Foreword: This build has come about from my love for the Witcher games. For those who are unaware of what a Witcher is, they are alchemically enhanced warriors, who have undergone rigorous mutations and training to create the perfect monster slayer. A keen understanding of alchemy, swordsmanship and very basic magic called Signs, make them very versatile and deadly. They specialise in hunting down monsters and beasts, lifting curses and in return ask for gold or may invoke 'The Law of Suprise'.
It is the two hundred and second year of the fourth era, dragons have returned to Tamriel and war rages all around. Skyrim doesn't need a hero, it needs a professional. Are you brave enough to walk the path?
(4E 202, An inn near the border of Skyrim)
"How about a tale traveller?"
"You can spin whatever tale you like, so long as some drink comes with it."
"Aye, aye, very good. Hmmm, it seems I've got a good one for you. A long-standing patron this one is about. Goes back to around the time of the Great War, mayhaps even before. Ahem.... Hmm. where to begin....? Ah, yes! Ahem, what is pain? How does one quantify it? Is it physical or mental, or rather something in between. Such questions had become commonplace to Octavia Lunaris during her time spent with the rogue mages of Frostspire. Alchemical mixtures were bled into her body through crude tubes, while she was strapped to a rack helpless. A prisoner for what seemed like years, Octavia was fell upon by the mages while en route to a contract. Though she managed to slay some of their number, a paralysis spell struck the woman unawares, rendering her defenceless. A hard kick to the temple later - the next thing she saw was the dank confines of a cell. Ahem... It would seem that the mages experiments worked their course well. Too well, the mages might say, I'd wager. However, you'll ne'er hear the tale from their lips, as the Imperial cut them down to a man. Well deserved too... Damned mages and their magics."
"Why should I care about some Imperial wench? The bitch got to sit comfy in some tower while the rest of us bled for the Empire! Just pour me some more sodding mead!"
"My, your a hoary old bastard aren't you!"
"What'd you call me!"
"You sit down now, you stubborn old Nord. Else there'll be no more mead after that tankard."
"Ah, fuck. Aye, go on then."
"Good, good... Ahem, now where was I... Ah, yes. The experiments. Have you seen those eyes she has?"
"I don't even know who she is, course I haven't seen her eyes."
"Hm, well, you'd know if you did. Gold as the sun they are, but man eyes they are not. Methinks them mages mixed in some Khajiit blood with that alchemy of theirs, cause Octavia... The woman has cat eyes."
"What! Cat eyes! Bahahahaha! Ya, been drinking too much of your own brew man!"
"Nay, 'tis true! True as the sky is blue, lady Mara preserve me. You'll have the chance to see for ye'self soon enough, she'll be back here for'long. Like you, she is a kind of mercenary, though she seems to prefer contracts on beasts and things of an arcane nature rather than men."
"It's a foolish mercenary who lets themselves get bogged down by morals. Gold is gold. I learned that long ago. Though I'd never take a contract from one of those knife eared cunts."
"Aye, I don't know if 'mercenary' is the right word, but it's the best I can do. As I said, you'll have the chance to meet her soon enough. She's easy enough to spot with those twin swords she carries and those golden peepers o' hers. She can do some of that magic too, though she doesn't like to call it that. The woman says it's too simple and don't cost her nought. Hexes is what she calls em. Though magics magic if you ask me. And don't let her looks fool you. She's old. Older than you probably, definitely older than me. Looks the same as the day I first met her, Barring a scar or two and that was nigh on twenty years ago now. Whatever them mages did to her it slowed her ageing down quite"-
-A barman's retelling of Octavia Lunaris's story. Before being promptly interrupted by a crashing door and a Frost Troll's head rolling along the floor-
The mods I have chosen all add something important to the build. Whether it is essential perk/combat/spell overhauls, or mods that are more aesthetic in nature. Each of the listed mods all serves to add immersion to the playthrough, to create the best possible Witcher experience.
- 20 Percent More Perk Points
- Andromeda Standing Stones
- Alternate Start
- Arena - An Encounter Zone Overhaul
- Wildcat or Smilodon
- Mortal Enemies
- Silver list Expansion
- Break of Dawn
- Unplayable Faction Armours
- Ultimate Dodge
- Arcane Accessories
- Rare Curios
- Saints and Seducers
Imperial: As an Imperial, Octavia will gain several passive abilities, some of which will be used to shape her Witcher like Mutations and resistances.
- Discipline: In combat, Octavia's allies gain a bonus to armour and attack damage if they are nearby.
- Imperial Virtues: Octavia randomly gains bonus Health, Magicka or Stamina regeneration when entering combat.
- The Human Spirit: At levels 10/20/30, you may change Octavia's Attributes. Choose the following (Health +100, Magicka -50)/Resistances (Poison + 50%, Poison - 25%)/Skills (Destruction +20, Conjuration - 20, One-Handed + 20 , Heavy Armour - 20, Light Armour +20 and Pickpocket -20).
- Colovian Star (Power): Unlocked after completing 20 quests around Skyrim. Octavia can use this to regain lost Magicka and Stamina and fortify them by the amount restored.
Standing Stone: The Warrior - The Warrior is the perfect pairing to help supplement Octavia's vicious power attacks.
- Fierce Spirit: Octavia's power attacks do 15% more damage, and her ranged weapons do up to 15% more damage based on distance.
- Warrior's Path: Octavia learns all Warrior skills faster.
- Star of the West (Power): The Warrior blesses Octavia, restoring her Health and Stamina and fortifying them by the amount regained for 30 seconds. (Unlock this by discovering each of the thirteen standing stones in the game).
Name: Octavia Lunaris
Age: 66 (Appears approximately 35 - 40)
Religious Views: Stendarr (Worship), Julianos (Shrine Blessing) - As an Imperial, Octavia follows the Eight/Nine divines. The two that she holds in particular reverence are Stendarr and Julianos. As a slayer of beasts and arcane abnormalities, Octavia gladly accepts Stendarr into her life. Though she does not follow his doctrine as dogmatically as fanatics such as the Vigilants of Stendarr. Julianos is a deity she respects greatly, as in her profession one does not live long without wisdom. Julianos challenges his followers to seek the truth in things and encourages the wise.
Affiliations/Occupation: Wondering mercenary
Morality/Personality: True Neutral - Not beholden the whims of lordlings and kingdoms, Octavia has made her way in the world by offering her services to whoever is in need of a strong sword arm, and has the gold pay to pay for it. She is the type who believes actions speak louder than words. She distrusts most mages and wizards, given her imprisonment and torture by them.
Main Quest - Finally a beast worthy of her blade. Octavia will pursue Alduin for gold and glory.
Bounty Quests (Particularly Markarth) - Contracts on Giants and Dragons are plentiful, and the Forsworn of the Reach commune with Daedra and beasts. There's a steady flow of gold to be made here.
Blood on the Ice - There's a killer on the loose, and the guards are too inept to chase the clues. Catch the 'monster' and collect Octavia's reward.
*Saints and Seducers - Rumours abound of daedric cultists and bandits communing with them. Octavia will investigate any leads she comes across.
The Pale Lady - This ghostly apparition has caused a den of bandits to go mad. Delve into the barrow and show the Whispmother some Silver.
Laid to Rest - Vampires, adultery, and murder. Investigate the dreary little town of Morthol and put an end to the woes of its people.
Dawnguard - Elderscrolls, and vampires make strange bedfellows. But the Dawnguard are paying good coin to put the bloodsuckers to the blade. Investigate their fortress and see what Isran plans to do.
Seige on the Dragon Cult - An Altmer Stormcloak? Octavia has seen stranger things. If he's paying good coin for some dusty old mask what does it matter?
The Lost Expedition - The old dwemer fanatic Calcelmo has a spider problem. Find his expedition team, and destroy the fell beast.
Waking Nightmare - Dawnstar is wracked with nightmares. Surely there's some evil work in play here, and the Dunmer Erandur seems to know what this is all about. Help him get to the bottom of it and maybe the Jarl will have a sack of septims waiting.
- Silver Hand Armour - Looted off the Silver Hand. Apparently, they don't like visitors.
- Leather Gauntlets - Common armour bought or found all over Skyrim.
- Leather Boots - Common armour bought or found all over Skyrim.
- Serpentis - This deadly blade can be found along the river near the Solitude mill. This sword has a unique poison effect enchanted into it.
- Break of Dawn - What's a Witcher without a silver sword? This beautiful sword can be crafted at any forge with the steel smithing perk.
- Amulet of Julianos - A common bauble that shows Octavia's dedication to the god of wisdom.
- Ring of Fortify One-Handed - Common loot, or purchasable from vendors like Radiant Raiment. Adds a little more power to each swing of the blade.
Attributes: 0 levels to magick, 10 levels to health, All remaining levels into Stamina
One-handed - Her swords are not just for show. Octavia has spent decades honing her craft, making her very deadly with a blade in hand
Perks of note:
- Rogue's Parry - Allows for a critical strike, dealing extra damage if an enemy is in the middle of an attack.
- Furious Strength - Adds extra power to power attacks.
- Overrun - A running power attack that inflicts heavy critical damage.
Alchemy - A skilled alchemist, Octavia has a potion or poison to suit every situation.
Perks of Note
- Lab Skeever - After using an alchemy station, all potion durations are drastically increased for a short time.
- Chymical Wedding - After using a potion, an additional positive effect has a chance to trigger, with a chance for further secondary effects thereafter.
- World Serpent - Using a shout turns Octavia's blood toxic. The next enemy who strikes her will be debilitated with noxious poison.
Alteration - Octavia's strong grasp of Alteration allows her to cast simple spells from other schools.
Perks of Note
- Intuitive Magic 2/2 - The casting of Novice and Apprentice spells cost no Magicka.
- Spell Blade - Melee attacks become more effective, during a brief window after the use of a 'sign'.
- Welloc's Dormant Arcana - When under the effect of 'Quen' (Flesh Spell), Octavia gains a bonus to speed, armour and her melee damage.
Light Armour - Light Armour offers decent protection without sacrificing agility. The perfect pairing for an individual of Octavia's profession.
Perks of Note
- Light Armour Mastery 2/2 - This will increase the maximum armour rating of all light armour worn.
- Lightning Strike - Critical strikes deal increased damage for a short time after entering combat.
- Keen Senses - This perk allows all the benefits of light armour without the need for a helmet.
Perks of Note
- Imposing Presence - Targets in a wide area around Octavia become more susceptible to Axii's effects.
- Wilting - Enemies stunned by Axii lose a significant amount of their armour rating.
- Never World - Those calmed by Axii, may fall to its effects successively upon taking damage.
Block - Skilled with the blade, Octavia can use her weapon to deflect and parry the strikes of her foes.
Perks of Note
- Quick Reflexes - While blocking time slows as an enemy goes in for a power attack, allowing the opportunity for a counter strike.
- Block Runner - Octavia can still move agilely, keeping her guard up to turn incoming strikes while on the defensive.
Destruction - A base understanding of the destruction school, allows Octavia to cast Igni (Flames) more effectively.
Perk of Note
- Destruction Mastery 2/2 - The points invested here will boost the damage of Octavias flame-based signs.
Restoration - A rudimentary understanding of restoration has given Octavia the knowledge she needs to sustain her wards.
Perk of Note
- Restoration Mastery 2/2 - Active Quen (Steadfast Ward) becomes that little bit more powerful, giving Octavia a bit more of an edge when it comes to facing spellcasters.
Smithing - A Witcher needs to know how to care for their blade, smiths don't just wander out of nowhere.
Perk of Note
Smithing Mastery 1/2 - Allows the crafting of steel and silver weaponry and the ability to mildly improve upon it.
Alchemical Substances (Names used from Witcher games and a few I thought sounded fitting).
- Rook - Fortify One-Handed (Canis Root & Hanging Moss)
- Petri's Philter - Fortify Destruction (Nightshade & Glowing Mushroom)
- Swallow - Health Regeneration (Namira's Rot & Juniper Berries)
- Full Moon - Fortify Health (Glowing Mushroom & Wheat)
- White Raffords Decoction - Restore Health (Swamp Fungal Pod & Blue Mountain Flower)
- Maribor Forrest - Stamina Regeneration (Fly Amanita & Mora Tapinella)
- Tawny Owl - Magicka Regeneration (Garlic & Salt pile)
- Golden Oriole - Resist Poison (Troll Fat & Thistle Branch
- Golem - Fortify Block, Resist magic (Tundra Cotton & Bleeding Crown)
- Drake Skin - Resist Frost, Resist Fire (Snowberries, Thistle Branch & Bone Meal)
- Jackal - Fortify Light Armour (Luna Moth Wing & Skeever Tail)
- Killer Whale - Water Breathing (Salmon Roe & Nordic Barnacle)
- White Honey - Cure Disease (Mudcrab Chitin & Vampire Dust)
- *Cat - Night Eye (Watchers eye & Daedra Silk)
Blade Oils (Poisons)
- Troll Bane - Weakness to Fire (Juniper Berries & Bleeding Crown)
- Hanged Man's Venom - Weakness to Poison, Damage health (Red Mountain Flower, Chaurus Eggs & Deathbell)
- Adder's Kiss - Lingering Damage Health, Damage Health (Deathbell, Mora Tapinalla & Imp Stool)
- Gorgon's Gaze - Damage Health, Slow (Deathbell & River Betty)
*Igni - Fire Breath (Yol) or *Flame Surge
Octavia uses Igni to send a rush of flames in a cone or radial burst around her.
*Igni Stream - Flames or *Greater Flames
Octavia maintains constant stream fire to set her foes aflame.
*Yrden - *Wither or *Hinder
Octavia use's the slowing power of Yrden to hamper her foes.
*Yrden Trap - *Paralysis Rune
Laying a Yrden glyph upon the ground, Octavia is able to temporarily immobilise any enemy who triggers it.
*Axii - Calm or *Hypnotize
Octavia can use Axii to stun her foes, allowing her respite in the heat of battle.
Quen - Stone Flesh
The protective power of Quen can be used to fortify Octavia's armour
Active Quen - Steadfast Ward
Octavia can sustain Quen in an active forcefield to mitigate incoming magic and reduce damage from physical attacks.
Aard - Unrelenting Force (Fus)
Using Aard, Octavia can knock enemies back in a blast of telekinetic energy.
Black Blood - Shout + World Serpent
Octavia's blood turns into a deadly toxin, any who would draw blood soon find themselves overwhelmed by noxious poisons.
Trial of the Grasses - Long-lasting Potion + Maenad + Crimson Haze + Stimulants and Lab Skeever
Whenever under the effect of a potion Octavia's mutations give her more vigour.
Side Effects - Potion + Witchmaster and Chymical Wedding
Any potion Octavia imbibes has the chance for additional effects.
Mesmerise - Calming spell + Wilting and Neverworld
Enemies under the effect of Axii lose the will to fight Octavia and may become entranced again upon being struck.
Riposte - Lightning Strike and Rogue's Parry
Octavia's blade bites deep as she swiftly counters an enemies attack.
Because Octavia is inspired by the Witcher caste, she plays very fast-paced. Light armour swordplay, alchemy and low tier spells all combine to push the Witcheresque vibe I was aiming for with this build.
RP & Character - A few pointers and tips to keep the vibe of a professional monster slayer going.
- Steel for men. Silver For Monsters - What this means is, you need to carry one of each type of blade at all times. Men, mer, beast-folk and mundane creatures like bears get the steel blade. The more fantastical creatures and undead get the Silver Blade. So the likes of whispmothers, trolls, spriggans and Vampires.
- The Golden Standard - Don't take jobs for free. Your job is slaying monsters, make sure you are rewarded for plying your trade.
- Victory lies in Preparation - Make sure to stay well-stocked on supplies. Scout out the area before going in. No one's going to remember your failed frontal assault.
There are plenty of points of synergy within the build. Some poisons play off of certain skills greatly. Hanged Man's Venom and Black Blood work great together for example. Maenad and Lab Skeever both combine to get great benefit out of the former perk. Perks invested in Illusion and Alteration combine to make the Axii and Quen signs seem specialised and unique. As you play the build, you will come to see there is much in the way of combinations and synergies to take advantage of. Each skill, perk, potion, poison or spell serves a purpose.
Melee Enemies - Watch for telegraphed attacks, make use of 'Quen' 'Yrden' and 'Axii', to turn the battle in your favour. Strong melee opponents should be attacked with blade oils' like 'Hanged Mans Venom' or 'Adder's Kiss' to whittle their health down quickly.
Archers - Consumption of the 'Jackal' and 'Full Moon' potions will give Octavia a good defence buff when closing the distance with archers. The use of 'Quen' and 'Axii', can also be helpful here.
Mages and Dragons - 'Golem', Drake Skin' and 'Active Quen' are your best friends here. particularly when facing down high-level spellcasters. Close the distance as fast as possible and strike them down with your blade. Dragons can be approached much the same as Spellcasters, with a few caveats. Be wary of frontal assaults as Dragons can bite hard. A combination of potions, blade oils and signs will see you through most encounters.
Well, here it is finally. About time right? Anyway, a big thank you to Ponty for proofreading the build! And thank you to those who shared some feedback in the WIP version. I did take on board some of those critiques!
And before we conclude I'd like to say a little disclaimer. The art used in this build is not my own, save for the in-game captures. Credit should be given to the respective authors of this fantastic art!
Thank you for reading through 'The Hex Weaver', I hope you enjoy the build as much as I did! And good luck on the path.
If you want to see more of my characters, follow the 'builds' banner below. - Cheers Furrion.