Character Build: The Aspect Knight

This build idea originally stemmed from wanting to incorporate a large portion of the content from the Dragonborn DLC into a character that didn't just use them for gimmicks. This guy uses many of the new shouts, spells and abilities along with much of the new equipment from Dragonborn.


The Aspect Knight

The Aspect Knight is a echo of an ancient order of Tamrielic battlemages who revered dragons of all kinds - such as Skyrim's dragons, Peryite, Akatosh, and even Dragonborn. Dragons inspired the three fighting styles used by Aspect Knights, known as Aspects. A typical Aspect Knight would train in a single Aspect, while gifted or driven Aspect Knights would train in two Aspects. As Dragonborn, you have the power and tools to master all three Aspects and become known as an Aspect Master - a long and difficult but ultimately rewarding path.

Aspect Knights train in a wide range of skills - while those who train in different Aspects do not learn different skills, they do specialize differently. Aspect Knights are skilled battlemages, utilizing one-handed weapons and destructive spells for offense, and maintaining a near impervious defense with a combination of Heavy Armor, healing magic, and a shield. These skills give the Aspect Knight a full range of offensive and defensive options whether in close combat or at long range, combining spells, shields and weapons. Aspect Knights also know how to make and improve their own equipment, through both smithing and enchanting.

Race: I chose to play as a Redguard, with well-rounded skill boosts and a powerful racial power, very helpful against overpowering opponents at early levels (Ebony Battleaxe Deathlord at level 10 on Master anyone?). Other good choices are Imperial, with a boost to every skill used in the build. Nords and Orcs also make good choices.

Stats: I recommend leveling 1/2/1. The Aspect Knight utilizes all 3 stats, though as a melee combatant health is important.

Stone: I recommend the Lord Stone for an all-round durability boost. The Atronach and Steed stones can also be useful depending on how you play.

Perks: Level 20 (Flame Aspect) | Level 40 (Major Flame/Minor Air Aspects) | Level 60 (Aspect Master)

Major Skills

One-Handed: Aspect Knights train with a variety of one-handed weapons which they employ to great effect in melee combat. One-Handed weapons are used in tandem with shields or spells, and stay in the Knight's main hand for the better part of many battles. The Flame Aspect makes use of the deep wounds of the war axe, while the Air Aspect favors the quick slashing attacks of the sword. The Frost Aspect makes use of the mace to deliver slow but deadly attacks. Key perks are just up to Fighting Stance and specialist perks in your favored Aspect.

Destruction: Aspect Knights blast enemies with Destruction spells from a distance. Apprentice-level training in the skill gives Knights aspects to the spells core to their Aspect, and Adept-level training gives them access to some more specialised abilities. Key perks are up to Apprentice and the Augment perks for your favored Aspect.

Heavy Armor: Aspect Knights wear plate armor of Nordic style to defend themselves, and true masters also wear powerful masks which increase their elemental affinities. Key perks are just Juggernaut and Well Fitted.

Restoration: Like the dragons themselves, a skilled Aspect Knight is immortal. He can use magic to mend wounds and restore vigor, escaping death in almost any circumstance. They also study wards to make best use of Spellbreaker, the shield of Daedric Dragon, Peryite. Key perks are up to Adept, Regeneration, Respite, and Ward Absorb.

Minor Skills

Block: Aspect Knights use shields to defend against powerful attacks from both weapon and spell. Key perks are just ranks in Shield Wall - you can use Auriel's Shield without the Power Bash perk.

Smithing and Enchanting: Aspect Knights craft and enchant most of their own equipment. Key perks are up to Advanced Armors, Arcane Blacksmith, and 5 ranks in Enchanter.

3675354512?profile=RESIZE_710xA Flame Aspect Knight defeats this bandit with fire and axe

Demonstration Video


Weapons: The Aspect Warrior makes use of Nordic-style weapons, but prefers to leave them unenchanted to make use of the Elemental Fury shout.

Armor: The Aspect Warrior makes use of Nordic-style armor, in addition to a number of unique pieces. For the Chest slot, I used Nordic Carved Armor enchanted with Fortify Health. I also carried a Fortify Destruction version with me for certain situations - mainly dragon riding. Nordic Carved Boots go on the feet, enchanted with Fortify One-Handed. As for gauntlets, I used Ahzidal's Gauntlets of Warding, from Kolbjorn Barrow. These work with Spellbreaker, giving you a strong defense against magic-wielding enemies as well as a good source of magicka in many battles. Once I got the Ward Absorb perk, I made a new set of Nordic Carved Gauntlets, and enchanted them with Fortify Magicka. For my ring, I used Ahzidal's Ring of Arcana, also from Kolbjorn Barrow, a critical item for the Flame and Frost Aspects. For my necklace I wore an Amulet of Talos (enhanced by Fortify Restoration potion - see here), a valuable item to a shout-heavy character like the Aspect Knight. For my helmet, I used the 3 new unique Dragon Priest Masks - Ahzidal, Dukann, and Zahkriisos. Each of them gives a 25% boost to elemental damage (Fire for Ahzidal, Frost for Dukann, and Shock for Zahkriisos) as well as 50% resistance to the same element. Each of these correspond nicely to an Aspect - see the Aspects section below.

Two shields are used by the Aspect Knight - Spellbreaker and Auriel's Shield - artifacts of the Daedric and Divine dragon respectively. Spellbreaker is a very powerful tool against enemies like mages and dragons, negating their magical attacks and granting you a large magicka boost which you can use to return fire or heal. Auriel's Shield is more for general use against enemies without powerful magical attacks. After just 15 blocks you've got a free Unrelenting Force, a real lifesaver in many situations.

3675354786?profile=RESIZE_710xSpellbreaker gives the Aspect Knight an edge over magic-wielding opponents

Playing the Aspect Knight

The Aspect Knight utilizes a combination of fighting styles depending on what opponents he goes up against. Fighting with a weapon and spell is good against slow opponents, with the Knight able to inflict heavy damage in melee, and avoid incoming strikes while still maintaining a steady damage output from spells. Using a weapon and shield is perfect against larger groups of enemies, or a single enemy with both impressive speed and damage. On some occasions, the Aspect Knight exchanges weapon for spell, using a shield in his left hand. This tactic is very effective against mages, as Spellbreaker can absorb an endless supply of magicka for the Knight, while he whittles them down with spells of his own. In a typical encounter you'll probably close the distance with weapon and spell, before switching spell for shield and engaging in melee combat. Knowing what situations to switch combat styles (and Aspects at higher levels) is critical to becoming an Aspect Master. When switching Aspects don't forget to switch the mask you're wearing as well.

All Aspect Knights train in two shouts which are immensely useful in any Aspect - Unrelenting Force and Dragon Aspect. Unrelenting Force can quickly get you out of a sticky situation or blast enemies into hazards, while Dragon Aspect is a huge boost during boss battles.

Aspect Masters are so rare but powerful they gain the respect of dragons themselves, and can ride them into battle. A neat trick I found (only doable after finishing the main quest of the original game and Dragonborn) was to use Call Dragon, and immediately wait 2 hours for the Shout cooldown to wear off. Odahviing should turn up after a few seconds, after which you can Bend Will him. While dragon riding I equip my Destruction chest piece, as well as two different spells - Lightning Bolt to hit enemies while flying reliably, and Ignite to inflict serious damage while hovering.

3675354972?profile=RESIZE_710xAn Aspect Master is not someone to be messed with

The Three Aspects

Aspect Knights train in one or more of three Aspects, determining their fighting style - what weapons and spells they use, general tactics, important Shouts, and a few other minor equipment choices. Of course you can use Shouts etc not specifically mentioned in an Aspect - the ones mentioned there are key to gameplay. I find it is best to pick up a new Aspect every 20 levels or so, giving you more versatility and specialised tactics to take down certain enemies. For example I started with Flame Aspect, and at level 20 I began getting Air Aspect perks/abilities. This made me better in the many tough bossfights I faced at this level.

The Flame Aspect embodies the devastating flame breath of the dragon, consuming everything in its path. These warriors prefer to use war axes to inflict burning pain from multiple wounds on their targets, as well as highly damaging fire spells. Flame Aspect Knights are the best at fighting groups of opponents, with abilities enabling them to damage multiple enemies over time. Their main spell is Ignite, dealing the same damage as Incinerate over a 15-second duration for 10% of the cost. Plus, it stacks - making it very useful against tougher opponents, or groups of low health enemies. At higher levels you may want to make use of spells like Fireball and Flame Cloak to deal damage to many enemies at a time.

Flame Aspect Knights make use of many shouts. Their primary shout is obviously Fire Breath. With Augmented Flames 2, Ahzidal, and having meditated on Yol with Paarthurnax, it deals a whopping 180 damage in a wide line. Once the Dragonborn Flame ability from the Dragonborn main quest is unlocked, Fire Breath makes a good finishing move - there's no limit to the number of Fire Wyrms you can have, and even a single one is a good distraction and can deal decent damage. Elemental Fury is another useful shout, when employed with an axe and the Hack and Slash perk, the bleed damage stacks, significantly increasing damage output. Finally, Slow Time is very powerful in combination with Ignite - with level 3 Slow Time I can empty my magicka pool over the duration, outright killing or significantly damaging even the toughest of enemies.

3675355344?profile=RESIZE_710xA Flame Aspect Knight uses Fire Breath to devastate the bandits on this narrow bridge

The Air Aspect embodies the aerial agility and sudden but devastating strikes of dragons. These warriors use the faster sword in combat, as well as precise and deadly shock spells. Air Aspect Knights prefer to outmaneuver their foes, striking quickly when an opportunity presents itself. Using shock spells allows you to stay moving without fear of missing, as they hit where the crosshair is pointing. This also makes them the best dragon riders, as they can fire their spells while in flight much more accurately. Key to the Air Aspect is singling out an opponent and taking him down quickly. Swords will have the highest base DPS at higher levels, and are the best for single combat - with a shield or spell, they can make a quick attack before moving out of the way or blocking. At higher levels you might want to use Whirlwind Cloak to fling some enemies out of melee, allowing you to focus on the ones remaining. I was lucky enough to find a Lightning Storm spell tome in Apocrypha - when combined with the Secret of Arcana buff (spells cost no magicka for 30 seconds, 1/day), you can devastate flying opponents with a constant stream of thundery death.

As for Shouts, you'll be using Whirlwind Sprint a lot to get in and out of combat quickly and safely. Use it to surprise an opponent using a ranged weapon/spell; you can get a number of hits in before they can retaliate with a melee weapon. Storm Call combined with Zahkriisos and Augment Shock 2 is devastating, at level 3 it deals 140 damage per strike and doesn't miss! Cyclone functions similarly to Unrelenting Force with a larger area of effect, plus it keeps the enemies right where you want them - at the tip of your blade.

3675355749?profile=RESIZE_710xAn Air Aspect Knight uses Cyclone to avoid being overwhelmed in melee combat

The Frost Aspect embodies the slower but inevitable death many face from a Frost dragon. These warriors use the more cumbersome but hard-hitting mace to crush through armor, as well as Frost spells to slow the movement of their foes around the battlefield. Frost Aspect Knights are the most durable, able to survive the strongest of onslaughts. Using Frost spells, especially Freeze from Ahzidal's Ring of Arcana, lets a Frost Aspect Knight heavily wear down enemies before they get into close combat. Frost isn't the most damaging element - many enemies have resistance to it - but the slow works on most enemies. Freeze is more efficient than Ice Spike (45 magicka for 100 damage compared to 64), however Ice Spike will do more DPS. Unfortunately the slow doesn't stack, but even the base slow can be crippling. At higher levels Ice Storm is a very powerful spell, functioning in a similar way to Frost Breath.

Frost Aspect Knights specialise in shouts that hinder their enemies' ability to fight. First and foremost is Frost Breath. With Dukann equipped and Augmented Frost 2 it deals 158 damage over its 5 second duration, useful against groups of enemies to heavily damage, stagger and slow them. With the Dragonborn Frost ability it also encases foes in ice for 15 seconds, a huge boost to this shouts power. For a more permanent solution, Ice Form freezes groups of foes for much longer, allowing you to single them out one at a time. The Frost Aspect also teaches use of the Become Ethereal shout, making the Aspect Knight invulnerable for a short time.

3675356145?profile=RESIZE_710xA Frost Aspect Knight uses a mace to clobber this Cultist

Overall this was one of my favorite characters, the great sword and board gameplay combined with new spells, shouts and abilities and the awesome kit makes it a definite winner! If you've got questions don't be afraid to ask in the comments below!

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


Email me when people reply –


This reply was deleted.