There are multiple options for how to get from point A to point B in Oblivion: walking, running, sneaking, riding a horse, fast travel. This section provides some of the details of how to get around, and some tips for how to do it more efficiently.
Walking and Running
The most basic ways of moving around are walking and running. These two actions are very similar, except for the speed at which you move and how quickly fatigue regenerates.
Note that on the Xbox 360 & PS3, there is no key to toggle between walking and running. Instead, the speed of your movement is controlled by how far forward you press the thumbstick. In third-person view mode, you can see the progression from slow walk to fast walk, then slow run to fast run as you press the thumbstick further.
Sneak mode can be enabled when either walking or running. Details on sneaking are provided in the section on Sneak.
The factors contributing to your movement speed are (in order of importance):
- The weight of the armor you're currently wearing.
- Having a weapon equipped, and whether that weapon is drawn or sheathed.
- Your Speed attribute.
- Your Athletics skill.
The most obvious way to improve your speed is to increase your Speed attribute, but that takes a long time and requires huge increases to have any noticeable benefit. Sheathe your weapon if you can't keep up with a fleeing enemy; unequip your weapon to go even faster. Special moves to go even faster are described below. You can also utilize Fortify Speed enchantments on armor for a permanent increase when wearing the armor, or use potions for a more temporary increase. Skooma is ideal for this.
Carrying Lots of Items
Feather can be obtained in many ways, with varying strengths and durations:
- Enchanted items, such as rings. These are available as random loot, can be created at the Arcane University, or can be created from a Sigil Stone. This provides a constant effect, but the magnitude of the Feather spell is relatively small (25 points to maximum 125 points with a transcendent sigil stone)
- Potions. Premade Feather potions range in strength from 25 to 100 points. Even stronger potions can be made at high levels (>200 points). Up to four potions can be drunk at once.
- Spells. The spells that can be bought are Ease Burden, Lighten Load, Pack Mule, and Beast of Burden. Custom spells can also be created. Note that if your custom spells have different names, they can be cast simultaneously, allowing an additional 500 points or more to be carried. See Human Freight Train example on Useful Spells page for details. (However, the maximum duration of custom Feather spells is only 120 seconds, less than the for-purchase spells).
One glitch you may encounter when using Feather spells and potions is that they may only work properly if you are already over-encumbered. If you are not over-encumbered, the magnitude of the spell or potion can be less than expected, even zero. So pick up all the loot you want to carry and then cast your spells and drink your potions.
- Note: This is because Feather removes encumbrance, rather than directly increasing carrying capacity, although the user interface does not make this obvious. For example, if you are carrying 200 pounds of loot and equip two rings of 125pts of feather, the first ring will have the full 125pts of feather, while the second ring will only provide the number of pounds of encumbrance that it can remove, that is 75pts, bringing your encumbrance to zero. If you pick up 50 more pounds of loot, you can unequip and re-equip the second ring to get that additional 50pts of feather. Also note that your carrying capacity will now remain boosted by 250pts until you remove the rings. Another example, if you are carrying 300 pounds of loot and equip the above rings both rings will provide the full 125pts each, but the user interface will still show you having 300 pounds of encumbrance, yet your max encumbrance will show that you have an additional 250pts of carrying capacity. It is strange and not intuitive until you understand how feather works.
Moving Lots of Items with your Horse
- While riding your Horse, position it so you can activate the container and open the inventory list.
- Then transfer anything you want to your personal inventory. Move as much as you want, you don't need to be worried about being over-encumbered.
- Then travel to your destination. You will not be able to fast travel and your horse will be unable to jump. Also, don't get off your horse because you will immediately be over-encumbered.
- At your destination, while still riding your horse, transfer the items into another container. If you dismount, you will have to drop enough items on the ground to un-encumber yourself. Setting up a Non-Traditional Container or locating a Traditional Container at your destination, before you make the trip, is advisable.
Most games have their special or not-quite-intended moves that allow you to perform actions not possible normally - rocket-jumping, strafe-running, bunny-hopping, grenade-jumping... So does Oblivion.
- Goron roll - If you have Acrobatics at Journeyman (50) level, you gain the "dodge" ability - hold block, direction and press jump and you will quickly roll in that direction. While mostly useless in combat, "dodge forward" allows you to travel faster than most horses if used repeatedly.
- Paintbrush climbing - Due to a glitch in the game, paintbrushes fail to fall to the floor and remain levitating in air when you drop them from your inventory. You can build stairs of them and climb them to reach hard to reach places. You can also try using some of the stone bricks from Vilverin. They are larger and easier to climb on than paintbrushes, though they are heavier.
- Stair jump - Jump off the last step of stairs or other similar climbing slope while running. With the right timing and some luck you will jump at least twice as far as normally
- Cheap Raft - use the item duplication glitch to fill a pool of water with items that float on the surface (scrolls, clothes). You can walk on them and won't sink. A simpler and less time consuming alternative is to simply cast water walking spells.
- Body Surfing - Kill a creature (the larger the better) push it into the water so it floats. Then jump on it and use your grab key to pull it in front of you while walking slowly. Free water walking, however, a simpler and less time consuming alternative is to simply cast water walking spells.
- Mountain Riding - The slope too steep to climb on foot? Take the horse, no problem climbing very steep slopes on horseback. You can even climb almost vertical slopes by wiggling your horse back and forth, going at an angle up the mountain. Eventually you'll reach the top.
- Zorro Extreme - If you plan a crazy stunt involving falling from great heights, leave the horse where you plan to land. No matter how far you fall, if you get to "activate" the horse before hitting the ground (still midair), you will just get on its back as if nothing happened, no damage applied.
- Quake-alike jumps - You may jump constantly by pressing and holding forward (any direction) and hitting the jump button. This helps getting up some slopes quite quickly.
You can see the locations to which you can fast travel on your world map: clicking on the white icons with a dark background moves you instantly to that location; it's almost too convenient a way to skip between locations. Except for all of the major cities, you will have to "discover" or go normally to each location before you can fast travel to it; dark icons on a light background have been acquired by speaking to NPCs or are triggered by quests, and need to be visited in person before becoming available for fast travel. Contrary to the belief of many, you do not need a horse to fast travel: it is a feature of the game, not of the horse.
Fast Travel moves the character from one location to another as fast as it takes the new location to load; there are no encounters along the way. So it is definitely fast in terms of playing time. As for the speed with which your character travels, and therefore travel time, well...your results may vary. Probably will vary. Probably, from one set of starting point/destination to another. However, there are a few ways to ensure that your travel speed is as fast as possible.
Although Fast Travel is instant from your perspective, the game clock is adjusted by an "estimated" travel time. The estimate is based on the speed of your horse only if you are mounted at the time - merely owning a horse is not enough. This means that fast-traveling from inside a city, where you cannot be mounted, is normally much slower than traveling from the outside world. Otherwise it is based on your own Active Speed, which means it is affected by your Equipment Weight, and even by whether or not you are in Sneak mode; having a weapon drawn also slows your regular movement and therefore fast travel.
You can not fast travel while over-encumbered; see the previous section for ways of overcoming this problem. However, if you have a temporary boost to your carrying capacity via a spell or potion, you can fast travel to any location, even if the spell/potion effect has only a few seconds before it expires. Of course once you reach your destination you will be over-encumbered again.
Fast Travel journeys that take an hour or more of game time will restore you to full health.
Using Fast Travel while on foot can cause your horse to wander off from its last known position, if you use it too many times without being mounted. Your horse will attempt to make its way (very slowly) back to the stable where you'd acquired it. To keep this from happening, never fast travel more than 2 or 3 times without locating your horse and mounting up first. When you fast travel, mounted, to the gate of a city or town, the horse will be moved to the stables nearby. After conducting you business in the city, you can then fast travel to the city stables and your horse will be waiting there for you. If you wish to travel on foot for a while and don't want your horse to wander off, leave it at the stable where you'd acquired it then set out on foot.
Alternatives to Fast Travel
Walking has lots of benefits—you can easily fight enemies, pick ingredients, walk down steep slopes safer, jump higher, sneak, swim quite fast, train your skills while walking. Using the "goron roll" it's not slower than plain horseback riding either.
Unfortunately, horseback riding is not as advantageous a feature as one might imagine. While there are some minor perks (e.g., Shadowmere fighting for you, traveling while over encumbered after a feather effect expires, navigating steep terrain more easily), speed is the chief advantage of riding horseback. Speed can be improved even further with fortify speed spells. Horseback riding has lots of drawbacks - you can't fight, gathering ingredients is difficult, the horse gets easily hurt from falling, you can't sneak, you get stuck at some bridges, swimming is very slow, and if you accidentally hit the horse you're sometimes expelled from guilds. Still, with a good horse and good spells, you can simply ignore most enemies, ride right through Oblivion gates and reach your target without a fight. The following pointers should help make riding horseback a more pleasant experience:
Besides the mapped huge bridge west from Imperial City and the unmapped small wooden bridge north from it, there are two fords: places with water shallow enough to pass on horseback or running without swimming. One that is south of Arcane University, by Fatback Cave, is easy to spot with lots of rocks sticking out of water. Another ford, slightly harder to spot, is located near Sideways Cave. If you want to get from the eastern side to the western side of Leyawiin, don't go right along the wall, but aim more towards the Coast Guard building - the water there is more shallow.
You might hear rumors saying "By The Nine, stay on the road; the wilderness just isn't safe". On the contrary, the roads are packed with monsters, plus make lots of unnecessary turns and climb slopes just steep enough to make your horse hurt from the fall. Learn safe shortcuts through the wilderness if you don't like/can't fast-travel:
- Imperial City - Anvil
- Go through Weye, or take the ford south of the Arcane University (by Fatback Cave) or (preferably) waterwalk the horse straight west from Waterfront, south of Clavicus Vile's shrine (even if going from Weye), cross the Gold road south of Ceyatatar and staying off the road, on the slopes, head straight west, towards Shadeleaf Copse. Once past Derelict Mine you can turn south to Skingrad or continue west, aiming north of Kvatch. Watch out for bears by Shardrock, best pass it through the northern mountain slope. You can stay for a night in Shetcombe farm or pay a visit to Kvatch if you want, or continue west, through the wide valley, gradually turning south till you reach Lord Drad's Estate or road to it. Cut the corner with crossroads to avoid a bandit and take the remainder of road to Anvil.
- Imperial City - Bravil
- Take the ford south of the Arcane University, continue through the grassy shores of the Upper Niben and Niben Bay to safely arrive at Bravil.
- Bravil - Leyawiin
- Unfortunately there seems to be no decent land shortcut from Bravil to Leyawiin. The best bet is to waterwalk the horse first to Bawnwatch Camp, then across the river from the vicinity of Fort Irony (try landing on the southern end of Panther's Mouth). The eastern shore of the Lower Niben is safe though not really riding-friendly, so the best road is right along the middle of Niben, waterwalking with a maximum duration waterwalk spell and stopping on small islands to recast it. Also remember, you're always welcome in Border Watch, awfully bumpy but mostly safe route.
- Imperial City - Cheydinhal
- Starting near the Market District, go around the prison and through the ford slightly south of prison sewers. Even if you land straight at the start of the Blue Road, don't take it; turn southeast and, going through the plains, pass between the Ayleid ruins and the lake north of them or just north of the lake. As the plains end, the terrain gets more difficult, you may want to return to the road.
- Imperial City - Bruma
- Use the bridge in the NNW part of the Imperial City isle, straight uphill towards Glademist Cave, then along Orange Road till you cross a wooden bridge. A short while later there's a turn towards Applewatch and an easy, convenient road to Bruma North gate. You may want a more traditional route back though, as the horse is far worse at running down steep slopes than climbing them.
- Imperial City - Chorrol
- Start straight west from Weye, pass Fort Nikel and Fort Ash south to avoid some unpleasant encounters, get back on the road by Odil's Farm.
- Chorrol - Bruma
- Orange road, turn after a wooden bridge and cut the end loop through Applewatch. There's a more interesting, though definitely not safer road through Sancre Tor and near Echo Cave - keep going north where Yellow Road turns east from Chorrol.
- Chorrol - Skingrad/Anvil
- Ride southeast, down the slope north of Wendir, then south, passing Weatherleah by west. To reach Skingrad turn a bit east, nearing Brindle Home. Soon you will reach the friendly plains north of Skingrad. Alternatively turn west along the valley of Imperial Reserve, annoy bandits at Brotch Camp and land north of Kvatch on the traditional Anvil-Imperial City shortcut.
- Bravil - Skingrad
- Starting from Faregyl Inn won't do much good. Just go west from Bravil and stay far south from all the civilization, gradually turning north passing through the slopes near Silorn.
- Cheydinhal - Bruma
- Either take the official road or turn north near Roland Jenseric's cabin and improvise up the slopes till you reach the road to Bruma. The road through Desolate Mine, Hidden Camp, north of Gnoll Mountain and through Dragon Claw while extremely interesting, is also extremely dangerous.
- Cheydinhal - Leyawiin
- Obviously, cut the corner through the plains. Don't take the Yellow road, it's horrible. Cross the bridge across Upper Niben and head to Bravil along the shore. Even the problems of Bravil-Leyawiin land road are well worth it. Or, if you can - see below.
- Great Rivers
- The Great Rivers in Niben Basin are the safest, most comfortable, fastest highways in all of Cyrodiil once you make the Journeyman level (130+ sec) water walking on touch spell. From Cheydinhal through Harlun's Watch, carefully down to the Reed River and then down all the way to Leyawiin or Bravil. From Bravil to Cheydinhal with a stop in Waterfront. Safe, fast and flattest roads you can find.
- Through Elsweyr
- If you get the "borderless Cyrodiil" mod, Bravil/Leyawiin - Skingrad/Anvil routes become a pure pleasure (for PC users, this can be achieved by changing the values of the Borders .ini file; see Ini Settings).
- Bruma - Any city
- If you have the Frostcrag Spire Plug-in, you can easily travel from Bruma to any Mages Guild (excluding Kvatch) by using the teleport pads.
Mentioned here only because it exists, though not really useful. Some Oblivion gates lead to planes containing two exit gates. If instead of attacking the citadel, you exit the other gate, you land at another Oblivion gate in some distant part of Cyrodiil. This way you can cover vast distances on foot in matter of minutes. The drawbacks are crowds of Daedra, the fact that you never know which gate leads to a plane with another exit gate, and if it does, you have no idea where the other gate leads to.
If you travel through water that is more than waist deep you will automatically start to swim. As long as you stay at the surface, breathing is not a problem. When underwater, a blue bar will appear showing how much air you have left. Water breathing spells, enchantments, and potions can increase the amount of time you can spend underwater. Water walking is also available via spells, enchantments, and potions. As opposed to Morrowind, waters in Cyrodiil are mostly safe and swimming may be often preferred to walking, especially that it's not slower. Few land enemies will follow you into water, your main water opponents are pathetic mudcrabs and weak slaughterfish, and additionally swimming increases your Athletics skill level faster than running.
There are two minor glitches when swimming:
- If you move just slightly below water level, the underwater terrain will be as visible as the above water world.
- You can Wait underwater indefinitely without drowning. While this can be used to replenish health if you're drowning, you will still be drowning when you stop waiting, making this only of minimal use.
Sometimes you will fall into a hole between rocks or other such place where you just can't break free, stuck in the landscape - either jumping too low or unable to jump out. In some cases, the only possible solution is reload your most recent save file. However, there are some tricks that may possibly help you to escape:
- Quit the game, then load it, as soon as it loads start walking or jumping (It may take a couple of attempts).
- If you are outside (on foot or horseback), fast travel to a nearby place.
- If you are in a town, wait for someone to pass by and attack with a weak spell, long sword, or bow. When the guard comes to arrest you, go to jail or pay the fine.
- Sometimes a Paralyze on self spell will allow you to fall out of the space.
- Drop items underneath you, then climb on top of the items and jump off of them:
- On the PC you can use the Console to get unstuck
- Enter the console command
tclto turn off collision/clipping and close the console.
- Move (fly) your character out of the trap to a safe location; leave your character standing a bit above ground so that you are not stuck in the ground.
- Use the same console command,
tclto turn collision back on.
- If you get stuck somewhere while on horseback, you will need to select your horse in the console before using the
tclcommand. One way to do this is to switch to third person view so you can see your horse before opening the console. Then click on your horse in the console.
- Enter the console command