Welcome, Polynauts! This is the first time I'm doing something like this, but, given the circumstances, and certain details about this, I figured I would give this a shot. For those of you who do not know about using mods in Skyrim, take a visit to either the Steam Workshop, or the Nexus (which also houses mods for many other games, mostly RPGs) to get yourself versed with the knowledge on this. Now, what this is mainly going to be for, is to document my sessions through this particular playthrough, detailing my various actions, and the various mods I'm currently using. All mentioned mods will also have a link at the bottom of this page to either the Steam Workshop or the Nexus.
This first post won't contain much in the way of images, though I will have some quick pictures of the perk trees in SkyRe for the meantime to at least give you an idea of how this is going. If you don't know much about SkyRe (Skyrim Redone), head over to the associated link which brings you to my thread where I give you a summarized rundown of the various improvements, and recommended mods (as well as a tutorial video, nice huh?). Each mod I use will have [#] next to it to allow you to find it later.
So, with that out of the way, let's get started!
"LETS LIVE OUT ANOTHER LIFE"
We start our adventure inside a small cottage. Abandoned by others, and simply just left there . Due to a bunch of circumstances outside out control, I choose to play as a race called the Lunari . Going through the character creation set, I choose to play as a female character, and make her look like a proper "hunter". Since this particular race is mix between Nord an Bosmer, I figure giving a decent warrior/hunter look is probably most apropos. Once our character is to the specifications, we adjust the height , and name our character, "Sasha". Then, we interact with a statue of Mara and choose our situation and preferred setup. I simply go with "abandoned by bandits", since this gives it sort of the situation we'd have gotten if you'd have started the game normally.
Since this cottage is not located anywhere near Riverwood... or Whiterun for that matter, I'm going to need to make quite the trek to get there. And to make matters worse, I have no armor, nor any weapons... oh dear. Luckily, I find a wood mill nearby, grab and axe and continue on my way to Whiterun. Since I've never used this mod before, I have no idea what to expect, but I decide to at least head back to Helgen (where the game would have normally started).
On the way there, I stop by an infamous location known as Valtheim Towers. Anyone playing this on any other occasion would know they would usually have to stop by here in order to make it to Ivarstead for the High Hrothgar, to start up the whole Greybeards quest stuff. The good news, is that there's a decent amount of bandits here, and a few of them have the appropriate weapons. Of course, I have to actually kill these guys to get anything. And at least I have my axe!
Dispatching the first one isn't too bad, and it turns out the axe does a fair amount of damage (thank god). Climbing up, we take on the archer at the top, and get our wooden Long Bow! Yes! Now we can start Sniping! ... Or, at least, try to. Without the perk "Eagle Eye", this ain't gonna be easy.
"DETAILS ABOUT SKYRE"
Okay, so, in SkyRe, there are 3 bow types: Long Bow, Cross Bow, and Short Bow.
Long Bows are better suited for longer ranges, and effectively work better for sniping. All perks in that area all have to do with being a freaking long distance from your target. You even get perks that go with being able to hit a moving target.
Cross Bows are more mechanical, so a lot of perks involved mechanic like stuff, improving reload, making better bolts, reducing weight, etc... Cross Bows also ignore about 50% of armor, and with the first perk fully specced, it completely ignores armor. Quite convenient, no?
Short Bows are more like your "combat" bows; they're designed for right at the moment combat and work much better at closer range. Most of the perks revolve around being very quick with your movements, and being able to do lots of damage really, really quickly. Some of your shots even have a chance at disarming enemies. Bashing with a Short Bow can also do similar.
"TREK TO RIVERWOOD AND HELGEN"
Now that that's explained, I use the Long Bow to dispatch the rest of the bandits here , and get some decent loot from it. Most of it will be sold though, since I don't particularly need much. Get some mining done on an ore vein, and head off for Riverwood. Making my way there, I get killed by someone, mostly because I wasn't really expecting anyone to be there... ouch :s. My second time? Only a wolf was there. Makes it a bit easier.
Once I make it to Riverwood, I immediately begin selling the stuff I have in my inventory; making some gold early on seems like a good idea, and quite frankly, I probably won't be needing much for a little while. Playing a Light Armor character for so long has taught me quite a few things... and unfortunately, having to trek around with Heavy Armor in your inventory who's only purpose is to be sold is not all that appealing :P.
Once I get to Helgen, I decide to make my way through the main part of what usually happens... discovering that the path has been blocked. Uh, okay... was this supposed to happen? Checking the quest markers reveals a burnt body holding a journal that essentially details the beginning segment of normal beginnings. The catch? Now I have to do some of this in reverse. Sure.
Went through the cave, and instead of a bear, I find both Hadvar and Ralof... and have to choose who to rescue. As it turns out, whoever you don't rescue gets crushed by a collapsing roof. Not sure what that's all about, but whatever.
From there, the dialogue is relatively similar to what you'd usually experience upon exiting the cave.
I choose the Warrior Stone, since, well... Archery IS part of that skill tree. By now, I've gone up a few levels and have mostly been putting perks into my Marksmanship perk tree. My goal is to get this as fleshed out as possible before level 20, and then I can start putting stuff into Smithing, Sneak, and whatever else I might need.
"NOT-SO BLEAK FALLS BARROW"
Heading through to Bleak Falls Barrow, I finally have Eagle Eye, and thus can make quick work of most bandits. The first set near that tower go down pretty easily. Then, I manage to pull off a perfect stealth of them at the entrance. And by perfect, I mean, no one even knew I was even there.
"MORE ABOUT SKYRE"
Some details about Sneak in SkyRe:
Unlike Vanilla Skyrim, Sneak has been nerfed significantly. First off, the max multiplier in damage is about 2.4x as opposed to the crazy 6x you could get normally. Also, once you're detected, it takes about 6x longer than normal for it to return you to "hidden". It means that while the eye is "opening", you have a limited time to get your shots done, and make them count before they spot you proper. The good news, is that as long as your remain in darkened areas, the higher your sneak, the better you actually stay hidden, even if you're right there almost in front of them. Also, the enemies line of sight has been somewhat reduced. So, it's a trade-off of sorts, but I think it makes stealth a lot more rewarding. The other perks you get also make it so that the crazy 6x damage you might usually get is nicely offset.
Now, the realization of the Barrows has led to this awkward realization... Sniping in this place is going to be tricky as fuck :/. I mean, let's see you try and snipe your way in constricted corridors. I mean, if they're at the other end of it, sure, but... let's not kid ourselves here. Luckily, it didn't go as bad as I'd have hoped, and still managed to get some good shots in. I believe by this time I had Overdraw. This means, that using Long Bows, drawing and holding them for 3 seconds gives me a 30% damage boost. Not bad.
Going through most of it is relatively easy, and slashing that thief was surprisingly quick and short lived. It's gotten to the point where I simply just slash him free and then power strike him. I don't have time for his crap :P.
Then comes the slightly more challenging debacle of a few stronger Draugurs. The good news, Long Bows are quite effective here. The bad news, making sure I can kill them in roughly 10 seconds steadily becomes more and more tricky. Taking down the main Draugur of the place becomes even worse... 5 tries before getting lucky on one of my shots and managing to Power Shot him twice. Get my first word of power and head the hell out.
"...DO I HAVE TO TALK ABOUT THIS?"
Do the usual reporting to Whiterun about the dragon incident, get the sidequest to deliver a sword to the Jarl's Steward... you know, the same ol' song and dance you do in Whiterun in any normal game. Can I just skip ahead to where I start doing some... oh fine, I guess it wouldn't hurt.
Make my way to the tower where the dragon was reported, then I proceed to try and take it with my Long Bow. Well... at least I get the first major shot. Then the guys on the ground manage to take it out for me... okay... thanks?
Then we have that whole spiel about me being the dragonborn... yada yada... I get my appointed housecarl Lydia... yada yada, and then I proceed to do a few minor little... "runs" to get some money to buy a house. Lydia's gotta stay somewhere, right ;)?
"WE AIN'T GOT NO MOOOOOooooOONEY..."
Now, luckily, I know of a few places that I could get some good money from. And I've already gotten a decent amount from selling crap I don't really need.
So, with that said, I decide to take on this one dungeon just West of that dragon watchtower that's part of the main questline (I swear, there has to be something that changes this... even just slightly). The good news of course, using a Sniping Bow is awesome; I manage to quickly dispatch the bandits on the outside with almost no effort required. Making sure the shots hit was a bit of an issue, but yeah, I managed. Inside was a bit trickier, and I ended up getting myself killed a few times.
And important change I have noted about SkyRe. Usually, you can take down an entire group of enemies one by one without one ever being the wiser (true story). in SkyRe, you attack one guy... EVERYBODY shows up to investigate. I will say that it can make clearing dungeons a breeze, mostly because of the fact that you're basically getting everyone to show up. But on the downside, you're getting EVERYONE so it does make things a bit trickier than usual.
Getting through the dungeon did prove a bit trickier, but once out, I did manage to secure myself some nice loot. Most of it will likely be sold, so a few trips to Whiterun to sell everything are a must. After this, I decide to improve my armor slightly, and then head toward the hunting guild to start up my mini questline .
"THE HUNTING GUILD"
The first quest requires that I kill a Wolf that's been causing problems in Riverwood. I need to follow a blood trail that will lead me towards the culprit. Upon finding the wolf, I take it out. Next on our list, some giant Mud Crabs. They actually are quite deadly, took 2 tries. Well... I did get mauled by bandits on the way, so it's not like it was easy to begin with. The next part requires some pelts... of which some are bear. This isn't going to be all that easy, since there's not really that many bears in the early part of the game. Once I get down towards Falkreath for some other quests, yeah, I might be able to.
Afterwards, I proceed to towards the outside of Whiterun to dispatch some bandits making a place under an outcropping just beneath the city. Of course, I know for a fact that they weren't the only ones. Just as soon as you go to open a locked chest, a bunch more show up to the party. Oh god... 3 tries to finally decide to just hack them to death. Kind of worked. Might start speccing into Light Weapons later on. Once I get far enough in Marksmanship, we shall see.
By this point, I believe I have enough to purchase my first house. And thank god. Now I can send off Lydia, and I can drop off all this extra crap I don't need.
Checking my smithing, I decide to see if I can improve it a bit. I notice my Nordic Backpack  is available, so I quickly make that. Some extra carry weight is always useful.
"IN MY TIME OF NEED..."
From here, I decide to get that one quest, "In My Time of Need" done as well. I've done this a few times, and the amusing part of this quest is that whenever I go to kill Kematu, the bandits usually prove more challenging than he is (well, that and I have found a way that makes that last part an absolute cakewalk). I might go for the other option later on though, change it up a bit, you know? Got myself killed several times here. Mostly from either lack of foresight, or for the fact that the damn Crossbows get me. Oy vey...
Luckily for me, I do remember that there's a neat of way of just using the tunnel at one point for an easy sniping spot. Mostly because of how the pathfinding works in there, the bandits have a very hard time maneuvering. So, it's a fun way of trolling them xD.
Once I get through there, I have the usually spiel with Kematu, ignore him, make my way behind his group and just pick them off one by one. It's interesting to note that apparently his men don't seem to move all that much, and apparently you can still enter dialogue with him even after all his group has been dispatch. I still kill him though, so it's kind of funny either way ;).
"BACK ON TRACK... SORT OF"
Once that is done, I get my reward, and make my way to Ivarstead for my next questline. Oh joy. Made my way back to Valtheim Towers, easily took out the bandits from a far, then proceeded to get owned by a random Breton. I have no idea what this was all about, but she was there. Apparently I met another later, but yeah.
Not sure how, but I wound up at Knifepoint Cave (I think that's what it is called). I actually don't remember going here in my last playthroughs, but I figure I should do this now and see if I can actually perform decently. Actually, for the most part, I do. Well, as well as anyone in my situation would anyways. First set of bandits were easily dispatched, while the other ones, not so much. Not even sure this one guy was nailing me from atop this one area, but I did manage to snipe his ass.
Next area wasn't too bad either, I actually managed to stealth it pretty much perfect. Except for one, but I still did pretty decently. The final area is where things took a few more tries than I had expected. Luckily, I quickly learned and managed to take them all out. Also, I discovered that some of these power hits on me do a ton of damage, despite my health. Well, considering that initial strikes can also do "bleed" damage, that's something.
"THE HIGHS AND THE LOWS... AND POSSIBLY LOWER"
Once I'd gotten all this done, I headed back to Whiterun to sell all my loot, as well as proceeding to Ivarstead towards my actual questline. I say it's pretty bad when I simple Frostbite Spider kills me, but you know, SkyRe and it's mobs that now are more deadlier than they usually. And in some cases, weaker... and borderline insane!
Got High Hrothgar, got my new shouts, got my next heading... ignored it, and am proceeding down to Falkreath. On the way, stopping by to take on some bandits at Pinewatch. Overall, I did very well here. Except for 2 rooms where I got my ass handed to me. Long Bows are great, but the instant you get into close quarters, you have to unsneak, and then go melee. And considering I am not specced at all here... yeah... didn't go so well xD. Got in good on my 6th try; got some quick hits to stun a guy, then take him out. I mean, no powershot, but, damage is damage.
I have also learned an important thing while being an archer; having poisons is a near must, and it makes things SO much easier, as I can not kill someone, and still manage to take them out. Just so long as I do enough initial damage. So yeah, Alchemy becomes a very important part of this.
"SO, THERE YOU HAVE IT"
I also came across parts of the Bosmer Armor that is pretty awesome. Swapped my Leather for that, since this is pretty much what I'll be using for some time... at least until I get something better... probably.
Anywhom, a few runs from here to Whiterun, selling stuff, and just dropping off things, or disenchanting them, and... well... here I am!
Cobaltios Tests out Recording with Skyrim (via Cobaltios)
Both a test, and it gives you an idea of what my character and how my speccing is. Yeah, my microphone isn't the best, but hopefully, you get the gist.
"ON THE WAY TO FALKREATH..."
So, I proceed to make my way down to Falkreath to get into my next quest: "Ill Met by the Moonlight". Mostly to get my hands on this one armor, and well, I figured I'll change it up a bit.
After taking on a bear, and easily dispatching the couple on that one bridge nearby Falkreath... I get ambushed by a dragon. Luckily, I'm able to easily take it on, and manage to defeat it. Once that's out of the way... I continue on, only to realize I'd taken a different route. So, I backtrack, and make my way to the fork in the road I had completely ignored. I blame the dragon, honestly.
Getting to Falkreath, I get that stupid precursor questline for that dog Barbas (whom I now hate with a passion). I get to sell a few things, before remembering where I'm supposed to go, which eventually leads me to the barracks where I get to have a chat with Sinding. The last time I did this, I had to talk with someone in order to get this questline. Not the situation now. A bit easier too, imo.
"ILL MET BY THE MOONLIGHT... LIVE AND LET LIVE"
The last time I did this questline, I killed Sinding. This time, I figured I'd let him live. Not sure why, but hey, a bit of irony is nice to me. Taking out the deer that is Hircine wasn't so difficult... taking on the hunters on his pursuit... a bit more so. I'm at least glad I leveled up so I could put some points into Smithing; I was going to be needing Leather in order to craft the armor in the first place.
After taking out Hircine, I proceed to talk with him, and learn about his hunting grounds... which I also learn IS NOWHERE NEAR WHERE I AM! Okay, so quick jaunt from Fort Greymoor and I'm there :/.
Having done this questline before, I get the basic gist of it. This time, however, I get to take on the hunters WITH Sinding as opposed to killing him first. Oh joy :D. Well... I thought so, and then I find a chest with Meridia's Beacon... ugh, I'll work on that later. It takes me about 2 tries to work my way through the bandits... and in my lack of foresight, had to restart half the thing because, hey, I forgot to Quick Save.
Once I'd taken out all the hunters, I once again have another chat with Hircine, at which point I get the Ring of Hircine instead of Savior's Hide. I think, "I'm just going to craft this one armor anyways, no worries"...
Well the fucking joke is on me, because as soon as I go to see what I need for it... it turns out this is a basic armor... and I need Daedra hearts. What. The. Hell. They never mentioned this to me on the page :s. Oh well, guess I'll just get myself some Nordic Ranger Armor. Still nice, I gotta say.
"OOPS... SHOULD NOT HAVE SPEND THAT..."
So, kind of bored with what to do... I decide to take a break from questing and just go and hunt shit. You know, because Sniping. It's also some time to get acquainted to how I aim in this game, and to try and get used to that, because it's going to be a very important aspect of this run. Can't exactly be efficient if I miss, now can I? My first idea, was to see if that one group of bandits had respawned. As luck would have it, they did. The only problem was... well... a dragon shows up. I seem to have a nasty habit with this is seems...
That said, I dispatch the dragon, and try to take on the bandits... whom I can't seem to hit... THE ARROW IS GOING AT THEM! WHY ISN'T IT HITTING THEM!!!!??? I figure that for whatever reason, my range is inadequate... but also it seems to reveal me more to them, thus making me more of a target. Well, fuck me :P. About 4-6 tries later (I actually think it took me exactly 4 once I'd wisened up), I finally manage to take them all out.
Once I sell all their stuff, I decided to check to see if I could get some work from the local inns. Usually you can get a bounty from them... usually. Not the case it would seem, so I decide to just get the whole "Horn of Jurgen" done and over with. Plus having my complete FRD shout will be helpful in close quarters combat (and because I will need something to just just me time to shoot them xD). I figure, that since I'm pretty much a set in stone Ranger, I'm going to travel there by food... but that seems a bit excessive, and I have the gold... ! Let's buy a horse! Yes, why didn't I think of this?
So, after purchasing myself a trusty steed, I decide to make my way to Morthal at which point I do some practice hunting along the way. Still getting some stupid draw distance quirks where it seems I'm hitting them but not*. Going through the mountains towards Morthal, I come across... Labyrinthian? Oh, right, I forgot you were here... goddamn trolls. Oh, and apparently my horse decides to clip through the entry stairway and plummets to it's death. Well... that was a waste of 1k gold :x (And just think, that's not even my WORST decision thus far, it gets better...).
"IF YOU'RE A NECROMANCER... YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE A BAD DAY..."
Passing through Morthal, make my way to Ustengrav... remember there's a Necromancer who likes to summon bandits to try and kill me. Right, I know the drill. Sneak, go around, and find him from the back. 1 shot his ass, and pretty much knocks everything else out. Not bad at all :D.
Go through the dungeon with little to no difficulty, level up my Marksman and get some well needed loot, as well as discovering a room that I had actually never been to before. It didn't take me long to find, but I was surprised because honestly, I don't seem to recall there being many playthroughs where people have actually found this area. It's accessible, and using the Whirlwind shout seems to be the best way to get to it.
Once all this is done and completed, I head to Riverwood to get my Horn, and to find out about the Blades (why yes, I think they're douches, why do you ask?). Take a trip to see the Greybeards after, get my final part of the FRD shout, then decide to see what else I can do for now... oh yes, I remember now...
So, I stop by Valtheim Towers for a third time (I love trolling these guys so xD), take all of them out with incredible ease, and make my way to Ivarstead... before being ambushed by another Breton (were they usually on routes in Vanilla?). Take her out... somehow, and then head to this one burial to take on a Necromancer named Valos Varen, or something. Now, normally when I do this quest, it takes me forever to kill him. Like, even with the best arrows, and sneak, it takes me a good few tries. Nope. I one-shot him with a poisoned arrow to the back of the head, bow fully drawn, and sneaked. The ensuing Draugur were easily dispatched, and I got myself some nice loot from the treasure room. Not bad.
"LET'S FINISH THIS... 1HKO!"
At Ivarstead, there's this sidequest where you're to investigate this one burrow where there's this ghost that's haunting it. As it turns out though, it's just some guy who's been getting addicted to Phantom Potions, and who inadvertently turns him into a specter trying to protect the place. Oops. Getting the claw from the innkeeper gets me into the thick of the burrow, where I proceed to easily dispatch any and all Draugur that think they can take me on.
And then the final room. Oh god this was awesome. I got close enough to where the first few caskets would open. From there I just sat there, sneaked and charged shot (fully drawn bow) every. single. draugur/skeleton that decided to say hi. And yes, everything was 1 shot. Even the Overlord. That's how crazy this setup is.
My standard damage (nothing besides just normal drawing) is about 103. Adding sneak brings it to about ~206 (SkyRe's multipliers are a bit different, so just go with that for now). A fully drawn bow adds a 30% damage increase. There's also a distance bonus I get the further an enemy is from me (I forget the increase there... but it's a good amount). Suffice to say, I'm basically able to easily get nearly 300 Base Damage from STARTING GEAR!
"A HUNTING WE WILL GO..." [06/01/13- (~)06/12/13]
Did some side stuff here and there, (nothing of importance really) as well as mucking around with certain minor things in the armors department, before deciding to continue working on the Hunters Guild mod quest. This little mod is basically something as simply as allowing you to have some significance to hunting in Skyrim, which - considering the amount of wildlife currently found - makes a lot of sense.
With the first part out of the way, I headed up to Morthal to take on a 'White Stag' (no, not Hircine... uses the same model though), at which point defeating it granted me the next portion of the quest. This was to allow me to actually starting yanking some benefits from the mod itself. So, I was told seek the Jarl of Whiterun in order to find out what needed to be done to make this Guild official.
First task was simply to clear out some skeletons in the hall of the dead. Not really difficult since one of the priests there pretty much did it for me xD. The second task was hunting some Deer/Elk in order to be served for a feast. Once that completed, I received my portable skinning pack.
Okay, so... what this is, is that it makes it so that Skinning animals in Skyrim actually levels up a special perk. The higher it is, the better pelts you can acquire and you can actually start to sell these. In other words, this mod gives you the ability to actually create pelts that are worth a fair bit of gold... which, depending on your character, could be a vital part to playing.
From there... I haven't done too terribly much. I'm going to add a couple of new mods I recently installed due to the fact that certain aspects of SkyRe got tweaked... so unfortunately I also discovered that my current longbow is literally the only damn longbow in the game (i.e. I cannot craft any others :/). So... this mod aims to fix that.(9)
"MODS, MODS AND MORE MODS"
Alright then, here are the mods I have used/mentioned so far. I will add more as I continue, and more become obvious:
SkyRe: The main part of this playthrough, complete details here, as well as the links to the parts needed (and optional) to redefine your Skyrim experience. Pretty much the reason this is even being done at all.
- Live Another Life [An Alternate Start]: Allows you to begin the game without having to start with the opening cutscene, and allows you to immediately start customizing your character.
- Lunari Race: A different type of race suited for Rangers. A cross between a Nord and a Bosmer (wood elf), has stats that will suit a ranger/hunter/warrior. Mostly for archery, but also has enough in the right stats for warrior style load outs.
- Apachii [Skyhair]: Gives you a significantly better assortment of hair styles to choose from. Significantly better than Vanilla, and you get a ton of options.
- RaceMenu: This provides a significantly wider range of customization than usual. Many more facets to alter, from skin colour, to hair colour, to... well... just about everything. Even height is included here.
- Convenient Crossbows: This makes it so that you can purchase Crossbows outside of Dawnguard, and makes it so that everyone else can have crossbows. Yes, even bandits and guards. And due to the way SkyRe works, this makes it quite the annoyance at times. Especially with how Crossbows work now.
- Hunting in Skyrim: Considering the amount of wildlife you can hunt, this is probably one of the best mods out there specifically for rangers. It allows for a questline dedicated to the hunt, and provides some nice rewards.
- Nordic Ranger Outfit: Want a more "outdoors" feel? Want an outfit that suits hunting better? Check this out! You even get a nifty backpack that increases your overall carryweight! Bonus!
- Bosmer Armor: An armor fitting of those who want to be true archers, but quite frankly, there isn't much out there for that. This fits the bill quite nicely, actually. It is one of my favorite armor mods that I've had the opportunity to use. Looks great and fits well for that race. And they get their own gear!
- Recurve Longbows: Adds Longbows to the game. I assumed SkyRe did this automatically, but it seems something was changed and that's no longer the case. That said, this adds a Longbow to pretty much every standard bow (which are classified as shortbows) bow in the game.
*Once I get a better computer, I'm going to see if maxing out the settings gives me a further draw distance. This could help quite a bit in the long run.