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Character Build: The Artifact Hunter

Tags: #Character Build Archer  #Character Build Rogue  #Race:Imperial  #Rank:Recognized  #Motty Build 
  • Member
    October 11, 2015

    Growing up, I totally wanted to be Indiana Jones. The professor of archeology, idealist, and ladies man had it all. Bravado, wit, intelligence and knack for getting out of sticky situations to get the precious artifact away from evil hands and into the proper museum. This build stemmed from my frustration of accidentally deleting a saved crossbow character and realizing that relying only on that instrument got a bit boring. 

    I’ve been super inspired looking through builds here on the vault. When it comes to collectors and curators, there have been some great ones. This build is my attempt to place my old hero Dr. Jones in Skyrim as:


    It seems there is no end to the amount of amazing artifacts in Skyrim. And most of them have fallen into the wrong hands or have simply been forgotten. My motto? That belongs in a museum! 

    The Movie-Quest Parallels:

    The Lost Ark = Lost to the Ages: Access your favorite bow, Zephyr and a one of a kind Aetherium artifact (I went with the Shield to put on display)

    Temple of Doom = The Break of Dawn: Head to the Temple of Meridia and recover the epic blade for your museum.

    Last Crusade = Scroll Scouting: Recover all three Elder Scrolls. There is no greater artifact.

    Crystal Skulls = Dragon Priest Masks: A pretty nice parallel (shout out to Rhoth for stimulating the idea). Collect the necessary masks and return them to their "proper" museum in the Bromjunaar Sanctuary

    The Build:

    Race – Imperial, Male

    Stone – Thief

    Blessing – Zenithar, Talos

    Shouts – Throw Voice, Slow Time

    Spells – Fire Rune, Firebolt 


    Early – Leather/Thieves Guild Set, Novice Hood, Amulet of Zenithar, Ring of Minor Archery, Hunting Bow

    Late – Blackguard Armor (+50 carrying capacity), Blackguard Gloves (lockpicking), Linwe’s Boots (sneaking) & Hood (archery), Ring of Destruction, Galdur Amulet, Zephyr, Enhanced Dwarven Crossbow, Miraak's Sword.

    The closest substitute for iconic leather jacket and hat is unique leather armor and a hood. This setup perks everything you use most, and is not over-powered, giving the sense of vulnerability and places importance on making every move count. The Guild Master Armor is a better match for the long sleeve aesthetic than the sleeveless Blackguard, but I couldn’t see Indiana doing the full Thieves Guild quest line.

    Stat Distribution: M-1  H-3  S-2

    The Fire Rune spell is a bit costly even with the apprentice perk. Factor in some cost reduction with a ring of destruction and/or magicka boost of the Galdur amulet, you’ll still need to put a few points into magicka to cast more than one rune and a few fireballs. Take stamina to about 150 and dump the rest in health. Indiana is a hardy Prof.

    Archery - Since you don’t have a whip or a gun, the Bow/Crossbow is your best sub.
    Sneak – The less evil you disturb while crypt diving for artifacts, the better.
    Speech – He’s smooth with the ladies and merchants.

    Destruction – Lure the bad guys into your Fire Rune trap with throw voice or arrow. Firebolt is fun to mix up attack stances too.
    Smithing – Steel early to upgrade your hunting bow, Dwarven to improve your Crossbow.
    Light Armor – Lightly perked, because you won’t be getting hit much. I took it to Unhindered to keep him light on his feet and added carrying capacity.
    Lock Picking – I really wanted to perk up to treasure hunter, but because lockpicking is so broken I didn’t until last...which at that point is more for RP than functionality.

    Level 20 – Skyrim Calculator

    Level 40 – Skyrim Calculator

    Your sole focus is obtaining rare artifacts and getting them into your museum, or wherever is most fitting. You’re more chaotic good, than lawful good and don’t mind getting your hands a little dirty as long as no innocents are hurt.

    Gameplay and Getting Started:
    Straight out of Helgen, get to Riften asap. There’s a shrine to Zenithar just northeast of the last of the three guard towers on the northern side of town. There you can snag a blessing and Amulet of Zenithar and start building your notoriety among merchants. Join the Thieves Guild for your early armor. While you don’t have to finish this long quest, it’s recommended to proceed far enough to get your ideal armor combo.

    Join the College of Winterhold, for knowledge and destruction training since you won’t use it enough to level with the rest of your skills.

    Grab a follower: Indiana’s side-kicks are integral to the narratives!

    Short Round (Jzzargo) – the kid with the cool accent and some tricks up his sleeve.

    Willie Scott (Lydia) – the flighty dingbat…kind of pretty, but definitely annoying.

    Sallah (Benor) – the good-natured bumbling idiot.

    Marion (Serana) – everyone, including Indy wishes she were spouse material!

    Proceed with the Main Quest to open up shouts and track down an Elder Scroll. Join the Dawnguard ASAP to get your crossbow (and the other two Scrolls). Later, take down Miraak for his sword that has the illusion of a whip when swung. 

    Choose which Hearthfire plot (or house) you want to make your museum. I went with Lakeview Manor, simply because it’s the first you can acquire and I wanted to keep and display my special finds early. Take the time to furnish most of it yourself, rather than letting the steward give you a stock setup.

    Other than that, you should be hunting for artifacts. Lost to the ages is a fun one and has an additional reward of the awesome Zephyr. Collecting all 3 special pickaxes (Notched, Ancient Nordic, & Hoarfrost) seemed like a good mission for a digger. I avoided “No Stone Unturned,” simply because it’s so arduous, but it is an interesting RP fit if you really get into the character.

    Using your chosen sidekick early on is necessary. True, it will hurt your sneak a bit, but so will getting ganged up on with just a pea-shooter (hunting bow). As you get your full compliment of gear, you won’t need them as much.

    Combat Tactics:

    Remember, Indy is a crafty, jack-of-all-trades, not a one-trick pony. Even though one handed was un-perked, I carried around a blade (like from his Temple of Doom days) to keep things interesting and added Miraak's sword later. The tentacle animation is actually pretty whip-like.

                Crossbow: Using sneak and bows, simply take down enemies one at a time. Simple, effective and powerful, used more at the early stages. But, it can get boring…

                Gun: Using the Gatling Gun ability, strafe and pepper a tough boss, or large hoard with endless arrows and bolts. No sneaking required.

                Lure: Scope out your situation and trick the enemy by luring them into your rune with throw voice (or an arrow). While they’re cooking, pepper in a few more fireballs until you run out of magicka, then switch to your bow/sword and finish them off.

    Special Abilities:

    The Gatling Gun
    Requirements: Zephyr/Crossbow + Quick Draw + Slow Time
    Description: Years of artifact hunting in sketchy locals has given you a quick trigger...very quick.

    The Hunk
    Requirements: Power Shot + Crossbow + Force Without Effort
    Description: Keep your foes chronically stunned by your rugged good looks…and deadly bolts. Most enemies will only last a few bolts anyway, and with a total of 75% chance of stagger, this can actually get a bit game breaking, so heads up!

    You Chose Poorly
    Requirements: “Lure” + Weakness to fire poison + Exploding Bolts of Fire
    Description: Use your lure battle tactic and keep the party burning with a poisoned exploding bolt for extra carnage.

    I don’t usually roleplay with rules, but these just felt right.

    1. Always carry a pickaxe, dig when you see an ore vein.
    2. Collect found skill books (and other interesting volumes) to fill shelves.
    3. Collect and display all claw keys (except the golden).
    4. Collect and display all flawless jewels.
    5. Collect and display any other weird and unique items. (ie: Dwemer utensils)

    Suggested Trophy List:
    Dawnbreaker, Aetherial Shield, Auriel’s Bow & Shield, Zephyr, Enhanced Dwarven Crossbow, all three Elder Scrolls, Galdur Amulet, Diadem of the Savant, Helm of Yngol, Bloodthorn, Dragonbane, Wabbajack, the 3 unique Pickaxes, the Dragon Priest Masks, and some full sets of armor from various ages on display (Ancient Nordic/Ahzidal, Elven, Dwarven, Blades, etc).

    Quest List:
    Main Quest, Thieves Guild, Dawnguard and Ancient Technology, Waking Nightmare, Dragonborn, Lost to the Ages, Hearthfire, The Break of Dawn, College of Winterhold, Unearthed.

    Closing Notes:
    Many thanks to Legion for the inspiration from his awesome build The Curator and Dragonborn1721 for his Artificer. Credit to the CounterfeitFrenchman for the idea to add Miraak's sword as a "whip."

  • Member
    October 11, 2015

    Interesting idea and because of one Easter egg in morrowind could be called lore friendly.

  • Member
    October 11, 2015

    Finally! I've been waiting for a build that is based off of Indiana Jones! And this build definitely doesn't disapoint

  • Member
    October 11, 2015
    Oh cool! Thanks so much :)
  • Member
    October 11, 2015
    Oh yeah? Which? It's been ages since I played Morrowind...
  • Member
    October 11, 2015

    In one of Dwemer ruins, there is dead adventurer, with backstory of Indian Jones, named Indy.

  • Member
    October 11, 2015
    Good job Motty, wonder what else you've got in mind
  • Member
    October 11, 2015
    Oh yeah! Totally haha. I forgot all about that. Brilliant.
  • Member
    October 11, 2015
    Dr. Jones!!! Nice job. I would make retrieving the dragon priest masks as a major thing though instead of an option. They are truly treasures of an ancient time. There's even a mod for adding a dragon priest mask display case if you're a PC player.
  • Member
    October 11, 2015
    I couldn't make it mandatory because as of right now I haven't finished it but yes I agree.