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Character Build: The Despoiler

Tags: #Race:Nord  #Character Build Archer  #Character Build No Crafting  #Character Build Villain  #Rank:Legendary  #Hall of Fame Build  #Zach 
  • Member
    November 8, 2013

    Wait… What!?! A no crafting build by Zach!?!? You read it right! More importantly, there have been many utterly fantastic builds that play as outlaws, or include criminal activities, but not really very many that really explore what it truly means to be a bandit. What drives one to the brink where living under the law is no longer an option? What is life like living off the vast and bleak land of Skyrim, hunted day and night by man and beast alike? What effects does constant solitude and violence have on the psyche? This is not just a character build; it is a journey into the mind of:

    Saga Of The Despoiler

    Imprisoned, dishonored, and doomed. Not even a single septim, a friend, or a useful skill. That is how it started. Surviving. Stealing from unlocked homes. Snatching food left sitting around. Then came the murdering. Sleeping farmers. Traveling pilgrims. All perfect targets for a desperate animal. Next came the pillaging. Attacking forts. Raiding small villages. Then came the Blade. Savagery followed close behind. Soon all of Skyrim burned under his gaze.                

                             "Might pay off my bounty this time... walk into the city a free man..."

    The Build

    Race: Nord

    It takes a lot to survive in the frigid tundras and mountains of Skyrim. Only a hearty Nord could truly thrive out there. Also their racial power has nice synergy. 

    Stat Distribution: 0 : 1 : 1 (Magicka : Health : Stamina)

    Standing Stone: The Lady

    With wind walker and the lady stone, you get pumped up to a healthy +75% stamina regeneration, great for lots of power attacks and shield bashes. The Despoiler has no methods of healing, so the increased health regeneration is also nice.

    Shouts: None! Get your mind in the gutters dammit! You are a bandit, not some mythical hero!

    Equipment: Thieves Guild Hood & Bracers, Fur Armor, Vampire Boots, Shield, Enchanted Jewlery

    I used the type of fur armor that has a covered torso and sleeves. For your shield I would go with whatever best enchanted one you find. I had an elven shield of magic resistance. For jewelry, like with the shield, it all depends on what loot you find. I advise fortify one handed and magic resistance. Here is a pic of what my character looks like in this gear.

    Weapons: Sword/War Axe of Paralysis, Sword/War Axe w/ Soul Trap, Bow of Paralysis, Dagger, The Pale Blade

    For weapons use highest quality type that you can find. Swords and axes are preferable due to their swing speed. It is hard to always find high leveled weapons (ebony, etc) with the right enchantment. Once I found a paralysis enchantment I simply disenchanted it and put it on my strongest weaponry. With a grand soul gem and no perks in enchanting a one second paralysis gets 70+/- uses. Make sure to pick up the Black Star to keep your weapons charged.

                       "Once was a woman, as fair as an evenin', of springtime in old Stros M'Kai..."

    Major Skills

    Archery: Whether it is hunting for raw meat to hold off starvation, ambush a patrol of soldiers, or taking advantage of an unwary traveler, archery is crucial to the survival of the Despoiler.

    One Handed: One handed allows the Despoiler to butcher his victims with brutal efficiency. 

    Minor Skills

    Sneak: The only way to continue living for a man who is underfed, weakly armored, and desperate is to utilize ambush tactics. 

    Light Armor: While providing some protection, the armor of the Despoiler is more for warmth than for defense. 

    Block: Due to a lack of physical defense from armor, blocking and frequent shield bashes are they only true barrier between the Despoiler and the blades of his enemies. 

    Lockpicking: Cracking open countless strongboxes, looting chests, and opening locked houses to plunder have all given the Despoiler quite a skill in lockpicking.

    Destruction: After obtaining the Pale Blade, the Despoiler seeks to increase his knowledge in the school of destruction to better understand his otherworldly weapon.

    "With three beers down, the Orc did frown, and bid the Elf goodbye... for none could know, 'twas not for show, and someone had to die..."

    Level 25

    Stat Distribution: 100 : 220 : 220 (Magicka : Health : Stamina)

    Level 45

    Stat Distribution: 100 : 320 : 320 (Magicka : Health : Stamina)

    Most builds go to level 50, but I felt the Despoiler was finished by level 45. 

    Lockpicking is nice for getting powerful weapons and more loot!

    Part 1: The Man : Levels 1-26


    Seeing as he will almost always be outnumbered and underpowered, sneak is where it is at. This does not mean the Despoiler can only perform sneak attacks, but it helps a lot to at least begin a fight with one. Paralysis enchantments combined with power attacks, blocking, and bashing, should keep yourself from taking too much damage. 

    Strength In Numbers

    There is a reason why most bandits form camps. It is much easier to plunder and pillage when you have a whole group working together. Unfortunately in Skyrim you cannot command a bandit group without mods, so a follower will have to do. The best possible follower is the mercenary in Windhelm, Stenvar. He is the perfect tank, and he is perfectly fine with committing crimes. You are the brains, he is the brawn.


    The first half of the story of the Despoiler is his time as a stereotypical bandit, which is a lot of fun to play. Recommended activities include:

    • Murdering travellers
    • Hoarding/selling/drinking skooma
    • Raiding farms and small villages
    • Fighting rival bandit factions
    • Breaking out of jail
    • Drinking too much mead
    • Plundering ancient ruins for treasure
    • Stealing and looting

    When sacking towns such as Riverwood and Kynesgrove make sure to leave survivors to spread tales of terror about your reputation! Also, I advise joining the Thieves Guild and doing their first couple of missions so that you can sell all your loot to them. on the topic of loot, be realistic. Do not carry around 20 battleaxes to sell later. Gems, jewelry, and other such small/light items are fine. Also I advise gaining entrance to the College of Winterhold to use Faralda as a destruction trainer. It is a good thing they don't care about your bounty! 

                                "Need me some Skooma... the imported stuff... just one last time..."

    Part 2: The Legend : Levels 27+

    The Pale Blade

    The Pale Blade is a astoundingly powerful weapon, and it seems to be ignored by the blog for the most part. I can only recall seeing it be a large part of a build in Mason's Obsidian Sentinel. When obtained at level 27, which is the most powerful version of the weapon, and with both frost augmentation perks it fears enemies level 24 and under, does 37 points of frost damage, and drains 75 stamina. That basically doubles your damage output, makes enemies power attack less, and gives a very potent fear effect. Suddenly you no longer need a follower, and you only need sneak for really annoying enemies like forsworn and falmer. 

    The Monster Within

    Getting the Pale Blade also marks a change in the personality of the Despoiler. No longer does he plunder solely to survive. It becomes more about the bloodshed and the fear. Listening the the screams of terrified townsfolk as their city burns is music to the ears of the Despoiler. Villages and farms are no longer enough to quench his thirst for plunder and violence. It is time for the major cities to be put to the sword. 

                                                 "You picked a bad time to get lost, friend."

    Battle Tactics

    The Hunt: The Pale Blade + Ranger 

    The Pale Blade synergies really well with the ranger perk from the archery tree. One you fear someone with the blade it is extremely easy to chase them down given the range of a bow combined with the mobility ranger gives you. 

    Foresight: Steady Hand + Ranger

    By combining the slow time effect from steady hand with the ranger ability, you basically give yourself the slow time shout without actually needing to shout. With ranger you are considerably faster than other enemies while steady hand is activated. This allows you to dodge arrows, spells, and if you get good at it, melee attacks. 

                                      "Gonna split your belly like an old woman's purse!"

    Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed my 6th character build Feel free to like and comment. 

  • Member
    November 8, 2013
    Another great build again Zach! +1
  • November 8, 2013

    I think Zach just won the award for best bandit build on the blog. A very enjoyable read. Love the transition that occurs when the Despoiler obtains the Pale Blade. Well done sir. +1

  • Member
    November 8, 2013

    I'm glad you understood the transition well. I was having a lot of trouble deciding where to put all that info (I didn't do my usual "core concept" paragraph at the beginning). 

  • Member
    November 8, 2013

    This is amazing! I have always wanted to see a bad guy criminal build that I can play without drgaonborn dlc! pure simple guilty pleasure I love this!  "Murder. Banditry. Assault. Theft. And lollygagging my crimes shall be these and many more! Thank you zach I cant wait to play this!

  • Member
    November 8, 2013

    I did plenty of lollygagging. It must be the reason at the end of this why I had 12,000+ bounty in every hold :P ! Damn lollygaggers...

  • Member
    November 8, 2013

    I am always confused by that, when "ax/ax" is not combined in one word if it is supposed to have an "e" or not. Thanks. 

  • Member
    November 8, 2013

    Technically, either is correct. Ax is gaining ground in recent times, especially in the U.S. But axe is the way it's written in the game, and more common outside of the U.S. (while still perfectly acceptable in the States as well). For the sake of consistency with the game, I'd probably go with "axe", but it's not a big deal either way.

    +1 to CND, this has got to be the best bandit build on here. I especially love the use of the Pale Blade. Combining Ranger + Steady Hand is also a really awesome tactic. I feel like it must've been used on the blog before, but I can't recall any specific builds.... If you're the first, well done on that find. (If not, my apologies to whoever found it first.)

  • Member
    November 8, 2013

    hmmm maybe we should do the Henson's Camonna tong build vs Zach's Despolier! 

  • November 8, 2013
    Wow! I mean Wow! Great build!