"I had you figured for a mage. I think you'll enjoy this." DISCLAIMER: [My guides are minimalistic by nature . They DO NOT: reveal spoilers, give step by step instructions, bring you overly specific locations, or condone exploits or glitches. They WILL: point you in the right direction, provide tips for general play styles, and SET YOU UP FOR YOUR OWN SUCCESS. It is not my wish to detract from your game experience by revealing too much. I promise an informative, entertaining read that is worth your time regardless of your skill level. My guides are for those who want to make their own way with some good advice at their back, and the vast land of Skyrim before them. Good hunting!] ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Contents 1. Taking the plunge into the Arcane. 1a. Character Creation 1b. Early game Considerations 2. Enter the Mage. 2a. Comprehensive Guide to magic skills. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Chapter 1. Taking the Plunge into the Arcane Hello and welcome to my guide for mages! I'm happy to see you have chosen the path of wizardry and deception, of fire and fright, of healing and protecting; of Arcane wonders the world over! You will find that this playstyle offers versatility and power at the tips of your fingers. You may be a pure mage at heart, or taking your first stab at magic. Either way you are in the right place. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoy writing it. The first sections will cover the first hurdles along the path of magedom in skyrim. This chapter covers character creation, skill selection, and a healthy dash of general rules of thumb for the beginning Magister. 1a. Character Creation Character Creation in skyrim is pretty important. You are generally stuck with what you choose unless you are a lucky PC owner. I will let you hash out (for hours) what you think your mage should look like. I'm a strong supporter of using whatever race looks the coolest. You aren't going to "gimp" yourself later on for choosing a Redguard over an Altmer. That being said, there are a couple of advantages you can take early on that may prove useful. Here are a few considerations: *Breton: Passive magic resistance and a spell absorption greater power. *High Elf: +50 Base magicka and a magic regen greater power. *Orc: Adrenaline rush that makes you take half damage and deal double. Works with spells. Every race has an advantage and a worthwhile greater power. These are the ones with the greatest bearing on magic. Playing as one of these races could give you a small edge early on, especially on the higher difficulties. Beyond that, choosing your race is actually one of the least important decisions you will make. Luckily there is nothing set in stone that says you have to use certain skills from the get go. However, it can be pretty helpful to have some sort of template to go on to prevent perk starvation later on in your game. I recommend using the handy perk calculator on this website to map out your character. Remember to be flexible in your choices. As a general rule, I leave 5-10 perk points out of the first calculation so that I maintain room for error. Here's a quick overview of the magic skills for your benefit. **all schools have dual casting** **all schools have cost reduction** Alteration: Offers spells for shielding, paralyze, telekenesis, waterbreathing, light, and transmute mineral ore at your disposal. It offers perk choices that can increase your magical resistance and grants possible spell absorption, not to mention increase effectiveness and duration of spells. Conjuration: Offers spells for summoning daedra, zombies, and weapons. Soul trap for soul gems, and banish/turn spells. It offers perk choices that improve the duration and power of your summoned items or creatures. Destruction: Offers spells for fire, frost, and shock damage in various forms. It offers perks to increase damage of spells and adds additional effects. Illusion: Offers spells for Invisibility, Courage, Calm, Fear, and Frenzy. It offers perks for silent casting, and increased effectiveness. Restoration: Offers spells for healing, turn undead, and wards. Perks offer increased magic regen, added restoration effects, ward magic absorption, and emergency healing. The usefulness of spells is purely determined by your playstyle. Obviously you need some way to defend yourself, so destruction is not a bad choice to invest in early on. Just keep in mind that enemies level with you for the most part. So even though casting courage on your horse until you are level 100 in Illusion will give you access to new spells earlier, in the long run it puts you at a disadvantage in regards to your damage output and defense. Try to avoid power leveling skills that you don't use as often. Crafting skills are a major culprit of over-leveling due to their ease of power leveling. Beware increasing these too quickly: Alchemy: Offers potions with a large variety of effects. Overall, alchemy makes any aspect of your character more powerful. Most importantly it is a mana-free way to heal yourself. Within this guide I will include a mini-alchemy guide to aid you in your progression. Enchanting: Create items with beneficial effects. For a mage this means rings, amulets, clothing, and even armor. It is one of the biggest money makers for a mage as well. I will also provide some enchanting tips as the guide rolls onward. Smithing: Who says a mage can't wear armor? Make and create weapons and armor. Probably the easiest crafting skill, and the one most likely to make you overlevel. Be very careful with this one if you decide to use it. 1b. Early Game Considerations Now that you have finished gawking at your new self and stumbled through the tutorial, the wide world of skyrim lies before you. You may feel particularly inclined to go to riverwood, and then bleak falls barrow, and then whiterun for some intangible reason. Before you go parading naked through the tundra, it would be highly beneficial to stop by the standing stones and activate the mage. After you do this, you are free to follow your dreams, the north-winds, Maiq the liar, etc. I won't be providing any quest walkthroughs or sticky hand holding during your adventures. I will, however, offer this handy checklist of considerations for your viewing pleasure. These are all things that will benefit you in your early adventures and character building. 1. Consider Saving often, and backing up those saves. 2. Money is the most evil, and most necessary thing in the world. There are many ways to make money in skyrim. Being a mage, you have the distinct advantage of having easy access to the best ones. Alchemy and Enchanting can pay dividends as you progress, should you choose to use them. Ingredients are free everywhere, and cheap everywhere else. The sooner you start sampling butterfly wings and catching fish in your teeth, the sooner you can start making pricey potions. More powerful potions raise your skill faster, and sell for more money. If any ingredient is rare, like a giant's toe, they usually yield powerful results-- So don't squander them! Enchanting is a beautiful skill. Simply because it requires you to use other skills to raise this one. Soul gems are expensive, so your best bet is finding them through adventure. You need soul trap, which raises conjuration; You need to kill the owner of the soul, which requires a plethora of skills; You need items to enchant and disenchant, which means more ADVENTURE! It's a win-win-win-win if I ever saw one. Not to mention you can sell those iron daggers and silver rings with even minor enchantments for a pretty penny. Certain enchantments, like banish, are worth far more money than others. 3. Simplify your combat strategy. You don't need to cast every spell you have before combat. By the time you cast oakflesh, summon familiar, raise your lesser ward and charge up your first firebolt, you are 4/5 on your way to being in the middle of the party dateless and with no pants on (is this a bad thing?). Focus on two things: 1. Dealing damage; 2. Healing. Take some damage here and there and dish it out as much as you can. You can get all fancy later on when you have some cost reduction and a larger mana pool. If you are using summons, it can be more helpful to raise them before combat and let your magicka regenerate for a moment before you initiate the fight. Dual cast destruction coupled with stagger perk is a must. Work on being preemptive and keeping your opponents off balance and you will find that fights are generally much smoother. 4. If it's too tough, come back later. Some parts of the game are simply too difficult early on. Don't be ashamed to leave and come back later when you are stronger. 5. Play the game in a natural way. Don't get too caught up in character progression for the first 10-15 levels. Just get out there, explore, and starting stockpiling ingredients, materials, soul gems, money, apparel, etc. The next portion begins the real meat and potatoes. The next thing I have compiled is a list of important themes that you should start paying attention to. Magic Regeneration- This is a value that determines how fast your magic recharges inside and outside of combat. It is important to remember that during combat, magic/health/stamina do not recharge as quickly. Lucky for you, much of the apparel available specifically for mages offers some sort of regeneration boost. Still, this is no substitute for Fortify Magicka. Fortify Magicka- This is a direct boost for your total mana. When given the choice between higher regeneration and higher total magic, the latter of the two is more beneficial. Luckily, gear that offers one usually offers the other as well. " " Costs X less to Cast- This is pretty self explanatory. At low levels you may be able to reduce your cost by 5-10% with items, and by 50% if you take the appropriate perks. Items with this enchantment are incredibly useful. Do not confuse this effect with Fortify " ". Fortifty Magic School- Unlike Cost reduction, Schools under a fortify effect become more powerful rather than more efficient. Destruction has a damage increase, Enchanted items are more powerful, and other schools increase in duration. This effect is found only in potions, and is available to you from the get go (See usfeul ingredients below.) Dual Cast- Dual Cast is a perk that all schools of magic have. It is different from casting a single spell in one hand because it combines the spells into a more powerful single spell with different effects. For Destruction it doubles the damage + 10% of a single spell. So if you cast a fireball that does 50 damage, a dual cast fireball does 110 damage. Other schools gain a duration bonus. Spells from different schools can not be dual cast together. This is a very important perk for a destruction mage because it is a prerequisite for Impact.