Skyrim Character Building » Discussions

Character Build: The Qahnaarin

Tags: #Character Build Shouts  #Character Build Juggernaut  #Character Build Assassin  #Race:Argonian  #Rank:Exemplar  #Dragon  #Shadowscale 
  • Member
    February 26, 2013

    Qahnaarin means "vanquisher" in the Dragon languange and is a respected title bestowed upon one dragon from another who has been defeated in a duel.  This build came from a desire to play a character that serves justice at any cost.  I also wanted to create a build designed to be played on master, and especially a build that didn’t rely on alchemy or restoration for healing.  This build incorporates content from Dragonborn and Dawnguard.
    *Credit to XianiX for the amazing screenshots*




    Qahnaarin was born in the Black Marsh under the sign of the Shadow which destined him as a Shadowscale.  He was given to the Dark Brotherhood to become a royal assassin.  Qahnaarin was quickly becoming a talented assassin, but never felt at home within the Brotherhood.  He eventually slipped out from the sanctuary and fled the Black Marsh.  His desertion branded him not only a Lukiul (expatriate), but also a traitor.

    Qahnaarin decided he would make a stand against the evil of Tamriel and he would use his skills as an assassin to do so.  Qahnaarin used several aliases while he travelled Tamriel.  He figured Skyrim would provide one of the best options for him to avoid any chance of running into an Argonian that might discover who he was.


    Stone:  Steed (until Conditioning), Shadow (Aetherial Crown), Lord

    Stats:  4/0/1 in Health/Magicka/Stamina

    Shouts:  Fire Breath, Frost Breath, Storm Call, Marked for Death, Dragonrend, Call Dragon, Summon Durnehviir, Unrelenting Force, Bend Will, Ice Form

    Major Skills:  Two Handed, Heavy Armor, Enchanting

    Minor Skills:  Block, Sneak, Destruction, Alteration

    Quests:  Main Dragon Quest, Civil War (Stormcloaks), Dawnguard Quest (Dawnguard), Destroy the Dark Brotherhood, March of the Dead, Missing in Action, Book of Love, Unfathomable Depths, Dragonborn Quest, Black Book Quests





    Note on enchantments:  Chaos damage benefits from all 6 augment elements perks and all 3 elemental enchanter perks.  Once Extra effect is unlocked, these boosts apply to the additional enchantment as well.  I focused on enchantments that could boost self healing and increase my damage output.  Until the Silence perk is taken, Muffle is necessary to set up sneak attacks and positioning.


    Crimson Cataclysm (Ebony Greatsword):  Absorb Health, Chaos Damage


    Jagged Crown
    Arbiter Aegis (Ebony Armor):  Health, Healing Rate
    Executioner Gauntlets (Ebony Gauntlets):  Two Handed, Block
    Vindicator Greaves (Ebony Boots):  Two Handed, Stamina
    Ring of Reckoning (Ring):  Two Handed, Healing Rate
    Amulet of Reckoning (Necklace):  Two Handed, Healing Rate


    Qahnaarin has many approaches to combat and his tactics evolve as he does.  During the lower levels, sneak allows for tactical positioning and Qahnaarin opens each engagement with a sneak attack.  With both Silent Roll and Great Critical Charge, sneak attacks can drop most foes in a single strike.  Once enemies notice his presence, Qahnaarin tries to swiftly take down the nearest enemy while using footwork to keep his enemies from surrounding him.  If surrounded or outmatched, the Shadow Stone allows for a tactical “retreat”.  Qahnaarin only moves a short distance from his original spot and waits for his enemies to lose track of him.  Once he is completely hidden, he picks off the weakest enemy in the group with a sneak attack and repeats the process until the odds are more in his favor.  The Aetherial Crown grants unlimited use of the Shadow Stone which is crucial for earlier levels.

    Once Qahnaarin reaches higher levels his focus shifts from stealth to open combat.  Once higher armor ratings and weapon/enchantment damage gets higher he uses stealth only as an opener, but chooses to face his foes head on for the rest of the engagement.  He uses de Heevastating power attacks to dispatch his enemies including sweep attacks when facing multiple melee opponents.  Absorb Health on his greatsword coupled with Fortify Healing Rate on his armor allows him to shrug off any wound and continue his assault.

    Qahnaarin uses Fire Breath and Frost Breath against clustered groups of enemies and dragons.  The Shadow Stone proves very useful against dragons as Qahnaarin can avoid their breath attacks and wait for them to land.  During the early levels a mage or archer follower comes in handy.  They only accompany him while travelling outside and especially while hunting dragons.  Qahnaarin leaves them behind at the entrance to any dungeon or cave and retrieve them upon exiting.  Once he attains higher levels and his defenses are much higher a follower is no longer necessary.





    Qahnaarin has dedicated himself to a life of justice.  He seeks out bandits, monsters, dragons and any other terrible being on a quest to rid Tamriel of evil. Unlike a paladin or noble knight, Qahnaarin will use any means necessary to destroy evil.  He doesn’t allow surrender and always executes any who try.  He is an assassin and executioner of evil and stands against oppression.  He accepts any bounty or miscellaneous quest involving killing or slaying bandits or monsters.

    Qahnaarin sees the Empire as a pathetic puppet of the Thalmor and sides with the Stormcloaks as they represent freedom.  He also takes vengeance out on any Thalmor or Imperial patrols he comes across in the wilds.  Qahnaarin seeks out Northwatch Keep to free Thorald Gray-Mane and execute every Thalmor he encounters in doing so.

    Qahnaarin eventually learns that not only does the Dark Brotherhood have a presence in Skyrim, but they have a Shadowscale among them.  He slays Grelod as a means to an end, as her death not only benefits the children of Honorhall Orphanage but also leads him to the Brotherhood.  After killing Astrid, Qahnaarin heads to their sanctuary and kills every member.  This rids Skyrim of an evil organization and prevents Veezara from reporting his location to the leaders in Black Marsh.


    Level 25

    Level 50


    Special Moves:


    Indomitable Will

    As Qahnaarin is about to succumb to mortal wounds, he recovers and fights on with renewed vigor.

    Requires:  Mora’s Boon, Secret of Protection, Histskin




    Tiamat’s Rage

    Qahnaarin unleashes a torrent of chaotic dragon breath, harnessing the powers of fire, frost, lightning, and force.

    Requires:  Storm Call, Frost Breath, Fire Breath, Unrelenting Force (in that order)





    Qahnaarin summons two mighty dragons to destroy his foes.

    Requires:  Call Dragon, Summon Durnehviir




    Death Sentence

    Qahnaarin appears from the shadows and executes an enemy after causing them to suffer for their sins.

    Requires:  Marked for Death, Shadow Stone, Silent Roll, Critical Charge




    Righteous Indignation

    Qahnaarin passes judgment upon his enemies by freezing them in place while their bodies are wracked with pain.  Once he deems their punishment adequate, he swiftly ends their life.

    Requires:  Marked for Death, Ice Form, Devastating Blow



    Note on Shouts, Destruction & Alteration:

    I used the Blessing of Talos while under the effect of varying strengths of Fortify Restoration potions.  As I leveled and my enchanting improved I could make stronger potions and reduce the cooldown even more.  Once I reached the late 40s I used a few cycles of the Restoration loop to create a potion of at least 400% Fortify Restoration which allows for 100% shout cooldown when paired with the Blessing.  I waited until I was a higher level as the shouts drastically change gameplay and I didn’t want to unbalance the game during earlier levels.  This progression reflects Qahnaarin’s quest to imitate the power and terrifying presence that the dragons possess to more forcefully vanquish his enemies.

    The role of Destruction in this build was to increase the damage of Fire Breath, Frost Breath, Storm Call, and the Chaos Damage enchantment.  Alteration was leveled just for Magic Resistance.  Destruction and Alteration were leveled exclusively by training.  To do this I joined the College of Winterhold and stopped by every level.  Ice Form was used for free training, and this even fits the RP as Qahnaarin would flash freeze the trainers and they didn’t even realize what had happened.  He didn’t see this as stealing because they should have trained him for free since their training would further Qahnaarin’s quest against the evil of Skyrim.


  • Member
    February 26, 2013

    This is a very interesting build and the presentation is beautiful. The only thing that I would suggest changing is your necklace and moves. The moves chain together many shouts with no cooldown reduction besides the Blessing of Talos; thus making them unusable. My advice would be to only use one or two shouts per move, wear an amulet of talos, and use dragon aspect to reduce shout's cooldowns by 60% in conjunction with dragon aspect.

  • February 26, 2013

    dude I dont think dragonforce is possible Ive tried before and you cant summon those two dragons but this is really awesome.

    TROGDOOR! (damn your argonian)

  • Member
    February 27, 2013

    I've never come across Ice Form used for free training. How does it work?

  • Member
    February 27, 2013

    Destruction and Alteration were leveled exclusively by training.  To do this I joined the College of Winterhold and stopped by every level.  Ice Form was used for free training, and this even fits the RP as Qahnaarin would flash freeze the trainers and they didn’t even realize what had happened.  He didn’t see this as stealing because they should have trained him for free since their training would further Qahnaarin’s quest against the evil of Skyrim.

    So destruction training actually counts as an item you can pickpocket?

  • Member
    February 27, 2013

    I see. Thanks Ben.

  • Member
    February 27, 2013
    The moves with multiple shouts were used late in my playthrough. The last section discusses how I achieved 100% shout cooldown by using a few cycles of the fortify restoration loop. Once you get to 400% fortify resto it combines with the blessing for 100%. I didn't do that until near the end of my playthrough though.
  • Member
    February 27, 2013
    It does work as long but remember durnehviir counts as a summon, but not odahviing. You can even do it without 100% shouts by waiting an hour right after call dragon as odahviing's animation takes a while to get to you. Then you can summon durnehviir.
  • Member
    February 27, 2013
    I guess I should add a little extra on that method to prevent future confusion.
  • Member
    February 27, 2013

    Nah, I reckon I was just being thick ;)