Those familiar with the work of the Monty Python troupe should know the value of not being seen. And since in space no one can hear you scream already, Starfield is well-positioned to become the perfect playground for all the sneaks and other stealth enthusiasts who prefer to stick to the shadows, go where they don’t belong, and deal massive damage without being noticed.
We’ll be picking Cyber Runner as our Background, as it allows us to use Stealth right away, and the ability to pick locks and rummage through pockets synergizes well with our plan for the character.
Stealth – be better at not being seen and deal more sneak attack damage. A cornerstone of the build.
Theft – if no one can see you, might as well use it to your advantage.
Introvert – this build won’t be using any companions, so a small bonus when traveling alone is nice to have.
Serpent’s Embrace – there are a lot of well-known masters of stealth out there, but this trait makes our choice of roleplaying flavor for this build an easy one. And once mods allow us to wear the eyepatch that’s already in the game, we’ll even be able to look the part whether you see yourself as a Solid Snake or a Snake Plissken.
Free Space – you can grab anything here, or nothing at all. We recommend either one of the faction traits for additional rewards, or Wanted for some extra encounters and the at-low-HP damage buff.
Progression – What a Thrill
Since Starfield will eventually allow you to unlock everything, the build will be focusing on the core skills required to turn your character into a self-reliant sneak attack master. Outside of these, feel free to unlock supplementary skills that fit well with your playstyle.
For this build, we’ll be grabbing skills from every skill group, leading to a versatile character who’s very hard to spot and even harder to kill. Unless explicitly specified, you shouldn’t max out the mentioned skills right away, and instead only put enough points into them to unlock the next tier. Maxing them out later is still recommended, so don’t forget you have them.
Our entry-level skills will be spread around a bit thin. If you’re playing on Hard and above, it’s advisable to delay everything else in favor of getting both Ballistics and Pistol Certification to at least 3 ranks. This should stop the enemies feeling like giant bullet sponges.
It’s also worth pointing out that if you don’t like ballistic weapons, the Lasers skill is also an option, as are Shotgun and Rifle Certifications. Still, we feel that Ballistics/Pistols will give you the most bang for your buck with nice single-shot damage, decent range, and great ammo economy.
On the Physical side of things, Stealth is pretty much self-explanatory, while Weight Lifting is there because we won’t be using companions, and that makes carrying capacity more important to us. Plus, it’s always nice to have at least two skills in a tier if the goal is to unlock the next tier sooner.
We’ll be starting with a point of Theft in the Social skill group and then complementing that with at least a few points of Persuasion, as it’s always useful in RPGs, and this combination of skills will unlock a crucial skill for us later.
It doesn’t really matter what you choose in the Science group, as long as it gets you to the second tier of Science skills. We chose Medicine for its combat utility, and Research Methods as we’ll be doing a fair share of gun modding.
Our Background will get us a point of Security, and since it’s a great skill to have if you like loot, whenever you get the chance, be sure to put an extra point or two there.
The biggest skills here are Isolation and Weapon Engineering. Isolation greatly increases your weapon damage and damage resistance when you don’t have a companion, resulting in a self-sufficient character who outputs a lot of damage and doesn’t need to worry about bumping into NPCs when trying to sneak around.
And since in order to actually be good at sneak attacking we’ll need a suppressed weapon, Weapon Engineering will allow us to add suppressors to our guns and generally make them much better.
While fall damage is not something you ever need to worry about in Starfield (despite it having so many ways to mitigate it suggests a much bigger issue), running faster, jumping higher, and sliding around all feel too good to pass up, and so we’ll be making good use out of Gymnastics.
Just a single point invested into these skills will make your character much stronger. And while Rejuvenation may as well stay at rank 1, maxing out Concealment can be quite handy. However, to do so you’ll need to sneak attack with melee weapons, and that can be somewhat annoying, so it’s perfectly acceptable to leave it at 1 as well.
Alternatively, you can create a melee-focused version of this build. To do so, you’ll be dropping the proposed Combat skills and getting rid of the entire Science branch, and instead picking up Dueling and Martial Arts. If you choose to go this route, maxing out Rejuvenation and both damage resistance skills becomes more of a priority. Still, seeing how you can’t modify melee weapons in Starfield and their quality doesn’t seem to improve over time, this approach is only advised if you absolutely want to be a stabby ninja type.
Assuming you’ll be following our advice and focusing on ballistic pistols, you should get into the habit of buying out all the .43, .45, and 7.5mm ammo you can find, as these are the types used by the best pistols. You should also focus on researching the ability to craft muzzle mods for your pistols, as that will allow you to add suppressors to your guns.
In general, be on the lookout for guns with the quality prefixes – Calibrated, Refined, Advanced. These prefixes determine the basic damage done by a gun, and you can’t add them yourself.
If you don’t want to deal with crafting right away – the unique Elegance pistol you can purchase from Rowland Arms in Akila City may cost a small fortune, but it will easily carry you all the way to around level 30.
Other than that, your gameplan is exceedingly simple – stay out of sight and take out your enemies one by one. And if they do notice you, laugh as their puny bullets barely scratch you thanks to all the defensive skills you’ve invested in.
And since we’ll be putting some skills into each skill group, this build is extremely versatile and can pivot to just about anything, from a homesteading scientist to a bounty-hunting ace pilot.
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Resident role-playing RPG game expert. Knows where trolls and paladins come from. You must fight for your right to gather your party before venturing forth.