Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Character Build-up & Development Guide (walkthrough)


Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Character Build-up & Development Guide 
Version 1.3.1 03/31/06
Copyright 2006 Thomas "Sajin" Bergmann

The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion was developed by Bethesda Game Studios,
published by Bethesda Softworks and 2K Games and is copyright 2006 Bethesda
Softworks. This guide is not endorsed by, nor is the author associated in
any way with, Bethesda Game Studios, Bethesda Softworks or 2K Games.

|                        INTRO & CONTACT INFORMATION                        |

Oblivion is a great game, a huge game and at least on hard difficulty an 
really challenging game. Since large parts of the game involve fighting, 
and your enemies scale with your level, it can easily get over challenging. 
So if you don't want to move your difficulty slider, or if you just want 
to know how you get most out of your character and the game, read on ! 
If you have further information or corrections, please write me: 
sajin(insert at)gmx(a dot here)net

A note to pure role players: This guide explains how you optimize your 
character both statwise and in terms of possible quests/guilds, so 
don't take offence and read it as background info. I don't force you 
to do anything. 

|                            TABLE OF CONTENTS                             |

   Intro & contact infos
   Table of Contents

   Choose your Race.................................................CBDG02
   Choose your Birthsign............................................CBDG03
   Choose your Skills...............................................CBDG04 
   Character development............................................CBDG05

   Appendix A: Sample character builds..............................CBDG0A
   Appendix B: General game play tips...............................CBDG0B
   Appendix C: Spells...............................................CBDG0C 
   Appendix D: Fast overview for Morrowind players..................CBDG0D

   Version History

 Quick jump to a section: Copy & paste the Code into your search box 
 (in windows CTRL-F)

| [CBDG01]                            BASICS                               |

After playing TES3: Morrowind for a long time and basically sitting in 
front of Oblivion since it came out, i noticed how many people seem to 
confuse game lore character ideas with actually good character builds. 
Something like: A good fighter has all weapon skills, weapon specialisation 
and The Warrior Birth sign. Or: Bretons are ideal mages but bad fighters
and thieves. All wrong except the part about ideal mages. 

Lets take a quick look at the Attributes before we go in-depth. Starting 
Attributes have scores between 30 and 50, depending on your Race and Sex. 
You can modify them slightly with Birth signs and the choice of favoured 
attributes. The maximum score in-game is capped at 100, so while high 
starting scores will get you to the maximum faster, they don't modify 
the cap. The Attributes are:  

Strength (STR)
Related skills: Blade, Blunt, Hand To Hand
Determines: How much you carry, Fatigue score, melee damage

Intelligence (INT)
Related skills: Alchemy, Conjuration, Mysticism
Determines: Magicka, spell effectiveness

Willpower (WIL)
Related skills: Alteration, Destruction, Restoration
Determines: Fatigue score, resistance to Magicka, Magicka regeneration

Agility (AGI)
Related skills: Security, Stealth, Marksman
Determines: Bow damage, Fatigue score

Speed (SPD) 
Related skills: Acrobatics, Athletics, Light Armour
Determines: Movement speed

Endurance (END)
Related skills: Armourer, Block, Heavy Armour
Determines: Fatigue score, Health gain on level up

Personality (PER)
Related Skills: Illusion, Mercantile, Speechcraft
Determines: NPC reactions

Luck (LCK)
Related Skills: None
Determines: how lucky you are 

| Directly derived from attributes are the following     | 

The amount of damage you take before dying. Starts with 2x Endurance, add
10% Endurance per level up.  

Power to cast spells. 2x Intelligence + Race/Birth sign Bonuses. 
Regenerates constantly over time, regeneration speed is tied to Willpower. 

Jumping and Power attacks (and other things like blocking & bow at low 
levels) use Fatigue. The Formula is STR + END + AGL + WIL. Regenerates 
constantly over time. 

| [CBDG02]                   CHOOSE YOUR RACE                            |

First off, starting attributes are not important for your choice. Why ? 
The difference between 30(min) and 50(max) Strength is only four levels.
And the maximum Attribute score is the same for all races. So one race 
will have max Strength at level 15, the other already at level 11. Imho 
this is no big difference, max. level is about 50. Same for skills, but
here the difference is max. one level (10 skill points). Since beauty is 
in the eye of the beholder, lets take a look at special abilities. 

  Resist Disease (magnitude 75, constant)
  Immune to Poison (Resist Poison, magnitude 100, constant) 
  Water Breathing (constant)

   Three positive constant effects - not bad. But Disease and Poison 
   is rare, and one potion or spell can heal it. Water Breathing is a 
   cheap spell, so then main advantage of Argonians is their cool 
   lizard look. 

 Rating: B-

  Fortified Magicka (Fortify Maximum Magicka magnitude 50, constant) 
  Dragon Skin (Shield magnitude 50, duration 60; once a day) 
  Resist Magicka (magnitude 50, constant)

   Resist Magicka 50 constant ! This is a constant master level spell, 
   which is absolutely great. Its easy to get magic immunity with this 
   Race. Fortified Magicka is also good for all casters, but Resist 
   Magicka this high is really priceless for all classes. 

 Rating: A

 Dark Elf
  Ancestor Guardian (Summon Ghost, duration 60 once a day) 
  Resist Fire (magnitude 75, constant)

   Resist Fire 75 is nice, especially since this game is called oblivion 
   (which is Tamriels hell). Fire damage is common and fire immunity is 
   close for Dark Elvess. The Ancestor Guardian is good for Atronach 
   players (see Birthsigns) for early mana regeneration. 

 Rating: B+

 High Elf
  Weakness to Fire, Frost and Shock (magnitude 25, constant) 
  Resist Disease (magnitude 75, constant) 
  Fortified Magicka (magnitude 100, constant)

   Ok race for Mages, 50 more Magicka bonus than Bretons. Hower, 
   instead of Magic resistance you get weaknesses to the most 
   common magic damage types. The weaknesses don't hurt too 
   much, but you have a far way to go and probably won't get more 
   than one full immunity in one of them. Pick High Elf if you like 
   pointy ears or if you really need the high Magicka. 

 Rating: C- (B for Mages)

  Star of the West (Absorb fatigue, magnitude 100; once a day) 
  Voice of the Emperor (Charm, magnitude 30; once a day)

   Two once per day abilities, both equivalent to low spell levels ? 
   Well... not so well.

 Rating: D

  Eye of Fear (Demoralize, magnitude 100, once a day) 
  Eye of Night (Night Eye, duration 30, unlimited uses)

   Demoralisze is quite strong and works quite well. Good if you are 
   outnumbered. Eye of Night is good for dungeon crawling without 
   a torch, but equialent to low level illusion spells. 

 Rating: D+ 

  Nordic Frost (Frost Damage, touch, magnitude 50; once a day) 
  Woad (Shield, magnitude 30, duration 60; once a day) 
  Resist Frost (magnitude 50, constant).

   Resist Frost is ok, but only 50. Its not as common as fire, but 
   its all right. Woad is a medium shield spell once per day, Nordic 
   Frost is a combat starter for the first 4 levels. 

 Rating: C

  Berserk (Fortify Health 20, Fortify Fatigue 200, Fortify Strength 50, 
  Drain Agility 100, duration 60; once a day) 
  Resist Magicka (magnitude 25)

   Resist Magicka is always nice, but 25 is not much. Berserk includes a 
   50 strength Boost and the Fatigue Boost helps your power attacks 
   greatly. Very nice for melee fighters, but only once per day. 

Rating: c+ (A- for fighters)

  Adrenaline Rush (Fortify Agility 50, Fortify Speed 50, Fortify 
  Strength 50, Fortify Endurance 50, Fortify Health 25; duration 60) 
  Resist Poison (magnitude 75)
  Resist Disease (magnitude 75)

   Four Attribute Boosts of 50 ! This is a really great ability for melee 
   and ranged fighters. Sure, only once per day - but the boost is just
   incredible. Poison and Disease Resistace are nice, but you will find 
   enough potions for a cure anyway. 

 Rating: B- (A for fighters)

 Wood Elf
  Beast Tongue (Command Creature, magnitude 20, duration 60, once a day) 
  Resist Disease (magnitude 75)

   Well, er. magnitude 20 ? You dont even summon your beast ? Bad joke ! 
   Resist Disease - or just keep a potion ready. 

 Rating: D

|||| Conclusion ||||

Breton is a good race for anybody, followed by Dark Elves and Argonians. 
Redguards and Orcs are interesting for their once a day attribute boost, 
but i honestly prefer good constant effects over great once a day effects.  

| [CBDG03]               CHOOSE YOUR BIRTHSIGN                           |

There are four basic kinds: Attribute Birthsigns, which are not really 
neccessary: you can max your all attributes and then some. They do 
provide a nice boost for the first few levels however. Spelllike Ability 
Birthsigns to get you one or more abilities. Magicka Birthsigns, to get 
higher Magicka. And The interesting Birthsign(tm) - the name says it all.

| Attibute Birthsigns | 

 The Thief 
  (Fortified Agility 10, Speed 10, Luck 10)
   High Boost, since Luck +10 is worth 50 Attribute points, 
   all in all you get the equivalent of 70 level-up Attribute 
   points - see character Development Section for explanation 

 Rating B

 The Warrior 
  (Fortified Strength 10, Fortified Endurance 10)

   Equals 20 more starting hitpoints and one more hitpoint at level up 
   until Endurance is at maximum. 10 Str is not bad either, both for 
   encumbrance and dishing out damage. 

 Rating C

 The Steed 
  (Fortified Speed 20)

   You will be able to outrun most enemies at early levels, which is 
   good to get Magicka and Fatigue back up, for hit and run tactics 
   etc. However, this effect wont last long.  

 Rating D+

 The Lady 
  (Fortified Willpower 10, Fortified Endurance 10) 

   20 more starting hit points and one more hit point at level up until
   Endurance is at maximum. (Barely) faster Magicka regeneration. Not 
   as good as The Warrior, but might be a better choice for a mage. 

Rating: C-

| Spell like Ability Birth signs |

 The Lord 
  (Restore Health 6/sec for 15 sec
  Weakness to fire magnitude 25, constant)

   Well, this is bad. Restore Health is good for the first 10 levels, 
   weakness to fire is bad forever. 

 Rating: F

 The Shadow
  (Invisibility 60 sec, once per day)

   Invisibility is a useful spell, but it IS a spell - and you wont even 
   need illusion as a major spell to get it...

 Rating: D+

 The Serpent
  (As a single ability
  Damage Health touch, magnitude 3 for 20 sec
  Dispel (magnitude 90
  Cure Poison 
  Damage Fatigue self, magnitude 100)

   60 damage over 20 sec is nothing. Cure Poison and Dispel are ok, but 
   nothing special. And you pay 100 Fatigue.

 Rating: D

 The Lover 
  (Paralyse 10 sec, touch, damage 120 fatigue on self)

   10 Second duration, that's the paralyse spell on master level, quite a 
   treat i think. 

 Rating: B-

 The Tower
  (Open Average Lock 1/day
  Reflect Damage 5 points for 120 sec 1/day)

   Might be a sign for you if you are bad in the lock picking mini game 
   (its reaction based after all) and don't use illusion. A 5 Point 
   Reflect Damage is nice only at the start.

 Rating: D+

 The Ritual
  (Restore Health 100, 1/day
  Turn Undead (100 for 30 sec, 1/day)

   Expert level Restore Health is nice, but you can use potions and spells 
   instead. Turn Undead is ok, too. If you don't have high restoration, 
   this might be interesting - but once per day is simply not enough.

 Rating: D

| Magicka Birth signs |

 The Mage
  (Fortified Magicka 50)

   The standard Birth sign for casters. But all classes that use magic 
   will benefit from this sign. No strings attached, this is a safe 

 Rating: B (A- for mages)

 The Apprentice
  (Fortified Magicka 100
  Weakness to Magicka 100)

   50 more magicka than The Mage is not worth dying for. For you will die 
   with this birth sign. You might pick Breton for a combined Weakness to 
   Magicka 50 and Maximum Magicka +150, but i don't recommend it. 

 Rating: F (C for mages)

| The interesting Birth sign(tm) | 

 The Atronach
  (Fortified Magicka 150
  Spell Absorption 50
  No Magicka regeneration! )

   This sign is just great. And I'm not talking about the Magicka bonus. 
   I would pick it even if it had a Magicka malus - the real special is 
   the 50% Spell Absorption - imagine this: Your Breton gets hit by magic 
   (at half strength) in 50% of all cases, the rest gets absorbed 
   completely. For pure fighters, there is no downside, But you might 
   think, no Magicka regeneration really gimps a caster ? The obvious 
   solution - Potions - costs time and money. Shrines and the like 
   replenish Magicka, but wont help in the middle of a dungeon. Your 
   Spell Absorption will do the trick: If your enemies don't cast spells 
   on you anyway, summon a ghost, hit it three times and it will start to 
   attack you with magic only. Full Magicka guaranteed ! If you foresee a 
   tough fight, you can take the ghost with you to keep your Magicka up. 
   It also works with other summoned casters, but the ghost is most 
   reliable since it doesn't have non-magical attacks. 
   A possible downside: In big fights, pure destruction mages may run out 
   of Magicka if all opponents are melee without any magic weapons. This 
   should not happen very often if you followed my "focus on prime damage 
   skill and attribute" rule - but keeping some selfmade Magicka potions 
   just in case won't hurt.

   [Clarification: Unlike Resistance, Spell Absorbtion 50 absorbs 100% 
   of a spell - and it will work on 50% of all spells]  

 Rating: A+

|||| Conclusion ||||
The Atronach is the best birth sign, but it also has a huge impact on 
 If that's not your cup of tea, The Mage is good for, erm, 
mages. The Lover is a good ability sign and The Thief is a great 
attribute sign.

| [CBDG04]                 Choose your Skills                          |

Shouldn't this section be called 'Choose your Class' ? No. Classes are 
just a selection of major skills, two favoured attributes and a skill 
package. Take a look at the Skill descriptions here, and if you find 
a good predefined class in game pick it accordingly. However, the 
existing classes don't have luck as favoured attribute, and most have 
stupid skill combinations from a game play perspective - they are 
ok from the lore perspective, but that's not the point of this guide. 

First, lets take a quick look which favoured attributes we pick - 
favoured attribute equals a one time +5 bonus. The first one is 
obviously luck, since its hard to raise (see Character Development for 
more info). The other one is up to you, although endurance would be 
a natural choice, since later endurance changes are not retroactive
(your starting health is 2x your starting endurance, not 2x your 
level 50 endurance). 

Secondly, pick a skill package. This affects you in two ways: You get 
a +5 bonus to all package skills (packages are Combat, Magic, Stealth)
and you will increase those skills even faster. A major package skill 
will rise faster than a normal major one, a minor package skill will 
rise faster than a normal minor but still slower than a normal major.   
I normally pick stealth or combat, since magic is so easy to raise 
anyway. Some hardcore power gamers think one should get the package 
with the least major skills, since your maximum level is determined 
by (700-(sum of starting major skill points))/10  - but that's not 
true since you can decrease your skill points in prison. And its not 

Thirdly, pick your major skills. The 7 major skills rise a lot faster, 
they start at journeyman level and 10 skill rises in any combination of 
major skills gives you one level-up. However, you can also raise minor 
skills, actually as far as major ones - its just slower. Skills give 
you certain perks at 25 (Apprentice), 50 (Journeyman), 75 (Expert) and 
100 (Master) Skill points. The Spell casting skills have no real perks, 
but the perk levels allow you to cast different spells. Ok lets start...

| Combat Skills | 

 Block (Agility) 
   Essential Skill for melee. Some good timing is required, but 
   especially later on it will mean the difference between winning 
   a fight barely scratched and loosing badly. Its easy rise, so 
   no need to pick it as major - but DO spend time or money on this

  Novice: fatigued by blocking 
  Apprentice: not fatigued by blocking
  Journeyman: shield/weapon takes no damage from blocking (!)
  Expert: chance to do a knock back counter-attack
  Master: knock back counter-attack has chance to disarm

 Rating A- 

 Armourer (Endurance) 
   Repair your stuff to keep it effective. Get it at least to Journeyman
   if you use armour and weapons so you can repair magical equipment. 
   Good overall skill, but since it just saves some money for repairs 
   and rises fast its not worth a major pick.

  Novice: cannot repair magic items
  Apprentice: repair hammers last longer (2x)
  Journeyman: can repair magic items
  Expert: Can improve items to 125% 
          - yes they get more effective that way !
  Master: never breaks repair hammers 

 Rating C

 Heavy Armour (Endurance) 
   Either pick this or Light Armour if you wear armour at all. Somewhat 
   cosmetic choices, since both types do not encumber at master level & 
   Light Armour has 50% AC bonus later on. However, the best non-unique 
   Heavy Armour has better enchanting capacity than the best Light Armour 
   and until you reach master level, Heavy Armour is the better choice - 
   encumbrance is not that much of a problem - staying alife is better 
   than carrying more. The third choice, no armour, is hard - especially 
   in many vs one battles. So pick this skill, and pick it major. 

  Novice: 150 % degration rate
  Apprentice: normal degration
  Journeyman: 50% slower degration
  Expert: encumbers only 50%
  Master: encumbers not at all

 Rating B+

 Blunt (Strength)
   Maces, Axes, Mauls, Staffs... you name it. A little stronger than 
   blade, but also a little slower. There are more unique Blades than 
   Blunt Weapons, and since effects are an important factor later on, 
   speed wins over damage. If you don't need Blunt for style reasons 
   (Mage Staff, Maul Barb), get Blade.
   Note by Aerenel: Blunt is stronger against certain creatures, e.g. 
                    Skeletons & Slaughterfish

  Novice: basic power attack
  Apprentice: Standing Power Attack damage bonus
  Journeyman: Left/Right Power Attack have chance to disarm
  Expert: Backwards Power Attack has chance to knock-down
  Master: Forward Power Attack has chance to paralyse

 Rating B+

 Blade (Strength)
   Daggers, Short Swords, Long Swords, Claymores, Katanas & Dai-Katanas -
   something for every range and speed requirement. It wins speed wise 
   over Blunt. It has more variety. It has more unique weapons. And they 
   look cool. So if you want to get into melee at all, pick Blade. 

  Novice: basic power attack 
  Apprentice: Standing Power Attack damage bonus
  Journeyman: Left/Right Power Attack have chance to disarm
  Expert: Backwards Power Attack has chance to knock-down
  Master: Forward Power Attack has chance to paralyse

 Rating A

 Athletics (Speed) 
   Well you run & swim faster - and since you run all the time anyway, 
   this skill will go up. Swimming will raise it if you don't get any more   
   raises out of running. Don't take it as major, it will give you gimp 
   levels en masse. 

  Novice: running = slow fatigue regeneration 
  Apprentice: 25% faster fatigue regeneration
  Journeyman: 50% faster fatigue regeneration
  Expert: 75% faster fatigue regeneration
  Master: running does not reduce fatigue regeneration

 Rating D 

 Hand to Hand 
   Hand to Hand is fast - very fast. Knockdowns are abundant. But that's 
   about it. Both damage and reach are minimal. And all those cool weapons 
   won't make you smile in your sleep, and you cannot enchant your fists.  

  Novice: basic power attack
  Apprentice: Standing Power Attack damage bonus
  Journeyman: Left/Right Power Attack have chance to disarm
  Expert: Backwards Power Attack & Block has chance to knock-down
  Master: Forward Power Attack has chance to paralyse
          Block has a chance to disarm 

 Rating D+

| Magic Skills |

Higher magic skill equals lesser spell costs - so if you find one 
of those "Call me Death Star" spells with high Magicka cost, raise 
the fitting magic skill. There are no perks, just access to new 
spells. Alchemy is the exception, it works just like the other 
non-magic skills.

 Destruction (Willpower)
   Magic Damage for all your needs: fire, frost, shock, health, Magicka, 
   equipment, attribute or skill - if it has a rating, you can damage it 
   with destruction. Just destroy your enemy's magic, disintegrate his 
   stuff and enjoy Mr. Superarchmage fighting naked with his fists. Pick 
   it !

 Rating: A

 Alteration (Willpower)
   Open locks with magic, alter encumbrance on self and others and water 
   walking are the not so good parts of Alteration, but Water Breathing is 
   essential for your underwater expeditions (or Alchemy) and the 
   shield spells (vs normal/elemental damage) are nice, too. Ok, but not 
   really worth a major pick.  

 Rating: C

 Illusion (Personality)
   Let your enemies fight against each other, while you watch invisible or 
   join the fight under a chameleon spell. Make them love you, make them 
   fear you. Paralyse them. And this school has the most effective spell 
   versus casters: silence. Its fun, however not absolutely necessary as 
   a major.  

 Rating: A-

 Conjuration (Intelligence) 
   Well, turn undead and summon weapons/armour is worthless (you want your 
   stuff enchanted and at 125%) . But summoned beasts are nice, willing 
   training dummies, and the best Magicka potion for you atronachs (see 
   birth signs). In fights, you get most damage for your magic from 
   summons, and they also take damage for you. 

 Rating: B (A for Atronach Birth sign)

 Mysticism (Intelligence)
   Dispel and Life Detection are not that important, the basic apprentice 
   soul trap is completely sufficient, you don't need telekinesis for 
   most thefts. The real goodies are Spell Absorption & Spell Reflection.
   On the other hand, both are better used as constant effect items.
   Not worth the major pick. 

 Rating: C+

 Restoration (Willpower) 
   If Destruction allows you to destroy anything with a rating, restoration 
   allows you to absorb all those (health, Magicka, fatigue, skills, 
   attributes), or fortify them, or restore them. You will use this power 
   often - so often in fact that you will be at 50 skill points very fast. 
   50 is sufficient, so its a  must have, but not must have major. 

 Rating: A

 Alchemy (Intelligence)
   The jack of all trades magic skill. Make your own potions and poisons for 
   every occasion. Creating new crazy potions is a great game on its own. 
   If you like to try out new stuff, this is for you. Can jump in for any 
   magic school except conjuration.  

  Novice: recognises 1 of 4 properties of substances
  Apprentice: recognises 2 of 4 properties of substances
  Journeyman: recognises 3 of 4 properties of substances
  Expert: recognises 4 of 4 properties of substances
  Master: make potions from a single ingredient

 Rating: A- 

| Stealth Skills |

 Security (Agility) 
   Open locks. Well, you can open a very hard lock with one lockpick and 
   skillevel 5, so its not really worth it. If you don't like the mini 
   game,  you are better off with Alteration than with high security 
   skill levels. 

  Novice: up to 4 tumblers fall on fail
  Apprentice: up to 3 tumblers fall on fail
  Journeyman: up to 2 tumblers fall on fail
  Expert: up to 1 tumblers fall on fail
  Master: no tumblers fall on fail

 Rating D

 Sneak (Agility) 
   Move unseen, backstab and pick pockets. This skill is great. There is 
   no substitute for pick pockets, Backstabbing is the best way to start 
   a fight and nothing gives you better heart attacks than sneaking into 
   the treasure chamber (or out of prison). Pick it major if you are 
   interested the thief guild / heists in general.

  Novice: 4x backstab, 2x marksman undetected critical
  Apprentice: 6x backstab, 3x marksman undetected critical
  Journeyman: no penalty for weight of boots
  Expert: no penalty to chance of detection for moving
  Master: backstab ignores armour rating

 Rating A-

 Acrobatics (Speed) 
   Jumping and Falling. This skill gets interesting on higher levels: 
   Since there are no levitation spells in Oblivion, high Acrobatics is 
   the only way to reach certain places. 
   - for example, are hidden areas only reachable by water (aka lava) 
   jumping (submitted by Aerenel) 

   The dodge ability is nice, but real 
   blocks are better for their counter attack. So probably no major pick. 

  Novice: no attack when jumping/falling
  Apprentice: normal attacks when jumping/falling
  Journeyman: dodge (block & jump to avoid hit completely)
  Expert: 50% less fatigue loss for jumping
  Master: jump off the surface of water

 Rating D+  

 Light Armour (Speed)
   Pick this or Heavy Armour. Light Armour means less encumbrance early 
   on, Heavy Armour better defence - but on Master level they are 
   almost equal (no encumbrance, about same defence). Even then, Heavy 
   Armor is better for enchantment. However, until master level Heavy 
   armour is a better, since encumbrance is less important than armour 

  Novice: degrades at 150% of normal rate
  Apprentice: degrades at normal rate
  Journeyman: degrades 50% slower
  Expert: does not encumber at all
  Master: 50% bonus to armour rating 

 Rating: B

 Marksman (Agility)
   You want to show Legolas how one REALLY uses a bow ? Pick this skill. 
   Double enchantments (bow & arrow are added) with zoom, knock-down & 
   paralysing chances + 3x critical if you use sneak - your enemies 
   will be in a bad condition when they reach you - if they reach you at 
   all. Drawback: It uses ammo (so what?) and requires some tactical 
   planning in battles against multiple enemies. 

  Novice: fatigued when holding bow drawn back
  Apprentice: not fatigued when holding bow drawn back
  Journeyman: block with bow = zoom ability
  Expert: chance of knock-down
  Master: Chance of paralysing 

 Rating: A-

 Mercantile (Personality)
   High Mercantile = better deals. Since money is lying on the streets 
   anyway, you don't need better deals. 

  Novice: value is reduced by worn condition
  Apprentice: value is not reduced by worn condition
  Journeyman: buy and sell any object to any vendor
  Expert: invest in shops (shops available gold +500)
  Master: all shops have +500 gold for barter

 Rating: F

   Persuade others. Ok if you don't use illusion, but bribes are working 
   all right in most cases. You can get the disposition up about 30 points 
   in the mini game without any training - add illusion and/or money and 
   you will be all right. Not worth a major pick. 

  Novice: offer bribes to increase Disposition
  Apprentice: free rotation of a wedge in the mini game 
  Journeyman: timer in mini game is 50% slower
  Expert: disposition loss by bad choices in mini game is reduced 
  Master: bribes for half price

 Rating: C-

|||| Conclusion |||| 

Good major skills are Block, Heavy or Light Armour, Blunt or Blade, 
Destruction, Illusion, Conjuration, Alchemy, (Restoration), Marksman 
and Sneak. 

| [CBDG05]                  CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT                        |

The best starting character is worthless if you don't level him up 
correctly. And the game punishes you severely for not doing so. If you 
don't plan ahead a little, you will not be able to play beyond medium 
difficulty, and if you seriously screw up, even medium may get impossible. 

| Level-Up Game Mechanics |

So lets take a look how a level up works: As soon as you have gained 10 
skill points in any combination of major skills, you will get a level 
up. Upon level up, you gain 1/10th of your endurance in Health and can 
select 3 attributes to be increased. Sounds easy ? Well there is a catch: 
Skills are tied to attributes, and for every 2 skill points tied to a 
certain attribute you get a better multiplier for this attribute on 
level up. The maximum multiplier is 5x. 

An example: 

Your mage has gained 3 Points Mysticism, 5 Points Restoration & 1 Point 
Alchemy - all those skills are tied to Intelligence. So if you pick 
Intelligence on level up, you will get a 5 points boost instead a one 
point boost. If you had 5 Points Restoration,, 1 Point Alchemy and 
4 Points Destruction, you would get Intelligence x3 and Willpower x2. 

It does not matter whether the skills are major or minor, all increases 
add to the multipliers. You probably know where this leads: For every 
level, use a combination of minor and major skill points that give 
you a x5 multiplier to two attributes - Luck is not tied to a skill, so 
if will go up one point per level. You could also just leave luck at 
55 and try to get three x5 multipliers. And don't get any other skill 
points which will not contribute to a multiplier. 

Obviously, this is horrible. Forget immersion, forget normal exploring, 
just say "I will be God, and this is necessary". Well... Or don't.  
I recommend to get one of the many level-up mods that give you x5 for 
any skill gain since the last level. You still gain your levels 
honestly, so i consider this to be a fix. If you consider it cheating, 
say "i will be God, so this is necessarily fun. It is... really !". 

| Character Development |

I will assume you got your x5 multipliers in one way or another. But 
its still a good idea to keep focused, At level 14, you can have 
60 in every attribute (and Luck 68). Or you can have 100 Endurance 
and 100 in your main attribute: Strength for melee fighters, 
Agility for archers, Intelligence for mages. The first character 
will be lost on hard, and difficult on medium, the second will be 
easy on medium, and sometimes challenging in hard. 

|||| So, first rule of fight club |||| 
Maximize Endurance first ! Endurance = Health, and Health you 
need. The only stat that does not work retroactive. 

|||| Second rule |||||
Maximize Endurance first ! And focus on it. Its really important 
to have enough health to stay alive in a hard 6 vs 1 battle on 
maximum difficulty. It still won't be enough health, but 
less health is suicide. 

|||| Third rule ||||
Maximize one important attribute ! - And I'm not talking about
Personality. The attribute tied to your damage dealing skill should 
be max. For melee, that's Strength, for Archery Agility, for 
Magic Intelligence or a mix of Willpower and Intelligence. 

|||| Forth rule ||||
Some focus on the damage dealing Skill is important. You don't 
need to hurry as much, and maxing out is not the prime goal, 
but your prime damage dealer should be in the upper seventies 
rather sooner than later. 

|||| fifth rule ||||
Don't forget your minor support skills. 

After you got a decent prime damage skill, your further skill 
development is really up to you. You are safe now.  

| Training Skills     |

Learning by doing - and learning more by doing more, or how 
you train specific skills outside normal combat. 

Spellcasting Skills: 
Most schools have training cantrips, cheap spells you can 
cast onto yourself while running to the next town / quest. 
Illusion has Light, Alteration has Protect, Mysticism has
Minor Life Detection. Conjuration and Destruction are best
trained together: Summon Skeleton and blast it away with 

Create some endurance potions made of common food - its 
lying around everywhere. 

Fighting Skills: 
Hit your summoned Skeleton for Hand to Hand, Blade, Blunt and 
Marksman, let it hit you for Light and Heavy Armour, and block 
its attacks for Block. 

Repair everything, repair hammers are cheap and you gain 
skillpoints fast. 
Other than picking locks ? No idea, tell me if you know more !

Go into a room with a person inside, go to a corner of the room, 
sneak. If you keep walking (even if you just walk against the 
wall), your Sneak skill will rise. 

 -----Stephen(vitamin dew) writes:------ 
 At the bottom you give training tips. Another good, maybe even 
 better, way to raise sneak is to finish the arena and get youre 
 fan. Then tele to a cave and go inside, he will appear infront of 
 you and you can just sneak and pick pocket for as long as you want.

 Another way to do it, but I dont know if it works right away or if 
 you need a few levels. You can sit infront of a bed at an outside 
 camp(Kvatch) and just pick pocket him to his face and sleep after 
 each level.

Swimming raises this one fast, far faster than running which 
you do all the time anyway. 

Jumping around. 

 ------Brett Johnson writes------
 hey for acrobatics i found it really easy to get ur head close to 
 the top of a wall by jumping on places like a shelf in the cloud 
 ruler temple armory...

Another very good way:   

 ------Chris Raine writes------
 Great guide! Here's a faster way to train acrobatics: Find a 
 place  to fall just enough to take damage without getting killed 
 (I used  one of the terrace walls in Bruma because stairs are so 
 accessible). Jump off, groan with pain, heal yourself while 
 running back up the stairs, jump again. Taking damage from falls 
 does much more acrobatics training than just jumping. 
Play the persuasion mini game with everyone. 

Buying/selling stuff. But how you sell is important, too: 

 ------Ender writes------
 OK, so Mercantile raises by how many transactions you do with the 
 other person, Not by how much you've earned or how many things 
 you sell. So, a good way to raise Mercantile and Alchemy at the 
 same time is:
 Grab all the food you find
 Make Restore Fatiuge potions
 Sell the Restore Fatiuge potions one at a time

There are also trainers who charge money for increasing your 
skill - might be interesting for high Athletics and Security. You 
will need a recommendation from the medium trainers to train with 
master (70+) trainers, who normally also want you to complete a 

 ------Aerenel writes------
 Each new level still only has 5 points. So to get important skills 
 up to a perk fast, such as HA to reduce weight, armorer to repair 
 magic items, alchemy to make better potions, etc, it is technically 
 best to use all 5 trains starting at level one and never failing.  

I think he has a point. Lvl 10+ money is abundant, and high skill level 
training without a teacher gets slow. On low levels, getting the money 
uses far more time than some rats gnawing on your boots for a minute. 



Race: Breton
Birth sign: The Atronach
Skill package: Combat
Favoured Attributes: Luck, Endurance
Skills: Blade, Heavy Armour, Illusion, Destruction, Conjuration, 
        Alchemy, Sneak

Normal Combat looks like this: After the initial 6x critical power 
attack with a blade imbued with self-made poison, the spellcatcher
tries to keep the attention of his enemy while his pet happily 
whacks on the unprotected back. If the enemy is humanoid, he will 
fight with bare fists after a few Corrode Weapon spells.

Magic combat is where the fun starts: Instead of avoiding enemy 
spells, the Spellcatcher tries to catch them, using the gained 
Magicka to play Fireball ping-pong. Alas, most times the 
Spellcatcher is the only one with a racquet.     

In times of peace, he lets friendly summoned ghosts replenish his 
magicka while he's searching ingredients for stronger poisons and 
combat drugs.

(Your Character build could be here - only requirement is hard 
difficulty capability) 

| [CBDG0B]         APPENDIX B: GENERAL GAMEPLAY TIPS               |

Early money: 
Sell all this free alchemy equipment and those silver daggers from 
the mage guild. Do some arena fights. 

Pick any lock: 
After the tumbler went up very fast, it will go up at constant 
speed next time, so just click as soon as its up. 
Another way is to listen for the additional click sound that only
happens if the tumbler is slow. 
-> Very hard locks with one lockpick

Move while fighting: 
If you see one of those sloow attack moves, thats a power attack - 
move back to avoid it or sidestep and attack yourself. Blocking 
is good to break an normal attack sequence, but enemy power 
attacks should be dodged. Circling around an enemy also helps 
if he is using slow weapons/attacks in general. 

Resist the Guards: 
But don't fight, just run like hell. After two or three areas 
they will stop to run after you. Now travel to the Thieves Guild 
and pay half price fines while keeping all your stolen stuff. 

Save on different slots: 
Quick save can be too quick sometimes. If you didn't save for days, 
don't forget you could temporarily turn difficulty down in 
special situations (No Magicka/no potions to summon battery ghost 
in Oblivion).  

Utilize Alchemy: 
Hard fights will get easy with the right combination of potions. 
Trust me, as soon as you start to fight high, you don't want to 
miss it. And you can use your magic for the important things 
like testing whether your enemy will strip if you magically 
burden him enough.

Take your time: 
Oblivion is not just beautiful, it has really interesting and 
well thought out quests for a change. E.g. the rat problem, 
the painter, the dream. Good stats are nice, but don't miss 
this other world called Tamriel. 

| [CBDG0C]              APPENDIX C: SPELLS                        |


I do have a self-made complete spell list, but its in German. And 
its hard work to translate it. Especially since Feuerball is not 
Fireball, but Heal Minor Wounds. If you have a good spelllist 
- not ripped from another guide ! - you get full credits. Like 
Appendix C: Spells by Superman...

| CBDG0B           APPENDIX D: CHANGES TO MORROWIND               |

- Perks for 25, 50, 75 and 100 skill points
- new Minigames for Persuation and lockpicking
- you cannot wear clothes over/under your armour
- no Unarmored skill

- No chance to fail: if your skill is too low, you cannot learn it, 
if you know a spell, you always cast it successfully. 
- Spell maker is seriously gimped
- No levitation/flight spells
- no teleport spells 
- Enchantment as a school is out                  
- fast mana regeneration !
- no magic mushroom tower

|                    VERSION HISTORY                              |

V.1.3.2 2006/04/04
      - Added improved Acrobatics Training by chris raine
      - Another way for Acrobatics Trainig by Brett Johnson
      - Added improved Mercantile by Ender
      - Alternation should be Alteration typo by john
        (i thought it was derived from alternative, thanx!)
      - light armor gets a 50% boost at master level, i wrote 
        150% in the heavy armor description (fixed by Aerenel)    
      - example for useful high acrobatics (by Aerenel)    
      - changed The Mage birthsign rating (by Aerenel)
      - expanded Atronach Example (by Aerenel)
      - enchantment capacity light vs. heavy (by Aerenel)
      - expanded payed trainer section (by Aerenel)

V.1.3.1 2006/04/03
      - fixed some typos, most glaring Atronach = 0% spell 
        absorbtion (corrected by Gar Hong) 
      - High Elf Magica is 100 (corrected by Comazon)
      - Explanation Spell Absorbtion
      - Corrected Atronach Example
      - Added Sneak Training by vitamin dew

V.1,3 2006/04/01
      - Translation to English, first publication on gamefaqs
      - tuned down bad language for general public

V.1.2 2006/03/31
      - Added Appendices B, C, D

V.1.1 2006/03/29

      - added quick jump to table of contents
      - indenting for better overview 
      Fixed errors: 
      - High Elf Magicka bonus is 50, not 100 
        (this is an error, no fiy see 1.3.1
      - fixed Level Up Game Mechanics example   

V.1.0 2006/03/28
      German publication 

|                      CREDITS                                    |

Contributors to this guide: 

Bethesda - they made the game
Me - precious hours outside Tamriel were sacrificed for this
The guy - who created the ascii-art aeons ago in IRC
Daniel - he showed me how good alchemy is
Cat - she told me to translate it, and I cannot say no to her.
      Actually she just mentioned it casually. 
Brett Johnson - better way for training arcobatics
Chris Raine - a different better way for training acrobatics
Ender - better way for training mercantile
Aerenel - lots of major and minor points on HtH/Blade/Blunt, 
          secrets with acrobatics, skill training...

Friendly Typo Monkeys: Gar Hong, Jonathan Mann       
Error fixers: Comazon, Aerenel


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