For other uses, see Character Creation.

Character creation is the process of creating a player-character for a new game. Character creation takes three steps:

  1. Race selection,
  2. Birthsign selection, and
  3. Class selection.

These steps are spread throughout the introduction dungeon (Imperial Prison Sewers) which analyzes the player's style and introduces the main quest.

At the end of the Imperial Prison Sewers, the player can review all elements of their character and change them again as they please. Character creation has "unlimited possibilities." It is recommended that the player takes time in making their character, as this is the only chance the player has to design their character. The option for character editing ends once the Hero exits the sewers of Imperial City.

Note: If one is new to The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, it is recommended that they make a second character if they think they are not happy with their current character.

Selecting a race[edit | edit source]

Players can customize their character's race, skin color, face, and more.

Main article: Races (Oblivion)

Race selection is the first action required of a new game. Each of the ten races has one or more racial special abilities, and each also excels in certain skills. The racial special abilities can either be passive, which are inherent effects, or an active spell that can be temporarily cast, such as Voice of the Emperor. Passive abilities are typically resistances or vulnerabilities to spells or illness, or are bonuses of increased Magicka.

Skill gains are over 1.5 times more effective than Strength and Agility attribute gains in increasing combat damage.

Selecting a birthsign[edit | edit source]

Birthsigns give added bonuses. There are many to choose from.

Main article: Birthsigns (Oblivion)

After leaving and then rejoining the Emperor's party for a bit of combat tutorials, selecting a birthsign is the second step of character creation. Each of the thirteen birthsigns add additional unique bonuses to a character, some passive and some active. Some are pure bonuses, while others are trade-offs in which one powerful bonus is countered with one or more negative effects. Most active skills granted by a birthsign can only be used once a day.

Selecting a class[edit | edit source]

21 classes to choose from, and even the option to create a completely new one.

Class selection occurs almost at the end of the Imperial Subterrane, once the player has made it through the tutorial Natural Caverns. After the assassination of the Emperor, based on how one played through the Natural Caverns underneath the prison, Baurus suggest which of the 21 pre-made classes would suit one's strategy best. After the suggestion, the class selection screen opens. The differences between classes are.

  • If it is a Combat, Mage, or Stealth based class. (see skills for more information)
  • What major skills are selected.

Main Attributes

  • Players receive two main attributes which are accompanied by bonuses.

Major skills are important for three reasons:

  • Major skills increase faster (more easily) than other, minor skills.
  • For any 10 increases of any combination of major skills, the player levels up.
  • They start at 25 or more (Apprentice level) as opposed to 5.

A player may also create their own class for complete control over how they wish their character to develop.

General tips for creating class[edit | edit source]

  • If one wants the character to develop as far as possible, they should never make a class which has more than 25 points in each major skill initially, since one then loses many opportunities to level up.
  • One should choose any skills they want, but remember, as long as they begin with maxing endurance, there is really no need for slow skills. Attribute points will probably max up just fine anyway.

Custom Class and leveling[edit | edit source]

Main article: Leveling

Two things are necessary to consider when choosing Major and Minor skills. One is, that some skills are used very often, such as combat skills or Restoration or Athletics, thereby leveling the character if they are chosen as Major skills. The player is urged to consider the impact of these skills leveling very fast. Not only does this lead to imperfect amounts of Attributes being gained, but the monsters throughout the game will be of higher level, while the player's power has not increased evenly. So the player is faced with the task of increasing their power, which comes from skills, while raising level, which increases their enemies' skills, as little as possible. The most effective way to do this is to raise the combat skills. Combat skill gains are over 1.5 times more effective than Strength and Agility attribute gains in increasing combat damage. Moreover, three of the combat skills are based on Strength, which has five skills in total. Because there are two 'extra' skills, at least two of them can be raised without any regard to accumulating Attribute points.

Although the bonuses to Major skills will make a skill easier to level, because there is no danger of leveling too quickly with Minor skills, they can be raised to 100 as soon as possible. So, counter-intuitively, skills that the player desires to be powerful not only in the long run but also to a lesser extent, sooner, can be made Minor. These skills can be used as often as the player wants and raised as high as the player wants, with no concern for leveling problems.

Often-used skills[edit | edit source]

Determining what skills will be used the most, and for what purpose, is helpful in determining the allocation of Major and Minor categories.

  • Offensive melee skills, disabling enemies directly, at close range: Blade, Blunt, Hand-to-Hand. The evasion behavior and long range attacks of enemies such as Conjurers make the Speed attribute desirable for melee characters.
  • Offensive ranged skills, disabling enemies from a distance: Destruction, Marksman.
  • Defensive skills, preventing damage from enemies: Light Armor, Heavy Armor, Block. Alteration's Shield spells and Mysticism Reflect and Absorb spells can be used at the same time as or in lieu of light or heavy armor.
  • Restoration spells can be either a replacement for or merely an addition to damage prevention; such healing spells are not cheaper than Potions of Healing, if the player uses Potions of Sorcery to cast them, unless they are spells that heal over time.
    • Evading attacks is the penultimate damage reduction: a missed attack equals no damage at all. Oblivion is quite generous to the player with the range of enemy melee attacks; the animation of attacks and the actual distance within which enemies can do damage are closely synchronized, so dodging attacks is an option for the casual player. The Speed attribute, and to a lesser extent the Athletics skill increase movement speed, and Acrobatics increases the height and distance of jumps; both aid in dodging attacks.
    • The ultimate damage prevention is to not be attacked in the first place: Conjuration spells summon creatures to take damage instead of the player; the Illusion effect of Invisibility ensures that enemies can only attack the summoned creature. A character of a given Conjuration level will summon creatures that are weaker than a character of the same level of combat skills, so this approach requires patience and preparation.
  • Opening locks: At level 10 and above, the player can obtain the Skeleton Key, at which point lockpicking skills are not required at all, other than to speed up the lockpicking process. The player can decide whether this removes challenge from their game overly much.
  • Speechcraft is overall a less useful skill than others. The maximum disposition available via Speechcraft is limited. There are no additional effects outside of maxing disposition and changing NPC behavior. Many alternatives and enhancements are available, notably Illusion's Charm, Command and Frenzy spells.
  • Illusion, by contrast, also has combat (e.g. Paralyze) and stealth (e.g. Chameleon) effects. Its spells affecting NPC behavior can be tailored with Spellmaking to fit the requirements of the situation.

Optional skills[edit | edit source]

Gaining the maximum attribute bonus from each level helps to a small extent in maintaining a powerful character in a game where all monsters become more powerful as one's character gains levels, rather than a few powerful monsters being located somewhere that can be avoided until the character is ready to face them. In order to stay stronger than the monsters, it is necessary to level at will, rather than by accident; this can be expedited by intentionally avoiding picking major skills that are uncontrollably leveled, such as Athletics, and choosing instead those for which there are substitutes.

Even Blade, for example, can be an optional skill, because Axe, Blunt, Destruction, Hand to Hand, or Marksman can be used instead to avoid level-up. The skills most likely to level up out of control, gaining the tenth Major skill increase before the ten Major/Minor increases in each of the attributes of choice, are the aforementioned Athletics, and Restoration. Mercantile is effectively uncontrollable in Oblivion (it levels, albeit slowly, whenever the player makes a transaction, where in Morrowind it only did so when the player modified the buying or selling price).

Major skills that are crucial to the completion of quests can require being ready with a substitute, e.g., Alteration unlocking spells can be used instead of Security, to get past locks that block critical paths in quests or irreplaceable loot, and Charm spells or scrolls can be used instead of Persuasion, when quests require soft-talking a NPC, or taking time out from quests to level up. For more on the importance of gaining maximum attribute bonuses and the means to achieve them, (see Leveling). Keeping level low while exploring Cyrodiil also maximizes opportunities to obtain the best available equipment.

NPC smiths can be used to repair armor, dodging backwards can be used to avoid enemy blows (incidentally, a 100% damage reduction), and light armor, leveled concurrently, can be used if leveling heavy armor is not desired. These are not, of course, the most optional of skills, nor preferred options; the point is that it is only having to level a particular Major skill that leads to uncontrolled character leveling, not the fact that the player might use it.

Drawbacks of this strategy include: it is time consuming at low levels (although this is to be weighed against the savings in time of easier fights at higher level), and one's character's key survival skills all start at novice level, making for a steeper learning curve (to be weighed against the benefits of an easier mid- and late-game).

Character archetypes and recommendations[edit | edit source]

Archetype Attributes Skills Birthsign
Thief Agility, Speed, Personality Sneak, Security, Acrobatics, Mercantile, Light Armor, Marksman, Speechcraft The Thief, The Tower, The Shadow
Warrior Strength, Endurance, Speed Blade, Blunt, Block, Armorer, Heavy Armor, Hand-to-Hand Athletics The Warrior, The Lord, The Lady
Mage Intelligence, Willpower, Personality Conjuration, Illusion, Destruction, Alteration, Alchemy, Restoration, Mysticism The Mage, The Atronach, The Apprentice
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