NOTE: I no longer own the game so if future updates have made some of this process harder I apologize ahead of time.
This guide began after I had played about 30 hours and decided I didn't like light armor and since I had spent a lot of perks into it I decided to begin again. This second time I wanted to focus making items that were awesome and worked in conjunction with one another all the while having a character that could take on any amount of enemies and win. With that in mind I pooled my own knowledge with random tid bits from the internet and began my journey.
Before you begin this journey understand that this is not a quick and easy process (yes I understand that there's a glitch with the Oghma Infinium but that takes all the fun out in my opinion). You will be spending a lot of time grinding between stores for ingredients and components and it does get a bit tedious regardless of how great the game is. The payoff though is worth it in my opinion as you'll be able to create awesomely powerful equipment and fully maximize your fun. After all who doesn't want to be able to laugh at a Giant when he barely scratches you with one of his earthquake club strikes? It should be noted here that the armor rating caps out at 567. Although you can get your armor rating to 3000+, it still only blocks the same amount of damage as the 567 rating (about 80% damage reduction). Keep this in mind before spending perks to increase armor percentage.
Still here? Okay then let's get started. First of all, I suggest doing this with a new character so that you don't have any of the main quest done or any perks chosen. Also, there will be some traveling involved and random dragon attacks will be fatal until you're done with all this. Next, don't spend any perks unless I tell you to. The last thing you want to do is ruin this character by spending a perk on something you won't use later. Last, don't worry about your level going up without you knowing any combat skills. When this is all said and done, your equipment will more than make up for the gap.
Step 1: Set Up
We'll start this process as soon as you emerge from Helgen after the attack. On your way to Riverwood be sure to stop by the standing stones and choose the Thief sign. Next go to Riverwood and sell off everything extra in your inventory. You're not going to be adventuring for a while so none of this stuff is worth keeping. From there advance the main quest until after you're given the quest to go to Whiterun. Before you go there though, you'll need to pick up a little gold first.
Head over toward the wood mill and begin chopping wood. Hod, the owner of the place, will give you 5 gold per piece of firewood you chop. You'll need about 3000 or so gold to get started with all this so get to work. This can get quite boring as you're looking at 100 chopping sequences to get the 3000 gold mentioned above. Stick with it and it'll be done in no time. After finishing with your lumberjacking around head to Whiterun and go inside the city. Once inside the city go to Arcadia's Cauldron to begin step 2....
Step 2: Leveling Alchemy
Alchemy is a very quick and easy way to earn money in Skyrim. At my highest level I'm capable of making potions worth over 5000 in gold. Leveling this skill though is a lot harder than Oblivion. To begin this process you'll need to go to Arcadia's Cauldron (the town Alchemist) to start. Once inside speak with Arcadia and begin buying ingredients. At first you're only going to want to buy certain ones to save money and maximize the amount of money spent. I should note that she doesn't sell all the ingredients below until you invest in her shop through the speech perk.
Alchemy is leveled up by creating potions, although eating ingredients does give you some XP. The higher the value of the potion, the more it levels you up when you make it. With that in mind, to start off, only buy the following ingredients:
- Bear claws
- Blue Butterfly Wing
- Blue Mountain Flower
- Briar Heart
- Canis Root
- Chaurus Eggs
- Chickens Egg
- Creep cluster
- **Daedric Hearts (see comment below about these and whether you need them)
- Eye of Sabre Cat
- Frost Mirriam
- Giant's Toe
- Glow Dust
- Glowing Mushroom
- Hanging Moss
- Hawk's Beak
- Ice Wraith Teeth
- Imp Stool
- Juniper Berries
- Large Antlers
- Luna Moth Wing
- Mora Tapinella
- River Betty
- Salt Pile
- Scaly Pholiota
- Silverside Perch
- Skeever Tail
- Spider Egg
- Spriggan Sap
- Swamp Fungal Pod
- Vampire Dust
The above ingredients can be used to make the following high cost potions:
Damage Magicka Regen:
Bear claws, Blue Butterfly Wing, Blue Mountain Flower, Chickens Egg, Glow Dust, Hanging Moss, Nightshade, Spider Egg, Spriggan Sap
Damage Stamina Regen:
Creep cluster, Frost Mirriam, Histcarp, Juniper Berries, Large Antlers, Silverside Perch, Skeever Tail, Wheat
Chaurus Eggs, Nirnroot, Ice Wraith Teeth, Luna Moth Wing, Vampire Dust
Briar Heart, Canis Root, Imp Stool, Swamp Fungal Pod
Deathbell, Salt Pile, Large Antlers, River Betty
There are some ingredients though you'll want to save to make "super" potions worth lots of money and experience. The ones I used are as follows:
- Giant's Toe, Wheat, Hawk's Beak (Creep Cluster if you don't have Hawk's Beak)
- Mora Tapinella, Scaly Pholiotam, Creep Cluster = Fortify Illusion, Regenerate Stamina, Restore Magicka, Fortify Carry Weight, Weakness to Magic
- Bear Claws, Hanging Moss, Eye of Sabre Cat = Fortify Health, Damage Magicka Regen, Fortify One-Handed, Restore Stamina, Damage Magicka
- Glow Dust, Glowing Mushroom, Hanging Moss = Resist Shock, Fortify Destruction, Damage Magicka, Fortify Health, Damage Magicka Regen
After you buy the ingredients from Arcadia, it's time to restock her inventory. Vendors in Skyrim restock after 48 hours. To speed time up, press
to move the bar to 24 hours. Now if you just press
here you'll wait but it takes a long time to count down. The trick is to get the bar to 24 hours and press
and then IMMEDIATELY (read almost simultaneous) press the guide button. Let the guide screen stay up until you see the background clear up and the compass on top show up again. This will make waiting three times faster than the normal method. Do this twice while standing in Arcadia's shop and she'll have 500 gold and new ingredients. From now on when I say to restock a merchant do the process just mentioned.
Once Arcadia's restocked, buy ingredients from the list again and then move over to the alchemy station. From here begin making potions using the recipes above. I suggest only using two ingredients per potion too as this will give you more potions to sell back. Once you can't make anymore potions, head back to Arcadia and sell her as many of your potions as you can. After that restock her and continue this process for awhile. Note that as it gets late Arcadia may yell at you to leave. If this happens just go outside and wait until 9:00 AM then go back inside and continue. As your alchemy skill continues to grow spend perks into only the following as soon as you can:
- Alchemist (all 5 ranks)
Continue the process above for awhile until you have around 5500 gold. At this point your alchemy skill with perks should be making quality potions that in total sell for more than Arcadia has to spend. When this happens head on over to Belethor's shop next door and sell the remaining potions to him for more dough. While in Belethor's shop browse his apparel and buy any that give a boost to alchemy. Also browse his Misc section and buy all the filled petty soul gems and lockpicks he has in stock. Once again continue making potions from the list and making money. Note that your speech skill levels up pretty well during this whole process.
At some point, you'll get to where both Belethor and Arcadia don't have enough gold to buy all you potions in one 48 hour period. At this point it's time to start buying all of Arcadia's ingredients and making any potion you have. Be sure to save the ingredients above only for the specified potions as those are still the best, but the rest can be mixed and matched into whatever yields the highest value. If you need to know recipes for ingredients, GO HERE
. Also at this point you'll begin to start making lots of gold. If you're planning on doing heavy armor be sure to buy daedric hearts anytime you see them as you'll need them later on. Now it's time to start getting training from Arcadia.
STEP CONTINUES ON NEXT POST.....