Hey everyone, this is my first article, so I'm open to any criticism that you readers may have.
Now, as a new player to Skyrim, the vast world can look a little daunting. The biggest problem that you could have is wandering into places that are out of your skill range and not knowing what to do. Hopefully after reading this you will be a little more prepared. I'm going to talk about how to tackle the Nordic Burial Grounds.
What Are Draugr?
The Nordic burial grounds can be troublesome for many players. The main enemies that you fight (Draugr) can come from all around you, and swarm before you have time to think. These places are also full of traps that can leave you damaged, and can carry a wide variety of diseases that could set you back. Draugr can be difficult enemies to face if you don't know how to take care of them. Draugr, by definition, are undead Nords who are condemned to walk the halls of the burial grounds for all eternity. Being undead, Draugr are immune to poison, so don't even try. They also are immune to illusion spells without the right perks. Being Nords, they resist 50% of all frost damage, and mainly use melee weapons or bows. The occasional Draugr who do use magic (Scourges mainly), use frost almost exclusively. Many Draugr start out in coffins, which can make it very difficult for characters using play styles such as an assassin to take care of, as you cannot sneak up on them and stab them in the back.
A warrior play type may have little trouble mowing through the weak Draugr that come at you, but the frost magic could leave you unable to use power attacks, or sprint away. Draugr Deathlords also have the ability to rip the weapon from your grip with the disarm shout, which could become a problem. To counter this, use the first word of Unrelenting Force when you see them get ready to shout, to stagger them slightly and prevent them from shouting. If you use light armor, rushing right into the middle while hacking and slashing probably isn't a good idea. With one-handed weapons that have a shorter reach, you could try darting in, slashing once or twice before backing out of the way of their swings. Draugr don't swing very fast, which can work to your advantage. A two-handed user could stay back a little bit and hit with the end of your weapon to avoid damage from the one-handed using draugr. The warrior can also use a bow if he/she prefers to stay out of the midst of combat (see below).
A mage could stay a distance from the enemy and blast them as you go, but be wary of being caught in a corner and swarmed. If you are trained in Restoration spells, you can also use spells such as Turn Undead or even the higher level Circle of Protection spells to repel the Draugr and give you some time to regenerate magicka and health. Conjuration users can summon atronachs to take the fire away from them. Frost atronachs have large amounts of health, but won't be able to deal as much damage to the Draugr because of their resistance to frost. The storm and flame atronachs may be able to deal more damage, but won't be able to take as much punishment.
Thief/assassin profiles probably have the hardest time with fighting off draugr, due to many of their perks being useful for staying out of fights. My advice for thieves is to try to keep your distance and use a bow to pick off the strongest enemies, and then you should be able to mop up the rest of them with daggers or swords. Do not try to rush them. A Draugr Deathlord can probably kill you with a couple of swings of his sword. There will be the occasional Draugr prowling the halls that you can backstab for an easy kill. Having the Assassin's Blade perk and Shrouded Gloves will help tremendously. There will be Draugr in slots in the walls, and in crevices in the wall, so look out. You can easily identify the Draugr that will kill you from the regular dead skeletons using a couple of tricks. Sleeping Draugr will be wearing armor and always will have a weapon held in their hand. Also, if you approach these Draugr without waking them, you will not be able to search or pickpocket them. Some Draugr will be sleeping in sealed coffins that appear to be impossible to get to. However, these coffins tend to have a trigger point, that when you reach it will cause the coffin to burst open and the Draugr to come out. This does not mean that the Draugr has seen you! This Draugr will most likely just begin to pace back and forth. Feel free to stab it in the back!
If you prefer the bow to fight with, you may need to do a little work to make it work. There will be some longer hallways that you can lure your enemies into and shoot into them, just don't get surrounded. With sleeping Draugr, a good shot can hit inside one of the crevices in the wall to kill it before it can get up. Using the Eagle Eye perk or just good vision, you can identify the sleeping undead from the actual dead easier. For boss chambers, there are many times where you can climb onto a landing and fire a few shots before the Draugr catch up with you. Hopefully you can deal out damage while taking as little as possible.
One strategy that can work for any play style is to lure the Draugr into traps. Many burial grounds, such as Bleak Falls Barrow have lamps hanging above oil. These lamps can be knocked down by an arrow or with magic to create a small explosion plus a burning aftermath. You can also lure them into spike door traps or swinging axe traps to cause further damage. As I said, this tactic can work for anyone, if you're willing to backtrack a bit to find a trap.
At the end of each burial ground, there will be a final boss chamber. These bosses will be much higher level than many of the other Draugr (unless the Draugr you're finding are already Deathlords). These bosses are often accompanied by lower level Draugr that can be a nuisance. Sneaking is an option for taking these areas out, but it can be difficult. Some of these areas can be open enough for mages or archers to keep their distance. Warriors can continue charging with high armor ratings, or strafe around in the open area if you so desire.
This is just a rough idea of how to take care of burial grounds; you may have other ways that you prefer to take care of these dungeons with. I hope that this was able to help give you a starting place to go off of. Thanks for reading!
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XenPorta © Jason Axelrod
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