Morrowind Character Guide Series: The Assassin

Morrowind Character Guide Series: The Assassin


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 Assassin is an interesting case, according to the description, Intelligence and Speed are the main attributes, and looking at the skills, you basically have all Agility based skills so you'll increase this attribute faster than any other.
Dunmers make fine assassins, with an excellent starting Speed (50), and pretty good Agility and Intelligence stats. Let’s not forget that their buff in Light Armor and Short Blade comes in handy too. Moreover, they are prime candidates to join the Morag Tong.
Let’s also consider the male Argonian, who boasts 50 Agility, excellent Speed, and decent Intelligence (40). Lore-wise, the Shadowscale is the ultimate Argonian Assassin with ties to the Dark Brotherhood. Their skill buffs don't exactly align with the Assassin’s, but +15 Athletics is cool, and +5 Alchemy is useful if you want to use poisons… (Ahem, you do!).
There is even a Shadowscale race mod by Xenn.
If you want to role-play a Shadowscale, you’re a little obligated to pick the Shadow Birthsign, of course! Otherwise, I like the Atronach. Sure, you won't have the Magicka regen on rest, but with no major or minor spellcasting skills, this won’t affect you too much. Additionally, you'll have a chance to absorb incoming spells and you could always make good use of my Cantrips mod.

Gameplay and Mods


First off, some armor and weapons because you’ll need to look the part:

Dark Brotherhood

Morag Tong

  • The Shrine of Mephala by Westly: upon completing a (vanilla) quest in service of Mephala, you gain access to her shrine within the Morag Tong main guild hall. Complete with trainers, services, masks and hoods, armour and weapons. Westly's stuff is... pretty, and may not be to everyone's taste.
  • Dagger of the Webspinner by Gojiragamer: basically the counterpart to the Blade of Sithis.
  • Morag Tong Armor by NazoX9: get it by completing your first Morag Tong mission.
  • Assassin's Armory: a shop located in the main Morag Tong guild hall, with quite a nice collection. Of note to your perusing Assassin, are the off-hand weapons (shields) as well as some exotic weapons (scythe, sai).


Sadly, we have very little in the way of Dark Brotherhood quest mods.
To Serve Sithis: short but sweet. Be aware, however, that it is not very balanced.
UPDATE!! Rejoice Caeris heard our prayers and gave us Vvardenfell Brotherhood
Wolli's Suran Underworld is a large quest mod for the darker, grittier character.

We have a bit more to choose from with the Morag Tong:

  • Threads of the Webspinner Completed by Curmudgen & LostInSpace: a must-have if you ever hope to complete this quest and reap its rewards.
  • The Battle Rite of Mephala by Enclavekiller, Lady Phoenix Fire Rose, mortimermcmire and PikachunoTM. This mods gives you the opportunity to please Mephala.
  • Morag Tong Expanded: includes more missions; some of them dealing with the Dark Brotherhood, others with the Sixth House. Ask for special duties in the guild halls of the Morag Tong.
  • Morag Tong Polished by Caeris and Luj1. This new mods improve exciting Morag Tong content: better dialogues, a couple of restored quests, a Morag Tong Armor, better Shrine to Mephala... Not compatible with other Morag Tong mods.
  • Random missions by Teclis: a hidden gem that sends you on random assassination missions using Starfire's NPC additions. Ask Eno Hlaalu for Morag Tong Writs. You can watch a quick demo in this YouTube review of Starfire's NPC additions.
  • Corsair's Severa Magia DB fix so that Severa Magia's lair refects its affiliation with the Dark Brotherhood.


Sneak Mods, choose only one!

  • The Lighting Mod - Modular Only use the sneak related esp. Makes sneaking harder or easier based on light, time, and weather. Faily heavily scripted.
  • Thief Experience Overhaul 1.3 Only activate the stealth enhancement esp. Give the player a bonus to sneak at night and in bad weather.
  • TESIII Sneaking Realism: a different approach with this one. Wearing armor and having your weapon drawn will reduce your ability to successfully sneak until you are more skilled with sneaking. Once you become more proficient with sneaking the debuff is nullified; or in some instances, you will receive a bonus to your sneak skill.
  • SneakARS by Tizzo: based on Kirel's old sneak mods: this one will add some extra utility to your ‘Sneak’ button. You can use it to gain a sneak-attack bonus with your weapon out, restore health and fatigue while out of combat and not moving, or tap sneak twice and you now have the ability to sprint!

Other mods

  • Lucky Strike by R-Zero: do more critical damage based on your luck. Watch out, this also works for NPCs!
  • Brutal Backstabbing by Merlord: the bread and butter of the Assassin; backstab your target for extra damage! Comes complete with satisfactory sound and pop up message to confirm your hit, entirely configurable in-game.
  • Poison Crafting by Greatness7: this mod is a gem! You can apply poison to weapons (like in Oblivion & Skyrim), buy poisons, craft poison (using your alchemy skill), recognise potions at once (new models and icons), oh and lock your apparatus in place like with Advanced Alchemy. Seriously, get this.
  • The Bounty Hunter Bundle by Gavrilo: for the assassin eager to make more coin (legally) with his trade.
  • The Assassin has no magic ability, so consider buying scrolls, having them made with MWSE 2.1 Enchantment Services by Svengineer99. Cantrips, mentioned earlier, is also a good way to have at least some minor magic abilities.
  • Need a cosy home? Arena Cistern Lair by Bradford Horton is perfect. If you want more storage, be sure to grab Greatness7's MWSE Containers.
  • Be classy, leave a Calling Card next to your victims. Mod by Rattfink333.


See my suggestions in the Acrobat and Archer (published 28/09/19) builds for archery related skills and mods.

Handicaps and goals


  • Never get arrested for murder
  • Only use alchemy for poisons


  • With the Assassin you can go full kill-thrill murderer who will as an added bonus, get paid, so we'd be looking at a chaotic evil character. Need to steal an object for a quest? Kill the owner for good measure! Need some information from someone, kill them afterwards to keep the information secret! You get the idea. Death is your art, your passion, and solution to any problem you may encounter.
  • On the other side of the coin, there is the honourable Assassin. The one with a code, most likely some ancestral traditions, a mission, and strict morals. Being a Dunmer, the Morag Tong really lends itself to this sort of assassin. They probably harbour no love for the Empire as it does not understand or fully respect Dunmer tradition. Use Nationalist Nerevarine by Gavrilo to complete the main quest without serving the Blades (and the Empire). You can also take this a step further with Liberating Morrowind - chapter 1, also a mod by Gavrilo.
  • The Shadowscale does not need to serve the Dark Brotherhood if he serves Argonia. Be on a mission to free Argonian slaves Free the Slaves by Caeris, or even abolish slavery with Brother Juniper's Twin Lamp. Strive to undermine the Tribunal, the power behind Vvardenfell (completing the main quest with a bit of god-killing action should do the trick). For a real challenge facing Vivec, try Versus Vivec by Trainwiz.

Final words

If you want more ideas for random handicaps and goals, check this blog entry with wheels to click, here you can find my permadeath modlist (and all the others, actually) and if you'd like to see many new characters created, join us on Twitch every Sunday for our permadeath runs ;)