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Character Build: The Ghost Hunter

Tags: #Character Build Witchhunter  #Character Build Acrobat  #Character Build No Crafting  #Race:Argonian  #Rank:Recognized  #LeBlanc Build 
  • Member
    December 31, 2015

    So it seemed there was a lack of depth in Bounty Hunter builds.  Chris Diokno is responsible for me doing this one when he was asking for BH builds in the Suggestions thread and there were few responses.  I was in the middle of another build but filed this away as an idea.   I started making notes while finishing my Kuldjargh build and had a good start on the idea for this build.  Funny point, Chris started a BH build of his own.  After chatting with him I saw we were on different paths and could both contribute to the category.  So here's my take on a bounty hunter...with a twist.

    Argonian's are vastly misunderstood, reviled by most, yet considered a noble people by some scholars.  They excel in guerrilla warfare and are in a near constant state of warfare due to border skirmishes along the Black Marsh.  While the most famous of the Argonian tribes are the Kota-Vimleel (Black Tongues) for producing the Sithas-worshipping Shadowscales, the Veeskhleel-Tzel (Ghost People) also produce a very small and intimate group of offspring; however this occurs just once every century. 

    Legend among the Ghost People is that in the never ending border skirmishes there is a particular coven of witches, of various races, that cross into the Marsh once every one hundred years and forcibly mate with the Veeskhleel-Tzel women.  The result of this forced union is the Ghost Hunter.  These younglings are kept separate from other "normal" Argonian offspring during their hatchling years.  They are given intensive training to bring out their latent magical skills which are derived from their witch-fathers and then take extensive guerrilla combat training to enhance that which comes from the very agile side of their mothers.  When mature, these Ghost Hunters then scatter across the land to hunt the very witches that preyed upon their village, wherever they may be found; never to return home to the Black Marsh. 

    There is a major physical side effect of this mixed union; the Ghost Hunter has deformed hands that preclude them from wielding a bow or any type of melee weapon.  Every single Ghost Hunter throughout the history of the clan has reflected this identical deformity; some say it is due to Daedric influences in the blood of their fathers but it is definitely believed this is the result between the witches seed and the lizard blood in the genetic formation of the Argonian child.  They are also more susceptible to magic than other Argonians; again believed to be a genetic defect passed on through the mixed union.

    To keep themselves fed and functional, the Ghost Hunter takes on typical bounty hunter jobs as a means to a paycheck.  He is no stranger to any village or inn where rumors can be heard.  He will follow the scent of any septim in order to earn his daily bread.  He frowns upon law breaking in general and so takes pleasure in closing out a bounty notice.  During the course of chasing bounties, he will pursue with all the vigor he can muster when it comes to hunting witches of any ilk. 

    Making a Ghost Hunter

    "Me and my sister...we have a past.  We almost died at the hands of a witch.  But that past made us stronger.  We'd gotten a taste of blood, witch blood.  And we haven't stopped since."  -Hansel

    Race: Argonian (Hansel or Gretel)

    Stone: Apprentice

    Major Skills: Destruction; Archery; Light Armor

    Minor Skills: Stealth; Restoration; Alteration

    Shouts: None

    Required Quests: Dawnguard; Main Quest (to open Dragons for bounties); Cure Serana*, Companions

    Suggested Quests: Hit every village, every inn, every Steward and every person you pass on the street to check on rumors or bounties that may be available.

    The Ghost Hunter hot on the trail of his bounty...

    Combat & Gameplay

    That guard took an arrow in the knee?  How about a bolt in the eye....hahaha.

    You have been hunting a coven of witches recently near the Trinity Border, the confluence of borders between Hammerfall, Cyrodil and Skyrim.  After taking the coven leader you decide to head north into Skyrim following some rumors you had overheard, in a small village in the Colovian Highlands.  The Ghost Hunter starts his travels in Skyrim on the hunt for his first contract in the land of the Nords.  Armed solely with his spells, due to the deformity in his hands, he will rely on Alteration (to buff his defenses) and Destruction spells (for damage dealing).  Restoration spells will support the Saxhleel when the need arises.  We will NOT use shouts at all as we are not the dragonborn.  Even the Jarl insinuates that as much when we talk to him after helping kill the dragon at the Western Watchtower.

    "If you really are the dragonborn, the Greybeards can teach you the way of the voice." -Jarl Balgruuf

    The Ghost Hunter will use several of his agility abilities in combat.  Foremost among these will be kiting and dodging.  When using spells, kite your opponent backwards to ensure more time to get spells on the target before he can land a blow on you.  When engaged at melee range, use your agility to dodge out of the way of power attacks; while keeping spells on target.

    Once you reach level ten (approximately), and are approached by the Jarl's Courier and the Dawnguard representative, immediately make your way to Riften and go to see the Dawnguard recruiter to join their ranks.  The main goal here is to acquire your first crossbow.  This is the only melee weapon that our gnarled claws can grasp.  Once you are armed with your primary weapon, head to visit the Jarl in response to his letter.  Strangely, a guard at the gates of Falkreath will ask you about a dog and lead you to the town's blacksmith.  Hmm, everyone knows that a good bounty hunter has a DOG.  So go find the dog and complete the first step in the dog's quest.  After that, you are "Bounty Hunter with a DOG"...that would make a good TV show I think.  Even better, this dog cannot die and makes a great tank.

    "Say your name before my arrows rip out your throat."  -Gretel

    Once you are armed with your weapon and your trusty dog sidekick then it's time to start the Dawnguard quests and find Serana.  As a vampire and magic wielder, she makes the perfect "Gretel" to your Hansel.*  (At this point if you prefer not to have Serana, or do not want to do the vampire quest lines, another alternative that I discovered thanks to Vargr (HERE) is to have a permanent ghost follower.  What better follower than an actual ghost for The Ghost Hunter?  If you go this route, you could also forego the dog quest as well. 

    Once this unholy trinity is united then get back to the business at hand of earning septims, closing bounties and killing witches.  Naturally most quests pay coin so unless they are blatantly evil based or unlawful (naturally stay away from the Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood) then they are open to you pursuing in your search for coin or vengeance. 

    Don't fast travel during a bounty run (feel free to fast travel back to turn it in).  Traveling will open more opportunities for work, or just skill-building.

    Heard about these Word Walls.  Funny, I tingle when I'm near them but just another Skyrim tourist attraction.

    After you finish the Dawnguard quest line, then the option to cure Serana will become available.  This is something you would want to do.  Here's a YouTube video that shows the process (watch the whole thing).  If you screw it up, the option to cure her disappears forever.

    Also, if you ever get tired of Barbas the Dog, finish his quest line and he will leave you.  Or, alternatively, you can tell him to leave you and he goes to Clavius Vile's lair to await your return.

    In addition to witch coven's, hagravens, vampires and wispmother's are particular abominations you do not like and will definitely pursue them wherever you can.

    One drawback of becoming a well known bounty hunter is that you will begin to become "the Hunted".  To help combat this, we will use identity concealing gear to hide our real identity which is addressed in the next section.  Concealing our identity, we truly become "Hansel" while retaining our everyday Argonian name to hide our true nature.

    Weapons & Gear

    For weapons, as we've noted, the Ghost Hunter suffers from a physical defect.  He is only able to wield crossbows which makes attaining these via the Dawnguard quest line of upmost importance.  Prior to this questline opening you are limited to your destruction spells for offensive output.  You will be able to use all the crossbows available in the game; purchasable from Sorine.

    The ultimate goal is to gain access to your exploding bolts (fire & frost) which can be purchased through the Dawnguard camp once you progress far enough. 

    For Armor we go with Light Armor.  In the playthrough I felt odd wearing Elven or Glass armor so I limited myself to Leather and Hide in the early going; progressing on to Scaled Armor due to it's "skin type" appearance when it became available.  For end game we will want a set of Chitin (Light) gear.  This plays two roles.  It's rustic enough to fall into the "non-exotic" armor class, unlike Glass and Elven, plus it offers identity concealment giving us the ability to assume the guise of "Hansel" in our hunting while retaining our more anonymous Argonian persona in public.

    Wearing a full set of identity hiding chitin armor.  Truly you are Hansel now...a ghost hunting his prey.

    Note that we are not taking any crafting skills.  This affects gameplay and gear selection immensely.  Scaled Armor begins appearing around level 19 with enchanted versions popping up starting at level 20.  Chitin armor, of course, will begin showing up later in the game.  As Chitin is similar to Steel Armor in defensive ratings you will want to use your leveled Mage Armor to beef up your AR.

    Naturally you will be wanting to acquire any pre-enchanted gear along the way that is beneficial to you.  Or, as noted, do a basic self-enchant until you find a better version. For the Helm/Bracers, Eminent Archery is a good enchantment.
    For Boot, Brawn and Resist Fire/Frost are good options.
    Eminent Destruction will be found for Armor and Helms.
    Eminent Health will be another option for your Armor.
    As noted, until you come across these pre-enchanted options you can self-enchant with basic enchants.

    Once exploding bolts are available, purchase these from Sorine.  The limited quantity make you give some thought as to when to utilize them, adding some addition depth to them in the build.  Again, limit to Fire and Frost only to tie in with our magic limitations.

    Perks & Skills

    Let the bodies hit the floor!

    Destruction: Your primary attack.  Limit to novice level concentration spells (Flames, Frost).  Take 2/2 in all both Augmented perks, dual cast and impact.  We avoid sparks, again this is tied to the witches and our weakness to magic.  Go up to adept.  Take runes for added help in leveling this skill.  Do not take Rune Master.

    Alteration: We use novice to adept level spells for armor to enhance our light armor skill.  We pass on the magic resistance however to again mimic our weakness. 

    Restoration: Take up to Adept, dual cast, Regeneration and Necro.

    Light Armor: Take every perk in this tree.  Wind Walker and Deft Movement reflect our advanced agility skills.

    Archery: You may want to pay for training in your starting levels since we do not get our crossbow until Level 10.  This will be our primary attack starter, using exploding bolts once attained when you feel they are needed and appropriate.


    Stealth: We take two points in Sneak; muffled; Deadly Aim; Light Foot again reflecting our advanced agility skill.

    While we will use novice level spells from the destruction tree, also take the two runes (fire, frost) when you attain the apprentice level.  You will use just one rune, then your crossbow to draw in your foes.  At this point switch back to flames or frost to finish them off. 

    We are not taking any crafting skills.  However, feel free to disenchant gear for experience in leveling and also to purchase Grand Soul Gems and enchant your gear and crossbow with rudimentary enchantments.  This would reflect your working knowledge of magic but as with your use of Novice level spells, so you would also limit to unimproved enchantments.  A basic Fire enchant on your crossbow should improve damage by +10 and allow for about 115 shots per charge.

    Level 25 Build

    I went heavy into Magicka early on: 250/190/100 unbuffed.

    Level 43 Build

    For the later levels you can vary depending on the enchantments you get to reduce Magicka cost.
    I went 350/270/100 to offset Alteration costs and keep enough for Destruction.

    Quest Notes

    We will not pursue the main quest, but do the first part to open dragons because dragons are one of the four bounty types that can be offered in villages.

    Some basics when it comes to this build: Crossbows and novice magic spells only.  Runes are the most advanced spells you can cast.  Crossbows take care of your ranged attacks.  You are also extremely susceptible to magic and one of the physical manifestations of this is the inability to use the Sparks spell or bolt; limiting you to fire and frost in the magic trees. 

    We take the Apprentice Stone to further mirror our weakness to magic; however it also reflects our latent "witch" abilities (ie spells) with 100% magic regeneration to keep our magic casting fueled up. 

    We limit ourselves to Novice level destruction spells to mirror the physical deformities in our hands which would, of course, limit us in our finesse required to cast more advanced spells.

    We are a free-lance bounty hunter, following coin.  The Skyrim Civil War does not pertain to us; however if you find yourself getting hungry and needing coin then hire yourself out to them.  I hear that the Empire might consider the right person, with the right skills, for a type of free lance position.  This would leave you plenty of time for your day job while still allowing you to make some extra coin on the side.  As an outsider to Skyrim, you would side with the Empire as you have no feeling or loyalties to the Stormcloaks.

    I have done the build with the idea that "Hansel & Gretel" are more friends than direct relations; where  Serana certainly fits that mold.  However, should you wish a more serious brother-sister relationship then I would go with a female Argonian character and have Derkeethus be your Hansel-brother.  He uses Archery and Light Armor so you could equip him with a crossbow and exploding bolts as well to tie in with the roleplay.  If you go this route, roleplay that you both went your own ways when you began your bounty careers upon leaving Black Marsh and, as you might chop wood for some extra money, he has fallen in with a mining group for his extra coin.  The need to rescue him ties you even closer together as blood relatives.

    I have the build topping out at Level 43.  However, if you find damage lagging as you progress further into the game there is plenty of room to add into the Archery tree for added crossbow damage should you feel the need.  I limited this tree, and the stealth tree, as I wanted the character to feel a little vulnerable.

    (Sept 2016) I've updated the build thanks to a little find by Vargr regarding the followers section.  I think his find really fits this build and does away with the dog and Serana; but either way it gives you options.

    Thank you for checking this build out and please take a look at my other builds at #LeBlanc Builds.

  • Member
    December 31, 2015

    I have some art still to come for the perk screens but I've placed them along with the links to the perk calculator.  Once those are done I'll update them.

  • Member
    December 31, 2015

    Awesome wor John, is that the Chainmail mod I see?

  • Member
    December 31, 2015

    Immersive Armors. 

  • Member
    January 1, 2016

    Oh yeah, I remember that armor in there, great job

  • January 1, 2016

    hey john like the build but I gotta ask what is the stat spread for the ghost hunter and does he/her use only a regural crossbow or can they go up to enchanted since solrine sells em after u get the sematics?

  • Member
    January 1, 2016
    You can use any crossbow so definitely go up to enhanced when they become available. Good catch on that all modify that into the weapon section. And I knew I'd forget something so I will update the perks spread.
  • Member
    January 1, 2016

    OK.  Got the perk spreads done this morning and updated.  I've also added in the points at each breakdown.

  • January 1, 2016

    That´s really great build, mate. I love good Bounty Hunter build and this one really has everything one needs for interesting gameplay. +1 

  • Member
    January 1, 2016

    Really cool build, John. It is rare to see an Argonian character, at least in my experience, good job. +1