Skyrim Character Building » Discussions

Character Build: The Huntsman

Tags: #Character Build Archer  #Character Build Alchemist  #Character Build Werewolf  #Rank:Mythic  #Hall of Fame Build  #Hunter  #Skyrim  #roleplay  #bow  #craft  #hide  #hunt  #savior 
  • Member
    March 27, 2013


    Yule: Herne the Hunter by Freyja-M

    Experience is the best word to describe the goal of playing the Huntsman.  No, not XP (but that's always nice), but rather the simple pleasure of becoming a part of the world around you.  Simple and frivolous tasks become much more rewarding when they become your only true means of progression.  By this I mean you will be limiting yourself heavily in what gear you use and what you may loot from your endeavors. 

    This means that crafting has more purpose, and acquiring those materials is a rewarding and rich experience as you travel the lands.  As you find new ingredients for your potions/poisons and discover ore deposits or wild game to hunt for use in improving your smithing skills you will feel much more in touch with the world.

    I have done my best to form what I envisioned as an ideal "live off the land" style character for the immense and beautiful world of Skyrim.  By manipulating the core mechanics, deeply exploring the environments, and relying heavily on the various resources at my disposal, I feel I have finally reached that goal.  This is my first attempt at posting a true character build for the masses, so any productive criticism is appreciated and, indeed, most welcome.  So without further trivialities I present...


     The Character

    Race: Any (I prefer the simple Nord myself, since their abilities aren't very "magical")

    Major Skills: Archery, Sneak, Alchemy

    Minor Skills: One Handed

    Stone: Thief -> The Lady/Lord

    Weapons: Bow of the Hunt/Glass Bow of the Stag Prince (Dragonborn DLC), Valdr's Lucky Dagger

    Armor: Savior's Hide/Fur Armor, Fur Bracers/Gauntlets, Hide Boots

    Jewelry: Kyne's Token, Ring of Hircine or any of the Werewolf Rings of Dragonborn DLC


    Seems rather limited and weak in comparison to most other builds, doesn't it?  Remember, this build is all about the role, so the gear I selected is what I feel best relates to what the Huntsman represents, not what would necessarily make him the most efficient/powerful.  With diligence and effort you can take these modest tools and craft a very satisfying hunter that remains challenging even into the higher levels. 

    Bow of the Hunt will be your first goal after Helgen, though the Troll guarding it will prove a daunting foe if faced in combat.  I recommend a bit of training ahead of time, supplemented with some nasty poisons.  Don't worry too much about not being able to smith it this early, since it has a higher base damage than a standard Hunting Bow and should be sufficient until around level 18 (feel free to use a normal smithed bow until then, but stick with Longbows, Hunting, and Imperial Bows to keep the proper look).

    Valdr's Dagger can be obtained fairly early by around level 12 or so, depending on your skill with sneaking.  Making use of stamina regeneration such as Vegetable Soup can help you take out some tough creatures with careful attacks followed by bashing with a Steel Dagger.

    Both of these weapons may be replaced later with smithed Nordic weapons if using the Dragonborn DLC, but I find that you lose a bit of the character.  What can I say?  I'm picky like that sometimes.


    “Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.”

    - Greg Anderson

    To fully experience this character, you will be following some key "rules" to fulfill the role of a hunter that lives off the land.  Please note these are MY personal preferences to keep the role challenging and, what I feel, as rewarding for the longest time.  You are free to ignore/alter them as you see fit.

    - Never use any magic.

    - Avoid using invisibility potions.  Rely on your natural stealth.

    - Fast travel only through using carriages/boats.  You may fast travel TO settlements, but not FROM them (the carriage driver drops you off on his trip to the next Hold city, try to drop some gold in a container to pay for the trip).  If using Hearthfire, don't use the personal carriage, but you treat the Homestead as a Hold city.  Falkreath/Morthal may be fast traveled FROM as if they had a carriage.

    - Only carry one type of arrow at any time.

    - Only use "realistic" arrow types (iron, steel, ancient nord).  Nordic carved are allowed if you use Dragonborn and wish to take the Advanced Armors perk.  You may only use arrows you make yourself or find in your journeys.  For added challenge, limit your "quiver size" to around 100 or so.

    - Do not purchase training until you reach 50 in a skill though your own efforts/practice.

    - To keep money an important and rare resource, only loot jewelry, gems, and gold.  You may loot armor and weapons for disenchanting if you wish to obtain experience for leveling.  Also, do not sell alchemy creations as their value far exceeds the items used to create them.  Smithed items may be sold, however.

    - Only use ore/ingots you obtain in the wild/dungeons.  Do not purchase them.  Purchasing ingredients is acceptable though.

    Other ideas may be added later, as I am constantly thinking up new ones each time I run this build (up to #5 now)

    Servant of Hircine

    Werewolf Lurking by chrisscalf

    Your werewolf abilities will play a crucial role in making up for some of your weaknesses in close combat, especially when facing much more daunting foes such as Deathlords or even Giants.  If you are willing to become one early enough, it will greatly reduce the danger in obtaining your gear as well.

    Be as swift as the wind as you race across the land in search of prey both large and small. 

    In case you may not know, you can obtain both the Savior's Hide as well as the uncursed Ring of Hircine at the end of Ill Met by Moonlight.  First, help Sinding defeat the hunters.  Leave the cave and receive the ring from Hircine.  Then return to Sinding and kill him, taking the skin from his corpse, and receive the Savior's Hide.

    With the Dawnguard DLC you will have access to your true potential as a hunter by feeding on your prey.

    Hunter and Craftsman

    I've been hunting and fishing in these parts for years.

    - A Hunter

    Always be on the hunt as you travel.  The land is plentiful with wolves, deer, bear, and many other sources of hides that will provide the leather you need for most of your training.  I tend to focus on Leather Bracers as they require the least investment of supplies.

    With Dawnguard and/or Hearthfire you can get reasonable skill gain by crafting arrows (24 value for iron, 48 for steel) and nails (10 value).  Arrows can then be sold (steel and above) or saved.  Nails will be useful if you decide to build a Homestead (Lakeview is my preference) later.

    Try to keep a Woodcutter's Axe on hand so you will be able to craft arrows in the wild.  Get the Poacher's Axe from Halted Stream Camp for a more thematic version.

    Alchemy will be your personal means of healing, buffing, and poisoning.

    To keep the challenge up, don't use alchemy to make money.  You can make whatever you want to improve your skill, just don't sell any of your creations.  This will keep the small amount of loot you will be obtaining much more worthwhile when it comes to training and purchasing a good pair of bracers or boots.

    Smithing is used to improve the gear you obtain, so you will want to get to 60 for Arcane Smithing soon.  If using Dawnguard, I recommend only obtaining arrows through fletching your own via firewood and relevant ingots.

    Keep a pickaxe on hand all the time.  An early one can be found inside Embershard Mine just past the Guardian Stones, next to the first set of Bandits.

    Essential Quests

    - Companions (Lycanthropy)

    - Kyne's Sacred Trials (Kyne's Token)

    - Ill Met By Moonlight (Savior's Hide/Ring of Hircine) Note: Make sure to collect Bolar's Oathblade at Bloated Man's Grotto beforehand.

    - Hunter and Hunted (Valdr's Lucky Dagger)








  • March 27, 2013

    I like this, perfect presentation and most things are explained nicely! No light armor perks, pretty brave.

    I'd say the link to the cartoon is cheapening your work a little at the moment, consider removing that bit.

    "Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it"

    I liked this quote. Very true when it comes to Skyrim, those early levels when you're putting everything together are great fun!

  • Member
    March 27, 2013

    A few things that come to mind with this build. First, the lack of investment into the Light Armor, Heavy Armor, or Alteration trees, combined with only a minor investment into One-Handed means that this character is going to die fast using the dagger for any sort of combat aside from Assassinations. Secondly, why Nord? Khajiit's get bonuses to every skill this build uses, including a +10 to Sneak and also have a bit of a hunter feel to them. Finally, why bother grabbing Bolar's Oathblade if it isn't being used at all?

  • Member
    March 27, 2013

    The man humble me good sir.  Glad you like what you see, and I can see what you mean about the video, I just couldn't resist a little touch of humor when I was writing this up.  I literally just remembered about that classic and said "why not?" 

    And yes, I have taken to avoiding armor perks in most of my runs.  It always felt like you became nearly invincible around level 50 or so, especially when figuring in smithing and if you take the Lord Stone.  I love the added sense of danger, though those insta-deaths from NPC enemies and Dragons can be most irksome, even if armor isn't factored into avoiding them.

  • March 27, 2013

    I only ever play archer builds and rarely perk light armor, never use alteration, and always play on master, the beginning levels are difficult but with positioning you can completely destroy the enemies with little to no defence, my current character is robin hoodesque, no armour, green tunic and cowl, level 48 no alteration, and i have only died a handful of times.

  • March 27, 2013

    This is brilliant, I love archery builds, I will be using it. +1

  • Member
    March 27, 2013

    That's an archer build though. I'm talking about when he pulls out the dagger.

  • March 27, 2013

    it is still viable, i imagine this is a build that doesn't go past level 50, i always have a one handed  weapon on  hand, never use it, as Henson says, it's not retreating, it's re-positioning.

  • Member
    March 27, 2013

    The dagger is definately a tricky weapon to rely on in close combat.  As mentioned, it mostly revolves around the Vegetable Soup trick to keep bashing an enemy as you circle around them, slicing about 3 times between each bash.  It makes for some long battles against Spriggans or even bears...but damn if it doesn't get your heart racing when you finally win that way. 

    A sword is perfectly viable as well, though thats more of a Ranger than a Hunter. I just personally stick with a bow and hunting knife (dagger) for a hardcore roleplay.

  • Member
    March 27, 2013

    My thanks, and I wish you luck in your hunting.