The Cursed Legionnaire
After playing my War Mage, I wanted to do more of a simpler warrior build. I also wanted to do something that really delved into the roleplay of one of my favorite races in the game, the Orcs. So that brings us to the Cursed Legion, a legendary traveling militia of Orc warriors that existed before the founding of Orsinium. They served as champions of the Orcs, enforcing whatever borders they could for the proliferation of their people. After the sacking of Nova Orisinium in the early Fourth Era, many of the refugees were escorted into Skyrim by the Imperial Legion. Presumably, most of these refugees went on to join the four strongholds that are seen in-game. The concept behind this build is that your character is a descendant of Nova Orisinium. Inspired by the legends of the Cursed Legion, he revives the name and sets off to help Orcs living all throughout Skyrim.
Race: As indicated above, this character is meant to be played as an Orc. Aside from the obvious roleplay reasons, they get boosts to every skill this build uses, and Berserker Rage is incredibly powerful.
Stone: I recommend the Lord. The AR boost is nice in the early going before you hit the cap while the magic resistance is useful for the entire game.
Stats: 0/2/1. Pretty standard warrior stat spread, no additional explanation needed.
Shouts: Elemental Fury is the primary shout of the build, so get that as soon as possible. With no long-range offense, Become Ethereal is another good one, so you can get into close quarters as quickly as possible. Finally, for some crowd control action, Unrelenting Force is always nice.
Two-Handed: The Cursed Legionnaire relies upon a trio of devastating warhammers for offense. Get everything except the greatsword and battleaxe perks in this tree, focusing on Barbarian, Champion’s Stance, and Devastating Blow.
Block: Bashing and blocking is always nice for adding a little more variety to combat, and has obvious gameplay advantages as well. You’ll want to max out Shield Wall as well as getting Quick Reflexes and up to Disarming Bash.
Heavy Armor: The Cursed Legionnaire, like all Orcs, is skilled in the use of Heavy Armor. Grab every perk in this tree, focusing on Juggernaut, Well Fitted, and Conditioning.
Smithing: Pretty self-explanatory, the Cursed Legionnaire uses this skill to improve both warhammers and heavy armor. Your primary target is Orcish Smithing, though you’ll want to get both Arcane Blacksmith (for improving your enchanted equipment) and Daedric Smithing (for improving Rahgot). For added challenge, don’t use Enchanting or anything else to increase your smithing abilities; rely only on your natural skill and perks.
Enchanting: Along with Smithing, this will enable you to create your equipment. Focus on perking the center tree. Later on, grab both of the recharging perks. Also, do the quest for the Black Star; you’ll want it for recharging your warhammers.
In total, you should have 50 perks once the build is completed. As a side note, though it isn’t particularly fitting for the roleplay, you may want to consider investing training Destruction with either Wuunferth the Unliving or Sybille Stentor to increase the number of charges on your warhammers.
As mentioned earlier, the Cursed Legionnaire uses three different Warhammers. The first of these is the Longhammer, found in Liar’s Retreat. This is an Orcish Warhammer that swings a third faster than normal, giving it a DPS higher than even a Daedric Warhammer, and is thus your primary weapon. The second is Volendrung, which absorbs 50 Stamina per hit. A nice feature about it is that it actually swings as fast as a greatsword or battleaxe. The final warhammer used is one of your own making that’s enchanted with Absorb Health and Soul Trap. I went with Daedric, as it deals the most damage per hit and I don’t like the idea of spending two perks to get Daedric Smithing just for a silly little mask. If you have the Dawnguard DLC, you can also get an optional fourth Warhammer in the Dawnguard Rune Hammer (from the Lost Relic quest) and use it to lay down rune traps. Anyway, onto the armor:
Rahgot (Pre-enchanted with 70 Stamina)
Amulet of Malacath (Necklace with Health Regen/Magic Resistance)
Armor of Endurance (Orcish Armor with Health Regen/Stamina Regen)
Mauler Gauntlets (Orcish Gauntlets with Two-Handed/Block)
Ring of the Cursed Legion (Ring with Health Regen/Magic Resistance)
Boots of the Orc (Orcish Boots with Two-Handed/Stamina Regen)
Rahgot can be obtained by going to Forelhost and doing Siege on the Dragon Cult. Quite fittingly, it’s made out of the same material as your armor. Consider obtaining the Shield of Solitude (from The Wolf Queen Awakened) and disenchanting it for its more powerful variant of Magic Resistance.
Orcs follow The Code of Malacath, which has a big emphasis on personal honor. Stealing and murdering are off limits; all conflicts must be resolved through straight up combat. Really, you should just avoid sneaking altogether. With the exception of Enchanting, you should stay away from the arcane arts as well; slinging spells in combat is not befitting a Cursed Legionnaire. Orsinium and the Orcs makes reference to the Cursed Legion riding on horseback, so if you deem it appropriate, buy a horse and use that to get around; the warhammer makes for an effective weapon on horseback. Should you decide to take a follower, go with Durak or one of the Orc Stronghold followers, and informally induct them into the Cursed Legion with some appropriate Orcish weapons and (if proficient in the heavy armor skill) armor. Speaking of which, be sure to visit all four of the strongholds and talk to the residents; they offer enlightening information on Orcish culture. Finally, you revere no gods save Malacath; avoid shrines to the Divines and aiding other Daedric Princes.
As far as quests go, any quests that have you helping people that aren’t hostile to Orcs work well. I’d join the Companions too, as that gives you some nice training and radiant quest options, not to mention their sense of honor is similar to your own. I wouldn’t do the primary questline past Proving Honor, however, as you don’t want to become a werewolf. I’d also recommend doing the Empire side of the Civil War questline; Orcs have traditionally favored the Empire and you have no real reason to side with the Stormcloaks. Both the Main Quest and (for those with the DLC) the Dawnguard faction have you taking down Alduin and Harkon respectively; challenges worthy of a true Orc. Finally, you should do any quests you can to aid your fellow Orcs. Here is a list of quests, their location, and their Orcish beneficiaries, taken from UESP:
A few notes on these quests. First of all, you’ll want to do The Cursed Tribe regardless of whether or not you decide to help any Orcs out because you need to do it to get Volendrung. In a similar fashion, you’ll end up doing Kindred Judgement anyway should you decide to do the Dawnguard’s questline. For Sanuarach Mine, you’ll want to help Ainethach by either intimidating Atar or killing him and his entourage. Skilled Apprenticeship rewards you with two Smithing Points; one from completing the quest and one from reading Last Scabbard of Akrash. Finally, note that you won’t be able to help Urag gro-Shub; since you aren’t joining the College of Winterhold, you won’t even so much as meet him. In addition to these quests, do Gharol’s Message as well. You can also brawl the chieftains (once per chieftain with the exception of Yamarz/Gularzob) and mine ore for Dushnamub, Gharol, or Shuftharz (as much as you want, I did it once for each of the three).
Fighting as the Cursed Legionnaire is fairly simple, but it has enough tricks to it to keep things interesting. You'll want to close in on your enemies as quickly as possible (Become Ethereal combined with Great Critical Charge works will for this). However, if the enemy is charging at you, you can use the runes created by the Dawnguard Rune Hammer to harm them as they advance. Once in melee range, pull out the Longhammer and swinging like a madman. Combined with Elemental Fury (which you should aim to have running or on cooldown whenever the Longhammer is out), you’ll be dealing a hefty amount of damage. Eventually, you’ll run low on Health, Stamina, or both. When that happens, switch to either Volendrung or your custom warhammer and utilize their absorb effects to get back on your feet, or use any potions you’ve bought or found. In desperate situations, use Unrelenting Force to knock all of the enemies back and then attack with your health-absorbing warhammer while they’re down. Finally, be sure to take full advantage of blocking to mitigate damage, as well as bashing to stagger opponents, or, with Disarming Bash, knock their weapons right out of their hands.
So, overall the Cursed Legionnaire is a fairly simple warrior build with some heavy Orc roleplay. It has no fancy spells, advanced sneaking, or anything of the sort, relying instead on old fashioned skull smashing. Yet at the same time, the combat is complex enough to keep things interesting, engaging, and all around fun. If you liked this, then be sure to check out my other builds to see more!