This character concept was a long term project for me as it was very lore intensive as well as perk/skill intensive. The Ayleids have a good amount of lore written about them (some good, some bad) and it took me a good while to read through it and get a somewhat clear picture of what an Ayleid would be all about. I wanted to go for an extremely offensive-powered build that could topple any enemy in my way. Having come off of some other builds that required some tactical thought and planning, it is EXTREMELY satisfying to be an absolutely terrible force of nature dominating in any combat situation. Skyrim has had some great additions (Dawnguard and Dragonborn) and I felt it would be appropriate to share this build with the opportunities that the new spells and abilities offer. I will say, in all of my time playing this game and looking for great roleplay opportunities, I feel like I have found a niche with this build as it covers a lot of what the game offers while also providing a unique roleplaying experience that ties into all those hours spent on Oblivion. Here is ...
To begin, we must first look at the history of the Ayleids. Most of the history of the Altmer can be found in the wondrous works of Vix and most of what pertains to the beginnings of the Ayleids can be found here. All other information has been accumulated through the use of UESP, Imperial Library, and the Wikia. The Imperial Library is a massive resource and most of my information came from here. As the Aldmer made their exodus to Tamriel, they began to settle and form different tribes ... one of those being the Ayleids.
The Ayleids were the original founders of the now know Imperial City, named The Temple of the Ancestors in their time. Ayleid cities were architectural marvels ranging from small structures to extremely elaborate "labyrinth-like metropolises." Ayleid ruins are now known to be filled with undead, bandits, and other fatal traps to harm intruders of these long abandoned cities. The Ayleids were thought to set these traps due to their immense hubris and disdain of other races and cultures. The traps were set in "vain and in their arrogant pride in their achievements, their smug-self assurance that their empire would last thousands of years."
The Ayleids were known to worship certain Daedra (Meridia is one of note, due to her love of light) and to have connections with what some would call "unsavory" magics. Raising the dead and calling upon beings from Oblivion were not uncommon and were used to dominate those they enslaved.
While the Ayleid's had ruled with an iron fist, so to speak, their culture was very intriguing. The Ayleids were fascinated by the four elements of the world: Earth, Water, Air, and Light. It is interesting to note that they did not hold the modern natural philosophy's element of fire to be worthy. They deemed it "weak, a corrupt form of light." They believed that the most powerful and sublime form of light was star light. Stars, as well as the sun, are links to the plane of Aetherius, which is the source of all magical power, and thus they believed stars to be "the most potent and exalted of all magical powers." Meteoric glass would occasionally rain down from the sky which the Ayleids formed Welkynd and Varla Stones (varla means star). These magical stones acted as storaged for magical power, as most ES fans would remember from the game Oblivion. These magic stones could be used to restore the magical properties of enchanted items. With these endeavors to encase their power in stones from the sky, they thought of themselves as the highest form of both race of culture. With these magics, the Ayleids actually created what is now know as the magic school of Alteration.
The Ayleid's hubris was also thought to be their downfall. They were not the kindest of races. They took slaves by the many, mostly the ancient Nedic peoples, to further their ambitions. This was the major factor in the race's downfall. A slave, now known to be St. Alessia, had led a rebellion against their oppressors and was a turning point in the ongoing turmoil between Man and Mer. These now free Cyrodiilics would be the new inhabitants (Imperials) of the land.
The reverence for Earth, Water, Air, and Light is where my character concept came into view. With the addition of ash spells in the Dragonborn DLC and some sunfire spells from Dawnguard, I could accumulate a spell book worthy to represent each of these elements in extremely destructive forces to dominate through Skyrim. Combining these four elements and roleplay conjecture, the character concept I was able to continue with was very powerful.
Stone: The Lord
Major Skills: Alteration, Destruction, Conjuration, Enchanting
Minor Skills: Restoration, One Handed, Light Armor, Smithing
Armor: Elven Light Armor (enchantments: Fortify Destruction, Conjuration, Alteration, Magicka, Magicka Regen, Fire/Frost/Lightning Resist, and Magic Resist in any combination)
Weapons: Enchanted Elven Sword OR Enchanted Nordic Sword (Chaos Damage - 50% to deal fire/frost/lightning damage)
Shouts: Frost Breath, Cyclone, Storm Call, Elemental Fury (unenchanted weapons), Whirlwind Sprint
Roleplaying is key for this build.
--As a race that enslaved men, it would be cool to have a follower to carry your loot as you adventure through Skyrim. I personally do not like followers and used the "they are not worthy" aspect to travel alone.
--No using any form of fire spell. (exceptions: Chaos Damage and Ash Spawn)
--Join the Empire. Thalmor are your "allies", but you do not bow to anyone.
Combining the four elements is what makes this build so versatile and destructive. Here, you will find a breakdown of skills/spells that can represent each element for the Ayleid:
Ash Shell - projectile version of Ash Rune
Conjure Ash Spawn
Conjure Ash Guardian - requires Heart Stone
Iron - Ebony Flesh
Wall of Frost
Conjure Frost Atronach
Waterbreathing spell and Waterwalking enchantment
Elemental Fury (occasional)
Conjure Storm Atronach/Thrall
Sparks, Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning, Thunderbolt, Lightning Storm
Wall of Storms
Sunfire, Vampire's Bane, Stendarr's Aura
I will be adding to this list as I think of more that can fit into each element, but I am pretty sure I got the majority of what I use with this character. As you can see, there is no fire. I mentioned before that the Ayleids think fire is a weak and corrupted source of light, so that is why their cities are always lit with star light from Welkynd and Varla stones.
Skills/Perks and Gameplay
Level 50 breakdown: Here
Alteration: The magic school that was created by the Ayleids. Flesh spells assist early on with armor while your main goal is the paralyze spells and magic resistance perks. Telekinesis is a great spell to use when disarming opponents or attaining hard to reach items. Waterbreathing is also very useful for avoiding enemies undetected underwater as well as exploring for treasures.
Destruction: One of two schools that will turn your reverence for the four elements into ranged and close quarters damage. Frost and Lightning will be used here (water and light) to deal continued punishment from afar. Fire spells and perks will not be used or taken, they must be avoided.
Conjuration: The other magic school use to conjure elementals to fight alongside you. Frost Atronach and Storm Atronach will be your main spells for awhile until more are attained. It is not uncommon for an Ayleid to dabble with the undead and other Daedra summons, as I have used zombies, Bonemen/Mistmen/Wrathmen, and Daedra Lords to aid in tougher battles. The new Ash Guardian does NOT count towards your conjuration count, so you may have up to 3 summons in one area as they do not follow you. Ash Guardians will guard the area in which they are summoned. You MUST have a Heart Stone in your inventory or it will become hostile! Hilarity ensues if you forget you do not have a Heart Stone! Ash Spawn also use fire spells, which is one of two exceptions to using fire.
Enchanting: Enhancing elemental damage, boosting resistances, and all the other great things this skill involves are more than welcome. The use of soul gems mimics the use of Welkynd and Varla Stones. Note: Having 85% magic resist is the max, but you can stack on MORE resistances to individual elements, allowing up to 97% resist to either fire, frost, or shock.
One Handed: Your melee attack. Using the Chaos Damage enchantment on your sword, you can dish out massive amounts of elemental damage. Here, fire damage is the second exception to dealing fire damage. Utilizing the sword is combined with the various cloak spells to further tack onto the furious onslaught with your summons.
Light Armor/Smithing: Elven Armor (light version) is a great aesthetic for an Ayleid. The lighter, enchanted armors allow for good defense while being light on your feet.
I hope you give this character build a try. At first glance, it may look like a massive battlemage that we have all seen before, but imagination and roleplaying are key. You are an Ayleid, ancient Wild Elves of the Heartland that were once a great Empire and enslaved the masses to further your power. Utilizing the forces of nature, you are a terrible power that should be reckoned with. Allow yourself to be put into the world where the word "alteration" was not know, but it was a way of life!
Please enjoy as always. Let me know if you have any ideas towards spells fitting into certain elements or other ideas that could benefit this character build.