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Oblivion Diaries

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					                                        Oblivion Diaries

                                      Wizards and Warriors

                                             Markus Koskimies
                                           mkoskim@gmail.com
                                        http://mkoskim.drivehq.com

                                                     Version 0.1



Table of Contents
1   Introduction................................................................................................................4
    1.1 Oblivion in a Nutshell.......................................................................................4
    1.2 About This Guide..............................................................................................5
    1.3 Good To Know..................................................................................................5
    1.4 Playing A Role..................................................................................................6
    1.5 Structure of This Guide.....................................................................................7
2   The First Steps............................................................................................................9
3   Choosing The Game.................................................................................................11
    3.1 Choosing The Difficulty.................................................................................11
    3.2 Warrior or Wizard?.........................................................................................12
          3.2.1     Why Not To Wear Armor?...............................................................12
          3.2.2     Why To Wear Armor?......................................................................13
          3.2.3     Summary...........................................................................................15
    3.3 Playing An Atronach.......................................................................................16
    3.4 Playing A Vampire..........................................................................................17
4   Attributes and Skills.................................................................................................18
    4.1 Overall Introduction........................................................................................18
    4.2 Leveling System..............................................................................................19
          4.2.1     How Leveling Works?......................................................................19
          4.2.2     What Does It Mean?.........................................................................20
          4.2.3     Why To Level?.................................................................................20
          4.2.4     How To Level?.................................................................................21
    4.3 Attributes.........................................................................................................21
          4.3.1     Primary Attributes............................................................................21
          4.3.2     Luck..................................................................................................22
          4.3.3     Derived Attributes.............................................................................23
    4.4 Skills................................................................................................................24
    4.5 Developing Skills............................................................................................27
          4.5.1     Speed of Development......................................................................27
          4.5.2     Natural Development (ND)..............................................................28
          4.5.3     Bought Training (BT).......................................................................28
          4.5.4     Artificial Development (AD)............................................................29
    4.6 Choosing Your Major Skills...........................................................................33
5   Races, Genders and Bithsigns..................................................................................35
    5.1 Races and Genders..........................................................................................35
    5.2 Birthsigns........................................................................................................36
    5.3 Races and Birthsigns for Warriors..................................................................37
    5.4 Races and Birthsigns for Wizards...................................................................38
    5.5 Exceptional Cases...........................................................................................39
6   Breaking Natural Limits...........................................................................................40
    6.1 General Introduction.......................................................................................40
          6.1.1    Methods for Regular Use..................................................................40
          6.1.2    Methods for Irregular Use.................................................................41
          6.1.3    Methods for Semi-Regular Use........................................................42
    6.2 Enchanted Apparel..........................................................................................42
          6.2.1    Apparel Slots....................................................................................42
          6.2.2    Fortify Magicka................................................................................43
          6.2.3    Detect Life........................................................................................43
          6.2.4    Exoskeletal Armor............................................................................44
          6.2.5    Interesting In-Game Enchants..........................................................45
    6.3 Enchanted Weapons........................................................................................46
    6.4 Spellcasting.....................................................................................................46
          6.4.1    Basics of Spellcasting.......................................................................47
          6.4.2    Training Spells..................................................................................48
    6.5 Alchemy..........................................................................................................48
          6.5.1    Alchemy Basics................................................................................48
          6.5.2    Watermumpkin Catastrophe.............................................................49
          6.5.3    Abundant Ingredients........................................................................49
          6.5.4    Poisons..............................................................................................49
          6.5.5    Potions..............................................................................................51
7   Tika, The Warrior Girl.............................................................................................52
    7.1 Warriors...........................................................................................................52
          7.1.1    Discussion.........................................................................................53
          7.1.2    Attributes..........................................................................................54
          7.1.3    Skills.................................................................................................54
    7.2 Attribute Development....................................................................................56
    7.3 Tika.................................................................................................................59
          7.3.1    Race and Gender...............................................................................59
          7.3.2    Birthsign...........................................................................................59
          7.3.3    Class Specialization..........................................................................59
          7.3.4    Class Favored Attributes...................................................................59
          7.3.5    Class Major Skills.............................................................................60
          7.3.6    Summary...........................................................................................61
    7.4 Playing Experience..........................................................................................62
    7.5 Useful Enchantments......................................................................................63
          7.5.1    Tika’s Gears......................................................................................63
          7.5.2    Damage Reflection...........................................................................65
8   Rose, The Fairy Witch..............................................................................................66
    8.1 Wizards...........................................................................................................66
          8.1.1    Discussion.........................................................................................66
     8.2 Attribute Development....................................................................................66
     8.3 Rose.................................................................................................................66
     8.4 Playing Experience..........................................................................................66
     8.5 Useful Enchants..............................................................................................67
9    Nina, Altmer Atronach.............................................................................................68
     9.1 Atronachs........................................................................................................68
     9.2 Attribute Development....................................................................................68
     9.3 Nina.................................................................................................................68
           9.3.1     Race and Gender...............................................................................68
           9.3.2     Birthsign...........................................................................................68
           9.3.3     Class Specialization..........................................................................69
           9.3.4     Class Favored Attributes...................................................................69
           9.3.5     Class Major Skills.............................................................................69
           9.3.6     Summary...........................................................................................69
     9.4 Playing Experience..........................................................................................69
     9.5 Useful Enchants..............................................................................................70
10   Comparison: Tika and Rose.....................................................................................71
     10.1 Initial Statistics................................................................................................71
     10.2 Characters at level 29......................................................................................71
11   Quest Timing............................................................................................................77
     11.1 Before Level 17...............................................................................................77
           11.1.1 Tips For Warriors..............................................................................77
           11.1.2 Tips For Wizards Playing Hardest Difficulty...................................78
           11.1.3 Common Tips...................................................................................79
     11.2 Level 17...........................................................................................................80
     11.3 Levels 20+.......................................................................................................80
     11.4 Quests with Allies...........................................................................................80
     11.5 Tips For Gameplay..........................................................................................80
           11.5.1 Ingredients........................................................................................81
           11.5.2 Sources for Equipments....................................................................81
           11.5.3 Random Loot....................................................................................81
12   Fighting Strategies....................................................................................................83
     12.1 Marksmanship.................................................................................................83
     12.2 Close Combat..................................................................................................85
     12.3 Crowd Control.................................................................................................86
     12.4 Types of Enemies............................................................................................86
           12.4.1 Archers..............................................................................................86
           12.4.2 Necromancers and Conjurers............................................................87
     12.5 Allies...............................................................................................................88
     12.6 Useful Spells...................................................................................................88
           12.6.1 “Stungun”.........................................................................................89
           12.6.2 Absorbing.........................................................................................89
           12.6.3 Prepared Elemental Blasts................................................................89
           12.6.4 Summary...........................................................................................91
13   Your Game...............................................................................................................92
1            Introduction




In Oblivion, character creation is the most important factor affecting your game play. If
you have managed to make good choices, supporting the style you are playing at each
phase of the game, everything goes on smoothly. If you made bad decisions, your game is
going to be dull and/or difficult.
There are several guides explaining different ways to select those major skills. This
document introduces one, a compromise between quick leveling and efficient leveling.
Efficient leveling is – efficient. But for normal players like me, it is probably too
efficient, as you have maximized your character’s performance in the middle of the game.
Furthermore, it involves lots of artificial development of skills you never need for
anything. Quick leveling can lead to overleveling; monsters you meet are too far ahead,
and you are in big problems.



1.1          Oblivion in a Nutshell

First, Oblivion is merely a “sandbox-game”, a sort of feature-limited simulation. The
main quest line is relatively short, compared to vast amounts of other things to do.
Second, Oblivion is fighting game. If you like, you can avoid many fights, but not all. As
Oblivion uses sort of “learn by doing” development mechanism, if you have not fought,
you are lacking tools to stay alive – or keep your allies alive – in those unavoidable
battles. Furthermore, enemies wear armors, weapons and enchants you can take in use or
sell to get money. So, don’t avoid fights, instead embrace all the chances you get to
polish your fighting skills and strategies.
Third, it is all about your character. As a game, Oblivion remains the same, it is you and
the character you are using that affects to the game play. All characters can do all quests,
obtain any enchanted items and so on, but depending on your character the means to go
through can be different. Ideally, you could have endless possibilities, but in practice you
don’t have. This guide tries to introduce the two main lines to play.
Many mistakes made during the game play can be fixed with reasonable efforts, for
example, you can always create a new custom spell or enchanted equipment1 if the one
you made was a disappointment. But your character’s gender, race, birthsign and class
(major skills) are permanent, and you can do nothing to change them later.
Character creation is far more complex issue than just selecting race, gender, birthsign
and major skills. To create a character that is fun to play, you need also know lots of in-
game enchanted items, how to make your own enchantments and spells, how different
skills work in practice and which kind of useful fighting strategies there exists. To make
the game go smoothly and give you fine moments, it is all about the synergy of your
1 Except if you used Sigil Stone. I use game clitch to multiply Sigil Stones, to be able to test enchanted
  items in real situations.
character, equipments and way of playing, so that they each support each other in all
phases of the game.



1.2        About This Guide

This guide is not meant for casual players, as casual players don’t read guides. Instead,
this guide is meant for players taking Oblivion’s game engine as an intellectual challenge,
but still wanting more to play than fill statistics. There are other guides for players having
different targets – guides how to maximize everything, guides how to become immortal
and so on.
This guide is based on my experiences playing XBox Oblivion with four different
characters, named Katja2, Tika, Rose and Nina. The first more serious one, Katja, who
was created after a few test drives, was heavily based on the Bon Cottle's “Balanced
Character Creation Guide” and Nathan Garvin's “Character Creation Guide”, available at:


       http://www.neoseeker.com/resourcelink.html?rlid=126687&rid=118110
       http://www.gamefaqs.com/xbox360/927345-the-elder-scrolls-iv-
       oblivion/faqs/59309


At the moment, Katja is retired at level 26 as she has completed all the quest lines. Tika
was retired at level 39 – as she have not completed Mages Guild quest line, I may
occasionally come back to this character. Rose is at level 29, preparing to the final battle.
Nina has just started the game.
Tika, played at normal difficulty level, was created based on the experiences gained from
Katja. I wanted to create a character that can be played without extensive bookkeeping,
but still leading to a strong and playable character. The “fairy witch” Rose was created
for playing Oblivion with hardest difficulty level, and Nina was created to test the game
with an Atronach.
Game engine of Oblivion is quite complex; it is full of small details that are good to
know when planning your character’s career. Some things are possible, some are not,
many of them contain little tricks that you need to know to successfully apply them. To
maintain some sort of readability, I have left many details out of this guide. So, keep
Oblivion Wiki open in your browser to fill the information gaps.



1.3        Good To Know

For using my experiences to your own purposes, I try to give you enough background
information of my decisions. At this point, you should know two things. First, I am not
very skilled arcade game player. This means that I have tried to develop my strategies so

2 English pronouncion: Katya
that they do not require strict timing or complex maneuvers. They are compromises
between effectiveness and ease to use.
Second, I am playing Oblivion with XBox. XBox Oblivion has two very annoying things
that have affected heavily on my game play: first, going through inventory is painful, and
second, you can practically have just four "hotkeyed" items.
XBox Oblivion inventories. To reduce the need to browse inventories, I have tried to
design my characters' equipments so that they does not require frequent changing, that is,
some sort of “One Fit for All” solutions. To shorten the time in inventories, I have paid
lots of attention to naming enchanted items and custom spells. I have tried to name
frequently used items so that they appear at the top of the list, and similarly I have tried to
name “suits” (several items for specific purposes) so that they appear consecutively in the
inventory.
Naming spells follow the same basic rules as equipments, but unlike equipments, spells
can not be “dropped”. Once you have bought a spell or created a custom one, it will stay
in your spell inventory forever. This means, that naming spells is even more important for
ease game play than naming equipments. I could pay money to get an altar to XBox
Oblivion for cleaning up the spell inventory, or at least rename them. And to get “a
tailor”, that could combine several wearings together to make “a suit”.
To prevent the spell inventory list to grow, I have tried to create spells that are useful in
several different situations. I have combined effects to same spell, even though it wastes
magicka by making the spell more expensive than they would need to be in usual
situations.
XBox Oblivion hotkeys. In XBox Oblivion, you can hotkey items to D-Pad having eight
directions. With hotkeying, you can avoid going through inventory, and thus it is useful
for activating frequently needed items and spells, which are mostly the ones needed in the
middle of fights. In Xbox Oblivion, you can theoretically have eight hotkeyed items, but
(at least) I am not able to reliably select items in diagonal directions. Even trying to select
cardinal directions is not always reliable in the middle of fights, or it may be so that the
game does not always react to the selection.
This has affected heavily on the fighting strategies, which of course has affected heavily
on the creation of custom spells and equipments. With four hotkeyed items it is almost
impossible to stay out from inventories, but with some testing and developing it is
possible to reduce the needed amount considerably.



1.4         Playing A Role

I play games as games, not as role playing games. I play chess as chess, not as othello.
This means that I play Oblivion in the way its game mechanics works. If something is
wise from that point of point view, I use it, otherwise I don’t.
But this is not the whole truth. There are numerous things that are not strictly restricted
by the game mechanics, and which may improve the immersion to the game or otherwise
keep you playing Oblivion hours after hours.
First, all the three characters I have created are very strong and able, but they are still
perishable. It is possible to gain invulnerability in Oblivion in several ways, for example
making a Chameleon Suit, or gaining 100% Damage Reflection and/or Magic Resistance.
I have tried those, just to see how they work, but I have reverted back to mortality as the
game is not that hard for well-designed character even with hardest difficulty settings.
Second, I pay attention to the outlook of my characters. For example, the warrior girl
Tika does not use full daedric armor, as it does not look good and the character does not
need that much protection to survive. The outlook of the character is more important than
you might think. Of course, it can make the immersion better, but more importantly you
are going to look your character endless hours. Oblivion is a long game, and you are
spending lots of that time in inventories, which have the three-dimensional model of your
character. If you don’t like the outlook of your character, your game experience is
severely hurt.
Third, I collect memorabilia. All three characters live in Rosethorn Hall in Skingrad. That
house contains a basement with many containers, and I use them almost entirely for
storing unique or special items collected from various quests. I have one dedicated
scontainer for each quest line, and I occasionally check the items in those containers and
look back to the times they were achieved.
For remembering the dead allies, I enchant an item (e.g. ring) with Light effect using
Petty Soul Gem. This way I can give the name for the item, which is in this case
something like: “A RIP Kvatch Tierra”, i.e. “A” for keeping the item in the top of the
inventory, “RIP” to indicate in memoriam, then name of the battle (to keep all the allies
died in specific mission together in inventory) followed by name of the soldier, if any.



1.5        Structure of This Guide

The first chapter, discuss shortly what to do before starting to play more seriously. It is
followed by chapter “Choosing The Game”, which discuss about the “modes”, sort of
topmost strategies you can choose. No, there is nowhere a button to choose your topmost
strategy; you make it by making a few small, but very important choices.
I will start introducing the characters and game engine from attributes and skills, as they
form the leveling system, which is definitely the most important mechanism affecting to
your game play.
After attributes and skills, I’ll introduce the races and birthsigns. Many guides start with
these, but I decided to introduce attributes and skills first, so that you would already have
a picture how skills and attributes work.
Races and birthsigns are followed by a chapter discussing ways to enchant your
character’s abilities over the natural maximums. When designing your character, it is
good to know in advance what you can do to improve your character, and what you can’t.
You don’t want to make decisions that you find foolish at level 30, when you have
sacrificed endless hours to develop your character.
The next chapters represent three of my characters, Tika, Rose and Nina. Tika is used as
an example of a Warrior-style character, and Rose as an example of a Wizard-style
character. Nina is Warrior-style Atronach. After representing them, there is a short
comparison of the characters at level 29.
The last chapters discuss about game playing subjects, for example quest timing,
acquiring items and such. The final chapter discusses about your character. I have
opinions of my own, but they are not necessarily suitable for you. I try to encourage you
to explore the game by yourself, and be not afraid of making some unconventional
choices. Just keep in mind, that in Oblivion not everything works as you thought it would
work.
2          The First Steps




Before starting to play Oblivion more seriously, I strongly suggest to make at least one
test run. Choose the gender, race and class you think you like most. Go out and do
something.
It is a little bit sad that the standard classes are so useless. First, they cannot be used for
any serious playing because of the way the leveling system works. Second, the initial
boosts you gain by selecting a class are so slight that they do not make any real difference
to game play. Furthermore, the beginning of the game is almost similar to all characters,
as you have not yet specialized to anything and you don’t have the gears you are going to
use.
When making your test drives, you are going to do lots of mistakes and learn much about
the game itself. I just can't remember all the mistakes I have made. In the very first game,
just right after exiting from sewers to freedom, my first action was to accidentally steal a
horse and I was sent back to jail. I have accidentally killed innocent people so many times
that I can’t keep count. I have lost very valuable ring by accidentally dropping it on the
ground. Once I lost my enchanted boots to somewhere while practicing jumping, but
that’s small – I have lost an entire dead body to a grass field with invaluable
enchantments, when using it temporarily to store my gears.
At your test drives, try different ways to kill your enemies. Use different melee weapons,
bows and arrows, and spellcasting. In this document, I disregard bows as I am able to
make only one successful shoot; I have no abilities to hit on moving targets and avoid
close contact at the same time. You may be different, and that would hugely affect how to
interpret this guide.
So, go out and have fun, and come back to this guide when/if you decide to take some
more serious try.
Fresh Start. Whenever you have got some experience and you decide to start over with
more seriously designed character, I suggest you to create saved game position to the end
of the tutorial, at the exit of the sewers where the game asks you if you are satisfied with
your character or if you want still change something in it. This way you don't need to play
the tutorial never again.
To make the saved game position, create a character named "Fresh Start". You don’t need
to pay much attention to this character, as you are going to create the real one later. But I
could suggest that you choose a strong character (e.g. male Nord), as then you can carry
lots of loot out from the dungeon to the exit point. When later altering the character, you
probably need to leave something behind. Just keep the ones you think are the most
valuable to your character, then the best gold/weight items to get some initial money, and
forget the rest.
There is nothing important in tutorial dungeon, except one thing you already have at the
beginning - remember to keep your Wrist Irons! They are the only hand wears without
armor class in the whole game. For warriors that is not a big deal as they usually wear
gauntlets, but if you later like to try/switch to a wizard, they become extremely valuable.
I also suggest that you play the tutorial so that you don't gain much experience points.
You cannot avoid having some, but it is no use to take lots of them, as you will need to
keep track of your skill development with your real characters. One way to obtain this is
changing the difficulty level temporarily to easiest possible.
3          Choosing The Game




Your design of the character starts by choosing the “mode” - the topmost strategy – you
like to play. There are four main ways to play Oblivion, each containing numerous
variations, and all partly overlapping to each other:


       1. A Warrior,
       2. A Wizard,
       3. An Atronach,
       4. A Vampire.


The first two “modes” are for regular characters, and the two others are specialized ways
to play. If you are starting to play your first serious game, I suggest you to choose normal
difficulty and the way of the Warrior. Warriors can later change their strategies to
Wizards, if they want, but it is unbelievably difficult in other way.



3.1        Choosing The Difficulty

When choosing the strategy, you should decide, which difficulty level you are going to
use in your game, as it affects to the options available. In Oblivion, you can change the
game difficulty on-the-fly. What it makes, it that it affects to the damage made by you,
and the damage made by others to you. There are three basic settings:


                  Difficulty Lever pos. Damage made Damage taken
                 Easiest     Leftmost     6x               1/6x
                 Normal      Center       1x               1x
                 Hardest     Rightmost 1/6x                6x

If you play with easiest settings, you don't need this guide to survive. The game is going
to be easy, no matter what decisions you make. You can kill most of your enemies with
one strike, and they can hardly scratch you.
The normal difficulty level gives you the most possibilities to play, while still retaining
the challenge.
The hardest difficulty level removes some options. The damage you make to your
enemies is severely hurt, which means that you can't do it by yourself (except with
poisons) – instead, you make a heavy use of voluntary, summoned and forced allies to
kill your enemies on behalf of you. At the same time, the damage made by your enemies
is multiplied so high, that most of them will kill you with one strike. Thus, if you want to
play with hardest difficulty, you are going to play Wizard, explained later.
Playing with hardest difficulty settings is in fact not as hard as you may think. The
challenge is somewhat the same as playing with the normal difficulty as long as you don’t
try to beat your enemies in close combat.



3.2        Warrior or Wizard?

There is two main “modes” to play, either a Warrior or a Wizard. To be able to choose,
ask yourself a question, if you want to try to either (1) stay alive in close combats, or (2)
avoid them in the first place.
Each character in Oblivion need high skills in magic schools. You will need healing
spells for you and your allies, you will need protection spells at least to your allies, you
will need conjuration spells to summon aid to your battles and so on. You may survive
without magic, but for most that adds unnecessary extra challenge and removes
fascinating options.
All characters are experts in stealth. You will need those skills in various quest lines, and
in daily dungeon looting high sneaking skill gives you possibility to choose the way you
want to fight. All characters can pick locks, as many of the chests in dungeons are locked.
All characters are in the end quite considerable acrobats and athletes, as they have been
running and jumping endlessly all over the Cyrodiil.
All characters need social skills equally, but none can trust entirely on them as you can't
kill your enemies with those – there is no option to persuade followers to you, nor an
option to tell such a good joke that it would kill monsters to laughing.
All characters benefit from alchemy skills, and all characters are good enough with bows
to deliver home-brew poisons to their opponents.
So, what is the difference between Warrior and Wizard?
Armor.
You need to decide if you wear an armor or not. If you are not wearing armor, you need
to avoid close contacts to your enemies. If you think you don’t want or can’t avoid them
entirely, you need to wear armor and put it into use right from the beginning.

3.2.1      Why Not To Wear Armor?

Wearing even a single armor piece drops your spell efficiency. At the low armor skill
levels the effect is very strong, and even if you are a master with the armor (light or
heavy) you are wearing, your spell efficiency is still dropped to 95%.
Most spells do not suffer from this. For example, it does not make noticeable difference if
your enemy gets 100 or 95 points damage from the fireball you casted, or if you heal
yourself by 95 points instead of 100 points.
There are a small, but very useful set of spells, in which this effect becomes a dividing
line. These spells are Chameleon and all the crowd control spells (Frenzy, Calm, Turn
Undead, Demoralize, Command Creature/Humanoid and so on).
Chameleon spell is used to stay hidden while doing actions (e.g. firing a bow) in hostile
environment, as Invisibility effect is canceled whenever you act. Chameleon effect is
reliable only if it is at least 100%, and with armors you can get a maximum of 95%. If
you really need to stay hidden while acting and wearning an armor, you need to fill the
gap with enchanted item, like Ring of Khajiiti or a self-made one.
The crowd control spells use so called levels, from 1 to 25, which is spell magnitude (1 to
100) divided by four. If the level of the target (usually your character’s level plus minus
something) is higher than the level of the spell, the target is not affected. The specialty is
that full strength spell (magnitude 100, level 25) works to any target, not depending on its
level. If you wear an armor, you can never reach that, and thus crowd control spells are
not reliable tools for armor-wearers at high levels.

3.2.2        Why To Wear Armor?

You wear armors to protect yourself against strikes. In Oblivion game engine, there is a
term called armor rate. You can see your character’s current effective armor rate in your
inventory, it is a number with a shield icon. Armor rate is a percentage, which
determines, how much of the incoming damage is absorbed by your armors before it hits
you. Armor rate is gapped to 85%, that is, you get at least 15% of the damage of the
strikes hitting you.
Armor pieces increase your armor rate. The amount depends on:


        1. The base shielding value of the armor piece (see tables in Oblivion Wiki),
        2. The condition of the armor piece (from 0% to 100%, and later to 125%),
        3. The level of corresponding skill (Heavy Armor or Light Armor).


Armor pieces require frequent repairing. During the battles, they wear out and loose their
protection, all the way down to zero.
To gain the best possible shielding, you (1) wear full armor of best possible quality, (2)
have repaired it to 125% condition (requires Armorer skill 75+), and (3) are master in the
skill of the armor (value 100 in Heavy Armor or Light Armor).
That combination leads to armor rates higher than 85%. Although the effective ratio is
gapped, this setup has still one advantage, as it retains the maximum 85% protection
longer during battles.
The percentage representation of the armor rate can be misleading3. The truth is revealed,
3 This same applies to all other protective abilities, e.g. Magic Resistance, Spell Absorption, Damage
  Reflection and so on.
if you translate the rate to how long you can take damage in. For example, 50% armor
rate means that you take half of the actual damage, which means that your life time is
doubled. Here is a small table:


                         Armor rate Damage ratio Expected lifetime
                                0,00%               1/1                        1x

                              33,00%                2 /3                    1.5x

                              50,00%                1/2                        2x

                              66,00%                1/3                        3x

                              75,00%                1/4                        4x

                              85,00%             ≈1/6                          6x


What the table tells, is that armor rate start to make real difference around 50% by
doubling your expected lifetime. The effect of high armor rates (around 75% - 85%) is
very strong, which you can observe later in the game any time you like by taking off your
armor and trying to fight. The table also tells that while small increases to shielding are
useless at low armor rates, their effect is drastic with high armor rates. For example, 10%
increasement to 75% armor rate nearly halves the damage you take, while that 10% alone
does not give any noticeable effect.
Now, there is a catch here. You can raise your armor rate also with spells and enchanted
items. For example, if you use three Transcendent Sigil Stones with elemental shield
(Fire, Frost and Shock Shield, each 25%), you gain 75% armor rate (which is enough for
end game) with three pieces of clothes. As clothes do not have armor class, this elemental
armor does not hurt your spell efficiency! Furthermore, it does never wear out, it does not
need any repairing, neither does it need any skills to give you the protection.
Sounds fascinating, doesn’t it? Why to wear armors, as there is so much better alternative
available?
Because armors can be enchanted. In Oblivion, you can place just one single effect to a
wearable item. This means, that you can have at maximum nine4 different effects
simultaneously active. Compared to clothes, armors are special pieces of wearings, which
kind of have the Shield effect built in, so you can add other useful effects to them. This
means that if you need Shield effect to protect you, you should seriously consider
exploiting this special nature of armors!
Furthermore, you would built elemental shield from clothes only if you want to retain
your 100% spell efficiency, and you will need that only to be able to use crowd control
spells. This means that you have all the tools to stay out from troubles, so where you
would need that shielding? Instead, you probably want to enchant your clothes with some
more useful effects, for example increasing your magicka points.

4 Although there is no shield available without armor class, wearing it does not drop your spell efficiency
  if you are not wielding one-handed melee weapon at the same time.
Characters wearing armor need to use it in action. In Oblivion, there is practically no such
possibility, that you would usually try to avoid close contacts, and wear armor “just in
case”5. The reason for this is that to gain the protection your armor can give, you need to
have the corresponding skill high. Developing the skill high requires that you take huge
amount of strikes to your armor. If you have avoided close contacts and thus your skill is
low, your armor does not protect you in tight situations; it would be the same to be naked.

3.2.3         Summary

So, all in all, wearing an armor or not divides the characters to Warriors and Wizards.
Warriors can change their role to a Wizard quite easily in almost any phase of the game,
but Wizards can’t become to a Warrior after the beginning of the game. Notice, that if
you are going to play with the hardest difficulty setting, you need to be a Wizard.


Warriors. Warriors make use of armors and melee weapons (swords, axes and such). In
addition to this, it is wise and fun to use magic, too, and no-one has said that Warriors
should not use bows and poisons. The absolutely necessary magical skills are Restoration
spells, which are used at least to heal your allies. You may heal yourself with potions, but
there is no ways to make your ally to drink one. All the other schools contain many useful
effects, which you are very welcome to exploit.
Warriors are some sort of a mix of following standard classes:


         1. Barbarian: “Fearsome brutes who inspire fear and dread in the hearts of their
            enemies. Like a storm, swift and powerful. ... they rely on smashing their foes
            into the ground.”
         2. Battlemage: “Able to resolve most conflicts with either spell or sword. They
            are a deadly mix of scholar and soldier.”
         3. Crusader: “A combatant who wields the power of brute strength and medicinal
            knowledge. Cheating death after every fight, they rely on their keen knowledge
            of restoration to fight yet again.”
         4. Knight: “The most noble of all combatants. Strong in body and in character.”
         5. Sorcerer: “Besting the most well-equipped fighters, they rely on the spells of
            the mystic arts. Unique to these mages is the bodily stamina to be armed with
            the thickest armor.”
         6. Spellsword: “More nimble and athletic than the sorcerer, and better suited for
            spell-casting than the knight, their attacks are unpredictable. Students of
            combat and magic.”
         7. Warrior: “Unafraid of light weaponry, they plow into the fray with little regard
            for injury. Masters of all melee tools, they put little faith in the magical arts.”


5 In fact, there is, for masters of the armor skill they are wearing. To gain that skill level, they have taken
  in thousands of blows.
Wizards. Wizards make heavy use of invisibility, summoned creatures and their very
speciality, crowd control spells, added with bow and poisoned arrows. It is your choice
which strategy you are mainly using – crowd control, summoned creatures or poisoned
arrows. From Destruction magic school they use at least the ones making their enemies
vulnerable to poisons. Wizards may be described as a mix of the following standard
classes:


       1. Agent: “Charming when they can be seen, and nearly invisible when in
          shadow.”
       2. Healer: “Fighters of poison and illness. The ancient art of restoration is their
          ally, and the deadly art of destruction is their weapon.”
       3. Mage: “Preferring to use their extensive knowledge of all things magical, they
          wield a might more powerful than the sharpest blade.”
       4. Witchhunter: “Swift on foot, and clever with spells, they use distance as their
          ally. Slower adversaries are fodder for their arrows.”


Both classes. When needed, both classes are excellent thieves and assassins.



3.3        Playing An Atronach

The Atronach is a very specialized birthsign, which you select, if you want to become one
of the most powerful mages possible in Oblivion. You design the entire character around
this birthsign.
Atronachs get +150 magicka points, which almost doubles their natural maximum from
200 to 350 points. This is boosted further by choosing either Breton (+50) or Altmer
(+100) as your race. Altmer Atronach’s natural magicka maximum is 450. Later in the
game, magicka is boosted further by equipments (e.g. +250 with five Transcendent Sigil
Stones, raising Altmer Atronach’s magicka to 700 points), and it can be temporarily
boosted further with potions and spells.
The drawback of the magicka boost is that your magicka does not regenerate as it does
with other characters. This has an tremendous effect to the game play for a character that
trusts heavily on magic – why would you choose an Atronach to maximize your magicka
pool, if you wouldn't use magic?
There are two basic ways to overcome this problem. The first and most obvious is to
carry lots of Restore Magicka potions with you. When your Alchemy skill is high enough
and you have good equipments, the home-brew magicka potions are in fact very useful.
For a regular character, they regenerate magicka so fast and so long time that they are
usually an overkill.
The second way is to gain 100% Spell Absorption and suck all the spells casted on you.
Gaining the full 100% is easier to Atronachs than to other players, as they already have
50%. As a side effect, 100% Spell Absorption makes you invulnerable against magic,
rendering both Altmer’s natural weakness and Breton’s natural strength obsolete.
There are two special items Atronachs are most probably looking for. The first is the
Sorcerer’s Ring, giving 25% Spell Absorption, which can be found as random loot from
level 20 onwards. The second is the level 30+ version of Spelldrinker’s Amulet (26%
Spell Absorption), which is given you as a reward from Mages Guild quest “Ulterior
Motives” - meaning that Atronachs probably want not to progress in Mages Guild quest
line until they reach level 30. For tips using 100% Spell Absorption to replenish your
magicka, see Oblivion Wiki.
I think that Atronachs may well apply both Warrior and Wizard strategies in their game,
but it is probably more pleasuring to play Warrior. 100% Spell Absorption sounds
something that almost begs for staying in the front line, taking in magical attacks and
turning them to the destruction of your enemies.



3.4        Playing A Vampire

In Oblivion, you may be contracted by a disease called Porphyric Hemophilia, which
turns the player to a vampire if not cured at early phase. Usually, you get this disease
when fighting against vampires, and you want to cure the disease before it transforms you
to a vampire. But you may also let the disease to work, and play the game as a vampire.
I haven’t (yet) played the game as a vampire, so I can’t offer you any useful information
for this playing “mode”, except the basic facts. Vampires get special abilities and boosts
to their skills and attributes, but at the same time they become vulnerable to sunlight. In
practice this means that you get damage at each second you spent outdoors at daytime,
making some actions and quests tricky.
4           Attributes and Skills




The backbone of your character’s performance is formed by a combination of attributes
and skills. This performance is further affected by your character’s natural strengths and
weaknesses, as well as the equipments you use.



4.1         Overall Introduction

In general, both skills and attributes affect to your character's performance. For example,
the damage made by swords depends on your Blade skill and your Strength attribute. To
improve your character, it is necessary to develop them both.
Skills are mainly developed by using them. When using a skill, it gains experience points,
and once there are enough them, the skill value is increased – it gets a skill-up. The
higher the skill value, the more experience points are needed for raising it.
Attributes are developed by gaining a level to your character. The amount of how much
you can raise an attribute depends on how much you have earned skill-ups in specific
skills; each attribute has three skills that provide bonus points for attribute development.
So, an attribute and the skills giving bonus points to its development form some sort of a
group. Officially, it is said, that skills are governed by a specific attribute, but it is a little
bit misleading. In action, skills and attributes are separate items, and it is the skills that
determine how much you can raise your attributes when leveling.



                                                               Performance




               Actions                             Skills                  Attributes


         Illustration 1: Actions, skills, attributes and performance.




Although the official terms can be a little bit confusing, I try to remember to use them.
So, if it said that “Blade skill is governed by Strength” or “Blade is a Strength-governed
skill”, it means, that skill-ups in Blade give you bonus points to Strength development.
When do you acquire a level? It happens every time you have collected a total of ten
skill-ups in your seven major skills, in any combination. Thus, you must think your major
skills not as the skills you need or not, but as skills that determine the speed of your
leveling. Too quick leveling leads to so called “leveling problem”, but in the other hand
too slow leveling makes your game dull.



4.2        Leveling System

In Oblivion, both enemies and rewards are leveled. It means that as you gain levels, the
enemies get thougher and the rewards get better. If you play Oblivion blindly, it is easy to
get stuck into a situation, where your character has became unplayable because the
leveled monsters are too far ahead. To prevent this so called “leveling problem”, you
need to pay attention to your skill development, so that you can transfer the gained skill-
ups to your attribute development.
You may want read about leveling from Oblivion Wiki, too:


        http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Oblivion:Leveling


I have tried to keep this explanation of leveling as simple as possible, but I know that it
sounds complex and confusing at the first glance. Don’t be afraid of this; you don’t need
to fully understand it right now, read on and come back later, and you have much more
detailed picture about the subject. As leveling is one of the central parts of the game, this
whole document contains lots of information about it.

4.2.1      How Leveling Works?

Once the sum of skill-ups in your major skills is ten, your character gets a level. For
example, one of your major skills may got three skill-ups, one other four, and the third
one also three – this totals to ten, and your character has gained a level. In your statistics
page, you can see the progress bar informing you, how close you are getting a level.
Once you have gained a level, the game informs that you should go to rest. When you go
sleeping, you get a panel, in which you can raise your attributes. You select three of them,
and exit the panel to continue your playing.
You can raise an attribute from +1 to +5 points at level-up. The amount of how much you
can raise an attribute, depends on the sum of the skill-ups in the skills governed by that
attribute; having at least ten skill-ups in any combination leads to maximum +5 bonus
points to that attribute. Each attribute governs three skills; skill-ups in these three skills
give you bonus points for developing that attribute.
4.2.2      What Does It Mean?

The first thing the leveling system causes, is that you want your skills to get concentrated
development bursts instead of steady development. Steady skill development leads to
poor attribute development.
At every level-up, you can develop three attributes. All those attributes have three skills
they govern, so at each level you want to concentrate to get enough skill-ups in nine (3x3)
different carefully selected skills. For example, if you want to develop your Strength,
Endurance and Agility, you need to get skill-ups:


        For Strength: Blade, Blunt and Hand to hand
        For Endurance: Armorer, Block and Heavy Armor
        For Agility: Marksman, Security and Sneak


If the sum of the skill-ups in Blade, Blunt and Hand to hand is at least ten, you can get the
maximum +5 bonus for your Strength development. Basically, everything over ten is
wasting, anything below is underdeveloping.
At the same time when concentrating to certain skills, you want to try to avoid
development in other skills, as all the skill-ups not used for attribute development are sort
of “wasted”. Also, as skills are easier to develop the lower they are, avoiding skill-ups
governed by attributes you are not yet developing makes it easier to do it later.
The optimal number is to get a total of 30 skill-ups per level; ten to your major skills and
twenty to your minor skills. At the same time, optimally all these skill-ups are spread so
that you can get the maximum +5 for three attributes, and nothing else.
You don’t need to be that pedantic. First, it is almost impossible to prevent some skills to
raise when playing (e.g. Athletics), and second, you don’t always get full +5 bonus to
attribute development unless you are keeping book on your skill-ups. Luckily, you have
enough levels and skill-ups to go, so you don’t have to have perfect leveling. The whole
purpose of this document is to show how you can create a character that is strong and
fully playable from the beginning to high levels (e.g. at level 40) without needing any
special bookkepping.
But if you don’t pay any attention to your attribute development, you may encounter one
of the two problems. Either you may overlevel, which means that you gain levels too
quickly to be able to develop your attributes, or you underlevel, which means that you
gain levels too slowly, and “waste” lots of skill-ups that cannot anymore be used for
attributes. Underleveling can be purposely, but I have never thought staying at level 1 the
whole game.

4.2.3      Why To Level?

If leveling causes that much problems, why to gain levels at first place? Because you
want to challenge the most dangerous enemies the game has, and leave the battlefield as a
winner. Because you want to see the most powerful enchants the game has, and find out
what they can do for you. Because you want to use the most powerful Sigil Stones and
Grand Souls to make your enchantments, and you want to wear the highest-quality
weapons and armors.

4.2.4      How To Level?

You achieve nearly perfect leveling if you keep track of your skill-ups. For PC-players
this is probably more viable option, as you can keep your favored spreadsheet or text
editing tool available, but console players probably can’t do this easily.
You don’t need bookkeeping, if you don’t have to remember the number of your skill-
ups. To make this happen, I make all the preparations to the next level right after you
have gained the level. So, right after my character wakes up after sleeping, I go buy the
necessary training lessons, and perform all the needed artificial development. After that,
the character is ready for quests and other missions to gain skill-ups to acquire next level.
To make this method effective, you need to know some things. First, you have to have
some idea, what skills get skill-ups while you do quests, and how much they probably
gain them. You need to have some sort of a plan; what three attributes you are going to
develop? You need to make extensive use of some fighting strategies, and at the same
time avoid some others to concentrate the skill-ups to skills you need for attributes. This
subject is later discussed in the chapters devoted to Warriors and Wizards, respectively.



4.3        Attributes

There are eight primary attributes in Oblivion; Strength, Endurance, Agility, Willpower,
Intelligence, Speed, Personality and Luck. From these, Luck is special; it has no skills to
govern, which means that you can raise it by +1 at every level-up.
You can develop attributes to at maximum 100, but you can boost them (with spells,
potions and enchants) over 100, and they may still provide you some benefits.
At first, I introduce the seven regular primary attributes, then Luck in its own section, and
then the derived attributes.

4.3.1      Primary Attributes

Strength. Strength affects to three things: (1) how much you can carry, (2) how much
damage you make with melee weapons, and (3) your amount of Fatigue. Boosting your
Strength over 100 still increases your ability to carry items, as well as it increases your
Fatigue, but it does not increase the damage you make with melee weapons.
Endurance. Endurance affects to two things: (1) your health points, and (2) your amount
of Fatigue. Boosting Endurance over 100 increases your base value of Health Points (see
section “Derived Attributes”), and your Fatigue. Endurance boosted above 100 does not
affect to the cumulative Health Point bonus.
Agility. Agility affects to three things: (1) how much damage you make with bows, (2)
how easily you get staggered by strikes or blocks, and (3) your amount of Fatigue.
Boosting Agility over 100 increases your Fatigue and decreases your chances being
staggered, but it does not affect to the damage made by ranged weapons.
Willpower. Willpower affects to two things: (1) how fast your magicka regenerates, and
(2) your amount of Fatigue. Boosting Willpower over 100 increases your Fatigue and
your Magicka regeneration rate.
Intelligence. Intelligence affects to one thing: how much magicka points you have.
Boosting Intelligence over 100 increases your Magicka Points.
Speed. Speed affects to one thing: how fast you run. Boosting Speed over 100 makes you
run faster.
Personality. Personality affects to one thing: the base disposition of NPCs. Boosting
your Personality over 100 will improve the initial disposition of NPC. With high
Personality, aided with high Speechcraft skill and Charm spell it is said to be possible to
“talk” with Dremora in Oblivion planes, as well as other usually hostile NPCs
(Necromancers, Conjurers). I have not yet tried this.


The priority of attributes depends on your topmost strategy and style of playing. Warriors
put Endurance, Strength and Agility before Willpower and Intelligence. Wizards put
Willpower and Intelligence before all others, although it is wise for them to get boost to
Endurance at the beginning of the game because of the cumulative health bonus. Both
may like develop Speed and Personality in some point of the game.

4.3.2      Luck

Luck is a special attribute that deserves to be introduced by itself, as it can then be
forgotten. As there are no Luck-governed skills, you can raise it only by +1 per level.
If Luck is higher than 50, you get a slight bonus to all of your skills (0.4 times every
point over 50; Luck at 100 gives you +20 to all skills). Skills that are already 100 do not
gain anything, and of course, Luck bonus does not give you the skill perks.
If your Luck is lower than 50, you get a slight penalty to all of your skills. Luck may be
dropped below 50 during the game by your enemies using spells or enchanted weapons
having Drain/Damage Luck effect. Most commonly you are temporarily affected by this
effect when fighting against spriggans; their “Spriggan’s Curse” contains Drain Luck
effect for 60 seconds.
Luck may affect to certain randomly generated events in the game, but it does not affect
(at least noticeably) to the monsters nor the loot in dungeons, although some claim so. I
made several test drives with Katja, checking the dungeon contents with and without
boosted Luck, and noticed no differences.
Luck is usually not important for characters. The only place I could think it useful would
be the beginning of the game, assuming that you would gain a huge Luck boost.
Unfortunately, good boosts (e.g. custom spells) are available only at later phases of the
game, and in that phase you probably want to boost the skills instead of Luck.
The only usable way to gain useful Luck boost to the beginning of the game is to select
Thief as your birthsign; +10 boost to Luck translates to +4 bonus to your skills. You may
also want to boost it further by creating a custom class, which has Luck as favored
attribute (+5 boost to Luck, with Thief birthsign +6 bonus to your skills).
Of course, if you are going to create a character that is aimed for maximizing everything,
then you will need to pay attention to the initial amount of Luck, as it is unbelievably
hard to raise (always +1). But for regular characters, instead of developing Luck, you
should develop your other attributes and skills.

4.3.3      Derived Attributes

Derived attributes can’t be directly developed, instead they are calculated from your
primary attributes. I have placed the primary attributes affecting to the derived attribute in
parenthesis.
Encumbrance (Strength). Encumbrance is derived attribute that determines, how much
you can carry. It is directly five times your Strength attribute. Natural maximum is 500.
Health Points (Endurance). Health points affect to how much damage you can stand. It
is derived from your Endurance attribute in two ways. The base value is always two times
Endurance, so its natural maximum is 200. This base value is added by a cumulative
bonus. Each time you gain a level, this bonus value is added by your Endurance/10.
Because of this cumulative bonus, you probably want to raise Endurance at the beginning
of the game, after what it works silently at backgrounds increasing your health. Be
informed that this is not that crucial; it is just that Endurance is the only attribute with
cumulative effect, so if you can, you raise it to the amount you need preferably sooner
than later. Other attributes can be raised at any phase of the game, whenever you feel
them important.
Fatigue (Strength, Endurance, Agility, Willpower). Fatigue is a regenerating derived
attribute, which determines the efficiency of your actions (from 30% to 100%), for
example making damage with melee weapons. Each action, for example swinging a
sword, consumes fatigue; the heavier the weapon, the more it consumes. Fatigue is a sum
of four attributes: Strength, Endurance, Agility and Willpower. The more Fatigue you
have, the slower it goes down. Natural maximum is 400.
Magicka Points (Intelligence). Magicka points affect to how magicka-expensive spells
you can cast. The effective cost of the spell is determined by the base cost of the effects
and your skills in the magic schools of the effects; more on this later. Magicka is directly
two times your Intelligence. Natural maximum is 200.
Magicka Regeneration Rate (Willpower). The ratio your Magicka Points regenerate is
derived from your Willpower attribute. It is worth to note, that the regeneration of raw
magicka points is affected by the size of the magicka pool – Willpower only determines,
how quickly you fill the pool from 0% to 100%. Thus, to certain point enlarging your
Magicka pool makes you regenerate raw magicka points more than raising your
Willpower.
4.4        Skills

As there are seven primary attributes having three skills to govern, there are twenty-one
(7x3=21) different skills. The skill values in Oblivion are divided to five “grades”:


       1. Novice: skill value less than 25
       2. Apprentice: skill value 25-49
       3. Journeyman: skill value 50-74
       4. Expert: skill value 75-99
       5. Master: skill value 100


Whenever you reach the boundaries, you acquire so called skill perks, special abilities
meant to make the skill more useful. Usually, you can't get these perks by boosting your
skill with a spell or enchantment.
Taking advantage of skill perks depends on you and the way you are playing. Some of
them are passive, working for you without requiring any actions. Some of them are
active, meaning that you need to do something to exploit the perk.


Strength-governed Skills. Skill-ups in these skills give you bonus points to develop your
Strength attribute. All these skills are offensive melee skills. The skill perks provide you
different power attacks, side power attacks giving a possibility to disarm opponents and
forward and backward power attacks giving a possibility to knock down the opponent.


       1. Blade. Together with Strength attribute, determines your ability to do damage
          with bladed weapons, that is, with daggers, swords and claymores.
       2. Blunt. Together with Strength attribute, determines your ability to do damage
          with blunt weapons, that is, with maces, axes and hammers.
       3. Hand to hand. Together with Strength attribute, determines your ability to do
          damage with your bare hands.


Endurance-governed Skills. Skill-ups in these skills give you bonus points to develop
your Endurance attribute. These are defensive and “restorative” melee skills:


       1. Armorer. Your ability to repair items (weapons and armors). The higher your
          skill, the less hammers you break. Furthermore, this skill has three important
          skill perks: (1) you can repair enchanted items only if your Armorer skill is
          50+, (2) you can repair items to 125% condition if your Armorer is 75+, and
          (3) at master grade (100) you don't break hammers anymore.
       2. Block. Block skill affects to your ability to block the strikes. Successful blocks
          may cause the opponent to stagger, which means that he/she/it is not able to act
          for a while, giving you good chance for counter-attacks. Higher skill perks
          make blocking more offensive.
       3. Heavy Armor. This skill determines the ratio heavy armors can give you
          protection. The skill perk at 75 makes the armors weighting half of their true
          value when worn, and the master perk at 100 makes them weightless when
          worn.


Agility-governed Skills. Skill-ups in these skills give you bonus points to develop
Agility attribute.


       1. Marksman. Together with Agility attribute, determines your ability to make
          damage with arrows. The skill perk at 50 gives you zooming, and 75 gives you
          possibility to knock down the target by hitting it.
       2. Security. This skill affects to the lockpicking minigame. Tumblers should
          move slower when the skill increases, although I have not noticed any notable
          differences – the reason may be that the locks get harder when your level
          increases, so the challenge remains the same. The skill perks are notable, as
          they cause that less of the locked tumblers get down when you fail to lock one.
       3. Sneak. This skill is used to determine, if the others can detect you while you
          are in sneaking mode or trying to pickpocket things. In fact, the detection
          mechanism in Oblivion is quite nicely designed, as it takes in to account your
          skills to remain hidden, the others skills to detect sneaking creatures, and the
          light in the position you are.


Willpower-governed Skills. Skill-ups in these skills give you bonus points to develop
your Willpower attribute. Willpower-governed skills are all magical skills. More
information how these skills actually work is provided later in this document discussing
spellcasting.


       1. Alteration. Your ability to cast Alteration school spells. Alteration school
          contains effects that modify the reality (Shield, Water Breathing, Water
          Walking, Feather, Burden).
       2. Destruction. Your ability to cast Destruction school spells. Destruction school
          contains effects to make damage (Fire, Frost and Shock Damage, Damage
          Health, Fatigue and Magicka, effects for weakening targets to attacks, and so
          on).
       3. Restoration. Your ability to cast Restoration school spells. Restoration school
          contains effects to restore and improve abilities: restoring and boosting health,
          magicka, skills and attributes; and protecting you against magical damage.
Intelligence-governed Skills. Skill-ups in these skills give you bonus points to develop
your Intelligence attribute. There are two magical skills, and special skill Alchemy.


       1. Alchemy. Alchemy is a skill that you use to make potions and poisons. The
          higher your skill is, the more powerful potions you can create. Maybe even
          important are the skill perks, which greatly extend your abilities to make useful
          potions from different ingredients. Alchemy is later described in separate
          section.
       2. Conjuration. Your ability to cast Conjuration school spells. Conjuration
          school contains spells to summon creatures, and bound items.
       3. Mysticism. Your ability to cast Mysticism school spells. Mysticism school
          contains spells for various purposes, e.g. detecting life, trapping souls and so
          on.


Speed-governed Skills. Skill-ups in these skills give you bonus points to develop your
Speed attribute. This category contains two special skills, Acrobatics and Athletics, as
unlike the others they will give you better performance when boosted over 100
(Acrobatics make you jump higher, and Athletics make you run faster).


       1. Acrobatics. This skill directly affects how high you can jump, as well as much
          damage you take if falling. Skill perk at 50 gives you ability to dodge.
       2. Athletics. Together with your race, gender and Speed attribute, this skill
          determines your running speed.
       3. Light Armor. This skill determines the ratio light armors can give you
          protection. The skill perk at 50 makes the worn light armors to degrade slower,
          skill perk at 75 makes them weightless when worn, and master perk makes
          them give 150% protection.


Personality-governed Skills. Skill-ups in these skills give you bonus points to develop
your Personality attribute. This category contains one magical skill, and two special
skills.


       1. Illusion. Your ability to cast Illusion school spells. Illusion school contains
          many useful effects like Invisibility, Chameleon, Paralyze, and all crowd
          control effects.
       2. Mercantile. Your ability to haggle. Skill perks provide you tools to get more
          money from collected loot.
       3. Speechcraft. This skill affects to the disposition of NPCs. Skill perks give
          some hadrly noticeable help to the Speechcraft minigame.
4.5         Developing Skills

When you are playing, you get experience points to the skills you use. Whenever you
have gained enough experience, you get a skill-up. The higher the skill is, the more
experience is needed to raise it.
There are three ways to develop skills:


        1. Natural Development (ND): As you play the game, you do actions, which give
           experience points to skills. Natural development is definitely the most pleasing
           way to develop your skills.
        2. Artificial Development (AD): The game engine does not make difference, if
           you are using skills in natural situations, or if you have set up the situation.
           When your skill is high, AD is definitely laborious and time-consuming, but
           many times necessary way to develop skills.
        3. Bought Training (BT): There are trainers in the game, who will teach you (i.e.
           give a skill-up) for money. There is absolutely no reasons not to use them, but
           BT is restricted to five skill-ups per level.


...

4.5.1       Speed of Development

First, skills get skill-ups easier the lower value they have. It is usually wise to exploit fast
development of low skills for attribute development, as you can then avoid long AD
(Artificial Development) session later. For example, it takes just a few minutes of AD to
raise Illusion from 5 to 25, but it takes about half an hour to raise it from 95 to 100.
Second, different skills raise in different speeds. Some skills like Illusion get skill-ups
easily, while others like Athletics and Restoration are slowly-developing skills. Some
skills are slower to use than others; fast-swinging dagger gives experience points to Blade
magnitudes faster than drawing and firing a bow gives them to Marksman.
Third, the amount of experience needed for skill-ups is also dependent on your class –
that is, if the skill is your major or minor skill, and if it belongs to the skills of class
specialization.
Each class is specialized to either Combat, Magic or Stealth. The skills that belong to
different specializations are:


        1. Combat: Armorer, Athletics, Blade, Block, Blunt, Hand to hand and Heavy
           Armor.
        2. Magic: Alchemy, Alteration, Conjuration, Destruction, Illusion, Mysticism and
           Restoration.
        3. Stealth: Acrobatics, Light Armor, Marksman, Mercantile, Security, Sneak and
          Speechcraft.


This specialization give you slight initial bonus (+5) to those certain skills, and it also
make them raise more rapidly. Furthermore, your major skills raise more rapidly than
your minor skills. Here is the table, which shows you the relative amounts of experience
needed to develop a skill:


                             Major Specialized          45,00%
                             Major Not Specialized      60,00%
                             Minor Specialized          75,00%
                             Minor Not Specialized 100,00%

If you have a slow-developing skill as non-specialized minor skill, you may expect that
raising it takes a long time. In the other hand, if you have fast-developing skill as your
specialized major skill, you maximize it before you even notice that.

4.5.2      Natural Development (ND)

The speed of natural development is highly dependent on your character and the way you
play. In later chapters, I provide you some information about how much skills get natural
development for Warriors and for Wizards.

4.5.3      Bought Training (BT)

Buying skill-ups is a convenient way to get them. You are restricted to five bought
lessons per level, so you can not develop your character entirely by buying.
In general, there are five trainers for each skill. Two of them are basic trainers, which can
train you from 0 to 40. Two of them are advanced trainers, who can train you from 0 to
70. The last one is master trainer, who can train you from 70 all the way to 100, but
before he/she is willing to train you, you need to qualify yourself by completing a task.
The task is dependent on the trainer; for example, Marksman master trainer only requires,
that you have Elven Bow in your inventory, while Heavy Armor master trainer wants you
to get five silver glasses to him. See Oblivion Wiki for details:


        http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Oblivion:Training


There are people that never use trainers, but I don’t belong to them. As they are part of
the game, I want to use them for my benefit.
4.5.4      Artificial Development (AD)

Although I personally prefer to use trainers and natural development, there are usually
need for artificial development. Here is a quick introduction, how you can artificially gain
experience to certain skills.
In Oblivion, experience points are gained based on quantity, not quality. This means that
to make artificial development faster, you are looking for ways to quickly repeat the
actions giving you experience to certain skill.


Offensive weapon skills (Blade, Blunt, Hand to hand and Marksman). All these skills
get experience points from successful hit to a living target with corresponding weapon. In
general, use low-quality fast-swinging weapons when possible (fists cannot be changed;
all bows fire at the same rate). It is possible to make training weapon by enchanting a
low-quality weapon with Restore Health effect, but as it needs frequent recharging, it is
probably easier to trust on convalescence spells to keep your practicing targets alive. You
may also semi-naturally develop offensive skills by looting dungeons with low-quality
weapons, but usually you don’t want to do this, as it usually causes increased
consumption of healing potions and spells.
There are several possibilities to find targets for practicing. The most obvious way is to
summon a creature and start fighting against it. The drawback is that the creature is going
to fight back, so this method is not perfect for concentrated artificial development. There
are at least three methods to find or make some more convenient practice targets; (1)
Peryite’s Shrine, (2) monsters too big to come out from their chamber, and (3) poisons
damaging speed.
Method 1: Peryite’s Shrine. As long as you haven’t completed the Peryite’s quest, the
worshipers are unconscious and does not personally mind if you use them as your
practicing targets. This makes them tempting for developing any kind of offensive skills
– Blade, Blunt, Hand to hand and Marksman. They can not be killed, but you probably
want to arm yourself with a good convalescence spell to keep your practicing session
long and successful.
If you are using Peryite's Shrine as your private shooting lane, note that every strike you
make to the worshipers is considered as an unreported, zero-bounty assault. The game
keeps track on them, and it becomes unstable if there are too much such crimes pending.
To overcome this, do not train too long and when you are done, resolve all your
unreported crimes by committing one to get caught. The easiest way is to provoke a
guard (e.g. punching, or with custom harmless provocation spell), and then pay the
bounty (40). Consider it as a membership fee of your shooting lane. Other way is to
“steal” (grab) something inexpensive in the front of shopkeeper or jailor.
Method 2: Over-Sized Monsters. If you don't want to commit crimes, and your level is
high enough, there are some caves where the monsters are in rooms which door is too
small for them to come to you. At lower levels these monsters are easier and smaller
ones, and thus this method only works once your level is high enough. This method
works for Marksman development, as you can keep the necessary distance to avoid
retaliation.
One of those is the final room of “Robber's Glen Cave”, which ends to a chamber with
Minotaur Lord, who is too big to come out to the corridor. Stay at the corridor and shoot
arrows. Time to time, Minotaur “teleports” out from the chamber. When this happens,
change your location to the chamber and continue shooting arrows, and when the
minotaur eventually “teleports” back, change again to the corridor.
To use this method, it is good to have targeted healing spell to keep the target alive
without needing to move close to it. You will also need lots of arrows; it takes
approximately 4,000 arrows to raise Marksman from 50 to 75. You can get around half of
the arrows back once you kill the target. Once your Marksman reaches 75, practicing
becomes somewhat slower as the targets get knocked down time to time.
Method 3: Damage Speed Poison. If your Alchemy skill is high enough, you can make
somewhat working Damage Speed poisons. It can be made e.g. from Dryad Saddle
Polypore Cap (rare) and Peony Seeds (common). Replace Dryad Saddle by Boar Meat
once you have made your first poisons, to keep the weight of this poison low. At best, the
effect is 3x12=36 points, so two or three doses of this poison can stop any target (as long
as the creature is vulnerable to poisons).
The best practising targets are probably monsters with high health (e.g. Minotaurs,
Ogres). Once the Speed attribute reaches zero, the target is not only nearly immovable,
but also retarded; you are not in a fight anymore, so you can repair your equipments any
time you need. Note that the target is not fully immovable; it will move slowly, and if
you are in melee range, it can hit you time to time.


Defensive melee skills (Heavy Armor, Light Armor and Block). To gain experience to
your defensive skills, you need to get hit by someone/something. The more hits you can
get, the faster the skill raises.
When developing armor skills, it is best to wear full set. This way any strike to you gives
experience to armor skill. If you have Reflect Damage enchantments, you want to take
them off to keep the ones hitting you alive.
Summoned Creature. The most obvious way is to summon a creature (e.g. a Skeleton,
which strikes aggressively) and provoke it to attack. This works just fine, and it is even
better if you create a custom spell to summon skeleton for maximum time (2 minutes).
Nuisance Animals. The other way to do this is to find a place containing a high
concentration of nuisance animals, as those do not make much damage when attacking.
One possibility is Vindasel, the place where Umbra lives. Get them all to attack you and
you get hits very rapidly. This is very useful, if your defensive skill is high, but if it is
low, this may give you skill-ups too quickly; using skeleton is safer at low skill levels.
Other Methods. It might be possible to use enough Damage Strength poisons to
monsters to decrease the damage they make by their strikes, so that they could be used to
artificially develop defensive skills just like nuisance animals.


Armorer. Armorer gets experience points from each hammer hits you make, and you will
need lots of them. The probably only viable option to develop this skill artificially is to
create an enchanted item (ring or amulet, “Amulet of Acid”) with “Disintegrate Armor”
effect. You repeatedly wear this enchantment, repair the damages it made, and unwear it,
as the enchantment makes the damage only once when weared. Hotkeying this
enchantment and repair hammers makes the process quicker, but it is still going to be
slow.
This skill can be developed semi-artificially while looting dungeons. When you want
your Armorer skill to raise, repair all the loot you collect, and when you have gained
enough skill-ups, you repair only the items you use.
Every session you do for your offensive or defensive melee skills involves a chance to
develop your Armorer skill, too. Furthermore, you may train your Armorer together with
Destruction by making a custom spell (“Acid Shower”) to corrode your own armor and
weapon, but using this method is slow.


Magical skills (Alteration, Conjuration, Destruction, Illusion, Mysticism,
Restoration). All magical skills have simple way to be developed artifically. Gaining
experience for magic skills, you need to cast a spell of that school on living target. You
get a useful living target from yourself. For each school, you can easily create both
money and magicka inexpensive training spell, which is casted on yourself. The
difficultiness of artificial development is that you need to cast spells a lot to gain skill-
ups. Conjuration and Illusion are probably the fastest-developing magical skills,
Restoration in the other hand develops painfully slow. Alteration, Destruction and
Mysticism are something in between.


Alchemy. Alchemy gets experience points from each potion you make. You just collect
ingredients and turn them all to potions, no matter what. Then you sell those potions and
make money. This is one of the easiest way to make money in the beginning of the game,
just carry your mortar&pestle with you and make potions from all the ingredients you
happen to get in your hands. This is OK at low levels, but whenever you are starting to
take advantage of Alchemy, you should read the “Alchemy” section to avoid so called
“watermumpkin” catastrophe.


Sneak. Sneaking is easy to develop artificially and it goes up relatively fast. You need to
have a living creature near you, so that it can not detect you. Easy alternative is to find a
sleeping person (e.g. a beggar, sleeping members of guild halls) and a wall near him/her.
Just turn to sneaking mode, face the wall and use rubber band to keep moving. The other
possibility is to place your horse so that you can sneak towards a wall behind it.


Security. Security training requires a lock, the harder, the better. In guild halls (Mages
and Fighters) there are locked display cases with Very Hard locks (five tumblers).
Activate it, and lock four tumblers. Then, exit the minigame and come back, and all the
five tumblers are reseted. You gain one experience point from each locked tumbler. The
drawback is that you probably need a huge amount of lockpicks at first, and that the skill
raises slowly at higher levels. If you are not using item multiplication clitches, lockpicks
can be bought from Thieves Guild fences and M'raaj-Dar at Dark Brotherhood’s
Cheydinhal Sanctuary. Goblins and Bandits carry lockpicks.
Tips: Listen. When the tumbler is moving up slowly, it makes a different sound.


Mercantile. Mercantile gets experience from all the items you sell. The easiest way to
make lots of sales transactions is to sell a bunch of arrows one by one to a merchant. One
way to do this, if you have some money, is to buy bunch of arrows from the merchant,
and then sell them back one by one. Free arrows can be collected from bandit, marauder
and goblin dungeons, but you need first kill the ones carrying those.


Speechcraft. Speechcraft gets experience from each round of the persuasion minigame.
The easiest way to artificially develop this skill is to activate city guard's persuasion
minigame, and just randomly press those four sectors. The disposition only matters when
you exit the minigame, during it, it has no effects.
A tip for persuasion minigame, when you actually need it: when you activate it, just be
calm, go through all the four possibilities and watch the face. Remember those two
sections that the target didn't like (go forth and back, if you are unsure if it was liking or
not). When you start to raise disposition, take these bad choices off right at the moment
the smallest wedge is located at it. I just noticed that this is the “Strategy#2” in Oblivion
Wiki. Trust me, this strategy is fast, efficient and requires no thinking.


Acrobatics. Acrobatics gets experience points (1) each time you jump, (2) some extras, if
you swing a sword or cast a spell at the same time, and (3) each time you get damage
while landing. Oblivion Wiki, section “Acrobatics”, contains very useful tips for
artificially raising Acrobatics. The basic ideas are: (1) find a location with low ceiling, in
which you can “jump” quickly, (2) find locations where you can fall enough to take
damage and come back to make it again quickly, (3) jump or dodge instead of running.
Be warned that Acrobatics is (a) a skill that is hard to control, (b) a skill that is laborious
to develop artificially.


Athletics. Athletics gets experience points from running and swimming. As swimming
gives more experience points than running, the quickest way to develop is is to swim in
some safe place. You find those places in the pools of Imperial City surrounding the
center (the same places you use for collecting sacred lotus seeds for poisons). Wear an
enchantment providing water breathing, head to the wall and use rubber band to make
your character to swim.
It is worth of noting that even with these tricks Athletics raises very slowly at higher
levels.


Summary. Here is a table that shows the easiness of developing skills artificially. The
classificication is mainly subjective; it contains not only the speed of development, but
also the easiness of setting up the development session, as well how easy it is to separate
the development from developing other skills, too.
        Skills                 Method             Setup Easiness         Skill-up Easiness
Blade, Blunt, Hand     Peryite’s              *****                  ****
to hand                Other                  ***                    ***
Marksman               Peryite’s              *****                  **
                       Over-Sized Monsters ****                      **
                       Other                  ***                    **
Block, Heavy       Nuisance animals           ****                   *****
Armor, Light Armor Skeleton                   ****                   ***
Armorer                Mixed                  -                      ***
                       Custom spell           ****                   *
Alteration,          Custom spell             *****                  Conjuration:    *****
Destruction,                                                         Illusion:       *****
Conjuration,                                                         Alteration:     ***
Illusion, Mysticism,                                                 Mysticism:      ***
Restoration                                                          Destruction:    **
                                                                     Restoration:    *
Alchemy                Potion-cooking         ****                   *****
Sneak                  Sleepers/Horse         *****                  ****
Security               Guild Halls’ Display *****                    **
                       Cases
Mercantile             Arrow-selling          *****                  **
Speechcraft            City guards            *****                  **
Acrobatics             Jump-fall              ****                   *
Athletics              Swimming + Water- ****                        *
                       breathing + Rubber
                       band

...



4.6         Choosing Your Major Skills

As choosing major skill is dependent on your toplevel strategy, at this section I only give
general information about this subject. Read the chapters discussing about creating
Warrior and Wizard for more detailed view to the selection process.
When making a custom class, you can select seven major skills. The initial values of the
skills determine the maximum level your character can achieve. If all your major skills
have the minimum value of 25, you have 525 skill-ups to go, and thus your maximum
level will be 52. As mostly some of your major skills start at higher values, the highest
level for most characters is somewhere near level 50. Usually you don’t aim to such high
levels, as you have maximized all your attributes (except Luck) somewhere at levels 35-
40, if you have wanted to do that. The game is at its best somewhere around levels 25-30.
When choosing your major skills, it is worth to classify them. Some of the skills have
direct effect to your character’s performance, and you eventually want to maximize those.
Some of the skills get steady development during the whole game. Those that do not
belong either of the two groups, are usually controllable booster skills to attributes.
I call these categories as “performance indicators”, “game-play indicators” and “booster
skills”.
If you choose all your major skills from performance indicators, you reach your
maximum performance at your maximum level (48-52). Usually, you want to gain your
maximum performance much earlier, somewhere between levels 25-30. If you don’t pay
attention to your attribute development, this is going to lead to overleveling.
However, I think that it is good to select some performance indicators to your major
skills. This way you gain levels without extra efforts when you get stronger, and you stay
automatically on par with your enemies.
Choosing normally unused booster skills to your major skills is the way to go, if you use
efficient leveling. This style of playing contains lots of developing skills that you never
need for anything.
Choosing game-play indicators to your major skills? I haven’t tried it, but I could think
that it eventually leads to overleveling, and later stop your leveling almost entirely.
5           Races, Genders and Bithsigns




...



5.1         Races and Genders

When choosing the race, you should pay attention to the permanent weaknesses and
strengths they give, not to the initial values of attributes and skills. Initial values have the
strongest effect at the beginning of the game; skills and attributes change rapidly when
your character gains levels. As gender affects only to the initial values of attributes, it’s
merely a choice of taste.
Instead of those initial values, you should pay attention to the permanent abilities and
weaknesses of the races and birthsigns.
Both the greater and lesser powers acquired by race and birthsign are in my opinion
mostly useless (exceptions described later). As greater powers can be used just once in a
day, they are not the tools you can trust in your daily work; usually you don’t even
remember their existence. Furthermore, many of them are available to others from the
special rune stones spread all over Cyrodiil. The effects of lesser powers (like Khajiiti
Night-Eye spell) are easily acquired for others as standard and/or custom spells.
Here is a quick table showing the basic permanent strengths and weaknesses of the races:


              Race                     Strengths                    Weaknesses
        Altmer (High       +100 magicka points, resistant 25% weakness to
        Elf)               (75%) against diseases.        elemental attacks
        Argonian           Water breathing, immune to         -
                           poisons, resistant (75%)
                           against diseases.
        Bosmer (Wood Resistant (75%) against                  -
        Elf)         diseases.
        Breton             +50 magicka points, resistant      -
                           (50%) against magic.
        Dunmer (Dark       Resistant (75%) against Fire.      -
        Elf)
        Imperial           -                                  -
        Khajiit            -                                  -
               Race                    Strengths                  Weaknesses
        Nord              Resistant (50%) against Frost. -
        Orc               Resistant (25%) against magic. -
                          Unique access to Drain
                          Attribute effect (see
                          Exceptional Cases)
        Redguard          Resistant (75%) against           -
                          poisons and diseases.

These permanent abilities and weaknesses are considered differently depending if you are
going to play Warrior or Wizard, see later sections.



5.2        Birthsigns

Birthsigns can be divided to three main categories:


       1. Birthsigns giving initial bonus to specific attributes: Lady, Steed, Thief and
          Warrior.
       2. Birthsigns giving magicka boosts: Mage, Apprentice, Atronach.
       3. Birthsigns giving special spells (greater and/or lesser powers): Lord, Lover,
          Ritual, Serpent, Shadow, Tower.


Birthsigns with attribute bonuses. Choosing birthsign from the first category is always
safe as they come without weaknesses. These birthsigns can be used for balancing your
character’s initial attributes, either by strengthening initially weak ones, or boost already
strong ones further. The drawback is that these initial attribute bonuses give you nothing
to later game. Here is a quick table for comparing the attribute bonuses:


                                Birthsign Attribute bonus
                                Lady        Willpower +10
                                            Endurance +10
                                Steed       Speed +20
                                Thief       Agility +10
                                            Speed +10
                                            Luck +10
                                Warrior     Strength +10
                                            Endurance +10
What you can make with these birthsigns, is to help your attribute development at early
game. For example, if you are playing Warrior and your Endurance is already high,
boosting it even higher with Lady or Warrior birthsign frees you quickly to develop other
attributes, and use Endurance-governed skills as much as you like.
Birthsigns with magicka bonuses. The second category of birthsigns give you boost to
your magicka points. This boost is useful in all phases of the game, of course depending
on how high you are aiming with your magicka points. Here is a quick table for
comparing the birthsigns:


                  Birthsign            Bonus               Downsides
               Mage            Magicka +50            -
               Apprentice      Magicka +100           100% weakness to
                                                      magic
               Atronach(*)     Magicka +150         Stunted Magicka
                               Spell Absorption 50%

       (*) As Atronach changes some basics of gameplay, it is discussed on its own.


Birthsigns with special spells. The third category contains birthsigns that give you
special spells. In my opinion those are useless, and some of them come even with natural
weaknesses (like Lord). The only exception is Tower, which provides you a unique
access to Reflect Damage effect, see “Exceptional Cases” below.



5.3        Races and Birthsigns for Warriors

From Warrior point of view, natural resistances are all strengths, and all natural
weaknesses are harmful. Any initial attribute bonuses, as well as magicka boost are
useful, although not crucial. This can be used to divide races and birthsigns to four
categories:


         Classification                  Races                     Birthsigns
        Good                Argonian, Breton, Orc, Redguard Lady, Steed, Thief,
                                                            Warrior, Mage
        Just OK             Bosmer, Dunmer, Nord             -
        Neutral             Imperial, Khajiit                Lover, Ritual,
                                                             Serpent, Shadow,
                                                             Tower(*)
        Bad                 Altmer                           Apprentice, Lord
       (*) Unless you are going to make use to Reflect Damage effect gained.


The good choices to a Warrior give some natural strengths. It is hard to put the strengths
in any order, as you can balance the resistances with enchanted equipments. Breton's
magic resistance is very good, halving the damage made by spells, others look for
Mundane Ring during the game (probably also including Orcs, as 25% magic resistance
is not much; but in the other hand, Mundane Ring makes them almost invulnerable
against magic). Poison resistance is more useful than disease resistance, but later you
have spells to heal them both. You may look for Ring of Vitality to gain immunity
against poisons, diseases and paralysis, but you also survive well without that.
Resistance against single elemental attack is OK, but nothing very special. Dunmer's
good resistance against fire is a bit more useful than Nord's resistance against frost, as fire
attacks are more common than frost attacks. These choices are very close to neutral ones,
which do not give you any up nor down sides.
Bad choices give you natural weaknesses. Be warned that choosing one of them, you
need to do extra work to compensate those weaknesses.



5.4        Races and Birthsigns for Wizards

From Wizards point of view, any increasement to magicka is considered good. Getting
initial bonuses to attributes does not hurt either. Natural resistances and weaknesses play
no such big role, as Wizards are rarely in the line of fire by themselves. Using these
criteria, races and birthsigns can be divided to three categories:


         Classification               Races                      Birthsigns
        Good               Altmer, Breton               Mage, Lady, Steed, Thief,
                                                        Warrior
        Neutral            Argonian, Bosmer,          Lord, Lover, Ritual,
                           Dunmer, Imperial, Khajiit, Serpent, Shadow,
                           Nord, Orc(*), Redguard     Tower(**)
        Questionable       -                            Apprentice

       (*) Unless you are going to make use to Drain Attribute effect gained.
       (**) Unless you are going to make use to Reflect Damage effect gained.


The only questionable selection for Wizard is the Apprentice birthsign. Although
Wizards are seldomly targets by themselves, the doubled damage makes magical traps
deadly. Apprentices have absolutely no means to overcome their huge weakness, as
gaining 100% magic resistance to compensate the weakness wastes lots of precious
apparel slots; other birthsigns use two slots enchanted with Transcendent Sigil Stones to
raise their Magicka by +100 points to get even with Apprentices.



5.5          Exceptional Cases

As said, in my opinion, the greater powers the races and birthsigns have are mainly
useless. But there are two exceptions, which give you a unique access to certain spell
effects6. As I haven’t played with these exceptions, I cannot guarantee if they are useful
or not.


Orc (race). If you choose Orc as your race, you gain unique access to Drain Attribute
magical effect, which is not available otherwise in the game (except for exploiting a
clitch, see Oblivion Wiki). Drain Attribute can be used to create custom spell to make
your enemies temporarily immovable by draining the Speed attribute to zero. Immovable
enemies are sitting ducks to any kind of attack, but probably you are looking for keeping
them standing to be shot by an arrow.


The Tower (birthsign). If you choose The Tower as your birthsign, you gain unique
access to Reflect Damage magical effect. The effect is very magicka-expensive, but I
could figure out one possibly useful purpose for that: boosting your summoned
Clannfear.
As an aggressive beasts, Clannfears are excellent “guard dogs” for both Warriors and
Wizards. For Wizards, the problem is that at higher levels Clannfears are far too weak to
make the final kills. But they come with natural 20% Reflect Damage ability, and it could
be possible to make them very useful for boosting it over 50%, added by boosted health.
Wizards whose birthsign is other than The Tower, change later from Clannfear to
Dremora Lord. Dremora Lord can be boosted with regular magical effects to stay on par
with enemies.
For Warriors the subject is probably not relevant. Usually, even at high levels (30+) an
unboosted Clannfear is still alive after battle. They act as decoys and distractors,
attracting your enemies for a while, and enemies usually have no time to make heavy
damage to your “guard dog” before getting killed by you.




6 If playing Oblivion without plug-ins like Knights of the Nine or Shivering Isles.
6          Breaking Natural Limits




Skills, attributes, race and birthsign form the nautral basis of your character’s
performance. This is just one half of your character’s effective performance, as the
natural limits are extended further with all sorts of spells, potions, poisons and enchants.
When you are designing your character, in addition to choose your natural abilities, you
should also pay attention to how you are going to boost them later.
This chapter tries to give overall introduction to the ways to boost your character. More
specified view to enchants for Warriors and Wizards can be found from corresponding
chapters.



6.1        General Introduction

The way to think is that you think about useful magical effects you may need, and then
choose the ways to acquire them. There are plenty of sources to gain useful magical
effects on your character, as well as deliver harmful effects to your enemies. For example,
you gain positive effects on your character from: (1) race, (2) birthsign, (3) apparel, (4)
potions, (5) scrolls, and (6) spells. Race and birthsign effects are permanent, but you can
have enchanted apparel, found or cooked potions and spells to your needs. Similarly, you
think what harm you would like to make to your enemies, and again you have lots of
choices: (1) weapons, (2) poisons, (3) scrolls, and (4) spells.
The way to think is to design the combination you consider useful, and then explore
different combinations to acquire them. For example, if you are a Warrior, you probably
find Shield effect useful. You may gain enough shielding (1) as “built-in” effect in your
armor, (2) as an enchanted apparel, e.g. Ring of Aegis, or home-made, (3) by drinking a
suitable potion, (5) by casting it from a scroll, and/or (6) by casting a spell, either in-
game, custom made, or lesser or greater power acquired by race and birthsign selection or
from doomstone.
Similarly, you can deliver harmful effects to your opponents by (1) using melee or ranged
weapons, which have “built-in Damage Health effect”, (2) enchanting your weapon with
additional effects, and even (3) poisoning it with yet another effects, (3) casting the effect
from scroll, or (4) by in-game or customized spell.

6.1.1      Methods for Regular Use

There are several methods to gain effects that are suitable for extensive use. The common
factor for these methods is that once acquired they are either permanent, or can be
replenished by large quantities.
Enchanting. Enchanting an apparel makes the effect permanent as long as the apparel is
worn. This feature makes apparels very appealing to enchant your character, and in
general there is no reasons not to enchant all the apparel you wear. Weapons can be
enchanted, too, but every successful strike consumes the charge of the weapon.
Enchanted weapons need frequent recharging from soul gems; the stronger the effect, the
more soul gems it eats.
Spells. Spells give you almost infinite source for effects you like to use, as long as you
have enough magicka points to cast them. The strength of the spells is limited by your
total amount of magicka and skill in the magic school the spell belongs to. Enlarging your
magicka pool and reaching 100 in magic skills makes spells the second most frequently
used method to boost your character.
Some Home-Brew Potions and Poisons. Cooking potions and poisons is fun and
inexpensive way to acquire effects. The most useful potions are those that can be cooked
from lightweight abundant ingredients. I make heavy use of simple Damage Health
poison, which can be cooked from many abundant ingredients (e.g. grapes and flax seeds)
when Alchemy skill is high enough. You can quite easily make 100-200 doses of this
lightweight (0.1 lbs) simple poison, and thus you can fire it with arrows quite freely.
Potion-cooking is one of the most complex – and thus one of the most interesting – way
to exploit magical effects in Oblivion, and thus I have dedicated entire section for it.

6.1.2      Methods for Irregular Use

Some ways to exploit effects are hard to use for daily purposes. The reason for this is that
you meet them only randomly at dungeons and shops, which makes it very hard to obtain
those in large quantities to use regularly. These ways include many in-game potions,
many potions in general, scrolls and enchanted arrows.
Many Home-brew Potions. Basically, cooking your own potions offers you almost
infinite source of different kinds of potions. In practice, many potions need ingredients
that are hard to obtain in large quantities.
Scrolls. Scrolls are spells that you can cast without having skills nor magicka for that
spell. This would of course be extremely useful, but unfortunately the scrolls in dungeons
and shops are more or less random. This means that it is pretty impossible to get large
quantities of useful scrolls, and that means that you can usually not trust on the
availability of them at your daily work. Tika carries a set of scrolls that I use if I have a
chance to use them; most of them are destructive spells, that can be throw in to a fight.
The other use for scrolls is to make money, as their gold/weight ratio is considerably
high.
Enchanted arrows. Unlike enchanted weapons, arrows are disposable items that are used
in large quantities. You meet enchanted arrows only randomly, and in little quantities,
e.g. five special arrows. What you can do with five arrows? Carry them with you and fire
at the first suitable situation you meet, that’s what I do. I usually miss two of them while
trying to shoot too far or through obstacles, but I still get three hits. In my opinion, there
is no use to spare them, and except at early game there is no need to sell them, so you can
happily try them out and enjoy the few fine moments you have with them.
6.1.3      Methods for Semi-Regular Use

Although some methods are not very suitable for regular use, many of them are just fine
for special situations you meet time to time.
In-Game Potions. Some in-game potions can be found in large enough quantities for
semi-regular use. I make use for those restoring health and magicka. The speciality of in-
game potions is that they work immediately, which makes them invaluable for critical
situations. Both Katja and Tika have returned back to life from certain death (just a few
health points left) numerous times by taking a few Strong Potions of Healing. All three
characters have saved their allies several times by drinking a few Strong Potions of
Sorcercy being then able to cast few more strong spells.
At the beginning of the game potions to cure poisons and diseases are useful, but it is
more convenient to use spells for those purposes later. You may also want to spare all the
Cure Paralysis potions you happen to find, as the only way to remove long paralysis (e.g.
from poisons shot by your enemies) is to use potion; you can not cast spell when
paralyzed. A strong potion to dispel might be good to remove Silence effect, but
unfortunately the strength of those potions are not usually enough for that.
Scrolls. Some scrolls contain the same effects than in-game potions, so you could make
some use for them as a substitute. Furthermore, you can use them as the enchanted
arrows; carry them with you and use them in the first suitable situation.
Welkynd and Varla Stones. Welkynd Stones refill your entire Magicka pool, that is,
they work like a very strong in-game restore magicka potion. Varla Stones refill all the
enchanted weapons in your possession. You may want to carry a few of both with you for
critical situations. I have not made much use with these, except using Welkynd Stones in
the final battles in the main quest line.



6.2        Enchanted Apparel

…

6.2.1      Apparel Slots

In Oblivion, apparels can be enchanted with one constant effect. Whenever you are
wearing that apparel, the effect is active; removing the apparel removes the effect.
There are a total of nine apparel slots available: (1) head (helmets and hoods), (2) torso
(shirts and cuirasses), (3) hands (gauntlets, bracer and Wrist Irons), (4) legs (trousers,
skirts and greaves), (5) feet (boots and shoes), (6) shield, (7) neck (amulets and
necklages), and (8) and (9) two ring slots.
There are two ways to enchant an apparel; using Sigil Stones, or altar of enchanting.
When using the altar, you need soul gem, and the strength of the effect is determined
from the size of the soul. As high-level Sigil Stones have usually much higher strengths,
and as apparels can anyways have just one single effect, you usually consider using Sigil
Stones to enchant your endgame apparel.
Shield. It is worth to know that shield does not harm your spell efficiency unless it is
“actively” used, that is, you are wielding one-handed melee weapon. If you are wielding a
bow or two-handed weapon, you may wield shield, too – but in that case only the shield’s
possible magical effets are effective, it does not affect to your armor rate nor to your spell
efficiency. That is why it is also possible for Wizards to use enchants in shield slot.
Frequently changed items. For enjoyable playing, I usually try to design my characters’
apparel so that it does not require frequent changing. But there is a need for some
enchanted items for special situations, e.g. water breathing, water walking and so on.
There are two things to consider when designing the slot(s) you are going to use for this
purpose.
First, rings make a bad choice, as when you change one of your ring, the one that is
unweared is determined “randomly”7, meaning that you need to go through all of your
rings to see, what are you wearing.
Second, you probably want the changeable slot to contain light equipments. Six of the
slots are used for armor pieces by warriors; head, torso, hands, legs, feet and shield. This
leaves neck (amulets) the only useful place to keep changeable enchants.
As Wizards do not use armors, they have another excellent choice; the hood. Zero-weight
Mage’s Hood is worn by some Conjurers (e.g. Fort Rayles) and one is available for
purchase at Rindir’s Staffs in the Imperial City. This zero-weight hood has other
purposes, too, it is one way to assassinate people.

6.2.2        Fortify Magicka

Magicka is a resource that can be flexibly transformed to anything you need. This makes
it just like money in real world; no matter how much you have, you can always find good
use for some extra. That is why many characters want to use lots of apparel slots for
enlarging their magicka pool, even if they have some natural boost for it. This is one of
the reasons why melee fighters want to wear armors, as then they do not need to waste
apparel slots for Shield enchants.
Transcendent Sigil Stones have excellent +50 points boost, which means that regular
characters can double their magicka pool with four apparel (e.g. cuirass, gauntlets,
greaves and boots). Wizards may use even more slots to boost their magicka.

6.2.3        Detect Life

Katja and Tika had the Detect Life enchantment quite early in the game. When playing
Rose, I used Detect Life spell. There is nothing wrong with that, but once I tried an
amulet with that enchantment, I was sold.
Detect Life is definitely the enchant you want. It should have long enough range,
something around 100 feets or more. Excellent Detect Life enchant comes from high-
level Sigil Stone, which gives a whopping 180 feet range, more than enough for usual
purposes.

7 If I remember correctly, the one that was worn earlier is removed, meaning that rings “shuffle” when
  wearing them.
What Detect Life does? It is like infrared camera, it shows you all the creatures near you,
even if they are behind walls, or invisible. This helps a lot when fighting against
opponents turning invisible time to time – Will-o-the-Wisps and vampires.
But Detect Life is more than that. As you can see where the enemies are, and after used it
awhile you can determine their type, too, you can plan your actions beforehand. Spell is
OK, yes, but with enchanted apparel you can make your plans without needing to hurry.
All three character’s have Detect Life enchant in different apparel slot; Katja has it in her
helmet, Tika has it in her shield, and Rose in one of her amulets.



6.2.4      Exoskeletal Armor

So called “Exoskeletal Armor” is meant to make you carry more loot to earn more
money, and at the beginning of the game it may also improve your melee skills. You have
basically two main options, if you like to create an exoskeletal armor: (1) you may
enchant the armor you use, or (2) you may enchant pieces of clothes or other lightweight
apparel to carry it with you and wear it carry out the loot after the dungeon is cleaned.
Enchanting your armor is easier to use, but at least at higher levels you probably want to
use the precious apparel slots for more useful enchants. Fortunately, at higher levels it is
no use to carry everything out.
You can increase the amount you can carry by two effects; Fortify Strength and Feather.
Using Grand Soul, Strength can be boosted by +10 by each apparel, meaning that you (a)
carry 50 lbs more, and (b) as long as your Strength is not 100, make more damage by
melee weapons. Feather effect has maximum 50 lbs when using Soul Gems, so in general
you fortify your Strength instead of Feather. Be noted, that Feather works internally by
decreasing the weight of your load, which means that it may remove the penalty you get
from wearing an armor.
The higher quality Exoskeletal Armor is made from Sigil Stones containing Feather
effect, giving +125 lbs more encumbrance. Katja and Tika, both wearing heavy armors,
have used two +125 lbs Feather Sigil Stones (giving together +250 lbs) in their armors
before their Heavy Armor skill hit 100, to compensate the weight of the armor.
Although Katja and Tika has no use for those parts in fights anymore, they still have
some use. I usually put the loot from dungeons in one container, and time to time I go to
sell them. At that point, sometimes the amount of loot collected is too much to be taken at
once without some aid.
If you don’t want to enchant your armor with Fortify Strength or Feather, you may
always use custom spells or potions to make you carry more. If you want to try this, here
are some tips:
At the beginning of the game (to the level 20), the quality of armors you can find changes
rapidly. This means that if you enchant an armor, you probably need to change it quite
quickly to better quality part, and enchant it. Use Fortify Strength to enchant, so that the
armor is useful in battles, too. As cuirass, greaves and shield form the most of your armor
rate, and as they are quickest to find when your level increases, to keep your exoskeletal
parts useful longer, consider enchanting gauntlets, boots and helmet. If you are using
two-handed weapon, your shield has no effect to your armor rate, so you can happily use
whatever quality on that slot.
Whenever you have enough levels to get endgame quality pieces (Ebony or Daedric), and
you can get Transcendent Sigil Stones (at level 17 onwards), you may enchant one or two
pieces of your armor with powerful Feather effect to compensate its weight. When you
don’t need it anymore (when your Heavy Armor skill hits 100, heavy armor is weightless
when worn), put it in some place near your loot container so that you can wear it once
you are going to sell the loot.
Separate exoskeletal armor made from clothes is not as useful as enchanted armor. You
need to change your way to play, so that you first clean the dungeon and then collect the
loot. I didn’t like it.
There are in-game enchanted daedric boots, named “Boots of the Thrall” starting to
appear as random loot at level 22, which contain powerful +105 Feather effect.



6.2.5        Interesting In-Game Enchants

When making enchantments on your own, one enchanted apparel can have just one single
effect in it, and the strength of available effects is limited. In-game enchantments have no
such restrictions. Thus you may want to examine the available multi-effect or otherwise
incredibly powerful in-game enchants for planning your home-brew ones. Here are some
of them; check Oblivion Wiki for more.


Mundane Ring. This ring contains unbelievably strong magic resistance effect (50%) in
combination of strong magic reflection effect (35%). This means that by wearing this
ring, Bretons come immune against magic (and bounce back 1/3 of the spells casted on
them), and all the other races (except Altmers) take in average one third of the magic
damage casted on them (1/3 is reflected8, and the damage of unreflected 2/3 is halved).
Except Bretons, others consider seriously wielding this ring; even Wizards, as this ring
lowers the damage made by magical traps.


Ring of Iron Fist, Amulet of Axes, Necklage of Swords, Escutheon of Chorrol.
Damage reflection forms another layer of protection at the top of your armor, and no
Warrior can not overlook enchants having this effect. All these four items have especially
strong Reflect Damage effect (33%, except Escutcheon of Chorrol, which has 35%).
Wearing Escutcheon of Chorrol (a shield), Ring of Iron Fist and either of the amulets
give you 101% Reflect Damage, making you invulnerable. This is usually too much, as it
removes most of the challenge from the game, but wearing two of these extremely
powerful enchants is good for any Warrior.
You may also combine Ring of Namira, Ring of Retribution or any other in-game Reflect
Damage enchant at least that time you haven’t found two of these. Escutcheon of Chorrol
is a quest reward, all others are found as random loot.
8 Not all magical attacks can be reflected; most commonly, the fireballs shot by Fire Turrets in Oblivion
  planes. Mundane Ring still halves the damage.
Fin Gleam. Underwater exploration is greatly helped by three effects; (1) Water-
Breathing to prevent accidental drowning, (2) Night-Eye to see clearly under water, and
(3) Detect Life to see dangers lurking in the water. A light helmet named Fin Gleam
combines all these three together, although unfortunately the range of Detect Life is far
too small to be useful. Other than Argonians may consider looking for this helmet; if you
are going to use it, do not use your helmet for Detect Life enchant!
As fine piece of helmet Fin Gleam is, I haven’t found much use it with my three
characters. All of them have fetched it from the bottom of sea, but made no real use for it.
You may be different.


Ring of Vitality. This ring makes you immune against poisons, diseases and paralysis. If
you find poisons to make too much damage to you, you are looking for this ring.


Flame/Frost/Storm Ring. These rings give you immunity against specific elemental
attack; Flame Ring against fire, Frost Ring against frost, and Storm Ring against shock.
Although you usually use your two sparse ring slots for other enchants, Warriors may
find good use for these rings time to time. Flame Ring is useful in Oblivion planes, which
contain lots of Fire Turrets; these are especially nasty in places you need to fight, making
extra damage on you (luckily also to your enemies).


Sorcerer’s Ring and Spelldrinker’s Amulet. This is the choice of an Atronach, as
together (with highest quality version of the amulet) they complete the Atronach’s Spell
Absorption ability to 100%.


Ring of Perfection. This ring gives +10 boost to all eight attributes, and thus you may
want to give it a chance at lower levels, if you happen to find it.




6.3        Enchanted Weapons

…
Staves.
...



6.4        Spellcasting

Spells are versatile tools for all characters. They can combine any effect you like, and you
can use them as much as you like, if you have enough Magicka points. This guide
concentrates on custom spells. Usually, you buy in-game spells to acquire magical
effects, although there are some in-game spells that have stronger effects than you can
make by yourself.
Trying to tailor really useful spells is not that easy. You may be prepared to make lots of
studies and tests to find out, how you can achieve the results you were looking for. Effect
magnitudes (for custom spells) are limited to 100, and magnitudes raise the cost of the
spell exponentially. Usually it is more magicka-wise to use smaller magnitudes over
longer times as well as spell stacking, which involve some tricks to the process.

6.4.1      Basics of Spellcasting

Shortly said, you want eventually maximize all the six spellcasting skills – Alteration,
Conjuration, Destruction, Illusion, Mysticism and Restoration. Your magical career starts
when you have Master grade at least in Destruction and Restoration skills, and have all
the other skills relatively high (Expert grade).
There are two very important reasons for this. All spells have their base cost, which is the
sum of the base costs of the effects. The effective cost – the amount of magicka required
to cast the spell by you – is a sum of effective costs of the effects, and they are calculated
from your skill level in the corresponding school. That is, raising your magical skills
make you able to cast more powerful spells. Effective cost is somewhat equal to base cost
at skill level 33; from that point beyond the effects become cheaper and cheaper to you,
costing approximately half of their base cost at Expert grade, and finally 1/5 of their base
cost at Master grade.
But this is not all. All spells belong to exactly one magic school, and this school is
determined from the effect that has the largest base cost. All schools have skill perks, that
allow you to cast more powerful spells. Or let say it otherwise: all schools limit the
strength, base cost, of the spells you can cast:


        Grade                 Base Cost Limit
        Novice                25 pts
        Apprentice            62 pts
        Journeyman            149 pts
        Expert                399 pts
        Master                no limits


It is very easy to see, that when your skills get near Expert grade, this limitation becomes
restrictive. At Expert level, effective cost is approximately half of the base cost, which
means that your effective limitation is 200 Magicka points. This can be even lower, if you
have different skill levels in different schools and the strongest effect in the spell belongs
to a school you are not very skilled.
Most of the strong custom spells contain expensive Destruction or Restoration school
effects, and thus they usually belong to either of those two schools. Once you reach skill
level around 70, you will see that you are not able to cast a spell because of this limitation
even though you would have enough Magicka to do so. So it is very probable that once
your Destruction or Restoration skill is near Expert grade, you want to artificially develop
it straight to maximum.



6.4.2      Training Spells

...


Custom spells.
Scrolls.
Spell Stacking.



6.5        Alchemy

In the end, the way how alchemy is implemented in Oblivion fits nicely to a fantasy role
playing game. To be able to exploit it, you need to be quite a dedicated alchemist by
yourself in several ways: (1) you need to study large amounts of specific information to
know what kind of mixtures can be cooked from specific ingredients, (2) you need to
have lots of detailed information about locations from where you can acquire specific
sorts of ingredients, and (3) you need to act like a druid, making long trips all over the
Cyrodiil to collect those ingredients.
Luckily, making useful basic potions do not require that much dedication. But I could say
that the more you play, the more you like the alchemy challenge.

6.5.1      Alchemy Basics

The effectiveness of alchemy is determined by Alchemy skill and the quality of your
equipments. Shortly said, you want to maximize your Alchemy skill and get all four
equipments with Master quality.
Although raising Alchemy skill makes your potions stronger, there are more important
reasons to maximize this skill to make alchemy a useful tool for you: (1) the skill perks
“reveal” more effects from ingredients, which offers you more versatile options to mix
ingredients and cook multi-effect potions, and (2) Master-grade skill and equipments can
finally keep the weight of the potions constant, making it easier to exploit heavier
ingredients.
...
Very useful Alchemy Calculator can be found from:


        http://www.uesp.net/oblivion/alchemy/alc_calc.php
6.5.2      Watermumpkin Catastrophe

The weight of the potion is basically calculated from average weight of the ingredients.
But this is not the whole truth: the weight of the specific potions are determined once you
make it first time, and used for similar potions thereafter. As your skill increases and you
get better equipments, the strengths of the effects get better, and the weight of the potions
can change all the time, if you use differently weighting ingredients all the time. Once
you have Master-level equipments and Alchemy skill 100, the weight remains the same
for similar potions.
This can lead to so called “Watermumpkin” catastrophe; if you make your first potion of
specific sort from heavy ingredients, all the rest similar potions are unnecessary heavy.
This means that generally you want first to make a specific potion from the lightest
weight ingredients possible, and only after that start using heavier ingredients.
Especially regularly used potions are most useful when they weight as little as possible. If
you are carrying 200 doses of poison with you, it makes a difference if they weight 0.1
lbs per dose (total weigth 20 lbs) or 1 lbs per dose (total weight 200 lbs).

6.5.3      Abundant Ingredients

To keep your ingredient storage up to date, you should make collecting them as a habit:
“There is never such hurry, that there weren't time to pick up some flowers.” Harvest all
the plants you meet on your trips, always collect ingredients from killed creatures and
containers you happen to check, and whenever visiting an alchemy shop, buy all
ingredients.
For making potions for your daily use with reasonable efforts, you need ingredients that
can be found in large quantities.


        Grapes                Skingrad wine fields
        Flax Seeds            Skingrad wine fields surroundings
        Sacred Lotus Seeds    Pools surrounding the center of Imperial City


Consult Oblivion Wiki for locating the places with highest concentrations of specific
plants.

6.5.4      Poisons

The specialty of poisons is that they are not considered to originate with the player.
Because of this, (1) poisons are not affected by difficulty lever, so they remain highly
effective at hardest difficulty settings, and (2) killing someone with poison does not count
as murder; though you may be guilty of committing an assault.
Damage Health. A simple Damage Health poison is definitely the most useful. You can
make large quantities of this poison from abundant ingredients when your Alchemy skill
is high enough; all my characters carry 100-200 doses of Damage Health poisons with
them. At best, this poison makes 8x30 = 240 points damage which is enough for many
enemies, and it can be made from e.g. following quite common ingredients:


       Grapes + Flax Seeds
       Sacred Lotus Seeds + Peony Seeds


Grapes and Flax Seeds can be collected in large amounts from Skingrad wine fields and
its surroundings. Sacred Lotus Seeds can be found at large amounts from the pools
surrounding the center of Imperial City, as well as from the waters near Isolated House.
Other ingredients mixing to Damage Health poisons include e.g. Stinkhorn Caps,
Nightshade, Dragon’s Tongue and Wispstalks.
Poisons can be used against all types of enemies, but some of them needs some tricks.
Argonians and other creatures usually immune to poison need spell to make them
vulnerable. Some mages have nasty habit to heal themselves to prevent them dying to
poisons.
Superpoisons. For more special situations, you may want to exploit triple damage
“superpoisons”. These poisons combine the Damage Health effect with two elemental
damage effects. At highest, these poisons do over 900 points damage in about 40 seconds,
which is too much to any living being in Oblivion.
Damage Health with Fire and Frost Damage: This poison can be made from Imp Gall,
Frost Salt, Spiddal Stick and Vampire Dust. From these ingredients, Frost Salt is hardest
to acquire, as you do not meet many Frost Atronachs. Imp Gall and Vampire Dust are
both somewhat hard to be found in large quantities. Spiddal Sticks can be found from
planes of Oblivion, not as much as you may desire, but after fourty closed gates you have
quite many of those.
Damage Health with Fire and Shock Damage: This poison is a little bit easier. Its main
ingredients are Spiddal Stick (Damage Health + Fire Damage) and Ectoplasm (Damage
Health + Shock Damage). You get some amounts of Ectoplasm when looting undead
dungeons, and Spiddal Sticks are collected from Planes of Oblivion. You have multiple
choices to add the elemental damage. Possibly the most convient way is to mix Steel-
Blue Entoloma and Cairn Bolete Caps, both mushrooms found from Cyrodiil in some
amounts.
You may also get this poison by mixing Ectoplasm and Fly Amanita Caps (very common
mushroom) with Spiddal Sticks, but you will still need either Fire Salts or Imp Galls,
which are both harder to obtain.
Furthermore, Fly Amanita and Steel-Blue Entoloma Caps with Ectoplasm can be mixed
to Imp Galls or Spiddal Sticks to make this poison, with Burden as side effect.
6.5.5      Potions

Fortify Magicka. As there is generally no upper limit to the useful amount of magicka,
you may want to boost it by potions, too. Simple lightweight one-effect Fortify Magicka
can be cooked by mixing e.g. Columbine Root Pulp to Water Hyacinth Nectar. Drop in
abundant Flax Seeds, and in addition to boost your magicka, it speeds up its regeneration!
Throw also in Alkanet Flowers, and you get meaningless Damage Fatigue 1 pts for 1
second negative effect, which means that this potion occupies your four potion slots for
one single second.
There are many possibilities to cook these types of potions, so consult Alchemy
Calculator to find the ones you may want to use.
Dispel. Being Silenced by a spell prevents you using your regular curing spells. To
overcome this, you may try to use a potion to remove the effect. Plain Dispel potion can
be made by mixing Bergamont Seeds or Mutton with Ectoplasm, Grapes or Sacred Lotus
Seeds.
You may want to combine this effect with Cure Poison effect, so that it does not matter if
you was silenced by a spell or a poison. There are numerous possibilities for combining
these effects, but they all come with side effects. One alternative is to mix Sacred Lotus
and Bergamot Seeds to St. Jahn’s Wort Nectar and Strawberry. It causes 1 point damage
to your health, but the ingredients are quite common.
Cure Paralysis. Any two of Imp Gall, Milk Thistle Seeds and Viper’s Bugloss Leaves
makes this potion.
Underwater Exploration. ...
7          Tika, The Warrior Girl




Tika was designed after first serious run with Katja. When playing with Katja, I was not
entirely pleased to the selection of major skills according to the “Balanced Character
Creation Guide”. The reason for that was that the major skills in the guide leads to
development of skills that you really don't need.
Tika was created to study, if there is a possibility to create fully playable character with
essential skills as major skills. It was also created to study, if it is possible to gain
efficient leveling without bookkeeping.



7.1        Warriors

In general, Warriors tailor their strategies and tactics to prefer close combat in many
ways: choosing race and birthsign, customizing the class, choosing and making
equipments, making spells, poisons and potions, and so on.
This definitely does not mean that Warriors would not use stealth, ranged weapons and
magic, quite the opposite. Whenever you have a chance to weaken your enemy before
he/she/it is in the range of your melee weapon, use it; start the fight by shooting a
poisoned arrow or a fireball, or sneak behind him/her/it and make a stealth attack. But at
the same time, don't forget to fight! The key word is versatility.
As a Warrior, it is quite safe to try different things. If they do not work, you can always
get out from the situation using brute force. Try all the means you think could be useful,
and change your fighting strategies time to time to make the game more enjoyable. The
right questions are: “How could I use this-or-that in fights? Does it work? How could I
kill this-or-that enemy with less efforts or quicker? How could I kill this-or-that enemy
with this-or-that weapon, spell or poison?”
This is especially true in the later phases of the game, where you have already developed
the basic skills and attributes, and you have much more tools for fighting than at the
beginning. At the beginning of the game, stay in the basics – to develop the skills needed
in close combat you need to do close combats. The alternative, artificial development, is
going to be very, very dull.
Furthermore, it is not only your character that needs to learn the rules of the fight, it
includes also you. You need to try and practice different methods to be able to use them
in real fights. Trust me – in tight situations you can only do things that you have already
done, nothing else. If you have never used Welkynd Stones, they do not come in to your
mind when you need more Magicka points.
7.1.1      Discussion

Following the path of a Warrior involves two premature choices; selecting the type of
your weapon, and the type of your armor.
Heavy or Light Armor? Armors give you protection only if your corresponding armor
skill is high. The higher is your character’s level, the higher armor skill you need. To gain
the skill-ups in armor skill you need to wear the armor and put it into use, that is, embrace
the close combats. At the beginning of the game, you don't wear armors to protect you,
but to gain skill-ups for the armor skill. The higher your character’s level, the more
difficult it is change your armor type, if you don’t boost it by artificial development.
At master level, both armors are in many ways equal because of the skill perks gained.
Both types provide the equal base shielding, both types have became weightless when
worn, and both will reduce your spell efficiency by the same amount. They still have
some differences:


1.Heavy armors are still sturdier, maintaining their protection longer in battles.
2.Light armors are still lighter when not worn.


I really can see no good reasons for fighters to choose light armors. Heavy armors give
you better protection at low levels when your armor skill is not maximized, which
happens around levels 20-25 if you don’t use artificial development. At high levels,
heavy armors still maintain their protectiveness longer. As your character is going to be
strong, the weight does not matter that much, and finally the armor is anyways
weightless.
Furthermore, skill-ups in Heavy Armor give you points to Endurance, while skill-ups in
Light Armor give you points to Speed, and raising Endurance right from the start is far
more important for fighters than Speed. Even when using Heavy Armor, you may not be
able to get +5 bonus to Endurance at each level, depending of course the speed of
leveling, i.e. selection of major skills.
Bare hands or weapon? In general, you want to use some sort of a weapon. First,
weapons can be enchanted, fists can not. Second, weapons have better base damage than
fists; the maximum base damage from fists is 11.5, which is one third of the base damage
of high-quality heavy weapons.
The specialty of bare hands fighting is that the attacks damage both the opponent’s health
and fatigue. Damaging opponent’s fatigue is indeed good, as it decreases the amount of
damage he/she/it makes and may cause he/she/it to collapse on ground, if the fatigue has
dropped below zero. You may encounter the consequences of this effect by yourself in
some tough fights against monsters. If you like to do the same with weapons, enchant one
having strong enough Absorb/Damage Fatigue effect.
Bladed or blunt? It is in the end a choice of taste, select the one you like more and/or
you think suits better to the nature of your character. The only exception could be if you
would like to make use of some of the in-game enchanted weapon, in which case you
choose the class of that weapon.
I like swords, so I chose bladed to Tika’s weapon. If you like blunted (axes and hammers)
more, just change the Blade and Blunt skills to each other (that is, when I say “Blade”,
you read it as “Blunt”, and when I say “Blunt”, you read it as “Blade”).
Both classes contain weapons with different swinging speed, base damage and reach. In
general they follow the rule: the lighter the weapon, the faster it swings, but the less it
makes damage and shorter it reaches. With Tika I have tried short swords, long swords
and claymores. I have not been able to decide between long swords and claymores; I use
them both, time to time. Long swords are a compromises between swinging speed, reach
and damage, and they are one-handed weapons giving stealth attack bonus and making it
possible to use shield to increase armor rate. Claymores are slow-swinging two-handed
far-reaching heavy weapons. Daggers and short swords have too short reach to my taste.
You need to try out different types in different phases of the game to find the weapon you
like most. Or, change between different types every time you like.

7.1.2      Attributes

For Warriors, there are four attributes that have priority over the others; Strength,
Endurance, Agility and Willpower. All these attributes increase your Fatigue, which
makes you deliver higher damage longer. In addition to this, Strength directly improves
the damage you make, Agility decreases the possibility getting staggered and Endurance
increases your health points.
Endurance has priority over the others as it includes hidden cumulative bonus, which
means that it's better to raise Endurance sooner than later. As you can develop three
attributes at time, you start by developing your Strength, Endurance and Agility. When
one of these is maximized, you take Willpower in its place. Intelligence, Speed and
Personality are secondary attributes. You probably want to develop your Intelligence, as
enlarging your magicka pool is always useful. Personality and Speed play no big role in
Warriors life, but both of them are nice to have.
The trick here is that Endurance and Strength are governing skills that you use in your
daily work. If you do not develop those two attributes, you are wasting your natural
development. In the other hand, Agility and Willpower can be quite easily controlled, and
that is why you should always consider, if you want occasionally develop some other
attribute instead of those two. For example, you may want to develop your Intelligence to
gain more magicka points. You may also want to develop some special skills and use that
development to the governing attribute. For example, you may want to develop your
Conjuration to summon decoys to your battle, and use that development to increase your
Intelligence.

7.1.3      Skills

Skills can be categorized to different groups, depending how they affect to your game
play. I use three categories: performance indicators, game-play indicators and booster
skills. Skills belonging to performance indicators have direct effect to your character's
abilities to survive. Skills in game-play indicators get skill-ups steadily as you play. Skills
in boosters are used to develop attributes.
Performance Indicators. Some of the skills have direct effect to the performance of your
character, and thus you want eventually maximize all these skills:


1.Blade (your weapon skill)
2.Heavy Armor
3.Block
4.Armorer
5.Alchemy
6.Alteration, Destruction, Conjuration, Illusion, Mysticism and Restoration
7.Sneak


The timing of development is somewhat dependent on your style of playing, but usually
the direct melee skills have priority over the others, as well as the skills giving bonuses to
attributes under development.


Game-Play Indicators. There are skills that you don't basically need, but they gain skill-
ups steadily (faster at the beginning, slower at later phases) during the whole game
without needing any special attention:


1.Mercantile
2.Athletics
3.Acrobatics
4.Speechcraft (if you use it instead of Charm spell)
5.*Security (if you use it instead of Open spell)
6.*Marksman (if you use bows)


               *Note that these are also booster skills for Agility.


The speed of the development is hugely dependent on how much you use those skills. If
you sell and buy things, your Mercantile gets skill-ups. If you frequently use bows, your
Marksman gets skill-ups time to time. In general, all these skills are somewhat hard to
artificially develop and to control (excluding Marksman and Speechcraft, and later
Mercantile when you have have enough money).


Booster Skills. From the rest of the skills, there are those that are needed to boost
important attributes. You don't need to maximize these, instead you develop these as long
as the attribute they are boosting is not maximized. The most important booster skills are:


1.Blunt, Hand to hand: for boosting Strength
2.Security, Marksman: for boosting Agility
3.Light Armor; for boosting Speed


In normal game play, you don't get skill-ups to other melee weapon skills than your
weapon of choice.



7.2          Attribute Development

At every phase in the game, you have three attributes to be developed. Although you start
by developing Strength, Endurance and Agility, I recommend you to take advantage of
rapid development of Athletics to gain bonus points to your Speed at the first two or three
levels.
After you reach 100 in one attribute, you take another attribute to be developed. Here is a
sort of chart, how to develop attributes:


        Phase     Primary                               Secondary
                  End.      Str.     Agility Willp.     Int.      Speed     Per.
        1a        x         x                                     x
        1b        x         x        x
        2                   x        x         x
        3                            x         x        x
        4                                      x        x         x
        5                                               x         x         x

Phase 1. At first phase, you develop your Endurance, Strength and Speed/Agility.
Endurance gets lots of skill-ups from Heavy Armor, Block and Armorer – so much, that
you probably should NOT block strikes at the beginning. This leaves you possibility to
exploit fast low-level development of Block later, when other Endurance-governed skills
have got skill-ups to make them develop slower.
In the other hand, your Strength gets natural development only from the weapon skill you
chose. That's why it is wise to buy training lessons to one of the two other melee skills, to
get points for Strength development without dull artificial development. As Tika uses
bladed weapons, she bought lessons to Blunt and Hand to hand skills to gain bonus points
for Strength.
Phase 1a. For Warriors, Agility is many times more important attribute than Speed, but
as it is hard to avoid running, you may want to exploit the quick development of Athletics
and use it to develop your Speed for two or three first levels. If you have Acrobatics as
minor skill, you may want also use its quick development for Speed. At first, avoid
jumping and use quick skill-ups in Athletics. Once it slows down, use quick low-level
development of Acrobatics to Speed at next two or three levels, before moving to next
phase developing Agility.
At this phase, try to avoid extensive development of Agility-governed skills, as it eases
the development in the next phase. Basically this means that do not sneak or use bow; run
into dungeons and kill everyone you meet by smashing them down. You may also want
to leave the locked chest unopened, so that you could first use quick skill-ups in Security
when starting to develop your Agility.
Try also to avoid extensive use of magical skills, as it helps you to develop your
Willpower and Intelligence later.
Phase 1b. Once you have exploited the quick low-level development of Athletics and
possibly Acrobatics, it is time to concentrate to develop Agility with Strength and
Endurance. Easy way to develop your Agility at this point is to first exploit fast skill-ups
in Security, which you will need anyways in dungeons. Using the locked display cases in
guild halls, it is very easy to raise it from 5 to 15, and then from 15 to 25 at next level,
and get 2x5 bonus points to Agility. After this, start developing your Sneak all the way to
100 – it is useful skill and relatively easy to develop. You may also want to exploit the
rapid development of Marksman at this point, possibly by combining it with Sneak.
What to avoid? At this phase, avoiding extensive spellcasting makes it easier to you to
raise you Willpower later. Similarly, if you leave potion-cooking to later phases, it eases
your Intelligence development, but remember to collect those ingredients, in all phases of
the game:


       “For even fiercest warrior, there is always time to pick up some flowers.”


Phase 2. Depending on the initial values of attributes, you probably first succeed to
maximize either Endurance or Strength. I assume that you have boosted your Endurance,
so it is the first one at maximum. If you started with value 50, it reaches value 100 at
earliest at level 10. When this happens, it is time to start develop your Willpower in
addition to Strength and Agility. Strength has the highest priority, and Willpower the
lowest. Keep buying lessons to support your Strength development, and make extensive
use of your primary weapon. At this point of the game, you probably want to use light,
fast-swinging weapons to make your primary skill to develop fast. Change it to heavier
ones later.
As Endurance does not anymore need any bonus points, you are free to use all the
Endurance-governed minor skills as you will. Depending on the selection of major skills,
you may also want to drive your leveling with Endurance-governed skills. Eventually,
you want to maximize them all. Heavy Armor goes up quickly, and Block is the hardest
one, e.g. Tika maximized it at level 35. Tika's heavy Armor was at maximum somewhere
levels 15-20, and her Armorer was maximized somewhere at level 25.
Willpower development is quite easy: you have three magical skills to give the bonus
points to it, and all of those are very useful skills to maximize. The little natural
development comes from Restoration, as you usually need to heal yourself. Exploit rapid
development of low skills in Destruction and Alteration.


Phase 3. When your Strength has been maximized, you can finally forget those two other
melee skills and fully concentrate only to your main weapon. You can use it as much as
you will, and you will want to eventually maximize it (e.g. around levels 20-25). As your
Endurance is also maximized, this is easy, since it means that you can fight freely.
At this point, you can support your Agility development by buying lessons to Agility-
governed skills – the selection depends on your previous development, but the best bet is
Marksman, which is basically useful and hard to develop otherwise.
You have freedom to choose between Intelligence, Speed and Personality as your third
attribute to develop, and you can change it between levels as you like (that is, develop
first Intelligence at level or two, then Speed, back to Intelligence and so on). Intelligence
is probably the most useful as it gives you more Magicka points and you probably find
use for Alchemy and Conjuration skills, but it is not that crucial you couldn't develop the
two other. For example, it might be a good idea to lift your Illusion skill (having ever-
useful Invisibility magical effect) at few levels and use those skill-ups to Personality.
If you want to develop Intelligence, start cooking poisons and potions, and develop
Conjuration artificially. Personality gains boosts easily from Illusion, and you may
support it with Speechcraft. If you want to develop your Speed, you may want to buy
training to Athletics and artifically develop your Light Armor.
Unlike many other guide writers, I think that Speed does not mean so much to Warriors.
You don’t usually need to outrun to your enemies, and chasing the ones trying to keep
distance is hard no matter how high your Speed is. If your Speed or Athletics happens to
be considerably low for some reason, causing difficulties in fights, you add a boost to
them into your “Adrenaline” spell.


Phase 4. After you have maximized your Agility (and Endurance and Strength), you have
only one primary attribute to develop, Willpower. You might support its development by
buying training, but as Willpower-governed skills are all magical skills which you want
eventually maximize and relatively easy to artificially develop, you may more like to
support development of some other attribute (e.g. Athletics or Acrobatics, which are hard
to develop) with bought lessons. As always, you can choose the development of your
secondary attributes as you like.


Phase 5. After Willpower has been maximized, the rest of the game you develop your
secondary attributes, and finally Luck. You don't have to pay much attention if you get
attribute development bonuses or not, in any case your active attribute development phase
has now ended.
7.3        Tika

...

7.3.1      Race and Gender

As described earlier, there are several good alternatives for Warrior. Argonian, Breton,
Orc and Redguard are all good choices, most of the races are neutral, and the only one to
avoid is Altmer, unless you know what you are doing. When choosing your race, be
aware that e.g. with Argonians you probably want to compensate their initially weak
Endurance with other choices.
Altmer’s natural weakness against elemental damage is not that bad. Probably the worst
thing is that enchants which make other races very resistant or even immune against
elemental attacks, leave Altmers still vulnerable. The only way to overcome this is to
choose Atronach as birthsign, as it makes it possible to gain full 100% Spell Absorption
making character invulnerable against magic.
For Tika, after a long thinking I chose female Redguard. All that Redguards get is some
natural resistances against poisons and diseases, and relatively high initial Endurance.
That is nothing you couldn't eventually get with other races, too, but as a Redguard you
don't need to pay attention to those things anymore in the rest of your game.

7.3.2      Birthsign

As all characters, Warriors can benefit on higher natural magicka. But unfortunately the
only practical choice for regular Warrior is Mage, which comes without natural
weaknesses. The +50 bonus you gain when choosing Mage is worth of closing one single
Oblivion gate, and it really does not make any practical difference if your Magicka points
are going to be 400 or 450.
From the rest, most interesting are the birthsigns giving initial boosts to attributes,
especially to Endurance. I thought a long time between Lady, Thief and Warrior, but I
wanted to play safe and chose Warrior to give initial boost to Strength and Endurance,
making it quicker to maximize them and freeing rest of the level-ups to other attributes.

7.3.3      Class Specialization

For a Warrior, choosing specialization is merely the choice between Combat and Magic.
Specializing to Combat gives you faster development in melee fighting skills, and
specializing to Magic gives you faster development in magical skills. Both are good, but
with Tika I played safe and chose Combat. This was not necessarily a good choice, as
close combat skills raise rapidly anyways.

7.3.4      Class Favored Attributes

You can select two attributes to gain initial boost. Any combination is just fine, but I
played safe with Tika and chose Strength and Endurance.
7.3.5      Class Major Skills

If you read guides concentrating on efficient leveling, they will suggest that you choose
controllable skills which you don't usually need to your major skills. This gives you
perfect control over the timing of leveling. But it also means that you need to develop
some unnecessary skills, which can make the game annoying.
The other extreme is to take skills you need to major skills. This has two consequences;
first, it easily leads to leveling problem, which means that you gain levels too fast to
develop your attributes. Even if you could avoid that, it would mean that your character
would reach his/her maximum performance at level 50.
As each major skill start from value 25 to around 40, maximizing one major skill gives in
average seven levels to your character. In total, maximizing all seven major skills give
you approximately 7x7=49 levels.
As each attribute start in average at level 40, it takes around twelve levels with +5 bonus
to maximize one attribute, as (100-40)/5 = 12. As there are 7 attributes, 12 levels to
maximize one and 3 attributes to raise at time, theoretically you need 7x12/3=28 levels to
maximize all attributes.
As each attribute has three skills, theoretically you have 300 skill-ups to develop an
attribute. As you need 10 skill-ups for +5 bonus, this leads to conclusion that each
attribute can be raised by 300/10*5 = 150 points. As you usually need only 60, initial
values of skills does not mean anything, and you can easily waste half of your skill-ups.
Of course, wasting too much skill-ups is not recommended, as it is much more
convenient to raise low skills than high skills.
What this all means? You character has maximized his/her attributes long before you
have maximized your major skills. Usually, Warriors have maximized their four
important attributes somewhere at level 25, and all attributes somewhere at levels 35-40.
To reach these levels, you have maximized 3-5 of your major skills, depending on how
much skill-ups you have gained to other major skills.
When designing Tika I thought that as I want levels for attribute development, I need
skill-ups in major skills. To make gaining a level more pleasurable task, I decided to
choose some of those important skills to major skills. As I wanted to maximize them,
they could also drive the leveling. I thought to aim Tika to around level 35, and to gain
that I made a decision to take four such major skills that I would like to maximize; the
three others would gain the rest of the needed skill-ups.
As a Warrior, I had plenty of choices for those four skills to maximize. My first choice
was to choose my primary weapon skill (Blade) as major skill. The second choice was
Heavy Armor. Choosing the other two required hard thinking; I finally end up to choose
Block and Restoration. Both Block and Restoration are slowly developing skills, and
choosing them to major skills would make them gain skill-ups a little bit more quicker.
The choices for rest three skills were: Mercantile, Acrobatics, Speechcraft, Security,
Marksman and Light Armor. I decided to leave out Strength-boosters (Blunt and Hand to
hand), as choosing those to major skills would mean difficulties to Strength-development
at the beginning of the game (where Blade, Block and Heavy Armor would drive the
leveling). The second decision was to leave Marksman out – you may eventually want to
maximize it, even thought it is not as important. From the rest, I finally chose Acrobatics,
Mercantile and Speechcraft.

7.3.6       Summary

The choices made for Tika were:


         Race:                           Redguard
         Gender:                         Female
         Birthsign:                      Warrior
         Class Specialization:           Combat
         Class Favored Attributes:       Strength, Endurance
         Major Skills:                   Blade
                                         Block
                                         Heavy Armor
                                         Restoration
                                         Acrobatics
                                         Mercantile
                                         Speechcraft


Here are Tika's statistics at a few points of the game.
                      Initial         Level 22        Level 29   Level X        Methods
Attributes
Strength                         55          100
Endurance                        65          100
Agility                          40          100
Willpower                        30              86
Intelligence                     30              80
Speed                            40              54
Personality                      40              40
Luck                             50              50
Derived Attributes
Health                          130          404
Magicka                          60          160
Fatigue                         190          386
Major Skills
Blade                            40          100                             ND
                   Initial        Level 22        Level 29       Level X        Methods
Block                        30              64                               ND, (AD)
Heavy Armor                  35              98                               ND
Restoration                  25              61                               ND, AD, BT
Acrobatics                   25              35                               ND, (AD)
Mercantile                   30              49                               ND
Speechcraft                  25              33                               ND, AD
Minor Skills
Blunt                        20              53                               BT, (AD)
Hand to hand                 10              47                               BT
Armorer                      10              86                               ND
Alchemy                       5              76                               AD, (ND)
Conjuration                   5              25                               AD
Mysticism                     5              47                               AD, (ND)
Alteration                    5              55                               BT, AD
Destruction                   5              52                               BT, AD
Marksman                      5              37                               ND, (AD)
Security                      5              35                               ND
Sneak                         5              97                               ND, AD, BT
Athletics                    20              48                               ND, BT
Light Armor                  10              25                               AD
Illusion                      5               7                               AD, (ND)




...




7.4          Playing Experience

The triplet Blade, Block and Heavy Armor were excellent choices as major skills,
although they cause very rapid leveling at the beginning of the game. You need to pay
special attention to attribute development to avoid overleveling, but it is easier than you
might think. Try to take all the leveling by fighting; remember to support your Strength
development by buying training to the two other Strength-governed skills, and use
artificial development of Sneak skill to get points to Agility development.
Efficient leveling is efficient. Katja has maximized almost every attribute at level 26,
while Tika was able to do that at level 39. But since both characters had high values in
the attributes (and skills) needed in melee fights already at level 20, both characters were
excellent fighters throughout the game; the only difference has been that playing Tika has
not involved much development of unnecessary skills.
If I could, what changes I would make? I would seriously consider changing the class
specialization from Combat to Magic. Warriors can get experience to combat skills so
easily, that it could make the game more pleasant to get quicker development in magical
skills. In addition to this, specializing to Magic could slow down the development of
Blade and Heavy Armor, and make the early game a little bit less tricky.
From the major skills, I could think changing Acrobatics to Light Armor, and keep
Mercantile and Speechcraft. At high levels, when it is time to boost Speed, Light Armor
is much easier to artificially develop.
Even at the moment, I can not make a good decision between Restoration and
Destruction. Restoration is harder to control as you need to heal yourself, but keeping it
as major skill eases its development a little bit.



7.5        Useful Enchantments

Mundane Ring.



7.5.1      Tika’s Gears

I have not used much the tricks to get specific gears – except alchemy equipments – as it
has its own pleasure to get what the game generates and figure out to make some use for
those. For example, I used long time a combination of Amulet of Axes, Ring of Namira
and Ring of Sunfire. Together these gave 45% Reflect Damage, 27% Reflect Magic and
25% Resist Disease (making Tika as Redguard immune to diseases). After finding Ring
of Iron Fist, I have usually used Flame Ring to gain immunity against fire. The long-term
plan is to find Mundane Ring.
In the quest “Tears of the Savior” I made use of Frost Ring, making Tika immune to
Frost Damage. Without full immunity it is hard to find those tears. In that quest, you may
also make good use to five “Philter of Frostward” potions you may ask from S’drassa
during the quest.
Weapons:
        Name              Source          Base Item                   Enchants
A Suckerblade V        Grand Soul     Daedric Claymore Soul Trap for 1 second
                                                       Absorb Health 10 pts for 1
                                                       second
        Name               Source        Base Item                 Enchants
A Suckerblade III      Grand Soul    Ebony Longsword Soul Trap for 1 second
                                                     Absorb Health 10 pts for 1
                                                     second
Daedric Bow            -             -                   -

Apparel:
 Slot           Name                Source        Base Item             Enchants
Shield A Detector Shield        Sigil Stone   Orcish Shield      Detect Life 180 ft
Torso Battlemage’s Cuirass      Sigil Stone   Ebony Cuirass      Fortify Magicka 50 pts
Legs    Battlemage’s Greaves Sigil Stone      Daedric Greaves    Fortify Magicka 50 pts
Hands Battlemage’s              Sigil Stone   Daedric Gauntlets Fortify Magicka 50 pts
      Gauntlets
Feet    Battlemage’s Boots      Sigil Stone   Daedric Boots      Fortify Magicka 50 pts
Neck    Amulet of Axes          Random loot -                    Reflect Damage 33%
                                                                 Fortify Blunt 25 pts
        * Amulet of Gills       Petty Soul    Necklage           Water-breathing
        * Amulet of Sea         Petty Soul    Necklage           Water-walking
        * Amulet of Shadows Grand Soul        Necklage           Chameleon 20%
Finger Ring of Iron Fist        Random loot -                    Reflect Damage 33%
                                                                 Fortify Hand to hand
                                                                 25 pts
Finger Mundane Ring             Random loot -                    Resist Magic 50%
                                                                 Reflect Magic 35%
Head    -

As you may see, Tika has no headgear. The reason is that there is no good-looking
headgears in the game, and Tika has enough shielding from the four (or five, when using
long sword) armor pieces she wears.
Self-made enchants (Amulet of Gills and such) are time to time used for special purposes.
Similar effects are found from in-game enchants, but making an own gives possibility to
name them. Water-breathing is relatively good enchant even if you have special spell for
underwater exploration, as it removes some extra hassle, and it can be used for
developing Athletics. Waterwalking is sometimes used for reaching yet-not-found places,
which can be quickest accessed using waterways. A small boost for Chameleon is needed
in certain situations to fill the gap of tailored spells to make the character invisible.
The used in-game enchants are all found as random loot. Amulet of Axes was worn by a
random Dremora warrior at level 28. Killing and looting him made a very pleasurable
surprise. Ring of Iron Fist was found from those mundane Flesh Pod in one Oblivion
World, at level 31. Mundane Ring was found at level 39, worn by a Dremora warrior.



7.5.2      Damage Reflection

Your armor rate is gapped at 85%, but you can build another level of protection at the top
of your armor rate by exploiting Reflect Damage effect. For example, if your Reflect
Damage is 50% and your armor rate is 50%, together they remove 75% from the strikes;
first, Reflect Damage halves the incoming damage, and the rest it is halved by your
armor. 66% Reflect Damage combined with 75% armor equals to approximately 92%
armor rate, multiplying your expected life time by ten. Of course, Reflect Damage
increases your effective life time more as it makes the battles shorter.
This effect is not available for custom enchantments, nor it is found from Sigil Stones,
but if you happened to choose Tower as your birthsign, you can exploit this effect with
custom spells. You may also cook potions with this effect giving at maximum 24%
damage reflection.
The most powerful enchanted items containing Reflect Damage are Amulet of Axes
(33%), Necklage of Swords (33%), Ring of Iron Fist (33%) and Escutcheon of Chorrol
(35%). Amulet of Axes, Necklage of Swords and Ring of Iron Fists are found as random
loot from level 20 onwards, Escutcheon of Chorrol is given as quest reward. Other items
obtained as random loot give you 10% at maximum (e.g. Ring of Retribution). You may
also gain this effect from some other non-random items, e.g. Ring of Namira (12%).
Immunity. If you want your character to be immune against melee damage, you combine
together Amulet of Axes/Necklace of Swords, Ring of Iron Fist and Escutcheon of
Chorrol, giving you total 101% Reflect Damage. This will remove most challenge from
the game, so I can’t recommend it.
Useful Amount. As Reflect Damage is additional protection at the top of your armor, the
useful amount depends on how much protection you already have. I think that amounts
from 40% to 60% are enough for most players. You gain 45% by combining e.g. Amulet
of Axes (or any other of those powerful items) with Ring of Namira. Tika uses Amulet of
Axes and Ring of Iron Fist, which together give 66% Reflect Damage.
8          Rose, The Fairy Witch




Rose was designed after Tika for taking the challenge to play Oblivion with hardest
difficulty setting.



8.1        Wizards

...

8.1.1      Discussion

As not wearing armors keeping their magic efficiency at full 100%, Wizards have two
specialties. First, they do not need any enchanted gears to make them invisible, if they
cast 100% Chameleon. Second, they can exploit crowd control spells through the whole
game.
Crowd control is very strong tool for fights. In general it means that Wizards face always
one single opponent, usually weakened by the previous fights against his/her/its former
allies.



8.2        Attribute Development

...



8.3        Rose

...



8.4        Playing Experience

...
8.5   Useful Enchants

...
9          Nina, Altmer Atronach




When writing this document, I started to think about how to play an Atronach. This led
me to design Nina, an Altmer Atronach. My starting point was to design a Warrior using
the experiences gained from Tika, and tailor it to take advantage of Atronach’s abilities;
huge magicka boost and spell absorption.
In addition to try to play as an Atronach, I wanted to try out other things, too. Nina uses
blunt weapons instead of bladed ones. The class specialization is Magic instead of
Combat.



9.1        Atronachs

In general, as an Atronach you can follow Warrior or Wizard strategies. I chose Warrior
strategy, as I like that more, and spell absorption ability is better used, if someone throws
spells on you.




9.2        Attribute Development

...



9.3        Nina

...

9.3.1      Race and Gender

This time the selection of race was clear; an Altmer. Bretons are, of course, good choices
for an Atronach, but as I had already played that race, I wanted to try out something
different. It was also clear to choose female character.

9.3.2      Birthsign

An Atronach, of course.
9.3.3      Class Specialization

When creating Tika’s class, I was finally not encouraged enough to specialize the class to
magic. This time I wanted to try this out. Specialization gives a slight bonus to certain
skills, and it affects to the speed of development of those skills.
The reason to specialize the class to magic was to gain faster development of magical
skills. As Warriors use combat skills in daily basis, those get experience points
automatically at all phases of the game. Magical skills are different; Warriors do not use
those that much, and they start to be useful only at high levels. This means that Warriors
usually develop magical skills artificially, and that is why it could be nice to raise them
with smaller efforts.

9.3.4      Class Favored Attributes

As both the race and birthsign was already clear, with Nina there was not much choices to
try to get initial boost to attributes important to melee fighters. Choosing the favored
attributes was the only place to gain a small boost to Strength and Endurance.

9.3.5      Class Major Skills

I was quite pleased to the selection of Tika’s major skills, so I followed the same
principles with Nina, too. The only difference was to change Acrobatics to Light Armor.
Of course, as I wanted this time to use blunt weapons, I chose Blunt instead of Blade as a
major skill.

9.3.6      Summary

...



9.4        Playing Experience

Fights against stronger enemies in the first five levels felt very difficult, more difficult
than they felt with Tika. Tika had high initial values in melee combat skills and attributes
unlike Nina, and that probably affected to the beginning of the game. But somewhere
between levels 5 to 10 the fights started to “normalize”. At the beginning I made heavy
use of Restore Fatigue potions to boost fighting, and poisons to kill the hardest
opponents, which led to fast Alchemy development.
At the beginning I encountered an interesting surprise I haven’t observed with other
characters. Using altars to restore your attributes and heal diseases is not that easy to
Atronachs. Unlike magic resistance, spell absorption works by “All or Nothing”
principle. This means that there is 50-50 chances that the spell from the altar gets entirely
absorped, and as altars work once per day, you need to either find another one or wait a
full day to try again. I haven’t noticed this effect with Bretons, as the spells from altars
are so strong, that halving the effect does not make any difference at the beginning of the
game. But I sure have noticed that protecting the character against magic makes the
Blood Wells in Oblivion Planes less effective.



9.5        Useful Enchants

...
10         Comparison: Tika and Rose




This comparison is meant to show how differently Warriors and Wizards develop. Both
of the characters are highly playable, Tika at normal difficulty and Rose also at hardest
difficulty. If I would change playing Tika at hardest settings for some reason, I would
basically need only to change her strategies.
At normal difficulty, Tika makes versatile use of swords, arrows, poisons and spells to
get rid of her enemies. Rose at hardest difficulty makes heavy use of poisons and spells to
do the same.
There is no possibility that Rose could start use melee fighting if I would play her at
normal difficulty. The reason is that her skills at melee fighting are far too low to match
the enemies at level 29, and even worse, it would be just too hard to raise the necessary
attributes high enough at that phase of the game. Maybe possible, but not worth of trying.
Two different characters for two different purposes.



10.1       Initial Statistics

…




10.2       Characters at level 29

Here are the statistics of the two characters at level 29. Even though they are at the same
level, they are at the different phase of the game. Rose is already preparing for final
battles, as Tika is just about starting the game. The reason for this is that Tika has gained
levels much more rapidly than Rose.


Primary Attributes. The table below compares the attributes of the characters.


                  Attribute                 Tika                      Rose
        Strength                  100                       66
        Intelligence              100                       100
        Willpower                 100                       100
        Agility                   100                       52
                Attribute                 Tika                      Rose
        Speed                    73                       100
        Endurance                100                      90
        Personality              60                       75
        Luck                     51                       50

Rose has maximized her Intelligence, Willpower and Speed. Speed was maximized as
there was not any other necessary attributes to develop. All others (Strength, Endurance,
Agility, Personality and Luck) are somewhere in between, as they have been raised when
there has not been anything else to do. In the other hand, Tika has maximized all her
primary attributes (Strength, Endurance, Agility and Willpower) as well as her
Intelligence.


Derived Attributes. This table shows some basic derived attributes.


                                          Tika                      Rose
        Health Points            464                      367
        Magicka Points(*)        200 (400)                250 (500)
        Fatigue                  400                      308
        Encumbrance              500                      330
        Usual load(**)           221 (312)                71 (71)
        Gold                     33 629                   279 777

       (*) Usually boosted value in parenthesis
       (**) Weight of equipments when worn, total weight in parenthesis


Although Tika is not designed for spellcasting, her usual magicka (400) does not
dramatically differ from Rose's (500). She has almost 1/3 more health than Rose, and she
carries much more without boosting.
The amount of gold is dependent on the amount of loot sold. As Rose is at later phases in
the game, she has sold much more loot than Tika. Both characters have just enough gold
for any purpose they may need.
Usually Tika carries around 200 lbs with her, not counting the armor she is wearing.
Compared to Rose's usual burden, the difference comes from carrying two weapons
(main and spare), and carrying potions and soul gems.


Skills. Skills summary:
                                          Tika                    Rose
        Skill-ups               1027                     967
        Training sessions       145                      135
        Novice skills           0                        4
        Apprentice skills       5                        6
        Journeyman skills       9                        2
        Expert skills           3                        0
        Master skills           4                        9

Tika has developed her skills more widely than Rose. Rose has only eight skills she needs
(six magical skills, Alchemy and Sneak), and all the other has left behind, except that I
maximized her Athletics when developing Speed. Tika, in the other hand, has raised
many of her skills for developing attributes.
The following table shows the comparison between skill values. The skills are ordered by
the governing attribute, and the character's major skills are marked with asterisk.


                    Skill                 Tika                    Rose
        Strength
        Blade                   100*                     36
        Blunt                   53                       12
        Hand to hand            47                       34
        Endurance
        Armorer                 100                      42
        Block                   72*                      24
        Heavy Armor             100*                     22
        Agility
        Marksman                39                       42
        Security                38                       54*
        Sneak                   100                      100
        Willpower
        Alteration              66                       100*
        Destruction             63                       100
        Restoration             79*                      100*
        Intelligence
                    Skill                   Tika                      Rose
        Alchemy                   93                        100
        Conjuration               75                        100*
        Mysticism                 51                        100
        Speed
        Acrobatics                59*                       45*
        Athletics                 62                        100
        Light Armor               31                        12
        Personality
        Illusion                  65                        100
        Mercantile                52*                       57*
        Speechcraft               33*                       43*

You probably see how Rose has maximized all of her magical skills (happened at very
early phases of the game), and how the other skills are left far behind. In the other hand,
Tika's skill levels are more widely spread, and she has developed all skills by some
amount.
The source for Rose's relatively high Blade skill is in the final battle in Arena quest line.
Let me say, that killing Gray Prince with a knife at hardest difficulty took some time, and
gave lots of skill-ups to Blade.


Game Play. This table shows comparison of variables affected mainly by the phase of
the game:


                                            Tika                      Rose
        Days passed               151                       291
        Active quests             19                        15
        Completed quests          58                        135
        Oblivion gates shut       15                        40
        Places found              133                       215
        Fame                      80                        149
        Infamy                    9                         56
        Hours slept               338                       571
        Hours waited              386                       847
Crimes:


                                           Tika                      Rose
          Days jailed            1                         1
          Items stolen           793                       1335
          Items pickpocketed     4                         5
          Trespasses             0                         0
          Assaults               165                       1236
          Murders                3                         6
          Horses stolen          0                         0
          Largest bounty         6                         160
          Creatures killed       983                       597 (1791)
          People killed          507                       241 (723)

The amount of assaults of Rose is surprising for me. I am pretty sure that I didn't use
Peryite's Shrine for anything, and thus I think that the amount of assaults has been
increased by all those stealth attacks made against otherwise hostile NPC. As they haven't
got a change to turn hostile, the game may regard those attacks as assaults.
The high largest bounty Rose has was gained while doing “The Shadow Over Hackdirt”
quest. Rose made it in quite early in the game, and thus she took all the valuable items
from the caves. For reason or another, while all the enemies and their not-so-hostile
supporters were killed, Rose got reported bounty from all the loot she “stole”. Tika, in the
other hand, just killed everyone tried to get her way, and didn't gain any bounty.
The amount of hostiles killed is somewhat misleading. Rose has caused at least threefold
number of hostiles to die, but as she has mostly used substitutes to do that, they are not
counted for her. In parenthesis is approximated value of the real kill count.
Dungeon looting:


                                           Tika                      Rose
          Locks picked           170                       205
          Lockpicks broken       160                       126
          Souls trapped          204                       10
          Diseases contracted    7                         2



You can see clear difference at souls trapped count, as Tika needs souls for recharging
her weapons. Rose made those ten only for testing purposes. Tika is usually more
vulnerable to contract a disease, but still her count is unbelievably low. There may be a
few reasons; Tika is a Redguard, which lowers the change to get contracted to ¼, and she
has not yet looted that much dungeons.
Miscellaneous:


                                          Tika                     Rose
        Ingredients eaten        1                       1
        Potions made             1728                    2608
        Books read               122                     260
        Skill books read         19                      21
        Artifacts found          2                       9
        Jokes told               79                      244
        Nirnroots found          1                       21

Both characters have accidentally eaten a raw ingredient. Rose has made mainly only
useful potions, that is, almost the entire number contain the Damage Health poisons made
and delivered. Tika, in the other hand, has made unusable potions and poisons just to
raise her Alchemy skill.
Nirnroots... Well, there is a quest named “Seeking Your Roots”, in which you need to
find a one hundred of around three hundred nirnroots spread over the Cyrodiil. These
kinds of quests are not for me.
11         Quest Timing




My game play – including character design – is heavily affected by gaining Transcendent
Sigil Stones (starting to appear at level 17) and some of the most powerful enchants
(starting to appear at levels 20-25). Also, I want to get challenges, which mean that I
usually leave the hardest fights to last ones. You may have different priorities, in which
case you design your own timing.
Your actual game starts when you reach level 20. Before that point, you have no access to
endgame quality equipments. As your character gains levels, the quality of loot gradually
raises, which means that many of your first enchants are temporal. Similarly, you can
start developing endgame quality spells only after you have gained enough enchants to
boost you magicka pool and reached high levels in magical skills. As you probably want
to use skill-ups of magicla skills to attribute development, you don’t usually hurry.



11.1       Before Level 17

The first things I usually do are (1) delivering the amulet to Jauffre, and (2) joining to
Mages and Fighters guilds. This is quickly done, as Weyon Priory is near Chorrol, and
Chorrol is the city in which you can join both guilds. When delivering the amulet, ask for
assistance. This gives you some free equipments (you find more from the guild halls),
some beds to sleep, as well as a horse (ask Prior Maborel for assistance).
Do not continue the main quest any further (that is, do not go look for Martin). The
reason for this is that once you have closed the Oblivion Gate in the front of Kvatch,
those gates start to appear everywhere in Cyrodiil, and as you can’t get Transcendent
Sigil Stones at this point, you should leave the gates open. It is much more pleasant to
wait to level 17 before progressing further in main quest line.
Once you have joined the guilds in Chorrol, you may want to travel to Bruma and do
“Two Sides of the Coin”. As this quest involves spending a night in prison, you will
receive a “free” invitation to Thieves Guild, and making the first quest gives you access
to a fence to sell stolen items and buying lockpicks. During this quest, a quick way to get
jailed is to grab something in the front of the jailor from the tables.

11.1.1     Tips For Warriors

Fights. At the very beginning of the game, the initial attribute and skill values have
noticeable effect to your performance. Some fights can be hard, as you have poor
weapons and armors and skills to use them, and no useful spells nor potions. Some
enemies you meet at the beginning of the game are frightening difficult, e.g. special trolls
and ogres. Don’t be afraid; they will later fall far behind, and possess no real threat
anymore.
To ease the fights at the beginning, try to fight against one enemy at time. Even at high
levels you may find two or three enemies together pretty hard, but of course later you
have lots of tools to even the odds; summoning, poisons and strong spells, some even
with area effects.
Use one hour waiting to heal yourself. Do not waste your precious healing potions, you
need them to critical situations at the middle of the fights to keep you alive a few more
hits. If the game says that you cannot wait because there is enemies nearby, go back as
long as it is needed. Try not to use spells; the less you use them at this point, the easier it
is to develop your Intelligence and Willpower later.
Learn to use boosting. At this point of game, probably the only useful way to boost your
character’s melee performance is to cook “Restore Fatigue” potions (you can make them
by mixing almost any food). Hotkey those potions, use them in fights and you see clear
difference as your Fatigue does not drop.
Similarly, you can use poisons in tight situations against many types of enemies.
Money. At this point of the game, the most important uses for money are repair hammers
and buying training. Try to collect enough money from dungeon looting, as it is “healthy”
for you, maintaining your character’s performance while leveling. Unfortunately,
dungeon looting is not always enough, especially if you level rapidly. For those
situations, you can collect alchemy equipments at Mages Guild halls, and sell them back
to the alchemist of that same hall. As Mages Guild alchemists usually have high
disposition towards you and they are not very skilled merchants, you can get more money
than you would get from shops. You may also cook your own potions and sell them at the
same time.
If you have joined to Thieves Guild, you can get money by stealing. At this point of the
game, you may have difficultiess to remain undetected, if the owner is present. After
“Two Sides of the Coin”, you can freely loot Arnora’s house, as she is dead. If you are
using stealing, explore Oblivion Wiki and other sources of information, to find places that
contain valuable items. It is worthless to steal pieces of clothes and other common items.
Weapons. Before you are ready for enchanted weapons (i.e. your Armorer skill hits 50),
try to find silver weapon and keep it. The reason for this is that ghost-like enemies
immune to normal weapons appear in the game earlier than you can fully use enchanted
weapons. Swordsmen have several possibilities. Silver daggers can be found from Mages
Guild halls. Free silver shortswords can be found at least from Chorrol and Leyawiin
Fighters Guild halls. Third floor of Leyawiin Fighters Guild hall contains also silver
longswords. Furthermore, the bad guy killed in the quest “Two Sides of The Coin”
carries silver longsword. If you are using blunt weapons, you don’t have much
possibilities. Wait until you find one as random loot, or steal one. Before obtaining silver
blunt weapon, carry a bladed silver weapon with you, just in case you happen to meet a
ghost. If you don’t have silver weapons, your only chance against ghosts are spells.

11.1.2      Tips For Wizards Playing Hardest Difficulty

If you are playing with hardest difficulty, you face extra challenges at the beginning of
the game, as you don’t yet have tools to survive. What you need is to gain access to
Arcane University; everything becomes much easier after that.
Arcane University. The hard recommendation quests are Skingrad, Anvil and Leyawiin,
as they involve fighting you are not yet ready to. What to do? You need followers to
make kills on behalf of you. Because of this, you may also want to have Convalescence
spell – you get one for free by selecting Restoration as your major skill.
You can get two unkillable followers from Jemane brothers, so start with “Separated at
Birth” at Chorrol, and continue with “Legacy Lost”. In “Legacy Lost”, you need to kill
three ogres. You can do it by yourself, if you can make poisons and cast Invisibility spell.
Be patient; shoot poisoned arrow to an ogre, stay invisible as long as they are looking for
you, and then shoot the next dose. Ogres does not heal themselves, so it is only a question
of patience. If you can’t do this, bring the ogres to Chorrol south gate and let the guard to
do the killing – but remember that this method may involve some collateral damages.
Once you have killed the ogres, Jemane brothers will follow you anywhere as long as you
don’t arrive to Weatherleah. Head to Skingrad and accept the recommendation quest. Let
Jemane brothers deal with zombies; stay back and shoot Convalescence to brothers to
help them deal with those monsters. Although Jemane brothers are unkillable, you are
not; this is why you want to heal them, as if they are knocked down, the zombies attack to
you. When zombies are dead, you get Erthor as your third unkillable follower, so don’t
take him back to Skingrad.
With Jemane brothers and Erthor, Anvil and Skingrad recommendation quests become
much easier. Be patient, heal your allies and eventually you have completed these quests.
At that point, you can return Jemane brothers to their farm and Erthor to Skingrad Mages
Guild hall, and if everything went OK, you have access to Arcane University.
Money. At the very beginning, money is a big problem. You need money to buy spells to
gain magical effects, and you need money to combine those effects to your own custom
spells. You may also need money to buy training lessons to boost your attribute
development.
As with Warriors, the most “healthy” way to get money is loot dungeons, as it keeps your
fighting skills in good shape. The essential tools are Invisibility spell (15-20 seconds is
just enough), Damage Health poison ...
First, collect money to tailor spells for dungeon looting to gain more money. You need
invisibility and summoned creature to do that, in addition to poisons. Before you are able
to cast those spells, you probably need training spells to Illusion and Conjuration.
As you are perfectly safe in cities, you can collect all free ingredients, turn them to
random potions and sell those to get money. Harvesting ingredients from wilderness is
dangerous, as there is a high probability to meet rat, wolf or bear and get killed. You may
also loot guild halls, if you are short of money.

11.1.3     Common Tips

After gaining access to Arcane University, I usually do not continue Mages Guild quest
line at this point, as the next quest (“A Mage’s Staff”) has leveled – although useless for
most – reward.
Instead of progressing in Mages Guild ranks, in addition to do all sorts of single quests, I
progress in Fighters Guild quest line. One of the first Fighters Guild quests, “Desolate
Mine”, can be very, very difficult at high levels, as your allies rush to dungeon without
any control and get killed.
Except for the first one, other early Thieves Guild quests may be too difficult at the
beginning, when you not yet have tools for stealth missions. This same holds true with
Dark Brotherhood quest line.
You may also want to take Arena fights, as the reward money is not leveled and thus you
have more use to it at the beginning.
House. One of the most important things where you need money is buying a house to
store loot. Of course, the chest you got from Jauffre is basically enough, and you can get
another one by completing “Zero Visibility” quest. Furthermore, completing “Mazoga the
Orc” and “Knights of The White Stallion” grants you access to White Stallion Lodge near
Leyawiin. That lodge is better equipped than many buyable houses, and it is very easy to
reach by fast traveling. The only drawback is its location at one edge of the game world,
and thus usually my first goals is to buy the Imperial City shack. After that, I collect
money to buy Rosethorn Hall at Skingrad.



11.2       Level 17

...



11.3       Levels 20+

...




11.4       Quests with Allies

...




11.5       Tips For Gameplay

...
11.5.1     Ingredients

...

11.5.2     Sources for Equipments


Marauder Dungeons. Your source for heavy armors and bladed weapons.
Bandit Dungeons. Your source for light armors and blunt weapons.
Goblin Dungeons. Your source for grand souls, arrows and lockpicks.
Necromancer Dungeons. Your source for alchemical equipments, healing and magic-
restoring potions, blunt weapons.
Conjurer Dungeons. Your source for alchemical equipments, healing and magic-
restoring potions.
Monster Dungeons. ...
Oblivion Planes. ...
Vampire Dungeons. ...
Undead Dungeons. ...
...

11.5.3     Random Loot

Many magical items are available only at random loot. This means that if your character’s
level is high enough, you may find it from containers in dungeons or it may be worn by
special type of enemies (e.g. Dremora warriors or wizards). In general, once you reach
level 20 you have a little chance to encounter any in-game enchanted item.
If you desperately need a specific ring or amulet, there are tricks to help you to meet it.
The contents of zones (dungeons) are determined once you step inside. So, you need to
find a suitable dungeon, save you game position before you enter the dungeon, run to the
chest and check its content. Select a dungeon, which contains the right type of boss chest,
as it contains the item you are looking for more often. You can find the probabilities of
different types of loot in different types of chests from Oblivion Wiki (see section
“Dungeons”). Of course, this means that the smaller the dungeon, the faster you can
check it. If it didn’t have the item you are looking for, reload the saved game.


Temple of the Ancestor Moths. For acquiring specific rings or amulets, your destination
is Temple of the Ancestor Moths. It is recommended that you have completed Thieves
Guild quest “Turning the Blind Eye” before exploiting this place, as entering to the
temple prematurely can trigger a bug in Thieves Guild quest line. During the quest, you
cannot use this trick, as the priest is generated at the time you accept the quest.
In this temple, you go all the way to the underlying caverns, and finally, you are standing
at a door leading to a larger chamber. This chamber has a respawning Blind Moth Prelate,
who always wears a high-level enchanted ring or amulet. So, save your game position at
the entrace to the chamber, go in, kill the priest and check if you got what you wanted. If
not, revert to the saved game position.
Vindasel. For acquiring alchemy equipments, Vindasel – the place where Umbra lives –
is small and contain a suitable boss level chest at the final chamber. Umbra is not hostile
until you challenge her, and the other denizens are just nuisance animals (making this
dungeon suitable for developing defensive skills artificially). Save at the front door, run
to the chest and check, if you got what you wanted.
...
12         Fighting Strategies




As said in the Introduction, Oblivion is a fighting game. I first thought to discuss fighting
strategies separately to Warriors and Wizards, but I then realized that many strategies are
useful for both. Warriors should keep in mind that the drop of spell efficiency affects to
certain types of spells, and Wizards should keep in mind that they are usually unarmored.
Playing Oblivion with hardest difficulty settings removes all the options involving the
enemy retaliation.




12.1       Marksmanship

Bows and arrows are a little bit tricky tools in Oblivion. The base damage you make with
plain bow and arrow is approximately equal to one strike of melee weapon:


       Daedric Claymore: 26 pts
       Daedric Battle Axe: 26 pts
       Daedric Bow + Daedric Arrow: 21 + 15 = 36 pts


Melee weapons swing much faster than you can fire arrows. Most of the enemies try to
get to close contact, which makes hitting them with melee weapons pretty easy, compared
to hitting them with arrows. Most enemies take evasive actions while approaching you,
which makes it even harder to get them hit by an arrow (or a targeted spell). One arrow is
not enough to kill most of the enemies, even if you can get a stealth attack (damage is
multiplied by three); having a group of enemies usually gives you just one stealth attack.
Basics of Poisoning. So, bows can be tricky to be used as they are, but they are excellent
tools for delivering poisons. First, when poisoning your opponent, the damage made by
bow and arrow does not count much, so you can use any bow and any arrows. Second, as
poisons work over time, you want to poison your opponent as early as possible. You can,
of course, poison your melee weapon, but as your enemy will be killed mainly by slashes,
it is not as useful as shooting poisoned arrow over a long distance and let it work while
the enemy runs to you.
There are some tricks for successful poisoning. Use stealth attack and whenever possible,
choose the place to fire to your advantage. If your Sneak is high enough, the distance to
enemy is long enough and the place you are using is dark enough, the enemy does not
detect you when hitted by your arrow. This can be used to deliver more poison to your
opponent; poison effects are cumulative, that is, the more doses you shoot, the quicker the
opponent dies.
Poison-resistant Opponents. Some enemies are either resistant (e.g. Redguards) or even
immune (e.g. Argonians, Strom Atronachs, Will-o-the-Wisps) to poison. If you want to
poison them, you need a special spell to make them vulnerable by casting strong
Weakness to Magic effect on them. This makes all creatures in Oblivion vulnerable to
poisons!
Archers. You may have difficulties to catch archers, as they prefer to keep distance. The
easiest way is to play by their rules, and take the challenge of ranged duel. If you want to
make it quicker, you may use poisons with your arrows. As poison effects are cumulative,
several doses kill the opponent faster.
Conjurers and Necromancers. These two enemy types have many nasty habits. They
prefer to keep distance and cast fireballs and shock waves on you, and you may have hard
times to catch them. But you usually can't challenge them to ranged duel, as they throw
their pets to arena to make your life harder.
Poisons would make good use, but as single dose of regular Damage Health is usually not
enough to kill them and many of they have nasty habit to heal themselves, you need some
more powerful ways to kill them.
First, you need to make them more vulnerable to poisons, so that one dose is enough.
Second, you must prevent them healing themselves. The tricky part is that some of the
Necromancers are Bretons. Their magic resistance make it hard to find ways any working
methods to kill them easily.
The solution is to use two-phase spells to make them vulnerable. The first one casts
Weakness to Magic on them, and the second one casts both Silence and Weakness to
Poison on them. Depending on the size of your Magicka pool, you may put additional
Weakness to Poison on the first spell, too. The first spell should also contain a short term
Chameleon effect to hide your actions; there is no possibilities to prevent Bretons to
come to check the place where the spell was fired9, so after first spell, wait until the
opponent stops. Then fire the second one, followed by a poisoned arrow.
First one circumventing the Bretons magic resistance could look something like this:
        Chameleon 100% for 10 seconds on Self
        Weakness to Magic 100% for 30 seconds on Target
And the next one making them more vulnerable to poisons and preventing them to heal
themselves:
        Silence for 30 seconds on Target
        Weakness to Poison 100% for 30 seconds on Target
You have other possibilities, too. Of course, you may use stronger poisons against
Necromancers and Conjurers; there are poisons which include Silence, Frost Damage,
Health Damage and Magic Damage, all in one package. But those poisons cannot be
cooked from abundant materials.



9 I have tried (1) Drain Strength 100 pts, with 100 pts Burden, and (2) Drain Speed 100 pts without
  success. Paralyzing makes it hard to hit the opponent with bow.
12.2       Close Combat

Close combat is always an option to Warriors, and usually the prefered one. In close
combat, single enemies does not normally possess a deadly threat. But when you are
fighting against several enemies at the same time (or you have allies to protect), you may
face challenges.


Adrenaline. Redguards have “Adrenaline Rush” greater power, which inspired me to
create a custom spell to aid close combats. Although Tika is a Redguard, I have made no
use for that greater power – it is just once a day, and you are going to make tens of fights
in the same day. The second source for inspiration was my experiences with Rose to
boost summoned Dremora Lord. Based on these experiences, my 45 second “Adrenaline”
spell is based on following effects:
       Fortify Agility 50 pts for 45 seconds on Self
       Restore Fatigue 20 pts for 45 seconds on Self
The boost for Agility decreases the possibilities to get staggered. It does not remove it
entirely, but when fighting against a bunch of Dremora warriors, you will see how hard it
is to fight, if you can make only one slash and then take ten in. Restore Fatigue effect
compensates the Fatigue consumption caused by swinging the sword.
If you like, you may add other useful effects to your Adrenaline spell. I could think at
least; (1) boosting your Athletics to make you move faster (you can only boost one
attribute or one skill in spell; boosting Agility is more important than boosting Speed),
(2) add extra protection with Shield and Resist Magic effects.
Do not make your Adrenaline spell too expensive. It is good to have enough Magicka to
use other spells during the fight, too.


Poisons. Usual Damage Health poisons work in close combat, too, but not as good as
when used with arrows. Almost all home-brew poisons work over time, and close combat
situations are usually shorter. But still – when meeting a bunch of monsters, you may first
poison them all and then start slashing them down one by one. This way all the monsters
take damage, even though you can hit only one at time.
But there are poisons that work better in close combat than with ranged weapons. The
first one is Paralyze. As Paralyze does not make damage and it is hard to hit with bow to
a fallen enemy, it is not very useful alone with ranged weapons. But close combat is
different, and by paralyzing your opponent for a moment gives you opportunity to make
lots of damage to him/her/it.
Any poison that drains or damages crucial melee fighting attributes can be useful in close
combat. Damaging Agility makes your opponent more vulnerable for staggering,
damaging Strength reduces the amount he/she/it makes damage to you.


Destructive Spells. Close combat is an excellent situation to exploit touch-delivered
spells.
12.3        Crowd Control

While close combat is the specialty of Warriors, crowd control is the specialty of
Wizards. The basic principle in crowd control is that you will never ever meet more than
one enemy, who is many times already weakened by fighting against his/her/its friends.


Final Kill. The enemies can kill themselves, but the last kill you need to do by yourself.
Your main options are poisons and summoned creatures. If you are playing Wizard at
normal difficulty, you can also use destructive spells instead of poisons.




12.4        Types of Enemies

Prefering ranged or close combat?
Poison resistances?
Resistances against normal weapons?
Magic resistances, reflections?
...
Necromancers, Conjurers
Xivilai
Other Daedra: Spider Daedra, Daedroth, Strom Atronach, Fire Atronach, Frost Atronach
Dremora: Dremora Warriors, Dremora Wizards
Skeletons
Zombies, Wraiths

12.4.1      Archers

Different types of archers (bandit, marauder, vampire) usually prefer to keep distance.
They change to close combat only if they cannot keep distance. They do not pose any big
threats while alone, but when combined with a buch of melee fighters, they may make
Warrior’s life hard with their poisoned arrows. As Wizards use crowd control, they will
never meet archer and fighter together.
For Warriors, it is usually best to try to keep the fighters between you and the archers.
This way there is a good chance that the arrows they fired hit their allies. Once you have
slain down the fighters, you start killing the archers. If there are more than one of them,
try to force them one by one to close combat, keeping the others behind the one you are
striking.
A single archer is a good practising target to your arrows or ranged spells. Chasing them
trough the dungeon can be annoying, so accept the challenge for ranged duel.

12.4.2     Necromancers and Conjurers

Necromancers and Conjurers have some specialties, which make them hard opponents to
eliminate efficiently. You may also encounter these with other mages, e.g. with marauder
or bandit mages, although usually they use only targeted spells and do not summon aid
for their battle.
First, they usually prefer ranged fights like archers, and chasing them trough the dungeon
to challenge them to close combat can be really annoying, as they usually run to
chambers having more of them.
Second, they will summon aid for their battles, and usually the creatures they summon
prefer close combat. This makes it very annoying to try to fight against necromancers and
conjurers with ranged attacks.
Third, most of them are able to heal themselves, which makes simple poisoning
impossible.
Fourth, some of them are Bretons, which natural resistance against magic makes it hard
to tailor spells for quick and easy kills.
Close-range Stealth Attack. In general, there is no simple way to kill necromancers and
conjurers. Strong warriors can try stealth attacks with heavy one-handed weapons. As the
base damage is then multiplied by six, at lower levels it may be enough to kill the
unprotected mage by one strike, thus the others in the same room do not get provocated.
Touch-delivered Destructive Spell. Touch-delivered prepared elemental blast used to
kill Storm Atronachs and Spider Daedra work against humans, too. You will see, how
much slower Bretons die to this attack, but anyways, they die. Sneak behind them,
prepare and blast.
Ranged Attacks. For ranged attacks, it is pretty impossible to keep the target immovable
for preparing the second attack. Paralysing does not work, as it is hard to hit to enemy
lying on the ground; while he/she/it is getting up, you would need very strict aiming and
timing to make your second strike. I have also tried Drain Speed effect; it works against
Altmers and such, but Bretons keep jumping around happily. I tried Drain Strength with
Burden, and again, Altmers are rendered immovable and Bretons continue running.
Because of this, be prepared to make several ranged attacks. There are numerous
possibilities for this. For example, you may cast two weakening spells on the enemy
before firing your poisoned arrow:
       Prepare 1:
              Chameleon 100% for 10 seconds on Self
              Weaken to Poison 100% for 30 seconds on Target
              Weakness to Magic 100% for 30 seconds on Target
       Prepare 2:
               Chameleon 100% for 10 seconds on Self
               Silence for 30 seconds on Target
               Weakness to Poison 100% for 30 seconds on Target


Both of them would make the target more vulnerable against poison. The first one also
makes the forthcoming second spell stronger by weakening the target against magic. The
latter contains Silence to prevent the target healing him/herself. Both spells include a
short-term Chameleon effect to keep you hidden, so the target does not start his/her
attacks with summoned creatures and such.
You may leave the Silence effect out, if you use customized poisons containing this
effect. Note, that it seems that Silence (both in poisons and in spells) does not work
reliably against necromancers and conjurers. I am not entirely sure about the reason, but
some of them may carry Cure Poison and Dispel potions, and as you know, they use the
potions they carry.
The second option is to use enough arrows. If your Marksman skill is high enough and
the quality of your equipment (bow and arrows) is high enough, you have a change to
know down the necromancer for a moment. If you used poisoned arrow, this short-term
paralysis with poison and high damage from sneak attack may be enough to kill the
target, but be prepared to fire more arrows.
To ensure that your target drops down and thus gives you time to draw a new arrow to
your bow, you may include Paralysis effect to the poison you use at the first shot.
Choose your shooting location so that there is lots of distance between you and the target.
Try to select a shadowy place, so that it is sometimes possible to get several stealth
attacks. Be prepared to face difficulties to get the next arrows to hit, as the target will be
moving.



12.5       Allies

...



12.6       Useful Spells

In general, Warriors can make excellent use for touch-delivered spells, as they are in
close contact to their enemies. Targeted spells are 1.5 times more magicka-expensive as
touched spells, so Warriors can make more damage with their spells. Area effects are not
usually useful, as you may have hard times to use them in quests involving allies (where
you need quick kills).
12.6.1     “Stungun”

“Stungun” is a special spell to cut your opponents actions. Its main effect is short
paralysis, which is wrapped around a tailored shock blast. The base cost of the shock
blast is selected so that it is a little bit higher than the paralysis effect, which causes two
things: (1) the spell belongs to Destruction school, and (2) the spell flies with the speed of
shock blast, that is, two times faster than regular paralysis. I added soul trapping to this
spell to be able to replenish my soul gems, if the target happens to die to the shock effect.


       Soul Trap for 5 seconds
       Shock Damage 9 points for 4 seconds on Target
       Paralysis 1 second on Target


Usage: As this spell flies fast, it makes targeting easier. It can be used against any
opponent vulnerable to paralysis. Its purpose is to knock the enemy on his/her/its knees,
to cancel any action he/she/it was making.
“Tazer”. You may wonder if it would useful to tailor stungun to touch-delivered spell.
That spell would be cheaper, but in that case you would not need the flying speed of
shock blast. A simple 1 second paralysis works just well for this purpose, until you would
like to make the spell to belong to Destruction school.
Short paralysis can be added to almost any touch-delivered spell, if wanted.



12.6.2     Absorbing

...

12.6.3     Prepared Elemental Blasts

These spells were designed to make quicker kills. Usually, the speed of killing does not
matter, but every time you are shepherding perishable allies you want to kill all threats as
quickly as possible. The reason for this is that even though you can heal your allies, and
sometimes cast some protection on them, every hit they give or take wear out their
weapons and armors, and they never repair their equipments. It is not unusual (at higher
levels) that your allies are half-naked and/or fighting with their bare hands as their armor
pieces and weapons have reached zero health.
How to make quick kills? Of course, the idea is to make lots of damage in little time to
your enemies. The most cost-effective damages are made by elemental attacks (fire, frost
and shock). In optimal situation, you would have a customized spell for each type of
enemy taking in to account their natural weaknesses, but that is too hard for me. That's
why I have tried to make some sort of all-around destructive spells against common
enemy types.
Unbelievably effective destructive spells are constructed from two parts. The first part
makes the target invulnerable to elemental attacks, and the second one makes as much
elemental damage as you can cast. It is wise to use all elements together, as then creatures
having natural immunity get at least 2/3 of the total damage.
Tika uses this combination at level 32, and it kills Strom Atronachs, Spider Daedra and
Daedroths in just a second or two, so from that point of view the combination represented
below is an overkill – but as said, these are meant for quick kills, and to be used in tight
situations aided by a bunch of Welkynd Stones and Strong Magicka Potions.
The costs of the spells are only informative. Tika's (at level 32) Destruction is at 100, but
Illusion and Mysticism are not.


Preparation.
       Preparation (“A Weaken Z: Magic”): Costs 87 magicka points
               Invisiblity                    for 10 seconds on Self
               Weakness to Fire       100%    for 20 seconds on Touch
               Weakness to Frost      100%    for 20 seconds on Touch
               Weakness to Shock      100%    for 20 seconds on Touch
               Weakness to Magic      100%    for 20 seconds on Touch


I have added a short Invisibility to make these spells usable for stealth missions, too. A
short Invisibility gives you time to hide again after casting this spell. Usually, enemies
does not react to the weakness spells, that is, they do not try to dispel them.


Blast. I have two types for blasting the elemental damage. The first one is used in regular
combat situations, and it contains soul trapping for getting souls to recharge enchanted
weapons. The second one is mainly for stealth missions, where you don't use you
enchanted weapon; it contains a short invisibility and additionally silencing to prevent
magicians (Conjurers, Necromancers) to heal themselves. With preparation it is not
needed, as the damage made is so high that they have no time to do anything.


       Blast version 1 (“A Blast W: 15 seconds”): 251 magicka points
               Soul Trap                              for 16 seconds on Touch
               Fire Damage            16 points       for 15 seconds on Touch
               Frost Damage           15 points       for 15 seconds on Touch
               Shock Damage           15 points       for 15 seconds on Touch

       Blast version 2 (“A Blast Y: 15 seconds”): 255 magicka points
               Invisibility                           for 10 seconds on Self
               Silence                                for 20 seconds on Touch
               Fire Damage            16 points       for 15 seconds on Touch
               Frost Damage           15 points       for 15 seconds on Touch
               Shock Damage           15 points       for 15 seconds on Touch
A slightly higher fire damage is just for visual purposes, as then the damage animation is
burning. Soul trapping is added to get souls for recharging enchanted weapons. Without
preparation, theoretically these spells make 690 points damage. With preparation, the
damage is multiplied by three or four, which is practically enough against any enemy in
the game. Of course, Tika wears armor and the efficiency is slightly dropped, but the
effect is still tremendous.
The damage is tailored so that the total cost of preparation followed by blast is less than
the magicka pool. With usual equipments Tika has 400 magicka points, and the cost of
the spells with preparation are 338 for first version and 342 for second.


Word of warning: Some enemies have Reflect Spell enchantments. The most usually
you encounter these are high-level Dremora warriors, which may randomly have spell
reflecting enchantments. Getting your heavy destructive spell on yourself is lethal, so
select your targets wisely.
You may create “reflect-proof” touch-delivered spells by adding dispel on self on those,
but in the case of the blasts represented above it is impossible. The maximum strength of
dispel is 500 (five times the maximum magnitude of 100), which is not enough for the
spells (the base damage is around 1200-1500). The in-game “Legendary Dispel” may be
strong enough to remove the reflected spell on you.

12.6.4     Summary

Collection of useful spells.
13    Your Game




...

				
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