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Character Build: The Death Dealer

Tags: #Character Build Dual-Wield  #Race:Nord  #Character Build Juggernaut  #Character Build Vampire  #Rank:Exemplar  #David Okine  #Underworld  #Vampires vs Werewolves  #Werewolf hunter 
  • Member
    December 15, 2013

    This build is based on the Death Dealers from my favorite movie series ‘Underworld’. My goal with this build was to break the mold of the classic vampire build and deliver something new. Therefore this build focuses on dual-wielding swords and wearing heavy armor while still keeping the atmosphere of a vampire build and a very interesting role play as Werewolf hunter. I present…

    Sworn to eradicate the disease of Lycanthropy, Death Dealers hunt Werewolves throughout their most common ground, Skyrim.

    Gifted by Molag Bal himself, they have supernatural abilities that allow them to fight efficiently against the far taller and stronger beasts. Their knowledge of magic may not be as high as the more academic vampires, but their mastery of swords and crossbows makes them the most lethal warriors amongst the Volkihar clan.  

    Race: Nord Vampire

    Stone:  The Lord

    Major Skills: One-Handed, Smithing, Archery, Enchanting

    Minor Skills: Heavy Armor, Restoration, Destruction

    Armor: Enchanted Ebony Armor Set with Circlet or Dawnguard Full Helmet

    Weapons: The Pale Blade, Enchanted Nordic Sword, Harkon's Sword, Steel Crossbows

    Spells: Frost Cloak, Vampiric Drain, Frost Rune, Ice Storm

    Shouts: Slow Time, Whirlwind Sprint, Unrelenting Force

    Essential Quests: Dawnguard Main Quest (Vampires), The Pale Lady, Forbidden Legend, The House of Horrors, Destroy the Dark Brotherhood, Companions, I’ll met by moonlight, The Frostmoon Hunters, Filial Bonds, The Black Star, Vampire Side quests, Laid to rest

    The Build

    There are Demonhunter builds, Vampirehunter builds, Witchhunter builds, but I haven’t seen a Werewolfhunter build. The problem is, the wanted prey isn’t as common as vampires and other demonic creatures, but they are there. The Companion’s Circle members are secret Werewolves and the Dark Brotherhood has also a beast in their rows. The two DLC’s added Werewolves and Werebears to the game and thus opening the gate for this build, if you know where the lycanthropes can be found in the wild.

    The Death Dealer is a vampire warrior highly skilled in dual-wielding swords and using crossbows. She isn’t as much trained in Conjuration or Illusion magic but she can use Destruction spells and make use of the Restoration school.

    'The Death Dealer, most lethal warrior of the Volkihar clan'

    Armor, Equipment and Weapons:

    Ebony armor works well esthetically and has a high armor rating to be useful to the Death Dealer. Despite being Heavy Armor it doesn’t look as bulky as other Heavy Armor types, but the opposite, it looks rather elegantly slim and fits the body.


    Death Dealer Elite Armor (Ebony Cuirass):  Fortify Destruction + Fortify Health Regeneration

    Death Dealer Elite Gauntlets (Ebony Gauntlets): Fortify Archery + Fortify One-Handed

    Death Dealer Elite Boots (Ebony Boots): Fortify Stamina + Fortify Fire Resistance

    Necklace: The Gauldur Amulet

    Ring: Any Fortify Magicka Ring


    Personally I don’t like the look of the Ebony helmet so I decided to first go with an enchanted circlet and later switch to the Dawnguard Full Helmet. This helmet can be obtained from the Dawnguard Vampire Hunters and Dawnguard Scouts, looming at the dock of Castle Volkihar. The only backdraw of this helmet is that there is no unenchanted version, because the enchantment is pretty useless for this build.

    The Pale Blade

    The weapon of choice for a Death Dealer and comes with a pretty good enchantment. It does frost damage, stamina damage and people and creatures flee in terror. The strongest version (Level 27+) does 25 points of frost and half as much stamina damage.

    For the off-hand there are two options:

    Grimfrost: Nordic sword with Absorb Health + Frost Damage. Before I was able to smith this blade I used the leveled Gauldur Blackblade. If you plan on using the Blackblade through the entire playthrough I recommend getting the blade as late as Level 36 to have the maximal enchantment (Absorb 25 points of Health)

    Harkon’s Sword: This sword once belonged to Harkon, the Lord of the Volkihar Clan. It absorbs 15 points of Health, Magicka and Stamina.


    Crossbows may be slow to reload but with one shot they do a good amount of damage and they are also obtainable as a vampire. Dawnguard Vampire Hunters and Dawnguard Scouts carry them along with the bolts. Crossbows make good use when riding a horse or for shooting fleeing enemies in the back. Remember to loot all bolts back because you have no source to buy them. Get at least two crossbows to enchant them.

    Blood Storm: Absorb Health + Frost Damage

    Soul Frost: Frost Damage + Soul Trap.


    Level 60 Perk spread

    Stat Placement: Magicka 1/Health 4/Stamina 2

    If we take a look at the perk placement it is clear that the focus is put on Smithing, Archery, One-handed combat and Enchanting, thus putting most points in these skills.

    Smithing is used to forge the needed Ebony armor, which requires at least Level 80. Upgrading Orcish armor can be a good substitute until you reach the required level. Arcane blacksmithing is needed to temper the Pale Blade. Advanced armor will make Nordic weapons available and also allows tempering the Dawnguard Full Helmet. Along with Ebony Armor goes the Heavy Armor skill. Put 5 points in Juggernaut to increase armor rating by up to 100%.

    The Archery skill tree augments damage of crossbows. Key perks here are Power shot, Quick Shot and Hunter’s Discipline. Power shot staggers 50% of time the enemy whereas Quick shot allows drawing your crossbow 30% faster, which is a good improvement as crossbows are slower than regular bows. Overall crossbows are a great support when fighting Dragons. Get as early as possible the crossbow from Fort Dawnguard so you don’t need to use bows in the beginning.

    The skills in the One-handed section are primarily used to enhance Dual-wielding. Dual Flurry makes dual-wielding attacks up to 35% faster and Dual Savagery increases critical damage. The 3 points in Bladesman are put in to support the specialization in swords.

    Playing a Death Dealer is pretty forward in battles. Crossbows engage enemies and weaken them to give you an advantage. Grimfrost will keep you alive with the Absorb Health enchantment and the Pale Blade will slow the enemy down and make him flee in panic. The enchantments on the armor augment skills and stats depending on the level of your enchanting skill. Notably, the Fortify Destruction enchantment on the Ebony Armor allows to cast the Frost Cloak spell quite early without having a high Magicka pool. Same goes for the enchantments on the gauntlets which power the main attacks. To get the powerful Absorb Health enchantment early you can either disenchant the Blade of Woe from the ‘Destroy the Dark Brotherhood’- Quest or the Gauldur Blackblade from the ‘Forbidden Legend’-Quest.

    In the Restoration tree the ‘Avoid Death’ perk is a key perk. It can be quite useful in tough fights after you ran out of healing potions but the required skill level is 90, so you either need to visit the master restoration trainer often or power grind the skill.

    Destruction perks are used to fortify the frost enchantments and increase usages on the Pale Blade. ‘Adept Destruction’ will allow casting Frost Cloak for half Magicka which is a great benefit. ‘Rune Master’ is an option for later use if you feel the need to improve the range of runes.   

    When it comes to fighting werewolves it can become quite dangerous, as they attack with powerful and fast strikes. However, despite being strong, they are affected by the fear effect of the Pale Blade and you can use this to your advantage. A precise bolt in the back will leave them no chance to come back.

    Crossbows - important weapon for hunting Werewolves' 


    After doing the Mainquest in Whiterun, join the Companions and complete ‘Proving Honor’. During this quest, grab two Silver swords for dual-wielding. Now there are two ways to become a Death Dealer. You either accept the gift of the blood, become a werewolf and be cured by Harkon or you refuse the Beast Blood and immediately join the Volkihar Clan. No matter what way you choose, it is best to become a Volkihar vampire as soon as possible. Don’t forget to grab the free crossbow and bolts at Fort Dawnguard.

    The Hunt

    When it comes to roleplaying a Death Dealer it gets complicated. Now, to find wild werewolves there need to be 3 requirements fulfilled: the Companions Quest ‘Proving Honor’ needs to be completed and the two DLCs ‘Dawnguard’ and ‘Dragonborn’ need to be installed. Another factor is simply luck. As a vampire you will naturally be forced to adventure through Skyrim in the shades of night and during your travels, from 10pm to 5am, there is a mere possibility of finding werewolves in the wild of Skyrim through random world events. These random events are not manipulable by the player and may or may not occure so every playthrough will almost necessarily be different from any other. However, luckily for the matter of this build, there aren’t only random werewolf spawns but also scripted appearances, if you know where to look. 

    In the Dark Brotherhood there is Arnbjorn, a werewolf in human form, which you can kill during the ‘Destroy the Dark Brotherhood’- quest. Another werewolf can be found during the quest ‘I’ll met by moonlight’. When you carry the cursed ring, you won’t transform randomly into a werewolf as you don’t have the werewolf blood, so side with Hircine and kill Sinding at the end of the quest.

    On Solstheim you may also find werewolves. There is a whole pack located at Frostmoon Crag and the quest ‘The Frostmoon Hunters’ will be triggered by asking Geldis Sadri at the 'Retching Netch' about rumors.

    During the Dragonborn Mainquest, a Skaal side quest will become available when talking to Wulf Wild-Blood. In ‘Filial bonds’ a werebear needs to be tracked and hunted. Note that the werebear may only appear as a random event. He is likely to wander at the coastlines of Solstheim. A pack of three werebreas is found near Snowclad Ruins around Miraak’s Temple and some may or may not appear randomly in human form and transform when the Death Dealer approaches them. 

    Path to influence and power

    As a Death Dealer, you are sworn to protect your coven and work for the Lord in reign. A good way to start gaining influence across Skyrim is to serve the people of Skyrim and be granted the title of ‘Thane’. With this title, you are an official recognized member of the city and guards are likely to overlook smaller crimes. Beyond Level 60, perk points invested in Speech (which should be fairly high at that point) are never wasted.

    With the rising attacks of feral vampires, the Dawnguard has taken up the fight against the vampires. While completing Volkihar side quests like ‘The hunt’, ‘Deceiving the herd’ or ‘Destroying the Dawnguard’, the Death Dealer will take the war to finally eliminate the threat.

    Other enemies are rival vampire clans in Skyrim, targeting both the trust of the Jarls and human prey. Fura Bloodmouth and Garan Marethi will both have several quests for the Death Dealer to destroy the competition. Other quests would be ‘Laid to rest’ where the Death Dealer seeks out a powerful master vampire in Morthal.

    The Alignment

    To find out what alignment the Death Dealer would be, I completed a test based on my choices and reactions during my playthrough. Surprisingly the Death Dealer would be Neutral Good. This alignment matches only to a certain degree. I think a Death Dealer is a good and loyal character, but the evil influence of the vampire ideology take over sometime. The greed for power of his lord drives her to murder and other crimes and eventually increasing his own seek for power and influence. However, the moment she/he kills his enemies she can justify his actions as she is threatened and being loyal and obeying orders is not necessarily a weakness. Sometimes the Death Dealer will need to judge for herself if the actions required are matching his point of view or conflict them.

    Again, this alignment is based on my playthrough and doesn't have to be for everyone true. You can do the test and see for yourself what alignment your character (of this or any other build) would be. 



    Soul Gasp

    Slowing down time to a creeping will allow shooting multiple times your crossbow without being reached by the enemy. Once he dies, his soul will be released and absorbed by the Death Dealer. Gasping a werewolf’s soul is the only way to destroy the wolf spirit possessing it.

    Requires: Soul Frost(Crossbow) + Slow Time + at least Lesser Soul Gem



    Death Blow

    First the enemy is weakened with your thu’um and then immediately striked with fast dual-wielding attacks. The final blow will come from a force push against a wall with your thu’um.

    Requires: Marked For Death + Dual-Wielding + Unrelenting Force



    Final words:

    This type of vampire is quite fun to play as it is fast-paced due to the lack of illusion and conjuration spells. Despise the lack of characteristic vampire mechanics, the dark atmosphere is still kept with the use of destruction spells. I also think that this build is unique in terms of gameplay because I haven’t seen any Werewolfhunter build here. There has to be a bit of luck because the werewolf appearances are generated by random events but the few scripted werewolves (human-form or transformed) keep the fun high.

    So this is my take on the Death Dealer character from the Underworld movies. I wanted to do such a character for a long time and imagined it being a companion of my other vampire character build, the Blood Archer. I gave Serana the Ebony Armor and took her as companion for my Blood Archer. Perhaps a similar play style and combination will be realizable in The Elder Scrolls Online.

    'The Blood Archer and the Death Dealer are the ultimate Werewolf-hunting team'

    If you are interested in a little backstory for this character, please read here

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






  • Member
    December 15, 2013
    Funny enough, I had a build idea with this same name, based on a painting/comic.
  • Member
    December 15, 2013


  • Member
    December 15, 2013

    Yes and in all its glory 

  • December 15, 2013
    Do you know exact locations for random events, it would be easier to tell everyone that in the build than just saying "hey, find it on your own and be lucky". Also, I feel this would be better suited with light armor since vampires in underworld are known for speed as well as power...
  • December 15, 2013

    I like it! An Underworld themed build with a gloriously short backstory...

    I'm not 100% sold on the look of the Dawnguard Helm with the Ebony Armor, even if the colors/textures matched (they don't) the helmet is pretty big and makes your toon look like a bobblehead. I'd maybe go pick up the ritual stone and see if you can drag the ancient assassin out of his cave for his shrouded cowl (archery +35%) I think that would suit the aesthetic more and I'm pretty sure you'd still cap armor rating...

    Apart from that I love the build, it's got that feel that makes me want to stop what I'm doing and play the game which is rare...


  • December 15, 2013

    "Do you know exact locations for random events..."

  • Member
    December 15, 2013

    No, that's why they are random. I found a werewolf in the Rift and some around Markarth but if this is for everyone else the same, I can't tell. Even on UESP there are no exact locations. Those which are scripted are mentioned in the build.

    It took me long to decide whether Heavy or Light Armor, but in the end I went with Ebony because look wise it fits better and the higher armor rating. Steed Stone would also be an option to eliminate the weight of Heavy armor.

  • December 15, 2013
    A wild little blue box with a question mark in it appeared. I use confusion... It's super effective!
  • Member
    December 15, 2013

    Thanks Mason, I appreciate it  

    Colourwise it's not a good match but it works. Other options I tried,were the Orcish Helmet or the Imperial Helmet, they both look similar to the ones in Underworld,but again, there were details I didn't like. A cowl was never an option for me as I planned from the beginning on with a helmet or circlet and switched around between these two.