A skill in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion refers to the Hero's effectiveness in using the skill itself (i.e. points in Armorer lead to improved ability to repair armor), or in using spells associated with that skill (i.e. points in Conjuration improves effectiveness of Conjuration spells). The Hero chooses seven major skills, and the remaining skills are made minor skills. Each skill is governed by an attribute. There are three main categories of skills:
Skills can be raised to a maximum of 100. At certain points of increasing skill level, the Hero is given a rank to demonstrate their expertise. The ranks can't be reached by means that only last a limited time (potions or spells), nor through constant effect items. The ranks are:
- Novice (0-24)
- Apprentice (25-49)
- Journeyman (50-74)
- Expert (75-99)
- Master (100)
Each rank in a particular skill grants a skill perk, which can provide a passive boost to something, provide a new attack or ability, or make the skill more effective. Except for Athletics, Acrobatics and Strength, skills over 100 have no further effects.
Major vs. minor skillsEdit
Major skills are skills which have been selected upon character creation for the Hero to focus in. Seven skills can be chosen of the available twenty-one, and the rest will be minor skills. Major skills will start at 25 instead of 5, and for every 10 major skill increases, the Hero will gain a character level. Major skills increase faster than minor skills. Also they will increase even faster by which specialization the skill is under.
Minor skill are skills that aren't selected as a major skill at character creation, but do not improve at a reduced rate. Minor skills do not contribute to the total amount of skill increases needed for leveling, though they do count towards attribute multipliers when leveling.
There are five ways to increase skills permanently*:
- Using the skill repeatedly.
- Reading books that increase the skill.
- Paying trainers to increase the skill.
- As a quest reward.
- Other special means (such as watching the two people fight outside the Arena for a while).
And three ways to increase skills temporarily:
- Potions that increase the skill for a limited length of time.
- Spells that increase the skill for a limited length of time.
- Constant effect items that increase the skill as long as they are equipped.
*Going to jail may lower skills (even if they are at 100), and they may be raised again afterwards through the above-listed means.