The Best Standing Stones – Skyrim Standing Stones Guide

Standing Stones Skyrim

The Standing Stones are magical stones that can be found throughout the world of Skyrim. There are 13 standing stones in total. Activating a stone will give perks and benefits that will aid in your quests and growth. Usually only one standing stone can be activated at a time and to switch to another Standing Stone you can just activate it when you find it.

Standing Stones Explained

Standing stones will provide bonuses such as:

  • Increase the speed in which you improve skills.
  • Grant an ability that lasts for one in-game day.
  • Increase the regeneration rates of health, stamina, or magicka.
  • Improve stats such as carry weight or armor.

If you have the Dawnguard add-on you can obtain the Aetherial Crown which allows you to have two Standing Stones active at a time. More on that later.

The Standing Stones in Skyrim

The first three stones you’ll come across right at the start of the game on the way to Riverwood are the Guardian Stones. These are the only three Standing Stones you will find together.

The Warrior Stone, The Thief Stone, and The Mage Stone all make great stones for power-leveling certain skills and are some of the best Standing Stones in the game.

The Warrior Stone

Those under the sign of the Warrior will learn all combat skills 20% faster.

Effect: Combat skills increase 20% faster with the exclusion of Archery that falls under stealth.

Location: This is one of the guardian stones and is southwest of Riverwood right at the start of the game. (Map)

The Thief Stone

Those under the sign of the Thief will learn all stealth skills 20% faster.

Effect: Your stealth skills, including Archery, will improve 20% faster.

Location: This is one of the guardian stones and is southwest of Riverwood right at the start of the game. (Map)

The Mage Stone

Those under the sign of the Mage will learn all magic skills 20% faster.

Effect: Magic skills will increase 20% faster.

Location: This is one of the guardian stones and is southwest of Riverwood right at the start of the game. (Map)

The Apprentice Stone

Those under the sign of The Apprentice recover Magicka faster, but are more susceptible to Magicka damage.

Effect: You will recover Magicka 100% faster but will also reduce your weakness to magic by 100%.

Location: Northwest of Morthal and north of Fort Snowhawk on an island in the marshes. (Map)

A good stone if you rely heavily on magic and have a mage build but not great if you’re going up against other magic enemies given the increased weakness to magic.

The Atronach Stone

Those under the sign of The Atronach absorb a portion of incoming spell damage and have a larger pool of Magicka, but recover it more slowly.

Effect: You will absorb 50% of spell damage and fortify Magicka by 50 points. Your Magicka regeneration will be 50% slower.

Location: Northwest corner of the map, south of Windhelm. Closest to Mistwatch which is southeast of the stone. (Map)

Another stone for mage builds is The Atronach Stone and while absorbing spell damage is great, this stone does have its downside. This might be best used for a character that uses a mixture of magic and physical attacks given that Magicka regeneration is reduced.

The Lady Stone

Those under the sign of The Lady regenerate Health and Stamina more quickly.

Effect: Health and Stamina regenerate 25% faster.

Location: Directly north of Falkreath on an island in the middle of a lake. Half-Moon Mill is on the edge of the same lake. (Map)

A good contended for the best standing stone given that health and stamina regenerate 25% faster. This is ideal for a character that uses physical attacks and likes to get stuck in and roll with the punches.

The Lord Stone

Those under the sign of The Lord are more resistant to both Magicka and physical damage.

Effect: An extra 50 points to Armor (damage resistance) and an extra 25% magic resistance.

Location: This stone can be found east of Morthal. It’s up a mountain northeast of the Shrine of Mehrunes Dagon. (Map)

As you would imagine given the name, The Lord Stone is the defensive version of the Lady Stone given its effects offer resistance to both physical and magical attacks.

The Lover Stone

Those under the sign of The Lover always feel a Lover’s Comfort.

Effect: All skills improve 15% faster.

Location: The Lover Stone can be found east of Markarth, just north of Kolskeggr Mine which is a great source of gold ore. (Map)

A really great all-round stone if you want something that you set and forget. While it may offer the 20% improvement to skills that The Guardian Stones has, you could sacrifice the 5% knowing that all of your skills.

Just note that The Lover Stones bonus does not stack with any well rested or lovers comfort bonuses.

The Ritual Stone

Once a day, those under the sign of The Ritual can reanimate nearby corpses to fight for them.

Effect: Once a day you can reanimate corpses around you (within 75ft) .

Location: You can find this standing stone east of Whiterun just off the roadside. (Map)

This is one of the weaker stones given it can only be used once a day and while the effect of reanimating a whole bunch of corpses is cool, it’s just not practical or useful enough.

The Serpent Stone

Once a day, those under the sign of The Serpent can use a ranged paralyzing poison on opponents.

Effect: This can be used once a day and causes 25 points of poison damage and paralyzes enemies for 5 seconds.

Location: The Serpent Stone is east of Winterhold. If you come across the Wreck of The Pride of Tel Vos, head northeast and you’ll find it on an island. (Map)

Again, another weak stone, perhaps even weaker than The Ritual Stone. Given the damage it deals there are far better stones to use and ways to kill or slow down your enemies.

The Shadow Stone

Once a day, those under the sign of The Shadow can become invisible for an extended period.

Effect: This can be activated once a day and you will become invisible for 60 seconds.

Location: This stone can be found south of Riften, near Nightingale Hall. (Map)

While it’s not great being able to use this only once a day, it still could be quite useful in a pinch if your sneak skills are low or there is something you can’t quite get by. You might be better off just making potions instead though.

The Steed Stone

Those under the sign of The Steed can carry more and do not suffer a movement penalty from armor.

Effect: All Armor becomes weightless and there is no speed penalty associated with the Armor’s weight. You are also granted an extra 100 points to fortify carry.

Location: The Steed Stone can be found northwest of Solitude, near Ironback Hideout. (Map)

The Tower Stone

Once a day, those under the sign of The Tower have the option to automatically open an Expert or lower lock.

Effect: You can unlock any lock up to expert difficulty, instantly, once per day.

Location: This can be found directly between Dawnstar and Winterhold, on the coast on a cliff. (Map)

This is probably the worst stone out there given it can only be used once per day and the pay off is opening a lock that you could quite easily do on your own. Avoid this one.

Standing Stones and Other Bonuses

Sleeping in Skyrim is useful for two reasons. Firstly, it recovers your health, stamina, and magicka. More importantly it can provide a resting bonus that means skills improve faster. There are three types of resting bonuses and they last for 8 in-game hours.

BonusSkill IncreaseMethod
Rested5%Sleep in a normal bed.
Well Rested10%Sleep in a bed that you own. This means either in a house or homestead that you have purchased or at a bed paid for at an inn.
Lover’s Comfort15%If you have a husband or wife and sleep in a home that they also live in, sleep in the same bed to receive this bonus.

The best part thing about these bonuses is that they stack with the Guardian Stones. This means that if you have a Guardian Stone active as well as one of the rested bonus too, you can gain an extra 25% to 35% bonus to skill increases.

How to Have Two Standing Stones Active

It is possible to have two standing stones active at the same time but of course, like with everything in Skyrim, you’ll need to go on an adventure first. You’ll also need the Dawnguard expansion too!

To have two standing stones active at one time you’ll need the Aetherial Crown. Here’s how to go about getting it.

  1. Read The Aetherium Wars – This is a tome found in multiple locations but the easiest is in the Bard College after the right turn from the entrance it is on a small bookcase.
  2. Travel to Arkngthamz which is northwest of Falkreath and directly southeast of Dushnikh Yal. (Map)
  3. (Optional) Retrieve the unique bow Zephyr. which is worth it as it is one of the best bows in skyrim.
  4. After collecting the journal, locate and retrieve the four Aetherium Shards.
  5. Locate the Aetherium Forge inside the Ruins of Bthalft.
  6. Choose your reward: the Aetherial Crown, Aetherial Shield, or Aetherial Staff.

With the Atherial Crown you could have one Guardian Stone, The Lover’s Stone and Lover’s Comfort activated giving you a whopping 70% bonus to skill increases.


What is the best standing stone in Skyrim?

While it depends on your play style, one of the three guardian styles is the best as they also stack with resting bonuses. If you want a set and forget type of stone, The Lover's Stone is a good option.

Is there a smithing stone in Skyrim?

To increase your smithing skill you'll want the warrior stone which boosts all warrior skill increases by 20%. Smithing is counted as a warrior skill. The warrior stone is one of the first you encounter at the start of the game near Riverwood.

What Stone helps with enchanting Skyrim?

To increase your enchanting skill you'll want the mage stone which boosts all warrior skill increases by 20%. Enchanting is counted as a mage skill. The warrior stone is one of the first you encounter at the start of the game near Riverwood.

What does the lovers Stone do in Skyrim?

The Lover's Stone will increase the rate in which all skills improve by 15%. This does however remove any rested bonuses you may have.

How many stones can you activate in Skyrim?

There are 13 stones in Skyrim and only one can be activated at a time. Visiting another stone will turn off the previous. If you have the Dawnguard expansion and get the Aetherial Crown, you can have two active at a time.

Does the Warrior Stone affect archery?

While you may think that Archery is a warrior's skill, it is counted as a sneak skill and therefore is affected by The Thief Stone rather than the Warrior Stone.


Amar is the Chief Nerd at Near Bear and can be mostly found binge watching Netflix, researching tech, shooting things on PS4, and arguing over who is the strongest Avenger.
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