Event Build: The Path of Fire

Exile! The verdict you face for speaking up during the war council. Everyone must have thought the same as you, but none of the old cowards had dared to speak their mind! And now you are sent into exile - you, the Imperial prince, heir to the throne of Cyrodil and powerful Fire mage are being sent to Skyrim. This freezing patch of frozen tundra, of all places, and to do what? Hunt down the dragon Alduin! Even the most stupid peasant knows that dragons are extinct since more than one hundred years. Teeming with rage, you embark on the imperial galley, starting the quest to fulfil your destiny and restore your lost honor.



Build Overview & Mechanics

Mods: This is a modded build and unfortunately won't work without the Ordinator perk overhaul, as the whole concept is built around the perks Hissing Dragon (Light Armor) and Spellscribe (Enchanting). Please find below a list of recommended mods which are not necessary for the main build but add to it in some way or another:

  • Ordinator, primarily for the Hissing Dragon perk which adds fire effects to your unarmed attacks.
  • Imperious, as I find this mod helps differentiate the different races from each other; in addition the Imperials receive the Colovian Star power which is part of a special technique explained below.
  • Andromeda makes Standing Stones more interesting and the Shadow provides a nice synergy with Ordinator's unarmed perks.
  • Unarmed Warfare is purely of cosmetic nature and replaces unarmed power attack animations by kicks which are essential to the original characters fighting style.
  • Immersive Armors and Redguar Assassin Armor are included for the Redguard Assassin Armor and the red Tribunal Robes (light armor variant) which fit the style of this character.
  • Honed Metal allows you to commission armor instead of crafting it yourself - the prices are high but as a prince smithing is simply beneath you and money is rarely a problem in Skyrim.
  • Alternate Start allows you to skip the intro and begin the game in different locations. Alternatively, the vanilla start also works well roleplay-wise as you can interpret it as your humiliating banishment; in this case, side with Hadvar and skip the first part of the Mage's Guild quest line mentioned below.
  • Innocence Lost - Quest Expansion allows you to Destroy the Dark Brotherhood without becoming a murderer yourself first.
  • Valravn/Mortal Enemies/Know your Enemy and/or any other combat overhaul(s) you fancy to make encounters harder more interesting.


Class: Unarmed/Fire Mage 

Race: Imperial primarily for role-play reasons, but the Imperious racial bonuses also turned out to be quite engaging:

  • Imperial Virtues lets you regenerate a random attribute faster during combat. I used this to determine if I would rely more on spells or power attacks during a fight.
  • The Human Spirit lets you modify attributes, resistances and skills at levels 10, 20 and 30 respectively. Choose +Stamina/-Magicka at level 10, since we do not rely on spell casting as our primary way to deliver Fire magic. At level 20, go with +Fire/- Poison (or +/-Fire for an net +25% Fire resistance is viable as well) as a Fire Mage should be pretty resistant to Fire himself.
  • Colovian Star is a major power which refills Magicka and Stamina and fortifies them for the amount restored for a short duration. This is ability is included in the Meditation special technique.

Age: The Imperial prince is in his teens, maybe 16 or 17 years old.

Alignment: Lawful/Neutral changing to Lawful/Good over the course of the game.

Attributes: 0/1/1: You look to balance health and stamina for survivability and damage dealing respectively. If using Imperious, put the first 10 upgrades into health as you will catch up on stamina with The Human Spirit. I stopped adding health at 300 excluding enchantments.

Standing Stone: Andromeda's Shadow Stone increases movement speed by 20% in combat and creates a fantastic synergy with Ordinator's Sweeping Wind perk increassing unarmed power attack damage by 40%. The sneak improvement is a welcome addition for the (rare) stealth missions you will embark on.

Spells: Any and all Fire spells but no others except for the Candlelight spell which is a major convenience for exploring dungeons and after all candles do burn with Fire.

Difficulty: Expert until you acquire Hissing Dragon, afterwards, Master is viable, but (Fire) Dragons and some other enemies are quite painful to deal with.

Major Skills:

Light Armor: This skill tree serves as both your defense and offense at the same time through Ordinator's inclusion of a complete unarmed combat branch. Once you get Iron Fist, this skill will level naturally, as entering combat in light armor as well as punching provide experience. All perks in this tree make sense, so I will only highlight key perks here:

  • Iron Fist allows you to play a primarily unarmed build, increasing damage by a percentage of your remaining stamina.
  • Sweeping Wind increases your unarmed power attack damage by 25% plus 2% per 1% increased movement speed.
  • Unhindered & Wind Runner: Removes movement speed penalty/increase movement speed when wearing all light armor. As mobility is your only defense, these perks boosts your survivability substancially while also increasing your power attack damage.
  • Evasive Leap: Jumping during combat evades all attacks during 1 second - very useful if you did not manage to dodge or are caught between a rock and a hard place.
  • Hissing Dragon: This is the capstone of this build: Your attacks release waves of Fire which damage all targets in front of you. Note that this Fire damage also activates the Fire-based perks of the Destruction tree - talk about synergy!
  • Breaking Waves & War Dancer: Direct and incredible boost to your attack damage. By the time you acquire these perks you will be pretty good at dodging attacks, so these perks grant a huge amount of damage.

Destruction: You will only be casting destruction spells at the beginning of the game until your unarmed damage start to pick up around level 10. Afterwards, you will be limited to a firebolt or two at the beginning of a battle due to the decrease in Magicka from The Human Spirit. That said, the Destruction tree remains a central aspect of this build since all Fire perks can proc from Hissing Dragon. Destruction will level naturally as you play: Even if you rely mostly on unarmed combat, you will often open fights with a fireball or two or by casting flamecloak.

  • Combustion, Scarring Burns, Conflagration and all Fire-based perks (except Pyromancer's Ascension) increase your punch-based Fire magic's damage directly or by adding AoE effects.
  • Destruction Dual Casting is required to make use of the Spell Scribe perk of the Enchanting tree.
  • Elemental Specialisation straingth up increases all your Fire damage by 15% - without any down side. 

Minor Skills:

Enchanting: Fear not, this is a non-crafting build. However, Ordinator's Enchanting tree sports one of the most fun perks in the game: Spellscribe allows you to store the spell you are currently dual-casting and release it automatically at no cost during a power attack. Luckily, this also works with unarmed power attacks and provides you with another mean of casting Fire spells without using Magicka. Using the Meditation technique below, you are even able to cast spells which are significantly more powerful than your meager Magicka pool indicates. Again, all spells cast this way benefit from the Destruction perks.

Alteration: As a Fire mage you are convinced that all other schools or branches of magic are inferior. You won't stoop so low as to use Alteration magic, but Ordinator's Alteration tree provides a few useful passive bonuses:

  • Alter Self: Resistances lets you choose 2 elements to increase resistance against by 25%. You should select Lightning and Frost to increase overall survivability.
  • Wild Shrines: The Destruction shrine located in the Falkreath region will increase all you Fire damage by 15%, which stacks nicely with all the Destruction perks.
  • Welloc's Dormant Arcana can become a terribly over-powered perk under the right conditions. You will use it to increase all you elemental resistances (Fire/Frost/Lightning) while affected by the Firecloak spell; due to your limited Magicka pool, this is not a staple in combat but a tactical choice reserved for difficult encounters.


Role Play / Character Development

Before diving into the story, you should be aware of a few rules to guide your prince's decisions:

  • You are a prince. No running errands for commoners. It's the other way round!
  • You are a warrior of honor. If anyone challenges you to a fist fight don't back down - ever.
  • You are no common scavenger: Never loot armors of fallen foes. Their gold, jewels and magic items are yours to take - that stuff doesn't befit a commoner anyway.
  • You are not a drudge, but a prince: No cooking and this includes both brewing stews and potions ;-)
  • You are always on the move and need basically no gear. Any money you make is invested in training or paying a crafts-(wo)man to forge you a new set of armor. Red armor obviously.
  • You are a teenager; though you like to think yourself grown up and knowledgeable you are prone to take rash and impulsive decisions with sometimes... unexpected results.
  • Roleplay any hostile random encounters as your little sister and her friends giving you a hard time - just for the sake of it - and trying themselves to slay Alduin to spite you.

Book 1: Exile

Using Alternate Start, select the College of Winterhold as starting faction as the immense library is nothing to be scoffed at. At the least the college provides access to trainers and as good a starting point as any for your quest where you can try to gather knowledge of your prey! If you are using Wintersun, devote yourself to Kyraneth for increased movement speed during combat which later synergises nicely withSweeping Wind and access to your spirit animal and mount a giant sabretooth cat. Your first concern is to reestablish respect from the lowly commoners around you, so look or hunt for some leather so you can craft yourself a Redguard Assassin armor; this is the only armor you will craft yourself, but as a fire mage, wearing any other color than red comes close to an insult so this situation has to be remedied as quickly as possible.

After this initial "setup", start looking for clues about dragons in the mages college. The Thalmor, a loyal - and somewhat fanatic - advisor of your father, is quite incapable and needs your help. Thus, you join an excursion to Saarthal where you find the first sign related to the dragon you are hunting. Alduin he is the only real threat to the dominance of the Empire and must be brought down; this is your destiny! From your research in the college library, you remember that the walls of power have layn dormant for a long time, so percieving the echo of old magic therein does indicate something unusual - perhaps even the return of your prey and the only way to restore your honor. After returning from Saartal, share your information willingly with Arcano but stop the questline here as you have found first signs of your quarry.

Search the holds of Skyrim until you hear a rumor about the spotting of a dragon in Helgen. Head there to find out the truth behind these stories. Following up on what likely is a bad case of arson, follow the main quest until completion of The Way of the Voice. As a devoted Fire mage, you will however refrain from using most shouts; the first exception to this rule is the first word of Unrelenting Force: You are a skilled in martial arts and (human) shouting plays a big role in your personal fighting style (if you ever shouted at someone in a real life fight, you will also have perceived the "knockback" effect in form of your opponents surprise).

Descending from High Hrothgar, you are attacked by the Dragon Cult. Keep one of the masks for later use, but don't get side-tracked: Only killing Alduin himself can restore your honor! Single-mindedly pursue the main quest up to Diplmotaic Immunity (give Malborn the Dragon Priest mask to smuggle inside for you: you do not want to be recognised infiltrating the base of an elite unit of the Empire's army). After freeing Esbern you realise that your actions might have been a bit rash and not necessarily help your cause of reclaiming your honor. So leaving your distinct red imperial armor behind, you run away to hide on the dusty ile of Solstheim, upon your arrival, drop the mask overboard to avoid being associated with the events at the embassy. Brooding over the dire situation, you remember your uncle: "And then what?! You never think these things through!"


Book 2: Restoring Honor

Hiding on Solstheim, you abandon Imperial red and wear any light armor you find along the way. The island is full of other refugees and you easily blend in with the crowd.
Soon you discover that something is not right on the island and after a few questions here and there, you discover that the Dragoncult - you remember these guys well - seems to have
set up their base on Solstheim and are subjugating the locals. You are aware that any action on your part might alert the Imperial forces to your whereabouts, but even so you will
not stand this injustice and set out to destroy the cult and its leader. Single-mindedly you pursue your new goal and eventually confront Miraak (obviously choose Dragonborn Flame on your journey through Apocrypha). Your
sister whitnesses you killing the master of the Dragoncult and convinces you that this is sufficient to restore your honor. While you do have your doubts about this, you just want
to believe it so much that you follow her back to Skyrim and get back together with your old friends.

Meet up with Delphine to retrieve the gear you left behind when travelling to the Talmor embassy and re-assume your rightful position as an Imperial prince. While continuing the main quest you meet Bryndolf, another of your sister's croonies and despite better judgement, you hang out with him.
You understand that as heir to the throne you must also look the part, so pay mastersmith Balimund a visit and order a set of red Tribunal Robes (set to light version in the immersive armors MCM); you will also have to bring him ten Fire Salts to fire his forge for such an impressive work of craftmanship. This will cost you around 6k, but you are about to make a quick coin or two while you wait for your order to be finished.
Under your "friends" influence, you have fun beating up a few people and trashing their houses when they do not respond favorably to your I-am-your-prince attitude. Continue the main quest, locate Esbern and escort him to Riverwood. Back with your friends in Riften, you take care of business and even go so far to light a few bee-stalks on fire just because you can and you don't have to worry about retribution, but don't go on and start a life of crime though: You are the heir to the Imperial throne and a fire mage - this was just for fun.

Developping a certain taste for raw power, you abandon the Thieves Guild and head to Solitude to finally join the Imperial Legion. Now that your honor has been restored by killing Miraak, you truly *are* the prince and your father graciously grants you a seat in his war council. You strive to be the perfect son and how better to gain an understanding of council business than getting your own hands dirty in the war. Capture Fort Hraggstad for the Imperium and help Legate Rikke to secure the Jagged crown. On your way back to Solitude to deliver the raid's bounty you take a detour to visit your old and now somewhat shunned mentors, the Greybeards. They remind you that you are free to choose your destiny and not let others choose it for you, or as uncle would put it: "It's Time For You To Look Inward And Start Asking Yourself The Big Question: Who Are You And What Do You Want?" Swayed by their words and renewed rumors about Alduin, you decide to keep the Jagged crown for now - after all you have secured it for the Empire as you were commanded. But instead of delivering it to Commander Tullius, you head to The Reach where you meet up with Esbern and Delphine to explore Sky Haven Temple.

No longer driven by the urge to regain your status as crownprince and redeem yourself in your father's eyes, you still remain convinced that it is your destiny to kill Alduin and follow the main quest line. Feel free to do take side quests, since "sometimes, the best way to solve your own problems is to help someone else". A good opportunity arises in Whiterun where you overhear a conversation about a Nord warrior who went Missing in Action. As are no longer possessed by the idea to redeem yourself in your fathers eyes, you decide to set out to rescue Thorald Gray-Mane from the Thalmor at Northwatch Keep.

Refrain from continuing the civil war but instead continue until you complete Season Unending. You will tolerate Thalmor presence, but strive for an equilibrated treaty by making the Empire pay a compensation for the massacre at Agna's Mill or by favoring the Stormcloaks out of a feeling of regret for the war crimes commited by you nation and family. Instead of regognition for your brave deeds for King and Empire and your commitment to negotiate a lasting peace, General Tullius actually has the audacity to question your loyalty. Disgusted and somewhat alienated you refuse the Blade's demand to kill Paarthunax. You leave High Hrothgar with uncle's advice echoing through your mind: "There is nothing wrong with a life of peace and prosperity. I suggest you think about what it is you want from your life."


Book 3: Crossroads of Destiny

Signing a truce with the Nord Ice mages - who are not that barbaric after all, if you consider your new acquaintances - has significantly weakened the Emperor's authority. But at the same time it also improves the perception of the Imperials as a nation and your in particular: The people start to call you a hero if you pay close attention, which up to now you didn't. Having broken free of your father's grasp on you and the desire to restore your honor, you are now free to choose your own destiny. Below are a few suggestions on how to continue your playthrough as the Prince of Fire.

Defeat your Sister: Now that your father is defeated and abdicates - humiliated by signing a truce he no longer has the support of Cyrodiil's nobles and commoners alike - your younger sister tries to claim the throne for herself. As a mighty warrior and Fire mage she does command respect, not even you can deny it. However, her cruelty and lust for power herald a renewal of the civil war and you won't allow this. Not particularly keen on bearing the burden of the crown yourself, you still listen to Uncle: "She is crazy and she needs to go down." You head to Riften where she was last reported to have visited the Honorhall Orphanage but instead of finding her, you witness how Grelod the Kind humiliating the children she should raise and protect. Remembering the troubles of your childhood, you are consumed by rage and put an end to this (using the Innocence Lost mod, you can have Grelod imprisoned). Some time later your dear sister manages to kidnap you in your sleep and taunts you to kill some probably innocent person. You decide to take her down once and for all, now, and afterwards abolish her secret army and to Destroy the Dark Brotherhood.

Fight for Freedom: Despite your best efforts to ensure peace open war breaks out again thanks to your sister's ambition. This time, side with the Stormcloaks and end the Empire's stranglehold on Skyrim. You might consider defeating your sister as a follow-on to ensure that the people of Skyrim will not have to endure another war.

Redeem the Empire: You can't undo all the harm done by your nation's pursuit for supremacy, but you can help the people of Skyrim and show your support for the local rulers: Support the yarls and become thane of all the holds of Skyrim.

The bigger Picture: Though Fire remains the only element at your command, you can deepen you understanding for others by pursuing the College of Winterhold's quest line, or as Uncle would say, "It is important to draw wisdom from many different places". Also, defeating Arcano further reduces the Empire's meddling in foreign affairs and can only lead to a better perception of your people. With the Immersive College of Winterhold mod you have the option to decline becoming arch-mage; you feel ruling the Empire is enough power for one person.

Join the Dawnguard: You hear rumors of the rise of a cruel vampire Lord and a faction of valiant warriors set to fight him. This new dark power threatens the peace, so you set out to protect Skyrim's people.

Defeat Alduin: No longer haunted by the spectre of your lost honor, you assess the dragon situation anew. Despite the Blade's request, sparing Paarthunax still seems correct - who are you to deny someone the chance to redeem themselves - but Alduin is a threat. Not only to the Empire but also to Skyrim and the whole world. You will confront and defeat him in battle, ensuring the safety of all nations in Skyrim.



Special Techniques:

12129565293?profile=RESIZE_180x180Meditation: Requires Spellscribe, Colovian Star (gained as an unlockable racial bonus through Imperious), as many Fortify Magicka effects as you can stack via items and potions.

Find a safe spot near a person of your trust and drink a cup of perfectly brewed Yasmin tea. Spend all you magicka and refill it with the Colovian Star power, fortifying it by the amount restored. Now dual-cast your strongest targeted, non-focussed fire spell and store it using the spellscribe power. This will allow you to cast this spell (which would normally exceed your magicka pool) whenever you perform a power attack. Fireball makes a good choice through the mid-game due to its AoE and knock-down effects.



I understand: Requires 1 Dragon Soul during The Throat of the World.

When Paarthurnax teaches you the Fire Breath shout, there is a short moment when you already know the word but have not unlocked the shout yet. Take this opportunity to unlock the shout yourself using a spare Dragon Soul and your dragon mentor will reward your quick thinking by teaching you a second word. This way you can unlock the full power of the shout without joining the Companions.



Roar like a Tigerdillo: Requires complete Fire Breath shout, Dragonborn Flame and The Fire Within gained by meditating on Yol.

Taking your uncle's advice "Power [...] comes from the breath, not the muscle!" to heart increases your Fire Breath's power by creating fire spirits when you kill enemies with it. Yol Toor Shul !


Inner Fire: Requires Flamecloak and Welloc's Dormant Arcana from Ordinator.

Choosing to pair cloak effects with resistances to fire, ice and lightning significantly enhances your survivability against difficult opponents (read dragons). Your passion and inner fire burn so brightly it hurts surrounding opponents and makes you more resistant at the same time. Since you have a very limited magicka pool, you will rarely cast other spells in combat if you choose to use this technique for an encounter.



Combat as the prince of fire resembles a deadly dance. Your skills except for some light armor perks are purely offensive and you have no means of blocking attacks, meaning you are forced to evade them. The potions you find during your travels allow you to recover somewhat if you face-block too much but they are best avoided.

Open a fight with Inner Fire or by covering your opponents in a streak of flames or by bombarding them with firebolts and -balls, depending on the forms of fire magic you found so far; the pyromancer spells added by Forgotten magic redone give you some nice options as well. Since you have not put any attribute points into magicka, this initial assault is quite short-lived and you quickly have to close the gap to get personal with pesky archers and misguided non-fire mages. Don't be shy of sprinting, you have plenty of stamina.

Once locked in melee combat, always focus on the strongest enemy and avoid attacking the weaker ones. At the beginning of the game, you will take less damage from them due to the Annoying moskitos perk, while in the end-game they should quickly fall to the secondary effects of your fire-imbued fists. The ordinator mod provides us with some phantastic power and synergies between our offensive options, since all destruction fire-based perks can be triggered by the Hissing Dragon perk as explained above.


Closing Remarks:

Dear fellow travellers of Skyrim, thank you for reading my contribution to the Crossworlds Event #3. If you are familiar with the comics or cartoon series, you will probably have guessed the inspiration for this build: The fire-bender Zuko from Avatar. This build was litteraly a blast to play, and it is actually the first time I finished the main quest, as Zuko's determination and his unwavering belief of following - and later choosing - his destiny, helped me not to get side-tracked.

Despite playing the Eldes Scrolls games for more than a decade by now, this is the first build I published and I hope you enjoyed reading my adaptation of Zuko's story into the world of Skyrim. In this sense, I look forward to your comments and suggestions and would like to close with a last quote from Uncle Iroh: "While it is always great to believe in oneself, a little help from others can be a great blessing."

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  • Awesome work on the build dude, nice work. Zuko was great. Congrats on your first build

  • This is your first build? Well damn, this is awesome! The perks, the synergy, the roleplay, the story, and the quest selection all clap together like before the Fire Nation attacked. Well done, man. Hissing Dragons are also one of my fav perks in Ordinator.

    If I may add some suggestions, and these are minor ones, I feel the entry point is a bit weak. Zuko's journey and motivations in Skyrim are clear, but I couldn't help to feel a lil bit uncomfortable with the head cannon since we already have lores surrounding the Empire. It also kinda weaves the question, "Why dragons specifically to reclaim his honor? Don't we know that dragons have only returned once Alduin shows up in Helgen, not priorly?"

    Another thing is to perhaps add some pictures between the first (title) and second (lv. 13 perks spread) images - even smoll pics are okay - as the text is quite heavy.

    Aside from that, this is truly a 'Fire' build. Congrats! Can't wait to see what you have in the future.

    • Dear Jazz, thanks for your comments and suggestions. I'll keep a look out for a nice screenshot or two (still playing Zuko, allthough pretty casually now that the build is out ;-) to break up the wall of text. Concerning the Empire lore... yeah even though I've been playing for quite some time, for me it was always more about the gameplay than roleplay and lore, so sorry if I stepped on established lore too much. I did actually hesitate a while before deciding to go with the Empire for this build since the supremacy vibes of the Stormcloaks fit the Fire Nation pretty well! However, Nord Fire Benders... even I see the far strech and in addition, Zuko always wears red: So Empire it is. About the dragons, there is a parallel between their return and the return of the Avatar (though no Fire Nation member actually get to see him right away), so sending Skyrim-Zuko on a mission to chase them (with the Live Another Life mod you don't encounter them right away) based on rumor seemed appropriate. All that being said, I was certainly more influenced by watching Avatar recently than by Skyrim which had been on hold for a moment, but still looking into the forum from time to time I discovered the on-going event and decided to finally contribute :-) Thanks again for the exchange and ideas!


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