How To Get the Best Mage Followers in Skyrim: Elder Scrolls V - Gamer Journalist
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How To Get the Best Mage Followers in Skyrim: Elder Scrolls V

Get the best magic users in Skyrim to defend you in your playthrough.
Khajiit Caravan in Skyrim Elder Scrolls V
Image via Bethesda Game Studios/Microsoft

Skyrim: Elder Scrolls V has no shortage of followers for players to choose from. Some players may prefer to travel alone, but many agree that it’s nice to have a helpful companion to aid you in long quests. It’s also quite nice to have another body to serve as a distraction in battle; if you’re up against a monster a little too big to handle, having another fighter to draw its attention elsewhere can be a real lifesaver. If you want a follower in Skyrim: Elder Scrolls V but aren’t sure where to begin, try getting a mage follower!

Whether you’re a mage looking to double their damage output in battle or are a weapon-wielder looking for a more versatile combat strategy, mage followers are the best! Some of the best, most sought-out followers in Skyrim are mages, and it’s no wonder why. Mages are much more versatile fighters than many people think; mages can help damage enemies from afar, heal their companions in battle, resurrect fallen enemies mid-battle to fight on your behalf, and can even summon atronachs to aid in any confrontation! Mages in Skyrim: Elder Scrolls V can seem almost overpowered at times, which is likely why there are so few of them available as followers. Keep reading if you’d like to learn how to obtain the best mage followers in Skyrim: Elder Scrolls V!

How to Obtain the Best Mage Followers in Skyrim: Elder Scrolls V

Unfortunately, there are only a handful of mage followers available to players. However, these few followers pack more than enough punch to make up for their small numbers! The main magic-using followers available to players in Skyrim are Marcurio, Aranea Lenith, Illia, J’zargo, Brelyna Maryon, Eola, and Onmund. There are a few more magic-users that can be gained as followers in Skyrim, but these are the best mages that can be of use to any Skyrim player. This list also purposefully excludes “quest followers”, which are temporary followers that can usually only be gained by accepting certain quests.

All of these followers make incredibly beneficial companions. Not every follower in this list can technically be classified as a “mage”, but they are all be classified as magic-using followers in Skyrim: Elder Scrolls V. Most of these magical followers, like many followers in Skyrim, will require personal quests to be completed before they can be added to your follower arsenal. These quests are often simple, however, so the only difficult part of the process will be tracking them down.

Where to Locate and Obtain Mage Followers in Skyrim

Marcurio

Marcurio is a great follower to have if you need someone with a lot of destructive power. This follower specializes in destruction spells, so, thankfully, you don’t need to worry about this guy in a fight. Marcurio also possesses an uncommon ability in mage followers; Marcurio can use physical weapons in addition to his magic! If Marcurio runs out of magicka in battle, he will resort to using his orcish dagger, which he comes preequipped with, or any weapons given to him by the player. This versatile fighter can be gained by following these steps:

  • Travel to Riften via fast travel or by foot.
  • Locate the Bee and Barb, and go inside.
  • Once inside the Bee and Barb, search for Marcurio. He can often be found sitting inside the Bee and Barb, but as Skyrim characters tend to do, there’s always the possibility he’s wandering around outside.
    • If he cannot be immediately located inside the Bee and Barb, it’s recommended to just wait inside until he makes an appearance.
  • Once Marcurio has been located, talk to him. Among his dialogue options will be an offer for service as a companion.
  • You can then hire Marcurio as your follower immediately for five hundred gold.

Aranea Lenith

Aranea Lenith is a deadly mage that is perfect for players who need a follower with an offensive combat skill! Aranea is an excellent battle mage that prefers to fight close-combat, rather than from afar. In addition, Aranea Lenith is one of the best mages to employ if you need a follower that can summon atronachs; Aranea will automatically summon flame atronachs in battle, unless the enemy is resistant to fire. If the enemy is resistant to fire, Aranea will automatically know to summon a frost astronach instead! This skilled sorcerer can be gained as a follower through these easy steps:

  • Travel to Winterhold via fast travel or by foot.
  • Travel to the Shrine of Azura, located on a mountain top just South of Winterhold.
  • Locate Aranea and speak with her. Speaking with her will start “The Black Star” quest. Completing this quest in Aranea’s favor will allow her to be gained as a follower.
    • There are two possible artifacts that can be gained through “The Black Star” quest: the Azura’s Star artifact and the Black Star artifact. Choosing the Azura’s Star artifact over the Black Star artifact will endear Aranea to you as a follower.
  • Once “The Black Star” quest has been completed in Aranea’s favor, travel back to the Shrine of Azura.
  • Once Aranea Lenith has been located, speak with her again. Aranea should now be available as a follower.

Illia

Illia is an excellent imperial mage specializing in ice magic. This follower is perfect for any players who need a lot of damage done to a lot of enemies; Illia is fantastically effective when faced with battles featuring multiple adversaries! Illia is one of the most underrated followers in Skyrim: Elder Scrolls V, simply because not many players know about her or how to get to her. If you want this deadly ice mage as your follower, just follow these simple steps:

  • Travel to Riften via fast travel or by foot.
  • From Riften, travel to the Darklight Tower, located just Southwest of Riften.
    • Be prepared to fight when encountering the Darklight Tower. This tower is overflowing with witches and frostbite spiders, so don’t let your guard down while exploring. Drinking a Resist Frost potion beforehand is recommended.
  • Illia should be located close to the entrance of Darklight Tower. Illia should immediately confront the player, after she is seen killing an evil witch residing in the tower.
  • Speak with Illia. Illia will express her dislike of Darklight Tower, where she, among fellow magic-users, takes part in many evil deeds. Illia will express her desire to break away from her dark past, and will suggest an escape plan to the player.
  • A small quest should then begin: “Help Illia Reach the Top of Darklight Tower”. Once this small quest is completed, a new small quest should appear: “Defeat Illia’s Mother at the Top of Darklight Tower”.
    • Illia should help kill enemies while you both journey to the top of the tower. Once you reach the final door to the boss room, Illia will suggest a plan to kill her mother, the boss, by disguising you as a human sacrifice. Enter the boss room and peacefully go along with this disguise until it is time to attack; Illia will help the player kill her mother.
  • Once Illia’s mother has been defeated, Illia will offer you her mother’s staff (Staff of Hag’s Wrath) as payment. After Illia begins to walk away, speak with her again.
  • You will now be given the option to adopt Illia as a follower.
Dragon Battle Scene in Skyrim Elder Scrolls V
Image via Bethesda Game Studios/Microsoft

J’zargo

J’zargo is a popular mage follower in Skyrim: Elder Scrolls V for many reasons. J’zargo is a magical khajiit warrior with an affinity for destruction magic! This follower is perfect for anyone looking for a companion who can take a lot of hits and deal hits out just as effectively. In addition to using wildly effective destruction spells in battle, J’zargo will also use restoration spells on himself and on the player, should any confrontations go south. If you want this fuzzy sorcerer as your follower, follow these steps:

  • Travel via fast travel or on foot to Winterhold.
  • Once inside Winterhold, travel to the College of Winterhold within the northern section of the city.
  • Explore the interior of the College of Winterhold. J’zargo can often be found in the Hall of Attainment or in the Hall of the Elements.
  • Once J’zargo is located, speak with him.
    • He will ask the player if they’ve mastered their expert level destruction spells yet, to which you will need to reply that you have not yet, but will soon.
  • Exit the conversation. once the conversation has ended, speak with J’zargo again; there will be new dialogue options when speaking with him a second time.
  • J’zargo will explain that he needs help testing some new spells. If you accept his plea for help, you will begin the “J’zargo’s Experiment” quest.
    • The “J’zargo’s Experiment” quest may take some time to complete. This quest involves testing numerous spell scrolls for J’zargo and reporting their effectiveness back to him.
  • Once “J’zargo’s Experiment” has been completed, go back to the College of Winterhold and speak with J’zargo once again. Once he has been informed of the completion of his quest, he will then be able to be gained as a follower.

Brelyna Maryon

Brelyna is another follower that can be gained through the College of Winterhold in Skyrim. Brelyna is an incredibly adept follower for many reasons, not the least of which being her amazing prowess in battle! Brelyna Maryon is especially skilled at conjuration spells, so she’s the perfect follower for anyone needing an extra few sets of hands in combat. Brelyna may not be as skilled in destruction as J’zargo, but she makes up for it with her conjuration, illusion, and brilliant alteration skills! If you’d like Brelyna Maryon to accompany you as a follower, follow these steps:

  • Travel to Winterhold via fast travel or by foot.
  • Once safely inside Winterhold, travel to the College of Winterhold within the northern section of the city.
  • After having explored the interior of the College of Winterhold, locate the Hall of Attainment. This hall is where Brelyna resides and is the best place to look when searching for her.
  • After she has been located, speak to Brelyna. Brelyna will ask the player if they could help her with something, to which you must agree.
    • She will ask if she can practice a few spells on you, you must agree if you want her to be your follower. This quest is easy but it may take a while; after each spell is cast, you’ll need to wait for it to wear off before reporting back to Brelyna.
  • Once Brelyna has tested all her new spells, she will then thank the player and begin to walk away. Speak with her again and she should now be able to be gained as a follower.

Eola

Eola is a reasonably well-known character in Skyrim, but not necessarily because she can be made a follower. Eola is an outspokenly shameless cannibal, she’s part of a cult of Namira worshippers that are obsessed with death. Apart from the cannibalism, however, Eola is actually an incredibly skilled mage! Eola is especially adept with destruction and alteration spells, so she can hold her own well in a fight. If morality isn’t an issue in your Skyrim playthrough and you’d like to acquire this cannibal companion, follow these steps:

  • Travel to Markarth via fast travel or by foot.
  • Once inside Markarth, travel to the Silver-Blood Inn just inside the city’s gates.
  • Once inside the Silver-Blood Inn, speak to Kleppr, who should be at the front desk, and inquire about any local rumors in Markarth.
    • Kleppr will inform the player that Brother Verulus has closed the Hall of the Dead, and many citizens are becoming impatient and upset with him for it.
  • Exit the Silver-Blood Inn and travel to the Hall of the Dead.
  • Enter the Hall of the Dead. You should encounter Brother Verulus, who informs the player that the rest of the hall is closed. When pressed, Verulus will tell the player that the hall has been closed due to “eaten corpses” being discovered, and will only allow you to enter the hall on the condition that you will attempt to get to the bottom of this gory vandalism.
    • There are a few different dialogue options that appear in this conversation, but almost all of the options conclude in the same way, as long as you’re trying to get into the hall.
  • Progress deeper into the Hall of the Dead. You should encounter Eola shortly after entering; Eola should appear before you and will accuse you of secretly being a cannibal, just like her.
    • It’s best to go along with this accusation, if you want her to become your follower sooner rather than later. In this conversation, Eola will mention that her cannibalistic cult is located in Reachcliff Cave. This will start “The Taste of Death” quest.
  • Exit the Hall of the Dead and tell Brother Verulus the hall is now safe. From their, travel to Reachcliff Cave, and kill all the Draugr dwelling inside.
  • Deep inside Reachcliff Cave is the Shrine of Namira. Once the shrine has been cleared of enemies, Eola will instruct you to bring Brother Verulus to the shrine as a sacrifice for their coven.
  • Travel back to the Hall of the Dead and convince Verulus to follow you to Reachcliff Cave. Once inside, Eola will instruct you to kill and eat the priest. Once this has been done, you will have completed “The Taste of Death” quest.
  • Once this quest has been completed, Eola will finally be available as a follower.
Draugr Warriors in Skyrim Elder Scrolls V
Image via Bethesda Game Studios/Microsoft

Onmund

Onmund is a powerful and extremely helpful mage located in the College of Winterhold. He is surprisingly even-tempered, and is perfect for players who need a healer and fighter in combat. Onmund is slightly underrated as a follower, simply because he doesn’t get as much attention as the other Winterhold mages, J’zargo and Brelyn. This doesn’t mean Onmund is a lesser mage however! Onmund is skilled in destruction and illusion spells, meaning he can hold his own pretty well in a fight. In addition, Onmund will heal himself and his companions during tough battles! If you’d like this magical Nord on your side, follow these simple steps:

  • Travel via fast travel or by foot to Winterhold.
  • Once safely inside Winterhold, travel to the College of Winterhold. The College of Winterhold is located within the northern section of the city.
  • Locate the Hall of Attainment in the college. The Hall of Attainment is where Onmund resides, and is the best place to look when searching for him.
  • Once Onmund has been located, speak to him. He will tell you he needs help getting back an amulet he’s traded to Enthir. Agreeing to help him will begin the “Onmund’s Request” quest.
    • If he does not ask for help on the first attempt, exit the conversation and speak to him again. The necessary dialogue option should pop up.
  • Locate Enthir in the College of Winterhold and make a deal with him to get Onmund’s amulet back. Enthir will ask you to retrieve The Grand Staff of Charming he’d traded to the wrong person.
    • The location of this staff should be marked on your map after you finish speaking with Enthir.
  • Once the staff is retrieved, travel back to the College of Winterhold and deliver it to Enthir. Enthir should then give you Onmund’s amulet in return.
  • Once the amulet has been acquired, deliver it back to Onmund. This will complete “Onmund’s Request”, and he will now be available as a follower.

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