It didn’t take long for the corruption to take hold- my thoughts focused solely on the taste of sweet crimson. I was no more than a mere beast living off instinct and hunger: no free will to call my own.
The musty cave was my refuge, my haven from the burning light of Aetherius. A haven, in which I needed not worry about the atrocities committed in my blood-starved frenzy. The dried red under my fingernails was all that remained to haunt me of my victims.
This was my existence for years.
When the nightmares started, I’d often be woken up by the sound of my own screams. They all revolved around the same themes- corruption, decay, helplessness. It was when I awoke- drenched in sweat- to a nightmare of me ripping out my own throat that reality finally struck me. It was as if I’d regained some semblance of sentience. I had a choice. I didn’t have to be ruled by blood.
I cannot atone for what I have done, that I understand- but perhaps I can do good. Perhaps I can use the powers this curse grants to rid this world of other abominations. Many will want to hunt me down for the monstrosity that I am, but this land needs those who will go to all lengths to protect it.
I may be cut off from the magic of Aetherius, but blood- blood is something I can grasp.
- Ordinator- Perks of Skyrim
- Imperious- Races of Skyrim
- Andromeda- Standing Stones of Skyrim
- Sacrosanct- Vampires of Skyrim
Race: Breton Vampire.
Bretons start with three passives:
- Grail of Betony: Find a lost artifact that grants magicka and stamina regen.
- Spell Mantle: Resistance to magic, and absorb most incoming spells at low magicka.
- Stones of Galen: Each standing stone grants its own bonus effect.
After finding 10 of the 13 standing stones you’ll unlock:
- Shared Ancestry: 1/day – temporarily gain the racial power of a target man or mer.
While Grail of Betony’s boost to magicka regen will be nullified by the chosen standing stone, the added stamina regen will aid in throwing out some more shield bashes. Spell Mantle is the typical Breton magic resistance, but with the twist of allowing spells to be absorbed when low on magic. Stones of Galen is where the Sanguine Protector’s Breton heritage really shines, adding another effect to the chosen standing stone that synergizes with it perfectly. Shared Ancestry sees little use, but the racial power I’d recommend would be the Imperial’s Colovian Star, which replenishes the two attributes with the highest remaining percentage.
Sacrosanct completely overhauls the vampire experience with new abilities, passives, a completely re-worked Vampire Lord perk tree, new quests, and all new ‘hemomancy’ spells.
Being a Breton, you’ll receive:
- Dolmen Haunt: Can feed by activating a Standing Stone.
As a vampire you’ll have a number of constant effects, such as:
- 100% resistance to disease and poison.
- 25% harder to detect when sneaking.
- 50%-20% resistance to frost depending on thirst.
- 20%-50% weakness to fire depending on thirst.
- Health, magicka, and stamina do not regenerate in sunlight, and are reduced by 25-100 points depending on thirst.
There are four stages of hunger- sated, thirsty, parched, and blood starved. The longer you neglect to feed, the more beast-like you’ll become as Molag Bal’s influence grows. Feeding will bring you back up to sated, no matter what stage you were before. Important powers based on the hunger system are:
- (Sated) Fortitude: Vampiric blood makes you harder to kill. Upon taking fatal damage, you come back to life, becoming thirstier.
- (Sated) Blood Cauldron: At will - Expend some of your Vampiric blood to replenish Health, Magicka, and Stamina, becoming thirstier.
The longer you spend as a vampire and the more you feed, the more you’ll increase in ranks- from a mere Fledgling to a Nightmaster. Each rank you’ll be able to chose a new ability/ power. The abilities to look out for here are:
- Vicissitude: Hemomancy spells other than Blood Seed do 25% more damage to targets affected by Blood Seed.
- Blood Knight: Able to feed on staggered enemies in combat for 50 points of stamina.
The other options are completely up to you!
Both Fortitude and Blood Cauldron cause you to go down a stage of thirst when used, removing both abilities. Blood Knight, however, allows you to feed on staggered targets, bringing you back up to sated and regaining both abilities. Being an offensive shield-mage, this build will be shield-bashing and stunning enemies constantly: if you’re fighting living foes who are able to be fed upon, you’re effectively invincible.
Standing Stone: The Atronach.
- Corrupted Arcana: magicka does not regenerate. Each death within 50 feet restores magicka equal to 25 times their level.
- Oblivion Bound: If you have magicka remaining, spells are 25% more effective and cost 50% less magicka.
After finding all 13 standing stones, you’ll unlock:
- Devour from Within: 1/day paralyzes a living target, absorbing 50 magicka for 10 seconds. When depleted, absorbs health instead.
With Stones of Galen, the Atronach will have a bonus effect:
- Spells cost 30% less magicka, but you take 20% more damage from attacks while casting.
Becoming a vampire means you are cut off from Aetherius, instead having your soul claimed by the daedra upon death. What better way to show this than having zero magicka regen, and having to absorb it from the death of your enemies! It’s not all doom and gloom however, as not only will your spells be stronger but they’ll cost much less. Combined with other spell-cost reducing perks, you’ll rarely ever run out of mana. Because of this, Devour from Within isn’t all too useful. I used it mostly as a paralysis rather than a way to gain magicka back. Keep in mind that magicka potions will not work if you have this stone active!
Stat Spread: 3 magicka / 2 health / 1 stamina, until you get around 150 stamina, then stick with an even split of 1 magicka / 1 health.
Higher amounts of magicka are needed at the beginning, as you won’t have all the perks to reduce the cost of spells. The Sanguine Protector is fairly aggressive in her playstyle, so a moderate amount of health will be needed to shrug off hits when on the front lines. While you’re going to be bashing and shield-charging around a lot, not much stamina will be needed because of high stamina regeneration from perks in the Light Armor skill tree.
Skills: Destruction, Block, Light Armor, Sneak, One-Handed.
Predator’s Grace, Ring of the Beast, Ring of Erudite, Targe of the Blooded, and a dagger are all that’s required for equipment. Your necklace, chest piece, gloves, and helm are up to your preferences, as there are no unique pieces of light armor for those slots that are useful for this build. I went with the Crimson Ranger chest and gloves from Immersive Armors, and a light dragon priest mask for aesthetics. Predator’s Grace are unique in that they muffle you completely, to allow for easy stalking of your enemies. Switch between the Ring of the Beast and Ring of Erudite depending on whether you need 100 health or magicka more, but remember- the regeneration from the Ring of Erudite is nullified by the Atronach stone. The Targe of the Blooded and a back-up dagger will allow for more bleed procs on top of your hemomancy spells.
Recommended enchantments to look out for would be resist magic, resist fire, stamina regen, and fortify magicka/health/stamina. Regenerate magicka enchants will not work because of the Atronach stone, so keep that in mind!
Become Ethereal, Dragonrend, Unrelenting Force, Whirlwind Sprint, Vampire Lord, Vampire’s Seduction, Blood Cauldron, Blood of the Ancients.
For shouts, I never much found use for straight-up damage, relying more on utility/ support ones. Become ethereal is used for setting up a combo later in the abilities section, and the other ones were more for situational uses. Vampire Lord is needed to get perks relating to hemomancy, but once you get “Starving Artist”, you can progress your Vampire Lord tree in human form. It’s fun as an alternate form, and actually synergizes well with the Atronach stone- Sacrosanct, by default, disables magicka regen in magic form and stamina in melee form. The Atronach stone already disables mana regen, instead having you to kill enemies for mana. Just spam away with your Raze spell and not have to worry about switching to melee form to regain magicka! Vampire’s Seduction is used the same as in vanilla- to allow you to feed on non-sleeping targets, and Blood Cauldron is useful as a panic heal if your health gets too low. Blood of the Ancients is a vanilla effect that allows your Vampiric Drain to absorb both magicka and stamina alongside it’s default health drain. If you’re low on mana and aren’t able to kill an enemy, use this on them to regain it.
Blood Seed, Blood Garden, Blood Brand, Blood Scourge, Blood Ankh, Profaned Sun, Borrowed Time, Curtain Call, Vampiric Drain.
- Blood Seed: Deals 5 magic damage per second for 10 seconds. With the Vicissitude passive from ranking up as a vampire, all other hemomancy spells will deal 25% more damage while this spell affects them. Your go-to spell to apply on enemies first, until it’s replaced with:
- Blood Garden: Applies Blood Seed in an area-of-effect. Has a higher base damage than Blood Seed at 10 magic damage over 10 seconds. This also activates Vicissitude, so when you’re comfortable with the amount of magicka you have, switch out Blood Seed for this spell.
- Blood Brand: Deals 5 magic damage per second. After 10 seconds, explodes for 100 magic damage.
- Blood Scourge: Deals 20 magic damage per second for 15 seconds. If the target dies while this spell is active on them, it spreads to other enemies in the area.
- Blood Ankh: Used on a corpse, it causes it to levitate for a short time and explode for 200 magic damage in an area.
- Profaned Sun: Flaming ball that deals 25 magic and fire damage per second for 20 seconds. It slowly follows its target, damaging all around it.
- Borrowed Time: Deals 5 magic damage per second for 20 seconds. After the 20 seconds are up, deals all the health damage the target took during those 20 seconds back again.
- Curtain Call: Briefly pacifies all enemies affected by a different hemomancy spell, before decapitating them and killing them instantly.
Hemomancy spells count as magic damage, so they are able to bypass elemental resistances. Fire dragon? Full damage. Dwarven automaton? No problem. Storm atronach? Doesn’t stand a chance.
The clans here in Cyrodil have eluded me thus far; I’d imagine the Vampyrum Order wouldn’t want anything to do with a feral like myself. I’ve heard, however, of the Volkihar clan- hiding up in their refuge in the north of Skyrim. Perhaps there they can teach me more about the powers of this ancient blood.
The Sanguine Protector will join the Volkihar clan, believing they have the ability to help her learn about her vampiric powers. You’ll find them and end up becoming another one of their lackeys, doing side missions for the higher-ups in the court. However, as you progress through the story line it’ll become clear that Harkon is looking to fulfil an ancient prophecy, dooming all life to eternal darkness. Knowing that it’s going to spell disaster for everyone- vampires included- you’ll work with Serana to overthrow him. Becoming Lord of Castle Volkihar means you’ll have the power to influence your court, and steer them away from going after the innocents of the general populace. You’re going to want to start the Dawnguard questline as soon as you can, as the Vampire Lord form has important perks for your hemomancy spells. It’ll also allow access to the rings of blood magic, as well as the bloodstone chalice for the Blood of the Ancients passive. Some quests such as “Deceiving the Herd” can be hard to justify for this character, but I viewed it as a necessity in order to rank up in the court to overpower Harkon- “for the greater good”, if you will.
The sweet crimson has such arcane powers I’d never once dreamed of.
Added by Sacrosanct, you’ll get this quest once you drain your first victim and unlock Blood Seed. You’ll gain each hemomancy spell in this order:
- 1 draining: Blood Seed
- 3 drainings: Blood Brand
- 6 drainings: Blood Garden
- 10 drainings: Blood Scourge
- 15 drainings: Blood Ankh
- 21 drainings: Profaned Sun
- 28 drainings: Borrowed Time
It seems to be no mere coincidence my travels have led me to Skyrim. “Dragonborn” they call me, prophesized as the Nord’s saviour. Why have I, above all holier than I, been chosen for such a task by Divine?
Once it becomes apparent that she is the destined Dragonborn, the Sanguine Protector will seek out the Greybeards out of pure curiosity of the title. Starting through the quest, the Protector will be more prone to her bloodlust- seeking out dragons and Words of Power simply for the abilities they grant. As she learns to control herself through discipline and restraint, she will begin seeing her Dragonborn title as her duty- rather than a means to acquire strength for personal gain. Needless to say, her and Paarthurnax will get along quite well.
College of Winterhold
I’ve heard that this is one of the few places of arcane learning unaffiliated with political scheming. They will not shun me for me for my… unusual studies.
Destroy the Dark Brotherhood
After hearing about the child in Windhelm I decided to scour the Arcaneum for any information on this guild of assassins, and have determined the best way to get in contact with them is to involve myself directly in this whole ordeal. Once I come face-to-face with them, they’ll be put out of their misery.
Grelod’s death is necessary to be able to come in contact with this shadowy organization. Once they show themselves, the world will be much better off without a group of fanatical cutthroats preying on innocents for gold and sadistic amusement.
The Daedra defile all that is good in this world. My research has proven to me that it is impossible for such beings to coexist with mortals. Even the Daedra considered “neutral” are not as they seem: Meridia, Prince of Life, Bane of Unlife, assisted the brutal slave-masters of the Ayleid against man- and Azura, Prince of Dusk and Dawn, Mother of the Rose, corrupted the entire Chimer people for the acts of few. Mortals cannot resist their power and temptation, and so they must be shut away from such evils.
Having broken free from Molag Bal’s bestial influence, the Sanguine Protector will take it upon herself to destroy, warp, or collect all Daedric artifacts for safe-keeping. If an innocent must die for her to gain the artifact, it is a necessary sacrifice to make for the protection of many. For example, she will allow Erandur to destroy the Skull of Corruption, but will kill someone who deems her an ally to obtain the Ebony Mail. While some of the artifacts may be tempting to use (looking at you Spellbreaker!), you’re going to want to avoid equipping them, lest you be corrupted by their power or spread the Daedra’s influence about the land.
There is much work needed to be done to mend this broken land.
You don’t have to limit yourself to these quests alone. Others that would fit well with roleplay are the Dragonborn DLC, The Man Who Cried Wolf/ The Wolf Queen Awakened, and any other quests that have you clearing out the undead and other foul evils who lurk in the shadows.
Starting off you’re going to be weak, you’re going to be alone, and you’re going to be hungry. The Sanguine Protector was only recently able to break out of her blood-trance, and needs to start from the ground up in advancing her powers and skills. While she has regained some free will, she’ll still have an insatiable thirst that needs to be tended to. Try to only drain sleeping enemies- but if things get dire, you can justify draining the occasional innocent to advance your knowledge in hemomancy.
Cut off from the light of the magical plane of Aetherius, she isn’t able to cast any spells besides the ones gained via vampirism. To compensate for this, she’ll pick up light armor, a shield, and a dagger.
Due to her vampirism, she will have a hard time empathizing with mortals and their humanity. Immortality has withered her sense of loss. Each mortal will age and decay, yet she will remain- same as before. Because of this she will have little trouble working towards “the greater good”, and will not let morality get in the way of the bigger picture.
As the Sanguine Protector becomes more disciplined and learns to restrain her bloodlust, she will completely avoid feeding on innocent lives. She does not want to give in to the evils of the Daedra, and will feed only on the morally reprehensible. If none are around, she’ll seek out the Standing Stones as they are able to sate her thirst (you don’t need to accept their blessing, just activating it then hitting cancel will do).
She’ll generally avoid fetch quests and simple bounty missions. While she isn’t against helping the common folk with their common problems, her talents can be best used elsewhere where a simple adventurer would not succeed. Thus, she’ll have more of an interest in dealing with supernatural and arcane threats- threats that will have disastrous consequences if left to fester.
With how the Daedra have corrupted her thoughts and actions, she is steadfast in her opinion that the Daedra are vehemently evil. If she hadn’t learned to control herself, imagine what death and destruction her powers could bring under their influence. Unlike others who may find themselves in her place, she does not blame the Divines for what happened to her. She instead pities the powerlessness of the Divines against such forces of chaos, and will work to hinder the Daedra wherever she can; she will use her Daedra-given powers to defile those very beings.
A Side Note Regarding Alternate Start- Live Another Life:
With the popularity of Alternate Start- Live Another Life, if you happen to use it do not choose “I am a vampire in a secluded lair” or “I am a new member of a guild -> Clan Volkihar”. The first one will set you as a vanilla vampire instead of a Sacrosanct one, and the second option consistently bugged for me. If you want to start the game as a vampire and are on pc, instead open the console using ~ and type:
help “potion of embracing” (you will be given a code)
player.additem (code) 1
Drink the potion, and you will be turned into a Sacrosanct vampire.
Destruction- The Ancient Arcane
The main skill used in this build, this tree is only need for the two points into Destruction Mastery- which will lower the cost of destruction spells by 50%, and increase their damage by 0.5% per level of destruction. The reason only two perks are taken is because hemomancy spells don’t fall under any of the elements, so these are the only perks that will affect them. Dual-Casting isn’t needed as you’ll constantly be wielding a shield in your off-hand.
Block- Bulwark of Crimson
You’re going to want to pick up most perks in this tree. Follow the left branch up until Apocalypse Proof. Go up the three middle branches getting Block Runner, Quick Reflexes, and Deflect Arrows. Then head up the right branch and get all perks from here except for Mocking Blow. Timed Block will make up for the low armor-rating of the Targe of the Blooded, Apocalypse proof will allow you to completely nullify any elemental damage coming your way- granted you get your timing down- and Deflect Arrows will deal with pesky high-damaging archers. Timed Block, Block Runner, and the entire right branch will allow for a fast-paced, aggressive style of shield mage. Your shield will become as valuable a weapon as your spells- allowing you to stun enemies, knock them around, and weave in and out of attacks with ease.
Light Armor- Unnatural Grace
In Ordinator, what light armor lacks in defense it makes up for in stamina recovery and speed. The tree has more paths-branching-off-paths, so explaining what to go up can get rather tangly. You’re going to want most everything in this tree, but ignore all the unarmed perks. Perks like Initiative and Fight or Flight will increase your stamina regen to the point where you won’t have to worry about investing into stamina itself, and perks such as Windrunner and Tempting Fate will boost up your movement speed. No need to worry about having to tank damage to level this skill- as the first perk, Light Armor Mastery, allows you gain experience simply by wearing at least two pieces of light armor in combat!
Sneak- Tailing Shadows
The Sanguine Protector is not an assassin, and thus will not be taking any sneak-damage augmenting perks. Sneak is used to close the gap between you and your enemies, as well as scout out an area and plan your attack. You’re going to want to go up Fog of War and continue until you get Shadow Warrior, ignoring all the side perks of this branch. The last perk you’ll want is Silent Roll, which along with the Block skill, can allow for some fun combinations. When you do get spotted or decide to engage, Shadow Warrior can be used to cause ranged enemies to lose sight of you as you charge towards them.
One-Handed- Serrated Claws
The only perks needed here are two perks into One-Handed Mastery and two perks into Bite Marks. The use of a dagger is mainly reserved for the early-game when you can’t use your spells effectively, which is why is isn’t invested into more. One-Handed Mastery will increase the damage of your dagger by 50%, and Bite Marks will deal 2 points of bleed damage per second for 45 seconds (the effect stacks). This synergizes nicely will your hemomancy spells to add on more bleed procs when you don’t yet have the out-right damage.
Vampire Lord- Bound by Blood
While you can and will eventually get all Vampire Lord perks, important ones lay here for the Sanguine Protector’s human form. Follow the middle-right branch until Blood from a Stone, then follow the branch to the right until Curtain Call, ignoring the side perk of Auspex. These perks will greatly enhance your hemomancy spells- allowing them to cost less, deal damage to automatons and daedra, absorb health equal to 25% of their base damage, instantly kill enemies under 25% health, cause your vampiric drain to be able to be dual-cast with increased damage again single enemies and with a chance to stagger them, and add the spell “Curtain Call”.
Requirements – Destruction Mastery (2/2), Unearthly Will, Atronach Stone, Stones of Galen.
Destruction Mastery (2/2) causes destruction spells to cost 50% less, Unearthly Will causes hemomancy spells to cost 25% less, the Atronach Stone’s ‘Oblivion Bound’ passive causes spells to cost 50% less, and the Stones of Galen passive causes spells to cost an addition 30% less. Combine these all together, and your spells will cost a ridiculously low amount. Take for example: Curtain Call. It has a base mana cost of 1500. With all these perks and passives, it only costs 116. Needless to say, you won’t need a high magicka pool to work with.
Requirements – Blood Garden, Become Ethereal, Curtain Call
Cast the area-of-effect spell Blood Garden, and try to hit as many people as you can. Use the first word of Become Ethereal, then begin the long charge-up time of Curtain Call. When released, all enemies affected by another hemomancy spell- in this case, Blood Garden- will become pacified for a brief duration, then be decapitated and killed instantly. This ability is great for a room clear or a single tough enemy that refuses to die.
Requirements: Sneak, Sneak Roll, Block Runner, Unstoppable Force
I recently discovered the fun that is having Sneak and Block together. If you have Block Runner you can sneak at the same speed as running while holding up your shield, and if you have both Silent Roll and Unstoppable Force, you can sprint at people and knock them over while remaining in stealth. These two combinations put together means you can quickly advance on your unaware target, then hold down the sprint key and start charging at them as they remain clueless to the coming assault.
Combat will usually start with Rushing Bulwark on the toughest enemy, then casting Blood Garden to make use of the Vicissitude passive. If the enemy has lots of health, start stacking your different hemomancy spells and let their health tick down. Use each spell in accordance with the situation:
- Blood Brand: Used mostly for stacking damage.
- Blood Scourge: Should be used on the weakest enemy, as it will spread to others upon death.
- Blood Ankh: Does high burst damage, but requires a corpse and enemies to be in a close radius to said corpse.
- Profaned Sun: Highest-damaging hemomancy spell, and affects enemies even if the initial target dies before the duration is up.
- Borrowed Time: Saved for very long fights - this will become your favourite spell for taking down dragons.
When fighting living targets, the Sanguine Protector will completely dominate the battle. With Starving Artist from your Vampire Lord perk tree, your spells will absorb 25% of the base damage of your hemomancy spells as health, and deal that much damage as extra. Considering the number of area-of-effect spells and how they all stack with one another, you’ll have a constant stream of health coming towards you. Continue shield-bashing and charging your foes, and they’ll have little in the way of fighting back. If you do happen to get low on health, either let yourself die and use up Fortitude, or activate Blood Cauldron to gain regain all your stats. Stagger an enemy with a shield bash, then use combat feed to gain both Fortitude and Blood Cauldron back!
Fighting unliving targets can be a bit trickier. Starving Artist will not activate, and you will not be able to combat feed. To regain health, you’ll instead be relying on Vampiric Drain. With Exsanguinate from the Vampire Lord skill tree, your Vampiric Drain will be able to be dual-cast without the need for the destruction perk, and when dual-cast it will have a chance to stagger enemies. Against a single target it’ll also do 50% more damage. Along with the Blood of the Ancients passive gotten from the Bloodstone Chalice, this spell will be your go-to way to gain magicka back when you aren’t able to kill an enemy: because of low it costs due to Blessed Blood, you’ll actually end up absorbing more mana than you’ll be spending to cast it.
Mages, especially those with fire, should be your first focus. Either shield charge at them to knock them away, or keep stunning them with shield bashes. If you get your timing down however, blocking just before the spell hits you will completely nullify its effect. If a ranged enemy is far away, momentarily crouch- activating Shadow Warrior- to get them off your tail as you close the distance. Undead such as draugr and vampires make use of frost magic, which as a vampire you are naturally resistant to, so not having all the health absorption won’t be too much of a hinderance against them.
A Vigil Now Complete
My destiny has been fulfilled. Countless monstrosities and evils have fallen before me: I am Skyrim’s hero. Yet I cannot rest. My mind is still a toy of the Daedra, their whispers becoming overwhelming to my psyche. A single drop of blood is enough to spiral my thoughts into depravity.
Falion claims to be able to end this corruption, to cleanse this evil from my very soul. The ritual will tear this affliction from my body piece by piece in a matter too painful to imagine. But then again, what pain has my existence not yet felt?
I have forgotten what the warmth of Aetherius feels like. Will it restore my broken mind?
I have forgotten what mortality feels like. Will it allow me to appreciate my existence?
I have forgotten what love feels like. Will it allow me to finally be at peace?
Only then, may I at last, rest.