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Skyrim - Battle Mage Build and Gold Farm
Skyrim - The Versatile Battlemage
Skyrim is stunning.
Beyond this, its enthralling to play. I am a week late on an essay as a result of it. Beyond its addictive and thrilling gameplay, Skyrim offers highly customizable and variable gameplay and character selection. In my opinion, the most powerful of these is the Battle Mage.
In the following paragraphs, you will learn how to build a fortress of a character with maximum armor, very powerful spells that can clear 30 or more enemies at once (if necessary), or tank a boss with a sword and board indefinitely. Not only this, but I'll explain legitimate methods for making a ton of gold along the way.
The Battle Mage
Build and Play Style
The battle mage is unique in that it can tank as well as dole heavy magical or melee damage. Your specs will be Heavy Armour, Enchanting, Smithing, Destruction, Conjuration, One handed, and Block. Alchemy is also an option for a boost in gold and survivability. Basically, you can decide at what point different skills will be most useful. I found destruction magic critical in accumulating gear and gold in my early game (flames is an amazing spell) versus focusing on one-handed. You will be leveling Magika and Health EXCLUSIVELY. All the damage you do in melee combat will be enchanted damage (which is why a sword or dagger is best, for faster swings). Stamina will only be used on BASHING with your shield.
Important note: GET STAGGER in the destruction tree as soon as possible. If you time your fire, ice, or lightning bolts correctly, you can interrupt any caster or dragon. There are even a few seconds of mana regeneration that are possible between these staggers. It saved my life on more occasions than I'd like to admit.
For a racial I'd suggest a glass-cannon high elf (for the very useful Highborn racial), or the absolute-tank Breton, for its high resistance to magic.
Grab the Mage Stone just southeast of Riverwood asap.
Spells are sold from the court mages in every city. They are always located in the Jarl's House (Dragonsreach, for example). As you level, more spells will automatically become available.
Battles will be fought in several different ways of your choosing (I suggest alternating depending on opponents):
1)You may engage from far away with flames or firebolt, or lay fire, ice, or lighning runes on the ground, waiting for your mana to regenerate, then baiting with an arrow shot or spell (you may do archery instead of sword-and-board). The enemy will cross your trap and be half dead before the fight is even begun.
2) You can cast Flame Cloak on yourself and fight melee, or my personal favourite, stoneflesh and flame cloak, giving you a very high resistance to physical damage from melee foes, and a great sustained DPS that lasts a ridiculously long time. I can sit in a corner and constantly shield-bash a mage, foiling its spells, while my 10/s fire damage pumps along for 3 minutes.
3) Another option is summoning. You can either summon atronarchs or zombies to fight for you. I personally prefer the atronarchs, since circumstances will not always supply you with powerful corpses to reanimate. An atronarch, plus a companion, will allow for a very nice meat shield so you can pummel with spells or staves from afar.
4) The final option is a mixture of all strategies. You will find the variability of this build very useful. As you run out of mana, you can switch to a nice enchanted longsword and a shield. Bashing with your shield interrupts power attacks and spellcasting. After delivering a barrage of firebolts on a boss, for example, it is fairly easy to go in with your freshly crafted, upgraded, and enchanted Dwarven Mace (32 damage + 28 fire damage circa level 15). This is especially useful, since soul trap itself costs quite a bit of mana to cast. Try giving Frost Atronarch and Dual Casting Ice Storm a try, and you'll see what i mean by combining different techniques.
You will be forging and enchanting as much equipment as possible. This is the fastest way to make money. Be sure to have soul trap ASAP and steal, buy, or find as many soul stones as possible (raiding the arch mage's bedroom on a weekly basis is essentially a dragon's-hoard, metaphorically speaking).
Enchant iron daggers (iron ingots) or hide bracers (leather from tanning hides). Iron Daggers of Stamina Drain probably funded over 50k for me. Fast travel from city to city, buy iron ore from smiths, and craft yourself some pimp daggers for 200 bucks a pop. This strategy fills your pockets and levels your crafting trees quickly.
Further, if you come across the Alchemy spell (Halted Stream Camp), you can upgrade iron ores into silver and gold. Some jewelry sells for 1-2k a piece (without enchantment) and levels your smithing skill.
Get a house ASAP. Dragon bones way an absolute shit-ton and you will not be able to sustainably accumulate them in your inventory. There's a 5000 gold place in Whiterun that I used for some time. I now have 50 dragon bones and scales in a chest (for a combined 2k in weight). Your companion has infinite carrying capacity as well PROVIDED you drop the item on the ground and instruct them to gather it. If you try to transfer the item normally, he will refuse it.
Late in the game, if you have followed the paths of destruction, conjuration, heavy armor, smithing and enchanting (at the least), you will have maxed-out armor, two permanent boosted atronarchs, master tier destruction spells (which suck actually), and powerful gear with two enchantments on each piece (the level 100 enchanting perk). Follow this guide, and you'll breeze through dungeons, quickly and easily slaughtering anyone who dares get in your way, but still using a potentially different method of killing for every room. In addition, you'll reap the benefits of huge coffers of gold, allowing you to outfit and enchant gear for your companion, or furnish your pad.
As far as strategy goes, in the early game, especially in the higher difficulties, you will find it difficult to sustain mana for the tougher dungeons. I always recommend having a backup plan or a save file before entering a new room. I played on the hardest difficulty my first time through without too much trouble, by kiting, fleeing, and knowing high-ground places I could return to. Sometimes, I would spend 15 minutes kiting a single group of enemies and blasting them with my poor-mana-regen flame spell acquired at level 1. Remember: be creative, and have fun. The game has an infinite self-organization of possibility, and no character needs to be the same.
Because the early game grinding will be difficult, it is my recommendation to allocate stats into mana for the first 10 levels or so, then alternate between mana and health until around lvl 17. After that, you will pump everything in health. In the late stages of enchanting, you may reduce the cost of skills (my advice would be destruction) negating the need for a massive mana pool. The High Elf's racial power can negate the mana problems somewhat in the early-mid game as well. If you need it twice in a single dungeon, no problem; find a corner and wait for 24 hours.
Two To Tango
Choosing a Companion
You will want a companion.
These guys are very nice pack-mules, with huge carrying space to make looting dungeons much much more profitable (and avoiding all that tedious sorting).
There are two companions in particular that I liked - Belrand, from the Solitude tavern, and a mage (whose name eludes me) from the Riften Tavern. For 500 bucks, they will follow you for the rest of the game. They CAN die (but only if YOU kill them accidentally). When an enemy reduces them to their minimal HP point - they simply hunch over and do nothing, and the enemies then ignore them and come for you. At that point, you'll just need to avoid using AOE spells.
You can outfit your companion with items!
I smithed and enchanted gear that allowed my companion to become very powerful. In most circumstances, Belrand, for example, with full heavy-armour, will summon a familiar, buff his armor, heal himself, use a shield and sword, mace, dagger, or axe; or any of those melee weapons with a casting hand.
The mage casts destruction spells mostly, a lot of lightning. Useful ranged.
There are a ton of followers you can get, such as Lydia (become a thane of Whiterun to earn her).
Choosing quests, finding Hubs
You will notice early on that there is a lot of running around to do. This can be a positive and negative thing; seeing the scenery alone is worth the walk most of the time, not to mention surprises along the way.. However, if you're looking for expediency, finding a Carriage (located outside most major cities) will mean having a "central nervous system of Skyrim" from which you will be able to branch out fairly closely to your objectives.
It may help to accumulate as many quests as you can and complete proximal ones, clumped in two-or-three.
In any case, I'm positive you'll enjoy Skyrim; especially if you choose this very powerful, very malleable build.
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I encourage you to comment on the build, offer suggestions, spell combinations, or discuss other tips that might help enhance this, or other play styles in skyrim.