Character Build: KoTN - The Rune Master

Hey guys, welcome to my second installment of the KoTN series. This time, I had focused upon the Dunmer. I found the Dunmer quite interesting in the way, they deal with their dead - instead of burying them like most races, they burn them to ashes.
Instead of creating the uncommon 'stealth mage', I decided to go a different route, using Disintegrate, combined with Shock Spells, all the while slightly showing the potential of Spider Scrolls. Onto the build!

The Rune Master

 Throughout Skyrim, there are countless Nordic Ruins, mounds and graves filled with the corpses. Corpses that are and should stay asleep. As imagine the chaos, that would be caused if one even one Dragon Priest returned.

I have heard many rumours, of the Dead, more commonly known as Draugr, awakening again in Skyrim. I fear that the Dragon Priests of old are awakening kept from the clutches of Death, by absorbing what little Life the Draugr have. The Dragon Priests must and will be stopped. They shall meet me, a Priest of Arkay, awaiting in the shadows, alongside my Spiders to make sure that they, never return back to life again..

For if I fail, nothing will stop them from enslaving Mankind again, with or without the help of the Dragons, and Alduin himself.

The Build

Race: Dark Elf
Stats: 2/1/0
Stone: Mage->Lord
Shouts: None.
Skills: Illusion, Alchemy, Destruction, Alteration, Sneak, Light Armor.
Blessings: Blessing of Arkay (Optional, useful but I normally kept forgetting about reactivating it again)

Something that you will rarely see made, is a build that utilises Spider Scrolls and Disntegrate. As something I had learnt is both Spider Scrolls (namely Cloaked Spiders) and Disintegrate, work together in perfect sync. How? Simple.

Cloaked Spiders, do levelled damage which also scales with the Difficulty (something I learnt in my Spider Scrolls Test, whereas Disintegrate always works, no matter the difficulty or the level (provided you have unlocked it first). Here are my notes on the Maximum DPS from Cloaks (Cloaked Spiders).

'The Maximum DPS from Cloaks are;
-20 DPS at Level 50
-Albino Poison 1 pt for 2 seconds
-30 DPS at Level 50
-Albino Poison 2 pts for 2 seconds
- 40 DPS at Level 50
-Albino Poison 3 pts for 2 seconds
-60 DPS at Level 50
-Albino Poison 4 pts for 2 seconds
-80 DPS at Level 50
-Albino Poison 6 pts for seconds
-120 DPS at Level 50
-Albino Poison 9 pts for 2 seconds

NOTE: The Maximum DPS from the Cloaks can be increased even FURTHER with Weakness to Magicka/Element, and can be decrease by using Resist Magicka/Element and Abosrb Magicka.'

For those who don't know, Disintegrate, instantly kills any enemies hit by the Shock Spell under 15% Health into an Ash Pile, rendering that corpse 'useless' to Necromancers, and what is even better is that it has no Level Cap and works on all Enemies (except those who have 100% Shock Resistance, which is only Storm Atronachs and Orchendor).

About the Knights of the Nine Series (KoTN)

Those of you, who know what my KoTN is about, can continue to the Skill Overview section. My KoTN Series, has been inspired by the Knights of the Nine (KoTN) DLC from Oblivion, seeing both, Man, Mer and Beast unite to defeat Umaril the Unfeathered. (Ok, technically, there was no Beast or Orc Races, but you get the idea).

As I make more KoTN Builds, I will add them onto my Page (via a Banner, which will have an embedded link which will take you to the Build itself). 

So what I wanted to do, is recreate the KoTN in Skyrim. Using every single Race and their 'boosted' skills, while 'working' for a Divine, such as Arkay. Doing this, has really opened my eyes to the possibilities that you can make. Truly, I have never perked or used the Master of the Mind perk in the Illusion tree and the Disintegrate perk is truly awesome. Anyway, onto the Skills.

Like Summer and Winter make up part of the 4 Seasons
So does Life and Death, make up the Wheel of Life.

Skill Overview

Before I begin, I want to note that the Build has both a Level 25 Perkspread with Equipment Spread and Level 40 Perkspread with Equipment Spread, with some other notes to make things just a little bit easier

Illusion: This skill, in the right hands, like the Rune Master, is just awesome. Throughout the course of the Playthrough, I used both Fury/Frenzy and Calm/Pacify. They both have their uses, but I had made sure that Calm Spells have/had the more usage.

Destruction: This skill, is the primary and only source of Damage, minus our Silver Sword. We will only be using Shock spells, as it drains our enemies Magicka (useful against Dragons, and Magic Users), and the Disintegrate perk, works wonders Roleplay wise.

Sneak: Ask anyone, this skill can be VERY over powered, however, I had only perked just enough to have Close Combat situations, while also having the ability to stay hidden/disappear at will. Never underestimate the power of a few perks, placed in the right areas.

Alteration: This skill, was purely used for Flesh Spells, however I stopped at Ironflesh, as to play smart, not hit hard. However, one thing I never thought about was the synergy with both Shock Spells, and the Lord Stone, with the Magic Resistance Perk/s.

Alchemy: This skill was purely used for Potions. I kept it this way, so things didn't become too easy or too hard. While increasing our DPS, the Potions, it can also increase our survivability, if thats' what you choose.

Light Armour: I merely had perked this slightly, as we won't be using full Light Armour, rendering most of the perks useless. I perked Light Armour, just enough not to get too cocky in battle with Sneak and Alteration.

  A Shrine of Arkay glowing softly, like a candle amongst the darkness.

Early Gameplay (Level 1-25)

During the first, couple of Levels. Things will be a bit hard. Due to having a low Magicka Pool (even with the Novice Hood), for Illusion Spells along with Destruction Spells. However, this is where I had adopted the 'saying' of 'Playing smart, isn't always hitting the hardest, or the fastest'. Why? Well simple, throughout this Character, I learnt, that getting cocky can and will easily lead to being slaughtered.

I highly recommend, obtaining the Illusion perk of Quiet Casting. As this will, dramatically increase your survivial rate. However, beware about grinding. If you grind it, too fast, enemies will be too powerful for your Illusion Spells. Also, both Fury and Pacify Spells have their uses. But learn when to use one over the other. Fury is great for groups (aim for enemies who seem to have a Two Handed Weapon) but Calm is great for one on one battles. (However, just sometimes, Calm won't be able to be effective (e.g against a Bandit Chief) due to the NPC being a higher level).

Also, the Silver Sword, is VERY useful even though it has low Damage. As it has an enchantment that does 20 Damage to Undead (Vampires, Dragon Priests, Draugr etc), whether this is dealt as 'Physical Damage' or 'Magical Damage' (like other Enchantments), I'm not sure. In other words, I don't know if an enemies' Armour Rating or Magic Resistance affects it.

If you dare, to tackle any Dragon Priests, the one I highly recommend, is Vokun. Due to having Anska (provided she survived), as a 'follower' of sorts. You are able to tackle the other Dragon Priests, just be wary of them either summoning a Frost Atronach (Damage Sponge, do I really need to say more?) or a Storm Atronach, or a Dragon Priest using a Shock Spell/Staff.

Recommended Quests: The Way of The Voice (Don't visit the Greybeards), A Scroll for Anska, Laid to Rest (purely for the Garden (Requires Hearthfire).

NOTE: Throughout my playthrough, I personally had wandered Skyrim and had found Nordic Ruins, where I would clear them out, complete the related quest and put the dead to rest. However, this is purely optional.

NOTE: You can really use any Enchanted Leather Boots and Bracers, alongside the Ring. I had only put what I had at that level. Although, I had Leather Bracers of Major Wielding (25%) and Leather Boots of Resist Fire (15%).

Late Gameplay (Level 25+)

This is where things in combat get VERY interesting. How so? Well, as you get stronger and you Skills become better, you will become more able to create battles, where you will rise as the victor. In other words, you will find yourself, winning more battles and dealing with enemies more effectively and more effciently. Hell, at Level 40 I found that I was able to deal with both Draugr Deathlords and Draugr Scourges with ease, That was normally when I created a plan, instead of running blindly into battle.

In others words, 'Hit smart, not hard', will still remain your motto, throughout this entire Playthrough. Sneak, enables you to quickly hide in the shadows with Invisibilty and Muffle when found, but makes it where it isn't too easy, Same as Alteration, Shock Spells and the Lord Stone. They both make dealing with Magicka users such as Draugr, Dragons, and Dragon Priests easy, but not complete push overs.

I found myself, slowing hunting down the remaining Dragon Priests, in a way, where I would become more and more powerful after each encounter. After the Dragon Priests, (minus Morokei and Nahkriin, see the Roleplay Section for details on why). However, I made it so, that once the final Dragon Priest was defeated, (who was Raghot), I continued to put the Draugr to rest in Nordic Tombs, while I slowly, stopped my Playthrough.

Something I will say, never underestimate the power of the Master of the Mind and the Disintegrate perk, as both dramatically change the Build when acquired.

Recommended Quests: Dawnguard (I went up to entering and leaving the Soul Cairn purely due to Roleplay), Illusion Ritual Quest.

NOTE: Throughout my playthrough, I personally had wandered Skyrim and had found Nordic Ruins, where I would clear them out, complete the related quest and put the dead to rest. However, this is purely optional.

NOTE: As I had mentioned before, the Enchantments on the Leather Boots and Bracers are purely optional and up to the Player.


Throughout my entire playthrough, I found myself not really relying on Potions and not even touching Poisons (unless I was selling them). My Potion selection is small, however, this can and will change on the Player.



Illusion Enhancer (Potion)
   -Fortify Ilusion 60% for 60 seconds
   -Restore 94 points of Magicka
Ingredients: Dragon's Tongue, Mora Tapinella, Red Mountain Flower.


Destruction Enhancer (Potion)
   -Fortify Destruction 75% for 60 seconds
   -Fortify Health 60 points for 60 seconds
Ingredients: Nightshade, Glowing Mushroom, Wheat



Magicka Enhancer (Potion)
   -Fortify Magicka 60 points for 60 seconds
   -Restore 94 points of Magicka
Ingredients: Red Mountain Flower, Jazbay Grapes, Mora Tapinella

Special Moves

Throughout my journey with this Character, I had found some interesting Special Moves/Abilities, that I used without even realising it. They are;

NOTE: Most of these Special Moves have been created against the Undead, but can easily be used against the Living, with little to no changes.




Nullification (Passive): The Rune Master, is capable of resisting most spells, casted against him, with his moderate knowledge of Alteration and at the same time, draining his enemies of their Magicka, further reducing the damage taken in the long term.

Requires: Lord Stone, Magic Resistance 3/3, Shock Spells.

I found this incredibly useful against both Dragons and Dragon Priests, as both only (except for Dragons, who use Melee attacks), Spells as their primary form of Damage. Simply put:

25% (Lord Stone, Magicka Resistance) + (Magic Resistance, Perk 3/3) 30% = 55% of Magicka Resistance. Reducing all Magicka Damage by 55%.

If an enemy only is capable of using Fire Spells, this is even further reduced due to the Dunmers' Passive Fire Resistance of 50%. Add in the Magicka Damage done by Dragons, Dragon Priests etc, and you will find out that they have no choice but to find another form of damage.


Hidden: If either in a losing battle against the Undead or the Living or wishing to survey the battlefield, the Rune Master is capable of disappearing into the Shadows, only to reappear when he sees fit.

Requires: Invisibility (Optional), Muffle, Sneak Mode.

I used this Special Move, plenty of times whether I was either, surveying the battefield or simply fleeing a battle. Simply casted Muffle then Invisibilty and retreated into some Shadows in the Cave/Ruin or out of the place itself.

Never underestimate the stupidty of the enemies Detection A.I. Something to always note, is the Shadows and the layout of the map/level, as this is crucial to using Hidden to its maximum potential.

NOTE: I made sure that with this Special Move, it isn't possible to stand right in front of an Enemy and not get detected.





Scorching Strike: The Rune Master, has the ability of using Cloak Spells and dramatically increasing their Range via Potions. When combined with his Silver Sword, and Flame Cloaked Spiders, leaving nothing remaining of the Undead except for burnt remains.

Requires: Flame Cloak, Destruction Enhancer, Flame Cloaked Spiders (Optional).

Something that is not very known, is that the Damage dealt by Flame Cloaked Spiders can be stacked. Meaning the more Flame Cloaked Spiders, the more DPS dealt, and this further stacks with Cloak Spells. Against the Undead, this completely burns them to a crisp, leaving nothing but burnt remains.

I found this Special Move being very versatile, as you can either use it in conjunction with Hidden, and Denotation, (if you feel the extra DPS), all the while being useful in both Sneak Mode and close combat.





Lightning Strike: The Rune Master is more then capable of damaging the Undead and the Living, while either hidden in the Shadows, or in close combat, through his Cloak spells, while having the possibility of instantly killing both the Living and the Undead, and leaving nothing but a Ash Pile. 

Requires: Lightning Cloak, Disintegrate (Recommended but optional), Destruction Enhancer.

Essentially the same as Scorching Strike, except for exchanging Flame Cloak with Lightning Cloak, which is further bolstered by Destruction Enhancers (like Flame Cloaks), and the Disintegrate perk.

Another thing that sets Lightning Strike and Scorching Strike apart is that, Undead are burnt quickly to a crisp with Scorching Strike, but Lightning Strike can and will turn all enemies into mere Ash Piles.

Essentially, they both have their uses and are incredibly useful against both the Living and the Undead.




Denotation: The Rune Master, is capable of creating Runes, that once trigger have the ability to explode dealing Fire Damage, to all those nearby. The Rune Master is also, more than able to significantly increaase the damage done by these Runes.

Requires: Fire Rune, Rune Master (Optional), Destruction Enhancer (Optional)

As we all know, Destruction Runes are deal about 50 damage, which really isn't much. However, something I have stumbled across, is that Destruction Runes are affected Damage wise by Fortify Destruction perks, greatly increasing their effectiveness, especially when combined with Rune Master (perk).

NOTE: To my knowledge, Destruction Runes are not affected by either Augmented Perks nor Intense Flames, Deep Freeze or Disintegrate.





Final Rest: The Undead, have only truly experienced Death. Sadly, some Undead, come back, sometimes without their consent. The Rune Master, along with Arkay's Blessing, can give the Undead a true Death, leaving only a mere ash pile of the Undead. Never to be raised or disturbed again.

Requires: Lightning Bolt/Chain Lightning, Disintegrate, Flame Cloaked Spiders/Flame Cloak (Both Optional)

Final Peace, is absolutely the strongest Ability against the Undead, as combined with Disntegrate, Shock Spells and Flame Cloaked Spiders, it can make easy work of them. As Flame Cloaked Spiders, can deal approx. 35 pts of DPS via their Cloak on Adept, which increases with Higher Difficulties.

This combined, with the Disintegrate perk, which activates when the target has 15% of their maximum HP, creates some interesting situations, especially when used against Undead (due to their Weakness to Fire).



Throughout this entire build, I have kept saying 'Play smart, not hit hard', or something along those lines. This is because as you won't have enough Armour Rating to fight in close combat, with a Dragon, nor will you have enough Magic Resistance to sit in the line of fire (well line of... You get the idea).

Against groups of Warriors, I recommend using Frenzy/Frenzy Rune, for the AoE (Area of Effect), or if you don't have that, simply use Fury against what you think is the biggest threat (i.e the closest one/with the strongest armour (as enemies with better armor, generally are the stronger variant)). Amidst the chaos, I recommend either using Cloaked Spiders (as this is the perfect oppurnity due to their constant Cloak Aura), and/or Chain Lightning, due to its ability to hit multiple targets with one cast. Essentially any of the Special Moves, are highly recommended, due to their AoE effects.

When up against Archers, simply pick them off with either Frenzy/Fury (as they generally don't have much HP, so they will go down rather quickly), or even better. Cast Frenzy into a Crowd, and whoever is left, either initiate close combat with them or cast Frenzy again.

All warriors, brutes and anyone inbetween only have and rely strength.
Even strength has to bow down to wisdom sonetimes.

Dragons and Mages, are fairly easy. With Dragons, keep your distance while spamming Lightning Bolt, use any Destruction Enhancer to increase the Damage. However, you really won't be needing any Dragon Souls (Roleplay Section below) so you won't really come across them often. Against Mages, simply use, Frenzy, Lightning Bolt/Chain Lightning, with the occasional Denotation (if you have the Magicka) and just rinse and repeat. I highly recommend working towards/having Nullification when approaching Dragons and Mages.

You will generally be coming across Undead/Draugr quite often in your adventures, so I highly recommend learning what their A.I is like and how they react in certain situations. You can either use Burning Strike, Denotation, or Final Rest, to make quick work of these opponents.

Dragon Priests, are the one and only enemy, you will actively hunt for and encounter besides the Undead/Draugr. I found battles against Dragon Priests, to be quite fun and enjoyable. I can not recommend enough using Destruction Enhancers, along with Final Rest.

WARNING: When Dragon Priests, summon a Storm Atronach, I cannot emphaise this enough, have either a follower or use Cloaked Spiders against the Dragon Priest, and FOCUS on the Atronach, in both the Early Game and Late Game, as it will dramatically change the battlefield (even with Nullification).

HOWEVER, if you have the Master of the Mind perk, I highly recommend using Pacify (with a Illusion Enhancer) on the Atronach. Doing so, will essentially make the Atronach useless for the Dragon Priest for 60 seconds. Leaving the Dragon Priest open to attacks, I cannot stress enough how badly you need to drain the DPs' Magicka Pool. Doing so, will stop Atronach's being summoned. If you must escape and regroup, use Hidden.

Deep in Ragnvald, the Rune Master battles the Dragon Priest, Otar the Mad.


Roleplay for the Rune Master is fairly simple, by following Arkays' Commandment, which is;

Honor the earth, its creatures, and the spirits, living and dead. Guard and tend the bounties of the mortal world and do not profane the spirits of the dead.

Following this was fairly simple. I avoided using any Enchanted Weapons (due to need recharging via Soul Gems). I found using the Silver Sword, was very helpful as it felt like something a Priest of Arkay would use, while dealing extra damage to Undead, without needing Soul Gems for recharging.

The reason why I used no Shouts, was once again due to Souls. It felt wrong for a Priest of Arkay to absorb Dragon Souls, and even worse to use them to unlock them. Hence, why I completely avoided the Main Quest, as it heavily requires absorbing Dragon Souls, only to use them to unlock Shouts. If that makes any sense.

At the same time, I tried imitating the 'average joe', hence why I never completed the Dawnguard questline (stopped at Prophet as imagine, how would a Priest of Arkay feel in the Soul Cairn? A place of tortured/captured souls), battled with Potema (or begun her relevant quests). As think about it, how can a Priest of Arkay, stand up against an ancient Vampire Lord, or even hope to defeat the Wolf Queen?

I imagined the Rune Master, being the best of the best, when it came to Priests of Arkay, but barely defeating Dragon Priests. Hence why I left both Morokei and Nahrkiin, as I RP'ed them both being High Dragon Priests, (mainly because both are already 'awakened' and quest locked).

Another reason, why the Rune Master is the 'average joe' is that almost every Priest of Arkay is capable of using Restoration Magic, whereas the Rune Master isn't. Hence why I used Disintegrate alongside with Master of the Mind against the Undead to my advantage.

Like I said, the Rune Master is the best of the best, when it comes to Priests of Arkay, but is nothing compared to the Warlock.

Closing Notes

I wanted to say thanks to;

-Aysleph, I really owe it to him. Why? He was the one who really gave the motivation for continuing the KoTN, instead of just taking my loooonnng time.

-Dota 2 Gamepedia (where I got all my Special Move Icons)

-Those of you, who gave me, the inspiration to look into Spider Scrolls, hence the usage of them here.

-You, the reader for giving me the motivation for getting back into the KoTN Series, as I had honestly thought, not many people were/are interested.

Trust me, I plan to push out more of my KoTN builds this year. I have about 2 that are ready to be tested, one complete (only needs some minor edits, one last playthrough and a type up). The others, I'm not sure, the Master of Arms is going to take some time due to the different 'classes' and the Ranger will be... Interesting to say the least. As I never really use Archery.

Anyway, thanks for reading my build guys! I hope you have as much fun as I did, playing it and creating it. If you have any comments, criticism (no matter how harsh), say it in the comments.

Don't forget, if you like my build, make sure to click the 'like' button! It may mean nothing to you, but it means alot to us, Builders.

(Those who know my original, Mage of Arkay, will know that (in my opinion) it was horrible. Hence why, I redone it from scratch. (Really using the Ebony Mail as an 'artefact' of Arkay, what was I thinking)).



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


Email me when people reply –


  • Lots of great stuff in here, Lee. You are the second guy on the site to make me look at Spider Scrolls again, I did not know they scaled with difficulty that way. (I am planning a build with a Mephala worshipper, but I don't think spider scrolls will fit for him.) And dang, I respect the challenge you set for yourself with that gear set! I am always partial to high offense/low defense builds.

    Several suggestions, no particular order--repeat, suggestions, not criticisms!

    --Flame spiders are great, but why not shock spiders? Seems like it would fit the theme (and pure guess here, maybe they also would benefit from Augmented Shock perks).

    --I might remove the first two special abilities; they are basically a) perked resistances and b) stealth. Suggestion is largely because you have six specials in that section--cutting down to 4 would make each one more, um, special.

    --Likewise, you could combine 'scorching' and 'lightning' strike specials into a single "elemental strike" special, and just describe it as having a fire and shock option. They are the same thing. (This one is great, BTW, cloaks and DoTs everywhere I love it)

    --Since you perked alchemy, maybe take along weakness to fire/shock/magic poisons? Won't help with undead, your primary enemy, but it will help with other bad guys. (You could also swap one of your stealth perks for the Poisoner perk)

    Like I said just some thoughts I had when reading.

    • Hmm... Firstly I was admittedly stuck between both Shock and Fire Spiders but in the end I chose Fire over Shock as finding Sapphires can be a lot harder for some compared to finding Rubies, that and when I did use Flame Spiders (normally against the Undead), it just burnt them to a crisp. But you make a good point, I'll add it in.

      To my knowledge Spiders aren't affected by Aug perks, but I'll definitely check it out.

      Hmm... Good point about Poisoner, but... Yeah ok good point. I forgot all about Weakness Poisons, I've still got the Saves so I'll give it a quick run. But when I did come across it, I was mainly in the shadows, but... Hmm... It definitely can work.

      I was debating that myself with the Strikes, and Hidden, but I wasn't entirely sure. I'll fix those up.

      Hmm...Mephala you say? I'd say maybe Mind Control (hence little to no need for Illusipn, but it should work great with it (just be careful as Spells will kill the MC Spiders)) and maybe Poison Spiders?

      I know mate, I had these same thoughts myself, but I really wanted to get this posted as I didn't know when I would be able to next. That and it took me over an hr (2 hrs I think), to transfer this to here from Wordpad.

      The soonest I will be able to make the changes should be in a few days. I'll let you know how both Poisoner and if Aug perks affect Spiders (and those Specialisation petks do to).

      EDIT: You know what? I'm going to do one better, I'll (attempt to) take a video while playing if you want. I can't ptomise that it will be the quality that Curse does but it's purely to show what the Rune Master is capable of

      • Ok, Aug and Specialisation perks don't affect the Cloakrd Damage from Spiders (tested on both Flame and Shock, Adept, as Impetial at Level 40 with no Magicka Resistance).

        Also, Fortify Destruction Poisons (Nightshade, Glow Dust and Glowing Mushroom) have no effect on the Cloak Damage.

        EDIT: Weakness Poisons on targets work as normal.

  • some images seem to be broken for me

    • I can fix those up.

This reply was deleted.