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Character Build: The Librarian's Daughter

Tags: #Character Build Archer  #Character Build Summoner  #Character Build Bound Weapons  #Race:Orsimer  #Rank:Recognized  #ShinJin Build  #MM 2016 Winner 
  • Member
    December 30, 2016

    He was an affable trader-merchant from Chorrol with a quick wit, a ready story, and an uncanny ability to discover his best jokes and the bottom of his mug at surprisingly synchronous times. He couldn't have been more than a sip or two away from that moment, so the quiet Orcess by the fireplace surreptitiously turned his way and waited—she didn’t wait long…

    “Say,” he said to no one in particular, “what’s harder than trying to drag an Orc out of a fight?” Here he masterfully inserted the slightest pause—further heightening that glorious moment of anticipation just before the punchline. “Trying to drag him into a library!”

    He looked about expectantly, but an awkward hush descended upon the tavern; only the soft humming of a torchbug flitting about in a dark corner could be heard.

    “Come on… really?” He sulked his way from the bar towards the fire and petulantly flopped down into the seat next to the Orcess. The trader turned his gaze her way, started to speak, stopped himself, then decided to plunge ahead anyhow.

    “So... you’re an Orc, right?”

    Unbelieveable. “You’ve a keen sense of the obvious, friend.”

    “Perhaps you can help me figure something out. I’ve been all over Tamriel, and that joke NEVER fails to get me a mead or a bottle of ale—more often than not, the slap on the back and cup of mead comes from an Orc… they love that joke.”

    “I imagine they would—it is a funny joke.”

    “Exactly! But ever since I stepped foot into this province, I get nothing but the sound of torchbug wings every time I tell it… and it may just be my imagination, but the effect seems to be getting get more pronounced the further north I get. What is it about this place I’m not understanding?”

    “To properly explain, I think an introduction is in order.” She offered him her hand. “My name is Travenya gra-Urag.”



    “That’s a rather unusual name… especially for an Orc.”

    “It is, indeed. Daddy named me after a Third Era Arch-mage whose selfless sacrifice was instrumental in crushing the rise of the King of Worms.”

    “Well, ‘Daddy’ strikes me as a most unusual Orc.”

    “You don’t know the half of it. He runs the Arcaneum in the College of Winterhold—Skyrim’s most extensive library.”

    “Ah, yes... I begin to see. And what, if you don’t mind my asking, does an intriguing young Orcess such as yourself do for a living?”

    “Me? I acquire rare books, scrolls, tomes, artifacts and antiquities for Daddy. I am going to make the Arcaneum the most extensive library in all of Tamriel..."

    Travenya gra-Urag: a Compendium of Conversations—from "The Affable Merchant"


    The origins for the The Librarian’s Daughter came with the Against Type event hosted at the end of last October. I had yet to come up with an Orc character for this site, and the event seemed like a great way to get my foot in the Orc-door. Naturally, my immediate thought when I pondered what an ‘against type’ Orc might look like was Winterhold’s master of the Arcaneum, Urag gro-Shub—the charmingly brusque librarian who looks after his books like they were his own children. That line of thought eventually got me pondering the following question: what would an actual child of Urag gro-Shub, surrounded by arcane tomes, modestly dysfunctional mages, and a lot of free time, turn out like? I still don’t know, but I figured an awesome way to kick the ‘against type’ factor up to 11 would be to make that child a clever, subtle, sophisticated (and slightly spoiled) archivist/historian/adventurer debutante who is Oblivion-bent on amassing content and a reputation for her father’s library.

    A frustrating lack of time hounded me throughout the following weeks, but I loved the idea so much I was willing to risk not making the deadline. And then I looked at the build ideas coming from some of my (would-be) fellow participants; I was not the only one to think an Orc mage was an awesome idea. There were some fantastic Orc conjurers already well developed—one of them none other than the irascible Urag gro-Shub himself. I took it as a sign that the universe wanted me to take care of things closer to home and tabled the build. Or at least the write-up. But I continued to play Urag's daughter and ultimately had too much fun not to share it. Case in point: while this build was designed to top out at level 45, I'm personally well into the mid 50's because I haven't quite been able to get myself to put it down. 

    Build in a Nutshell

    In essence, The Librarian’s Daughter is an up-in-your-grill run-and-gun archer with a bit of Conjuration/Alteration mage blended in. Her high stamina and magicka but extremely low health—read this as no points in health--gives you a serious case of happy feet, but powerful bound weapons, summoned support, and ever-increasingly robust flesh spells tip the balance back well into your favor. For days I have been racking my brains trying to adequately find an accurate description of this playstyle. Finally, after much internal deliberation, I think I’ve found a phrase I am comfortable with—super-happy-crazy-fun :D

    The Basics


    Orc—sure, you can play this with your favorite race and just RP that she is a half-Orc, but c’mon folks… the daughter of THE indomitable Urag gro-Shub should be an Orc. True, you get absolutely NO racial bonuses when you roll with this choice, but with your most important skills leveling so blindingly fast, who needs bonuses?


    1 magicka/0 health/1 stamina—I wanted Travenya gra-Urag to be trouble for anything foolish enough to get on her bad side: light on her feet and hard to hit, an absolute terror with a bow, and a formidable conjurer with powerful summoned allies. But I also wanted a somewhat antithetical vulnerability to her that one doesn't expect to see in an Orc. This attribute spread got me there, and I'm glad it did—it was insanely fun!


    Mage—I stuck with the Mage Stone for the first 10 or so levels in order to ramp up my Conjuration and Alteration skills just a bit more quickly.

    Lord—somewhere between level 10-15 it seemed like I started running into harder-hitting archers and mages that were a bit more difficult to avoid than your typical melee combatant. The Lord Stone's boost to AR and magic resistance was just what the doctor ordered for a build with no points invested in health or the Mage Armor perks


    For the most part, I kept my shouts defensive: Become Ethereal, Unrelenting Force, Clear Skies, and Aura Whisper were my fab four that either protected me from harm, bought me some time with their staggers, or allowed me to avoid trouble entirely. I also found the occasional use for Throw Voice as well.

    This is not to say that I stayed away from offensive shouts entirely. Marked for Death can be an absolute lifesaver when confronted with an Ancient Dragon and you find yourself having to use a micrometer to measure the amount of damage you are inflicting. MFD keeps those encounters blessedly short so you can focus on the important things... like acquiring books (or not dying).

    Major Skills

    While Orc-kin in the strongholds are generally decent to city Orcs, experience had shown Travenya that there was always that ONE. Unfortunately, in this case that one happened to be the chieftain—a pathetic little troll blessed with an overabundance of self-importance, limitless opinions on ANY subject, an astonishing capacity to be wrong about ALL of those subjects, and a maddening inability to keep from expressing them. His favorite theme for opinions this night seemed to center around the 'softness' and 'gerneral worthlessness' of city Orcs, and she was starting to suspect that, before the night was over, she would wind up hearing them all...

    Travenya gra-Urag: a Compendium of Conversations—from "In Largashbur"


    "A real Orc doesn’t fight with a bow."

    "I don’t fight with a bow; I kill with it. There’s a difference, you know—if you haven’t figured that out by now, you’re not much of an Orc either."

    Travenya gra-Urag: a Compendium of Conversations—from "In Largashbur"

    Gadfrey! This skill blends in supremely well with Conjuration, Alteration, and Alchemy. With these four skills working together, you get the most powerful early-level bow (Bound Bow spell) and daedric distractions in the form of Atronachs, you avoid the encumberance of armor with flesh spells and are thus better able quickly take advantage of your terrain when conflicts arise, and your arrows hit harder with a miriad of devastating effects from alchemical poisons. It's almost unfair. With this in mind, I did very little sniping when playing this build.

    There was some serious high-speed run-and-gun archery going on for me, which I will cover in a bit more detail in the 'Combat' section later on, but for the sake of brevity I will limit my remarks to this:

    (a) Powershot—zipping arround and plinking arrows as enemies race all around you is an absolute gas, but drawing your bow takes time... Powershot's stagger buys you some more.

    (b) Ranger—this perk really amps up your mobility and lets you move quickly while drawing your bow. Real running-and-gunning starts with the Ranger perk... get it as ever-loving quickly as you can.

    (c) Bullseye—tired of backpedaling? This perk takes you from kiter to stand-and-deliver archer in no time :D

    With so many aces up your sleeve, sneak archery just doesn't make sense.


    "Orcs don’t waste their time reading books."

    "That’s only half true—foolish Orcs don’t waste their time reading books. For a wise Orc, the information contained in a book just might become a new weapon. How, exactly, is that a waste of time?"

     Travenya gra-Urag: a Compendium of Conversations—from "In Largashbur"

    Flesh spells—you're in the late game at 100 health with only some enchanted leather bracers and Krosis for AR, enemies hit hard, and ancient dragons seem to patrol just about every inch of sky. Flesh spells take a lot of the sting out of hits that manage to find their way home. For every new level of Alteration I achieved, I swapped out my flesh spells accordingly. I opted to ignore the master level flesh spell—I just didn't need it. But for you Master and Legendary players, feel free to drop a perk point there.

    Detect—what's better than taking the sting off a hit? Avoiding it entirely! Detect Life/Dead spells let you know what's up ahead, so you can get the drop on your enemies with a well-planned attack... or just stroll around them.

    Utility spells—Alteration is an awful lot like Batman's belt. Need light? Want to explore under water? Wish you had a bit more gold? Don't want to spring a pressure pedastal (or just too lazy to get out of bed and grab that sweetroll)? Alteration has got you covered, and as an adventurer, I found myself dipping into that belt fairly regularly.


    "Only the weak use magic in combat."

    "Daddy says that a fool fights with his fists when there’s a mace at his feet. Magic is a weapon. Scoff all you want, but answer me this… how many Orcs throughout the ages have been laid low by a magician’s spell?"

    Travenya gra-Urag: a Compendium of Conversations—from "In Largashbur"

    The two most important aspects for this school are your bound weapons (the Bound Bow in particular) and your atronachs/dremora lords. The possibility of Daedric weapons as early as level one, plus a distraction that deals damage while you run around pelting distracted enemies with arrows? Yes, please!

    I perked anything that didn't involve necromancy; however, I opted not to perk the master level. Between spell-reducing gear and high magicka reserves, I really didn't feel the need to have thralls with me at all times (plus, I feel more 'in the moment' when I'm summoning my minions). Which I suppose leads to the debate:

    Thralls vs standard summons—perhaps the greatest reason for just summoning atronachs rather than calling upon thralls is having the option to place them where you want them, when you want them. There's nothing quite as frustrating as trying to get the drop on a table full of marauders, only to have an atronach run over the top of you (or just plain run away... curse you storm atronachs) and alert every enemy in the vicinity that you were planning to pay a social call. It's your game—fight on your terms. Still, if you likes your thralls, I feel ya... feel free to drop an extra point into master.

    Soul Stealer—look, you've got to take this perk in order to perk Oblivion Binding... why not take advantage of it? True, Enchanting is not a perked skill, but with all those filled petty soul gems lying around, I enchanted daggers with Damage Stamina, Absorb Health, or (if you're lucky enough to find it early) Banish Daedra every time I ran across an enchanting table. It's a fantastic way to earn more gold for training, and blacksmiths have way more money than alchemists or merchants. I would use filled grand and black soul gems to enchant jewelry with Fortify Carry Weight or Sneak—training in magic schools is a breeze when you've got high-end jewelry to sell back to your trainers, and...  Mage. Trainers. Buy. Jewelry! ;D

    Okay, Frosty, you block up the middle. Hotstuff—you go long... ready... break!

    Minor Skills

    He kept the snarky comments coming with increasing regularity all evening, creating a monotonous loop in the general conversation of the longhouse. Someone would ask about one of her most recent acquisitions, she would tell the story, and HE would give a disparaging grunt accompanied by a disparaging comment, to which she would make an immediate riposte that was sharp enough to buy her a few more minutes of peace. Travenya felt the pattern was starting to wear thin. She had just finished describing some of the amazing wonders found in the caverns of Blackreach, when he started it up again.

    "Yes, yes. More very fine accomplishments from the city Orc... I'm surprised you leave the city at all."

    "You say 'city Orc' like it somehow implies weakness! Please explain to me how being an outsider surrounded by suspicious, occasionally hostile men and mer, makes me weak? What does that make you, then, who hides behind the locked walls of this stronghold, surrounded by your kin?"

    Travenya gra-Urag: a Compendium of Conversations—from "In Largashbur"


    "You spend a lot of your time skulking about, don't you? You ever tried facing an opponent... like a true Orc?"

    "The giants I dispatched on your own threshold saw me coming well enough. Funny, now that I think of it, I don't quite recall seeing you there..."

    Travenya gra-Urag: a Compendium of Conversations—from "In Largashbur"

    Growing up as a curious young Orcess in the College of Winterhold amongst plenty of forbidden places, Travenya learned early on how to move about undetected. I felt she would already be suitably stealthy, thus it made sense to me that she would be able to Silent Roll right out of Helgen. To simulate this, I wailed on poor old Hadvar in stealth mode just before sneaking past the bear. I did this until Sneak was fully perked for the build… took about ten minutes or so, but it plays so well for the character that I felt fully justified. Don’t like taking advantage of exploits? S’all good—simply do it the old fashioned way (or take the middle road by initiating your attacks in stealth mode until you reach the Silent Roll perk).

    You don’t have to be a thief or assassin to benefit from the Sneak skill, and I personally think any go-it-alone adventurer would have to have a pretty good reason not to, at least superficially, perk it. While Travenya gra-Urag is not above appropriating books and artifacts to bolster her father’s ever-expanding library, she isn’t what you would truly call a thief—and she certainly isn’t an assassin. I kept to the left side of the Sneak tree, and only put a single point into Stealth. In late levels with the muffled movement perk and muffled shoes, I was still able to walk right up to enemies with their backs turned without popping up on their radar—out of sneak mode, no less. Sneak, then, was used mainly to get close to enemies for a bit of recon, or to quietly steal about the shadows in order to ‘borrow’ items for the library.

    "Hey, Ralf... you ever get that creepy feeling you're being watched?"


    "Ah, Alchemy! Now there is a fine skill for an Orc-wife—you might have made a good one. It's a shame you broke from your hold... and your honor."

    "Naturally, you would say there is no greater honor than being bedded by some mindless sload just because he happens to have beaten or driven away every other male rival in a stronghold. I am not of the same opinion… perhaps you should go bed yourself, then."

    Travenya gra-Urag: a Compendium of Conversations—from "In Largashbur"

    To keep me from getting lazy I limited the amount of potions and poisons I kept on me at any one time, but… anytime I found myself behind the eight-ball, Alchemy is where I turned. Fortify/restore health potions would completely heal me once I got a few perks under my alchemical belt, and the Concentrated Poison perk kept crowd control manageable for those unavoidable occasions when things started to go off-kilter. In a nutshell, Alchemy is that one friend you can always call whenever you get yourself in a bind, that you know has your back, no questions asked.

    Because I hate scrounging around for hard to obtain alchemy items, I kept my effects pragmatic, and my ingredients list simple… just the stuff I’d need.


    Due-date Extension (Blue Mountain Flower + Wheat)—Fortify Health/Restore Health

    Red bar getting disconcertingly low? When it looks like your time has come to an end... fill ‘er up! And get a larger tank while you’re at it ;D

    Tome Sleeve (Snowberries + Thistle Branch + Dragon’s Tongue)—Resist Frost/Resist Fire

    This is always nice to have on hand, but I found it particularly helpful in those early levels when my Magic Resistance perks hadn’t kicked in yet. Any time I saw a dragon or spellcaster, I made sure I still had a couple on me.

    For particularly nasty mage dens, I would substitute Thistle Branch with Hawk Beak. Yes, Hawk Beak is more difficult to come by (though I rather enjoyed honing my archery skills on those poor, unsuspecting hawks as they soared overhead), but you get a whopping resistance in all elemental categories: fire, frost, and shock. I saved this for special occasions… terrifying special occasions xD.


    Checkout Time (Canis Root + Mora Tapinella + Imp Stool)—Paralysis/Lingering Damage Health

    Just an absolutely beautiful combination of effects: paralysis gives the lingering damage time to do its thing, and that damage is significant. It worked like magic: marauders or mages with ‘Arch’ in their title got a healthy dose of this baby, took a little nap, then woke up as bandit outlaws and apprentices. Ba-da-boom ba-da-bing… magic!

    Late Fees (Deathbell + Bleeding Crown + River Betty)—Slow/Weakness to Poison/Damage Health

    Another fantastic combo that’s almost tailor made for an in-your-face archer. The slow effect buys you more time and the damage health takes a nice chunk of health away, but this poison really shines once you take the Concentrated Poison perk and learn The Advanced Archery Corner’s ‘Double Shot’ technique. The combined two-for-the-price-of-one nature for both of these components gets the weakness to poison effect working post-haste, and you can rest assured knowing the second short-shot is still gonna hurt! ;D




    Head—Krosis/Shrouded Hood. The boost to your archery skills comes in crazy handy, while the Shrouded Hood keeps you even sneakier. Eventually, a boost in sneaking wasn’t an issue for me, so I archived it and just stuck with Krosis.

    Robes—I worked my way up from novice to master robes of conjuration. The reduction and increased regeneration for magicka is nice.

    Neck—The Gauldur Amulet. You can't argue with +30 points to all stats, but the increase in health is particularly pleasant. If you play higher difficulty settings, a Necklace of Peerles Health might be an even better option.

    Hands—leather bracers of archery. I kept trading up till I got hold of a pair of peerless ones—again it's a nice boost for a stand-your-ground archer.

    Finger—just about anything that fits your fancy. Early on, I simply used the the enchanted ring you find in Saarthal for the extra boost in health with the idea that I would trade up for something better... then just forgot about it xD

    Feet—Shrouded Shoes. That Muffle enchantment makes a world of difference for a character that sports only 1 point in the Stealth perk.


    Long Bow—this just held me over until I could get a hold of the Bound Bow spell... it didn't take long, and when I did, I ditched the bow and never looked back.

    Bound Bow—just a fantastically powerful weapon in the early game, but still packs a punch even in the higher levels with the appropriate gear. I used no other weapon, and the only downside I can think of is that it draws pretty slowly (I even experimented with the Quickdraw perk for a bit, and couldn't discern any noticeable difference to justify dropping a perk there). Still, while you may not hit fast... you certainly hit hard ;D

    In Town


    Head—Mage's Circlet (or any circlet, really... the main idea is that this princess wants a freaking tiara).

    Archmage Robes—I felt this added a level of respectability that Travenya gra-Urag is seeking not only for herself, but for the Arcaneum as well; however, any robes would do.

    Neck—Amulet of Zenithar. Zenithar is a respectable divine, and the bonus to Speech helps you stretch out your gold.

    Hands—ditch the bracers in town. I just left this slot empty, but if you find something that works for you... go for it!

    Finger—I kept the enchanted ring from Saarthal.

    Feet—I also kept the shrouded shoes.

    Perks—Level 45


    Gameplay for this build was absolutely wonderful in that there weren’t a whole lot of objectives other than the main: find rare books (skill and spell in particular), artifacts (anything with a non-generic sounding name in it), and all items a historian might be interested in archiving (notes, journals, alchemy and Atronach Forge recipes, treasure maps, letters from a friend, museum openings, Dark Brotherhood threats and contracts, etc). What this means is that you will be exploring just about every square inch of Skyrim in order to acquire items of special interest.

    I interspersed the Main Quest (chance to nab an Elder Scroll for the Arcaneum? YUP! (BTW, if you want to see Urag gro-Shub get all choked up, hand him that scroll when you're finished with it ;D)), the College of Winterhold questline, and the Shalidor/Arcaneum Fetch Book/Word of Power quests throughout the playthrough rather than single-mindedly focusing on one specific questline or objective. If I felt like visiting the Greybeards, I'd do the Main Quest for a bit. If not... I'd try to figure out what's going on with that kooky Eye of Magnus. Feel like exploring? Off I go on a Shalidor/Fetch Book/Word of Power quest.


    The early levels of this playthrough fly by. As mentioned in the Sneak section, I spent some time in Helgen sneak attacking Hadvar in order to ramp up my Sneak skills and perks quickly. Once out of Helgen I ran down the road collecting blue mountain flowers and blue butterflies, picked up the Mage Stone, beat up some baddies in Embershard Mine, and made my way to Riverwood to make friends with Faendal and capitalize on that brilliant follower/trainer exploit—hello level 50 Archery!

    Normally I like to pick up the Bleak Falls Barrow quest first rather than heading off to Whiterun (it saves you a trip), but for this build I made a beeline for Whiterun in order to pick up the Bound Sword and Flame Atronach spells from Farengar. Although I played this build solo, I did break the rule in the very earliest stage with Faendal so I wouldn’t have to keep running back to Riverwood in order to retrain. I also opted to ignore Archery in Bleak Falls Barrow and instead cast Bound Sword at every opportunity because that spell ramps up your Conjuration experience like crazy. By the time I left the Barrow, I was ready to get the Bound Bow spell, say farewell to my good friend Faendal, and to the Early levels :D


    Honestly, there wasn't much difference between these two levels, gameplay-wise. This was where I did most of my exploring, fetching, collecting, and archiving. I have to say, with possibly the exception of The Knights of Iron, I can't think of a build I've come up with that offers more player latitude and freedom of choice—just about any place you explore will yield something worth documenting, archiving, or selling to Daddy, so just go do what intrests you most at any particular moment.

    Books are just the beginning... check it out!


    The three men up ahead were bandits (poorly disguised ones at that), and Travenya had encountered the tell-tale signs of their work throughout the day: overturned carts, slaughtered horses, burned homes. They were careless... and VERY drunk. She cursed her own carelessness that let them get the drop on her in the first place. Reading on the road... what had she been thinking? Daddy would be livid at her foolishness.

    The largest was the first to speak, "Why look here... it's a lovely little pariah flower! Where you going, sweetroll?"

    Just keep walking, they may be too drunk to keep up.

    "Now, if I didn't know any better, I'd think she wasn't interested in having a friendly little chat, eh?

    "Couldn't be that, boys. We're great conversationalists. Why don't you sit on my lap a bit so we can... talk?" Their smiles looked anything but friendly.

    Well, I suppose I have this coming. She held up her hands,"Look, fellas, I don't want any trouble..."

    Together, the three men started to converge, and the large one chuckled, "Oh, believe me—it won't be."

    The slightest trace of a smile curved across Travenya's lips as the air around her hands crackled and became suffused with a faint purple haze, "I wouldn't be too sure..."

    Travenya gra-Urag: a Compendium of Conversations—from "The Road to Riften"

    Keep That Head on a Swivel

    When I'm playing glass canons or other types of fragile characters, I like to know where my enemies are long before they have an inkilng I exist. Aura Whisper and Detect Life/Dead spells go a long way to keeping you alive. If you know where your enemies are, you can plan your attack or avoid trouble altogether. With your muffled movements and means to detect threats in advance, you should have the edge in just about any combat scenario you come across.

    When you are in combat, don't get so focused on the threat in front of you that you lose track of what's going on with the baddies wailing on your atronachs. I found myself dealing with far less unpleasant surprises when I kept my atronachs in my periphery (there's nothing worse than finally putting down a pesky deathlord only to get conked on the bean by a scourge with a mace who's finished off my atronach and is looking for something else to smash). Rely on your atronachs, but never take that support for granted.

    So, Uh... Why Aren't You Kiting?

    With the stagger from Powershot, the occasional paralysis from Bullseye, and the Checkout Time poison, kiting unnecessarily extends combat... and isn't anywhere near as fun. Oops, no Powershot stagger or Bullseye paralysis kicking in on an enemy and now he's slipped under your guard? Roll past him, spin, strafe, and try again—or just stand your ground. Yes, you heard that right. The Advanced Archery Corner's second Exploit Bash works wonders with this build. The bash can be performed with a fractional draw, does arrow damage, automatically staggers opponents, and rolls a chance for the Bullseye perk to kick in! If it does... well, you got all kinds of options! If it doesn't, then draw your bow as you strafe behind him, and Double Shot an arrow in his back. Or maybe just pull off a second Exploit Bash instead!

    That said, don't be too proud to kite—if you're in a narrow passagway with an enemy in your grill, kiting, half-draws, and exploit bashes just make sense—but at the same time, don't allow it to become your go-to stategy when there are so many other, better ones available.

    The Singularity

    Because I enjoyed the toe-to-toe nature of archery in this build, I tended go duelist when taking on a single foe rather than calling on my summons. Yes, it was a lot more fun, but more important, these moments were an opportunity to hone some of the Advanced Archery skills that hadn't quite become muscle memory for me yet. As I started to get the hang of it, I realized that (with possibly the exception of flying dragons), there wasn't a single foe I couldn't handle on my own anyhow. It also got those skills feeling a little closer to second nature, so when I found myself surrounded by multiple enemies, I was able to make better combat decisions and start reacting instinctively with far less hesitation. Simply put—treat these times as a chance to train.

    Who Gets It First?

    The quintessential combat question when dealing with mobs! I looked for the hard-to kill folks first: Deathlords, Marauders, Arch-whatever type mages, and etc. I dumped atronachs right in their laps to keep them busy while I took out the little guys or put arrows into the backs of the big boys. Because I was constantly on the move running and gunning, ranged enemies weren't as much of a threat as the tanks (or anything else that had a tendency to close the gap and come at me). Unless there was a Deathlord with an ebony bow causing me conniptions, I usually made the one and two-handers a priority.

    Doesn't Spellcasting Kind of Suck as an Archer?

    True dat... if you constantly switch back and forth. I brought in my atronachs, then simultaneously cast my highest flesh spell and Bound Bow (actually your flesh spell should come a fraction of a second before the bow, otherwise you run the risk of preempting your flesh spell), and from there treated the encounter as strictly melee. Only on the rarest of occasions did I find myself casting atronachs a second time. Usually if they died, they died—I'd just keep plinking away and using my shouts, poisons and potions as additional support or reprieve. But if you find yourself between a rock and a hard place, a single shout of Become Ethereal gives you ample time to set up another set of atronachs and fall back to better terrain.


     Aaaaaand... it's go-time!


    Travenya understood interpersonal communication well enough to know that things were coming to a head now—the embarrassed silence of the Orcs around the table only confirmed it. Actually, she was surprised it had taken this long to happen.

    "You are a disgrace to your race… just like your father."

    And there it is—no more warning shots across the bow. So be it. "Why, you truly are the funniest little Orc I've ever encountered! Beleaguered by giants, your own clan reduced to recruiting a “disgraced” Orcess to save your stronghold; meanwhile you, who hides behind your walls and your title of chieftain, have the temerity to even utter the word 'disgrace' without the blush of shame? Understand this: Daddy is twice the Orc you’ll ever be. Mark my words, Yamarz, your days as chieftain are coming to an end."

    Travenya gra-Urag: a Compendium of Conversations—from "In Largashbur"

    Book Laundering

    I played Travenya gra-Urag as a driven character who is basically good, but not above a bit of skulduggery in order to further the advancement of her father’s library. After all, if the Arcanaeum needs it, what better place could there be for it? But Urag gro-Shub does not deal in under-the-table merchandise—the Arcanaeum is nothing without the legitimacy that respectability brings it—therefore Travenya sometimes has to think a bit outside the box in order to get daddy to accept her help. Not a problem when you have whiterun’s finest laundry service… Lydia.

    Lydia quickly becomes available as a follower, and due to a nice little follower glitch, you can clean the ‘stolen’ tag from any article (books included ;D) by placing it in a container. I placed any stolen items that I wanted to sell to Urag in the dresser in Farengar’s sleeping quarters, had Lydia pick those items up, and voila!—stolen tags removed, items cleaned, and Urag is a happy daddy  xD

    I made 'acquisitions' for the library by selling any book, scroll, tome, journal (or what have you) to Urag that I came across. I tried to get him a copy of every book in Skyrim during the early stages of the game by exploring ruins and looting homes. When I finally got a decent collection, I focused mainly on skill books, spell tomes, and distinctive letters… nothing was too small to archive.

    Lydia's Laundering Service... open 24 hours!


    In addition to literature, I would acquire artifacts and unique (read as ‘named’) weapons and apparel for the library and store it in the Archmage’s Quarters. Some daedric artifacts I went after, but others I had trouble justifying (Boethia and Namira in particular). Dragon claws, jewelry, gold, and gems went in the safe. Unique weapons, armor and staves went in the long chest on the wall across the foot of the bed. Unique clothing went in the tall armoire, filled soul gems in the chest of drawers on its left, and enchanted daggers for selling went in the chest the right. Alchemical ingredients and potions went in the barrel next to the alchemy table.

    Making Fetch Quests Enjoyable

    I actually enjoyed getting books and Shalidor’s scrolls for Urag, but I could see that becoming a bit of a chore if not properly considered. Any time I went on one of these quests, I would neglect fast travel so as to run into new, unexplored caverns, forts, and ruins… then I would explore and take away anything that could go to the library. Taking these radiant quests like this made them much more enjoyable, and I often found myself ignoring the larger quests in favor of the exploring opportunities that the fetch quests provided.

    Some Other Thangs

    Travenya is sophisticated, charming, and agreeable… to those she likes. But she is still very much her father’s daughter—she doesn’t put up with nonsense from others. So if she passes a mercenary on the road who calls her a “milk-drinker,” there is going to be some conflict. This had her brawling on a few occasions. To speed the process up, I usually carried the Gloves of the Pugilist on me—just in case. Fistfights happen much more quickly with that bonus to unarmed damage.


    It had been three days of travelling when Travenya walked into Falkreath for her first time—hard travelling. She felt... rough; moreover, she knew she must have looked it. Though it seemed like weeks since she had seen a mirror, she could easily imagine the picture she presented. There were still small splatters of blood on her robe and shoes (some of it hers), and while her hands were mostly rid of the gore and grime, she had no idea as to the presentability of her face.

    Although the town was new to her and she didn’t know a soul in it, she felt a strong desire to surround herself with cheerful voices. The sign over the tavern, Dead Man’s Drink, didn’t strike her as too promising, but you take what company you can, when you can. Thankfully, the place had an air of joviality about it when she walked in. Travenya made her way toward a dim, unoccupied corner when she heard a familiar voice call from across the room…

    “Why, if it isn’t the intriguing Orcess! Pull up a stool—I’d be delighted to enjoy the company and conversation of Travenya gra-Urag, Tamriel’s most beautiful young Orc. How’s the library coming? Any interesting acquisitions?”

    The affable merchant of Chorrol—looks like this may turn out to be a good evening after all. She flashed him a winsome smile as she crossed the tavern to join him at the bar. Sure enough, his cup was almost empty… a good sign. “Depends… is an Elder Scroll ‘interesting’?”

    “An Elder Scr… ah, so you’re in a playful mood, are you? Well, then! You’re just in time for a joke—this one’s especially for you,” he said with a wink. The folk in the immediate vicinity grew quiet; the Colovian had been on a roll tonight.

    “Music to my ears, merchant… I could do with a laugh or two.”

    “Then answer me this: where does Urag gro-Shub go when he’s not in the Arcaneum?”

    Actually, that’s not a bad question. “I don’t know. Where does Daddy go when he’s not in the Arcaneum?”

    “How would I know… nobody’s ever seen him leave it!” There was a chorus of hearty laughs, a few hands slapped table-tops, and the joke was repeated several times throughout the tavern—nary a torchbug in sight. Yes, the Colovian was on a roll.

    “It would appear that someone has become a bit more familiar with Skyrim over the last few months,” chuckled Travenya as she reached into her coin purse and slapped a handful of septims down on the counter. She turned to the barmaid behind it, “Madam, I think I can just see the bottom of this gentleman’s mug—please bring my merry merchant another mead!”

    Travenya gra-Urag: a Compendium of Conversations—from "The Affable Merchant"


    First, I'd like to thank the hosts and participants of the Against Type Event. While this build never made it in, it largely benefited from the hard work of the hosts and excitement that the participants inspired.

    I'd also like to thank Karver, whose Orc-lore knows no limitations (and who also taught me how to properly write down Travenya's full name xD)—I hope those changes are balm for your Orc nerves ;D

    And check out some of the other Orc mages found in the Against Type event... they're pretty boss!

    The Warlock of Orsinium by Karver

    Ulliceta gra Kogg by Bonelord

    Also look for Lissette's Arch-Atronach at the beginning of this year... the WiP has me very excited about the upcoming release :D



  • Member
    December 30, 2016

    I spotted a couple of these images the last time I was in the photo section and just shrugged them off as a build you'd restored, and boy am I glad I was wrong :D

    The bits of story intertwined into this have made it one of the most enjoyable builds that I've read recently (not that there are that many :P).

  • December 30, 2016

    Nice to see Urag can still sire. A fine build Shin. Very creative with her story. 

    We can expect to see me coming out with papa early next year. 

  • Member
    December 30, 2016

    Golden Fool said:

    I spotted a couple of these images the last time I was in the photo section and just shrugged them off as a build you'd restored, and boy am I glad I was wrong :D

    The bits of story intertwined into this have made it one of the most enjoyable builds that I've read recently (not that there are that many :P).

    Thanks, GF :D

    I'm actually quite glad to hear the story sections play... I wanted to try something a bit new in honor of creativity month, but was afraid the length would be a bit off-putting for readers

    Lissette Long-Chapper said:

    Nice to see Urag can still sire. A fine build Shin. Very creative with her story. 

    We can expect to see me coming out with papa early next year. 

    Right on! I've been dropping by your WIP to see how it's been coming along (me likee, BTW). Can't wait to see THE Urag gro-Shub :D

  • Member
    December 30, 2016

    ShinJin said:

    Thanks, GF :D

    I'm actually quite glad to hear the story sections play... I wanted to try something a bit new in honor of creativity month, but was afraid the length would be a bit off-putting for readers

    Anyone that is put off by the length is a fool (;D) of the worst kind. I almost forgot to mention that I love the names for those potions and poisons, back before I decided to do myself a favour and stop forcing myself to use alchemy, I always struggled to name my concoctions. But those names are so damn fitting for the build :D

    ShinJin said:

    Can't wait to see THE Urag gro-Shub :D

    You're not the only one, I can't wait to see how deeply Liss has built the True Atronach into it.

  • Member
    December 31, 2016

    Golden Fool said:

    back before I decided to do myself a favour and stop forcing myself to use alchemy

    I thought I was the only one! Glad to know there's a kindred spirit out there ;D

    But I recently found that if I limited myself to no more than 4 kinds, I'm much more likely to actually use the freaking things xD

  • Member
    December 31, 2016

    ShinJin said:

    I thought I was the only one! Glad to know there's a kindred spirit out there ;D

    But I recently found that if I limited myself to no more than 4 kinds, I'm much more likely to actually use the freaking things xD

    I might try that out, although my main problem with it is the gathering of ingredients, or more accurately that I always feel like I'm going out of my way to gather them. Maybe using ingredients from slain enemies would work. I know a combination of Cabre Cat, Skeever and Falmer results in both the damage and ravage health effects...

    Now if Skyrim's alchemy was the lead into gold kind, then I probably wouldn't play a character without it.

  • Member
    December 31, 2016
    Surviving must have been interesting. Well done! :)
  • December 31, 2016

    Damn! Orc! Mage! Librarian! And a daughter no less! I freaking love it! You never fail to deliver one helluva blast of a build, Shin! 

    Btw, I´m also sorry in advance for my nitpicking, but it´s getting on my Orc nerves... :D 

    First, Orc females don´t use "gro-" in their names but they use "gra-"

    Second, the second name of an Orc is either Stronghold or clan they were born into or name of their parent. Father name for male, mother name for female, but there are exceptions, like when daughter can take her father´s name. 

    So, if we would have to be true to the Lore it would be "Travenya gra-Urag" :)

  • Member
    December 31, 2016

    Noodles said: Surviving must have been interesting. Well done! :)
    Thanks, Noodles!

    A couple bosses in the beginning were dicey, but as my detection got stronger (Aura Whisper & Life/Dead) things settled down to a surprising degree. But in the interest of full disclosure, I play on Adept (which, I suppose, is why I enjoy glassy builds ;D)

    Karver the Lorc said:

    Damn! Orc! Mage! Librarian! And a daughter no less! I freaking love it! You never fail to deliver one helluva blast of a build, Shin! 

    Btw, I´m also sorry in advance for my nitpicking, but it´s getting on my Orc nerves... :D 

    Thanks, Karver :D

    And thanks for the name catch--by now it should be fairly obvious that my Orc-fu is pretty weak (especially in the lore department). I'll start picking through the build and swapping out her name in order to soothe those Orc nerves xD