Skyrim Character Building » Discussions

Contest Build: The Courier

Tags: #Character Build Dual-Wield  #Vargr Build  #Character Build Pilgrim  #Character Build No Crafting  #Rank:Exemplar  #Contest Bronze  #Contest4  #MM 2016 Winner 
  • January 26, 2016

    After my last build I took a break from Skyrim and delved into Fallout New Vegas (since I still have not picked up the recent hotness that is FO4 and wanted to feel somewhat relevant).  It was after completing that game’s main quest line that I saw Albino’s announcement of the minibuilds contest and decided why not create a courier build for a quick and dirty play-thru that focuses on wandering the Moja…er…mountains of Skyrim.

    You are part of the East Empire Courier Service that spans all of Skyrim, a subsidiary of the trade organization.  It is your job to swiftly transport small parcels between individual customers within the province.  You have no allegiances to any guilds or factions and are willing to satisfy any customers request as long as they are willing to pay.

    Race:  Any race can be a courier so pick your favorite and have fun.  However, some races do offer an edge to the courier playstyle; Nords and Imperials both have useful daily powers that make good panic buttons for dicey situations.  Also the Redguard power adrenaline rush is obviously useful for someone who makes their living by running from one place to another.

    Stone:   Pick up the Thief stone to start the build.  Later switch to either the Lord for an overall boost to defense or the Atronach to make wizard encounters a push over.

    Skills:  One Handed, Light Armor, Sneak, Speech

    State Placement:  M:0 H:1 S:2 This guy needs lots of stamina for those long hauls.

    Weapons:  Dagger of choice.

    Apparel:  Light armor, alternate between imperial and stormcloak sets depending on who controls the territory.

    Gear:  Whatever you can scrounge together.

    Shouts:  None, you aren’t dragonborn.

    Followers:  Dog and pony.

    One Handed:  Armsman 4/5, Fighting Stance, Dual Flurry 2/2, Dual Savagery

    Light Armor:  Agile Defender 4/5, Custom Fit, Unhindered, Wind Walker

    Sneak:  Stealth 1/5, Muffled Movement, Light Foot, Silent Roll, Silence, Backstab

    Speech:  Haggling 1/5, Allure, Merchant


    One Handed
    :  One doesn’t survive long as a courier in Skyrim without knowing how to defend oneself.  The favored weapon is the dagger for its light weight and quick attacks, often wielded in pairs.  Our target perk is Dual Savagery.

    Light Armor:  For roleplay purposes I alternated between imperial light and stromcloak armor, both of which can be obtained during the tutorial, and switched between depending on who the local authority was.  The target perk here is Wind Walker, the courier uses up a lot of stamina both in a fight or, more likely, fleeing from one.

    Sneak:  More often than not when faced with adverse conditions the best course of action is to sneak away.  The courier has become very adept at remaining unseen while he travels the roads of Skyrim, easily avoiding both roaming bears and saber cats as well as marauding bandits and forsworn.  This skill will be less useful later on, when you have a horse, but it’s the easiest to level and will often out distance your other skills.

    Speech:   All couriers have some skill in negotiation and will try to talk their way out of trouble or into ones purse as the situation demands.  This is more of a role-play choice that represents the courier’s ability to negotiate delivery fees.  Later on the merchant perk will be useful for quickly unloading “salvaged” gear.

    An important part of any role-play is the origin story for your character.  You need to know how you got to Helgen in the first place and why you’re facing the axe.  To that end I’ve crafted the below origin story for the Courier.

    You’ve been “running” for the East Empire Trading Company for some time now.  Delivering invoices and shipping manifests from one hold to another.  It was while on one such job in The Rift that you sought some warmth and companionship from a nearby campfire.  The owner of the fire turned out to be a Khajiit caravan, one that was in particularly good spirits.  They told you of a nearby Legion camp that bought them out of almost their whole stock of ale and mead and who paid a good price for it as well.  They attributed this to the presence of General Tullius himself, who was also in a good mood, having caught someone of importance.  The Khajiit were celebrating their good luck, and soon the drinks were flowing, and you too began to lift cups with your furry friends.

    The next thing you can remember is walking into General Tullius’s command tent in the nearby Legion camp…naked.  You saunter up to the seated general and loudly, though somewhat slurred, exclaim, “I’ve been looking for you!  Got something I’m supposed to deliver!”  Then winking and pointing suggestively you add, “-your hands only.”

    That morning you’re led to the executioners block in Helgen. 

    Traveling the length of Skyrim is a hardship in and of itself full of dangers both mundane and fantastic.  It is therefore paramount for every courier to be well prepared and well equipped to not only get the job done in a timely manner but to also survive the road.  The first piece of gear is cunning and guile, every courier has to be on his toes at all times, and always on the lookout for dangerous animals and highway men.  Beyond that I’ve listed the most common items that a courier would need.

    Daggers:  Weapons are a must for survival in Skyrim.  While an alert courier will usually spot danger from a mile away and easily avoid it sometimes there will be no choice and you will need to fight your way to safety.  The optimal weapon for a courier is the dagger due to its light weight and small size meaning it won’t interfere with whatever package the courier is currently carrying, and won’t needlessly weigh him down.

    There are a few good choices for daggers that you can earn early on.  My favorite is Valdr’s Lucky Dagger which can be obtained at any time by helping Valdr clear Moss Mother Cavern.  Another easy dagger to get, if you don’t mind trekking a good deal out of your way, is Borvir’s Dagger which is an elven dagger that can be found at any time in Journeyman’s Nook.

    Disguises:  The savvy courier takes every precaution to ensure that his delivery is made.  In the political turmoil of the civil war travel across the holds of Skyrim can be dangerous for the unaffiliated.  The courier avoids unwanted attention by being aware of whose territory he is in and disguising himself as a messenger of that particular faction.  In this way the courier will be overlooked by patrols of that faction and may even rest and resupply at the army camps.

    There are two main factions that the courier concerns himself with, that being the Stormcloaks and the Imperial Legion.  The civil war has made traveling tricky so the courier disguises himself as a messenger for one of the above factions whenever he is in a hold that they control.

    Rations:  The road is often long and one will not always have the luxury of an inn to rest and eat at.  All couriers will have some food in their pack to keep their bellies full on the long treks between cities.  This is usually something that keeps well and is easily portable like cheese and bread.  However some couriers have trail mixes or preserved foodstuffs that not only fill one’s belly but also provide boosts of energy allowing the courier to pick up the pace when others would need to stop and rest.

    Our courier is of the latter group who creates a mixture of preserved vegetables and meats that both fills him up and gives him renewed stores of energy.  Be sure to stock up on food ingredients wherever you find them and cook up plenty of servings of stews and soups.  Probably the most valuable mix involves one cabbage, one potato, one leek, and one tomato.

    Man’s Best Friend:  The road is not only long and dangerous it can also be lonesome.  A faithful hound can serve as both companion and guardian on the long roads between settlements.  Many couriers have found traveling with a dog to be very beneficial.

    If you’re lucky you might run into the Stray Dog early on, however Meeko is always available as long as you’re willing to make the hike out to his shack.

    There are a plethora of courier jobs to be had in Skyrim.  Below is a list of known jobs for you to complete.  This time with a little more decorum and professionalism please.

    Urgent Delivery Jobs:

    The jobs listed here are exclusive and time sensitive.  Once you have accepted the delivery request it takes precedence over all other assignments, deliver the item in question as swiftly as possible.

    Client:  Sondas Drenim of Darkwater Crossing

    Package:  Sondas’s Note

    Instructions:  Deliver the note to one Quintus Navale of Windhelm.


    Client:  Adonato Leotelli of Windhelm

    Package:  Adonato’s Book

    Instructions:  Deliver the book to one Giraud Gemane of Solitude.


    Client:  Aeri of Anga’s Mill in the Pale

    Package:  Aeri’s Note

    Instructions:  Deliver Aeri’s note to Jarl Skald the Elder.


    Client:  Banning of Markarth

    Package:  Spiced Beef

    Instructions:  Deliver the meat to one Voada of Markarth.


    Client:  Idgrod the Younger of Morthal

    Package:  Idgrod’s Note

    Instructions:  Deliver the note to one Danica Pure-Spring of Whiterun.


    Client:  Thadgeir of Falkreath

    Package:  Urn of Ashes

    Instructions:  Deliver the ashes to one Runil of Falkreath.


    The urgency with the above six jobs is a role-playing choice derived from the games quest mechanics.  These six quests all use the same quest markers and therefore cannot be completed at the same time.  I explain the exclusive nature this causes I added the urgency role-play to the quest.

    Delivery Requests:

    The below delivery requests can be completed at your leisure they have been grouped by what hold the client can be found in but may take you to other holds in the province.

    Client:  Alessandra of Riften

    Package:  Alessandra’s Dagger

    Instructions:  Deliver the dagger to one Andurs of Whiterun.


    Client:  Bolli of Riften

    Package:  Purchase agreement

    Instructions:  Deliver the purchase agreement to one Kleppr of Markarth.


    Client:  Hafjorg of Riften

    Package:  Quicksilver ore

    Instructions:  Retrieve the ore from one Filnjar of Shor’s Stone and deliver it to Hafjorg at Elgrim’s Elixirs in Riften.


    Client:  Romlyn Dreth of Riften

    Package:  Black-Briar Mead

    Instructions:  Deliver the mead to one Wilhelm at the Vilemyr Inn of Ivarstead.


    Client:  Revyn Sadri of Windhelm

    Package:  One Gold Ring

    Instructions:  Deliver the ring to the Giordano residence, leave the ring in a discrete place and return to Sadri for your payment.


    Client:  Pactur of Stonehills

    Package:  Message concerning the mines output

    Instructions:  Deliver the message to one Thane Bryling of Solitude.


    Client:  Gorm of Morthal

    Package:  Gorm’s Letter

    Instructions:  Deliver the letter to one Captain Aldis in Solitude.


    Client:  Rogatus Salvius of Markarth

    Package:  Rogatus’s letter

    Instructions:  Deliver the letter to one Leonitus Salvius at Old Hroldan Inn.


    Client:  Elisif the Fair Jarl of Solitude

    Package:  Torygg’s War Horn

    Instructions:  Deliver the horn to a remote shrine located in Whiterun Hold.  Due to the current political climate the Jarl requires a “demonstration of loyalty” before entrusting you with this job, make sure she is satisfied.


    Fast Money:

    Below is a list of location specific jobs (sender and recipient are in the same city).  These jobs are included as quick tasks to make some easy money.

    Windhelm Jobs:

    Deliver a bottle of nightshade extract for Hillevi Cruel-Sea.

    Solitude Jobs:

    Deliver a bottle of rum for Sorex.

    Riften Jobs:

    Retrieve a sword for Harrald.

    Markarth Jobs:

    Deliver a potion for Bothela.

    Deliver a ring for Kerah.

    Whiterun Jobs:

    Deliver a sword for Adrianne.

    Deliver some Frost Salts for Farengar.


    I avoided fast travel with this build, including carriages, otherwise the build will be done in an hour and you’ll only be level two.  Three of your major skills (one handed, light armor, and sneak) will only be leveled while traveling.  Fast travel robs this build of that leveling potential and most of its gameplay, in short don’t do it.  The only method of quickly traveling allowed in this build is riding a horse.  In fact getting a horse early on is highly recommended.  A horse is a valuable asset to any courier, it allows you to carry heavier loads, shortens the time it takes to make deliveries, and provides a swift exit from troublesome situations, like bears.

    You could purchase a horse but the funds for such a thing are going to be out of your reach early on.  There is however a better and cheaper choice, Frost.  Frost is probably your best choice starting out and is a better horse than those you could purchase anyway.  After escaping Helgen make your way to Riften and pick up this beauty.  There are also quite a few courier jobs located in and around this city, making it a great place to start out.

    The courier is not a combat build, and it does not seek out martial challenges.  Whenever you see trouble ahead you should try to avoid it by sneaking past, if that fails you will resort to your twin daggers.  If possible try to lure enemies into contact with other travelers or beasts that can help even the odds, there is an old orc wandering Skyrim who has saved my skin on more than one occasion.

    Grab poisons when you find them, while we don’t craft any of our own we aren’t above using poison to save our lives.  Frostbite venom is probably the most common poison you will come across and makes a huge difference in bandit encounters, be sure to loot every spider you kill.  The most dangerous enemies will never be encountered by a courier, unless he has a severe lapse in judgement, the strongest enemy you’ll likely encounter are the wandering giants who will leave you alone as long as you keep your distance.

    Leveling this character can be a bit problematic, since many encounters are avoided.  A strict adherence to the no fast travel rule will mitigate this forcing you into confrontations in order to get the package delivered.  However, even this will only see you leveled into the mid-teens when you deliver the final package.  Not necessarily a bad thing for a minibuild.

    The level 25 finish above is only going to be obtainable by either taking on some extra jobs like bounties, or through judicial use of training.  To this end much of your earnings will go to trainers for the specific skills we are interested in.  Convenient trainers are Grelka in Riften and Revyn Sadri in Windhelm, both of whom double as merchants.

    “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” –USPS Creed

    Nor dragons either…or clothes apparently.


    The real joy in this build is just wandering the paths of Skyrim, enjoying the scenery, and fighting random encounters.  The courier quests are just an excuse to wander giving your character a purpose and providing a direction to walk in.  This is a casual build meant simply to enjoy the game and can be completed in an afternoon.  So get out there and enjoy another romp through the beautiful mountains of Skyrim!




  • Member
    January 26, 2016

    This fun looking build, but I think you forgot something at the end of the creed:

    Don't ask us about:

    • Rocks
    • Trolls with sticks
    • All sorts of dragons
    • Mrs Cake
    • Huje green things with teeth
    • Any kinds of black dogs with orange eyebrows
    • Rains of spaniels
    • Fog
    • Mrs Cake

  • Member
    January 26, 2016

    Really unique character, Vargr, if I had sat down and thought about a unique character, this would never have come to mind. Good job.

  • Member
    January 26, 2016
    Ha this is great. Nice work assembling all of the courier / delivery quests. I believe that's unique.
  • Member
    January 26, 2016

    Awesome work Vargr

  • January 26, 2016

    So tempted to bring this to the brutal world of Requiem, frostfall, and iNeed. Would be one heck of a ride.  Great job. I love these kinds of builds. 

  • Tim
    January 26, 2016

    Hehe, dat backstory :P

  • January 26, 2016

    Very nice build here Vargr. Have you considered using the unlimited stamina glitch for this build? Would make sense for a messenger to have a lot running stamina. 

  • Member
    January 26, 2016
    For your hands only just about killed me! I like this minibuild. It would be great for better immersion into Skyrim for someone who has played a lot but hasn't seen anything. You got my +1!
  • Member
    January 27, 2016

    This build will indeed look nice in the contest! Good job. A very good read.