Hey there! Here's my first build at The Skyforge and my "I stopped counting a long time ago" build in 1000+ hours of Skyrim experience. I really like this game and played dozens of builds, from pure warriors and mages to some "pacifist monk" and "lusty argonian maid" variations. Yeah, the last one was tricky. Nevermind :)
But all this time I've been wondering: can I create a build, both efficient and roleplay-friendly, utilizing all the interesting items, tricks and tips Skyrim community found out so far?
The build's main challenge
I wanted to build a two-handed warrior, utilizing Ebony Blade as his primary melee weapon (for role-playing purposes, and because of pure aestetic) and Destruction magic for range attacks. But the main challenge was not to wear any armor and try to reach the armor cap by only using Alteration flesh spells. Yes, you can cast Dragonhide for 80% damage reduction, but what if I don't want to use it? Well, I think I found the answer.
We'll be using the following tricks (that everybody knows about) in this build, avaliable in the vanilla Skyrim:
- Necromage perk for 100% magic absorption and other buffs from gear, potions, perks and standing stones
- Aspect of Terror + Augmented Flames mix for some extra spells damage
- Aetherial Crown for some extra armor from The Lord Stone + magic absorption from The Atronach Stone combined
- Ritual Stone + follower exploit to charge Ebony Blade
About the armor cap:
Well, you can't reach the armor cap without Dragonhide, and Dragonhide is way too heavy to use. We're interested in the passive (or at least quickly accessible) protection here. So, what do we do?
- Without Necromage the Ebonyflesh spell with the Mage Armor perk (2/2) could provide you with 300 armor, The Lord Stone adds another 50 . The Greater Ward spell adds another 80.
- The Necromage perk buffs this 350 armor to 437, or 537 with Greater Ward. Not bad, huh? Now you can reach these annoying archers.
- The Dragon Aspect shout buffs your armor further, and in theory you can even go beyond armor cap for 300 seconds (if I am not wrong, you may reach 680+ armor rating), though I never used it cause shouts don't fit this build well.
So yes, you can be a melee two-handed warrior and don't use any armor. Good!
Alright, ladies and getllemen, let me introduce Dreloth, the Telvanni Blademaster.
Dreloth was one of the most promising apprentices of Tel Naga. He was a charismatic and talkative alchemist, making fun from the tower servants by adding netch jelly into their food. However, the main course of his studies was an interesting mix of Alteration, Illusion and Destruction, which was quite hard, but rewarding. Dreloth was particularly intrerested in amusing combination of Illusion and Fire magic. He had a feeling that this combination could make his fire spells more powerful, though he didn't understand why. Also, he practiced offensive and defensive Restoration magic like Wards or Repel Undead, because his Illusion was too weak to deal with skeletons in the old crypts, where he spent hours collecting bone meal and mort flesh for his Alchemy studies. Dreloth was interested in Enchanting, too, though his master, Neloth, was very pessimistic about his future success in this field.
During one of his "expeditions" a young dunmer found not the old mummies, but the pack of hungry and aggressive vampires. Dreloth contracted Sanguinare Vampiris, but was never able to cure it. That happened just before the Red Mountain eruption, when his master Neloth left Vvardenfel and moved to Solstheim. Dreloth and other apprentices were supposed to move shortly after him, but the eruption of Red Mountain in 4E 05 changed everything. Dreloth was sick, and eventually lost, and nobody ever heard from him since. A decade after, rumours said about the mysterious Nord band lead by a Dunmer with strange eyes. The Dunmer, they said, was invincible. He wore no armor, fought with a greatsword and nobody could even hit him - his reflexes were too quick. His band agreed to help Ulfric Stormcloak and came to negotiations, but was captured at the Skyrim border and transported to Helgen for execution.
Race and Stats:
Birthsign: Lover (changed to Atronach and Lord combination by Aetherial Crown)
Stats at level 50: Magicka 1/Health 1/Stamina 0:
Our split is even between health and magicka, because we want to cast expensive spells and don't want to die instantly from a random arrow in the knee. When buffed, Dreloth had around 650 mana and HP at level 50, which I found quite good.
Skills and perks at level 50:
I put only the essential perks that make this build viable. I also placed skills in the order I leveled them and explained why and how I did it. Feel free to play the way you want.
1. Alchemy, 70. Perks: Alchemist (3/5), Physician, Benefactor, Poisoner, Concentrated Poison, Green Thumb.
You can power-level your Alchemy right after escaping Helgen, collecting Blue Mountain Flowers, Lavender and Hanging Moss (visit Solitude Catacombs). Activate the Lover Stone, go to Whiterun, visit Arcadia, brew poitions and sell them to her in exchange for some extra lessons. Dreloth will regain his Alchemy proficiency within 10 minutes.
2. Speech, 50. Perks: Haggling (1/5), Allure, Merchant
We'll need the Merchant perk to buy skill leveles in the College of Winterhold later, so go to Windhelm, visit Revyn Sadri and complete a small quest for him. Level up your speech to 50 with him and be off.
That's when I started my adventures in the open world. I was naturally leveling up every skill I use (Block, Illusion, Restoration, Destruction, Alteration, Enchanting and Two-Handed) while buying skill training every other level in exchange of some power potions, so here's the list of what I consider a minimum for this build:
3. Restoration, 70. Perks: Novice Restoration, Regeneration, Necromage. And after you became a vampire necromage: Recovery (2/2), Respite.
4. Destruction, 60. Perks: Novice Destruction, Augmented Flames (2/2), Dual Casting, Impact.
5. Illusion, 50. Perks: Novice Illusion, Animage, Hypnotic Gaze, Kindred Mage, Aspect of Terror, Rage
6. Alteration, 70. Perks: Novice Alteration, Apprentice Alteration, Mage Armor (3/3), Adept Alteration, Stability.
100 Alteration is not required to start playing, cause if you obtain the Aetherial Crown, the Necromage perk bonuses + custom Resist Magic (or Resist Fire/Frost/Shock) potions will provide you with some nice magic resistance, even for Legendary. When you reach 100 Alteration, feel free to add Expert Alteration and Atronach to your perks collection.
7. Enchanting, 60. Perks: Enchanter (4/5), Insightful Enchanter.
100 Enchanting is not required for this build to be playable at level 50. Dreloth doesn't use enchanted weapons, so we need only 5 perks in this skill tree.
8. Two-Handed, 70. Perks: Barbarian (2/5), Deep Wounds (2/3), Champion's Stance, Great Critical Charge, Devastating Blow, Sweep.
The main perks here are Sweep and Great Critical Charge, that add some additional health absorption from multiple enemies and mobility in battles. With Ebony Blade we also need some additional crits from Deep Wounds, but you may consider adding your perk points to the Barbarian instead, the choice is yours.
Final gear setup and gear explanation:
Head: Aetherial Crown
Aetherial Crown is a circlet, not armor, and provides benefits we couldn't resist. Must have.
Chest: Telvanni Robes / Archmage Robes
Telvanni Robes is absolutely fantastic and fits this build from the roleplay perspective.
Ring: The Ring of Erudite / Ahzidal Ring of Arcana
The Ring of Erudite is absolutely OP for any mage. Dreloth uses Ahzidal Ring of Arcana only for some tough single enemies, like giants, dragons or dragon priests.
Amulet: any custom enchanted amulet with Fority Two-Handed and Fortify Destruction / The Gauldur Amulet
The Gauldur Amulet is a great choice while our Enchanting skill is low. Then we can change it to the custom amulet.
Gloves: any custom enchanted gloves with Fortify Two-Handed and Fortify Magicka
The choice of gloves and boots is 100% up to you. I used the combination of Thalmor Gloves and Vampire Boots.
Boots: any custom enchanted boots with Forityf Two-Handed and Fortify Carry Weight / Dunmer Shoes enchanted with Fortify Destruction and Fortify Alteration
Dunmer Shoes are bugged and can be enchanted like a chest piece. I didn't use it, though it's still a nice choice.
Weapon: Bloodskal / Stormfang / Any greatsword enchanted with Fiery Soul Trap / Ebony Blade
I just love greatswords, and Ebony Blade fits this build from aestetic and roleplaying perspectives too. Charged with friendly kills, this weapon (buffed with Fortify Two-Handed potions) is viable at level 50 even on Legendary. Before you get this weapon, you may utilize Stormfang which has a powerful enchantment or Bloodskal (with some skill and agility, you can get both without a single fight at level 1). I also recommend a Fiery Soul Trap enchantment because it's cheap, offer a nice 10 pts of fire damage along with a Soul Trap to fill all these Petty and Lesser soul gems you find.
Other Items: Black/White Azura's Star, Ebony Mail
I comleted Azura and Boethia quests just to complete the roleplay part. You can give Ebony Mail to your follower, or use Azura's Star as the infinite Grand Soul Gem - the choice is yours.
Blessings: Blessing of Azura (until you reach 100% Magic Absoption), then Blessing of Mephala
We don't use any of the Eight Divines blessings for the roleplay purposes. Dreloth is the Tribunal devotee.
Food: Vegetable Soup
The playstyle is built around buffs from potions, utitlizing posions and have some funny special moves. Usually, you should apply tactical approach before engaging into combat. You should be aware where the archers and mages are, how many of enemies are present and how would you like to eliminate them - you have tons of moves at your posession.
1. Of course, you should rejoin House Telvanni and return your honorable membership here. Complete all the quests for Neloth (it's also required to get the Telvanni Robes)
2. College of Winterhold. Why don't become the Archmage? Dreloth respected Savos Aren as the College leader (and because he was Dunmer, too), so he decided to take his place. These nords don't know about magic anyway.
3. Dawnguard questline (Volkihar side). Dreloth has been a vampire for a long time, and he's okay with that. Proceed with the questline to get the Ring of Erudite.
4. Tribunal quests: Mephala, Azura, Boethia
5. Main questline: kill the first dragon to unlock Ebony Blade quest
I didn't use shouts at all, cause Dreloth denies that he's a Dragonborn. However, I find Dragon Aspect, Marked for Death and Slow Time very useful - feel free to utilize any shouts you want.
There are many others, and I put only several I find most entertaining.
The Flaming Bed
My favorite crowd control / passive DPS move.
Fortify Alteration potion + Fortify Destruction potion + Dual-Cast Flame Cloak + Paralyze + Dual-Cast Wall of Flames, repeat Paralyze when needed.
Potions buffs your spells duration and damage respectively, while dual-casted Flame Cloak affected by the Necromage perk burns everyone in the room. Wall of Flames buffed by the Fortify Destruction potion hav nice DPS, so just walk among your enemies and laugh.
The Inner Fire
My favorite assassination move.
Fortify Destruction potion + Muffle + Dual-Cast Flame Cloak + Invisibility (potion or spell) + Sneak mode.
Due to Necromage perk, your Flame Cloak damages everyone in a large radius. While you're muffled and invisible, you can't be seen even if you have a low Sneak level. Enjoy watching your enemies health bars melting, while they're running with their weapons drawn and asking "IS SOMEBODY THERE?". Ah, what a pleasure to watch, seriously.
The Dance of Blades
If you want some pure melee fun - here's a move for you.
Fortify Health potion + Fortify Two-Handed potion + Fortify Block potion
With these three potions combined you should be able to rapidly swing with your Ebony Blade and successfully blocking or evading (due to Quick Reflexes) most of the attacks, dancing around your enemy. That's why I love vanilla Ebony Blade, to be honest. You may also add some poisons to your dance (I find Ravage Health + Weakness to Poison combination especially deadful along with Lingerind Damage Health poisons). With Concentrated Poison perk and Ebony Blade you can quickly stack these posions and finish your enemy quicker. If they're immune, you can add Wall of Flames + Flame Cloak combination for some extra DPS.
That's when Ahzidal Ring of Arcana shines.
Equip Archmage Robes (for some extra magicka and const reduction) + Ahzidal Ring of Arcana, Drink Fortify Destruction potion and dual-cast Ignite. With 2/2 of Augmented Flames and Aspect of Terror perk your Ignite will deal 21 damage per second. Buffed with Fortify Destruction potion and dual-casted, this spell will burn a dragon so quick that this creature will land dead in seconds. After a poor dragon is dead, equip everything back and absorb its soul.
If you find any mistakes, typos, etc. - please forgive me, I'll re-read this enty a bit later and fix them. Feel free to suggest any other edits or fixes. This is my first enty at The Skyforge, and I'm glad to be here.