The Collector is a serial killer... With a purpose. That purpose is to build the collection. The collection of souls. Of items containing souls. Of items telling a story about a soul. Their goal is to have all of Skyrim and Solstheim on display in their many fine homes. Nobles, miners, bards, merchants... They all have a story to tell. And their story will be told forever through display cases and mannequins.
Stone: Serpent. Kill victims quicker.
Major Skills: Enchanting.
Minor Skills: Anything combat related to dispatch victims.
Weapons: Any. Be creative/silly if you like, or just get the job done with serpent stone and Khajiit claws.
Armor: Any. Might as well keep prisoner rags on. You will be there a lot.
Shouts: Any. If you level smithing dragons can be displayed too. Craft a weapon from their bones and enchant them based on their elemental damage. There are several named, killable dragons throughout the game.
Spells: Any. Soul Trap recommended.
Essential Quests: The Black Star. (Dark Brotherhood questline for the greatest soul to capture.)
The Collection: First order of business is to attain the Black Star as soon as possible. Head directly to the Shrine of Azura, ask an innkeeper for directions/rumors, and finish the quest for Nelacar. Next, attain a method of soul trap. You can buy a soul trap book from mage vendors (including Nelacar himself), find a soul trap weapon in the world, or use conjuration weapons with the soul trapping perk. I recommend the spell. The only grinding in the build is to attain every enchantment in game to make the stories of your souls as accurate as possible. Also, furnish every house in the game to display the stories in cases and on mannequins. You are now ready to begin collecting. You may do so as you please. Any where. Any body.
Pick a victim, make sure soul trap is cast on them one way or another, and dispatch them as quickly as possible to collect their soul in the black star. Loot everything from their person and if you are an over achiever get the Ring of Namira and feast on their corpse to truly consume their body and soul. If you have committed a crime, simply turn yourself in and do the time. Once free, head to your preferred enchanting table and choose your favorite item from your victim. Enchant the item with their soul in the black star with a fitting enchantment. For example, if you kill a merchant who carried a necklace, enchant it with fortify barter and name it after them: "Merchant's Necklace". The more well known the NPC the better. I personally recommend wearing the items of your favorite NPCs. Display your collection proudly.
There is no perk spread as you technically do not need a single perk for this build to function. Enchanting perks are highly recommended. As are combat perks to dispatch foes. Stat placement is also unnecessary, if you level at all with this build. Health if you fear being one shotted by guards, stamina if you carry your collection with you and become over encumbered, magicka if you need to cast soul trap multiple times on a target.
Dispatch: To make it quick and "painless", the Collector dispatches his victims with the Serpent Stone power and a swipe of Khajiit claws or a bludgeoning of their most powerful weapon. The daily use of the stone works well with making one kill a day, potentially doing jail time, and having it available again for your next victim. (If you come across a powerful NPC, feel free to lower the difficulty to novice and use whatever you can to dispatch them. This is about telling a story, not challenging combat.)
A "must-have" mod for this build is Kill Every NPC. If you're on XBOX360 you will simply have to go through the quest requirements to unflag NPCs or skip the person altogether. This build is a kill everything run in a way so unflagging NPCs will make it way better, especially when it comes to gibbing nobles and jarls for the best decorations in game.
Although it feels best to use the Black Star for your victims, I highly recommend collecting as many black soul gems as possible for when you are forced into a multiple target mission (this will happen at least once during the Dark Brotherhood questline).
I like interesting builds that require no crafting, grinding, or even leveling because we have done it a million times. Unless the aforementioned is tied into the story of the character it's just busywork. I may whip up some short, fun level one builds in the future.
(do not delete build. custom photos and clean up coming soon.)
deviant art by Tak Talius*