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Character Build: The Vampire Count

Tags: #Character Build Necromancer  #Character Build Illusionist  #Character Build Vampire  #Rank:Legendary  #Race:Altmer 
  • Member
    April 14, 2013

    Out of every playthrough of Skyrim I have had the pleasure to experience, this guy has been the most enjoyable and exciting by far. Combining juicy vampire roleplay at it's finest and getting the most out the amazing new poison rune, this build is an absolute blast to play! Powerful additions from Dawnguard and Dragonborn are used. I am proud to present to you

    The Vampire Count

    The build is centered on being a vampire aristocrat. This is not a “deathlord bloodking slayer of the living anti-paladin” type vampire. The Vampire Count is all about being what I consider a “classic vampire”. That means impeccably dressed, arrogant, suave, manipulative, and utterly ruthless.

    The poison rune spell and fear/rout have an incredible synergy. You can easily stack multiple poison runes on a target. Once they get close to you fear them, and then continue to cast poison rune as they flee. Another focus of the build is combining illusion and conjuration with damage over time.  You can have all the enemies always taking damage on the battlefield not matter what is happening. 

    Normally when a build combines illusion, conjuration, and a bit of stealth it gets a little boring. With the Vampire Count while all that is going on you are still a melee combatant. Furthermore you have no armor rating. No armor rating makes combat extremely thrilling, every single enemy is deadly and you have to stay on your toes. 

    One of fun aspects of the build is that as a vampire you do not have to be confined to traveling and fighting at night. For “daywalking” with the Vampire Count all you need is magicka regeneration. With that you can restore your health easily with restoration spells. Stamina is not important so it does not need to be restored. Remember just because you can daywalk does not make you as powerful as at night. 


    High above the squabbles of mere commonfolk reside aristocracy of the vampires. The influence of these rulers is felt from all the way from the swamps of Black Marsh to the mountains of High Rock. These undead rulers constantly meld society from the spires of their castles. Every political decision, every war, and every important change that takes place was either started by a Vampire Count or will be manipulated by one. There is never a trace or whisper of evidence that proves that these powerful beings ever exist.

    Fortunately for Tamriel, the attention and resources of the vampiric lords are usually tied up in the “Great Game”. There are many clans and bloodlines of vampires, and every single one of them has a vampire of immense power sitting at it's throne. All of these lords are constantly competing for supremacy. To survive in such a world a Vampire Count must have a mind of iron. Plots, conspiracies, assassinations, and other such shadowy activities are part of daily life. Many of these schemes take centuries to unfold, but immortality makes that amount of time feel like a moment.

    The Build

    Race: Altmeri Vampire

    This build needs a lot of magicka, and their +50 magicka is extremely useful. Altmer also look very good with the altered “vampire faces” that the Dawngaurd plugin added. 

    Vampirism is crucial to roleplay, this build is the Vampire Count after all!  The 25% boost to stealth means that you can use sneak proficiently without any perks in sneak.

    Stat Distribution: 2 : 1 : 0 (Magicka : Health : Stamina)

    The Vampire Count needs a ton of magicka since he is, more or less, a pure mage. 

    Standing Stone: Mage -> Lord

    I took the lord stone later on for two reasons. The magic resistance is really nice. Also the +50 armor it  provides seemed to help prevent kill-cams on you.

    Shouts: Unrelenting Force, Whirlwind Sprint, Aura Whisper, Throw Voice, Summon Durnehviir, Slow Time, Soul Tear

    Durnehviir is the perfect "pet" for a Vampire Count

    Major Skills


    Any vampire worth his salt is a proficient necromancer. As the epitome of undeath, it is only right that vampires command lesser undead. This is even more so for the aristocracy of the vampires. Undead creatures of all forms are useful as slaves, bodyguards, armies, and the like. Why soil your hands with meaningless tasks when a worthless minion can do it for you?

    For a necromancer I would say that the Soul Cairn summons are the best option once you get your hands on them, and you can be conjuring wrathmen pretty early on due to a massive magicka pool. Since you have no physical damage resistance, having a summon taking some of the heat for you is nice.


    The mind of a Vampire Count is as strong as skyforge steel. To survive the intricate and unending political plots of the aristocracy of the vampires one must have razor sharp intellect.Their unbending will dominates all who encounter them. The minds of the enemies of a Vampire Count are his playthings.

    Illusion serves essentially the same row as conjuration, keeping to heat off of you. 


    Classically restoration is considered a school that governs life. The Vampire Counts have ensured that it also governs death. With but a gesture the enemies of a Vampire Count are sent into a writhing pain as their body degrades. The skin is covered with bloody boils, the bones rot, and internal organs melt into a gory puddle.

    Restoration allows for the casting of poison rune, grants the necromage – vampire combo, easy healing, and more. 


    As any noble, Vampire Counts tend to be arrogant and lazy. To them the idea of actually training and putting effort into killing their enemies is offensive. It is much better to elegantly wield enchanted weaponry where even the slightest touch can slay a man. Using the souls of your humiliated (and dead) rivals to enhance yourself is the ultimate form of victory.

    The primary source of damage stems from enchanted daggers. Daggers are optimal because they swing the fastest of any weapon in the game, allowing you to deal more enchantment damage. 

    Minor Skills


    Destruction is a skill that is never really used, except for casting ignite now and then. I took it for the elemental augmentation perks for my daggers.

    Level 25

    Stat Distribution: 300 (450) : 190 : 100 (Magicka : Health : Stamina)

    The numbers in the parenthesis are the attribute after being effected by enchantments. 

    Level 50

    Stat Distribution: 390 (592): 350 (427): 100 (Magicka : Health : Stamina)

    The numbers in the parenthesis are the attribute after being effected by enchantments.



    For your equipment one of the great things about playing the Vampire Count is that you can use whatever you want. Mixing and matching heavy armor, clothing, and light armor is okay. The only requirement is that you look stylish and rich (and you have to be able to enchant it)! Personally I rolled with vampire boots, vampire gauntlets, the black vampire armor, and a copper and moonstone circlet. Here are the enchantments that you should have.

    • Head: Fortify Restoration & Fortify Magicka Regeneration
    • Chest: Fortify Restoration & Fortify Magicka Regeneration
    • Gloves: Fortify Magicka & Fortify Sneak
    • Boots: Resist Fire & Resist Shock
    • Ring: Ring Of The Erudite & Azhidal's Ring Of Arcana (switch between the two when needed)
    • Necklace: Fortify Illusion & Fortify Health

    Before you have extra effect use the first enchantment listed on each equipment piece. Restoration spell costs need to be very low even with your large magicka pool so you can spam poison rune and grand healing. With necromage and the Ring of Erudite your magicka regeneration is pushed through the roof.  


    Daggers are the best weapons to use because the apply enchantment damage the fastest due to their swing speed. You personal taste is the only factor when it comes to choose what daggers to use.Here are the enchantments you should have:

    Fire Damage + Shock Damage

    Frost Damage + Shock Damage

    Poison Rune Tactics

    The true power of the poison rune...

    Poison rune is a very good spell. It can easily be overlooked when compared to ignite. That is a mistake. Both are powerful damage over time spells that suit certain situations. The largest disadvantage of Ignite is that you need to wear that ring, and go through a lot of hassle to get it. Poison rune is very easy to get and leaves your ring slot free. Some enemies are immune to poison, or it is very awkward to get the rune to actually work like on dragons. That is the situation to pull out Azhidal's Ring Of Arcana start casting ignite. 

    Poison Rune + Fear/Rout- As I have said, damage over time + fear type spell = profit!

    Poison Rune + Rune Master + Quiet Casting- With quiet casting combined with rune master, you can easily stack poison runes onto the enemy from stealth. 

    Poison Rune + Frenzy/Throw Voice- The most distinct advantage that poison rune has over ignite is that since it is a rune spell, it can effect multiple aggressors at once. You can easily kill a large number of enemies by simply getting them into one large mob and then popping off a few poison runes.

    Any Of The Previously Listed Tactics + Slow Time- Slow time grants you more time to cast more poison runes on your targets. 

    The Court of The Count

    As a vampire aristocrat your court is bound to have many different people of various amounts of usefulness. There are body guards, slaves, thralls, advisers, lovers, and so on. When going into battle it can be smart to take one with you as a follower.

    Bodyguards- Housecarls make the best bodyguards. They are excellent tanks and can absorb and dish out a lot of damage. Also they are extremely loyal and will always fight to the death to protect you. Bodyguards are one of the few types of people that you can really trust.

    Court Wizards- Marcurio, J'zargo, and Eola are all great court wizards. Court Wizards are great for fire support, and depending on the specific follower, they can tank pretty well. It is the job of a Court Wizard to look into matters of the arcane for you. They can be trusted more than most, but be careful.

    Noble- Serana is the best Noble. A Noble is a vampire who lives in your royal court. They might be an ally, a lover, or maybe a rival. Nobles are great mage followers who will also summon the undead. But be on your lookout, Nobles are not to be trusted, all they want is your throne. 

    Slaves- Sven and other useless followers like him are good slaves. Their purpose is to forfill your every whim. They are good for carrying around your spoils of war, or being a nice snack when your bloodlust rises. Slaves are weak and mindless, but always make them know that or otherwise they might rebel.

    Every Vampire Count needs a seat of power to rule from. Whether it is a castle, a mansion, or an abandoned fort, you have to have something. Here are two of the most optimal locations.

    Volkihar Castle- The perfect home for a powerful Vampire Count. It has all the necessary luxuries. Crafting stations, dungeons, torture rooms, a portal to the Soul Carin, and more. It is very remote, far away from prying eyes, a nice bonus if you are the type who likes to be removed from society. The only hitch is that you must get rid of the powerful vampire Harkon who rules it.

    Proudspire manor- A mansion perfect for the vampire who loves to control society. Directly in the center of the politics, trading, and religion in Skyrim sits Proudspire Manor. From such a convenient location it is very easy to manipulate all of Skyrim.

    Suggested Quests

    Volkihar- This questline is amazing for roleplay. Infiltrating the court of a rival vampire lord and taking it over? Yes please! Also it gives you the soul cairn summons and the Ring of the Erudite.

    The Black Star- This is essential for any enchanter, and it makes recharging your daggers very easy.

    Thane Quests- If you are interested in increasing your political power within the holds the thane quests are great for roleplay.

    Main Questline- I started this once for access to dragon shouts.

    Civil War- Another roleplay quest. Supporting either side would be very beneficial to you. Either gaining influence within the Empire or increasing your own territory within the power vacuum left by the Empire.

    Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed it! Don't forget to like a comment!

  • April 14, 2013

    Nice build Zach!

    This is a great way of balancing all that power (vamp lord/conjuration/illusion/ignite). It's strange because I'm currently running the same build! Haha! I like how you tried to tease people off ignite in favor of the poison runes...

    Ignite = 240 (360 vs undead) damage over 15 seconds per shot for about 8 - 10 magicka

    Poison Rune = 90 damage (undead are immune) over 30 seconds per shot for 60 - 70 magicka...

    That ignite spell rapes ANYTHING with aspect of terror, it's completely addictive!

    Have you tried poison runes/rune master with ahzidals helmet yet? keep forgetting to test that!


  • Member
    April 14, 2013

    Heh thanks man. That is the exact reason I generally tried to stay away from ignite. From about levels 20-40 it poison rune is strong enough. At about level 40 poison rune started lacking...

    As for spells costs I was generally fine, before extra effect I had enough magicka and regen to cast it a lot, and after extra effect it only cost like 12 magicka

    I tried poison rune with rune master, but not with the helm. I don't think it would be necessary to use the helm, even without it the range is massive. That is where it beats ignite in my eyes. At super long ranges hitting a moving target can be difficult, but with poison rune you hardly have to aim and it is instantaneous. 

  • Member
    April 14, 2013

    Cool build man! Are we looking at a future showcase? I hope so! +1

  • Member
    April 14, 2013

    Thanks man. If it was gonna get show cased it would have to be out a while 

  • Member
    April 14, 2013

    Very cool vampire build! Love the use of Poison Rune - one of my favorite Dragonborn added spells! +1

    Two minor things, why not use Chaos enchantment on your weapons coupled with Fiery Soul Trap or Paralyze? And why not pick Respite (the second best perk for vampires IMO)?

  • April 14, 2013
    You just called Serana a whore! Unacceptable!!!!
  • April 14, 2013
    Courtesans were prostitutes... I feel insulted now
  • Member
    April 14, 2013


  • April 14, 2013
    The word courtesan means prostitute, he put "Courtesans- Serana is the best Courtesan"