Skyrim’s Vampires and Werewolves

For the second time in Skyrim, I caught Sanguinare Vampiris.. the disease that leads to Vampirism.  In Oblivion, the disease was called Porphyric Hemophilia; either disease can be cured by the Cure Disease spell, a potion, or by visiting an altar, and both lead to full-blown Vampirism if left uncured for three days.

I caught the disease early on in my game, but didn’t want the hassle of remembering to feed regularly, or the risk that NPCs might refuse to talk to me.. I wanted to explore the game without too many restrictions.

However, this time, I’d had many hours of exploration, and decided to risk a few annoyed NPCs.  Three days later, I had Vampirism, an increased resistance to Frost, and weakness to fire and sunlight.. this last not being quite as I’d expected.  I also had three new powers: Vampire’s Servant, Vampire’s Sight, and Vampiric Drain.  I only really liked Vampire’s Sight due to my level.. neither raised minions nor a few points health drain could compare with my lovely enchanted swords 😉

I was surprised to find that my character looked no different.. she was pale to begin with, so I guess there wasn’t much to change.  When I became a vampire in Oblivion, my character got red eyes, fangs, and serious wrinkles!

Then there was the expected debuff for a vampire, Weakness to Sunlight.. which wasn’t quite the debuff I thought it should be.  Each time I stepped out into the sun I got the message: “Your vampire blood boils in the sunlight”.. but instead of feeling the burn I only found a small health reduction and the loss of HP regeneration.  Oblivion’s vampires take damage while outside during the day.. and I wish it had been this way in Skyrim too, really, as the penalty of a smaller health pool and loss of regeneration was easy to ignore.

Seeing more powers appear as the days went by, I didn’t feed, which allowed my stage to increase.  Up to Stage 3, the NPCs had only commented on how pale I looked.. but as I stood by the vendors in Whiterun, paying more attention to my cup of coffee than the game, I hit Stage 4 and was surrounded by angry NPCs and guards!

When I reloaded, I made sure to leave town before the transformation, and began my attempts to find somebody to feed on.

With Embrace of Shadows, a night-vision and invisibility power, I tried a few small bandit camps.  I found no way of subduing and biting them via combat, and found my sneaking skills utterly inadequate to catch one sleeping.  Targets were waking up before I even got close.. and although they couldn’t see me, they wouldn’t go and lie down again.

Eventually I decided to sacrifice Ivarstead, as the place I’d least likely need to go for quests again.  I expected to have to break into the barracks, or someone’s home, but I found this guy, living in a wreck on the edge of town..

Feeding on him brought down my Vampirism.. and as I was able to do it out of sight of the guards, I didn’t end up making anybody hostile either!  Messing around finding someone to feed from doesn’t strike me as a fun way to play, and I wasn’t going to resort to constantly fast-travelling back to Ivarstead to visit Narfi every few days.. so I decided to find a cure, with a little help from a wiki 😉

Werewolves were next.. though I didn’t know it as I set out on the quest line, having avoided reading too much about the game even now!  Being a werewolf was a big change, with swordfighting replaced by leaping on Silver Hand fighters and biting them!  I found this rather fun, though being unable to access my inventory meant I didn’t want to take on too many enemies at once.

I was amused to find that I could regain health, and prolong the werewolf transformation, by eating fallen enemies!  As you can’t interact with most things in the world, including chests, looting has to wait until the transformation is over.. I found this a little inconvenient when looking for specific items in dungeons.. but at least I had control over whether or not to transform, unlike with Vampirism.

Dawnguard may bring some improvements for vampires.. tho it might just be that the Vampire Hunter side is more fun, with the new weapons!  In any case, I’m looking forward to starting again, and trying out the Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood quests, as well as trying to get through the Companions story without it getting bugged 😉

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