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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim


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This page details an overview of the Sneak skill in Skyrim, including recommended perks, leveling tips, and where to find Sneak trainers.

Sneak, Skyrim.

Sneak Overview

Your Sneak Skill Level lets you move undetected. This allows you to move through restricted areas, steal objects, pick locks and perform sneak attacks for massive damage boosts.

Sneak is an essential skill for many quests, particularly involving the Thieves Guild and the Dark Brotherhood. On its own, it’s decent enough at helping you avoid detection so long as you stay out of the line of sight of your foes, remain in darkness of some sort, are lightly equipped, and move slowly. The skill by itself can just barely get you through the quests you need it to, and even then, only with a lot of patience and bother. If you want sneaking to be truly effective, you’ll have to invest some perks.

Recommended Perks

Suggested Perks Ranks
Stealth 1
Backstab 1
Deadly Aim 1
Muffled Movement 1
Light Foot 1
Silent Roll 1
Silence 1

Somehow stealth always seems overpowered in Bethesda games, and Skyrim is no different. It does need some help to reach peak proficiency, however, as without perks you’re not going to be able to stay hidden as well, and you’re leaving lots of damage on the table. First up is the Stealth perk, which is an obligatory buy that fortunately also gives you a 20% bonus to sneaking. Later ranks have a much worse rate of return, though, so only invest one perk.

Continue up the perk tree by getting Muffled Movement, which will make it easier to sneak by squelching sound. Light Foot isn’t terribly useful, but it’s on the way to Silent Roll, which is a faster way to move while sneaking, although still not a great perk. Silence, allows you to move as quickly as you please without suffering any penalties while sneaking, and getting up to foes or through areas quickly is one of the better ways to maintain your stealth.

On the damage end of things, you’re going to at least want to get Deadly Aim, picking up Backstab along the way. Getting close to foes while sneaking can be a chore, so why not get that x3 damage bonus with bows so you don’t have to? If you really want to go the full assassin route, though, pick up the Assassin’s Blade perk, as its x15 damage multiplier with daggers is just obscene, especially if you can manage to sneak up to a foe and perform a power attack while dual wielding. If you just want to get things done as easily and quickly as possible, a highly enhanced Dragonbone Bow with the x3 multipler is all you really need.

Leveling Tips

Sneak is one of the easiest skills to level. In fact, it’s the best early grinding skill in the game. You level up sneak by sneaking around other sentient beings (sneaking around in places where there’s nothing to detect you won’t work) and by performing sneak attacks. In the former case, find an area where it’s easy to sneak and where there are NPCs who don’t tend to move around too much, and just sneak while walking into a wall. Dragonsreach in Whiterun is a good place to do this, just go to one of the corners on the ground floor near the door and walk backwards into the corner. As long as there’s a guard or maid nearby, you should be able to reliably level Sneak.

Alternatively, while you’re going through Helgen at the beginning of the game (during the quest Unbound) you’ll reach a chamber with a bear, where your companion (Ralof or Hadvar) will give you a bow. While he waits for you to deal with the bear, you can instead take advantage of the fact that you have an immortal ally who will never turn hostile while you’re in Helgen. Sneak behind Ralof/Hadvar and sneak attack him. The damage or weapon you use doesn’t really matter, just perform a sneak attack, wait for the commotion such an action causes to die down, and a few seconds later attack again. Repeat and you’ll quickly max out your Sneak skill. Turn it Legendary if you want to keep leveling, but be wary - if you level up in Helgen too much, everything outside will also level up. If this is the case, level up One Handed as well and consider turning the difficulty down to Novice until you get arms and armor capable of competing on high difficulties. Still, you have nothing to lose by ensuring your Sneak Skill Level is 100 by the time you leave Helgen.

Sneak Trainer Locations

Trainer Skill Level Location
Khayla Adept (Lv. 15 - 50) Member of the wandering Khajiit caravan
Garvey Expert (Lv. 51 - 75) Markarth, The Warrens
Delvin Mallory Master (Lv. 76 - 90) Riften, Thieve’s Guide (Ragged Flagon)


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Guide Information

  • Publisher
    Bethesda Softworks
  • Platforms
    PC, PS3, PS4, Switch, XB 360, XB One
  • Genre
    Action RPG
  • Guide Release
    31 May 2012
  • Last Updated
    24 October 2021
    Version History
  • Guide Author
    Greg Wright

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Skyrim is the homeland of the Nords, a fierce and proud warrior people who are used to the bitter cold and mountanous terrain that mark the lands of Skyrim. Wracked by civil war, and threatened by the return of the legendary dragons, Skyrim faces its darkest hour. You must make sense of this maelstrom, explore the frozen tundra and bring hope to the people. The future of Skyrim, even the Empire itself, hangs in the balance as they wait for the prophesized Dragonborn to come; a hero born with the power of The Voice, and the only one who can stand amongst the dragons. You are that Dragonborn.

Version 1.2

  • Introduction to the Races.
  • How to complete every storyline quest.
  • Where to find and conquer every side-mission.
  • Location of every powerful Dragonwall.
  • Search out and defeat every Dragon.
  • How to find hidden, powerful weapons.
  • Over 200 captioned screenshots provide even more help.
  • Dragonborn DLC covered in full.
  • Dawnguard DLC covered in full.
  • Screenshots for the major side-missions.
  • Achievements/Trophy descriptions (includes all 3 DLC packs).
  • Character Creation guide.

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