Skyrim Character Building » Discussions

Character Build: The Salamander

Tags: #Character Build Battlemage  #Race:Argonian  #Rank:Legendary 
  • August 26, 2012

    The concept for this build came from my love of cloak spells and the various properties that they can bring to combat in Skyrim. It’s worth mentioning that I’ve always wanted to create a build that can harness the hidden potential of destructions elemental walls properly. The result of my experiment was a surprise even to me and resulted in one of the most satisfying characters I’ve played to date.

    The Salamander

    From the deepest swamps of Black Marsh cometh the Salamander, a rare breed of argonian that has studied the various survival mechanisms of other marsh dwellers and developed them into an extreme defensive combat style.

    The Salamander is a master elementalist, capable of extreme shifts in temperature, static charges and even weather and time control.


    Race: Argonian

    Stone: The Lord

    Major Skills: Block, Destruction, Conjuration, Alchemy.

    Minor Skills: Smithing, Heavy Armor.

    Armor: Full Orcish Armor & Shield

    Weapons: Poisoned Orcish Sword

    Shouts: Become Ethereal, Fire Breath, Frost Breath, Storm Call. Slow Time.


    The Build

    This character will get right in an opponent’s face and say ‘give me your best fucking shot’. We don’t just want to kill our opponents; we want to completely humiliate them before they die.

    The block skill really has some incredible potential in Skyrim, up to a massive 80% damage reduction before the enemy even touches your armor rating. I decided to create a character that could capitalise on this in the most creative way possible by blending in elemental cloaks, walls, undead minions and atronachs.

    During combat the Salamander will typically hunker down on top of a rune with his shield up creating a turtle-like tank, once an opponent comes within range the Salamander will burst into flames (or another element of his choosing) and simply drain them dry while they attempt to breach his defence.

    This character is an absolute nightmare to take down, melee enemies will have to endure agony just to land the first hit and enemy casters will have their attacks reduced by at least 75% while taking abuse from the Salamanders atronachs and undead minions.

    The argonian race is perfect for this build; their natural resistance means that bears, wolves & sabre cats have very little chance of inflicting disease when they batter at your phalanx. Tough enemies like bandit chiefs and draugr deathlords will be greeted with an opponent that can not only absorb most of their attacks but one that can phase out of existence or regenerate health at such a rapid rate they are left incapable of even making a dent.

    The Salamander is a highly venomous creature, capable of dealing high doses of toxins into an opponent’s bloodstream. His deep rooted skill in alchemy means he can take health potions safely without ever dropping guard.

    Shouts can actually be ‘pre-charged’ while blocking and are only unleashed once the Salamander lowers his shield, very handy when you want to become ethereal or catapult an enemy away with unrelenting force.

    For the Salamander there is nothing more enjoyable than having hordes of dangerous enemies relentlessly smashing against his shield.




    Level 50 Perk Placement

    Stat Placement: Magicka 1 / Health 1 / Stamina 0


    When I first toyed with the idea of a ‘professional turtle’ I worried that the playstyle would be boring, how wrong I was. This character is no coward and is either incredibly brave or incredibly stupid.

    During the first play test I added perks into one handed until I realised that it completely defeated the object of the build which is passive elemental and poison damage.

    The early levels are pretty exciting; you’re going to need a flame atronach straight away. The Salamanders job is to do all the tanking while your atronach breaks enemies down. Most builds that run atronachs will forward cast them, the Salamander will actually reverse cast them to make sure he is always the primary target of enemies. Conjuration will simply refuse to level if you don’t include necromancy or soul trapping so you will need to mix in some undead beasties during combat.

    Argonains start with a rather pathetic 15 skill level in destruction and will need to use standard flame attacks until they are capable of casting a nice solid rune to sit on. Destruction training should be done through Faralda at the college of Winterhold, all available gold should be put to the task of reaching 65 in destruction so you can start playing with wall spells but once a standard flame cloak comes available your already in business.

    I learned another nasty thing about falmer while running this build; ALL their attacks are poisonous (not just the first hit). An amulet of poison immunity bought from Radiant Raiment will remove that threat completely; it should be considered an essential item for all falmer related missions.

    Any enchantment that can increase your block skill is extremely useful during the early levels; an amulet of stendaar is a nice start but look out for stronger items at merchants. Create potions of blocking using tundra cotton and bleeding crown, this potion will also grant a resistance to magicka.

    This character hits his stride by around levels 15 – 20, capable of easily dropping hard hitters like frost trolls without lifting a finger. The Salamander is on a fast track to the awesome block runner perk, with it he can hunker down into a tight bundle of death and remain completely mobile during combat due to block runners strange ‘sneak n run’ mechanic. Enemy necromancers are in big trouble as soon as frost atronachs come on the scene although you do still have to be careful with other enemy casters.

    Orcish armor looks incredible with an argonian character and the Orcish shield is large and imposing, look forward to raiding dwarven ruins to salvage materials, the Salamander can absolutely demolish constructs.

    Consider this a ‘revenge build’, a chance to get your own back on all the various denizens of Skyrim that have given you a hard time in the past.


    Salamander Forms

    As the Salamander gains experience each of his elemental forms will become progressively stronger.

    • The shouts 'fire breath' and 'frost breath' can be charged up from behind a shield and serve as incredibly explosive 'finishing moves'.
    • Poisons of elemental weakness will bolster the effectiveness of this character massively.
    • Elemental walls should be cast in several short bursts in front of the Salamanders 'roosting' position, forcing enemies to stand in not one but three or four walls taking heavy damage.
    • Remember that casting a cloak spell will instantly dismiss any summoned creatures, its important to cast your cloak first before calling your atronachs.
    • Using the slow time and become ethereal shouts are very valuable against enemy spellcasters and dragons.


    Fire Salamander

    The Salamanders classic form, capable of dispatching undead enemies quickly and providing some ranged support in the form of the quick moving flame atronach.

    Fire spells are cheap to cast and cause additional burning damage.

    With the incredibly fun 'intense flames' perk enemies below 20% health will flee from combat while being pelted by angry atronachs and fire breath.

    Requires: Flame Atronach, Flame Cloak, Wall of Flames, Fire Breath.



    Frost Salamander

    Very potent, enemies will be slowed and stamina drained. The 'deep freeze' perk basically reduces an enemies threat by 20% due to icy paralysis.

    Frost atronachs have no ranged attack which means they will gravitate to the Salamanders position during combat. This means enemies can be under the effect of up to 3 frost cloaks at once rendering them incapable of executing power attacks or running away.

    Requires: Frost Atronach, Frost Cloak, Wall of Frost, Frost Breath.



    Storm Salamander

    The Salamanders final form is the most impressive. Shock damage is inflicted at the fastest 'tempo' of all the other elements making it very deadly.

    Enemy spellcasters will become defenseless in seconds.

    The incredible 'disintegrate' effectively reduces 15% hit points from everything in the game (including dragons). Storm atronachs will tumble around the battlefield, immune to the raging storm going on around them.

    Requires: Storm Atronach, Storm Cloak, Wall of Storms, Storm Call.

  • August 26, 2012

    It looks great. Blocking it´s my favourite skill in the game, and this build take it to the next level. Waiting for the perk spread.

    Good work by the way.

  • August 26, 2012

    Great job Mason +1. I'll be waiting for the perk spread.

  • August 26, 2012

    It's a bit of both Ben, once your rune has exploded you basically 'cuddle' up against enemies with your cloak spell until they are ash.

    If you have a room with two deathlords though you may want to find a corner so you can't be breached and set up your elemental walls. I'll be adding more to this build, not had much time lately.

  • August 26, 2012

    Before I even comment on the actual build, I just want to say that first pic is badass! This may have just become my favorite Argonian build( this, Hist Master, or Emer/Snake's Shadowscale). I've been thinking of some kind of turtle playthrough and I just found it, unfortunately weekends only due to school :( Can't wait to start this up!

  • August 26, 2012
    Is it possible to add the steed sone to this build? Because i hate when the armor slow you down. Great build!
  • August 26, 2012
    Damn, I missed the first like! Excellent build, my friend! Definitely planning on trying this! I love the whole 'sitting on a rune' concept! Being able to deal damage before you actually attack (physically) is always a bonus!
  • Member
    August 26, 2012
    Seems like a very fun build. This is a very new, unique take on a shield mage of sorts, and wall destruction spells are fun to play with. With the word "humiliate", would disarm bash be worth taking a look at? Burn/freeze/shock while they are picking up their weapon lol. As I told Emer, I have never gone the Argonian route but this might convince me otherwise to go ahead and do so.
  • August 26, 2012

    I've recently been doing a lot of experimenting with elemental walls for my own build. I know from experience that they are not given the credit they deserve and am glad that someone else has realized this. I'll be watching to see the final part of the build and if you use elemental walls in the same way I do. +1.

  • August 26, 2012

    cool build Mason +1