The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim beginner's guide

Thief Sign


Ranks: 5
Effect: Each rank will make your potions and poisons 20% stronger.

Requisites: Alchemy 20, Alchemist
Ranks: 1
Effect: Potions you mix that restore your health, stamina or magicka are 25% more effective.

Requisites: Alchemy 30, Physician
Ranks: 1
Effect: Potions you create with beneficial effects have a 25% greater effect.

Requisites: Alchemy 30, Physician
Ranks: 1
Effect: Poisons you create are 25% more effective.

Note: Early on this might not seem like a terribly effective ability but when paired with three good damage health ingredients, five ranks of alchemy and Concentrated Poison you can do a surprising amount of damage. If you use these alongside the Sneak perk Assassin’s Blade a piddling little dagger will obliterate your foes.

Requisites: Alchemy 50, Benefactor
Ranks: 3
Effect: Eating an ingredient will reveal two effects, +1 per additional rank.

Note: This isn’t strictly necessary as simply making potions will reveal the other effects over time but if you want Snakeblood, and you probably should, this must be taken.

Concentrated Poison
Requisites: Alchemy 60, Poisoner
Ranks: 1
Effect: Poisons applied to weapons will last for two hits instead of one.

Green Thumb
Requisites: Alchemy 70, Concentrated Poison
Ranks: 1
Effect: Two ingredients are harvested from plants.

Requisites: Alchemy 80, Concentrated Poison, Experimenter
Ranks: 1
Effect: Gain a 50% resistance to all poisons. This seems to be cumulative with racial bonuses.

Requisites: Alchemy 100, Snakeblood
Ranks: 1
Effect: All negative effects are removed from crafted potions and all positive effects are removed from crafted poisons. Does not have any impact on vials found or purchased.

Light Armor

Agile Defender
Ranks: 5
Effect: All light armor has its armor rating increased by 20% per rank in Agile Defender.

Note: This perk is one of the main reasons you want to specialize in one type of armor. Five ranks of this will make your armor twice as effective, bringing a moderately protective suit of Elven Armor up from a defense of 28 to a whopping 56. That’s not taking into account further perk bonuses, armor enhancements or equipment bonuses.

Custom Fit
Requisites: Light Armor 50, Agile Defender
Ranks: 1
Effect: You gain a 25% bonus to your defense while wearing a full set of light armor. A shield does not count into this.

Requisites: Light Armor 50, Custom Fit
Ranks: 1
Effect: Light Armor doesn’t weigh anything and doesn’t slow you down when worn.
Note: This isn’t as necessary for a light armor wearer as it is for someone using heavy armor. However it definitely helps out when dealing with carrying loot later on.

Wind Walker
Requisites: Light Armor 60, Unhindered
Ranks: 1
Effect: Your character regenerates stamina 50% faster while in a full set of light armor.

Matching Set
Requisites: Light Armor 70, Custom Fit
Ranks: 1
Effect: Gain a 25% armor bonus while wearing a matching set of light armor. This means you must wear all leather, all hide, all Elven, etc. These items may be freely enchanted so long as they are a part of the set.

Deft Movement
Requisites: Light Armor 100, Matching Set, Wind Walker
Ranks: 1
Effect: Character has a 10% chance of fully avoiding a melee attack while in light armor.

Note: All of these are cumulative so sticking your character in a full set of Glass armor with all of these perks means that you will be nigh impossible to kill for all but the toughest foes. Ever wanted a character in armor that weights next to nothing with a defense of over 200 and with a small chance to deftly avoid all damage from melee attacks? Well you can have it now.


Novice Locks
Ranks: 1
Effect: Novice rank locks can be picked much easier.

Apprentice Locks
Requisites: Lockpicking 25, Novice Locks
Ranks: 1
Effect: Apprentice rank locks can be picked much easier.

Quick Hands
Requisites: Lockpicking 40, Apprentice Locks
Ranks: 1
Effect: You may pick locks without being seen by others.

Adept Locks
Requisites: Lockpicking 50, Apprentice Locks
Ranks: 1
Effect: Adept rank locks can be picked much easier.

Wax Key
Requisites: Lockpicking 50, Quick Hands
Ranks: 1
Effect: Whenever you successfully pick a lock you automatically gain a copy of the key.

Note: This isn’t a terribly useful ability as it won’t get you much most of the time. But in a few dungeons one or two keys open up the whole place so picking one lock will get you through much of the dungeon without hunting down the keys.

Golden Touch
Requisites: Lockpicking 60, Adept Locks
Ranks: 1
Effect: Find more gold in chests.

Treasure Hunter
Requisites: Lockpicking 70, Golden Touch
Ranks: 1
Effect: You now have a 50% greater chance of finding special treasure.

Note: This seems to have the effect of causing your found loot to be magical or of higher value than it normally would. However this is basically just conjecture at this moment.

Expert Locks
Requisites: Lockpicking 75, Adept Locks
Ranks: 1
Effect: Expert ranked locks are much easier to pick.

Requisites: Lockpicking 80, Expert Locks
Ranks: 1
Effect: When picking locks the pick starts off closer to the opening position.

Master Locks
Requisites: Lockpicking 100, Expert Locks
Ranks: 1
Effect: Master ranked locks are much easier to pick.

Requisites: Lockpicking 100, Locksmith
Ranks: 1
Effect: Your lockpicks will never break.
Note: Lockpicks are basically made of aluminum in this game so this perk is a godsend.

Light Fingers
Ranks: 5
Effect: Gain a bonus to your pickpocketing of 20% per rank.

Night Thief
Requisites: Pickpocket 30, Light Fingers
Ranks: 1
Effect: +25% chance to pickpocket targets that are asleep.

Requisites: Pickpocket 40, Light Figners
Ranks: 1
Effect: Pickpocketing gold is 50% easier. Stacks with other perks.

Requisites: Pickpocket 40, Light Fingers
Ranks: 1
Effect: Reverse pickpocketing poison onto enemies will silently cause them damage.

Extra Pockets
Requisites: Pickpocket 50, Light Fingers
Ranks: 1
Effect: Increases your carrying capacity by 100.

Requisites: Pickpocket 60, Cutpurse
Ranks: 1
Effect: Pickpocketing keys works most of the time.

Requisites: Pickpocket 70, Cutpurse
Ranks: 1
Effect: Can pickpocket equipped weapons off of the enemies.

Perfect Touch
Requisites: Pickpocket 100, Misdirection
Ranks: 1
Effect: Can pickpocket equipped items right off of your foes.


Ranks: 5
Effect: You are 20% harder to detect while sneaking, +20% per additional rank.

Requisites: Sneak 30, Stealth
Ranks: 1
Effect: Sneak attacks with one-handed weapons now do six times the damage.

Muffled Movement
Requisites: Sneak 30, Stealth
Ranks: 1
Effect: Noise from your armor is reduced by 50%.

Deadly Aim
Requisites: Sneak 40, Backstab
Ranks: 1
Effect: Sneak attacks with the bow now do three times the damage instead of two times.

Light Foot
Requisites: Sneak 40, Muffled Movement
Ranks: 1
Effect: With this perk you can no longer trigger pressure plates.

Assassin's Blade
Requisites: Sneak 50, Deadly Aim
Ranks: 1
Effect: Sneak attacks with a dagger now inflict fifteen times the damage instead of two.

Note: Seriously, this ability is just ungodly in how strong it is. You might think daggers are weak weapons but they really aren’t. A good Elven or Glass dagger is almost as powerful as a weak sword before you figure in sharpening it on a grindstone and enchanting it. It’s possible to do one hundred damage in a single shot with this perk.

Silent Roll
Requisites: Sneak 50, Light Foot
Ranks: 1
Effect: While sneaking press the sprint button to perform a rapid-moving, silent, forward roll.

Requisites: Sneak 70, Silent Roll
Ranks: 1
Effect: Walking and running does not produce any extra noise.

Note: This means that you can move around rather freely without having to worry about enemies detecting you based on your movement speed.

Shadow Warrior
Requisites: Sneak 100, Silence
Ranks: 1
Effect: When in combat entering sneak mode will cause enemies to fall out of combat momentarily. Enemies at long range will also lose their target and have to search for you.


Ranks: 5
Effect: Buying and selling price is bettered by 10% per rank in the perk.

Requisites: Speech 30, Haggling
Ranks: 1
Effect: Buying and selling prices are bettered by 10% with members of the opposite sex.

Requisites: Speech 30, Haggling
Ranks: 1
Effect: Can bribe guards to ignore criminal actions.

Requisites: Speech 50, Allure
Ranks: 1
Effect: Removes limitation on what merchants will purchase allowing you to sell any type of item to any merchant.

Requisites: Speech 50, Bribery
Ranks: 1
Effect: All persuasion attempts are now 30% easier.

Requisites: Speech 70, Persuasion
Ranks: 1
Effect: Your intimidation attempts are now twice as likely to succeed.

Requisites: Speech 70,
Ranks: 1
Effect: You may invest 500 gold with any shopkeeper to increase his amount of available gold permanently. This is useful if you do this with a few merchants in whatever home base you use.

Requisites: Speech 90, Investor
Ranks: 1
Effect: You can barter stolen goods with any merchant that you’ve invested in.

Master Trader
Requisites: Speech 100, Fence
Ranks: 1
Effect: Every merchant in the game world will have 1000 more gold to use for bartering.

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  • FierceVoltage - July 28, 2013 8:24 p.m.

    Why is this on the front page?
  • tehtimeisnow - July 28, 2013 7:05 p.m.

    i didnt raelly like skytim. singel player ganes suck and there basecally obselete so i only play games with online mutliplayer
  • nhilton - February 20, 2012 6:29 p.m.

    My character keeps turning into a vampire which makes it impossible to go on with the storyline because everyone tries to kill him. How can I fix this?
  • blue_pants - July 28, 2013 11:16 a.m.

    nhilton, when you first contract the Vampire disease, in order to get rid of it fast and easy is to go to a shrine of one of the divines and get their blessing, it will cure any and all diseases and give you a perk for a couple of hours.
  • trish-elliott - March 14, 2014 10:56 a.m.

    I know one way to get rid of it, You can join the Companions and later on they have you become a werewolf.
  • Gamer_Dude69 - January 6, 2012 9:04 a.m.

    Quite possibly one of the best games that i have ever played. My personal favorite race is the nord. There isn't anything wrong with this game at all. Anyone who has anything bad to say about this game has no idea what they are talking about.
  • KungFoo - January 18, 2012 9:33 a.m.

    Couldn't agree more. My only problem is that I have a job which gets in the way of more Skyrim
  • TheMasterJeef - November 23, 2011 3:52 p.m.

    Thanks to everyone who provided comments on my earlier queries. Much appreciated!
  • Seishiro - November 20, 2011 2:31 a.m.

    I'm assuming it does, but has anyone tested if Armsman and Assassin's Blade stacks, a good dagger... double chanted, with alchemy bonus poison, well... just sounds painful.
  • PieFlingingNinja - November 15, 2011 11:56 a.m.

    You guys probably already know this but, for all you thief/rouge types that prefer dual wielding. Daggers don't use stanima at all, unless you use a charged attack. Plus they don't make as much noise as swords or battle axes, adding to the stealth.
  • D0CCON - November 20, 2011 1:04 p.m.

    Isn't it true that swinging any weapon doesn't use stamina unless it's a charge attack (at least one handed weapons don't, I never use two handed).
  • TheMasterJeef - November 15, 2011 9:01 a.m.

    Personally? Im bitterly disappointed by Skyrim. I would have LOVED to buy and play this game. But having enchanted weapons needing a 'battery change' drives me insane. To the extent I just can’t play this. I only lasted one weekend with Oblivion due to this. Why Bethesda couldn’t have implemented the system from Morrowind, where weapons charge over time, beggars belief. I can’t recall any fantasy literature when the hero has to worry about how many charges his mighty flaming blade has left!! Plus has Bethesda actually made straight stealth a viable play option? In Oblivion straight stealth (no magic, or two handed weapons) was nigh on impossible. Even critical stealth shots from my bow in Oblivion would just irritate bandits, who would then call all their friends over to bludgeon me to death. It seemed to me that you could only really play as warrior, mage or a hybrid of the two. If someone can confirm if this is playable as a straight ranger/thief/assassin type character (including selling stolen items to normal merchants) and that enchanted weapons aren’t a must have, i would love to pick this up. P.S. I am not trolling, or hating Skyrim. It looks a phenomenal game. However there are elements of gameplay that make this unplayable for me.
  • Mr.Bobicus - November 15, 2011 10:36 a.m.

    I think not playing this game because of the "charge" is a big mistake, I personally love it. I agree, I was a bit annoyed at first, but you can recharge them I believe. I'm also a (more or less) straight up Wood Elf stealth ranger, and it has worked well so far, although I dabble in one-handed swords and destruction magic (trolls are a nightmare without fire magic).
  • TheMasterJeef - November 15, 2011 11:22 a.m.

    Thanks for clarifying that Mr Bobicus, seems your pretty much playing the sort of character I would (including the race). Its not so much the charges, as recharging it. I remember the cost (in gold) being quite steep, that or having to level up magic to cast soul trap & cart round shed loads of soul stones. Plus casting soul trap on someone before trying to backstab/shoot them in the eye kind of removed my stealth advantage. Does anyone know if soul trapping or paying for recharges is handled better in Skyrim?
  • Hobojedi - November 15, 2011 3:21 p.m.

    Simple - give your companion a weapon enchanted with the soul tap ability along with your empty soul gems. Then, let your companion get a little damage near the end of the fight and watch the gems fill up with soul-juice.
  • TheMasterJeef - November 16, 2011 4:36 a.m.

    Hmmmm. Thats something I never thought of. Thanks. I may pick up a used copy in the new year. I have Battlefield 3, Arkham City, and AC: Revelations to occupy me until then!
  • Y2Ken - November 21, 2011 3:11 a.m.

    Don't worry too much about having to recharge - you find the gems needed for it almost constantly, it really shouldn't be an issue. And yes stealth is completely viable, a friend of mine is almost all bow and dagger stealth and he's had no real trouble. Even against Dragons his archery pulls him through, especially if you're going to be enchanting your bows.
  • blue_pants - July 28, 2013 11:34 a.m.

    TheMasterJeef, I have been pretty much every single type of character one can imagine. Including a Ranger/Thief type. But what I am trying to say is that it is very easy to refill your enchanted weapons if you do these very simple things. Level up your sneak to around 35-40, and select the bow perk which gives your sneak attack with the bow x3 damage. Then if you haven't already report to the Jarl of Whiterun and tell him about the dragon attack in Helgen. He will then point you in the direction of his court wizard. Farengar (the Court Wizard) will send you on a quest to Bleak Falls Barrow to collect the dragon stone. When you have the dragon stone after collecting the word of power and killing the Dragur, loot the Dragur and you will find the Dragon Stone. Then return to Dragonsreach and give the Stone to Farengar . After that Erileth will run into the Laboratory, telling Farengar to come with her. Follow them and listen to the guard's story about the dragon. Talk to the Jarl and he will give you an enchanted item and tell you to go kill the dragon who is located at the western watchtower. After killing the dragon fast travel back to Whiterun and go report to the Jarl on your success. He will then give you the Axe of Whiterun (and if he doesn't just load the autosave which sais that you entered Dragonsreach). Which usually has Soul Trap enchanted on it. When you get it go back to Farengar's Laboratory and disenchant it. Then if you dont have a Petty Soul Gem yet with a Petty Soul in it, buy one from Farengar. (They are relatively cheap.) Then enchant your bow with it using the Petty Soul Gem and make sure the enchantment says, "If a target dies within 1 second it fills a soul gem." After that is done you are ready to run around Skyrim sneak attacking weaker creatures with it and fillgin up all your soul gems. I would not recommend though attacking more difficult creatures until your Archery skill is pretty high up there. Around the 45-50 range. And there you have it, all you need to know on how to fill soul gems effectively.
  • D0CCON - November 16, 2011 3:47 p.m.

    The Morrowind way for recharging would have been better, but I personally noticed that recharging was smoother here. Soul gems are everywhere and are sometimes even filled and I got an Axe of Whiterun very early on that was enchanted with soul trap so it was easy for me to get souls (not to mention I got access to a Soul Trap spell sooner. A lady in Solitude sells one). It's also not a requirement. Sure, shooting arrows that electrocute your enemies or something like that is awesome, but it isn't needed to beat the game. Also, I've noticed quite a few more improvements that make stealth actually work. I wear heavy armor and my sneak skill is low, so the enemy finds me a lot, but they are never instantly aware of your location when you attack and new spells and shouts let you trick enemies or set up traps (magic runes are deadly traps and a shout lets you create noise in a specific area causing people to check that area. It's range is huge and you can put it on top of traps). It's also nice that guards aren't instantly aware of your crimes and if you have a crime with witnesses, killing them all before they report you removes your bounty goes away. Bows are also way more powerful and there is a perk that lets sneak attacks with daggers do 15X damage. Combine that with a stronger dagger and you have a weapon that can one hit kill practically any non-boss human if you are stealthy.

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