Skyrim Character Building » Discussions

Character Build: The Imperial Battlemage

Tags: #Character Build Elementalist  #Character Build Mage  #Character Build Enchanter  #Rank:Legendary  #Hall of Fame Build  #Race:Altmer 
  • July 1, 2013

    I wanted to create a Mage that was resilient enough to avoid the 'Glass Cannon' situation and looked more like he belonged on a battlefield than in a library. So after thinking about the Imperial Battlemages such as Jagar Tharn and Ocato and the fact that Emperor Titus Mede II's Battlemage doesn't feature in the game, I came up with this idea.


    The Imperial Battlemage


    Much like the Nerevarine of legend, you are an agent of the Emperor, sent undercover to a foreign land, only to discover that you are destined to play a greater role in Skyrim's history than you could have imagined.


    As the Emperor's personal Battlemage you hold the same office as many of the greatest mages in Tamriel's history, such as Zurin Arctus, Jagar Tharn and High Chancellor Ocato to name but a few. You are gifted in the arts of war magic and with your powerful staff are charged with bringing stability back to the land of Skyrim.


    Race: Altmer - With the additional bonus to magic and the life saving 'Highborn' ability, Altmers make formidable magic users.


    Stat Ratio: 1:1:0 - The build enables a greater investment in health than other mages, useful against those archers or when fighting in close quarters.


    Stone: Apprentice - Having a high magicka regen rate makes fighting with magic a lot more fluid. Enemy spell casters and dragons are rendered harmless when you master the use of wards!




    "The skilful battlemage ensures that the enemy is already defeated before the battle begins. A close-fought battle is to be avoided; the fortunes of war may turn aside the most powerful sorcery, and courage may undo the best-laid plans. Instead, win your victory ahead of time. When the enemy knows he is defeated before the battle begins, you may not need to fight."

     - Zurin Arctus, Imperial Battlemage to Tiber Septim

    The Imperial Battlemage is a master of the Destruction School and considers the casting of anything other than the highest tier of destructive magic with the hands to be uncivilised. Opting instead to cast all destructive magic with his trusty staff, enabling greater flexibility with supporting magic.

    This provides a few distinct advantages. The Imperial Battlemage is able to cover his weakness to magic by effectively utilising wards. While many other mages find they use up all of their magicka with destruction spells, our Battlemage is able to devote more of his personal reserves of magicka to protection and healing. Another advantage is that he does not require such a high investment in magicka, allowing for more health and added resilience.


    The Imperial Battlemage uses wards to defend himself in a wizards duel.


    Conjuration magic is used to bring powerful deadra to fight alongside our hero, helping to control groups of enemies by providing a distraction and increasing his damage output. He also uses the Illusion School and Turn Undead spells from the Restoration School to great effect, meaning he need never face more hostile enemies than he can handle.


    The Imperial Battlemage flanked by his powerful Atronachs


    When our Battlemage finds himself pitted against more powerful foes, he carries a stock of self-made Fortify Destruction Potions that allow him to dramatically increase to power of his staff. This tactic has proven to bring even the most powerful of enemies to their knees in seconds, unable to match the destructive power of their opponent. He also carries a number of potions that help him Regenerate Magicka more rapidly, for those long, drawn-out battles.

    Once available, the Dragonhide spell will give our Battlemage an incredible level of defence. The length of time the spell lasts for can be boosted by the Stability perk as well as by his own Fortify Alteration Potions, meaning the spell will last long enough to protect through to the battles end. 

    Thanks to the power of the Thuum, our hero is able to cast master spells from very early levels. Scrolls are often overlooked as they take so long to cast. In situations where a Fire Storm can take out a large group of enemies, many mages are cut down or at least interrupted before they can complete the spell. With the Become Ethereal shout however, the Battlemage is able to run into the middle of a room, shift his corporeal form beyond harm and charge up a devastating wave of destruction, turning entire armies to ash in an instant.


    Even being surrounded is all part of the plan.



    Coming up with this character's aesthetic is where the build really came together for me. I'd always disliked the way mage hoods clip with so many of the robes and armors, making it difficult to find interesting combinations for magic based characters. I'd never liked the Archmage's Robes and the fact they came with a hood, so I had the idea of using the Elven Helm, an item I'd never used before as I dislike the way the rest of the set looks. It really makes our mage look like he belongs on a battlefield, rather than sat in a classroom or pouring over dusty tomes in the Arcanium. 

    The Telvanni Robes look brilliant and work with the helm so well. I was also delighted to discover that the Cultist Robes also fit the bill perfectly, meaning that this character doesn't have to wait until higher levels to get 'in costume'. The Elven Helm can be bought from Blacksmiths at level 12. You can either wear gloves and shoes or use light armor gauntlets and boots, it depends whether you choose to have more protection or increased mobility. It is worth noting the tip about the Dunmer Shoes below before you decide though.

    The second effect on each item is what you should add after obtaining the Extra Effect perk. For the boots I recommend using the boots found in the Archmage's Quarters until you have Extra Effect.


    Helm - Fortify Destruction/Fortify Magicka

    Robes - Fortify Magicka Regen

    Amulet - Fortify Destruction/Fortify Magicka

    Ring - Fortify Magicka Regen/Fortify Destruction

    Gloves - Fortify Magicka/Fortify Alchemy

    Boots - Resist Shock - Fortify Magicka Regen/Fortify Destruction and Magicka Regen


    I utilised the fact that the robes are pre enchanted by making a boosted magicka regen part of the build. Enchantments are spread evenly between fortifying magicka, magicka regen and destruction (giving more charge to our staff). The Dunmer Shoes can be enchanted with the same effects that would usually go on robes, removing the disadvantage of using pre enchanted robes. 

    The staff is something I've had to give a fair amount of thought to. I wanted to keep to only carrying one staff if I could so I had to think carefully about which element to choose. 

    All three elements have advantages and disadvantages. Shock would have been the best choice because it is the same element as your highest level Atronach, is resisted by nothing else and is the easiest to aim, however the Shock staves in Skyrim have some bugs that I couldn't ignore. Most importantly, the expert level staff doesn't exist. Even if you use the staff enchanter, the the Staff of Thunderbolts does the same damage as the Staff of Lightening Bolts which is disappointing. Also the Staff of Chain Lightning causes everything to stagger as if it has the impact perk. Some people may love this but I find it cheap to be able to stun a whole room full of people at once.

    Ice is regrettably out because it is resisted by too many enemies. This leaves Fire. It is resisted by Flame Atronachs and weak against Fire Dragons which makes these battles a bit tougher, but I feel the advantages make up for this. Fire causes the most damage when you factor in the burning damage and cost the least to cast, meaning staffs have more charges. Your staff will deal 50% more damage to Frost Dragons which is a very noticeable help. Fire also does more damage to the undead and I do remember a few places in Skyrim with some Draugr...

    Perhaps the most useful thing is that there are fixed locations for both the Staff of Firebolts and Staff of Fireballs that can be obtained from level 1! I'm a firm believer in a build being playable from as early a level as possible so this made choosing Fire as the element of choice ultimately simple. 

    The Staff of Firebolts should be grabbed from Shalidor's Maze as soon as you can. You don't need to fight anything, just run past the Frost Trolls, grab the staff then get out. The next staff is the Staff of Fireballs, it's quite a good challenge to test your strength by fighting Krosis for it. It really makes you feel like you earned it when you finally take him down.


    The Imperial Battlemage has the skills to battle even the mightiest of foes.



    Main: One of your orders from Emperor Titus is to gather any information about the fate of an order known as The Blades and if you discover any of them, to provide any assistance you can.


    The Civil War: One of your main and ongoing objectives is to provide General Tullius with any support you can in halting the Stormcloak Rebellion. It is best if you operate anonymously, absolving the Emperor politically of any direct personal involvement.


    Dawnguard: The Emperor has become aware of a recent increase in vampire activity. He generally has good instincts for sensing impending trouble so has asked you to see what you can find out and put a stop to any plots.


    The College of Winterhold: More of a personal objective, you have yet to visit the College and are keen to learn what you can from one of the oldest magical institutions still running in Tamriel.


    Dragonborn: With your new found ability comes a new threat from the island of Solsteim. This is another personal battle but since Miraak threatens everyone on Solsteim, you feel that investigating and putting an end to his schemes falls within the remit of your mission in the North.


    Destroy the Dark Brotherhood!: The Emperor has heard whisperings in the court. Amaund Motierre has been spreading discontent to any that listen, and the Emperor is well aware of that family's old links to the Brotherhood. He knows he will not escape his fate indefinitely, but one less group of assassins in Tamriel will be for the good of all.


    Unearthed: Your interest is piqued when you learn of the Azhidal and his abilities as an Enchanter and as a Pyromancer. With his artefacts you could further increase your power.

    Thank you for reading through my first build. The 'Staff Only' approach to destruction really gave me a fresh alternative to playing a Mage and I hope that anyone using these ideas has fun with it also!

    Credit to Ponty and Lanius for the exquisite screenshots and to Ben C for welcoming me to the group and providing sage wisdom! 

  • Member
    July 1, 2013

    Awesome build! +1

    Really like the use of Alchemy to increase the duration of Dragonhide. I'd also suggest using Conjuration potions too to make your Atronachs last even longer. A thing about your presentation - put the picture that inspired you to make the build in a link, likeĀ this. The first picture should capture the reader, and this small pic takes away from the build. I also like how you use wards, putting cost reduction for Destruction rather than Restoration, essentially balancing the build and giving your staves more charges.

  • July 1, 2013
    The Telvanni Robes are an aesthetic choice only ill give you that, but when I say imperial Battlemage I'm not talking about the race. I'm talking about the personal Battlemage of the Emperor.
  • July 1, 2013
    Ok, so what was the issue exactly? The last Battlemage that we know of (Ocato) was Altmer.
  • July 1, 2013
    Thank you! Yeah the first pic was just to give context to how I came up with it, and I didn't want to seem to be robbing things from Narm but I see your point, I'll have a play with it next time I have the PC on, tricky to edit on tablet. Thanks for the comments, when testing this out I found it stayed well balanced throughout if you don't lean loads on one skill or another.
  • July 1, 2013
    Yeah but Elven =/= Thalmor or enemy of the Empire.
  • July 1, 2013
    But you don't have to be an Imperial to be a citizen of the Empire. =P
  • Member
    July 1, 2013
    Imperial is a culture not a race Jo.
  • July 1, 2013

    Although I am a big hater of the corrupt Empire's minions, the build itself looks sweet. +1

  • Member
    July 1, 2013

    My only issue is the name since battlemages are a class which utilizes armor as well as one-handed. Bit that is a minor detail.