Discovering Skyrim’s exciting and immersive open-world is one part of the experience. Finding rare and unique weapons, however, is the other half. Those who are familiar with Daedric Princes and the quests that often involve doing their more or less twisted bidding will also know just how powerful some of their quest rewards and artifacts are.
The Dawnbreaker is perhaps the least dark and chaotic reward from a Daedric Prince Meridia, mostly due to her being a creature of the light and despising all things undead. Her quest has the player diving deep into Meridia’s temple and cleansing it from dark energy, only to collect the Dawnbreaker, a weapon that’s often misunderstood or underestimated.
8 It Was First Introduced In Skyrim
Meridia’s artifact wasn’t always the Dawnbreaker. In previous games, the Ring of the Khajiit was the primary artifact players could receive as a reward from completing a Meridia-related side quest. However, this changed in Skyrim, in which the ring wasn’t included.
The Dawnbreaker first made its appearance in Skyrim and has become one of the most popular one-handed swords due to its incredibly unique appearance. No other sword is quite like it thanks to its unique model, featuring an appropriately bright glow effect.
7 It Can Damage The Player
The Dawnbreaker isn’t a weapon for just anyone. Players who have received the gift of vampirism, in particular, should be careful when handling this weapon. It won’t ignore the player’s undead nature when used in combat.
The random explosion it causes when used against undead creatures will actually affect and damage the player as well if they are a vampire. As such, it’s a perfect weapon for any Dawnguard members, but terrible for those who decided to join the Volkihar clan in the Dawnguard DLC.
6 It Was Forged In Holy Light
Most Daedric Princes’ artifacts tend to be shrouded in mystery. It’s impossible to say how they first ended up in the hands of mortals, as their history is long and complicated. Most artifacts have changed hands numerous times and have usually spelled doom or death for their greedy owners.
The Dawnbreaker in particular, having no previous history in other Elder Scrolls games, is only known to have been forged in holy light. At least, these are the words from Meridia herself when she describes the sword.
5 Serana Will Be Hurt By It
Since vampire Dragonborns can end up getting hurt by the Dawnbreaker’s explosive power, it should come as no surprise that any undead followers the player might have acquired will face the same fate. Whether they’re summons or proper followers, it’s best to not use the Dawnbreaker in that case.
Serana in particular is a risky follower to have if the Dawnbreaker is the player’s primary weapon. She can be damaged by the sword’s explosion since she’s marked as a Vampire Lord, and can even be prompted to flee from battle momentarily.
4 It Requires Lots Of Soul Gems To Charge
The Dawnbreaker is a powerful one-handed sword, but it isn’t without its drawbacks. Aside from being terrible for an undead Dragonborn or follower, it requires a lot of soul gems to charge up fully. In fact, several Grand Soul gems will be needed to fill its charge meter.
On the bright side, charging it won’t be a common occurrence for most players, since the meter depletes slower. Still, it can be a heavy investment to make in the long run, so make sure to have as many soul gems on hand as possible.
3 It Can Be Duplicated
Skyrim is an old game by now, and there continue to be bugs and exploits that can be used to one’s advantage to get even more out of the game. One Dawnbreaker in hand can feel immensely powerful, but how about having two Dawnbreakers? It’s entirely possible.
When first discovering the Dawnbreaker on its pedestal, use a Destruction spell on it that will blast loose objects around. The best for this is Fireball, especially at early levels. This will send a duplicate of the Dawnbreaker flying across the room, while the original is still on its pedestal.
2 Its Fire Damage Is Affected By Perks (& Ahzidal’s Mask)
The Dawnbreaker doesn’t just cause explosions that will kill undead enemies and cause tougher enemies to flee the fight. Its primary ability is to set targets on fire and incinerate them over time. At first, the sheer damage from this isn’t remarkable — but that depends on how high the player’s Augmented Flames perk is.
Unlocking this perk, as well as wearing Ahzidal’s mask found in the Dragonborn DLC, will significantly increase the fire damage of the sword.
1 It Also Works On Ash Spawns
Draugr and skeletons are the typical targets Dawnbreaker is used for, but there are some other enemies like vampires and the ash spawns of Solstheim that are also weak against its effects. Players with the Dragonborn DLC who have yet to enter the island of Solstheim may want to consider taking the Dawnbreaker along.
The principle is the same as with Draugr: there’s a chance of an explosion when ash spawns are hit by the Dawnbreaker.