This article provides answers to some Frequently Asked Questions about playing the game of Oblivion. In most cases, the answers provide links to other articles on this site that provide more detailed information on the topic.
- 1 General
- 2 Items and Equipment
- 3 Skills and Leveling
- 4 Tricks and Exploits
- 4.1 What is 100% Chameleon?
- 4.2 How can the Ayleid gates be used to my advantage?
- 4.3 How can Demoralize be used effectively at higher levels?
- 4.4 How do I acquire Varla/Welkynd Stones and what do they do?
- 4.5 How do I use doors/cell-exits to my advantage?
- 4.6 How do I avoid going to jail?
- 4.7 How do I kill Umbra?/How do I acquire Umbra?
- 4.8 How can I effectively use the Lucky Old Lady to my benefit?
- 4.9 How can I pass through doors while invisible without being detected?
- 4.10 How can I quickly restore my health, without using spells or potions?
- 4.11 How can I remove the "stolen" marker from stolen items?
- 5 Gameplay Problems
How can I save my game?
Frequently saving your game is a good idea. It is especially prudent to save your game to more than just one file (i.e., don't just keep overwriting the same save file over and over again). Some players create a new save file before each quest: it's a painless way to recover if you happen to hit a glitch during the quest.
The game's autosave feature by default automatically saves your game every time you:
- Enter a new zone
- Fast travel
- Sleep or wait
In addition, PC players have a Quicksave key. Both autosave and quicksave are very convenient, but you should not rely excessively on these convenient saves: these saves overwrite themselves all the time, and therefore it's very possible that the save will be too recent to be useful. Occasionally, the game can even crash in the middle of a quicksave, in which case you are left with a corrupt (and unusable) save.
- On the PC, if your quicksave is corrupt from crashing while saving, check your save files directory for a
quiksave.bakfile. This is the previous quicksave file; rename it to
quiksave.essand you can then load it.
- On the PC, to keep track of numerous saved games, use the console to name your saves, using the save command, e.g.
save "name you want for your game"(including the quotes).
- The maximum amount of saves on the PC and Xbox 360 is 1000 (if you make a new save each time). When you reach this max, the new save will replace the save just before that. The PS3 version of the game is limited to 128 saves.
How do I view a different window without shutting down Oblivion?
When you are playing Oblivion you sometimes might want to check out the internet (maybe this page) without shutting down the game. In order to do this you need to have a page up so that you have something to switch to. Otherwise try either Control+Alt+Delete or Control+Shift+Escape to switch to Windows Task Manager or Windows Security. Quicksave before doing this, as the game likes to crash in these situations.
- It has been found that opening the console before you Alt+Tab out of the game seems to reduce the likelihood of a crash.
- The ESC key seemed to work best, as it pauses the game and is not affected by the Tab key at all.
- The screen sometimes will flicker uncontrollably when you Alt+Tab out of it, and it usually takes a few attempts to get to the desktop without it flickering like mad. Also, if you leave the journal closed, Alt+Tab opens it, pausing the game while you look at another window.
- The game sometimes will not crash, but rather stop taking navigation commands. You may be able to F5 save and restore the game from where you were. In some cases, reequipping your gear will allow you to resume playing.
- Running the game in a window greatly reduces the chance of random crashes when Alt+Tabbing. After enabling windowed mode, simply hit Esc then alt-tab as per normal (may require holding the keys down for a little longer than normal).
- Sometimes, the game won't directly freeze, but all NPCs and other characters will freeze, you will not be able to move, opening your inventory will make the screen turn yellowish as per usual, and your character will appear, but your inventory won't, and you won't be able to close it. Same with opening the pause menu, but naturally, the game will not display your character.
- If using Vista and in Fullscreen, you can only Alt+Tab out of the game if you first press Tab to bring up the journal and then press ESC to pause the game. Now you can Alt+Tab to switch to Vista. It is safest to use the Task Manager to switch back to the game, otherwise the game may appear frozen. Alternatively, you can map the journal control to a key other than Tab, in which case you can Alt+Tab out of the game using the default methods.
- In Linux in Gnome or in KDE windows manager you can just use Alt+Tab to switch between different windows or Ctrl+Alt+F(1..7) to switch between virtual consoles. Being in text mode, you can browse Internet using links, elinks or lynx text-based web browsers. Typing "startx" (minus the quotes) at one of these screens will allow you to start another X-session, thus letting you browse with Firefox (or other graphical browser of choice).
If the game seems to have crashed (e.g., begins to overlay screens, loads them only partially, or becomes unresponsive), it may be possible to get it working again using Process Explorer (www.sysinternals.com, a free Task Manager alternative) and a second display. In Process Explorer, right-click Oblivion and select window > restore, a window frame labeled oblivion will show up, but it's gray (as in doesn't have focus), with no content (actually invisible content) and unresponsive (that's why a second display is needed). Now right-click again and select window > bring to front. Voila, Oblivion works again. Sometimes Oblivion will still just show the picture of your character, but without any of the stuff usually accessed through the F(X) keys. In that case just press some of them repeatedly, the game will just overlay them one after one. Now try again, usually the second attempt is successful.
How do I grab and/or drag items?
Grabbing is used to pick up, or grab, objects and carry them in front of you, as opposed to putting them in your inventory or equipping the item. The controls page details the default keys used to grab and drop and grab items on each platform. Grabbing is useful for moving objects to a precise location in the environment, and also allows you to move items that otherwise would exceed your encumbrance limit. Drop and grab (from your inventory) can be more powerful than standard grab, because you are less likely to accidentally let go of the grabbed item; you can even cast spells and fight while the item continues to float in front of you.
Possible uses include:
- Decorate your house.
- Move bodies to get at items under them (e.g., when your enemy falls on top of its weapon as it dies).
- Place items precisely (e.g. putting a staff on an altar); the standard drop command is relatively uncontrolled.
- Move rubble out of your way.
- Pick up the fallen logs from traps in dungeons and swing them at enemies; the logs will cause the same amount of damage as when they first fell.
- When you are over-encumbered, drop and grab your heaviest item and carry it in front of you instead. To get through doors using this method, you should go up to the door, pickup the item so that it goes back into your inventory, go through the door, and then drop the item and hold it in front of you again.
- You can grab a skeleton skull after placing loot into the skeleton, thus treating the skeleton as a portable container. This can be done with any type of creature that falls apart after dying.
What are the benefits of joining the Guilds?
Even if you don't plan on doing any quests for a given guild at all, just joining all available guilds is quite profitable.
Mages and Fighters Guilds: Joining the Mages and Fighters guilds is totally free, just ask (though you will have to go through a series of quests to gain access to the Arcane University). You can sleep in Mages and Fighters Guild halls, use their services and trainers, and grab most of Guild's stuff (sometimes quite valuable) freely. Just by joining, everyone in the guild likes you more. So, members will be easier to haggle with (i.e., buying spells from fellow Mages Guild members). In most cities, the Mages Guild will contain many alembics, retorts, and calcinators. These have a base value of 50 gold each, so large quantities of these are a great way to make some easy cash early in the game.
Thieves Guild: The short quest providing access to the Thieves Guild costs you one infamy point but gives you access to a fence (sell stolen stuff), a source of lockpicks, and the ability to have your bounty taken care of by your Doyen.
Dark Brotherhood: You need to murder a non-hostile NPC to join the Dark Brotherhood, and it gives you a small dagger that is weightless and, because it is a quest item, it cannot be taken away from you, even in some quests when you lose all of your other equipment temporarily. It also grants access to a merchant with unique gear and spells for sale; eventually someone willing to turn you into a vampire, and feeding on sleeping members doesn't make anybody hostile/change disposition. Also, completing the "Purification" quest earns you a free unkillable warrior horse.
Arena: The Arena is free to join and gives you a "raiment," a decent suit of armor for beginning characters. Note that the raiment includes boots, and because the weight of boots is calculated as weight of whole raiment, sneaking will be much more difficult. There are also sleeping mats you can use in the Bloodworks, and free source of arrows from the training Blue Team Gladiator.
The Blades: This has no attached quests, but has plenty of good weapons, armor, and books for a variety of characters. There's really no reason not to join the Blades when Jauffre offers you membership.
Where are the wayshrines and what do they do?
See Wayshrines for detailed information.
How do I use the lockpick feature?
See the skill page on Security for useful lockpicking advice.
How do I use poisons?
You will randomly find some standard poisons while you are exploring. However, you can make more effective poisons yourself if your Alchemy skill and equipment are good enough. The Useful Potions article details some of the better poisons that are possible, such as Triple Damage poisons, and even four- or five-effect poisons.
Once you have a poison, you select it from your inventory, at which point you will be asked whether you want to apply it to your currently equipped item. The poison will then be in effect the next time you hit a target with that weapon. The poison is only good for one strike, then you will have to apply new poison to the weapon. For bows and arrows, the poison is technically applied to the bow, not the arrow. Therefore, you can change arrows after applying a poison, and the poison will still take effect. Also, for bows and arrows, the poison is used up the next time you shoot the bow, regardless of whether you hit the target. For melee weapons, you must hit a target before the poison is used up.
Other tips when using poisons:
- Sniping enemies from a distance can be particularly effective when using poisons with longer durations, allowing the full effect of the poison to take effect before they can run up to you.
- Including Silence in poisons targeting spellcasters (e.g., Conjurers, Necromancers) can be very effective. Keep in mind though that Silence will not prevent attacks from scrolls, staves or certain spells that are Immune to Silence.
- Even weak poisons can be useful when fighting creatures that are immune to normal weapon damage (such as ghosts). Adding poison to a weapon allows the weapon to do damage (even if the effect of the poison itself is resisted).
- You can apply poison many times during a fight for increased effect. Accessing the menu pauses the game; poisoning is an instantaneous action that can be done even in midswing or while an arrow is already nocked on the bowstring.
- Weakness to Poison amplifies the effects of a poison, but only to subsequent attacks.
Items and Equipment
How do I get a large amount of gold?
See Making Money article for a range of tips.
How can I acquire a large number of arrows?
You can easily purchase an infinite number of Iron Arrows from any merchant (smith) who sells a restocking supply of arrows. Once you purchase all of the merchant's stock of arrows, the arrows are immediately replenished. The only limit is your available gold.
For free arrows, you can find somebody who is practicing archery. Examples are the archery range behind the Chorrol Fighters Guild or the Blue Team Gladiator in the Arena Bloodworks. Do not stand too near the archer while he's firing as he will stop if you get too near the target. Every so often, go up to the target and take all the arrows. You can do this as long as the person continues practicing. Typically only iron and steel arrows can be obtained this way.
A risky way to obtain free arrows is to collect arrows from an enemy archer who is firing at you. Find an enemy archer (some options are outlined below) and let the archer chase you until you reach a wall. Then let the archer fire arrows at you. Whenever you hear the sound of a released arrow, just step aside and let the arrow hit the wall. If it's a stone wall, the arrow will fall to the ground where you can pick it up. If it's a wooden wall or door, the arrow will stick to it, making it easier for you to retrieve the arrow. Keep side-stepping and collecting arrows as the archer shoots at you. Most enemy archers have a restocking supply of arrows, the quality of which will depend upon your current level. The number of arrows you can obtain is only limited by the fact that eventually the archer's bow will break, at which point the archer will charge at you with a melee weapon. After you have killed the archer, you can return to the spot where he was standing to find the broken bow.
Where can I find good armor easily?
Almost all armor in the game is leveled. Therefore, the quality of armor that you find is largely determined by your character's current level. Until you reach level 20 it is not possible to find Daedric or Glass armor anywhere in the game. Once you reach level 20, you will start to randomly find Daedric and Glass in many places. The few places where better quality armor can be found at low levels are listed at Best Non-leveled Items; places where enchanted armor can be found are provided at Magic Items with Guaranteed Locations. You will not be able to purchase any Daedric or Glass armor from merchants: the best quality armor ever stocked by merchants is Mithril and Orcish.
In general, the best places to find randomly generated light armor are Bandit Dungeons and other places (e.g., campsites) occupied by bandits. The best places to find randomly generated heavy armor are Marauder Dungeons. Rockmilk Cave is one dungeon occupied by both marauders and Black Bow Bandits; since the two groups are always fighting against each other, you can hide until they have finished battling and obtain a lot of loot (including armor) with relatively little fighting.
Where can I find good enchanted items?
Most of the enchanted items that you will find while playing the game are randomly generated from leveled lists. Therefore, increasing your character's level to about level 25 is necessary before there is any chance of finding certain items. However, even at high levels there is no guaranteed way to locate many of these items: you just need to keep exploring dungeons.
Exceptions to the randomly generated lists do exist:
- Artifacts and most Unique Items are quest rewards. Complete the associated quest and you will receive the item.
- Leveled Items are also quest rewards, but the quality of the item that you receive depends upon your level at the time when you complete the quest. If you complete the quest at a low level, you will receive a weak version of the reward and there is no way to later "upgrade" the item to the higher level version.
- Magic Items with Guaranteed Locations lists guaranteed enchanted items that are not quest rewards.
- Raven Camoran always carries a high quality enchanted ring. You have two opportunities to kill him during the main quest: The Path of Dawn and Paradise. The specific rings that he will carry are listed on Raven's article.
- The Blind Moth Prelate found in Temple of the Ancestor Moths always carries a level-dependent, random enchanted amulet or ring (any item of jewelry listed at Generic Magic Apparel that is available at your character's level). The prelate respawns every three days. However, entering the Temple of the Ancestor Moths before starting the Thieves Guild quest Turning a Blind Eye can cause serious glitches with the Thieves Guild quest line.
- Telaendril's chest in the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary is guaranteed to contain one level-dependent, random piece of jewelry. However, the chest will not respawn.
- The Captain's Chest found in The Serpent's Wake during the quest The Ghost Ship of Anvil is guaranteed to contain one level-dependent, random piece of jewelry. However, the chest will not respawn.
The remainder of the game's enchanted items always appear randomly. There is a small chance (typically 5-10%) of an enchanted item appearing in many chests or on many enemies. If an enchanted item appears, it will be one of the items listed at Generic Magic Weapons or Generic Magic Apparel. Items only appear once your character exceeds that item's required level; the strongest enchantments only appear for high-level characters. Despite various rumors to the contrary, Luck does not have any effect on your chances of finding good loot. If you want to improve your chances, you can focus on exploring dungeons with better chances of finding various types of loot. Boss chests always provide the best chance of finding good items, but the types of item you are likely to find in a boss chest depend upon the type of dungeon you choose to explore:
- Monster Dungeons provide the best overall chances for finding enchanted items, in particular magic jewelry (25%). Not only are monster dungeon boss chests good sources of loot, most of the "normal" chests in monster dungeons also have a 10% chance of containing enchanted items.
- Planes of Oblivion are also good targets. Magic weapons have a 25% chance of appearing the boss-level containers, and each Dremora has a 10% chance of carrying magic jewelry.
- Bandit Dungeons are good places to look for enchanted weapons, and the boss bandit is likely to be wearing enchanted light armor.
Skills and Leveling
What is the highest level my character can achieve?
There is no universal maximum level for all characters. This is different from many other role playing games.
As detailed in the Maximum Character Level section in the article on character creation the initial maximum character level is directly determined by the initial values of your character's major skills.
What is the best way to level my character?
As detailed in the article on Leveling, enemies and loot are "leveled:" the higher your character's level, the harder the enemies you'll face and the better the loot you get. Therefore, you want to increase your character's level in order to get good equipment, but overly aggressive leveling (a.k.a. power-leveling) produces characters who are too weak to defeat the enemies guarding the equipment. Different players have different preferred strategies for how to level up:
- Efficient Leveling focuses on making your character as strong as possible by maximizing attribute increases.
- Under Leveling focuses on increasing skills but not sleeping so that your level is artificially low.
There is no single best way to level your character, and many players have no problems simply playing the game without worrying about the details of how and when to level up.
How do I increase my skills?
The primary way to increase skills is by using the skills. For example, whenever you fight using a sword, you gain experience in Blade; once you gain enough experience, your skill increases. Each individual skill page has a section on "Skill Increases" that provides details on what activities increase that skill and lists various strategies that are useful for improving skill. In addition, the article on Increasing Skills provides general information on how the skill system works on Oblivion and some general strategy sections that apply to multiple skills, in particular:
- General Combat Strategies focuses on ways to increase various Combat skills
- General Magic Strategies focuses on ways to increase various Magic skills.
In addition to simply using the skill, there are a few other ways to improve skills:
- Skill Books: The first time you read a skill book, you gain one point in the relevant skill (because the book teaches your characters some new tricks)
- Trainers: You can pay various experts to train you in a skill. You can only train 5 skill increases per level, and to train a skill past 70, you must convince the master in that skill to provide you with Master Training.
- Free Skill Boosts: Various rewards in the game will provide permanent boosts to specific skills.
Finally, an alternative to increasing a skill is to temporarily fortify it. Fortifying a skill improves your character's abilities (e.g., fortifying Blade increases the damage you inflict with a sword), but it does not provide the skill mastery perks (e.g., power attacks) that come from increasing the base skill level. The easiest way to fortify a skill is with an enchanted item. It is also possible to create custom spells with Fortify Skill effects; the difficulty is in acquiring the effect, as detailed on the effect page.
Tricks and Exploits
What is 100% Chameleon?
100% Chameleon is a somewhat controversial way to become completely invisible in the game and be able to do anything you want without being seen or confronted. Details are provided in the 100% Chameleon section. Unlike the standard Invisibility effect, with 100% chameleon you can still attack creatures, open doors, and perform other activities without canceling your invisibility.
How can the Ayleid gates be used to my advantage?
Did you notice that round hole in the middle of the sliding gates in Ayleid ruins? You can use your bow to sweep the area on the other side of the gate, shooting through the hole while the enemies helplessly bash at the closed gate. If you see a pressure plate before the gate, jump over it, clean the area using the bow or spells, then step on the plate to open the gate. You can actually shoot through the gate anywhere (not just through the hole in the middle). However, unless you are using large area effect spells, the hole makes it easier to aim at your enemies.
How can Demoralize be used effectively at higher levels?
Once you reach a high level, Demoralize effects usually don't work on most aggressive NPCs and leveled creatures if your spell effectiveness isn't 100%. Here's an alternate method of making an enemy flee if a Demoralize effect fails
First, summon a fast creature such as a Clannfear to fight your enemy. Make sure that your enemy is fighting the creature, not you. If the Demoralize effect does not work on the enemy, cast it on your summoned creature and hopefully your creature will flee with the enemy chasing it. This is a great tactic if you find yourself in a desperate situation.
How do I acquire Varla/Welkynd Stones and what do they do?
How do I use doors/cell-exits to my advantage?
Unlike in Morrowind, you cannot escape enemies by simply exiting the room. However, this behavior can be used to your advantage. It might be beneficial to lure an enemy outside in order to gain more room to dodge their attacks or use ranged spells or weapons against them.
Additionally, if you get in over your head and are close to a city, you can sometimes lure an enemy to the town gate, where the guards will help you kill them. If the guards aren't strong enough, you could even try the Fighters Guild. You can still loot enemy bodies, but be quick about it because town guards will have the same idea.
You can also fight enemies one at a time by getting the attention of one of them, then exiting the room before the others notice you. Sometimes if you leave a summoned creature behind, the enemies will forget about you. If it is strong enough, some of the enemies will already be dead when you re-enter the room.
If you load the autosave that is generated upon exiting the room, your combatant will usually remain in the room where you originally met them. This technique is possible with quicksave but more difficult. When you reenter the room, expect the enemy to be right behind the door, ready to attack. This technique is not foolproof--after loading the autosave, enemies will sometimes merely pause for a few seconds before pursuing you through the door. Still, the short space of time may give you time for some last-second preparations, such as healing and rebuffing.
How do I avoid going to jail?
You can avoid going to jail in the first place by:
- Not doing anything illegal.
- Paying off your bounty with Thieves Guild Doyens.
- Resisting arrest and fleeing the guards.
- Using Charm to increase the arresting guard's disposition past 90, in which case he will pay your bounty for you (assuming your bounty is below 1000). If you don't have time to charm him before he tries to arrest you, resist arrest, charm him, and then yield to him.
- Pay the fine instead of going to jail.
If your only option is going to jail, you may want to escape instead of serving your term, since time spent in jail generally causes skills to decrease. See go to jail for tips on how to escape from jail.
How do I kill Umbra?/How do I acquire Umbra?
See the page on Umbra for hints on how to kill this NPC at low levels, allowing you to obtain a very powerful sword and suit of armor.
How can I effectively use the Lucky Old Lady to my benefit?
Shrine blessings does not bypass Spell Absorption and will instantly fill up your Magicka bar if absorbed. Unfortunately, shrine blessings can only be activated once a day.
However, the Lucky Old Lady in Bravil can be activated as often as you like to completely fill up your blue (Magicka) bar. This is especially useful for players with the Atronach birthsign who want to improve their magic skills without using other methods to restore Magicka.
NOTE: This does not work if you have completed the Dark Brotherhood questline.
How can I pass through doors while invisible without being detected?
An Invisibility spell may allow you to pass through doors undetected and still remain invisible, but it can be tricky. Stand by the door, cast Invisibility spell, and immediately hit use/open. You will activate the door and appear inside, hopefully undetected and invisible. Practice the timing, if necessary.
Note: For those who find that 100% Chameleon spoils the game experience, this works as a nice alternative.
How can I quickly restore my health, without using spells or potions?
If you are running low on health, get away from your enemies and wait for any length of time. Instead of waiting for the full selected time, select cancel. You will have full health/Magicka and avoided the loading screen.
How can I remove the "stolen" marker from stolen items?
If you're a member of the Thieves Guild and you get your hands on something special, you can sell it to one of the fences and immediately buy it back; it will no longer be marked as stolen. However, unless you are a Master of Mercantile, you will always lose gold using this technique (because it will cost more to buy back the item than you get for selling it).
It's also notable that enchanting a stolen item removes its stolen status. This only works on items without prior enchantments, however, as you can't enchant something a second time. See Enchanting for details on how to enchant items.
You may turn stolen ingredients into potions. Because these are player-made, they will not be marked as stolen.
Stolen Grand Soul Gems can be converted into Black Soul Gems at specific locations on certain days; converting a Grand Soul Gem into a Black Soul Gem will clear the "Stolen" tag. Note that a Grand Soul Gem can't be converted if it was already filled when it was stolen; you can only convert Grand Soul Gems that are empty or that you have filled yourself.
You cannot remove the stolen icon from items that have no value as you can only give the item to the merchant. Also, you cannot buy these items back.
Note that this section is intended only for frequently asked questions about general gameplay. Problems specific to individual quests, locations, or characters are all detailed on the relevant articles.
Why is my weapon's damage different from that shown on the wiki?
The weapon damage values shown on all UESP articles are the weapons' base damage. It is not possible to quote the exact value that you will see when you are playing the game, because your weapon's damage will depend upon:
- Your character's skill (Blade, Blunt, or Marksman), including the effects of any Fortify Skill effects.
- Your character's attribute (Strength or Agility, and also Luck), including the effects of any Fortify Attribute effects.
- The weapon's current health.
The full set of equations is provided at the The Complete Damage Formula, and it is also summarized on the Weapons article. The upshot is that depending upon the details of your game, a weapon's damage can range from 1 point (even for a powerful weapon like Goldbrand) to nearly 20% more than the weapon's quoted base damage.
Note that there are similar issues with Armor. The values provided on this site are the base values, but any item's actual armor rating will depend upon your character's skill (Light Armor or Heavy Armor) and the item's current health.
Where is the key to open lock <X> that says "Key Required"?
There are many chests and doors in the game that say "Key Required" but in fact there is no key anywhere in the game to open that chest or door. A list of all the keys in the game is provided at Keys. If the key doesn't appear on that list (or the door/chest isn't mentioned on that list), the key does not exist, and the door/chest that is there will never be able to be opened. This does not inhibit gameplay in any way; it was meant to be this way.
In some cases, these are doors or containers that are automatically opened when you reach the appropriate point in a related quest. In some cases, they are doors that NPCs are allowed to go through but the developers did not want the player using that door.
Many "Key Required" chests are merchant containers. In other words, these are the containers where merchants store the items that they have available for sale: the merchant who owns the chest is able to access the chest's containers, but nobody else can. If you want to obtain the items in the chest, you must barter with the merchant. Most of these merchant chests are hidden in locations such as under the floor where players normally never see them (PC players can find them using the tcl Console command), but some merchants chests (e.g., Fathis Ules' chest) are in full view.
Why am I told that I don't have large enough soul gem?
When using the Soul Trap spell to capture enemy Souls, you may receive an error message "There is no soul gem in your inventory capable of holding such a soul." This error message occurs if you do not have an empty soul gem that is the same size or larger than the soul of the creature you just killed. Even if you have empty grand soul gems in your inventory, you will still receive this error message when you try to kill an NPC (including Dremora), because a Black Soul Gem is necessary to capture an NPC's soul.
Why do my custom enchanted items all disappear every time I reload the game?
You have the Reference Bug. This is one of several common symptoms of the bug. All players should have already installed the latest patch to prevent this bug from happening: whether or not you have Shivering Isles installed, whether or not you are exploring the Shivering Isles. PS3 players automatically have the latest patch; Xbox 360 players automatically have the latest patch as long as the Xbox is connected to Xbox Live; PC players must manually install the patch (unless using the GOTY edition, which comes with the patch).
If the bug is affecting you, then your recent save files are corrupt, possibly in ways that are not immediately apparent. Even after you have installed the patch, the save files remain corrupt. It is safest to resume the game from a save made before the Reference Bug appeared.