Character Build: The Buoyant Armiger


Much like my Hand of Almalexia build, this is another ancient Dunmer knightly order, but instead of devoted to the Tribunal Goddess of Mercy, they are instead devoted to everyone's favourite self-quoting Warrior-Poet, Vivec. With the usual heavy helping of lore my builds contain comes some stand-your-ground archery combat, with some snappy roguish stealth moves, all bound together with crusader-y magic.



Race: Dunmer

Stats: 2 / 2 / 1

Standing Stone: The Lord

Major Skills: Stealth, Archery, Restoration, Destruction

Minor Skills:  Light Armor, Block, One-handed, Enchanting, Smithing

Quests: Bards College, Companions, Civil War (Imperials), Dawnguard, Unfathomable Depths, The Man who Cried Wolf, Blood on Ice, Ancestral Worship, Raven Rock, Dragon Priest Masks

~ Lore ~

An order older than the city of their Lord, the Buoyant Armigers were the sworn knights of Lord Vivec. All Armigers were expected to compose their own verse and song of their exploits, whether that be defending the nation against foul necromancy and vampires or guarding pilgrims and holy cities. They held a fairly one-sided familiar rivalry with the solemn Ordinators, the other sworn knights of Vivec, as the Ordinators didn’t find their sense of humour and disposition to talking in riddles very funny. But it was more likely because they held a far closer relationship with their shared lord. The Buoyant Armigers emulated the Warrior-Poet’s light hearted nature and patterned their lives on the god’s fierce love of adventure, hoping to master his subtle arts of combat, chivalry, and poetry. At the end of their long training and apprenticeship, they would even receive their enchanted glass armor from the God-King himself, in a joyful celebration of food and drink before taking upon an adventure with him personally.

After the rise of the Nerevarine, word began to trickle down the Temple hierarchy that Vivec was missing. Having sworn themselves to Vivec rather than the Temple, many of them felt compelled to search for him. Leaving their younger apprentices and older masters in charge, the best and brightest of the order left Morrowind and followed the rumours of Vivec’s movements west. Years passed and when the destruction of Vivec’s city reached them, several lost faith in their missing lord and returned to what was left of their homes to pick up the pieces of their lives.

But a small group continued in their search, determined to discover what had happened to the God-King. Years more passed before they discovered a cave, deep in the Velothi Mountains, that Vivec had sought peace in. But he was no longer divine. Having become a mortal once again, his three thousand years of godhood had rapidly caught up with him and the Vivec they found was not the sprightly, powerful lord they had last met. On his deathbed, they dedicated themselves anew to him as he explained the Dunmer would need strong swordarms and defenders in the years to come and bid them to not lose faith in the lessons he had taught.


Although the Buoyant Armigers never recovered the positions of prestige and honour they once held and are often looked down upon as backward and heretical, the last remaining knights of Vivec continue their traditions as best they can and recruits are in no short supply. Most of the Dunmer have returned to the worship of the Three Good Daedra, but many kept true to the Tribunal and many others were drawn in by the stories Dunmeri refugees told about the unsworn knights in glass armor who cut down armies of bandits, barely breaking a sweat, and then entertained with song and verse before the campfires, making even the most demoralised Dunmer forget about their woes for the night.

~ Skills ~

Major Skills

Stealth : Masters of Vivec’s subtle art of shadows, the Buoyant Armigers use them like stalking rangers to get the drop on the foul beasts they hunt, whether they be animal or man.

Destruction : Primarily for the casting of Flame Cloak and Fire runes, which can be set as traps when enemies start to charge.

Archery : The favoured weapon of the Armigers in open combat is the bow, spitting arrows and stringing another before the first has even struck its target. Standing their ground with

Restoration : To restore and rejuvenate, Restoration provides a solid basis from which to buff as well as harm. Anti-undead spells, especially Guardian Circle and Turning are particularly useful, as well as healing. Healing is always nice.


Minor Skills

One-handed : The standard weapon of choice for any sworn knight is a sword, but in this case, the sword is used primarily for the masterfully darting stealth attacks the Armigers were known for.

Light Armor : Glass armor is the traditional mark of graduation for the Armigers, who, until then, wear Chitin or Netch -- light, effective armors of superior Dunmeri craftsmanship.

Block : The final knightly touch for the sword is the board and few perks are really necessary to make this effective as a last effort

Smithing and Enchanting : Over a century after Vivec’s mortal death, the surviving Buoyant Armigers turned the cave into a shrine, cremating his body in the Velothi fashion and using the ashes in the forging and enchanting of each set of glass armor for the newly sworn Armigers. Also, as a primary archer, we need ways to get more arrows and our skill in Smithing means we don’t need all the ranks of Armsman, Overdraw, and Agile Defender.

~ Gear ~

Since the fall of Vivec, the forging and enchanting of a Buoyant Armiger’s set of glass armor is the gravest moment of the most unserious order. Without the presence of their all-knowing lord, how could the Armigers tell if a recruit was truly ready to follow in the Warrior-Poet’s steps, to even know what it means to inherit such a legacy? Each item, therefore, is named and enchanted to represent a novice’s favoured teachings from Vivec’s own Lessons.

If, during the creation process of their gear, Vivec’s spirit makes itself known, the novice is accepted into the ranks as a full Buoyant Armiger -- let the festivities commence!

These are my personal choices for enchantments, from the Summermyst mod. Otherwise, the most suitable enchantments are Fortify Magicka, Sneak, Archery, Destruction, and Restoration, with Block on the shield and Resist Magic.


The Water Veil -- Glass Helmet

“The Water Face cannot lie. It comes from the ocean, which is too busy to think, much less lie. Moving water resembles truth by its trembling.”

Fortify Restoration + Fortify Sneak


Heaven by Violence -- Glass Chest

Nerevar said, “I am afraid to become slipshod in my thinking.”
Vivec said, “Reach heaven by violence then.”

Reclaim Magicka: Deaths within X feet drain the victim's Magicka to replenish yours.
Fortify Health


Theory and Terror -- Glass Bracers

“The one-handed king finds no remedy. When you approach God, however, cut both hands off. God has no need of theory and he is armored head to toe in terror.”

Resist Magic + Fortify Magicka


Love Under Will -- Glass Boots

“If the love of the people of this city for me ever disappear, so shall the power that holds back their destruction.”
Nerevar said, “Love is under your will only.”

Fortify Speed: You move X% faster. + Resist Magic


Mercy -- Glass Sword

“This is why I say the secret to swords is the mercy seat. It is my throne. I am the psychopomp. I am the killer of the weeds of Veloth. These are why my words are armed to the teeth.”

Shock Damage Wild: Delivers a X point static shock, 10% chance to deal 5x damage. + Fire


Black Hands -- Glass Bow

“Even the most cherished desire disappears in their hands. This is why Mephala [is said to have] Black Hands.”

Threshold Throw: Target gets a stacking X point curse for X seconds and is launched when this exceeds its Health.
Absorb Speed: Absorbs X% movement speed from the target for X seconds.


Defender of the Last -- Glass Shield

“I am the defender of the last and the last. To remove me is to refill the heart that lay dormant at the center that cannot hold. I am the sword.”

Fortify Block + Resist Magic


Starwounded East -- A ring embodying the aptitude and strength of the Velothi people, for the mightiest weapons are born from the hottest forges.

Amplify Destruction: Destruction spells and effects are X% stronger.
Fortify Archery


Godsblood -- A locket containing a sprinkle of Lord Vivec’s sacred ashes, intended to invoke his great spirit during times of need and to watch over the wearer during battle.

Influence: Calm: Enemy creatures and people within X feet have a chance to refuse to fight.
Windfall: 3% chance per second to restore X points of Health, Magicka and Stamina.

~ Gameplay ~


Very curiously, the Armigers’ favoured attributes in Morrowind were Willpower (which ruled their magic skills) and Agility (which ruled stealth and archery), with all their other combat skills and attributes that otherwise would’ve made them more traditionally knightly had fallen by the wayside. I chose to follow that into combat.

Though playing Skyrim with both Sneak and Archery as major skills has the imminent danger of falling into “snek ercher” territory, which is an immensely powerful and immensely boring playstyle. So, instead of combining Sneak with Archery, we combine Sneak with One-handed for those situations with only one or two enemies to attempt to sneak attack them. The synergy between the perks Critical Charge and Silent Roll mean pretty much most things will be taken out in that one clean shot.

For larger groups of enemies, setting down a rune and sowing some Ignites before you start to plunk arrows into them will start you off at an advantage. Against undead enemies, you don’t have to worry about chasing after Turned Draugr with a sword, and firing from within a Guardian Circle means few undead will get a chance at you.

Once enemies charge at you and set off the rune, you can either reposition yourself further back and set down another rune, or stay in very close quarters and wait for Vivec’s Influence: Calm enchantment to kick in, which will basically distract an enemy longer than a standard stagger would. Strategic use of bow bashes can also save your skin many times.

As a last-ditch effort, we always have a shield (partly because it looks badass -- which is always an acceptable reason for something in a videogame) to provide extra protection against those particular bosses that refuse to die, despite having been turned into visually-pleasing pincushions.

There are a few great choices for followers, if you feel like inducting your own novice Buoyant Armiger. Teldryn Sero is probably my favourite but both Athis and Jenassa would make good candidates. Needless to say, the Dunmer priests are completely out. Our skill in Restoration will let us play a support role and using a nice tanky one, like Teldryn with his summons and spellsword fighting style, will take more of the edge off us in combat but don’t get too complacent staying in the back!

A Note on Song and Verse

Highly skilled at poetry and song, as well, being both warrior and bard, using a mod like Become a Bard which lets you perform as a bard at inns and in the wild, is highly recommended. Some perk overhauls have a Speech perk-tree that has a bardic branch, but this is already a pretty perk-intensive build. If you have the aptitude for writing (or even if you don’t!), this would be an excellent character to keep a journal for or jot down any poems or rhymes of your exploits, no matter how laughably silly.

~ Roleplay ~

A young Dunmer farmhand from Riften, captivated by the tales of the Buoyant Armigers from Old Morrowind and raised in the faith of the Tribunal by his parents, tires of his life hoeing the soil and tending crops. Traveling to their headquarters high in the Velothi Mountains, he’s accepted after a brief test of his faith and grit and, after some basic training, sent to do brave deeds in Lord Vivec’s holy name.

Caught amidst a skirmish between Imperials and Stormcloaks, his neck is saved by a dragon, but he realises how truly hopeless he is under duress and combat. Approaching as a complete novice to the ways of the warrior, he joins a nearby mercenary guild to hone his skills (Companions). However, they have a dark Daedric secret. Desperately encouraging the rest of the Companions to rid themselves Hircine’s curse, he fails and ultimately parts ways with the Companions, returning to wandering the roads of Skyrim (Ancestral Worship, Unfathomable Depths).

Emerging himself in the storied history of his former Shield-Siblings and the land of Skyrim, the Dunmer begins to collect their songs, as well as tales of other great heroes, in an attempt to refine his bardic talent (Bards College). Warming to Solitude and appreciating the help the Empire has offered the Dunmer in their times of need, he destroys their risen undead queen (The Man Who Cried Wolf) and joins the Imperial legion to drive the Stormcloaks from Skyrim and ultimately make Windhelm and other cities safer for his people (Civil War, Imperials).

But even throughout the Civil War, there are mists and shadows lurking in the dark and the ever-present plague of vampires comes to a head as they brazenly attack townsfolk. Finding a similar old Nordic order of trained soldiers, he joins them, but not as a novice in need of being told which way to hold a sword, but as a skilled combatant (Dawnguard).

With Skyrim safely guarded, the Dunmer settles in the ancient city of Windhelm and watches the attitudes of the local Nords slowly change under their new jarl (Hjerim Hall, Blood on Ice). Though common knowledge the ebony mine of Raven Rock had closed years before, the Dunmer hears a whisper of times on Solstheim having grown ever tougher. House Redoran, despite making up most of the Armigers in days gone by, has no love for the Buoyant Armigers but are willing to accept any aid that can be offered (Raven Rock). Co-operating and even negotiating with Hermaeus Mora to rid Solstheim of Miraak, the Dunmer receives a temporary gift of the Thu’um, but shuns it as soon as he leaves the battlefield of Apocrypha (Dragonborn).

A proven hero, a renowned knight of Vivec, and unbound sword of the Dunmer, he returns to Skyrim as a witchhunter to continue his great deeds and write ballads of his slayings (Dragon Priest Masks).

~ Mods ~

  • Become a Bard: As mentioned above, it lets the Armiger entertain inns and taverns with their song. A huge amount of custom song options, including Morrowind inspired ones!

  • aMidianborn Glass Armor and Reshaped Glass Helmet: The mods in action in the screenshots. Both are excellent quality and the helmet mod gives a bit more of a stylish rogue look to the regal armor.

  • Summermyst: My enchantment mod of choice, it has a lot of unique enchantments that I wanted to use for the Armiger that help reflect Vivec's unique presence, but also because vanilla enchants can be a bit dull sometimes.

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  • This is a very pleasant surprise. I can't believe you were hesitant to post such an awesome build.
  • An excellent build, Ely. Glad to see something new from you, and as good as anything you've done before too.

  • I like the implication that Buoyant Armigers and Ordinators reflect two respective sides of Vivec himself. An interesting take on lore.
  • There is no "Stealth" skill.
  • Awesome build, love the lore behind it, always struggle with doing enchanting on good characters to wise, looking forward to the next build up your sleeve. My prediction is a Khajiit, as you've covered a lot of ground with the Dunmer
  • This is a sweet build. Is this one of your new ones? I don't think I ever saw it on Nuka Scrolls or TV. I love balanced builds like this that can handle everything and have no obvious weaknesses.
  • Damn Ely, I think you might have surpasses Henson's Armiger build. Or was that Ponty?
    • Pretty sure its Henson.

  • Hey Ely! This build has been chosen as the Reddit feature for this week, check it out here!

    Character Build: The Buoyant Armiger • r/SkyrimBuilds
    This build was created by one of our admins, Elysium: Much like my [Hand of Almalexia...
    • Wait, we have a reddit subforum?

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