Please note, this guide has been replaced by a more in-depth version which can be found here: http://clevermusings.net/2011/11/elder-scrolls-skyrim-exploit-guide/
Everyone seems to be talking about the release of Skyrim today and I am sure most people are eager to dig into the massive story and enthralling gameplay. But who among you are looking for the inevitable glitches and exploits that will make the game a tad easier and possibly much more fun to play? Yes I thought so. There are two big exploits that have been discovered so far. Let us take a look (spoilers ahead!).
In the beginning…
The first exploit starts very early in the game. If you are reading this and want to give it a try, chances are you will have to start a new save game. After the dragon attacks the town where you were about to be beheaded, you will escape with an NPC through a cave. At some point in the cave, the NPC will tell you to be careful because there is a bear. You are given the option of sneaking past the bear or attacking it. What you should do instead though is enter sneak mode and attack the NPC over and over again. The NPC will not die and will not attack you back. Using this exploit you can level your stealth or weapon skills with ease! Try and get the NPC into a corner though because your attacks will push him.
Purchase Skills and Get a Complete Refund
Throughout the game you will find trainers that will level certain abilities you have (like Alchemy, Enchanting, Pickpocket, etc.). A list of trainers can be found here. They charge a fee to train you 1 additional level in that specific skill. Some of the trainers can also be companions. A companion is someone that will follow you around as you quest, helping you defeat enemies but also allowing you to trade items with them. You could ask them to hold a bunch of your inventory items when you become encumbered, for example. It turns out though, when you train a skill with someone that is your companion, you can speak to them and take your money back straight from their inventory, making the skill cost you nothing at all! If the trainer cannot be your companion, you can still get your money back by pickpocketing them. Obviously this can be a little risky depending on your pickpocketing skill, but it is the same result as taking the money from your companion.
The first trainer that is available to players which can also become your companion is Faendal. He can be found in Riverwood. If you would like him to be your companion though, you need to make sure he gets the girl and not the bard. Otherwise he will still train you but he will not agree to be your companion.