Skyrim Perks Guide

Full List of Perks for Every Skill in Skyrim

Every time your Dragonborn gains a level, you'll earn a Perk point. Perk points can be spent at any time and accumulated for multiple character levels. Perks require prerequisite perks and the appropriate skill level to unlock. You may gain a level using sneak, but intend to purchase the next Enchanting perk. You can wait until you've gained enough Enchanting levels to afford it. This allows you some flexibility when building your character.

There is no cheat to add a perk point directly, and no cheats for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 owners, period. The only method of resetting perks is to use Console Commands, although we have a specific article on resetting Perks with a list of PerkID codes.

Skyrim Combat Perk List

Archery Skill Perks

Archery Guide

Overdraw (5 ranks 20% Each)
(level 0/20/40/60/80 Archery required)
The Overdraw Perk raises damage 20% for each point, fully doubling all archery damage by the fifth point. It's an essential if you want to maximize damage and truly master archery.

Eagle Eye
(level 30 Archery required)
Hold block with an arrow drawn zooms your view. Helps with sniping at range, and as a prerequisite for Steady Hand's time slowing effect. You'll definitely want this, especially if you're going for sneak attacks. It'll allow you to start combat from a greater distance, delaying the time until you're detected. This costs stamina. More stamina is more time zoomed.

Steady Hand (2 Ranks 25% each)
(level 40 Archery required)
Slows time by 25%/50% when you've zoomed in with Eagle Eye. While this will affect you as well, it can help you as a player to get more shots off in a set amount of time. With time slowed, the time spent aiming is reduced so you can let loose your arrow and prepare another shot. It's better to zoom partially through your draw to waste less stamina. Remember your target will be moving at normal speed relative to the arrow, so you'll still need to fire slightly ahead of moving targets.

Power Shot
(level 50 Archery required)
Arrows stagger all but the largest foes 50% of the time. A great perk! Arrows need to be fully drawn to stagger opponents. This can really cripple an advancing melee attacker, preventing you from being hit at all. Obviously dragons, giants, and mammoths are far too large to be affected by this.

Quick Shot
(level 70 Archery required)
Draw a bow 30% faster. Paired with the prerequisite power shot, this is an amazing perk. Be sure to get Critical Shot as well. You'll be able to fire more arrows and see more crits in a given period of time. A must-have for all Archers.

Critical Shot (3 Ranks)
(level 30/60/90 Archery required)
Gives a 10% critical hit chance on first point, 15% crit with 25% extra damage on second, and 20% crit with 50% damage boost on third. It's a great perk, and will raise your overall damage per second. In bigger fights, it can make all the difference, as you could one-shot something charging at you and move to a second target. Targets like Dragons will be brought down much easier once you have three ranks in this, as you are firing many arrows at them and likely to see this go off a number of times in a fight.

Hunter's Discipline
(level 50 Archery required)
Recover twice as many arrows from dead bodies. A good perk if you're a dedicated archer, as you must be using many arrows to really want to invest a perk point here. It's also a prerequisite for Ranger. This'll keep you from running out of ammunition in a long dungeon, and save you money on arrows in the long term. Arrows are craftable with Dawnguard, but those valuable materials can be used elsewhere.

(level 60 Archery required)
Move faster with bow drawn. Helps with kiting, so you can be moving backward while an attacker comes at you. Strafing is assisted as well, helping you dodge arrows when going head to head with a ranged enemy.

(level 100 Archery required)
15% chance of paralyzing a target for 3 seconds. Ahh, nothing quite like watching an enemy fall limp to the ground, helpless and vulnerable to attack. Bullseye tops off a wonderful archery perk set, making Archery my favorite damage dealing option in Skyrim. Combine this perk with the paralysis enchantment on a bow, and you'll have a nearly 50% chance of enemies being paralyzed each time you fire.

Block Skill Perks

Block Guide

Shield Wall (5 Ranks, 20/25/30/35/40% more effective blocking)
(level 0/20/40/60/80 Block required)
Increases the amount of damage absorbed by your shield when you block, also works for two-handed weapons. This is reportedly bugged, and actually gives 10-50% absorption bonus, according to testers at UESP. I cannot independently test it, but if it's true, it means you should reconsider adding more points to this if you're making a defensive character. Some might take the 20% and move on – if it's actually 10% flat, there are no diminishing returns.

Quick Reflexes
(level 30 Block required)
Slows time down whenever you're holding block and a nearby enemy performs a power attack. Most enemies do this most of the time, and Dragons are no exception to this rule. In many cases, this gives you time to bash an opponent before they can hit you, interrupting their attack and letting you get the upper hand. Quick Reflexes is a GREAT Perk.

Deflect Arrows
(level 30 Block required)
Any arrows that happen to hit your shield will do no damage. Shields are pretty big, so this does prevent a lot of damage. While blocking other attacks, it will mitigate damage from archers. If you're going with a shield at all, it's obvious you'll want this Perk.

Elemental Protection
(level 50 Block required)
Reduces Frost, Fire, and Shock damage by 50% while blocking. This doesn't mean the damage has to hit your shield directly, thus is very helpful when you're under attack by multiple casters or dragons. Combine this with magical resistances and you will take very little damage from magic while blocking.

Block Runner
(level 70 Block required)
Lets you move faster while blocking with a shield or weapon, improving your ability to close gaps safely. It's a very helpful perk, as with maneuverability you can miss some damage entirely. Works even better in combination with the Quick Reflexes Perk.

Power Bash
(level 30 Block required)
Allows you to power bash by holding the attack button while you block. This staggers foes, and gives you an advantage. Stagger them and hack away!

Deadly Bash
(level 50 Block required)
Multiplies shield damage by 5x, making shield bashing incredibly dangerous to your foes. With this, you can make your blocking offensive and kill foes quickly. Don't take the perk if you intend to powerlevel Blocking with shield bashes, it only uses the base damage while dealing the additional damage and killing your 'training dummy' faster.

Disarming Bash
(level 70 Block required)
Power Bashing a target gives a chance to disarm them, in addition to the stagger effect. The usefulness of this Perk is determined by how often you're actually using your Power Bash ability.

Shield Charge
(level 100 Block required)
You can hold the sprint key and charge forward by blocking with this Perk. Most enemies in Skyrim will get knocked back whenever you do so, making this a fun and tactically potent Perk for those Dovahkiin specializing in the use of a shield.

Heavy Armor Perks

Heavy Armor Guide

Juggernaut (5 Ranks, +20-100% armor rating for Heavy Armor)
(level 0/20/40/60/80 Heavy Armor required)
Juggernaut raises your armor rating passively, and will help you easily reach the Armor cap along with the Well Fitted and Matching Set Perks from this tree. Steel Armor can reach the cap with high Smithing, so you may not need 5 points here if you'll get other Perks and invest points into Smithing as well. Otherwise, take 5 points in this to maximize your armor in the late game.

Fists of Steel
(level 30 Heavy Armor required)
Turns bracers into weapons, allowing them to use their armor rating as a damage rating. This can do great damage, though the reach will certainly be found lacking.

(level 50 Heavy Armor required)
When wearing Heavy Armor in the head, hands, chest, and feet slots, your Dragonborn takes half damage from falls.

(level 70 Heavy Armor required)
Makes Heavy Armor weightless and removes the momement penalty, though this does not help with Sneaking - you'll need the Silence Perk for that.

Well Fitted
(level 30 Heavy Armor required)
+25% armor bonus if you are wearing Heavy Armor in the hands, chest, hands, and feet gear slots.

Tower of Strength
(level 50 Heavy Armor required)
50% less stagger when wearing all Heavy Armor.

Matching Set
(level 70 Heavy Armor required)
Gives +25% armor bonus if your four Heavy Armor pieces are all of the same type (Steel, Daedric, Orcish, Dragonplate etc.)

Reflect Blows
(level 100 Heavy Armor required)
Gives a 10% chance to reflect melee damage back to the enemy while wearing all Heavy Armor in the head, chest, hands, and feet gear slots. This can be an amusing Perk for sure, should an enemy occasionally finish himself off by striking your Dragonborn..

One-Handed Weapon Skill Perks

One-Handed Weapon Skill Guide

Armsman (5 ranks 20% Each)
(level 0/20/40/60/80 One-Handed required)
If One Handed weapons are to be your primary source of damage, you'll want all five ranks.

Bladesman (3 Ranks, 10/15/20% Crit Chance for Swords)
(level 30/60/90 One-Handed required)
This really isn't very good, as the critical damage doesn't seem to do what you'd expect with very high damage weapons late in the game. Early on, it's quite OK, but this diminishing value certainly affects my opinion on investing three points into this perk.

Bone Breaker (3 Ranks, ignoring 25% armor each for Maces)
(level 30/60/90 One-Handed required)
Much better, but only against armored foes. It will do next to nothing (or nothing at all) against enemy casters and the like. However, most other enemies have armor and this will effectively raise your DPS more than the other perks here. Maces also stagger the most, but will require stamina for you to power attack many times in a long fight.

Hack and Slash (3 Ranks, adding more bleeding damage to War Axes)
(level 30/60/90 One-Handed required)
This is perhaps better for Bladesman for reliability. War Axes are already good weapons, this just boosts the damage you can do by a bit. After a swing, you'll watch the opponent's health bleed away a little. Sometimes this makes up for one more hit in combat, letting you switch to another target while the original bleeds to death.

Dual Flurry (2 Ranks, 20/35% faster Dual Wield Attacks)
(level 30/50 One-Handed required)
If you want to dual wield, you already know you need this. After all, you can't block, so whirling your blades through enemies as fast as possible is essential to survival.

Dual Savagery
(level 70 One-Handed required)
Bigger, more powerful Dual Wield power attacks. Makes a huge boost to your damage, so long as your Dragonborn has the stamina to keep them swinging.

Fighting Stance
(level 20 One-Handed required)
Reduces the stamina cost of power attacks by 25%. Helps you in the long fight.

Critical Charge
(level 50 One-Handed required)
Sprint forward, then hold down the attack button (work on your timing) to charge at the enemy and deal a big critical hit. A great way to close the distance and smash your way into melee combat.

Savage Strike
(level 50 One-Handed required)
Standing Power attacks (the normal kind) do 25% bonus damage and have a chance to decapitate enemies. This is one means of unlocking the decapitation killing blow animation, which works on humanoids.

Paralyzing Strike
(level 100 One-Handed required)
Tap backward, and hold the attack button to deal a backward power attack (good when enemy is advancing on you) that has a 25% chance to instantly paralyze the opponent for several seconds. Incredibly powerful when you can pull it off, which may take some practice to get the timing right.

Smithing Skill Perks

Smithing Guide

Aside from Arcane Blacksmith, unlocked at 60 Smithing and giving the ability to improve magical weapons and armor, Smithing perks serve to unlock new recipes at the forge and anvil. You can see a full list of smithing recipes here.

Two-Handed Weapon Skill Perks

Two-Handed Weapon Skill Guide

Barbarian (5 Ranks - 20% damage each)
(level 0/20/40/60/80 Two-Handed required)
If Two-Handers are going to be your primary damage source, you'll want all five ranks of this perk to double your damage.

Champion's Stance
(level 20 Two-Handed required)
Makes 2H power attacks cost 25% less stamina, increasing your staying power in combat.

Limbsplitter (3 Ranks - more and more bleed)
(level 30/60/90 Two-Handed required)
Battleaxes cause bleeding damage against opponents. Works best against unarmored opponents, giving good reliable damage that will occasionally finish off a weakened opponent.

Deep Wounds (3 Ranks - more and more crit)
(level 30/60/90 Two-Handed required)
Gives up to a 20% chance to critical hit with Greatswords. I prefer this over Limbsplitter for the reliability.

Skullcrusher (3 Ranks - more and more Armor Penetration)
(level 30/60/90 Two-Handed required)
Warhammers ignore up to 75% of an opponent's armor. This will mainly work against well-armored humanoids - not much else will have a significant enough armor rating for it to make a difference. Still, those are tough targets in a big fight, and this will let you bring them down fast.

Great Critical Charge
(level 50 Two-Handed required)
Once you have this perk, you can perform a power attack while you are sprinting. Simply run forward, and hold the power attack button as usual. Your character will leap and smash into the enemy, sometimes doing double critical damage. This attack will cause a powerful stagger.

Devastating Blow
(level 50 Two-Handed required)
Increases the damage of 2H power attacks, while enabling the decapitate death animation sometimes when you're finishing an opponent. Even Warhammers can decapitate an enemy, rather brutally.

(level 70 Two-Handed required)
Tap the button to strafe left or right, and quickly perform a power attack. Your weapon will swing across the screen, hitting any enemies in the wide arc. The only perk that lets you hit multiple targets with a single weapon swing.

(level 100 Two-Handed required)
Backward power attacks have a 25% chance to paralyze an opponent. Tap backward, perform a power attack. This tricky attack can knock an opponent of their feet - it's not like the paralyze you get with one handed weapons and affects many more targets.

Skyrim Magic Perk List

Note that for all Magic Schools, Novice has a level requirement of 0, Apprentice 25, Adept 50, Expert 75, and Master level 100. They simply cut magic costs for spells of that school and rank to half, in some cases allowing the spell to be cast at all with a normal Magicka pool.

Alteration Magic School Perks

Alteration Magic School Guide

Alteration Dual Casting
(level 20 Alteration Magic required)
Dual casting an Alteration spell overcharges the effect into an even more powerful version, either increasing the level of creature it can impact or the duration of a beneficial spell. What this means is that if your character relies on spells like Paralysis and your enemy is too high level and would resist thes spell, using both hands will grant you a higher chance your enemy will succumb to paralysis as the spell's effectiveness is doubled. Spell durations jump a little more than double, which is helpful for longer fights and to avoid constantly recasting your mage armors.

Mage Armor (3 points)
(level 30/50/70 Alteration Magic required)
Protection spells like Stoneflesh are twice as strong if not wearing armor (using a Shield is fine!). At two points, they are 2.5x as strong Put three points in this to get a maximum of 3 times a mage armor spell's normal protection.

Magic Resistance (3 points)
(level 30/50/70 Alteration Magic required)
Each point adds 10% to magical resistance, up to a maximum of 30%.

(level 100 Alteration Magic required)
All Alteration spells will have a +50% duration. That means a 10 second paralyze becomes 15, a 60 second Mage Armor-type spell becomes 90 seconds. So, this is helpful to both your character's offense and defense.

(level 100 Alteration Magic required)
Absorbs 30% of the Magicka of every spell that hits you. This is amazing in combination with Magic Resistance. Combine this with 85% magic resistance and enchantments on clothing/potions that protect against elemental damage and you are now not only almost invulnerable, but what does hit you got 30% of its power converted to Magicka, leaving the other 70% to be dealt with by your magic and elemental resistances.

Conjuration Magic School Perks

Conjuration Magic School Guide

Conjuration Dual Casting
(level 20 Conjuration Magic required)
Dual casting a Conjuration spell overcharges the effect, allowing it to last longer. This is great for everything you will summon, be it creatures or weapons. You will get a much longer duration out of most of your spells. Summoning for a regular fight, you might want to single cast if you have no means to heal your summoned creature. Being a Necromage Vampire (see Restoration guide) overcharges this effect even more.

Mystic Binding
(level 20 Conjuration Magic required)
Bound weapons do more damage. In the early game this might be a very good perk to invest in. The Bound Bow can be used to take an early step into the Bow Conjurer strategy, but be aware that depending on the perks invested in Archery and smithing, eventually real bows can do more damage. That doesn't mean you couldn't be perfectly successful sticking with Bound Weapons for most if not all of your gameplay.

Soul Stealer
(level 30 Conjuration Magic required)
Bound Weapons cast Soul Trap on targets. Once again, effective as a Bow Conjurer. You shoot the target whose soul you'd like to collect (you need to have empty Soul Gems of sufficient size) and your minions will take care of the rest. Despite the enchantment and spell that also traps souls, the effect from this weapon doesn't seem to have a duration and lasts until the target's demise.

Oblivion Binding
(level 50 Conjuration Magic required)
Bound weapons will banish summoned creatures and turn raised ones. This perk is very useful when facing another Conjurer but you do not face them that often, so most builds can skip this.

Summoner (2 ranks)
(level 30/70 Conjuration Magic required)
Can summon Atronachs or raise undead (twice/three times) as far away. Handy for the sneaky Conjurer. Just hide in a corner and do your job.

(level 40 Conjuration Magic required)
Double duration for conjured Atronachs. Not that useful except as a prerequisite for Elemental Potency and Twin Souls.

Elemental Potency
(level 80 Conjuration Magic required)
Conjured Atronachs are 50% more powerful. Does exactly what the description says and is quite helpful for keeping Atronachs useful later into the game.

(level 40 Conjuration Magic required)
Greater duration for reanimated undead. Raised undead will ‘live’ longer.

Dark Souls
(level 70 Conjuration Magic required)
Reanimated undead has 100 points more health. This bonus is lost when you use enchanted items on Dead Thralls. Since those are permanent anyway, you do not really need this perk or the double duration for Necromancy late into the game. Consider whether you need these to help you level. Having stronger Atronachs to do extra elemental damage when leveling is likely more useful as they do not require dead bodies.

Twin Souls
(level 100 Conjuration Magic required)
You can have two Atronachs or Two reanimated zombies. That is exactly what makes the Dead Thrall spell double its value, literarily. It's worth noting that this spell does affect the Conjure Dremora Lord spell, so you can use it along with your Atronachs or Thralls.

Destruction Magic School Perks

Destruction Magic School Guide

Destruction Dual Casting
(level 20 Destruction Magic required)
is a requirement for any self-respecting Destruction Mage. This perk makes Destruction Mages the masters of burst damage in Skyrim. It costs more mana than both spells combined to dual cast, but it can let you dump mana into damage when you need something dead - fast. Invaluable when you grab Impact.

(level 40 Destruction Magic required)
allows you to stagger opponents when you dual-cast many Destruction spells. If you can dump the mana, you can keep them staggered. Tip: don't expend mana while the opponent is on his knees. You can only initiate stagger when they're on their feet! Impact can interrupt a dragon's breath attack, so hit him right when he says the first word of his Thu'um.

Augmented Flames, Frost and Shock
(level 30/60 Destruction Magic required)
all have 2 ranks each, giving up to +50% damage to your spells of that element. You may not want all of these, I skipped Frost. With augmented fire and lightning I can either exploit a weakness or avoid a resistance on any mob in the game.

Rune Master
(level 40 Destruction Magic required)
If you like runes, get this. You can set up marvelous traps without being detected by the enemy (with sneak skill). They'll come investigating and.. boom. Still, it's a perk point I regret at high level as I never use it. I can fry anything without stealth.

Intense Flames
(level 50 Destruction Magic required)
Worst of the 3 buffs to elemental damage. While it's cool an enemy would run about in flames at 20% health, most spells won't dish enough additional fire damage to finish them off. Also, it can cause you to lose track of corpses. This brings very little to your arsenal, but can be helpful defensively - fleeing, flaming mobs don't tend to fight back.

Deep Feeze
(level 60 Destruction Magic required)
Our second enemy less than 20% health perk, this one will paralyze targets when they get too low. Doesn't work on everything. This can be a fun perk to see in action and is far better than Intense Flames.

(level 70 Destruction Magic required)
If your spell brings a target below 20% health, they are instantly disintegrated. Sometimes items are lost in the process due to a patch but I barely notice. It's cool turning that big dragon into a little ash pile. It's also kind of easy to see the ash piles so you'll miss less loot. A great perk for fans of Skyrim's lightning spells.

Enchanting Skill Perks

Enchanting Skill Guide

Enchanter (5 Ranks, 20% Each)
(level 0/20/40/60/80 Enchanting Skill required)
You'll want all five points in this Perk, to make your Enchants twice as powerful. Worth every point!

Soul Squeezer
(level 20 Enchanting Skill required)
Soul gems recharge items even more. Totally optional, just like the next.

Soul Siphon
(level 40 Enchanting Skill required)
Killing creatures (but not people) will recharge a weapon by a small degree, which can return some of your charge costs, making magical weapons last longer. Not necessary to be a great Enchanter.

Insightful Enchanter
(level 50 Enchanting Skill required)
Fortify Skill enchantments on armor are 25% stronger. Very important when trying to make the most powerful enchants, as it will boost your Fortify Alchemy enchants on your crafting gear.

Corpus Enchanter
(level 70 Enchanting Skill required)
Health, Magicka, and Stamina Enchantments on armor are 25% stronger.

Fire Enchanter
(level 30 Enchanting Skill required)
Fire Enchantments on weapons and armor are 25% stronger. Fire deals the most direct damage. I consider this one important, you may not need the other two damaging types as badly.

Frost Enchanter
(level 40 Enchanting Skill required)
Frost Enchantments on weapons and armor are 25% stronger. Frost damage reduces Stamina along with health.

Storm Enchanter
(level 50 Enchanting Skill required)
Shock Enchantments on weapons and armor are 25% stronger. Shock damage reduces Magicka along with health.

Extra Effect
(level 100 Enchanting Skill required)
Add a second magical effect when Enchanting a piece of gear. Absolutely essential to make a great Enchanter. It allows you to become incredibly powerful, along with your other skill perks - no matter your build.

Illusion Magic School Perks

Illusion Magic School Guide

Illusion Dual Casting
(level 20 Illusion Magic required)
Dual casting an Illusion spell overcharges the effect into an even more powerful version. Any spells that can be resisted have a lower chance to resist, and spells with durations have them increased.

(level 20 Illusion Magic required)
Illusion spells now work on higher level animals. That means even mammoths and trolls, if you Dual Cast the spell. This is especially practical if you need to travel a lot at lower levels and you have a high chance of encountering bears, sabre cats, mammoths or in the worst case a Snow Troll. All these animals will fall for your spells when you have this perk unlocked.

Kindred Mage
(level 40 Illusion Magic required)
All Illusion Spells work on higher level people. Especially useful against bandits on all levels. Know that orcs and all elves also fall under ‘people’ in this case. If you notice some targets still fail to be affected by your spells with this perk, you will need the Hypnotic Gaze Perk as well.

Quiet Casting
(level 50 Illusion Magic required)
All spells you cast from any school of magic are silent to others. You may have noticed that some spells tend to drag the attention of enemies to your location. This is especially disastrous if you also have missed an enemy while aiming with a spell. This will prevent that, and allow you to cast spells while sneaking.

Hypnotic Gaze
(level 30 Illusion Magic required)
Calm Spells now work on higher level opponents. This is cumulative with Kindred Mage and Animage, meaning most creatures will fall for your calm spells.

Aspect of Terror
(level 50 Illusion Magic required)
Fear spells work on higher level opponents. Cumulative with Kindred Mage and Animage.

(level 70 Illusion Magic required)
Frenzy spells work on higher level opponents. Cumulative with Kindred Mage and Animage.

Master of the Mind
(level 90 Illusion Magic required)
Illusion works on undead, daedra and automatons. Don’t go into any dungeon if you completely rely on Illusion spells until you’ve unlocked this perk. With it, your Illusion power will work on skeletons, vampires, Draugr, daedra, falmer and all kinds of automatons. Nothing will resist your manipulation anymore, except for dragons.

Restoration Magic School Perks

Restoration Magic School Guide

Restoration Dual Casting
(level 20 Restoration Magic required)
I never need more than one healing spell active. I could skip this if there wasn't likely an achievement for getting all 13 points in this skill. Now, destruction dual casting - now you're talking. Most of the time my best heal cast once is good enough. With this, you could amp up a weaker heal to possibly outheal a stronger opponent. Recovery is a far better perk.

Recovery 1 and 2 (25% each)
(level 30/60 Restoration Magic required)
Increasing Magicka regeneration is a great thing for all casters. Some might even invest just enough into this school to pick this up. It can save your life in extreme situations, when you need just one more heal and don't have enough mana. Otherwise it lets you cast more often with confidence your juice will recover quickly - especially with a mana regeneration potion on too!

(level 20 Restoration Magic required)
This causes all healing spells to heal 50% more. That is, a 60 point heal would now heal for 90 points. Great! It's the best way to improve the mana efficiency and life-saving properties of your Dovahkiin's restoration spells.

(level 40 Restoration Magic required)
Makes heals restore your Stamina, which can be good for melee or bow fighters. You could use this to help you run more on foot, but you could also get a horse... Note that this doesn't increase the experience you gain when healing. The healing itself is what gives the XP. Now, this will help your followers a lot in combat as they rely on stamina as well.

(level 70 Restoration Magic required)
This makes your spells 25% more effective against Undead. I take that to mean an undead that at level 12 would not be feared by a level 10 fear spell would with this perk. It also makes them flee longer, 50% longer. This would make Bane of the Undead incredibly powerful. If your character is a Vampire, they will be counted as Undead and any healing effects, beneficial magical effects, and even armor enchantments on them would be appropriately increased.

Ward Absorb
(level 60 Restoration Magic required)
Wards will absorb Magicka from your opponents' spells. This can help you keep barriers up when under bombardment by casters. I'm not a heavy user of wards, but if you are playing a caster and rely on them then you must have this perk.

Avoid Death
(level 90 Restoration Magic required)
Once per game day you can be brought back to life if your life falls below 10% health. Now, it won't help if you are overkilled. No time for it to kick in. You see this effect come into play with certain types of creatures, like Spriggans and some casters. If you want this ability, it's certainly worth a point to get an extra life in tough fights. I'd definitely want it on a high difficulty game

Skyrim Stealth Perk List

Alchemy Skill Perks

Alchemy Guide

Alchemist (5 Ranks +20% Each)
(level 0/20/40/60/80 Alchemy Skill required)
Increases the strength or duration of potions by 20% per rank. Take all five points if your Dovahkiin is going to use Alchemy for survival, profit, or both.

(level 20 Alchemy Skill required)
Boosts Health, Magicka, and Stamina potions by 25% in power. This perk will pay off with higher potion values, whether you use the potions to heal or not.

(level 30 Alchemy Skill required)
Gives poisons +25% more power. Again, this could pay off with higher potion yields at the shop whether you're using poisons on weapons or not.

Concentrated Poison
(level 60 Alchemy Skill required)
Poisons applied to weapons last for twice as many hits. This Perk's usefulness really depends on your build. I'm not aware that this boosts the value of potions.

Green Thumb
(level 70 Alchemy Skill required)
Two ingredients are gathered from plants. Absolutely take this perk if you've got the prerequisites! Some rather rare herbs can be found in pairs, which is a great boost to you in terms of supplies and finances.

(level 30 Alchemy Skill required)
Potions you mix with beneficial effects have 25% greater magnitude. So, Fortify Enchanting potions will have a bigger kick, helping you to Enchant and produce better potions. Better take this perk if you're going that route.

Experimenter (3 Ranks, reveals 2/3/4 effects on eating an ingredient)
(level 50/70/90 Alchemy Skill required)
This perk isn't necessary if you use an Alchemy ingredients list, which I have in a table below.

(level 80 Alchemy Skill required)
Gives you 50% resistance to all poisons – a slightly helpful defensive Perk.

(level 100 Alchemy Skill required)
This is a perk that will impact your potions' final values, but ultimately helps from a gameplay perspective. All positives will be removed from poisons you create, but more importantly, all negatives are removed from potions, allowing for some better custom combinations.

Light Armor Skill Perks

Light Armor Guide

Agile Defender (5 Ranks, +20-100% Armor Rating from Light Armor)
(level 0/20/40/60/80 Light Armor Skill required)
If you will specialize in wearing all light armor, this is a great Perk, providing passive damage resistance and a means of reaching the armor cap in this type of gear, as items upgraded with Smithing will benefit even more from this boost.

Custom Fit
(level 30 Light Armor Skill required)
25% bonus to Armor when wearing Light Armor in the head, chest, hands, and feet slots.

Matching Set
(level 70 Light Armor Skill required)
25% bonus for wearing light armor in the head, chest, hands, and feet gear slots that are of the same type (Elven, Glass, Dragonscale, etc.)

(level 50 Light Armor Skill required)
Light Armor weighs nothing and doesn't slow you down when worn. So, wearing Light Armor with this perk is like wearing regular clothes - your character will run at their fastest.

Wind Walker
(level 60 Light Armor Skill required)
Stamina regenerates 50% faster when wearing all light armor in the head, chest, hands, and feet gear slots. This allows you to sprint more often, and can raise your damage output in combat by allowing you to power attack more often.

Deft Movement
(level 100 Light Armor Skill required)
Gives a 10% chance to "dodge" a melee attack, taking no damage, so long as your character wears all light armor (head, chest, hands, feet). A great perk you'll want if you've gone this far. Since you can get it with just four points, and get a lot of armor boost in the process, this is hard to pass up if you are sticking with light armor.

Lockpicking Skill Perks

Lockpicking Guide

Novice, Apprentice, Adept, Expert and Master Lock Perks
(level 0/25/50/75/100 Lockpicking Skill required)
Each of these perks makes the corresponding lock type easier to pick. It's not particularly helpful. The only locks that are actually difficult to open are Expert and Master, and even that depends on your Lockpicking level and player experience.

Quick Hands
(level 40 Lockpicking Skill required)
Able to pick locks without being noticed. That means you can stand in front of a door surrounded by NPC’s and still be able to pick the lock without anyone paying attention. This seems practical, but you need to invest 3 perks to get it and be level 40 in the skill. Aside from that, lockpicking is best done during the night - the moment you walk in and somebody sees you they will warn you to get out before they call the guards. This is a bad perk choice.

Wax Key
(level 50 Lockpicking Skill required)
Automatically gives you a copy of the of the picked lock’s key if it has one. Keep in mind that at level 100 in Thieves Guild armor you won’t need this perk as it will only take you a few tries to pick a Master Level lock thanks to your character's skill, armor bonuses, and your own experience as a player. This perk will cost you five perk points to unlock as well, which is quite a lot. You'll also waste opportunities to raise your level naturally when you use a wax key instead of picking another lock.

Golden Touch
(level 60 Lockpicking Skill required)
Find more gold in chests. Probably the best of this tree, but know that you are going to get rich in Skyrim very fast and very easy, with or without being willing to steal. This perk will cost you 4 perk points to get and requires level 60 Lockpicking to unlock.

Treasure Hunter
(level 70 Lockpicking Skill required)
50% greater chance of finding special treasure. Finding special treasure means you are more likely to find flawless rubies and enchanted items. Since gold is easy to come by in this game, the perk is not very helpful. If you finish the No Stones Unturned quest to complete the Crown of Barenziah you will be blessed with the infinite duration power 'Prowler’s Profit', which increases the rate at which the Dragonborn finds special gems inside any container, even Draugr bodies. This is a better effect than what the Treasure Hunter perk has to offer because it won’t cost you a single perk to unlock. But then, you do have to collect all 24 stones...

(level 80 Lockpicking Skill required)
Pick starts close to the opening position. Practical for those hard Master level locks, but is it worth unlocking this perk if it takes 5 points in the tree?

(level 100 Lockpicking Skill required)
Lock picks never break. That means with just one in your pocket you can unlock everything in the game and sell every other lock pick you find as you don’t need them. This seems practical, and it would be if it lockpicks didn't have a 0 weight value and a gold value of 2 coins each. That aside, during the Thieves Guild Quest line (spoiler alert) you will be given the option to hold on to the Skeleton Key for a while, which can open every lock type.

Pickpocket Skill Perks

Pickpocket Guide

Light Fingers (5 Ranks, 20/40/60/80/100% Pickpocket Bonus)
(level 0/20/40/60/80 Pickpocket Skill required)
Pickpocketing bonus of 20% per rank. Item weight and value reduce pickpocketing odds. You only need to invest one point in this as a prerequisite. When you are level 100 and you have more of the perks in this tree the chance of failing is pretty low. The chance of success is capped at 90%.. I can’t come up with any build who needs points in this. It would help early on, but later the points would be wasted. In Skyrim, one can become very rich pretty easily and this tree seems to exist to improve your carry weight, poison NPCs, and to collect/upgrade NPC armor.

Night Thief
(level 30 Pickpocket Skill required)
+25% Change to pickpocket if the target is asleep. This perk is okay, but you will mainly want to invest in it to benefit from later perks.

(level 40 Pickpocket Skill required)
Silently harm enemies by placing poison in their pockets. If you want something new in your game, you could go with this. See the Witch part of this guide below.

Extra Pockets
(level 50 Pickpocket Skill required)
Carrying capacity is increased by 100. Arguably one of the best perks in this tree. It does exactly what the description says and is very helpful to your ability to make money and carry more equipment.

(level 40 Pickpocket Skill required)
Pickpocketing gold is 50% easier. High quantities of gold can be the hardest items to pickpocket, so this may help you score some serious coin.

(level 60 Pickpocket Skill required)
Pickpocketing keys almost always works. If you save before trying to pickpocket a key and fail, you can always reload. Therefore, I don’t see any reason to pick this perk.

(level 70 Pickpocket Skill required)
Can pickpocket equipped weapons. Steal their weapon then kill them, or simply keep it for profit or your own use. You can steal a guards' weapons, enchant them and give them back. You can give them any weapon, but taking theirs is free. You need this to get one of the best Pickpocket perks, so it's one you will likely want either way.

Perfect Touch
(level 100 Pickpocket Skill required)
Can pickpocket equipped items. That means everything, even clothes the victim is wearing. Just make sure your sneak skill is high enough, or approach them while being invisible and with the Muffle spell activated. You can’t steal clothes if the target knows you’re there!

Sneak Skill Perks

Sneak Guide

Stealth (5 Ranks, 20/25/30/35/40% harder to detect while Sneaking)
(level 0/20/40/60/80 Sneak Skill required)
Does exactly as it says. If you're using Sneak as an Archer, taking one point is recommended no matter what else you do with your build, as it will let you get more shots off before detection.

(level 30 Sneak Skill required)
Sneak attacks with One-handed weapons do six times normal damage. This counts with dual-wielded weapons, it's simply meant to say that it affects 1H daggers, swords, maces, and axes.

Deadly Aim
(level 40 Sneak Skill required)
Raises bow sneak attack damage from 2x to 3x damage. That's a big boost in power, considering you usually get more than one shot, and sometimes several.

Assassin's Blade
(level 50 Sneak Skill required)
Sneak attacks with daggers do 15x damage. Incredibly powerful, making Daggers the most damaging weapon to sneak attack with. You'll want light armor or muffle to help you get close enough to the enemy to pull off such a backstab.

Muffled Movement
(level 30 Sneak Skill required)
Reduces the noise of your armor by 50%, meaning your effective weight is halved, making you harder to detect while moving.

Light Foot
(level 40 Sneak Skill required)
You will no longer trigger pressure plates on the ground while sneaking, making you immune to those types of traps in dungeons.

Silent Roll
(level 50 Sneak Skill required)
Sprinting while sneaking makes you roll forward, silently. This helps you close distances and even pass through lit areas to remain undetected.

(level 70 Sneak Skill required)
Walking and running no longer affect detection, meaning your armor's weight no longer matters. You won't need muffle.

Shadow Warrior
(level 100 Sneak Skill required)
Allows you to stealth during combat, so long as there is some distance between your Dragonborn and the enemy. Simply crouch, and you may slip into the shadows... This is an incredibly powerful Perk that any self-respecting assassin will take.

Speech Skill Perks

Speech Guide

Haggling (5 ranks, 10/15/20/25/30% better buy/sell prices)
(level 0/20/40/60/80 Speech Skill required)
Since it helps both buy and selling prices, this can seriously tip the scales in your favor when dealing with Merchants. Higher profit margins making potions, smithing, etc. can be found here. Don't underestimate the gameplay value of more money – you may not see direct damage or survivability increases, but it lets you afford the best items available for your level, earning you those goals indirectly.

(level 30 Speech Skill required)
Gives you 10% better prices when dealing with the opposite sex. When you have the next Perk, you can take advantage of this fully thanks to being able to sell any item to any shopkeeper.

(level 50 Speech Skill required)
Can buy/sell any kind of item to any Merchant. This vastly opens up your selling options and can help you make more money in less time.

(level 70 Speech Skill required)
Investor allows you to give a Merchant 500 gold, which will permanently increase the funding available to them. That means you can make more in less time, as you won't have to visit as many shopkeepers to empty your inventory. This will also help you sell the game's more expensive items at a profit, as many shopkeepers won't have enough gold available to cover them.

(level 90 Speech Skill required)
Allows you to barter stolen goods with any Merchant you've invested in, turning them into a Fence. Incredibly helpful for Dovahkiin with sticky fingers or professional thieves.

Master Trader
(level 100 Speech Skill required)
Every merchant gains 1000 Gold for Bartering. If you bother to go all the way to Fence, you should absolutely grab this when you hit 100 Speech.

(level 30 Speech Skill required)
Allows you to bribe guards to ignore crimes, so long as your bounty isn't too high.

(level 50 Speech Skill required)
Persuasion attempts are 30% easier, allowing you to pass more dialog checks with a lower level – this is only for Persuade-type interactions.

(level 70 Speech Skill required)
Intimidation is twice as likely to succeed.

Comments (1)

Gage says...
Hey, just a minor revision of something I read here in this amazing guide!
Power shot does actually stagger larger creatures. I've been able to stun dragons, giants and mammoths alike with it. That's pretty much it! You're awesome, keep it up!
Thanks for sharing that with everyone who reads in the future. I can't test it myself at the moment, don't even have a Skyrim save at this point :(
2nd July 2014 8:06pm
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