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 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.
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
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 are a list of books that increase the Speech Skill. For a list of locations, see the individual book article:
- Biography of the Wolf Queen
- 2920, Second Seed, v.5
- A Dance in Fire, v.6
- A Dance in Fire, v.7
- The Buying Game
- Oghma Infinium - raises other Thief-based skills if the "Path of Shadow" is selected.
The following miscellaneous quests increases the Speech Skill:
- Steal the Staff of Arcane Authority for Malur Seloth in Winterhold.
- Collect a Mammoth Tusk for Ysolda from Whiterun.
- Jumping from Bard's Leap Summit at Lost Valley Redoubt south of Roriksted and surviving raises Speech when the Bard's Ghost at the bottom is spoken to again.
- Retrieve Finn's Lute for Inge Six Fingers at the Bard's College in Solitude. This also increases the Light Armor, Sneak, Lockpicking, Pickpocket, and Alchemy skills.
- Revyn Sadri (Common): Sadri's Used Wares, east Windhelm
- Dro'marash (Adept): Khajiit Caravans
- Ogmund (Expert): Markarth
- Giraud Gemane (up to 90 - Master): Bards College, Solitude
- Azzadal of the Bards College increases the Speech skill by one after being spoken to twice.
- Ronthil (Adept) Castle Volkihar
- Talsgar the Wanderer (Common), random encounter
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 with a high enough pickpocket skill.
- 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.
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.
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.
- A conversation with Sabjorn can be started (this must be during the quest).
- When Sabjorn says that the Dragonborn won't 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.
Some items increase the Speech skill. These include:
- Amulet of Dibella
- Amulet of Articulation
- Masque of Clavicus Vile
- Potion of Glibness (+20 for 60 sec)
- Thieves Guild Hood (Prices are 10% better.)
| Snake Tongue|
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|