Skyrim Character Skills


There are eighteen Skyrim character skills in total, each divided into one of the three sets of combat skills, magical skills, and stealth skills. As in previous Elder Scrolls games, players can develop any of these skills at any time as they build themselves into the adventurer they want to be over the course of their journey. As a player increases in any of the skills, the primary effect it governs improves for the player. Each of the skills and their primary effects are listed here:


Combat Skills

Smithing – Increases the properties of damage, speed and value for items you improve.

Heavy Armour – Reduces the damage you take while wearing heavy armor.

Block – Reduces the damage you take and the amount you stagger when blocking attacks.

Two-Handed – Increases the damage you inflict when wielding two-handed weapons.

One-Handed – Increases the damage you inflict when wielding one-handed weapons.

Archery – Increases the damage you inflict when  shooting bows.


Stealth Skills

Light Armour – Reduces the damage you take when wearing light armor.

Sneak – Improves your ability to avoid detection when sneaking.

Lockpicking – Increases your ability to pick a lock successfully. Specifically, this skill increases the arc at which the pick succeeds, and reduces the chance that the pick will break.

Pickpocket – Increases the chance that you can successfully pickpocket an item.

Speech – Improves the prices you receive when buying or selling items, and increases your likelihood of success at Persuade, Bribe, and Intimidate dialogue challenges.

Alchemy – Improves the potency of any potions and poisons you create.


Magic Skills

Illusion – Reduces the Magika cost of casting Illusion spells

Conjuration – Reduces the Magika cost of casting Conjuration spells

Destruction – Reduces the Magika cost of casting Destruction spells

Restoration – Reduces the Magika cost of casting Restoration spells

Alteration – Reduces the Magika cost of casting Alteration spells

Enchanting – Improves the potency if any items you enchant.


Improving Skills Through Use

Each of the skills increases with use. The more your character uses it, the better they become at it.

So what does it mean to ‘use’ a skill? Each of the eighteen skills is alerted when particular events occur in the game, and when one of these events occurs, the skill in question gains points of an amount determined by the magnitude and impact of the event. What is meant by magnitude and impact can be explained well with these two rules:

1) You sills only improve if you use them effectively: Swinging your sword around won’t improve your One-Handed skill; hitting enemies with it will. Conjuring creatures by itself won’t increase your Conjuration skill; using the creatures in combat against you enemies will. Talking to people in routine dialogue won’t improve your Speech skill; buying and selling items and passing dialogue challenges will.

2) Your skills improve faster if you use them in more challenging situations: Your Archery skill improves faster if you use more powerful bows that do more damage, your Alteration skill improves faster if you cast more difficult spells and your Lockpicking skill improves faster if you pick more challenging locks.

When the number of points for a skill passes a certain threshold, the skill increases in level. These thresholds increase with the levels, so raising a skill from level 15 to level 16 will take more points/uses than raising it from level 5 to level 6.


Raising Character Level

Each time one of your character’s eighteen skills increases, it contributes points towards you character’s next increase in their overall level. The number of points contributed depends on the level of the skill that increased, so raising a skill from level 20 to level 21 will take you further towards the next character level than raising a skill from level 1o to level 11.

As with the individual skills, the thresholds at which a character advances a level increase as his level advances, meaning it will require more use of their skills for a character to take themselves from level 30 to level 31 than it would to take themselves from level 20 to level 21. This means it takes more and more effort to increase your character’s level as you get deeper and deeper into the game.


Improving Skills Through Training

There are certain NPCs you will encounter during your journey who are knowledgeable about a particular skill. Speaking to these talented individuals allows you to request that they train you in that skill to increase your level in it. Most will comply… for the right price.

Each trainers individual level of competence can be known by one of three titles: Journeyman, Expert and Master. A Journeyman trainer can improve your skill to a maximum of level 50, an Expert trainer can improve your skill to a maximum of level 75 and a Master trainer can improve your sill to a maximum of level 90.

No trainer can train you past level 90; you must earn your own way to the maximum of level 100 for any given skill.

The cost to train a skill is based on your current level in that skill; the skill of the trainer does not make any difference. Some of the Expert and Master trainers are members of a faction and will only train you if you are a member of that faction in good standing.

When studying under a trainer, your character will receive one skill level increase each time they train. This can be repeated a maximum of five times with any combination of trainers before your character must level up his overall character level before they can train any more in that skill. After you have leveled up, you can then return to training and pay for up to another five skill level increases.

Some trainers can also be Followers, and a few of them are even candidates for marriage.


Trainers of Skyrim

These are all the trainers in Skyrim complete with the skills they teach, their level of competence and where in the game they can be found:



Journeyman trainer: Ghorza of Markarth.

Expert trainer: Balimund of Riften.

Master trainer: Eorlund Gray-Mane of Whiterun.



Journeyman trainer: Hermir Strongheart of Windhelm.

Expert trainer: Gharol of Dushnikh Yal, in The Reach.

Master trainer: Farkas of The Companions in Whiterun.



Journeyman trainer: None

Expert trainer: Njade Stonearm of The Companions in Whiterun.

Master trainer: Larak of Mor Khazgur, in The Reach.



Journeyman trainer: None

Expert trainer: Torbjorn Shatter-Shield of Windhelm.

Master trainer: Vilkas, of The Companions in Whiterun.



Journeyman trainer: Amren of Whiterun.

Expert trainer: Athis of The Companions in Whiterun.

Master trainer: Burguk, of Dushnikh Yal in The Reach.



Journeyman trainer: Faendal, of Riverwood.

Expert trainer: Aela the Huntress, of The Companions in Whiterun.

Master Trainer: Niruin, of the Thieves Guild, in Riften.



Journeyman trainer: Scouts-Many-Marches of Windhelm.

Expert trainer: Grelka of Riften.

Master Trainer: Nazir, of The Dark Brotherhood.



Journeyman trainer: Khayla, of the Khajit Caravans.

Expert trainer: Garvey, of Markath.

Master Trainer: Delven Mallory, of the Thieves Guild, in Riften.



Journeyman trainer: None

Expert trainer: Majhad of the Khajit Caravans.

Master Trainer: Vex, of The Thieves Guild, in Riften.



Journeyman trainer: Ahkari, of the Khajit Caravans.

Expert trainer: Silda of the Unseen, of Windhelm.

Master Trainer: Vipir, of the Thieves Guild, of Riften.



Journeyman trainer #1: Dro’marash of the Khajit Caravans.

Journeyman trainer #2: Revyn Sadri of Windhelm.

Expert trainer: Ogmund the Skald, or Markarth.

Master Trainer: Geraud Gemaine, of The Bards College in Solitude.



Journeyman trainer: Lami of Morthal.

Expert trainer: Arcadia, of Whiterun.

Master Trainer: Babette, of The Dark Brotherhood.



Journeyman trainer: None

Expert trainer: Atub, of Largashbur in The Rift.

Master Trainer: Drevis Neloren, of the College of Winterhold.



Journeyman trainer: Runil of Falkreath.

Expert trainer: Phinis Gestor, of the College of Winterhold.

Master Trainer: Falion of Morthal.



Journeyman trainer: Wuunferth the Unliving, of Windhelm.

Expert trainer: Sybille Stentor of Solitude.

Master Trainer: Faralda, of the College of Winterhold.



Journeyman trainer: Keeper Carcette, in the Hall of the Vigilant.

Expert trainer: Colette Marence, of the College of Winterhold.

Master Trainer: Danica Pure-Spring, of Whiterun.



Journeyman trainer: Melaran, of Solitude.

Expert trainer: Dravynea, of Kynesgrove, in Eastmarch.

Master Trainer: Tolfdir, of the College of Winterhold.



Journeyman trainer: None

Expert trainer: Sergius Turrianus, of the College of Winterhold.

Master Trainer: Hamal, of Markarth.


Improving Skills Through Skill Books

Located throughout the world are a number of rare Skill Books, each associated with one of the eighteen skills. The first time you read one of these books, the skill in question increases by one level. There are five different named books for each skill, making ninety skill books in total in Skyrim. A determined collector can potentially increase each of their skills by five points by finding and reading all of the books. There are multiple copies of each book in the world, usually between three and five, but you will only gain a skill point the first time you read a copy.


Improving Skills Through Augmentations

There are other ways to temporarily increase your Skills. You can equip enchanted items that increase certain skills, you can cast spells on yourself that boost skills, you can drink potions that improve skills and you can acquire a Shrine Blessing for a bonus to some skills.


As usual, all user input welcome. Any additional info or questions, feel free to comment below or post to the forum.


One Response

  1. mrmocap says:

    I found a good way to level both pickpocket and any skill was to find where an NPC that will train you sleeps. Wait until they are asleep.
    wake them up and pay them once to train you. Wait until they go to sleep. Save the game. then crouch and pick their pocket, stealing back the gold you just paid them to train you. Repeat until you run out of gold. Any time you get caught picking their pocket, just reload the save game and try again until you dont get caught. your pickpocket skill will level quickly as will whatever skill you are paying to be trained in

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