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Character Build: The Bloodthirster

Tags: #Character Build Juggernaut  #Character Build Alchemist  #Character Build Vampire  #Rank:Exemplar  #Borom  #Character Build RP  #Padomaic 
  • Member
    September 22, 2014

    Build Theme

    Very few are privy to the politics of Skyrim's dominant vampire clan, and those that are aware are either vampires themselves, or little more than mindless thralls. To the inhabitants of Skyrim, the vampire is an unfortunate reality, the evil of which is measured by the trail of blood they leave behind. One particular vampire means to take advantage of this fear, and turn it against their kin, a weapon for their own bid for power. Caught attempting to steal and use the Bloodstone Chalice, they have been exiled and become hated by their own, and bred the same hate in return. Once a member of the feared Court of Volkihar, but now a disgraced outcast, the Bloodthirster's greed and hunger has cost them dearly. And for what? Wanting more, like the rest of them? Fortunately, undeath provides an eternity with which to plot revenge. Your revenge.

    The Build

    Similar in many structural regards to Ponty's Nightguard, the Bloodthirster differs in that he lacks the finesse for fine combat techniques, spell casting, and other more "subtle" skills, resulting in a character somewhat more wild and brutal. The exception is his Alchemic talent, gained in his efforts to ferment ever more powerful drugs and poisons.

    Race: Nord is the best suited race for roleplay. Imperial will grant you starting bonuses in each major combat skill.

    Stone: The Warrior ~> The Lord or Lady

    Primary Skills: One Handed, Heavy Armor, Block, Alchemy

    Secondary Skills: Speech

    Useful Shouts: Slow Time, Marked for Death, Soul Tear, Ice Form, Drain Vitality, Aura Whisper, Whirlwind Sprint

    Attribute Spread: 0/2/3

    Weapons and Equipment

    Like the Castigator, I wanted to spend more time playing this character than building this character, and so the gear for the Bloodthirster is both thematic and fairly quick to access.

    Weapons: Mace of Molag Bal- This is the only weapon you need, with any other mace as a holdover until you get it. With your alchemic skill, there's very little need to improve it, but doing so only requires a couple of perks if you feel the need.

    Equipment: Targe of the Blooded, I used Steel Plate armor, but any "fine" heavy armor that looks good smeared in blood will do (Blades Armor, Heavy Chitin, Ebony, etc), Ring of Namira, Ring of the Beast, Amulet of Bats

    Keeping around spare gear that you find to boost alchemy or even smithing never hurts, either.



    Progressing: Fresh out of Helgen head west to Shriekwind Bastion, or double back through Helgen to Haemar's Shame to contract vampirism. Both are about the same distance from Helgen. If entered from the south, the Bastion is a good, quick early level dungeon, and you find the vampire near the end, on the north side. Along the way to Haemar's Shame may be a bandit ambush with a Speech skill book, but it's not guaranteed. This cave is tougher to clear at early levels, especially since the second enemy you meet is a vampire, and if you catch the disease from them, you'll be handling the rest of the dungeon with reduced health. It may be better to contract the disease, then leave.

    Once you're infected, proceed quickly through Riverwood to Whiterun. Sell what you can to get 1,000 gold plus the wagon fare to Riften, where you will be transformed by the Face Sculptor. It's important to get there before actual vampirism takes hold, because she won't work for vampires. Make some drastic changes!

    From there, make your way to Markarth, whether by carriage or overworld, to begin the House of Horrors quest for your weapon. Once you've completed it, proceed at your leisure. You can begin the Dawnguard quests, which will eventually take you to the Targe, or you can go for it separately. I started building contacts with the Thieves Guild and Markarth underworld, and collected the Black Star before beginning the vampire questline.

    Original Art by Jason Chan

    Combat: Battles are a straightforward affair for the Bloodthirster. You can try to get close to an enemy with sneaking for the element of surprise, but your heavy armor won't do you any favors in that regard. If you don't get in the first blow, use your shield to break the enemy's stance, then start building momentum with your own blows. This becomes increasingly more natural as you learn to use Quick Reflexes and Slow Time. You can save charges on your mace by using nothing but shield bashes to dispatch weaker enemies, or a combination of poisons and bashes.

    In my experience, your damage output is steadier, and not as overwhelming as a dual wielder, but your defenses compensate. It was easier to isolate melee enemies and take them out before going after magic users and archers. The "drugs" you've cooked up will help you shrug off more damaging attacks. Use Sleeping Tree Sap, which can be found or purchased from irreputable NPCs, to give a huge boost to health before a particularly tough combat, like dragons, or groups of flame wielders. Skooma and Redwater Skooma will keep your stamina reserves high for shield bashing and beastly power attacks.

    Treat the Vampire Lord form as a last resort or a devastating shock and awe tactic. Once you have the Ring of the Beast and Amulet of Bats, don't forget to equip them before changing. I found it most entertaining to use when an enemy in another room would detect me, and start coming to investigate. By the time they arrived, the monster would be waiting for them. If using it as a last resort (it tends to offer more health, and a quicker getaway if needed), be sure to give yourself enough time and space to change; you don't want an enemy whaling on you while you're stuck in an animation.

    The Bloodthirster has no  more finesse in this form than in human form, so don't bother perking or using Blood Magic. Your talons will get things done easily, especially once poisoned, and with the support of Blood Healing and the bat swarms.



    Poison Every Edge- With the right combination of poisons and shield bashes, an enemy's health will plummet as toxins, drugs, and bleeding wounds drain away their life. Quick Reflexes/Slow Time+Stacking Targe bashes+Poisoned Mace



    I strongly recommend the Hearthfire DLC, and Windstad Manor. With a fish hatchery, alchemy wing, and garden, the homestead will ensure that you rarely have to forage for ingredients, ideal for the independent drug manufacturer. Most if not all of the vital effects can be found between the plants, fish and dartwings that will be within arms reach, and I'll focus on the most easily accessible ingredients in the samples below.

    For A Bad Trip:

    No need to beat around the bush with stamina or magicka damage. They're alright after effects, but there are enough lethal ingredients that can be added to a potion to make a problem go away for good.

    The Taste- A little something to make sure the goods spread quickly in your enemy's system, and sure to dull a mage's reactions. Bleeding Crown+Chaurus Eggs+Hanging Moss (Weakness to Poison+Damage Magicka)

    Locklimb Venom- Stripped of all motor functions, the target won't even realize they're bleeding out until it's too late. Human Flesh+Imp Stool+Slauterfish Eggs/Scales (Damage Health+Lingering Damage Health+Paralysis)

    Bleeding Numb- The victim's heart pumps extra hard, and their body does nothing to slow blood flow from wounds they can barely feel. Imp Stool+Mora Tapinella (Lingering Damage Health)

    Dirty Skooma- Where a normal dose of Skooma will make a body energized and awake, this stuff dulls the senses to the point that, if you didn't know better, you might think permanent brain damage was happening. Imp Stool+Silverside Perch+Skeever Tail (Ravage Health+Damage Health+Damage Stamina Regen)

    For Forgetting Pain Exists:

    As an undead, the Bloodthirster isn't as susceptible to certain substances as a mortal. For the most part, those concoctions are reserved for clients and enemies. But mixed in with a swig of blood, even a vampire can feel the rush, especially one that already suffers cravings.

    Blood Tonic- Your wounds seem to sew up as fast you receive them. Garlic+Grass Pod+Namira's Rot (Regenerate Health+Resist Poison)

    Battle Serum- Each blow, stronger than the last, seems to drive you on. Hanging Moss+Rock Warbler Egg+Swamp Fungal Pod (Fortify One Handed+Restore Health) 



    You have a special relationship to blood and the Bloodspring. Some would call it an addiction, you call it an understanding (hint: it's an addiction). Regularly drink from the spring or the Bloodstone Chalice (I know, you're not really using it). Infiltrate the Redwater Den with as few casualties as possible, so you can "take over" the operation after the quest. It would not be out of character to take the skooma from the "barmaid" rather than lockpicking your way into the dungeon; your lack of finesse is, after all, part of the reason for your limited skill set. Doing so will also create a respawning source of Redwater Skooma, Sleeping Tree Sap, and numerous other alchemy reagents.

    Deal primarily with the Khajiit caravans when buying and selling. Not only are they outcasts like you, but they deal in the skooma, moon sugar and other narcotics that you both use and sell. All the smooth talking you learn, you picked up from them. You might consider following them between cities to have a scapegoat for your crimes. Revyn Sadri, Aval Atheron, and Niranye, also make appropriate "under-the-table" merchants, and of course there's the Guild's own Tonilia and the Volkihar's trusty Ronthil.

    Criminal underworlds are the life blood of any community's worries and fears, and you can use that to spread the hatred of vampires among the people. Don't be afraid to let a healthy bounty add to the challenge. Markarth and Riften both have notable crime rings. Leave them in place and make them work for you, whether to build up your wealth, access their artifacts, or spread pandemonium.  The Thieves Guild is especially important for housing the woman who will make you unrecognizable to the vampire court. 

    Feed often and everywhere, but never from the same victim. Take advantage of Vampire's Seduction to get away with it, but don't feel obligated to wait around for it to recharge. Likewise, don't restrict yourself to live-feeding. Exile (and meeting Namira's cult) will open your eyes to what vampires can truly be. Consider yourself an "evolved" vampire, feeding as much from the dead on the battlefield as from unsuspecting townsfolk. And don't forget your Patron while feeding; use as many black souls as possible to replenish your mace, even between kills, sending slain enemies screaming to your master!

    When it comes time to deal with the treacherous Volkihar "side" with them, your new face letting you infiltrate their ranks and gain their trust. You can use that to seize control of the clan and do with them as you see fit. Note that this is the only way to gain access to the Bloodstone Chalice (Your ultimate goal) or reproducing Redwater Skooma.

    Recommended Quests: Dawnguard, Ancient Blood or Radiant Dawnguard, Forsworn Conspiracy, Thieves Guild

    Roleplay Alternatives:

    Use the Dawnguard to destroy the Volkihar clan completely. Openly join the Dawnguard, taking advantage of Serana's ability to let you "keep" your vampire form. With their help you can humiliate the clan and literally tear them down...but if you do, only the Bloodspring itself will be left to satisfy your cravings. Is revenge worth losing the purest taste of blood in Skyrim?

    Thanks for reading! 






  • Member
    September 22, 2014

    Dude, this is friggin fantastic, even better than your Castigator, this is like an old school vampire

  • TED
    September 22, 2014

    Hi El Boro Loco, Billy Mays here!  I like that this isn't like other cliche Vampire builds where they usually require sneak as a skill.  Keeping it simple with mace & board and alchemy is a great way to keep combat exciting, while allowing you to take a break from all the fighting.  For that, I'm officially endorsing it!

    Note: I think the miscellaneous tags are part of the official 3 Group tags rule, even though the Archives thread never specified that.  That's what I've assumed and stuck by when I have a build that uses them.

  • Member
    September 22, 2014
    First of all, +1! This build is awesome, a bad arse kick butt vampire who can be played in no time. However, there is one thing that I think could be improved: Drugs. Although an interesting and rarely used feature, I don't think that they really fit into the build. Alchemy, especially painful and maiming poisons such as Locklimb Venom, fit perfectly, but drugs seem a little forced. What use would vampires have of drugs, they have the ultimate substance readily available to them (blood), in their opinion (I assume, I don't know anything about vampires and how drugs would effect the). I would either RP that the Thieves Guild introduced him to the drug trade, or he was a former addict. Other than that this build is really good, and perfect to invigorate the currently quiet group. I'll probably try this after my current playthrough, haven't played a real badass in a while :)
  • Member
    September 22, 2014

    Thanks for the endorsement, Billy! So the Vampire and Villain tags should go, or the non-archive ones?

  • Member
    September 22, 2014

    Thanks for the feedback, Zonnonn! I admit, mixing drugs and the undead was difficult to justify. I kind of took a midroad to the approach you suggested. The character is meant to be addicted to blood, particularly the power-infusing stuff that comes from the Bloodstone Chalice, and so I sort of melded this addiction with his use of other substances (similar to the former addict approach you mentioned). The majority of the "drugs" are meant to be highly detrimintal and used on other people though. I'll try to make that feel a little smoother and more natural, thanks for mentioning it!

  • Member
    September 22, 2014

    Glad it impressed you, Chris!

  • TED
    September 22, 2014

    You'd have to go with which three Group tags fit your build the most.  If it were my build, I'd stick with Vampire, Juggernaut and Alchemist.

  • Member
    September 22, 2014

    Yeah, knight and juggernaut seemed redundant. I'll fix that now.

  • September 22, 2014

    I really like this build! It reminds me of my favorite vampire films where the vamp is not a cool, sexy powerful lord but just some guy with a horrible addiction.+1