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Sniper Guide (Assassin Mage) - Long

Discussion in 'Skyrim Guides and Tutorials' started by ShadowGambit, Jun 17, 2012.

  1. ShadowGambit

    ShadowGambit Active Member

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    Hello guys, here is my guide on how to build an awesome Sniper character in Skyrim.

    The way to play a sniper is to be able to pick your targets one by one. And escape when the situation become too hot. For that reason, at high level, I don’t play with a follower. I do play with conjuration because summon Thrall will take the heat for me when I get out of the way and cast invisibility. Then I will find another spot to pick my target, again, one at a time. Patience is the main virtue for a sniper.

    To give you an idea, here are the skills that will be used, In that order:
    • · Archery
    • · Sneak
    • · Illusion
    • · Conjuration
    • · Light Armor
    • · Alteration
    • · One-Handed
    Why one-handed so far away down the list will you ask? Well, if you are a GOOD sniper, you will rarely have to come in close combat range. One-Handed will be here just for you to be able to get out of some hard close combat fight mandatory in the game. I will detail each skills further in this guide.
    Also, a character cannot be “uber” in skyrim without the 3 crafting skills: Alchemy, Enchanting and Smithing. They have to be maxed out.

    Race:
    Not very important, but some are better than others. I see 3 races that can be very good for the build: (In that order)
    1. Breton: 25% magic resistance, a power that regenerate magicka , +10 conjuration, +5 Alchemy-Illusion-Alteration. Best overall in my point of view
    2. Altmer: +50 magicka, magicka regen faster, +10 illusion, +5 enchanting-Alteration-conjuration. Very close second on my opinion, but for me the 25% magic resist of the Breton wins it over the +50 magicka. Also, Alchemy is harder to level than Enchanting.
    3. Dunmer: 25% Fire resistance, +5 Alchemy-Illusion-Sneak-Light Armor. Ancestor Wrath is weak and too situational. If you are a good sniper, enemy rarely come close to you anyway. +10 Destruction is no use for this built.
    Attributes:
    For the attribute, my leveling advice would be to increase them 1/2/2 every 5 levels till level 50. over 5 levels, you will get +10 magicka, +20 Health and +20 Stamina.

    At level 51: Magicka 200 – Health 300 – Stamina 300

    200 Magicka shoul be more than enough to cast the spell you need, mostly is your equipment has 100% Fortify Illusion and Alteration (see equipment for more details)

    After level 50, put all in Health. At level 81, you should get: Magicka 200 – Health 600 – Stamina 300.

    Skills:
    The skills in parenthesis will have to be leveled after level 50

    Archery (7-10)

    This is your bread and butter combat skill. Most of your kills will come from this.

    Equipment Note: I will use either the Bound bow or the Elven Bow. The Bound Bow has the same stats than a Daedric bow and fires Arrows with damage equivalent to the daedric Arrows. With Mystic Binding, the Bound bow is equivalent to a Flawless Daedric Bow. At the end of the game, when I can have all my crafting maxed, I will use the Elven bow, for a total of 225 damage, without counting the arrow. Why the Elven bow over, say, the Daedric Bow? Because I only choose to put Smithing perk in Steel, Elven and Arcane Smithing. So I cannot fully upgrade a Daedric Bow. With my skill set-up, a Daedric bow will only do 174 damage without counting the arrow. Also, the Elven Bow has one of the Highest DPS of the game.
    • Overdraw (5/5)
    • Eagle Eye
    • Steady Hand 1
    • (Powershot)
    • (Steady Hand 2)
    • (Quick Shot)
    How to level: Take Faendal in Riverwood as a follower ASAP. He will take you to level 50. Get a LOT of arrows, you cain get them for free where the NPC train their archery skill (Solitude, Dragonreach, Thieve Guild inner Sanctum). After that, take Mjoll the Lionness as a follower. Go somewhere open with some nice spot to hide, tell her to wait in the open. Sneak and then shoot her. That will increase your Archery as well as your sneak skill. The good thing about Mjoll is tah she is tagged as an essential NPC, so she cannot die.

    Sneak (3-4)

    Sniper HAVE to stay hidden, and this is the main skill for it. I will not touch the left side of the skill tree though, as with Invisibility spell and Muffle enchantment, investing in the left side is the waste, in my point of view.
    • Stealth 1
    • Backstab
    • Deadly Aim
    • (Assassin Blade... just in case)
    How to level:If you want it early, you can sneak attack Rolof (Or Hadvar) in Helgen. Otherwise in Dragonsreach Great Porch, there is a single guard making his round. Shadow him and you will increase your sneak. Or use the Archery leveling method with Mjoll.

    Illusion (4)

    Illusion helps A TON your sneaking ability. Invisibility is a must. It will also get you out of difficult situation with spells like Pacify, Frenzy or Calm, letting you get away and then recast invisibility. The Goal is to get quiet Casting and 75 illusion to be able to buy Invisility.
    • · Novice
    • · Animage
    • · Kindred Mage
    • · Quiet Casting
    How to level: In Dragonsreach, go see Farengar, the Jarl Mage, and buy the Muffle spell from him. Cast it over and over till you get to 75 illusion. Then go see Drevis Neloren in Winterhold College and buy the Invisibility spell. From there, getting to 100 will come fast enough.

    Conjuration (3-7)

    Conjuration will help you avoid the lack of strong weapon at the beginning of the game, till you get your Crafting Skills up to where you can get decent gear. The bound Sword and the Bound Bow will be your main weapon for awhile.
    Bound Bow is particularly powerful, and better than a flawless daedric bow. Also, Bound arrows do the same damage as daedric’s. Bound weapon will also help you farm souls, with Soul Stealer, which are essential to level you Enchanting skills.

    For the late Game, when you gear is set, Conjuration will mostly serve to summon decoy that can get the agro out of you and allows you to disappear with Invisibility.
    • Novice
    • Mystic Binding
    • Soul Stealer
    • (Summoner 1)
    • (Atromancy)
    • (Elemental Potency)
    • (Twin Souls)
    How to level: Go to Dragonsreach and see Farengar. Buy Conjure Flame Atronach and Bow Sword from him. Cast your flame Atronach and then your bound sword. Fight your Atronach. That will increase your Conjuring level nicely. After 50 conjuration, go and buy your Bound Bow from Phinis Gestor in Whitherhold College.

    Light Armor (4)

    Sniper has to be discreet, so Light armor is the way to go. Now, the armor cap is set at 567 armor rating, and it will absorb 80% of the damage. So going OVER that number is useless. Because I didn’t want to invest much in Smithing perks, I will use the Elven Armor. Elven armor with my skills set up reaches the cap. Your Elven armor is also fully enchantable.

    Shield: I rarely use shield, but I always have an Elven Shield in my backpack, just in case. It is mostly useful at the beginning of the game, where your armor doesn’t reach the cap yet.
    • · Agile Defender 1
    • · Custom Fit
    • · Unhindered
    • · Wind Walker
    How to level: Get hit often. Seriously. At the beginning, go to Whiterun and challenge Uthgerd the Unbroken for a fight. Let her hit you and just heal from time to time. That slow but easy. A faster way would to be to go challenge Giants and Mammoth. You better have a good armor and a good healing spell.

    Alteration (5)

    Alteration will be mostly leveled to get the 30% magic resist. Some spells can be useful, but not essential.
    Detect Life makes your life a little easier, being able to locate enemies. Waterbreathing is also useful, but the enchantment is better in my point of view. Transmute can brings you money early in the game. Paralyze can save you, but I still prefer the enchantment.
    • · Novice
    • · Apprentice
    • · Magic Resistance 1
    • · Magic Resistance 2
    • · Magic Resistance 3
    How to level: Cast Magelight till 50 Alteration. Or Stoneflesh when your are fighting your Flame Atronach (see Conjuration). At50 Alteration, get Detect Life and cast it over and over. The more people around the better.

    One-Handed (5-6)

    At last would you say. For me One-Handed is not essential, because it is mostly situational for me to use.

    Equipment Note: I use Dagger (and the Blade of Woe as soon as I can) so I can use Assassin Blade. Why? Because If I choose to have only Elven Smithing, the Elven Sword does only 11 base damage compares to the 12 of the Blade of Woe. The Blade of Woe is also FULLY upgradable with Steel Smithing. Why not the Deadric Sword would you ask? Because I cannot FULLY upgrade the Deadric Sword as I don’t have the Daedric Smithing skill. With my skill set up in One-Handed, a Blade of Woe fully upgraded would do 225 damage. With the same set of skill, a Daedric Sword will only do 168 damage. And Sword make noise when Dagger don’t. And I cannot use Assassin Blade.
    • Armsman 1
    • Armsman 2
    • Armsman 3
    • Amrsman 4
    • Armsman 5
    • (Fighting Stance)
    How to level:If you want to level in Helgen, the same method as sneak can be used. Using the Conjuring leveling technique will help you level. Also you can go to the Greybeard and bash them.

    Crafting

    You will have to max it out. The goal is to make:

    · Make 4 pieces of Fortify Smithing +29%​
    · Make Fortify Smithing Potions +147%​
    · Make Fortify Enchanting Potions +32%​
    · Make Fortify Marksman Potions +147%​

    Alchemy (7)

    Note: I use the Circlet/Falmer glitch for Alchemy.
    • · Alchemist 1
    • · Alchemist 2
    • · Physician
    • · Benefactor
    • · Alchemist 3
    • · Alchemist 4
    • · Alchemist 5
    How to level: Alchemy xp depends on the value of the potion you are making. So the fastest way to get your level up is to make High value potion. Everything with Giant Toe and multiple actions would work. Invisibility potions are also pretty valuable.

    Enchanting (8)
    • · Enchanter 1
    • · Enchanter 2
    • · Enchanter 3
    • · Insightful Enchanter
    • · Enchanter 4
    • · Corpus Enchanter
    • · Enchanter 5
    • · Extra Effects
    How to level: Disenchant whatever equipment you can find. Buy every Lesser or Pretty filled soul gems that you can find. Enchant daggers with Banish. Buy every empty Lesser soul gems that you can find. When leveling your Conjuration skill (see conjuration), killing your Flame Atronach will fill a Lesser Soul Gem, if you have the Soul Stealer perk.

    Smithing (3)

    As I said earlier, my choice is no to go for Elven smithing, as Elven armor Fully upgraded will take me to the armor Cap (see Light Armor). Also I choose Elven bow for the reasons gave in the Archery section. The one Handed section will give you my point for my Blade of Woe choice.
    • · Steel Smithing
    • · Elven Smithing
    • · Arcane Smithing
    How to level: Craft Iron daggers all the way to 100.

    Last Note

    This build uses 49 main perk points and 58 perk points total. That means that it will leave you with 22 perk points to play with, if you intend to go till level 81.

    I would choose to get the Extra Pocket Perk (3 pts) to get the extra 100 carry weight. I would also take Regeneration and Respite in the Restoration line (3pts). Always good to have better healing. I would also take Elemental protection in the Block Line, even if I don’t use a shield much. A 50% elemental resist is always nice, mostly against dragon’s breath.

    For the 13 remaining perk points, it is up to you. Investor in the Speech line is not bad, as well as Misdirection on the Pickpocket line. If you want, you can also invest in the full heavy Armor line of Smithing. Now I haven’t made my calculations for Daedric Armor fully upgraded, but I’m pretty sure it is over the cap pretty fast. Also, you will have to switch from Light Armor to Heavy Armor . It will cost you one extra perk to get the same effect. For the weapon, they will undoubfully do more damage.
     
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    Get Sm0ked: 1 Point (Very good, solid guide :)) Jun 21, 2012
    Duon: 1 Point Jun 22, 2012
  2. Get Sm0ked

    Get Sm0ked Alea Iacta Est

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    Nice guide, get rep :)
     
  3. Duon

    Duon Graphic Designer

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    Nice guide, my main's built in pretty much the exact same way but I went ahead and smithed my way on up to daedric and took up the merchants trade.

    Definitely a solid fun to play stealth build.

    +rep
     
  4. ShadowGambit

    ShadowGambit Active Member

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    Thanks guys
     
  5. Duon

    Duon Graphic Designer

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    Going to take a break from my main before I burn myself out, 135 hours in. So I'm going to make a new thief/assassin that follows your build pretty closely except for the alteration, I never really have much mage problems so used the resistance perks elsewhere.

    Build is still in planning stage so if you have any suggestions feel free, not going to start it till tomorrow afternoon.

    Name: Black-Crow
    Race: Breton (Reachmen)
    Skills: (Level 80 Maxed Layout)
    Archery (14): Overdraw 5 / Critical Shot 1 / Eagle Eye / Steady Hand 2 / Hunter's Discipline 1 / Power Shot / Ranger / Quick Shot

    One-Handed (10): Armsman 5 / Fighting Stance / Dual Fury 2 / Savage Strike / Dual Savagery

    Light Armor (4): Agile Defender 1 / Custom Fit / Unhindered / Wind Walker

    Illusion (4): Novice Illusion 1 / Animage / Kindred Mage / Quiet Casting

    Conjuration (7): Novice Conjuration 1 / Mystic Binding / Summoner 1 / Soul Eater / Atromancy / Elemental Potency / Twin Souls

    Sneak (9): Stealth 1 / Backstab / Muffled Movement / Deadly Aim / Light Foot / Assassin's Blade / Silent Roll / Silence / Shadow Warrior

    Lockpicking (9): Novice Locks / Quick Hands / Adept Locks / Golden Touch / Treasure Hunter / Expert Locks / Locksmith / Unbreakable

    Alchemy (7): Alchemist 5 / Physician / Benefactor

    Enchanting (8): Enchanter 5 / Insightful Enchanter / Corpus Enchanter / Extra Effect
     
  6. ShadowGambit

    ShadowGambit Active Member

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    Some remarks:

    The left side of the Sneak tree is not really necessary if you have Invisibility spell and muffle spell/enchantment.

    Muffle spell/enchantment are NOT the same as the Muffled movement. They are equivalent to the Silence perk and give 100% noise reduction.​

    When you have Invisibility spell with Quiet casting, Silence Roll and Shadow Warrior becomes obsolete.​

    Light foot is not necessary if you are careful enough.​

    For the Lockpick, I found that most of the perks became somehow useless if you get the Skeleton key.

    You get the skeleton key by killing Mercer Frey, in the Thieves Guild Quests Line. The last quest of the line requires you to give back the Skeleton key to get the Nightingale Gifts. I feel like that if you already have Illusion, those gifts become nearly useless. So for me, keeping the Skeleton key was more beneficial than turning it back for the gifts.

    looking at your signature, I can say that you already know that making money is not the hardest thing in this game. With your Alchemy skills you should be able to make A TON of money anyway, more than what the different merchant can buy from you. Treasure hunter is ok, but if you have money, you'd rather CRAFT your own apparel to resell it.

    All in all, I'd rather invest in Speech, to get to at least "Merchant", if not "Investor" (or Fence if you steal a lot) rather than in the lockpicking tree. That will give you more gold, even at teh beginning of the game with Haggling 1 or 2 right out the bat.

    Dual wielding dagger is good, it doubles your output. But if you are sneak attacking, with the shrouded glove, one dagger alone should be enough to one-shot everything. I'd rather keep Invisibility in my off-hand so I can cast it right away. Or have Pacify if there are many potential witness around when you kill. That will give you time to move away and to recast Invisility.

    So you can save some perks there.
     
  7. Duon

    Duon Graphic Designer

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    I see your point on illusion making the sneak tree unnecessary, I completed the lockpicking tree because I always turn in the Skeleton key pretty soon not for the Nightingale stuff but because I love the upgraded fences, improved ragged flagon and guild masters armor. Went for duel wield because sometimes i just like to go cut-crazy on dragons and other various baddies.

    Took off Muffled Movement, Light Foot, Silent Roll, Silence, and Shadow Warrior, put those perks into Poisoner, Concentrated Poison, Fence, Master Trader, and Dwarven Smithing just because it makes leveling smithing so much easier.

    I forgot to add my planned Speech tree to the first post btw.

    Speech (6)
    Haggling 1 / Allure / Merchant / Investor / Fence / Master Trader
    (My thieves are always merchants, that whole obsession with coin and shinnies thing ye know?)
     
  8. ShadowGambit

    ShadowGambit Active Member

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    Ok, so Golden Touch and Tresure Hunter for even MORE coins and shiny thingy :)
     
  9. Duon

    Duon Graphic Designer

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    Exactly, i wanna swim in septims Scrooge McDuck style... :)

    [​IMG]

    Think I got my build now I just gotta give him a back story, I'm thinking something like kicked out of some assassin cult of Reachmen lead by powerful Hagravens. Got his powers taken away and exiled for failing to complete a important contract... that might just work...

    Thanks for the suggestions; will +rep if i can again yet, if not I'll remember to try again in a couple days.
     
  10. mokz

    mokz Member

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    About the Alteration part....if you are a Breton (best race no matter the class imo) you only need lvl50 alteration.
    While u can get immune to a certain element (fire,frost,shock) magic resist is capped at 85%.
    By playing legit u cannot get immune to all 3 elements but getting immune to 2 (and some resistence at 3rd) of them is way too expensive because you need enchanting lvl100 and the same pieces that can be enchanted with resists are also the same pieces that can be enchanted with fortify archery/one handed/two handed and its not worth to trade 160% more dmg for elemental resist.
    But as breton you have 25% magic resist as racial, the lord stone will give u another 25%, agent of mara another 15%, and alteration lvl50 with 2/3 magic resistence will get you to 85% which is the cap.
    85% magic resistence against all 3 elements.....for free!
    About the rest of the tree detect life is prob the only one worth from it as paralyze is not that great when things get hot against multiple enemys and can be resisted
     
  11. ShadowGambit

    ShadowGambit Active Member

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    Someone just reminded me that the shout "Aura Whisper" does the same thing as detect life.

    And you are right Mokz, when I'm in trouble I'd rather use Frenzy/pacify to get away.

    Resist Magic is capped at 85%, as well as Resist Fire/Frost/Shock. But resist Fire/Frost/Shock is checked AFTER resist magic.

    That's why I always carry around a shield, even in my Sneak build, and put 3 points in shield. That gives me 50% Elemental Resist.
    That means that I take only 7.5% of the magical damage: Resist magic decrease damage by 85%, so there are 15% of damage left to take. Elemental Resist will take down 50% of those damage. That mean 7.5% of the damage left for you to take.

    Note that magical damage can not be reduce to 0. Minimum damage you can take is 2.25%
     
  12. Duon

    Duon Graphic Designer

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    Something fun I've found so far playing this build, is that if you're putting off becoming the Dovahkiin because fighting dragons on high difficulty as a rogue early on sucks you can replace "Throw Voice" with a well placed Magelight spell. It's rather funny watching that little ball of light drift slowly out there and they all come walking up to look at the shinny like lambs to the slaughter.

    Gives me a nice well lit killing field to start launching bound arrows into. :)
     
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