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Character Build: The Ebony Shadow

Tags: #Character Build Archer  #Character Build Monk  #Character Build Blacksmith  #Rank:Exemplar 
  • Member
    April 28, 2014

    The Ebony Shadow

    The Ebony Shadows were a creation of the Ebonheart Pact years ago when Nords, Dunmer, and Argonians joined together to create what would be a new, silent, and strong arm to serve their needs in their lands, and abroad to provide intelligence, and to eliminate hostilities before they began. The initiative was led by the Tribunal who in their generosity shared with the other races the secrets of Ebony Armor, and how one could in theory create a light, silent, yet strong armor that would blend into the shadows, and even in daylight, make the wearer vanish from sight. Together the three races developed a base near the border of Skyrim and Morrowind where they trained these warriors in secret, taking in the best assassins, spies, and cutthroats and turning them into... something more.

    These men and women became the first Ebony Shadows, used almost exclusively in Thalmor held territories as they were trained to fight against magic users and their powers through stealth and sheer willpower. Over time, as the war ended, and the Empire restored, they became an independent organization, taking in those from the other races such as Breton, Redguard, and even Khajit. However largely their membership and leadership consisted of the races of the original pact. They were not common assassins, and were used heavily only in times of warfare, almost exclusively by Morrowind and Skyrim. And now that there was a Civil War that was brewing in Skyrim, it was time once again to call upon the shadows.

    They only sent one Agent, a young blooded member who needed to prove himself worthy of his calling. He who had barely finished his training, and had just crafted his first true armor. Traveling from the base he made his way to Windhelm, taking an opportunity to meet with Ulfric's men, to learn of their side, and their plight. He was yet neutral in the affairs, his superiors had told him to observe and report more than get involved, unless it ws necessary. Traveling south with them, he was captured with them near Darkwater Crossing. Stripped of his weapons and armor he was imprisoned and questioned. He refused to speak of what he was and where he was from. So they sent him with the rest to be executed for treason...

    Yet shadows may be quick to vanish, but near impossible to kill.


    Race: Easy Mode: Khajiit/Breton, Hard/RP Mode: Nord/Argonian/Dunmer

    Stone: Warrior/Thief then Lord

    Stat Placement: S1/H2

    Skills(In order of Priority)Heavy Armor, Sneak, Smithing, Archery

    Weapons: Twin Ebony Daggers, Hand to Hand Combat, and an Ebony Bow, Optional: Ring of the Beast

    Armor: Easy Mode: Ebony Mail with Tempered Ebony Armor, Hard Mode: Ebony Armor

    Suggested Quests: Dark Brotherhood Questline, Thieves Guild Questline, Boethiah's Calling, Civil War Questline, Optional Volkhiar Questline (For Rings of Blood Magic)


    All Ebony Shadows are trained with their Bows, their Daggers, and in a strange style of combat which combines what looks to be a form of wrestling, and fist fighting. Constantly trained in armor, they are not allowed to take it off until they are ready to craft their own. Day and Night, even when sleeping they must wear the training armor. The only exception is when it is the time to clean the armor. Then they may remove it to clean it and themselves. Only those who are trained do not wear armor at all times. And even then, few of them do not, the armor almost akin to a second skin.

    Trained to be silent they must be able to make their way silently through the halls at night without waking a soul. Trained to be cautious they never rush a job, and force themselves into a corner. Allowing themselves time to manipulate and control the situation. However when at times even they suffer from unexpected results they are able to adapt quickly, and many are able to disappear into the shadows giving themselves enough time to develop a plan, and execute it quickly. They are well trained to deal with pressure, and are not easily dismayed by odds or by fear.

    Lastly they receive excellent weapons training. Expert marksman who can hit targets from across valleys, and can hit a target from the top of the mountain to the bottom and vice versa. Even when seen they are able to fire off volleys of dark arrows, blackening the sky, and eliminating many hostiles before they can even draw their weapons. When in close quarters their skill with a dagger is legendary, requiring only one cut to ever sever a man's throat, however when their are multiple targets they are able to slice and dice them quickly, before they can raise an alarm, leaving behind a trail of red smiles.


    Level 25 Perk Spread

    • Heavy Armor: (3/5) Juggernaut, Fists of Steel, Well Fitted, Cushioned, Tower of Strength
    • Sneak: (3/5) Stealth, Muffled Movement, Backstab, Deadly Aim
    • Smithing: Steel - Ebony
    • Archery: (3/5) Overdraw, Eagle Eye, (1/3) Critical Shot, Power Shot, Hunter's Discipline




    Level 45 Perk Spread

    • Heavy Armor: (5/5) Juggernaut, Fists of Steel, Well Fitted, Cushioned, Tower of Strength, Conditioning, Matching Set 
    • Sneak: (5/5) Stealth, Muffled Movement, Backstab, Deadly Aim, Assassin's Blade, Light Foot, Silent Roll, Silence, Shadow Warrior
    • Smithing: Steel - Ebony
    • Archery: (5/5) Overdraw, Eagle Eye, (3/3) Critical Shot, Power Shot, Hunter's Discipline, (2/2) Steady Hand, Quick Shot, Ranger, Bull's-eye






    There are two ways to really play this build. Easy Mode and Hard Mode. By Easy Mode I mean that the build itself is more supported by a few choices in terms of skills, racial bonuses, and armor choices which allow this build an easier time to start it up and an easier way to play on the higher difficulties.

    The basic way (also known as Hard Mode) to play this build is to utilize stealth as much as possible. Take out enemies from afar with your bow, and when they get close, drop the bow and pummel with your fists. Then as you begin to move through, you will find it more rewarding, fun, and sometimes even easier to use stealth to get as close as you can to your enemies, and slit their throats with your daggers. Should they survive or discover you, drop the blades and again, pummel them with your fists. Early on this build does decently well as your heavy armor provides a good bit of defense as you focus on Archery or Dagger weaponry, but once you have your Fists of Steel, your main focus will be Heavy Armor.

    When facing Dragon Priests and the like it is useful to stock up on a few magic resistance potions or if you know the type, elemental resistance. You can take a few hits, but magic can be a drain. If they're far, use your bow, let them come to you, trying to run after them while they burn you to death is not fun nor ideal, always do your best to get close, or at least control the battlefield when possible.

    Easy Mode consists of a few choices. First if you play as a Khajiit, you gain a bonus to your unarmed without having to perk right into Heavy Armor giving your unarmed a nice hit before you are able to smith your fist weaponry. Or you can play as a Breton giving yourself a nicely used  resistance to magic attacks and a shield that can be used upon command to defend against an onslaught of attacks. Furthermore at level 30 you can obtain Ebony Chain and with its muffled ability you have an easier time sneaking as a heavily armored warrior of shadow. Lastly if you go to level 50 you can perk into Alteration if you would wish to give yourself extra armor (Novice - Apprentice) and Magic Resistance (3/3). However this is for those who are struggling on the higher difficulties and is not recommended if you wish to play the build as its original style and intention, but it can help a great deal when facing Miraak at level 50.


    Targets are given respect. The greatest respect is a clean death. A single shot to the heart or a slash of the throat, these are respectful kills.

    Only you know the true secrets of how to craft the Ebony Shadow armor and weaponry. Take your time and rebuild your arsenal to its full glory.

    While you may at times serve the needs of others, you do not kill needlessly, self defense is always important, but civilians, drunkards, and fools, while they may disrespect or threaten you, they are no threat.

    The Thalmor are your Order's longstanding enemy and they would wish to see you and all your friends wiped away from history, do not give them the pleasure and bring the Shadow's Wrath down upon all who serve and aid their cause willingly.

    You are neutral in the affairs of Skyrim. It is up for you to decide who may rule it. While you may respect the Nords as true rulers of their land, you are from an Order which consists of many races, and the Stormcloaks racism is not reflective of your Order's beliefs.

    Your Order served the Ebonheart Pact with pride, as such you respect those members and may help any and all Argonians, Dunmer, and Nords in need. Altmer are untrusted and false, Bosmer are not equally so, yet they are not many in your Order. Orcs are respected for strength, so show your strength, but they are rare to find stealth as true combat. Show them your fists and strength more than your shadowy silence.

    The Dark Brotherhood is well respected by your Order and an opportunity to work with them is not to be missed. There were Shadowscales and former members even in your own membership, it can allow for a new learning opportunity.

    Last Thoughts

    The focus of this build truly was to find a way to be strong, powerful, and skilled while using four or less skills. It was a blast playing this build (and I would have gotten it up sooner had I not saved over the original saves by mistake.) and it made for a challenge at times, and at others it was masterful. Again if you continue to level 50 and beyond, for Roleplay purposes I would suggest filling out the last perk in Heavy Armor and then fill out the Blacksmithing Tree. For an easier time you can always use Alteration to provide even more defense, but in the end it is unnecessary and can detract from the build's original purpose, but I can understand the use of it when it comes to higher levels of difficulties. Either way, have fun, play hard and as always, enjoy RPing and playing this build.


    Again Comments and Critiques are helpful as always, thanks for reading.


    If you have the time I ask that you please read, comment, and play my other builds as well, you can find them on my page:


  • Member
    April 28, 2014
    So, wait, how are Altmer "false"? Does that mean there aren't any members who are Altmer?
  • April 28, 2014

    They were created to fight the Aldmeri Dominion and more specifacally the Altmer from what i understood.

  • Member
    April 28, 2014

    Yeah, no Altmer and few Bosmer being as this is a faction that is focused in the Ebonheart Pact lands. They have a stigma against them being as the Thalmor are Altmer and Mer focused. So they don't really trust elves. (Save for Dunmer of course.)

  • Member
    April 28, 2014
    I would almost call that exclusionary, and borderline racist, but I can see what they're saying, Bosmer and Aktmer could be spies, or atleast AD sympathizers.
  • Member
    April 28, 2014

    Yeah, which is why they will accept Bosmer, but Altmer it would be an extremely rare case. Hard to trust those who want to kill your entire group right?

  • Member
    April 28, 2014
    Fair enough.
  • Member
    April 30, 2014
    What is the author doesn't have DG or DB? :P
  • Member
    May 1, 2014
    What active news got to do with the DLCs?
  • Member
    May 1, 2014
    Yes, but it's the builders choice to include DLC content. There are still pure vanilla players out there who don't have it