Character Build: The Penitus Oculatus Agent

You are Arcturus, a member of the Penitus Oculatus, the Emperor’s espionage and bodyguard organization. You were sent to Skyrim to infiltrate and eliminate the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary there to enable the Emperor's safe arrival to the region. Unfortunately, poor planning on the part of your superior led you to take the same route into Skyrim at the same time as Ulfric Stormcloak, causing you to be captured along with him in an Imperial ambush organized by General Tullius. You tried to explain who you were, even pointing out that you wearing the signature Penitus Oculatus armor, but the overzealous captain leading the ambush didn't believe you. She confiscated your equipment and put you on a cart to Helgen…


The Penitus Oculatus Agent

After having fun playing as a Blade, I’d thought I’d try my hand at a creating a build for their successor organization. Think of it as an “Imperial Scout” of sorts, a build that takes the classic Scout skillset and applies it to an Imperial Soldier.

Race: Arcturus is a male Imperial, so for roleplay reasons, you'll wanna go with that. They also get a +5 boost to One-Handed and Block, and Voice of the Emperor provides a nice way out of tough situations.

Stone: I went with the Lord Stone for a source of permanent Magic Resistance (something this build would otherwise lack) and a boost to armor rating.

Stats: 0/2/1. This build doesn't use magic at all, so only Health and Stamina are necessary.

Equipment: Imperial Bow, Imperial Sword, Imperial Light Shield, and the full set of Penitus Oculatus Armor. In order to get the armor, go to the Penitus Oculatus Outpost at Dragon Bridge and kill the agent inside for a full set (roleplay that you discovered he was a Dark Brotherhood infiltrator plotting to use the Penitus Oculatus to get close to and kill the Emperor). Alternatively, if you don’t want to murder anyone, use the Imperial Light set, but not the Studded version of the armor since it can’t be tempered. For jewelry, use whatever you find that has a useful enchantment.

Shouts: Aura Whisper and Throw Voice are both good for stealth. Aside from that, use Become Ethereal to safely close in on distant enemies, Unrelenting Force for crowd control, and Elemental Fury to swing your sword faster.

Quests: Destroy the Dark Brotherhood is important for roleplay purposes, as is the Imperial side of the Civil War and any other quests that favor the Empire, such as Rise in the East. You'll also want to do the Main Quest up to completing the Horn of Jurgen Windcaller for Unrelenting Force and the word for Become Ethereal.



One-Handed: Like most soldiers of the Empire, the agents of the Penitus Oculatus prefer the sword as their weapon of choice. Max out Armsman and grab the power attack perks as well.

Block: Many agents of the Penitus Oculatus carry a shield in their off hand, and use it to both deflect blows and bash opponents. Get Quick Reflexes and up the left side of the tree to Shield Charge, then max out the tree. Note that the Block Runner perk lets you sneak around at walking speed when your shield is raised.

Light Armor: To Arcturus, the armor of the Penitus Oculatus is like a second skin. Grab everything in this tree.

Archery: Many Penitus Oculatus agents choose to use a bow for taking out enemies outside of their sword’s reach, a wise choice given the recent return of the dragons. Perk your way up the left side of the tree to Bullseye and grab a rank of Steady Aim as well.

Sneak: While the Penitus Oculatus is primarily known for its role as bodyguards of the Emperor, Arcturus is more frequently sent off on espionage missions instead. Max out Stealth and grab both Backstab and Deadly Aim as well. I used the save>punch>reload method to keep resetting Balimund’s (owner of the Scorched Hammer in Riften) inventory, until I got some Boots of Muffling (best level to do this at is level 11) to disenchant and then apply to my own boots, negating the need for the Muffled Movement and Silence perks.

Smithing: Though their signature armor, as well as their sword and shield, are given to them by the Emperor upon formally joining the organization, Penitus Oculatus Agents are required to know how to both maintain and improve their arms and armor. All you need here is Steel Smithing to double the improvement of your Imperial Sword and Arcane Blacksmith for improving your muffle-enchanted boots as well as any other equipment you choose to enchant.

Alchemy: Arcturus is a master alchemist, and can create a variety of potions and poisons for use in the field. You'll want to max out Alchemist, and also get Physician, Benefactor, Poisoner, and Concentrated Poison. You might also want to use this skill to make some enchanting potions for enchanting your shield, helmet, gauntlets, and armor.

You should have 60 perks once the build is complete.


Alchemical Concoctions

Potion of Canis Root, One-Handed Ingredient, and Marksman Ingredient: With the Agent, I mostly stuck to simple, single-effect concoctions, but this was the exception. Aside from the fact that both your sword and bow damage will be boosted, due to a glitch, fortify marksman potions boost all forms of physical damage, not just archery damage. Thus, with the addition of fortify one-handed, your sword damage will be boosted twice as much.

Restore Health: As your primary means of healing, you'll want to have a bunch of potions with this effect on you at all times.

Restore Stamina: Given the importance of Stamina to a warrior build, the usefulness of this effect should be obvious.

Resist Magic: The Agent is somewhat light when it comes to magical defenses, so this is a nice effect to have.

Invisibility: Having trouble sneaking up on an enemy? This effect will make it much easier.

Paralysis: A great poison for tight situations; just hit a strong enemy with this to give yourself some breathing room.



You’ll want to start fights off from stealth. If you can, sneak up to one of your opponents and backstab them. Otherwise, hit them with a sneak attack with you bow, and continue to hit them with arrows until they enter melee range. Once that happens, you’ll want to bring out your sword and shield. You have good physical resistance from your smithed armor, the Lord Stone, and heavy investment into the Light Armor tree as well as magical resistance also provided by the Lord Stone, but in general, you should try to avoid being hit. That means moving in with a couple of quick strikes then backing out before you are hit, bashing enemies to interrupt and stagger them, and using power attacks to stagger and break through blocks. Against tougher enemies, block with your shield liberally, and don’t be afraid to use your racial power if needed. Against archers and mages, move in on them with Become Ethereal, or alternatively, once you’ve invested in the left side of the Block tree, approach them with your shield raised. Against groups of enemies, knock the lot of them down with either Unrelenting Force or Shield Charge. Use potions to heal as necessary.

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  • Love the simplicity of the build and the added detail of justifying how to obtain the Penitus Oculatus Armor, as well as the alternative if we didn’t like that method.
    • Thanks Aysleph!

  • Another awesome build from you Albino - and you've hit Rank:Apprentice!

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