For those who watch my let's plays and livestreams, you'll know that we're all about role-playing and not at all about min-maxing. This series is not about the ultimate [insert class] build, let's face it, sooner or later your character will be a god-killer whether you min-max or not. In addition we tend to always want to play the same way, with the same style, the same weapons, the same game play. So instead, I want to suggest ways to play a class and mods that can make the experience fresh and more unique. For more general role-playing mod recommendations, you can check this guide.
Skills, race, and birthsign
The main attributes of the acrobat class are agility and endurance, but when looking at the major and minor skills and the attributes they rely on, you will see that speed is going to progress the fastest, followed by agility.
For these reasons, Bosmers make superb acrobats with 50 points for both speed and agility. Khajiit are naturally a good choice as well with 50 agility and 40 speed. The felines make up for the speed difference with more endurance or strength than Bosmers.
Want more Khajiits to choose from? Grab Westly's Khajiit Diversity revamped
Those are the smart choices that will make your early levels a bit easier.
A clearly less smart choice, would be to pick the least likely race for an acrobat. Stats wise that would be the Nord but I really like the idea of an orc, who back in Orsimer, once saw a Khajiit caravan with its traders, acrobats (and well, thieves – but it was never proven).
Our young orc, amazed at the cat’s agility decided to one day become an acrobat despite obvious challenges, both physical and cultural. Basically truly becoming an acrobat IS the win condition.
Much like with races, birthsigns have some obvious choices: the charioteer for speed, the lover for agility.
You could go for the shadow, where the acrobat moves so swiftly that he is as good as invisible and of course the thief with a sanctuary constant buff is a nice fit for the acrobat: he relies of speed and agility to hopefully not get hit.
Gameplay and mods
Let’s get down to the fun part, figuring out a gameplay that fits the acrobat and mods that enhances it.
The description says the acrobat is a polite way to in fact call the agile burglar but I would not want to basically play a thief without a dagger or an assassin with some alteration magic.
I see the acrobat as a performer who then uses his agility, speed and precision in fights when he must.
The acrobat will prefer to jump on rooftops, jump across rivers, basically, he's the one who brings parkour to Morrowind.
This is where alteration comes in handy: with a savant dosage of slowfall, jump and shield, the acrobat will be able to pull all kinds of stunts.
Looking the part
Not much there, but for a female acrobat, Korana's gypsy outfit or Nioliv House of Earthly Delights, Harem Style have some lovely clothes.
For a male character, nothing stands out but with Westly's Fine Clothiers of Tamriel you will find a wide choice of lore-friendly clothes.
I would recommend either of these:
- Controlled jumps by Fliggerty allows you to make smaller jumps with high acrobatics when you want to (remember jumping and getting stuck on the ceiling or falling down because you jumped too far?)
- Alternatively, you can use Speed and Movement Rebalance by Remiros that overhauls jump height and fall damage, reducing both so it would really take high acrobatics to be able to jump from rooftop to rooftop in Balmora. Cherry on top, this mod adds the ability to sprint (faster than run).
- Similarly, you can try NullCascade's Limited Leaping that limits how often you can jump based on your fatigue.
- Vertical Limit lets you climb walls!
When fighting, do use the spear, and for once, I will be metagaming a bit: the spear is the only endurance skill the acrobat gets and therefore your only way to improve endurance, which is vital when it comes to hit points. Think pole vaulting with a deadly and much shorter pole.
If you want a greater choice of spears, then grab Helluva wicked weapons: spears keeping in mind that they are not all balanced but with so very few spears to choose from in vanilla, I'd still go for it.
The acrobat has the marksman skill but I’d go the knife thrower route: a bow would reduce mobility and bring us closer to the sniper/assassin gameplay. On the other hand, knife-throwing is a perfectly acceptable skill for a travelling artist.
- The game severely lacks throwing weapons, grab Go Fletch by Merlord to be able to craft your ammo including darts, even enchanted ones. Cherry on top, fletching is an actual skill that contributes to your level. If crafting is not your thing, there's HELLUVA_Marksman.
- Projectile Overhaul - Modular I'd only use the faster projectiles esp to reflect your skill with the throwing knife. (We will go in-deapth for the Marsksman skill later on in the Archer Guide (Out 28/08/2019)
Making a living
Be sure to install the official Bethesda plugin The entertainers as it will allow you to do an acrobatic dance and juggle for money. I recommend using the Entertainers Expanded that will let you perform in most inns rather than just the one in Balmora. If you also have my A Bard's Life mod installed, you won't need Entertainers and will be rewarded with septims as well as food/drink/room based on your performance.
- Not everyone likes companion, but for a travelling acrobat, try Little Rupert the Pack Guar by Mental Elf, he is small and useful and could even carry your home: On the Move - ashlander tent deluxe or the more simple Ranger Tent by Dongle.
- Want a simple tent but with scripted features, try Tizzo's RoverTent: carry you home on your back, enjoy large capacity containers, alchemy sorter and desorter, even a music box!
- Stuportstar's Travel Trunk so you have your belongings with your when you take a room in town.
Having those reduces the need to go for the obvious race and birthsign as you get some starting gear relevant to your skills.
- Spuzzum's Starting Equipment works for every class, even custom ones and gives you reasonably balanced items based on your skills.
- But also get Personal Effects by R-Zero that gives you a few more items based on your vanilla class, you will find them very useful as a performing acrobat.
- I cannot recommend Merlord's Character Backgrounds enough. The knife-thrower comes to mind for the Acrobat or even Small Frame (extra agility but forever shorter than Fargoth.... kidding!), but there are 26 backgrounds to choose from, pick one that makes your character more unique ;)
These mods are great with just about character so I won't mention them in every guide unless they particularly fit the class.
Handicaps and goals
You know I like to give my characters handicaps, because it’s fun but mostly because it forces me to play differently every time.
For the acrobat, those are my suggestions:
- only use the snowfall, jump and shield spell from the alteration school of magic: keep burden and feather for the mage that has dominion of gravity.
- never WALK down the stairs. Parkour or nothing.
- To bring your acrobatics and stunts to epic levels, you need a way yo make copies of Tarhiel's Scrolls of Icarian Flight! MWSE 2.1 Enchantment Services by Sveng lets you (among other things) pay a mage to scribe copies of a scroll you own.
- I also recommand LadyPhoenix Fire Rose's mod To Save A Falling Wizard that lets you save Tarhiel and help him complete his research.
- consider a skooma addiction, the acrobat pushes the limit of the body and a little help from skooma sounds about right, even more so if you play as a Khajiit. Create skooma by Merlord is simple and balanced, especially for a resourceful Khajiit that knows his moonsugar. Add The Bare necessities and you even get addiction!
- Be an honest acrobat, play a lawful travelling artist rather than a bouncy thief (add mods such as traveling merchants, SF NPC addition or MCA to add NPCs on the roads)
- restrict light armour to bracers, possibly greaves and helmet (think skateboard protective gear)
Goals for an acrobat could be:
- perform (very well) in every town
- cross towns without actually touching the floor – that’s right, the floor is lava. (more challenging with Speed and Movement Rebalance.
- If you picked a clumsier race, maxing out Acrobatics.
- Get creative with combat: jump to great height and make daggers rain on your enemies.
If you want more ideas for random handicaps and goals, check this blog entry with wheels to click, you can find my permadeath modlist (and all the others, actually) here and if you'd like to see many new characters created, join us on Twitch every Sunday for our permadeath runs ;)
Be sure to share how you like to role-play an acrobat, what story you came up with, what mods you used, etc...