Ash Spawn are hostile creatures found on Solstheim. They began to appear on the island after the massive volcanic eruptions of nearby Red Mountain early in the Fourth Era. This event covered the southern part of Solstheim in ash, killing countless souls, and destroying the Hirstaang Forest, now ash plains and the habitation of the ash spawn.
There are different varieties of ash spawn, but what they have in common is that their very bodies are composed of hardened, smoldering-hot volcanic ash. Some arise from the cremated remains of long-dead men and mer, and a mixture of the volcanic ash which blankets the southern half of Solstheim; some ash spawn rise where they fell in life during the Red Year. Despite ash spawn roaming the ash plains, attacking Raven Rock in numbers, and even rising in the ancestral tomb there of the Dunmer of Raven Rock, the exact origins of the ash spawn are a mystery to many on Solstheim.
You will have the option of buying the spell tome to conjure your own ash spawn to fight at your side from Neloth's newest apprentice, Talvas Fathryon, outside Tel Mithryn. This will be available a day or two after finishing the quest From the Ashes.
Ash spawn are neither alive nor dead, but something in between; subsequently they will not show up with either Detect Life or Detect Undead spells, much like the Dwarven automatons. Upon being slain, the ash spawn will glow white-hot for a few seconds, then disintegrate along with its weapons into a smoking ash pile, which apart from any weaponry or apparel is then lootable. Various pieces of ore and random gems are often found in these remains. The remains of ash spawn always yield the alchemical ingredient spawn ash.
It is revealed during the quest Old Friends that the ash spawn were created by the necromancer Ildari Sarothril, the undead former apprentice of Neloth, as recorded in her journals. Sarothril uses a magical, volcanic rock in place of her heart much in the same way the Forsworn Briarhearts of Skyrim use brambles and thorns. Sarothril raised the ash spawn using the same techniques after she heard the voices coming from the bones, ash, and heart stones and Sarothril realized she could command them to do her bidding. Much like ash guardians, the ash spawn consume the heart stone used to create them and so heart stones are not lootable from their remains. Sarothril's lair, Highpoint Tower, is the apparent source of many of the ash spawn on Solstheim.
Ash spawn will "come to life" and rise when approached, similar to draugr, except that ash spawn come out of ash piles on the ground when approached, or out of cremation cairns, instead of out of coffins.
All ash spawn have the ability to cast firebolt. Ash spawn will sword fight at close range; their swords are composed of the same smoldering, hardened ash as their very bodies, and cannot be looted, as their swords will disintegrate along with their bodies when they are slain. At range, the standard Ash Spawn will tend to go for exploding firebolts, while the higher leveled will tend to use more powerful exploding spells with an extra smoking effect, Ash Shell and Ash Rune.
|Ash Spawn Skirmisher
|Ash Spawn Immolator
- The game does not technically consider ash spawn to be undead, but rather of the Dwarven automaton type, which is why they cannot be detected through either the Detect Life or Detect Undead spells. However they can be located using the dragon shout Aura Whisper (Aura Whisper also locates others neither living nor dead and not detectable with spells, such as daedra). Using the Aura Whisper near an ash spawn not yet raised will show it in a standing position under the ground at the spot where it will rise. Attacking this specific spot before the ash spawn has raised will harm the ash spawn, with an added sneak attack bonus as if you are attacking someone undetected.
- Other ash-based creatures on Solstheim, the ash guardians, are apparently unrelated to ash spawn. While ash spawn are the resurrected, cremated remains of long-dead men and mer raised by a necromancer, ash guardians are composed entirely of burning ash and are more akin to the daedric atronachs summoned by conjurers.
- The ash creatures found in the earlier game Morrowind came from the Corprus disease and the influences of Dagoth Ur of the Red Mountain. No direct connection between the ash spawn and the Corprus disease or the dark magic of Dagoth Ur is made in Dragonborn. However, the animus of the ash spawn comes from magic and volcanic heart stones ejected as flaming rocks from Red Mountain and which have landed on Solstheim; this may imply that the magic of Dagoth Ur is a factor in the nature of the ash spawn.
- The upper body of an ash spawn may occasionally remain motionless even when the creature is moving. This is especially noticeable in summoned ash spawn.
- If an arrow is shot from a bow while you are on fire from an ash spawn's spell, the arrows shot afterwards will sometimes be white, or even disappear completely after being fired, meaning arrows are impossible to pick up. Loading an earlier save does not fix this. To fix this, restart the console.
- The full body of an ash spawn may sometimes grow bright white as if they were being slain. Restarting or reloading your game may fix this.