Active Effects are magical qualities that affect the Dragonborn. These effects can be negative, positive, or both, and have varied durations. The Active Effects menu is found in the magic section of the player interface and lists the effects currently impacting the player. Active effects can be derived from potions, poisons, eating ingredients, enchanted items, food, Abilities, spells, and Black Books.
Types of active effects
Potions & poisons
Potions and poisons function in similar fashion but are opposites. Potions typically aid the player while poisons have negative effects. If a mixture has both positive and negative effects it is considered a potion and is drinkable, only affecting the drinker.
Poisons have a negative effect on the recipient. Typical poisons are not drinkable and are instead applied to weapons.
Eating alchemy ingredients
The player can choose to eat an alchemy ingredient. When doing so, the first effect of that ingredient is revealed. If one has the Alchemy perk Experimenter more may be revealed as well. When eating an alchemy ingredient the first effect will be applied to the player for a short period of time. For example, eating a Glowing Mushroom will give the player the active effect Resist Shock.
Food items can be eaten by the player usually restoring health points. Food is not essential for survival in any of The Elder Scrolls games.
Equipping enchanted items allows the wearer to take on that magical quality, which will then be listed in the Active Effects menu. The magical item will affect the wearer for as long as it remains equipped. Also, the player can be negatively impacted by being struck with an enchanted weapon. For example, when hit with a weapon enchanted with Absorb Magicka the player will lose a set amount of magicka in addition to the health lost from the strike. The absorb magicka effect will register in the Active Effects menu for as long as it is active.
Abilities are magical effects that alter some of the player's stats and skill values. There are many types of abilities, depending on the duration and acquisition of the ability:
- Meditations on the Words of Power (Skyrim)
- Abilities gained through the completion of quests
- Abilities unique to each of the Races
- Abilities given by Standing Stones (Skyrim) or a Doomstone (Oblivion)
- Temporary abilities such as The Gift of Charity
Spells have a temporary magical impact on the caster or on the target of the spell. For example, the Illusion spell Call to Arms gives all recipients increased combat abilities, stat boosts in three disciplines, and increased Health and Stamina.
- In Skyrim, drinks such as Ale, Honningbrew Mead, and Spiced Wine count as food items. Therefore, they are found in that section of the player's inventory.
- Prowler's Profit, an ability gained with the completion of the quest "No Stone Unturned," does not appear in the Active Effects menu, but is nonetheless active on the player.
- Agent of Mara, an ability gained with the completion of the quest "The Book of Love," is listed in the Active Effects menu as the effect Resist Magic.