I've seen effective methods for leveling Summoning, like spamming a Bound Sword on a crag in front of a giant; my question is whether or not something like this will work for Destruction spells. Does the Destruction spell have to actually hit the target or is it enough for it to be done in its vicinity? Does it level faster if you use it on or close to "difficult" NPCs like giants, as opposed to "easy" NPCs like Skeevers?
Destruction magic needs to hit its target, and it depends on the amount of damage done. The more damage you cause, the more experience you gain. Even still, leveling it is especially slow, so you will want to take advantage of all the possible boosts before power leveling that skill:
The best way to do it is to find an essential NPC and roast them for a while. Bonus points if you use destruction in one hand and restoration in the other hand (to level both at the same time!). If you don't want to waste time training it this way, I would suggest getting the rune master perk and using lots of runes while you go dungeon exploring. Runes are fairly high damage and you can cast it ahead of time and allow your magic to regen before proceeding into battle.
Also, here are the destruction trainers, its worth thinking about just paying for the training since it takes so long:
- Wuunferth the Unliving in Windhelm (Common)
- Sybille Stentor in Solitude (Expert)
- Faralda in the College of Winterhold (Master)
I know the most common is vilkas of the companions, but i find it easier to actually pick a stormcloak or imperial camp that is in enemy terriitory (no bounty if say a stormcloak camp by solitude) and each one has an essential commander that cant die and regains health quickly. also in between periods where they regin health you can recharge magika and just leave when your done with no bounty and easy xp for destruction and also can be done at any time inlike the one time with the companions.
The Destruction skill tree actually needs to damage to level up, so doing it on something that is unkillable will work best. Or if you just want to do it on the go, your best bet is to do quests and burn people alive?
If you did the Dark Brotherhood quests you can cast it on Shadowmere, then stop for a few to let him regenerate. Rinse and repeat.
Based on my research on destruction experience over here, what you want to do is maximize base magicka spent per second. The simplest way to do this is to get 100% destruction cost reduction... then spam your most expensive spells. If you don't use free destruction spells, you should work out a way to rapidly fill your magicka (such as the Equilibrium spells, magicka potions) or more mundane ways to fill the bar (increase maximum magicka to increase absolute regen rate, sleeping).
Does the Destruction spell have to actually hit the target or is it enough for it to be done in its vicinity?
Destruction spells must connect with a (non-corpse) target to award xp.
Does it level faster if you use it on or close to "difficult" NPCs like giants, as opposed to "easy" NPCs like Skeevers?
No. The xp award is the base magicka spent. If you use one spell to kill a skeever, you get the same xp as if you use that same spell to dent a giant.
In Reddit /r/Skyrim, it has been recently reported in this post that jumping on the blacksmithing forge's fire will increase your destruction level. It appears that every time you jump in the fire, you cast a destruction fire spell on yourself.
However, on the PC version of the game, this will not work if you have the Unofficial Skyrim Patch (USKP) installed, as it fixes this "bug".
After you become the master of the Dark Brotherhood, you will have the option to furnish the sanctuary. One of the features is a torture chamber. Use your destruction (and restoration) spells on them.
Also...one added bonus If you question each of them after burning (and healing) them, they will reveal the location of hidden treasure.
Well, a good thing to start with is leveling enchanting (involves iron daggers and confidence!) and getting a chest piece, a helm, a ring and a necklace. Enchant each one with 25% destruction spell cast reduction. Then, just use your free destruction spells to pound away at shadowmere (dark brotherhood questline)!
For conjuration you will need to have completed the quest pieces of the past. At Mehrune's Shrine after the quest there will be 2 unbound Dremora. Kill them both and represent cast soul trap on one of the bodies. Because the Dremora have eternal souls it counts as if it were still alive aside from not getting the soul.
To level up destruction just dual cast flames on Shadowmare since she is 100% resistant to magic and always friendly. Fire does the most damage out of the three elements available so it gives the most exp. Another neat trick I learned by accident is when you train with someone, you can immediately use the shout ice form to freeze them solid. Because it doesn't do any damage it doesn't turn them hostile. Enter sneak mode and repeatedly tap X for pickpocket. It will eventually open when they began to thaw. Take your money and bam you can train again. Works on all NPCs like when buying a house or training or any of the like.
You can summon a familiar and then attack it to level both conjuration and destruction. It will turn on you after a second, but even with low-level destruction spells it won't reach you (at least at the low levels I was doing this).
This may also work with atronachs, but I haven't ever attacked one of mine and seen it directly level destruction.
This will only work if you haven't already joined the companions. When you first join someone will take you outside to hit him. Simply keep hitting him with spells and he will just keep telling you to use your sword and he won't do anything. This is effective because as soon as you stop attacking he will sheathe his weapon so you can wait 1 hour to regain your magicka.