When I'm travelling on the road, and I see a fort or dungeon in the distance, I am often tempted to ride to it in order to discover it, making it a handy travel waypoint for later and also a reminder to visit if I don't get it in a quest.

But I'm concerned that by discovering it, it will lock to my current level and thus be a trivial visit later and provide sub-standard loot. Does this happen? Or will it eventually respawn with things appropriate to my level, despite discovering it?

  • 2
    I personally always try and discover new 'blacked out' locations in order to fast travel or remember them for later. I've never noticed a problem with too-low-level dungeon inhabitants.
    – shanodin
    Jun 16, 2013 at 22:12

1 Answer 1


The level of enemies and loot in dungeons is determined by a couple of factors:

  • Your level when you first enter the dungeon (that is, change zones into it)
  • If the dungeon has a minimum or maximum level

The UESP notes this (and here) as does another question on the site.

Some locations don't have their own "zones" - like ruins and so forth. It's not altogether clear to me what locks you into enemy and loot levels in this case, since you can be fairly far away and still encounter enemies.

I don't believe the act of discovering (but not entering) a location that is completely interior locks the level of the stuff in it, from personal experience.

The UESP also notes that there are level ranges for certain dungeons, and the further off the beaten path something is, the higher the level range is likely to be (if there is one).

My suggestion to you would be to explore as you see fit. There are a lot of places to explore, and unless you grind around visiting every location on the map while not leveling yourself up, chances are pretty good that you're going to have plenty to do from level 1 until whatever level you reach when you stop playing.

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