The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Perks and Trees Revealed

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is going to be a massive game just as its predecessors were. Taking a look at the recently revealed Racial Perks and Talent Trees, though, really shows just how big!

If you read our article that details 40 Minutes of Leaked Skyrim Gameplay, you already have a taste of what this game has in store for us. After many expos and conventions, though, fans have been posting what they have found and remembered about these amazing videos in order to document what perks, abilities, etc. are going to be available for this great upcoming game! Over on the official Bethesda forums, user Sammuthegreat has gone through great lengths to compile all of these in one convenient place for us!

Racial Abilities

  • ORCS: Beserker
  • REDGUARDS: Adrenaline Rush
  • WOOD ELF: Resist poison, resisit disease, command animals
  • NORD: Battlecry
  • KHAJIIT: Night-eye, claw attacks
  • IMPERIAL: Voice of the Emperor, find more coins when looting
  • HIGH ELF: Regenerate Magicka more quickly
  • DARK ELF: Ancestor’s Wrath (surround self in fire), resist fire
  • BRETON: Dragonskin (absorb spells), resist shock
  • ARGONIANS: Histskin (regenerate health quickly), resist disease, breathe underwater
In all of the Elder Scrolls games, races always have their own special abilities, and this makes the game fun for multiple plays as every character can, and will, be so different! Thankfully, we can see some resemblance to the old perks, and a few have been tweaked as well; it appears that the Imperial’s racial ability has changed, as it used to grant a fatigue bonus, though this isn’t nearly as helpful as extra coin will be. along with that, we have the Khajiit who can no longer “intimidate” who they’re speaking too, though night-eye is certainly going to be just as fun as times past.
Perk Trees


  • Buying and selling price 10% better (5 ranks)
  • 10% price buying from opposite sex
  • Invest in shops and increase available gold permanently in invested stores
  • Master Trader – every merchant in world gains 1000 gold for bartering
  • Buy and sell from any merchant regardless of what they normally buy and sell
  • Intimidation attempts twice as successful
  • Persuasion attempts more likely successful

You know, I play a lot of Bethesda games, and I feel like these Speech traits are really going to make me want to invest in them. For instance, in the Fallout series I never really invest in them. Nor in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion either. But this time it almost seems profitable to do so. For instance, “Buy and sell from any merchant regardless of what they normally buy and sell,” seems like it would be a very good skill to have, saving you a lot of time. Of course, I’m going to want to invest in shops because that is just too lucrative to not invest in.


  • Potions 20% stronger (5 ranks)
  • Potions for restore health, magicka or stamina are 25% more powerful (maybe ranked)
  • Poisons 25% more effective (maybe ranked)
  • Poisons last for twice as many hits
  • Two ingredients are gathered from plants
  • 50% resistance to all poisons
  • All negative effects removed from potions and all positive removed from poisons
  • 2 effects of an ingredient are revealed when testing it for the first time (instead of just one)
Again, not something I dabble in. If I do, it’s only after I have beaten the game once (if I plan to play it more than once). Alchemy just takes a lot of time and collecting, and as I recall I was always picking stuff up for it, I just never used it. Kinda useless to pick it up and not use it! 50% resitance to poisons and Potions restoring 25% more H/M/S are definitely worth it, so these will also be great to invest in.


  • Dual casting overcharges effect for more powerful spell
  • Cast Novice spells for 50% less magicka
  • Cast Apprentice spells for 50% less magicka
  • Cast Adept, Expert, Master etc spells for 50% less magicka (more levels this time around)
  • Spells work on higher level animals
  • Spells work on higher level people
  • All spellcasting (from ANY school) is done silently
  • Spells work on undead, daedra and automatons
  • Fear spells work on higher level enemies


  • Novice for 50% magicka etc (up to Master)
  • Dual casting overcharges –> greater spell effect
  • Bound weapons do more damage
  • Bound weapons cast Soul Trap on target
  • Bound weapons banish certain creatures
  • Reanimate undead with 100 more health
  • Summon 2 Atronachs or reanimated zombies
  • Summon Atronachs at twice the distance
  • Summoned Atronachs twice as strong


  • More damage for each school (fire, frost and shock) – ranked
  • Novice for 50% magicka etc.
  • Shock damage chance to disintegrate targets if their health is under 10%
  • Frost damage chance to paralyse targets if health low
  • Fire damage chance to make low health enemies flee
  • Place runes 5x farther away
I love magic in these games. I think that being able to create your own spells and whatnot is a absolute blast and I cannot wait to dabble in these. Conjuration seems to be amazing, though possibly even a bit over powered? And when you combine it with Restoration and Destruction (something that you could do in the past, though we’ll see how that pans out with the Talent Tree system), players will just bring the pain train with the flick of the wrist (or finger I guess…).


  • Healing spells also restore stamina
  • Novice for 50% less magicka etc
  • Healing spells do 50% more healing
  • Recharging healing spells
  • More is recharged with each hit with healing spells (unclear)
  • Spells more effective against undead
  • Once a day chance to autocast 250HP restoration when health drops low
  • Magicka regenerates 25% faster


  • Novice for 50% less etc
  • Alteration spells have greater duration (ranked)
  • Absorb 30% magicka that hits you


  • Enchants are 20% stronger (ranked)
  • Enchanted armour 25% stronger
  • Death blows to creatures but not people trap souls for weapon recharge
  • Health, magicka and stamina enchants stronger
  • Extra effect on already-enchanted weapon can be applied
  • Shock, Frost and Fire enchants 25% stronger

This enchanting tree is interesting. Notice that “Death blows to creatures but not people trap souls for weapon recharge.” So obviously we’re dealing with a talent that allows us to kill creatures and trap their souls for our enchanted weapons. This is interesting because it doesn’t make sense that you wouldn’t be able to trap the souls of humans at all. This leads me to believe that there will be something in-game that will allow you to do this. Perhaps an item that you can use or a certain spell that you can use on your defeated enemies. Again, this is purely speculation, but  I cannot see why Bethesda wouldn’t allow you to trap the souls of humanoid at all, so there has to be something that hasn’t been revealed yet. If not, then this is Bethesda’s way of combating the over-powereredness of enchanted weapons and armor.

Heavy Armor

  • Increase armor rating 20% (5 ranks)
  • Unarmed attacks with heavy armor gauntlets – damage increased by gauntlets’ armour rating
  • Half fall damage if all in heavy armor
  • Heavy armor weighs nothing and doesn’t slow you at all
  • Additional 25% armor if in matching set
  • 25% armor bonus if all in heavy armour
  • 50% less stagger if all in heavy armor
  • 10% damage reflected back to enemy if all in heavy armor

Very self explanatory, though worth nothing that you no longer need to have matching sets of armor to get the 25% armor bonus. With that spec in the tree, you can mix and match! Get your aqua breeches and neon-yellow v-necks ready you hipsters, no longer does your character need to wear matching outfits in order to receive that bonus.

2-handed weapons

  • 2h weapons do 20% more damage (5 ranks)
  • Attacks with warhammers ignore 25% armour (ranked)
  • Attacks with battleaxes do extra bleeding damage (ranked)
  • Attacks with greatswords do extra critical damage (ranked)
  • Power attacks cost 25% less stamina
  • Standing power attacks do 25% bonus damage, chance to decapitate
  • Sprinting power attacks do double (critical) damage
  • Sideways power attacks hit all targets
  • Backwards power attacks have 25% chance of paralysis


  • Bows do 25% more damage
  • Zoom in
  • Zooming slows time
  • 10% crit chance
  • Move faster with drawn bow
  • Recover twice as many arrows from dead bodies
  • 50% chance of paralyzing for few seconds
  • Draw bow 30% faster


  • 20% harder to detect (ranked)
  • Sneak attacks do 6x damage with 1h weapons
  • Sneak attacks with bows do 3x damage
  • Sneak attacks with daggers do 15x damage (end perk on skill tree)
  • Noise from armor reduced 50%
  • No longer activate pressure plates
  • Sprinting while sneaking performs silent forward roll
  • Running does not affect detection chance
  • Crouching can make hostile enemies lose sight of you and search for a target
Sneaking is a big part of gameplay for some palyers, and these traits seem perfect to fit the bill. Notably, we have the last two talents, “running does not affect detection chance” and “crouching can make hostile enemies lose sight of you and search for a target.” These seem like they could become very useful, especially the first one for anyone due to it’s potential for any class/play type. “Sneak attacks with daggers do 15x damage” is going to be a big one, and very useful for those who pick these talent trees, but it also illustrates that there is some sort of end-goal for each talent tree.
Again, this is a community gathered list, and while it is certainly trustworthy it certainly does not mean it is complete. Hopefully we’ll have a complete list in the near future, but with the game being only a little over a month away, I’m sure we’ll all experience this for ourselves and be overwhelmed with all of it, regardless of if we get a whole explanation or not.
If you liked this, you’ll love reading about the 40 Minutes of Leaked Skyrim Gameplay!


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