Enchanting items is not difficult, but there are some things to watch out for. Not every spell can be used. For instance, I was unpleasantly surprised to learn that Paralyze, one of my favorites from last game, is not allowed on weapons here.

In the same way, invisibility is not allowed on wearable items, nor is a healing spell. I guess they figured these spells would make your character a little too powerful. On the other hand, you need no special skill to enchant, and it always works. Okay, so here is what you need:

A Usable Item: This can be any weapon, shield, piece of armor, ring or necklace that is ordinary. If already enchanted, you can’t do more with it. Note that quality of the item is ignored. A grubby copper ring can hold just as much as a jade ring. All that matters is the object be ordinary.

Also, spells placed on wearable items automatically have constant effects. You don’t need any special souls for this as you did in Morrowind.

A soulstone gem with a soul. This is the key. The more powerful the soul, the stronger enchantment you can create. Keep in mind the stone is used up in the enchanting.

A soulstone can only hold so much, so they come in different sizes: Petty (150), Lesser (300), Common (800), Greater (1200), Grand/Azura’s Star (1600), and Black (1600). A trapped will will go into the smallest stone you have that can hold it.

You cannot trap an NPC soul with the regular gems. In this case, NPC means any of the standard races your character could be. Only a black gem can do that.

Some soul values to get you started:
Petty:
Goblin
Mudcrab
Rat
Skeleton
Wolf

Lesser:
Boar
Ghost
Goblin Skirmisher
Imp
Scamp
Skeleton Guardian
Troll
Zombie

Common:
Ancient Ghost
Black Bear
Clannfear
Flame Atronach
Goblin Berserker
Headless Zombie
Minotaur
Mountain Lion
Skeleton Hero
Will-o-the-Wisp

Greater:
Brown Bear
Daedroth
Dread Zombie
Frost Atronach
Goblin Shaman
Ogre
Skeleton Champion
Spider Daedra
Storm Atronach
Wraith

Grand:
Gloom Wraith
Goblin Warlord
Lich
Minotaur Lord
Savage Ogre

One other thing. Since the game is leveled, the more powerful monsters will only show up when your character is high-level. So don’t expect to see much more than common for some time.

A known spell. Scrolls won’t work. You must know a spell type to enchant it on an item. However, the power of the spell doesn’t matter. Even with a lowly Flare you can put fire damage on a sword. How much damage it can do will be determined by the power of the soul you’re using.

You must also be able to cast the spell yourself. There is no point in buying a high-level spell that requires more mana than you have just for enchanting; you won’t be able use it. Cheap spells are therefore best when you want to enchant items.

And remember, there are those spells the game won’t let you use on items. If you know a spell, can cast it, but it’s not on the enchant list, it’s one of the forbidden ones.

The process is simple. Choose an item, choose a soulstone (if you have more than one), then choose the effect you want. Wearable items, alas, can have only one effect placed on them. There is no choice on power, either. That will depend on the soul you’re using.

Weapons can have more than one effect, but that takes more charges. The more you want the weapon to do, the fewer times you can use it before recharging is necessary.

When working with weapons, you can play tricks to get more from the damage. For instance, a 15-point shock won’t give as many uses as 3 points over 5 seconds. Both deal fifteen points of damage, but you will get more uses if you use the one with duration. When you’re at the altar, use the power and duration sliders to get the most you can.

In order to use the enchanting altar at Arcane University, you must be a member of the Mages Guild and have recommendations from all the guildhalls: Anvil, Bravil, Bruma, Cheydinhal, Chorrol, Leyawiin, and Skingrad.

If you’re planning to enchant a lot of things, the best procedure is to buy a soultrap spell early and put it on a weapon with a one-second (the minimum) duration. You will get a lot of uses out of that.

You will also need soulstones. You can buy them from the Mage Guild, some shops, and of course, you can find them as treasure. Some of these will have a soul already, others will be empty. Buy one with a soul as soon as you can afford it and put it on your weapon.

You should also have a second weapon to use when you’re not trapping souls. I always have two myself, and switch to Soul Eater for trapping.

There is one permanent soulstone in the game: Azura’s Star. It can hold any soul, and does not vanish when you enchant an item. You have to do a quest for Azura to receive the Star. And unlike some Daedra quests, you can be any level to do this one.

Her shrine is north of Cheydinhal and Lake Arius, in the mountains. It’s a long haul but worth doing. The quest won’t be easy, either, and you can expect to be infected with vampirism. After you obtain the Star, head for town and pray in the chapel to be cleansed.

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