Skyrim is an incredible game but has one fatal flaw: it's simply too easy. The primary source of imbalance lies in the 3 trade skills of blacksmithing, alchemy, encghanting, and their cross synergy. It is relatively easy to create weapons and armors that make the character practically invincible and strong enough to slaugther even the toughest of dragons. This is a guide to play skyrim on the highest difficulty in conjunction with difficutly enhancing mods such as PISE all without using the trade skills and power leveling techniques. The focus will be a disgussion of optimized character stat distrubtion, perk choices, and idealized questing routes. This is not for the faint of heart and there will be points in the game that will be will incredibly difficult challenging but is presented as a way for very advanced players to get the most out of skyrim.


  • No power leveling of any skill.
  • No perks allowed in any of the 3 trade skills. Now obviously you can fine tune this strict requirement to your liking but try and avoid maxing the the tree.
  • No game breaking exploits such as infinite equipped armor bug or restoration loop.

Race and stat distribution

  • For this challenge, Breton is really the only possible choice due to their amazing 25% resistance to magic.
  • There is only one attribute you should ever invest in and that is health. Magicka serves little purpose as destruction as a primary damage source is very underpowered and stamina is made useless with a certain item.
  • Fighting style: shield and sword, an old classic but one that will be incredinly rewarding as every swing will mean life or death.


  • Way of the sword: Your physical attacks can be greatly otpimized by performing animation cancelation and taking advantage of an animation anomoly.
  1. perform a normal attack and follow it straight into a power attack, if done correctly your normal swing animation will be canceled and you will go straight into a power attack.
  2. Follow up power attacks with 2 very fast normal attacks.
  3. clipping is the art of straffing side to side while swinging your sword. Enemies with low weapon range will be hit by your swings while you remain unscratched. This is even more effective vs enemies with slow animation speeds like giants.
  • Shields are your friend:
  1. timed blocks will stagger opponents - practice it, master it, love it. This is most easiy seen when fighting giants, a timed attack will negate nearly all damage and make the giant flinct considerbly. an untimed block will still reduce damage but the giant is not flinched.
  2. shield bash - in conjunction with vegetable soup you can indefinately stagger the vast majority of opponents. use this sparingly as it is somewhat overpowered.
  • Vegetable Soup: This easy to create item effectively lets you perform and unlimited number of power attacks and shield bashs. This item is the sole reason why stamina is absolutely useless as an attribute and gives us a lot of head way to maximize health.

Optimized questing

There are various quests that will help you get past the harder parts of the early game. Level suggested - Quest name.

· 0. Wabbajack

· 0. Book of love 15 mag res

· 0. lord stone 25 mr

· 7. azuras star

· 7. Mace of malog bal

· 9. Thieves guild ratway (fence)

· 12. Volsung –need vegetable soup+shield

· 10. A deadras best friend keep barbas till 50

· 14. Sanguine rose

· 14. Sailors repose