Daggerfall:Skills

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Almost every action your character can perform is governed by a skill. The score for a skill measures your proficiency in that field; a character who is adept at a skill has a higher value than a novice. Each skill is governed by an attribute which sets an upper limit, and may offer bonuses or penalties towards the application of that skill.

The application of a skill is either passive or active, with the majority of invocations as the active type. This means the character is undertaking some action, rather than just letting things happen. An example of an active skill invocation would be the Jumping skill. The character's skill is only applied when the player issues the correct command. Passive skills, on the other hand, are invoked by the Daggerfall game engine itself on the player's behalf. Medical is a prime example of a passive skill, because it is invoked each time the character rests, on the character's behalf by the computer, even if the player's intention was to idle for several hours. Language skills are another example. Whenever one comes within range of a creature of the appropriate type, the language skill is automatically checked. If successful, the creature is rendered non-hostile.

An action is resolved as a success or a failure by evaluating the governing skill with some random chance. The score of a skill is proportional to the probability of success in that action if given "average" circumstances. Naturally some circumstances may be more difficult than others, and the skill evaluation process considers any applicable bonuses or penalties, but for the most part one may consider a skill's score as a success probability expressed as a percentile.

[Example: The Archery skill is governed by Agility, which means not only will a character with a high score in Agility become adept at Archery faster than a character with a low score in Agility, but will also receive bonuses towards resolving any application of that skill. Since Archery is an active skill, it is only evaluated when the character uses Bows.]

Skill Attribute Description of skill (from Daggerfall user manual)
Alteration Willpower Alteration refers to the School of Alteration, one of the six avenues of magical study. This school is concerned with magicka's ability to change the very structure and composition of objects. Dimunition and Shield are two classic Alteration spells.
Archery Agility Archery is the skill governing one's ability to hit targets and cause damage using a bow and arrow.
Axe Strength Axe is the skill automatically checked whenever one uses a battleaxe or a waraxe on a target.
Backstabbing Agility Backstabbing is a skill checked whenever a target is struck from behind. It is easier for a person proficient at this skill to hit a target from behind. It is also probable that more damage will be dealt with a well-delivered backstab.
Blunt Weapon Strength Blunt Weapon is a skill checked whenever one strikes a target with a heavy, blunt weapon such as a mace or a staff. Proficient Blunt Weapon specialists have a greater chance of hitting and cause more damage with each blow.
Centaurian Intelligence Centaurian is checked when one comes within range of a Centaur. If successful, the Centaur is non-hostile (will not attack unless provoked).
Climbing Strength Climbing is a skill checked whenever one attempts to scale a wall or a steep incline. It is continually checked until one is on level ground again.
Critical Strike Agility Critical Striking is a skill checked whenever one has successfully struck a target. A target that receives a successful Critical Strike suffers withering, often fatal, additional damage.
Daedric Intelligence Daedric is checked when one comes within range of a Daedra. If successful, the Daedra is non-hostile (will not attack unless provoked).
Destruction Willpower Destruction refers to the School of Destruction, one of the six formal avenues of magical study. Destruction spells are those with a primary purpose of causing damage to a target, such as Fireball or Acidic Field.
Disguise Personality (Not available) Disguise is a skill automatically checked whenever one attempts either to infiltrate a hostile environment or to secrete items away from prying eyes.
Dodging Speed Dodging is a skill checked before one is struck by an enemy's weapon or spell.
Dragonish Intelligence Dragonish is checked when one comes within range of a Dragonling. If successful, the Dragonling is non-hostile (will not attack unless provoked).
Elvish Intelligence (Not available) Elvish is a language skill checked whenever one attempts to speak with a Wild Elf.
Etiquette Personality Etiquette is a skill checked whenever one attempts to be polite, deferential, and charming in conversation.
Faerie Intelligence (Not available) Faerie is a language skill checked whenever one attempts to speak with a Faerie.
Giantish Intelligence Giantish is checked when one comes within range of a Giant. If successful, the Giant is non-hostile (will not attack unless provoked).
Hand-to-Hand Agility Hand-to-Hand is a skill checked whenever one attempts to strike a target with a punch or a kick.
Harpy Intelligence Harpy is checked when one comes within range of a Harpy. If successful, the Harpy is non-hostile (will not attack unless provoked).
Illusion Willpower Illusion refers to the School of Illusion, one of the six avenues of magical study. Illusion spells are capable of camouflaging, illuminating, or obscuring objects, as the spells Invisibility and Light demonstrate.
Impish Intelligence Impish is checked when one comes within range of an Imp. If successful, the Imp is non-hostile (will not attack unless provoked).
Jumping Strength Jumping is a skill checked to determine the height and distance one is capable of leaping.
Lockpicking Intelligence Lockpicking is a skill automatically checked whenever one attempts to pick the lock on a door or a chest.
Long Blade Agility Long Blade is a skill checked whenever one attempts to strike a target with a long-bladed, slashing weapon such as a claymore or a katana.
Medical Intelligence Medical skill is automatically checked whenever one rests, allowing one to diagnose minor injuries and illnesses.
Mercantile Personality Mercantile is a skill checked whenever one enters into negotiations with a merchant, attempting to buy or sell an item at the best possible price.
Mysticism Willpower Mysticism refers to the School of Mysticism, one of the six avenues of magical study. Mysticism is the most arcane school, and the spells created by its application are as varied as Far Silence and Soul Trap.
Nymph Intelligence Nymph is checked when one comes within range of a Nymph. If successful, the Nymph is non-hostile (will not attack unless provoked).
Orcish Intelligence Orcish is checked when one comes within range of an Orc. If successful, the Orc is non-hostile (will not attack unless provoked).
Pickpocket Agility Pickpocketing is a skill automatically checked whenever one attempts to steal an item off a person or shelf without being detected.
Restoration Willpower Restoration refers to the School of Restoration, one of the six avenues of magical study. Any healing spell such as Cure Poison and Troll's Blood hails from Restoration.
Running Speed Running is a skill automatically checked whenever one begins to run, to check the possible speed.
Short Blade Agility Short Blade is a skill checked whenever one attempts to strike a target with a short-bladed stabbing weapon such as daggers and tantos, to determine the aim and damage possible in a strike.
Spriggan Intelligence Spriggan is checked when one comes within range of a Spriggan. If successful, the Spriggan is non-hostile (will not attack unless provoked).
Stealth Agility Stealth is a skill which allows one to avoid the attention of a hostile creature. It is automatically checked at every encounter.
Streetwise Personality Streetwise is a skill checked whenever one attempts to be blunt, colloquial, or otherwise informal in conversation.
Swimming Endurance Swimming is a skill automatically checked whenever one encounters water to see how fast one can swim, how fatigued one gets while swimming, and how long one can stay underwater.
Thaumaturgy Willpower Thaumaturgy refers to the School of Thaumaturgy, one of the six avenues of magicka study. A Thaumaturgical spell does not change the appearance or structure of a force or object, but can manipulate laws temporarily, as evident in such spells as Levitate and Detection.

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