Skyrim is huge. The world contains dozens of dungeons and is filled with little discoveries to make in every nook. Discovering obscure secrets in subsequent playthroughs is one of many reasons why Skyrim lives on nearly a decade since its release. After that much time, most players are quite antiquated with what Skyrim's snowy mountains have in store.

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But with a game this large, it's not uncommon for the most diehard of Skyrim fans to miss a secret or two. Obscure details, hidden bosses, and entire dungeons are hidden from plain sight and must be uncovered. Today, we're going to go over 25 of these secrets that most Skyrim fans have missed. We'll be covering secrets from the base game and subsequent DLCs. Mods and console command rooms are excluded from this list. If it's on this list, you can experience it without needing to mess with your platform of choice. Let's hunt for some secrets!

Updated April 25, 2021 by Charles Burgar: Nearly a decade has passed since Skyrim was originally released, and fans are still discovering new secrets with this game! It's a testament to how much detail Bethesda puts into each of their open world titles. Secret quests, dungeons, and smaller details help give Skyrim the sense of infinite replayability that fans adore. To make your next playthrough more interesting, we've gone through and revised most of the entries on this list, adding some more niche secrets and details that most players never find. Enjoy!

25 The Secret Of Blackreach

Skyrim Blackreach Sun
Via: u/level555level (Reddit)

Blackreach is a huge underground map lit with cavern lights and vast ancient Dwemer cities, lost under Skyrim for ages. And like any Dwemer-themed setting, it's filled with a plethora of secrets. One of this area's most interesting secrets involves a hidden dragon boss fight.

At the center of Blackreach is an artificial sun illuminating a small city. If you use the Unrelenting Force Shout on the orb, it'll spawn a unique dragon named Vulthuryol. Why a dragon is stuck in Blackreach is anyone's guess.

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24 M'aiq The Liar

Skyrim M'aiq The Liar

It's impossible to talk about secrets in Skyrim without mentioning this unique Khajiit NPC. M'aiq the Liar is a self-insertion of Bethesda itself, providing unique dialogue that pokes fun at design decisions from previous Elder Scrolls titles. You can find him as early as you leave Helgen, although his spawn chance is quite low. After he gives a few lines of wisdom, he'll refuse to speak further.

Here are just a few notable lines that M'aiq is notorious for:

  • "M'aiq is always in search of calipers, yet finds none. Where could they have gone?"
  • "Don't try blocking if you have two weapons. You will only get confused. Much better to hit twice anyway."
  • "M'aiq saw a mudcrab the other day. Horrible creatures."
  • "M'aiq does not understand what is so impressive about shouting. M'aiq can shout whenever he wants."

23 A Secret Leap

Skyrim Bard's Leap Base

There is one location in Skyrim that takes a lot of climbing to get to, called Bard’s Leap Summit. It’s filled with Forsworn and has a dragon wall at the top, so most players hack their way through the Forsworn and learn the Word of Power at the top, assuming they had finished everything.

Not so! If you make your way to the small bridge at the top of the area, you can choose to leap off all the way down to a tiny pool in the valley below. It’s a steep drop that is lethal if you land on the cliffside. But if you do make it, the ghost of a bard will appear to congratulate you on your heroic dive, increasing your Speech skill by two points.

22 Konahrik, The Tenth Dragon Priest Mask

Skyrim Konahrik Dragon Priest Mask
Via: Nexus Mods

Nine Dragon Priests dot Skyrim's landscape, each wearing a powerful mask. Everyone knows that you can wear these masks, but did you know that there's a tenth Dragon Priest mask in the vanilla game?

Known as Konahrik, this mask can only be obtained once you obtain the nine masks found throughout Skyrim—the DLC masks don't count. With all nine in your inventory, head to Labyrinthian. There will be a dome-shaped sanctuary in the complex with a broken shrine. Grab the wooden mask on the ground and equip it to travel back in time, revealing a repaired shrine. Place all nine masks onto the shrine to obtain Skyrim's tenth Dragon Priest mask.

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If you already knew about this mask, did you know that Konahrik has a second effect not listed in the item's description? When you're under 15% health, there's a 3% chance that you'll fully heal yourself and summon a friendly Dragon Priest spirit to fight alongside you. It acts as a ranged mage, reanimating corpses and casting Ice Spikes while alive. It's a surprisingly powerful effect that very few players know about.

21 The Soul Cairn's Reaper

Skyrim Soul Cairn Reaper

Skyrim's Dawnguard DLC takes players to the Soul Cairn partway through its main questline. The dour skies and endless towers make for an imposing atmosphere, one that is amplified by the presence of a hidden boss.

Known as the Reaper, this enemy seems to be the warden of this purgatory. To face the Reaper, you'll need to find three Reaper Gem Fragments scattered throughout the Soul Cairn. Find them, then go to the Reaper's Lair on the eastern part of the zone to summon this imposing boss. Defeat the Reaper to obtain some Black Soul Gems and a Daedra Heart.

20 Notched Pickaxe

Skyrim Notched Pickaxe

Atop the Throat of the World is the unique Notched Pickaxe. To find it, you'll need to reach the very apex of the mountain from the Throat of the World fast travel point. It'll take some strafe jumping to reach, but the reward is this unique pickaxe that is clearly a nod to Markus "Notch" Persson, the creator of Minecraft.

19 Sovngarde's Weeping Angels

Skyrim Sovngarde Statues

Main quest spoilers ahead!

During Skyrim's final main quest, you'll get the chance to visit Sovngarde and meet Skyrim's notable heroes. The opening fog maze does a great job establishing the setting, but there's a rather eerie detail that most players overlook.

The statues in Sovngarde stare at you. They behave similarly to weeping angels, only turning towards you when you aren't actively looking at them. This effect is noticeable with the staircase that descends to the fog path. Run down the stairs, face away from the statues for a few seconds, then turn back around. Every statue will be staring at you.

18 Angi's Archery Test

A gameplay screenshot from Skyrim in which the player takes aim with a bow.

Devoted archers can find a secluded camp near Falkreath to level up their archery skill quite early in their playthrough. No in-game quest lets you know about it, but if you journey up the steep mountains near Falkreath, you encounter a place called Angi’s Camp. It’s a little cabin with a woman who happens to be the best archer in the land.

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If you take her tests and hit her targets, you gain six points in the Archery skill and Angi's hunting bow. You can do this right after leaving Helgen, making it an excellent early-game quest for archer builds.

17 The Mournful Giant

https://www.reddit.com/r/skyrim/comments/cqg13n/this_giant_mourning_his_mammoth_is_the_saddest/
Via: u/BronzeMirror (Reddit)

It's rare to find giants off on their own, much less mourning the loss of a mammoth. Known by many as the Mournful Giant, this hidden area contains a passive giant paying its respects to a dead mammoth. Approaching this giant doesn't make it hostile whatsoever, showcasing just how much mental anguish the giant is going through. If this doesn't prove that giants have a degree of emotional intelligence, nothing will.

16 Skyrim's Real-Time Map

Skyrim Map Dragon Soul Absorb

While not a secret in the traditional sense, very few players know that Skyrim's map is rendered in real-time. This means that any visually busy actions you make in the game world, such as absorbing a dragon's soul, can be seen from your map. Using the Clear Skies Shout even removes the clouds from your map!

15 Summoning Karstaag's Spirit

Skyrim Frost Giant

Skyrim is no stranger to hidden boss fights, as we've covered in earlier entries. This one, however, takes the cake as the game's toughest and most interesting boss. To find it, head to the northern section of Solstheim. They'll be two cave systems you'll need to clear out: Castle Karstaag Ruins and Glacial Cave. Head to Glacial Cave first to recover Karstaag's head. If you've played Morrowind's Bloodmoon expansion, you likely know where this is going.

With Karstaag's head, travel to the Castle Karstaag Ruins. A frozen throne can be found here. Placing Karstaag's head on the throne to summon his ethereal spirit. He's arguably tougher here than he was in Morrowind, having massive damage resistance and the ability to ragdoll melee characters. Karstaag has a serious amount of health regeneration that makes him nigh-impervious to damage. Only a high-level character can stand a chance against this hidden boss. Killing him is more than worth the effort, giving you the ability to summon Karstaag as an ally whenever you see fit.

14 Companions Can Wield Giant Clubs

Skyrim Companion Wielding Giant's Club
Via: youtube.com (MrRhexx)

Have you ever wanted to crush someone with a giant's club of your own? You might not be able to use one, but your companions can.

For this to work, it's recommended that you remove all weapons from your companion first. With a giant club nearby, order your companion to grab the club. Instead of storing it in their inventory, they'll equip it as a weapon. The club won't launch people into space, but watching your companions crush enemies with a weapon twice their size is quite amusing.

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If you play on PC, it is possible to use a giant club yourself through console commands. Type in the following commands:

  1. player.additem CDEC9 1
  2. player.equipitem CDEC9

This will let you crush enemies with a giant's club of your own. For whatever reason, this weapon is classified as a greatsword.

13 Illuminating Details

Skyrim Flames Boiling Water

Most players enjoy using fire spells and Shouts to turn enemies ablaze, turning their corpses into piles of ash. It's an iconic part of fire spells in Skyrim, but Bethesda put even smaller details into these spells that most players never notice.

For instance, did you know that fire spells boil water? Go to any water source and use the Flames spell on the water. The water will begin to boil, spawning bubbles and steam. This can be used to efficiently kill fish swimming underwater.

Another notable feature is how flame spells and Shouts can ignite candles and small braziers in dungeons. If you stumble across a set of candles or braziers that aren't lit, use a fire spell to light them up. Despite popular belief, you cannot use the Unrelenting Force shout on a brazier to create a fireball. Still, using Fire Breath to light candles is surprisingly satisfying.

12 Winterhold's Unique Prison

Skyrim The Chill Winterhold Prison
Via: The Elder Scrolls Wiki

Every major town in Skyrim has a prison that you'll be sent to if you get arrested. Despite the town's small size, even Winterhold has one.

Winterhold's prison is particularly special, as it isn't connected to the town at all. Getting arrested here will send you to The Chill, an ice cavern located on an iceberg far away from the College of Winterhold. If you can sneak out of the icy cavern, prepare to face multiple Frost Atronachs and a rather lengthy swim. Out of every prison in Skyrim, this is easily the most memorable of the bunch.

11 Hidden Skill Interactions

Skyrim The Mage

Some perks in Skyrim provide far more benefits than they let on. Quite a few perks have hidden synergies with certain spells, Shouts, or even Vampirism. Here are a few notable examples:

  • Aspect of Terror (Illusion): This increases fire damage since burning targets flee while on low health.
  • Necromage (Alteration): If you're a vampire, every passive effect is 30% stronger. This includes Standing Stones, enchantments, and other perks taken after Necromage.
  • Quiet Casting (Illusion): Your Shouts are also silent.
  • Stability (Alteration): This also increases the duration of the Slow Time Shout.
  • Merchant (Speech): You can also purchase any item from that NPC's inventory.

10 The Headless Horseman

Skyrim Headless Horseman
Via: Elder Scrolls Wiki

Players have spent hundreds of hours in Skyrim and never even seen the Headless Horseman. He only wanders at night within certain hours and can randomly appear anywhere in the primary world map. The ghost usually sticks to the main roads, riding towards Hamvir's Rest near Whiterun. Most speculate this is where the Headless Horseman was buried.

9 Thieves Guild Shadowmarks

Skyrim-Shadowmark

Arguably the worst kept secret in Skyrim, Shadowmarks are unique engravings found on certain environment objects and houses. These symbols convey information between Thieves Guild members without drawing the attention of guards or citizens.

Every symbol has a unique meaning that can be uncovered by reading the Shadowmarks book. Understanding these signs can give you a heads-up on nearby loot, safe havens, or dangerous locations. The next time you're in a major city, keep an eye out for these markings.

8 Merchant Chests

Skyrim Dawnstar Vendor Chest
Via: u/Jun72386 (Reddit)

Every major city in Skyrim has at least one invisible chest that stores the inventory of a specific vendor. If you want to rob a merchant blind, all you need to do is find one of these chests.

RELATED: Skyrim: 10 Most Useful Things You Can Buy From A Merchant, Ranked

There are quite a few of these chests found in each major city. Most of these chests will require out-of-bounds glitches to reach, but there is one that is comically easy to find. Travel to Dawnstar and run to Iron-Breaker Mine. Instead of walking into the mine, turn left and hug the wall. Beside a small tree and a rock is an invisible chest that you can open, revealing the entire inventory of the Khajiit merchants that frequent this area. While this is a secret Bethesda never intended for players to find, it's a secret nonetheless.

7 Paragon Stones

Skyrim Paragon Platform

Deep in the hidden corners of the Forgotten Vale, there are a series of frost giant bosses you can kill. Defeating these giants will grant unique stones named "Paragons," which you can use to unlock secret treasures at a Paragon Platform. Slotting in the correct Paragon will open a portal to a small room, allowing you to obtain some excellent loot. The best of these is the amazing Auriel’s Shield, which gathers energy and blasts away enemies as you wield it.

6 Voice Of The Sky

Skyrim High Hrothgar

During "The Way of the Voice," you'll be tasked with climbing the seven thousand steps that lead towards High Hrothgar, the home of the Greybeards. Well, it's actually closer to seven hundred steps in-game, but who's counting? Most players reach the keep by jumping up the side of the mountain or by using a horse, but there is a reason to climb the seven hundred steps legitimately.

Dotted throughout the trail are numerous tablets that you can read, providing a short proverb that explains the origins of the Voice. If you read all ten tablets on the path, you'll gain the Voice of the Sky effect for one day in real-time. While active, all animals are passive towards you and won't flee from combat.

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