Daggerfall:Leveling and Skills

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In Daggerfall, character development is based on a leveling system that is directly affected by the skills mechanic.



Level is determined by the following equation:

L = floor((S − S0 + 28)/15)
S = the sum of the three Primary Skills, the two highest Major Skills, and the highest Minor Skill
S0 = the value of S at the time of character creation. Note that the skills may be different.

The game will check if you can level up every time your skill improves. Once the level calculated using the equation above is higher than character's current level, you will level up.

In simpler terms, you will gain one level for every 15 points gained in your Primary Skills, two highest Major Skills, and highest Minor Skill, with the exception of your first level-up, which only requires 2 such points gained.

Determining skills for leveling[edit]

It is not necessary for the player to exclusively raise the two Major Skills and the one Minor Skill with the highest values as of character creation.

As an example, a character may have the following Major Skills right at the beginning of the game:

The game thus initially expects the player to raise the Archery and Axe skills to calculate the level-up. However, in the instance that the Stealth skill value becomes higher than the Axe skill value, the Stealth skill will replace the Axe skill for the purposes of the level-up formula, such that the game will subsequently use Archery and Stealth as the two highest Major Skills in the formula instead. The highest Minor Skill used in the formula is determined in the same way.

Leveling Rewards[edit]

The following is awarded each time a character gains a level:

  • 4 to 6 Attribute points
  • Increased maximum Hit Points, ranging from half of the class's Hit Point roll to its full value, plus or minus its Endurance modifier

For example, a character with a Hit Point roll of 10 and an Endurance of 60 will gain 6 to 11 Hit Points.

Maximum Level Cap[edit]

Based on the average values for starting skills, the typical maximum level for a player who does not use exploits to bypass skill caps will be 29 or 30.

If you are extremely patient and plan very carefully, you can achieve a maximum level of 32. In order to do so, you must restart the process of character creation repeatedly in order to reroll your skill values until all of your Primary, Major, and Minor skills start at or very close to their minimum possible values of 28, 18, and 13, respectively; then distribute your bonus skill points evenly across your Major and Minor skills to keep their totals low. Reroll until your final resulting S0 value reaches 148 or lower (with the minimum natural S0 value being 144). You should then raise all of your Primary, two of your Major, and one of your Minor skills to 100 during gameplay. Under normal circumstances, when a Primary skill reaches 100, no other skills may be leveled above 95. With care, you can increase every non-Primary skill to 100, the three Primaries to 99, and then finally choose one to reach 100. An exploit also exists which can circumvent this limit, allowing all skills to reach 100. As reaching level 2 only requires two skill level increases, this will result in a final character level of 32.

It is also possible to lower your starting skills further by taking advantage of the unique way that starting values are calculated based on your Background choices. Refer to Character Creation for the exact mechanics. Because some Background choices give only 2 or 3 skill points, they can guarantee that skills "roll" a minimum value, or are even one point lower than normally possible. For example, the question "In between formal study, you spent your time ___" with the answer "practicing acrobatics" will result in +2 to Jumping, Dodging and Running; therefore if you are asked this question while these are among your chosen skills, they will always start one point less than normal (27, 17 or 12). As another example, the question "What motivates you into a life of adventure?" with the answer "Fun" will result in +3 to Etiquette and Streetwise, which means they will always start on the low end of possible scores (28, 18 or 13). This can make achieving a low S0 to reach level 32 much easier.


Skill Mechanics[edit]

All Skills have an individual 6 hour cooldown period (in-game time) that affects when it can be increased again. Skill increases occur after resting, loitering, or fast-travel.

A Skill can be increased in the following ways:

  • Using a skill a certain amount of times
The Skill Advancement for Class setting affects this
The level, or percentage value, of the Skill also affects this. Uses required increase with skill levels that are a multiple of 15 (i.e. when a Skill reaches 15%, 30%, 45%, 60%, 75%, and 90%)
  • Paying a Skill Trainer
When a Skill reaches 51%, this option is no longer available.


Cheap Spells[edit]

The following is a list of the cheapest spells to create in each school. Spell cost may vary depending on character level and proficiency in each school of magic. As noted on the Magic and Spells page, the minimum amount of spell points a spell may consume when cast is 5.

Cheapest spell for each school of magic
School Spell
Alteration Jumping   or   Water Breathing
Destruction Minimal Damage Health Spell
Illusion Light
Mysticism Open
Restoration Heal Fatigue
Thaumaturgy Water Walking

To minimize spell cost, adjust the per level value to look like this:

1-1 + 1-1 per 2 levels

Spells that are x to x+1, where x is an odd number, will cost the same as an x-x spell. This applies to all variable fields. At low levels, this makes very little difference, but at higher levels it can be a significant advantage.

Conserving Spell Points[edit]

Spells and items that Absorb Magic can be used to gain free spell casts.

  1. Access the Mages Guild Spell Maker (must be a member) and create a spell with the Soul Trap or Damage effect as 'area around target' with '1-1 + 1-1 per 2/level' magnitude.
  2. Add two more effects from two other schools of magic.
  3. Cast the spell near a wall or at your feet in order to absorb and regain the spell points used to cast the spell

The resulting spell might look something like these:

  • Example 1
Damage 1-1 + 1-1 per 2 levels (area around target)
Light 1-1 + 1-1 per 2 levels
Free Action 1-1 + 1-1 per 2 levels
  • Example 2
Soul Trap 1-1 + 1-1 per 2 levels (area around target)
Water Walking 1-1 + 1-1 per 2 levels
Water Breathing 1-1 + 1-1 per 2 levels

Creating spells with multiple effects can also be used to increase skills without having to spend spell points. However, this method will only train the skill associated with the first spell effect.

  1. Create a spell with multiple effects, such as:
        Water walking
        Water breathing
        Damage health
  2. Cast the spell, but do not select a target. Spell points will decrease (as Thaumaturgy, Alteration, and Destruction skills are used), but because Damage health awaits a target, the spell is not fully triggered.
  3. Cancel the spell (press e). This returns all spell points since the entire spell was not fully cast.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 indefinitely (pressing q to quick-cast the last spell cast).
  5. Rest.

Skill Trainers[edit]

The following is a list of guilds that have skill trainers associated with each specific skill.

Skill Guilds Where Skill can be Trained
Alteration Mages, Akatosh, Julianos
Archery Fighters, Kynareth, Mara, Akatosh, Dark Brotherhood
Axe Fighters, Arkay, Stendarr
Backstabbing Arkay, Thieves, Dark Brotherhood
Blunt Weapon Fighters, Stendarr, Thieves, Zenithar
Centaurian Zenithar
Climbing Kynareth, Arkay, Thieves, Dark Brotherhood
Critical Strike Stendarr, Fighters, Mara, Arkay, Dark Brotherhood, Julianos
Daedric Dibella, Mages, Kynareth, Stendarr, Akatosh, Mara, Dark Brotherhood, Zenithar, Julianos
Destruction Kynareth, Mages, Akatosh, Arkay, Dark Brotherhood
Dodging Kynareth, Stendarr, Thieves, Dark Brotherhood
Dragonish Akatosh, Mages, Kynareth
Etiquette Dibella, Mara, Zenithar
Giantish Fighters, Zenithar
Hand-to-Hand (none)
Harpy Dibella, Mages, Mara, Kynareth, Zenithar
Illusion Kynareth, Mages, Dibella, Mara
Impish Mages, Julianos
Jumping Fighters, Thieves
Lockpicking Dibella, Thieves, Julianos
Long Blade Dibella, Akatosh, Fighters
Medical Arkay, Mara, Stendarr
Mercantile Zenithar, Julianos
Mysticism Mages, Julianos
Nymph Dibella, Mara
Orcish Stendarr, Dibella, Fighters, Mages, Zenithar
Pickpocket Thieves, Zenithar
Restoration Dibella, Mages, Stendarr, Arkay, Mara
Running Akatosh, Fighters, Kynareth, Dark Brotherhood
Short Blade Fighters, Arkay, Thieves, Dark Brotherhood, Julianos
Spriggan Stendarr, Mages, Zenithar
Stealth Kynareth, Akatosh, Thieves, Dark Brotherhood
Streetwise Dibella, Mara, Thieves, Dark Brotherhood, Zenithar
Swimming Fighters, Akatosh, Thieves, Dark Brotherhood
Thaumaturgy Mages, Zenithar, Julianos


  • Save before resting and leveling up. Reload if less than 6 bonus points and/or maximum HP/level are awarded. This maximizes the benefits of leveling to get the most out of a character.
  • The larger the range of possible HP/level, the less likely it is that both that maximum and the 6 bonus attribute points are gained. The attribute points are usually much more important, so how many reloads of that save game are worth the trouble to gain the maximum in both attributes and HP is an issue best left to the player.
  • Practice skills everywhere. Run in towns, sneak in dungeons, climb city walls, deplete spell points before resting, etc.
  • Create low-cost practice spells. Casting a Restoration spell with a cost of 5 will increase the Restoration skill by the same amount as casting a Restoration spell with a cost of 50.
  • Take advantage of Skill Trainers in guilds. Each training session is roughly equal to 15 uses of a skill and can increase skills up to 51%. The cost of training is 100 * Character Level, so it is more cost-effective to train at lower levels. Skill Trainers of guilds you aren't a member charge 400 * Character Level instead.
  • Skill Trainers require 9 hours in between using their services. It's possible to train without having to leave the building by loitering. When stamina gets low, use spells or potions to restore it.