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< Skills: Magic
Skill: Illusion

Illusion is one of the five schools of magic in Skyrim. Illusion magic focuses on changing the perception of the world from the viewpoint of the target. Increasing this skill reduces magicka cost when casting Illusion spells. Historical information about the School of Illusion is provided in the lore article. The Illusion skill tree has a total of 13 perks, requiring a total of 13 perk points to fill.

In-game Description: The School of Illusion involves manipulating the mind of the enemy. This skill makes it easier to cast spells like Fear, Calm, and Invisibility.


Illusion contains a range of spells that play with your enemies' minds. While no Illusion spell does any direct damage, spells and perks in this school are a good supplement to Stealth-focused characters, and make stealthy play more viable for mages.

Main Effects

Progressively more powerful spells with each of these effects are available as your character develops. Some of these effects can also be produced using Alchemy and enchantments.

  • Pacify spells cause the affected to lose the will to fight unless attacked first.
  • Fear spells cause the affected to run away.
  • Frenzy spells cause the affected to lose allegiance and attack anyone they see.
  • Rally spells increase the stats of the affected and prevent them from fleeing.
  • Muffle helps the caster to sneak around by reducing the noise made by walking.
  • Invisibility removes the ability to be detected by sight, but unlike sneaking, wears off immediately if the caster touches something, casts a spell or uses a weapon.

Spell Types

For each effect type, the pattern of spells is consistent:

Type Targets Duration Spell Level Target Level Pacify Fear Frenzy Rally
Missile Single target 30 s Novice 6 Fury Courage (60 s duration)
Apprentice 9 Calm Fear
Area Missile Targets within 15' of impact 60 s Adept 14 Frenzy Rally
Expert 20 Pacify Rout
Wide Area Targets within 250' of caster 60 s Master 25 Harmony Hysteria Mayhem Call to Arms (100' radius / 10 min. duration)

Target Level does not apply to Rally effects.


Illusion is a formidable tool against almost every enemy in Skyrim, dragons being a notable exception. It can be used on its own as a combat tool, but it is best used in conjunction with another skill to take on enemies.

The only effect that serves as a combat tool is Frenzy, which can be used to cause groups of enemies to decimate each other. Frenzy spells can also be useful for hunting deer and other fleeing animals, as they will turn and attack you instead of running away. Furthermore, casting a Frenzy spell on someone is not considered a crime if you are hidden when you cast it (regardless of whether or not you have the Quiet Casting perk). This can make some of the Dark Brotherhood contracts much easier.

You can simply avoid combat with Fear, or Pacify, the latter of which has the additional use of allowing you to converse and trade with otherwise hostile NPCs. Pacify spells may also allow you to set up additional sneak attacks if the first did not kill your opponent. Invisibility and Muffle can allow you to bypass enemies, even in full daylight, or setup sneak kills. Followers can be rallied to provide better protection at times too. Quiet Casting also affects use of the Thu'um, so you will be able to shout and stay undetected.

Drawbacks to the skill are that undead, Daedra, and dwarven automatons are unaffected by Illusion spells until the perk Master of the Mind is activated. Without the Quiet Casting perk, enemies will be able to hear the casting of the sneak-oriented spells Muffle and Invisibility, and may still be able to detect you.

Skill Perks

Novice Illusion
Kindred Mage
Quiet Casting
Apprentice Illusion
Adept Illusion
Expert Illusion
Master Illusion
Hypnotic Gaze
Aspect of Terror
Master of the Mind
Illusion Dual Casting
Illusion Perk Tree
Perk In-Game Description Notes ID Skill Req. Perk Req.
Novice Illusion Cast Novice level Illusion spells for half magicka. 000f2ca9
Animage Illusion spells now work on higher level animals. Adds +8 levels to the spell maximum. 000581e1 20 Illusion Novice Illusion
Kindred Mage All Illusion spells work on higher level people. Adds +10 levels to the spell maximum. 000581e2 40 Illusion Animage
Quiet Casting All spells you cast from any school of magic are silent to others. All shouts are also silent. 000581fd 50 Illusion Kindred Mage
Apprentice Illusion Cast Apprentice level Illusion spells for half magicka. 000c44c3 25 Illusion Novice Illusion
Adept Illusion Cast Adept level Illusion spells for half magicka. 000c44c4 50 Illusion Apprentice Illusion
Expert Illusion Cast Expert level Illusion spells for half magicka. 000c44c5 75 Illusion Adept Illusion
Master Illusion Cast Master level Illusion spells for half magicka. 000c44c6 100 Illusion Expert Illusion
Hypnotic Gaze Calm spells now work on higher level opponents. Cumulative with Kindred Mage and Animage. Adds +8 levels to the spell maximum. Applies to Pacify and Harmony as well as Calm. 00059b77 30 Illusion Novice Illusion
Aspect of Terror Fear spells work on higher level opponents. Cumulative with Kindred Mage and Animage. Adds +10 levels to the spell maximum. This perk also gives an extra 10 (15 if both ranks of Augmented Flames are unlocked first) points of damage to fire spells, as they also utilize a fear effect. 00059b78 50 Illusion Hypnotic Gaze
Rage Frenzy spells work on higher level opponents. Cumulative with Kindred Mage and Animage. Adds +12 levels to the spell maximum. 000c44b5 70 Illusion Aspect of Terror
Master of the Mind Illusion spells work on undead, daedra and automatons. 00059b76 90 Illusion Quiet Casting or Rage
Illusion Dual Casting Dual casting an Illusion spell overcharges the effects into an even more powerful version. This slightly more than doubles the maximum level of any level-based Illusion spell. Level adjustments from Animage, Kindred Mage, Hypnotic Gaze, Aspect of Terror or Rage are applied before the doubling effect (2.2 times the spell power for 2.8 times the magicka cost). 000153d0 20 Illusion Novice Illusion


  Spell Name
Skill Level Tome
Magicka Base Cost Skill XP Description and Effect Details Where to Get
Spell ID: 00021143
Tome ID: 000ff7d1
50 25/s 0.25/s Shows the path to the current goal:
Spell ID: 0004dee8
Tome ID: 0009e2ad
46 39 39 Target won't flee for 60 seconds and gets some extra health and stamina:
Spell ID: 0004deeb
Tome ID: 0009e2ac
43 67 20 Creatures and people up to level 6 will attack anything nearby for 30 seconds:
Spell ID: 0004dee9
Tome ID: 000a2711
91 146 36 Creatures and people up to level 9 won't fight for 30 seconds:
  • Calm, 9 pts for 30 secs
Spell ID: 0004deea
Tome ID: 000a2712
80 153 38 Creatures and people up to level 9 flee from combat for 30 seconds:
  • Fear, 9 pts for 30 secs
Spell ID: 0008f3eb
Tome ID: 000a270f
88 144 144 You move more quietly for 180 seconds:
Spell ID: 0004deee
Tome ID: 000a2714
330 209 104 Creatures and people up to level 14 will attack anyone nearby for 60 seconds:
  Frenzy RuneDB
Spell ID: xx0177b7
Tome ID: xx0177bd
310 278 278 Targets up to level 20 that fail to resist are frenzied for 30 seconds:
Spell ID: 0004deec
Tome ID: 000a2713
300 113 34 Targets won't flee for 60 seconds and get extra health and stamina:
Spell ID: 00027eb6
Tome ID: 000a2715
625 334 83 Caster is invisible for 30 seconds. Activating an object or attacking will break the spell:
Spell ID: 0004deed
Tome ID: 000a2717
610 290 72 Creatures and people up to level 20 won't fight for 60 seconds:
  • Pacify, 20 pts for 60 secs in 15 ft
Spell ID: 0004deef
Tome ID: 000a2718
653 316 79 Creatures and people up to level 20 flee from combat for 30 seconds:
  • Rout, 20 pts for 30 secs in 15 ft
  Call to Arms
Spell ID: 0007e8dd
Tome ID: 000a271b
1150 655 65/target Targets have improved combat skills, health and stamina for 10 minutes:
Spell ID: 0007e8db
Tome ID: 000a271a
1220 1052 841/target Creatures and people up to level 25 nearby won't fight for 60 seconds:
  • Harmony, 25 pts for 60 secs in 250 ft
Spell ID: 0007e8de
Tome ID: 000a271c
1240 866 216 Creatures and people up to level 25 flee from combat for 60 seconds:
Spell ID: 0007e8da
Tome ID: 000a2719
1250 990 396 Creatures and people up to level 25 will attack anyone nearby for 60 seconds:
  Vision of the Tenth Eye
Spell ID: 000b323e
Tome ID: None
N/A N/A 0 0 See what others cannot.
  • Vision of the Tenth Eye, for 30 secs

Spell List Notes

  • The base cost for spells is the amount of magicka that would be necessary to cast the spell at 0 skill without any perks. The magicka cost at 100 skill is 41% less than the base cost; the cost can also be reduced via enchanted apparel and by unlocking various perks. See Spell Cost for the full magicka cost equation.
  • Skill level indicates which skill perk needs to be unlocked to decrease the spell's magicka cost. "N/A" is used for special spells whose cost is not affected by any perks.
  • The "Where to Get" column only lists guaranteed locations for obtaining the spell tomes. Most spell tomes are also available in random loot; see Spell Tome Locations for details.
  • For higher-level spell tomes to become available for purchase, your skill in the school must be high enough. Also, master-level spell tomes can only be acquired once that school's ritual spell quest has been completed.
  • All spell tomes have a weight of 1.
  • Skill XP can be modified by scripts and by the game engine itself under various circumstances. The exact XP you receive may vary from the numbers listed here.
  • Magicka cost and skill XP are rounded down, both in game and on this page. Because of this, you may find that you cannot cast a spell even though it appears you have exactly enough magicka to do so.

Magical Effects

A list of standard Illusion spells can be found on the Spells page. The following individual effects are all considered to be part of the school of Illusion (see the individual effect pages for full details on availability; the Magical Effects article also provides a summary):

Skill Increases

Character Creation

The following races have an initial skill bonus to Illusion:


Skill Books

Free Skill Boosts

Gaining Skill XP

  • Casting higher level spells gives generally faster skill increases (Novice<Apprentice<Adept<Expert<Master).
  • It is possible to reduce or even completely eliminate the magicka cost of spells by stacking Fortify Illusion enchanting effects, which is very helpful for Illusion training. The Secret of ArcanaDB power does the same thing, but only for 30 seconds.
  • Casting Muffle on yourself repeatedly will level up your Illusion quickly, even if there are no enemies around.
  • If you reset your Illusion skill after learning the master-level spells, casting Harmony repeatedly in a heavily populated area, such as Whiterun, will level up your Illusion significantly. Depending on how many NPCs the spell hits, you could level from 15 to 100 in under 30 seconds by casting the spell.
  • Casting Courage or Rally on NPCs is effective and is not considered a crime. Courage uses less magicka, but Rally will level the skill more quickly. However, both can rarely turn a few otherwise non-hostile NPCs hostile, such as Vigilants of Stendarr and Revelers.
  • If using Rally to level, try to hit as many people as possible in one shot. Casting it into groups of people will raise the skill much faster than hitting single targets.
  • Simultaneously casting Rout and Pacify (one assigned to each hand) on an enemy will rapidly level Illusion. Although the effects of Pacify should keep the target stationary, this is best done in a small enclosed area to ensure that you can hit the target each time the spells are cast.


When the player reaches a high level in this skill, NPCs (particularly guards) will sometimes comment: "You're the one that casts those illusions. Impressive."


  • Clairvoyance and Invisibility can be cast as long as there are people around (not counting your follower or other allies) to gain experience in the skill. Muffle can be cast to gain experience even if there is no one around. All other spells must be cast on a valid target to gain experience, although this does not have to be an enemy.
  • Casting Invisibility without the Quiet Casting perk may allow your character to still be detected. Enemies will investigate the sound, and may find you even if you have moved from where you originally cast the spell.
  • Vampires are not affected by Illusion spells unless you have Master of the Mind. Even then, they are considered undead rather than people for the purposes of the Kindred Mage perk.
  • The Necromage perk in the Restoration tree helps with making Illusion spells work against higher level undead.
  • Falmer can be affected by Illusion spells without Master of the Mind, but are not affected by Kindred Mage or Animage.
  • Dragons are completely immune to Illusion spells of any kind, regardless of skill level or perks.
  • Vision of the Tenth Eye can be used as a kind of Night Eye spell with some effectiveness if needed, which does not appear to increase the ability of NPCs to detect you and allows for vision beyond the limited range of Candlelight and Magelight, though its long cast time and glare from light sources can be considerable downsides.
  • Master-level Illusion spells do not benefit from Dual Casting; however, they can still overcome the level 50+ cap with the relevant perks and by using Fortify Illusion potions.
  • Casting Mayhem will often cause items in the vicinity to shift around and become irretrievable.
  • Quiet Casting also affects shouts.


  • Aspect of Terror adds extra damage to fire spells.