- 1 Melee Combat Hints
- 2 Useful Items in the Beginning
- 3 Items
- 4 Managing Loot
- 5 Miscellaneous
- 5.1 Identifying Diseased Creatures
- 5.2 Best Effect From Custom Fortify Attribute Constant Effect Items
- 5.3 Restore Strength Effects
- 5.4 Super-strength
- 5.5 Taking Screenshots
- 5.6 Talking to Belligerent NPCs
- 5.7 Tips for the Atronach Birthsign
- 5.8 Move NPCs and Creatures with Command Spells
- 5.9 Changing Loot in Containers
- 6 Simple Training Tricks
- 6.1 Acrobatics Training
- 6.2 Armor Training
- 6.3 Athletics Training
- 6.4 Cheap Training
- 6.5 Create Your Own Master Trainers
- 6.6 Conjuration Training and Looting
- 6.7 Enchant Training
- 6.8 Magic Training
- 6.9 Mercantile Training
- 6.10 Security Training
- 6.11 Sneak Training
- 6.12 Weapons Training
- 6.13 Hoarding Skill Books for Later
- 7 Merchant Tips
This page provides hints related to Morrowind.
- See also:
- Cheats - Various cheats to modify and manipulate your game.
- Containers - Places to find, collect and store items, and how they work.
- Glitches - A list of known glitches that appear in Morrowind.
- Houses - Places to call home in Vvardenfell.
- Making Money - Tips on how to earn a few extra coins on your travels.
- Quest Timing - Suggestions on what quests to do early, and which to save for later.
- Starting Out - A list of hints to help you start your adventures in Vvardenfell on a good note.
Melee Combat Hints
- If you're facing a group or a powerful enemy beyond your level, a few swigs of Sujamma will raise your Strength and the damage you deal. Other drinks are helpful as well, but nothing offers the bang-for-the-buck of Sujamma. Every bottle will increase your strength by 50 points for 1 minute and drinking a lot of them at the same time will increase your strength so much that you can easily kill anyone in just a few hits. You can buy a lot of bottles from Fara in Sadrith Mora or even from the Mudcrab merchant (but they will be more expensive, from him, since you can't use your Disposition or Mercantile to lower the price). They will both have an infinite restock of Sujamma and you just need to close and reopen the exchange window to reset the stock levels.
- Try to isolate enemies when dealing with groups, use the terrain to your advantage, and any superior reach or speed your weapon might have.
- If you're facing a group of melee enemies (enemies that don't use ranged attacks), cast custom spell Levitate 1 pt for 60 secs in 50 ft on target—they will move very slowly and you'll be able to finish them with your spells or ranged weapon.
For a detailed description of mechanics and tactics, see Combat.
Useful Items in the Beginning
Here are a few items that might prove useful in the early game:
- Ring of the Wind: +30 Agility, constant effect
- Mentor's Ring: +10 Intelligence, +10 Willpower, constant effect
- Mara's Blouse: +10% Resist Magicka, constant effect
- Boots of Blinding Speed: +200 Speed, Blind 100% on Self, constant effect
- Fists of Randagulf: +20 Strength, +20 Agility, constant effect
- Amulet of Shadows: Chameleon 80% for 60 secs on Self, on use
Fists of Randagulf can be obtained during the Main Quest, but you can always get inside, steal the artifact, and get out.
Hints that don't fit into a particular section.
Boots of Blinding Speed
If you drink a potion of magic resistance or use other means to get Resist Magicka and then immediately put on the Boots of Blinding Speed, you will not be blinded but will retain the speed effect until you take the boots off. A spell or enchanted item with 100% Resist Magicka for 2 sec on Self works well. For a higher degree of usefulness, use the boots with the Cuirass of the Savior's Hide. Also, Bretons have a Resist Magicka 50% bonus, so they don't get completely blinded.
Daedric Dai-katana and Azura's Star in the Beginning
Right after getting yourself a decent weapon, head to Caldera and then leave the town from the north to get Boots of Blinding Speed (optional, but will help you getting the next required item). Next, go to Gnisis and head north, to get the Amulet of Shadows. Focus your attacks on Tavynu Tedran, make use of your potions, spells and skills and you'll eventually kill her. Also, using the Ring of Aversion or a Potion of Invisibility to perform a stealth attack (from directly behind and in Sneak mode is advised); if successful, your first strike will cause considerable extra damage.
Next, head to Dren Plantation and go to the place where Llaro Llethri is located. Use the amulet; this will likely make you invisible to Llaro Llethri (you can ensure it by using an additional Chameleon spell or item) and therefore he won't be able to attack you while the effect lasts. Kill him to get his Daedric Dai-katana. You can use Chameleon (or Invisibility if you didn't get the amulet) and Sneak, to get an extra-damage first strike on him, too. Looting the sacks and opening the chests using the key on him will get you some nice loot.
After getting the Daedric Dai-katana, head to Azura's Shrine to start the Azura's Star quest. Head to the island and climb the hill east of the priestess' shack, without getting close to any of the Daedra. Use the amulet and approach Staada, preferably starting the battle with a sneak attack. She likely won't see you because of your 80% Chameleon, so it should be an easy kill. Grab the ring from her corpse and go back to Azura. You may also wish to Soul Trap her toward the end of this fight; her soul value is the same as that of a regular Golden Saint, but will be displayed as "Staada" on the Grand Soul Gem if successful.
Finding Odd, Unique Items
If you come across an item that has a name you've never seen before, there is a chance the item may be used in a later quest. Some quests in the game require you to acquire a particular item. If you have already acquired that item, usually by visiting the dungeon where it is located before you did its related quest, then there is a pretty good chance you have also sold it or otherwise gotten rid of it. It is wise to store such possible quest items somewhere for later instead.
Such quest items usually have special names and little value. You can then check the article on the item you've just obtained to see whether it is related to a quest, or you can search the Quest Items page to see if the item is listed there.
Moving Lots of Loot
Even if you can't move due to being overencumbered, you can still use teleportation spells like Almsivi Intervention, Divine Intervention, and Mark/Recall. This can be used to transfer large amounts of loot to a nearby town in one quick trip. It is especially useful to use Mark near a permanent corpse, such as Ralen Hlaalo, as this will allow you to drop as much as you need to in one place and be sure that it won't disappear.
One of the biggest problems for the advanced player is the limits on container space. Each container can only hold around 100 pounds, so you will need quite a few to store all of your items. The Dunmer strongholds help, but they're not close to Mages Guild rapid transit (unless you install the Master Index plugin) or Silt Strider stations. This can be circumvented by not using containers, but by using bodies that do not disappear. There are two of them in Balmora: Ralen Hlaalo in Hlaalo Manor and Balyn Omavel after Mephala's quest, and many others throughout the game, including numerous skeletal remains, dead adventurers, and even the tax collector in Seyda Neen.
For a complete list, see Permanent Corpses.
Identifying Diseased Creatures
Contracting a disease can often be very irritating, especially in the early game or if you are far from a settlement and lack the means to cure it. However, in a small number of cases (usually mudcrabs), it is easy to tell whether a creature you have encountered is diseased. Since diseases affect creatures in the same ways they affect you, some diseases will lower a creature's Strength attribute to the point at which they are over-encumbered and cannot move. This is easy to differentiate from a creature which has become stuck on a piece of terrain. A stuck creature will appear to run on the spot, whereas a diseased creature will turn to face you but remain standing where it is. If you are in a situation in which you cannot risk catching a disease, make sure to stay away from any creatures which are rooted to the spot.
Best Effect From Custom Fortify Attribute Constant Effect Items
To get the most effect from your homemade constant effect Fortify Attribute items, set the enchantment's minimum magnitude to one and maximum magnitude as high as the item to be enchanted will allow. When the newly enchanted item is equipped, the magnitude of the fortify attribute spell effect will be a random value between one and the maximum magnitude. Unequipping and reequipping the item will roll a different fortify attribute spell effect value. Do this until you get a spell effect value close to the maximum magnitude of the enchantment. Note that due to a glitch, the spell effect value can never equal the maximum enchantment magnitude.
Restore Strength Effects
The Greater Bonewalker, a creature you will frequently encounter in ancestral tombs and as a summon of hostile sorcerers, has a nasty spell which damages your Strength. This spell will often leave you over-encumbered, especially if your encumbrance was near your limit before you started fighting. Unlike Drain or Burden, Damage effects do not wear off after a certain amount of time, so you will be stuck with a reduced Strength, and hence a reduced carrying capacity, until you find some means to restore it. Restore Strength potions can be bought from many alchemists, although you may prefer a spell or enchantment so you don't have to worry about carrying potions around. Whichever option you prefer, make sure you have some means of restoring your Strength when you go out adventuring, or you may find yourself unable to bring your loot back, or even being forced to drop some of your items on the ground in order to move again after (even while!) fighting a Greater Bonewalker.
After contracting Corprus disease, find a bed or some other place to use Rest. Set the time for 24 hours, and you will get a message saying "Your case of Corprus has worsened". Repeat this several times to raise your Strength and Endurance as much as you desire, at the temporary cost of other stats. This increase is permanent, although since it does not affect your base attribute values, any Damage Strength or Damage Endurance effects cannot be rectified by Restore spells. Be careful: high Strength causes more rapid weapon degradation. At seriously boosted Strength, you can break your own weapon in a couple of hits.
In order to enable the taking of screenshots within the game, you will have to open up the Morrowind.ini file with any text editor and change the line
Screen Shot Enable=0 to
Screen Shot Enable=1.
Then, once in the game, simply press the Print Screen key to save a BMP image in the Morrowind directory. Screenshots are not overwritten between game sessions.
This config file step is not needed with OpenMW. Also, it uses the F12 key to take the screenshot, in JPEG format, and saves in the openmw directory (it does not modify the original Morrowind directory for anything).
Talking to Belligerent NPCs
There are some NPCs who will refuse to talk to you. They will immediately end the conversation with their greeting, making it impossible to talk to them. This is a problem if you need to taunt them into attacking you so that you can kill them without incurring a bounty, or if they have special dialogues or training (such as Ash Zombies or Qorwynn). Remove all your armor and clothing or turn invisible, then initiate conversation. This will not work on Argonians or Khajiits, nor on some other NPCs, notably in the expansions.
Tips for the Atronach Birthsign
There are several ways to easily refill Magicka besides alchemy. These include:
- Shrines offering Almsivi Restoration, or Imperial Cult altars offering Restore Attributes. These can refill your Magicka completely with 1–2 blessings, and a cheap Almsivi or Divine Intervention can take you there instantly.
- Summon Ancestral Ghost for twenty seconds, as a custom-made. If you hit your summon a few times bare-handed, he will start to attack you with spells that refill your Magicka. This should only cost 6 points to cast.
- In the same vein: pick a fight with a Scrib. It's unlikely to do you much harm, and every time it tries and fails to paralyze you, your Magicka is restored a bit. This alternative is comparatively slow, as the Scrib's paralyze will only restore about 8 points of Magicka, while a 20 second Ancestral Ghost might restore 40 to over 100. However, if the ghost only casts one spell before disappearing and you fail to absorb it, or you fail to summon the ghost due to low Conjuration skill, and you run out of Magicka before getting your refill, the Scrib will at least allow you the opportunity for another attempt.
- Acquire Greed and/or the Necromancer's Amulet, which offer a spell absorption of 20% and 25%, respectively. Spell Absorption effects are checked separately and do not simply add together as one check, so in this case you get less than a 95% total chance; it actually results in only 70% total chance.
- Use Sujamma or other boosting drinks (e.g. Mazte, Shein) that have the negative side effect of decreasing Intelligence. These items can be purchased at taverns and clubs at cheap prices. Sujamma is the best for this purpose because it decreases Intelligence by 50 points. Drink the items (2 Sujamma will be enough if Intelligence level is at 100) until your character's Intelligence is temporarily reduced to 0. Wait for the effects of the Sujamma to wear off and your Magicka will be refilled 100%. Easy and cheap.
- Create a custom spell to Drain Intelligence 100 on Self for 1 second (not to be confused with Damage Intelligence).
- The Fortify Intelligence effect may cause Intelligence to fall to zero when the effect wears off.
Move NPCs and Creatures with Command Spells
Want a merchant, enchanter or spellmaker next to your house? Use Command Humanoid to bring them anywhere you'd like (taking them through fast travel works). Command Creature offers a similar functionality, and is automatically available for Bosmer players. This is particularly useful for moving Creeper or the Mudcrab merchant. Command spells can also be used to isolate enemies.
Changing Loot in Containers
If you are trying to find some specific loot, you can make containers reset with new loot. You must save before you take anything from your targeted container or else the contents will not change, but you can stand right beside it for quicker sampling of the new loot. While some chests will have different loot by simply reloading your save, you can force most containers to reset by removing all its items and then loading your save.
Simple Training Tricks
Easy ways to level up, if you're too poor for Trainers or want to earn your stripes.
Very simple. Simply jump everywhere you go and your Acrobatics skill will increase quickly. Jumping while moving up staircases or hillsides will allow for more frequent jumps than along flat terrain. PC players can bind the mouse wheel or other convenient key to jump. However, jumping downhill gives greater bonuses per jump; the skill bonus increases along with the distance fallen. A minimal duration and minimum magnitude levitate spell or similarly minimal Jump spell can, before it wears off, allow a player to achieve just enough height (10-30 feet off the ground, as is safe) to only take a small amount of damage but raise the Acrobatics skill very rapidly. Obviously Alteration is raised, more slowly, at the same time.
Characters with both Acrobatics and Athletics at 100 move faster by jumping than by running.
It is recommended to avoid jumping while running. Jumping prevents you from receiving experience towards Athletics up until several feet of running after you have landed.
A good place to train Acrobatics is Vivec. The outdoor ramps between the floors of the cantons are long enough to do at least 20 jumps when climbing up, and lets you fly a long distance when you jump down it. Simply jump all the way up a ramp, then jump down. Be wary of taking fall damage when your Acrobatics is medium-high, such that you can jump far enough down to hurt yourself; a constant effect Restore Health item will make your work much easier. At higher skill levels of Acrobatics, the ceiling in the Vivec ramp tunnels constricts your jumps down the ramp, slowing the Acrobatics-raising process. Alternative options include the Silt Strider ramp in Ald'ruhn, which is practically the same as Vivec but without the ceiling drawback, as well as the double stairwell in the back of Wolverine Hall in Sadrith Mora. The latter is located one floor below the Fighters Guild and provides a convenient falling height for Acrobatics above about 55 skill, the vertical drop being fine tuned by either running or jumping off the edge. Various hillsides also work well.
Equip the armor type of your choice and find one or more low-damage creatures. Mudcrabs are ideal for this purpose due to their low melee damage (Diseased Mudcrabs and those found on the Bitter Coast have higher damage than others, which have one point melee damage). Allow the creature(s) to attack you but do not retaliate; tweak the difficulty slider, if necessary. If you wear a shield, a successful Block will raise both the block skill and the skill governing the shield's armor type. Otherwise, if you wish to avoid raising the Block skill, omit the shield (you can also look away from your attacker, as the game takes player orientation into account, but you might block the attacks anyway, and it wouldn't work if two enemies were attacking you from different directions). Bear in mind that if you don't wear a shield the game will count the empty shield slot as an unarmored slot, so while your block skill won't be raised, your Unarmored skill will, albeit slowly. If you want to raise neither Block nor Unarmored equip a shield, then equip a two-handed weapon, or a Hand-to-Hand stance (0 key by default). Do not forget to Restore Health as necessary. You can also jump/run in place to increase Acrobatics/Athletics; this will also Drain Stamina, making you easier to hit and thus raise armor skill faster. You can train multiple armor types at once (more slowly) by wearing mixed armor of different classes. Train Hand-to-Hand simultaneously by punching your opponent until knocked down, then let it recover and attack you for a while; repeat. Accelerate the entire process by using multiple enemies, e.g. attracting the attention of multiple Mudcrabs and leading them around slowly to find some more in the area, then standing in the middle of a circle of them.
A good place for a higher-level character to train your Armor skills is Drarayne Thelas' storage in Balmora. If you dont kill the Cave Rats for the Fighters Guild, they will gladly serve you as your free personal master trainers.
If the Cave Rats are dead or bite too hard for you, another option is Foryn Gilnith, if you have not killed him for the Death of a Taxman quest. Being unarmed, he has fairly low damage but a decent attack speed. Even better, there's a door you can use to escape to heal or tune up your armor, and if you leave through it he does not follow you outside, and you can use the door even when knocked down due to Fatigue loss and are close to death. You only gain armor skill when you could possibly take damage, thus only when your Fatigue is depleted and you are on the ground. Auto-run can be used to avoid recovering Fatigue and thus getting back up and slowing skill gains.
Simply find a flat wall in a river (such as the ones in Balmora) and swim into it. Then find a way to continue swimming into the wall, like pressing the Q key.
Use a low-cost, 1 or 2 second Fortify Personality or Charm spell and use it immediately before opening dialogue with a trainer, to get a Disposition boost (ideally to 100) for lower prices. If you have the Fortify Skill effect, just fortify your own Mercantile by 100 for momentarily before activating the trainer. Even training high levels usually costs fewer than 100 gold. You may also create a Drain Skill spell that reduces the skill you are trying to train to zero, in which case the training will cost 1 gold, though this exploit does not work in all versions of the game.
Create Your Own Master Trainers
You must have Fortify Skill. Trainers are set to teach you their three highest skills, up to their own skill level, so all you have to do is fortify anything up to 100 and they will suddenly become master trainers of that skill. Combine this spell with the cheap training trick and you can train any skill up from 5 to 100 at any trainer without spending more than a few thousand gold.
Conjuration Training and Looting
Practicing the Conjuration skill can be very beneficial, not only as a money-maker for starting out but as a way to train other skills. You can Summon as much as you like if you have some Restore Magicka potions. This is a great way to get your combat-related skills up without having to travel too far, and it is less dangerous. If your summon is about to defeat you, you can always summon it again to stop its attacks.
Be sure to try this in controlled locations where important NPCs will not get involved. For efficient use of these summoned creatures, you can always summon them near an unowned bed where no important NPCs are present. You can use up your Magicka and then rest until it is filled back up to repeat the process.
If you get the rare Summon Golden Saint and/or Summon Dremora spells, you can use this to get high-end loot as well. Use an Enchanter to put this spell in an Exquisite Ring (provides for a 43-second summon) charged with the best soul gem you can muster and you can summon several Golden Saints or Dremora Lords in series without Magicka expenditure (or use a cheap soul gem for one, occasional summon). Hover over the Enter key (or whatever you've set the dialog/container activation key to) and press it quickly just after your killing blow lands (usually immediately after doing a Soul Trap, which must come toward the end of the fight with a Golden Saint because she'll Dispel it otherwise). If you're in luck, are close, and time it right, you can loot the corpse of the Saint or Dremora before she disappears or even hits the ground, netting both a shield and a weapon from a GS, which may include the best non-unique variants in the game, or a high-end weapon from the Dremora. This has about a 70% success rate with practice, but will not work if the dying summon falls rapidly straight backwards, or if you have moved away from the victim (or she/he from you) during combat. These summons are not totally immune to Paralysis, so a jinkblade or other means of paralyzing allows even fairly weak characters to use this technique for simultaneous Conjuration training, combat skills training, soul-trapping, and looting.
The Enchant skill is also raised by activating enchanted items. All you have to do is create a few trinkets with high charges yet very weak enchantments (e.g. restore health 1 point for 1 second on self). Simply activate them repeatedly until they are empty and rest or wait to fill them up again.
This is very similar to training magic skills, but much easier and quicker.
Enchant will level 50 times faster, however, if you use soul gems to recharge items. Stock up on Common Soul Gems and fill them up with summoned Ancestor Ghosts and any pest animals you encounter. Pick an item with a large charge capacity that burns its charge very quickly, like the Staff of Magnus. Put the filled soul gems in a quick item slot and use them repeatedly to recharge the item.
Alternatively, if you have acquired Azura's Star, you can enchant a weapon of your choice with Soul Trap, then assign Azura's Star to a quick item slot. Just go out and kill some creatures with your enchanted weapon, trap the soul and use Azura's Star to recharge your weapon. Try it on Slaughterfish; this way you will also be training your weapon skill, Athletics skill by swimming, and maybe even earn a place among the Saints for ridding Vvardenfell of Slaughterfishes, for a time anyway.
To receive experience points for spells, all you must do is successfully cast the spell. That means that you can practice spells over and over again instead of paying for training. Since spells can be cast on the run, it is not necessary to stand in one place to cast repeatedly. Spells can be cast while engaging in many of the activities described on this page.
All spells within a skill will give you the same experience when cast. It is best to train a magic skill by casting the spell with the lowest Magicka cost. The best way to do this is to create custom spells that only cost 1 point of Magicka to cast.
Remember that while you can cast spells on the run, the chance of each cast succeeding is less if your fatigue is low. With the lowest possible starting Willpower of 30, and with a standard Luck level of 40 or above, it takes a level of 62 in any of the spellcasting Magic skills to have a 100% chance of successfully casting a 1-point spell with 0 Fatigue.
Find a nice, cheap, and easy-to-find item, such as a standard potion. Determine the lowest price you can buy the item for from a given NPC without too many "Your offer was refused" messages. Determine the highest price you can sell the item for as well. Buy it from a merchant over and over again and resell it over and over again, always for those prices. It should only take 8-12 interactions to net a level in Mercantile. A more general and less exploit-ish technique is to always conduct transactions with merchants one item at a time and haggle on all of them (except when it would be too tedious to do so, e.g. when buying 100 arrows).
If you use spells and enchanted items to Fortify Mercantile skill to 500 or above, this makes training much easier, because merchants will always accept your offers no matter what. The better the deal you make, the faster the skill levels up. Try purchasing an expensive item for 1 gold, and then selling a cheap item for all of the merchant's gold. Two to three deals like this are usually enough to gain a level in Mercantile. This level of merchant exploitation is widely regarded as a cheat, however, and seriously unbalances the already poor economics in the game. A less absurd approach is a Fortify Mercantile 100 spell (or whatever you can reliably cast), which still requires some haggling and doesn't make merchants out to be insane.
First, make sure you have about 15 to 20 journeyman's lockpicks. Then go to Medila Indaren at the Caldera Mages Guild. Buy Fenrick's Doorjam, a 10 point Lock spell. Now go to any container or any place that has two or more containers reachable from the same spot. If the containers are locked, unlock them first. Finally, lock them with the spell and unlock them with your lockpicks. Repeat the process over and over to train your skill, making sure that nobody sees you if the containers are owned, since unlocking them is a crime even if you locked them.
This method will also raise your Alteration skill quickly, since the spell's base cost is 1 Magicka. A stronger lock spell is useless since the strength of the lock does not affect how much experience you get. Also, making a Lock 1 point spell in spellmaking will allow you to more easily open the lock.
A safe and easy way to train Sneak to 100 is to close yourself into a room with an NPC. Hide behind an obstacle or wait until their back is turned and go into Sneak mode. Get back into the NPC's line of sight and just stand there. To hurry things along, you can walk about or open and close doors, but standing works just as well. As with the training Athletics hint, you can pursue other activities at the same time, if you make use of a weight to hold down the sneak key on PC or a rubber band on Xbox, or just toggle Sneak mode.
Another way, though best used in combination to the above method, is to get into Sneak mode and cast an Invisibility spell repeatedly. You'll find that each cast will put you one or two points (depending on your Luck level) on your character's training progress level bar.
- There is an option on the Xbox console to automatically shut off after a set period of time. If you plan to do this trick for a long time, you must make sure that your Xbox is not set to automatically shut off. To do this, you must access the Xbox options by turning on the system without a disc in the tray. It is off by default.
A third way is to find archers and pickpocket their arrows one at a time. The same works for gold and any other highly stacked items. For convenience, you can give an NPC a sizable bribe and then pickpocket the gold back piece by piece. This method works better if you have the Morrowind Code Patch, which makes pickpocketing easier.
A fourth way is to sneak up to a Cliff Racer, hit it with a weak ranged attack, then wait until it comes up to melee range. The key here is to hold the Sneak button down the entire time (or use toggle Sneak mode) and to never, even for a second, lose the yellow marker that tells you you're currently Sneaking. This means your character must be well away from any NPCs that could see you or other monsters in range. Each successful attempt will net you about 30 points towards your next Sneak stat increase and, given the amount of Cliff Racers in the game, this can make leveling it quite fast.
Consider using low-damage weapons on easier fights (and using a weapon's least effective attack: chop with spears, thrust with axes and blunt weapons, fire bows with only a tap of the trigger). The more hits you land, the more you train. And if you can withstand the damage they inflict, you can even attack Daedra and undead – including ones you summon, though they don't last all that long – with normal weapons that don't affect them, and still receive experience for each hit.
It's also best to keep Strength somewhat low at first to avoid your weapons breaking too quickly for more efficient training.
Boosting your Agility will help you connect a blow. You can also consider healing creatures before they die.
Hoarding Skill Books for Later
This is arguably not an exploit, but a realism improvement. It doesn't make sense that one would instantly gain expertise by glancing at one page in a book for a moment while trying not to get caught stealing. Rather, one would study it at leisure at home and with focus.
By default, the games makes you skill-up "on contact" with a skill book's content. But you don't have to, and can take it for later use, both for when you've tapped out most of the readily available trainers, and to avoid inefficient leveling. Most books with a list value of about 150 septims or higher are skill books. To grab one without triggering it: 1) Enter inventory mode. 2) If the Stats, Magic, or Map window is in the way, between the pointer and the book you want to grab, pick up any inventory item and hold it over the intervening window (other than the inventory one itself), and that menu will go transparent. Drop your item back in your inventory. 3) You can now interact through the barely visible menu with what is in front of you, including grabbing the skill book (with left-click, as if attacking it) without reading it, and just drag it to your inventory. This even works remotely through Telekinesis. If it's not working in your version of the game, move or resize the intervening menu window manually, so you can see the desired book directly while in inventory mode. (Aside: This interaction mode is also used for carefully placing items in the environment, like arranging things on a shelf, including your skill book loot. It's also good for quickly stealing multiple books or other items for lower risk – game time is frozen while the menu is open, so if you got away with stealing the first item you can reach, you can steal all others you can see and reach with impunity while still in inventory view. It can also be used mid-fight to temporarily drop inventory items, out of realtime, if you've been hit with a Drain Strength or a Burden effect and can't otherwise compensate.)
After you've collected skill books and need one, you can identify which do what (if you don't just look that up here) by saving your game, opening a book the normal way, seeing what skill it raises, then reloading your savegame if it's not the one you wanted. This is also a realism improvement, since one would get a sense of what a book is about by skimming it without suddenly learning everything it has to offer "by accident".
Prices and Merchant Disposition
When buying, you will want the merchant's Disposition at 100. However, when selling, having the merchant at 100 doesn't give you the highest price. You can temporarily lower the merchant's Disposition towards you by trying to buy an item for 0 gold. Each rejected offer lowers the Disposition. To reset, simply exit out of the conversation completely and talk with the merchant again. There is no magic value for the highest offered gold, but the higher your Mercantile skill is, the more of an effect the NPC's Disposition has on the prices.[verification needed — This may have been fixed with MCP 2.0] See Mercantile for more details on this bug. In some versions of the game, having a high Mercantile also directly results in better prices when buying but glitched lower prices when selling; see Glitches § Selling-to-merchants Bug for details.
Selling Expensive Items
If the merchant has a lot of stock, buy all of it to increase his or her gold supply, then sell the expensive item. If the merchant still does not have enough gold to buy your expensive item after you buy everything they sell, then buy more of their auto-restocking supplies until they do. After you sell your high-priced item for all the merchant's gold, wait 24 game hours so their money resets, and sell their own stock back to them, and repeat as needed until you've unloaded it all. This can be tedious, and is best done with high-gold merchants who restock expensive items, e.g. Silver Bolts. For merchants with lots of gold and who pay full base value, see Creeper and the Mudcrab merchant. Always keep some expensive items on hand, or at least within a few game-hours distance, so if you buy something expensive from a merchant you can recoup those funds by selling them something pricey that you don't need, while they still have the extra gold (they'll lose it after 24 game hours). If you have lots of loot (or very heavy loot) you can pile it on the floor in front of various merchants and revisit them periodically to sell it off.