According to Bethesda (pre-release), the location and spawns of dragons is entirely random and unscripted, but there are obviously some that aren’t – their lairs are indicated by a small dragon head on the mini-map and the radar. However, that said, I’ve jotted down a list of ALL the places I encountered dragons and their possible spawns, but before that… tactics!
Firstly, to get this achievement you need to kill the dragon and stand near its deathly remains to absorb its soul – it’s automatic, so just stand close. Secondly, how you take down a dragon is entirely down to how you shape your, but their behaviour is largely the same.
They essentially circle, hover, spit down whatever magicka they have (which is their “shout”), rinse and repeat, with the odd time them landing, spewing more magic your way and if you get behind them, slamming you with their tales. Some of the stronger dragons later on in the game actually eat you as well (mostly Elder Dragons), so be mindful of getting too close.
Being a specialist mage and archer, I’m a distance fighter, which has allowed me to adopt a near flawless strategy. It basically boils down to hiding behind cover and then popping out at the right time to do your damage – the cover protects you from the spell and allows you to pop out at the right time.
Depending on what the dragon spews out will depend on what spells you use – he uses fire, use ice, etc. This isn’t just a mutually exclusive strategy for archers/mages, because warriors, etc. have the ability to use Dragon Shouts too – the Frost Breath and Fire Ball are good examples, but then again, using the slow down time Shout warriors can get close and deal some massive amounts of damage.
A great little strategy is to let them fight whoever else is around as well – they don’t focus all their aggression on you; the same with other creatures and beasts that are in the vicinity – and then step in after one of them is dead to a.) either nab the soul and kill the the creature; or b.) loot the other creature and then finish off the dragon. On so many occasions with creatures that range from skeletons and Draugr Overlords to Wispmothers and mammoths, they’ve distracted the dragon long enough for me to deal some risk free damage.
It’s essentially finding a strategy that you’re comfortable with though, and those are just a few tips that I’ve been able to hone in my 100 hours with the game.
The truth is though, that there are more than enough dragons to net this achievement just in general gameplay and through questing, but you’ll need a lot more if you want to get dragon shouts galore, so use this handy guide.
Dragon Encounters & Possible Spawns:
Outside Whiterun – main story quest.
Kynesgrove - Found during the main quest, “A Blade in the Dark,” at the burial ground in the hills.
Narzulbur – Directly east of Kynesgrove is the Orc camp. There was a dragon flying up and around the corner of the mountains where the Orc camp is.
Rannveig’s Fast (south of Morthal) – outside the entrance, protecting a Dragon Shout.
Southwest of Helgen (near Bonechill Passage) – Twice I’ve had one spawn here: one an ice dragon and one a fire dragon. Tricky terrain here to fight them, so save when you reach the decimated fort area to make sure you don’t meet your maker and lose all your progress.
Ancient’s Ascent – guarding a Dragon Shout, after going through Bonechill Passage.
Lost Tongue Overlook – Get bounty mission from Wilhelm in Ivarstead’s Inn or just head south of Riften.
South Skybound Watch – smack bang in the middle of Helgen and Riverwood in the mountainous bit. Powerful Wispmothers may be here, so if you can, let them fight and mop up the afters, otherwise you could get pounded by both!
Autumnwatch Tower – South of Ivarstad (and further south more of the Rift Imperial Camp) you’ll find a couple of towers in the mountain. It’s dragon fighting time! Ice dragons too. Plenty of cover for ranged attacks and for mages.
Arcwind Point – Directly west of the Autumnwatch Tower. There’s also a Draugr Overlord here too. Let the two fight while you whittle down the dragon while he’s occupied. Careful, up the stairs from where the Draugr Overlord is though is a Draugr Death Overlord who is tough as hell (speaking from the perspective of a level 14, which is the level I was when I reached him first).
Brownstrewn Crest – Directly south of Windhelm in the middle of the swampland up on the top of a big large hill. Guarding a dragon shout.
Shor’s Stone – A small mining village is in the non snowy mountain range in between Windhelm and Riften, on the right hand side.
Northwind Summit – After receiving a letter from a “friend” regarding a source of power in the mountains between Windhelm and Riften, round the corner from Shor’s Stone, you’ll fight a dragon.
Wreck of the Winter War – Northeast of Windhelm is a wreckage, and to the west of the wreck on the shore, a dragon has been known to turn up. Watch out for the bears as well!
Mount Anthor – The middle mountain in the range to the northwest of Windhelm is home to a big scary dragon.
Darkwater Crossing has been known to spawn its fair share of dragons too. Specifically blood dragons. Happened about 40 hours into the game.
Dragontooth Crater, which is in between Solitude and Markarth in the northwest of Skyrim. The large mountain range there.
Shearpoint – Directly west of Windhelm is a dragon hangout on the top of the big mountain nearest it. The second peak, furthest away, that is.
Eldersblood Peak – At the top of the mountain, south of Morthal, you’ll find Eldersblood Peak where a dragon and a drgaon shout is.
Twilight Sepulcher – West of Falreath, in the mountains sits a small cove. Dragon may not land so lure him out into the open.
Karthspire – When I headed here on a main story mission called Alduin’s Wall, there was a dragon there waiting. East of Markarth and halfway between a little village called Rorikstead (not on the map, need to discover).
There are more of course and in fact, they pop up all over the place and very often, but there are enough here to grab the achievement.