- Nearby living creatures, but not undead, machines or daedra, can be seen through walls.
Detect Life is an adept level Alteration spell that allows you to see nearby living NPCs and creatures through any obstacle. Friendly targets will appear as glowing blue particles, while enemies will appear as red or pink particles. The effect lasts for approximately one second after you stop concentrating.
- In addition to location, you can also notice other information about the living creatures in the area, such as size and physical position. This can be useful for determining the target's species and whether an NPC is asleep before entering their bedroom, for example.
- The game's definition of enemy or friendly may not always match what a player expects.
- Some creatures or NPCs that will only attack you if they get close, such as some bandits and wolves, will be highlighted in blue when at a distance. Once you approach and the enemy attacks, its color will change to red.
- Some non-hostile creatures that flee you, such as deer or foxes, will show in red. This is because they enter combat with you upon sight like any other wild animal, but their combat AI tells them to flee as soon as the fight starts.
- Friendly NPCs actively engaged in activities such as smithing and chopping wood will also appear with a red aura.
- A similar effect is available from the Aura Whisper shout. Unlike the spell, Aura Whisper identifies all living creatures as well as Dwarven automatons, but does not distinguish friend from foe.
- Also related is the Detect Dead spell, which can detect dead or undead NPCs and creatures.
- Casting this spell with two hands or dual-casting does not have any effect on the range of the spell, thus only draining your magicka faster. This also applies to Detect Dead.
- You will gain Alteration skill XP at a faster rate while casting this spell when there are more creatures in range, as you get XP for each affected target. Casting this spell in a city market or other crowded area can increase your skill level very rapidly.