Elder Scrolls
Elder Scrolls
For leveled items, see Leveled Items.

Character Level is a statistic denoting the strength of the player character, NPCs, and hostile entities. The most rudimentary level is 1, while the maximum level differs across games in The Elder Scrolls series. Non-native to The Elder Scrolls, character level is a game term across role-playing games. Level increases upon being awarded experience points (colloquially referred to as "XP"). Experience points are awarded by completing tasks outlined by Characters or by killing hostile foes. In The Elder Scrolls, character level increases on a 1 by 1 basis each time a certain quota of skill levels are achieved. Skills, alternatively, are leveled by performing actions governed by the skill. For example, Security in Oblivion increases when locks are successfully picked or when lockpicks break. Magic, such as Alteration, can cause level up when a certain number of Alteration spells, such as Feather, are cast. The same rings true for combat and all other skills.

Level caps[]

  • Morrowind – 78.5; if a character is created with minimum skills (30 minimum for main skills and 15 minimum for secondary skills) and no bonus(es) from a birthsign. Can be higher if skill levels are lowered by going to jail, disease, or magical effects. Can also be raised further by reading skill books for major and minor skills after them reaching 100.
  • Oblivion – 50; can be higher depending on skill levels, class, and birthsign.
  • Skyrim – 81.5 prior to update 1.9, removed as of version 1.9. However, the hard limit is level 65,535 (see below).

Leveled items and creatures[]

Pieces of Daedric Armor only appear after level 20 in Oblivion.

See also: Leveled Items and Leveled Creatures

Level determines the strength and power of the creatures and items found on Tamriel. For example, characters of level 26 or above are more inclined to encounter Dremora Markynaz in Oblivion Gates, than Clannfear. Some enemies, such as Scamps, will not appear in the world at all after reaching a certain level.

Combat items such as armor and weapons increase in value and protection rating based on level as well. For example, Kud-Ei, a member of the Mages Guild, is a spellsword. At low levels, she wields a standard steel longsword, but as character level increases, her sword level also increases, raising to elven and eventually Daedric. Thus, if armor and weapons of Daedric quality are desired, the character level must be raised before they appear in the world.

The higher level a character is, the more likely that quests with leveled loot will offer more Gold. Certain magical items are leveled, meaning the magnitude of their enchantments increases the higher level the person who discovered them is.


As characters level up, foes become noticeably more difficult. Manually adjusting the Difficulty slider to bring the game back in line with the character is an optional solution. A solution in Skyrim is to use the player.setlevel <n> command.

For example, if level 12 is reached by overly using non-combat skills, while combat skills are left at level 10 or lower, the console commands can be used to enter: player.setlevel 10. This resets the difficulty level back to something appropriate for a 10th level character. Otherwise, foes will be at level 12 appropriateness, while the character is only suited for level 10 combat.

Gaining levels[]


As you adventure in the land, you will gain experience. At certain times when enough experience is gained, you will also gain a level. Gaining a level results in stat increases, health increases, and improved abilities. As a rough guide Bethesda released this table with the game manual. It is also worth noting that the main classes (such as a warrior) require less experience points to level up than their sub classes (such as a knight) while these are small at lower levels the gap gets quite large as the levels progress. The following table shows the experience required for leveling up:

Level Thieves Thief Subclasses Warriors Warriors Subclasses Mages Mages Subclasses
1 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 800 1000 900 1,100 1,000 1,200
3 1,500 1,875 1,687 2,062 1,875 2,250
4 2,812 3,515 3,164 3,867 3,515 4,218
5 5,273 6,591 5,932 7,250 6,591 7,910
6 9,887 12,359 11,123 13,595 12,359 14,831
7 18,539 23,174 20,856 25,491 23,174 27,809
8 34,761 43,451 39,106 47,796 43,451 52,142
9 65,177 81,472 73,324 89,617 81,472 97,766
10 122,208 152,760 137,484 168,032 152,760 183,312
Note: From each level after 10, multiply the experience points by 1.5. For example, a thief will need (122,208 x 1.5) or 183,312 experience points for level 11.


Length: 2 sec
Description: Morrowind Level Up

When a character increases any Minor or Major skill ten times a level is gained. This can be performed by using said skills, or retaining the services of a skill trainer. Any combination of these skills can be increased for a level-up, be it the same skill ten times, five skills two times, etc. A message to "rest and meditate on what you've learned" is received, and the character must sleep soundly in a bed, or deep in the wilderness far away from any settlements in order to receive the level-up interface. Waiting is not sufficient for this to occur.

In the level-up interface, the character's attributes are displayed and can be increased. These frequently have multipliers, which are assigned based on the number of times an attribute's governing skills have been increased since the last level-up, up to a maximum of 5×. Minor, Major, and Miscellaneous skill increases contribute to the determination of the multipliers. Luck can never have a multiplier because it does not govern any skills.

The character also gains Health with every level-up. It is increased by amount equal to ten percent of the character's Endurance, including any Endurance gained during the current level-up. Endurance bonuses from magical effects or enchantments are not considered.


In Oblivion, a character gains a level after a total of 10 major skill increases, since they last gained a level. These increases can be spread across any number of these major skills. For example, increasing the Blade skill five times, the Block skill two times, and the Heavy Armor skill three times results in a total of ten skill increases. The character then receives a notice to meditate and rest (sleep), so that he or she may gain a level and distribute attribute points. If this meditation notice is accidentally overlooked, a moon with an arrow pointing up to the left appears next to the compass, indicating that a level up can occur. Level ups stack if they are not taken right away, causing the player to level up multiple times upon next sleeping.

Optimizing leveling[]

Red bars depict the progress of each skill level-up and the overall character level progress. This character is about to level up.

To optimize leveling, increase skills that match the class specialization chosen at character creation, that match the main attributes for that class, and that are major skills selected for that class. For example, Destruction, based on the Intelligence attribute, falls under the Magic specialization. So, a character, that choose intelligence as a main attribute, magic as a specialization, and Destruction as a major skill requires less casting experience to receive skill levels in Destruction, making leveling up easier. To be specific, only 45% of the base experience is required before skill advancement. Of the seven Combat, Magic, and Stealth skills chosen for a class, only 75% of the experience needed to level up is required. For the major skills chosen for the class, only 60% is needed. Skills not falling under the specializing, attributes, or major skills take the longest to level up because they, by logic, need the most experience.

Some players prefer to use a reverse tactic, instead of choosing major skills that correspond with ones that will be used most often during game play, ones that are used least often are selected instead, so that better control of leveling up can be gained, allowing for creatures to be easier. The downside is that the loot is weaker and the player must increase cross-class skills in order to augment difficulty and improve item drops.

Attribute and stat increase[]

The level up screen in Oblivion displays each attribute modifier. Only three can be selected per level up.

When one skill has been leveled ten times or more during one level progression, it is possible that certain attributes can be increased by five increments, which is the largest of the game. For example, casting Illusion spells and leveling that spell for the majority of one level allows Personality, Illusion's governing attribute, to be raised by +5. This works on a sliding scale. The more a specific skill is leveled per level, the more attribute points the character can add to that skills governing attribute, ranging from +1 (the least used skills) to +5 (the most used skills). Only three attributes can be increased per level up. Once all attributes are maxed out, no more levels can be gained. So gaining attribute modifiers of +5 may not be beneficial.

Health increases by 10% of the Endurance attribute, rounded down. From empirical data, it seems that this gain (the bonus 10%) is not retroactively calculated with future Endurance increases. However, increases in Endurance will retroactively add to your base health (2x Endurance). Magicka gain is identical, but is calculated by Intelligence, while Willpower governs the rate by which magicka regenerates in real time, unless otherwise impeded by outside skills and abilities such as by selecting The Atronach birthsign.


In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, leveling functions much the same, except attributes and classes have been eradicated. Character level is determined solely on skill levels. No shortcuts or experience point discounts are awarded for having major skills or specializations since the class system no longer exists. These discounts are, instead, given by the Guardian Stones (discounted skills depending on a chosen stone - Thief, Warrior or Mage), the Lover Stone (which provides a lower discount than that of the three primary Guardian Stones but all skills are included) and by being RestedWell Rested or having Lover's Comfort which gives a 5%, 10% and 15% bonus respectively.

Additionally, instead of requiring rest, sleep, or meditation to increase character level, it occurs instantly. Simply follow the prompts on the screen, select which of the three statistics to raise (Stamina, Health, or Magicka), then allocate perks to whichever skill tree the player wishes to advance. This can even be done in combat, and will refill whichever statistic is raised upon level-up, giving the potential to use a level-up as a means of recovery during a fight.

Even though Skyrim's level cap was removed as of version 1.9, the hard limit is actually level 65,535 (Hex number FFFF). Attempting to level past this point crashes the game due to the value overflowing back to zero.


See also: Champion System


Quests and factions[]

  • Certain quests require a character level of either 2, 5, 10, 15, 17, 20, 25, 30, or 80 to start them.
  • Many quest rewards usually cap at level 20, while some will cap at level 30, with a few exceptions.
  • It is possible to complete much of what the game has to offer at level 1, including reaching the top rank of factions, like the Imperial City Arena.

See also[]