Help developing my Ninja Archer Mage...

#1 Posted by MB (12431 posts) -

So after about fifteen hours as a pure mage, I found that the higher level destruction spells were pretty lacking against tougher enemies. I already had a decent archery skill and some sneak, so I spent some time leveling those up. Now, I have 15 perk points to spend and am not really sure which direction I want to go in. All of my archery has been leveled up with a conjured bow, if that matters. I'm level 29. I basically have just been questing and stopped spending perk points when I realized the higher level destruction tree stuff didn't seem that interesting.

Skill levels:

Illusion 78 - Perks None

Conjuration 28 - Perks Novice Conjuration, Mystic Binding

Destruction 46 - Perks Novice Destruction, Destruction Dual Casting, Impact, Apprentice Destruction, Augmented Flames 1/2

Restoration 45 - Perks Novice Restoration, Regeneration, Apprentice Restoration, Recovery 1/2

Alteration 35 - Perks None

Enchanting 34 - Perks Enchanter 1/5 only

Archery 57- Perks Overdraw 1/5 only

Sneak 100 - Perks NONE

I was considering going up the Illusion tree to get Quiet Casting to turn me more into a ninja mage so others can't hear anything I cast, but not really sure on that one either. Anyone doing a similar build or have any advice? I suppose I have enough points to delve pretty deeply into sneaking and archery as well...this is tough! Any help would be appreciated.

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#2 Edited by PeasantAbuse (5138 posts) -

Put some points in sneak. Deadly aim should be helpful because it makes bow sneak attacks do x3 damage.

#3 Posted by BraveToaster (12589 posts) -

Fill up that Sneak tree.

#4 Posted by MB (12431 posts) -

@PeasantAbuse: @Axxol: How many points out of five should I put into Stealth since I already have the Muffle spell, which sorta does the same thing? I didn't play a sneaky character in Oblivion either so this is new to me.

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#5 Posted by BraveToaster (12589 posts) -

It sounds like you just need Stealth and Silence. Shadow Warrior is good too. You'll only need 6 points to get those.

#6 Posted by PeasantAbuse (5138 posts) -

If you use muffle a lot and you don't get detected, I guess the only sneak perks worth getting would be the ones that grant damage bonuses for doing sneak attacks with different weapons.

#7 Posted by Spoonman671 (4641 posts) -

Go start the Dark Brotherhood stuff to get some nice gear.

#8 Posted by Butano (1738 posts) -

I have a similar build. If you're sneaking around with a bound bow, the silent casting is absolutely worth it. 

#9 Posted by Xeiphyer (5604 posts) -

I'd try and level enchanting a bunch. You can pimp some gear out with +30% damage archery enchants on every piece, then get silent casting if you are using the Bound Bow spell, or forget it if you are using a real bow, definitely pick up the 3x sneak damage for bows as well. You will basically 1 shot everything in the game.
 
Alternatively if you wanna stay more mage-y, start leveling conjuration, the flame atronach is pretty great, or the frost one if you need a tank. Or keep leveling and get the summon Dremora Lord spell and watch as he wrecks everything for you. Plus at 100 conjuration you get 2 summons at once. 
 
All the mage trees pay off pretty well if you spend the time to max them out, though leveling destruction is a huge huge bitch. I haven't played around much with it now that I maxed it out... seems pretty okay though I guess. The Master level fire spell has huge AoE which is cool, but means you cant have followers or else they'll get hit too and probably die.

#10 Posted by MB (12431 posts) -

@Butano: @Xeiphyer: @PeasantAbuse: @Axxol: Here's another question...(I still haven't spent any points) I already have the perk that grants conjured weapons more damage, should I focus on enchanting and using normal bows and arrows instead? I've just been using a conjured bow this entire time.

Thanks for the input everyone...I'm still SO hesitant to spend points, even though I'm playing on PC and this is all easily reworked with console commands, I suppose.

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#11 Posted by Xeiphyer (5604 posts) -
@MB: I haven't seen any stats for how strong the bound bow is, since it scales with conjuration (I believe). I imagine going with a good real bow with a strong enchantment will be stronger in the long run regardless though.
#12 Posted by AndrewB (7622 posts) -

@Xeiphyer said:

@MB: I haven't seen any stats for how strong the bound bow is, since it scales with conjuration (I believe). I imagine going with a good real bow with a strong enchantment will be stronger in the long run regardless though.

Makes me kinda wish that a 100 in Conjuration would allow a perk to keep bound items forever and give you the opportunity to enchant them. Yeah you'd be super powered, but after putting that much time into a character, isn't that what you want?

#13 Posted by MB (12431 posts) -

@Xeiphyer said:

@MB: I haven't seen any stats for how strong the bound bow is, since it scales with conjuration (I believe). I imagine going with a good real bow with a strong enchantment will be stronger in the long run regardless though.

You're probably right (sadly). I now have 17 perk points to spend (!)

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#14 Posted by Arker101 (1474 posts) -

@MB: I'm Level 33, playing a Conjuring Light armored Warrior. From what I've seen, if your able to get a high level Sneak/Enchant and a decent bow (Dwarvern/glass/ebony) Archery dosen't matter do to the insane bonuses you get from sneak criticals and your enchantments, but this would disrupt you using your conjured bow, but I'm sure not how devoted you are to conjuration.

Definitely start putting more into Sneak. No m

#15 Edited by Skyfire543 (692 posts) -

I'm playing a Bowman/Swordsman right now, so i cant vouch for much in the sneak catigory, other than get the damage perks for daggers(X16 damage WHAT THE FUCK) and bows but for achery definatley get the lvl60 (i think) perk that lets you slow down time when zoomed with the bow. It's helpful if your target is moving a BIT too much for you to get a good shot, and if you get into a situation where your target is running or tring to flee or something.

#16 Posted by MB (12431 posts) -

@Arker101 said:

@MB: I'm Level 33, playing a Conjuring Light armored Warrior. From what I've seen, if your able to get a high level Sneak/Enchant and a decent bow (Dwarvern/glass/ebony) Archery dosen't matter do to the insane bonuses you get from sneak criticals and your enchantments, but this would disrupt you using your conjured bow, but I'm sure not how devoted you are to conjuration.

Definitely start putting more into Sneak. No m

I'm not really devoted to Conjuration at all. I was just using it because I had the spell. Other than that, nothing invested in the tree.

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#17 Posted by EmuLeader (558 posts) -

@MB: Just on the archery side, if you want the best bow in the game (that i can find) upgrade your smithing to 90, so you can make and upgrade a deadric bow. one of the best decisions you can make, along with getting your enchanting up to get the dual enchantments perk. The smithing and enchanting pointers are good for anyone, because they are not too difficult to build up, and you can reap great rewards from it. You said you use a conjured bow, but the upgraded daedric bow does 104 base damage. Something to think about anyways.

#18 Posted by Butano (1738 posts) -

@MB: The only spell I use under conjuration is bound bow (with the exception of frost atronach, but that's under rare circumstances), and for the majority of my game I've found it always does more damage than any bow I pick up, though I haven't really gone that deep into enchanting to make crazy OP bows. Get the 3x sneak damage and get some levels up in archery (like fast draw and the damage bonuses) and you'll do some pretty heavy damage.

The conjuration perk where any bound weapon instantly casts soul trap is a must as well if you go this route, so that you can store souls in the soul gems you pick up for enchanting. Make a pretty good profit making jewels with random enchants on them.

#19 Posted by Rusputin (75 posts) -

I find Sneak perks to be pretty awesome - I only put 2/5 points in stealth so far and I don't have issues with being detected. The rest in the tree are very much worth it.

Unfortunately, Smithing + Enchanting will make gear you make yourself outstrip anything you could possibly conjure as far as weapons. That said, definitely put points into Smithing and Enchanting.

Silent casting is completely worth it! I went straight up illusion just to that perk, and don't regret it in the least.

If you plan on using the bow a lot, I'd definitely suggest filling out almost everything in that tree. None of those perks are bad, and you probably want to max your bow damage for stronger opponents.

#20 Posted by MB (12431 posts) -

@Butano: @Rusputin: Yeah, I just took some of the recommended archery & sneaking perks, the silent casting one, and now I feel COMPLETELY overpowered. It's like a different game, even with just my conjured bow. I took a short video...I was actually having trouble with this guy with just my magic, so I loaded up the save outside the cave, distributed my perks, and now I'm an overpowered ninja mage. The video is uploading right now....I can't even imagine how overpowered I'm going to be once I go enchanting & smithing. The vid may take awhile to upload and I'm using my smugmug account so I'm not even sure how it will turn out but...hilarious.

At one point in this particular dungeon, I was letting loose fireballs at daughrs and they STILL couldn't find me. Silent casting and sneaking is hilarious even without bows.

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#21 Posted by eroticfishcake (7786 posts) -

I was in the same position as you. I wanted to be a pure mage but found it a little underwhelming since the newer spells don't start to appear until you're within five levels of the next stage. Plus you don't get damage bonuses from sneak so I moved over to archery and it's much better. If you're finding it too easy then it wouldn't hurt to notch up the difficulty. I'm playing on expert and I haven't looked back. Might even go up to master.

#22 Posted by DystopiaX (5310 posts) -

all the sneak skills are worth it imo

#23 Edited by MB (12431 posts) -
@Butano@Rusputin:  Here you go, finally figured out my Smug Pro video options. What a hassle, but now it's easy to take video and upload them. This is the guy that was giving me huge difficulty problems with just magic...here are some sneak skills, some archery skills, and a bound bow. The spell I cast from my left hand was Muffle.  
 
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#24 Posted by Rusputin (75 posts) -

@MB: Niceeeee.

Don't know how far into sneak you are yet, but I just got the final Sneak perk (shadow warrior), myself... and I highly recommend that as well, especially for your play style. In a bigger fight with multiple targets, you can just drop into sneak from combat, essentially get a free sneak attack, rinse and repeat.

You totally made me want to use Bound Bow, btw.

#25 Edited by MB (12431 posts) -
@Rusputin: Right now, I only have 1/5 Stealth, Backstab, and Deadly Aim. I put my other points into Archery and Illusion. I still have four points to distribute but I'm going to play awhile with how I have my character set up before committing any further down these trees.
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#26 Edited by MB (12431 posts) -
@Xeiphyer said:

@MB: I haven't seen any stats for how strong the bound bow is, since it scales with conjuration (I believe). I imagine going with a good real bow with a strong enchantment will be stronger in the long run regardless though.

Revisiting this - I just figured out that the bound bow's damage scales with your conjuration skill level. For now, at 75 or so conjuration with my character level at 35, my bound bow seems to do about the same damage as a Legendary Glass Bow without an enchantment on it. I'm at the point now where the bound bow is obsolete, unless for some reason I run out of arrows or need to conveniently soul trap someone.  
 
Also, a bit off topic, but 50 hours into the game and I have realized that the mage part of my character just isn't fun. I stopped investing points into magic altogether around the time I wrote this post and started working on maxing out archery and sneak. Now that those are done, I'm going to start with light armor and one-handed, probably. Things may have turned out differently if magic damage got some kind of a sneak bonus or scaled better, but right now, even my mediocre bows are doing far more damage than any of my destruction spells do. There are some other good utilitarian spells in the other schools that I still use from time to time, but I almost always have the bow out so I'll be concentrating on that for the rest of the game. 
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#27 Posted by Skyrimnerd (10 posts) -

You can get the conjuration up to 100 easy by casting soul trap on a dead body for about 30 minutes. Really great trick

#28 Posted by BigChickenDinner (766 posts) -

@Skyrimnerd said:

You can get the conjuration up to 100 easy by casting soul trap on a dead body for about 30 minutes. Really great trick

They might as well just use the console commands and get 100 in 30 seconds if your just going to cheat the game. Why sit there like an idiot for 30 mins?

#29 Posted by Skyrimnerd (10 posts) -

What if they are on a console

#30 Posted by Ulain (315 posts) -

@MB said:

@Xeiphyer said:

@MB: I haven't seen any stats for how strong the bound bow is, since it scales with conjuration (I believe). I imagine going with a good real bow with a strong enchantment will be stronger in the long run regardless though.

Revisiting this - I just figured out that the bound bow's damage scales with your conjuration skill level. For now, at 75 or so conjuration with my character level at 35, my bound bow seems to do about the same damage as a Legendary Glass Bow without an enchantment on it. I'm at the point now where the bound bow is obsolete, unless for some reason I run out of arrows or need to conveniently soul trap someone. Also, a bit off topic, but 50 hours into the game and I have realized that the mage part of my character just isn't fun. I stopped investing points into magic altogether around the time I wrote this post and started working on maxing out archery and sneak. Now that those are done, I'm going to start with light armor and one-handed, probably. Things may have turned out differently if magic damage got some kind of a sneak bonus or scaled better, but right now, even my mediocre bows are doing far more damage than any of my destruction spells do. There are some other good utilitarian spells in the other schools that I still use from time to time, but I almost always have the bow out so I'll be concentrating on that for the rest of the game.

Just curious, how is it obsolete? I'd say keep going Conjuration until 100. I'm sure the damage still scales incredibly well, unless you have a Legendary Daedric Bow or something. Enchanting is still great to use too, even if not used on the weapon, that Bow Damage Bonus someone mentioned applied to like, 4 items IIRC. Gloves, rings and neck I think? In any case, with that kind of gear and your level of skills, you'll probably still one-shot everything except dragon priests anyway.

And yes, what are you playing it for, PC or console? Mods for the PC can basically make anything possible, including magic that actually does something useful.

P.S. Been meaning to say your profile pic is awesome! I have "Net of Being" as a poster in my room.

#31 Edited by Napalm (9020 posts) -

@Spoonman671 said:

Go start the Dark Brotherhood stuff to get some nice gear.

Oh man! I murdered the shit out of the Dark Brotherhood. My lady psycho-Nord went apeshit on the head assassin (after she captures you and you wake up in a random shed with three hostages), killed all of the hostages and then murdered everybody in the Dark Brotherhood.

Nobody even knew the Dark Brotherhood existed.

#32 Posted by Skyrimnerd (10 posts) -

Try battle-mage.

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