Character Build: The Shadow of Dawn

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Click here for the full backstory

3379045713?profile=RESIZE_710x(Sometime before 188 4E)

Born into a minor noble house in Wayrest in the 178th year of the 4th Era, Alayne was the youngest child of two children. Her mother had died giving birth to her, a fact that her brother would never let her forget, even if his resentment was unspoken, she knew it was always there. Her brother Robert was 10 years her senior and was being groomed to inherit her father’s business and estate. She would be married off to some rich lord to curry favour with his family no doubt.  She hated that idea, which often would annoy her father. Left to her own devices growing up, she would frequent the estate's library wing quite regularly, where she would read tales about famous adventurers and gallant knights; often ending with rescuing a beautiful lady or princess.  She liked the idea of being a knight more than some swooning dolt. Sometimes she would play with the servant’s children, though she would never tell her father, he had strong opinions about mixing with peasants. Her father was a renowned merchant who had set his business up in the Wayrest docks. He had trade agreements with several notable houses from all over The Iliac Bay. Some ships would even go as far south as the Summerset Isles, or north to the frozen land of Skyrim. 

(13 years earlier: The Sacking of Wayrest)

The year 188 was the year that changed everything. It was the year she found out the truth and the lies…It was an unremarkable day as any to start with, she broke her fast with her father and brother before saying her goodbyes and seeing them off as they headed down to the docks toward father’s business. She then walked down to the west wing of the estate as she would oft do to read in the library. It was late in the afternoon and she was day dreaming about what her father was going to bring home that day. Sometimes, he’d have new books for her to read, or a new dress… she hoped it was the former. Her day dreaming was interrupted by the sudden ringing of bells.  Strange, she remembered thinking, they never rang the bells at this time. She got up to walk over to the window, but before she could, her brother burst through the doors, the serving woman gasped and dropped the honeyed milk that she’d been bringing to Alayne. Her brother’s tunic was covered in blood and he was dirty and sweaty.  He must have run the horse half ragged to be looking like that, she thought. Alayne opened her mouth to say something, but he cut her off, and grabbed her by the hand and said she had to hide and that they’d killed father and most everyone at the docks. The city was under attack by pirates and corsairs, she heard her brother saying while her head swam at the sudden shock of what was happening. He took her to her mother’s old study, why, she didn’t know.  What was there that could possibly help them? He started at the book shelf and she yelled at Robert not understanding why he’d want to look for a book at a time like this. He turned and the look on his face was stone and solemn. She let him be after that and just watched in fearful silence. The bookshelf creaked and cracked and slowly began to open. Her brother grabbed her and told her that she had to go in there and not come out until he came back for her.  He told her that she’d find things that wouldn’t make sense and he would tell her everything once the crisis was over. He shoved her into the darkness and the bookshelf swung shut. 

3378974153?profile=RESIZE_710xIt was pitch black inside and she could hear the muffled sounds of bells ringing. She sobbed quietly, fumbling at the walls eventually finding perchance a lantern with some oil in it.   She nearly knocked it over as her hand clumsily brushed over it. She grabbed it off the wall and used the flint that was strung on the side of it to light the oil within. When she had finally lit 
the lantern, she made her way slowly down the cold flagstone steps. The steps were full of dust and cobwebs and she heard a mouse scurry away as the light rounded the stairwell. A few moments later, the steps broke off into a small room. She lifted the lantern to get a better view and a sudden flash caught her eye as light reflected off a silver sword. She made her way over cautiously. The blade itself was rather plain, but it had an ornate cross guard with beautiful patterns and swirls, that met a fine leather grip dyed crimson red.  At the top of the hilt, sat a round pommel with the knot of Arkay inscribed into it. She ran a finger along the blade and winced, the blade was still sharp and a red line of blood quickly formed across her finger.
 

Days passed before she plucked up enough courage to come out of the secret room. Alayne soon found why her brother hadn't returned. Robert lay lifeless in the passage, his head had been caved in and a knife had been plunged into his chest. The estate was deathly quiet as she sat with Robert's body weeping uncontrolably in anguish and grief. 

That day had changed her, she knew then. and as the years passed, she dedicated herself to learning her mother's trade. Her mother had been a vampire hunter, you see, and she had kept many tomes of research that Alayne read fervently over the years preceding Wayrest's sacking. She'd even managed to hunt a few vampires down from the Montalion clan which was no easy feat. It had taken her 10 years of honing her skills with blade, magick, and subterfuge to even think of taking on one of the beasts. But in the end, she rose to the challenge and emerged mostly unscathed, save for the scar that forked across her right brow.

(Present day: Aboard a Merchant Vessel)

Her voyage to Skyrim was twofold.  She had learned through some contacts that there was a pirate who frequented Solitude's docks who would often boast of his exploits in the sacking of Wayrest,  those exploits included running his cutlass through a certain noble merchant from Wayrest and plundering the goods from his warehouse at the docks. Alayne couldn’t let that stand, she settled any affairs she had the very next day and 71820082?profile=RESIZE_710xleft the estate in the capable hands of her steward. There was also some research she'd found of her mother's some time ago that she intended on seeing to whilst in Skyrim. If the research was accurate, there was supposedly a legendary artifact there, located near the small town of Dragon Bridge. This artifact was said to be a sword of unmatched beauty that glowed with such power and splendour that any false life in its presence would be purged from exitance. A lead she thought well worth following up on.

As the ship rounded the cove, she donned her cloak hiding her silver beneath it and pulled up the fur hood as she stepped out of the cabin into the bitter cold wind. The sounds of gulls and bells carried through the air and in the near distance, she saw the great arch of Solitude with the Blue Palace standing proudly upon it. They had arrived in Skyrim at last. The captain looked down to her from the ship's wheel, gesturing her to come see him. After concluding her affairs on the vessel and arranging for her belongings to be taken to Solitude's finest inn, she was set to depart when the captain asked her one final question. “What is it that you hope to accomplish my lady?"

"Vengeance." She simply replied, stepping off the ship onto the docks. 

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3376802249?profile=RESIZE_710xBreton: With Imperious races installed, Alayne will gain the passive effect "Spell Mantle" which grants a 15% bonus to magick resistance and a 25% chance to absorb spells at low magicka, the Stones of Galen passive effect which grants an extra effect to standing stones (the effect Alayne will gain is a 20% chance to do double sneak damage, from the shadow stone). There is also a random encounter event that allows you to find The Grail of Betony on a "Treasure Hunter" this will grant Alayne a 50% bonus to Magicka and Stamina regen. And lastly, there is an unlockable power that is completed by finding 10 standing Stones. This allows you to mimic your target's racial power once a day. 

Name: Alayne 

Gender: Female 

Age: 23

Standing Stone: With Andromeda Standing Stones installed the Shadow Stone will grant Alayne two passive effects and an unlockable power. The first effect is called Blur and grants 20% faster movement speed while in combat. The second is called Hide in Shadows and grants 20% better sneaking and sneak damage when close to a wall or structure. The unlockable power Shadow step allows you to blink a moderate distance to a target at the cost of 50 stamina. This is unlocked by finding all the Standing Stones in Skyrim. 

Morality and Personality: Chaotic Good. Alayne has a strong hatred for pirates and bandits and will actively seek to destabilize their activities in any way possible. She has no qualms with joining The Thieves Guild, but will not steal from the poor or infirm. She doesn't mind bending the rules if it helps bring about the greater good. She is very skepitical of Jarls and other leaders after Wayrest's own ruler King Barynia was found to have hired the corsairs who sacked her home to further his own agenda. She is free-spirited and is rather cocksure of her abilities.

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 All of these mods are available for Xbox and PC

Esential Mods:

Recomeneded Mods:

 

 

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Equipment:

  • Silver Sword - Find this by "visiting" Gallows Rock to see if the Silver Hand have any common ground with The Dawnguard.
  • Dawnbreaker - The ultimate vampire hunter's sword, this is one of the reasons Alayne came to Skyrim.
  • Nightingale Prime Armor (Mod) - Found outside Nightingale Hall. For immersion purposes I'd recommend only getting this once you gain entry to Nightingale Hall via Thieves Guild quest line. Alternately vanilla Nightingale Armor will suffice. For early game options refer to level 20 version of build. 
  • Mage's Circlet - Obtained during College of Winterhold quest line.
  • Savos Aren's Amulet - Obtained during College of Winterhold quest line.
  • Ring of Fortify Restoration - I got mine from Radiant Raiment.

Magick:

  • Ocato's Recital - You can load up to 3 self targeting spells, and they will activate when entering combat.
  • Shroud/Invisibility - Alayne can cloak her self by manipulating the light around her.
  • Muffle - Allows Alayne to move silently.
  • Flesh Spells - Alayne can reinforce her armor to better absorb damage.
  • Fireball - Fireball allows Alayne to deal immense damage to close knit groups.
  • Runes - Alayne can use a variety of runes imbuing them with fire and sun based magicks.
  • Bolide - This fire spell will do more damage the further away Alayne is from a target, up to 5 times its base damage.
  • Vampire's Bane - Alayne can hurl explosive balls of holy light to destroy the undead and vampires.
  • Turn undead - With a strong understanding of Restoration, Alayne's turning spells are much more effective than those of others. 

3378799671?profile=RESIZE_710xFind all Standing Stones: Not a quest per se, but finding all of the Standing Stones is essential in gaining the shadow Step ability from the Shadow Stone. And since questing for artifacts and mystical items is ingrained into Breton culture, it makes sense that Alayne would want to seek them all out.

Lights Out: One of the first quests Alayne will set upon doing after she's set herself up in Solitude. She will play along with the lizard's plan as it furthers her own investigation into tracking down the pirate who murdered her father. 

242934012?profile=RESIZE_710xRise in the East: Another worthy lead for Alayne to follow up on, she will gladly help the East Empire Company rid themselves of the "Bloodhorkers". 

Break of Dawn: Alayne will be a little hesitant of doing the bidding of a daedric prince, at first, but sees the good she can do if she is in possession of an artifact as powerful as Dawnbreaker. 

Man Who Cried Wolf & The Wolf Queen Awakened: Helping Haafingar be rid of an ancient evil such as Potema and her undead minions is something Alayne will gladly offer her services to do. Feeling that she is far better equipped to take on such a task than anyone else with her set of skills.  

Thieves Guild: Alayne will happily join the Thieves Guild, hoping that her morality of stealing only from the rich and helping those in need might rub off on guild members.  She soon finds herself caught up in guild politics. Her jobs eventually lead her to the option of gaining more knowledge in shadow magick but at what price.... 

College of Winterhold: The college harbors many secrets. Secrets that Alayne can use to further her knowledge in the Shadow Magick like abilities the Montalion Clan use. She can also gain further insight into the Restorative arts with the help of Colette Marence.

Dawnguard: One of the more obvious factions Alayne will find common ground with. Being a vampire hunter herself, she will gladly join them in their quest in ridding Skyrim of the Volkihar clan's threat. She will find it hard to work with Serana at first, but will seek to help her cure herself of her affliction. (Note that if you are too pushy with Serana about getting cured she will stonewall you and refuse to talk about it further. Be more tactful and coercive and she will eventually seek out Fallion).

Blood on the Ice: After hearing about a slew of recent murders plagueing the citizens of Windhelm, Alayne takes up the quest to track down the killer. She quickly learns that men can be just as depraved as vampires.  

Laid to Rest: Alayne will look into Morthal's burnt down house upon passing through, as she notices there is somthing amiss in the town and wonders if it might have anything to do with Alva, who is suspiciously pale....

Vampire Hunter: More of a personal quest, Alayne will take it upon herself to eradicate any vampires she meets. Some possible targets include; Sybille Stentor, Movarth Piquine, Laelette, Alva, Vighar, Hert, Hern, and the Volkihar Clan.3398245335?profile=RESIZE_710x

3378843091?profile=RESIZE_710xAtributes: 1:2:1 (Stop perking magicka and stamina once you get to 250 on each, equipment used will buff them plenty) 

3379167207?profile=RESIZE_710xSkills

Major Skills:

Sneak: Alayne's skill in subterfuge is such that at times she can literally melt into the shadows, allowing her to move undetected and strike hard at unsuspecting foes with physical and Magickal damage.

Light Armor: Alayne prioritises fast movement and finesse and thus favors light armor.

Restoration: Restoration is Alaynes primary form of offence and defence when it comes to facing the undead. Subsequenly all of her physical attacks and restoration effect's on them are more powerful due to her rigrous study of the art of Restoration.

Alteration: Through the study of alteration, Alayne has learned to better manipulate other schools of magicks, control the flow of her magicka to supplement her blade skill and alter her very person. A note on Alteration; Wild Shrines (For the locations of shrines click here), Welloc's Dormant Arcana (Empower Restoration, Fortify Armor, Resist Magick - Linked to a Flesh Spell like Iron Flesh), Alter Self: Resistances (Resist Shock, Resist Fire) and Alter Self: Attributes (Fortify Magicka).

Minor Skills:

Destruction: Alayne has learned how to wield fire and inscribe multiple runes at a greater distance. She can take advantage of weakened enemies and do more damage to them with her flames and even cause some to flee the field.

One Handed: Not afraid to get up close to her foes, Alayne can make good use of her silver blade with quick decisive cuts.

Enchanting:  Alayne can use her knowledge of enchantments to imbue her blades with spells and empowers them further when weilding magick. A note on enchanting; Spellscribe (Turn Greater Undead).

Illusion: A cornerstone to Alaynes fighting style, she has learned to bend the light around her rendering her imperceptable at times. She can also conceal any audible noise from enemies allowing her to cast and strike with the element of suprise. 3378848043?profile=RESIZE_710x

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Embrace Shadows -  Ocato's Recital + muffle, flesh spell and invisibilty 

 A simple yet essential ability for the build. With the use of Ocato's recital (loaded with a flesh spell, muffle, and invisibility), Alayne can instantly become intangible to the eye whenever a conflict begins. 

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Shadow Strike - Shadow Warrior + Sneak attack or Shadow warrior + Shadow step + Sneak attack 

When in open conflict Alayne can use a rare form of shadow magick becoming temporarliy undetectable sometimes apearing across the field to slip her blade into an unwitting archer. The shadow warrior perk allows her to slip into the shadows and strike hard at foes who lost sight of her. For distant foes this can be comboed with shadow step to great effect if timed right. 

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Hidden Flame - Shadow Stone (Stones of Galen, Hide in shadows) + Demolition Job + Fire Spell 

Alayne has mastered the art of surprise and thus she not only gains a bonus to physical attacks, but also the arcane when hidden. She can place multiple fire runes around the field, snipe distant enemies with bolide, and throw explosive fireballs into unsuspecting groups to great effect.  

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Ring of Fire - Circle of protection + Wall of flames + Crusaders fire 

When surrounded by undead melee combatant's Alayne can lay down a holy ring imbued with powerful flames. Undead who cross the freshold flee and are smited with holy fire.  

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Dust to Dust - Apotheosis + Dawnbreaker + Crusaders fire + Vampires bane 

When in a situation where Alayne is faced with a particualy large group of powerful undead, she can channel the power of Dawnbreaker to burn away the corruption of false life, rapidly burning them and if one should fall while afflicted by Dawnbreaker's (Meridia's wrath) enchantment, the rest will flee becoming especially suceptable to further restoration spells, if they were not destroyed outright from the explosion. She then destroys any stragler's with with the vampires bane spell. 

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71821636?profile=RESIZE_710xGameplay: First off, Alayne is not the dragonborn so she will not pursue the main quest (however if you do wish to use the thu'um, you can, it is just not a major thing for the build). If you have Alternate Start installed I recommend starting Alayne off in Solitude by way of ship. Alayne will often approach combat quite tactically, choosing to eliminate troublesome enemies such as archers and mages first under the cover of stealth. Upon being detected, Ocato's Recital will activate granting her one more chance at a stealth kill after which she will switch into a fast paced spell blade where she will hurl spells and skilfully dodge and slash at her enemies. The 20% boost to movement she gains from the Shadow Stone really is handy at becoming a blur on the battlefield and also allows for some devastating sneak attacks when hidden. Alayne is a bit of a lone wolf and will not recruit any followers, prefering to rely on her skills in subterfuge to see her through difficult battles. She will actively hunt down vampires,  the undead Draugr, and Dragonpriests wherever she finds them. Any pirates or bandits she encounters, she will deal with swiftly and mercilessly.

Combat: At its core this build plays like an aggressive Nightblade, easily switching to and from stealth as the need arises. Enemy types to be wary of are archers and spellcasters. Use abilities like shadow strike to deal with these targets. Enemies with two handers are also problematic and should be taken care of at a distance where possible, though if you are good at reading their moves you can get a few quick strikes in after a missed power attack. When faced with groups of non undead use guerilla tactics, using Shroud to break their line of sight, and taking them by surprise again. Whittle them down to a manageable number and then switch to a spellblade roll to take care of the remaining few. When faced with large groups of undead use spells like Repel Undead and Circle of Protection to rout them. Crusaders Fire will soften them up as well as Warriors Flame when it hits them.  Take out draugr deathlords first by using stealth, as they can and will easily disarm you. Then focus on the other variants.

Alayne is a rogue class not a warrior class, so this build is all about fighting smarter not harder. For a look into how combat runs check out the video.

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3378857507?profile=RESIZE_710xThis build is the culmination of weeks of painstaking effort and coffee fueled evenings. I am so happy to be able to present it to you in it's entirety. It is the full realization of the earlier an earlier level 20 proto build I produced and so much more. 

If you enjoyed reading the build and want more, I have Alayne's full backstory in the Story corner. 

Credit where credit's due, so thanks to Tysoyaha for sharing some insight into the mechanics of Shadow Step. Props to Dean for using the Alignment system, I pinched that idea off him.  Also, thank you to The Long-Chapper and Ilanisilver for proof reading and spell checking the build. And everyone else who helped me throughout the builds inception by providing opinions and ideas, couldn't have been what it is without you all!

And a little disclaimer, the art, except for the first picture, is not done by me and I do not take credit for art I used. That should go to their respective artists. And Lastly thanks to you the reader, if you got this far it means I did a good job. 

If you liked what you saw I have more builds. Just follow the link below.

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Replies

  • Another awesome build, Furrion! This is  a very cool character that explores the balance of light and dark abilities within the combat playstyle: something I think is a slightly underused concept. The aesthetic and the way the character plays reminds me a bit of Eltariel from the Middle Earth: Shadow of War game and it's Blade of Giladriel DLC. 

    As with the last one, the artwork and the title banners did wonders for the presentation of the build. It's also cool to see you tackle something so different from your last build. 

    The use of the Shadow Step ability was also particularly well done here, and I like the idea of phasing in, out, and inbetween the Spellsword and Combat Assassin playstyles. The addition of the Fireball spell also changes things up and makes the character a little bit more versatile. 

    If I had to give one critique I'd probably say make the backstory a bit shorter. This is of course personal preference, but I've found that I like a fairly succinct backstory myself. Of course that's just personal preference. Good idea to post the full backstory in the Story Corner though.

    That's about all I have to say for this one. Great job, hopefully we see a bit more traffic here in the comments on this one in the near future. 

    • Hey Pixel, sorry for the late reply mate, been really flat out the last fortnight. Thanks for taking the time to read through the build. I'd a lot of fun playing this character, and like you said the way the character aproaches the Nightblade class is different. You see a lot of vampire Nightblades, so I thought I'd turn that on it's head by making a character that uses stealth and shadows (and light) to hunt those that hide in them.

      I've not played Shadow of War before but have been meaning to. It looks like a great game! The two games I drew most inspiration from were Dragon Age (Specifiacally the Templar, Shadow and Assassin classess) and the Witcher 3's Blood and Wine DLC. The way Deitlaff and Regis can turn into smoke seemed very remincent of how the Motalion clan from Wayrest use thier powers.

      And hey we all have our own personal preferences man :) I have the tendancy to write indepth backstories, but thats just my style, I like to have a good read and see what drives the character to get into thier shoes more if that makes sense lol?

      But yea anyway glad you liked the build mate she was a blast to play :)

  • Hey guys, I posted this one a few months back. I was just wondering if anyone could share some thoughts on it. What I'm wanting here is a bit of engagement. Perhaps what I could improve on, or what the build did good? Did you guys like it? I put a heep of time into this one and tried taking a different spin on the traditional Nightblade class.

    I really enjoy doing these builds and have an older build that I will be adding to the site soon and a new build I've been working on for several months that should be here by the months end. If you have read over the build thanks and I would love to here your thoughts!

    • Just plugged it to a guy who needs help with builds.

      • Thanks Pixel, It's flatteringt to know that you think the build is at such a descent standard to be shown as a guide to someone new to character building :)

  • Honestly mate? I quite like the Build. I myself have never used Ordinator or any of the mods that you have listed but from what I can see it all works quite well. 

    And the backstory? Oh man that was beautiful in my opinion. Sorry I can’t comment much due to not using the mods but man this is great mate.

    +1 from me, I’m looking forward to any other ones you’ve got mate.

    • Thanks Lee, glad you liked story. I had a lot of fun writting that up, theres an extended version of it in the story corner if you are interested in reading more about Alayne :)

      I just posted my oldest build now so you can check that out if ya like it's called "The Stormrider". I also have another build on the way that dables with alchemy and poison based magicks, that should be here by the end of the month all going to plan. Thanks for droping by appreciate the feedback man.

  • Personally, I think one of the strongest aspects is the presentation, you laid it out in an appealing way, but also easy to find what's needed

    • Cheers Chris. Glad everything is coherant in the build, I take my sweet time finding pictures to suit my characteers so i'm glad your digging the presentation. Thanks again for dropping by and don't forget to hit the like if ya havn't already ;)

  • I remember commenting on this elsewhere, but I am reiterating some of my remarks here because I've now started to play my adapted version of the build without mods.  It's fantastic thus far and, for me, the quality of the presentation is the crucial factor that keeps drawing me back in.  The pictures that you chose are superb and the build is very well organised.  In addition, the idea of a nightblade type character utilising fire and light spells from the shadows is pleasing paradox.

    I've replaced Enchanting with Conjuration, as I really do like Flame Atronachs and Banish spells and they, to my mind, fit with the concept here and I've no plans to use any other summon spells, necromancy, or other more nefarious aspects of this school, but otherwise I'm staying as true to the build as possible without using mods. 

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