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 Oblivion Ultimate

Oblivion Ultimate

            C h r i s    L e e ' s

        U l t i m a t e     O b l i v i o n     F A Q                    v 1.16

Table of Contents                                                            !-
To navigate to the different sections, simply use the shortcut key sequence to
the right of each section/subsection in whatever "find" mechanism you're using
in your browser or text editor.  The pattern behind shortcut key sequence is
simple - the first three letters (more, if necessary to be unambiguous) of each
related section, separated by ,'s, beginning with a ! and ending with -.
Section references later on in the text ignore the '!' so that you don't end up
jumping to the middle of a random paragraph, so always be sure you start with a
'!' when jumping around.
Intro and Contact Info     !int-

How to Use This Guide     !how-

Revising the So-Called "Leveling Problem"     !rev-

On "Creatures" and "Humanoids"     !onc-
    Generating Humanoids     !onc,genh-
    Generating Creatures     !onc,genc-

Attributes   !att-
    Strength (ST)     !att,str-
    Intelligence (IN)     !att,int-
    Willpower (WI)     !att,wil-
    Agility (AG)     !att,agi-
    Speed (SP)     !att,spe-
    Endurance (EN)     !att,end-
    Personality (PE)     !att,per-
    Luck (LU)     !att,luc-

Combat Skills     !com-
    Armorer     !com,arm-
    Athletics     !com,ath-
    Blade     !com,bla-
    Blunt     !com,blu-
    Block     !com,blo-
    Hand to Hand     !com,han-
    Heavy Armor     !com,hea-

Magic Skills     !mag-
    Alchemy     !mag,alc-
    Alteration     !mag,alt-
    Conjuration     !mag,con-
    Destruction     !mag,des-
    Illusion     !mag,ill-
    Mysticism     !mag,mys-
    Restoration     !mag,res-

Stealth Skills     !ste-
    Acrobatics     !ste,acr-
    Light Armor     !ste,lig-
    Marksman     !ste,mar-
    Mercantile     !ste,mer-
    Security     !ste,sec-
    Sneak     !ste,sne-
    Speechcraft     !ste,spe-

Birthsigns     !bir-

Races     !rac-

Vampirism     !vam-

Alternate Leveling Strategies     !alt-
    Correcting the Idea of "Efficient" Leveling     !alt,cor-
    x/x/x instead of +5/+5/+5     !alt,xxx-
    x/x/1 instead of +5/+5/+1     !alt,xx1-

End-game Strategies     !end-
    High DR + Reflect Damage     !end,highd-
    High Resist Spell + Reflect Spell     !end,highr-
    Alchemy/Poisons     !end,alc-
    Chameleon     !end,cha-
    Damage Fatigue     !end,dam-
    Conjuration     !end,con-
    Destruction     !end,des-
    Illusion     !end,ill-
    Speed 0     !end,spe-
        Hatred Equipment     !end,spe,hat-

Ludic Mechanics     !lud-
    Casting     !lud,cas-
    Spellmaking     !lud,spe-
    Enchanting     !lud,enc-
    Alchemy     !lud,alc-
    Effects     !lud,eff-
    Burden/Feather     !lud,bur-
    Combat     !lud,com-
        Combat for Creatures     !lud,com,com-
    Fatigue     !lud,fat-
    Movement     !lud,mov-

World Mechanics     !wor-
    Vampirism     !wor,vam-
        What It Does     !wor,vam,wha-
        How to Get It     !wor,vam,how-
    Oblivion Gates and Sigil Stones     !wor,obl-
        Attribute Sigil Stones     !wor,obl,att-
        Fatigue/Health/Magicka Sigil Stones     !wor,obl,fat-
        Elemental Damage Sigil Stones     !wor,obl,ele-
        Skill Sigil Stones     !wor,obl,ski-
        Magic-Effect Sigil Stones     !wor,obl,mag-
        Sigil Stone Frequencies     !wor,obl,sig-
    Alchemy Equipment Locations     !wor,alc-
        Conjurer Dungeons     !wor,alc,con-
        Necromancer Dungeons     !wor,alc,nec-
    Where to get Spell Effects     !wor,whe-
        Alteration     !wor,whe,alt-
        Conjuration     !wor,whe,con-
        Destruction     !wor,whe,des-
        Illusion     !wor,whe,ill-
        Mysticism     !wor,whe,mys-
        Restoration     !wor,whe,res-

Appendix     !app-
    References     !app,ref-
    Version History     !app,ver-
    All Works      !app,all-

Intro and Contact Info                                                    !int-
Oblivion is an older game, but one that has aged, in my opinion, quite
gracefully.  Part of that is because of the ambitiousness of its game engine,
which was used to great effect in Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas; combined
with the diminishing returns of photorealism in games, it takes quite a
curmudgeon to be turned off by Oblivion's graphics and physics, even when put
up against sequel Skyrim.  The game mechanics themselves, at their best, are
rather fun and allow for open-ended character development, though there are
some critical flaws (namely with creature scaling) that this guide aims to
address, both mechanically and strategically.

There's also a lot written about Oblivion, most at the extensive Elder Scrolls
Wiki (see reference section app,ref for a link), contributed over time by users
anonymous and named.  Unfortunately it's rather disorganized, incoherent, and
frequently repeats incorrect analyses (especially with regards to the leveling
problem).  Originally I was planning on doing a wholesale revision of many of
the pages, but then I realized that (especially since 'strategy' is not
encouraged on wikis) my time was better spent starting from scratch.  If any
information from here makes it onto the wiki, then I guess I'm fine with that.

If you have any comments, corrections, rants, etc then feel free to get in
touch with me.  I tend to be prompt about my correspondence, as people who have
contacted me regarding my other guides can attest.  Simply hit me up at
withouT the underscores (they're just there to foil trivial email parsers for
spammers) with a subject line beginning with "Oblivion guide: " to help me
figure out what you're talking about.


How to Use This Guide                                                     !how-
This is not a walkthrough.

What this guide is four-fold:
    1.  An analysis of various attributes/skills for effectively creating a
    2.  A breakdown and discussion of both the "levelling problem" and various
        strategies to deal with it.
    3.  A discussion of the game mechanics.
    4.  A listing of where to find specific things related to end-game

Oblivion itself is pretty straight-forward - the quests are easy to follow and
there are no tricks in the main quest line.  So this guide does not purport to
hold your hand while you play the game.

This guide also assumes a modicum of familiarity with the game.  So this won't
tell you the basics of how to play.

Instead, treat this guide as an almanac of sorts.  Detailed discussions of the
nuances of the game, to be used as a reference point whenever you need a little
bit of guidance of which skill to tag as a Major skill, what attribute to
increase on a level up, or where to find crucial equipment or spells.

In effect - this guide is a wiki that has been curated, cut, editorialized, and
packaged up for easy consumption.  You literally won't find any more detailed
discussions of the mechanics anywhere, and you won't find it any simpler,
distilled form.  I've culled together hundreds of webpages, discussion threads,
forum posts, Oblivion or Elder Scrolls wiki pages into a linear, well-organized
guide so you don't have to put things together yourself.

Revising the So-Called "Leveling Problem"                                 !rev-
If you do a quick google/bing/whatever search for Oblivion, you will almost
undoubtedly find results related to the "leveling problem."  If you don't, you
can also just play the game and avoid the main quest until you hit level 12-16
and then do the "Battle for Kvatch" quest.  Then you'll _really_ understand the
leveling problem.

Simply put, every time you level up, the game levels up your encounters as
well.  The idea behind it is pretty intuitive: in an open-exploration game, you
don't really want to punish curious low-level players by suddenly pitting them
against epic bosses.  Similarly, you don't want to punish players who get to
high levels through the main quest by making every encounter super-boring and
trivial to do.

Unfortunately, there's a pretty big flaw with the way this works.  In general,
rpg players also like to feel that they are getting more and more powerful.
The way the leveling system in Oblivion works, though, you may easily find
yourself feeling weaker and weaker with each level, thanks to how the game does
everything in the background.  Tellingly, the two major games that would re-use
the Oblivion engine (Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas) would radically revise
the leveling system so that most enemies would _stop_ leveling after a certain
point, to ensure that powerful characters still feel powerful.  Also tellingly,
Oblivion's direct sequel (Skyrim) would instead use a system more like in
Fallout 3.

There's a _lot_ of mis-information out there, though.  The most prominent
strategic argument is that to avoid being dwarfed by your enemies as you level
up is that you _must_ level efficiently, ie train your skills such that at each
level up you either have three attribute increases at +5 or two attribute
increases at +5 and a luck bonus (respectively known as +5/+5/+5 and +5/+5/+1).
There's also another strategy of under-leveling and staying at level 1, but
I'll get to that later.

The problem is, neither +5/+5/+5 nor +5/+5/+1 actually help.  The logic is
based on some solid intuition, namely that on average humanoids get ~10
attributes at each level, so you must beat that (via total +15 or +10 and luck)
in order to stay ahead.  However, this ignores the fact that ultimately, every
character is bound by the fact that their attributes and skills are capped at
100.  Even with super-efficient levelling or super-inefficient levelling, you
will eventually get, for example, 100 Strength and 100 Blade and they can no
longer be meaningfully improved upon (exceptions noted later).  Meanwhile,
enemies -- especially enemy creatures -- will continue to get tremendous
amounts of extra health and melee/spell damage.  For example, the highest
health multiplier is 30 -- this means that at level 50 you can face off against
an enemy creature with an eye-bleeding 1,500 health!  So whether or not you max
out your combat skills by level 10 or by level 50, you will always eventually
be facing off against a creature with tremendous health against your max stats.

Now, some people may advocate under-leveling.  Either by staying at level 1 or
by stopping your leveling after you max out some key attributes (like Strength
in the above example).  Frankly, this is a degenerative exploit.  We can see
why by comparing this against how Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas handle it.
The _intention_ of letting you choose when to level up by sleeping was to avoid
having enemies in a dungeon get spontaneously harder as you progres through it.
So, both FO3 and F:NV thus _automatically_ level you up, once your current
fight ends (as oppossed to when you sleep), a more elegant and less-exploitable

So, I'm interested in finding _non-exploitive_ strategies to deal with the
"leveling problem."  That's ultimately what this guide is about.  In the end,
the leveling problem is not really that much of a problem, so much as you
choose an appropriate end-game strategy.  To put it more precisely, having the
most efficient leveling is "interesting" from a general "can you pull it off"
standpoint, but even the most efficiently-leveled character is still going to
face the leveling problem unless they adopt an end-game strategy.

And note that by "leveling problem" I don't just mean the game at level 50,
since I imagine all but the most tedious or expansive of players will have
finished the game long before then.  I mean the otherwise relative relative
gradual decline in power that all players (regardless of leveling efficiency)
will inevitably experience starting with their mid-teens.

I'll go into more detail later, but for the impatient, here are the end-game
strategies that I advocate (some are interrelated)
    85% Damage Reduction + Block + Reflect Damage
    100% Resist Magic + Reflect Spell
    Damage Fatigue
    Conjuration (Summoning spells)
    Destruction (Weakness spells)
    Speed 0

On "Creatures" and "Humanoids"                                            !onc-
There's an important but subtle rule in the game.  There are two types of
"beings" throughout the world.  This is made most clear in the fact that there
is a "Command Creature" spell and "Command Humanoid" spell.  This distinction
was supposed to be carried through to all sorts of different spells, but was
never implemented in the final stages of game development.  (Note that for
users of The Elder Scrolls wiki, "Humanoid" is described as "npc".)

Far from just a semantic distinction made by those two Illusion spells, the
game treats the two categories as _fundamentally distinct_.  Humanoids are
much like the player:  they are generated with a class (which also results in a
skill specialization and seven major skills), with a race (Draemora is
considered a race), definitive attributes, equipment, and then are leveled up
by certain rules (elaborated on later).  Humanoids can only also be soul
trapped if you have a Black Soul Gem.

Creatures are fundamentally different: instead of normal skills they have three
"compressed" skills that act as a proxy.  While they technically have
attributes, they are not meaningful in the same way as humanoids and the
player.  They also do not level up like the player or other humanoids and
instead have either fixed stats (such as the Mud Crabs that stay eternally
weak) or have multipliers based on the player's level.  These multipliers are
the reason why there is a "leveling problem."

Most of the time you can ignore the distinction, but for effects like "Drain
Strength" or "Absorb Mercantile" it becomes important to know how they affect
creatures and humanoids.  Moreover, most Illusion magic implicitly targets one
or the other (aside from Command Creature and Command Humanoid, all similar
spells target either just creatures or humanoids without providing an
equivalent for the other).
Generating Humanoids                                                 !onc,genh-

Named humanoids (like Brother Martin) generally have fixed stats (set by the
designers).  They will never get stronger, unless there is a stronger version
(also with fixed stats) that can replace them.  For reference sake, this is how
Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas handle their scaling.

Generic humanoids are ones that are created dynamically as the game needs
them, whether to populate dungeons or the countryside.  They tend to not have
specific names, instead being just "Bandit" or "Necromancer."

Every time the game generates a generic humanoid, it first sets their level to
an offset of your current level, ranging anywhere from level-4 to level+10,
though the distribution favors level-3 to level+1 (higher values tend to be for
boss-type enemies).  There is, of course, a minimum level of 1.  This level
also dictates what kind of gear the humanoid has, so you'll never see a level 1
Bandit brandishing a set of full Glass armor.

Starting at level 1, the game randomly generates a race and gender.  This
determines the starting (baseline) attributes for the humanoid.  Then a random
class is given, which defines two preferred attributes (which gives an initial
+5), a specialization (which gives +5 to a set of skills and increases their
level rate), and seven major skills (which starts them at Apprentice instead of
Novice and increases their level rate).  Not unsurprisingly, this is exactly
like how a player is created, minus a birthsign.

Then the game calculates how many levels it needs to ramp up the humanoid to
meet the target level decided earlier.  For each level, the game increases the
humanoid's minor skills by .1, specialization skills by .6, major skills by 1,
and major skills that are also specializations by 1.5.  After all these are
added for each level, the skill values are rounded down (truncated).

As part of this skill increase, the game also figures out per-level attribute
increases.  Unlike the player, the game doesn't choose three attributes to
increase, it instead increases all humanoid attributes by a number to represent
the average increase that a typical humanoid of this class would get.  This
number is based on how many major skills (decided earlier) is affiliated with a
given attribute and progresses as follows, though Personality and Luck are
never increased:
        0 related major skills => + .6 to attribute
        1 related major skill  => +1.4 to attribute
        2 related major skills => +2.2 to attribute
        3 related major skills => +3.0 to attribute
So a Mage would get +3 to Intelligence and Willpower (from having major skills
of Alchemy/Conjuration/Mysticism and Alteration/Destruction/Restoration);
+1 to Personality (from Illusion), which is ignored; and all other non-Luck
attributes get +.6 per level.
    All these additions are summed up and the final value is rounded down
(truncated).  If all major skills are in the class specialization (like the
Mage example above) this means that humanoids gain anywhere from 6.8 to 9.2
attribute points per level; this is the basis for the +5/+5/+5 or +5/+5/+1
efficient leveling argument (since a player, to keep pace, must arguably get 10
attribute points or more per level).
    Note that a consequence of this system is that even tertiarily-related
attributes for humanoids will eventually max out at 100 at high levels, though
this is also true for the player.

A humanoid's health and magicka are generated differently from the player.
Instead of being based on Endurance, health is now the average of Strength and
Endurance for the initial value.  Health is also based on the humanoid's class
instead of Endurance for per-level increases.  Specifically, if the humanoid's
class has a magic specialization, it gains 3 health per level.  For a stealth
specialization, it gains 4 health per level.  For a combat specialization, it
gains 5 health per level.  If one of the preferred attributes is Endurance
(like the Sorcerer class), then whatever number you got from the above is
increased by 1 (so a Sorcerer would gain 4 health per level).  Moreover, at low
levels, the humanoid's health is further penalized to make early game combat
easy.  In short, the equation is:
        Humanoid Health = penalty x ((level - 1) x class
            + (strength + endurance) / 2)

        where penalty is:
            .4 for level = 1,
            .55 for level = 2,
            .7 for level = 3,
            .85 for level = 4,
            and 1 for all other levels

        and where class is:
            3 for magic specialization,
            4 for stealth specialization,
            5 for combat specialization,
            with a +1 bonus for a preferred attribute of Endurance
A side effect of this health generation process is that humanoids are _not at
all_ affected by Absorb/Damage/Drain Endurance effects for influencing
their health (and Absorb/Damage/Drain Strength don't do anything either).
Endurance modifications do influence Fatigue as normal, however.
    Interestingly, a ramification of this is that players with a modest
Endurance of 50 will still outpace most of the health gains that humanoids
enjoy throughout the game.

Magicka is less complicated and is simply 2.5 times Intelligence, versus 2
times Intelligence for the player.
Generating Creatures                                                 !onc,genc-

Compared to the complexities of generating a humanoid, generating a creature is
faster, easier and therefore more flawed.

There are two types of creatures: fixed and leveled.  Fixed creatures are like
fixed humanoids, pre-set (ie by the game designers) and unchanging with your
level.  Leveled creatures are ones that have multipliers that vary based on the
player level.  Note that just because a creature may be fixed does not mean
that the creature will always be weak; creatures frequently have multiple,
fixed versions (of varying strengths) and may also have leveled variants.

There are some stark distinctions with humanoids.  First, strength has no
influence on melee damage:  melee damage is set by the game designers, with
only a potential level-based modifier.  Strength does influence encumbrance,
but creatures don't have any equipment (except Goblins, which count as
creatures instead of humanoids).  Speed influences movement speed like for
humanoids, but tends to be more exaggerated or diminished based on the creature
type (as if there is a creature-specific multiplier for movement speed).
Intelligence has no influence on Magicka and only seems to be used for AI
purposes.  Endurance, unlike the player but similar to humanoids, has no
influence on health:  health is also pre-set by the game designers with a
potential level-based modifier.  Fatigue also does not influence melee damage
output for creatures, only serving as a "knock-out" point when it hits 0.

Skills also vary dramatically: instead of having 21 distinct skills, all the
skills are collapsed into the three broad categories - combat, stealth, and
magic.  Notably, Marksman is re-classified as combat in this grouping.  Unlike
humanoids, combat skills do not influence damage output, so presumably they are
used exclusively for combat perks (power attacks and the like).  Athletics is
probably ignored from combat, since creature movement seems to be dictated
solely by speed and creature type.  Heavy/light armor is also probably ignored
since the vast majority of creatures have no damage resistance or pre-set ones.
Since creatures cannot use items, Alchemy and Armorer are probably ignored.
Morever, the stealth group is probably completely ignored, since creatures
cannot lockpick, sneak, jump, barter, or speechcraft.  It may be used to
determine how well a creature can track the player's sneaking.

That being said, the way that creatures get more powerful is through either
leveled lists (which replace fixed creatures with more powerful creature types
and versions at higher player levels) or through the use of leveled creatures.
Leveled creatures feature health multipliers, attack damage multipliers, and,
if they can cast spells, appropriately-powered spells.  To be illustrative,
Minotaur Lords are leveled versions of normal Minotaurs that feature:
        Health = 22 x player level (minimum of 396)
        Melee attack = 24 + (player level / 2) (minimum of 33)
So for a player at level 50, a Minotaur Lord would have a whopping 1,100 health
and deal a searing 49 damage per attack, up to an astonishing 147 for a
standing power attack.

Because leveled lists and leveled creatures do not obey humanoid/player rules
for progression, creatures are primarily the source for complaints about
Oblivion's "leveling problem."  Which makes sense; that's an obscene amount of
health gain per level.  But the problem, as I mentioned in section ref-, is
that no amount of leveling efficiency can possibly produce a player that can do
enough damage to outpace the 22 health per level a Minotaur Lord is getting.
Fortunately, this guide will help out with solving that problem.

Attributes                                                                !att-
Strength (ST)                                                         !att,str-

Related skills:  Blade, Blunt, Hand to Hand

Increases maximum carry weight
    Carry Weight = 5 x ST

Increases Blade/Blunt damage
    Attribute Multiplier = .75 + .005 x ST

Increases/Determines HtH damage
    Base Fist Damage = 1 + .105 x ST

Indirectly determines HtH damage to enemy's Fatigue
    Fatigue Damage = 1 + HtH Damage/2

Contributes to determining base Fatigue
    Base Fatigue = ST + WI + AG + EN

Increases past 100 matter?
    A ST higher than 100 only affects carry weight and fatigue.

    ST is somewhat important if you plan on wearing armor and using weapons,
as otherwise you'll find yourself easily over-encumbered (especially if you
like Heavy Armor).  A high Strength is incredibly important for Hand to Hand
combat (since it has so much influence over the final damage), but for other
melee weapons, interestingly, a high Strength is less important.  That's
because even with a modest starting score (40, let's say), you'll still be able
to almost do the normal base damage of a weapon (.95 multiplier).  Extra
bonuses on top of that are nice, but not crucial.
Intelligence (IN)                                                     !att,int-

Related skills:  Conjuration, Mysticism, Alchemy

Determines Base Magicka
    Base Magicka = 2 x IN

Indirectly determines Magicka regeneration
    See Willpower (att,wil-)

Increases past 100 matter?

    Almost everyone is going to need just enough Intelligence to cast some
important spells, especially Restoration-school ones.  That being said, only
dedicated spellcasters will need to invest in this attribute.
Willpower (WI)                                                        !att,wil-

Related Skills:  Alteration, Destruction, Restoration

Determines Magicka regeneration
    Seconds to regenerate 100% = 100 / (.75 + .02 x WI)

Contributes to determining base Fatigue
    Base Fatigue = ST + WI + AG + EN

Increases past 100 matter?

    Note that Magicka regeneration is _independent_ of how much Magicka you
actually have.  Whether you have 50 or 1000, with a WI of 100 it will take 36
seconds to go from empty to full.  Because of this, in certain cases your
_absolute_ regeneration is helped more significantly by increasing your Magicka
instead of your Willpower (especially when the relative change to your Magicka
pool is quite significant).
    In general, Willpower is almost only useful for dedicated spellcasters, ie
ones who cannot survive on Potions of Restore Magicka/Sorcery alone.  Note that
Willpower is almost certainly useless for characters with the Atronach
Agility (AG)                                                          !att,agi-

Related Skills:  Marksman, Security, Sneak

Increases Bow/Arrow Damage
    Attribute Multiplier = .75 + .005 x AG

Gives chance to avoid being 'staggered' by enemy attacks
    Unknown equation, though probably a denominator to an equation, like:
    Chance of staggering = (some unknown) / (some unknown + AG)

Contributes to determining base Fatigue
    Base Fatigue = ST + WI + AG + EN

Increases past 100 matter?
    Only for stagger-evasion and fatigue.

    Not exactly a top-tier attribute.  Ironically, bow-users will probably care
less about this stat then melee users:  eventually all markspeople will need to
rely on poisons or repeatable stealth damage, making the damage bonus less
significant.  In addition, because markspeople will keep their distance, their
need to avoid being staggered by attacks is not as high.
    It's a bit unclear as to how exactly the stagger mechanic works.  Simply
put, everytime an enemy hits you, there's some back-end math that determines
whether or not the hit staggers you.  Melee users will probably care about this
a lot, as being up against more than one enemy at a time can easily result in
being chain-staggered.
    Note that there doesn't appear to be any evidence that being knocked around
(by enemy power attacks) is something that can be avoided by Agility.
Speed (SP)                                                            !att,spe-

Related Skills:  Acrobatics, Athletics, Light Armor

Determines base movement multiplier
    Base Movement Multiplier = .9 + .004 x SP

Increases past 100 matter?

    Either incredibly useful or absolutely useless.  For cloth-wearing players,
a high Speed bestows incredible mobility, being able to dodge in and out of
melee with ease.  For low-encumbered players, a high Speed helps you run
circles around enemies while casting ranged spells, shooting arrows, or letting
poisons take effect.  For high-encumbered players, all but the highest of Speed
is useless, as it doesn't let them do any of these.  Figure out your armoring
strategy first before investing any level-up attribute increases here.
    Note that an implication of the movement multiplier is that jumps are also
affected.  It also means that players with very low Speed (through Draining or
whatnot) will actually move _slower_ than their race would normally dictate.
Endurance (EN)                                                        !att,end-

Related Skills:  Armorer, Block, Heavy Armor

Determines player's base health
    Base Health = 2 x EN

Determines player's level-up health bonus
    Health Bonus = Unmodified EN / 10 (rounded down)

Contributes to determining base Fatigue
    Base Fatigue = ST + WI + AG + EN

Increases past 100 matter?
    Only for base health and fatigue.

    Virtually a top-tier attribute.  Almost every character will want to at
least get their Endurance up to 50 as soon as possible, especially since that
level-up health bonus is _not retroactive_.  After that, while further
increases in health is nice, due to the leveling problem, damage reduction
becomes more important than absolute health, so you don't _need_ that much
extra health.  Plus, every increase in Endurance is an increase that must be
occasionally matched by an increase in either Intelligence or Willpower,
since it's no good if you have a massive health pool but then don't have the
Magicka (or Alchemy) to heal all that health back up.
    Note that Endurance appears to be the only attribute that keeps track of a
special Unmodified version, solely to determine how much health you gain on a
level-up (so you don't get too penalized from having an Endurance disease or so
you don't benefit too much just from Fortifying your Endurance before you
level-up).  All other uses of an attribute use whatever value you see on your
character page and only make further distinctions based on whether it's higher
than 100 or not.
Personality (PE)                                                      !att,per-

Related Skills:  Mercantile, Illusion, Speechcraft

Affects starting humanoid disposition
    Disposition = PE + (PE - Target Humanoid PE) / 4 (rounding down)

Increases past 100 matter?

    Either incredibly useful or absolutely useless.  For the most part,
endless Speechcraft, Charm spells, or Bribing will help fill in low
Dispositions.  However, because _all_ humanoid dispositions are affected, you
could theoretically fortify your base Personality to such a level where
normally hostile humanoids (such as Bandits and even Dremora) will not attack
you on sight, though you may also need a helping hand from Fame bonuses.  This
would require a heavy investment in Personality though, not only maxing out
Personality to 100 but equipping Fortify Personality items and casting Fortify
Personality spells before you enter new cells.
Luck (LU)                                                             !att,luc-

Related Skills:  None

Invisibly increases all skills (other than Athletics, Acrobatics, and
    Skill bonus = .4 x (LU - 50) (rounding down)

Subtly affects some scripted events
    Affects starting health of Arena combats when betting on an outcome.
    Chance that Mehrunes Razor instantly kills Daedra = 1% + LU / 20
    Maybe others.

Increases past 100 matter?
    Yes, but may not be useful.

    The only skills that Luck does not increase are also ones that can be
meaningfully increased past 100.  Looks like an intentional decision to prevent
degenerative Luck+Skill increases.

    All or nothing.  Since Luck has no related skills, each level up can only
provide a +1 to Luck, so a dedicated, long-term investment is necessary (the
cornerstone of the x/x/1 level strategy).  Luck _cannot_ improve a skill past
100, so if you plan on playing Oblivion until you get every skill to 100,
there's no point in you investing in Luck.  Similarly, even though Luck can be
fortified past 100 meaningfully, if all your skills are already pretty high,
then getting a +60 to all your skills from having 200 Luck may not be helpful.
    What Luck _does_ let you do is become more versatile.  While your character
sheet will only display your base skill levels, all other uses of your skills
are properly modified, though you will generally not get the special 'perks'
for attaining certain skill levels (like spellcasting requirements).  Even
without the perks, Luck will still:
        Increase weapon and Hand to Hand damage.
        Increase all armors' damage reduction.
        Increase damage prevented by blocking.
        Reduce spells' Magicka costs.
        Improve buy/sell rates at merchants.
        Improve crafted potions.
        Improve repair hammer effectiveness.
        Increase sneak success rates.
        Make lockpicking and lockpicking auto-attempt easier.
In all cases where the game shows you skill-based information, that information
is already modified by Luck.  So your listed Hand to Hand damage or your
spells' Magicka costs are all already reflecting any Luck bonuses to your
    Luck _does_ grant you the special perk from Master Armorer (repair hammers
never break).  It also grants you the special perk from Apprentice Block (no
more fatigue loss from blocking attacks).

Combat Skills                                                             !com-
Skills are rated on a system of one to three stars as such:
    * Passable, probably ignorable
    ** Powerful
    *** Powerful _and_ has a self-contained end-game strategy
Armorer **                                                            !com,arm-

Related Attribute:  Endurance

Apprentice perk:  Repair hammers last twice as long.
Journeyman perk:  Can repair magic items.
Expert perk:  Can repair items to 125% condition, which increases damage, damage
    reduction, and may increase resale value.
Master perk:  Repair hammers never break.

Determines repair hammer efficiency
    Item health repaired = 3 + Armorer

    If you're planning on doing your own repairs (ie wearing something other
than cloth as armor), then it behooves you to get to Journeyman (50 Armorer) as
soon as possible, or else you'll quickly find it hard to ever train your
Armorer skill, since more and more equipment will be magical.
    Note that while repairing items to 125% condition will also improve their
resale value, this is only true up until you have Apprentice Mercantile, which
then gives you the 'perk' of ignoring equipment condition for sales.
    Also note that "item health" is different from the condition number you see
in your inventory.  This is really the percentage condition; all items have
their own relative levels of fragility, so some will go from 100 to 0 quickly
while others take a lot longer.  If you don't want to have to always look up
individual item's health, then just think of repairing in terms of relative
efficiency:  50 Armorer is almost twice as effective as 25 Armorer, while 100
Armorer isn't that much better than 99 Armorer (aside from the perk).
    That being said virtually anyone who's not a pure mage wants 50 Armorer to
be able to repair magic weapons without having to make trips back to a shop all
the time (which can be both annoying and expensive).  Most combat-oriented
people will really want 75 Armorer, since the ability to do 125 condition armor
and weapons will dramatically increase your effectiveness.  And 100 Armorer
(which you can also get via Fortify or Luck bonuses) effectively can free up a
significant amount of weight, since you no longer have to carry dozens of
Repair Hammers to last you a couple of Oblivion Gates/Dungeons.
Athletics *                                                           !com,ath-

Related Attribute:  Speed

Novice baseline:  Regenerate 2 Fatigue/second while running (instead of 10).
Apprentice perk:  Regenerate 4 Fatigue/second while running (instead of 10).
Journeyman perk:  Regenerate 6 Fatigue/second while running (instead of 10).
Expert perk:  Regenerate 8 Fatigue/second while running (instead of 10).
Master perk:  There is no penalty to Fatigue regeneration when running.

Improves Running and Swimming movement speed
    Running Speed Multiplier = 3 + .01 x Athletics
    "Walking" Swim Speed Multiplier = .5 + .0002 x Athletics
    "Running" Swim Speed Multiplier = .5 + .001 x Athletics

    Can be meaningfully increased past 100, like Acrobatics and Speechcraft.

    Most useful for someone going for a no-encumbrance or low-encumbrance style
of play.  With 100 Athletics, your run is four times your walk speed instead of
three times your walk speed.  Because this is so similar in process to the
attribute Speed, this is a skill that is either incredibly useful or absolutely
useless for your needs.
Blade **                                                              !com,bla-

Related Attribute:  Strength

Novice baseline:  Power attacks do 2.5x normal damage, no extra effects.
Apprentice perk:  Standing power attack does 3x normal damage.
Journeyman perk:  Left/Right-moving power attacks have 5% disarm chance.
Expert perk:  Backwards-moving power attack has 5% knockdown chance.
Master perk:  Forwards-moving power attack has 5% paralyze chance (ignores
    Resist Paralysis, lasts quite a while).

Determines Blade base weapon damage
    Blade Base Weapon Damage = .5 x Modifed Base x (.02 + .015 x Blade),
    where Modified Base = Base x (Weapon Condition + 100) / 200

    In general, Blade weapons are faster than Blunt but make up for it by doing
less damage.  Choosing one or the other is primarily a stylistic choice.
However, if you heavily prize 'on strike' enchantments, then the higher attack
rate of Blades is more powerful.

    Blade and Blunt are the workhorse of melee combat.  In general, even though
both Strength and Blade/Blunt are on a scale of 100, increases in Blade or
Blunt are far more significant in increasing your weapon damage, though both
are important.  Notably, enchantments and poisons on weapons are not affected
by Strength or Blade/Blunt, so the significance of your actual weapon damage
goes down as the game progresses and you must rely on extra effects to polish
off enemies.  That being said, getting a 100 in Blade or Blunt is incredibly
significant, since being able to paralyze at will (even if only a 5% chance),
directly out of a block even, is astonishingly useful.
Blunt **                                                              !com,blu-

Related Attribute:  Strength

Novice baseline:  Power attacks do 2.5x normal damage, no extra effects.
Apprentice perk:  Standing power attack does 3x normal damage.
Journeyman perk:  Left/Right-moving power attacks have 5% disarm chance.
Expert perk:  Backwards-moving power attack has 5% knockdown chance.
Master perk:  Forwards-moving power attack has 5% paralyze chance (ignores
    Resist Paralysis, lasts quite a while).

Determines Blunt base weapon damage
    Blunt Base Weapon Damage = .5 x Modifed Base x (.02 + .015 x Blunt),
    where Modified Base = Base x (Weapon Condition + 100) / 200

    In general, Blunt weapons are slower than Blades but make up for it by
doing more damage.  Choosing one or the other is predominantly a stylistic
choice.  However, if you prize sneak attack or a style of combat that involves
poking out for one to two attacks in between blocks, doing more up-front damage
with a Blunt weapon is more powerful.
    Blunt weapons are also heavier in general.

And nalysis:
    Blade and Blunt are the workhorse of melee combat.  In general, even though
both Strength and Blade/Blunt are on a scale of 100, increases in Blade or
Blunt are far more significant in increasing your weapon damage, though both
are important.  Notably, enchantments and poisons on weapons are not affected
by Strength or Blade/Blunt, so the significance of your actual weapon damage
goes down as the game progresses and you must rely on extra effects to polish
off enemies.  That being said, getting a 100 in Blade or Blunt is incredibly
significant, since being able to paralyze at will (even if only a 5% chance),
directly out of a block, is astonishingly useful.
Block ***                                                             !com,blo-

Related Attribute:  Endurance

Novice baseline:  Blocking is fatiguing, Hand to Hand blocks do not cause
    enemies to recoil.
Apprentice perk:  Blocking is no longer fatiguing, but Hand to Hand blocks
    still do not cause enemies to recoil.
Journeyman perk:  Shield/weapon no longer damaged by blocking. Hand to Hand
    blocking now can cause enemy to recoil.  (Note - the game says that
    Hand to Hand blocks do not block damage, this is inaccurate.)
Expert perk:  A shield block has a 25% chance to counterattack with a staggering
    shield slam.
Master perk:  A shield block has a 5% chance of disarming the enemy upon a
    successful counterattack.

Determines blocking damage mitigation
    Shield Block Damage Multiplier = 1 - (.75 x Block/100)
    Weapon Block Damage Multiplier = 1 - (.5 x Block/100)
    Hand to Hand Block Damage Multiplier = 1 - (.25 x Block/100)

    In other words, shields can block up to 75% of damage, weapons can block up
to 50% of damage, and blocking with just your fists can still block up to 25%
of damage.

    Please be aware that information out there about block is pretty
inaccurate.  Through some experimentation, those damage mitigation numbers
appear to be accurate; contrary to what some websites and guides say, blocking
with Hand to Hand _does_ provide damage mitigation, just much less than
blocking with a weapon or a shield.
    In addition, the equations do mean that blocking with anything at a block
skill of 0 (or even just very low numbers) will provide little-to-no damage
mitigation at all.  There may be a minimum effectiveness for blocking, but if
so, it's very small and it didn't show up in my testing.  That, of course,
doesn't mean you shouldn't block at low skill levels; with a weapon or a shield
you can still get the enemy to recoil, and if you never block you'll never
train your block skill up to levels where it does provide significant damage
    Also note that the damage multiplier occurs independently of any damage
reduction from your armor rating.  This means you are not capped at a combined
block+armor rating damage mitigation of 85%.  In fact, with a shield, Block
100, and 85 Armor Rating, a successful block will reduce incoming damage to
3.75% of its original value.  Even with Hand to Hand, you're still reducing
that incoming damage to 11.25% of normal.

    Block, simply put, is amazing.  It's the only normal way to get around the
85% physical damage reduction cap from Armor Rating and Shield effects.  It
requires a bit of practice to get the timing down right, but one-on-one fights
become a tightly-orchestrated dance of blocking, waiting for the opponent's
attack, and when they hit your shield (or weapon or hands), leaping in with an
attack or two, then putting your shield back up for the counterattack.
    As mentioned in the notes, because the damage mitigation of blocking an
attack is independent of the damage reduction from your Armor Rating and Shield
effects, you can get astoundingly reduced damage numbers.  This, in fact, is
the central component to an end-game strategy of High Damage Reduction.  A
power attack from a Minotaur Lord at level 50 can peak at 150 points of damage.
Even with maximum Endurance, fortify Health effects, and aggressively
increasing Endurance to maximize per-level Health gains, your character will
still only survive only a small number of direct hits.  Gird him or her with
85% Damage Reduction and a Shield, and even a scrawny, 30 Endurance caster will
still be able to take hit after hit without seeing a noticable dip in their
Health bar.
    Even if you don't plan on engaging in much sword-and-board style combat,
training your Block is important.  Invariably, you will find yourself cornered
or trapped or just needing just a little bit of time to do an Acrobatics roll
away to disengage.  Well, in this case, even a lowly staff or bow can provide
upwards of a whopping 50% reduction in incoming damage, plus, at Journeyman
your fragile staff won't shatter and break after just a few successful blocks.

Note that even though Hand to Hand is obviously the worst blocker, Block
synergizes with the Hand to Hand skill to give you extra attacks to make up for
it.  I think the developers just simply wanted to avoid players getting too
much of a benefit from fist blocking without also investing in fists as a
skill.  In fact, this is the only way you can block with a "weapon" and get the
special Expert/Master perks of blocking with a shield (albeit by investing in
an additional skill).
Hand to Hand **                                                       !com,han-

Related Attribute:  Strength

Novice baseline:  Power attacks do 2.5x normal damage, no extra effects.
Apprentice perk:  Standing power attack does 3x normal damage.
Journeyman perk:  Left/Right-moving power attacks have 5% disarm chance.  Hand
    to Hand attacks now count as "Silver" weapons for penetrating Resist Normal
    Weapons.  In addition, there is a chance of an automatic counter-attack
    when blocking an attack with your hands.
Expert perk:  Backwards-moving power attack has 5% knockdown chance.  There is
    also a chance of doing a knockback attack when blocking.
Master perk:  Forwards-moving power attack has 5% paralyze chance (ignores
    Resist Paralysis, lasts quite a while).  There is also a chance of
    disarming when doing a knockback attack when blocking.

Increases/Determines HtH damage
    Multiplier = .01 x Hand to Hand

Indirectly determines HtH damage to enemy's Fatigue
    Fatigue Damage = 1 + HtH Damage/2

    Unlike other weapon skills, Hand to Hand has the special distinction of
also damaging the enemy's Fatigue.  This helps make up for the fact that Hand
to Hand does less damage per strike than weapons and also cannot be enchanted
or poisoned to provide that extra bit of oomph necessary for an end-game
    Hand to Hand attacks are moderately fast, on par with a shortsword.
    The counter-attack on blocking (from the Journeyman perk) is rather common,
though I'd be hard pressed to give an actual percentage.  I'd say ~25% of
blocks or so yield a counter attack.  The Expert and Master perks give that
counter attack a chance to do extra things, though I'm pretty sure the odds of
a knockback or a disarm on the counter attack roughly mirror the Expert and
Master perks for Block.
    Note that the disarming effect on the counterattack (from the Master perk)
works even if the enemy is out of range of any counterattack.  Even if you
don't actually do a counterattack, you can actually disarm Markspeople of their
bows from blocking arrows.

    The overall damage output may be low, you won't be able to use a shield
with it, but don't underestimate Fatigue damage!  Early on, it basically means
that heavily-armored humanoids can get repeatedly knocked to the ground,
especially since everytime they swing their weapons they take Fatigue damage
themselves.  Later on, you'll need supplemental spells to help pierce enemy's
high Fatigue levels, but combined with the Paralyze forward attack, you can
keep enemies knocked out.  A potentially important component to the Damage
Fatigue end-game strategy.
    In addition, because you don't have a heavy weapon or shield equipped, you
will be able to move faster.  Hand to Hand combat thus sort of synergizes
extensively with having a high Speed and Athletics skill, in addition to being
unencumbered or having Master-level Heavy Armor or Light Armor.
Heavy Armor **                                                        !com,hea-

Related Attribute:  Endurance

Novice baseline:  Heavy Armor degrades at 150% normal.
Apprentice perk:  Heavy Armor degrades normally.
Journeyman perk:  Heavy Armor degrades at 50% normal.
Expert perk:  Equipped Heavy Armor only has 50% encumbrance.
Master perk:  Equipped Heavy Armor has no encumbrance.

Determines Heavy Armor rating
    Heavy Armor Rating = Modified Base Armor x (.35 + .0065 x Heavy Armor),
    where Modified Base Armor = Base x (Armor Condition + 100) / 200

    With end-game gear, Heavy Armor can provide 75 Armor Rating with a heavy
shield, 52 without a heavy shield.

    Solid.  With fully repaired (125%) Heavy Armor, you can be put at the
damage reduction cap (85%) without needing to worry about enchantments and the
like.  That means you can devote those enchantments to increasing other stats.
Ironically, once you train up to Master-level Heavy Armor, you will actually be
able to move faster than an un-encumbered cloth wearer.  The only reason why I
don't give this skill three stars is because there are multiple other ways to
get to 85 Armor Rating.

Magic Skills                                                              !mag-
Skills are rated on a system of one to three stars as such:
    * Passable, probably ignorable
    ** Powerful
    *** Related to a viable end-game strategy
Alchemy ***                                                           !mag,alc-

Related Attribute:  Intelligence

Novice baseline:  Can only see one effect for ingredients.
Apprentice perk:  Can see two effects for ingredients.
Journeyman perk:  Can see three effects for ingredients.
Expert perk:  Can see all effects for ingredients.
Master perk:  Can make a potion using just one ingredient (uses the first

Determines effectiveness of crafted potions
    See Alchemy mechanics (section lud,alc-) for full details.

    Very, very, very good.  With a full set of Alchemy equipment, poisons can
outpace anything you can craft at a spellmaking altar, due to the interesting
ways multipliers for Alchemy work on the back-end.  Plus, it's also all
amplified by the fact that Poisons are amplified by Weakness to Poison (in
addition to any elemental-specific Weaknesses), one-upping weapon enchantments
for staying power.
    Plus, you don't need Magicka or other Magic skills to make use of all the
various Alchemy effects.  Muy excellente!
Alteration *                                                          !mag,alt-

Related Attribute:  Willpower

Apprentice perk:  Can cast spells that require Alteration 25.
Journeyman perk:  Can cast spells that require Alteration 50.
Expert perk:  Can cast spells that require Alteration 75.
Master perk:  Can cast spells that require Alteration 100.

Reduces the Magicka cost of Alteration effects
    Final Cost = Base Cost x (1.4 - .012 x Alteration)

Provides access to the following enchantable and/or castable effects:
    Burden, Feather, Water Breathing, Water Walking, Open
    Fire Shield, Frost Shield, Shock Shield, Shield

Special Major Skill Notes:
    If you choose Alteration as a Major Skill, you start with the following
    Open Very Easy Lock:  Does what it says.
    Protect:  Shield 5% for 30 sec on self.

    Due to the way the Magicka discount is calculated, increases in this skill
actually provide _increasing_ returns.  To illustrate, going from 1 to 2 in
this skill provides less than a 1% decrease in Magicka costs.  Going from 99 to
100, however, provides a whopping 6% decrease in Magicka costs!  As such, even
spells that are prohibitively expensive at Expert-level will become very
affordable by the time you hit Master-level (costs at Expert-level are 2.5
times higher than the costs calculated at Master-level).
    Note that Fire/Frost/Shock Shields are actually combination Resist
Fire/Frost/Shock and Shield spells.  So a Fire Shield 15%, for example, grants
both Resist Fire 15% and Shield 15%.

    A bit under-powered; this school is filled primarily with utility spells.
The various Shields are, however, an important component of an end-game
strategy.  Shock Shield may seem some use since Storm Atronachs have a Shock
pseudo-counter attack and Spider Daedra love using lightning; Fire Shield is
probably generally more useful thanks to the prevalence of Fire-using enemies
at all levels (going from Scamps at low level all the way to Daedroths and
Oblivion Fire Towers).
    Burden is the runt of the bunch, which is odd considering how common an
effect Burden is on ingredients and random magic items.  If you want more
details, you should skip to the Burden/Feather mechanics discussion (see
section lud,bur-).  If you don't want more details, just know that if you do
want to make use of Burden, it's best used on enemies with light encumbrance.
    Heavy use of Alteration also obviates the need for Security; you can create
an Open Very Hard Lock spell once you get Alteration 75.
Conjuration **                                                        !mag,con-

Related Attribute:  Intelligence

Apprentice perk:  Can cast spells that require Conjuration 25.
Journeyman perk:  Can cast spells that require Conjuration 50.
Expert perk:  Can cast spells that require Conjuration 75.
Master perk:  Can cast spells that require Conjuration 100.

Reduces the Magicka cost of Conjuration effects
    Final Cost = Base Cost x (1.4 - .012 x Conjuration)

Provides access to the following castable effects:
    Bound equipment
    Undead/daedric summons
    Turn Undead

Special Major Skill Notes:
    If you choose Conjuration as a Major Skill, you start with the following
    Turn Undead:  Turn Undead up to level 3 for 30 sec on target.
    Summon Skeleton:  Summon Skeleton for 40 sec on self.

    Due to the way the Magicka discount is calculated, increases in this skill
actually provide _increasing_ returns.  To illustrate, going from 1 to 2 in
this skill provides less than a 1% decrease in Magicka costs.  Going from 99 to
100, however, provides a whopping 6% decrease in Magicka costs!  As such, even
spells that are prohibitively expensive at Expert-level will become very
affordable by the time you hit Master-level (costs at Expert-level are 2.5
times higher than the costs calculated at Master-level).

    Almost a top-tier skill and magic school.  Not because of the Bound
equipment which, while decent, either amounts to a small damage increase or an
effect weaker and more expensive than an Alteration Shield.  Not because of
Turn Undead, though it is _incredibly_ effective (and cheap) undead crowd
control.  But because of those summons.
    Even at high, high levels, those summons will do very well, and because you
can keep casting new ones at will, they're basically the equivalent of having
an immortal humanoid with you (remember Brother Martin in the Battle for
Kvatch?).  Another way to think of it -- high-level summons are basically
slow-acting spells that can kill more than a single enemy on their own all
while protecting you from any danger (especially if you can follow up with
invisibility/chameleon effects).  Even crappy Summon Skeleton will still
provide you with a bit of breathing room.
Destruction ***                                                       !mag,des-

Related Attribute:  Willpower

Apprentice perk:  Can cast spells that require Destruction 25.
Journeyman perk:  Can cast spells that require Destruction 50.
Expert perk:  Can cast spells that require Destruction 75.
Master perk:  Can cast spells that require Destruction 100.

Reduces the Magicka cost of Destruction effects
    Final Cost = Base Cost x (1.4 - .012 x Destruction)

Provides access to the following enchantable and/or castable effects:
    Damage Fatigue/Health/Magicka, Disintegrate Armor/Weapon
    Drain Fatigue/Health/Magicka/Skill
    Fire/Frost/Shock Damage
    Weakness to Fire/Frost/Shock/Poison
    Weakness to Magic

Special Major Skill Notes:
    If you choose Destruction as a Major Skill, you start with the following
    Cold Touch:  Frost Damage 15 pts on touch.
    Shocking Touch:  Shock Damage 10 pts on touch.

    Due to the way the Magicka discount is calculated, increases in this skill
actually provide _increasing_ returns.  To illustrate, going from 1 to 2 in
this skill provides less than a 1% decrease in Magicka costs.  Going from 99 to
100, however, provides a whopping 6% decrease in Magicka costs!  As such, even
spells that are prohibitively expensive at Expert-level will become very
affordable by the time you hit Master-level (costs at Expert-level are 2.5
times higher than the costs calculated at Master-level).
    When crafting enchantments/spells, be sure to know the following caveats
with Weakness effects:
    1.  Weakness effects on a spell or an attack never affect anything else
        on the same spell or attack.
    2.  Effects listed after a Weakness effect on the same spell or attack are
        never amplified by a Weakness already on the target.  For example,
        if you have a spell that says "Weakness to Fire 100%; Fire damage
        10 pts on target," then no matter how many times you cast that
        spell on the same target, that fire damage never gets amplified.
    3.  Effects that only have duration instead of magnitude (like Paralyze)
        have their durations increased instead.
    4.  Weakness to Magic only affects hostile effects.  (Prior to the official
        Bethesda patch, Weakness to Magic affected any hostile spell, which
        meant that you could stack on non-hostile effects like "Command" or
        "Heal" and still have them amplified so long as there was at least one
        hostile effect like 1 point of Health damage.)
So in general, if you're including Weakness effects (to improve successive
uses of a spell or attack), place them at the bottom of the effects order, and
make sure Weakness to Magic is the last of all Weakness effects.
    Damage effects listed in the form "x damage for y seconds", unlike
Drain/Absorb/Fortify, repeat that damage every second for the total duration,
so the total damage is x times y.
    Drain effects are very temporary, but compensate by being very cheap to
cast.  Notably, a Drain Health of 100 for 1 second costs piddlingly little to
cast but will kill every enemy in the game until you start to reach the
double-digit levels.

    While doing direct damage is nice, what ultimately makes Destruction a
top-tier school (and candidate for end-game strategy) are the various Weakness
spells.  Proper use of them will almost exponentially increase your damage
output (including other Destruction spells).  Weakness to Magic is special
because each successive use of Weakness to Magic will be enhanced by any
existing Weakness to Magic effects already on the target.  This may be a bit
exploitive, so if you consider it as such, avoid stacking such effects.
    Weakness to Poison is an incredibly important counter-point to Alchemy.
Even immensely powerful poisons will still do very little to a 1,500 health
behemoth:  the best you can manage without stacking multiple damage effects is
9 frost damage for 38 seconds for a total of 342.  Put a 100% Weakness to
Poison on the enemy first and now that doubles.  Use a spell that is both 100%
Weakness to Poison and 100% Weakness to Frost and that poison _quadruples_.
Now, instead hit the enemy with a 100% Weakness to Magic, follup with that 100%
Weakness to Poison/Frost, and now that poison _nonuples_ (9x)!  At the cost of
one poison and at most one arrow (or one strike), you've slain the most
powerful (in terms of health) generic enemy in the game!

As for the other effects, well they're pretty straight forward.  The various
health-damaging ones are notable because they're essentially an infinite source
of ranged damage, since your Magicka always regenerates (unless you have the
Atronach birth sign) while arrows do not.
    Disintegrate effects are a bit dubious, but doing 100 damage to a Mage
wielding a staff will be guaranteed to disable the staff, which can be a good
anti-spell casting maneuver.

Damage Fatigue/Drain Fatigue are also important components to the Damage
Fatigue end-game strategy.  Notably, a long-duration Damage Fatigue doing at
least 10 per second will keep an enemy at 0 Fatigue collapsed on the ground
until the effect wears off.  Drain Fatigue can act as a super-cheap 1 second
paralyze given a large enough magnitude -- though be warned that once the Drain
Fatigue wears off, the enemy will get back much of their Fatigue (on top of any
regeneration), so combining Drain Fatigue with Damage/Absorb effects is not
Illusion ***                                                          !mag,ill-

Related Attribute:  Personality

Apprentice perk:  Can cast spells that require Illusion 25.
Journeyman perk:  Can cast spells that require Illusion 50.
Expert perk:  Can cast spells that require Illusion 75.
Master perk:  Can cast spells that require Illusion 100.

Reduces the Magicka cost of Illusion effects
    Final Cost = Base Cost x (1.4 - .012 x Illusion)

Provides access to the following enchantable and/or castable effects:
    Calm, Charm, Command Creature/Humanoid, Demoralize, Frenzy, Rally
    Chameleon, Invisibility
    Light, Night-Eye
    Paralyze, Silence

Special Major Skill Notes:
    If you choose Illusion as a Major Skill, you start with the following
    Soothing Touch:  Calm up to level 2 for 15 sec on touch.
    Starlight:  Light in 20 ft for 60 sec on self.
Soothing Touch, in particular, is pretty much an instant-freeze on any until
you get to level 3, at which point it's an instant-freeze on 90% of enemies.
After that it becomes obsolete, but you still have the Calm effect unlocked for

    Due to the way the Magicka discount is calculated, increases in this skill
actually provide _increasing_ returns.  To illustrate, going from 1 to 2 in
this skill provides less than a 1% decrease in Magicka costs.  Going from 99 to
100, however, provides a whopping 6% decrease in Magicka costs!  As such, even
spells that are prohibitively expensive at Expert-level will become very
affordable by the time you hit Master-level (costs at Expert-level are 2.5
times higher than the costs calculated at Master-level).
    Calm, Command, Demoralize, Frenzy, and Rally all have maximum levels for
their targets ("up to level xx") which becomes a problem when you start
leveling past the maximum these can handle (25).  However, not all enemies
level with you, so there will always be targets you can affect.  More
importantly though, so long as you have Spell Effectiveness of 100% (ie only
wearing cloth), "up to level 25" or "100 pts" will actually affect _any_
eligible enemy.  If you _do_ plan on using armor though, creatures are split
between levelled (like humanoids) and those with a fixed internal level, so
you'll still be able to use Calm, Command Creature, and Demoralize to some
effect (see end,ill- for more details).
    Calm and Demoralize both affect creatures and humanoids.  Command can
affect both, but you need to use the specific version (Command Creature or
Command Humanoid).  Frenzy and Rally only affect humanoids.  Moreover, Calm and
Demoralize do _not_ work if you use them before your target has detected you,
whether because you are sneaking, invisible, or at 100% Chameleon.  This does
not apply to the other effects.
    Notably, Calm, Command, Demoralize, Frenzy, and Rally are all considered
non-hostile spells, so they are not affected by Resist Magic unless the target
has 100% Resist Magic.  The flip side is that because they are non-hostile,
they are unaffected by Weakness to Magic.

    Sort of an odd-man out given its related attribute, but definitely the most
powerful school of magic you can take up.  It, on its own, can be an end-game
strategy as mastering Illusion gives you access to all the most powerful
effects in the game, though you have to be completely unencumbered (ie wearing
only cloth) to make full use of them.
    These are also all powerful effects.  Calm, Command, and Demoralize are
excellent crowd control spells, and Demoralize is even useful on one-on-one,
since an enemy that is busy fleeing won't fight back.  Frenzy is great for
getting a humanoid on your side in crowded battles, and is much cheaper than
Command Humanoid when you don't need to have the humanoid follow you arround.
Rally has much more limited use but can be used to make sure commanded/frenzied
humanoids stay fighting.
    Charm is an excellent utility spell, and once you learn it it makes
bartering and information-gathering much easier.  With high values, you can
also use it to get humanoids to accept your yield.  Light and Night-Eye are
also nifty utility effects, though Night-Eye is generally better (since it
gives you illumination without hurting your sneaking).
    Chameleon and Invisibility are game-breakingly good.  Quick Invisibility
spells will ensure you constantly get sneak attacks _and_ avoid any reprisals.
Chamelon, at lower values, makes your Sneak more effective, and at 100% makes
you unstoppable (no enemy will ever respond to any of your attacks).
    Silence is pretty good, too, though since most casters like to summon
creatures, missing the opening shot to silence them means you'll still have to
deal with their new ally.  Paralyze, on the other hand, is also game-breakingly
good.  It's so powerful, you can even create a spell with duration of 1 second
and still profit heavily from it, since the 1 second doesn't include the time
it takes for the creature to fall and then stand back up.
Mysticism *                                                           !mag,mys-

Related Attribute:  Intelligence

Apprentice perk:  Can cast spells that require Mysticism 25.
Journeyman perk:  Can cast spells that require Mysticism 50.
Expert perk:  Can cast spells that require Mysticism 75.
Master perk:  Can cast spells that require Mysticism 100.

Reduces the Magicka cost of Mysticism effects
    Final Cost = Base Cost x (1.4 - .012 x Mysticism)

Provides access to the following enchantable and/or castable effects:
    Detect Life
    Reflect Spell, Spell Absorption
    Soul Trap

Special Major Skill Notes:
    If you choose Mysticism as a Major Skill, you start with the following
    Minor Dispel:  Dispel 25 pts on self.
    Minor Life Detection:  Detect Life in 60 ft for 10 sec on self.

    Due to the way the Magicka discount is calculated, increases in this skill
actually provide _increasing_ returns.  To illustrate, going from 1 to 2 in
this skill provides less than a 1% decrease in Magicka costs.  Going from 99 to
100, however, provides a whopping 6% decrease in Magicka costs!  As such, even
spells that are prohibitively expensive at Expert-level will become very
affordable by the time you hit Master-level (costs at Expert-level are 2.5
times higher than the costs calculated at Master-level).
    The way Dispel works is like thus:  multiply the magnitude by 5 to get a
dispel value.  Any and every durational effect on the affected target that came
from a spell whose post-skill-adjusted Magicka cost is less than or equal to
the dispel value is cleared.  Because Dispel uses post-skill-adjusted Magicka
cost, it matters less how powerful the spell you're trying to dispel is but how
skillful the caster of that spell was, as even an immensely powerful spell
Destruction effect cast by a Master of Destruction can probably still be
dispelled by "Minor Dispel" (which would cancel any spell with a
post-skill-adjusted Magicka cost less than or equal to 125).

    Another utility school.  Detect Life is useful for skulking since it
forewarns you of dangers ahead.  Soul Trap is important, but if you join the
Mage's Guild, you can get a staff that does this virtually at will, without the
need for you to train Mysticism.  Telekinesis is a nice-to-have, but there
never is a situation where you _must_ have it.
    Dispel is complicated and dubious at best, since while you can use it to
get rid of summoned creatures (by casting Dispel on the caster), most summoners
save their Magicka to re-summon creatures.  Also, many effects that enemies use
on themselves or on you are _not_ magic spells but are lesser powers, and so
are immune to being dispelled.  In general, only effects that come from
Goblin Shamans, (Nether) Liches, or humanoids are ones that can be dispelled.
    Reflect Spell and Spell Absorption are where things change and can fit into
an end-game strategy.  Unlike damage reduction, you aren't capped at 85%
Reflect Spell or Spell Absorption.  So, crafting specially-made spells or
enchantments to get you up to 100% can be an important component for end-game
combat, especially since enemy spells scale upwards quite a bit and can be very
deadly to either have them bounced back at them or have their (sometimes
significant) Magicka costs absorbed directly into your own Magicka.
Restoration **                                                        !mag,res-

Related Attribute:  Willpower

Apprentice perk:  Can cast spells that require Restoration 25.
Journeyman perk:  Can cast spells that require Restoration 50.
Expert perk:  Can cast spells that require Restoration 75.
Master perk:  Can cast spells that require Restoration 100.

Reduces the Magicka cost of Restoration effects
    Final Cost = Base Cost x (1.4 - .012 x Restoration)

Provides access to the following enchantable and/or castable effects:
    Absorb Attribute/Fatigue/Health/Magicka/Skill
    Cure Disease/Paralysis/Poison
    Fortify Attribute/Fatigue/Health/Magicka
    Fortify Skill (under certain circumstances)
    Restore Attribute/Fatigue/Health
    Resist Magic

Special Major Skill Notes:
    If you choose Restoration as a Major Skill, you start with the following
    Absorb Health:  Absorb Health 5 pts on touch.
Of note, Restoration provides only one bonus spell at start versus the other
schools.  However, Absorb Health is a pretty powerful effect to unlock at the
start of the game.

    Due to the way the Magicka discount is calculated, increases in this skill
actually provide _increasing_ returns.  To illustrate, going from 1 to 2 in
this skill provides less than a 1% decrease in Magicka costs.  Going from 99 to
100, however, provides a whopping 6% decrease in Magicka costs!  As such, even
spells that are prohibitively expensive at Expert-level will become very
affordable by the time you hit Master-level (costs at Expert-level are 2.5
times higher than the costs calculated at Master-level).

    Cure Paralysis is almost completely useless as you cannot cast it on
yourself when you're paralyzed, and rarely will you ever have companions that
get paralyzed.
    Fortify Skill is not normally available, though becoming a Vampire or
gaining certain quest rewards will unlock it at the spellmaking altar.
Fortifying your skill does not grant you the special perks aside from the ones
Luck grants.  You _can_ skip on water, though, if you fortify Acrobatics to
    Absorb effects only operate at touch range, though once you successfully
touch someone you have a wee bit of maneuvering room to still maintain the
effect.  Even if you create an Absorb effect that has an area of effect, you
must still successfully touch a target before the area of effect is triggered.
    Absorb Fatigue/Health/Magicka operates kind of like as if there was a
"Damage" effect on the target and a "Restore" effect on yourself.  Absorb
Attribute/Skill instead is more like as if there was a "Drain" effect on the
target and a "Fortify" effect on yourself.  The only major distinction between
Absorb effects and respective Damage/Restore and Drain/Fortify pairs is that
if one part of the Absorb is ended (by a Dispel or by moving out of range), the
entire Absorb effect pair ends.
    Absorb effects will not do anything if there is nothing to absorb.  So
Absorb Magicka on an enemy with 0 Magicka will just waste your time.  The
exception to this are "Absorb xxx on strike" enchantments, which appear to
actually be implemented as Damage/Restore pairings.
    Interestingly, even though creatures technically don't have skills per se,
you can still Absorb Skill off them, as presumably the game still tracks
negative modifiers to skills to apply internally to the three-skill creature
set of combat, magic, and stealth.

    A solid workhorse of a school, though aside from immense investment into
Restoration (to get 100 so you can afford to do massive Absorb Health effects)
not suitable for an end-game strategy on its own.
    That being said, Absorb effects are very good.  While more expensive than
equivalent Drain and Damage effects, being able to both hurt your enemy's stats
and improve your own in one effect is immensely useful.
    Cure Disease/Poison and Restore Attribute basically obviate the need for
any similar potions, church visits, or ingredient-munching.
    Fortify spells are great, especially Fortify Attribute, so long as you know
which ones are useful to increase past 100 and how (Fortifying Strength to
increase melee damage, for example, is a pointless endeavor).  If you can get a
hold of Fortify Skill many powerful possibilities open up for you, though you
still should be wary of which skills you can increase meaningfully past 100 and
also what your invisible Luck bonus is.
    Restore Health is the entry point that almost everyone has with Restoration
and of course is critically important for any player, since it is highly
unlikely that you will have enough Alchemy potions to take care of all your
healing needs.  Restore Fatigue is marginally useful for heavy melee-users, to
keep your damage output at a maximum.

Absorb Fatigue can be an important component of the Damage Fatigue end-game
strategy.  However, Absorb Fatigue (like other Absorbs) with any duration
component other than "on strike" (even if it's just for 1 second) will not do
anything if there's nothing to Absorb.  This means that unlike Damage Fatigue,
a durational Absorb Fatigue of at least 10 per second will not keep a
passed-out enemy on the ground.  This is because with a durational Damage
Fatigue, that damage is being done constantly, even if the enemy is already at
0 Fatigue and simply trying to recover.  With a durational Absorb Fatigue, the
effect has to wait for the enemy to get at least 1 Fatigue before it can absorb
anything, and even then it has to wait until a second passes (since durational
effects only activate at the end of each second).  This means the enemy has
plenty of time to get into positive Fatigue territory and stand up, though you
probably will be able to knock them back down shortly afterwards.
    That being said, Absorb Fatigue works well when _combined_ with a
durational Damage Fatigue.  A high-magnitude, one-second Absorb Fatigue will
replenish your own Fatigue, have a high chance of immediately dropping the
enemy down to 0, and then the durational Damage Fatigue will keep them at 0.

Stealth Skills                                                            !ste-
Skills are rated on a system of one to three stars as such:
    * Passable, probably ignorable
    ** Powerful
    *** Related to a viable end-game strategy
Acrobatics *                                                          !ste,acr-

Related Attribute:  Speed

Novice baseline:  Cannot attack while in the air.
Apprentice perk:  Can perform normal attacks while in the air.
Journeyman perk:  Can do high-speed "rolls" by holding block and then jumping
    in a direction.  Can perform power attacks while in the air.
Expert perk:  Fatigue loss from jumping is 50% of normal.
Master perk:  With timing, can jump across the surface of water.

Reduces fall damage
    Fall Damage Multiplier = Base Damage x (1.25 - Acrobatics/10000)

Increases jump height
    Jump Height = 64 + Acrobatics

Indirectly reduces fall damage
    A 'fall' appears to be related to jumping, so while specifically unknown, I
speculate that a 'fall' does not start until you've exceeded the velocity you
would normally obtain at the end of a jump plus a short time threshold.

    Note that you only have to hold block to do a roll, not be actually
blocking.  So, you can actually have your weapons holstered and be doing
high-speed rolls (this avoids the brief slow-down that would normally occur
when you start blocking).  This is dramatically faster than simply running
places, though it drains your Fatigue and increases Acrobatics instead of
Athletics.  Rolls unfortunately do not seem to work too well on certain
    Can be meaningfully increased past 100, like Athletics and Speechcraft.

    Largely fluff, though high-speed rolls are a great boon to your exploration
speed and can help you chase down those darned casters that love to run around
all over the place.  You can also do strafe rolls to quickly get out of combat
but still stay in range of Absorb effects.  Unfortunately, rolls can be a bit
finicky with the timing, and the last thing you want to do is stand there and
block a power attack (and probably get staggered) instead of roll.  Practice,
practice, practice!
    In addition, water jumping is a cool trick.  With some spot heals, though,
it can rapidly accelerate Oblivion gate hunting (since lava is treated like
water in this respect).
    If you care about those two perks, then investing in Acrobatics is pretty
handy.  Otherwise, not worth going out of your way for.
Light Armor **                                                        !ste,lig-

Related Attribute:  Speed

Novice baseline:  Light Armor degrades at 150% normal.
Apprentice perk:  Light Armor degrades normally.
Journeyman perk:  Light Armor degrades at 50% normal.
Expert perk:  Equipped Light Armor has no encumbrance.
Master perk:  Equipped Light Armor has +50% Armor Rating.

Determines Light Armor rating
    Light Armor Rating = Modified Base Armor x (.35 + .0065 x Light Armor),
    where Modified Base Armor = Base x (Armor Condition + 100) / 200

    With end-game gear, Light Armor can provide 50 Armor Rating with a light
shield, 35 without a light shield.

    Not bad.  For reference sake, with the Master-level perk, Light Armor
becomes equivalent to Heavy Armor in terms of armor rating.  The only
distinctions at that point are that Heavy Armor will give you better protection
for much of the game and will last longer (generally has higher item health).
    With fully repaired (125%) Master Light Armor, you can be put at the damage
reduction cap (85%) without needing to worry about enchantments and the like.
That means you can devote those enchantments to increasing other stats.
Ironically, once you train up to Expert-level Light Armor, you will actually be
able to move faster than an un-encumbered cloth wearer.  The only reason why I
don't give this skill three stars is because there are multiple other ways to
get to 85% damage reduction.
Marksman **                                                           !ste,mar-

Related Attribute:  Agility

Novice baseline:  Suffer fatigue loss when keeping a bow drawn.
Apprentice perk:  No fatigue loss when keeping a bow drawn.
Journeyman perk:  Blocking while drawing a bow zooms in.
Expert perk:  Each hit has 5% knockdown chance.
Master perk:  Each hit has 5% paralyze chance (ignores Resist Paralysis, lasts
    quite a while).

Determines Bow and Arrow base weapon damage
    Bow Base Weapon Damage = .5 x Modified Base x (.02 + .015 x Marksman),
    where Modified Base = Base x (Weapon Condition + 100) / 200 for Bows,
    and Modified Base = Base for Arrows

    Both the damage from the arrow and the bow are summed when the attack hits
the enemy.  This has the interesting implication that a shot from a bow is
going to be more damaging than a hit from an equivalently-leveled melee weapon.
    Technically, there is no such thing as a power attack with a bow.  However,
in practice, if you quickly nock an arrow (just a click to attack), you'll do
stated damage.  If you take the time to hold down the mouse button and aim, not
only will your arrow fly further, but you will also get the standard 2.5x power
attack multiplier.

    Amazing early on, starts to pieter out as the game progresses as you start
needing progressively more and more arrows to take out one single foe.  Still
serves as an impressive poison delivery mechanism, though.
    The paralyze and knockdown effects are pretty spectacular though.  Unlike
melee, you don't open yourself up to danger by doing lunging attacks, these are
just part of your standard arsenal.  Still, even with 100 Agility and Marksman,
a Daedric Bow and Daedric Arrows, and constant precise aiming (to get the power
attack bonus), you would still need to fire almost 18 arrows just to take out
a single 1,500 health Goblin Warlord (ignoring any armor it may be wearing).
You could easily plow through a quiver of 100 just trying to clear out one cell
of a highly-leveled dungeon.
Mercantile *                                                          !ste,mer-

Related Attribute:  Personality

Novice baseline:  Prices for goods are decreased by their condition.
Apprentice perk:  Prices for goods are not decreased by their condition.  This
    also means that repairing something to 125% of its condition will no longer
    increase its value.
Journeyman perk:  Can sell any good to any store instead of store-specific
    goods (like weapons to weapon stores, etc).
Expert perk:  Can invest money in a shop to increase its maximum per-exchange
    gold by 500.
Master perk:  All stores have 500 more gold available (stacks with investment).

Determines buy/sell ratios (in opposition to humanoid Mercantile)
    Unknown equation.

    Decent early on, but by the end game you'll be swimming in money regardless
of your Mercantile prowess, unless you like to abuse charged items and do heavy
Security *                                                            !ste,sec-

Related Attribute:  Agility

Apprentice perk:  One tumbler stays locked in place upon a failure.
Journeyman perk:  Two tumblers stay locked in place upon a failure.
Expert perk:  Three tumblers stay locked in place upon a failure.
Master perk:  Tumblers always stay locked.

Increases chance of getting slower-moving tumbler push
    Unknown equation

    Everytime you lift a tumbler up, you'll get one of four distinct outcomes.
Two are fast-moving and come down almost as fast.  A third moves a bit slower
and comes down slower.  The fourth moves up even slower and comes down very
slowly.  The third and fourth ones, in addition, have a second metallic 'ping'
sound after the initial, lower-pitched 'ping' sound of your lockpick hitting
the tumbler; the second ping corresponds to the tumbler hitting the top of its
chamber.  Note that if you've been listening to a lot of loud music in your
day, it is likely that the upper-end of your hearing range has been damaged to
the point where you either cannot hear this second, high-pitched 'ping' or
cannot differentiate it from the normal click of your lockpick hitting the
    Anyway, the basic aim is to click just as the tumbler hits the exact top of
the chamber.  With the three faster ones, this is virtually a crapshoot (and
anyone who tells you that they can get the third one consistently either has
abnormally fast reflexes or is lying).  With the fourth, slower one, with
practice you will be able to identify the slower upward movement and click fast
enough to correspond to the second metallic 'ping' - so long as you are within
around 200ms of the 'ping', you'll lock the tumbler.
    Higher Security relative to the difficulty of the lock will increase the
chance of getting the fourth, slowest outcome when you push the tumbler up.  In
fact, with a modest Security, Very Easy locks virtually always give you a slow
tumbler push with each attempt.
    If all else fails, you can try to "Auto Attempt" the lock, which is pretty
much just a straight up chance of success or failure based on your Security and
the difficulty of the lock.

    Either critically important, somewhat important, or useless.  If you never
plan on investing in Alteration and cannot figure out the visual/audible timing
of the slow tumbler, then you need to get this skill up fast, as otherwise you
will blow away all your lockpicks and have difficulty ever getting decent loot.
    If you do plan on investing in Alteration, then this skill is somewhat
useful because it takes a bit of time to get up to Alteration 75, at which
point you can create an Open Very Hard Lock spell.
    If you can get the visual/audible timing down pat, then this is almost
useless.  You will only need a couple lockpicks and never need to rely on the
perks to help you.  You also probably will never need the Alteration spell
Sneak **                                                              !ste,sne-

Related Attribute:  Agility

Novice baseline:  Melee sneak attack does 4x damage, ranged does 2x.
Apprentice perk:  Melee sneak attack does 6x damage, ranged does 3x.
Journeyman perk:  Boots do not affect chance of being detected.
Expert perk:  No detection penalty for running.
Master perk:  Sneak attack ignores armor.

Reduces chance of being detected while sneaking/pick-pocketing
    Unknown equation; for Sneak, it probably has to do with modifying
    detection radius.  For pick-pocketing, it is some sort of interaction
    with the stolen item's value.

    Sneak attack damage multiplier does not apply to two-handed melee weapons.

    Modestly useful, though to really get the most out of it, you need to
combine it with either the Chameleon or Invisibility-based end-game strategies.
That's because even with 6x melee damage, that'll barely make a dent in many
higher-level enemy healths.  However, if you can repeatedly re-enter stealth
via Invisibility or never leave it via Chameleon, then sneaking becomes much
nicer.  Note that with some discretion and possibly a slight Chameleon, ranged
sneak attacks have a chance of avoiding detection altogether, though you may
need a slight new hiding spot as enemies tend to investigate where arrows come
    The master perk is less useful than it sounds, as predominantly humanoids
are the only ones with armor rating, which as enemies do not pose as grave a
threat as creatures with regards to high-levels.  Goblins can wear armor,
though, and have massive health reserves.
Speechcraft *                                                         !ste,spe-

Related Attribute:  Personality

Apprentice perk:  Can rotate speechcraft mini-game "pies" once.
Journeyman perk:  Slows down speechcraft mini-game disposition decay by 50%.
Expert perk:  The 'Hate' "pie" penalty is reduced from -150% to -100%.
Master perk:  Bribes are only half as expensive.

Increases the max Disposition you are allowed to Speechcraft up to
    Unknown equation

    Can be meaningfully increased past 100, like Acrobatics and Athletics,
though the effect is minimal (the maximum disposition allowed for Speechcraft
goes from 86 at Speechcraft 100 to 90 at Speechcraft 255).

    Modestly useful or close to useless.  A modest investment in Illusion
will let you cast massive Charm spells for cheap, which pretty much negates the
point of Speechcraft.  There is a marginal use case, though, as Speechcrafting
guards ahead of time to a high Disposition will make them pay your bounty for
you when they arrest you.  There is also a marginal use case where you can
Charm an enemy humanoid high enough to make them stop attacking you and then
Speechcraft them to permanently make them neutral (or even fight for you at
high Dispositions).
    The perk scaling of Speechcraft is a bit poorly thought out.  The higher
your Speechcraft, the less you actually need it, since presumably your
Personality is also being trained up, which increases your starting Disposition
somewhat.  And there's no limit to the number of Speechcraft attempts you can
make, so long as you haven't hit the max disposition for the humanoid you're
talking to, so having slower speechcraft disposition decay or making the hate
slice less punishing is of dubious use.  Lastly, making bribes half as
expensive generally makes Speechcraft irrelevant, though this can be useful
when your Disposition influences are only enough to max out at low levels.

Birthsigns                                                                !bir-
Skills are rated on a system of one to three stars as such:
    * Not worth your time
    ** Decent
    *** Powerful
The Apprentice **

Does:  Fortify Magicka 100, permanent Weakness to Magic 100 on Self

    A birthsign true to its name: best for magic-lite characters.  Why?  In
short, three reasons:
        1.  Magicka bonus is most helpful early on and for non-dedicated magic
        character types.
        2.  Weakness to Magic penalty is severe, but...
        3.  Weakness to Magic effect is unlocked without needing to train
        Destruction to 50.
The Magicka fortification is _really_ helpful early on as well as for
non-Altmer/Breton races - this can be almost a tripling of your initial Magicka
pool.  Fully dedicated magic casters, however, will not need the extra help in
the end game (by both having high Intelligence, Willpower, and cheap spells).
    At the same time, that permanent Weakness to Magic becomes an increasingly
massive liability - enemy magic early on might not be common or painful, but
can easily one-shot you at higher levels with such a steep negative resistance.
The only way around this is to start stacking on Reflect Spell/Spell Absorption
or rely heavily on Illusion magic or Conjuration summons.  But this is a lot of
effort compared to the fact that you can get the same benefit by taking the
Mage birthsign and enchanting a piece of gear with a Fortify Magicka 50 points
Sigil Stone.  That's basically the equivalent of taking Apprentice and then
enchanting a piece of gear with Resist Magic 100 (!!), so you can see how much
of a price you're paying to get an additional 50 Magicka bonus.
    However, one major payoff of picking the Apprentice is that the permanent
"Weakness to Magic 100" ability on yourself automatically unlocks the Weakness
to Magic effect at spellmaking/enchanting altars, which would ordinarily
require Destruction 50; without Apprentice, there's only one (Journeyman) spell
you can buy to unlock the effect.  So, if you plan on being a magic-lite
character, this may counter the steep negative effects of having a permanent
base Resist Magic of -100, but casters who will probably get up to Destruction
50 anyway should look elsewhere.
The Atronach **

Does:  Fortify Magicka 150, Stunted Magicka, Spell Absorption 50 on Self

    Can be really annoying early on, as Stunted Magicka is just brutal to your
ability to cast more than a few spells.  However, starting off with Spell
Absorption 50 means that you're that much closer to a coveted Spell Absorption
100 via spells and enchantments.  Clearly not appropriate for a dedicated
caster (without very judicious planning and deliberation), but great for
someone who can use spellcasting as a support role.
The Lady ***

Does:  Fortify Willpower 10, Fortify Endurance 10 on Self

    Extra Willpower is nice, but the star is the extra Endurance, since your
per-level Health gains are based on your Endurance and Endurance gains are not
retroactive.  To put another way, Fortify Endurance 10 at level 1 translates to
70 extra Health on the course to level 50.
The Lord **

Gives:  "Blood of the North," Lesser Power, 50 Magicka, Restore 6 Health for 15
Does:  Weakness to Fire 25% on Self

    Weakness to Fire isn't that bad of a deal (unless you stack on it with a
race that also has Weakness to Fire).  The lesser power is not bad, a really
efficient healing spell, and pretty much the most efficient healing spell game.
The Lover *

Gives:  "Lover's Kiss," Greater Power, Paralyze 10 Seconds on Touch and Damage
    Fatigue 120 on Self.

    Paralyzing for 10 seconds is great, but you can only do it once per day,
and because of the steep Fatigue damage, you run the very high risk of knocking
yourself out for a prolonged period of time.
    The one plus is that this unlocks the very-powerful Paralyze effect for
spellmaking and enchanting, which otherwise requires 50 Illusion.  However,
this is of dubious use since you'll need a relatively high Illusion to make it
cheap enough to use anyway.
The Mage ***

Does:  Fortify Magicka 50 on Self

    Solid.  Nothing else to be said (other than look at the analysis for
Apprentice for why you should generally choose The Mage over Apprentice).
The Ritual **

Gives:  "Blessed Word," Lesser Power, 40 Magicka, Turn Undead up to level 25
    for 30 seconds.
Gives:  "Mara's Gift," Greater Power, Restore 200 Health

    The lesser power is basically a way to get rid of enemy summons for a long
period of time.  Handy, though not crucial (and does nothing against all the
Clannfears that Xivilai like to summon).  The greater power is a decent heal,
though solely an emergency spell and hopefully you're not in many fights where
only one heal separates you from ruin or success.
The Serpent *

Gives:  "Serpent Spell," Greater Power, Damage Health 3 pts for 20 seconds on
    Touch, Cure Poison on self, Dispel 90 pts on self, Damage Fatigue 100 on

    Uh... a weak poison (useful only at levels 1-6 or so), a dispel effect that
might get rid of buffs, and the very real chance that you might knock yourself
unconscious.  Pass.
The Shadow **

Gives:  "Moonshadow," Greater Power, Invisibility 60 seconds on self

    Great at first glance except greater powers can only be used once per day.
So, on occasion you'll be able to escape combat or sneak around a bit better,
which is not bad.  You also get to unlock Invisibility for spellmaking, which
would otherwise require a high Illusion, Vampirism, or some annoying
exploration.  If you really want Invisibility spells fast, this is good, but
otherwise you should compare this against the other ** abilities...
The Steed *

Does:  Fortify Speed 20 on Self

    Not bad, but only specific character concepts need Speed, and even then
would you really choose this over other **-rated abilities?  Speed is not that
hard to increase as an attribute, nor is it time-sensitive (like Endurance).
The Thief ***

Does:  Fortify Agility 10, Fortify Speed 10, Fortify Luck 10 on self

    Not only does this give you more attributes than other birthsigns, it also
gives you Luck.  Luck can only be increased by 1 per level, so this effectively
shaves off 10 levels from maxing out the x/x/1 strategy.
The Tower **

Gives:  "Tower Key," Greater Power, Open Average Lock on target
Gives:  "Tower Warden," Greater Power, Reflect Damage 5% for 120 seconds on

    The powers themselves are meh at best (Open Average Lock is pretty handy,
but not hard to obtain normally).  The best pay-off from getting this birthsign
is opening up the very-hard-to-obtain "Reflect Damage" effect at the
spellmaking altar.
The Warrior ***

Gives:  Fortify Strength 10, Fortify Endurance 10 on self

    For the same reason that the Lady birthsign is great, a starting boost to
your Health that pays off over the course of the game.  This one is geared more
towards fighters than casters.

Races                                                                     !rac-
In general, I don't say much about the different races.  There are so many
different aspects to them that really you should just pick a race that fits in
with your desired character concept.  Some races do get a special mention, and
I bring it up when it comes up.  Race that get a special mention have a !!!
(to indicate a positive mention) or a ... (to indicate a negative mention) next
to their name.
Altmer (!!!)

Male attribute adjustments
    Intelligence +10
    Strength, Speed -10

Female attribute adjustments
    Intelligence +10
    Strength, Endurance -10

Skill adjustments
    Alteration, Mysticism +10
    Alchemy, Conjuration, Destruction, Illusion +5

    Weakness to Fire, Frost, Shock 25
    Resist Disease 100
    Fortify Magicka 100

Disposition adjustments
    vs Altmer +5
    vs Argonian, Dunmer -10
    vs Bosmer, Breton, Imperial, Khajiit, Redguard -5

    While not quite as good overall as a Breton, Altmers have the highest
starting Magicka of any of the races.

Male attribute adjustments
    Agility, Speed +10
    Willpower, Endurance, Personality -10

Female attribute adjustments
    Intelligence +10
    Endurance, Personality -10

Skill adjustments
    Athletics, Security +10
    Alchemy, Blade, Hand to Hand, Illusion, Mysticism +5

    Resist Poison 100
    Resist Disease 75
    Water Breathing

Disposition adjustments
    vs Argonian +5
Bosmer (...)

Male attribute adjustments
    Agility, Speed +10
    Strength, Willpower, Personality -10

Female attribute adjustments
    Agility, Speed +10
    Strength, Willpower, Enduance -10

Skill adjustments
    Alchemy, Marksman, Sneak +10
    Acrobatics, Alteration, Marksman +5

    Resist Disease 75
    "Beast Tongue," Greater Power, Command Creature up to level 5 for 60
seconds on target

Disposition adjustments
    vs Bosmer +5

    The Bosmer have arguably the worst specials.  Beast Tongue is obsolete very
quickly, and disease is not that big a deal (sources for Cure Disease are very
Breton (!!!)

Male attribute adjustments
    Intelligence, Willpower +10
    Agility, Endurance, Speed -10

Female attribute adjustments
    Intelligence, Willpower +10
    Strength, Agility, Endurance -10

Skill adjustments
    Conjuration, Mysticism, Restoration +10
    Alchemy, Alteration, Illusion +5

    Fortify Magicka 50
    Resist Magic 50
    "Dragon Skin," Greater Power, Shield 50% for 60 seconds on self

Disposition adjustments
    vs Breton +5

    Resist Magic 50 is arguably one of the best racial bonuses you can get from
any of the races.  This puts you one Mundane Ring (which gives you Resist Magic
50) from a solid Resist Magic 100, which is literally impenetrable magical

Male attribute adjustments
    Speed +10
    Willpower, Personality -10

Female attribute adjustments
    Speed +10
    Willpower, Endurance -10

Skill adjustments
    Blade, Destruction +10
    Athletics, Blunt, Light Armor, Marksman, Mysticism +5

    Resist Fire 75
    "Ancestor Guardian," Greater Power, Summon Ancestor Guardian for 60
seconds on self

Disposition adjustments
    vs Bretons, Imperials, Khajiit, Nords, Redguards, Bosmer -5
    vs Argonians, Altmer -10

Male attribute adjustments
    Personality +10
    Willpower, Agility -10

Female attribute adjustments
    Personality +10
    Agility, Speed -10

Skill adjustments
    Mercantile, Speechcraft, Heavy Armor +10
    Blade, Blunt, Hand to Hand +5

    "Star of the West," Greater Power, Absorb Fatigue 100 pts on touch
    "Voice of the Emperor," Greater Power, Charm 30 pts for 30 seconds on touch
Khajiit (!!!)

Male attribute adjustments
    Agility +10
    Willpower, Endurance -10

Female attribute adjustments
    Agility +10
    Willpower, Strength -10

Skill adjustments
    Acrobatics, Hand to Hand +10
    Athletics, Blade, Light Armor, Security, Sneak +5

    "Eye of Fear," Greater Power, Demoralize up to level 25 for 30 seconds on
    "Eye of Night," Lesser Power, Night-Eye for 30 seconds on self

    Not only is Eye of Night a great utility effect, Eye of Fear is a great
"OH SHIT" greater power, especially since it'll effect every type of enemy in
the game.  Plus, since it's a power -- and not a spell -- having less than 100%
spell effectiveness doesn't prevent you from using it on enemies greater than
level 25.

Male attribute adjustments
    Strength, Endurance +10
    Intelligence, Willpower, Personality -10

Female attribute adjustments
    Strength +10
    Intelligence, Personality -10

Skill adjustments
    Blade, Blunt, Heavy Armor +10
    Armorer, Block, Restoration +5

    Resist Frost 50
    "Nordic Frost," Greater Power, Frost Damage 50 pts on touch
    "Woad," Greater Power, Shield 30% on self

Disposition adjustments
    vs Nord +5

Male attribute adjustments
    Willpower, Endurance +10
    Strength +5
    Intelligence, Speed, Personality -10
    Agility -5

Female attribute adjustments
    Endurance +10
    Strength, Willpower +5
    Personality -15
    Speed -10
    Agility -5

Skill adjustments
    Armorer, Block, Blunt, Heavy Armor +10
    Hand to Hand +5

    Resist Magic 25
    "Berserk," Greater Power, Fortify Fatigue 200, Fortify Health 20, Fortify
Strength 50, Drain Agility 100 on self for 60 seconds

Disposition adjustments
    vs all non-Orcs -5

Male attribute adjustments
    Strength, Endurance +10
    Intelligence, Willpower, Personality -10

Female attribute adjustments
    Endurance +10
    Intelligence, Willpower -10

Skill adjustments
    Athletics, Blade, Blunt +10
    Light Armor, Heavy Armor, Mercantile +5

    Resist Disease 75
    Resist Poison 75
    "Adrenaline Rush," Greater Power, Fortify Strength 50, Fortify Agility 50,
Fortify Endurance 50, Fortify Speed 50, Fortify Health 25 on self for 60

Disposition adjustments
    vs Bretons, Imperials -5
    vs Redguards +5

Vampirism                                                                 !vam-
No character-building discussion can be complete without touching on Vampirism.
For some character concepts, Vampirism will play an important role.

Vampirism is the effect of a disease, Porphyric Hemophilia.  Once it sets in
and you become a vampire, you gain several effects based on how long it's been
since the last time you fed on someone's blood.  In general, the effects are
powerful and get more powerful the more "vampiric" you become, but the plusses
are counter-balanced by the fact that you take increasing amounts of damage
from being in the sun.

25% Vampire
    Begins right after feeding, before 1 full day passes.
    +5 to Strength, Willpower, and Speed
    +5 to Acrobatics, Athletics, Destruction, Hand to Hand, Illusion,
        Mysticism, and Sneak.
    5% Resist Normal Weapons
    100% Resist Disease
    100% Resist Paralysis
    20% Weakness to Fire
    No sun damage
    Minor disposition penalty.
    Gain ability:  "Hunter's Sight," Lesser Power, 5 Magicka, Night Eye for 30
        sec on self, Detect Life 100 ft for 30 sec on self

50% Vampire
    Begins after 1 full day since last feeding.
    +10 to Strength, Willpower, and Speed
    +10 to Acrobatics, Athletics, Destruction, Hand to Hand, Illusion,
        Mysticism, and Sneak.
    10% Resist Normal Weapons
    100% Resist Disease
    100% Resist Paralysis
    30% Weakness to Fire
    1 dmg/sec in low sun exposure/cloudy days, 2 dmg/sec at midday
    Moderate disposition penalty.
    Gain ability:  "Hunter's Sight" from above.
    Gain ability:  "Vampire's Seduction," Greater Power, Charm 50 pts for 20
        sec on Touch.

75% Vampire
    Begins after 2 full days since last feeding.
    +15 to Strength, Willpower, and Speed
    +15 to Acrobatics, Athletics, Destruction, Hand to Hand, Illusion,
        Mysticism, and Sneak.
    15% Resist Normal Weapons
    100% Resist Disease
    100% Resist Paralysis
    40% Weakness to Fire
    4 dmg/sec in low sun exposure/cloudy days, 8 dmg/sec at midday
    Major disposition penalty.
    Gain ability:  "Hunter's Sight" from above.
    Gain ability:  "Vampire's Seduction" from above.
    Gain ability:  "Reign of Terror," Greater Power, Silence 20 ft for 60 sec,
        Demoralize up to level 6 for 60 sec on Touch.

100% Vampire
    Begins after 3 full days since last feeding.
    +20 to Strength, Willpower, and Speed
    +20 to Acrobatics, Athletics, Destruction, Hand to Hand, Illusion,
        Mysticism, and Sneak.
    20% Resist Normal Weapons
    100% Resist Disease
    100% Resist Paralysis
    50% Weakness to Fire
    8 dmg/sec in low sun exposure/cloudy days, 16 dmg/sec (!!) at midday
    Severe disposition penalty.
    Gain ability:  "Hunter's Sight" from above.
    Gain ability:  "Vampire's Seduction" from above.
    Gain ability:  "Reign of Terror" from above.
    Gain ability:  "Embrace of Shadows," Night Eye for 90 sec on self,
        Invisibility for 180 sec on self.

As you can see, if you are willing to never run around in the day, the plusses
for being 100% Vampire are amazing, particularly because the way those skill
bonuses are implemented, you __get the perks__ (such as special Power Attacks,
better Sneaking, and higher-level spells).
    Moreover, the various benefits in general are extremely good for
lower-level players, and get even better for higher-level casters, since the
reduction in spell casting costs from a skill of 80 to 100 is many, many times
greater than a bump from 25 to 45.
    The benefits are still decent for melee-oriented players, as doing more
melee damage and running faster is always a nice plus -- not to mention the
normal weapon resistance, which is effectively an additional source of
protection in addition to Armor Rating.  The benefits are the worst for
archer-type players, as Sneak or Speed are perhaps the only beneficial bonus
archers will enjoy.

For those not wanting to have people hate them all the time or not wanting to
have to stay in the dark all the time, maintaining a modest level of Vampirism
is a much harder task.  You have to constantly make trips out to suck blood out
of people (though probably not much more tedious than dropping in on stores
after a dungeon run), and god forbid that you lose track of how long its been
since your last feeding before you wait long enough so that sunlight emerges.
(Though you could play like a full Vampire and just avoid the sun, though this
misses one of the advantages of lower-level Vampirism.)

Alternate Leveling Strategies                                             !alt-
Correcting the Idea of "Efficient" Leveling                           !alt,cor-

There is some well-intentioned if misleading advice out there that advocates
the unintuitive strategy of selecting, at character creation, major skills that
you don't plan on actually using.

In case you haven't heard of this, well the logic behind it makes sense.  The
way Oblivion's level system operates is like this:
    1.  Major skills level up faster than minor skills (in addition to starting
at Apprentice level).
    2.  After you have increased a major skill 10 times, you qualify for a
level up. That level up is "locked in," so to speak.
    3.  When you sleep in a bed, you are prompted to choose which attributes to
increase (up to three attributes).  Your attribute increases are based on how
many times you increased a related skill before your level up got "locked in."
It does not matter if that related skill was a major or minor skill.  It goes
by these rules:
        1-4 related skill increases => +2 to attribute
        5-7 related skill increases => +3 to attribute
        8-9 related skill increases => +4 to attribute
        10+ related skill increases => +5 to attribute

The efficient leveling strategy is based on the logic that you want to be able
to control exactly when you level up, so you can determine what skills have
increased before the level up is "locked in."  This way you can guarantee that
you will always have three +5 attribute bonuses to select, or two +5 attribute
bonuses and a luck bonus.
    By choosing major skills that are useful but ones that you never normally
use, you don't "accidentally" level up before you have gotten 10 relevant skill
increases.  So, if you like using Blunt weapons and Heavy Armor, you might
choose Blade and Armorer instead as major skills.  That way, after you have 5
Blunt and Heavy Armor skill ups (just from normal use), you can then grab a
sword and a lot of repair hammers and give yourself 5 Blade and 5 Armorer skill
ups.  Since these were major skills, you now level up, but now you've
guaranteed yourself a +5 Strength and a +5 Endurance attribute bonus (and maybe
you pick Luck as your third).

Unfortunately, this strategy is
    a) useful only theoretically.
    b) exploitive.
    c) not fun.

I say it's only useful theoretically because while it _is_ useful to know how
efficiently to max out your attributes, it doesn't actually solve any strategic
end-game problem.  For one, ultimately your skills are more important than your
attributes, so while efficiently leveling enjoys an early game boost (when
attributes are more important partly because your skill levels are so low), in
the end the efficient leveler and the inefficient leveler both need to focus on
getting their useful skills up to 100.  And because the efficient leveler has
deliberately chosen non-useful major skills, the efficient leveler will
actually lag in terms of mid-to-late-game power level since the inefficient
leveler (ie the one who actually chooses major skills he or she will use) will
be rapidly climbing towards that mystical 100.  This, in some cases,
dramatically alters the relative power - while enemies do get stronger with
each level you gain, the difference between, say, Illusion 74 and Illusion 75
can be several orders of magnitude in terms of character effectiveness.  So
the inefficient leveler will still find their power level spike ahead of the
efficient leveler on occasion, sometimes dramatically so.

Another problem is that maxing out some attributes very rapidly (theoretically
in only 10 levels) leaves you with many "wasted" level-ups.  Attributes at 100
can never be increased past 100 via level-ups.  So you are left with skills
that are "uselessly" contributing to attribute bonuses or, at worst, major
skills that you dare not use ever again.  In contrast, the inefficient leveler
will still make use of level-up attribute bonuses, so while the efficient
leveler will enjoy a few levels of rapid power growth, the power curve of the
efficient leveler and inefficient leveler start equalizing out in the
mid-to-late game here, too.

Theoretically, the efficient leveler can deal with all of the above criticisms
by doing one of two things:  stop leveling up (ie never sleeping again) or
never using their major skills again.  As mentioned in section rev-, this is
exploitive and not intended by game design.  And honestly, if you're going to
stop leveling up at a given point, _why even bother to level_??  If you just
stay pat at level 1, you will have an order of magnitude more power than a
hyper-efficient leveler at level 10, simply because enemy health is so heavily
penalized at early levels (see section onc,gen-).

Finally, the efficient leveler gameplay goes something like this:
    1.  Do something interesting for a while.
    2.  Periodically make note of what minor or major skills have gotten
        increased and by how much.
    3.  Calculate what expected attribute bonuses to expect.  Once the number
        of expected attribute bonuses combined with the remaining major skill
        increases to the next level up result in +5/+5/+5 or +5/+5...
    4.  Go and spend half an hour doing nothing but degeneratively training
        your major skills.

Now, some people might find some enjoyment at that to make step 4 worth it.  I
admit I've done it a bit, and it's an interesting math/game exercise.  But
instead of doing all that, how about, you know, actually spending more time
playing the game?  Especially given everything else I've said about power
curves and how ultimately the efficient leveler doesn't have much of an
advantage (if at all) over the inefficient leveler?  Wouldn't you rather not
have the spectre of an "accidental" major skill increase (thus messing up an
entire level of work) looming over everything you do?

So I strongly advocate simply doing what Bethesda intended you to do:  choose
major skills that you plan on using.  There may be levels where you get only +2
bonuses to attributes, but that's fine.  Ultimately, the stats you care most
about (by proxy of what skills you chose) will get to 100 and, more
importantly, your skills will get to 100.

That doesn't mean that the efficient leveling strategy doesn't offer anything
useful.  For one, Endurance is an attribute that is very time sensitive (since
per-level health bonuses are not retroactive).  So it might be useful for you
to equip Heavy Armor and do a lot of repairing even if they aren't your major
skills, just so you can get some significant, early Endurance boosts to your
health.  For two, it _is_ possible to create a dysfunctional character by
choosing very poorly thought out major skills and then degeneratively using
only one over and over to the neglect of your other skills and attributes (an
excessive use of Speechcraft as a major skill is an example).

So, the "too long, didn't read" version is:  don't worry about efficient
leveling.  Just be mindful of your choices and choose skills that you will use,
and use them in moderation (as many religions and ways of life have advocated:
do all things in moderation).  On a few occasions, you may need to do some
deliberate gaming of your Endurance stat.  That's it.
x/x/x instead of +5/+5/+5                                             !alt,xxx-

In this revision of the strategy, on a level up, you either
    a) choose the three highest attribute bonuses
    b) choose the three most useful attribute bonuses

This de-emphasizes the need to max out to +5/+5/+5.  For strategy (a), this
basically tries to compensate for the fact that some attributes will increase
very rapidly early on but then become quite difficult to train up later (like
Speed, which Acrobatics and Athletics help boost very quickly but then pieter
out in the late game).  By simply choosing the three highest attribute bonuses,
you are automatically compensating for that.

For strategy (b), you are instead saying to yourself that you have a solid
character concept in mind and you are not going to deviate from that.  While
some early Sneaking may give you a sizable Agility boost, if you're a
tough-as-nails Heavy Armor-wearing Hand-to-Hand kind of guy, even a +5 Agility
bonus may be meaningless to you since you'll never use it.  So you'll take a +2
Strength, +3 Endurance, +3 Personality, passing over a +5 Agility and +5 Speed
in the process.  After all, a +5 in an attribute you don't care about is the
same thing as a +0 in that attribute.
x/x/1 instead of +5/+5/+1                                             !alt,xx1-

A minor variant of x/x/x, where you instead
    a) choose the two highest attribute bonuses and then Luck
    b) choose the two most useful attribute bonuses and then Luck

Why Luck?  Well, Luck is a pretty handy attribute since it's the only attribute
that directly influences your skills which, as I've established earlier, tend
to be more powerful than your attributes, point for point.  However, because
Luck has no related skills, it can only be increased by 1 every level, which
makes any Luck strategy pretty much an all-or-nothing strategy to be very
effective, though you could theoretically just increase Luck enough to make the
Luck bonus a whole number, like 10 (Luck skill bonus of 4) or 15 (Luck skill
bonus of 6) and be done with it.

The side effect of this strategy is that you have to be a wee bit careful.
Luck skill bonuses don't help skills go past 100, so if all you care about is
maxing out your Destruction and nothing else, then don't go this route.  If,
however, you find yourself doing a bunch of different things and want to be
half-decent at all of them, Luck will go a long way to doing that.

In the end-game, your major skills will be maxed out at 100.  So, ironically,
the higher level you get, the worse the Luck strategy becomes.  However, it is
probably very unlikely that your minor skills will all be maxed out, so if you
still swap out to do less-major activities (like if you still Sneak but don't
have it has a major skill/component of your character), Luck will still give
you a nice benefit.

If you do the x/x/1 strategy, picking the Thief birthsign and making a custom
class with a favored attribute of Luck will cut away up to 15 levels from
maxing out Luck (Thief birthsign gives you 10 Luck, favored attribute gives you
5).  And if all you care about is a small, general boost to your effectiveness,
you could just call it a day after that and do an x/x/x strategy.

The end result of having Luck 100 is that you get a +20 boost to all your
skills, aside from Acrobatics, Athletics, and Speechcraft.  What does this
mean?  This can mean, for example, an almost 55% decrease in your spells'
Magicka costs (for Magic skills that are at 80), significantly more weapon
damage (24% more base weapon damage for weapon skills that are at 80), or
incredibly more effective repairs (24% more item health per repair hammer use),
among others.

End-game Strategies                                                       !end-
Ah yes, this is where we get to brass tacks.  How exactly to triumph over the
leveling problem?  Most of these strategies aren't to be taken in a vacuum -
they work in concert with other skills or with other strategies.  But they are
worth your consideration.
High DR + Reflect Damage                                            !end,highd-

One of the manifestations of the leveling problem is that creatures start doing
very large amounts of damage against you.  This is less notable with humanoids
who, for the most part, use mundane (if Draedic) weapons.  Even though these
humanoids will eventually have 100 Strength and love doing power attacks, the
real problem are creatures whose damages are unconstrained by weapons and

One way to counteract this is to stack on Armor Rating and Shield effects (via
spells or enchantments) to max out your damage reduction (henceforth DR) to the
85% cap.  This goes a long way to solving the problem.  This means that if
you're using Light Armor, you have to work really hard to train that up to
master-level (to get the 50% armor rating boost) or wear a bunch of other
    If you're fine with doing a lot of Oblivion Gates, even just a
cloth-wearing fighter can max out to 85% damage reduction.  Transcendent
Elemental Shield Sigil Stones provide 25 armor rating a pop (on top of
elemental resistance), so getting 4 puts you over the cap.

Hitting that cap is crucial.  Don't cheap out here.  Like Magicka cost
reductions, each increase in damage reduction yields _increasing_ returns.
Going from 0 to 5% damage reduction is just the 5% damage reduction.  However,
going from 80 to 85% damage reduction is a further _25%_ damage reduction!
This is significant.  Against the mythical level 50 Minotaur Lord, it's the
difference between 30 damage per standing power attack and around 21 per
standing power attack, so _don't go for cheap on the damage reduction_.  Full
85% is much better than even 84%.

Combined with skillful blocking, you can almost completely mitigate any
incoming damage from normal sources.  Unfortunately, even against just one
creature, simply standing there blocking isn't going to do much good.  Your
overall damage output is still going to pale compared to massive creature
health.  And it gets worse against more than one enemy, as your damage output
will go down dramatically as you will spend more time staggering from attacks
and dodging than actually attacking (even with high Agility to reduce stagger).

That's where Reflect Damage comes in.  Commonly found as an Alchemy effect
(though only at higher skill levels), rarely on random magic items, and under
certain circumstances available for you at the spellmaking altar.  Reflect
Damage operates _before_ damage reduction.  So if you have 20% Reflect Damage,
20% of that Minotaur Lord standing power attack is going back at him _first_,
then the remaining 80% goes through your blocking and your damage reduction.
As such, not only are you providing yourself with even more damage mitigation,
but you are also giving yourself a free source of damage that _scales_ with
both enemy difficulty and with enemy numbers.
    Stack Reflect Damage effects from potions, spells, and items and mass
conflicts will provide no problem for you.  In fact, you can even increase
Reflect Damage past 100%, and the damage done to you will get appropriately
amplified when it bounces back at the enemy!  This essentially solves most of
the scaling problems associated with the leveling problem, if you can pull it

Astoundingly, if you're lucky enough to get two random magic items with Reflect
Damage on it along with the level 25 version of the quest reward Escutcheon of
Chorrol, you'll have permanent >100% Reflect Damage.  In such a case, you can
be rid yourself of armor and instead equip something else useful.
High Resist Spell + Reflect Spell                                     *AlT!cor-

Similar in principle to the High DR strategy, this strategy operates on the
fact that enemy spells can become really painful at high levels (one of the
reasons why the Apprentice birthsign become such a liability).  Unlike Reflect
Damage though, both Resist Spell and Reflect Spell are easily obtainable.
Maxing out Reflect Spell negates the need for Resist Spell, though maxing out
Resist Spell can still benefit from Reflect Spell.

The easiest way to max out Resist Spell and solve around half your end-game
difficulties is to be a Breton (Resist Spell 50) and find a Mundane Ring
(Resist Spell 50 and Reflect Spell 35).  Mundane Rings are a random magic item
so can be hard to find, but I've found multiple in the course of one game, so
it's possible you'll find one in the mid-game.

Failing that, Transcendent Sigil Stones can have Resist Magic 20 on them.
You'll still need to find other sources of Reflect Spell, though you can make
spells that temporarily bestow the effect on you.

Note that you don't _need_ Reflect Spell to get this strategy to work since,
unlike damage reduction, you can actually make yourself immune to magic
(there's no 85% cap).  However, Reflect Spell does gives you a scaling source
of extra damage and effects, especially since humanoids -- even though their
weapons cannot scale higher at a certain point -- will continue to scale their
spells upwards to be more powerful.

Note that unlike Reflect Damage, which directly bounces a portion of the
incoming damage, Reflect Spell is a _chance_ of bouncing the _entire_ spell.
So Reflect Damage 20 means 20% of incoming damage is reflected.  Reflect Spell
20 means that every spell that hits you has a 20% chance of instead hitting the
caster.  In the long-run, both are the same, but it does mean that while an
ordinarily fatal attack can be reduced to almost-fatal, a fatal spell has a
high chance of still being fatal (and requiring a reload).  This makes having a
Resist Magic 100 fallback much more important.

Also, for those born under the Atronach birthsign, replace "Resist Spell" with
"Spell Absorption."  Transcendent Sigil Stones provide only Spell Absorption 15
instead of 20, but because you start off with Spell Absorption 50, you're still
only 4 Sigil Stone enchantments away from a wonderful Spell Absorption 100.
Alchemy/Poisons                                                       !end,alc-

Alchemy (and more importantly Poison) is the glue that holds a lot of end-game
strategies together.  The scaling on Alchemy is _astounding_.  While your
weapon damage won't get that much better and your spells will always be reliant
on your ability to recover Magicka, Alchemy can stand peerless.

First are the defense effects.  You can easily stack multiple Chameleon potions
and get the same effects as using a Chameleon end-game strategy.  Or make
Reflect Damage potions and get the same effects as using a Reflect Damage
end-game strategy.

Then there are the poisons.  The poisons!  The effects keep getting better and
better until eventually (with 100 Alchemy and Master equipment), you can create
Damage Health potions that do 8 damage for 37 seconds and elemental damage
potions that do 9 damage for roughly 37 seconds.  Crunch the numbers and you're
talking upwards of 300 damage (over some time).  While decent on its own, merge
it with some Weakness to Poison effects or Weakness to Fire/Frost/Shock
(depending on the poison) effects, and you can _dramatically_ improve its

With high Alchemy, you can even stack different damage effects together (so
long as you start with an ingredient that has two different types of damage
effects).  This means you could theoretically have a triple damage poison
(Health, Fire, and Frost) that can do around 900 damage over 30-40 seconds.
Tack on a brief Weakness to Poison 100% spell, and you have a poison that can
kill virtually every generic creature in the game, and all you need to do is a
bit of dodging and running around.

Even if all other end-game strategies don't sound interesting to you, it
behooves you to invest in your Alchemy, as a result.  Without it, life will be
exceedingly hard.

Finding Master-level equipment requires dungeoneering; vendors only sell up to
Expert-level equipment.  See wor,alc- for more details.
Chameleon                                                             !end,cha-

Incredibly broken.  It doesn't matter where you get it from - enchantments,
sigil stones, potions, or spells.  Once you get to 100% Chameleon, you are
essentially unstoppable.  Enemies will never respond to anything you do.  If
you Sneak, this means endless sneak attack damage.

If you do Chameleon, you don't have to worry about anything else.  If you
consider it exploitive, then instead of getting to 100%, shoot for 80% or
something around that range.  If you still consider that exploitive (and that's
still really good), do a different strategy.  Chameleon basically is
unbalanced, since low values (0-25%) are pretty useless and then gets
exponentially better at high values.
Damage Fatigue                                                        !end,dam-

A woefully under-appreciated strategy when Oblivion first came out.  Namely,
anyone who hits 0 Fatigue collapses onto the ground, and they don't stand up
until their Fatigue is positive again.  Which means that, if you can keep an
enemy's Fatigue at 0, you essentially have a much-more-efficient version of
Paralyze, for very long durations.
    That's where Damage Fatigue as an end-game strategy comes in.  It doesn't
have the same broken-evasion of Chameleon or the brute strength of Destruction,
but it's one of the most long-duration, efficient ways to disable enemies in
the game.  Imagine, a collapsed enemy hit with a Damage Fatigue poison of 10
pts for 38 seconds is an enemy that is going to stay collapsed and unconscious
for 38 seconds (not counting any other effects).  That is _incredibly_
efficient.  An unconscious enemy is one you can take your sweet time in
killing, or avoiding.  You can even loot unconscious creatures and humanoids,
so you can knock em out, grab their stuff, and move on.  And unlike other
stats, Fatigue does not scale so dramatically upwards, meaning with this
strategy your relative power level continues to increase as you level up (and
gain more avenues to harm Fatigue).

The absolute key point to keep in mind for the rest of this section is that all
Damage Fatigue strategies _must_ rely on outpacing a Fatigue regeneration of 10
per second.  In other words, crafting an expensive spell that does Damage
Fatigue 8 pts for 120 seconds is ultimately useless, since the enemy will still
be regaining Fatigue.  However, a similar spell that does 10 pts per second is
much better, since any other Damage Fatigue effect will result in eventual
    Note that creatures tend to have much harder-to-surmount Fatigue levels
than humanoids, either because of artifically high Fatigue levels or because of
a lack of other equipment (like weapons) that help drain humanoids' Fatigue.
Also, the jury's out on this, but it appears that Draining or Damaging a
creature's Fatigue-related attributes doesn't actually impact their Fatigue --
it looks like the game generates Fatigue for them statically and then does not
dynamically update it as their underlying attributes change.
    Also, keep in mind that Bretons have Resist Magic 50 and higher-level
Dremora have leveled innate Resist Magic of up to 50.  This means that any
magic effect-based Damage Fatigue strategy mentioned below either needs to be
matched with a Weakness to Magic effect or you need twice the normal amount of
Fatigue damage to obtain the same effects.

There are several ways to get an enemy's Fatigue down to 0, which I'll go
through in order:
    Decreasing their block
    Damage/Absorb Fatigue on strike, Damage Fatigue spells/poisons
    Drain Fatigue spells
    Drain Fatigue on strike
    Absorb Fatigue spells
    Hand to Hand

Decreasing their block:
    Humanoids will tend to block on occasion.  If you can get their Block to 24
or lower, then they will lose 20 Fatigue every time they block an attack of
yours, which can lead to particularly humorous situations with Hand to Hand
where a blocked hit will suddenly result in them falling unconscious (20
Fatigue loss puts them at 0, followed by 1 Fatigue damage from Fists).  Even
without Hand to Hand, you can still make sure that their Fatigue rarely ever
has a chance to recover.
    A Drain Block 76 (the amount you need to drain an enemy with Block) is
actually pretty cheap of an effect to make.  An Absorb Block 76 is much more
expensive, but can be good if your own block is pretty terrible.  Plus, both of
these have the side effect of making more of your attack damage go through.
Note that caster-types will almost never have a Block near 25, so you don't
need to do something like this on them.

Damage/Absorb Fatigue on strike, Damage Fatigue spells/poisons
    Damage/Absorb Fatigue enchantments on a weapon (either from the enchanting
altar or a Sigil Stone) are very effective ways to quickly obliterate an
enemy's Fatigue.  Especially since Absorb Fatigue effects that operate "on
strike" seem to ignore the "must absorb something" check from Absorb effects on
spells.  You can quickly, with a few swipes of a weapon, knock an enemy into
heavily negative Fatigue territory, then take your sweet time with a different
weapon or a poison.  Notably, Transcendent Sigil Stones have a chance of having
a "Damage Fatigue 60 pts on strike" effect which, needless to say, is amazing.
Even the most powerful leveled enemies will collapse into unconsciousness with
a few hits of such an enchanted weapon.
    Damage Fatigue spells/poisons are also effective, especially as durational
effects.  A durational Damage Fatigue of at least 10 Fatigue per second (to at
least match the normal 10 Fatigue per second regeneration) will keep anyone at
0 Fatigue passed out on the ground.  Whether this is from a Poison or something
else, laying on Damage Fatigue effects is the most effective way to get a very
low-cost Paralyze effect.  It also helps that in terms of base cost (for
Alchemy or spellmaking costs), it is cheaper than other Damage effects, even if
it may ultimately be more powerful.
    High-level Alchemy poison can create very long-lasting (on the scale of ~40
seconds) durational Damage Fatigue effects of at least 10 per second.  Knocking
an enemy unconscious for 40 seconds means you can kill even a level 50 Goblin
Warlord with a toothpick.

Drain Fatigue spells:
    As mentioned earlier, while you can do very well with a short duration,
high impact Drain Fatigue effect, the problem is that once it wears off,
enemies get all that Fatigue back in addition to their normal regeneration.  So
while a Drain Fatigue 100 pts for 1 second is cheaper than Paralyze 1s, it's
less repeatable.  Plus, knocking an enemy unconscious for 1 second really loses
the main strength of a Damage Fatigue strategy, which is cheap, prolonged

Drain Fatigue on strike:
    Drain Fatigue on a weapon is slightly different than Drain Fatigue as a
spell, simply because on a rapid-hit weapon you effectively permanently reduce
your enemy's maximum Fatigue by the stated amount.  At low levels, this can
make keeping enemies unconscious a bit easier.

Absorb Fatigue spells:
    Absorb Fatigue is useful in that it'll keep your own Fatigue topped off (to
maximize your damage output) while draining the enemy's.  The only problem, as
mentioned in the Restoration section (mag,res-), is the way that most Absorb
effects interact with Fatigue regeneration, where they are treated as "for 1
second" durational effects instead of simple "on strike" effects.  Simply put,
Absorbs don't do anything unless the enemy actually has something to absorb.
So if an enemy is at 0 or less Fatigue, the Absorb does nothing until the enemy
has positive Fatigue, at which point he or she is going to stand up and start
fighting you again.  Note that this is different from Absorb Fatigue on strike
(as mentioned above).

Hand to Hand:
    Very early on, your Fatigue damage from Hand to Hand is very low.  So it'll
only really be useful to polish off enemies who burn their Fatigue down to 0
with heavy weapon attacks.  Then you can knock them to the ground for a second
and get a few free hits in before they stand up again.
    Later on, even as your Hand to Hand damage goes up, some humanoids will
start getting better armor.  This has the really unfortunately consequence that
Hand to Hand Fatigue damage starts getting comparatively worse, as you need at
least 8 Hand to Hand damage to match the enemy's Fatigue regeneration, so even
with a maxed out 11 Hand to Hand damage, running into a Dremora with 30 Armor
Rating is enough to make sure your Hand to Hand won't be able to do much better
than occasionally knocking them out after they make a few attacks (not that
that's bad, just not as good as you can manage).
    Moreover, without additional Fatigue regeneration or an Absorb Fatigue
effect going on (which may be helpful to supplement Hand to Hand with), each
successive Hand to Hand attack will do slightly less damage from your own
Fatigue drain.  In turn, this means that the Fatigue damage you do will slowly
go down until you are no longer past the break-even point with the target's
    However, what Hand to Hand does give you is an infinite source of
repeatable, supplemental Fatigue Damage.  Coupled with other Damage Fatigue
effects, you can keep enemies from spending much time awake without needing to
constantly soul trap and recharge weapons.  Hand to Hand is also helpful
against unarmored or low-armored enemies, where repeated hits will be able to
outpace natural regeneration.
Conjuration                                                           !end,con-

Not a lot to say here other than the summons are _really_ good.  Even though
most don't scale upwards with your own power level (simply becoming cheaper),
you'll be pleasantly surprised at how effective they remain throughout the
game, so long as you periodically update to the latest version.

Notably, Summon Lich is special because the Lich is the one summon that will
level both weapon and spells with the caster.  A single Lich can easily take
out one or two high-level enemies on its own.
Destruction                                                           !end,des-

I already discussed a lot of this in the Destruction skill section (section
mag,des-).  Simply put, Destruction's greatest offering is the suite of
Weakness spells.  For someone interested in adopting this tactic, training up
your Destruction just so you can cast Weakness to xxx at 100% effect for a
short duration is worth it.

Weakness to Magic is the most powerful of the bunch.  As mentioned earlier, you
should have this last in any custom spell you make, so that the the other
effects on the spell actually get influenced by any existing Weakness to Magic
effect already on the target (such as from a previous cast of the exact same
spell).  Weakness to Magic will also let you circumvent anything other than
perfect Resist Magic of 100 (though penetrating a high Resist Magic will take
several tries).  Weakness to Magic also strengthens other Weaken effects,
including itself (which can lead to abusive results).

Weakness to Poison works immensely well with the Alchemy path and can
exponentially increase the effectiveness of poisons.  Notably, Weakness to
Frost/Fire/Shock also effect those types of poisons as well.

But it's not just there to enhance spell-casting.  A 100% Weakness to
Fire/Shock/Frost effect works well on a sword that has "Fire Damage 20 pts on
strike," after all.  Even surprisingly well.  Stack that Weakness with an
initial 100% Weakness to Magic and you'll be surprised just how quickly your
enchanted, on-strike weapons slice through any opposition

Lastly, there are actual, you know, damage spells in Destruction.  It's only
really worth mentioning because they work well with Weakness effects (since you
can custom-tailor them) and also because targeted Destruction effects are
essentially infinite arrows.
Illusion                                                              !end,ill-

Here's a breakdown of the various mind-altering effects, to try to illustrate
to you how immensely powerful Illusion is:

Command Creature/Humanoid:  Relatively Magicka-expensive, but for the duration
    of the effect, the affected creature/humanoid is basically your personal
    pet.  They will follow you around and attack any hostile enemies without
    discretion.  Notably, if the effect wears after your new friend has started
    attacking someone, they will _continue_ to attack until they prevail or
    die.  This means that if all you care about is sowing some discord in a
    multi-enemy fight, you can create a super-cheap Command effect that lasts
    just a few seconds.

Frenzy:  Very Magicka-cheap, only affects humanoids, but essentially acts as a
    super efficient Command Humanoid, except that they still may attack you and
    they won't follow you around.  Similar to Command Humanoid, it doesn't
    matter if the effect wears off prematurely - if your affected target has
    started attacking someone, they will continue to do so until they prevail
    or die.
        Because affected humanoids may still attack you, Frenzy is best coupled
    with either a good Sneak (to get an undetected hit in) or
    Invisibility/Chameleon.  Even with the latter, you may still need to wait
    around a bit before your affected target stops trying to find you and
    instead attacks their nearby friends.

Calm:  Modestly Magicka-expensive, affects all enemies, and acts as an
    effective crowd control.  Affected enemies will still be aware of you, so
    don't think you'll be able to get free sneak attacks in (unless you also
    have a very good Chameleon).  Instead, what this lets you do is either
    couple this with other spells to prepare the enemy for a big hit (such as a
    custom spell that combines Calm with various Weakness effects); put one
    enemy out of the fight so you can focus on another (especially handy to use
    against Summons since enemy casters won't re-cast their Summon until it
    dies); bypass combat altogether (helpful against super tough Minotaur Lords
    wandering around late-game); or at the very least just buy yourself a
        As mentioned in mag,ill-, Calm has no effect if you hit an enemy before
    having been detected.

Demoralize:  More Magicka-expensive than Calm and does not affect Undead.
    However, it is nonetheless powerful as it serves many of the same purposes
    as Calm except Demoralize does not get cancelled by damage.  In effect,
    this means that you can Demoralize an enemy and keep wailing on them with
    attacks and poisons and spells and there is nothing they can do until the
    spell effect wears off.
        As mentioned in mag,ill-, Demoralize has no effect if you hit an enemy
    before having been detected.

Rally:  Super Magicka-affordable, limited use, only affects humanoids.  Mainly
    use it to keep heavily wounded casters from fleeing, though allegedly you
    can also use it on humanoids who are running to alert the guards.

Aside from these, there's Chameleon (you can read more at end,cha-) and
Invisibility.  Once you can cast Invisibility at will, you'll wonder how you
ever got on without it.  You basically control the battlefield: when you want
to attack, when you want to be attacked, and who gets the first strike.  With
enough castings of Invisibility, you can just run through Oblivion Gates to the
Sigil Stone without lifting a single finger.  It's not quite as good as a high
Chameleon with Sneak (no infinite sneak attacks for example), but that just
means it's not as game-breakingly good.

Of course, if you want to be more novel about it, then you can work at
Fortifying your Personality up to around 200, getting a good Charm spell, then
using that to avoid combat against humanoids altogether.

It bears repeating again, but Weakness to Magic doesn't influence the magnitude
of the Command/Calm/Demoralize/Frenzy/Rally spells, as Weakness to Magic only
modifies "offensive" effects, and none of these are considered "offensive."  On
the other hand, you can generally use these on friendly humanoids without
summarily making them angry (well, aside from Frenzy's obvious effect).

Lastly - while many of these effects are best when used at 100% Spell
Effectiveness with "up to level 25" set on them, even with some encumbrance,
you'll still be able to affect some creatures out there (as they have fixed
internal levels).  For example, Spider Daedra and Storm Atronachs are both
unchanging at level 18 and 19 respectively, and those two make up a significant
amount of the enemies you fight in Oblivion Gates.  So in this case, even with
80% Spell Effectiveness, a "Command Creature up to Level 25" effect will still
net you plenty of pets on the plane of Oblivion.
Speed 0                                                               !end,spe-

This is an end-game strategy that takes advantage of a particular quirk of the
Oblivion engine.  Simply put, if a non-player has their speed reduced to 0,
their AI effectively shuts down (more specifically, it reverts to a 'default'
AI). For most enemies, this means the following things happen:
    1.  Enemies put away their weapons, if any.
    2.  Any summons that the enemy had disappear.*
    3.  They become completely unaware of the player.  This means now that
        the player's sneaking will always succeed against this enemy.
    4.  As a result of #3, if all enemies have their Speed reduced to 0, combat
        ends, which means normal music resumes and the player can do repairs
        and alchemy.
    * This doesn't always happen, and it appears to be linked to whether or
      not the summon was an actual spell or a lesser power (with lesser power
      summons not going away, such as the little spiders from Spider Daedra).
As you can see, this is a very powerful effect, in some cases on par or even
better than Paralyze, Fatigue damage, Chameleon, or other forms of enemy
disabling.  The only catch is that it is somewhat hard to pull this off.  There
are exactly two ways to accomplish this feat: custom Drain Speed effects or
custom Absorb Speed effects.

Drain Speed is harder to pull off, since there is only one legitimate (read:
one that doesn't exploit a bug in the game) way to enable Drain Attribute
effects for spellmaking:  being an Orc.  Failing that, you're left with Absorb
Speed.  Fortunately, Absorb Speed is pretty trivial to come by (see
wor,whe,res-) but due to having a higher base cost than Drain Speed, you'll
need Restoration of 50 to cast a modestly effective single-target version.

Speed 0 is unique amongst end game strategies because it is one that is
actually most effective against creatures, whereas other strategies are better
against humanoids or at least treat the two equally.  This is actually a good
thing since creatures are the main source of leveling pain.
    The reason for this is thus:  humanoids "level up" their attributes like
the player and in fact, most humanoids will have 100 Speed by mid-to-late
game.  This has a lot to do with the fact that the vast, vast majority of
humanoid classes choose either Acrobatics or Athletics as a major skill (and
sometimes both), which grants the humanoid at least 1.4 Speed every level, and
oftentimes 2.2.  Which means by level ~25, most agile humanoids (Bandits and
such) will have 100 Speed, and by level ~35, virtually every humanoid will have
100 Speed.  Only slow, piddling humanoids (many of which are non-combatants
like traders and such) will not have Acrobatics, Athletics, or Light Armor
chosen as a major skill, and these are the only ones who will never have 100
Speed (though they will still get up to around ~80 Speed by level 50).
    By contrast, most creatures' attributes are either fixed or are ignored
while they scale their attacks/health as the player levels up.  This means that
even a modest Drain/Absorb Speed will shut down many creatures in the game, and
will continue to do so as you get stronger.  In fact, Spider Daedra seem to
have the highest Speed of any creature, 75.  Most other creatures seem to hover
around the low 20s to low 30s.

The net result of all the above is that if you only want to affect creatures, a
modest Drain/Absorb Speed is sufficient.  For anything more expensive, you need
a total of 100 Speed-draining by about level ~20.  This also means that like
Illusion magic, you need to be unencumbered to get the most out of it - having
95% Spell Effectiveness makes a huge difference when it's the difference
between an enemy having 5 Speed or 0 Speed.
    However, if you don't plan on being unencumbered, you can still bring an
enemy's Speed down to 0 since, unlike Illusion magic, you can stack
Drain/Absorb Speed effects from different sources and even amplify it by a
Weakness to Magic effect.
    Example:  you create a spell with Absorbs Speed 70 pts for 10 seconds.
Then you enchant a weapon that has, among other things, an Absorb Speed 50 pts
for ~2 seconds or so, which is still rather affordable.  Hit the enemy with the
spell, then as you whack them with your weapon, their effective Speed becomes
0, even with if your Spell Effectiveness is rather low.
    Example 2:  Create a spell that Absorbs Speed 60 pts for 10 seconds and
Weakness to Magic 100% for 3 seconds.  Simply cast it two to three times and
you will bring any enemy down to a Speed of 0, regardless of your Spell

Given all the above, there are still a couple things to be mindful of:
    1.  Magic resistance
    2.  Hostile "default" behavior

1:  Magic resistance is super annoying to deal with, especially if you're not
an Orc and have a supplemental Drain effect to match your Absorb effects.
Virtually all Dremora at mid-20 levels and up will have 50% Resist Magic, which
will frustrate most chances at getting their Speed to 0 (though fortunately,
none of the Dremora classes tag Acrobatics, Athletics, or Light Armor, so their
Speed doesn't get astronomically high).  Minotaur Lords have a measly 36 Speed
but have an innate 40% Resist Magic, foiling modest Speed-draining effects.
Bretons have an innate 50% Resist Magic (though they are squishy otherwise).
Your main options in any of these cases are:  have multiple sources of
Speed-draining (such as a Spell that Absorbs Speed and then a weapon with a
distinct Absorb Speed effect), train Destruction 50 so you can stack on a
Weakness to Magic effect, or both.
    A supplemental strategy is to craft some high-level Damage Speed potions
(Boar Meat plus one of either Green Stain Cup Cap, Pear, or Peony Seeds).  At
low Alchemy levels they aren't going to be too effective (doing something like
Damage Speed 1 point for 5 seconds), but with Master-level equipment and an
effective Alchemy of 100, you can craft Damage Speed 3 points for 12 seconds.
In case you can't multiply, this is a net effect of 36 Speed Damage, which is
both permanent and non-magical; against enemies with 50% Resist Magic, this is
effectively 72 Speed Damage, even more with a Weakness to Poison effect.
Incidentally, high-level Alchemy here can also serve as a mechanism to get
enemies' Speeds to 0, though I don't put it on the same level as Absorb or
Drain Speed simply because for most of the game (read: until at least
Expert-level equipment and 100 effective Alchemy) the Speed damage is so minor.
    Note that some enemies will have Spell Absorption or Reflect Spell.
Fortunately for you, unlike Resist Magic, a 50% Spell Absorption doesn't reduce
the magnitude of all your effects by 50%, simply giving a 50% chance of your
spell being absorbed into Magicka.  The main difference is that if you have a
spell with 100 Absorb Speed, against an enemy with 50% Resist Magic, that spell
will do nothing, no matter how many times you cast it.  Against an enemy with
50% Spell Absorption/Reflect Spell, half the time you cast it you will still
disable them completely (though you have to be really careful against enemies
that can reflect such a devastating spell back at you).

2:  Some enemies' "default" behaviors are still pretty functional.  Some
creatures that have heal spells (like Goblin Shamans and Spider Daedra) will
heal themselves constantly while their Speed is 0.  This isn't too bad, just
slightly annoying.  However, Storm Atronachs maintain a default hostility.
Even if their Speed is 0, so long as you are close enough to them
(approximately within range of a two-handed sword attack), they will continue
to attack you.  However, as long as you step outside of this range
(approximately just before an Absorb effect breaks from being too far), they
will sit there motionless, so if you have a Bow or a ranged spell, you can
still clobber them with those.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Hatred Equipment                                                  !end,spe,hat-

Two pieces of equipment deserve special mention for the Speed 0 strategy.
Hatred's Heart and Hatred's Soul.  Both are leveled semi-unique weapons with
the following stats at high levels (19+):

    Hatred's Heart, Daedric Mace (weighs more than a normal Daedric Mace)
        Base Damage: 24
        Effect:  Drain Speed 30 pts for 45 sec, Fire Damage 35 pts
        Charge/Cost, Uses:  4800/315, 15

    Hatred's Soul, Daedric Bow (weighs less than a normal Daedric Bow)
        Base Damage: 24 (more than a normal Daedric Bow)
        Effect:  Drain Speed 30 pts for 45 sec, Fire Damage 35 pts
        Charge/Cost, Uses:  4800/315, 15

That Drain Speed for 45 seconds is *massive*.  For anyone not an Orc, this is
your entree to really cheap, long-lasting disabling effects.  In fact, against
most creatures, a single hit with one of those weapons will give you instant
Speed 0 for long enough that you can probably beat them to death with your
Fists and a Hand to Hand of 1.  For Minotaur Lords, one hit from the Bow
followed up with one hit from the Mace and you're set.  For anyone else, the
two weapons provide a powerful supplement to any other spells or poisons that
you've got going on.  The only downside is the steep recharge cost these
weapons have, but at this point in the game you should be rolling in money.

The only catch is actually finding these weapons.  It's actually kind of
non-obvious (and in fact, if you just look around on the Oblivion wiki pages,
you may never run across the pages for these weapons).  They're located in one
specific type of Oblivion world, the one with all the gates and towers named
after natural disasters (with names like "Tsunami Gate").  Every random
Oblivion Gate has a chance of linking to this world, but the gate that opens in
front of Chorrol for the "Aid to Bruma" quest is guaranteed to link to this
    As soon as you enter the world and see the five towers that signify that
you're in the correct plane, turn to the north.  Past the Oblivion Gate you
just walked in, you should see a Sigil Keep that is leaning and sinking into
lava.  That's where the Hatred equipment is, though you have to enter an
un-marked cave entrance to the "Fume Vaults" to get to it.  If X is your
starting location, G is the gate you entered, T the tower, and E the entrance,
then you should follow a path sort of like:

     T  |

You might have to jump over some lava and dodge some flame traps, and the
entrance to the cave is on a very narrow sliver of land on the other side of a
gigantic rock on one of several islands north/northwest of the sinking tower.
The Fume Vaults is just a typical Oblivion Cave.  Once you get to the other end
of the Fume Vaults and enter the Tower, you have to fight two special Dremora
Guards, each holding a key you need to progress.  At the top of the Tower
(don't worry, there's no other enemy to fight) you'll see two Forbidden sacks,
one holding Hatred's Heart, the other holding Hatred's Soul (and some unique

Ludic Mechanics                                                           !lud-
Casting                                                               !lud,cas-

Wearing armor hinders your ability to cast spells.  It doesn't matter whether
it's heavy or light armor, the effect is the same and based on your respective
armor skill.  The penalty is severe at first, starting at a 20% for virtually
no armor skill (if completely clad in the armor), and then by Journeyman
achieves a minimum penalty of 5% (if completely clad in the armor).  This means
that, even with the Expert Light Armor and Master Heavy Armor perks, you will
max out at 95% Spell Effectiveness with armor.

This spell effectiveness modifies the magnitude of all spells you cast.  So a
20 point Fireball at 90% Spell Effectiveness will only do 18 damage.  This
impact, however, is most important when it comes to "up to level xx" effects.
There is a special exception in the game where "up to level 25" actually
affects all targets in the game, regardless of level.  However, in the
back-end, this is a special exception made for a magnitude 100 of these
effects.  That means that having any kind of Spell Effectiveness penalty
renders "up to level xx" effects useless after a certain point, since it
reduces the magnitude below the special-exception level of 100.  So, in order
to get the full effect of most Illusion spells or Turn Undead, you _must_ be
completely un-encumbered (wearing only cloth or robes).

The only exception to this are Powers.  Powers are not affected by spell
effectiveness or skill at all.  So the Khajiit's Eye of Fear power will always
affect all enemies everywhere, no matter his or her encumbrance or skill in
Spellmaking                                                           !lud,spe-

Spellmaking revolves around a single unified equation to calculate Base Magicka
cost of a spell.  This Base Magicka is then adjusted by Magic skill to reach
its final cost and is also used to determine the minimum skill requirement to
use the spell in the first place.

The equation is pretty simple:
        Base Magicka Cost = B / 10 * M ^ 1.28 * A * D * S

        where B is Base Cost,
        M is Magnitude (1 - 100, the first slider when setting up an effect),
        A is Area, which is 1 for no area of effect or area of effect x .15,
        D is Duration, which is always at least 1,
        S is Special, which is 1 for "on touch" or "on self" or 1.5 for
            "on target"
Base Cost is something you have to look up for each individual effect.

Note that some Illusion effects don't show you a "Magnitude" slider, but rather
an "up to level xx" slider.  A Magnitude is still used in the back-end, and
you'll even see some weapons that show "Demoralize up to 25 points" instead of
a level component.  Fortunately, the conversion is pretty simple:
        Up to level xx = Magnitude / 4, rounding down
so you need a Magnitude of 100 to
get an effect that says "up to level 25."  Note that in this case, a Magnitude
of 100 is really a special case for "up to any level."

A consequence of the equation is that increasing magnitude has exponential
effects on the cost of the spell.  Which means that you can sometimes obtain
superior effects (for spells you don't plan on spamming over and over, for
example) by distributing the total magnitude over various effects or durations
(since duration's cost scales linearly instead of exponentially).  So instead
of 100 Fire Damage in 1 second, try 20 Fire Damage for 5 seconds.  Instead of
15 Fire Damage, try 5 Fire/5 Frost/5 Shock.  This only works for Damage,
Restore, and Damage/Restore-style Absorb effects of course, as other effects
don't do their effects _per_ second, instead doing them _for_ the entire

That being said, doing more upfront in terms of magnitude can be worth the
exponentially higher Magicka cost.  Repeatedly casting a 20 Fire Damage for 5
second spell doesn't do much except reset the time remaining on the effect.
Repeatedly casting a 100 Fire Damage on touch effect, however, will do dramatic
amounts of punishment.

The Base Magicka Cost is then modified by the related skill to reduce it to its
Final Magicka Cost.  So, a Restoration effect used by someone with Restoration
100 will have its Final Magicka Cost be Base Magicka Cost x .2.

These operations are done for each effect on a spell; skill-based reductions on
for a spell are actually done _per_ effect.  The total final costs for each
effect are added together to get the final Magicka cost for the entire spell.

To determine what school the total spell is in, the game simply uses the effect
with the highest Base Magicka Cost.  To determine what the minimum skill
requirement for the spell is, it is based on what that highest Base Magicka
Cost is, and is calculated like so:
        Requires Novice skill for Base Magicka < 26,
        Requires Apprentice for Base Magicka >= 26 but < 63,
        Requires Journeyman for Base Magicka >= 63 but < 150,
        Requires Expert for Base Magicka >= 150 but < 400,
        Requires Master for Base Magicka 400 and greater

Because of the way Base Magicka Cost is used, it is very possible to make a
spell that has many Destruction effects, for example, but be in an Illusion
school simply because you used one small Paralyze component (which has a very
high Base Cost).  This also means that such a spell, even though technically an
Illusion spell, will still benefit from increasing Destruction skill, since
those other Destruction effects will only get cheaper with better Destruction
skill scores, not Illusion.
Enchanting                                                            !lud,enc-

Enchanting uses only a subset of effects available at the spellmaking altar,
though it borrows some similar engine concepts as in spellmaking (see section
lud,spe-).  For enchanting armor, the gamesimply calculates a magnitude that is
based on the base cost (B) of the spell and the power of the soul which ranges
from 1 (Petty) to 5 (Grand):
        Effect Magnitude = B x Constant Duration Factor x Soul + 5
Unfortunately, the "Constant Duration Factor" is not well-documented anywhere
and appears to be effect-specific (Chameleon has a higher Constant Duration
Factor than Fortify Attribute, for example).  This does mean that regardless of
the effect, you will always have at least Magnitude 6 for Petty Souls.  The
largest Magnitude is 50 for a Grand Soul used for a Feather effect.

Enchanting weapons functions much like normal spellmaking with one key
difference:  the "Magicka" is determined by the Soul (up to 1600 for a Grand
Soul), so the Magicka cost of a "spell" comes out of that.  This means that you
can go crazy and make a super powerful effect that is so costly that it drains
the magic weapon out of all charges in just a few strikes.
    Note that you are limited in how expensive the effect can be, ultimately.
For example, for a "Grand" Soul Gem, the maximum cost of your total effects
cannot exceed 85 Magicka.  Just as well, at 85, a 1600 Magicka item would be
empty in just 18 strikes.
    Note, too, that this Magicka cost is unmodified by Magic skills.  Or else
you could theoretically create some insanely powerful effects.

As hinted above, Sigil Stones do not really abide by any specific enchanting
rules.  Instead, they have pre-set effects based on what kind of effect the
Sigil Stone has and how strong the Sigil Stone is.  See section wor,obl- for
more details.
    In general, Sigil Stones are much better at enchanting armor.  Fortify
Attributes, for example, increase an attribute by 12; the equivalent with a
Grand Soul Gem would be only 10.  As for enchanting weapons, manual
enchantments may be better for most cases, as you'll be able to combine effects
(notably Weakness to Magic) to make weapons that may ultimately be more
powerful.  The main advantage that Sigil Stones have for enchanting weapons is
that they have _very_ large Magicka pools.  However, this advantage diminishes
since, aside from recharging at stores, you're still reliant on using Grand
Soul Gems to recharge (at 1600 Magicka a pop).  Though, to be fair, a large
enough Magicka pool and you'll be able to clear a dungeon (or two!) without
needing a single Grand Soul Gem.  Your mileage may vary.
Alchemy                                                               !lud,alc-

NOTE - during this section, pay close attention to the distinction between
POTIONS and POISONS.  The two words are very similar in appearance, but the
meanings are quite distinct.  A poTIon is something that you use on yourself -
an alchemy creation with a positive effect (even if it has a negative side
effect).  A poISon has a green icon and is something that you apply to your
weapon - an alchemy creation with _only_ negative effects.

The effectiveness of potions and poisons is actually very closely related to
spellmaking (see previous section lud,spe-).  In short, the different Alchemy
tools and your Alchemy school combine to create a "maximum Base Magicka Cost"
for creating potions and poisons; potions and poisons use the same "Base Cost"
component to determine how powerful they can be.  The reality is a bit more
complicated than that, but that's the general idea.

Before we get bogged down in equations, let me summarize the basic points:
    1.  Having a better Mortar & Pestle improves your Alchemy, which in turn
        improves the general effectiveness of your potions and poisons.
    2.  Having a Calcinator multiplies the magnitude and duration of your
        potions and poisons.
    3.  Having a Retort increases the positive effects of your potions.
    4.  Having an Alembic (of ANY rank) increases the effectiveness of poisons.
    5.  Having a decent Alembic reduces the negative side effects of your
    6.  Having a Novice Alembic with a Master or Expert Calcinator actually
        worsens the negative side effects of your potions.

Specifically, the base magnitude (BaseM) of an effect is first calculated as:
        BaseM = ((Alchemy + MortarPestle x 25) / (B/10 x 4)) ^ (1/2.28)
with the base duration (BaseD) of an effect calculated as:
        BaseD = 4 x BaseM
MortarPestle is a multiplier based on the quality of the Mortar & Pestle you
are using:
        .1 for Novice
        .25 for Apprentice
        .5 for Journeyman
        .75 for Expert
        1 for Master
In other words, your Mortar & Pestle gives you a boost to your Alchemy skill
that lets it go past 100, ranging from a boost of 2.5 to 25.  These multipliers
are the same for the other Alchemy tools and are used below.

Note that the above is basically a reversal of the spellmaking equation.  The
game is basically calculating the best M and D that it can use given a Base
Cost for an effect (such as Damage Health) such that the Base Magicka Cost of
the resulting effect is not greater than
        Base Magicka Cost = Alchemy + MortarPestle x 25

You can calculate this by plugging in BaseM for M and BaseD for D (and 1 for A
since all potions/poisons have no area of effect) into the spellmaking equation
in lud,spe-:
        Base = B/10 x M^1.28 x A x D
        Base = B/10 x ((Alchemy + MortarPestle x 25) / (B/10 x 4))^(1.28/2.28)
                x 4 x ((Alchemy + MortarPestle x 25) / (B/10 x 4))^(1/2.28)
        Base = B/10 x ((Alchemy + MortarPestle x 25) / (B/10 x 4))^(2.28/2.28)
                x 4
        Base = B/10 x (Alchemy + MortarPestle x 25) / (B/10 x 4) x 4
        Base = (B/10 x 4) x (Alchemy + MortarPestle x 25) / (B/10 x 4)
        Base = Alchemy + MortarPestle x 25

Anyway, the BaseM and BaseD are then modified by the quality of your
Calcinator, Retort, and Alembic.  How it does so is dependent on whether you're
making a negative effect or a positive effect (note that you can have negative
effects on a potion, but not a positive effect on a poison) and also in part
whether or not you are making a poison or a potion

For negative effects without an Alembic,
        FinalM = BaseM x (1 + .35 x Calcinator)
        FinalD = BaseD x (1 + .35 x Calcinator)
For negative effects on a potion with an Alembic,
        FinalM = BaseM x (1 + .35 x Calcinator) x (1 + .35 x Calcinator - 2 x
        FinalD = BaseD x (1 + .35 x Calcinator) x (1 + .35 x Calcinator - 2 x
For negative effects on a poison with an Alembic,
        FinalM = BaseM x (1 + .35 x Calcinator) x (1 + .35 x Calcinator)
        FinalD = BaseD x (1 + .35 x Calcinator) x (1 + .35 x Calcinator)
Note that this means if you are creating a potion with a negative side effect,
having a very Alembic weak compared to your Calcinator will actually make the
negative side effect worse.  On the flip side, simply having an Alembic
(regardless of quality) will make any poisons you create much better, provided
you also have a Calcinator of some kind.
    Also note that this since you cannot have a negative magnitude or duration,
having a half-decent Alembic will reduce any side effects to magnitude 1 with
duration of 1.

For positive effects using just a Calcinator or a Retort,
        FinalM = BaseM x (1 + [.35 x Calcinator] or [.5 x Retort])
        FinalD = BaseD x (1 + [.35 x Calcinator] or [Retort])
For positive effects using both a Calcinator and a Retort,
        FinalM = BaseM x (1 + 1.4 x Calcinator + .5 x Retort)
        FinalD = BaseD x (1 + 1.4 x Calcinator + Retort)
This means that simply having both Calcinator and Retort dramatically increases
the effectiveness of any positive effects (and, as a consequence, your
potions).  It also means that if you have to choose between having a Calcinator
or a Retort, you should go for the Retort when making potions, as its influence
on positive effects is much stronger than a Calcinator.

Note that all the above examples assume we are talking about effects that have
a meaningful magnitude and duration.  Some effects do not, such as Paralyze.
In this case, the coefficients for some of the equipment strengths change.
        In FinalD, Calcinator goes from multiplied by .35 to .25
        In FinalD, Retort goes from using its full value to .5

One and only one effect, Dispel, is magnitude-only.  In such a case, there is
one specific coefficient change as well.
        In FinalM, Calcinator goes from multiplied by .35 to .3

Lastly, potions and poisons have both weight and value.  Weight is simply the
average of the weight of the ingredients you used to make the potion.  The
catch is that if you are creating a potion or poison with the exact same name
and effects (down to duration and magnitude) as a potion or a poison that you
already have, it simply stacks with it, using that weight.  This means that if
you create a very heavy potion or poison (by using something like Mutton), it
doesn't matter if you end up using only light ingredients for other copies of
that potions, they will all be very heavy.  The flip side is also true, if you
create a very light potion or poison, then it doesn't matter if every other
copy of that potion is made using a Daedra Heart, they will all be light.

The sellable Value of the potion is pretty easy to calculate and is simply
        Base Value = (Alchemy + MortarPestle x 25) x .45
Effects                                                               !lud,eff-

Oblivion has some very specific rules in how effects can stack.  When it comes
to spells, effects are considered coming from a specific spell.  So, if you
cast a durational spell repeatedly, the effects do not stack, instead only
resetting the duration to its original length.  So, for example, if you have a
"Absorb Health 2 pts for 20 seconds on touch" spell, casting it multiple times
on the same target will not stack multiple Absorb effects, simply refreshing
the duration every time.

However, this means that even the most subtle changes in spell name, even if
all the effects are identical, _do_ produce stacking effects.  So creating 5
different Absorb Health spells like above, for example, each with slightly
different names, will cause them to stack, even though their effects are

When it comes to weapon enchantments, they function like spells.  Thus,
repeatedly hitting an enemey with a "Drain Endurance 5 pts for 10 seconds" will
not keep stacking on new Drain Endurance effects, but will instead keep
refreshing the duration.

When it comes to poisons and potions, however, there is no such restriction.
You can drink the same potion repeatedly, and even if it's an identical,
durational potion each time, the effects will stack.  The catch, of course, is
that the game limits you to consuming 4 potions at a time, but this means that
you can create 4 identical Chameleon potions and drink them all at once and get
cumulative benefits, instead of having to make subtle differences between each

The rule is similar with poison.  Even if you have the same Damage Health
effect, using it repeatedly on an enemy will cause it to stack with itself,
which can obviously lead to heavily lethal effects.  This is also potentially
one of the few, "cost-free" ways of using Burden:  Burden effects are really
easy to craft, and constantly poisoning your arrows with Burden in a tough,
long fight will eventually yield an enemy that will either be passing out (from
attacking with weapons that are heavily damaging his or her fatigue),
progressively moving slower (up to a maximum worn weight of 150 lbs), or cannot
move at all (from being over-encumbered).
Burden/Feather                                                        !lud,bur-

The way Burden and Feather are implemented in the game deserves some special
mention.  I already hinted at it in section mag,alt- when discussing Alteration
effects.  Simply put, Burden does not just add a lump of invisible weight and,
similarly, Feather does not just increase your carry capacity.  The way they
are implemented in-game is to actually modify (in a way) the actual weight of
the items you are carrying.

So if you currently are carrying 100 lbs worth of stuff out of 275 lbs carrying
capacity, then a Feather of 50 pts will actually subtract 50 lbs worth of
weight from the items you are carrying, rather than increasing your total
allowable weight.  Similarly, a Burden of 50 pts will invisibly increase your
worn weight, rather than decreasing your total carry weight.

One side effect of this is that this does not impact items you are not
currently carrying - furthermore, once you have already Feathered yourself
effectively down to 0 encumbrance, further Feather effects no longer work.
Thus, it is actually possible to surprisingly encumber yourself by casting a
Feather when you are carrying very little (generally less than the Feather
amount) and then picking up a bunch of heavy items that you would normally
expect to carry.

Burden/Feather also directly interact with your total worn weight (see
lud,mov-), which in turn determines how quickly you move.  In short,
Burden/Feather effects directly manipulate your worn weight, up until the
maximum allowed by the engine (150 lbs) or the minimum (0 lbs), after which
further Burden/Feather effects simply affect your encumbrance.

In other words, if you are equipped with a 80 lb hammer and have 100 lbs of
stuff in your inventory and are hit with a 100 pt Burden, then first your carry
weight is increased by 70 lbs (to bring your worn weight up to 150 lbs) and
then the remaining 30 pts is added to your inventory.  Similarly, if you hit
yourself with a 100 pt Feather, then first your carry weight is decreased by 80
lbs (to bring your worn weight down to 0) and then the remaining 20 pts is
subtracted from your inventory.

This means that first, Burden/Feather effects have the result of slowing down
or speeding up entity movement (unlike Drain/Fortify/Absorb Strength affects,
which have no affect on worn weight).  This also means that Burden effects are
most effective at slowing down enemies who aren't already maxed out at their
worn weight.  So, a Burden of 50 pts will be semi-effective against someone
carrying 100 lbs of equipment, but will be completely useless against someone
carrying 150 lbs of equipment.
    Second, because neither Burden nor Feather directly modify the weight of
any equipped weapon (instead just tacking on a modifier behind the scenes),
they do not affect Fatigue burn per attack (unlike what many sites say and
which even this guide once said).
    Third, even creatures with no armor or weapons will still feel the effect
of being Burdened, since their worn weights are directly affected by the Burden

However, the upshot of all this is that Burden/Feather are rather subtle
effects.  While it can produce some nice speed improvements when you Feather
yourself, in general, just by looking at lud,mov-, a Burden of 100 pts will, at
best, decrease an enemy's movement speed by 30%:
        50 lbs of worn weight, with a weapon => 86.66% movement speed
        150 lbs of worn weight, with a weapon => 60% movement speed
        60% of 86.66% => 30% speed reduction
That's a pretty suble effect for a maxed-out spell.  Fortunately, Burden isn't
terribly expensive to create at the spellmaking alter and similarly Feather is
incredibly cheap to create the spellmaking alter.  So while not game-breakingly
good effects, they may fit some niche roles (though Feather is more generally
Combat                                                                !lud,com-

Non-Hand to Hand melee damage works like this
        Damage = Base Weapon Damage
            x Attribute Multiplier
            x Fatigue Multiplier
            x Power Attack,

        where Base Weapon Damage is the appropriate equation from skill,
        Multiplier is the appropriate equation from attribute,
        Fatigue = (Current Fatigue / Max Fatigue) x .5 + .5,
        Power Attack is either 2.5 or 3 depending on the power attack
So for someone with Blade, we use the Blade Base Weapon Damage (section
com,bla-) and the Strength Multiplier (section att,str-) and get this equation:
        Damage = .5 x (Base x (Weapon Condition + 100) / 200) x (.02 + .015 x
            x (.75 + .005 x ST)
            x ((Current Fatigue / Max Fatigue) x .5 + .5)
            x Power Attack
This looks a bit complicated, so all you really need to concern yourself with
is looking at the stated damage in your inventory (which is Base Weapon Damage
x Attribute Multiplier already calculated for you).  Then, ask yourself if an
attack is a power attack.  Then, know that at full Fatigue you'll do 100% of
this damage, but at no Fatigue you'll only do half damage.

Hand to Hand is slightly different only in what Base Weapon Damage and
Attribute Multiplier are like:
        Damage = .01 x Hand to Hand
                x (1 + .105 x ST)
                x ((Current Fatigue / Max Fatigue) x .5 + .5)
                x Power Attack

Once that Damage is calculated it goes through several checks.
    1.  Does the target have Reflect Damage?  If so, reduce appropriately; a
        Reflect Damage 25 means 25% of Damage goes away and is instead done to
        the attacker (which itself goes directly through without considering
        any other damage mitigation).
    2.  Does the target have Resistance to Normal Weapons and the attacker does
        not have either a Silver, Draedic, or Magical Weapon or a set of fists
        with less than Journeyman skill?  If so, adjust Damage appropriately.
        If Damage was reduced to 0 or less, abort.
    3.  Reduce the Damage by the target's damage reduction (the total sum of
        worn Armor Rating and Shield effects, capped at 85%).
    4.  Is the target blocking?  Then reduce the Damage further by the
        appropriate Block Damage Multiplier (see com,blo-).
    5.  Trigger any "on strike" effects on the weapon, as well as any poison,
        and also check to see if any special power attack effects kick in.
        Also check for enemy stagger.
In addition, with Hand to Hand attacks, the damage done at #4 is used to
compute how much Fatigue damage the enemy receives, as mentioned in com,han-:
        Fatigue Damage = 1 + HtH Damage/2
Note that this means that no matter how resilient the enemy, so long as the
attack did at least 1 damage, the target always take at least 1 Fatigue Damage.
Though, 1 Fatigue Damage on its own does nothing against the normal Fatigue
regeneration of 10/second, unless the enemy was just at 0 Fatigue from having
just swung their weapon, for example.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Combat for Creatures                                              !lud,com,com-

Most of the above doesn't apply to creatures.  They don't use their combat
skill to determine damage output.  They simply have a set damage output (that
may be based on their level), and they do that damage upon a strike.  They
don't even consider their own Fatigue levels for diminishing their own damage!

This also means that draining or damaging a creature's Strength has no bearing
on their ability to do damage to you.
Fatigue                                                               !lud,fat-

Fatigue regenerates at a constant rate of 10 per second.  When running, this
regeneration rate is slower, though Athletics perks alter this.

As mentioned in Combat (section lud,com-), Fatigue's primary purpose is in
penalizing your attack damage under sustained use, giving you a multiplier of
        Fatigue Multiplier = (Current Fatigue / Max Fatigue) x .5 + .5
This has the interesting meaning that no matter what, you'll almost always be
doing slightly less than 100% if you don't take a second or two between each
attack.  All you can do is increase your Fatigue to minimize the penalty or
layer on additional Fatigue regeneration so that you're back to full before
your second attack.

As part of this, every attack drains some Fatigue
        Burned Fatigue = (7 + .1 x Weapon Weight) x Power Attack,

        where Power Attack is 1 if this is not a Power Attack and 5 (!!) if
        this is a Power Attack
Fists I believe are considered to have Weapon Weight of 0, so Fists will
always burn minimal Fatigue and, by corrolary, are immune to Burden effects in
increasing their Fatigue-ness.  Quest-item weapons that have an inventory
weight of 0 nevertheless still use their normal Weapon Weight for this
equation, so you will still burn fatigue at a normal rate.
    Note that weapon attacks will never put you or a humanoid below 0 Fatigue.
At Fatigue 1, for example, you will just go back down to Fatigue 0.  However,
if you are already at 0 Fatigue, then additional Fatigue burn by attacking can
knock yourself out for a split second (and heavily-clad enemies with low
Athletics scores will also occasionally knock themselves out while attacking
and running).

Every non-Apprentice-level block also burns some Fatigue
        Burned Fatigue = Block / 100 + 20
Note that while the Fatigue lost is positively correlated with Block skill
(!!), because by Block of 25 you no longer lose Fatigue by blocking, it is
likely that Bethesda used to have bigger values here but then decided not to
make Burned Fatigue really based on your Block skill.

Every time you jump also burns Fatigue
        Jump Fatigue = 30, 15 if Expert Acrobatics

As mentioned in the previous section (lud,com-), Hand to Hand attacks damage
the target's Fatigue.  There are also a myriad of other spells, poisons, and
effects that damage Fatigue.
    Drain Fatigue is slightly different.  It reduces the Maximum Fatigue by the
drained amount, and also reduces the Current Fatigue by an equivalent amount.
When the Drain effect wears off, Maximum Fatigue is restored to normal and
Current Fatigue is increased by the same amount.

If anyone hits 0 or less Fatigue, they collapse onto the ground until they
regenerate to positive Fatigue.  Note that if you bring yourself to 0 Fatigue,
you won't collapse.  However, if you are still at 0 Fatigue and try to do
something else that causes yourself to lose Fatigue, you will fall down, though
you still will stay at 0 Fatigue, meaning you will stand back up almost
    However, any exogeneous factor (like a spell or a punch) that brings you or
an enemy to 0 Fatigue will result in a knockout, without the safety check
above.  Note that for an enemy to collapse, they must actually have a 'collapse'
animation.  All humanoids do, but a few creatures do not, namely Ghosts, Will
o' Wisps, and Wraiths.

It's actually possible to reduce someone to negative Fatigue, though Absorb
Fatigue effects that have a druational component (even if it's only 1 second,
like ones you can create at the spell altar) do not appear to do so.  As
mentioned in mag,res-, this may be a consequence of how Absorb Fatigue as a
spell is implemented versus Absorb Fatigue as an on-strike enchantment:  in the
former, Absorb Fatigue is a durational check (even if the duration is 1 second)
that makes sure that there is something left to Absorb; in the latter, Absorb
Fatigue is a one-time effect that blazes through the enemy's Fatigue,
regardless of whether or not there is something to Absorb.
    Once at negative Fatigue, a being must stay unconscious until they
regenerate to positive Fatigue again.  At that point, they slowly stand up and
resume combat.  I'm not sure just how negative a character's Fatigue can go,
but for reference sake, I stacked on many, many Weakness to Magic effects and
used a short-duration, high-impact spell; I managed to keep an enemy
unconscious for around 40 seconds before I got bored, so obviously it can go
pretty negative.
    Note that while an enemy is standing up, they will continue through until
they finish standing up.  This means that even if you hit them with some
massive Damage Fatigue effect while they stand up, they won't collapse back
down until they finish standing up.  This also means that, for example, if you
have a Hand to Hand attack that isn't quite good enough to outpace their
regeneration, you won't be able to keep the enemy down just by hitting them the
moment they start to stand up:  while their Fatigue will dip back down from 1
or so to 0 or below, they will keep standing up; by the time they finish
standing up and the game starts checking their Fatigue levels again, their
natural regeneration will have outpaced the Fatigue damage your fists may have
been doing in the meantime.
Movement                                                              !lud,mov-

Characters' movement rates are dependent on Speed (att,spe-), Athletics
(com,ath-), and influences based on their worn weight, sneak, and others.

The basic equation goes as such:
        Walking = Base Movement Multiplier x Sneak? x Worn Weight x Weapon
        Running = Base Movement Multiplier x Athletics Multiplier x Sneak? x
            Worn Weight x Weapon Multiplier
        Swimming = Base Movement Multiplier x Swim Penalty x Athletics Swim
            Multiplier x Sneak? x Worn Weight x Weapon Multiplier

If you don't want to jump to the Speed and Athletics section, here are those
components are for you again:
        Base Movement Multiplier = .9 + .004 x SP
        Athletics Multiplier = 3 + .01 x Athletics
        "Walking" Athletics Swim Multiplier = .5 + .0002 x Athletics
        "Running" Athletics Swim Multiplier = .5 + .001 x Athletics

The other multipliers are as such:
        Sneak? = .6 if sneaking, 1 if not sneaking

        Worn Weight = 1 - Weapon Factor x Equipped Weight / 150,
        where WeaponFactor is .4 if you have a weapon equipped,
            .3 if you do not,
        and Equipped Weight is all the weight you are currently wearing (not
            carrying), eg armor, shield, weapon, rings.  If you have
            Master-level Heavy Armor, exclude any Heavy Armor from this
            total.  If you have Expert-level Light Armor, exclude any Light
            Armor from this total.  Whatever the total is, it is
            capped at 150.*

        Weapon Multiplier = 1 if weapon is out and about, 1.1 if weapon is
        sheathed, even if you are unarmed.

* A consequence of the Worn Weight function is that each extra pound of worn
weight contributes roughly to a .2% decrease in movement speed, up to a maximum
of a 40% decrease (all this assumes that the character in question has a weapon

The resulting number is a ratio reflecting how quickly you move relative to a
baseline (1).  So, if you get .9, then you move 10% slower than a normal
humanoid of your race when walking.

So for an example (to put it all together), let's say we've got a Speedy (100),
Athletic (100) thief who's sneaking (while running) and is wearing some Daedric
Armor, has a Daedric Bow equipped, but has it put away.
        Base Movement Multiplier = .9 + (.004 x 100) = 1.3
        Athletics Multiplier = 3 + (.01 x 100) = 4
        Sneak? = .6
        Worn Weight = 1 - .4 x min(162, 150) / 150 = .6
        Weapon Multiplier = 1.1

        Movement Rate = 1.3 x 4 x .6 x .6 x 1.1 = 2.0592
which means that this sample character will move about twice the rate of a
normal walk for his/her race.  The most significant influences on his/her
movement was the fact that s/he was sneaking (40% decrease) and was equipped
with at least 150 lbs of equipment (an additional multiplicative 40% decrease).

World Mechanics                                                           !wor-
Oblivion Gates and Sigil Stones                                       !wor,obl-

There are plenty of types of dungeons throughout the world of Oblivion.  Among
other things they share is that most of them have some kind of a 'Boss Chest'
which has a chance (not guaranteed) of having substantially better loot than
other chests.  Note that it doesn't have to be a literal chest, it can be a
Coffin, Container, or some such.  They also tend to be near a 'Boss', who is
either slightly higher level than the other enemies in the dungeon or have a
special designation (like "Bandit Ringleader").

Oblivion Gates are notably special.  For one, they are only accessible after a
certain point in the Main Quest.  For two, they are always dominated by two
types of enemies:  Daedra (creatures) or Dremora (humanoids).  For three, they
are guaranteed to have 1-2 Boss Chests, noted as odd-looking red receptacles
known as "The Punished."  They tend to be in the Sanctus Sigilium, which is a
guaranteed, identical area common to all Oblivion Gates.  For four, there can
"only" be a maximum of 50 Oblivion Gates in the world, though they appear
semi-randomly (7 are always in existence and correspond to the Allies for Bruma
Optional Main Quest).  Lastly, for five, all Oblivion Gates grant you a Sigil
Stone upon closing them.  This last point is the most distinctive, and should
be the main attraction for closing Oblivion Gates.

Sigil Stones are special items that grant you access to enchantment effects
stronger than anything you can access through Soul Gem enchanting.  They are
also pre-set and leveled to your character, so the longer you wait until you
start closing Oblivion Gates (though I wouldn't wait too long to close the
Kvatch one in the Main Quest, due to level scaling problems), the better your
    You can use Sigil Stones without using an enchanting altar.  Moreover, the
effects that you get from enchanting generally well-exceed the effects you get
for enchanting an item with even a Grand Soul Gem.  For example, the highest
Chameleon effect you can get with a Grand Soul Gem is 20%, whereas a
Transcendent Sigil Stone can have as high as 30%.  The same is true for weapon
charges; whereas you always get 1600 Magicka charges off Grand Soul Gems, you
can get far, far more via Sigil Stones.

The Sigil Stone you get when you close the gate is randomly determined and,
unlike Boss Chests, are not determined until they actually enter your
inventory.  So if you want, you can do a quick-save after you activate the
Sigil Stone, then do quick-loads to keep on regenerating Sigil Stones until you
get a Sigil Stone that you want.  You may consider this exploitive, if so, then
don't do this, though be warned, there are 30 different Sigil Stones, so it may
be very difficult to get more than one of a specific type, even though some
effects are repeated (there are multiple Fire Damage ones, but only one
Night-Eye for example).

The strength of the Sigil Stone you get is wholly dependent on your level at
the exact moment when the Sigil Stone enters your inventory,
        Descendent Sigil Stone for levels less than or equal to 4,
        Subjacent Sigil Stone for levels less than or equal to 8,
        Latent Sigil Stone for levels less than or equal to 12,
        Ascendent Sigil Stone for levels less than or equal to 16,
        Transcendent Sigil Stones for everything higher.

The following is a list of all the different types.  Every Sigil Stone have a
pair of effects, one that is used if you enchant a weapon, the other that is
used if you enchant a piece of armor or jewelry.  To read the list below, I
note each effect pairing and then the magnitude of each effect for each of the
five strengths of Sigil Stones.

"...# of uses, max charge" tells you a) how many times you can use the effect
provided by the stone when fully charged ("uses") and b) how much total charge
the enchanted item has, important for determining how expensive it is to
recharge at a vendor or how many Soul Gems you need to recharge it ("max
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Attribute Sigil Stones                                            !wor,obl,att-

1.  Absorb Strength x for 30s       5       10      15      20      25
        ...# of uses, max charge    40,880  35,1890 30,2730 30,3930 30,5250
    Fortify Strength                7       8       9       10      12

2.  Absorb Intelligence x for 30s   5       10      15      20      25
        ...# of uses, max charge    40,880  35,1890 30,2730 30,3930 30,5250
    Fortify Intelligence            7       8       9       10      12

3.  Demoralize x for 20s*           10pts   20pts   30pts   40pts   50pts
        ...# of uses, max charge    45,810  35,1575 35,2660 30,3300 30,4380
    Fortify Willpower               7       8       9       10      12

4.  Absorb Agility x for 30s        5       10      15      20      25
        ...# of uses, max charge    40,880  35,1890 30,2730 30,3930 30,5250
    Fortify Agility                 7       8       9       10      12

5.  Absorb Speed x for 30s          5       10      15      20      25
        ...# of uses, max charge    40,880  35,1890 30,2730 30,3930 30,5250
    Fortify Speed                   7       8       9       10      12

6.  Absorb Endurance x for 30s      5       10      15      20      25
        ...# of uses, max charge    40,880  35,1890 30,2730 30,3930 30,5250
    Fortify Endurance               7       8       9       10      12

* To convert points into an "up to level x", divide by 4, rounding down.  This
means that a Transcendent Sigil Stone that Demoralizes isn't going to affect
much once you're level 25 or higher.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Fatigue/Health/Magicka Sigil Stones                               !wor,obl,fat-

7.  Absorb Fatigue                  10      20      30      40      50
        ...# of uses, max charge    60,660  55,1485 50,2300 50,3350 50,4450
    Fortify Fatigue                 10      20      30      40      50

8.  Damage Fatigue                  15      25      35      50      60
        ...# of uses, max charge    70,980  70,1890 70,2870 65,4225 60,4980
    Fortify Fatigue                 10      20      30      40      50

9.  Absorb Health                   5       10      15      20      25
        ...# of uses, max charge    50,600  45,1350 40,2040 40,2960 40,3920
    Fortify Health                  10      15      20      25      30

10. Damage Health                   10      15      20      25      30
        ...# of uses, max charge    55,1210 55,2090 55,3025 50,2650 45,4185
    Fortify Health                  10      15      20      25      30

11. Absorb Magicka                  10      20      30      40      50
        ...# of uses, max charge    60,840  55,1870 50,2900 50,4200 50,5600
    Fortify Magicka                 10      20      30      40      50

12. Damage Magicka                  15      25      35      50      60
        ...# of uses, max charge    70,490  70,1050 70,1610 65,2340 50,2760
    Fortify Magicka                 10      20      30      40      50
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Elemental Damage Sigil Stones                                     !wor,obl,ele-

13. Fire Damage                     5       10      15      20      25
        ...# of uses, max charge    80,400  80,1120 80,1920 75,2550 70,3220
    Fire Shield                     10%     13%     16%     18%     25%

14. Fire Damage                     5       10      15      20      25
        ...# of uses, max charge    80,400  80,1120 80,1920 75,2550 70,3220
    Light                           15ft    30ft    45ft    60ft    75ft

15. Fire Damage                     5       10      15      20      25
        ...# of uses, max charge    80,400  80,1120 80,1920 75,2550 70,3220
    Resist Fire                     15%     20%     25%     30%     35%

16. Frost Damage                    5       10      15      20      25
        ...# of uses, max charge    80,400  80,1120 80,1920 75,2550 70,3220
    Frost Shield                    10%     13%     16%     18%     25%

17. Frost Damage                    5       10      15      20      25
        ...# of uses, max charge    80,400  80,1120 80,1920 75,2550 70,3220
    Resist Frost                    15%     20%     25%     30%     35%

18. Frost Damage                    5       10      15      20      25
        ...# of uses, max charge    80,400  80,1120 80,1920 75,2550 70,3220
    Water Walking                   n/a     n/a     n/a     n/a     n/a

19. Shock Damage                    5       10      15      20      25
        ...# of uses, max charge    80,400  80,1120 80,1920 75,2550 70,3220
    Night-Eye                       n/a     n/a     n/a     n/a     n/a

20. Shock Damage                    5       10      15      20      25
        ...# of uses, max charge    80,400  80,1120 80,1920 75,2550 70,3220
    Resist Shock                    5%      10%     25%     30%     35%

21. Shock Damage                    5       10      15      20      25
        ...# of uses, max charge    80,400  80,1120 80,1920 75,2550 70,3220
    Shock Shield                    10%     13%     16%     18%     25%
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Skill Sigil Stones                                                !wor,obl,ski-

22. Disintegrate Weapon             10      20      30      40      50
        ...# of uses, max charge    35,385  35,980  30,1440 30,2070 30,2760
    Fortify Blunt                   7       8       9       10      12

23. Disintegrate Weapon             10      20      30      40      50
        ...# of uses, max charge    35,385  35,980  30,1440 30,2070 30,2760
    Fortify Blade                   7       8       9       10      12
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Magic-Effect Sigil Stones                                         !wor,obl,mag-

24. Burden x for 30s                20lbs   40lbs   60lbs   80lbs   100lbs
        ...# of uses, max charge    45,1305 40,2800 35,4130 35,5985 35,7980
    Feather                         25lbs   50lbs   75lbs   100lbs  125lbs

25. Disintegrate Armor              20      20      30      40      50
        ...# of uses, max charge    35,980  35,980  30,1440 30,2070 30,2760
    Shield                          8%      10%     12%     15%     20%

26. Dispel                          30pts   50pts   80pts   100pts  120pts
        ...# of uses, max charge    40,1080 35,1855 35,3430 30,3900 30,4950
    Spell Absorption                7pts    8pts    10pts   12pts   15pts

27. Silence                         5s      7s      10s     12s     15s
        ...# of uses, max charge    55,1650 55,2310 50,3000 45,3240 50,4500
    Chameleon                       10%     15%     20%     25%     30%

28. Silence                         5s      7s      10s     12s     15s
        ...# of uses, max charge    55,1650 55,2310 50,3000 45,3240 50,4500
    Resist Magic                    5%      7%      10%     15%     20%

29. Soul Trap                       5s      10s     15s     20s     25s
        ...# of uses, max charge    80,1200 80,2400 75,2250 75,3375 75,4500
    Resist Magic                    5%      7%      10%     15%     20%

30. Turn Undead x*                  30pts   45pts   60pts   75pts   100pts
        for y seconds               20      20      20      30      30
        ...# of uses, max charge    60,720  60,1260 60,1860 60,3720 55,4950
    Detect Life                     30ft    60ft    90ft    120ft   180ft

* To convert points into an "up to level x", divide by 4, rounding down.  This
means that a Transcendent Sigil Stone with Turn Undead will affect _any_ Undead
creature in the game.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Sigil Stone Frequencies                                           !wor,obl,sig-

In case you're wondering about the odds of getting a particular type of Sigil
Stone, here's a short list of notable, various outcomes (mainly related to an
end-game strategy):
        Chameleon           => 1/30 ~ 3.33%
        Any Shield          => 2/15 ~ 13.33%
        Shield 25%          => 1/10 ~ 10%

        Spell Absorption    => 1/30 ~ 3.33%
        Resist Magic        => 1/15 ~ 6.67%

        Any Fatigue Attack  => 1/15 ~ 6.67%

        30 Health Damage    => 1/30 ~ 3.33%
        25 Fire Damage      => 1/10 ~ 10%
        25 Frost Damage     => 1/10 ~ 10%
        25 Shock Damage     => 1/10 ~ 10%
        Any Element Damage  => 3/10 ~ 30%
        Any Health Damage   => 11/30 ~ 36.7%
So judging from these odds, if you're trying to not re-load constantly to get
the right Sigil Stones (out of fairness) but you're also trying to get
Chameleon Sigil Stones so you can be invisible, you'll have your work cut out
for you, since even if you close all 50 possible Oblivion Gates, you'll still
only be expected to find 2 or so (50 x 1/30).  From a non-constantly-reloading
perspective, the best strategy is to simply hope for a good Health-damaging
attack enchantment and then adopting a Weakness to xxx Destruction end-game
strategy to go along with it.
Alchemy Equipment Locations                                           !wor,alc-

As hinted at in previous sections (mag,alc- and end,alc-), getting the most out
of Alchemy requires getting Master-level equipment.  Alas, doing so is not that
straight-forward.  Vendors will eventually be able to sell you Expert-level
equipment, but finding any Master-level equipment _requires_ that you do some
medium-high-level dungeoneering.

To really explain how to get Alchemy equipment, it behooves me to explain how
loot and dungeons operate in Oblivion.  All dungeons have an inherent "type,"
which dictates both the kinds of enemies you fight and the kinds of loot you
find.  All dungeons have various types of chests, which randomly generate
treasure based on specific tables _when the area is generated_.  (This means
either when you first enter the area or when you enter the area much, much
later and the area is regenerated with new enemies.)  _Most_ dungeons also have
atleat one "boss" chest, though smaller ones will only have one.  A "boss"
chest looks like any other chest, except it has a much higher rate of
containing good loot.

Now, the most effective way to gather Master-level Alchemy equipment is to seek
out Conjurer or Necromancer dungeons.  Conjurer dungeons are filled with Daedra
and Blue Robe-wearing wizards who like to summon other Daedra.  Necromancer
dungeons are filled with Undead and Black Robe-wearing wizards who like to
summon other Undead.  In both these types of dungeons, the "boss" chest has a
25% chance of containing a piece of Alchemy equipment.  This is much higher
than other dungeons, which have only a 10% chance of containing a piece of
Alchemy equipment.  Moreover, in most Conjurer/Necromancer dungeons, many of
even the non-boss chests will have a 10% chance of containing a piece of
Alchemy equipment.

Starting at level 17, there is an 1/3 chance that the generated piece of
equipment is Master-level (with an equal chance of it being Journeyman-level or
Expert-level).  There is a 2/5 chance that the equipment is a Mortar & Pestle,
and 1/5 chance each of it being either a Retort, Calcinator, or Alembic.

Given all this, the fastest way to get Master-level equipment is to:
    1.  Find a small Necromancer or Conjurer dungeon.
    2.  Save before entering.
    3.  Enter.  Run to the "boss" chest:  Invisibility potions/spells, a high
        Chameleon, or a very high Sneak is important here.
    4.  Open the boss chest.  If it has a desired Master equipment, take it and
        fight (or sneak) your way out.  If it does not, reload your save from
        step #2.

So, what this section (and subsequent sub-sections) will do is point you to
small Necromancer or Conjurer dungeons with easy-to-reach "boss" chests and how
to get to them quickly.  This is _not_ a comprehensive listing of all
Conjurer/Necromancer dungeons, just ones that I've found are best for
Alchemy-equipment hunting.

Note - the odds of finding a given piece of Master-level equipment are *very*
small.  To find a Master Mortar & Pestle:
        1/4 (odds of boss chest) * 1/3 (odds of master) * 2/5 (odds of Mortar)
            = 1/30
To find a Master Retort:
        1/4 (odds of boss chest) * 1/3 (odds of master) * 1/5 (odds of Retort)
            = 1/60

So this means that just to find a single Master Mortar & Pestle, you will have
to open--on average--30 "boss" chests before finding a single one.  To find a
complete set of Master-level equipment, you will have to attempt to open 210
"boss" chests!  Of course, you can get lucky and open less, but you could also
get unlucky and open more.

One thing to note that will make your Alchemy-hunt easier:  the quality of your
Alembic barely matters.  In fact, if you never create a potion with a negative
side effect, it only becomes important that you merely _have_ an Alembic,
regardless of quality (see lud,alc- for more details).  If you do find
yourselves creating potions with negative side effects (which becomes easier to
do, unintentionally or not, the higher your Alchemy), then having an Expert
Alembic is the only thing that matters.  Even with a Master Calcinator, an
Expert Alembic is all you need to reduce all negative side effects down to 1 pt
for 1 sec; a Master Alembic is just overkill.  Fortunately, since you can buy
an Expert Alembic, you can reduce the number of expected "boss" chests you have
to open down to 150, though if you're a perfectionist you still have your work
cut out for you.

One last thing before we get to the subsections:  after you open a "boss"
chest and find your equipment, I recommend going through the rest of the
dungeon (since it's small anyway) and opening the rest of the chests.  Sure the
odds are pretty small you'll find another Master-level Alchemy equipment in the
same run, but leaving yourself open to finding two in one run can significantly
cut down on your stress.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Conjurer Dungeons                                                 !wor,alc,con-

Fort Black Boot
    Location:  Draw a mental line between Skingrad and Bravil.  Fort Black Boot
is almost exactly at the center of that line.
    Boss Chest:  This is a fairly linear dungeon, so the directions are
relatively straight-forward.
        1.  Follow the course of the dungeon through some windy halls and large
            rooms.  At the first 4-way intersection, take a left (go south).
        2.  This will take you to a medium sized-room with a Conjurer and a
            small table-like thing with Novice-level alchemy equipment.  This
            is the halfway point.  Go straight across the room (west) and
            there'll be a small opening into a hallway; it might be closed off
            with a gate that you'll have to open.
        3.  Follow the hallway around, go straight, and eventually you'll see
            some narrow stairs to your left.  Go up them and follow the path
            across a bridge.
        4.  Follow the path until you enter a large room with a windy bridge
            leading to a back area with some stairs.  Go up the stairs; at the
            north-east corner of this room is the "boss" chest.

Fort Entius
    Location:  East of Bravil there are two rivers, one slightly south, one
slightly north.  Fort Entius is at the end of the one slightly north of Bravil.
    Boss Chest:  This is a dungeon with parts underwater with a fairly
un-straightforward path.  Fortunately, even if you don't have Chameleon,
Invisibility, or Sneak most of the enemies you will run across during this path
will either be Rats or Crabs (and one Conjurer right next to the "boss" chest)
so this is a fairly easy dungeon to run repeatedly.
        1.  Run in and down the stairs.
        2.  When you enter a room with a bridge and water at the bottom, jump
            down into the water and continue in the same direction, there's a
            hallway at the end.
        3.  When you run into a Mud Crab, take a right (you have to either take
            a left or right because of a wall).
        4.  When you run into another wall, take a left and then immediately
            another right (before the path snakes off into a smaller tunnel).
        5.  Take a right through door.
        6.  Follow the hallway and then take the first left.
        7.  At the end of this hallway is a room with a Conjurer walking
            around.  Directly across from the hallway is a chest (slightly
            obscured by shadows).  That's the "boss" chest.
        7b. To get out of this dungeon, return to the intersection and follow
            it south (take a right).  You'll have to make a jump from a balcony
            into the initial room at #2; if you miss the jump you have to
            circle around through the water again.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Necromancer Dungeons                                              !wor,alc,nec-

Bloodrun Cave
    Location:  East of Bravil are two rivers.  Follow the southern one (where
the Mouth of the Panther is), past the Welke ruins, and you'll find Bloodrun
Cave on the south bank of the river.  (It's on the main path of the river, not
one of the forks that go north or south.)
    Boss Chest:
        1.  Run in, take a right and open the door.
        2.  Follow the path as it curves around through a large room.  Take the
            first right at the first intersection you come across (careful, you
            might miss it, it's a small opening in the wall to your right).
        3.  Follow that narrow path as it opens up into a foggy large room.
            Take a right, there's another small opening.
        4.  As soon as it opens up into a large room, take a left, hugging the
            wall.  Jump down.  There's a coffin here.  That's the "boss" chest.

Echo Cave
    Location:  This is part of the Mage's Guild quest (the last one).  This is
actually a "large" dungeon, so don't seek this out directly, it's only
efficient if you're doing this quest anyway.
    Boss Chest:
            Necromancer's Chamber", the last area).
        2.  There are five "boss" chests in this zone:  three are off the
            beaten path from the main chamber (one requires you to look in a
            corner under water); two are right by the King of Worms (one
            closest to the bridge you cross, the other tucked away behind and
            to the left of the King of Worms.) Though this means that if you do
            this Mage's Guild Quest at level 17, on average you'll only need to
            try this thrice to get one Master-level piece of Alchemy equipment.
            Not a shabby reward for killing some Necromancers.

    Location:  Ayleid ruin directly north of Skingrad (NNE of Sanguine's
Shrine, SWW of Molag Bal's Shrine).
    Boss Chest:  This is a very small dungeon, very easy to run repeatedly
until you get a piece of equipment.  The only thing to watch out for are the
many traps, though with semi-decent health you can just run through the initial
pendulums and just eat the health damage.
        1.  Run in, past the swinging pundulum traps and into the gigantic room
            with water.
        2.  Run down the main path.  At some point, you'll trigger a trap
            that'll launch a metal grate at you.  Sidestep it on a little
            alcove that's provided for you.
        3.  The main path turns and leads to a closed door.  Hop into the water
            and then hop back onto the path past the door (or if you have good
            Speed/Acrobatics, you can just jump and use your navigational
            momentum to curve around the gate).
        4.  There's one more gate that may be closed past that one.  Directly
            through that at the end of the hall is a chamber with a Necromancer
            in it.  At the south end of the room is a stone platform with an
            Ayleid Coffer.  That's the "boss" chest.
    Note:  If you have water walking (even the basic "Sea Stride" spell), this
entire dungeon becomes trivial to run repeatedly.  As soon as you get past the
swining pendulum traps, cast your water walking spell and run into the water on
the right.  Simply keep going forward to where the steps rise out of the water,
and continue with step 3/4.  If you're doing this path, it might behoove you to
check the chest that's in the alcove at step 2; it's not a boss chest, but it
still has a 10% chance to hold a piece of Alchemy equipment.  You'll be running
this dungeon so quickly with water walking, that you can probably afford the
slight slowdown for the extra search chance.
Where to get Spell Effects                                            !wor,whe-

To unlock effects at either the spellmaking altar or enchanting altar, you
need to have either a spell you can cast (both meeting the skill and magicka
requirement) that has the effect OR you need to have an ability with that
effect.  To wit, the following is a list of where you can get various effects.
If there are multiple possibilities for a spell, the easiest is listed.
    I only provide ability-based sources for an effect if the spell-based
source requires at least 25 of a school of magic.  Otherwise, you can just
fast-travel to the appropriate location and buy the spell to unlock the effect
for spellmaking or enchanting.  If the earliest available spell requires at
least 25 of a magic school and I don't provide an alternate ability-based
source, then there is no other choice but to train your skill up.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Alteration                                                        !wor,whe,alt-

    Spell:  "Burdening Touch" from Trayvond in Cheydinhal Mages Guild Hall.

    Spell:  Just do the Cheydinhal Mages Guild Quest to get "Buoyancy."
    Special Note:  Orintar at the Cheydinhal Mages Guild has Feather spells
that are far better than anything you can create yourself:  they have "illegal"
durations that exceed the 120 second maximum duration you are allowed at the
spellmaking altar.  The highest-level spell, "Pack Mule," has a 300 second
duration.  So, you might be better off just buying Feather spells instead of
creating your own variants.

Fire Shield
    Spell:  "Heat Shell" from Trayvond in Cheydinhal Mages Guild Hall, requires
25 Apprentice.

Frost Shield
    Spell:  "Frost Shell" from Trayvond in Cheydinhal Mages Guild Hall,
requires 25 Alteration.

Open xxx Lock
    Spell:  "Minor Latch Crack" for doing the Bruma Recommendation quest, but
requires 25 Alteration.  You can also get "Open Very Easy Lock" for choosing
Alteration as a Major Skill.
    Ability:  Choose the Tower birthsign.

    Spell:  "Protect Other" from Trayvond in Cheydinhal Mages Guild Hall, or
choose Alteration as a Major Skill.

Shock Shield
    Spell:  "Electric Shell" from Trayvond in Cheydinhal Mages Guild Hall,
requires 25 Alteration.

Water Breathing
    Spell:  Just complete the Cheydinhal Recommendation quest to get
    Ability:  Be an Argonian and have permanent water breathing.

Water Walking
    Spell:  "Sea Stride" from Trayvond in Cheydinhal Mages Guild Hall, requires
25 Alteration.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Conjuration                                                       !wor,whe,con-

Note that I don't include "Bound" equipment, "Summon," "Telekinesis," or "Cure
Disease/Paralysis/Poison", since these spells are less interesting from a
spellmaking or enchanting perspective.

Turn Undead up to Level xxx
    Spell:  "Turn Undead" from Alberic Litte in Chorrol Mages Guild Hall or
from choosing Conjuration as a Major Skill
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Destruction                                                       !wor,whe,des-

Damage Attribute
    Not available to use for spellmaking/enchanting.

Damage Fatigue
    Spell:  "Curse of Weakness" from Druja in Skingrad Mages Guild Hall.

Damage Health
    Spell:  "Entropic Touch" from Druja in Skingrad Mages Guild Hall.

Damage Magicka
    Spell:  "Sever Magicka" from Sulinus Vassinus in Skingrad Mages Guild Hall,
requires 25 Destruction.

Disintegrate Armor
    Spell:  "Corrode Armor" from Sulinus Vassinus in Skingrad Mages Guild Hall,
requires 25 Destruction.

Disintegrate Weapon
    Spell:  "Corrode Weapon" from Vigge the Cautious in Skingrad Mages Guild
Hall, requires 50 Destruction.

Drain Attribute
    Ability:  Be an Orc to get their "Berserk" ability.

Drain Fatigue
    Spell:  "Minor Enervation" from Druja in Skingrad Mages Guild Hall.

Drain Health
    Spell:  "Minor Wound" from Druja in Skingrad Mages Guild Hall.

Drain Magicka
    Spell:  "Magicka Drain" from Sulinus Vassinus in Skingrad Mages Guild Hall,
requires 25 Destruction.

Drain Skill
    Spell:  One of the Drain Skill spells from Sulinus Vassinus in Skingrad
Mages Guild Hall, requires at least 25 Destruction.

Fire Damage
    You start with this effect.

Frost Damage
    Spell:  "Snowball" from Druja in Skingrad Mages Guild Hall or choose
Destruction as a Major Skill to get "Cold Touch."

Shock Damage
    Spell:  "Spark" from Delphine Jend or just choose Destruction as a Major
Skill to get "Shocking Touch."

Weakness to Fire
    Spell:  "Weakness to Fire" from Sulinus Vassinus in Skingrad Mages Guild
Hall, requires 25 Destruction.
    Ability:  Be an Altmer or choose the Lord birthsign.

Weakness to Frost
    Spell:  "Weakness to Frost" from Sulinus Vassinus in Skingrad Mages Guild
Hall, requires 25 Destruction.
    Ability:  Be an Altmer.

Weakness to Poison
    Spell:  "Weakness to Poison" from Sulinus Vassinus in Skingrad Mages Guild
Hall, requires 25 Destruction.

Weakness to Shock
    Spell:  "Weakness to Shock" from Sulinus Vassinus in Skingrad Mages Guild
Hall, requires 25 Destruction.
    Ability:  Be an Altmer.

Weakness to Magic
    Spell:  "Weakness to Magicka" from Vigge the Cautious in Skingrad Mages
Guild Hall, requires 50 Destruction.
    Ability:  Choose the Apprentice birthsign.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Illusion                                                          !wor,whe,ill-

Calm up to Level xxx
    Spell:  Either "Serenity" from Delphine Jend in Bravil Mages Guild Hall or
"Soothing Touch" from choosing Illusion as a Major Skill.

    Spell:  "Chameleon" from Ita Rienus in Bravil Mages Guild Hall, requires 50

    Spell:  Just do the Bravil Mages Guild Recommendation quest to get

Command Creature up to Level xxx
    Spell:  "Command Creature" from Alberic Litte in Chorrol Mages Guild Hall,
requires 25 Illusion.
    Ability:  Bosmer's "Beast Tongue" ability.

Command Humanoid up to Level xxx
    Spell:  "Command Humanoid" from Alberic Litte in Chorrol Mages Guild Hall,
requires 25 Illusion.

Demoralize up to Level xxx
    Spell:  "Touch of Fear" from Delphine Jend in Bravil Mages Guild Hall,
requires 25 Destruction.
    Ability:  Khajiit's "Eye of Fear" ability.

Frenzy up to Level xxx
    Spell:  "Touch of Frenzy" from Delphine Jend in Bravil Mages Guild Hall.

    Spell:  "Shadow Shape" from Ita Rienus in Bravil Mages Guild Hall, requires
50 Illusion.  You can also get "Deathly Visage" from M'raaj-Dar of the Dark
Brotherhood in Cheydinhal Sanctuary, and it's actually a more efficient
Invisibility than anything you yourself can craft; it also requires 50
    Ability:  Choose the Shadow birthsign; use the Jode Doomstone; or become
a 100% Vampire.

    Spell:  "Illuminate" from Delphine Jend in Bravil Mages Guild Hall or
"Starlight" from choosing Illusion as a Major Skill.

    Spell:  "Eyes of Eventide" from Delphine Jend in Bravil Mages Guild Hall,
requires 25 Illusion.  You can also get "Void Gazer" from M'raaj-Dar of the
Dark Brotherhood in Cheydinhal Sanctuary, and it's actually a more efficient
Invisibility than anything you yourself can craft; it also requires 25
    Ability:  Khajiit's "Eye of Night" ability.

    Spell:  "Debilitate" from Ita Rienus in Bravil Mages Guild Hall, requires
50 Illusion.
    Ability:  Choose the Lover birthsign or use the Serpent doomstone.

Rally up to Level xxx
    Spell:  "Inspiration" from Delphine Jend in Bravil Mages Guild Hall.

    Spell:  "Hush" from Ita Rienus in Bravil Mages Guild Hall, requires 50
    Ability:  Become a near-full Vampire.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mysticism                                                         !wor,whe,mys-

Detect Life
    Spell:  "Major Life Detection" from virtually every Mages Guild Hall but
requires 25 Mysticism, or choose Mysticism as a Major Skill to get "Minor Life

    Spell:  "Dispel Other" from Alves Uvenim in Leyawiin Mages Guild Hall but
requires 25 Mysticism, or choose Mysticism as a Major Skill to get "Minor
    Ability:  "Serpent Spell" from The Serpent birthsign.

Reflect Damage
    Ability:  Choose the Tower birthsign.

Reflect Spell
    Spell:  "Superior Spell Reflection" from Raminus Polus in the Imperial
City's Arcane University, requires 75 Mysticism.
    Ability:  Use the Shezarr Doomstone.

Resist Magic
    Spell:  "Minor Magic Resistance" from Thaurron in Anvil Mages Guild Hall,
requires 50 Restoration.
    Ability:  Be a Breton or Orc; or use the Aetherius Doomstone.

Soul Trap
    Spell:  "Soul Trap" from virtually every Mages Guild Hall, requires 25

Spell Absorption
    Spell:  "Superior Spell Absorption" from Agata in Leyawiin Mages Guild
Hall, requires 75 Mysticism.
    Ability:  Note that even choosing the Atronach birthsign will not otherwise
unlock this effect for spellmaking (or even enchanting).
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Restoration                                                       !wor,whe,res-

Absorb Attribute
    Spell:  any Absorb Attribute spell from Thaurron in Anvil Mages Guild Hall.

Absorb Fatigue
    Spell:  "Absorb Fatigue" from Thaurron in Anvil Mages Guild Hall.

Absorb Health
    Spell:  "Absorb Health" either from Thaurron in Anvil Mages Guild Hall or
from choosing Restoration as a Major Skill.

Absorb Magicka
    Spell:  "Absorb Magicka" from Thaurron in Anvil Mages Guild Hall.

Absorb Skill
    Spell:  any Absorb Skill spell from Thaurron in Anvil Mages Guild Hall.

Fortify Attribute
    Spell:  Choose one of the many Fortify Attribute spells from any Great
Chapel in a major town, all require at least 25 Restoration.
    Ability:  Be an Orc or Redguard; choose either the Lady, Steed, Thief, or
Warrior birthsign; use the Atronach, Lady, Lover, Steed, or Thief Doomstone; or
become a Vampire.

Fortify Fatigue
    Spell:  "Fortify Fatigue" from Edgar in Edgar's Discount Spells in the
Imperial City Market District.

Fortify Health
    Spell:  "Fortify Health" from Selena in Bruma Mages Guild Hall, requires 25
    Ability:  Be an Orc or Redguard; or use the Dragon or Jode Doomstone.

Fortify Magicka
    Spell:  "Fortify Magicka" from Edgar in Edgar's Discount Spells in the
Imperial City Market District, requires 50 Restoration.
    Ability:  Be an Altmer or Breton; choose the Apprentice, Atronach, or Mage
birthsign; or use the Aetherius, Dragon, or Mage Doomstone.

Fortify Skill
    Ability:  Become a Vampire; use one of many Doomstones; complete Origin of
the Gray Prince quest; complete the Dark Brotherhood's Whodunit? quest;
or complete Nocturnal's Daedric quest.

Restore Attribute
    Spell:  Any one of the spells offered at Great Chapels in big towns,
requires at least 25 Restoration.

Restore Fatigue
    Spell:  "Minor Respite" from any church.

Restore Health
    You start with this effect.

Appendix                                                                  !app-
References                                                            !app,ref-

Raw data was gleaned from either
    The Elder Scrolls Wiki (
    The Elder Scrolls Construction Set Wiki (

Supporting information came from
    Nukapedia aka the Fallout Wiki (

Unless stated otherwise, I do not make the claims that I discovered the
information on my own.  Many anonymous people contributed to unconvering
in-game equations.  My task was to highlight important ones and analyze them.
Version History                                                       !app,ver-

2013.Aug.08 - 1.16 (minor)
    Changing "Other Guides" to "All Works" and updating.

2012.Nov.19 - 1.15
    Added a lot more nuance to the section on Speed 0 (more caveats than I
        thought): end,spe-.
    Added section on Hatred's Soul and Hatred's Heart to end,spe-.
    Added section to Elynglynn (in wor,alc,nec-) on water walking.
    Speaking of which, wor,alc,nec- was missing its shortcut key.

2012.Oct.30 - 1.13
    Various copy fixes.
    Added "Speed 0" section.
    Fixed "Drain Attribute" (wor,whe,des-) since the other method is an
    Fixed "Echo Cave" odds (wor,alc,nec-).
    Added note about Orintar's special Feather spells in wor,whe,alt-.

2012.Oct.26 - 1.12
    Fixed all information about Burden/Feather, after much experimentation.
    Added "Restore Fatigue" to wor,whe-.

2012.Oct.19 - 1.11
    Missing information about Vampirism - weakness to fire, resistance to
        disease and paralysis.
    Adding in discussion of how Dispel functions in mag,mys-.

2012.Oct.15 - 1.10
    Corrected erroneous discussion on how magic skills can lower enchant
        Magicka costs.
    One of the Sigil Stone "Fortify Speed" should have been "Fortify Strength."
    Added section on Vampirism.

2012.Oct.12 - 1.9
    Added section on how to use this guide (how-).
    Added extra note to lud,alc- to distinguish between potions and poisons.
    Added locations for various alchemy equipment (wor,alc-).

2012.Oct.10 - 1.7b
    Forgot to update version number in header.
    Fixed *onc shortcut sequence.

2012.Oct.09 - 1.7
    Fixed shortcut keys (stupid regexes).
    Removing erroneous example of a Paralyze enchantment (Paralyze cannot be
        used for enchanting).
    Re-arranging wor,whe- to divide effects by spell school.  Also fixed
        incorrect location for "Weakness to Magicka" spell.
    Various copy changes.

2012.Oct.08 - 1.6
    Modified shortcut sequences to be more unambiguous and more mobile friendly
        (no constantly having to do shift-, to get a ! on iOS).
    Armorer upgraded to **, don't know why I set it to *.  Added more analysis.
    Illusion section (mag,ill-) given a reorganization and a bit more expansion
        on some of the effects.
    End-game Illusion section (end,ill-) given more details.
    Re-arranged lud,enc- to be closer to lud,spe-.
    Expanded lud,enc- to note the effectiveness of Magic skills in increasing
        enchanting quality.

2012.Oct.05 - 1.4
    Fixed indentation for major skill spells in mag-.
    Added use/max charge count for sigil stones.
    Added section wor,whe-.
    Added note to Shadow birthsign that it unlocks the Invisibility effect.
    Fixed all instances of "Khajit" to be "Khajiit."

2012.Oct.04 - 1.2
    Fixed missing 'Journeyman' info from Sneak.  More details about unknown
    Removed duplicate paragraph in end,des-.
    Removed various incorrect references of Weakness to Magic affecting
        "up to level XX" Illusion magic.
    Added note in mag,des- about Weakness to Magic only affecting hostile
    Upgraded Apprentice to ** due to its effect of unlocking "Weakness to
        Magic" at the altar.
    Added a note to the Altmer due to their high starting Magicka.
    Adding extra note about creature levels for mag,ill-.
    Changed shortcut keys to be easier to type on mobile devices (now uses only
        one kind of easily accessible symbol, all lowercase).
    Adding notes to mag- about special bonus spells you get for choosing a
        school of magic as a major skill.

2012.Feb.24 - 1.0
    Initial version completed.  Whew!
All Works                                                             !app,all-

1999 Mode Guide (Bioshock Infinite)
Clash in the Clouds Guide (Bioshock Infinite:  Clash in the Clouds DLC)
Heart of Fury Guide (Icewind Dale 2)
Party Creation Guide (Baldur's Gate)
Party Creation Guide (Baldur's Gate:  Enhanced Edition)
Populous II Guide (Populous II)
Thief Guide (Baldur's Gate 2)
Ultimate Analysis (System Shock 2)
Ultimate Oblivion FAQ (The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion)

The Stinger
    "Have you seen all the rats around here? Its making me crazy! First this
guy decides he's gonna make a million, opens a fancy restaurant: Rats in a
Cream Sauce, Rat Flambe, Rat Necrom with Bonemeal Gravy, Deep-Fried Rat, Lemon
Rat and Wild Rice, Rat Ragu with Powdered Deer Penis! Of course, when the
guards found out, they ran his sorry butt out of town, but they left the rats.
            - Weebam-Na

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