The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Hints and Tips

How to easily block melee attacks, close Oblivion gates, and more

In-game character from The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

 BenBenW / Flickr / CC BY 2.0 

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is an open-world role-playing game developed by Bethesda Game Studios. It first released on Windows PC and Xbox 360 in 2006. A PlayStation 3 port followed in 2007. Set in a fictional land called Cyrodiil, its main story pits the player against a cult that wants to open portals to a hellish dimension called Oblivion. If you're looking for help with the game, try the following tips and hints.

This guide is specifically for the PC and Xbox 360 versions of the game.

Defend Melee Attacks Easily

Feeling kinda frightened by the big melee warrior coming towards you? Find some rocks (if you can get outside) or another object and jump onto it. Then, stand there and hurl fireballs and shoot arrows at the poor foe, who'll be unable to defend himself.

Items Slowing You Down?

When you want to carry a lot of weapons, armors, potions, or miscellaneous items, but you don't want these items in your inventory, get the indestructible horse Shadowmere from the Dark Brotherhood. Beat it down until it's unconscious. Immediately, before it gets back up, go to it and search the body like you would with normal enemies.

Usually, an unconscious character only provides you with a Talk option while it's on the ground. But, while searching Shadowmere, push the left trigger button and drop in whatever items you want to offload. This is more useful than carrying everything in your personal inventory while in battle.

This trick works with the Xbox 360 and using the horse armor.

Use a Variety of Weapons

Given the complex combat and wide array of enemies in Oblivion, keep an array of weapons available for your early encounters. Enchanted weapons show up fairly often after level 5 or so. Keep a fire-based enchanted weapon along with a shock-based weapon, a Magicka-affecting weapon, and a simple unenchanted weapon on your person (an Ease Burden spell from Deetsan in the Cheydinhall Mages Guild can help with the weight).

Screenshot from The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
 Bethesda Softworks

If you don't make much of a dent with a fire-casting weapon, switch around until you find a weakness in your current enemy. The few extra points of damage per hit often make the difference between life and death.

How to Close Oblivion Gates Quickly

To close Oblivion gates fast, run through the area as fast as you can and grab the sigil stone.

How to Increase Your Acrobatics Skill Quickly

To increase your acrobatics skill faster, travel to some stairs or a steep hill and jump your way up. That way, you will be airborne for as short a time as possible before starting a new jump.

How to Increase Your Sneak Skill Quickly

To increase your Sneak skill quickly, go to the Imperial City Arena and enter one of the ponds that have a sacred lotus inside. Crouch to enter Sneak mode and press the AutoRun key (Q by default on PC). There are some guards nearby, so doing this will increase your Sneak skill. You can even walk away from the computer and come back later to see your stat gains.

If you choose Sneak as one of your major skills and you do this trick, your level will also increase quickly.

Fun in the Air

This is not a real tip. It's just fun. Jump into the air near an NPC and start a conversation with them. You'll stay in the air while the person is talking to you. You'll fall down when you exit the conversation.

How to Duplicate Items

To duplicate any item in your inventory, you need a bow and at least two of any arrow type. Then, draw your bow and, while keeping it drawn, enter the inventory menu. You must then unequip the arrows you have equipped (a message appears saying you cannot unequip weapons until you are done attacking).

After that, find the item you want to duplicate and drop it. When you exit the inventory, the item you dropped appears with however many duplicates you wanted (number of arrows equipped) and falls to the ground.

This cheat only works if the number of items duplicated is lower than the number of arrows equipped. Make sure your bow is fully drawn when entering the inventory.

The basic rule for this is that most enchanted and rare items don't work, but there are a few exceptions.

How to Kill Umbra and Get Her Armor and Sword

To kill Umbra and get her armor and sword, jump on the broken pillar in the square and shoot her.

How to Increase the Sneak Skill Quickly, Part 2

To get your Sneak skill up easily, go to someone's house when they're sleeping, go into Sneak mode, then run continuously into a wall outside their room.

Easy Enemies Throughout Oblivion

If you want enemies to be easy throughout your time in the game, create a new character and make the seven main skills the ones you will use the least or not at all (like Hand-to-Hand, Marksman, or Blunt). You won't gain many levels, but neither will the enemies you face.

Tired of Being Over-Encumbered?

Tired of always being over-encumbered? Here are some ways to reduce your load. They require a somewhat higher Alchemy skill and entrance to the Arcane University.

  • Enchant a weapon or piece with a Fortify Strength or Feather spell.
  • Use alchemy. If you have a fairly high Alchemy skill, make Feather potions that reduce weight by the hundreds for several minutes. You can drink multiple potions at once, so you can hold more than 1,200 pounds for over 500 seconds.

How to Kill Ten Bears Quickly

In the quest where you have to kill ten wild bears for the farmer, the easiest way for a weak character to accomplish this is to wander until you find a bear, then run as fast as you can toward the farmhouse. Once there, run into the fenced garden. The bear will chase you in. Quickly run out before the bear kills you and swing the door shut behind you. The bear will be trapped, and you can fire arrows or spells at him to kill him.

Kill Minotaur Lords the Easy Way

Once the player has risen through the ranks of the Arena and become Grand Champion, weekly matches for money against different monsters become available. The toughest monster players end up fighting is the Minotaur Lord, up to three at a time.

Screenshot from The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
 Bethesda Softworks

The trick to defeating them is to retreat into the hall entrance to the Arena pit. The Minotaur Lords are too tall to follow after you and, since they lack any ranged weapon, they cannot reach you.

Assuming you have enough arrows (at least 50 or so) and a bow, or alternatively a decent arsenal of destructive magic, picking each Minotaur Lord off from a distance is easy. And for your trouble, you get 2,000 or more gold.

Solve Speechcraft Issues

When joining the Arcane University through the Mages Guild, create a cheap Charm spell. This solves all Speechcraft issues and is helpful with the Mercantile skill.

How to Get More Gold From the Count of Skingrad

The count of Skingrad is very forgetful. Upon completion of the vampire quest (the one where you cure yourself of vampirism), he will offer you a reward for ending his wife's pain. However, he won't remember that he gave you this reward. Keep asking him about the reward for 2,500 gold.

Head Up to Win Battles Easier

The easiest way to win a battle against the enemy AI is to get to high ground (for example, a rock) where the enemy can't reach you. High Acrobatics skill will let you jump high enough so the opponent can't follow you. Defeat them with ranged attacks like magic or bows.

If the enemy uses ranged weapons as well, take cover or at least dodge them without falling off your perch. If you fall off, or the enemy comes up, retry or find a better place to climb.

Best Light Armor for Beginners

This might be the best light armor you can get at the beginning of the game. Head to Leyawiin (the city to the south). Just outside the city, find a tomb called Amelion Tomb. It's located to the north, on the eastern side of the river. Inside, find a complete set of light armor called Brusefs Amelion Armor. It provides cold resist. There's also a longsword that adds 5 cold damage. The pieces of armor are scattered in the tomb but they're easy to find.

General Tips for Storing Items

Need a place to store stuff but you don't own a house? Use rooftops. Stable buildings outside of towns work well. There's usually a way to jump onto the building from nearby hills or rocks. Your items are out of sight and NPCs generally don't climb up on rooftops, so your stuff stays where you put it.

Don't store your things in random containers. When the game refreshes, the items in that container may delete all your stuff.

Add +5 to Your Favorite Stats

Enter the console (~ key) and enter setdebugtext 10, followed by TDT, to output all the information about your skills and how close you are to gaining a skill point. Enter TDT again to toggle the display of information on and off.

It also displays how many points you gained for each attribute. For example, if it shows STRENGTH: 10, you've gained 10 skill points governed by the Strength stat, therefore allowing you a full +5 STRENGTH next time you level up. This, combined with strategically choosing your major skills, make it easy to ensure you have +5 attribute multipliers for chosen stats each time you level up.

Finish the Main Quest First

Beat the storyline first, then come back to side quests and dungeons because (this might be a bit of a spoiler) in the end the enemies will be the same level as you. If you're a high level (by doing side quests), all your guards will die because they are a low level and it will be nearly impossible to beat the game.

Become 100% Invisible

Want to become completely invisible? First, complete the Mage quest line to gain access to the Arcane University and have five Grand Soul Gems. Enchant five pieces of armor with the Chameleon effect. You are now 100% invisible.

Is This a Threat?

If you are unsure if you are under threat by an attacker, quickly enter Sneak mode. If the crosshair is bright yellow, start looking around.

Screenshot from The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
 Bethesda Softworks

Storing Loot in Bones

One of the most disheartening aspects of Oblivion is parting with valuable loot due to over-encumbrance. To solve that problem, kill an enemy that falls to pieces, like skeletons or storm atronachs.

Pick up a fragment of your fallen foe's corpse. You can store as much loot as you like in it. Just carry the piece with you back to town, where you can sell or store it.

Seek Cover When Under Fire

When you are heavily under fire in an abandoned tower, run up the flights of stairs to the top level. You will usually find a ledge onto which you can jump to put yourself out of the enemy's reach. From there, take time to heal yourself and prepare for a second attack. This also provides a good vantage point to gauge the number of enemies who oppose you.

Keep a keen eye on potential safe locations, like high rocks with limited access, wall ruins that rise high, and the tops of buildings.

How to Increase Alchemy Skills Easily

Alchemy is one of the easiest skills to train. Just duplicate ingredients with the dupe glitch, and make your potions. A lot of them. And you can sell them for a lot of money, too!

How to Increase Speechcraft Semi-Quickly (Xbox 360 Version)

Here's how to quickly and easily raise your Speechcraft on the Xbox 360 version of Oblivion. Talk to someone and persuade them. Start the circle mini-game and keep rotating the circle and keep pushing the A button. You gain Speechcraft semi-quick doing so and there is no limit to how long you can do this.

Enemies Don't Like Borders

Oblivion NPCs, unlike Morrowind, can cross zone borders. While aggressive NPCs can cross zone borders, they rarely do so en masse, and sometimes they don't cross at all. Enter an area with six or so hostile Daedra within striking range, return to the door directly behind you, and one of them will follow you through the zone crossing. If you're fighting a horde, this method can make dealing with them much simpler.

How to Get a Free Unique Horse

To get a free horse, or rather a unicorn, go south of the Imperial City across the moat. You'll see a camp on your compass. Go to it, then head south until you see a shrine to Hircine. From there, go south to an open field, kill the three minotaurs, and you'll find a unicorn. It's fast and strong, but don't attack it or it won't let you ride it again. It counts as your mount even outside of cities.

Well-Fed Mudcrab

On the road, NE from Skingrad to the Imperial City is a cave called Greenmead Cave. Inside is a very well-fed Mudcrab.