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10 Tips for Skyrim: A Dragonborn Mini-Guide

Posted on Friday, November 11 @ 09:09:32 PST by

6) Steal now, steal later.

More specifically, steal any items that don't need to be sold for them to be worth stealing. Merchants don't purchase stolen goods, so make sure whatever you steal is something that you can use yourself, like potions, weapons and armor that are clearly better, or alchemic ingredients. It won't be until you reach 90 in your Speech skill, which takes forever since it's only improved by buying and selling items (and only slightly for that matter), that you'll be able to sell stolen goods to any vendor whom you've invested in. You can steal expensive jewelry, if just to wait for the moment you can unload all of them near the endgame to earn obscene amounts of gold.

Stealing, apart from pickpocketing, isn't difficult at all. All you need to do is get out of the line of sight of any NPCs, crouch and wait for the indicator to say you're hidden, and then steal whatever shiny object you want. Most shopkeepers are more vigilant, though, and will follow you around their shop if they can't see you. Luckily, you can just play a cat and mouse game by luring them upstairs or downstairs (if the shop has multiple floors, of course) and then quickly sprinting to the object of your desire before they can keep up.

The one caveat is that you may want to wait to steal objects from a store. Many NPCs, shopkeepers included, have miscellanous quests. By completing them, they'll consider you a friend and you'll be allowed to take any object they own within reason (and then sell it back properly). That doesn't mean you can't just steal the rest of their belongings, though.

7) Also: Sneak now, sneak later.

Whether you're stealing or not, you should be sneaking anyway for two reasons. First, sneaking provides you with information on whether an enemy can detect you, so you'll know how long you'll be able to stick with long-range archery and magic before readying yourself for melee combat. Second, the multiplied damage for sneak attacks is so powerful that it shouldn't be left on the table.

Many dungeons take place in narrow hallways where you can get the preemptive strike on enemies, particularly with the bow and arrow. There's even a Deadly Aim perk in the Sneak branch that boosts the sneak attack multiplier from x2 to x3 for the bow. So even if you don't kill the enemy outright with the first shot, they'll be considerably weakened by the time they get close enough to you.

8) When looting, don't look at price value but proportion to weight to value.

This is a fairly general tip for all games with inventory systems that use weight as a limiter. Just because a battleaxe is worth 100 gold, doesn't mean you should shoulder the 21-weight burden to have it in your inventory. It's better to carry two bows that weigh 16 but are valued at 180 gold in total. Following that logic, it's better to carry 40 potions that collectively weigh 20 but are valued at more than 500 gold.

Of course, you should pick up most loot anyway to maximize your inventory space. Once you come across any better weight-to-value items, that's the time to start removing some junk. If you can stomach lugging around a companion as well, they can be a pack mule and effectively double your inventory space. (Also, there are a few glitches that turn certain items into quest items that you can't move, sell, or drop. So they just sit in your inventory taking up space. Hopefully, this will be patched eventually, but having a companion pack mule or storage in your house can be viable work-around.)

9) Obtain or enchant a weapon with Soul Trap.

At around level 20 or so, luckily earlier than that, you will begin to see weapon drops with the Soul Trap enchantment that captures an enemy's soul and funnels it into a shiny Soul Gem. Once you obtain this weapon from a store or as loot, either start using it or make it a priority to disenchant the sucker at an Arcane Enchanter, so you can have the Soul Trap enchantment as your disposal.

Soul Gems act as the fuel and catalyst for all magical enchantments, allowing you to imbue any piece of equipment with a special effect, like +20% magic regeneration, 30 extra stamina points, or +10 frost damage. Unlike armor and accessories, weapons will lose their magical qualities with use, but with enough extra Soul Gems, their magical charge can be kept high. Unfortunately, Soul Gems cost an extremely high amount of septims, especially ones that already have souls in them. Still it's recommended to buy a few high-quality Grand Soul Gems as soon as you can, since the quality of the Soul Gem determines the strength of the enchantment. There's no need to rush, though.

With a Soul Trap-enchanted weapon, it makes maintenance easy and it saves you a lot of gold pieces. You probably won't be using the Soul Trap-enchanted weapon as your main weapon, since you might have another weapon that deals more base damage (and perhaps more elemental damage), but that doesn't mean you can't wear down an enemy and then throw a Pokeball swap out the Soul Trap-enchanted weapon for a quick capture.

(By the way, console users have two shorcut keys that aren't obvious unless you read the manual. Hold down left or right in the shortcut favorites menu to set them.)

10) Purchase a house in Whiterun

By completing the main story, you'll eventually earn the right to purchase a home in Whiterun. The price of 5,000 gold (plus more for home furnishings) is steep at the beginning of the game, but that's more than a fair price for being able to store as much as loot as you want in the chest in your bedroom or wherever else you want. If you haven't gotten a companion (or pack mule) yet, you'll be assigned one at around the same time. For quick gold, I suggest smithing jewelry and finding ingredients for Damage Magicka Regen, like Blue Mountain Flowers, Hanging Moss, and Blue Butterfly Wings. (The official Skyrim guide or a FAQ will certainly help here.)

In your travels, you'll come across plenty of plants and fungi for alchemy ingredients that don't have a lot of weight individually but collectively can weigh more than 25 pounds if you're not careful. You'll inevitably fight dragons as well, and most of them drop multiple 10-weight Dragon Scales and 15-weight Dragon Bones. So it goes without question that having storage for these ingredients and items in a home is priceless. By speaking with the steward, your humble abode can also be upgraded with furnishings and an alchemic lab.

You can also purchase an enchanting table, but that's only for the house available in the Skyrim capital of Solitude. And that house costs 25,000 gold. So I guess you better start doing what Skyrim wants you to do: Treasure Hunting!

For an Achievements list, check our cheats page for Skyrim.

Related Games:   The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

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