Skyrim wood elf

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The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim - How to Build a Successful Bosmer Character

Hailing from the arboreal province of Valenwood, the Bosmer (or Wood Elves) are one of the ten playable races that can be found in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Historically, they have been characterized by their short stature, dark skin and penchant for both thievery and archery. In some ways, they resemble the classic elves of Tolkien-esque lore, but some things set them apart from this type of depiction significantly.

While a player can be successful as any race in Skyrim's main quest, picking a Bosmer Dragonborn grants certain advantages that other races lack. For that reason, there are certain playstyles that Bosmer characters excel at that can be leveraged to the player's advantage, especially early on in the game.

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History of the Bosmer

Centuries before the game, the Aldmer (meaning "First Folk") sprawled out over the continent of Tamriel and created settlements. While those who remained in their home on Summerset Isle became Altmer, those who found themselves attracted to the forests of Valenwood eventually became Bosmer. They adapted to their terrain, learning quickly how to live in harmony with nature both bestial and plant-like. Some even learned how to command the animals around them, making them extraordinary combatants in wars fought under the leafy canopies of the province.

One significant part of Bosmer culture is the existence of the Green Pact. This is a strict religious-like code that many Bosmer follow which upholds the sanctity of plant life above all else. These Bosmer must never harm the forest in which they live and commit to only eating meat. What stands out is that one of their tenets commands them to eat the flesh of their fallen enemies, and the cannibalistic nature of this practice really sets the Bosmer apart from the Altmer and Dunmer.

Another of the Green Pact's tenets states that the Bosmer must not transform into a wild shape. This is a reference to the Bosmer's innate magical ability to assume the shape of a feral beast. When a "Wild Hunt" happens, a horde of Bosmer become beasts and stampede towards their target, whether in aggression or self-defense. Once their foes are defeated, they turn on each other in a frenzy that, once more, ends in cannibalism. It is an act of desperation and not a tool that they use lightly.

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The events leading up to Skyrim were tumultuous for the Bosmer. They were conquered in Valenwood by an Altmer-led coup and subsequently subsumed into the Aldmeri Dominion, though some Bosmer still harbor resentment for the losses that they suffered thanks to Altmer intentions.

Bosmer Racial Bonuses

One feature that makes the Bosmer stand out is their ability to give orders to the beasts around them, which developed from their adaptations to the densely populated forests of Valenwood. In Skyrim, this manifests as the Command Animal power. Once per day, a Bosmer can use this ability to make an animal an ally for 60 seconds. While they have to get into dangerous proximity to the beast to make this work, it can pay off immensely and help turn the tides during a tough fight. There seems to be no level restriction to this, and even deadly mammoths can be turned into allies -- perfect for taking down their Giant keepers.

In addition to their useable power, Bosmer enjoy a passive 50 percent resistance to both Disease and Poison. The former is very useful, as diseases in Skyrim can have quite annoying effects, such as Rattles or Witbane reducing a player's Stamina or Magicka consumption by 50 percent respectively. It also means, however, that players who wish to become a vampire may have trouble contracting Sanguinare Vampiris from an enemy. Such players will be better off seeking another route to vampirism, such as Babbette at the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary. The Bosmer resistance to Poison is less universally useful, but players will notice it when up against the rare but annoying foes like the Falmer and Frostbite Spiders.

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Bosmer Dragonborn's skill bonuses accentuate their stereotype as the "thief" race. First, they get +10 to Archery, which is a fantastic skill for most, as ranged attacks are very powerful in a world where Dragons are coming back to life. They get +5 bonuses to some other skills too, such as Lockpicking, Pickpocket and Sneak that reinforce that they excel at thievery. In addition to that, a +5 in Alchemy represents their inherent knowledge and respect of the natural world, and a +5 in Light Armor has them leaning more towards a silent and agile type of combat.

Bosmer Build Suggestions

The Bosmer race is perfect for players looking to use a sneaky archer to take on the game. Focusing on these skills early on will be beneficial in finishing fights healthily, possibly before they begin. Prioritize improving bow damage and gaining ranks in the Overdraw perk. Players who really favor the bow will want to aim for the Ranger perk, which allows them to move quicker with a drawn bow. This is key in battles against tough enemies who may have ranged attacks to fire back at the player. Those who want to embody the "sneaky archer" archetype should also go for Eagle Eye and Steady Shot, which will improve their ability to snipe enemies from afar.

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Leaning into other stealth skills can be a great way to make money and increase survivability. Sneak can be useful in all manner of situations and will likely rise quickly, so perks such as Stealth and Muffled Movement are perfect fits. Deadly Aim is also a fantastic perk, as it vastly improves archery sneak attacks. However, it does require taking Backstab (which only affects one-handed weapons), so it's important to keep that in mind.

Pickpocketing is another skill that can be useful to take perks on, but only if the player intends to use it. It can be unreliable at lower levels, so it may be better to spend perk points in Light Armor instead. Survivability options are vital for when Sneak lets the player down, so prioritize Agile Defender (which increases armor rating) and think of Unhindered (which makes light armor weigh nothing when worn) as a long-term goal.

It may also be beneficial to pick up some magic. Illusion and Alteration spells are great for sneakier players, and Conjuration is great to have for the harder fights. Overall though, a Bosmer with a good bow, up-to-date armor and quiet footsteps will excel in the world of Skyrim. Consider joining the Thieves Guild or Dark Brotherhood to get some skill practice in, and choose the Thief Stone blessing to make everything run a little smoother.

KEEP READING: The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim - How to Build a Successful Khajiit Character

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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Wiki Guide

Skill Bonuses

Permutations

Below is a visual graph of the different looks that Bosmer can have.

In This Wiki Guide

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Skyrim:Wood Elf

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A compilation of the preset Bosmer faces available in Skyrim

Illustration of a typical Bosmer male

The Bosmer are the Elven clan-folk of Valenwood, a forested province in southwestern Tamriel. In the Empire, they are often referred to as Wood Elves, but Bosmer, Boiche, or the Tree-Sap people is what they call themselves. Bosmer rejected the stiff, formal traditions of Aldmeri high culture, preferring a more romantic, simple existence in harmony with the land and its wild beauty and creatures. They are relatively nimble and quick in body compared to their more "civilized" Altmeri cousins (who often look down upon the Bosmer as unruly and naive). Their agility makes them well-suited as scouts and thieves. However, they are also a quick-witted folk, and many pursue successful careers in scholarly pursuits or trading. Bosmer live two to three times as long as humans; with a 200-year-old Bosmer being old and a 300-year-old Bosmer being very, very old. Though they are considered less influential than some of their Elven brethren, the Bosmer are also relatively prone to producing offspring. As a result, they outnumber all other mer on Tamriel.

The best archers in all of Tamriel, the Bosmer snatch and fire arrows in one continuous motion; they are even rumored to have invented the bow. They have many natural and unique abilities; notably, they can command simple-minded creatures and have a nearly chameleon-like ability to hide in forested areas. Many in the forests of Valenwood follow the tenets of the Green Pact. These "Green Pact Bosmer" are religiously carnivorous and cannibalistic, and do not harm the vegetation of Valenwood, though they are not averse to using wooden or plant-derived products created by others.

For more information, see the main lore article.

In-Game Description[edit]

The clanfolk of the Western Valenwood forests, also known as "Bosmer." Wood elves make good scouts and thieves, and there are no finer archers in all of Tamriel. They have natural resistances to both poisons and diseases. They can Command Animals to fight for them.

Traits[edit]

  • Resist Disease and Poison ability (FormID ): Your Bosmer blood gives you 50% resistance to poison and disease, constant
  • Command Animal greater power (FormID ): Make an animal an ally for 60 seconds, once per day
    • This power has magnitude 99 pts and area of effect 75 ft
  • Resist FatigueCC (FormID : Your Bosmer blood gives you 25% resistance to fatigue.
  • Height: 0.98 (M), 1 (F)

Gameplay[edit]

The nimble Bosmer are strongly suited for thief characters and archers. Their talent for alchemy allows them to make poisons to help their archery even more and to create potions that could help their thievery.

In combat, Bosmer are heavily focused on archery, in which they are generally understood to be the single best among the Tamriel races. They start out with a nice bonus in Archery and are well-suited to use it. They are good in sneaking, so they can often get a sneak attack bonus.

Particularly in the early levels, the animal ally ability can be somewhat useful. Low combat skills can render some creatures (particularly bears) extremely dangerous to low level characters, especially melee focused players. This ability also overrides a Spriggan's ability to control animals, which can potentially turn a fight in the player's favor. Additionally, having an animal to distract dragons early on can be particularly helpful. It's worth noting, however, that the situational nature of this attribute coupled with its redundancy anywhere beyond the mid levels makes it one of the weaker bonuses available.

In combat, Bosmer may be taunted with "Should have stayed in your precious forests, Elf!"

Skills[edit]

Notes[edit]

  • There are no male or female Bosmer characters whom the player can marry.
  • Male Bosmer move the slowest in contrast to males of other races, due to their small stature (0.98).
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