A collaboration between Ben W & Curse...
Disclaimer: The builds you are about to read below require the mod Forgotton Magic Redone, a unique spell pack mod that offers 39 unique spells broken up into 8 different archetypes and categories. Each of the 39 spells level up as they are used, unlocking new perks to choose from, and up to 5 can be chosen for any given spell. In total there are hundreds of combinations at your disposal.
In the Planemeld crisis of the Second Era, Mannimarco set forth to sacrifice enough souls to his Lord, Molag Bal, to set the Planemeld into motion. The King of Worms, however, had other ideas in mind. Some unlucky souls were not sent to Coldharbour like so many before. No, instead these poor souls were kept in soul gems for his own machinations at a later time. Some were powerful souls, unwilling to bend, while others broke like grass to a blade.
When the time was right, Mannimarco, who had tortured the souls of each victim, placed them back into their original, well-preserved bodies. Only a select few ‘survived’ the process. Those that did not went mad only to be cut down by the Altmer’s powerful magics. But those that lived held their loyalty only to him. Their lich king. Their King of Worms.
With powerful magics to bend the chilling frosts of the north, the blood magics of powerful vampires and deathly diseases, all who stood against these abominations quickly fell like wheat.
Molag Bal had always known what was taking place, biding his time to punish his foolish devotee for raising a legion of ‘death knights’ to usurp his role as the Daedric Prince of Domination. Whilst Mannimarco was dragged to the depths of Coldharbour to face his lord’s wrath, the God of Schemes placed all of the successful ‘death knights’ into stasis and scattered them to the winds of Tamriel.
Centuries later a death knight has awakened, free at last from eternal slumber. With the King of Worms gone from this world, none remain who can bind this death knight to their will….
Knights Long Forgotten ….
Welcome to the first, and hopefully not the last, collaboration between Ben W and Curse. You’ve probably already guessed the inspiration for this build, but for the uninitiated read on and we’ll tell you at the end.
And as you’ve likely gleaned from the title of the build, this is not one build but rather three builds. Each death knight plays radically different from each other and each is incredibly powerful in their own way.
The Scourge, death knight of frost, crushes enemies utterly with overwhelming physical damage enhanced even further by debilitating frost damage and effects. They are icy harbingers of doom, channeling merciless cold into every vicious strike.
The Blight, death knight of the unholy, excels in dealing massive damage over time through unholy darkness and sickening disease, as well as afflicting enemies with numerous crippling status ailments. They are masters of death and decay and command the countless legions of dead.
And lastly, the Accursed, death knight of blood, trades offensive might in favor of survivability and nigh impenetrable defenses built on the blood bone and sinew of many an unworthy foe. They are dark guardians who twist the laws of mortality to sustain themselves in the face of enemy onslaughts.
"Combining indomitable strength with supernatural cold, frost death knights leave their enemies chilled to their very bones— beaten, broke and devoid of the will to fight. The Scourge does not simply draw from Aetherius to conjure their frost magic. Rather, they are monsters born of winter, ice gripping their decaying hearts. These frozen abominations inflict their deathly cold upon anyone who would be so foolish as to stand against them."
The Scourge acts as a heavy armor clad DPS bruisers wreaking havoc on the front lines of battle. Their merciless offence is augmented by powerful frost enchantments and spells. Three powerful spells found within Forgotten Magic’s cryomancer category help bring the frozen ferocity that is the frost death knight to life in Skyrim.These spells offer both a small measure of protection but more importantly lay down some serious pain, and in the hands of this monster they're enough to chill even a Nord vampire to the bone.
Race - Orc Vampire. Deathknights are undead, and so within the limits of Skyrim’s character creation that means Vampirism. Frost Death knights are known for their crushing damage and no race does that better than Orcs. Berserk Rage will nearly double your potential damage output while halving the damage you receive.
Stone - Lady stone.
Stats - 1 magicka, 1 health, 1 stamina. Cap magicka and stamina at 200 and distribute remaining points into health
Major skills - One Handed, Destruction, Enchanting
Minor skills - Alteration, Heavy Armor
Weapons - Frigid Fangs - Twin Stalhrim swords enchanted with frost damage (both blades), Fear, and 1pt of stamina drain. Frost enchantments on Stalhrim weapons do enhanced damage. Fear has enhanced effectiveness when enchanted onto a Stahlrim weapon.
Armor - Dukaan, Talos Amulet, Modded heavy armor, boots and gauntlets of choice
- Head - Dukaan
- Torso - Fortify Health
- Pendant - Talos Amulet
- Ring - Ring of One-Handed
- Gauntlets/Boots - Fortify One-Handed
Shouts - Become Ethereal, Frost Breath, Drain Vitality (glitches version learned with each word of Marked for Death)
Powers - Blessing of Talos, Berserk Rage
"A thousand atrocities are etched in the eyes of every death knight, and foes who gaze into them too long will feel the warmth pulled from their bodies, replaced with cold steel."
- Forgotten Magic Spells -
Frost Armor: Alteration Apprentice
Protects the caster with 100pt of Frost Armor for 60 sec.
- Winter’s Gift: Increase your spell damage by 0.5% per level
- Synergize: Increases magicka by 3 per character level
- Arctic Chill: Whenever hit by a spell, freezes the attacker for 5 sec.
- Cold Touch: Chance to slow attacker by 50% for 5 sec. when hit.
- Frost Barrier: If your health drops below 15%, protects you with a shield that negates all damage for 5sec. 30 sec. cooldown.
Winter Woe: Destruction Expert
Does 8pt/sec. frost damage for 12 sec., over a 40 ft area (like a weaker version of Blizzard).
- Exposure: Reduce frost resistance for all targets by 50%
- Glacial Ice: Applies Glacial Fortress to the caster
- Biting Cold: Damage and casting cost increased by 25%
- Wind Caller: Increases duration by 50%.
- Piercing Cold: Physical attacks do 10pts of additional frost damage
Glacial Fortress: Alteration Expert (lesser power)
Encases the caster in invulnerable (but immobile) ice for 10 sec., to provide a respite from combat while slow-acting spells or summoned allies wear down the opposition. Some upgrade effects linger for a while after the main effect wears off. There is a 3 min. cooldown.
- Recuperation: Increases health recovery by 100% for the duration.
- Crushing Ice: Increase frost spell damage by 50% for 20 sec. afterwards.
- Glacial Touch: Applies Frost Cloak to the caster.
- Arctic Roar: Cut shout cool down time by half for the duration.
- Deep Winter: Reduces cooldown time to 2 minutes
The Scourge is meant to be played very aggressively, dual blades cleaving through enemies one by one with reckless abandon. Murderous Efficiency applies monstrous damage while hindering the enemy’s ability to retaliate in kind. Howling Blast will freeze enemies solid making it easier to set up Wrath of Winter, which has a long charge time. Wrath of Winter is your trump card and a great counter against large groups of enemies. It restores your health and stamina while greatly empowering your frost damage, damaging enemies and making them weaker to frost.
The Scourge is almost unbeatable against a single target but can have trouble against mobs. The Scourge pairs best with tanky warrior types. They can draw much of the mob away from you allowing you to more chances to attack uninterrupted.
Murderous Efficiency - Relentlessly cleave through hordes of your enemies with deadly frozen blades. Your every strike robs your enemy of both their stamina and will to fight, and every successful power attack allows for yet more power attacks.
Requires - Frigid Fangs + Dukaan + Drain Vitality + Blessing & Amulet of Talos + Frost Armor
Twin blades with frost damage will rapidly tear through an enemy’s stamina. Drain vitality will ensure they never gain that stamina back while staggering anything it hits. Thanks to the single point stamina drain enchantment you’ll always be able to execute a dual wield power attack regardless of remaining stamina. So long as your power attacks are connecting you can keep mashing power attacks. The Fear enchantment will force enemies to flee while slowed by frost damage, making them easy defenseless targets. The Blessing and Amulet of Talos reduces shout cooldowns by 40% total, allowing for more frequent use of Drain Vitality. Lastly the Dukaan mask and Frost Armor spell will further increase the damage of your frost enchantments.
Howling Blast - Unleash a furious roar like a raging blizzard, freezing foes in their tracks
Requires - Frost Breathe. Dragonborn Frost, Blessing & Amulet of Talos, Dukaan
This combination is meant to maximize the damage and utlility of Frost Breath. Dukaan will enhance the shout's damage over time by 25% while the Blessing and Amulet of Talos will reduce the shout's cool down by a total of 40%. The Dragonborn Frost power will allow Frost Breath to freeze opponents solid, rendering them unable to move. Unlike Ice Form, which renders enemies immobile but immune to further harm, you may still inflict damage against your frozen targets, although they will taken reduced damage until they unfreeze.
Wrath of Winter - Imprison yourself within an impenetrable tomb of ice as a furious blizzard rages around you, destroying all in its wake. You emerge from this frozen tomb restored and ever stronger.
Requires - Winter Woe + Frost Armor + Glacial Fortress + Augment Frost 2/2 + Deep Freeze
Using Winter Woe will auto trigger Glacial Fortress unless the latter is on cool down. Enemies caught in the blizzard will take frost damage over time, and become more vulnerable to frost damage. While encased in ice you are invulnerable to damage and restore health at a much higher rate. Upon breaking free of the ice, Murderous Efficiency will deal significantly more frost damage for the next 20 seconds and you will also be granted a frost cloak for 60 seconds.
While free from Mannimarco’s grasp, the Blight still embodies the ever-corrupting nature of the Worm King whose evil once threatened to consume all of Tamriel. No matter the knight’s allegiance or cause, they remain defilers of life; and nowhere is the blight’s callousness more on display than when threatened. Inflictor of the most aggressive of diseases—and, like his former master, adept at raising unhallowed minions from the ground—this unholy death knight is a vicious combatant, capable of striking with the force of an undead legion and unleashing pestilence that would bring even the mightiest of foes to ruin.
The Blight is the embodiment of disease and pestilence. Whereas frost death knights favor powerful, heavy strikes, the unholy death knights prefer dealing damage over time through plagues and disease, watching their enemies literally rot and fester before their eyes.
To bring such horrors to life in Skyrim we’ve utilized three spells within the Warlock category and one spell from the Druid category of Forgotten Magic Redone. The spells chosen are meant to give the Blight access to powerful and unique undead minions and deadly damage over time effects and status ailments to inflict upon enemies.
Race: High Elf. The Blight is a more magically inclined than his blood and frost counterparts, so the extra 50 magicka helps.
Stone: The Ritual Stone. Unholy death knights are masters of the undead and can raise a legion at will to do their bidding. Minions raised by the ritual stone will not count against your summoning limit.
Stats: 1 magicka, 1 health, 1 stamina. Cap stamina at 200 and place remaining points evenly between health and magicka.
Major skills: One Handed, Alteration, Conjuration, Destruction
Minor skills: Enchanting, Restoration, Heavy Armor
Weapon - The Festering Blade - An Orcish war axe enchanted with damage stamina.
Armor: Modded heavy armor of choice
- Head - Fortify Destruction
- Torso - Fortify Health
- Gauntlets - Fortify One Handed
- Boots - Fortify One Handed
- Ring - Ring of Erudite
- Pendant - Fortify One Handed
Shouts: Drain Vitality (glitched version learned alongside Marked for Death)
Accessories: Ring of Erudite
Despite the potential loss of free will, some powerful mortals, intrigued by the promise of immortality, pledged their souls freely to the Worm King to achieve it.
- Forgotten Magic Spells -
Blight Curse: Destruction Apprentice
Curses the target, causing 7pt of disease damage per sec for 12 sec
- Lingering Pain: increases duration by 50%, casting cost by 25%.
- Desecrate: infects living targets with Desecration, causing disease damage over 15 sec.
- Mark of the Death: chance to stagger the target on each tick.
- Soul Reaper: When targets dies under the effect of Blight Curse, increases spell damage by 10% for 10 min. Stacks up to 3 times.
- Bond of Corruption: When targets dies under the effect of Blight Curse, spreads the curse to all nearby enemies.
Summon Deathguard: Conjuration Apprentice
Summons a deathguard
- Possession: increases your health by 100 while Deathguard is active.
- Boethiah’s Embrace: Grants Deathguards Poison Cloak spell
- Death’s Grasp: Deathguards deal 50% more damage to feared targets.
- Wrath of the Dead: Increase Deathguard’s weapon damage by 1% per caster level
- Grim Fortitude: Increase Deathguard’s health by 3% per caster level
Deathly Pall: Alteration Apprentice
Casts an aura upon yourself that increases the damage of Blight Curse by 25%
- Curse of Frailty: Blight Curse applies the effect Curse of Frailty, which causes enemies to sustain extra disease damage based on their armor. Up to 50 damage/second.
- Visions of Death: Targets that come too close may panic and flee for 5 seconds.
- Puppet Master: Summon Deathguard costs nothing and lasts 50% longer so long as Deathly Pall is active.
Veil of Nature: Alteration Adept
Casts an aura upon yourself that reduces poison resistance of nearby enemies
- Poison Sting: Deals 6-9 poison damage/sec to targets with negative poison resistance.
- Wither: Drains up to 10 stamina from targets with negative poison resistance. Drains health when targets have less than 10 remaining stamina
- Soporific Poison: Targets with negative poison resistance are paralyzed for 5 sec. 30 sec. Cooldown per each affected target.
The Blight brings many status ailments and damage over time sources to bear against enemies. Individually each source of damage over time deals decent damage, but together the total damage can only be described as monstrous. Virulent Plague allows the Blight to quickly spread disease among the ranks of his enemies, and each enemy that falls only makes the disease stronger. Army of the Dead introduces thralls that will empower you so long as they’re in play while spreading poison damage to any enemy close by. Festering Wounds allows the Blight to bleed his foes dry of both health and stamina and those who succumb to their wounds fall over, barely clinging to life.
Virulent Plague - Unleash a deadly contagious plague upon your enemies. As enemies fall to this plague, it grows stronger, spreads to others, and empowers the caster with each life claimed by the plague.
Requires - Deathly Pall + Blight Curse + Ring of Erudite + Recovery 2/2
Deathly Pall causes blight curse to deal 25% more damage in addition to extra damage over time based on its victim’s armor rating. Anything killed while blighted spreads this plague to nearby enemies while granting +10% spell damage. The Ring of Erudite greatly increases both total Magicka and Magicka Regen, making it easy to stack Blight Curse’s effect.
Army of the Dead - Summon up to two disease ridden skeletal soldiers to fight at your side. Both master and minions are empowered each other's foul presence.
Requires - Deathly Pall + Veil of Nature + Death Guard + Twin Souls
Deathly Pall allows Death Guard to be cast at no cost so long as deathly Pall is active. These skeletal soldiers grant their master bonus health and cause constant poison damage over time to enemies close by. Your Veil of Nature will reduce the poison resistance of nearby enemies, making your minions poison cloaks more effective. Deathly Pall will frequently afflict enemies with fear enabling your minions to deal bonus damage.
Festering Wounds - Every cut, every scrape, every gash leave behind bloody festering wounds that never heal. In short time your foes succumb to their wounds, lying helplessly as death inevitably claims them.
Requires -Veil of Nature + Festering Blade + Hack and Slash 3/3 + Drain Vitality
This combination is designed to a rapidly drain stamina and health by way of constant bleeding and poison damage. Drain Vitality prevents your enemy from regenerating either. Veil of Nature deals will drop your foes’ poison damage into the negatives and deal constant poison damage. That damage is further intensified against any foe whose stamina drops below 10 points. A condition drastically hastened by the stamina damage damage enchantment of your weapon, which on its own deals significant bleed damage. As if all that wasn’t enough enemies with negative poison resistance may fall over paralyzed for several seconds.
"In their eternal state of undeath, some death knights possess a special affinity for the blood and bone of the living. They carve into their enemies, sustaining themselves with deadly sanguine strikes, while using the bloody, shattered remains of the dead to further fortify their own defenses. These blood-soaked knights bend the very rules of mortality to command the frontlines of the battlefield"
Blood death knights act as the tank role among the three death knight paths. They are possessed of powerful life stealing abilities that compliment what is already an impressive level of durability. Blood death knights wage a deadly war of attrition against their foes who will find themselves withering and dying as they try hopelessly to breach what is essentially an impenetrable wall.
Race - Breton. 25% magic resistance along all three perks of magic resistance is invaluable for tanking enemy magic attacks. Dragonskin synergizes well with a warlock spell which will be covered later.
Stone - Atronach Stone. The chance to absorb magicka pairs nicely with this build’s already high magic defense and certain warlock spell effects can be absorbed which helps to refill spent magicka.
Stats - 1 magicka, 2 health, 1 stamina. The major focus is on health for tanking and survivability. Not a whole lot of magicka is needed since this build possesses means of replenishing it. Cap magicka and stamina at 200 and put all remaining points into health.
Major skills - Two Handed, Destruction, Enchanting, Block
Minor skills - Alteration, Heavy Armor, Illusion
Weapons - Bloodlust - Two handed sword of choice enchanted with absorb health.
Armor - Ebony Mail, Ebony Gauntlets + Boots , Heavy Helm of Choice
- Head - Fortify Illusion
- Torso - Ebony Mail
- Gauntlets - Fortify Block
- Boots - Fire Resistance
- Ring - Ring of the Beast
- Pendant - Fortify Health
Shouts - Drain Vitality (glitches version learned with each word of Marked for Death)
Powers - Dragonskin
“All that I am I bestow upon you, my chosen knight. I have granted you power and immortality so that you may herald in a new dark age and bathe Tamriel red with the blood of the innocent." - Mannimarco, King of Worms
- Forgotten Magic Spells -
Deathly Pall: Alteration Apprentice
Increases damage of Blight Curse and Necrosis by 25%
- Shadow Orb: Chance to spawn a shadow orb when hit. Shadow orb explodes 5 sec. later, restoring 50 health to you and all friendly targets in a 10ft radius.
Cursed Rune: Illusion Apprentice
Places a Cursed Rune which deals some direct damage in addition to a variety of curses to weaken your opponents.
- Mage Wreck: drains magicka in 10 ft.
- Curse of Pain: +10 damage from any dot effect
- Curse of Weakness: reduced attack damage for 30 sec.
- Curse of Susceptibility: weakness to magic for 30 sec.
- Tanglefoot Curse: slow movement by 50% for 30 sec.
The Accursed is all about survivability through heavy tanking and devouring massive amounts of health from enemies. Mark of Blood is meant to make health absorption much more effective by lowering enemy magic resistance. It also weakens enemy attack damage and slows them down making it easier to tank damage with Grim Bulwark. Speaking of which, Grim Bulwark is designed to reward you for focusing on tanking by granting a large chance to receive healing every time you take a hit from any source. Lastly Corrupted Vessel will see your enemies wither and die long before they’ve breached your nigh impenetrable self sustaining defenses.
High defense and aggressive life stealing make the Accursed better equipped than the other death knights to fight solo. But should you desire a follower we suggest a strong aggressive mage type. The Cursed Rune severely weakens enemy magick resistance which will in turn make your ally more effective.
Mark of Blood - Brand your foes with the accursed mark of blood. Those who have been marked are weakened and forfeit a lion's share health whenever struck by your weapon.
Requires - Cursed Rune + Bloodlust + Sweep
Cursed Rune will reduce a mob’s magic defense causing your absorb health enchantment to drain more health from each enemy. If the enemy clusters together use a two handed sweep attack to absorb health from multiple enemies in one swing. The end result is an absurd amount of health in one wide swing of your blade.
Corrupted Vessel - Your mere presence befouls the blood within those around you, causing enemies in melee range to take continuous magic damage over time. Those cursed with the Mark of Blood suffer even greater damage. .
Requires - Cursed Rune + Ebony Mail + Drain Vitality
Enemies hit by cursed rune will take 10+ damage per second more on top of the base 5 damage per second from the ebony mail. This combination is a very powerful against large mobs of melee enemies. Drain Vitality ensures affected enemies cannot regenerate any health and adds additional damage over time as the ebony mail’s cloak slowly eats away at them.
Grim Bulwark - Your armor is a grim fortress built upon the backs of the weak. When struck by an attack of any kind you may spawn an orb of darkness which will burst and restore 50 pts to either health or magicka. Each burst may spawn a new orb.
Requires - Deathly Pall + Stability + Atronach Stone + Dragonskin (optional)
When deathly pall is active, being struck from any source may produce an orb of darkness which will burst 5 seconds later, healing you and all allies within 10 ft by 50 health. This burst of healing may instead be absorbed by the atronach stone, restoring 50 magicka. Dragonskin can be used to increase the magic absorption rate of these orbs by 100% and also grant temporary immunity to magic damage at the cost of this method of healing having no effect on health restoration.
Roleplay & Recommended Quests
A deathknight’s personality is essentially what they were like before undeath had unwittingly consumed them. Were you a kind hearted farmhand who evolved into a murderous machine after your freedom was given back? Or were you a highwayman robbing passersby whenever possible?
Maybe you never were as crude as that. Perhaps a convicted serial killer that Mannimarco found intriguing. The perfect specimen that killed without remorse to begin with augmented by magics to give you strength and power beyond what you thought possible.
As far as the source lore goes, deathknights don’t feel much emotion aside from those that are considered darker like anger and hatred. Much of the time it is directed at themselves over the horrible acts that they committed while dominated by the King of Worms. Positive emotions are as fleeting to a deathknight as they can come. Rarely do they feel such emotions and when achieving such a blessing it does not last very long.
Despite all that these knights are put through, hell and back and hell again, some are able to act as they did before becoming a soldier of death.
But the most important question: What about you?
Arvak Replacer- Replaces that ugly plastic looking Arvak with a badass armor clad steed worthy of a death knight.
Floating Damage Numbers - Gives the game a more MMO like feel by displaying damage and healing numbers for all combatants including yourself.
TERA Armors Collection - WoW armors are known for their spectacular , over the top designs and no armor collection captures that better.
Undead Races - Undead Races adds a playable undead version of all existing playable races in skyrim. This mod uses the Undead FX visuals on the player in order to achieve a fairly unique and spectacular undead look. These races come with fitting attributes such as 100% immunity to poison and disease.
Extensive Follower Framework (EFF) - Overhauls the game's follower system enabling multiple followers among many other features.
And finally we have arrived at the end of the build, or should I say 3 builds in 1. For those of you who've reached this point and are still unfamiliar with the source material, these 3 builds are based on the 3 seperate death knight paths found World of Warcraft. Using the Forgotten Magic Redone spell pack we sought to capture the feel of every death knight as best we could within the limits of Skyrim. These builds have been in the works for a long time and we hope we did the source material justice.
We cant thank you guys enough for taking the time to read this build and we hope you enjoyed it.
Ok. It was a long time coming but here it is finally. 3 builds in one. enjoy. I'll likely be adding more to this over time. Artwork and video mostly.
Hyped for the vid! I love a good poison character - Blight is my favorite.
I think you’re really gonna like it. The blight is just an unholy mess of status ailments and damage over time effects.
dot is the best, that's why Riftens Most Wanted is the most fun I've had in a long time in Skyrim.
I Must see the Accursed in action. Her moveset sounds fkin sweet.
Holy god damn Curse. Ben and yourself really outdone yourselves this time. I really love how you managed to create 3 builds in 1 without overdoing it. Definetly on my list of builds to play. Query, you mention Stamina Drain on your Frigid Fangs, do you mean Absorb Stamina?
Yeah I meant to say absorb stamina. Gonna have to fix that one later.
Aye fair enough. Really looking forward to the artwork and video!
Oh btw Curse, not to nitpick but to give you the heads up. Under The Blight's skills, you've marked Illusion, but nothing on the Special Moves, Perkspread or anything in his/it's section.
Thanks for catching that Lee.