Elder Scrolls

Skeleton Key (Oblivion)

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For other uses, see Skeleton Key.
"The merchants of Cyrodiil would sleep more soundly, knowing this Key is gone from the world. But why tell them?"
―Martin Septim[src]

Skeleton Key quote

The Skeleton Key is an unbreakable lockpick and Daedric Artifact in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.


The Skeleton Key is a reusable lockpick which also improves the Hero's Security skill by 40. The enchantment is constant as long the Skeleton Key is in the inventory.

This artifact virtually eliminates the need to raise the Security skill, as one can simply auto-attempt until the lock is picked, although skill-ups are still possible with the key.



The Skeleton Key is rewarded to the Hero after completing Nocturnal's quest, received from speaking to her at the Shrine of Nocturnal. The Hero must be at least level 10 to activate this quest.


  • Though the Skeleton Key is unbreakable, it is wise to keep a few lockpicks on hand in case the Hero is arrested. The Key is not counted as a lockpick and will be removed if he or she is put in jail.
  • See "Discussion" page for the advantages of dropping/picking up the Key for leveling prior to level 60. Also detail on leveling with the Key beyond level 60.
    • The Security bonus increases the Security score on the Skills page, but does not turn it a green color (unlike typical fortify effects). While in possession of the artifact, the game treats the player's Security skill as if it was 40 points higher than its actual base value (so, a player with 35 Security who carries the Key will be considered level 75, and an Expert), instead of considering it a standard enchantment. This affects a range of mechanics, notably the experience required to level.
    • Although the skeleton key does not behave like a typical Fortify Skill effect, having the key in one's possession does allow access to all "Fortify Skill" options while using an Altar of Spellmaking.
  • If the duplication glitch is used with the Skeleton Key, the duplicates do not work; if one has a duplicated Skeleton Key, and no other lockpicks or the original Key, the game will say they have no lockpicks.
  • Unbreakable, the Key eliminates the disadvantage that low Security level poses to thrifty players: breaking picks. This makes it a good fit with a Drain Security On Self spell and Auto Attempt.
  • The "Security Training" dialogue option will appear and the quest can be completed at Security 30 instead of 70.


This section contains bugs related to Skeleton Key (Oblivion). Before adding a bug to this list, consider the following:

  1. Please reload an old save to confirm if the bug is still happening.
  2. If the bug is still occurring, please post the bug report with the appropriate system template  360  / XB1  ,  PS3  / PS4  ,  PC  / MAC  , depending on which platform(s) the bug has been encountered on.
  3. Be descriptive when listing the bug and fixes, but avoid having conversations in the description and/or using first-person-anecdotes: such discussions belong on the appropriate forum board.
  •  PC   360   PS3   It has been reported that if the Hero is carrying the Skeleton Key when it is removed by a quest, such as giving it to Martin to complete the Blood of the Daedra quest, or entering Henantier's Dreamworld, or by Sanguine's Stark Reality spell, they may be left with a +40 bonus to Security. This is true of other quest items as well.
  • The Hero will no longer be allowed to level their Security while using the Skeleton Key once their natural Security level reaches 60 (100 with the Key). Removing it from inventory will allow Security to level normally.


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