PROLOGUE - The Imperial City, 3rd of Rain's Hand, 4E201
"So, Thessia, right ? You've been the alchemist's apprentice for a while ?", Olrik asked the young girl walking beside him. Not that he cared in the slightest about the answer, no ; he was buying time. He had stalked her all week, as all predators stalk their prey before they pounce. And today was a good day for hunting.
He always operated the same way : find young, solitary girls, charm them, lead them in a quiet spot, take their jewelry, their gold - and with this one, he thought, why not her virginity. Oh, she was a cute one. A short, chestnut-haired breton, barely over twenty years old. Light skin, green eyes, freckled cheeks. He could always slit her throat if she tried to scream for help, he thought. Given the girl's stature, she would not pose a threat.
Still conversing, he made them take a turn left as they exited the Market District. He knew exactly where to lead her. It was dusk, on a rainy day, nobody would be walking the alley he was luring her to. Hell, rain was pouring so hard even the beggars fled to seek shelter at the temple. Just a few more steps, and there they were : a quiet, deserted backstreet. He discreetly reached to the dagger strapped to his lower back, hidden under his cloak...
"Looking for something ?" she cheekily asked, as he gripped the empty leather scabbard. He turned his head to the girl. She was pointing his own weapon right at him, a slight smile of contempt on her juvenile face. He was trapped, right there, beaten at his own game. Now he was alone on an empty alley, somewhere in the immensity of the Imperial capital. Now he was the prey. "I guess it's time you hand me your valuables, big guy. And I'll be keeping that knife as a souvenir, to boot."
If you wish to read the full backstory, click here.
Before we delve deeper into Thessia's adventures to come, here are the essential, and recommended, mods for this build.
ESSENTIAL MODS :
Alternate Start Start as a new member of the Thieves' Guild if you wish to follow the backstory. You could also use the vanilla start and say Thessia got caught in the crossfire after she passed the Cyrodiil border, but note that this build is not tailored to fight dragons.
RECOMMENDED MODS :
NB : The latter three essentially act as a replacement for 20/50/100% more perk point mods that come with Ordinator. I prefer to play with these, as exploration (Skyshards), defeating epic enemies (PPA) and mastering more and more skills (PP@SL) make perk points feel like a reward for your acomplishments, rather that just something you get double every few levels. It is up to your preference, however, you could bypass these and just get any perk point modifier on the Ordinator page.
Name : Thessia
Age : 20
Class archetype : Rogue
Race : Breton
With Imperious installed, Bretons start with a base Health of 95 (regen rate 0.75%), base Magicka of 105 (regen rate 3.125%) and base Stamina of 100 (regen rate 4.75%), and a carrying capacity of 300.
As for racial abilities, they have Spell Mantle, which increases magic resistance by 15%, and provides 25% spell absorption, doubled when Magicka is under 25%, Stones of Galen, which makes each standing stone grant an extra passive ability, and Grail of Betony, which gives a chance for an encounter - usually around level 35, with an adventurer carrying said Grail. Having it in your inventory as a Breton increases Magicka and Stamina regen by 50%.
Furthermore, their active ability, Shared Ancestry, is acquired by discovering 10 of the 13 total standing stones in Skyrim. It is a one use a day Power that allows you to mimic the racial ability of any human or elven target for 300 seconds.
Standing Stone : The Shadow
With Andromeda installed, the Shadow Stone has two passive properties and one active ability.
For passives, Blur increases movement speed by 20% while in combat, while Hide in Shadows makes sneaking and sneak attacks 20% more effective when near a wall or obstacle.
The active ability, Shadow Step, is unlocked through discovering every standing stone in Skyrim. It is a dash to your target, with a 75 ft. range, at the cost of 50 points of stamina, usable at will.
Being a Breton, you of course get another added benefit to your standing stone with Stones of Galen. In the case of the Shadow, it makes your sneak attacks have a 20% chance to deal double damage, multipliers included.
Stat Distribution : 0/2/1
Factions : Thieves Guild, Dawnguard, Bards' College, Companions (optional)
Alignment : Chaotic Neutral
These are examples of quests that make sense role-play wise for Thessia. She will do whatever nets her a profit, sure, but she also has a good heart and knows all the gold she can get is no good if the world is destroyed. Please note, these lists are non-exhaustive, in no particular order, and are overall just a way for you to get started into roleplaying the character.
QUESTLINES : Thieves' Guild questline, Dawnguard DLC (side with the Dawnguard), Served Cold questline (Solstheim, Dragonborn DLC) Companions (Thessia is not a fan of honor and all, but she might find the coin is good enough with Aela and the gang. If she so chooses, she will cure her lycanthropy whenever she can).
MAIN QUESTS : Find all Standing Stones, The White Phial, Repairing the White Phial, Bards' College, Lights Out !, The Golden Claw, Rise in the East, Blood on the Ice, The Heart of Dibella
MISC QUESTS : Argonian Ale Extraction, Steal the Dibella Statue, Ysolda's Shipment
With Thessia being a rogue of rather small stature, she had to learn to fight with her wit as much as with her blade, whittling down her opponents to manageable numbers before dashing in with a flurry of sword strikes, and has to rely on mobility and parrying for defense. Let's review and comment the perk choice here.
ALCHEMY - Thessia has learned the craft with great masters, and has become a very competent alchemist herself. She uses potions to sustain through combat, and poisons to harm and debilitate her opponents.
- Physician : As she bears no shield and is wrapped in light armor, Thessia needs the extra help from this perk to stay alive in combat. Choose to increase the magnitude of your Health potions.
- Bottomless Cup : Probably the best perk in the whole tree for this build. Also, getting multiple applications per poison vial means less crafting and more dungeoning !
- Alkahest : When poison seeps through the wounds of her enemies, Thessia gains momentum and has an easier time bypassing their defenses with a quick strike of her blade.
- Amplify Lethality : This perk allows Thessia to carefully plan for the execution of an important target before sneaking right back out of the fray.
LOCKPICKING - Thessia has a nose for trouble, and is an expert at getting places she should not be, under any circumstances, ever. She also likes loot and treasure.
- Nose for Treasure : You should pick jewelry because it often sells for more than what the gold option would grant, and we have the Dragon Hoard perk from the Pickpocket tree to fund. Bottom line is : gold is good.
- Dungeoneer : A must-have perk for any roguish adventurer such as Thessia.
- Treasure Hunter : In the words of Thessia "We take those."
PICKPOCKET - Being a scoundrel sometimes means you have to get up close and personal with your target, be it an unattentive bandit lookout, or a distracted noble wandering an open market.
- Brotherhood Cocktail : Mostly used to get a tough opponent out of the way with a paralysis poison, or rendering a spellcaster useless with a Magicka poison.
- Trickster : Thessia used of this technique to rid herself of the bandit Olrik back in the Imperial City ; keep this option in your backpocket for opponents wielding powerful weapons.
- Death's Emperor 2/2 : Many a scallywag thought this fabled cursed coin to be a myth, but Thessia managed to acquire it, and is now using it to her advantage against heavily armored opponents.
- Dragon Hoard : You really think Thessia would sleep on all that gold, instead of using it to get perks that allow her to make more gold ?
LIGHT ARMOR - When things get dicey, Thessia has to be somewhat protected, and a lighter armor allows her for more freedom of movement. Besides, her stature wouldn't allow her to wear the heavy steel plate stuff. Leave that to the Nords.
- Unhindered : Thessia is so comfortable in her armor that she even forgets she is wearing one.
- Keen Senses : Wearing a helmet or a hood would hinder Thessia more than it would help, and her bladework is sufficient to keep her head covered.
SPEECH - With her angelic face and her silver tongue, Thessia is able to get whatever she wants from whoever she meets.
- Fence : Yup. Thessia definitely acquired these items through legal means.
- Performer : Thessia is a bit of a party monster, and when plundering is over, she knows damn well how to rock a duet with the local bard !
SNEAK - Thessia is adept at remaining unheard and unseen until she's already won the battle.
- Sneak attack : Thessia's weapon of choice, next to her cunning and charm, is a sword, and she knows exactly where to strike a spine with it.
- Smokescreen : Thessia's alchemical prowess has led her to be able to craft smoke bombs, which allow her to either quickly dispose of a large group of confused enemies... Or escape if all else fails. Having a backup plan in case of emergency is primordial to any good thief. Ask old Delvin.
ONE-HANDED - Thessia's sword never leaves her side, and you should mind both the edge and the tip if confronted to it.
- Disciplined Fighter : Thessia knows how to deal a lethal strike without putting all of her effort into the swing.
- Rogue's Parry : Thessia's quick and precise bladework is able to capitalize on the slower speed of weapons such as battleaxes or longbows.
BLOCK - A real duelist's bladework should be as good in defense as it is in offense.
- Quick Reflexes : Even the best defensive bladework will not save a short Breton from a big bulky nord swinging a warhammer. In these events, Thessia relies on her cat-like reflexes to dodge the heavy blow.
- Mocking Blow : Thessia knows that the bigger guys get mad when outdueled by a pesky little girl. She also knows they'll grow tired and vulnerable all the quicker.
- Timed Block 2/2 : Knowing when to parry is just as important as knowing how to.
- Poke the Dragon : There is no better moment to strike than when your opponent has to regain their balance after a failed swing. Thessia knows it too well.
This section allows you for a lot of freedom, as Thessia is neither a smith nor an enchanter, you should go for the gear that provides the best stats and the coolest aesthetic ; whatever makes Thessia feel like the rascal she is to you. The lists below are my personal suggestions.
Weapons - Steel sword, silver sword, Bolar's Oathblade, Loner's Sword, Blade of Woe (I would recommend not joining the Dark Brotherhood, as the creepy murderous religious cult vibe might not fit Thessia's taste, and killing Astrid instead when she abducts you, but then again, that's your choice to make), and, if you do end up joining with Cicero & Co. after all, Windshear is a tremendously effective option as well.
Armor - Any of the Thieves' Guild sets (Regular, Guild Master, Blackguard) if you want to focus on plundering and moneymaking, Linwe's Armor for more combat power, Rough Leather Armor (Brown Version). I personally went with the Silver Hand Light Armor, Leather Bracers and Leather Boots from the excellent Unplayable Faction Armors. I was always a fan of NordWarUA's work, and am glad to be able to include some of it in a build.
Miscellaneous - Thessia would never set foot in a dungeon without her poisons, Health and Stamina potions, and a good handful of lockpicks. Torches may also come in handy when exploring the deepest, darkest caves Skyrim has to offer.
Elusiveness (Passive) : Blur + Unhindered + Quick Reflexes
Thessia's small stature and speed make it almost impossible for her opponents to keep track of her, let alone hit her in combat
Timely Riposte : Timed Block + Poke the Dragon + Furious Strength
Thessia quickly counterattacks after deflecting a blow, before her opponent regains their footing
First Blood : Rogue's Parry + Disciplined Fighter + Furious Strength
Thessia's reflexes allow her to swiftly strike while her opponent winds up their attack, leaving themselves exposed to a Timely Riposte if Thessia blocks the incoming blow after First Blood
Cunning Assault : Sneak attack + Shadow Step + Death's Emperor
Thessia dashes from the shadows with surrealistic speed, and places the cursed septim in her target's pocket just before striking
Thessia's poison of choice, able to inflict Health, Stamina and Magicka damage all at once
Thessia smashes a vial of Vicious Poison against her blade for a guaranteed kill
Special Brew : Blue Mountain Flower + Giant's Toe + Imp Stool/Wheat
Thessia always has a few of those potions, that both increase and replenish her health, strapped to her belt
Grand Finale : Smokescreen + Sneak attack + Disciplined Fighter + Furious Strength
Thessia smashes a smoke bomb to the ground, blinding her foes long enough to go on a kill streak
STRENGTHS : Excellent in a one-on-one against slow, hard-hitting foes due to superior agility, and against multiple lightly-defended humanoid enemies such as bandits because of speed and critical damage, versatile toolkit thanks to Alchemy usage and some elements of sneakier classes thrown into the mix
WEAKNESSES : Squishy, no ranged arsenal, bad against mages even with the Breton racial if not managing to gapclose quickly
Thessia is a Rogue, sporting light armor, a one-handed sword, and enhancing her combat potency with alchemical concoctions such as Vicious Poison and Special Brew. Whilst technically Rogues are a combat-oriented class, they still rely on their agility and swiftness more than their raw strength, and for that reason Thessia also utilizes two essential aspects taken from more stealthy classes :
- Never fight on an even footing, therefore use poisons, potions, the environment, and pretty much anything at hand to get an unfair advantage, as well as a fair bit of combat psychology, with perks such as Mocking Blow.
- Eliminate the most difficult target from the fight before engaging the rest of the bad guys. These include mages and heavily armored two-handed wielders, for whom she will use either Venomous Strike or Cunning Assault.
Once she's dealt with the toughest baddie, it's time for Thessia to exit stealth and rush to her remaining foes, utilizing the movement speed granted by Elusiveness, and quickly dispatch them with precise, effective uses of First Blood and Timely Riposte. Note that you should never power attack in open combat, and prefer fast flurries of regular attacks, unless said power attack is a part of either of these techniques.
For emergency situations, Grand Finale can both be used to thin out a big group of enemies or get to a primary target ; note that the Smokescreen perk can also simply be used as an escape tool, and the racial ability Shared Ancestry can be of use in niche cases (dueling a tough opponent with a good racial power : Orcs, Imperials, Redguards, Nords mostly). Shadow Step, whilst the first obvious use that comes to mind is to gapclose to an enemy from stealth, can also be used on a distant target in the midst of combat to dodge a heavy blow or take the slower, heavily-armored opponents off your back for a few seconds. Should an especially tough enemy be patrolling the area you seek to go through, you can try to avoid him using your stealth and analyzing his movement. I'm looking at you, pesky frost trolls and cave bears, standing between Thessia and a nice, full chest of riches.
A quick note on Cunning Assault : you need to enter sneak mode, wind up your power attack, and quickly press Shadow Step and the activate key ("E" by default). This will teleport you to your target first, open their inventory second, allowing you to slip the Death's Emperor into their pocket, and the power attack will go off after you close the inventory. This trick takes a bit of practice but is crucial to master if you wish to use Thessia's full capabilities.
This concludes the first build I'm posting on The SkyForge, namely my Rogue build. This is a part of my Project 21 series of builds, which will be my own take on all 21 classes of the TES universe, so I guess that's 20 more to go.
I would like to extend special thanks to Enai Siaion, creator of Ordinator, Andromeda, Wildcat, Imperious, and many more gameplay-enhancing mods, for making Skyrim an even more amazing game than Bethesda already had, and one I still enjoy playing after almost a decade, as well as to Furrion 17. I tried all of his builds when I got into character building and really had a blast, and the dedication he shows in crafting a good backstory for a good build inspired me to try my hand at it as well.
That's all from me for now, expect more soon ! Don't hesitate to comment and share your experience playing Thessia, I hope you'll have as much fun playing her as I had creating, playing and writing the build she is the star of !
MY OTHER BUILDS
BARBARIAN : Ulfgar, the Lone Wolf
HEALER : Alska, She of the Wild
KNIGHT : Acilius, Alessia's Chosen
NIGHTBLADE : Caesia Tremellius, the Imperial Inquisitor
SORCERER : Lanathel, the Bloodsworn
SPELLSWORD : Ariane, the Skystrider
WARRIOR : Kazan, the Lion of Bangkorai
WITCHHUNTER : Taren Verelas, the Beckoner of Retribution