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A build I would like to try is a basically a Khajiit (25 unarmed base damage is the highest) thief with a bow for ranged combat and unarmed for up close. I read that doing the vampire quests from Dawnguard gives you access to a perk that adds 20 poison damage when striking with your fists and a ring that also boosts unarmed damage by 20.
Being a thief I don't want to use heavy armor. So I will not use the "Fists of Steel" perk. I'll get the "Gloves of the Pugilist".

I'm undecided if the melee part of the build is going to be a brawler or an "Elemental Fist" with Vampiric Drain in one hand (Destruction).

Should I disenchant them to use the enchantment on other gloves? How good should the skill be? What items can the enchantment be used on?

Do you have any recommendations regarding gear (bow, armor, etc.)?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Elise, Jonathan Drapeau, Frank, pinckerman, Mathias711 Dec 21 '15 at 15:05

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There are a lot of questions here. I'll try to answer the overarching one(?), "How best to make a bow/unarmed character?".


Firstly, lets get some misconceptions out of the way.

I read that doing the vampire quests from Dawnguard gives you access to a perk that adds 20 poison damage when striking with your fists

This only works when in the melee mode of the Vampire Lord form. In Vampire Lord form, you lose equipment and racial bonuses.

... I don't want to use heavy armor. So I will not use the "Fists of Steel" perk.

Fists of Steel doesn't only work on Heavy Armor. You can simply train Heavy Armor at a skill trainer just high enough to get Fists of Steel and wear Light Armor and get the +glove-armor-to-unarmed-damage benefits anyway.


Gloves of the Pugilist

Disenchant if you want multiple sources of this bonus damage. It can be applied to rings, gloves, and gauntlets. If you want unarmed to be anywhere near meaningful at around level 50-90, you probably want this enchant as much as possible, especially since you won't be going Heavy Armor.

Archery

One of my favorite specialties. It sounds like you're not really concerned about this aspect of your build, but I would like to put in a good word for using poisons with Archery. You can paralyze enemies and eliminate mana pools from afar in addition to doing massive amounts of extra damage.

Gear

If you take my advice and pick up Fists of Steel, Smithing is a critical skill. Make yourself some Dragon Scale armor and use potion/enchant stacking to refine it as high as it will go. Without Fists of Steel and this armor stacking strategy, your unarmed ability will be next to useless at around level 30-40.

Closing

Don't be afraid to dip into skills that you don't necessarily want to specialize in. Some low-level perks make a world of difference for a nominal training investment.

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