As evidenced by its extensive library of books, the region of Skyrim is home to a cavalcade of writers, both amateur and professional alike. Many of the pages you’ll come across in the world range from nonfiction to poetry, from interviews to biographies, and from the epic tales of heroes to the whimsical accounts of cowards. Somewhere in the mix, however, are a few books that offer legitimately useful insights on Skyrim as only their “real-world” authors can impart.
We’ve compiled a list of 12 such books and their various locations throughout the game’s map (Three of these books are hidden deep within the world and have yet to be listed on public record. One we found. Two, well, if happen you see them, let us know!). Linked in each title is also the full text from the dedicated folks at The Unofficial Elder Scrolls Pages. Sure, you could scour the internet or burn up one of your holiday gift cards on a strategy guide for the same knowledge, but sometimes you just can’t beat the reliability of a solid primary source.
Skyrim’s version of Sun Tzu, Zurin Arctus, has honed his metaphorical talents into creating a tactical outline for the journeyman battlemage. It’s not the easiest read, but its chock full of wisdom to set your mind in a winning direction.
Thus when the army strikes a blow, it will be like a thunderclap out of a cloudless sky. The best victories are those unforeseen by the enemy, but obvious to everyone afterwards.
- Southfringe Sanctum (Falkreath Hold) on Bashnag (only as part of quest The Savior of Selveni Nethri)
- 540 ft SW of Bthardamz (The Reach) (x=-172168, y=37756)
- 470 ft N of Fallowstone Cave (The Rift) (x=194183, y=-74147)
- Ravenscar Hollow (Haafingar), on a table
- The White Hall (Dawnstar)
Whether it’s a sword, greatsword, mace, battle axe, or dagger, author Eduardo Corvus shows you how to wield your weapons to give them the highest degree of lethality.
To wield the blade there are some fundamentals. Quick strikes are always good, but can be repelled, so watch for your opponent’s own defensive postures. Wait for an opening, or create one with your own heavy attacks. Hammers hit hardest but are slow. Same with maces and all blunt weaponry. Axes are a nice middle ground, while swords are the quickest but won’t stagger your opponent as efficiently with the hard hits.
Location: Bookshelf in Fadenhal’s house in the town of Riverwood.
A brief guide touching on can’t miss attractions for any Skyrim tourist.
Whiterun is the heart of Skyrim, its towering palace rivaling even the great castles of Cyrodiil. But should you tire of the Jarl’s hospitality, another adventure awaits a few hours to the east of the city, along the road that rises above White River Gorge. The Ritual Stone can be found atop the lone hill that rises on the north side of the road, set into an ancient monument. Take time to soak in the incredible view of Whiterun, the tundra, and the gorge from this unique spot.
- College of Winterhold, Arcanaeum, on the floor.
- College of Winterhold, Arcanaeum, on a ledge.
- White River Watch, on a bookshelf.
- Driftshade Refuge, on a bookshelf.
- Dragonsreach, upstairs on a bookshelf.
Despite being an incomplete list for the various spells and armor used in enchanting – and therefore carrying a misleading title – the book does a good job of introducing the basic fundamentals of enhancing your apparel.
Another common form of armor enchantment are the resistances. The elemental resistances are marginally easier to find and make. The [sic] make the wearer less susceptible to burning, freezing and shocks. There are also poison resistances and enchantments that will resist all forms of magic.
- The Brinehammer Below Deck (The Pale)
- Falion’s House (Morthal), on a shelf
- Fort Amol (Eastmarch), on the cupboard next to the arcane enchanter.
- Steamscorch Mine (Eastmarch), on a table just after entrance
- Shrine of Mehrunes Dagon
Another of Bienne’s “complete cataloges” that, while useful, are actually somewhat incomplete. But let’s giver her credit. Just as Einstein believed in a static universe
, Yvonne was simply working with the knowledge of her time period and was almost certainly a genius in the eyes of her friend and cat.
A particularly insidious, but somewhat common enchantment, is soul trap. Upon entering the blood, the victim’s soul is bound. Should he die shortly thereafter, he [sic]
soul is siphoned off to a nearby soul gem. This form of magic should only be used against beasts and monsters. To use it against men or elves is abhorrent.
- Castle Dour, Emperor’s Tower (Solitude)
- Darkwater Pass, near the middle of the dungeon, found on top of the enchanting table
- Roadside Ruins (Falkreath Hold), near a chest in the center
- The White Hall (Dawnstar)
- Urag gro-Shub (College of Winterhold), Hitting the Books quest reward.
Skyrim’s Rule: An Outsider’s View by Abdul-Mujib Ababneh
If you’re like me and the first time you heard the word “Jarl” mentioned, you thought someone was hunting for a wild bird, then this guide will help explain the power structure in Skyrim quite nicely.
It would appear that the entire province of Skyrim is separated into territories known as “holds,” and each hold finds its seat of power in one of the great, ancient cities. And in each of those cities, there rules that hold’s king, known as a Jarl.
The Jarls of Skyrim are, as a whole, a fierce sight indeed. Sitting on their thrones, ready to administer justice, or send their forces out to quell some local threat, be it a pack of feral wolves or a terrifying giant that has wandered too close to a settlement.
Wulfmare’s Guide to Better Thieving by Wulfmare Shadow-Cloak
One of Skyrim’s most successful (and naturally cocky) thieves shows us how to pick locks and be stealthy like a fox.
Picking pockets is one of the easiest skills to learn, but you’d be surprised how often I’ve seen novice thieves muck it up. The lesson here is two-fold. First, know your surroundings and second, know your approach. Where and when you decide to go fishing is just as important as who you chose as your mark. Follow them a while, there’s never a need to rush. Wait until they’re somewhere isolated and out of earshot of any guards – but most importantly always know when to let the mark go. Getting pinched simply isn’t worth the risk. There’ll always be plenty of other marks who’ll come along with their pockets full.
- Fort Sungard Oubliette (The Reach)
- Goldenglow Estate Sewer (The Rift), by a skeleton in a side room with an Adept lock
- Jarl’s Longhouse (Falkreath), right room of the bottom floor locked in a display case with an Expert lock
- Mara’s Eye Den (Eastmarch), in a box with several other books by a stone pillar
A five-step guide to being the best spellcaster in all of Tamriel.
3. Wards can kill (you)
There is no question that wards are an essential tool of any aspiring mage. They can block incoming spells, negating your opponent’s attack and wasting his magicka. A good mage knows, however, to not rely too heavily on her ward. Keeping a ward readied for too long will leave a caster drained of magicka, unable to retaliate, and at worst unable to maintain the ward and therefore completely defenseless.
Location: Rumored to be in Riften
Not all merchants and traders are created equal in Skyrim, and as Dadisun details in his book, knowing how to be savvy with your coin can make a considerable difference on your bottom line.
A lot of the game depends on recognizing the types of shop-keepers and not automatically assuming that the rural merchant is ignorant and easily fooled, or the rapacious city merchant is selling shoddy merchandise. Caravans, it should be mentioned, are always good places to go to buy or trade.
Knowing what you’re buying and from whom is a talent bought only after years of practice. Know the specialties of certain regions and merchants before you even step foot in a shop.
- Bards College (Solitude), in one of the classrooms
- Dead Men’s Respite (Hjaalmarch), easternmost point
- East Empire Company Warehouse (Haafingar)
- 230 ft SSW of Falkreath Stormcloak Camp (x=36955, y=-79174)
- Shrine to Peryite, on a table next to the Alchemy station
In an update on Yvonne Bienne’s Enchantment series, Sergius Turrianus walks us through using the Arcane Enchanter.
Items that already have enchantments cannot be enchanted further, so choose carefully when you enchant a blade or helmet. Before beginning an enchantment, make sure you have a filled soul gem. The enchantment will use this soul as a source of power. Place the item and the soul gem on the Arcane Echanter[sic]. Concentrate on the enchantment. The device will meld the two together, enchanting your weapon or armor.
- Carlotta Valentia’s House (Whiterun), on the bedroom floor
- 410 ft NNW of Fort Kastav (Winterhold) (x=110606, y=62406)
- Honeyside (Riften)
- Hob’s Fall Cave (Winterhold), in the Ritual Room
- 530 ft NNE of Valthume (x=-110922, y=-20620)
The ancient race that inhabited Skyrim’s caves and mines seems like they took some pages right out of Raiders of The Lost Ark
). This guide sure would have come in handy before
I ventured into Bleak Falls Barrow and got impaled by a spear-tipped swinging gate – though, admittedly, a decent set of armor would have been better.
The most often-overlooked obstacles are the abundance of traps spread throughout the tombs. Ranging from simple tripwire-activated rock falls to complex pressure plate-triggered dart traps, the Nords utilize these devices abundantly. Most of the traps can be avoided by simply looking for the trigger mechanism and avoiding them. Since they are most often placed in areas where distractions abound, remember to keep your eyes to the floor.
If you ever plan on joining the Imperial Legion, this invaluable guide will let you read up on the various political and social dynamics in each of Skyrim’s nine holds.
Located in the eastern reaches of Skyrim, Eastmarch shares a common border with Morrowind. Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak rules from the ancient city of Windhelm, and he and his followers should be considered your most serious threat.Do not tread lightly in Eastmarch, for the Stormcloaks are at their strongest and most organized in these lands. As an Imperial soldier, you will find few friends here.
- College of Winterhold, Arcanaeum, on the floor and on a ledge.
Have you found any more usefull books in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim? What do you think of our list here? Be sure to sound off in the comments or join our great community in the forums!