After going for a heavy warrior-archer build and a heavy sneak build, I wanted my crack at a heavy mage based build. Reading lore is always fun, and after learning about the Mythic Dawn, I also came across my inspiration for this build I am currently playing. Having not been the biggest fan of going into my "spell book" (favorites menu) to break the gameplay, I find it is actually a LOT of fun to have a wide array of useful spells in certain situations. The Psijic Monks also have an air of mystery about them, so it seemed like a perfect character to do yet another roleplay.
The Psijic Order Monk
The Psijic Monk is first and foremost a mage, having almost all the schools of magic at his disposal. The Psijic Monk's were said to have created Mysticism, a school of magic no longer available to the game Skyrim, but was very prevalent in Oblivion and Morrowind. The school of Mysticism is comprised of certain spell effects: Detect Life, Dispel, Reflect, Soul Trap, Spell Absorption, and Telekinesis. It is known that most of these spell effects are present or can be achieved through the other schools of magic now incorporated in Skyrim. This is a very important aspect of the build.
"Mysticism involves the manipulation of magical forces and boundaries to bypass the structures and limitations of the physical world"
- Detect Life: Alteration (Detect Life/Dead)
- Dispel: Illusion (Fear/Demoralize) Closest spell to "removing" the enemy threat, and therefore spells that could harm you
- Reflect: Restoration (Wards), Alteration (Mage Armor/Flesh Spells) These spells do not "reflect" damage back to enemies, but help protect
- Soul Trap: Conjuration/Enchanting
- Spell Absorption: Restoration/Alteration
- Telekinesis: Alteration
Along with trying to "recreate" Mysticism, I use other spells and shouts that alter space and time as well as manipulate magical forces and boundaries to stretch the limitations of the physical world. These are covered in the build specifics.
I also chose to do one of my favorite things to do in this game: roleplay. Being a Psijic Order Monk, you are a wise advisor. A keeper of the Old Ways. The Psijic Order were a group of "rebels" that did not conform to the world changing around them and moved to Artaeum. The Aldmeri were beginning to reform their religion on the Summerset Isles, and the Psijic Order wanted to preserve the worship of the ancestors, which is the simplest form of their religion and beliefs. They are a monastic order, devoting their lives to spiritual work. Another aspect of being a Psijic Order Monk is to try and effectively take down the Thalmor, as the Order believes they are trying to become a tyrannical force in the world, and not as peacekeepers as they may think. This is why I chose to be a Psijic Order Monk. Plus I never roleplayed as an older character, white hair and beards are awesome.
I chose Altmer for 2 reasons. To keep in the original lore that the order was formed and because they had practical advantages with their racial bonuses. The +50 magicka is significant for a mage-heavy build. Their Highborn ability is also extremely useful closer to lower levels of your character play, as using up your magicka means you are out of luck!
The Order historically began accepting other races, so if you feel you need different racial bonuses at the beginning or racial powers, feel free.
First time focusing on dragon shouts in a build, but this character calls to light a few that are extremely useful and perfect for this build.
Aura Whisper: This shouts goes directly towards the Mysticism school of magic and acts as another form of Detect Life. This is helpful to size up caves and bandit camps.
Disarm: This shout I try to rationalize since it is fun to use. This can be thought of as another "telekinesis" spell, ripping the weapon from an opponent's hand using your mind, or voice in this instance.
Slow Time: My new favorite shout BY FAR. I wish they had a fourth word for it, for stop time, as many will know from the Mage's Guild quests ... Anyway, this shout does exactly what it says: slows time. For those of you playing at home, do try to catch arrows with this shout activated! It is so satisfying! Gives this build a very huge ego boost being able to manipulate time.
Alteration: The main skill used for this build. Many spells and perks help the Psijic Monk alter and manipulate the world around him, allowing an easier path through a harsh land like Skyrim.
- Perks: Novice - Master, Dual Cast, Mage Armor 3/3, Magic Resistance 3/3, Stability, Atronach
- Notable Spells: Telekinesis, Ebony Flesh/Dragonhide, Paralyze, Detect Life/Dead
- ***Note***: I use BOTH Ebony Flesh and Dragonhide. Dragonhide is best utilized before a boss fight and enemies that are farther away so you have time to cast. Ebony Flesh is for quick reapplication of armor. This build the has access to both 80% damage reduction (cap) and 430 AR.
Conjuration: Mysticism magics had the ability to capture souls to soul gems, and using bound swords as our main form of attack, this is achieved easily with perks.
- Perks: Novice, Mystic Binding, Soul Stealer, Oblivion Binding
- Notable Spells: Bound Sword (Mystic Sword when upgraded)
Restoration: Healing is always important for a mage that needs to do battle. The most important role for restoration is the use of wards to deflect spells and recharge magicka, as they also provide more armor.
- Perks: Novice-Adept, Dual Cast, Regeneration, Respite, Necromage, Ward Absorb, Recovery 2/2, Avoid Death
- Notable Spells: Greater Ward, Close Wounds
Enchanting: In combination with Conjuration, souls can be trapped in soul gems and then used to power our apparel.
- Perks: Enchanter 5/5, Insightful Enchanter, Corpus Enchanter, Extra Effect
Illusion: Psijic Order Monks could be argued as masters of illusion. Their ability to teleport, disappear, and altogether stop time can partly be covered with the use of illusion spells. This school I decided to utilize only fear and calm spells, not frenzy. Frenzy would be to alter the outcome of battles in such a major force, I do not like using them. These spells are for keeping the peace and for becoming undetectable.
- Perks: Novice - Master, Dual Cast, Animage>Kindred Mage>Quiet Casting, Hypnotic Gaze>Aspect of Terror>Rage, Master of the Mind
- Notable Spells: Invisibility, Pacify>Harmony, Rout>Hysteria, Clairvoyance.
One Handed: I chose to use bound swords instead of Destruction because elemental energies did not seem to fit this build. To conjure a sword made of energy from the Plane of Oblivion seemed to fit more, as the Psijics had made a pact (unsure if it is still in effect) with some of the Daedric Princes, and who doesn't love to use blue flaming swords?!?
- Perks: Armsman 5/5, Fighting Stance, Savage Strike
http://skyrimcalculator.com/#159784 - As you can see, it brings us to using 58 perks altogether at level 59. I am currently at level 36, and do not wish to break down what I picked when, as I feel it gives away the exciting choice of what to use and when to pick/use it. Please take my outline of perks as a guideline, and you can focus you perk choices more illusion based earlier on (what I chose to do) or boost your enchanting faster to start. I leave it to you.
To also sum up the defensive effectiveness of the build, let me give you some numbers which many of you know, but I will put them up here anyway.
Ebony Flesh = 100 AR (armor rating) + Mage Armor 3/3 = 300 AR + Lord Stone = 350 AR + Greater Ward =
430 AR. Not bad for wearing robes.
As I am a Xbox 360 user, I can not add in Psijic Robes. However, there are other choices to aesthetically please the eye.
Head/Chest: Hooded Gray Robes. ***Should clarify*** The only gray colored robes are the Apprentice Robes, the same model as the ones you get in the Helgen escape. Sorry for the confusion, as people think there are gray colored robes the same as the Monk Robes. These fit nicely, as Psijic Order Monks are sometimes referred to as "loyal gray cloaks" in the lore, which goes against their rather decorative cloaks shown in Skyrim. I also recommend Hooded Monk Robes if you do not wish to resemble a Greybeard! I currently use these robes as they give a good Monk aesthetic and the colors work with the Psijic Robes.
Hands: Enchanted gloves.
Boots/Shoes: Enchanted shoes.
Enchant your apparel with reduction of spell costs to the school of magic you used most at the time. I have 3 different pairs of each to modify what I need boosted.
Wish I could get those robes...
A Psijic Order Monk is not one to go out of his way to alter too much in the world he is trying to advise. In this case, I step into the role of a loyal follower of the Old Ways and is searching for his lost Psijic Order ancestors in order to follow them. I chose NOT to use destruction as a form of attack mainly for the reason of lore. I currently use the Lord Stone for magic resists and the added defense is always nice. You could go for the Shadow Stone to disappear each day, which is cool if you are in trouble.
Again, it is a heavy roleplay, so I expect some of you to interpret the skill choices and perk choices as your own. I hope you enjoy this style of character. I would like to acknowledge build's such as Ponty's Arcane Bladesman (pretty much my arch-enemy!) and RuneRed's The Agent for some insight on perks as they are similar, but totally different characters.