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Character Build: The Cryptstalker

Tags: #Character Build Archer  #Character Build Necromancer  #Character Build Agent  #Rank:Legendary  #Build of the Week 
  • June 5, 2012

    When I first started playing Skyrim, I was thrilled that you could use necromancy. It was a dream come true; I used the build from the Official Guide. So about six hours in and I realized that the build was flawed, and I was bored. You can only use biological corpses, which means that if there are no corpses near by, you are severely weakened. I would often get killed in fights waiting from my corpse to rise, and they would often die before making another one. I made a Night blade build and found illusion to be very useful, like quiet casting. I read a forum about how necromancers are like drug dealers in that they have a high risk occupation in the hopes of the chance of getting a high reward from it. The forum pointed out that he raided and killed alot of them, and that they are doomed from the moment they are found, meaning that the chances of them becoming powerful enough before being killed are slim. This got me thinking; what if they weren't found? What if they devoted a part of their life to not being found, and could kill and raised corpses from the shadows. So I designed this build.



    If you are looking at him up this close, it is because he is your glorious master.

    Living as a Mage in Skyrim is hard, but living as a Necromancer is down right suicidal. Every one wants you dead, whether that be your colleagues, rival Necromancer collectives, the Hold your ruin is in and Meridia, a freaking Daedric prince! The Cryptstalker sees the Fallacy of this. He doesn't make himself known. Getting their name from the fact that they frequent Nordic Crypts, these are men and women sacrifice power over the elements for skills in the subtle arts. They are famed for their ability to pack up their work and disappear at a moments notice, and kill anyone following them. Even if they know which crypt he works in, the bounty hunter will never find him as by the time he finds the place the Cryptstalker works, he has been sniped, turned into a zombie and is currently attacking his friends. The Cryptstalker often never awakes the draugr in the crypt on his comings and going, making it impossible to know whether someone has been through the crypt.



    Important notice:

    This build is designed to be an assassin/ necromancer. You utilize sneak attack with a bow and poison/ enchantment, and use dead bodies to raise an ally to fight off his former friends. If you do get into a fight you can't avoid, you fight like a Witch hunter; keeping your distance taking down the enemy with a bow, getting protection buffs and high DPS from Alchemy or Enchantment.

    Important Skills

    Alchemy or Enchanting: Make sure to get all perks from either skill, as they make up for your lack of elemental abilities while not in stealth, and potions/enchanted armor come with some powerful buffs to keep you going. 

    Archery: This is how you kill people you deem a good specimen. You wait in the shadows, poison your bound bow, kill someone, raise their body and watch them destroy the other two. Get all perks in this tree

    Sneak: No one ever sees you coming. You strike from the shadows, and let your minions fight in the open. Get all perks except Assassin's blade; you won't be needing it because of your bow..

    Conjuration: This is the reason you learn such a broad range of skills. Bound a bow to snipe the enemy, but the true power is the unwavering loyalty of your undead servants. Get Perks Novice - Master, Dual casting, Necromancy, dark souls, twin souls. Get all bound weapon perks only if you chose Alchemy over enchantment.

    Illusion: This school of magic is always useful, but the only important part is the silent casting perk, allowing you to work your magic in the shadows without giving away your position. Silent Caster is vital, Invisibility helps keep you hidden, and the Calm, Frenzy and Rally spells can be used to control the battlefield. Although it isn't necessary, I would highly recommend using remaining perks on illusion, as it is very useful in every aspect of your sneaky life.


    Possible skills

    Light armor: Not worth it unless you also take Enchanting, so you can give the light armor Mage robe properties

    One handed: You shouldn't be getting this close, but it's up to you.

    Restoration: If you do one day become a powerful undead creature, then Necromage will make any buffs you use on yourself much stronger (like invisibility). However the spells overlap with Alchemy, so take one or the other.

    Alteration: The shadows are your armor, you don't need flesh spells.

    Destruction: You use a bow and poison, so this should not be necessary. Take this if you want to double as a DPS mage and Shadow caster.

    Speech: For prices on Alchemical reagents.

    Block: To shield bash away opponents that find you (Shield bash with the bow)

    Pickpocket: Slip poisons into people without ever drawing your bowstring.

    Lockpicking: For getting into the darkest reaches of your current crypt.



    Best race: Dunmer

    Possible race: Breton, Altemer, Bosmer, Khakiit

    Stat Allocation: Stamina, health, magicka is 10%, 30% , 60


    Playing the Cryptstalker

    In fights: See the enemy, drop down to stealth. Either summon/equip a bow with a poisoned arrow/enchantment. and quickly kill someone, or use a rage spell and make his friends kill him in a fight. Either way, it is now time to raise your subject from the dead and attack his friends. In the confusion, try to kill the person your minion is attacking, so you have fresh meat to keep the fight going. If they find you first, fire a volley of calm spells, get out of sight, and start again.

    In open fights: If you are fighting anyone and aren't in stealth, try to use their fighting style to your advantage. Always be repositioning, depending on the enemy. A melee fighter, for example, cannot get on top of large rocks, so go up their and rain poisoned arrows on them. Try to hit them with a paralyze poison/enchantment, and always remember that you can run faster than them because you wear little armor. Ranged fighters will shoot you, so try to find cover to shoot them from. Use the melee fighting methods above if they change to melee weapons. Dragons are the worst, but with a bit of repositioning, these winged leviathans become little more than play toys in your master game. Keep a distance from them so their "breathe element" doesn't reach you, forcing them to use dragon shouts that can be dodged. They will try to walk towards you, in which case you move away. Once in the air, try to dodge their "breath elements" but keep in mind this is hard and you may need to use your resist potions/enchanted gear to mitigate damage. After a while, you will master these forms of combat and pull them off with deadly precision and grace. 

    Standing stones: The lover stone for developing your large range of skills, The ritual stone if you are confident at stealth and can sneak in and out of a battlefield and raise an army of undead, the shadow before you have invisibility, the atronach or the apprentice.

    Dragon shouts: This new divine power will make you even more unmatchable. Slow down time is always good, Marked for death to weaken the enemy, aura whisper to locate subjects, become ethereal to escape, disarm to give your minions the upper hand, call of Valor to summon Aetherial warriors and throw voice to lure enemies into traps. Be creative with your shouts, but be smart; just because you are Dovahkiin doesn't mean you rush into battle and breath fire on everyone like some horn-headed brute.


    Tips on Factions:

    Dark brotherhood & Thieves guild: Making friends in Skyrim underworld can be very useful for protection and funding your research. They also have several items and trainers that would benefit your stealth skills, as well as followers who can sneak.

    College of Winterhold: Necromancy! I'll have you know I'm a member of The college of Winterhold, in good standing. They haven't allowed Necromancy for Years! - A useful lie to protect yourself. Also a good knowledge base for developing your Necromancy, Illusion and enchanting while creating friends for protection.


    DLC information:

    Dawnguard DLC

    Vampire Clan. Join this group to gain immortality and wipe out the possible threat of the Dawnguard. Also gives you a powerful bow that you can use for blocking out the sun and keeping your regeneration. Becoming lord of this group gives you Vampire lord form, to be used when you don't feel like sneaking. Most of the pros of joining this court is things that benefit vampire lord form, so If you don't plan of throwing out all subtlety, then don't join them.

    Dawnguard: For the truly devious, masquerading as a vampire hunter is the perfect protection from people discovering your true nature, while allowing you to wipe out your biggest rivals, the Volkihar. You will often get contracts to wipe out necromancer dens with vampires hiding among their numbers, which will remove any jealous wannabes. As a member of the Dawnguard, you can still become a vampire lord through Serana at then end, however you don't get any Vampire lord relics. What you do get is Crossbows that eventually ignore 50% of the enemies armor, as well as bolts with natural elemental enchantments, making your ranged sneak attack even more deadly.

    Which ever one you decide, you should explore the soul cairn to get summon-able undead with Dragon bone weapons as well as a summon-able skeleton horse (Every powerful necromancer needs a skeloten horse).

    Dragon shouts

    Summon Durnehviir to summon a powerful skeletal dragon.

    Soul Tear to steal a foes soul while raising them from the dead if used as a fatal blow.

    Drain vitality to put a Damage over time on enemies that drains Stamina, health and Magicka.

    Dragonborn DLC

    Mirrak: This is just intolerable. You were so careful to kill any one investigating you and spreading false rumors about the Dragonborn being a mighty Nord warrior donning a Horned Helmet, yet some how these weak minded cultist sheep not only knew who you really were, but were actually able to track you. But fine. If this Miirak wants to insult you by sending thugs to do what the best assassins could not (The dark brotherhood made several attempts on you life before you became their leader) then he will see the true wisdom of not announcing his existence to potential enemies before striking. And then he will die.


    Apocrypha: There must be useful information within these black books, but once all of their secrets have been spilt, they will put in the Dark brotherhoods library and never spoken of again. The recommended powers gained from this knowledge are as follows

          Epistolary Acumen: Dragon born force or frost for shouting at perusing enemies while retreating.

          Filament and Filigree: Secret of Arcana, which allows you to cast spells for 30 seconds without                                           costing magicka

          The Hidden Twilight: Any of these powers are useful, but Moras boon is useful for oh shit moments.

          The Sallow Regent: Seeker or Sorcery/Shadows allows for Magic/Stealth skills to be                                                        10% more effective. Choose either one you think will help you more.

          The Winds of Change: Companions insight protects your followers from your attacks in combat.

          Untold legends: Use any of these to your discretion, they are mostly just for general adventuring.

    Dragon shouts:

    Battle fury should be used on thralls and companions to increase attack speed.

    Bend Will, because to bend the will of all around you is your destiny.

    Dragon aspect, to make you more powerful.



     Conjuration Mage robes, unless you have enchanting and can wear whatever you wish. Also get any enchanted items (Made by you or not) to boost your other skills and stats

    Dragon priest Masks: Wearing the masks of great Liches you have bested, you can greatly improve your powers. Use Krosis, Morekei and Vokun. Oh, and check out the link to a mod below.

  • June 5, 2012

    Good way to play a necromancer. You are right about how being a necromancer is down-right suicidal sometimes.

    +1 like from me (and  an actual like) Awesome build

  • June 5, 2012

    Liked. The lore keeps it from being a basic Witchhunter and the skill reasoning is great. You should add an example of the perks however.

  • June 5, 2012

    It is the play style that sets it apart, not just the lore. I actually designed him to double as a witch hunter, so he isn't too vulnerable when he doesn't have any undead around. I'll help define him better with perks though.

  • June 5, 2012
    Why is Dunmer the best race for this build?
  • June 5, 2012

    Very nice job.  I liked the role-play elements and explanations of the chosen skill set.  I liked everything about it, except for stat distribution.  Stamina seems a bit high to me, and I, personally, would put less into it  (well if it was me, I wouldn't put any points into stamina).  But this is a personal preference, and doesn't change the fact that this is a nice build. 

    An easy +1 from me.  This build is climbing fast.


  • June 6, 2012

    To be honest, it's personal preference. You can use any race you deem to have a big enough bonus to skills. Although Altmer has better magic (And highborn) you shouldn't be pwning with magic. You use magic as a boost for your sneak build.

  • June 6, 2012

    Stamina is that high for when you have been found and need to run away really fast, or bow bash when the enemy shows up. I suppose you could stop leveling stamina after 150

  • June 6, 2012
    I was just looking for a build like this. I used an Altmer and raced to Fort Amol to get the Bound Bow skill and I was lucky to get a conjuration circlet. At level 5, I had a Daedric level mystic bow and I was gaining Archery and Sneak level like crazy. Problem is I never had to raise dead or use frenzy. How am I supposed to level up illusion without grinding? XD Anyway +1
  • June 6, 2012

    Yea I had a very successful build similar to this one except without the conjuration. I only designed this one because I wanted something that makes necromancy useful. Also, frenzy is useless (Without silent caster, they attack you any way) so level up with calm. Cast calm on the people rushing you. Then walk away at a leisurely pace, duck down out of sight, and silent kill them. It's heaps of fun killing someone, then watching his friend stare at the corpse with the same face one might wear when they see a new type of bug.