Skyrim: What Does Becoming Partially Soul Trapped Do? Is It Permanent?

What Does Becoming Partially Soul Trapped Do

Choosing between Vampires and Dawnguard is not the only difficult choice that Dawnguard DLC introduced to the players in Skyrim. When you decide to accompany Serana into the Soul Cairn, a plane of Oblivion where Ideal Masters rule, she will present you with the choice, you can either become partially soul-trapped, or she can turn you into a vampire. Before you make a choice, let us present you with all the facts. First, let’s start with the basics: what does becoming partially soul-trapped do, and is it permanent?

  • Article Breakdown:
  • Becoming partially soul-trapped adds a “Weakened Soul” effect to you. A Weakened Soul means that your health regeneration is slowed and your magicka and stamina regeneration is slowed.
  • The effect added to you by becoming partially soul-trapped is not permanent, and while it goes away on its own, it can be removed inside Soul Cairn as well by finding Soul Essence Gem.

Why do you need to be partially soul-trapped to enter Soul Cairn?

You need to be partially soul-trapped to enter Soul Cairn because only the “dead” can enter Soul Cairn. It’s all perfectly logical if you understand what Soul Cairn exactly is. Soul Cairn is a plane of Oblivion ruled by Ideal Masters. It’s sort of a dimension where all soul-trapped souls go. Necromancers are notorious for making deals with Ideal Masters. Since Ideal Masters crave souls, they are willing to grant limited powers to Necromancers, who, in turn, send more soul-trapped souls into their wretched dimension.

During the quest “Chasing Echoes” you and Serana manage to figure out that Valerica escaped to Soul Cairn. You manage to open a portal to Soul Cairn from Valerica’s study but there’s a problem. Valerica entered Soul Cairn easily due to being a vampire, a creature that is technically dead. Serana is also able to enter Soul Cairn without a problem since, like her mother, she is a vampire as well. That leaves you, a living, breathing [insert your race here] that is unable to enter Soul Cairn as-is.

portal to Soul Cairn

Serana thus presents you with a choice. She can partially soul trap you, or she can turn you into a vampire. In the long run, becoming partially soul-trapped is easier. But we’re going to discuss that in the following paragraphs.


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What does becoming partially soul trapped do in Skyrim?

Becoming partially soul-trapped adds “Weakened Soul” debuff to you and allows you to enter Soul Cairn freely. A part of your soul has been detached and now resides somewhere in Soul Cairn.

What does the Weakened Soul effect do?

The Weakened Soul effect is a debuff that makes your health regeneration slower by 80% as well as slows down your magicka and stamina regeneration by 50%. Health, Magicka, and stamina are reduced by 45 points as well. It’s not something you will notice if you are at a high enough level, and enemies in Soul Cairn are relatively easy to manage, especially with Serana by your side, still, some players don’t want to take any chances.

Weakened Soul
Weakened Soul debuff

Is Weakened Soul permanent?

No, the Weakened Soul is not permanent. It only applies if you’re in Soul Cairn. As soon as you leave it, your stats go up to their normal values, and regeneration of all stats is increased as well. Weakened Soul is permanent only if you don’t deal with it while you’re inside Soul Cairn. But to sum it up, Weakened Soul is a temporary effect that disappears as soon as you return to Skyrim, it’s present only in Soul cairn but there is a way to get rid of it inside Soul Cairn as well.

How to cure Weakened Soul debuff in Skyrim?

To cure Weakened Soul debuff in Skyrim, you’re going to have to find Soul Essence Gem. This is a unique soul gem that holds a piece of your soul and is used to remove the effects of “Weakened Soul” while inside Soul Cairn.

Soul essence gem full

You can see the location of Soul Essence Gem in the screenshot below

Soul Essence Gem Location
The chest in which Soul Essence Gem is stored is underneath the Ideal Master (giant soul gem)

Once you activate the Soul Essence Gem, all effects of the Weakened Soul vanish instantly, and your stats return to their normal values. Soul Essence Gem will, after consuming, revert to its black soul gem form.

What happens if you don’t retrieve the Soul Essence Gem?

Nothing happens if you don’t retrieve the gem, once you leave Soul Cairn your stats and regeneration return to their normal values. As stated before, this is really only a problem in Soul Cairn, you don’t have to retrieve Soul Essence Gem, especially if you don’t plan on making any subsequential trips to Soul Cairn.


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Can I revisit Soul Cairn?

You can revisit Soul Cairn after the Dawnguard questline is over. There is a catch, though. If you entered Soul Cairn as a vampire the first time you were with Serana you can only enter Soul Cairn as a vampire. That means if, in the meantime, you cure yourself of vampirism, you will not be able to enter Soul Cairn anymore.

If you, however, entered Soul Cairn via partial soul trapping, you will have no problems with visiting Soul Cairn again. The portal in Valerica’s Study stays open forever and can be reached conveniently with Volkihar Balcony fast travel.

Soul wandering soul cairn
One of many souls trapped in Soul Cairn

After you defeat Lord Harkon during the quest “Kindred Judgment,” you can return to Soul Cairn to let Valerica know that Harkon is gone. After that, she will relocate to Castle Volkihar once again, and you will be able to find her in the portal room from now on.

As you can see, becoming partially soul-trapped is not as bad as it sounds. The effects of the “Weakened Soul” affect you only while you’re in Soul Cairn, and even that can be dealt with by finding Soul Essence Gem. All in all, if you’ve decided to side with Dawnguard, this is a perfect solution to avoid becoming a vampire.

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