this is what happens when you search google images for made up words…

this is the first of three posts that will detail the build of the shadowchaser class; the specific character choices, such as race and birth sign; and finally my experiences with the class in-game. comment at will.

a long time ago i wrote about the first version of my shadowchaser custom class for oblivion, and also outlined the improvements i intended to make for the second iteration. i never ended up using that second design, deciding at the time to play a wholly different type of class. however, upon firing up oblivion for this third (and presumably final) run through, i decided to resurrect the shadowchaser and redesign him one last time from the ground up.

as you can read in the old post linked above, the original shadowchaser was my attempt to recreate morrowwind’s witchhunter class. i liked the mixture of skills in the witchhunter — it had everything: combat, magic and stealth elements all rolled into one, and handled the way I like a character to handle. i felt like i had the tools for just about any situation.

that became the anchoring principle of this new shadowchaser: total self-reliance.  lets lay out the class’ stats:

  • specialty
    • sneak
  • primary attributes
    • endurance
    • willpower
  • major skills
    • marksman (agi)
    • security (agi)
    • armorer (end)
    • alchemy (int)
    • mysticism (int)
    • destruction (wil)
    • restoration (wil)

major skills and self-reliance

first of all, i should say that any character build can eventually become completely self-reliant in oblivion. with enough work, you can get all of your skills up to 100 (or above) and never have to pay for repairs, visit alters, purchase potions, steal filled soul gems or be stopped by a lock again.

what i mean by self-reliance being the anchoring principle of this class is that i wanted those abilities to be part of the major skill set, so that leveling up would also mean that i was becoming more independent. security, armorer, alchemy, and restoration are the major examples here with mysticism also counting for soul trap.

of course, sneak also provides a form of independence, because once you reach the upper levels of stealth you can get into and out of places meant for characters of a much higher level. why, then, is sneak not one of the shadowchaser’s major skills? for the same reason i generally discourage athletics or acrobatics as major skills: since the shadowchaser is almost always in stealth mode, they would level way too fast!

the shadowchaser’s ability to sneak effectively is bolstered by a few other talents. here, the mysticism major skill lends another hand with detect life — invaluable for seeing around corners and through walls, floors, ceilings, and tall grass. additionally, even though illusion is not in our list of major skills, night-eye is an essential talent — especially considering that the darker it is, the sneakier you are!

survival is of course the most important aspect of self-reliance — after all, if you can’t trust yourself to keep you alive in cyrodiil, who can you trust?! marksman is obviously good for taking enemies out from afar, particularly with the sneaking damage bonus. while destruction spells are also good for ranged damage, i prefer to reserve them for big burst damage in close-up encounters. this way i conserve arrows while in melee and magicka while at range.

other considerations

there are a few other reasons i chose these major skills.

one reason was pace. i’ve already mentioned that i thought sneak would level a shadowchaser too fast.  armorer, security, and restoration are all skills that are situational and keep you from getting ahead of yourself.

another factor i took into consideration was the governing attributes. i chose armorer to have some endurance bonuses while leveling up (to get that health up as high as possible early on), alchemy for large bonuses to intelligence (and thus magicka pool), destruction for more willpower (and faster mana regen). i didn’t take sneak so that agility wouldn’t get over used (considering marksman and security), nor did i take any of the skills that are based in personality since i have no use for it (i find that persuasion, like lockpicking, can be done by anyone who practices the mini-game enough, regardless of skills).

one question you may be asking yourself is, “why endurance and willpower as the primary attributes?” it would seem to make more sense for agility and/or intelligence to be in there, but this part of the class building decision was actually made as part of my character making process which is covered in the next post in this trilogy.