Let's face it. Alchemy takes a long time to master in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Like Smithing, the Alchemy skill requires patience that not every player may be willing to expend. Recipes need to be figured out and ingredients need to be located as well as collected before the brewing can begin.
However, for players who stick with it, Alchemy can be immensely rewarding. Lethal poisons can down some enemies in seconds. Restorative potions can help ensure the Dragonborn is always in the best physical condition. With the right guidance and information, maxing out the Alchemy skill can be conquered in no time.
Updated November 20, 2021 by Mark Hospodar: Just when players thought they had seen it all in the land of Skyrim, yet another new edition of the acclaimed title has been released. In Skyrim: Anniversary Edition, players can experience the game in its complete state, incorporating loads of both new and old Creation Club content.
Now has never been a better time for gamers to hone their Alchemy skills if they haven't already. The Anniversary Edition includes tons of new items, some of which are additional Alchemy ingredients for crafting. Even more potions and poisons can be brewed to aid players in their seemingly never-ending adventures in Skyrim.
9 Races & Standing Stones
Choosing a race in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is an important choice, at least to a certain point. Nothing will be lost by picking a race that's not predisposed to alchemy. It just means the player will have to put in a little extra work in terms of leveling. The races that do benefit from an Alchemy skill bonus of +5 include:
Regardless of race, the Alchemy skill can also benefit from the various Standing Stone blessings scattered across Skyrim. Specifically, there are two Standing Stones that directly impact the Alchemy skill, which are:
- The Thief Stone – All stealth skills (including Alchemy) improve 20% faster
- The Lover Stone – All skills improve 15% faster
Players who are dead-set on increasing the Alchemy skill as quickly as possible should definitely consider choosing the Thief Stone. Conversely, those looking for a more balanced experience can select the Lover Stone, which affects all the skills in a player's repertoire.
8 Eat Every Ingredient You Find... Seriously
The first step in the road to 100 in the Alchemy skill is discovering what each ingredient actually does. The simplest (and most disgusting) way to do so is by eating every ingredient the player comes across. Eating an ingredient for the first time raises the Alchemy skill by a small amount. Including all the DLC and Creation Club content, that makes for 182 total ingredients in the game.
The biggest benefit is that once consumed, one of the ingredient's four hidden properties is revealed. This gives a clue as to what kind of potion the ingredient may be useful for when concocting a mixture. Choosing the Experimenter perk at Level 50 in the Alchemy skill tree also unlocks an additional property at each rank when something is consumed. So, if it's edible, give it a chomp!
7 Experimenting & Finding Recipes
Once the player has sampled and collected a diverse set of ingredients it's time to start practicing. There are two ways a novice alchemist can get the ball rolling without visiting a trainer: experimenting and finding/using recipes. Both options have their pros and cons. Realistically, players will use both methods on their way to 100.
Experimenting – The Old Fashioned Method
Experimenting involves mashing together at least two ingredients at the alchemy lab. If they aren't compatible, nothing will happen. A successful match results in a potion, the effects of which are derived from the ingredients used.
Thus, experimenting will steadily reveal all four of an ingredient's properties. The downside to this method is that experimenting is an awfully time-consuming process. Furthermore, it's worth reiterating that if players mix incompatible ingredients, nothing is produced, resulting in a waste of materials.
Using Recipes – The Guided Method
Recipes, on the other hand, cut out the guesswork. Players should get into the habit of looting everything they come across since enemies sometimes drop worthwhile recipes. Alchemists also sell them in their shops so it's often a good idea to purchase as many as possible in the early game.
That way, players are given a little more guidance in terms of what they should be hunting for while traveling through the wilderness. Just because a shopkeeper sells a recipe doesn't mean they also provide the necessary ingredients. More often than not, players will still have to put in the legwork to collect what they need.
6 Leveling & Effects
Besides eating ingredients for the first time the bulk of a player's Alchemy experience will come from crafting potions. More specifically, the more valuable the potion, the more experience that will be gained. A particularly valuable Fortify Health potion can be brewed by combining Bear Claws + Hanging Moss + Giant's Toe.
It's also important to keep in mind that crafted potions and poisons sometimes mix both positive and negative effects. Always read the description of what the potion does before implementing it in battle, just in case. The Purity perk can eliminate this problem once the Alchemy skill is maxed out.
Efficient Alchemy Leveling
The more valuable a potion/poison is, the greater the skill gain. Fortunately, in Skyrim: Anniversary Edition, the player doesn't lack options when it comes to Alchemy ingredients. Potions of Waterbreathing are typically quite valuable and can increase fans' Alchemy skill significantly. One such combination can include Fungus Stalk + Void Essence + Salmon Roe.
The Anniversary Edition includes dozens of new ingredients, many of which stem from the Rare Curios CC content. That, along with the ability to properly fish, opens up plenty of additional opportunities to gather ingredients and implement them at the Alchemy Lab. For example, new effects such as Nighteye and Spell Absorption are now available to attain through Alchemy.
5 Alchemy Skill Books
Certain books offer a quick and easy way to increase a skill level by one. There are five Alchemy skill books in the game and multiple copies exist across a variety of locations. Knowing where to find them is half the battle. These are some of the more convenient locations for each of the books:
- A Game at Dinner – Inside the New Gnisis Cornerclub in Windhelm
- De Rerum Dirennis – The Grave Concoctions shop in Falkreath
- Herbalist's Guide to Skyrim – Arcadia's Cauldron in Whiterun
- Mannimarco, King of Worms – Evergreen Grove in Falkreath atop a stone altar
- Song of the Alchemists – Anise's Cabin in Falkreath beside the bed
4 Quest Rewards
Sometimes, completing a quest doesn't result in gold. More learned NPCs will impart some of their knowledge to the Dragonborn to show their gratitude. These free skill increases are always beneficial and Alchemy is no exception. These are the NPCs that will grant an Alchemy skill increase once their associated quest has been completed:
- Lami, The Apothecary in Morthal – Bring her a copy of the "Song of the Alchemists" book
- Frida, The Apothecary in Dawnstar – Retrieve the Ring of Pure Mixtures from a random dungeon
- Inge Six Fingers, Bards College Professor – Complete the "Finn's Lute" quest
- The Oghma Infinium – Complete the "Discerning the Transmundane" quest and read the Path of Shadow
3 Useful Perks
Perks offer great benefits, but selecting the right ones is important. Players are only given one perk point after leveling up, so choosing wisely when it comes to Alchemy is imperative. Obviously, everyone has a different play style, but these perks generally tend to be useful for any alchemist:
- Experimenter (3 Levels) – Eating an ingredient reveals the first two, three, then all effects
- Physician – Potions you mix that restore Health, Magicka, or Stamina are 25% more powerful
- Benefactor – Potions you mix with beneficial effects have an additional 25% greater magnitude
- Poisoner – Poisons you mix are 25% more effective
- Alchemist (5 Levels) – Potions and Poisons you make are 20%, 40%, 60%, 80%, then twice as strong
As stated previously, the Experimenter perk can be extremely beneficial, especially if there are a lot of ingredient properties the player hasn't learned yet. The Physician and Benefactor perks make restorative potions more effective.
Poisoner, as the name suggests, makes the Dragonborn's poison more deadly. Lastly, taking each rank of the Alchemist perk is highly recommended in order to guarantee the player's brews are at their most powerful.
2 Alchemy Pairs Well With Enchanting
It's important to remember that Enchanting goes far beyond just fortifying a player's martial abilities. Alchemy enchantments can be placed on clothing items too. The Fortify Alchemy enchantment can help boost a player's skill, allowing for more powerful potions and poisons to be crafted.
The strength of the charm is dependent upon the player's Enchanting skill. As such, the benefits can vary from a little to a lot. To get the most out of one's potions it's definitely worth investing some time practicing enchanting. Some quest reward items, powers, and artifacts already possess enchantments that aid in alchemy, which include:
- Muiri's Ring – Created Potions are 15% more powerful
- Ring of Pure Mixtures – Created Potions are 12% more powerful
- Krosis – Lockpicking, Archery, and Alchemy are 20% better
- Seeker of Shadows Power – Stealth skills are all 10% more effective (from reading the "Sallow Regent" Black Book)
1 Important Trainers
If practice and experimentation become too tiring, there's always training. Although it will eventually become costly in gold, training is the easiest method to level up Alchemy swiftly. Four trainers are willing to lend their services, each with their own varying levels of experience:
- Lami-Journeyman trainer in Morthal
- Arcadia-Expert trainer in Whiterun
- Milore Ienth-Expert trainer in Raven Rock
- Babette-Master trainer in the Brotherhood Sanctuary.
- Unlocking the best trainer, Babette, requires joining the Dark Brotherhood faction.
The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim Anniversary Edition was released on November 11, 2021 and is currently available on PC, Playstation 4, Playstation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.
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