The School of Alteration involves the manipulation of the physical world and its natural properties. This skill makes it easier to cast spells like waterbreathing, magical protection, and paralysis.
Alteration is a skill in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and is one of the six skills that fall under The Mage play-style. The Alteration skill is raised by using certain kinds of spells that identify themselves as alteration spells. These alteration spells include the ability to don Magic Armor, detect entities either by illumination of the area or by magically sensing their presence; the ability to temporarily stun foes (paralyze), and a few special spells marked with * in the list below.
Changes from previous gamesEdit
- Main article: Skill Book (Skyrim)
The following books provide a permanent skill up to Alteration; locations are listed under each title, and may not be exhaustive. Skill books are one time use only. After a skill book is read once, reading the same book does not increase skills.
The following quests increase the Alteration skill:
- Retrieve Frost salts for Dravynea the Stoneweaver in Kynesgrove
- Find Pantea's Flute for Pantea Ateia in the Bards College in Solitude (Also increases Illusion, Enchanting, Conjuration, Destruction, and Restoration)
- Discerning the Transmundane
- When reading the Oghma Infinium, selecting the Path of Magic will increase all magic skills (including Alteration) by five points.
- Alteration Ritual Spell is given by Tolfdir at the College of Winterhold after the Dragonborn's Alteration skill level reaches 90. This quest does not increase the Alteration skill but, upon completion, allows for the purchase of master-level spell tomes.
The following is a complete list of Alteration spells:
|Rank||Spell Name||Description||Magicka Base Cost|
(Skill level 0)
|Candlelight||Creates a hovering light that lasts for 60 seconds.||21|
|Equilibrium||Convert health into magicka at a rate of 25 points per second. Caster can be killed by this effect.||0 (25 health per second)|
|Oakflesh||Improves the caster's armor rating by 40 points for 60 seconds.||103|
(Skill level 25)
|Magelight||Ball of light that lasts 60 seconds and sticks where it strikes.||84|
|Stoneflesh||Improves the caster's armor rating by 60 points for 60 seconds.||194|
(Skill level 50)
|Targets that fail to resist are immobilized in hardened ash for 30 seconds.||149 per second|
|Nearby living creatures, but not undead, machines, or daedra can be seen through walls.||100 per second|
|Ironflesh||Improves the caster's armor rating by 80 points for 60 seconds.||266|
|Telekinesis||Can pull an object to you from distance. Add it to your inventory or throw it.||170 per second|
|Transmute||Transmute one piece of unrefined Iron Ore to Silver, or Silver Ore to Gold, if the caster is carrying any.||100|
|Waterbreathing||Can breathe under water for 60 seconds.||222|
(Skill level 75)
|Ash Rune DB||Cast on a nearby surface, it explodes when enemies are nearby, immobilizing them in hardened ash for 30 seconds.||248|
|Detect Dead||Nearby dead can be seen through walls.||148 per second|
|Ebonyflesh||Improves the caster's armor rating by 100 points for 60 seconds.||341|
|Paralyze||Targets that fail to resist are paralyzed for 10 seconds.||450|
(Skill level 100)
|Dragonhide||Caster ignores 80% of all physical damage for 30 seconds.||837|
|Mass Paralysis||All targets in the area that fail to resist are paralyzed for 15 seconds.||937|
Master spells can't be purchased initially. To unlock Master Alteration spells, the Alteration Ritual Spell quest must be completed upon reaching level 90 Alteration.
Unlike other protection spells, such as Ironflesh or Ebonyflesh, Dragonhide is not affected by the Mage Armor perk, so light or heavy armor can be worn without losing any of the benefit from the spell.
The following are the perks that become available for selection as the skill is leveled up:
|Novice Alteration||None||Cast Novice level Alteration spells for half magicka|
|Alteration Dual Casting||Alteration 20, Novice Alteration||Dual casting an Alteration spell overcharges the effects into an even more powerful version|
|Apprentice Alteration||Alteration 25, Novice Alteration||Cast Apprentice level Alteration spells for half magicka|
|Mage Armor (3)||Alteration 30/50/70, Apprentice Alteration||Protection spells like Stoneflesh are twice as strong if not wearing armor (+0.5 per additional rank)|
|Magic Resistance (3)||Alteration 30/50/70, Apprentice Alteration||Blocks 10%/20%/30% of a spells effect.|
|Adept Alteration||Alteration 50, Apprentice Alteration||Cast Adept level Alteration spells for half magicka|
|Stability||Alteration 70, Adept Alteration||Alteration spells have greater duration (+50%)|
|Expert Alteration||Alteration 75, Adept Alteration||Cast Expert level Alteration spells for half magicka|
|Atronach||Alteration 100, Expert Alteration||
Grants 30% Spell Absorption
Spell absorption will block friendly spells as well as hostile ones.
|Master Alteration||Alteration 100, Expert Alteration||Cast Master level Alteration spells for half magicka|
- Melaran (Adept): Solitude
- Dravynea the Stoneweaver (Expert): Kynesgrove
- Tolfdir (Master): Hall of the Elements or the Hall of Attainment at the College of Winterhold
The Alteration skill level can be increased by using these tactics:
- With 100 enchanting, it is possible to enchant apparal to reduce Alteration spell magicka usage (Fortify Alteration effect) to zero. With this equipped, it is easy to raise the skill using virtually any spell.
- Wearing Master Robes of Alteration, Morokei, The Apprentice Stone, and an Amulet of Akatosh will increase the base magicka regen to 375%. This percentage can be raised even higher with a ring enchanted with Regenerate Magicka, depending on Enchanting level.
- Waterbreathing can be cast while standing in shallow water for easy experience.
- Telekinesis, while very magicka-expensive, will raise Alteration very quickly. One option is to just hold an object in the air using this spell and to wait until your magicka runs out - also, face a wall or corner so when the item is thrown it doesn't hit anyone or get lost. Any item that can be picked up or dropped from the inventory can be used.
- Since Telekinesis is a sustained-cast spell, using Secret of Arcana (only available through the Dragonborn expansion) while casting Telekinesis continuously is especially efficient, and can raise Alteration to 100 in less than 10 minutes as continuing to sustain the spell past the 30-second duration of Secret of Arcana will keep casting it cost-free.
- If Alteration is reset to 15 by making the skill legendary, it takes approximately 14 and a half minutes of continuous Telekinesis with the Secret of Arcana exploit to get back to 100, if the The Mage Stone is in use. Without the Mage Stone, it becomes approximately 17 minutes, 20 seconds.
- Using the Secret of Arcana exploit, Telekinesis on one hand, Detect Life on the other, a crowded area, and the Mage Stone, it is possible to go from 15 to 100 Alteration in less than 10 minutes.
- Equiping Telekinesis in both hands and using them slightly delayed, but not dual-casting, to pick up an item then fast traveling can level up Alteration to 100 in one load screen. It is recommended to go a far distance to maximize the amount of levels gained (for example: being in Riften then fast traveling to Markarth). This can only be done with equipment that reduces magicka cost of alteration spells to zero.
- Casting Magelight and Candlelight as often as possible provides a slow but easy flow of experience. Since Candlelight and Magelight are Novice and Apprentice level spells respectively, they are obtainable early.
- Transmute Mineral Ore can be used to convert iron ore into gold ore (iron -> silver -> gold). From there, the ore can be smelted into ingots (remember that two gold ore are needed for a single gold ingot), and gold jewelry can be crafted and sold. Enchanting obtained items will increase prices, thus providing Alteration, Smithing, Enchanting, and Speech experience. Additionally stolen iron or silver ore, after being transmuted, no longer have the stolen tag, allowing it to be sold without having to go through a fence.
- Repetitively casting Paralyze levels from level 75 onwards extremely quickly, simply requiring a single NPC (enemy or not, even guards). The spell can simply be cast on them again and again. Leveling to 100 from 75 takes approximately 10/20 minutes of casting (with items reducing magicka cost equipped)
- Repetitively casting Mass Paralysis can level Alteration from 15 to 100 in under 5 minutes, but requires enchanted items to reduce Alteration magicka usage by 100% due to its high cost. Once you have these, simply visit somewhere with at least five NPCs (enemy or not) nearby. The initial cast may be tricky if you're being attacked due to the long cast time, but once you get the spell off you can repeat it easily.
- Casting Detect Life is a very quick way to level Alteration. The more 'life' that is detected, the faster this method works.
- Repeatedly casting Stoneflesh or Oakflesh next to an immobile enemy (like the caged wolves in Cragslane Cavern) quickly levels Alteration.
- Cragslane Cavern is involved in the quest Skooma Trade; a bug exists that may prevent that quest from being completed if it is visited before being sent there by the quest. There should be two caged wolves immediately outside of Cragslane cavern that may be used for this purpose without triggering the bug.
- Alternatively, the Bloodlet Throne southwest of Helgen could be used to practice spells with the vampires on the other side of the barricade.
- In the quest The Break of Dawn, casting Oakflesh then standing in the beam of the beacon will quickly level Alteration.
- Stand next to a body of water that contains a Slaughterfish as an enemy and cast flesh spells
Alteration provides pure mages and magic dabblers alike the ability to bolster their defenses. However, until expert level alteration is purely defensive. In addition, alteration normally levels slowly because the "flesh" spells will rarely be cast more than once during each combat encounter. Their high cost also means that pure mages sacrifice tons of offensive potential by casting a flesh spell at the beginning of combat. In general, alteration spells are most useful for a character who in the long term wants to be more resistant to magic (the alteration perks magic resistance and atronach), a character planning to be able to paralyze their foes (a powerful effect), a pure mage who isn't confident in their ability to avoid weapons based attacks and so uses flesh spells, or a warrior who dabbles in magic.
This section contains bugs related to Alteration (Skyrim). Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:
- The master spell Dragonhide may not increase the armor rating, at least not while wearing Dragonscale or Dragonplate armor. If the apparel is changed while under the effect of the Dragonhide spell, the armor rating may be brought down to one.
- Casting the Waterbreathing spell while underwater can result in the spell not working.
- Killing a paralyzed enemy may prevent it from being resurrected with conjuration spells.
|Candlelight • Detect Dead • Detect Life • Dragonhide • Ebonyflesh • Equilibrium • Magelight • Mass Paralysis • Oakflesh |
Paralyze • Ironflesh • Stoneflesh • Telekinesis • Transmute Mineral Ore • Waterbreathing
|Ash Shell • Ash Rune|
|Schools of Magic|
|Alteration • Conjuration • Destruction • Illusion • Restoration|
|Alteration Ritual Spell • Mage Armor • Magicka • Perks • Magic • The College of Winterhold • Alteration trainers|