Skyrim Character Building » Discussions

Character Build: The Brigadier

  • Member
    August 15, 2013

    As of this moment, 9:46pm on the 5th on January 2014, this build has been REVAMPED. Several skills have been dropped, the gameplay has changed and the presentation has been vastly updated.

    War. War is what I know, it’s all I know. Ever since I was a boy I dreamed of being a solider and fighting for my homeland. Oh, how foolish I was back then. How could I dream of taking another’s life just so mine could be extended a bit longer, only for the Empire to throw us to the wolves anyway!

    Oh yes, I was there. I was in the Imperial City when they came. The Thalmor, those damn wretched elves. I lost count of how many came to die by my hand but I remember this – The call to lay down our weapons and comply with the new laws of the Thalmor – For Talos to be obliterated as a god and to ban the worship of his name.

    I never agreed with this choice. I will never agree with it. Talos is our god and we will fight for our rights to worship him, even if it meant to the death! But for now I can see Helgen in the distance from the cart I’m in. Ralof tells me we’re going to be executed for treason. So be it. I have had enough of this world anyway.

    Talos guide me.

    The build is a remake of my previous build, The Stormcloak. Like its predecessor, The Brigadier is a strictly no magic build but drops the enchanting skill to focus on a firmly melee-enhancing combat style with a deep roleplaying element. The Brigadier focuses on inflicting as much damage as possible while negating damage from himself with his armor, potions and shouts. He is also a charismatic being, able to command his forces in battle and charm the masses for the Stormcloak rebellion cause. Overall, it’s been a rewarding and challenging playthrough.

    ((Disclaimer: This build is designed to be playable on vanilla Skyrim, however, it was tested on PC with many mods installed. If I have missed something, please let me know!))

    Race: Nord. No ifs or buts about it.

    Stats: 0/2/1 Pile at least 300 into health and then split the stats evenly. This will save you on lower levels.

    Major Skills: Heavy Armor, One Hand, Block, Alchemy 

    Minor Skills: Smithing, Speech, Archery

    Stone: Warrior, then Steed (until the conditioning perk is earned), and finally, the Lady Stone.

    Shouts: Call of Valor, Ice Form, Battle Fury, Frost and Fire Breath, Cyclone, Slow Time

    Follower: Calder, the housecarl of Windelm (equipped with Carved Nordic Armor), Eric the Slayer (equipped with Stormcloak armor) or another Nord warrior. Archers would also be suitable, for covering fire. A dog is also acceptable, such as Vigilance or an armoured Dawngaurd husky.

    Heavy Armor:
    Though Nords get a stat boost in Light Armor, I decided to go down the Heavy Armor lane. Why? As a head-on warrior the Brigadier needs to be able to hit hard and to absorb damage. The Brigadier is also not a barbarian and prefers to be covered up in the heat of battle.

    One Hand:
    The Brigadier favours the sword as his weapon. It lacks the brutality of a waraxe and the speed of a dagger, but surpasses both of them in reach. Combined with our
      shield, we have the classic sword and board warrior lined up.

    Block: The sword may be mighty, but even it isn’t enough to block the blow of a warhammer or the strike of a well-placed arrow.

    Alchemy: The Brigadier is a surprisingly efficient healer. Through the power of potions, we are able to craft extraordinary powerful healing potions and elixirs to reduce shout cooldown. Think of them as stimulates for the Brigadier.

    Smithing: All soldiers are expected to know a thing or two about repairing their
    own armor and weapons. A very minor skill but we will have to go through a fair few perks to carve our final set. Unfortunately, it’s locked on the light armor side of the tree but this will not affect gameplay too much.

    Speech: Brigadier needs to be a charismatic leader in order to command his troops (followers). This is mostly a roleplaying  skill but useful nonetheless for selling loot.

    Archery: A secondary combat skill, usually only used to pick off members of large groups before charging in. This is not a skill to be used in combination with sneaking; the unperked skill.


    Helm of Yngol
    Amulet of Talos
    Necklace of Peerless Alchemy (Only for when crafting potions)
    Nordic Carved Cuirass enchanted with Fortify Heavy Armor
    Ring of Renewal
    Nordic Carved Gauntlets enchanted with Fortify One Hand
    Nordic Carved Boots enchanted with Muffle
    Shield of Ysgamor
    Eduj OR Nordic Sword enchanted with Frost Damage
    Nordic Bow enchanted with Stamina Damage
    Best possible arrows

    By the end of this character’s run, he is a respected and honoured solider of the Stormcloak rebellion, hence why he has a unique armor set compared to the rest of the officers. The Brigadier needs to be easily identified by the people of Skyrim against his peers, similar to how higher-ranked soldiers were the Officers Armor, or how the Circle of the Companions wears Wolf Armor. The enchantments listed are
    completely optional, but are there for those who need to enchant their gear for whatever reason (or 
    because they want to, like me).

    Why did I go with a Helm of Yngol instead of the matching one for the set? A few reasons, actually. One, for the intimidation factor as I bet half of you would be scared out of your wits if a heavily armoured warrior charged at you, sword and shield in hand, with a horned helm and a deadly stare in his eyes. Two, it fits in with the whole solider theme and it’s very Nordic-themed. And three, while the whole bear head is cool and all, ironically, I don’t like the helmet on Nords. Four, it just looks awesome.

    I was originally going to stick with a Windhelm Shield for our Stormcloak but I couldn’t help myself. While not only it is a powerful artifact, the Shield of Ysgamor has deep Nordic roots and suits out character perfectly. For my weapons, I used Iron, Steel and Skyforged Steel weapons until I could Eduj, one of Kvenel the Tongue’s weapons, as my main sword, simply because it was a guaranteed pre-enchanted Ancient Nord sword. Later on, I upgraded to a Nordic sword with Frost Damage.

    First of all, you should join the Stormcloaks as soon as possible but hold off actually doing any quests until you’re a higher level. Not only will this draw out the questline, it will give you freedom to advance through some other questlines.

    Combat is all about fancy footwork and blocking. There are no fancy mechanics here, just simple blocking and stabbing. Several perks in the Block tree will be used for this. For example, the Disarm perk is very handy when against two-handed warriors, especially when combined with Slow Time and Quick Reflexes. Also, speaking of shouts, we will also be gaining a high shout reduction (see the Shout Reduction section for more details.)

    Your best bet against mages will simply be to just use your shield (and maybe a distraction companion). After gaining the Block Runner and Elemental Protection perks, charging up to a mage and smashing them down will be a breeze! Tougher mages may need Damage Magicka and Ravage Magicka poisons, but the trickiest mages of all will be the undead: Vampires and draugr spellswords. Both are immune to poison but they share a key weakness – Fire. Yol Toor Shul should do the trick nicely and this is the only time this shout should be used.

    Archers aren’t much of a problem either, even if they are faster than you. Take them out from afar with your bow and move in close with your shield up. The perk Deflect Arrows will end up being your best friend as when you are too close to actually hit, they will pull out a dagger and that’s where the Brigadier will excel.

    Melee warriors such as bandit chiefs will rely on a similar strategy, just keep your shield up and deflect any incoming blows. Let your follower spearpoint the attack, if they are the warrior type, while you flank around and get them from behind.

    Other than that, feel free to experiment. Think of your troop of followers as your own army and that you are leading them into battle. Unfortunately, you can’t give them battle orders you can still adapt your combat to fit theirs. With that logic, it’s almost as if you’re following them rather than them following you.

    There are three main methods of reducing shout cooldown, two of which we cannot do due to the wrong skillset. To do this small glitch you need at least three or four Amulets of Talos, a secluded area with no enemies or NPCs, the blood of a werewolf and a follower who won’t become aggressive if you transform.

    Simply travel to said secluded area, save (always save your games before performing glitches, lads!), and then initiate dialogue with your follower BUT press the transform button at the same time. If you timed it right, you will go through a transformation, but are still able to speak to your follower. Deposit all your Amulets of Talos into their inventory, and then equip them.

    If you're worried about being overpowered, then redo this glitch every ten levels and deposit a extra amulet. At Level ten, have one but if you hit Level twenty, equip a second. At Level thirty, have three. While still making use of the glitch, it keeps your shouts matched to your level

    May take a few tries but enjoy! Have fun throwing your shouts together for fun and engaging combinations.

    The Brigadier is one of the few alchemists in the army and has convinced the majority of the Nords that brewing daring stimulants and toxic concoctions is the key to winning any battle against a variety of targets. Here are a few of his favourite and most powerful brews. Experiment to find more!

    Essence of Healing

    Effects ~ Fortify Health + Restore Health + Restore Stamina
    Ingredients ~ Bear Claws + Charred Skeever Hide + Wheat

    Tonic of Mage’s Frustration

    Effects ~ Resist Fire + Resist Frost + Resist Shock

    Ingredients ~ Mudcrab Chitin + Snowberries + Thistle Branch

    Infusion of the Giant’s Curse

    Effects ~ Damage Health + Slow
    Ingredients ~
    Deathbell + River Betty

    Brew of Total Ravage

    Effects ~ Ravage Magicka + Ravage Stamina + Ravage Health

    Ingredients ~ Jazbay Grapes + Scathecraw + Spawn Ash

    Mixture of Absolute Frenzy

    Effects ~ Damage Health + Damage Magicka + Damage Magicka Regen + Frenzy
    Ingredients ~ Falmer Ear + Hanging Moss + Human Heart

    Stricken by Time’s Curse

    The Brigadier worse enemies are the ones fastest to him – Assassins, thieves and light-armoured dual wielders. By combining the power of the Slow Time shout and The Giant’s Curse poison, he can slowly ebb an enemy’s health while they are slowed down extremely. He can even slow them down even further by releasing a Frost breath shout.

    Slow Time shout + Giant’s Curse poison + Frost Breath shout

    The Commander’s Cry

    As a high-ranking warrior of the rebellion, the Brigadier is able to motivate his unit of soldiers while scaring away enemies with his ferocious cry. To top it all off, he can even summon a warrior from Sovengarde to chase down those who flee in terror.

    Battle Fury + Battle Cry racial power + Call of Valor

    • Unsurprisingly, the Brigadier isn’t too fussed on magic. The only spells you should know are the starting ones, Flames and Healing. Sell off any scrolls and spellbooks for extra cash. Same with empty soul gems, since we’re not filling them anyway.

    • You should always be helping out those in need. Though not all soldiers are good, I had in mind that our Brigadier is more good-aligned than most. He gives to the poor, does favours for the common man and destroys the Dark Brotherhood.\
    • When not questing, stay with a camp of Stormcloaks and ‘advise’ them. Eat, sleep, defend from bandits/ Oh, and ALWAYS rescue Stormcloak prisoners and kill any Thalmor you see.
    • Waste not, want not! Loots every fallen body and take anything of value. Search high and low for all the ingredients you need to craft your stimulants.

    • If you have Hearthfire, use the plot in Hjaalmarch. The unique feature is a fish hatchery which allows you to gain ingredients much quicker. Make sure to get the Greenhouse add-on! 

    • Visit a Shrine of Talos regularly and only ever receive his blessing.

    As mentioned above, the Brigadier is good aligned. He won’t be joining the Thieves Guild, nor will be killing innocents. There are no Daedric quests listed below but if there any you feel that fit his character, feel free to complete them. He is more inclined to help Nords more than Elves but he is not a racist. He following quests are the ones that should always be completed when playing this build.

    Civil War – Stormcloaks, Destroy the Dark Brotherhood!, Main Quest, Kyne’s Sacred Trials, Dragonborn questline, Skaal Village quests, Companion questline, the Forsworn Conspiracy and No One Escapes Cidhna Mine! (Kill the Forsworn), dungeon quests, Blood on the Ice, The White Phial and Repairing the Phial, Missing In Action and A Return to Your Roots.

     I hope you all like the revamp! I would like to thank Jo'Daro, for the awesome perks spread (seriously, thank you!) Adam ‘Snacks’ Gould for giving me an awesome name, Teecam for his 100% Fortify Shout guide and Dragon for his Alchemy Guide. If I have forgotten anyone, please let me know. Oh, and thanks to everyone who reads and likes my builds. 

  • Member
    August 15, 2013

    Good build, but I don't get why do you use heavy armor, if the Stormcloaks don't use it, (only Imperial Legates). The Nord doesn't even have bonuses in heavy armor, but has +5 to light armor, so I would change that.

  • Member
    August 15, 2013

    Good point, but from a more roleplaying point of view, I feel that a Nord would be more inclined to pick heavy armor over light. 

  • Member
    August 15, 2013

    I quite like this. I've always wanted to play a "soldier" build. +1

    I'll probably use the Stormcloak Officer Armor instead though.

  • Member
    August 15, 2013


    I just read the Stormcloak Officer armor is classfied as Light but instead relies on Heavy Armour perks. So it could still work

  • Member
    August 15, 2013

    You know after thinking for a minute, I actually agree with you and Ancient Nord armor actually fits this build very well.

  • Member
    August 15, 2013

    Shield of Ysgramor should work, right?

    Also, some cool heavy Stormcloak armor for PC:

  • Member
    August 15, 2013

    Actually, it's the boots only and that too puts the stormcloak officer armor build at a disadvantage when wearing the full set.

    Still, if you wanna do this RP wise, it is a good choice, seeing as how Stormcloacks are more attack oriented than defense. Which means that this build would have to absolutely rely on the stagger effects from war axes and dual weilding if you wanna pull this off or constant power attacks via a low level absorb stamina enchant (hint hint)

  • August 15, 2013
    Nice build but I feel that enchanting and to a lesser extent alchemy are tacked on. You said in the build that spells were a no-no and while enchanting isnt exactly a spell j feel that it would still be frowned upon by the stormcloacks
  • Member
    August 15, 2013

    Hey Tae Rai,

    First off, congrats on your first build and trust me, it's a good one. Simple,. straight to the point, not much grinding (save for when you need to, like enchanting or smithing when you have the resources).

    Personally as a builder that favors more magical and damage over time builds as compared to the straight up ones (like yours), I would normally pass it over, but your build has a sense of sincerity to the roleplay that is within reason. 

    Therefore. let me offer you a few tips that can help improve your build:

    Presentation - it looks fine though it can use a little refinement. Take a look at the higher level builds, but don't really bother much if you're cool with this... I like the layout, just needs a bit of polish imo.

    Get rid of the heavy armor - Really, not necessary. Yes, I know that it will mean you get kille early - mid game, but that's where the excitement lies. If you really wanna immerse in RP, get the stormcloak armor from the beginning and stick to it, building up light armor skills instead. Swap the officer's boots for normal fur boots to prevent the bug preventing you to benefit from custom fit perk.

    If you really wanna do heavy armor, the only way I can forsee this coming to being closely nord related is if you wear the companions armor and match up the strormcloack officer's boots with it.

    If you do that, then it would be a  "Fighter's guild  mercenary who's also a nord and is taking time off from his mercenary contracts to slay the thalmor before going back to his hunting lifestyle" kinda thing, which could also fit into role play if you want.

    Use Shout: Marked for Death - After destroying the dark brotherhood, you might wanna use this shout instead and only stick to the first word stacking. Trust me, on a 12 second CD (with amulet of talos and blessings of talos), you would be able pull off at least 3 shouts, allowing a total of 75% armor reduction on foes (making it really easy to deal with those bandits chiefs and dragons).

    Focus on Bleeding Damage - With this build, you really have nothing to add on for damage, save your physical attacks. Which is why it's very impt to focus on the finer aspects of bleeding damage. granted these dont work on Draugrs and Automatons, they will help against most fights. Here are some ways you can help this build with the bleeding damage:

    Bleeding Damage: Marked for Death - I mentioned earlier about the reduction to enemy armor, however, there is also a constant 1hp/sec bleed damage applied to the target. Best part, this effect stacks! Every 12 secs, you can shout again, causing a constant pile up of bleed damage on targets.

    Bleeding Damage: Targe of the blooded - You're already doing the main quest and your moves involve shield bashing. Get this baby and cause 3 bleeding damage for 5 seconds.

    Therefore, in total, we're looking at a total of 22 bleeding damage over 6 seconds (6 seconds due to the Hack and Slash perk 3/3 duration of 6 seconds).

    Magic Aint that bad! - You're a nord... and so was Ahzidal, master enchanter and found in the dragonborn expansions (since you mentioned the Dragon Aspect shout to cater to DB players). You already have absorb stamina enchant on your weapon and stamina and stamina regen enchants can be placed on the boots. Lose the Ring and swap it for Azhidal's Ring of Arcana. Minimal Mana cost + constant fire damage (4 dps for 15 sec) adds on to the already present 22 bleeding damage per 6 seconds to bring it to a total of 46 damage for 6 Seconds (to the living) and 24 damage per 6 seconds (to undead and automatons).  

    With it's  low cost, all it takes is 1 cast every 15 seconds to do the constant damage of the figures mentioned above and since your build practises Enchanting in the RP, it would fit in pretty well as well. 

    Hope this helps and gratz on your first build!