Skyrim Character Building » Discussions

Character Build: The Ronin

Tags: #Character Build Archer  #Character Build Barbarian  #Character Build Rogue  #Rank:Legendary  #Race:Orc 
  • Member
    May 10, 2013

    This is going to be a bare-bones write-up, because I don’t have any lore to connect with the character (and I don’t think there is any samurai orc lore, anyway), and the build itself is pretty damn simple. I normally play mage and thief types, so I wanted to make a pure combat build that would be fast-paced, sleek, and minimize menu-scrolling; no switching spells or spending hours in inventory screens, minimal crafting, and very little healing. This character was an absolute blast to play, and he slices and shoots his way through Master with grace and ease.

    The Ronin


    One of the main ideas going into this game was to utilize all of the perks that affect character mobility, such as Block RunnerRanger, and Silent Roll – perks that open up new “moves” or controller options. Passive perks that keep you immersed in the world with nothing but your blade and your bow to switch between. He has dozens of moves and combos that keep it interesting, and none of them require going into a menu. Furthermore, The Ronin achieves full speed by wearing clothes and robes rather than rely on perks or standing stones.

    For a backstory, if only to tie everything together and to give me a name for the guy, I decided that he was found as a child in the Wrothgarian Mountains by an old master of an ancient martial art. He was born and raised by the teachings of this old master, meditating intensely on three basic aspects of combat: focus, balance, and chi (see Abilities section). However, his days as a student and samurai are long past. He is now a lone soul, jaded to the "Way of the Warrior," and he follows a moral compass all his own. While kind at heart, and honorable in battle, he carries a darkness that manifests in self-doubt and personal turmoil, and reckless or selfish decisions are always around the corner.

    Race: Orc

    Stone: Lady

    Weapons: Only having a good bow and a trusty blade to switch between was a key idea here.

    • Ebony Blade - chosen for the simplicity of having ONE melee weapon, its absorb health enchantment, and the samurai look.
    • Long Bow (Soul Trap) - Your travel bow. Should be able to draw and kill a rabbit before he moves.
    • Orcish Bow (Absorb Stamina/Absorb Health) - Your combat bow. Stamina absorb helps to stay zoomed in longer.

    Gear: Staying quick and agile is key, so don't wear too much armor. Enchantments should focus on Health, Healing Rate, Two-handed, Block, and Magic Resist.

    • Scaled Boots/Bracers/Helmet
    • Blue Robes (for samurai look)
    • Ragged Trousers (for crazy badass look)

    Stats: 9:1:0 (Health:Stamina:Magicka). Nearly every point goes into health for the regeneration benefits, and simply to keep us alive with little or no armor. Power attacking doesn’t benefit us as we heal 30 points per hit with the Ebony Blade, and faster swings means more health. A little stamina is good for bashing and zooming with the bow, but not nearly as important as having a TON of health.

    Quests: You are a roaming warrior, a lost soul, searching everywhere for a distraction from the guilt and shame that darken the corners of your lonely mind. Therefore, the most fitting end to the tale should be finding tranquility and acceptance in the arms of a sweet and delicate lover. Companions, Mages (for Slow Time), Imperials, Destroy The Dark Brotherhood!, The Whispering Door (for The Ebony Blade), The Taste of Death (Optional), The White Phial... The Book of Love.

    ShoutsSlow Time, Whirlwind Sprint, Marked For Death 



    Archery:Every perk should be taken by the end of your game. Pretty self-explanatory. A bow will be your ready weapon throughout, and you should be able to draw and kill an elk before he lifts his head. This build looks to take advantage of every combat perk, so take them all and use them!

    • Key Perks: RangerQuick Shot, Steady Hand 2/2

    Two-Handed: All relevant greatsword perks. The Ebony Blade is our one and only melee weapon, and you should brandish it with great skill and precision. Again, utilize all of the "new move" perks.

    • Key Perks: Bladesman 3/3, Sweep, Paralyze

    Block: All perks but Shield Charge. Believe me, you will want to stay on top of the Shield Wall perks and put points in there as soon as you can. When you can't dodge a power attack with Quick Reflexes, you can mitigate the damage with Shield Wall and enchanting buffs. Don't call me crazy until you try this character out; blocking and bashing with the Ebony Blade is more than enough to keep yourself alive on Master, even with virtually no armor rating. Block Runner is supposed to affect swords, so waste the two perks and take it - it's worth it for the mobility.

    • Key Perks: Shield Wall 5/5, Block Runner, Disarming Bash

    Sneak: A few points in Sneak help to give us a tactical advantage in battle, and keep us moving even while crouching. Deadly Aim isn't recommended. This character loves the rush of battle and need not rely on sneak attacks to win the fight, but normal sneak attack damage can help to weaken the ranks a little.

    • Key Perks: Silent Roll, Silent Running

    Enchanting: A crucial aspect of this build, but not one that necessarily needs much time given to it here or in the game. Enchantments should focus on first, Two-handed and Archery, then later Health, Healing Rate, Block, and Two-handed. A huge health pool coupled with Healing Rate/Absorb Health enchantments, healing from the Ebony Blade, and optionally, the Ring of Namira, help stay healthful in battle without needing to switch to a healing spell or potion. Extra Effect really sets this build off. I almost hesitate to include it because it just instantly doubles your power.

    • Key Perks: Soul Siphon, Extra Effect (if you dare)







    The Slow Time effect. Steady Hand 2/2Quick Reflexes, and the Slow Time shout simulate our hero’s intense concentration in the heat of battle, allowing him to dodge attacks or bombard the enemy with 20 arrows before they even draw a weapon.





    Mobility and agility. Ranger, Block Runner, Quick Shot, Whirlwind Sprint, Silent Roll, Sweep, and Silent Running all combine to form a quick and deadly warrior who is as light on his feet as he is fast with his bow.






    Life force. Health and Regeneration. Marked For Death, the Ebony Blade, Enchanting effects, and a large health pool represent the ability to let the substance of life flow through him, and to push and pull that force at will.






    A moves section would be too limiting for this character, and would undermine the very idea of having full mobility and every move available. I played my Ronin very fast-paced, and moves and abilities were used in snap-of-the-moment decisions and in very different orders and combinations each time. Sometimes I would just litter everything with arrows, using Whirlwind Sprint to maintain distance. Other times I would run crypts with the Ebony Blade and Marked For Death equipped, leeching a little life from the undead. Slow Time is handy for switching weapons in a pinch and getting off a few blows before it runs out, or navigating through multiple enemies in cramped battlegrounds.

    This build and playstyle are very plain, maybe to a fault, but it's never repetitive. No spells, no potions, no shield or armor. Two weapons and a full range of combat options are the ONLY things this character works with. Anything else is a passive effect or buff that really just serves to make that simple combat style possible, and to never be focused on anything but the world at hand.

    In terms of roleplay, I always like simple, overarching themes that can work with any quest or faction. The Ronin's theme is searching for a new home, a new group, a new place to BE. He wanders, keeping himself busy, keeping his mind distracted from dwelling on guilt and shame and loneliness. He really just strives for acceptance and to be useful - to matter again. Any quest in the game can be played within these bounds.

    My whole experience with this build was just so refreshingly smooth and easy. No need to plan perks, or grind skills, or find specific gear (save the ebony blade). He is the same character all the way through, too, always reliable with a long blade and bow; anything acquired only accents that dynamic.



    • Thanks to Vansalon for the name suggestion!
    • A close second for race was Altmer, mostly becuase they're supposedly the fastest race, and that would be a great bonus. But Orcs boast the warrior-born lore and the samurai haircuts. 
    • Two-handed perks do affect the Ebony Blade since patch 1.9, making this a great build to play if you haven't tried the Blade since. I even made sure that I was getting crits from Deep Wounds before I moved on, and it definitely seems to be classified as a greatsword, now.
    • A quick note about levelling: perk upward in a skill tree before padding out the bottom. Mobility and moves over strength and force is the essence of this character.
    • THE BEAST OF HIGH ROCK. This is my first, much slower-paced, much wordier build. He is almost the opposite of The Ronin. He moves at a slow, contemplative, curious pace. Major Skills are Alchemy, 2-handed, Conjuration.
  • Member
    May 10, 2013

    You have 4 official tags, I think the limit is 3.

    But I like this build, no armor (besides block) and twohanders are very fun! +1

  • Member
    May 10, 2013

    Oops. Fixed. Thanks!

  • Member
    May 10, 2013

    Like the build, going without armor on high difficulties relying only on your combat technique is really badass! +1 

    I have some questions about the perks. Why did you take Sneak perks, the left side perks of the Block tree and Deep Wounds?

    If Sneak is only to stay undetected, simple muffle enchantment will work just fine. The left side of Block tree goes for the shields which you don't use. Deep Wounds will give you a 20% chance to do some miserable damage (the damage is based on the base damage of the weapon which is 11 for Ebony Blade).

  • Member
    May 10, 2013

    One small point I'm confused on: You say that "power attacking doesn't benefit us as we heal 30 points per hit with the Ebony Blade, and faster swings means more health" yet you list Sweep and Paralyzing Strike as key perks, If power attacking doesn't benefit us, why are two of the power attack perks key?

  • Member
    May 10, 2013

    I have little to say that hasn't been already said, except to note that a Samurai who has dishonored their lord and been cast out is known as a ronin (It's technical definition is a lordless samurai). It sounds better than ex-samurai in my opinion and means virtually the same thing.

  • Member
    May 10, 2013

    It looks like he took the left side of the block tree just for block runner...

    And the sneak perks were just for both the silent roll and silence perks.

  • Member
    May 10, 2013

    OK, the Block is understandable. Why does he need silence when muffle does the same thing? And from what I got he uses stealth just for opening bow shot. If that's the case simply equipping the bow in sneak makes you move almost at the same speed as silent roll (not to mention you can glitch silent roll by equipping/unequipping the bow while moving). He can also use Block Runner in sneak to move far faster.

  • Member
    May 10, 2013

    You're thinking of the Muffled Movement perk, the Silence perk is "walking and running do not affect detection".

  • Member
    May 10, 2013

    Muffled Movement is muffle of 0.5 magnitude, Silence is muffle with 1 magnitude. To quote Ponty "The silence perk is basically just a free muffle enchant