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Character Build: The Imperial Ranger

Tags: #Hero  #Character Build Archer  #Character Build Thief  #Character Build Scout  #Rank:Recognized  #dawnguard  #Imperial  #roleplay  #Ranger  #Nomad 
  • Member
    February 6, 2014

    Race: Imperial

    Imperial Rangers are sent from Cyrodiil, to restore some balance and to protect the province of Skyrim, with their bewildering logic they can diffuse dangerous situations, and tend to find more treasure than most...

    Story: You are an Imperial, a native of Cyrodiil. Growing up, your father was a woodcutter and a hunter, your mother was killed by the Thalmor in the Great War between the Empire and the Aldmeri Dominion. Your childhood friends all went into politics, business as merchants, or enlisted in the Legion, but you longed for something else. Your father's brother, a low level diplomat, was able to arrange enlistment in the Imperial Ranger Corps. Your natural talents in hunting and archery would serve you well in the Corps, as you bid your father and uncle goodbye, and turned your sights on the road to your assigned province of Skyrim, you wondered if you'd ever return. Your mission was simple, patrol the forests and wilds of Skyrim, suppressing any threats to the Empire and to the province, be it rebel uprisings, dangerous beasts, criminal organizations, or supernatural forces. Your mission requires you to keep undercover as much as possible, and to keep to yourself, avoiding any affiliations with organizations unless absolutely necessary. Upon crossing the border, you spot a horse thief, and step out of the shadows to arrest him, when you are suddenly knocked out by a blow from behind...

    Stones: Thief to start the game, until Archery is well on the way, then use either the Lady or the Steed Stone. (can temporarily use Warrior/Lover stones)

    Apparel: *Fur/Hide/Leather armor, gained by hunting animals, and smithing/crafting the materials into armor, until you can accquire the apparel below.

    Head- Linwe's Hood, until it is unlocked use either shrouded cowl from dark brotherhood, or Ranger's Hood (Mage Hood/Plain Green Cowl with Fortify Archery/Lockpicking)

    Amulet- Ranger's Amulet (Gold or Silver with Emerald, Fortify One-Hand/Stamina Regeneration

    Chest- Ranger's Armor (upgraded Morthal/Markarth guard armor with Fortify Stamina/Stamina Regeneration) Dawnguard Light Armor (single pauldron variant, grey)

    Hands- Ranger's Bracers (upgraded leather bracers with Fortify Archery/Sneak)

    Ring- Ranger's Ring (Gold/Emerald ring with Fortify Archery/One-Hand)

    Feet- Predator's Grace, Ranger's Boots (essentially a more powerful version of Predator's Grace, upgraded Hide boots with Sneak/Stamina Regeneration) 

    *Other Apparel: Nightingale Armor, Linwe's full armor set (can interchange pieces), Ranger's Robes (green or hooded black robes with Fortify Stamina/Stamina Regen.) *Will  continue to update in Future, so check back later, or suggest your own tips/ideas!!!


    Arrows- Iron and Steel at lower levels, as you advance use Nordic and *Sunhallowed/Elven arrows.

    *(even if not using Auriel's Bow, but wishing to have slightly better damage arrows, the Sunhallowed arrows simply become a better looking variant of Elven arrows.)

    Bow- Ranger's Bow. (upgraded Imperial Bow) than alternate between Zephyr, Auriel's Bow. 

    Blades- Ranger's Blade. (upgraded Steel, Silver, than upgraded Dragonbone.)

    *Enchant your armor and dagger then use the black book to redistribute your perks if desired. The Ranger does not use magical weapons, unless they are of a holy nature You may upgrade your arms at a blacksmith. I used the weapons most closely resembling traditional medieval arms. Silver is acceptable, as the "enchantment" is merely a result of the undead's weakness to silver. Also gives the game a unique challenge, not only are you wearing light leather armors, but by only using steel/silver swords until a Dragonbone sword can be crafted, combat will be difficult at higher levels.

    Ranger's Knife. (upgraded dagger of your choosing, with poisons and Absorb Stamina/Paralyze enchantments, as this goes with the poisons theme) *Personally used Elven or Dragonbone. This weapon may be enchanted with certain spells that mimic a "permanent poison", and the dagger choice is left free. I used Elven, think Aragorn in LOTR) 

    *Other Equipment: Nightingale Bow/Blade, Dragonbane or Custom Blades Sword, Dawnbreaker, Custom crossbow/dwarven crossbow, and crossbow bolts.

    Perks: Spend your points on Stamina and Health, ignoring Magic. 0/2/4

    All Archery perks!!!

    Alchemy: Use as desired, I only used potions and poisons lightly.

    Enchanting: Enchanter, Soul Squeezer/Siphon, Insightful Enchanter, Corpus Enchanter, Extra Effect.

    All Light Armor perks.

    All One-Handed perks that have to do with swords, not the mace or axe perks.

    Sneak: Stealth, Muffled Movement, Silent Roll, Silence, Backstab, Deadly Aim, Shadow Warrior.

    Restoration: Novice Restoration, Regeneration, Respite.

    Smithing: Light Armor Smithing side, Advanced Armors, Arcane Blacksmith, Dragon Armor

    Lockpicking: Either keep the Skeleton key or upgrade until you reach Unbreakable, you will be able to simply fiddle your way around every lock, given enough time.

    Quests: Thieves Guild- upon investigation, the Guild is mostly harmless and in a state of disrepair, and as your Ranger training covers undercover work, you decide to infiltrate it and reform it from within...

    (If the Nightingale Armor and Linwe's Armor is desired, this questline must be followed. For the Roleplay, think of the Ranger acquiring underworld influence and contacts, and as the city of Riften is too corrupt to completely arrest/eliminate the massive guild, you instead decide to go undercover, keeping an eye on them to ensure their exploits don't get too out of hand)

    Note: In order to unlock Linwe's Armor, you do not need to progress through the entire storyline, just complete several jobs in windhelm until the special task is given.

    Destroy the Dark Brotherhood- A shadowy league of Assassins can not be tolerated under any circumstances, primarily as a curse upon the citizens of Skyrim. Left unchecked, they could grow, but it's not like they could kill the Emperor or something...right?...

    Civil War- As an Imperial, your natural affiliation is with the Empire and the Imperial Legion, and as an Imperial Ranger, your duty is to restore balance and peace to both the province and the Empire, and that means putting down uprisings, even if they DID mistake you for a criminal at first...

    Main Quest- As a Ranger, you are obligated to destroy the Dragon Threat facing Skyrim. Left unchecked, the Dragon Cult could not only conquer this province, but the Empire-and the world, itself. Rumors are also being whispered that an ancient organization of the Empire, the Blades, still survive in Skyrim...

    Dragonborn- The Dragon Cult's influence has spread from Skyrim to the island of Solstheim. Although technically out of your jurisdiction as an Imperial Ranger, the dangers of the Dragon Cult and your surprising discovery of being Dragonborn dictate that you investigate and dispatch any threat. Though primarily a Dunmer province now, Solstheim was once a part of the Empire, with East Empire affiliations, and there may be some Nords living there as well.

    Dawnguard- While vampires are always a pest that must be dealt with, most prefer to hide in caves with a small following, and rarely attack the smaller settlements. Reports are coming in, however, of increasingly bold vampire attacks, even in the larger cities, and this must be investigated immediately. Some of the Hold Guardsmen have privately mentioned that a Vampire Hunting organization, a resurgence of the "Dawnguard", are rebuilding the ancient fortress. Sounds like a good place to start...

    (As stated previously, the Ranger is an aloof protector, keeping as distant as possible from the various political and public factions. That being said, You seek out the Dawnguard to learn more about the growing vampire menace, and do not "join" so much as lend your assistance to the group, just like lending your aid to the Legion, and occasionally return to the Castle to receive updates on the threat and assist as necessary, as your primary goal is the protection of Skyrim and the Empire)

    Kyne's Sacred Trials- As the son of a Hunter, Kyne's blessing would bring peace to your father at home...

    Companion's Guild- A honorable group of fighters, who reside in Whiterun and fight evil, criminals, and defend the citizens of Skyrim. Whispered rumors of an infestation of werewolves have also come to your attention, but whether they are a danger to the people or even true requires further investigation from the inside. Whether anything comes of this search or not, joining them seems logical, as many of their ideals rival the Imperial Ranger Corps' own.

    (Again, The Imperial Ranger Corps maintains that you remain uninvolved and secretive, but as the Companions are a honorable group of warriors who defend citizens/Whiterun, think of joining them as a cover story for your comings and goings. Citizens will now have a plausible explanation for your constant exploits against bandits and animal threats, and your long periods of absence from the major cities. When the discovery of certain members of the group being werewolves is revealed, the Ranger must decide on how to proceed. Does he accept this tempting supernatural power, violating his principles as a Ranger? Does he proceed to gain their trust and lead them to a cure? Does he decline, but remain a low-level member of this group of honorable defenders? Or are the werewolves too great a threat to the people of Whiterun and Skyrim, and deserve to be put down?)

    Becoming Thane- Through your valor on the field and your dedication to protecting the Holds of Skyrim, many of the Jarls recognize you as a Thane, a Hero of the land.

    (The Ranger does not seek public offices or honor, in fact avoiding the larger cities almost completely. However, as your mission is to seek out unrest and danger, you sometimes slip into the cities and mingle with the townsfolk and guards in the taverns and alleys, listening to rumors and reports of dangerous wildlife and criminal activity, or worse. You protect the citizens of the villages and cities from afar, occasionally assisting the local Jarl with a problem, only returning to report your success, and if the Jarl or townsfolk insist on giving a bounty or reward, you accept humbly before vanishing into the forests. As time goes on some Jarls may insist on honoring you with the title of Thane, a hero. You may accept, but leave the home decorated sparsely, ordering your housecarl to protect it and serve as a local protector, gathering reports for your eventual return, with the knowledge that you have left the city in good hands, and have gained a loyal companion)

    Daedric Quests- Merida and Azura have a reputation as "good" daedra, but approach their summons with caution...all other daedra are evil and cruel, seek to limit their power/destroy their artifacts if you stumble across any in your defense of the Empire.

    (I know many of us opt for the Black Star over Azura's Star. Ok, all of us. But the Ranger does not trap the souls of men, no matter how wicked they may be. Their worldly judgement has been executed, their soul is to be judged in Aetherius. You cleanse Azura's Star and return to the shrine, humbly accepting the gift of the "good" Daedra for your assistance. Merida is also known as a "good" Daedra, despising the undead, you agree to cleanse her temple of undead and a vile necromancer as they are a threat to Skyrim. You accept her artifact as a weapon of Holy Judgement, but only in the most extreme circumstances do you use it

    All other Daedra are not to be trusted and therefore your interactions with them should be to foil their plans, and destroy their artifacts and thereby lessen their malevolent grip on Tamriel!

    Assorted Side and Radiant Quests- At your own discretion!

    Gameplay: as an Imperial Ranger, and the son of a Hunter, you live the nomad lifestyle, keeping to yourself, not getting overly involved in the major cities or politics, preferring to stand a silent vigil from the shadows and the forests. Walk/ride horses everywhere you go, no fast travel! Hunt animals for food/health supplies, and use some alchemy to create potions (and the occasional poison) from materials gathered in your travels. When faced with any quest or event, Remember, your duty is to preserve the balance, but if direct intervention is necessary, fight evil and crime, and protect the province of Skyrim and the Empire. When faced with Thalmor Agents in the roads and wilds, even though you may harbor resentment towards them for the death of your mother, remember your status as an Imperial Ranger and either let them pass while watching from cover, or if questioned, do not state your own business, as that is of the Ranger Corps and has nothing to do with the White-Gold Concordat. Should they decide to resort to violence, or are engaging in illegal activities (such as abducting citizens of the Empire,) the choice of how to proceed is open. Help random citizens as much as possible. In combat, fire arrows from cover, or utilize Slow Time shout to unleash a hail of arrows faster than your foes can react! Use your sword only in close quarters, or if you should run out of ammunition. Rely on Flurry and Slow Time, your superior swordsmanship moves blinding your opponent with lightning-fast strikes and blocks. Use your dagger in your left hand, or to utilize a silent takedown of an enemy. No Magic (except healing and clairvoyance), but Dragon Shouts are acceptable as befitting the status of a Dovahkiin. While sneaking, use Aura Whisper to locate unseen enemies, and Throw Voice to distract them. Rangers rely on trickery and stealth!

    Houses: All houses will be possibly owned as a result of the Becoming Thane quests, but in order to stick to the roleplay, only use these houses.

    Honeyside- Located in Riften, easy access to a small city and Thieve's Guild, perched on the outskirt of city wall with an exterior door to a porch in Skyrim, perfect for the Ranger. Honeyside has two mannequins downstairs to display your Nightingale Armor and other display armor of choice, a weapon rack and three wall plaques. Weapons display diagonally on the plaques, but display your collection of bows/crossbows and there shouldn't be a problem. Hang your blades on the weapon rack, a bow or crossbow on the plaque upstairs, two silver greatswords or dragonbone greatswords on the shield rack, and a shield of choice. I used Falkreath, for the Stag logo. 

    Lakeview Manor- Located in the forests of Falkreath, this is an excellent secluded location for the ranger. Build and decorate as you wish.

    Followers: Although the Ranger is typically a nomad, he sometimes recruits his allies to fight and patrol with him. Although this is not as important, as almost any follower will do, I prefer to use Heavy Armored, Knight-type characters, wearing a fully upgraded Dawnguard Heavy Armor set, and either wielding a Silver/other greatsword or a Dawnguard Rune Shield and random one-handed weapon.

    Any comments/advice/ideas would be vastly appreciated! Thanks!

  • Member
    February 6, 2014
    Did you playtest this as well as your Telvanni Vampire build?
  • Member
    February 6, 2014

    Just an observation, but you said  in the story part to avoid any affiliations unless absolutely necessary and yet you join the Thieves Guild, the Companions, the Dawnguard and becoming Thane of every hold. You also contradict yourself I see, you say to have the Ranger avoid the major cities and avoid politics and yet he becomes the Thane of every Hold?

    To quote a guard: "I know you're in the Thieves Guild and so do the other guards,"it does not seem to fit an Imperial Ranger, roaming the forests of Skyrim, looking to restore balance to the land.

    Maybe add in a section for the Ranger visiting taverns for news and possible work and only visiting the local palace to talk to the steward for the reward for removing the threat to the Hold.

    The Waking Nightmare quest in Dawnstar would be a good one to consider for the Imperial Ranger as well, *NOT* for becoming Thane, but for restoring order to Dawnstar.

    Sorry about the negativity in the comments, it is meant to be constructive criticism.

  • Member
    February 6, 2014
    You make a good point about the becoming thane quest line, in my mind as you continue to protect and serve jarls naturally bestow this honor upon you, but you rarely use your title(s) if at all, and if you do visit the other cities it is to glean information from the guards and the taverns. Speaking to the Jarl about local crimes and threats as well. Then you take care of matters, and retreat back to the wild. The companions quest line I did to infiltrate and determine whether or not the werewolf rumors were true. First time I played through I killed them as a menace, the second time I let live as they also serve skyrim and don't prey on citizens with their powers, but I should have clarified I did not accept the "gift" and play through all the way. Thieves guild I only decided to join for the armor and in my mind, infiltrating, then eventually leading the guild, would be a passive way to "reform" the guild without having to arrest or kill them all,but that's up to you again, you're right I should have clarified
  • Member
    February 6, 2014
    I did, twice. Telvanni only once.
  • Member
    February 6, 2014
    Dawnguard you don't "join" persay, merely assist in their quest to eliminate the vampire threat, same as you "join" the legion to put down the uprising then once the deed is done you "leave" You make good points however, thank you
  • Member
    February 6, 2014

    The only thing is that the guards will recognize you as a member of the Companions or the Thieves Guild more than a passerby (which I assume is the idea, to be able to blend in).

    ***Possible spoilers***

    I agree the armor is nice in the Thieves Guild questline, I suppose you could roleplay that you wanted some underworld influence so you decided on joining the Thieves Guild, but it might be annoying having the guards say "I know you're in the Thieves Guild and so do the other guards," and it might not make sense to actually become a Nightingale since that means pledging yourself to Nocturnal, though again, the armor is nice.

  • Member
    February 6, 2014
    The first time I was aiming for linwe's hood and armor pieces to compliment the ranger armor set. Second play through was when I started looking for other options, such as shrouded cowl or hood, unenchanted mage hood (or adept hood for the darker color) or the plain green cowl clothing piece. Looks good with morthal guard armor, but kind of a wimpy hood for male characters. (Any other hood or head suggestions welcome) And yeah pledging to nocturnal is kind of unavoidable in the thieves quest line, I wish it were otherwise. You are absolutely right however about "blending in", sometimes the best way to find threats out is by blendin in to the crowd, so to speak
  • Member
    February 6, 2014

    The Nightingale hood is perhaps a bit too much, covering the entire face aside from the eyes. I am not sure if you can acquire Linwe's Hood prior to becoming a Nightingale, I assume you can since it is a part of the Windhelm "special task," but I am still unsure as I have always done it after completing the main part of the Thieves Guild.

    For an alternative, the vampire hood might work you get from the quest "A Jarl's Justice" from Isran. It covers a decent amount of the face too and since you are teaming up with the Dawnguard to be rid of Harkon, you can get the hood fairly easily.

  • Member
    February 6, 2014

    Linwe and his gang only show up once you get the windhelm special task till then that cave only have bandits in it.