Character Build: The Sun Priest

This character concept is actually an old idea I had to become a Redguard, desert mage with the power of the sun. I did not quite know how to complete the build until some recent discoveries I had playing and thought that there was a TON of synergy to be messed around with for an extremely effective character not only to the undead, but to all enemies of the game using fire and sun fire. This build will incorporate a lot of the Dragonborn DLC, so read on if you don't mind spoilers (although most of this should be common knowledge now I guess!). I present...

The Sun Priest

The basic concept behind the Sun Priest is to play off of an old archetype of an undead hunter and expand it using some perk and skill synergy within Skyrim. Given the addition of some key equipment choices from both Dawnguard and Dragonborn DLCs, the Sun Priest can harness powers of the light of the sun to keep the undead at bay and burn all in his path with righteous fury!

The playstyle is 80% shield-mage, wielding the Dawnguard Rune Shield and various spells to achieve devastating effects towards undead foes. Using the shield, stamina is spent instead of magicka to release Stendarr's Aura which emits sun damage to burn the rotting flesh of draugr, make sketelons turn to ash, and vampires tremble where they stand. The other 20% of this build is a magically enhanced sword and board playstyle using the always popular Dawnbreaker sword, allowing maximum fire and one handed damage to strike justice into the damned and explore the extreme power of Meridia's wrath.

Synergy is something I always look for in builds and I have played around with the cool synergies we can achieve with fire based spells. I thought that with what I have tried before could be expanded upon:

  • Augmented Flames boosts not only fire based spells, but also fire damage that occurs during higher level restoration spells, increasing the level cap of affected undead enemies! Most notably, Bane of the Undead, since it includes fire damage the max level also increases, affecting up to lvl 56 undead, or pretty much everything undead in the game. Guardian Circle up to lvl 43 with necromage which also heals the caster at a high rate. Circle of Protection with dual casting and necromage affects undead up to lvl 55! All three of these AoE spells will create barriers and fear effects to make all enemies run in fear!
  • Guardian Circle and Circle of Protection can be cast and up and running simultaneously, granting the player to create extremely large boundaries for the undead to be trapped in. Both circles have wide radiuses (Guardian Circle also heals the caster) and when combined can create a totally encompassing trap for helpless draugr, vampires, and other various undead to be found in Skyrim.

  • With the equipping of the Dawnguard Rune Shield, a previously dual casted Flame Cloak may be augmented with the stacking of the shield's aura effect on top.  Switching to the shield after casting your Flame Cloak will allow you to have the aura as well when in a blocking stance. Fighting the undead will now be easier with added DPS stacked on top of an already boosted (Augmented Flames) Flame Cloak.

  • Illusion perk Aspect of Terror will boost the fear effect of Intense Flames, further adding a +10 fire damage to your fire spells, creating a world of hurt for ALL of your enemies.
  • Ahzidal's Mask boosts the damage of your fire spells by a 25%, enhancing all fire damaging spells even further.
  • Ahzidal's Ring of Arcana will lastly provide the Sun Priest with his favorite spell, ignite. Ignite is a simple spell dealing 4 DPS, but with all Augmented Flames, Ahzidal's Mask, Aspect of Terror, and the ability to stack the spell on top of itself, the DPS could reach insane levels to take down all enemies.


Race: Redguard

Stone: Mage -> Steed -> Atronach

Dragon Shouts: Become Ethereal, Clear Skies, Fire Breath

Major Skills: Restoration, Destruction, Block

Minor Skills: Heavy Armor, Illusion, One Handed, Smithing


  • Head - Ahzidal (mask) - +25% Fire Damage, +50% Fire Resistance
  • Body - Ahzidal's Armor of Retribution - Small chance of paralysis for attacker
  • Hands - Ahzidal's Gauntlets of Warding - 25% less effective wards but absorb 50% magicka
  • Feet - Ahzidal's Boots of Waterwalking
  • Ring/Amulet - +Magicka/Fortify Restoration
  • Dawnbreaker, Dawnguard Rune Shield (Spellbreaker)

 Skills and Perks

Restoration - The central skill to the Sun Priest. Circle of Protection, Guardian Circle, and Bane of the Undead are incredible skills when combined. Given this build does not take enchanting, it will take patience and a lot of magicka investment to pull off some of these spells together. Since most last for extended periods of time (duration is boosted by Augmented Flames) your magicka will be ready to recast if need be. Sun spells are also useful here. It is interesting to note that Ward Absorb will work with the occasional usage of Spellbreaker, which seems to also stack well with Ahzidal's Gauntlets of Warding! Great combo for quick recharging of your magicka!

Destruction - Fire, fire, fire. This will be your universal damaging spell. Since non-undead do not respond to circle spells and sun spells, fire is your focused light spells burning your enemies to Oblivion. With Aspect of Terror and Ahzidal's Mask, your damage output will be significantly higher. Wall of Flames and Flame Cloak are you go to spells here backed by Ignite as your main ranged spell of death.

Block - Any shield-mage needs proper training with a shield. Maximum protection, extreme resistances, and shield bashing provides an excellent defense while being able to dish out the damage with your spells in one hand. Ignite provides high DPS even when single cast, so your shield will always be up unless going for Master level spells or dual casted Circle of Protection.

Illusion - Aspect of Terror. 'Nuff said.

One Handed - Sometimes you need to be in the enemy's face. Dawnbreaker provides a nice damage output with augmented fire damage thanks to perks as well as an incredible effect against the undead. Make your undead explode with a fiery awesomeness to send his friends packing either into your wall spells or into your circle spells. Undead ping pong!

Heavy Armor - Being on the battlefield up close means having thick armor to defend yourself. Ahzidal's Armor of Retribution along with some of the other pieces of the set provide nice defense and great, unique enchantments. The cuirass' ability to have enemies that strike you become paralyzed for 7 seconds is amazing. It may not trigger as often, but when it does you will feel like a true sun god of blinding and debilitating light.

Smithing - Boosting defenses and sharpening Dawnbreaker.

Level 50 Perk Spread - Stat Ratio: M/H/S - 3/1/1

Gameplay and Tactics

The Sun Priest is a very versatile character in that he dabbles in both devastating spells to deal with the undead using Restoration as well as Destruction magic to cover his basis on the living side of his foes. Vampires and Draugr do not even stand a chance with the Sun Priest, but he can also dish out some serious burning pain through DPS ignite and Dawnbreaker/Dawnguard Rune Shield combo.

The Sun Priest's first order of business is gathering his equipment to be as effective as possible. The stacking of the shield's Stendarr's Aura with Flame Cloak is incredibly effective against undead opponents as stated before, but it can only be truly recognized when up close and personal. The radius of the shield effect is not large and you must be in close quarters - But with undead enemies running and getting trapped in corners all the time, they will be sitting ducks to the power of the sun!

  • Soul of the Sun - Flame Cloak + Shield Stendarr's Aura - Combining Flame Cloak and Stendarr's Aura using your shield, high DPS can be achieved against undead opponents.
  • Trailblazer - Wall of Flames + Shield Bash/Sprint + Ignite- Let your enemies burn in fire while you bash them back into the blaze or run around firing more DPS with your projectile spells.
  • Solar Flares - Soul of the Sun + Augmented/Boosted/Aspect of Terror'd Ignite - Immense amounts of fire DPS is achieved using the ignite spell, a welcome addition to the fire arsenal.
  • Super Nova - Circle of Protection + Guardian Circle + Bane of the Undead - With undead opponents on the run and magicka recharged enough, these three spells will have your undead foes on the run for a LONG time, burning as they run in fear of the sun.

Well there you have it folks! I hope you enjoy burning all the wickedness out of Skyrim. The synergy I could achieve with this build was a lot of fun and I hope you give it a try. Thanks to Aspect of Terror, fire spells will never be the same! I could also have not made the presentation look so good without the help of Vazgen with his amazing artistic photos! Thank you!


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  • The bane of all vampires and undead!
  • Very nice synergy at work here Henson.
  • I always enjoy builds that utilize Restoration offfensively. You have some good synergy here.

  • I've always loved all things fiery - including Sun Spells. Loving this Build Henson, btw you hit Expert

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