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How to play a Good Guy: A Guide to Paladin Characters

Discussion in 'Skyrim Guides and Tutorials' started by The Spectre of Skyrim, May 15, 2012.

  1. The Spectre of Skyrim

    The Spectre of Skyrim An Evil-turned-good guy

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    With the Companions having Werewolves, the Thieves' Guild and the Dark Brotherhood, the only joinable faction in Skyrim that isn't evil is the College of Winterhold. Skyrim just seems to be built for evil and dastardly characters - my main character is one. However, I do like being just and righteous, so I began a secondary character that would role-play as a "good guy". If you want to be the bringer of justice to Skyrim, this is your guide to doing so.

    It can also be considered a guide for those looking for a tank character, as the archetype I used to play my good-doer was a Paladin, a melee fighter who can keep himself in the fight almost indefinitely. If you want to be a warrior, but don't mind not being a "pure" one, I recommend this build highly - as you will see, the inclusion of a little magic covers most of the flaws a pure warrior may have.

    The Paladin

    The Paladin is both a character build and a role-playing style. I will discuss the role-playing aspect later on -for now, let's see how we should set up such a character.

    A Paladin is a justice-serving, righteous, and (optionally) divinely inspired warrior. He enters the battlefield in shining armour, lays waste to evil-doers with his sword, and tends the sick and injured. As such, in the context of this game, we're looking at a heavily-armoured melee fighter who uses Restoration Magic to keep himself and his allies in the fight.

    Choosing a Weapon:
    One-handed or two-handed? 'tis the question. Two handers do far more damage, but are slow and cannot block damage well. I have seen people argue for their use, but I really recommend 1 handed weapons for any melee fighter except a Barbarian, especially for a Paladin build: after all, if you are using both hands to hold your weapon, how will you heal yourself? 1-handed weapons allow for a shield or spell in your left hand, which, form my experience, is infinitely more useful than the extra damage from 2 handers. After all, this class is about lasting the longest in a fight - the longer you last, the more damage you do, even with a weaker weapon. I recommend 1 handed.

    In the Other Hand:
    Assuming you picked 1 handed, your other hand is free to have something in it. Herein lies a fundamental choice: do you have a shield or not? Many think that having a shield in the other hand defeats the purpose of using Restoration, so they ditch the shield and keep a Restoration spell in hand at all times. That approach certainly works - even as the enemy is damaging you the healing spells are nullifying it, and it's certainly simpler to manage.

    On the other hand, there are people like myself who like to use both a shield AND restoration. I will explain how this works in a later section on gameplay tactics.

    Alternatives:
    So, 1 handed, block, heavy armour (obviously), restoration at the most. That will level you up to an extent, but not that far. Plus, there are other things to be utilized to expand your character.
    Other skills you can choose to use included Alteration and Destruction. Which you use is, again, up to you, but I recommend focussing on one secondary magic school. If you did all three, you're not only spreading yourself too thin in terms of perks but you're more like a Mage. A Paladin is meant to be a warrior - the magic is a supplement.

    Destruction fits the build as it gives you a ranged mode of attack. However, I found that using it significantly took away from the melee fighter experience I was going for - again, we're making a warrior, that's what I was going for. Destruction certainly makes a fine complement, but I prefer Alteration. The flesh spells boost your armour, and the various utility spells can be used by any character really, and come in handy sometimes (except Transmute, which is handy ALL the time). Plus, Paralyze is great.

    I also recommend heavy investment into Smithing and Enchanting. Not necessarily in perks, but I recommend you enchant everything you have and you smith yourself the best armour and weapons as soon as you can get the materials. You are a frontline fighter, you need the best protection and weapons possible.

    Race?

    Redguard - Start with lvl 25 in 1 handed, and Adrenaline Boost will allow you to constantly power attack. It's an underrated ability.

    Argonian - odd choice, yes? Ain't they supposed to be thieves? Well, yeah, and if you're roleplaying you won't pick them, but Histskin is one of the best Racial Abilities in the game. Pop this during a fight and you are effectively invulnerable.

    Imperial - their starting bonuses fit the character, Imperial Luck puts more money in your pocket, and Voice of the Emperor not only fits a Paladin's preference for peace over violence, but is a good ability regardless.

    Out of all of these, I recommend going Imperial if you are role-playing a Paladin, which I was. The other two have better abilities, but don't fit the RP aspect.

    Playing as a Paladin:

    This assumes that you are using 1 handed and both a shield and restoration.

    Basically, your attack strategy comes down to hotkey usage and efficency. You cannot heal with a shield in your hand, but you cannot block with a spell in your hand. Thus, you must switch between the two. Basically, you need to organize your spells in order of importance for you or what makes sense to you. Memorize those hotkeys and make flipping between them second nature. Eventually you will have which spells to use when down to a science.

    My personal setup:
    1.Sword
    2.Shield
    3.Healing Spell
    4.Heal NPC Spell
    5.Ward
    6.Turn Undead Spell
    7.Flesh Spell
    8.Paralyze

    Other things you should favourite are:
    -Unrelenting Force
    -Slow Time
    -Racial Ability
    -Transmute
    -Master-level spells

    When you meet enemies, your process should be:
    1.Cast Turn Undead Spell (if enemy is undead) or Paralyze spell
    2.Cast Flesh spell
    3.Cast Ward (if enemy is using destruction magic)
    4.Switch to shield
    5.Heal self when wounded
    6.Heal follower
    IN THIS ORDER^

    Once you get the hang of it it becomes an awesome system that will make you pretty much unkillable and in many cases untouchable once you get levelled up and get good perks. It is, IMO, the ultimate tank class. Which 1 handed weapon you use is personal preference. I like the crits from swords, but you could also just bash people's faces in with a mace.

    I really recommend the Dawnbreaker as your primary weapon. It has a fire enchantment, and a weaker version of the Bane of the Undead spell which it has a chance of emitting when used against undead. In both a role-playing and gameplay sense, a perfect weapon for a Paladin.
    Although, if you're going for max damage output, a Daedric Sword with a fire and/or soul trap enchantment work very well.

    As far as armour goes, you're obviously going heavy. Daedric is the best you can get, but for role-players this armour is a bit too evil-looking, so those people will want to stick with Ebony until you get Dragonplate.

    Coming soon: Perks, Spells, and Role-Playing
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  2. The Spectre of Skyrim

    The Spectre of Skyrim An Evil-turned-good guy

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    Ok, after a hiatus, Part 2:

    Know Your Spells:

    Now, I know what some of you more savy types are thinking - potions heal instantly without using mana, and you can make bazillions of them, Why use Restoration?

    I'll tell you why: you have nothing else to use your Mana for - you're a warrior, not a mage. A mage, certainly, would rather use potions so that he can use his mana to attack, but you use a sword. Using restoration means you don't have to lug around a bazillion health potions as so many do and have space in your inventory for other things - which is good, considering all the smithing and enchanting supllies oyu'll be carrying, and the weight of your armour. You also don't have to spend the time collecting ingredients and making them.

    Plus, if you get Respite, you recharge Stamina with Healing spells too, meaning you don't have to carry stamina potions either. Using Restoration basically leaves you only needing to carry Mana potions, as the other two are taken care of. This also leaves you with room for a plethora of poisons that you could and should choose to carry.

    Healing vs. all the other healing spells

    Ah, the great debate of Restoration magic: is it better to use the Novice spell Healing, which constantly restores health as you hold it, or to use the higher level healing spells which heal you in chunks for a greater mana cost?

    Well, as far as cost goes, Healing is very, very cost effective. However, if you are casting it in battle it may not be able to keep up with the damage you sustain, which is when the high level spells are handy. Close Wounds, for example, heals 100 HP per cast instantly; with the Recovery perk, this climbs to 150. This means even a very high level character can instantly fill his health bar up with about 2 or 3 casts of this spell, which might take 30 seconds or more with Healing.

    IMO, this is why the higher level 'bulk' healing spells are better, despite not being as cost effective.

    Wards

    Wards are tricky to use right. You have to have good timing, and be able to spot what kind of spells are being flung at you. A spell that cancels out the Ward's protection will break it and stagger you, while one that doesn't will simply be repelled - you'll never know until the enemy fires.

    Weaker destruction spells can easily be repelled by Wards. In such cases, simply hold the ward up and walk towards the mage as his spells dissipate uselessly against your ward. However, Expert level spells will always break even the Greater Ward if dual cast, as high level mages often do. Even so, having the ward out is essential when fighting mages because even if they break the ward, their spell has still been negated, and you have not taken the brunt of the damage. If you find yourself up against, say, an Arch Necromancer hurling Thunderbolts at you, get a Ward up and advance. When he breaks the Ward, recast it ASAP and continue moving forward. Keep your mana up with potions and, with a bit of luck and quick button tapping, you can advance on him without too much damage. Once you get close, of course, you need to kill him quickly. Keep a healing spell out and use a mana draining poisons if you have them.

    Turn Undead

    Many think that Turn Undead is useless. I discovered that they were wrong.

    Turn Undead spells are basically a "WIN" button for crypts. Basically, go into a dungeon, and when you see undead, just spam this spell at them. Once you have, you can then a)kill the ones who resisted it while their companions run away leaving them alone with you and easier to deal with; b)run after and beat down the fleeing undead, who WILL NOT ATTACK YOU for the spell's duration, even if you attack them. The spells don't work on Deathlords, but you can cast it on their minions so you can focus on the Deathlord alone.

    Circle of Protection is nifty too - if you're in it, they can't touch you, so you can whack them down as they continually enter and run out of the circle without ever attacking you.

    The Master Spells

    There are two Master Restoration spells, and both can only be obtained from, as with all the spells schools, a ritual quest given by the teacher of that spell school in the College of Winterhold upon reaching lvl 100 in that school. In this case, once you get to lvl 100 restoration, go to Collette Marence. Her quest will send you to the Augur of Dunlain, who for some reason is the authority on Restoration, I guess. He will take away all your equipment and leave you only with your healing spells to defend yourself from his attacking apparitions. Survive, and he teaches you Bane of the Undead.

    Bane of the Undead is basically like an area-of-effect Turn Undead spell that also doubles as a fire storm. When cast, it creates an area of effect fire blast like that of Fire Storm, except it only effects undead. Undead are, for those of you up on these sorts of things, vulnerable to fire damage, so most undead will be killed by this spell. The rest will have a Turn Undead effect cast in them and run away burning. This spell is almost overkill against the poor things, but they're evil anyway so it's fun to use. This spell will work on Overlords, which the other Turn Undead spells do not, but Deathlords will still not run away. You'll give them a nasty burn though. Vampires are undead as well, so you can burn them up with this too.

    The other Master Spell comes as a spell tome you can buy from Collette after you get Bane of the undead, called Guardian Circle. It's like a super circle of protection, the difference being that it affects undead of a higher level and also heals you while you're inside it.

    Both are situational, but can save your ass when used at the right time.

    Ok, this was longer than I thought, so I'll leave it. Perks you should grab and Role-playing as a Paladin
    coming soon.
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  3. Tom

    Tom Article Writer

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    great build,

    i was thinking of making a paladin for the New DLC, i think the fact they are "divine" warriors is cool and you can roleplay them very well. always can go evil with one too if you wanted.

    good thread
  4. higgi07

    higgi07 Member

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    Great guide :-)
    I love playing a paladin. Although when I play I use my right hand for spells so that if things get spicy I cam still block while healing etc
  5. The Spectre of Skyrim

    The Spectre of Skyrim An Evil-turned-good guy

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    An evil paladin would be called a Death Knight or a Dark Knight. They are almost the same except they would walk around in Daedric Armour and use Conjuration rather than Restoration.
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  6. Tom

    Tom Article Writer

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    yeah i guess that makes more sense,
  7. Start Dale

    Start Dale I got 99 problems but a Deadra ain't one.

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    Thats what i tend to end up with when i play warrior. The best example i can think of was when i got the Ebony Mail... I immediatly thought yup Amoral killing machine here i come. I amy have to try and make a Paladin now as an additioanl challenge. Can i make a tank without straying to the deadric toys again.
  8. Tom

    Tom Article Writer

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    i think steel plate woul look good for a paladin and maybe a silver sword?

    it souns like a character that would belong to Vigilants of Stendarr??
  9. TheDovakhiin

    TheDovakhiin Member

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    Lol I accidently I think made a death knight...Heavy armour...conjouration and destruction
  10. The Spectre of Skyrim

    The Spectre of Skyrim An Evil-turned-good guy

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    Might as well go to Dwarven then straight to Orcish. Plate wastes a light armour perk to get.

    You're gonna want to use heavy armour. The only one you won't wear is Daedric, which you will skip over and go to Dragonplate.

    Silver Swords are meh. Use a Skyforge Steel sword until you get a)an ebony sword or b) The Dawnbreaker. The Dawnbreaker should be your primary weapon.
  11. The Spectre of Skyrim

    The Spectre of Skyrim An Evil-turned-good guy

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    Perks You Should Get:

    Restoration:

    Everything except dual cast, since you'll only use one hand any way.

    Perks of note:

    Respite - healing spells recharge stamina, negating the need for stamina potions
    Recovery - healing spells heal 50 % more
    Regeneration - mana regens faster
    Avoid death - recharges 250 health automatically once a day if you fall bellow 10% health; will save your ass in boss battles
    Necromage - all spells are more effective vs undead (critically, this makes turn undead spells affect higher-level undead)

    Heavy Armour:

    All perks on the right side. Left side is optional - conditioning is great but you have to waste two perks to get it

    Block:

    Everything except Quick Reflexes, which is optional.

    Perks of note:

    Deflect Arrows - take no damage from arrows if they hit your shield
    Elemental Protection - reduces destruction spell damage if you block it with your shield
    Deadly Bash - x5 bash damage

    Smithing:

    All the heavy armour perks, and arcane balcksmith.

    Alteration:

    Mage Armour - passive resistance to all magic up to 30% (Geeeeet thiiiiis!!!)
    Stability - Alteration spells last longer
    Atronach - absorb 30% of the mana of spells that hit you

    One Handed:

    Bladesman - increases critical strike chances and damage with swords
    Armsman - up to twice the normal damage from one handed weapons
    Fighting stance - less stamina used in power attacks
    Savage Strike - chance to decapitate enemies

    Other perks higher up on the tree are optional.

    Enchanting:

    You're putting a lot of perks into other things already, but if you can spare it, get all the perks in the middle branch of this tree (Enchanter > Insightful Enchanter > Corpus Enchanter > Extra Effect).
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  12. Martin Robe

    Martin Robe New Member

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    One thing I found that helps a lot (at least earlier in game) if to pick up Spellbreaker and Dawnbreaker. Spellbreaker's ability to block spells for up to 50 points serves well. Of course, roleplay-wise, this might not work well for those who view the daedra as evil. But in the words of my paladin, "Life is filled with dark paths, but even the blackest tunnel has an end. and in that end, there is light, glorious, shining, beautiful light, and it will purge you of all your sins."
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  13. Tom

    Tom Article Writer

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    by burning you to a crisp?
  14. Tom

    Tom Article Writer

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    who would a paladin side with in the Civil war? stormcloaks or empire? or would they see it as a conflict they do not need to be involved in?
  15. TheDovakhiin

    TheDovakhiin Member

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    I think the jokes on us :3 we all get burned to crisp in the end.
  16. Ironclad

    Ironclad Active Member

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    This may be of interest to someone. It's the Anti-Paladin, as seen in my RPG days. The Anti-Paladin
  17. Tom

    Tom Article Writer

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    "Anti-Paladins are the fanatical zealots serving evil deities as crusaders, commanders, and champions. They are the profane standard-bearers, the battle-line breakers, and the unforgiving masters of fell armies. Anti-Paladins serve their deity by spreading their dogma and mercilessly slaying those who refuse to convert. The evil of an anti-paladin is an unequivocal force that shakes even the mightiest warriors of goodness."
  18. Ironclad

    Ironclad Active Member

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  19. Tom

    Tom Article Writer

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    i get so many class ideas from that website, and how to RP them as well its great.
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  20. The Spectre of Skyrim

    The Spectre of Skyrim An Evil-turned-good guy

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    Er, well, mine isn't getting involved. If you do, you have to weigh which has fewer faults, since both do.

    The Stormcloaks represent Nords. Nords are, by their nature, suspicious at the last regarding non-humans. At their worst, they are flat out racists. Whether the Stormcloaks win or not will not change the Nords' xenophobia, but the Empire has social policies to protect against discrimination. Ulfric also may or may not be a self-serving bastard, depending on how you interpret his dialogue.

    The Empire itself stands for most of the things a Paladin would, but their de facto rulers, the Thalmor, do not. Banning Talos worship to appease the Thalmor, for example, is a freedom infringement. The Empire also allow the Thalmor to carry out brutal repression/torture/killings of Talos worshippers, dissenters, and anyone who speaks/acts against the Aldmeri Dominion. The Thalmor themselves are, in every case you find in-game, racist towards non-elves. At least only some of the Nords you meet are racist.

    Aiding the Stormcloaks kicks out the Thalmor and effectively gives everyone freedom. However, the Nords themselves will be more likely to openly discriminate against beasts and mer.

    Aiding the Empire will relieve the oppression of minorities by the Nords, but the Thalmor, IMO, are far worse in acting on their racism than the Nords are. The Nords only taunt and hassle you - the Thalmor will kill you.
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