After trying a great many types of builds with different races, I finally buckled down and made 3 characters specifically to take on all the challenges of the games. Here they are:
For the Companions/College of Winterhold/Main Quest/Imperial Legion quest lines:
Dovahkiin, Male Nord, I had Steed Stone, but switched to Lover to hit 50. Level 50, Magicka 240, Health 290, Stamina 260.
Shouts: Dragonrend, Fire Breath, Slow Time, Unrelenting Force
Notable Loot/Abilities: Fire Within (to pair with Fire Shout), Ebony Sword of the Vampire (received at end of Legion quest line. Likely a random weapon, but awesome anyway with 60 damage + absorb 25), other hand-crafted Ebony weapons, like a paralyze war axe, hand crafted and enchanted Dragonplate armor, The Gaulder Amulet, The White Phial
Restoration (55): Novice, Apprentice, Adept, Recovery, Regeneration, Respite
Alteration (70): Novice, Apprentice, Adept, Magic Resistance 1, 2
Enchanting (76): Enchanter, Insightful, Corpus, Soul Squeezer, Soul Siphon
Smithing (100): All up to Dragonplate on the heavy side, Arcane Blacksmith
Heavy Armor (95): Juggernaut, Well Fitted, Tower of Strength, Matching Set
Block (84): Shield Wall, Quick Reflexes, Deflect Arrows, Power Bash, Elemental Protection, Deadly Bash, Disarming Bash
One-Handed (100): Armsman 1, 2, 3, Hack and Slash, Fighting Stance, Bone Breaker, Savage Strike, Paralyzing Strike
Speech (79): Haggling, Allure, Merchant, Investor
Alchemy (68): Alchemist, Physician
Concept: All around a good guy. He doesn’t steal or murder (unless attacked first) though he will kick some serious dragon and/or bandit butt. Sword and board, uses his own potions, very sturdy. I had to move up to Master difficulty because I realized I was never in danger after about level 20. If it weren’t for the murder part, Spellbreaker would be a good Daedric artifact to have, since it is a shield that casts wards when blocking. Dawnbreaker would also be an acceptable sword, since he is dedicated to erasing evil and undead.
Character 2, Dark Brotherhood/Thieves Guild/Daedric Artifacts:
Tigress, Female Khajiit, Currently level 34. M/H/S: 210/240/180
Loot: I own Ancient Shrouded Armor, Jester’s Gear, Guild Master’s Armor, etc. etc., but I wear Amulet of Articulation, Ancient Shrouded Gloves (2x sneak attack damage for a total of 30x with my dagger), (Thieves’) Guild Master’s Armor and Boots, Jester’s Hat, and a Ring of Extreme Magicka that I found. I dual wield Mehrunes’ Razor in my main hand with an Elven Dagger of Lightning (25 extra shock damage) in my off hand. I find that on Expert Difficulty, I still one hit kill almost everything. (If I move it up to master, anything I can’t instantly kill usually kills me instantly with a single ice spike to the brain)
Alteration: Novice, Apprentice
Enchanting: Enchanter, Insightful, Fire, Soul Squeezer, Soul Siphon
One Handed: Armsman, Dual Flurry (will get Dual Savagery also)
Archery: Overdraw, Eagle Eye, Steady Hand
Light Armor Agile Defender
Sneak: all, especially Light Foot and Assassin’s Blade, though I only have the first rank in Stealth
Lockpicking: Novice, Apprentice, Adept (working up to Treasure Hunter… I don’t NEED to make lockpicking easier, but the treasure would be nice)
Pickpocket: Light Fingers, Night Thief, Poisoned, Cutpurse (will get Extra Pockets as well)
Alchemy: Alchemist, Physician, Poisoner
Concept: I am a freakin’ NINJA. I can walk up to a group, kill someone, the others will walk over, vow to kill whoever did this, then start ninja stabbing the rest without ever being seen. The Razor gives me a small chance to instantly kill anyone even if I don’t get the 30x sneak attack. I could use a bit more durability, but as an assassin, this build is awesome. I literally just snuck through a Dwemer ruin for one of the Daedric quests and was never spotted by man or machine. If I do get in trouble, I have the Nightingale ability to be invisible for 120 seconds, and I have a stock of self-made invisibility potions on hand. I just drink one, sprint a while, hide, and everything goes back to normal.
Finally, a mage/vampire that I got from a website.
She’s a Breton/Atronach Stone vampire who is a one-handed/frost mage. She uses swords when her magic runs low against non-mages. Atronach lets you absorb enemy spells and add to your own magicka pool, so if you are fighting spellcasters, you can switch to dual casting ice spikes or whatever else you have. If you’re not, though, your magic regeneration rate is in the cellar, so you have to switch to another method of destruction, namely your sword. She uses a lot of Slow Time and Become Ethereal to pull off the awesome vampiric moves. Atronach and Breton abilities help to counteract the weakness to fire all vampires have. I haven’t been able to play this a whole lot. I think she’s up to about 13 right now, but it sounds like a blast to play. So far, I’ve been in a huge battle with Hagravens that didn’t faze me at all: fireballs? Absorbed. Ice Spike through the chest! Ha HA!