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Skyrim:Detect Life (spell)

< Magic: Spells
SR-icon-spell-Detect Life.png Detect Life
School Alteration Difficulty Adept
Type Defensive Casting Concentration
Delivery Self Equip Either Hand
Spell ID 000211ee Editor ID Detect Life
Base Cost 100/s Charge Time 0
Magnitude 0 Area 200 ft (exterior)
100 ft (interior)
Tome ID 000a26e7 Tome Value 332
Appears in random loot at level 23+
Purchase from (Alteration lvl 40+)
Nearby living creatures, but not undead, machines or daedra, can be seen through walls.

Detect Life is an adept level Alteration spell that allows you to see nearby living NPCs and creatures through any obstacle. Friendly targets will appear as glowing blue particles, while enemies will appear as red or pink particles. The effect lasts for approximately one second after you stop concentrating.



  • In addition to location, you can also sometimes tell other things about the living creatures in the area, such as whether they are standing, sitting, or lying down. This can be useful for determining whether an NPC is asleep before entering their bedroom, for example.
  • The game's definition of enemy or friendly may not always match what a player expects.
    • Some creatures or NPCs that will only attack you if they get close, such as some bandits and wolves, will be highlighted in blue when at a distance. Once you approach and the enemy attacks, its color will change to red.
    • Some non-hostile creatures that flee you, such as deer or foxes, will show in red. This is because they enter combat with you upon sight like any other wild animal, but their combat AI tells them to flee as soon as the fight starts.
    • Friendly NPCs actively engaged in activities such as smithing and chopping wood will also appear with a red aura.
  • A similar effect is available from the Aura Whisper shout. Unlike the spell, Aura Whisper identifies all living creatures as well as Dwarven automatons, but does not distinguish friend from foe.
  • Also related is the Detect Dead spell, which can detect dead or undead NPCs and creatures.
  • Casting this spell with two hands does not appear to have any effect on the range of the spell, making the dual-casting perk seemingly useless for it.[verification needed]
  • You will gain Alteration skill XP at a faster rate while casting this spell when there are more creatures in range. Casting this spell in a city market or other crowded area can increase your skill level very rapidly.