The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Character Build-up & Development Guide

| [CBDG03]               CHOOSE YOUR BIRTHSIGN                           |

There are four basic kinds: Attribute Birthsigns, which are not really 
neccessary: you can max your all attributes and then some. They do 
provide a nice boost for the first few levels however. Spelllike Ability 
Birthsigns to get you one or more abilities. Magicka Birthsigns, to get 
higher Magicka. And The interesting Birthsign(tm) - the name says it all.

| Attibute Birthsigns | 

 The Thief 
  (Fortified Agility 10, Speed 10, Luck 10)
   High Boost, since Luck +10 is worth 50 Attribute points, 
   all in all you get the equivalent of 70 level-up Attribute 
   points - see character Development Section for explanation 

 Rating B

 The Warrior 
  (Fortified Strength 10, Fortified Endurance 10)

   Equals 20 more starting hitpoints and one more hitpoint at level up 
   until Endurance is at maximum. 10 Str is not bad either, both for 
   encumbrance and dishing out damage. 

 Rating C

 The Steed 
  (Fortified Speed 20)

   You will be able to outrun most enemies at early levels, which is 
   good to get Magicka and Fatigue back up, for hit and run tactics 
   etc. However, this effect wont last long.  

 Rating D+

 The Lady 
  (Fortified Willpower 10, Fortified Endurance 10) 

   20 more starting hit points and one more hit point at level up until
   Endurance is at maximum. (Barely) faster Magicka regeneration. Not 
   as good as The Warrior, but might be a better choice for a mage. 

Rating: C-

| Spell like Ability Birth signs |

 The Lord 
  (Restore Health 6/sec for 15 sec
  Weakness to fire magnitude 25, constant)

   Well, this is bad. Restore Health is good for the first 10 levels, 
   weakness to fire is bad forever. 

 Rating: F

 The Shadow
  (Invisibility 60 sec, once per day)

   Invisibility is a useful spell, but it IS a spell - and you wont even 
   need illusion as a major spell to get it...

 Rating: D+

 The Serpent
  (As a single ability
  Damage Health touch, magnitude 3 for 20 sec
  Dispel (magnitude 90
  Cure Poison 
  Damage Fatigue self, magnitude 100)

   60 damage over 20 sec is nothing. Cure Poison and Dispel are ok, but 
   nothing special. And you pay 100 Fatigue.

 Rating: D

 The Lover 
  (Paralyse 10 sec, touch, damage 120 fatigue on self)

   10 Second duration, that's the paralyse spell on master level, quite a 
   treat i think. 

 Rating: B-

 The Tower
  (Open Average Lock 1/day
  Reflect Damage 5 points for 120 sec 1/day)

   Might be a sign for you if you are bad in the lock picking mini game 
   (its reaction based after all) and don't use illusion. A 5 Point 
   Reflect Damage is nice only at the start.

 Rating: D+

 The Ritual
  (Restore Health 100, 1/day
  Turn Undead (100 for 30 sec, 1/day)

   Expert level Restore Health is nice, but you can use potions and spells 
   instead. Turn Undead is ok, too. If you don't have high restoration, 
   this might be interesting - but once per day is simply not enough.

 Rating: D

| Magicka Birth signs |

 The Mage
  (Fortified Magicka 50)

   The standard Birth sign for casters. But all classes that use magic 
   will benefit from this sign. No strings attached, this is a safe 

 Rating: B (A- for mages)

 The Apprentice
  (Fortified Magicka 100
  Weakness to Magicka 100)

   50 more magicka than The Mage is not worth dying for. For you will die 
   with this birth sign. You might pick Breton for a combined Weakness to 
   Magicka 50 and Maximum Magicka +150, but i don't recommend it. 

 Rating: F (C for mages)

| The interesting Birth sign(tm) | 

 The Atronach
  (Fortified Magicka 150
  Spell Absorption 50
  No Magicka regeneration! )

   This sign is just great. And I'm not talking about the Magicka bonus. 
   I would pick it even if it had a Magicka malus - the real special is 
   the 50% Spell Absorption - imagine this: Your Breton gets hit by magic 
   (at half strength if non-elemental) in 50% of all cases, the rest gets 
   absorbed completely. If you get items or spells that add another 50% 
   Spell Absorbtion, thats like immunity to fire, frost, shock and magicka
   all in one ! For pure fighters, there is no downside, But you 
   might think, no Magicka regeneration really gimps a caster ? The 
   obvious solution - Potions - costs time and money. Shrines and the 
   like replenish Magicka, but wont help in the middle of a dungeon. Your 
   Spell Absorption will do the trick: If your enemies don't cast spells 
   on you anyway, summon a wraith (or ghost), hit it three times and it 
   will start to attack you with magic only. Full Magicka guaranteed (low 
   level ghosts may damage you a little and take three or four summons)! If 
   you foresee a tough fight, you can take the ghost with you to keep your 
   Magicka up. It also works with other summoned casters, but the ghost/
   wraith/gloom wraith line works best. 
   A possible downside: In big fights, pure destruction mages may run out 
   of Magicka if all opponents are melee without any magic weapons. This 
   should not happen very often if you followed my "focus on prime damage 
   skill and attribute" rule - but keeping some selfmade Magicka potions 
   just in case won't hurt. Also, if you are first level and your 
   summoning skill is 25, summoning the ghost might be more expensive
   than the mana returned. This won't happen later on (later as in level 
   3 and more).  

   [Clarification: Unlike Resistance, Spell Absorbtion 50 absorbs 100% 
   of a spell - and it will work on 50% of all spells]  
   Note: The Summon Ghost spell or better is essential for this build, 
   so first thing out of prison should be a quick trip to Chorrol. If you 
   don't have enough money, sell the Mage Guilds Alchemy equipment & potions.  
 Rating: A+

|||| Conclusion ||||
The Atronach is the best birth sign, but it also has a huge impact on 
gameplay. If that's not your cup of tea, The Mage is good for, erm, 
mages. The Lover is a good ability sign and The Thief is a great 
attribute sign.