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Stealth Mage build

Discussion in 'General Skyrim Discussion' started by Saozig, Dec 18, 2012.

  1. Saozig Hippy

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    I got bored and created a High Elf character who's going to be a Stealth Mage build. So far, good.

    He's just made it to level 12, and he's suited in Novice Destruction robes (hoping to get some Apprentice ones soon), the Novice hood you pick up from the dead wizard in Helgen's torture chamber, and Thalmor gloves and boots he got from the dead Thalmor wizard at the Talos shrine north of the Helgen cave exit. He also has a Ring of Minor Magicka that he was fortunate to find pretty early on in the game (also hoping to upgrade soon).

    I was thinking that he could rely on Sneak, Alteration, Illusion and Destruction, with Archery, Alchemy, Restoration, Speech and Enchanting as secondary skills.

    For combat, he's been pretty successful with sneaking and then attacking with a combo of illusion and destruction spells. If in a dungeon setting he can often take out enemies without being detected at all (n Apprentice difficulty level). When out in the open, he has to rely on surprise range attacks (pity you don't get a damage bonus of sneak magical attacks!) and then finish the fight by additional range attacks.

    Some things I've read about other people's Stealth Mage builds suggest other people like to rely on Conjuration spells for their Stealth Mages. I hadn't really considered that, thinking Illusion and Destruction spells can be used with less detection that summoning a familiar or an atronach. But I can see the value in Bound Weapons spells--does anyone know if those allow for sneak attack damage bonuses?

    Pity they don't have a Bound Dagger spell.

    Even if you used Bound weapons, I suppose it would be wise to still carry a regular weapon for when your magicka is low.

    Also, I was wondering how I should apply level points So far I've put most into magicka, then health and lastly in Stamina Good approach, or should I keep in even like I do with my other characters who use both magic and non-magic combat tactics?

    Anyhow, if anyone has any thoughts, feel free to share.
  2. Daedra'Mc'Bitch Well-Known Member

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    Um.. If you're willing to spend $20 on the Dragonborn DLC, it DOES come with bound dagger. You're (potentially) in luck!
  3. Saozig Hippy

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    Huh. I hadn't come across that spell tome yet with my Dragonborn DLC character and didn't see it in the wikia when I was looking at the descriptions of bound weapons.
  4. Daedra'Mc'Bitch Well-Known Member

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  5. Golda Hair of Lightning Member

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    I was attempting to formulate a build based on what skills you desire (barring maybe one or two for utility purposes). A few things should be broken down:
    1. Are you certain you have found use out of both distanced forms of attack, archery and destruction? Normally, especially if you're sneaking, archery is all you require. Destruction is loud. Unless you have the perk "Quiet Casting" selected, this will be detrimental to your sneak character.
    2. Alchemy and restoration both? It's somewhat similar to my qualms with archery and destruction. Alchemy will be more versatile for your build. Whereas restoration aids only healing, alchemy does that without taking up an extra hand space; it does this immediately; it wastes not magicka; you have access to poisoning your opponent as well; you can enhance other skills by using it.
    3. If you're going the way of enchanting and sneak, you can drop alteration. You'll be hidden 90% of the time; the additional use of perks spent in alteration will be unnecessary.
    4. This is Skyrim; it's not very challenging. Whether you stick to Conjuration or insert-other-skill-here, you're probably going to be okay, if not great. A sneak+illusion combo is near unstoppable. Yes, even against dragons and dragon priests.
    As for the stat build: this really depends on how often you're sneaking and/or shooting a bow. If you get enchanting to 100 early on, you can drop magicka completely. However, for your early level (maybe for 16 or 24 levels) you should go with 3/3/2 (HP/Magicka/Stamina Per 8 Levels). You can later change this - when enchanting is 100 - to 5/3 (HP/Stamina). It really depends how much magicka you're using per battle; how much you're staying out of the enemy's attack; and how much you're aiming your weapon.

    I'd go to the Lover's Stone as soon as possible if you're still early training. It gives a 15% boost to all skills during training.

    Anyway > This is MY final product (I barred Speech since it is rather useless and more of a roleplay skill decided by the player who is using said character) Skyrim Perk Calculator - Plan the perks for your Skyrim character before spending them!

    That's exactly at 50 Perks. Obviously there is wiggle room as you will be playing this character; you will know how to operate most appropriately. If you're going dagger - add the extra Assassin's blade Perk. If you want speech, go ahead and use some perks in it. If you want restoration over alchemy, or simply more alchemy perks, go right ahead. I think this mold is just quite neutral.
  6. AS88 RP Mod & Master-Wizard

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    I've used a stealth mage before after reading the "shadowcaster" build:


    All you need is illusion, destruction and sneak. It's fun if you're new to sneaking, but I got bored fairly quickly. Still a good build though.

    This is the way I'd build it:


    Alchemy for fortify destruction potions and emergency invisibility, enchanting to reduce spell costs and boost sneak, not that you'll need it. Either rain silent fire on your enemies, turn them on each other from a distance, or stab them right in the face while you're invisible, your choice. ;)

    Ps, I went for Necromage with the idea that my build was going to be a vampire, making everything a little more powerful during the night.
  7. Saozig Hippy

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    I found the bound dagger spell with my Dragonborn DLC character--not the most impressive spell.

    While many destruction spells are kind of noisy, Fireball seems quite effective for a stealth attack--it charges up quietly enough and hasn't giving my location away so far, especially if a Fury spell got one of them to weed out the others

    I have a concern this character would get boring relying of sneak, illusion and destruction for combat, especially since you create most of the situations for combat by going to the place--you already control the combat situation by being the one who initiates it, so when you add stealth, it become a very unbalanced fight.. At level 12, on apprentice level, he takes opponents out with little effort.

    I like the backstory I made for this character, but I knew when I created him I knew that either I wouldn't stick with him long or I would change his focus.
  8. imaginepageant of House Lannister

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    The crux of a stealth mage is the Silent Casting perk, obviously. Before that, you can get around being caught casting a spell by simply staying out of sight; they'll know something's up, but if they can't see you, you won't be detected. In my experience, this works best with Conjuration spells, since you can cast from behind cover and your summon gives your enemy something to focus on instead of searching for you. Once you have Silent Casting, you can pretty much go crazy with spells and not worry about being caught. This is when Frenzy spells become really fun, and when Invisibility spells become really useful.

    I'm currently playing a stealth mage—or stealth spellsword, I suppose—who focuses on Conjuration, Illusion, One-Handed, Light Armor, and Sneak, with a side of Restoration and Enchanting. Using a sword instead of Destruction for direct damage and light armor instead of robes and Flesh spells, I've never run out of magicka, which was always a problem with my pure mages. It also lets me keep a healing spell at the ready about 97% of the time, which you can't do as a pure mage if you rely on dual-cast Destruction spells. (I see the argument for Alchemy over Restoration, but I personally prefer Restoration; you don't have to worry about gathering and making potions and you don't have to stop the flow of battle to drink them. Unless you're planning on using a lot of assistive potions and poisons, I'd stick to Restoration instead.) I've had to use my sword more than I'd like in the early levels, but once my Conjuration and Illusion skills get up there, I should be able to stay completely hidden while my thralls and Frenzy spells do all the work for me—that's my ultimate goal with this character.
    Psiberzerker likes this.
  9. Psiberzerker Author

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    My stealth mage, BAMFO, uses Illusion, Destruction, and Conjuration mostly. No Sneak, because when you're invisible, and muffled, you can run full tilt, and even sprint without being detected, and spells don't get sneak attack multipliers. Altmer, mostly Invisibilty, Summons, and Ice Storm. Destruction was ground up to 60 for the Augment Element perks, but Lighting is still good for antidragon. For them, drop a couple Storm Atronachs and double cast (Instead of dual casting, it's more mana efficient) to shoot them down as quickly as possible. (Highborn if I haven't used it yet.)

    Everthing else, the strategy is to stay out of the fight, invisible, and let my spells/summons take care of the enemy. Frenzy to clump them together for a Flaming Familiar/Ice Storm combo (the latter detonates the former, and nothing is resistant to both.) Then, usually a Dremora Lord to mop up, with Invisibility to let my Magicka recover. Wuld forward, and recast the DL, both simulate Teleportation, disappear over there, re-appear over here! Pretty much leapfrog around the battlefield, I have Twin Souls, but mostly use it so I can throw another walking fireball without my tank going away. Sure, 2 DLs would be more powerful, but this guy's gamebreaking enough once you beat the Civil War arc so there's not enough bodies on the field to really get warmed up. After that, it's random rampages through Solitude to see how much bounty I can wrack up, or if they kill me before making my escape. Total Supervillian, I can't spell out his laugh, but I giggle maniacally whenever I really get to play him right.

    The concept was originally to teleport within the game before it had a teleport. Vampire Lord, Ok, BAMFO can't fly over water, or force throw. The final result was like a Nightblade, only instead of backstabbing the enemy 1-by-1, he takes on entire armies, with stealth.
  10. Zolo-Shea Lizard Wizard

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    Really!? Well that sucks. I was excited to read that a bound dagger spell exists, but your reaction isn't helping my excitement.

    Stealth mages sound really cool. I used a straight mage for awhile, but getting one-shotted by archers when you're approaching lvl 50 is nothing short of MADDENING. Oh, the frustration! Don't get me wrong, I could mess people up--as long as I was the one making the first move. Those archers get nasty later on, don't they? I was also a pre-Dawnguard vampire, which I don't reccomend to anyone. Now that we have the vampire lord form, I'm betting that vampires are a totally different experience.

    My shiny new Xbox 360 arrived today! When I get off work, I'm gonna be stealth-maging it up! Oh yes. 6 months without casting a single fireball can really rev your engine to play Skyrim again. Oh pity me, Skyrim-comrades!
    Psiberzerker likes this.
  11. Zolo-Shea Lizard Wizard

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    That's cool, you and Psiberzerker have some wicked awesome ideas. This thread became relevant again now that I'm starting my um-teenth character, an Argonian stealth-mage! I'm seeing a lot of cases made for conjuration, but I'll be looking into that later on--it's on the back burner for now. Conjuration is fun, but I eventually get tired of letting my summons having all the fun. Illusion and destruction are my main guns, but I'm hoping to get some one-handed to flourish as well (I just recently found out that I really like slitting throats!) Other than Illusion and Destruction, there's going to be some Light Armor, Enchanting, and Restoration because I never really gave wards a chance.

    However, I've already started running into magicka constraints like imaginepageant was saying. Alchemy is going to help me with that, hopefully.

    Everyone feel free to offer advice or challenge my build!

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