When traversing the land of Skyrim, I use my detect life to mainly ensure that if there's danger, I can strike first. This comes with a price. It feels like my magika is contained in a bottle and to detect life, I have to pour it out on the ground. All of it. I know that my alteration xp will only go up if I am detecting a life, but does it go up based on how many lives are being detected?

Also, what about friend vs foe. ie: Does my xp go up higher for detecting hostile lives (given the chance of them murdering me) rather than in a city?

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    Better solution: acquire transmute spell. Power level alteration by mass producing Gold. Profit. Commented Nov 19, 2011 at 1:31
  • @LessPop_MoreFizz I know what i'm going to look for now. Thanks! However, the question still stands, because I'm still very curious and I love using detect life to aid my stealthiness.
    – fernferret
    Commented Nov 19, 2011 at 1:49
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    There is also an awesome shout that is functionally the same but doesn't insta-drain your mana. It was such an awesome find as a non-caster sneaky type.
    – Rapida
    Commented Nov 19, 2011 at 2:45
  • @Rapida Does that give you away when using it? I'd think that when sneaking around, screaming at the top of my lungs wouldn't be the best thing for stealth
    – fernferret
    Commented Nov 19, 2011 at 16:53
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    The shout is called "Aura Whisper" with the description "Your Voice is not a Shout, but a whisper, revealing the life forces of any and all." It's pretty quiet, if not entirely silent. Commented Nov 30, 2011 at 14:25

1 Answer 1


According to UESP, the more life sources you detect, the more experience you gain. No word on if hostile units provide more experience compared to friendly units.

As for the expense of the spell:

  • Have you gotten the relevant cost-reduction perk in Alteration?
  • Head gear, armor, necklaces, and rings can be made or found with Alteration cost-reducing effects.
  • You can also find gear that increases Magicka regen or max Magicka.
  • The Restoration perk tree provides a +25/50% Magicka regeneration perk.
  • Awesome, +1 for source. If anyone else has any insight into hostile vs friendly, I'd still love to hear it.
    – fernferret
    Commented Dec 10, 2011 at 2:18

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