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< Skyrim: Skills: Magic(Redirected from Skyrim:Mage Armor)
Skill: Alteration

Alteration, one of the five schools of magic in Skyrim, affects the world around it by altering the laws of reality and manipulating it to one's own accord. Increasing this skill reduces magicka cost when casting Alteration spells. Historical information about the School of Alteration is provided in the lore article. The Alteration skill tree has a total of 10 perks, requiring a total of 14 perk points to fill.

In-game Description: The School of Alteration involves the manipulation of the physical world and its natural properties. This skill makes it easier to cast spells like Waterbreathing, magical protection, and Paralysis.


Alteration contains a range of defensive and utility effects.

In some ways the protective spells in Alteration are an alternative to the Wards found in the school of Restoration.

Skill PerksEdit

Novice Alteration
Alteration Dual Casting
Apprentice Alteration
Magic Resistance
Adept Alteration
Expert Alteration
Master Alteration
Mage Armor
Alteration Perk Tree
Perk Rank Description ID Skill Req. Perk Req.
Novice Alteration Cast Novice level Alteration spells for half magicka. 000f2ca6
Alteration Dual Casting Dual casting an Alteration spell overcharges the effects into an even more powerful version.†† 000153cd 20 Alteration Novice Alteration
Apprentice Alteration Cast Apprentice level Alteration spells for half magicka. 000c44b7 25 Alteration Novice Alteration
Magic Resistance 1 Blocks 10% of a spell's effects. 00053128 30 Alteration Apprentice Alteration
2 Blocks 20% of a spell's effects. 00053129 50 Alteration Apprentice Alteration
3 Blocks 30% of a spell's effects. 0005312a 70 Alteration Apprentice Alteration
Adept Alteration Cast Adept level Alteration spells for half magicka. 000c44b8 50 Alteration Apprentice Alteration
Expert Alteration Cast Expert level Alteration spells for half magicka. 000c44b9 75 Alteration Adept Alteration
Atronach Absorb 30% of the magicka of any spells that hit you. 000581f7 100 Alteration Expert Alteration
Master Alteration Cast Master level Alteration spells for half magicka. 000c44ba 100 Alteration Expert Alteration
Stability Alteration spells have 50% greater duration.†† 000581fc 70 Alteration Adept Alteration
Mage Armor 1 Protection spells like Stoneflesh are twice as strong if not wearing armor. 000d7999 30 Alteration Apprentice Alteration
2 Protection spells like Stoneflesh are 2.5 times as strong if not wearing armor. 000d799a 50 Alteration Apprentice Alteration
3 Protection spells like Stoneflesh are three times as strong if not wearing armor. 000d799b 70 Alteration Apprentice Alteration
All sources of spell absorption are a percentage chance to absorb all of a spell's effects, rather than the stated percentage of each spell.
††Dual Casting an Alteration spell multiplies its duration by 2.2; this means it has no effect on Transmute, but stacks with Stability, for a net multiplier of x3.3.


  Spell Name
Skill Level Tome
Magicka Base Cost Skill XP Description and Effect Details Where to Get
Spell ID00043324
Tome ID0009e2a7
44 21 2.5 Creates a hovering light that lasts for 60 seconds:
Spell ID0005ad5c
Tome ID0009e2a8
44 103 103 Improves the caster's armor rating by 40 points for 60 seconds:
  • Armor - Oak, 40 pts for 60 secs
  • The Mage Armor perk increases the magnitude to 80 pts (rank 1), 100 pts (rank 2), or 120 pts (rank 3)
  Teleport Pet: ArachniaCC
Spell IDFExxx921
0 2.5 Teleports Arachnia the spider
  Teleport Pet: Bone WolfCC
Spell IDFExxx806
0 2.5 Teleports Bone Wolf to your side
  Teleport Pet: Demented Elytra NymphCC
Spell IDxx08BC17
0 2.5 Teleports pet Demented Elytra Nymph
  Teleport Pet: Dwarven MudcrabCC
Spell IDFExxx810
Tome IDFExxx811
50 0 2.5 Teleports pet Dwarven Mudcrab
  Teleport Pet: HildaCC
Spell IDFExxx91F
0 2.5 Teleports Hilda
  Teleport Pet: Manic Elytra NymphCC
Spell IDxx08BC16
0 2.5 Teleports pet Manic Elytra Nymph
  Teleport Pet: Nix-HoundCC
Spell IDFExxx811
Tome IDFExxx813
0 2.5 Teleports Nix-Hound
  Teleport Pet: SkritchCC
Spell IDFExxx91D
0 2.5 Teleports Skritch
  Teleport Pet: Sweet RollCC
Spell IDFExxx920
0 2.5 Teleports Sweet Roll
  Teleport Pet: ThistleCC
Spell IDFExxx91E
0 2.5 Teleports Thistle
Spell ID00043323
Tome ID000a26e2
87 84 12 Ball of light that lasts 60 seconds and sticks where it strikes:
Spell ID0005ad5d
Tome ID000a26e3
95 194 194 Improves the caster's armor rating by 60 points for 60 seconds:
  • Armor - Stone, 60 pts for 60 secs
  • The Mage Armor perk increases the magnitude to 120 pts (rank 1), 150 pts (rank 2), or 180 pts (rank 3)
  Ash ShellDB
Spell IDxx017731
Tome IDxx0177ac
425 251 251 Targets that fail to resist are immobilized in hardened ash for 30 seconds:
  • Ash Shell, for 30 secs
  Detect Life
Spell ID000211ee
Tome ID000a26e7
332 100/s 6.5/s per target Nearby living creatures, but not undead, machines or daedra, can be seen through walls:
Spell ID00051b16
Tome ID000a26e4
341 266 266 Improves the caster's armor rating by 80 points for 60 seconds:
  • Armor - Iron, 80 pts for 60 secs
  • The Mage Armor perk increases the magnitude to 160 pts (rank 1), 200 pts (rank 2), or 240 pts (rank 3)
  Master TransmuteCC
Spell IDFExxxCDF
Tome IDFExxxCE1
200 100 15 (scripted) Transmutes one piece of unrefined Iron or Silver ore to Gold if the caster is carrying any:
  Paralysis RuneCC
Spell IDFExxxD64
Tome IDFExxx818
120 172 172 Cast on a nearby surface, it explodes when enemies are nearby, immobilizing them for 8 seconds.
Spell ID0001a4cc
Tome ID000a26e5
326 170/s 170/s Can pull an object to you from a distance. Add it to your inventory or throw it:
  Telekinesis ArrowsCC
Spell IDFExxx829
Tome IDFExxx82B
341 50/s 0/s Releases suspended Telekinesis Arrows:
Spell ID00109111
Tome ID00109112
200 100 15 (scripted) Transmutes one piece of unrefined Iron ore to Silver, or Silver ore to Gold if the caster is carrying any:
Spell ID0005d175
Tome ID000a26e6
340 222 222 Can breathe water for 60 seconds:
  Ash RuneDB
Spell IDxx0177af
Tome IDxx0177b5
635 418 418 Cast on a nearby surface, it explodes when enemies are nearby, immobilizing them in hardened ash for 30 seconds:
  • Cast on ground
  • Ash Rune, 50 pts for 1 sec
  Detect Dead
Spell ID000211ef
Tome ID000a26ea
600 148/s 9.25/s per target Nearby dead can be seen through walls:
Spell ID0005ad5e
Tome ID000a26e9
650 341 341 Improves the caster's armor rating by 100 points for 60 seconds:
  • Armor - Ebony, 100 pts for 60 secs
  • The Mage Armor perk increases the magnitude to 200 pts (rank 1), 250 pts (rank 2), or 300 pts (rank 3)
Spell ID0005ad5f
Tome ID000a26e8
685 450 450 Targets that fail to resist are paralyzed for 10 seconds:
Spell ID000cdb70
Tome ID000d2b4e
1389 837 837 Caster ignores 80% of all physical damage for 30 seconds:
  Mass Paralysis
Spell ID000b62e6
Tome ID000dd646
1280 937 937 All targets in the area that fail to resist are paralyzed for 15 seconds:
Spell ID000da746
Tome ID000f4997
N/A 250 -25/s + 25 health/s 0.01/s Convert 25 points of health into magicka per second. Caster can be killed by this effect:
  • Not available for purchase
  • Can be found in Labyrinthian Chasm
  • Affected by difficulty, which means you will drain more than 25 health if you play on expert or master and less if you play on apprentice or novice, but always will get 25 magicka per second.

Spell List NotesEdit

  • The base cost for spells is the amount of magicka that would be necessary to cast the spell at 0 skill without any perks. The magicka cost at 100 skill is 41% less than the base cost; the cost can also be reduced via enchanted apparel and by unlocking various perks. See Spell Cost for the full magicka cost equation.
  • Skill level indicates which skill perk needs to be unlocked to decrease the spell's magicka cost. "N/A" is used for special spells whose cost is not affected by any perks.
  • The "Where to Get" column only lists guaranteed locations for obtaining the spell tomes. Most spell tomes are also available in random loot; see Spell Tome Locations and the table below for details.
  • For higher-level spell tomes to become available for purchase, your skill in the school must be high enough (see the table below). Also, master-level spell tomes can only be acquired once that school's ritual spell quest has been completed.
  • All spell tomes have a weight of 1.
  • Skill XP can be modified by scripts and by the game engine itself under various circumstances. The exact XP you receive may vary from the numbers listed here.
  • Magicka cost and skill XP are rounded down, both in game and on this page. Because of this, you may find that you cannot cast a spell even though it appears you have exactly enough magicka to do so.
Tomes by Level
Spell Level Skill Level Character Level, Boss Chest Character Level, Random Chest
Novice 0 1 1
Apprentice 0 11 10
Adept 40 23 -
Expert 65 35 -
Master 0/90 - -
Master level spell tomes require the appropriate ritual spell quest to be completed to be sold; while the quests have a skill level requirement of 90 to initiate, if you have completed the quest and reset the skill by making it legendary, the spell tome should still be available for sale.

Mage Armor and ExceptionsEdit

Wearing any piece of apparel with the keyword ArmorLight or ArmorHeavy, including equipping such an item after a Mage Armor spell has been cast, will completely negate the armor bonus from any Mage Armor perks. However, shields do not use either of these keywords, so equipping a shield will have no effect on the bonus. There is also a small assortment of apparel items that have an armor rating but lack the relevant keywords and thus can be worn without disabling the Mage Armor effect:

Magical EffectsEdit

A list of standard alteration spells can be found on the Alteration spells page. The following individual effects are all considered to be part of the school of Alteration (see the individual effect pages for full details on availability; the Magical Effects article also provides a summary):

Skill IncreasesEdit

Character CreationEdit

The following races have an initial skill bonus to Alteration:


Skill BooksEdit

Free Skill BoostsEdit

Gaining Skill XPEdit

  • Casting higher level spells gives generally faster skill increases (Novice<Apprentice<Adept<Expert<Master).
  • Regenerate Magicka effects help reduce downtimes while training.
  • It is possible to reduce or even completely eliminate the magicka cost of spells by stacking Fortify Alteration enchanting effects, which is very helpful for Alteration training. The Secret of ArcanaDB power does the same thing, but only for 30 seconds.

Casting with Enemies NearbyEdit

Repeatedly casting high-duration Alteration spells (like Oak Flesh, Stone Flesh, Iron Flesh, or Ebony Flesh) while in a combat situation will quickly increase one's Alteration skill. An effective method for doing so very quickly:

  1. Get a melee based follower and/or conjured melee atronach (Familiar, Frost Atronach, Ash Spawn, or Dremora Lord) to attack an enemy or group of enemies. The player can usually cast their alteration spell from safety during combat while the follower and/or conjured pet do actual fighting. This allows for leveling and questing at the same time. Casting a flesh spell in one hand and Bound Sword in the other will level both Alteration and Conjuration at the same time.
  2. Find a place with an enemy or enemies that only use melee attacks that also has a high platform or place otherwise out of reach of the enemies. Preferably, kill all but one of the enemies: Bleakwind Basin works very well for this purpose. Alternatively, along the shore of the Sea of Ghosts, the Horkers can be made aggressive without them actually attacking, allowing one to move far enough away to use the Wait function but still close enough to train the skill. And then there's Roadside Ruins, where a Spriggan Matron will notice the player, but she cannot attack since she's trapped inside. Slaughterfish can also be exploited by getting their attention and then standing on a nearby shore to cast.
  3. With both hands, continually cast the highest level Alteration armor spell. Casting the higher-level spells progresses the skill faster (Oak < Stone < Iron < Ebony), so it might be advisable to take a break part way through to go buy them once you've reached a level where the better spells are available. Often the enemy will run far enough away from your location to allow you to use the Wait function. If so, wait an hour to get more Magicka to keep casting the spell, or just wait until it refills itself. The giants in Bleakwind Basin will almost assuredly run away, though, if you're standing on the rectangular pillar near their fire. Mammoths never run away from you when they can't reach you. Using this method, one can go from 0 Alteration to 100 Alteration in roughly 40 minutes, but it depends on total Magicka available, particular spells cast, and the location chosen.
  4. Use a follower or permanent summon to continuously attack an NPC that cannot be killed. If your ally can keep the NPC on their knees, this leaves you free to repeatedly cast a spell.
  5. Once the Quiet Casting perk from the Illusion school of magic and the Throw Voice shout from Shearpoint have been acquired, one can misdirect enemies to and fro, and cast any of the "...-flesh" spells while they are searching for you. Using a magicka regeneration potion is useful in this scenario. An extra added benefit is that you can constantly sneak around enemies while casting, increasing your Sneak skill as well.
  6. The Paralyze spell is the perfect spell for Alteration training. If you reduce magicka cost to 0 using enchanted items, dual casting it on an enemy can level you up so fast that it might be considered game-breaking. With the Mage Stone, one can train Alteration from 15 to 100 in less than 5 minutes. It can be used to level up by making it Legendary over and over again.


Magelight can be cast anywhere for a small amount of XP, such as while walking to some distant destination, making this a sure but slow way to level Alteration.

Water Breathing TrickEdit

After you learn Water Breathing, another way to quickly level Alteration is to stand in water and repeatedly cast Water Breathing. You don't actually have to be underwater, just standing in it, although this only works with pools of water that you can actually dive into (so the small streams in Whiterun won't work, but the river outside will, as will the pool just outside the entrance to Dragonsreach).

Casting Detect Life Spell in CitiesEdit

The Detect Life spell increases your Alteration experience depending on the number of targets it is currently detecting. Using it on your horse in the wilderness is almost useless, while using it in crowded location (the market in Riften during the day, for instance) gives incredible training speed. The more living objects in range, the better. Depending on the amount of NPCs within range, it should be possible to level Alteration from 15 to 100 in around 20 minutes in the following locations.

Between 8am and 5pm the markets in most walled cities can be used to power-level Alteration. Riften's, Whiterun's, and Windhelm's markets have particularly high numbers of NPCs, while standing between the market and Castle Dour in Solitude will boost the low market numbers with soldiers from the castle grounds.

Later in the day moving to the main tavern will allow for more power-leveling. The Silver-Blood Inn (Markarth), The Bee and Barb (Riften), the Winking Skeever (Solitude), the Bannered Mare (Whiterun), and Candlehearth Hall (Windhelm) are the most populated inns in the walled cities. The Retching NetchDB in Raven Rock also has high numbers.

After the Civil War is over, either the Blue Palace (Stormcloaks) or the Palace of the Kings (Imperial Army) will be packed with exiled Jarls and their most loyal allies.

Casting TelekinesisEdit

Holding any object in the air with Telekinesis without picking it up also gives a very high amount of experience. If the suspended object touches any NPC they will become hostile though, so be careful. If you can get a total of 100% magicka reduction cost (such as through the use of the Secret of ArcanaDB power), and fast travel while holding an object, the game will act as if you had kept casting for the whole duration of the travel, and level Alteration appropriately. For example, fast traveling between Riften and Markarth will increase your Alteration skill to 100, even if you start from 15.

  • A good way to level Alteration using Telekinesis is to put an object near the cistern entrance of the Thieves Guild. When you exit the Thieves Guild, keep the hatch closed (do not pull the chain) and drop your object. Then cast Telekinesis on it and fast travel somewhere on the map. You will level Alteration and the object remains near the Thieves Guild entrance. This way, you can Legendary Alteration and re-level it over and over without having to go and find the object that got away.

Transmuting OreEdit

Outside combat, you can gain a substantial amount of Alteration experience if you know the Transmute spell by using it to transmute iron ore into silver and gold ore. Even at low levels of Alteration, it should be possible to cast Transmute (an Adept level spell), although if you have been busy mining it may take a long while to turn all of your iron into gold (which you can then smith into jewelry for Smithing experience). The Transmute spell is not available from spell merchants, but the spell book is in two fixed locations in dungeons.