The skill of persuasion can be used to get better prices from merchants and persuade others to do as you ask.

"Heard about you and your honeyed words..."
For this skill in other games, see Speechcraft.

Speech is a skill in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and is one of the six skills that falls under The Thief play-style. This skill is a combination of both Speechcraft and Mercantile skills of previous Elder Scrolls and replaces them. Speech may also help with quests by unlocking special dialogue interactions, including Intimidate, Mock, Brawl and more.

Governing Guardian Stone: The Thief Stone

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 buy items for twice their base price and sell 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.

Types of Speech

  • Persuade
  • Intimidate
  • Brawl
  • Bribe
  • Buy/Sell


The following are the perks that become available to select as the skill is leveled up:

Perk (Ranks) Requirements Description
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:

  1. GoldIcon can be pickpocketed from them. This means the store will not have 500 GoldIcon when their inventory refreshes. Stealing from them does not lower their disposition.
  2. GoldIcon 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 are a list of books that increase the Speech Skill. For a list of locations, see the individual book article:


The following miscellaneous quests increases the Speech Skill:


Leveling tips

Method One

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. GoldIcon spent bribing a guard can be pickpocketed back with a high enough pickpocket skill.

Method Two

During the Dark Brotherhood quest, "Recipe For Disaster", Anton Virane can be intimidated repeatedly to level Speech. This can be accomplished by:

  1. When talking with him, after saying "For the Dark Brotherhood, that can be easily arranged. (Intimidate)", he will respond "The Dark Brotherhood?".
  2. If the conversation is immediately exited, the Dragonborn can begin to talk to him again and quickly skip through most of the conversation.
  3. Exiting the conversation at the same time as before increases Speech.

This can be repeated forever.

Method Three

In Dawnstar, the Ahkari Merchant chest can be accessed (see page for details). All gold should be put into the chest, then Ahkari should be returned to. All items in the inventory can be sold to her, which will retrieve the gold put in her chest. Then all the items sold can be retrieved from the chest. This can be repeated forever.

Method Four

Similar to Method One, 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 won't let it slide the next time, they will never attack or arrest the Dragonborn (of course, if the submit or resist dialogue option was not chosen).

NOTE: This will not remove the bounty, it will just stop the conversation peacefully, while slightly improving speech skill. 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.

Method Five

During the Dampened Spirits quest, the Dragonborn can loop a conversation with Sabjorn to quickly level speech. To do this:

  1. A conversation with Sabjorn can be started (this must be during the quest).
  2. When Sabjorn says that the Dragonborn won't be paid until the job is done, the intimidate option can be chosen.
  3. The conversation should be immediately exited when he begins his sentence (PC = Esc or Tab).
  4. This can be repeated as needed.


Some items increase the Speech skill. These include:


Snake Tongue
Successfully persuade, bribe, and intimidate
Points 10 Gamer points
Bronze trophy

See also

Start a Discussion Discussions about Speech

  • Selling to broke merchants

    4 messages
    • Purrington wrote:In Skyrim? Yes it definitely will. One time I used an exploit to make an item with abnormally high value, (Like a mill...
    • wrote:Purrington wrote:In Skyrim? Yes it definitely will. One time I used an exploit to make an item with abnormally high val...
  • Intimidation check for Daedric armor?

    2 messages
    • Has anyone confirmed it yet? I have never notice any sort of  bonus, and I wear a full set of Daedric armor and I have all the perks for he...
    • Yea its a not-so-common glitch (PS dont take it for granted it dies off in a bit)
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