Sneaking is the art of moving unseen and unheard. Highly skilled sneaks can often hide in plain sight.
Skill Books and QuestsEdit
The following books raise Sneak Skill:
The following Miscellaneous Quests increase the Sneak Skill:
- Return helmet to Noster Eagle-Eye in Solitude.
- Retrieve bottle of double distilled Skooma for Stands-In-Shallows in the Argonian Assemblage in Windhelm.
- Retrieve Finn's Lute for Inge Six Fingers at the Bard's College in Solitude (also increases the Light Armor, Alchemy, Lockpicking, Pickpocket, and Speech skills).
- Khayla (Adept): Khajiit Caravans
- Garvey (Expert): Markarth
- Delvin Mallory (Master): Thieves Guild, Riften
Changes from Previous GamesEdit
The Sneak system in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is slightly different from that of previous games. Visibility is depicted through use of an eye that remains closed while undetected, but opens more and more as the likelihood of being detected increases. If the word "Detected" appears on the screen, a creature or NPC can see the player, or has just seen them and knows where they are. If the word "Hidden" appears on the screen, the NPCs are unaware of the player's presence. People around the player will also change "modes" depending on whether they view them sneaking. For instance, they will be passive if they are unaware, or cautious if they are aware someone is sneaking. An NPC's ability to notice the player is dependent on a large number of factors, including their Sneak skill, the level of light on their current position, how heavy the player character's armor is, whether this armor is heavy or light, if weapons are drawn, if magic is equipped, how fast they are moving, and the effects of any perks obtained.
The following are the perks available to be taken as the skill is leveled up
|Stealth (5)||None||You are 20% harder to detect when sneaking (+5% per additional rank)|
|Muffled Movement||Sneak 30, Stealth||Noise from armor is reduced by 50%|
|Backstab||Sneak 30, Stealth||Sneak attacks with one-handed weapons now do six times damage|
|Light Foot||Sneak 40, Muffled Movement||You won't trigger pressure plates|
|Deadly Aim||Sneak 40, Backstab||
Sneak attacks with bows now do three times damage
|Silent Roll||Sneak 50, Light Foot||Sprinting while sneaking executes a silent forward roll|
|Assassin's Blade||Sneak 50, Deadly Aim||
Sneak attacks with daggers now do a total of fifteen times normal damage
|Silence||Sneak 70, Silent Roll||Walking and running does not affect detection|
|Shadow Warrior||Sneak 100, Silence||Crouching stops combat for a moment and forces distant opponents to search for a target|
Despite being hidden, certain NPCs may still know the player has stolen something. They do not call the guards, so there is no bounty at all. Rather, they pay three Hired Thugs (one of which will have a contract in their inventory) to "teach a lesson" to the perpetrator. It is also possible to have hired thugs attack even if the contract giver was dead prior to the theft.
Almost any NPC in Skyrim can send Hired Thugs after the player. Including generic NPCs such as Bandits or Forsworn . If an item owned by an NPC is stolen from a location or pickpocketed from them they have a chance of sending Hired Thugs.
With a relatively high sneak, the player can murder individuals standing just a foot or two away from a guard and not only receive no bounty, but also remain undetected as long as the guard is not looking directly at the player. However, if they then walk past the guard and are detected, the guard may attack them. While fighting back gains no bounty, killing the guard results in the normal 1,000 gold bounty for murder. Other guards throughout the city/hold will not become hostile, so murdering the guard that witnessed their indiscretion may be a solution rather than leaving town for several days.
- A good way of leveling this up is to find any of the Greybeards in High Hrothgar, sneak behind him and start attacking him with a dagger of any kind (an Iron one will be better as it does less damage). You can level to 100 sneak skill rank very quckly, and also you can train Restoration by healing him with Healing Hands. You can be at level one and still be able to do this, but take heed the Greybeards will really attack you badly if you get caught. Note that after they give you full access to High Hrothgar (which is after they all speak a few phrases in the Dragon language to recognize you as Ysmir, dragon of the north), you can attack them until they kneel before they retalliate.
- Successful sneak attacks will raise the sneak skill more quickly than simple sneaking, especially when executed with a melee weapon. Archery sneak attacks grant sneak experience as well, but at a much lower rate. Melee sneak attacks provide 12 times more sneak experience than a ranged sneak attack. The amount of damage you do, Assassin's Blade perk and Shrouded gloves have no impact on the experience gained.
- Another way of leveling is sneak killing sleeping Draugr. With a sneak over 25, one should be able to sneak past Draugr undetected and sneak kill them to get a large skill raise. (A sneak attack against a sleeping Draugr may count as an assault under crime stats.)
- Use Farkas during the quest Proving Honor. In the room where he transforms to wolf form, sneak up and hit him before flipping the lever. Using bare hands works well as he usually heals faster than he is damaged.
- Sneak-running against a wall behind any character who is unlikely to detect the player. The player will be harder to detect if sneaking backwards. Some potential targets include:
- Find a non-hostile target and repeatedly sneak-attack it. Some potential targets include:
- Any NPC marked as Essential (unkillable). Examples:
- Aventus Arentino- during the intro quest for The Dark Brotherhood
- Sometimes Penitus Oculatus Agents will respawn after completing Bound Until Death and can be killed with a sneak attack without any gain of bounty. However, other agents will attack you if they see you kill another agent, although guards won't attack.
- Hadvar or Ralof- Only during the starting quest, Unbound.
- Will not become hostile.
- Arniel Gane - Only during Saarthal Excavation quest.
- Will not become hostile.
- Ancano at the College of Winterhold.
- Will not become hostile. (Unless attacked constantly while downed.)
- Astrid at the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary.
- May become hostile.
- The Greybeards in High Hrothgar.
- May become hostile. It is useful to use the "Healing Hands" spell on the chosen Greybeard, as this not only allows for more attacks (without retaliation) but is also a good way to level up Restoration. Do not, however, let their health get too low, as they may use Ice Form, which may necessitate loading a previous save.
- Karliah at the Thieves' Guild in the Cistern.
- May become hostile if attacked too many times in a small time frame.
- The Legate of any Imperial camp.
- May become hostile, but will usually accept a yield.
- Jarl Maven Black-Briar.
- While she is sleeping, attack her and she will not become hostile.
- Any follower, summoned creature, or player-owned horse. Examples:
- Any NPC marked as Essential (unkillable). Examples:
- Draugr, one of the most common enemies in the game, present excellent opportunities to increase Sneak. For example:
- If the player is in a dungeon with sleeping Draugr, it is possible to sneak up to them and kill them, as they will not detect even low-level sneak.
- Use Raise Zombie on inactive Draugr and attack them while sneaking. They will not attack because of the spell's effects.
- In The Horn of Jurgen Windcaller, there is a dungeon with a portcullis. If a Draugr is trapped behind it, it cannot attack.
- The secluded courtyard outside of Dragonsreach in Whiterun is patrolled by a single guard who walks the front half of the perimeter. Shadow this guard on his patrol route.
- Enter Geirmund's Hall and drop through the hole to access the rest of the cave into a water-filled room with a closed door. Beyond this door are several Frostbite Spiders. While crouching, hit the door with a weapon to alert them. As spiders cannot open doors, they will be unable to attack, allowing sneaking with impunity. If the "detected" status is not fading, moving behind one of the rock walls on either side usually helps.
- If Paarthurnax is not killed during the main quest, he will be perched on the Word Wall at the Throat of the World. Hide behind his right wing and sneak-attack him for massive damage and Sneak experience.
- Use the Shout Throw Voice in a dungeon against enemies (best used if far away) and wait for the eye to close then use it again.
- Join the College of Winterhold and at night sneak attack the non-killable teachers while they are in their beds. Pick two and go back and forth between them. They will not attack or send hired thugs.
- Attack giants. Use a bow, or crossbow (Dawnguard), to shoot giants and then quickly hide.
- Another fast way to level sneak is to go to Shrine of Mehrunes Dagon. Kill the 2 Dremora residing there. Have the Reverant spell, and resurrect the Dremora Kynval while in Sneak position. Let him raise, then sneak attack him. He will not turn to a pile of ashes like most resurrected characters, so this can be performed over and over again.
- If coupled with the Shrouded Gloves or the Shrouded Hand Wraps, available on a cupboard in the entrance room of the Pine Forest Brotherhood Sanctuary, either of which doubles the damage of backstabs, the Assassin's Blade perk will allow thirty (30) times normal damage with a successful sneak attack with a dagger. This will turn even the lowly Iron Dagger into one of the most powerful weapons in the game.
- Confirmed: At level 38, with the Assassin's Blade perk, Shrouded Gloves and a Daedric Dagger, all combined in a successful sneak power attack, it was possible to instantly kill an Elder Dragon found sleeping on a dragon roost at Master difficulty.
- When equipped with the Assassin's Blade perk, Shrouded Gloves (or Shrouded Hand Wraps), and dual-wielding daggers, performing a successful sneak dual-power attack results in three consecutive sneak attacks, thus granting a possible ninety (90) times damage multiplier in a single attack, which will kill most foes.
- It's possible to sneak in heavy armor just as effectively as while wearing light armor or clothing. First, either use the Steed Stone or the Conditioning (Heavy Armor) perk. Then have relatively high sneak with most perks from the Sneak tree, including Muffled Movement and Silence. Lastly, equip the Shrouded Boots or any other footwear enchanted with Muffle, and/or or acquire the Ebony Mail.
- It's possible, though difficult, to sneak while in battle with Alduin, allowing a sneak attack for massive damage. This only seems to work with 90+ Sneak and ALL perks up to that point.
- If a shield or weapon is used to block (with the perks Block Runner and Shield Charge) while sneaking it is possible to double walking speed or perform a Shield Charge without breaking stealth.
- Shadow Warrior perk, it is possible to stay invisible indefinitely during combat by quickly and repeatedly entering and leaving stealth. With third-person mode active the Dragonborn will look like black smoke flying through the air. (Will not work for everyone.)
- Also, with the Shadow Warrior perk, the invisibility effect, though lasting only one second, completely interrupts detection. If timed properly, it is possible to get a sneak attack critical even in a large group of enemies. This allows for more aggressive tactics of assassinations or clearing dungeons, or the ability to repeatedly get critical hits on stronger enemies, such as Dragons, Dragon Priests, or Draugr Deathlords.
- The above method of assassinations may not work if the target is already in combat with a follower or another hostile.
- Sometimes, with sufficient Sneak skill and/or Muffle active, after using a ranged sneak attack, the enemy may be unable to spot the attacker.
- With a pickaxe, enter first person mode and approach some ore to mine. Start mining the ore while still in first person. The sequence will go into third person until the ore is mined. Once the ore is mined first person resumes, but the cross-hairs no longer indicate sneak mode. Walk forward and sprint and the Dragonborn will Silent Roll until they leave sneak mode or enter third person.
- Combatants often search where arrows land if the archer is hidden.
- The Shadow Warrior perk conflicts with Shadowcloak of Nocturnal. With Shadowcloak of Nocturnal active, crouching when seen will cause both Shadowcloak of Nocturnal and Shadow Warrior to activate, but when Shadow Warrior wears off, it erroneously removes both invisibility effects.
- If playing the PC version of the game, remove the Shadow Warrior perk using the console command "player.removeperk 00058214". Then use the Shadowcloak of Nocturnal and it will behave normally. Once the effect is finished, restore the perk with "player.addperk 00058214". Doing this once appears to resolve the bug in some cases.
- Similar to the pickpocket bug, wearing equipment with Fortify Sneak enchantment may lower sneaking success when at or near the cap for this skill. **Reported fixed with Patch. Please verify**
- Silent Roll perk, jumping while sneaking and sprinting may execute a Silent Roll. It has been confirmed that even without the
- Similarly, holding sprint button may execute a silent roll when a weapon is sheathed or drawn. This can also be executed when switching spells.
- Silent Roll perk, one can go into third-person mode and hold sprint, allowing continuous rolling as long as desired (or until out of stamina). With the
- Leaving stealth mode (even several rooms away from anyone) and then stealing something, may result in a Bounty.
- With a one-handed weapon equipped in the right hand, and then sneaking and running, unsheathe the weapon and continue to move, may allow moving at the same speed as if not sneaking.
- Most spouses will always be able to see the player when sneaking. The only spouses that seem to not be able to are Housecarls and Companions.
- With the Light Foot perk there are still some pressure plates that are triggered regardless.
- Executing a Silent Roll while unarmed (fists raised) may result in rolling in place. (Only bugged when in third person, first person still executes the roll normally.)
- With a shield equipped, block and sprint and then release the block may do a silent roll without having the perk.
If a save is made while sneaking and then loaded, it's possible that to be stuck in stealth mode. Actually, one is set as "standing", being stuck between modes, it will not allow switching.
- To resolve this, use any interactable object (Workbench, Mineral vein, Cooking pot, or even a Chair). This will cause the character model to be "reset", and allow switching from one mode to the other.
- Sometimes, when sneaking with a shield, holding it with the Block Runner perk, one will be able to walk at a normal speed while still sneaking.
- When sneak attacking someone who's sleeping with a dagger, the body may disappear in the ground making it unable to loot the body.
|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|