For gamers who are willing to replay Skyrim in the modern-day, there are plenty of enemies to seek out, and challenging bosses to fight. Some of these foes are a persistent threat in the game world, while others are one-of-a-kind encounters that will test the mettle of the heartiest and most stalwart Dragonborn.
The key to fighting many of these foes lies in finding them, first and foremost. While most will be bumped into during a player’s travels, others require a bit of venturing off the beaten path in order to locate. Once the weapons start swinging, it’s a battle for survival against some of the most vicious foes in Tamriel.
Vulthuryol is one of the most sought-after hidden bosses in Skyrim, particularly due to the fact that he’s somewhat difficult to find. He resides deep underground in the vast sprawling cave system known as Blackreach. To summon him, a player must access the center area and go to where a yellow orb exists above the Hall of Rumination.
The Dragonborn only has to reach this orb, then use the Unrelenting Force shout power on it, and Vulthuryol will appear. While finding a subterranean dragon is one of the coolest encounters in Skyrim, Vulthuryol fights like any other scaly beast. Of course, players can install a few mods to help spruce up dragon encounters, for a bit more challenge.
Karstaag The Frost Giant
In Skyrim‘s Dragonborn DLC, the player squares off against a slew of powerful foes. One of the strongest and most difficult bosses in Skyrim is undoubtedly Karstaag the frost giant. While he was initially slain in the Morrowind DLC pack Blood Moon, the Nevarine failed to destroy the giant’s soul.
To summon Karstaag, the Dragonborn must first collect his skull from the Glacial Cave. Then, the skull must be transported to the Castle Karstaag Ruins and placed upon the old throne. Once all nearby enemies are eliminated, Karstaag will appear in spectral form for a grand battle. Players can take advantage of his weakness to fire, especially since he’s so strong.
The Old Orc
The Old Orc tirelessly treks around Skyrim to achieve a heroic end in battle. Unlike most of the foes in world, he won’t be found somewhere specific. Players can encounter him anywhere on the road, at any point in the game. This Orsimer isn’t a malevolent enemy, but merely an exhausted soul weary of life. The Dragonborn will find him standing solemnly over two slain sabre cats.
If the player agrees to help him die in an honorable battle, he will attack. If not, The Old Orc will remain in the same spot until his challenge is answered. He’s a challenging opponent, which means gamers should be up a few levels before deciding to fulfill his last request.,
The Pale Lady
The Pale Lady is a powerful specter in Frostmere Crypt. To find her, a player must locate the crypt and encounter Elisa Blackthorn during battle. If she lives, she will encourage the player to find a stolen sword deep below. If she perishes, however, looting her body and reading her journal also spawns a quest.
Inside lives The Pale Lady, a ghost who haunts those who disturb her weapon, The Pale Blade. Giving her weapon back from a bandit will appease her. Fight her, and the Dragonborn can claim The Pale Blade for themselves. As a frost enemy, The Pale Lady is weak to fire, which means Nordic magic users have a slight advantage.
Kvenel The Tongue
Kvenel once led a fierce band of warriors called the Tongues, all of whom had the ability to use dragon shouts. Though long lost, his spirit can still be found haunting Volunruud. Finding the dungeon and reading the notes on the ground is all that is required to prompt a quest to destroy him.
While he does come with a quest, locating and fighting Kvenel relies entirely on finding Volunruud. He dual wields a war axe and a sword named Okin and Eduj, respectively. Therefore, gamers need to be especially careful not to get sliced and diced to ribbons up close.
Udefrykte is a unique troll found in Dawnstar Sanctuary. If the Dragonborn doesn’t join the Dark Brotherhood or refuses to take a break from sneaking to acknowledge the troll, he can be missed. This troll was first seen in Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind‘s expansion, Blood Moon. His mother later appeared in Oblivion, which means there’s a long history of this particular troll line in Elder Scrolls lore.
The largest distinction they have from normal trolls are their bright yellow eyes. Like all trolls, Udefrykte is very weak to fire. Any savvy Dragonborn can use that to their advantage, though they’d best mind themselves when the troll gets too close. They can still pack an enormous wallop.
Guardians Of The Headless Horseman’s Tomb
Skyrim‘s creators love their easter eggs, and this one remains one of the coolest. When the Dragonborn meets the Headless Horseman, the spectral figure rides away. If the player follows him, the horseman will lead him to his burial grounds to fight some grave guardians.
While meeting the Headless Horseman is a random encounter, his tomb can be found on the map, known as Hamvir’s Rest. Unfortunately for the skeleton and draugr guarding the tomb, they aren’t very strong. They’re easily defeated, and tricks or tips are needed. The area does have a master chest, however, that can give some great rewards.
Skyrim has many legendary heroes. However, one of the most famous was Red Eagle, hero of The Reach. The Dragonborn can find several novels regaling his triumphs. Red Eagle’s final resting place can be found in Rebel’s Cairn. A player will only be given a quest to go there if they have found and read The Legend of Red Eagle.
He can sometimes be a very difficult draugr to fight, so the best methods of destroying him are disarming shouts, destruction weapons, and clever positioning. Many people choose to either circle his coffin or use the stairs to their advantage. After battle, his sword, the Red Eagle’s Fury, can be looted off his body. It is a powerful sword laced with fire magic.
While traveling Skyrim, a player may be accosted by an angry, aggressive warrior. This man will undoubtedly call the Dragonborn a “Milk Drinker,” before lunging in for a fight. He only exists as a random encounter, which means players will need to do a bit of scouring and exploring.
The character isn’t particularly strong, nor challenging to even lower-level players, but it’s the sheer novelty of the encounter that is easily remembered. As such, this fight will end quickly, and leave a funny memory in its wake.
Warden Frost Atronachs
One of the most foreboding places in Skyrim is the Winterhold prison known as The Chill. If a player causes enough trouble, guards will take them there for punishment. Unlike most other prisons, The Chill is out in the middle of nowhere, and guarded by not one, but four Warden Frost Atronachs.
Logically, the easiest way to attack these abominable icicles is with fire. No matter how intimidating they are, they melt to its touch. When defeated, they drop valuable Frost Salts which can be looted and used in various potions and elixirs.
The Dragonborn can quite literally never find Haldyn and Japhet’s Folly without getting the quest “Rise in the East.” It is one of the few places in Skyrim that can only be found via boat mission, and once Haldyn is defeated, the player can never go back. The mission is given by the East Empire Trading Company leaders in Solitude or Windhelm.
Once in Japhet’s Folly, the Dragonborn will climb the main tower and defeat pirates until they reach the battlemage leader, Haldyn. The best way to fight him is to carefully sidestep his lightning attacks, and use weapons like the Staff of Magnus to drain him of magicka. Otherwise, he can make short work of most players.
“Kyne’s Sacred Trials” are a set of successive missions that send the Dragonborn all across Skyrim to fight champion creatures. This culminates in a fight against the grandest champion of all – a hulking troll. Froki Whetted-Sword, a questionably all-together grandfather who lives in a shack in the southwest mountains of The Rift, gives these sacred missions.
When the trials are at their end, the player will be sent to the Graywinter Watch cavern, east of Whiterun. Froki’s Bow and two extra trolls will also be found here. Like all trolls, they are vulnerable to fire, which is a plus. For their trouble, Froki will give the Dragonborn Kyne’s Token, an enchanted amulet, and tell him to keep his old bow.
Arondil is a monstrous necromancer who uses reanimated corpses and skeletons for his own pleasure, and his collection of entirely female draugr are modeled after his fondness for milkmaids. This twisted spellcaster hides in Yngvild. The player may find him while wandering, or through a very random quest.
To fight Arondil directly, it’s best to use magicka draining attacks to destroy his offensive abilities. However, a more satisfying approach is to sneak by him and his draugr, take the soul gem on his pedestal and watch his angered and vengeful slaves turn on him in an act of righteous irony.
Taron Dreth, author of The Aetherium Wars, is a scripted character who reacts to a specific set of variables while interacting with the player. His friendliness changes drastically depending on what a player says, and what’s in their pockets. He only has the chance to appear after the mission “Lost To The Ages,” where his old partner Katria insists he stole her research.
If Katria is mentioned, or the Dragonborn carries an Aetherium item, he’ll attack them. Otherwise, he’s just a nice, random stranger on the road. As a mage, the best ways to defeat him are to use long-ranged weapons, have magic-resistant armor, or use lightning magic, as it will drain his magicka reserves.
Many of the Skyrim hidden bosses are infamously secret, have a wildly obscure mission attached to them, or encounter a player at will. The Dragon Priests are different from each other and usually encountered in several main missions, with a few notable exceptions. Because of this, not all Dragonborn will think to go looking for all of them.
The Dragon Priests are found in Valthume, Shearpoint, Labyrinthian, Skuldafn, Ragvald, Forelhost, High Gate Ruins, and Volskygge. The best way to slay them is either to keep a safe distance and use ranged attacks, or destroy them quickly with strong melee strikes. Not all Dragon Priests are identical, and their skills and power quotients vary, so players need to resist getting complacent.
Jyrik, Sidgis, and Mikrul are the power-hungry sons of Lord Gauldur who coveted their father’s amulet enough to go on bloody rampages, before losing their lives. Meeting each brother for the first time isn’t hard to do, but the final battle against all three can only be triggered through an obscure quest.
The Dragonborn must go on an investigative trek around Skyrim before battling them, in order to locate a different piece of the amulet puzzle. The final battle takes place at Reachwater Rock, and the key to winning involves keeping track of all three at the same time. It’s best to bring a companion along if things get too rough.
Dengeir of Stuhn is one of the most beloved, yet quirky Skyrim characters. As the grumpy grandfather archetype of Falkreath, he gives the Dragonborn many missions to satisfy his own creeping paranoia. However, once a player is close enough to Dengeir, he shares a terrible family secret – their ancestor is Vighar, a master vampire, and someone has recently released him.
Vighar hides out at Bloodlet Throne, located in Falkreath’s mountains. To fight this ancestral monster, it’s best to use fire and the nearby dungeon traps, while keeping a close eye on that health bar. Left unattended, many players will quickly lose the fight, so they should always be ready to drink a health potion or two.
In Skyrim, there is no single mission to fight unbound dremora. However, to make friends with one, they must first be defeated. To summon these daedric creatures, the Dragonborn needs to have achieved at least level 90 Conjuration.
After that, they need to go to the roof of the Hall of Attainment, use the spell, and defeat the dremora, then repeat the process. After two defeats, the Dragonborn’s dremora will have submitted. The best way to slay the dremora is by using shock damage and keeping a safe distance. Followers help a lot with this, acting as decoys.
Naaslaarum and Volslaarum
These two dragons are residents of the frozen lake in the Forgotten Vale, located in Skyrim‘s Dawnguard DLC. However, if the Dragonborn skirts quickly past their lake, they may never see or battle them, so it’s wise to take the time and explore. Both are fierce revered dragons; formidable foes for even high-rank players.
They tend to fight together and are unafraid to dive underwater to make combat more complex. Unfortunately, the best way to deal with these two is to use many resist fire potions. It helps make handling two dragons at once much easier, which is far more challenging than it sounds.
Silvia the (Aspiring) Hagraven
If players skip by the Darklight Tower southwest of Riften, they will miss an encounter with Silvia, a member of the Darklight Tower Coven who wishes to turn into a Hagraven. Players won’t encounter her if they don’t meet her daughter Ilia outside of the tower and receive the mission to stop Silvia.
As a conjurer and witch, the easiest way to defeat Silvia is by draining her magicka. Using shock magic is the simplest way to do this. Moreover, if Silvia is defeated, Ilia can become a companion, which is an unexpected bonus.
Skyrim holds a lot of interesting characters, including that of Yngol’s Shade, a unique ghost left to protect his prized helmet. He is found in the dangerous Yngol Burrow, and unlike most tombs where the monster levels are comparable to the player, Yngol’s Shade is designed to be much more powerful.
Depending on the level, Yngol’s Shade can be a powerful draugr, a draugr death lord, or even a spectral dragon priest. The best way to deal with this impressive foe is with spells, archery, or fire. Getting too close could easily turn fatal, so players should make sure they’re stocked up if they wish to survive.
The Giant Chieftain
Some Skyrim residents simply don’t like giants, and one of them is Chief Yamarz. This orc can take the Dragonborn on a wild quest to Giant’s Grove if the player just happens to take down a giant in front of him. During the quest, he’ll take the player through Fallowstone Cave, before asking that the giant chieftain be slain. The player can do it, or encourage Yamarz to do it himself.
If the former, the best approach is by weaving in and out of his club hits or using archery. Like all giant battles, players wish to avoid getting struck by the hammer, regardless of how entertaining this particular Skyrim bug can actually be, even a decade after release.
The Reaper is a hidden boss that can be encountered in the Dawnguard DLC pack. He can be summoned by going to the Soul Cairn, entering The Reaper’s Lair, and placing at least three reaper shards on its alter. Then, the creature will be summoned along with several supernatural minions.
The Reaper will have his battle-axe ready to destroy any trespassers, so players will want to take advantage of the windup swings in order to set up a counterattack. Shields are beneficial here, provided they can absorb the damage. Otherwise, ranged weapons can serve as an effective keep-away measure.
Forgemaster Dwarven Centurion
On a good day, the Dwarven Centurions are intimidating enough, but the Forgemaster variant is on an entirely different level. This hulking behemoth can be encountered during the “Lost to the Ages” quest inside the Ruins of Bthalft, which is just south of Ivarstead.
This massive Centurion rises up from the fiery depths to do battle with the Dragonborn, and he hits with the combined force of a meteor strike. Players need to be very careful to avoid getting pummeled by the Centurion while using frost magic to whittle him down from a distance.
The Ebony Warrior
This is one enemy that players won’t have to seek out in Skyrim. The Ebony Warrior will find them in due course. He’s a powerful, aggressive Redguard foe that seeks out players over level 80, and insists they battle. Since he’s level 81 with thick ebony armor and weaponry, his gear alone is intimidating. Unfortunately, his Skyrim storyline never really gets resolved when the battle is over.
He comes with the Dragonborn DLC only, so some players may never meet this legendary enemy, unless they’ve purchased the packs, or invested in the recently released Skyrim: Anniversary Edition. Fighting the Ebony Warrior will be terribly difficult. He’s resistant to poison, fire, frost, shock, and many dragon shouts. He can even reflect some attacks, and perform his own dragon shouts, too. The best way to fight the Ebony Warrior is with intelligence, preparedness, and precaution, as well as a very high character level.
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