I haven’t touched The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim in a couple of weeks now, but I did put some solid hours into the beast right before Christmas hit. Hey, I had time off of work, and well, I didn’t really know what to do with myself so I just plopped down and teleported away for a bit. From that spree, I was able to finish off the Thieves Guild questline–not counting restoring it to its former glory, which is based around doing a thousand and five miscellaneous tasks for Vex and Delvin–went to jail and then escaped, and polished off a sidequest called The Man Who Cried Wolf, which had the Dovahkiin investigating a cave after rumors of disappearances and strange lights. Also, I got my first skill up to the cap of 100. See here:
Skill Master (40G): Get a skill to 100
Now I’m sure you’re all chomping at the bit to guess which skill I raised to one hundred first. Was it Smithing? Nope. How about Heavy Armor? Um, no. Two-handed Weapons? Unicorn Riding? General Economics? Get real, kids. It was…
Duuuuuuuh. This really should come as no surprsie to anyone that’s been following Grinding Down now and/or for some decent length of time. I love being stealthy in videogames (except when they punish me for going the stealth route ::ahem:: Deus Ex: Human Revolution ::cough::), and since I’ve never been great at swinging swords, blocking with shields, or casting crazy magic spells, I built my character around the battle-plan of creeping through dark dungeons and loosing arrows from afar, hiding in shadows when caught. This works out pretty well except for when I have to fight a dragon or get spotted and then have to deal with a draugr right up in my face.
From what I can gather, the sneak skill increases in a couple of ways. You boost it by literally sneaking around people unnoticed, whether out in the woods or in a cave or potentially inside the hall of some great jarl. The other way is to kill enemies (or animals in the wrong place at the wrong time) without being detected. With an enchanted bow and the perks to zoom in and slow down time, this becomes a piece of sweetroll. And thanks to finishing off the Thieves Guild quests, I now possess the special ability to turn invisible for a significant length of time, useable once per day. Nobody is ever going to see me coming.
There are some downsides to being a sneak master though. I previously mentioned that once you are spotted it can be pretty difficult to defend yourself, especially if there’s more than one foe coming at you. The best tactic I have is to skate backwards and hide in a corner in hopes of them giving up after a few minutes. Because I like to be quiet and not alert everybody to my presence, I can’t bring along companions. I had a companion once; her name was Lydia, and she was loud as all gets, and sadly, something killed her so that I didn’t have to, and missions where I have to team up with someone never work well as they constantly run forward into rooms to say hi to everyone. And lastly, because of my OCD to creep and inch my way forward, going through a single cave can sometimes take up to an hour or more, whereas a warrior-like character would just charge through, smash everything with a mace, scoff at traps, and loot all chests before the fifteen minute mark.
But yeah, I’ve topped Sneak. Haven’t bought the 100 level perk for it yet though, and I’m not sure if I need it exactly, but we’ll see. I kind of like saving my perk points. My next closest skill to 100 is Archery, and after that I need to work on Light Armor or Pick-pocketing. Then nothing will be out of Lohgahn’s reach. And at some point I’ll pick a side (Imperial or Stormcloaks), but if it hasn’t turned out to be a rush after 70 hours or gaming, it probably won’t ever be.