How to Charge Soul Gems in Skyrim
What Are Soul Gems?
Not long into The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, you will come across your first enchanted weapon. These are regular weapons with beneficial spells applied to them, giving them all sorts of nifty features. These weapons can do extra elemental damage, leech health, and strike fear into the hearts of your foes. But, after a few uses, these effects will wear off, and it's up to you to recharge your enchanted weapon. This is done with soul gems- stones filled with the souls of fallen enemies.
Soul gems come in several sizes, which dictate the size of soul they can hold. In ascending order, the types of gems are:
The smallest gem, it can only hold the souls of domesticated animals like dogs or chickens, up to the almost-respectable wolf.
Getting a little tougher now, this gem can hold animals such as horses, bears, draugrs, and trolls.
This gem holds the tougher variants of the lesser gem's creatures, such as cave bears and frost trolls.
Now we're at the big game! The greater soul gem holds the souls of Giants, atronachs, wispmothers, and wraiths
The best of the 'clean' soul gems, the grand gem is most commonly filled by mammoths, but also by brood mothers, goblin warlords, and lich.
This gem has the same storage capacity as a grand soul gem, but is filled with humanoid souls. This includes all the two-legged, sentient races of Tamriel.
There are also two special soul gems that can be recharged, Azura's Star and the Black Star. These two are available from the quest "The Black Star."
Soul gems are commonly found in dungeons and other enchanted places, and can also be purchased at most alchemy shops.
Finding Charged Soul Gems
There is one easy way to avoid all the trouble of charging your own stones, and that's to find them already filled with souls. The best way to about this is to kill Dwarven machines in Dwemer ruins. There are many such ruins around Skyrim: at least seven. The machines are powered by the soul gems, which can range from petty to greater. Of course, there are plenty of nasty monsters down there, so it may be easier to simply stay above ground for charging.
Charging Soul Gems with a Soul Trap Spell
The Soul Trap spell is a conjuration spell that can be cast on monsters prior to slaying them. The tome for the spell is sold by Farengar Secret-Fire at the Jarl's palace in Whiterun. Just place the spell on your target, kill it, and the soul will automatically transfer to the best available gem. You will get an error message if you don't have a gem large enough to hold the soul.
Similarly, weapons enchanted with a Soul Trap spell can imprison souls after killing the enemy.
Recharging Enchanted Weapons
Once you have a charged soul gem, recharging your enchanted weapon is easy. Open the weapons tab in your character menu and select the depleted weapon. There should be an option to recharge it, depending on your platform of choice. If you have a more powerful soul gem, it will replenish more of the enchantment than a weaker gem. And there you go! A magic-packed weapon, ready to enter the fray once more. Soul gems can be a bit confusing at first, but once you have found a preferred method of obtaining them, become a routine part of life in Skyrim.