Skeleton Key Edit
- I'm assuming that you gave it to Martin. If you did, then you can't get it back. You should've given him something useless. --Michaeldsuarez (Talk) (Deeds) 14:12, 13 June 2009 (UTC)
How does one obtain the skeleton key? --220.127.116.11 08:02, 8 July 2009 (UTC)
Levelling with the Skeleton Key below and beyond Security level 60 Edit
When I played on earlier patches a couple years ago, there was never a time in which you could directly level with the Skeleton Key beyond level 60 in Security.
However you were able to go past 60 with the Skeleton Key with a fairly easy, but round-about procedure. Bethesda's restriction makes a lot of sense, also, and doesn't strike me as a bug. Since the Key fortifies your skill to level 100 at level 60, you essentially already are at the max level, and you can't ordinarily level beyond 100, right? The mention on the "Article" page that the skill bar is not green, but red with the Key active also emphasizes that limitation. Therefore the Key must be taken out of your inventory just before you reach the level mark in security. To be safe, however, save the game before dropping the Key, (just in case it accidentally falls through the floor).
There's also a very good reason to drop the Key before each level before reaching level 60 as well. Why? What is not so obvious is that you get more "success" points toward levelling a skill as your skill level itself goes up. (For anyone who has played a few RPGs, such an arithmetic trick in levelling calculations is actually very common: as level goes up, so do the number of points needed to level, and usu. at a faster rate). Therefore, each success or creditable attempt is worth more at higher levels. So if you are in reality level 20 in security, you will be get maybe (I'm just guessing here) 3 times as much point value toward levelling from using the skill at level 60 with the Skeleton Key (ie. 20+40). So what happens to those extra points when you take the Skeleton Key out of your inventory, dropping your level down to 20 again? The surprising thing is nothing, initially. Unfortunately, the game doesn't credit those extra points automatically. But they're still there, waiting for you to claim them.
You retrieve the extra points you got with the Key by using a normal lockpick to ferry you over the level mark. But there's the rub. If you don't claim those extra points just right, it disappears as if those points didn't exist to begin with.
Every lockpick break will clear those extra points, forever, poof. Every tumbler lift (or whatever the game credits as a learnable event) will automatically "cash out" those extra points which you obtained using the Skeleton Key (at a higher level). Once your real level approachs level 100, of course, no noticeable difference (except incrementally) between "success" points with or without the Skeleton Key will be seen. So at higher levels you only would level once per level with the Key. The main reason to continue levelling with the Skeleton Key after level 60 is simply convenience: no breakage.
Those "extra points" you get at the buffed level with the Key are why dropping the Key before levelling is a good idea even at levels below 60. If you drop the Key prior to levelling, even before level 60, you will rise in skill faster because you are distributing level x+40 points at level x, which gets more mileage out of them. When I first tried this at a low security level, I recall I could level 2 or 6 times at each level point, just by dropping the Key and vacuuming up the extra points with the normal lockpick, (just raise a tumbler 2-6 times to cash out the points at the lower level. Keep raising them until you stop levelling and the progress bar doesn't move rapidly any more). Had you simply kept the Key in inventory, you would only level once. By taking it out and cashing in the high level points, you get 2-6 levels per level point (if your actual unbuffed level in security is sufficiently low enough).
So in summary: As the red progress bar for your security skill reaches the levelling point, (1) save game, (2) safely drop the Skeleton Key, (3) use a regular lockpick, (4) lift tumblers and don't use auto-attempt (if you might actually succeed) since all the extra points you got at level 60 are now distributed at level 20 from any credit-worthy action in lockpicking, such as lifting tumblers. Of course if you are willing to move onto another lock to continue leveling, go ahead and open it. (5) Pick up the Skeleton Key, use it, and when approaching level again, repeat 1-4.
Breaking the normal lockpick after accumulating all those higher level points, however, clears those extra points forever.
Misc. Notes Edit
I just got the latest Oblivion patches and will re-try this (I haven't played it in three years). However I immediately noticed they have a level restriction now on getting the Skeleton Key, which of course would cut into the value of the Key giving you multiple security levels/level at really low levels, since it's not as likely you'd arrive at level 10 without doing some lockpicking. It still would be useful both for levelling speed and convenience, though, so it doesn't seem too nerfed. But my new character is only level 7 now so I haven't tried the SK with the new patches yet. --Rpger (talk) 00:01, April 29, 2010 (UTC)
Update on Fast Skeleton Key levelingEdit
As of 5-1-2010, (with the latest patch), the fast leveling with the Key still works. The only change I noticed is that it is easier than I remember, since a manual breaking the regular lockpick doesn't seem to clear the extra points, in fact, using auto-attempt with the regular lockpick actually seems to be a faster way to cash in the points instead of something to be avoided. I just tried this starting with level 19 security, having used the Skeleton Key to rack up the points until the progress bar for security was just about to level (nearly 99% of the way). With about 3 auto-attempts, or 5 manual tumbler lifts, my security leveled up 5 times, going from level 19 to level 24. From that I can infer "auto-attempt" must randomly assign 5 tumbler lifts, and credit you with the successful ones based on some weighted formula related to your skill. That is why I could go up 5 levels with just 2 or 3 auto-attempt tries at my level.
That is good. In the time it took to go up one level, I went up 5. Had I kept the Skeleton Key in my inventory, I would have only gone up 1 level.
The degree to which the remaining points overshoots the level mark (at your unbuffed level) will of course be relevant only to that unbuffed level. The only progress bar level that matters is the one that is seen while the Skeleton Key is in inventory.
Just remember, at higher levels an auto-attempt may actually open the lock, so you might
waste a level or two and no longer be able continue to level. Since each successful auto-attempt must represent 5 successful tumbler lifts, on the opening of a lock, all 5 successful lifts will be credited to you and should easily clear/credit out any remaining Skeleton Key points at higher Security levels. However accidentally opening a lock at lower levels with auto-attempt, although unlikely, might clear a level or so which you may have otherwise gotten. So lifting tumblers as a way to cash out the extra points is still better, since you can keep doing it uninterrupted. Of course you could quick map somewhere with another very hard lock, but why waste the time? I also have not tested that whether the extra Skeleton Key points will be preserved as you cross zones.
So it still works, better than I remember.