Skyrim Character Building » Discussions

Character Build: The Hold Guard

Tags: #Character Build Archer  #Character Build Warrior  #Character Build Scout  #Rank:Legendary  #Hall of Fame Build 
  • July 23, 2012

    Those who have checked out my other builds may have noticed that I’m very keen on aesthetically pleasing characters; I believe it’s important to look the part. I realised I’d only ever been the thane of Whiterun and thought it was time to take a crack at the other holds, this called for a specific type of character.

    The Hold Guard

    You come to in a battered cart somewhere in southern Skyrim, your uniform has been stripped and it appears you’ve been taken captive by an unknown force. As you struggle to sit up you feel an agonizing pain and stare in horror at the shaft of an arrow protruding from your knee.

    Summoning your remaining strength you lean forward and with a cry of pain tear the projectile out with your teeth, spitting the bloody arrow head at the feet of the captive next to you. You look him in the eye as you staunch the blood with your hands...

    “I used to be an adventurer like you...”


    Race: Unknown (possibly Austrian)

    Stone: The Lord

    Major Skills: One Handed, Archery, Block, Light Armor.

    Minor Skills: Smithing, Alchemy.

    Weapons: Steel Longsword, Imperial Bow.

    Armor: Hold Armor, Shield of Solitude.

    The Build

    The guards have always amused me, I love watching them charge into battle screaming insults at dragons and sounding their funny little bone horns. For this build I decided to live my life as one of these nutters and wear each one of the various hold armors as I slowly conquered Skyrim.

    Guards actually have a pretty competent skill set making them dangerous at any range and I’ve done several playthroughs with below average armor so I knew I’d be kicking butt in style once I’d levelled the appropriate skills.

    This build will adopt kamikaze style gameplay by using alchemy as a support skill, typical battles will be won by brute force as you literally drown yourself in healing potions and hack away like a madman. I also placed heavy emphasis on the shield wall perk which can absorb obscene amounts of damage if looked after properly and opens up some neat combat tactics.

    Companions are a welcome addition to this build and any that joined up with me were given a spare set of hold armor, with an attack dog in toe I had myself a little patrol squad to police the holds of Skyrim.

    “I’d be a lot warmer and a lot happier with a bellyful of mead”

     This is a great build for doing all the miscellaneous and radiant quests. The goal is simple; become thane of every hold starting at Whiterun and finishing in Solitude, that’s a pretty big list of things to do unless you’re doing crappy missions like chopping wood.

    Obtaining hold armor is actually more difficult than it looks; there are only a few dead hold guards scattered around the game, sometimes I had to allow dragons to eat them to get my new armor set, sneezing a guard off the nearest cliff also works nicely (Unrelenting Force).

    Obviously the Shield of Solitude is going to be the prized item of this build, it’s a levelled item so we want to be level 40+ when we pick it up.


    Level 25 Perk Spread

    This was my guard at level 25, skills have all been kept pretty balanced. I figured hold guards would have some rudimentary smithing knowledge to maintain their weaponry and armor, unfortunately guard armor benefits from no perks so be sure to brew up a smithing potion when tempering your gear.

    Alchemy will be kept pretty basic, I won’t be venturing into the poison territory of the tree at all but I may take a few perks of experimenter as I feel that guards may like to nibble on random stuff while venturing on longer campaigns.


    Battle Tactics

    This was my first 'dead is dead' playthrough which is pretty risky when your only half way through writing a build, these are just some of the methods I used to stay alive during the early levels of the playthrough when I was extra squishy.


    Pincer Attack

    Using follower commands you can use your companion as an effective decoy to lure hard hitters like bears and sabre cats into combat with them. This allows you to then attack hard from the rear flank with either your sword or bow and always guarantees victory.



    As i stated earlier the shield wall perks are capable of soaking up a ton of damage. By closing in tightly on an enemy with your shield raised you can absorb all the blows while your mutt and companion shred them to pieces.

    Amulets of Stendaar and potions of blocking will maximise this tactic.


    Wall of Sigdis

    This is one of my favourite boss killers. Drop down into sneak mode and begin hailing arrows at your opponent with your companion. As soon as they get close knock em flying with unrelenting force and continue your ranged assault.  Archery perks like power shot and quick shot combined with shout time reduction are excellent. It may seem basic, but anyone who has fought Sigdis Gauldurson during the Forbidden Legend questline knows how lethal it can be.



    Level 50 Perk Spread

    A predictable progression in skill since level 25, what I noticed the most when running this character was the torture in picking perk's, there always seemed to be 2 or 3 really powerful skill's ready to take.

    Block's bashing perk's remain untouched, even with powerful shield's bashing doesn't make a dent on master difficulty. The combination of elemental protection and block runner is perfect for taking down mage's and shield charge complete's the package.

    Alchemy has remained basic as promised, although I did go with the experimenter perk's which are highly useful for raising the skill without spending time rifling through ingredient page's on my mobile. Most of my potion making was done at Arcadia's Cauldron so that as I made money I could convert it into alchemy training. Arcadia can train you to an impressive level 75, removing all the usual grinding associated with the skill.

    Light armor has been nearly maximised with the exception of matching set, I completed Unfathomable Depths during my brief time in Riften to effectively replace that perk. My guards final armor rating easily exceeded my Alik'r although his melee damage was slightly less.

    Smithing was difficult, very difficult. Those without patience are going to want to invest a perk in dwarven smithing and create dwarven bow's to maximise this skill.

    "Watch the skies, traveler"

    Playing as a guard was great fun, they fit in nicely while trading in cities and during combat possess a vulnerable look that is overcome time and time again by their deeds. Switching between 9 different costumes depending on the hold I was currently exploring was a delight, my favourite was Morthal's guard armor which is badass green with an intricate shield design. Overall, hold guards are not to be messed with, they will kick your ass and toss you in a dungeon.

  • July 23, 2012

    This is genious 

  • July 23, 2012

    I was laughing as I read this build (race:  unknown, possibly Austrian ).  Nice role-play build, although I'll probably use any gifts that I receive from the jarls as well as my 'issued' gear.  The lord stone more or less off-sets the fact that hold armor benefits from none of the smithing perks.

    These ingredients will be useful for anyone wishing to brew up those smithing potions:  blisterwort, glowing mushroom, sabre cat tooth, and spriggin sap.

    Now it's time to don my gear and patrol for bandits..."Wait, I know you..."

  • Member
    July 23, 2012

    I like it +1

  • July 23, 2012

    I can see the Deflect Arrows perk being invaluable to this build. 


  • July 23, 2012
    This build is amazing! I'm laughing my balls off! :-D hehehehehe....."An arrow protruding from your knee" :-) + 20
  • July 23, 2012

    I am going to have so much fun with this build +1

  • July 23, 2012

    Lol! It actually took me a minute to get that comment, quality!

  • Member
    July 23, 2012

    This seems a little more like a roleplay idea than a true character build, but I love it nonetheless. Playing in full Hold Guard armor is something I've done a few times - I remember having to bite my tongue and guiltily take up Smithing while trying to make Lydia wear a set.

    Guards in Solitude wear Imperial Steel Gauntlets and Steel Shin Boots, so that provides a nice way of levelling the Heavy Armor skill without breaking character. The shields are heavy armor too, but I can't remember whether they grant armor experience or only level Block. Conjuration is loosely useful as well: I petended my thralls were just slightly dim rookie guards, so I could have a real party of four badasses bedecked in yellow leather. But mate, while I can suspend disbelief for zombie groans, I can't last five minutes with a dog before throwing him down a deep hole and trying to kill him by bow before he hits the ground! I mean, uh, bark. Bark bark bark.

    Good to see another guard fan! No matter how powerful any of us get, these guys are always around to keep our egos in check by stealing our sweetrolls.

  • Member
    July 23, 2012