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Morrowind: Skills
Skill: Sneak
Governing Attribute:
Successful Pick Pocket: +2.0
Avoid Notice: +0.25

The Sneak discipline is the art of moving unseen and unheard. Skilled sneaks are also adept pickpockets. Note that the skill does not improve simply from use and having the "sneak icon" on the screen. Despite the icon display, the skill only improves when within the detection range of a creature where they would notice the player. Sneak is a very useful skill, as it allows for critical hits.

Character CreationEdit

The following races receive bonuses to their Sneak skill:

The following classes have Sneak as a Major skill:

The following classes have Sneak as a Minor skill:


Sneak is the only skill with two master trainers: Ri'Shajirr at Shenk's Shovel in Caldera, and Wadarkhu at Druegh-jigger's Rest in Gnaar Mok. Other trainers of note are:

See Sneak Trainers for the complete list.


The following books will increase your Sneak skill:


The following factions include Sneak as one of their favored skills:

Sneak MechanicsEdit

While Sneaking, a Sneak Check is performed periodically - once every couple of seconds for targets not in combat, to every few frames for targets that are actively looking for you. The chance that you can successfully remain hidden can be generalized as (Player's Elusiveness - Target's Spot Chance)%.


The Player's Elusiveness is equal to
(Sneak + Agility/5 + Luck/10) * (0.5 + Distance to Target/500) * (0.75 + 0.5 * Current Fatigue/Maximum Fatigue) + Chameleon Magnitude

Distance to target can be determined via the GetDistance Console function (bring up the console, click on the target, and type GetDistance, "Player").

Spot ChanceEdit

The target's chance to spot the player while they are Sneaking is equal to
(Sneak + Agility/5 + Luck/10 - Blind Magnitude) * (0.75 + 0.5 * Current Fatigue/Maximum Fatigue) * Direction Multiplier

The Direction Multiplier is equal to 1.5 while the player is on either side or in front of the target, and equal to 0.5 while behind the target


  • Unlike looking in owned containers, 'just looking' while pickpocketing is considered a crime and will get you a bounty if caught, as well as expelled if performed on a fellow faction member.
  • Items may randomly not be visible in target inventories when pickpocketing while detected or with a low chance of success.
  • Without an optional patch from the Morrowind Code Patch, pickpocket chance is effectively capped at 56% as it is rolled twice with a cap of 75% both when taking an item and when closing the pickpocket window. Item weight is also not factored in without the patch.
  • Pickpocket chance is determined by the value of the item(s), your Sneak level, Luck, detection state (whether or not the hand-and-coinpurse icon is visible), and your target's Sneak level. Invisibility and Chameleon affect your detection state rather than pickpocketing directly, and despite governing Sneak, your Agility has no effect on your pickpocketing chances [verification needed — see talk page]. Your Sneak skill level has the largest direct effect on your pickpocket success chance; however, even at 100 Sneak, pickpocketing high-value items is nearly impossible. One easy way around this, assuming you can obtain a Fortify Skill effect for spellmaking, is to create a custom spell or enchant with one or more 1-second Fortify Sneak 100 on self effects, and cast it immediately before attempting a pickpocket. Do not include any other effects, an extremely high Sneak is all that is needed.
    • If you are playing the base game without Tribunal or Bloodmoon, you will not be able to access a Fortify Skill effect and therefore must make a much stronger Fortify Luck spell or enchant. If you also have a low (<35 or so) sneak skill and find it hard to remain undetected, you may also need a Chameleon or Invisibility effect to remain undetected, and wait for the hand-and-coinpurse icon to show up before attempting to pickpocket.
  • Knocked down and calmed NPCs can be pickpocketed of any items(except equipped clothing/jewelry) without a chance of being caught. Though if any nearby npc is observing this, it will still report the crime.
    • To keep npcs from going permanently hostile, or the act counting as an assault, frenzy them first. The sequence should be Frenzy -> (optional) Destroy their armor/weapons with disintegrate spells so they would unequip them -> (optional)Drain their fatigue with spells -> Knockdown using Hand-to-Hand -> Calm -> Pickpocket.
    • Sometimes npcs will rise up instantly after the calm, disallowing a proper knockdown-pickpocket. Simply repeating the sequence, in this case, won't help. To compensate for this, have your calm effect be long enough for you to be able to repeat the sequence before the initial calm expires. This refreshes the calm, instead of initiating it, and leaves the target knocked down.
    • Though Oblivion/Skyrim have similar mechanics that work through fatigue and paralysis - in Morrowind paralysis doesn't aid pickpocketing.
  • An exploit for auto-raising Sneak skill: Being undetected within observation range of an NPC will raise Sneak continuously. If playing on PC, the Morrowind Code Patch project allows the Sneak mode to be toggled. Otherwise bind Sneak to a convenient key and hold it down with a small and heavy object, such as a hammer. On the Xbox, you can simply double click the joystick down to enter an always-Sneak mode to get the same effect. Leave the game alone for a while and the Sneak skill will keep increasing, as long as one or more NPCs are within observation range and are not detecting you. If you want to be guaranteed to not be detected while you are away, you can stack constant-effect Chameleon to (ideally) 100. This trick will only work if NPCs or creatures are within visual range to detect you, such as in a room full of people, or a busy area with walking NPCs. If you have low Sneak from character creation, you will almost certainly need to train it first or use strong Chameleon effects for this to be viable.
    • The 'drain and train' exploit also works for free skill increases from trainers, much faster, but requires your attention. Create a custom spell to drain sneak, 99 pts (or lower if you only want to train to a specific level) for 1 second, and use any Sneak trainer. This can be done with any trainer if you also fortify *their* sneak past their lowest skill they offer to train. This does not work with OpenMW.
    • A less cheaty method is to Sneak up on animals outside of town. This can be dangerous since they will usually attack you if you fail. Sneaking up on Scribs is safe. Fortified Luck and/or Agility can make this technique very effective – it can increase your Sneak by 2 or 3 points if your Sneak skill is quite low.
  • The Chameleon effect will help hide you while sneaking. This is best done by stacking items, spells, and potions to get 100 points of Chameleon.
  • If you have a low Sneak ability and you want to raise it, you can search for a shop or another building with only one NPC. A prime example of this is Sellus Gravius in the Census and Excise Office. Find a position such that while you are in Sneak mode, sometimes the NPC will look over their shoulder if you Sneak behind them. Approach the NPC and wait for them to face you. The NPC will rotate to face you for a few seconds as you move around them. Rotate them away from your Sneak position.[verification needed — see talk page]
  • Some users reported a difference while sneaking with or without heavy boots, if confirmed it would be mostly noticeable at very low levels. OpenMW is confirmed to use boot weight in the sneaking formula. Your sneak skill is essentially subtracted by the boots' weight.
  • If you steal an item while sneaking and while in range of an NPC, a sneak check is performed to determine if you succeed in stealing the item unnoticed. This check appears to use the sneak detection formula and not the pickpocket formula, so it it does not suffer from the issues pickpocketing chance does. The icon depicting a hand reaching into a bag does not mean you will succeed in stealing items, as a sneak check happens the moment you steal something.


  • Pickpocketing doesn't take your stats into consideration properly (chance caps at 75% but is checked twice), making successful pickpocketing extremely difficult regardless of your Sneak Skill.