The Illusionist In Skyrim. AWOL?

I was reading up on a post called “An Illusionist In Skyrim” which was a weekly article in Game Informer about a player’s adventures in the world of Skyrim. Basically he was playing the game with a single rule in mind: Illusion Magic Only. I had to admit it was very interesting to see what he did. I’ve played Skyrim a lot, and I know enough to know that just using one set of skills can be tough, but it focuses your gameplay more. Recently I played a new game where I chose to only put perks in the Destruction Tree, as well as Enchanting. I considered adding perks into one armor skill (I love going with light armor, personally) but that’s on hold for a while. When you first start playing you have to decide what role you’re going to play and stick with it. As you level up you can add perk points to your skills and I always aim for adding perks to the skills that help you attack things better.

So this guy was playing Skyrim and his goal was to use only Illusion-based spells. Now Illusion is simply trickery in Skyrim. The first most easiest spells to cast are Fury, Courage, and Clairvoyance. Courage is unknown to all classes so you’d either have to buy the tome to learn the spell or find one, and from what I’ve found, the only Spell Tome: Courage in the game can be found in Trava’s Watch. If you don’t feel like delving into a ruined castle home to bandits (Possibly members of the Silver Hand if you’re working on the Companions Questline) or if you just started playing and don’t think you can survive against a whole keep of bandits, then you can go buy the tome and learn it. Easy Peasy. I reccommend Farengar Secret-Fire, as he’s located in Whiterun Hold and if you follow the main quest chain from the start you’ll encounter him pretty quickly, and he sells quite a lot of tomes of magic spells.

As for Clairvoyance, that one is easy to obtain. There is a copy in Embershard Mine. Let’s say you just escaped from Helgen and you’re running down the road heading towards Riverwood with your friend (I always go with Ralof). If you notice your compass at the top of your screen you’ll see icons on it. You can see the icon of a building to indicate the nearest village to you, or guardian stones, or caves. On your way to Riverwood you’ll see a symbol or a pickaxe. That indicates a mine. Embershard is pretty close to Riverwood. My advice is to keep going to Riverwood to progress on the quest chain, then go into the trader store to sell all that armor and weapons you pillaged from Helgen so you can have some free bag space (pick up the Golden Claw quest while you’re at it actually!) and then go to Embershard Mine. In the mine after you lower the drawbridge and kill a couple of bandits, you go across the bridge and you’ll see an opening to your right. It’s not big enough to walk through, but you can stick your arm in and take the tomb of Clairvoyance off the table. If it were me I’d keep going on through the dungeon for the experience and loot, but that’s up to you. Clairvoyance is basically a channeling spell. You hold down the button to cast it and what looks to be a water pipe appears on the ground, only it’s made of magic and only lasts as long as you channel the spell. When you have a quest selected for tracking, you can channel Clairvoyance and it’ll show you the way to your goal.

Fury on the other hand is very useful. Altmer begin the game knowing this spell, and everyone else would have to go to a court wizard to learn it. Basically when you cast it, it causes the enemy target to attack everyone else that’s near it, so this type of magic is only useful when there are more than one target present. And it’s very rare that both targets will kill each other. Even worse is the fact that half the dungeons in Skyrim are crawling with undead, and you’d need the level 90 illusion perk for your illusion spells to work.

Anyway, the person who was playing “An Illusionist In Skyrim” he started off by making an Altmer, and he had no idea that Altmer started off with the fury spell. And since one of his rules was not killing anything by any other means, the NPCs had to kill everything for him. It wasn’t until he got to the Riverwood Trader when he saw a tome of fury for sale and bought it, realized he couldn’t learn it, and saw the reason why was because he already knew it. I bet once he found out he coulda been casting fury at everything in Helgen and beyond all this time, he must have facepalmed.

So from there on he went on an incredible journey to Solitude to join the Imperial Legion, so he was basically ignoring the main quest chain, which won’t last long. He gets to Solitude after many narrow escapes from bears and whatnot and he starts to join the Imperial Legion in their fight against the Stormcloak Rebellion. First mission was to clear out a fortress from Bandits. No sweat, right? Wrong. Having only the illusion spell of Fury to cast and occasionally only one target to cast it on, it gets pretty hectic and just plain annoying. It’s not until much later that he learns he can hire a sword arm to help fight enemies while he can cast illusion spells without being hurt. I could have done that from the moment I reached Riverwood to be honest. All it would have taken was delivering a fake love letter, and then I get a free follower.

I’m serious! In Riverwood there is a sort of love triangle going on. Faendal is a woodelf who is smitten with Camilla. However a bard named Sven is also in love with her, but Faendal has an idea. He asks you to deliver a fake letter to Camilla and say that it’s from Sven. If you do that, Camilla states that she won’t be seeing Sven anymore, and both she and Faendal will be grateful to you. Returning to Faendal he gives you some gold for helping him out, and from then on, you can ask him to follow you. He is an archer as well, and it is possible to level up your archery for free with him. AS he’s following you, ask him to train you in archery (he can only train your archery skill up to level 50) and then ask to trade some things with him, and then get your gold back. Rinse, repeat. So if I were leveling my illusion only spells, I’d have asked Faendal to come with me to bleak falls barrow, especially since my illusion spells won’t work on the undead that are in there!

And I thought about it for a while and I think I can see why they stopped making articles about the Illusionist in Skyrim: because the spells are too passive. They’re one of the few branches of magic in the game that deals no direct damage to opponents. The other I’d presume would be restoration. But basically the three commonly used spells are fear, courage, and fury. Fear makes your enemies run around in panic, courage increases health and such in your allies, like your follower or your side of the army in the civil war quests, and then fury makes enemy targets attack each other. So basically this guy was playing the game as a pacifist. His reasoning was that in the real world, magicians are really illusionists. Their magic isn’t real, they simply trick the audience into thinking it was real. So he decided to try playing this game as an illusionist. The downside is you have to rely on your follower to dispatch your enemies for you unless you equip an extra weapon and do it yourself.

So playing Skyrim with only Illusion magic… Fear, Courage, Fury… yeah… Not a whole lot of options.

But I have to admit some of this adventures were pretty funny. He goes to the Whiterun Tower to fight the dragon and instead runs off to get a giant from a nearby camp. His plan was to have the giant and the dragon have a go at each other and see who wins. Trouble with that, from what I saw, you see one die, you gotta be able to kill the other! So his follower gets knocked into orbit for a bit and he draws the giant back to the watch tower. Meanwhile the guards have already killed the dragon without the help of the player! Now they have a giant to kill! See what I mean!? There are times when you get random encounters in the wild, and sometimes you will see a dragon fly overhead and proceed to attack a giant camp. That’s when you can grab the popcorn.

Anyway, for this quest he gets a giant and kills it, then goes to the dead dragon he was supposed to kill and loots it, and absorbs it’s soul. And that’s where the series seems to end. In the game, a soldier from Whiterun tells you that you’re dragonborn and the guards all start chattering away about the Drgaonborns and they ask their leader what she thinks. And she goes, “I don’t need some mythical dragonborn to slay a dragon!”

Well, in the case of the illusionist in Skyrim, she’s right! If it were me, my arrows would have outnumbered the guard’s arrows and I would have been the one to jump onto the dragon’s head and stab it with my sword or daggers or whatever, thus dealing the killing blow.

So now it’s been weeks since they last posted an article continuing the adventures of the Illusionist in Skyrim. But then again it would have been more of the same. Fury the opponents you can, courage your allies, calm the one foe you can’t kill and fear the rest. Not much more to do except watch your foes die by your hired sword’s blade. We also never knew if he was putting his perk points into the illusion tree so he could cast spells with less mana cost or have the spells affect high-level targets. I had to wonder what would it be like if he ever learned invisibility? HMM!

Still, it must get boring or even scary when you can’t kill all your targets. But it was an interesting idea of playing the game. Actually it’s how you should play it. You pick one skill to level up as your basic attack ability, and put your perk points into that skill to make it better as you go, save the other perks for later. All other skills you can learn too, like speech when you barter or persuade, or alchemy when you make yourself some extra healing potions. Later along down the line I’d say when your attacks are pretty well and it’s not so hard to survive… if you can kill a dragon and two saber cats at the same time, then you ought to be ready to spend some of those extra perk points into other skills. So yeah, pick one type of attack, one type of defense (light or heavy armor) and level those up. Unless you cheat or use mods that let you have all the perk points, plan how you play very carefully.

And right now I’m thinking, how about a Conjurer in Skyrim? Instead of illusion spells, why not conjuration? Destruction lets you cast fireballs and the like at your enemies, and I’ve played as that… it’s fun, but what if I only stuck to conjuration spells? HMMM! Maybe I’ll blog about it. Lemme get that character started. =)


Ustengrav: The Hunt for the Horn of Jurgen Windcaller

Mages raising the dead to dig in the ruins… whatever for? They’re mages, not miners.

Upon entering the crypt called Ustengrav, I find several dead bandits and sneak along, and then I eavesdrop on two magic users nearby. From their conversation it seems they’re raising dead minions for their digging operation. What they are digging for and why I don’t know. They hear something and leave the room to investigate, leaving me free to look through their things and see what I can find. Once I take a few books and herbs, I head down the tunnel after the two mages.

And that’s when I find out that they’re fighting several Draugr in the tunnel just ahead. I stay back for a minute or two and watch the show. Fire and ice spells against the undead? Wish I had popcorn! This is wicked cool. Eventually the shouts from the draugr die down and I move ahead. The Draugr won of course. The mages are all dead, and I pick off the undead fiends one by one from the shadows before moving ahead. One I reach the door that takes me into the depths of the place, I bet that I won’t be seeing any more mages at all.

They managed to take down maybe a few Draugr, but they got overwhelmed in the end. Quite a show though.

Interestingly, when I first saw the mages when I came in, I prepared my bow with some spider venom I had, but I hesitated to attack them. After listening to them and letting them go on ahead I didn’t have to kill a single mage at all, so my poisoned arrow was first used on a draugr instead… turns out they’re immune to poison. *Writes down on paw* Draugr and Vampires immune to poison. Never use poison on them ever again!

As I descend into the depths of the crypt, I see one Draugr coming towards me, but he hasn’t seen me yet, so I shoot at arrow at him. I went on down to collect my arrow, and saw where it hit. right between the eyes! Actually the arrow almost went into his left eye, and seems to be just a quarter inch shy of the tear duct. Whatta shot! I even cast a magelight to be sure. Gotta practice my magic anyhow.

After finding another word wall, this one with the word FEIMupon it, i try it out. It seems to make me ethereal. It prevents harm from coming to me, yet on the other paw it prevents me from doing harm to others. I’ll have to experiment with this one. ^-^

The three glowing stones for the gate trigger. Get ready to shout your way through.

Moving along I come upon three gates and had to levels or buttons or pulleys of any kind, but they did raise up when I stood next to some stones, which glowed in response. The result of the gates opening was temporary, as was revealed when I stepped away from the stones to go through they gates only to have them slam shut on me once more. Stepping back to the rocks so they glow again, I wait for the gates to come up, then WULD! And I shoot right through them before they shut. Once I’m on the other side, they stay open for some reason. I roll my eyes and think to myself,¬†Why didn’t you stay open a minute ago?!and move on.

No epic fights in here. Just four big dragon-ish statues coming out of the water and an ominous note.

After killing several oversize spiders that would give trouble, I finally make it. The tomb of Jurgen Windcaller. But the horn isn’t there. Instead there are two dead draugr and a note written by a friend, or so it’s signed. Turns out someone wanted to meet me and stole the horn first. Great. Now whoever it is has got the bait and they’re dangling it at… *uncrumples parchment note and holds it up to candle light* at the Sleeping Giant Inn? In Riverwood? You’re kidding me! Was it Ralof? The Stormcloak soldier who helped me escape Helgen during the dragon attack? I would consider him a friend, but why didn’t he just come to me in person? Why sneak in through the backdoor and… hey! WAIT A MINUTE! I scoured the place clean! I took every gold coin from every urn and treasure chest, I checked all the walls for secret passageways and such. Wha– how did this note-giver get in here!? How come they get to go through this secret entrance in the back of the room? Why the heck did I have to go through all the trouble of fighting mages and draugr and spiders?!

…Then again if I hadn’t done all that I wouldn’t be nearly over-encumbered¬†with loot and I wouldn’t have found the shout for Become Ethereal. So I shrug my shoulders and go through the door behind the tomb, and to my surprise, the “friend” left all the loot untouched. Hmm. I pick up what I can carry, all I can get, and head on outside.

All those hawks up there… All the fish in the river leading out to sea… Khajiit Paradise. I think I’m gonna LOVE Solitude!

A quick run to the west and a nice swim later, I’m on the docks just below the city of Solitude. I wonder if I’ll find Clark Kent here… Nahh.. But looking up I do see a lot of hawks flying around. You’d think it would be seagulls. All the same I draw my bow and arrow and manage to shoot down half a dozen at least, then jump back into the water to collect the beaks and feathers.

Good to be a cat. =^.^=

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