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Skyrim Class: The Grahronaan

Posted by Bloodskal on July 13, 2013 at 8:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Skyrim Class: The Manaphagist

Posted by Bloodskal on July 13, 2013 at 8:15 PM Comments comments (0)

*Build Contains Dragonborn DLC.  Viewer Discretion is advised.*

Tamrielic Lore - “The Staff of Magnus, one of the elder artifacts of Tamriel, was a metaphysical battery of sorts for its creator, Magnus.  When used, it absorbs an enemy’s health and mystical energy.  In time, the Staff will abandon the mage who wields it before he becomes to powerful and upsets the mystical balance it is sworn to protect.”


Most scholars agree upon the notion that the soul of a dead person goes to Aetherius, to continue as a spirit.  I would have agreed with them had I not been… blessed with an unusual gift.  For reasons unknown to me, I am able to feast upon the vitality of any mortal and use their magicka against them.  This guaranteed my survival when I went to Labyrinthian to obtain the Staff of Magnus from Morokei.  While many praise me for conquering the likes of Alduin and Miraak, they have yet to know that this blessing is also a curse to all mages and warlocks who dare challenge my power.

Race: Breton.  The theme of the Manaphagist is to absorb and deplete the magicka of any mage or sorcerer.  Due to the Breton’s Magic Resistance and Dragonskin power, they are thematically the best race to play as.

Major Skills:  Alteration, Destruction, Enchanting

Minor Skills:  One-Handed, Restoration, Block

Gear:  Miraak’s Robes, Gauntlets of Magnus (Fine Armguards/Ulfric’s Bracers enchanted with Fortify Magicka and Fortify One-Handed), Miraak’s Boots, Ahzidal’s Ring of Arcana, Torc of Magnus (Necklace enchanted with Fortify Alteration and Fortify Magicka), Crown of Magnus (Circlet enchanted with Fortify Alteration and Fortify Magicka Regeneration), Amulet of Talos, Spellbreaker

Weapons: Staff of Magnus, Ebony War-Axe, Axe of Devouring (Both Absorb Magicka enchants), Axe of Magnus (Shock Damage and Soul Trap)

Stats: Magicka 3/Health 2/ Stamina 0

Stone:  Lord.

Shouts:  Drain Vitality, Dragonrend, Dragon Aspect, Frost Breath, Fire Breath

The Build

The inspiration for this build came from the fact that the Staff of Magnus has yet to truly be utilized in any Character Build I have seen on here.  Though the in-game description says “Absorb 20 magicka per second; if the target is out of magicka, absorb health instead,” it actually does 20 damage to magicka per second and deals the same amount of damage to health when the target is depleted of magicka.  While this may sound rather disappointing, I found out that when using against dragons, it can prevent a dragon from Shouting if their magicka is depleted to 0!  This allows for the offhand to cast destruction spells at the dragon, thus increasing the total DoT.

As the main source of damage, the Manaphagist relies on his plethora of Destruction spells to deal damage to his targets.  The Shock based spells are ideal for use against mages as they help augment the amount of damage done to their magicka reserves when used with the Staff of Magnus.  Depending on the type of dragon he faces, he will use a spell that is opposite of the elemental shout that the dovah uses.  Frost-based spells have a chance to slow down the speed that a dragon flies.  Freeze, a new spell that is only obtained when equipping Ahzidal’s Ring of Arcana, deals 30 points of Frost Damage to Health and stamina when both Augmented Frost perks are taken and also has the effect of slowing down a target for 15 seconds.  This is very ideal against fire-breathing dragons as the Manaphagist constantly drains its health while it is flying.  As for ice-breathing dragons, the Ignite spell (also from Ahzidal’s Ring of Arcana) can deal 6 points of flame damage for 15 seconds when augmented with both Augmented Flames perks.  This DoT spell can stack upon itself, increasing the potential total damage dealt.

Alteration acts as a defense mechanism for the Manaphagist.  Perks within the skill tree, such as Atronach and Magic Resistance, increases his survival rates against mages.  In fact, the constant 30% Spell Absorption effect from the Atronach perk makes facing Morokei extremely easy, EVEN ON MASTER!  This is due to the fact that the Dragon Priest mainly uses the Staff of Magnus as his offense.  Because of this, the battle can easily be won with constant spamming of spells.  Though the Atronach perk does not always absorb spells, Magic Resistance (via Lord Stone, Racial Ability, and perk of same name) can kick in later on to help mitigate the spell damage incurred in battle.

The Manaphagist is quite capable of creating powerful enchanted artifacts.  An interesting tidbit that I learned about the Staff of Magnus is that the Creation Kit confirms it to be an Alteration staff.  To decrease the cost of the charge, the circlet and necklace are enchanted with the Fortify Alteration.  This in turn also decreases the spell cost to cast a Flesh Spell.  This is very useful when facing melee combatants.  When the Manaphagist is depleted of his magicka reserves, he can rely on a war-axe enchanted with two separate Absorb Magicka effects so that he can cast spells in the off-hand.  The other Absorb Magicka effect comes from the Drainspell Bow that can be found in Labyrinthian.  There is a chance that you may not find it on the body of a spectral Draugr (according to the UESP), so it is strongly advised to save right before entering Labyrinthian. 

Due to the nature of this build being DoT based, the Manaphagist wields an Ebony War-Axe in one hand as the Hack and Slash perk deals 3 points of damage for 5 seconds.  The bleeding damage from the perk can be indefinitely stacked upon each swing and they count as separate sources of damage.  When stacked with an elemental cloak, the ignite spell casted on the target, and an elemental wall spell, the DoT is ridiculously powerful, especially when stacked with the Fire Breath Shout.

Restoration can play quite the vital role in the matter of a life and death situation.  The Lesser Ward spell can completely negate the amount of damage dealt from a dragon’s breath attack.  So there isn’t a need to cast the Greater Ward spell against one as it consumes more magicka.  However, this principle differs largely from facing sorcerers.  Depending on the level of the target, the Manaphagist will cast a level based ward spell in one hand while making use of the Staff of Magnus.  Occasionally there will be a need to heal any wounds sustained in battle, so make sure to back up a little and cast a healing spell such as Close Wounds or Fast Healing for that matter.

While Block may be quite the odd choice, shields can mitigate the amount of elemental spell damage dealt by a magic-casting foe by 50% once the Elemental Protection perk is taken.  This makes the Manaphagist practically invincible against most mages and dragons.  With an elemental cloak and Miraak’s Robes, it is rather quite easy to kill a target without having to deal a single blow to them.  This strategy can be viewed as an offensive turtle in a certain respect.  It is advised to cast a Restoration spell to restore any damage from a higher-tier target such as a Dwarven Sphere or a Falmer Gloomlurker for that matter.  Shields also help increase the Armor rating of a mage and they do not count against the Mage Armor perks, so it will help make facing melee targets a bit easier.

Level 50 Perk Spread

Destruction:  Being the main source of offense, all of your spells will do 50% more damage than their base value when coupled with all of the Augmented perks.  The spell cost reduction from the Spell-Casting ranks help lower the cost of magicka consumed to deliver damage.

Alteration:  The main source of defense, Ebonyflesh can increase the total Armor Rating up to 300 points when all three Mage Armor perks are taken.  Certain armor pieces such as Miraak’s Boots and Ulfric’s Bracers benefit from this as well as providing a bit of extra armor.  Stability will increase the duration of the spell’s effect to last 90 seconds in combat.  The Atronach perk synergizes rather well with Miraak’s Robes and Boots, being able to achieve a constant 50% spell absorption effect.  Dragonskin will allow the Manaphagist to absorb all spells for 60 seconds per game day. 

Enchanting:  To help preserve the amount of charged consumed by the Staff of Magnus, both a necklace and circlet are enchanted with Fortify Alteration to decrease its cost by 50%.  Furthermore, the Soul Squeezer perk (according to the Game Guide) makes all soul gems provide 250 more energy for recharging items.  This will help consume less soul gems in the process.

One Handed:  The only melee weapon that the Manaphagist uses is the Ebony War-Axe.  This will come into use against targets that are highly resistant to magicka (eg. Orchendor).  It is also an alternative form of offense when depleted of magicka.  When enchanted with both Absorb Magicka enchantments, this will easily allow the Manaphagist to take on the role of a Spellsword.

Restoration:  As a defense mechanism, the Manaphagist will heal himself from time to time as well as making good use of wards in combat.  The Ward Absorb perk will absorb 25% of magicka from incoming spells, which will help offset their cost and sustain them for a longer period of time.  This will make the Spellbreaker Shield much more powerful against dragons as the ward it produces when blocking doesn’t consume any magicka while at the same time fueling your magicka reserves.  Also, 50% more magicka regeneration from both Recovery perks is really nice when only one piece of armor is enchanted with this effect.

Block:  Unlike most armor pieces, a shield can increase the armor rating of a mage without nullifying the effect of the Mage Armor perks.  It also helps mitigate the amount of magic done by a mage when activating the block animation.  Once the Shield Charge perk is taken, you can easily knock down mages and use the Staff of Magnus to further weaken their magicka reserves.  The same principle can be applied to melee targets with using an appropriate Destruction spell instead of the staff.

Essential Quests

  • Main Questline (unlocking Fire Breath and Dragonrend, as well as Dragonborn Questline)
  • College of Winterhold Questline (Staff of Magnus)
  • Dragonborn Questline (Miraak’s Clothing, unlocking Wind Stone, and Dragonborn Frost power)
  • The Final Descent (Dragon Aspect Power)
  • The Only Cure (For Spellbreaker)

Gameplay Tactics

The Magebane:  This is the main strategy aimed against all mages.  First, utilize the Drain Vitality shout with up to two words of power.  This will stagger the mage and deal 5 points of damage to their magicka reserves.  Cast a Shock spell at the target and cast the Staff in the other.  Once the mage becomes neutralized, he or she will stand still and won’t be able to attack at all.

Offensive Defense:  This strategy mitigates the incoming damage you receive while at the same time decreasing their health considerably.  Simply cast an appropriate cloak spell and flesh spell while having a shield blocking their attacks.  At their feet, cast a wall spell of the same element chosen for the cloak.  Each attack from the target has a chance to spawn a Tentacle Explosion, which does considerable damage.  Give it about 10 seconds and targets will be sleeping with the Slaughterfishes. 

Dovahbane:  As previously noted, dragons can potentially be disabled from shouting when the Staff of Magnus depletes their magicka.  While they are shouting, it is advised to have a ward up when draining them.  Using the Dragonrend shout, you can keep a dragon on land while casting the staff and a destruction spell that the dragon is weak against.  Due to the low cooldown of Dragonrend, you can use it to keep the dovah on land and thus preventing them from shouting you to death.


Frozen Hell:  A DoT based maneuver, the Manaphagist freezes his target with the Frost Breath Shout once he has obtained the Dragonborn Frost power from Apocrypha.  Depending on the strength of the shout, it will deal 15-27 points of Frost Damage (when Augmented Frost perks are taken) for 5 seconds.  While encased for 15 seconds, the target can potentially still be damaged by the Frost Cloak for a fraction of its damage output.  During this time, the Manaphagist will hack and slash away until the target breaks free.  When that happens, cast a Wall of Frost where they stand and activate the North Wind power (from the Wind Stone), which does 25 points of damage for 10 seconds.  This combination can be pretty damn deadly!

Perma-Paralyzer:  This is a rather straightforward tactic.  When the Manaphagist receives the Blessing of Talos, he wears the Amulet of Talos and activates the Dragon Aspect shout to reduce cost of a Shout.  The Manaphagist uses his Frost Breath augmented with the Dragonborn Frost ability to encase his target in a block of ice with the first word of power, dealing 15 points of damage per second for 5 seconds.  The shout will fully cool down 3 seconds BEFORE his foe breaks free!  So it’s completely possible to spam this attack and finish many targets this way.

Fury of Red Mountain:  As previously mentioned, the Manaphagist can make ample use of the DoT that Flame based spells have to offer.  He will cast a Flame Cloak spell (8 fire damage per second for 60 seconds) when in melee combat and spray the floor where the target is standing with the Wall of Flames spell (50 fire damage per second).  Then he will stack a couple Ignite spells (6 fire damage per second for 15 seconds) and switch over to the Ebony Axe.  To add fuel to the damage output, the Manaphagist utilizes his Fire Breath shout which can do 75-157.5 Fire Damage due to taking both Augmented Flames perks and the Fire Within ability that is obtained from Paarthurnax.  From there, it is a simple axe and board technique that will stack up in a lot of Damage over a period of time.  This method is extremely effective if the Manaphagist chooses to become a vampire hunter

Skyrim Class: The Quarra

Posted by Bloodskal on July 13, 2013 at 7:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Skyrim Class: The Toxicologist

Posted by Bloodskal on July 11, 2013 at 11:20 AM Comments comments (0)

*Dragonborn Spoilers*

Greetings everybody and welcome to the first Character Class of TES Orderl!  This was one of the earlier characters I have created and it was the most popular Alchemist Build of a notable Skyrim dedicated website.  So I have a good bit of experience with Character Class posting.  The purpose of this post is to show you, the viewer, an example of what is a good presentation.  Before I go further into detail, I will say that a bit of this uses some things from the Dragonborn DLC. So those who wish to remain spoiler-free, please leave while your Dragonborn virgin eyes are still functioning properly. Those of you that don’t apply to that rule or just don’t give a shit about spoilers, continue reading.

The Toxicologist

De Rerum Dirennis – “Asliel remembered that he had once experimentally mixed glow dust and vampire dust together once and created a powerful poison. It was simple enough to steal a little redwort from the barbarian’s camp, mix that with the vampire and glow dust mixture, and creat a potion that was in fact an invisibility potion. After curing himself, he gave the poison to the barbarians.”

The Toxicologist is a former Morag Tong Agent who built quite a reputation for his mastery of the alchemical arts. Besides accepting writs and gaining approval to carry out the assigned mission, he was tasked with creating recipes for deadly poisons to be used by other members. When the Grandmaster decided to take credit for everything he accomplished, he no longer associated himself with the Morag Tong and decided to take his talents to Skyrim where he would probably join the Dark Brotherhood. A few strings were pulled to imprison the lad and have him executed at Helgen. Though the Tribunal blessed him to live another day, he knew that he had to enact his revenge on those that betrayed him.

Race: Dunmer. They have the most skill bonuses for the build and most Morag Tong members are Dark Elves.

Stone: The Serpent. This is the perfect power to signify the importance of poisons.

Major Skills: Alchemy, Light Armor, Alteration

Minor Skills: Sneak, One-Handed, Restoration

Key Shouts: Marked For Death, Slow Time

Stats: 2/3/0 in Magicka/Health/Stamina.


The Build

The primary focus of this build revolves around the use of various poisons to weaken his targets. As such, it is natural to invest heavily in Alchemy to produce foul concoctions. Many targets are susceptible to their effects, Dragons being one of them. However, there are certain enemies that are quite resistant to poisons such as Draugr, Vampires, and Automatons. In order to compensate for this minor flaw, the gameplay was altered into a Spellsword/Rogue of sorts.

The Toxicologist relies on his mastery of stealth to bypass certain foes and administer poisons to targets that are not immune to them. When discovered and forced to fight in open combat, he simply coats his dagger with his choice of poison and keeps delivering hits with it until his foe is fallen. To help mitigate any incoming damage, he wears the armor of his former faction in combat. Even though there is strong resentment for the Grandmaster and the rest of the guild, he still reveres Mephala and the ways of the Morag Tong very much.

Restoration serves the purpose of sustaining injuries incurred in combat as well as making good use of the Poison Rune. Its effect deals 3 points of damage for 30 seconds to anything that activates it. When stacking with multiple damage poisons, this can make quite the deadly combination. Speaking of stacking, the Slow Time shout can allow for stacking poisons rather damn fast. Whether it be Lingering Damage Health or Damage Magicka poisons, the Toxicologist can make his foe’s body deteriorate in a matter of seconds. The Marked for Death shout can be utilized as part of a DoT strategy. It gives the target an armor rating penalty (25-75 points of damage to armor rating), as well as a loss of 1-3 points of health per second for 60 seconds. With three words of power, it only takes 40 seconds to shout, assuming that there is no cool-down reduction taken.

As a master poisoner, his study of magic has granted him the ability to emit a ranged poison attack that paralyzes an enemy for 5 seconds and also deals 25 points of damage. During that time, you can stack poison upon poison to amplify the amount of damage that can be potentially achieved. Through time spent with the Telvanni wizards, he learned how to fortify his defenses further more as well as manipulating the body to stand perfectly still.

Level 50 Build

Alchemy: As a master of the alchemical arts, the Toxicologist spends much of his time concocting various brews for any occasion that he may run into. Poisons are his specialty, so he stocks up on them big time. Green Thumb is great for gathering ingredients as it produces a duplicate of that ingredient. Concentrated Poison helps preserve each and every bottle of poison as the coated blade can affect a target twice. Due to extensive work with poisons, the Toxicologist is able to resist half the damage sustained from poison based enemies (Falmer, Chaurus, Frostbite Spiders, etc.)

Light Armor: When sneaking quietly, Light Armor reduces the likelihood of being discovered due to its low weight. While the Armor Rating may not be necessarily high, the Deft Movement perk gives the Toxicologist a 10% chance to avoid all damage when suited in a full set of Light Armor. This can be a difference maker if low on quantity of poisons. In the case that the Toxicologist needs to escape, Unhindered removes the speed penalty that is given when wearing armor. So he can sprint away from battle if he needs to.

Alteration: The Toxicologist is by no means a tank in combat. After being discovered by a poisoned enemy, he casts a Flesh Spell to increase the Armor Rating so that he can survive a little longer in combat. The Stability Perk ensures that a Flesh Spell stays active for 1.5 times its duration. The Paralyze spell acts as a minor spell version of the Serpent Stone. It too is affected by Stability and increases its duration to 15 seconds. The Magic Resistance perks and Atronach perk are very much useful against mages. With a 30% chance to absorb spells, this can help fuel your magicka for casting Poison Runes. Even if the Atronach Perk doesn’t kick in, there is that constant 30% magic resistance that lessens the damage incurred by spells.

Sneak: Being a naturally skilled Assassin, the Toxicologist can sneak quietly in the shadows. With the Muffled Movement and Silence perk, he is able to achieve 100% muffled movement. Should he be discovered, he can silently roll away to a safe spot to wait for the coast to be clear. For severely crippling a target, Backstab multiplies the damage dealt by a One-Handed weapon 6 times its normal output.

One-Handed: Now how can anybody poison a target if he or she does not have a weapon coated with a deadly concoction? That is where daggers come in. They swing the fastest compared to any other weapons. However, their reach is the shortest as well. So it is wise to ambush when sneaking compared to running in slashing whatever is in your way.

Restoration: It may be an odd skill choice for the Toxicologist, but thanks to Dragonborn, he has a new spell known as the Poison Rune. As previously mentioned, it deals 3 points of damage for 30 seconds. This also can be used in a DoT strategy. Though he can rely on potions to heal the damage he sustains, he is more specialized in poisons. With the Adept perk and Regeneration perk, he can cast the Close Wounds spell which will heal his health by 150 points. This ensures his survivability rate when against stronger enemies.


Essential Quests

From the Ashes: To be able to buy the Poison Rune spell from Talvas.

March of the Dead: Prerequisite of Served Cold.

The Final Descent: Also Prerequisite of Served Cold.

Served Cold: To get Morag Tong Armor set.

The Hidden Twilight: To gain Mora’s Agony

Gameplay Notes:

In the case that there are no more poisons, there is the Paralyze spell from the Alteration skill tree, as well as the Serpent Stone and the enchanted Ebony Dagger we will craft with a filled Grand/Black Soul Gem to create the Tentacle of the Bull Netch. The point of having numerous options to paralyze a target is simple. Should the Toxicolgist run out of magicka, he must rely on either his once-a-day power or his trusty dagger to do the work for him. When it comes to mages, he prefers to be able to sneak behind them and kill them swiftly. However, he has several brews to deal with them such as Bane of Julianos, Nullifying of Mana, and Aetherial Nightmare. Combine the stacking of these poisons with the Slow Time shout and you have yourself the ultimate Mage killer. When facing Dragons, the Toxicologist is more likely to survive against the Fire-Breathing Dragons due to resistance to both magic and fire resistances stacking with each other. Though immune to Paralysis effects, they are vulnerable to poisons generally speaking. So a bit of stacking poisons will help in the process of slaying a Dragon. When fighting the Ash Spawn in March of the Dead, they are immune to poisons and have a chance to resist paralysis. So you will need to attack a couple times, run away for a little bit, heal yourself, and repeat the process.

Tribunal Poisons

Mephala’s Sting:  Scathecraw, Imp Stool, Skeever Tail

Effects:  Ravage Health, Lingering Damage Health, Damage Health

Boethiah’s Grip:  Netch Jelly, Human Flesh, River Betty

Effects:  Paralysis, Damage Health

Azura’s Nectar:  Emperor Parasol Moss, Deathbell, Chaurus Egg

Effects:  Damage Health, Weakness to Poison

Other Recipes

The Horror: Cyrodilic Spadetail, Namira’s Rot, Skeever Tail

Effects:  Fear, Ravage Health

Bane of Julianos: Hanging Moss, Blue Mountain Flower, Namira’s Rot

Effects:  Damage Magicka + Damage Magicka Regeneration

Nullifying of Mana:  Chaurus Eggs, Deathbell, Trauma Root

Effects:  Slow + Weakness to Poison + Damage Magicka

Aetherial Nightmare:  Cyrodilic Spadetail, Eye of Saber Cat, Namira's Rot

Effects: Damage Magicka, Ravage Health, Fear

Life Bane:  River Betty, Deathbell, Giant Lichen

Effects:  Damage Health + Weakness to Poison + Slow

Warrior Bane:  Bone Meal, Ash Creep Cluster, Scathecraw

Effects:  Damage Stamina + Ravage Stamina


Ensnared Heart:  The body is confined by your minion from Apocrypha, allowing the poison to be administered directly into the victim’s heart.

Requires: Mora’s Agony + Marked for Death + Mephala’s Sting


Toxic Overdose:  A foul, venomous spit will emit from thy mouth.  Causing the target to lie motionless, the afflicted is subject to be further weakened and be over-exposed to high doses of toxins.

Requires:  Serpent Stone + Azura’s Nectar + Poison Rune


Tribunal’s Incursion:  In the case that his life may be in danger, the Toxicologist calls out to the Tribunal to deliver the final blow.  Most victims never recover from the damage dealt.

Requires:  Azura’s Nectar + Boethiah’s Grip + Mephala’s Sting


That about wraps it up. Whenever you feel like presenting your own Character Class, be sure to use this as an example for how to make your post an excellent post. Formatting does NOT have to be the exact same as this. If you want more examples of how to rock an awesome presentation, please check out some of the most popular builds of The Skyrim Blog (click on it to go to said page)!