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OB-icon-Unlock.png Open
School Alteration
Type Other
Effect ID OPEN
Base Cost 4.3
Barter Factor 0
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Open {Difficulty} Lock

This effect opens a lock, without using lockpicking skills. Open spells are described in one of two ways. In the Construction Set, Open spells have a point strength, e.g., Open 7 pts on target. In the game, these points are translated into the quality of the lock which can be opened, e.g., Open Very Easy Lock. The points correspond to:

Difficulty Points
Very Easy 0-7
Easy 8-20
Average 21-40
Hard 41-80
Very Hard 81-99
Needs a Key 100

A higher rated Open spell works on locks up to and including its rating; for example, an "Open Hard Lock" will also open all very easy, easy, and average locks, in addition to hard locks. Locks labeled "Needs a Key" cannot be opened with this spell, or lockpicks, or anything but the key or a scripted event which opens them. Some doors in the game never open, and are merely there for decorative purposes.

Note that many locks in the game are leveled, and may not correspond exactly to the values listed. Thus it's possible that a spell which says "Open Easy Lock" will not open ALL easy locks, depending on your level. There are only two spells in the game for which this is a problem; all other spells (including any you make at the Spellmaking Altar) use the standard values in the table. The first unusual spell is The Unwelcome Guest spell sold by M'raaj-Dar in the Dark Brotherhood. Its value is set to Open 12pts, which means that a lock with a value from 8-12 will be openable, but a lock with a rating from 13-20 will not be, even though they are both labeled as "Easy" locks (this spell is also unusual in that it is an on-touch spell rather than on-target). The second unusual spell is Fenrik's Welcome, which is part of the Spell Tomes mod. It has a 50 point magnitude, and therefore will open some hard locks, but not all.

One problem you may encounter with Open spells is trying to unlock gates. The Open spell tends to go through the gate and miss the lock you are targeting. At the Spellmaking Altar you can create custom Open spells that affect a larger area (at greater magicka cost, of course) which can make it easier to unlock gates. Try aiming at either the hinges, the handle or a lock rather than the bars themselves. Another trick that helps is to stand to one side of the gate and cast the spell at an oblique angle rather than straight on. You're more likely to hit one of the bars this way.

Open spells do not work underwater because they are all targeted spells (no targeted spells work underwater). Even custom Open spells are all targeted spells. The only On Touch Open spell available in the game is The Unwelcome Guest, as previously mentioned. The Open Very Hard Lock scroll is also an on-touch version of the effect. However, it can be very difficult to acquire this scroll, therefore carrying a few lockpicks may still be necessary.


  • This effect can be gained for spell making via spells, choosing the Tower Birthsign, or the Tower Stone Doomstone.
  • Opening a lock with an Open spell is not considered a crime, unlike lockpicking, allowing you to open even doors with high-level locks without incurring a bounty.
  • Open spells which work on very hard locks are not sold by merchants, and can only be obtained from spellmaking altars.
  • Casting the spell on containers or doors which are not locked will provide Alteration experience as normal.

See alsoEdit


  • Security: Using lockpicks to open locks.

Related effects:

  • Lock (this effect is listed in the Construction Set, but is not available in game)