The Healer class was considered by many the best in the game, and for a good reason – while only using the second best level of armor, and only concussion weapons, he enjoys a considerable discount in the cost of restoration spells. Among the restoration spells, there are fortify attribute spells, the absorb magic spells, and above all else, the powerful shield spell- the basic version “Will create an invisible shield around the caster, which will absorb 15 points of damage, plus an additional 5 points for every level of the caster before being dissipated.” The detail is that there's no duration for this effect, it will simply last until the caster receives enough damage. You can go to the Mage's guild, create an optimized version of the spell that uses all your magicka, go to the inn, cast the spell, rest, and then go to the dungeons with a few extra hundred HP.
You can easily spellmake a version of the reflect spell to give you 100% spell reflection as early as level SIX. It's a little costly, but if you increase the duration you can easily run around dungeons while watching enemies with magic attacks suicide themselves on you. If you need more magicka you can do the same with Spell Absorption.
The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall suffered from ridiculous balance issues. On one end of the scale, being a thief makes the game ridiculously difficult, which is the only way to cripple your character. On the other extreme, the entire world is offered to you on a silver platter to break as you like, including:
Getting loans from a bank. Banks give out loans to a maximum of [Player Level x 50,000] gold, with no collateral required up front. There are 43 provinces, and each one is completely independent of each other, and only 3 are actually essential to the plot. Take out a loan from some banks out in the boondocks when you're level 3, and go off and buy yourself a house in your home province. You'll never feel the repercussions, and even if you did return to the boondocks, the guards will never arrest you for it. This says nothing of what you can do if you decide to take out the loans at level 10 instead.
The Unlock spell doesn't check lock strength when the player is in an outdoor area, so you can cast a 1% Chance Unlock spell and it'll always work on any door if you're outdoors. Combine that with how shoplifting is possible by just walking into a shop after hours, and you can rob the entire city blind. All shops restock every day. This makes it easy to make hundreds of thousands of gold in only a few real life hours of work.
The player is given the SpellMaker ability immediately after joining the Mage's Guild. Spells are formed with incrementing formulas: for example, Spell Damage is [X + Y(per level)]. The player can make a nuke spell with damage of [1 + 15(per level)], meaning that if the player is level 6, the nuke will do 90 damage per shot (enough to kill anything that breathes), yet still have a reasonable casting cost.
The player's attack speed is determined by the Speed stat. Increase it to 100, and monsters literally cannot melee you. You'll swing fast enough that they'll always get knocked back out of range.
The Character Creation is far more flexible than in the game's sequels. A character can choose permanent spell absorption from the start of the game, as well as a bunch of other super-powered abilities, with no drawbacks if the player decides (although it'll take longer to level up if the player only stacks good attributes). Create a spellcaster with permanent spell absorption, SpellMake an area-affecting nuke and cast it wherever you go. As long as the nuke hits you, you'll regenerate the spell points back and can cast it immediately again; you can chain-nuke your way through any monster in the game. Note also that spell-casting is instantaneous, so if your fingers don't get tired, you can cast a permanent everything-destroying nuke forcefield around yourself as you explore a dungeon. (Sometimes the spell absorption breaks itself and you stop absorbing anything, leading to a horrifying suicide.)
Another example from the Character Creation (at least in the unpatched version): Play a High Elf, create a custom class, and give yourself Critical Weakness to paralysis. This weakness gets overriden by High Elf's immunity to paralysis, and as such does nothing at all - except giving you triple experience gain rate right off the bat.
Furthermore, if the player enchants an item with a casting skill bonus that raises said skill over 100, spells associated with that particular magic can become several magnitudes more powerful. Simply breaking the regular one-hundred skill maximum, the player is capable of crafting a spell that deals hundreds or even thousands of points of damage all with a cost of 5 MP or less (usually 1-5% of total MP).
The Ring of Hircine. Normally, becoming a Werewolf/Wereboar gives the player incredible powers, with an immunity to disease, a +30 bonus to various skills and +40 bonus to all 4 physical attributes(giving the player almost as many stat points as leveling up 27 times, and even that is assuming that the player uses Save Scumming to get the maximum 6 points per level) which are balanced by several disadvantages, like having to murder a civilian once per 15 days or suffer a massive stat and health penalty, and a forced transformation once a month. Wearing the ring removes these disadvantages while keeping all the advantages, meaning that the only disadvantage that remains is having to deal with a few Knights once per in game year. And to top it all off, getting the Ring is fairly simple once you know where to find a Witch or Warlock Coven and have the necessary funds.
All of the above money making schemes pale in comparison to the 100% guaranteed method to gain 2 million gold in a half hour (real world, and possibly in-game if you work quickly enough) with only a wagon and the Recall spell (not strictly required but highly recommended). See, certain inns (such as the one in The Rusty Goblin Lodge) have several chests on the 2nd floor. Said chests can contain Daedric weaponry (worth several thousand gold each) regardless of your level. The stairs leading up to the 2nd floor are impossible for guards to climb, so you can take your time looting the place. Saving and reloading causes containers to respawn (which works in shops too). So with a bit of Save Scumming you can have a 7 figure bank account and late-game weapons. Just remember to cast Recall outside so you can just warp right out of there when you're done and avoid the hoard of guards downstairs.
Morrowind contains an Item Crafting system that allowed the player to easily unbalance the game by producing weapons with extremely high bonus damage or by buffing character stats to absurdly high levels. A popular video circulated shows a player completing the game's main quest in less than half an hour by using the alchemy skill to buff key stats into the thousands (from a normal range of 1-100).
There are a couple of other videos out there that abuse other game breaking item combinations available right at the start in order to finish the main quest in under 10 minutes.
Boosting one's intelligence in this manner can produce similar results. As the magnitude increases each time around, one can easily skyrocket to over 200 MILLION intelligence, then create obscene Restore Health/Fortify Attack/Spell Absorption with durations that would last for MONTHS of real-time play. Yes, Morrowind allows you to reach The Singularity.
Custom made 'Fortify Skill' spells could get really powerful. Without the expansions it took a long, tedious and somewhat hidden quest to get the spell effect but with the first expansions it was readily available. 'Fortify skill by 100 points for 1 second' spells were cheap enough and with many skills (Enchant, Alchemy, Mercantile, Speechcraft, Armorer, Security) one second (or three for Security) was all you needed. Fortifying your magic skills to get a single powerful spell off might also be useful and 'Fortify Sneak' was at least useful for stealing.
In another,, similar fashion, you can create a custom spell that drains your skills to abysmal levels, then take advantage of your new pathetic skill points to get extremely cheap skill tutoring. When the spell wears off, your skill is permanently raised from the tutoring.
Also, there is a man in the first expansion that sells the otherwise extremely rare Grand Soul Gems. Because even the weakest soul trapped in these will sell for far more than the cost of the gem, and they can also hold Golden Saint souls, which can be used to create powerful enchantments (like... summoning Golden Saints!), the resulting cycle gives the player unlimited amounts of money and enchantments.
'Cast when used' enchanted items can potentially be huge game breakers, because they have zero casting time, meaning you can re-cast a spell as fast as you can click the mouse. Even if your enchantment spell only does about 10 points of damage you can cast it 5-10 times each second and kill enemies almost instantly.
Combine this with a macro from an external piece of software and you can basically have a button on your keyboard that functions as a "kill ALL the things" button as you will be casting as fast as the game can handle. Awesome but Impractical taken up to eleven
By picking up a modest amount of Absorb Magicka (from birth sign) and then stacking Sanctuary on enchanted items, you will be nigh invulnerable. At about 75 Sanctuary, nearly every melee attack will miss and spells cast upon you will have a low chance of hitting. Plus that is before any spell resistance you may have from racial abilities or enchantments.
Invisibility will make enemies ignore you completely, but ends when you attack or interact with anything. However, if you enchant a ring with constant effect invisibility, you can instantly re-apply the effect at any time and at no cost by removing and re-equipping the ring. Naturally, this can be abused disgustingly.
Or better yet, 100% chameleon. Enemies can't see you and you can do anything you like without worrying about recasting the spell.
For a broken but somewhat less abusive mechanic, players could offer a very, very low price on any transaction to a dealer. The player would suffer a small hit to their reputation with that character each time they failed, but that reputation was restored and increased one point for completing the transaction. Since there was always a chance in hell of getting it, mash the button. Clean out a mage's stock for the cost of a third of his stuff.
Lampshaded in the in-game book "The Buying Game," which stated the "Buying Game" could be "broken" by offering "insultingly low offers."
The unpatched version of the game had an even better exploit. For some unfathomable reason the haggling interface allows the player to offer a negative amount of money when buying items, and before the first patch the Mercantile skill check didn't take into account whether the amount offered was positive or negative. Offering a negative amount that matched the asking price of the item would therefore make the game think that you were offering exactly as much as the vendor asked for, causing the NPC to accept the transaction, give you the item, and pay you the money as well.
The Amulet of Shadows is a simple magical item easily found from the northern parts of the game, as a reward from a short quest and a simple encounter. It grants 80% chameleon for a full minute, which is equivalent to full invisibility in all practical aspects, except that it doesn't go away if one manipulates his surroundings. Enemies will run away, allowing the player to chase them at his leisure and whack them with his weapon. Items can be stolen and locks picked with impunity. Stack up some soul gems to charge the amulet, and the game is essentially, if not quite broken, then at least significantly bent and made rather trivial. Inexplicably, it is only worth 750 gold pieces if sold.
An odd effect of chameleon in Morrowind is that at the right medium level (which the Amulet of Shadows conveniently falls on), characters will perceive, but fail to recognise, the player if they interact in the right way, i.e. conversation. This means you can enter a bandit camp, simply have a pleasant chat with everyone to raise their dispositions, and for the rest of the game those bandits will be perfectly hospitable, or even defend you in combat! This will work on pretty much any NPC that isn't classed as an animal by the engine.
In Oblivion, the player can craft five pieces of armor which each have the "Chameleon 20%" enchantment. Since spell effects stack, equipping them all results in the player being completely invisible. The way the game is coded makes it so that enemies can't intentionally attack the player no matter what, making the player almost immortal. This leads to the game actually becoming slightly broken, as certain NPC interactions disregard the player's undetectable state, making for some very odd inconsistencies. If the player considers Bribing Your Way to Victory, then they can purchase an add-on which allows them to obtain this armor at level 1.
And that is just the tip of the iceberg. The game allows you to collect a set of items which give you 100% invulnerability to magic and melee damage, pretty much 90% of all the damage your character will take and the remaining 10% of ranged attacks can simply be dodged. Then there is the abilty to make your own spells, which allow you to become a godlike craftsman, negotiator, or alchemist for a few seconds, but that is all you need, as doing any of these things pauses the timer on the spell. Then there is weakness stacking; make a weapon with a mere 10 points of magical elemental damage, 100% vulnerability to this damage, and 100% vulnerability to magic in general again for a few seconds only. On every consecutive strike on a target the amount of damage, and the vulnerability to this damage will be increased. 6 hits will kill any creature (Example video here). And before a patch, you could do this on yourself for ridiculously strong buffs.
Clarifying this for those not familiar with the game: your first strike would make your opponents doubly vulnerable to magic (100% from the spell effect + base 100% susceptibility). "Weakness to magic" is a magical effect, so your second strike would be doubly effective, inflicting another 200% vulnerability for a total of 400%. And so on, with each strike doubling your opponent's susceptibility to magic. Absolutely nothing in the game has a snowball's chance in Hell of contending with this.
A more potent version of the damage and magic immunity effects is reflect, no further explanation should be required as to what that entails. It is possible to run up to loads of enemies or monsters, then simply stand there and go AFK to get a coffee while they kill themselves attacking you.
To elaborate further upon this: the AI is not smart enough to realize not to attack someone with 100% reflect damage, or not to cast spells on someone with 100% reflect spell. The result is that no one is able to affect you in any way.
Oblivion is also susceptible to a sneaky route to infinite power for players who want to get some time away from the keyboard. Get your willpower high enough so that you can recover one point of MP faster than it takes you to cast a spell. Design a really weak restoration spell that only costs one point of MP. Then hold your cast button down with a heavy object or tape or something, situate your character in the corner of some room where he's safe, turn off the monitor, and go find something else to do for six or so hours. When you come back, you should have amassed incredible skill with the school of magic that does buff spells as well as levelled up, and can soon design and cast buff spells that send your stats into the gazillions. Game stomping commences. It's like how Rock Lee would become a great mage if he were an Elder Scrolls character: "If I cannot cast 100 Boost Healths now, then I have to do 200 Boost Lucks!"
Doesn't work as well as it used to in Morrowind, though, because the game is hardcoded not to allow stat values above 255.
Additionally, by casting enough custom spells like "buff my Magicka and Intellect by the maximum valuable allowed, for 120 seconds" to give yourself ridiculous amounts of magika, then casting enough equivalent "boost my willpower" spells, magika regenerates so quickly and you have so much of it that you don't even need to bother with keeping potions around. (Regen does not occurs if you have selected the Atronarch birthsign.)
Something very similar is possible with sneak and athletics merely by leaving your character running/sneaking in place in an inside corner of a safe building. Somewhat less of a cheat since these skills take a long time to level normally.
Magical skills are stupidly easy to increase once you get access to a spellmaking altar; this entails either progress in the Mages' Guild or building one in the Frostcrag Spire DLC. Either way, the idea is to make silly training spells all set to the minimum settings—"Light 3 feet for 1 second on self", "Damage Fatigue 3 pts. for 1 second on self", and so on. Skill increases depend only on the action, not on the actual difficulty of the action; for example, punching a mudcrab gives the same amount of Hand-to-Hand training as punching a guardsman, and more relevant to our case, casting "Summon Skeleton for 1 second" gives the same amount of Conjuration training as "Summon Skeleton for 60 seconds". However, spells need to actually affect a target to count for skill experience, hence the "on self" part. The end result, at any rate, is a spammable spell whose magicka cost is trivial due to magicka regeneration rate (and most characters that don't regenerate magicka will just absorb their own spell anyway). As you walk around town, feel free to set yourself on fire or summon spontaneous skeletons; the NPCs don't care if you assault yourself. Besides, that fatigue will also regenerate itself without any effort whatsoever, meaning that the only visible result of the spell is experience in the skill. If the magic is also one of your major skills, say hello to ridiculous level gains!
Magic in Oblivion:
The Spellmaking Altar lets you create custom spells As long as you have a spell you can use, you can make customs spells with that spell's effect with any variation of range, area of effect, target, intensity and time of effect you want, even if the original spell didn't have it(barring cost of creating spell and Magicka cost, of course). For example, you start with the Flare spell, a basic Fire Damage spell that does a measly 6 pts. of damage. With that spell, you can make, for example, a Fire spell that does 6 pts. of damage per second for 10 seconds. If you add to it Weakness To Fire at 100% for 10 seconds, the next spell does 12 PTS. PER SECOND. You can join together pretty much every effect you can think off for some truly staggering magical effects.
Custom spells can have diverse magical effects instead of just one specific effect, which can allow you to make very flexible, multi-use spells. For example, you could make a Fire Damage spell that does, say, 45 pts. of damage, but if an enemy is resistant to fire, you just wasted magic points on an attack that's useless. However, if you make the spell do 15 pts. each of Fire, Frost and Shock, you'd still do 45 pts. of damage, but divided in three different damage types: the enemy that was resistant to Fire would still be smacked by the other two effects for 30 pts. of damage. Also, any custom spells have the speed of THE FASTEST MAGIC TYPE USED TO CREATE THE SPELL. For example, you could make a massive damage, long range Fire spell, but add one measly point of Shock damage. This would make the spell come out as an almost-instantaneous bolt instead of a slow-moving fireball, but STILL deliver the full Fire damage. Finally, triple elemental spells are actually cheaper to cast than single element spells.
Although not entirely Game Breaking, it is possible to make a legitimate One-Hit KO skill. A player with 100 Destruction skill can make a spell to do 100 Fire, 100 Frost, 100 Shock, and 100 Magic Damage on touch for exactly 250 Magicka. Although that's costly, it will basically kill anything and everything in one hit, and its use of every element makes it work around most enemy resistances.
Drain Health spells. Drain Health damages your opponent's health BUT ONLY TEMPORARILY. For example "Drain Health 10 pts. for 5 secs." means the attack does 10 points of damage, but after the 5 seconds pass, the health comes back, which to one with normal logic faculties sounds like a bum deal. HOWEVER, if an enemy has less HP than what the attack drains, it's an instant kill. By doing the Mages Guild quest and getting access to a Spellmaking Altar, you can make an Apprentice Level Drain Health spell that does 100 HP of damage for 1 second on touch... which will kill pretty much any lesser Daedra instantly, and which would easily kill most humanoid foes after just hitting them a few times with any weapon. This spell costs a measly 32 Magicka to cast.
And it can be enchanted on to a weapon for practically no cost, turning that spare dagger you've been lugging around into a more reliable killer than Mehrunes' Razor itself.
There's not a single spell in the game you cannot make more effective simply by making it yourself. For example, suppose you see a Fire Damage spell that does 25 points of damage on touch. You can make a 5 damage x 5 seconds spell(same damage, but over a few seconds instead of instantly) and it'll be MUCH cheaper to cast. Using tweaks like this to your advantage, you can make OBSCENELY powerful spells for cheap casting costs.
Some spells you acquire from vendors or quests do provide a magicka cost discount over making the same spell at the altar, although these are rare. For example, Wizard's Fury is given to the player in the course of the Mage's Guild questline, it is a triple-elemental projectile that is more that 50% cheaper to use than a player-made spell with the same properties. It is a great ranged attack.
You can make Weakness to X spells, where X equals a damage type(Fire, Frost or Shock). If you do the spell at 100%, any spell or damage done with a weapon enchanted with X type of damage doubles in strength for the duration of the spell. If you add Weakness to Magic 100%, damage QUADRUPLES.
It gets worse. Create a spell called Weak A, weakness to Fire/Frost/Shock/Magic at 100%. Create another spell called Weak B, with the exact same effects. Since the names are different they stack. Toggle between these two a couple of times and you can one shot anything in the game.
How could anyone forget the legendary chain spells? All you need to do is create any old spell (healing, lightning, etc.) and then add a fortify magicka spell of a greater power than the spell cost for 3 seconds (time it takes to cast a spell). Thus, one gets the power to continuously use a spell for as long as they keep casting the spell (woe unto their magicka meter once they stop casting, as it will go to zero).
If you do the Daedric Quest for Azura, you get Azura's Star, a reusable Grand Soul Gem. Go to an Enchanting Altar and you have just created a nuke factory and a money-printing machine in one. Simply do the folowing: have a weapon or spell that does Soul Trap; kill an enemy while grabbing their soul; take any piece of crap equipment you can get your hands on, enchant it and sell it. Lather, rinse, repeat. You can make equipment that's THOUSANDS of times its original value just by enchanting it, no matter how measly or useless the enchantment is.
In some versions, anyway. Altars of Enchantment were tweaked so the expense of enchanting an item perfectly matches the value of the item created for later versions of Oblivion.
Enchanting a weapon, no matter how puny the enchantment is, instantly makes it a weapon usable against non-corporeal beings. This even applies if the weapon DOES NOT HAVE A CHARGE. Also, if you enchant a weapon with X damage type and use a Weakness to X 100% spell on the enemy, the weapon will hit with the enhanced damage EVEN IF THE WEAPON DOES NOT HAVE A CHARGE. It is MUCH easier and cheaper to recharge your magic points than to recharge a weapon, so this results in a weapon that always does monstrous damage if you have the spell to set it up beforehand.
Have fun with the gamebreaking 100% reflect damage suit (not a personal enchantment, but can be obtained using named items and sigil stones). This means all melee attacks fail to damage you. AT ALL. While hitting the attacker for EXACTLY as much as you would have taken. Now, after this you design a "Counterspell" spell: Reflect Magic 100% for 1 second. Takes 12 magika to cast. If you see someone raise their hand, cast the spell, and watch as the spell bounces back to the squishy mage. With these, you can't take melee or magic damage, while reflecting it all. so all the game can do is shoot you with arrows.
All these are defeated by two weapons. Which are merely any two daggers. You have to be able to custom-enchant but that's pretty easy. Here are the two ultimate Oblivion weapons:
The Healthdrainer: drain health 100 for 2-3 seconds (doesn't really matter). Weakness to magic 100 for 6 seconds. Soul Trap.
The Sleepgiver: drain fatigue 100 for 2-3 seconds (as above). Weakness to magic 100 for 6 seconds. Soul Trap.
The Healthdrainer (dagger) hits about twice a second (daggers are the fastest melee weapon). So the first hit, they lose 100 health. The next (due to weakness to magic) 200, the next: 400, then 800, then 1600, then 3200 (then, if you want 6400, then if you are sadistic 12800). Then the soul can be used, with Azura's star, to recharge the weapon. And now you can kill Mehrunes Dagon (only 10000 health). That's not supposed to be possible.
The Sleepgiver (dagger) is the same as the Healthdrainer, but deals the damage to the fatigue of the target. Resulting in the target being knocked out as long as you want to attack. Allowing you to "kill" quest characters about to betray you easily: stun 'em, steal from them (unconscious=instant pickpocket success), then 'talk' to them. They'll betray you in dialogue. Then you slash them to pieces using the Healthdrainer while they can't get upright.
Note that all of those are completely nullified by Resist Magicka and/or Spell Absorption at 100%. No wonder there's no multiplayer; everyone would be completely invincible against player attack, unless they die from trap or lava damage.
There's a glitch involving summoned armor and weapons that allows you to keep them forever. Doesn't seem like much. But summoned armor and weapons are completely weightless, and completely enchantable. You could theoretically carry an infinite amount of enchanted sets of armor and weapons with ANY of the above gamebreaker enchant combinations. THE POTENTIAL IS LITERALLY LIMITLESS
It also helps that the summoned sword you can create and then keep forever is actually a good bit more powerful than the "real" one. In fact, it has the most powerful base damage of any weapon in the game. It makes a really nice infinity-plus-two sword.
The same glitch can also be used to make permanent an spell of "temporary increase of stats". Heck, it's possible to find a spell of "temporary increase of SKILLS". It's possible to jump over the whole of Morrowind.
The reward for the Sheogorath quest is a staff named Wabbajack. Sheogorath is the Daedric prince of madness, and the Wabbajack is equally weird; it transforms the target into a random creature, which could be anything to the lowly rat to the not-so-lowly ogre. However, at a high-enough level, the staff starts breaking games, due to the Scrappy Mechanic. Just about every creature in existence is designed to level up with the player, but the Wabbajack transforms them into creatures that aren't level-scaled. Even if you hit an ogre with the Wabbajack and it turns into an ogre, if you're at a high level (which is ludicrously easy), the ogre will come out of it far weaker than before. Cue a one-hit kill on a monster "designed" for players ten levels lower.
Try carrying Azura's Star and adding a one-second Soul Trap spell to your magic weapon. You will kill and automatically Soul Trap your opponent with the same blow, making it impossible to ever run out of charge.
The enemies in Oblivion are scaled in difficulty according to the player's level. You level up by sleeping. If you never sleep you will never level, at the expense of not being able to improve your primary attributes (you still can with items and magic) but you will be able to cast master level magic and attacks on a enemy designed for a level 1 player.
Following on from the Healthdrainer and Sleepgiver daggers, custom enchanting has developed a new way to kill, instantly, any character, be they technically immortal or not. And the best thing is, you get the target to do it to themselves! Here are the newest tools for any PC who is tired of NPCs. (yes, the names do matter, as NPCs equip enchanted items in alphabetical order)
"Assassin's Clothing": Acquire a weightless item (Black Hoods, Mage's Hoods, Dark Shirts, and Black Wide Pants are all possibilities). Enchant with: Damage Health x pts. Effect: The NPC equips, then slowly dies as their HP drains away x points per second. And they won't attribute it to anything. How to use: Reverse pick-pocket the item onto the target (possible due to the item weighing 0. If not, you can't reverse pick-pocket). Notes: More effective than poison apples, as the NPC doesn't need to eat, and will normally instantly equip it. Also reusable. If you want, change the enchantment to: Fire (or any other element) Damage x pt for pretty colors and elemental themed death.
"Anasthesia Garment": Works as above, but you enchant with Damage Fatigue 15 pts (you may need other equipment to be enchanted to get to a total of 15 pts per second). With this, give it to any NPC to put them in a And I Must Scream situation. They collapse and are unable to recover. Ever. (DANGEROUS: CAN BREAK QUESTLINES IF USED ON IMPORTANT IMMORTAL NPCS SUCH AS MARTIN!!!!!). The reason is that the NPC equips the item(s) and their fatigue will drain faster than it regenerates. And then they collapse, but will be unable to get up. And if used on an immortal NPC, you've disable them permanently (and lost your item as you can't kill them, so can't reclaim from body). Note: Incapacitated NPCs can still alert guards.
"A Silent Death": As above, but enchant with Silence. All mages instantly lose their ability to do anything that can harm you.
Unlock spells. Get your alteration skill to at least expert level. Make a spell that opens very hard locks. You will never, ever need lockpicks again (Save for one of S'Krivva's Thieves Guild quests). Combine this with the 100% chameleon suit, add equipment, spells, and potions that do feather, and you can rob a whole city blind. If you use this to steal stuff for the Thieves Guild, the world is your oyster and you can access missions right away by selling all your stolen goods to just one fence.
The Atronach birthsign gives you the highest magicka bonus of all birthsigns plus 50% spell absorption at the expense of not being able to regenerate your magicka reserves. Combine this with playing an Altmer (Highest starting magicka out of all the playable races). Stack more spell absorption via enchanted items (The Amulet of Absorption, Magebane Greaves, Greaves of Purity, Sorcerer's Ring, and Mankar Camoran's robe (Provided you get it at level 20) are all good items for this, or wait until you're level 17 to close Oblivion gates and keep save-scumming until you get sigil stones that have 15% spell absorption and enchant other items with them; if you don't want to keep closing gates to get copies of such sigil stones honestly, you can always just get one and clone it with the Skull of Corruption or scrolls) and you will completely offset your Stunted Magicka birthsign effect. Enemies will be unable to kill you as spells and magic weapons will only refill your magicka (High Elves have a weakness against fire, frost, and shock, which is easily remedied with 100% Spell Absorption), so all the game can do is hit you with normal weapons. And if that was not enough, due to an oversight, Spell Absorption works on your own Telekinesis spells. Now the amount of Magicka absorbed is equal to the cost of the spell at skill level 33. This means that if your Mysticism level is above that, you actually absorb more Magicka than is costs you to cast the spell, by the time you master Mysticism, this is five times the amount of Magicka. This makes your Stunted Magicka completely meaningless, as you can replenish your Magicka in a few seconds. Min Maxers Delight indeed.
Breton (race with 50% resist magic) + Mundane Ring (50% resist magic and 35% reflect spell) + all of the above = immune to magic.
You still don't regenerate magicka passively if you use the Atronach birthsign, so whip out that mortar and pestle and start bewing Restore Magicka potions. Other than that, you're immune to everything but physical damage.
And then there's a trick called "Burning" or "Ripping" using the duplication glitch twice; wearing one or an equipable item with a Stat boost will force the item off of you, without taking the boost. Noticed this when I was duping Spelldrinker Amulets, and seeing as you can make Stat Boosting items yourself...
Within hours of Skyrim's release, players found that putting a basket over the heads of everyone in a given room allows them to steal everything with impunity. The developers have said they'll leave in any bugs that don't outright break the game or make it unfun—the devs actually found out about the bucket trick a few days before release, but decided not to patch it because they thought it was funny. Of course, except for the fact that they would notice, putting baskets on people's heads in real life would make it hard for them to see what you're doing.
In order to avoid the the exponential curve of improving potions from Morrowind, Skyrim does not allow you to make potions or enchantments which can improve themselves (barring one exception, a unique set of enchantment-boosting armor). You can, however, make enchantments and potions which boost each other, which is almost as broken. You can keep pingponging the effects back and forth between them, improving both to up to about 35% (depending on perks). This allows you to make weapons do up to five times the damage they normally can, give even the weakest armor enough points to reach the armor cap, and make potions that can heal absurd amounts of damage or increase your weapon skills to twice their normal level, among other extremely broken effects.
Related to this, and an actual exploit, is the Fortify Restoration glitch. All Fortify effects, no matter what they do, count as Restoration magic, and Fortify Restoration boosts them accordingly. This has no limit. Taking advantage of this lets you make potions that fortify your skills by the thousands and millions in less thanten minutes. Note that, while that video has maxed out Alchemy, doing so is not necessary to take advantage of this.
On that note, doing this will actually max out your alchemy skills within minutes, as the value of a potion determines the experience you gain from crafting it. Because the Restoration glitch affects the potency and thus value of the potion, it won't be long before crafting said potions nets dozens of levels at once. All you need is at least one Fortify Alchemy bonus already in effect to take advantage of this, which is easy enough to find as random loot or buy from a shop.
With legendary skills in patch 126.96.36.199.8, you can, after making your Fortify Alchemy and Fortify Smithing enchants broken, make potions that sell for millions of gold, and improve the value of iron daggers by over 50,000 at base alchemy and smithing. With just one potion or weapon improvement of that magnitude you can level the requisite skill from 15 to 100, and then reset it and do it again. Indefinitely, with enough crafting materials. When that is done, and you have items of a ridiculous value in your inventory, you can sell each one for enough exp to boost speech from 15 to 100 as well, and buy even more crafting materials to continue the process. That's 3 skills you can trivially max out and reset for now infinite levels, for thousands of base health, magicka, or stamina.
The Fortify enchantments for the magic schools reduce the magicka cost of spells from those schools. The Fortify effects stack. If you can reach a 25% boost on these enchantments, which isn't too hard, you can create a set of armor which reduces the cost of all spells from that school to zero. If you have the double enchantment perk, that's two schools that are now free. Cast those expert level spells with reckless abandon and watch your foes drop like flies.
Enchanting in general is broken as hell, as soon as you learn how to game the system to max it out (not counting the Fortify Restoration glitch). It's not even that hard to level up, since all you need is the worthless loot you get from dungeon raids and the soul gems that pile up from the same, plus some method of using Soul Trap. The best part is you don't have to waste your Grand/Black souls doing this, because the value difference between a weak enchantment and a top-notch one is minimal. It's especially good when you get into the perks. Two perks in particular make for some very interesting results. Soul Siphon restores some of your weapon charge when you kill an enemy. If your weapon has a large amount of charges (a 30 damage Fire damage enchantment at level 100 Enchanting has hundreds, for example), you have effectively infinite charge. Then there's Extra Enchant, which lets you put two enchantments on a single item. This can allow for insane weapon combos like a fire damage/soul trapping sword. It's even more broken with armor, which does not need to be charged. Make your shield block magic and add to your overall defense at the same time, make boots which improve sneak and muffle all noise, a helmet that lets you breath water and blocks damage. Really, it's just endless.
Even better, Enchanting can make it easier to use abilities you had neglected for much of the game: if you need to level up a magic skill, use enchanting to drop the cost to zero and just start casting the spells at whatever qualifies as a valid target. Supplement your lacking sneak skill which enchantments that make it next to impossible for any character in the game to see you, even if you're clanking around in heavy armor. You can make lockpicking much simpler and open those master locks with ease. Boost your armor to +100% effectiveness. Make that weak bow put down a dragon in two hits by boosting it with smithing enchantments; a corollary to this, however, is that weapon skills build based on hits, not damage, so high damage weapons actually build skill slower.
Go to the Ratway in Riften to find an NPC named Gian the Fist. His name is very fitting, as he's got a very mean punch, for it only being a punch. He's always hostile, so feed him a thunderbolt or 'shuh-mack' him over the head with a hatchet, all in self defense of course. After that, loo(k/t) through his belongings to find the Gloves of the Pugilist. Now you've got yourself a 'fortify unarmed damage' enchantment. Yes, we can disenchant it. Yes, we can enchant a pair of daedric gauntlets with it. Yes, we can say that it looks absolutely awesome. Punching people dead with a one-two-combo is just too much. Combine with the Heavy Armor perk Fists of Steel for REALLY game breaking amounts of damage, even without the use of 'loop-intensity' potions.
Before it was patched, Smithing could be leveled extremely fast using cheap leather to make leather armor pieces or iron bars to make iron daggers en masse, quickly building up skill. You can then sell it all to a merchant for a modest price, especially if you enchant them to boost their value and thus level Enchanting at the same time. The 1.6 patch made smithing experience equivalent to the value of the item being forged. This strategy is now only good if you need to round off the last few levels of smithing. However, the go-to leveling strategy is to make Dwarven bows, which literally only require dwarven ingots to make. Dwarven equipment is good but not great, so you're sacrificing nothing by converting all that dwarven scrap into something useful.
Smithing, while much harder to level, is still broken because of the advantages it can afford you. Since loot type is determined by level, leveling up smithing gives you access to the stronger armor and weapons long before they start dropping. In tandem with Enchanting and Alchemy, you can also boost the effectiveness of said equipment by absurd amounts, making weapons that will put down a legendary dragon in a few hits and armor that is twice the armor cap, plus whatever broken enchantments you want to stack on.
The Endless Stagger: a perk for destruction magic will cause an enemy to stagger when hit by a double cast spell (casting the same spell with both hands so that instead of two spells, it makes a single, more powerful spell). Here's what makes it a Game Breaker: It staggers everything short of an elder dragon, and anything over the novice "spray" spells will stagger any enemy, and if your mana regen is high enough, by the time the enemy is coming out of his stagger (it lasts three seconds, except with dragons, and that just stops what they were doing, be it breath attack, bite, or tail slap, even while airborne), you've gained back the mana you used casting the spell if you have sufficient regen boost and cost reduction.. As long as you cast the spell as your opponent has just come out of the stagger, it will stagger him again. This even works on dragon priests, so you can keep them from getting off any spells if you are quick enough. Use the 0% destruction magic trick above, and you can do this endlessly until the target dies. Multiple opponents are much more difficult, but with area spells like fireball and jumping attacks like chain lightning, still possible.
Please note, this strategy works best on magic users and archers, as warriors tend to advance rather quickly, and still move forward a little while staggering. Just cast while retreating, and you'll stay unharmed.
On another note: Fire magic. Only a small handful of enemies have fire resistance (fire dragons, flame atronchs, dark elves, dwarven inventions to a lesser extent), and many enemies are vulnerable to fire (spriggans, frost atronachs, all undead, ice dragons), this is the magic to use 9 times out of 10, so it's the best one to put in your damage boosting perks into, and the best one for your weapon enchantments. Lightning comes a close second, since even fewer creatures have lightning resistance, it's hitscan when cast as a spell, and it drains a caster's mana. A sword with both fire and lightning enchantments tacked on is devastatingly lethal fully perked out.
Meanwhile, frost just isn't worth the effort: Nords are resistant (and very common), dwarven machines are resistant, most enemy mages are resistant, and the undead are resistant, the latter being by far the most common enemy in Skyrim dungeons.
The Oghma Infinium glitch. This book meant to be single-use can be tricked into replicating endlessly, providing full skill and level cap within minutes.
This was patched and replaced with a very bad bug instead. Not only will this trick not work anymore, but depositing the Infinium in any container (bookshelf, chest, corpse, etc) will result in the book getting wiped out clean as if you had used it, even if you haven't.
For those in the thief's side of things, you can get 30 times damage multiplication on daggers while sneaking and with a certain perk and pair of gloves that only requires a very easy quest to get. With proper mountain-climbing, you can one-shot even dragons. Stealth in general is broken because the Too Dumb to Live AI will simply give up on searching for you no matter how many times you damage them. You can shoot an arrow into a guard's face and walk away and within twenty seconds he will say "must have just been my imagination", even if his partner is lying dead on the floor from arrows to the face.
If you want to make it even crazier, get the perk that makes you invisible for a couple seconds whenever you crouch. This will force you into 'sneak' mode even if the enemy has full sight of you letting you stealth crit people in direct combat.
For minimal effort you can make vegetable soup. Eating that gives you a very small amount of health and stamina per second for 720 seconds. This allows you to continually bash opponents. It takes time, but anything you can get 1v1 with can be bashed to death. You take no damage because the bashes interrupt everything they do. There is a perk that increases bash damage in the blocking tree.
Plus, a shield that you can get during the main quest causes additional bleeding damage while bashing, meaning that you can violently impale your enemy on the shield spikes over and over until he dies.
Somewhat hindered by the fact that eating several vegetable soups will crash your game if you open your magic menu.
Unequipping & equipping gear that increases stamina, health and or mana gives you that amount. The gear change can be hotkeyed. You can cycle identical sets of gear as to continually replenish the stats without ever being without armor. This essentially makes the above gamebreaker to get zero mana cost unnecessary, along with health and stamina potions.
Enemy pathfinding is so poor that an archer can just sit somewhere out of reach and shoot everything dead.
Elemental Fury (a dragon shout that boosts attack speed with melee) + the Steed stone (a stone whose ability makes armor, even heavy armor, weightless, and as a result boosts attack speed even with two handed weapons regardless of armor) + a perk that boosts attack speed when dual wielding one handed weapons = everything dies screaming. For a two handed weapons expert, Elemental fury and the Stallion stone allows the player in heavy armor to wield a two handed warhammer with the speed of a one handed weapon.
The only drawback to Elemental Fury is that it can't be used while carrying enchanted weaponry.
Being an Orc is, in many ways, a serious Game Breaker for melee characters. How? Let us count the ways.
First, an orc has one racial ability, but it is so game breaking that the developers did not need to give the orcs any other abilities: Berserk. Take half damage, deal double damage, for 60 seconds. You can kill a LOT of enemies in 60 seconds, or one really powerful enemy. As long as you are quick enough, once a dragon lands, an orc can deal 50% of a dragon's health before it can take off, which will cause the dragon to be grounded. From there, you can finish it off without worrying about it taking off and attacking from the air.
Second, the freedom to immediately enter orc strongholds. Gloombound mine has the largest number of ebony veins anywhere, and ebony is the material needed to make two of the strongest armors in the game, and you have to enter the orc stronghold that guards it before you can enter (unless you're really, REALLY good at climbing mountains). An orc can walk right in with a pickaxe and mine every ore vein in the place, resulting in 10-15 ingots worth each trip. And the mines regularly regenerate their stock. Even before you reach 80 smithing, allowing you to make armor and weapons with it, the ingots do sell quite well. Once you reach 90 smithing, you can easily buy a few Daedric Hearts from your local alchemists and make Daedric armor and weapons for your own use or for selling. It's free money.
Three, the innate bonuses to heavy armor, smithing and enchanting. Using the Warrior stone to boost your experience growth, and orc has a faster and easier time maxing out his enchanting, heavy armor and smithing skills than most other races.
Putting these three advantages together, an orc can reach lvl 80 smithing very quickly, make ebony armor for himself very quickly, and use enchanting and smithing to make them very powerful very quickly. Normally, you'd have to be lvl 46 before you could even get ebony equipment in shops. With a training regimen focused on smithing, you can get Daedric gear before you are lvl 23, and it will only improve from there. An orc's large starting boost to heavy armor puts it to excellent use, as well.
Conjuring Dremora Lords. Get at least 65 Conjuration and you can summon one of these guys. They're strong enough to go toe to toe with most things and win. Dragons included. Even if they're killed, you can simply summon another one. Then another one. Then another one. Repeat until your target(s) are dead. This becomes even more effective once you get the perk that halves the cost of casting it. Then, you can make it even more effective by getting the Twin Souls perk, which allows you to have two summons at a time. Two Dremora Lords against anything is pretty much a Curb-Stomp Battle.
For those not understanding why this is such a powerful gamebreaker (maybe you fought Dremora Lords before and were not impressed), a dremora lord is summoned with a powerful two handed daedric greatsword that is always enchanted with additional fire damage, and wear daedric armor. Unless you're playing on harder difficulties, most enemies will never wear anything above steel plate (and those are typically bosses) so your opponents are almost always out-classed.
There are two ways to get this. One can be done surprisingly early (level 14, pay close attention to taverns) in the game and is a hilarious quest to boot. The spell tome to conjure Dremora however can rarely be found in the world as an item. If you neglect conjuration for a long time, you can power level VERY quickly.
The Mannequins in Honeyside can be exploited to duplicate any armor in the game. While any mannequin can do this, Honeyside is the easiest to obtain. This can allow you to duplicate expensive armors to sell, or duplicate armors that are only attainable once, such as the Nightingale Armor (coincidentally, the quest you need to start to get the Nightingale armor is the same town Honeyside's in: Riften).
Certain skills can be freely and cheaply maxed out without using them whatsoever. The earliest example of this is the Faendal exploit, where you can pay him to train you, then take back the money due to him being a follower. The companions hold 5 members who can do the same thing, but they're better in that they're not capped at 50 per skill like Faendal is (two of them are capped at 90, the highest trainers can go). The catch is you have to complete the Companions questline before you can take back the money. In addition, casting Soultrap on horses does not kill them, but levels your Conjuration. If you have a horse and a way to regen your magicka, you can reach 100 in Conjuration almost instantly.
Surprising Oblivion players, Archery can very easily be this. Get a bow, enchant it with Paralyze for 1-5 sec and the unique Fiery Soul Trap enchantment (10 pts fire damage, soul trap between 1-10 seconds) and a grand soul. Set soul trap and paralyze to 1, and you have a bow with several hundred charges that almost completely refills even from a petty soul and deals bow damage +10 fire and has a 50% chance to make anyone it hits fall down (the falling down and getting up animation makes the 1 seconds paralyze actually last for closer to 4 seconds). Put this on, say, a crafted daedric bow and sneak attack and you're doing enough damage to one-shot ANY humanoid, or two-shot a mammoth.
The catch? You must be level 22 at minimum to find a paralyzing weapon in loot or shops.
A simple, rare alteration spell, Transmute, can easily be this. It's almost impossible to find in shops, but it can be found in Halted Stream Camp, a bandit lair in walking distance of Whiterun, on a table in plain view. The spell does two things: when cast, it will turn a single piece of iron ore into silver, or a piece of silver ore into gold. Two castings of the spell will turn a lump of iron ore, the most commonly found ore in the game, that has multiple mines spread through Skyrim, into one of the most expensive. And crafting jewelery requires no levels in smithing whatsoever. An adept level spell, it has a high mana cost (nearly 100), but with high mana regen, you can spam it repeatedly, and an adept in alteration can cast it at lower cost. Turn the gold ore into ingots, then jewelry, enchant them, and you have some high grade vendor trash to sell. This allows you to raise smithing, speech, and enchanting easily (enchanted rings and necklaces sell quite well). It's practically money for nothing. The best part? Halted Stream Camp, the best place to find it, is AN IRON MINE. There are 16 iron veins inside, so you can pull 48 gold ore in just one run. And you won't even need to bring your own pickaxe, they can be found all over. Just one more reason to play a mage.
The most basic conjuration necromancy spell, Raise Zombie, can easily be used to raise your conjuration to level 50 by the end of Bleak Fall Barrow. How? Cast it on a corpse, then strike the raised creature with the weapon and/or attack spell of your choice, until the creature goes hostile. The moment it does so, you get a large amount of experience in conjuration. Why? You only get conjuration exp if your raised zombie engages in combat against something. That something can be anything, even yourself. As long as you don't kill the zombie before it turns hostile, you'll raise both your conjuration and your attack skill. And zombie raising gives a TREMENDOUS amount of exp compared to daedra summons. Just cast it on any basic enemy (bandit, draugr, skeever), make it turn against you, kill it, and you'll be leveling up lightning fast. The best part? Any corpse will do, even ones that were dead before you entered the level. Bleak Falls Barrow is littered with basic corpses that you can raise then rekill to boost you conjuration at lightning speed. Oh, and if you've mastered illusion, you can just raise the creature, cast fury on it (only possible with the perk that allows illusion spells to affect the undead), and you'll get the exp automatically. Even if you only intend to use bound weapons, this trick will let you have the levels necessary to get the Bound Bow spell (most expensive, requires level 50 conjuration) and all the perks relating to bound weapons by the time you clear the barrow. Plus, there's the fun of getting to kill your enemies a second time.
To guarantee raising your conjuration raises to 50 before the end of Bleak Falls Barrow, be sure you get Bound Blade, then cast it before you aggro your zombies. This will cause your level to raise at double speed, since having a bound weapon out when combat starts will raise the level. Just be sure you use weak attacks to aggro the zombie before finishing it off. If the zombie dies before it can aggro (Skeevers are prone to this), you get nothing. Best use an iron dagger, or for a non-khajiit, bare hands.
Smithing and Enchanting combined can be a tremendous game breaker: First, max both out. Next, create a set of gear that boosts your smithing. Craft a set of daedric armor and your weapon of choice. Use your smith boosting equipment to improve them to ridiculously high levels. Now, enchant your gear so that it boosts your weapon skill and health regen astronomically, plus fortifying health where possible. Place whatever weapon enchants you please on your weapon, but fire, frost, and shock aren't advised (you'll see why in a second). With a set boosted with both smithing and enchantment, your damage output is in the hundreds regardless of your weapon. A Daedric warhammer, at max two-handed skill, with this setup will do 300+ base damage per swing, while the basic weapon enchants would only allow an increase of 30+ additional damage (60+ if both enchants deal damage). You may as well keep your weapon unenchanted so you can use elemental fury to maximize your attack speed. With the health regen enchants and your maxed out damage reduction from the armor, you're nearly immortal unless you're ambushed by multiple draugar deathlords armed with ebony and you just stand around like a loser while they pound on you. With maxed regen enchants, most basic enemies literally cannot kill you no matter how hard they try: your armor negates their damage to pathetic levels, and the regen restore your health completely before their next attack. With this build, you don't even need any of the other breakers listed above, this one is enough to let you go toe to toe with anything out there with ease, without having to use any exploits, glitches, or cheats. Just 100+ smithing and enchantment combined with the right enchants will make you a near-god.
The Conjuration Spell Bound Bow can be a tremendous Game Breaker with the right build. Why? Well, in addition to the other reasons a Bound weapon can be a Game Breaker, or at least a Disc One Nuke, they come with one special feature: Regenerating Daedric arrows. For those who are unaware, Daedric arrows are super-rare, and very expensive, to the point you'd save them for bosses, and even then, only for very tough ones. Bound Bow comes with 100 Daedric strength arrows each time it is cast, meaning you don't have to worry about wasting expensive arrows. Plus, it's boosted by Archery Perks and fortify archery enchants, allowing you to raise the damage further. Combine it with Sneak, and the x3 sneak damage bonus, and with a regular attack, it can do up to 150+ damage per shot, 450+ damage per sneak attack. To maximize its sneaking potential, the Illusion 50 perk for silent spell casting is very important, but if you spam the spell Muffle (one of only a small handful of spells you can spam that will raise exp and grants a huge exp amount when cast), you'll have that in no time.
A spell that you can find in the Mage Guild Quest in Labyrinthian, Telekinesis, can quickly raise your Alteration to 100 in minutes. While granting high exp when cast, its high mana cost usually prevents it from being usable. With enchantments, this is easily overcome. Craft an equipment set to nullify the Alteration spell costs, then cast telekinesis on an object, preferably one in your house. Bind your attack key to something you can leave a paperweight on and come back in around 15 minutes. Voila, you're at 100 Alteration and have ~5 new levels to show for it.
Patch 1.9 introduced the ability to make skills legendary, allowing you to reset a perk without losing the levels you previously gained. By simply using Telekinesis and repeatedly resetting Alteration, your overall level can go into the hundreds within a few hours.
Made worse with 100% Alteration reduction apparel. Just grab an item with telekinesis, enter the menu while holding it, and use the map to fast travel. The game calculates experience for holding telekinesis for the game time passed while fast travelling. Travel a fair distance and you can level from 15 to 100 in one go, in just one load screen.
The Enhanced Dwarven Crossbow, available in Dawnguard, is a huge game breaker, for the following reasons: it's easy to get (just completing a set of six quests will make it available in a store in Fort Dawnguard), it has damage greater than a Dragonbone Bow (the most powerful regular bow in the game), and it can ignore 50% of enemy armor. Oh, and even though it has the "ignore 50% of enemy armor" ability, it can still be enchanted further. This is THE weapon to have if you're trying to create a stealthy sniper. Oh, and along the way, you'll unlock access to exploding crossbow bolts that convert your damage to fire, frost, or shock.
Summon Durnehviir. While it does have as much health and is as unmountable as Odahviing, it knows (and teach the dragonborn) the soul trap Shout (Killing, Soul Trapping, and Resurrecting a hapless opponent), breathes frost and summons three friendly undead that are lot more stronger than common draugr. Oh, and you can summon him INDOORS. Surrounded by falmer and chaurus? Durnehviir. Need to fight the skeletal dragon in the labyrinth? Durnehviir. Final battle against Alduin? DURNEHVIIR.
Auriel's Bow, one of the MacGuffin items in Dawnguard, is in fact an extremely powerful bow with a few bonuses that make it supremely powerful: Firstly, it does 60 sun damage to the undead (the best enchanted weapons a player can manufacture will only be able to add at most 60 bonus damage normally, unless you use alchemy boosts). Second, when using sunblessed arrows (all you need to make them is to take elvish arrows to a certain npc) it has a powerful sunburst effect that damages groups of enemies. Third, its damage rivals daedric and dragonbone bows, and can be greatly improved with smithing and enchantments. At max smithing and enchanting boosts, it exceeds even a dwarven crossbow or dragonbone bow. Fourth, and this is the most incredible, if you shoot a sunblessed arrow at the sun with this bow, it will turn the sun into a Kill Sat, randomly blasting anything and everything nearby for a few minutes. Incredibly useful during battles with dragons during the day. Oh, and you get to keep the bow after the Dawnguard questline is over.
It can also fire cursed arrows that do extra damage against the living and, when fired into the sun, make it night. The latter ability is almost indefensible for vampires, but can also be used to make ideal sneaking conditions.
The Aetherium Crown, one of the three possible rewards for the sidequest Lost To The Ages (you can initiate this by visiting Fort Dawnguard and reading a book The Aetherium Wars) allows you to retain two Standing Stone Abilities. How is this a gamebreaker? You can use this to obtain the Lover Stone ability (+15% to all exp gains) and any of the three Guardian Stone abilities (+20% to Warrior, Thief, or Mage abilities). Additionally, if you put the Lover Stone on the crown, you can remove it, get a sleeping bonus, and put it back on, negating the drawback of the Lover Stone. Stacked, that allows for up to a 30% general exp increase as well as 20% in exp gains to the expertise of your choice, greatly increasing the speed of your character growth. Or, if you've already maxed your exp, if you can locate the Lord Stone and The Atronach Stone, you can use them to greatly improve your defensive capabilities. Or the Apprentice Stone and the Atronach Stone, which means you get all the strengths of both stones while at the same time negating their weaknesses (The Apprentice stone increases your magicka regen, but makes you twice as vulnerable to magic. The Atronach Stone increases your magicka, and gives you 50% magic attack absorbtion, but halves your magicka regen. Combine the two, and your magic defense is essentially the same, but you gain magicka each time you are hit with a spell, and you get a bonus to your magicka at the same time).
For Vampire Lords, most of their abilities constitute a Disc One Nuke, since their powers will eventually be overshadowed by a regular character's higher level skills. However, there is one power that is going to be useful even if your character is at high levels. It's available as soon as you have access to your second perk: Vampiric Grip. It's telekinesis that works exclusively on enemies. When you use it, enemies are suspended in midair and they take light damage. When you let go, though, they get tossed with great force in any direction you choose, even straight up. Nearly every boss room in the game has a high ceiling, so you can grab just about every enemy in the game, then throw him straight up into the air. After he lands, he'll take a significant amount of damage. No matter how strong a boss may be, he won't survive more than a few round trip tickets from the floor to the ceiling and back. While this spell burns through mana quickly, it only takes two to three seconds at most to send an enemy skyward, and with sufficient mana regen, you can repeat it at will without fear of running out of magicka. It has already been confirmed that it can toss giants effortless, leaving mammoths and dragons as the only creatures not yet confirmed to be affected by this spell. Meaning that, with the exception of the two largest creatures in the game, there's nothing that this spell can't lift and throw for you. Two seconds of effort, then gravity does the rest.
In Dawnguard, provided you do enough side quests, one of the members will give you a quest to recover a lost relic. This relic is a warhammer with a unique power. When you use a block bash, it will leave a rune trap that does significant damage when triggered. Why is it a game breaker? IT NEVER REQUIRES RECHARGING. It's possible to use this endlessly, without needing to power it back up.
For specific/unique weapons, there's the Windshear, a scimitar obtainable towards the end of the Dark Brotherhood questline (it can be found on the Katariah, the Emperor's ship). Its enchantment causes anyone and anything hit by the sword to always stagger, meaning any 1v1 melee battle while using it will almost be a guaranteed win (assuming you can get up close to them and not be deterred by any ranged attacks), even against grounded Ancient Dragons.
Hearthfire changes alchemy poisons from rarely useful to a serious game breaker, as it allows you to make your own garden in the game once you have built up your home sufficiently. This allows you to create a self-regenerating supply of rare and/or hard to locate ingredients for your potions. Fill your garden with Canis Root and Imp Stool, with, optionally, Mora Tapinella or Nightshade. Mixed together, these make a poison that will paralyze enemies and cause damage to health. Apply to dagger, attack enemy. Then, once he is frozen... go to work on him, then repoison your dagger and strike again as he rises. This strategy will allow you to 1 on 1 any enemy that's not immune to poison, or paralysis, and each plant in the previously mentioned garden will give 3 to 4 ingredients EACH. Even if you never apply a single perk to alchemy, this will allow you to make devastating use of poisons.
Even better, each garden has about ten plots for plants, and there are multiple estates available (3 or 4), so you can easily make 80 pure paralysis potions each time you run the circuit.
This add-on makes alchemy in general absurdly effective. You can effortlessly make your own health potions, boost potions, and deadly poisons instead of having to wander the countryside for rare ingredients. You only need to buy and/or find one sample of the ingredient you need, plant it, then watch it grow. One will make 4, then you plant those 4, giving you five total regenerating ingredient sources, giving 20 ingredients each. You still have to hunt for insects, fish, nirnroots, creature parts, etc, but this takes 99% out of the previous hard work that went into alchemy use.
Conjuration and Illusion, used in conjunction, can be a tremendous game breaker. Let's review: Illusion allows you to manipulate enemy behavior (make enemies enraged, afraid, or calm) and bolster your allies. Conjuration allows you to summon creatures to aid you. Nearly maxed out, illusion allows you to use your skills on undead, daedra, and automatons. So, you can hit your enemy with a fear spell, so that he won't try to fight, then summon a dremora lord or two, then use a spell to make said dremora even stronger. Then play The Benny Hill Show chase music while your dremora chase down and kill the enemy who is too scared to fight. This helps overcome the typical enemy habit of initially ignoring your summons and attacking you first, since by the time the fear spell runs out, the two summoned creatures are the greater threat.
Illusion in general can be extremely powerful: Illusion spells work according to level, and Illusion perks raise the level of enemies that are affected by those spells (depending on the spell and target, the level increase is around 20 levels. For expert Illusion spells, the base level is 20, so all perked out, the level max is about 40. With dual casting, that doubles to 80, and there are no enemies at normal difficulty with a level that high. The most basic spells, fully perked, have a single cast strength of 28-30, dual cast 50+, so once mastered, even basic spells can make most any enemy your bitch). Illusion is also very easy to raise (spam muffle, and you'll level up relatively fast), and if you master it before anything else, the only enemies you can't directly manipulate are dragons. Even dungeon bosses will be made to feel fear, fury, and/or calm. An ally, or conjured monsters, are all you'll need to wipe the floor with what's left after your enemies finish killing each other and/or running away like cowards. While Illusion won't let you directly kill your enemies, it can be used to indirectly kill you enemies: it's endlessly entertaining to use a fear spell to make your enemies run into any number of traps, up to and including pitfalls, poison dart launchers, swinging spike grates, and swinging guillotines.
Turns out there was a reason to save all those brooms. In the mages college at Winterhold, the Atronach Forge allows you to craft several items. With a broom, Void Salts, an unfilled soul gem greater level or higher, and an orichalcum ingot or ore fragment, you can craft a Staff of Storm Atronach. In addition to being a very powerful staff, it also sells very, very well, the staff selling much better than its ingredients do.
Even better, with the exception of Void Salts, you can find all of the stuff lying around, and even Void Salts will occasionally show up around alchemy workspaces and apothecary pouches. You can also use the Atronach Forge to make Void Salts with just an amethyst, any unfilled soul gem (petty is most cost effective), and salt.
A perk in the DLC Dragonborn that you can get as part of the main storyline allows you to increase the strength of Unrelenting Force and cause it to occasionally disintegrate enemies. The Shout Dragon Aspect, once completed, increases the power of all shouts, including Unrelenting Force. Combined, it makes Fus Ro Da, an already useful shout, unspeakably powerful.
Dragon Aspect in general: increased physical strength, armor, and stronger shouts: it's basically a slightly improved version of the Orc's Berserker Rage skill that also improves shouts. Combine Berserker Rage, Dragon Aspect, and Elemental Fury, and not even bosses will be able to last more than a few seconds against you.
A new enchantment, Chaos, in Dragonborn allows an enchanted weapon to have a 50% chance of doing additional fire, shock, and/or ice damage with each swing. Each element is calculated separately, not together. Stahlrim weapons improve frost enchantments when applied to them, as well as the Chaos enchantment. A master enchanter with potion boosts (and the boosts to potions and enchanting also found in Dragonborn, but without the restoration boosts) can place an enchantment that does over one hundred and fifty damage from each element. Combine that with the absorb health enchantment (which for some reason is made more powerful when on a chaos weapon, powerful enough that it alone deals around a hundred damage each swing), that means many hundreds of extra damage max per swing and a ridiculous amount of health recovery. Elemental resistant enemies are less vulnerable to this, but even they can be wiped out with just a few swings on the highest difficulty.
After the conclusion of Dragonborn, the Black Book that takes you to the final boss battle gives you the ability to reset your perks anytime, anywhere. If you used the Oghma Infinium glitch to max out your stats, this means that your character now can be used to clear every questline in the game, and you can use it to make insanely powerful equipment, then transfer the perks from your crafting skills to your combat skills. 80 perk points can now be placed wherever you please, any time you please. If you want to do everything in the game, you now have the power to do so with a single character.
There is a price for respec-ing your character. It costs one dragon soul to strip the perks off of a single skill tree. However, when you beat Miraak, you get 6 plus however many dragons you've killed in the plugin dragon souls, so you can respec yourself immediately, or whenever you are ready to do so.
It is now possible to create a character with 100% magic absorption: The Atronach Stone grants 50% spell absorbtion at the cost of reduced mana regen (can be overcome or lessened with enchantments, and perks from the school of restoration). The Atronach perk grants 30% spell absorption. Miraak, the big bad of Dragonborn, wears an equipment set that, when the robes, gloves, and boots are worn together, offers 25% spell absorption. That comes to 105% total. Combine this with the Dragonhide Master level spell in Alteration, and you are Nigh Invulnerable. The only drawbacks to this is that it will prevent you from being able to cast Conjuration Spells, and it will also absorb any healing spells, or alteration armor spells you cast on yourself while at 100% absorption.
Sadly, the Summon Durnehviir shout can be absorbed, so if you do this, you can't use Durnehviir anymore (trying to do so will still give you the 300 seconds shout cooldown). Of course, you can just use the armor bind trick above to strip your armor for a second.
The Black Books contain some pretty broken powers:
Mora's Boon: Fully restore Stamina, Health, and Magicka once a day.
Secret Of Protection: You take half damage for 30 seconds once a day.
Secret Of Arcana: For 30 seconds, spells use no magicka once a day.
The king of them all, though, is Black Market: Summon a Dremora merchant for 15 seconds (time freezes while in the merchant's menu), as often as you like and wherever you like, for no magicka. The Dremora will have 2000 gold for you to burn through, and if you are willing to utilize a simple exploit (sell him things until he's out of gold, wait for him to de-summon, save game, turn off Skyrim, turn it back on again) you can reset his gold instantly (as opposed to the the two days you would otherwise have to wait). Essentially, this one ability makes all carry weight restrictions meaningless, since whenever you become overencumbered, just summon the merchant and sell him things until you're within bounds again. And it gets even better! His inventory of things to sell to you is limited, but it is always well-leveled, meaning that once your level is high enough, he will exclusively sell Daedric equipment—two random weapons, one with a random enchantment, and two random armor pieces, one with a random enchantment, and about 10 Daedric arrows. Using the above trick to force a gold/stock reset, he can be farmed for Daedric arrows as long as you've got the gold to buy them, or rare enchantments—the Paralysis enchantment, for example, is absurdly powerful and usually absurdly difficult to find a weapon to disenchant for it, but weapons of paralyzing appear in his stock with some regularity. Probably the only downsides are that he won't buy stolen goods, and he isn't affected by speechcraft so dealing with him is slightly less profitable than other merchants.
The Perk Necromage is pretty decent on its face. It provides a 25% bonus/50% duration effect to any spell applied to the undead. As undead are by far the most common enemy, this is highly useful on its own. What makes it a true gamebreaker, however, is how it behaves when you become a vampire. Vampires are undead, and so are you as a vampire. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. Not only does Necromage affect your spells, it also affects everything the game considers a magical effect, like bonuses from enchanted equipment, certain quest rewards, and even a few perks, so long as Necromage was chosen prior to getting those perks. With Dragonborn, you can respec all your perks and immediately go for Necromage first, allowing you to enhance all your skills at the cost of a few dragon souls (not terribly hard to get by the time you can do this). Add on Vampire Lord from Dawnguard to remove the biggest weakness of being a vampire and you have a character that further breaks many of the game's already broken abilities. Or alternatively, just cure your vampirism. You get to keep the Necromage bonus until you lose the magical effect it boosted(by removing the perk,enchanted equipment, etc.) and unless you are forced to do it by some quest, you have very little reason to do it, and you can always just become a vampire again in the rare cases it does happen. With this method, the player can gain things like 100% spell absorption in the vanilla game(with the Atronach stone and the Atronach perk), or the ability to forge even more powerful equipment with the smithing trick above.
Tired of enchantments running out on your weapons? Wearing equipment that reduces the cost of destruction spells also decreases the drain on enchanted weaponry. 100% cost reduction allows for infinite use without need for re-charging.
You can make an unimaginably powerful enchanted weapon using the Chaos weapon enchant, several perks in the destruction magic tree, and the masks of the three masked dragon priests in Dragonborn if you use a Stahlrim weapon as the base. Here's what you need to know: The perks that boost magic damage in the destruction tree improve the elemental damage done by enchanted weapons. They work just as effectively as the perks that do the same in the enchantment tree, if not more so. Max enchanting, obtain those perks, make or buy a stahlrim weapon of your choice, then go to the enchanter. If you have your enchanting fully maxed out, and all of the perks necessary to boost elemental damage, plus the mask of one of the elemental dragon priests, you'll see that the Chaos enchant is close to 300 (using alchemy potions, a perk, and some enchanted gear found in one of the Dragonborn dungeons, you can boost it even further). This is because each of those perks improve the power of the Chaos enchant, as does the mask, plus the Stahlrim weapon itself. So you now have a weapon that with each swing, has the chance to inflict 300 fire, 300 frost, and 300 shock damage with every swing. If all three of those sync up (1 in 8 chance per swing), that's 900 damage with the Chaos enchant alone. With the perk for two enchantments, you can add a frost enchantment, which will also be boosted by most of the perks you have and the Stahlrim weapon, which will do between 100 and 150 frost damage. That's right, your weapon can potentially do over 1000 magic damage per swing!
With the removal of the level cap, you can take a skill that's at 100, reset it to 15, and re-raise it to gain levels (therefore giving you perks and health/magicka/stamina). Combine that with enchantments that can reduce a spell's cost to 0, and you can use Alteration's Telekinesis to pick up an object, then tape down the button, wait 15 minutes, and Alteration is back at 100. Reset it, rinse, repeat and you can eventually have enough perk points to buy every perk in the game (which makes you ridiculously powerful).
This will also give you enough Hp, Mp, and Stamina to be Nigh Invulnerable. Only catch is, to max out, you have to repeat the process a whopping 147 times: At 15 minutes per... that comes to a grand total of 36.75 hours, unless you get the Atherium Crown and use both the Mage Stone and the Lover Stone to boost exp gain 35%, and even then, minus the 35%, that's still approximately 24 hours.
This is even more broken if you go and make the Alteration and/or Illusion Ritual Spell quests on the College of Winterhold the first time you get those skills to 100; that way you can use the Master level spells at no expense if you have your enchanted magicka reducing set for said school, greatly decreasing the leveling time after you reset it to 15: just to put things in perspective: the first casting of, say, Harmony (one of the Master level Illusion, which you can spam in a city with no consequences) can level your skill from 15 to the mid 30's, exact level depending on the amount of people affected. Illusion can be re-capped in less than 5 minutes this way, it's so fast, the leveling prompt lags and delays, informing you that you got to level 100 in Illusion about 2 minutes after you did. The same can be done with Mass Paralysis in Alteration, although that gets you a 40 gold fine if you use it on a city but, at this point, who cares?
With sufficient exploitation of the Alchemy, Enchanting and Smithing skills in Skyrim, it is possible to make weapons that will kill anything in one hit.
Max level Enchanting can reduce the magic cost of a school of magic by 25%. The player can wear four pieces of clothing that have such enchants at one time, reducing the cost of a given school of magic to 0. With the right perks, a player can double up enchants to make that apply to two schools of magic, and if combined with Destruction magic's Stagger perk, the player can stunlock anything indefinitely.
The arrow smithing ability added in the Dawnguard can easily be this. It allows you to make twenty four arrows using just one firewood and one ingot of the desired quality material. Without this ability, acquiring arrows in any quality above Nordic / steel was extremely difficult. NPCs don't usually carry arrows of higher qualities than those until late in the game, and even then which type of arrow they carry is all across the board, making it difficult to build up stocks of a single type of higher quality arrow to use reliably. With the new smithing ability you can easily craft hundreds of ebony or even dragon bone arrows in little time.
More of a quest-breaker than Game Breaker, the Breton race trait of 25% resist magic plus the racial ability Dragonskin, which absorbs 50% magicka for 60 seconds. Combined, these make the Eye Of Magnus quest ridiculously easy. The Dragon Priest you face to get the Staff of Magnus uses the staff itself as his main weapon. After taking out his guards, activate Dragonskin. Reason? The Staff of Magnus' effect is to absorb the magicka of a target. Since Bretons only take half damage from magic, its power is halved. The remaining fifty percent is absorbed into your own magicka supply. The Dragon Priest does not notice this and continues to attack you harmlessly with the staff, and you essentially have free reign to cast spells at him for 60 seconds. Once you've defeated him, retrieve his mask and the staff. His mask gives you a 100% boost to magicka regen, meaning you get your magicka back twice as fast. As above, the staff absorbs the magicka of the target. However, it also has the additional effect of absorbing the target's health once their magicka is depleted. Return to the College, where you are betrayed by the obviously evil Thalmor who was put in charge. Equip the mask. Equip the staff. Activate Dragonskin. When the fight breaks out, start draining his magicka. Laugh at his despair as his spells fail to affect you and the staff begins absorbing enough of his health to offset any melee damage he does to you in desperation.
Odahviing could also be considered this. With the Call Dragon shout, he flies to your side while raining fire down on your foes. Better yet, he is an essential character, meaning he can't die, and he will not leave until all foes are vanquished. Meeting him at level 36 or higher also results in him gaining the power of an Ancient Dragon, the most powerful variant in the base game. Also, guess what? The Dragonborn DLC allows you to tame and ride him.