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Ten Tips for Better Role-Playing in "Skyrim"

I love to explore the relationship between the fictional worlds we create for movies, books, games, etc. and the real world.

What's the Best Way to Play Skyrim?

What is the best way to play Skyrim? This short guide will give you a few tips that will help you get the most out of your role-playing experience in Skyrim. Role-playing is a highly subjective experience, so most players are going to each have different ideas about what increases their enjoyment of the game.

Keep in mind when reading through these tips that they are merely meant to serve as suggestions. These are techniques that I or other role-players have employed to increase our sense of immersion. They are all fairly common role-playing tactics, so even if you don't agree with all of them, they should give you a solid foundation to build on.

Note: This is not a strategy guide to make your character more powerful, but rather a list of suggestions for making your experience more immersive.

As always, if you have any suggestions for additional techniques, don't hesitate to leave them in the comments section below!

Looking for a deeper "Skyrim" experience? Here are ten simple ways to improve your role-playing experience.

Looking for a deeper "Skyrim" experience? Here are ten simple ways to improve your role-playing experience.

1. Plan Your Character

Great role-playing begins with a great character. I always try to come up with a basic story for my character before starting a new game. It doesn't have to be anything complex, just three or four key points that help define how your character is going to relate to the world.

Most people have some idea of the race and class skills they want to explore, but this is really only half the battle, and one of the reasons why people so often find themselves restarting characters. You need to think beyond race, class, and gender. You need to go beyond what color your character's eyes are, how she wears her hair, and whether or not she has war paint. These are superficial details, and while they are important, and form a part of every great character, they are not the details that are going to make for a great role-playing experience. They can inspire a great character, but won't do all the work all on their own.

Something you'll hear actors asking themselves all the time is "What is my character's motivation?" To help flesh out your character, you need to understand what motivates him or her to act.

Think about how he or she feels about the main elements of the story:

  • Does he approve of the Imperial occupation of Skyrim?
  • Do the people of Skyrim need the protection and assistance of Imperial soldiers?
  • Do the people of Skyrim have the right to govern themselves?
  • Should they be working together or fighting furiously for dominance?
  • If your character hasn't chosen a side, how does she stand to profit from the conflict?
  • Will she earn her gold as a mercenary, or do her best to heal the wounds of civil war?
  • If your character is of a race other than Nord or Imperial, how does their race affect their opinion of the war?
  • Does your character accept or reject their destiny as the Dragonborn?

Other questions can help deepen your experience when you're not busy completing quests:

  • Is there a particular race or type of person that your character doesn't particularly like?
  • Does your character have any weird habits like only eating raw meat or traveling only at night?
  • Are they religious?
  • Do you place offerings at the shrines?
  • Do they have a tendency to overindulge in drink or sweetrolls?
  • Do they collect skulls or pottery?

There are literally hundreds of questions that you could ask yourself about your character that will help to define them and make them interesting to play. By choosing three or four interesting quirks, you can breathe life into a character that will sustain you for hundreds of hours of immersive role-playing.

To give you some inspiration, here are a couple of examples of characters that I came up with:

  1. The first is an Orc assassin who has been assigned the mission of stirring up unrest in Skyrim to improve her master's illegal arms trade.
  2. The second character is a Redguard witch who had a vision of her destiny as a Dragon-in-Human-Form during her initiation rites and has been sent by her mentor to Skyrim to seek her destiny.
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These characters are dramatically different in temperament and have radically different motivations, but both of them are workable long-term characters.

(If you've already started playing but you decide that you don't like something about your character's appearance, you can change it by using the console. See my article about changing your character's appearance for details.

Or learn how to build interesting characters in Skyrim.)

"Skyrim" gives you plenty of options for creating unique, memorable characters.

"Skyrim" gives you plenty of options for creating unique, memorable characters.

2. Play in Character

Now that you've got a character you can get invested in, it's time to let that character shine! Designing a good character is half the battle. Of course, you won't see the rewards of your role-playing until you get out there in the world and start making decisions about where to go, who to believe, and what to do about it.

In regards to your character, though, here are some general tips:

  • Don't feel obligated to take every quest, or join every faction. There is plenty of content in Skyrim, and there's no reason why you need to experience all of it with a single character. You might find that the game is more enjoyable if you play it through a few times and restrict each character to the main quest and one other major faction (plus random adventuring and quest-taking, of course!) You may not clock as many hours with each character, but your experience may be more enjoyable overall for having experienced each story more intensely.
  • Follow your intuitions. Don't worry too much, either. You will find that Skyrim's quests are very forgiving from a role-playing perspective so that no matter what choice you make you will be able to justify your actions in a sensible way. If your instinct is to help every person who asks for it and trust people unquestioningly, the next time you play Skyrim, try making the opposite choices. You might be surprised to discover how often an NPC you considered 'bad' the first time through turns out to be 'good' on a second run. Most of the quests are designed to support your intuitions, even if different people have different takes on things.
  • Try to stay in character. It's also a good idea to restrict the kinds of things you allow yourself to accumulate and the kinds of activities you allow yourself to engage in. If you're playing a warrior, is there really any reason to go around collecting flowers and butterflies? Would your warrior really do that? (Maybe yours would, but many people know exactly what I'm talking about here.) The same goes for skinning animals, mining ores, chopping wood, crafting weapons and armor, brewing potions, picking locks, and so forth. A general rule of thumb you should follow is that if it seems even a little out of character for your character to engage in that kind of activity, don't do it. This might seem like a harsh rule, but it can work wonders for making each play-through a unique and interesting experience.
  • Create several characters and be particular about them. That being said, instead of trying to do everything with one character, create several characters and make each character different. People complain about it being too easy to make money, but what if you played one character who made money by crafting and selling weapons and armor, another who did the same with potions, and a third who stole what they needed? No one character is likely to suffer from 'too much gold' syndrome if they're only pursuing a single occupation. What if you only let characters who should know lock-picking pick locks? Worried about what you might be missing? Don't be. Your warrior or mage can do something else to make money that your thief can't.

If you play it right, all of these different restrictions will balance out and lead to a variety of interesting play-styles and gameplay experiences.

Don't try to squeeze every last point out of your character. Doing so may squeeze the joy right out of playing.

Don't try to squeeze every last point out of your character. Doing so may squeeze the joy right out of playing.

3. Avoid the Min/Maxing Mindset

Character progression is crucial in the world of role-playing. That being said, I advise you to avoid min/maxing as much as possible.

Yes, not all skill trees and perks are evenly balanced. Yes, there are ways to get an unfair advantage over your enemies or artificially impose limits on yourself by creating a bad build. In all honesty though, your decisions, no matter what they are, are going to work out just fine. Avoid the temptation to 'peak under the hood' every time you have to make a decision about your character's progression and just enjoy the game.

For one of my characters, I have intentionally created the worst build I can and play the game on Master setting. You know what? Even though I purposely 'gimp' myself, I can still play the game and enjoy it immensely. Sure, combat is a little more challenging and requires a bit more strategy (and more reloads) but even with this build, I don't consider the game broken. In fact, I find it's no more or less difficult than Demon's Souls.

So, don't worry about the game mechanics. They might not be perfect, but they work just fine, no matter what the perfectionists on the forums might say.

4. Limit Fast Travel, Try to Walk Everywhere

Probably the single easiest way to make Skyrim more immersive is to stop using fast travel and walk everywhere, instead. You don't have to stop using it completely, but just make a point of limiting it:

  • Force yourself to use the carriages instead to travel large distances and walk everywhere else.
  • Limit it to transporting loot back and forth from the dungeons.
  • Make a point of walking more, and I mean actually walking, not running everywhere. (You can set the "bAlwaysRunByDefault" setting to 0 in the SkyrimPrefs.ini file to tell the game to make walking your default action instead of running. Just remember to back up your file before changing it.)

Half the pleasure of playing the game is drinking in the landscape, watching the grass sway in the breeze, watching shadows creep across the rocky ground as the sun makes its way across the sky, staring into the setting sun as it descends on Skyrim's rugged landscape, admiring the silver shimmer of the stars and the majestic rise of Tamriel's twin moons. Take the time to listen to the sound of babbling brooks, bird calls, and the haunting melody of the soundtrack.

Believe it or not, an old platitude lifted from real-life applies equally well to your sojourn in Tamriel: you might not be able to smell the flowers, but you can certainly take the time to stop and admire them. (And harvest them, too, of course!)

While you're out wandering around, don't forget to take some screenshots.

Don't miss out on the breathtaking sites that Skyrim has to offer. A walk in the woods can turn a routine quest into a memorable journey.

Don't miss out on the breathtaking sites that Skyrim has to offer. A walk in the woods can turn a routine quest into a memorable journey.

5. Change the Timescale

One of the things that I always hated about the default time in Skyrim was how quickly it seemed to pass while I was walking around shopping and talking to people in the towns. By default, Skyrim time moves at 20x the normal time. However, you can change this to something closer to real-time by using the console. (Instructions are here: "How to Change the Timescale inSkyrim.")

I have personally set mine to 5x the real-time, which works very well for me: I can go into a dungeon in the morning and be finished by late afternoon instead of stumbling out some time a whole day later.

Of course, you can adjust this to suit your personal preferences, but I don't recommend going below 2x to avoid having issues with quests and NPC AI packages which sometimes don't fire properly below this setting.

6. Eat, Sleep, and Get Married

Skyrim is overflowing with things for your character to do, especially in the realm of food and drink. You can even combine food items in cooking pots to create new dishes or hunt, skin, and roast your own meat. You can rent rooms in inns, or buy a house and sleep in your own bed. It even lets you get married.

While engaging in these activities doesn't necessarily do you much good from a gameplay perspective, they can work wonders from a role-playing perspective. Making a point of eating a couple of times a day and getting a few hours of sleep every night can enhance the experience to a more realistic one and feel less like you're controlling some sort of fake hologram.

Change your outfit once in a while, find a nice girl or boy to settle down with and take the occasional day off just to wander around town or go fishing. These breaks in the normal flow of the game add depth and richness to the experience that can't be delivered by scripting cut scenes.

"Skyrim" gives you plenty of tools to spice up your role-playing experience.

"Skyrim" gives you plenty of tools to spice up your role-playing experience.

7. Use Reasonable Rules for Encumbrance and Gear

Skyrim won't prevent you from loading down your character with 800 pounds of gear or loot a suit of elven armor from a five foot-tall female wood elf and equip it on your six and a half-foot male orc, but you can.

When I'm playing, I use a couple of reasonable rules of thumb:

  • Never equip armor. I never equip armor unless I find it in a chest, buy it from a vendor, or see it lying around. For me, it isn't reasonable to equip armor made for someone else. Not only is it icky, since I likely just spilled their guts all over it, but most armor had to be custom fitted. I make an exception for certain items if it seems reasonable, but generally speaking, this is a no-no for me. In the case of found items, I just assume it's a good fortune on my part that it fits so well!
  • Avoid carrying a lot to sell. I won't carry around multiple suits of armor, a dozen weapons, and 25 wolf pelts just to sell them later. I generally restrict myself to three weapons, plus maybe one or two additional weapons to sell, and, at most, one additional suit of armor (that's only if I'm selling it and it didn't come from a recently oozing body.) I find it harder to limit potions, but I try to keep it to twenty or thirty (they add up fast, especially if you brew your own).

Other rules can be applied to other items to keep things to manageable proportions. It's okay to stretch reality a bit here, simply because too much micromanagement can turn the game into a chore, but many people find that being forced to pick and choose what kind and how much loot they carry can give their decisions some additional weight—pun intended.

8. Use the 'Wait' Function

A lot of immersionists are anti-'wait' function because it unnaturally interrupts the flow of the game. However waiting can often do wonders for immersion.

When I'm crafting an item, for example:

  • I typically wait afterwards for a period of time relative to the size and complexity of the item I'm crafting. If I'm making an iron dagger or brewing a potion, I might only wait an hour. If I'm making a cuirass, I'll wait half a day to simulate the time it would take me to craft it. (For all I know it takes weeks to make one in real life, but I'm not going to push my realism that far!)

Waiting during crafting not only gives these activities weight, it also helps to curb the temptation to spam them.

I have a similar tactic for reading books:

  • It takes my character four hours to read a book, so it's generally something I only do when I'm in the towns or camping at night. (If you're playing a thief, it's a good way to pass time while you're waiting for everybody to go to sleep.) I also only allow myself to learn one new spell a day, and use the same four-hour rule to learn it.

The wait function is surprisingly versatile. Not only do I use it while cooking and eating, but I also wait an hour every time I collect a skin from an animal that I kill and four hours after mining ore. That keeps me from randomly hoarding materials that I otherwise just end up lugging around.

There's no way anybody is going to literally stand around waiting for this much time to pass in-game, but there's also no denying that forcing yourself to wait when you engage in time-consuming tasks is good for immersion. I recommend you try it yourself.

Waiting when crafting, skinning, eating, reading, chopping wood and a number of other activities can be a great way to boost immersion.

Waiting when crafting, skinning, eating, reading, chopping wood and a number of other activities can be a great way to boost immersion.

9. Choose a Difficulty Setting That Suits Your Character

The difficulty slider shouldn't be viewed as just a tool to make the game harder—it can also be used to help simulate different character types. You can help make your character seem more heroic or more realistic by adjusting the difficulty setting.

  • If you would like to role-play an epic hero, adjusting the difficulty slider down can give your character extra 'juice' in combat to help simulate his or her epic proportions.
  • If you're playing Tamriel's answer to Conan, why shouldn't common cannon fodder like bandits and wolves go down with a single well-placed blow?
  • If, on the other hand, you'd prefer to play someone who is just an average Joe, you can help simulate this by adjusting the difficulty slider up to make enemies harder to kill. Should your herbalist really be killing falmer with a couple of hits from an iron sword?
The difficulty slider can be looked at in two ways: as a way to make the game harder or easier, or as a way to make your character more or less epic. Pick a setting that works for you.

The difficulty slider can be looked at in two ways: as a way to make the game harder or easier, or as a way to make your character more or less epic. Pick a setting that works for you.

10. Reduce Screen Clutter

Another way to increase immersion is to remove distracting elements from the interface. All of the components are useful and serve a purpose, but if you are a serious role-player you may find that you function perfectly well without them and that your immersion may improve because of it.

All of the following can be removed through in-games settings or by making changes to the SkyrimPref.ini file. Just follow the links to the appropriate pages:

Remember: Always make a backup of the SkyrimPrefe.ini file before changing it!

Don't Forget: Have Fun!

The most important rule of all is to have fun. Remember, there is no right way or wrong way to play Skyrim. If somebody tells you you're 'doing it wrong,' you are . . . only if you listen to them. No one can decide what's best for your Skyrim experience but you.

I consider myself a serious role-player. I get very involved in my characters and follow most of the suggestions that I've listed on this page. However, I won't do something just because someone else thinks it's better or more realistic. Food and sleep requirements? Sure. Dead Is Dead? That just seems like overkill to me. Whatever you do, do what you love and Skyrim will reward you for it.

Now stop reading articles about playing the game and just play it already. Have fun!


stuart on May 14, 2020:

Azurin Redoran

Dark Elf


After the red year and the Argonian invasion, the great houses of the Dark Elves held off occupation for as long as possible. Eventually pressure was mounting ands the would soon need help. House Redoran sent an agent across the border into unstable Skyrim with the plan to antagonise the civil war and win favour for the imperials. Gaining favour with General Tullius will eventually mean that House Redoran will be able to call on the Legion's assistance.

After being arrested crossing the border it seemed that the plan was an instant failure until Alduin attacked Helgen and Azuring managed to escape into Skyrim. He eventually gained admittance into the dark brotherhood as Azurin felt that picking off high value targets will unstable the region before all out civil war could take place. Any form of peace is completely out of the question. Eventually Azurin Redoran will assassinate the Emperor Titus Mede II and then completely cut ties with the Dark Brotherhood.

Soon after He would approach General Tullius and Legate Rikke and join the legion. Soon the empire will gain complete control of Skyrim and General Tullius will remember Azurin Redoran fighting at his side in the Palace of Kings. Azurin Redoran call on the legion to repay the favour and march across the border into Morrowind.

SaberCat161 on February 20, 2020:

Hey, is there any way i can make this better?

Name: Kee'sha

Race: Khajiit

Gender: Female

Occupation: makes money for the family by selling fresh pelts and armor, but will dip into thief/assassin at night to make some extra coin, without the partner knowing.

Was born in Elswere and had parents taken as prisoners by imperials so has a hatred for them. Found as a cub by an assassin who raised her to be a killer but after a contract that went haywire, she left that life behind and went to start a knew one up north. Someone tipped guards off and caught her at the border to Skyrim, where she was taken prisoner to Helgen.

Hunter Kyra on January 21, 2020:

I am a wood elf often and now I am trying to play with that I am vegetarian on Skyrim. Cause why not, it's really hard but i can make it.

Because a wood elf don't need to eat meat like the nords.

I don't know if its true, but I just want to try something diffrent in the game. and i don't really think i need that much meat. Yes I am a hunter so I sale meat, cooked and other things like bows, arrows and light hide armor to other people in the game (Not online only to the NPC's.

Also I love to build a house in the forest deep in pine forest ner Falkreth.

I don't know what more i should say.. cause i really have no more words. And a tips = Try to not build the biggest house in the forest only a smal simple house. It's Ana's mod that i use when i building house and other details outside my house, like tree's (smal) plant's, animal place, and much more. Remember to always stay lojal to all Skyrims people's and don't kill the good people. Goodbye!

Twan on September 28, 2018:

- Words for writter -

That's it. A person speaking Gamers language. Really appreciate this ! I've been playing Skyrim and others RPG both onl and offline, and I always have the way to enjoy it. Games and gaming is a piece of Art, therefore it requires methods to understand and enjoy. What most of the time I do whenever I play RPG is making a background story for my characters, like this characters gonna be a heroic swordman, or a bravery fighter, a badass rules breaker ( pardon my language, Im not a native ) who gives a d*mn to society and do what ever he likes, a wise wizard or a deadly ranger or assassin. All will have a story for themselves, why this guy become like this, why hes doing this or making that decision, doing that really makes me actually be into the game, the story i create. Other way i usually do is looking for details, immersive tiny things in the game. Best example is if the character carrying the sword, i wanna see hes having the scabbard attached to his belt. Like that. The sword is not flying around with him, or sticks on his back like hes Magneto. Anyway, good job ! Really sharing the same thoughts. Best of luck on your path !

Anon E. Moose on January 04, 2017:

There are also a lot of good mods (for PC users) out there that really help to add a lot of roleplay elements. There are quite a few I use, but I will list only the ones which are simple yet impactful. All of these can be found from Nexus mods (Google it).

Camping Kit of the Northern Ranger - this mod adds two different camping kits which can be purchased from the general store in Riverwood. The kits come with various supplies, such as a tent, chairs, campfire, bedrolls, etc. The camps can be set up anywhere within the open world, and will add a marker on your map so you can return to it whenever you wish. If you want to move the camp, simply pack it up and take it with you.

Followers Can Relax - this mod allows your followers to go into a sandbox mode whenever you decide to spend some time within a town or city. You can allow them to wander freely, or have them "stick close" while still doing their own thing. It helps them to seem a bit more life-like, as they will use idle animations, furniture items, etc.

Immersive Beds - this mod allows your character to actually lay in a bed when you decide to sleep. The sleep functions the same as vanilla, but with an immersive animation/interaction. You can change the settings to have a "sleep in" functionality, so that when your character awakes, (s)he can relax in bed for a few moments.

Knapsack Backpacks / Leather Backpack / Sabre Gear Backpack - these three mods have the same functionality; they all add usable backpack items which can be crafted and equipped by your characters. These all have their own aesthetic and settings. The first two look like more typical backpacks, and can be set to have no inventory effect, if you want a pure novelty appearance item. Or they can be set to increase inventory capacity. The Sabre Gear Backpacks always increase inventory, but there are two different sizes: 50 and 100 lb. They also appear more primitive, with the larger packs featuring additional "doodads" on their model.

Lightning During Thunderstorms - does exactly as it says. This adds sheet lightning visual effects to the sky during storms, in addition to forks of lightning which will strike the ground. These forks can be set to "hostile", meaning they will do damage to any character that may be so unlucky as to be struck by lightning.

Run For Your Lives / When Vampires Attack - these two mods add some scripts to commoners and villagers, so they will not attempt to fight vampires or dragons. This will increase their chances of survival during an attack, as they will flee to their homes or any available public building while the guards and your Dovahkiin deal with the baddies.

Sleep Tight - unlike the Immersive Beds mod, this mod adds some functionality to NPCs' sleep habits. You can change their sleepwear settings, so that they are fully armored, in robes, or simply in underwear. It also adds an "ambush" functionality on sleeping or sitting characters, so that your first attack against them will catch them unawares and do extra damage. The extra damage can be turned off, if you don't like it, but it does add a bit of realism, as sleeping targets are completely defenseless.

Splash of Rain - this mod is fairly simple, adding visual and sound effects for raindrops, splatters, and impacts. This additionally functions while inside buildings if it is raining outside, so you will hear the sound of rain hitting the roof.

Total Realism Basic Needs - this mod adds the requirements of eating, sleeping and drinking at varied intervals. Rather than running through the game without ever touching a slice of cheese or bedroll, you now have to, or else face the consequences of neglecting your Basic Needs. If you go too long without tending to your Dragonborn's needs, (s)he will start to incur penalties, such as slower hp or magicka regeneration. It also changes the values for many of the food items in the game. Rather than restoring a trifle amount of hp/mag/sta, they will instead be considered a meal of varying size, sating your character's appetite for a certain time.

I hope you folks can find these mods, and will try them out. They really help to add some roleplay depth to Skyrim. Personally, I can't play the game without them!

Never Give Up on November 20, 2016:

Hey j-u-i-c-e, I've read all of your Skyrim stuff and the one armor thing, I thought only pick it up if the same race is wearing it, and if the same race is, and you want the armor, pick it up go to a river and WASH all the guts off. I hope I gave you a good idea, and remember to NEVER GIVE UP.

RagnarokA on November 03, 2016:

Seeing this article inspired me to think more on how to immerse myself more in the game and seeing I have two chracters I decided to make them Ancestors of my two main chracters from the Elder Scrolls online and came up with this.

My Breton Female is the Ancestor of my Templer from ESo and her family has since took up other arts in thier long history and now knows both multiple types of magic with a mastery of Archery with other trades.

My Imperial male is the Ancestor of my Dragon Knight and far more powerful and effective with the thum than most other Dragonborn because of already possesing Dragon Blood for many generations of it being in his family history and can use all sorts of shouts.

Thanks for the cool ideas!

Alice D. on October 22, 2016:

Thanks for the interesting article. It's so amazing that Skyrim gives you the ability to do all these things. The basis of my first ever Skyrim character was that she was trained with the will to become the best at everything in the world giving the excuse to 100 all the skills. My second character mysteriously appeared in Skyrim and later he finds out he was sent to create peace by working on both ends of the civil war. My third character was born with such an amazing fighting ability that she was feared across the land. I'm still thinking about what my Skyrim Special Edition character should be like but when the time comes I bet it will be interesting.

JustAGamer on July 15, 2016:

This will help me roleplay better on my own. Thanks!

dan on July 06, 2016:

I did number 4 before reading this. Not only did it make the game more immersive, but it also helped when I had to go to (insert random dungeon) to complete a quest.

Edward Lynch on June 27, 2016:

I agree with pretty much all of this, in fact, I can remember each of the characters of made in Skyrim. Leth, the dark elf thief. Slaine, the barbaric fighter. Uriel, the true Dragonborn.

Ethan Cardenas on April 24, 2016:

When I play the first time I always say, "What would I do in this situation?" This helps me to actually be immersed in the character I'm playing. I feel more like it actually is me.

j-u-i-c-e (author) from Waterloo, On on November 20, 2015:

Glad you liked it. Thanks for the comment.

sparksfiend on November 20, 2015:

Great article, I haven't played Skyrim in years, but this article made me want to jump back into the game.

Dinesh from Delhi on May 19, 2015:

nice hub, Before, I didn't have information about skyrim. It's really interesting.

BrutalViking on January 09, 2015:

I don't make rules to rp (aside from character build and lifestyle), where I play a character for a specific purpose... Like being a Holy Knight out to vanquish the undead, a mercenary who does nothing but look for contracts to make gold, and so on. The rest I leave up to mods, so many great mods, in fact here is a list of some of my favorites to give some ways to add value to rp.



Skyrim Unbound

Bounty Gold

Saber Backpacks

Bandolier - Bags and Pouches

Training Dummies and Targets

Convenient Horses

Heljarchen Farm

Winstad Mine

Take Notes - Journal of the Dragonborn

and a few just to make the experience more immersive

Extended Encounters

Immersive Patrols

Equipping Overhaul

Populated Cities

Warburgs 3D Paper World Map

Run For Your Lives

When Vampires Attack

Upgraded Weapons and Armors for Enemies

There are other mods which do the same thing as some of these, some of those mods are even more popular, but these ones work really well for me.

Elizabeth Harp from Arkansas, USA on December 23, 2014:

I love making profiles for my Skyrim characters, but I'd never heard of immersing yourself to this level! I must admit, it's an intriguing idea that I may have to try sometime.

Eslam yosef from Egypt on December 18, 2014:

Great tips, thank you.

vote up, Awesome.


Biku Barat from India on September 04, 2014:

Whoops! you got a lot of comments. So, there are many Skyrim players here.

wildfootrob on August 29, 2014:

This was an awesome read. Thanks for the tips.

I love roleplaying in skyrim. But what really annoys me the most, is when I've made a character which doesn't enchant or is really a forgemaster. That weaponsmiths or enchanters can't forge me a weapon/armor (providing I've supplied the components) or enchant said weapon or armor for a set price.

The game forces players to invest in two skill trees which realistically might not be part of their skillsets naturally.

Samuel Franklin on August 22, 2014:

Some great tips on taking your Skyrim experience to that extra level. I'm always a sucker for min-maxing in any game and often it just kills the entire experience for me which is unfortunate. This also ties into the point about carrying too much for me because I can never miss an opportunity to make money (but then I never even use it).

I'm also going to play around with timescale next playthrough, didn't realise that could be adjusted, while small I agree with you that it probably adds a lot to the experience.

Ivo Rocha on August 20, 2014:

Really nice article!! Changed my way of playing skyrim.

David Hamilton from Lexington, KY on June 21, 2014:

I loved the immersion that Oblivion gave the player but I haven't played Skyrim yet. I'm sure the world is deeper and more expansive in this game.


Jake on May 19, 2014:

My character is an orc, he has lived in the secluded mountains for his entire life, he is his tibes greatest beserker and blacksmith, but he was an assassin in secret, he trained in steath at night and became very good, he used his stealth abilities to murder his opponents in secret and keep up his rule, he got caught trying to kill a tribe leader with high respect and was forced to fight, he killed the whole tribe and banished himself out of shame, he was crossing to skyrim to sell his abilities as an assassin and a mercenary, he resents all men and makes a point to kill all he finds, he does this either in his beserking rage or in his werewolf form, as he was bitten by a werewolf during a dark brotherhood contract, he crafted himself legendary daedric armour and now prowls the land killing all dragons he may find and liberates all non humans from service

Sarah Forester from Australia on February 13, 2014:

To get number 7 into my head I literally had to write a sticky note on my computer while playing. I'm an item hoarder in video games and it can really degrade the entire experience.

RParsons7 on August 24, 2013:

Here are a couple to try:

1. WILDMAN. Similar to the native Forsworn. Use no money no merchants, except for buying spells. Use only those forges outdoors or in dungeons. Only use forges at night in cities. Do quests and get followers only in the wild, outside of cities. (there are a few followers you can get outside of cities). Enchanting alters and forges can be found in skyrim outside of cities. Use only what you find and craft. Sleep where you can find camps. Alternatively only use crafted items. Money, gems, who needs them?

2. Master Conjuror: I tried this using Conjuration and a little restoration. No weapons ever. You can have a dog or armored dog from Dawnguard, along with your follower, that's 2. With your summoned Dremora lords you can have 4 followers once you max conjuration. Until you get that perk you will have 3 followers to fight for you. Sit back and let your army fight for you . :D

Reverie on August 01, 2013:

I have a Stormcloak Altmer as an alternate character. That can be incredibly fun to roleplay.

Vinita Wolsey on July 21, 2013:

[quote]8192 characters left.[/quote]

Kudos, Quite a lot of information!.

Cheers. A lot of stuff!

You suggested this fantastically.

Jeb on July 09, 2013:

Another good way to make combat realistic is to play on adept or novice and never wear armor and never upgrade your health just upgrade you magic then never use magic

stefanssi on June 26, 2013:

I built an imperial lady, dark haired,beautiful green eyes, blushy cheeks with the skin tone a bit beij, a dark small tribal tattoo next to her left eye, she is slim as an elf.. and she likes to fight during the day as a restoration mage with all the gear she needs and during the night as a darkbrotherhood sister, she like's bows very much and stealthy kills, because it's in her nature to be called by the others the "death from everywhere, assassin". You've noticed that i said restoration mage, why? Because i never kill directly during the day, NEVER! Only my companions do the bloody-work and i heal them. I really don't do the killings myself during the day so i have to plan accordingly my missions to be during the night so i can actually kill something. Why this gameplay style? Because i thought it could express a personality. Her name is Arkansia. I can tell you more if you want... :)

j-u-i-c-e (author) from Waterloo, On on May 31, 2013:

@AaronWz: I don't have a controller for my PC so I can't test it out, unfortunately, but based on this quote: "Walking vs running is controlled by how far forward you push the left thumbstick. Slight motions of the thumbstick will cause your character to walk; pushing the thumbstick as far as it will go will cause your character to run." (Source: I'm going to speculate that, because the game is listening for controller input instead of keyboard input, it's not checking the prefs at all. Maybe someone else reading this knows more about it. Otherwise, your best bet is asking in a talk page on the UESP.

AaronWz on May 30, 2013:

First off i would just like to state that i'm a disabled gamer so i use a controller for easier use, so i was jw if the always walk thing in the prefs will ever work with a controller? it works with wasd but as soon as i plug the usb controller in it runs instead, help?

Jessica Peri from United States on May 09, 2013:

I keep starting a new character in Skyrim, not playing for a while and then making a new one all over again. I'd like to roleplay my next character more, I think. Thanks for sharing this!

Gail Stringer on April 28, 2013:

In reply to: elderskrollsnerd - Love to see Gunner, freya and hagard, live happily ever after, together. (Hagard wanting a second name, how about Gunner 2)?

elderskrollsnerd on April 28, 2013:

name: hagard (need ideas for a second name)

hagard was born in markarth and lived there till the age of ten. His father was a descendant of the 500 companions that first conquered and settled in tamriel. hagard father Gunnar was a well respected and noble warrior. He was a worshiper of the 9 divines his idle being talos the god of war. He was once part of the companions but when hagard was born he made the decision to retire from the life of a warrior and look after his family as the head of the house. During a bounty mission for jarl balgruuf to rid a hideout of bandits he came across a nordic woman named freya claiming she had just escaped from the bandits were Gunnar was heading. Gunnar fell in love with Freya at first sight and when he returned to whiterun to collect his bounty he made it his goal to have Freya be his wife. The two fell in love and soon were husband and wife. Freya learned the art of brewing potions for healing and other aids. When hagard was born Freya and Gunnar resided to markarth to raise there newly born child. When hagard was the mere age of six his mother was murdered by a forsworn agent. Hagard didn't fully understand why his mother didn't come home from that night on and his father never talked about Freya and hagard some nights would hear the sobs of his father. with gunnar rasing hagard by himself there relation ship grew stronger. Gunnar wanted hagard to become a warrior better than he was himself and so when hagard turned ten years of age Gunnar enrolled him in training camp in the far reaches of hammerfell. Hagard was taught to live off the land and hunt anything from a rabbit to an elk. He was also taught how to fight with his fists as well as weapons like swords and axes. Hagard was taught how to assassinate with dagger and bow. He made good friends with an orc who was a very strong a talented fighter and reminded hagard of his father.

leaving the camp at 16 he hiked back to skyrim with all the knowledge of what he had learned and eventually made it to markarth returning to his father who had be awaiting his arrival with happiness and joy. While on a hunting trip with his father vampires ambushed and slaughters Hagards father and hagard vowed to get redemption of his fathers death and join the dawnguard . Hagard vowed also to join the companions like his father had once done. Hagard got offered to join a vigilante group killing bandits and marauders and decided to join and put his skills to the test. After a successful raid of a bandit camp he and his men when he was ambushed and blindfolded and shoved into the back of a wagon. Waking up to hand tied looking at stormcloak soilders also tied up.

Phobias: trolls hagard has feared the fearsome creatures from a young age and will flee or sneak past them

Ma'iq on April 08, 2013:

I like dark back stories, but it maybe worth trying a comical character to make the game more enjoyable. I love how dark and morbid skyrim is, but a little comic relief helps it balance out. For example: I used a character that I once acted as in a play, and moved him into skyrim, then filled in the gaps from there (why he is there, etc.) this may not work for some characters or celebrities in a more modern setting in so far as immersion, but it could still make the game more enjoyable on a comedic level. maybe sir Lancelot from the Monty python movie, and give him an exaggerated jaw/chin? Have a "don Quixote" archetype, give him white hair, aged features, etc. and shoot at windmills and chickens as if they were Alduin, etc.

Point being: dark, morbid characters are great for immersion and more serious role play, but comical characters can also make the game more enjoyable.

In addition, I would also like to mention that I like the concept of dead is dead rule, due to the fact that it prevents players from "leeroying" straight into a mob of enemies, calmly enduring a direct, point blank blast of dragon fire breath or casually leaping off a high cliff, thinking that if you die, you'll simply reload the autosave. but actually putting it into practice is impractical (no pun intended) to behave as if your character genuinely fears death/injury would be an immense help to immersion, but to continually re create characters would most likely harm immersion more than it would help it, depending on how adept the player is at not dying. The point being: motivation, backstory, and quirks are great, but it's important to also recognize a characters response to the vast array of unimaginable terrors you'll undoubtedly force upon them.

- Happy skyrimming, and keep your knees well armored.

bob on March 24, 2013:


Orlok on March 12, 2013:

Thank you Juice, this article really got me excited about Skyrim again. I used a lot of these rules in developing my new character!


JoshuaTheLife on March 05, 2013:

Well, I gonna write the rest just for the hell of it. So, after Sonia's Grandfather was banished to Oblivion for his treachery, (Sonia wasn't even born yet, mind you) and Sonia's father escaped the ruined city, being chased by the Deadra. Riding West, he crossed the border of the Reach, entering a small village resting in the mountains. After the Mayor saw the boy, he immidiatly invited him in the town for food and rest. After telling his story, however, he was immidaitly run out of town, however, being mistakenly accused of being a Deadra worshiper . From then on, he lived a quiet life in the woods. Being rejected by his father previously before, he knew how to take care of himself. He hunted with home made traps. He usually sold his meat to other nearby hamlets, but when he returned to the first town he stumbled upon, it was just a smoldering ruin, likely the Deadra's doing. Out of fear (and maybe absentmindedness) he fled quickly without packing his camp, and after nearly two days of running he realized his stupidity. From then on, he stumbled upon a small lumber town (There seems to be a lot of town where he is...) And lived for years there, studying books to try to figure out how to get rid of these Deadra pursuing him. In his mid twenties, after reading a book on conjouration, his natural born powers (Of conjouration, being in his family for generations. How else was his father able to summon those Deadra?) Surged, killing the few people that were around him. Despite this, however, he soon realized his gift and summoned something (Following instructions from the book) But soon realized that was a mistake. Instead of a summoned antronach, the Deadra used the obvious passage to travel to his location. Sonia's father was barely able to escape with her life, and while the Deadra reeked havoc, he noticed a small infant (Sonia!) that looked like it had only been born a few days ago. He picked it up (Noticing, unfortuanatly, the probable parents dead a few paces away). Mounting his horse, he fled the village with the infant still in his arms.

Stay tuned for next week for another exciting episode! :O

Gail Stringer on March 02, 2013:

Re: (Joshua The Life): The Father / Daughter bond, is usually a strong one... Why not have them save the kingdom, together? (A happy journey ).

JoshuaTheLife on March 01, 2013:

I would like your opinion on a new character I have created, and will take suggestions on how I could 'improve' on it.

Race: Breton

Gender: Female

Class: Scholar (Focused on history, enchanting, some alchemy, scribing and overall study of Skyrim like Nordic ruins and standing stones)

Guilds: Most likely the College of Winterhold and maybe the Bard's college for the historical tomes kept there.

Wow I pretty much forgot to mention her name.

Name: Sonia Rozzen (or just 'Rose')

The major events leading up to her existence predate back to the time of the Oblivion Crisis. (I will refer to Sonia's grandfather as 'He')

Anyway, He worked as the court mage and imperial historian of a small Breton mountain kingdom resting near the border of Skyrim and High Rock, deep in the misty mountains of The Reach. Sonia's father also lived in the castle as a noble, but her father never spoke to her about it, so she never found out about the kingdom.

Sonia's father was often neglected and strictly dealt with by He, and He often secluded himself in his library, pouring over tomes and novels, often leaving Sonia's father to feed himself and earn his own coin.

After a few years of peaceful living, the kingdom soon in accomplishing it's goal of setting up a substantial trading and military hub, and Sonia's father soon to see his fifteenth winter, merchant caravans began to mysteriously disappear, and soldier outposts and camps were strangely liberated. The High King of this kingdom began to watch more closely, often deploying fake camps and caravans to find out who this shadowy enemy is. His spies reported of 'Barbarians of the East' or 'Reachmen' The High King took immediate action, beckoning his soldiers and subjects into the safety of the castle walls, while he ordered He to look into any way, magical or not, to defend against these Barbarians.

Surprisingly, for the first time, He actually took notice to Sonia's father, giving him a job as his apprentice and asking for him to scour the vast library for any tomes that could be of any use. For the first time, Sonia's father overlooked his distaste for the man that he had so rarely called his father and realized that his father was a very kind, smart man, and realized His work didn't leave him any time for family. During his many months as his father's apprentice, Sonia's father had taken notice of how bad things were for the kingdom. Many people were beginning to starve as more and more merchant caravans carrying essential supplies were raided and looted. Uprisings were now a common nuisance, and disease, crime, and unemployment were now rampant. The High King was powerless to help his people, and a rather aggravated man charged into the court and brutally murdered the King. The Barbarians, clearly sensing that the kingdom was weak, launched a full scale assault on the castle. He and Sonia's father worked harder than ever before, reading and rereading texts and documents to find even a shred of usefulness in their situation. As the Reachmen easily breached the walls and hacked through the starving, weak soldiers, the Barbarians ruthlessly slaughtered the common townsfolk, taking anything of value out of houses then setting fire to them.

Without the leading of the King, the rabble of troops took refuge in the Kings court, on request from He that they buy him a few hours. He quickly tugged Sonia's father into his study, where He made a last ditch effort to save his kingdom and summoned deadra from the planes of oblivion, pleading for them to save his kingdom and have mercy. Sonia's father had never seen his father look so worthless and helpless. Instead of granting him his wish, the deadra summoned the helpless grandfather into Oblivion, and then proceded to reek havoc, burning all the volumes in the library and crumbling the walls. Sonia's father ran, and with the assistance of one of his surviving servants, managed to get on a horse and ride down the narrow paths of The Reach as the Barbarians and deadra destroyed his home.

Well, that's for one part of my history, and I want to cut it off here because I don't want it to cut it off later because of length. Tell me if Sonia's grandfather's history is good, because i plays a major part in Sonia's history later. Tell me if you want to hear the rest!

GirlieAssassin on February 15, 2013:

Hey, I'm back, but I had a question that I really can't find the answer to anywhere. How would you roleplay a wedding in skyrim? Like pamper days, wedding dress pick out, and oh, I don't know, maybe some wedding celebrations things? Please answer soon. It's been bugging me

Rosie on January 24, 2013:

You know, Skyrim is the first open world RPG I've ever played. In other RPGs I never had the freedom this game gives me and I started playing it like I would any Final Fantasy, but I felt that something was amiss. After reading your absolutely brilliant posts about making interesting characters and really role playing I'm resetting my game, although I'm level 51.

I just want to experience this game as it should be. Thanks a lot for the inspiration!!!

j-u-i-c-e (author) from Waterloo, On on January 04, 2013:

@GirlieAssassin: Aw, shucks. You just made my day. :)

Thanks for the pointer. The UESP is an invaluable source of information and I highly recommend everyone visit it.

GirlieAssassin on January 03, 2013:

After reading and rereading the articles you have written multiple times, I still love them and find them inspiring. Thanks for that. I have found a few more tips though, on the uesp wiki, that are very helpful to a realistic gameplay. Just search 'role playing tips skyrim' . It should come up as the second one. Just thought other people might like to take a look at it. Hope it helps. And once again thank you JUICE for writing such inspirational articles! :)

I am here on December 29, 2012:

I need serious help! I want to create a Nord female, but I have NO idea what I want her storyline to be! All I know is that her two hobbies are: Taking baths in the river near Riverwood and chopping wood for Hod so she can afford her room at the inn and her lunch. I would apprieciate several ideas, if you have any at all.

JustARandomPerson on December 28, 2012:

Oh wait, she is also very religious to Kynereth, and often visits the temples to try to heal those two sick people, and she also leaves valuables at the shrines in the woods.

JustARandomePerson on December 28, 2012:

I really need help! I read this article and now Skyrim feels more like a game rather than a god simulator. I really need an original backstory for my Nord 26 year old girl. I think she'll work as a woodcutter and hunter, always based out of the inn in riverwood (She refuses all the gifts Gerdur and her family offers, for she likes to ear her own keep) She ownly uses daggers as one handed weapns, and holds the dagger of the first man she killed (An imperial soldier at helgen) and often uses that. She also loves a good adventure novel. I really need a storyline to her, so I could have her actions and motivation off that. (One thing, I would like her backstory to lead up to me somehow killig one of the whiterun clans, but that's just a thought) Thanks for this great article!

TheSkyrim on December 28, 2012:

My Nord always fought for justice for people in his home country in Black Marsh, and made an honest living working with his Argonian father ad winning fistfights. Suddenly, his father became ill with the many diseases in the marsh, and found of a healer in Skyrim that could help. Halfway through the journey, however, he was hunting and fell into an ambush, and my Nord was mistaken for a rebel. After his escape, he learned of the many troubles of Skyrim, and fights for equality and justice. He saves a life whenever he can, and will use any power at his disposal to purge any injustice. Recently, however, he was faced with the power of the Theives Guild and Brotherhood and feels obliged to join them to add to his power. Even all this, he is still an average villager, for he never had formal combat training, but hopes to become a master alchemist and healer, in hopes to meet the healer he was destined to find. He still uses bows, arrows, iron swords, and fireballs, but uses the powerful potions and poisons and magics to fight his way through the world. He still searches for his father. He hopes to learn from the guilds in order to push his power further, but prefrs a solitary life in a village. He still never had a knack for picking locks and is just a novice at that.

khajiit rocks on December 22, 2012:

My character is jabdar, a redguard. He lived with his uncle in hammerfell, who taught nearby kids and jabdar how to use swords and shields. jabdar was very good at learning from his uncle and often boasted his gift. One day, when he was 10, he saw a new boy wearing a cloak and a dagger. The new boy openly challenged jabdar to show his worth to the other kids. jabdar was 126% sure he was gonna win as he had stronger built and muscles and that boy was weak with only a dagger. jabdar didn't intend to kill him but only to bring him a deep wound to make him come to his senses. He rushed forth brutally and attacked several times but only the last one landed slightly on that boy as he was damn good at blocking. jabdar felt something wrong. It was hard as hell for him to move his muslces. When he paid attention, he noticed he had been poisoned by that boy through the dagger. " We are resistant to poison they say... don't fear poison they say...". That khajiit boy stood up and removed his cloak. "You are only 50% resistant foolish friend....". His uncle rushed forward and tended to his wound and the khajiit fled. It was since then that he developed respect for poisons alchemy and wished to try to make his own powerful poisons. After his uncle's death he came to skyrim and got captured." And yes he did enjoy killing that sleeping bear with frostbite venom. the poor bear tried to run at me but got dead at halfway.... too slow. PoisONS are fun :-)

Caleb from Wichita, KS on November 28, 2012:

Such a great article. If I wasn't such a min/max player, I would role pay more. Another good idea would be to get mods to make it more realistic or survival based (if you have it on pc).

Stefan on November 24, 2012:

My character is an orc who has always lived a poor life, his parents were murdered by the dark brotherhood when he was a kid. He swore to avenge his parents' death by destroying the dark brotherhood. At his parents' funeral a relative told him that he has a twin brother he never knew about, and that his parents had left him at a door because they couldn't afford to raise 2 children. He found out that his brother is in skyrim and went there to find him, then he found out about the dark brotherhood.

This article really helped me have more fun in skyrim. If I didn't have the plan to kill all the dark brotherhood members, *spoiler alert* I would have never found that once you kill astrid at the shack, you'll get a quest called "Destroy the Dark Brotherhood!". That really made me happy somehow :). Great article.

Domoman2000 on November 18, 2012:

My character is Tijjit the argonian. He was caught as the leader of the imperials, and was thrown into the wrong execution. He seeks vengance on the imperials for trying to kill him. He can't get the hang of magic, and will never wear helmets. He joined up with the brotherhood and mastered the arts of archery, sneak, and one-handed. He stuck to the shadows, and traveled by night. He woudn't collect anything but loot from other people. He murdered General Tullius in his throne room with his bow, and stole his sword. He used that sword to kill the last jarls of the strongholds, and he rejected the power of the dragonborn. Tijjit died when the Companions turned into wearwolves, and threw him into the portal to oblivion.

meow on November 18, 2012:


AjnaTwilight on November 13, 2012:

Astaroth-A lonely assassin, a follower of the thieves guild and the mystic guild knows as nightingale..a lord of decay, death,shadows and fear. Born from the gut of Nocturnals Ravens,given the name of the ancient dark gods, he dwells unto a mission to seek out all the ancient Deadric Artifacts. He only dwells at night, picking up mushrooms, glow dust, void salts and mora tappinella mushrooms, to cover his ferocious drug needs and habits.. He drinks at a peak of a mountain getting drunk and falling to his death, only to be ressurected afterwards by his brothers of doom and despair (LOAD PEOPLE.) And he lives in fear and hate, he hates EVERYONE.EVERYONE FUCKING SINGLE ONE.And trusts no one, not even his own.. He uses a deadric bow, with ebony arrows, and a sanguine rose to distract enemies and shoot them in the back as they chase that mere pawn known as a deadra AHAHAHAHA.

-Also to enchance ur gaming experience use fitting background music, when i'm in the open i use all kinds of creepy music i found online, and when im raiding a place i listen to aggrotech and black metal. (Y)

Sicarius on November 12, 2012:

I am a high elf named Sicarius. My mother and father were killed by imperials when I was a baby for being accused of the murder of a store owner. I was their only son. People who knew them tell me that they were innocent. I don't remember them, but I was handed down to a long lost uncle who was a great thief and taught me much about patience and everything that has to do with stealing. I disapprove of the Imperial occupation of Skyrim. With what happened to my parents I believe that the people don't need the assistance of Imperial soldiers.I am not really on anyones side, but if I had to choose I would definitely be in the resistance. I will work as a mercenary and a thief. I accept my destiny as a dragonborn and will use it to aid me in my travels. I am not the slightest bit religious. I will not place offerings at a shrine unless it will help me grow stronger or increase my material possessions. I have a soul which I will follow. Some lives will be spared because I may feel they should be. Others will be taken by my hand. I will steal from anyone and still be able to sleep well at night. I will practice in the arts of theft and sneaking and become a master at them both. I will get lost in gold and own the largest house in all of Skyrim. I will not donate to the poor. They can get a job if they need money.

Nicolas on October 10, 2012:

thank you it was very helpful .

i made a new character after reading this . a simple yet interesting character ;

Franccesco is the only son of a male hunter and a conjurer woman .

he hunts mammoths for their valuable tusks . and also wolves etc. like his father did. also he prefer to walk or use carriages NO cheaty Fast travel !!

he hates giants and has joined the imperials to stop ulfric and his stormcloacks.

he knows thanks to his mother the ability to summon creatures to distract his enemies .

he is an honest man and make money by either chopping wood or exploring bandits caves .

he helps people that are in trouble and doesn't kill people unless it's for a really really really reallygood reason i.e the owner of the orphanage XD

keshu on October 03, 2012:

i just started to do this even when i bought this game the day it first was on sale its amazing the number of non scripted characters one can create on skyrim, necromancer, assasins, barbarians, etc, ill follow some of ur tips on to immersive role playing thanks

StevieTV on September 20, 2012:

This is great! I didn't think I would ever regain interest in playing Skyrim, but this Hub showed me the light. I've been having a great time playing my new character! Here, just figured I'd share; Whadaya think?


Race: Imperial

Name: Velus


Velus had been born in the Imperial City to a prostitute named Sylvia. She had no knowledge of who the father could possibly be, so she was forced to make do and care for the child herself. She was a caring women who tried her best to make life tolerable for herself and her beloved Velus, whom she named after her grandfather. She made enough from her job for them to be able to live in a small hut near the docks of the Imperial city, where most of the destitute resided. He would stay in the house by himself during the night, entertaining himself by reading books and fantasising about the world outside of the city. His mother always came home bringing some sort of treat for Velus, like honey crisps, pie, or sweet rolls, and she always smiled at him as he gorged himself right on the spot. But then one night, when he was twelve years old, she didn't come home. Velus grew more and more anxious as it grew later and later, until he decided he would go out and look for her. He had only walked twenty feet from the house when his torch light illuminated what looked like a sack of some sort on the ground. As he drew nearer he saw that it wasn't sack, but a body. A women in a dress soaking with crimson blood still gushing from multiple clean stab wounds in her chest and stomach. Fearing the worst, he turned the women's head to face him, and recoiled in horror as he stared into his mother's face, a look a pain and shock frozen on it. He sobbed over her for what must have been hours before a dock worker on his way to work stumbled upon the scene. He yelled for the guards as he ran to help Velus. She was later buried on the coast by Velus and a group of Sylvia's prostitute friends. Velus now had nowhere to go. He spent the next three weeks begging for coin with varying success. He was ready to roll over and die when he observed a boy around his own age steal an amulet sticking out of the pocket of a guardsmen. He decided to follow the boy eventually discovering that he was a member of a small group of orphaned or runaway children who had formed a pickpocket gang. He was invited to join them, which he accepted. Velus was taught how to size up a mark and effectively pick their pocket, how to escape the authorities, how to pick locks, and how to use a dagger in self defense. He spent years with the boys, and they were quite successful. However, their luck was bound to run out sometime. When Velus was sixteen, he and another one of the boys names Lucas waited outside of a tavern late one night to take advantage of the drunks, something they did often. This time when Lucas went to take the coinpurse of a burly man with a beard, the man turned around faster than any drunk could and ran Lucas through the chest with a dagger. Velus yelled out in shock and the man turned to face him. Velus decided the best thing to do was to run, since there was no way the large man could catch him. He ran as fast as he could back to the hide out, but when he got there, a horrid sight awaited him. The rest of the boys had also been killed. He decided to lay low until daytime, when he would sneak out of the city. As he made his way to the gates, he overheard guards talking about how they had finally taken down a group of thieves that had been terrorizing the city for years. They had been murdered by the city guard. After he finally made it out, he stole a horse and rode for Kvatch. He would repeat this process for ten years: ride to a town, rob someone rich, ride somwhere else. He made a comfortable living and enjoyed his work. He decided that he would rob a wealthy looking Orc named Ullrog in Bravil, and came away with a pretty good haul. Unfortunately, Ullrog was a crime lord and had Bravil along with several other towns in his pocket. Thanks to the co-operation of the townsfolk, Ullrog had Velus' description and was biting at his heels. Velus knew that there was little chance of getting out of this with his head unless he left Cyrodiil. He decided to head north to Skyrim. As he rode across the border and breathed a sigh of relief, he saw some sort of commotion ahead of him. It looked to be a skirmish between Imperial soldiers and some Nords in blue. As he neared the scene, something hard hit him in the back of his head, knocking him out. He awoke sitting in a rickety cart across from one of the Nords in blue with his hand bound. The cart was being driven by an Imperial soldier. "At least its not Ullrog," he thought to himself.


Velus' main ambition is just to have a good time. He's a very talented thief and knows it, and he very much enjoys the work he does. He simply wants to continue doing what he does and living a profitable and eventful life. He perhaps wouldn't mind settling down one day, but for now he wants to make money and enjoy doing it.


Velus is very inquisitive in nature and enjoys collecting and reading books. He'd always have several with him in Cyrodiil, but with no place to keep them, he had to sell most of them when he finished reading. A dream of his is to have an actual collection that he can store and read any time he wishes. He also snacks on carrots frequently (good for the eysight!). He prefers to have at least one a day. Velus is also uncomfortable when not wearing some sort of head cover, liking hoods or cowls most, as it gives him a feeling of anonymity.


Not much genuinely scares Velus, with the exception of one thing: Bears. After a particularly nasty run in with a bear when riding from Bruma to Cheydinhal, an encounter that gave him a particularly nasty scar, he simply can't stand the sight of them. If he happens to cross paths with one, he will either try to simply avoid or outrun it, or get as far away from it as he can and fire arrows at it from a distance, never letting it get closer than fifteen meters.


Velus doesn't dicriminate against any specific race. He has no problem with the rich or poor, soldiers or mages. He only dislikes and distrusts those who enjoy killing, or revel in the suffering of others. While Velus himself likes to keep his blade clean, preferring to sneak past enemies, he has no qualms with dispatching foes only if it is absolutely necessary. If it is, he chooses to do it quickly and quietly, usually opting for the use of a bow. If melee combat is required, he prefers the use of swords, but shield are out of the question as they slow him down and throw his balance off.

Valeniaxen on September 18, 2012:

Thank you, Thank you! You have just inspired me to play the game again. Started to get tired... But now! I'll play the game on master and never fast travel :P

skyplayer on September 18, 2012:

Name: Zihara Kathel

Race: Nord

Class: Shadow Warrior

Archery~Sneak~One Handed~Heavy Armor~Smithing~Enchanting

Armor set~ ebony mail helm gauntlets and boots

great in the heat of battle great in the shadows great with ranged combat

Her father was the founder of the order of the shadow warriors a guild that grew in power and fame quickly but through cercumstances im still figuruing out was destroyed she aquired an old tome wich comtaines all of the knoledge of the shadow warriors and there training and such thus begins her jounrey to become the ultimate shadow warrior and to find out about her past~note story is still in constructuion she will not join either side of the war and stay neutral she will not be a lycan or vampire will join all guilds but only to obtian more knolegdge or more power or just some gold has no set faith loves to collect books prefers to live and travel alone

Rogu on September 08, 2012:

my favourite character now is my Thief which he only steals and don't kill people as first principle (undead, daedra, dragon and animals i still kill but i avoid them as much as possible) unless one crosses me really heavily which i didn't get my cut in a job and the quest giver planned to even trying to kill me afterwards.

i turned off my crosshair and my compass and i really enjoy the game now since it is not like my old burn u or bash u character. Thx for ur tip on this page

lala22 on September 08, 2012:

If you enjoy RP i'd recommend SA:MP.Everyone roleplays and it has roleplay tests to get in.Try it someday , LS-RP.COM is probably the heaviest and best server

sonnhy on August 28, 2012:

I've a problem with this game... I really love it, but... I can't play this game more than level 7-8 because i get bored quickly.. I'm worried about this: i want to do everything in this game because i find myself missing the whole world so i usually play as a mage, a warrior and a thief at the same time... After a bit of level i feel like it's the wrong way to play and start a new character.. This one is more thief oriented but i still find myself missing something, like throwing an awesome spell or swing a sword and kill without worry of they have found me.. After this thought i usually got bored and start killing everyone, then i get crazy and rage quit the console.. Also i follow the adventure in Skyrim of Tubuscus on youtube, he's really funny guy, and also he enjoy the game, sometimes i want to play like him, without worring about everything... I feel so sad i can't enjoy this game like others do...

Ferret on August 27, 2012:

Hey Juice, I was wondering if you could help me with a backstory for a Khajiit. I want to have him wear steel/plate armor and maybe a mace and shield; I was thinking he would be similar to Kharjo and Dro'marash. I was thinking he would only barter with Khajiit caravans or people who've gained his trust, seeing how Khajiit are not allowed in the cities of Skyrim. I also want to explore and scavenge as many ruins, caves etc. as possible. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Grosh on August 24, 2012:


Nightbane44 on August 23, 2012:

This basically saved my ability to have fun on skyrim. I never thought of making morals and restrictions for my characters. Doing so gives satisfaction my new character is a high elf is called natas he dosent remember his past which motivates him to push on through the war. He has a split personality due to his inability to remember his past he is usually docile but plagued by nightmares causes him to throw fits of rage spewing spells with reckless abandon. On a separate note I apply the idea of resting after fights to rest so my magica

erkikle from California on August 21, 2012:

I can already tell! When I first got it, I didn't play for a week. I just spent all my time playing with the CK and trying to figure stuff out, or I was watching videos about it.

j-u-i-c-e (author) from Waterloo, On on August 19, 2012:

There's a ton of good resources for modding Skyrim, but I've collected some of the most important links in my hub Creating Skyrim Mods with the Creation Kit:

Check out the section "Where can I learn more...?" for the links and the last section "My Creation Kit tutorials" for my own CK tutorials. The first two are designed specifically for people who have never modded. The third is a follow up to the second one.

I'll warn you guys in advance that modding is incredibly addictive. Many modders spend a lot more time modding than playing. :)

erkikle on August 18, 2012:

@Weaverward I just got the creation kit, myself, and I'm trying my hardest to figure it out. Youtube is helping some, but if you find any tips, please share!

Weaverward on August 18, 2012:

Thanks for the help Juice! Yeah, Tarlus sees bandits as people wanting to die, and goes out of his way to eliminate them to avenge his parents' death. He sees the Companions as overpayed mercenaries so he won't be joining them.

As for the modding, I have the Creation Kit, but have no clue how to use it? Do you have any tips? If so, thanks!

erkikle on August 16, 2012:

Thanks, that makes me feel better. I've also recently gotten into modding, and I'm saving most of the mods for Kara, so hopefully it will feel sort of like a different game just because of that. And I do wish there were other ways Kara could handle conflict, but I guess she will have to learn to kill or be killed. I'm sure it will be an interesting struggle, and I'm sure she will end up getting a lot more help from followers than she'd really like. I think she would prefer going alone if she could, but she will need them to help her learn to be strong, at least at first.

j-u-i-c-e (author) from Waterloo, On on August 16, 2012:

@ExoticSkyrim: Stopping and waiting periodically is a good idea. I do it sometimes if I find a good place to camp. It does help to make Skyrim feel bigger because walking from one town to the next takes more game time (without significantly impacting play time). This is why some players use dynamic timescales: to lengthen the 'distance' outdoors without having to put up with unrealistic times in towns and interiors.

@Steven Silkett: Thanks for sharing Roran's story. Visiting his father's grave is a nice touch. Does he leave flowers or other objects? What happened to his mother?

The wait mechanic has proven to be very useful for maintaining realistic time frames without making time progress superfast. In fact, I think Skyrim would be a lot better if they just used real time, but attached wait functions to everything. For example, it could give you a prompt like: "Read? (4 hours)" or "Craft? (8 hours)". You'd still get all the benefits of a dynamic day/night cycle without the loss of immersion that comes from an unrealistic time scale. Plus, knowing in advance how long things take would let you plan your activities accordingly.

@Weaverward: I like the way you've integrated Tarlus' history with other characters from the game. You've done a good job using it to justify his skills. You said that Tarlus isn't one to pick sides, but what is his motivation? Just to become a great warrior? If so, is it for glory, gold, justice? How does he feel about bandits? How does he deal with the poor? With orphans? What's his relationship with the Companions now? Lots of areas you can explore based on his background.

Sharing mods is okay, just remember that most of the people reading the article don't have access to mods on XBOX 360 or PS3. One of the mods I am developing right now is set in its own world and has alternate starting options as well. It's a wonder that Bethesda doesn't use this technique, since it's used by many other RPGs.

Having all of your characters live in a shared world is an interesting idea. You could make a mod to add your other characters to the world as NPCs and actually interact with them to a small extent.

@erkikle: It sounds like your characters are fairly distinct, so I don't think you need to worry about them being too similar. It sounds like Aria even has a nice little inner conflict between wanting nice things and doing the right thing. That's a state of mind that most people can relate too. It's a shame there aren't more peaceful options for resolving conflict that Kara could employ.

I have characters that never pick locks and characters that never use magic, and I think it's a good way to make different play-throughs distinctive. You don't need to pick locks to accumulate gold or items, so that's not something you need to worry about. The characters I have that don't pick locks are swimming in gold.

Btw, everybody: I've added a forum to my web site for people who want to further discuss and share ideas. The link is in the bottom of the article.

Weaverward on August 16, 2012:

Sorry for the double post but I want to talk about something I love to do. When I roleplay I act as if all of my characters are in the same Skyrim. For example, if my assassin kills someone, I use console commands to remove them with my warrior and if I hunt all the animals in a forest, for a few days ingame I pretend that there is nothing in the forest with other characters. Please, tell me what you think, thanks!

Weaverward on August 16, 2012:

Juice, if you don't mind, I would like to share an excellent role-play mod that I found on the workshop. It's called the 'Live Another Life' mod I believe. It's brilliant, it allows you to skip the Helgen intro and select lots of different starts, for example, your character can start in an inn, at a hunting camp and even in an army! I just want to recommend it, thanks.

erkikle from California on August 11, 2012:

Thank, that helps. I've been thinking about it more, and I decided a few things. Aria is stubborn and sort of self-centered. She wants the best of everything and will do almost anything to get it, but when push comes to shove, she does want to help the people of Skyrim. Her main interests are getting great armor and weapons, buying all the houses in Skyrim, and knocking out quests to prove her strength and dedication. She wears heavy armor and is always asking Lydia to help carry things. She typically only takes healing potions with her, sometimes stamina potions. Also, she has decided to become a werewolf so she will not need to worry about diseases and to become a Companion.

Kara will be the wanderer, busy picking flowers and making potions, only looting what she needs. She wants to save her money for her family, will probably one have one house, and is more interested in befriending Skyrim's citizens than killing people and dragons. She will wear light armor and either go solo a lot or find a strong follower to help her in battle since she will be focusing on strengthening her magic, and because I suspect she will be hesitant about killing people. She will probably only have a light one-handed weapon to fall back on if she runs out of magic and potions. Most of her inventory will be potions. I want to try to avoid fast travel with her, and she can't steal or pick locks unless she really needs to. She will refuse to become a werewolf and will not kill anyone she doesn't absolutely need to kill.

Weaverward on August 08, 2012:

Hi guys, this is my Nord that I've been working on RPing, a warrior named Tarlus. Tell me what you think!


Tarlus' childhood was sad to say the least, bandits killed his parents, took his belongings and burned his family farm. He wandered to Whiterun where he met a fellow young Nord known as Farkas (The Companion as a teen). They trained together until they were strong enough to find their own destinies, choosing different paths.

Thoughts on war:

Tarlus is not one to take sides, he sees no point in the war. He escaped Helgen with Ralof as he considered that he would not try to behead him! He avoids any conversations with people attempting to recruit him and killed a Stormcloak soldier once for asking too much.

Skills: Ulthberth of Warmaidens in Whiterun kindly housed Tarlus as a lad and he helped him around the forge in return. For this reason he is a decent smith, and enjoys the satisfaction of killing an enemy with a blade he made. As stated before, he trained in combat with Farkas so he is unmatched at one-handed and block against anyone in Whiterun Hold.


Tarlus sees being Dragonborn as another oppurtunity to gain more power. He seeks to master the ancient dragon words of power and the shouts aid him in his fights.


Tarlus is one tough nut, but falmer scare him so much he would freak out and run if he saw one. For this reason he NEVER goes too deep into dwarven ruins. He first gained his fear of falmer when he and Farkas where exploring an old ruin nearby. One of them pinned him to the floor and almost killed him but Farkas saved him.

So then guys, how was it? I'd love any tips or ideas, thanks!

Steven Silkett on August 06, 2012:

My 22 year old Nord Roran, son of the Half-Nord, Half-Wood Elf Galbitor was learning how to hunt with his father in Valenwood, after Roran learned the basics of archery he decided to travel and hunt in Skyrim, also to learn more of his history. After making it across the border he saw a group of wounded solider's, they called themselves the Sons of skyrim, who knows? Maybe they are a guild of warriors that are proud of their heritage? Roran quickly uses 9 of the 10 health potions his father created to heal them once he healed them he was allowed to follow them and possibly join the StormCloaks. After five hours of walking from the Reach's border (where Markarth is) to Whiterun they were caught by the empire, Roran had no problem with the empire considering that Galbitor sold Meat and hides from his hunts to the Empire for the army.

" DON'T MOVE A MUSCLE!" shouted the Imperial captian.

"wait what's happe-" Roran was knocked out by the pommel of his sword.

I will skip to the point where you have the decision of going with Hadvar or Ralof.

"Quick come with me" Shouted Ralof, "No don't listen to him he is a traitor to the Empire!" shouted Hadvar.

Deciding not to Endanger his Father he went with the Imperial. When he had to kill the Spider he did quickly and as Painlessly as possible and took every thing that had a use from the creature. Because when he was a kid he lived in a poor district in Cyrodill with Galbitor, and there were the ungreatful rich kids and snobs who would throw away burnt meat and things they disliked that would have saved his brother's life. "hey are you done? we need to get out of here the dragon is still here." Hadvar reminded him. later When Hadvar offered him the decision of killing the bear he quickly rejected it and sneaked away "No point in killing it unless we have to" Roran said.

After going to Riverwood with Hadvar, Roran Hired a Courier to go to Valenwood and tell Galbitor what had heppend and to request gold to go back home in Valenwood. Two Months has passed and Roran Moved out of Hadvar's uncle's house and has been sleeping in the Inn using the gold he earned from splitting wood for Hod and Eating using the fish from the River and the wild game from the woods, The same courier he sent Two Months ago reappeared and with a disturbed look on his face "here, here you go.." he said flatly and got on his horse as quickly as possible. Later that night in the inn Roran read "You are no brother of skyrim,you imperial dog!" with his father's blood splattered over it. Enraged he went to cyrodill and joined the imerial army and later, enjoyed having the power.He started accepting assassination missions from the dark brotherhood and the Thieves Guild to strike out againts the rich and powerful.

He enjoys visiting his father's grave that was in his hometown, Falkreath.

ExoticSkyrim on August 06, 2012:

Hey guys, thanks for the reply j-u-i-c-e, Yeah, I've kept up Elena's day to day life for about six hours of gameplay. Although, she is actually an occasional fighter, since she has actually crafted her own Steel Armor that has been made superior. And a Steel Greatsword. I'm RPing her training daily, but she still does her work with Adrianne Avencii in Whiterun. She'd be broke without it. She's a terrible fighter though, and usually just locks up her armor at Gerdur's House in Riverwood for when she comes to visit. She befriended Ralaf, so it could be possible she will join the Stormcloak Rebellion and discover she is Dragonborn, but I might steer away from the main questline. And maybe do the Companions or something.

And, I had an idea, on another rule, when I travel along the roads, I always stop and rest, after a while, ya'know, if an hour In game has passed, I sit and wait an hour. It makes travelling more time consuming on foot, whereas if I'm on a horse, I wait every two hours for an hour, since the horses in Skyrim are bred for the long haul.

Steven Silkett on August 05, 2012:

I want to thank you for your amazing hub, I didn't even think about the wait system having that much potential, Roran, son of galbitor.

j-u-i-c-e (author) from Waterloo, On on August 05, 2012:

@erkikle: You can make your characters less similar by making different gameplay decisions. For example, by giving them different builds and restricting their actions in different ways. If one character picks locks, don't pick locks with the other one; if one character uses spells, don't let the other one use spells; if one character is a smith, make the other one an alchemist, etc. You can also give them preferences about the kind of loot that they will take. Your smith will pick up valuable ores and ingots, but ignore alchemy ingredients and vice versa. Give them preferences about the kinds of arm and armor that they will use. If one of your characters is a fighter in heavy armor who forges her own weapons and likes to collect ingots and your other character is a mage in robes who brews her own potions and likes to collect butterflies, they're going to feel different even if they have similar temperaments and backgrounds. Characters start to blend together when every character does everything, bears any weapons and armor, and picks up any kind of loot. Your characters' preferences will help to establish their identity.

Another way you can flush them out is to imagine how they would behave in particular scenarios. For example, at a wedding, how would each behave? How would they behave at a funeral? How do they behave if someone hands them a baby to hold? How do they act when they meet a stray dog? How do they respond if a merchant tries to cheat them? What do they do if they see two boys fighting? Thinking about these kinds of scenarios will help you understand their idiosyncrasies and personalities and give you an opportunity to explore different responses if they feel too similar.

@ExoticSkyrim: Does Elena plan on becoming involved in any of the questlines, or do you plan on just living out an alternate life? I'd be interested to know how long you can sustain Elena's normal day to day activities before it starts to get boring and you need to mix it up a little. And yes, there are definitely plenty of ways to make money in this game!

ExoticSkyrim on August 05, 2012:

My current character. Elena Great-Heart, is a nord, and the great-great granddaughter of the Hero of Kvatch, Daren Great-Heart, (My character from oblivion ) and is the last of the Great-Heart bloodline in Tamriel. She is unknowing of her heritage, but was born in the rebuilt Kvatch, 22 years before the start of her adventures in Skyrim. After crossing the border to learn more of her homeland, she was attacked by stormcloaks, who where then ambushed soon after. After the dragon attack in Helgen, she made her way to Riverwood, in which she currently works as a woodcutter for Hod, but she aspires to go and work at Warmaidens and become a great blacksmith, supplying traders everywhere with her Armor and Weapons.

I also would like to add, if you wait an hour after combat, ya'know, but only if combat took A lot outta your health or it was long combat, ya'know or your character to patch himself/herself up and take a good breather. And remember, you can make money in skyrim without being a warrior and looting! I make all my money with woodcutting, or making armor and selling it on! Other blacksmiths and traders love a bit of fine armor!

Her day to day activities include, sleeping at the tavern till five AM, going for a quick dip in the river, getting dressed, having a meal, she then works from eight am till six am from Monday to Friday, on saturday she visits Whiterun or a day, and sleeps till Sunday, and on Sunday she goes fishing! Yep! She also has a sweet spot for Ysolda but she is also interested in Men, I'll keep ya all posted though!

erkikle on August 02, 2012:

I just noticed, it appears that only one of my posts went through. Let me know if I need to send the first one again.

erkikle on August 02, 2012:

(Please note that I am making up the smaller details as I type them now. Still discovering my characters. I only just came up with them yesterday even thoug I have been playing Aria for a few weeks. Another thing to note is that I sort of had to explain why aria did things because I had already been doing them, like how I planned to have her be a battle-mage but she has very low magic skill is because she is impatient and wants power quickly. On the other hand, Kara is a brand new character, so I am making up rules rather than excuses. Kara won't fast travel as much, hoard, or steal very often because she is more patient and has stronger values. Oh, and I think I confused Aria's parents. Her mother is a nord and her father is an imperial. She takes after her father.)

So Kara takes mostly after her mother, a high elf mage who has taught Kara everything she knows about alchemy and enchanting. Kara's father is a nord who, despite his family's obvious disproval, was always curious about magic and elves. He eventually chose his forbidden love over his loyalty to his family, but he died not long after the birth of his three children, Kara and her twin siblings. No one really speaks of his death, so Kara assumes it was something dark. After he died, Kara and her mother were forced to make ends meet by smithing, enchanting, and selling gear, and selling potions. One day while gathering ingredients, her mother was killed by an elf-hating nord. Due to the racism against elves, Kara has always wished she was human. She is quite lucky to have a more rounded, human looking face than most elves, but she can't hide her green golden skin. Instead she sends away her younger siblings to live with a relative while she makes a name, and a small pile of gold, in skyrim. She hopes one day when there is peace in skyrim and she has helped the people earn their freedom, they will see that elves are worthy people too. The problem is that she lacks confidence, and ometimes her values get in the way of gaining the power she will need to take down the empire.

I am a LITTLE afraid of my characters being too similar, but I don't want to side with the imperials and I don't want to play a "bad" character. Aria's hoarding and stealthy theivery are enough. She never gets caught so it doesn't seem wrong. She's supposed to be more stubbornly free spirited while Kara is more of a rule follower and a planner. She will most likely only steal lesser or empty soul gems and rare ingredients from people who won't miss them, while Aria takes everything of value and then some.

I would love to hear your input.

erkikle on August 02, 2012:

Hey this is my 2nd video game, first rpg, and first time looking online and getting all into a game or even a character I have created myself. Just yesterday I started to create a new character and after reading a few of your posts I realized I was already doing a lot of things you mentioned. On the other hand, with my current character, I was starting to get bored and confused about her choices, and I think after reading this I have some ideas. For one thing, I am really going to figure out her family. Name her parents, fluff up their story a little, maybe even design their characters so I know what they look like (even though they are dead- probably).

So, I did something kinda weird. I didn't plan it, but somehow both my characters are half-breeds. Of course skyrim limits this with their abilities and appearances, but for the sake of their backstories, I decided it was best for me. Aria's father was a nord, and her mother was an imperial. Both of them were somewhat rebellious (and Aria takes after them). You see, her father never understood the racist thing and her mother always hated the empire, so they both left their homes to make their own decisions. They left skyrim and had a daughter and raised her to make her own decisions. She believes in freedom and loyalty (not to blood, but to those with the same values, but her only-child syndrome sometimes gets in the way. She steals a lot and has a hoarding problem.) Her parents went missing some time ago. They heard rumors about trouble in skyrim and went to support the stormcloacks, leaving their beloved Aria behind. When they didn't return, she decided to look for them. That's when she was caught, lost in the woods, when she stumbled upon the wanted Ulfric.

What do you think? For fear of being cut off or my phone crashing, I'll put Kara's story in a second comment.

j-u-i-c-e (author) from Waterloo, On on July 31, 2012:

@Jackrabbit: I really like your hybrid difficulty slider idea. I hadn't really thought of adjusting it on the fly while playing, though it's definitely an intriguing notion and I can see how it would be really useful on occasion. I might incorporate that into the article if it's okay with you.

@SamuraiQuack: Sorry for the huge delay, it looks like I sort of lost track of the comments on this hub! Zark-He Ugrum's story does have a very samurai feel to it, and an Orc is a good choice for that kind of play-through. Are you specializing in two-handed sword? I hope Zark-He gets his revenge!

@Darkciaran: Wow, Skyrim really is a dark place. Now the Orcs are slaughtering people, too! Is it a rogue band of bloodthirsty brigands or an Orc uprising taking advantage of the Thalmor conquest and the civil war? How does Kazadure deal with normal Orc civilians living in the towns?

@Mona: Glad it helped!

@GirlLovesGore: Gameplay challenge and realism are always sort of in conflict. Most people would go down with one or two blows, but then the game is too easy for many people. What would work best would be an option that allows you to increase/decrease damage for both yourself and your enemies separately. That way, you could crank up the damage for both and find a good challenge with a realistic amount of damage. The problem is that the way the difficulty slider works, you can either do realistic damage to an enemy, or have an enemy do realistic damage to your character, but you can't really have both. And I don't think limiting your inventory is really micromanaging at all. In fact, I find I tend to carry less and less the more I play; if anything, it makes for less inventory management and greater realism. I'm with you on that one.

@Huntercslu: Thank you for sharing your experience. Learning more about the history and culture of the people of Tamriel is a great idea. I can't believe I neglected to mention it! If it's okay with you, I'm going to add that to the article when I update it. ;)

@H: I agree with you about the increased combat difficulty making for a more realistic approach to combat. You really do have to plan ahead and come up with original strategies while you're playing just to survive. I found all kinds of interesting little strategies playing this way that I probably would have missed if I'd played at a lower difficulty setting.

@FourDog101: This could make for a very interesting playthrough if you try to play more 'realistically'. Would Luthien stop to skin animals for their hides, for example? Or pick alchemy ingredients? (Maybe she would, if she uses alchemy.) Would she forge her own weapons and armor or enchant her own items? If she's used to getting by on her looks and charm, she's probably more likely to use things to enhance her bartering skills than engage in menial tasks herself. Likewise, she'd probably rather ride or take a cart than walk everywhere, and would probably often have a traveling companion when not on missions, though she might change her followers all the time. There are plenty of interesting ways you could change how you usually play to create a memorable role-playing experience. Good luck!

FourDog101 on July 30, 2012:

Great article, I was already employing some of these elements for my third character, but now I want to go back and try doing all of them from the start (it's okay, I've only put like 8 hours into this play through).

Name: Luthien

Gender: Female

Race: Breton

Class: Temptress

Luthien grew up the daughter of a poor trader in Bruma. As a child, Luthien always desired money, and has developed an obsession with gold, and making more of it. She possesses natural "assets" that help her to persuade and manipulate others, and uses them to profit. She is not above lying, stealing, and killing for money, but she is above menial labour and purely altruistic charity. Luthien finds that job and investment opportunities always seem to find her, almost like she is the only woman in the world who can run simple errands in exchange for money. Luthien's goal in life is to become the leader of the Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood, both of which have retreated to Skyrim.

When the rebellion in Skyrim broke out, Luthien feared that the war might finally mean the end for these factions, and realised she might be the only one who could save them. So she hopped aboard the first trade caravan she could find going North, and crossed the border into Skyrim. Then her caravan was attacked by Stormcloaks, and then the Stormcloaks were ambushed by Imperials, and then the game starts.

H on July 24, 2012:

Good post, there are a few other methods that can make the game more emmersive, like for example playing on Master from the start of the game, you die allot more but it means you plan out your fights, you wont normally run in head strong if you've died 2 or 3 times to the same enemy, also wear weaker armor, i remember when i got to level 70 i started wearing Steel armor again. I prefer to get into hard fights that i may die if i don't heal at the right time ect...

Huntercslu on July 22, 2012:

I loved this all. I've recently been feeling quite bored and searching for a game to play and found myself wanting to try skyrim again, (since about December) but this time with a role playing atmosphere. It greatly increased the experience. I found myself hunting the woods by Riverwood or being a student at the College of Winterhold reading books and exploring the poles for ingredients. Role playing has brought me right back to the fun and enjoyment I get from playing the Elder Scrolls series.

Recently I was scimming through the skyrim wikia site and realized I didn't have too much knowledge on the background game in general. So I searched things like "The Great War" and the "Night of Tears". Just by reading the brief history lesson, I found myself admiring skyrim and it's architecture so much more. I understood the conflicts of the civil war and how Falmer were descendants of Snow Elves.

I loved this page and I hope my idea helps out a little more in creating the amazing, fulfilling play through.


GirlLovesGore on July 22, 2012:

On number nine, I can't really agree with that, because realistically, most people would probably go down with one arrow or a couple jabs with a sword. So novice works fine. Of course, I also refuse to carry anything that wouldn't fit in the small bag that comes with nearly any outift (or if it doesn't, I make up something about having a small fold in the under folds or something. I really enjoy playing it realistically but that's just me. Maybe it seems like micromanegment but oh well :)

Mona on July 18, 2012:

Wow thanks this really helped!!!! :D

Darkciaran on July 16, 2012:

thanks this really helped this is my idea

Name: Kazadure

Race: Argonian


Kazadure lived with other argonians where they were all at peace with the world around them. Kazadure trained in conjuration and archery since he was 9 but sadly peace doesn't last forever so he would eventually have to use them.

To prove Kazadure was ready to handle the world he would have to spend 2 months out of his home using only his knowledge of survival, archery and necromancy. time was hard but his skills proved useful, he used archery to hunt and used necromancy to create bound weapons and raise those he defeated to help him in battle.

One day he witnessed a Khajiit surrounded by orcs , the orcs killed the khajiit and Kazadure has regretted since then not doing anything to stop it. It was then he realized that the world was a dark place but in the khajiits pocket was a note saying THE DARK ORCS ARE REBORN!!!!!.

Kazadure returned home because the 2 months were over but when he returned everyone in his village were slain expect the leader who died before he could tell Kazadure who did this. Kazadure searched and searched until he found it a note saying THE DARK ORCS ARE REBORN!!!!!. It was then Kazadure knew where he had go. Where he overheard the orcs saying they were going to SKYRIM!!!!!!!!!!!.

Kazadure took all the supplies and equipment he could and some conjuration spells. He found spells called flames and restoration and set off until he arrived at skyrim.

He made it and was going to search for the orcs but he walked right into the civil war and got captured by the imperials with a few people who claim to be called stormcloaks. Ulfric Stormcloak who said he was the leader was there too. They arrived at a town where they were to be executed but Kazadure was saved by a dragon. He escaped from the dragon and town through the help of an imperial who led him out and took him to the town of riverwood. Now Kazadure could hunt down the DARK ORCS!!!!! for revenge for his people.

SamuraiQuack on July 12, 2012:

Wow. This really helped. I had this idea floating around about making a samurai in Skyrim and this article has convinced me. Here goes:

Name: Zark-He Ugrum

Race: Orc

Age: 28 (at start of game)

Background: When the Aldmeri Dominion waged war on the Blades, Bayak Ugrum, a Blade and close friend of Delphine went into hiding. He moved into his twin brother's (the Chief) Stronghold to lay low. Nothing happened for a few months, until one day a group of Thalmor visited the camp looking for him. They murdered Bayak's brother, who had impersonated him. The Orc residents wept. They appointed Bayak Chief as his brother had no children. He grew close to his brother's wife and she evenually became pregnant. On 30th Frostfall, exactly two years after the Blades went ino hiding, Zark-He was born.

He grew up to be a fine warrior, and on his 18th birthday he was to challenge his father for the position of Chief. Before the duel, Bayak told Zark-He to retrieve his blade he had hidden from a nearby cave. Zark-He returned full of pride... only to find the hold ransacked. All his family and friends murdered. The only clue he had was a bloodstained Elven dagger, impaled in his father's chest. He brandished his father's blade, vowing to kill the one responsible, no matter what cost.

He spent ten years travelling the lands, helping locals, killing bandits, searching for his father's killer. While at an inn in Cyrodiil, he was told by the Keeper of the maker of the dagger he carried. Elves. She told him about a group of Thalmor who passed through on their way to Skyrim. Zark-He left, a new destination in his mind.

Personality: Zark-He is an Orc and as such abides by a strict set of conduct. He will only kill those who would hurt innocents, yet when he does so, he does in cold blood. No second thought, no second chance, no mercy. He holds honour in high regard, looking down upon thieves and liars. He also tries to help those less able than himself, as long as their cause is noble. He isn't prejudice towards any race except Altmeri, and is weariy of Imperials.

Jackrabbit on July 11, 2012:

At the risk of spamming I'll make this my last comment!

You hit the nail on the head. I've been hooked on 'I'm a master player', which is completely wrong.

So, I've been playing around with the difficulty sliders and I have to admit, for me they have one fantastic strength. And that's for reinforcing those defining points in a character's story.

My current character for example started of as little more than a hunter, but there was a point in her story recently where something exceptional happened. So I reduced the difficulty and suddenly it actually felt like this moment had had a real effect on her 'life'.

I can think of points in the Thieve's Guild and the Companions questlines, as well as a couple in the main storyline where taking the slider down a notch might really compliment the story.

Of course, you can turn it on its head as well. If you were willing to micromanage the difficulty slider a bit, you could, say, put the difficulty up a bit if you'd become seriously injured, or put it down a bit for a brief moment for an 'adrenaline rush' or that final push in a tough fight where you really give it your all. Again, so much potential in an aspect I'd mostly ignored!

And finally finally finally, I really like your hybrid fast travel idea. Generally if I have a horse handy I'm happy to trot the entire way across the map if I have to, but there are those moments when I don't have a horse that are a bit... long (a recent walk from Winterhold to Riften springs to mind).I'll definitely be giving this a go, thanks!

And thanks for -all- your advice, Skyrim is a new game for me :)

j-u-i-c-e (author) from Waterloo, On on July 10, 2012:

@Me: Glad you found it useful.

@Jackrabbit: Waiting combined with reasonable encumbrance rules has really helped my game. Forcing myself to wait when mining, skinning, smithing, etc., has trained me not to engage in activities that my character probably wouldn't engage in, and limiting my inventory has trained me not to pick up everything that isn't nailed down. It's actually a bit of a relief not worrying about squeezing every last gold out of the environment and has helped my immersion significantly. Now, when I'm wandering through the countryside, I just enjoy it. When I kill enemies, I don't compulsively loot their bodies or see the need to go rumaging through their end tables. If someone has an interesting looking weapon, I might pick it up and examine it, but I won't lug it back to town just to sell it. My characters feel a lot 'lighter' and the RP experience is more intense. The game starts to revolve more around the character and less around inventory management and gold-farming.

As far as the difficulty goes, I really enjoy the challenge presented by Master, but I've also been experimenting with other difficulty settings. I'm finding that you can really use it to help fine-tune your RP experience. For Elsbet, who had no prior combat experience, Master felt like a very good fit: enemies were extremely dangerous and required a good deal of skill and luck to defeat. My newest character, Loric, is supposed to be a seasoned vet who is returning to Skyrim after many years away in battle. He's supposed to be a bit of a bad-ass right from the start (think King Leonidas from 300) and I found that, while I enjoy the difficulty presented by Master, it was taking him too long to whittle down enemies. There was a sort of mismatch between my concept of the character and the way the game responded to his actions. For Loric, I dropped the difficulty down to Adept so that my concept was mirrored better by the game. If I was playing someone like Legolas or Gandalf, I'd probably drop the difficulty down to Novice. Use the difficulty slider to communicate the power that the character has, in your mind, and forget about whether or not you're a 'Novice' or a 'Master' player. The difficulty should match the character, not the player.

I've also been toying a bit with fast travel. If you ever feel that the walking is getting dull, or that you really just don't have time for it, you can use a 'hybrid' form of walking/fast travel: just fast travel part of the distance between places and walk part of the distance and every time you go somewhere, pick different start and stop times. You'll almost always encounter an enemy of some sort, so these walking segments can work a bit like random encounters, only you decide where in the journey you want them to happen. (I should probably work these tips into the main article instead of burying them in the comments.)

Thanks for the tip about the pouches.

@dannyglovepred2: You weren't kidding: that's a pretty dark story. Lots of detail, good motivations and--best of all!--a nemesis! I also like the checklist idea. There's not much to add since Dalisi seems like a pretty complete character. About the only thing missing is a sympathetic character from her past, someone who was kind to her that she respected or felt attracted to. Your post also got cut off at the end, probably for length. Thanks for sharing.

dannyglovepred2 on July 09, 2012:

j-u-i-c-e, thanks for some awesome guidance in really role playing Skyrim. I am one of the sad ending haters of Mass Effect 3, and have been consistently frustrated with the lack of really compelling stories in games. As an avid fantasy/sci-fi reader, I'm always looking for more. This page has provided a great way to be my own storyteller with Skyrim as a framework. I've always been a fan of hardcore modded Bethesda games, but never have I engaged so fully in character. Below is the backstory and Skyrim adventure for my character so far...

CAUTION - there are dark elements to this:

Name: Dalisi

Race: Breton

History/Background (used for initial development of character):

Dalisi had no memory of her parents. She was left to die by her father in the streets of Velothis of Morrowind after her mother died during childbirth. Saved by a prostitute named Selvura, Dalisi was named after Selvura's mother. Selvura's pimp, Threvul, allowed Dalisi to live because she would eventually become a profitable whore because of her foreign heritage.

Dalisi was forced into prostitution as early as seven years old. She lost her right eye in a beating when she tried to fight back the first time she was raped. Under Selvura's advice, support, and reassurance, Dalisi eventually resigned herself to her fate and recognized that her talents as a courtesan might present an opportunity for a better life. Her intelligence, grace, and exotic (to Morrowind) nature allowed her to become a highly sought after courtesan by the time she reached her teenage years.

Threvul sold her when a particularly curious and wealthy Altmer client presented an extraordinary offer for a fifteen year old Dalisi. Ungarion was a gifted Thalmor sorcerer with a taste for young girls. Dalisi was, in some respects, treated well by the Thalmor: she was well educated in history, music, and the arts, but was forced into vile sexual fantasies by him, even forced to kill others in Ungarion’s most perverted sexual fantasies.

Ungarion did not recognize or did not fear the growing mystical powers of the Breton child. Dalisi, afforded a great deal of freedom in Ungarion’s mansion, slowly developed her innate magical talents to go along with the talents she developed as a courtesan. Unsurprisingly, as she grew older, she grew more powerful and more resentful. Years of rape and abusive sexual mistreatment exacted a heavy toll on her psyche. She spent years developing her powers and waiting for an opportunity to escape Ungarion's grasp.

During The Great War, such an opportunity presented itself in Cyrodiil. Ungarion had brought her with him to the Imperial City where he and other Thalmor were solidifying Altmer dominance over the Imperial province. After the signing of the White-Gold Concordat, the Thalmor celebrated their victory in the Imperial City. The normally diligent Ungarion was distracted by the honors paid to him for his work against the Empire.

Dalisi preyed on Ungarion's ego and lulled him into drinking heavily and smoking Skooma. While under the effects of the narcotic, Dalisi unleashed a fearsome magical attack on the Thalmor. Her rage manifested in a horrific magical explosion, decimating parts of the Thalmor compound and nearly killing the sorcerer. Ungarion barely escaped his demise, saving himself only through a desperate teleportation. His body, however, was horribly burned by the magical flames, damage that no healing magic could undo.

In the chaos after the detonation, Dalisi recognized she had a small window for escape and fled the Thalmor base in the Imperial City. She managed to escape to the poorer portions of the Imperial City and seduced her way into a trading caravan heading north. The caravan went north to Bruma, where Dalisi caught word that the Thalmor were pursuing her. She abandoned the caravan there and fled further north to Skyrim, where she was captured by Imperials in a raid intended for Ulfric Stormcloak...

Personality and Skills (based upon history AND developing as game goes):

Dalisi is, unsurprisingly, extremely mistrusting of men. She has a hatred for wealthy men who abuse their positions of power.

She has a similar hatred for the Thalmor, but lives in fear of Ungarion capturing her, knowing that the punishment would be severe. For this reason, she often deals violently and fatally with Thalmor she interacts with.

She is a brilliant conversationalist and excellent actor. These skills developed over her years as a courtesan. She excels at blending into local cultures, but is always careful to hide the right side of her face. The scars and damaged eye stand out and she does what she can to conceal them.

She has an unnatural fear of spiders after being subjected to awful sexual abuse in the presence of some of Ungarion's conjured beasts and experiments.

Her magical gifts are only beginning to be uncovered, but she has an incredible affinity for destruction magic, fueled by her hatred and rage.

Her dancing and elegance have left her proficient in close combat with light daggers. She is unable to use bows well because she lacks the depth perception to use ranged weaponry. However, she can effectively use ranged magic, relying on her arcane powers rather than her sight for targeting.

She loves children (although is incapable of having her own) and seeks to help them when the opportunity presents itself. She sympathizes with the plight of abused women and will deal violently with abusive men.

She has no plan moving forward, only a desperate desire for real freedom from her captors.

Her experiences in Skyrim as a captive and around Whiterun have led her to have a healthy distaste for the Imperial presence. However, she is not ready to throw in her lot with the Stormcloaks at this point.

Skyrim Adventures (chronicle of stuff that happens in-game weaved into my creative story line - unchecked boxes are things to do in-game before finalizing the journal entry):

Dalisi found herself touched by the story of Lokir of Rorikstead while in captivity on route to Helgen. She sympathized with him being a small person caught up in the affairs of more powerful people. Once she can manage to get herself on her feet in Skyrim, she wants to visit Lokir's family, if she can find them, in Rorikstead, and explain what happened to him.

[ ] Find Lokir's family in Rorikstead

In Whiterun, Dalisi found that the Battle-Born family sold a Grey-Mane captive to the Thalmor. Having herself been sold to a Thalmor sorcerer, she seeks the release of the Grey-Mane captive, the death of the Thalmor, and vengeance against the Battle-Borns. She discovered the location of the Thalmor base, but refused help in raiding the fort for now, planning instead to exact her own vengeance on the high elves. In the meantime, she has begun careful assassinations of the Battle-Born family.

[ ] Kill Thalmor

[ ] Exterminate the Battle-Born

Dalisi was ambushed and attacked while sleeping outside of Whiterun. The bandits mistook her for a frail and weak woman, but learned their error when they were bathed in flames. She found items on the bandits linking them to an outpost at the Halted Stream Camp. A reward had also been posted by the Jarl of Whiterun for the execution of the bandit leader of the camp. Dalisi, motivated by a personal opportunity for revenge and the money from the Jarl, headed to the camp. She was able to infiltrate and kill several bandits, but had to flee from overwhelming force. She returned later under the cover of darkness and assassinated the bandit leader, leaving his corpse prominently displayed and skinned on a dining table in his own camp.

Applauded for her efforts in eliminating the bandit leader, Dalisi was asked to conduct research on the Jarl’s behalf in Bleak Falls Barrow. Dalisi ventured into the ancient tomb only to discover it was the resting place of long forgotten dragon lore. After bringing knowledge of this back to Whiterun, the city was attacked by a dragon! Dalisi and many Whiterun guardsmen drew the attention of the beast away from population centers and to a guard tower. The battle raged for hours, dozens of guardsmen were killed (it actually took me nea

Jackrabbit on July 09, 2012:

Thanks for replying, Juice.

The waiting was a fantastic addition. I can't thank you enough for that! It's given everything that extra element that just makes things flow a little better.

I find sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but on the whole I find myself doing it a lot since I first read this post. Lengthy timescales make it a real pain when you have a 'meet me here at night' quest, so with this I can read a book for an hour or two, or spend a bit of time fine-tuning a bow - the possibilities are endless!

I do the same as you with difficulties as well, ramp it up as high as it'll go, even if it means dying a few times before I crack it. Sometimes you'll get those fights that last ten, maybe fifteen minutes that have you concentrating so hard you'll be shaking when you're done. That's when I remember why I bother playing games at all, but I dunno, maybe that's just me!

As for fast travel, I agree that it's a really great addition, especially if you can choose to use it or not. But for me I find I miss out on loads of journey encounters if I use it. I started Skyrim at pretty much the same time as a friend who used fast travel for everything. In a few days he'd finished most of the main questlines and I'd barely gotten out of Whiterun. The difference now is that I'm still playing and loving it and he's moved on. But as you say, different strokes for different folks.

I'd like to give a bit of a mention to Bandolier - Bags and Pouches as well. It's a great little mod that allows you to craft your own bags, with lots of the Skyrim designs as well as a few new ones (I think). I find that that little extra capacity a new pouch gives me allows me to say, yeah, I can take those couple of soul gems, or that scroll with me now! It's a brilliant addition for RPers so I thought I'd give it a mention.

Me on July 07, 2012:

Thanks for the tips i was ready to quit Skyrim all together

j-u-i-c-e (author) from Waterloo, On on July 07, 2012:

@RolyRetro: I have trouble playing 'evil' characters as well; though Elsbet is a pretty twisted character and has done some pretty reprehensible things, I wouldn't call her evil, per se, so much as 'troubled' (though 'insane' is probably more appropriate). It's funny how strong the instinct to do good is for a lot of players, probably the majority.

@Chris: You do not have to follow the main Dragonborn quest line. You can put hundreds of hours into the game without ever talking to Balgruuf or visiting High Hrothgar. Plenty of people do that. I did that with the main quest in Oblivion all the time: my characters often had 'forgetting' spells cast on them that made them 'forget' to pursue the main quest. I haven't done it in Skyrim, yet, because so far I've found interesting ways to use the main quest for my character.

I actually tried to reply to your comment about extra immersion tricks for console users a couple of days ago but my modem crashed on me and by the time it was fixed I'd forgotten, my apologies.

There really isn't a lot more to say, unfortunately. As far as I know, the only things you can do on console from a technical perspective are turn off the HUD (which can make combat hard for many people and makes it hard to pick up objects or identify items and quests that are given to you; very poorly implemented, imo); turn down the volume on the music so that you aren't followed around by an orchestra and hear the sounds you would actually hear instead; and turn off all the quest markers as they get added to your journal. You can't selectively edit the crosshair/compass/quest markers in ini files or change the FOV like you can on PC, or use any of the thousands of mods that try to improve the experience.

The good news is that these really aren't the most important elements when it comes to RP. What really matters is the strength of your connection to the character. Ultimately: does your character interest you? It's not always enough to have a detailed history and hopes and fears, they have to inspire you in some way. You have to want to spend time with them, to get to know them. I'm sure you've met people like this in RL, people that were just really interesting to talk to or watch, people that just made you think, "Man, that person is cool". You need to feel that way about your character. Those characters exist inside everyone, because everyone, at some point, meets or sees somebody that they think is really cool. This is why it's important to explore your character at some depth. You have to dig as deep as a writer digs when creating a character for a movie or novel. You're not interested in every character that you read about or see on tv, even if they do have a detailed backstory. There is something special about the characters that really interest you, they have a life of their own. When you find/create a character like this, playing Skyrim is like watching a movie that goes on for hundreds of hours, or reading a fat fantasy novel. It will hold your interest, even when you're doing things you've done a thousand times before, because you care about the character it is happening to. So, to answer your question: all of the interface tweaks that you can achieve on PC are just nice to haves; what really matters is the depth of your relationship to the character. Keep digging until you stumble across someone that holds your interest. Sometimes that means you have to make a few characters until something 'sticks', and sometimes it means that you just have to dig deeper with the character that you have. But those characters are in there. They're inside everyone. Once you find a character like that, the interface doesn't matter anymore.

@CrazyBox1993: I used a lot of these kinds of mods when I played Oblivion. Realistic Fatigue was the one mod I couldn't play without. (Fortunately, Bethesda improved fatigue a lot for Skyrim.) I haven't used many mods for Skyrim yet, but that's mostly for lack of time. Glad you liked the article.

CrazyBox1993 on July 07, 2012:

First time reading your posts Juice and I got to say I like it. It's nice and informative. I just have a suggestion:

For all you PC users, remember, mods are your best friends. I've seen everything from new races, equipment and quests to absolutely new funcions. There are some mods that add heat, hidration or hunger and even some spacific nutrition values and alcoholic intoxication. Not going to name them here, but you can find them easly yourself.

And for all you who don't have the game on PC, well at least you got Dawnguard.

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