General:Differences Between Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim

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This is a page summarizing a large number of significant differences between Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim. More detailed information can be found on the individual games' pages.


Morrowind Oblivion Skyrim
Altars/Shrines Altars require an offering of 0-35 gold pieces to receive a blessing, dependent upon player rank in the shrine's associated faction. Blessings vary from each altar, but you can always be cured of diseases and poisons by using them. Altars can be used for free, though a large number of them require that you have visited a wayshrine for that deity. If your Infamy is greater than your Fame, you cannot use altars, except for some found in the official downloads. Altars can be used for free, but bonuses from multiple altars no longer stack. Furthermore, since Skyrim abandons the "fame/infamy" system of Oblivion, you are not limited in your ability to use altars in this way. Survival Mode requires a payment of gold to receive a blessing from an altar, unless you craft the shrine yourself with the Hearthfire add-on.
Attributes Your race, and to a lesser extent, your class, determine your starting attributes like Strength and Speed. These can be increased on level up. Movement speed is affected by weight, and both OpenMW and Morrowind Code Patch have options to remove this factor. Your race, and to a lesser extent, your class, determine your starting attributes like Strength and Speed. These can be increased on level up. Movement speed is affected by height, not weight. Strength, Speed, and the other six primary attributes from previous games no longer exist—there are only three attributes now: Health, Magicka, and Stamina. All races start with 100 in each attribute, with the exception of High Elves, who start with 150 magicka. Movement speed is affected by height, not weight.
Beast Race Apparel Argonians and Khajiit in Morrowind cannot wear any kind of shoes, boots, or full helmets; helmets which do not obscure the face can still be worn. There are no restrictions on what you may wear based on race.
Birthsigns You choose a birthsign at character creation that gives your character special abilities. This cannot be changed. You choose a birthsign at character creation that gives your character special abilities. This cannot be changed. In addition, you may use a birthsign stone to grant an additional power, similar to the birthsign abilities, which can be changed but you may only have the power of one birthsign stone at a time. Standing stones replace traditional birthsigns and grant corresponding powers, which you may change at any time. With the Aetherial Crown (DG), two powers can be active at once.
Clothing Options You can wear armor and plain clothing at the same time. You cannot wear both armor and plain clothing at the same time. In other words, you can't wear a shirt under a cuirass or pants under greaves.
Container Capacity Most chests and containers can hold no more than 100 lbs. Chests and containers have no storage limit. Most containers have no storage limit; however, there are mannequins, bookshelves, and weapon and shield racks and plaques which can contain a fixed number of items.
Cursed Items Morrowind contains a few cursed items. If you pick up one of these items, it causes a creature to spawn nearby and attack; most frequently this is a powerful Dremora Lord. In Oblivion, the term "cursed items" refers to items that you can reverse-pickpocket onto NPCs and cause damage to them. The term also applies to the Staff of the Everscamp, but technically it is a quest item. In Skyrim, the only cursed item is the Cursed Ring of Hircine, which automatically equips itself and forces you to randomly transform if you are a werewolf.
Discussion Topics Most NPCs have a long list of topics you can speak with them about. However, with the exception of quests and the occasional unique line, they use generic responses filtered by location, race, class, and other factors. There are far fewer topics you may discuss with NPCs, but nearly all NPCs have unique dialogue and a distinct personality.
Diseases There are three types of diseases, requiring three different cures. One of these, corprus, is unique to the main quest. There is only one class of disease, so one type of potion or spell can cure all the diseases you may contract. The exception is Vampirism, which can only be cured through a lengthy quest. You can only contract Vampirism once—if you are cured of it, you can never become a vampire again. There is only one class of disease, so one type of potion can cure all the diseases you may contract. The exceptions are Vampirism and Lycanthropy, the latter of which can only be cured through a lengthy process. You have a limited number of times that you can become a werewolf again after being cured. This is changed with the Dawnguard add-on.(DG) You can become a vampire as often as you want.
Enemy Scaling Different and more powerful variations of enemies appear at higher levels. Creatures of the same type have the same stats regardless of your level. Most enemies will be level-dependent, and will be more powerful when you are a higher level. Different and more powerful variations of enemies appear at higher levels. Most enemies will be level-dependent, and will be more powerful when you are a higher level. Most enemies have a level range, restricting their leveling to minimum and maximum levels.
Fatigue Running and jumping drain your Fatigue. Low fatigue lowers your chances of successfully accomplishing any task that requires a roll (hitting enemies in combat, casting spells, persuasion, etc). Your fatigue no longer drains while you are running. Running only slows the rate at which fatigue regenerates. Fatigue also no longer influences the effectiveness of spellcasting, etc. Jumping, running, and standard attacks will not drain your Stamina, but sprinting, using power attacks, and blocking will. Your Stamina has no effect on spellcasting or combat chances. FatigueCC is a separate attribute added by Survival Mode and relates to the amount of sleep your character needs while that mode is enabled.
Item Scaling Most of the rare items in the game are available at any time, even level 1. Random loot is leveled. All rewards in the form of gold, artifacts, and items are level-independent and therefore fixed. Most loot in the game is leveled, including a large amount of unique items and artifacts. Once acquired, the higher-level variants cannot be obtained. Don't expect to see the best stuff until you are a high level. Most unique items are no longer leveled, with some exceptions. Most non-unique loot is still leveled. Additionally, some items placed in the world can spawn as leveled items.
Moving Objects Any item must be moved from your inventory, but on the PC version, an item can be picked up by opening the menus and left-clicking it, then moved non-dynamically. Items can be freely moved and manipulated outside of your inventory using an allocated button. Moving an object that is owned counts as a crime if the act is witnessed. Inanimate object placement may change when you leave and return to the area. There is no longer a dedicated key button for moving items, instead items are moved by holding the button used to pick up items. Moving an owned object no longer counts as a crime.
NPC Audio NPCs have random greetings, but few dialogues are voiced. As a result, the vast majority of the dialogue is text-based. NPC dialogue is completely voiced, so reading is optional.
NPC Protection There are essential NPCs, which can be killed, but doing so relays a message that "the thread of prophecy has been broken" and says to reload or "continue in this doomed world". There are many generic NPCs who respawn, such as guards, and there is also one named respawning NPC: Din. Essential NPCs cannot be killed, but can be knocked unconscious. Essential NPCs have a crown for a talk icon. There are also respawning NPCs, most of whom are generic but several of whom are named. There are two levels of protection, neither of which can be easily spotted. Essential NPCs cannot be killed, but can be knocked down (temporarily limp/crawl on their knees). Protected NPCs, upon losing a large amount of health, will kneel down and all enemies will disengage combat with them; they can only be killed by you. All followers are Protected when following you. Some NPCs respawn, most of which are generic, but carriage drivers and a few others are named. Children cannot be harmed at all.
NPC Schedules With very few exceptions, NPCs always stay in one place or in a small area. NPCs have dynamic schedules, so they may move around town, go to the chapel, go to work, or be sleeping at any given time of day. A small number of NPCs travel to different cities periodically.
Owning Property As a high-level member of a Great House, you can build a stronghold. You can also acquire two player homes in Bloodmoon. You are also given a small house during the main quest. You can buy houses of your own in Oblivion. Some houses require completion of a quest to become available. With larger houses, you may buy furnishings for each room after the initial purchase of the house. You can buy houses of your own in Skyrim. NPCs who have a high disposition towards you will often allow you to take some of their less valuable items and even sleep in their beds. Upon marrying someone, you will share ownership on all of your spouse's property. With Hearthfire installed, you can build your own home and customize it with numerous furnishing options.
Physics No item/ragdoll physics. Havok physics introduced, adding ragdoll and item physics to the world. There are some bugs with living NPC ragdolls. Havok physics retained and improved, especially for living NPC ragdolls. All ragdolls will now fall and act like they're supposed to. In addition, fall damage is less forgiving than in the previous two games. Falls that would result in barely a scratch in previous games will now severely injure or even kill you. Interestingly, fall damage is not applied right away, but rather just before the NPC in question would get back up.
Sleeping and Waiting You can sleep at any time in the wilderness, provided there are no enemies around and you are on solid ground. You must sleep to level up. You can wait at any time in the wilderness, provided there are no enemies around, you are not trespassing, and you are on solid ground. You cannot sleep in owned beds, but waiting now provides all the same restorative effects as sleeping. You must sleep to level up. You can wait at any time, provided there are no enemies around, you are not trespassing and you are on solid ground. You can level up at any time—waiting/sleeping isn't required. Sleeping in a proper bed grants you a temporary increase in experience gained unless you're a werewolf.
Speechcraft Increasing disposition is purely character skill-based. It is always possible to increase an NPC's disposition to 100. There is no maximum disposition from admiring other than the general cap of 100, though attempts are less likely to succeed the higher disposition is. You can taunt NPCs into attacking you. Increasing disposition is controlled by a mini-game that gets easier as your Speechcraft increases. NPCs have a maximum disposition that increases with your Personality. The Speechcraft skill has been combined with Mercantile into the skill Speech. You can increase an NPC's disposition by doing quests for them or their friends, and decrease it by harming or stealing from them or someone they care about. There are nine levels of disposition, from -4 (Arch nemesis) to +4 (Lover). A positive disposition is required in order for someone to agree to marry you.
Swimming When you are underwater, a meter shows how much air you have left before you begin to take health damage. You can avoid swimming with Waterwalking spells or enchantments. There is no visible air meter when underwater, instead your character will make noises to indicate if they need to breathe before you start losing health. Waterwalking is available in Dragonborn as a potion and enchantment and as a Vampire Lord ability in Dawnguard.
Swimming and combat Weapons and spells (Touch & Self) can be used while swimming. In particular, the Swift Swim spell effect is useful for moving around underwater. Melee weapons and spells (Touch & Self) can be used while swimming. Ranged weapons can be used, but have extremely limited range in water. No weapons or spells of any kind can be used while swimming, though the Cloak spells can be used to attack enemies in the water if cast beforehand.
Vampirism If you are a vampire, most NPCs (excluding the Mages Guild and House Telvanni) will not speak with you. Guards will attack you on sight. There is only one stage of vampirism. Feeding is not possible in the traditional sense, but rather through a lesser power. You do not regenerate health while resting. You will take damage from the sun, and may die if you can't find shelter. If you become a vampire, you will no longer be hunted by guards and only shunned by townsfolk in late stages of vampirism. Vampirism occurs in stages depending on when you last fed; higher stages have greater strengths and weaknesses. As in Morrowind, the sun damages and can kill you. In early stages, NPCs do little more than comment on your health. At later stages, some will attack you on sight. As before, Vampirism progresses the longer you go without feeding. Sunlight reduces your attributes and nullifies their regeneration rate, but can't kill you on its own.
With the Dawnguard add-on you will not be attacked for being a vampire and you can acquire the ability to transform into a Vampire Lord.(DG)


Morrowind Alchemy Oblivion Alchemy Skyrim Alchemy
Creation Failure At all times, you can fail at making a potion: a higher Alchemy skill and a full fatigue bar reduces this chance. You can only make potions if you have two or more ingredients with matching effects. Only revealed effects will work. Creation failure is not possible at all. So long as you know the recipes, you cannot fail to make a potion. You can experiment with ingredients, but if none of their effects match, you will fail to make the potion, and the ingredients are consumed.
Potion Weight Potion weight is determined by the average weight of the ingredients. Potion weight is determined by the average weight of the ingredients of the first potion brewed of that type. Subsequent potions with the exact same name, effects, and strengths will have the same weight as that first potion. All potions weigh 0.5 regardless of ingredient weight.
Detrimental Potions Potions with negative effects can be consumed by you, but you will be affected by the positive and/or negative effects. They cannot be used as poisons on NPCs/creatures. A potion with only negative effects is a poison and can be applied to a weapon to give it extra effects. Any positive effects in the mix will prevent creating a poison. You cannot drink poison. Whether a mix creates a potion or a poison is determined by the most powerful effect. Potions may contain negative effects, or poisons positive ones. You cannot drink poison. There is a perk available to remove detrimental effects from potions, and positive effects from poisons, freeing up more combinations for use without side-effects.
Mega-Potions Potions can be brewed at strengths much greater than what the developers likely intended. For more on this, see this page. There are no known glitches that could lead to the creation of "mega-potions". It is once again possible to make "mega-potions" through a process described on the Skyrim glitches page.
Ingredient Limits You may use from 2 to 4 ingredients to make a potion. You may use from 2 to 4 ingredients, but the Master level perk allows you to make potions and poisons from just 1 ingredient. You may use 2 or 3 ingredients to make a potion or poison.
Potion Limits There is no restriction on the number of potions you can drink at one time. You can only have the effect of 4 potions at the time, but instant effects can be used unlimited. You can drink as many potions at once as you want, though certain effects (notably Fortify Skill) will not stack.
Equipment Potions can be made at any time (except in combat in Morrowind), anywhere (except around enemies in Oblivion), provided you have at least a Mortar and Pestle. The quality of your various alchemy apparatus determines the strength of the potion in addition to your skill and attributes. Potions must be made at designated Alchemy Labs. There is no other equipment, and potion/poison strength is determined solely by your skills, perks, and enchantments.
Potion Strength Potion strength is determined by your Alchemy skill and your Intelligence and Luck attributes. Potion strength is determined by your Alchemy skill and, to some extent, your Luck. Fortify Alchemy effects can be found and created in-game, but are ineffective due to a bug. Potion strength is determined by your Alchemy skill, Fortify Alchemy enchantments, and Alchemy perks.
Undiscovered Effects You can make potions with the undiscovered effects of ingredients. New effects are revealed as your Alchemy skill increases. You can only make potions with the effects you know about. New effects are revealed as your Alchemy skill increases. You can learn the first effect of an ingredient by eating it (or more effects with the appropriate Alchemy perks selected). You can also make potions with the undiscovered effects of ingredients to reveal new effects. Recipes can be read but the effect is only revealed after making the potion.


Morrowind Combat Oblivion Combat Skyrim Combat
Armor Weights Three weights of armor are available: light, medium, and heavy. Unarmored is also a skill and can be viable protection. Only two armor weights are present in-game: light and heavy.
Armor and Weapon Condition Armor and weapon condition will degrade as the items are used. When the condition reaches 0 (out of total equipment health, say 800), the item is broken and cannot be used. The player can repair them or pay a blacksmith to have them repaired. Armor and weapon condition will degrade as the items are used. When the condition reaches 0 (out of 100%), the item is broken and cannot be used. The player can repair them or pay a blacksmith to have them repaired. The Armorer skill can also temper to 125% at high skill levels. Armor and weapons do not degrade or break but can be improved.
Attack Types There are three types of attack: chop, slash, and thrust. These are controlled by standing still, moving sideways, or moving backward/forwards respectively while pressing the attack key (or alternatively the 'always best attack' option is available in settings). There is only one type of attack initially, but other "power attacks" are learned as a player's skill with a type of weapon increases. Normal attacks and "power attacks" are open to everyone, and certain perks unlock special power attacks.
Blocking Blocking with a shield happens automatically, depending on your Block skill. The block button triggers blocking. Blocking may be performed with shield, hands, or a weapon. Holding down the off-hand button triggers blocking if holding a shield, a two-handed weapon, or a single one-handed weapon. Attacking while blocking with a shield allows you to perform a bashing attack that staggers enemies.
Chance to Hit You may miss an enemy entirely depending on your fatigue, their/your luck, their armor, their/your attributes, and your weapon skill. You always hit an enemy (or their shield) when you attack (if the weapon is in range); their armor and skill affect only how much damage you do.
Enemy Pursuit Enemies will not pursue you into or out of buildings or dungeons. Many enemies can pass through doors, and usually pursue you for a long distance. Many enemies can pass through doors, and will pursue you. They will sometimes even search nearby buildings for you if you are in stealth mode or invisible.
Hand-to-Hand/Unarmed Hand-to-Hand damages Fatigue and does not damage Health until the opponent is knocked out. The Hand-to-hand skill governs how much damage you do. Hand-to-Hand damages Health directly, as well as Fatigue, regardless of if they are conscious or not. The Hand to Hand skill governs how much damage you do. Unarmed attacks damage Health directly, but not Stamina. Khajiit and (to a lesser extent) Argonians will use their claws to deal more damage, and heavy gauntlets may also increase damage. There is no hand-to-hand skill but it can be fortified with enchantments to keep its damage viable as you level up. You can also increase the damage of unarmed attacks with the fists of steel perk in the heavy armor category based on your heavy armor rating. It is possible to participate in non-lethal brawls.
Ranged Weapons There are three types of ranged weapons: bows, crossbows, and thrown weapons - darts, stars, and knives. Bows are the only type of ranged weapon found in-game. Bows are the only type of ranged weapon found in the base game, but crossbows are added with the Dawnguard add-on. In addition, Spider Scrolls also function at least partially as thrown weapons in the Dragonborn add-on.
Sets of Armor A full set of armor is made up of nine pieces: boots, greaves, cuirass, left and right gauntlets, left and right pauldrons, helmet, and shield. Additionally, clothing may be worn underneath the armor. A full set of armor comprises six pieces: boots, greaves, cuirass, gauntlets, helmet, and shield. Clothing cannot be worn with armor on the same body part. Shields can be "equipped" with a two-handed weapon but will be useless, besides any enchantments. A full set of armor comprises five pieces: helmet, boots, a set of gauntlets, armor, and shield. Clothing cannot be worn with armor on the same body part. Using both hands for other purposes will unequip a shield.
Skills There are seven skills for different types of weapon: Short Blade, Long Blade, Axe, Blunt Weapon, Spear, Marksman, and Hand-to-hand. Blade governs all lengths of bladed weapons and Blunt governs axes and blunt weapons. Spears do not exist. Marksman covers only Bows. Hand to Hand is changed as seen above. Staves no longer qualify as blunt weapons, but are magic items only (though many have offense capabilities, e.g. elemental damage spells). They still equip as if a weapon (you cannot wield a staff and another weapon at the same time). The One-handed skill governs all one-handed weapons, likewise with the Two-handed skill. Archery governs bows and crossbows(DG). Spears and blade distinctions are nonexistent. Unarmed combat is not skill-based.
Used Arrows You cannot recover missed arrows, bolts, or thrown weapons, but they sometimes appear in a corpse's inventory if you hit them. Unenchanted arrows that miss can always be recovered on the ground near where they landed. Arrows that hit have a chance to become stuck in the enemy, but can usually be recovered. Most arrows that miss can be recovered on the ground near where they landed. Arrows that hit have a chance of being recovered from the corpse, and certain perks can increase this chance.
Weapon Damage Each weapon has varying damage levels for each type of attack. Every weapon does varying damage levels depending on whether a standard or power attack is used.
Weapon Materials Some weapons are only available in certain materials. Aside from katanas, clubs and cutlasses, every base weapon type is available in every material. Aside from Skyforge Steel weapons, Nord Hero weapons, and three bows, each base weapon type is available in every material.
Weapon Options Available weapons include shortswords, longswords, broadswords, claymores, wakizashis, katanas, daggers, tantos, sabers, clubs, battle axes, maces, warhammers, war axes, halberds, spears, short bows, long bows, crossbows, throwing knives, darts, and throwing stars. This makes 22 weapons available in more than one material. Shortswords, longswords, claymores, daggers, battle axes, maces, warhammers, war axes, and bows are available for use. Unique weapons include katanas, cutlasses, and the club, resulting in 9 weapons available in more than one material. Daggers, swords, maces, war axes, battleaxes, greatswords, warhammers, bows, and crossbows(DG) are all available to you. Unique weapons include scimitars and katanas. In the vanilla game, eight weapons are available in more than one material.


Morrowind Commerce Oblivion Commerce Skyrim Commerce
Closed Shops Shops never close for the night. All shops will close at night and will be locked until they open again. Most shops will close at night and will be locked until they open again.
Items for Sale Items in a merchant's store are usually for sale. Merchants have separate inventories for trade items. Merchants have separate inventories for trade items, but some displayed items are for sale. Your spouse will sell items in their inventory, but you cannot obtain the store-specific items other than by buying them. Some merchants share a chest and sell from its inventory.
Merchant Gold A merchant's gold goes up and down when you buy and sell, respectively, and resets every 24 hours. Merchants have unlimited gold, but will only pay up to the shown gold amount for any single purchase from you. Characters with high enough Mercantile skill may invest in stores to raise merchants' purchase limits. A merchant's gold goes up and down when you buy and sell, respectively, and resets every 48 hours. There are two perks to increase a merchant's total gold.
Merchants Equipping Items Merchants will equip items you sell to them if they are more valuable than their currently equipped items. Most merchants will not equip items you sell to them.
Possession of Skooma Most non-Khajiit merchants will refuse to trade with you if you have any Skooma or Moon Sugar in your inventory. Merchants will not refuse service if you are in possession of Skooma. Merchants will not refuse service if you are in possession of Skooma or Moon Sugar.
Prices/Haggling Prices are set after choosing items to buy/sell. Note that the disposition of the merchant will decrease if the offer is refused, and will increase if the offer is accepted. Creature merchants (such as Creeper) will always buy and sell items for their exact value, since they do not have disposition or any non-attribute skills. Instead of changing the total cost or total sold of a transaction, you haggle to determine what percentage of an item's value you buy and sell consistently. The haggle percentage is predetermined and is based on your disposition with the merchant, your Speech level, as well as any Fortify Barter effects.
Transactions Any number of items may be sold or bought in one transaction. Each item or stack of items you sell or buy constitutes a separate transaction.
Visible Player Inventory In the trading menu, all items are shown in your inventory regardless of whether the merchant will buy them. Only items that the merchant will buy will appear in your inventory.


Morrowind Crime Oblivion Crime Skyrim Crime
Fences Stolen goods may be sold to merchants, regardless of their ties to the black market. The only exception is that you must not sell back an item you have stolen (or any item of the same type) to the same merchant you stole it from or they will call the guards. Stolen items may not be sold to regular merchants (they will not appear in the trade menu). You must find fences from the Thieves Guild in order to sell stolen goods. The exceptions to this are Manheim Maulhand, a Dark Brotherhood Murderer, and Raven Biter (with the Shivering Isles expansion). Stolen goods may be sold to fences for Thieves Guild members, and regular merchants if you've invested in them and have the Fence perk.
Enforcement of Bounty The price on your head is always tracked across Morrowind and Cyrodiil and any guard you encounter will attempt an arrest or attack on sight depending on your current bounty. In the Shivering Isles, bounty is handled separately. Your bounty is tracked separately in each hold. For instance, if you committed a murder in the Reach, your bounty is not enforced if you move to Eastmarch. However, if your bounty is over 1,000, you may be confronted by a Bounty Collector who will track you regardless of the hold you are in.
Guards' Reactions If your bounty is not too high, guards will not attempt to arrest you. Turning yourself in to a guard will let you pay less for reparations. If you gain a bounty equal to five-thousand gold, a death warrant will be issued for you. Guards will attack you on sight at that point. One way to get rid of your bounty is through the Thieves Guild, but quests that remove your bounty as a reward are available. Guards will always attempt to arrest you, and you can always be forgiven for your crimes through the proper channels. If your disposition with a guard is high enough they can forgive you for your crime without a fine. Guards will almost always attempt to arrest you. If you have a bounty of over a thousand gold, they will attack on-sight. If they witness you commit a minor crime such as petty thievery, and their disposition towards you is high enough, you can talk your way out of it. If you are Thane of the hold, you can eliminate the charges, but you can only use this option one time per hold. If you are in the Thieves Guild, an option is sometimes present where you can bribe the guard to drop the charges.
Jail If you surrender to the guards and go to jail, you are committed to your fate. Escape is impossible. When you choose to go to jail, you can try to pick the cell door lock and escape, but that will add to your bounty. In the Shivering Isles, escaping your cell is a legitimate way of serving your sentence. Most jails are the same as in Oblivion, except that they have a secret exit that not only leads you out but also leads you to or past the chest containing your belongings. There is one jail where escape is impossible, except during one quest.
Killing Guards If you manage to kill a guard without being seen, you will not receive a bounty. Also, if you manage to taunt a guard into striking first, you will not receive a bounty for either striking back or killing the guard, as it will be considered self-defense. No matter the circumstances, even if you are completely invisible, guards will always seek you out if you kill a guard. If you manage to kill a guard without being seen or kill all witnesses, you will not receive a bounty.
Notification of Illegality You are not informed if an action is illegal or not. You will only be alerted to your actions being a crime if you are caught. OpenMW includes an option to make the crosshair turn red when examining an owned item. The action icon turns red for any illegal act, alerting you to the crime before you commit it, except for books, which you may read without stealing. The action text turns red for almost all illegal acts, alerting you to the crime before you commit it. Taking a book or an Unusual Gem are the two exceptions. However, if you read a book, it will say whether you can "Take" it or "Steal" it, thereby notifying you whether or not it is a crime even though the action text did not turn red.
Payment of Bounty If you pay your bounty, the guard will simply take your money and stolen goods on the spot and release you. If you pay your bounty, you will be transported to the nearest prison to be processed and released, with your stolen goods removed.
Pickpocketing You can take items from an NPC, and only they will report you if your attempt fails. Any other NPC observing you will not care. You can take items from an NPC, and anyone who sees you doing it will report you. Success depends largely on the weight of the item taken, though gold carries a high risk of detection. You can also reverse-pickpocket weightless items onto NPCs, such as poisoned apples. You can take items from an NPC, and anyone who sees you doing it will report you. Success depends largely on the weight of the item taken. You can also reverse-pickpocket just about any item besides poisons onto an NPC. A perk allows you to place poisons which will immediately take effect.
Stolen Items Stolen items will not be marked as stolen; you must remember which of your belongings are ill-gotten. Stolen flags apply to all items of a given type, not just the one(s) you stole. Steal a Diamond from Nalcarya of White-Haven, and all Diamonds you find are henceforth marked as stolen. Stolen items will have a red hand icon over them to indicate they're stolen. Stolen copies of an item will not stack with legally obtained copies. Stolen items in your inventory are marked with the word Stolen. All items of a certain variety stack, whether stolen or not, but only the stolen copies will be removed upon arrest.


Morrowind Factions Oblivion Factions Skyrim Factions
Advancement Advancement is dependent upon completing a certain number of quests (in no particular order) and having sufficiently high skill levels within the faction's favored skill set. Advancement is dependent only upon completing the required quests, usually in a linear fashion. Very few quests have skill level requirements. Certain quests only become available at higher levels.
Becoming Guild Master You do not need to finish all of a faction's quests to advance to its highest rank. All of a faction's quests must be completed to achieve its highest rank, except for quests that only become available at the highest rank. A faction's primary questline must be completed to achieve its highest rank.
Exclusivity Belonging to a faction that is the same type as another prevents you from joining both (notably, the Great Houses and the Vampire Clans). You can belong to all joinable factions at the same time.

All other factions can be freely joined without conflicting with another.

Ownership Being a member does not grant you special access to doors or items on the faction's properties. It does, however, allow you to sleep in guild-owned beds and take items from guild supply chests. Being a member grants you ownership to most doors and items on the faction's properties.
Quest-Related NPCs A faction's quests may require you to kill an NPC essential to another faction's quest (This is usually exclusive to conflicting factions). You can never kill an NPC essential to another faction's quest until after he or she is no longer essential.


  • Note that Oblivion is omitted from this table as Lycanthropy is not present in the game.
Morrowind Skyrim
Abilities as a Werewolf As a werewolf, you will have a permanent Detect Animal for 4000 feet, but it will only detect NPCs (your prey). You also have the Night Eye ability. You have access to one default shout (weak Fear for 60 seconds), but through quests, you can obtain three others. The Dawnguard add-on adds perks that enhance all aspects of being a werewolf. For full details see Lycanthropy.
Becoming a Werewolf You can become a werewolf through the Bloodmoon questline. You may also become one by contracting Sanies Lupinus during combat with any of the werewolves found scattered across Solstheim. You can only become a werewolf through the Companions questline. If you cure yourself there is a one-time only option to re-obtain it.
Combat Your only method of fighting is by claw (Hand-to-hand), which does Health damage rather than Fatigue damage. Your only method of fighting is by claw. However, you can do numerous power attacks, a devastating sprinting attack, and numerous kill moves.
Feeding You must kill an NPC while as a werewolf, or else you will suffer massive damage when you transform back. You are transformed into a werewolf for 150 seconds. This can be extended if Dawnguard has been installed.
Skills Affected Numerous skills and attributes, especially in the realm of Athletics, Endurance, and Strength, will be fortified significantly, and your health will be doubled. However, most of your other skills will either be drained to zero or by 10 points. You have a very fast sprint (faster than horses) and both your health and stamina are increased by 100 points. However, your health regeneration slows down dramatically, and the quickest way to regain lost health is by feeding on an NPC.
Transformation Every night, from 9:00pm to 6:00am, you will transform into a werewolf. If you have Hircine's Ring, you may transform at any time of day for six hours. You can transform into a werewolf at any time you want to, but you can transform only once a day. With the Ring of Hircine, you may transform any number of times, by your choice or not, depending on the version of the ring. You have limited control over when you revert back to human form - the more you feed, the longer it lasts.
Vampirism You can be both a werewolf and a vampire at the same time, but it is required that you catch both diseases before becoming either. You may become either after curing the other condition, but it is impossible to catch either disease while possessing the other. You cannot be both a werewolf and a vampire at the same time. If you are a vampire when you become a werewolf, the vampirism will be cured, and vice versa. See glitches page for the related glitch.


Morrowind Magic Oblivion Magic Skyrim Magic
Adverse Enchantments Many items cause negative effects on the player. It is also possible to custom enchant negative effect items. Only one item causes negative effects on the player (three more are added by the Dragonborn expansion), and it is no longer possible to custom enchant items with them.
Bound Items Weapons and armor can be summoned. They are of Daedric quality, and have built-in Fortify Skill enchantments. Weapons and armor can be summoned. They are of slightly less than Daedric quality, and are unenchanted. Weapons, but not armor, can be summoned. They are of low-to-mid tier quality, but a perk improves them to approximately Daedric quality. Other perks grant built-in Soul Trap, Turn Undead, and Banish enchantments.
Casting Spells With enough magicka, all spells can be cast at any point, regardless of your skill, with varying chances of failure. Magic must be selected in order to be cast, and cannot be used with a weapon. Skill reduces aforementioned chance of failure. If your skill in a particular school is low enough, the chance of successfully casting a spell may be zero. You must possess the required skill level in a particular magic school before you can cast more powerful spells of that type. Magic can be cast on the fly with a weapon out. Spells fail to cast if the magicka cost is higher than the magicka required to cast the spell. Any spell can be cast by any character with enough magicka, although merchants will not offer Adept-level or higher spell tomes to players with insufficient skill in that magic school. There are skill perks to reduce the magicka cost of different levels of spells. Spells must be assigned to one or both hands and can be dual cast for greater effect with the use of a perk. Skill affects Damage, Duration, and/or other effects. Spells never fail to cast due to level or difficulty.
Custom Spells Custom spells are created by paying a Spellmaker. Custom spells are created for gold at an Altar of Spellmaking. Custom spells are not available.
Deleting Spells You can delete unwanted spells from your spellbook. Spells cannot be removed once acquired.
Detect Spells Detect spells work by causing creatures, enchanted items, or keys to appear as symbols on your minimap depending on which spell you use. The only "detect" spell is Detect Life, which causes living (or undead) creatures to be highlighted in the main view screen. The Detect Life spell works much the same as in Oblivion, but designates friend and foe with different colors. There is also a Detect Dead spell that highlights undead creatures and lootable corpses, and a shout that detects moving entities.
Effects of Armor and Fatigue The chances of successfully casting a spell are decreased as fatigue decreases. Spell effectiveness is decreased by worn armor. The higher your armor skill and the fewer pieces of armor you wear, the less effect your armor has on magic. Neither stamina nor armor weight has any effect on spellcasting. There is an Alteration perk which makes defensive spells become stronger if the caster is not wearing any armor.
Enchant Capacity Higher quality items can hold more powerful enchantments. Additionally, your Enchant skill determines how many uses you can get out of enchanted items. Item quality has no effect on how much of an Enchantment it can hold. Maximum capacity is affected by both the Enchanting skill and skill level in the magic school of the effect. For example, raising the Conjuration skill will net more uses out of a soul trap weapon.
Enchanted Items Most magical items apply their effect when you use them, rather than having a constant effect. Enchanted pieces of clothing, armor, and jewelry always have a constant effect while enchanted weapons always cast the effect when striking.
Enchanting There are no altars for enchanting or spellmaking in Vvardenfell. Instead, Enchant is a skill which you can use yourself anytime, anywhere and for free, but with a chance to fail. You can pay Enchanters to do it for you. Weapons and armor must be brought to enchanting altars to enchant them or alternatively enchanted with sigil stones. Enchanting is once again a learnable skill, but the enchanting must be done at an Arcane Enchanter.
Enchanting Effects You make enchanting effects available by knowing the corresponding spell effect. You make enchanting effects available by disenchanting an item with that effect.
Equipping Spells Spells must be readied just as a weapon must be drawn, and they must cast just as a weapon must attack. You can either have a weapon ready or a spell ready, but not both at the same time. Spellcasting has been allocated to its own button. There is no need to switch between weapon and magic modes to cast spells. You can equip a spell or item in each hand, i.e. you can equip a spell and a weapon, two spells, two weapons, or any other combination. Each hand has its own attack button.
Magic Schools Several spell effects are associated with different Magic Schools in the three games. For example, Absorb is a Restoration spell in Oblivion, but a Mysticism spell in Morrowind. Mysticism is removed entirely from Skyrim.
Magicka Regeneration Magicka doesn't regenerate constantly. It is replenished by sleeping, potions, shrines, or absorption. Your magicka restores over time, except for characters with Stunted Magicka. Your magicka restores over time but it restores much slower while in combat. There are several enchantments that make magicka regenerate faster. Vampirism will often prevent magicka regeneration in sunlight without the aforementioned enchantment.
Necromancy Undead minions can be summoned out of nothing wherever you are. Reanimation is not possible. In addition to summoning undead from nothing, you can also reanimate dead NPCs (but not creatures) as undead minions. Bodies of reanimated creatures will always be able to be reanimated again, provided that the body is not lost. Undead can for the most part only be created by reanimating dead NPCs or creatures. Also, all undead are destroyed and become ash piles after death, if reanimated with anything besides the Dead Thrall spell, which can only target NPCs and dremora.
Powers Powers can only be used once per day, and require time to cast, like spells, but do not cost any magicka. Powers always successfully cast. Lesser powers cost magicka but can be used more than once each day; greater powers work in the same manner as powers in Morrowind. Powers are activated instantly. Most powers can only be used once per day, but some powers are reusable. None cost magicka to use.
Recharging Magical Items Magical items regenerate automatically over time, although they can be recharged using soul gems. Magical items must be recharged using soul gems, Varla Stones or by taking them to an enchanter. Magical items must be recharged using soul gems. There is a perk that allows a small recharge of any weapon upon killing a creature.
Removed Spells Certain spell effects from Morrowind were not included in Oblivion, including Mark/Recall, Levitate, Jump, Sanctuary, Slowfall, Divine/Almsivi Intervention, Sound, Blind and several Summon spells. Many further effects were removed, such as Chameleon and more Summoning. A number of effects that still exist are now unavailable in the form of true spells, notably all weaknesses and resistances.
Added Spells Some effects are new, for example, Reanimate. Some effects are new, for example, Clairvoyance and Transmute Mineral Ore.
Soul Gems Soul gems are valued based on both the gem quality and the power of the soul trapped inside. Soul gem values are fixed prices based on soul size alone. Soul gems have two values, filled and empty. Self-filled gems are classed as empty when valued. The exception is black soul gems, which change value when filled.
Spell Failure Casting spells can fail. The failure rate is influenced by your skill rating in the relevant school of magic, your Willpower, your Luck, your Fatigue and any active Sound effects on your character. Instead of the cost of spells, skill level influences the chance of spell failure. Spells have a 100% success rate. Your Skill affects the Magicka cost. Spells have a 100% success rate. Your Skill and several perks affect the Magicka cost as well as the Power and/or Duration.
Spellcasting and Armor There is no direct penalty to your spellcasting for wearing armor. The increased rate of fatigue loss from heavier encumbrance indirectly makes casting in heavier armor more difficult. Wearing armor reduces your Spell Effectiveness, which in turn reduces the magnitude or duration of your spells, by a factor relative to your skill in the armor's school. The only way to have 100% Spell Effectiveness is to not wear any armor at all. The Mage Armor perk increases the protection of your Armor spells as long as you're not wearing armor. Also, enchantments that both increase Magicka regeneration and decrease spell casting costs are only found on robes, unless custom enchanted. Dawnguard adds Vampire Armor, which can have some enchantments otherwise only found on robes.
Staffs Staffs count as Blunt Weapons and come in enchanted and unenchanted forms. The only notable exception between staffs and other blunt weapons was the fact that they do very little damage, but are fast, long range, carry higher quality enchantments and have higher enchanting capacities. Staffs have "on target" enchantments and launch their spells at targets, rather than acting like blunt weapons. They are still wielded with two hands. They do not affect and are not affected by any skills. They cannot be enchanted because no unenchanted versions exist (except the one you create in the Mages Guild quests). Staffs are one-handed (though they do not count as one handed weapons) meaning they can be paired with either spells, other staffs, shields, or other weapons. In addition, they affect and are affected by their matching magic skill and perks (Staffs that shoot Fireballs are affected by Destruction, while staffs that summon/banish dremora are affected by Conjuration, etc.). Dragonborn adds a staff enchanter which allows you to craft new staffs.
Summoning You can have multiple summoned creatures fighting by your side at one time. You can summon a wide variety of creatures, including animals and automatons. Summoned creatures can be soul trapped. Only one creature can be summoned at your disposal at one time. Summoning a second one dispels the first. Undead, daedra, and (with an official download) animals can be summoned. NPC corpses can be turned into zombies for a short time using the Staff of Worms. Summoned creatures can be soul trapped. Only one creature can be summoned at your disposal at one time. Summoning a second one dispels the first. However, if you have the Twin Souls perk, you can have two summoned creatures at a time. The ash guardian does not count towards this limit. Familiars, atronachs, dremora, undead DG, and two named NPCs can be summoned. Summoned creatures cannot be soul trapped.
Telekinesis The telekinesis spell is used to manipulate objects at a distance (e.g. open doors, open chests, pick up objects or operate switches). The telekinesis spell is used to move and manipulate physics-based objects, in a similar fashion to Morrowind. It is also able to trigger tripwires. Cannot be used to harm NPCs The telekinesis spell is used to pick up, drop, and throw items from a distance. The dual casting perk allows you to control up to 4 objects at a time. In Skyrim, throwing items at people causes health loss to the target and is considered an assault.


Morrowind Quests Oblivion Quests Skyrim Quests
Items You can drop and sell quest-related items, so it is possible to lose them. It is a good idea to save items that have a unique name, or look them up on the wiki before getting rid of them, because they might be related to a quest later on. Quest-related items cannot be dropped or sold until they are no longer needed. They will have no weight for as long as they are considered essential. The Elder Scroll in Skyrim is an exception where it weighs 20 and cannot be dropped.
Daedric Quests All Daedric Quests start at a shrine. Available Daedric Quests are for Azura, Boethia, Malacath, Mehrunes Dagon, Mephala, Molag Bal, and Sheogorath. All other Daedric Princes are mentioned only. As before, all Daedric Quests start at a shrine. An offering is required to start a daedric quest. All 17 Daedric Princes have Daedric Quests minus Mehrunes Dagon on account of being the background antagonist of the game. Only some Daedric Quests are started at their shrines, and no offering is required. Most Daedric Quests start more naturally and may not become apparent as Daedric quests to first time players until the middle or end of the quest. Mehrunes Dagon once again has a quest.
Journal Organization The journal is organized chronologically. You can also look up conversation topics in your journal to see all the dialog related to that topic. As of the Tribunal expansion, you can look up all entries relating to specific quests as well. The journal is organized by quest title. You can view all of the entries for your active quest in reverse chronological order. You can also view a shortened list of all of your current or completed quests. You cannot look up conversation topics. The journal is organized chronologically, with more recent quests at the top. Completed quests are listed, in order of completion, on the bottom half of the journal. A single "Miscellaneous" tab contains all info on any miscellaneous quests. You cannot look up conversation topics.
Locks Any container or door, except one added by the second expansion, can be opened with a high enough skill in security or alteration. Some quest-related containers or doors will require a key to be opened. Some quest-related containers or doors will require a key to be opened. Oftentimes, the area will be inaccessible by other means or the necessary item will not spawn until after progressing far enough through the quest.
Map Markers There is no map marker for quests. It is important to get full directions from a quest-giver before you leave. Make sure to ask about every topic that seems relevant to your mission to make sure you are getting all the information you need. You can select a quest in your journal to be your "active quest". In most situations, a quest marker will direct you to the next location for your active quest. You can select more than one active quest, and quest markers can appear for all of the quests you have currently set active.


Combat Armorer
Heavy Armor
Heavy Armor
Heavy Armor
Medium Armor
Blunt Weapon
Long Blade
Hand to Hand
Stealth Short Blade
Light Armor
Light Armor
Light Armor
Magic Alchemy
Morrowind Skills Oblivion Skills Skyrim Skills
Acrobatics The Acrobatics skill is quite powerful compared to later TES games. The Acrobatics skill has been significantly toned down. Acrobatics is no longer a learnable skill.
Major and Minor Skills Your character has 5 major Skills and 5 minor skills. Your level is dependent on these. Everything else is considered a miscellaneous skill and has no effect on your level, though they do contribute to your attributes on level up. Your character has 7 major skills. Your level is dependent on these. Everything else is considered a minor skill and has no effect on your level, though they do contribute to your attributes on level up. There are no major or minor skills; however, each race will have primary and secondary skills that start higher. All skills affect your level as they increase, but do not affect your attribute bonus on level up.
Perks Perks are fairly limited: Acrobatics 125 negates fall damage, Alchemy reveals ingredient effects at thresholds of 15, Enchant 110 ensures that each use of a magical item costs only one charge point. Each skill automatically receives perks at level 25, 50, 75 and 100. As you level up, you earn perk points that are spent in trees corresponding to each skill.
Skill Level 100+ Most skills will continue to provide more benefit over level 100. Athletics and Acrobatics are the only skills that provide more benefit over level 100. Skills cannot go over level 100. However, once at 100 they can be made legendary, which resets the skill to level 15 and refunds all perk points spent in it, allowing you to continue to level up after all skills have reached maximum level.
Skill Level Effects A higher skill level in weapon skills increases your chance to hit your target. A higher skill level in weapon skills increases the damage you do with that weapon.
Smithing The smithing skill does not exist. You cannot create your own weapons or armor; only repair existing ones. The smithing skill can be used to create weapons, armor, and jewelry.
Trainers Trainers can be used as often as you please, provided you have the gold to pay and they are able to train you further. You cannot train a skill over the level of its governing attribute, however. More advanced trainers cost more for training, and the trainer's disposition towards you affects training costs. Trainers may have multiple skills that they can train you in. Trainers can only be used 5 times per level. Training costs are fixed, and increase arithmetically as your skill level rises. Each trainer only trains one skill. All master trainers require a quest to be completed before they will train you. Trainers can only be used 5 times per level. Trainers cannot train above level 90—you must earn the last 10 yourself. Training costs are fixed, but when your skill reaches 51 and 76 training costs greatly increase. Each trainer only trains one skill. Most master trainers require you to join a faction before they will train you; a few require the completion of a quest, and a few more will train you without prerequisites. A few non-master trainers as well will only train you if their disposition towards you is high.


Morrowind Stealth Oblivion Stealth Skyrim Stealth
Armor Weight The weight of your boots always affects your ability to sneak. The weight of your boots affects your ability to sneak until you are a Journeyman in Sneak. The weight of all of your apparel affects your ability to sneak. Sneak perks and Muffle spells or items can reduce or negate the impact.
Fences Stolen goods can be sold to any merchant, but trying to sell a stolen item back to its owner will cause the merchant to take it from you. This applies to all items of that same kind. For example, if you steal rat meat from a person you can't sell any rat meat back, even if you got it legally somewhere else. Stolen goods can only be sold to certain merchants. Stolen goods can be sold to Thieves Guild fences or to merchants whom you have invested in after unlocking the relevant perk.
Guild Items Taking items from guild halls may count as theft even if you are a member of the guild. Taking items from guild halls is rarely theft if you are a member of the guild. The exceptions are usually within guild shops (e.g.: Felen Relas in the Anvil Mages Guild).
Light The amount of light shining on you does not affect how well you sneak. The amount of light shining on you affects how well you sneak, so try to stay in the shadows.
Lockpicking Lockpicking success is randomly determined based on your intelligence, security level, luck, lockpick quality and the difficulty of the lock. You can either let the game randomly determine lockpicking success based on your agility, security level, luck, and the difficulty of the lock, or you can play a lockpicking mini-game to manually pick the lock. Lockpicking is based entirely on a mini-game, the difficulty of which is determined by your Lockpicking skill and the difficulty of the lock.
Lockpicks Lockpicks break after a set number of uses, which depends on their quality. At the end of the Thieves Guild quest line, you receive the Skeleton Key, which can open any lock, but does not have unlimited uses. Lockpicks always break if you fail to pick a lock. If you always succeed, you may use one pick an infinite number of times. Nocturnal's Skeleton Key can be used as an unbreakable lockpick. Depending on how forcefully you try to open a lock, you can use a lockpick numerous times before it breaks. Any damage to it remains, even if the lock is exited. The Skeleton Key is available as an unbreakable lockpick until you complete the quest requiring its return.
Owned Beds You may sleep in any bed, so long as you aren't seen when entering it. You cannot sleep while trespassing or in an owned bed.
Pickpocketing Looking at someone's inventory is a crime, so if the NPC detects you doing so you get a bounty. It is not a crime to look at someone's inventory, even if the NPC can see you doing it.
Sneak Mode On the PC, you must hold down the Ctrl key to continually sneak. On the Xbox, double-click the left stick button to toggle sneak mode. OpenMW and Morrowind Code Patch both add options to make sneak a toggle. On the PC, pressing the Ctrl key toggles sneak mode on and off. On the Xbox and PS3, click the left stick button once to toggle sneak mode.
Traps Some locks are trapped and activate a harmful spell to anything that opens them. Traps can be deactivated with tools called probes, which rely on your security skill. Alternately, using telekinesis on the lock from a distance can trigger the trap while you are outside of its effective area. Aside from a few pits in tombs, and some sudden enemy spawnings when triggering certain activators (e.g. cursed items), there are no non-lock traps. Some environments are effectively traps for anyone without the ability to levitate or teleport out, e.g. pools and lava pits which cannot be climbed out of. Locks are not trapped. Many locations have active environmental traps, and various activators also trigger sudden enemy spawnings. The locks themselves are not trapped, but the devices that they open can be. Many locations have active environmental traps, and various activators also trigger sudden enemy spawnings.
Trespassing Trespassing is not illegal. Trespassing is illegal. Many NPCs will issue a warning before reporting you to the guards or attacking you for trespassing.


Morrowind Travel Oblivion Travel Skyrim Travel
Being Over-Encumbered You cannot move at all while over-encumbered. When over-encumbered, you may walk (very slowly) and jump (a short distance), but cannot run, sprint, or fast travel (except when riding a horse).
Compass/Mini-Map Your mini-map shows where you are on the local map. Your compass points out nearby locations—discovered or not—and quest targets. Your compass points out nearby locations—discovered or not—and quest targets. It also shows enemies as red dots.
Exterior Cells All cities in Morrowind are in exterior cells (bar Mournhold). Each city loads in a separate cell instead of in the exterior. However, small towns and villages, such as Harlun's Watch and Riverwood, are still in the outside world.
Fast Travel There is no map-based fast travel in Morrowind; the nearest equivalents are the silt striders, boats, guild guides, the intervention spells, Mark & Recall, and the Propylon Chambers (see below). You can fast travel to any location that you have previously discovered. In addition, you can fast travel to certain locations in the major towns and cities without having discovered them. You can fast travel to any location that you have previously discovered.
Flying Custom Jump and Levitation Spells can make for very fast travel. Jump and Levitate are not available, presumably because now that cities are interior cells it would be possible to Jump or Levitate over the walls. Jump and Levitate are not available. With the Dragonborn add-on, however, it is possible to fly on the back of a dragon by using the Bend Will shout, but you are unable to directly control the dragon's movements. You can fast-travel while flying but when you dismount the dragon will attack anything nearby.
Horses There are no horses. Horses help to speed up regular on-foot travel as well as fast-travel. The type of horse affects how fast it can walk or run. You cannot mount a horse while over-encumbered, but can fast travel while on a horse even if you later become over-encumbered (usually due to a magical effect wearing off). Mounted combat doesn't exist. Horses help to speed up regular on-foot travel but not fast-travel. The type of horse does not affect how fast it can walk or run. You can fast travel if you mount a horse, even if over-encumbered. Mounted combat was added in patch 1.6.
Magic Travel Instant travel from any location to nearby "safe" spots: Almsivi Intervention, Divine Intervention (these work from interior locations, too). Mark and Recall, spells that are much like instant travel to certain spots, are available. A network of Propylon Chambers surrounds the island, with instant travel, if you have the right index. Almsivi/Divine Intervention, Mark/Recall, and Propylon Chambers do not exist, having been replaced by map-based fast travel.
Travel Services Paid travel services between fixed locations are available through silt striders, boats, Mages Guild teleportation service, and (in the city of Vivec only) gondolas. The one service available is quest-related and only used once. The Wizard's Tower download adds teleporters to every Mages Guild Hall, including the Arcane University. Carriage drivers outside the major cities can be hired to take you to any city in Skyrim. Dawnguard adds three ferrymen who can be paid to take you to various ports around Skyrim via boat.

Hearthfire allows you to, for a fee, hire Carriage drivers for your homesteads, which can take you to both cities and settlements in Skyrim.