This question will help for two projects, one being a No-Leveling challenge, and the other being for any new game I start to help raise respective skills.

To clarify, what I'm looking for are items that can be obtained with

  • little to no skill use (Lockpicking and Sneak excluded)
  • No perks required
  • No quest completion (starting quests is fine)
  • No difficult kills (eg killing a Dragon Priest, avoidable fights are fine)

I'm specifically seeking

  • High base damage
  • High base defense
  • High use speed (fast bows, fast weapons)
  • Useful abilities can be used as tiebreakers

Note: Due to the nature of this question, mixing and matching to get the best out of what you're working with is encouraged as perks for matching sets or all light or heavy armor and such do not apply. So if say only a piece of Heavy Armor gauntlets can be found that is stronger than the gauntlets of the strongest set you can find, that is worth noting.

I will post my own answer including the items I know of and their values.

  • Any restrictions on the difficult of actually reaching the item? Proximity to Helgen?
    – DCShannon
    Commented Mar 1, 2017 at 19:22
  • Well so long as it doesn't need perks or completed quests to obtain I'd count it.
    – Dorian
    Commented Mar 1, 2017 at 19:32
  • Does questing mean specifically completing quests or going into dungeons at all? Commented Mar 1, 2017 at 19:40
  • 2
    Exiting Helgen without breaking L2, must require Zen-like discipline.
    – tjd
    Commented Mar 1, 2017 at 19:48
  • There are some tips for finding L1 weapons in this video.
    – Andrew
    Commented Mar 1, 2017 at 19:55

3 Answers 3


Thus far the best I have found via playtesting are as follows:


  • Elven Sword, 12 base damage, found in the Dragonsreach Jarl's Quarters in a locked display case.
  • Scimitar, 12 base damage, obtained by killing a Corsair on the Dainty Sload (boat northeast of Solitude).
  • Dawnguard Waraxe, 11 base damage, found on the roof of Fort Dawnguard.


  • Elven Warhammer, 22 base damage, found in Jorrvaskr in a locked display case.
  • Dawnguard Warhammer, 21 base damage, found on the roof of Fort Dawnguard.


  • Elven Bow, 13 base damage, found in Jorrvaskr in a locked display case.
  • Ebony Bow, 17 base damage, sold by Falas Selvayan at the Ramshackle Trading Post in Solstheim, possibly equipped.
  • Glass Bow of the Stag Prince, 16 base damage, sold by Falas Selvayan at the Ramshackle Trading Post in Solstheim, possibly equipped.
  • Crossbow, 19 base damage, found on the roof of Fort Dawnguard, slow reload speed, 50% knockback, very different firing arc from longbows.

Heavy Armor

  • Bonemold Armor and Shield, 73 base armor (+21 w/shield)(set), found on a dead Redoran Guard (along with Elven Bow and Sword).
  • Dwarven Armor pieces, 78 base armor (+26 w/shield)(set), found in various Dwarven Ruins, full set in Nchuand-Zel but may be difficult to obtain and may require some quest advancement.
  • Dawnguard Heavy Armor, 104 base armor (+26 w/shield)(set), given upon siding with the Dawnguard early in their questline, shield is found on the roof of Fort Dawnguard.

Light Armor

  • Penitus Oculatus Armor, 51 base armor (set), kill the Penitus Oculatus agent in Dragon Bridge, bonus points for being able to equip a Circlet with the helm.
  • Dawnguard Armor, 61 base armor (set), several pieces found in and around Fort Dawnguard, I think you need to progress through the questline to get the chestpiece though.
  • Diadem of the Savant, 7 base armor (head), found outside Froki's Shack, Circlet.
  • Found one: Blade of Sacrifice It's basically an ebony dagger that you can't enchant. Obtainable at the shrine of Boethiah a short walk away from Windhelm.
    – Paul
    Commented Mar 25, 2017 at 18:12
  • @Paul You need to be level 30 in order to start the quest, and you only get that as part of the quest.
    – Dorian
    Commented Mar 26, 2017 at 19:24
  • You are right the shrine is completely empty if you are level one.
    – Paul
    Commented Mar 27, 2017 at 0:27

Though this might not be helpful to you, there is a bound bow spell obtainable in Fort Amol Prison. The bound bow is a daedric bow (or at least very close to it), with free daedric arrows.

  • 1
    Bound Bow's base damage is 18, and the arrows used are 24, arrows are equal to Daedric Arrows but the bow itself is a bit short. Also, the spell costs 206 mana and level 1 random lists max out at 48% Fortify Conjuration (12% per item slot, 4 slots) making the minimum cost 107 mana. Unless you're an Altmer or you get your hands on Vokun (20% Fort Conj head slot, Dragon Priest kill) or the Necromancer Amulet (25% Fort Conj, necklace slot, quest completion) the spell is uncastable, so entirely useless for a no-level game unless picking the Altmer race.
    – Dorian
    Commented Mar 2, 2017 at 21:30
  • Though it is worthy to note for speed leveling that the Bound Bow with Mystic Binding is the fastest way to level Archery as of 1.9.
    – Dorian
    Commented Mar 2, 2017 at 21:31

Shrouded Armor set, just start the Dark Brotherhood questline via Aretino in Windhelm, requires two kills (grelod and one of the 3 captives both of which pose no threats), the armor is basically a handout from astrid


1 Finish unbound quest

2 Go to Windhelm via carriage or steal a horse in Whiterun Lockpick Aretino residence in Windhelm

3 Talk to Aretino

4 Go to Riften

5 Kill Grelod in Honorhall Orphanage, no need to sneak, no bounty is given

6 Return to Windhelm and talk to Aretino

7 Find a bed and sleep

8 Astrid should have abducted you

9 Kill one target (all are 1 hit kill and non hostile)

10 Talk to Astrid

11 Fast travel to Whiterun, hire a carriage or steal a horse, go to Falkreath

12 Locate the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary (marked location)

13 Talk to Astrid

She should give you the Shrouded Armor set (Light Armor, 4 pcs set)

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