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Character Build: The Pure Alchemist

Tags: #Character Build Alchemist  #Character Build Unarmored  #Dragonborn1721  #Race: Bosmer  #Pure Build Series  #SE Rank:Adept 
  • May 13, 2017

    Welcome to the first in my 21 part build series (oh yeah I'm ambitious this time), each focusing on one of the 18 skills of Skyrim as well as Unarmed, Shouting and Powers. Each of the builds will only perk a single skill, but will attempt to take every single perk in the skill tree, but can take a few skills as unperked 'minor skills' as long as they have something to with the main skill. For example, the Enchanter could justify the use of a few weapon/armour skills in order to have something to enchant, but wouldn't have any real use of the Smithing skill.

    This is the Pure Alchemist, a character that only perks the Alchemy skill and only uses a few other to bolster the potions and poisons that the character uses. The eventual goal of the build is to really delve into Alchemy, and go around collecting ingredients on a near constant basis. Marina (the character), isn't really what you'd call a 'Combat Specialist' or anything, and instead is...well it's the title of the build, she's an Alchemist.

    The other idea behind this build is to do the impossible...make Purity seem like an intelligent, well thought out perk rather than a shitty one that makes your potions worse. I've got no idea how to do that, but its' gonna maybe happen in this build. Well it's my goal anyway, not sure how I can do it. Yeah, nope had no idea how to make Purity seem good, so read on to discover how Alchemy works with the Pure Alchemist.

    Race: Bosmer

    Skill: Alchemy

    Stats: ALL STAMINA

    Standing Stone: Thief 

    So the only thing that I think is important is the race, I ended up going with Bosmer for a few reasons. They have a +5 to Alchemy which is always useful but more importantly, you get access to Command Animal. Now at first I though, eh, Bosmer Power but then I realised that you mostly just fight animals with this character. Since a lot of the build is about Alchemy (and most ingredients can be found in the middle of forests), it just means your going to be coming across more animals that can rip you apart than any other type of enemy.

    The Alchemy is obvious and the reasoning for Stamina is simply because I didn't really see the need for boring things like Health and Magicka. Originally I was going to take the Serpent Stone in the Aetherial Crown but after playing the build I realised there was no way I was going to get there, the threat of regular levelled Bandits and Draugr was enough and I had no hope of actually defeating that final room (let alone the dozens of other Automatons before that) even with a good follower. The Thief is enough to get you through the game, and the extra levelling up speed is really useful.

    Alchemist 5/5, Physician and Benefactor

    The core of this build is to use our immense supply of potions to do a few things. First of all, we're aiming to get as rich as possible, but we're also going to need to test every single potion before they can be sold. The testing of potions, which could be done in a stable environment is a lot more fun if it's done in the midst of battle with a follower out there tanking stuff while we try and drown ourselves in potions. Some of the more useful potions are going to be the various Healing, Regeneration and Fortify Health/Magicka/Stamina potions that we'll be able to make with relative ease. Of course, Resist Fire/Shock/Frost/Magic are all going to be useful, hell just about every potion will be. 

    Poisoner and Concentrated Poison

    Obviously we can't test poisons on ourselves, so we are going to need to go outside before testing out poisons. From a gameplay perspective, ConcentratedPoison is just about the best perk in our arsenal, allowing us to potentially double our damage output (which goes from very low to medium) and also to weaken multiple enemies at a time. 

    Experimenter 3/3

    So the main rule that I have for this build (other than the ones that I mentioned at the very beginning) is that I'm not going to go around creating potions based on existing knowledge or UESP. Instead what I'll have to do is personally test each ingredient to discover what effect/s they have. Early on this does mean we'll be rather limited (though I have already checked that we can make Restore Health/Stamina, Resist Fire, Frost and Magic) along with plenty of others. This does make Experimenter not only useful, but crucial for anything but the simplest of potions or poisons. 

    Green Thumb 

    Okay, okay. So to be honest, I didn't really need it. I'm was using a mod called Harvest Overhaul (no link for now) that basically adjusts each source of ingredients to allow you to take a logical amount from them. For example, all the flowers can be gathered in sets of 5-9 (from waht I can tell) because why on earth is any Alchemist so inept that they can't pick flowers? Anyway, the mod does make it a little difficult to justify the use of Green Thumb, but for people not using a similar mod, or playing Vanilla Skyrim, well it's just perfect. More ingredients = more potions = more exp/money


    Snakeblood is arguably useful, I'm just not sure when...Maybe if you were taking this character up a little bit and invested in some of the other perks (Speech, Sneak and Two-Handed for example) to make it a full Level 50 build then you'd get to be basically immune to the poisons that can be found in a lot of the Falmer Camps, but for such a short, non-combat oriented build it just wasn't that useful.


    Right, so this is where it gets difficult. Purity only allows you to make 13 distinct potions/poisons and takes away a much larger collection. From what little research I just did, none of them are going to be particularly great but I'm taking the bloody perk. At the moment I've only got a Roleplaying reason for this, simply put the title of Pure Alchemist isn't just a name and that Marina is obsessed with starting her own shop that only sells potions and poisons that are free of any contamination from alternative effects. I mean you don't want to posion someone who's sick and needs a cure do you, and boosting your enemies is usually a bit dumb. 

    While the idea of being rational and just taking a dagger to deliver poisons my brain got be hooked on the idea of using a Warhammer. Why? Well because of the pure idea of someone lugging around a massive hammer just to deliver poisons. In fact I'm thinking of 'accidentaly' getting the disease that reduces your melee damage just to make it even more impractical as a weapon. So while Marina (or whatever her name will be), is usually a fairly logical person, she does use Two-Handed, Sneak and Speech to make her potion making actually mean something (speech to sell, sneak and two-handed to test them). 

    The first 5 levels are relatively easy and basically revolve completely around not fighting anything except Wolves and Skeevers. With 100 Health and with the combat mods I have installed it's pretty easy to get two-shotted by Bandits, Draugr, anything stronger than a wolf basically so I just completely avoided combat. It works that during this period what your going to want to do is collect ingrdeients to get a basic amount of knowledge on the flowers and whatnot around Skyrim. I started, just going around focusing on the stuff around Whiterun, picking flowers and figuring out what was around the area (noticing that things like Lavender, Red, Purple and Blue Mountain Flowers, Tundra Cotton, etc. are around Whiterun in massive quantities). Selling potions to Arcadia and Belethor is the only one way to really get any money, so make sure to do that as often as possible. 

    Between level 7 and 10 is when you should really get going with this build. Around this time you should be able to get the first rank of Experimenter and find the White Phial which is our only real quest. Experimenter basically doubles how quickly you can level up, make potions and all that, not to mention doubling the potential effects you can now, allowing you to make more useful potions (And just more of them). The White Phial on the other hand, well it's a useful quest even though we won't be able to complete the whole chain due to the fact that Marina certainly isn't Dragonborn. Still, that room at the end with the Phial has a rather decent supply of ingredients, not to mention the Alchemy Lab. 

    After Level 10 the gameplay is more or less the same as the first few levels. I spent it more around Morthal/Solitude because there is an astounding number of ingredients that can be found out there that make some better poisons/potions and it's definitely a great place to collect. By this point I was simply going up 10-15 Alchemy Levels a session (which to be fair could be as many as 100 potions) so there wasn't really that much of a slow down in levelling because I was making more complex, more expensive potions. 

    Potions Made - 1089

    Poisons Mixed - 788

    Ingredients Eaten - 136

    If you want to take the build further, moving past Level 16 then I reccomend Sneak, Speech and Two-Handed to really create a fun little character that expands on everything that the build can already do. Sneak and Two-Handed will allow you to develop a bit more offensive power without sacrifing too much of what makes the character what it is, and Speech will really (really) help sell potions later on when you can create some really expensive potions out of simple ingredients.

    My ultimite goal in life wasn't just to become an Alchemist of reknown, but to open a shop that catered to all types of people. Everyone from the common townsperson to a rich noblewoman, to an adventurer, all of them were my aim. I wanted to create potions that weren't just good, they were the best and they were the best because they lacked the contamination that other Alchemists often leave in their recipes to make 'rarer combinations'. I think that's ridiculous. If I'm selling people Potions of Resist Fire, I don't want it to decrease their Frost Resistnace at the same time and leave them open to the elements, nor do I want my Poisons to Heal Magicka. These are the sort of ridiculous potions that can, and are often made and sold to those who might not be as...aware of Alchemy as a Professional.

    Yet, I wasn't sure where to start off my little shop. All of the major cities have their own (usually thematic) Alchemists already, and have very little space for expansion. Yet, the smaller towns, are generally quite lacking when it comes to Alchemists and would have to journey to a city just to get a healing potion. I mean, fair enough there's less need for an Alchemist, but that doesn't mean there's no need. And so, I set up something a little different. 

    Marina's Pure Potions is primarily located in Riverwood (a little town in the middle of nowhere), but mostly operates through the use of Skyrim Courier service combined with a private group of travelling merchants. Together the two can either orde and deliver potions to individuals, and we can also be in every major city at the same time. Of course it does mean hiring bodyguards and buying carts but overall it seems to be a huge success. There's never not a need for potions and at the moment the only real travelling merchants are the Khajiit and nobody likes them (and they aren't even allowed in most cities). 

    In the end there wasn't really anything I could do to set up a proper shop. I would sell a lot of potions and whatnot but on PS4 there isn't anything that would be close to letting you set up a shop, and that's fine. But still, I wanted to add a little Roleplay element, and this can all be done with two simple mods. Anything that adds a house with an Alchemy Lab to Riverwood (personally I used Tumblestone Cottage but really any house will work as long as it has an Alchemy Lab) and I believe it's Immerisve Patrols, which adds travelling merchants to Skyrim. Simply sell your potions to whichever ones will buy them from you and you've got both bits covered. Of course it isn't perfect, but hey, it was enough for me to feel like I had something going that was kind of interesting. 

    I want to keep the Roleplaying aspects of this build a little more... relaxed, The Modder's Log covers some of it from my point of view but I always try and allow for readers to create their own characters based around my build. However, there are a few 'rules' that I'd recommend you to play with because they really make up how I played the build.

    1 - You cannot create a potion without knowing the effects of the ingredients (in other words, you need to eat lots of disgusting things)

    2 - Do not sell any potion that you haven't personally tested on yourself (the same can be used for poisons if you'd like to)

    3 - Don't upgrage your weapons or buy them, Marina isn't a warrior so don't try and pretend she is.

    4 -  Don't buy potions or poisons from other Alchemists (they're your competition), Ingredients and Recipes are alright early on, but later on your going to have a great stockpile.

    Harvert Overhaul - Honestly this is the only 'essential' mod for this build, because what it does is modify ingredients so that your getting logical amounts rather than just one/two. I don't know if there are Xbox/PC equivelents, I'm assuming there are but if you guys don't have any, this build is still playable it's just a lot slower to get through.

    Immersive Patrols - Adds the travelling merchants but it's also just useful for survival reasons. There are a number of times that having a Dawnguard, Imperial or Stormcloak patrol nearby helped my survive a battle that I would otherwise have lost...badly

    Smilodon - Combat of Skyrim (with the damage patch) - I ran this because I liked the idea of combat being really difficult. Marina isn't supposed to survive battles, and this basically makes sure that if I get hit, I die which made the character feel a lot more real.

    Stance: Slower but more Powerful Combat - I love Stance, I don't know if it's on PC/Xbox but what it does is reduce the attack speed but increase the damage of all weapons. I just enjoy having to really make sure I'm going to hit my targets before I attack. 

    Well here we go, the very first 'Pure Build' in my 21 or so part series. It does change every hour or so, anyway, thanks for reading the build so far guys. I really had a lot of fun with this build so if it's the sort of thing that you want to play then give it a shot and I'd love to hear back from you. One thing that TexasC4 mentioned to me is how interesting it might be to create an Ordinator version of this series and if anyone did it'd be bloody awesome. Anyway, thanks again for reading and feel free to point out any issues with the build and I'll fix them up.

  • May 13, 2017

    Yes, little Bosmers with Beeeeeeeg weapons always make me smile. Lol, I keep wanting to either Requify this or Ordinator it, too, so TexaxC4 and I are on the same page. A work around for the potion selling is maybe have your spouse set up a shop? But that's not really selling anything, but at least from a roleplaying aspect, somebody is collecting money. Hmm, I'll have a think, though you are thorough with your mod stuff. Or... go the caravan route? The carriage mod isn't for PS4, right? Or a good horse mod, and then be a traveling merchant? 

    Anyway, interesting to see what you do with this. 

  • May 13, 2017

    Oh boy...I don't, can this even be Requified? I don't want to think about it to be honest, it just sounds horrible

    MWAHAHA, no Liss that mod (haven't checked it yet) probably isn't on PS4 XD. We're pretty limited as always, so really this was the closest I could get. I could proabably get a spouse, but I don't even know who would marry that crazy Bosmer Lady who eats all the things that ever thinged (that is actually a pretty decent gameplay based workaround though, might have to think about it.)


  • May 13, 2017

    This is fantastic DB I look forward to seeing the other 20 installments!


  • Member
    May 14, 2017

    An Alchemist using big warhammers just this one gets extra "coolness" points! Nice one! :D

  • May 14, 2017

    Sorry Vargr, should've responded earlier (I'm busy starting the second installment in the series!). Thanks for the compliments and I hope the next ones live up to your expectations, I'll update I'm a tad rusty when it comes to building (or at least rustier than I'd like) so I'm hoping they'll get better and better as I continue the series.

  • May 14, 2017

    Thanks Duvain, I think Warhammers + Alchemy is just going to become something that I want to do for all my Alchemy Builds in the future :D It's just so fun. 

  • Member
    May 14, 2017

    This is sweet, DB! Since I've started running Ordinator, I've been playing around with builds that perk only one or two skills, so seeing you take this concept on is a welcome sight... and Alchemy was a fantastic skill to start with :D

  • Member
    May 15, 2017

    21 part project eh? What you couldn't fit a few more :)

    Seriously though, I'll be wuper interested to see this play out. And I think you've started great.

  • May 15, 2017

    21 part project eh? What you couldn't fit a few more :)

    Seriously though, I'll be wuper interested to see this play out. And I think you've started great.

    Well, I guess I could break up Two-Handed and One-Handed into Warhammer, Battleaxe, Greatsword and Mace, War-Axe, Sword respectively, and boost it up to 25 (or 27 if I still had a generic version of each skill), not to mention breaking Destruction into Shock, Frost, Blood and Fire...But really at the end of the day, I think 21 will do :D

    Thanks Motty, hope the others can end up half as good as this one (though I do have high hopes for the next one)