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< Oblivion: Places
A cave, one of the more common dungeons

This page provides general information on what to expect when exploring dungeons. Here, "dungeons" is used as a general term to refer to the underground sections of certain common places in the game: Ayleid ruins, caves, forts, and mines. Some of the information is also relevant to any place where you are likely to encounter random creatures and/or loot, including campsites.


The exact creatures and/or NPCs in any dungeon are for the most part randomly generated, based on the current level of your character. NPCs will be set at a level similar to your character's, while creatures will become more difficult at higher levels.

The process is not completely random, however: each dungeon is defined to have a certain group (or groups) of occupants. Therefore, a dungeon may be identified as being occupied by "monsters." If you enter that dungeon as a low-level character, you will probably see mainly imps. If you reenter that dungeon many levels later, it will instead be filled with spriggans and land dreughs.

In many dungeons, you will also find one creature more difficult than the rest. This creature is described as the boss. NPC bosses will generally have special titles and slightly better equipment than standard NPCs. Also, there will generally be a boss chest (described under Loot) somewhere in the vicinity of a boss.

Randomly generated enemies will respawn after three days. Enemies respawn at the same time as loot, so the respawning details explained under loot are equally applicable to enemies. However, enemies will respawn more quickly when there are a large number of corpses (more than 15) in a given zone: when the extra corpses are cleaned up, the corresponding enemies will respawn the very next time you reenter the zone.

Friendly OccupantsEdit

There are some friendly (or at least non-hostile) NPCs in dungeons, such as the occasional Adventurer. Campsites that look like bandit camps may actually be occupied by important NPCs, such as Trainers. It is therefore worth exercising caution instead of immediately attacking everyone you meet. When in doubt, it's best to get close enough to see the NPC's name; if the NPC falls in any of the following enemy categories (or any of the categories listed as enemies at NPCs), go for the kill!


This category consists of "real" animals, i.e., those you could encounter in some form on Earth (albeit sometimes only in smaller forms than their Tamrielic counterparts). A separate category (Monsters) is devoted to hostile mythical creatures.

When you kill most animals, you can scavenge some of their body parts. From some animals (wolves, mountain lions, and bears) you will retrieve pelts. From others (sheep, deer, and rats) you will obtain meat (mutton, venison, and the always-delectable rat meat), which can be used as Alchemy ingredients.

Rats and mud crabs are nuisance animals that can pop up anywhere: every dungeon has a low chance to spawn one or two of these critters (mud crabs being more likely to appear if there is water around).

You may also encounter passive creatures that are generally not hostile. Deer will not attack you without provocation. Many dogs are friendly (even bandit dogs do not always attack on sight; some will wait until you attack their master and only then attack you).

There are also some "animals" in the game that are only present as visual effects. You will at times notice butterflies flitting about; however, these are purely a visual effect, and you can not interact with them in any way.


Bandits are generally fighter-type NPCs wearing light armor and equipped with blunt weapons. Bandit Bowmen are armed with bows for ranged attack and daggers if you come within melee range. At any location populated by bandits, a Bandit Hedge Wizard or a dog may randomly appear in place of a Bandit or Bandit Bowman. The boss-level bandit in a dungeon is identified as a Bandit Ringleader.

See Bandit Dungeons for details.


Conjurers are mage-type NPCs. They do not wear armor, but instead have robes or occasionally enchanted clothing. When cornered, they will pull out their random weapon (usually either a dagger or a magical staff). Otherwise, they generally summon level-dependent Daedra. Most conjurers will carry some potions (especially at higher levels). The boss-level conjurer in a dungeon is identified as a Conjurer Adept.

Conjurer dungeons tend to also be populated by Daedra. These are in addition to the Daedra the conjurers summon. Keeping track of which Daedra are real and which are summoned is critical when fighting conjurers, as you don't want to assume the Xivilai behind you is going to vanish when the conjurer is dead.

Conjurer dungeons are the best places to look for alchemy equipment. Almost all conjurer dungeons have multiple sets of novice equipment sitting out in the open; in addition, alchemy equipment (of varying quality) will randomly appear in their chests.

See Conjurer Dungeons for details.


Daedra (along with Dremora) are the inhabitants of all the planes of Oblivion you will explore. They can also be found in Cyrodiil in areas near Oblivion gates. Finally, there are a few dungeons populated with Daedra (in particular Conjurer Dungeons).

Dead Daedra can provide you with a number of valuable alchemy ingredients. In many cases, these ingredients are difficult to obtain through other means. Only a few alchemy stores will stock ingredients from Daedra, with their offerings determined by your character's level.


Dremora are the NPC inhabitants of the planes of Oblivion. They are less common in Cyrodiil than Daedra; only a few locations in Cyrodiil have any Dremora. You can often scavenge their weapons, which are of the otherwise unavailable dremora type: they resemble and have the same weight as daedric weapons, but do not do as much damage. Their armor cannot be scavenged other than their shields, except for the daedric armor worn by Dremora Valkynaz (encountered starting at level 24). They also frequently carry magical scrolls, potions, and rings.


There is a whole goblin subculture in Cyrodiil: you will encounter several professions of goblins as you explore (e.g., Chefs and Rat Farmers), as well as goblins of distinct rival tribes. The quest Goblin Trouble provides you with many insights into goblin culture, in particular the importance of Totem Staffs.

See Goblin Dungeons for details.


Marauders are fighter-type NPCs, similar to bandits, but wearing heavy armor and equipped with blades. Marauders are much rarer than bandits; there are very few campsites or other surface locations populated by marauders, although they can be found at Fort Blueblood in the Leyawiin Mages Guild recommendation quest. Varieties of marauders include Marauder Archer and Marauder Battlemage. The boss-level marauder in a dungeon is identified as a Marauder Warlord. Many marauder dungeons are forts.

See Marauder Dungeons for details.


This category encompasses the mythical creatures encountered in Cyrodiil: imps, trolls, will-o-the-wisps, spriggans, minotaurs, land dreughs, and ogres.

Killing monsters will yield various rare alchemy ingredients. Other loot is generally limited to at most a few gold pieces or a lockpick. However, containers in monster dungeons contain some of the best loot in the game.

See Monster Dungeons for details.


Necromancers are the second category of mage-type NPCs. As with conjurers, they do not wear armor (preferring robes or enchanted clothing), tend to wield a staff or mace, and typically carry potions. The boss-level necromancer in a dungeon is identified as as a Necromancer Adept.

Necromancer dungeons tend to also be populated by undead. As with conjurers and their Daedra, these undead are in addition to the ones the necromancers will summon. Necromancer dungeons are another possible source of alchemy equipment, which may be randomly acquired from their chests.

See Necromancer Dungeons for details.


There are three main categories of undead in the game: skeletons (who drop bonemeal), zombies (who drop mort flesh), and ghosts (who drop ectoplasm). At high levels, skeletons are represented by liches, zombies by dread zombies, and ghosts by wraiths. Some dungeons are specifically populated by skeletons, while others will have a random mixture of any type of undead. It is important to note that ghosts are immune to damage from normal weapons.

See Undead Dungeons for details.


Vampires are NPCs with randomly selected classes, picking from the full range of default classes. Each vampire will be equipped in a manner appropriate for their class, which can lead to some good loot. In addition, dead vampires yield Vampire Dust. The boss-level vampire in a dungeon is identified as a Vampire Matriarch or Vampire Patriarch.

Vampire dungeons tend to also be populated by undead and wolves (both standard wolves and timber wolves).

See Vampire Dungeons for details.


Generally, most inhabitants of a single dungeon will be friendly towards each other (so they team up on the player's character instead of fighting each other). This is due to the game's use of factions.

There are an incredibly large number of factions in Oblivion, but most can not be joined by the player. Instead, they are used to categorize all of the creatures and NPCs in the game. Every faction has preset disposition modifiers towards other factions. Typically, a faction has a +100 modifier towards itself, guaranteeing that all faction members get along with each other. Any other groups that are generally allied with the faction will also have positive modifiers. Some factions have -100 modifiers towards predefined enemy factions. Whenever two creatures or NPCs meet, their disposition towards each other is calculated based on all relevant faction disposition modifiers. If the net disposition is negative, the creatures or NPCs will attack each other.

Notable alliances and enemies dictated by these faction disposition modifiers are:

  • Goblin Tribes: Each tribe hates (-100) members of any other goblin tribe, but gets along with (+50) Creatures (which includes non-tribal goblins)
  • Conjurers: Like (+50) Daedra; tolerate (+20) Creatures
  • Dremora: Allies (+100) with Daedra; tolerate (+20) Creatures
  • Daedra: Allies (+100) with Dremora; tolerate (+20) Creatures
  • Bandits: Tolerate (+20) Creatures; hate (-100) Marauders
  • Marauders: Tolerate (+20) Creatures; hate (-100) Bandits
  • Necromancers: Allies (+100) with Undead; hate (-100) Vampires and Liches; dislike (-30) Mages Guild
  • Vampires: Allies (+100) with Undead; tolerate (+20) Creatures; hate (-100) Necromancers and Liches
  • Liches: Allies (+100) with Undead; hate (-100) Necromancers and Vampires (this faction only includes full Liches, not Nether Liches; Liches are not part of the Undead faction)
  • Undead: Allies (+100) with Liches, Necromancers, and Vampires


There are a wide variety of traps within dungeons. You will only find certain traps in certain dungeons, and these traps will vary depending on the type of dungeon.


As with creatures, the exact loot that you will find in any dungeon is for the most part randomly generated, based upon your level. Your level will affect the amount of gold and the quality of the equipment you find (including whether or not it is magical).

Some loot is non-random. Most of the items that you find out in the open are non-random. Non-random loot is not regenerated.

The contents of most chests in dungeons will be refilled after three days (game time), so it is possible to revisit a dungeon and collect more goodies. The chest contents will be regenerated if you do not enter that area for 72-73 hours (specifically, 72 hours from the next whole hour: if you leave a dungeon at 1:05 pm, the contents will first regenerate at 2:00 pm three days later). For interior areas, you must leave the zone (i.e., go through a door that triggers the display of a load screen) in order for the containers to respawn. For exterior areas, you must travel at least a couple cells away. If you reenter the area before three days pass, the clock resets. This can be useful if you want to use respawning containers for storage: as long as you make sure to reenter the area within three days, items you place in containers will not disappear.

Boss ChestsEdit

A typical boss chest

Many dungeons contain a boss chest, typically somewhere near the boss. These boss chests will contain significantly better loot than normal chests; most of the best finds in the game come from boss chests. However, even boss chests have random contents, so it is impossible to predict which ones will yield that ultimate item; occasionally you will open one and only find 5 gold pieces and some mundane equipment. The chance of finding good equipment is not influenced by high values of Luck. If you are looking for specific loot (e.g., a certain ring or that last skill book), find a small dungeon and save just outside the front entrance, since chests are filled when you enter their zone. Run straight to the boss chest - if you find what you want, save immediately and fight your way out; otherwise, reload and keep trying. (The Skeleton Key can be very useful in this situation.)

Boss chests are usually rectangular and slightly larger than normal chests, as shown in the picture. In Ayleid ruins, Ayleid casks, coffers, and reliquaries may be used as boss chests, in which case they are harder to distinguish from standard containers of these types. Necromancer, undead, and vampire dungeons may also feature coffins as boss chests. Boss chests may or may not be locked.

Two boss chests are located outside dungeons:

  • A Goblin "Chest 01" is in cell (-28,0) outside Miscarcand
  • A Goblin "Chest 02" is in cell (-35,12) outside Infested Mine

The possible contents of boss chests vary depending upon the dungeon's occupants and the type of container, as shown in the following table. This list does not include various less valuable items that can also be found in boss chests (arrows, regular gems, gold or silver nuggets, unenchanted jewelry, alchemy ingredients, lockpicks, repair hammers, clothing, or bones, depending upon the chest). All contents are leveled, so the best items are only found by high-level (22+) characters.

Treasure Type # Alchemy Equipment Gold Magic Armor Magic Jewelry Magic Weapon Plain Armor Plain Weapon Potion Scroll Skill Book Soul Gem Staff
Bandit Dungeons
Chest 01 16 75% 10% (L) 25% 25% (S) 10% (S) (2x)10%
Chest 02 11 75% 10% 25% 100% 25% (S) 10% (S) (2x)10%
Conjurer Dungeons
Ayleid Cask 01 4 25% 50% 10% 10% 25% 100%,
10% (M) (2x)50% 10%
Ayleid Cask 02 3 25% 50% 10% 10% 25% 100%,
10% (M) (1x)50%,
Chest 10 25% 50% 10% 10% 25% 100%,
10% (M) (2x)50% 10%
Goblin Dungeons
Chest 01 3 25% 10% 5% 10% (G) 10% (G) 25% (P) 10%
Chest 02 7 25% 5% (L) 10% 10% (G) 10% (G) 25% (P) 10%
Fort 4 25% 5% (L) 10% 10% (G) 10% (G) 25% (P) 10%
Treasure Type # Alchemy Equipment Gold Magic Armor Magic Jewelry Magic Weapon Plain Armor Plain Weapon Potion Scroll Skill Book Soul Gem Staff
Marauder Dungeons
Ayleid Coffer 1 75% 10% (H) 10% 10% 100% (C),
10% (A)
10% 10% (C) (2x)10%
Ayleid Reliquary 1 75% 10% (H) 10% 10% 100% (C),
10% (A)
10% 10% (C) (2x)10%
Chest 14 75% 10% (H) 10% 10% 100% (C),
10% (A)
10% 10% (C) (2x)10%
Monster Dungeons
Ayleid Coffer 7 10% 25% 10% 25% 10% 50% (2x)50% (2x)10% 10%
Ayleid Reliquary 9 10% 25% 10% 25% 10% 50% (2x)50% (2x)10% 10%
Chest 15 10% 25% 25% 25% 100% (2x)100% (2x)10% 10%
Necromancer Dungeons
Ayleid Coffer 4 25% 25% 5% 10% 10% 50% (M),
50% (A)
50% 10% (M) (2x)25% 10%
Ayleid Reliquary 7 25% 25% 5% 10% 10% 50% (M),
50% (A)
50% 10% (M) (2x)25% 10%
Chest 19 25% 25% 5% 10% 10% 50% (M),
50% (A)
50% 10% (M) (2x)25% 10%
Coffin 2 25% 25% 5% 10% 10% 50% (M),
50% (A)
50% 10% (M) (2x)25% 10%
Treasure Type # Alchemy Equipment Gold Magic Armor Magic Jewelry Magic Weapon Plain Armor Plain Weapon Potion Scroll Skill Book Soul Gem Staff
Planes of Oblivion
Fleshy Pod Ext 2 10% 25% 10% 10% 25% (2x)25% 25% (2x)25% 10%
Punished 18 10% 25% 10% 10% 25% (2x)25% 25% (2x)25% 10%
Fleshy Pod 01 4 10% 25% 10% 10% 25% (2x)25% 25% (2x)25% 10%
Fleshy Pod 02 5 10% 25% 10% 10% 25% (2x)25% 25% (2x)25% 10%
Undead Dungeons
Ayleid Coffer 15 10% 75% 10% 10% 10% 25% 10% (2x)25% 10% (C) (2x)10% 10%
Ayleid Reliquary 18 10% 75% 10% 10% 10% 25% 10% (2x)25% 10% (C) (2x)10% 10%
Chest 13 10% 75% 10% 10% 10% 25% 10% (2x)25% 10% (C) (2x)10% 10%
Coffin 7 75% 10% 10% 10% 25% 10% (2x)25% 10% (C) (2x)10% 10%
Vampire Dungeons
Ayleid Coffer 1 10% 25% 10% 10% 25% 10% 10% 10% 25% 10% (S) (2x)10% 10%
Ayleid Reliquary 2 10% 25% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 25% 10% (S) (2x)10% 10%
Chest 4 10% 25% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 25% 10% (S) (2x)10% 10%
Coffin 11 10% 25% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 25% 10% (S) (2x)10% 10%
Treasure Type # Alchemy Equipment Gold Magic Armor Magic Jewelry Magic Weapon Plain Armor Plain Weapon Potion Scroll Skill Book Soul Gem Staff
  • #: Number of this type of boss chest that exist in the game.
  • Alchemy Equipment: any piece of Alchemy Equipment.
  • Gold: a large, leveled amount of gold (up to 745 gold possible at level 30). There is often an additional 1-10 gold that is separately added to the chest.
  • Magic Armor: randomly generated enchanted armor (listed at Generic Magic Apparel). "(L)" means that only Light Armor is found in that location; "(H)" means that only Heavy Armor is found.
  • Magic Jewelry: randomly generated enchanted jewelry (rings, amulets, and necklaces, listed at Generic Magic Apparel).
  • Magic Weapon: randomly generated enchanted weapons (listed at Generic Magic Weapons).
  • Plain Armor: unenchanted armor (listed at Armor). "(G)" indicates that it is a "Goblin" list, in which the best possible quality is Orcish/Mithril.
  • Plain Weapon: unenchanted weapon (listed at Weapons). "(G)" indicates that it is a "Goblin" list, in which the best possible quality is Elven.
  • Potion: standard potions and poisons (listed at Potions). In most cases, any potion or poison from Potions can be present; "(A)" is used for clarification in some cases to mean "Any". "(C)" means only "Combat" potions (shield, resist, fortify attribute, cure effects), "(M)" means only "Magic" (same as Combat with addition of restore/fortify magicka); "(P)" means only "Poisons", "(R)" means only "Restoration", "(S)" means only "Stealth" (same as Combat with addition of invisibility and some poisons).
  • Scroll: randomly generated scrolls (listed at Scrolls).
  • Skill Book: random Skill Book. Each skill, except Speechcraft, has one book that can be found in random loot. "(C)" means only books from combat skills, "(M)" means only books from magic skills, and "(S)" means only books from stealth skills.
  • Soul Gem: soul gems, both empty and filled.
  • Staff: randomly generated staves (listed at Generic Staves).

Restoration ChestsEdit

There are two varieties of restoration chest, differing only in appearance and the sound used when opening them. Both are guaranteed to contain some type of restoration potion and have a 50% chance of containing a second.

See AlsoEdit

  • Campsites — A list of campsites in Cyrodiil.