Stealth in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, like in most games, can be used to sneak past enemies undetected, steal objects of value or murder either enemies or innocent without ever being caught. There is also a Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood for those who would like to put their skills in sneaking to a good, personal use. One should also keep in mind that to complete missions for these Guilds, they may need to keep raising their sneak level. Having it above Journeyman is recommended.
There are several uses for stealth:
When in stealth mode it is possible steal goods from a character by selecting them. However, the player needs to note that this doesn't mean nobody can see them. It should be also noted that the heavier and more numerous (especially in the case of ) the item is, the higher the chance that the Hero will be detected and a small bounty will be placed on their head. Stealing will also lower the victim's disposition towards the Hero.
Weightless items can be placed in the inventory of characters via "reverse-pickpocketing."
When pickpocketing from someone who is already hostile towards the Hero, the items they steal do not seem to be categorized as stolen.
A good tactic is to wait until the pickpocket target is asleep, which makes it possible to pickpocket items without worrying about the target moving.
Moving undetected while trespassing, staying in the shadows - these things are affected by sneak skill. However, hiding behind various pieces of furniture works just as well as previously mentioned methods along with moving behind someone, however one should take care they don't turn around and spot the Hero. A combination of these three methods is even better. One should be aware that until they reach a certain level, the weight of boots they wear will affect their sneaking ability. This can easily be avoided by simply taking off boots to sneak. Jumping can also draw unwanted attention. It is advisable to make sure that location of the person the player aims to sneak by is known so that they don't have to deal with various surprises.
Any item that belongs to another character that cannot be taken without being recognized as crime will have a red hand icon (). If taken, such items can only be sold to fences of the Thieves Guild. Also, if a guard or character sees the Hero stealing something, they will have officially committed a crime and will have to flee, be imprisoned or pay a fine. In the case of the latter two, all stolen possessions (except gold and quest items) will be taken from the Hero's inventory. Thus, one should avoid getting caught "red-handed." Some items (usually unimportant ones, such as silverware) will lose their "stolen" status over time. This is represented by a partially-faded red hand icon on the item's icon in the inventory menu.
Although stealth itself is not required to pick a lock, if the player is being watched while lock picking a chest marked as someone else's property or a door to a forbidden area, they may be reported to a guard and receive a small bounty. It is only necessary to be unseen at the exact time that the lockpicking is began; time stops when the mini-game begins.
There are various tactics for a person looking into a stealth player.
Sneak, shoot and shank
The one most preferred is the sneak, shoot, and shank. The object of this tactic is to sneak around until the enemy is found. Then, making sure the Hero is not seen, sneaking as far away as possible while still being able to get an accurate shot. Then, letting arrow fly and hoping it hits. It should be noted that, if it misses, the enemy could be alerted of the player's presence. As the enemy runs towards the Hero, they should send some more arrows at him until he reaches them. By now, at least half his health should be gone. Now, only to finish the work with blade. This is the tactic of a well balanced character using most of the stealth battle abilities.
Another tactic is the poisoned dart. In this strategy, a person will use poisoned arrows and a bow. Normally, the person doing this should sneak slowly, making sure that they will have the maximum distance possible before they have to confront their enemies. Once an enemy is spotted, they should normally look for a platform, or some cover to hide from the enemy. Then they are to launch the poisoned arrow into their enemy. If the poison doesn't kill the enemy on the spot, maybe another poisoned arrow will. The player should keep this up until the enemy is dead. This is best used in large corridors or huge chambers when there is a lot of cover. The upside is that not much health or arrows is lost and that this is the perfect way to pick off an enemy quietly. The downside is that one needs to make or buy the poison. Some useful attributes are alchemy so that the Hero can make their own poisons, marksman and sneak so that the player's enemies won't see them before they strike. In case the enemy has spotted the Hero, they should have a decent weapon and armor skill to hold on their own.
The hardest tactic is the shadow step. The player that uses this should have a very high sneak skill and may or may not have chameleon on their armor. This person will stay in sneak almost always. If they are not in a shadow, they are either moving to another or about to ambush the enemy in front of them. Now, they can either; move and try not to be seen at all, or sneak and try to kill the enemy. The first is extremely hard, while the latter is a bit easier, but having a good weapon is advisable. If this form is chosen, night eye and detect life can be quite helpful. That way, is possible to see people coming and hide before they detect the player. This is best used in cramped corridors, or shadowy caves. A poisoned blade could also be helpful. Getting weapon and sneak level up are advisable if one is want to play like this. One will also need to be able to deal with these enemies quickly and without a sound. Alchemy and light armor can be used for making poisons and protection respectively.
- Whilst in stealth mode it is impossible to talk to characters.
- One should be aware that the weight of their footwear modifies their stealth negatively until a Journeyman level of stealth is reached. Until the player reaches a Journeyman, it is advisable for them to be barefoot when utilizing stealth.
- If one wants to steal from a merchant or house, a great way is to stake out the place and see how the owner reacts, like for example if they follow the Hero or not. Also finding out if the owner has a dog or not as these can blow one's cover as they bark or attack the intruded, making noise and rousing the owner.