After a short case of builders block, I’m back with another build. After grasping for ideas, and getting distracted by playing some of the awesome builds on here, Phil inspired me to use the Bloodskal Blade on my Crusader build. After thinking about if for a while, I decided to create a Crusader who follows the ways of the Skaal. Curse Never Dying thankfully agreed to collaborate with me on this idea, and it grew into what you see before you! This build utilises some criminally underused weapons, and embodies the true skill of a Skaal in battle. The Bloodskal Blade is an awesome weapon, and needs to be used in the way I believe it was intended; a noble weapon designed for a unique style of melee combat. That means no stealth, no subterfuge, no assassinations, nothing that goes against your honour and pride as a Skaal. So be prepared for the great knight and elementalist that is the Skaal Crusader!
“Sit quietly, child, and listen, for the story I tell you is a story of the ages.”
“In a time before now, long before now, when the Skaal were new, there was peace in the Land. The sun was hot and the crops grew long, and the people were happy in the peace that the All-Maker provided. But, the Skaal grew complacent and lazy, and they took for granted the Lands and all the gifts the All-Maker had given them. They forgot, or chose not to remember, that the Adversary is always watching, and that he delights in tormenting the All-Maker and his chosen people.”
However, the All-Maker has not forsaken his people. He will send a hero, a holy one, a warrior who will hear the Skaal and aid them in their time of need. He will send…
Race: Nord. All Skaal are Nords, making this choice obvious, but if you really can’t stand them any could work, as the Skaal accept anyone who helps them as Skaal-friend. I feel that the resistance and racial power of the hardy Nords suits this character though.
Stone: Steed. An underused stone in my opinion, but incredibly useful for the Crusader. The advantage of armour weighing nothing and creating no movement penalty is too good to pass up, allowing more room for potions and more stamina for charging.
Shouts: Become Ethereal, Dragon Aspect, Cyclone, Storm Call
Stats: 200 Magicka :400 Health :200 Stamina
Major Skills: Two Handed, Alchemy, Destruction
Minor Skills: Alteration, Smithing, Heavy Armour, Block
Weapons: Bloodskal Blade, Stormfang
Apparel: Nordic Carved Armour, Boots and Gauntlets, Dawnguard Full Helmet, Ring of Destruction, Amulet of Talos
Spells: Lightning Cloak, Wall of Storms, Ash Rune, Flesh Spells
The Skaal Crusader is a noble and strong fighter who utilises two different swords in synergy with two separate melee fighting styles. These styles are amplified by the Crusader’s use of Alchemy, with potions linked to the gifts of the All-Maker herself.
Two ancient blades of Solsteim form the Crusader’s weapons arsenal. Experienced with both swords, the Skaal Crusader is unbeatable in combat, felling the enemies of the Skaal tribes with ease. He can dance around enemies with the Bloodskal Blade, taking them by surprise with his exceptional speed and footwork. He can fade in and out of reality using the power of the tongue, becoming invulnerable and able to whirl effortlessly around his stunned and staggered foes.
Using Stormfang, the Skaal Crusader embodies the wrath of lightning, with bolts, cloaks, runes and walls of thunder at his disposal. Only the incredibly brave or incredibly stupid would dare to approach a lightning-charged warrior of the Skaal.
Both of these styles are made stronger with the Crusader’s use of the All-Maker’s powers and benefits for the Skaal, making his sword arm stronger, his body and armour harder, his magic better. His magic consists of spells of the earth, strengthening his hide and encasing his opponents in hardened ash and soil, as well as storm incantations.
As well as this the Skaal Crusader has knowledge of warrior skills, and knows how to parry attacks and guard himself with both armour and blade from his enemies’ strikes. Smithing comes naturally to him, and his weapons and armour are all of legendary quality.
"For I must stay to lead the Skaal, and tell our people what is law."
Two Handed perks alongside critical damage is a powerful combo when used in conjunction with charges. Two Handed combat turns into a sort of dance, with quick reflexes and sweep making dodging round enemies easy. Great critical charge also becomes a key perk, making starting combat easier and keeping enemies surprised and staggered. Destruction has also been tanked up, with Shock spells being an obvious focus, particularly walls and cloaks.
With a combination of Heavy Armour, Smithing and Alteration perks, the Skaal Crusader can reach the armour cap with little perk investment into the actual armour skill. Alteration also provides access to the new ash spells, to keep enemies inactive while you dual with their friends. Alchemy is used to provide useful buffs and deadly poisons to strengthen your combat styles and increase the power of the All-Maker stones.
"Was he made a warrior? Or taught the ways of the shaman? Did he lead the Skaal in battle?"
While unenchanted, the armour provides a great look for the Skaal Crusader as well as suiting both themes. The Dawnguard Helmet gives the look of a holy warrior, while Nordic Carved Armour fits in with Skaal cultures and styles. Enchanted pieces aren’t required, though they are very helpful, particularly Fortify Two Handed, Destruction, and Alteration. I myself found some gauntlets that augmented Alchemy, Armour of Destruction and Boots of Two Handed enchants.
For the necklace and ring slot, I recommend a ring of destruction (whatever amount you can get) and an Amulet of Talos. The Amulet, combined with a blessing of Talos, provides a 40% shout reduction, allowing Become Ethereal to be used fluidly throughout combat. This also helps to reduce the costs of Cyclone and Storm Call, which really help with crowd control on the Unending stance.
The two greatswords, Stormfang and the Bloodskal Blade, both suit in terms of lore and gameplay. The Bloodskal Blade is a brilliant weapon, capable of damaging many enemies at a time with both blade and energy wave. The wave does 30 points of damage, which can be increased with weakness to magic potions. Stormfang is equally impressive, if not more so, and does 30 points of shock damage. This damage can be increased to 45 with augmented shock perks, making it a truly deadly weapon, especially against magic using enemies.
“The All-Maker cursed ancient warriors with undeath for committing acts of cannibalism, thus creating the draugr.”
This first stance involves the pure strength and power of a charging Skaal Warrior. Using a combat stance developed from his Bloodskal ancestors, the Skaal Crusader can effortlessly charge opponents, keeping injuries to him to a minimum with a clever combination of spells, shouts and potions.
Obviously this stance will be focused on the Bloodskal Blade. Alteration spells will be brought to full effect, using Ash Spells to immobilize foes and Ebonyflesh to enhance defence further. Potions of Fortify Two Handed, Health and Stamina Regen are used, as well as Weakness to Magicka poisons to further the Bloodskal Blade’s wave damage. Great Critical Charge and Become Ethereal become the final pieces to this puzzle, and when used in conjunction with each other create a powerful and deadly tactic for beginning combat.
I typically opened battles with a flesh spell, and then used Bloodskal Charge to close the gap between me and the enemies. Choose the weakest enemy to charge in a group to take them out of the fight immediately, then use a couple of Ash spells to thin the heard to just a single standing foe to duel with. This stance excels against small groups of melee opponents or single strong opponents, as it keeps them staggered and isolated to the Skaal Crusader’s fury. Mix in Become Ethereal to preserve stamina and get back some health. UseLash for some crowd control if you’re having trouble and Bloodskal Mastery for utter annihilation.
This second stance embodies the pure wrath and immortality of the All-Maker. The Skaal Crusader wields the ancient Stormfang, blade of the noble Ulfgar the Unending, a Nord searching forever for Sovngarde. Combining the skill of the Unending himself and the electric fury of your patron god, you can decimate your opponents with this combat style.
Lightning is the name of the game here, creating some epic synergy between spell and blade. Storm walls, cloaks and runes are your go to spells, and these are used to create areas for camping. Weakness to shock poisons make these camping points all the more deadly, as foes quickly succumb to the lightning from your traps and greatsword. As you level destruction, you should definitely take the Augmented Shock perks, to enhance Stormfang’s damage. A fully powered Stormfang is deadly in conjunction with Weakness to Shock, doing over sixty damage in shock alone. Fortify Magicka and Destruction potions are also very helpful in increasing magical capabilities. For shouts use both Storm Call and Cyclone, to completely slaughter outdoors and provide great crowd control as enemies are flung around amidst a sea of lightning.
For combat, first survey the foe. If they’re a mage or archer, make a run for them and camp right on their position with a Storm Bastion. Ideally back them into a corner so they can’t run and are taking constant DoT from lightning walls, cloaks and poisons. Against melee enemies, use Storm Bastion in an open position and let them come to you. Use Cyclone to create even more chaos, and Smite when facing massive groups. With a 40% shout cool down, the cool down only lasts double the time of the storm.
“The Adversary has many aspects. He appears in the unholy beasts and the incurable plague.”
Achieving Oneness with the Land
The Skaal strive to achieve oneness with the land. They worship the All-Maker, and have their own religion and culture based around him. When something dies, their spirit flows back into the All-Maker, to be remade into something new. Everything the Skaal believe in is based upon balance: in what they take, do, and act in accordance with their religion. All life is sacred to the Skaal, as they only hunt what they need, and gather firewood from dead trees and materials from the earth. They must also remain ever vigilant, for the Adversary, Herma-Mora, and even the traitor himself are constant threats to their ways of life.
To follow the ways of the Skaal Crusader you must uphold this balance. Only kill those who deserve it, and never craft, take or buy more than you need. This means that when creating your armour, only mine the necessary amounts of materials to make and upgrade it, and no more. The Skaal Crusader abhors sneaking or dishonourable tactics, as well as murder and criminal activites. Violence should only be used as a last resort, as the Skaal draw power from peace and harmony. When Harmony is upheld, the Skaal join with the grace of the All-Maker; when it is upset, their power dwindles.
The Ristaag and Ritual of the Gifts:
The Skaal, when in times of great need, perform rituals to honour the All-Maker. One of these is called Ristaag, a ritualistic hunt to show their gratitude for the All-Maker. This is easily enough translated to Skyrim; the Skaal Crusader would hunt animals across both Solsteim and Skyrim. The Ritual of the Gifts is another way the Skaal honour the All-Maker. They embark on a pilgrimage to each of the sacred stones, and leave offerings there. This restores Oneness with the land, and brings the Skaal closer to the All-Maker. I chose to leave gifts linked to each stone (eg. Animal pelts at the Beast Stone, ores at the Earth Stone, wood and plants at the Tree Stone, etc) for my ritual, although you may find items more fitting if you chose to begin the ritual.
For quests, I’d recommend the Dragonborn questline, at least up to The Throat of the World in the Main Quest, and generally any quest in Solsteim, to protect and guard your homeland from evils like Ash Spawn, minions of Apocrypha and other malevolent creatures.
“There, in the dark, he found the Waters of Life”
Armour of the Earth - Fortify Block+Fortify Heavy Armour+Resist Frost
Bleeding Crown+Slaughterfish Scales+Thistle Branch
Uses: Helpful in situations where you’re being surrounded, use the gifts of the Earth to enhance your physical defenses. This gift is most useful against tough enemies when your defense isn’t enough.
Strength of the Beast - Fortify Two Handed+Regenerate Health
Emperor Parasol Moss+Fly Amanita+Garlic
Uses: When in battle, take on the strength of the Beast, attacking stronger and with faster regenerative capabilities. This gift is helpful when you need an extra damage boost.
Sanctuary of the Wind - Fortify Alteration+Restore Magicka
Elves Ear+Grass Pod+River Betty
Uses: Using the magical protection of the Wind, your mystical armour and spells are powered, and your Magicka restored. Best used in conjunction with the Bloodskal stance to enhance your duels.
Blaze of the Sun - Fortify Destruction+Resist Magic
Glowing Mushroom+Lavender+Wisp Wrappings
Uses: The Sun’s fire and anger fills you, strengthening your destructive abilities and resistances. Essential forStorm Bastions, and increasing the damage of Solar Flare.
Calm of the Water - Restore Health+Restore Stamina
Blue Mountain Flower+Charred Skeever Hide+Netch Jelly
Uses: In the water’s surface there is always calm and serenity, restoring physical attributes. Netch Jelly’s restore stamina effect is doubled, allowing more opportunities for bashes and power attacks.
Howling Wind - Slow+Weakness to Poison+Weakness to Shock
Deathbell+Giant Lichen+Trauma Root
Uses: A violent tempest weathers away at your enemy’s very soul, weakening them to the elements and poisons.
Furious Waves - Damage Stamina Regen+Ravage Health+Weakness to Magic
Creep Cluster+Jazbay Grapes+Skeever Tail
Uses: Waves and water lash against your foe, weakening them to further magical attacks. Great for setting up enemies to use Smite.
“The Winds rushed out with gale force”
Bloodskal Charge - "Shrouded by the All-Maker's protection and wielding the legendary blade of his people, the Skaal Crusader charges toward the enemy. The first strike while in this state costs no stamina and deals heavy damage.
This combo is the Skaal Crusader's chosen method of opening combat using the offensive stance to surprise the enemy. Wielding the blade of his Bloodskal ancestors, he uses the voice to become Ethereal, and charges the enemy with no effort. They are caught off guard, surprised and staggered from the Crusader's devastating charge.
Requires: Bloodskal Blade, Become Ethereal (1 word), Great Critical Charge
Lash - "The crusader lashes forward with his blade in a wide arc, afflicting those he strikes with the curse of Furious Waves. Under this curse enemies take significantly more magick damage from the crusader's mighty weapons."
The Bloodskal Blade is coated with a deadly weakening poison, before the Crusader swings it in a wide arc, striking multiple, contaminated foes with both blade and energy wave. This move is most effective against two opponents, allowing you to strike both of them with the weakness at once. Used with Stormfang, enemies will take significantly more lightning damage with every sweep.
Requires: Concentrated Poison, Sweep, Furious Waves
Bloodskal Mastery - "Invoking both the powers of the All-Maker and Herma-Mora's forbidden secrets, the crusader takes on the aspect of a raging dragon, dealing colossal damage for a short time."
The Skaal Crusader is a master of his chosen weapon, and wields it with eminent skill. Taking on the aspect of a dragon, he gains stronger armour and attacks, and uses Herma-Mora's forbidden knowledge against him to aid the wills of the Skaal.
Requires: Bloodskal Blade, Dragon Aspect, Secret of Strength, Strength of the Beast
Utilizing wall of storms and a lightning cloak, the crusader can create a formidable entrenched position that threatens severe continuous shock damage against any who approach. Combined with Stormfang which will deal heavy shock damage thanks to the gift of the Blaze of the Sun, this special technique will obliterate just about anything foolish enough to approach in seconds.
Requires: Blaze of the Sun, Lightning Cloak, Wall of Storms
Smite - "The crusader's voice tears open the sky itself, calling forth the All-Makers wrath to smite those marked with the curse of the Howling Wind. "
After priming all opponents in the vicinity with a weakness to lightning, use Storm Call to call down a vicious aerial bombardment of lightning bolts which will deal heavy damage to those afflicted with the Howling Wind poison
Requires: Storm Call, Lash w/multiple Howling Wind poisons
“You have done well. You, the least of the Skaal, have returned my gifts to them. The Greedy Man is gone for now, and should not trouble your people again in your lifetime. Your All-Maker is pleased. Go now, and live according to your Nature."
AmidianBorn Book of Silence - A massive collection of high resolution retexture of all vanilla Skyrim's weapons and armor. The nordic carved armor set looks simply amazing. A must have.
YY Anim Replacer - Zweihander - Lug your sword over your shoulder like the bad ass warrior shaman you are. This animation mod replaces the default two handed weapon idle animations with something far better than the batting stance Bethesda gave us.
Storm Wrath Lightning - Fixed Storm Call - This mod makes a few critical changes to the Storm Call Shout. Now it targets only enemies, rains down lightning more frequently and has improved accuracy. The storm also now has a wider radius and follows you as you move.
Field Alchemy - This mod is for the alchemists out there who would like to practice alchemy at any time during their travels.
Now you can create potions and poisons at any time as long as you have your trusty mortar and pestle with you.
Enchanted Arsenal - A brilliant mod that allows full customization of all visual effects of any enchantment.
Alchemists Have Ingredients - This mod alters the inventory of all alchemy shops so they sell all ingredients in much much higher quantities
Harvest Overhaul - This mod allows you to harvest a realistic amount of ingredients, while keeping the balance of Skyrim, and not conflicting with other mods. Every plant and flower (but not ingredients) has been tweaked to yield a realistic amount of ingredients, but with the element of luck.
Raidriar for being a great partner and help in the creation of this build
Phil for original idea
Ponty for notes on All-Maker stones
Zimbu for absolutely brilliant screenshots. He’s been going through a lot, and obviously put a hell of a lot of work into these
the Tman for sorting out issues with potions
Quotes are from the in game book "Aevar Stone-Singer"