"In a closed society where everybody is guilty, the only crime is getting caught. In a world of thieves, the only final sin is stupidity."--- Hunter S. Thompson About: I've lately grown very restless with my characters again and while I enjoy them immensely, I'm experimenting again, but this time with more depth. So for once, I'm sharing the stuff I come up with because although it may not be entirely my fancy, I'm sure someone out there can dig this build. The Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood questlines in Skyrim are probably the favorite ones of mine that I've gone through. However, I feel like both of these blend too much and the people that enjoy them end up rolling Nightingale assassins. Nothing wrong with that, but I took my favorite questline of the two (if not just because I hate Cicero with a passion) and wanted to focus primarily on that by examining the existing NPCs and going from there. This is the result - a pure Thief character, ideal for roleplaying but not without the capability of complete the game. The Thief As I said, in my opinion, the Thieves Guild has probably one of the best, if not the best, story and guild quests in the game. The whole thing just feels like it was made for roleplayers. Where the Dark Brotherhood just has seemingly mindless "Kill this person" radiant quests, the Thieves Guild has specific quests that yield specific rewards. On top of that, the Shadowmarks throughout Skyrim are bloody brilliant. Combine that with the roaming Thieves that try to rob on the road, but can be turned away if you're a member and you've got what is, to me, the most fleshed out organization in the game, besides the obvious Stormcloaks and Imperials. On the downside, making a thief character can be rather difficult, and possibly boring. Money isn't very difficult to earn, even when not trying to break the game and sneaking doesn't exactly kill dragons... so where's the balance? Right here, my friends... right here. Major Skills Sneak - This should really be a given as to why it's important, so I don't think an explanation is necessary. If it is... wow. Pickpocket - Again, this should be a given. I will, however, mention that there is a perk here that becomes a key component in how our Thief becomes effective in combat. Alchemy - This one might throw you for a loop, but it's a fantastic utility skill. Recovery potions, status alteration, money making, poisons... Alchemy has a little bit of everything for us and, again, will play a big role in how we're effective in a fight. Minor Skills Illusion - I hesitate not to put this as a Major Skill simply because we're going to be using it a lot. We're not taking this for Muffle or Invisibility - we have an OP stealth system and Alchemy for those. Instead, we're really going to be using it for spells like Fury and Calm. One Handed - This is going to be our primary method of damage, should it come to that. You'll either be dual-weilding or most likely having a spell in your off hand. Light Armor - Again, this is for obvious reasons, but it's the most minor of our "minor skills". It is here for obvious reasons, but as the end game approaches, I don't think it will be of much value to us. Play Style I'm not going to give specific build formulas just yet as I'm going to create this character and play it through, so for now, I'm going to give you how I plan on playing it as well as ideal perk charts (every 10 levels) with a rough stat distribution. First off, it's important to note that you're a damned Thief - you're not an assassin. For those who aren't aware, the Dark Brotherhood was founded by members of the Thieves Guild who believed killing was a much simpler way to get job the done and they ultimately became the contract assassins we know them as. The Thieves Guild does not condone nor encourage murder - it's bad for business, as Brynjolf would say. Once you understand that, you'll understand why I chose the Major and Minor skills and why I arranged them as I did. Anyways, like I said, you're a thief. Your job is to sneak and steal and that's the cause for the Sneak and Pickpocket choices as Major Skills. This build is about roleplaying, getting loot, and getting rich. Obviously, however, we're going to have to fight. This is where our other skills come into play. First off, like I said, murder is bad for business. But so is dying, so stay alive. If you can avoid killing someone, avoid it. However, if your life is threatened, you're going to need to defend yourself, or at least be able to kill the person. I've given you a variety of ways to do so. The first and most obvious method is the use of the Assassin's Blade perk. Simply sneak up behind the target and slit their throat - easy as pie... if there's one target. The next method is part of the Pickpocket perk tree - Poisoned. Much like in Fallout where you can reverse pickpocket a grenade or landmine into someone's pocket for explosive results, you can reverse pickpocket (plant) poisons onto someone to do damage or other affects, like Paralysis. By my calculations, courtesy of the equations at UESPWiki, you can easily make a damage health potion that does over 100 points of damage. According to TESWiki, Bandit Chiefs have 500 health. I'm not entirely sure how fixed that number is but consider that it'll take 4-5 potions to instantly kill him...? Not bad, considering how tough they can be otherwise. Next, there's Illusion magics which should really be your go-to option when facing a large crowd. A few well placed Fury spells and you'll have forced the entire group to start killing each other until one man is left standing, allowing you to easily swoop in, cut his throat, and move on. On the flip side, Calm spells can be used to give you an escape route if you don't want to fight. Last, the One Handed perks. I recommend investing only in the 5/5 Armsman, the weapon type of your choosing (Hack and Slash, Bladesman or Bonebreaker) and possibly the dual-weilding perks, if that style suits you. Now, our main issue comes in the form of gigantic flying lizards, called Dragons. As far as I know, they cannot be calmed, reverse pickpocket, nada - you just gotta kill 'em. You can achieve this in a few ways, and this mostly means adding on to the build I've already outlined, unless you're going for a die-hard thief. First, you can include Archery. This will make fighting Dragons a much easier task but try to avoid abusing sneak archery. Unless you want to, in which case I can't stop you. Just try not to become an assassin? You can also include Conjuration into the mix, since you'll be using Illusion it's not a far stretch to venture into another magic tree. You can also invest in the Bound Bow? However, at that point, it really won't be you fighting the dragons, will it? You can also invest in the Bound Bow? Personally, I recommend just going pure melee, as shown in this video. You should not, however, use a shield. I believe bashing with a sword or other one-handed weapon will have the same affect. Note in the video that he claims to be playing on Master, level 20, and having only 100 health in video. Not sure how valid that is, but it does show that killing dragons is possible with melee and shouts alone. So now, let me show you my "ideal perk spread" for every 10 levels up to 50. For the stat spread, I'm thinking 100% Stamina should do you fine, not only to carry your loot but for more power attacks and bashes with your sword. This will make you a frail, yet nimble, opponent - exactly what you should be. With your Magicka, I don't think it will be a problem unless you're using it for combat or higher levels. You could also just enchant your ring and necklace to reduce the cost of Illusions spells. It's really up to you and how you intend to play within this skeleton framework. Level 10 --- Level 20 --- Level 30 --- Level 40 --- Level 50 In my opinion, at level 50, this build "maxes out". The next 31 perks are for you to play around with and use as you see fit. Smithing, enchanting, archery... whatever floats your boat. I would personal advise in investing into these perks as they allow you to smith and enchant at maximum levels, especially if you take the Necromage Vampire route. You can find videos about this by searching "pms00 Necromage Vampire" on YouTube - there are two videos, I believe. I say this only because if you really want to go the roleplay way, you want to have all outfits give you the most bang for your buck. I hope you've enjoyed this read. It's 6am and I have to be at work in 6 hours so... yeah. I really hope you enjoy it because I'm going to be chugging 5-Hour tomorrow morning!