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Oblivion: Hints

A container is an object that a player can activate, opening an inventory list of its contents. Using this definition, NPCs and creatures, alive or dead, can be viewed as just another type of container, just like the more traditional containers, such as boxes, barrels and chests.

After opening a container you will be able to transfer items from your personal inventory to the container's inventory and vice versa. Storing your items in a container is a great way to deposit the items that you don't want to carry, as well as prevent misplacing some of the smaller items like rings. Although most containers are only good for short-term storage, a few containers are safe for long-term storage. If you are just looking for a place to leave items, you can just drop them on the ground. They will typically be left there until you come back to collect them unless the cell they are in resets.

Unlike people, containers do not have a weight limit, allowing you to place many items within them, but be careful. There is a glitch with inventory lists which causes items to disappear from containers that have a large number of items stored in them. Saving and reloading can clear the glitch or you can keep removing items until the 'lost' items re-appear.

Container Regeneration

In Cyrodiil, most of the containers are reset as part of the cell reset event. This event resets many things back to their original state, and that includes containers. This makes the majority of the containers in Cyrodiil unsafe to store items in. After your character has been absent from the cell/area/zone for a minimum of 72 to 73 hours, the cell reset procedure will be triggered. The article on Dungeons - Loot provides a more detailed explanation of the timing for the cell reset trigger.

Using NPCs and Creatures as Containers


A living NPC, either awake or asleep, is effectively a container. When you are using the Sneak skill to pick their pocket, it opens up the same list you would get if you opened a regular container. When pickpocketing an NPC, you typically remove items from their inventory, and place them in yours. However, it is also possible to reverse pickpocket zero weight items, placing the item into the NPC's inventory. This method can be impractical with non-followers, however, since it may be difficult to locate them.

You cannot pickpocket creatures, making storing items while they are alive impossible. However, Shadowmere can be used as a traveling container. Simply knock her unconscious by killing her, then store your items on her. She will then wake up, and your items will still be in her inventory. If you ever need to gain access to it, just knock her unconscious again.


Although it may sound strange, corpses can be useful as a temporary container. They can be moved to a place and positioned so they become a very useful container. The reanimate effect is useful for this, as you can load the corpse and make it follow you. Moving the corpse into an awkward position is a useful way to indicate the corpse is being used as a container, so when you go running past the corpse on the way out of an area, its position will remind you that it has stored loot on it. In areas that your horse can access, place the body slightly elevated above the ground, like on a rock. This allows you to access them from horseback, move items to your inventory and move a lot of items at one time that would typically overburden your character. Just be sure you have another place you can drop your items because once you dismount your steed, you will be over-encumbered.

A dismembered corpse with multiple separate parts, such as the corpse of a Skeleton or Storm Atronach, has an extra advantage. Activating any one of the components provides you with access to the entire corpse's inventory. Parts such as the skull can be moved (using "Grab") more easily than entire corpses. You can load up the corpse with many heavy items then carry the skull to another location, thus circumventing the Encumbrance limit. Other creatures with lightweight corpses can also be used as portable containers. The Slaughterfish corpses located outside Miscarcand, for example, are lightweight and non-respawning containers. Elsewhere, dead rats are easy to transport, though they respawn.

Using the corpse of an NPC or creature as a container must be done with caution because the corpse and its contents will disappear when the cell reset event is triggered. When reset, the corpses of generic NPCs and creatures will be removed and another one will replace it. For named NPCs, their corpse will be removed and they will not respawn. An exception to this is for the corpses of an NPC related to a quest. In this case, the corpse and its contents will disappear only after you have completed the quest in which that NPC participates (e.g. Jearl in the Spies quest). Furthermore some NPCs, such as Glarthir, are tagged as "Quest items" so their bodies will never disappear, making them permanent containers. See this list of permanent corpses.

Traditional Containers

Traditional containers are what you would normally expect a container to be; a box, chest, or barrel. A list of the types and where you would expect to find them is presented below. Traditional containers can be safe or unsafe for you to store items in. Remember that many traditional containers may be locked. To open a locked container will require you to successfully pick the lock or use an Open spell.

Types of Traditional Container

These are the different kinds of containers you will see around Cyrodiil and the Planes of Oblivion. For the sake of being general, common loot is divided into Food, Books, Clothes, Treasure, and Clutter.

  • Ayleid Casks, Coffers and Reliquaries

Found only in Ayleid Ruins.
Common Loot: Treasure

  • Barrels

Come in different sizes. Usually found everywhere in Cyrodiil.
Common Loot: Clutter

  • Cabinets

Comes in Middle-class and Upper-class. Most commonly seen in houses and shops, but forts occasionally contain cabinets.
Common Loot: Food, Clothes

  • Chests

Come in rounded-(Middle-class) and flat-(Upper-class) top versions. Most commonly seen in houses and shops, but ruins, caves, forts and mines often contain chests.
Common Loot: Clutter, Treasure

  • Coffins

Most commonly seen in caves, but also forts, ruins and occasionally coffins.
Common Loot: Treasure

  • Counters

Found in most Mages guilds and some shops.
Common Loot: Location-specific; eg, alchemical tools in the Mages Guild, jewelry in the Red Diamond Jewelry

  • Covered Pots

Easily overlooked since there is a Covered Pot item. They are unique in the way that some can be moved using the "drag" key. Most commonly seen in houses and shops.
Common Loot: Food, Clutter

  • Crates

Come in different sizes. Usually found everywhere in Cyrodiil.
Common Loot: Clutter, Food

  • Desks

Comes in a closed middle-class and open upper-class version. Primarily found in houses and shops, but occasionally found elsewhere.
Common Loot: Clutter, Books

  • Drawers/Dressers

Comes in Lower-, Middle- and Upper-class versions. Sometimes two drawers are stacked on each other, consequentially giving them two inventory lists. Most commonly seen in houses, but forts occasionally contain drawers.
Common Loot: Clothes

  • Fleshy Pods

Found only in the Planes of Oblivion.
Common Loot: Treasure

  • Jewelry Boxes

Small boxes generally seen on bookshelves. Most commonly seen in houses, shops and forts.
Common Loot: Treasure

  • Sacks

Come in Torn, Open or Closed versions. Usually found everywhere in Cyrodiil.
Common Loot: Food

  • The Punished

Found only in the Planes of Oblivion.
Common Loot: Treasure

Safe Containers

A small number of containers in Cyrodiil are safe containers and do not reset. Items placed in a safe container will remain there, even if you do not visit that zone for a long period of time.

There are a few types of containers that are safe, no matter where you find them:

  • Clams-- There are 318 clams in the game, found underwater in various bodies of water. Seven can be found just outside the entrance to the Imperial Prison Sewer, when you first finish the Tutorial.
  • Torn Sacks of Grain-- Labeled "A Torn Sack of Grain", there are 91 that exist in the game.
  • Open-topped Grain Sacks-- There are 520 such containers, all labeled "Sack". When you first find them they will either contain 5 identical samples of a grain (Corn, Flour, Rice, or Wheat Grain) or be empty. A large number of other sacks are also safe containers, but cannot be safely identified visually.

Additionally, NPCs will not remove items from safe containers, with these exceptions:

  • Mazoga the Orc will eat food out of the containers in the White Stallion Lodge.
  • There is an enchanted chest in the Arch-Mage's Quarters of the Arcane University. Once you put a compatible ingredient in, after one day 10 more of those ingredients will be added. Remember that although this chest multiplies ingredients, it is not a safe container. After one week everything in it will disappear.

Two quests will result in a previously-safe container being removed, leading to the loss of everything inside it: A Plot Revealed: an open-topped Grain Sack in Bruma Mages Guild. Goblin Trouble: an open-topped Grain Sack in Crestbridge Camp.

You can check for safe containers by doing the following:

  • Save your game (optional).
  • Empty out all the containers you want to check or add a specific disposable item like an ingredient to each container.
  • Leave the cell.
  • Wait for 73 hours (3 days plus one hour).
  • Re-check the containers. Those that are empty or still contain your disposable item are most likely safe.
  • For added certainty, repeat the previous three steps several times.
  • Re-load your saved game (optional).

On the PC, you can also check if any given container is safe by opening the Construction Set and searching for containers with their Respawn flag unchecked.


All houses that you officially acquire have safe containers, with the exception of the house in Anvil. Since you can enter the house before you complete the related quest in which you acquire ownership of the house, Where Spirits Have Lease, some of the containers found inside are not initially safe. Containers that have been identified as unsafe are the overturned drawers near the entrance and the cupboard in the southwest corner of the dining room. These containers disappear when Velwyn cleans up the house at the end of the quest. Take caution, as there may be other containers that disappear or reset. The cupboard in the northwest corner of the sitting area is safe.

Quest Related

Location Safe Containers Related Quest
Agarmir's House The chest on the main floor and all sacks throughout the house. Unfriendly Competition
Aleswell The drawer in your room. Zero Visibility
Arcane University The night stand in the Arch-Mage's private quarters. Misdirection
Chorrol Mages Guild The chest in Teekeeus' room where he places the book "Fingers of the Mountain". Fingers of the Mountain
Fort Farragut The jewelry box on the bookshelf. The Purification
Greyland The chest in the building that initially contains skooma. Raid on Greyland
Imperial City: Market District Hollowed-out tree stump behind Rindir's Staffs. A Matter of Honor
Lost Boy's Cavern - Hidden Bastion The wooden chest at location K. Lich of Lost Boy Cavern
Sandstone Cavern - Big Rooms The Offering. The Sunken One
Swampy Cave The chest at location H. Mystery at Harlun's Watch
Wellspring Grove The stone chest at location C. A Mage's Staff
Weynon House Jauffre's chest. Deliver the Amulet
White Stallion Lodge All barrels and crates inside the Lodge (except that Mazoga the Orc eats the food). Knights of the White Stallion

Also check the discussion notes for Other Safe Containers that are under investigation.

Unsafe Containers

The majority of containers in Cyrodiil are unsafe to store items in because they are routinely reset. When the cell reset has been triggered, the contents of all traditional containers in that cell will be reset to the items assigned to it. Pages such as Monster Dungeons and Undead Dungeons provide information on the default contents of containers. When the container resets, everything in the container is removed and replaced by a new set of random, leveled loot. One advantage is that you can return to a dungeon multiple times and obtain a new set of loot each time. However, long-term storage is not possible in these containers.


You cannot safely store your items in inn chests, even if the container in question was initially empty. All but one type of seemingly empty chest will respawn, clearing its contents.

Static Containers

Static containers may or may not look like containers, and you can't bring up their inventory list. You can, however, place items in or on them by moving them.

  • Barrels (broken or opened)
  • Baskets (An exception is the one in Glarthir's house as well as one in Bruma Castle Service Hall. Both contain 800 gold and an inkwell.)
  • Bookcases
  • Broken Chests
  • Crates (broken or opened)
  • Display Cases (the glass casing opens)
  • Weapon Racks
  • Wine Racks