Skyrim - using no magic / only magic

MouseyB

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Sep 20, 2012
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Firstly 'hello', I'm new here.

I've tried to play through Skyrim with no magic, but always cave and end up enchanting my armour. Even apprentice mages get me with that pesky frost magic, it's not long before I'm gathering soul gems to stay alive.

Anyone played through using no magic at all? Is it possible / worth it? All tips are welcome.

Secondly, I've never tried this because being nord-brained I distrust everything in a robe, but anyone used only magic? I mean no armour, no weapons? That kind of appeals too.

Ps I'm playing expert level and don't really want to come down.
 

BeeGeenie

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May 30, 2012
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Hello, and welcome :)

I have to agree, I hate frost mages.
I think I played a Nord once with no magic... briefly... pure melee just isn't my thing, so I rolled an illusionist rogue instead. ;)

I play a pure mage all the time though. No weapons, no armor. There are plenty of good robes to use for that, and you can enchant gloves and boots with no armor rating.
The alteration "stoneskin" type spells help a bit, but it mostly requires a lot of magicka potions and running away like a little girl.
 

Rooster Cogburn

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May 24, 2008
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Welcome to teh escapist!

Thank you for not playing on Adept and then whining because easy mode is too easy lol.

To answer your questions all at once: of course you can! This is The Elder Scrolls! You can have it your way, man!

If you have trouble against Magic, play as a Breton. You will take less damage from all spells. In addition, the Dragonskin power grants you a 50% chance to Absorb spells for 60 seconds once per day. You cancel out any spell's damage, adding it's power to your own Magicka pool instead. You can make that Absorption permanent regardless of race by finding the Atronach Stone. Receiving it's blessing will raise your maximum magicka considerably, decrease your regeneration rate, and grant permanent 50% spell Absorption. These are powerful abilities for all types of characters, even (sometimes especially) those who do not use the magicka they gain by using Dragonskin or the Atronach stone.

Keep a lot of "Resist X" potions around. They are easy to find or purchase. Don't worry about the cost, you'll be rich eventually one way or another.

There's not much to say about playing without magic except that it's very viable. Just keep in mind the above. There is "Resist x" equipment to be found if you do not wish to craft your own. You may find keeping a bow around makes your life easier, but you can complete the game without ranged attacks. Also, you can make up for the loss of magic with scrolls and especially shouts. Don't forget your shouts!

It is very possible to play using only magic. You may find yourself vulnerable if you run out of Magicka, so don't sell all your potions. Try to acquire some gear to boost your regen rate. The College of Winterhold will provide you with some. Also, Staves serve nicely in that situation. They're effectively just spells that consume soul gems up front instead of magicka upon use. I recommend the school of Alteration for the Magic Resistance perks. They're exactly what they sound like. Breton + Atronach Stone + Magic Resistance = fuck you, Novice Necromancer.

Just be aware that playing pure magic-only is difficult on Expert for the first few levels because your magicka pool is not large enough. It's not that hard to overcome, really, but it might leave you with the impression that magic is too weak. Dump all your level-ups into Magicka until you have enough to start balancing it with some Health. Playing as an Altmer (High Elf) eliminates this problem because they start with extra magicka and a 60 second regeneration boost they can use once per day.

Planning your perks helps. Use this to plan and save your builds. Personally I like to pick about four skills and max them out. But sometimes I skip a branch or take just a few from a particular tree. Building your character to suit your preferences is the whole idea.
 

Aerosteam

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Sep 22, 2011
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I had a character that was a tank warrior, she used only swords. I gave up using her because any magic user royally kicked my ass.

I had a character that was a stealth archer, she used no magic or even melee, just bows and arrows. It was surprising easy clearing entire rooms and still be undetected.

I have a character that was a pure mage, I got to 75 destruction pretty quickly and all I do is spam lightning bolts. Nothing is able to defeat me thus far.
 

Wayneguard

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Jun 12, 2010
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Imo, playing a pure mage in Skyrim is almost as bad as playing a pure mage in Morrowind (destruction magic for damage; no summoning of daedric weapons & armor). It's tough in Skyrim because the spells tend to lose their effectiveness and casting high level spells without the corresponding perks is almost impossible and certainly ineffective. I miss the days where you could be a dabblemancer and just use a smattering of awesome utility spells like levitate, unlock, cure disease, fortify strength, etc. but not really commit to being a true mage.
 

DustyDrB

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Jan 19, 2010
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I used magic once: Because they make you do it to be able to just step into the College of Mages. And I needed to get in there to question someone.

I'm generally just not a fan of magic in fantasy settings (with a few exceptions). So I just leave it alone.
 

Zenn3k

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Feb 2, 2009
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MouseyB said:
Firstly 'hello', I'm new here.

I've tried to play through Skyrim with no magic, but always cave and end up enchanting my armour. Even apprentice mages get me with that pesky frost magic, it's not long before I'm gathering soul gems to stay alive.

Anyone played through using no magic at all? Is it possible / worth it? All tips are welcome.

Secondly, I've never tried this because being nord-brained I distrust everything in a robe, but anyone used only magic? I mean no armour, no weapons? That kind of appeals too.

Ps I'm playing expert level and don't really want to come down.
My first play through of the game was "magic only", no weapons, just robes. Specifically, destruction magic only. Once I got "Impact" I found I pretty much spammed Fire Bolt for the rest of the game.

Its functional, but fairly boring...actually, thats how I feel about Skyrim overall, functional, but boring. Still haven't beaten it, probably never will.
 

KiloFox

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Aug 16, 2011
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i played on Adept because i don't like dying every 12 seconds, and i think i should feel as badass as the game wants to tell me i am (that being said the crossbow is SO OP compared to all my other weapons)

i don't know why people seem to be raging so much on Frost mages (frost is actually my preferred element) i never had trouble with them and found them much easier to dispatch.

i tend to play a nearly-pure-non-magic rogue (daggers, bows, no shield) using only healing, enchanting, and very little Destruction magic. (almost always exclusively Frost) i probobly COULD play on expert or master or whatever one is hardest given the crossbow and some good daggers, but i don't really feel like it. though it is a bit too easy at times. but that's the difficulty i chose.

anyway i've never really tried a mage-phobic/phillic role in the game, mostly because mages arn't really my thing (too weak at first, too godlike later, otherwise boring to play) but i still find magic a useful tool and i won't deny a useful ability just because i don't like the class that primarily uses it.

i could do without using my active spells, but i refuse to go without enchantments. they're just too damn useful. and i could actually go a non-magic build if the game actually let you pay others to do the enchanting FOR you. because after a while (I.E. when you start REALLY wanting to put enchantments on stuff) money becomes kinda... useless. you're rolling in so much of it and you get the funds to buy literally anything by running to the nearest whatever and killing 8 things. (and i STILL neurotically pick up the single gold piece laying on the desk whenever i find it) it'd be nice to have a money-sink like an enchanting service (enchanting is almost always expensive to pay for in games) so you don't have to do it yourself/use perks for.

i'd say same with blacksmithing, in the sense of getting the smiths to do you custom work with the materials you bring/upgrading your armour/weapons for you, but they already sell pre-made stuff... it'd still be nice to be able to buy custom-work for those that don't want to spend perks and grinding time on the skill itself and instead focus on combat or speach or something
 

Zenn3k

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Feb 2, 2009
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TizzytheTormentor said:
Welcome to the Escapist friend!

I found Magic to be pretty gimped in all the games, the fact that it needs to regenerate and If you haven't got Magic replenishing potions or are specialized in one weapon type, you are fucked.

I tried a magic high elf in Skyrim, I ended up running around tombs waiting for my magic to replenish to fight back...epic battle huh?
You need to enchant for cost reduction, its possible to make all your spells completely free, removing the need for Magicka at all.
 

Eclectic Dreck

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Sep 3, 2008
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It all depends upon how diligently you follow the "no magic" rule, or rather what you consider to be magic. It can be assumed that innate race powers are not magic but rather features of the race. A stricter interpretation would require only using races who's innate power has an easily found and plausible explanation which limits you to Nord, Ork, Redguard, Kajiit, Argonian or Bossmer.

The next is what status effects count as magic. There are lots of ways to go about this but in the strictest sense, I'd argue any effect imparted by a food item is obviously non magic thus anything that restores health or stamina or detracts from the same is allowed. Cure disease also seems to be perfectly reasonable as well. A wider interpretation could allow that any effect imparted from something you eat is allowable which means almost all status effects are allowed since the first effect on all ingredients covers most of the possible effects. If this is true, then any potion that can be brewed that only has effects found in the first level of at least one ingredient is perfectly acceptable.

Then there are the standing stones. By any measure their impact is magical and thus a strict interpretation says they should not be allowed.

Finally, there is equipment and what counts as magic. Obviously improvement at a grind stone or armor table should be allowed and this alone is sufficient to generate enormous bonus to damage and durability. But presumably most magical effects have no plausible explanation beyond magic. A breastplate that offers increased skill in the use of that armor type could be explained as being "well fitted". A set of boots that muffle could be explained as simply being "padded". A strict interpretation says no enchantments of course but if you go by what is plausible you end up with quite a few options.

But, in the spirit of the play style, I'll simply say that stricter interpretations will make the game more difficult largely only in cases where you face things that do magic damage. Still, just using the interpretation where armor enchantments and spells or spell like abilities are out, I'd say it is perfectly possible.

You'll just spend a lot more time at an alchemist is all. Personally, were I to do this, I'd play as a Breton as it is possible to reach the magic resist cap passively if you include the applicable alteration skill, the Lord stone and the perk gained by doing the Mara questline and without the alteration skill you can still handily reach the cap in a pinch using potions. I'd also favor light armor and stealth in general.
 

Patrick Buck

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Nov 14, 2011
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'Sup. Welcome to the escapist.

And I tend not to use magic, unless I'm a mage character anyway... :p So it tends to be all or nothing.
 

Ralen-Sharr

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Feb 12, 2010
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If you're going no magic, but can use stuff that you find or are awarded, Spellbreaker (shield that can block magic) is awesome to have. Don't underestimate the gifts from the Daedra Lords. Like the Wabbijack....
 

GTwander

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Mar 26, 2008
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DustyDrB said:
I used magic once: Because they make you do it to be able to just step into the College of Mages. And I needed to get in there to question someone.

I'm generally just not a fan of magic in fantasy settings (with a few exceptions). So I just leave it alone.
I believe there is a speechcraft check of some sort to avoid it. Might be based on rank within the Stormcloak/Legion, though.
 

MorganL4

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May 1, 2008
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Welcome, Right now I am running Bosmer archer who doesn't utilize magic, it is going fairly well ( and I've had to use a follower for the first time) I spend a ridiculous amount of money on health potions...... But it is still fun
 

RustlessPotato

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Aug 17, 2009
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Well, I'm playing as a pure Melee. Mages were rather annoying but I used Become Ethereal Shout to get rather close. Or Whirlwind Sprint. Then I got Spellbreaker so mages aren't really much of a problem
 

Torrasque

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Aug 6, 2010
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Lets see... I think it was my third character? My third and only character I played to completion, was a high elf mage that only used magic. No sneak, no archery, no swords or maces, just magic. It was difficult at times, but once you max it out, it is hilariously OP. Especially if you enchant all your gear so destruction and restoration spells cost 100% less magicka :D
The only thing that drains my 642 magicka pool is my armor spells, my stoneskin and what have you. But even still, thats because I'm double casting the most powerful versions.

Playing a game with no magic would be just as simple, you just max out blacksmithing really quickly. You'd have to whore alchemy as well so you have a constant stream of potions at your disposal, but I don't think it would be all that hard if you knew what you were doing.

My current challenge is this:
Khajiit, no weapons just claws, heavy armor, alteration, restoration, a bit of enchanting, and thats it. Its been going good so far, but I still get the occasional enemy that is irritating. Dragons are surprisingly really easy to kill with khajiit claws.

Edit: Welcome to the Escapist :D