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 falls under The Mage and Night-Blade 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 envelop oneself in 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 (Note: 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 5 points.
- Alteration Ritual Spell is given by Tolfdir at the College of Winterhold and, upon completion, allows for the purchase of Master-level Spell Tomes when the Dragonborn's Alteration skill level reaches 90.
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 100 Alteration.
Note: Unlike other protection spells, such as Ironflesh or Ebonyflesh, Dragonhide is not affected by the Mage Armor perk, so the player can use light or heavy armor without losing any bonus of 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 2x as strong if not wearing armor (+0.5x 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
Note: 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 armor to reduce Alteration spell magicka usage (Fortify Alteration effect) to 0. With this armor equipped, it is a simple matter 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.
- Water Breathing 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 wait an hour every time magicka runs out, and face a wall or corner so when the item is thrown it doesn't hit anyone or get lost. Absolutely any item that can be picked up (and by extension, 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. Note continuing to sustain the spell past the 30-second duration of Secret of Arcana will keep casting it cost-free.
- If the player has reset Alteration 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 Mage Stone is in use. Without the Mage Stone, it becomes approximately 17 minutes, 20 seconds.
- 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 in the game.
- Transmute Mineral Ore can be used to convert Iron Ore into Gold Ore (Iron -> Silver -> Gold) after purchasing the starting ore from a blacksmith. From there, Gold jewelry can be crafted to repay the losses. Enchanting obtained items will increase prices, thus providing Alteration, Smithing, Enchanting, and Speech experience. Additionally stolen iron or silver ore, after being transmuted don't contain the stolen tag as found by Cthe
- Casting Detect Life is a very quick way to level Alteration. The more 'life' that is detected, the faster this method works. Good areas for using this spell are: the marketplaces in Whiterun and Riften, The Winking Skeever in Solitude, the lower level of The Bannered Mare in Whiterun at night, and the The Ragged Flagon (if it has been restored through the Thieves Guild quest line).
- Detect Life can also be pretty useful in other places, but you will have to complete the Civil War questline. For example, if allied with the Imperials, the Palace of the Kings in Windhelm will be full of the Jarls and their Housecarls. If you are with the Stormcloaks, the Blue Palace in Solitude has plenty of people in the throne room. In both places, most of the people never go to sleep, thus having a constant increase. Having multiple followers also helps a lot, specially in these cases. By having both Dark Brotherhood Initiate, Cicero, and a normal follower can boost the time to roughly 100 skill in an hour.
- 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. Note, however, that 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.
- Repeatedly cast Paralysis on a follower. The follower will not turn hostile, and the skill will increase very quickly.
- With enchanted equipment that reduces the cost of Alteration spells by 100%, simply repeatedly cast Paralysis on any valid target. This is possibly one of the fastest ways to level any skill at no cost. With Legendary Skills, this can be used to level a character indefinitely at a very rapid pace.
- In the quest The Break of Dawn, casting Oakflesh then standing in the beam of the beacon will quickly level Alteration.
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 levels slowly without purposeful grinding because the flesh spells will rarely be cast more than once each combat. 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 resiliant 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 weapon based attacks and so uses flesh spells, or a warrior who dabbles in magic. Think carefully before you decide that you want to put resources into this useful but largely one dimensional and difficult to raise skill.
This section contains bugs related to Alteration (Skyrim). Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:
- The master spell Dragonhide doesn't increase the armor rating, at least not while wearing Dragonscale or Dragonplate armor. If changing the apparel while being under the effect of the Dragonhide spell, the armor rating will be brought down to 1.
- Casting the Waterbreathing spell while underwater can result in the spell not working. It is currently not known what causes this.
- Killing a paralyzed enemy will 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
|Schools of Magic|
|Alteration • Conjuration • Destruction • Illusion • Restoration|
|Alteration Ritual Spell • Mage Armor • Magicka • Perks • Magic • The College of Winterhold • Alteration trainers|
|Skills in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim|
|The Mage||Alteration · Conjuration · Destruction · Enchanting · Illusion · Restoration|
|The Thief||Alchemy · Light Armor · Lockpicking · Pickpocket · Sneak · Speech|
|The Warrior||Archery · Block · Heavy Armor · One-Handed · Smithing · Two-Handed|