Contest Build: The Ternion Monk

Greetings and salutations everypony, and welcome to my latest Skyrim build, my entry for the Gods and Mortals contest, and one of the few I’ve played via Survival Mode. While browsing through the Factions of Elder Scrolls on UESP, I came upon this interesting little monastic order, the Ternion Monks, followers of the Three Old Gods, also known as the ancient Atmoran totems of the Bear, Wolf, and oFx. I also wanted to play this build as if it lived in the harsh, savage Skyrim we read about in older games. Welcome to the tale of…


Rune Chant


 My name is Ulric Storm-Blood, priest of the Ternion Monks. We are an ancient order, our faith dating back to the distant green summers of Atmora of Old. We worship not the Alessian faith, nor the modern Nordic Faith, nor the Skaal faith of the All-Maker. No, we worship the Bear, Wolf, and Fox, the animalistic totems that can still be felt today, though those of us in the Order who are stout yeoman worship a fourth totem, The Stag, the nimble beast that blesses all hoary hunters.

I write this entry to you, my brethren and sistren, for as of this moment I am being carted off to Helgen. Before my capture, blessed Hawk-Mother Kyne came to me in a dream, telling me thus. “Alduin, Creator-As-Destroyer, World-Eater, has strayed from his Path, noble Ulric. The Nightspawn of Bal run amok, and the First of the Dragonblood is returning. Go forth from this mountaintop, and descend upon your homeland, bring salvation.” As I awoke, I packed my things, and headed off. May Kyne guide me.

The Bear-Representative of Stuhn, shield-thane to Shor, and Nordic precursor to Stendarr, who taught Nords the ways of taking captives for ransom.

The Wolf-Representative of Mara, Handmaiden of Kyne and tear-wife of Shor

The Fox-Representative of Orkey, a dimly remembered loan-god from Atmora who was the enemy of mortals, eager to cheat them of their life-years, until Shor and Ysmir Wulfharth returned the Nords to their proper ages, and redirected the shortened lifespan onto the Orcs.

The Stag-Representative of Hircine, the embodiment of the savage undercurrent within both men, mer, and the land of Skyrim, as well as the tenacious hunt.

Build Overview

48535975?profile=RESIZE_710xRace: As the Ternion Monks in ESO from what I know of them appear to be all Nords, and they worship a very Atmoran pantheon (well, sans Hircine in this case), Nord fits well. Alongside this, the extra resistance to cold in Survival Mode is a godsend.

Standing Stone: The Mage to start with for leveling purposes, then a brief switch the Lover for the same. After that, you’ll head for the Steed Stone, which, even though in Survival Mode its Carrying Capacity has been halved from 100 to 50, it's still useful for carrying around alchemical reagents and Soul Gems.

Stat Spread: 3/1/3 in Magicka, Health, and Stamina. Stop perking Health at about 170, as we aren’t a tanky warrior here.

Primary Skills: Restoration, Archery, Alchemy, Enchanting

Secondary Skills: Destruction, Speech, Conjuration

Faith: Three Old Gods+Hircine

It was through the blessings of the Old Gods that my head was not cleaved from my shoulders, for my prey would, in a twist of irony, save me from the headsman’s axe. As Alduin swept down to rain death upon Helgen, I absconded with the aid of a younger Nord by the name of Hadvar.



Combat as the Ternion Monk is set into three styles,based off the Totems. Style one represents the cunning Fox, laying down Runes along the ground, before using any environmental hazards, like say the three hanging oil pots in Halted Stream Camp, below which lay the three main bandits and a stream of highly flammable oil, to your advantage. While we don’t perk Sneak, a quick use of Muffle, Predator’s Grace, and Rune Master means, even if we aren’t a Quiet Caster, and even if the Runes don’t immediately proc, chances are one of em will step in it.

Style two involves the Wolf and Stag, equipping your bow and either Muffle or Predator’s Grace, and then laying down a sneak attack or two on your foes, before laying down a Rune at a chokepoint, like say a doorway, and then evading your foes as you pepper them with arrows. If dealing with a tough opponent, such as a Dwemer Centurion, or Bandit Chief, pop a flesh spell, activate Wolf Form, and begin the hunt, using the Totem of Brotherhood to summon forth your lupine brethren.

Style three calls forth the Bear. Pop a Cloak spell on, summon forth either a Bear with the Pride of Hirstaang spell from the Arcane Accessories Creation Content, Conjure Werebear from the Beast Stone on Solstheim, or two Atronachs/(Flaming) Familiars, then charge in with your bow and spells, particularly Ice Storm for the Slow Effect. If you run out of arrows (I always carried a Woodcutter’s axe and Pickaxe to mine ores and cut wood for arrows), then pop Marked for Death on your foes and go in swinging with your fists. Interesting little factoid about Fortify Marksman potions. They don’t just affect your bow and arrows/crossbow and bolts, but also other types of damage, such as unarmed.

Bow wise, I wanted to stick to simple, rugged, living off the land type bows, in this case, the Longbow was my primary yumi of choice, followed by the Forsworn Bow once I could get my hands on one. Alongside this, with the low weight of the Longbow, it can fire off arrows in quick succession..

Questwise, alongside the Main Quest, Dawnguard, and Dragonborn, I undertook the Companions, to honor the legacy of Ysgrammor and to gain the Beastblood of Hircine, Ill Met by Moonlight, honoring Hircine’s request and killing Sinding, also letting the man rest, free from his accursed life. Alongside this, I went with the College of Winterhold, to further this Monk’s Owl born hunger for knowledge, and to honor the all but lost tradition of the Atmoran Clever Craft. Plus, I went delving to hunt down the Dragon Priests, both to slay all remnants of the oppressive Dragon Cult, but also to explore the ancient ruins. I chose to join the Imperial side of the Civil War. While the Ternion Monk has some respect for Ulfric’s knowledge of the Thu’Um and strength of his swordsmanship, he is appalled at how Ulfric foregoes the teachings of the Greybeards he swore to take up, as well as his kingslaying, especially as Ulfric never gave Torryg a chance to defend himself. Plus, this way he can restore harmony to his beloved homeland. I also struck down Potema, to further bring peace and balance to Skyrim, and the Trials of Kyne, to commune with a fellow yeoman of the Hawk. Finally, I did the Book of Love, The Heart of Dibella, and Blessings of Nature to further honor the Moth, Hawk, and Wolf, planting the sapling of course to appease Kyne.

Hearthfire wise I used Lakeview Manor,adding on a library, Alchemy Laboratory, and Greenhouse.,

As for Survival Mode, I always kept a set of fur armor and some torches for whenever I was heading into the cold northern areas, glad I also had the Camping creation in case I needed to rest a spell. One food I always found myself carrying, alongside Horker, Beef, Vegetable, and Venison Stew for their buffs, was Salmon Steak. This 0.1lb morsel is not only lightweight, but also heals a bit of health, but that’s not all its good for. Its true value shines in that it can mend your hunger by 220 points, which can fill practically your entire hunger gauge. Also, as a bit of roleplay, I tried to only cure disease via Shrines,or Hawk Feathers, as if Kyne was blessing the Monk by curing his ills when he holds these tokens of Kyne.

Shout wise, aside from those needed to complete the Main Quests of both the base game and Dragonborn, I used Animal Allegiance, Cyclone, Kyne’s Peace, and Storm Call, while follower wise, I used Erandur. Having a fellow priest tagging along helped, as I pictured the Ternion Monk helping Erandur on his road to redemption.



Archery-Used to honor Lord Hircine, as well as a way to acquire food in the wild, the Ternion Monk uses simple bows and arrows to hunt his prey, whether it be beasts, men, or Mer.

Enchanting-Weaving the energies of the soul, the Ternion Monk releases the anima into Aetherius, and uses the energy to strengthen his gear to survive, like the Moth Priests in Cyrodill.

Conjuration-With the blessings of nature, the Ternion Monks can call forth avatars of the flora of Skyrim, as well as breathe life into stones, imbuing them with elemental properties.

Alchemy-Living in the wilds has taught the Ternion Monks how to utilize the flora and fauna around them to brew empowering elixirs, noxious poisons, and everything in between.

Speech-Whether it be to defuse a tense situation or to haggle over needed supplies, the Ternion Monk has quite the gift of gab.

Destruction-Whether it be by fire, frost, or storms, each Ternion Monk learns to channel the basic elements, whether it be for defense, or utility purposes.

Restoration-Whether it be the light of Magnus, or the healing breath of Sister-Hawk Kyne, the Monk can heal the wounds of himself or his companions, as well as burn the unholy undying.



Poultices and Poisons

latest?cb=20200326030614Battle-Brew of The Bear: Made from herbs and atronach salts, this concoction boosts the strength of the imbiber’s arms, whether for brawling, or bowmanship, though leaves them resistant to flames, weaker to frost, and their magical reserves restored.. (Canis Root+Elf’s Ear+ Fire Salts. Fortify Archery+Restore Magicka+Weakness to Frost+Resist Fire)




Philter of the Fox: Forged from both the reagents of life and death, this tincture renders the drinker as camouflaged as a fox when it hunts its prey, and also bolsters their body’s natural healing. latest?cb=20200330162944&profile=RESIZE_180x180(Vampire Dust+Luna Moth Wing. Invisibility+Regenerate Health)


latest?cb=20200330164953Vial of the Vargr: This chemical concoction, albeit it may not be the best tasting, allows the drinker to recover their breath steadier after a strenuous activity. As well as making them more resistant to toxins. (Garlic+Slaughterfish Egg. Fortify Stamina+Resist Poison)




latest?cb=20200330162757Solvent of the Stag: A mixture of both flora and fauna, this potion makes the user both harder to detect when they do not wish to, as well as helping the imbiber regain their stamina. (Purple Mountain Flower+Powdered Mammoth Tusk. Fortify Sneak+Restore Stamina)

  • Alongside this, I used a mixture of Garlic, Nordic Barnacle, and Salmon Roe to create the usual high XP, high sell value Potion of Waterbreathing to help boost my Speech, Alchemy, and of course, my purse of Septims.


                                                               The Ternion Monk sauntering through Windhelm on his way to Danica Pure-Springs.

Recommended Mods

Aside from the Creation Club trio of Survival Mode, Camping, and Backpacks, here are a few mods I’d recommend.

Hunterborn SSE-One of the quintessential mods for any hunter type, this mod allows you to customize your hunting experience. For instance, do you need a hunting knife to skin an animal or carve out some meat or not? What animals can you mount? Also adds in more alchemical reagents you can gather from various animals.

Hunterborn-Scrimshaw Expanded SSE-This little extension to Hunterborn allows you to utilize the bones, tusks, and such of your kills to build armor, weapons, amulets, etc.

Eldergleam Sanctuary House-What this adds is a beautiful little home located within the Eldergleam Sanctuary. Not only is it nice to live close to a symbol of Kyne, but also it could, roleplay wise, act as a nice temple.

Druid Essentials-Acting as a sort of mini DLC, this mod adds in new spells, gear, and whatnot for your druidic needs.

Wintersun-Faiths of Skyrim: Of course, how could I forget this? With this mod, you can select a deity to worship, and gain boons for honoring their tenets, in this case either Hircine or The Old Ways.


Below I’ll go over some little bits you can do during your playthrough to get into the feeling of being a Ternion Monk.

  • As said previously, try and restrict yourself to using Hawk Feathers as a way to replicate being blessed by Kyne, and always carry at least one on you as a totem of sorts.
  • Go hunting at least once a day, and then leave a portion of said hunt at the entrance of Bloated Man’s Grotto as an offering to Hircine, particularly wolf or deer bits.
  • Give the occasional Septim to Beggars and children, for Stendarr, Stuhn, the Bear, loves those who are charitable.
  • Whenever around those in need, cast a Healing Hands or Heal Other spell on them, such as those in the Temple of Kynareth or in Imperial camps, for many Monks are known for their healing magics.


Closing Words

Well, this was a ride. I started this back in January, maybe December, when I first found out about this interesting faction. It was a hurdle building with a faction we know so little about, and which may in canon no longer exist, but I hope you enjoyed it, dear reader. Thanks, as always, to Erinoth for the lovely perk and Equipment spreads.

You need to be a member of THE SKY FORGE to add comments!


Email me when people reply –


  • Good Job Chris, digging the screens and the build! 


    The Story is lacking and rushed. It spoke at me. Expositing lore to give context, but that's all. I don't know of the character's past, or even the intention of his order. What's the purpose of the order? To worship? Well, why and how? Who is the protagonist? What are his motives? Why, or how did he join? Is he kind? Cruel? I don't know. The dream about Kyne was very hammfisted, serving only to move forward with the build, not really caring about anything else. Unfortunately, there isn't a story here... I'm sorry, I feel so mean. love you, bro, finger guns
    Generally, the formating was unorganized, building off foundations that weren't introduced to the reader.
    Putting Gameplay before the Skills & Equipment sections is akin to showing me the combos in a fighting game, without telling me what the buttons do or which character these combos belong to. It left me very confused as I had no foundations to base the combat off of.
    Also, I feel that the section titles should be bigger. It would clearly outline each section better, thus making it tider.
    The fonts in the Equipment and Perk-spread are quite difficult to read, and isn't very clear.
    The potion pictures, in my opinion, should be smaller and put on one side, which would reduce the clunkiness of the current look.

    Should have been placed after Build Overview as skills & perks are the crux of any build- it's what everything builds off of- the absolute core.
    Well written introductions, but not specific enough in how they are used. Example: Is Archery used while sneaking or in open combat? Is Enchanting focused on fortifying skills or damaging enchants? Is Alchemy more focused on utility (Restoring stats, increasing stats) or poison? I get that this is answered in the perk spread, but you'd be surprised how (despite Skyrim's cookie cutter everything, and lack of depth in anything) varied skills and perks can be. Also, am I going crazy or did you not mention any enchanted weapons? If so, what are the elemental enchants used for?
    I felt that Speech was haphazardly thrown in; a possible leftover of a different idea for the build, and doesn't need to be here; possibly, the perks used could've been better invested in Restoration.
    In Restoration, you say that the Monk can ward off the undead, but you don't mention this in the Gameplay, and Avoid Death, while making sense for such a glass-cannon build, is an extremely high EXP perk that requires a lot of dedication from the player, and I just don't see how only perking Novice can help with leveling. Also, I felt wards could have been used well here to give some defence, but that's purely an opinion.
    Conjuration, Alchemy, Enchanting, Archery, suffer from the first point.

    This would have been better placed after the Skills section to build the base from which the reader builds the foundation of combat.
    Here, I must apologize, for I am a bit of a Armour combo fashion diva, so this may be overwritten. I don't like the outfit, especially the Circlet. A short search leads me to believe that these monks bare in their style of dress, resemblense to the Forsworn, but, while I see how you wished to show this through the Stormcloak Officer Gauntlets and Forsworn Boots, but, the circlet ruins this entirely, it looks way to 'official' and stereotypical to fit the build. I cannot overstate how this one choice drags the whole 'fit down. The Arch Mage's Robes, due to being fur, fits this. Another major issue is that of the four main pieces (head, body, gauntlets, and boots) none of them comes from the same set, the head come from one place, the body, gauntelts, and boots from another, this gives the outfit a lack of unity, making it appear patched together.
    The jewelry fits nicely.
    The use of two boots is a bit strange, especially because Predator's Grace is very weak.
    As for the potions, they fit the build, and I like how you focused on herbs you can find naturally throughout the world. I thought there'd be more animal parts, as it would fit & unite the aspects role play & gameplay together by hunting the animals you need, but I'm not a alchemy fella, so I don't know if that's viable or they have the effects you need, so not too much to say here. Good work! You put in quite the effort.

    Browsing down to the Skills section, I was surprised to see this build was an elemental mage, since I had no hint of this here. You speak of using cloaks & runes, but don't mention which element, if I read correctly, the only hint we get of what element to use is when you name Ice Storm to slow enemies.
    The different styles were too similar for them to be distinct, as (from what I understood) Fox is a sneaky rune mage that uses the environment. The Wolf & Stag felt like two play styles with the Stag being the Fox except without stealth and using a bow, while the Wolf is a the use of Beast form, which there's nothing wrong with that, but you also say to pop a flesh spell, despite the fact that there is no mention of Alteration, even in the Skills section. The Bear, like the Wolf-Stag, is an amalgamation of two play-styles. The first being the Stag play-style, except with a cloak spell and atronachs, while the second is a hand-to-hand fighter, which, to me, seems SUPER risky considering the mega-low health pool, and doesn't seem very viable.
    You've given me a massive arsenal, haven't told me enough in how to use it.
    The short paragraph on Bows would have been better placed in the Equipment section, while the Lakeview Manor could have been placed in the Role-play, or the very bottom of the Gameplay section.

    The Follower and Shout section should have been placed before the Quest, and Bow sections, as they have a more direct and immediate effect on the Gameplay. I’d also like to know how to use Erandur, should he be a tank, or just a fellow monk, and what to equip him with?

    In regards to the Questing section (this is a mega personal opinion), I think that the quest titles should be in bold, as it wouldn't take away from the flow of the text, and make the quests clearer.
    The titles of the different sections of the build (Build Overview, Equipment, Skills), I think should be larger, and more noticeable, this would make the segmentation tidier.

    Role play-
    Similarly with the story section, it felt rushed and too vague. I don't know the character or personality of this man, I cannot imagine how he talks or acts, I understand he's a monk, but why? What does he see wrong with the world and what does he plan to do? I feel this section is, at it's best, when it combines the Story & Gameplay together, while giving the player a clear sense of what to do and how to act, and I didn't get that here.

    Overall, I see a lot of ideas, but not very well strung together. I feel you kept adding more and more aspects to the build, which caused it become bloated and unfocused- but, that's not to say it was bad by any means, it is very clear that there's a lot of thought, passion, and great ideas here, they just burned too much and for too long.

    • Eh, fair enough Ram. Yeah, I'll admit, this mostly came from playthroughs I did months back, and was working with notes I had here and there. And yeah, I kind of fudged up the look of the Monks a bit, mostly using some images of them in full on robes. Thanks for the honest critique dide

      • I really don't mean any ill will, and hope that shows. Best of luck, dude!

        • I get that dude, thanks

  • Not bad Chris, I think you encapsulated a monk of the old gods excellently. There's a good mix of skills and I find the combination of archery and the elements to be pretty neat.

  • First of all, I really like some of the screenies you took, that is one tricked out modded game, with the crystals in the cloak and the crow, and his man jewelry. Makes me bow my head in my console shame. I also like the idea of a Nord monk, kinda reminds me of a clever man, but more on the side of archery, which is definitely monk territory. I like the association with magic that this Nord has. I enjoy Nord mages. 

    I remember these guys in ESO, I think it's the quest where you have to save the Skaldking and you have to go into a realm and fight some asshole using taking either a wolf, bear, or a fox with you. 

    The Atmoran totems are an interesting religious choice and I don't remember you taking this approach before. You usually do Crossover type builds from sources I don't recognize. That being said, it is common knowledge now that the Fox totem is associated with Shor and not Orkey. The snake is associated with Orkey. In addition, though it seems really weird, the Bear isn't associated with Stuhn, the precurssor of STendarr, but actually his brother Tsun, who you battle in Sovengarde to enter the Golden Hall. Stuhn, believe it or not, is the whale and it's no coincidence that you cross a whale bone bridge to get to Tsun, as they are brothers. One tests valor in life, the other valor in death, hence literally crossing the bones (at least that is my conjecture). But Stuhn is still often confused with Tsun and I don't quite remember the quest well, but I wouldn't be surprised if the monks were confused too. That's part of religion, right? You follow something, not really knowing if it's right or not. 

    Ramses has touched on some of the issues that I had with the build, namely the shoehorning of Kyne and Hircine into a Ternion Monk build. I can see the inclusion of Kyne makes sense, but Hircine left me scratching my head. I guess you wanted to persue the concept of the Vargr, but the transition wasn't smooth to me. I'm not sure Ramses and I are totally on the same page regarding backstories. I like them vague enough that you have some freedome of character, but at the same time, detailed enough that your character's morale drive and quest goals are pretty clear. Most backstories are far too long for me and still don't include that vital  information, but I agree yours also lacks the details. As for formatting, while I understand what Ramses is saying, I think there can be flexibility in formatting if you are very clear and the categories dovetail into each other. While following a set blueprint is great, it can stifle creativity and not all builds should follow a set guideline.  I do agree that there isn't total clarity in your presentation, however. 

    Of the combat stances, I like the Bear best, though I don't think summons quite work as bears are isolated creatures. The fox and the wolf are too similar to each other. I like the trickster aspect of the Fox's stance, that is correct for both Orkey, or Shor in my book, but the wolf hunting is about endurance and working either as a lone wolf or in a pack. You wear down the enemy by pursuing it, so I probably would've abandoned sneak for that stance and gone for something else, perhaps pack play with the Totem of brotherhood, summons, or switched to combat archery. You are a little limited with your skills. Two crafting skills is always a struggle for me, though I definitely think Alchemy fits. I probably would've ditched enchanting and just rocked armor of the old gods, which has bonuses to your skills. You can always go back and kill the filthy Reachman later. :D

    Is he walking through Whiterun or Windhelm? 

    I will say this. I'm glad you didn't do a crossover build on someone I don't know about. You made something that I relate to more and I like that. It made me really miss playing with my Totems and Seasons series and you've inspired me to possibly revisit those when this contest is over. And if a builder gets another builder to think about building, well, then, mission accomplished. Good luck to you!

    • Oh, about the screenshots, those are old AF I found laying around. And depends on the worshipper, but yeah, I kind of forgot it was Tsun.

      Thanks for the commentary Lis, I will admit, pretty much all of this was compiled from a playthrough or two I didn't few months back and some notes and such I made, so yeah. Maybe one day, even if I don't win the contest, I may come back and touch up this bad boy one of these days.

  • There's a decent amount of decent ideas, but the whole they add up to seems a bit incoherent, disjointed.

    I won't speak about formatting, because I'm reading it in mobile view only, and it tends to make things look different. Though I have to agree, shifting the pictures next to your alchemy recipes to one side would probably help clarity of presentation

    The different forms of gameplay seem to lack focus a bit. The wolf/stag and and fox feel a bit too similar, and bear isn't very clear, maybe it might help if you went into more detail about it.

    And perhaps some kind of gameplay/item/roleplay conditions that need to be met or some other guide on when to use which would help to make each more distinct.

    I also noticed a few misspellings (and the error beneath that screenshot in Whiterun), so you might want to proofread the build.

  • Hey, I dig your build Chris, I humbly disagree with Ramses on some aspects of the backstory because if all those elements he cited were in, the backstory would be too long. We have to remember that when you don't have enough information on a faction you have to create your own, I don't think you need a "reason" to worship a deity also I think Chris gave enough purpose to the character (Alduin is going to tear s**t up and our boy needs to stop him).

    I agree that the fighting styles were too similar, I'm no lore expert so my guess is, you tried to create another branch of the monks with Hircine which I dig very much. I think the build has a solid base and can be polished even more. I liked it and can definitely see myself play something like that.

This reply was deleted.