Breaking Skyrim: The best tricks, secrets, and exploits

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Free houses, infinite XP, unlimited magic…the list goes on. The Elder Scrolls titles are notorious for being overrun with bugs and glitches. Even the patch that was supposed to patch the game now needs its own patch. But not all of these imperfections are necessarily bad. In fact, a few can be quite humorous, or more importantly, allow the player to reach otherwise-insurmountable wealth and power. Plus, even as Bethesda continues to fix/break the game further, you can always delete the patch from your hard drive whenever you want to use a specific trick.

If you used to be a great adventurer before taking an arrow to the knee, these handy tips, secrets, and downright shameful exploits will get you back on your feet in no time.

1. Infinite magic-casting
Once you’ve become a master enchanter, you’ll be able to drastically improve your weapons and armor. But with a little number-crunching, you can actually do much more than that. By increasing the Enchanter perk to 5/5 and purchasing the Insightful Enchanter perk, you’ll be able to decrease the cost of spells by up to 25% or more, per enchanted item. By enchanting a full set of armor, as well as a ring and amulet, you can decrease the costs of spells from a specific discipline to zero, meaning unlimited casting.

But wait, there’s more! As a limited time offer, you can get twice the infinite spell-casting ability for the price of one! That’s right, if you order before Bethesda decides to patch this, you can use the Extra Effect perk to put two enchantments on any one item. This trick will come in handy when…

2. Easily increasing your magic skills
Raising a magic skill such as Conjuration or Restoration to Master rank (level 100) takes countless hours of in-game playtime. But as with any Elder Scrolls title, there’s a way to expedite the process to as little as an hour of mindless grinding. Make sure you have the Mage Stone activated to gain skill experience 20% faster. Resting in a bed (especially one you own) will also add a temporary experience bonus (don’t fast-travel or you’ll lose it), as will resting with your spouse.

  • Destruction
    If you’d like to level Destruction on your own without involving any other “real” people, you can simply conjure an Atronach and then destroy it with the opposite element. So if you summon a flame Atronach, you’d kill it with a frost spell. Like grinding out any skill, this becomes increasingly tedious when you reach the higher levels, but if you want to have access to the most powerful spells in the game as soon as possible, this will ensure you reach that goal.If you want to level up your Destruction even sooner (like, at the very beginning of the game), you can repeatedly use spells on the NPC that guides you through the caves below the keep during the prologue. He won’t die or attack you (as stated in my review), but it will take even longer since you won’t have any experience bonuses activated yet.
  • Conjuration
    A bit of north of Dawnstar you’ll find Slaughterfish-infested waters. By luring these creatures near the shore you can keep an active enemy near you (required to level most combat magic skills) without fear of being attacked. Unless one of them bugs out and starts “swimming on land,” but what are the chances of that happening….right?Now that you’ve got a friend or two, you can repeatedly conjure Atronachs or bound weapons to level your Conjuration skill. It will take a short while, but you’ll save yourself immense time and trouble this way. Plus, once you’re a master conjurer, you can permanently summon two elemental “thralls” that will follow you everywhere (whether you want them to or not…).Alternately, you can find any dead body and repeatedly cast Trap Soul on it. This is an equally viable method for leveling up your Conjuration skill, and Trap Soul uses minimal magicka so there should be no downtime whatsoever.
  • Alteration
    Telekinesis is the fastest way to increase Alteration (who uses this, anyway?). Simply pick up any object and hold it until you run out of magicka, rinse and repeat. If you don’t have 100% Alteration cost enchanted equipment, this can take quite a while. If you’re not a mage you can also wait one hour to “quickly” regenerate magicka, but this will get tedious pretty quickly. If you do have the cost of Alteration spells reduced to zero, you can just go into a populated area and hold down Detect Life and Telekinesis simultaneously (one in each hand) while you go watch some Breaking Bad or whatever.
  • Restoration
    Restoration is best power-leveled in tandem with another skill. For instance, if you want to increase your Light or Heavy Armor skills, you would head to a dungeon with fairly weak enemies (such as rats) and stand there healing yourself while they attack you. Multi-tasking! You can also lower the difficulty setting and anger city guards or even giants/mammoths, but these options may have unforeseen consequences (such as surprise death).
  • Illusion
    Simply nab the apprentice-level Muffle spell and repeatedly cast it for extremely fast Illusion leveling. Anytime. Anywhere.

3. Infinite XP and Quickly Max All Skills
Are these power-leveling exploits still not fast enough for you? Or perhaps you’re more the warrior/thief type? Then say hello to my little friend: Oghma Infinium, the most game-breaking glitch of them all. Hopefully you haven’t already completed the Discerning the Transmundane quest and used the Daedric artifact that you’re rewarded with.

Watch the following video for a quick and easy explanation on how to max all of your skills out at 100 in mere minutes: