Character Build: Haknir Death-Brand

Haknir Death-Brand was one of the most ruthless and long-lived pirates Tamriel has ever seen. Upon his death, the strangest thing happened. Part of his soul went to the afterlife, while the other half remained in Gyldenhul Barrow, guarding his own tomb. It seems, however, that the Gods were not through with him. In a divine trick that only Sheogorath Himself could come up with, the part of Haknir Death-Brand that went up to the afterlife was now sent back down to Mundus. Once he returned, he plundered and pillaged his way across Tamriel north to Solstheim, where he would reunite with the other half of his spirit by slaying it in combat and regain his legendary swords and armor. However, he was caught near the Skyrim-Cyordiil border and was sentenced to be executed…


*Note: This build requires the Dragonborn DLC for the full experience, but if you don't have it you can always disregard the Deathbrand equipment and Black Book abilities and play it in vanilla Skyrim*

Haknir Death-Brand

Race: As much as I would've liked to go with Redguard for gameplay reasons, a male Nord is essential for roleplay. Be sure to give him a nice big scar on the face (known as the Deathbrand, no man can look upon it without flinching) and have him become a vampire (he was said to have lived an unnaturally long life).

Stone: I went with the Lord, for additional defense.

Stats: 1/2/1. All three stats are useful here.

Equipment: Obviously, Bloodscythe, Soulrender, and the entire set of Deathbrand Armor is important for both roleplay and gameplay, so pick that up as soon as you can. Since you can't start the require quest to get them until level 36 though, make do with a pair of ordinary Scimitars (easily obtained by killing the corsairs on the Dainty Sload) and whatever armor you can find. You'll also want to pick up the Ring of Namira for the useful Stamina boost, as well as the increase in health and health regeneration from feeding on corpses. This also represents how feeds upon the blood and souls of those he killed to extend his unnatural life. As for a necklace, I'd go with the Gauldur Amulet for a boost to all three stats. Finally, you'll pick up the Black Star, for recharging uses on Bloodscythe and Soulrender.

Shouts: I used Become Ethereal for safely closing the distance between enemies since this build has no ranged offense, and Unrelenting Force for staggering enemies (via the first word) and crowd control (with all three words). Beyond that, go with whatever you want.

Black Book Abilities: Dragonborn Force (from Epistolary Acumen) augments Unrelenting Force nicely. Scholar’s Insight (from Winds of Change) grants you an extra skill point from reading skill books, which is always good. Secret of Strength (from Filament and Filigree) is a Greater Power that makes power attacks cost no Stamina for thirty seconds, very useful when you’re dual-wielding and Adrenaline Rush isn’t an option. Similarly, Bardic Knowledge (from Untold Legends) is another good one since it’s a Lesser Power that improves Stamina Regen. Seeker of Might (from The Sallow Regent) improves all combat skills by ten percent, which, in effect, means that your swords do an extra ten percent damage. Finally, Mora’s Boon (from The Hidden Twilight) is a Greater Power that fully restores all three stats, an obviously useful bonus.

Quests: Deathbrand, Forbidden Legend, The Taste of Death, and The Black Star are all important for obtaining Haknir Death-Brand’s equipment, so do those as soon as possible. Pieces of the Past (he was said to have made a pact with Dagon) and The Mind of Madness (he was known for his fits of madness) are good choices for roleplay reasons. You’ll also want to do the Main Quest up to the completion of The Horn of Jurgen Windcaller. The Dragonborn Main Questline and Black Book quests are good choices too, as the Black Book abilities are useful for this build. You’ll also want to do part the Thieves Guild questline for access to fences. I also did Lights Out for access to the Wreck of the Icerunner; the interior never respawns so it makes for the perfect pirate home. Be sure to grab the Treasure Maps, being a pirate and all. Beyond that, go with whatever quests you can do that bring in a lot of loot, something all pirates enjoy.



One-Handed: Naturally, your primary offense will come from Bloodscythe and Soulrender. Grab every perk in this tree except for the axe and mace ones.

Light Armor: Another obvious skill choice, as the Deathbrand armor set is light armor. Grab every perk in this tree.

Restoration: Healing spells are a great asset to any build, as is Necromage–Vampire synergy. Aside from that perk, you’ll also want to get Adept Restoration and Respite, and later on you can take both ranks of Recovery and Avoid Death.

Alteration: Since you won’t be able to smith your armor, flesh spells are nice for bolstering your defenses, and Paralyze is a useful crowd control tool. Aim to get Stability, Atronach, and all three ranks of Magic Resistance.

Conjuration: Soul Trap is an obvious necessity for recharging uses on Bloodscythe and Soulrender, while Necromancy spells will grant you some undead allies. Be sure to get the Dead Thrall spell and roleplay your thralls as the ghosts of crew members from your previous lifetime. Perk your way up to Expert Conjuration and Twin Souls.

In total, you should have 50 perks once the build is completed.



Combat is pretty simple; cast your best flesh spell, move in on an enemy, spam power attacks on it until it dies, then move on to the next target. Cast some healing spells if you run low on Health (or Stamina, once you have the Respite perk). If you get the chance, feed on enemies with the Ring of Namira and raise them as undead. Against groups of enemies that are too tough for you, use Unrelenting Force to clear them out or Battle Cry to scare them away while you heal. The Recovery and Wind Walker perks, and the bonuses from feeding on corpses will ensure that all three of your stats will regenerate even when in the sun, and vampirism combined with the Necromage perk makes you very powerful indeed. Cast Soul Trap as needed to trap souls in the Black Star and restore charges on your weapons.

It’s roleplay where this build gets interesting. Haknir Death-Brand was known for rages and fits of madness, and he delighted in torture and murder for its own sake. Whenever you get the chance, murder the poor folk you come across. It’s a little difficult trying to implement torture into Skyrim, so just come up with whatever you can on the go. For example, say you come across a couple in a small house out in the wilderness. Paralyze the wife, kill the husband, eat his corpse, and then raise it to kill the wife. Occasionally act sporadically and unpredictably to best imitate the fits of madness, or slaughter everything in sight to imitate the rage.

First and foremost though, you are a pirate, and that means taking everything that isn't nailed to the ground. After selling enough stolen loot off, you should have quite a bit of money. What do you do with all this money, you ask? Why, you hire followers! Roleplay these as crew members who are joining you in the quest to make you the most feared figure in all of Tamriel. If you liked this, then be sure to check out my other builds to see more!

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



  • Really like your take on Haknkr and the utilization of the Dragonborn DLC. I’m not a big fan of magic with this build though since I view him a standard warrior/rouge as a pirate, but I don’t know too much him so I can’t say for sure.
    • Thanks Aysleph. I thought magic would be appropriate for a Death-Brand build as he seems to be a little on the supernatural side (pact with Dagon and all that).

  • This reply was deleted.
    • Hm, never though about resto looping that potion to get its effect permanently.
      • This reply was deleted.
        • Come to think of it, I believe resto looping only increases magnitude.
          • This reply was deleted.
            • It probably does. You gotta love this build for including a way to basically make yourself a ghost pirate. Really you just don't see enough pirate builds in Skyrim.
              • This reply was deleted.
                • Thanks Tysoyaha. Resto-looping the phantom potion is a cool idea but I think it would be more effort than its worth.

  • Well if it isn't one of my favorite albino builds. (My absolute favorite is the Quarra Vampire)

    I'd have done a death brand build myself but your interpretation of this guy pretty much covered everything I wanted to include.
    • Thanks Curse

  • Absolute marvelous build Albino. Suprisingly rare to see a build use the Deathbrand armor. Also you hit Rank:Adept

This reply was deleted.