The wonderful world of Skyrim is full of exciting and unique NPCs, each with its own stories and preferences. Some may be shy shopkeepers living in the beautiful city of Solitude, while others are brutal sword-swinging crusaders.
Either way, each NPC in Skyrim has its character archetypes in-built to their make-up. Some of these NPCs specialize in their specific skill trees.
In this case, many of these NPCs, the friendly ones anyway, will offer the player the opportunity to train with them to impart their knowledge on a specific skill to the player for a small fee. Of course, after all, there is no such thing as a free sweat roll.
So, if you find yourself bouncing around from city to city on the Isle of Skyrim, who can you go to for some of the best teaching and skill acquiring this side of Tamriel? Well, this guide will tell you just that. So, what are we waiting for? Let’s get going!
The Training System in Skyrim
Unlike the previous entries in the Elder Scrolls series, Skyrim offers training from the Adept level and upwards, never stepping below this boundary. Therefore, anyone who shows the player some training in a specific skill can say quite honestly that they have an adept understanding and grasp of said skill.
This is a change from games such as Oblivion and Morrowind, which offered skills training at lower levels. Some or even most trainers became a bit pointless once the character progressed through the game’s leveling system.
Skyrim, therefore, does not suffer from this issue, with many trainers being capable of coaching the Dragonborn for the majority of their playthroughs, in some cases, all the way up until the player has nearly mastered the skill themselves. Once this occurs, the player will hear the dreaded phrase, “I just can’t teach you anymore,” and you will know that the student has well and truly become the Master.
However, whilst all trainers begin at the bare minimum of Adept level, they can still be quickly outclassed by a higher ranked player considering they can only train up to level 50. Once the player surpasses level 50 in a certain skill set then, the Dragonborn will have to find either Expert trainers or Master trainers who can level a player up to 75 or 90, respectively.
- Skyrim training works differently from previous games; all trainers in Skyrim are at least at the Adept level, unlike Oblivion or Morrowind when trainers often sat at far less than this.
- Adept trainers can coach the player up to level 50 whilst Expert, and Master trainers can take this up to 75 and 90.
As with any training or skill development in the real world, Skyrim’s trainers will ask for something in return for their wisdom, usually, a monetary sum related to the character’s level in the particular skill they wish to be trained at before the session begins. This level is added into a calculation, and then 50 gold is added atop.
For example, if the player has level 15 archery at the beginning of the training session, they will be charged 10 times 15 plus the additional 50 golf, resulting in charge of 200 gold for one session. Therefore, any subsequent lessons from this trainer will increase due to the base skill level.
This system ensures that the player cannot simply boost their stats from the very beginning of the game and that there is a certain value placed on said skills and the amount of time it would require in-game to achieve them. It is also important to remember that certain modifiers such as particular armors and enchantments can alter these cost calculations.
Thankfully though, for the more cash-strapped members of the Skyrim community, there are ways through which the Dragonborn can level up their skills without paying hefty training prices to trainers. By completing certain quests, characters who would normally charge for their services have been known to offer the player character free lessons in their skill of trade as a reward. This, therefore, turns these NPCs into walking, talking skill books for a short period.
There are characters dotted throughout Skyrim who offer these free training sessions in return for quests or favors in every skill category. This means that a very skilled and/or knowledgeable Skyrim player can level up their skills mostly for free if they try hard enough.
NPCs such as Amren will gift the player with free Block training after completing the quest Amren’s Sword. Other quests that resolve and reward free training include Find Finn’s Lute and Rare Gifts, to name but a few.
- If the player acquires training from a merchant, the gold price of the training session is then put into their inventory.
- If the player takes training from their companion, the price paid goes into their inventory and thus can simply be taken back through the companion trading mechanic. Trainer companions include Aela, Athis, Farkas, Faendal, and many others.
- Skill Books do much the same job as trainers in Skyrim; they can either be found throughout the game or purchased by several different merchants.
The Best Trainers in Skyrim
As there are 18 different skill categories in Skyrim and many possible trainers within each of these disciplines, it would be a really big waste of time to discuss all of them here.
Therefore it is probably a better idea if I direct you to those in the game who offer the best help for any struggling Dragonborn who might just need that little extra edge when coming up against their next dragon or giant. So, let’s have a look at the best trainers in Skyrim.
(Note: This list is simply put in alphabetical order in reference to the NPCs specific Skill tree, these characters are not ranked against one another)
Location: Falkreath Sanctuary or Dawnstar Sanctuary
The Alchemy skill tree in Skyrim relates to the player’s ability to combine raw ingredients into potions. The higher this skill is, the more intense or magical these potions will become. This particular skill can be boosted by the Thief and Lover stones.
The only Master Alchemy instructor in Skyrim is Babette, the little vampire child based in the Falkreath Sanctuary. As a member of the Dark Brotherhood, she can only be accessed by other Brotherhood members and therefore may require the Dragonborn to go a little bit off the proverbial rails to get access to her knowledge.
Babette resides in the Falkreath Sanctuary up until the events of Death Incarnate. After this, the player will be able to find her in the Dawnstar Sanctuary along with Nazir and Cicero if the player chooses not to send him over to Sithis a little bit early.
Location: College of Winterhold
A player specializing in the Alteration skill tree gains the ability to alter the laws of reality and manipulate said reality into one’s desires. Such spells in Skyrim include Illumination and Oakflesh.
There are only two Alteration trainers in the entirety of Skyrim, Dravynea, who can be located in Kynesgrove, who is an Expert, and Tolfdir, a Master. Tolfdir is only accessible after joining the College of Winterhold and is available throughout the entire game unless otherwise engaged during the College questline; however, he will always return to the College.
Once he has leveled the player up to 90, he will give the Dragonborn a quest to harvest dragon heart scales to teach the player a master-level spell called Dragonhide.
Location: The Ragged Flagon
As you may have guessed, the Archery skill relates to the player’s ability when handling either a bow or a crossbow should the Dawngaurd DLC be installed. If a player is highly ranked in the Archery skill tree, their shots will be more deadly. This skill can also be enhanced via the Thief Stone.
There are two Master trainers of Archery in Skyrim, Niruin and Sorine Jurard. There are, however, prerequisites to accessing these trainers, Niruin requires the joining of the Thieves Guild and can be found in the Ragged Flagon whilst Sorine requires the player to have the Dawngaurd DLC installed.
Niruin can originally be found in the Ragged Flagon. However, he will move into the Cistern after the player joins the guild. He joined the guild after coming into contact with Delvin Mallory while working for the gang Silver Crescents. Whilst Sorine can be found throughout the Dawngaurd questline after the quest, A New Order.
After this quest, Sorine becomes the Dawngaurd’s weapon’s Expert, mainly specializing in crossbows and other Dwemer technology. This character also can sell new and interesting weapons and ammunition after the completion of the Ancient Technology questline.
Trainer: Chief Larak
Location: Mor Khazgur
In what should not be a big surprise, the Block skill determines how well a player can block the attacks, melee or ranged with either a shield or weapon. This skill will also help the player to parry enemy attacks, and at the height of the skill, these blocks will deal damage to an opponent.
The only Master level trainer of the Block skill is the Orc chief Larak who can be found at Mor Khazgur, an Orc stronghold situated to the west of Solitude. This character can present in two different ways to the Dragonborn. If the player is an Orc, you will be able to train with him right away.
Otherwise, the player will have to complete the Forgemaster’s Fingers quest to get his training. The Dragonborn can also ask this character for work. This will result in the two having a brawl over the heads of 100 gold.
Location: Falion’s House in Morthal or the streets of Morthal
This skill falls under the tree of knowledge required of any mage in Skyrim and involves casting spells that summon or create creatures from either the planes of Oblivion or soul-trapped former enemies who died in combat. This skill also entails the summoning of ethereal weapons.
There are two Masters of Conjuration to be found in Skyrim. One of these masters is Falion of Morthal. This former member of the College of Winterhold is ostracized by the people of Morthal due to the often-misconstrued nature of Conjuration magic, as it is deemed a form of necromancy by many commoners.
To this end, the player can often overhear NPC discuss rumors about the mage, nasty ones such as his penchant for eating the heard of the dead and killing children, all of which are untrue. To find this NPC, simply head to Morthal, where you will find him either wandering around the streets or in his house. Falion will also help cure the Dragonborn if they present themselves to him whilst infected with Vampirism in exchange for one black soul gem.
The other Master trainer of Conjuration can be found in the Dragonborn DLC of Skyrim. Talvas Fathryon can be found in Tel Mithryn. The player will most likely first encounter this trainer after he fails to conjure an Ash Guardian; the failure of this spell then results in the quest, From the Ashes, one which must be completed to acquire his help in training.
Location: College of Winterhold
The Destruction skill tree refers to spells involving the “harnessing of energies pertaining to fire, frost, and shock. This skill makes it easier to cast spells like Fireball, Ice Spike and Lightning Bolt,” according to Skyrim’s loading menus. This skill, therefore, serves as a mage’s main offensive catalog.
The only Master trainer of the Destruction skill can be found at the College of Winterhold, Faralda. An Altmer mage will usually be the first person the Dragonborn encounters upon making their way to the College as she blocks the entrance, giving out tests to potential new students.
After completing this test and joining the College, they will have access to her training mechanic. She is also involved in the main college quests, Containment, Destruction, Ritual Spell, and Elder Knowledge.
Trainer: Mother Hamal
Location: Temple of Dibella in Markarth
Another skill that falls under the necessary skills of any Mage in Skyrim, the Enchanting skill, involves mastery of the arcane crafting system, allowing the player to imbue objects with magical properties via the use of an arcane enchanter. Once a player does enchant a weapon or item, the Law of Firsts states that when an item is enchanted, said item cannot take on another enchantment or be enchanted again.
That being said, certain unique items in the game can be enchanted even when they come with base enchantments. These are the Amulet of the Gargoyle from the Dawngaurd DLC, Horksbane from the Dragonborn DLC, Wuuthrad, Longhammer, and the Silver weapons used by the werewolf hunters throughout Skyrim.
There are two different Masters of Enchanting in Skyrim. The first, Hamel, also known as Mother Hamal, can be found in the Temple of Dibella in the city of Markarth. The player will be able to access training from Mother Hamal right away, yet they will also have the option of completing the quest The Heart of Dibella.
The second Master of Enchanting in Skyrim is Neloth from the Dragonborn DLC. This wizard and master trainer is said to be the most respected elder member of House Telvanni. This leading Expert on Heart Stones can be found in the main tower of Tel Mithryn.
Location: Jorrvaskr in Whiterun
This skill refers to one’s ability to wear Heavy Armor effectively in Skyrim. When one is proficient in this skill, the player will benefit from additional protection. However, there are drawbacks regarding speed and the amount said armor weighs.
There are three Masters of Heavy Armor in Skyrim, two of which require additional content. These are Isran from the Dawngaurd DLC and Kuvar from the Dragonborn DLC. However, since these characters may be hard to access for first-time players, let’s just focus on Farkas.
This easily accessible character can also become a follower of the Dragonborn after the player joins the Companions. To find this Master, simply look around the mead hall of Jorrvaskr or the streets of Whiterun. Not only does the player have to join the Companions to have the option of receiving training from Farkas, but the player must also complete the quest Proving Honor.
Trainer: Drevis Neloren
Location: College of Winterhold
The Illusion skill tree, a step above the ‘tricks’ skill tree, I am sure you will agree, deals with the casting of spells that play with the mind of your enemies. Spells within this category include Calm, Frenzy, Fear, and Courage spells.
Once again, to find a Master of Illusion magic which can train the player, one will have to join the College of Winterhold. After joining, the player must make their way to Drevis Neloren, a Dunmer Mage who can be found in the Hall of Countenance or the Arcanaeum.
This trainer also doubles as a merchant within the College, thus giving the player the ability to both train and barter with Drevis to get back the gold paid for training. When first meeting the Dunmer, he will ask the Dragonborn if he is invisible, hoping that his latest spell has worked. The player can see the NPC perfectly well, but you can still lie to the mage, stating that you cannot see him.
Location: Falkreath Sanctuary or Dawnstar Sanctuary
The Light Armor skill tree refers to the player’s ability to wear and take benefit in all pieces of light armor found in the game. This armor, like its older brother, heavy armor, has its plus sides and drawbacks. Whilst it offers less protection than heavy armor, the lighter sets of armor in the game are lighter and allow the player to move faster.
The only Master of Light Armor in Skyrim can be found, once again, within the Dark Brotherhood. The Redgaurd, Nazir, can be found in the Falkreath Sanctuary until the events of the Death Incarnate quest. After which, he can be found in the Dawnstar Sanctuary.
The player, however, may have to kill Nazir and the only Master light armor trainer in the game, should they accept the Penitus Oculatus’ quest to Destroy the Dark Brotherhood. Everybody inside the Falkreath sanctuary will be killed except for Babette and Cicero.
Location: The Ragged Flagon in Riften
The lockpicking skill involves a player’s ability to, you know, pick the locks that are scattered around Skyrim. This skill tree falls under the Thief skillset.
The only master lockpicker in Skyrim is Vex from the Thieves Guild. To find Vex, travel down to the Ragged Flagon in Riften, and after one becomes a member of the Thieves guild, the Dragonborn will be able to access her help with lockpicking.
In keeping with her mastery of the lockpicking skill, Vex is also the character who will continually offer the player burglary, heist, shill and sweep jobs for the guild.
Trainer: Chief Burguk
Location: Dushnikh Yal
The one-handed skill directly affects the damage one can deal with one-handed weapons. Therefore, if one has high one-handed skill, every swing of a one-handed weapon will deal more damage. This benefit is also carried over into the dual-wielding mechanic of the game, adding bonuses to each weapon and strike landed.
The only Master of the one-handed skill tree is Chief Burguk, an Orc warrior chief who heads up the Orc stronghold, Dushnikh Yal. Once again, this character may require the player to finish the quest, The Forgemaster’s Fingers, before offering his training, although this will not be necessary if the player is an orc.
Trainer: Vipir the Fleet
Location: The Ragged Flagon
If the player feels a little bit inclined to alleviate the richer member of the Skyrim population of their heavy coin purses, then this is the skill tree to focus on. The Pickpocket skill refers to the player’s ability to steal objects such as gold and keys from the pockets of NPCs.
Once again, the player will have to join the Thieves Guild to gain access to a Master trainer of this skill tree. After joining the guild, approach Vipir the Fleet in the Ragged Flagon below Riften. This NPC gained his nickname after being detected by authorities inside Windhelm whilst on a job with Vex.
Vex managed to slip into the shadows whilst Vipir ran out of town and back to Riften, only to arrive back to the guild and be laughed at by everyone. He and Vex had left their horses outside Whiterun, and in fear of being caught, he ran right by it.
Trainer: Danica Pure-Song
Location: Temple of Kynareth in Whiterun
As any good mage will tell you, the restoration skill tree is pivotal to your survival. This skill tree refers to the player’s ability to control life forces, and this gives the player the ability to cast spells like Healing, Turn Undead, and magical wards.
The only Master of the Restoration skill in the base game of Skyrim is Danica Pure-Spring, who can be found in the Temple of Kynareth in Whiterun. To gain access to Danica’s training, the player will need to complete the quest, The Blessing of Nature, wherein the player must receive Nettlebane from Orphan Rock.
Trainer: Eorlund Gray-Mane
Location: The Skyfroge behind Jorrvaskr in Whiterun
This skill falls under the Warrior playstyle and is one of three crafting skills in the game. Smithing involves the use of a Smelter, Tanning Rack, Forge, Anvil, Workbench, and Grindstone. There is also a racial bonus for Nords, Redgaurds, and Orcs, who all gain a 5-point initial boost to the stat.
To find a Master in Smithing, one simply needs to head over to the Skyforge in Whiterun. After becoming a member of the Companions, the player will be able to ask Eorlund Gray-Mane for his help in this skill. And who better to learn from than the man who is widely considered the best blacksmith in Skyrim?
Trainer: Delvin Mallory
Location: The Ragged Flagon
One’s ability to sneak in Skyrim is key if the player wishes to pursue a stealthy approach to the game and combat. Sneak, therefore, impacts the player’s ability to sneak effectively, making them less likely to be caught whilst sneaking during these moments of the game.
As you might suspect, the Dragonborn will have to return to the Thieves Guild in Riften to find this Master of Sneak. When you enter the Ragged Flagon, find Delvin Mallory, and in exchange for a few golds, he will teach you everything he knows, assuming you are already a member of the guild.
Trainer: Giraud Gemane
Location: Bards College of Solitude
This skill falls under the Thief playstyle and works via a combination of both the Speechcraft and Mercantile skills previously found in Elder Scrolls games. This skill, therefore, helps the player with quests, unlocking special dialogue options such as Intimidation, Persuasion, Bribery, and mockery.
I find it quite fitting that a master of this skill is not some lowly their or warrior; instead, Skyrim’s only Master in the skill of Speech is a bard from the Bards College of Solitude named Giraud Gemane. This Bard, who is also the author of the Songs of Skyrim, will teach the Dragonborn his secrets without the player needing to learn the flute.
Location: Jorrvaskr in Whiterun
This skill works in the same way as one-handed; the higher the two-handed skill, the more damage two-handed weapons will do per blow. Since these weapons take up both hands, the player cannot simultaneously hold a shield or cast spells. Therefore this skill also requires a high blocking skill.
The only NPC who has a mastery of this skill in the base game is Vilkas. He can be found, like his brother, in the Companions mead hall of Jorrvaskr. After joining the companions, this potential follower will allow you to train with him.
- Most skills have more than one Master to be found in Skyrim that the player can train with.
- More trainers are added to the base game with the addition of DLCs.
- The cost of these trainers’ help is universal and covered by the calculation mentioned earlier.
Question: Should I use trainers in Skyrim?
Answer: The player should only use trainers for skills that they either do not use very often or don’t want to. This means that when you do seldomly use these skills, you have a high proficiency in them, but you do not lose the leveling bonuses that ranking up in the other skills gives the player.
Question: Can you only train five times in Skyrim?
Answer: The Dragonborn can only train five times per level for each skill tree section.
Question: What are the Forgemaster’s Fingers in Skyrim?
Answer: The Forgemaster’s Fingers are a pair of unique gauntlets that cannot be discovered until the quest is activated. These iron gauntlets are then given to the player as a reward and named a Blood-Kin to the Orcs.
Question: Where are trainers in Skyrim?
Answer: The trainers in Skyrim can be found all over the map. These trainers may differ in max skill level, but they are still useful depending on the player’s level.
So, there you have it, a big, long list of all the best trainers throughout the Isle of Skyrim and beyond as well as how the base system of training works. To put the training system in Skyrim simply, the cost of training is the same for every trainer in the game depending on the player’s level, increasing as you do and should probably be used only in skills the player does not wish to spend time on. Otherwise, you will waste money and some of the joy that comes with improving incrementally in your favorite play styles.
I would suggest you get close to Babette and Nazir; not only will they be the only Dark Brotherhood members still available to the Dragonborn after the events of the Sanctuary attack, but they can also grace the player with changing dialogue depending on quest progression. Not to mention that Babette is the only trainer in her field within the entire game, DLC included.
Hopefully, this guide will help you intrepid explorers get out there and start leveling up those stats without getting ripped off in the process. Happy dragon slaying!