. He is seen flying over and destroying Helgen, which ironically created enough chaos to allow his enemy, the Dragonborn to escape. That was a bad move; he basically shot himself in the foot.
Periodically Alduin appears and ends the world. This time around, he spends his time resurrecting dragons to build an army to destroy the world—although he isn’t too shabby himself. His difficulty is scaled to the player, so his level, stamina, and health are determined by the Dragonborn’s. He can reach a maximum level of 100 and is 50% resistant to fire.
As powerful as he is, he is ultimately no match for the Dragonborn.
1 Mod: Ultimate Dragons
Ultimate Dragons is a mod that overhauls dragon combat. It adds over 20 new attack animations to the game along with new melee attacks and shouts. If you are looking for more dynamic, challenging battles, then this mod is for you. The types of attacks and their effects vary by dragon type. Attacks include the ability to shoot ice or fireballs in three different directions, explode at random, and shoot homing icicles at their target.
In addition to this, the mod adds locational damage to a dragon’s head, wings, and tails. If a specific area takes too much damage, it will become unusable. For instance, if the wings are taken out, the dragon will be unable to fly.
In addition, when a dragon’s health drops too quickly, they become enraged, causing them to move faster and deal more damage. Next time you boot up Skyrim, give this mod a try.