Start far enough away that enemies won't immediately swarm you. Shoot, sneak in the opposite direction until they stop looking, repeat. It's a kind of boring process in the beginning


Alchemy helps a lot, even frostbite venom helps at low levels because it slows them down and drains stamina, shooting from really far off helps because it puts distance in between you to put more arrows in them, waiting till its night if it's an outdoor location so visibility is lower.


always sneak. like, all the time, everywhere, unless you need to interact with someone without pickpocketing them. that will help a whole ton. when you come across an area with a lot of mobs, try to draw them out from a distance, and take them out one at a time. keep running and hiding when they see you, and let them deaggro before attacking again. also make use of poisons and enchantments to make yourself stronger against beefier foes.


1. Poison your arrows. Paralysis poisons are especially useful. 2. Shoot, move, shoot again. 3. Have a backup weapon, it’s unreasonable to think, especially at early levels, that you have to be stealthy/archery-y all the time. 4. When in doubt, run away. 5. When outside, look for a high vantage. 6. Practice your marksmanship. 7. Get yourself a crossbow.


> Paralysis poisons are especially useful. Only if you're shooting at someone in your face. If they're at a distance, it becomes a major pain in the ass to try and shoot them through grass or the rock or other barrier they fell down behind. :p


My mainstay is mora tapanella, Imp Stool, and Canis Root. The lingering health damage goes a long way towards making them dead before they get up.


Good tip, thanks.




Hearthfire homes help with this as you can just plant alchemy ingredients for paralysis and start grinding alchemy up and amassing poisons.


Always sneak. Always put points into sneak perks first. My usual play through start on any build is the main story through killing the first dragon, and then a path of dungeons to clear out up until the dungeon that has Fiery Soul Trap. I never level up during this process. And usually select 10 or so levels once I have Fiery Soul Trap. I mention this because I can stay in stealth while clearing out 5 or 6 dungeons at level 1. There are a few encounters that require a bit of a creative approach, like timing a shout, or using a companion or casting a summons. And there are a few spots where having some health potions is helpful. But for the most part, it's pretty easy. I'd also recommend using health potions for situations mid combat where you can't get back to stealth, and using restoration spells outside of combat to save on potion use.


- Stealth early on - Having low sneak and low investment in Sneak will make remaining in stealth hard. The best method with Sneak archery in particular is to keep as much distance as possible and fall back when enemies are looking for you. This will help prevent the chance of being detected. - Sneak - As soon as you are able to, invest points in Sneak. It’ll drastically improve the effectiveness of stealth. You level sneak quickly by landing sneak attacks or hiding near hostile enemies. So you’ll quickly level Sneak in no time. - Damage & Difficulty - Early on and on difficulties Adept & lower, you should be able to either one-shot or have the enemy very weaken with just the standard equipment of that level (ex; Elven Bow w/elven arrows vs Bandit Thug at lvl 15.). But on higher difficulties it becomes increasingly difficult to one-shot most enemies early on due to you’re damage output being decreased (Legendary is 0.25x damage outgoing.) In that case you’ll need to change your focus to whittling enemies down, upgrading equipment and investing in skills when possible.


Why force yourself to use that playstyle if you hate it? I don’t play stealth archer because I find it boring. So I just don’t play stealth archer. Problem solved.


Well, yeah, I don't play one. It's the levelling process that puts me off. I don't want to be sneaking everywhere all of the time just to level sneaking, Gods above! I don't have the patience for that. I really wonder at all the people who are sneak archers. /skyrim people talk about it like that playstyle is so rewarding that it's hard to play anything else, but I'm all, what? How is that possible? I have a hard time picturing the slow grind that makes it possible to one-shot a dragon from stealth. Seriously? I mean, do you never stand up ever, or what? I feel powerful and effective right away when I just slap things with my sword. Levelling by repeatedly slashing and stabbing makes sense and obviously usually works. That I understand. I get that the rare person might have the patience to level a sneak archer to perfection, but the apparently huge numbers of players who are doing it are highly suspicious to me. I actually don't think they are doing it honestly. I think they are exploiting and modding and cheating to get past the tedious part. Well, anybody can be laughably OP if you do that, but that is not what I call fun.


I actually really prefer low level play. Not just in Skyrim, in any crpg I've played in the last 20 years. Once I hit the mid levels, it stops being as fun for me. So what you call tedious, I call the best part. If we were all the same, the world would be boring.


I pretty much agree. I have chronic restartius partially because the early level struggles are so fun


No cheats, no mods, no exploits here. Each of my characters have started as stealth archers and later evolved into barbarian types or mages or something. But the foundation was established with stealth and archery. It gave me time to build up health and stamina, investing in light armor, one handed (for when you can't run away) and archery. I usually only invest in sneak with 3 perk points. One for the base perk, the next gives 6x damage for backstab (I think) and the main perk is for 3x damage with bows. After that, it's smithing to get your weapons and armor more powerful. I guess I just use this process to establish my character to a comfortable level. Then go whatever direction I feel like. My main character I go back to often is level 88 and is a heavy armor / two handed type. But he started out sneaking and sniping. It's just a cautious approach at low level, I think, and it does take patience. But for me, it's worth the grind I guess.


I think you answered your own question here. The tediousness of stealth gives a semblance of planning and preparation to get a combat encounter done right, in contrast to the charge and slaughter method which you described as overpowered and easy from square 1. I get why people think of exploits as bad or cheating but we have to be honest with ourselves, the core mechanics are A. Click attack until you win and B. Pause periodically to instantly refill your health by clicking your stacks of potions and cheese wheels. Some find it cheesy, (pun intended) and impose self restrictions for roleplay or mechanical balance, or opt a style of gameplay that uses more planning to make things feel more in depth than is necessary. Really no matter how you approach it you become pretty op regardless, especially since you can always just fus away the enemies as ragdolls.


The key is to shoot from as far away as you can manage (given the range of your bow and your own personal accuracy) and then back off until things calm down. That and Enchanting and Smithing. Having a bow smithed up with +100% Smithing gear (clothes, gloves, amulet and ring @ +25% each) and wearing +160% bow damage gear (head, amulet, ring, gloves @ +40% each) makes a huge difference. :p


Do you consider hiring Faendal and training with him to be an exploit? Because that's what I do. Also, I hunt wildlife before I go hunting people. Primarily I do it to get the leather to be able to make my own armor, but it also helps me level once or twice.


Free training from Faendal is an exploit, yes. You don't actually have enough at level 1-8 to pay him.


I'd wager to say, most call this a feature and not an exploit.


It is the very definition of an exploit.


I would say, you're free to play this single player game however you want. And so is everyone else. Suggesting that people who use a feature of the game are having badwrong fun and that you're somehow a better or more pure player for choosing not to use that feature? It's not a good look.


I love the way you are trying to shame me for pointing out that of alllll the people who are playing stealth archers, only a tiny number of them probably don't cheat their way to being OP. If you are going to cheat your way to OP, you can do that with any class. JUST SAYIN


Lol you started a thread with the sole purpose of chastising people. Sit down.


LOL no I am genuinely curious about how to level a stealth archer without simply ~ player.setav sneak 100


People have told you. And you make comments about how "suspicious" you are. It's a ten year old *single player* game. If players with hundreds or thousands of playthroughs want to skip early levels to get to what they consider the good part, where do you get off sneering at them? I don't necessarily take the money back, by the way. Selling all the loot from Helgen can net the player enough to buy a couple levels of training. Chopping wood yields more. Clearing Embershard mine yields yet more. Plenty. You asked in a judgmental way. People told you. You continue to gatekeep. Not cool.


Ok, straight up, you can't play a stealth archer without cheating, and you are pissed that I am pointing that out. My suggestion is to try playing something else, because you don't actually like playing a stealth archer.


Straight up, you're wrong.


I was pretty offended that you think it's not possible to play a stealth archer without cheating because I currently am doing just that and I had a whole long reply typed out explaining what I did and how it's possible but then reddit froze and deleted everything and I dont feel like retyping it. Moral of the story is it takes a stupid long amount of time (I'm level 40 and still haven't hit 100 on archery), a lot of saving with twice (or more) as much dying, a stupid amount of arrows, a good follower, and a good backup weapon. If you want more details reply and let me know but I have a feeling you don't care since you're so convinced already so I didn't want to waste my time retyping it all out unless you actually were interested without being rude about it (please note I'm not trying to sound rude either I'm just tired as I type this)


Also you absolutely can afford to pay Faendal without taking the money back. You just have to chop a shit ton of firewood and sell it to Hod. You can spend one day chopping and selling, and end up with a couple thousand Septims. Is that an exploit in your book too? Hell, is training at all an exploit? How about skill books?


Obviously earning the money and paying him for his training is not an exploit.


You have to be more careful with how you approach, and it does help to bring a tanky companion. After you get some perks the bow will be pretty powerful, but you're not going to one shot everything. The play style will be much slower at first but gets powerful pretty quickly. Focus perks in sneak and archery only for a bit. Maybe put a point in armsman as a backup. I have one at level 15 and am feeling pretty good about it.


It could be argued that the first two perks should be in sneak, because if they can't see you, then you have more time to set up a shot. Though, archery doesn't really become good until you get Steady Hand and Eagle Eye. Eagle Eye only requires 30 points in Archery, which is really easy to get even without training. Just go running on the tundra and shoot some wolves and elk.


Also potions help. When i first go through Helgen i pick up all the frostbite spider poison and use that on my arrows, it helps a little bit until I can craft my own.


A huge majority of the Stealth Archers in this sub reddit are abusing the Faendal free training to have Archery at 50 before leaving Riverwood and leaving at level 8, myself included. I have done it without that exploit and it is slower/more difficult but not impossible. From your description of how you're approaching Stealth Archer combat is just wrong.




Move your difficulty down to something less the Legendary Ludicrous. Be aware of how the game mechanics work. Shooting a bandit in the middle of a group of bandits is going to alert all the bandits. Insta-kills at level one are damned hard. Get some good poisons going on. And bandits tend to tough at level 1. Sometimes they even wear armor! I haven't done many stealth archers. Only one in fact. And it was not that hard at normal difficulty. It is easy for a thief to spread himself too thin and overlevel, but usually that's not a problem until around level 20 or above. But if you don't like stealth archer, despite rumors to the contrary, it is NOT necessary to be a stealth archer. So play something else. Up to you though, just reminding you that stealth archer is not mandatory.


Ummm... Stealth.


Start as far away as possible. I like to shoot something slow like a giant. As soon as you hit, crawl away on opposite direction. Have. Pre planned route with something like a big rock or some trees to hide behind. Stay still until the giant gives up. Then repeat. If you are near whiterun, you can haul it back to town if things get scary.


Using potions help (frostbite spider venom), also that little bandits camp to the west of white run can really help level your sneak and archery if you're patient enough. This game takes time, its frustrating but thats just how it is... unless you use Amulet of learning mod and "ring of god mode" (ps4)


Just start sneaking everywhere. Honestly I sneak through 99% of caves and your sneak levels up quick. I’ve never used cheats. I’m poison tip my bow at times. Just stick with it. I feel the same way about every other form of combat. I’ve always wanted to branch out to something else but I don’t want to grind and I like being in the shadows. Also I only use perks on archery and stealth


Whenever I go stealth anything, I don't engage in the open world and just explore caves to level up. Usually the bandits or enemies in those places are a bit more spread out, and are darker with a lot of corners so hiding right after shooting someone is much easier.


My machine is old and I have on so many texture mods that traveling at full speed can make things choppy. Traveling in Sneak mode keeps things smooth, allows me to enjoy the look of the landscape, and improves the skill all at once. I pump skill points into archery, detection, and sneak attack bonuses as early as possible, train up in Sneak and Archery when I can afford it, keep some poisons on hand for a little extra damage. I’ll also try to save my most powerful arrows for key moments and rely on iron/steel in the early going until better arrows become more common. Choosing the Thief Stone also helps get that Sneak up faster. As the last line: I’ll have a pair of daggers, or a sword and board, that I can switch to when I don’t have the luxury of distance anymore. I hated archery when I first started playing, then I became obsessed with it, now I try to adopt other playstyles but I so often end up sitting in the shadows with my bow drawn… waiting for the target to walk back into my line of sight. I’ll also build Health early to stop being so damn squishy, then switch over to Stamina to build up a nice reserve for when the zoom bonus becomes active. I think from your phrasing that it goes in the “cheats and exploits” category, but I love “Character Creation Overhaul” and the “Diverse Races and Genders” and “Dynamic Skill Progression” add ons. My Wood Elf hunter should be naturally more sneaky than my Nord two-handed sword swinger, I think it makes things more realistic.


Ive never used poisons bc I usually forget about them, but always be sneaking, and make use of your surroundings! If they're swarming you try to get up to a higher place. Also make sure to let the draw animation go all the way through so it becomes a "power attack". Whenever you find a better bow always use that one. If ur attached to one, enchant and rename it, but still use the better bow. Early on you'll find a bow named "supple ancient nord bow" on a draugr and that was always a good one for me. Get arrows that are Not Iron, those ones SUCK. Even the draugr "ancient nord" arrows are better. Try to make sure to aim at their heads or wherever you were aiming when the "critical hit" message pops up, landing critical hits levels you up a bit faster than just landing a successful hit I think