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.

We Recommend By ZergNet


  • Bansheebot - November 10, 2011 6:28 p.m.

  • misfit119 - November 11, 2011 1:19 a.m.

    If we're being really picky it should be Nirn since Cyrodil is just a continent, not the world. But who nitpicks?
  • Person5 - November 11, 2011 2:49 a.m.

    Well Cyrodil is a country or region, Tamriel is the continent, I'm just glad I wasn't the only one who noticed that
  • deedob - November 11, 2011 4:34 a.m.

    Yeah, as those comments say, Cyrodil is not the "world". Cyrodil is the name of the imperial province. Morrowind is the name of the province ruled by the dark elves. Skyrim is the name of the province ruled by the nords, which is located just north of Cyrodil and west of Morrowind. "Tamriel" is the name of the continent where the provinces are located, one for each race (Skyrim - nord, Summerset Isle - high elves, Morrowind - dark elves, Cyrodil - imperials, Black Marsh - argonian, Elsweyr - Kahjit, and the Breton and orc province whose name i forgot and where Daggerfall is.) To the best of my knowledge, the name of the "world" itself has never been mentionned in any of the Elder Scrolls game (though i have not played Redguard, BattleSpire and the mobile version of Oblivion). But the continent is Tamriel.
  • misfit119 - November 11, 2011 8:55 a.m.

    As I mentioned above the world is Nirn. That's actually what it's supposed to say but I made a flub since I was looking at notes relating to Oblivion. The worlds name is mentioned in several books in previous games. I was trying to refer to the world since Alduin is known as "The World Eater" and just ended up typing Cyrodiil instead of Nirn.
  • GamesRadarMatthewKeast - November 11, 2011 12:37 p.m.

    All right you nerds we fixed it.
  • jax1293 - November 10, 2011 6:32 p.m.

    hes right though its tamriel cyrodill was where the imperials live in oblivion
  • theycallmegep - November 10, 2011 6:43 p.m.

    Just to let you know... "As is par for the course, the player gets to pick from a wide variety of races. However, this is more important than ever before as there are no classes, birth signs or even stats. You’re going to want to pick your class very carefully. " "...there are no classes..." "...pick your class very carefully." Just pointing it out, otherwise good stuff...I love all the skyrim content you guys have posted!
  • theycallmegep - November 10, 2011 7:16 p.m.

    wait i lied...there are tons of typos...oh well
  • misfit119 - November 11, 2011 1:17 a.m.

    Argh! Dammit all! Proofreading you fail me again. out back to commit seppuku.
  • codzprc - November 10, 2011 6:52 p.m.

    Daniel was obviously rushed on this article. The Cyrodill thing is still funny, though. Decent read.
  • D0CCON - November 10, 2011 7:04 p.m.

    I always make two characters in Elder Scrolls games, a sword and/or magic character and a stealthy character. In Oblivion, the sword/magic character was a High Elf and the stealthy character was a dark elf, so I think I'll go for a Breton battlemage and a Khajiit stealth character this time (especially since he'll be able to wear armor now!)
  • D0CCON - November 10, 2011 7:29 p.m.

    Actually, I'm not sure if I want Khajiit or Wood Elf (I was actually a wood elf, not a dark elf in Oblivion). I'd like to try something new, but Wood Elf did work pretty darn good.
  • misfit119 - November 11, 2011 1:23 a.m.

    The Wood Elves make FANTASTIC stealth characters. I'm playing one to do the guides since their bow skill makes dragon hunting much, much easier. The Khajiit are pretty awesome in this one but I think the Wood Elf is by and far the best for combat stealth.
  • jasoncarter - November 13, 2011 11:34 p.m.

    Honestly do whatever you feel is best. I like magic, and khajiits, thus khajiit mage/thief. Love it to death.
  • Ultimadrago - November 10, 2011 8:21 p.m.

    Thanks a TON Daniel! This is a good guide. I should help others a ton. I'm reading through it all myself despite Oblivion experience to get a heads-up on the improved systems and perks!
  • Kyo - November 10, 2011 8:30 p.m.

    Nice guide, though I find it hard to decide who I should believe in the end.. IGN's guide had this "Tough and hardy, they make great heavy warriors. Their famed battlecry makes them the toughest races" for Nords... You have them as one of the weakest and a light armor class.. what the hell? lol This ruined my entire plan O_O
  • misfit119 - November 11, 2011 1:21 a.m.

    Here's the thing, IGN's guide is using the old stats to describe some of the races. This is no longer a factor. Nords are no longer raging beasts full of HP due to having high Stamina. In this they're almost designed to be like Viking Berserker types, wearing light armor so they move quickly with a pair of axes and chop fools to pieces. My Nord is hell on wheels wielding two enchanted Orcish war axes and wearing a set of Scaled Light armor. Battlecry is overrated - all of the abilities are actually. The Shouts are infinitely stronger.
  • Kyo - November 11, 2011 10:33 a.m.

    Ha yea I ended up getting the guide because.. well it's beautiful(big damn book) and it pretty much backs up what this guide and you've said. Long story short I wanted heavy armor, made an orc. IGN is sad.
  • GamesRadarMatthewKeast - November 11, 2011 12:42 p.m.

    Most of the racial abilities are crap, but for instance I played as a High Elf pure mage and the magicka regen ability was huge during boss fights.

Showing 1-20 of 58 comments

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000


Connect with Facebook

Log in using Facebook to share comments, games, status update and other activity easily with your Facebook feed.