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Event Build: The Assassin

Tags: #Character Build Archer  #Character Build Assassin  #Character Build Alchemist  #Rank:Event Exemplar  #Event:Classes 
  • Member
    July 20, 2014

    This is my first build, so any criticism will be much appreciated. Enjoy!


    The Assassin:

    “An assassin is clever, stealthy, and agile. Blade and shadow are their tools, and killing their art.”

    The Build:

    Race: Argonian, Bosmer, Dunmer, and Khajiit, are the traditional stealth races, and all make fine choices. I went with Bosmer for no reason in particular.

    Standing Stone: The Thief for leveling. For some reason archery is affected by the level bonus of the Thief, despite being a warrior skill. This mean all skills, besides one handed, get a leveling bonus. Late game I would recommend the Shadow. Its useful to have even if we can replicate the effect through alchemy.

    Stat Spread: 0/1/1 This build uses no magic so obviously magicka isn’t needed. Stamina is used mainly for slowing time with the bow, and since this build doesn’t take much damage a large health pool isn’t needed. This allows for an even split between the two stats.

    Major Skills: Sneak, Alchemy, Archery

    Minor Skills: Lockpicking, One Handed

    Shouts: Aura Whisper, Marked for Death,

    This build is a classic Elder Scrolls assassin, pure and simple. Sneak is the core of the build, and should be the priority for your perks and training. After all what good is an assassin if he can’t even get to his mark. You should also focus on getting the assassin’s blade and deadly aim perks as quickly as possible. Gameplay really starts to hit its stride once you do.

    Archery and One Handed are the two other combat skills. Archery is the workhorse as it used on most enemies. Taking down your target from a safe and unassailable positions is a core tactic. As far as one handed goes there is no better choice than the assassin’s trademark weapon, the dagger, when it come to bosses, and contract assassinations.

    Lockpicking and alchemy are support skills. An assassin would undoubtedly have to infiltrate the homes and strongholds of their targets and lockpicking would be crucial to doing so. This makes lockpicking an excellent role play skill, and a useful game mechanic. Alchemy is a huge part of this build as well. Assassins are well versed in various poisons, and crafting our own ensures that we always have the right poison for the job. In addition invisibility and fortify marksman potions are invaluable as this build doesn’t have smithing or enchanting to buff damage.

    I opted not to perk pickpocket as seems more like the skill of a petty thief, and not something suited to the precision of a master assassin. After all why take the risk of being caught just to place a poison when you can deliver it with 100% certainty with your bow? Granted the risk of being caught is small, but no risk is better than a small one. It also wasn’t park of the Oblivion skill set, making not using it even easier to rationalize. Light armor was part of the Oblivion assassin skillset, but isn’t needed, at all, because you so rarely take damage.

    As far as shouts go, I think aura whisper is invaluable for figuring out how many enemies there are, and also where they are; this will help decide the kill order. Its silent too, so we don’t need quite casting in order to remain undetected when we use it. Marked for death has a very specific purpose in the build. Its really only used to help take down dragons, something this build struggles with. I’ll explain more on how we handle them later. Shooting an arrow at a wall works just as well as throw voice in my opinion, but Krosis is a great fit for the build, so picking it up isn’t out of the way. If you don’t feel like being dragonborn is suited to your character, then skip shouts, they’re by no mean essential.  



    Level 55 Perk spread: Click Here

    Nothing too out of the ordinary in terms of perks. As I said this is a traditional Elder Scrolls assassin. I followed the Oblivion skill set to the letter, with the exception of light armor, simply because it’s unnecessary. Lockpicking replaced security from Oblivion, and acrobatics is no longer a skill.  

    I think the sneak tree is worth maxing out. The right side is absolutely essential, for the aforementioned assassin’s blade and deadly aim perks. The left side offers a lot of utility. Muffled movement and any boots of muffle are effectively the same as the silence perk. So you could not take the silence perk, but I think eventually getting shadow warrior makes silence worth it. Silent roll is fantastic for maneuvering in sneak, and I would highly recommend it though, again it's not essential. Light foot isn’t too helpful but you have to take in order to get silent roll.

    Archery is worth maxing out as well in my opinion. Ranks in steady hand should be taken based on preference. Personally I love the slow time, but I know some don’t. Powershot and quickshot are essential for keeping you alive, and getting off shots quickly. Bullseye is great, but paralysis poisons are better, however it can be useful when detected. Ranger is nice, and I would consider it essential. That means hunter’s discipline and one rank in critical shot are needed to get it. But the second and third ranks of critical shot are not. I took them to simply help damage though you could skip them if you wanted.

    In terms of one handed Armsman is very important, as it is the only way to increase the damage done by daggers. They are sadly not affected by fortify one handed enchants or potions, so in order to guarantee success in our dark endeavours armsman is crucial. Dual flurry is only taken to get to dual savagery. Dual flurry doesn’t affect the power attacks of dual daggers because of the animation where the dagger in the right hand is flipped over. Dual savagery allows for increased sneak attack damage if you use a power attack, and some insurance if we have to get into melee combat.

    Lockpicking is a tree I have never perked, but its one I have always wanted to. Going up the center tree is necessary for branching off, but the perks can be helpful at lower levels. I chose locksmith only to get to unbreakable, and didn’t take master locks, because its not needed. Golden touch and treasure hunter are great, and contribute to this character’s already large gold stash nicely. Quick hands is useful, however wax key will actually hamper your skill gain, so don’t pick it up.

    Alchemy is the final tree, and I would call my choices standard for any build using both poisons and potions. I don’t really think any of the higher level perks are worth it. Level 55 is also the maximum for event builds, so I couldn't take them even if I wanted to. As I’ll explain later Alchemy is one of the most important parts of the build, so work on it early and often.

    The last thing I want to cover is which skills are more important to focus on. Sneak is the most important, and I would put most of your early level perks into it. That being said, overdraw and armsman are very important early on as well. I only like to put perks into alchemy when I'm leveling it, and out of combat. Lockpicking is the least important, however that doesn’t mean you should neglect it. Use common sense with your perk placement; something like powershot is more important than lightfoot, despite sneak being a more important skill than archery.





    Alchemy is very important to this build. Fortify Marksman potions and poisons are our only way to increase damage (found enchanted items, and respective skill trees as well). Daggers don’t benefit from fortify one handed enchants or potions, thankfully fortify marksman potions are glitched and increase the damage of all weapons, daggers included.

    In addition to buffing weapons with potions, poisons also greatly increases our damage output. For those who have Dragonborn and Dawnguard some powerful poisons can be made. Feel to use your own potions/poisons in addition to the ones I list below. Even some of the single effect potions/poisons can be incredibly useful!

    One problem an assassin can run in to is multiple enemies, all standing close together. Repeated shots with the bow, might be enough to take down one or two, but against any more than that you're very likely to be found. Enter the frenzy poison, a criminally underrated brew in my opinion. Fire a poison laced arrow into your enemies, sit back, and watch the ensuing chaos. Think of it as bottled illusion magic. You can simply wait the battle out and kill the survivors, follow up with a few more poisons, or use it as a distraction and slip past the enemies.

    I would recommend you buy a house with Hearthfire, and get both an indoor and outdoor garden, apiary, and fish hatchery. They make getting ingredients for your potions and poisons much easier. It also allows them to be created in greater number. Below are some of my favorite recipes.     



    Bottled Endurance: Canis Root + Juniper Berries + Namira's Rot: Fortify Health Regen, Fortify Archery   

    -This, thanks to a bug, also increases the damage of our daggers. Use it in sneak to guarantee a one shot, or if forced to fight the open.  

    Dragon Blood: Fly Amanita + Snowberries + Thistle Branch: Resist Fire, Resist Frost                                  

    -A useful potion that I made sure to have 2-3 on me at all times. Its useful for mages and dragons a like.

    Shadow Tonic: Ash Creep Cluster + Chaurus Eggs + Crimson Nirnroot + Ice Wraith Teeth + Luna Moth Wing + Nirnroot + Vampire Dust: Invisibility                                                                                                      

    -Nothing fancy here just invisibility. Note that you only need to combine two of the ingredients, not all of them.



    Heart Stopper: Imp Stool + Scathecraw + Skeever Tail: Damage Heath, Ravage Health, Lingering Damage Health                                                                                                                                                    

    -A very powerful poison, Scathecraw is abundant on Solstheim, but can’t be grow in a garden. Reserve it for stronger enemies.

    Suppressing Agent: Cyrodilic Spadetail + Deathbell + Poison Bloom: Damage Health, Fear, Slow                 

    -A very powerful poison that, in addition to a bit of damage, makes the target flee, allowing for free attacks, or time to get back into stealth. They are also slowed making shot easier to land. It is names so as it suppresses the functions of both body and mind.  

    Madness: Blisterwort + Boar Tusk + Falmer Ear + Fly Amanita + Hagraven Feather + Human Heart + Troll Fat:  Frenzy                                                                                                                                           

    -Once again only two of the above ingredients are needed. Very useful for creating diversions, and mentioned above.


    Arms and Armor:


    Head: Shrouded Cowl/Krosis

    Chest: Thieves Guild Armor/Guild Master’s Armor

    Gloves: Shrouded Gloves

    Boots: Shrouded Boots/Thieves Guild Boots

    Weapons: Crossbow/Ebony Bow/Blade of Woe/Ebony Dagger


    For the armor, the piece listed before the slash is the item you should use at lower levels. Krosis boosts three of our skills, making it an invaluable piece of equipment. Until you think you can handle shearpoint, I would recommend the Shrouded Cowl. I like the look of the Thieves Guild/Guild Master’s Armor for an assassin, so I went with that. All the pouches look like the perfect spot to carry our various poisons. Before you take the silence perk muffled movement and boots of muffle provide the same effect. After you take the silence perk really any boots will work, I liked the Thieves Guild Boots for utility.

    If you join the Dawnguard get a hold of the crossbow, if not just use the best bow you can find, late game thats ebony (daedric for the lucky). Regardless of your allegiance to the Dark Brotherhood, you can get the shrouded gloves, hood, and blade of woe. An ebony dagger isn’t too difficult to find at higher levels, just use the best daggers you can find until you get one.  

    How kick ass is this guy?



    Time to tie it all together. Aura whisper or just careful scouting (don’t get detected!) should be the first thing you do when entering a hostile environment. After, decide who gets killed first. Keep things like positioning of the enemy, and their strength (if you can tell) in mind. If there are more enemies than you can handle just sneak by.

    Shadow warrior and an invisibility potion make for a quick escape if detected. Use poisons and potions liberally. You can always make more and they make combat quite a lot easier. When facing enemies immune to poison it might be a good idea to stack archery buff potions, provided you don’t mind exploits. Keep in mind they also buff the damage of your dagger. I don’t view using one potion to strengthen your dagger as an exploit, because you should be able to use fortify one handed in the first place.

    Dragons are tough. If you're patient you can wait for them to land and try and get a backstab off. This is very difficult, and unless you can guarantee a one shot kill, not really an option on master, a waste of time. Stick to your bow/crossbow and hit him with marked for death at least once, preferably more. Once again potions and poisons are very useful. I would also recommend you make good use of cover, do you best not to take a breath attack, and you should be allright.

    The last thing I want to cover is contract assassinations, especially in town. For these it is best to take your time and follow you mark. Try and figure out a time when you can get to them without anyone seeing. When they’re in their houses is best, assuming they live alone, or if they’re simply in a remote area of town. Try and do these without getting caught, and without having to kill anyone else, like a true assassin.

    Quests/Role play:  

    -The Dark Brotherhood: Whether or not you join it or destroy it is up to you. The same loot is available either way so it is purely a roleplay choice.

    -Dawnguard: Again mostly a RP choice, however keep in mind that with the Dawnguard comes crossbows, and with the Volkihar enhanced stealth powers.

    -The Thieves Guild: A must for any stealth build. Making friends in skyrim’s under ground is very useful, especially if you're ever caught.

    -Main Quest: I killed Mirmulnir and that was it. This is purely optional, and can be ignored completely or completed if you wish.

    You can go a few direction with this build. You can join the Dark Brotherhood and the Volkihar, and bring terror to skyrim. Or protect skyrim from the shadows by destroying the Dark Brotherhood, and helping the Dawnguard. I chose the Dark Brotherhood, and the Dawnguard. I wasn’t evil, but had no problem killing for money. Once the vampire attacks became a problem I decided to eliminate them.

    Whichever quest you chose to do or not do, and your reasons for doing/not doing them should be reflected in how you act. If your evil be evil, kill someone if they look at you funny, or make a snide remark. If you are good, be good help people in danger, and protect them. Think of Batman with a bow and dagger. A vigilante type of character. It doesn’t really matter which way you take your RP, as long as you enjoy it.




    Well, I hope you enjoyed my take on the assassin of the Elder Scrolls world. I wish I had some more time to come up with a good backstory, but the write up took far longer than I was expecting. Also lore really isn’t my strong suit.  Nevertheless I’m happy to have finally posted something!



  • July 20, 2014
    A solid build, good work for a first try. Nothing much to say except there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of Roleplay, Gameplay or Backstory to go with this and you talk a little to much about the skills, in my opinion anyway. It's still a good build so +1 from me.
  • Member
    July 20, 2014

    Looking it over, I defiantly see what you mean. Thanks for the +1 anyway

  • Member
    July 22, 2014


    Personally i like you talking about the skills maybe because you are missing the perk spread and im too lazy to open the link to the calculator

  • Member
    September 17, 2014
    Very solid for a first build(posted anyway) though i would recommend getting a pic with a perk spread for this if you find the time also you may have to redo the sky-calc as they've recently updated and alot of builds have been lost(or at least made to were they cant be viewed regularly) but i digress +1 from me boyo
  • Member
    September 21, 2014

    Thanks! How would I go about making/getting a perk spread onto a picture?

  • TED
    September 21, 2014

    Hi James, CB Host Billy Mays here!  I posted a tutorial in the Art Group that details how to make a perk spread in GIMP.  It's a free alternative to Photoshop, which you can download HERE on their website.  If you feel it's too much information for you to process, click here to be redirected to the Art Group Services Request Thread.  Cheers!

  • Member
    September 24, 2014
    Quick question (and probably a stupid one) but when did you start to focus more on alchemy? While leveling other skills, or after? Just wondering as I recently started this (am now lv 16) and was wondering when to really start working with alchemy.
  • Member
    September 24, 2014

    I would say you should try and keep it at roughly the same level as you major skills (archery, sneak). In order to do this, I would suggest you start work on it as early as possible, and do it often. Its not too big of a deal if you start it later, as it doesn't become essential until later in the game, also depending on difficulty. So, I would start woking on it now, and try to get it up to the same level as you other skills.

  • Member
    September 24, 2014

    Thank you very much!