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Character Build: The Valenwood Ranger

Tags: #Character Build Archer  #Character Build Scout  #Race:Bosmer  #Rank:Legendary 
  • Member
    May 5, 2013


    4E 188 First Seed 24 – I have finally escaped that terrible orphanage in Riften. Grelod “the Kind” has been the very definition of Oblivion for me ever since I arrived there. I remember it well; exactly five years ago my parents were hunting for the first time that year, a herd of deer had settled not very far from Riften when a bear attacked them. My mother was instantly killed, my father mortally wounded. A squad of guardsmen found them and brought them back to Riften. After the funeral I was sent to Honorhall Orphanage. Hoping for a nice new home, I arrived in a 5 year long nightmare.

    Now that I have escaped I will try to live in the forest. It shouldn’t be that difficult, there is plenty of game in the woods and the weather is gradually getting warmer. Although I have been training with the bow ever since I turned 12, my skill in archery is nothing compared to the woodelves or my Bosmer father. I certainly hope I will meet some Woodelves someday.

    4E 188 Rain’s Hand 15 ­– I am living in the forest for nearly a month now. It is tougher than I had imagined, the deer are very skittish and I already have some injuries after a sabercat attacked me. I don’t know if I can keep up with this life. Even the Honorhall Orphanage seems a nice place to live right now.

    4E 188 Second Seed 4 – Of all the times! I ran into a bandit hideout a few days ago to hide for the bad weather. It doesn’t matter if you’re still young, bandits see money in everything. I tried to fight them off, but it was useless.

    4E 188 Second Seed 13 - Today a stranger approached the bandits and fired two arrows simultaneously in a blink of an eye. Before the chief knew, he had an arrow between his eyes and his first hand was hit in the heart. The stranger whistled and two other leather armoured strangers appeared out of nothing and dispatched the other two bandits with lightning fast dagger strikes. They released me and showed me their faces: they were Woodelves! Apparently they had tracked me a month ago and have been following me ever since. They said it was admirable I chose the Ranger’s life all on my own, with the little knowledge I had about the forest. They offered me to come with them to Valenwood to join the ranks of the Valenwood Rangers.

    4E 193 Heathfire 7 – I thought I lost my diary, but I have found it again! Unbelievable, it has been 5 years since I last wrote in my diary. My new life among the Bosmer of Valenwood is hard, but they encourage me to keep going. Somehow they see potential in me, I don’t know what, but apparently it is the very reason why they asked me to come with them. After 5 years of training in alchemy, sneaking and archery has brought me to the level the Bosmer accept as a minimum. I am able to shoot through a ring slightly bigger than the point of an arrow from a distance of 200 metres. I know the effects plants have alone and in combination with other plants to make poisons and potions. I even know how to disappear right before someone’s eyes by blending into the forest background. I have learned a lot, but I am nowhere near finished. I hope I can stay here for a little while; Valenwood is beautiful just as my father once told me. I will have pain in my heart when I have to leave this remarkable place one day.

    4E 195 Last Seed 14 – The Thalmor arrested a Bosmer today. They said he was against the Dominion. If the Thalmor only knew half the truth, we would all be dead by now. Secretly, the Bosmer are mortal enemies with the Thalmor. The Thalmor’s destructive usage of magic disturbs the balance in Valenwood and interferes with the natural cycle of life. Without respect they resurrect the dead, conjure demons from the planes of Oblivion and burn everything down that opposes them. After 7 years I am beginning to understand why the Bosmer try to preserve balance, it is not only nature they seek to protect, it is the very balance of magic. In general the Bosmer are the only elves who do not use magic in the known schools. The elites of the Bosmer, the Rangers, are the ones who are sent on missions across Tamriel to hunt people who disturb the balance of magic. Necromancers, rogue mages, undead, vampires and werewolfs are but a few of these who need to be hunted. If there was no one to guard the balance, chaos would unfold and life would not be possible.

    4E 201 Morning Star 1 – It was 13 years ago I began training with the Bosmer and today is the ceremony to join the ranks of the Valenwood Rangers. I will be sent out to Skyrim to preserve balance in every way possible. Skyrim is in need of a Ranger, a civil war is imminent and someone has to keep watch over the wilds. With war comes chaos and the people and creatures who seek to disturb the Balance will meet the point of my arrow and dagger. Today I begin a new life, a life as a Valenwood Ranger...



     1. The Build

    “Rangers are usually associated with the wisdom of nature. Rangers tend to be wise, cunning, and perceptive in addition to being skilled woodsmen. Many are skilled in stealth, wilderness survival, beast-mastery, herbalism, and tracking. Archery and (often dual-wielding) swordplay are common to rangers, though there are many instances where rangers use a variety of weapons, skills, and sometimes magic or have a resistance to magic.”

    This quote is the very definition of a Ranger according to Wikipedia. I have seen a few awesome Ranger-ish builds on the blog (The Forester by Christopher Elliott and the Wild Guardian by Brennt Rallis) and I would like to introduce you guys to another nature focussed archer build I think is the true personification of the Ranger.

    Race: Bosmer

    This choice is obvious, out of roleplaying perspective the Valenwood Ranger originates from Valenwood, and only Bosmer are allowed to join the ranks of the Valenwood Rangers. From the gameplay perspective the racial skills and abilities perfectly complement the used skills in this build.

    Standing Stone: the Lord Stone

    I recommend taking the Lord Stone for extra armor rating and magic resistance. Leather armor is not that protective and because we do not invest further then the custom fit perk this stone is a must. The magic resistance is always nice, especially against dragons and necromancers.

    Health/Stamina/Magicka: 3:2:0

    The Valenwood Rangers do not use magic so Magicka isn’t needed. Stamina is important to be able to spam the power attack of the dual daggers and to have the ability to sprint a long time, but after you reach a base of 200 stamina you can spend everything in health. Thanks to the low stamina cost of the dagger power attacks, you can spam them throughout a fight when the enemy gets near.


    2. Skillset

    Major Skills: Archery, Alchemy, One Handed

    Minor Skills: Sneak, Light Armor, Smithing


    Level 30:

    Level 50:

    The Valenwood Rangers are masters of the bow and experts in dual wielding daggers. They are able to pull the string, aim and shoot while running. They cover their arrows and blades with deadly poisons and they are able to disappear in plain sight. Every Valenwood Ranger is self reliant, so they can create and improve their own equipment.

    Out of a roleplaying perspective, magic is a big no. No restoration, no alteration, no destruction and especially no enchanting. I think alchemy can do the same thing as enchanting, only on temporary basis. Making potions of archery, one handed, health and stamina fortification are excellent substitutions for enchantments on armor and weapons. However, if you find magical equipment in chests, you may use it, as long as it suits the Valenwood Ranger.


    3. Gear

    Head: Shrouded Cowl (Nothing beats a 20% boost in Archery)

    Chest, Hand and Feet: Leather armor, leather bracers and leather boots

    Weapons: elven or glass bow (DG: Zephyr), elven or glass daggers

    As you can see, the equipment is pretty simple. The Valenwood Rangers don’t need fancy magical stuff to work with. The Shrouded Cowl however is a must to have. I recommend doing the “Destroying the Dark Brotherhood” quest to obtain the Shrouded Cowl. I would pick the maskless one (it is the best looking for a Ranger and a bonus to archery is always nice).

    I want to keep the weight of a bow to a minimum to be able to shoot fast. When you have the Dawnguard DLC, Zephyr is a must have as the speed of fire is ridiculous, especially combined with the quickshot perk.

    The Elven and Glass daggers are nice and light, so stamina usage for power attacks is kept to a minimum. Have fun poisoning your blades and becoming a poisonous storm of blades when the enemy comes near.


    4. Roleplaying

    4.1 The Green Pact

    Everyone may have heard of the Bosmer’s Green Pact. Bosmer follow this pact to honor Y'ffre, the God of Teachings. There are a few rules you have to follow:

    1. You may not collect wood to craft weapons. You can only buy wood if you have to use it.

    2. You may not collect and use plant-based resources for alchemy.

    3. You may not consume plant-based food like wine, mead, vegetable soups and bread. The Bosmer are religiously carnivores so when you eat, you eat meat, cheese, fish and nothing else.

    The Green Pact forbids the Bosmer to use plant-based products for potions, poisons and decoration. Even the Bosmer outside Valenwood respect that law. To help you guys, here is the Green Pact Alchemy guide. The guide offers information about every combination available for potions and poisons in honor of the Green Pact (a big thanks to Runered for making the guide and Vazgen for mentioning it).


    4.2 Adventuring and Quests

    The Valenwood Ranger seeks balance in the world, they explore every dungeon they find to search for bandits, necromancers, rogue mages and other dangers. If the inhabitants of Skyrim are endangered you try to protect them. But it is also the other way around, if there are people who endanger nature you won't hesitate to protect it.

    You are an excellent hunter. Deer and Elk are your primary sources for food, while Bears and Sabercats are your primary source for skins and leather. Always respectfully skin your animal and take everything with you, don't kill more than you need. When you skin an animal, "wait" for 1 hour or so to actually have time pass by as you skin the animal.

    As a follower you always have your faithful wardog with you. I recommend to take a wardog from the Dawnguard as they look epic and Huskies look a lot more fearsome then a scurfy streetdog. It shows other people you are master of nature and its inhabitants. 

    Lastly you should not turn into a vampire or werewolf (although an infection can be great for the roleplay). They are unnatural and products of Daedric intervention in the world. Therefor, you should not do any Daedric quests, not even for the "nice" Daedra.

    As questlines I recommend to do the main story line of Skyrim, Dawnguard and Dragonborn. You can do the Companions until the point you have to be a werewolf. The Winterhold and Dark Brotherhood quest line is a big no. The minor quests "Destroying the Dark Brotherhood" and "Waking Nightmare" are actually a must to do as they restore balance in the world.



    5. Combat

    Combat with the Valenwood Ranger is pretty straight forward. You use sneak to position yourself on a secured place where the enemy can’t reach you. If there are no such places however, you run circles around your enemy and rain arrows (run and gun). The sneak attack is your openings shot and once fired you come out of hiding and confront your enemies. Poison shots are only used for the stronger enemies and in sneak mode.

    If enemies come near you, you switch to your daggers. You try to avoid incoming blows and you spam the power attacks with poisoned blades. If you did it right, there shouldn’t be many enemies around when you have to grab your daggers. 

    As for shouts, I am a big fan to use the shouts that buff your character or help you out with summons. Animal Allegiance, Aura Whisper, Become Ethereal, Elemental Fury, Kyne's Peace, Slow Time and Whirlwind Sprint are the major shouts you use. I never used the destructive and "evil" shouts as they don't suit the character.


    5.1 Useful Poisons and Potions

    Roots of the Forest: The poison gives the victim hallucinations of roots binding his/her feet. 

    Damage Health + Lingering Damage Health + Paralyze (Human Flesh + Imp Stool + Slaughterfish Egg)


    Y'ffre's Touch: The victim gets the feeling, once exposed to the poison, Y'ffre himself is touching him crippling his/her body.

    Damage Health + Slow (River Betty + Small Antlers + Large Antlers)


    6. Special Attacks

    Cutting Wind: In a blink of an eye you dash to your enemy with poisoned blades extended, cutting the enemy down before he/she has the chance to grab his close ranged weapon.

    Whirlwind Sprint + Daggers poisoned with "lingering health" + Standing Power Attack


    Hundred Kisses: The Valenwood Ranger stands in front of his enemy and cuts with lightning speed the enemy to pieces.

    Slow Time + Daggers poisoned with "lingering health" + Spam of standing power attacks


    Fivefold Flurry: The Valenwood Ranger shoots five poisoned arrows in quick succession at the same or different targets.

    Slow Time + 5x poisoned arrows with "damage health" + Zephyr or Quick Shot


    The Wilds' Whisper: At night the Valenwood Ranger whispers to the Wilds to find inbalances in his direct surrounding. When the Wilds anwser, the Ranger prepares an ambush. The Ranger shoots for certain bodyparts to cripple or to immobilize his enemies, to eventually release them from their pains with a shot between the eyes.

    Aura's Whisper + Sneak attack with poisoned arrows with "paralyze and lingering health" or "slow and damage health" + Headshot


    Blessing of Y’ffre: While preserving balance in the world the Valenwood Ranger earned the blessing of Y’ffre to completely vanish in front of the enemies’ eyes to reposition him/herself and call the animals of the forest for help.

    Animal Allegiance + Potion of Invisibility + Sneak

    Thank you for taking a look at the Valenwood Ranger! It is my first build, so if there is anything wrong, let me know. I am not native English, if there are some grammatical errors, please say so.


    Other Builds:

    The Scarred Hero

    The Carmine Blade

  • Member
    May 5, 2013

    I like the backstory a lot!

  • Member
    May 5, 2013

    Thank you very much, I tried to stay as lore-friendly as possible.

  • Member
    May 5, 2013

    Great build! Keep it up. 

  • Member
    May 5, 2013

    I am loving the dragon's dogma inspired special moves. this is very a good way I find people go off into long winded explanations this is a good old, tried and true ranger.




  • Member
    May 5, 2013

    Thank you very much! The Dragon's Dogma influence was unavoidable 

  • Member
    May 5, 2013

    I updated the build a little bit. I included more information about Shouts and I have rewritten some parts of the text to enhance the character. I still think I might have to rewrite the special attacks a little bit.

  • Member
    May 5, 2013
    +1 Nice badass ranger pics
  • Member
    May 5, 2013

    Got the impression you really enjoyed yourself making this, simple and effective. I'd not have guessed this was your first build.


  • Member
    May 5, 2013

    I have to thank Henson and Ponty for their awesome builds, I used theirs as a template for mine.