Daggerfall:Leveling and Skills

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The skill system is the heart of the game's character creation system. This page will help you understand how to make the most of increasing skills and gaining levels.

Leveling Equation[edit]

Level is determined by the equation

L = floor((S − S0 + 28)/15),

where S equals the sum of your three primary skills, two highest major skills, and highest minor skill, and S0 equals the sum of the starting values of each of those skills. In simpler terms, you must raise the total of these skills by 15 points in order to get a level increase.

Any combination of skill increases will work as long as they total to 15 points. Increases in Miscellaneous skills do not count toward level increases, although the character will still be better at doing those things. Note that the formula counts only the highest Minor skill and the two highest Major skills, so any increases of the other Major/Minor skills do not count toward a level increase until the lower skills reach the same value as the highest.

  • The 28 points is a quasi-gift from the development team. 15 points of it is necessary since a new character would otherwise have to have 15 skill increases to reach 1st level. The other 13 points means that a new character only needs two skill increases to reach level 2.
  • A level increase happens after resting. Every time you rest, the game looks at the various counters and decides whether a level increase is appropriate or not.
  • Skill increases work a bit differently. The game tracks how often you use each skill and increments a counter with each check of the skill, successful or not. When the counter reaches the appropriate point, a skill increase is awarded.
  • Skills operate under the idea that "the more you know, the harder it is to learn something new." Consequently, the number of skill checks required to gain a skill increase goes up with the skill level. This seems to be in increments of 15%. While the skill is below 15%, very few checks are necessary. It takes a few more checks when the skill is between 15% and 30%, a few more when the skill is between 30% and 45%, and so forth.
  • The number of required skill checks is also affected by the "Difficulty Dagger". The required number of checks is multiplied by the Dagger setting at character creation (somewhere between 0.3 and 3.0). At 1.0 and with the skill between 30 and 45, about 30 skill checks are required to gain a skill increase.
  • While level increases happen only after resting, skill increases can happen after resting, loitering, or fast-traveling. However, at least six hours (game time) must have passed since the last time an increase was awarded for that skill.
  • Once you reach 50% in a skill, you can no longer receive training and must increase your skill through use or magical means.

Maximizing Leveling Points[edit]

  • Save your game before resting. If you gain a level, and got less than the maximum 6 bonus points to distribute, or less than your maximum HP/level, reload your game and rest again. This maximizes the benefits of leveling and allows you to get the most out of your character.
  • The larger the range of possible HP/level, the less likely it is that both that maximum and the 6 bonus attribute points are gained. The attribute points are usually much more important, so how many reloads of that save game are worth the trouble to gain the maximum in both attributes and HP is an issue best left to the player.

Leveling Suggestions[edit]

  • Practice everywhere. Try and make everything you do practice for one skill or another. i.e., always run in towns, sneak in dungeons, climb over city walls, use up all spell points casting spells before resting.
  • Take advantage of training skills in guilds. Each training session is roughly equal to 15 uses of a skill and can increase skills up to 50%. The cost of training is 100 * your character's level, so it is more cost-effective to train at lower levels.
  • Create practice spells. If you have access to the spell creator, create some low-cost custom spells to practice with. Casting a Restoration spell with a cost of 5 and casting a Restoration spell with a cost of 50 will advance your Restoration skill by the same amount.
  • After training, loiter for 9 hours and you will be able to train again. When your stamina gets low, use spells or potions to restore it. This will allow you to train without even leaving the building.

Cheapest Spells to Make[edit]

List of the cheapest spells[edit]

The following is a list of the cheapest spells to create in each school. Please note that the spell's cost may vary depending on the character's level and his/her proficiency in each school of magic.

Cheapest spell for each school.
Cost School Spell
1 Alteration Jumping (tie)
1 Alteration Water Breathing (tie)
? Destruction Minimal Damage Health Spell
2 Illusion Light
5 Mysticism Open
1 Restoration Free Action
1 Thaumaturgy Buoyancy

Much cheaper spells[edit]

To minimize spell cost, don't forget to change the per level value: instead of

1-1 + 1-1 per 1 level

create the spell like this:

1-1 + 1-1 per 2 levels

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

Free spells[edit]

By creating spells with multiple effects, it is possible to train without spending any spell points.

Water walking
Water breathing
Damage health
  1. Cast the spell. The skills thaumaturgy, alteration and destruction are used and your MP decrease. Because Damage health awaits a target, the spell is cast but not triggered. Do not select any target.
  2. Cancel the spell (press e). Your MP returns to where it was before attempting to cast the spell.
  3. Recast the spell (press q to quick-cast the last spell cast).
  4. If not enough then go to 2.
  5. Rest.

However, this will only train the skill associated with the first spell effect.

Items and spells that allow you to Absorb Magic can also be used to gain free spell casts.

  1. First you have to be a member of the Mages Guild.
  2. Go to the Spell Maker. Once there, add the Soul Trap effect or a damage effect with '1-1 + 1-1 per 2/level' magnitude. Set to 'area around target'.
  3. Add in the next two effects from two other schools.
  4. Cast this near a wall or at your feet so you gain the magicka you just used.

The resulting spell might look something like these:

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

Guild Training Skills[edit]

The following is a list of all the skills along with which guild you can practice them in.

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