Skyrim’s Daedric artifacts are some of the most interesting in the series, though five tend to stand out among the others for their sheer power.
One series of quests that The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim players are likely going to do at some point are the Daedric quests, where the Dragonborn assists one of the many Daedric Princes. These quests are often some of the more creatively designed side-quests in the game. The reward for completing these quests are the incredibly powerful Daedric artifacts, each providing a unique effect for the player, such as becoming a cannibal.
However, not all Daedric artifacts are made equally. Some will level with the player, meaning they’ll be found at a higher level that corresponds to the player’s level, making them far better to acquire later in the game. This can obviously lead to the power of certain artifacts being far less than what they should be if the player finds them at low level, making them far less useful than others. If players are going to track down any of Skyrim‘s Daedric artifacts, five stand out among the rest as obvious starting points.
The Black Star
Many Skyrim players already know just how powerful the Black Star artifact is. The player’s level has no impact on the artifact’s power, and the Black Star can end up replacing an entire type of item for the player, making it almost necessary for anyone looking to use Skyrim‘s enchanting system. The Black Star serves as a reusable soul gem that will always store a Grand soul and can trap the souls of both sentient and non-sentient creatures.
The Black Star is awarded to players who complete the side-quest “The Black Star” by bringing the broken Azura Star to Nelacar, a necromancer’s apprentice. The alternative is bringing the Star to a priestess of Azura named Aranea Ienith, which will lead to the player getting Azura’s Star instead of The Black Star. Azura’s Star functions identically to The Black Star that can’t hold the souls of humanoids, making it far less useful.
Ring of Hircine
The Ring of Hircine is a bit more situational when compared to The Black Star but can still be incredibly powerful with the right build. The Ring of Hircine gives players unlimited werewolf transformations, assuming that they’re already a werewolf. The Dragonborn’s werewolf form is incredibly powerful, capable of dealing massive amounts of unarmed damage and tanking a ton of damage. The Ring of Hircine gives players a bloodlust meter that determines how long their werewolf form lasts, though players can equip the Ring again once the meter runs out.
Players receive the Ring of Hircine during the quest “Ill Met by Moonlight,” where they have to help a werewolf by the name of Sinding break the curse put on the ring. Much like “The Black Star,” there’s an alternate reward called Savior’s Hide, which buffs the player’s magic resistance by 15% and poison resistance by 50%. Savior’s Hide takes up their torso armor slot and is generally the worse choice when compared to the Ring of Hircine.
Dawnbreaker’s special properties are incredibly useful for players planning on exploring the Nordic tombs of Skyrim. Doing Dawnbreaker’s quest, “The Break of Dark,” too early will lead to the one-handed sword dealing far less damage than usual, though it won’t diminish the power of its unique ability against the undead. Dawnbreaker also has a chance to cause an explosion when the player hits an undead that’ll harm other undead nearby.
While Dawnbreaker is still far more useful when it’s obtained at a later level, it’s still an amazing tool to use against the many undead that the player faces. The weapon’s fire damage is consistent no matter the level, as it always does ten points of burning damage. This consistent damage helps the Daedric artifact stand out among the other leveled artifacts and one that could be justified to grab far earlier than most leveled artifacts.
Unlike most Daedric artifacts, Sanguine Rose’s unique ability actually levels with the player, rather than the artifact staying at a set level when first found. Sanguine Rose will summon a leveled Dremora or Daedra to assist the player in combat for up to sixty seconds. Dremora and Daedra summons are both exceptionally powerful and can help the Dragonborn get out of a tight bind by distracting enemies.
The quest that rewards players with the Sanguine Rose, “A Night to Remember,” is also one of the best side-quests in the game. The Dragonborn is tasked with attempting to fix the mistakes of a drunken night of mischief with the Daedric Prince of Hard-Partying, Lord Sanguine. The Sanguine Rose isn’t just one of the best Daedric artifacts in the game, it’s also one of the more enjoyable ones to get.
When talking about Daedric artifacts that are just incredibly useful, the Skeleton Key is up there with The Black Star. The Skeleton Key acts as an infinite lockpick that never breaks, keeping players from ever having to worry about running out of lockpicks while working on a particularly tough lock. The only downside to the Skeleton Key is that it’s not a permanent artifact and is taken away from the player once they progress far enough into the Thieves Guild questline.
To obtain the Skeleton Key, players must reach the “Blindsighted” quest during the Thieves Guild questline. During this quest, players will be given the Skeleton Key temporarily and will eventually be asked to return it during the quest “Darkness Returns.” Players can use the Skeleton Key to farm their lockpicking skill up to maximum so that they unlock the Unbreakable perk. Once players have this perk, they can safely return the Skeleton Key.
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