The Eldritch Dreamer


His life was not easy. Unfortunate twist has robbed the boy of many things one would find “normal” for someone his age. Death, sickness, destitution and nightmares, especially the nightmares… Well, at least, he had his imagination to soothe him.

That’s was long ago. Now, he’s an adult and all of that is in the past, except the nightmares and his imagination. He has filled countless reams with them, yet, they still come, again and again.


Hello everyone. This is my second participation and build. It was a lot more challenging that expected, because, one, there is more than one way to interpret an historical figure, but two, taking inspiration from a sickly, introverted writer might not have been the best base for an adventurer... Choices had to be made, my favorite playstyle, but not my best RP wise. Enjoy!


The inspiration for this build means it contains reference to some dark materials. I also realize not everyone is very fond of the man due to his views on others. I did like how many interpret him in modern days (Bungo Stray Dogs, Fate/Nasuverse…) and just ignore them entirely.    


Howard Phillips Lovecraft is my favorite writer. I’ve read most of his works both in English and French, played Call of Cthulhu, DMed/played various TTRPG inspired by the Mythos… For this event, the original plan was to try and make an almost historical version. It was the dumbest approach I could have taken and led nowhere.

Instead, this build focuses more on the Lovecraft from the written stories: Randolph Carter and the Dreamlands, his kinda self insert in The Lamp of Alhazred, Lovecraft from BSD… Thus, I chose to focus on illusion, dreams and nightmares with Vaermina. The King in Yellow is also heavily hinted because I just wanted to use him for a while.

Objectives for this build:

  • Make a home in Quagmires and bring people there
  • Only spells related to creating clones and sleep

Essential mods:

  • Andromeda
  • Apocalypse
  • Dealing with Daedra suite
  • Live Another Life
  • Live anywhere + Interact + Home Construction and Decoration + Jaxonz Positioner
  • Reliquary of Myth
  • Triumvirate + Lost Grimoire + Arcanum
  • Vokriinator (the last LE version of Vokrii has a very different Blur perk form the new one on SE/AE!) + Coolius Perkus - PerMa Perks for Ordinator (and a few minutes in TES5Edit to glue them together)
  • Wintersun
  • Zebserious Races

Character Creation

Making a PC looking like the man isn’t so difficult. However, I wanted to give him the appearance of an overwordly nightmare creature: less a man than an eldritch being of sort. So… here we go.   

Race: Orma

Zebsirious Orma look (and sometimes count) as Imperials. The only reason I took one though is the empty eye sockets, it works too well with the mask.

Standing Stone: The Ritual

It summons copies of dead people. I interpret it as the PC (nicknamed The Stranger) being haunted by them in his nightmares. 

Deity: Vaermina    

I was really disappointed with the little content this Daedric Prince had in Skyrim. Thankfully the mods added new, more interesting powers and spells. But what to do with them?

Stats: 5 Magicka / 1 Health / 1 Stamina. These values are just an example, the only rule is to pump as much into Magicka as this build combos spells after spells.

Major Skills: Illusion, first and foremost. In theory, taking all the perks is not a bad idea, but that’s a lot if going by my chimera of a skilltree. The important ones are those summoning a copy of people, making thralls and a few of the Phantom ones.

Minor Skills: Alteration, for Home Mythal only. Sneak and Enchanting, maybe? There is no need to perk them.

Roleplay & Quests


Howard was born in the Empire, to a well known family of artisans whose history goes far back into the past. However, just like the Empire was but a shadow of itself, so was this family’s glory ; gone were the days where they were on top of society. Howard was the only child his parent ever had before his father died craz. Plagued by nightmares, he lived a solitary life with mostly, nearly only, imaginary friends with whom he played pretend and hide-and-seek.

Years passed. They had to leave the great family estate behind for a more affordable, manageable house. Now a child, Howard took on new duties to help his mother. While good at cleaning and eager to do so, he’d have trouble with the market and only went reluctantly. He also took to praying on the recommendations of a local priest to fight his Nightmares. In the end, he found it not so different from what he did with his friends before.

In the later years of his life as a teenager, Howard thoroughly indulged into other interests. He mainly read fictional stories, but also tried himself at sculpting to tell his own stories and even got into the magic arts. His efforts were in vain though: the statues were too creepy to sell, and he failed to join the Mages’Guild of Cyrodil. It’s when the nightmares started to become even more vivid.

Later, his mother died insane, Howard was left alone. Not really interested in staying in Cyrodil any longer, he moved on to Skyrim. There was a College of Mage there, maybe, just maybe, he could find his place there? The nightmares followed.     

Chapter 1: The illusion of life   

To his surprise, Howard managed good enough to join the College of Winterhold. He’d have little interest in the courses though, especially after the incidents on a field trip in Saarthal, where he had the worst of visions. From then, he secluded himself again.

His only focus was to study the Illusion School of Magic. After a lot of practices and observations, he was deemed ready to learn the strongest of those spells. Why Illusion? Who knows? He himself always thought it could help alleviate his nightmares a little or at least share them with people.

But now that he managed to do so… what now? One night, he decided to leave the College and walk, follow the coast, taking in the views and the fresh air, Howard lost the notion of time.

Equipment:  standard student equipment 

Special moves:

  • The Shadows Out of Dreams (Evil Twin + Blind Guardian/Nemesis): Summons the assailants’ nightmares to protect Howard . This move only works as a defense technique.
  • The Refuge (Invisibility + Blur): Another defense. This time, it is using illusion to seclude oneself from the dangers of the world.

Chapter 2: The roads to Winterhold

This trip finally led Howard to reach the small city of Dawnstar. Having walked for so long, he decided to take a rest at the local inn, where destiny would find him. A dunmer priest asked for his help to get rid of the nightmares of the locals.

At first, Howard agreed out of curiosity, but also secretly in hopes of chasing away his own bad dreams too. Things went differently. While at the Temple, he grew to appreciate Vaermina. He even wore a dreamcathcer, a strange jewelry piece he found on one of the cultists and after his experience of the Torpor, he started to embrace his own nightmares. How much of it was the product of his own mind? And how much was a form of madness induced by the corruption of the Daedra?

The last room was a turning point for Howard. Up until that point, he had only used his illusions in self defense. Now, he was pushed to be active and even more: to kill… In a panic, he cast Waking Nightmare at the priest, which led into a fight where the nightmares of the latter, manifested by his dead comrades killed him.

Howard simply left, dazed and confused. However, if anyone had seen him at that point, he had changed. He was less of the man and more of something else. Howard was gone, and The Stranger took his place.

Note: To be honest, here is why I had to admit that taking the route of a lovecraftian protagonist, losing his mind to the horrors of a Great Old One was the best course of action.

Equipment: Student of Winterhold outfit + DreamCatcher + Skull of Corruption + Cloak of Vaermina

Special moves:

  • The Dawnstar Horror (Waking Nightmare + Evil Twin + Staff of Corruption + Blind Guardian + Nemesis): Conjure 4 copies of an enemy to attack after causing fear/fury on them.
  • Beyond the Veil of Sleep (Sleep Spells + Phantasmagoria + Dreamkilling + Ritual Stone): Put an enemy’s nightmares in servitude of Vaermina before sacrificing them to the Prince. An asleep target can also be harvested to power the Skull and reinforce illusions spells first.
  • The Manipulator (Sleep Spells + Dream Geas / Waking Nightmare + Mind thrall): Make awake and sleeping foes into allies.

Chapter 3: The Dream in the Sanctuary

From this point, The Stranger wanders the province of Skyrim guided by Vaermina. Back at Dawnstar, he’s led to the Hall of vigilante where he takes the outfit of one of the fallen vampire.

The Daedra led him to go to Riften, in the Ratway where one of their precious servants left a place which he can now call home. Having reclaimed the nightmarish adobe, he came across the orphanage and listen on Grelod being mean to the children. Blinded by anger, The Stranger takes her to the Quagmires.

Later, The Stranger is taken in by the Dark Brotherhood. The idea of killing held no interest however, the call of Vaermina led him to stay. While the assassins interpreted everything as the Night Mother and Sithis’s doing, he knew it wasn’t, it was Vaermina working to make their nightmare true.      

Equipment:  dark hood, DE Avallach mask silver and vampire armor and gloves, shrouded shoes/boots   

Special moves:

  • The Statement of the Stranger (Dream Geas/Mind Thrall + Awaken/Deliver Unto Vaermina): Having hypnotized his target, The Stranger brings them to the Quagmires for a limited time. Followed by Dawnstar Horror or Beyond the Veil of Sleep to kill them fast.
  • The Gate and The Key (Deliver Unto Vaermina + Home Mythal + any Mark/Recall type spell): This combo allows The Stranger to claim the small part of the Quagmires as his and come and go as he sees fit.
    1. Use Deliver Unto Vaermina to go to the Quagmires.
    2. Place Home Mythal
    3. From here onward, use Mark - Dimension Door - Recall to go there and return (Awaken can be used too, but it leads to Riften only)

Final chapter: Who is that Stranger, I must ask

The endgame of this build is made of two parts.

  • Finish the Dark Brotherhood questline. Some targets deserve a peaceful end, like Narfi, while others have to face their nightmares. Maybe The Stranger does resent the Emperor for letting his family, who did so much for the Empire fall into disgrace? And Gaius Maro, he killed the Stranger’s new family, after all…
  • Turn the pocket of Quagmire into a cozy place to stay. It is where, supposedly, The Stranger will spend the eternity after all… so might as well bring in furnitures.


“You know Babette, I wonder if it is right.” said Nazir to the vampire child next to him. It has been a few weeks since they had to relocate to this new sanctuary, after the tragic event at Falkreath. “What is, brother?” she always had that childish tone and look on her face. “Well…everything…it seems all of this is but a dream. What if it wasn’t the Night Mother and he was something else? He still doesn’t fell like an assassin to me, you know…” She just shrugged.

Where was he? Somewhere on the road, two men were travelling. Bandits. They spotted a man in a weird outfit, watching the moon, daydreaming, perhaps. His face was covered by a silver shining mask; it surely was a precious item, they thought. As they moved closer, their worst nightmare manifested from the shadows.

 The Stranger had disappeared from Nirn.      


Closing words

And that’s it! While I really love the playstyle of a sneakless illusion puppeteer, the RP as HPL was difficult. Making such a use of the spell Deliver Unto Vaermina, however, my favorite part! Also: Lovecraft in Skyrim and no Hermaeus Mora? Well, maybe for an Alzared build in the future.



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