Developers Foresight / The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

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  • NPCs will interact with items you drop on the ground, and react differently depending on the item, their social standing, and their relationship with the player. They may just take the item, or they may approach you and return it. If two NPCs approach the same item, it's even possible for them to argue over which of them saw it first, and they'll fight over it. It even works on enemies, allowing the player to get them to kill each other if they can sneak into a room and leave an item behind without being seen. If the items you drop are weapons, a guard will approach you and tell you not to leave weapons lying in the streets, because someone could get hurt. If you're a jerk to them about the warning, they'll issue you a small bounty as a fine for disrupting the peace.
  • A rather interesting one: this video details it. Upon first entering the city of Solitude, the player witnesses the execution of Roggvir, a palace guard who helped Ulfric escape after the latter murdered the High King. However, if the player tries to save Roggvir by effectively killing all the guards... he dies of a heart attack anyways, ensuring that he cannot be spoken to or helped, period. The dev team truly thought of everything.
  • You can "pickpocket" the Briar Hearts out of Forsworn Briarhearts, who have had their natural hearts replaced by Briar Hearts to give them magical power; doing this kills them instantly.
  • There are variations in dialogue between characters depending on if you spoke to them before other characters in the conversation got to them. For example, early in the game, if you get to Hadvar's uncle first and talk to him before Hadvar does the conversation goes a little differently; i.e., "Yes, Player Character told me about the dragon too and I hardly believed it." NPCs will also have different dialogue if you've already looted the objects required to complete their quests.
    • Similarly, if you've killed Grelod the orphanage owner before starting the Dark Brotherhood initiation quest, Aventus Aretino will be amazed at the guild's efficiency when you go to talk with him about his Black Sacrament.
    • Anorther sort of example can be seen in the mission "The Way of The Voice" where the player learns the words to shouts Unrelenting Force and Whirlwind Sprint. If a word has been learned from one of the word walls such as "Wuld" for the latter, Arngeir will point it out and have Borri teach them the next word in the shout instead.
    • You're expected to complete the Thieves' Guild questline without killing anyone, and if necessary, only killing nameless enemy guards instead of important NPCs. However, none of the NPCs you interact with (with a few exceptions like Calcelmo) are essential, meaning you can kill almost all of them, even the ones you're specifically ordered to not hurt. Doing so nets you unique (and angry) dialogue from Mercer, Brynjolf, and Maven.
  • You can snatch arrows out of the air in mid-flight, and knock arrows out of the air with your own. Nearly impossible to do either of these without the Slow Time shout.
  • During the mission "Diplomatic Immunity", you can disguise yourself as a Thalmor officer. The effectiveness of your disguise, however, is actually based on your race: Beast-races will be spotted instantly due to their vastly different anatomy (most notably a tail); humans will be all right at a distance, but will get caught if they get too close to other guards; non-Altmer elves can get a little closer. Altmer, of course, have it best, as not only can you walk freely all the way to the Solar, you can actually talk with the guards and order them away from their posts. At no point is this tactic ever suggested to you, leaving it purely up to your own initiative. The only catch is you need the Hooded variant of the Altmer robe to conceal your face from a distance if you're not Altmer. Interestingly, the guards have dialogue for checking your face even if you're wearing a hooded Thalmor robe.
  • In Elenwen's Solar during "Diplomatic Immunity," you can eavesdrop on a conversation between a Thalmor agent and one of their spies, Gissue, who is looking for Esbern. If you don't kill the spy before he's dismissed and leaves, you can find him later in Riften in the Ragged Flagon. Pickpocketing him reveals orders that he's there waiting for you to show up. He has nothing to say to you, but once you ask around about Esbern, he leaves the Flagon and you can follow him to eavesdrop on him talking to his Thalmor contact. Evade detection from them and head back into the Flagon (or just wait in there for them in the first place) and you can witness the Thalmor soldiers come in and question the owner, then leave when he refuses to cooperate while Gissur stays behind to keep an eye out for you.
  • A merchant in Riften is in debt to Sapphire, a member of the Thieves' Guild. The player can persuade her to let him go... but if they've joined the guild, they can demand a cut of the profit, and if they've become Guildmaster, they can pull rank and just tell her to back off. The latter option particularly has her grow nervous when you bring up the subject because you've found out she's doing business on her own without giving the Guild a cut.
  • In the Civil War questline, once you prove yourself to either Tullius or Ulfric and take the oath to join them, you cannot just switch sides by changing your mind and take the oath to join the other side instead. The quest immediately after this is to find the Jagged Crown, and once you have it you have to take it back to your leader. However, as an optional objective (which is never suggested in the game), you can deliver it to the other leader in exchange for letting you switch sides. They will comment on you trying to play both sides, and the next quest, defending or besieging Whiterun as the first major battle of the war, shifts to a test of loyalty to make sure you're sincere.
  • You can shield bash by attacking while blocking. If you're blocking with a torch, this will set the enemy on fire.
  • Casting Calm or Courage on an NPC is a good way to grind your Illusion skill. However, try casting Calm on Colette at the College of Winterhold; her response will make you feel dirty.
    Colette: Stop that! I will not be violated by some...half-Septim magician!
  • When you first enter Markarth, a small scene will trigger where a visitor to the city will be murdered by an agent of the Forsworn. If you're fast enough, you can kill the agent before he gets to her. Talk to her, and she'll thank you for saving her life and reward you with a piece of jewelry. Later, during the quest "The Forsworn Conspiracy" (which is started after said scene), you're able to ask her directly for information, rather than having to search her room.
  • During "A Blade In the Dark," Delphine will talk about Kynesgrove and the dragon burial mound there. On the off chance that you actually made your way all the way out to Kynesgrove and went all the way up to the top of the hill to where the burial mound is located prior to the quest, then when Delphine brings up Kynesgrove, you get a unique dialogue option to mention that you've seen the mound - but not if you just visited Kynesgrove. You have to actually walk all the way up the hill to the mound itself to trigger this.
    • If you have the follower Roggi Knot-Beard from Kynesgrove with you when you learn about the dragon soon to be arrived at Kynesgrove in this quest, once you leave the building, Roggi shouts "Don't you know there's a dragon attacking!?" and starts running to Kynesgrove - his hometown.
  • "Necromage," a Restoration skill perk, increases the effects of all spells on undead. If the player is a vampire, their self-targeting spells will also be more effective. Though, it is not entirely clear whether this is really intended or a bug - The Unofficial Skyrim Patch seems to think the latter and removes it.
  • Almost every single door that is opened via a mechanism (lever, pull chain, secret handle, etc) has a mechanism on each side of the door, so it can be opened from either side. This is even if you couldn't logically get to the other side of the door from any in-game method.
  • You can't kill children in the game - they're flagged as invulnerable. However, the voice actors still recorded death screams for the children, and the engine loads them. Certain children are even flagged to send you letters thanking you for killing other children whom they considered rivals, just like adults!
  • If you have Erandur (a noted priest of Mara) as your follower, and head to the Temple of Mara in Riften, he may remark that he's always wanted to make a pilgrimage there, and that you've made him happy by bringing him.
  • During the prologue, Ralof makes a passing comment as he enters Helgen to be executed. "I wonder if Vilod is still making that mead with juniper berries mixed in." If the Dragonborn returns to Helgen later in the game and jumps from the tower onto the second floor of the inn, like they did in the prologue, they'll find a few bottles labeled "Mead with Juniper Berry".
  • You can mine for ore by attacking the ore vein with a pickaxe. It's actually faster than the "Mine" action. You can also use the Elemental Fury shout - which speeds up your weapon attack speed - to mine in a matter of seconds.
  • If you go all the way back to Ustengrav after completing "The Horn of Jurgen Windcaller", you can return the horn to its resting place, which will grant you a free Dragon Soul.
  • If you hurry into Farengar's quarters after sending news of the dragon attack to Jarl Balgruuf, you can ask about his dragon project before the Jarl comes in. If you have raised your enchanting, destruction, or alchemy skill high enough, you can show off your knowledge of said skill by using jargon that only someone proficient in that skill would know. Like J'zargo, Farengar is impressed by your knowledge.
  • Attempting to Soul Trap Legate Rikke, Ulfric Stormcloak, or Galmar Stone-Fist will not work, and they will resist it. This is because you can meet them in Sovngarde. Tullius is fair game, though.
  • If you get married, the game keeps track of people you've helped, with whom you've become guildmates, and/or with whom you've become close allies. Three of these people will be at your wedding, even if they have to travel from another part of the game world to do it. Unfortunately this may cause the bodies of long-dead NPCs to spawn at the ceremony, which will cause an uproar and shock your fiance into calling off the marriage. Apparently the dev team doesn't always think about the permanence of death.
  • When you first meet J'zargo, he'll ask you if you've yet mastered the Expert-level Destruction spells. Normally, you can only say no, causing him to gloat that he'll be the first. However, if you take the Expert Perk in the Destruction Tree, you can tell him that yes, you have. J'zargo is legitimately impressed, and a little surprised.
  • If your follower somehow manages to get in trouble with the guards, such as accidentally hitting one, they'll complain about the mess you got them into. You can assure them that you'll handle the guards.
  • During Sheogorath's Daedric quest, you can't directly open the character menu. However, if you manage to access your inventory by pickpocketing Pelagius or searching the dead goat, you'll find a unique item description for the Wabbajack: "It's all you've got..."
  • The dragon attack that starts the game ultimately turns out to have been Alduin trying to find the Dragonborn and kill them before they realize their power. Therefore, if you wait around during the fight for too long, Alduin will eventually identify you and start attacking you specifically.
  • If an NPC is carrying firewood (as in doing the 'picking up chopped wood from a pile and carrying it in their arms' animation), and you kill them, firewood will drop as an item.
  • Generally, when going to meet Balgruuf, Irileth will intercept you en route and demand to know why you're intruding. But if you manage to bypass Irileth without getting too close to trigger her challenge and go for Balgruuf, he'll angrily demand to know what's so important that you'd barge in on his council with Proventus.
  • During the dragon attack in the Prologue, when following Hadvar to the keep you have the opportunity to approach Tullius. Hang around him a few seconds and he'll turn to you and exclaim, "Run, you idiot!"
  • During the quest "In My Time of Need", after telling Saadia about the Alik'r chasing her, you can kill Kematu easily by travelling to Rorikstead and telling them about her location. After Saadia has been paralyzed during the ambush and before speaking to Kematu, kill him and Saadia will wake up and, although angry at first, will thank you for helping her and give you the reward.
  • Unrelenting Force, when used underwater, kills any fish it touches, making them float to the surface. As a shock wave traveling through water would indeed be lethal to fish.
  • When you enter an inn and sit down, the owner will get someone to come wait on you, and you can order food and drinks from them.
  • If you progress far enough into the Companions' questline to become a werewolf, then join the Dark Brotherhood, Arnbjorn, who used to be in the Companions and is also a werewolf, will know you're one the first time you talk to him and hopes you have better luck with them than he did.
    • If you use a mod to make yourself a werewolf without doing the Companion questline, he'll also make the same remarks.
  • After completing "Season Unending," when she's leaving High Hrothgar, Elenwen is still essential, and she'll walk all the way back to the Embassy. It's difficult to even get into her Solar after "Diplomatic Immunity" since you normally can't get back into the Embassy without glitching, mods, or console commands... but if you can, you'll find Elenwen's essential flag is disabled and you can kill the bitch for what she's done. There's no reason to disable the essential flag because normally a player would never meet her again afterward, but much like children's death voices, Bethesda expected someone to try.
  • If you save the game while in a transformed state, the save game will list your race as the race you transformed into rather than your default one (i.e. Werewolf, Vampire Lord, etc). This even includes races that you console command into (like Mudcrabs) or races added by mods (like Dagi-Raht, Dwemer, etc).

  • If you proceed far enough in the Dawnguard questline to meet Durnheviir without completing "Dragon Rising" (that is, killing your first dragon and learning you're a Dragonborn), he comments that it was his first instinct to refer to you as a "dovah" but he's not sure why, and perhaps you'll find out for yourself in time.
  • If you side with the eponymous group in Dawnguard, you will be sent to recruit a Nord hunter, who will be waiting outside a random bear cave. If you had cleared out that cave previously, the hunter will complain about you killing the beast he spent two weeks tracking.
  • Once Harkon is killed in Dawnguard, you can travel back to the Soul Cairn and tell Valerica. She will then return home to take up residence in her study.
  • During the "Awakening" quest in Dawnguard, you get Serana as a follower and the objective to bring her home to Castle Volkihar. Bringing her to Fort Dawnguard instead will prompt her to comment that she doesn't like the look of the place and wait for you at the entrance. You can then discuss your findings with Isran; this doesn't change the objective as he'll suggest that you play along for the time being.
  • If you have Serana as a follower when you do the quest "The House of Horrors", she'll cower in fear when you speak to Molag Bal. Given what he did to Serana, it's hard to fault the poor woman.
  • If you've acquired the Oghma Infinium, and talk to Neloth in Dragonborn about Hermaeus Mora, you can genuinely impress him by saying that you've read the book. However, the dev team didn't truly think of everything here, as there's no special dialogue for talking to Neloth with the book still in your possession.
    • In addition, if you acquired the book when you first go into Apocrypha and meet Hermaeus Mora he will refer to you in familiar terms as his champion. Likewise if you happen to complete the Dragonborn story before initiating the Oghma Infinium, Hermaeus Mora will reference the events of Dragonborn when he speaks to you.
  • In Dragonborn, if you order your follower to interact with an All-Maker Stone that is still corrupted by Miraak's influence, they'll enter a trance and begin working on the shrine/temple like everyone else, complete with reciting Miraak's Mantra.
    • If you directly interact with a corrupted All-Maker stone, you'll go into a trance and start working on the stone as well. However, unlike NPCs, you can come out of the trance whenever you want.
  • The Elder Scroll you obtained during the main quest comes up again in Dawnguard. However there is a prompt to sell it to the librarian in Winterhold in the base game. If you did this before starting up the Dawnguard questline, you can visit him again and have him make some snarky comments to you for not thinking things through, before gouging the hell out of you to buy the scroll back.
  • Normally, the fight against Miraak in Dragonborn has him absorbing his own dragons' souls first before absorbing Sahrotaar, the dragon you rode to get there. If you choose to re-mount Sahrotaar and fight from the air, Miraak may opt to absorb Sahrotaar first, thus forcing you to fight him on foot.
  • Lydia has very specific dialogue options on Solsthiem. For example, during the quest to explore Miraak's temple, if you stop to talk to her, she'll mention that Frea is "pretty good in a fight, for a Skaal." She won't say this anywhere else, and will only say it while you actually talk directly to her.

    Modded Content 
  • Using the Live Another Life mod, you can start off being in Whiterun or going anywhere else in Skyrim before visitng Helgen and starting the main questline. However,once you start the questline running from Helgen to Riverwood and then to Whiterun to warn Jarl Balgruuf, the fast-travel icon to Whiterun is disabled until you've talked to the gate guards, just in case you tried to break that vanilla quest by skipping the gate greeting scene.
  • Inigo is standout example of this in modding, because he responds to everything you could possibly do in the vanilla game and it's DLC content. No matter where you go or what you do, he has a comment on it, and his commentary can get extremely specific is you ask him how he thinks you're doing, such as remarking on how long you've been wearing armor, what political affiliations you have, or even if you're carrying certain items like animal meats, human flesh, or Vendor Trash.
    • Inigo even gets special dialogue for fighting certain unique characters. If you're fighting Elenwen, for example, he'll call her an "arrogant bully."
  • Likewise the Sofia Funny Companion mod is very much a Distaff Counterpart to Inigo, mouthing off at most every single thing imagineable from the ease of puzzles and traps to how skilled Dovahkiin is in a specific area, how long they travel without rest, what items she is given and a preference to something like Elven armour over the better Nord and Ebony crafts, what armour and clothing Dragonborn wears, comments while sneaking, and never ending jokes.
  • In VIGILANT, a couple of early quests expect you to go full Knight Templar and execute people who you're ordered to kill due to daedric influence. There's no indication that you can refuse, but if you go back to Altano and tell him you refuse to do the killings after speaking to them, he'll first insist you do it, and then go do it himself. The first target is a valid threat with genuine daedric powers, but the second pair of targets are an innocent woman and her daughter, and if you kill them you'll be cursed by Stendarr for murdering innocents. If you pay attention to notes and dialogue, you'll be able to determine the second pair's innocence and avoid the curse.
  • Vanilla radiant quests can randomly use modded content: kill mobs in a mod dungeon, inflict a beatdown to a mod NPC, find a mod item heirloomn etc.note 

Alternative Title(s): The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim