Hello, and welcome to my First post in the Skyrim forums. First off, I'd like to make a few points: 1) This is WIP, and it will be updated regularly. 2) If you are a console player, you may want to look elsewhere as this build is heavily dependent on mods 3)I am new, and If i am doing something wrong, please tell me about in posts below, and remember try to stay positive please! Warning: this thread contains MINOR comical profanity, no F bombs though. So, now that that's taken care of, lets get down to business. Here's a list of things that I will be going over. Keep in mind that THIS GUIDE IS MEANT FOR A LEGENDARY PLAY THROUGH Playing on any other difficulty, even master, will result in a highly OP character. 1) Mods (I DO NOT HAVE, OR CLAIM, ANY RIGHTS TO ANY OF THESE MODS) 2)Perk Build (there will be a link to perk calc.) 3a) weapons/armor (this assassin explores all types of combat, given the situation) 3b) Utilities 4) enchantments (and where to get them, some require a couple mods) 5) play style/strategies. (the mods make it quite a feat to be able to clear a dungeon without being detected) 6) poison recipes, and where to get the ingredients + best fortify smithing and enchanting potions 7)Quests, quest lines, and important mod config. (get skyui, seriously) 8) tips and tricks to get your skills up fast Section 1:Mods MANY of these mods require SKSE (which ones will be indicated with SKSE.) Mods with * are essential to play style or very very highly recommended. Mods with * are for poisons. These mods can either be found on skyrim nexus or steam WS (just google them.) Nexus Mod Manager is extremely helpful in this process. And one more thing: YOU NEED DAWNGUARD. SKSE* SkyUI(SKSE)* Witch Elf custom race*** (very, very good for an assassin, and naturally a good looking vampire, they have a racial which increases the amount of hits you get with poison, and is cumulative with the concentrated poisons perk, also IS able to change to vampire lord form) Predator vision* Vampire Assassin Armor (VAA is the name of the mod) Castle Volkihar Redux OR Shrouded Lair Daggers are affected by one handed perks/ench. * Brehanin's Better Vampires ******* (SKSE) Nightingale Prime HD retex + set of unenchanted nightingale armor (standalone mods) * Backpacks and bandoliers** Frostfall & hypothermia cloaks of skyrim* sneak tools* (SKSE) Bat travel & Fast travel (SKSE) (immersive) marriable serana (I mean.. come on... gotta * that one...)*** Path of Shadows* (WARNING:REQUIRES RLO, AND MAKES THE GAME DIFFICULT) Realistic Lighting Overhaul* (RLO) (path of shadows depends on this mod)* Apocalypse - Auriel's ring of darkness (useful if you don't like to carry around the bow) Black Sacrament Armor* Lustmord Vampire Armor Additional Item enchantments by CryptHanky* (there are several additional enchantments mods) Harvest overhaul* Concentrated poisons mod* (either will do) realistic needs and diseases hunterborn (only if you have RND^) OR if you like immersion crossbow basic collection* field alchemy* dwemer goggles and scouter a mod that reduces cell respawn time (one on steam WS) I HIGHLY recommend the photorealstic ENB(http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/9936/?) , but beware, it is for pretty high-end PCs. just download the file, unzip with an RAR unzipping program,(winrar is a good one) and extract all the files to you skyrim directory. If you are going to experiment with ENBs, I would also recommend an ENB remover: http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/31014/? extract this to your skyrim directory too, and if you want to remove any enb just go into the directory and double click the file. Section 2: Perk Build The perk build is here: http://skyrimcalculator.com/#310996 This is a VANILLA perk build. Your build may, and probably will vary if you have all of the aforementioned mods installed. Breakdown: skill by skill Archery: This is the tree with the most perks, and the reason for that is that some of the lower perks aren't highly necessary, but some of the higher ones are. Feel free to ignore the perks on the right side until you have the primary perks that you like to run. One handed: armsman is absolutely essential, due to the fact You are using the lowest damage melee weapon in the game. (dagger) Dual flurry and dual savagery may be ignored, and preferably are. I know that some players like to dual wield as a stealth character but in this build it is not essential. Smithing: Gotta have arcane blacksmith for some of the items you will be getting. And come on, gotta have daedric weapons. of course this can be ignored if you have any modded weapons or armors that you like to use instead of the ones listed in this guide. Light armor: defense is not your biggest concern as a vampire assassin, and I will go into more detail later in this guide as to why that is. This is the reason for only have one point in the agile defender perk. custom fit will generally provide you with enough of a boost to not get one-shotted by most things, assuming that you have the smithing perks to improve your armor enough. unhindered and windwalker are essential IF you want to be speedy. This helps out in travelling (very useful if you are playing hardcore frostfall), as well as sneaking. (armor is weightless) Sneak: Take every perk in sneak. no question. you will need every stealth utility available to you. watch out for tripwires as the light foot perk does not affect them. Alchemy: Major Major Major importance for every perk here. especially concentrated poisons. The green thumb perk works nicely with the harvest overhaul, and as i said before, concentrated poisons is cumulative with the witch elf custom race racial. Enchanting: This is a must. You need to be able to strongly enchant armor or you will find yourself without adequate weapon damage and sneak ability. Destruction: I know that I did not put this into the tree, but destruction is semi-important for those times that you do get detected. The Better Vampires mod significantly buffs vanilla's absolutely terrible life drain spell, and this has saved me more times than i can count. I STRONGLY Recommend: just leveling smithing and enchanting through the console, and then adding the perks with the console too. Do not do alchemy as it will make you very OP with such powerful poisons that will be mentioned later in this guide. I do not like to do this becuase I am a lazy cheater, but it will really throw your game's balance off being between levels 20-40 with low combat skills. this will ensure a healthy level progression and is optimal for a fun play through. Section 3a: Weapons & Armor OK, this is the fun part. I mentioned a lot of great stealth oriented and vampire oriented armors in my mod list. After I list the item builds, I will list the locations of all of said items. This is what i normally like to run from time to time: Apex Predator/Ultimate stealth assassin: Nightingale armor (with my custom enchantments) Lustmord ring/necklace (my own enchantments) Daedric Dagger Vampire life drain Shroud of the gray fox/cloak of the crow (cloaks of skyrim) black fur backpack (frostfall) potion (vial) bandolier as well as misc pouches (backpacks and bandoliers) (the potion bandolier has no function pertaining to potions/poisons, it just suits a poison typed assassin. it adds +50 carry weight) I sometimes like to replace the nightingale hood with dwemer goggles/scouter and the "cowl" from the Vampire Assassin Armor mod. (VAA) Light Daedric Crossbow (basic crossbow collection) Vampire Royal Assassin: Full VAA (besides boots. for some reason, you cant enchant them) nightingale boots lustmord ring/neck VAA cloak Daedric Dagger/vampire life drain Light Daedric Crossbow Get a lightweight helmet, and some clothing gloves, chest, and boots. (such as belted tunic, generic "gloves", "party boots") you will enchant them for trade skills later on. Here are some pictures of my witch elf vampire assassin: just right click and copy the image URL and paste in the browser of a new tab. Please ignore the clipping of the facemask! this is soon to be fixed. I personally find the lustmord vampire armor to be sort of lame, but i really like the ring and necklace, they have the molag bal insignia. (the blood fountain in the volkihar cathedral) the Black sacrament armor is used to get several enchantments. But it is a nice armor still. I just cant get over the nightingale prime HD retex, it is phenomenal. This armor is a close second. Locations: VAA: a barrel in front of alvor's forge in riverwood Unenchanted nightingale armor: long chest next to the waterfall in nightingale hall OR crafted at forge in the glass smithing tree. (but it is weaker) Frostfall backpack: crafted at tanning rack shroud of the gray fox: lund's hut, on the shelf (northwest of rorikstead. like really really close to rorikstead) cloak of the crow: wayward pass, on the stone table backpacks and bandoliers: crafted at the tanning rack auriel's ring of darkness: vyrthur's throne. its on the left arm (as if you were sitting in it) you cannot see it but it is there. just look over the arm of the throne until you see it and then take it. black sacrament armor: you will get a sidequest when the game beings to go find the 5 black phoenix assassins. the corpses are usually behind word walls. you dig them up, loot them. you will get 2 spells that summon a forge (each forge has same gear but different colors) you will also get a piece of enchanted black sacrament gear. keep these as you will need some of those enchantment recipes. lustmord armor: go to lost tongue overlook, you will see two dead people at a shrine nearby called "lovers' end" loot the corpses to get a spell that summons a forge. crossbows: crafted at the forge. the smithing perks required depend on which xbows you can make. if you have followed this guide you wont have a problem. field alchemy mortar and pestle: crafted at the forge or bought from an alchemy vendor. Section 3b: Utilites There are several "utility" items, weapons, and spells included in my list of mods. dwemer goggles/scouter: they have night vision, life detect, and a light, as well as a new "threat assess" feature. It highlights enemies different colors based on their level relative to your own. Sneak tools: Sneak tools overhauls light systems. not lighting but it just makes basically every fire light source in the game extinguishable. this is achieved through the use of water arrows and bolts included in the mod. along with those are rope arrows. you shoot one at a surface and activate to begin your ascent. Oil arrows creat an oil slick, while fire arrows ignite said slick. they also ignite traditional slicks as well. (ones that werent placed by you.) lastly we have the noismaker arrow, which is very handy. it works similar to the throw voice shout. shoot it at a corner and enemies will scurry after it to invesitagate. This can save your ass at times. Better Vampires: Dominate mind: paralyzes targets and allows feeding. vampiric seduction: vanilla spell prestare sanguinare: turns your next victim into a vampire follower. completely. freeze minds: paralyzes all targets in a short radius Bat travel & fast travel Bat Travel: good for a workaround when playing hardcore frostfall. cloud of bats: turn into a cloud of bats and literally fly around. seriously, dont use it inside OR to fly into a cave. in this event, use the console command "tcl" to get back into the map, then toggle it again to resume normal gameplay. Section 4: Enchantments You can go two different ways with this. You can enchant for sneak optimization or you can enchant for combat capability. I use a mix. I will specify which enchantments are for which classification. Use the enchantments from the black sacrament gloves and chest. the rest are either from vanilla, or the additional enchantments mod. to start additional enchantments just go to riften as if you are about to enter the ratway, but turn left and look at the corpse of a ghost in a boat. (its a blue pile of who-knows-what.) you will get a spell that will teleport you to the room. THE TROLL IS NOT HOSTILE YOU MUST TALK TO IT Head: Fortify archery, fortify destrcution chest: Stealth: constant shadow cloak, stamina regen combat: 5% chance to teleport behind attackers 5% chance to disarm attackers (you'd be surprised at how much these proc) feet: stealth: muffle, sneak combat: fortify one handed, fortify archery recommended: muffle, one handed gloves: sabatoge (double sneak damage), one handed necklace: one handed, archery ring: one handed, sneak. FOR A FUN BUT NOT OP PLAY THROUGH: I recommend that BEFORE INSTALLING PATH OF SHADOWS MOD, you enchant your ring with 45% one handed and 45% sneak. This will make sneaking very powerful but lighting and line of sight will still apply. FOR A FUN AND CHALLENGING PLAY THROUGH: enchant whatever you'd like. just don't enchant before installing path of shadows, as path of shadows really tones down sneak and muffle enchantments. Remember that you may struggle in this play style. Now, take your helmet and clothing items mentioned earlier and enchant them as so: Helm: fortify alchemy neck: fortify alchemy, smithing ring: alchemy, smithing chest: smithing gloves:alchemy, smithing boots: smithing Section 5: Play style & strategies Dagger (right)-Vampire life drain (left): in dungeons, sneak around (obviously) at lower levels you will get caught VERY OFTEN, so i recommend taking sneak perks first. when you get caught, attack with the dagger, using life drain when you get low. use the vampire move "blink attack", from the better vampires mod, to silently teleport behind enemies. Keep your dagger enchanted with life steal/magicka steal. Remember use poisons for big targets. The dwemer scouter has a great threat assess feature (path of shadows also includes one) IMPORTANT: as a melee assassin (assuming that you have brehanin's better vampires mod) you may feed on unsuspecting targets, this kills them, as well as adds toward you feed count, and gives you unique buffs. ( this may not always happen, see the mod configs. section on how I configure better vampires.) Make sure to make use of sneak tools' "activate to assassinate" feature. instead of just whacking the target with your dagger, you can active him/her in sneak mode to slit the throat for a guaranteed kill. 90% of the time the stealth feed will be a guaranteed kill as well, but for some reason, every once and a while it just damages the target and they flee. Crossbow/bow: keep distance, shoot from the shadows. use the sniper rule: never shoot from the same spot more than twice- you will get caught, even at higher levels. remember, many things will not die in one shot even from a sneak attack. in this case, use a poison. Section 6: useful potions and poisons, and where to get the ingredients. keep in mind that the harvest overhaul mod and the cell respawn time reduction mod will greatly help you gather ingredients quickly. it may be a little sly, but hey, who really wants to spend their time at the waiting screen and running around picking flowers. if you want to do that, go out and pick some flowers and stare at the ground for a month straight. I know if there was a dragon on my front porch, I would be slaying the plops out of it. Fortify blacksmithing: any mixture of two ingredients of: spriggan sap, glowing mushroom, or blisterwort. (this allows me to improve armor 96% better when i make it w/ my enchanted gear) fortify enchanting: blue butterfly wing, hagraven claw, snowberries, spriggan sap. Spriggan sap is the man. Always get spriggan sap when you have the opportunity. Now, onto my favorite part: Poisons. My three poisons are: Paralytic Poison, Instant Poison, and Crippling Poison. Paralytic Poison: Canis Root: found around morthal, and many plants are found between autumnshade clearing and the leak near riften, as well as along the lake's shore line. Imp stool: this is found in a large abundance inside white river watch. slaughterfish eggs: the islands around golden glow estate. check every island in the lake. EVERY ONE. Also check the shore line. This is very useful for killing dragons. put it on your bow, or even dagger, and when you get the chance, hit him with it. This does alot of damage when you cant hit him, and a few applications will bring him to the ground. this is also good for archers that wont be able to one shot a target, an paralyzation prevents them from looking for you. Instan Poison: Deathbell: around morthal (lots of it) skeever tail: everywhere. 5 or 6 spawn at lund's hut, recurringly. Honningbrew meadery has alot, but they only appear once. I personally haven't tried this, but maybe if you don't add the poison to the nest in the thieves guild quest, they will respawn. giant lichen: this stuff is rare. Go to movarth's lair and take the path back leading to morthal. you will find several giant lichen along the way. a couple are also in the poisoner's nook in the DB sanctuary- dawnstar. threads will say to go looking around the morthal area, dont bother. a very low number of plants spawn there. walking the path, then leaving and waiting for a respawn is the best method of collection. This poison does weakness to poison as well as poison damage, and concentrated poison damage. It will really put a dent in the enemy's health bar (occasionally.) it normally kills. Crippling Poison: I made this one myself, it's very effective. Deathbell: i already told you where to get it. Poison Bloom: Darkfall cave, this is the only place, to my knowledge, where you can obtain it. rember use harvest overhaul and greenthumb. this can multiply your ingredient outcome by up to 5 fold, and i often get around 3.5-5x as many as I would in vanilla. Abecean Longfin: This can be found (in water) near the following places Apprentice stone abandoned shack wreck of the winter war golden glow estate geirmund's hall robber's gorge solitude sawmill gloomreach heartwood mill folgunthur lady stone reachwater rock crippling poison is good for elongated fights, such as a fight against a giant. an archer may use this to slow a giant down, as well as slow enemies that are too powerful to be affected by paralytic poison. (which many, on legendary difficulty are, remember to use threat assess!) Section 7: Quests, Quest lines, and important mod configurations First of all, get skyui, it helps a ton with mod configurations. once you have it, hit the ESC key, and click "mod configuration" For Frostfall, I like to play hardcore mod, and just give all of my clothes the highest exposure protection. to do this, activate survival skills, then you will see the option to do so. Also, make sure that vampire and undead are effected. To do this, go to gameplay, and check the box next to it. Without this, why bother having the mod? Realistic needs. Do the same thing about vampires/undead as you did for frostfall. Also, go to your hunger, thirst, and tire rate, and reduce each to half of what they are. this may seem a little whimpish, but if they are set to their default rate it is much more annoying than immersive. Ok Now lets talk better vampires. You will get a spell in your powers menu. Use it. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you set it to reverse vampirism, and set the rank progression to easier. on easier, the highest rank vampire is achieved at 400 feedings. But if you feed on absolutely everything, try your luck with normal, (requires MANY more feedings) Reverse vampirism makes it so that you are the strongest when you are fully fed. This is the way that I think vampirism should be. The vanilla skyrim vampire eliminates the traditional need for a vampire to feed at all, because you are most powerful when starved. This configuration setting fixes that. You will find your play through much more enjoyable. Quests: Dark Brotherhood, Thieves Guild, main quest line, Dawnguard This is how I start out: Go through helgen do the main quest up until you kill your first dragon Go to shear point, get the throw voice shout Get to level 10 by any means besides questlines (excluding companions) (do sidequests, clear dungeons, or use the tips that I will show in the next and final portion of the guide) Start Dawnguard, just go until you become a volkihar vampire *Spoiler* then go do the thieves guild quest line, (dont do the last quest, keep the key) Do the Dark Brotherhood Finish Dawnguard Finish Main Quest line finish the rest of skyrim! the mage, or warrior questlines, and don't forget to visit the nexus for lots of great modded content. ATTENTION! Keep tabs on the progress of a WIP known as Forever Darkness: Ashes of Eris. It is supposed to be a rather large mod that greatly involves vampires and vampire lore. There is no set release date for it yet. Section 8: tips and tricks to leveling your stealth skills Sneak: (deviate from my quest plan, just a tad) and get to high hrothgar early on. Find a meditating gray beard, get behind him, and repeatedly sneak attack him with a bow or dagger equipped. This will raise your sneak FAST light armor: get lots of potions, a healing spell, and vampire life drain. go to whiterun and just duke it out with guards, making no effort to avoid attacks. I recommend a low difficulty for better damage handling. archery: use your sneaking trick (on the gray beards) with a bow! one handed: same as archery destruction: go to join the companions, and when sparring with vilkas, use magic to fight. he will not end combat and you will not break the law or be attacked by anyone (other than vilkas of course) for as long as you want. but be careful because you can only do it once, if he initiates dialogue, quickly exit and you will be fine. illusion: spam muffle conjuration: soul trap a corpse to 100 alteration: get lots of ores, transmute them to gold (via transmute spell,) reap the benefits and the experience alchemy: make potions using wheat and giant's toe, or the most expensive potions you can make. And that's it! Thanks for reading this long guide and I hope you enjoyed, reply below with any questions, comments, concerns, or edits! all are welcome!