This is Katherina’s build, continuing from my previous post. I decided I really needed to come up with a name for her “class”, and settled on Daedric Thief. It’s not perfect, but it works.
A note before I go on – I’ve actually modified the build VERY slightly so that it works for people that don’t use the console, or can’t because they’re not on a PC. The reason is that I normally treat the smithing tree as not actually being there – I give my character ALL the smithing perks as soon as I start. This is partly because I have a huge number of modded weapons and armor that I want to use, and it’s just easier to be able to see them all at once, and partly because I consider the smithing tree to be terrible, because it’s near-mandatory. Even if you avoid every other aspect of it, you almost have to at least get Steel Smithing and Arcane Blacksmith.
So, the below build is shown with a minimal smithing inclusion. Enjoy!
Katherina, Daedric Thief
Overview: Katherina has come to Skyrim to try again to get a proper magical education. Naturally talented at Conjuration and taking to other magics quickly, she nevertheless cannot seem to stay in any magical institution. She’s intelligent, curious, magically apt.. and has incredibly light fingers. Katherina cares about making life good for Katherina. She wants things for herself, and she wants them without a lot of drudgery. Exploring, learning, even fighting can be fun – especially when done from a distance – but the real goal is taking care of herself, here and now. Be a friend, and she’ll direct her attention elsewhere, but make no mistake – Katherina considers rules to just be an impediment to getting what she wants, when she wants it.
Sex: Female, obviously. This is solely to be able to use the West Wind Misfit Mage outfit. There’s no reason this character can’t work as a male.
Race: Breton. I chose Breton because of the starting Conjure Familiar spell and the magic resistance. Any other race could work,but Altmer, Dunmer, Argonian, Khajit, and Bosmer have better starting skills and/or racial benefits, depending if the stealth or the magic aspect is what you want to emphasize.
Attributes: Magic/Health/Stamina in a 3/1/0 ratio.
Skills and Perks (at level 50)
Conjuration: Novice – Expert, Dual Casting, Summoner 2/2, Atromancy. Conjuration is the bread and butter of this class, relying on summoned atronachs to keep the enemy at bay. If the non-smithing version is used, also add Mystic Binding and Soul Stealer for use with Bound weapons.
Alteration: Novice – Adept, Dual Casting, Mage Armor 2/3, Magic Resistance 2/3. This is the centerpiece of the character’s defenses.
Illusion: Novice – Adept, Animage, Kindred Mage, Silent Casting. Obviously used to supplement the stealth skill, the Silent Casting perk and the various invisibility and silence spells are goals.
Enchanting: Enchanter 3/5, Insightful Enchanter. We’re going to be using non-elemental enchantments on weapons a great deal, so we’re staying away from the left side, as the perks are needed more elsewhere.
Restoration: Novice, Recovery. This is used to keep the cost of the free initial healing spell down, and to boost magic regeneration
Archery: Overdraw 2/5, Critical Shot 1/3, Eagle Eye, Power Shot. Archery is used to support her Atronach and/or follower. Power Shot is the real goal here, in order to keep enemies from closing. If the non-smithing version is done, an extra perk is available to take overdraw to 3/5.
Smithing: Steel Smithing, Arcane Blacksmith, and Elven or Dwarven Smithing. Which one is up to which quest you want to do. If you want to do the Dawnguard line and get Auriel’s Bow, then Elven is preferred, which also lets you make more of the Misfit Mage outfits at a tanning rack. Dwarven Smithing is good if you want Zephyr.
Sneak: Stealth 2/5, Backstab, Deadly Aim. She isn’t an assassin, so we won’t be going for Assassin’s Blade. Muffled Movement isn’t needed as she doesn’t wear armor. The bottom stealth perk provides far less benefit after just one perk in it, so I don’t invest that much.
Lockpicking: Novice-Adept, Quick Hands. This is really for quick hands more than anything else, and eventual progression into Golden Touch, Treasure Hunter and the Expert and Master pciking perks, both of which are far more useful. Plus, there’s the thief-ish flavor.
Pickpocket: Light Fingers 2/5, Night Thief, Cutpurse, and Extra Pockets. The last is very useful, since this build puts nothing in Stamina.
Gear: Obviously the aforementioned Misfit Mage outfit, or if you don’t like that your choice of available mage-like clothing, plus your choice of footwear and headwear. I’m using the Footwraps, but the College Boots you get at the beginning of the College of Winterhold line might be good too. I recommend Bandanas of Skyrim for this; it fits a lot more with the casual adventurer look than a fancy circlet does.
As for weapons, if you go with the non-smithing version, all you need to do is lay your hands on the bound melee weapon of your choice, and the bound bow spell. If you go with smithing, pick either Elven or Dwarven smithing and do the Dawnguard quest or Lost to the Ages early for Auriel’s Bow or Zephyer. You can then smith up an Elven or Dwarven melee weapon of your choice for backup. I used a dagger to keep weight to a minimum, but a bigger weapon can certainly be used. A shield is also a possibility, since it does not prevent Mage Armor from working, but you don’t want to be in melee much in the first place, so it may be dead weight.
Other gear is pretty much according to taste. Plenty of poisons, especially paralysis poisons are definitely advisable as are Fortify Alteration and Fortify Conjuration potions, the latter especially once you have Frost Atronachs. If you have mods installed that add items to alternate nodes that buff carry weight, by all means get them. The same applies to cloaks. Other options are Chillrend or The Pale Blade for their effects in fending off opponents that close to melee range.
Spells: It should be obvious that atronach summoning spells and flesh hardening spells are a huge priority. Soul Trap is a staple, and Muffle and other stealth-enhancing illusion spells are an important supplement to your stealth skill and perks. Restoration spells other than the one you start with aren’t terribly important, nor are destruction spells, other than (possibly) runes. I like to have Lightning Bolt to fight flying dragons with since I have trouble leading with a bow, but it’s not otherwise very important.
Followers: The Daedric Thief is.. well, a thief, so a stealthy follower is preferable if you want one at all. If you get caught stealing, your follower could be a liability in a number of ways. Not having a follower, however, can be a pain in the butt with no additional investment in stamina, and low health. For adventures into the wilderness where pickpocketing and burglary aren’t the goal, you may want a heavy armor follower. Combined with your Atronach, this should hold off all but large enemy groups quite nicely.
Quests: The Thieves Guild and College of Winterhold are obvious quests for both the rewards and the roleplay aspects. The main quest works well too, as she’s someone sucked into this by fate, and dragged along by her own curiosity. Lost to the Ages is a fantastic choice for the Aetherial Crown and Zephyr. The Dawnguard line works well in either direction. I don’t see this character being a vampire, but it could be played that way. The Bardic college quests, and Daedric quests are good too, as this character is curious about the daedra and their lost knowledge; Mehrunes Dagon is especially good for the special effect of the Razor, and Hermaeus Mora is a perfect fit, as is Sanguine.
The Companions and Dark Brotherhood are probably best avoided from a roleplay standpoint. The Civil War is more up to personal preference. I’ve avoided it for now, as she’s basically uninterested, but if forced to pick she’d go Stormcloak on account of the Imperials trying to cut off her head for no good reason. Katherina is a lot more concerned with Katherina’s head than with political subtleties.
Standing Stones: Mage to start out; getting the Mage Armor perk and better Atronach spells is a huge priority. One you have the first Mage Armor perk and the Adept Conjuration perk, the Lord stone is a good choice. Using the Aetherial Crown, there are quite a few potential combinations. The Atronach may be a good choice, or the Apprentice if you can jack your magic resist up high enough to counter the weakness. The Steed might also be useful, or any of the training Stones if you are behind on some skills.
Play: This character is fragile, with low health, little stamina, and limited armor, plus no blocking or melee perks. She’s an “independent” scholar (driven by her own curiosity, not the desire for academic achievement) and a fairly selfish thief, so she should snatch whatever she feels she can without getting caught. If caught, she tends to flee before thinking, but she’ll surrender if in danger – life is more important than loot. Seek out activities that boost her knowledge and understanding, as well as her wealth. She should buy a house and comforts at the earliest opportunity.
In combat, she uses her atronach, follower if any, and whatever special effects, from staggers to freezing to paralysis to keep opponents at range. If forced into melee, she uses paralysis if at all possible, then hacks her helpless opponent to pieces before he can get up and finish her.
So there she is, the Daedric Thief. She’s intended to be flexible, and variations are many, but I think this offers a different take on the traditional Nightblade approach. Skyrim is a huge world of riches and curiosities just waiting for her to discover.