'Sup all? Since I really enjoyed my last remastered FudgeMuppet build playthrough, I decided I’d keep going. My strategy that I explained in my Arcane Warrior build for getting myself to play Skyrim simply for enjoyment seems to have worked! Once again, I am not going to try and take full credit for this build. This is a modded adaptation of a FudgeMuppet build. Most of the build is in fact my own work, but it was inspired by the core concept of FudgeMuppet’s Paladin build. If you want to know why I am re(re)mastering this FudgeMuppet build, the reasons are detailed in my Arcane Warrior build.
Before we get moving I just wanted to remind everyone quickly to leave a like if you enjoy the build. Thanks!
With all of that aside, here’s the build . . .
An excerpt from the ancient writings of The Paladins, a splinter group of the Knights of the Dragon:
I vow to serve the Dragon and his Divines. I lay down my life, gold, and sacrosanct honor for my Lords in Aetherius. Their word is my order, their arm is my blade. My life is gone but to them.
Time demands I serve and obey my Emperor. I will study the Covenants and heed the commands of all the saints and priests. Life and Death commands me to honor the sacred ground of the Mortal Plane, and by my life, for what value it may have, I swear that ne'er shall I tamper with its cycle. Beauty proclaims my duty to remain vulnerable with my thoughts and feelings, and to treasure the gifts of relationship. Wisdom reminds me to always walk in the truth and under the law. The Wind calls me to respect natural things and to fear their wrath. Love proclaims to me temperance and tranquility in all things, and recalls to me the sanctity of a family. Justice calls me to generosity and mercy, for it has invested in me the power to protect those who cannot do so for themselves. The Hero strengthens my arms and my mind against the ever-present forces of evil. Finally I give glory to Labor, who declares the necessity of humility and honesty.
So say the teachings of the Nine Divines in Aetherius, and so say the teachings of the Paladins. My life is meaningless should I forfeit my oaths, which I take solemnly and with greatest sincerity. Glory be to the Nine!
As with most of my builds, this one requires several mods to work at its peak. You will need the following mods, all of which are available on both the PC and Xbox One Special Editions of Skyrim.
*Ordinator: Perk Overhaul
*Andromeda: Standing Stones of Skyrim
*Imperious: Races of Skyrim
*Apocalypse: Magic of Skyrim
*Thunderchild: Shouts of Skyrim
*Alternate Start: Live Another Life
There are also a couple of optional mods that will help enhance your gameplay.
*Old Kingdom Armor and Weapons
This mod is only available for Xbox One but it is in my opinion the best armor and weapon texture mod out there, even including ones on PC SE. You'll get a really nice new look for your Rune Hammer as well as the Steel Plate pieces.
The Paladin is native to the land of High Rock; a Breton who once lived within the complex society of the half-elves. They are known both for their aptitude with and resistance to arcane power.
As a Breton, the Paladin will start with:
Health Regeneration: 0.75%
Magicka Regeneration: 3.125%
Stamina Regeneration: 4.75%
Carry Weight: 300
With the Imperious mod, Bretons are naturally gifted with three passive Abilities and one Racial Power unlockable through a quest given as soon as the playthrough begins:
- Grail of Betony: Find a lost artifact that grants Magicka and Stamina regen.
- Spell Mantle: Resistance to magic, and absorb most incoming spells at low Magicka.
- Stones of Galen: Each standing stone grants its own bonus effect.
Quest reward - Discover 10 standing stones to unlock...
- Shared Ancestry: 1/day - Temporarily gain the racial power of a target man or mer.
The Paladin walks under the Warrior, a sign of Aetherius that empowers his physical strength, making him even more effective as a paragon of the Divines. With the Andromeda mod, the Warrior Stone offers two passive effects as well as one unlockable power.
- Fierce Spirit: Power attacks do 15% more damage, and ranged weapons do up to 15% more damage based on distance.
- Warrior's Path: Learn all Warrior skills 10% faster.
- Star of the West: 1/day - Invoke the Warrior to refill Health and Stamina and fortify them by the amount restored for 30 seconds.
Due to his Breton heritage, the Warrior Stone also grants an additional effect, making power attacks 10% stronger.
This is a fairly standard Standing Stone choice for warrior-centric characters, but it is useful nonetheless. Fierce Spirit is great for Warhammer characters in particular, as it takes a considerable amount of stamina to shell out a power attack. Warrior’s Path will be very useful for grinding out some smithing levels, and Star of the West can get you out of tight situations.
The Paladin will be using all of his attributes consistently. However, since he will not be using an armored chest piece I have decided to put a rather heavy investment into health. Once you start noticing that your healing spells are making up the difference, you can start to drop of on your health and focus a bit more on magicka and stamina.
*Lamb of Mara
*Circle of Protection
*Circle of Strength
*Circle of the Moons
*Circle of Death
*Dust to Dust
Other shouts are justifiable for this character, but this one is essential to combat with the Paladin.
The enchantments on the Paladin's gear are quite basic, but this is necessary since the Paladin will be using quite hefty amounts of each of his attributes. Any buffs to health, stamina, and magicka are acceptable. Feel free to change the enchantments on the jewelery if you find there is one attribute you are struggling with managing.
A quick note on the Dawnguard Rune Hammer for those who don't know. This weapon has an incredibly unique enchantment that allows you to bash at a spot on the ground and in so doing cast a fire rune on the location where you were aiming. This is very useful in combat against any type of enemy, weather it be a mage retreating mage, charging warrior, or camping archer. Try to get as good as you can at aiming with it, because it can make combat really exciting and allow you to plow through enemies you might otherwise have had trouble facing.
Another quick note on enchanting gear. It is undeniably useful for this build, but depending on how you've set up your character in terms of backstory enchanting gear might not actuallf it your character. There are a couple of roleplaying ways to justify this. First, don't use black soul gems. You can justify this in any way you want, but the one I thought of was perhaps he had a disagreement with the Order of Paladins over the ethics of enchanting, as technically Arkay doesn't teach against the use of animal souls, and so left the Order on his own pilgrimage. The second option is to entirely omit gear enchantment and solely disenchant gear so you can get up to the Spellscribe perk, which won't require the trapping of any souls and is still essential to the build. Thanks to The Long-Chapper for pointing this roleplaying tidbit out to me!
The Paladin relies heavily on his two main skills; Restoration and Two-Handed. The rest of the perks are merely support mechanisms for these two skills. I won’t be covering over every single perk like I used to, but let’s briefly review the more important ones in each tree.
This is the Paladin’s bread and butter, but its usefulness goes well beyond merely self-heals. Hallowed Burial is a key perk for the Paladin considering the types of enemies he’ll mainly be facing. At its second level this perk gives the Paladin a 30% damage boost against undead foes. Spirit Tutors is an interesting one because it requires some exploration to actually do any good. It places two spirits that wander around Skyrim. Once you find them, each spirit will grant you a permanent 1% bonus to Restoration spell effectiveness per 20 points of magicka. Exorcist is another peculiar perk that teaches you a spell at certain level goals. You’ll automatically be granted the Sunblast spell upon taking this perk, and you’ll also learn Holy Hands at level 50 and Stellar Core at level 75. The final one I’ll touch on here is Pilgrim. This perk makes blessings from the shrines of each of the Nine 1% more powerful per level of Restoration. Pilgrim is buffed by Gods and Mortals, the latter of which also makes shrine blessings last longer and gives them bonus effects. As to your choice of shrine you have two good options: Talos or Stendarr. The blessing of Talos’ shout reduction is very useful for the Paladin’s Mara’s Mercy ability (see ‘Abilities’ section below), but Stendarr’s blessing makes blocking more effective and allows you to consistently stagger enemies to follow up with a standing power attack that can deal quite a bit of damage through the Akatosh’s Judgement ability (again, see ‘Abilities’ below). I personally chose Stendarr’s blessing but you can decide once you get a feel for how the character plays.
Since this build aims to be effective against living targets as well as undead, you’ll need some fire spells to replace your sun spells when facing off against non-undead foes. All of the perks here simply buff destruction spells and Combustion does so for fire spells specifically.
Despite the hefty perk investment in this tree, most of them are rather simple. Trained Fighter and Ferocious Strength each buff power attacks, which will be very handy for this character. Excluding Two-Handed Mastery, the rest of the perks buff attacks with warhammers specifically, most notably the Clash of Heroes, Batter and Grand Slam perks. Clash of Heroes debuffs enemies with a stacking effect that at its third level decreases that opponent’s attack damage by 25% for 3 seconds. This effect stacks, encouraging momentum in combat. Batter boosts the chance of a critical strike with warhammers by 25% at its second level and doubles critical damage when a critical strike occurs. This double crit damage effect synergizes nicely with Grand Slam, which guarantees a critical hit on a standing power attack, dealing not only the double crit damage from Batter but also an additional 3% crit damage per point of stamina.
The Block tree primarily buffs the Paladin’s weapon bashes, most notably through Skull Rattler, which increases bash damage by 3% per point of stamina.
Although the Paladin doesn’t wear full heavy armor, two points in Heavy Armor Mastery is the best way to make the most out of the pieces he has.
This skill focuses on the Spellscribe perk, which allows the Paladin’s power attacks to unleash a spell, with an enchanting skill based cooldown.
Mara’s Mercy - A storm of Divine Light encroaches on the clouds as your Voice calls out to the Gods for aid. The mystical fog from Aetherius strengthens your heart and clears your mind. The undead will surely know fear as the strikes of your hammer whistle toward their heads through the golden mist, ending their blasphemous existence and restoring your own strength.
Requirements: Lifestream shout (third word) + Godform spell + Exorcist and Restoration Dualcasting perk + Holy Hands spell OR Scorching Hands
This is your ultimate self-buffing ability. With all of these effects combined you will have a nearly unlimited supply of magicka and health. The Lifestream shout calls in weather that heals you constantly. Godform replenishes a percentage of your magicka per second, and the percentage restored each second increases depending on how high your health is. With your health constantly being replenished by the effects of the Lifestream shout, you should be able to retain the maximum benefits of Godform pretty much the whole time this ability is active. This makes concentration spells extremely viable because they are sustainable pretty much infinitely, which is where the Holy Hands spell from the Exorcist perk comes in. This spell does an insane 55 points of damage per second to targeted enemies within melee range. This is a lot harder to use normally because getting into melee range often means you’ll take a fair bit of damage, especially when using combat enhancing mods. However, the Lifestream shout ensures you won’t have to worry about your health too much. Taking a ton of hits is still inadvisable, especially since you want to maximize the benefits of Godform, but it is certainly less of a concern. Holy Hands is also buffed when you dual cast it once you take Restoration Dualcasting. Typically this comes with a weightier magicka concern, but since you have Godform in effect and at high effectiveness you should barely notice the difference. If you’re facing living opponents, use Scorching Hands instead of Holy Hands and you’ll get more or less the same effect.
Julianos’ Temple - A wandering Warrior of the Divines must know how to worship his Gods in all circumstances; even in battle. Using the magicks you have studied in Their names, build a small Temple to the Nine in the midst of combat. Any enemies who encroach on the Holy Ground you have lain out before them shall quickly parish.
Requirements: Crusader’s Fire perk + Stendarr’s Aura OR Flame Cloak spell, Circle of Strength, Circle of the Moons, Circle of Death and (optionally) Circle of Protection spells + Dawnguard Rune Hammer
This is a really interesting point-control ability. Start by casting Circle of Strength and Circle of the Moons. These spells sap stamina and magicka respectively from enemies standing inside them. It’s hard to line up exactly but try to cast them in something of a Venn Diagram formation, with both circles overlapping in the middle remaining separate on either side. This way you balance having area coverage with the possibility of enemies enter both at the same time. It’ll take a bit of practice to get down, but it doesn’t have to be totally precise. Over the middle section, where the two Circles you’ve cast, place the Circle of Death, which will automatically kill enemies within its borders that are below 40% health. If you are facing undead opponents and have some magicka to play with, you can also cast Circle of Protection to repel lesser undead and allow you to focus on annihilating stronger undead foes, which will resist the Circle of Protection if they are high enough level. Due to the Crusader’s Fire perk, undead turned by the Circle of Protection will be burnt over 10 seconds. Only use Circle of Protection if facing a group of undead opponents. Likewise, only use Stendarr’s Aura over Flame Cloak when facing undead opponents. There’s no sense in wasting magicka for Circle of Protection against living foes, as all it does is repel lesser undead. In fact, if you’re fighting mostly undead it might be wise to cast Circle of Protection first to repel the lesser undead while you set up the rest of the ability, buying you a bit more time. Once you’ve done all of this, cast Flame Cloak to set any approaching enemies alight with holy fire. If you really want to make your fortress impregnable, bash toward the ground beneath your feet with the Dawnguard Rune Hammer to cast a fire rune that will affect any enemies who enter. When this is all set up you should have enough area to dodge any incoming arrows and return fire with one of your spells. If a mage is slowly approaching and casting a projectile or concentration spell at you but not entering the Circles, use the Rune Hammer to cast a fire rune in their path and interrupt their fun. Obviously this ability takes a fair bit of set up, so you have to know the fight is coming to use it effectively. Eventually you’ll get used to the flow of it and be able to set it up pretty quickly. To be honest, if you find yourself running low on time you can always use elements of this ability and not the fully thing, which can still be useful. Still though, the full ability is really effective, so use it when you can.
Stendarr’s Breath - The undead quail before the just might of Stendarr. By the will of the Divines, a godly light descends upon the undead abominations. Their rotten, befouled flesh cannot resist the holy flame that burns them. There is nowhere to run but toward the Paragon of the Divines in an attempt to destroy you. Alas, as moths to a flame, they will only be burnt by your own holy light.
Requirements: Warrior’s Flame and Ashes to Ashes perks + Stendarr’s Aura and Dust to Dust spells
This ability is the Paladin’s way of dealing damage passively to the Undead, and then following up with an active “kill all” switch to end the fight quickly. When buffed by the Ashes to Ashes perk, the Warrior’s Flame perk will randomly affect an enemy, draining 20 points of it's stamina and magicka per second for five seconds and dealing an additional 30 points of health damage per second if the randomly targeted enemy is undead. Warrior’s Flame also has a chance to affect the Paladin himself, in which case his stamina and magicka will be restored by the same amount it would have been drained from an enemy. With this constantly working in the background, use the Stendarr’s Aura spell to gain a cloak of sun damage that chips away at undead with solid DPS. When fighting a group of undead, this ability will be constantly working in the background to chip away at your undead foes while you attack them more directly with your warhammer or other abilities. When you judge that several of your undead foes are low on health, cast the Dust to Dust spell, which will kill all undead foes below 40% health.
Note: The Warrior’s Flame perk can still be used against normal living enemies, it just doesn’t deal health damage. If you want to use a lesser version of this ability against living foes, simply replace Stendarr’s Aura with Flame Cloak and forgo the use of the Dust to Dust spell. You could even set up Flame Cloak with the Ocato’s Recital spell so it will cast for general use and then cast Stendarr’s Aura over it when facing undead opponents. It’s much less effective against living foes but it is still some useful passive damage.
Akatosh’s Judgement - Judgement comes upon all, but it visits some sooner than others. Those who would attempt to do harm to you, the Paladin of the Divines, will have consequences brought upon them swiftly. Their death will greet them long before they manage to scorn the Divines by attacking their Champion.
Requirements: War hammer + Skull Rattler, Deadfall, Grand Slam, Ferocious Strength, Trample and Spellscribe perks + Lamb of Mara spell
This is the Paladin’s primary combat ability. Initiate this ability by interrupting an enemy’s attack with a bash from your warhammer. Skull Rattler increases the damage of this bash by 3% per point of stamina. Due to the Deadfall perk, this bash opens up a 2 second stagger window in which a power attack to the enemy who was interrupted hits them not only with the impact of the hammer itself but also with a massive -500 armor point debuff. If the power attack you follow up with is a standing power attack, it will be affected by the Grand Slam perk, which gives the power attack a critical damage boost by 3% per point of stamina. Being already buffed by the Batter and Ferocious Strength perks, and taking into account the -500 armor rating debuff, this single power attack can do insane levels of damage on top of the damage already done by the bash itself. To top it all off, the power attack delivers the Lamb of Mara spell per the Spellscribe perk. With this effect on the opponent, you will gain 35% of the health the opponent loses. So not only are you dealing massive damage to them but also a solid portion of that damage is being given back to you as health.
The Paladin’s combat involves a lot of strategy in terms of what is best to use in a given situation. The only ability you should use in every case is Akatosh’s Judgement. This is your bread and butter. Wait for an enemy to attack, or predict their move, and get in a quick bash followed by a standing power attack. In mid to late game you’ll find yourself one-shotting most enemies with this ability. Also don’t forget to use the Dawnguard Rune Hammer’s unique rune casting ability. You’ll find yourself bashing quite frequently, not only to place the rune but also as a general attack because Skull Rattler makes it pretty effective, and it’s much faster than the hammer’s normal swing.
When up against groups of enemies that aren’t too concentrated the Mara’s Mercy ability is really handy. I’d recommend concentrating on getting rid of archers or mages first when you have this ability, as those types of characters can be really annoying for the Paladin as he wears no chestplate. If you’re having trouble covering the ground between the Paladin and archers, feel free to use the Whirlwind Sprint shout to take out one or two of them and then pop Mara’s Mercy to kill the rest of them. Also, focus on obtaining the Lifestream shout quite early so you can use at least part of this ability early game. Obviously the Godform spell will take a bit longer to get your hands on, but even on its own the Lifestream shout is quite powerful once you get to the third word. In general, this ability is one of the Paladin’s best, although it cannot be used indoors.
When fighting in indoor dungeons I would highly recommend using Julianos’ Temple. Dungeons are much more linear than the out of doors, allowing you to more or less predict when a room will contain a group of enemies. If you get that sort of sense, set up the ability just outside that room and then lure enemies into it. You should be able to take care of a good few enemies if you’re quick before your circles fizzle out. As with the previous ability, feel free to use parts of this ability until you acquire enough spells and magicka to set it all up. Even just the Circle of Strength and Circle of the Moons can be pretty effective.
Stendarr’s Breath will constantly be working in your favor, so you’ll probably barely notice it. A quick tip on this ability: don’t try to force the use of the Dust to Dust spell. That is really there as an extra measure against large groups of undead. Also, when you’re up against several undead make sure to use your spells from the Exorcist quite often. Particularly the Stellar Core spell can really obliterate groups of undead. Of course you won’t have much trouble fighting the undead with the Hallowed Burial perk to back you up. Still they are really effective, quite fun, and low on magicka cost (particularly at once you reach the upper levels of Restoration).
Don’t forget to adapt your abilities to the type of opponent the Paladin is coming up against. Most spells used to damage undead have a fire equivalent, so use those against living opponents wherever possible.
ROLEPLAYING & QUESTLINES
With a mostly ambiguous backstory and quite vague lore, this character is your canvas. I tend to air on the side of giving the player more freedom in terms of the character’s backstory, personality, etc. Still though, build your character around the idea of a Paladin dedicated to the Divines. Here’s a couple questions to answer in order to craft your Paladin’s personality. Why did he join the Order of the Paladins? Is he still technically a part of them or has he left on his own quest? Does he have a dark past? If so what mistakes would he look to correct? Is he totally morally solid or does he struggle to meet his own standards and the standards of his Gods? All of these things and more are up to you to decide. The Alternate Start mod will allow you to choose a beginning for your character's story that makes sense according to the backstory you've made. Here are a few quests that the Paladin should complete during your playthrough:
~ In-Game Quests ~
Find All 10 Standing Stones It is said that the stars a thousands of portals to Aetherius, the realm of the Gods, and thus the constellations are heavily associated with the Divines themselves. Travel to each of these constellations' Standing Stones and pray to the Divines for guidance. Not only does this pilgrimage fit perfectly with the Paladin's character, but also will grant you access to the unlockable power of his Breton race.
The Main Story While travelling through Falkreath, the Paladin sees the impossible: a Dragon. He immediately rushes to the defence of the nearest town, and takes off for Whiterun from there, warning the Jarl there and eventually battling a Dragon at the Western Watchtower. A whsiper from Arkay tells him of these creatures: they cheat his cycle. Their souls avoid a home in Aetherius, so the Paladin takes their soul into himself, that it may come to Aetherius with him when his time comes. Seeing this, the men of Whiterun call him Dragonborn, Chosen of Akatosh, and the Paladin humbly accepts the fate that the Father of Time has lain out for him. Once you start on your quest to bring down the World Eater, make sure you endeavor to get the Lifestream shout early on.
Lost Legacy Hearing of a Skaal nord who has discovered the ancient hiding place of one of these priests on Solstheim, the Paladin travels there to help him destroy its vile presence. This quest will also allow the paladin to get ahold of the Battle Fury shout, of which the Dragon words for Valor and Inspire are necessary to gain knowledge of the Lifestream shout.
The Dawnguard While cleansing Skyrim of the Dragon Priests and their winged masters, the Paladin is approached by an Orc with a warning of a new undead presence in Skyrim and a plea for help. The Vampires of Clan Volkihar are on the prowl once more. The Paladin will journey to Fort Dawnguard in The Rift to see what this naescent faction can offer him.
Lost Relic Talking to Florentius Baenius, the Paladin hears of an ancient Dawnguard relic known as the Rune Hammer which would aid him in destroying the undead.
The College of Winterhold Julianos commands a breadth of knowledge in his servants, and there exists no better place in Skyrim for the acquirement of knowledge than the College of Winterhold. There, the influence of the Gods has begun, and a mortal seeks to corrupt their work. The Paladin will protect the Eye of Magnus and stop it from being corrupted. Continue through to the end of the quest in order to destroy the Dragon Priest Mookei and become Archmage, using the new influence to make the College into something of a Temple to Julianos.
Restoration Ritual Spell To discover the sacred knowledge of the School of Light, the Paladin must prove his worth in the Midden. Once he has completed the task, he will unlock the holy knowledge of Restoration and truly become the Avatar of the Divines. This quest will unlock the Godform spell for purchase from Collette.
Dragonborn DLC Though Alduin is dead, a new threat from a dark Daedric Prince lurks to the north. The Paladin cannot allow the Gardener of Men to subver the will of the Gods.
~ Self-Driven Quests ~
Archwind Point Perhaps from the Dawnguard, the Paladin receives a report of undead activity around Archwind Point in the Rift. No bonewalkers are safe from his hammer's justice. At Archwind Point, you will find a Word Wall that gives you the Dragon word for Stamina, the first word in the Drain Vitality shout and one of the words in the Lifestream shout.
The Notice Board: Destroy Undead Visiting many towns and villages in his travels, the Paladin will receive messages and notes on the boards as his name grows and he becomes more well known, begging him to destroy undead threats to the citizens. These creatures cannot be allowed to not only disrupt the Cycle of Arkary, but certainly not to prematurely take the lives of his humble servants. Such undead will meet their and at the Hammer of the Paladin's Justice.
Clear Out Barrows Undead in Skyrim are a widespread plague that festers in its sacred ancestral burial grounds. True to Arkay's commands, the Paladin will destroy these threats wherever he finds them.
Destroy All Dragon Priests The Dragon Priests are profane undead, making them almost worse than their masters. The Paladin will hunt them down and bring them the death that should have come long ago as part of Arkay's sacred Cycle.
The Templar's Chapel The Priests of Skyrim know that true Paladins, veritable paragons and warriors of the Divines' Justice, are rare and precious. In their Chapels in Skyrim, they have divine Commissions from each of the Nine.
On the Skyforge there is a post called The Templar's Chapel, which is a roleplayer's resource in which there are "quests" commissioned by the Priests of Skyrim. You can go to the post and claim one of the bounties there, giving yourself rewards in-game through console commands on PC or the Cheat Room mod on Xbox upon completion. This post will be updated to encorporate new commands from each of the Divines as they are completed, so you can use this as a sort of infinite quest to keep your Paladin busy between main story quests.
We’re now pretty much at the end of yet another build. To cover a few final things, followers are unnecessary for this character. In fact, he’s not really built to support followers, and is optimized for solo fighting. However, if you feel a certain follower fits your character’s backstory, they shouldn’t be too much of a hindrance to you. Mounts are pretty easily justifiable, so feel free to pick up any horse you like. As to housing, I don’t really imagine a wandering Paladin settling down somewhere, or having enough material possessions to require separate storage, so in most cases I’d say a house doesn’t fit well with this character.
For anyone who has made it this far, a BIG thank you for sticking with me on this one. The Paladin has a pretty intricate playstyle that took some time to put into words, so I very much appreciate you giving this one a read.
If you haven’t already, please don’t forget to leave a like on the build if you enjoyed, and kindly leave me a comment so we can have a bit of a discussion about the build, your character and his/her backstory, or critiques and comments you have on the build itself. Thanks again for the read. Now go forth! Smite the undead curse that plagues the land of Skyrim!