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Character Build: The Penitus Mentis Mens

Tags: #Character Build Dual-Wield  #Character Build Archer  #Character Build Hero  #Rank:Legendary  #Hall of Fame Build  #ShinJin Build 
  • Member
    October 22, 2013

    With a play style considerably less straight forward than your typical paladin, this character displays undeviating devotion in upholding and defending the good by quietly stalking and destroying evil. Fueling her protection of Tamriel with the souls of its enemies, she strikes unexpectedly and savagely, softening opponents with her bow then rushing in close quarters to finish them off with sword and dagger. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you…

     The nine “Imperial Ghosts” together for the last time before receiving their assigned provinces

    The Penitus Mentis Mens… Ghost of the Empire


    As Emperor Titus Mede II tosses and turns in a fitful sleep, he is visited in a dream by Talos in the guise of his former self, Tiber Septum. The message is simple, but dire: Tiber Septim’s sole purpose in creating the Empire—to unify, strengthen, and bind the provinces of Tamriel together—is failing. The Provinces have become too estranged and the Empire’s resources too stretched for the Emperor to effectively enact and enforce policy for Tamriel. The injunction: go immediately to the Temple of the One. There you will find a priest or priestess for all nine Divines awaiting your arrival, whereupon each will skry a champion to represent their respective Aedra as an agent of the Empire. These nine champions will form a new ultra-elite offshoot of the Emperor’sPenitus Oculatus Guard… the Penitus Mentis Mens.

    While the Penitus Oculatus serve as the “far seeing eye” of the Emperor, the Penitus Mentis Mens serve as the far reaching “mind” or “will” of the Emperor. They will prepare Tamriel for the imminent storms ahead. Covertly.

    Remember, the Emperor must appear to rigorously uphold the tenets of the White-Gold Concordat, and will therefore disavow any knowledge of your actions. Technically, your squad does not exist; you do not exist… you are a ghost.


    From the moment the priest of Talos showed you Skyrim in his skrying bowl you fell in love with this starkly beautiful land and people. But your divinely assigned province is a troubled land, as are its people. With Skyrim’s denizens divided, a manipulative Thalmor presence ever in the background, and a hidden threat looming on the horizon, you must unravel these dangers by pursuing the following objectives:

    End Skyrim’s civil strifes

    Tiber Septim made it very clear in his dream visitation to Emperor Mede II… he formed the Empire to serve Tamriel, not the other way around—talk to the Jarls of each hold, make your choice, join a side, and stop the Civil War.


    Weaken the Thalmor’s grip in Skyrim

    The Thalmor have not been idle, carefully positioning and advancing their pieces… your duty is to confound that advance in Skyrim.

     Eliminate the Dark Brotherhood

    Two Dark Brotherhood agents have already infiltrated the Penitus Oculatus outpost in Dragon’s Bridge, leaving Commander Maro unwittingly exposed to influence and attack from within. Eliminate these agents and loot their armor… your new cover will be as a roving Penitus Oculatus agent on special assignment from the Imperial City.

    Eradicate the Forsworn threat

    Random terrorist attacks and kidnappings, the practice of dark magic, briarhearts and hagravens leading their camps… for too long the forsworn have plundered Skyrim unopposed.

    Protect Skyrim’s people from its many dangers

    Bandits, necromancers, hostile mages, dangerous creatures, monsters, vampires, etc… the Penitus Mentis Mens do not leave a menacing situation for Tamriel’s people unresolved.

    Race: Bosmer and Redguard are particularly well suited, but the beauty of the build’s backstory is the freedom it gives you in choosing your race... play what you love.

    Stone: Warrior to level up your Melee skills, then Lord Stone to boost your Armor Rating and Magic Resistance.

    Stats: 0 magica-1 health-1 stamina. Dumping points into health makes up for your light armor, and stamina fuels a dual wield build.

    Major Skills: Archery, One-handed, Sneak, Speech

    Minor Skills: Enchanting, Light Armor, Smithing, Restoration

     Perk Spread


    Hunting Bow: the hunting bow is a fairly decent compromise between power and speed. Enchanting your bow with Soul Trap allows you to fill up those empty soul gems and use them to enchant items which can be sold to help finance the protection of Skyrim’s people.

    Skyforge Steel sword (main hand):  lighter than Elven but with the same damage output (and upgradable with the Steel Smithing perk) the Skyforge Steel sword is the melee mainstay of the Penitus Mens Mentis arsenal. Alternatively, you could use the Blades steel sword (which has the same specs).

    Steel Dagger (off hand): your dagger not only provides 15x bonus damage on sneak attacks with the Assassin’s Blade perk, but determines the speed of your dual attacks and allows your sword to swing at dagger speed.

    Armor (with end enchantments)

    The Penitus Mentis Mens utilize the power of the Divines to enhance their skills, strength, and magica by enchanting their armor—when you go out to battle, the Nine go out with you.

    Penitus Oculatus armor (Fortify Health & Light Armor)

    Penitus Oculatus helm (Fortify Magica & Restoration)

    Penitus Oculatus guantlets (Fortify Archery & One-handed)

    Penitus Oculatus boots (Fortify Stamina & Carry Weight)

    Other Worn Items:

    Talos Amulet: combined with your frequent visits to the Shrine of Talos, this amulet qualifies you for his blessings... a 40% reduction in the cool-down time of your dragonshouts.

    Ring (Resist Magic, Fortify Stamina)

    Circlet (optional): if you aren’t above using exploits, a circlet may be worn under the Penitus Oculatus helm for additional enhancements or skill boosts (Fortify Magica & Fortify Archery or Restoration).



    You are a lone operative of the Empire in Skyrim with a highly sensitive mission. Close associations with followers could jeopardize the essential secrecy of your divine appointment; therefore, you must face overwhelming odds with none but yourself to rely on. Having a game plan is imperative: scout your enemies and their position, plan your attack, and then be prepared to improvise should things move in an unexpected direction.

    Generally, it is helpful to initiate combat with a sneak attack using your bow and focusing on the ranged threats first. After your initial shot or two gives away the element of surprise, pop out of sneak mode and soften the enemy up—then close in and finish the engagement with your sword and dagger. 

    Don't be afraid to open with blades! A blade/dagger stealth attack is devastating, and can sometimes be repeated on an additional enemy before detection. Remember, though, that light armor and dual wielding leave you vulnerable—stick and move, find terrain that is advantageous to you, get your shots in, stayout of reach, and use those dragon shouts.



    Aural Whisper, Become Etherial, Elemental Fury, Slow Time, Unrelenting Force, and Whirlwind Sprint

    Useful Moves

    Ghost Step: as your opponent bears down on you with weapon raised high for a power attack, you merge with the incorporeal air. His attack slips harmlessly through you, leaving him overbalanced and exposed to your counter—a devastating dual power attack (also good for hovering dragons--counter with bow).

    Become Ethereal (feim only) + wait for enemy’s power attack + dual sword and dagger power attack.

    Spectral Advance: ranged opponents sling spells and arrows that pass right through your insubstantial form as you close the gap and unleash your dual power attack on the would-be assailant.

    Become Ethereal (feim is usually enough) + sprint to opponent + dual sword and dagger power attack.


    Organized Retreat: the battle has gone horribly wrong, but in the blink of an eye you remove yourself from the action to recover health and stamina before plunging back into the fray.

    Whirlwind Sprint, + heal and restore stamina.

    Whirlwind Counter: overwhelmed by close combat opponents, you put some much needed distance between them and yourself, then pick apart their defenses with a deadly hail of arrows.

    Whirlwind Sprint + bow attack.

    The Stand: as difficult enemies approach for close quarter combat, taking advantage of your relatively defenseless state while you wield your bow, you boldly stand your ground and unleash a shout of fury that blasts them, helpless, from their feet as your arrows continue to fly.

    Unrelenting Force + bow attack

    Deus Ex Machina:  the situation is dire; outmanned and outflanked, health waning and stamina all but gone, your cry to the Divines slows time to turn the tide of battle, or to allow you to relocate and recover in a more defensible position.

    Slow Time + dual sword and dagger power attack/sprint to defensible location + heal and restore stamina.

     Some Penitus Mentis Mens Friendly Quests

    The Imperial Ghost… ready for anything

    Main quest: there’s a world eating dragon bent on destroying Skyrim, Tamriel, and all of Nirn…  you really ought to fix that. Also, the “Horn of Jurgan Windcaller” quest provides an early opportunity to get the Become Ethereal shout (a highly useful time-out from pain for this light armor build).

    College of Winterhold quests: as a melee fighter this could be your most awkward assignment to date—a Thalmor “observer” is showing a disconcerting interest in the various artifacts of power the college uncovers during its expeditions. Aside from enchanting and healing you use very little magic, but it’s up to you to determine Ancano’s angle… is he merely observing, or is there a darker, hidden agenda?

    Divine Quests: help the priestess of Mara spread the love, the priestesses of Dibella locate the new Sybil, and the priestess of Kynareth restore the sacred Gildergreen Tree to its former glory. Doing so earns you +15 to Magic Resistance, an increased ability (10%) to wail on members of the opposite sex, and a master level trainer for Restoration, respectively.

    The Companions Questline: up until the invite into the inner circle this is a great way to fund the protection of Skyrim as well as find expert level training for Archery and One-handed. You should, however, probably avoid assignments that have you brawling with Skyrim’s citizens as if you were nothing more than a common street thug stealing money from the milk drinkers.

    A side note about Daedric Quests: you shun the Daedric princes... but if you role play this character correctly, they're going to find you (as a follower of the Nine, how could you not assist a Vigilant of Stendarr in investigating potential daedric activity). When they level a command... ignore it.

    Admittedly, Meridia and Azura are tough calls… let your heart be your guide.

    Ps—no polite answers for daedra.

    The Forsworn Conspiracy: so much mystery and intrigue—discover and root out the elusive Forsworn presence in Markarth.

    Blood on the Ice: an opportunity to play detective and thwart a serial killer in Windhelm.


    Not really a quest, but something to do as a personal favor for ShinJin: if you should happen to run across the three thugs who are impersonating Imperial soldiers… please destroy the little fetchers! Much obliged…


    Thanks for sticking with an (admittedly) long build. I’m new to character building, so I Welcome feedback—particularly on lore related issues, structure/organization, and improved game mechanics for this build.

    Any good screenshots were taken from Amnis off of Deviant Art


  • October 22, 2013

    Double backstory alert!

    This may take a while...

    What's with the level 30 perk spread with 1 perk in enchanting and then placing two enchants on your gear a little later? People will want to see the complete spread of perks...

  • October 22, 2013

    Oh I see...

    You've already placed all the perks above, that flows a little odd! Maybe move the perk spread up...

  • Member
    October 22, 2013

    Why only 1/5 Enchanting? Waste of a perk. Perk it more, or don't bother.

    'Go hard or go home' as they say!

    Nice build either way, +1

  • October 22, 2013

    He's perked enchanting fully...(read again)

  • October 22, 2013

    It's great overall Shinjin! Very good for a first build!

    My advise would be to give it that final edit...

    Trim it down! Refine and polish! Pick out the best bits so they don't get lost... Cherry pick.

    Move the level 30 perk spread above your final perk placement, it's a little jarring to go 'back in time' half way through the read...

  • Member
    October 22, 2013

    It says 1/5....I'm so confused I feel like a dog that chases after the ball, just to realize the person hasn't thrown it.

  • October 22, 2013

    It's up top under 'minor skills'...

  • Member
    October 22, 2013

    Ah, I see. Wow, I'm blind.

  • Member
    October 22, 2013

    Very cool Shinjin. I think Mason covered everything. Try to trim it down a little because it is pretty long and fix the perkspread thing. It is counterproductive to give all of your perks and then just a layout of what you had at 30. You could maybe move it to before the skills to show your progression? Or just cut it all together. Aside from that, I like it. Always nice to see Dunmer buildsĀ