Nearly nine years have passed since The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim released. In that period, players have spent thousands of hours scouring the Nordic region for new items and Shouts all while uncovering unique secrets.
Some secrets in Skyrim have remained a mystery to this day while others have taken years to find. It goes to show just how massive a game like Skyrim is. Even fans of the franchise are sure to miss a few of Skyrim’s secrets. Here are ten of the most noteworthy secrets and subtleties one can find in Skyrim. This article contains spoilers for Skyrim’s main questline.
Many Skyrim players that have completed the Thieves Guild questline might be familiar with the guild’s Shadowmarks. For those unaware, Shadowmarks are special etching made on the side of buildings or objects placed by former thieves.
Shadowmarks can tell a thief if the location is filled with treasure, has already been robbed, if the owner has ties with the guild, or if the location is not safe to enter. Keep an eye out for these in major towns to find some extra goodies. There’s a complete guide that covers what each symbol means that Skyrim fans can read here.
9 Map Renders In Real-Time
Image from u/MetroWolf (Reddit)
Unlike previous Elder Scrolls games, Bethesda opted to make the map in Skyrim render in real-time When players zoom in on a particular location, they are seeing a true 3D representation of that space.
What’s noteworthy about this is the map will display any action the player is partaking in when they open the map. For example, absorbing a dragon soul will display the dragon’s orange glow beside the player when they open their map.
8 Invisible Vendor Chests
Stealthy players might have tried to pickpocket a vendor at some point to steal their wares, only to find that NPCs don’t carry any goods on them. Where are these items stored then?
Interestingly, vendor items are stored in hidden chests that can be found in every major city excluding Falkreath. The easiest vendor chest can be found in Dawnstar. Head to the Iron-Breaker Mine. Just before entering the mine, look to the left of the entrance for a pile of rocks. Crouch and approach the rocks to find an invisible chest containing the goods of Dawnstar’s Khajiit caravan.
7 Sovngarde’s Statues Stare At The Player
During the final story missions in Skyrim, players are tasked with entering Sovngarde and slaying Alduin. Upon arriving, players will immediately be greeted with half a dozen statues overlooking the area.
What many don’t know is that these statues act like Doctor Who’s weeping angels. Whenever the player can not see the statues, they will begin to turn towards the Dragonborn. To test it, turn away from the statues when entering Sovngarde for the first time. Wait a few seconds before turning around again. Every statue in Sovngarde will be staring at the Dragonborn. It’s one of the creepiest aspects of Skyrim that rivals the moving mannequins bug.
6 Companions Can Open Any Chest
Companions might be one of the more annoying mechanics in Skyrim, prone to setting off traps and getting in the player’s way. That said, they do have a use. Every humanoid companion in Skyrim has the ability to open any chest in the game. This includes locked chests up to Master difficulty. If players are fed up with lockpicking, ask a companion to open the chest instead.
5 Hidden Blackreach Dragon
Blackreach is no stranger to secrets. Crimson Nirnroot and massive glowing mushrooms are just a few notable aspects of this location. What Blackreach also has over most of Skyrim’s zones is a hidden boss.
Head towards the central city of Blackreach and look for a glowing orb hanging from the ceiling. It can be found right next to the Debate Hall. Once there, use any shout at the orb to summon a unique dragon named Vulthuryol. Should the player let the dragon live, it will fly around Blackreach and kill any living creature it sees. Just be careful summoning this dragon as it spawns at level 50 and can only be removed from Blackreach by killing it.
4 Alternate Dark Brotherhood Questline
After players complete the “Innocence Lost” quest and are kidnapped by Astrid, they are tasked with choosing a prisoner to murder before Astrid will let the Dragonborn leave. Instead of killing the prisoners, the player can instead kill Astrid.
Killing Astrid will start an entirely new Dark Brotherhood questline aptly named “Destroy the Dark Brotherhood” where players need to kill every major Dark Brotherhood member inside of Sanctuary. Players gain Sanctuary’s password from Commander Maro. Killing every key member of the Dark Brotherhood will cause Maro to give the player 3,000 Gold as thanks. Sanctuary will also stay intact for the rest of the playthrough.
3 The Forgotten Vale’s Paragon Portals
Skyrim’s Dawnguard DLC introduced the massive Forgotten Vale dungeon. This open location has plenty of hidden items and secrets to uncover. By far the most intricate secret in the Forgotten Vale is the zone’s various Paragon gems.
Paragons are found on the corpses of frost giants that inhabit the zone. Once the player has a Paragon, they can take it to the paragon platform east of the Wayshrine of Resolution. Socket a Paragon into the device to open a hidden portal. There are five Paragons in total, meaning this zone has five hidden locations in total. Expect to find Gold, potions, armor, and the powerful Auriel’s Shield unique item from these portals.
2 Companions Can Wield A Giant Club
A few of Skyrim’s giant encampments include Giant Clubs as miscellaneous items the player can pick up. While the player can’t use them, companions can use them as proper melee weapons. To do so, remove every weapon from their inventory then command them to pick up the item.
If done properly, the companion will now wield the Giant Club as a weapon. Strangely, this weapon scales with one-handed enchantments on gear but still respects perks from the Two-Handed skill tree. Give this to companions with a high Two-Handed stat such as Vilkas to get the most out of this weapon.
1 Pickpocketing Can Instantly Kill Briarhearts
Pickpocketing can be useful for planting poisonous potions into an enemy’s inventory. While this is mostly a novelty, those with a high Pickpocket skill have the ability to instantly kill every Briarheart in Skyrim.
All the player needs to do is steal a Briar Heart from any Forsworn Briarheart foe. Doing so will rip the heart straight from their chest, instantly killing them. Stealing their heart is much more difficult than it sounds due to every Briarheart having an acute sense of hearing. Use spells or enchantments that muffle footsteps to close the gap without alerting them.