The Sneak skill provides the opportunity to pick pockets and move unseen in the shadows. The skill plays an important part in stealth. While pickpocketing, in addition to taking items, objects can be planted on other people in the same manner one puts items in a container.
- Governing attribute: Agility
- Novice (0–24): Attacks while undetected gain 4x bonus for one-handed weapons/hand to hand or 2x bonus for marksman.
- Apprentice (25–49): Attacks while undetected gain 6x bonus for one-handed weapons/hand to hand or 3x bonus for marksman.
- Journeyman (50–74): The weight of your boots no longer affects your sneaking ability.
- Expert (75–99): No detection penalty for moving while sneaking.
- Master (100): Attacks while undetected ignore the target's armor rating.
- When undetected, melee and ranged attacks do far more damage to opponents. Try to at least start every fight with an undetected ranged attack. If the Sneak skill or Chameleon effect is high enough, and if the foe's own skill is low enough, they might still not detect the Hero if they back up a bit (even when running towards the Hero, they often still cannot see them). With a decent Marksman level, most humanoids go down in three undetected shots.
- An attack with a short sword whilst undetected does even more damage. Try to sneak up into a dark corner behind the opponent and either go for it, or wait for them to come to the Hero (this may take a while). Also, a power attack does the same amount of damage, so refrain from using it in stealth. Something to try is to force the opponent against the wall so they cannot see the Hero, or takes longer to do, but it will make the kill much easier.
- Also, it is worth waiting to see if any opponents standing close together will eventually spread out. If one can hear them talking to them, one can be almost assured that they will split after their short conversation and enable the Hero to kill them separately. With a very high Sneak skill, it is possible to maneuver enemies by pushing them from behind (by walking into them), often into favorable positions (e.g. a dark corner). Enemies can be a bit slippery, but this can be very useful in applying the above strategy of melee sneak attacking that avoid detection.
Tips for sneakingEdit
The most important rule to remember is:
- To an extent, the majority of rules that apply to not being seen in real life, apply in Oblivion.
Many environmental factors influence the success of remaining an enigma in the eyes of an enemy:
- The light in the area plays an important factor. Hiding in the shadows is obviously more advisable than standing right underneath a fully-lit chandelier.
- If a stealth mission involves working outside, it is advisable to wait until nightfall when there are fewer citizens about to notice, and more shadow cover.
- If the Hero is unsure whether they can be seen, switch to third-person view and see how clearly they can see oneself. If they blend in relatively well, chances are the NPCs will not be able to see the Hero, even if they walk directly past them. The sneaking eye icon will tell the player if they are hidden.
The clothes one wears can also play an important part in not being seen:
- Whilst the color of the clothes seems to make no difference, some items of clothing are enchanted with a Chameleon spell which can make it harder for enemies to notice the wearer. It is possible to enchant an outfit to turn the wearer fully invisible, once they reach or exceed 100% Chameleon.
- The Ring of Khajiiti offers 35% Chameleon with 10 pts to Speed.
- If the Hero has not reached the rank of Journeyman (skill 50) in Sneak, the weight of boots impacts the effectiveness stealth. Light Armor boots or no boots at all are quieter than Heavy Armor boots.
Movement will also make a difference until the Hero is an Expert (skill 75) in sneak:
- Being stationary, sneaking, walking, running, and jumping all have varying levels of noise.
- Being stationary creates no noise at all and whilst not moving, the Hero is relatively safe from enemies.
- Sneaking and to some extent walking are perfectly safe providing the enemy is looking the other direction.
- Running and jumping will normally cause an enemy to hear the Hero, which will immediately scupper any stealth attempts.
- If the Hero has trouble keeping a slow pace, they can take out a shield/weapon and hold block to maintain a reasonable speed.
- Spellcasting has an impact
- It is imperative to raise an Illusion skill to max and fully benefit from sneaking.
- Casting a spell while nearby another person increases the chances of being noticed.
- Casting a light spell such as Starlight also increases the chances of being noticed.
- Casting Chameleon or Invisibility will make the Hero less noticeable. Invisibility will make the user totally invisible, but wears off when an action is preformed. Chameleon will give the user partial invisibility for the duration of the spell.
- Leveling easily
- Go to the arena spectating stand an simply sneak and back into the corner with auto run on to level up quickly.
- If the Hero has a conjuration spell, summon the creature, enter sneak, and start moving; which is the easiest way other than joining a guild and sneaking while they are asleep.
- Rent a room in an inn with two levels, close the door behind the Hero and start walking towards the wall. If they are close enough to people, the Hero will gain experience and nobody will be able to see them. Better still, on the Dark Brotherhood quest 'The Assassinated Man' when Francois Motierre is in the Chorrol Undercroft lying in the Eastern side after being struck with the Languorwine Blade, he will be in a "sleep like" state. If the Hero sneaks towards the bottom of his feet (perhaps placing a weight on the controller) they can level up to Master of Sneak within a couple of hours. (It is a common misconception that Rufio does not wake, as he does after a certain amount of time; while this may be good for an hour or two, Motierre is the best for leveling Sneak, since he does not wake until one uses the Languorwine Antidote on him.)
- Find a spot around a corner from stationed guards where they cannot see the Hero, and walk against the wall or another object that the Hero cannot pass while sneaking. Find a way to tie down the left joystick and let it go on its own. (One great place to do this is the west gate of Cheydinhal on the north side of the gate (outside of the city). There is a rock right next to the wall that has a little barrier that the Hero cannot walk passed where the guards cannot see.)
- If the Hero is in jail, they can sneak into a corner and just keep moving (possibly weigh the joystick). The stationed guards will still detect the Hero occasionally unless they have high enough sneak.
- Possibly the easiest area is in the tutorial section of the game. After finishing off the goblins and their witch, the nest room leads out to a ledge area where, if jumped down, the Hero will meet up with Uriel Septim and The Blades again. Do not jump down. Stay on that ledge but move further back on it to avoid detection and use a rubber band to pull the move button to between left and forward. The Hero will walk in a diagonal line, so position the camera to an angle. The Hero will gain sneak because the game will not continue until they jump down.
- It is also possible to use the room the game begins in; before the dialogue with Valen Dreth (the Dunmer that informs the Hero that the guards are coming), quickly run to the corner near the jail cell door where the hanging shackles are and begin to sneak. If the player is fast enough, they will not trigger the opening event and can use the aforementioned rubber band or weight trick to level sneak before the game even begins.
See also: Cheats (Oblivion)#Leveling
- Refer to the Trainers page.
Books that permanently increase the Sneak skillEdit
- Sacred Witness
- The Wolf Queen, v 6
- 2920, vol 08 - Last Seed
- Legend of Krately House
- Purloined Shadows
When the Sneak skill is 70 or higher, NPCs will say "You're a sneaky looking sort." If the Hero is sneaking undetected and becomes detected, the NPC that detected will say "[gasp] Didn't see you there."
Many of the less aware opponents will allow the Hero to get multiple Marksman sneak attacks on them before they discover their position. Close range sneak attacking is considered extremely useful when the Hero has the Expert Armorer perk, the Master Sneak perk, and a Mace. This is because Maces are the most damaging one handed weapons in the game. Using the Mace/Armorer combo, one can accomplish a very powerful sneak attack.