At the request of Curse, I'm posting this over from the Vault. I reworded bits and pieces (mainly the High Priest and HoonDing sections), so if you read the original, you might notice some small differences.
Have you heard the Story of the Way-Maker? I thought not, few have. They say that when the End Times begins, the great and all-powerful HoonDing shall arise once again. Arise to carry the star children into the next Cycle. The HoonDing has always lead us forward; crown, rebel, or sword, he has always been there. But the next avatar, he shall truly accept his role. He will not stand as Crown, Sword, or Rebel, he shall stand as all. He will be the Thrice-Bled Guide. A Crown, for his faith will be unshakable. A Sword, for he will pierce through all that stand in the way of Morwha's children. And a Rebel, for in his quest he will shake the pillars that bind this world and defy the heathen gods. Now break the shackles, my child, lest your hand be severed when you are freed...
Standing Stone: Mage->Atronach->Ritual
Wanderer Skills: Alteration, Alchemy, Illusion, and Restoration. (One-Handed)
High Priest Skills: Alteration, Alchemy, Restoration, and Two-Handed.
This build comes in two parts: The Wanderer and the High Priest. Despite the rather similar skillsets, they are quite different. So without further adieu...
The Wanderer (Levels 1-20)
Lacking major offensive and defensive abilities, the Wanderer is still a powerful figure in his own right. He is able to strengthen his allies and debilitate his enemies. Playing the Wanderer requires a clever approach to combat and heavy reliance on a follower.
Alteration: The Wanderer is well-versed in defensive and utility magic after his studies in Hammerfell. Lacking armor, he relies entirely on his magic and followers for defense.
Restoration: The healing arts are a necessity to the Wanderer for keeping himself and his followers alive. The purifying power of turning and sun spells are also found in the Wanderer's arsenal.
Alchemy: The lifeblood of the Wanderer. Alchemy allows him to bolster all of his skills and gives the Wanderer some sorely needed variety and power in combat. Main usage is applying various poisons with the Wanderer's simple Iron Sword and fortify his magical abilities, especially his Restoration and Illusion spells.
Illusion: Used to bolster his allies, the Wanderer solely uses the humble Courage spell. However, this Novice spell is pushed further with dual-casting and Alchemy.
One-Handed: The Wanderer uses a simple Iron Sword to apply his variety of poisons. This skill remains unperked.
The Wanderer is a very follower-oriented style. Your follower will be a large part of your defense and damage. The good part about this is that you can put a ton of points into magicka; not to mention all the Fortify Magicka items you get doing the College questline. Illusion is taken mostly for Courage spells, but I did throw the occasional Fury spell, which is quite potent when dual-casted. Alteration and Restoration should be fairly obvious. Flesh spells are always good for mobility, as you definitely shouldn't be taking hits. Restoration heals you and your ally.
Alchemy is a great money-maker and resource. Don't underestimate poisons either. Delivering some Damage Health poisons with your rustic Iron Sword is a lot of fun. Or even better, stack on a Weakness to Magic poison and then blast them away with the Staff of Jyrik Gauldrson, which is picked up early on in the playthrough. One very noticeable perk to Jyrik's Staff is its absolutely crazy rate of fire, it's essentially an instant cast.
For this part of the build, you want to build up your skills, especially Alchemy and Alteration; doing the Shalidor's Insight quests, I'd recommend stocking up on Alteration ones; and, most dangerously, taking on a few Dragon Priests. To help with this task, pick up the Atronach Stone, a well-known mage-killer and an absolute must for taking on the powerful Dragon Priests at such a low level. The best Priest to go after first is Vokun, not only do you get a really good temporary follower to help you out, but his mask decreases the cost of Alteration and Illusion spells by 20%. A fine enchantment that can carry you far.
As you can see, this part is very tactical. You've got low health and comparatively low armor rating. You've just got your companion, your trusty iron sword, and your staff, not to mention a load of potions and poisons. Don't forget about shouts either, there's a reason Unrelenting Force is so popular. What shouts you use are up to you right now. However save some souls for Slow Time, Bend Will, Dragon Aspect, Storm Call, Soul Tear and Cyclone.
Level 20 Perk Spread
The Wanderer has accepted his role as a leader, but has not fully embraced the meaning. He retains his cheerful and humble personality. The Wanderer, always eager to lend a helping hand, is open to take on a variety of quests. Though the Imperials worship mere reflections of the your Gods, the many priests and priestesses found in Skyrim still follow the will of the Gods, however misguided. Consider also the chaotic politicals of a land in turmoil and the opportunities they present.
The Wanderer is a man of knowledge and knowledge seldom comes to those that merely wait for it. Seek out this land's center of magical learning, the College of Winterhold; though you shall quickly surpass your peers, their knowledge will aid you for a time. Make use of their resources and access to magical secrets. It is said that ancient Archmage Shalidor possessed potent insight, his legend reaching even the sands of the Alik'r. Locating his lost knowledge is a fine investment.
The most harrowing task set out before you is the slaying of Skyrim's ancient undead order, the mighty Dragon Priests. Their blasphemy and profane worship has carried on beyond their deaths. Show them that the Way-Maker's righteous authority goes beyond the veil of death.
Morally-ambiguous quests should be alright as well, but try to avoid the outright evil ones. The Wanderer is not an evil man, but he is still very ambitious and driven.
It is this very drive and ambition that forces him to become...
The High Priest (Levels 20<)
The High Priest is a wizard from legend. Whereas most mages are reliant on their limited magicka pool, forcing them to focus on reduction enchantments, the High Priest instead relies upon his Voice and his collection of powerful staves to battle his many oppoents. His magicka is instead used for exlcusively defensive purposes, all but insuring survival.
The High Priest has also removed his reliance on a single follower. But he still does not fight alone. His Voice has the power to turn enemies to his side.
Alteration: No longer benefiting from the Mage Armor perks, the High Priest is still a master of Alteration. The school has gifted him with a variety of spells such as Paralyze and Ash spells, which can easily make up for his lack of defense and can be used frequently since the High Priest is not reliant on his magicka, preferring to focus on his staff and Voice.
Restoration: Since he longer uses personal followers, Restoration is used greedily. Healing spells are very magicka efficient so they can be used frequently if need be. His expertise in Restoration has extended to his Turning and Sun spells, allowing him to easily dominate the undead. His knowledge of battling the rotting legions also allows his fire staff to utterly destroy the strongest of undead.
Alchemy: Bringing the full weight of the Alchemical Arts, this skill is used to bolster his own spells. Paralyze and Ash spells that last for entire fights. Sun spells that instantly purge lesser undead. A variety of highly effective poisons delivered with his Silver Sword. But perhaps most potently: Alchemy is used to increase the damage of his already powerful slaves.
Two-Handed: The High Priest seeks training in the Two-Handed style. However, this skill only sees actual usage when the Way-Maker is under a more divine persuasion (See Below).
You now assume the role of High Priest. Drop your follower and your raggedy clothes. Pick your Temple Priest Robes and don the mask of Konahrik, which you've been working towards by slaying the heretical Nord priests of old.
Bend Will is your most powerful tool here. As you will no longer restrict yourself to a single follower, your Voice shall turn the enemies into your converts. Allow groups of enemies to battle themselves while you either support your new converts or simply rain destruction upon the crowd with your assortment of staves. You will focus on three staves in particular: Staff of Fireball, Hevnoraak's Staff (Staff of Lightning Wall), and the Staff of Magnus. The Staff of Fireball and Hevnoraak's Staff will serve the Way-Maker as well as instruments of his destructive will. Both can be augmented by his extensive alchemical knowledge as well. The Staff of Magnus has a more specialized purpose: it absolutely destroys dragons. Once a dragon runs out of magicka, it can no longer use its power Breath attacks, forcing it to land and snap at you. As it lumbers after you, drop down a trail of Lightning Wall from Hevnoraak's Staff. Comebine this tactic with your skill in Wards (which block all damage from dragon breath attacks) and you won't have any reason to fear the wyrms.
But the High Priest's voice is a versatile power, but always be aware of how reliant on it you are. Beyond Bend Will, Slow Time is also an extremely helpful shout, being constantly augmented by the Stability perk. It can allow you time to set up a lightning wall with Hevnoraak's Staff, avoid damage, and apply your sickening poisons. You won't find much use for your Silver Sword beyond the application of poisons and without the benefit of perks or tempering, you'll see limit physical damage. You could theoretically use any one-handed sword; I simply feel the Silver Sword matches the rise to regality (and who could complain about some extra damage to the undead?).
There is a lot of soul gem management in this build with its constant staff usage (and very greedy ones, at that). This where Soul Tear comes in handy. Combine it with the Black Star (Azura is a trespasser from between the planes, corrupting her artifact is just one of the many ways you will cross the heathen gods), and it'll keep your staves fully charged. Just killing a simple bandit will net you a Grand Soul.
The Ritual Stone might be an odd choice, especially given the Redguards' views on necromancy. But I saw it as the High Priest's voice reaching through death and commanding them. You are not manipulating the souls of the dead; you are calling upon the honored dead to fight for you through the vessels you've created. A more gameplay-oriented reason, Bend Will doesn't affect the undead and your army is an important part of your tactics. So I decide an alternative would be to create your army from slain foes since the Ritual Stone works on everything except for dragons and automatons.
Alchemy becomes extremely powerful now. It can boost up your staves and a few of your shouts, Alteration will extend the duration of Slow Time, Fortify Destruction will increase of Storm Call and Cyclone, etc. Don't forget about poisons, weakness to magic/fire/shock poisons are also great ways to boost your damage against living enemies. Your healing spells should cover your health just fine. Magicka goes relatively unused this level between your use of staves and shouts, so feel free to throw all of your points into health from now on.
Obviously this build is very good against living enemies with Bend Will, but let's not forget the horde of undead inside the many ancient tombs that are immune to your divine words. Enter the Necromage perk. Necromage will massively increase the damage done by the Staff of Fireball, thanks to the Taper mechanic, which builds fire damage enormously. If for some reason, you're not in the mood for explosions, the undead's simple nature is easy to abuse with
Level 34 Perk Spread
*Note- Use the Perk Respec at the end of the Dragonborn DLC to remove some of your now useless perks, like Illusion perks and Mage Armor.
Greater Power: The HoonDing
Here we are. The reason this build was made. This isn't a permanent change in character as the High Priest was. If any of you are fans of spectacle fighters, just think of this as the Way-Maker's Devil Trigger.
Requirements: Dragonhide, Shalidor's Insight: Alteration, Dragon Aspect, Adrenaline Rush, and Dwarven Greatsword of Flames.
(Optional: Fortify Two-Handed/Alteration/Destruction potions.)
The Way-Maker's true power comes when he channels the power of the HoonDing. Rather than shifting into a new stage, as we did with the High Priest, this is more akin to Beast Form or Vampire Lord Form. A greater power, of sorts, that you can call upon when you require divine intervention to best a challenge too great for a mortal. This isn't going to be something you'll do every 5 minutes, that would quickly spoil the fun. But when you do call upon, it becomes something worthy of God Mode.
Where the Wanderer and High Priest were about outsmarting and outmaneuvering the enemy, the HoonDing requires no such tactics. This build has always lacked actual physical defense, but the HoonDing has no such weakness thanks to the powerful Dragonhide spell, which effectively grants a maximum armor rating. The Master-level Alteration spell is notorous for its short base duration of only 30 seconds, but we can easily extend that beyond reason. Shalidor's Insight: Alteration (remember I said to stock these) will increase the duration of Dragonhide by 50%, plus 50% from the Stability perk, and then throw in some Fortify Alteration potions and you'll have no trouble wiping any enemy off the face of Nirn before your defenses finally drop.
Adrenaline Rush also deserves a small mention. This build puts no points in Stamina, so Adrenaline Rush can be used make up for a lack of Stamina investment.
Dragon Aspect is the next game-changer, even beyond being the perfect visual to differentiate it aesthetically from the High Priest. It takes the High Priest's already commendable skill with the Voice and pushes it beyond mortal limitation, thanks to Dragon Aspect's 20% shout cooldown reduction. I didn't use Bend Will at all as the HoonDing. Instead I had fun with the shouts I would ordinarily deem as too risky. This is because the HoonDing doesn't rely upon the Voice for survival, despite his unrivaled potency. Storm Call, for instance, carries far too heavy a price to use for the vulnerable High Priest to make much use of, but for the HoonDing, the hefty cooldown and lack of Shouts is hardly an obstacle thanks to his enormous defense and unbridled offensive powers.
Dragon Aspect can also save your skin if things get bad enough that your Health drops below 50%. Dropping that low will call fourth the Ancient Dragonborn, who is great for turning attention away from you. The Ancient Dragonborn, being utterly invincible, is the perfect representation of the unstoppable HoonDing.
Konahrik, while not being a huge game-changer, has its moments. Especially since if your health is low enough to summon the Dragon Priest (unlikely though the chance is), it'll be low enough to summon the Ancient Dragonborn, which often quickly evens the odds. The Dragon Priest's absolutely monstrous damage works amazingly well with the literally invincible Ancient Dragonborn. If you're lucky enough to get these two summons out at the same time, just watch the show. However, it goes without saying that your health will rarely dip low enough to even summon the Ancient Dragonborn, let alone the Spectral Dragon Priest.
Despite the massive tactical differences between the HoonDing and High Priest, they actually benefit from roughly the same potions: namely Destruction and Alteration potions. Alteration was explained above, it'll help Dragonhide and Slow Time. But Fortify Destruction will not only increase the damage of your staves as the High Priest, but it will increase the damage of your Dwarven Greatsword, which looks absolutely phenomenal with the armor combo. You might struggle to find a Dwarven Greatsword of Flames, but don't worry too much if you can't find one, the enchantment damage isn't integral to the build.
Thanks for reading. This will probably my last build, so I wanted it to be my best build. But I feel like I can never properly articulate how fun this build was to play. Going from some humble wanderer who would get one-shotted by Draugr Deathlords if he didn't hide behind his tank to a High Priest capable of turning into groups of enemies against each other to channeling the powers of a god, it's such a weird little evolution that goes pretty smoothly.