originals\ Oct 31, 2011 at 5:15 pm

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Perks System Detailed


With only 11 more days until the pure epicenes known only as Skyrim is released, have YOU decided what kind of character you want to make?  Hmmm?  Will you be the heavy armored warrior, a spell wielding thief, a backstabbing rouge type, or an armored-magical-backstabbing (enter other skill here) type?  Skyrim allows you to do just that.

Remember Oblivion?  Do you remember swimming, jumping in place, sneaking around nothing, conjuring skeleton after skeleton, or (my favorite) creating new spells for the sole purpose of leveling up skills and your character?  What – you never did that in Oblivion?  You are a liar.  Lastly… do you remember speechcraft?  With that said – let’s move on.  Skyrim has added to this system and introduces perks.

You can think of the perk system as three skill trees to choose from after leveling up.  You got your ‘Warrior,’ ‘Mage,’ and ‘Thief’ trees.  Do not fret; although there are only 3 of these trees, there are still 280 of these perks to choose from.  These numerous perks allow for character customization as for as skills go.  If you want to make a purely beefy fighter type – there is no need to wander from the warrior tree.  If you want to make a sneaky character that wields a dagger in shadows but casts powerful spells for increased damage that is also an option.  One can even mix all three trees for a true hybrid character.  Character customization is truly your oyster.  Let’s look a bit deeper into this:


The warrior skills focus around weapons, armors, and smithing – weapons and armors.  In the perks you can decide if you want to use bows, one-handed weapons, heavy armor, etc.  This is still general though.  For two-weapon alones you need to decide if you want to use battleaxes, war hammers, great swords, or a combination of any of them.  Do you want to be an elven smith or a dragon smith – or perhaps one of the other 8 types?  Here are some perks:

The Warrior - Archery

  • Bows do 25% more damage
  • Zoom in
  • Zoom in slows time
  • 10% Crit Chance
  • Move faster with drawn bow
  • Recover twice as many arrows from dead bodies
  • Chance for paralyze
  • Draw bow 30% faster

The Warrior – Block:

  • Quick Reflexes
  • Elemental Protection
  • Deflect Arrows
  • Shield Charge
  • Deadly Bash
  • Shield Wall
  • Power Bash
  • Bash Disarm

The Warrior - Heavy Armor:

  • Increase armor rating by 20% (5 ranks)
  • Unarmed attacks with heavy armor gauntlets—damage increased by gauntlets' armor rating
  • Half fall damage if all in heavy armor
  • Additional 25% armor if in matching set
  • 25% armor bonus if all in heavy armor (not matching)
  • 50% less stagger if all in heavy armor
  • 10% damage reflected back to enemy if all in heavy armor
  • Heavy armor weighs nothing and doesn't slow you down

The Warrior - One Handed:

  • Hack and Slash
  • One Handed Prowess
  • One-Handed Tactics
  • Bone Breaker

The Warrior - Two Handed:

  • 2H weapons do 20% more damage (5 ranks)
  • Attacks with warhammers ignore 25% armor
  • Attacks with battleaxes do extra bleeding damage
  • Attacks with greatswords do extra critical damage
  • Power attacks cost 25% less stamina
  • Standing power attacks do 25% bonus damage, chance to decapitate
  • Sprinting power attacks do double (critical) damage
  • Sideways power attacks hit all targets
  • Backward power attacks have 25% chance of paralysis

The Warrior – Smithing:

  • Steel Smithing
  • Arcane Blacksmith
  • Dwarven Smithing
  • Elven Smithing
  • Orcish Smithing
  • Advanced Armors
  • Glass Smithing
  • Daedric Smithing
  • Ebony Smithing
  • Dragon Smithing


So maybe swords and shields aren’t your cup of tea.  That’s okay.  The mage tree offers spells instead of material items.  Much like Oblivion, magic is split into 6 schools: alteration, conjuration, destruction, illusion, restoration, and enchantment.  If you are a dedicated mage you can now decide to focus on a few of the schools and make them stronger or do you branch into all 6?  Here are some of the perks:

The Mage - Alteration

  • 50% Magicka Cost (5 Ranks)
  • Dual casting overcharges for more powerful spell
  • Absorb 30% Magicka that hits you
  • Alteration spells have greater duration (Ranked)

The Mage - Conjuration

  • 50% Magicka Cost (5 Ranks)
  • Dual casting overcharges for more powerful spell
  • Bound weapons do more damage
  • Bound weapons cast Soul Trap on target
  • Bound weapons banish certain creatures
  • Reanimate dead with 100 more HP
  • Summon 2 Atronachs or reanimated zombies
  • Summon Atronachs at twice the distance
  • Summoned Atronachs are twice as strong

The Mage - Destruction

  • 50% Magicka Cost (5 Ranks)
  • Dual casting overcharges for more powerful spell
  • Shock damage has chance to disintegrate targets if health is low
  • Frost damage has chance to paralyze targets if health is low
  • Fire damage has chance to make targets flee if health is low
  • Place runs 5x further away
  • Fire spells cause more damage (Ranked)
  • Shock Spells cause more damage (Ranked)
  • Frost spells cause more damage (Ranked)

The Mage - Illusion

  • 50% Magicka Cost (5 Ranks)
  • Dual casting overcharges for more powerful spell
  • Spells work on higher level animals
  • Spells work on higher level people
  • All spellcasting (from any school) is done silently
  • Spells work on undead, daedra and automatons
  • Fear spells work on higher level enemies
  • Kindred Mage

The Mage - Restoration

  • 50% Magicka Cost (5 Ranks)
  • Dual casting overcharges for more powerful spell
  • Healing spells 50% more effective
  • Spells more effective against undead
  • Magicka regenerates 25% faster
  • Once per day autocast 250PH restoration when health drops low
  • Healing spells also restore stamina

The Mage - Enchanting

  • Enchantments 20% stronger (Ranked)
  • Enchanted armor 25% stronger
  • Soul gems provide extra magicka for recharging
  • Death blows to creatures but not people trap souls
  • Health, Magicka and Stamina Enchants are stronger
  • Extra effect on already enchanted weapon can be applied
  • Shock enchants 25% stronger
  • Fire enchants 25% stronger
  • Frost enchants 25% stronger


Alright, fine.  Hiding behind thick armor and dainty spells and too cowardly for you.  You want to be in the shadows, picking locks, sneaking, backstabbing, and using charm to persuade merchants for cheaper prices.  If you are the swindler type, the thief perk tree is for you.  Besides the typical rouging things, the thief perks has speech skills, light armor skills, and alchemy.  Will you use one or all of these perks branches?  Here are some of the perks:

The Thief - Alchemy

  • Potions 20% stronger (5 ranks)
  • Potions for restoring Health, Magicka or Stamina are 25% more powerful
  • Poisons are 25% more effective
  • Poisons last for twice as many hits
  • Two ingredients are gathered from plants
  • 50% resistance to all poisons
  • All negative effects removed from potions, and positive effects removed from poisons
  • 2 effects of an ingredient are revealed when testing it for the first time instead of 1

The Thief - Light Armor

  • (Detail pending)

The Thief - Lockpicking

  • Wax Key - Enables you to make a copy of a key for a lock you just picked
  • Further details pending

The Thief - Pickpocket

  • Light Fingers - Reduces the influence weight and value of items on your chance of successfully pickpocketing an item (5 ranks)
  • Night Thief - Pickpocketing unconscious/sleeping NPC works almost every time
  • Poisoned - Silently place poison in other peoples' pockets to harm or kill
  • Cutpurse - Pickpocketing gold is 50% easier
  • Extra pockets - Carrying capacity is increased by 100
  • Keymaster - Pickpocketing keys almost always works
  • Misdirections - You can pickpocket equipped weapons
  • Perfect Touch - you can pickpocket equipped items

The Thief - Sneak

  • 20% harder to detect (5 ranks)
  • Sneak attacks do 6x damage with 1H weapons
  • Sneak attacks do 3x damage with bows
  • Sneak attacks do 15x damage with daggers 
  • Noise from armor reduced by 50%
  • No longer activate pressure plates
  • Sprinting while sneaking performs silent forward roll
  • Running does not affect detection stance
  • Crouching can make hostile enemies lose sight of you and search for new target
  • Vanish - Forces your attacker to focus their attacks on another while entering combat in sneak mode

The Thief - Speech

  • Buying and selling price 10% better (5 ranks)
  • 10% price from the opposite sex
  • Invest in shops and increase available gold permanently
  • Master Trader - all shops have 1000 more gold to spend
  • Buy and sell from any merchant regardless of what they normally sell
  • Intimidation attempts are twice as successful
  • Persuasion attempts are twice as successful
  • Bribe—forces guards to ignore your bounty


A special thanks to gameranx.com for the perk stats.

About The Author
Andrew Clouther Human, historian, teacher, writer, reviewer, gamer, League of Pralay, Persona fanboy, and GameZone paragon - no super powers as of yet. Message me on the Twitters: @AndrewC_GZ
In This Article
From Around The Web
blog comments powered by Disqus