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"Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim" - Nightingale Build for Beginners

Arc is a self-help author/speaker and AI thinker. He also make apps as a side hustle.

Copyright Bethesda Softworks LLC

Copyright Bethesda Softworks LLC

This is a build for those who want to maximize the use of a very cool looking Nightingale armor. Using Nightingale's equipment attributes as a guide, this build excels in assassinating enemies from the shadows using various weapons and spells. This build is one of the most fun to use in Skyrim.

The main combat style here is to sneak and take enemies one by one using a bow. If you get caught, change to a melee weapon and use shadow warrior before striking. If you're overwhelmed by your foes, just run and hide, then wait for enemies to calm down before taking them out again one by one using your bow. Don't forget that invisibility spells comes in handy to hide better. If sneaking fails (like fighting a dragon or boss), just go all out by dual-wielding melee weapons and activating shadow warrior before striking.

It's up to you what kind of race you want to use for this build.

How to Get Nightingale Equipment

To get the maximum attributes of Nightingale equipment, level your character to 46 first before doing the thieves guild quest.

In general, Nightingale equipment can be obtained by joining the thieves guild and doing their quest. Karliah will give the Nightingale Blade from the Hard Answers quest. The whole Nightingale armor set can be obtained during Trinity Restored. Karliah will also give the Nightingale bow from the Blindsighted quest.


The build uses the Nightingale set for armor, the Nightingale Bow as the primary weapon, and the Nightingale Blade as a secondary melee weapon. The primary dagger that I recommend for this build is either Mehrune's Razor, which can be obtained from the Pieces of the Past quest, or a Dragonbone Dagger that can be bought or crafted.

Equipment Upgrade Tips

Refer to this article if you want to give your Nightingale equipment a powerful upgrade.


Here are some perks of the build.


Based on Nightingale's armor attributes, this perk compliments well for those who fight in the shadow.

  • Stealth (5/5): Prioritize others perks before maxing stealth.
  • Backstab: Good early level buff.
  • Deadly Aim: Get this as early as you can since the bow is the primary weapon of the build.
  • Assassin's Blade: Change your main melee weapon into dagger once you unlock this.
  • Muffled Movement
  • Light Foot
  • Silent Roll: It basically lets you dash silently while sneaking.
  • Silence
  • Shadow Warrior: If used right, this is a very powerful perk that allows your character to benefit from sneak's bonus damage even when you're already caught by the enemy. Just activate it by crouching.


The easiest way to kill an enemy is by hiding in the shadows, then shooting an arrow from a distance.

  • Overdraw (5/5): Max this skill as early as possible so that you can ensure the one shot kill on most enemies.
  • Eagle Eye: Allows you to zoom when sniping the weapon. Get this as soon as it is available.
  • Steady Hand (2/2): Slows down time while zooming. This is another important archery perk, so get this as soon as it is available.
  • Power Shot
  • Quick Shot: Useful if you're firing without sneaking.
  • Critical Shot (3/3): Contributes well to your damage per second.
  • Hunter's Discipline
  • Ranger: You'll get a massive movement speed boost with this (need to have a bow equipped in order to work). Get this as soon as it is available.
  • Bullseye


Relying on a one-handed weapon is going to be the secondary combat of this build.

  • Armsman (5/5): The second perk to prioritize maxing for increasing the melee damage of weapon.
  • Fighting Stance
  • Savage Strike
  • Bladesman (3/3): Compliments with nightingale blade
  • Dual Flurry (2/2): Especially useful on boss fight where it is seriously difficult to sneak.
  • Dual Savagery: For a more powerful power attacks when dual wielding.
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Light Armor

The Nightingale set is light armor, so it will benefit from this perk. Most of these are dedicated to increasing armor rating.

  • Agile Defender (5/5)
  • Custom Fit
  • Unhindered
  • Wind Walker: Increases your stamina regeneration.
  • Matching Set: Light armor will not slow your character down anymore.
  • Deft Movement: Boost the overall survival of your character.


Basically, what you need here is to reduce the magicka cost of the invisibility spell so that you won't be putting too much on magicka. This way, you can invest more on health and stamina.

  • Novice Illusion
  • Apprentice Illusion
  • Adept Illusion
  • Expert Illusion


The destruction perk is for powering up the frost and shock damage of the Nightingale Bow.

  • Novice Destruction
  • Augmented Frost (2/2)
  • Augmented Shock (2/2)


This part is optional and only for those who are planning to use the Bound Bow. This is a good temporary weapon while waiting for a more powerful bow (level 46 Nightingale Bow).

  • Novice Conjuration
  • Apprentice Conjuration
  • Adept Conjuration
  • Mystic Binding: Boost the damage of bound bow.

It's up to you where to place the remaining perk points.

Assassinating enemies with the help of Shadow Warrior perk.  Copyright Bethesda Softworks LLC

Assassinating enemies with the help of Shadow Warrior perk. Copyright Bethesda Softworks LLC


Spells and Shouts

I only listed the endgame spells here.


  • Clairvoyance
  • Invisibility: This is the most complimentary spell for this build.


  • Healing: Comes in handy even on higher levels.


  • Whirlwind Spirit
  • Slow Time: Useful during combat (when not sneaking) while wielding a bow.


  • Health: Since the character will still go in melee, this will make sure that you won't die easily.
  • Stamina: Put more points here since archery relies on stamina for slowing down time.
  • Magicka: Put enough points here until you can cast an invisibility spell with expert illusion perk.

© 2021 Arc Sosangyo

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