Skyrim Character Building » Discussions

Character Build: The Skaal Crusader

  • Member
    September 29, 2013

    This build is a collaboration between Raidriar and Curse Never Dying.

    After a short case of builders block, I’m back with another build. After grasping for ideas, and getting distracted by playing some of the awesome builds on here, Phil inspired me to use the Bloodskal Blade on my Crusader build. After thinking about if for a while, I decided to create a Crusader who follows the ways of the Skaal. Curse Never Dying thankfully agreed to collaborate with me on this idea, and it grew into what you see before you! This build utilises some criminally underused weapons, and embodies the true skill of a Skaal in battle. The Bloodskal Blade is an awesome weapon, and needs to be used in the way I believe it was intended; a noble weapon designed for a unique style of melee combat. That means no stealth, no subterfuge, no assassinations, nothing that goes against your honour and pride as a Skaal. So be prepared for the great knight and elementalist that is the Skaal Crusader!

    “Sit quietly, child, and listen, for the story I tell you is a story of the ages.”

    “In a time before now, long before now, when the Skaal were new, there was peace in the Land. The sun was hot and the crops grew long, and the people were happy in the peace that the All-Maker provided. But, the Skaal grew complacent and lazy, and they took for granted the Lands and all the gifts the All-Maker had given them. They forgot, or chose not to remember, that the Adversary is always watching, and that he delights in tormenting the All-Maker and his chosen people.”

    However, the All-Maker has not forsaken his people. He will send a hero, a holy one, a warrior who will hear the Skaal and aid them in their time of need. He will send…

    The Build

    Race: Nord. All Skaal are Nords, making this choice obvious, but if you really can’t stand them any could work, as the Skaal accept anyone who helps them as Skaal-friend. I feel that the resistance and racial power of the hardy Nords suits this character though.

    Stone: Steed. An underused stone in my opinion, but incredibly useful for the Crusader. The advantage of armour weighing nothing and creating no movement penalty is too good to pass up, allowing more room for potions and more stamina for charging.

    Shouts: Become Ethereal, Dragon Aspect, Cyclone, Storm Call

    Stats: 280:320:200

    Major Skills: Two Handed, Alchemy, Destruction

    Minor Skills: Alteration, Smithing, Heavy Armour, Block

    Weapons: Bloodskal Blade, Stormfang

    Apparel: Nordic Carved Armour, Boots and Gauntlets, Dawnguard Full Helmet, Ring of Destruction, Amulet of Talos

    The Skaal Crusader is a noble and strong fighter who utilises two different swords in synergy with two separate melee fighting styles. These styles are amplified by the Crusader’s use of Alchemy, with potions linked to the gifts of the All-Maker herself.

    Two ancient blades of Solsteim form the Crusader’s weapons arsenal. Experienced with both swords, the Skaal Crusader is unbeatable in combat, felling the enemies of the Skaal tribes with ease. He can dance around enemies with the Bloodskal Blade, taking them by surprise with his exceptional speed and footwork. He can fade in and out of reality using the power of the tongue, becoming invulnerable and able to whirl effortlessly around his stunned and staggered foes.

    Using Stormfang, the Skaal Crusader embodies the wrath of lightning, with bolts, cloaks, runes and walls of thunder at his disposal. Only the incredibly brave or incredibly stupid would dare to approach a lightning-charged warrior of the Skaal.

    Both of these styles are made stronger with the Crusader’s use of the All-Maker’s powers and benefits for the Skaal, making his sword arm stronger, his body and armour harder, his magic better. His magic consists of spells of the earth, strengthening his hide and encasing his opponents in hardened ash and soil, as well as storm incantations.

    As well as this the Skaal Crusader has knowledge of warrior skills, and knows how to parry attacks and guard himself with both armour and blade from his enemies’ strikes. Smithing comes naturally to him, and his weapons and armour are all of legendary quality.


    "For I must stay to lead the Skaal, and tell our people what is law."

    This is the Skaal Crusader’s final perk spread. The build is completely finished here, taking all the perks needed. All necessary Two Handed perks are taken, with critical damage going through the roof when used in conjunction with charges. Two Handed combat turns into a sort of dance, with warmaster and sweep making dodging round enemies easy. Great critical charge also becomes a key perk, making starting combat easy and keeping enemies surprised and staggered. Destruction has also been tanked up, with Shock spells being an obvious focus, particularly walls and cloaks.

    With a combination of Heavy Armour, Smithing and Alteration perks, the Skaal Crusader can reach the armour cap with little perk investment into the actual armour skill. Alteration also provides access to the new ash spells, to keep enemies inactive while you dual with their friends. Alchemy is used to provide useful buffs and deadly poisons to strengthen your combat styles and increase the power of the All-Maker stones.

    "Was he made a warrior? Or taught the ways of the shaman? Did he lead the Skaal in battle?"


    While unenchanted, the armour provides a great look for the Skaal Crusader as well as suiting both themes. The Dawnguard Helmet gives the look of a holy warrior, while Nordic Carved Armour fits in with Skaal cultures and styles. Enchanted pieces aren’t required, though they are very helpful, particularly Fortify Two Handed, Destruction, and Alteration. I myself found some gauntlets that augmented Alchemy, Armour of Destruction and Boots of Two Handed enchants.

    For the necklace and ring slot, I recommend a ring of destruction (whatever amount you can get) and an Amulet of Talos. The Amulet, combined with a blessing of Talos, provides a 40% shout reduction, allowing Become Ethereal to be used fluidly throughout combat. This also helps to reduce the costs of Cyclone and Storm Call, which really help with crowd control on the Unending stance.

    The two greatswords, Stormfang and the Bloodskal Blade, both suit in terms of lore and gameplay. The Bloodskal Blade is a brilliant weapon, capable of damaging many enemies at a time with both blade and energy wave. The wave does 30 points of damage, which can be increased with weakness to magic potions. Stormfang is equally impressive, if not more so, and does 30 points of shock damage. This damage can be increased to 45 with augmented shock perks, making it a truly deadly weapon, especially against magic using enemies.

    “The All-Maker cursed ancient warriors with undeath for committing acts of cannibalism, thus creating the draugr.”


    The Bloodskal

    This first stance involves the pure strength and power of a charging Skaal Warrior. Using a combat stance developed from his Bloodskal ancestors, the Skaal Crusader can effortlessly charge opponents, keeping injuries to him to a minimum with a clever combination of spells, shouts and potions.

    Obviously this stance will be focused on the Bloodskal Blade. Alteration spells will be brought to full effect, using Ash Spells to immobilize foes and Ebonyflesh to enhance defence further. Potions of Fortify Two Handed, Health and Stamina Regen are used, as well as Weakness to Magicka poisons to further the Bloodskal Blade’s wave damage. Great Critical Charge and Become Ethereal become the final pieces to this puzzle, and when used in conjunction with each other create a powerful and deadly tactic for beginning combat.

    I typically opened battles with a flesh spell, and then used Bloodskal Charge to close the gap between me and the enemies. Choose the weakest enemy to charge in a group to take them out of the fight immediately, then use a couple of Ash spells to thin the heard to just a single standing foe to duel with. This stance excels against small groups of melee opponents or single strong opponents, as it keeps them staggered and isolated to the Skaal Crusader’s fury. Mix in Become Ethereal to preserve stamina and get back some health. Use Lash for some crowd control if you’re having trouble and Bloodskal Mastery for utter annihilation.

    The Unending

    This second stance embodies the pure wrath and immortality of the All-Maker. The Skaal Crusader wields the ancient Stormfang, blade of the noble Ulfgar the Unending, a Nord searching forever for Sovngarde. Combining the skill of the Unending himself and the electric fury of your patron god, you can decimate your opponents with this combat style.

    Lightning is the name of the game here, creating some epic synergy between spell and blade. Storm walls, cloaks and runes are your go to spells, and these are used to create areas for camping. Weakness to shock poisons make these camping points all the more deadly, as foes quickly succumb to the lightning from your traps and greatsword. As you level destruction, you should definitely take the Augmented Shock perks, to enhance Stormfang’s damage. A fully powered Stormfang is deadly in conjunction with Weakness to Shock, doing over sixty damage in shock alone. Fortify Magicka and Destruction potions are also very helpful in increasing magical capabilities. For shouts use both Storm Call and Cyclone, to completely slaughter outdoors and provide great crowd control as enemies are flung around amidst a sea of lightning.

    For combat, first survey the foe. If they’re a mage or archer, make a run for them and camp right on their position with a Storm Bastion. Ideally back them into a corner so they can’t run and are taking constant DoT from lightning walls, cloaks and poisons. Against melee enemies, use Storm Bastion in an open position and let them come to you. Use Cyclone to create even more chaos, and Smite when facing massive groups. With a 40% shout cool down, the cool down only lasts double the time of the storm.

    “The Adversary has many aspects. He appears in the unholy beasts and the incurable plague.”

    Achieving Oneness with the Land

    The Skaal strive to achieve oneness with the land. They worship the All-Maker, and have their own religion and culture based around him. When something dies, their spirit flows back into the All-Maker, to be remade into something new. Everything the Skaal believe in is based upon balance: in what they take, do, and act in accordance with their religion. All life is sacred to the Skaal, as they only hunt what they need, and gather firewood from dead trees and materials from the earth.  They must also remain ever vigilant, for the Adversary, Herma-Mora, and even the traitor himself are constant threats to their ways of life.

    To follow the ways of the Skaal Crusader you must uphold this balance. Only kill those who deserve it, and never craft, take or buy more than you need. This means that when creating your armour, only mine the necessary amounts of materials to make and upgrade it, and no more. The Skaal Crusader abhors sneaking or dishonourable tactics, as well as murder and criminal activites. Violence should only be used as a last resort, as the Skaal draw power from peace and harmony. When Harmony is upheld, the Skaal join with the grace of the All-Maker; when it is upset, their power dwindles.

    The Ristaag and Ritual of the Gifts: 

    The Skaal, when in times of great need, perform rituals to honour the All-Maker. One of these is called Ristaag, a ritualistic hunt to show their gratitude for the All-Maker. This is easily enough translated to Skyrim; the Skaal Crusader would hunt animals across both Solsteim and Skyrim. The Ritual of the Gifts is another way the Skaal honour the All-Maker. They embark on a pilgrimage to each of the sacred stones, and leave offerings there. This restores Oneness with the land, and brings the Skaal closer to the All-Maker. I chose to leave gifts linked to each stone (eg. Animal pelts at the Beast Stone, ores at the Earth Stone, wood and plants at the Tree Stone, etc) for my ritual, although you may find items more fitting if you chose to begin the ritual.

    In return for your devotion, the All-Maker will reward you with magical powers and gifts. Using potions, you can fortify four of the six All-Maker stone effects, even doubling their strength. The Beast Stone is governed by the Conjuration school, and therefore is affected by Fortify Conjuration potions. This creates a valuable ally who lasts for a couple of minutes to help you decimate foes. Werebears are hardy and tough creatures, and do not go down easily. Even if it loses health you can always use the Waters of Life (governed by the Restoration school) to heal it. With a potion you can almost double the healing powers of the Water Stone, restoring around 350 health. Both the North Wind and Sun Flare powers are affected by Destruction, and a Destruction potion can vastly increase their damage, creating deadly Blizzards and Fire Storms. North Wind can be increased further with a Fortify Restoration/Weakness to Frost potion, utterly destroying enemies stupid enough to cross you. Unfortunately, Bones of the Earth and Roots of Power cannot be fortified as far as I know.

    For quests, I’d recommend the Dragonborn questline, at least up to The Throat of the World in the Main Quest, and generally any quest in Solsteim, to protect and guard your homeland from evils like Ash Spawn, minions of Apocrypha and other malevolent creatures.

    “There, in the dark, he found the Waters of Life”


    Armour of the Earth - Fortify Block + Fortify Heavy Armour + Resist Frost

    Bleeding Crown + Slaughterfish Scales + Thistle Branch

    Uses: Helpful in situations where you’re being surrounded, use the gifts of the Earth to enhance your physical defences. This gift is most useful against tough enemies when your defence isn’t enough.


    Strength of the Beast - Fortify Two Handed + Regenerate Health

    Emperor Parasol Moss + Fly Amanita + Garlic

    Uses: When in battle, take on the strength of the Beast, attacking stronger and with faster regenerative capabilities. This gift is helpful when you need an extra damage boost.


    Sanctuary of the Wind - Fortify Alteration + Restore Magicka

    Elves Ear + Grass Pod + River Betty

    Uses: Using the magical protection of the Wind, your mystical armour and spells are powered, and your Magicka restored. Best used in conjunction with the Bloodskal stance to enhance your duels.


    Blaze of the Sun - Fortify Destruction + Resist Magic

    Glowing Mushroom + Lavender + Wisp Wrappings

    Uses: The Sun’s fire and anger fills you, strengthening your destructive abilities and resistances. Essential for Storm Bastions, and increasing the damage of Solar Flare.


    Calm of the Water - Restore Health + Restore Stamina

    Blue Mountain Flower + Charred Skeever Hide + Netch Jelly

    Uses: In the water’s surface there is always calm and serenity, restoring physical attributes. Netch Jelly’s restore stamina effect is doubled, allowing more opportunities for bashes and power attacks.


    Knowledge of the Trees - Resist Fire + Resist Frost + Resist Shock

    Ashen Grass Pod + Hawk Beak + Snowberries

    Uses: Trees know many things. They grant their knowledge to those worthy enough, and grant them resistances to the elements. Ashen Grass Pod’s Resist Fire is 34% stronger (Thanks Vaz!), allowing for massive resistance to fire, truly giving you the tree’s hidden secrets.


    Bone Tremor - Damage Stamina + Damage Stamina Regen

    Bone Meal + Frost Mirriam + Giant's Toe

    Uses: Sends a bone-shattering tremor through the very marrow of your enemies. Very effective against warriors to stop them from power attacking.


    Animal Rage - Damage Health + Fear + Slow

    Deathbell + Namira's Rot + Poison Bloom

    Uses: The howls and cries of the beasts fill your weaker enemies ear’s, sending them fleeing in terror, ready to be hunted down like the prey they are.


    Howling Wind - Slow + Weakness to Poison + Weakness to Shock

    Deathbell + Giant Lichen + Trauma Root

    Uses: A violent tempest weathers away at your enemy’s very soul, weakening them to the elements and poisons.


    Sun's Anguish - Damage Health + Damage Stamina + Paralysis

    Canis Root + Crimson Nirnroot + Imp Stool

    Uses: Flaming tongues lick at your opponent’s body, scorching and toppling them to the ground at the mercy of the Skaal Crusader.


    Furious Waves - Damage Stamina Regen + Ravage Health + Weakness to Magic

    Creep Cluster + Jazbay Grapes + Skeever Tail

    Uses: Waves and water lash against your foe, weakening them to further magical attacks. Great for setting up enemies to use Lightning Rod.


    Deadly Roots - Damage Magicka + Damage Magicka Regen

    Glow Dust + Hanging Moss

    Uses: Trees can take away as well as give. Their harsh roots grasp enemies in a terrible grip, draining their magical capabilities.

    “The Winds rushed out with gale force”


    Bloodskal Charge - This combo is the Skaal Crusader's chosen method of opening combat using the offensive stance to surprise the enemy. Wielding the blade of his Bloodskal ancestors, he uses the voice to become Ethereal, and charges the enemy with no effort. They are caught off guard, surprised and staggered from the Crusader's devastating charge.

    Requires: Bloodskal Blade, Become Ethereal (1 word), Great Critical Charge


    Lash - The Bloodskal Blade is coated with a deadly weakening poison, before the Crusader swings it in a wide arc, striking multiple, contaminated foes with both blade and energy wave. This move is most effective against two opponents, allowing you to strike both of them with the weakness at once.

    Requires: Bloodskal Blade, Concentrated Poison, Sweep, Furious Waves


    Bloodskal Mastery - The Skaal Crusader is a master of his chosen weapon, and wields it with eminent skill. Taking on the aspect of a dragon, he gains stronger armour and attacks, and uses Herma-Mora's forbidden knowledge against him to aid the wills of the Skaal.

    Requires: Bloodskal Blade, Dragon Aspect, Secret of Strength, Strength of the Beast


    Storm Bastion - Utilising the anger and power of lightning, the Skaal Crusader creates an entrenched position by enveloping himself in a lightning cloak and surrounding himself in a wall of storms. This double layer hazard awaits any enemies strong enough to survive the Crusader's onslaught of lighting spells.

    Requires: Blaze of the Sun, Lightning Cloak, Wall of Storms


    Smite - After priming all opponents in the vicinity with a weakness to lightning, the Crusader calls on the storms of Skyrim, opening the heavens to send an aerial barrage of thunderbolts on his hapless and vulnerable foes.

    Requires: Storm Call, multiple Howling Wind poisons

    “You have done well. You, the least of the Skaal, have returned my gifts to them. The Greedy Man is gone for now, and should not trouble your people again in your lifetime. Your All-Maker is pleased. Go now, and live according to your Nature."


    Closing Notes and Credits:

    Thank you all for the ongoing support!

    Curse Never Dying for being a great partner and help in the creation of this build

    Phil for original idea

    Ponty for notes on All-Maker stones

    Zimbu for absolutely brilliant screenshots. He’s been going through a lot, and obviously put a hell of a lot of work into these

    the Tman for sorting out issues with potions

    Quotes are from the in game book "Aevar Stone-Singer"

  • Member
    October 2, 2013
    Okay, got it. I'll make those edits. Thanks for pointing them out!
  • Member
    October 2, 2013
    This is easily the next build I'm going to play,the combination of lore and gameplay is brilliant.Great job guys easy +1
  • October 2, 2013

    Awesome screenshots and great and unique build

  • Member
    October 3, 2013
    Thanks Frazer! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
  • Member
    October 3, 2013
    Thanks Forgotten Hope!
  • Member
    October 3, 2013

    I have scrolled past this post countless times on the homepage, and after reading it, I feel really guilty. This is an absolute gem!

    And well deserved +1

  • October 3, 2013
    I couldn't agree more.
  • October 3, 2013
    Sam don't forget to change the rank tag to exemplar when you can.
  • Member
    October 3, 2013