“There’s something so beautiful about the swirling green hues of this toxin, isn’t there? How such deadliness can be held in but a small glass prison? It’s almost mesmerizing.
Yes yes, I can see the fear evident behind your eyes. You need not worry, dear, the process will be quick- like feeling the little pinch of a needle going into your arm.
Once this uncomfortable bit of business is over you will be brought back. Brought back without hunger, without thirst, without any mortality to drag you down. It sounds promising, doesn’t it? A world where Arkay’s laws need not exist, a paradise where we all live without this binding mortality.
But I digress, no need to fear the sting, dear. You may wish to close your eyes- seeing your own surgery can cause unnecessary panic.”
(https://youtu.be/JqHE9EeMKwE some music to set the mood)
- Vokrii - Minimalistic Perks of Skyrim
- Andromeda - Unique Standing Stones of Skyrim
- Wintersun - Faiths of Skyrim
- Alternate Start- Live Another Life
- Forgotten Magic Redone
- Path of the Revenant
- Undead FX
Native to the swampy marshes of Blackmarsh, Argonians have the following abilities:
- Resist Disease- Your Argonian blood is 50% resistant to disease.
- Waterbreathing- Your Argonian Lungs can breathe underwater.
- Histskin- (1/day) Invoke the power of the Hist to recover health 10 times faster for 60 seconds.
Standing Stone: The Ritual.
With Andromeda, the Ritual Stone still remains the perfect choice for necromancers:
- Mara’s Mercy: Approach a violently slain corpse to gather its memories, summoning it as a vengeful spirit in your next battle.
- Mara’s Veil: Reanimation spells last 20% longer and work on targets up to 10 levels higher.
After finding all 13 Standing Stones, you’ll unlock:
- Requiem: 1/day - Vengeful spirits gain 1000 points of health. They move and attack 50% faster. Lasts 45 seconds.
A basic run-down of this stone is that once you come near a corpse, the Ritual Stone will “memorize” it, and during the next battle you enter, the memorized corpses will appear as spirits that fight with you. For balancing reasons, these spirits have reduced stats. Be aware that on rare occasions, the Ritual Stone will not summon spirits during your battle.
“Trap souls in my name. Pray only at night. Never accept Arkay’s blessing. Those skilled in Conjuration are most deserving of my favor.”
- Shrine Blessing - Amplify Conjuration: Conjuration spells are 10% more effective.
- Follower - Dark Moon: Undead conjured at night last x% longer (based on favour with Mannimarco).
- Devotee - Nocturne: Allied conjured undead deal x% more damage and regenerate Health (based on favor with Mannimarco).
Worshipping Mannimarco will make up for all the downsides found in necromancy: your minions will last longer, deal more damage, and regenerate health on their own.
Stat Spread: 3 magicka / 1 health
Being a pure mage, the Blackmarsh Doctor won’t be needing any investments into stamina. A nice 3:1 ratio will give ample amounts of mana to cast your spells, and enough health if you take a few hits.
Skills: Conjuration, Alchemy, Enchanting, Destruction, Alteration
Two crafting skills may look a little daunting, but Vokrii makes it so that wielding a staff in combat levels up enchanting.
Custom enchanted gear, your “phylactery”, an enchanted dagger, Bloodworm Helm, Revenant Ring, Staff of Worms, and various other staves found in your journeys. The Bloodworm Helm and Staff of Worms are both found within Path of the Revenant. The helm will allow you to raise an infinite amount of undead but take 25% more damage, and the staff will raise an undead thrall permanently. The Revenant Ring is from Forgotten Magic, and when worn it gives 25 more health and magicka, and reanimates those killed with your Blight Curse. For my playthrough I wore Tribunal Unarmored Blue Robes, Hood, Gloves, and Boots from Immersive Armors (or as a standalone mod, Tribunal Robes and Masks).
Enchantments to look out for for your gear are soul trap, magicka regen, fortify magicka, destruction cost reduction, fortify alchemy, and magic resistance. After your transformation into a lich, you will be 70% resistant to physical damage, but take twice as much magic damage. Pump as much fire, shock, frost, and magic resists into your gear as you can fit.
From Vanilla Skyrim: Dread Zombie, Dead Thrall
From Forgotten Magic: Deathly Pall, Blight Curse, Necrosis.
Spells from Forgotten Magic level up as you use them, up to 5 times. Each time a spell levels up you can choose a new ‘talent’ to affect it, and each time a spell reaches its level cap, you can choose a magic affinity. Choose the death affinity, as the only spells used are from the warlock class. Here are some talents I recommend getting:
- Puppetmaster: Your undead summons cost nothing, and last 100% longer (works with all reanimation spells).
- Ghost Form: Grants 70% resistance to physical damage, but magic attacks inflict double damage. While in Ghost Form, healing spells have no effect.
- Visions of Death: Targets that come too close have a chance of panic for 5 seconds.
- Siphon Vitality: Siphons 4-8 health from the target to the caster on each tick.
- Desecrate: Infects living targets with Desecration, causing disease damage over 15 seconds.
- Bond of Corruption: If the target dies under the effect of Blight Curse, spreads the curse to all nearby enemies. Secondary curse gains no experience and cannot spread further.
- Bane: deals addition damage of 3% of total magicka per tick.
- Siphon Life: drains 8-12 health from the target on each tick.
- Devouring Shadows: If target is infected by Blight Curse, instantly deals 33-45 damage and restores 16-25 health to the caster.
With the lack of restoration, the siphoning effects from Blight Curse and Necrosis will be your go-to way to heal if you don’t want to use up potions.
Only 2/5 of Conjuration mastery is taken, as one of the talents available to Deathly Pall will cause all necromancy spells to cost no mana. 2 points are taken however to allow wiggle room in case you can’t find Deathly Pall or level it up as your conjuration increases. Following the necromancy path of this tree there are two types of buffs for your undead- short term, and long term. You will have to think about which matters more to you: picking and choosing undead thralls which you can equip with items, or weaker “in the moment” disposable minions which can burst out damage.
With poisons no longer lasting for only one hit, the poison-crafting side of this tree is a lot more enjoyable. You’re going to want to go up the middle branch until Green Thumb, and take all the perks from the poisons branch, including Purity. The beauty of this tree lies in the last two perks of the poisons branch, Plague Doctor and Gourmet. Plague Doctor will decrease the poison and disease resistance of nearby opponents by 25%, which will in turn increase the damage of your destruction spells, and Gourmet allows vendors of rare alchemical ingredients to sometimes stock Jarrin Root.
Enchanting not only levels by using staves in combat- it also has its own branch dedicated to them. Following the staff branch will make them stronger, cost less charge, make you take 25% less damage if you don’t have a shield equipped, and recharge by themselves without having to feed them the souls of an entire village. The armor-buffing branch will eventually get you to Extra Effect, which is extremely useful for creating your own gear.
Only Destruction Mastery 3/5 is needed, as the two spells you’ll be using- Blight Curse and Necrosis, are apprentice level and adept level respectively. They are classified as disease damage, so fire, frost, and shock perks will not buff them. Dual Casting isn’t needed as you’ll have a staff in your main hand.
Much like Destruction you’ll only need 2/5 of Alteration Mastery as the only alteration spell used, Deathly Pall, is apprentice level. If you have left over perk points or take this character beyond level 41, delving into magic resistance and mage armor would work well.
“How could I have saved them? How could I have done better? Six patients, all afflicted with something I’ve never seen before, all expired within a week of contamination. I scoured through my tomes, I toiled over my alembic and nothing! How am I supposed to tell their loved ones? How am I supposed to face their despair? They trusted me with their care and I couldn’t save them!
No, I will not accept this failure. There must be something more I can still do.”
Arriving to Windhelm by ship, the Blackmarsh Doctor will want to seek out the Ritual Stone- having read about its ability to bring back the dead. With little in the way of physical strength or control over the elements, he will instead rely on his knowledge of diseases and toxins from his time as a doctor. You should pick up a follower as soon as you have the gold, to face-tank your enemies as you travel the land.
After finding the Ritual Stone and studying necromancy and the undead, he’ll begin to believe that undeath is the perfect solution. No hunger, no thirst, no disease, no pain, no death. What could be more desirable to a doctor for his patients? He’ll come to the conclusion that undeath is the next step of evolution- that the Gods have limited the world’s potential by binding them to mortality. This naturally draws him to Mannimarco the God of Worms- the patron of necromancers and undead. As he delves further into necromancy- and thusly becoming further tainted by its profane nature- he becomes more “active” in his beliefs: going out of his way to kill priests of Arkay, and “mercy” killing the less fortunate citizens of Skyrim to send their souls to his Patron. He believes that the God of Worms will once again walk Nirn, and the souls sent to Him will be born anew in undeath along with His loyal followers. With vampirism being undesirable due to its affiliation with Molag Bal, The Doctor will turn to other means to achieve undeath for himself as he waits for His return…
“Fear not Cairine, for I can bring about an end to your suffering.”
“The amount of ignorance found in this land is disheartening. I cannot blame the masses, for they know not of their deception- or of a better path. I will seek out the forked-tongue priests of the God of Death, and bring about an end to their lies.”
Being a devout follower of the God of Worms, the Blackmarsh Doctor will hold a special disdain for Arkay and his priests. They infect the dead- allowing them to never be raised: those the priests grab a hold of are forever bound to mortality. Never accept their quests, and kill them whenever possible.
- College of Winterhold
“It so happens that my pilgrimage has brought me to the land wherein the magical institution has no qualms about darker arts. I must look into the Conjuration Master and see for myself his stance on the matter. If that fails, the Arcaneum must hold some secrets…”
Joining the College will grant access to Phinis Gestor, who will sell higher level Conjuration spells than Court Mages are able to. Once your Conjuration reaches 90 you will be able to complete the Conjuration Ritual Spell quest, allowing you to purchase Dead Thrall. Whether or not you complete the questline is up to you, but following through with it will grant you unique items with useful enchantments, such as the Staff of Jyrik Gaulderson, Staff of Magnus, and the Archmage’s Robes.
- A Cure for your Mortality
“It pains me to see the weak, the feeble, the ill wallowing in their suffering. Know they not of my Lord’s blessing? It’s understandable to fear it, to hate it, for they know nothing else but mortality. They may resist the Worm’s embrace, but in the end they’ll rejoice- as they walk once again by His side.”
There are many throughout Skyrim who are on the edge of life, who are rife with disease or on the brink of starvation. The Blackmarsh Doctor sees these people of being most deserving of his “gift”- believing he is saving them. If you come across any beggars, or those on the cusp of death, send their souls to Mannimarco. A quest that falls under this is The Only Cure, wherein you come across a man stricken with a strange affliction. Spellbreaker isn’t used, but the quest fits the roleplay.
- The Black Star
“I finally got around to visiting the large shrine near Winterhold- Azura’s priestess claimed to have “visions” about me. Whether she’s manipulating me or not, Azura’s Star sounds like a perfect tool for my ascension.”
Betraying Azura will grant you the Black Star, a black soul gem which can be used indefinitely. It’s useful for recharging staves and enchanting your equipment. Along with a dagger enchanted with soul trap, your items should rarely run out of charge.
“This province is no stranger to death- yet its people are completely backwards in relations to arcane teachings. It’s amusing in a way. I stopped by Windhelm after a pilgrimage to His shrine, and before I was even in the gates I could feel a necromantic aura shrouding the city. Even the Court Wizard seemed none the wiser. Perhaps this is a good thing- I know little in the way of Illusion.”
Seek out any necromancy related quests or locations, such as Blood on the Ice, The Man Who Cried Wolf/ The Wolf Queen Awakens, and Ansilvund. Rival necromancers usually hold useful materials such as soul gems, alchemy ingredients, and the occasional staff. If you decide to take part in the Dawnguard DLC, join up with the Dawnguard as lichdom is your goal- not vampirism.
- The Path of the Revenant
“I happened across the handiwork of a necromancer outside Dawnstar, seeming to want to stir up Vigilant activity. With power comes carelessness, it seems. The last thing this land needs is more divine missionaries and paladins. This Vantus Durgois needs to be eliminated.”
Just outside of Dawnstar you will see a lone skeleton standing over the body of a Vigilant of Stendarr. Take care of the skeleton, and loot the Vigilant to find two notes. Picking them up will start the quest added by The Path of the Revenant, and completing it will grant access to the Bloodworm Helm, Staff of Worms, and a player home. The boss fight here is quite hard, and once you enter the Crypt you can’t exit until the boss is dead, so I’d recommend being a higher level.
The Path of Ascension
The path of ascension is one not often tread, and for good reason. A single misstep and death will be your only reward.
Requirements: 100 Enchanting, Deathly Pall talent: Ghost Form, Deathly Pall talent: Puppetmaster, unessential follower, Hackwing’s Beak (see alchemy section), the Black Star, soul trap spell, “lichdom” enchantment known (gotten from the MCM of Undead FX), resist poison enchantment known, unenchanted necklace.
From Ascendancy: A Pathway to Lichdom (Elder Scrolls Online)
“The first element is the will to force your body into death and beyond. Without this ultimate power of mind over body, the transformation cannot begin…”
“Given the strongest of wills, great necromantic knowledge is next required. Willpower provides the force but knowledge focuses the will and directs the glorious transformation…”
“A plentiful source of souls is needed as well. These must be wrenched from their owners, as painfully as possible. The higher the degree of torment among your sacrifices, the purer the ascent to lichhood, the greater the power gathered in undeath…”
Lastly, a mighty magical relic is needed. An evil-aligned relic will suffice, but a good-aligned artifact that can be perverted to this purpose is ideal. This relic is the casting focus for Urelu's Loathsome Coercion, the spell employed to wrench the required souls from their erstwhile owners. The more powerful the relic, the more painful the soul-rending…”
- The first step in the path is to get a loved one, a trusted friend- someone close to you to sacrifice for your ascension. The more they care for you, the better.
- Find a secluded place with a strong necrotic aura, such as Blood-Mane Crypt, a graveyard, or an ancient tomb.
- Stab your chosen sacrifice with a dagger coated with Hackwing’s Beak. Once the poison wears off, reapply it. Do not kill them quickly by repeatedly stabbing them, the process has to be slow and painful for the victim.
- Trap their soul inside of Azura’s Black Star, which has been perverted for this very purpose.
- Use their soul to enchant your phylactery- a necklace with the Resist Poison and Lichdom enchantments.
- Obtain the Deathly Pall talents Ghost Form and Puppetmaster, if you haven’t already.
Effects of Lichdom:
- Once you put on the amulet, your skin will begin to disappear and you’ll be left with either a skeleton or draugr appearance. I prefer the draugr appearance, as the eyes don’t float awkwardly like they do with the skeletal one.
- Your lack of living body will cause all physical damage to deal less, while increasing your sensitivity to the arcane: resist 75% physical damage, but take 100% more damage from magic.
- Your journey into undeath has opened your mind to necrotic energy- you effortlessly raise the dead to do your bidding: necromancy spells cost no mana, and last 100% longer.
There are many combinations of ingredients to make use of. Some of note (with all chosen alchemy perks, but no other buffs) are:
For when you need the target out of the way.
Canis Root + Imp Stool + Mora Tapinella
Target is paralyzed for 15 seconds, and takes 15 points of damage per second for 10 seconds.
For the target that refuses to die.
Imp Stool + Scathecraw + Skeever Tail
Does 15 points of damage per second for 10 seconds, reduces maximum health by 30 for 10 seconds, damages health by 30.
For when you want to nuke your target off the face of Nirn.
Jarrin Root + River Betty
Damages health by 3000 (yes you read that right).
For when you need a quick escape.
Vampire Dust + Luna Moth Wing
Grants invisibility for 60 seconds, health regenerates 75% faster for 300 seconds.
For the high level mage that shreds through your health.
Dragon’s Tongue + Hawk Beak + Snowberries
Resist 45% of frost, fire, and shock damage for 60 seconds.
For when you need mana and you need it now.
Jazbay Grapes + Moon Sugar + Red Mountain Flower
Magicka regenerates 75% faster for 300 seconds, magicka is increased by 60 for 60 seconds, restore 75 magicka.
Your poisons will last on your weapon for an addition 6 hits, so you can be a bit more liberal with your use of them. A note to keep in mind about Murky Waters is that because this build has no points invested in sneak, it may take a second or two for the enemies to lose sight of you.
Upon entering combat, various spirits will be summoned by the Ritual Stone. Apply Deathly Pall, then stack Blight Curse first and Necrosis second on targets. If you don’t have any Thralls with you, wait until an enemy dies before you get too close. Raise them, and let them take all the damage. If your enemy has lots of health, apply your preferred poison to your dagger and whack away while blasting them with a staff. If you’re running low on mana or your spells are too weak to raise a certain enemy, use the Staff of Worms to reanimate the fallen foe. Your health shouldn’t fall too low with minions taking the damage for you and the siphoning effects of your spells, but if it does, the Necrosis talent Devouring Shadows will restore some health to you when cast on an enemy affected by Blight Curse. Just spam away and watch your health bar rise as the enemy’s depletes.
If you want to build yourself a huge army, put on the Bloodworm Helm and Revenant Ring. Targets killed with Blight Curse active will automatically be reanimated to fight for you with the ring on, and the Bloodworm Helm will allow an infinite number of corpses to be raised under your command. You just need one person with Blight Curse to die, then it will spread to nearby enemies because of the talent Bond of Corruption. Watch a domino effect of your minions killing enemies affected by Blight Curse, then watch that same enemy rise from the dead and attack its old friends who are now affected by Blight Curse, and so on. A minor note to keep in mind is that if you have the “lichdom” enchantment active and wear the Bloodworm Helm, the helm won’t fully cover your head- meaning you’ll look like a complete abomination of a troll skull mixed with the nose of a zombified Argonian.
As mentioned earlier under the Skills section, there are two ways to use your necromancy: find powerful enemies to resurrect with dead thrall to gear up and bring into fights, or resurrect fallen enemies during a fight which have a strong 60 second buff- but you’re stuck with choosing from the corpses around you. Long-term minions are good for close quarter fights and brute force, as few can withstand a decked out thrall. Short-term minions are better for open-spaced fights, as two following thralls may be unable to spot the enemies at long range, or may just end up getting lost. Raising enemies that fall during the battle means you don’t have to worry about enchanting gear for them, and they’re likely to already be close to the enemies- instead of having to rely on follower AI.
“Of course everyone thinks they’re the hero of their own story, dear. It’s rather unfortunate that you happen to be on the wrong side as I’ve quite enjoyed our chat. With His touch you will be reborn anew, and you will come to understand that I have saved you.”