Back to Basics - A Skyrim Character Building Contest


A new year means a new you, and with that comes new challenges. With that we'd like to introduce our 3rd Skyrim build contest - A contest which will challenge you like never before. So join us one and all as we go ....

Back to Basics - A Skyrim Character Building Contest. 

This contest has been a long time coming, and no doubt many of you have been dying to know its theme. Well, after weeks of secrecy you may wonder no more. We were'nt kidding around when we said this contest would be a challenge. Mods have had an unquestionably significant impact on Skyrim character building, giving rise to some of the most wildly creative builds to ever grace this or any community. But now we want to determine how creative you are without the limitless gameplay options provided by mods.

With that being said there are no limits or restrictions to this contest save for one...

Your build MUST be a Vanilla build. This means no perk, standing stone, or race overhauls. It means no new weapons, no new spells, no new powers, no new anything. The only gameplay tools you're afforded are what came with the game and its DLC from the start. To clarify: We are not asking you to purge your entire load order, but your build's mechanics and functions must be accessible to someone playing Vanilla Skyrim. 

Even without mods Skyrim is absolutely loaded with content and synergies to explore - So much so that I can guarantee not one contestant has come even close to doing everything. For those of you more accustomed to gameplay mods such as Enai Sainon's collection, this contest will surely thrust you into uncharted territory. 

As with the previous contest you may work in teams of no more than 3 people total. Once the competition closes, a panel of judges (see below) will judge each submitted build based on the criteria below and announce the winners! Here are the prizes…



First Place - Gold

  • $60 Dollars in game credits for the system of your choice (Steam, PSN, Xbox)
  • Build video by PCOutcast for your build.
  • Screenshots done for the submitted build or build of the winner’s choice
  • Your build prominently featured on the front page
  • Exclusive access to the judging panel of the next contest (only if not participating in said contest)
  • Input into the theme of the next Skyrim character build contest
  • "Contest Gold" tag for the submitted build
  • Lifetime supply of plain vanilla ice cream. 

 Second Place - Silver

  • $30 Dollars in game credits for the system of your choice (Steam, PSN, Xbox)
  • Your build prominently featured on the front page
  • Screenshots done for either the submitted build or another build of the winners' choice
  • "Contest Silver" tag for the submitted build!

 Third Place - Bronze

  • $10 Dollars in game credits for the system of your choice (Steam, PSN, Xbox)
  • Screenshots done for the submitted build or build of the winner’s choice
  • Your build prominently featured on the front page
  • "Contest Bronze" tag for the submitted build!


- Rules & guidelines -

  1. You may work on your own or in a team of up to 3. (Note however the prize will be split among the team) You can come up with a team name if you like!
  2. Only 1 build may be entered per contestant/team.
  3. Teams may register on this thread and submit a build at any time prior to the cut off date of March 2 2020. March 15th 2020  After this date Registrations will then close and the panel will judge the entries.
  4. Submitted builds must include a "Contest3" tag so we can find them
  5. Winners will be announced on the  12th of March 2020!       30th of March 2020


- The Panel -

  1. John (Teccam)
  2. Elysium
  3. Erinoth

- The Criteria (Please click for expanded view) -


- The Contestants - 

  1. The Long Chapper (not eligible for rewards)
  2. Curse  (not eligible for rewards)
  3. Ponty - The Lamp Descendant
  4. Chris Diokno - The Ace Detective
  5. Pixel
  6. Paladin Gelebor
  7. Jarlivar
  8. JScrollz & DovahBuilds(YT)
  9. Ramses - ACHILLUS
  10. Jiru44 - The Orc Blacksmith
  11. DeltaFox
  12. darksabrz
  13. TorynCross
  14. Maezell
  15. nystee - The Twisted Jester
  16. Shadon - The Lurcher
  17. Kodaav 
  18. DiabloSaint
  19. Skooma Smuggler
  20. Histcarp - The Wayfaring Wanderer
  21. asgard - The Bowdancer
  22. legendary dragon slayer
  23. olegbikkja - The Glenmoril Coven's Initiate
  24. Telby - Blacklion
  25. Alchemist - The Inventor
  26. Monk of the Hist - The Dark Defender
  27. DeadbeatzZz - The Wyrm
  28. ye4torn - The Ashpit Dragon
  29. Shainos - The Warlock of Bargains


- Resources - 

Below are a few helpful suggestions to get you started should you decide to enter. 

Good luck and may the best character build win!


You need to be a member of THE SKY FORGE to add comments!



  • The Ace Detective


    Gameplay -


    Teccam: 6/10 - The idea of a master investigator in the vein of Holmes having a place in Skyrim appeals to me. I truly wish there were more investigation type quests in the game. As it is, it seems like you’d have to branch out a bit to give this character enough content to tackle. And the gameplay doesn’t really feel consistent with that theme either. Combining the wooden sword (underpowered) with Marked for Death and Fortify Marksman (overpowered) is certainly unique, but feels kind of hard to justify in terms of game logic and characterization. Though I admit it sounds fun in a vacuum.


    Ely: 5/10. I feel the combat/gameplay is very disjointed and disharmonious. I like the quiet, analytical approach to combat but there’s no single united strategy or even overarching strategy (ie. warrior, magic, stealth kills) to take them out. Fortify Marksman, the one word of MFD (both being very meta and gamey), and the wooden sword really top it off.


    Erinoth: (7/10) - I quite like the gameplay options you present. I understand not pursuing shouts as the character is not dragonborn, but I think a few might have fit the gameplay you go for, such as disarm. I like many of the strategies you present.


    Avg = 6


    Presentation - 


    Teccam: 7.5/10 - I’m reviewing with the images fixed, but this has been a recurring issue for your builds. It would be a good idea to check with a friend after you post your next build, to be sure the images are displaying properly. I like the CoolText header, but I think you could have kept that going for the subsections. The gear image is working for me quite well, but the perk image feels a bit awkward. I like the icons for the poultices and poisons. Solid overall in its current incarnation.


    Ely: 7/10. That perkspread tho. It’s both pixelated and difficult to read. The stylized icons are cool and it’s overall well formatted.


    Erinoth: (8/10) - I am going to overlook most of the initial issues we had with your images. I would advise you to find a way to amend this issue in the future. Overall, the build has a solid presentation with no real footfalls. I would have liked to see the stylization you used on the title carried throughout the build and implemented in the section titles. The key Icon is a nice touch.


    Avg = 7.5


    Lore - 

    Teccam: 4/10 - As I discussed above, while I would love for there to be a place for a detective like this in Skyrim, the game as it stands really doesn’t seem to have much for a character like this to do. Your take on investigating the nature/cause of the dragon attacks is reasonable, and I appreciate that you stop that line after the initial investigation is complete -- it wouldn’t make sense for the investigator to also be hired to actually fight the dragons and become the hero of the province.


    Ely: 3/10. I don’t think there’s any note of detectives in TES games and I don’t see a lot of emphasis on trying to integrate him with the existing world. 


    Erinoth: (4/10) - There simply is not much to work off of here, but while the character is not woven into the game’s lore, It certainly does not compromise anything. This is a minor thing, but as this contest is vanilla only, the background you give of the character arriving to a ruined Helgen makes little sense. I imagine you used alternate start for this.


    Avg = 3.666


    Roleplay - 


    Teccam: 7/10 - The character’s personality and purpose are pretty clearly defined. My biggest concern, as I’ve touched on already, is the dearth of content that is really relevant to a character like this. I imagine you have to either keep it to a fairly short playthrough, or branch out beyond the really applicable comfort zone.


    Ely: 5/10. Roleplaying a common man is a good take on the standard character build, but there’s not a lot there to work with. The addition of the wooden sword as a “cane”, while inventive seems to really hamper gameplay, which is a terrible thing for roleplay. 


    Erinoth: (8/10) - I very much like this part of your build. The roleplay elements really set this apart from the typical rogue. Most of your decisions make sense and help enhance the character - I can see why you do not pursue the main questline. Perhaps that could be an endgame goal, though. Unravel the mystery of the dragons returning. This would provide a nice climax and finale for the build.


    Avg = 6.666


    Score = 


    Likes = 10+


    Total Score: 33.832


  • The Glenmoril Coven's Initiate


    Gameplay -


    Teccam: 7/10 - Definitely a lot of ground to cover for a quick blurb. I like the idea of differnt paths or almost minbuilds, but it’s a risk, because there needs to be interest in each path, and a unifying aesthetic and balance. You’ve definitely got some of that, but it could be better. The Skinwalker feels similar to a lot of other werewolf builds, and the use of magic is a bit dubious from a lore perspective. The Lamia path also feels a bit standard vampire, which raises some lore questions, and the use of the necromage and Fortify Restoration are again, a bit dubious. The Vargr is arguably the most compelling, which normally, I would argue is grounds to make it a standalone. Though in this case, I think you were right to keep these combined due to both the common thread between them, as well as the restricted nature of that werewolf+vampirism glitch.


    Ely: 7/10. I agree with Erinoth on the rare potion ingredients. The effects could be found in multiple easier-to-craft potions. I do like the idea of path builds, but they’re often hard to execute to have the paths be both different enough from each other, while still fitting together. It’s a fine line, but I think you’ve done a decent job. I’d still rather see each of the paths given more attention in a build series rather than a single path build. 


    Erinoth: (7/10) - There is a lot to unpack here, but I will cover my major points. My first complaint is the sheer rarity of certain ingredients you use throughout the build. Yellow mountain flower, Spriggan sap, and pearls are all rare ingredients, and I find it difficult to justify using these rare potions so often. Another note - Health regen in werewolf form is not useless. You also use twin enchantments despite stating enchanting as a minor skill. I like the Lamia path most. It seems easy to achieve while remaining potent in combat. I will be frank. I do not like builds that utilize exploits, but the Vargr does it well. I would have prefered the other paths cut in favor of fully focusing on this path.


    Avg = 7


    Presentation - 


    Teccam: 8/10 - There are some really cool elements here, and especially for a first build. I love the header image, and most of the other images for that matter. The text spacing feels a bit inconsistent, and the text color and typeface in some sections is jarring and difficult to read. A few minor formatting tweaks to the text would elevate this to top tier. I’d also suggest trimming some length for readability -- the tactics and potions for each path could definitely be streamlined significantly without any major loss of info.


    Ely: 8/10. I gave you an extra point for the images, then docked it for the orange font (especially the Comic Sans). It’s a bit difficult to read at times, but those images are unique and the presentation of potions and special moves look great. There are a few grammatical errors (expected with a build this size), but I think it’s well written.


    Erinoth: (8/10) - I love the presentation of your build. It is very well done and I love the artwork you chose. I have very little to critique here outside of the remaining white bits on your images. There are also some issues with alignment later, with large blank areas due to images. I would have liked to see better text wrapping.


    Avg = 8


    Lore - 

    Teccam: 7/10 - The glenmoril wyrd is a super interesting lore faction, one of the oldest we know of I believe. I like your exploration of them, but I think there are some inconsistencies with your interpretations of both werewolves and vampires. I guess it’s tricky here since you’re not necessarily using them “as intended” and they are more representative. But that is always a bit tricky.


    Ely: 7/10. Props to you for using the Glenmoril Coven, one of my favourite factions in lore. I definitely feel the different characters have a place in the world, but am a little lost on how vampire (and then vampire lord) fits in with the Hircine-worshipping witches.


    Erinoth: (6/10) - You have a strong foundation here with the Glenmoril Coven, but I see a few points of issue. First, pursuing vampirism makes little since, as the Coven is most closely tied to Hircine and other man-beasts. We also know that the witches can transform into Hagravens over time. It would have been nice to spin the last path this way.


    Avg = 6.6667


    Roleplay - 


    Teccam: 8/10 - Each path is clearly defined, with logical purposes that inform decision-making and personality. There’s a lot to process here, but there’s enough info that if you drill down to each path, you can understand what it is supposed to be about.


    Ely: 8/10. There are clear character goals set out for the coven witches, along with a sense of how they would each go about achieving them, but it’s all vague enough to let a player set in their own sense of how to go about it. 


    Erinoth: (7/10) - I very much like the elements you present here, especially under the path of the Vargr, as it presents a task that is challenging and engaging. I think the largest aspect holding you back here is once again the path of the lamia. Pure Vampirism just does not fit the roleplay aspects of a glenmoril witch - they have no connection to undeath or Molag-bal.


    Avg = 7.666


    Score = 29.333


    Likes = 10+


    Total Score: 39.333

    • Firstly THANKS for taking the time to read my build and for all your advices, it means a lot. I was afraid this my first posted build wouldn't rise to the challenge of this contest with such builders being contestants too... But I'm surprised how well it has been received and all the feedback. I cannot wait for the next event to come.

      Pd.: I will keep working on this build to solve the problems you've pointed above and the Hagraven Path Erinoth has suggested will be finished as it was on my WIP but I didn't manage to finish It on time


  • The Twisted Jester

    Gameplay -


    Teccam: 7/10 - A couple of thoughts: Firstly, it seems a bit odd to be worried about taking dual Illusion to avoid being overpowered, when the build’s gameplay foundation is Necromage Vampirism. I’m not criticizing the use of that exploit, as I personally find it can open some cool and otherwise inaccessible gameplay options. But in for a penny, right? Also, some of the numbers seem a bit off -- don’t your +10 Health/Magicka level-ups actually become +12.5 with Necromage? If you got Necromage at level 15, your Health and Magicka should be a fair bit higher, I would think. I like the dual flurry + elemental fury + necromage combo, but it’s been done before, and quite effectively too. So it would’ve been nice to see something else to make this stand out. It all supports the character theme well enough, but when you strip that away, I worry that it’s a fairly standard Nightblade.


    Ely: 7/10. Necromage Elemental Fury/Dual Flurry is a lot of fun, I have to give you that. It’s a pain in the ass to obtain in vanilla, but that mechanic separates this from being another nightblade build, so I have to give you some credit. It fits in well with being a vampire, which mechanically adds to Illusion and Sneak.


    Erinoth: (6/10) - I will be entirely clear. I do not like necromage trickery for several reasons. First, leveling restoration inorganically is not enjoyable in the slightest. I am of the mindset that skill progression should be natural and woven into gameplay. Furthermore, you do not use restoration after power-leveling it. This is a missed opportunity and further damns the gameplay side of things, especially at early levels. That said, you use the benefits of necromage well to enhance the build’s skills; although, what build does not benefit from it?


    Avg = 6.6667


    Presentation - 


    Teccam: 9/10 - Very clean, with thematically appropriate and eye-catching headers and artwork. Good spacing and curation of art for the special moves. Nice perk spread (though a tad hard to read at default size, and even somewhat when expanded to 100%). Nice screenshots too, albeit not custom-made from what I can tell.


    Ely: 9/10. Very nice build. The custom headers are great, the formatting is tight, and the custom screenshots really tie this whole character together. The perkspread is creepy and there’s a great overall feel to the build.


    Erinoth: (9/10) - An incredibly well put together presentation, and thematic to boot. I especially like the screenshots. I have two nitpicks, though. Your perk spread is somewhat difficult to read with deep red text on a black background. Additionally, I would have liked to see more diversity in your screenshots and artwork - find ways to wrap text around them and add images that are not centered. Nevertheless, excellent work here.


    Avg = 9


    Lore - 

    Teccam: 7/10 - It’s certainly a unique spin on an established story right out of TES V. I’m not sure I buy that Cicero could/would have failed. There’s a bit of context that is either missing, or that I missed, regarding where the player character comes from, and how he came to be in Skyrim (there isn’t really any evidence of jesters in modern Skyrim, and even in Cyrodiil, Cicero feels like a bit of an aberration). But overall it’s a reasonably plausible base, and I can’t fault you for using Cicero’s undeniably canon account as a lore foundation to build off of. Seems just a bit strange to me that the healer would also be a vampire though (am I reading that correctly, or was there a third party there?).


    Ely: 6/10. I’m having a very hard time buying the Cicero-Jester story. The thing about expanding in-game lore is that it needs to be believable and there’s such a stretch to his origins that I’m flailing a little bit. 


    Erinoth: (7/10) - An interesting take on the Cicero-Jester story; while Cicero entirely believes that the jester perished, I suppose it is a possibility he survived. The quip about real world jesters is a nice touch, but I would have appreciated it if you connected them to the TES universe as well.


    Avg = 6.6667


    Roleplay - 


    Teccam: 8/10 - There’s more than enough here to give the character some goals and purpose, but some elements are inconsistent. The vampirism feels like a total afterthought, mainly just used for the mechanic of necromage, thrown into the backstory, and hardly touched upon elsewhere. I tend not to be a fan of overly edgy characters like this, but I think you’ve done a better job than most like this as far as justifying that personality and providing guidance on how/why it is appropriate.


    Ely: 9/10. While I’m not buying the lore-baked origin, I really can’t deny that this is a really phenomenal character. The trope of the mad jester (and one that’s not attached like buddies with Cicero) is something I love. The notes to betray others was a nice touch, while looking for vengeance against the Dark Brotherhood added to the dark creepy notes of the character.


    Erinoth: (8/10) - You present very solid elements here on how to roleplay the jester, but the elements you provide simply are not enough to carry it to complete fruition. While I understand the requirement of joining the Dark Brotherhood to kill Cicero, it is not the most thematic choice to join the organization that attempted to murder you.


    Avg = 8.333


    Score = 30.6667


    Likes = 10+


    Total Score: 40.6667

    • I want to say a big thank you to all the judges, I knew playing on the cicero event was a big bet and I was down to take it. I really appreciate the criticism and I will keep it in mind for the future. Also big kudos to all the participants! I truly hope evryone is safe.

      On to the next one!



    Gameplay -


    Teccam: 7/10 - I like the idea of the different stances to keep combat fresh. My biggest hang-up here is that each stance sort of suffers in terms of efficiency/depth by virtue of having to build around all of them. If you look at each stance independently, they’re all pretty standard to me. Personally, I’d rather see two stances that are much more complex and that create an interesting dichotomy or synergy, than four stances that are less developed. Still an interesting concept and reasonably well executed. Not many pure warriors that manage to keep combat so versatile.


    Ely: 6/10. While it sounds great in theory, juggling different warrior-based combat styles is always a struggle and one will end up being dominant, just because there isn’t that much difference between one-handed/two-handed, light/heavy armor.


    Erinoth: (9/10) - Exceptional work here in both maintaining the archetypal warrior gameplay while mixing it up to create an amalgam that is wholly unique. I especially like that the gameplay seems very active, with little inventory management. The only reason I see not to give a perfect score in this section is that changing armors mid-combat is somewhat immersion breaking.


    Avg = 7.333


    Presentation - 


    Teccam: 8/10 - It’s funny - normally, I would dock a build for such a standard typeface, but here, it’s kind of justified. I like the trim you used for the images and headers, it really establishes the build theme. Some of the images feel overly simple though -- not just minimal, but plain. Well spaced and well written, but there are a couple small mistakes.


    Ely: 8/10. I really love the Roman style. The copper/black style is very consistent, if not Skyrim-y. It could use some screenshots, but I like the equipment and perk spreads.


    Erinoth: (8/10) - Again, very well executed. I appreciate the consistent motifs throughout the build. I only have a few recommendations that could elevate this to the next level. On certain images, like the Item spread, I would have prefered a solid background as opposed to the gradient, which is hard on the eyes. I also think that adjusting the placement of the various Items could have assisted in your presentation of this spread. Perhaps mirror the stances you present later?


    Avg = 8


    Lore - 

    Teccam: 8/10 - Putting most of this in the artwork and the poem was an interesting choice. I had to re-read the poem to really pick up on the full concept here, but I think it’s a good one. I don’t know why anything in here would clash with established lore as far as who may be Dragonborn. The prophecy interpretation feels a bit more Harry Potter than Elder Scrolls to me, but still fair. You didn’t really touch on this overtly, but I think it works better in a lot of ways for an Imperial to seek to emulate/honor Talos, than for a Nord to, which is an interesting dynamic given the character is an Imperial fighting alongside Nords.


    Ely: 7/10. I’m a big fan of the Roman aesthetic, but I’m having a hard time matching it with a Stormcloak, when the Empire and Imperials are directly modeled on the Roman Empire. Otherwise, he’s built into the world quite well.


    Erinoth: (8/10) - Solid stuff here, although I would have appreciated if it permeated further into gameplay. I see nothing wrong and quite like the idea of an Imperial soldier that betrays the Empire on a whim. I feel that this was justified by the character’s personality. I also appreciate the effort in weaving the lore into the build, rather than providing a separate section for it. I think it works here.


    Avg = 7.6667


    Roleplay - 


    Teccam: 8/10 - I like the idea of the character being a former Legionnaire who left to fulfill his destiny. Not wholly clear if that was his only motivation. A lot of the character elements feel rather superficial, but they still paint a clear picture of a living person with emotions, opinions, flaws, goals, etc.


    Ely: 8/10. I can’t deny the character has a personality, I just think it’s a bit too expansive and doesn’t leave a lot of room for a player’s interpretation. I appreciate the baked in flaws he has and do get a sense of who he is.


    Erinoth: (8/10) - Mirroring what I said with lore, I appreciate the character’s personality, along with the quests you chose to help solidify this. I also briefly mentioned the immersion issues with rapidly changing armor mid combat, so I will refrain from elaborating here. Well done Overall.


    Avg = 8


    Score = 30.999


    Likes = 10+


    Total Score: 40.9999


    The Bowdancer


    Gameplay -


    Teccam: 8/10 - Ice Form, Ash Shell, and bow bashing are all fun mechanics that are generally not given much love. You’re established as an expert on bow mechanics, and this build really showcases that nicely. I believe there’s a Creation Club DLC that includes enchanted arrows, which would fit this build nicely. It doesn’t really seem like an economical gameplay decision to forego the mage armor perks for the sake of wearing a single low defense armor piece, but I guess the combat style can allow you to go into fights with low defense. My biggest criticism is that it feels like there aren’t enough skills. Grinding Smithing without perking it, grinding Enchanting, and other than that, you’ve pretty much just got three skills going, one of which is also passive and unperked. Mostly though I like this. It’s unique, interesting, and meticulously detailed.


    Ely: 8/10. I love the idea of having differently enchanted bows to actually be differently enchanted arrows. Super cool. The witchhunter playstyle is also really well executed. The few skills all work well to support each other and I can clearly see how it would play through most encounters. There’s some neat ideas (Ice Form, Ash Shell) that you used to good effect, too.


    Erinoth: (7/10) - You present several solid ideas that help this stand out among a sea of archers. Carrying many bows to simulate arcane arrows is a neat idea, but swapping between bows is not very immersive for gameplay. I like the idea of a bash-draw. Alteration certainly helps with the character’s survivability, but how do ash spells fit the witch hunter playstyle? Finally, enchanting is the most tedious skill to grind to 100, and if the character despises all things daedra, what makes using souls any different?


    Avg = 7.666


    Presentation - 


    Teccam: 9/10 - I love your particular aesthetic, and while you’ve made some deviations from your old work, the core definitely carried over well here. The screenshots with the header text works nicely to separate each section. The text is nicely spaced and formatted, easily readable. Some of the inline images feel like they could be a bit more cleanly integrated into the text (see the Gear section for instance) but mostly I think it flows very well. The roleplaying section feels like it could use an inline image to break up the text a bit. No other criticisms here. Bonus points for the video as well.


    Ely: 9/10. Using the Skyrim lines as part of your aesthetic is really cool. Including a video is a bonus point, and everything is very well formatted. The images are coolio too, but I wish you could’ve broken up some of the chunks of text.


    Erinoth: (8/10) - Solid, but nothing in particular makes this area stand out. I would have liked to see custom headers, more variance in your paragraph structure, etc. not much else I can comment on here.


    Avg = 8.666


    Lore - 

    Teccam: 9/10 - I like this a lot. The use of the canon Witchhunter class, fused with the canon from Oblivion (great quest!) and a reasonably plausible justification for the character being dormant and returning for the events of Skyrim. All fun, credible, and unique.


    Ely: 9/10. The character has a very solid origin in lore and abides by the Rule of Cool at every turn. Azura’s further “influence” is a really great tie-in during the game. 


    Erinoth: (7/10) - The character is certainly connected to the TES universe. I wish that her presence in Skyrim was more solidly justified. The Witch hunters are an interesting idea to build upon and help ground the character.


    Avg = 8.333




    Teccam: - 8/10 - There are some inconsistencies, but I think the big picture here is pretty clear and reasonable. The character is clearly driven by her past and her affliction, and uses that to fuel her purpose and decisions. Your justification of fire is not without merit, but it still feels a bit sketchy. But that doesn’t devalue the overall package here too significantly. There’s some unique and interesting stuff that fuels this character, and I love the tie-in to multiple TES games that informs both gameplay and roleplay.


    Ely:  8/10. I love characters that have a driving force and hatred of Azura (a Daedric Prince normally thought of as benign) is a great one. Aside from her vendetta, I can still see who she is as a person and how she would approach common quests, but there’s just enough freedom for a player to interpret her as they want. Her redemption arc is a great finale to this drawn out personal quest.


    Erinoth: (5/10) - When reading the roleplaying element of your build, I found myself confused. She travels Skyrim based upon a vision granted to her by Azura, yet seeks to annihilate her followers? She abhors daedra, yet fuels her enchanting practices with the souls of mortals? Why? I simply am unable to wrap my head around this character’s ideals.


    Avg = 7


    Score = 31.665


    Likes = 10+ (13)


    Total Score: 41.665

    • Thanks are in order for the judges' unenviable work, especially in these dark times. That's a lot of builds you had to go through... Some feedback for your feedback:

      Teccam: I knew the lack of skills was going to be an issue. It was for me too. Not in terms of combat, because she has tons of options, but because customization-wise there isn't much to look forward to. I couldn't find a suitable solution for this. As for the mage armor perks, it just made her too tanky which devalued the build's core mechanic.

      Ely: yup, looks like I could've added more images. I admit I got a little burned out.

      Erinoth: I think you misunderstood the character's intentions a little bit, though as I went looking for passages to quote I realized the descriptions are a bit scattered which is not ideal. My bad.

      Regarding Azura's parting message:

      Aranalda decided to try to decipher Azura's parting message so she could hopefully use it against her. She surmised that white peaks must be referring to Skyrim, and that is why she traveled there.

      Everything she does is meant to spite Azura, even if innocents must suffer (trapping worshippers' souls), and even if she has to 'side' with other Daedric lords in order to do so. But she would never again rely on Daedra, hence why she is no longer a conjurer.

      Thieves Guild: according to the UESP, there is a vague reference to Nocturnal and Azura being enemies. Depending on how reliable you think this reference is, Aranalda could make an exception and join them to further spite Azura.






    Gameplay -


    Teccam: 7/10 - Another build using all three crafting skills. Big point of concern for me going into it. A build has to really justify those in my mind. Considering you only take Steel Smithing, and no perks at all in Alchemy, I personally would argue that those aren’t even really minor skills at all, and it would make the build a bit more approachable to leave them off. Maybe shift one of the major skills down to minor for balance. Moving on - the idea of an assassin who cannot sneak is something I don’t recall seeing before, and I’m a fan of that concept. It’s a tad busy for my liking: five shouts and seven special moves seem especially overkill to me. Better to reduce those down to the best ones, and give the player some creative license to explore more options for herself. I’d already forgotten half of them by the time I finished reading the last one.


    Ely: 6/10. There’s nothing particularly special or unique about the gameplay or combat. It’s a standard warrior, which could still be fun to play but I wish there was something more that could make it stand out. I find warrior playthroughs often fall into a habit of using the same approach, so all those skills might be hard to keep up with.


    Erinoth: (8/10) - The first thing that I noticed was the use of all 3 crafting skills. Even if you do not perk all of them, this becomes a tedious endeavor and is not exactly the most thematic for a build unless one is intentionally playing a crafter. As a warrior, I would have liked to see taking enchanting to 100 justified more strongly. Regardless, I quite like many of the strategies you employ. My major nitpick is the sizable list of equipment, shouts, poisons, and spells, as I can imagine much time is spent menu-surfing to switch gear.


    Avg = 7


    Presentation - 


    Teccam: 8/10 - Quite good, but with some unrealized potential. The text and image spacing/balance could be improved. Some areas where the text didn’t quite naturally flow around the inline images, or the placement of consecutive images made the text appear unbroken longer than it really was. Good text formatting, solid screenshots. Perk spread felt a bit underwhelming compared to a lot of the other visuals. Mostly solid here though, readable and clearly had some effort behind it. I think you could have condensed the questing section down by about 80% without losing any critical info. The gear aesthetic is surprisingly effective for me, kudos on that.


    Ely: 7/10. There’s probably a better way to convey the opener, instead of diary entries. The icons and headers are nice touches and the custom screenshots (especially that armor combo) are great. It’s very grimdark but I feel it falls together easily and has a great overall aesthetic.


    Erinoth: (7/10) - Again, very well done here, but I would have appreciated if you broke up the text just a smidge more. Currently, the walls of text are somewhat daunting and make focusing on skills difficult. My biggest complaint is with the alignment on your perk spread; It is incredibly difficult to decipher with each skill tree misaligned from one another. My last critique is that your font point is a couple sizes too small - an easy fix.


    Avg = 7.333


    Lore - 

    Teccam: 8/10 - While there doesn’t seem to be a real lore foundation to the character directly, you’ve certainly taken great effort to cement your concept into the lore with the diaries and the narrative integration for the quests. This is a believable and interesting character that feels at home in Skyrim.


    Ely: 7/10. As always, the most important part of invented lore is it being believable. I believe it and like the dark internal politics of the Thalmor being shown. This character definitely has a role in Skyrim.


    Erinoth: (8/10) - I was unable to unearth any information on this “blacklion,” so I will proceed under the premise that you created this lore for your build. That said, I admire the core of the character and think you took an Altmer Assassin in an interesting direction. Well done.


    Avg = 7.666


    Roleplay - 


    Teccam: 10/10 - Absolutely nothing negative to say here. It’s a complex character, with every decision clearly consistent, justified, and natural. Nothing else to say. Good work.


    Ely: 9/10. Great concise roleplay, the whole character concept flows together well. He feels very multidimensional and the custom/personal quest you chose really cements that character’s motives and behaviour. The lack of scruples of a hard sellsword isn’t often used with Altmer or elves, but you made it work. Well done.


                Erinoth: (10/10) - Phenomenal work here. You masterfully weave potent roleplay elements into the build like a master. Quests were well chosen, and every Idea you present helps one enter the proper headspace for playing the character. Personally, I have no complaints.


    Avg = 9.6667


    Score = 31.665


    Likes = 10+ (18)


    Total Score: 41.665

    • Hey guys, brilliant critique, I totally agree with all of it and am going to take this all into consideration upon my next build. Thanks for taking the time to read and judge it, and thank you again for the generous scores, y'all are awesome!!

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