Skyrim Character Building » Discussions

Character Build: The Dragonpaw Monk

Tags: #Character Build Monk  #Rank:Recognized  #Dragon  #Ka'Po'Tun  #Khajit  #Tiger  #Unarmed 
  • May 5, 2014

      The Order of the Dragonpaw is shrouded in secrecy residing in the ancient land of Akavir. Monks endeavor to unlock the potential of their body and in doing so they become one with the elements. Their body becomes fire, ice, lighting, wind and sun to decimate their foes and add unbelievable power to their punches. Your goal is to train until you can wield all the cloak spells, stacking this power with a Flesh spell to become the ultimate weapon. It gets even crazier when the Dragon Aspect shout if obtained, cloaking your body in immense power and finally becoming a dragon; something that all Ka'Po'Tun strive for. 

      This build is an unarmed build centered around doing damage with spells such as the elemental cloaks. Flesh spells from alteration and wards and healing from restoration keep you alive and unstoppable. Shouts are also central to doing damage, especially Dragon Aspect and Slow Time. This build does not rely on glitches and exploits and kills your enemies the good old fashioned way, in a manner that you never thought possible with unarmed combat. I've never experienced such ease with fighting multiple enemies at once and I've definitely never been to a point where drauger deathlords don't make my palms sweat. This is the best of both worlds when it comes to a magician build since my unarmed attacks don't stop when I run out of magicka and the speed of my attacks are almost dagger-like and unhindered by low stamina. Kill moves are hilarious and entertaining and I'm having a blast roleplaying as my favorite species; the Tiger Dragons of Akaviri.




    The Lord/Serpent Stone

    Major Skills:
    Destruction, Alteration, Restoration, Heavy Armor

    Minor Skills:
    Enchanting, Smithing


    Heavy Gauntlets & Robes
    (Telvanni, Cultist, Novice/Apprentice/Adept/Master, Temple Priest, Mythic Dawn, Miraak's Robes)

    Slow Time, Disarm, Dragon Aspect, Unrelenting Force

    Flame, Frost, & Lightning Cloak, Stendarr's Aura, Whirlwind Cloak,
    Paralyze, Flesh Spells, Ward, and Healing Spells

    Secret of Strength, Mora's Boon, Dragonborn Force, Seeker of Sorcery,
    Blessing of Azura, Ethereal Spirit, Agent of Mara, Nightingale Strife

    Health: 60%
    Magicka: 40%


    Major Skills & Spells




      This build is all about turning your body into a weapon. You have four cloak spells to choose from in your destruction tree: Flame Cloak, Frost Cloak, Lightning Cloak and Whirlwind Cloak. Casting the appropriate cloak justifies your unarmed combat and makes kill moves against other humanoids quite frequent and entertaining. Using the Slow Time shout will allow you to run circles against your enemy while unleashing a flurry on punches on them - all the while draining their health with your cloak.

      One of the hardest part about unarmed combat is focusing on one opponent at a time and being hit by multiple enemies. Your cloak damages all around you and you will find this to be a huge advantage. By the time you defeat one enemy you will see that the remaining ones are easier to pick off. Also you can wear tougher enemies down by casting your ward and healing and watching their health be whittled away while you stay just out of range of their strikes. At lower levels you will find that holding down flames/frostbite/sparks with one hand and punching with the other will level this tree up quickly and do great damage - especially to ranged characters who are always trying to back up. Please not that the unofficial skyrim patch for the PC fixes the problems with augmented perks not affecting runes and cloaks, but even if you're a console user you should invest in the augments seeing as you'll need them against the aforementioned enemies that are constantly backpedaling away from you.

    Novice, Apprentice, Adept Destruction
    Augmented Flames (2/2)
    Augmented Frost (2/2)
    Augmented Shock 2/2)
    Intense Flames
    Deep Freeze




      Dragonpaw monks train relentlessly, enduring intense pain to harden their entire body to take any strike that a suit of armor could withstand. Their very body becomes an entire weapon with one strike able to disable enemies all around you. Even magic can't prevail against a monk's body, draining their enemies power and using it against them.

      Flesh spells are as indisposable to this build as your elemental cloak. Once you have prepared your mind and body for battle you rush into the fray and start smashing faces. Paralyze is an expert level spell and Mass Paralyze is master, but once you obtain them you will use these attacks heavily. Seek out the strongest enemy on the field and a well aimed strike will lay them on the floor where you can ground and pound them. Use the Slow Time spell to set up Mass Paralyze for the most difficult of hoards such as Deathlords and their minions, but only when they are close enough to begin taking damage from your cloak spell. That way you can do damage to everyone while they are down as you focus on the survivors with your claws.

    Novice, Apprentice, Adept, Expert, Master Alteration
    Magic Resistance (3/3)



      Restoration is at the root of most monk disciplines and the Dragonpaw monks are no exception. They benefit from the healing effects and wield this power in a unique way and punish the undead. This discipline is what makes a Dragonpaw monk so hard to take down.
      Your beginning disciplines will be Healing and Wards. You will eventually progress to the higher level healing spells but always keep Healing toggled on your favorites. Even when your magic is too low to cast a greater heal you will always have enough magic to use Healing. If you have to switch to defense you can stand and cast ward while healing as your cloak still does damage to those around you. You may even need to back away from large hoards and gather them close enough together to Fus them across the room in order to buy time. 

      Stendarr's Aura is one of your five cloaks and works wonders in Drauger dungeons. It's field of damage appears to be larger than other cloaks and I've defeated many Deathlords by running circles around them avoiding their devastating ebony weapons. You will have an easier time attacking in third person since this cloak can be difficult to see through. 

    Novice, Apprentice, Adept Restoration
    Ward Absorb
    Avoid Death


    Heavy Armor

      Your claws are your greatest weapon and must be protected. Heavy Gauntlets add extra power to the monk's strikes and protects their valuable paws from damage. Monks spend their free time tending to their gauntlets and heavy boots, smithing to improve their durability. Some monks even wear heavy helmets to strike fear into their enemies and add a little more protection, but they know that in order to do the most damage they must remain as light on their feet as possible until the Conditioning perk is unlocked. The highest ranking monks only wear Dragonplate equipment to further emulate the beings that they worship above all.

    Juggernaut (5/5)
    Fists of Steel

    *Cushioned is only obtained so that Conditioning can be achieved


    Minor Skills




      You will need to find the Gloves of the Pugilist in the sewers under Riften and disenchant it. Imbue your heavy gauntlets and ring with the unarmed bonus to increase your damage to scary levels. Also focus on enchantments for heavy armor, magicka recharge, and health and magic enhancements. Here are my suggestions on appropriate enchantments.

    Dragonclaw Gauntlets: Fortify Unarmed & Heavy Armor
    Dragonpaw Boots: Fortify Stamina & Stamina Regen
    Dragonheart Amulet: Fortify Magicka & Resist Magicka
    Dragonfire Ring: Fortify Unarmed & Fortify Destruction

    Enchanter (5/5)
    Insightful Enchanter
    Corpus Enchanter
    Extra Effect


      Smithing is important to make sure your gauntlets are as strong as possible to benefit from the Fists of Steel perk. Focus on the heavy armor side of the perk tree and don't forget the Arcane Blacksmith perk so you can keep improving your enchanted gauntlets. You'll be doing this for armor rating only since Fists of Steel only uses the original base damage of gauntlets. The way I personally level smithing is collecting any pelts I see, breaking them down into leather and then create as many leather bracers/leather helmets as possible. Your final goal is to smith Dragonplate Gauntlets, Boots & the helm if you want to. My current monk ensemble is the Telvanni Robes, Redguard Hood and Dragonplate.  


    Special Techniques


    Dragon Form
    Secret of Strength + Dragon Aspect + Flame Cloak + Dragonhide + Ebonyflesh

      A technique known only to master dragonpaw monks. The caster transforms into a fiery dragon with tank-like defenses right before entering into a difficult battle. You will have crazy high defenses with both flesh spells active combined with your Dragon Aspect shout. Your power attacks will hit harder in dragon form and with Secret of Strength activated your power attacks won't cost stamina. Run into the highest level enemy you see and watch it crumble before your dragon-like strikes. This costs plenty of magicka and time to cast, so do it right before the big boss battle. Bones of the earth is an alternative to Dragonhide if you want to obtain it from the Earth Stone, it doesn't cost magicka to cast but it is a one time use power.

    Buddha Palm
    Disarm+  Paralyze + Power Attack

      A strike so powerful it disables your opponent entirely. Once you have disarmed them they will scramble to recover their weapons but not before you paralyze them will a well aimed hit. Power hit them into the ground while they can't move and finish them off. 

    Soul Flame
    Become Ethereal + Flame Cloak + Mass Paralyze

      This attack affords you the chance to regenerate some health, especially if you meditate on this word of power with Paarthunax. While you are invulnerable your cloak will still be burning your enemies around you. Begin to cast Mass Paralyze while you are invulnerable in order to disable some of those hostiles. Feel free to use this opportunity to recast any worn off spells, heal, and run around damaging them with your cloak. Once you begin attacking the shout will wear off, but it is also a good chance to take out any laying on the floor. Whirlwind cloak is an alternate cloak to buy more time while you run around flinging everyone allover the place while you are still ethereal. 

    Dragon Strike
    Cloak + Slow Time + Serpent Stone + Power Attack/Nightingale Strife

      The slow time shout is great all the time, but especially deadly while the foe is paralyzed. The serpent stone gives once per day attack so save it for when you are against the ropes. Slow time, then do 25 points of damage with this attack. Their paralysis will last even longer while time stands still affording you the chance to destroy a tough opponent. Nightingale Strife is a special power you can obtain from the thieves guild quest and can give you that extra something to kill your opponent and heal at the same time if need be.

    Motivations & Quests

      I don't want this character to be too static so there is a lot of leeway on play style. Overall though the Dragonpaw monk seeks knowledge, clarity and enlightenment on their path to transformation. Rather than being a pacifist monk they are very ambitious and view every battle as a stepping stone to their final destination. They have no specific moral code as the only governing philosophy is acquiring more power.

      In order to unlock all the Slow Time words you will have to join the college of Winterhold and participate in the civil war. It is up to you which side to choose, but the Ka'Po'Tun are no friend of the empire and would likely choose to side against them in order to weaken them for future invasion. As a monk you would likely not join the dark brotherhood or the companions as they have no knowledge to offer you on your path. You will however want to realize your full potential as Dragonborn. You are not a mere aspiring dragon - the blood already flows in your veins. Defeating Alduin and Miraak are only obstacles to overcome in asserting your destiny. As part of the order you would never become a vampire lord or werewolf, but rather you will join the dawnguard to gain access to Stendarr's Aura. You will also need to complete the quest The Book of Love to gain the Agent of Mara ability. The thieves guild is fair game if you want the Nightingale Strife power, being a thief does not conflict with the interests of the order.


    Closing Thoughts

    Thanks for reading, if you chose to try this build out then I know you'll have a blast. Please let me know and I will add you as a tester. Also welcoming any other suggestions or tweaks. And remember that power attacks against other races don't activate unless both hands are unarmed!
    Verified @ Expert mode.

  • Member
    May 5, 2014

    Good start but it stills needs more. I suggest trimming the skills and maybe adding roleplay, quests and spending more time talking abut how you played this character rather then why the skills are important. I would also bold some of your headings and add some more images.

    But even after reading through this twice, I had no idea how to play this character still. What quests did you do? How did you play this character? Is he good or evil? What side did you take in the Civil War, if any? What factions should he be a part of?

    These are all important questions that should be answered when writing a character build.

  • May 5, 2014

    I will work on the images and text further and try and tighten some of it up, thanks for the advice. I will read some of the other character builds to understand what you are trying to say to play the character. I prefer flexible builds to static story characters but I will try to add that to my build since not everyone feels that way.

  • Member
    May 5, 2014
    *Character Build: The Dragonpaw Monk
  • Member
    May 5, 2014

    I was supposed to give a reply yesterday but something came up though I really wanted to comment on this one. 

    First, I'm personally a fan of the presentation, the Pics weren't all over the place so they didn't detract from the build. Also, I like the spacing you placed in the paragraphs that avoids the dreadful wall-of-text syndrome and the whole thing was rather organized pretty well and that's a big plus!

    What I'm concerned about is your discussion on the skills. I think the first thing you can do is streamline what you currently have. Instead of discussing each skill in multiple paragraphs, what you can do is present a link to skyrimcalculator about your perk choices and discuss them all at once that way your skill choices don't take up 90% of your build because what's really important at least in my opinion is your gameplay.

    Second, speaking of a gameplay section, you don't actually have one. you have a discussion on how to use each individual spell but that I believe starts to detract from the build. First thing is, you could have a dedicated section to how you'll play your character, like "this is my approach to a combat situation", "this is how i'm going to be able to complete my armor set/enchantments". That way we avoid problems like what Tae-Rai pointed out, where people don't understand where you're going with the whole build.

    Next would be your "abilities section". Remember when I said you have a discussion on each individual spell? Instead of spending all that time writing about all that, what you can do is write about the most important skills and combos your character uses and Highlight them in that section instead of a checklist of every single spell you've ever used.

    Lastly, every good build requires a Roleplay section. It's important to have this for a lot of reasons, number one being it's a very attractive feature. In a forum where almost every single combo has already been discovered, roleplaying is one of the few things that really sets your build apart from the rest making it truly stand out. Second, it again helps people understand the flow of your build and the kind of character you're presenting. 

    I think if you're able to put up the missing content and streamline what you currently have on display you could make a really good build and that's why I gave you a +1! 

  • May 6, 2014

    I love this build 

  • May 7, 2014

    Fixed, thanks!

  • May 7, 2014

    Thanks for being specific, it was really helpful! Let me know if this is better. I'm terrible at writing role play but I tried adding some information about the character type. 

  • Member
    May 7, 2014

    My pleasure Damien! 

    It's gotten a lot better. You've added most of the missing content and that's a big step forward.

    A number of things though. Now that you have a lot more content the thing as a whole is starting to look wall-of-text already. This is where I would space apart the big chunks of your build and maybe add a few more pictures to make it easier on the eyes.

    Secondly, (though this is more subjective than most of my advice, and I'm still fairly new) in order to get a better grip on the flow of the build, take example the destruction skill where the first part talks about the skill itself and the second part talks about the gameplay of the skill and how you use it. What I recommend you do is you dedicate and entire section justifying all the skills at once and another part dedicating to the gameplay of your skills. 

    Something like, (This is very rudimentary and is only made as an example)


    Resto: Insert Description here

    Dest: Insert Description here




    The core of this gameplay involves using "x" skill/spell/whatever in combination with "y" in order to make "z" become more powerful. This is how you pull of "n" to make your enemies "q"

    Anyways, I guess that's it for now, also I think your motivation and quests section is fine but again, quite wall-of-texty. Also people don't like Centered Text being spammed all the time this I forgot to say in my previous post, but that's because I personally don't mind but others do so might wanna do something about that.

    Looking forward to what you come up with in the future! 

  • May 8, 2014

    Thanks again, I reorganized parts of the descriptions to break it up. Also used centering for titles and stats and standard format for paragraphs so hopefully it is easier on the eyes - along with some additional graphics.