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Character Build: The Nethermancer

Tags: #Character Build Sorcerer  #Character Build Illusionist  #Character Build Werewolf  #Race:Dunmer  #Rank:Legendary  #Hall of Fame Build 
  • Member
    January 3, 2014

    Nethermancy is the magic of darkness, and its powers involve magnifying fears, creating and manipulating darkness, and forming it into monstrous forms. Sorcerers seeking this twisted art gain their abilities by sacrificing a part of their soul to darkness, itself.

    A word of caution to those who seek to control fell magic: those who toil in shadow become but a shadow of their former selves; nethermancy is a descent into madness.

    The Nethermancer

    An evil and ancient arcana, as old as light itself, has clawed its way back to the realm of Tamriel, enthralling warlocks and wizards of ill intent. This fell magic will submit to only the most tenacious and malefic of magi but, in turn, becomes the dominant force. Once invoked, a nethermancer's abilities grow rapidly granting the ability to manipulate darkness into a deadly force snuffing life in its wake. Likewise, it can coalesce into terrifying appearances to strike fear in any sentient being if the mage commands it so. This dark essence also protects its host, assimilating harmful magicks and afflicting immediate fiends. In an effort to control nether magic, a magus will have to keep their malevolence in check lest it consume them.

    Race: Dunmer Lycanthrope

    Stone: Atronach

    Stat Placement: 0

    Major Skills: Illusion, Enchanting, Conjuration, Two Handed, Block, Heavy Armor, Sneak

    Shouts: Marked for Death, Dismay, Soul Tear

    Dunmer is the only choice when it comes to aesthetics. Their dark skin and red eyes fit the bill and their natural 50% resistance to fire is very helpful in a world full of dragons.

    Lycanthropy is required but more on that later. The Atronach Stone represents darkness's ability to absorb and engulf all things, becoming stronger in the process. It's also very handy alongside Lycanthropy, offering some form of magical protection to the beast form.

    Keep the stat placement equal between Health and Magicka until a pool of 350 Magicka is reached (including the Apprentice Hood and Atronach Stone).


    Mantle of Shadows

    The Ebony Mail is the perfect armor for the fell sorcerer; it creates and attacks with darkness, shrouds the wearer in shadows, and requires the user to sacrifice a companion and slaughter a score of people. Boethiah basically requests that the nethermancer plunge into madness and claim the Ebony Mail, a task that we are more than willing to fulfill.

    The enchanted apparel balances the nethermancer's weaknesses. Boethiah's Grasp and the Nightwalker Boots offer offensive and defensive boosts. As a Dark Elf, the player has a natural resistance to fire and the boots reciprocate for frost. These boosts really help in fights against dragons, when fear and health absorption aren't a viable means of survival.

    The Dark Stone reflects the nethermancer's madness, reducing the cost of our fear spells and granting the Nether Blade more charges. The Ring of Hircine is pretty self-explanatory as well as the Nether Blade's abilities. Early enchantments should focus on Health Absorption, Fortify Two-Handed and Frost Resistance.

    As a Fear-based build, AR isn't too important which allowed aesthetics to take a bigger role for once. By mix/matching clothing, heavy armor, and light armor, the nethermancer takes on a terrifying form to coincide with the mechanics of the build. Top that off by wielding a massively frightening halberd and the 'Reaper' theme is complete.

    The Path to Darkness

    The School of Illusion grants the haunting abilities of Nethermancy in the form of fear spells. As the crux of the build, fear-based spells and abilities should take an early focus weaving terror throughout the battlefield with the Fear and Rout spells. They will be crucial to evening the odds if not overwhelming the opposition altogether. The Muffle spell was another useful ability allowing the nethermancer to creep up on foes like the shadows that envelop him. Muffle also offers a much better chance to gain the initiative on enemies who are often alerted from sound rather than sight. Spells: Fear, Rout, Muffle

    Enchanting served to augment the Nether Sorcerer's battle prowess. Dual Two Handed enchantments boost the Nether Blade to formidable heights on any difficulty. By enchanting the Headsman's Axe with Absorb Health, any enemies that resist fleeing will serve as health regeneration conduits. The enchantment also parallels the Atronach Stone, pervading the absorbing darkness that surrounds the nethermancer. The blade's secondary Frost enchantment helps greatly when stalking agonized prey.

    Conjuration bestows nethermancers with the ability to invoke Netherlings from darkness to defeat enemies. Unfortunately, coaxing these creatures from their dark plane of existence can be difficult (Atronach Stone). Fear allows the nethermancer the time he needs to call forth these malevolent spirits. The Soul Cairn summons are the perfect Nether Creatures, Mistman in particular. These shadowy underlings are great allies and boast nightmarish forms. I mention Mistmen specifically because their Ice Spikes slow fleeing enemies, creating great synergy with the massive use of fear abilities. Before reaching the Soul Cairn, the basic Familiar is extremely effective against fear-afflicted enemies. The spectral wolves are fast enough to keep pace with the deserters and still deal decent damage until gaining access to the Soul Cairn. Spells: Conjure Familiar, Conjure Boneman, Conjure Mistman, Conjure Wrathman

    The Two Handed weapon of choice is the Headsman's Axe. It has the perfectly intimidating look for the personification of death himself, reflected by the enchantments. Like the reaper, the behemoth axe saps life from the living and turns their bodies cold as ice. Nothing says "horrid" like a Great Critical Charge from an aspect of death wielding a gigantic, life-stealing halberd!

    Heavy Armor is perked to boost the Armor Rating of the boots and mail, the majority of the nethermancer's passive defense. Before the Ebony Mail is bestowed, the Companions' Wolf Armor set will suffice. A pair of Ebony Boots will be waiting outside a store shed at Narzulbur once Boethiah's quest is completed. Vampire Gauntlets (not Heavy Armor but complete the look) can be picked up during the Dawnguard questline in the Volkihar Undercroft. Lastly, the Apprentice Hood can be taken from Vigilant Tyranus in Markarth or bought from trainers at the College of Winterhold.

    Block plays a huge role in melee by allowing the nethermancer to stand toe to toe with the hardiest of warriors. All of the bash perks are taken to give the Two Handed skill some variety. Deadly Bash works wonders with Marked for Death, turning your defensive bashes into an assault. The Disarming Bash is a huge tide turner in a tough 1 on 1 battle, rendering a Bandit Chief useless in an instant. The Block skill effectively turns the nethermancer into an unassailable nightmare not to be taken lightly.

    Sneak fits this build too perfectly but doesn't require a ton of perks to be effective. A few perks in Stealth are more than enough to descend upon the fearful. Launching an assault from the shadows is a great way to take out those lone scouts that you don't want alerting others or to take a chunk out of a tough enemy's health. From a roleplay standpoint, there is nothing more frightening than an engulfing darkness creeping ever closer!


    Manipulating Darkness

    Nether Fear

    Aside from the powerful Nether Beast form, Nether Fear is the most powerful tool in the nethermancer's arsenal. This level of fear is the final threshold of horror before a being succumbs to madness. When struck with Nether Fear, opponents give up any semblance of defense as their minds begin to decay. If any combatants muster the courage to return to the fray, it would be a halfhearted attempt at best. This technique is gained early in Nethermancy but remains crucial to nethermancers of any level.

    Fear Spell & Marked for Death


    Terrorizing the Masses

    Fear is a fickle thing, especially when facing many enemies. Striking fear in the hearts of a few is effective but nethermancers specialize in widespread panic, blending AoEs into most of the skill set. Dismay and Rout are the obvious CC abilities, weaving horror throughout the battlefield. Marked for Death became the primary Shout and a great debuff overall, crippling even the strongest opponents. The Sweep perk is another great AoE ability, allowing the nethermancer to absorb health from multiple adversaries at once. This build may not be a tank but it can definitely hold it's own against large groups of enemies.

    AoE Abilities



    Nethermancer's have the ability to summon dark conjurations from another plane. However, the malicious spirits do not wish to be ripped from their plane of existence, making the actual invocation very difficult. This was a very fun roleplay aspect for me. In other RPGs and some fantasy novels, summoning is a very difficult and taxing task and I wanted to bring that aspect into Skyrim.

    Summoning should be seen as a great feat and not to be taken lightly. With the Atronach Stone, the summoner can fail several times before successfully invoking the summon, but the conjured creature will be appreciated that much more when it is successful.

    Conjure Familiar/Soul Cairn Summons & Atronach Stone


    The Nether Beast

    Lycanthropy, Secret Servant, & Werewolf Chat

    Last but definitely not least, we have my favorite of the nethermancer's powers: the Nether Beast! The easiest way to enable this glitch is to activate Beast Form and before the transformation begins, activate Secret Servant. After the transformation is complete, select the dialogue option to trade items with the dremora butler. This will enable us to equip the Ebony Mail as a werewolf, creating..(pause for effect).. the Nether Beast! A terrifying sight to behold, this shadowy monster will send onlookers scurrying away with grimaced faces. The beast will lash dark tendrils out at nearby enemies, devouring their lifeforce before his deadly claws tear through bone and sinew.

    As a big of fan werewolves, I've been looking for a way to put a spin on the old affliction. Many builders have added a glitch or passive abilities to lycanthropy to spice up the playthrough but I think that the Nether Beast really takes the cake! Using the Werewolf Chat glitch from No snakes aLive's Master Monk build, the Ebony Mail can be equipped to give lycanthropy a shadowy form. The Atronach Stone carries over into beast form, permeating the absorbing darkness. The fear factor is exemplified by the Nether Beast in aesthetics and abilities. Werewolf form's Howl of Terror spreads panic with a feral roar. These combined characteristics create an incredibly frightening, bestial version of the nethermancer.

    The werewolf form can be a big turn off for some because shifting forms can be clunky and they lack a decent way to heal. Not the Nether Beast! Allow me to enlighten you. Firstly, the Secret Servant dremora can be interacted with during battle, making Werewolf Chat accessible at all times. Secondly, with this glitch we can equip all of our armor and our weapon to the Nether Beast form, offering Health Absorption, extra defense, and the Nether Blade's damage in place of our claw damage, creating an intimidating and definitely overpowered beast form! Not to mention, the giant axe is jammed into our shadowy claw, adding to the idea that the nethermancer is simply altering the darkness around him into a monstrous form.

    The Nether Beast is different from normal lycanthropy and Vampire Lord form, allowing the build to level the Two Handed skill while transformed. Additionally, since all of our equipment is already equipped, reverting forms mid-battle doesn't slow the nethermancer down for a second! All negative aspects of beast forms are a thing of the past with the Nether Beast! Take all perks in the right two branches of the Werewolf perk tree. Bestial Strength is useless because the Nether Blade replaces our claw damage. Drop one perk into it to progress the Lycanthropy Skill Tree.



    Companions Questline | Totems of Hircine | Ahtar's Quest | Boethiah's Calling | Bengongerike | Dawnguard | Ill Met by Moonlight | Dark Brotherhood

    The Companions' questline is the perfect place to start with this build. It offers training and tons of skill books towards the slow-leveling melee skills which helps them keep pace with the Mage skills. By completing the Companions questline, free Heavy Armor, Block, and Two-Handed training becomes available.

    Dawnguard was a difficult choice for me. Roleplay-wise, the Volkihar would be perfect! It gives off the madness/fear vibe and is perfect for a chaotic evil character. The biggest downside was giving up Beast Form for Vampire Lord form. Fighting the Dawnguard would have proven much easier with the ability to cast Fear. In the end, I couldn't part with the Nether Beast. It's a crucial element of the overall aspect of the nethermancer and I couldn't give it up. Fighting alongside the Dawnguard and roleplaying a slow descent into madness was much more fun with full access to the feral form.

    The Dark Brotherhood is where the nethermancer gets to shine, offering quests that are better aligned with our (now) malicious intent. After destroying Harkon, the nethermancer has gone mad with power. With all of the abilities available to the nethermancer, this questline is the most fun to playthrough. Every new target was a new opportunity to drive someone to the depths of madness that the nethermancer knows too well.

    The questlines listed make up the basic structure of the build. As an aspiring mage, the College would be a great choice. Any of the Black Books are always helpful as well as the Black Star and Discerning the Transmundane for leveling the Warrior skills that lag behind the rest.


    Ensuing Madness

    This build unintentionally became a sort of 'fallen hero', beginning honorably with the Companions but ending ignobly with the Dark Brotherhood and worse. Once the Ebony Mail was acquired, Nethermancy really began to take its toll on the toon. The nethermancer began taking the form of the Nether Beast more frequently and lashing out at the innocent, escalating into full-on town raids from the wicked sorcerer.

    Throughout the entire transformation of the character, I had an absolute blast! This is the first time I've actually delved into Illusion magic and, although I still believe it to be OP, I don't regret a second of it. After coming across a class of the same name in a D&D post, I had to integrate the nethermancer into Skyrim with an obvious focus on Illusion.

    All else aside, hope you've enjoyed! If you decide to play the build...

    ...madness guide you.


  • January 3, 2014
    I wanted to be the first to comment give the first like, the first few paragraphs sold me. I'll continue reading ;)
  • Member
    January 3, 2014
    First off, you solely get my like on that BADASS use of lycanthropy! I tought you so well (': Secondly, being able to give yourself that shadowy cloak in beast form is freaking ridiculous! You have a lot of cool ideas in this build, and they all seem to flow together effortlessly. Plus the armor combo is badass, the lore. All of it. Great job Alastor! I hope to see a profile for this guy!
  • Member
    January 3, 2014

    Not a big fan of the equiping exploit but a werewolf shrouded in darkness is an awesome thing! Aside from that very well done!!

  • Member
    January 3, 2014
    Dude this is amazing! I love the switch from humble warrior to evil overlord. That Nether Beast combo is pure gold, and must be a sight to see! I'll have to try that some time. You never fail to impress with build mechanics, and the artwork, roleplay and gameplay really reflect upon how much effort you've put in. Amazing, and an easy +1. Wish I could give it more man!
  • January 3, 2014

    looka like I just found my next build +1

  • January 3, 2014
    I finished reading this build half an hour ago but forgot to comment. I'll I've you 2 reasons why I love this build- 1. IT HAS GLITCHES!! I absolutley love builds with glitches, heck I can only remember 2 glitch free playthroughs that I did, all others were dominated by armour stacking, duplicating, and fortify restoration potions. 2. NETHER WOLF IS OP!!! I LOVE BEING OP!!! If onky I could like it more than once
  • Member
    January 3, 2014

    Could I play this as a character based off the Shadow basically an ex-criminal (thieves guild/dark brotherhood) who ends up becoming a good character, so basically do the roleplay on an opposite level, would that work out? the shadow is a psychic crimefighter who can hide and re-appear in shadows, your build is a perfect asthetic for that :P

  • Member
    January 3, 2014

    Awesome build Alastor! I love the nether beast combo! easy +1

  • Member
    January 3, 2014
    Netherwolf... Man, you really killed it with that one... Never saw it coming! Awesome job on the build mate.. That some helluva unique mechanics you got going here....