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by SquidFetus

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Skill Guide by SquidFetus

Version: 1.0 | Updated: 05/17/2018
Highest Rated Guide

Skills

Skills in Skyrim are typically divided into three archetypes: The Warrior, The Mage, and The Thief. However, some skills that are typically associated with one archetype splash into other archetypes, or are considered "across the board" like enchanting. As such, I have neglected to categorize them by class, and instead simply listed them alphabetically. See the Class Archetype section for an idea of which skills will suit any given play style. However, Skyrim's freeform nature allows you to mix and match any skills as you see fit, and these archetypes are by no means binding.

Skills have many related useful items, synergies with other skills, and abilities that work well with them, and I have endeavored to provide a reasonably complete list of the most useful ones. I've also included useful information pertaining to certain skills, such as the various soul sizes for enchanting. My hope is that this guide will serve as a single-click source of information for anything you'd like to know about any given skill.

Alchemy

The art of combining raw ingredients with matching effects to produce potions and poisons.

Skill Type:Crafting
Experience Bonus:The Thief Stone (+20%), The Lover Stone (+15%)
Racial Bonus:Breton, Dark Elf, Khajiit, Wood Elf (+5)
How To Improve:

Successfully brewing potions or poisons, eating a raw ingredient and learning a new effect

Skill Books:

• A Game at Dinner
• De Rerum Dirennis
• Herbalist's Guide to Skyrim
• Mannimarco, King of Worms
• Song of the Alchemists

Enhancements:

Enchantments

Created potions are (magnitude)% more powerful
Trainers:LamiAdeptMorthal - Thaumaturgist's Hut
ArcadiaExpertWhiterun - Arcadia's Cauldron
BabetteMasterDark Brotherhood Sanctuary / Dawnstar Sanctuary
Milnore IenthExpertSolstheim - Raven Rock
(Dragonborn DLC only)
Notes:Many people swear by alchemy as a must-have skill. Personally, I think it's mainly useful if you're into min/maxing your character's stats, thanks in large part to the ability to craft increasingly better potions of fortify blacksmithing / enchanting. Especially when you take your fortified enchanting skill and use it to make fortify alchemy gear, then equipping it to make even better fortify enchanting potions, and so on. Still, it is quite useful to keep your supply of health / stamina / magicka potions up, and also for making poisons which are particularly effective with stealth-based characters.
Skill Tree
No.Perk NamePerk RequirementsPerk Effect
1Alchemist (5)NonePotions and poisons are 20% stronger
Alchemist 1
• Alchemy 20
Potions and poisons are 40% stronger
Alchemist 2
• Alchemy 40
Potions and poisons are 60% stronger
Alchemist 3
• Alchemy 60
Potions and poisons are 80% stronger
Alchemist 4
• Alchemy 80
Potions and poisons are 100% stronger
2Physician Alchemist
• Alchemy 20
Potions you mix that restore health or stamina are 25% more powerful
3 Poisoner Physician
• Alchemy 30
Poisons you mix are 25% more effective
3Benefactor Physician
• Alchemy 30
Potions you mix with beneficial effects have an additional 25% greater magnitude
4Experimenter (3) Benefactor
• Alchemy 50
Eating an ingredient reveals the first two effects
Experimenter 1
• Alchemy 70
Eating an ingredient reveals the first three effects
Experimenter 2
• Alchemy 90
Eating an ingredient reveals all four effects
4Concentrated Poison Poisoner
• Alchemy 60
Poison applied to weapons lasts for twice as many hits
5 Green Thumb Concentrated Poison
• Alchemy 70
Gather twice as many ingredients or food items from static harvest points (except for Nirnroot)
5Snake Blood Concentrated Poison
Experimenter
• Alchemy 80
Gain 50% resistance to all poisons
6Purity

Snakeblood
• Alchemy 100

All negative effects are removed from created potions, and all positive effects are removed from created poisons
Unlockable Abilities

Sinderion's Serendipity

(25% chance to duplicate any potion created with the Alchemy skill)

This ability is a reward for completing the "A Return To Your Roots" quest, which is triggered either when you collect your first Crimson Nirnroot in Blackreach, or when you read Sinderion's Field Journal, also found in Blackreach.

Blackreach can only be accessed by way of the appropriate quest:
• "Elder Knowledge", part of the main questline.
• "Discerning the Transmundane", given by Septimus Signus who can be found in Septimus Signus' Outpost, an ice cave north of Winterhold.

This ability is incredibly useful, permanently giving you a decent chance to make duplicate potions. This will prove to be very healthy for both your gold balance and your supply of healing potions and poisons.

Most Useful Ingredients
Fortify EnchantingBlue Butterfly Wing, Hagraven Claw, Snowberries, Spriggan Sap
Dragonborn DLC only: Ancestor Moth Wing, Chaurus Hunter Antennae
Fortify SmithingBlisterwort, Glowing Mushroom, Saber Cat Tooth, Spriggan Sap
Fortify Carry WeightCreep Cluster, Giant's Toe, Hawk Beak, River Betty, Scaly Pholiota, Wisp Wrappings
Dawnguard DLC only: Poison Bloom
Dragonborn DLC only: Netch Jelly, Trama Root
ParalyzeBriar Heart, Canis Root, Human Flesh, Imp Stool, Swamp Fungal Pod
Dawnguard DLC only: Gleamblossom
Dragonborn DLC only:
Netch Jelly
Most Valuable Potions (For Selling)

With Giant's Toe (more valuable)
• Giant's Toe + Bear Claws + Hanging Moss
• Giant's Toe + Creep Cluster + Wheat
• Giant's Toe + Blue Butterfly Wing + Blue Mountain Flower
• Giant's Toe + Wheat + Scaly Pholiota
• Giant's Toe + Wheat + Wisp Wrappings

Without Giant's Toe (easier to find ingredients)
• Chaurus Eggs + Garlic + Vampire Dust
• Chaurus Eggs + Luna Moth Wing + Vampire Dust
• Chaurus Eggs + Luna Moth Wing + Namira's Rot
• Deathbell + Dwarven Oil + Salt Pile
• Creep Cluster + Mora Tapinella + Scaly Pholiota

Useful Items for Alchemy

Ring of Pure Mixtures

Ring with Fortify Alchemy +12%

(Can be disenchanted to learn the enchantment)

Travel to Dawnstar and talk to Frida inside The Mortar and Pestle, the local alchemy shop. Complete the quest she offers, and then either purchase or pickpocket the ring from her after you hand it over and complete the quest.

If you plan to purchase the ring, the most it can cost is 1,011 gold with a Speech skill of 0.

Disenchanting this ring will let you create your own Fortify Alchemy equipment - Eligible items for this enchantment are those that can be equipped on your head, hands, necklace, and ring slots.

Note that you cannot disenchant the ring while the quest is not yet completed, because it counts as a quest item.

Synergies
Enchanting

Alchemy and Enchanting synergize well with each other. Once you can make Fortify Enchanting potions that are more powerful than found/bought ones, you can drink one and then create a full set of Fortify Alchemy gear while still under its influence. Then, while wearing that set, you can make Fortify Enchanting potions that are more powerful than those you can normally make. You can then drink the improved Fortify Enchanting potions to make even better Fortify Alchemy gear, and so on.

If your character is a Vampire, you can also take the Restoration perk Necromage, which will significantly boost the buffs your own potions give you, speeding up and enhancing this process.

SmithingFortify Smithing potions created with Alchemy can be used on top of any Fortify Smithing gear you have equipped to produce more desirable results when improving weapons and armour at workbenches and grindstones. Coupled with the synergy between Alchemy and Enchanting, you can make increasingly powerful gear, to a certain point.

Alteration


The School of Alteration focuses on the manipulation of the physical world, and is used to cast spells like Waterbreathing, Magical Armor and Magelight. It is primarily a defensive school or a quality of life enhancer until higher skill levels.

Skill Type:Spellcasting
Experience Bonus:The Mage Stone (+20%), The Lover Stone (+15%)
Racial Bonus:Argonian, Breton, Dark Elf, High Elf, Redguard (+5)
How To Improve:

Casting self-targeting Alteration spells in the right conditions (ie. standing in / submerged in water when casting Waterbreathing), successfully hitting other beings with projectile Alteration spells

Skill Books:

• Breathing Water
• Bravil: Daughter of the Niben
• Reality and Other Falsehoods
• Sithis
• The Lunar Lorkhan

Enhancements:

Potions

Alteration spells last (magnitude)% longer for (duration) seconds
EnchantmentsAlteration spells cost (magnitude)% less to cast, Alteration-based enchantments on weapons consume (magnitude)% less charge
Trainers:Dravynea the StoneweaverExpertEastmarch - Kynesgrove
TolfdirMasterCollege of Winterhold - Hall of the Elements / Hall of Attainment
Notes:The usefulness of Alteration will depend on your playstyle. Many of the "flesh" spells that boost your defense generally sacrifice offensive potential due to their high magicka cost, and a lot of the other spells are more to do with utility than character power, such as being able to generate light, detect life, and breathe underwater. However, the skill tree does feature the Magic Resistance perk, which blocks up to 30% of a negative spell's effect, and further up the tree you can find 30% spell absorption in the form of the Atronach perk. These can be especially useful for warrior archetypes, who often have to storm through an enemy hurling offensive magic at them rather than keeping their distance to launch their own offensive. The Paralyze spell found at expert level is extremely powerful, not to mention the Mass Paralysis spell found at master level. I also find Candlelight fairly useful even for non-magic users, as you are able to illuminate a potentially dangerous area without sacrificing one hand to hold a torch, and even those unskilled in magic and with limited magicka can cast it without any trouble.
Skill Tree
No.Perk NamePerk RequirementsPerk Effect
1Novice Alteration• NoneHalves the magicka cost of Novice Alteration spells
2Dual Casting Novice Alteration
• Alteration 20
Dual casting an Alteration spell overcharges the effects into an even more powerful version
2Apprentice AlterationNovice Alteration
• Alteration 25
Halves the magicka cost of Apprentice Alteration spells
3Mage Armour (3)Apprentice Alteration
• Alteration 30
Protection spells like Stoneflesh are 2 times more powerful if not wearing armour
Mage Armour 1
• Alteration 50
Protection spells like Stoneflesh are 2.5 times more powerful if not wearing armour
Mage Armour 2
• Alteration 70
Protection spells like Stoneflesh are 3 times more powerful if not wearing armour
3Magic Resistance (3)Apprentice Alteration
• Alteration 30
Blocks 10% of a negative spell's effects
Magic Resistance 1
• Alteration 50
Blocks 20% of a negative spell's effects
Magic Resistance 2
• Alteration 70
Blocks 30% of a negative spell's effects
3Adept AlterationApprentice Alteration
• Alteration 50
Halves the magicka cost of Adept Alteration spells
4StabilityAdept Alteration
• Alteration 70
Alteration spells have a 50% greater duration
4Expert AlterationAdept Alteration
• Alteration 75
Halves the magicka cost of Expert Alteration spells
5AtronachExpert Alteration
• Alteration 100
Grants 30% spell absorption (including beneficial spells)
5Master AlterationExpert Alteration
• Alteration 100
Halves the magicka cost of Master Alteration spells
Useful Items for Alteration

Archmage's Robes

• All spells cost 15% less to cast
• Fortify magicka 50
• Fortify magicka regeneration 100%

The Archmage's robes are rewarded to the player after completing the quest "The Eye of Magnus" in the College of Winterhold questline, and are very useful for characters that like to spread across multiple magic schools and make use of the Mage Armour Alteration perk.

Characters with very high Enchanting and Alchemy skill who do not fancy the Mage Armour Alteration perk may instead prefer to enchant various pieces of armour with enchantments relative to their chosen magic school(s), as this allows you to enjoy the benefits of armour while still being able to efficiently spread across multiple schools.

Fortify Alteration PotionCreated using Alchemy with any combination of the following ingredients:

• Burnt Spriggan Wood (Dragonborn DLC only)
• Grass Pod
• River Betty
• Spriggan Sap

Note:
Fortify Alteration potions make Alteration effects last longer. Fortify Alteration enchantments on equipment make Alteration spells cost less.
Synergies
RestorationThe Restoration perk Recovery has two levels. It increases your rate of magicka regeneration by 25% on the first level, and by 50% on the second. This is very useful for any magic school. Even though high levels of Enchanting will allow you to negate the cost of Alteration spells entirely, having enough magicka regeneration can instead allow you to focus on other enchantments, and spread yourself across more schools of magic.
IllusionThe Illusion perk Quiet Casting makes any spell you cast silent to others. Combined with sneaking as well as the invisibility and muffle spells offered by the Illusion school, this will allow you to maintain relative safety while casting spells.
Novice Alteration Spells (Skill level 0)
Spell NameDescriptionBase Magicka Cost
CandlelightCreates a hovering light that lasts for 60 seconds21
EquilibriumConvert health into magicka at a rate of 25 points per second - can kill the caster if not careful0 (25 health per second)
OakfleshImproves the caster's armour rating by 40 points for 60 seconds103
Apprentice Alteration Spells (Skill level 25)
Spell NameDescriptionBase Magicka Cost
MagelightFire a ball of light that sticks to the target and lasts for 60 seconds84
StonefleshImproves the caster's armour rating by 60 for 60 seconds194
Adept Alteration Spells (Skill level 50)
Spell NameDescriptionBase Magicka Cost
Ash ShellTargets that fail to resist are immobilized in hardened ash for 30 seconds
(Dragonborn DLC only)
149 per second
Detect LifeNearby living creatures can be seen through walls - does not work on undead, machines, or daedra100 per second
IronfleshImproves the caster's armour rating by 80 for 60 seconds266
TelekinesisCan pull an object to you from a distance, and either add it to your inventory or launch it away170 per second
TransmuteTransmute one unrefined Iron Ore to Silver Ore, or one unrefined Silver Ore to Gold Ore100
WaterbreathingCan breathe underwater for 60 seconds222
Expert Alteration Spells (Skill level 75)
Spell NameDescriptionBase Magicka Cost
Ash RuneCast on a nearby surface to set a trap - it explodes when enemies are nearby, immobilizing them in hardened ash for 30 seconds
(Dragonborn DLC only)
248
Detect DeadNearby undead can be seen through walls148 per second
EbonyfleshImproves the caster's armour rating by 100 for 60 seconds341
ParalyzeTargets that fail to resist are paralyzed for 10 seconds450
Master Alteration Spells (Skill level 100)
Master Alteration spells cannot be purchased until you have completed the "Alteration Ritual Spell" quest given by Tolfdir at the College of Winterhold, upon reaching level 90 Alteration
Spell NameDescriptionBase Magicka Cost
DragonhideCaster ignores 80% of all physical damage for 30 seconds837
Mass ParalysisAll targets in the area that fail to resist are paralyzed for 15 seconds937

Archery


Archery governs your character's skill and lethality with bows and crossbows.

Skill Type:Combat
Experience Bonus:The Thief Stone (+20%), The Lover Stone (+15%)
Racial Bonus:Woof Elf (+10)
Khajiit, Redguard (+5)
How To Improve:

Scoring a damaging hit on another being using a bow or crossbow

Skill Books:

• Vernaccus and Bourlor
• The Black Arrow, v2
• The Gold Ribbon of Merit
• The Marksmanship Lesson
• Father of the Niben

Enhancements:

Potions

Bows and crossbows do (magnitude)% more damage for (duration) seconds

Enchantments

Bows and crossbows do (magnitude)% more damage
Trainers:FaendalAdeptRiverwood
Aela the HuntressExpertWhiterun - Jorrvaskr
NiruinMasterRiften - Thieves Guild
AngiMasterSouth of Falkreath - Angi's Camp
(One level of free training for each of her six challenges)
Sorine JurardMasterFort Dawnguard
(Dawnguard DLC only)
Notes:Archery is an incredibly lethal play style when combined with stealth. Skilled archers and stealth-based characters are able to achieve multiple stealth attacks on a single foe from reasonable distances. With the aid of stealth and the right mix of poisons, enchanted equipment, and powerful bow / arrow types, highly skilled archers can kill powerful creatures such as giants or dragons in a single shot. In melee range, they lose some effectiveness. However, a prepared and suitably hidden archer rarely lets their targets close the distance they need to become a threat.
Skill Tree
No.Perk NamePerk RequirementsPerk Effect
1Overdraw (5)• NoneBows and crossbows do 20% more damage
Overdraw 1
• Archery 20
Bows and crossbows do 40% more damage
Overdraw 2
• Archery 40
Bows and crossbows do 60% more damage
Overdraw 3
• Archery 60
Bows and crossbows do 80% more damage
Overdraw 4
• Archery 80
Bows and crossbows do 100% more damage
2 Eagle EyeOverdraw
• Archery 30
Pressing block while aiming a bow or crossbow will zoom in your view
2 Critical Shot (3)Overdraw
• Archery 30
10% chance of a critical hit that does 25% extra damage with bows and crossbows
Critical Shot 1
• Archery 60
15% chance of a critical hit that does 50% extra damage with bows and crossbows
Critical Shot 2
• Archery 90
20% chance of a critical hit that does 75% extra damage with bows and crossbows
3Steady Hand (2)Eagle Eye
• Archery 40
Zooming in with a bow or crossbow slows down time by 25%
Steady Hand 1
• Archery 60
Zooming in with a bow or crossbow slows down time by 50%
3Power ShotEagle Eye
• Archery 50
Arrows stagger all but the largest opponents 50% of the time
3Hunter's DisciplineCritical Shot
• Archery 50
Recover twice as many arrows from dead bodies
4RangerHunter's Discipline
• Archery 60
Able to move faster with a drawn bow
4Quick ShotPower Shot
• Archery 70
Can draw a bow 30% faster
5BullseyeRanger
-OR- Quick Shot
• Archery 100
15% chance of paralyzing the target for a few seconds
Useful Items for Archery

Nightingale Bow

Levelled bow

Improved with ebony ingots

Does frost damage and shock damage to target

The Nightingale Bow is rewarded to the player upon completion of the "Blindsighted" quest, which is part of the Thieves Guild questline.

This bow is scaled to the player upon receiving it, which means the higher level you are when you collect it, the more base damage, elemental damage, weight, and value it has. At character level 46+, it caps out at 19 base damage, 18 weight, 3700 base value, freezes the target for 30 points, and shocks the target for 15 points. This makes it a very powerful bow.

Zephyr

Bow, base damage 14

Improved with Dwarven metal ingots

Fires 30% faster than a normal bow

(Dawnguard DLC only)

Zephyr is found during the course of the quest "Lost To The Ages", which is triggered by reading the book "The Aetherium Wars", or entering the Dwarven ruin Arkngthamz, far to the southeast of Markarth (it appears on your map if you read "The Aetherium Wars").

At one point in Arkngthamz, after meeting with Katria and clearing your way through the ruin for a while, you'll come across a large tree log jutting out across a chasm and Katria will remark that it's the location where she fell to her death - you can see it if you look up from where you find her corpse. Carefully walking along the log will allow you to retrieve the bow. You cannot retrieve Zephyr from a distance using telekinesis.

Zephyr has the highest damage per second of any bow in the game, but achieves this by chewing through arrows at a fast rate and not by having the highest damage per shot. Because of this, it is less effective as a Sneak-based sniping weapon than the higher base damage bows. Given that playing as a stealth-based character is a very attractive and powerful play style when coupled with Archery, it is unlikely to be the best weapon you can find. Still, if you shun the stealth play style, or just want to be able to unload lots of arrows in the shortest possible time, Zephyr is a great option.

Shrouded Cowl

Head gear with Fortify Archery + 20%

The Shrouded Cowl is part of the Shrouded Armour set associated with the Dark Brotherhood. You can acquire it in several ways, but the following are the most easily accessible and all begin with visiting the house of Aventus Aretino in Windhelm, and completing the quest "Innocence Lost" given to you by him.

You'll then be ushered into the quest "With Friends Like These..." which will give you the choice of either killing one of three captives, or turning on Astrid and killing her instead. If you kill one of the captives and join the Dark Brotherhood, you'll find a full set of the Shrouded Armour in the Dark Sanctuary. If you kill Astrid, you'll begin the quest "Destroy the Dark Brotherhood!" and will find the armour set on the bodies of defeated members of the Dark Brotherhood.

Ancient Shrouded Cowl

Head gear with Fortify Archery +35%

A reasonable upgrade to the Shrouded Cowl, you receive the Ancient Shrouded Cowl as a reward upon completion of the "Locate The Assassin Of Old" sidequest. This quest is given to you by Olava the Feeble and can only be accepted if you completed the bonus objective of the "Breaching Security" quest in the Dark Brotherhood questline.

Fortify Archery PotionCreated using Alchemy with any combination of the following ingredients:

• Canis Root
• Elves Ear
• Juniper Berries
• Spider Egg
Synergies
SneakThe Sneak skill synergizes quite well with Archery. Not only does the play style of staying undetected by enemies allow for the dominating of opponents at range while keeping you out of harm's way, it also offers some healthy damage bonuses which can be typically dished out to multiple enemies if you are particularly skilled in Sneak. The Deadly Aim perk found in the Sneak tree causes sneak attacks with bows or crossbows to do triple damage, and the Silence perk allows you to break away from combat in the event that your enemies get too close.
Throw Voice Dragon ShoutAll three words of the Throw Voice dragon shout can be learned from the same word wall at Shearpoint, a dragon lair northeast of Whiterun. It works well with the Archery play style, as you can use it to lure enemies further away from you when conditions might lead to you being forced into close ranged combat. You can also use it to lure enemies out of cover, exposing them to your aim.

Block


Block represents a character's ability to mitigate damage from enemy attacks with a shield or a weapon, and aids in reducing stagger from such attacks.

Skill Type:Combat
Experience Bonus:The Warrior Stone (+20%), The Lover Stone (+15%)
Racial Bonus:Imperial, Nord, Orc, Redguard (+5)
How To Improve:

Successfully blocking an enemy attack, or successfully landing a shield bash on another being

Skill Books:

• A Dance in Fire, v2
• The Battle of Red Mountain
• Death Blow of Abernanit
• The Mirror
• Warrior

Restrictions:

Damage reduction benefits are capped at Fortify Block 80%. Fortifying Block past 80% has no further benefit.

Enhancements:

Potions

Blocking absorbs (magnitude)% more damage for (duration) seconds
EnchantmentsBlocking absorbs (magnitude)% more damage
Trainers:Njada StonearmExpertWhiterun - Jorrvaskr
Chief LarakMasterMor Khazgur (west of Solitude)
Notes:Blocking is unlikely to be utilized by characters that aren't of the warrior archetype, but such characters find it an invaluable skill. When you primarily engage in melee range, you will inevitably find yourself being hit, and a blocked hit is always more tolerable than one that sails straight into your flesh. At higher levels, a shield becomes a powerful offensive tool as well.
Skill Tree
No.Perk NamePerk RequirementsPerk Effect
1Shield Wall (5)• NoneBlocking is 20% more effective
Shield Wall 1
• Block 20
Blocking is 25% more effective
Shield Wall 2
• Block 40
Blocking is 30% more effective
Shield Wall 3
• Block 60
Blocking is 35% more effective
Shield Wall 4
• Block 80
Blocking is 40% more effective
2Deflect ArrowsShield Wall
• Block 30
Arrows that hit your shield do no damage
(Shield only, weapon block has no effect)
2Quick ReflexesShield Wall
• Block 30
Slows down time if you are blocking during an enemy's power attack
2Power BashShield Wall
• Block 30
Able to do a power bash
3Elemental ProtectionDeflect Arrows
• Block 50
Blocking with a shield reduces incoming fire, frost, and shock damage by 50%
(Shield only, weapon block has no effect)
3Deadly BashPower Bash
• Block 50
Bashing does five times more damage
4Block RunnerElemental Protection
• Block 70
Able to move faster with your shield or weapon raised in blocking position
4Disarming BashDeadly Bash
• Block 70
Chance to disarm your opponent when power bashing
5Shield ChargeBlock Runner
• Block 100
Sprinting with your shield raised knocks down most opponents
(Shield only, weapon block has no effect with the exception of a noted bug)
Useful Items for Block

Shield of Solitude

Shield, base armour 26

Unable to be improved

Increases magic resistance by up to 30%

Fortifies Blocking skill by up to 35 points

The Shield of Solitude is rewarded for completing the quest "The Wolf Queen Awakened". You can only start this quest after completing the quest "The Man Who Cried Wolf", received from Falk Firebeard in the Blue Palace in Solitude. After you complete "The Man Who Cried Wolf", and after you level up since completing it, you'll be visited by a courier who will deliver a letter from Falk Firebeard asking you to come and speak with him again. Doing so will begin the quest "The Wolf Queen Awakened".

The Shield of Solitude is scaled to your character level when you receive it. It begins as a shield that provides 26 base armour, 10% magic resistance, and 15 points to Fortify Block, but caps out at level 40+ as a shield with 32 base armour, 30% magic resistance, and 35 points to Fortify Block.

Despite being a unique item, it can be disenchanted to learn the resist magic and fortify Block enchantments. Furthermore, the resist magic enchantment learned from disenchanting the Shield of Solitude is more powerful than a standard resist magic enchantment, and can be stacked with the standard one by using the Extra Effect Enchanting perk in order to make extremely powerful resist magic items.

Spellbreaker

Shield, base armour 38

Improved with Dwarven metal ingots.

While blocking, creates a ward that protects against spells up to 50 points

Spellbreaker is a shield that is given to you as a reward for completing the quest "The Only Cure", given to you by Kesh the Clean at character level 12 and onward. Alternatively, you can receive it through a random encounter with the Afflicted, which can trigger from level 10 and onward. As these encounters are random and unreliable, the best way is generally by receiving it from Kesh despite the higher level requirement.

Kesh can be found at the Shrine to Peryite, which is near Dragontooth Crater, far to the northeast of Markarth.

Spellbreaker is useful when fighting dragons, as the ward it generates completely blocks their breath attacks. It has good synergy with the Elemental Protection perk in the Block tree, since the perk halves the damage from any incoming spell and Spellbreaker's ward generally absorbs the rest, making most spell-casting foes useless against you.

It also synergizes with the Restoration perk Ward Absorb, allowing you to regain magicka when blocking enemy spells.

Fortify Block Potion

Created using Alchemy with any combination of the following ingredients:

• Bleeding Crown
• Boar Tusk (Dragonborn DLC only)
• Briar Heart
• Honeycomb
• Pearl
• Slaughterfish Scales
• Tundra Cotton

Conjuration


The School of Conjuration is used to raise the dead, summon creatures from one of the planes of Oblivion, and soul trap opponents killed in combat. Conjurers can also bind magical weapons to themselves and banish other summoned creatures to Oblivion.

Skill Type:Spellcasting
Experience Bonus:The Mage Stone (+20%), The Lover Stone (+15%)
Racial Bonus:Breton (+10)
High Elf (+5)
How To Improve:

Summoning a creature while being detected by enemies, successfully banishing a valid target (including your own summons), casting a bound item spell in combat, having your summoned creatures successfully damage a target, casting Soul Trap on a valid target

Skill Books:

• 2920, vol 09 - Hearth Fire
• 2920, vol 10 - Frostfall
• Liminal Bridges
• The Doors of Oblivion
• The Warrior's Charge

Enhancements:

Potions

Conjuration spells last (magnitude)% longer for (duration) seconds
EnchantmentsConjuration spells cost (magnitude)% less to cast, Conjuration-based enchantments on weapons consume (magnitude)% less charge
Trainers:RunilAdeptFalkreath - Hall of the Dead
Phinis GestorExpertCollege of Winterhold - Hall of Countenance / The Arcanaeum
FalionMasterMorthal
Talvas FathryonMasterTel Mithryn
(Dragonborn DLC only)
Notes:Conjuration is a very powerful school of magic due to the fact that with good positioning (ie. in hallways or doorways) you can force opponents to engage your endless tide of minions rather than yourself, while you sit behind them in relative safety. It will see very limited use with non-Mage archetypes due to the typically high magicka cost of its spells. However, the Soul Trap spell will serve any enchanter well in a pinch. With the right perks, the bound weapons can also be quite powerful and enjoyed by Warrior or Thief alike.
Skill Tree
No.Perk NamePerk RequirementsPerk Effect
1Novice Conjuration • NoneHalves the magicka cost of Novice Conjuration spells
2Dual CastingNovice Conjuration
• Conjuration 20
Dual casting a Conjuration spell overcharges the effects into a longer lasting version
2Mystic BindingNovice Conjuration
• Conjuration 20
Bound weapons do more damage
2Apprentice ConjurationNovice Conjuration
• Conjuration 25
Halves the magicka cost of Apprentice Conjuration spells
2Summoner (2)Novice Conjuration
• Conjuration 30
Can summon Atronachs, summon Dremora Lords, and raise undead twice as far away
Summoner 1
• Conjuration 70
Can summon Atronachs, summon Dremora Lords, and raise undead three times as far away
2NecromancyNovice Conjuration
• Conjuration 40
Greater duration for reanimated undead
3Soul StealerMystic Binding
• Conjuration 30
Bound weapons cast Soul Trap on targets
3AtromancySummoner
• Conjuration 40
Double duration for conjured Atronachs and Dremora Lords
3Adept ConjurationApprentice Conjuration
• Conjuration 50
Halves the magicka cost of Adept Conjuration spells
3Dark SoulsNecromancy
• Conjuration 70
Reanimated undead have 100 extra health points
4Oblivion BindingSoul Stealer
• Conjuration 50
Bound weapons will banish summoned creatures and turn raised ones
4Expert ConjurationAdept Conjuration
• Conjuration 75
Halves the magicka cost of Expert Conjuration spells
4Elemental PotencyAtromancy
• Conjuration 80
Conjured Atronachs are 50% more powerful
4/5Twin Souls

Elemental Potency
-OR- Dark Souls
• Conjuration 100

It is now possible to have two summoned Atronachs, reanimated undead, or Dremora summons at the same time
5Master ConjurationExpert Conjuration
• Conjuration 100
Halves the magicka cost of Master Conjuration spells
Useful Items for Conjuration

Archmage's Robes

• All spells cost 15% less to cast
• Fortify magicka 50
• Fortify magicka regeneration 100%

The Archmage's robes are rewarded to the player after completing the quest "The Eye of Magnus" in the College of Winterhold questline, and are very useful for characters that like to spread across multiple magic schools and make use of the Mage Armour Alteration perk.

Characters with very high Enchanting and Alchemy skill who do not fancy the Mage Armour Alteration perk may instead prefer to enchant various pieces of armour with enchantments relative to their chosen magic school(s), as this allows you to enjoy the benefits of armour while still being able to efficiently spread across multiple schools.

Fortify Conjuration Potion

Created using Alchemy with any combination of the following ingredients:

• Ancestor Moth Wing (Dawnguard DLC only)
• Berit's Ashes
• Blue Butterfly Wing
• Blue Mountain Flower
• Bone Meal
• Chaurus Hunter Antennae (Dawnguard DLC only)
• Frost Salts
• Hagraven Feathers
• Lavender

Note:
Fortify Conjuration potions make Conjuration effects last longer. Fortify Conjuration enchantments on equipment make Conjuration spells cost less.

Synergies
RestorationThe Restoration perk Recovery has two levels. It increases your rate of magicka regeneration by 25% on the first level, and by 50% on the second. This is very useful for any magic school. Even though high levels of Enchanting will allow you to negate the cost of Conjuration spells entirely, having enough magicka regeneration can instead allow you to focus on other enchantments, and spread yourself across more schools of magic.
IllusionThe Illusion perk Quiet Casting makes any spell you cast silent to others. Combined with sneaking as well as the invisibility and muffle spells offered by the Illusion school, this will allow you to maintain relative safety while casting spells.
Novice Conjuration Spells (Skill level 0)
Spell NameDescriptionBase Magicka Cost
Bound DaggerCreates a magic dagger for 120 seconds, can sheathe to dispel
(Dragonborn DLC only)
32
Bound SwordCreates a magic sword for 120 seconds, can sheathe to dispel93
Conjure FamiliarSummons a Familiar for 60 seconds wherever the caster is pointing107
Raise ZombieReanimate a weak dead body to fight for the player for 60 seconds103
Summon Unbound DremoraSummons an unbound Dremora100
Apprentice Conjuration Spells (Skill level 25)
Spell NameDescriptionBase Magicka Cost
Bound BattleaxeCreates a magic battleaxe for 120 seconds, can sheathe to dispel169
Conjure BonemanSummons a Boneman archer for 60 seconds wherever the caster is pointing
(Dawnguard DLC only)
129
Conjure Flame AtronachSummons a Flame Atronach for 60 seconds wherever the caster is pointing150
Flaming FamiliarSummons a Flaming Familiar for 60 seconds wherever the caster is pointing57
Reanimate CorpseReanimate a more powerful body than the Raise Zombie spell to fight for the player for 60 seconds144
Soul TrapIf the target dies withing 60 seconds, fills a soul gem of the appropriate size (if carrying one)107
Summon Arniel's ShadeSummons the shade of Arniel Gane for 60 seconds wherever the caster is pointing71
Summon ArvakSummons the horse Arvak wherever the caster is pointing
(Dawnguard DLC only)
136
Adept Conjuration Spells (Skill level 50)
Spell NameDescriptionBase Magicka Cost
Banish DaedraWeaker summoned daedra are banished back to Oblivion196
Bound BowCreates a magic bow for 120 seconds, can sheathe to dispel207
Conjure Ash SpawnSummons an Ash Spawn for 60 seconds wherever the caster is pointing
(Dragonborn DLC only)
186
Conjure Frost AtronachSummons a Frost Atronach for 60 seconds wherever the caster is pointing215
Conjure MistmanSummons a Mistman for 60 seconds wherever the caster is pointing
(Dawnguard DLC only)
193
Conjure SeekerSummons a Seeker for 60 seconds wherever the caster is pointing
(Dragonborn DLC only)
157
Revenant Reanimate a more powerful body than the Reanimate Corpse spell to fight for the player for 60 seconds183
Expert Conjuration Spells (Skill level 75)
Spell NameDescriptionBase Magicka Cost
Conjure Ash GuardianCreates an Ash Guardian that guards the selected location until it is destroyed, will be hostile towards the player unless the player is carrying a heart stone which is consumed on cast
(Dragonborn DLC only)
207
Command Daedra Powerful summoned and raised creatures are put under the caster's control243
Conjure Dremora LordSummons a Dremora Lord for 60 seconds wherever the caster is pointing358
Conjure WrathmanSummons a Wrathman for 60 seconds wherever the caster is pointing
(Dawnguard DLC only)
301
Conjure Storm AtronachSummons a Storm Atronach for 60 seconds wherever the caster is pointing322
Dread ZombieReanimate a more powerful body than the Revenant spell to fight for the player for 60 seconds302
Expel DaedraPowerful summoned daedra are banished to Oblivion215
Master Conjuration Spells (Skill level 100)
Master Conjuration spells cannot be purchased until you have completed the "Conjuration Ritual Spell" quest given by Phinis Gestor at the College of Winterhold, upon reaching level 90 Conjuration
Spell NameDescriptionBase Magicka Cost
Dead ThrallReanimate a dead body to fight for the player permanently1000
Flame ThrallSummons a permanent Flame Atronach900
Frost ThrallSummons a permanent Frost Atronach1100
Storm ThrallSummons a permanent Storm Atronach1200

Destruction


The School of Destruction involves harnessing the energies of fire, frost and shock to directly damage your foes.

Skill Type:Spellcasting
Experience Bonus:The Mage Stone (+20%), The Lover Stone (+15%)
Racial Bonus:Dark Elf (+10)
High Elf, Imperial, Redguard (+5)
How To Improve:

Successfully damaging another being with a Destruction spell

Skill Books:

• A Hypothetical Treachery
• The Horror of Castle Xyr
• Mystery of Talara, Book III
• Response to Bero's Speech
• The Art of War Magic

Enhancements:

Potions

Destruction spells are (magnitude)% stronger for (duration) seconds
EnchantmentsDestruction spells cost (magnitude)% less to cast, Destruction-based enchantments on weapons consume (magnitude)% less charge
Trainers:Wuunferth the UnlivingAdeptWindhelm - Palace of Kings
Sybille StentorExpertSolitude - Blue Palace
FaraldaMasterCollege of Winterhold - Hall of Countenance
Notes:Destruction is perhaps the most straight-forward of all of the magic schools, in that it doesn't offer much utility, preferring instead to focus on pure damage. It will likely be your primary means of taking out your enemies as a Mage archetype. It lags behind archery and melee damage output in the late-game due to the fact that Destruction spell damage is a set amount and does not scale with the player's level or gear whereas the other focuses do, and it does not receive damage bonuses from stealth attacks. However, this is most notable on Legendary difficulty, and the Destruction school is still quite capable of dishing out the pain. Combined with a Mage's other tools such as the Conjuration school, Destruction is still a staple.
Skill Tree
No.Perk NamePerk RequirementsPerk Effect
1Novice Destruction• NoneHalves the magicka cost of Novice Destruction spells
2Dual CastingNovice Destruction
• Destruction 20
Dual casting a Destruction spell overcharges the effects into an even more powerful version
2Apprentice DestructionNovice Destruction
• Destruction 25
Halves the magicka cost of Apprentice Destruction spells
2Augmented Flames (2)Novice Destruction
• Destruction 30
Fire spells do 25% more damage
Augmented Flames 1
• Destruction 60
Fire spells do 50% more damage
2Augmented Frost (2)Novice Destruction
• Destruction 30
Frost spells do 25% more damage
Augmented Frost 1
• Destruction 60
Frost spells do 50% more damage
2Augmented Shock (2)Novice Destruction
• Destruction 30
Shock spells do 25% more damage
Augmented Shock 1
• Destruction 60
Shock spells do 50% more damage
3ImpactDual Casting
• Destruction 40
Most destruction spells will stagger the target when dual cast
3Rune MasterApprentice Destruction
• Destruction 40
Can place runes at five times the distance
3Adept DestructionApprentice Destruction
• Destruction 50
Halves the magicka cost of Adept Destruction spells
3Intense FlamesAugmented Flames
• Destruction 50
Fire damage causes targets to flee if their health is low
3Deep FreezeAugmented Frost
• Destruction 60
Frost damage paralyzes targets if their health is low
3DisintegrateAugmented Shock
• Destruction 70
Shock damage disintegrates targets if their health is low
4Expert DestructionAdept Destruction
• Destruction 75
Halves the magicka cost of Expert Destruction spells
5Master DestructionExpert Destruction
• Destruction 100
Halves the magicka cost of Master Destruction spells
Useful Items for Destruction

Archmage's Robes

• All spells cost 15% less to cast
• Fortify magicka 50
• Fortify magicka regeneration 100%

The Archmage's robes are rewarded to the player after completing the quest "The Eye of Magnus" in the College of Winterhold questline, and are very useful for characters that like to spread across multiple magic schools and make use of the Mage Armour Alteration perk.

Characters with very high Enchanting and Alchemy skill who do not fancy the Mage Armour Alteration perk may instead prefer to enchant various pieces of armour with enchantments relative to their chosen magic school(s), as this allows you to enjoy the benefits of armour while still being able to efficiently spread across multiple schools.

Fortify Destruction PotionCreated using Alchemy with any combination of the following ingredients:

• Ash Creep Cluster (Dragonborn DLC only)
• Beehive Husk
• Ectoplasm
• Glow Dust
• Glowing Mushroom
• Nightshade
• Wisp Wrappings

Note:
Fortify Destruction potions make Destruction effects more powerful. Fortify Destruction enchantments on equipment make Destruction spells cost less.
Synergies
RestorationThe Restoration perk Recovery has two levels. It increases your rate of magicka regeneration by 25% on the first level, and by 50% on the second. This is very useful for any magic school. Even though high levels of Enchanting will allow you to negate the cost of Destruction spells entirely, having enough magicka regeneration can instead allow you to focus on other enchantments, and spread yourself across more schools of magic.
IllusionThe Illusion perk Quiet Casting makes any spell you cast silent to others. Combined with sneaking as well as the invisibility and muffle spells offered by the Illusion school, this will allow you to maintain relative safety while casting spells.
Novice Destruction Spells (Skill level 0)
Spell NameDescriptionBase Magicka Cost
FlamesA gout of continuous fire that does 8 fire damage per second, igniting them and causing them to take extra damage14 per second
FrostbiteA continuous blast of cold that does 8 frost damage per second to health and stamina16 per second
SparksA continuous stream of lightning that does 8 shock damage per second to health and magicka19 per second
Arniel's ConvictionA gout of continuous fire that does 1 damage per second, igniting them and causing them to take extra damage0
Vampyric DrainAbsorb 2, 3, 4, or 5 health from the target per second (amount depends on level of vampirism)6, 10, 13, or 17 per second
(depends on level of vampirism)
Apprentice Destruction Spells (Skill level 25)
Spell NameDescriptionBase Magicka Cost
FireboltA bolt of fire that inflicts 25 fire damage, igniting them and causing them to take extra damage41
FreezeA spike of ice that inflicts 20 frost damage to health and stamina and slows the target for 15 seconds
(Dragonborn DLC only)
30
Ice SpikeA spike of ice that inflicts 25 frost damage to health and stamina48
IgniteA blast of flame that sets targets on fire, doing 4 damage per second for 15 seconds and causing them to take extra damage
(Dragonborn DLC only)
30
Lightning BoltA bolt of lightning that inflicts 25 shock damage to health and half as much to magicka51
Fire RuneCast on a nearby surface, it explodes for 50 fire damage when enemies come near, igniting them and causing them to take extra damage234
Frost RuneCast on a nearby surface, it explodes for 50 frost damage to health and stamina when enemies come near, slowing them temporarily293
Lightning RuneCast on a nearby surface, it explodes for 50 shock damage to health and magicka when enemies come near323
Adept Destruction Spells (Skill level 50)
Spell NameDescriptionBase Magicka Cost
Chain LightningA lightning bolt that inflicts 40 damage to health and half as much to magicka, then leaps to a new target
(plus one additional target if the caster has the Augmented Shock 2 perk)
156
FireballA fireball which explodes for 40 damage in a 15-foot radius, igniting targets and causing them to take extra damage
(becomes a 20 foot radius if the caster has the Augmented Flames 2 perk)
133
Ice StormA freezing whirlwind that does 40 damage per second to health and stamina
(has an increased radius if the caster has the Augmented Frost 2 perk)
144
Flame CloakFor 60 seconds, nearby targets in melee range take 8 fire damage per second, igniting them and causing them to take extra damage289
Frost CloakFor 60 seconds, nearby targets in melee range take 8 frost damage per second to health and stamina316
Lightning CloakFor 60 seconds, nearby targets in melee range take 8 shock damage per second to health and half as much to magicka370
Whirlwind CloakFor 60 seconds, targets in melee range have a chance to be flung away from the caster338
Expert Destruction Spells (Skill level 75
Spell NameDescriptionBase Magicka Cost
Icy SpearA spear of ice that does 60 points of frost damage to health and stamina320
IncinerateA blast of fire that does 60 points of fire damage, igniting the target and causing them to take extra damage298
ThunderboltA thunderbolt that does 60 points of shock damage to health and half as much to magicka343
Wall of FlamesSprayed on the ground, creates a wall of fire that does 50 fire damage per second118 per second
Wall of FrostSprayed on the ground, creates a wall of frost that does 50 frost damage per second137 per second
Wall of StormsSprayed on the ground, creates a wall of lightning that does 50 shock damage per second145 per second
Master Destruction Spells (Skill level 100)
Master Destruction spells cannot be purchased until you have completed the "Destruction Ritual Spell" quest given by Faralda at the College of Winterhold, upon reaching level 90 Destruction
Spell NameDescriptionBase Magicka Cost
BlizzardCreates a blizzard around the caster, doing 20 points of frost damage every second for 10 seconds, plus stamina damage656
Fire StormCauses the area around the caster to explode, doing up to 100 fire damage depending on how close the target is846
Lightning StormFires a continuous stream of lightning that does 75 damage per second to health and half as much to magicka138 per second

Enchanting


The art of imbuing magical properties into weapons and apparel.

Skill Type:Crafting
Experience Bonus:The Mage Stone (+20%), The Lover Stone (+15%)
Racial Bonus:High Elf, Imperial, Orc (+5)
How To Improve:

Successfully enchanting new properties onto an item, disenchanting an item, using a soul stone to recharge a magical item

Skill Books:

• A Tragedy in Black
• Catalogue of Weapon Enchantments
• Complete Catalogue of Enchantments for Armor
• Enchanter's Primer
• Twin Secrets

Enhancements:

Potions

Increases Enchanting skill level by (magnitude) points for (duration) seconds
Trainers:Sergius TurrianusExpertCollege of Winterhold - Hall of Elements / Hall of Countenance
HamalMasterMarkarth - Hall of Dibella (after completing the "Heart of Dibella" quest)
NelothMasterSolstheim - Tel Mithryn
(Dragonborn DLC only)
Notes:I am usually hesitant to suggest any skill as compulsory, but Enchanting fits the bill. Regardless of your archetype, being able to enchant items that you find to enhance your core skills or bridge your weaknesses is an amazing ability and an incredibly powerful one. The most powerful characters generally owe their success to their Enchanting ability, and if you choose to neglect it, you are sacrificing a huge amount of your character's skill potential. A must-have skill.
Skill Tree
No.Perk NamePerk RequirementsPerk Effect
1Enchanter (5)• NoneNew enchantments are 20% stronger
Enchanter 1
• Enchanting 20
New enchantments are 40% stronger
Enchanter 2
• Enchanting 40
New enchantments are 60% stronger
Enchanter 3
• Enchanting 60
New enchantments are 80% stronger
Enchanter 4
• Enchanting 80
New enchantments are 100% stronger
2Soul SqueezerEnchanter
• Enchanting 20
Soul gems provide extra recharge power
2Fire EnchanterEnchanter
• Enchanting 30
Fire enchantments on weapons and armour are 25% stronger
2Insightful EnchanterEnchanter
• Enchanting 50
Skill enchantments on armour are 25% stronger
3Soul SiphonSoul Squeezer
• Enchanting 40
Death blows to creatures (not people) trap 5% of the victim's soul, recharging the weapon
3Frost EnchanterFire Enchanter
• Enchanting 40
Frost enchantments on weapons and armour are 25% stronger
3Corpus EnchanterInsightful Enchanter
• Enchanting 70
Health, magicka, and stamina enchantments on armour are 25% stronger
4Storm EnchanterFrost Enchanter
• Enchanting 50
Shock enchantments on weapons and armour are 25% stronger
4/5Extra EffectStorm Enchanter
-OR- Corpus Enchanter
• Enchanting 100
Can put two enchantments on the same item
Useful Items for Enchanting

Azura's Star / The Black Star

Reusable soul gem
(not destroyed by enchanting)

Accept the quest "The Black Star" given to you by Aranea Ienith at Azura's Shrine south of Winterhold, and complete objectives until you are given a choice of who to return the Broken Azura's Star to.

• Giving it to Aranea will reward you with Azura's Star and also allow you to use Aranea as a follower.
• Giving it to Nelacar in the Frozen Hearth Inn in Winterhold will lead to you being rewarded with the Black Star instead.

The Black Star is usually the better option, as you can store the souls of playable races in it as well as normal souls (even though the conversation with Nelacar states that it will no longer hold normal souls, this is false).

Fortify Enchanting Potion

Created using Alchemy with any combination of the following ingredients:

• Ancestor Moth Wing (Dawnguard DLC only)
• Blue Butterfly Wing
• Chaurus Hunter Antennae (Dawnguard DLC only)
• Hagraven Claw
• Snowberries
• Spawn Ash (Dragonborn DLC only)
• Spriggan Sap

Synergies
Alchemy

Alchemy and Enchanting synergize well with each other. Once you can make Fortify Enchanting potions that are more powerful than found/bought ones, you can drink one and then create a full set of Fortify Alchemy gear while still under its influence. Then, while wearing that set, you can make Fortify Enchanting potions that are more powerful than those you can normally make. You can then drink the improved Fortify Enchanting potions to make even better Fortify Alchemy gear, and so on.

If your character is a Vampire, you can also take the Restoration perk Necromage, which will significantly boost the buffs your own potions give you, speeding up and enhancing this process.

Smithing

Smithing cannot directly affect Enchanting, but Enchanting can greatly affect Smithing when coupled with the synergy between Enchanting and Alchemy. Fortify Smithing potions created with Alchemy can be used on top of any Fortify Smithing gear you have equipped to produce more desirable results when improving weapons and armour at workbenches and grindstones. Coupled with the synergy between Alchemy and Enchanting, you can make increasingly powerful gear, to a certain point.

Disenchantable Items with Useful Enchantments
Note: There are many items in Skyrim that can be disenchanted to learn these enchantments, however most of them are found in randomly generated merchant inventories, or as randomly generated loot in chests and on enemies. I have only listed items that are guaranteed spawns in case you are chasing a particular enchantment. If you'd prefer to try your luck with merchants, there is an exploit that allows you to "reset" a merchant's inventory, and you can do it repeatedly until an item with the enchantment you seek is for sale. This can be time consuming, however. To do this, simply save the game in front of any merchant, then attack them and reload your save. Doing this will reset their inventories.
Fortify Carry Weight

Leather Boots of Hauling, found in Sinderion's Laboratory in Blackreach.

Blackreach can only be accessed by way of the appropriate quest:
• "Elder Knowledge", part of the main questline.
• "Discerning the Transmundane", given by Septimus Signus who can be found in Septimus Signus' Outpost, an ice cave north of Winterhold.

Fortify Archery

(Dragonborn DLC only)

Dwarven Helmet of Archery, found in Nchardak Aqueduct. Nchardak can be found northeast of Tel Mithryn, but cannot be entered until you have begun the main quest, "The Path of Knowledge". The Aqueduct is the last part of Ncharduk that you are likely to enter as part of the quest.

Fortify Conjuration

Novice Robes of Conjuration, found in the Ansilvund Burial Chambers. Ansilvund is a good distance north of Riften, and can be found along the edge of the mountains bordering Skyrim. Once you get to the end of the dungeon, you'll fight Lu'ah Al-Skaven. Take the key found on her corpse, and use it to open a door with a master level lock up the nearby stairs. The robes can be found on a set of shelves in a room past that door.

Fortify Destruction

Novice Robes of Destruction, found in Septimus Signus' Outpose, an ice cave north of Winterhold. The robes will be in a cupboard.

Fortify Illusion

Novice Robes of Illusion, found in Angeline's Aromatics in Solitude. You'll find them on one of the two shelves near Angeline's bed.

Soul Trap

(Dawnguard DLC only)

Elven Dagger of Binding, found in Volkihar Keep. The keep can only be accessed at a point in the Dawnguard storyline. You'll find the dagger inside a labaratory-like room containing an arcane enchanter and two display cases - it'll be inside one of the cases.

Waterbreathing

(Dawnguard DLC only)

Circlet of Waterbreathing, found in the Inner Sanctum of the Forgotten Vale during the Dawnguard quest "Touching the Sky". There will be a room full of frozen statues with four chaurus and a Falmer in it - the circlet can be found on the Falmer's corpse after you kill it. Note that this will wake up the statues and probably create another combat scenario for you.
Petty SoulsLesser SoulsCommon SoulsGreater SoulsGrand Souls
• Chicken
• Cow
• Deer
• Dog
• Draugr
• Elk
• Fox
• Frostbite Spider
• Goat
• Horker
• Mudcrab
• Rabbit
• Sabre Cat
• Skeever
• Skeleton
• Slaughterfish
• Wisp
• Wolf
• Alpha Wolf
• Ash Hopper
• Bear
• Chaurus
• Draugr Overlord
• Draugr Wight
• Falmer
• Falmer Skulker
• Flame Atronach
• Giant Frostbite Spider
• Horse
• Ice Wolf
• Ice Wraith
• Restless Draugr
• Spriggan
• Troll
• Werewolf
• Wounded Frostbite Spider
• Cave Bear
• Chaurus Reaper
• Curalmil
• Draugr Deathlord
• Draugr Scourge
• Draugr Scourge Lord
• Falmer Gloomlurker
• Falmer Nightprowler
• Falmer Shadowmaster
• Frost Atronach
• Frost Troll
• Hagraven
• Hulking Draugr
• Riekling
• Snow Bear
• Spriggan Matron
• Udefrykte

• Chaurus Hunter
• Draugr Deathlord (30+)
• Draugr Death Overlord (34+)
• Giant
• Storm Atronach
• Wispmother
• Burnt Spriggan

• Corrupted Shade
• Daedra
• Dragon Priest
• Draugr Deathlord (40+)
• Draugr Death Overlord (45+)
• Falmer Warmonger
• Guardian Saerek
• Guardian Torsten
• Mammoth
• Riekling Charger

• Any of the playable races
(Black Soul Gem only)

Note: Some creatures appear multiple times on this list, as they are scaled to the player's level and have scaling soul sizes as well.

Heavy Armour


Those trained to use Heavy Armor make more effective use of Iron, Steel, Dwarven, Orcish, Nordic, Ebony, Daedric, and Dragonplate armors.

Skill Type:Combat
Experience Bonus:The Warrior Stone (+20%), The Lover Stone (+15%)
Racial Bonus:Orc (+10)
Imperial (+5)
How To Improve:

Taking physical damage in combat while wearing heavy armour

Skill Books:

• A Tragedy in Black
• Catalogue of Weapon Enchantments
• Complete Catalogue of Enchantments for Armor
• Enchanter's Primer
• Twin Secrets

Enhancements:

Potions

Increases Heavy Armour skill level by (magnitude) points for (duration) seconds
EnchantmentsIncreases Heavy Armour skill level by (magnitude) points
Trainers:GharolExpertThe Reach - Dushnikh Yal
FarkasMasterWhiterun - Jorvasskr
(Requires membership in the Companions)
IsranMasterFort Dawnguard
(Requires membership in the Dawnguard)
(Dawnguard DLC only)
KuvarMasterLake Fjalding - Thirsk Mead Hall
(Dragonborn DLC only)
Notes:

Heavy armour can be used by any character archetype, although it is typically more well-suited to the Warrior. Stealth-based characters will suffer a penalty to their ability to remain undetected while wearing heavy armour, at least until they have access to some of the appropriate, more advanced perks. Mages usually require the magicka regeneration provided by robes until very high levels of the Enchanting skill allow them to put those enchantments on other pieces of gear. Finally, heavy armour weighs much more than light armour or clothing, which translates to being able to carry much less in between dungeons unless you invest in the Conditioning Heavy Armour perk.

Advancing the heavy armour skill tree sufficiently can negate many of its disadvantages, but requires investment to get there, which can make early-to-mid game much more difficult for Thief or Mage characters who feel the impact of those disadvantages the most. Furthermore, it is harder to level the Heavy Armour skill as a ranged or stealth class, which translates to a much longer time before they can negate enough of the disadvantages to enjoy the benefits. Warriors, however, can enjoy heavy armour as the best way to protect against damage in melee battles, safe in the knowledge that their combat style will allow it to improve over time without much conscious effort.

Perhaps the biggest flaw with heavy armour is that the game features an armour rating cap which is the same for both light armour and heavy armour. With a high enough Smithing skill and enough Fortify Smithing effects, it is possible to make light armour reach the same armour rating as the even the best heavy armour. Furthermore, there are far more unique light armour sets with special effects than heavy armour ones. Still, most Warrior-type classes will prefer heavy armour as they give you a higher armour rating in the early-to-mid game, which is when your character will need it the most to survive tough melee battles.

Skill Tree
No.Perk NamePerk RequirementsPerk Effect
1Juggernaut (5)• NoneIncreases armour rating for heavy armour by 20%
Juggernaut 1
• Heavy Armour 20
Increases armour rating for heavy armour by 40%
Juggernaut 2
• Heavy Armour 40
Increases armour rating for heavy armour by 60%
Juggernaut 3
• Heavy Armour 60
Increases armour rating for heavy armour by 80%
Juggernaut 4
• Heavy Armour 80
Increases armour rating for heavy armour by 100%
2Fists of SteelJuggernaut
• Heavy Armour 30
Unarmed attacks do extra damage equal to the base armour rating of equipped heavy armour gauntlets, and the sneak attack bonus is two times the damage
2Well FittedJuggernaut
• Heavy Armour 30
25% armour bonus if wearing heavy armour on the head, chest, hands, and feet
3CushionedFists of Steel
• Heavy Armour 50
Halves any falling damage suffered while wearing heavy armour on the head, chest, hands, and feet
3Tower of StrengthWell Fitted
• Heavy Armour 50
50% less stagger when wearing only heavy armour
4ConditioningCushioned
• Heavy Armour 70
Equipped heavy armour weighs nothing and does not contribute to stamina consumption while sprinting
4Matching SetTower of Strength
• Heavy Armour 70
Additional 25% armour bonus if wearing all matching pieces of heavy armour
5Reflect BlowsMatching Set
• Heavy Armour 100
10% chance to reflect melee damage back to the enemy while wearing heavy armour on the head, chest, hands, and feet
Useful Items for Heavy Armour

Ebony Mail

Armour, 45 defense

Improved with ebony ingots

• 50% Muffle: The wearer moves 50% more silently
• Does a continuous 5 poison damage to nearby enemies

The Ebony Mail is looted from the corpse of the Champion of Boethiah, who is encountered during the quest "Boethiah's Calling" which is triggered when you read the book "Boethiah's Proving". This book is found at various locations after reaching level 30, and can also be found on the corpse of a Boethiah follower, who will attack the player in a random encounter after the player reaches level 30.

The quest will initially direct the player to go to the Sacellum of Boethiah, which can be found east of the Windhelm stables, on top of the mountains. Note that one of the objectives of this quest is to sacrifice a follower to Boethiah, which permanently kills them. If you choose to go ahead, you should bring along a follower that you do not ever plan to use.

The Ebony Mail has the best defense-to-weight ratio in the game (1.61), although it has a lower overall defense than daedric, dragonplate, or stalhrim armour. It is also the only non-footwear piece of armour to feature the muffle enchantment, although it only activates when in sneak mode and only has 50% of the effectiveness of the Illusion spell Muffle.

The poison damage aura is not overly powerful, but it helps increase damage output, particularly to groups of melee enemies. It only activates when in sneak mode, or when you approach a hostile target. However, the poison aura has a few nuances that you should be mindful of. Despite being paired with the muffle enchantment, it is a poor complement to stealth-based attacks - the poison aura typically hits an enemy before your weapon can and alerts the enemy to your presence, preventing a sneak attack bonus. It also may unintentionally damage characters that you do not wish to damage while sneaking around them, provoking them into combat. This is especially true when pick-pocketing, as you typically do this in sneak mode and you must get close to your target. It also impairs vision when aiming with a bow, and counts as non-brawling damage if engaging in a brawl, which will attract a bounty and declare lethal aggression in most cases.

Finally, the Ebony Mail does not benefit from or contribute to the Matching Set Heavy Armour perk.

If the many downsides of the poison aura don't affect your playstyle, or you simply get used to taking off the armour when you wish to ensure it doesn't activate, you may find a solid piece of gear. Otherwise, you may wish to avoid getting this armour.

Gloves of the Pugilist

(Unarmed attacks do 10 extra damage)

Gloves of the Pugilist are found on the corpse of Gian the Fist, an Imperial thief that you can find in the Ratway of Riften who attacks the player on sight.

They are the only item in the game with the Fortify Unarmed enchantment, which can be used to create synergy with the Fists of Steel Heavy Armour perk for interesting (although not particularly well supported) unarmed builds.

It is important to note that the Gloves of the Pugilist themselves are light armour, which will not work with Fists of Steel. You'll need to disenchant them and put the enchantment on a pair of heavy armour gauntlets in order to achieve any synergy with it. The Gloves of the Pugilist have no real synergy with the Light Armour skill either, due to the absence of any perks for unarmed combat.

Fortify Heavy Armour Potion

Created using Alchemy with any combination of the following ingredients:

• Ice Wraith Teeth
• Sabre Cat Tooth
• Slaughterfish Scales
• Thistle Branch
• White Cap

Illusion


The School of Illusion is centered around changing how others perceive the world. Skilled illusionists can make themselves invisible, trick foes into fighting each other, and even provide combat bonuses to allies.

Skill Type:Spellcasting
Experience Bonus:The Mage Stone (+20%), The Lover Stone (+15%)
Racial Bonus:High Elf (+10)
Breton, Dark Elf (+5)
How To Improve:

Casting self-targeting Illusion spells, successfully casting Illusion spells on valid targets

Skill Books:

• 2920, Sun's Dawn, v2
• Before the Ages of Man
• Incident at Necrom
• Mystery of Talara, Part 4
• The Black Arts on Trial

Enhancements:

Potions

Illusion spells are (magnitude)% stronger for (duration) seconds
EnchantmentsIllusion spells cost (magnitude)% less to cast, Illusion-based enchantments on weapons consume (magnitude)% less charge
VampirismIllusion spells are 25% more powerful
Trainers:AtubExpertThe Rift - Largashbur
Drevis NelorenMasterCollege of Winterhold - Hall of Countenance / The Arcanaeum
Notes:Illusion has some incredibly powerful uses in combat that can keep you out of the fray and let others do the work for you, especially when combined with other magical schools such as Conjuration. It can also be combined with a stealth playstyle in order to make yourself completely undetectable. However, the effects of many of its spells only affect targets up to a certain level, and since most enemies scale with your character, if you tend to focus on other magic schools over Illusion then you may find yourself out-levelling your Illusion skill to the point where you rarely find eligible targets for your available Illusion spells in early-to-mid game. If nothing else, Illusion is a handy skill to put points into for the Quiet Casting perk, which allows other schools of magic to more comfortably and reliably operate in stealth, helping a Mage archetype keep out of harm's way.
Skill Tree
No.Perk NamePerk RequirementsPerk Effect
1Novice Illusion• NoneHalves the magicka cost of Novice Illusion spells
2Dual CastingNovice Illusion
• Illusion 20
Dual casting an Illusion spell overcharges the effects into an even more powerful version
2AnimageNovice Illusion
• Illusion 20
Illusion spells now work on higher level animals (+8 levels)
2Apprentice IllusionNovice Illusion
• Illusion 25
Halves the magicka cost of Apprentice Illusion spells
2Hypnotic GazeNovice Illusion
• Illusion 30
Calm spells now work on higher level opponents (+8 levels)
3Kindred MageAnimage
• Illusion 40
All Illusion spells work on higher level people (+10 levels)
3Adept IllusionApprentice Illusion
• Illusion 50
Halves the magicka cost of Adept Illusion spells
3Aspect of TerrorHypnotic Gaze
• Illusion 50
Fear spells now work on higher level opponents (+10 levels)
4Quiet CastingKindred Mage
• Illusion 50
Your spells can no longer be heard by others
4RageAspect of Terror
• Illusion 70
Frenzy spells work on higher level opponents (+12 levels)
4Expert IllusionAdept Illusion
• Illusion 75
Halves the magicka cost of Expert Illusion spells
5Master of the MindQuiet Casting
-OR- Rage
• Illusion 90
Illusion spells work on undead, daedra, and automatons
5Master IllusionExpert Illusion
• Illusion 100
Halves the magicka cost of Master Illusion spells
Useful Items for Illusion

Archmage's Robes

• All spells cost 15% less to cast
• Fortify magicka 50
• Fortify magicka regeneration 100%

The Archmage's robes are rewarded to the player after completing the quest "The Eye of Magnus" in the College of Winterhold questline, and are very useful for characters that like to spread across multiple magic schools and make use of the Mage Armour Alteration perk.

Characters with very high Enchanting and Alchemy skill who do not fancy the Mage Armour Alteration perk may instead prefer to enchant various pieces of armour with enchantments relative to their chosen magic school(s), as this allows you to enjoy the benefits of armour while still being able to efficiently spread across multiple schools.

Fortify Illusion PotionCreated using Alchemy with any combination of the following ingredients:

• Dragon's Tongue
• Dwarven Oil
• Mora Tapinella
• Scaly Pholiota
• Taproot

Note:
Fortify Illusion potions make Illusion effects more powerful. Fortify Illusion enchantments on equipment make Illusion spells cost less.
Synergies
RestorationThe Restoration perk Recovery has two levels. It increases your rate of magicka regeneration by 25% on the first level, and by 50% on the second. This is very useful for any magic school. Even though high levels of Enchanting will allow you to negate the cost of Illusion spells entirely, having enough magicka regeneration can instead allow you to focus on other enchantments, and spread yourself across more schools of magic.
Novice Illusion Spells (Skill level 0)
Spell NameDescriptionBase Magicka Cost
ClairvoyanceShows the path to the current goal25 per second
CourageTarget gains extra health and stamina, and cannot flee for 60 seconds39
FuryCreatures and people up to level 6 will attack anything nearby for 30 seconds67
Vision of the Tenth EyeMakes the Master Illusion texts visible, and gives night vision for 30 seconds0
Apprentice Illusion Spells (Skill level 25)
Spell NameDescriptionBase Magicka Cost
CalmCreatures and people up to level 9 won't fight for 30 seconds146
FearCreatures and people up to level 9 flee from combat for 30 seconds153
MuffleMove silently for 180 seconds144
Vampire's SeductionCalms creatures and people up to level 10 for 30 seconds146
Adept Illusion Spells (Skill level 50)
Spell NameDescriptionBase Magicka Cost
FrenzyCreatures and people up to level 14 will attack anyone nearby for 60 seconds209
Frenzy RuneCast on a nearby surface, creatures and people up to level 14 will attack anyone nearby for 60 seconds after they move over it165
RallyTarget gains extra health and stamina (more than the Courage spell), and cannot flee for 60 seconds113
Expert Illusion Spells (Skill level 75)
Spell NameDescriptionBase Magicka Cost
InvisibilityCaster becomes invisible for 30 seconds, but cancels the effect if they attack or activate an object334
PacifyCreatures and people up to level 20 won't fight for 60 seconds290
RoutCreatures and people up to level 20 flee from combat for 60 seconds316
Master Illusion Spells (Skill level 100)
Master Illusion spells cannot be purchased until you have completed the "Illusion Ritual Spell" quest given by Drevis Neloren at the College of Winterhold, upon reaching level 90 Illusion
Spell NameDescriptionBase Magicka Cost
Call To ArmsTargets have improved combat skills, health, and stamina for 10 minutes655
HarmonyNearby creatures and people up to level 25 won't fight for 60 seconds1052
HysteriaCreatures and people up to level 25 flee from combat for 60 seconds866
MayhemCreatures and people up to level 25 will attack anyone nearby for 60 seconds990

Light Armour


Those trained to use Light Armor make more effective use of Hide, Leather, Elven, Scaled, Glass, and Dragonscale armors.

Skill Type:Combat
Experience Bonus:The Warrior Stone (+20%), The Lover Stone (+15%)
Racial Bonus:Argonian, Dark Elf, Nord, Wood Elf (+5)
How To Improve:

Taking physical damage in combat while wearing light armour

Skill Books:

• Ice and Chitin
• Jornibret's Last Dance
• Rislav the Righteous
• The Rear Guard
• The Refugees

Enhancements:Potions

Increases Light Armour skill level by (magnitude) points for (duration) seconds
EnchantmentsIncreases Light Armour skill by (magnitude) points
Trainers:Scouts-Many-MarshesAdeptWindhelm - Windhelm Docks / Argonian Assemblage
GrelkaExpertRiften - Markets / Haelga's Bunkhouse
NazirMasterDark Brotherhood Sanctuary
Notes:Light armour weighs much less than heavy armour, and contributes much less to stamina drain when sprinting. It also allows for much more effective sneaking. With these points in mind, it is ideal for ranged or stealth classes. Furthermore, since Skyrim has an armour rating cap, with the higher quality light armour sets and a high Smithing skill coupled with many Fortify Smithing effects, you can make light armour that offers just as much protection as even the best heavy armour. The main drawback is the (initially) much lower protection, which makes it less desirable for a melee character as they will find it much harder to survive melee battles in the early-to-mid game. Additionally, those that wear light armour tend to use avoidance techniques (such as stealth, or staying at a range) and as such tend to take less direct damage, which makes the skill level up slower than a Warrior archetype who is constantly attacked in melee.
Skill Tree
No.Perk NamePerk RequirementsPerk Effect
1Agile Defender (5)• NoneIncrease the armour rating for light armour by 20%
Agile Defender 1
• Light Armour 20
Increase the armour rating for light armour by 40%
Agile Defender 2
• Light Armour 40
Increase the armour rating for light armour by 60%
Agile Defender 3
• Light Armour 60
Increase the armour rating for light armour by 80%
Agile Defender 4
• Light Armour 80
Increase the armour rating for light armour by 100%
2Custom FitAgile Defender
• Light Armour 30
25% armour bonus if wearing light armour on the head, chest, hands, and feet
3UnhinderedCustom Fit
• Light Armour 50
Equipped light armour weighs nothing and doesn't slow you down
3Matching SetCustom Fit
• Light Armour 70
Additional 25% armour bonus if wearing a matching set of light armour
4Wind WalkerUnhindered
• Light Armour 60
Stamina regenerates 50% faster if wearing light armour on the head, chest, hands, and feet
4/5Deft MovementMatching Set
-OR- Wind Walker
• Light Armour 100
10% chance of avoiding all damage from a melee attack while wearing light armour on the head, chest, hands, and feet
Useful Items for Light Armour

Deathbrand Armour
(Dragonborn DLC only)

Improved with stalhrim

Various bonuses dependant on equipped pieces (see description)

All four pieces of the Deathbrand armour set are obtained from ancient chests that can only be found during the quest, "Deathbrand".

There are two ways to start this quest: the first is finding and reading a copy of the book "Deathbrand" at level 36 or higher (lower levels do not trigger the quest). You can find this book in Tel Mithryn or Raven Rock Temple.

The other way is by killing the pirates guarding the chest at Haknir's Shoal (northwest from Skaal Village), from level 36 and above. Once they are all dead, the Deathbrand Helmet will spawn in the ancient chest, the quest will trigger, and you can retrieve a map showing the locations of the other pieces on the corpse of the pirate captain.

The Deathbrand armour set is an excellent light armour set with very good set bonuses. The chest increases your stamina by 15 for each Deathbrand item you wear, the boots increase your carrying capacity by 10 for each Deathbrand item you wear, the helmet provides waterbreathing, and the gauntlets make your one-handed attacks do 10% more damage for each Deathbrand item you wear while dual wielding. There is also a bonus +100 armour rating for wearing the whole set.

All together, the final bonus is +60 stamina, +40 carry capacity, +40% damage while dual wielding, waterbreathing, and +100 armour. When you combine its 78.5 base armour (with all pieces equipped) with the set bonus, the resultant 178.5 armour makes it stronger than unimproved Daedric armour.

The main drawback of Deathbrand armour is how it is improved through Smithing. Despite being Light Armour, and benefiting from Light Armour perks, it is tied to the Ebony Smithing perk (traditionally a heavy armour) when improving at a workbench. This means that as a light armour user, you'll likely have committed to the other side of the Smithing tree and it will require a significant investment in a side of Smithing that you're not likely to use in order to maximize the improvement of this armour.

Thieves Guild Armour

Improved with leather

Carry capacity +20, Fortify Lockpicking +15%, Fortify Pickpocket +15%, Prices are 10% better

The Thieves Guild Armour set is given to the player upon joining the Thieves Guild in Riften.

After you complete the Thieves Guild quest, "Scoundrel's Folly", you'll be asked to speak to Tonilia in The Ragged Flagon. When you do, she'll give you the opportunity to improve one piece of the Thieves Guild Armour set. Depending on what you choose, the following statistics are obtainable:

• Carry capacity +35
• Fortify Lockpicking 25%
• Fortify Pickpocket 25%
• Prices are 15% better

Shrouded Armour

Improved with leather

50% poison resist, muffle, double sneak damage with one-handed weapons, bows do 20% more damage

The Shrouded Armour set is unique to the Dark Brotherhood. You can acquire it in several ways, but the following are the most easily accessible and all begin with visiting the house of Aventus Aretino in Windhelm, and completing the quest "Innocence Lost" given to you by him.

You'll then be ushered into the quest "With Friends Like These..." which will give you the choice of either killing one of three captives, or turning on Astrid and killing her instead. If you kill one of the captives and join the Dark Brotherhood, you'll find a full set of the Shrouded Armour in the Dark Sanctuary. If you kill Astrid, you'll begin the quest "Destroy the Dark Brotherhood!" and will find the armour set on the bodies of defeated members of the Dark Brotherhood.

Ancient Shrouded Armour

Improved with leather

100% poison resist, muffle, double sneak damage with one-handed weapons, bows do 35% more damage

Superior to the Shrouded Armour set, the Ancient Shrouded Armour set can only be acquired if you are a member of the Dark Brotherhood.

You receive the Ancient Shrouded Armour set as a reward upon completion of the "Locate The Assassin Of Old" sidequest. This quest is given to you by Olava the Feeble and can only be accepted if you completed the bonus objective of the "Breaching Security" quest in the Dark Brotherhood questline.

Fortify Light Armour Potion

Created using Alchemy with any combination of the following ingredients:

• Ash Hopper Jelly (Dragonborn DLC only)
• Beehive Husk
• Felsaad Tern Feathers (Dragonborn DLC only)
• Hawk Feathers
• Honeycomb
• Luna Moth Wing
• Skeever Tail

Lockpicking


The art of bypassing locks on chests and doors without having possession of a key.

Skill Type:Utility
Experience Bonus:The Thief Stone (+20%), The Lover Stone (+15%)
Racial Bonus:Argonian (+10)
Khajiit, Wood Elf (+5)
How To Improve:

Successfully picking a lock, breaking a lockpick while attempting to pick a lock

Skill Books:

• Advances in Lockpicking
• The Wolf Queen, Book I
• Proper Lock Design
• The Locked Room
• Surfeit of Thieves

Enhancements:

Potions

Lockpicking is (magnitude)% easier for (duration) seconds
EnchantmentsLockpicking is (magnitude)% easier
Trainers:Maj'hadExpertKhajiit Caravans (Wandering)
VexMasterRiften - Thieves Guild
Notes:The necessity of putting points into this skill is debatable. Lockpicks are typically in good supply, often found on bandits, in chests, and in merchant inventories, and high difficulty locks are relatively rare. If you have a reasonably good grasp of the lockpicking minigame and have a systematic approach to finding the "sweet spot" of locks, you can pick locks quite effectively without any points in this skill whatsoever, rarely breaking more than one or two lockpicks on lower difficulty locks. You'll still break quite a few on high difficulty locks, in particular Master locks, but I rarely dip below 40 lockpicks on characters with no investment in this skill where I don't even specifically seek out lockpicks - I usually just make do with the ones I find. The perk that requires the most investment in lockpicking (Unbreakable) is almost a complete waste of time - despite how wonderful it sounds, with less points invested in the tree you can make all locks significantly easier, to the point where you'll be collecting more lockpicks than you can break.

If you struggle with lockpicking or regularly find yourself running out of lockpicks, then this skill will undoubtedly prove useful, as many significant treasures sit inside locked chests or behind locked doors. Furthermore, the Treasure Hunter perk available later in the skill tree is quite good for any adventurer (and to a much lesser extent, the Golden Touch perk) - unfortunately, though, it requires fairly significant investment in this otherwise (in my opinion) negligible skill.
Skill Tree
No.Perk NamePerk RequirementsPerk Effect
1Novice Locks• NoneNovice locks are much easier to pick
2Apprentice LocksNovice Locks
• Lockpicking 25
Apprentice locks are much easier to pick
3Quick HandsApprentice Locks
• Lockpicking 40
Able to pick locks without being noticed
3Adept LocksApprentice Locks
• Lockpicking 50
Adept locks are much easier to pick
4Wax KeyQuick Hands
• Lockpicking 50
Automatically gives you a copy of a picked lock's key if it has one
4Golden TouchAdept Locks
• Lockpicking 60
Find more gold in chests
4Expert LocksAdept Locks
• Lockpicking 75
Expert locks are much easier to pick
5Treasure HunterGolden Touch
• Lockpicking 70
50% greater chance of finding special treasure, such as enchanted items
5LocksmithExpert Locks
• Lockpicking 80
Your lockpick starts close to the sweet spot when picking locks
5Master LocksExpert Locks
• Lockpicking 100
Master locks are much easier to pick
6UnbreakableLocksmith
• Lockpicking 100
Lockpicks don't break
Useful Items for Lockpicking

Skeleton Key

Unbreakable lockpick

The Skeleton Key is acquired after completing the Thieve's Guild quest, "Blindsighted". Once you have it, you can open locks without any fear of breaking a lockpick.

The unfortunate side of the Skeleton Key is that it must be handed in to properly complete the Thieves Guild questline. However, you are free to delay doing so and keep it as long as you wish in the meantime, giving you ample opportunity to build up your regular lockpicks as well as accessing valuable treasures with ease.

Once you hand it in, you can never get it back. Do so only when you are sure you are ready and/or have levelled up your lockpicking skill to a point you are comfortable with.

Thieves Guild Gloves

Improved with leather

Fortify Lockpicking 15%

These gloves are part of the Thieves Guild Armour set, which is given to the player upon joining the Thieves Guild in Riften.

After you complete the Thieves Guild quest, "Scoundrel's Folly", you'll be asked to speak to Tonilia in The Ragged Flagon. When you do, she'll give you the opportunity to improve one piece of the Thieves Guild Armour set. If you choose to improve the gloves, it'll upgrade the enchantment to Fortify Lockpicking 25%.

Guild Master's Gloves

Improved with leather

Fortify Lockpicking 35%

Completing the Thieves Guild quest "Under New Management" will reward you with a full set of the Guild Master's Armour - which include gloves with a powerful Fortify Lockpicking enchantment. The quest is only available right at the end of the Thieves Guild questline, however.

Fortify Lockpicking Potion

Created using Alchemy with any combination of the following ingredients:

• Ashen Grass Pod (Dragonborn DLC only)
• Falmer Ear
• Namira's Rot
• Pine Thrush Egg
• Spider Egg

One-Handed


The art of wielding one-handed weaponry - either on its own, with a shield, or by dual wielding.

Skill Type:Combat
Experience Bonus:The Warrior Stone (+20%), The Lover Stone (+15%)
Racial Bonus:Redguard (+10)
Imperial, Khajiit, Nord, Orc (+5)
How To Improve:

Damaging another being with a one-handed weapon

Skill Books:

• 2920, Morning Star, v1
• Fire and Darkness
• Mace Etiquette
• Night Falls on Sentinel
• The Importance of Where

Enhancements:

Potions

One-handed weapons do (magnitude)% more damage for (duration) seconds
EnchantmentsOne-handed weapons do (magnitude)% more damage
Trainers:AmrenAdeptWhiterun
AthisExpertWhiterun - Jorvasskr
Chief BurgukMasterThe Reach - Dushnikh Yal
Notes:One-handed weapons have less raw power, shorter range, and cause less stagger to enemies than two-handed weapons, but have more finesse and swing faster, with less stamina consumption. They can also be coupled with a shield or healing spell for a powerful defensive complement. It's largely a matter of choice as to which of the two styles are better for you, although when it comes to stealth, one-handed is the better choice. The Backstab perk in the Sneak skill tree provides a six times sneak damage multiplier for one-handed weapons, while the Assassin's Blade perk in the Sneak skill tree offers a huge fifteen times sneak damage multiplier for daggers. Both of these perks can stack with other effects to offer even larger boosts. Two-handed weapons, however, have no perks that multiply sneak attacks and as such have no incentives or compelling benefits of playing with that combat style.
Skill Tree
No.Perk NamePerk RequirementsPerk Effect
1Armsman (5)• NoneOne-handed weapons do 20% more damage
Armsman 1
• One-Handed 20
One-handed weapons do 40% more damage
Armsman 2
• One-Handed 40
One-handed weapons do 60% more damage
Armsman 3
• One-Handed 60
One-handed weapons do 80% more damage
Armsman 4
• One-Handed 80
One-handed weapons do 100% more damage
2Fighting StanceArmsman
• One-Handed 20
Power attacks with one-handed weapons cost 25% less stamina
2Dual Flurry (2)Armsman
One-Handed 30
Dual wielding attacks are 20% faster
Dual Flurry 1
• One-Handed 50
Dual wielding attacks are 35% faster
3Hack and Slash (3)Fighting Stance
• One-Handed 30
Attacks with war axes cause extra, stackable bleed damage
Hack and Slash 1
• One-Handed 60
Attacks with war axes cause more extra, stackable bleed damage
Hack and Slash 2
• One-Handed 90
Attacks with war axes cause even more extra, stackable bleed damage
3Bone Breaker (3)Fighting Stance
• One-Handed 30
Attacks with maces ignore 25% of an opponent's equipped armour, flesh spell, or ward
Bone Breaker 1
• One-Handed 60
Attacks with maces ignore 50% of an opponent's equipped armour, flesh spell, or ward
Bone Breaker 2
• One-Handed 90
Attacks with maces ignore 75% of an opponent's equipped armour, flesh spell, or ward
3Bladesman (3)Fighting Stance
• One-Handed 30
Attacks with swords have a 10% chance of extra critical damage equal to half of the weapon's base damage, rounded down
Bladesman 1
• One-Handed 60
Attacks with swords have a 15% chance of extra critical damage equal to half of the weapon's base damage, rounded down
Bladesman 2
• One-Handed 90
Attacks with swords have a 20% chance of extra critical damage equal to half of the weapon's base damage, rounded down
3Savage StrikeFighting Stance
• One-Handed 50
Standing power attacks do 25% extra damage with a chance to decapitate the target
3Critical ChargeFighting Stance
• One-Handed 50
Can perform a one-handed power attack while sprinting that does double critical damage
3Dual SavageryDual Flurry
• One-Handed 70
Dual wielding power attacks do 50% bonus damage
4Paralyzing StrikeSavage Strike
-OR- Critical Charge
• One-Handed 100
Backwards power attacks have a 25% chance to paralyze the target
Useful Items for One-Handed

Chillrend

Levelled sword

Improved with refined malachite

Does frost damage to health and stamina, and has a chance to paralyze target for 2 seconds

Chillrend can be acquired inside the tunnels underneath Riftweald Manor in Riften. You can access the manor during the events of the Thieves Guild quest "The Pursuit".

Alternatively, you can get inside from the roof of the Temple of Mara - which can be accessed by jumping on the brazier or barrel to the left of the door, and then jumping on to the roof. Once you're on the roof, you can use the Whirlwind Sprint shout to reach the balcony of the Riftweald Manor and pick the lock on the door there. There's a wardrobe on the first floor of the manor that has a false backing that can be opened to find the way leading to the tunnels.

Near the end of the tunnels, you'll find the display case containing Chillrend inside a small room. You'll need to pick the expert level lock on the case to retrieve it.

This sword is scaled to the player upon receiving it, which means the higher level you are when you collect it, the more base damage, elemental damage, weight, and value it has. At character level 46+, it caps out at 15 base damage, 16 weight, 1442 base value, and 30 points of frost damage to health and stamina. Regardless of the level you acquire it, the paralyze duration will always be 2 seconds.

Chillrend is one of the most powerful one-handed swords in the game if collected at maximum level - second only to Miraak's Sword. It benefits from the Glass Smithing perk in the Smithing tree when calculating the strength of any improvements made to it.

Miraak's Sword

Levelled sword

Improved with ebony ingots and daedra hearts

Absorbs 15 points of stamina on hit

When acquired at a high enough level, Miraak's Sword has the highest base damage of any one-handed sword in the game, and the second lightest weight. It can only be collected from the skeletal remains of Miraak at the end of the quest, "At the Summit of Apocrypha". This is the final quest in the Dragonborn DLC, and as such takes a reasonable amount of investment to achieve. Furthermore, to get the best version of the sword, you need to be level 60 or higher, which demands a lot of investment as well.

The sword has three different versions depending on which level you are when you collect it:
Level 1-44: 12 base damage, 3 weight, 410 base value
Level 45-59: 14 base damage, 3 weight, 720 base value
Level 60+: 16 base damage, 3 weight, 1250 base value

Miraak's Sword benefits from the Dwarven Smithing perk in the Smithing tree when calculating the quality of improvements.

Mace of Molag Bal

Mace, 16 base damage

Improved with ebony ingots

Deals 25 damage to stamina and magicka

If the target dies within 3 seconds, fills a soul gem

The Mace of Molag Bal is a reward for completing the quest "The House of Horrors", which can be obtained by speaking to Tyranus at the abandoned house near the entrance to Markarth.

Since its stats are set rather than levelled to your character, it can prove to be significantly more powerful than anything else you can find when collected early. Its soul trap ability helps you keep soul gems full which helps ensure the mace never runs out of power, and proves to have good synergy with Azura's Star / The Black Star (see the Useful Items for Enchanting section) as you will always have a soul gem on you to recharge it.

The Mace of Molag Bal does not benefit from any Smithing perks, which means you can only improve it to flawless quality naturally. You'll need to raise your Smithing level over 100 using enchanted gear and/or potions with Fortify Smithing in order to improve it further.

Blade of Woe

Dagger, base damage 12

Improved without ingots

Absorb 10 points of health on hit

You can acquire the Blade of Woe in several ways, but the following are the most easily accessible and all begin with visiting the house of Aventus Aretino in Windhelm, and completing the quest "Innocence Lost" given to you by him.

You'll then be ushered into the quest "With Friends Like These..." which will give you the choice of either killing one of three captives, or turning on Astrid and killing her instead. If you kill Astrid instead of one of the captives, you'll begin the quest "Destroy the Dark Brotherhood!" and will find the Blade of Woe on Astrid's corpse.

If you wish to join the Dark Brotherhood, though, you'll need to kill one of the captives and follow the Dark Brotherhood questline until you are able to complete the quest, "Death Incarnate". Doing so will reward you with the Blade of Woe.

If you have a high Pickpocketing skill with the Misdirection perk, you'll also be able to pickpocket the Blade of Woe from Astrid prior to completing "Death Incarnate". You'll get another one of them when you complete "Death Incarnate" if you do this, allowing you to dual wield them!

The Blade of Woe has a higher base damage than a daedric dagger, and is on par with a dragonbone dagger (albeit weighing slightly more). It can be improved if you have the Arcane Blacksmith perk in the Smithing tree without any ingots at all, although it benefits from the Steel Smithing perk when calculating the quality of the improvement.

The main drawback of the Blade of Woe is that its enchantment is quite weak. At higher levels of the Enchanting skill, you'll be able to make weapons with more more powerful enchantments. It also has only six charges, which makes the enchantment of questionable usefulness. However, the amount of charge drained by the dagger with each swing is reduced by the user's Destruction skill level. If you equip four pieces of gear that each have Fortify Destruction 25%, it is actually possible to make the dagger use no charge at all when it swings.

Mehrunes' Razor

Dagger, base damage 11

Improved with ebony ingots

Has a 1.98% chance to instantly kill its target

You can acquire Mehrunes' Razor by way of the "Pieces of the Past" quest, which you can only receive by reading a letter delivered to you by the courier after reaching level 20, inviting you to come to a museum in Dawnstar. Complete the objectives of the quest up until you are offered the choice to kill Silus Vesuius. If you do, you are rewarded with Mehrunes' Razor. If you allow him to leave alive, you do not get another opportunity to acquire it as Silus places the pieces of the dagger in a case inside his museum that cannot be interacted with.

Mehrunes' Razor has a powerful although unreliable ability to instantly kill any opponent (with the exception of Miraak and Karstaag in the Dragonborn DLC). The best thing about this ability is that it isn't a typical weapon enchantment - it does not have charges and does not require any form of recharging.

If you dual wield Mehrunes' Razor with another weapon, put Mehrunes' Razor in the left arm slot. This is because power attacks while dual wielding swing the left arm twice, where the right arm is only swung once. This provides two chances to trigger the instant kill effect with each power attack.

Mehrunes' Razor does not benefit from any Smithing perks, which means you can only improve it to flawless quality naturally. You'll need to raise your Smithing level over 100 using enchanted gear and/or potions with Fortify Smithing in order to improve it further.

Shrouded Gloves

Improved with leather

Double sneak damage with one-handed weapons

The Shrouded Gloves are part of the Shrouded Armour set associated with the Dark Brotherhood. You can acquire it in several ways, but the following are the most easily accessible and all begin with visiting the house of Aventus Aretino in Windhelm, and completing the quest "Innocence Lost" given to you by him.

You'll then be ushered into the quest "With Friends Like These..." which will give you the choice of either killing one of three captives, or turning on Astrid and killing her instead. If you kill one of the captives and join the Dark Brotherhood, you'll find a full set of the Shrouded Armour in the Dark Sanctuary. If you kill Astrid, you'll begin the quest "Destroy the Dark Brotherhood!" and will find the armour set on the bodies of defeated members of the Dark Brotherhood.

The gloves in particular have a very powerful bonus which is unique to the Shrouded Armour set (or the Ancient Shrouded Armour set that can also be acquired as a member of the Dark Brotherhood - however, the enchantment on the gloves is the same). Being able to do double sneak damage has insane synergy with the Backstab and Assassin's Blade perks in the Sneak tree. Backstab's bonus is doubled to 12 times extra sneak damage with one-handed weapons, and Assassin's Blade's bonus damage becomes a whopping 30 times damage. Because of this, the Shrouded Gloves make an excellent complement to any sneak and dagger user, and you will not likely ever want to replace them (with the exception of swapping them out for the Ancient Shrouded Gloves).

Ancient Shrouded Gloves

Improved with leather

Double sneak damage with one-handed weapons

An upgrade of the Shrouded Gloves, you receive it with the Ancient Shrouded Armour set as a reward upon completion of the "Locate The Assassin Of Old" sidequest. This quest is given to you by Olava the Feeble and can only be accepted if you completed the bonus objective of the "Breaching Security" quest in the Dark Brotherhood questline.

While the Ancient Shrouded Gloves have the same enchantment as the Shrouded Gloves, it offers more base armour which makes it more fitting when paired with other endgame armour.

Fortify One-Handed Potion

Created using Alchemy with any combination of the following ingredients:

• Bear Claws
• Canis Root
• Hanging Moss
• Hawk Feathers
• Rock Warbler Egg
• Small Pearl

Pickpocket


The art of relieving the unaware of their valuables.

Skill Type:Utility
Experience Bonus:The Thief Stone (+20%), The Lover Stone (+15%)
Racial Bonus:Argonian, Khajiit, Wood Elf (+5)
How To Improve:

Successfully steal or plant an item in another person's inventory

Skill Books:

• Thief
• Aevar Stone-Singer
• Guide to Better Thieving
• Beggar
• Purloined Shadows

Enhancements:

Potions

Pickpocketing is (magnitude)% easier for (duration) seconds
EnchantmentsPickpocketing is (magnitude)% easier
Trainers:Silda the UnseenExpertWindhelm
Vipir the FleetMasterRiften - Thieves Guild
Notes:Pickpocket is not an essential skill in any archetype's repertoire, but it does have some useful applications, some of which could even be considered powerful. The main trouble with the skill is that to raise its level, you need to steal from the pockets of other people or plant items on them, both of which typically result in a bounty in the event of failure. To begin with, you'll see more failure than success unless you abuse save game states (which gets tiresome), putting you in constant trouble with the law, which can push you to avoid the skill entirely. However, if you stick with it and invest points in some of the more meaningful perks, you can completely disarm opponents before they even engage you in combat - or even paralyze or kill them entirely with poisons. Furthermore, the Extra Pockets perk is useful regardless of what your character archetype is. Due to the nature of the skill, however, it will be most successful and most intrinsically linked to characters that heavily utilize stealth.

Of particular note with the pickpocket skill is that you can guarantee a 100% success rate if you paralyze your target first, and initiate pickpocketing as soon as they begin to get back up. This also works with ragdoll effects such as the Unrelenting Force shout, although obviously this tends to attract more attention.
Skill Tree
No.Perk NamePerk RequirementsPerk Effect
1Light Fingers (5)• NonePickpocketing bonus of 20% (odds reduced by weight and value of items)
Light Fingers 1
• Pickpocket 20
Pickpocketing bonus of 40% (odds reduced by weight and value of items)
Light Fingers 2
• Pickpocket 40
Pickpocketing bonus of 60% (odds reduced by weight and value of items)
Light Fingers 3
• Pickpocket 60
Pickpocketing bonus of 80% (odds reduced by weight and value of items)
Light Fingers 4
• Pickpocket 80
Pickpocketing bonus of 100% (odds reduced by weight and value of items)
2Night ThiefLight Fingers
• Pickpocket 30
+25% chance to pickpocket if the target is asleep
3PoisonedNight Thief
• Pickpocket 40
Silently harm enemies by putting poison in their pockets
3CutpurseNight Thief
• Pickpocket 40
Pickpocketing gold becomes 50% easier
3Extra PocketsNight Thief
• Pickpocket 50
Carrying capacity is increased by 100
4KeymasterCutpurse
• Pickpocket 60
Pickpocketing keys almost always works
4MisdirectionCutpurse
• Pickpocket 70
Can pickpocket equipped weapons (when hidden from target)
5Perfect TouchMisdirection
• Pickpocket 100
Can pickpocket equipped items, clothes, and armour (when hidden from target)
Useful Items for Pickpocket

Thieves Guild Boots

Improved with leather

Fortify Pickpocket 15%

These boots are part of the Thieves Guild Armour set, which is given to the player upon joining the Thieves Guild in Riften.

After you complete the Thieves Guild quest, "Scoundrel's Folly", you'll be asked to speak to Tonilia in The Ragged Flagon. When you do, she'll give you the opportunity to improve one piece of the Thieves Guild Armour set. If you choose to improve the boots, it'll upgrade the enchantment to Fortify Pickpocket 25%.

Guild Master's Boots

Improved with leather

Fortify Pickpocket 35%

Completing the Thieves Guild quest "Under New Management" will reward you with a full set of the Guild Master's Armour - which include boots with a powerful Fortify Pickpocket enchantment. The quest is only available right at the end of the Thieves Guild questline, however.

Fortify Pickpocket Potion

Created using Alchemy with any combination of the following ingredients:

• Blue Dartwing
• Nordic Barnacle
• Orange Dartwing
• Slaughterfish Egg

Synergies
Paralyze

At high levels of Alteration, you can cast spells that paralyze. You can also find staves that cast spells that paralyze. Finally, you can also craft potions that paralyze using Alchemy and use the Pickpocket perk Poisoned in order to plant them on a target and paralyze them without it counting as a hostile act. Once a target is paralyzed, wait for them to start getting back up. If you pickpocket someone in this exact moment, you'll be able to take anything they have off of them with a 100% success rate regardless of the difficulty level that would be displayed otherwise.

This also works with ragdoll effects, such as the Unrelenting Force shout. This will count as a hostile act in all but the most specialized cases, however, and lacks the subtlety you'd generally want to maintain as someone who calls themselves a pickpocket.

Restoration


The School of Restoration focuses on control over life forces, and curative powers. Healing the wounds of yourself or others, turning away the undead, and generating powerful magical wards to block attacks are all made possible by the Restoration school.

Skill Type:Spellcasting
Experience Bonus:The Mage Stone (+20%), The Lover Stone (+15%)
Racial Bonus:Imperial (+10)
Argonian, Breton, High Elf (+5)
How To Improve:

Casting self-targeting Restoration spells, successfully casting Restoration spells on valid targets, mitigating damage with wards

Skill Books:

• 2920, Rain's Hand, v4
• Mystery of Talara, v 2
• Racial Phylogeny
• The Exodus
• Withershins

Enhancements:

Potions

Restoration spells are (magnitude)% stronger for (duration) seconds
EnchantmentsRestoration spells cost (magnitude)% less to cast, Restoration-based enchantments on weapons consume (magnitude)% less charge
Trainers:Keeper CarcetteExpertHall of the Vigilant, south of Dawnstar
(Will be dead if Dawnguard DLC is installed)
Colette Marence ExpertCollege of Winterhold
Danica Pure-SpringMasterWhiterun - Temple of Kynareth
Florentius BaeniusMasterFort Dawnguard
(Requires membership with the Dawnguard and completion of "Bolstering the Ranks" quest)
(Dawnguard DLC only)
Notes:

Restoration can splash into any character archetype, although is typically the domain of the Mage. However, Warriors in particular can find Restoration useful to keep themselves topped up between encounters, although with their focus on health and stamina at the expense of being able to put points into magicka, it is rarely possible to fully heal oneself without waiting for magicka to regenerate. Thankfully, magicka regenerates much faster than health, and this is still preferable to waiting around between encounters for health to slowly regenerate over time. The Respite perk found in the Restoration tree allows healing spells to also regenerate stamina, which is a great tool for Warrior archetypes as well.

Speaking of magicka regeneration, the Recovery perk in the Restoration tree is a wonderful addition to any Mage's repertoire, regardless of whether they make full use of the Restoration school or not. With both levels of the perk, it leads to a huge 50% increase in magicka generation, which can be used to counteract the penalty given by the Atronach stone, or just to support the Mage's constant stream of combat spells.

Wards can be a powerful addition to a Mage's arsenal, making them quite tough to kill despite their use of robes in favour of proper armour. However, using wards will prevent a Mage from taking advantage of any dual casting "overcharge" perks in other schools, which give the most desirable spell results. This can be likened to the choice between one-handed weaponry with a shield versus two-handed weaponry - versatility versus pure damage output - and is really a matter of choice.

Skill Tree
No.Perk NamePerk RequirementsPerk Effect
1Novice Restoration• NoneHalves the magicka cost of Novice Restoration spells
2Dual CastingNovice Restoration
• Restoration 20
Dual casting a Restoration spell overcharges the effects into an even more powerful version
2RegenerationNovice Restoration
• Restoration 20
Healing spells are 50% more effective
2Apprentice RestorationNovice Restoration
• Restoration 25
Halves the magicka cost of Apprentice Restoration spells
2Recovery (2)Novice Restoration
• Restoration 30
Magicka regenerates 25% faster
Recovery 1
• Restoration 60
Magicka regenerates 50% faster
2RespiteNovice Restoration
• Restoration 40
Healing spells also restore stamina
2Ward AbsorbNovice Restoration
• Restoration 60
Wards absorb 25% of the magicka of spells that hit them
3Adept RestorationApprentice Restoration
• Restoration 50
Halves the magicka cost of Adept Restoration spells
3NecromageRegeneration
• Restoration 70
All spells are more effective against undead
3Avoid DeathRecovery
• Restoration 90
Once per day, heals 250 health points automatically if the caster falls below 10% health
4Expert RestorationAdept Restoration
• Restoration 75
Halves the magicka cost of Expert Restoration spells
5Master RestorationExpert Restoration
• Restoration 100
Halves the magicka cost of Master Restoration spells
Unlockable Abilities

Sailor's Repose

(Healing spells are 10% more effective)

This ability can be gained after completing the "Frostflow Abyss" quest, which is obtained upon entering the Frostflow Lighthouse for the first time. The Frostflow Lighthouse can be found roughly in between Dawnstar and Winterhold, not far from the coast.

After you kill the Chaurus Reaper, collect Habd’s remains and the lighthouse key from its corpse. Then, once you’re back inside the lighthouse, go through the door that leads upstairs and exit through the door at the top. There will be a ladder at the top of the lighthouse leading to a brazier - climb it and activate it to hand in Habd’s remains, light the brazier, and receive the Sailor’s Repose ability.

Being a permanent boost to the efficacy of healing spells, Sailor's Repose can be useful for any character that uses Restoration to heal themselves. It also affects the amount healed by the Avoid Death Restoration perk.

Useful Items for Restoration

Archmage's Robes

• All spells cost 15% less to cast
• Fortify magicka 50
• Fortify magicka regeneration 100%

The Archmage's robes are rewarded to the player after completing the quest "The Eye of Magnus" in the College of Winterhold questline, and are very useful for characters that like to spread across multiple magic schools and make use of the Mage Armour Alteration perk.

Characters with very high Enchanting and Alchemy skill who do not fancy the Mage Armour Alteration perk may instead prefer to enchant various pieces of armour with enchantments relative to their chosen magic school(s), as this allows you to enjoy the benefits of armour while still being able to efficiently spread across multiple schools.

Fortify Restoration PotionCreated using Alchemy with any combination of the following ingredients:

• Abecian Longfin
• Cyrodilic Spadetail
• Salt Pile
• Small Antlers
• Small Pearl
• Yellow Mountain Flower (Dawnguard DLC only)

Note:
Fortify Restoration potions make Restoration effects more powerful. Fortify Restoration enchantments on equipment make Restoration spells cost less.
Synergies
IllusionThe Illusion perk Quiet Casting makes any spell you cast silent to others. Combined with sneaking as well as the invisibility and muffle spells offered by the Illusion school, this will allow you to maintain relative safety while casting spells.
Novice Restoration Spells (Skill level 0)
Spell NameDescriptionBase Magicka Cost
HealingHeals the caster for 10 health per second12 per second
Lesser WardIncreases armour rating by 40 and negates up to 40 points of spell damage or effects34 per second
Apprentice Restoration Spells (Skill level 25)
Spell NameDescriptionBase Magicka Cost
Fast HealingHeals the caster for 50 health73
Healing HandsHeals the target for 10 health per second, but not undead, atronachs, or automatons25 per second
Necromantic HealingHeals an undead target for 10 health per second, but not the living, atronachs, or automatons
(Dawnguard DLC only)
37 per second
Steadfast WardIncreases armour rating by 60 and negates up to 60 points of spell damage or effects58 per second
Sun FireA ball of sunlight that does 25 damage to undead
(Dawnguard DLC only)
24
Turn Lesser UndeadUndead up to level 6 flee from combat for 30 seconds84
Adept Restoration Spells (Skill level 50)
Spell NameDescriptionBase Magicka Cost
Close WoundsHeals the caster for 100 health126
Greater WardIncreases armour rating by 80 and negates up to 80 points of spell damage or effects86 per second
Heal OtherHeals the target for 75 health, but not undead, atronachs, or automatons80
Heal UndeadHeals an undead target for 75 health, but not the living, atronachs, or automatons
(Dawnguard DLC only)
115
Poison RuneCast on a nearby surface, does 3 damage per second for 30 second to a target that walks over it and fails to resist
(Dragonborn DLC only)
146
Repel Lesser UndeadAll affected undead up to level 8 flee from combat for 30 seconds115
Stendarr's AuraFor 60 seconds, undead in melee range take 10 points of sun damage per second
(Dawnguard DLC only)
248
Turn UndeadUndead up to level 13 flee from combat for 30 seconds168
Vampire's BaneAn explosion of sunlight that deals 40 damage to undead in a 15-foot radius
(Dawnguard DLC only)
72
Expert Restoration Spells (Skill level 75)
Spell NameDescriptionBase Magicka Cost
Circle of ProtectionUndead up to level 20 will flee upon entering the circle171
Grand HealingHeals everyone close to the caster for 200 health, does not affect undead, atronachs, or automatons254
Repel UndeadAll affected undead up to level 16 flee from combat for 30 seconds353
Turn Greater UndeadUndead up to level 21 flee from combat for 30 seconds267
Master Restoration Spells (Skill level 100)
Master Restoration spells cannot be purchased until you have completed the "Restoration Ritual Spell" quest given by Colette Marence at the College of Winterhold, upon reaching level 90 Restoration
Spell NameDescriptionBase Magicka Cost
Bane of the UndeadSets undead up to level 44 on fire and makes them flee for 30 seconds988
Guardian CircleUndead up to level 35 will flee upon entering the circle, caster heals 20 health per second inside it716

Smithing


The art of forging and improving weapons and armour, as well as creating various pieces of jewelry.

Skill Type:Crafting
Experience Bonus:The Warrior Stone (+20%), The Lover Stone (+15%)
Racial Bonus:Nord, Orc, Redguard (+5)
How To Improve:

Successfully crafting an item at a smithing station

Skill Books:

• Cherim's Heart of Anequina
• Heavy Armor Forging
• Light Armor Forging
• The Armorer's Challenge
• Last Scabbard of Akrash

Enhancements:PotionsWeapon and armour improvements are (magnitude)% better for (duration) seconds

Enchantments

Weapon and armour improvements are (magnitude)% better
Trainers:Ghorza gra-BagolAdeptMarkarth
BalimundExpertRiften - The Scorched Hammer
Eorlund Gray-ManeMasterWhiterun - The Skyforge (behind Jorvasskr)
(Requires membership with the Companions)
GunmarMasterFort Dawnguard
(Requires completion of the "A New Order" quest)
(Dawnguard DLC only)
Notes:

Smithing is a very useful skill, in that only high level smithing can give access to the best possible gear for your character, in the form of improved weapons and armour. You can also help guarantee full sets of specific armours, which is useful for triggering the armour skill perks that provide a boost for matching sets rather than relying on luck with finding each piece of a set. Combined with alchemy (specifically, potions that fortify smithing) and enchanting, you can forge gear that is significantly more powerful than anything of the same tier that can be found naturally, outperforming the equipment that is available to your enemies.

Mages aren't as likely to benefit from smithing due to their propensity to wear robes and forgo physical weaponry. However, once you have enough perks that boost magicka regeneration and/or have a high enough enchanting skill to put satisfactory magicka regeneration boosts on normal armour, smithing will still prove useful.

Skill Tree
No.Perk NamePerk RequirementsPerk Effect
1Steel Smithing• NoneCan create steel armour and weapons at forges, and improve them twice as much
(Can create Bonemold armour with the Dragonborn DLC installed)
2Arcane BlacksmithSteel Smithing
• Smithing 60
Magical weapons and armour can now be improved
2Elven Smithing Steel Smithing
• Smithing 30
Can create Elven armour and weapons at forges, and improve them twice as much
(Can create Chitin armour with the Dragonborn DLC installed)
2Dwarven SmithingSteel Smithing
• Smithing 30
Can create Dwarven armour and weapons at forges, and improve them twice as much
3Advanced Armours Elven Smithing
• Smithing 50
Can create scaled and plate armour at forges, and improve them twice as much
(Can create Nordic armour and weapons with the Dragonborn DLC installed)
3Orcish Smithing Dwarven Smithing
• Smithing 50
Can create Orcish armour and weapons at forges, and improve them twice as much
4Glass SmithingAdvanced Armours
• Smithing 70
Can create glass armour and weapons at forges, and improve them twice as much
4Ebony SmithingOrcish Smithing
• Smithing 80
Can create ebony armour and weapons at forges, and improve them twice as much
(Can create Stalhrim armour and weapons with the Dragonborn DLC installed)
5Daedric SmithingEbony Smithing
• Smithing 90
Can create daedric armour and weapons at forges, and improve them twice as much
5/6Dragon ArmourGlass Smithing
-OR- Daedric Smithing
• Smithing 100
Can create dragon armour at forges, and improve them twice as much
(Can create dragonbone weapons with the Dawnguard DLC installed)
Unlockable Abilities

Ancient Knowledge

(25% defense bonus when wearing Dwarven Armour and Smithing skill increases 15% faster)

Bugged: See description

This ability is a reward for completing the "Unfathomable Depths" quest, given to you by From-Deepest-Fathoms who is usually found wandering the docks outside Riften. Travel to Riften and go inside the city proper, then go through one of the regular sized doors that lead to Skyrim on the west side. You’ll be in the right area if you find the Riften Warehouse, usually guarded by Maul.

The 15% increase to experience gain for the Smithing skill is very useful for any character who utilizes Smithing to any meaningful degree, especially when taken early. It will effectively reduce the amount of time and materials required to maximize your Smithing skill.

Note that this ability appears to be bugged. The description says that it gives a 25% defense bonus when wearing Dwarven Armour. In practice, it works with every armour except for Dwarven. Patch 1.9.31.0.8 supposedly contains a fix for this bug, but it can still occur.

Useful Items for Smithing

Notched Pickaxe

Pickaxe with Fortify Smithing +5%, does 5 shock damage to enemies on hit

(Can be disenchanted to learn the enchantment)

The Notched Pickaxe can be found on the highest peak of the Throat of the World, which you can only access once you've progressed through the main storyline to the point where you are to meet / have met Paarthurnax.

Equipped in your weapon slot, it is the only weapon-slot item in the game with the Fortify Smithing enchantment. It can be disenchanted to learn the unique Smithing Expertise enchantment, but no matter what your enchantment skill is, the bonus is always 5 to Smithing - it is only the shock damage portion that changes with skill.

This item is useful as you can equip it in conjunction with standard Fortify Smithing gear in order to maximize your Smithing prior to improving weapons or armour. It may only be 5 points, but it's 5 points you wouldn't be able to get otherwise, since traditional Fortify Smithing enchantments only work on chest, hands, necklace, and ring items.

Silver-Blood Family Ring

Ring with Fortify Smithing +15%

(Can be disenchanted to learn the enchantment)

Travel to Markarth and witness Weylin's attack against Margret. Then, talk to Eltrys and read the note he slips you, starting the quest "The Forsworn Conspiracy".

Finish this quest to be forced into another quest, "No One Escapes Cidhna Mine". This quest has two paths to completion - you'll need to follow the one that involves killing Madanach and escaping alone through the secret escape path mentioned in Madanach's note.

You'll be rewarded with the Silver-Blood Family Ring upon completion, which you can then disenchant in order to create your own set of gear with the Fortify Smithing enchantment - Eligible items for this enchantment are those that can be equipped on your chest, hands, necklace, and ring slots.

Fortify Smithing Potion

Created using Alchemy with any combination of the following ingredients:

• Blisterwort
• Glowing Mushroom
• Sabre Cat Tooth
• Spriggan Sap

Synergies
Enchanting and Alchemy

Enchanting, when coupled with Alchemy, can help you make increasingly powerful gear. Once you can make Fortify Enchanting potions that are more powerful than found/bought ones, you can drink one and then create a full set of Fortify Alchemy gear while still under its influence. Then, while wearing that set, you can make Fortify Enchanting potions that are more powerful than those you can normally make. You can then drink the improved Fortify Enchanting potions to make even better Fortify Alchemy gear, and so on.

If your character is a Vampire, you can also take the Restoration perk Necromage, which will significantly boost the buffs your own potions give you, speeding up and enhancing this process.

Using this synergy between Enchanting and Alchemy, you can make very powerful Fortify Smithing gear once you've maximized the bonuses to your Enchanting skill, as well as make Fortify Smithing potions that are more powerful than would normally be available in the game. Combine the two to get maximum improvements on your gear with Smithing.

Sneak


The art of moving about unseen and unheard, and delivering powerful and often lethal blows to the unaware.

Skill Type:Combat / Utility
Experience Bonus:The Thief Stone (+20%), The Lover Stone (+15%)
Racial Bonus:Khajiit (+10)
Argonian, Dark Elf, Wood Elf (+5)
How To Improve:

Move about undetected with hostiles nearby, successfully land a sneak attack

Skill Books:

• 2920, Last Seed, v8
• Legend of Krately House
• Sacred Witness
• The Red Kitchen Reader
• Three Thieves

Enhancements

Potions

You are (magnitude)% harder to detect for (duration) seconds

Enchantments

You are (magnitude)% harder to detect
Trainers:KhaylaAdeptKhajiit Caravans (Wandering)
GarveyExpertMarkarth
Delvin MalloryMasterRiften - Thieves Guild
Notes:

Sneaking is intrinsically tied to the Thief archetype, be it a ranged Thief that uses bows or crossbows, or a Thief that uses daggers. Both play styles have powerful perks concerning their chosen weapons. However, all archetypes can use sneak in a variety of ways with varying degrees of usefulness. A Warrior, while less equipped for stealth (as heavy armour makes you easier to detect), can still enjoy respectable damage bonuses offered by sneak attacks once they reach a high enough skill level and/or select the appropriate perks to make detection less likely. Mage characters can use stealth to keep out of harm's way and to find an optimal position before attacking a group of enemies. They can also combine stealth with the Illusion skill tree to make themselves completely invisible and silent - useful for escaping encounters or repositioning themselves to handle them more effectively.

Due to the nature of Lockpicking and Pickpocket, these skills often go hand-in-hand with Sneak also.

Skill Tree
No.Perk NamePerk RequirementsPerk Effect
1Stealth (5)• NoneYou are 20% harder to detect while sneaking
Stealth 1
• Sneak 20
You are 25% harder to detect while sneaking
Stealth 2
• Sneak 40
You are 30% harder to detect while sneaking
Stealth 3
• Sneak 60
You are 35% harder to detect while sneaking
Stealth 4
• Sneak 80
You are 40% harder to detect while sneaking
2Muffled MovementStealth
• Sneak 30
Noise from armour is reduced by 50%
2BackstabStealth
• Sneak 30
Sneak attacks with one-handed weapons now do six times the damage
3Light FootMuffled Movement
• Sneak 40
You no longer trigger pressure plates
3Deadly AimBackstab
• Sneak 40
Sneak attacks with bows now do three times the damage
4Silent Roll Light Foot
• Sneak 50
Sprinting while sneaking executes a silent forward roll
4Assassin's BladeDeadly Aim
• Sneak 50
Sneak attacks with daggers now do fifteen times the damage
5SilenceSilent Roll
• Sneak 70
Walking and running does not affect detection
6Shadow WarriorSilence
• Sneak 100
Crouching stops combat for a moment and forces distant opponents to search for a target
Useful Items for Sneak

Shrouded Armour Set

Improved with leather

50% poison resist, 50% muffle, double sneak damage with one-handed weapons, bows do 20% more damage

The Shrouded Armour set is unique to the Dark Brotherhood. You can acquire it in several ways, but the following are the most easily accessible and all begin with visiting the house of Aventus Aretino in Windhelm, and completing the quest "Innocence Lost" given to you by him.

You'll then be ushered into the quest "With Friends Like These..." which will give you the choice of either killing one of three captives, or turning on Astrid and killing her instead. If you kill one of the captives and join the Dark Brotherhood, you'll find a full set of the Shrouded Armour in the Dark Sanctuary. If you kill Astrid, you'll begin the quest "Destroy the Dark Brotherhood!" and will find the armour set on the bodies of defeated members of the Dark Brotherhood.

The Shrouded Armour set is useful for sneaking as the Muffle enchantment on the boots make it harder to be detected, as well as gloves that double one-handed sneak attacks. Coupled it with a 20% damage increase to bows, and you have fairly potent synergy with many of the Sneak-based play styles.

Note that the double damage for one-handed sneak attacks provided by the gloves in this set has excellent synergy with the Backstab and Assassin's Blade perks - doubling their effects. This means that Sneak attacks with one-handed weapons can do 12 times their regular damage, while Sneak attacks with daggers can do a whopping 30 times their damage! Sadly, this effect cannot be disenchanted or found on any other items, apart from the Ancient Shrouded Gloves upgrade.

Ancient Shrouded Armour Set

Improved with leather

100% poison resist, 50% muffle, double sneak damage with one-handed weapons, bows do 35% more damage

Superior to the Shrouded Armour set, the Ancient Shrouded Armour set can only be acquired if you are a member of the Dark Brotherhood.

You receive the Ancient Shrouded Armour set as a reward upon completion of the "Locate The Assassin Of Old" sidequest. This quest is given to you by Olava the Feeble and can only be accepted if you completed the bonus objective of the "Breaching Security" quest in the Dark Brotherhood questline.

This set features a more powerful version of the poison resist and bow damage enchantments, and has higher base armour than the standard Shrouded Armour set.

Note that the double damage for one-handed sneak attacks provided by the gloves in this set has excellent synergy with the Backstab and Assassin's Blade perks - doubling their effects. This means that Sneak attacks with one-handed weapons can do 12 times their regular damage, while Sneak attacks with daggers can do a whopping 30 times their damage! Sadly, this effect cannot be disenchanted or found on any other items, apart from the regular Shrouded Gloves.

Shrouded Hood

Fortify Sneak 25%

The Shrouded Hood can be found in the same way as the standard Shrouded Armour set - however, the hood counts as clothing and not armour, and as such does not benefit from Light Armour or Heavy Armour. Furthermore, it cannot be improved using Smithing.

Despite this, the Fortify Sneak enchantment on it may prove useful when coupled with the 50% Muffle enchantment on the standard armour set.

Muffle

Spell / Enchantment

The Muffle effect makes your footsteps silent, which is extremely useful when coupled with Sneak. This is especially true against the mostly blind Falmer enemies, who are alerted by sound more than sight.

Muffle can be found as a spell in the Illusion school of magic, or as an enchantment that can only be found on randomly generated loot - there is no guaranteed disenchantable item with a Muffle enchantment.

You can also find a variant of Muffle on the following unique items: Ebony Mail, Shrouded Boots, Ancient Shrouded Boots, Cicero's Boots and Nightingale Boots. However, the enchantment on these unique pieces is only 50% as effective as the spell or properly enchanted items.

Invisibility

Spell / Potion Effect

Invisibility does what you would expect - it makes you completely unable to be detected by sight. This is quite powerful when combined with Muffle, as the only way you can be detected is by bumping into something, or performing an action (which breaks Invisibility).

Invisibility cannot be found as an enchantment, sadly, but it can be found as a spell in the Illusion school of magic, as well as being an effect found in potions made with any combination of the following ingredients:

• Ash Creep Cluster (Dragonborn DLC only)
• Chaurus Eggs
• Crimson Nirnroot
• Ice Wraith Teeth
• Luna Moth Wing
• Nirnroot
• Vampire Dust

Fortify Sneak Potion

Created using Alchemy and any combination of the following ingredients:

• Abecean Longfin
• Ashen Grass Pod (Dragonborn DLC only)
• Beehive Husk
• Frost Mirriam
• Hawk Feathers
• Human Flesh
• Powdered Mammoth Tusk
• Purple Mountain Flower

Speech


The art of negotiating better prices, and convincing others to do as you ask.

Skill Type:Utility
Experience Bonus:The Thief Stone (+20%), The Lover Stone (+15%)
Racial Bonus:Breton, Nord (+5)
How To Improve:

Sell an item, successfully convince another person by using persuasion, intimidation, or bribe dialogue options

Skill Books:

• Biography of the Wolf Queen
• 2920, Second Seed, v5
• A Dance in Fire, v6
• A Dance in Fire, v7
• The Buying Game

Enhancements:

Potions

Fortify PersuasionIncreases Speech skill by (magnitude) points for (duration) seconds
(Potions can be found or purchased but cannot be created using Alchemy)
Fortify BarterPrices are (magnitude)% better for (duration) seconds
EnchantmentsFortify PersuasionIncreases Speech skill by (magnitude) points
(Enchantment can be found on some items but cannot be learned)
Fortify BarterPrices are (magnitude)% better
Trainers:Revyn SadriAdeptWindhelm - Sadri's Used Wares
Dro'marashAdeptKhajiit Caravans (Wandering)
OgmundExpertMarkarth - Silver Blood Inn
RonthilExpertCastle Volkihar
(Dawnguard DLC only)
Giraud GemaneMasterSolitude - Bard's College
Notes:Speech is useful for finding optimal or easier solutions to dialogue-based quest stages, and is also able to directly influence the amount of gold you have over time by providing better prices when buying and selling. It offers some good quality of life perks, such as the Merchant perk which allows you to sell any item to any kind of merchant, as well as the Fence perk which can help you clear out stolen goods without requiring you to seek out specific merchants. It also can reduce the amount of time travelling from merchant to merchant when selling large amounts of valuable loot with perks that increase the available gold of merchants. In my opinion, however, it is not powerful or useful enough to be considered a required skill for any given archetype.
Skill Tree
No.Perk NamePerk RequirementsPerk Effect
1Haggling (5)• NoneBuying and selling prices are 10% better
Haggling 1
• Speech 20
Buying and selling prices are 15% better
Haggling 2
• Speech 40
Buying and selling prices are 20% better
Haggling 3
• Speech 60
Buying and selling prices are 25% better
Haggling 4
• Speech 80
Buying and selling prices are 30% better
2AllureHaggling
• Speech 30
10% better prices with members of the opposite sex
2BriberyHaggling
• Speech 30
Can bribe guards to ignore crimes
3MerchantAllure
• Speech 50
Can sell any type of item to any kind of merchant
3PersuasionBribery
• Speech 50
Persuasion attempts are 30% easier
4InvestorMerchant
• Speech 70
Can invest 500 gold with a shopkeeper to permanently increase their available gold
4IntimidationPersuasion
• Speech 70
Intimidation is twice as successful
5FenceInvestor
• Speech 90
Can barter stolen goods with any merchant you have invested in
5Master TraderFence
• Speech 100
Every merchant in the world has an additional 1000 gold for bartering
Useful Items for Speech

Amulet of Dibella

Fortify Speech 15%

The only guaranteed place for the Amulet of Dibella to appear is in the inventory of Haelga, who works at Haelga's Bunkhouse in Riften. It can be occasionally looted from dead mages, boss chests, defeated draugr, and on Imperial or Stormcloak soldiers.

Not a particularly special item, but it can help if you're trying to pass a difficult persuasion check without much luck or just as a way to get better prices while buying and selling.

Amulet of Articulation

Persuasion checks almost always succeed, Fortify Speech up to 35%

The Amulet of Articulation is received as a reward after completing the Thieves Guild quest "Under New Management". There are 7 different versions of this amulet, given at random. The best one adds 35% to Speech. You can save the game just before recieving the reward and reload if you aren't given the best version of this amulet.

The Amulet of Articulation also counts as light armour and provides up to 8 base armour (if you have the best version of the amulet). It also receives relevant bonuses from the Light Armour skill tree. Thankfully, wearing it will not prevent the effects of the Mage Armour Alteration perk or the Matching Set Light Armour or Heavy Armour perk.

This amulet makes the Speech perk Persuasion Speech perk obsolete.

Masque of Clavicus Vile

Mask, heavy armour

+10 Speech, improves prices by 20%, increases magicka regeneration by 5%

The Masque of Clavicus Vile is a possible reward for the quest "A Daedra's Best Friend". The best way to get started on this quest is to talk to Lod, the blacksmith in Falkreath, and then follow the road outside of town until you encounter the talking dog, Barbas.

Near the conclusion of the quest, you'll be asked to make a decision between killing Barbas with the Rueful Axe, or returning the Rueful Axe to the shrine. You will need to return the axe in order to receive the Masque of Clavicus Vile.

Fortify Speech PotionUnlike most other potions, Fortify Speech Potions cannot be created using Alchemy. They can only be found or bought.

Two-Handed


The art of wielding two-handed weaponry.

Skill Type:Combat
Experience Bonus:The Warrior Stone (+20%), The Lover Stone (+15%)
Racial Bonus:Orc (+5)
Nord (+10)
How To Improve:

Damaging another being with a two-handed weapon

Skill Books:

• King
• Words and Philosophy
• Battle of Sancre Tor
• Song of Hrormir
• The Legendary Sancre Tor

Enhancements:

Potions

Two-handed weapons do (magnitude)% more damage for (duration) seconds
EnchantmentsTwo-handed weapons do (magnitude)% more damage
Trainers:Torbjorn Shatter-ShieldExpertWindhelm - Blacksmith's Quarters
VilkasMasterWhiterun - Jorvasskr
Fura BloodmouthMasterCastle Volkihar
(Dawnguard DLC only)
Wulf Wild-BloodMasterSkaal Village
(Dragonborn DLC only)
Notes:Two-handed weapons have more raw power, longer range, and cause more stagger to enemies than one-handed weapons, but swing noticeably slower and with more stamina consumption, as well as being less effective at mitigating damage by blocking compared to a one-handed weapon with a shield. It's largely a matter of choice as to which of the two styles are better for you. Two-handed weapons, however, have no perks that multiply sneak attacks and as such have no incentives or compelling benefits of playing with that combat style. In the hands of a Warrior archetype, though, they are very deadly and often give single opponents very little chance of counterattack if you can repeatedly stagger them with strong blows.
Skill Tree
No.Perk NamePerk RequirementsPerk Effect
1Barbarian (5)• NoneTwo-handed weapons do 20% more damage
Barbarian 1
• Two-Handed 20
Two-handed weapons do 40% more damage
Barbarian 2
• Two-Handed 40
Two-handed weapons do 60% more damage
Barbarian 3
• Two-Handed 60
Two-handed weapons do 80% more damage
Barbarian 4
• Two-Handed 80
Two-handed weapons do 100% more damage
2Champion's StanceBarbarian
• Two-Handed 20
Power attacks with two-handed weapons cost 25% less stamina
2Limbsplitter (3)Barbarian
• Two-Handed 30
Attacks with battle axes cause extra, stackable bleed damage
Limbsplitter 1
• Two-Handed 60
Attacks with battle axes cause more extra, stackable bleed damage
Limbsplitter 2
• Two-Handed 90
Attacks with battle axes cause even more extra, stackable bleed damage
2Deep Wounds (3)Barbarian
• Two-Handed 30
Attacks with greatswords have a 10% chance of extra critical damage equal to half of the weapon's base damage, rounded down
Deep Wounds 1
• Two-Handed 60
Attacks with greatswords have a 15% chance of extra critical damage equal to half of the weapon's base damage, rounded down
Deep Wounds 2
• Two-Handed 90
Attacks with greatswords have a 20% chance of extra critical damage equal to half of the weapon's base damage, rounded down
2Skull Crusher (3)Barbarian
• Two-Handed 30
Attacks with warhammers ignore 25% of an opponent's equipped armour
Skull Crusher 1
• Two-Handed 60
Attacks with warhammers ignore 50% of an opponent's equipped armour
Skull Crusher 2
• Two-Handed 90
Attacks with warhammers ignore 75% of an opponent's equipped armour
3Devastating BlowChampion's Stance
• Two-Handed 50
Standing power attacks do 25% extra damage with a chance to decapitate the target
3Great Critical ChargeChampion's Stance
• Two-Handed 50
Can do a two-handed power attack while sprinting that does double critical damage
4SweepDevastating Blow
-OR- Great Critical Charge
• Two-Handed 70
Sideways power attacks with two-handed weapons hit all targets in front of you
5WarmasterSweep
• Two-Handed 100
Backwards power attacks have a 25% chance to paralyze the target
Useful Items for Two-Handed

Bloodskal Blade

(Dragonborn DLC only)

Greatsword, 21 base damage, 16 weight

Improved with silver ingots

Releases energy waves with power attacks that do 30 damage each

The Bloodskal Blade can be acquired during the quest "The Final Descent" at Raven Rock Mine. Raven Rock is the capital of Solstheim, and the mine can be found at the northernmost point of Raven Rock. Upon entering, you'll witness Aphia Velothi and Crescius Caerellius arguing about going into the mine. The quest begins after talking to Crescius.

In the depths of the mine, you'll find the Bloodskal Blade next to the remains of Gratian Caerellius.

The Bloodskal Blade has the longest range of any melee weapon thanks to its unique enchantment. It also does not use charges and as such cannot exhaust its ability with use.

The energy waves travel roughly 15 feet and can even travel through walls and multiple targets in a line. Depending on the type of power attack used, it will project either a horizontal or vertical wave.

The Bloodskal Blade does not benefit from any Smithing perks, which means you can only improve it to flawless quality naturally. You'll need to raise your Smithing level over 100 using enchanted gear and/or potions with Fortify Smithing in order to improve it further.

The Longhammer

Warhammer, 21 base damage, 18 weight

Improved with orichalcum ingots

Swings 30% faster than a regular warhammer

The Longhammer is found near the corpse of its owner, Rahd, inside Liar's Retreat. Liar's Retreat can be found a fair distance southwest of Solitude.

Since it swings 30% faster than other warhammers, the Longhammer can potentially outclass Daedric warhammers in damage per second. The attack speed effect is not considered an enchantment, and is affected by the Elemental Fury shout to further increase its attack speed. It can also be enchanted, and in doing so it will retain its attack speed boost on top of any other benefits you place on it. This makes the Longhammer have frightening damage potential (as long as you keep it charged), if enchanted at the highest levels of Enchanting.

It benefits from the Orcish Smithing perk in the Smithing tree when calculating the strength of any improvements made to it.

Volendrung

Warhammer, base damage 25, 26 weight

Improved with ebony ingots

Absorb 50 points of stamina per hit

Volendrung is a reward from Daedric Prince Malacath after completing the quest "The Cursed Tribe", which is given to you by Atub in the Orc stronghold of Largashbur from character level 9 and above. Largashbur can be found west-by-southwest from Riften, southwest of Lake Honrich.

Its enchantment helps feed your power attacks, as two-handed weapons are typically stamina-thirsty. Provided you connect with your hits, and you keep the weapon charged, you'll be able to keep swinging for longer than most two-handed weapons. It also has the unique benefit of swinging as fast as a greatsword despite being a warhammer, which is typically a slower weapon.

It is more useful early in the game, since later its damage is outclassed by higher tier weapons that benefit from Smithing perks. Volendrung does not benefit from any Smithing perks, which means you can only improve it to flawless quality naturally. You'll need to raise your Smithing level over 100 using enchanted gear and/or potions with Fortify Smithing in order to improve it further.

Ironhand Gauntlets

Fortify Two-Handed 15%

(Can be disenchanted to learn the enchantment)

The Ironhand Gauntlets can be looted from Hajvarr Iron-Hand, the leader of the bandits at White River Watch. He can be found at White River Outlook, which is accessed at the end of the cave. You can find White River Watch east of Whiterun, past the river near Honningbrew Meadery.

Once they lose their usefulness as gauntlets, you can disenchant them and begin enchanting future bracers, gauntlets, necklaces, and rings for a boost to two-handed weapon damage.

Fortify Two-Handed Potion

Created using Alchemy with any combination of the following ingredients:

• Dragon's Tongue
• Emperor Parasol Moss (Dragonborn DLC only)
• Fly Amanita
• Troll Fat