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The Weekend Topic: Getting the best from Conjuration

    • 773 posts
    January 19, 2013 6:40 AM EST

    Unless there is a late surge, Conjuration looks like winning the poll for the 'most fun' Magic school. It's something of a surprise to me (I thought it would be Destruction) but I'm pleased that people haven't just gone for the obvious 'Let's blast everything with fire' option.

    It's got me thinking about Conjuration, a school I have definitely not used to the max in Skyrim. Earlier this week I rolled up a 'pure' Conjurer character. I took Breton (for the Summon Familiar starter spell), prayed in front of the Mage Guardian Stone and got started....

    So this is a topic to share tips, discuss strategies and talk about what makes an interesting and creative Summoner or Conjurer Character. 

    I'm especially interested in early game strategies - its going to be a long time before my Breton starts having Thralls to do her bidding! How do you survive in the first few levels with a character that is heavily - or even totally - focussed on Conjuration.

    Let's talk Conjuration

  • January 19, 2013 7:48 AM EST

    It depends, are you literally pure conjuration at the start? Difficulty? I tend to struggle at the beginning on master with conjuration, I normally need another ranged offense to fall back on at least til I can purchase the Flame Atronach, but saying that, I suck using magic.

    • 773 posts
    January 19, 2013 8:06 AM EST

    Yes I am trying pure Conjuration - the RP 'backstory' is that she has a pathological aversion to any kind of physical weapon). 

    I got through the sewers by letting Hadvor do all the fighting, with me casting Summon Familiar for back up. I picked up Sven in Riverwood as a 'tank' and managed Embershard and Bleak Falls Barrow using similar tactics. I also bought Raise Zombie from the Riverwood Trader and had zombie Draugr for backup in Bleak Falls Barrow. I'm currently at Level 4 without so much as picking up a weapon.

    I'm on Expert (bottled out of trying it on Master )

    • 739 posts
    January 19, 2013 8:47 AM EST

    You should use atromancy and necromancy together to level conjuration quickly...

    If your character is allowed to use novice destruction spells then you should 'experiment' on corpses after battle. I got the idea after reading one of the in game books about a necromancer who experimented with different elements on her enemies, can't remember which one...


    Use a Flame Atronach to kill 3 wolves, then raise each wolf individually and use flames, frostbite or sparks to kill them again. This means that you are gaining 2 - 3X normal conjuration experience from every encounter (as long as each wolf turns hostile while you're blasting at it).

    • 856 posts
    January 19, 2013 9:01 AM EST

    I usually combine my conjurers with a bound weapon, not sure if you count that as a physical weapon or not.  (Sounds like to me you're not using those either).  Grab that flame atronach spell if you haven't already.

    Flame atronachs tend to stay at range from their opponents; this may cause them to move behind you if you sit still.  Try to stay behind the flame atronach to help remove any aggro on you, and since they have a flaming aura that deals damage, move in close if you need to get an opponent away from you (circling around it helps too).

    As you advance in level and have more spell options, do not automatically cast the highest level conjuration spell.  Yes, the frost atronach is a higher level spell than a flame, but if your opponent is a fire mage, then the flame atronach may be the solution.  Once you get some range on your conjuration, I often will cast a low level conjuration ahead of me into a room (while I stay just outside) - this will usually trigger hidden opponents to give you an idea of the number and type you'll be facing.  I also use lower level conjurations to lure opponents into a 'trapped' area.

    When I'm outside travellng, I usually keep a flame atronach cast.  They will often detect an opponent before I do, giving me a 'heads up'.

    A problem that you will need to consider later is that some (rare) opponents will be able to take control of your conjuration - you will need a plan to deal with that possibility.  (I use the 'banish' perk that goes with a bound weapon, but that may not be an option for your character - depends on if you're using bound weapons or not.)

    Also you may want to change stones at some point.  I rarely use the stones that grant extra experience - except in very early game (when I only have the three options), or when I'm crafting.  The lord stone is a good choice for a breton - it gives an additional 25% magic resistance and an extra 50 points of armor.  The atronach stone is usually not a good choice for a conjurer - it inteferes with the daedra (et. al.) summoning spells but not the undead type of summons - so it could be a good choice if you're just using thralls.

    • 773 posts
    January 19, 2013 9:31 AM EST

    Some good advice here. Thanks

    I'll be using Bound weapons, but I'm trying to play 'organically' - rather than simply sprinting off to get particular items. I think the first RP-friendly place to get a bound weapon will be when I get to Whiterun and meet Farengar.

    I like the Destruction idea that Mason mentions because although it might be thought an exploit, there is at least some sort of roleplaying notion behind it. Leveling is clearly going to be an issue for a pure Conjurer. I've done a bit of sneaking around to spy out the territory, so that's helped - plus a little Restoration.

    What else would be reasonable for levelling? 

    I'm thinking of adding this mod  into the game, because it seems a ridiculous idea to be able to summon bound weapons but not have bound armour (as there was in Oblivion and Morrowind). At the moment I'm just using generic light armour but it doesn't quite 'feel' right

    • 739 posts
    January 19, 2013 9:52 AM EST

    Paul if you mingle the soul trap spell into your routine to snare souls it will give a very worthwhile boost to conjuration...

    Conjuration and Enchanting go together hand in hand. You're going to need somewhere to place perk points anyway, conjuration levels faster than most skills...

    • 856 posts
    January 19, 2013 12:00 PM EST

    Yes, I, too, miss the bound armor (forced to use the alteration spells for that - or, of course, I can grab a mod).   I get most of my early spells from Farengar as well (sometimes the trader in Riverside has some decent beginning spells too).

    I agree with Mason, enchanting fits conjuration perfectly.  I generally use the bound weapon perk for soul trapping - instead of the spell (or item).  But as Ben C pointed out, you must be careful when using bound weapons, else you may fill high level gems with small souls.  Mason had mentioned that dropping a soul gem on the ground may cause a soul to leave a gem, so at least you can undo it (has this been verified on the PC?).

    Personally I try to level only a few skills (2-4), especially in the early stages; else you may spread yourself too thin and then you may not be able to handle the enemy encounters.  Since you're using bound weapons, you may want to get the applicable perks for weapons too.  They work with bound weapons (and using a bound weapon raises the skill).

    I recommend these skills starting: Conjuration, One-handed or two-handed weapon (whichever corresponds to your bound weapon), and enchanting (or save enchanting until after a few levels and you've accumulated soul gems and items to disenchant).  Perhaps add one more skill (armor?), but no more, at least not until the character's level was in the 20's.

    • 773 posts
    January 19, 2013 12:52 PM EST be absolutely clear. Bound sword will raise One Handed, Bound Bow will raise Archery, and so on. Yes?
    • 856 posts
    January 19, 2013 12:54 PM EST

    Aye, correct.  Casting the spell (with enemies nearby) raises conjuration.  Causing damage with the bound item raises the applicable weapon skill.

    • 739 posts
    January 19, 2013 2:38 PM EST

    Just confirmed dropping soul gems to empty the soul on xbox, no reason why it won't work on pc.

    So far xbox version is surprisingly superior. Much faster loading times, possibly due to my version living completely on the hard drive. facial textures and eyes are also much better and better shadows so far as well. Good times...

    • 1913 posts
    January 19, 2013 2:41 PM EST
    Xbox... Is better at something then ps3?... Never thought I'd hear that from somebody who used to own a playstation 3
    • 856 posts
    January 19, 2013 3:49 PM EST


    I dropped 3 common soul gems with 3 common souls.  When I picked them back up, they still had common souls in them.  But when I dropped 3 common soul gems with 3 lesser souls, and picked them back up, they were empty. 

    • 739 posts
    January 19, 2013 4:43 PM EST

    Still on Conjuration...

    So I just hit an enemies thrall with my own raising spell, I'm having a nightmare getting used to the xbox pad and an enemy necromancer beat me to the crunch...

    The thing is that the summon became under my control even though it wasn't me that initiated the spell, it turned on it's master and beat him to a pulp...

    Anyone else seen this behaviour before? I was using the Revenant version of the spell which is likely stronger than the standard summon the other necro's were using...

    Is it possible that corpses are responsive to the strongest necromancer present, do raising spells also have a hidden command feature?

    • 739 posts
    January 19, 2013 4:48 PM EST

    Also just confirmed a companions ability to 'bulk soul trap' on xbox for anyone interested...

    • 271 posts
    January 19, 2013 4:50 PM EST
    Aaah, Xbox-talk from Mason is like music for my ears! :P
    • 739 posts
    January 19, 2013 5:00 PM EST

    Lol! I'm rather liking my new 'black beast'...

    It's up on the shelf now, looking menacing!

    • 63 posts
    January 19, 2013 5:16 PM EST

    Conjuration huh? For me, the hands down best spell is Fury in the Illusion School. Watching my enemies beat the crap out of each other as I judicially pick away at the fringes or even simply turn my back on them to do more important things is super fun for me.

    • 856 posts
    January 19, 2013 5:52 PM EST

    Not exactly on topic there...

    • 409 posts
    January 19, 2013 6:19 PM EST
    How I enjoy conjuration. I personally never found necromancy to be all that great unless its in a character focused around conjuration though the undead summons from dawnguard make necromancy perks more worth it. I always liked daedra summons more just because of convenience and usefulness that I admit that even your all powerful daedra lords arent as powerful as some of the dead thralls.
    • 426 posts
    January 20, 2013 12:56 AM EST

    I have never really got into the conjuration school. It just doesnt do anything for me. I have tried a few times but I think I have the wrong strategies or something. I dont like hanging back as well I tend to get in the thick of things. One aspect that does always bug me is the way the spell cast pointing at the floor the right distance it always takes me a couple of tries to get something summoned. Not good when getting ambushed lol

    • 661 posts
    January 20, 2013 1:04 AM EST


    Story time; I was fighting these bandits I summoned two Lords to my aid, I destroy the bandits and one of the Lords survives, the motherfucker stabs me in the back with his claymore. I was fighting a Ravager she summoned a frost atronach I use command Daedra, kill the Ravager game glitches and the atronach tries to kill me. Very dangerous magic indeed.

    • 856 posts
    January 20, 2013 11:58 AM EST

    Aye, I do occasionally use the flaming familiar spell, but sometimes it gets buggy with me; it charges me instead of my enemy.  Because of this, I usually only cast it when I can place it up or down a ledge (level) so it won't 'backfire'.

    • 856 posts
    January 20, 2013 12:01 PM EST

    I've found that sometimes my summons attack me as well - but it is almost always due to one of two conditions:  (1)  my enemy has taken control of it, or (2)  I've damaged it one too many times.   The banish perk for bound weapons always take care of that problem.  (The problem with that is if I accidently strike my summons during a combat with enemies, it goes 'poof'.)

    • 63 posts
    January 20, 2013 12:37 PM EST

    Ah oops. I think I read a reply on the main page and coupled with the poll... thought the topic was a little different than the opening post. As far as conjuration is concerned, I find it quite difficult to pull off effectively in the early to middle stages without making it part of a set of spells.