Skyrim: Creatures: Monsters
Karstaag (RefID: xx019666)
(lore page)
Location Castle Karstaag Courtyard
Species Ghost Giant Soul Grand
Level 90 Type Monsters
RefID xx019666 BaseID xx019665
Other Information
Health 4000 Magicka 0
Stamina 1000
Perks Extra Damage 2, Karstaag's Summons
Faction(s) Creature Faction; NPCs Immune to Mehrunes Razor; DLC2RieklingFaction; GiantFaction; Ice Wraith Faction

Karstaag was a frost giant who lived on Solstheim, and has been dead for over 200 years. The spirit of this ancient creature can be raised as part of the unmarked quest Summoning Karstaag. After defeating Karstaag, you gain the ability to summon him. However, you may only summon him three times total and it must be outdoors. He is one of the toughest enemies in the game to beat, having nearly double the health of the Ebony Warrior. During the battle, he can summon three ice wraiths at a time to distract you. He is much more powerful than a regular giant, being able to attack with his club, causing you to lose several hundred health points. When summoned, he will appear with a Blizzard around himself, which will ragdoll you if you stand too close to him when he is resurrected. After a short time, the blizzard will vanish and he will have a Frost Cloak surrounding him for the rest of the battle. If you leave the courtyard during the battle, Karstaag will have the blizzard surrounding him again when you reenter, but it will become a frost cloak very soon after reentering.

Karstaag has a 100% resistance to disease, frost, and poison, as well as a 75% resistance to shock. He cannot be ragdolled, and is immune to all forms of paralysis, as well as Mehrunes' Razor, Mora's Grasp, Whirlwind Cloak, and the instant kill effect of Wabbajack. He does have a 25% weakness to fire, however.

He also benefits from a fortified combat healing rate of 0.15% and a fortified healing rate of 0.15%. His normal healing rate combined with his combat healing rate causes him to regenerate 0.3% of his maximum health every second, which is 12 points per second.

Related QuestsEdit


  • Karstaag is a member of the unique "Ghost Giant" race that gives him his ghostly appearance. It has an ID of DLC2GhostFrostGiantRace.
  • He is undead, meaning that spells such as Stendarr's AuraDG will cause him to lose health.
  • After Karstaag is defeated, activating his throne will cause you to sit. This is the only location in the game where this sitting animation is available to the player.
  • Karstaag can be staggered and ragdolled by werebears or werewolves as the attacks of those creatures ignore the corresponding resistances. This makes the Beast Form a nice alternative for a high level player if Dawnguard is installed.
  • Karstaag can also be staggered by attacks from Windshear.
  • If the player does not do anything special while activating the throne, there is a good chance that the Dragonborn will be thrown high into the air, flying across the entire area, bumping onto the wall on the other side, falling down and smashing themselves against a solid icy ground. If this happens, it is not just a demonstration of how powerful Karstaag is, but also a blessing to players who get to meet him in combat for the very first time. After regaining control, the Dragonborn will find themselves landed, virtually uninjured, on an ice platform from which they can attack Karstaag and his allies, but cannot be attacked by Karstaag or ice wraiths.
  • Knowing the advantage of the high ground, a returning player may intentionally try to climb up to the ice platform with a bit of creative jumping. Like regular giants, Karstaag has no ranged attacks. If you attack him from the platform, he will do what regular giants would do. Since there is no spot where he can take cover, he will try to run as far away from you as possible, all the way to the far side of the area, next to his throne. From the ice platform, his health can be whittled down to zero with ranged attacks. Three ice wraiths may be summoned or summoned again during the battle. They don't have ranged attacks, either. If you are on the platform, they will appear to ignore you and will, if not destroyed by you, either dissipate after a period of time or vanish the moment Karstaag's heath is depleted.
  • Here is a by far easiest way to solo defeat Karstaag in melee combat on Legendary difficulty:
    • Once combat starts, quickly move backwards (while facing him and maintaining a safe distance) to lead Karstaag away from the tight space by his throne.
    • Pause the game and switch your dragon shout to Become Ethereal. Use its first word to buy you time, if necessary, to ensure you'll survive no matter what.
    • Cast Summon Arniel's Shade towards the ground between Karstaag and you. This is by far the best spell for use in this battle: the spell costs nothing to cast and Arniel's Shade is 100% invincible against Karstaag. In case you don't have that spell, use storm atronachs and/or ash guardians instead: they are weak against Karstaag's club attacks, but they can at least withstand a few stomp attacks to buy you time.
    • Once he's distracted by your summon(s), get close and attack Karstaag from behind or from one side. If he summons ice wraiths, ignore them. If you have a decent damage output (high DPS), all will be over in seconds.
  • The fastest way to dispatch Karstaag is by a specialized one-handed Dragonborn dual-wielding two swords. Karstaag's full health is 4,000 and regenerates at a rate no less than 12/second. On Legendary difficulty, one needs to deal more than 16,000 damage, possibly well over 20,000, in a very short period of time in order to take him down. After being doubly improved via tempering beyond legendary level, with the help of Fortify One-Handed enchantments and potions, any steel or better sword can eventually do as much as 1,000 damage per swing for a short period of time. With two such swords fast striking him at the same time, Karstaag's health can be depleted under about 10 strikes. Tested in real combat: With a shield and a single one-handed sword whose damage got boosted to 998 with potions, it took 21 swings (no power attacks) and 18 seconds (real time) to deplete his full health. certainly, it takes time to have the battle unfold in our favor: for this test, the whole battle took over 2 minutes and could have lasted much longer, had he decided to interrupt the attack with a stomp instead of summoning three "harmless" ice wraiths.
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