This section is to loop everything together. Every character I’ve run has taught me more of the game, and what you can do in it. I expressed discomfort running this character initially. But now, I’m happy with the way she turned out. She is by far the best character I’ve run to date, and will be the model I use for future playthroughs.
This section is to fill in loose ends, and now that I’m not stuck in “MUST LEVEL UP STATS” mindsets I can help you through the game on a level of enjoyment rather than mechanics. Chances are a lot of this will repeated from elsewhere, but I’d rather you have as much information per section in case you just wanted to just copy and paste pieces and parts.
Skill Ranking for Active Leveling and Useful Mastery Tips (February 13, 2009)
The useful thing about doing this for you all is I’m seeing facets to the game I had not considered myself. Once I hit max level I’ll be able to say sure and for certain just how much more relaxed a route you can take. I’ll have levels to spare, so you can pick up some advantages.
FYI, I’ve been naming my spells “A _______________” because the “A_(more letters)” ensures that all the spells I’ve personally made and use stay grouped together at the top of all pertainent lists. I like to blend spell effects because it’s more efficent than having to use three or five specific spells.
I think you may need higher magic mastery levels to enchant items to more powerful degrees.
I’m going to put these in order of effectiveness per their stat groups
Strength: Blade, Hand to Hand, Blunt
Blade has daggers, and allows for swords to become more effective. Hand to Hand, while you probably won’t use it much, is quick. Even the faster Blunt weapons have all the speed of a two handed sword, and none of the reach. War axes are the quickest though. Keep your eye out.
As for quick training, find a target you can maim. My personal choices:
-Peryite’s Shrine: Before you complete this quest all his followers just stand around. Since they’re needed to complete this quest (and at least one Deadric quest is needed to beat the game) they can’t die. Facing Peryite’s statue there is a boulder and a smaller rock. If you attack and get one of his followers locked there, you can just keep attacking. Wanton assault not your thing? (As I mentioned, you’ll get upwards a 10,000 count this way… but no fines as long as there isn’t a pesky Imperial Legion Forester about. They don’t come out this far too often…) There are other ways…
-Shadowmere: This horse is a reward in the Dark Brotherhood questline, and is YOUR horse. She is immortal. Since she belongs to you, you can do whatever you want to her. Other horses you buy… well… once they’re dead, they’re dead. Shadowmere will pop back up after a few moments. If you turn up the difficulty bar it will be harder to take her out, and as such, more time between her revivals. If you use this method, a targeted Restoration spell can heal her, helping you level this up too. Another useful tip, if you have carrying issues, kill her, stuff her body, and when she revives, go to a town, kill her, and loot her undying corpse. Issues with brutalizing a loyal steed? Man… what’s wrong with you?
-Arrow of Withering: This hard to come by arrow is completely indispensable to me, but that is because I’m evil. While not the strongest arrow, or overflowing with grossly powerful enchantments, it is fun. Why? It docks every stat by 2 per shot. In my first game I ignored Marksman all together because keeping myself rolling in arrows would have been a pain in the ass. I play the game as intended the first time through. And playing the game fairly? Ye gods, yes, it’s annoying. You’ll want arrows and poisons and always buying more, upkeep for the bow… And then people close in, and your slow rate of fire becomes a detriment… it’s why I keep to the sword. Anyhow, consider this a moment hm?
-Higher Strength gives you a greater carry. What happens when you’re over-encumbered? You stop moving.
-Intelligence grants you more magicka. No Intelligence, no magic, no spell casting.
-Willpower works for magica regenration. No Willpower, and that spell they cast now is their last.
-Speed is how fast you move. I wonder how fast one would move at a Speed of zero…
-Endurance is mainly to increase HP every level, so no real hellish effect here.
-There is a spell effect called Demoralize. It makes targets flee. It may be connected to Personality. I’ve noticed that enemies with enough arrows in em change their tune…
Enough of these arrow end up rendering humanoid NPCs and some creatures completely harmless. They’ll just… stand there. Some you can talk to. The Deadra don’t have anything to say, even the Krynmarcher types. You get something to this point, turn up the difficulty, and just assail them however you wish.
-Fighters and Mages Guilds have you in the field an awful lot squaring off against opponents.
-The Arena is naught be fighting. And… depending upon how you go about it, one match in particular is the perfect one time opportunity to level up anything with offensive capabilities.
Intelligence: Alchemy, Conjuration, Mysticism
–Alchemy: Like Marksman, keeping enough items for this can be annoying. I didn’t mess with this on my first playthrough. Items supplies are limited. I could run around to every store in the world and attain perhaps 5 portions of what I need. With duplication it is much more sustainable.
–Conjuration: Summoning creatures is just useful. As a thief or mage summoning full armor in a fight will be too your advantage. A note: The armor you summon will replace what you are wearing. If you are wearing all Heavy Armor that will be added to your encumbrance. If it is just a robe, eh, no big deal.
For the Fortify spells you can only enchant one Skill or Stat per spells. You couldn’t Fortify both Blade and Blunt or Luck and Personality, but you can use Strength with Blade or Blunt, or Personality with Mercantile.
A Jumpman (*coughMarioReferencecough*): Fortify Acrobatics 100 on Self, Fortify Speed 100 on Self. This will boost jumping ability to sheer ridiculous levels. Perhaps not with vertical leap, but the horizontal distances become assinine. You’d be surprised how much open space is rendered in each town when you manage to jump over the walls… or through them once you get high enough. The Temple of the One in the Imperial City is fun, especially after the main quest is over.
Managing to keep the Boots of Springheel Jak will force a greater potential into your inventory, 50 at maximum enchantment.
A Gingerbread Man: Fortify Athletics 100 on Self, Fortify Speed 100 on Self. This makes running ridiculous. If you keep it low powered at about five seconds, a normal character can recharge this before the spell effect wears off, making it a sustainable spell. This DRASTICALLY cuts down on travel time by foot, and it’s funny to watch in third person.
–Illusion: Charm, Paralysis, Silence, Invisibility, and Chameleon spells fall under this group.
A Jedi Mind Trick: 100 Charm 5 seconds on Touch. Increases all characters’ dispositions into instantly loving you so you can squeeze info and deals out of them that much more easily. If you mix this with a “Fortify Mercantile 100 on Self” and “Fortify Personality 100 on Self” (requires maxed Restoration) will further boost haggling in your favor with shopkeepers. You don’t need to have this spell last long. Truly ten seconds at most. That gives you time to chat them up, back out, and talk to them again if you forgot something, all before the spell wears out. It may end up costing a lot of MP, but if you only use it in towns it won’t be an issue.
A Heavy Hand: Parlysis 5 Seconds on Touch, Silence 25 Seconds on Touch, Burden 100 points on Touch (Maxed Alteration). While this doesn’t do any damage, most enemies will be debilitated by this in some way. Rule of thumb: No magic on Atronachs.
A Great Escape: Chameleon 100% for 54 seconds on Self. The difference between Invisibiliy and Chameleon is that Invisibility wears off the first time you interact with something. Picking up a gold piece, opening a chest or door, talking with someone… all will immediately dispel the effect. As I’ve said with the armor, 100% Chameleon will hide you from sight and sense and allow you to interact with your environment. If I customarily wear armor for this, why do I have the spell? Does the name give a clue? In the event you’re imprisoned, you’ll be able to walk right out, pick up your things, and keep going with no one the wiser.Notes on
At every level you are allowed to to go to a trainer. You have a cap of five training sessions per level. The cost is 10x the skills’ level. Speechcraft at Level 5 will cost 50 gold, at 99 it will cost 990. There are five trainers per skill scattered around the world. Two up to skill level 40, two up to 70, and one up to 100. For the Master level trainers they will ask you to complete a favor or quest before they agree to train you. Sometimes it’s easy. Other times… not so much. Some of the quests are tedious. REALLY bloody tedious, and aren’t worth it, even for quick leveling. That’s my opinion, but I complete the quests anyhow. I can’t stress enough the importance of skill training. With my last character (who I did not max out entirely as of yet) I had over 1400 skill increases. Around 250 of those have/will come from trainers. Pick two skills. You’ve mastered them with trainers’ help. Another gets +50. For major skills that’s an assured Expert level.
Granted, this is dependent solely upon your initial skill set up. For instance, High Elves are magically inclined. If your magic skills are your Major ones they start at 25. If you specialized in Magic during skill selection all those get a plus ten boost. If you then add the High Elf race bonuses you’ll be adding another 10 to three of them and 5 to three others. Instead of having 7 skills at 25 (which will take your level to 50 most definitely) You’ll have one at 25 (Restoration), three at 40, and three at 45. From firsthand leveling experience, you get fewer levels, and thus few chances to increase all of your Stats. However, say you choose an Orc. They’re combat geared (and have a high starting endurance stat. Very nice). So selecting all magic for them will have their skills at 25 as long as you don’t specialize in it. More levels equals more training equals less time you have to actually spend doing it yourself. Below I have each skill, what I think personally upon it’s importance, and if you should train it.
–Blade: Running out of magic or arrows is a big thing for me, so having a solid weapon in the event those tank out suits me. I prefer Blade mainly due to Umbra (see Spoilers).
–Blunt: Same as above.
–H2H: And again.
I would never seek out a trainer for regular weapon skills. While tedious to do so actively (and dangerous depending upon how you do it) it is still rather easy and quick. Clearing out dungeons and quests gives you something to aim for in the midst of your chopping away. As long as one at most lay inside your Major skill set no training is needed
–Alchemy: I’ve never been a big item user. Until I made this one of my main skills I never touched this. And it wasn’t until I chose not to use Restoration that I saw the importance of this skill. Making a potion that completely overshadowed any spell I was allowed to make sealed it: This is the most versatile skill. With the right set of ingredients you can make a potion or poison do whatever you want inside four effects. Seek out a trainer for this skill if and only if the duplication trick does not work and the amount of ingredients you need are not at a premium. Otherwise, when you’re about to run out (down to about two of any ingredient type) just duplicate more.
–Conjuration: A dedicated mage can always use a meat shield, especially one that can be recalled when time wears out or the being is killed. Not so bad for an assassin or thief either. If you’re stealthy enough you can draw guards and enemies away and sneak in where you need to be and remain unnoticed. If this is a school you enjoy, training would make sense. However, with the ability to make your own low powered spells, the training can be spent elsewhere. Even some of the lower end spells you can buy will meet this end.
-Mysticism: This has some useful spells, but none I can remember. Great for leveling. As you can imagine as with most magic, not something I’d find a trainer for.
–Alteration: Feather and shield spells come in handy, as does water walking and breathing. As a magic, easy enough to level on your own. No need for a trainer.
–Destruction: Once you have a Destruction spell to use on yourself you can level this up on your own. Just watch your health. Nothing is more upsetting than gaining nine levels and dying as you reach your tenth.
–Restoration: Of all the magics this is the slowest to increase in levels. If you’ve done all the others or have one left, you’ll notice a definite difference in the leveling speed. This may lead you to seek the trainers for it. I do not.
–Security: Beween learning how locks work yourself, and with the Skeleton Key, or if a Open Very Hard Lock (and everything below subsequently) is made after Mastering Alteration, and being able to find a key for most doors if all else fails, this skill is wholly moot and you should never train for it, unless you’re rolling in dough and have everything else leveled up. Happened to me before.
–Sneak: Since dependent upon a target and your successful Sneaking, this can be a hard skill to level up. If Sneak attacks and stealth are you thing, find the trainers for it. I usually have the trainers fill in whatever I didn’t get while going through the Thieves’ Guild and perhaps Dark Brotherhood.
Marksman: While similar to the melee skills, Marksman requires a target, good aim, successful draw to hit the target, and of course, arrows. For some quests and just general enjoyment, Marksman is a skill I like leveling up, especially due to the zoom, knockdown, and paralysis perks. Nothing is better than having some hulking Marauder or Deadra running at you, pegging them with an arrow that paralyzes and/or knocks them down, and watching them ragdoll at your feet or over a railing into lava or to their general doom. If you use this skill, I don’t see anything wrong with using trainers for it.
Athletics: Higher running and swimming speed is good, especially since this seems to add to your movement independently of the Speed rating (it’s hard to tell since I usually level them up together). Not being fatigued from running is helpful to all character types. I enjoying hoofing it across the world even though this will be my fifth time at it, so I find training in Athletics to be worth the coin spent (and worth the time I didn’t have to run myself).
Light Armor: With both armor skills, turn down the difficulty and find a bunch of bandits. While watching your health just let them attack you. The skill will level up quick. I may use a trainer for these if I find myself in a particular rush for whatever reason or to quickly get the last couple of levels for a particular perk.
Acrobatics: Like Athletics, this is skill can be tedious to level up. Jumping and tossing yourself off high places can get tiresome and dangerous. Finding a cramped space to stand and jump in can help (I’ve seen people reference the Chorrol Mages Guild, a bookcase in a southern room) cut down on time. Never done that myself as of yet. I may this playthrough. Otherwise, training for this is useful. NPCs don’t jump at all. So if you can get to a spot where they can’t hit you (no arrows or magic) and they can’t find some way to run around and drop in on top of you, you’ll have a vantage point to pelt them ceaselessly with arrows and magic of your own.
–Block: Like the Armors, turn down the difficulty, take a shield, and block. No need for trainers here, unless, again, you’re in some particular rush.
–Armorer: Leveling up this skill… completely worthwhile. It will keep all weapons and armor at peak efficiency for one point of encumbrance when maxed out. It’s something that if you’re dedicated to you’ll max out eventually, but with the way this guide is set up, by the time you really begin adventuring you’ll be able to breathe easy that you’ll have peak melee attack and defense. Plus the trainers are in the Imperial City. A good easy start.
–Heavy Armor: Easy to level, especially in conjunction with Armorer. Easy enough to level up by turning down the difficulty, but the perks of no-weight Heavy Armor typically itches at my sensibilities. Train if you wish.
–Speechcraft: Mindlessly playing the minigame for any extended time period is trying, especially at upper levels. With my personal lack of use of this skill, I can never recommend training. But, if it’s that important to you (and your Personality is at an acceptable level) just break it up. Fast travel to a town for another quest? Saunter up to a guard and bump the level up once. In just the main quest that will probably get it up into the 80s. Considering side quests and other questlines, you can get 100 easy. Plus the quest for the Master Speechcraft trainer is… I don’t have a word for how upsetting it is.
–Mercantile: As is said elsewhere, there’s a point where you get so much money, or it can just roll in to you (even outside the duplication trick) that Mercantile becomes useless. The effort taken to Master it is moot because by the time you’re a Master you probably have all the money you’ll ever need and then some. Training, while nice, is generally pointless.
–Illusion: Master level Charm spell is great, but with a low power Illusion spell, no training required.
–Blade: If you choose this you’ll have a wealth of enchanted daggers, swords, and claymores at your disposal. I’ve always specialized in combat so it has leveled up rather quickly for me, even at high levels. Each blade strike causes damage, and daggers are QUICK. Pick one skill from this group of three and stick with it.
–Blunt: Still a good selection of enchantments. On the whole, slower attack speed, but levels quite quickly.
–H2H: Really fast, but really weak. Unlike using weapons, you’ll always have your fists. They’ll never deteriorate or break (thankfully). Great to use as a “second skill” (see below)
–+Perks: None of the perks are particularly useful for leveling
Pick one skill here and stick with it. Moderate to high usefulness depending upon play style.
–Alchemy: Quite possibly the quickest skill to level up. Provided you have the ingredients for perhaps a couple thousand potions, this can be leveled up from 5 to 100 inside twenty minutes.
–+Perks: At level 75 (perhaps sooner, I’ll mark when you can make it) you can make The Best Potion Ever, servicing many if not all of your health, magic, fatigue restoration, and encumbrance increasing needs. It makes running with The Atronach birthsign feasible. At 100 one ingredient will make one potion, netting a 200% return or greater on potions made. It’s all profit if the ingredients were duped, or the potions themselves, and gives you a items to sell for Mercantile. Nigh indispensable to me personally, and with TBPE, it should be to you too.
–Conjuration: If made a Major Skill you’ll be granted a low power Conjuration spell from the get go, allowing you to level it up right away. Simply pressing a button repeatedly (emphasis on repeatedly) will have you level up. This can be done while running across the world, in a dungeon, following someone, or just waiting around. With wireless controllers, you can level up while eating a sandwich from a kitchen, or while watching a movie. All MP using magic fall into this vein. Moderately to highly useful. Summoning a full suit of Daedric armor with weapon for a mage is a devastating advantage. Anyone can benefit from summoning another creature to do your bidding. Funny if you are well hidden or on the other side of a door. You can summon and remain hidden and let your creatures do all the work for you. Also, Conjuration has a Bound Bow spell. If you use a bow as a backup, this is perfect. You can poison the bow like a regular one once conjured and fire whatever arrows you carry on you. It has a max time of two minutes, more than enough for a sneak attack or an archery barrage. When you’re done, “sheathe” the weapon and it will fade into nothingness. These bows weigh nothing, and are the some of the best at base value available outside of DLC.
–+Perks: None advantageous solely to leveling. A low end spell (either given or created) can probably be performed by even a Novice as long as it is a simple one.
-Mysticism: Not a school I use, but good for mindless leveling. Negligible usefulness.
–+Perks: See Conjuration.
–Alteration: Debatable usefulness. Feather spells you buy tend to run better that the one you can make. An odd occurrence With TBPE, you may not ever need a spell.
–+Perks: Same as Conjuration
–Destruction: In order to level up quickly, make a destruction spell that is of low magnitude and damages yourself. Keep in mind racial resistances. My previous Orc resisted magic. What should have done three points of damage only did one, allowing for 639 castings before I HAD to heal or rest. Highly useful. Bread and butter for taking out enemies magically. You can make some awesomely wicked spells. Talk to me.
–+Perks: See Conjuration.
–Restoration: You may want to make a Fortify Attribute spell. I am unsure, but I think it levels up more quickly than a restoration spell, as I think the spell must have an effect. A restore health spell at full health will do no good. A fortify attribute (Luck for instance) that only last a few seconds will work just fine. Highly useful. Very dependable curing (ordinarily).
–+Perks: See Conjuration.
–Security: Sooo tedious to level up. Dependent upon the availability of locks to pick. There’s DLC known as The Thieves’ Den. It has a Very Hard (five tumbler) lock that always relocks immediately. Otherwise, find a door, chest, or container with a five tumbler lock, get four, then back out, and repeat. Oh… and don’t let guards or anyone morally aligned see you. In addition, there is an item called the Skeleton Key. It is a lockpick that gives you +40 to your lockpicking skill. I don’t see why, because the blasted thing is unbreakable. Available at level ten, it makes any other lockpicking scenario a joke. A complete and total joke. Next to useless, if not completely so. As I’ve said, once you learn how to pick locks yourself, the number here means a lot less.
–+Perks: No perks that aid leveling up. In fact, the skills hamper it, if you choose to break a lockpick instead of backing out.
–Sneak: Similar to Athletics, except dependent upon successfully Sneaking near a target. At high Speed ratings this can replace walking. Sneaking instead of walking works out when there are no targets or any way to possibly Sneak and you want to inhibit your Athletics skill. Being invisible (see Spoilers) makes this a synch. Moderately useful. Next to necessary for a fair run through of the Thieves’ Guild and Dark Brotherhood questlines. Can come in handy at other times.
–+Perks: The perks for this skill make it easier to level. At journeyman you can wear shoes and boots of any type. At Expert you can run full tilt to no detriment.
Marksman: Similar to the strength weapon skills. Worth mention, if you can find a target that won’t attack you (something you’ve charmed or is so screwed up stat-wise that it won’t attack you) you can turn up the difficulty to cause your attacks to inflict less damage. More damage to a single target means you don’t have to troll around for more. Moderate to high usefulness. Depending upon how you have your character set up. If this is a primary weapon, indespensible Keeping a stock of arrows is the only concern. Also, Conjuration has a Bound Bow spell. If you use a bow as a backup, this is perfect. You can poison the bow like a regular one and fire whatever arrows you carry on you. It has a max time of two minutes, more than enough for a sneak attack or an archery barrage. When you’re done, “sheathe” the weapon and it will fade into nothingness.
–+Perks: No perks add to leveling.
Athletics: Can be very tedious to level up. Run, run, and run some more. Or swim, swim, and swim some more. Either way, it takes a lot of moving. Highly useful. Each perk level makes running tire you less. Plus you’ll run faster on the whole.
–+Perks: None that aid leveling.
Light Armor: So easy to level up it’s laughable. Turn down the difficulty, and find someplace where you are attacked a lot. My personal favorite is Sorcen (Ayliad Ruin North of the Imperial City). You can drag about 6 people to attack you all at the same time. Plus, as long as you are wearing the armor, it will count as it increasing, even if it is no longer protecting you. Higher levels take longer to repair which helps boost Armorer too. Moderate to highly important. Is this your choice of armor? Level it up then, otherwise, it’s great for leveling up speed.
–+Perks: Apprentice level makes the armor last longer.
Acrobatics: Relatively easy. Just jump all the time. Once you’re an Apprentice you can use magic to level those skills while jumping as well. It gets harder as you go because you jump higher. Find a space inside a house to limit how high you jump. Typically I max out Speed and then just run and jump like crazy. Also, falls your survive help level this up too. Let’s not get into how many mountains I’ve jumped off of. Let’s just say… have a couple hundred HP and healing implements. Moderate to highly useful. Being able to jump to insane levels can allow you to skip some long drawn out mission sections, get oddly placed loot, or take a vantage point against foes. Great for rouges and mages. Fun for all other archetypes. No one expects the heavy armored ninja Orc from above. From where I sit, playing a game tactically you will get a lot of use out of this skill. NPCs don’t jump. Even the trainers, which supposedly have up to Mastered levels in some cases, don’t. If you have arrows or magic you can rain down death. If your opponent has no such tools, the battle is yours. If you’re running from an enemy and this is maxed out, being able to jump off the waters’ surface puts you worlds ahead of anything swimming after you.
–+Perks: While not making leveling easier, it helps with getting advantageous positions for magic and bows.
-Block: Consider it an armor skill. Turn down the difficulty, find someone to attack you and use a shield (preferably) to block attacks. Negligible or indespnsible based on play style. What’s the phrase… if you’re the “sword and board” type, leveling this up will do you some good. If not, hold it as a second skill for endurance.
–+Perks: Journeyman perk ensures that your shield will never be damaged save from spells, making leveling this up sooo easy.
-Armorer: If you level up an armor skill, might as well level this up too. ABSOLUTELY FREAKING IMPERATIVE. I can’t stress enough the importance of this skill.
–+Perks: As a Novice hammers tend to last longer. As a Journeyman you can repair anything. At Expert you can improve upon effectiveness. As Master, one hammer is all you need. A wonderfully crafted skill, no pun intended.
-Heavy Armor: Like Block and Light Armor, turn down the difficult and chill. Moderately to highly important based upon preference. Also, the Conjured Deadric armor can benefit from this skill being leveled up . A good method for a mage.
–+Perks: At Novice it lasts longer. At Expert it weighs half. As stated above, worthwhile in my opinion.
–Speechcraft: While potentially useless as a skill, EXCELLENT for leveling up. Select “Persuade” while talking to someone, move the control stick in a circle and hit confirm. Use the guards. At times you will be told that a guards’ disposition is maxed. Back out, and go into the persuasion mini-game again. Still no good? Find another guard. By and large they are connected and share the same disposition, but they will temporarily hold if you work them over. As a secondary skill it will quickly level up personality. As a primary, it will quickly level up you. Negligible importance. There are ways around speechcraft entirely.
–+Perks: I use it as a leveling device. I may do so while completing a quest. If you use Speechcraft the perks are useful.
–Mercantile: So tedious to level up. You need items. To get to the highest levels you have to sell a lot of stuff. For the sake of maximization and the options available to me, I’m including it in my main skill set. *groan* If I care enough to get it to 100, I train in it. Useful at first. Selling loot is the basic way to get money. But by the time it would hit 100… you don’t actually need it.
–+Perks: Perks are designing to make your money making ventures easier. However, the further in the game you go the less it will probably matter.
–Illusion: See Conjuration. Highly useful. Master charm spell (I always name mine A Jedi Mind Trick or some variant) basically gets you anywhere.
–+Perks: See Conjuration
Luck: Only way to level this up is one point at a time. In all my previous characters I left this skill to the last. Sometimes I’ve had high luck and had to search for something I wanted. At others I had low luck and got everything I wanted and needed. I have not been able to accurately chart Luck’s effect, solely because what I consider useful and when is subjective. Sure finding 20 potions to restore 20 health each may be great. When you have 60 max HP, they’re godsends. When you have 600 and potions that will cure that, they’re useless.
Mastery Tips and Tricks
In my guide you’ll have been introduced to a number of methods to level up each stat. Don’t care about stats and just want the perks? That’s possible too. Since Skills are not level dependent you can level up each as much as you care to. The only hit will be to swift increases for your stats. Below is a list geared more towards individual skills. As always, if information repeats I do apologize.
Methods to quickly Master SKILLS specifically, explaining perks, and useful things that can be done as level increases. May have some repeating information from earlier sections.
Grind: Given for skills that are useful before, after, or in preparation of battle that are difficult or impossible to do by fighting.
Play: Given for skills that can be leveled up actively while progressing through the games’ storylines.
Hybrid: These skills have a variety of ways they can be leveled.
–Blade, Blunt, H2H: Grinding these skills is not nearly as easy as one would think. The drawback to not having random encounters or enemies ceaselessly generated swiftly is that it will take a LONG while to level this up. With the magics you can at least run from place to place and complete quests while spamming the casting button. With these you need a target tough enough to take some punishment, but prefereably who can’t damage you. Marksman, while similar to the melee skills, requires not only a target, but good aim, a successful enough draw to hit the target, and of course, arrows. For some quests and just general enjoyment, Marksman is a skill I like leveling up, especially due to the zoom, knockdown, and paralysis perks. Nothing is better than having some hulking Marauder or Deadra running at you, pegging them with an arrow that paralyzes and/or knocks them down, and watching them ragdoll at your feet or over a railing into lava or to their general doom.
The absolute, best way to level this skill up with any haste is with the Fighter’s Stronghold DLC. The biggest reason is that one of the characters added will engage into sparring matches with you. Using Arrows of Withering you can make him inert, but still hostile, and attack him as you see fit. Plus you can leave weapons in this place, and per a house such items won’t vanish after a few days. Leave an armory of weapons and go nuts here. This will prevent any potential arrests, warrants, or bounties being put out for you. Blade has daggers, which simultaneously allows for swords to become more effective. Hand to Hand, while you probably won’t use it much, is quick. Even the faster Blunt weapons have all the speed of a two handed sword, and none of the reach. War axes are the quickest though. Keep your eye out.
Heavy/Light Armor, Block: With both armor skills, turn down the difficulty and find a bunch of bandits. While watching your health just let them attack you. The skill will level up quickly enough, especially in conjunction with Armorer. For Block I highly recommend the Madness shields or best yet the Sheild gained from the Peryite quest. It is the largest shield I’ve seen in the game, allowing for great range of protection. Take it from someone who knows about too much grinding… this is the swiftest you’ll go through.
The best places are Bandit hideouts. Just run up close enough for them to put away their bows if they have them and let them tag you with their daggers. Sercen and the small ruin across from the exit of the Imperial Sewers (on your map) are close by and PERFECT for getting a few levels under your belt if one or more of these are Major Skills. Anyplace with a lot of enemies in a small space will do as well.
Athletics: Higher running and swimming speed is good, especially since this seems to add to your movement independently of the Speed rating (it’s hard to tell since I usually level them up together). Not being fatigued from running is helpful to all character types. I enjoying hoofing it across the world even though my next playthrough will be my… seventh? Sheesh. Honestly, I use trainers. It takes too much leveling this up otherwise, even if you just throw yourself in a pond in the Imperial City and leave the system running while your character is swimming. If you do this, and you aren’t playing an Argonian, come equiped with something that provides Water Breathing. The worse thing is to leave the game going, have some graphic edge you underwater, then to return to a dead character a day later or some such.
Acrobatics: Like Athletics, this is skill can be tedious to level up. Jumping and tossing yourself off high places can get tiresome and dangerous. Finding a cramped space to stand and jump in can help cut down on time. I reference the Chorrol Mages Guild, a bookcase in a southern room. Walk in, and stay along the left wall until you’re in a circular room. Has a bed to rest in if you’re with the Mages’ Guild. NPCs don’t jump at all. So if you can get to a spot where they can’t hit you (no arrows or magic) and they can’t find some way to run around and drop in on top of you, you’ll have a vantage point to pelt them ceaselessly with arrows and magic of your own. Take a magic spell with you, and you can level up the style of magic at the same time.
–Armorer: Leveling up this skill… completely worthwhile. It will keep all weapons and armor at peak efficiency for one point of encumbrance when maxed out. It’s something that if you’re dedicated to you’ll max out eventually, but with the way this guide is set up, by the time you really begin adventuring you’ll be able to breathe easy that you’ll have peak melee attack and defense. Plus the trainers are in the Imperial City. A good easy start. I use trainers for this. As I didn’t do so my first game it takes A LONG WHILE to max out, especially without duplicating hammers.
However, if you happen to max out Destruction before you complete Armorer, make a high magnitude Disintegrate Weapon and Armor spell. This will allow you to remain inside a town, or your house, and you can break any weapons and armor you equip and repair them as much as you want. To solely level Armorer this is rather efficient.
–Sneak: This skill is tricky to level. You can do so in town, but NO ONE can see you. You can do it in dungeons, but you’re screwed once you start attacking. If you make an armor/accessory set of Invisibility it’s easier to level, but then rather a moot point. Once it gets high enough, it gets RIDICULOUS. I can recall being in front of a guard in BRIGHT light, and they didn’t acknowledge me until I stood up. The games’ engine had it speak to me, and then when I started Sneaking again they lost sight of me.
Going through the Thieves’ Guild and the Dark Brotherhood will level it up quite a bit if you stick to stealth. Otherwise, Sneaking in town behind guards and passerby, in dungeon crawls, and Trainers are about the only way to go about this.
There are a few people and places in the world in which your reward, in whole or in part, will be free skill training. These add to stat additions at level up just like you did it yourself (or paid a Trainer), and they are actual levels, not just X# XP. Granted the game doesn’t use XP. What I’m saying is if you’re given a 3 level bump in your Blade skill, that will be three levels if it’s at 5 or 97. If memory serves correctly, nothing increases Master Level Skills, but if they jump over it due to the training so it goes. There are a few situations in which you can lose levels. I’ve never lost too many so I think they’ll be permanent even in those scenarios. I’ll mark some that I remember now:
-An Argonian saleswoman will give you +5 Mercantile for returning her daughter, alive, in a quest. This also bumps up her disposition towards you making sales easier. She is also an Advanced Trainer in Mercantile. Upon hitting Merc Skill Lvl 70 she will tell you who the Master Trainer is.
-A Fighters’ Guild quest will give you a one level boost in either Speechcraft or Acrobatics depending upon whether you rat out (pun you’ll get later) Quill Weave, an Argonian author.
-In the Dark Brotherhood you can gain The Night Mother’s Blessing, a 3 point permanent boost to Blade, Sneak, and Marksman… and a few others I think. Very nice.
-In the Imperial City: Arena Bloodworks, completing a quest for The Grey Prince (Agronak gro-Malog I think) will cause him to imbue you with The Grey Prince’s Training, which increases Blade, Block and Heavy Armor.)
–+ Outside the Arena you will see two people, and Argonian and a Redguard, fist fighting. Watching them for about 1-3 minutes will level up your H2H by five or ten.
-Baurus at Cloud Ruler Temple will enhance your Block skill once he’s returned there… if he lives.
–+ In the Cloud Ruler Temple courtyard there are two Blades training through a good deal of morning and afternoon. Watching the warriors raises your Blade and Block skill one time. (At least it should work. I may have been standing in the wrong place.)
-In the Shivering Isles retrieving the Fork of Horrpitulation for Big Head will convince him to share a secret with you. This secret is dependent upon which skill you choose to increase.
-Not a skill increase, but upon finishing the main quest you can get The Favor of Akatosh, a long lasting Personality and Luck enchantment from the dragon statue in the Temple of the One in the Imperial City. Favor boosts BOTH stats by 25. So the stat I find most useless and the one with the greatest difficulty to level up get a major boost. I have yet to test it precisely, but… I want to say the enchantment can only be dispelled. Otherwise, it runs comparable to my Potions’ Feather effect. If it wasn’t for the icons floating in the top right of the screen you’d forget you had them on. It’s a nigh permanent boost.
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