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Sneak is one of the stealth / thieving skills in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. It affects the player's ability to remain unseen and stealthily attack targets.

Crouch to enter sneak mode by using the Ctrl key on the PC, L3 on the PS3 or LS on the Xbox. While sneaking, your current stealth state is displayed on the reticle:

  • A closed eye means that no one can see you.
  • An opening eye means that enemies have become alert and are searching for you.
  • A fully open eye means that someone has detected you.
  • If the reticle displays DETECTED, an enemy has spotted you and is about to attack.
  • If the reticle displays HIDDEN, enemies have lost track of you and stopped searching.

If you attack while the eye is partially closed, your attack is considered a Sneak Attack and does additional damage.

Your ability to sneak successfully is determined by a number of factors:

  • Movement: You are hardest to detect while motionless, and easier to spot while moving.
  • Line of Sight: Enemies are much less likely to detect you if they can't see you.
  • Light Level: The darker it is, the harder it is for enemies to see you.
  • Sound: Attacking and casting spells makes noise, which may alert enemies to your presence. Heavier weapons make more noise. Spells produce both sound and light.
  • Armor: Heavier armor makes more noise when moving.
Reticle detected


Reticle hidden


Note: There is an exploit due to a glitch at High Hrothgar. If you sneak up on the Greybeards while they are sitting and you are undetected, slash at them with a dagger, and your sneak will level up every 1 to 4 slashes.

Enemies will react to other sounds in the environment, like arrow impacts or traps. You can sometimes use this to your advantage to lure an enemy out of position.

Perks[ | ]

Perks Requirements Description (Ranks)
Stealth None You are 20% harder to detect when sneaking.
Sneak 20 You are 25% harder to detect when sneaking.
Sneak 40 You are 30% harder to detect when sneaking.
Sneak 60 You are 35% harder to detect when sneaking.
Sneak 80 You are 40% harder to detect when sneaking.
Backstab Sneak 30, Stealth Sneak attacks do 6 times damage with One-handed weapons.
Muffled Movement Sneak 30, Stealth Noise from armor reduced 50%.
Deadly Aim Sneak 40, Backstab Sneak attacks with bows do 3 times damage.
Light Foot Sneak 40, Muffled Movement No longer activate pressure plates.
Assassin's Blade Sneak 50, Deadly Aim Sneak attacks with daggers do 15 times damage.
Silent Roll Sneak 50, Light Foot Sprinting while sneaking performs silent forward roll.
Silence Sneak 70, Silent Roll Running does not affect detection chance.
Shadow Warrior Sneak 100, Silence Crouching can make hostile enemies lose sight of you and search for a target.

Trainers[ | ]

Free skill boosts[ | ]

Skillbooks[ | ]

Apparel[ | ]

Minor Sneaking Sneaking Major Sneaking Eminent Sneaking Extreme Sneaking Peerless Sneaking

Achievements[ | ]

  • Thief - Pick 50 locks and 50 pockets.