Skyrim is all about exploration and dungeon-crawling to find the best loot in the game, and that’s a major part of the fun. There’a s secret item around every corner, just waiting to be found, whether it’s a new suit of armor, a magic weapon, or a special trinket. Finding these items might mean battling a boss, raiding a specific crypt, or accomplishing a key quest.
Summing up the best items in the game is no easy task, but it’s good to be armed with this knowledge, especially for those who are playing Skyrim for the first time. For experienced veterans, it’s up to them to determine if they’ve found these excellent items on previous playthroughs, or whether they need to go back and try again.
Updated on October 31st, 2021 by Derek Draven: There’s a lot to see and do in Skyrim, and with it comes a lot of unexpected treasure as well. With Skyrim currently set to get an Anniversary release, there’s yet another reason for gamers to give it a go. This time, they can hunt down the game’s best armors, trinkets, and other items that help enhance their own play styles. It’s worth taking a look at a few different items that can help players along in their quests, while giving them some bragging rights. Some of these have been overlooked in the past, and it’s high time Skyrim gamers sought them out.
25 Daedric Armor (Heavy)
Whether a player is a mage, a rogue, or a melee fighter, sometimes a heavy set of protective armor is necessary. When it comes to durability and customization, nothing does the job better than crafted Daedric Armor; particularly the heavy variant. Simply level up the smithing tree, add some good enchantments to the gear, and it’s ready to go.
Having this item in the inventory gives the player some beefy defense against some of the toughest foes in the game. Not only is Daedric heavy armor considered extremely strong, but it’s also a wicked-looking outfit that strikes fear into those who gaze upon it.
24 Gauldur Amulet
The Gauldur Amulet is an item earned by completing the complex “Forbidden Legend” quest. It involves beating three different dungeons (Saarthal, Folgunthur, and Geirmund’s Hall) before heading to another separate location (Reachwater Rock), and finishing off by defeating all three Gauldur brothers at once. However, the trudging is definitely worth it.
While most unique amulets aren’t very useful in comparison to crafting, the Gauldur Amulet is the best unique, non-crafting option. This magical necklace increases a user’s health, stamina, and Magicka by 30; making players stronger and more well-rounded. The stat bump is significant, especially for those midway through the game.
Dragonbane is hardly the best weapon out there. However, it’s still something every Skyrim player should have in their inventory, thanks largely to the effects of the blade. It can be found in the Blades hideout near Alduin’s Wall, alongside a full set of Blades armor.
The sword inflicts 20-40 points of extra damage to dragons. Although an average blade, it’s extremely helpful when battling scaly beasts, and in Skyrim, that’s very necessary to have on hand. What a shame it doesn’t have as much bite against regular enemies.
22 The Potion Of Ultimate Well-Being
Different Skyrim players approach potions in different ways, depending on their particular play style. However, there is one potion all players ought to seek out – the Potion of Ultimate Well-being. It’s available in the Dragonborn DLC when the player goes to Raven Rock.
There, they can get a mission from the alchemist, with the potion itself being the reward. Afterward, it is sold by local merchant Elynea Mothren. Stronger than the average stats potion, the Potion of Ultimate Well-Being restores 100 points of health, stamina, and Magicka. In a hard fight, it can bring any Dragonborn back from the brink.
21 Guild Master’s Armor (Full Set)
For sneaky rogues, joining the Thieves Guild is a must, regardless of whether the character is an assassin or an archer. Stamina, stealth, and other rogue-like boosts are just too useful. Moreover, one of the most helpful boost items is the Guild Master’s Armor. The Dragonborn obtains this armor by completing all Thieves Guild missions and becoming the Guild Master themselves. Once given the title, players need to talk to Tonilia, and the armor will then become available.
The full set gives a player 50 points more carrying capacity, a 35% increase in pickpocket success, 35% easier lockpicking, and 20% merchant prices. In the art of thievery, there are few sets that can match it, save perhaps the Nightingale or Ancient Shroud armors.
20 Amulet of Mara
The Amulet of Mara may seem like just a running joke, but it’s more important than that. Having one on hand means that, at any time, the Dragonborn can find a willing mate that can run their house, and earn them money. Beyond that, the more romantic may simply like the idea of settling down.
When reaching Riften, stopping by the Temple of Mara will initiate a quest. Finish all the missions that the priests give, and they’ll reward the player with an Amulet of Mara. The player can then court various romantic candidates, before going through the rite of marriage.
19 Mace of Molag Bal
This is one item that a player can acquire very early on. The Dragonborn must head to Markarth, where they’ll enter an empty house containing the presence of Molag Bal, the Daedric prince of domination and enslavement. It’s one of the best quests in Skyrim, by far, with a psychological horror flavor that stands apart.
After accomplishing some sinister tasks for him, the player will be rewarded with his artifact – the Mace of Molag Bal. Not only does this item do decent base damage, but it also has the effect of dealing 25 damage to an opponent’s stamina and Magicka. To top it off, if a foe is defeated within 3 seconds, their life essence fills a soul gem.
18 Circlet of Waterbreathing
Drowning in Skyrim is the height of embarrassment, but it does happen from time to time. There are quite a few missions that require characters to deep dive in order to find chests, avoid a fight, or simply explore. Unless the player is an Argonian, they can only last so long underwater before drowning outright.
In the Dawnguard DLC, this caveat was fixed with the Circlet of Waterbreathing. While not a constant wear, it’s super useful to keep handy, especially during cave spelunking. This item is found in the Inner Sanctum of the Chantry of Auri-El, during Dawnguard‘s “Touching The Sky” mission.
17 Mehrunes’ Razor
Daedric artifacts are powerful items, and one of the most intimidating can be found when the Dragonborn heads to Dawnstar, and takes on a quest to forge Mehrunes’ Dagger back together. Mehrunes Dagon was the Daedric Prince that plotted and eliminated the previous emperor, which is reason enough for players to be cautious.
Once the mission is over, players can side with Dagon, who will gift them Mehrunes’ Razor. This dagger not only has one of the best damage-to-weight ratios in the game, but it has the chance to instantly down an enemy, no matter their health (there are only two exceptions, Karstaag and Miraak). It’s a must-have for any assassin.
16 Daedric Warhammer
While two-handed weapons are the slowest, least efficient weapons in the game, that doesn’t stop them from being enjoyable. If a player wants to make big, aggressive swings across Skyrim, their best bet is the Daedric Warhammer. Not only is it made out of strong material, but it can be enchanted and crafted to its peak performance.
Any tank Dragonborn should have this in their inventory, and even players who are simply curious about the two-handed lifestyle should keep one around. This particular warhammer looks mean on its own, but its killing power is incredible.
15 Deathbrand Armor (Full Set)
Deathbrand Armor is perfect for the one-handed warrior. Finding it requires participating in a sort of scavenger hunt, all under the “Deathbrand” quest. The player will be taken all over Solstheim, but the quest will start when the player randomly finds a copy of Deathbrand.
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Together, the armor gives the wearer buffs to stamina, carrying capacity, and one-handed damage, while granting them the ability to breathe underwater. The armor works well with Soulrender and Bloodscythe, also from this DLC.
14 Archmage’s Robes
When the Dragonborn completes the College of Winterhold missions, the college names them the Archmage title, as well as a set of robes that are perfect for any player who is interested in magic. With it equipped, players will experience quite a bump in terms of magic skill.
Sustainability as a mage can get hard, but Archmage Robes can solve that. They reduce the Magicka cost of spells by 15%, add 50 Magicka points, and increase a player’s Magicka regeneration by 100%. They redefine the mage experience for the better.
13 Ring of Namira
Namira is a Daedric Prince, but with a subname “Mistress of Decay.” While most Daedric quests asks a lot of a player, Namira asks for one simple thing – consume the casualty. This mission can be triggered by going to Markarth, and talking to Eola in the Hall of the Dead.
While down there, Namira’s followers will be met, and completing the mission will grant the Dragonborn Namira’s Ring. This item increases stamina by 50 points, and the player can regain 50 health by performing the same action on fallen enemies.
12 Auriel’s Bow
With the Dawnguard DLC comes one of the best bows in the game – Auriel’s Bow. This enchanted item was the battle weapon of the elven god Auri-El. Befitting of a war between werewolves and vampires, this bow does 20 points of fiery sun damage, and extra damage to zombies.
It’s also a fairly quick shot. Players can get this bow during the Dawnguard mission “Touching The Sky,” which takes place in the Forgotten Vale It’s the second-last main mission of the DLC, which means players manage to secure quite a treasure before the narrative comes to a close.
11 Dragonscale Armor (Light)
It’s quite rare for armor sets to live up to their potential, but this particular set of armor is quite different. While heavy armor favors Daedric, light armor favors dragon scales, and it’s easy to understand why. To craft this armor, players will need to vanquish a dragon or two, before they’re ready.
Dragonscale Armor is the way to go. Simply buff up enchanting and smithing skills, and this kind of armor can be crafted at any forge. Items can be made to fit any Dragonborn’s play-style perfectly, and all it takes are some materials and some leveling up. Skyrim gamers who want a little more out of the game may wish to install a series of excellent Skyrim armor mods, one of which contains a variant of Dragonbone armor much different from this one.
10 Ahzidal’s Armor (Full Set)
The Dragonborn DLC is stuffed with great items, but one of its best armor sets is Ahzidal’s. This armor is a unique, empowered version of Ancient Nord Armor, often found on draugrs. If each armor set is for a specific class or play-style, Ahzidal’s is made for a defensive mage. It gives good protection, but it also buffs the stats of magical machinations.
This armor set has the chance to immobilize enemies, add 10 points towards enchanting, make wards absorb 50% of incoming Magicka. Players can also walk on water, and increase the range of conjuration and rune spells.
9 Ring Of The Erudite
This powerful little trinket can be found only in the Dawnguard DLC, specifically the “Rings of Blood Magic” quest. The only caveat is that the player must choose to turn into a vampire in order to access it. If so, the Ring of the Erudite grants a vast array of perk bonuses and powers.
Magic users benefit massively from wearing the ring, as their Magicka pool leaps forward an additional 100 points, while increasing regeneration. If the player chooses to banish their own vampirism and return to a human form, the Ring still retains its powers, which is a definite plus.
8 Locket of Saint Jiub
Carrying capacity is a serious annoyance in Skyrim. It’s hard not to collect so many items while exploring dungeons, and because of this, it’s nearly paramount for the hoarding player to keep the Locket of Saint Jiub handy. This necklace not only adds 50 points of stamina, but increases carrying capacity by 50 points.
While it’s a great item to have on hand, the Locket of Saint Jiub can only be found in the Dawnguard DLC. After the “Impatience of a Saint” mission, this is the player’s reward. The quest-giver, Jiub, is found in the Soul Cairn.
7 Staff of Magnus
When the Dragonborn visits Winterhold, they have the chance to join the Mage’s College, which opens up a series of new quests. Missions with the college lead to some great tasks, with even greater rewards, and one of the most important of these is the Staff of Magnus.
While impressive to look at, its stats are even more so. The staff absorbs 20 Magicka per second from foes. Next, when Magicka runs out, it starts draining health. This is a vital inventory item for any adept or aspiring mage.
6 Miraak’s Robes
The Dragonborn DLC is headed by the threat of Miraak, the first Dragonborn to ever exist. He’s a fearsome enemy, and it’s satisfying to watch him fall, but what’s even better about completing this main quest is receiving his wild, weird, fantastic robes.
For a mage who needs more defense or magical sustainability, these robes are incredibly useful to have on hand. They absorb 15% of Magicka from dragon’s breath, and spells thrown at the wearer.
Dawnbreaker is the specific artifact of the Daedric Prince, Meridia. Though a fair amount of princes sound sinister, Meridia finds life and light paramount. The player can trigger her mission by going to her shrine on top of Mount Kilkreath, which is south of Solitude, and after completing her quest, she will reward players with this fiery weapon.
When it comes to getting items early on in the game, Dawnbreaker is a great one to seek out. It won’t do a lot of good against higher-level enemies late into the game, but it’s a great blade to keep on the hip for fledgling players who are leveling up.
4 Ahzidal’s Ring Of Arcana
In order to get access to this trinket, players will need the Dragonborn DLC pack. The Ring of Arcana can be located in the Kolbjorn Barrow, during the “Unearthed” quest. In order to access it, players need to step on a series of pressure plates in order to open up a gate where the Ring can be acquired.
This particular trinket grants the bearer the Ignite and Freeze spells, two polar opposites of the same magic. Ignite fires a bolt of flame from the wearer’s hand that sets a target on fire for 15 seconds, while Freeze fires a shard of ice at an enemy, slowing them down for 15 seconds.
3 Nightingale Armor (Full Set)
Joining the Thieves Guild gives the Dragonborn a lot of powerful items, but few match up to the wonder of Nightingale Armor. Not only is it a good base armor that grants major bonuses, but it’s one of the best-looking sets in the game. This armor is given near the end of the Thieves Guild main quest, when the player becomes a Nightingale.
By itself, the Nightingale armor set increases stamina by 20, increases frost resistance, makes the player walk silently, makes lockpicking easier, increases one-handed damage, and decreases the cost of illusion spells. When it comes to infiltration, this armor set can’t be beat. It’s just one of those rare rewards that help make Skyrim one of the best RPGs of all time.
Without a doubt, one of the strongest weapons in Skyrim is Windshear, a very unique blade. The player finds this scimitar shoved deep into the bow of the emperor’s ship during the mission “Hail Sithis!” All a player has to do is complete all the Dark Brotherhood missions to get to this point.
While finding it is cool enough, using this blade in different ways allows the Dragonborn to immobilize, or even knock down enemies. It may not match aesthetically with many of the armor in the game, but that’s not what it was intended for, in the first place.
As far as shields go, few offer what Spellbreaker does, and that’s important when it comes to surviving some of the more deadly ranged opponents in the game. This shield can be found during the quest “The Only Cure,” and can be upgraded at a workbench for a little more potency.
Spellbreaker offers a ward-style resistance to magic attacks, which is a major bonus when dealing with dragon breath attacks. It can also come in handy during fights with Dragon Priests, shouting Draugr, and all manner of magic users. It’s the perfect accompaniment for a warrior with no magic prowess.
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