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Character Build: The Tombcrawler

Tags: #Character Build Dual-Wield  #Character Build Scout  #Character Build No Crafting  #Race:Khajiit  #Rank:Recognized  #LeBlanc Builds 
  • Member
    November 25, 2015

    From the land of Elsweyr come the fierce race of cat-people, the Khajiit.  The people of Skyrim have seen the merchant clans, the Cathay, but they will soon see a different breed of Khajiit.  Word has come from Ri'Saad, the Mane of the Caravans in Skyrim, a beckoning call for a Tombcrawler.  Your job is to delve the crypts and byways of Skyrim to procure high end merchandise for the profits of the Caravan Masters.

    You are a member of the Cathay-raht, a warrior clan from Elswyr that are known as the "Jaguar-Men".  The Cathay-raht are rarely seen outside of Elsweyr and were best remembered for being front line fighters during the Five Year War while fighting the forces of Valenwood.  You have been tasked by your clan leaders to travel to Skyrim and fulfill this mission.  Endless coins await both you and the Caravan Masters.  Perhaps a business opportunity will also present itself for you to push your clan's hidden agenda; to expand the lucrative skooma trade, utilizing the rich natural resources of Skyrim, and bring further riches to the Cathay-raht.  Could an opportunity to even usurp the power of the Caravan Masters present itself?  However, you must first deal with an inconvenience.  You are captured in a classic wrong place-wrong time moment, by the Imperial Army while crossing the border into Skyrim.  Now you must figure a way out from under the Headsman's Axe to fulfill your destiny as...

    Race: Khajiit
    Stone: Thief or Warrior; then Lord
    Major Skills: One Handed, Sneak, Light Armor
    Minor Skills: Smithing, Archery, Restoration, Alchemy
    Shouts: Elemental Fury, Marked for Death, Slow Time, Throw Voice
    Recommended Quests: No One Escapes Cidhna Mine; Companions; Destroy the Dark Brotherhood; Thieves Guild; Civil War (Empire); Lost to the Ages; Deathbrand
    Skill Points0/1/1

    Armor: Any Light Armor while leveling.  Deathbrand Armor for final set.

    Weapons: Dual Wield, using Dagger in the left hand.  Blade of Woe for off hand and Mercer Frey's Dwarven Sword of Devouring make a great pairing once you get them in the quest lines.  Your final weapons, should you choose to discard the Absorb Health weapons, are from the Deathbrand quest line, Bloodscythe and Soulrender.

    *Make sure you have a Nordic Pickaxe from your travels through Solstheim.  It will be needed for the Deathbrand quest.

    Wielding Bloodscythe and Soulrender

    Your profession is to be inside tombs and crypts looking for high value merchandise for the Caravan Masters. Naturally, the Tombcrawler takes his pick of gear and weapons found on his explorations to better outfit himself.

    Skill Clarifications

    Restoration: As magic does not come easily to Khajiit, per lore, we limit Restoration for basic healing spells and the ability to regenerate our stamina.  This is the only magical talent you have.

    Smithing: Taken only for the ability to improve our Deathbrand (Stahlrim) Armor.  Not used in crafting during gameplay.

    Alchemy: Very limited to comply with roleplaying (see below).  Even if you choose to make your own potions, all the materials are easily gathered one time and then planted to avoid doing this all game.

    Lockpicking: You can leave this out if you wish.  I took it for Treasure Hunter to increase the opportunity for high end rewards in dungeons, items that the Tombcrawler would be searching for.

    Archery: Taken only for aesthetics, not as a primary skill.  Further explanation in the Combat section.

    This character is primary a melee fighter using dual wield weapons.  Stealth and the Throw Voice shout allow you to set up the killing field to your benefit.  If you are in danger of being overrun, use Archery to thin the crowds to make your melee more manageable.  Using Elemental Fury, along with an unenchanted offhand dagger, you can make quick work of small groups.  If you are using magically imbued weapons then Slow Time is a shout to go to when facing multiple enemies.  I tried to limit my fighting to no more than three enemies at a time.  An Amulet of Talos can help shorten up shout cooldowns if using Elemental Fury as well.  Remember, the goal is to get into dual wield combat, not to rely on Archery so you note I limit the Archery tree pretty heavily.

    Potions of Potential Use

    Restore Heath* will be something needed due to the lack of a shield or blocking ability.  Alchemy for the win.  Also Potions of Fear and Invisibility could be useful but not required.  Fear to run off enemies when facing multiple combatants and Invisibility if overwhelmed.  Outside of that you will only use alchemy for roleplaying in the Skooma trade.*Imp Stool + Wheat; Imp Stool + Blisterwort; Wheat + Blisterwort

    Follower Recommendations

    Naturally as a Khajiit you are not well liked by the people of Skyrim.  This leaves really two options.  Kharjo is a fellow caravan member and is available after you complete his Moon Amulet quest.  Serana is the other who is available during the Dawnguard quest line.  Naturally, as a vampire, she is an outcast as well, so she can fit into your gameplay.

    "May your road lead you to warm sands."

    "May the Sun keep you warm, even in this land of bitter cold."

    "I hope you will find a warmer welcome in your travels than we have found in ours."

    As Ri'Saad, the Caravan Master will tell you, Kkajiit are not welcome inside the cities walls.  Since you work for the caravans, all trading will be done only with the three wandering Khajiit Caravans.  You can gain quests for two of the three caravans that will allow markers for them (one is from the Thieves Guild and the other is the Moon Amulet quest.  Do not complete the quest and it will stay in your log and allow you to find the caravans). 

    Venturing into the main Holds (Whiterun, Solitude, Markarth, Riften) will only be for direct access to a quest line (ala Cidhna Mine or Thieves Guild) or to further advance the game if this causes a stopping point that did not affect me in my playthrough.  Village Holds (unwalled cities or developments such as Dawnstar, Winterhold, etc) can be accessed freely.  This will change as you progress in the character however.

    The Skooma Trade and Roleplaying Tiers

    Again delving into Khajiit lore, we explore our background as a Cathay-raht.  As noted in the introduction this is a warrior clan of the Khajiit.  This breed is typically taller and more powerful than the merchant Cathay clan members.  This makes the Cathay-raht the strong arm of the Khajiit clans and this is why you are called to fulfill the duty of Tombcrawler in Skyrim.

    Using lore we break down our character growth into three groups.  You will progress between these groups during gameplay and as you reach personal accomplishments and goals, both those for the Caravan Masters and your ulterior goals for your Cathay-raht family....Skooma!


    Tier One: Litter-Mate

    A litter-mate, to Khajiit, is a run of the mill member of society.  In this tier you are welcomed to Skyrim in captivity, captured while crossing the border enroute to find Ri'Saad.  While searching for the caravans, find your way to Markarth to complete the Cidhna Mine quest line for your starter armor.  Then head to Riften to begin the Thieves Guild quests.  When possible, visit Falkreath to begin the Hearthfire quest for Lakeview Manor.  Also do the Moon Amulet quest for Kharjo with the Caravans.  For the skooma portion of this tier you will begin gathering resources to brew Basic Skooma.  As your find the raw materials, take advantage, as soon as possible, to begin planting your own poppy fields to grow your own materials and avoid having to collect them on your travels.  Acquire Lakeview Manor from the Jarl of Falkreath.  This gives you a base of operations from which to begin developing your Skooma business for the Cathay-raht.  What Ri'Saad doesn't know won't hurt him.  Of course, sell your skooma to the Caravan to allow the money to flow back to Elsweyr.  They will know where the skooma came from.

    Tier Two: Clan Mother

    The Khajiit are very matriarchal in their heritage.  Clan Mothers are, ultimately, the ones who control both the harvest AND the refining of skooma and Moon Sugar.  Thus, they are seen as the most influential people in the Khajiit culture.  As you begin to grow your Skooma trade with the building of Lakeview Manor, it's time to advance and become the Clan Mother in Skyrim.  Ri'Saad sees that you are more reliable than Kharjo since he couldn't protect his own Moon Amulet and you had to retrieve it for him.  Plus you are bringing in serious coin for the Caravan Masters with your Tombcrawling and your skooma. (This is triggered by finishing the Moon Amulet quest and building your home at Lakeview Manor.) 

    Take your first Alchemy point here to reflect your improving skooma skills.  Finish the Thieves Guild quest and become Guildmaster.  This should net you the Nightengale gear and weapons if they are upgrades for you.  Also do Lost to the Ages in order to acquire Zephyr.  Destroy Redwater Den (no matter which side you take in the Dawnguard quests) and also root out the skooma dealer in Riften.  This is prudent to destroy any rival Skooma gangs for the benefit of your own business.  For the Skooma portion of this tier, begin growing Lakeview Skooma.  This reflects your growing skill in the skooma trade and provides a new and stronger product than the regular skooma peddled by the Caravan Masters.  This is sure to get the attention of the Cathay-raht back home.  Again, use the gardens at Lakeview Manor and build the greenhouse addition wing for additional farming space.  Also, the Apiary can be used to harvest bees for this recipe as well.

    Begin working on the second and third Hearthfire homes for additional farming space and to further expand your growing skooma empire during this stage.  Hire caretakers for each home, you are too important to waste all your time overseeing day to day operations of the manufacturing facilities.  If you reach level 36 while still working towards this goal, begin the Deathbrand quest in pursuit of your Deathbrand Armor and the scimitars Bloodscythe and Soulreaver.

    Tier Three: The Mane

    Once you acquire all three Hearthfire homes and have your Deathbrand armor and weapons you progress to tier three.  One step remains to become The Mane, or the new head of all Khajiit in Skyrim.  It's time to add your second (and final) point to Alchemy, taking Physician.  you will also begin to brew your masterpiece, Skyrim Skooma (see below). 


    Elsweyr has seen your successes and how you have successfully driven the profits from the Caravan's higher than Ri'Saad ever dreamed possible.  You've created not one, but now TWO new skooma's that have begun to spread to the borders of Skyrim and beyond.    As the Mane, you replace Ri'Saad as the Caravan Master in Skyrim, figuratively of course. 

    Now you turn to cementing your new empire, getting your fingers into politics to further your causes and build up political amnesty for your crimes and in general, furthering the Khajiit cause where you can.  Obtain political allies that can help you personally.  This would entail the thane quests undone to this point and finishing the Civil War to make Maven Black Briar the Jarl of Riften.  All of these reflect your growing power as The Mane.  At this level, with your political pull and possible blackmail information on many of Skyrim's power elite, it's now possible (and prudent) for you to be welcomed into the holds of Skyrim.

    This is the third level of skooma that you will create and craft.  It takes three ingredients, all easily obtainable (Creep Cluster, Mora Tapinella and Scaly Pholiata). 

    Combine all three ingredients to make the new Skyrim Skooma.  It has four effects but shows a definite progression from regular skooma and you initial effort, Lakeview Skooma.

    If on Steam, there is also a mod called "Khajiit Caravan Tracker" that you can utilize for convenience in locating the caravans during the game, but is not needed.  This is not available on Skyrim Nexus however.

    My thanks to Motty Skills for his thoughts and insight for this build.  Also credit to Curse Never Dying for his build, Riften's Most Wanted, which led me into the realm of skooma manufacturing and political intrigue.  I think both of these helped me take my build beyond where I had it going initially.  An added, updated thanks to Manik for his work on my updated Perk Spread...the first one he's ever done for anyone.  I'm honored and humbled.

    Thanks for taking a stroll with The Tombcrawler.  My other builds can be seen at LeBlanc Builds

  • Member
    November 25, 2015
    Good work. Keep working through the tags...they aren't quite right. Otherwise nice job. I really enjoy the RP tiers. Very creative.
  • Member
    November 26, 2015

    Thanks for the catch.  Not sure what happened there, I certainly didn't type them in that way.  LOL.

  • Member
    November 26, 2015
    Kinda want to try it but the only DLC I have is Hearthfire. Any recommendations for alternative armors?
  • Member
    November 26, 2015
    I appreciate you taking a look at it. What you can do is just follow the play through and use the best light armor that you find. In doing the thieves guild quest line you will get the nightingale armor and that should be one of the better vanilla armors you could get. The blade of woe and Mercer Frey's Dwarven blade of draining are both in vanilla with the thieves guild and destroy the dark brotherhood. I think using those two weapons in a dual wield would be very powerful with absorb health in each hand.
  • Member
    November 26, 2015
    Alright, thanks. I do have Hearthfire, though, so no mods needed.
  • Member
    November 26, 2015
    I just did a quick Google search and since you are taking Armor as you find it as your wandering around you may come across some glass armor with a nice enchantment that would be really good to wear. It looks like the only armor better than glass is craftable via smithing which we are not doing on this build. So definitely keep an eye out for that as you get to a higher level. Naturally in the role-playing part, you would move to tier 3 after having all three houses but doing the deathbrand quest would not apply.
  • Member
    November 26, 2015

    Just a lore tidbit here, Cathay-Raht aren't a "rare warrior clan", they're a subspecies of Khajiit.

  • Member
    November 26, 2015

    Just a heads-up, you can only use three official "Character Build" tags on your build, so you'll need to take two of them off.

  • Member
    November 26, 2015

    I've reworded it.  Took a bit of liberty there I guess.