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Character Build: The Elemental Master

Tags: #Character Build Monk  #Character Build Elementalist  #Rank:Legendary  #David Okine 
  • Member
    October 14, 2013

    “Not all who wander are lost.” This saying matches perfectly the hard and long path of a monk. On his strive to balance his inner strength, he will need to learn from his surrounding as nature is his greatest master. Legends say that every century a monk will reach this state of balance and will be a reincarnation of the master before him. He will become the Elemental Master.”

    *This build requires the two DLCs "Dawnguard" and Dragonborn to enfold its maximum potential.*

    After quite some time of hard work, I'm proud to present you:

    The Elemental Master

    “Air, Water, Earth and Fire, these four elements need to stay in constant balance. Around and within you.”

    The idea

    First of all, this build relies heavily on role-playing. I wanted to let the character wander through all of Skyrim and learn new abilities and spells in all the different places. You can set your own path and every play through will be different. How does it work?

    There are four territories that represent the four elements. When the Dragonborn reaches a specific territory, he is ready to begin the training of a new element.

    “A monk doesn’t only rely on the strength of his muscles but more so on the strength of his magical knowledge”

    The Build

    Race: Any race fits a monk roleplay-wise. but my favorites would be the following because of their racial abilities: Imperial (Voice of the Emperor) and Breton (Dragonskin).

    Stone: The Lord. This stone grants 50 points of damage resistance and 25% magic resistance which help greatly to buff the armor given by flesh spells.

    Element: Your base element defines your fighting style, magic school and main skills. It is basically a build on its own.

    Stats: The best stat distribution would be 2/1/1. When reaching higher levels with the magic schools you will need a lot of Magicka to be able to cast a lot of spells.


    Air: “The element of freedom” 


    • Whiterun Guard’s Armor
    • Steel Nordic Gauntlets
    • Boots (look like bandages)

    Weapon: Unarmed

    Spells: Flesh Spells, Whirlwind Cloak, Ward Spells

    Shouts: Animal Alliance, Unrelenting Force, Whirlwind Sprint, Slow Time, Become Ethereal, Cyclone, Call Dragon

    Skills: Alteration, Restoration, Speech

    Territory: The Throat of the World

    The Air element gives the monk a certain calmness to his spirit. His pacifist nature makes him friendly towards other people. However, as a pleasant breeze can turn into a storm in one second, the monk will defend himself if attacked. He can overwhelm many opponents at once with powerful air waves or surrounding himself with a whirlwind cloak for protection. The monk will adapt to the situation around him and prefer to calm his opponents with his voice instead of direct attacking them. He is also a quick and powerful unarmed fighter if it comes to hand-to-hand combat and Air Monks can call upon animals to help them.


    Water: “The element of change” 


    Tier 1:

    • Novice Robes
    • Novice Hood/Temple Priest Hood
    • Gloves
    • Boots (look like bandages)

    Tier 2 (Traveling Gear):

    • Full Skaal Armor Set, unfortunately this set has a low armor rating and can’t be improved.

    Spells: Frost Spells. Conjuring Frost Atronach, Flesh Spells, Healing Spells

    Shouts: Frost Breath, Ice Form, Call Dragon

    Skills: Destruction, Alteration, Conjuration, Restoration

    Territory: Hold of Winterhold

    Water has cleaning and healing abilities. This gives a monk the ability to heal himself and his companions if needed. With the power of this element the monk can slow down an enemy and freeze him to solid ice. The monk is also skilled in conjuration and he can summon a powerful Frost Atronach to fight at his side.


    Earth: “The element of substance” 


      Tier 1:

    • Markarth Guard’s Armor
    • Steel Nordic Gauntlets
    • Steel Cuffed Boots

      Tier 2:

    • Dawnguard Heavy Armor
    • Dawnguard Heavy Gauntlets
    • Dawnguard Heavy Boots

    Weapon: Mace (not enchanted), Pickaxe

    Spells: Ash Spells, Conjure Ash Guardian/Spawn, Conjure Atronach/Familiar, Flesh Spells

    Shouts: Dragon Aspect, Marked For Death, Elemental Fury

    Skills: One-Handed, Heavy Armor, Alteration, Conjuration, Blacksmithing

    Territory: Blackreach

    Just like the Earth is a solid and heavy element, the monk wears heavy armor to give him good protection. He fights with a mace to hit his enemies decisively and powerful, just like quicksand is pulling helpless victims down. He can harden his skin to dried soil and control Ash spawns, creatures made of earth and ashes, to fight for him. While training in the Earth element, the monk will carry a pickaxe with him to find gifts the ground is offering him or to even use it as a weapon.


    Fire: “The element of power” 


    • Shrouded Hood
    • Solitude Guard’s Armor
    • Hide Bracers
    • Hide Boots

    Weapon: Torch

    Spells: Fire Spells, Fire Cloak, Lightning Spells, Flesh Spells

    Shouts: Fire Breath, Storm Call

    Skills: Light Armor, Alteration, Conjuration, Destruction

    Territory: South of Solstheim

    Fire is the element of power and hard will. The monk can form his inner desire to a flame and release it as powerful firestorms upon his enemies. Known as an offensive technique and due to lack of defense moves, the monk becomes easily vulnerable, although some monks are able to form walls of fire to defend their ground or trapping enemies within the flames. Powerful monks cast flames which are yellow or blue-ish and can even learn to control lightning through pure focusing of their body and spirit. An important item for the monk is a torch which he will carry on his travels to balance out this strong element and to learn constantly from fire.


    Role-Play and Gameplay:

     “The Throat of the World – a windy mountain, every monk seeking knowledge of the element Air must visit on his path.”

    As I stated earlier, this build relies heavily on role-playing. You play a monk who is seeking knowledge in the elements and to gather this knowledge he will seek out places where the elements are strong present. You travel through Skyrim and find these places, which I mentioned in the builds, to start the new training. This training can look as following: You found already all three word walls of the shout “Fire Breath” while you were training in the element of Air but you will only unlock use the shout when you reach the south shore of Solstheim. For the other elements it works the same. You can set your own order in which you seek out the places and use new spells/shouts. Obviously the goal is to become the Elemental Master.

    The Elemental Master uses a combination of all the four elements and a variety of shouts of the previous builds. His task is it to keep the elements in balance and preventing one element overwhelming the others. Besides casting powerful spells he uses the Staff of Jyrik Gauldurson which can be found in Saarthal during a quest.

    ”After the task of balancing the elements, the Elemental Master will use all his knowledge combined to fight evil and to protect the world.”


    • Telvanni Robes
    • Bare hands (for flesh spells)
    • Boots (Bandages)
    • Optional: Shrouded Hood
    • Amulet of Talos
    • Ring of Regenerate Magicka (to counteract the Atronach Stone)

    Weapon: Staff of Jyrik Gauldurson. Be careful as this staff is consuming a lot of charges.Use with caution.

    Shouts: Bend Will, Call Dragon, Cyclone, Dragon Aspect, Fire Breath, Frost Breath, Storm Call, Unrelenting Force, Whirlwind Sprint, Slow Time.


    • Fire: Incinerate, Flame Cloak, Fireball, Firestorm,Wall of Flames, Chain Lightning, Conjure Flame Atronach
    • Water: Ice Storm, Ice Spike, Frostbite
    • Earth: Conjure Ash Spawn/Guardian, Ash Rune, Ash Shell, Ebonyflesh
    • Air: Whirlwind Cloak

    "To keep the elements in balance, the Elemental Master will take Dragons on with his fire and ice spells."

    As you may have noticed, all the builds except the Earth build can be played as pure Mage builds. Destruction is the key to huge damage and with the reduction cost perks it will cost less Magicka. Along with Destruction spells comes a handful of cloak spells to protect yourself and hurt opponents brave enough to come closer. A lot of shouts are used too, either to weaken opponents i.e. Fire Breath, Marked for Death, or give you an advantage i.e. Elemental Fury for speeding up the Earth build’s mace attacks or Cyclone, a whirlwind that pushes your enemies in the air and releases them again. Conjurations such as the Fire Atronach or the Ash Spawn/Guardian can keep enemies busy while you heal yourself or refill your Magicka. Note: When playing the Dawnguard DLC, you must side with the Dawnguard. You cannot let vampires destroy the sun, as this will unbalance the elements. 

    To get some nice shout cool down reduction for the many shouts this build uses, make sure to have the Blessing Of Talos activated and wearing an Amulet Of Talos. Cool down time is reduced by 40% and it's worth it.

    Important Quest: Some of these quests will guide you automatically to all four territories of elements:

    • Main Quest
    • Dragonborn Main Quest
    • Mage College of Winterhold
    • Destroy the Dark Brotherhood
    • Dawnguard Quest line
    • Forbidden Legend

    Perk Spread: Level 65 Perk Spread

    Note that this is a Level 65 build. The reason behind this, is because it combines perks of the four builds above. As of this, I would recommend this build more to experienced players than to new players. 


    Special Moves:

    • Calm Spirits: The Elemental Master calms the opponent with his voice and uses the moment to heal himself. Requires: Voice of the Emperor + Close Wounds/Fast Healing/Healing
    • Air Shield: This is a technique used by Air Monks to protect them from incoming spells. The caster creates a shield of air in his hand and around him and blocks the incoming damage while walking towards the enemy. Then he pushes him with his voice away. Requires: Whirlwind Cloak + Greater Ward + Unrelenting Force
    • Fire Propulsion: The Elemental Master enshrouds himself in flames and runs towards his enemies. On impact they will take damage and be set on fire. Requires: Flame Cloak + Whirlwind Sprint (mind the distance between you and your enemies)
    • Fire Devil: The Elemental Master uses Air and Fire power to surround himself with air and releases a fire storm upon his foes. Requires: Whirlwind Cloak + Firestorm
    • Fire Trap: You push your opponent away with a strong cyclone, then you build a wall of flames around him, trapping him in a deadly circle. Requires: Cyclone + Wall of Flames

    Note: Ash spells are relatively useless for in-battle strategies, because they paralyze and make the enemy invulnerable (for 30 seconds!) to your attacks/spells. I recommend using them for taking out single enemies while fighting a tough boss without being constantly attacked.


    "The Elemental Master is also highly skilled in using staffs. Not many opponents can hold against his spells and staff combination."


    Secret knowledge beyond the elements

    "Where the Black Books actually came from... no one really knows. Some appear to have been written in the past, others might be from the future." -Neloth

    On Solstheim, the Elemental Master finds a new teacher, Hermeus Mora, and learns secrets from his writings, the Black Books, which grant the reader powerful knowledge and power beyond a mortal's reach. In total there are seven books, but I found that only four of them have abilities suited for the Elemental Master. Here are now my recommended books and abilities:

    Waking Dreams

    Location: Temple of Miraak

    You will find the book Waking Dreams at the end of the Dragonborn questline. It instantly allows you to reset your perks for the cost of Dragonsouls. It can be seen as the reincarnation of the Elemental Master and reaching his goal. This makes the book and questline almost essential. As it is a Level 65 build, resetting and redistributing your perks will make it easier to get all the perks. 


    Epistolary Acumen

    Location: Nchardak

    This book is only obtainable during the Path of Knowledge Quest. When you read it you can choose from three bonuses to your shouts, depending on which element you use the most:

    • Dragonborn Flame: If you kill with your Fire Breath shout, a Fire Wyrm will appear for 60 seconds and fight at your side. If it dies, it explodes. You can have multiple wyrms at the same time. 
    • Dragonborn Frost: Your Frost Breath will freeze your opponents for up to 15 seconds to solid ice. Attacking the enemies will not break the ice.
    • Dragonborn Force: Unrelenting Force becomes more powerful and disintegrates enemies directly killed by the shout.


    The Sallow Regent

    Location: White Ridge Barrow

    You can choose a bonus to one of the three skill types. I recommend Seeker of Sorcery, as it reduces the spell cost of all spells by 10% and all enchantments will be 10% stronger, wich supports the Elemental Master nicely.


    Filament and Filigree

    Location: Kolbjorn Barrow

    This books lets you choose you a new ability which you can use once per day. I recommend using Secrets of Arkana. By activating Secrets of Arkana, all spells cost no magicka for 30 seconds which can be used to power high costing spells like Fire Storm or healing yourself.


    The Hidden Twilight

    Location: Tel Mithryn

    You can get this book while completing quests for Neloth at Tel Mithryn. The best out of the three one per day abilities is Mora's Boon. It completely restores your health, magicka and stamina. Instant rebirth of the Elemental Master! 



    Final Words:

    So this is the Elemental Master. It took me quite some time to finish it, but now I'm even more pleased with how it turned out. With this build I tried to bring some vibes of the cartoon Avatar: The Last Airbender into Skyrim. Some things like Earth magic were harder to recreate and others were easier as they are already a part of Skyrim. Another huge inspiration was the Master Monk by No snakes aLive. I played his build but decided to include some destruction spells and then it all developed into the Elemental Master. 

    Thank you for reading my work and as always, every comment is appreciated.

  • Member
    December 10, 2016

    Build has been webbed together by your friendly neighborhood Spider-Noodles!