PROLOGUE – The Imperial City, 3rd of Mid Year, 4E171
The sun had reached its zenith above the arena. Through the heavy iron portcullis, Kazan was staring, unflinching, at the opposite side of the field ; behind the other metal gate across the sand coliseum was his greatest adversary to date : Do’Sharr, the Grand Champion. Even for a Pahmar-raht, Do’Sharr was of remarkable size and strength ; growing up an orphan in the streets of Corinthe, he had been taken in at a young age, and trained in martial arts by Khajiit monks. Unsurprisingly, Do’Sharr had made a name for himself early on in his career, fighting exclusively with his claws. For that reason, the people of the Imperial City called him the Anequinan Skinner.
Kazan was ready for a fight with the colossus. He had spent the night before, as was customary for many a gladiator before a match, in one of the Arena District’s finest pleasure houses. If they could meet their end the next day, thought the pit fighters, there was nothing wrong in spending their very last hours on Nirn feeling the touch of a woman for just one more time. As he walked past the velvet drape that served as a door to a private salon, reserved to arena fighters, he noticed Do’Sharr was here already, a superb Bosmer on his knees. Kazan and Do’Sharr, in truth, had never really spoken more than a few words to one another. At times, they had practiced together, and they would greet each other with a nod should their paths cross in the underground corridors of the arena Bloodworks, but that was all there was to their relationship. Without saying a word, Kazan sat on the same side as the giant Khajiit, at a respectable distance. The two of them remained quiet and still for a few minutes.
“You know”, said Do’Sharr in his deep, yet oddly soothing voice, abruptly breaking the silence, “Do’Sharr respects you a lot as a fighter.”
-“Feeling’s mutual, Do’Sharr. Regardless of what happens, this’ll be a good fight.”
Do’Sharr promptly shooed the wench away with a jerk of the head, and got up to sit across the room, facing Kazan. “Do’Sharr likes this Bosmer. It’s his favorite here.”. He grinned, revealing an impressively sharp rack of fangs. “This one has made a bet with the brothel owner, you see. If he wins tomorrow, he gets to eat the Bosmer. Alive.”
-“Didn’t know you cats to be cannibals”, said Kazan. He was not surprised, though, that such a gigantic beast could be one, as he would probably be able to devour the elf in a matter of seconds.
-“We aren’t”, pursued the Khajiit. “For the most part. But this one reveres the Great Night, you see. The Guardian of the Dead.”
-“That’s what you call Namira, right ?” inquired Kazan.
-“Yes, our legends say Namii-ra is the mother of the Dro-m’Athra, the cursed clan of the Lost Cats.”, explained Do’Sharr, “This one thinks he will start with the girl’s ears. Or maybe her toes. Both are crunchy appetizers.”
-“Got to beat me first, Do’Sharr.”
-“Ah, Kazan of Bangkorai, my fellow child of the sands”, giggled the Khajiit, “if such is the price to pay for Do’Sharr to enjoy a good meal, then this one feels sorry for you.”
Strange fumes were coming up from the hot sand that had been fully cleaned up for the fight to come. Kazan’s grip tightened on the hilt of his weapon ; he could feel the earth quaking beneath his feet, the leather strips of his heavy harness sticking to his skin ; all of his senses seemed heightened at the prospect of the battle to come.
“Good people of the Imperial City !” bellowed the announcer, covering the constant hubbub rising from the bleachers, “Welcome to the Arena !”
If you wish to read the full backstory, click here.
In order to pursue Kazan's destiny, here are the mods you will need, as well as a few suggestions.
ESSENTIAL MODS :
RECOMMENDED MODS :
NB : The latter three essentially act as a replacement for 20/50/100% more perk point mods that come with Ordinator. I prefer to play with these, as exploration (Skyshards), defeating epic enemies (PPA) and mastering more and more skills (PP@SL) make perk points feel like a reward for your acomplishments, rather than just something you get double every few levels. It is up to your preference, however, you could bypass these and just get any perk point modifier on the Ordinator page.
Name : Kazan
Age : 53
Class archetype : Warrior
Race : Redguard
With Imperious installed, Redguards start with a base Health of 110 (regen rate 5.25%), and a carrying capacity of 325.(regen rate 0.75%), base Magicka of (regen rate 2.875%) and base Stamina of
Their racial abilities include Dust Storm, which increases your attack damage and critical damage by 30%, and reduces spell costs by the same amount, for 5 seconds after slaying a humanoïd, Nomadic Heritage, which gives unlimited Stamina when out of combat, and a 50% Disease resistance at all times, and Tenacity which makes Magicka and Stamina regenerate up to 100% faster, based on missing Health.
Their active racial power is Red Sand Dance, and is obtain by winning 30 battles against 3 or more humanoïd foes. It can be used once a day to make time slow down by 90% when sprinting in combat, and lasts 45 seconds.
Standing Stone : The Lord
With Andromeda installed, the Lord Stone has two passive properties and one active ability.
For passives, Crown of Autumn increases your power attack damage and stagger by 20%, however Stamina won't regenerate in combat. To compensate, Old Stone makes it possible to power attack when out of Stamina, for 30% reduced damage and stagger.
The active ability, Kneel or Be Knelt, is unlocked through discovering every standing stone in Skyrim. It is a one use a day power, that throws all nearby targets to the ground, deals 15 magic damage per second and absorbs the same amount of Stamina, for 10 seconds.
Faith : The Hoonding
With Wintersun installed, a new game mechanic is introduced : Faith. By choosing The Hoonding as his deity, following his Tenets and Praying once a day, Kazan will get increasing benefits.
The Hoonding's tenets are the following : “Slay your foes in open combat, especially those stronger than you. Those skilled in One-Handed are most deserving of my favor.”
The Shrine to The Hoonding, located south of Rorikstead, makes stagger from your power attacks and bashes 50% stronger. You need to meditate at the shrine to receive this buff, however you don't need to be at the shrine to Pray. Praying once a day increases Favor.
As a Follower of The Hoonding, Kazan receives the passive effect Make Way, which reduces his targets' armor by X% when he staggers them, X being your Favor with The Hoonding.
Once Favor reaches or exceeds 100%, Kazan becomes a Devotee, gaining an additional passive ability : Perseverance, which increases stagger resistance by a percentage based on current Favor level.
Stat Distribution : 1 - Stop perking Stamina when you reach 250, excluding enchantments, and put all further points into Health./ /
Factions : Stormcloak Rebellion, The Companions, The Blades, Dawnguard (Optional)
Alignment : True Neutral
These are examples of quests that make sense role-play wise for Kazan, the arena fighter turned avatar of The Path Carving God. Please note, these lists are non-exhaustive, in no particular order, and are overall just a way for you to get started into roleplaying the character.
QUESTLINES : Main quest, Dragonborn DLC, Civil War (Kazan and his men defected from the Legion after the ratification of the White-Gold Concordat, and went on to join the resistance movement in Hammerfell, ultimately pushing the Altmer forces out of the province. Kazan still harbors the deepest hatred towards the Thalmor, and will gladly lend his sword to Ulfric's cause in an attempt to weaken their grasp on Tamriel), Companions questline (as a devout of The Hoonding, Kazan will seek to cure his lycanthropy, to preserve his soul from being corrupted by Hircine). Dawnguard is entirely up to you to do or not, but it is likely Kazan will side with the vampire hunters rather than Harkon's Court.
MAIN QUESTS : Thirsk Mead Hall (Kazan will side with the Nords and show them what a true warrior looks like), Missing in Action, In My Time of Need (Kazan will side with Kematu and the Alik'r)
MISC QUESTS : Find all standing stones, Amren's Family Sword, Armor for Erik, Roggi's Ancestral Shield, Bounties from Court Stewards
Like most other Warriors, considering they disregard all Magic and Stealth skills, Kazan is tailored to do one job, and to do it to perfection. In his case, that means going one way, and one way only : forward. Let's review the most important perks.
ONE-HANDED - A master swordsman, Kazan became Grand Champion of the Arena at only 23 years old. If "making way", which is the will of The Hoonding, includes carving through anyone standing in his path, Kazan is happy to oblige.
- Overrun : This perk allows us to straight out remove an enemy from the equation at the start of combat.
- Disciplined Fighter : The reduced Stamina cost is very helpful to get as many Crown of Autumn procs as possible
- Thundering Blow : Since it is a free power attack, it is affected by Crown of Autumn, not Old Stone, when used, even if you're out of Stamina
- Aftershock : Guarantees maximum Thundering Blow usage
- Judgment : This is the most important perk in the tree, and the reason I decided to go with swords : it circumvents the inability to regenerate Stamina in combat.
- Wandering Warrior : A great fit with Kazan's theme, the maximum bonus is also obtained in a similar way as Red Sand Dance, making it rather easy to unlock both at roughly the same time.
BLOCK - While shields are defensive tools in essence, Kazan's martial prowess enables him to use his as a deadly weapon as well.
- Apocalypse Proof : From a balance perspective, the second rank of this perk, which negates 100% of spell damage if you time your block correctly, is just straight overpowered. Besides, it circumvents Kazan's absence of ranged options, by allowing you to protect yourself from magic wielders while closing the gap on them
- Block Runner : Mandatory perk against any type of ranged opponent.
- Cast Aside : A good source of single-target crowd control, it is best used against a two-handed wielder when fighting a small group of enemies.
- Unstoppable Force : Along with Kneel or Be Knelt, which only has one use per day, this perk is our source of AOE crowd control. Also, if you've never thrown an entire bandit gang down the bridge of Valtheim Towers all at once, you, my friend, are missing out on a great life experience.
SMITHING - Blacsmiths are considered to be artists in their own right in Redguard culture ; Kazan, like any self-respecting warrior, knows how to improve and maintain his own equipment.
- Advanced Workshop : You should choose to upgrade a Workbench, as most of Kazan's damage ties in to his armor rating rather than weapon damage stat anyway
- Sandstone Sheath : This perk compensates the fact we didnt upgrade a Grindstone with the previous one. Also has incredible synergy with the likes of Overrun
- Arcane Blacksmith : Some enchantments can be invaluable to Kazan, however he isn't an enchanter himself. Should you find a piece with a good effect, this perk ensures you can keep its armor rating relevant
- Defiance : The more hits you take, the less they hurt you ; I often found myself pulling entire bandit dwellings in a single go. With this perk, my Health bar barely ever flickered.
- Revel in Battle : The reason why we upgraded a Workbench, and the reason why I would pull the whole dungeon all at once ; allows for litteral one-shots
- Reap the Whirlwind : Extremely versatile perk : a tide turner in a one-on-one, it's also very good against a small group. Great synergy with the whole Timed Block mechanic.
- Out of the Inferno : Without this perk, Kazan would basically fry in his armor if not managing to block a spell at the proper timing.
- Face of the Mountain : Excellent option against large groups, allowing you to thin their numbers out while still retaining full value from perks such as Rise Above
From the Block and Heavy Armor trees, I also have tested the following perks which, despite sounding really good at first, didn't make the cut in the final build. If you wonder why a perk you're used to taking in these trees isn't on the list, here are the reasons why :
- Dominion : Hitting the armor cap already reduces incoming damage by 80%, and while the damage reduction Dominion provides is certainly nice, it's not worth investing a point into once said cap is reached.
- Timing Streak, Break Their Teeth and Deliverance : Timed Blocks are a key part of the build, but since we'll mostly be fighting large groups of opponents, completing a Timing Streak happens very rarely ; despite the excellent effects, these perks aren't worth investing 3 points into.
- Dragon Scales : Obvious anti-synergy with Crown of Autumn
- Hold The Line, Rallying Standard, Warbringer/Doombringer and Lead the Tempest : While I think the Hold The Line + Rallying Standard spec is very interesting, it has maximum value in builds that also rely on either having a follower, or summoned creatures/bone skeletons. I keep these perks in mind for either a Sorcerer or a Knight build.
- Immortal : This perk has value even without investing heavily into the Rallying Standard branch ; however, the time window in which it is effective is extremely short, and attaining the armor cap is enough damage reduction already to forego this perk completely.
- Primal Fear : A very interesting perk, that would totally make sense RP-wise. However, it wouldn't synergize well with perks such as Unstoppable Force or Overrun, and would hinder Kazan's ability to reach casters and archers at the start of a fight.
Something crucial to understand when playing a class that relies on armor rating is how Skyrim works in that regard. The more armor you have, the less damage you take, obviously ; but there is a hard cap of 567, for a maximum 80% damage reduction. This armor rating is possible to attain with as low-level an armor as Dwarven. The armor you should wear is either the one with the best enchantments, or the one with the coolest look if you don't find any good enchanted pieces. Here are a few good unique artifacts you can get, and suggestions for the enchants you should look for in your travels :
Weapons - Bolar's Oathblade, Dragonbane, The Pale Blade, Dawnbreaker, Gauldur Blackblade. Useful enchants include Absorb Health, Absorb Stamina, Berserking, Killstreak and Power Attack Damage.
Armor - Anything that allows you to hit the armor cap - or close to it, since some perks like Defiance will increase your armor rating in combat. Useful enchants include Fortify Block, Fortify Health, Fortify Health Regen, Fortify One-Handed, Fortify Heavy Armor, Fortify Stamina, Resist Magic, Cheat Death, Imminent Victory, Nova, Quake, Jester, Siphon Health, Siphon Stamina, Unbreakable and Windfall.
Shields - Ysgramor's Shield, Aetherial Shield, Spellbreaker, Targe of the Blooded, Shield of Solitude. Useful enchants include any of the aforementioned in the armor section.
Jewelry - Useful enchants include any of the aforementioned in the armor section.
Miscellaneous - Wintersun adds the Stone of the Forebears to the world as random loot in boss chests, which is equipped in an otherwise unused slot - like a trinket would in MMO games. Having this stone equipped would be beneficial to Kazan, as it reduces attack damage taken by a percentage determined by his Favor level with any Yokudan deity.
Kazan feels his newfound destiny as Dragonborn was either the will of The Hoonding himself, or the reason he chose him as his champion. Either way, he will seek to learn the following shouts :
- Elemental Fury
- Marked for Death
- Dragon Aspect
- Whirlwind Sprint
- Lightning Shield
- Shor's Wrath
THUNDERCHILD BONUS ABILITIES
- Storm Crown : Shout cooldown is removed when you enter or leave combat.
- Thundering Echoes : The first shout you use in combat has no cooldown.
- Way of Peace : Shouts have a greatly reduced cooldown out of combat.
Enter the Coliseum (Passive) : Defiance + Revel in Battle + Rise Above
Kazan thrives when fighting multiple enemies, gaining boosts to his offense and defense, and demoralizing his foes
Carve the Path : Block Runner + Unstoppable Force + Overrun
Upon entering combat, Kazan challenges a distant foe to a duel, rushing to them and knocking down enemies along his way
Sweeping Slash : Power Bash + Disarm + Windswept
Kazan disrupts his target's attack, disarming them and knocking them away. Can be followed up with Carve the Path
Overpower : Aftershock proc + Into the Dust + Stormblast OR Elemental Fury + Thundering Echoes + Into the Dust + Stormblast
Kazan harnesses the might of the Path Carving God and enters a frenzy, beating his target into submission and calling down The Hoonding's power from the skies
Eye for an Eye : Never Kneel + Face of the Mountain + Reap the Whirlwind + Furious Strength
Kazan performs a devastating counterblow after he is struck by a power attack, knocking down his attacker and inflicting heavy damage
For Blood and Glory : Dismay + Thundering Echoes + Warcry
Kazan lets out a powerful battle cry, getting a second wind in battle and terrifying nearby enemies
One by One They Fall : Earthquake/Kneel or Be Knelt + Crown of Autumn + Furious Strength + Judgment + Dust Storm
Kazan throws all surrounding enemies to the ground, then executes each of them in rapid succession
STRENGTHS : Extremely durable, exceptional single-target capabilities, good cleave damage, very decent AOE potential, lots of heavy crowd control in both single-target and cleave/AOE situations , can gapclose quickly onto ranged targets, scales amazingly well with perks and gear, only needs to invest in a small array of skill trees to be effective, defensive play doesnt hinder damage output, while offensive play doesnt jeopardize protection
WEAKNESSES : Vulnerable to slowing effects, no ranged arsenal, cooldown-reliant, only benefits from a small pool of enchantments but needs them to be effective, making actual good loot rather scarce, feels weaker than he actually is pre-armor cap, requires clever Stamina management and great knowledge of perk effects (notably, the Sword branch from One-Handed) to be played to his full potential
Kazan is a Warrior, a type of class that is often classified in character building as a Specialist. Specialists tend to focus on fewer skills than most classes, investing a lot more perks into them. In the case of Warriors, Heavy Armor, Smithing and Block are the three staple skills, and the choices the player has to make are either to spec into One-Handed or Two-Handed, and which weapon type to use, choosing perks accordingly.
As far as combat goes, you should employ a pretty straightforward tactic : start the fight with Carve the Path, gapclosing onto the farthest enemy. If this foe survives your charge, use the Thundering Echoes version of Overpower to finish the job. In single-target situations, you should use regular attacks rather than power attacks if you don't need the effects provided by the Sword specialization branch of the One-Handed tree, to get as many Aftershock Overpower procs as you can. All the enemies you've sprinted across should by then almost be in melee range, giving you maximum value on Enter the Coliseum. If you're in a poor position, you can use Sweeping Slash and follow it up with another use of Carve the Path to get to a more beneficial spot. This is the situation where you really start shining, as you can constantly use Eye for an Eye and Sweeping Slash both to reduce incoming damage, and counterattack proficiently. You should consider these two your go-to techniques in cleave situations. Should you need to trim down enemy forces to more manageable numbers, or want to wrap up a fight quickly, One by One They Fall is a tremendously effective AOE option. If it's unavailable, your racial ability Red Sand Dance can essentially serve the same purpose ; due to the high cooldown of For Blood and Glory, you should keep this ability for emergency situations, as it is best in most cases to keep Thundering Echoes for an on-demand Overpower to finish off a key target.
A quick note on shouts : Even though they're extensively used in the build, the investment in the Speech tree isn't necessary ; the only power you might get from it that would be beneficial is Merciless Storm, which serves the same purpose as Thundering Echoes, but getting it would require you to pass out on very good perks from your main skill trees. Furthermore, Speech isn't traditionally used for Warrior builds.
That being said, should you play this build to very high character levels, I would suggest you start working on Speech to get Power Echoes, if you've already unlocked all the perks in the build and have points to spare ; another cool option RP wise is to grab Blood Money from the Pickpocket tree, which is a perfect fit for a seasoned gladiator.
This concludes the fourth build I'm posting on The SkyForge, namely my Warrior build. This is a part of my Project 21 series of builds, which will be my own take on all 21 classes of the TES universe, I still have 17 more to publish as of the moment I'm writing these lines.
I was pleasantly surprised that so many people were happy and willing to bounce off ideas, provide useful advice, and generally encourage me in this ambitious endeavour. Thank you very much for welcoming me into the community, and for your support. It is a great source of motivation for me to keep trying my best at crafting these builds.
I would like to extend special thanks to Enai Siaion, creator of Ordinator, Andromeda, Wildcat, Imperious, and many more gameplay-enhancing mods, for making Skyrim an even more amazing game than Bethesda already had, and one I still enjoy playing after almost a decade, as well as to Furrion 17. I tried all of his builds when I got into character building and really had a blast, and the dedication he shows in crafting a good backstory for a good build inspired me to try my hand at it as well.
That's all from me for now, expect more soon ! Don't hesitate to comment and share your experience playing Kazan, I hope you'll have as much fun playing him as I had creating, playing and writing the build he is the star of !
MY OTHER BUILDS
BARBARIAN : Ulfgar, the Lone Wolf
HEALER : Alska, She of the Wild
KNIGHT : Acilius, Alessia's Chosen
NIGHTBLADE : Caesia Tremellius, the Imperial Inquisitor
ROGUE : Thessia, the Rascal
SORCERER : Lanathel, the Bloodsworn
SPELLSWORD : Ariane, the Skystrider
WITCHHUNTER : Taren Verelas, the Beckoner of Retribution