Skyrim: All 13 Standing Stones, Ranked (2024)

As the fifth chapter in TheElder Scrolls franchise, Skyrim made leaps and bounds in simplifying old-school RPG elements into a more easily accessible final product. This was clearly the right move, given how popular the series has remained (and how often it's been ported). The exploration in this game is the beating heart of the series and one of the biggest reasons why players keep coming back. With the release of Starfield, the entertainment factor of handcrafted Bethesda worlds is something fans are more aware of than ever before.

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One of the many things players will find during their journey in Skyrim to make things easier for themselves are Standing Stones. These unique structures provide numerous perks and benefits that make them worth seeking out. The Guardian Stones that players find early on during their journey in Skyrim do a great job of introducing these benefits before gamers find more varied Standing Stones in Skyrim during their travels.

Updated on June 24, 2024, by Ritwik Mitra: Standing Stones in Skyrim are great finds that players can use to gain passive bonuses, giving them something to rely on as they progress. This can be in the form of unique active skills that can be used to debilitate enemies, passive effects that help players out by either amplifying their skills or improving their growth, and everything else along the same lines. While every Standing Stone in Skyrim brings something unique to the table that players will love to mess around with, there's no denying that some of these Standing Stones are better than others.

Can You Change Standing Stones Or Equip More Than One?

Skyrim: All 13 Standing Stones, Ranked (2)

At the beginning of Skyrim, Standing Stones are quickly presented to the player, but one shouldn't worry too much about choosing the best Standing Stone at this point in the story – a player's choice of Standing Stone blessing is not permanent in Skyrim. If the Dragonborn finds a Standing Stone out in the world with a buff that they like more than their currently selected one, all players have to do is just walk up to it, interact, and accept the swap. Without doing anything else, players will switch to the new Standing Stone and gain its benefits instantly.

But the Dragonborn doesn't necessarily have to only equip one Standing Stone Skyrim buff. Normally, the Dragonborn can only have one Standing Stone active at a time. But with the Aetherial Crown, a helmet that can be unlocked by following the Aetherium Forge questline "Lost To The Ages" in the Dawnguard DLC, players are given one more "slot."

With the Aetherial Crown equipped, the Dragonborn's current Standing Stone buff will remain in their Active Effects, while the new one will essentially be applied to the Crown itself. Players will always retain their original Standing Stone (unless replaced), but the Standing Stone buff tied to the Crown will only be active while it is equipped. For instance, players could activate The Tower for the Crown to have access to its Unlock spell when needed but equip other Helms during combat.

To start "Lost To The Ages," players should head to the Dwemer ruin Arkngthamz, entered through a cave in the mountains to the southwest of Markarth in Skyrim's deep southwest.

13 The Atronach Stone

Turns Incoming Damage Into Magicka

Skyrim: All 13 Standing Stones, Ranked (3)
  • +50 Magicka
  • 50% bonus to spell absorption
  • -50% Magicka regen

Choosing the Atronach Stone is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it lets the player convert half the damage of enemy spells into Magicka, preventing damage. However, the blessing also makes the player's Magicka regenerate 50% slower – this makes absorbing enemy spells a necessary means to the player's spellcasting ends.

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The blessing is balanced somewhat by a slight bonus to the player's maximum Magicka, but ultimately, this ability will lead to players taking more hits when it's usually best to take less. This blessing is situationally ideal for a spellcaster who expects to face other spellcasters, but it's not great for 24/7 use on any character.

Atronach Stone Location

The Atronach Stone is found in Eastmarch, and it can be reached easily by heading to Darkwater Crossing or Mistwatch and heading north. It is located in the middle of the Hot Springs that cover the area.

12 The Apprentice Stone

A Magickal Glass Cannon

Skyrim: All 13 Standing Stones, Ranked (5)

  • +100% Magicka regeneration
  • +100% susceptibility to magic attacks

Another double-edged sword, the Apprentice Stone, is in many ways the polar opposite of the Atronach Stone. This Skyrim Standing Stone lets the player regenerate Magicka twice as fast but also makes them twice as vulnerable to magic-based attacks. Instead of taking spells to the dome to regenerate Magicka, the player must dodge incoming spells to maximize this Stone's potential.

This blessing is ideal for a spellcaster who is particularly sure of their ability to evade incoming attacks, but it is also very useful against non-Magicka-based enemies like bandits, raiders, and guards.

Apprentice Stone Location

The Apprentice Standing Stone can be found in a marsh in Hjaalmarch. The easiest way to find this Standing Stone is to head to Solitude and look at the Dragonborn's compass. At the docks, the icon for the Standing Stone should appear. Alternatively, head to Morthal and head northwest into the swamp to find the Apprentice Stone.

11 The Tower Stone

Unlock Expert Locks For Free

Skyrim: All 13 Standing Stones, Ranked (6)
  • Can be activated once per day

Accepting the blessing of the Tower Stone grants the player the unique ability to unlock any Expert-level lock or below without having to go through the lockpicking mini-game. This Standing Stone ability can only be used once each day, though, and the player must either play long enough or wait long enough before being able to use it again.

This blessing is best suited for players who don't use the Lockpicking skill often, as it provides a definite way to unlock all but the toughest of locks. It's a good choice for thief types, too, for its reliability.

Tower Stone Location

The Tower Stone can be found on a cliff roughly halfway between the cities of Dawnstar and Winterhold in the Reach – it can be seen from far away, so players should look up to the hills if they're lost.

10 The Ritual Stone

Mass Reanimate The Dead Temporarily

Skyrim: All 13 Standing Stones, Ranked (7)
  • Can be activated once per day

A player who chooses the blessing of the Ritual Stone will be given the daily power to mass resurrect the dead on a limited basis. Once per day, the player can reanimate all dead bodies around them in a 75-foot radius to fight for them for 200 seconds. The resurrected thralls will fight for the player and follow them until they collapse to the ground.

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This Standing Stone in Skyrim is best used right at the end of a long, arduous dungeon, after fighting several high-power enemies before the final encounter. If the Dragonborn uses their power on their recently slain foes, they can sit back and watch the fun as these corpses turn against their former allies.

Ritual Stone Location

The Ritual Standing Stone can be found in Whiterun Hold. From the city of Whiterun (or rather from the stables outside the city), head east and around the base of the Throat Of The World as if the Dragonborn was going to Eastmarch. The Ritual Standing Stone can be found atop a cliff on this path, just west of Valtheim Towers.

9 The Lord Stone

A Huge Boost To Defense

Skyrim: All 13 Standing Stones, Ranked (9)
  • +50 armor
  • 25% magic resistance

The Lord Stone is a popular choice for front-line fighters, as its blessing increases a player's defense in two major ways. Not only is the player's physical defense increased, but they are also given a 25% Resist Magic effect. However, with its ability to protect a player from both physical and magical attacks, the Lord Stone is an excellent choice for almost any playstyle.

This is especially true for players who don't want to waste valuable game time tracking down unique magical armor found throughout Skyrim. It's simple, but it's effectively the best way to increase the player's defense without picking up new gear.

Lord Stone Location

The Lord Stone can be found far to the north of the province of Skyrim. From Whiterun, get a horse and begin trekking directly northward on the road. After a long way, the Dragonborn must head northeast until a fork in the road appears. Take the road west, then head into the western mountains just south of Fort Dunstad. The Lord Stone is found just north of the Shrine to Mehrunes Dagon.

8 The Steed Stone

Increases Carry Capacity & Speed

Skyrim: All 13 Standing Stones, Ranked (10)
  • +100 carry weight
  • Armor weighs nothing, and movement penalties are negated

The Steed Stone grants players a few useful effects related to moving around the world efficiently. While under this Standing Stone's blessing, the player won't be encumbered by worn armor and will receive a 100-point boost to their total carrying capacity.

This blessing is ideal for virtually every playstyle but is especially suited for Skyrim players who partake in the economic side of the game. It lets players carry more trade goods, more crafting materials, and makes it far easier to bring huge dungeon hauls back to a loaded merchant.

Steed Stone Location

The Steed Stone is located in Haafingar Hold, just northwest of Solitude. Head north from the Statue to Meridia, located on the road leading southwest from Solitude. Avoid Wolfskull Cave and skirt around to the left to find The Steed Stone on a raised platform in the mountains just beyond.

7 The Lady Stone

A Simple Boost To HP & Stamina

Skyrim: All 13 Standing Stones, Ranked (11)
  • +25% health regeneration
  • +25% stamina regeneration

The Lady Stone is a Standing Stone in Skyrim that improves the player's ability to heal and regenerate stamina. Under this Standing Stone's blessing, the player will get a 25% boost to their health and stamina regeneration – it's a simple one, but it's quite effective for close-combat characters.

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Warriors, thieves, and close-combat mages will all find this stone useful in maintaining constant heavy attacks and mitigating some of the repercussions of close combat.

Lady Stone Location

The Lady Standing Stone can be found in Falkreath Hold, relatively close to the start of the game. Starting from the city of Falkreath itself, head directly north and swim across Lake Illnata to find a small island with the Lady Stone standing upon it. If players reach Half-Moon Mill on the road leading north from Falkreath, then they can also head directly east to find the same island.

6 The Warrior Stone

Combat Skills Improve Faster

Skyrim: All 13 Standing Stones, Ranked (13)
  • +20% growth for combat skills

Once the tutorial mission is complete, players are tasked with heading to Riverwood (and, eventually, Whiterun). But if a slight detour is made, or if the player follows Ralof, the player will find themselves in the presence of the Guardian Stones. These represent the Warrior, the Mage, and the Thief, and they provide new players with a Standing Stone blessing right away.

The Warrior Stone lets the player improve all combat skills 20% faster. These include One-Handed, Two-Handed, Unarmed, Smithing, and Block. This Standing Stone blessing is ideal for those who intend to focus on physical combat or who wish to spec into a new close combat skill.

Warrior Stone Location

The Warrior Stone is one of the three Guardian Stones players can find southwest from Riverwood. These Standing Stones are likely to be the first ones that players encounter in the game as they make their way to Whiterun.

5 The Thief Stone

Stealth & Thief Skills Improve Faster

Skyrim: All 13 Standing Stones, Ranked (14)
  • +20% growth for stealth skills

The Thief Stone is another Guardian Stone, this time with an emphasis on stealth-related skills – it increases the rate the player can learn Thief-related skills by 20%. These skills include Pickpocket, Sneak, Lockpicking, Light Armor, Speech, Alchemy, and Archery. The Thief Stone blessing is ideal for thieves, assassins, and rangers who wish to take things a little more stealthily.

The Thief Stone is also useful for characters looking to pick up alchemy, speech, or lockpicking, as these skills are all useful no matter what class the player plays. Alchemy especially is useful in harder difficulties, while speech and lockpicking can help the Dragonborn access previously inaccessible options in the world.

Thief Stone Location

The Thief Stone is one of the three Guardian Stones players can find southwest from Riverwood. These Standing Stones are likely to be the first ones that players encounter in the game as they make their way to Whiterun.

4 The Mage Stone

Magicka-Related Skills Improve Faster

Skyrim: All 13 Standing Stones, Ranked (15)
  • +20% growth for magic skills

The Mage Stone lets the player learn all magic skills 20% faster. These include Enchanting, Alteration, Conjuration, Destruction, Illusion, and Restoration. The Mage Stone blessing is ideal for spellcasters and magic-users, but it's also useful for quickly leveling a new magic skill, even for characters who haven't touched the Mage-related skills in their playthrough.

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While a player can only have one of the Guardian Stone blessings active at once, players who wish to increase all of their skills at once should consider heading to the Bards College in Solitude. There, players will encounter a series of miscellaneous tasks, and completing each one will grant a slight boost to every single skill.

Mage Stone Location

The Mage Stone is one of the three Guardian Stones players can find southwest from Riverwood. These Standing Stones are likely to be the first ones that players encounter in the game as they make their way to Whiterun.

3 The Shadow Stone

Daily Invisibility Spell

Skyrim: All 13 Standing Stones, Ranked (17)
  • Can be used once per day

Accepting the blessing of the Shadow Stone grants the player the ability to turn invisible for 60 seconds once per day. This Standing Stone blessing is especially useful if a player doesn't have access to an invisibility spell or can't afford/craft a potion with the invisibility effect.

This blessing is best suited for thieves and assassins who wish to remain unnoticed until the exact opportune moment. The Shadow Stone can come in quite handy during both the Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood questlines multiple times, trivializing certain missions entirely.

Shadow Stone Location

The Shadow Stone is found in The Rift appropriately near Nightingale Hall, a location that can be visited during the Thieves Guild questline. From Riften, head directly south and leave the road to head into the wooded hills. The Shadow Stone is found on these hills overlooking the area - its icon should appear before going too far, as it's practically next to Riften.

2 The Serpent Stone

Immense Poison Damage & Paralysis

Skyrim: All 13 Standing Stones, Ranked (18)
  • Can be used once per day

In Elder Scrolls lore, the Serpent is the most unique constellation in existence. Unlike all the others, the Serpent moves about the night sky as it hunts the other signs. Only the three Guardians are capable of protecting the others from the wrath of the Serpent. It is also said that those individuals born under the sign of the Serpent will live the most unique and legendary lives of all. Some may become the greatest of heroes, while others will become the most feared of villains.

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Taking the blessing of The Serpent Stone grants the player a once-a-day ranged spell that can be used to damage and paralyze an enemy from far away. Most paralyzation abilities require close range, making this ability particularly special.

Serpent Stone Location

Skyrim's Standing Stone of the Serpent can be found on an icy island in the Sea of Ghosts. From the College of Winterhold, head directly east and slightly north to find this frozen island. It's a little bit easier to go from Skytemple Ruins slightly to the north of the College of Winterhold, as it's more of a direct eastward route.

1 The Lover Stone

The Best Standing Stone Skyrim Offers

Skyrim: All 13 Standing Stones, Ranked (20)
  • +15% growth for all skills

One of the best benefits of marriage in Skyrim is the Lover's Comfort effect. Sleeping in the same bed as a spouse grants the player this effect, which allows them to improve all skills 15% faster. What if the player wants that sweet bonus but doesn't want to engage with one of Skyrim's eligible bachelors or bachelorettes, though? That's where the Lover Stone comes in.

Widely considered the best Standing Stone in Skyrim, the Lover Stone grants the Lover's Comfort effect all the time. While the Guardian Stones allow a player to increase roughly a third of their skills 20% faster, increasing all skills is the better choice, even if it is technically five percent slower for some skills. Unfortunately, the Lover Stone and Lover's Comfort effects do not stack.

Lover Stone Location

The Lover Standing Stone can be found in The Reach, a stone's throw from Markarth. Leave Markarth and head east until the road branches north. Follow this road to Kolskeggr Mine, then take the road west for just a second. Look for a sloping way up the mountain to the west of Kolskeggr, and climb up to find The Lover Stone overlooking the valley.

Note: Survival Mode Changes How Standing Stones Work

Normally, players don't need to do anything except find a Standing Stone to receive its blessing. However, this changes with Survival Mode enabled.

Included with Skyrim Anniversary Edition are a huge variety of fan-made mods that were originally part of the Creation Club in Skyrim Special Edition. One of these mods is the highly-praised Survival Mode, which turns Skyrim from a carefree RPG romp into a much more immersive – and much more dangerous – adventure.

Alongside a variety of changes to the game comes a change to Standing Stones; players must make an offering of Gold to be blessed and cleanse themselves of disease. In Survival Mode, disease is more rampant, and Gold is harder to come by, so players should double-check their wallet before heading out into the wilds, lest they get rejected with no way to fast travel back.

Skyrim: All 13 Standing Stones, Ranked (21)
Skyrim
Platform(s)
PC , PS3 , Xbox 360 , Xbox One , Xbox One X , Xbox Series S , PS4 , PS5 , Switch

Released
November 11, 2011
Developer(s)
Bethesda
Genre(s)
RPG , Action , Adventure
Skyrim: All 13 Standing Stones, Ranked (2024)
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