Elder Scrolls

Skeleton Key (Skyrim)

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Skeleton Key
TESV Skeleton Key Crop
0.5 WeightIcon
Base Value:
0 GoldIcon
Additional Effects:
Unbreakable Lockpick
Type: Lockpick
FormID: 0003a070
For Skeleton Keys in other games, see Skeleton Key.

The Skeleton Key is an unbreakable lockpick found in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. This artifact is one of the Daedric Prince Nocturnal's most revered artifacts, the other being her cowl.


It can be obtained from Mercer Frey at the end of the Thieves Guild quest Blindsighted. In order to complete the remaining quests for the Guild, the Skeleton Key must be returned in the Twilight Sepulcher.


The Skeleton Key can be used like a regular lockpick and can be kept indefinitely, provided it's never returned to the Twilight Sepulcher. In addition, the Lockpicking skill will still increase when a lock is opened (removed in patch 1.4, back by 1.9). Keeping the key effectively renders the Lockpicking perk Unbreakable entirely obsolete, as well as most of that skill tree.



  • If the Dragonborn serves time in jail, the single lockpick taken with them to jail will be the Skeleton Key.
  • This artifact is how Mercer Frey is able to break into many places with ease, such as Snow Veil Sanctum or Irkngthand.
  • In real life, a skeleton key (or passing key) refers to a key which can open any door, as shown by what  Mercer Frey does with the key.
  • Although the Skeleton Key is a Daedric artifact, possession of it does not count towards the Oblivion Walker achievement since it does not have its own quest. 
  • If the skeleton key is spawned via console command, it does not act like the normal skeleton key, It acts much more like a retextured lockpick that never breaks, which makes the spawned skeleton key lose usefulness. 


Start a Discussion Discussions about Skeleton Key (Skyrim)

  • Skeleton key

    10 messages
    • Yeah, the skeleton key that is spawned via console commands isnt nearly as good as the normal one, since it appears to break but doesnt rea...
    • Most overrated item in game. Just take the time to max out the skill, and then use the same pick for the rest of the game.
  • SCP-005

    3 messages
    • The Skeleton Key appeears in TES Arena and practically all other previous TES games, so it's more likely that the creator of SCP-005 based it...
    • As this very wiki says, Skeleton keys are what is usually know as "master keys". They exist in real life, (Think the key of a janitor, or the ...

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