Disclaimer: This build is intended to be played with a small suite of essential gameplay enhancing mods. Most of these are available on PC (both LE and SE) as well as XBox 1 - sorry, PS4 and legacy console players. These mods allow for vastly more interesting character builds and more exciting, rewarding combat. Please see the list / guide here for full details. Additionally, this build should be played with Heavy Armory, a mod which adds the quarterstaves this character ideally employs in combat to complement his flaws.
This was a truly fun character to play and write. We sincerely hope anyone who is able to download the necessary mods is willing to give it a shot -- we are confident you will not be disappointed! Thank you for reading, and enjoy.
A collaboration between Mr. C. N. Dying & Teccam
For centuries, the greatest martial artists of Tamriel have hailed from the temples of Elsweyr, where Khajiit monks train for decades to hone their bodies, minds, and spirits. The greatest among them are capable of sensing blows before they even begin, and facing hordes of foes single-handed. Their grace and poise are unparalleled, turning combat into a lethal, beautiful art.
When word of the Dragon Threat reached them, the temples dispatched their greatest prodigy to serve the moon gods and help end the danger. This is his story...
Race: Khajiit - Imperious Races is a race overhaul mod that seeks to breathe new life into Skyrim’s playable races by adding new and unique abilities to each. The natural athletic agility of the Khajiit race is emphasized, and they receive a substantial boost to movement speed which synergizes well with unarmed damage perks found in Ordinator.
- Feline Agility: Move faster and also sprint faster at the cost of more stamina
- Prowl: Sneak silently and perform a power leap whenever you jump while sneaking
- Rawlith Khaj: Claw attacks deal bonus damage based on total stamina
Stone: The Shadow - Aurora does for standing stones what the Imperious mod does for the playable races. Each standing stone has been dramatically overhauled with unique and powerful active and passive effects. We won't be using the active ability Shadow Step with this build, but the passive movement speed synergizes perfectly with the unarmed damage perks within Ordinator.
- Blur: Increases movement speed while in combat
- Shadow Step: At will, use the power of shadow stones to teleport behind a target a short distance away
Attributes: 1 M / 2 H / 1 S. Cap Stamina at 200 and Magicka at 150 points and invest all points afterward into Health. (You may choose to instead prioritize stamina over health if you instead value lethality over survivability. In this case cap Magicka at 150, Health at 250, and invest everything into Stamina/, or find a middle ground that works for you!)
Skills: Light Armor, Alteration, Two-handed, Block, Alchemy
- Your choice of quarterstaff (consider keeping a silver one for use against undead foes)
- Your claws
- Light armor of choice -- see our recommended mods below
- Jewelry: Ring and Pendant of Fortify Health and/or Stamina (Optional: Amulet of Talos)
Shouts: Slow Time, Dragonrend
Spells: Flesh spells
Alignment: Neutral Good
- Lore -
Throughout recorded history nearly all races have adopted one form of martial arts or another, however martial arts hold an especially prominent place within khajiit culture. The relatively foreign appearance and behavior of the khajiit people have oft made them the targets of fear, discrimination and far worse. Kidnappings, enslavement, persecution, and numerous invasions upon their homeland have inspired the khajiit to take a deadly serious interest in self defense.
Many unique forms of martial arts have emerged from the great temples of Elsweyr: The Goutfang Style, the Whispering Fang, and the Rawlith Khaj are some of the most renowned disciplines, although precious little is known of these styles outside of Elsweyr. Whatever the discipline, their practitioners are trained to move like water and strike like the wind, with razor sharp claws honed through years of training into lethal weapons.
A Khajiit’s chosen discipline and status are often reflected in the prefixes adopted in their names. These prefixes act as formal titles as well as badges of honor. It is common for esteemed warriors to adopt the prefix ‘Do’, meaning “warrior”. Such a prestigious title is reserved exclusively for the likes of master martial artists and the Mane’s personal guard. The Dancer of the Two Moons, however, is a unique title once granted to a great prodigy skilled in the ways of Rawlith Khaj and the Bo Jutsu style. The monk wielded both his staff and claws in perfect harmonious dance the elders liken to the moons themselves dancing among the stars.
- Gameplay -
Well versed was the monk in the history and ways of his people, as were all khajiit who lived and trained within the temples. His kind had endured centuries of derision, distrust and slavery at the hands of the other races of man and mer. Reasonable it was then for the monk to question the task passed down to him by the temple elders. Foolish it was in his mind to aid those who did not see fit to allow khajiit within their walls. Nevertheless the monk journeyed to Skyrim, remembering the words of wisdom of his elders: “Foolish is Khajiit who does nothing as his neighbor suffers, for trouble can walk and will surely find Khajiit next.”
At the core of this build is Ordinator, an ambitious perk overhaul mod that scraps boring vanilla perks entirely and replaces them with over 400 unique perks. Overall the Dancer of the Two Moons levels at a fairly decent pace. Block as well as your primary attack skills, Two-handed and Light Armor, by way of unarmed damage perks, comprise the bulk of your skills and are in constant use. Alchemy may lag behind depending on your taste for crafting skills. Consider using an alchemy trainer to keep pace with your combat skills.
Light Armor - For those new to Ordinator, you may be surprised to find that our main offensive skill tree is Light Armor. With Ordinator, light armor offers other benefits such as increased movement speed, evasion, and unarmed damage. Within the light armor tree are all the unarmed perks that enable the Dancer of the Two Moons to deal some very heavy unarmed critical damage.
Key Perks: Sweeping Wind, Rushing Tide, War Dancer, Breaking Waves, Tempting Fate
Among the key perks, the most critical is Sweeping Wind, which causes unarmed attacks to deal 2% more damage for every 1% movement speed gained. Thanks to the Imperious Races and Aurora Standing Stones mods, this character comes with a significant movement speed bonus right from the start. Wind Runner grants an additional 10% movement speed on top of that just for wearing all light armor. Rushing Tide causes every unarmed attack to further increase movement speed by 5%.
Tempting Fate takes things further and adds an additional 20% movement speed whenever you successfully dodge a power attack without attempting to block. Lastly we have War Dancer and Breaking Waves. The former will cause unarmed strikes to deal 20% more critical damage provided you do not sustain damage from any unblocked source in battle. Breaking Waves will make ALL attacks automatic critical hits so long as War Dancer is active.
Two-handed - The Two-handed tree acts as the secondary offensive skill tree and also works in tandem with the Block skill tree to provide the bulk of the Dancer’s defensive needs. The weapon of choice will be quarterstaves, which are much like warhammers but significantly faster (and weaker, for balance).
Key Perks: Avalanche, The Pendulum
The Two-handed tree is not being perked predominantly for offensive damage potential, but rather for two key perks, Avalanche and Pendulum, which offer unique means of disrupting enemies. What makes this skill tree so dangerous in the hands of the Dancer is how quickly one can chain together power attacks with a quarterstaff.
Avalanche activates whenever a forward power attack is executed. If it connects, it will cause an enemy to stagger almost to the point of falling over completely whenever they take unblocked damage from any source. This even includes unarmed attacks. The Pendulum will cause all but the most massive creatures hit by two opposite sideways power attacks within ten seconds to be completely knocked off their feet and scattered. The perfect way to thin the herd when fighting a large group, as getting knocked over by the pendulum will take enemies out of the fight for several seconds.
Key Perks: Timed Block (2/2), Timing Streak, Deliverance, Break Their Teeth, Dragon Scales, Quick Reflexes
Between Two-handed and Block, your staff is essentially more of a shield than a weapon. Block takes the disruptive options offered by the key two handed perks even further with massive bonuses to be gained from skillful timed blocking. With that being said, the most essential perk of all the key block perks is Timed Blocking. The way it works is whenever an enemy attacks you while blocking within one second of raising your defenses, that triggers a timed block. Doing this will mitigate more damage than a standard block, and stagger your attacker. Three successful timed blocks in a row trigger bonus effects
Timing Streak will restore 75 stamina. Deliverance grants you 10% attack damage for 90 seconds which will stack if you can continuously perform trios of timed blocks within 90 seconds. Break Their Teeth will stagger everybody within an 8 foot radius and violently disarm your last attacker. Last but not least, Dragon Scales will completely negate all damage taken during a timed block so long as you have stamina remaining.
Quick Reflexes works just the same as it does in vanilla Skyrim and is invaluable for dodging those heavy power attacks. Just as in vanilla Skyrim you can trigger Extended Slow Time if you use the Slow Time shout while Quick Reflexes is active. If you find yourself having difficulty engaging enemies unarmed, this will help tremendously.
Alteration - Ordinator’s rendition of Alteration does not deviate much from the overall purpose of its vanilla counterpart (particularly for the Dancer’s purposes) - to provide utility and augmentations. While lightly perked in this build, Alteration provides some well needed bonuses to the build’s resistances and defense.
Key Perks: Alter Self: Fire & Frost Resistance, Alter Attributes: Health, Home Mythal
One thing that makes Alteration unique in Ordinator is that certain perks offer branching choices when selected. For the perk Alter Self we chose fire and frost resistance since those are the two most common elements you’ll likely run into when fighting enemy mages.
For Alter Attributes the recommended choice is Health. As a lightly armored melee combatant Health will be key to your survival. Ample Health and the added boost from flesh spells will prevent stronger enemies from turning your first mistake into your last. But as stated before, if you prefer lethality over survivability, then choose Stamina instead.
Last but certainly not least is Home Mythal, a perk which grants up to 20-times Alteration spell durations whenever they are cast within the vicinity of the Mythal. You should hold off on taking that perk until you’ve settled on a suitable player home. The exact spot you’re standing on when you activate the perk becomes the permanent spot of your Home Mythal. So plan accordingly.
Alchemy - Alchemy receives a considerable boost in Ordinator over its vanilla counterpart. With key perks unlocked, you gain not only the benefits of your concoctions but other additional stat boosts simply for imbibing a potion, many of which synergize well with potions within your repertoire
Key Perks: Stimulants, Advanced Lab, Crimson Haze, Physician: Stamina
Stimulants will increase your Stamina Regen by 2% of your maximum Stamina per second for 30 seconds whenever you consume a potion. It's worth noting that this will stack with Stamina Regen effects from potions. Crimson Haze causes Stimulants to also increase your movement speed by 10% for 30 seconds. Since movement speed also determines your unarmed attack power, you're basically getting a free attack boost with every potion you drink.
Advanced Lab will boost the potency of your potions further, but only at the alchemy station you choose to turn into an ‘advanced lab’. For this reason you’ll want to be careful what location you choose. Our recommendation is to turn the alchemy lab within your player home of choice into an advanced lab. It makes sense to have your Home Mythal and Advanced Lab situated in the same home.
Last up is the Physician perk which offers three branching choices. We picked Stamina. Your attack power is largely predicated on how much current stamina you have. So it’s to your advantage to get the most out of your stamina replenishing potions regardless of whether you prioritized Health or Stamina in your stat distribution.
The following potions will best aid you in your travels:
Ingredients: Torchbug Thorax, Histcarp, Lavender
Effects: Fortify Stamina, Restore Stamina, Lingering Damage Magicka
Argument: Maximizing Stamina is crucial to ensuring your attacks continue to operate effectively, and that your blocks properly mitigate inbound damage. This is a fairly cheap and simple recipe that you can use often to ensure your Stamina is always charged. The Lingering Damage Magicka effect can be bypassed with other recipes, but as Magicka is really only needed when casting Ebonyflesh from your Home Mythal origin, we can spare the Magicka in normal combat.
Grace of Khenarthi
Ingredients: Blue Mountain Flower, Wheat
Effects: Fortify Health, Restore Health
Argument: A simple and classic potion that is pretty much universally helpful on any alchemist, and no exception here. Also an easy option to trigger the Stimulants perk from Alchemy on command, as the ingredients are cheap and sustainable, and the Fortify effect is useful even at the start of a skirmish..
Ingredients: Bleeding Crown, Tundra Cotton
Effects: Resist Magic, Fortify Block
Argument: The Dancer’s primary defensive tonic. Critical against mages, and also gives a nice buff to blocking physical attacks. Consider keeping a small stock of secondary elemental resistance potions as well, using Snowberries as a base to further provide Resist Frost and Resist Fire. Good for particularly powerful mages and dragons.
Ingredients: Grass Pod, River Betty
Effects: Fortify Alteration
Argument: A simple potion, mainly for use when casting Ebonyflesh at your Home Mythal origin to significantly augment its duration.
- Fighting Styles -
Skyrim was a land under siege, desperate for aid. Dragons were very much real and posed a grave threat to more than just Skyrim. Little did the monk know, his destiny laid at the center stage of this turmoil...
As there are two moons in the sky, the Dancer of the Two Moons is a master of two distinct fighting styles. Rawlith Khaj is an aggressive hand to hand fighting style with tremendous damage potential in the hand of a master. Bojutsu is a stalwart defensive style utilizing a quarterstaff that favors a strong defense with the ability to keep enemies off balance.
Rawlith Khaj - Fast, powerful strikes delivered with deadly precision, Rawlith Khaj is a deadly hand-to-hand fighting style that favors swift dodging and deadly counter attacks. As you dodge attacks and deliver blows of your own, your movement becomes even faster and your power attacks become more lethal, chaining together to make you exponentially quicker and stronger as your enemies tire.
Dodging is imperative. If you take unblocked damage of any kind, you lose your War Dancer buff for several seconds, severely reducing your unarmed damage. Conserve your Stamina and avoid attacking head-on. Let your opponents make the first move and leave themselves open. Each unarmed attack will increase your movement speed slightly, and dodging a power attack will increase your movement speed by 20% for the duration of combat. With heightened movement speed and high remaining Stamina, your power attacks will do much more damage, turning power attacks into devastating critical blows.
One-Thousand Fold Fury - Strike your opponent repeatedly, building momentum for a single devastating power attack. If you remain undamaged while building momentum, this power attack will be a lethal critical hit striking with the fury of a thousand claws.
Requirements: Slow Time, War Dancer, Breaking Waves, Sweeping Wind, Rushing Tide, Tempting Fate
This is the ultimate end result of all unarmed perks working in tandem. A single power attack easily capable of exceeding 600+ critical damage, but only if you build enough movement speed and stamina while keeping that war dancer buff active.
Bojutsu - The shield to the sword that is the Rawlith Khaj style. Quarterstaves, although weak, have a long reach and are quite fast, perfect for keeping enemies at a distance, creating openings, and disrupting and scattering the enemy.
Masters of the Bojutsu style believe the path to victory lies in a strong and tactical defense. They prefer to time their blocks or use their quick reflexes to avoid attacks rather than simply stand ground and absorb damage. A timed block will deflect all of an enemy’s power and cause them to stagger while also replenishing your Stamina. A timed block streak will violently disarm an attacker as well as stun everyone around him, creating a massive opening.
Power attacks are invaluable with this style and each one can disrupt enemies in a unique way. Forward power attacks will daze their target, so much so that all unblocked attacks that follow for the next few seconds will cause heavy staggering, even with unarmed attacks. A sweep done twice in quick succession will sweep all enemies clear off their feet and toss them aside. An invaluable tactic for thinning the herd when faced against a group.
Harsh Lesson - Teach your opponent the error of their ways with a hard knock over the head. This skull rattling blow will leave your opponent dazed for several seconds, causing them to stagger from any unblocked attack.
Requirements: Avalanche, Forward Power Attack, Basic Attacks
A simple yet powerful combination. A forward power attack with your quarterstaff will cause any unblocked follow up attacks for the next 8 seconds, including unarmed attacks, to send your enemy reeling. This is especially helpful because unarmed attacks aren't normally able to stagger enemies. Or you could continue to batter your opponents with light and fast strikes from your quarter staff, essentially stun locking your dazed opponent for several seconds.
Requirements: Quick Reflexes + Slow Time, Lunar Essence (optional)
Trigger Quick Reflexes by dodging a power attack and immediately activate Slow Time. If succesful Slow Time will last far past its normal duration. Your combos become easier to perform and enemy attacks become much easier to evade. A vital technique against large enemy groups, exceptionally strong foes and other overwhelming odds.
- Mods -
Skyrim is at last at peace, and so the time has come for the monk to leave this land he has slowly come to cherish as dearly as his native sand...
As mentioned in the introduction, this build relies on a core suite of gameplay expansions and overhauls. It is highly recommended that you use the entire suite in the link, however, the following are absolutely essential to unlock the full synergies the build relies upon:
- Ordinator - Perks of Skyrim
- Aurora - Standing Stones of Skyrim -OR- Andromeda Standing Stones of Skyrim
- Imperious - Races of Skyrim
- Heavy Armory
- Mortal Enemies - De-aimbot your foes
Additionally, we recommend the following mods to further enhance your playthrough:
Animated Armory - A neat mod suggested by SirrocTheSentinel which adds a number of new weapons types to the game with their own unique third person animations. Most notable of these additions are the new quarter staves. They share the same speed and damage as the staves added by Heavy Armory, but have unique animations befitting a skilled monk.
Warmonger Armory - This mod adds a handful of excellently crafted armor sets to the game, available in leveled lists (i.e., worn by enemies, sold by vendors, etc.). They use entirely vanilla assets, meaning they all look and feel at home in Skyrim, and even pick up the textures from any armor/clothing texture mods you may have installed. For this character, the Sand Assassin Armor works very nicely.
Ultimate Combat (LE) -OR- Smilodon Combat (SE) - These mods take a similar approach to combat. Rather than bogging you down with micromanagement of wounds, or worrying about being vulnerable if your Stamina depletes, they focus more on keeping combat frenetic and on natural advantages caused by player/enemy movement. Note: Ultimate Combat users should disable its Timed Block system and use Ordinator’s instead. Smilodon users should additionally install Combat Behavior Improved to get block canceling and better hitframes for attacks.
Enhanced Skyrim Factions: The Companions Guild (LE only) - As a warrior at heart, your character may feel very much at home within the halls of Jorrvaskr. Enhanced Skyrim Factions greatly expands the length and depth of the Companion quest and adds a plethora of new features such as the ability to spar with your fellow companions in challenging one-on-one duels, and allowing your character much more autonomy as they progress. ESF also allows you to progress through the Conpanion questline without having to become a werewolf.
Khajiit Speak - Since this character is a Khajiit, he ought to talk like one! This mod overhauls all dialogue to be more fitting for a Khajiit, including taking into account the formality of each conversation and the relationship of the player character with each NPC. Highly recommended for any Khajiit playthrough.
Jaxonz Renamer - A very nifty utility that allows you to rename just about any item in the game. Normally, this does not work for custom potions, but thanks to a clever workaround discovered by Avispon, it can in fact be done. Perfect for your stock of hotkeyed potions as listed previously in the build.
Moonpaths of Elsweyr - Trouble has reared its ugly head back home in Elsweyr where the Thalmor are up to no good. This is a medium sized quest mod wherein you join forces with a ragtag group of khajiit resistance fighters on their mission to undermine the Thalmor.
Thank you for reading!