This build is a collaboration between Curse Never Dying. Shin Jin, and Lozhar
Just as the roots of the Hist are all interconnected, so also are all living things—the suffering of one sends out ripples that affect many. Perhaps this is why I have always felt compelled to share my gift. I didn’t choose to be a healer; it’s just who I am. So I was hardly surprised as I sat among my hatch-mates on our day of naming when the tribal elders gave me mine. You would never be able to pronounce it, but the Cyrodilic equivalent of my name is ‘Heals-Hurts.’ It makes sense… it’s what I do. But as I looked at the elders around me I detected faint traces of amused, ironic, and knowing smiles—never a good sign. First exposure to Hist sap is an overwhelming experience and leaves events… hazy. Because you remember so little, the elders relish the opportunity to share embarrassing anecdotes that occurred while under the sap’s sway. These stories are shared frequently in large gatherings and tend to follow you the rest of your life (and possibly into the next one). I groaned inwardly… what in the name of the Hist had I done?
Typically you don’t think of a kick-butt-and-take-names character when you think of healers. Perhaps it is because healers… well, heal. UESP’s description perpetuates this further: When threatened, (healers) defend themselves with reason and disabling attacks and magic, relying on deadly force only in extremity.
But the elements are there: in addition to their knowledge of Restoration, healers are well versed in the arts of Alchemy, Illusion, Alteration, and One-handed—a combination with some major potential for bringing the pain. Now consider that UESP also says this of the Morrowind healer class:
They have also learned that preventing harm to others often requires a more active opposition to monsters and malefactors, so they have studied both the unarmed, unarmored martial arts of the Khajiit and the light armored and blunt weapon styles of the Imperial West, both for self-defense and for disabling or killing dangerous opponents.
The upswing, ladies and gentlemen, is that healers BRING IT!
…It wasn’t until the night before my departure from Argonia that Jeetum-Ja, one of the tribal elders, finally shared my story:
“As the effects of the Hist sap set in, one of your hatch mates got up and started flinging elbows into the faces of the others. He would drop them, and you would heal them… both of you moving in a circle. But as his frenzy increased you started to fall behind. Finally, after reviving a hatch mate with a particularly nasty cut over the eye, Iron-In-His-Elbows made his way back around the circle and dropped her to the ground again. Evidently you reached your limit. You picked up a stick about as round as my upper arm and relieved him of the burden of consciousness—then you healed him.
Hence your name: you have always healed hurts and afflictions, but now the Hist has taught you how to inflict them as well… and blessed you with the wisdom to know when. Remember this in your travels: sometimes the best way to heal wounds is to eradicate the cause of them…”
- Argonian—we’re usually all about choice when it comes to race in our builds, but for this one we wanted a healer straight out of Blackmarsh whose intimate connection with the Hist has directed him to where his gift is needed most… Skyrim.
- Mage—go ahead and grab it when you roll out of Helgen. It will help level Restoration, but…
- Atronach—you’ll want this one as soon as you can get it. Offers serious protection against magical threats, gives you a quick-and-easy +50 to magicka, and has some serious synergism with Restoration once you master the school (more on this later)
- 1 magicka/1 health/0 stamina —your typical entrance to conflict will entail flesh spells, Illusion to manage threats, and Restoration to minimize damage for you and your follower… you’ll need that magicka. The health will help you get in there and tank when you have a hankering to mix it up
Any healer’s main focus. The Respite perk combined with Close Wounds let’s you pile on power attacks (should you feel so inclined), and Bane of the Undead is just plain awesome when you’re delving draugr dungeons. The real fun, however, lies in the power of the Atronach Stone and Guardian Circle spell (GC)… anytime you are within the circle the Atronach Stone starts absorbing magicka. Imagine this scenario:
You enter a cave and immediately notice two Falmer Nightprowlers, a Shadowmaster, and two or three charus reapers—there’s gonna be some melee going on for sure. Dragonhide would be helpful here, but that leaves you very little left for Frenzy, Calm, and Heal Other. Cast GC and watch your magicka fill up. Next, cast Dragonhide and watch your magicka fill up yet again. Now you’re ready… protected and with a full tank of magicka. Concerned about your ward spells draining you dry? You aren't when you're in the circle! As a sidenote: this will work with Circle of Protection (CoP) as well, but CoP is a glitchy glitch and will eventually break on you... Guardian Circle doesn’t.
Useful spells: Poison Rune, All Healing Spells, Turn Undead.
Healing it and bringing it!
As difficult as it is to believe…Healers. Smash. Faces. While there isn’t technically a Blunt skill in Skyrim, the Bonebreaker perks serve that function nicely… we perked all three, but found that with Alchemy, Alteration and Restoration you really only need 3 of the 5 Armsman perks to keep you dangerous.
Good healers know their way around an alchemy table… it makes you healthy, makes you fearsome, and makes you money. If you are one of those people who has been putting off Alchemy (like me two or three months ago) you really ought to get over that—Alchemy lets you do just about anything! Here are a few of the alchemical creations we found helpful:
- Intensity: Fortify One-handed + Fortify Marksman (Elves Ear + Canis Root + Hanging Moss)
- It probably comes as no surprise that Fortify One-handed fortifies your One-handed skills, but Fortify Marksman fortifies any melee damage… including One-handed. In essence, you get a potion that stacks Fortify One-handed twice—bad news for the malignant things of Skyrim
- Spirit Healing: Fortify Restoration (Salt Pile + Yellow Mountain Flower/Abcean Longfin )
- Heal an entire health bar in seconds! Burn the undead with a double-powered blast of sun rays! Poison your enemies twice as much with the Poison Rune! Just plain awesome
- Ultimate Defense: Fortify Alteration (River Betty + Grass Pod)
- There are situations when you just don't have time to keep refreshing Dragonhide, or when enemies need to be frozen for more than 10 seconds while you take care of their friends. When those times arrive, this is the potion for you!
- Final Stages: Ravage Stamina + Ravage Magicka + Damage Health (Jazbay Grapes + Scathecraw+ Spawn Ash)
- A great all-purpose poison that hurts and weakens at every level... doesn't matter if you're up against a warrior, thief, or mage—it'll have at least two things in there that they're gonna hate
- No Cure: Damage/Ravage Health + Weakness to Poison (Deathbell + Giant Lichen + Skeever Tail)
- For difficult enemies, stack this on… problem solved!
Flesh spells are handy, but not always necessary (unless you want to barrel in full tank-style). But Paralysis is glorious. Add a Lingering Damage Health poison or Marked for Death, and let time do the work for you while you take care of other business.
Useful spells: Flesh Spells, Paralysis
This school is all about enemy management, and you really don’t need to go any further than Adept to do it. Too many red dots on your HUD? Some dual cast Frenzy spells will get them working for you, and Calm takes many high-level enemies right out of the action so you can deal with the riffraff.
Useful spells: Boosts (Courage, Rally & etc), Fear, Fury and Calm.
I was happy to see this as part of the character class… all those high-end potions and poisons, and you can only unload them on Alchemists and general goods mechants? That's just not right. Hello Merchant perk, goodbye potions and poisons, hello gold (and training).
In the beginning you really want to focus on bringing your Restoration up because (a) it’s what healers are all about, and (b) it actually makes you pretty powerful once you hit Adept. But that makes you awfully squishy in the early game, so you’ll want someone to help out (and someone you can heal) as soon as possible.
Good news! You can get a decent follower right out of Helgen and get 100 septims for doing it! Go to the Bannered Mare in Whiterun and strike up a conversation with Uthgerd. If you don't take any guff from her she'll eventually challenge you to a fistfight... your unarmed bonus as an Argonian insures an easy win, and she'll pony up the 100 gold and offer to follow you in your adventures. Not bad for a septim-less drifter out of Helgen!
Afterwards, feel free to pick up any follower you like. I grabbed Lydia a few levels later, and if you can get past the diva attitude she’s not so bad—we got separated outside one of the Forsworn redoubts; I walked in and no Lydia (turns out she entered an upper level), but I met her somewhere in between… we passed quite a few slaughtered forsworn on the way out (she must have been VERY busy )
Drain Vitality, Marked for Death, Slow Time, Battle Fury, Become Ethereal
For our late-game setup, we felt the Temple Priest robes and hood with Thalmor boots was a great look for a Grand Healer. An alternative for those too cheap to get the excellent DLC Bethesda has available (ShinJin, I'm looking at you) is the Archmage Robes. The quest to get the Gauldur Amulet is a perfect fit for a Healer, and the amulet itself is a decent reward: +30 to health, magicka, and stamina... booyah! We chose the Ring of Regeneration because (a) we found it, and (b) it fits the roleplay rather nicely, but just about any ring with a buff you like will do.
For early and mid-level gear we suggest Tavern Clothes + Brown Boots + Gloves—a combo we call “The Humble Pilgrim,” but you can go with just about any combo you find aesthetically pleasing. ShinJin, for example, opted for Farmer Clothes + Thalmor Boots and Gauntlets… really, the goal here is a simple, but cool, look.
We worked our way up with maces as we found them until we got a hold of an ebony mace. Enchantments are not absolutely required but some useful ones include Stamina Absorb or Paralysis. A useful combo you might consider would be Staff of Paralysis paired with an Ebony Mace with just a single point of Absorb Stamina. You'll always have something in the tank for power attacks so long as your hits connect, and you'll have access to paralysis at no cost to your magicka pool.
Skilled with the mace and an ability to heal almost instantly, Healers aren’t afraid to let followers follow...
Mace in one hand, Healing, Wards, Illusions and Flesh spells in the other. This the "aggressive support" style in which you jump out in front of your follower and smash some faces yourself (she’s not going to steal all the fun)! Remember to change your tactics against whatever you’re facing: when faced with many weak enemies, healing is a great way to keep the ass-kicking going, but against one stronger opponent you may want to debuff him with multiple poisons, spells and shouts (MfD, DV, Paralysis, Poison Rune and your wide array of Poisons) and then smash whatever is still alive when you’re done.
...but they are equally dangerous behind the scenes: manipulating enemies, supplying allies with a constant stream of health and morale… if you are one of the malignant folk of Tamriel, pray you never run across a Healer!
Keep followers alive and strong, boost them before going into battle, use Fear in weaker enemies and let followers battle the stronger one. Enemies locked on to your follower will ignore you entirely, so you can continuously heal your follower without reprisal whenever she/he takes damage. It’s a good move against groups of strong enemies and against that Dwarven Centurion that you will surely find someday. Remember that using Fear spells can alert enemies in near rooms, if you don’t want to take that risk, Calm works equally well (and you don't have to chase anyone down).
Although not listed, carrying a long bow may prove useful for hitting enemies with a poisoned arrow when the situation calls for it (like a Slow poison on fleeing bandit, or Ravage Magicka on a powerful spell-caster to start draining his magicka reserves from a distance). Again, not necessary, but a potential option for those lovers of archery with an itch to fling the occasional arrow... think of it as a long-range hypodermic needle.
Special Tactics—Necromancers and Minions: Against powerful necromancers and their minions, make sure that the most powerful servant(s) die while affected by Paralysis, so when the necromancers try to reanimate them they will be raised permanently immobile and unable to attack you, providing the Necromancer with just a frozen minion who will be banished back to the depths of oblivion when his master dies.
Necromancers beware: your strongest minions aren’t going anywhere!
Dragons—You can stop a Dragon’s fire and frost breath by Draining all of their Magicka, Drain Vitality and a poisoned strike of Ravage Magicka (be it with a bow or with your mace) will make sure that he drops to the ground soon (it’s like a free Dragonrend!) With Lesser Ward you can block the breath of any dragon, so take advantage of that! You can use it as a way to hold your ground while your debuffs take effect. Become Ethereal is also a great option when the magicka runs out.
We ran across a bandit camp today... it ended quickly. As I looked around at the bodies of the innocent people they looted, a thought occurred to me: in just under three minutes we put an end to a lifetime of misery and suffering. I dislike killing—but that doesn't mean I won't...
As an Argonian born with a strong affinity to the Hist, a strong feeling of connectedness to all races, and the good will to spread healing to the world, the Healer has left Argonia, wandering the land as a humble pilgrim, helping those who deserve it and removing those who would destroy that work. Heals still feels a strong tie to the Hist, and can call upon his power when needed. He’s a kind soul and will always search for a non-violent way out, but he also knows that the end of one corrupt soul often ensures that dozens of pure ones will live.
Heals is not concerned with the civil war, fearing that his involvement may worsen the suffering he seeks to alleviate. Thus, he feels it is not a conflict in which he should take part. Nor will he destroy the Dark Brotherhood, for he holds a respect to the Hist, and by extension, to Sithis. But he will not join them either, for he knows that’s not something that he was meant for. He will not join the Companions either. Money and glory aren’t what he’s searching for, and he feels something... unnatural... coming from them.
Crippling Blow - The healer strikes a glancing blow against an opponent that sharply reduces stamina /magicka and temporarily prevents stamina/magicka from regenerating.
Requires: Final Stages Poison, Basic attack, Drain vitality
A quick and effective way to shut down a troublesome opponent and turn the tables in favor of your follower.
Hero's Charge: The healer blesses an ally improving their health, attack power, attack speed. These effects stack making allies super powerful! Effected allies are also more courageous and will not run from the enemy.
Requires: Courage, Rally, Call to Arms, Battle Fury
Word of warning: because allies feel no fear, they don’t take a knee when they have nothing left in them… this hightened courage could lead to a follower’s death if you aren’t careful
Rejuvenation: The Healer converts the life energy of the hist into magickal energy, allowing him to replenish his magicka reserves.
Requires: Equilibrium and Hist Skin or Close Wounds
A fast and effective way to replenish magicka whenever needed. Don't over do it with this technique. Equilibrium will kill you if you get carried away.
Requires: Atronach stone, Become Ethereal, Guardian Circle (Spell or Scroll), Heal Other, Secret of Protection (optional)
A powerful option for full support. Tree of life allows you to do what a lot of healer builds have a hard time doing, which is keeping an ally effectively healed. The healing is amplified if the target is within the circle as well.
Requires: Marked for Death + Multiple Poison Runes + Paralysis
A powerful offensive tool that wrecks enemy defenses and stacks deadly poison damage over time debuffs. Consume a Spirit Healing potion before hand to deal even heavier damage over time.
There is a saying amongst the people of my tribe... "Home is where the Hist is." It is a message the elders tell the young people, a way of saying, "The world is wide, but an Argonian is at peace only in Argonia."
It's true that I miss my homeland and my people, but the Hist is in my heart. All places are home to me so long as I am true to the Hist... and the Hist would have me here.