Once there lived an elf who sought to obtain power by any means necessary. He dealt with various lesser daedra until the day he summoned one of the fearsome Daedric Princes, Clavicus Vile, known for granting power through ritual invocations and pacts. He granted this elf the power he so craved, but Vile, known for his deception, exacted a terrible price: the elf's free will. He had the power that he longed for, but it was to be used as Vile saw fit for all eternity.
The Thrall of Vile
The impetus behind this build is quite simple. There really hasn’t been a whole lot of builds that have explored the power of the Atronach Forge, unusual given the fact that it can use the Sigil Stone to create powerful pieces of equipment without any need for crafting. Accordingly, I decided to make a build based on using the power of the Atronach Forge to its fullest extent.
Race: I went with Altmer for a boost to the magical half of the build. They also happen to be the tallest race in the game, great for looking intimidating in heavy armor.
Skills: One-Handed, Heavy Armor, Destruction, Conjuration
Stone: The Lord provides a nice AR boost for the early going while the extra magic resistance is a nice addition for the entire playthough.
Stats: 2/2/1. The Thrall relies on all three stat areas, but stamina slightly less so.
Shouts: Become Ethereal is nice for casting Fire/Lightning Storm without interruptions, as is Slow Time for unleashing a flurry of spells or axe strikes.
Quests: The College of Winterhold is absolutely essential for gaining access to the Atronach Forge as well as Labyrinthian, which has a word for Slow Time. Another one can be found in Korvanjund, so either do the Civil War questline or use the dungeon backdoor glitch to get to it. The Black Star is another important quest, as you’ll want that item for recharging your weapons. Finally, the Dragonborn questline lets you obtain several black books to further your power. Note that you should not bother with doing A Daedra’s Best Friend; Vile clearly has no interest in getting his dog back.
*click on the image for the perk calculator version*
If you took a look at the perk spread, you would've noticed that the build takes both the atronach and undead branches of the Conjuration tree, and with good reason; you’ll need to use every conjuration spell in your repertoire to hit 90 Conjuration. This means atronachs, undead, Dremora Lords, and the Soul Trap spell. Once you hit 90 skill and complete the Conjuration Ritual Spell quest to get the Sigil Stone, you can place it on the Atronach Forge and begin creating your equipment.
First off, weapons. Using the Random Enchanted Daedric Weapon Recipe (Silver Sword, Daedra Heart, Ebony Ingot, and a filled Greater, Grand, or Black Soul Gem), you’ll be aiming to create the following: Two Daedric War Axes of the Vampire (absorb 25 health), one Daedric War Axe of the Sorcerer (absorb 30 magicka), and one Daedric War Axe of Subsuming (absorb 30 stamina). These weapons will be used in place of restoration magic, restorative potions and the like for healing. Clearing out Driftshade Refuge and Gallows Rock will net you the Silver Swords needed (no need to do the Companions questline), and you can get some Daedra Hearts by doing Pieces of the Past.
Next, armor. Using the Random Enchanted Daedric Armor Recipe (Void Salts, Daedra Heart, Ebony Ingot, and a filled Greater, Grand, or Black Soul Gem), you’ll be aiming to create the following: Daedric Helmet of Peerless Destruction (25% Destruction), Daedric Armor of Revival (50% Health Regen), Daedric Gauntlets of Peerless Wielding (40% One-Handed), and one each of Daedric Boots of Warmth/Grounding/Firewalker (70% Elemental Resistance). You’ll also want to hit up Radiant Raiment to get a Necklace and Ring of Revival.
Of course, you’ll need some earlygame equipment to use until you can get your hands on Daedric stuff. Bloodthorn, a steel dagger found on the altar at the summit of Hag’s End (where one of the words for Slow Time is located), has a three second soul trap enchantment, but more importantly, a hidden ten point absorb health enchantment. Pair it with the Blade of Woe (from destroying the Dark Brotherhood) and you can subsist off of the health absorption in combat. Killing Uthgerd the Unbroken will net you Steel Plate Armor, Boots, and Gauntlets, and you can top off the look by going to Ragnvald and killing Otar for his mask. Jewelry of health regeneration will complete your loadout until you can get the Sigil Stone.
Of all the builds I've played in Skyrim, the ones I enjoyed the most were those that featured a lot of fast-paced combat, and this build is definitely one of them. In melee combat, you can tear into your foes with your axes without having to duck out and heal thanks to their health absorption enchantment while at a distance you can fry your foes with either fire or shock magic. With your magicka absorbing axe, you can start off by casting your spells from a distance, move in for melee combat and to absorb magicka, then fall back and start casting spells again. Alternatively, you can use your stamina absorbing axe to deliver a constant stream of dual-wielding power attacks.
Having a high level of skill in Destruction, combined with the Destruction enchantment on your helmet, will give you extra charges on your weapons to work with. A complete set of Daedric Armor combined with a fully perked Heavy Armor tree means that you won’t take much physical damage while the Lord Stone and your boots of elemental resistance will keep you safe from magical attacks, and conjured beings will further increase your damage output. The best part? You won’t have to spend any time bent over tables because this build uses no crafting.
Overall, the Thrall of Vile has been a thoroughly entertaining playthrough, one that I would recommend to anyone that enjoys fast-paced combat. If you liked this, then check out my other builds to see more!