Nehrim At Fate’s Edge Beginner’s Survival Guide

The mechanics of Nehrim are somewhat obscured within the game. It takes a lot of experimenting to understand them, doubly so if you are unfamiliar with Oblivion. This guide covers the basics of how the game works to make things a little less mysterious and makes jumping in much less daunting.


I will begin with a disclaimer that I am very under-qualified to be writing this. As of this moment I have only played a modest amount of this game and most of my knowledge is transferred over from Oblivion. It seems that there are currently very few guides for this game, so I am publishing this to fill the void. It is likely that I will get a few things wrong by relying too much on Oblivion knowledge. If you are not already aware, Oblivion is an incredibly silly game, and I say this with all the love in my soul, but plays like a elaborate training regiment. It is clear that Nehrim is build to be played in a very different way, and treating it too much like Oblivion will make your experience much worse.

Based on achievement statistics it seems that the many players who own the game never manage to play it, and only a few end up beating it. Nehrim is a fantastic game, so I think is all due to technical difficulties. Nehrim is significantly more crash prone than Oblivion. To my understanding that is all due to the fragility of Oblivion and can’t really be helped. I think the numbers are skewed from a time where the game was younger and much less stable. Nehrim has by default a very aggressive auto-saving feature that limits the annoyance of crashes. Auto-saving is also a source of crashes, but I prefer to keep it enabled as frequent inconsequential crashes feel better than less frequent crashes that wipe out a lot of progress.

Attributes and Leveling

The most basic measure of ability for your character is in the attributes. The descriptions provided by hovering over them are generally pretty good. In addition to giving some immediate benefit, there are 2 that provide a long term benefit. Each time you level up you will get +1 to max health for every 10 points of endurance you have and +1 to max magicka for every 10 points of intelligence you have beyond 40. This means that getting these attributes early is much better than getting them eventually.

Attributes are also associated with skills. Skills are leveled completely independently from the character’s level either through use, or through training. Your attributes do in fact affect the power of your skills. In the long run it is more accurate to say that your skills affect the power of your attributes. Each time you level up, you will be able to increase 3 of your attributes. Most of the time, you will have the opportunity to increase some of your attributes by more than 1 point. This can range from a +1 to a +5, and is determined by how many skill increases you gained over the course of the level through use. Trained levels do not count. I do not know all the thresholds as I suspect they have been changed from base Oblivion, but the important ones are that 1 skill increase will give a +2, and 10 or more skill increases will give a +5.

You may be able to tell by now, but level is at best a rough estimate of how strong a character is. Since skills are leveled independently. Attributes can grow at very different rates. Max health and magicka can vary dramatically based on how much priority you put into increasing them. Because this is not Oblivion it does not matter how powerful your character is relative to their level. The game will spawn enemies of varying strengths around the map, and as you explore new areas, a message will pop up telling how much those enemies are leveled. This is based on what the creator expects the typical player character to be able to confront in that level range. Also this level range reflects the strength of the enemies guarding the local caves and ruins. The animals roaming the wilderness tend to be weaker, and there are few encounters if you stick to the roads. If you ended up with a relatively weak character, you will need to level beyond the suggested range in order to survive.

Skills Perks and Training

Skills are the second metric to indicate the power of your character. The level of skill is usually the most important factor in how effective that skill is. Weapon skills increase weapon damage. Magic skills decrease casting costs.

In addition, every 25 levels you get a skill perk. These are modifiers to the skill. I am assuming for now that the perks in Nehrim are identical to the ones in Oblivion. Some of them greatly increase the skill’s utility. For instance, the expert level perk for archery gives each arrow a change to knock the opponent back. Other perks are pretty useless, like the apprentice perk for mercantile that allows you to sell equipment with getting a cost reduction for it being damaged. I don’t know it this is just my experience, but the message that pops up whenever you get a perk does not give a description of it like it does in Oblivion. If you don’t know what those are, you’ll need to look them up in an Oblivion guide. I will mention a few key perks as they become relevant.

Nehrim has a resource called learning points that are earned on level up and through consuming certain items. These can be banked and spent at trainers to level skills very quickly. There is a gold cost to this. The gold cost scales based on the character level. It is not affected by the skill level. Additionally, in Nehrim it is very difficult to level skills to 100 purely through use, though there are some exceptions. This creates a slight awkwardness in that it is too expensive to save all your learning points for later in the game. However, low level characters want to be increasing skills primarily through use so they can get better attribute increases at level ups. For example say you are playing a dedicated swordsman and use your learning points to get your sword to 100 by level 10. Now if you continue using swords, you will no longer be increasing any strength based skills and will only be able to increase your strength by 1 per level. It is important to note that light armor is the only skill in the game that is associated with speed.

With that in mind I will suggest certain skills to focus on training at the early levels base on your intended play style later in this guide.

Fatigue and Spell Effectiveness

Health and magicka are strait forward in how they function. There are 2 more bars in the bottom left corner of your screen. One of those is experience that works exactly how you expect it to work. The other is fatigue. Fatigue will diminish as you take actions like attack with melee weapon or jumping. Fatigue will recover when over time. It will recover at a slow rate when running, although athletics perks will diminish and eventually eliminate that penalty. Having less than maximum fatigue will decrease the damage dealt by your weapons and the effectiveness of your spells. The weight of you weapon effects how much fatigue is removed when attacking with it. For that reason it is important to not simply spam the attack button unless you are intentionally trying to deal minimum damage per attack, or are fighting a spider. Additionally, a weapon that weighs a lot may effectively deal less damage than a lighter weapon with a lower listed attack since that will take longer to drain your fatigue. This also means that if you want to cast some utility spell to buff yourself when out of combat, you should wait for your fatigue to recover first or you will get a reduced effect.

The extra fatigue gained specifically from a strengthen fatigue effect does not count toward your maximum fatigue. This allows you to get to over 100% of your maximum fatigue, buffing your weapon damage and spell effectiveness. I never got around to experimenting with this in Oblivion, but I think there is some cap that stops you from turbo fortifying your fatigue to do unreasonable damage with melee weapons. I believe the same cap exists in Nehrim, but there is no such limitation on spell effectiveness. You can get extremely high bonuses to spell effectiveness this way. Even played casually, gathering enchanted items or drinking potions to strengthen your fatigue can make your magic much more potent. This creates some awkwardness as it is based entirely on percentage of max fatigue. So increasing attributes that also increase your max fatigue diminishes the power of your strengthen fatigue effects.

There is also a penalty to spell effectiveness through worn armor. This penalty gets much smaller as your skill in that armor increases.

Movement and Blocking

Characters in Nehrim can get very slow. Your run speed is determined by many factors. The first is the speed attribute. The second is the athletics skill. The third is what armor you are wearing. The fourth is whether your weapons are drawn. The fifth is whether you are sneaking. The sixth is if you have an active feather effect.

Athletics is a great choice for early training. It will not mess up your agility as it increases very slowly through use. There is a limited amount of fast travel in this game, so anything you can do to increase the running speed will save a lot of time. A character will move more slowly based on what armor they are wearing. Heavy armor is much worse than light armor. It is important to remember that if for any reason you find yourself in a situation where you need to run quickly, you should remove your armor. The expert perk of heavy armor will decrease the encumbrance effect of worn heavy armor by half. This means that it will alleviate some of the carry weight of the armor. More importantly it will cut down the movement speed penalty from wearing heavy armor. The master perk of heavy armor and expert perk of light armor eliminate the encumbrance effects all together. Please do not keep your weapons drawn when you are not fighting. It is not worth the debuff in movement speed. Lastly there’s the feather effect. By the time I got around to experimenting with feather I didn’t notice any effect on my movement speed. My working theory is that secretly the character has a hidden feather condition that gets stronger each time you eat an ice claw or draught of endurance.

Let’s get into some involuntary movement. To my understanding the creator of Nehrim replaced Oblivion’s horrible stagger mechanic with an enhanced knock back mechanic. If it functions the same, then when taking a hit that is not blocked you are knocked back by some amount. This amount is determined by the damage dealt by the attack, the type of armor you are wearing, and your agility attribute. The higher agility, and the more heavy armor you are wearing, the less you are knocked back. To avoid being knocked back you must block the attack. Blocking in Nehrim is very good. It also greatly reduces the damage taken, and staggers the enemy giving you a window to escape hit them back. There is one exception to this rule: the spider. While the other enemies seem to be based off of some Oblivion creature in their behavior and attack patterns, the spider seems completely original. They do not respect the rules of blocking. Instead, they will bounce off your shield and immediately begin a fresh attack. Spiders also have a short range and never block, so the best way to fight them is keep knocking them back with your own attacks so they are unable to hit you.


In Nehrim, money is made through three different ways, looting, making things, and interest. None of these is ideal. Looting is very important, but the primary benefit is to acquire items for your own personal use, not getting things to sell. Of course, while you’re there you may as well grab a few high value items to bolster your coffers. There is a trap here. Runes small gems that can be used to turn a mundane piece of equipment into a magical item. They have a fairly good price to weight ratio, so you are naturally incentives to grab as many as you can and sell the ones you don’t use. They are actually dead weight. I have yet to find a merchant who trades in rune stones, so they just pile up in your inventory. If you get your mercantile up to 50 you get the perk enabling you to sell any kind of item to any merchant. Before then, you’ll have to apply them to other loot in order to make money off of them.

As for making things, this is where we get to alchemy. Alchemy has 3 primary roles. The first is to brew potions of strengthen fatigue. The second is to make truck loads of money. The easiest potion types to spam are restore fatigue and restore health. These are fairly useful in combat, but I have found that the slow regeneration of custom restore health potions makes it a poor panic button and if I need potions to keep my fatigue topped off, then I would rather change my fighting style. Following that is restore magicka. Those are actually pretty good in combat. Ingredients for these potions can be purchased from many merchants, and also harvested from farms since stealing food out of the ground is not a crime. The third use is of course to get some nice +5s to intelligence. Initially the monetary value of custom potions is pathetic, but with enough skill increases it gets extremely lucrative.

The main barrier to the alchemy plan is finding a mortar and pestle. Only dedicated alchemy shops sell alchemical equipment, and those tend to only exist in major cities. There is a road side stand near Trinn Abby that sells a mortal and pestle.

You can also make things with craft. Those should have a higher sell price than the raw materials, but I haven’t messed around with craft much yet so I don’t really know.

That leaves us with interest. Nehrim has a bank. Interest is accrued every 4 days. I find that you can get a lot of stuff done on 4 days of in game time so the interest takes a lot to get started.

But back to the other two, there is something called hunting skills. Essentially, by reading an expensive book and throwing in a few learning points, you can increase the loot gained from animals. This includes a number of alchemical ingredients and some pelts. All of this loot has a weight of 0, making it easy to salvage.

So what do you do with gold? I do not think it is worth while to buy equipment. The one exception would be the highly overpriced relic store in the capitol. That is more of a lol I’m rich sort of thing than an actual plan. Gold is best spent on training and spells. And for these, it should be spent liberally.


Be a mage.

Magic in Nehrim is an incredibly powerful and versatile tool. No matter what it is you are trying to do, there will be magic that greatly enhances and supports your play style. The spells you can get are much more powerful than the ones from Oblivion, (excluding the silly weakness to __ combos and the drain health insta kill spell,) and truly represent a force to be feared by the common serf.

Spells are gated by 2 things. The 1st is level. Every seventh level you gain access to the next tier of spell. The final one is unlocked at level 42. The 2nd is skill perks. As you go up in skill tiers, some of the spells become castable only if you have enough skill in that type of magic. Generally Nehrim tends to focus more on the 1st than the 2nd, with spells set to apprentice level that would easily be master level spells in Oblivion. But skill does come up, so be ready for it.

Spell casting is also illegal in most of Nehrim, giving a bounty of 500 per violation. So be careful where you cast.


Nehrim is a very difficult game if you only do the main quests and side quests. Each region is filled dungeons that in turn have interesting and powerful equipment. It is absolutely intended that you spend time exploring these both to gain the exp and the powerful items inside. Every ruin and crypt as well as most caves and mines are guaranteed to contain at least 1 powerful piece of equipment.

Now if you haven’t played Oblivion you may be annoyed to discover that you cannot use hammers to repair magical equipment. If you haven’t already guessed, there is a perk in craft that enables the repair of magical gear. For that reason I would recommend that all new characters use their learning points to get craft to 50 as soon as possible. I know that craft is an endurance skill, so it’s tempting to try an level it through use to get better endurance increases. But craft levels extremely slowly, and unlike Oblivion there is no way to damage your gear outside of combat. It’s not worth waiting till your endurance is 100, or your craft becomes 50 naturally to equip enchanted stuff.

For your convenience, the game provides something called the secure chest. This is storage for your crap, and can be accessed from many different locations. In Oblivion there is a limit to the number of items that can be placed in a container. Going over that limit causes bugginess where not all of the items are visible. Unfortunately that bug carries over to Nehrim. There are some work arounds that you can find in the discussions, but I would recommend simply being aware of the issue, and not using the chest to store every piece of crap you pick up. Instead try to prioritize important or heavy items such as armor you’re not wearing or crafting materials.

Speaking of crafting. I know you can make you own gear with the right materials and skill level. I don’t know how good the craftable equipment is. However, the enchantments on salvaged armor and weapons are way better than the enchantments you’d get by using rune stones on mundane gear.

Grindable Skills

All skills are in some way grindable. That is a fundamental part of Oblivion. Nehrim is designed to remove the grindy nature of Oblivion but the roots still exist. I would like to cover the skills that completely painless to grind, without requiring you to take any action once setup. Taking advantage of these techniques lies outside of the games intended play patterns, so exploiting them will give you considerable advantage. I will also cover grinding for some of the endurance skills because it is nice to get endurance out of the way so you focus on other attributes.

Magic Skills

Each spell has a school, and when cast on a valid target will increase your level for that school. It is apparent that any self targeting spell can be used to grind out levels in its magic skill. What you may not know is that if you hold down the cast key, you will continuously cast that spell so long as you don’t run out of magicka. That means if you know a spell that is cheep enough where you can cast it repeatedly, you can grind that skill by finding something to weigh down the cast key. (This is easier if you reassign the cast key to spacebar.) This might not be an option early in the game, as casting costs tend to start high, then get reduced as you gain more skill/luck. There is armor that increases your magicka regeneration, but that would be very difficult to obtain at a low level. If you have enough magicka regeneration, you can also weigh down the block key, (default right alt.) For some reason, hold down cast and block at the same time greatly increases how quickly you cast spells. Lastly, the restoration school levels extremely slowly may just be worth training, even at the low levels.


You can grind athletics by using the auto move feature to constantly swim into a wall. You can also grind by constantly running into a wall, but that levels much more slowly. Personally I don’t find athletics worth grinding, and just use learning points and natural leveling. The main reason is that sneak is also an agility skill, and can be ground much faster.


Sneak follows the same principal as athletics. You just need to be in stealth mode, and in an area where you are undetected, but nearby another creature, preferably a non-hostile npc. This is best done in taverns as they are safe, indoors, and never close. In those conditions, you just need a good wall to auto run or auto walk into.


Grind armor is done at the same time as restoration. You may see where I’m going with this. You need a weak healing spell, but also a weak enemy that does not damage you faster than you are healing yourself. Then you let the enemy attack you while out-healing the damage it is dealing. There are some problems with this plan. Most of these stem from the knock back mechanic. The enemy might knock you into some awkward corner where they are no longer able to reach you, stopping the grind. The also might knock you off a small bump causing you fall for a brief moment. The apprentice perk of acrobatics enables you to attack in midair. This includes casting spells. If you do not have this perk yet, it will interrupt the spell casting process. You will stop healing yourself and die. The other problem is that the game doesn’t autosave in the middle of combat. If the game crashes or you die while grinding armor you’ll loose all of your progress and will have to try again.

That covers all of the painless grinding I know of. I will now go over some of the endurance skills and how they may be ground in the painful way.


The key is spiders. As mentioned earlier, spiders are not staggered by blocking, and can be used as practice partners to train the block skill. It is important to mention that when you block an attack, you only gain experience in the block skill, not in the armor skills.


I’ve never really understood how skill levels. You seem to get some experience in it for jumping, but also significantly more for taking falling damage. If falling damage is not in your plans, the best option is to find an area with a low ceiling so that you can hit your head against it and perform jumps faster.

Starting Off

Nehrim will initially put you in some tutorial area. Getting through it will level you up twice. If you were hoping to get perfect leveling, this will immediately trip you up as you would need to grind out 19 or 20 levels of acrobatics. I don’t think you can even get a +5 to intelligence. So maybe don’t do that.

Once outside, there are a lot of priorities. They all depend on making money. As I stated earlier, alchemy is the way to go. That should also give you a jump start on intelligence without having to buy a mysticism or illusion spell. By sticking to roads, you can reach all the major settlements in the area and many of the farms without running into many enemies. It is also a good idea to be wearing heavy armor to get the early endurance. Not to mention that light armor is the only skill tied to speed. If just doing pure traveling, I recommend switching to clothing so you can get around faster. If a wolf pops up by the road, you can always put on your armor during the fight.

Since intelligence has so many skills you do not need to worry about over leveling alchemy. Just think of the money. That initial money has a lot of uses. You’ll want more spells, but also training (specifically in craft.) Earlier I mentioned 50 as an important threshold for the craft skill. The expert level perk is also very good in that in enables you to repair up to 125% on armor and weapons, boosting their damage and protection. I’m bringing this up because it may be tempting to ignore the craft skill and just pay for repair services. I’m telling you not to do that. You should also prioritize the hunting skills as the additional loot will eventually pay off the expense. If you manage to get to the capitol, you can us the money to upgrade your alchemical equipment.

Once you feel ready, you can take a break from money making to either complete a quest or explore a dungeon. I would recommend you try to get endurance to the desired amount early (100 is best) not because it’s optimal, but because it represents an enormous boost in movement speed either from switching to light armor or by enabling you to train it up to level 75/100 without consequence. I would also recommend getting as much intelligence early as possible, simply because having a lot of magicka to work with is fun.

Next I will go over some common play patterns and make some suggestions as to which skills to train, and what spells to learn. I should mention that in all of these, the restoration school of magic is very important, simply for the healing and strengthening spells.

Character: The Brawler

Training Priorities

athletics, heavy armor

Key Spells/Effects

light, paralyze, absorb health

Optional Spells/Effects

reflect spell, reflect damage, shield, summon, freeze environment

3rd Attribute


The brawler is simply defined as a character who’s primary means of dealing damage is with a melee weapon. Although they seem like the simplest to play, they come with some challenges. To start with, your strength, despite being an important attribute, will likely only be increasing at a rate of 2 per level. This is simply because the only way to increase your strength skills is by killing your enemies. (You can of course heal your enemies or use a low damage weapon or fight your summons, but I am assuming you are not doing any painful grinding.) The brawler is best served by heavy armor, (light armor is fine,) and the schools of mysticism and illusion. Some of the dungeons get very dark so you will need a light source. Torches are an option, but your are unable to use a two handed weapon or a shield at the same time. For that problem I recommend spells of light. Infravision also works, but infravision spells don’t last as long.

Paralyze is very beneficial for 2 reasons. Many enemies like to hide behind shields. You can try to wait them out by hiding behind your own shield, but hitting them with a paralyze will not only stop their movement, but also cause them to fall letting you get in many attacks unopposed. With a prolonged melee engagement, you can also get in an absorb health spell to great benefit. Brawlers can have some trouble dedicated ranged enemies. This is especially true early on, when the combination of heavy armor and a drawn weapon destroys your movement speed. A paralyze will let you close the distance and hit your enemy.

Character: The Wizard

Training Priorities


Key Spells/Effects

damage, restore magicka

Optional Spells/Effects

absorb spell, summon

3rd Attribute


The wizard I define as a character who kills there enemies with magic and damage dealt by magic. In the beginning, wizards are constantly running out of magicka and need lots of potions. The illusion and mysticism schools are primarily used for intelligence ups as magicka in combat is reserved for killing the opponent. Wizards can use illusion to see in the dark, but as they do not need weapons, torches are a good option. Early and continuous training in destruction will lower the cost of combat spells making combat much smoother. There are a handful of enemies that have a reflect spell buff. These can be dangerous to wizards. There is no great way to fight them except slowly and carefully. More than any other character, wizards benfit from strengthen fatigue effects, so it’s important to keep those handy.

I put summon as an optional spell. Fighting with an ally as a wizard is somewhat dubious. It seems helpful to have some other target to keep the pressure off. In truth, it becomes very difficult to predict the enemies’ movements once they have 2 or more targets. In the end you end up missing with a lot of your spells.

Character: The Sneak Thief

Training Priorities

none, go nuts

Key Spells/Effects

infravision, summon, chameleon, invisibility,

Optional Spells/Effects

detect life,

3rd Attribute


The sneak thief is defined as a character who tries to get as many critical hits as possible. This is done attack an enemy that does not detect your presence. Pure stealth isn’t really a thing in Nerhim, since in order to level, you must kill enemies. There are a few stealth missions later on in the main campaign, so every character must have a plan for those. Stealth starts out as not that strong, then at some point get very strong. This occurs once you are sneaky enough to attack an enemy from stealth without revealing your location. This is much easier in the dark, and with a bow. Before getting to that point, after the initial critical hit you must win a straight up fight.

Assuming you’re using a bow, summons are good at bogging your opponent down in melee, and invisibility will help you reposition if you get targeted or cornered. Chameleon effects boost the stealthiness, and infravision is necessary for seeing clearly while remaining in the dark. Critical hits are much more powerful when done by melee weapons, but that is more of a late game extravagance than a mid game plan.

As for training, there are no clear priorities. You can use your learning points on marksman to get a boost to damage or on athletics for the speed. I know those are both agility skills, but sneak should on its own get you a lot of agility. Alternatively, you can try to get alchemy to 100. The master perk of alchemy lets you make a potion out of a single ingredient. I haven’t tried this myself, but you may be able to use that perk to make a very busted potion from a sparks of fire or ice claw. You can also use them on acrobatics, as having a high acrobatics skill is very fun.

Character: The Uncommitted

Training Priorities


Key Spells/Effects

damage, absorb life, paralyze, light, infravision

Optional Spells/Effects


3rd Attribute


The uncommitted character is one that adapts their fighting style to whatever you are feeling at the moment. These characters fight with every tool at their disposal, and often with the intention of eventually becoming a master of all trades. The core of the combat is battlemage combat, using a mix of weapons and offensive spells. The bow is primarily to be used against ranged enemies to avoid having to chase them down.

Since uncommitted characters are using a variety of offensive skills, none of those skills will be at a high level. This is mostly fine, except that you’ll be lacking the appropriate destruction perks to cast the higher level destruction spells. That’s why destruction is a training priority. Getting it to 50 will cover most of your needs, although you’ll have to keep throwing in more points to unlock the juiciest stuff.

Luck is a unusual attribute. I find it best to think of it as a small permanent strengthen effect on all of your skills. So it boost weapon damage, lowers casting costs ect. Luck is always worthwhile and should never be ignore outright. It is the 4th attribute of the other play styles.

Security and Persuasion

There are 2 mini-games from Oblivion that have transferred over to Nehrim. Let’s start with security.


The security mini-game is for opening locks. Here the play skill is much more important than the character skill. Lockpicks are kind of expensive, but can be made at the forge. Security is not worth your learning points, so try to avoid having to train in it. Basically, you hit the tumblers one by one then try to lock them into place with a left click. If you have the right timing, the tumbler will stay up. Otherwise it and other tumblers will fall, breaking the lockpick. I do not have perfect timing. I prefer to listen carefully to the sound the tumbler makes when hit. If the sound is brief, then the window is small. If it’s drawn out, there is a much wider window for locking the tumbler in place.


In my time playing this game, I have yet to open the speechcraft window. It seems unnecessary to the quests. The speechcraft game allows you to change the disposition score an npc has towards you. This could in theory open up new dialog options. It can also make bargaining easier. Since I haven’t bothered to use it yet, I just cover what I know of it from Oblivion, and hope it wasn’t changed. Basically, you cycle between 4 types of persuasion. The npc will like 2 of them and dislike 2 of them. You choose the order to maximize the strength of the interaction the npc likes and minimize the strength of the interaction the npc doesn’t like. There is a cap on how much disposition can be raised through persuasion. If you never hit the cap you can keep the mini-game running forever.

This guide about Nehrim: At Fate's Edge was written by abubanggheed. You can visit the original publication from this link. If you have any concerns about this guide, please don't hesitate to reach us here.

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