You’ve probably already got at least an idea of how you’re going to play The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, what race you’re going to be and which skills you’re going to specialise in. A warrior perhaps, with heavy armour and two-handed weapons, a mage with a bent for the destructive magical arts, an assassin with a high proficiency in backstab and light armour or a mace-wielding cleric with healing powers. More likely, you’ll broaden your skill-base to incorporate lots of different abilities – it doesn’t cost anything to have a go, after all. Skyrim is good like that. There’s no reason for a one-handed weapons specialist not to learn a beserk spell, for example, to augment his battle strategy.
But it’s easy to play that way. The real challenge is to pick a career and actively level your character exclusively using a small skill set. Here are five non-martial jobs NPCs do all over Skyrim that players will find hard to scape a living out of (we recommend you don’t try any of these first-time round, folks):
Skills: Archery, Sneak
Hunting is one of our favourite pastimes in Skyrim and there’s a lot of game on offer, from fluffy bunnies to mammoths and sabre-toothed tigers. There isn’t much competition from other hunters and you’ll do well out of the meat and pelts gathered from the bigger and tougher animals. With a high archery and sneak skill you’re quite capable of defending yourself too, but just don’t let them get too close, eh?
Skills: Pickpocket, Lockpick, Sneak
The mandate of the Thieves guild is to avoid detection and killing if possible – they’re not the Dark Brotherhood. So, if you aspire to be the Guild Master you need to prove you’re capable of turning out pockets and getting into places without anyone knowing you were there. Train that sneak skill and no-one will know any different until it’s too late.
Skills: Alchemy, Speechcraft
Alchemists are shopkeepers looking to turn a buck from potions and plants. It looks like an easy life, until you realise that most of their ingredients are gathered in places where Imperial guards would think twice about going alone. Brew some stamina potions and keep a keen eye out when foraging, because you’re no fighter and at the first sign of trouble, you’ll have to run
Skills: Smithing, Enchantment
You can create fine steel blades, repair and refine high-quality glass armour and enchant weapons with the best of them. You’re just not very good at swinging a blade or comfortable wearing full plate. Keep a pickaxe on you at all times and stick to the South West of Skyrim, where the silver ore practically falls out of the rocks.
The hardest of all specialist careers in Skyrim because it requires no skill. Anyone can cook, so your life will be spent as a scavenger, foraging for leftover kills, stealing vegetables from gardens and picking berries while always on a lookout for a spit or cooking pot to create a tasty dish.