Builder's Note: Regarding the contest, it is currently 12am Australian Eastern Standard Time so this build may one of the first ones up due to commitments I have tomorrow and as of now we are unaware of any conditions regarding tags and build names.
Anyway, without further ado, Nebula and I are proud to present...
After the battle of the alliances in the Second Era, the Ebonheart Pact emerged victorious, destined to rule in a new Empire over Tamriel. At first things were well, the people of Skyrim, Morrowind and Argonia could not be more pleased with their new leaders.
However, the Great House of Telvanni opposed the unity of the three races and began to spend its influence in Morrowind and started uprooting the other houses territory in order to prove a point to those who supported the Ebonheart Pact. As a result, the other Great Houses of Morrowind withdrew most of its Ebonheart soldiers to help restore order to their land.
And so, only the Nords and Argonians remained. While once allies, they grew untrusting of another, and both races began to secretly plot to uproot the other in order for them and them alone to guide Tamriel’s new empire. As they were doing so, spies from the fallen Imperial nation began to scout out both their activities and secretly rebuilt their army. They stormed Solitude, the centre point of the Ebonheart Pacts activities, and a great battle was fought on the marshes and mountainside around the city. Both sides suffered heavy losses, but it was the Imperials who won and restored what they called order to Tamriel and have been in power ever since.
But the Argonians of Black Marsh knew they would seek revenge. The great political party of the An-Xileel formed and soon influence the majority of Argonia to despise the Empire. As time went on, they managed to root out all influence of the Empire from their homeland. They wanted revenge, yes, but they knew they must wait…
And that time is now. A young agent, but one of strong mind and soul, was assigned the task of rekindling the Nordic and Dunmeri relations of the fallen Ebonheart Pact so the An-Xileel can lead them all to victory and to crush the Empire, once and for all!
Along the way, the young agent will locate powerful artifacts for the An-Xileel, kill supporters of the Empire and restore the Ebonheart Pact to their former glory.
For the An-Xileel! For the Ebonheart Pact! For Argonia!
The An-Xileel is probably one of the most powerful political and militia factions in all of Tamriel. Not only have they united the majority of Black Marsh to keep the Empire and pretty much every other army out, they also managed to force Methrunes Dagon to close his Oblivions gates in Black Marsh due to the Argonian armies storming them and overwhelming the Daedra. They are cunning, discreet, immensely powerful, and surprisingly have very little lore about them. Luckily, all three of us love these badass lizard folk, so we saw past that and began to work probably what is our favourite Argonian playthrough to date.
Like we mentioned earlier, the lack of lore on the An-Xileel was a bit of a worry. Were they warriors, battlemages, pilgrims or spellswords? In the end, we decided to portray our agent as a typical politician-like and higher-class Argonian, a silver-tongued combatant who fools his foes with words (Illusion) while buffing his armor with magic (Alteration). He is well-versed with sword-play (One Hand), the art of tonic crafting (Alchemy) and is not afraid to sneak and lie to get his own way (Sneak and Speech). Overall, this build is a gem to play, great for roleplayers and perfect for fans of the true master race – Argonians.
Race: Argonian – What else?
Stats: 2/1/1 Magicka will be used for casting illusion and alteration spells, and stamina will only be needed for power attacks and sprinting.
Major Skills: Illusion, Sneak, Speech
Minor Skills: Alchemy, One Hand, Alteration
Stone: Any of the guardian stones at first (really, take your pick!), then either the Lord or the Shadow. The Lord provides a helpful AR boost while the Shadow is a useful get-away tool.
Shout: Aura Whisper, Elemental Fury, Dismay, Slow Time, Become Ethereal, Kyne’s Peace, and Animal Allegiance
Follower: Derkeethus is perfect, but any Dunmer or Nordic follower will also suit this build.
Powers and Abilities: Mora’s Boon, Sinderion's Serendipity, Agent of Subterfuge, Ethereal Spirit, Secret of Arcana, Root of Power, Seeker of Sorcery, Lover’s Insight
Notable Spells: Invisibility, Muffle, Hysteria, Pacify, Mayhem, Paralyse, Equilibrium, Ebony Flesh, Detect Life and Dead, Telekinesis, Ash Rune
Illusion: As a member of a political party, manipulating the mind of your opponents is an important skill to have. Likewise, bending the minds and will of your enemies will allow you to slip past them easily, turn friends against one another or even put a knife in their back.
Sneak: You can’t win every fight, so when the time calls; you must revert to slipping past unseen or slowly stalk your opponent, slitting their throat when they least expect it. Besides, it’s backstabbing a normal thing in politics?
Speech: Explanation really not need here, basically the same as Illusion but used outside of combat to influence the common folk of Skyrim. It also benefits in roleplay, when you influence potential followers to rejoin the Ebonheart Pact.
Alchemy: The majority of Argonians know a thing or two about whipping up a good poison and the An-Xileel are no exception. Our agent knows how to whip up crippling potions to damage his foes before they even know he is there, cure his ailments and to even become invisible mid-fight. We saw our potions and poisons as Hist Sap, something that only the Argonians can consume without horrible side effects. Thus, they make great poisons.
One Hand: When combined with the poisons of Alchemy and the offensive Alteration spells, the seemingly simple swordsmanship of the An-Xileel agent becomes a formidable force in battle. While not perked, dual-wielding your swords in a fight is perfectly acceptable, especially when your blades are laced with a poison.
Alteration: Argonians have a natural talent for the art of Alteration and thus, the An-Xileel choose to perfect this talent rather than worry about what sort of armor they wear. Therefore, they can wear any combination of heavy and light armor without worrying about how much protection they have. As seen below, however, we chose to stick to Light Armor for simplicity’s sake.
The Gauldur Amulet
Morag Tong Armor (Fortify Magicka Regen)
Ring of Peerless Magicka
Stormcloak Officer Gauntlets (Fortify One Hand)
Morag Tong Boots (Muffle)
Nightingale Blade + Blade of Woe
Unenchanted Nordic Carved Swords
After forming an alliance with both the Nords and Dunmer of Skyrim and Solstheim, reforming the disbanded Ebonheart Pact, the An-Xileel have formed a versatile selection of gear made up with influences from all three races.
Linwe’s Hood will require you to progress a bit through the Thieves Guild questline and complete the quest The Summerset Shadows, but it is well worth it as the enchantment is much better than any other hood in the games. If you quicksave before Delvin or Vex give you your radiant quests, you can quickload and change the location until you get Windhelm, allowing you to do the five quests early on.
Likewise, the Nightingale weapons can be acquired through the same questline (see herefor the levelled stats). I picked mine up around Level 30 which made it strong, but not overpowered for the rest of my
The Morag Tong armor can be acquired in one of two ways – By joining the Brotherhood and looting it off the random Morag Tong encounters, or by acquiring it through the quest,Served Cold.
You can also gain your Stormcloak Officer Gauntlets in a few ways – By killing Captain Valmir when you first meet him during the quest, Siege on the Dragon Cult (but only if you followed Ralof during Unbound) or by killing him after said quest if you did not follow Ralof, or by going through the Civil War questline and earning it as you progress up the ranks. Any of these ways would be suitable, depending on when you want your final armor set.
The machete-like Nordic Swords can be acquired from any of the smiths on Solstheim or in random loot around Level 28. Acquire the Blade of Woe in any way you desire, by pickpocketing it early on or by looting it off Astrid’s dead body (more of that later).
Finally, your Ring of Peerless Magicka can be acquired through dungeon boss chests or bought in stores, and the Gauldar Amulet can be acquired through the quest, Forbidden Legend, which can be started at any time after beginning the game.
Combat can get a bit tricky but as you go along, you will begin to form a routine and gain synergy with it. Fighting your enemies requires subtlety, trickery and deceit, something this agent is all too happy to commit to. You are not an evil being, oh no, you are simply here to achieve your own goals and desires. The agent is just a typical Argonian, not quite evil, but not an advocate of holy goodness either.
When entering a new area, either use your natural Alteration abilities (Detect Life and Dead) or the power of the Voice (Aura Whisper) to locate your enemies and then quickly cast\a flesh spell on yourself. From there, you can plan your attack and gain an advantage. Once you get Quiet Casting, you can lay down a Frenzy or Ash Rune to set a trap for your enemies, while you head off in another direction to pick off stragglers with your poisoned bow or to use arrows to draw them into your trap.
The Illusion school is a wondrous thing, isn’t it? You can calm down the most furious of opponents while infuriating the whelps, nudge your companion to charge bravely into battle and even turn yourself invisible. Illusion spells, combined with Alteration spells, are the bread and butter of the build, the main focus of the An-Xileel. He’ll calm someone down, only to sneak up behind them and slice their throat in one fluid motion with his Blade of Woe.
Sneaking is second-nature to you, and thus you should always be dropped into a crouch and stalking about, exploring out the environment and plotting your next move. When you spot a lone enemy patrolling, have some fun with him. If he’s close to a group, scare him off into the room with a Fear spell and create a panic spree. While they’re searching for you, frenzy them one by one and watch the madness unfold…
If you happen to get stuck in open combat, draw one of your two pairs of weapons to wreak havoc on your enemies. With your ‘machetes’ (Nordic Carved Swords) and Elemental Fury, you can cut through weak hoards enemies with a deadly speed, while your dagger and sword combination of the Blade of Woe and Nightingale Blade can quickly overwhelm even the strongest of bosses.
If you find yourself getting injured and overwhelmed, paralyse the foe/s and drop into a crouch and either activate your Shadow Stone power (if you have it) or down an invisibility potion. From there, you can retreat and replan your approach. Remember, retreating does not make you a coward, but rather makes you much more intelligent than your enemies.
Overall, there are many different ways to approach combat with the An-Xileel as every situation calls for different tactics. Sometimes you need to be sneaky and play dirty, sometimes you need to hit hard and fast, with the intent of inflicting of much pain and torture as possible. The best advice we can give is to experiment and find which way suits your situation and go from there!
The An-Xileel have provided their agent in Skyrim with the secrets of crafting the most powerful elixirs and toxins that they have code-named ‘ The Hist Sap’, after the liquid which the hatchlings of Argonia ingest on their traditional Naming Day. Below are some of the most powerful brews the An-Xileel will use.
The following are just some of the many potions and poisons we used in game, and we encourage you to experiment and find more to play with! Alchemy is an overlooked skill and can be game-changing if used right.
Effects ~ Fortify Health + Fortify Archery
Ingredients ~ Canis Root + Juniper Berries + Namira's Rot
Effects ~ Fortify Health + Restore Health
Effects ~ Regenerate health + Invisibility
Ingredients ~ Luna Moth Wing + Vampire Dust
Effects ~ Ravage Magicka + Ravage Stamina + Ravage Health
Ingredients ~ Jazbay Grapes + Scathecraw + Spawn Ash
Effects ~ Damage Health + Damage Magicka + Damage Magicka Regen + Frenzy
Ingredients ~ Falmer Ear + Hanging Moss + Human Heart
- Avoid random killings. If somebody has wronged you, then your Illusion spells are certainly a way to do it without getting your hands dirty. Unless you are attacked directly, try to keep your hands clean.
- The An-Xileel has already shown the Empire why going to Black Marsh isn't a good idea, so why not give them a reminder? As if siding with the Stormcloaks wasn't enough, you should kill all Imperial soldiers you see, before AND after the civil war questline. You should also slay the Penitus Octulatus in Dragon Bridge as well.
- While the Argonians in Windhelm would be better off if you choose to side with the Imperials, you unfortunately cannot do that. So, do what you can to help them out without killing Ulfric (resisting the temptation is hard, I know!). This includes finding Shahvee's amulet and beating the crap out of Torbjorn Shatter-Shield.
- When in a settlement, wear proper clothes and hide your weapons to disguise yourself as an An-Xileel to the common citizens of Skyrim. It also helps cover the fact that you are a terrifying murderer and it makes more sense when persuading somebody.
- Another way to influence the Nords of Skyrim is to become a Thane in the Holds and put on a façade of a wealthy but secretive Argonian merchant. You should also gain the home in Raven Rock in order to spread your influence there as well.
- The An-Xileel are also seeking powerful new weapons and artifacts to combat the Empire and expel them from Black Marsh, such as items gifted from the Daedra themselves. Perhaps their agent in Skyrim will come across some such items…
- If you have Hearthfire, I recommend grabbing the home at Morthal as it is very close to the marsh and almost mimics the Argonian homeland. You can also have a fish hatchery, greenhouse and a garden to grow potion ingredients.
The most difficult part of the build was deciding what quests and factions suited the An-Xileel the most. Our agent in Skyrim is sneaky, manipulative, cocky, and prefers to work alone. He does not care for most other people, only working to form alliances and to create good appearances. His allies are the Nords and Dunmer of both Skyrim and Solsthium and he dislikes the majority of the other races, especially Imperials.
Going off this, we completed many quests that revolve around assisting the Dunmer or Nords, whilebackstabbing or ignoring the other races. We completed a wide variety of different quests, but the following are essential or partially important.
Civil War – Stormcloaks, All Raven Rock quests, Thieves Guild questline, Forbidden Legend, Main Questline (completion optional, at least finish up to The Horn of Jurgen Windcaller to gain hints to Word Walls), Forbidden Legend, College of Winterhold questline (completion optional, only needed really for the Gauldar Amulet and access to merchants), Dark Brotherhood (see the section below for more details).
One other unique thing we found with the build was how we approached the Daedric quests (among other quests that reward you with similar powerful relics). While we did not seek them actively, but if we came across them accidently, we played as though the An-Xileel’s greed and hunger will lure him towards their power to finish the quest and gain the artifact.
Choosing whether or not to take part in the Dark Brotherhood was a very difficult decision for us to make when creating this build. The An-Xileel are known to have the Shadowscales in their service, though the Dark Brotherhood in Skyrim is a dismal shell of what it should be. Because of this dilemma, we figured it would be best to leave the final decision up to you, the players. Below are both positive and negative argument for each side, but both choices will not affect the build too much.
If you choose to play though the Dark Brotherhood questline, then you will earn quite a few bonuses for the character, both gameplay-wise and roleplay-wise.
Gameplay-wise, you will have access to a pair of Dark Brotherhood Initiates who will follow you and do your bidding, you will have the Blade of Woe (which you can also pickpocket from Astrid and have two of the blades), several unique quest rewards, and you will be given an option to earn 20,000 septims for either personal use or Dark Brotherhood use (which, as a politician, should be a no-brainer).
With rolepaying, you will weaken the Empire extremely so by killing the Emperor, you cam started restoring the Dark Brotherhood (which should, in time, allow more Shadowscale camps to be built), you will eliminate many potential threats in Skyrim, and you will have accumulated a fair bit of gold in the process (and hasn’t it always been about the money?)
Destroy the Dark Brotherhood!
If you chose to exterminate the Dark Brotherhood, then there are also a number of potential benefits to be gained as well.
Benefits to the gameplay are pretty simple, you will be able to obtain the Blade of Woe much quicker than you normally would, you can easily gain 3,000 Septims as the reward for killing the assassins, and you will still have access to many sets of Shrouded Armor (should you wish to use it).
And with the roleplay, you will have gained positive publicity for the An-Xileel (who WOULDN’T want to say that their government eliminated one of the most notorious groups of assassins on Tamriel?), you will have put an end to the bastardization of the once-great Dark Brotherhood, and you will have given the Shadowscales a fresh start, all while earning a decent amount of gold and loot.
Regardless of your choice, both options have a number of positive benefits to them.
And there you have it, the An-Xileel! This truly is a blast to play and this build is perfect for anyone wanting to try an Argonian for the first time or for those who wish to have a tough Argonian warrior with a rich roleplay. With that being said, we all hope you enjoy the build!
We would like to thank Teecam for his guide, ‘Hearthfire: An Alchemist’s Dream’ and give him credit for two of our Hist Sap potions. We also like to thank Vazgen for his guide, ‘Useful recipes with DLC ingredients’. Both guides were a big help to us!