A shaman is a religious leader of a small group of worshippers and is responsible for spiritual healing and protection, offering wisdom and interpreting tenants for their followers. A shaman relies on his mystical powers drawn from worship of nature. Powerful warriors, they rely on their power given to them by their object of devotion to fortify and protect themselves. Shamans are eternally loyal to their creed and people, fighting and even dying for them if need be. In gameplay terms, they are the perfect combination of mage, warrior, and rogue, a jack-of-all-trades without gimping any of the areas or any of the skills feeling forced. In short, a cross between a spellblade, a support class, and a tactical general.
Like the Paladin class, being a Shaman immediately raises questions. Which religion are they a leader for? What people do they protect? So rather than make a Skaal hippie-druid (even though I felt I had to make the classic), I decided to make a “paths of” series of three builds, each of them unique and completely separate, having their own story and gameplay notes, as well as different ways that they use their skills. None of them are explicitly connected, so feel free to read one or all.
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One Handed : Originally using the Blunt Weapon skill, they’re described as being proficient with a variety of weaponry, being capable warriors in their own right.
Alteration : A useful college of magic to the shaman, who finds uses for both Paralysis and Magical Armor.
Destruction : Using power drawn from their divine, shaman can concentrate their energy into devastating effects.
Conjuration : Able to summon spirits of their worship or imbue corpses with noble spirits, a shaman will never find a fight where Conjuration isn’t useful.
Restoration : Even though the clan has healers of its own, a shaman has enough skill in the college to heal the spirits of their warriors and repel the foulest of undead.
Sneak : Moving with grace and a light step, a shaman becomes one with his world and divine.
Light Armor : Not an incompetent warrior by any means, the shaman of Bloodmoon relied on medium armor. In Skyrim, they can both perk and buff their armor to get a similar level of protection.
Enchanting / Alchemy / Smithing : As the resident wise-man, a shaman is responsible for handing down their ancient traditions and crafts.
SHAMAN of the ALL-MAKER
Race: Nord, preferably a very Nordy-looking Nord.
Stats: 2/1/0, we have no need of stamina but need to be a steady arcane warrior
Standing Stone: Mage/Warrior -> The Steed (to compensate for the lack of carry weight)
Equipment: Leather/Skaal Armor, Steel/Skyforge Steel/Stahlrim Mace of Frost
Additional Abilities: All-Maker Stones, Ice Magic, Conjure Familiar/Necromancy, Werewolf (somewhat), Enchanting
Quests: Dragonborn (main quest), College of Winterhold, Black Star, Companions, Ill Met By Moonlight, Main Quest, Destroy the Dark Brotherhood, Dawnguard
Followers: Vilkas/Frea, Meeko
Long ago, his family was cast out from the tribe for besmirching their honour but they kept true to the All-Maker’s ways and lived life to His rules. Now, broken free from his family and modern civilization our to-be shaman searches Solstheim for his family’s old clan and to restore his name. Since their own land and religion is chaos due to the corruption of the All-Maker’s Stones, the Skaal ask him to make a pilgrimage to three sights of ancient Nordic power: the Hall of the Companions and the boat that carried their ancestors from the ancient homeland, the monastery of High Hrothgar, where the old magic of the Thu’um is used worthily and in the name of peace rather than destruction, and the College of Winterhold where the clever studies of magic are taught in the oldest magical institution.
Taught to fight with the greatest of warriors, brave magic with the craftiest of wizards, and Shout with the wisest of Tongues, the shaman returns to Solstheim as a hero yet to prove himself, commanding the weather and the beasts, and can help the warriors fight stronger as well as call the honoured dead to battle once more. Fighting the corrupting influence of the Thu’um’s power, following the Ways of the All-Maker and the Voice, the shaman-in-training helps restore Solstheim to its former peace and the Skaal to a semblance of balance.
The villagers of the Skaal show him how the power of the werewolf can only corrupt and destroy him, telling him stories of the Bloodmoon Hunt and how the Skaal were revenged by the werebeasts of Hircine. Consequently, the shaman gives up the power of the wolf.
Hoping to return his original homeland to the same kind of peace, he asks Frea to accompany him to Skyrim, where they fight the evil forces of assassins, a den of maniacal vampires, and the World Eater himself. Though the world must end, the Shamans of the Skaal refuse to let Alduin devour the souls meant for the All-Maker and upset the balance in the world.
Combat. In combat, the shaman calls upon the powers of the north, controlling animals and the devastating cold of Skyrim to bring his foes to reckon. But he works from the shadows, asking the All-Maker to hide and guard him from all enemies, letting followers and the raised do his work until absolutely necessary. Support your team with healing as needed, slowing the ranged enemies with frost spells (Freeze is very nice in this, as its slow effect is 15sec long—see how to get the spell permanently under “Exploits”), and later begin to thump them if they get too close. Also, feel free to pray to the All-Maker for support and use His powers when your team gets in trouble.
Shouts. Animal Allegiance, Dragonrend, Kyne’s Peace, Clear Skies, Cyclone, Call of Valor, Battle Fury, Elemental Fury. Since the shouts this shaman makes use of aren’t particularly powerful (unless you start stagger-locking with Clear Skies or spamming Storm Call, neither of which exhibit the control of a shaman), utilizing the werewolf stacking glitch isn’t too unbalanced, I think. I’ve grown to really hate cooldowns, I think, since I also stacked on my “endgame” amulet with the 5 Amulets of Talos.
Magic. I used the necromancy side of Conjuration, seeing it as imbuing the corpses of fallen enemies with the noblest, ancient spirit-warriors of the Skaal, like the “Call of Valour” shout. No evil black magic there, just ignore the fact that your noble spirit-warriors moan and beg for release. Conjure Familiar is also a wonderful distraction at later levels: your brave spirit-warhound charges forth, howling, and is instantly one-shotted by everything known to man. But it stops enemies and gives you a few more seconds for whatever shaman magic you intend to work. It’s also very cheap to cast and RP friendly—what’s not to like? Getting the sun spells from the Dawnguard is also fairly important, giving you a way to level Restoration in a practical way, rather than just waiting for you or your team to get hit. Also, sun spells are definitely in the realm of the All-Maker. This shaman avoids the corrupting influence of all daedra, even to the point of not summoning atronachs or lesser daedra, but spirits and souls of holy beings are of the All-Maker and just fine.
The A Team. Frea makes for a nice lore-friendly companion, and the idea of a hound like Meeko running in the snow with a shaman is so picturesque it belongs on a Hallmark card. Until Frea can be gotten, I chose Vilkas from the Companions, just make sure to cure his lycanthropy. Part of the fun of the Skaal is putting together a really kickass team. For our two Thralled Holy Skaal Warriors, I chose Vilkas (sadly, he didn’t survive the cleansing his lycanthropy but was saved by the All-Maker), which gives us unlimited Wolf Armor and a solid two-handed tank, and Celann (who fell in the sack of Castle Volkihar but was rewarded for such a noble deed with imbuing his soul with a heroic warrior). Celann was my backup Thrall and is a rather defensive sword ‘n’ board fellow. You can equip your Thralls with Summoning Staffs and have quite the large horde for really tough fights. See “Exploits” for notes on Thralls.
Crafting & Gear. For a crafting skill, I used Enchanting, but I suggest waiting until you have a high skill for enchanting your Skaal armor, as there’s only one set and it can’t be crafted. Enchanting also feels very mystical and free, like you’re offering souls to the All-Maker in exchange for their power being imbued in your weapons/armor, which I thought fit the Skaal. I made it legendary at the end, after enchanting the Stalhrim Mace with Frost/Paralyze and the Skaal Armor of the Shaman, as well as my followers’ gear, and put the perks elsewhere. But the only perks I didn’t have at the end were Storm Enchanter and the recharging perks on the right. Solstheim blacksmiths will also begin to stock Stalhrim around level 30, so I started punch-reloading until they spawned a Stalhrim Mace.
Roleplaying. The Skaal’s Shaman is desperate to prove himself in any way possible and as we become more powerful through questing on Skyrim and leveling up, his journey is really a coming-of-age story. He is young (teenager or young adult) and doesn’t have a good grasp of the bigger picture, so he is easily corrupted in the “early game” (before the Skaal accept him). Feel free to do Daedric Quests if you want to in this stage, or even some darker quests before the shaman realises there are more important things than earthly power and wealth. Once he is accepted by his ancestral people, he grows up substantially and shows more respect towards the world and even his enemies. He honours all spirits of the dead, since they all go to the All-Maker, so leave things at the Dunmer’s ashpits or the Nordic burial tombs, and don’t go randomly grave-robbing. His purpose for staying in the back while his team does the work even changes. Early on, it was because he was scared, but later he becomes a heroic commander and Tongue.
The Breath of the All-Maker
Clear Skies + North Wind + Frost Cloak + Cyclone + Become Ethereal
Offering up a prayer to the skies, the All-Maker uses his shaman as a conduit for his own mighty breath, exhaling through the shaman’s mouth and summoning the Wind of the North and the Voice of legend, sheltering his own shaman from harm.
The Whispers of the Clever Men
Root of Power + Blizzard + Ice Spikes + Dead Thrall + Heal Undead
The shamans of old guide your hand, granting you knowledge to cast powerful spells and to bring one of their own into a corpse of the fallen. Together, you heal the wounds your ice caused. Save the Thrall spells for important enemies who are worthy of being a vessel for a noble Skaal dead.
The Beast Within
Conjure Werebear + Bones of the Earth + Battle Cry + Elemental Fury + Unrelenting Force
As you summon protection of the beasts, the power your blood used to have calls to you and you become a fierce beast of the wild, your maces tearing through your enemies at breakneck speeds as you carelessly throw enemies away from you while they flee in terror.
SHAMAN of the OLD GODS
Race: Breton, with noticeable warpaint
Stats: 3/2/2, dual-wielding eats through stamina and as a more offensive character we need health
Standing Stone: Lover -> The Lord (additional protection for CQ fighting)
Equipment: Saviour’s Hide/Stormcloak Officer Hat/Boots of the Old Gods/Scaled Bracers, Forsworn Waraxe/Leveled Dagger
Additional Abilities: Black Book Powers, Shock Magic, Atromancy, Dual-Wielding, Alchemy
Quests: Ill Met By Moonlight, Thane of the Reach, Red Eagle’s Quest, Forsworn Conspiracy, Discerning the Transmundane, Black Books, Civil War (Imperials), Dragonborn
Followers: Erik the Slayer, Vigilance
Raised to be a matriarch of her local clan, this shaman is a trained and reliable stalker, hunting with her peoples’ axes and the storm magic taught to her by her mentors, the Hagravens. A gift from one of them, the Staff of Melka, is one of her most treasured possessions. One day, her matron had received a series of visions from the Lord of the Hunt and the Golden Eyed One, ordering the trainee to participate in a Blood Hunt and assist a scholar in the north.
After completing these tasks, claiming the prizes of the Saviour’s Hide and the Tome of the Unknowable, the shaman takes her rightful place (she thinks) as the leader of her people, the Forsworn, and champions them and their cause by slaughtering the Nords who won’t bend to their will. Despite her savagery, her cunning manages to win her the heart of a simple young Nord who lived on the Reach’s boarder, who later became her apprentice, wielding an ancient sword of the Reachmen for their cause.
Eventually, her hot-headedness calms down and she realises the power of politics. She wins over the court of Markarth with her honest and heart-wrenching tales of life in the wild, and is awarded with a manor and thaneship. She even joins the fight against the Stormcloaks, representing the people Ulfric slaughtered, but before she could advance with the Imperial Army, the Golden Eyed One called her to the frozen land north of Skyrim, calling to her with forbidden knowledge and magic. He teaches her to call upon him in fights and offers up his most precious Black Books, even teaching the young shaman the ancient art of the Voice to battle the Nords of Skyrim with, and she eventually becomes his champion in the Forest of Knowledge.
Rikke was right. The only way this war will end will be with Ulfric Stormcloak’s head on a pike.
Combat. She is much more devious than the Skaal, and enjoys the cover of darkness. Summoned atronachs can act as wonderful distractions while you slide up behind someone to plant your axe in their back or lure them into a fresh poison rune after nicking them with daggers tinged with Weakness to Poison. She is not above playing dirty and will use everything in her arsenal to win, including bugging out the AI. Utilize height whenever you can (NPCs can’t jump); scurry up to a Draugr tomb, spider eggsacks, statue shoulders, or the top of a post and shoot out lightning bolts until it dies. CQ primarily consists of getting your enemies the hell away, using wind magic and DOT (damage over time) to bleed, poison, paralyze or stagger them until they die under a rain of dual-wielded blows or your sparky cloak. I gave her an affinity for dual-wielding (Forsworn Axe + Dagger) to emphasise her bestial nature. A Bound Dagger is excellent for this in early-mid levels, until enchanted ones begin to surpass it. Followers and Frost Atronachs can help you in melee, but the Forsworn shaman also has a solid armor rating, along with potions of Fortify Light Armor and Restore Health, and can take a lot of abuse. Don’t be too concerned about our little Daedra worshipper.
Magic. Even though the Hagravens and Forsworn typically use fire or ice magic, I went with shock because of its connection to the sky and imminent danger. Add in some wind magic (Unrelenting Force, Cyclone, Whirwind Cloak) and we literally have the Oncoming Storm. In terms of Conjuration, she uses atronachs of all kinds and recognises that each has their use in combat. Later on, the Seeker is a fairly impressive summon, and RP friendly. Fire Atronachs are very agile and good at giving cover fire, while a Frost Atronach can tank damage and draw enemies away from you, or a Storm Atronach is a useful all-arounder and is immune to Shock, allowing us to use Chain Lightning with impunity. Also, match the element of a mage to your atronach to render their magic useless. Facing a cave of vampire spellswords who like frost? Summon a Frost Atronach and ruin their day. You see a lair of fire mages? Fire Atronach is the only summon you want in there. Restoration is used primarily with Poison Runes, but Turn Undead is so satisfying, and a healthy potion of Fortify Restoration can really buff up those anti-vampire spells or make Poison Rune really devastating, especially if mixed with Weakness to Poison. Since we don’t temper our somewhat crap armor, we’ll want some Flesh Spells if we want to be in CQ for extended times, and Ash Spells are useful when our armor just isn’t good enough.
Alchemy.Alchemy fits in with the whole wildling theme of living off the land, while Enchanting feels too sophisticated for the Forsworn. A list of the most used poisons/potions is on the spread below.
Gear. I picked the most savage look and since Enchanting isn’t used, the Boots of the Old Gods (Sneak 30%) are very useful. The Gauntlets (Archery 30%) are less useful, so I substituted them for better armor in the Scaled Bracers, while still looking furry and feral, outfitting my follower with the rest of the Old Gods Armor and Scaled. The Saviour’s Hide boosts our formidable magic resistance, and suits a worshipper of Hircine.
It’s not 100% known what the Old Gods are, but since they’re thought to be a combination of Daedra and the Breton parthenon, I decided to include my all-time favourites and upon reading that Hermaeus Mora is occasionally called the Golden-Eyed One, I knew she would be his champion. You can include others, if you wish (a very savage version of Dibella would be my next choice), but the main ones are Hircine and Mora. Take time to wander the forests of Falkreath and the highlands of the Reach until you can find your way around without a compass or a map, hunt the wild beasts and practice your sneaking. Rob the College’s Arcanaeum (don’t finish the College questline), steal knowledge from those too weak to defend it, and gather even the most useless books and recipes.
Followers. I picked the most “neutral” follower I could find: a naïve farmerboy who lived in Rorikstead. To our shaman, he was simply a blank slate to fill in with her propaganda of glory and war. In terms of animals, Vigilance of Markarth is an easy choice, but I also made liberal use of horses as part of nature and Hircine’s domain. I gave all the standard potions I found or looted to my follower, so he could use them and I had a good reason to make my own Restore potions.
Black Books. I used Dragonborn Force, Bardic Knowledge, Scholar’s Insight (for early levels, later changed to Lover’s Insight), Seeker of Sorcery (alternatively, Seeker of Shadows to make Alchemy more potent), Mora’s Agony, and I swapped continuously between the Secret of Arcana, the Secret of Protection and the Secret of Strength. For the once a day powers (Secret of…, Mora’s Agony), you can just read the book and reequip the power, and you can change powers as often as you want. The shaman would want to explore all possibilities.
The Voice. Hermaeus Mora gives her the knowledge of the Voice, and she quests for all the words of power she can find, trying to expand her gift. Is it her fault of the Nords believe her to be the true Dragonborn? It wouldn’t be terribly out of character for her to find a way to enhance her newly gifted Voice, and with the amount of poison-making we’ll be doing, a hefty cooldown bonus is always appreciated. Of course, the Nords think she’s becoming “civilized” as she wears their talismans and leaves an offering at their altars. How quaint. I only enhanced the blessing (not 100% cooldown) as this character doesn’t rely on shouting and I trusted myself to keep it in check. Her main shouts are Slow Time, Elemental Fury (dual wielding), Become Ethereal (for charging or gaining some ground), Storm Call (the most imposing shout there is), Battle Fury (to help her small army), Cyclone (command of wind magic), Disarm (the Forsworn’s agility), and Summon Durnehviir (as an undead minion).
Roleplay. I made her particularly ruthless and cunning. She rarely does something that can’t benefit her or her people. Even though I made her quite evil, she still loves her people and is very patriotic to the Reach and the Forsworn. Her story is more about her changing from the angry dreamer who wishes for the Reach to a crafty champion of their Old Gods and how she is put into a place to actually make a difference for her people. Some Forsworn don’t agree with this stance, though, and so most of her people still attack on sight, seeing her as a false champion of their people and Gods.
Revenge of Oblivion
Mora’s Agony + Paralysis + Conductor Poison + Wall of Storms
The Forsworns’ devotion to their Old Gods pays off as their shaman can watch as the tentacles of the Golden Eyed One devour their enemies, helping Oblivion on with poisons and spells, observing the lawful execution. Save this one for important bosses, but be warned some creatures are immune to poison/paralysis. As an alternative, shock wall and the staggerlock of Mora’s Agony can keep even the mightiest Draugr Deathlord on bended knee, with Weakness to Shock doing the rest.
The Cavalry of the Reach
Mounted Combat + Bardic Knowledge + Battle Fury + Twin Souls Frost Atronachs + Secret of Strength
Unlike the weak priests of the city, the shaman of the Reach charge into battle, summoning devastating aid and eventually joining the fray themselves, swinging their dual weapons with only their passion and hate to guide them. This was my standard way of taking on a fort in the Civil War. Basically, I wanted a combat style that was very different from the organization of the Imperial Legion.
The Perfect Storm
Cyclones + Secret of Arcana + Twin Souls Storm Atronach Thrall + Storm Call + Unlimited Lightning Storm
This is one of the most powerful combinations any character is Skyrim can pull off. Since Storm Atronachs are immune to shock magic, they won’t take damage and the Cyclones can knock anything off their feet so you can do your ritual. I saved this for the Battle of Windhelm. Storm Call is very indiscriminate with who it kills, taking friendlies, Stormcloaks and Imperials with it. This is the warning that the King in Rags is rising and the Forsworn will take back what is rightfully theirs.
SHAMAN of the PARIAH FOLK
Race: Orc, elderly with grey-white hair
Stats: 4/3/1, our use of Volendrung and its absorb stamina enchantment really lessens our stamina drain but lots of health and magicka will be needed.
Standing Stone: Lover -> The Apprentice / The Lord (to make up for the lack of Enchanting/Alchemy)
Equipment: Orcish Mace/Scourge & Volendrung, Imperial Leather Armor/Fur/Dragonscale
Additional Abilities: Smithing, Black Book Powers, Atromancy, Fire Magic, Cannibalism
Quests: Civil War (Imperials), Main Quest, Dragonborn, Lost to the Ages, Cursed Tribe, Taste of Death, College of Winterhold, Kolbjorn Barrow
Follower: Lob/Ogol/Ugor or other Orsimer followers
Being the forgewife of her chief, the shaman has always enjoyed a high status in the tribe. Interpreting Malacath’s signs through nature, overseeing the young ’uns as they smithed—she had a good life, until the dragons came, swooping from the sky to burn their huts. The tribe’s warriors battled long and hard, their sorcerers throwing spell after spell, and eventually the beast fell to the ground on the outskirts of their smoking village. The chief, who had struck the killing blow, went forward with a butcher’s knife and a heavy battleaxe, ready to carve himself a dragon steak, but the flesh of the beast melted off the bones and flew in a swirl of powerful magic, searching for a target.
And we know what happens next.
After a long deliberation, the Orsimer shaman decided to leave the tribe and use her powerful magic to stop the dragons. For a long time, tribal Orsimer have been prized members of the Legion, for their berserker combat and smithing prowess. Old and brittle, but not broken, she joined the army and used the Imperial Legion to travel Skyrim, unravelling the mysteries of the dragons and the Blades.
She grew into a hero and accepted her new titles humbly, revelling in her strength and power as a legend in Skyrim, but she never forgot where she came from, helping the wayward tribes to come back to Malacath’s strength and to punish the weak. She was rewarded for her efforts with Volendrung and Scourge, both powerful artifacts of Malacath.
She took it upon herself to become more powerful and expand her magics before facing the ancient Nord, Miraak. Exploring the land as part of the College, an independent financer, and a helping hand, she made up for all the years she spent in the stronghold.
As time went on, she and her guard of powerful Orsimer warriors roved the land, searching to prove their strength to both the citizens of Skyrim and the Empire of Tamriel.
Combat. Unleashing the full power of Ignite, it was my main spell for most of the playthrough. I got it at level 15, with a lot of perseverance and reloading to get through Kolbjorn Barrow (a level 30 zone, I’m proud to say). It might be a “slow burn”, but having between 8 and 12 DPS for 15sec with just two shots of an Apprentice spell is mega powerful. At higher levels, most of our magicka can be concentrated in more exciting aspects of Alteration (Ash Spells, Paralysis, Detect Life/Dead) and we’ll almost always summon an atronach every fight, since our smithed armor basically negates the need for flesh spells and our main damaging spell is incredibly cheap. Stealth is also the better part of valour, as it gives you the chance to shoot out several Ignites and severely weaken (or send fleeing) most of your enemies before you begin to clobber them with Malacath’s blunt instruments.
Gear. As long as I was with the Legion, I kept their uniform and used an Orcish Mace (both tempered). Higher up, I swapped to Dragonscale and completed the look with a Dragon Priest mask, also to help with our lack of enchanting and alchemical effects. I choose Nahkriin for the look and the magicka fortification, but other good choices are Morokei, Otar, or Vokun. You can always throw on your Aetherial Crown, which will store either the Lord or the Apprentice, depending on which you will want to remove in a flash. I smithed my own Scourge, which is a Daedric Mace. If you can find a Daedric Mace of Fire or Banish, that would be awesome. Even though she isn’t trained in two-handed weapons, she wields Voldenrung as best she can, absorbing stamina to keep up a barrage of power attacks. If you find a particularly nice piece of jewelry with Fortify Two Handed, equip it before you execute people with Malacath’s sacred hammer.
Crafting. I despise crafting as much as the next poor bastard (especially Smithing), and so I mainly used trainers for Smithing. After I got my Smithing to 100, I cleared a different tree with the mechanic at the end of the Dragonborn questline and redistributed perks to Smithing, then but later put the perks back where they belonged.
Followers. This character is significantly more defensive than either the Forsworn or the Skaal, and so followers are not as necessary, but having an entourage for the most important Orsimer Shaman is as good a reason as any to take a heavily armored, battleaxe-wielding Orc berserker with you on Master/Legendary. Healing and playing a support role is also important, as with all the shamans. Dress them in Orcish, then Ebony, and give them Dragonbone weapons.
Malacath. Feel free to browse his UESP page or (even more in-character) ask the Orcs in the strongholds about him. He carries grudges and looks out for Orcs wherever he can, but he has a strong sense of honour andjustice, even if he does believe in survival of the fittest. The Orcs, unlike the Forsworn, are perfectly happy to live in peace with the Empire, so long as the Empire doesn’t disturb their way of life. There’s a very strong mutual respect between “civilization” and the tribal Orcs, but there isn’t as much emphasis on living with the land, as there is living with honour, duty, and glory in battle. I also used cannibalism because Malacath is the patron of outcasts and this would show a true domination of foes in combat, as well as making our shaman even more of an outcast and throwing her even further into Malacath’s domain.
The Voice. This is the only shaman who is actually the Dragonborn, so I went more for the classic Shouts like Fire Breath, Dragon Aspect, Whirlwind Sprint, Slow Time, and Unrelenting Force, but I also added ones that would fit an Orsimer shaman, like Dismay, Storm Call, Animal Allegiance, and Battle Fury.
Black Books. Because of the Orc emphasis on duty, the Orsimer shaman would also complete the Dragonborn questline and cooperate with Hermaeus Mora (not champion him). It’s not necessary to find all the Black Books to stop Miraak, so I only chose the powers I had to in order to continue the questlines. So, I made use of Dragonborn Flame and the Secrets of Strength and Protection (since I had to get the Ring of Arcana, I might as well…).
Roleplay. The Orsimer shaman’s story is really my favourite archetypical fantasy story. She basically becomes the leader of a faceless band of ruthless warriors, committed to their god and to good. They won’t save weak people willy-nilly, but those with weak hearts or wills, like criminals and bandits, are as good as dead. Other outcasts (like the Falmer) are in the dominion of Malacath and shouldn’t be harmed unless provoked, but those Forsworn and bandit hovels are fair game. She’s a fairly old woman, having grown elderly in the tribe as a wise woman, but still remembers how to fight from her younger days. She is very committed to her duty as a Dragonborn, her duty as one of Malacath’s own, and her responsibility to do something important with the celebrity and power she gains on this road. Her story already begins as an old woman, wise in law and how people work. She’s unlikely to make stupid decisions or careless mistakes, taking time to set things up or think things through, but nobody can account for anything. She isn’t the “racist old woman”, but she definitely looks down on the other races and is wary of them. This is the first old character I ever RP’d, and it made for a really interesting experience.
Berserker Rage + Secret of Protection or Secret of Strength + Volendrung
Simple and effective, you deal a crazy amount of damage with Malacath’s own weapon, whilst using the power he imbued in all his followers. Secret of Protection with Berserker Rage gives a 75% resistance to all damage, while Secret of Strength will give you free power attacks with a weapon you aren’t very good with.
The Flesh of Thine Enemy
Elemental Fury + Scourge + Namira’s Ring
The Shaman of the Pariah Folk has found many “old” Orsimer, who feel they aren’t worthy of Malacath or can no longer take what they need. The Shaman rejuvenates with the feeling that Malacath blesses the blows she strikes with his own mace as she feasts on the warm body of her honourably slain enemies.
EXPLOITS & HINTS
Just useful tips and tricks I found along the way. They’re already known, but these apply to the above builds, and if you’re not the type who’s an encyclopedia on TES glitches you might want to skim this.
- PARIAH FOLK: Smithing Leveling. Getting the Warrior (20%), the Lover (15%), and the Well Rested buff (10%) gives 45% faster Smithing XP for 8 hours. Remember to put the Lover in the Aetherial Crown and only put it on after you’ve gained the Well Rested bonus to apply both. Then, crafting jewelry or Dwemer bows will get you up quickly. Then, of course, sell them off for training.
- SKAAL: Enchanting Leveling. A quick and dirty way to skyrocket Enchanting is to get a spell tome of Conjure Storm Atronch from the Atronach Forge by adding in a ruined book (found in most dungeons), void salts (Arcadia’s Cauldron in Whiterun has two samples), deathbell (Arcadia’s Cauldron has seven samples) and a mammoth tusk (the Arcanaeum has three) to the offering box and pulling the handle. If you learn it and later complete Tel Mithryn’s questline to gain access to a staff enchanter, you can make a Staff of Summon Storm Atronach, which will skyrocket Enchanting, and since you can make as many as you have Heart Stones (mined from deposits on Solstheim) and gold to buy unenchanted staffs from Neloth, you can raise it to 100 fairly quickly.
- PARIAH FOLK/SKAAL: Permanent Ring of Arcana Spells. Both Ignite and Freeze can be useful, but can only be used when wearing the Ring of Arcana. To make the spells permanent, take the Ring to Falkreath and accept the quest from Sinding (Ill Met by Moonlight). Once you do, the Ring of Hircine will be forcibly equipped, the Ring of Arcana unequipped. Before the quest actually starts and activates in your journal, try to equip the Ring of Arcana. You’ll hear an equip sound and the message that the spells have been added, but you haven’t actually equipped the Ring.
- SKAAL: Werewolf Stacking Glitch. Find a follower who won’t go mental if you turn into a werewolf and take them into the woods, away from people. Initiate conversation with them as you transform and when you’re fully transformed and your gear has been unequipped, trade things with the follower. Give the follower 5 Amulets of Talos, then equip them from the follower’s inventory to stack the effects for 100% Shout Fortification.
- OLD GODS: Friendly Forsworn. To add the player character to the Forsworn faction, which makes Forsworn friendly but doesn’t affect other relations, the console command (sorry console players) isplayer.addfac 43599 1.
- SKAAL: Mason’s Thrall Management. All credit to Mason’s Rise of the Fallen build for this. This will only work for thralls who were followers. Take your potential Thralls to Volunruud and find the Ceremonial Axe and the Ceremonial Sword. Instruct each follower to pick up one (don’t touch them yourself), and then read the book in the entrance hall to start the Silenced Tongues quest. Since the next objective is for you to find those two Ceremonial weapons, you’ll have togglable quest markers for both Thralls. I suggest you read his whole build for excellent Thrall management. Just… use this Thrall system, honestly, it’ll save you so many headaches.
As a PC gamer, I use a lot of mods with my playthroughs and while they aren’t required to enjoy the build there are some I would recommend.
- Heavy Armory. Adds in all the weapon types from Morrowind and fills out things that were missing, including the Skyforge Steel Mace (Skaal) and the Forsworn Club (Forsworn). The standard blunt weapon skill that the Bloodmoon shaman had can then be used in a more lore-friendly way.
- Amazing Follower Tweaks. I’d recommend this for any build involving followers, but it also adds a no-nonsense power that allows you to take any NPC as a follower. I used it for my Forsworn (where I used Kaie, a unique Forsworn who helps the King in Rags escape and can be found at Druadach Redoubt) and my Pariah Folk, in order to have all Orc followers.
- Daedric Artifacts Improved. Most useful for the Forsworn, as it improves the Saviour’s Hide armor rating to Scaled and you can reforge the artifacts to unlock new abilities (summon wolf from the Hunting Grounds, transform into a werewolf), all in a lore-friendly way. The Pariah Folk shaman can make a more interesting use of Volendrung (sideways power attacks send foes hurtling Fos-Ro-Dah style or Fortify Two Handed a hefty amount).
Another gem of yours Elysium, don't forget your Rank:Expert tag
LOVE this build! I cant wait to try it! I used to play an ele sham in wow, so I’ve always had a thing for shaman types and always wanted to recreate one in skyrim.