Skyrim, the fifth installment of the Elder Scrolls game franchise, was and continues to be one of the top selling and most lauded games of all time. The world of Skyrim is elaborate, intricate, expansive, and opens an entire world just waiting to be explored. Many gamers have engrossed themselves in the universe, logging hundreds of hours on the game in efforts to complete not only the main storyline to become Dragonborn, but also the many side quests. You can join so many factions and sects, such as the Thieves Guild, the Companion’s Guild, the Dark Brotherhood, and the College of Winterhold. Gamers can participate in the evolving events around Skyrim, like the Stormcloak rebellion or the Imperial Legion’s returning struggle. It’s even possible to go on strange and ridiculous quests, like joining the Bard’s College, completing tasks for the Gods, and interfering in the lives of vampires. The possibilities are practically endless in the world of Skyrim.
Most gamers have explored various corners of the Skyrim universe, and even those quests and stories that haven’t been explored are at least known about through participating in the fan forums and engrossing in the dialogue surrounding the game. However, it shouldn’t surprise gamers that there are plenty of secrets and surprises still waiting to be uncovered in this game. From domestic tricks and interesting things you can do to make a few extra coins to things that will completely revolutionize how you play this game, Skyrim still holds vast amounts of surprises for even the most seasoned player. Check out our list of 15 things you never knew about Skyrim, and discover what you may have been missing.
15. Best Way to Fish in Skyrim
If any of you enjoy some of the domestic pleasures in Skyrim, such as construction and home design, adopting Skyrim orphans, hunting for personal food, or cooking, you’re likely to love this little tip about fishing. Fishing can be a tedious venture if you don’t have a hatchery attached to your home (which is only accomplished with the Hearthfire DLC). The typical method involves swimming around, perhaps near some white water rapids, and see what you can grab as you hold your breathe underwater. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be as difficult as some gamers have been making it. If you’ve managed to continue through the main Dragonborn quest even a little bit, you’re likely to have earned yourself the first shout: Unrelenting Force. Next time you go fishing, shout at the waters you’ll be fishing in. The results will be like casting dynamite into a lake rather than a fishing line, and the fish will surface and float on the water for your picking.
14. Trick for Infinite Arrows
For most archers in Skyrim, it isn’t hard to have a consistently full stock of arrows. By looting corpses, digging through found chests, and even searching the freshly killed bodies of animals you’ve killed on the road, you can find a wealth of arrows to keep in your inventory (plus, they have no weight so you can carry as many as you can find without becoming encumbered). It’s rare that gamers will even think about needing to collect (or buy) arrows, that is until you run out and don’t know what to do.
Nip that problem in the bud by visiting Solitude’s training area, specifically where the guards practice archery. After each shot a guard makes, collect his arrow from the target. If you just do this, you’ll collect a massive amount of steel arrows. For higher quality arrows, you need only have one of your preferred type in your inventory. Enter sneak mode (ensure you’re not watched) and then “pickpocket” the guard shooting at the target. Take all his steel arrows and plant your arrow of choice in his inventory (only one is necessary). After that, he’ll shoot an unlimited number of your favorite arrow, and you can just take them from the target.
13. Choose Your Own Adventure Books in Skyrim
Remember the books you read in elementary school? The ones where you’d read a scenario and at the bottom the page, it would give you control over what happened next in the story? For example, it might say something like, “If you want to enter the abandoned cave, turn to page seventeen” or “If you want to hide behind the bush, turn to page five.” Well, those stories often ended up with the reader dying after the third choice. It’s not just real-life children who were privileged enough to have those books, children in Skyrim get to enjoy them too!
The book Kolb and the Dragon can be found typically in more domestic locations, like in the Blue Palace of Solitude or Carlotta Valentia’s home in Whiterun. If you read the book and survive basic decisions of which route to take and where to strike the terrifying dragon, you’ll lead a young boy to victory in defeating the dragon that terrorized his small village.
12. The Pinnacles of Solstheim
This entry is only relevant to those that have the Dragonborn DLC. However, for those that haven’t purchased it, it’s definitely a recommended expansion pack to get, as well as the other two DLCs because they give you a continuation of the iconic Skyrim storylines. Dragonborn specifically gives you access to the mysterious and beautiful island of Solstheim, which holds many secrets and adventures beyond those outlined in your quest. Though unmarked on the maps of the island, Solstheim has four gorgeous peaks that can only be reached with persistence, dedication, and a lot of hopping: Frykte Peak, Hvitkald Peak, Mortrag Peak, and Mount Moesring. The best part of this expansion pack is that once you reach the peaks, you can return via fast travel. While there’s not a ton to do on the peaks, you’ll get some of the best views in the game. Sometimes it’s nice to sit back and admire the artistry that goes into the beautiful vistas of the Skyrim world.
11. Shadowmarks Will Give You Safe Harbor
For frequent Skyrim gamers, strange markings on the side of a building or beside an entryway while running around Skyrim can be noticed. It was no coincidence (truthfully, there are rarely coincidences in the design of this game) that those markings are apt to be Shadowmarks left behind by members of the Thieves Guild, and each marking means something distinct and different. For instance, if you are unfortunate enough to be arrested, you may find a marking of a circle with a downward pointing triangle. This indicates an escape from your jail cell. However, a large downward pointing triangle overlaying a smaller circle indicates threats to members of the guild lie nearby. If this sounds a bit confusing, there is a guide to the markings, and their meanings can be found at the Ragged Flaggon near guild headquarters. Whoever said there was no honor among thieves? These markings can save your loot, or save your life.
10. The Map is in Real Time
Once gamers start to get more acclimated to the game, there will be less and less visits to the map. Occasionally, gamers may have to hop on the map to fast travel or to confirm that they’re heading more towards Whiterun than Windhelm, but otherwise, it’s pretty simple to grab your bearings when considering where cities are oriented and how to find surrounding quests. However, gamers might be surprised to learn that they’re actually missing out sometimes by not visiting the map. It gives a view of how the world of Skyrim is at the very moment, no matter near or far. The map of Skyrim follows the player’s movements and updates as the gamer affects it. For example, when you finish off a bloody altercation with a dragon, wait until it ignites into the brilliant, lambent light it generates before it’s soul transfers to you. If you quickly jump into your map view, you’ll be able to see the radiant light from the omniscient sky-view of Skyrim.
9. The Imbuing Chamber
Again, we’ve got to encourage you to get the Dragonborn DLC. Not only is it an awesome story, but it gives you so many new abilities and perks, such as the imbuing chamber. It lies in a secluded location, in White Ridge Barrow (on the Northern side of Solstheim) in a secluded metal cage. In order to access it, you must kill a spider throwing Dark Elf named Merilar Rendas. Read the note in her inventory for her background information (if you care about that), then take the key from her inventory to access the chamber as well as the resources it holds (including ingredients and a few recipes). Using this imbuing chamber, you can create spiders to throw just like Merilar was throwing. The options are spiders that explode, spiders that control minds, spiders that turn invisible, and gamers can essentially create mutant spiders to use as weapons. It basically gives you the power of spiders that you have with dragons.
8. The Hidden Story of Lost Prospect Mine
On the eastern side of the rift, nearing the mountainous borders of Skyrim, you may stumble upon the abandoned Lost Prospect Mine. If you do, you may be fortunate enough to scrounge up a bit of treasure and loot, but tread carefully. This mine holds secrets and histories you know very little of.
The observant Skyrim adventurer might be able to piece together the story. On a table in the central cavern is a journal that once belonged to a man named Hadrir. By reading it, you can discern that he and a business partner, Bern, purchased the mine in hopes of finding a wealth of gold. When no veins were found, Hadrir left to resupply in Riften. Upon his return, Bern had seemingly disappeared, abandoning the business venture and his partner. Hadrir abandons the cave as well, thinking his friend is a coward and a betrayer. However, if you explore the cave, you’ll find a secret passage located behind a waterfall with several veins of gold, as well as a skeleton. It seems Bern stayed and found the gold they’d worked for, but died before Hadrir could return with the tools needed for his survival.
7. My Dog Meeko
Followers can be awesome, but they can also get in your way. Lydia, you’re given Housecarl from Whiterun’s Jarl, managed to prove a frustrating annoyance more than an aid many times. However, there are some amazing followers out there to seek out, including Meeko, the sweetest and most loyal dog you’ll ever meet.
The scruffy dog can be found on the roads near Hjaalmarch, however, he’ll not join you easily. Follow him as he runs off towards a small shack, and there you shall find his owner lying dead in his bed. The dog will cry over him, mourning the loss of his dear friend. However, you can ease this poor pup’s suffering by taking him in as your follower (you can actually have him as well as another human follower). Meeko will be one of your truest fighting companions, but be wary. He will surely give his life for you, and it will be the most heartbreaking day of your Skyrim life.
6. A Chilling Capture
If you’re unfortunate enough to be put in Skyrim jails often, whether you’re a poor pickpocket or just have an insatiable blood lust for city guards, you may have had the interesting opportunity to visit Winterhold’s jail. Truthfully, breaking out of jails can be a fun pastime if you don’t mind losing your entire inventory and starting fresh. However, spending any time in Winterhold’s cells is no fun.
The icy prison is not only a horribly uncomfortable way to spend your internment, but it’s also nearly impossible to escape. The College of Winterhold fortifies its prison defenses with ice atronochs (three or four of them, in fact). With no weapons to defend yourself, you better hope you’ve beefed up your magical defenses or these atronochs will make short work of staunching your escape efforts. Even if you do escape, it will be extremely difficult to survive the barren and icy expanses surrounding the Winterhold area.
5. Kill Forsworn Briar Hearts Without Ever Attacking
The Forsworn are certainly an interesting group of combatants to face. While some of the warriors are easily taken down and looted for their crummy weapons and armor, there are more formidable opponents in the outdoorsy sect. Most notably, you’ll likely have to deal with a Briarheart, soldiers who are resurrected from beyond the grave and given special dark powers. You’ll know a Briarheart on sight, due to their pasty, gray, undead nature and their semi-exposed briar hearts peeking out from their pectorals.
Briarhearts can put up a good fight and deal a decent amount of damage as you’re trying to quickly raid and loot a Forsworn camp. However, there’s a quick and easy trick that can do away with the persistent villains in a flash, which will save your fight for another foe. In order to kill a Briarheart without dealing with an attack, simply sneak up on them and pickpocket their heart. They’ll drop dead instantly, and you’ll have inherited another item for your alchemy work.
4. The Headless Horseman
Many gamers are enthusiastic about the fact that Skyrim creators and designers have thrown in an awesome homage and tribute to the famed author William Irving and his most notable work: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. This spectral equestrian can be found during the daytime near Hamvir’s Rest, a cemetery located near Dustman’s Cairn between Whiterun and Hjaalmarch. However, at night, the ghost of this fallen warrior roams all over the world of Skyrim. Though his presence is ominous and fear-inflicting, this specter isn’t likely to actually cause you any harm. You cannot hurt him by any means and he will likely allow you only a mere glimpse of his eerie presence before he rides off into the night. He may shout at you, saying “You are not welcome here” or “Who dares disturb my rest?” but for the most part, he’s just an awesome ghost to watch and follow, especially if you’re a fan of literature.
3. Unstoppable Dragon Companion
Fulfilling the Dragonborn prophecy is the main storyline in Skyrim. It’s easy to forget that, of course, when the game makers have created such a vast and expansive world to explore, but the intent was for gamers to see that main storyline all the way through to the end. Once you have completed the entire Dragonborn storyline of the main game, and if you have killed at least three dragons as well as either the Stormcloak or the Imperial storyline of the war, there are a few basic steps you can follow to earn yourself a dragon companion that will never fail you.
Return to the Jarl’s longhouse in Whiterun and sit in or use the Jarl’s throne chair. You will notice that you have suddenly and instantly learned a new shout: “Call Dragon.” From there, return outside and use your new shout. Your dragon buddy should be along shortly, so keep your eyes on the skies.
2. The Ebony Warrior
Some Skyrim gamers like to work pragmatically, leveling up before facing difficult and belligerent foes. Others are a bit more bellicose and impulsive, seeking the warriors’ reputation even in the mouth of danger. If you like a good fight that gets you going as you mash the buttons of your controller, there is an exciting challenge waiting for you.
Unfortunately, this tough competitor only comes with the Dragonborn DLC (yet another reason to spring for those DLCs) but he is worth seeking out for the glory of defeating him. The Ebony Warrior will come to you at whatever hold you arrive in after reaching level 80 (which is quite a challenge in and of itself). He’s an experienced Redguard combatant clad in tough ebony armor and he will challenge you, a worthy opponent, to a battle to the death. It is, by far, one of the toughest and most rewarding fights you will ever encounter throughout the game.
1. You Can Directly Impact the Fate of Skyrim Dwellers
With so many quests and missions and stories to partake in throughout Skyrim, it’s easy to sprint past the dwellers of all the holds and villages you travel through. Yet, it’s worthwhile to take a moment and look around. These people are real to this universe and you can directly impact their lives.
For example, the character, Ranmir, is a drunk that lives in Winterhold. If you speak to him, you’ll learn that the love of his life ran off after one of his drunken rages took ahold of him. If you follow her trail and try to discern what happened to her (a mission that will not appear in your quest journal), you’ll discover that she took work from the thieves guild in attempts to win a secure life for herself and her beloved, only to die in the process. Learning of her fate and bringing the information back to Ranmir actually sobers him, emotionally and literally. He then drops his alcohol habit because of your good deed. There are many characters like Ranmir in the game that are in need of help, and all you have to do is ask.