Some mechanics associated with dragons in Skyrim can be a complete mess, which is unfortunate due to dragons being an essential element in the games. Both in terms of story and combat. Shouting – a mechanic introduced in Skyrim heavily relies on Dragon Souls, and the only way to acquire Dragon Souls is to absorb them after you’ve managed to defeat a Dragon. Sometimes, a glitch occurs that makes this impossible. Because of that, we’ve decided to create this guide so let’s see how to fix the issue of not being able to absorb Dragon Souls in Skyrim.
Sometimes respawned Dragon can share an ID number with a dragon you’ve already killed. In that case, you’re not going to be able to absorb a dragon soul, as it’s possible to absorb a dragon soul from a slain dragon only once. There’s no way to go around this, but you can always add a single dragon soul by using the “player.modav dragonsouls 1” command. There’s also an issue where you will be unable to absorb a dragon soul if you’ve interacted with an object or another NPC just before the Dragon has started disintegrating. In that case, you might need to reload your save game.
Now that we’ve given you a short answer, it’s time to analyze all issues related to absorbing dragon souls in a bit more detail. If you’re interested in more, stay with us and keep reading!
Dragon Souls, their use, and how to get them
Dragon Souls are the only thing that matters when it comes to Shouts. No matter how many Word Walls you’ve found, if you don’t have Dragon Souls at your disposal, you will not be able to utilize those acquired shouts.
There is only one way to get Dragon Souls, and it’s by slaying Dragons. After you slay a dragon, it will disintegrate, and one soul will be added to your magic menu “inventory.”
This is the only thing that separates you as a Dragonborn from the rest of the NPCs in Skyrim that can shout your ability to steal the souls of Dragons. Lore-wise, Dragonborn’s ability to steal the souls of Dragons allows him to absorb, with its soul, all of Dragon’s knowledge about shouts and thus allowing you to learn the shouts with next-to-nothing effort.
Sometimes, however, things can go wrong, and you are unable to absorb the souls of Dragons. Let’s see why it happens.
Why can’t you absorb Dragon Souls in Skyrim?
There are three most common reasons why you can’t absorb the dragon souls.
- Due to the Dragon number ID glitch.
- Because you’ve interacted with another object / NPC before the disintegrating animation started.
- Miraak is stealing your Dragon Souls.
As you can see, in some cases, it’s planned, and in some cases, it’s due to a bug. Now let’s see how to fix it.
Dragon number ID glitch
All Dragons (and other NPCs in Skyrim) have IDs that are unique to them. You can use those ID numbers to spawn any NPC in the game as long as you have access to it. You can even spawn an infinite number of copies of an NPC with a single ID number. Dragons are no different in this regard, and it might happen that after you’ve killed a certain Dragon, that same Dragon with the exact same ID number spawns again in the world. Why is this a problem? Because you can absorb the soul of a specific dragon only once.
Most players notice this “problem” when they attempt to farm dragon lairs. If you’ve killed a dragon and returned after enough time has passed for the location, to respawn a Dragon with the same exact ID might respawn them, and you will never be able to absorb its soul. The disintegration sequence will never even trigger.
You can solve this issue by using the “player.modav dragonsouls 1″ command and adding yourself a single dragon soul.
Object / NPC interaction glitch
Another glitch caused by interaction with another object or an NPC might result in the inability to absorb a dragon soul. This most often happens when you attempt to loot the chest near the Dragon or attempt to loot the Dragon itself before the disintegration sequence has started. The animation for soul absorption never starts, and you’re stuck with an untouched Dragon corpse and no Dragon Souls in sight.
This issue can be resolved by reloading a previous save or, simply like in the last example, adding a single Dragon Soul by using commands.
Miraak is stealing your Dragon Souls
If you have Dragonborn installed and you’ve started the story, you’re aware that you are not the only Dragonborn in Skyrim. There’s Miraak, an ancient Dragonborn who decided to “sell his soul” to Hermaeous Mora. Miraak turns out to be quite the menace, and the main story of Dragonborn expansion is, in fact, a way to deal with him. As soon as you complete the quest “Temple of Miraak,” Miraak will start stealing your Dragon Souls. You might deal the killing blow to a Dragon, but Miraak will be the one to claim its soul. It’s not a bug. This “feature” has been purposely coded in the game to show you Miraak’s supremacy and gives you a sense of urgency when it comes to dealing with him.
After the quest “Temple of Miraak,” when you kill a dragon for the first time, you will see Miraak appearing in a translucent state, taunting you and stealing your Dragon Soul. After that first encounter, there’s a 25% chance for him to appear every time you kill a Dragon. There’s also no location limit when it comes to stealing souls, as Miraak can manifest both on Solstheim and in Skyrim. So don’t think about returning to Skyrim to farm some Dragon Souls as long as Dragonborn main story is active, as it won’t work.
The only solution to this is to complete the main Dragonborn storyline and defeat Miraak. After Miraak has been dealt with, he will return all Dragon Souls he stole from you + 3 additional souls, which he normally “drops” upon death.