WIP Character Builds

We understand making a great character build that others actually want to play is difficult. And while some are comfortable working on their build in private and releasing it when complete, others may desperately need a lot of guiddance along the way. Whats where this section comes in.

In this section you may post any half finished rough draft build your working if you're in need of guidance or just want a place for people to evaluate your work as you work on it. Here are some helpful guidelines to remember

-Ensure you include the term "WIP Build" to your title so it can be more readily distinguisable from completed character builds. Example - WIP Build: The Sneak Archer

-For those posting their WIPs here, please be open to constructive criticism. You wouldnt be posting your work here if you thought it was perfect to begin with, so please make an honest effort to take in criticism. 

-For those commenting, dont be an ass. It takes a bit of courage to share ones own creative ideas, so dont ruin it by trying to bring people down. Be mindful of how you critique. Focus on being constructive

-When your build is complete, feel free to move it yourself or let me or an admin know and we'll move it over to where the completed builds reside. 

CLICK This Image to post your WIP Build!


WIP Build: The Lord in Yellow

Before we start, this is the first time I am doing something like this. There are still a few things I need to change and finish, but I know if I don't post it now, I will never end up posting it.  Also, if anyone can help me with a perk spread and images, as well as any advice, I would be highly grateful. Now with that out of the way, allow me to introduce

The Lord in Yellow


“I…I’m free?”


The young man sat before a group of hunters around a campfire, having staggered into their camp with multiple wounds scored across his body.  Now, with his wounds bandaged, his hunger alleviated, and his bones warmed by fire, he finally croaked those words.  The other hunters were slightly startled since it was the first time he spoke since they found him.  The leader of the group replied quicker than the others. “What happened? Who did this to you?”


“I can’t tell you, or it will take you too.”


Now, the hunters’ interests were piqued.  How could a creature harrow a man this greatly? Or was the better question not how, but why?  At this point, another in the group spoke up.  Shy but supportive, she assured him. “It’s not here.  It can’t hurt you.  We could help.”  For the first time, the figure looked up at the hunters.  The eyes that faced them were only filled with apathy.


“I see you are filled with curiosity.  Then you are already lost.  I guess there is no harm in telling my story to those condemned to the twin black suns.  Who knows, you may end up in a better position than I.”


The others looked at each other with concern, as the strange man better situated himself on the log he sat on.

“I was once a simple bandit. Didn't have enough money to support my family, and some friends that worked for a bandit chief put in a good word.  The cut got food on the table, so I stayed.  For two years, I worked with them, scavenging caravans and looting the occasional merchant.  Then….it arrived.  Dressed head to toe in robes of yellow, we thought it was a lonely mage, and an easy target. That was our first and only mistake.  The next thing I knew, I was alone.  Corpses and piles of ashes surrounded me and the hooded figure, who stood exactly as I last remembered, unscathed and turned at me.  I tried to run, but my fears ensnared me, having taken physical form.  And as I saw the sign presented to me I witnessed…” 


He trails off for the first time, seeming to be lost in thought.  At this point, the three hunters who sat around the fire with him locked eyes and agreed silently; this man had gone insane. Yet as they listened, they wanted, no, needed to know what happened next.  The crackle of flame was the only sound for some minutes until the only hunter who had not spoken yet finally breaks the tense silence. “What did you see?”  The figure thinks for only a moment longer.


“I witnessed a stage.  A great stage that goes by the name of Nirn.  I saw every act, every character and their performance.  I saw my place within, and I saw what this entity truly was.  An avatar for the one who created the play.  A great Lord who deemed it my time to finally play my part.  So I followed the manifestation, protecting the leading role so the show can carry on.  It lasted for some time,  until my wits returned to me one night.  I ran, hoping to never look back.  Then I found you, so safe with your ignorance.  Maybe they’ll kill you, maybe they’ll save you, or perhaps you may serve them.  But there is no escape.”


He stops once again, but this time for only a moment.  He looks at each member of the stunned group, one by one, and speaks once more “Yes, I see each one of you providing some benefit to The Unnamed One, The Feaster, The Great King.  I shall bestow my knowledge of the one who takes the great Lord's name, so that you will better witness and serve them.  So let's begin.”

Hello, everyone!  This build came from a desire to play an Illusionist with one major twist; never perk or use the Sneak skill.  The end result is a mage that feels like a true mage without even touching the Conjuration or Destruction skills. If you want to control the battlefield and utilize spell combos to eviscerate your enemies, this is the build for you.


Required Mods:





Optional Mods:

-Smart Cast:  This is suggested simply for the Combo spells feature, allowing you to cast multiple spells with a single cast, using the same amount of magicka as if you casted each spell individually.  This build thrives with chaining multiple spells together, and mods like this would help the build by not making it an absolute quick menu nightmare.


-Difficulty/Enemy Mods: I usually crank the Skyrim difficulty up for builds like this.  Unfortunately that doesn't quite work with this build.   

See, for those who don't know, the base difficulty of Skyrim only alters how much set damage you deal and how much damage the enemy deals by multipliers.   For example, with Adept difficulty, enemies deal 1x damage to you and you deal 1x damage to them, while Legendary difficulty makes all enemy attacks deal 3x damage, while you only deal .25x damage against them, or a quarter of the damage.   While that works in most cases, this build excels in dealing damage by percentages of health and lowering the health bar by set amounts, in lieu of direct damage.   While a higher difficulty will make you die more often from attacks, most of the game is going to feel the same no matter the difficulty present.

Most difficulty mods in my experience boost enemies’ health, or add to the enemy count.  While boosting the health wouldn’t be as effective for the reasons described above, adding to the monster count could have some benefit.  The downside is, with certain spells like Shared Trauma and Empathetic Agony, that mitigates the multiple enemy benefit.  That’s why I hesitate to recommend mods like these.

Tl;dr: The mileage of these mods vary. The enemies will be as easy on any difficulty, but you will be prone to getting one-shot by a stray arrow or ice spike much more often.


Race: High Elf: The magicka boost is essential, and having a regenerate magic quick button is very useful pre late game.


Standing Stone: Mage->Apprentice: The Mage Stone is to level us up faster in our primary skills.  Once high enough, however, we can switch to the Apprentice Stone.  Setting up combos can take time and we are not using enchanting to drop our spell costs ridiculously low, so having a pool of magicka that can be restored quickly is key.  The Apprentice Stone gives good regeneration, and not getting hit by spells by being in the backline nullifies the disadvantage.  Always be wary, however, as only one spell needs to hit you to ruin your day.


Stats: 1M/1H/0S until 200 health, then all magicka.  There are multiple spells that we utilize each combat, and a decent chunk of them are quite costly, so having a good chunk of magicka is essential.  200 health, Tree Rings, and armor spells will mitigate the risk of getting one tapped, as well as give power to Finger of Death, our main source of power. Stamina is absolutely irrelevant for this build, unless you run away frequently.


Major Skills:

-Illusion: Illusion is used for a variety of purposes, and not one of them is for sneaking around.  These are used to lower health for some of your restoration spells, to link other’s health bars so that they may be slain earlier, to distract your foes, and as a panic button when enemies get too close.  Therefore, maximizing the effectiveness of these spells is highly important.

Perks: Illusion Mastery, Illusion Dual Casting, Animage(3/3), Master of the Mind(2/2), Neverworld, Terror, Iron Maiden, Splendor, Mind Thrall

-Restoration: Your main finisher with spells like Finger of Death, Dust to Dust, and Circle of Death.  It also keeps you alive after certain spells or getting hit.

Perks: Restoration Mastery, Restoration Dual Casting, Mercy, Respite, Eternal Flame, Inspire(2/2)


Minor Skills:

-Alteration: This is mainly used for mage armor, so you may keep the casting bonuses of your robes while having just enough armor to squeak by.  This will by no means make you into a tank, but it may save you from a stray attack or two.

Perks: Alteration Mastery, Alteration Dual Casting, Mage Armor(3/3), Ocato’s Preparation, Stability, Sorcerer’s Robes


-Speechcraft: We need a lot of spell tomes for this build, and also wish to utilize shouts when we can.  The speechcraft tree helps with providing affordable prices, while having our shouts be more effective and ready in combat.

Perks: Speech Mastery, Tonal Harmony, Words of Power(2/2), Dovahzulaan




-Novice Robes of Illusion

-Novice Hood

-Any items that increase magicka or magicka regeneration



-Adept Robes of Illusion

-Adept Hood

-Cultist Boots

-Ring of Erudite

-Necklace of Peerless Magicka


“I asked the Lord for their story only once.  It seemed odd that one Altmer could hold so much power, and I simply wanted to know why. The response I received was very odd indeed. They found a strange book in an abandoned library.  They read the text expecting great power.  If only they knew.  For days afterward, they would be plagued with nightmares and hallucinations of realms beyond.  They tried to fight, they tried to free themselves.  But when the Lord enters your mind, you cannot escape.  You can submit, or cease.  So they became the Lord's greatest cultist, and went to Skyrim to unlock their true power, and finish the final act.  You think Akatosh bestowed the gift of Dragonborn to them? HA! Madness, I say, Madness!”


Roleplaying Tips:

-Never wear an amulet of the Divines, or get their blessings.  This does include gifts/blessings from quests like The Book of Love.  The only exceptions are questline items, like the Staff of Magnus and Auriel’s Bow, but only use them as long as necessary.  You have your Lord, all others are false.

-For the most part, you know you have to play the hero, as you must play the star role and heroes come out victorious.  However, as you gain more people on your side, your influence grows.  And it is much easier to enslave a province when the province adores you and would do anything you ask.

-Finally, create a ritual that your character is striving to achieve, and end the game when it has done so, representing bringing the Great One into this world in full power.  If you need inspiration, here is my ritual I conducted. The following requirements are:

-Gather all of the black books.

-Get a Housecarl from every major province (Markarth, Riften, Solitude, Windheml, and Whiterun), as well as getting the follower Ralis Sedarys.
-Find Kahvoskan’s Fang to be used as a Ritual dagger.

-All three words of the Oblivion shout

-Paralyze and Finger of Death

-Make sure as to have slain at least Alduin, Ancanno, Harkon, and Miraak.  You don’t want anything to destroy the world before you do!


The ritual itself was simple; Bring each Housecarl one by one to a designated spot. Paralyze, then kill the using Finger of Death. All five of the ash piles created should form a circle/star. Bring Ralis to the center of the circle. Read then escape all of the Black Books, then proceed to paralyze and kill Ralis, this time with Kahvoskan’s Fang.  Finally, finish the ritual by using all three words of Oblivion




-Mage Armor(Most likely Ebonyflesh, but Dragonhide can work in a pinch)

-Ocato’s Recital

-Spell Twine


-Ash Shell

-Sotha’s Maelstrom



-Shared Trauma

-Greater Simulacrum

-Shadow Legion


-Illusionary Flames/Pyre



-Harrowing Dirge

-Wizard Rend

-Magicka Void


-Scream of Pain

-Purge Magicka



-Lamb of Mara

-Welling Blood

-Fast Healing

-Finger of Death

-Blood Boil

-Circle of Death

-Tree Rings

-Natures Balance


-Sealed Resolve


-Dust To Dust

-Channel Energies



-Become Ethereal


-Wail of the Banshee


-Bend Will

-Phantom Decoy


-Essence Rip


-Splinter Twins

-Slow Time

-Speak Unto the Stars


-Marked for Death

Special Moves

This build’s main strength is the amount of spell combinations that can be used, and their versatility.  While this list will cover the basic special moves, experimentation and spell combinations are key.


Cult of the Unfathomable Sign

Shadow Legion + Frenzy

The Lord takes their enemies' minds and splinters them, creating a physical manifestation to fight them and inducing a rage so fierce they slay themselves.  Typical mortals.


This is the best way to start a fight, and it’s a good way to get out of trouble if enemies are approaching. Simply cast Shadow Legion, and as they group up cast Frenzy.  Afterwards, you can set up your combos on the group, or start taking out any ranged opponents.

Witness the Scriptures

Illusionary Pyre + Dirge + Illusionary Flames

The Lord recalls the words from the scriptures and recants them in the Old Tongue, killing the weak minded while wracking stronger enemies in utter agony.


This is your bread and butter for weakening your enemies for other powerful moves.  The damage done can also kill plenty of weaker enemies straight out, reducing your need to use any finishing spells.

Fell the Great Beast

Wizard Rend + Mute + Magicka Void

Draining the magicka from powerful creatures, they conjure a void that consumes the body and soul, slaying them instantly.


This is primarily used against dragons and dragon priests, as magicka void has a longer charge up time and magicka cost then most spells and therefore not as useful for fodder enemies. Simply wait for their magicka to run out and use Magicka Void. You may need to use Dirge on dragons after they land, as the game tries to pull a fast one on you and keep them alive with 0 health.

Curtain Call

Empathetic Agony + Lamb of Mara + Witness the Scriptures + Finger of Death

The Lord channels energy directly from the Patron, destroying the enemy at the expense of their own mortal shell.

This is your main finishing combo against potent living targets. Get them distracted with Cult of the Unfathomable Sign, cast your spells, and strike. If these are done correctly, you can kill any creature with up to 13 times your health.  With our 200 health, that translates to about 2,600 health!  The best part of this combo is that there are so many things you can tack onto it to make it more potent, like Shared Trauma, Harrowing Dirge, a 1st word Curse shout, etc. Get creative.

Twist the Natural Order

Curse Shout(first) + Lamb of Mara

The Lord tampers at the very fabric of reality, using it to temporarly turn harmful strikes against them into boons, while the attacker suffers the consequences


This is evil to anyone on the other side of it.  How it works is simple.  When a cursed target damages you, they take 3 times, or 300% the damage dealt to you.  Lamb of Mara heals you 35% of the damage dealt to the target, resulting in 105% of the attackers damage healing you instead.  So in short, you regain 5% of the health you took instead of taking damage, as long as the attack doesnt outright kill you.  While Curse only lasts 5 seconds, it is a powerful trump card and a possible panic button if set up properly.  Only use this in desperate situations. This can also be used in tangent with Curtain Call.


Gameplay: The only way I can describe fights against the Lord is…unusual.  They turn the enemies fears and doubts against them, then it seems that they slow, placing spells that dont have any visually harmful effect.  Then, in one swift movement and a flick of their hand, they perish, a chain reaction destroying both mind and soul, leaving a husk if they are lucky, and ashes if not.  It didn't seem to matter how powerful or how numerous the foe.


How you approach combat can be split into four distinct phases that will be discussed below; Diverge, Weaken, Slay, and Recover.

Diverge: This build is a typical mage build, which means you do not want any heat on you.  This means you need diversions, and this build provides plenty.  This phase always takes precedence over other phases, as you can't kill things if you are dead.  Remember that the main goal of the diversions is not just to make sure you don't get swarmed, but also group up enemies so many of your spells can weaken most of the group.  Your Mind Thrall is a useful tool at higher levels that functions as an essential target between you and your foes that cannot turn against you, while providing a vector for some of your spells if necessary.  I actually recommend you pick up a weaker bandit for your thrall so you can cast your level based illusion spells on your target no problem. The other large divergence strategy is using Simulacrum and Cult of the Unfathomable Sign.  The illusions created by the spell are immortal and unaffected by any effect, but last for a short time, forcing you to think and work quickly.  Other shouts and spells that work with diverging are Splinter Twins, Phantom Decoy, Paralyze, and Ash Shell.


Weaken: Most of the spells you are looking to pick up fall under this category, and each of them bring something new to the table.  Empathetic Agony allows any self harm effects like Blood Boil and Finger of Death  to injure anyone affected, while Harrowing Dirge and Shared Trauma allows some extra indirect AoE. If you are low on health and have both time and magicka, Scream of Pain can turn even the most difficult battle into a cakewalk.  Your bread and butter, however, is Witness the Scriptures, which should be used directly before the Slay phase to maximize those effects.


Slay: At the height of each combat, you must use the devastating spells that eviscerates any that oppose you.  These are spells like Finger of Death, Wail of the Banshee, Circle of Death +, etc.  If creatures are immune to these, then distracting them while using Blood Boil is an option that shouldn’t be overlooked.


Recover: Many spells during the Slay phase will directly target your health, and leave it severely depleted.  This will mostly be solved by a single dual cast of Fast Healing, but there are more ways to regain lost health.  If there are any enemies that are only slightly wounded or unscathed, Nature’s Balance and Essence Rip provides a good reversal effect to weaken your enemies and recover yourself.  This also is a good time to replace any buffs that keep you alive or prove their effectiveness, including but not limited to Ebonyflesh, Tree Rings, Sealed Resolve, and Resurgence. Finally, if you need a get out of jail free card, both Become Ethereal and Rout can give room to breath.


These are how most combats will go. However, there are some enemies that I will put extra tips and suggestions on dealing with them.


Ranged Enemies:  Enemies that focus primarily on range can be quite difficult.  With arrows that seem to do so much damage and an unwillingness to move into melee combat, it can be a hassle.  My advice is after diverging any melee enemies first, focus down any ranged units.  After they are dealt with, go back to the other enemies.

Mages:  Mages are probably the most difficult challenge you have to face.  Having all of the benefits of ranged units and with you being weak to magic because of the Apprentice Stone, if given the chance they can kill in one spell.  However, Wizard Rend and Mute will drain their magicka pool rapidly, and turn them into fragile melee units quickly, unless wielding a staff.  If they have a ward, prefacing both of the earlier mentioned spells with Purge Magic will dispel the ward and stagger them, leaving them open to be drained.  

Dragons:  Fell the Great Beast is the best way to take down these winged foes.  They will ignore many spells like Simulacrum, Splinter Twins, Paralyze and Rout.  However, taking on a dragon without Magicka Void is possible, but difficult.  Be very defensive, prioritizing ducking behind cover instead of damaging it.  And yes, you can use Finger of Death to turn the hulking beast into a tiny ash pile.  

Dwemer Automatons:  I am going to break character a bit to say this; these bastards break so many builds it’s not even funny.  Poison, sun, disease, frost, bleed, unperked illusions, even absorption effects have no use on these guys.  They are also tough foes to square against.  This was the main reason I had to incorporate Blood Boil into this build; simply to deal with them.  During the Slay phase, this is your best bet against these foes.  Also, luckily, Wail of the Banshee works wonders when they're significantly wounded. 

Dragon Priests:  Combining the most difficult parts of Mages and Dragons, they can be a challenge if you do not possess Fell the Great Beast.  I highly suggest avoiding these foes until you can get the spells and effects necessary.  If you must fight them without it, then utilize similar strategies to Dragons and always have their magic depleted.



-Volkihar Vampires:  Being a vampire is already one step above most mortals, and the benefits to Illusion they grant is invaluable.  But the main reasons they will join the Volkihar is for the fabled and powerful Ring of Erudite, and the chance to turn a fabled artifact against the god who created it.

-College of Winterhold:  They are holders of arcane knowledge, and that is what the Lord seeks.  So he will find them, join them, and go to Saarthal.  Saarthal is interesting, though, as even the Lord notes the shift in fate that happens when they destroy the wall.  Seeking the power to not be in others hands before he can take a piece, they will go through the questline swiftly, and be quite disappointed when the Psijic Council takes the great source of power.  Nothing the Lord couldn’t overcome, but it is a minor setback.

-Dragonborn: You will fulfill the role of Dragonborn for two reasons. The first is to prevent the ending of the world by Alduin.  The second is the power it offers is nearly unmatched, and grants him the key needed to fully bring the Great One into this realm and bring a new age.  If that means stealing the power of an Aedra and making it their own, then so be it.



Thank you  u/Crmzntears, who inspired a large part of this build with this post here.

 Also thanks, BlueDremora forThe Abyssal build, for being in the right place at the right time and granting me additional inspiration to work with.

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  • Just found this hidden gem and I'm really impressed that this is your first build. Unique concept and roleplay yet seems viable to be realized in-game. I really like how you balance it by using Apprentince since the play-style could actualy be a really OP control build. I have some questions regarding the roleplay;
    1. How do you justify the use of shouts? Since when you progress the main quest then you will have to embark that 'Dragonborn' identity and surround yourself with bunch of Akatosh-thingy (and yea, the temptation to use shouts is something that is often hard to miss when constructing a mage build, haha).
    2. Is there any actual impact after performing that last ritual to call the Lord other than sacrificing your housecarls and Ralis?
    And if you need some pics or perk spread, I'd be glad to help. Good luck and hopefully I can see the end result soon!

    • Thank you for the response! It has been a little busy on my side, hence the late response.

      1. The intent is that this character is tainted by a Old One, stealing the power of a god to become it's conduit.  While Akatosh may have origionally granted this gift, it is his no longer.

      2. I wrote up the ritual a while before posting and havent taken a close look since.  If I remember correctly, the benefits were more symbolic. Slay the willing blood with the dagger of a cult of great beasts, before sundering the barrier from our world or something like that.  I may have to go back and play it again, so I can create a more updated form.

      I would love some assistance with pictures and a perk spread, and I thank you for your feedback!

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