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Character Build: The Chancer

Tags: #Character Build Pilgrim  #Character Build Bard  #Rank:Exemplar 
  • April 24, 2016

    A forgotten God returns to Tamriel in this build. His champion is a wandering tinker, a risk taker who lives by the roll of the dice and a perfectly balanced jack-of-all-trades. Wherever they walk, they bring Luck to those who need it. I present to you:-

    "There's no doubt it's a grand thing to feel Sai's hand on your shoulder. It's like riding the finest horse, like love itself. You're one with the world, and everything goes your way, everything's on your side, instead of being the constant struggle that life really is." ~ Mats

    I recently came across Sai, the old God of Luck. Little is written about him and by the fourth Era, he disappears from view entirely. Yet the little lore we do - mainly from the Daggerfall book “King Edward” where Sai's story is told by his devotee Mats - grabbed hold of me and wouldn't let go.

    The result is the Chancer - Sai's champion - a risk-taker who's luck never runs out. They are a sword-and-board, lightly armoured adventurer, who stacks RNG mechanics to run as much as possible on luck.

    The Chancer is born to restore fortune to an ill-fated land. Accompanied by the God of Luck himself in wolf form, they not only have supernatural luck themselves, but bring luck to the community by their presence and their deeds.

    Sai was once a human, and his champion is also his descendant in whom the God's blood runs thick. I have also tried in the build to draw out the intruiging character of the human Sai found in the tale of King Edward. Sai was a wander who could turn his hand to anything, so I set my sights on creating a workable jack-of-all-trades, using a very broad perk spread. I love playing hybrids and all-rounders, so this took some fiddling, but was a joy to play when I got it right. Like their ancestor and patron, the Chancer is also a craftsman, and a friend to creatures of the wild. Rootless and enigmatic, they have an ambiguous side, allying with the Prince of Madness and wielding a deadly Daedric blade.

    Race: Human. Make sure they have silver hair and cornflower blue eyes.

    Stats: 1:2:1 to 200 majicka, then 0:1:1

    Key Equipment: Enchanted Daedric Sword "Last Chance", Shield of Solitude, Dwarven Black Bow of Fate, Blackguard's Armor Set, Valdr's Lucky Dagger, Amulet of Mara, Enchanted Ring “Ebonarm's Token”, Wabbajack.

    Skills: One-Handed, Light Armor, Alteration, Block, Speech, Smithing, Enchanting, Archery, Sneak, Lockpicking, Pickpocket, Restoration, Conjuration. (Yes, lucky 13 perked skills, bear with me).

    Shouts: Disarm, Slow Time, Animal Allegiance, Kyne's Peace, Unrelenting Force, Whirlwind Sprint, Become Ethereal, Clear Skies.

    Abilities: Prowler's Profit, Agent of Mara, Ancient Knowledge

    Stone: Lord, although Lover is also nice when levelling.

    Difficulty Level: Expert, you might want to switch to Master after you get the Extra Effect perk.

    The only thing that ever seemed to make you special was your enviable luck. The lightning strikes of fate - disease, injury, poor crops, love - seemed to pass you by entirely. One day your grandmother told you the story of how you were descended from Sai, the old God of Luck, who watched over the family.

    She told how Sai was once a mortal who had the gift of bringing luck to those around him. He was recruited by Ebonarm to become an immortal, a God of Luck who brought luck where it was needed. Yet the Gods foolishly let him keep human shape for a while. Sai fell in love with a Nord woman, and settled down with her, instead of travelling to bring luck to the four corners of Tamriel.

    Sai's irresponsibility deprived the other races of Tamriel of their rightful Luck, leading to many catastrophes. Sai was eventually forced by Mara to abandon his family and return to his duty as a God. But in her mercy, Mara gave him leave to return to Tamriel in wolf form, watching over his descendants, who are still known by their silver hair and eyes of cornflower blue.

    As you grew, you tried your hand at many trades, always successfully, as luck seemed to smile upon whatever you did. Bereft of challenge, you became a wanderer and adventurer for hire. Before you had seen your twentieth winter, a nobleman, sensing your potential, offered you a retainer. That was the night you first dreamt of the Wolf - non other than Sai, the God of Luck himself.

    Sai explained that he was your luck, and there were yet others among the Gods hoping for you to fulfil a great destiny. But to embrace this destiny, there would be a price. For by the decree of the Divines, neither Sai nor his champion may settle long in one place, lest other places be deprived of good fortune.

    The choice was clear. If you meant to seize greatness, you must retain your luck, and to do that, you must always be a pilgrim. The very next day, you packed your bags and headed down the road that for you goes ever on...


    I am a wanderer, and born to wanderers, a tinker by trade, though I can turn my hand to most things.” ~ Sai

    Although I've detailed a level 60 spread, don't panic, all the skills are used and viable at lower levels. It's by no means a build that doesn't work until all this is acquired. I tried to spread my perks out evenly as I levelled, not rushing any one skill but making sure every skill was used, rather than focusing on them one at a time. To my surprise, this wide and shallow perk placement worked just fine on Expert difficulty. Alternatively, to unlock the build's true power earlier, prioritise Enchanting and getting Extra Effect.

    There are no more than six perks in each skill. Taking the build higher than 60 means sticking to that rule.

    One Handed: I lightly perked Armsman before focusing on Bladesman, creating a character who swung with less skill or strength than some, but who's blows always found a lucky chink in their foes armor.

    Smithing: Sai's descendent shares his crafting talents, hawking his smithed jewellery and blades across Skyrim. Take up to Daedric smithing, to forge a hero's blade when the time comes.

    Block: I went straight for the highly useful perk Quick Reflexes. This represents the enemy that gets the sun in their eyes, or otherwise just fails to get in the killing blow. It's a life saver against those two-handed wielders that can really ruin your day. Power Bash is also good to add a bit of umph to your bashes.

    Archery: This is treated similarly to One-Handed, with the focus on Critical Shot. I also took Hunters Discipline as the character is a competent hunter.

    Stealth: Only perked up to Light Foot, as you avoid those traps and snapped twigs by sheer good fortune.

    Lockpicking: Perked up to Treasure Hunter. This represents the Chancer's astounding knack of finding lost objects and abandoned bandit caches.

    Speech: The Chancer is a travelling peddlar as well as hero, and as a bringer of luck to those around him, helps the economy by his very presence. Perk up to Master Trader to represent the improvement in everyone's fortunes as Sai's champion returns luck to Skyrim.

    Light Armor: Lightly perk the left side of the tree, eventually getting Deft Movement, which represents those blows avoided by luck at the last second.

    Pickpocket: This is perked lightly up to Extra Pockets. You won't use a house, so this perk helps you carry everything you own around Skyrim.

    Conjuration: The Conjure Familiar Spell is the only spell taken in this school, representing the avatar of Sai taking physical form in battle. I'm a huge fan of this spell, it's a lifesaver as a distraction, even at relatively high levels. Sometimes, it's true, spell absorption can interfere with this spell, but its not too much of a problem. Summoner gives a nice bit of flexibility in positioning the familiar.

    Restoration: Sai is subordinate to Mara among the Nine Divines. The two Gods seem to have had their ups and downs, but they are still allies. After all, Love needs Luck. It is to Mara that the Chancer prays for healing.

    Alteration: Legend has it that Sai was raised to godhood by Ebornam, the Yokudan God of War. This may be true, or it may be a parable about the importance of Luck to War. In any case, the Chancer prays to Ebonarm for additional protection. Flesh spells are taken up to Expert level. Later on you can add the Atronach – not strictly necessary, but another RNG based perk.

    Enchanting: Two RNG based weapon enchantments – chaos and paralyse - are the key to making this build highly viable despite the wide perk spread. Meanwhile, level up by enchanting a glittering selection of trinkets to sell on your travels. More than two perks in Enchanter are not necessary.

    He's not a daedra, but he's got a daedric side to him, for sure.” ~Mats

    Enchanted Daedric Sword: “Last Chance”

    I wanted this character's sword to embody the power and ambiguity of the God of Fortune. I used an improved Daedric sword as a base, as the slightly unpleasant feel of the weapon sat well with a sword that was supposed to bring ill fortune to enemies, and the hefty base damage helps with getting the most from critical hits, however marginally. As mentioned, I enchanted the sword with both chaos and paralyse, creating a devastating combination that relies on RNG effects.

    Before you have Extra Effect, your playstyle depends on which you go with. A sword of chaos will keep your DPS up to par, but you become a bit of a potion chugging glass cannon, a paralyse sword will down enemies before they can hit you but you'll lack DPS and need a high DPS follower to clean up after you.

    Shield of Solitude This shield has an appropriate wolf motive, and gaining it involves helping out a beautiful Jarl down on her luck. Wait until level 40 to get the best version.

    Dwarven Black Bow of Fate This dark bow also has a luck themed enchantment which fits perfectly.

    Valdr's Lucky Dagger I naturally carried this iconic dagger as a backup weapon, useful for trivial enemies, spider webs, dwemer resonators, and playing mumbltypeg.

    Blackguard's Armor This is obtainable early on, and gives the right look for a wandering warrior/rogue. It also gives another nice boost to rogue skills, and to carrying capacity, which you'll need early on. Later on the bonuses become less relevant, but you could still keep it for the look, enchanting your own bracers and boots. The mask Volsung also gives appropriate bonuses for this build. A Chancer walking a darker path could wear the Ancient Shrouded chest piece – the red and black theme matching the sword and shield looks pretty sweet.

    Amulet of Mara It's oh so bittersweet when Skyrim's people fall for the Chancer, only to have them regretfully disappear over the next hill. Make sure you unlock the marriage dialogue options at the temple.

    Ebonarm's Token An enchanted ring of protection, boosting Alteration and Light Armor.

    Wabbajack Unusually among the Deadric Princes, Sheogorath is an ally of Ebonarm - and by extension an ally of Sai. And of course gambling addiction is often known as Sai's affliction - as the God of Fortune abandons those he has once favoured, driving them into the arms of madness. So it's totally appropriate that the Chancer is helped by this Daedric Prince. The artefact of Sheoggrath also draws on the power of randomness, making it a thematic and fun fallback weapon for special moments.

    At heart the Chancer is a sword and shield skirmisher. Typically I opened up with a little stealth archery if I felt like it, then after any weak enemies have been picked off with the Black Bow of Fate, it was time to cast a flesh spell and charge in, using Disarm to even the odds against a mixed crowd. This build has some AR but mainly relies on avoiding enemies power attacks with Quick Reflexes and nimble footwork, before following up with a savage fluffy of blows. The combination of chaos enchantment and Bladesman will do solid DPS in a satisfyingly random manner – every fight feels like you're waiting for that lucky strike - and paralysis, stagger and bash interrupts keep enemies on the back foot, if not the floor.

    In early levels I found myself burning through plenty of healing potions, which is pretty standard for a lightly armoured character in my experience, but descending the difficulty curve after level 30 I needed them increasingly rarely. Getting Extra Effect is a game changer, as adding paralyse to your sword makes for enemies who rarely get back up when they are downed.

    Mages are dangerous in the early and mid game, but by the late game when you should have almost maxed MR, and 30% spell absorption on top their efforts are futile. High powered archers, especially in multiples, are a threat throughout. When fighting powerful ranged enemies it's a good time to use Conjure Familiar as Sai leaps to his champion's aid. This provides a few seconds of distraction, long enough to close to melee and take them out. I occasionally used Whirlwind Sprint to close a big gap. In seriously dangerous situations I used Slow Time – it's overkill in minor battles, but provides an appropriately cinematic streak of luck in boss fights.

    If they are getting the worse end of a fight, the Chancer has plenty of options: they can back off and heal, or hide behind a follower and resort to archery, or use Unrelenting Force to gain a breathing space. The chancer is also not shy about using scrolls, staves and potions found in a dungeon – that's all part of being lucky - but I didn't hoard them.

    In absolute extremis, call on your uncle Sheogorath and Wabbajak them. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of fights I had to resort to this, making it memorably special.

    No one can say how Sai's Champion also came to be Dragonborn. Perhaps it was an alliance of the Gods, or a lucky confluence of bloodlines. The shouts I used are a mixture of basic shouts taught by the Greybeards, and a few others that seemed to reflect the Chancer's nature and playstyle.

    Unrelenting Force This bread and butter shout is great for lightly armoured characters, interrupting enemy attacks and giving a chance to heal or gain the upper hand.

    Whirlwind Sprint Useful for closing with ranged attackers, or escaping from trouble to heal.

    Disarm Speaking a word of misfortune, you cause susceptible enemies to fumble their weapons. An undervalued shout, especially against hordes of weak enemies.

    Slow Time This is an overpowered shout and I saved it for dire situations when the Chancer needs to draw on all the power of his luck, causing other's spells and arrows to miss, and his sword to strike true.

    Legend tells that Sai had a mysterious way with animals, travelling with a wolf named Grellan, His champion has inherited this talent, represented by two shouts.

    Animal Allegiance A situational shout, but fun. Few things beat the joy of attacking the Forsworn with their own goats.

    Kyne's Peace As I did not fast travel, this shout proved invaluable when wandering the wilds.

    Two utility shouts expressed aspects of the Chancer's good fortune.

    Become Ethereal Not used in combat, but for those times you just want to jump off a cliff and make a lucky landing.

    Clear Skies There's always fine weather when the Sai's chosen needs it.

    You see, there's only so much luck to spread around, and if a few folks got it all, there'd be none left for the rest”. ~ Mats

    Gradually, as they adventure in Skyrim, the Chancer's destiny as the slayer of Alduin takes shape. In the meantime, they meander from city to city carrying a pack full of enchanted wares and miscellany, spreading luck around. This must have been the first build where I found myself carting around a spigot. Do not fast travel or you will miss the heart of this build.

    On their travels they are explorers and risk-takers, of course, and will frequently turn aside to a likely looking adventure. They travel with others, but often change followers, leaving their friends with generous loot and fond memories, wondering if they will ever have such luck again.

    Whilst passing through a town, the Chancer is a restorer of the balance, and a bringer of luck to the unlucky. Note 'unlucky', not always 'deserving', and they will often help the embittered and crooked among the luckless, especially those who still remember the old ways and revere Sai. They are kindly to the simple folk, but have an enigmatic streak of amorality, and are happy to take the over-mighty or the truly vicious down a peg or two if the opportunity arises. They always make a bee-line for the inn, where they can hang out with fellow gamblers of every stripe.

    True to their bargain with the God of Luck, the Chancer remains free of ties. They take no leadership positions, use no house (although you'll end up owning Proudspire Manor), and refrain from marriage and a family, however tempted.

    There's potentially a lot to do with this build. Pretty much everything in the game, really, short of guild leadership. To give some structure, I focused on the following major quest groups.

    Equipment Quests

    The Mind of Madness - Wabbajack

    Moss Mother Cavern – Valdr's Lucky Dagger

    Paid in Full – Blackguard's Armor Set

    Kagrumez Trials – Dwarven Black Bow of Fate

    March of the Dead – This quest may not be needed if a weapon of chaos turns up

    The Man Who Cried Wolf/The Wolf Queen Awakens – Shield of Solitude

    No Stone Unturned In between questing for equipment, this is a fantastic quest for this build, involving hi-jinks all over Skryim and giving a final bonus to treasure hunting in the Prowler's Profit power. Most of the stones can be simply burgled on your travels, or looted from straightforward dungeons but a handful are best tied in with other quests. The bonus once you've got them all is truly insane – you will find yourself with a sack full of more gems than you could ever hope to sell. I had levelled my smithing and enchanting before this happened on my playthrough, but if I was doing things again I would gain Prowlers Profit first.

    Mages Guild You're not much of a mage, but you are a dilettante, so learn a few spells and pursue the questline as far as Hitting the Books to gain two of the Stones of Barenziah.

    Bard's College Naturally a wanderer will join the Bard's College. The Bards College side quests take you to a couple of the Stones of Barenziah locations.

    Join the Dark Brotherhood You've contacts in all sorts of places. With their association with fortune tellers, the Dark Brotherhood perhaps contains some Sai worshipers. Help out those unlucky orphans, to gain access to Nazir, the best light armor trainer.

    Promises to Keep Double-cross Louis Letrush to obtain the famed horse Frost, whilst picking up a Stone from Black Briar Lodge.

    Thieves Guild Most of this build's shouts work just fine with only one or two words. Disarm however affects higher level enemies the more words you have, so it's worth pursuing this quest line to the end of Speaking with Silence to get all three words. After it becomes clear that the guild leaders are heretics who ascribe their luck to Nocturnal, leave them to their own problems.

    Unfathomable Depths I held off taking Dwarven Smithing until I'd uncovered the secrets of the Dwemer smiths in this quest.

    The Book of Love A must-do for those associated with Mara. The resulting bonus, in combination with the Lord Stone and the Shield of Solitude will almost max magic resistance.

    By the time they've done all of the above, crafting as they go, and turned off the side of the road a few times just to see where luck takes them, the Chancer is likely well about level 50, fully kitted out, and ready for Destiny. Here's how to bring Luck back to Skyrim:

    Civil War Although you're no regular soldier, to bring back good fortune to Skyrim requires the end of the fighting that is bleeding the province dry. It's a fateful choice to for the Chancer to pick a side as whoever has luck on their side cannot lose. I went with the Imperials, as Sai is tasked with bringing luck to everyone, not just the Nords.

    Dragonborn Main Quest While helping out the luckless settlement of Raven Rock you end up facing off against Miraak. This is when things get serious for the Chancer, and they begin to truly embrace their identity as Dragonborn.

    Main Quest Do up to The Way of the Voice at the beginning of the game. Then come back to it after Dragonborn. The Quest to destroy Alduin should be the climax of a hero's career.

    Dawnguard For Sai's champion, this is much more than a coda to his adventures, or a mere campaign against a group of vampires. In the process, you'll discover the long lost Falmer. The old tales said that Sai never managed to bring luck to the Falmer, contributing to their demise, and he will be keen to restore the balance. So after defeating Harkon, the Chancer must disappear to Forgotten Vale. I like to think in adventures to come they help restore the lost elven race. In any case, they are never seen in Skyrim again...

    Now I must go, and bring Luck back to them and redress the balance, as it should have been.” ~ Sai

    This build was a long time, much head scratching and many rerolls in the making, probably because Sai is an odd so-and-so with many aspects to balance. An earlier effort called the Lucky Nord made an appearance in the Workshop, where I was grateful that no-one told me to not be so silly as I groped around for a path out of the mess.

    It's also been a real education in Skyrim mechanics. The Tips and Tricks forum explained some combat maths to me, and why Bladesman is underpowered. I apologise to all the power gamers for using it anyway.

    This has been one of the most fun to develop and involving characters I've rolled, and the highest level I've ever played a build. I hope you enjoyed it.





  • Member
    April 24, 2016

    Excellent, build Plunders! It's been a while since I last played a Jack-of-all-Trades, so I'll probably give this a try sometime soon.

  • April 24, 2016

    Beautifully done, first class presentation, although a little long.  You certainly haven't missed anything, this character just feels real very well done my friend +1

  • Member
    April 24, 2016

    Bloody excellent, Plunders! Got my +1 for sure.

  • April 24, 2016
    A playthrough I really enjoyed was a jack of all trades I played a while back. Nicely done. :)
  • Member
    April 24, 2016
    Awesome job.
  • Member
    April 25, 2016

    Impressive . . . Most impressive!

    I'm speechless.

  • April 25, 2016

    Thank you for your kind words. It is a little long but, yeah, it's long. No excuses.

  • Member
    April 25, 2016

    Excellent job Plunders, hope to see more from you, and your presentation is awesome

  • Member
    April 26, 2016

     You done a great job with this Plunders from the titles and artwork to the fundamentals of the build itself. Well done.