Character Build: The Force Adept

I wanted to explore ways to bring out the full potential of destruction magic, without employing the usual combo of illusion and conjuration spells to cover its many weaknesses. 

So every aspect of this build revolves around making the destruction school, a much underrated school in my opinion, truly shine. This build will be quite a treat for destruction school fans looking for something unique as well as powerful.

The Force Adept 

" Much like blood magic, force magic poses considerable risks to the foolish or inexperienced. When one taps into the power of this uncommon school, they draw power from the very forces that bind the fabric of our world together, forces that have crushed more than one foolish apprentice into a singularity. However, those who master force magic are a fearsome sight in battle, bending the fabric of space and time to their whim, crushing their foes like rag dolls, and showering them in an endless volley of magical energy."

-Excerpt from 'Forbidden Arts: Catalog of Banned Magic Schools' 3E 201
Whereas normal mages are limited by their supply of magicka, force adepts are able to tap into infinite magicka reserves by generating powerful gravity wells, allowing them to rapidly absorb energy from external sources. This self-generated, infinite power source can grant a lone force adept the power to easily decimate entire squads in an unending barrage of offensive spells.

In addition to launching deadly magic salvos, Force Adepts are able to greatly hinder their opponents' ability to fight effectively; distorting the flow of time to slow enemies down, weakening molecular bonds within armor and flesh, flattening opponents with powerful kinetic shock waves, or rendering their opponents completely motionless within powerful stasis fields. All this, coupled with the ability to render enemy spells all but useless, make force adepts a force to be reckoned with.

The purpose of this build is to become an offensive powerhouse as early in the game as possible. This means no enchantment grinding or or advanced atronach stones. On its own, destruction does fairly sub-par damage at higher levels, a fact which becomes even more problematic due to the high cost of destruction spells early on. This build drastically ramps up the DPS of destruction magic by allowing you to completely ignore magicka costs and continually rain down pain on your enemies.

This build is also designed to somewhat upset the balance on how a typical pure mage is played. Most mages are not the stand your ground types. Getting the full benefit out of this build requires you plant your position and stand firm. But never fear, the endless firepower at your disposal however makes it incredibly difficult, and downright impossible in many situations, for enemies to ever reach you.

Race: Breton. Their naturally high magic resistance make them the perfect fit for this class. Bretons also start with a bonus to many key magic schools. Dragonskin is also a life saver early on when faced with strong mages.

Stat Distribution: 2 (M) : 1 (H) : 0 (S). A large magicka pool is important but you can afford to invest more into health than most mages, given your unique means of replenishing magicka

Standing Stone: Atronach. The atronach stone will absorb magic from your self generated gravity wells (more on that in a bit) and magic from enemies. Coupled with the atronach perk and all three levels of magic resistance, the Force Adept has very little to fear from enemy magic

  • Destruction: Chain Lightning, Ice storm, Ice spear, Thunderbolt, Lightningstorm, Whirlwind Cloak
  • Alteration: Ebony Flesh, Paralyze, Telekinesis
  • Restoration: Close Wounds, Circle of Protection
  • Conjuration: Storm Atronach, Ash Guardian
Powers: Blessing of Talos, coupled with its respective amulet, grants you a nice 40% shout cool-down. You'll be using Slow Time a lot so this will come in handy. Secret of Arcana is helpful if you're caught outside your gravity well and you need a quick supply of magic. Lastly Companions insight will stop those powerful spells and shouts of yours from incinerating your buddies along side the enemy.

Major Skills

Destruction: Your sole means of dealing damage. All aspects of this build revolve around bringing forth the full potential of this school. Shock and frost spells happen to work very well when paired together. This build takes full advantage of that.

Alteration: All of your defensive needs are covered with alteration. Since you'll be using heavy gauntlets and boots (I happen to think mages look bad ass in robes and heavy gauntlets & boots), you wont be getting any use out of mage armor, but this matters very little since your primary strategy is to keep your enemies at projectile range.
Alchemy: You've got the magickal equivalent of infinite ammo, but sometimes you'll need some added fire power to go along with that. That's where alchemy comes in. At a high enough level you can effectively double your spell damage. Use your enchanting skill to create strong fortify alchemy gear to get the most out of your potions. 

Restoration: The Circle of protection spell needed to create the “gravity well” is rather expensive to cast. With 50% of the cost cut, one can generate a gravity well with only a sliver of magicka remaining. Restoration will also be your only means of restoring health

Minor Skills

Enchanting: Much of the force adept's combos call for dual casting spells, which increases the cost of these spells by 200%. Enchanting equipment for additional magicka ensures the force adept has a large enough pool of magicka to handle any spell.

Conjuration: To give your gravity well its magicka absorbing properties, a storm atronach is required for reasons which will be made clear soon.
The creation of a well of gravity to attract ambient magicka is but the most basic application of force magic, but there is so much more to be rediscovered. 
The Force Adept maxes out at a fairly manageable level. Destruction will be easy enough to level over the course of your adventure, as will Enchanting. Alteration can be maxed out in mere minutes by spamming the detect life in densely populated cities. Once you're able to absorb spells either through the atronach perk, stone, or both, restoration can be leveled up to 65 or so using any fire trap. The quest to recover the horn of Jurgen Windcaller is one place to find these traps. Lastly, Conjuration merely requires a dead body and a soul trap spell to quickly level. Leveling is made even easier once you can cast "gravity well" which, as luck would have it, you can obtain very early in your adventure.

Quickest Method: The quickest way to get into this build is to grab the Atronach stone and use a fire trap to level up restoration to 65. From there you can travel to the College of Winterhold and buy circle of protection. While you're there visit the Midden and create a storm atronach spell tome. Follow the instructions below on the circle of protection exploit and, along the way, spam detect life in Riften to max alteration and get the atronach perk.

  • Slow Time: By creating a large field of dense gravity, a force adept can disrupt the flow of time within a limited space, causing everything within this space to move slower.
  • Unrelenting Force: A powerful kinetic shock wave, useful for launching opponents like rag dolls. Enemies are left vulnerable to follow up attacks either by yourself or your allies, provided they haven't been knocked clear off a cliff.

●Armor - Arch Mage Robes, Daedric Gauntlets/Boots

Robes: +50 Magicka, 100%Recharge, -15%Spell Cost
Boots: Fortify Stamina
Gloves: Fortify Magicka

The Arch Mage's Robes come pre enchanted with many powerful magic effects. The Force Adept does not make use of Mage Armor perks, so feel free to match the robes with whatever armor or clothes you want. In my initial play through I went with Daedric Gauntlets and boots, but don't feel like you have to go with those if you dont find them as aesthetically pleasing as I do. I enchanted my boots for stamina, because why not? You wont find any helpful magic effects to enchant your boots with. The Daedric Boosts and Gauntlets can be obtained rather easily through the atronoch forge. It requires the completion of the master conjuration ritual quest, but that is hardly a hurdle as conjuration can be leveled to 90 in minutes by casting soul trap on dead bodies. As luck would have it, this build can easily train any magic skill tree to max level.

●Circlet - Mage's Circlet - Fortify Magicka

The Mage's Circlet provides a significant boost to your magicka pool. It can grant up to 70 extra magicka depending on your level when you reach that point in the College quest-line. The Mage's circlet can easily be replaced with any enchanted circlet if you get the mage's circlet too early

●Ring - Fortify Magicka

Same deal as with the circlet. You want as much magicka as you can pack on. A sizable magicka pool is a good back up when standing within the "gravity well" is unfeasible.

●Pendant - Talos Amulet

The Talos amulet grants you an invaluable 20% cool down reduction which allows for more frequent use of Slow time. Combined with the Blessing of Talos you're looking at a 40% cool down reduction on all shouts.

Infinite Magic - Generating the Gravity Well

This exploit is rather simple, especially once you get the hang of it. You will need the atronach perk, stone or both, as well as a storm atronach and Circle of Protection spell. The storm atronach spell can be obtained at any point in the game. Just walk into the Midden with the required ingredients ( mammoth tusk, ruined book, void salts, deathbell). You don't even need to talk to anyone once you've gained entrance to the College to access the Midden.

Once you have what is needed, all you need to do is summon the storm atronach (might take a few tries depending on your absorption rate). Use a weak spell like flames or frost bite to agitate the atronach. Once he's turned on you, your goal is to get hit with its explosive burst attack. Once that has happened, kill or expel the atronach. From here on out every time you cast Circle of Protection, your magicka will be rapidly refilled so long as you are within the circle.
As the video touched on briefly, getting hit by any explosive spell ( ie anything that would normally cause you to stagger) will dispell the effect. If that happens, dont fret. The well can be regenerated through the above method easily. What I've found out while testing this is that even if I was hit by an explosive spell I could still draw magicka from the well just fine until the battle I was currently in ended.
Its worth it to note that you will always be able to absorb magicka from the spell guardian circle, and nothing will change that unlike with circle of protection. The only draw backs to guardian circle over circle of protection is that the former takes longer to set up and does not last as long as the latter. 
Chemical Augmentations
Originally Alchemy was not a part of this build, but on a recent play through of this build I thought about seeing what alchemy could do for this build. Needles to say, holy crap was I missing out. A potion of fortify destruction (hence forth referred to as "augmentation elixir") can effectively doubles spell damage, making the Force Adept truly a mage to be reckoned with. It also amplifies the range of whirlwind cloak making it significantly more effective of keeping enemies at a comfortable distance. 
The Timeflux Tincture increases the duration of all alteration spells and effects. For those of you who don't know already, Slow Time is categorized as an alteration affect, meaning its duration can be effectively doubled with this potion. This is especially helpful for those moments where you need some time to set up your position or you need time to elude your enemy if overrun. 
Alchemy is also helpful in the early on where a simple potion to restore magicka will go a long way to helping you in the early game. 
Timeflux Tincture
Effect: Fortify Alteration. Alteration spells cast within 60 seconds last 75% longer. 
Ingredients: Spriggan Sap, Grass Pod
Augmentation Elixir
Effect: Fortify Destruction. Destruction spells are 100% stronger for 60 seconds
Ingredients:  Nightshade, Glowing Mushroom
Special Techniques

Gravity Well

Requires: Circle of Protection or Guardian Circle, Atronach Stone,  Atronach Perk

Creates a localized gravitational anomaly that redirects and draws magical energy towards the caster, replenishing magicka instantly. The caster must remain within the anomaly to maintain this bonus.

This combo creates a space on the battlefield where magicka can be instantly replenished. It opens the way to a devastating array of combos and allows high cost spells to be cast freely without worry over magicka costs. If you're using this with guardian circle you'll likely need the Master Restoration perk.


Temporal Distortion

Requires: Slow Time, Stability, Blessing + Amulet of Talos, Timeflux Tincture (optional)

Magnifies the gravitational field surrounding the caster resulting in a massive localized temporal distortion. Time will flow significantly slower within the field, granting the caster a significant speed advantage over their enemies.

This combination will cause time to slow down for a significant duration. Its perfect for those situations where the enemy is advancing upon you quickly and you need to evade them. Works wonders for setting up Gravity Well with Guardian Circle as you'll have ample time to charge the master spell.


Arc Flash

Requires: Gravity Well, Dual Casting, Chain lightning, Impact, Augmentation Elixir (optional)

The Force Adept fires off a deadly continuous volley of electricity that jumps from enemy to enemy.

Chain lightning is quite powerful against small groups of closely clustered enemies, but if not for the "gravity well" you'd quickly run out of magicka, especially when dual casting. The Impact perk stuns targets on each hit making it easier to keep groups of enemies at bay. 


Absolute Zero

Requires: Gravity Well, Temporal Distortion, Ice storm, Deep Freeze Perk, Augmentation Elixir (optional)

The Force Adept charges a massive sphere of energy of near absolute freezing temperature that is sent barreling towards the enemy. Enemies caught in the blast are slowed, take massive health/stamina damage, and are even frozen if weakened enough. 

The continuous fire of dual casted ice storms, while under the effects of Slow Time, creates a massive ball of frost that quickly barrels its way towards enemies. Enemies hit by this take damage from every ice storm in the combo.    



Requires: Dual Casting, Whirlwind Cloak, Augmentation Elixir

The Force Adept generates and surrounds herself with a massive vortex of energy. Any enemy within range of this field of energy will be knocked back

Destruction dual casting and a potion of fortify destruction greatly enhances the range of whirlwind cloak. Enemies will likely find themselves flung back well before they get within melee range. This means less instances of having to retreat from your gravity well to escape approaching enemies. 



Particle Beam Cannon

Requires: Gravity Well, Lightning Storm, Disintegrate Perk, Augmentation Elixir (optional)

Fires a focused stream of un-quantifiable destructive energy. Enemies caught in the blast take immense damage per second and are reduced to ash if weak enough.

Releases immense levels of raw destructive energy against your enemy in the form of a focused stream of pure energy. This combo is able to reduce most anything it touches to dust within seconds. Aside from its slow charge up time, this combo cannot stagger opponents. 



Gravity Well is the center piece of the build and you'll be opening most battles with it. The well can be rapidly placed, as circle of protection is a fairly quick spell. This is especially helpful should you need to re-position yourself in the middle of battle, or the enemy has succeeded in overrunning your position. In a long range fire fight against archers, you can place the well behind cover, and strafe your enemies, while ducking back into cover to dodge arrows and replenish magic.

Temporal Distortion allows these combos to rapidly pile on damage on their target. It also gives you much needed time to act. Even at near point blank range, it enables you to hit your enemy multiple times before they finally make it close enough to hit you. Most enemies are typically dead or very close to dying after enduring one of these combos under the effects of slow time.

Absolute Zero is a very valuable combo against swift moving enemies such as archers and mages, who typically like to strafe targets, as it covers a lot of horizontal ground as it lurches forward. Its also helpful against massive crowds of enemies (ie 5 or more) as there is no cap to the number of enemies that can be targeted. Everyone in the way is going to be in a world of trouble.

As any decent tactician is aware of, its not a smart move to clump together, especially against a mage. Should your enemies make this fatal flaw show them the error of their ways with Arc Flash. 

Vortex makes melee enemies much less of a hassle. If you're opting to use Guardian Circle to summon your Gravity Well you'll welcome the breathing room this combination will give you. 

Dragons are just about the only magic wielding enemy that can effectively hurt you. but with Particle beam you're able to sap them dry of their magicka and put them on the defensive. Just remember Particle beam does not stagger targets, so be wary of your target's movements while using this.

Gravity well performed with circle of protection can occasionally be disrupted by explosive attacks or magic effects that induce stagger. The version performed with guardian circle does not have this issue, although it takes more magicka and more time to prepare that version of gravity well. If you've opted for the guardian circle for reliability sake, consider bringing long a follower to help cover you while you charge you spell. 



Recommended Mods

This build was originally tested on the console version. So everything mentioned in this build works just as well on console as it does on PC. But if you're a PC player who wishes to take this character further, here are some recommended mods to improve your experience.

YY Anim Replacer - Mystic Knight: This is an animation replacement pack for magic casting animations. If you're sick of your character hunching over to cast spells like some scrub apprentice, you definitely want to try this out. The animations are meant to make you look more confident, elegant, and experienced as you cast spells.

Burn Freeze Shock Effects: Adds devastating burning, freezing, and calcification effects to all destruction spells and effects. So now when you blow enemies away with a barrage of destruction magic, they may be left completely calcified or frozen solid in ice.

Spells Will Give Off Light: Since you're slinging spells like there's no tomorrow, you might as well treat yourself to a dazzling light show while you do it. As you hold and cast spells, they will give off light appropriate to the color of the spells themselves.

Immersive Sounds - Magic: This mod adds a ton of diversity to the sound effects spells. The destruction sound effects are especially impressive. Shock spells erupt with powerful thunderous boom, and the sound of roaring winds can be heard as you lay waste to enemies with Ice Storm.

Tribunal Robes: Force Adepts are magicans of strange, and unfathomable power, so for a look that screams just that look no further than the Tribunal Robes mod. This mod comes in several colors and armor classes. There are other mods out there that offer even more color texture options. The armor pieces are all unenchanted so its easy enough to compensate for the stats you'll miss out on by choosing this over the Arch-mage's robes.

Immersive College of Winterhold: No play through as a mage is truly complete without a run through the College of Winterhold. The ICoW mod completely revamps every aspect of the college from the ground up. Schedules are revamped, new rooms, exhibits and study areas have been added, and the senior professors have access to far more powerful spells - So they truly look and feel like masters of their chosen school of magic. All n' all, ICoW makes the College of Winterhold truly feel like an actual, serious college for magical study.

Closing Remarks

As always thank you for taking the time to read my build. I hope you all enjoy the Force Adept as much as I did. Feel free to check the link below to view my other character builds.


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  • I’m curious, is Force magic actually a thing or did you make it up?
    • I made it all up. Granted elder scrolls has its own share of really weird spacey lore.
      • It’s very creative and well integrated, nicely done!
  • I was trying to remember the nuances of the gravity well trick in this build. As I'm just starting back up again I'm not sure if I want to play something as complex with all the fun glitches or if I'll just go a more basic route but it's hard for me to resist - always a sucker for cool glitched mechanics.

    Edit: I like the idea of using the gravity well as an "anchor point." As you move further away from the spell your character becomes more and more vulnerable. A built in weakness would accent this effect.

    • If you want to go the non glitch route, use guardian circle. It works without having to ever use the glitch.
      • Guardian circle + Absorb magicka?

        • Yeah atronach stone and perk will absorb magicka from guardian circle right from the get go because that spells healing effect is absorbed.

          The glitch is meant to achieve this affect with circle of protection which has no absorbable effect.
    • This reply was deleted.
      • Now that's new! But not unwelcome.
      • Its more that I use other people's builds to create my own. I don't always share mine but I like to take pieces of builds and mix them together!

        • I will admit that's part of how I've come up with my own build ideas.
This reply was deleted.