The School of Illusion involves manipulating the mind of the enemy. This skill makes it easier to cast spells like Fear, Charm, and Invisibility.
Illusion is a skill in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and is one of the six skills that fall under The Mage play-style. Illusion spells that have appeared in past games include targeted spells such as Charm, Calm, Frenzy, Silence, Demoralize, Command or Rally and spells cast on one's self such as Invisibility. Casting Illusion spells raise the corresponding skill.
Books and quests
- 2920, Sun's Dawn, v2
- Before the Ages of Man
- Incident at Necrom
- Mystery of Talara, Part 4
- The Black Arts on Trial
- Oghma Infinium - Raises Illusion and all other magicka-based skills by 5, if the "path of the Mage" is taken.
- Defeat the Master Vampire for Sybille Stentor in Solitude
- Find Pantea's Flute for Pantea Ateia in the Bards College in Solitude. This also increases Alteration, Enchanting, Conjuration, Destruction, and Restoration.
The following is a complete list of Illusion spells:
|Rank||Skill Level Requirement||Spell Name||Description||Magicka Base Cost|
|Novice||0||Clairvoyance||Shows the path to the current goal.||25 per second|
|Courage||Target won't flee for 60 seconds and gets some extra health and stamina.||39|
|Fury||Creatures and people up to level 6 will attack anything nearby for 30 seconds.||67|
|Apprentice||25||Calm||Creatures and people up to level 9 won't fight for 30 seconds.||146|
|Fear||Creatures and people up to level 9 flee from combat for 30 seconds.||153|
|Muffle||Move more quietly for 180 seconds.||144|
|Adept||50||Frenzy||Creatures and people up to level 14 will attack anyone nearby for 60 seconds.||209|
|Rally||Targets won't flee for 60 seconds and get extra health and stamina.||113|
|Expert||75||Invisibility||Caster is invisible for 30 seconds. Activating an object or attacking will break the spell.||334|
|Pacify||Creatures and people up to level 20 won't fight for 60 seconds.||290|
|Rout||Creatures and people up to level 20 flee from combat for 30 seconds.||316|
|Master||100||Call to Arms||Targets have improved combat skills, health, and stamina for 10 minutes.||655|
|Harmony||Creatures and people up to level 33 nearby won't fight for 60 seconds.||1052|
|Hysteria||Creatures and people up to level 25 flee from combat for 60 seconds.||866|
|Mayhem||Creatures and people up to level 25 will attack anyone nearby for 60 seconds.||990|
Master spells can't be purchased initially. To unlock Master Illusion spells, the Illusion Ritual Spell quest must be completed upon reaching level 100 Illusion.
The following are Illusion spells that the character can start with if the appropriate race is selected:
The following are the perks that become available to select as the skill is leveled up:
|Novice Illusion||None||Cast Novice level Illusion spells for half magicka.|
|Illusion Dual Casting||Illusion 20, Novice Illusion||Dual casting an Illusion spell overcharges the effects into an even more powerful version.|
|Animage||Illusion 20, Novice Illusion||Illusion spells now work on higher level animals.|
|Apprentice Illusion||Illusion 25, Novice Illusion||Cast Apprentice level Illusion spells for half magicka.|
|Hypnotic Gaze||Illusion 30, Novice Illusion||Calm spells now work on higher level opponents (+8 levels).|
|Kindred Mage||Illusion 40, Animage||All Illusion spells work on higher level people.|
|Adept Illusion||Illusion 50, Apprentice Illusion||Cast Adept level Illusion spells for half magicka.|
|Aspect of Terror||Illusion 50, Hypnotic Gaze||
Fear spells work on higher level opponents (+10 levels).
Bug: adds 10 points of damage to all fire spells except Flame Cloak and Fire Rune.
|Quiet Casting||Illusion 50, Kindred Mage||All spells cast from any school of magic are silent to others.|
|Rage||Illusion 70, Aspect of Terror||Frenzy spells work on higher level opponents (+12 levels).|
|Expert Illusion||Illusion 75, Adept Illusion||Cast Expert level Illusion spells for half magicka.|
|Master of the Mind||Illusion 90, Rage, Quiet Casting||Illusion spells work on undead, daedra and automatons.|
|Master Illusion||Illusion 100, Expert Illusion||Cast Master level Illusion spells for half magicka.|
Illusion is often overlooked because it is associated with staying out of combat, which is contrary to what most players want. Illusion can be compared to crowd control spells in other games. Here are some methods to bring the Illusion skill to its full potential:
Where to practice
- After arriving at Whiterun at the beginning of the game, the player can go to Hulda, the owner and Barmaid at The Bannered Mare. She has several Miscellaneous bounty quests, giving the player early opportunities to practice spells on Bandits and earn some money (useful later for buying more spells).
- Even at lower levels, a good place is the troll cave Darkshade, which contains several rooms that serve to separate the Trolls.
- Cast Calm spells on the children and Constance Michel in the Honorhall Orphanage after killing Grelod The Kind in the Quest Innocence Lost.
- Once Animage is obtained, the player can just cast buffs like Calm and Courage on the Cow that's sitting in the pen in Whiterun.
- Once the Muffle spell is obtained, it can be continually cast to level up the Illusion skill. This makes it possible to go from 30 to 100 in 30 - 45 minutes.
- Calm can be cast alternately with Fear or Fury to level it up (Note: this is rather costly in Magicka).
- One of the fastest ways to power-level Illusion is to use the Magicka bonuses from doing the minor quest for Drevis Neloren to 'fix' the focal points in the College of Winterhold. Using those, Muffle can be infinitely dual-cast because the player's Magicka regenerates virtually instantly. This can be done until the bonus runs out.
- Casting spells like Pacify, Rally, and Courage on the jarls in the basement of the Blue Palace is a quick way to raise the Illusion skill.
- In The College of Winterhold, cast Illusion Spells like Pacify and Rally on Nirya. Almost all Illusion Spells can be cast on her because of her weak level.
- Cast Courage on any non-hostile character in Skyrim. Since they will not attack, it is possible to go from 25 to 50 in under 10 minutes.
Combination with other schools
- Combine Illusion with Conjuration to let others do the fighting, instead. A player with decent levels in both skill trees can clear a dungeon without personally killing a single enemy. It is especially fun to observe the effect of Fear on the enemy attacked by one of the Dragonborn's conjured beings.
- A high level in Illusion can make a high level in Restoration obsolete. The use of powerful charm spells will give the player enough time to heal with lower level spells. Turn undead spells are not as effective as Illusion with the right perks (i.e., Master of the Mind).
- Illusion and Sneak: with the right perks (i.e., Hypnotic Gaze, Kindred Mage) in Illusion, the player will be able to calm almost any enemy not immune to Illusion magic. When an enemy is calmed, it will return to its original location, thus turning its back and allowing the player to sneak behind the enemy, back-stab, charm, and repeat.
- In addition to using Calm to sneak-attack enemies, the player can use the Expert-level Illusion spell Invisibility, combined with the Sneak perk Shadow Warrior, to escape almost any enemy (for a time). While in combat, cast Invisibility, then run off and crouch to activate Shadow Warrior just before leaving the enemy's line of sight. This works best after casting Frenzy spells or when the player has more allies.
- Casting Frenzy automatically breaks stealth (detection goes from Hidden to fully Detected). The perk "Quiet casting" doesn't prevent detection like it does for Fury.
- Any spell that generates light (i.e. Candlelight) will increase the chance of detection; therefore, the player can be detected even while sneaking. (It is possible that Magelight may be less revealing, since it creates light but "attaches" it to the ground rather than following the player around.)
- Vampirism synergizes extremely well with the Illusion school, as it grants both Stealth and Illusion bonuses. The Illusion bonus provided increases the power of Illusion spells by 25%; the stealth bonus is 25% better sneaking.
Usefulness of Illusion spells
- Calm, Fury, and Courage spells can be useful for hunting skittish prey.
- Wards block Illusion spells; wait for the ward to go down before casting.
- Calm spells are useful for avoiding confrontations or buying time in a fight.
- Fury spells cause the target to attack friends and foes alike, which can allow the player to virtually sit out of a battle and let his or her enemies decimate each other. One should be careful, however, as a target under the influence of fury may still attack the player. It is best to cast this spell at a distance while making use of stealth or invisibility.
- Courage spells are useful to keep running creatures from rallying others, as well as for followers.
- Fear spells are useful for escaping and buying time in a fight.
- Muffle allows a player to move silently whether or not the player is sneaking.
- Invisibility is largely self explanatory in regard to its utility. However, even while invisible, the caster can be detected if an enemy gets too close. Casting Muffle beforehand, or making use of stealth, can help reduce the chances of being detected.
- The Quiet Casting perk will prevent enemies from hearing dragon shouts, which helps the player remain undetected.