Redwater Den, 16th of Last Seed, 4E201
"You know, I didn't come to this Gods-forsaken freezing wasteland out of choice, pal. It's just the only province left where guards won't shoot me on sight... Yet. Funny that I gave fifteen years of my life to the Legion, eh ? Now the new boys are out to get my head, wherever I may go. Except here. I was the best damn scout they had, bloody good at what I did, aye, that I was. They kicked me out because of... Of that shit right there." Kastav pointed at the empty bottles littering the floor. "Whaddya think pal ? I say good fucking riddance. I say screw military order, screw the Legion, and screw this mockery of an Empire ! I'm enjoying myself now. Making good coin... Can get more of..." he shook the half-full bottle he was holding, unnoticing the few drops of it he was spilling on the floor "... of the good stuff. I'd work for anyone out there, I'd do anything, if they put the price. But I wouldn't work for the Empire ever again. Hey, let's toast, pal ! To freedom !" Kastav got up with his bottle raised, only to fall back on his arse. The mouse he had been speaking to for the better part of the last hour, startled, ran back into the hole from whence it had come.
"Leaving already, pal ? Damn shame. But I guess that's all the more skooma for me !" Kastav drank the rest of his sixth bottle of the evening in a single gulp, and burped loudly. He crawled to the door, and pulled the handle to help himself up. He had to go get more.
He staggered up to the counter and barked : "Hey, pointy-ears ! Gimme more of that stuff !"
The bosmer dealer stared at him and uttered "You haven't paid for the last one yet, old man. You're not getting anything until you pay your tab." Kastav clenched his fist, but the sight of the big Nord by the door putting his hand on the handle of his axe made him reconsider punching the elven bitch in the face. "Fine." he replied, "So much for customer service... Guess I'll go out there and take a job or two. Might come back in a few weeks, might not. I just... I just need some sleep, I think."
The dealer sighed and rolled up her eyes. That guy was getting on her nerves, but she couldn't let the poor wretch sleep in the woods and die freezing, could she ? "Alright. You can stay the night. But I want you out of here by sunrise, and don't come back without a full purse !" she said, signaling the attendant to help Kastav back to his room.
"Duly noted, ma'am.", chuckled the Imperial. "I've been itching for a good fight, anyway."
In order to play Kastav, the rugged ruffian, here is a list of the mods you will need, as well as a few practical suggestions.
ESSENTIAL MODS :
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 than 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.
"Cutthroats, criminals and thieves... My kind of people."
Name : Kastav
Age : 42
Class archetype : Archer
Race : Imperial
With Imperious installed, Imperials start with a base Health of 100 (regen rate 1%), base Magicka of 100 (regen rate 3%) and base Stamina of 100 (regen rate 5%), and a carrying capacity of 300.
As for racial abilities, they have Discipline, which provides allies within 15 feet 150 points of armor and 15% attack damage during combat, Imperial Virtues, which makes an attribute of yours regen 100% faster in combat (attribute is chosen randomly at the start of the fight), and Human Spirit, which allows you to modify your attribute values at level 10, your resistances at level 20, and your skill levels at level 30.
Furthermore, their active ability, Colovian Star, is acquired by completing any 20 quests. It is a one use a day Power that allows you to fully replenish your Magicka and Stamina, and increase them by the amount restored for 30 seconds.
You should use Human Spirit as follows :
For attribute values, choose +100 Health/-50 Magicka, since the build doesn't use magic.
For resistances, choose to boost your Frost resistance ; this is the most common damage type in Skyrim and it also hinders movement, which Kastav heavily relies upon. You should reduce your Shock resistance, since this type of damage is seldom encountered, and Magicka doesn't matter for Kastav.
For skills, put levels wherever you need to unlock key perks, preferably in Block and Archery, the Magic-related trees don't matter, but pick whichever you like. I'd recommend going for Alteration to get the bonus Resistances - Frost and Fire being the go-to picks here, or Enchanting if you fancy using it ; remove levels in either One or Two-Handed or Heavy Armor, Destruction, Illusion, Restoration or Conjuration, and Alchemy, as we won't be using any of these skills. I prefer not to decrease the level of Pickpocket despite not using it, considering the first two points can give extra carry weight if you have perk points to spare, which is always nice.
Standing Stone : The Thief
With Andromeda installed, the Thief Stone has two passive properties and one active ability.
For passives, Ambush increases the effectiveness of Sneaking and Sneak attacks by 10%, while Thief's Path allows you to learn Thief skills 10% faster.
The active ability, Pillage, is unlocked through discovering every standing stone in Skyrim. It is a one use a day power that makes you find more loot on slain enemies within 30 seconds, with killmoves or kills with an attack vastly exceeding the target's remaining Health granting increased amounts of loot.
Stat Distribution : 0/1/1 - Stop putting points into Stamina, and put all further points into Health, at 300.
Factions : The Companions, Thieves Guild
Alignment : Chaotic Neutral
Here are a few examples of quests that make sense role-play wise for Kastav, the skooma-addict bounty hunter. Kastav will focus on mercenary work, and is ready to lend his skills to anyone in exchange for payment. That being said, he prefers to stay out of politics, and as such will refrain from partaking in the Civil War. He harbors a fierce hatred for the Empire he once served, and will not work for it or any who are openly affiliated to it. 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 : Companions Questline, Thieves Guild Questline (Kastav will keep the skeleton key), Served Cold questline, Dark Brotherhood Questline (Optional)
MAIN QUESTS : Blood on the Ice, Retaking Thirsk (Kastav will side with the Nords, and when Thirsk is retaken, he will accept the bribe from Bujold), The Golden Claw, Innocence Lost, A Night to Remember, In My Time of Need (Kastav will protect Saadia and dispatch the Alik'r)
MISC QUESTS : Find all Standing Stones, Argonian Ale Extraction, Amren's Family Sword, Ysolda's Message, Bounties from Court Stewards, Thieves Guild Radiant Quests. Companions Radiant Quests
As an Archer, a ranged Specialist class, Kastav primarily focuses on Archery for offense, Light Armor for defense, and Smithing to temper his gear, with a few perks here and there for utility. Let's review the most important ones from each tree :
ARCHERY - Kastav is a military-trained marksman, and as such, is more at ease shooting fast flurries of bolts in the heat of the action rather than sniping targets from afar.
- Crippling Shot : This perk allows you to easily kite melee opponents.
- Beak & Talon : Due to Pinning Shot staggering our target, this perk works as a solid and reliable source of crowd control.
- Hailstorm : Crossbows may have a long loading time compared to bows, but their shots always count as fully drawn, which lets us benefit a lot from this perk.
- Wingstrike : This perk has great synergy with the Block perks we've taken, and is extremely useful when facing few melee opponents and several ranged opponents, as it means you don't have to switch to your fists to deal with your attackers.
BLOCK - Crossbows are much heavier and bulkier than bows, and the cross allows for vicious blows should enemies get too close.
- Skull Rattler : This perk, combined with Kastav's high Stamina pool, has surprisingly good damage, as well as natural synergy with Wingstrike from the Archery tree.
- Mocking Blow : Two-handed weapon wielders are very dangerous enemies, due to the high damage of their power attacks, and their melee range that surpasses Kastav's fists'. Depleting their Stamina is a great boost to survivability.
SNEAK - While Kastav prefers open combat, his days as a scout still taught him that it's preferable to execute a key target before they even know you're there.
- Sneak Attack : This perk, combined with Kastav's high Archery skill and the use of the Thief Stone, will ensure the toughest target is dealt with before the battle begins if need be.
LIGHT ARMOR - Kastav favors Light Armor for the ease of movement it provides ; he is also a very proficient and dangerous hand-to-hand fighter.
- Initiative : Kastav relies a lot on Stamina for zooming in when aiming, kiting, and punching. This perks gives us the sustain we need in this department.
- Lightning Strike : Battles against large groups can prove challenging, as you need to pay attention to each of your opponents ; this perk allows you to thin their ranks from the get-go.
- Iron Fist : Traditionally in Elder Scrolls games, Archers were skilled at Hand-to-Hand combat as well as Blade ; the fact that Hand-to-Hand in Ordinator is tied to Light Armor is great, as it lets us invest more points into this tree and avoids having to spec into One-Handed, where we would need a lot of perks to be effective. Jacks of all trades are masters of none, and Archers are certainly masters of their craft.
SMITHING - Legion Scouts are responsible for the maintenance of their own equipment, as they're unlikely to find a smith in the wilderness. Kastav is competent enough to keep his armor and crossbow in good condition.
- Exotic Smithing (Glass) : The armor Kastav is using is classified as Glass armor, so this perk is required to craft and temper it.
- Smithing Specialization (Archery) : The only weapon Kastav uses is a crossbow, which makes this perk extremely valuable. The damage reduction also means he will win every duel against other marksmen.
Even though the enchantments listed below exist on vanilla pieces of gear, I went for custom-enchanted gear for aesthetic purposes. Without any points in Enchanting, and simply using Grand or Black Soul Gems I had gathered, as well as a few enchanting potions, I was still able to get decent enchantments onto my gear. You can forego this enchanting process entirely and rely on finding armor pieces in your travels, but note that you will need, if you so choose, to invest a couple more points into Smithing to be able to temper the enchanted armor pieces you might acquire, whereas you can always upgrade crafted gear prior to enchanting it. That being said, there are no enchanted crossbows in the game, so I would recommend enchanting this one piece at the very least.
A quick note on crossbows : in the vanilla game, you're only able to craft crossbows and bolts after joining the Dawnguard and progressing a bit on this questline ; I used Craft Crossbows Anywhere to be able to craft bolts without this pesky prerequisite.
Necklace : Necklace of Archery
This necklace improves Kastav's damage with his crossbow. Use the highest-level variant you can find.
Ring : Ring of Revival
This ring allows Kastav to have some sustain, considering he uses neither Alchemy nor Restoration. Use the highest-level variant you can find.
Armor : Pariah's Longcoat
Swordsman Coat enchanted with Resist Magic
Gloves : Brawler's Mitts
Swordsman Gloves enchanted with Fortify Unarmed
Boots : Greaves of the Outlaw
Swordsman Boots enchanted with Fortify Stamina Regen
Weapon : The Collector
Enhanced Crossbow enchanted with Absorb Stamina
Ammo : Steel Bolts
Magical Effects : Bonuses gained from completing quests that can be of use to the build
Agent of Dibella, Agent of Mara
Hidden Knowledge : Abilities granted by reaching the end of a Black Book area
Mora's Boon, Seeker of Might, Secret of Protection, Lover's Insight (Replace by Companion's Insight if you're using a follower)
While not an Alchemist, Kastav should still look to collect Healing potions. For role-play purposes, use Sleeping Tree Sap, Skooma or alcoholic beverages instead of Stamina potions. True Shot and Skirmisher Potions, as well as poisons you may come across, might also come in handy.
A stray dog is a perfect fit for Kastav, and he and his newfound furry companion have become the best of friends.
Found in : Meeko's Shack, South of Solitude and West of Morthal
Prerequisite : Meet him on the nearby road and follow him to his shack
Mod used : Meeko Reborn, which lets you choose a unique appearance and improves his behaviour
Maximum level : 25 ; Meeko is also essential if you have Meeko Reborn installed
Relentless (Passive) : Unhindered + Windrunner + Ranger
Kastav is surprisingly fast for a man of his age, easily able to keep his opponents at range.
Planned Execution : Ambush + Sneak Attack + Clean Kill
Kastav discreetly takes out a priority target before rushing into the fray.
Clip their Wings : Pinning Shot + Beak & Talon
With a trick shot at a charging opponent's kneecap, Kastav stops them dead in their tracks.
Take That ! : Wingstrike + Power Bash + Mocking Blow
When an opponent gets too close, Kastav hits them with the cross of his weapon, staggering them.
Brutal Haymaker : Wardancer + Breaking Waves + Sweeping Wind + Power Attack
A devastating heavy blow to an opponent's face, displaying Kastav's skill in unarmed combat.
The Culling : Pillage + Quick Shot + Hailstorm + Steady Hand
Focusing on each of his targets at a time, Kastav quickly dispatches a large group of foes.
STRENGTHS : Excellent at range while decent in melee, very strong duelist while still being good against multiple targets, great mobility, can perk lightly into various Skill Trees for utility if needed, doesn't rely on high cooldowns
WEAKNESSES : Squishy, low melee range, no blocking capabilities, lack of Health sustain, bad against mechanical foes, no magic capabilities
Kastav, the Turncoat
Kastav in an Archer, a type of class that is often classified in character building as a Specialist. Specialists tend to focus on fewer skills than most classes, investing a lot more perks into them. In the case of Archers, Archery is the absolute core skill, obviously. Smithing and Light Armor are the two other major skills - they aren't mandatory per se, contrarily to Archery, but provide a lot of value to an Archer build. The rest of the skill trees are usually either completely disregarded, or very lightly invested into for utility or quality of life perks.
Kastav's fighting style is the embodiment of his personality : violent, extremely effective, and deprived of finesse. Kastav isn't one of those assassin types that dispatch you from the shadows and vanish from sight, even though he still knows how to shoot a sneaky bolt if the situation calls for it. He's more of a "Kick the door open, shoot and punch everything in sight 'til it's dead, get paid." type of guy.
If the situation calls for it, start off the fight with Planned Execution, then use The Culling to trim down your opponents to manageable numbers. The Slow Time effect from Steady Hand comes in very handy against large groups, and can be roleplayed as an effect of Kastav's extensive use of drugs. The Culling should be your opener in situations where taking down a tough foe beforehand isn't necessary.
Keep your opponents at range by kiting backwards and using Clip their Wings on your pursuers ; once a foe is either knocked down by this technique, or slowed enough by Crippling Shot to be disregarded for a short while, focus on taking out ranged opponents, such as mages and marksmen, before switching back to melee attackers. Ideally you'll manage to shoot them down before they reach you, but if you don't, you shouldn't worry too much about it ; Take That ! will give you enough time to try to finish them off with Perfect Aim, or to put away your weapon in favor of your fists. Brutal Haymaker does surprisingly high damage, especially with the Fortify Unarmed enchantment on your gloves. Be careful when fighting Two-Handed wielders though, as they have superior range to that of your fists, and you cannot block their attacks ; the movement speed provided by Relentless should be enough for you to get out of harm's way.
In a few instances, I did mention the build's flexibility in terms of perk allocation ; indeed, should you have spare perk points, there are a few options worthy of considering :
- Pickpocket Tree : Grab Mastery 2/2 for the extra carry weight, and Blood Money for gold generation.
- Alteration Tree : Grab Alter Self : Resistances (Frost and Fire), Alter Self : Attributes (Stamina), and Philosopher's Stone for gold generation.
- Lockpicking Tree : Grab Mastery 2/2 for easier picking, and Game of Fate for extra perk points to spend on the aforementioned options and - you guessed it - gold generation.
These perks are not included in the actual build, as they are far from necessary and would make little sense RP-wise ; however, with perk point modifiers and if playing a character to high levels, you'll often have too many points, so spending them in the most effective possible manner is always appreciable.
After yet another prolonged hiatus, due to the same mental health issues you're already aware of, this concludes the tenth build I'm posting on The SkyForge, namely my Archer 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. Almost halfway through, lads and lasses ! It feels good to be back at it.
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. Since I joined this community, Furrion has given me nothing but constructive advice, words of encouragement, and sincere friendship, for which I am immensely grateful.
That's all from me for now, expect more soon ! Don't hesitate to comment and share your experience playing Kastav, I hope you'll have as much fun playing him as I had creating, playing and writing the build he is the star of !
MY OTHER BUILDS
ASSASSIN : Thogra gra-Karosh, the Crimson Dirk
BARBARIAN : Ulfgar, the Lone Wolf
HEALER : Alska, She of the Wild
KNIGHT : Acilius, Alessia's Chosen
NIGHTBLADE : Caesia Tremellius, the Imperial Inquisitor
ROGUE : Thessia, the Rascal
SORCERER : Lanathel, the Bloodsworn
SPELLSWORD : Ariane, the Skystrider
WARRIOR : Kazan, the Lion of Bangkorai
WITCHHUNTER : Taren Verelas, the Beckoner of Retribution