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When I played Skyrim as a rogue or a warrior, I was able to make myself very powerful by the end of the game by smithing my own armor. There was no armor as good as what I could make myself.

I am playing through again as a mage and am wondering if there is the same benefit to smithing and enchanting as a caster. Is the best standard caster gear in the game found or made/improved by the player?

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  • Does this assume an un-modded game? Certain mods can completely rebalance equipment, skills and magicka.
    – JonK
    Oct 28 '14 at 20:05
  • I always do both blacksmithing and enchanting as a rogue or warrior. The effects that you can enchant with high level enchanting are going to be much stronger than what you find(at least in my travels)
    – troylatroy
    Oct 28 '14 at 20:06
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    I think enchanting will be your friend as @troylatroy stated. I don't know if the base material types for armors work with a true mage. Now maybe if they had a "Tailor" skill...
    – Vanzanz
    Oct 28 '14 at 20:21
  • @Jonk At the moment I'm playing on the PS3. So, no mods or DLC. Though... I'm certainly open to DLC. Oct 28 '14 at 22:39
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Unlike in previous games, there is no downside to wearing armor as a caster. The major issue is that since you're pouring all of your points into health and magicka, wearing heavy armor will significantly reduce the amount of stuff you can carry.

In that regard, you can still make top-level light armor similar to a rogue-type character, and there's no downside to enchanting either.

For my battle mage character (Shield and spells), I took up both smithing and enchanting. Having the best dragonscale armor, a shield that melts incoming spells, and plenty of enchantments made me nearly invincible.

Just remember that your Alteration tree can also provide the same benefits as armor and you can reach the damage reduction cap just the same. My pure mage character (with dual-wielding destruction spells 'ov doom) went armor-less with alchemy and enchanting but no smithing. With master Alteration, I was just as beefy as any melee character.

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    It's also worth mentioning that with the Dual Enchanting perk you can effectively make two different schools completely free to cast - allowing you to chuck out expert-level spells with reckless abandon. And with sufficient Smithing skill, you can make lighter armour types and still hit the damage reduction cap.
    – JonK
    Oct 28 '14 at 20:22
  • @Thebluefish I would still like to dual-cast Destruction spells. If I made my own light/heavy armor, would I still be able to enchant them with really helpful stats? For instance, a lot of the mage robes have amazing caster stats on them. Could I put those types of enchantments on heavy armor? Oct 29 '14 at 15:21
  • You can absolutely put caster stat enchantments on Armor, Light or Heavy. Helmets will take Fortify (Spell School), Fortify Magicka and Fortify Magicka Regen enchantments. Chest pieces will take Fortify (Spell School), Fortify Magicka Regen or Fortify (Spell School) and Magicka Regen enchantments. However I have found you will need a very high Enchanting skill and Grand (or Black) Soul Gems to match the high-end enchantments you find on some of the better mage robes.
    – CrusaderJ
    Nov 20 '14 at 1:42

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