Do the type of potions I make have any effect on how much experience I gain towards leveling my Alchemy skill? Are there any ways to level my Alchemy skill aside from making potions? How effective are the methods for leveling compared to leveling by making potions?
I'm fairly sure discovering new effects gives you the biggest boost to your alchemy skill, but throwing together your own potions is gonna be effective, of course.
My strategy has been to go out and collect too many ingredients and then head to an alchemy table and just start throwing stuff together. Generally, I try to put ingredients that I know a lot of effects with ingredients that I know zero or one effects. This way, I have a better chance of matching something.
Eating ingredients will uncover the first effect.
Oh, and you could always train from a specialist and then kill them and recollect your gold. But that's limited to fives times per level.
This wiki is a great source: http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:Alchemy
My Potion recipe finder generates all possible 2 and 3 ingredient recipes and lets you filter by effect and purity. You can remove items you don't have and it adjust the possibilities. It also sorts by price so the post expensive ones are first.
The amount of exp you receive is directly related to the amount of gold that the potion is worth.
Potions are worth more if they have more effects on them, and the effects have a larger magnitude.
For this reason, even creating a potion that has 1 positive effect and two negative effects will be worth more than a potion with just one positive effect.
Similar to the potion recommender but with a better interface is Andrew's Skyrim Max Potion Tool which starts out assuming you have all ingredients and shows the potions ranked by cost (same as the experience benefit). However, management of ingredients is much easier: Just click on any instance of an ingredient you don't have and the whole list is updated.
This way you just prepare everything you can, clicking on ingredients as you run out.
I am a huge fan of magic regen and health regen (And any other effects I can get in) multi-effect potions, they are about 400g+ each at a minimum to sell, and they're great for leveling. Garlic and salt piles are godsends for ease of gathering and mixing with most other common ingredients.
A secret if you want to grab lots of ingredients and gold is not a major issue, fast travel between towns and hit each apothecary, do it in a circle from town to town and by the time you get back to your starting point- fresh ingredients in the first apothecary.
If you have higher level enchanting you can toss + Alchemy enchants on ring, Necklace and Circlet. I have +27 alch on all three and went from level 71- maxed alchemy in one huge batch of potion making... And I now don't bother looting most enemies because every potion sells for so much.
You may also find The Potion Recommender useful -- it allows you to put in a list of the ingredients you have and it will recommend potions with those ingredients that provide the most XP and money.
If you're going at it from a role playing point of view (i.e. not using forums or calculators to help you find potions) the first thing you need to do is experiment. Do this by making combinations of three different ingredients and hope they work. The game will turn the names of ingredients that can not be combined grey to make it a little easier on you. The usefulness of this, however, is limited to the fact that if they share one attribute and can make a viable potion the game will not keep track and tell you that you have combined them already. Try and keep track of recipes you've tried so that you wont keep testing the same ingredients.
Once you feel you have found enough affects from different ingredients and are ready to bust out the gold/skill gain - just look for the potion that sells for the most. The value of the potion is directly proportionate to the amount of skill that you will gain from making it. From my experience (I haven't actually done the math but visually it appears to be accurate) even if you use the alchemy perks or enchanted armor to get a stronger potion the skill gain will be faster. That means that you gain just as fast or close to it in later levels as opposed to in early levels. On a side note - make sure the Thief Stone is activated to increase skill gain by 20%. I thought it was under the Wizard Stone but it is not.
To procure the ingredients I just fast travelled from town to town and bought them from the vendors and sold them my potions. This happens to be a fantastic way to increase speech as well.
The fastest way to level up your alchemy is to create potions, then sell those potions to an Alchemist and use the gold you get to buy up his ingredients and train your Alchemy, if the merchant runs out of ingredients then just fast travel to the next city and continue.
You can increase your Alchemy experience gain by:
- Activating The Thief Stone (all stealth skills 20% faster)
- Sleeping in bed you own, or rented from an inn (10% bonus to all skill increases for 8 hours)
- 15% if your wife / husband sleeps in the same house
Also the alchemy experience gains are proportional to the gold cost of the potion being brewed, and the more gold you get for your potions the more training and ingredients you can buy from it. So you should aim to maximize your potions strength to increase their value.
You can increase your potions strength by:
- Wearing Fortify Alchemy enchanted items
- You can wear 4 fortify alchemy items at once: Helmets, Gloves, Necklaces and Rings.
- You can find / buy items ranging from Fortify Alchemy 12% - 25%
- Using the Perks Alchemist, Physician, Benefactor and Poisoner perks
- NOT Using the perk: Purity (the more effect the potion has the more it costs)
- By gaining the Seeker of Shadows ability from The Sallow Regent quest (Dragonborn DLC)
Leveling Alchemy by brewing mixtures is fastest if you've maxed enchanting first. At 100 skill, 5/5 enchanter and insightful enchanter you can make a set of gear (head, neck, hands and ring) with +25% alchemy each. The total 100% means you double potion strength (thus gold value and xp). Seeker of Shadow from black book Sallow Regent (Dragonborn DLC) can boost potion strength to 220% with that set of gear. With the Hearthfire DLC, the strongest potion possible is Salmon Roe, Garlic and Nordic Barnacle. Salmon Roe can be gotten from leaping salmon on the way from Riverwood to Whiterun or at most other waterfalls across the province. Garlic can be found all over the place, and can be taken for free from either Carlotta's stall or Dragonsreach by talking to Mikael and or advancing the main quest line some respectively. Nordic barnacle can be found in the pools outside Dragonsreach, or lakes, rivers, the sea shore and shipwrecks. When you brew potions, you want to make the most valuable ones you can with ingredients on hand and work your way down to less valuable ones until you can't make anything else. An app helps with this. I use android devices myself, and have Alchemy Advisor For Skyrim on my tablet and smartphone. Just enter the quantity of each ingredient and set it to calculate the most valuable potions. Brew all the ones for the top mixture and recalculate. It works pretty well, but not sure if it includes ingredients from the DLCs. That's why I'm listing a few simple mixtures worth a lot along with the most valuable. You can look up Alchemical Effects on uesp.net and sort by gold value from highest to lowest to see the ingredients which make the most valuable potion and poison effects.
While fortify health potions with Giant's Toe are great, the best source can be dangerous (especially for a low level character). It was mentioned that poisons of damage magicka regen can be made from Blue Butterfly Wing and Blue Mountain Flower. These are also quite valuable and the ingredients are easy to gather in bulk. There are butterfly spawns both by Honningbrew Meadery and the nearby road sign during the day. Walk in to the meadery and back out to respawn. The relative mix of butterflies is random, but monarch butterfly wings make decent minor loot in addition to being an alchemical ingredient. You can find blue mountain flower all over Whiterun hold, but there is a high concentration along the northern road between Windhelm and Morthal (more so from Dawnstar to Morthal). You can find some on the way to that road by following the road outside Honningbrew meadery north. There is also a massive butterfly spawn around Stone Hills (on road between Dawnstar and Morthal) as well as one right behind Riften (if you consider the lake to be the front). Forgot to add something mentioned before with more. Unlock every rank of alchemist, physician, benefactor and poisoner as soon as you can to increase the strength( plus gold value and xp) of your mixtures. Get green thumb when you can so you can get 2x ingredients from plants (excludes varieties of Nirnroot, but also works for all manor of egg nests, Salmon Roe and herbs hanging indoors). Luna Moths and Chaurus Eggs are another couple ingredients that can be harvested in abundance and make valuable invisibility potions. With Hearthfire, it is possible to make both a garden and a greenhouse at all three properties, as well as the Fish Hatchery at Windstad Manor and Apiary at Lakeview Manor. You can plant lots of less common ingredients, which will then respawn quickly (just a few days) with improved yields compared to harvesting in the wild.
For max xp gain, you will want the Aetherial Crown from the Dawnguard DLC. Read the book Aetherium Wars at any one of many locations (Fort Dawnguard has one in the central sleeping area for example) to get Arkngthamz on your map. Complete Lost to the Ages and forge the crown (materials needed are in little areas on either side of the forge). Store the Lover's Stone on the crown and get the Thief Stone as your constant stone. Sleep near your spouse with the crown unequipped to get that rested bonus, then don the crown for 50% xp bonus. You can buy training from Arcadia in Whiterun (expert, to level 75) and Babette in the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary (Master, to level 90). You can sell potions to get your money back. You can even buy everything in stock and brew mixtures to sell, regaining what you spent and all the merchant's gold. You can fast travel between Riften and Markarth to do that if you want (round trip is a little over 2 days, giving vendors time to restock gold and ingredients). When you get to 90 you can read skill books. There are 5. If you have Scholar's Insight from another black book, you get 2 skill points every time you read a skill book (save all 5 alchemy books until last, and you get from 90 to 100 very easy).
as most NPCs trainers trade in the items of their respective part, just sell them back the stuffs you make to recover the gold spent in training. As you progress in the skill level of making the stuff you will be able to make higher value stuffs to sell back to them, this goes up to even 90 points of mastery which is quite costly.
In skyrim the best potion you can make is a fortify health concoction. You put giants toe, creep cluster, and wheat. This causes your level to jump a full level till about forty, and it takes two to level once you reach level 40 alchemy. You do this and you will level as fast as possible. If you have enchanting you should make alchemy gear to improve your potions and gain even more experience.
Once your alchemy is about lvl 40 your potions will be worth at least a 1000 a piece