Elder Scrolls

Detect Life (Skyrim)

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Detect Life
School Alteration
Skill Level Adept (50)
Magicka Cost 100/second
Effect Nearby living creatures, but not undead, machines, or daedra, can be seen through walls.
Spell Tome Quest reward
Tome ID 000A26E7
Spell ID 000211EE
For the Oblivion spell, see Detect Life (Oblivion).

Detect Life is an adept Alteration spell in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim that enables the caster to see nearby living creatures, but not undead, those that are invisible, machines, or daedra, through walls.


  • The Detect Life spell allows the user to distinguish between friendly and hostile characters through the color of the mist it uses to show their presence — hostile characters are red, and friendly characters are light blue.
    • Note that the blue mist surrounding what appears to be a friendly character/creature may become red mist as the Dragonborn approaches and the character/creature becomes hostile on sight.
  • Useful for stealth-oriented classes, as it can be used to find out how many foes are in the next room, then calculate an efficient plan of attack.
  • Can be extremely efficient at raising Alteration, as it increases the amount of experience gain the more targets it is able to see. For example, seeing one person may take a couple of minutes to increase, while seeing two people will cut that in half. So to get the most of this spell, cast it in a major city such as the Whiterun or Riften markets.

Spell tomeEdit



  • Weight: 1 WeightIcon
  • Value: 332 GoldIcon
  • See Spell Tome for a complete table of spell tomes, their descriptions, and their values.


  • Obtained from Stalleo after completing the quest Infiltration at Treva's Watch.
  • May be found in Labyrinthian in the first chamber.
  • May appear as random loot, and might randomly appear available for purchase from the following:


  •  PC   PS3   As a vampire, using Detect Life while out in the day will sometimes result in limitless use of the spell, thus providing unlimited experience. This can sometimes be triggered by moving in any direction right as magicka runs out.

Start a Discussion Discussions about Detect Life (Skyrim)

  • Detect life Bug

    • I decided that I should go and learn the detect life spell for my mage to level alteration. So I did the treva's watch method and got the to...
  • Detect life Very efficient leveling.

    2 messages
    • I had no perks in alteration. plus, I'm a vampire in day light. I used all my magika casting detect life in whiterun,  got fustrated and k...
    • I would have to test this method, to my knoweldge there's no variable for leveling skills that have to do with whether a resource regenerates or not.

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