- For this skill in other games, see Speechcraft.
The skill of persuasion can be used to get better prices from merchants and persuade others to do as you ask.
Speech is a skill in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and is one of the six skills that falls under The Thief playstyle. This skill is a combination of both Speechcraft and Mercantile skills of previous Elder Scrolls games and replaces them. Speech may also help with quests by unlocking special dialogue interactions, including Intimidate, Persuade, Bribe, Mock, Brawl, and more.
Usefulness and function
Speech directly affects the prices paid when buying from and selling to merchants, even without the assorted perks. At 0 Speech, merchants sell items for 3 times their base price, and buy for a third of their base price. At 100 Speech, merchants will sell items for twice their base price and buy them for half as much. Alternatively, Speech can be used to persuade people into doing things or divulging crucial information. Bribes made are also governed by Speech. There are 65 male and 45 female merchants in Skyrim, so Dragonborns interested in Allure have an advantage if they choose to be female.
Types of Speech
- Barter (buy/sell)
The following are the perks that become available to select as the skill is leveled up:
|Haggling (5)||Buying and selling prices are 10% better (+5% per additional rank)|
|Allure||Speech 30, Haggling||10% better prices with the opposite sex|
|Bribery||Speech 30, Haggling||Can bribe guards to ignore crimes|
|Merchant||Speech 50, Allure||Can sell any type of item to any kind of merchant|
|Persuasion||Speech 50, Bribery||Persuasion attempts are 30% easier|
|Investor||Speech 70, Merchant||Can invest 500 gold with a shopkeeper to increase their available gold permanently †|
|Intimidation||Speech 70, Persuasion||Intimidation is twice as successful|
|Fence||Speech 90, Investor||Can barter stolen goods with any merchant the Dragonborn has invested in|
|Master Trader||Speech 100, Fence||Every merchant in the world gains 1000 gold for bartering|
† The way Investor seems to work is that the 500 gold ends up in the shopkeeper's personal inventory rather than the store inventory. Also, it seems like any gold in the shopkeeper's personal inventory is added to the store gold when calculating how much they can buy. This means two things:
- can be pickpocketed from them. This means the store will not have 500 when their inventory refreshes. Stealing from them does not lower their disposition.
- can be reverse-pickpocketed onto them to increase the investment effect. Also, placing gold is much easier than taking it. This can create shopkeepers with a very high amount of gold.
- See also: Fortify Barter
Prices are computed by the following:
- sell price factor = (3.3 - 1.3 * skill/100) / ((1 + Haggling %) * (1 + Allure %) * (1 + Fortify Barter from potion) * (1 + the sum of Fortify Barter from equipment + Fortify Barter from Blessing of Zenithar))
- buy price factor = (3.3 - 1.3 * skill/100) * (1 / (1 + Haggling %)) * (1 / (1 + Allure %)) * (1 - Fortify Barter from potion) * (1 - the sum of Fortify Barter from equipment - Fortify Barter from Blessing of Zenithar)
- sell price = value / sell price factor
- buy price = value * buy price factor
- At 0 skill and no perks the price factor is 3.3
- At 100 skill and no perks the price factor is 2
- At 100 skill and all perks the price factor is 1.42857.
Skills over 100 have no effect.
The speech skill increase depends on the base value of the item traded or the difficulty of the bribe or persuasion. When selling items, it is not actually required to receive any gold, only that the transaction takes place. The skill increase only occurs once per transaction. In order to optimize leveling, expensive items in groups of 6 or more should be sold individually, rather than all at once.
The following books provide a permanent one-time increase to the Dragonborn's Speech skill. See each book's page for a list of possible locations.
- Biography of the Wolf Queen
- 2920, Second Seed, v5
- A Dance in Fire, v6
- A Dance in Fire, v7
- The Buying Game
- Oghma Infinium – choosing the Path of Shadow increases all Thief skills, including Speech, by five.
The following quests increase or help to increase the Speech skill:
- Tending the Flames for the Bards College awards the Dragonborn with the ability, Gift of the Gab, which increases the experience gained in Speech by 15%.
- Steal the Staff of Arcane Authority for Malur Seloth in Winterhold.
- Collect a Mammoth Tusk for Ysolda from Whiterun.
- Jump from Bard's Leap Summit at Lost Valley Redoubt south of Rorikstead, survive, and speak to the Bard's Ghost at the bottom.
- Retrieve the Finn's Lute for Inge Six Fingers at the Bards College in Solitude. This also increases the Light Armor, Sneak, Lockpicking, Pickpocket, and Alchemy skills.
- Revyn Sadri (Common): Sadri's Used Wares, in the Gray Quarter of Windhelm
- Dro'marash (Adept): Khajiit Caravans
- Ogmund (Expert): Markarth, can be found inside the Silver-Blood Inn
- Giraud Gemane (up to 90 – Master): Bards College, Solitude
- Ronthil (Expert) Castle Volkihar
Members of the Thieves Guild have the option to bribe guards when minor crimes are committed. Repeatedly committing small crimes, such as trespassing or pickpocketing, and bribing guards to look the other way can help level Speech quickly. spent bribing a guard can be pickpocketed back easily with a high enough pickpocket skill.
Similar to the above method, after progressing far enough into the Thieves Guild questline, the Dragonborn can commit a minor crime, such as failed pickpocketing or stealing. Once the crime has been committed, the Dragonborn can go up to a guard and initiate the "Wait, I know you." dialogue. Any option (aside from resisting or submitting to arrest) should be available to persuade them to overlook it. Though the guards says they will not let it slide the next time, they will never attack or arrest the Dragonborn (unless the submit or resist dialogue option was chosen).
Note: This will not remove the bounty, it will just stop the conversation peacefully, while slightly improving Speech. This can then be done to all of the guards in a Hold, but it should not be repeated on the same guard, as this can cause the option to go away. Instead, all the guards should be cycled through with the dialogue. This is especially useful at medium-high levels, since nothing has to be paid or sold, and the risk is practically zero.
Wearing the Aetherial Crown, obtain the blessings from the Lover Stone and the Thief Stone, and combine with Gift of the Gab and any rested bonuses (remove crown/lover stone before resting) will make leveling up Speech even faster (65% with the rested lover's comfort bonus, 60% with well rested). Note that only the Lover and Thief Stones, and Gift of the Gab may be used if the Dragonborn is infected with lycanthropy, as werewolves do not benefit from resting bonuses.
Repeatedly buying and selling
To increase the efficiency of this method get all the learning bonuses above, sell items in groups of 6 or more individually, get a necklace with the Fortify Barter enchantment or an Amulet of Zenithar, activate the Shrine of Zenithar, get The Gift of Charity and take a Haggling potion.
Get a large amount of high value items, in total the value should be tens of thousands of Septims or more. Stolen items are fine. If you have a large pile of otherwise useless items as the result of levelling Alchemy, Enchanting, Pickpocketing or Smithing that is perfect. Keep in mind that you will sacrifice these items to level Speech. Find a merchant who accepts your items. If your items are stolen this should be a fence and if you get better prices from the opposite sex make sure your merchant is. Now sell them items until the merchant runs out of gold. Now buy one or two items back. You will probably pay several times more than they gave you for it, but the seller has gold again. Sell the merchant some more items until they run out of gold again. Repeat this until you run out of items. This allows you to work around the otherwise limited gold merchants have because you are effectively giving it to them.
Persuade the toll road bandit
A bandit at Valtheim Towers will tell the Dragonborn that the road they are on is a toll road, and will demand for 200. An option to persuade and pay only 50 is available. It can be repeated every time when using the road, and will always increase the Dragonborn's Speech skill if the persuasion is used successfully.
Persuade and intimidate Calcelmo
Those who deliver a Dwemer item to Calcelmo may both persuade/intimidate for a better deal and exit the conversation before selecting either, "Sold. Here you go. (Gain ___ gold)," or, "Not good enough. I'll hold onto this. You'll need to find another one." Intimidation requires 40 Speech to be successful; persuading requires 50. Each option can be performed once per item brought to him.
Leveling tips (glitches)
Ahkari's merchant inventory
In Dawnstar, Ahkari's merchant inventory can be accessed through a glitch (see page for details). After placing all gold in the chest, all the items in inventory can be sold to the merchant. Doing this will give back the gold put into the chest. Afterward, the items can be retrieved from the chest and the process repeated forever. The net is no change to gold or items, but an increase in Speech skill.
Intimidate Anton Virane
- When talking with him, after saying, "For the Dark Brotherhood, that can be easily arranged. (Intimidate)," he will respond, "The Dark Brotherhood?."
- If the conversation is immediately exited, the Dragonborn can begin to talk to him again and quickly skip through most of the conversation.
- Exiting the conversation at the same time as before increases Speech.
This can be repeated forever.
- A conversation with Sabjorn can be started (this must be during the quest).
- When Sabjorn says that the Dragonborn will not be paid until the job is done, the intimidate option can be chosen.
- The conversation should be immediately exited when he begins his sentence (PC = Esc or Tab).
- This can be repeated as needed.
During the Daedric quest "The Black Star," the Dragonborn can continually intimidate Nelacar in the Inn in Winterhold. When he asks "Who sent you?" choose the Intimidate option and immediately exit the conversation. This can be repeated indefinitely.
At anytime the Dragonborn can enter the Black-Briar Meadery where you will encounter the shop attendant Ungrien. Confront him and then repeatably persuade him to tell the truth about how he feels about his employer Maven Black-Briar. This glitch can be repeated indefinitely.
- You must have at least a Speech level of 25 to make him cough up the truth, if not then you can use the bribery option until persuasion is effective. If persuasion is not effective then Speech is not increased.
- This bug has been apparently fixed by means of version 1.9, however, if in offline mode on Xbox 360 or you have neglected to accept this patch or any before it. Then the glitch will be operational.
Persuade Ulfric Stormcloak
Some items increase the Speech skill or bartering. These include:
- Amulet of Dibella
- Amulet of Articulation
- Masque of Clavicus Vile
- Glibness potions (+20 to +50 Speech for 60 sec)
- Haggling potions (10% to 25 better prices for 30 seconds)
- Thieves Guild Hood (prices are 10% better)
- Guild Master's Hood (prices are 20% better)
- Daedric Armor (wearing a full set raises the chance of successful intimidation checks by 10%)
- Volsung (Mask) (prices are 20% better)
- Jester's Clothes/Cicero's Outfit
- Amulets of Haggling (12% to 25% better prices)
- Amulet of Zenithar (10% better prices)
In addition, two blessings can be granted:
- The Shrine of Dibella grants +10 Speech for 8 hours
- The Shrine of Zenithar grants 10% better prices for 8 hours
Successfully persuade, bribe, and intimidate
|Skills in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim|
|The Mage||Alteration • Conjuration • Destruction • Enchanting • Illusion • Restoration|
|The Thief||Alchemy • Light Armor • Lockpicking • Pickpocket • Sneak • Speech|
|The Warrior||Archery • Block • Heavy Armor • One-Handed • Smithing • Two-Handed|