As with most of my builds, this one requires several mods to work at its peak. You will need the following mods, all of which are available on both the PC and Xbox One Special Editions of Skyrim.
*Ordinator: Perk Overhaul
*Andromeda: Standing Stones of Skyrim
*Imperious: Races of Skyrim
*Apocalypse: Magic of Skyrim
*Apocalypse: Ordinator Patch
*Alternate Start: Live Another Life
To achieve the aesthetic shone here for this build, you’ll need these mods:
*Hoods with Crowns
*Winter is Coming: Cloaks
Of course, you can create your own aesthetic with vanilla stuff if you like, but this is what I used for my character.
'Sup all? This is a brand new build of mine that I have been working on for a long time. It was suggested by a wonderful YouTuber called KillerKev (his channel is linked at the bottom of the build). This build will be posted on YouTube eventually, but I have recently had problems with me editor so I've decided to just post it on the Forge so I can get some feedback before I make it into a video. Note that most of the spells listed below are from the Apocalypse: Magic of Skyrim mod. This is my first time diving into the potential of this mod, so if you see anything I am missing and would like to make a suggestion, please do so. Anyway, like the build if you enjoy, and without any further introduction, let's dive on in!
"He is a tremor in the land, a poison in the water. He is a whisper, a shadow a chill wind. He is Reachmage, necromancer and corruptor. Death and decay are his domains."
Skyrim has always been known for the harsh, rugged beauty of the landscape. A vast assortment of creatures and foliage has developed in its diverse environments, and many of Skyrim’s residents seek to preserve their land’s natural beauty. But long ago, in an era almost forgotten to history, a deadly group of black druids known as the Bloodthorn Cult delighted in corrupting and bastardizing Kyne’s sacred creation, twisting it in the most cruel and vile of manners, bending it to their own will and serve dark purposes.
These monstrous mortals were capable of sewing the very ground full of massive, undulating thorns, or to completely seize the minds of wild creatures and obliterate their will. In their wake the left a trail of blood and corruption. But long ago, all members of this this infinitely dangerous cult were destroyed by a hero called the Vestige, a once-legendary warrior that has now been all but forgotten. Under this hero’s mighty weapon, the land was cleansed of the dark influence of the Bloodthorns, as all their Dark Druids were killed and returned to the earth that they had violated. All that is, accept one. A dark and evil presence once again defiles the land, and it has begun to sweep across Skyrim . . .
The Dark Druid is a Bosmer, native to the twisting Jungle province of Valenwood. The Bosmer are known to worship the Lord of Nature, Y’ffre, and are renowned for their natural skill as hunters and trackers.
As a Bosmer, the Dark Druid will start with:
Health regeneration: 1.0%
Magicka regeneration: 3.0%
Stamina regeneration: 5.0%
Carry weight: 275
With the Imperious mod, Bosmer are naturally gifted with three passive Abilities and one Racial Power unlockable through a quest given as soon as the playthrough begins:
- Green Pact: Ritually eat the corpses of the dead, gaining a percentage of their attributes.
- Harrier: Spirit bird marks animals to kill for bonus loot or weakens your enemies in battle.
- Wild Senses: Detect moving targets in a large radius by standing still when sneaking.
Quest reward - Hunt 10 animals indicated by Harrier to unlock...
- Beast Tongue: 1/day - Call to a nearby predator, making it a permanent ally until released.
The Dark Druid will make use out of one of the many arcane Standing Stones found throughout Skyrim, the Mage Stone. With the Andromeda mod, the Mage Stone grants two new passive abilities and one new unlockable power:
- Power of the Arcane: Spells are 10% more effective. Scrolls are 20% more effective.
- Mage's Path: Learn two Mage skills of your choice 20% faster. Sleep to change your choice.
- Ultimate Power: 1/day - Choose one of three random schools of magic. Spells are twice as effective and cost half as much for 60 seconds.
The Dark Druid will use all of these powers and abilities to his advantage. Both Power of the Arcane and Mage’s Path are quite useful for the Dark Druid, and for any character that uses magic, for that matter. 10% increased spell effectiveness is great to have in general. Mage’s Path is a helpful ability that you may not notice a lot, but it will definitely work in the Dark Druid’s favor. The two best magic skills to choose here are Conjuration and Restoration, but Alteration also works. Once you learn the abilities that each school allows the Dark Druid to use, make your choice based off of which schools you think will take the longest to level, or the ones that you will use the least. Ultimate Power can be pretty useful for large battles and fights, especially if you have already planned them out. Since Ultimate Power gives you three random school choices, and the Dark Druid uses three schools of magic, one of the schools that pops up is guaranteed to be useful to you. Again, this power is recommended for use just barely before a large battle or bossfight.
*Conjure Black Wolf
*Conjure Spriggan Matron
- Any other spells you want from the Druid Conjuration mod
The Dark Druid has no interest whatsoever in fulfilling his destiny as the Dragonborn, so shouts will not be necessary, nor easily accessible, for him.
*Black Thorn Crown
*Armor, Gauntlets, and Boots of the Old Gods
*Black Bear Cloak
The history of the Bloodthorn Cult dates back to 2E 583, and perhaps even before. This was a time of great strife for Tamriel. As various factions warred over the Ruby Throne, an even more deadly threat loomed from a much darker place. This was the time of the planemeld, when Molag Bal’s servants attempted to connect the realm of Coldharbour, the Plane of Eternal Torment, with Mundus, the Plane of Men and Mer. Mannimarco, most ancient and darkest of necromancers, gathered his minions in his effort to merge the mortal and daedric realms.
In Tamriel’s northwestern corners, a vile cult known as the Bloodthorns thrived on death and plague. Hidden in plain sight, operating from within the shadows and alongside the blissfully unaware innocents. The Bloodthorn Cult was a tremor in the land, a noxious poison in the water, a deep shadow, an icy chill upon the wind. They were lead by Angof, the Gravesinger and Reachmage, necromancer and corruptor. Death and decay were their domains.
Though the ancient cult originated within the disputed territory of the Reach, many were conscripted to their ranks. They relied on dark practices that involved the corruption of nature around them. Some called the most powerful among them Black Druids.
Legend has it that the first Druids sprung from within the lands of High Rock, the first of their order known as the “Druids of Galen.” There were unsubstantiated whispers of these original Druids joining the Bloodthorns in a shadowed quest for power.
The Bloodthorn Cult and their threat to the Glenumbra region of High Rock was largely eliminated when Angof the Gravesinger was defeated by the long-forgotten hero, the Vestige. But in spirit, the legacy of the Gravesinger and his cult lives on, and the fell practices of the Black Druids have not yet been purged from Tamriel altogether. Still one remains. He went by several names at the height of his power. The Dark One. Nature’s Terror. The Plague of Lands. The Dark Druid. Whether he was preserved by the natural longevity of his Elven race or by much darker means is unknown, but this ancient Bosmer still haunts the forests with his ancient magicks and old practices, and with Tamriel even more out of balance than it was during the Faction Wars, the time is ripening for a reawakening of the Old Ways . . .
The perks are an incredibly important part of this character. Unlike your standard warrior he can’t get by with just smashing people with his weapon, or sneaking around and stabbing people in the back. No, the Dark Druid relies heavily on the way all of his perks work together, so it will be important to get your hands on these as soon as possible and try to level up your skills quickly. Paying a trainer to level up may be worth the investment, especially in early game.
Here is a brief overview of a few of the more essential perks in each tree so that you understand the reasoning behind some of the choices I’ve made.
This skill tree is one of the most important to the Dark Druid, as he relies on his summoned creatures to take the hits and deal damage while he runs around casting his spells. Feed the Monster will allow you to restore the health of your summoned creatures, and is the primary perk for the Morbid Restoration ability that’s detailed below. Atromancy multiplies the duration of your conjured creatures by 3, but this buff increases to x5 at nighttime. This is useful for obvious reasons, and makes it optimal for the Dark Druid to conduct most of his business at nighttime. The main key perks from this tree come a little later on. Rat King gives you three undead skeevers to fight for you automatically every time you enter combat. It costs no magicka, and adds to your total number of summoned creatures. The skeevers don’t deal a huge amount of damage, but providee a certainly a useful distraction. Edge of Oblivion is crucial because it enables you to summon an additional creature. The more creatures you have active at one time, the better. This perk is also key in the Corrupted Pack ability detailed below. Elemental Potency is useless to the Dark Druid, but allows us to get to the very useful Summon Resist and March of Oblivion perks. Summon Resist will outfit your conjured creatures with 50% magic resistance and 300 points of armor, so long as you are within 75 feet of them. A bonus to armor rating and magic resistance for all of your creatures is very useful for obvious reasons. March of Oblivion allows you to summon an additional creature for every 250 points of magicka you. This maxes out at 3 creatures. You should have no problem getting to at least 1 additional creature by the time you take this perk since the Dark Druid invests 80% of his attribute points into magicka. This perk requires you to reach level 100 with the Conjuration skill, but with Ordinator, the time investment is well rewarded.
Interestingly, most of this character’s restoration spells will be focused on doing disease-like damage rather than actual healing. The Dark Druid does use the Fast Healing spell for himself in sticky situations, but that is not the real reason for investing in the Restoration tree. Edgewalker is the key perk here. This perk increases the power of your restoration spells by 30% if the target is below half health. While this can be applied to healing, where it really shines for this character is the damage spells. For example, Welling Blood and Leech Seed deal damage over time. A 30% increase in effectiveness to this damage once the target reaches half health is very useful, especially when combined with the side effects of each of those spells. How this perk can really benefit the Dark Druid is shown in the Bloodthorn ability below. The Necromanticon perk will give you three disease spells at landmark levels in your Restoration skill. These disease spells will allow you to do some extra damage if you need it. Most of them deal damage in an area of effect, which is useful since the Dark Druid has no other damage spells that do this.
This skill tree is only used for the Flesh spells that will provide you with the armor protection you need to survive the battlefield. Your pack of conjured creatures will take a lot of the hits for you, but that doesn’t make you immune to damage. Alter Resistances will give you an edge over enemy mages. When you take this perk, it’s best to choose to resist Frost and Fire, as these are the two most common destruction spell types you will come across when fighting NPC mages. Home Mythal is a neat perk useful for any character using mage armor. Once taken, it establishes a permanent magical field that multiplies the duration of your Alteration spells by 20 if you are within 250 feet of it. This means that you should be careful about the position of your Home Mythal: it’s best to take the perk in your base (several options for housing are outlined below in the Extras section). This way, once it’s nighttime (so your Atromancy Conjuration perk can be at full effectiveness) you can stand at your Home Mythal and cast your strongest Flesh spell, allowing you to have armor for a much extended period of time without having to worry about re-casting each time you enter combat.
The Enchanting skill is taken for this character mainly so that you can buff your magicka. The March of Oblivion Conjuration perk allows you to summon 1 additional minion for every 250 points of magicka you have. Thus, having jewelers that is enchanted with buffs that will increase your magicka total will allow you to summon more creatures to fight for you in combat. And of course it also gives you a larger magicka pool to play with, making it useful in more than one way. Two points in Enchanting Mastery will increase the effectiveness of your enchantments by 40%. The Gem Dust perk allows you to destroy a flawless gem at an enchanter to increase the effectiveness of enchantments by 25% on a certain type of equipment for a single enchantment.
Overall, it’s safe to say that Conjuration is the main skill for this build. Most of the other perks either compliment or enhance those taken from the Conjuration tree. Again, perks are very important to this build, so take them as soon as you can.
Corrupted Pack - Nothing can touch you as an army of animal servants whose minds have been bent to your will fend off your enemies. Nothing can satiate the ravenous tide of predators that you unleash upon those foolish enough to opposed you and your quest for power.
Requirements: Rat King perk, Atromancy perk, Edge of Oblivion perk, March of Oblivion perk, Druid Conjuration spells of your choice
This ability is the culmination of the essential Conjuration perks all working in perfect harmony. The Rat King perk will summon three undead skeevers as soon as you enter combat. The Edge of Oblivion perk will allow you to summon two additional creatures, which will be spells from the Druid Conjuration mod. Which two creatures you summon is up to you, depending on the situation. It can be anything from a Bear and a Wolf, to a Spriggan Matron and another Skeever. After or beforehand, you can use your Beast Tongue power as a Bosmer to call on an additional wild predator who will serve you until it’s death. At this point you will have a total of six loyal creatures savaging your enemies at every point on the battlefield. Finally, March of Oblivion will allow you to summon a max of 3 additional creatures on top of that (depending on how high your magicka is), giving you 9 total natural beasts fighting alongside you.
Morbid Restoration - No price is too much to pay for power; no act to immoral for strength. Give your own strength to your conjured creatures, and feed them the flesh of your fallen foes to empower your pack of corrupted beasts.
Requirements: Azure Reconstruction spell and/or Feed the Monster
This ability is a fairly simple one that enables you to maintain and buff your pack. The use of the Azure Reconstruction spell is simple enough. At the cost of your own stamina and no magicka, leech 20 points of your own energy per second to increase the health of your summoned creatures by the same amount per second. The Feed the Monster perk is rather a different matter altogether. Feeding a conjured creature Human Flesh will heal them and increase their health, magicka, and stamina by 200 points for 600 seconds; an effect that stacks. Human Flesh can be obtained in many places around Skyrim, and can be fed to creatures by clicking on them and selecting the option to feed them. This option will only appear once you have the perk. Feeding your creatures Human Flesh makes them quite a bit more powerful, but it comes at a high price. In order to unlock the perk, your Conjuration level must be at least 80. However, Conjuration is a skill used quite often by this character so it should not take too long to level it. Despite that, a trainer is recommended. It is recommended that you feed your creatures just before battle. Until you get that perk, healing your creatures with the Azure Reconstruction spell is very useful.
Bloodthorn - Stick your target with a tiny, almost insignificant pricker that releases a noxious toxin into their body and causes them to bleed profusely. The magickally induced wound refuses to stop bleeding for a long period of time and infects the unfortunate victim with a poison that leeches their health and streams it into the caster.
Requirements: Leech Seed spell + Welling Blood spell (dualcasted)
This ability does a decent amount of damage over an extended period of time. On it’s own it may not be the most powerful or effective, but when its debilitating damage over time effect is coupled with the damage dealt by your conjured creatures constantly acting as harriers to your enemies, the damage can add up quickly. Both of these are apprentice level spells that cost a combined 75 magicka. Since magicka is the main stat you will be investing points into, this should not be a problem. The reason these spells go so well together is that not only do they both deal damage over time, but they each have an additional side effect. Welling Blood will instantly kill the target if said target loses 60% of it’s health in a certain amount of time. Leech Seed will increase the amount of health the target loses, hence increasing the chance the target instantly dying once at 40% health. Leech Seed will also give you the target’s health once it is below full health, and Welling Blood will allow that health-steal to go into effect more quickly. Each spell’s side effect enhances the other, making them every effective when used together.
Swallowed by the Earth - Some opponents may prove to be feistier than the average adversary. But even the most valiant of warriors must fall before the reviled power of corrupted nature. Once they are weakened, summon your power to instantly destroy them as if the very ground beneath their feet has swallowed them whole.
Requirements: Slay the Living spell
This ability has only one requirement, but it works extremely well in conjunction with the rest of the Dark Druid’s abilities. Essentially what this spell does is instantly kill a target in melee range if they have 25% health or less remaining. Between your Bloodthorn ability constantly sapping their health away and your conjured creatures dealing damage, it should be easy to find an opponent with low enough health to be affected by this spell. Such power is also surprisingly easy to come by. This apprentice level spell costs only 56 magicka, so it’s easy to cast over and over, especially if you have a large magicka pool and have a battlefield ripe with enemies waiting to be swallowed by the ground beneath their feet. This ability can also be very helpful against a boss enemy that has been giving you trouble.
The Dark Druid’s combat style revolves around conjuring your pack of corrupted creatures and then darting around the battlefield to deal devastating damage over time to enemies while they are being harried by your crowd of summoned beasts. Essentially, all that the Dark Druid has to do in battle is to stay alive until his pack of creatures has destroyed his foes. That said, there are several basic combat tactics that should be taken into account.
Although you can’t always see a battle coming, for the times that you can, coming prepared is key with this build. Having your spells favorited or hotkeyed can be a huge help so you can quickly access them at the onset of a battle. Conjuring your two creatures is a good start to fighting, and if you have gotten to the Feed the Beast perk, feeding them Human Flesh at the beginning of what you anticipate to be a large or drawn out fight is advisable. After your creatures are conjured, cast one of your Mage Armor spells if you don’t already have one applied from your Home Mythal. If you know where the battle will take place, scoping out good spots to retreat to is also a good idea. Using your Bloodthorn ability requires you to be rather close to the target, as does the Swallowed by the Earth ability, so having a place to which you can fall back after having casted either of these is a good idea.
After you have set your army of wild beasts upon your foes, keeping alive is your top priority. This should not be too difficult through a combination of your armor spells and healing spell, as well as the ability to duck behind your pack of creatures when necessary. If things are looking bad, running is always a viable option. You can always cast more creatures while retreating if necessary.
Buffing and Debuffing
Buffing yourself and your creatures is an essential part of combat, which is mostly covered by the Feed the Monster perk, the Azure Reconstruction spell, the Mage Armor spells, as well as your potions and Healing spells. Debuffing is essential to use as much as possible. This is mainly achieved through the Bloodthorn ability, which will weaken targets for your creatures to kill, or weaken targets that your creatures have already fought. If enemies are entirely destracted and you are low on magicka, you can always whip out Nettlebane to deal some damage and hasten their path to death. Once an enemy is low on health, the next tactic comes into play.
When you come across an enemy that is low on health, quickly move onto the battlefield and intercept him with your Slay Living spell in hand, ideally casting it on them before they have a chance to strike you.
All of these tactics must be put together. Running around and debuffing, buffing, and finishing must be balanced with your survival tactics, or else you will find yourself quickly finished off by a fair few enemies. The best situation is when your enemies are entirely distracted with fighting off your creatures. This allows you to freely buff them and debuff your enemies at will. A good way to set up this scenario if you know a battle is coming is to cast your creatures in front of you and fire only the Welling Blood spell at them. When they attack, your creatures stand in between you and the enemy. Since enemies usually focus on the first threat that appears, this allows you to have some free reign behind the front lines.
ROLEPLAYING & QUESTLINES:
Of course, the roleplaying and questlines for your character are ultimately up to you, but there are still certain parameters that should be met in order to fit with the lore of this character.
Roleplaying is essential for the full experience of this build. One of the most important elements is to travel almost exclusively at night. This has several good perks. From a roleplaying standpoint, you’ll hardly feel like a dark, frightening Druid if you go traipsing around cities in broad daylight, listening to guards telling you sob stories about arrows in their knees and kids sassing you about not looking so tough. In fact, avoiding cities as much as possible is a good idea. If you have to trade goods, try waiting to meet a vendor on the road or discreetly paying a visit to the Khajiit caravans rather than marching into Solitude and revealing your presence to the whole of Skyrim.
Going knockturnal with this character also has another, more practical benefit though. The Atromancy perk makes non-undead minions that you have summoned last three times longer. However, this perk is increased to last five times longer at nighttime. Obviously this is to your benefit so you don’t have to resummon your creatures every time a random bandit attacks you while traveling.
Let’s take a few steps back and define the Dark Druid’s actual goal. The Dark Druid really just wants power. Perhaps taking revenge on the one who destroyed the Bloodthorn Cult would be high on the list, but since the Vestige is long dead by now, the Druid only has one choice; continuing to pursue total mastery of his craft. Of course, his practices and methods would not be accepted by the majority of society, so this complicates roleplaying slightly in the respect that the Druid would need to practice discretion in pretty much all things. As already mentioned, staying away from cities and traveling at night are definitely good starting points.
Questlines are also made slightly difficult by this characters enigmatic nature. He will certainly avoid any quests that he stands nothing to gain from, especially if the only object is money or simply helping someone out. Well he isn’t exactly an assassin and won’t kill without reason, he has no interest in the well-being of Skyrim’s people and would certainly kill any or all of them if he could gain anything by it. The Dark Druid is also largely unmotivated by monetary benefits, so quests that will gain you nothing but gold are also discouraged unless you have a specific need for money at the time. That said, here are some of the questlines that might interest the Dark Druid.
First off, the College of Winterhold holds far too many secrets and far too much opportunity for power for the Druid to pass up. The questline might also intrigue him, especially when he discovers the involvement of the Psijic Order and the powerful artifact known as the Staff of Magnus. Even the secrets of Labyrinthian hold some interest for the Druid. Sidequests that will increase the Druid’s overall power are also advised. Of course, if you really want to dive deep into roleplaying, showing up in your typical Dark Druid garb is not exactly subtle, so it may be best to change into a normal mage robe as a disguise when spending time at the College, while still keeping the mask. If you do or how you go about these small roleplaying elements are up to you, but they can certainly make for a much more immersive experience.
The Dawnguard questline is also an option, so long as you side with the Vampires of Volkihar. By this point the Dark Druid is very very old, and although he may have found ways to extend his existence, even he cannot outrun death forever. Not unless he becomes a vampire that is. The allure of eternal existence would be too much for the Druid to resist. Although Vampirism wouldn’t play a huge role in your combat or even the day to day experience of playing, it fits with the playstyle in that the Druid moves mainly at night time, so no real adjustments would need to be made. The Vampiric Drain spell could also be applied to the playstyle, but if you plan on using it I recommend installing a mod that re-balances and enhances its effects. The spell is incredibly close to useless in it’s vanilla form, so some buffs and balances are necessary to make it viable.
Other quests that your character undertakes are entirely up to you, but these quests that were mentioned are useful for leveling up, and fit the roleplaying rather well.
This brings us almost to the end of today’s build, but there’s still a few final things to cover concerning the Dark Druid. Some sort of housing is necessary for this character, as sleeping will be useful so that you can skip through the day to the night. Of course you can just wait, but the Well Rested bonus can be helpful. The Alchemist's Shack or Anise’s Cabin can be useful as base to return to and sleep when necessary.
The Dark Druid will not make use of any mounts, but your conjured creatures will serve as your followers and guardians while you travel, particularly once you have the Atromancy perk.
Check out the video!
That just about covers all of it! Thanks for sticking around to the end of this rather long build, and thanks to KillerKev (his channel: https://goo.gl/ZVzXp1) for the inspiration for this build. Thank you to Mr. Curse Never Dying for providing the wonderful art for each of the abilties. It really adds to the presentation of the build. If you did indeed enjoy this one, leave behind a like and a comment with your feedback to let me know what you thought of it. Once again, thank you so much for reading through the build. Now go forth! Become the scourge of the land as you bring it death, decay, and corruption!
For anyone who didn't know, I have a YouTube channel where I post builds like this one. If you want to see more, check it out here: