Skyrim Character Building » Discussions

Character Build: The Dark Templar

  • February 12, 2013

    I'd like to present you the build that got me into blogging. I've had Skyrim since its release, and at the beginning I often played the "kind hearted hero" type of character most people play. As a result, I always got bored by level 30 and restarted. Until I dared try something new. No more archetypes, no more innocent beliefs.

    I made a character that had her own philosophy and background. I forced myself to make decisions I generally wouldn't make. Some of which were a bit painful, as I had become very involved in the role play. The result is the build I'm writing about in this thread. It has inspired me to write Heart of Darkness, my first blog on this website.

    This build, I call it...

    It's by far my favorite build, both for role-playing and for the actual gameplay. In the story, it's an Imperial young woman who sets out on a glorious quest to become an honorable knight, just like her father before her. However, the violence of the Civil War quickly shows her that the world is more than just black and white, and blames religions for being the main cause of wars. Due to other details I won't spoil to you, she decides to take revenge on those who worship the Divines, and build a new world of peace.

    Technically, for those who are used to this category of the website, you could consider that a Dark Templar is the opposite of a Paladin. You’re a warrior who hates the Divines: you assassinate, murder, mess with people’s minds, and do everything else you can to get across the message that the Divines have abandoned this world. You aren’t a butcher who takes pleasure in killing; rather, you kill for a reason, you put the unworthy out of their misery, as if you had to play the role of a god.
    It's therefore a character oriented towards Daedra worship, assassination, mass murder, but also heavy combat: with your heavy armor and greatsword, it will take more than a few bandits to bring you down.

     "You know, I was wondering why it feels so godly to do what I'm doing. Come to think of it, isn't it because I'm doing the same thing your dear Divines do? I mean, they created the world with all these contradictions, made in such a way it inevitably gives rise to wars and pain. And when wars and pain happen, they do exactly what I'm doing, they just sit up there and watch us kill each other."
    - Cassandra the Forsaken


    The build itself is inspired off the Dark Brotherhood knights from David Gemmell’s Drenai Tales (nothing to do with the Brotherhood you know from TES). They are elite warriors who wear black armor and can manipulate the minds of the weak. It's also partly inspired from the Dark Templars of Starcraft, skilled warriors who oppose their civilisation's religion and strike from the shadows.


    Race : Imperial, become a vampire past Dawnguard.

    Stone : The Lord Stone. You descend from an Imperial family of noble knights, and by tradition you owe allegiance to The Lord.

    Stats : 5 Health | 4 Magicka | 1 Stamina (every 10 levels). You're meant to be fearsome in head to head combat, even when outnumbered; therefore you'll need a lot of health. You'll also need a large pool of magicka, in order to maintain Lightning Storm going for as long as possible later on.

    Recommended Quest lines

    In order: The Companions (up to the Circle), Civil War (Stormcloaks), College of Winterhold, The Black Star (Azura's path), Dark Brotherhood, Dragon Crisis, Dawnguard.

    Recommended Mods (PC version, optional for aesthetic purposes)

    Cloaks of Skyrim, Helmless Warrior.

    Major Skills

    Two Handed: You started out as a warrior, and there’s nothing you’d prefer over the heat of melee battle with a greatsword. Your blade is like a part of your soul: you name it, keep it clean, and would never sell it to someone else. This is your main and most basic form of attack.

    Illusion: You are a Dark Templar who decided to join the Dark Brotherhood. But you were not very skilled with stealth, so instead you choose the way of magic. Illusion spells allow you to desecrate temples, murder the unwanted and deal with assassination contracts without ever getting noticed. Moreover, you tend to be manipulative and sometimes cruel, toying with your victim’s minds before killing them.

    Destruction: Your greed for power has brought you to the Destruction school of magic. This is your long range offense. You specialize in lightning spells, and you’ll mostly find yourself using runes and cloaks. Lightning Storm will be your ultimate long range offense.


    Secondary Skills

    Heavy Armor: Again, as a war veteran you’re used to this type of armor as much as you’re used to your greatsword. You are a knight, and nothing can herald your values more than a fine set of heavy armor.

    Conjuration: Your best friend was a necromancer, and so you’ve learnt some of her tricks overtime. The more you can cause wrong to those who worship the Divines, the better. Besides, what’s more fun than forcing a victim to kill his friend with your illusion spells, and then reanimating the dead one and have him kill the survivor?

    Smithing: This crafting skill is, at first, very secondary. But it’s essential for role playing, as you will have to craft your own set of daedric gear and then temper it.


    Weapons: You’ll be starting out with either greatswords or battleaxes, but your goal is the Daedric Greatsword, which you’ll craft yourself and enchant with lightning (plus Soul Trap if you decide to master Enchanting).

    Armor: Start out with Steel Armor, move into Plate Armor; Daedric Armor is your ultimate goal. Again, craft it yourself for extra role playing points.

    Jewelry: The Gauldur Amulet and Nightweaver’s Band are my personal favorites for this build, though they’re optional.

    Additional:  The Shrouded Hood from the Dark Brotherhood, as you’re one of the members. Take a black fur cape if you have the mod installed.
    Note: If you don't have the mod "Helmless Warrior" installed; either forget about the shrouded hood, or don't bother getting any Heavy Armor perks besides Juggernaut if you want to use the hood anyway.


    "Though we strike at you from the shadows, do not think that we lack the courage to stand in the light."
    - Zeratul, a Dark Templar from Starcraft II

    Here I’ll give you a few tips and tricks on how to actually play this build.

    Combat Style

    • Two handed attacks are your main melee offense, both in combat and when assassinating.

    • You’ll be using Lightning Cloak a lot more often than any other Destruction spells. Since you use a two handed weapon, you’re limited to only using your ranged lightning spells at a distance, in particular against other mages, dragon priests or dragons.

    • Your Illusion spells dictate the flow of the battle. Go with Invisibility and Muffle if you wish to target someone in particular without getting noticed, Fury to unleash chaos among your enemies, or no illusions at all if you’re in the mood of taking them all by yourself.

    • Use Slow Time to slow down ranged enemies. For example, if you're running out of mana and need to kill off a mage or dragon priest.

    • Against dragons, use your Unrelenting Force shout to interrupt their Fire/Frost Breath, or bash them with your sword if they’re in melee range. If you can catch them off guard, Lightning Storm can do some serious ranged damage.

    Main Dragon Shouts

    Slow Time: As a Dark Templar, you specialise in bending reality; able to move unseen and unheard, not even by time itself.

    Aura Whisper: This shout is both useful and role-play friendly. Use it to make sure no one gets away alive.

    Storm Call: You unleash your hatred and shout the three words of terror, releasing the wrath of lightning upon everyone and everything around you.


    Special Moves

    Theatre of Death
    When two human enemies are nearby, cast Fury on one of them and watch him kill his own comrade. Then, reanimate whichever of them died and have him kill the victor.

    Deus Ex Machina
    At higher levels: cast Mayhem and then have fun balancing out the fights with your own hits so none of them comes out alive. Or just shout Storm Call if in open air, and kill them all while they fight each other.

    Fury of the Storm
    For moments of anger; with Lightning Cloak on, shout Storm Call and then use Lightning Storm to completely annihilate your foes.

    You are a knight who’s turned on the Divines and now you seek to destroy their influence on the world. Whether this makes you “evil” or not is open for debate. You still keep your principles of loyalty, never betraying your friends unless it was your plan all along, and tend to help out those in need. However, you can be extremely cold blooded and cruel against those who oppose you.

    This is a list of self-made quests and achievements you can do to role play the build to its finest. I recommend getting your daedric gear and unlocking most of the spells before doing these, for maximum immersion.

    Can’t be perfect

    Goal: Your character makes a great warrior, wizard and assassin. But that doesn’t mean you master all the skills. You’re naturally bad at stealing, hate bows, and are too busy taking revenge on the Divines to care about collecting flowers and making potions. Also, in spite of your attempts, you fail at using Alteration spells and anything against the undead. That means you’re not going to use those skills!


    Greatsword Assassin

    Goal: Join the Dark Brotherhood after you obtained your daedric set, and perform every assassination and serial killing with your Daedric Greatsword.


    Champion of Azura

    Goal: Complete the Black Star, while giving the star to Azura. From there on, make sure you absorb as much souls into the star as possible, enchating your items with it. You are now Azura's sworn champion and must spread her influence across Tamriel.

    The Avenger

    Goal: Desecrate all the temples dedicated to the Divines. In other words, murder all the priests and make a total mess of the temples. Kill any Vigilants of Stendarr on sight, make no exceptions.

    The Other Side

    Goal: Azura commanded you to study all the other Daedra Princes, so as to better understand their views and make yourself your own point of view. You must finish all the daedric quests. However, you don’t have to agree with everything the Daedra say.

    Battle of Souls

    Goal: Battle Alduin only past level 50, unleashing all the power of your build for an epic battle.

    Vampire’s Kiss (Dawnguard)

    Goal: Join the vampires during the Dawnguard quest line, and remain a vampire afterwards. When you’re done with the quest line, pay a visit to Fort Dawnguard and make sure none of them gets out alive. After all, they are affiliated with the Vigilants of Stendarr.

    Video (by TZ)

    "I'm going to build a new world of peace, a world without the influence of the Divines. And for that, I need you. Rather, I need the soul within you. I'm taking you, priestess of Kynareth."

    - Cassandra the Forsaken


    May Azura guide you!

  • February 12, 2013
    Deus Ex Machina... Love it :)
  • February 12, 2013

    Fantastic build!  I'll definitely be giving this a try once once I finish Emer's "The Voice".  +1

  • Member
    February 12, 2013

    mother of god.. nice presentation and rather good build with all necessary details..

    Sir, you just earn my like.

  • Member
    February 12, 2013
    Pretty rad. Too bad I'm on Xbox, no mods. If I had the mods I'd try it out.
  • February 12, 2013

    The reason why you need the mods is mostly for appearance purposes (capes & helmless warrior), if you're on Xbox just go with a Daedric Helmet instead of the Shrouded Hood, or go with the Shrouded Hood and don't bother getting any HA perks besides Juggernaut :)

    Also thank you all for your support :D

  • Member
    February 12, 2013
    I'm currently working a build that blurs the line between good and evil for their ideals myself. Great build. +1
  • February 12, 2013

    This is great, Theatre of Death is simple and elegant, love it.

  • Member
    February 12, 2013
    Your characters lore/build fits the aesthetic of the mods. Capes n such. It wouldn't feel complete if I went without it. Looks are important to me. Weird. Great presentation. Ill give it a like.
  • February 12, 2013