Skyrim Character Building » Discussions

Character Build: The Torch of Meridia

Tags: #Roleplaying  #Mods  #Race: Dunmer  #Ordinator  #Character Build: Elementalist  #Character Build: Spellsword 
  • February 11, 2021

    The sun sets over the Hall of the Vigilant as Stendarr’s acolytes finish their meals and prepare for their nightly prayers. As the last vigilant closes his tome, he snuffs out the torches lining the hall, and retires to his quarters. Nothing is heard but the howling of the freezing wind.

    Suddenly, a shadow descends from the mountain above, followed by the sound of a dozen footsteps, and the spray of blood against the wooden walls.

    An apprentice vigilant wakes to the scent of death and the sound of the screams of his brethren. The vampires were upon them, just as Isran said.

    He runs for his life, carrying nothing but his tome and Amulet. Out of the Hall he sprints, towards nowhere in particular, until he can run no more. Collapsing into the snow, he begins to fade, his eyes heavy, and his lungs gasping for air. Until he sees her.

    A woman with eyes as black as night, yet warm as the morning sun. She marches towards the overrun Hall, carrying a blade of radiant energy, without any hesitation in her step.
    The vigilant turns, but before he can look upon his guardian angel once more, an explosion that rivaled the Blessed Crucible rocks the earth around him, and then silence. No more screams, no more roars...just the crackling of a roaring fire, and the smell of burnt corpses.


    The Torch of Meridia carries the resolve to drive the darkness from Tamriel through the purging flames and cleansing light of the Lady of Infinite Energies, Meridia. Bearing a flame in the left hand, and the mighty Dawnbreaker in the right, the Torch drives to cleanse Tamriel of the vile undead, allowing their spirits to finally rest.
    This build is not only an explosive and fun way to burn your enemies to a crisp, but an excellent story-driven build, which explores the relationship between Meridia and her champion. Although quite the level investment, the playstyle of this build is tons of fun, allowing you to become a walking pillar of fire and light with a gorgeous blade of sun to compliment it.



    Required DLC:



    Required Mods:

    Realm of Lorkhan - Freeform Alternate Start OR Alternate Start - Live Another Life

    I very much enjoy the idea that the Dragonborn was created by Lorkhan himself, and that Meridia laid a curse upon his creation to create a Mer, an elf who despises Lorkhan for his trickery of the Aedra. However, if you wish to have your Torch discover Meridia through humble beginnings, LAL is still a great way to start.

    Ordinator - Perks of Skyrim

    Pretty much the core of this build, a great way to overhaul the perk system for a much more enjoyable experience than Vanilla.

    Apocalypse - Magic of Skyrim

    Ocato’s Recital is a fantastic spell and a large part of this build’s combat style. It’s possible to run this build without Ocato’s Recital, but the prep time for combat is significantly higher and requires a lot more investment into Magicka to make it effective. There are also some great fire spells in this mod as well.

    Thunderchild - Epic Shouts and Immersion

    Required for Life Stream, an excellent shout that gives a lot of sustain in combat, at least outdoors.

    Wintersun - Faiths of Skyrim

    I love this mod. It adds so much immersion to the game and is fantastic for roleplay. Plus an awesome combat power to boot!


    Suggested Mods:

    Imperious - Races of Skyrim

    While it’s not absolutely necessary, I very much enjoy the racials from this mod.

    Summermyst - Enchantments of Skyrim

    Lots of very fun enchantments here to experiment with if you’re looking for a different experience than vanilla enchanting.

    Diverse Dragons

    Makes combat against dragons a lot more fun, but otherwise unnecessary.

    LeanWolf’s Better-Shaped Weapons

    A decent mod for overhauling weapons, but necessary if you want to run two-handed on this build and still use Dawnbreaker.

    Cloaks of Skyrim

    I enjoy the looks of the cloaks in this mod, and they're very fitting for Skyrim’s harsh winter weather. Optional for aesthetic purposes.

    Equippable Tomes - Belt-Worn Books

    Again, this mod is mostly for aesthetics, but the tomes grant some awesome enchantments and passives, so I highly recommend it.

    Warmonger Armory

    This mod is specifically for the Belt-Worn Dragon Priest Masks, as the Konahrik Mask fits this build extremely well, but looks ugly as sin, as do most dragon priest masks. Again, completely optional if you want to minimize your load order.

    Learnable Archmage Robes Enchantment

    A great mod if you want that all-around spell cost reduction instead of specializing in one magic class.


    The Character

    Name: Kalista

    Race: Dunmer

    Standing Stone: The Warrior OR The Mage (Early-Game)/The Lord (Late-Game)

    Major Skills: One-Handed/Two-Handed, Destruction, Restoration, Speech

    Minor Skills: Enchanting, Block, Light Armor/Heavy Armor

    Additional Skills: Alteration, Archery 

    I made this character a Dunmer for role-play reasons. Because I began using Realm of Lorkhan, I leaned towards the cursed Mer that Meridia had a hand in creating under Lorkhan’s nose. For this reason, I chose Dunmer, however, you are completely free to do as the Wintersun mod suggests and create your Torch as an Altmer. Breton is also a decent choice if you’re looking for a more combat-oriented approach instead of a roleplay focused character.

    Additionally, you have a few choices here when it comes to the build itself. If you installed Better-Shaped Weapons, you have the option to run this build with Two-Handed, as LeanWolf created a version of the mod that gives you a Dawnbreaker Greatsword that you can find at the end of Forelhost. Armor choices are flexible as well. Because I prefer a more movement-based combat style, I opted for Light Armor for this build, however, you are free to run Heavy Armor if you prefer a more juggernaut-style of combat.

    Finally, as you can probably tell, this is a bit of a level investment. I recommend either a fast-leveling mod such as Faster Skill Leveling Ultimate by LolzMan1325, or a mod that grants you more perk points, such as More Perk Points Per Level by flatline115 if you want to get into the end-game a bit faster, but if you’re okay with running the long game, then you can continue without these mods.


    The Build


    Level: ~56

    Stat Investment

    This is a spellsword build, so an investment in both Stamina and Magicka is a must. However, once you reach around 250 of each, you can feel free to invest the rest in either one rather than spreading yourself thin on both. Until then, the spread goes as follows:

    1 Magicka/2 Health/1 Stamina

    One Handed


    While Dawnbreaker is going to be your weapon of choice, you’ll find that it will function more as a delivery device for your Spellscribed Restoration spells (i.e. Lamb of Mara and Vampire’s Bane), so we’re not going to invest in Clash of Champions and Cross Cut completely, since we won’t be needing them too much. If you’re running Two-Handed, Simply go down the Greatsword tree as much as you feel like investing.


    Phew, lots of perk investment, I know. But this is a fire build, and these perks are almost too good not to take. If you’re running Heavy Armor, then you can drop Outburst if you feel like it, since you probably won’t be dropping too far below 75% very often.


    Again, lots of perk investment here, but these are a bit more malleable than our Destruction investment. If you don’t see yourself taking too much damage and having your fights end quickly (lower combat difficulty and all that), feel free to drop Sacred Flame and Eternal Flame. Exorcist is optional as well, but I enjoy having the option to switch from fire to radiant damage when fighting undead, so drop this and Hallowed Burial if you want the extra perks for other trees.


    We’re going to be utilizing some great shouts here for this build, and Force Redoubled + Merciless Storm are the only way to make the Fire Breath shout bearable to use because of its absurd cooldown. Dovahzulaan, while optional, can make some awesome combinations of shouts for taking down dragons such as Dragonrend + Fire Breath, or Fire Breath + Life Stream.


    This is a spellsword build. You’re going to be wielding a spell in your left hand and Dawnbreaker in your right, so Might and Magic is an absolute must, though you can drop Power Echoes if you don’t rely on Spellscribe as much. Soul Siphon is also a fantastic perk, since Dawnbreaker has a disappointing amount of charges for a Daedric Artifact.


    We’re going to be wielding Dawnbreaker + Destruction/Restoration spell most of the time, but when our Magicka runs out, we’re going to be utilizing a bit of an interesting item that I enjoy the concept of very much; A torch. Yes, a torch. I saw this idea in a build that I found by Constantine on Tamriel Vault, for their build called The Beacon of Meridia, and as I tried it, I found it a hell of a lot of fun, and appropriate for a Champion of Meridia build. If you’re running Heavy Armor, feel free to drop the Block Runner perk and go with Power Bash instead for that extra damage and stagger, and if you’re against the idea of using a torch for blocking, feel free to use Auriel’s Shield or the Dawnguard Rune Shield in place of the torch.

    Light Armor

    I enjoy the momentum-based combat that Light Armor gives you, but if you’d rather run into the fray and stand your ground, you are welcome to play this build with Heavy Armor instead. Keen Senses is a purely aesthetic perk that I enjoy having due to the ugly light armor helmets, but if you don’t really care about aesthetics, feel free to put this point into another perk, such as Into the Maelstrom or Initiative, or even in a completely different tree if you’d like.


    Additional Skills

    We’re not really going to invest any perk points in Alteration or Archery. These skills are more for being able to access better Flesh spells and a bit more damage when we get Auriel’s Bow. If you have some extra perk points kicking around, I’d suggest investing in the Spellblade perk in the Alteration tree, and the Clean Kill perk in the Archery tree. If you’re really serious about utilizing Auriel’s Bow, Hunt Together is a fun perk and helps take some pressure off of you if you’re running Light Armor. Other than that, there’s not much to say about these skills.


    The Gear

    Main Gear

    Head: Konahrik


    Enchantment: Konahrik


    Body: Dawnguard Light OR Ancient Falmer 


    Enchantment: Skein of Magnus (Archmage Robes enchantment) OR Fortify Destruction + Magicka Regen


    Hands: Dawnguard Light OR Ancient Falmer


    Enchantment: Fortify Light Armor


    Feet: Dawnguard Light OR Ancient Falmer


    Enchantment: Fortify One-Handed


    Main Hand: Dawnbreaker 


    Enchantment: Dawnbreaker


    Off-Hand: Torch OR Auriel’s Shield OR Dawnguard Rune Shield


    Amulet: Fortify Health


    Ring: Fortify Restoration (If you DON’T have Skein of Magnus) OR Fortify Destruction (If you DO have Skein of Magnus)

    Modded Gear

    Cloak: Cloak - Dragon Priest (This is completely up to you, I prefer the torn-up and rugged appearance of the dragon priest cloak, so go with whatever you like!)

    Tome: Dragonblood OR The Archon’s Tome

    Early game I opted for a set of scaled armor. It has a decent armor rating and does the job until you have access to the dawnguard stuff. After the Dawnguard questline I went with the Ancient Falmer set for the look, but if you’re not a fan of it the Dawnguard light set works perfectly fine. As for heavy armor options Iron/Steel works well for early game until you gain access to heavy Dawnguard stuff. Ebony works well in place of the Dawnguard set if you can get your hands on an unenchanted set. As for weapons before you get Dawnbreaker, I went with a Skyforge Steel Sword, since I started the Companions questline first, but an Imperial Sword works just as well if you go with the Civil War questline first.


    Spells and Abilities





    Flesh Spells (Oakflesh, Stoneflesh, Ebonyflesh)


    Ocato’s Recital






    Flame Cloak


    Flames (Early)




    Scorching Hands


    Wall of Flames (Late)




    Bane of the Undead




    Healing Blossom


    Lamb of Mara


    Stendarr’s Aura


    Vampire’s Bane




    Merciless Storm




    Supreme Light (Wintersun: Devotee of Meridia)




    Become Ethereal




    Fire Breath


    Life Stream (Thunderchild)

    Custom Abilities


    Veil of Energies

    (Ocato’s Recital: Flesh Spell, Healing Blossom, Flame Cloak/Stendarr’s Aura)

    Kalista invokes a veil of Meridia, calling down a mystical veil that fortifies her and burns her enemies to a crisp.


    Voice of Meridia

    (Fire Breath + Supreme Light)

    Kalista speaks with the voice of Meridia, scorching her enemies as she calls down a ray of destructive light that leaves the undead nothing but a pile of smoldering ash.


    Rain of Vengeance

    (Fire Breath + Merciless Storm + Life Stream)

    Kalista unleashes a devastating blast of fire from her mouth, and calls down a healing rain to restore her energy as she engages her foes in combat, scorching them with devastating fire magic.


    Light of Dawn

    (Spellscribe + Lamb of Mara + Scorching Hands)

    Delivering a devastating blow from Dawnbreaker, Kalista follows up with Scorching Hands, setting her enemy ablaze as she absorbs its energy, adding it to her own.


    Invoke Destruction

    (Spellscribe + Vampire’s Bane + Bombardment)

    Kalista strikes her undead foe with an explosive blast from Dawnbreaker, and as her enemy is reeling, annihilates it with a series of destructive fireballs that leave nothing but charred ash.


    Pillar of Flames

    (Veil of Energies (Flame Cloak) + Become Ethereal)

    Kalista transforms into a pillar of fire, becoming invulnerable while her flames rip through the environment, destroying all in their path.


    Archon of Meridia

    (Veil of Energies (Stendarr’s Aura) + Bane of the Undead + Become Ethereal)

    Kalista becomes an invincible archon of light, searing the undead around her, causing them to flee in terror before they are ultimately destroyed by Meridia’s purging light.


    Ultimate: Beacon of Kilkreath

    (Fire Breath + Flamestrike + Supreme Light (Undead)/Bombardment (Other))

    Kalista marks a powerful foe with a deadly fire breath, calling down a cataclysmic meteor swarm upon her target. Should Meridia’s flames somehow leave her target alive, she smites her mighty foe with a beacon of cleansing light, or a torrent of deadly fireballs.

    Roleplaying and Quests


    The Story Begins


    Realm of Lorkhan - From Divine Beginnings…


    Kalista is a dragonborn perfectly crafted by Lorkhan, touched by a curse of Meridia. The Lady of Infinite Energies had to give up her aedric heritage for opposing Lorkhan, so in order to get back at the et’Ada for suppressing her light and forcing her to embrace the Daedra, she applied her touch to the dragonborn and turned her into a Mer; an elf who despises Lorkhan for the deceiver he is. Kalista leaves Lorkhan’s Realm, refusing all but the most basic of boons (Flames tome, Healing tome, basic weapon and armor) and descends to Helgen, where she sees a massive black dragon fly off towards Riverwood.


    Live Another Life - From Humble Beginnings…


    Kalista is a Mer from a far-off land:
    “I came by ship to Skyrim.”


    Kalista is an Altmer acolyte who came to Skyrim to make a new living for herself in Solitude. Seeing the realm in the midst of a civil war, she joins the Imperial Legion to snuff out the rebellion and put an end to the conflict that plagues Skyrim.


    “I am a refugee from Morrowind.”


    Kalista is a Dunmer who was exiled from Morrowind for daedra worship. Hoping to start a new life in Skyrim, she seeks out the Companions Guild in Whiterun for an opportunity to make a living, uncovering The Circle’s dark secret in the process.


    Where to go from here?


    The Companions


    Seeking to prepare herself for the return of the dragons, Kalista seeks the aid of the Companions Guild of Jorrvaskr to form her into a proper warrior. Unfortunately, she uncovers a dark secret in the Inner Circle of the nord warriors; the beast blood of Hircine runs deep within them. Reluctantly, she accepts Hircine’s gift, seeing it as the only way to gain the power she needed at the time. Meridia looks on in disgust as the acolyte she once believed in drinks the blood of the corrupt Aela, and just as she was ready to give up on her acolyte, she notices something. A lone werewolf in the halls of Jorrvaskr, but instead of giving in to Hircine’s gift, she meditates. Until her transformation wears off, she lays still, resisting the frenzied power. A smug grin grows on the Daedra’s face as she watches her champion make a mockery of Hircine by robbing him of his hold on the heroes of Jorrvaskr, and curing her own affliction in the process.


    I definitely had to do some thinking to include this questline in this playthrough, but it is necessary to gain the second word of the Fire Breath shout. If you can’t justify becoming harbinger of a guild infected by lycanthropy, you could always abandon the questline after the Proving Honor quest, where the Torch finds out about the Circle’s dark secret and still get the second word of the Fire Breath shout.


    The College of Winterhold


    Kalista hears word of a place where she can hone her skills in Destruction magic. She journeys to Winterhold to seek entry into the College, and potentially gain new power. Upon entry, she discovers the corrupt Ancano and his plan to unleash the power of the Eye of Magnus upon Tamriel. Seeking to stop him, she obtains the Staff of Magnus and puts a stop to his plan, utilizing her newfound prowess in Destruction magic alongside it.


    Doing this questline allows the Torch to train a bit more in Destruction and Restoration, as well as access to some more powerful spells and gear.


    The Civil War - Imperial


    While Kalista serves Meridia, she must also make a living to continue to serve her mistress. Joining up with the Imperial Legion, she puts an end to Ulfric the Usurper and his pitiful rebellion, restoring order to Skyrim and earning enough gold to finally make a living to continue her faithful service to the Glister Witch.


    The Torch of Meridia is an elf, despised by the nords of Skyrim, so it only makes sense for them to side with the Legion and end the rebellion.


    The Turning of the Ages


    The Break of Dawn


    Seeing her acolyte prove herself by resisting the will of Hircine, ridding Tamriel of the Eye of Magnus, and putting an end to the war that brutalized the land of Skyrim, Meridia invites Kalista to her temple on Mount Kilkreath, a final test to see if she is worthy of her mighty blade. Kalista enthusiastically accepts this task and returns Meridia’s Beacon to her temple, delving deep into the mountain to destroy Malkoran for defiling Meridia’s sacred light.


    This quest is a given. You are the Torch of Meridia, and it is only fitting that you aid her in restoring her temple. The reason I put this quest further down the list is because it is a turning point in the role play of the build, letting the Torch finally accept their destiny at the turning of the ages in Skyrim’s history.




    Meridia sends word to Kalista of a growing vampire threat, the perfect test for her new champion. Though even the Glister Witch herself couldn’t predict the drastic nature of the situation. Molag Bal and his order of cannibalistic sons and daughters seek to corrupt a powerful divine artifact and blot out the sun forever. Through desperation, Meridia sends her champion to seek out the aid of an old rival, Auriel, and through their combined power, they put a stop to Molag Bal’s plans and destroy his most powerful vampire lord, Harkon, ending his twisted prophecy once and for all.


    A vampire menace? The tyranny of the sun? Sounds like a job for Meridia’s champion, and what better way to end the life of a powerful fiend than to sever its head with the mighty Dawnbreaker?


    Rising at Dawn


    Meridia orders her champion to clean the loose ends of the vampire menace by destroying Serana, the daughter of coldharbour. But Kalista is not unfeeling, much to the Daedra’s dismay, and she looks back on how Serana aided her against her own family and people to put an end to her father’s twisted prophecy. Kalista sees a lot of herself in Serana, reflecting on how she started her journey, way back in the halls of Jorrvaskr, resisting the urge to give in to Hircine’s gift. She decides instead to cure Serana of her vampirism, hoping that one day, the Lady of Infinite Energies might forgive Kalista for disobeying her this once. Meridia, through frustrated eyes, looks down upon Kalista’s decision, rage filling the daedra’s heart at first, but eventually coming to the understanding that her champion robbed Molag Bal of yet another pure-blooded vampire, and gained a potential new acolyte. Wouldn’t that be grand, rubbing it in the twisted fiend’s face as she not only stole another powerful cannibal from his grasp, but turned her against him as well?


    This is a major role play moment for the Torch of Meridia. I detest the “unfeeling weapon” archetype of character, and this quest explores how the dragonborn feels about being commanded to kill a dear friend and partner. If you feel that this is unbecoming of the champion of Meridia, you might be right, but doing this quest just makes sense to me as a difference in tone, a fun concept that’s completely optional, but says a lot about the Dragonborn’s feelings as an individual, as opposed to a weapon.


    The Final Journey




    With the scourge of the vampire menace dealt with, and the civil war put to rest, it is finally time to take the fight to the World Eater. Learning all she can learn from the Greybeards, Kalista prepares herself with a set of enchanted armor, and meditates, praying for Meridia’s Blessing before journeying to Sovngarde to finally put Alduin into the ground, and what better way to honor her mistress who watched over her for her journey than to offer her the soul of Akatosh’s first-born?


    What else needs to be said? The World Eater is brought low by Meridia’s chosen who wields her blade. An ultimate test for the ultimate light-wielder.


    Optional: Dragonborn

    After the fall of Alduin, Kalista is hunted by the cultists of Miraak, and despite Meridia’s disdain for Hermaeus Mora, Miraak must be stopped from unleashing the power of Apocrypha onto Tamriel. Kalista returns to her former homeland to hunt down the dragonborn, and claim his head in Meridia’s name, gaining a bit of new power along the way.

    If your Torch is a dunmer, this quest makes a lot of sense for a return to their roots in Morrowind. As a plus, the Dragonborn DLC has a swath of new power and gear for your Torch to collect, and the two words needed to gain the Life Stream shout.


    Gameplay and Combat




    Probably the easiest enemies you're going to be dealing with. Once your Veil of Energies is active, it's simply a matter of utilizing your Light of Dawn ability for non-undead, and your Invoke Destruction ability for undead. If you become overwhelmed, Pillar of Flames is your best friend for regaining control over the battle.


    Ranged enemies are annoying, but if closing the distance becomes too hard, either using Whirlwind Sprint or Become Ethereal should work well enough. Since we're running Light Armor, we're going to be utilizing Become Ethereal a lot, especially for those pesky Draugr Deathlords that use Ebony Bows. When enemies are impossible to get close to (i.e. up on a ledge or on top of a tower), Bombardment is an excellent spell combined with your Fire Breath shout.


    Your strategy here is going to be similar to ranged enemies, with the added annoyance of potential frost and shock mages. Frost mages should be your priority first. If closing the distance is too hard, again, utilize your Become Ethereal or Whirlwind Sprint shout, or simply counter their magic with your own Bombardment spell. Dual casting Lamb of Mara can help if you're finding it hard to avoid spell attacks as well.


    Dragons are going to be our most difficult enemies to deal with if you're low on magicka. If you're heading into a dragon fight, I'd recommend popping a few magicka potions to get yourself to full if you aren't already there. If you want the dragon fight over with quickly, a use of Beacon of Kilkreath should at the very least force it to land so you can bring it down the rest of the way with Light of Dawn. If your Beacon of Kilkreath abilities are on cooldown, try to bring the dragon down with Dragonrend as soon as possible and avoid the heavy breath attacks by sticking to the dragon's flank while you bring it down with Bombardment and Dawnbreaker.



    This build is meant for a mostly casual roleplay experience with some explosive combat to make that next run through Skyrim hopefully more enjoyable. This is my first build, and it was a lot of fun to make and test, so if you have suggestions on how to improve on it, then I'd love to hear them. Constructive criticism is also welcome, as I'm rather new to making builds like this. Thanks for reading, and I hope you all enjoy the build!

  • Member
    March 4, 2021

    Well, this looks amazing. Real shame that I recently started a priest of Arkay sorta build and in some ways it's similar to this one, otherwise I'd definitely make this my next one asap.


    In any case, great work with the build.