‘Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim’ Race Abilities and Perk Trees Detailed

Published 2 years ago by , Updated February 10th, 2012 at 9:00 pm,

Skyrim Perk Trees and Race Abilities

Although we’ve brought you extensive news about the various races that will be playable in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, including the chance to create your very own vampire character, what we haven’t detailed in too much depth is what each race brings to the table — more specifically what special abilities each class comes pre-packaged with.

Thankfully, a substantial amount of Skyrim details have been revealed including racial abilities and an extensive breakdown of the game’s perk trees.

What we had known previously through our preview of the game at E3 was that, in Skyrim, the player would be able to look to the heavens to see their character’s progression charted in the stars. But from an outsider’s perspective we couldn’t glean what each of the many perk trees physically imbued in the character. Qualities like Destruction can mean a whole lot of things, and clearly they do.

Speech
- Buying and selling price 10% better (5 ranks)
- 10% price buying from opposite sex
- Invest in shops and increase available gold permanently in invested stores
- Master Trader — every merchant in world gains 1000 gold for bartering
- Buy and sell from any merchant regardless of what they normally buy and sell
- Intimidation attempts twice as successful
- Persuasion attempts more likely successful

Alchemy
- Potions 20% stronger (5 ranks)
- Potions for restore health, magicka or stamina are 25% more powerful (maybe ranked)
- Poisons 25% more effective (maybe ranked)
- Poisons last for twice as many hits
- Two ingredients are gathered from plants
- 50% resistance to all poisons
- All negative effects removed from potions and all positive removed from poisons
- 2 effects of an ingredient are revealed when testing it for the first time (instead of just one)

Illusion
- Dual casting overcharges effect for more powerful spell
- Cast Novice spells for 50% less magicka
- Cast Apprentice spells for 50% less magicka
- Cast Adept, Expert, Master etc spells for 50% less magicka (more levels this time around)
- Spells work on higher level animals
- Spells work on higher level people
- All spellcasting (from ANY school) is done silently
- Spells work on undead, daedra and automatons
- Fear spells work on higher level enemies

Conjuration
- Novice for 50% magicka etc (up to Master)
- Dual casting overcharges —> greater spell effect
- Bound weapons do more damage
- Bound weapons cast Soul Trap on target
- Bound weapons banish certain creatures
- Reanimate undead with 100 more health
- Summon 2 Atronachs or reanimated zombies
- Summon Atronachs at twice the distance
- Summoned Atronachs twice as strong

Destruction
- More damage for each school (fire, frost and shock) — ranked
- Novice for 50% magicka etc.
- Shock damage chance to disintegrate targets if their health is under 10%
- Frost damage chance to paralyse targets if health low
- Fire damage chance to make low health enemies flee
- Place runes 5x farther away

Restoration
- Healing spells also restore stamina
- Novice for 50% less magicka etc
- Healing spells do 50% more healing
- Recharging healing spells
- More is recharged with each hit with healing spells (unclear)
- Spells more effective against undead
- Once a day chance to autocast 250HP restoration when health drops low
- Magicka regenerates 25% faster

Alteration
- Novice for 50% less etc
- Alteration spells have greater duration (ranked)
- Absorb 30% magicka that hits you

Enchanting
- Enchants are 20% stronger (ranked)
- Enchanted armour 25% stronger
- “Soul gems provide extra magicka for recharging” — again, dodgy recording but that’s what I heard, even if it doesn’t make much sense
- Death blows to creatures but not people trap souls for weapon recharge
- Health, magicka and stamina enchants stronger
- Extra effect on already-enchanted weapon can be applied
- Shock, Frost and Fire enchants 25% stronger (individual perks for each element)

Heavy Armour
- Increase armour rating 20% (5 ranks)
- Unarmed attacks with heavy armour gauntlets — damage increased by gauntlets’ armour rating
- Half fall damage if all in heavy armour
- Heavy armour weighs nothing and doesn’t slow you at all
- Additional 25% armour if in matching set
- 25% armour bonus if all in heavy armour (not necessarily matching)
- 50% less stagger if all in heavy armour
- 10% damage reflected back to enemy if all in heavy armour

2-handed weapons
- 2h weapons do 20% more damage (5 ranks)
- Attacks with warhammers ignore 25% armour (ranked)
- Attacks with battleaxes do extra bleeding damage (ranked)
- Attacks with greatswords do extra critical damage (ranked)
- Power attacks cost 25% less stamina
- Standing power attacks do 25% bonus damage, chance to decapitate
- Sprinting power attacks do double (critical) damage
- Sideways power attacks hit all targets
- Backwards power attacks have 25% chance of paralysis

Archery
- Bows do 25% more damage
- Zoom in
- Zooming slows time
- 10% crit chance
- Move faster with drawn bow
- Recover twice as many arrows from dead bodies
- 50% chance of paralysing for few seconds
- Draw bow 30% faster

Sneak
- 20% harder to detect (ranked)
- Sneak attacks do 6x damage with 1h weapons
- Sneak attacks with bows do 3x damage
- Sneak attacks with daggers do 15x damage (end perk on skill tree)
- Noise from armour reduced 50%
- No longer activate pressure plates
- Sprinting while sneaking performs silent forward roll
- Running does not affect detection chance
- Crouching can make hostile enemies lose sight of you and search for a target

And then there are the racial abilities that, despite having some clearly labeled, are a bit more of a mystery. Some, like the Orc’s berserker ability are typical Elder Scrolls fodder, but others will need a better explanation. There’s a big decision to be had in deciding which race your first Skyrim character will be, or what race they will marry for that matter,  and we hope this list makes the decision a bit easier.

- ORCS: Beserker
- REDGUARDS: Adrenaline Rush
- WOOD ELF: Resist poison, resisit disease, command animals
- NORD: Battlecry
- KHAJIIT: Night-eye, claw attacks
- IMPERIAL: Voice of the Emperor, find more coins when looting
- HIGH ELF: Regenerate Magicka more quickly
- DARK ELF: Ancestor’s Wrath (surround self in fire), resist fire
- BRETON: Dragonskin (absorb spells), resist shock
- ARGONIANS: Histskin (regenerate health quickly), resist disease, breathe underwater

Obviously there’s a lot more to Skyrim than just the racial abilities and perk trees (like getting out there and slaying some dragons), but a lot of what influences your experience with a Bethesda game are those initial decisions. Some don’t necessarily influence the entire experience, while others dictate your entire playthrough.

Make sure to check out some of the newest juicy tidbits regarding Skyrim including a 20-minute look at combat and exploration, and the live-action Skyrim-inspired short film to get your fill of the latest Elder Scrolls news. And, as always, stick with Game Rant for more Skyrim developments has they happen.

What do you think of the Skyrim racial abilities and perk tree breakdown? Based on their ability which race do you think you will role first?

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim releases November 11, 2011 for the PS3, PC, and Xbox 360.

Source: The Elder Scrolls Skyrim

TAGS: Bethesda, PC, PS3, Skyrim, The Elder Scrolls

16 Comments

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  1. was gonna be a nord, now thinking Imperial…. basically wanna be Gandalf lol

  2. Dark Elf + Vampire = Win.

    Great update Anthony!

  3. The quick health regeneration might’ve pushed me towards being an Argonian!

  4. Without a doubt the Dark Elf. Ancestor’s Wrath looks hot (no pun intended)!
    I also really like the perk trees; to the heavens we shall look for glory!

  5. the racial perks seem sorta weak, nord, redguard and orc are getting jipped. I think there should be more variation among the races to encourage (even more) replayability

  6. Sneak tree is pretty interesting. I always enjoy playing a Rogue in D&D and seeing it be nodded to in certain ways in Skyrim make me rethink my first character toward being a stealthy one, rather than a two-handed melee warrior.

  7. So far nothing that I couldn’t have really guessed from playing other TES games. Until they elaborate more on some of these I will be stuck between Nord or Imperial.

  8. Intrigued by the claw attacks of the Khajit, and the dagger addition to stealth crit… I always favoured the smaller weapons for sneakiness, feels silly to thwack someone with a ginormous sledgehammer while skulking around.

    • Ofc there was a lot of archery involved as well. If an arrow can do the job, why risk getting detected.

  9. i love the dark elf! my favorite outa all the classes and that new fire ability is frekin tight. cant wait to pick up my pre ordered game wooooo!

  10. This disappoints me…I was expecting much more intricacy out of the skill trees.

    • I think you might be jumping the gun just a little bit. This is a crude list, made to be a teaser of sorts. A lot of the entries don’t have any description as to values and ranks. I think the actual dynamics of all of these are gonna be a lot more complex than what you see here.

      • PS (we seriously need an edit button, I keep forgetting essential points and having to put them in a reply to my own friggin comment =P): I think a lot is left out here. Speed? Endurance? Possible interaction between the main branches? Basically, I don’t think we know much more than diddlysh*t at the moment.

  11. I’m with Vain, NOT the dark elf Part But I think picking a vamp and
    you know being stealthy and everything I LOVE IT. HA

  12. Oh man, I am totally being the Khajiit! That is my favorite race! I hope this game is gonna be good. It looks awsome so far! I cannot beleive that you can duel wield spells and weapons.

  13. I think I’ll stick with human again, I can never choose any other race. I’ve been using them for every elder scrolls game I played.

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