Daedric Artifacts in The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim are special, powerful items created by the Daedric Princes and given to mortals in exchange for their services or for completing favors. Each artifact is attributed to a specific Prince and is imbued with their power, providing unique combat and magical benefits to their users. Daedric Artifacts fall under three categories: Weapons, Apparel and Other Items. In order to obtain these artifacts, the Dragonborn must undertake special Daedric Quests and gain the favor of the associated Daedric Prince.
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Skyrim Daedric Artifacts Overview
Artifacts in the greater Elder Scrolls Universe are typically items of immense power, reknown or historical significance. These items seem almost sentient in nature — changing their forms and scattering across Tamriel seemingly at will. The Daedric Artifacts in particular are one of the most prominent types due to the legends surrounding them, handed down from adventurer to adventurer. Each one is created by a Daedric Prince using their own essence, imbuing them with power and gifted to the mortal races at the cost of contending with questionable morality and the Artifacts' inherently corrupting influence.
The Daedric Princes are the most powerful of the Daedra — supernatural beings who inhabit the realms of Oblivion. Often worshipped as gods, each Prince has their own plane of existence which they preside over in Oblivion, as well as a particular sphere of influence that they govern over the mortal realms. While they are known as "Princes", these Daedra are genderless but may manifest as typically male or female in being, or both.
It is difficult to place a "good" or "evil" label on Daedric Princes, or the Daedra in general. Often refered to as demons, Daedra have a tendency for extremes, whether it be extreme benevolence or devastation. All Daedra are capable of utterly destructive acts, but their spheres of influence make them apply their power in different ways. Many of the Daedric Princes seem to exhibit a genuine interest in their followers and may even take an active part in preserving their wellbeing, if only to invest in their own following. While most view these beings as evil or destructive, Daedra Worship is still widely practiced across Tamriel. In Skyrim, many intact shrines can still be found, erected in honor of the Daedric Princes and utilized as a place of worship, albeit typically in secret. While it is not outright illegal in many provinces to worship the Daedric Princes, it is often frowned upon and discouraged by the religious authorities.
There are seventeen Daedric Princes in total and in Skyrim, the Dragonborn can come into contact with each one. However, not all of the Princes make an appearance in their true form, often perusing aspects or shrines to communicate with their subjects.
A Shrine dedicated to Malacath, a Daedric Prince, in Giant's Grove
While there are close to 30 Daedric Artifacts in the greater Elder Scrolls Universe, only 16 are present and obtainable in Skyrim. These items all have special properties, some of which are shared:
- Each Artifact is attributed to a specific Daedric Prince, influencing their abilities. Certain Princes may have more than one Artifact attributed to them.
- Obtaining the Daedric Artifacts requires the completion of the relevant Daedric Quests. There is one quest for each Artifact. Some of these have prerequisites before they can be started, and most have associated "Pointer Quests" which are miscellaneous objectives that will point you in the direction of the actual quest. These aren't always necessary to complete, but are the most common way you will learn of the Daedric Quests to begin with, through normal gameplay. In most cases, Daedric Quests can be started by simply visiting the associated Prince's shrine or encountering one of their Daedric Worshippers. Beware as some of these quests can also be failed, typically by killing the associated Questgiver whether accidentally or intentionally. See each Quest's page for additional details.
- Each Artifact appears only once in the game. Multiple copies of the same Artifact are impossible to obtain legitimately.
- Each Artifact has a unique appearance and is distinct from more common items and craftable equipment.
- Each Artifact has a unique and useful Enchantment.
- Daedric Artifacts cannot be Disenchanted to learn their enchantments.
- Some Daedric Artifacts can be improved via Smithing.
- Certain NPCs such as the Hold Guards may have an interesting comment regarding Daedric Artifacts, depending on the ones you have equipped.
While the Daedric Artifacts sport some of the most unique effects and appearances, are rich in lore and have their own questlines, of the ones that can be equipped by the Dragonborn, they do not necessarily constitute the best Weapons, Armor or Jewelry in Skyrim. There are plenty of Weapons and Equipment that players can find or craft that will largely outclass these Artifacts whether through higher damage output, better armor values or the ability to be imbued with various Enchantments of choice. Some of these Daedric Artifacts also do not benefit from Smithing perks, and some cannot be improved at all, therefore being unable to keep up as well or as easily with other equipment later into the game.
Nevertheless, players can use the uniqueness of these Artifacts to augment their experience of the game by creating builds that capitalize on the special properties of each Artifact, mixing and matching with their favorite equipment pieces or simply adjusting their playstyle. Most Artifacts are very effective during the earlier stages of the game, or as early as they can be obtained so these are factors to take note of when deciding on pursuing these special items.
There are two Trophies/Achievements related to the Daedric Artifacts that players can obtain:
- Daedric Influence (Bronze Trophy/10 Points) - Acquire a Daedric Artifact
- Oblivion Walker (Silver Trophy/30 Points) - Obtain 15 Daedric Artifacts
The Oblivion Walker Trophy/Achievement requires players to collect 15 Daedric Artifacts in a single playthrough. This does not require players to have all 15 Artifacts at the same time, but rather that they have collected each one at some point during the playthrough. Therefore, for Quests that end in a choice between two Artifacts such as The Black Star, players can save before making the closing decision, obtain one Artifact and then reload to obtain the other. Both acquisitions will count towards the achievement in this case.
Another instance of two possible Artifact rewards is the Ill Met by Moonlight Quest, at the end of which, the player can make a choice between killing a character (Sindig) to obtain the Savior's Hide or spare them and help them defeat the hunters seeking Sindig to obtain Hircine's Ring. Both Artifacts can be obtained by agreeing to spare Sindig, helping him kill the hunters, heading out of the cave he is found in to obtain the ring and then going back inside to kill Sindig and skin him, after which Hircine will communicate through a spirit and grant the player the hide Artifact.
- The Skeleton Key, while technically a Daedric Artifact, does not count towards Oblivion Walker as its related quest is recognized by the game as a Thieves Guild Quest rather than a Daedric Quest.
- The Quests A Daedra's Bestfriend, Pieces of the Past and Waking Nightmare can all conclude with the player not receiving a Daedric Artifact due to choices made.
- The Quests Discerning the Transmundane, Pieces of the Past, The House of Horrors and The Taste of Death can be failed based on player action or choices.
- The Quests A Daedra's Best Friend and The Whispering Door have NPCs that can die before obtaining the quest, thereby preventing you from obtaining the relevant Artifacts.
- The Quest The Cursed Tribe concludes with the Artifact being placed in front of you for manual collection, instead of automatically being placed in your inventory. Be careful not to fast travel or leave the area before picking it up or it can disappear completely and become unobtainable.
- Auriel's Bow, despite not being a Daedric Artifact, counts towards the Oblivion Walker achievement. It can be obtained from the Touching the Sky quest, available with the Dawnguard DLC.
- See each individual quest page for further details.
Daedric Artifact Weapons
Daedric Artifact Weapons can be equipped much like regular Weapons and used to deal damage to opponents in combat.
Daedric Artifact Apparel
Other Daedric Artifact Items
Other Items refer to miscelleaneous items and tools that do not fall under the Weapon or Apparel categories. These have specialized usage and some may have limited uses.
Quick Search of All Daedric Artifacts in Skyrim
|Name||Item Type||Item Class||Effects||Quest||Stats|
|Weapon||One-Handed, Swords||Burns for 15 points, and when killing undead, a chance to cause a fiery explosion that turns or destroys nearby undead.||The Break of Dawn||12||--||10||740|
|Weapon||Two-Handed, Greatsword||Absorbs the life essence of your foes, strengthened by the blood of deceit.||The Whispering Door||11||--||10||2,000|
|Weapon||One-Handed, Maces||Does 25 points of Stamina damage. Does 25 points of Magicka damage. If target dies within 3 seconds, fills a soul gem.||The House of Horrors||16||--||18||1,257|
|Weapon||One-Handed, Dagger||Hits have a small chance to instantly kill.||Pieces of the Past||11||--||3||860|
|Weapon||Staff||Summons a Dremora for 60 seconds.||A Night to Remember||0||--||10||2,087|
|Weapon||Staff||20 points damage, increases to 50 if powered with dreams collected from sleeping people.||Waking Nightmare||2||--||10||1,680|
|Weapon||Two-Handed, Warhammer||Absorb 50 points of Stamina||The Cursed Tribe||25||--||26||1,843|
|Weapon||Staff||A blast from Wabbajack with an unpredictable effect.||The Mind of Madness||27||--||10||1,565|
|Armor||Heavy Armor, Heavy Cuirass||You are able to move more quietly, and opponents that get too close take 5 points poison damage per second.||Boethiah's Calling||--||45||28||5,000|
|Armor||Heavy Armor, Heavy Headgear||Prices are 20% better. Increases Speech skill by 10 points. Magicka regenerates 5% faster.||A Daedra's Best Friend||--||23||7||1,277|
|Jewelry||Ring||Provides unlimited transformations for werewolves.||Ill Met By Moonlight||--||0||0.25||400|
|Jewelry||Ring||Stamina is increased by 50 points. Feeding on corpses grants you increased Health and Health regeneration for five minutes.||The Taste of Death||--||0||0.3||870|
|Armor||Light Armor, Light Cuirass||Increases Magic Resistance by 15%. Increases Poison Resistance by 50%.||Ill Met by Moonlight||--||26||6||2,679|
|Shield||Heavy Shield||While blocking, creates a ward that protects against spells for up to 50 points.||The Only Cure||--||38||12||277|
|Miscellaneous Item||Soul Gem||Functions as an infinitely reusable Grand Soul Gem.||The Black Star||--||--||0||1,000|
|Miscellaneous Item||Soul Gem||Functions as an infinitely reusable Black Soul Gem.||The Black Star||--||--||0||1,000|
|Miscellaneous Item||Book||When read, allows the option to choose between one of three Paths, adding +5 skill levels to 6 skills within that Path.||Discerning the Transmundane||--||--||1||2,500|
|Miscellaneous Item||Key||Functions as an unbreakable Lockpick.||Blindsighted (Acquisition)
Darkness Returns (Lost Upon Completion)