Over the last year or so in Skyrim Special Edition, I’ve been playing the constant camper and unarmored monk. Building upon Chesko’s “Campfire - Complete Camping System” I’ve been adding structures and workbenches suitable for a permanent campsite replacing a house. To make things more fair it seemed a perk should be required to build special gear durable for transportation and setting up anywhere in Skyrim. So “Eremite Camping” began as my foundation for the constant camper with features supporting Creation Club’s “Survival Mode” so the camper may fully recover sleeping in a warm shelter.


Since the game lacks skills for unarmored and unarmed fighting, I decided to add skills making my character more interesting. Restrictions for unarmored bonus means, of course, not wearing armor including magic armor. I decided to do the same for the unarmed (pugilist) with bonus restricted to fighting without armor since heavy armor skill tree covers heavy armor unarmed bonus. I based my values on existing enchantments making my values per perk rank a bit smaller such as it takes two of my Unarmored perk ranks to be equal to the Lord Stone. The game is too easy to help determine balance through play experience so I’m working the numbers.

no armor tips

  • be aware
  • keep moving
  • take cover behind terrain or follower
  • focus on primary skills and avoid practicing skills unrelated to your character
  • obtain stagger perk (for your chosen combat style) as soon as possible
  • consider charging enemy mage to force mage to switch from ranged spells to close-combat

Two keys to playing without armor are focus on a single weapon skill and keep moving during combat. A sharp eye on the surroundings helps, too. Pick a secondary skill to support the primary weapon such as blocking or smithing, otherwise limit using skills to keep the character from gaining levels too fast which presents foes with better combat skills. My monk never uses magic, but creates potions, which keeps level advancement in check.

I don’t dodge often and instead step sideways or sprint. Since I find the default keyboard layout difficult to reach the sprint key (default alt-key), I moved the sprint to the shift-key. This way I can quickly toggle sprint in a pinch.

my monk

As a reference, I’ll share my character’s details, a no-magic monk using a bow as a primary weapon. Playing “Survival Mode” means health only recovers during sleep or through potions. The monk acquired Lord Stone (+50 armor rating) at level 20, before then no armor rating except when switching to a shield in tight situations. By level 24, had Eremite Unarmored perk for a total 75 armor rating. The monk sometimes travels alone, but regularly travels with a house carl equipped with best armor available, improved Orcish at level 24. No combat mods, no dodge mods, just regular play. I moved the sprint toggle key from default alt-key to shift-key to make it easier for me to rapidly sprint.

Monk level 25 perks:

  • Smithing 62 - 4 perks including Orcish
  • Block 31 - 1 perk
  • One-handed 34 - 2 ranks in Armsman
  • Archery 81 - 5/5 Power Draw, Power Shot, Quick Shot
  • Sneak 39 - 1 rank
  • Lockpicking 26 - no perks
  • Speech 45 - no perks
  • Alchemy 47 - 3/5 Alchemist, Physician, Benefactor
  • Enchanter 40 - 2/5 Enchanter

  • Eremite Unarmored - 1 rank (+25 armor rating when not wearing any armor)

Obtaining archery quick shot with power shot (50% chance stagger on hit) made combat much easier such that a back-up shield is rarely ever needed. Shouts like Kyne’s Peace and Whirlwind Sprint come in handy at lower levels. Smart combat strategy helps win on any difficulty level such that I find master difficulty no more difficult, just more annoying. Be aware of surroundings, keep moving, run for cover if needed, and don’t get hit. Getting caught by surprise could mean a quick death.

I developed Eremite Camping for this monk, but design takes into account other types of characters. I positioned perks so each branch may be optional if a player wants crafting or better sleep without unarmored skills. Feedback will be important for guiding the mod to support different characters and other mods.