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Potions and certain items grant benefits like enhancing smithing or having increased health generation for a certain duration. How is this time measured? Is this clock time or in-game time? Does time spent in menus count against the given time?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

The duration for effects are all measured in clock time1. The game time, by default, is set to a scale of 20, so 1 minute in real time is equivalent to 20 minutes in game time.

This other question explains exactly what actions freeze the game time.

1Waiting and fast travel, despite not advancing much clock time, does count against the durations.

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I always had problems with his in-game/real-life times also :) Do I understand correctly then: Enemy frozen for 60 seconds will then mean that he will be frozen for (only) 3 of my real-life seconds? – LudoMC Jan 11 '12 at 18:31
@LudoMC you have it the other way around. If a potion says the effect will last 60 seconds, it will last 60 real time seconds, which is roughly equivalent to 20 in game minutes. – l I Jan 11 '12 at 19:12
I knew I was always wrong with this :) Thanks for the clarification, makes far more sense this way. I'll start again making potions then! – LudoMC Jan 11 '12 at 19:46
It's worth noting that time pauses when talking to shopkeepers, but not when using a grindstone, forge, alchemy table, furnace, enchanting table, or anything where animation continues. This means you can take your time with a Potion of Fortify Barter, but need to hurry with your Potion of Fortify Smithing. – Joe Dovahkiin Jan 12 '12 at 0:42

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