In Elder Scrolls Oblivion which is the best combination of race, birth sign and skills in order to get high values of health?
For purposes of this answer I'm going to go purely for the highest possible max health. I'm not going to take into account damage mitigation or healing for now, even though those may make an character with fewer hp harder to kill. I'm also going to ignore temporary bonuses.
Ultimately, most of the answer amounts to "Stack Endurance" as health is largely based on Endurance.
The best signs are the Warrior or the Lady. Each grants +10 Endurance so both will have the same amount of health.
The best race (and sex- this matters in Oblivion) is going to be one with an endurance bonus. Male Nords, or a Redguard or Orc of either sex have +10 to Endurance. The other factor here is skill bonuses which, again, can be used to raise endurance. Armorer, Block, and Heavy Armor are based on endurance. Perhaps counter-intuitively, the best choice here is to have as few bonuses as possible to these, as this will make the skills easier to level (increasing endurance).
This makes Redguard the best option, but anything with +10 will work. The fact that Redguards also have the Endurance-boosting Adrenaline Rush ability is also nice.
Finally, class. Obviously we will pick Endurance as a primary attribute. For the specialization, combat will make all three Endurance skills level up more quickly.
The difficult decision here is whether to include Armorer, Heavy Armor, and Block for the faster levelling or exclude them to level more slowly, and so they start lower. I'm going to suggest including them for three reasons:
- Prime skills level up more quickly, which should counter any bonus from starting them at a lower value.
- Even with all three skills as primary, they will only start at 30, 30, 35. There is more than enough room to level them to hit 100 endurance.
- Actually using your primary skills makes you level up quicker. More levels means more health.
During each level up, at least 5 of your 10 skill-ups must be in these three skills. This is needed to give you +5 endurance at each level. Endurance affects health gained and, since this is not applied retroactively, must be increased as fast as possible to maximise total health.
You will have 100 (maximum) endurance at level 10, provided your sign, race, sex, and class started you with the maximum 55.
So, to summarize, a Redguard, born under the Warrior with an attribute specialisation including Endurance and primary skills including Block, Heavy Armour and Armorer. The obvious choice would be to add Strength, Blade/Blunt, and play the stereotypical heavy-armour juggernaut.
The Lady option could work instead as some kind of Heavy Armor mage. In this case, use the Lady sign, consider being a female Orc instead, choose Intelligence/Willpower as the second attribute and add Destruction and other magicka skills to use that bonus willpower. It would be awkward but as long as you started with 55 endurance and gained 5 per level, you'd have the most health possible.
Races with 50 base health in Endurance
Lady has Fortify Endurance 10 points on self
Warrior has Fortify Endurance 10 points on self
When you level, you gain health points equal to a tenth of your endurance, rounded down. For example, if you have 80 health points and 98 endurance points at the time you level, your health will increase by 9 for a total 89 health points.
Your health can be increased using Fortify Health or Fortify Endurance effects. Enchantments are particularly useful, since they have a constant effect. With spells and potions, care is needed when relying on Fortify effects in the middle of combat. When the effect expires, you will suddenly lose all your bonus health.