We know that certain Dragon Shouts are affected by "Fortify [School of Magic]" potions.

Furthermore, it seems like certain dragon shouts are affected by certain perks.

This would certainly suggest that Dragon Shouts are tagged with a School of Magic. This would also fit with other behaviors in the game.

However, according to the latter link, fire breath is affected by Augment Fire, but not by Intense Flames. If fire breath is a destruction spell, one would expect it to be affected by both.

It is entirely possible that either of the above links are incorrect. So I wish to ask: Do the Dragon Shouts belong in a particular School of Magic. For example, is Slow Time an alteration spell?

  • Fire Breath is not a destruction spell, no shouts are. However, since they do elemental damage (in this case fire), it's affected by a perk that boosts fire damage. However, perks that increase magic will not work
    – Oak
    Feb 12, 2017 at 2:17
  • But a fortify destruction potion would affect fire breath according to multiple sources? Feb 12, 2017 at 3:38
  • Staff effects are considered spells by the game. You can even access them with console commands. Shouts could then be spells, even if shouting is not casting a spell, but it doesn't explain Intense Flames...
    – Dova
    Feb 12, 2017 at 4:37

1 Answer 1


Looking at the Creation Kit, it looks like the issue with Intense Flames is that it actually was implemented on each fire spell individually and was not added as an effect on fire shouts. I believe this is because unlike Augment Flames, which simply applies a modifier to any Magic Effect with the "MagicDamageFire" keyword, Intense Flames has to apply a separate magic effect on spell cast which applies the fear effect. Based on the Creation Kit interface, it does not appear that Magic Effects can apply other Magic Effects without using a Papyrus script. With Papyrus, they probably could add a script to each Magic Effect with the correct keyword that applies the effect if the player has the perk, but that could cause a performance hit and the Papyrus engine is not exactly known for its stability, so this is probably why they opted to use the method they did. Interestingly, the effect itself is actually considered Illusion, probably since it is applying the same effect as Fear.

Also, although this screenshot does show a "Voice" spell applying the effect, that particular spell is only used by Alduin; none of the other Voice powers have the effect.

Intense Flames explanation

To answer the main question, Shouts do not belong to a school of magic. In fact, Shouts are not spells at all - they are a separate type of magic which all have up to three ranks. Using a shout of a particular rank casts a different spell of the "voice power" type. Voice Power spells can have a school, for all spells this appears to be the school of the first Magic Effect on the list of the spell's effects. Note that this can also be blank - Fire Breath's main effect has no school which causes the voice power spell it casts to have no school, while Frost Breath's main effect is Destruction so the voice power spell it casts is Destruction. Whether or not a particular perk applies to a particular Shout is going to depend on how the Perk was implemented, how the Voice Power was implemented, and possibly how the Magic Effects applied by the Voice Power were implemented.

EDIT: To try and make this more clear, I've included a few pictures of the Creation Kit. Shouts are a separate type of Magic from Spells, but cast Voice Power spells at each rank (which are different from "spell spells", like Fireball). Each Voice Power spell applies Magic Effects, which each have their own school (remembering that the first effect defines the spell's school).

Screenshot showing Creation Kit Magic Categories Screenshot showing Creation Kit Voice Power Screenshot showing Creation Kit Magic Effect

  • This is useful information, but I don't actually see an answer in here. It looks like it might be "no, they're not in a school of magic, but they get some benefits due to having elemental keywords".
    – DCShannon
    Feb 14, 2017 at 23:58
  • @DCShannon I apologize, I didn't see the question at the end so I thought the question was why Intense Flames doesn't work with Shouts. I'll write up a section about it. Feb 15, 2017 at 0:16
  • That's better, +1. Still: "Shouts are not spells at all - they are a separate type of magic which all have up to three ranks, each of which casts a different spell" ..what? Sounds like you're saying that shouts are spells, but only some of them are associated with a particular school.
    – DCShannon
    Feb 15, 2017 at 1:14
  • @DCShannon It's hard to explain in words, hopefully the picture shows what I'm talking about. There are Spells, which can be a Voice Power, Poison, or even a Spell. Feb 15, 2017 at 1:40
  • 2
    Well that seems unnecessarily complicated. Classic Bethesda. Thanks for the thorough answer, I found it interesting. So, this indicates that some shouts belong to a school of magic, as their first effect happens to have a school associated with it, right? Like, Frost Breath? I'm trying to decide if a follow-up question asking which shouts are in which schools is in order, or if that would be within the scope of this question.
    – DCShannon
    Feb 15, 2017 at 17:40

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