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Skyrim Alchemy Exploit (XBOX360 verified)

FAQ created by Jeremy Lusk (thesabrestorm@aol.com)

Created 2/14/2012

Last Modified 2/27/2012

Version 2.5

This FAQ is copyright 2012 by Jeremy Lusk (thesabrestorm@aol.com).  This FAQ is
free to copy and distribute, provided the FAQ remains intact, with credit
given to this original author. Updates by the author will only be made to
www.gamefaqs.com, so no author updates will be available on any other sites.

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Version Updates

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1.0 - Original file

1.5 - Updates and correction on some information

2.0 - Testing several suggestions from readers

2.5 - Rewrite and testing updates

This is probably the final version of the FAQ unless I choose to hunt down a
friend with a PS3 and force them to buy Skyrim.  I still haven't gotten a
chance to test this on PC, but with access to console commands, it seems a bit
of a moot point.  Sorry for that, but if you're going to cheat, the console is
far simpler, anyway.

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WARNING!

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             "I think I'm turning Japanese.  I really think so."

Before reading this FAQ, be forewarned that this is possibly one of the most
terrific and terrible exploits I've ever taken part of in any video game ever.

And I mean ever.

Using this exploit, I was able to casually one-shot Alduin with a Blades sword.
I can spam Incinerate without my magicka budging, and can be pummeled by spells
and weapons from anything and hardly feel it.

DO NOT USE THIS EXPLOIT IF YOU WANT TO PLAY FAIR.  PERIOD.

I've tested this on the XBOX 360 version of the game only, as I do not have
access to the PS3 version of the game, but verification on the PC version of
the game is pending me having time to get to my friend's house.

This exploit provides ridiculously fast alchemy leveling, instantaneous
smithing leveling, nearly unlimited gold, and overall power-gaming.  I don't
really condone using this cheat until you've beaten the game without it, but to
each his/her own.

The information on this exploit was discovered on the Unofficial Elder Scrolls
Pages wiki site at www.uesp.net/wiki/skyrim:Enchanting.  I take no credit for
figuring out this exploit; only for documenting it in a more easily-found
location with a much more detailed explanation.

All of this aside, on to the FAQ!

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Table of Contents

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I.   Shopping List [SHPL]

II.  The Setup [TSET]

III. The Process [TPRO]

IV.  The Applications [TAPP]

V.   Frequently Asked Questions [FAQS]

VI.  Other Information [OTIN]

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I.   Shopping List [SHPL]

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    "Tell me why I don't like Mondays.  I wanna shoot the whole day down."

This is a quick checklist of things you will need to have for the exploit:

 Necessary Items

 [] Fortify Alchemy Enchantment
 [] Filled Soul Gems (4)
 [] Ring
 [] Amulet
 [] Helmet or Circlet
 [] Gauntlets or Gloves
 [] Blue Butterfly Wings
 [] Hagraven Claws
 [] Snowberries
 [] Spriggan Sap
 [] Blisterwort
 [] Glowing Mushrooms
 [] Saber Cat Teeth
 [] Abecean Longfin
 [] Cyrodilic Spadetail
 [] Salt Pile
 [] Small Antlers
 [] Small Pearls

 Optional Items

 [] Additional filled Soul Gems for enchanting
 [] Additional enchantments
 [] Additional equipment for enchanting
 [] Resources for upgrading equipment (iron, steel, ebony, etc.)

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II.  The Setup [TSET]

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                  "Every little thing she does is magic."

Before you get started, there are several things you need to know.  There are a
couple of paths you can take to get the exploit to work.  One is far faster,
but isn't as efficient when actually using the exploit.  The other requires
giving up precious perks, and can take longer, but is far more efficient when
actually performing the exploit.  After about twelve hours of careful testing
to figure out why some people weren't getting the exploit to work, this is what
I've discovered:

Path One:  Alchemy

The alchemy skill is much more time-consuming to raise, since the amount of
experience gained is based on the value of the potions created.  Most potions
aren't worth jack, especially at low levels.  However, unlocking a couple of
levels of Alchemist (first level immediately available and second one at level
20 alchemy) as well as unlocking Physician and Benefactor, the exploit can be
achieved with very low-level equipment (see below) at alchemy level 50.  There
are several great alchemy FAQs that could help you raise the skill quicker if
you choose to go this path.  There's also the giant's toe exploit to keep in
mind, though those things are a bit rare and thus not overly reliable in my
opinion.

Path Two:  Enchanting

My original FAQ was based on the fact that I had my enchanting maxed out when I
discovered the exploit on UESP.  I had all of my Enchanter levels unlocked as
well as Insightful Enchanter.  Using these perks, the exploit can be reached
much more quickly, since enchanting is far easier to raise in level than
alchemy.  This can be pricy, especially at low character level, but the payoff
is not "wasting" perks on alchemy (which I find to be mostly useless,
especially once the exploit can be used).  This can be achieved by level 50
enchanting (three levels of Enchanter, plus Insightful Enchanter).
Additionally, your alchemy level will raise fairly quickly once you get the
exploit working, so it seems odd to me to go the other route, but again, to
each his/her own.

Regardless of which path you choose, it's going to be slow going if you're just
starting a new character.  I highly suggest using the speech exploit to help
maximize your income and reduce overhead while purchasing soul gems and alchemy
ingredients.  Just be careful if you're doing this with a new character for the
simple fact that you'll come out of the speech exploit at character level 17,
which can be problematic if you stumble across higher-level enemies and don't
have any offensive or defensive skills raised.  If you're not familiar with
how to do the speech exploit, check the other FAQs and Walkthroughs.

Contrary to my original comment, your smithing level is completely irrelevant.
See the "other uses" section in The Application to see why if your curiosity is
overwhelming your patience.

Once you've chosen your path and you begin to work your skills and perks up to
where they need to be, keep an eye out for an alchemy item to disenchant.  You
will HAVE to have the "fortify alchemy" enchantment to even start the exploit,
and it can sometimes be a pain to find something to disenchant given Skyrim's
random equipment generator, but you SHOULD find something along the way.
During this time, you should also be looking out for any and all ingredients
you will need for your potions; most importantly, the ones for the fortify
restoration potion.  You only really need a few smithing potions and as many
enchanting potions as items you want to enchant, so they're not as important
off the bat.

As you're working on this, you also have another option to consider.  To save
yourself some time (but possibly create a headache for yourself), you can have
everything on hand you need to create your exploit equipment.  This includes
enchantments for armor and weapons as well as the soul gems required for said
enchantments, and smithing resources required for upgrading the equipment.
The other option is to just not worry about it.  Once you have your potions
created, they stay good forever, even if stored in a container.  You can just
mix up a whole bunch of them and stash them somewhere to be used at your
convenience.  This can cut down on irritation of mis-clicking items, especially
armor items while trying to use the exploit (see the "tips and tricks" section
in Other Information).

As I've listed in the aptly-named checklist, there are many things that you
need.  It may seem like a daunting list, but you're really only making three
potions:

  Fortify Restoration:  abecean longfin, cyrodilic spadetail, salt pile,
                        small antlers, small pearl

  Fortify Enchanting:   blue butterfly wing, hagraven claw, snowberry,
                        spriggan sap

  Fortify Smithing:     blisterwort, glowing mushroom, saber cat tooth,
                        spriggan sap


If you're unfamiliar with how alchemy works, don't worry.  You don't really
need to understand much.  Use any two ingredients from the lists above to
create the potions you wish to create.  For example, you can create a fortify
restoration potion with just a salt pile and small pearl, a fortify smithing
potion with blisterwort and spriggan sap, or a fortify enchanting potion
with a blue butterfly wing and a snowberry.  Once you've created a potion
once, that potion will be listed on the left with the ingredients you've
already discovered can be used to create that potion.

If you so wish, it isn't a bad idea to have some spare ingredients to
"unlock" the lists for each potion ahead of time to save you precious seconds
when using the exploit.  You will be on limited time (until the fortify
restoration potion wears off), so being quick is relatively important.  If
you're really familiar with all of the menus, however, you should be fine
without this step in the prepwork.

As anyone with alchemy experience knows, some of these ingredients are
more or less common than others.  For example, things like salt piles
and blisterwort can often be bought (or found) in bulk, while others like
blue butterfly wings and snowberries are easy to harvest in bulk in the
wilds.  Thankfully, all three potions have relatively easy-to-find reagents,
so if you're having trouble finding them in the wild, hitting each of the
alchemy shops should stock you up fairly well in short order.

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III.  The Process [TPRO]

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             "It's not too late to whip it.  Whip it good!"

The first step you need to concern yourself with is your equipment.  You can
have four items that carry a fortify alchemy enchantment.  Hand, ring, neck,
and head equipment can all be enchanted, so take your pick and get ready for
action! If you took the alchemy path, it's okay to have low enchantments (I had
no issue with 8% equipment).  If you're using the enchantment path, you should
have items somewhere around 20-25%.

At this time, I should point out another option that has been pointed out to me
in several e-mails.  I had already heard of the falmer/penitus oculatus helmet
glitch, but for those of you who may not know about it, here it is:  there's a
glitch with the helmets that allows you to equip a circlet on your head as
well, even though you have the chosen helmet on.  This will actually give you
five enchanted items, which will make the exploit that much easier and faster
to pull off.  It's not a HUGE difference, but every little bit helps.  I didn't
test this path, because it seemed unnecessary, so it IS possible you could
start the exploit with lower skills or perks, but it's up to you to try it.

Once you have your enchanted equipment, put it on and head to your favorite
alchemy station.  I'm fond of Hjerim's secret room, because of the quick access
to an enchanting station, but Breezehome might be better because of the quick
access to all of the smithing stuff at Warmaiden's.

SAVE YOUR GAME!  If you make equipment way higher than you're comfortable with,
or have issues with timing, it's good to have a save BEFORE YOU STARTED.  This
will prevent you from wasting ingredients, and give you the opportunity to make
multiple attempts before settling on your final overcharge.

When you reach your chosen station, make your first fortify restoration potion.
Immediately after drinking it, unequip and reequip your enchanted armor.  The
percentage rating should show higher, but the game doesn't actually register it
as being higher unless it's reequipped with the higher percentage in effect.
The actual boost will depend on your skill level and perks (obviously), but if
you've followed the steps thus far, it should be noticeable.  It probably won't
be very high, but don't be worried.  It will grow exponentially (see the "why
the exploit works" section in Other Information).

With your now-boosted-armor, make a second potion.  Depending on how your
potion came out, you may have 30 or 60 seconds (it probably depends on the
actual reagents used, though I didn't think to test that).  This is all the
time you have, so you need to be pretty quick with the process.  Drink this
new potion, and simply unequip and reequip your enchanted items to get a new
boost.

You can rinse and repeat this process as much as you like.  The more times you
do it, your potions will get exponentially stronger and stronger.  Within ten
potions, you will probably reach disgustingly high boosts.  My first successful
attempt at this resulted in alchemy gear with a 12,536,382% increase to the
skill.  It's far beyond anything you'll ever need, but it IS possible.  I was
initially concerned about breaking the game and causing things to start to bug
or glitch, but it's possible that the in-game caps prevent this (see "bugs and
glitches" in Other Information).

Once you have your potions boosted to the point where you're happy, you may
want to mass-produce any extra fortify restoration potions you think you might
have use for in the future.  This will save you time if you want to overcharge
some equipment later on, since you won't have to hunt down ingredients or
spend the time doing the alchemy boost.  From there, simply mass-produce
smithing and enchanting potions, and voila!  You're done.

I've only needed one smithing potion to do a full set of equipment (a dagger,
two blades, a bow, helmet, armor, boots, and gauntlets), but in my experience,
you want one enchanting potion for each item you want to enchant.  Just keep
in mind that having spares will never hurt.  Just store them someplace safe,
and you'll be able to make changes to your lineup anytime you want.

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IV.  The Application [TAPP]

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          "I just ran.  I ran both night and day.  Couldn't get away."

As you've probably already figured out, the ultimate purpose I found for this
exploit is to make ridiculous equipment.  My current setup is a daedric bow
That has a base damage of 373 and does 1715 fire damage.  My swords each do 107
base damage (Blades' swords) and 1715 frost or lightning damage.  My dagger is
somehow higher at 365 base damage with 1715 lightning damage, and all of them
have 5-second soul trap on them.

My armor enchantments are varied and high as well, ultimately giving me +322%
Magic Resistance, +530 to my carrying weight, 96% reduction of destruction and
conjuration spell cost, an armor rating of 1962, and a number of other
disgusting things I don't feel I really need to list.  Ultimately, what you do
with the exploit is up to you, so let your imagination go wild with the
possibilities.

Another reason for this exploit is, as noted before, to quickly boost your
alchemy skill.  Experience for your alchemy skill is based on the value of the
resulting potion (as also discovered with the giant's toe exploit), but
because of the value of the potions at the exponential level they are created
(I've had potions valued over 30,000 gold apiece), your alchemy skill will
skyrocket fairly quickly.

Careful hours of testing have proven that you cannot boost your enchanting this
way.  I'm sure it's been covered in more specific FAQs on enchanting, but it
seems to me that experience gained is based on the power of the soul gem and
not anything else.  SMITHING, however...  That's another story altogether.  I
used my first smithing potion on this playtest character to boost an iron
dagger (left over from raising my enchanting) to legendary.  With that one
upgrade, my smithing jumped from 57 to 100.  The potion was ridiculously high,
but even less-boosted potions should provide a dramatic increase over doing
it sans-potion.

The exploit can be used in a number of other ways, though mostly just for
creating power-boosted potions.  Potions that raise your armor, HP, Magicka,
skills, or super-powerful poisons may be an option for someone who doesn't
mind cheating a little bit without creating godlike armor and weapons.

It has been pointed out (though not yet tested by me) that using a boosted
fortify restoration potion before buying the Extra Pockets perk (pickpocketing
level 50) will result in a permanent overcharge to your carrying ability,
freeing up enchantment slots on your equipment.

Last, this exploit can be used to make a LOT of money really quickly.  When
each of your potions sell for more gold than an entire city of shopkeepers have
(even with all of the speech perks unlocked), it's easy to make a mint off of
them, with very little overhead (only the cost of your reagents).

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V.  FAQs

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               "Nothing I can do; a total eclipse of the heart."

Q:  Can I just make a bunch of restoration potions and drink them before trying
    to use the exploit?

A:  Apparently not.  I tested this theory (it's mentioned as being untested on
    the UESP site), and it SEEMS to work if you just drink two potions, but it
    doesn't seem to be very reliable.  If you drink more than two, it just
    "normalizes" all values.

Q:  I think cheating in a game is wrong.  Should I use this exploit?

A:  NO!  Never.  Absolutely not.


Q:  Is this exploit only good for increasing armor and weapon stats/enchants?

A:  No.  It can be used to boost your alchemy skill, smithing skill, making an
    unnecessary amount of gold, and for creating overpowered potions.


Q:  I can't get this to work.

A:  Keep trying.  I messed it up the first time, but the explanation on the
    site I found it on was a bit hazy.  Following the steps I've outlined, you
    shouldn't have an issue.  It may not work on PS3 and PC, as I haven't been
    able to verify those yet.


Q:  I got it to work, but why is the increase on my apparel so small?

A:  The increase is exponential, so it starts small, but rapidly builds.  Just
    keep repeating the process, and it should suddenly start to skyrocket.
    Also keep in mind that the original power of the enchantment on the gear
    as well as your alchemy level both will effect how quickly you can get to
    ridiculous levels with the potions.  Perks are the key.


Q:  It's sad you have to cheat to play this game.

A:  It's sad you bothered to make this comment.  I beat the game legitimately
    already, and wanted to go through and explore things more completely
    while not having to worry about anything ever killing me.  And let's face
    it; who has played this game and NOT wanted to one-shot Alduin or knee-
    cap a giant with a dagger?  As much as I respect Bethesda and their
    ability to captivate me with every new game they release, the simple fact
    all of us are aware of is that they are all very, VERY flawed.  They are
    usually quick to patch these flaws, but there are always more, and some
    simply can't be fixed.  Ultimately, they're in the game and were all
    discovered by accident.  They were oversights by the designers and game
    testers, but are a part of the mechanics, and technically, not really
    cheating.  It's an exploit.  Anyway, Bethesda owes me for all the quests
    I couldn't complete on my first playthrough thanks to their terrible
    bugs.  And the chunks of terrain I keep getting stuck in because they
    weren't properly closed-off.


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VI.  Other Information [OTIN]

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                       "She blinded me...with science!"
           

                              Tips and Tricks
 
1.  Save, save, save, save, save.  Keep multiple saves so you can roll back to
    any point in the exploit process.  You won't be sorry, and you'll save
    yourself a lot of headache having to hunt down reagents or whatever else
    you manage to screw up in the process.  Believe me.

2.  The streams in the Reach (south of Markarth) are good for finding the
    fish needed for the exploit, if you somehow have difficulty finding them in
    alchemy shops.

3.  It's easier to switch your gear on and off if the only apparel you have is
    the gear you're using for the exploit.

4.  Get rid of any potions and ingredients not involved with the exploit to
    prevent wasting time sorting through your inventory.

5.  Practice the timing and navigating the menus before actually committing to
    the exploit.  This will help your efficacy when actually exploiting the
    restoration potions.


                          Possible bugs/glitches:

I've noticed very few issues so far.  The "base damage" of my weapons at their
legendary status went down, seeming to become more "normalized" after saving
and reloading the game.  This may be due to a situation I've read about where
all equipment has a sort of built-in ceiling for how high it can go.  This
issue doesn't seem to effect enchantments, however, so weapons can still be way
over-powered.  Also, it doesn't seem to effect armor rating at all, though it's
possible it's displaying an inaccurate number and ignoring the displayed value
and internally replacing it with the "ceiling" numbers.

I've been told that there are built-in caps for most stats in the game.  Armor
is supposedly capped at 567, while magic resistance and the three elemental
resistances are all capped at 85%.  The magic and elemental resistances can be
stacked (resulting in a 97% cap for elemental resistance) but I really can't
say for sure.  I've been able to stand completely still while being hammered
by Bandit Marauders, a Bandit Chief, and a half dozen lower-level bandit types
without my health budging.  Two of them were spamming elemental spells and the
rest were beating on me with a variety of weapons; some enchanted, some not.
My health hardly budged at all (I lost ten to fifteen health after a full
minute of taunting them), which doesn't seem right at all with these supposed
caps.  These may simply be the "normal" caps, assuming one isn't using the
exploit, but I can't be sure without a whole lot of testing.  Currently, I'm
operating under the assumption that the exploit overrides these caps, since
the math really doesn't add up otherwise.

One glaring thing I've noticed is that an overcharged pair of gauntlets seems
to impact the heavy armor's Fists of Steel perk.  My gauntlets have an armor
rating of just over 200, but my unarmed attacks don't seem to do anything
beyond normal damage.  It's a minor price to pay, in my opinion, but still a
little annoying (only because I can't punch dragons to death now).



                         How the exploit works:

Basically, the problem is that the Fortify Restoration potion, either due to a
programming glitch or simple oversight, has an effect on fortify skill enchants
on equipment.  When you combine this exploit with alchemy, you can basically
"overcharge" a restoration potion through alchemy-enchanted gear.  This growth
is exponential because of simple rules of mathematics.  Take the following
example into your meaty gray-matter:

Full set of alchemy gear (without Falmer helmet glitch)

  Ring, gauntlets, helmet, amulet; each +25% to alchemy

This results in a +100% (or double) any potions made with this gear equipped.
If your alchemy level allows a +15% Fortify Restoration Potion to be made,
this is now a +30%.

When you make your +30% potion, drink it, and reapply your equipment, this will
now raise your alchemy enchantment to +30% per item, or something around +32%
instead of +25%.  Your total is now +128% instead of +100%.  Creating a new
potion increases the next potion you make to something like +34%.  The boost is
small at first, but will grow exponentially.

If you don't understand exponents, just think of it like this:

2^8 (or two-to-the-eight-power) might seem like small increases at first, but
will grow rapidly.

2^2 (two to the second power) is only 4.  2*2=4.
2^3 (two to the third) is 8.
2^4 (two to the fourth) is 16
2^5 (two to the fifth) is 32
2^6 (two to the sixth) is 64
2^7 (two to the seventh) is 128
2^8 (two to the eight) is 256

So while the initial increase is only +2, the difference in simply eight steps
is +254.  This works exactly the same way with this exploit.




              Where the exploit comes from/who discovered it:

I have no clue.  I originally found it on the Unofficial Elder Scrolls Pages,
which is where I always looked for my Oblivion help, and continued to do with
Skyrim.  I found the page with this information by a complete fluke while
looking for a way to quickly raise skills.

I highly suggest the site if you're into the lore of Tamriel, want to explore
the storyline of older games without having to leap through hoops to play them
on a modern system, or to get information about the MANY, MANY bugs related to
quests, items, or any other number of problems faced with anyone challenging
the dangers of Tamriel's creatures (and programming).

No offense to the other FAQ and Walkthrough authors out there (I both respect
and greatly appreciate the hard work it takes making these things, and have
always relied on GameFAQ authors in the past), but the wiki layout is FAR
easier to navigate if you're looking for something very specific, such as the
location of an item, a dungeon, or NPC.


				Special Thanks!

I want to start by thanking each and every person who's taken the time to read
this FAQ.  I really didn't expect to see so many hits on it, and it's awesome
to know so many people are reading it.  On a more personal level, there are
some people who've brought up some good points that I've included in this
rewrite of the FAQ.

armyofsephiroth - Pointed out the Extra Pocket sidenote to the alchemy exploit,
the magic resistance and armor caps, the falmer and Penitus Oculatus helmet
glitch, as well as giving me the idea for the alchemy path to the exploit.  You
took a lot of time explaining this stuff in detail, and I really appreciate the
input.

Steve - Pointed out the location for good fishing as well as reminding me to
point out how important it is to save before doing anything and wasting
reagents while trying to figure things out.  He also brought up the "drinking
multiple restoration potions" theory that I tested and that keeping your
inventory clean to speed things up when unequipping and reequipping your gear
is a really good idea.

Robin - Pointed out my glaring mistake in the UESP website, which has been
corrected.  That is all.

Unknown - I screwed up and deleted the e-mail without writing down your name,
so I apologize.  My phone makes checking mail a pain most of the time, and I
didn't get to respond to the e-mail, making it a double-screw-up.  Either way,
you know you are, and I want to thank you for giving me the full link to the
UESP wiki page that contains all of the information.

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This FAQ is copyright 2012 by Jeremy Lusk (thesabrestorm@aol.com).  This FAQ is
free to copy and distribute, provided the FAQ remains intact, with credit
given to this original author.  The author takes no responsibility for how this
FAQ is used, or any damage to game saves, in-game equipment, or anything of the
sort.  Use at your own risk, and save before doing anything to abuse in-game
exploits.

Any questions, compliments, suggestions, or complaints may be sent directly to
the author via email at thesabrestorm@aol.com.  Questions, compliments, and
suggestions will be answered in the order received, when I have time. 
Complaints will be mocked appropriately, also in the order received.

Have a nice day.