Character Build: The Mane of Elsweyr

      My first of two entries into the Event, this is a build I've had under my hat for a few months now as I've been mulling over exactly how to execute the uniqueness of the Mane, while trying to do Khajiit lore and history (second best only to the Dunmer, in my humble opinion) the justice it deserves.


The Mane of Elsweyr



Every Khajiit is born under the Twin Moons. The positions of Jone and Jode when a newborn Khajiit leaves his mother’s womb determines the form he will take in the following fortnight. Some Khajiit are big, others are little. Some walk on all fours like tiger-folk and others step lightly on their toes. Some have thick fur in shaggy coats, others have no fur at all and paint their faces to show their Khajiiti pride.

When the Moons vanished from the skies in the Void Nights, chaos gripped my homeland tight. For two years, the wives of Elsweyr produced nothing more than bloody, garbled bones and flesh. Many died in the birthing room and the gift of life became a blight across the land as many feared for their friends and daughters.

Then, the Golden Elves returned the Moons and the children to the lands of Elsweyr. Khajiit are a proud race and repay their debts in kind, but on that night, before any of the star-gazers of the High Court could predict it, the Moons fell over each other in a brilliant Massehagaare, an alignment of stunning beauty. The sign of the Coming of the Mane. The remaining pregnant wives each prayed to the Mother Cat that they would be the ones to birth the new Mane, the first cat born under the Massehagaare, the one chosen by the gods to lead our people so that we may join our good ancestors and the gods in the Sands Beyond the Stars. A life of comfort and security awaited any mother and their family a one-way ticket to the palace in Torval. 

That night, three new mothers entered the birthing rooms across Elsweyr. Each thought their child to be the Mane, but only one was born with the mark upon his fur. The other two cubs and their families moved to the palace in Torval to serve as the court, as regular Khajiit. My mother was the lucky cat, but the Twin Moons left an impact on us, my moon-sisters and I, and neither of us would ever be regular Khajiit.


Race: Khajiit

Standing Stone: I ended up choosing the Atronach fairly late, running the Apprentice half the game for the exhilaration of being very vulnerable to magic whilst relying on it desperately to save myself. The Steed is also useful.

Stats0 / 2 / 1, and no, that’s not a typo. A mage build without a single point into magicka. All abilities he has, he got from the Twin Moons.


Major Skills

Destruction – As the Khajiit revere Azurah as the Queen of Dawn and Dusk, the Mane’s magical gifts reflect this in command of the fiery sunlight of the dawn and the cold darkness of the dusk. Taken up to Adept for competent use of Cloaks.

Block – Using unique shields as an extension of his impressive, moon-given magic, his shield can become an almost more potent weapon than his blade. Up the right side of the tree for offensive shield-bashing.

Restoration – To pay homage to Magrus’s Sun that rises when Azurah’s job is done, the Mane utilizes Sun magic and turn undead. Taken up to Master for full use of anti-undead spells, augmented by the Augmented Flames perks.

Enchanting – A noble art, Enchanting makes even a low-magicka Khajiit capable of casting powerful spells. When I was finished with Enchanting, I moved the perks over to the finer points of the magic schools and the more interesting Block perks. Once I crafted my weapons and gear, I had Enchanter (5), Fire Enchanter, Insightful Enchanter, Corpus Enchanter, and Extra Effect.


Minor Skills

Light Armor – Wards, actually, give a stunning amount of protection when you can summon them on demand and I have a certain fondness for weak characters, if one who might as well have flame-throwers strapped to his forearms could ever be called weak. I didn’t perk it, but there is room if you feel you need it.

Illusion – The bonus to fire spells is almost too much to resist, but with some healthy cost reduction, the fire-and-forget spells become a viable start to combat, replacing the need for armor with quick reflexes.

One Handed – Our second form of offense, heavily enchanted scimitars allow us to emulate spells we have no magicka to cast. Power attacks hinder our speed and agility, so only Armsman is taken.

(Smithing) – A trivial investment of a single perk allows us to sharpen our scimitars.



Dawn, The Moon Beast, Dusk

There are three primary armors I thought matched the Adept Hood the best (Dawnguard, Glass, Stalhrim) and since we don't perk Light Armor, Stalhrim would be technically best but it takes so long to get that I kept the standard Dawnguard Armor for most of the game, as I felt it looked very much like a regal wanderer. Once the armor and weapons were enchanted, I used the mechanic at the end of Dragonborn to respec the perks and move them around to where they were most useful. I chose the shields (Auri-El and the Aetherium) for their combat benefits. I didn’t feel Targe of the Blooded fit the noble set of the Mane, but it would be great for DPS.

(HEAD) Adept Hood – { Fortify Magicka 78pts } Necessary and explained further on.

(BODY) Moon Plates – { Fortify Magicka Regen + Fortify Illusion } The ethereal silver of moonlight has long been the favoured material of Torval’s master craftsman for the Guards of the Mane and the warriors of court. You managed to procure one yourself before traveling Tamriel.

(HANDS) Dusk and Dawn – { Fortify Block + Fortify One Handed } One to protect and one to destroy, these bracers inspire Azurah’s love in her people as each become more powerful during their specific hours.

(FEET) Jone and Jode – { Resist Frost + Resist Fire } Twins. The same, yet different. Brothers, yet enemies. For eons they dictated the moves of the Khajiit people, protecting them from their foes.

(NECKLACE) Cat’s Eye – { Fortify Restoration + Fortify Illusion } “Magrus, to you we give the Sun, for what is brighter than the eye of a cat?” A fragment of the blue stone Magrus created when he left this world to the Sands Beyond the Stars, this artifact has been passed to the Heirs of the Moons for centuries.

(RING) Band of Golden Touch – { Fortify Restoration + Fortify Illusion } The light of the Sun and the Moons in perfect harmony, this band of moonlight and gem of starfire whisper more magic than the greatest enchanters.

(WEAPONS) Since we invest a lot into stamina, we end up having a ton of carrying space, which I used to carry four scimitars, each carrying different enchantments that I used when I had no magicka to cast the spells. The Augmented Flames perks and the Fire Enchanter perk buff each of the effects, as it affects Damage Stamina and Silent Moons, weirdly enough.

Dusk – { Fear + Stamina Damage } Able to mimic the finest Fear spells of the Mane, this claw is ultimately more effective. A completely fearsome weapon against warriors, it’ll cause most things to flee from us and, with no stamina, they’ll be running slowly or, at least, doing no power attacks or shield bashes.

Dawn – { Turn Undead + Fire Damage } Able to clear any dwelling of undead hoards, as well as being a solid weapon against normal foes, Draugr Deathlords spawn between levels 30 and 40. I had one at 37.

Ja’Kha’Jay – { Absorb Magicka + Silent Moons } A physical manifestation of the blessings of the Lunar Lattice, the Ja’Kha’Jay, this steel blade shines brightly in the moonlight. I kept a primarily nocturnal schedule with this character, making the weapon very useful and absorbing more magicka to help us cast fire-and-forget spells will help in more strenuous battles. I kept it as my primary weapon. For console users, Frost would be a good alternative, as I didn’t use a frost-based weapon.

Dro-M’Athra – { Soul Trap + Paralyze } A utility blade forged in the Void Nights where no light shone on the Moon Forge, the Dro-M’Athra imbued this steel with the dark magic of their trickery. A great ace in the hole and useful for soul harvesting, it isn’t augmented by our perks, but is useful nonetheless.


The Power of the Twin Moons

This build has been a long time coming and I’ve searched for a while for a way to emulate the kind of power that a Mane would have. Since magic in TES comes from the sky (stars, sun, moon), it would almost certainly be magically based, but then it hit me.

The true power of the Twin Moons is unlocked in one of the most underused glitches in Skyrim. First seen in Mason’s Seraphim, the Twin Moons provide their Child with the magical ability and Khajiiti tenacity to unleash powerful displays of magic envied by the greatest sorcerers as he has seemingly endless wells of power. At the same time, he can barely cast a full destruction cloak.

For us, concentration spells are limitless. That includes:

  • Flames, Frostbite
  • Wall Spells
  • Wards
  • Healing (basic)
  • And, for the pièce de résistance, Lightning Storm, devastating and able to tear dragons from the heavens without a single perk in storm magic.

This means that once our magicka reserves run dry, there’s no more bolts or cloaks, no poison runes, no sun magic or illusion powers, but we have almost unlimited, pure offensive elemental magic, and a solid defense in the form of Wards. Seriously, it’ll become reflex to just dual-cast Greater Ward when you panic and hear a bear, giving a 178pt armor bonus, which is essentially limitless.

Mason did this using the Atronach Stone (which is an option if you’d rather create your own headpiece but I felt the -78% magicka regen was too much of a pain, at least until higher levels, but the 78% spell absorbtion was helpful as a solid magical defence). I used the Adept Hood. It’s a very specific combination of store-bought Fortify Restoration potions and basic Fortify Magicka effects (nothing home-enchanted or home-brewed) that creates this, and no one really knows why it does this.

I wouldn’t consider it cheating to punch-reload merchants for the required components or spawn them using the console, since this glitch is the basis for the character’s combat. I did just that for the Adept Hood straight out of Helgen.

The chart below shows the order the Fortify Restoration potions have to be drunk and a list of viable options for game-enchanted gear. Since this glitch demands that no stat points are invested in magicka, our mana pool is effectively capped at 256 (if you use two effects of +50), peanuts for a standard spellsword, but the Mane to the Moon is unique.

But this ability is not something to be leaned on like a crutch. Until you get Wall spells, concentration Destruction is really very weak and you will want to focus more on martial combat and bolt magic. Even when you advance in power and spells, they aren't the be-all-end-all of combat in order to make you an OP mess.

Potion 1

Potion 2

Potion 3

Fortify Magicka

Available Items

Philter of the Healer (40%)

Draught of the Healer (30%)


Item 1: +20

Any item “… of Minor Magicka”

Potion of the Healer (20%)

Draught of the Healer (30%)


Item 1: +20
Item 2: +20

Any item “… of Minor Magicka”

Potion of the Healer (20%)

Draught of the Healer (30%)


Item 1: +40

Apprentice Hood, “… of Magicka”

Philter of the Healer (40%)

Draught of the Healer (30%)

Philter of the Healer (40%)

Item 1: +50

Adept Hood, Savos Aren’s Amulet, Nahkriin, Atronach Stone, “… of Eminent Magicka”

Philter of the Healer (40%)

Draught of the Healer (30%)


Item 1: +50
Item 2: +20


Philter of the Healer (40%)

Draught of the Healer (30%)

Philter of the Healer (40%)

Item 1: +50
Item 2: +50


Philter of the Healer (40%)

Draught of the Healer (30%)


Item 1: +70

Mage’s Circlet (lvl25), “… of Peerless Magicka”



Rather than being a mage who also uses swords and a shield or a warrior who picked up magic, the Mane is the consummate spellsword, manipulating his wells of stamina and magicka to pull off incredible feats envied by both warriors and mages.

Opening combat with a barrage of fire-and-forget spells (Illusion’s mind influencing spells, Restoration’s Turn Undead, Destruction’s bolts and cloaks), the Mane moves into near combat with his swords performing the magic he can’t anymore. Using Ja’Kha’Jay in one hand and elemental bolts in his other, he is a spellsword, constantly draining and refilling his magicka or blasting an endless gout of flames, Shieldmagery, on the other hand, is entirely viable, or even sword+ward, a great combat style when wards’ cost are non-existent.

With our bonuses to cost reduction, we can use both Illusion and Restoration competently, while Destruction is primarily used with concentration casting.

Mages are laughed off with infinite wards. Even if a ward breaks and you stagger, you take no damage from the spell. Dual-casting is no issue and gives an incredible magical defence. You can also attack through a ward with spell or sword.

Undead are also humorously easy, due to their weakness to fire and our mastery of Turn spells, including Guardian Circle (up to level 43), Bane of the Undead (powered with Augmented Flames up to level 56), and Circle of Protection (up to 55 with dual-casting and Necromage).

Warriors, on the other hand, are incredibly dangerous and are chiefly combatted with Illusion spells (Fury and Fear most useful), which must be rationed in combat, since once magicka is gone, it’s typically gone for the length of the fight. Frost magic, even against frost-resistant Nords, is excellent due to its Slow effect. That combined with our natural agility will let us dance around them in a wintery waltz. Archers are a weak point and should be Fury’d to provide both cover fire and a distraction. A lot of strategy and planning is required for warrior-based battles.



There’s a lot of fun that can be had with the Power of the Twin Moons and I urge you to find useful combos of yourown. Creativity with this Power is almost as much fun as 100% Fortify Shouts.


Auri-El’s Shield + basic Healing + Respite + Power of the Twin Moons

Drawing on an unlimited supply of fatigue, his spiritual energy replenishes his muscles’ strength as he summons the will to throw his enemies away. Unlimited healing means unlimited stamina and, with the myriad of bashing perks and Auri-El’s force wave, we can, very satisfyingly, bash someone to a stagger-ridden death. The Targe makes this move feel extremely brutal.


Breath of Dawn

Flames + Power of the Twin Moons + Dual Casting + Aspect of Terror + Augmented Flames (2)

Filling himself with the fire of the sun and the moon, the Mane creates a cone of death that burns with the rage of the cat gods of the Sands Beyond the Stars. Combining these basic innate abilities, we can boost the basic Flame spell to an amazing 41pts of damage per second! Add in the fact that this is unlimited and you’ve found your new favourite toy.


Magrus’s Solar Eye

Guardian Circle + Circle of Protection + Breath of Dawn

The reanimation of undead is abhorrent in the eyes of the Cat of Life and Magic. Holding the Sun in his hands, the Mane can unleash a blast of pure sunlight, purifying a land. This gives a massive amount of breathing room from undead and, while justable to be accomplished with a full magicka pool (all 256 spellpoints), Restore Magicka potions might be necessary.


Azurah’s Fields

Wall of Flames + Frost Cloak + Deep Freeze + Intense Flames + Dual Casting + Power of the Twin Moons

Surrendering himself completely to the Queen of Dusk and Dawn, he encases his body in a wintery ice and then, when common mages of his stature would be left vulnerable, a deadly gout of flames cover the land. Any caught in these flames are spun into the madness, while any who dare venture any closer are paralyzed and fall, consumed by terror and fire. Wall of Flames is a nifty little spell for any who can dual cast it with impunity and the two elemental perks interact well.


Aetherial Dismissal

Aetherial Shield + Disarming Bash + Frost Rune + Wall of Frost

With a particularly lucky bash with the magic Dwarven shield, the Mane’s enemy drops his weapon in panic and runs away from it. Anticipating the return, he prepares for when they scour the icy fields for their missing weapon. The Slow effect from the rune (which they should hit first) will only be amplified when they attempt to cross the wall, transforming even Bandit Chiefs into moonwalkers. The Disarming Bash with the Aetherial Shield doesn’t always work, but that in and of itself is a joy to watch.


Voice of the Mane

While some might consider the ability honorific and traditional, the Voice of the Mane is a genuine piece of TES lore and is one of the few ways to honestly play a shouting Khajiit. I found it could become particularly overpowered if not rationed, which means no cooldown reduction as we have our own superpower in the Power of the Twin Moons.

  • Unrelenting Force / Become Ethereal / Whirlwind Sprint / Cyclone - They all have the benefit of fitting into the idea of the Winds of Khenarthi, having strategic uses for getting the Mane out of deep trouble. Plus, the idea of a Khajiit literally roaring an enemy away with Unrelenting Force is priceless.
  • Marked For Death / Slow Time - Traditional melee-oriented shouts, both offensive and defensive. Combining either with frost magic makes them incredibly potent and gives us the chance to dodge incoming attacks.
  • Dragon Aspect - Due to the Mane, the Khajiit have always asserted that dragons are just really big cats, the height of feline-hood and all the power of the Khajiiti soul.


Roleplay & Quests

As the Mane is essentially a king, I played him as a very noble character. As a Khajiit, he is very curious and possesses their mischievous side, using his agility and powers to outwit opponents more competent or stronger than he. A foreign diplomat, he represents his country when abroad but has become restless and bored with the politics and tediousness of the Aldmeri Dominion and Talos and yadda yadda. Like many youthful kings of medieval fantasy games, he seeks glory, he seeks an adventure the bards would write songs about (Dawnguard). However, his extremely raw talent in magic ought be honed a little before he goes chasing after vampires (College of Winterhold; optional, J’zargo as a follower). As he uncovers the true power of his birthright (Main QuestDragonborn), he finds his great adventure and secures his role in Tamriel's history forever. 

As the Mane traditionally dons the woven hair of his Guard into a magnificent mane that prevents him from ever leaving the palace, I said that Elsweyr has recently given up this tradition, preferring to train the Mane in combat as a previous Mane was assassinated (think of the Emperor at the end of the Dark Brotherhood questline; does he fight back?). Blessed with this incredible power, the people of Elsweyr have kept to tradition for eons, keeping their Mane safe from harm, without knowing how capable he could be once properly trained.

While the Mane was only a cub during the Great War, his alliance with the Dominion is all he knows and is largely the reason for his existence (help the Thalmor; live in the Thalmor Headquarters in Solitude). A diplomatic leader and politician, he doesn’t aim to make enemies of the people (radiant helpful quests; Thanehood) and, to make Skyrim safer to his people, he settles the Civil War and puts down the racist scumbags of Windhelm (Civil War—Imperials; alternatively, the Mane could view his capture and near-execution a reason to go to war and destroy the Empire outright, first in Skyrim with the rebels, then all of Tamriel, Civil War—Stormcloaks).

Honour the primary Khajiit gods who have blessed the Mane with their powers: the Mother Cat/Mara gave him his life, Magrus/Magnus gave the power of the Sun, Azurah/Azura gave the power of Fire and Ice, Alkosh/Akatosh gave him skill with a blade, Khenarthi/Kynareth gave him a command over the hearts and souls of the land (Enchanting, Illusion), and S’rendarr/Stendarr gave him an unbeatable stability (wards + shields). Complete their associated quests and pray at their altars. Assist Khajiit wherever they are to be found in Skyrim. As the Mane, he obviously has permission to be in the cities, but his kinsmen aren’t so lucky. I traded exclusively with the caravans and, while I never triggered the Main Quest, fearing it would make him too OP, it would fit in roleplay and make sense that Akatosh would choose one of his most powerful followers as his champion.


Recommended Mod & Closing Words

Most people who play on PC also use the Unofficial Patches. In general, this is a good rule, as they fix many dreary bugs and glitches. But this is a disaster for the Fortify Restoration glitch, upon which the Power of the Twin Moons is based. Luckily, there is a mod to fix the fix. Keeping it low in your load order will keep it working, no matter what mod list you have: [link].

My first entry to this Event, the Mane closely emulates the combat style of the D&D 3.5E class The Duskblade, a close-range mystical warrior who can channel his magic through his blade, such as enchanting his blade on the fly (emulated by the multiple enchanted weapons to serve different purposes, as "spells on demand") and utilizing touch spells (concentration) to great effect in melee.



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  • Another of my old favorites - Cat master race. Might be trying to combine some of the mechanical play from this character with Henson's "The Buoyant Armiger."

  • The moon shines brightly on Reddit, Elysium. 

    Character Build: The Mane of Elsweyr • r/SkyrimBuilds
    This build was created by one of our members, [Elysium]( --- ##The Mane of Elsweyr *Every...
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