Abilities in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim are defined by their passive nature. They are magical effects that increase various stats and values relative to the player.
They are determined by the player’s race or obtained by completing quests and tasks throughout the game. Active abilities will appear in the Active Effects list, under Magic.
They are considered separate from Powers as they do not require activation and are not restricted to once a day use.
The following are special abilities granted when wearing a full set of armor or a certain piece:
Deathbrand InstinctDB Increases armor rating by 100 points if wearing all Deathbrand Armor.
Nightingale Armor Full Set Increases armor rating by 25 points if wearing all Nightingale Armor.
Shrouded Armor Full Set Increases armor rating by 25 points if wearing all Shrouded Armor.
Boethiah’s Embrace You are able to move more quietly, and opponents that get too close take 5 points poison damage per second if wearing Ebony Mail.
Blessings are passive, temporary buffs that normally last for eight real-time hours of gameplay (as opposed to eight hours of in-game time). They can be obtained by praying at altars, typically located in temples. Only one blessing can be active at a time.
The Temple of the Divines located in Solitude has all the Nine Divines shrines available with the exception of the Shrine of Talos as his worship is currently banned in the Empire. If the Stormcloaks win the Civil War, a Shrine of Talos will be added.
The following is a list of the blessings and locations that can be obtained from altars and temples around Skyrim. Some blessings listed here can only be obtained with the inclusion of Dawnguard and Dragonborn add-ons.
Blessing of Akatosh Magicka regenerates 10% faster. Shrine of Akatosh
Blessing of Arkay Increases your health by 25 points. Shrine of Arkay
Blessing of Dibella +10 Speechcraft. Shrine of Dibella
Blessing of Julianos Increases your Magicka by 25 points. Shrine of Julianos
Blessing of Kynareth Increases your stamina by 25 points. Shrine of Kynareth
Blessing of Mara Healing spells restore 10% more. Shrine of Mara
Blessing of Nocturnal You are 10% harder to detect. Shrine of Nocturnal
Blessing of Stendarr Block 10% more damage with your shield. Shrine of Stendarr
Blessing of Talos Time between shouts is reduced by 20%. Shrine of Talos
Blessing of Zenithar Prices are 10% better. Shrine of Zenithar
Blessing of Auriel DG You are 10% more effective with missile weapons. Shrine of Auriel
Blessing of Azura DB Resist 10% of magic. Raven Rock Temple
Blessing of Boethiah DB One Handed weapons do more 10% damage. Raven Rock Temple
Blessing of Mephala DB Prices are 10% better. Raven Rock Temple
Meditations on the Words of Power
These are made available by talking to Paarthurnax. Only one can be active at a time.
00E827D While Ethereal, you recover health 25% faster.
Force Without Effort
00E8281 You stagger 25% less and foes stagger 25% more.
The Fire Within
00E8282 Your Fire Breath shout deals 25% more damage.
The following are permanent abilities granted at the conclusion of particular quests.
|Agent of Dibella
|You do more combat damage to the opposite sex.||The Heart of Dibella|
|Agent of Mara
|15% Resist Magicka.||The Book of Love|
|Knowledge gained from the Lexicon gives you a 25% bonus while wearing Dwarven Armor and Smithing increases 15% faster.||Unfathomable Depths|
|You take 25% less melee damage from Dragons.||Dragon Research|
|Prowler’s Profit †
|Anywhere gems might be found, members of the Thieves Guild always seem to find a few more.||No Stone Unturned|
|Healing spells cure 10% more.||Granted from Frostflow Lighthouse|
|25% chance to create a duplicate when creating a potion.||A Return To Your Roots|
|Archmage’s Authority ‡||Better prices with members of the College of Winterhold.||The Eye of Magnus|
|Gift of the Gab ‡||Speech skill increases 15% faster.||Tending the Flames|
† While it is not listed in Active Effects, this is in fact active once obtained.
‡ These abilities are listed in the Skyrim Official Game Guide, however the Gift of the Gab and Archmage’s Authority are not included in the game whatsoever.
The following are abilities inherent to certain races of Skyrim. Not all races are mutually exclusive: i.e., the player can be a Vampire or a Werewolf in addition to whichever starting race was chosen. It is, however, impossible to be both a Vampire and a Werewolf simultaneously. Unless you use the Vampire-Werewolf hybrid glitch provided by the Dawnguard DLC.
|Altmer||Highborn||High Elves are born with 50 extra magicka.||00105F16|
|Argonian||Resist Disease||Your Argonian blood gives you 50% resistance to disease.||00104ACF|
|Argonian||Water Breathing||Your Argonian lungs can breath underwater.||000AA01B|
|Bosmer||Resist Disease and Poison||Your Bosmer blood gives you 50% resistance to poison and disease.||000AA025|
|Breton||Magic Resistance||Your Breton blood grants a 25% resistance to magic.||000AA01f|
|Dunmer||Resist Fire||Your Dunmer blood gives you 50% resistance to fire.||000AA021|
|Imperial||Imperial Luck||Wherever there is gold to be found, Imperials seem to find a little more (10% extra).||000EB7EB|
|Khajiit||Claws||Khajiit claws do 15 points of damage. †||000AA01E|
|Nord||Resist Frost||Your Nord blood gives you 50% resistance to frost.||000AA020|
|Redguard||Resist Poison||Your Redguard blood gives you 50% resistance to poison.||000AA023|
|Vampire||Champion of the Night||Illusion spells cast by a Vampire are 25% more powerful.||000F5B54|
|Vampire||Nightstalker’s Footsteps||Vampires are 25% harder to detect while sneaking.||?|
|Vampire||Resist Disease||Your Vampiric blood gives you 100% resistance to disease.||000ED0A8|
|Vampire||Resist Frost||Your Vampiric blood gives you 25% resistance to frost. ‡||?|
|Vampire||Resist Poison||Your Vampiric blood gives you 100% resistance to poison.||0010fB30|
|Vampire||Weakness to Fire||Your Vampiric blood makes you 25% more vulnerable to fire. ‡||?|
|Werewolf||Resist Disease||Your beast blood gives you 100% resistance to disease.||000F5BA0|
|Werewolf||Werewolf Claws||Unarmed strikes do x additional damage.||?|
† The effect magnitude is actually 12 points, despite the text saying 15 points
‡ This ability increases by 25% each day a Vampire goes without feeding, to a maximum of 100% after three full days.
Standing Stones abilities
Only one of the following passive abilities can be active at a time. They can be acquired by visiting the desired Standing Stone and activating it.
|The Apprentice Stone||Those under the sign of The Apprentice recover Magicka faster, but are more susceptible to Magicka damage.||Magicka regeneration is doubled
Weakness to Magicka is doubled
|The Atronach Stone||Those under the sign of The Atronach absorb a portion of incoming spell damage and have a larger pool of Magicka, but recover it more slowly.||50% Spell Absorption
Magicka regenerates 50% slower
|The Lady Stone||Those under the sign of The Lady regenerate Health and Stamina more quickly.||Regenerate health and stamina 25% faster|
|The Lord Stone||Those under the sign of The Lord are more resistant to both Magicka and physical damage.||+50 Armor
+25% Magic Resistance
|The Lover Stone||Those under the sign of The Lover always feel a Lover’s Comfort. (All skills improve faster).||Learn all skills 15% faster|
|The Mage Stone||Those under the sign of The Mage will learn all magic skills 20% faster.||Learn Mage skills 20% faster|
|The Steed Stone||Those under the sign of The Steed can carry more and do not suffer a movement penalty from armor.||100 extra carrying capacity
No movement penalty is applied due to armor
Equipped armor is weightless
|The Thief Stone||Those under the sign of The Thief will learn all stealth skills 20% faster.||Learn Thief skills 20% faster|
|The Warrior Stone||Those under the sign of The Warrior will learn all combat skills 20% faster.||Learn Warrior skills 20% faster|
Standing Stones abilities
These are similar to blessings in that they are temporary in nature, but they can be active at the same time as any of the blessings.
|Blood of the Ancients DG||Your Vampiric Drain spell absorbs Magicka and Stamina from your victims for x days||Drinking from the Bloodstone Chalice in Castle Volkihar.|
|Dragonslayer’s Blessing||10% increased Critical Hit chance vs. Dragons for 5 days||Asking Esbern about the blessing after “Alduin’s Wall“.|
|Rested||All skills improve 5% faster for eight hours.||Sleep in any bed.|
|Well Rested||All skills improve 10% faster for eight hours.||Sleep in a bed you own or rent.|
|Lover’s Comfort||All skills improve 15% faster for eight hours.||Sleep in the house where your spouse lives.|
|Father’s Love HF||Healing spells and potions add 25% extra health for eight hours||Sleep in the same house as an adopted child.|
|Mother’s Love HF||Healing spells and potions add 25% extra health for eight hours||Sleep in the same house as an adopted child.|
|Tainted Blood of the Ancients DG||Your Vampiric Drain spell absorbs Magicka and Stamina from your victims for 1 day, but at the cost of 30 less health.||Drinking from the spring in Redwater Den.|
|The Gift of Charity||Speechcraft is increased by 10 points for one hour.||Donate 1 Septim to a beggar.|
|Vampiric Blood Rested DG||10% Resist Magic effect.||Sleeping in a coffin as a vampire.|
|Voice of the Sky||Animals will neither attack nor flee from you for 24 hours of actual gameplay.||Reading the 10 Etched Tablets on the Seven Thousand Steps.|
|Weakened Soul DG||Health, Magicka and Stamina recover slowly while in the Soul Cairn and are reduced by 45 points.||Become partially soul trapped during “Chasing Echoes“.|
Bethesda‘s The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Official Game Guide