News: 9 Easy Exploits to Raise Combat Skills in Skyrim

9 Easy Exploits to Raise Combat Skills in Skyrim

Skyrim is an enormous RPG recently released by Bethesda. After many long years of waiting (I had 1000's of hours clocked into its predecessor, Oblivion, way back in 8th grade) the game is finally out and it surpasses everyone's expectations—save for removing custom spell crafting... Why, Bethesda?

After many hours of gameplay, I'm sure many of you have noticed how much longer it takes to level up your character as opposed to the former games. This is caused by the redevelopment of the leveling system, which was coded to be more practical. This means if you do not use a skill in its proper way, then you gain no experience. So, no more spamming the controller, casting the same spell, or jumping repeatedly to gain levels like we could in Oblivion.

A lot of you ate up the Skyrim guide I posted for raising spellcasting skills to 100 quickly. I used small exploits in the way the game is coded and how the game works to raise my skills faster than normal (for example, casting soul trap repeatedly on a dead body to raise conjuration). This should only work on NPCs and enemies that are living, yet it works on the dead, too. With Skyrim's intense new leveling system, it can be extremely hard and time consuming to raise skills. That's why I am writing this Null Byte, which will set you on your path to mastering the combative arts faster than the rest.

Again, my methods may not be perfect, and if you know a better way to raise skills, let me know and I'll append the guide and give you a shout out!

  • These exploits do not require you to have skill perks.
  • It is recommended that you have the Warrior Stone active.


Archery determines the player's control and damage over a bow and arrow.

  • In Riverwood, end the love triangle quest in Faendal's favour. Ask Faendal to be your follower and ask him to train you in archery. After doing it five times (max allowed per level) you can take back the money by trading goods with him, and joyfully taking it from his inventory. This cannot be done past skill level 50. After completing the Companion's questline, you can also use this exploit on Aela the Huntress, up to skill level 75. Awesome? I think so.


The art of blocking an enemy's blows with a shield or weapon. Blocking reduces the damage and staggering from physical attacks.

  • Take any food item that regenerates stamina over 720 seconds. You can shield bash or power bash an unlimited amount of times, resulting in your target being stunned. This will get your skill up very high, very fast. If you're looking to level Block quickly, do not take the Deadly Bash perk, as even on Master Difficulty you will quickly kill bosses spammed with Shield Bash.
  • Lower the difficulty so you can't die. Attack a guard in any major city, and then allow them to chase you. Get around 6-10 of them rounded up, then raise your shield and block to your heart's desire, while casting a healing spell every so often with your other hand.
  • Attack a Giant, and only let him hit your shield. Since they do great amounts of damage, your skill will increase quickly.
  • Once you become the master of the Companions, you can exploit the Follower/Trainer method with Njada Stonearm. Pay for the training, then take your money back.

Heavy Armor

Those trained to use Heavy Armor make more efficient use of Iron, Steel, Dwarven, Orcish, Ebony, and Daedric armors.

  • Attack a guard in a major city, and round up as many as you can to attack you, again. Make sure your difficulty is lowered, and you have a healing spell or plenty of potions. After letting a group of guards wail on you for an hour or so, your armor skill will be 100.


The art of combat using one-handed weapons such as daggers, swords, maces, and war axes. Those trained in this skill deliver deadlier blows.

  • One-handed skill is difficult to raise, no matter what. It isn't raised by the amount of damage you do, but rather how many times you land a sucessful hit. So, the best way to level this up is to use the weakest weapon you can find, turn the difficulty up all the way, and then beat on one of your Atronachs.


The art of creating weapons and armor from raw materials, or improving non-magical weapons and armor.

  • Creating Iron Daggers is the fastest and only good way I know of level up smithing. Travel to all the shops you can with plenty of coin, and buy out their Leather Strips and Iron Ingots. Just build Iron Daggers until you can't build them any longer. My friend who is a nord says it takes a total of 468 daggers for a nord to get 100 smithing. Get forging!


The art of combat using two-handed weapons, such as greatswords, battle axes, and warhammers. Those trained in this skill deliver deadlier blows.

  • This one I found to be pretty ironic. Raising two-handed skills doesn't require using two-handed weapons. Just two hands! Using your fists in combat raises the skill, so you can even get it to 100 at the start of the game by beating the pulp out of Hadvar! Make sure the difficulty is up, and the enemies are weak. Run around and punch everyone you can, or conjure and atronach and show him who's boss. Your skills will be master level in no-time.

Keep a lookout for tomorrow's Null Byte on exploiting the thieves' skills to level 100!

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Actually, for anything that you need to attack to raise a skill level. Just use Shadowmare if you have completed most of the brotherhood quests. There is almost no way you can kill it.

If you want to be really cheap, wait till nighttime to train. Go to the trainer's house, wake them up, get trained, and when they go back to bed steal the money back.

for smithing what i usually do is just go out on the tundra and snipe every deer and elk i see, then make leather bracers and usually enchant them before i sell them, it doesnt cost you anything, especially if you use a bound bow like me and it gives almost as much xp as iron daggers do.

One-Handed is actually very easy to level, and I'm surprised the exploit isn't listed here. In the very beginning of the game, in the room that guy unbinds your hands, he asks you to grab armor and a weapon from the chest. Don't open the chest up, as it will make the game progress. Instead, take the 1-handed sword off the rack and start whacking away at the other guy in the room. (can't remember his name) He won't attack back, and your one-handed weapons will continue to go up as long as you are hitting him! The skill will not be raised when he is on one knee, so if this happens just stop attacking until some of his life regenerates and his stands up.

Many thanks to the OP for these indispensable tips. I did what you described bobbus. I was actually just following the Thief tip for leveling Sneak skill and realized my one-handed was leveling as well. So once my Sneak skill hit level 100 I just kept on slicing the guy with my 1H sword until I got bored at around lvl 55 (it doesn't level as quickly as Sneak regardless of Sneak Attack status). Same can be done for two-handed skill as well, if you have a 2H weapon. Just wish I had 12890834 arrows at that point to level my Archery!

There is someone in the companions that you can do the "trainer exploit" with, I'm having a really hard time remembering her name at the moment though...or if it was even a girl or not xD. Regardless, that is an easier way to level up your archery :).

Aela the Huntress is the companion that trains your Archery. side note: you can also marry her if you want to.

/me thinks she is a reference to Chrono Trigger.

Her name is Aela the Huntress

with the smithing, if you don't want to dedicate your time specifically to it, get to it to 40 using the iron dagger trick, then go through the college of winterhold's quest line until you get to Mzulft. if you have a follower, make sure to take them with you. through picking up all of the dwarven metal ingot smelting materials (struts, scrap, solid metal, etc.) you'll have a total of about 1600 pounds of the stuff (make 3 or 4 trips to and from your house!). you'll end up with about 300 bars or so. then just buy or smelt roughly 100 to 150 iron bars and make as many bows as you can. when you run out of iron, just use the extra dwarven bars to upgrade the bows on the grindstone. it may not take you all the way to 100, but from 40, you'll hit at least 80 or 85.

and if you run out of iron bars and dwarven bows to upgrade, you can sell whatever extra dwarven metal ingots you may have remaining. may not turn too much of a profit, but any gold is better than no gold.

That's a nice trick :). I didn't pick up the metal during that mission, sadly. It was the beginning of the game for me and I wasn't used to the fact that you could "major" in all skills, as opposed to Oblivion. I play as a Mage, so that was the last thing I was worried about. Bummer. I got it to 100 still though, haha.

for smithing, just get a ton of iron ore, transmute it into gold, craft jewlery

I managed to raise my one handed and sneak on legendary difficulty in the beginning on hadvar but also other skills can be raised here too

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