My breath quickened as I chased through the woods after a troll. Stupid creature.
"No use in running," I whispered to myself. "Slow down, idiot beast. I'll have your head either way." My fingers tightened around the end of my arrow as the troll stopped hobbling away. It seemed to think it had outran me. How wrong it was. I pulled back my arrow, crouching behind a tree. I raised my bow just a fraction so the arrow was exactly aiming for the creature's head. The wind, however, was blowing quite powerfully. That would effect my shot. I moved my bow just a little to the left of the troll, as to make the wind hopefully give my arrow a little nudge in the right direction. I released the arrow,and it hit its mark, and the troll let out a great roar and collapsed.
I advanced, and took out my knife. I set to work on cutting off as much fat as I could. When I had finished, I put the fat in my satchel and made my way back towards Cheydinhal. Perhaps I could sell my loot to the Fighter's Guild. I sighed. This was getting repetitive. I needed a break. Some new beasts to hunt. I'm sure hircine would appreciate some new offerings for once. Morrowind isn't too far from here - but no, the volcano thing - not a good idea. Hammerfell, perhaps? No - too hot.
How about skyrim, I thought. Nice and cool. A bit of a civil war going on, but I'm sure I can avoid it. Good variety of wildlife to kill. Yes, I thought - Perfect! I would inform my friends of my intentions and set off tomorrow.
However, once I got to the Northern border, I was attacked my Imperial soldiers - they were hauling leather-clad Nords into a carraige, and must have mistaken me for one. I was taken to Helgen - there, a dragon attacked. And I discovered my destiny as Dragonborn.
This build is the first on this site I posted, however I did have a few over on TamrielVault. I had never played a pure archer, the only offensive skill used being archery. Usually, when I use Archery, I would pair it with One-Handed or Alteration, perhaps even Destruction or Illusion. However, I wanted to make a pure archer, and the idea for this build (and the entire series) was born. One of this builds core aspects is the "Animal Allegiance" shout, which allies all animals up to level 20 in 250ft for 60 seconds at its maximum power, which comes in useful many times. Also, the cooldown just over a minute.
The character is a loyal servant of Hircine, and will visit Bloated Man's Grotto regularly, and will leave offerings for Hircine at the table where Bolar's Oathblade is originally found. This is why you are required to kill various creatures - see the roleplay section for more information. He is armed with a bow and the Savior's Hide, and also occasionally will utilize lycanthropy to defeat tougher foes, however lycanthropy is a gift that I used sparingly, preferring to save it for boss fights or in paticularly large groups of opponents.
As I have already said, Archery is the main offensive skill for the build. I used a variety of bows, and as a kind of RP made sure I never ever wasted a single arrow if I could avoid it. I also used Light Armor to give my defense a boost, as my Health was not my main concern, preffering to put most points into Stamina so I could sprint for minutes at a time. Sneak is helpful for keeping hidden, however is not essential as the build is perfectly capable of using his bow in close-quarters. Alchemy is also taken to augment the damage of my bow and also fits in with the hunter RP, collecting ingredients from every hunt he goes upon, and if paticularly proficient in making skill-boosting potions to increase his proficiency in battle.
Basically, this character is pretty well-rounded, and is certainly a blast to play. It's just a shame spears were not implemented (not counting those cursed, disgusting, foul riekling abominations) because they certainly would have fitted the theme very well, not to mention the fact that Hircine is almost always depicted holding a spear. Cross your fingers for Elder Scrolls VI, everybody. Now, let's get into some essential information for the build, shall we?
Race: I picked Nord, but Imperial could be taken as the character is originally from Cyrodil. Truth be told, almost every race could be picked, especially Wood Elf, as the Archery and Alchemy boost is really useful, but if you wanted you could just do the Faendal Training exploit to level up your Archery. But note all Battle Cry power was used when thinking up abilities, as that was the power I had access to.
Stone:The Thief > The Lady OR The Lord. You benefit greatly from either of these stones, the Lady in paticular with the 25% health regen is really useful, but then again the Lord Stone could eleminate the need for Health Regen at all, but the choice is really your preference.
Stat Distribution: 0(M) 1(H) 2(S). Magicka is not needed at all, so that can be left out. Health is important, as we will be hunting down all the deadliest kinds of creatures Skyrim has to offer. Stamina was most important to me, as I imagined the Hunter as carrying hundreds of pelts at once and sprinting through the forests for long periods of time. Stamina helped my vision come to life.
Shouts:Aura Whisper, Kyne's Peace, Animal Allegiance, Become Ethereal, Unrelenting Force, Frost Breath
Powers: Battle Cry (or whatever racial power you have) Beast Form
- Weapon - Zephyr
- Armor -Saviors Hide, Helm of Yngol, Gauntlets of the Old Gods, Boots of the Old Gods
Saviors Hide has a very useful 15% resist magic and 50% resist poison, which is helpful at all levels. The Helm of Yngol gives the Hunter a near immunity to frost if you are a Nord. The Gauntlets and Boots of the old Gods both give really helpful bonuses for the character, boosting both Sneak and Archery, which can really give you an edge in battles. All of the armor is available relatively early on, however the weapons may take more time to gain. Until then just use the best bow you can find, or for RP stick with the Hunting Bow, available from most places early game.
Archery - Perhaps the most important skill used by this character. Archery is used to damage both enemies and animals, though somethimes they can be the same thing. The eagle eye perk along with steady hand make the game much easier once you are talented enough to get the perks. Hunter's Dicipline is always a useful perk, as it means you have to buy less arrows. The ranger perk just makes getting around much easier, as well as making the 'In Your Face' tactic a bit more viable.
Alchemy -Another key skill for this character build. It really helped me out, especially in times of need. However, instead of creating crippling poisons, I focused on creating buffing potions for myself so I could always be at me best in combat. I certainly did make a few poisons though, but I just didn't find them as useful, especially as potions last quite a long time. The purity perk is taken to make the most negative poisons and the most positive potions I possibly could. Snake Blood along with the Saviors Hide means 100% immunity to all poisons.
Sneak -Sneak was an invaluable skill in my playthrough. The stealth perks were extremely helpful to me, along with deadly aim to boost my sneak attack damage. The backstab perk was not needed, but I needed to take it to get to the next perk, unfortunately. Silent Roll was really helpful when traversing the landscape, and after I got the silence perk I basically stopped sneaking at all. Muffled Movement was another really handy perk that kept me from being detected as often once I got it.
Light Armor -We do not wear paticularly powerful armor, so this skill can simply help with your armor rating. Unfortunatlely, the Helm of Yngol is Heavy Armor, so we cannot get the perk that boosts your armor rating if you are wearing full light armor. If you wanted, you could probably perk the 'Juggernaut'perk from the Heavy-Armor tree.
Speech -This skill is more for RP purposes than for actual usefulness. However, it is a helpful money-maker. The haggling perk allows you to get better prices when selling your loot or buying a new bow, and the allure perk does not really suit a worshipper of a Daedra Lord, but it was needed to get to the merchant perk, which allows you to sell your animal hides to any merchant in the game.
As soon as you have finished the tutorial, head straight to Riverwood and do the quest for Faendal and get him as a follower. Go and sell the items you found back in Helgen, then ask Faendal for training. Take the money back from him, and train again. You can repeat this process until Faendal can train you no more. This helps you get your Archery skill up nice and early, and gives you a few level ups as well. I would advise doing the Ill Met By Moonlight as soon as possible in order to get your main armor piece, the Savior's Hide. I recommend doing the No One Escapes Cidhna Mine quest and siding with Madanach in order to get the Armor of the Old Gods armor, some of which this build uses.
I recommend joining the Companions in Whiterun as soon as possible; not only does it give you the ability to smith an Ancient Nord Helmet but it also is made up of many combat-orientated quests, allowing you to level Alchemy, Archery, Light-Armor, and Sneak quite quickly. Archery will level up quite quickly as you use it, as will Alchemy. Light-Armor can be quite slow on the level-up, so if you have some spare septim coins lying around your house I would advise you to go and search for a trainer. Speech levels up at a managable speed as long as you make sure you use it as much as possible. Sneak levels up extremely quickly, especially if you love dungeon-diving.
In order to get the weapon you will be needing for the playthrough, you will need to have the Dawnguard DLC. The Dragonborn & Hearthfire DLC's are not essential for the build, but could add some extra fun to the character.) In order to get Zephyr you will be required to complete (or at least start) the Lost to the Ages questline. As for the main reward for that quest, I went with the Aetherial Crown and just sold it, as it is the most expensive reward out of the three options. None of the rewards really fit in with the character.
Blood of the Hunt
Ingredients: Hawk Feathers + Luna Moth Wing + Vampire Dust
Effect: Cure Disease + Fortify Light Armor + Invisibility + Regenerate Health
A useful little potion that I used as often as I could. The combonation of Fortify Light Armor, Invisibility, and Regen Health = the ultimate defensive potion. Very useful indeed, however the ingredients are reasonably rare, so always pick them up when you can.
Essence of Hircine
Ingredients: Jazbay Grapes + Scathecraw + Spawn Ash
Effect: Ravage Magicka + Ravage Stamina + Ravage Health
A crippling potion that requires the Dragonborn DLC to make, as ALL of the ingredients come from Solstheim. This poison is paticularly deadly, killing weaker enemies instantly. I recommend saving it for tougher opponents, however, as the ingredients can be hard to come by.
Wrath of the Hunting Grounds
Ingredients: Canis Root + Imp Stool + Orange Dartwing OR Mora Tapinella
Effect: Lingering Damage Health + Paralyze
A useful poison that renders enemies helpless. The combonation of paralysis and lingering health damage means that you can use it on an enemy, and the walk away as they slowly die, motionless on the ground.
Aegis of the Hunter
Ingredients: Fly Amanita + Hawk Beak + Snowberries
Effect: Resist Fire + Resist Frost + Resist Shock
A useful little potion that can really help when facing off against magical opponents, such as Dragon Priests. If your Alchemy skill is high enough, along with the Nord frost resistance and the Helm of Yngol, it can make you 100% immune to frost for a short time as well.
Mages are simple opponents to defeat. They lack any armor rating at all, and have low health to begin with anyway. Normally one or two arrows should kill them without much effort. However, ice mages can be irritating with their slowing effects, and fire mages can deal large amounts of damage to you quite quickly. Storm Mages are not paticularly difficult as their attacks drain magicka, but as you do not use magicka, you should be fine. I would advice taking out the pyromancers first if they are in groups. If they are with tanks (warriors) take the warrior out first.
Archers are rather simple opponents. Simply take cover and fire some arrows upon them. Alone, you can easily defeat them. In groups, they may be more of a pain, especially if mixed with Mages and Warriors. In situations like this, your custom potions and poisons are your best friend. Is warriors are with them, sneak attack the warrior if possible in order to get them out of the way. Archers do not have a paticularly high damage output, due to the fact that they apparently do not know how to sneak
Warriors. Big, armored, scary. They can be really tough for a lighter-armored builds to content with, especially if you allow them to get up close. However, if they have not fetected you yet, do a sneak attack. If they don't die from that, I would use the Blood of the Hunt potion or any Invisibility potion, hide again, and use another sneak attack. That should kill them. In groups, I would combine the Blood of the Hunt, the Wrath of the Hunting Grounds, and Essence of Hircine potions to help you come out on top.
Dragons. They may have a lot of health and decent damage, but soon enough you will learn that they have HORRIBLE aim, so most of their attacks should be easily avoided. Use Dragonrend on them as much as you can to keep them grounded, pepper their scales with arrows, and aviod their attacks. Soon enough you should have them dead. The battles will most likely be long and hard, but keep at it and you will win.
Dragon Priests! I hate them. Some of the most powerful enemies in the game, nothing says a hard battle quite like a Dragon Priest. Frost Priests shouldn't pose a threat, due to your immense frost-resistance. Just keep firing at them as they try to keep you at bay. Fire Priests are the hardest. Because they have damage over time, their attacks will go through your health bar like a knife through butter. If you are planning on fighting a Fire Priest, stock up on Health Potions & Fire Resistance potions. Shock priests drain your magicka, but that dosen't really matter. Bring some health and & resist shock for them and you should be fine.
Animals!! The easiest things to kill. This character revolves around Hircine, and you will need a pelt every Fridas (see Role-play) to appease Hircine. Sneak attack them or sprint towards them, whatever you feel like doing. You should take care of them easily.
The Hunter changes into a beast of moon before your very eyes.
Role-play & Quests
The Aspect of Hircine is, first and formost, a cultist of Hircine. Hircine matters more to him than anything else, and at midnight every Fridas he must travel to Bloated Mans Grotto and leave an offering of a Wolf, Bear, or Sabre Cat pelt. Alternatively, he may also leave Troll Fat or Dragon Scales. This will appease the Hunting God, and make sure he will assist the Aspect of Hircine in combat. No matter the circumstances, the hunter MUST leave an offering every Fridas, so make sure to have your schedule clear for midnights on Fridas.
The Companions are made up of lycanthropes. As long as the members remain lycanthropes, you shall respect and befriend them. But, if they wish to have their gift cured, you will immediatley lose all respect for them. Farkas is a loyal lycanthrope, so try befriending him. Aela is not a good cadidate for friendship, as she soon gets cold feet with regards to werewolfanism, so don't get too cosy with her.
The Mages guild are a bunch of lunatics, as far as you are concerned. Ignore them. The Dark Brotherhood are a good choice if you want to level your Sneak. The Thieves Guild are also of interest to the Aspect of Hircine, it's entirely your choice whether you want to do their questline or not.
Your side in the civil war is entirely personal preferance. I went with stormcloaks, as I was a Nord. If you took Imperial of Bosmer, I would go with the Empire. You don't even haveto join the war at all.
Possible Mod Choices
I played this build vanilla on my XBox One, besides some graphics mods. However, if you want to add some mods to your playthrough on whatever platform you play on, here are some good choices:
Hircine's Raiment Mod - Adds an entire new armor set that can be crafted via the skyforge that has some good enchantments and a good aesthetic. Makes some minor edits to some existing items as well.
Blessings of the Hunt - A really RP friendly mod that rewards you when you sacrifice animals to Hircine. Also adds arrows that can summon animals to your aid in times of need. A really good mod, a few bugs though.
Immersive Creatures -An amazing mod that adds many new enemies to the game for you to defeat. Some creatures may look a little out of place, you you can disable them if you like. A really amazing mod.
Thank you to Curse Never Dying for the perk spread, it looks simply amazing!
I really enjoyed playing this build. I played this build long ago, and loaded the save up recently and created an idea for an entire series from it. Keep an eye out for my other builds, I'm always working on something! Thank you for reading, and please feel free to critique!