Skyrim Character Building » Discussions

Character Build: The Curator

  • July 12, 2015

    The Curator

    Far too often, noble visitors from Cyrodiil see little more of Skyrim than the view from their carriage.”

    There was a boy who was born in Cyrodiil to an Imperial family of merchants.  He grew up spending most of his time in his father's general goods store, reading the constantly circulating collection of books.  As a young adult, he was expected to help contribute to one of the family businesses and since he was more interested in reading books than selling them, he chose to learn how to hunt and skin furs with his mother.  Unfortunately, his eyesight was terrible and so was his long range aim.  Through practice, he learned to fire quickly and accurately at short distances. He borrowed a sword to use after realizing that when enemies closed in, a blunt bow wasn't much of an offense.  He was given a dog by his mother so that he could be warned of vague blurs on the horizon that would later turn out to be something mean.  After enough ruined hunts, he became discouraged and fell back on his book knowledge and intelligence.  He packed his things and left on a carriage with his dog, promising his parents that he would make something of himself. To him, that meant making a place similar to his childhood.  A place of knowledge where people could come and learn things they would otherwise have no chance to know.  Mysterious items with unknown origins, books with information that few know, and artifacts thought to be lost to time. 

    The Curator's full profile and story can be found here.  


    Build  //  Skills  //  Perks  //  Gameplay  //  Roleplay  //  Quests

    He's not a hero, and he's not the best at what he does, but he has noble goals 


    All DLC's recommended though not necessary
    Hearthfire or custom home mod is strongly recommended


    Race: Imperial, male or female

    Stone: The Lover followed by the The Lady.
    The Lover is optional - this build has fairly slow progression but some may wish to establish their skills before officially starting.  

    Stat spread: 1/1/1, as needed 

    Follower(s): Meeko or Bran 
    Non-DLC alternatives and explanations provided in Roleplay section.  


    Zephyr with Dwarven Arrows.
    No DLC: Hunting Bow/ Bow of the Hunt with Dwarven arrows.  The Hunting Bow was chosen because it's easy to upgrade (leather strips), benefits from the Steel Smithing perk, and fits the flavor of the Curator after a certain mission.  Once Quick Shot is obtained, a Dwarven bow is an acceptable alternative, though the Hunting Bow will still fire faster.  

    Silver sword enchanted with fire.
    What, you thought those zombie Nords wouldn't notice you?

    Aetherial Staff.
    One up every adventurer who tells tales of Dwarven Animunculi by summoning one of your own, or get some free crafting materials.


    Blue clothes: Stamina regeneration
    Fine boots: Stamina regeneration
    Silver emerald necklace: Health regeneration
    Gold sapphire ring: Health regeneration
    Grey Alik'r hood: Fortify archery
    Gloves: Fortify archery

    Any clothes are fine as long as base armor rating is zero and all the pieces are present.  These are just my personal favorites.                                                              




     Perk Spread


    Playing the Curator means more than shooting things really fast.  It's about becoming the character. Adopting his attitudes, his motivations, and sometimes, his willingness to flee.  For the Curator, the goal is what lies beyond the enemy, rather than the enemy itself.  But since achieving his ends often means removing the obstacle, whomever or whatever it may be, there are a variety of techniques he has at his disposal.  


    In the early game, drawing a bow is slow.  Luckily, enemies are generous enough to project their attacks enough so that with the right timing, you can sprint past the attack, get behind the attacker, and fire into the back of the unlucky sod's head.  This technique gets better with time once Zephyr and/or Quick Shot are obtained, allowing you to create more distance between you and your target and fully draw the bow before firing.

    The pathetic looking half-draws that are common to the early game actually end up being life savers. There's no time to fully draw a bow when an angry, kill-cam hungry Orc is charging with a warhammer. When the only thing standing between you and death is your pride, suddenly a fully drawn bow doesn't seem so important. 


    Unlocking things is your main source of income since the Curator does not sell what he finds.  The gold that he finds and makes doing jobs goes into three things:

    1. Materials to construct the museum.
    2. Materials to create arrows as a means of finding more things for the museum.
    3. Buying things for the museum.

    If it has no place in his museum, it gets left behind.  The Curator's museum is his number one priority, which means only picking up things that have some value beyond their monetary worth.  Because not everything can be found in the deepest recesses of Skyrim's unmapped terrain, shops become important for more than just selling an absurd amount of pelts and weapons.  Speech is not a perked skill though it will naturally go up.  This was done to better simulate the costs of constructing a museum. 


    Because of the lack of armor and the unpredictability of Skyrim's wilderness, it's important that you keep your defensive spells at the ready.  A flesh spell and Detect Life are quite handy if you know that you are heading into an area with enemies.  Because of the Curator's inability to sneak or see very well, he fights the next most intelligent way he can: preparation by seeing through walls.  Knowing what's coming allows him to cast his spells before engaging and have his bow at the ready.  So cheating, pretty much.

    One Handed

    The fire enchanted Silver Sword that the Curator carries is because of the unfortunate nature of treasure hunting - the treasure is often guarded by undead, who ambush in tight corridors and in numbers greater than even a master bowman could reasonably handle.  When your dog companion goes down, and a dozen hateful glowing eyes turn towards you, you had better have a Plan B.  


    Performance enhancing magic that makes your arrows hit harder and ensures that you can catch your breath before the next fight without having to wait for an hour.  Fights will involve a lot of sprinting through attacks and liberal use of Steady Hand, so it's important to be able to regenerate quickly.  For those of you who hate the grind, then by all means make use of the Dawnstar chest.  Budgeting between grand soul gems and the nails needed to hold up the structure that is your life's work is tough, I get it.  No one will judge you.


    This comes naturally with time, so fear not.  Smithing is mainly used for upgrading your weapons and making arrows.  

    If you killed it in one shot, you're doing it wrong


    The Curator is heavily roleplay based and as such is a slowly progressing build.  The character and the game become about enjoying the journey without padding gameplay time by restricting movement speed or fast travel.  The Curator is a helpful fellow, so it's important that he gets to know the people of his new home.  He is happy to accept payment for tasks, considering it a donation to the development of the museum. 

     Illusion & Restoration

    Illusion and restoration were taken specifically for buffing and healing my dog companion. Courage was helpful as a small buff, and Healing Hands was used mainly as a roleplay mechanic.  Your dog has helped you for years and without him/her, you probably wouldn't have made it this far.  It's only fair to return the favor.  

    The Museum & Legacy

    For Hearthfire users, deck it out.  Fill shelves, cases, and podiums with anything you think deserves to be displayed.  Collect (and read!) books, even collect duplicates if they're a favorite or particularly rare.  PC users who choose not to use Hearthfire, same thing.  You just get more customization.  Non-PC, non-Hearthfire users - you get Vlindrel Hall in Markarth.  Largest amount of bookshelf space in all of Skyrim!  

    The continuation of the Curator's legacy is something that is very important to him.  Mate and choice of children is left up to the individual.  Four books can be gifted to children: A Children's Anuad; Kolb & The Dragon; The Red Book of Riddles; Yellow Book of Riddles.  Daggers also make good gifts.  


    For console players, this is going to take some willful blindness.  The story goes, that after the Blackwater Crossing ambush, the Curator was separated from his dog, the one given to him by his mother.  After Helgen, his first priority was to look for his dog, because as his story tells us, the Curator is rather useless alone.  After enough searching, the Curator finds his dog wandering a road near solitude.  For PC players I imagine it's easier.  You can spawn a dog with you right away, especially if you have an alternate start mod, or you can just play it like I did and search for your dog.  

    If you start a family and decide to leave Meeko at home or if, gods forbid, your dog dies, then I recommend Vigilance* or Bran.  Barbas was never taken as a companion.  The character loses some of it's charm when your dog is an invincible tank.  

    Bran is found at Dawnguard Castle which incidentally has fantastic things inside of it.  Rune weapons, armored trolls, crossbows, etc.  All things fit for a museum.  Which brings me to...

    *Note that Vigilance's level becomes locked in at whatever level you meet him.


    "The true joy of exploration is in the discovery." - An Explorer's Guide to Skyrim


    Generally speaking, if your miscellaneous quest log isn't full, you're probably doing it wrong.   Only three quests are listed because they the quests that I found to be the most exciting and consistent with the Curator's character.  Quest order and selection is generally unstructured.  Different versions of the Curator might have to face the realities of obtaining Daedric artifacts.  Obtaining Daedric artifacts are largely done for selfish reasons, so you have to ask yourself - how valuable is an artifact of immense power that will not only not be used, but comes with a heavy price attached to it?  

    And what of the dragons?  Ignore them if you like.  Those dragon bones and scales would sure look swell in a display case though...just don't shout.  Curator's are soft spoken, and shouting is rude.  

    What I loved so much about playing the Curator is that it felt genuine and dynamic.  No playthrough was quite the same.  

    We swim in different oceans but land on the same shore. 

    Now go forth and curate.  Bring the joy of discovery to those who would never get to explore. 

    Closing notes:

    Photo sources listed in order of appearance.  Any photos without links were found on Pinterest and no primary source was provided.  


    Many thanks to those who supported this in the Workshop with likes and comments.




  • July 12, 2015
    Holy crap I didn't see that new skill picture. That things looks brilliant, as does the rest of the build. I'm glad this is out of the Workshop and congratulations on such a good build. Oh by the way, this is the way the tags should work. "Character Build Archer", "Character Build Mage", Rank:Bloodworks, Race:Imperial That's the way it should be just so that it doesn't mix yo like yours have.
  • July 12, 2015

    Dear god, thank you.  For the compliment and the advice.  These tags have been frustrating me.  

  • July 12, 2015

    Just skimming over this for the time being, but I love the presentation already! Expect a more detailed comment sometime tomorrow. 

  • Member
    July 12, 2015

    Easily one of the most aesthetically pleasing builds on the site. Also, I absolutely love the concept of this build. Good job

  • July 12, 2015

    Wow, thanks, I appreciate that.  Glad you enjoy it! 

  • July 12, 2015
    The tags on this site are just a shit to work with. I remember one time my build tags were screwed up so much, they were duplicating themselves and I couldn't add my own new tags. Those tags are out to get us mate.
  • Member
    July 12, 2015

    I really like the look of this, especially the Perk spread and how you've listed the skills (never seen anything like that before). I might just give this or something like it a go, I've already got the hording down 

  • July 12, 2015

    I don't have the words to describe how happy it makes me that people are appreciating the aesthetics of my build, so I'll use this:

    Seriously, it was such a drama getting it all right.

  • Member
    July 12, 2015
    Great build and backstory that went with it.