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Event Build: The Bastard Son

Tags: #Character Build Archer  #Character Build Barbarian  #Character Build Alchemist  #Character Build Hero  #Race:Bosmer  #SE Rank:Novice  #Peppo 
  • March 21, 2018

    • The forest lends its life to me
    • And loyal to her oaken creed
    • On her ethereal winds I rove
    • Up above the race I loathe
    • -
    • My roots are flesh and blood
    • But supple as the soil they suck
    • A bastard sapling when winter
    • Holds me down and brings me life
    • -
    • And when the night's falling down on me
    • I watch the demons fly
    • -
    • I wake the trees and give them speech
    • Their words will teach me the ills of mankind
    • Walk this path and feel my pain
    • For this hatred and disdain
    • -
    • My birth is still a mystery
    • Unto the skies and the earth I plead
    • An explanation for this curse
    • Be it gold, be it dirt
    • -
    • I feel a darkness drawing near
    • Barbaric voices invade my kingdom
    • Lurking shadows follow me
    • Of a man I cannot see
    • -
    • The earth casts shadows on this race
    • I claim no party to this disgrace
    • I bear his form but not his mind
    • To my past the world is blind


     So the Bastard Son set out for Skyrim with little more than his trusty bow, but being irresistibly attracted to the forest, he couldn't live in the city. He made friends with a group of travelling Khajiit, only to found out they were known for selling illegal goods - Moon Sugar, they call it. Some days ago the group ended up in a small battle between two opposing factions here in Skyrim: very few of them - if any at all - managed to escape straight away; the others got killed in a surprise attack by the local guards. The Bastard Son somehow lost conciousness almost instantly and - being harmless - I guess they just took him on the carriage with the "rebels" of this skirmish. I don't know where they're taking him, but I have a bad feeling.



     The Bastard Son is a hybrid ranger/barbarian: it's heavily focused on role play, but even so it's a solid build with choices that have sense. It's divided in two sections (or "acts" as I will call them), featuring different equipment and perk spread depending on the objectives: "The Forced Outcast" and "The Ax-Wielding Avenger". The first act is when the protagonist gains knowledge of what he has to do and prepares himself for the fight, the second revolves around the confrontation and fight with the villain.

     The guide follows the events occuring in The Bastard, a progressive metal/folk-influenced concept album by Hammers of Misfortune, although the third act is skipped for obvious reasons. If you wish to check it out, feel free to read this guide first as all the major spoilers and plot twists are not included.

     Race: Bosmer (mainly for role play reasons)


    Main Skills: Archery, Two-Handed, Alchemy, Light Armor


    Standing Stone: Lord


    Stats: 0/1/1


    Shouts: Cyclone, Disarm, Elemental Fury, Marked for Death, Slow Time, Storm Call, Whirlwind Sprint


    Weapons and Armor: see below





    "My forest calls to me
    Amongst her leaves and grasses
    As calm and callow as the springtime air
    This keeps no home for me
    Unholy sanctuary
    These castle walls can't keep my spirit in"

    After arriving in Helgen and surviving the first dragon attack, there's little the Bastard Son can do: not used to live in the city, he rarely trades with shopkeepers or sleeps in the inns, preferring to hunt for his own sustenance. In this first act the build mostly relies on bow and arrow, there's no armor to defend oneself with and recruiting a follower is discouraged. The main objective is building up the inventory to face Orchendor, the Bastard's father, which is not possible before level 10.


    • "Where is this I find myself now?
    • I hear a voice, familiar somehow
    • 'Come hither, come hither' The voice cries to me
    • Blind in the darkness then what do I see?"


    Head: Mage Hood

    Body: Ragged Robes

    Feet: Footwraps


    Weapon: any bow, a dagger for close range combat


     These are all very common items you find while escaping from Helgen: they're not used for the enchantments or armor rating but only for the looks. The same applies for the bow: anything is fine, you just need something to level up your archery skill and quickly take care of bandits.

     A very valuable tool in the first levels is the Bosmer racial ability, Command Animal. If used on mammoths not only it makes killing giants really easy, but also gives a very strong ally that grants cover while shooting with the bow.


    "Speak in tongues of spheres in blackness
    Cross the stars with dark recitals
    Turn the wheels of Catastrophis
    Fly! My spear, your name is Vengeance!"

     For the first 10 levels (i.e. before being able to unlock The Only Cure), Archery is the main focus. Having no armor, it is vital for the Bastard Son to keep his distance and make every arrow count: that's when eagle eye and steady hand, plus the extra damage from the other perks, make the difference. Despite this, there are some enemies that will survive the arrows like bandit chieves and strong spellcasters. To make up for the lack of defense and close range damage, there is a wide pool of concoctions to choose from: slow and paralysis poisons are my favourites, but the potions of invisibility and magic resistance - for defense - are not to be overlooked either. Lastly, damage buffs like common poisons and potions of the marksman can help when dealing with enemies that, without the extra damage, normally require two hits to be killed.


    "He left you fighting for your life
    A bastard son he soon forgot
    He raped and destroyed the village
    No regard for the lives he pillaged
    On the throne there sits a villain
    And for this now you must kill him"

     As said in the introduction, the main objective of the Bastard Son is killing his father Orchendor: in order to do so, he must commune with Peryite once again and start The Only Cure, but the quest unlocks either at level 10 with a random encounter or at level 12 by going to the Shrine to Peryite. So, the first levels are spent building up the character and finding useful equipment for the big fight.

    •  Orchendor is a bosmer mage, and he's hidden in a dwarven ruin full of afflicted servants. Knowing he prefers to use frost magic, a few things are needed if you want to have a chance to win the fight:
    • Magic and frost resistance, given by the standing stone and potions;
    • • Armor, given by the standing stone, potions and apparel;
    • • Damage, given by lycanthropy, enchanted gear, potions, poisons and most of all Wuuthrad.

     First of all you want to join the Companions as soon as possible, not only for getting quick levels but more importantly for the unique weapon you find near the end of the questline, Wuuthrad. The entire early game build revolves around getting Wuuthrad, which is aquired not only for role playing reasons but also for the extra damage to elves (Orchendor is a bosmer after all!). Joining the Companions questline is also really appealing for an outcast like the Bastard Son, since the organization of the group is non-hierarchical and it involves lycanthropy, which could be seen as another way to become one with nature.

     The next item you want to get is the Scaled Armor, which has a decent armor rating even without any crafting skills: you can easily find one by starting the Dark Brotherhood questline and killing Fultheim after getting trapped in the abandoned shack, or you can buy one from merchants. While it doesn't give any extra benefits, if you're playing with mods and have Relationship Dialogue Overhaul installed, Grelka in Riften gives you an enchanted Scaled Armor after paying her debt. What's more, the enchantment increases your frost resistance!

     You might also want to buff your damage: while Wuuthrad is excellent versus Orchendor and poisons make up for the lack of burst damage, there's more you can do. By playing No One Escapes Cidhna Mine and siding with the Forsworn you'll find two very useful items: the Gauntlets and the Boots of the Old Gods. The Gauntlets of the Old Gods are enchanted with 20% extra damage for bows, and while the Boots of the Old Gods don't really help in this matter the 20% sneak improvement is always handy on a ranger. Plus, they look really nice.

     Lastly, talking about bows, the best candidate for this build is the Glass Bow of the Stag Prince. If you happen to walk around Solstheim with 1000-1500 gold, wait till 0:00-6:00AM and go visit Falas Selvayn at the Ramshackle trading post: the bow will simply be on sale, and with a base damage of 16 it's among the best in the game. Plus, for every 20 animals killed by the bow, its damage increases by 5 points (it caps at +25).





     "To die you left me, you should have slain me
    I stand before you, now you shall face me
    I am the bastard of your carousing
    I am the true heir and your undoing"

    Everything is ready for the main objective, the reason why the Bastard Son set foot on Skyrim: killing his fearsome father and avenging his name. But, in order to do so, he must commune with Peryite once again to know his exact location. Fortunately, a Khajiit named Kesh trusts the Bastard Son enough to start the ritual, but he needs a few items: a silver ingot, a deathbell flower, a flawless ruby and some vampire dust. As soon as this last step is complete, the hunt is on.


    •  "Behold, I've come Ax in hand
    • To lay claim to this your land
    • Face me now, I stand alone
    • Rightful heir to yonder throne"


    Head/Rings/Necklaces: any

    Body: Scaled Armor

    Hands: Gauntlets of the Old Gods

    Feet: Boots of the Old Gods


    Weapons: Glass Bow of the Stag Prince, Wuuthrad


     As you can see the build consists of the equipment you're supposed to get in the first 10 levels (as descripted in the Gameplay section above): it's all made of light armor minus the headpiece which, depending on your preference, can be armorless.

     Of course, there are other items you can rely on: by the time you get to level 10 you should have lots of potions and poisons in your stash. For this reason, even without Enchanting and Smithing you should be able to keep up with the strongest foes.



    "When the Ax is freed from hell
    A single stroke shall break the spell
    When the Ax is free again
    A brutal reign shall meet its end"

     Reaching level 40, this perk spread basically counts for the rest of the game, so there won't be another list for the third act. The perks mostly revolve around archery and two-handed and how to maximize damage; alchemy and sneak are mostly used for the extra damage as well (think deadly aim and concentrated poison). Talking about defenses, the custom fit perk makes a big difference if you feel you lack armor; if, however, you want to wear an armorless headpiece like I did, you won't benefit from its buffs and will need to be more careful. You still need that perk to unlock unhindered though, which is an excellent choice in any case.


    "Make me a promise and so it shall be
    Swear on your life-blood and so it shall be
    Strike me a bargain you cannot betray
    Then you shall have it and take it away
    We'll meet again and you'll do what I ask
    Anything I wish no matter the task"

     The task is quick and simple: go to the Shrine to Peryite, commune with the Daedric Lord and then go to Bthardamz to kill Orchendor. In order to do the first part, you need to give Kesh a couple of items: most of them are very common (for example you can get tons of silver ingots in the Companions questline), but the flawless ruby might be hard to find. If you don't mind looking on the internet to save some time, you can find one in a wrecked boat just south of Kolskeggr Mine (which is incidentally close to the Shrine to Peryite), underwater.

    •  The next step is making your way through Bthardamz: a stealthy approach is suggested, but you might also need to switch to werewolf (unless you cured yourself) when facing big waves of afflicted. Orchendor is in the very last room, and using one or more of the following concoctions is advised:
    • Defense: Potion of resist magic, resist frost, health and fortify light armor
    • Offense: Poisons of any kind (including slow and paralysis)
    • • Stats: Potion of archery and fortify two-handed

     The reward for this mission is the Spellbreaker and, while you don't need it at all, it can serve as a trophy for your deeds. Or you can also give it to someone that has helped you when you first started roaming Skyrim (maybe a Companion?).




    "Could it be the end
    Has come at last?
    Could this be the prophecy
    Come to pass?"

    Killing Orchendor doesn't put an end to the Bastard Son's tale: in fact, he can easily blend in with the world of Skyrim thanks to some lore-friendly quests and spectacular combinations. Take this part of the guide as a reference for when you're looking for specific features, whether they are potion recipes or combat moves.


    "This prophecy has two meanings - You see, there is
    One for the Boatman and one for the stream
    One for the dreamer and one for the dream
    One for the victim and one for the blade
    One for the blood and the sacrifice made"

     The Bastard Son's honor is preserved and his biggest enemy is defeated, but so are all the people he was supposed to govern in his father's place. Such is the consequence of Peryite's gift: a great desire needs a great prize. He was too blind to realize he wasn't just going to risk his own life, but also his villagers'. After a while, slowly but steadily, the Bastard Son started getting used to the city life: he retired to an important town and started making friends with the townsfolk, giving more importance to his looks and helping people who, like he was before, are in urgent need of help. Over time he gained quite a reputation, and it doesn't look like he's going to retire soon.


     Unlocking the first shouts is mandatory, so you should play the main questline at least until meeting the Greybeards for the first time; clearing the dungeons with the necessary word walls also keeps you busy for some time and lets you discover all the map with ease. In particular, the Shrine to Meridia includes the Elemental Fury shout and has a pretty challenging final boss.

     A very convenient quest for the early levels is the unmarked Composure, Speed and Precision, relatively close to Riverwood/Whiterun, which grants lots of experience in Archery and a fun little challenge.

     You might also want to settle down and buy a home, in which case Breezehome, Honeyside and Vlindrel Hall are the best choices. Building a homestead is highly discouraged for role playing reasons, both in "the Bastard's world" and in the world of Skyrim: the protagonist of this tale is so attached to nature he would never cut down trees to make a home, nor would a Bosmer (remember the Green Pact?). Plus, having the Bastard Son forge materials for his house is very odd.

     Lastly, you don't always need to start new quests to have fun in the world of Skyrim: a relaxing thing you could do is hunting, which also improves the damage output of your bow. Gathering ingredients for potions and poisons is important too, especially when you need rare components that only appear under specific circumstances (luna moth wings) or don't respawn (nirnroot).


    "Did you see the Wood-child's gaze, see the ancient fire in his eyes?
    Did you hear the Ax as it sang thirsting to drink the blood of a king?
    Did you see it flash to and fro glowing with a life all its own?
    Did you see the tyrant fall headless in the torchlit hall?"

     Potion of Fortify Archery

    Spider Egg + Juniper Berries/Elves Ear


     Potion of Fortify Two-Handed

    Dragon's Tongue + Fly Amanita/Troll Fat


     Potion of Invisibility

    Luna Moth Wing + Nirnroot/Vampire Dust


     Potion of Resist Frost

    Purple Mountain Flower + Snowberries


     Potion of Resist Magic

    Tundra Cotton + Lavender




    Deathbell + Skeever Tail (+ Giant Lichen for best damage)


     Poison of Paralysis

    Canis Root + Imp Stool


     Poison of Slow 

    Deathbell + Salt Pile


    Poison of Weakness to Poison

    Deathbell + Bleeding Crown/Giant Lichen



    "I am the Maelstrom's deafening song
    The ether through which the fallen descend
    I am the frightful dance of the flames
    The pain of creation and violent end
    I am the sculptor of wreckage and ruin
    The creator and destroyer of all
    Where is sacrifice unto my shrine?
    Where is the blood I took for my wine?"

      Wild Sprint - Poison of Paralysis (Arrow) + Whirlwind Sprint/Slow Time

    I often use this combination when I have to escape from a big enemy, so I have time to recover and shoot arrows from a distance: the poison of paralysis gives plenty of time to find a safe spot. You can also temporarily knock down an enemy if you're fighting two or more bosses at the same time. Lastly, if you're facing very strong foes and they are not immune, you can simply paralyze them and run away.

     Thanks to his knowledge of the woodlands, the Bastard Son can sprint through nature at an unseen velocity. Among the strongest foes that did survive a fight with him, non of them had been able to reach him after being hit with a paralyzing arrow.


      DeceptionPoison of Frenzy (Arrow) + Potion of Invisibility

    As the bow is useless in close range and Wuuthrad swings very slowly, this build is weak versus groups of enemies; fortunately, with this combination you can run past them unscathed, even with little to no points in Sneak. This is your go-to combination for crowded areas, best used in bandit camps and dungeons. 

     The Bastard Son fires a rage-inducting arrow to a target, but remains unseen in the darkness. He then proceeds to slip in through the enemies, too busy fighting each other to notice.


      Berserker Rage - Poison of Weakness to Poison (Arrow) + Poison (Wuuthrad) + Elemental Fury

    Since most high level enemies are immune to poison, I mostly use this combination to quickly dispatch bandit chiefs or other small dungeon bosses. Of course you could (and most likely should) try it versus stronger opponents, but if you're facing dragons or strong draugr (both of which are immune), you'd better stick to Elemental Fury and potions of the marksman or similar things.

     Many bandits facing the Bastard Son have been hit by an arrow and survived, but none can deal with his bloodthirsty Ax, piercing through skin and bone.




  • Leader
    March 21, 2018

    Well done. The synergy here between the song and the build is near perfect.

    Frankly, when I read this I feel like not posting my own build, because it pales besides such a well-thought out and comprehensive gameplay.

    It's an insta-like for me!

  • Member
    March 21, 2018
    Yep, Paul hit the nail on the head. This is pretty sweet! You've followed the narrative of the song in fine style, not dropping a beat, accompanied by fantastic visuals and great writing. Solid like is easy to give.
  • March 21, 2018

    Other than agreeing with Paul and Phil, I just have to say this is a really great build. (Which I guess is agreeing with Paul and Phil :P). The combination of the artwork, roleplay and your incredibly detailed gameplay all sort of combine together to just create a really interesting build. Might have to give that album a listen to even though it's not exactly my usual genre...s, either of them but if a build like this can be inspired by it then it must be pretty great :D

    A definite like from me Peppo, and my thanks for participating in the event and sharing this build :)

  • Member
    March 21, 2018

    Lovely screenshots!

  • March 22, 2018

    Thank you for all the kind words! I appreciate it.

  • March 22, 2018

    I love this. I'm a sucker for a strong story weaving through the gameplay, and this one thrills me.

    And, Nirnroot. I thought it did respawn in Skyrim? 

  • March 23, 2018

    Mook said:

    I love this. I'm a sucker for a strong story weaving through the gameplay, and this one thrills me.

    And, Nirnroot. I thought it did respawn in Skyrim? 

    Turns out it does not. I believe they did this because they thought it's so easy to find (it glows and emits a chiming sound) people would always pick the same spots to harvest it.

  • Member
    March 28, 2018

    Holy shit, Peppo, this build is great! Can't believe it took me so long to read this as it's right up my alley. I've been thinking about getting back into Skyrim again with a quick playthrough and this build caters to that need perfectly. I love rangers and berserkers, plus I've been wanting to use Alchemy again for ages, so this is brilliant.

  • Member
    March 29, 2018

    I love it when people appropriate in-game characters in order to advance a build's story... and you do a fantastic job with it too. I never really cared one way or the other about Orchendor, so out of the many, MANY builds I've played, I've rarely bothered with the Peryite quest unless RP required it (and even then killing Orchendor was more of a means to an end). Which is too bad, because it's usually a pretty good dungeon crawl with a tough fight at the end. But THIS makes the quest shine! Again... fantastic!

    And The Bastard Son is currently being featured on the TV Twitter and Facebook pages :D