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Character Build: Ranger of the Northern Wind

Tags: #Character Build Spellsword  #Race:Nord  #Character Build Elementalist  #Character Build Scout  #Rank:Exemplar 
  • Member
    January 9, 2015

    Bardnir Blackblood’s laugh rang loudly through the cave. His cronies greedily dug through the chest containing their latest score, dividing up the spoils with the largest share going to their chief. They failed to notice the sudden chill in the air. Bardnir suddenly cried out as an arrow took him in the knee. He screamed again as his lower leg became completely encased in ice, trapping him in place. He watched with horror as a sudden explosion sent razor shards of ice slashing through his men. There came a shout from the surrounding darkness, but not just any battle cry. It was the Thu’um. His men were blasted backward, several frozen solid, but a few managed to regain their feet. As they drew weapons seeking an enemy, a hooded figure burst from his hiding spot wielding a war axe with deadly efficiency. Soon he was the only one left standing. The trapped bandit chief watched as the stranger coldly strolled through the carnage he had created. Mind racing, Bardnir thought to make a deal with this killer, but as he met those eyes like blue ice, he knew that there would be no deal. As the killer approached, he raised his axe high, and Bardnir Blackblood met his end.

    The Ranger of the Northern Wind

    Race: Nord

    Stone: Warrior or Mage, then Atronach

    Major Skills: One-handed, Alteration, Destruction, Enchanting

    Minor Skills: Archery, Light Armor, Sneak, Restoration, Smithing

    Shouts:  Slow Time, Become Ethereal, Ice Form, Whirlwind Sprint

    The Build

    The Ranger of the Northern Wind combines the skillset of a ranger with a cryomancy twist. As a Ranger he utilizes the terrain to set up ambushes. His attacks are sudden and without warning. However stealth is not a crutch. It’s used only to get in position and to fire a few freezing arrows from his bow before charging in with the axe. As the Ranger closes with the enemy his frost magic comes into play. However, he uses it more as a means of controlling and slowing his foes than as a way to damage them. He chills multiple targets with frost runes and his frost cloak. While standing toe to toe with the enemy he depends upon his light armor and agility to protect him and supplements with flesh spells to make his skin glacier hard. Ultimately though, he is all about swinging his axe. It is his signature weapon, unlike other Rangers that rely upon the bow. The axe serves both as his tool in the wilderness and his weapon. Outside of the battlefield he cares for his own armor and weapons and even enchants them. His rudimentary skills with restoration make sure that he recovers quickly from a fight.

    Upon discovering his ability with the Thu’um, Ice Form becomes his favored shout. It disables multiple enemies, leaving them open to attack. He also utilizes Slow Time or Become Ethereal when in danger of being overwhelmed and whirlwind sprint to close unexpectedly with foes trying to hang back.





    Stat Placement - Magicka 1 / Health 2 / Stamina 1


    All perks are taken for One Handed except those dealing with dual wielding and swords and mace. The war axe is our weapon.

    Alteration perks mostly stick to the main path taking the cost reduction perks along with stability to increase the duration and atronach to boost magicka recovery in mage fights. I skipped dual casting, because for this build I want an axe in hand at all times unless I’m using the bow.

    Destruction perks are taken only to adept to make the cloak spells cheaper. The frost perks are taken to enhance our chosen flavor of spells, and rune master to increase the utility of rune spells for our ambushes.

    Enchanting has the second highest perk count of my skills. I enchant all of my gear to increase my skills, and my weapons are enchanted to do frost damage. I abstained from extra effect because I think it’s too powerful.

    Only six points in Archery help keep this build from becoming just another sniper, the points put in are there only to help line up a good first shot or two.

    I would have liked more points in Light Armor, but using an adept hood means we can’t receive the benefits from most of the perks.

    Sneak perks are just to help us get in place and to maximize that first shot because we tend to only take one before charging.

    Smithing perks are taken up to ebony to allow Stalhrim forging, but this is not a top priority. Leather and steel will be what we use for the first half of the game. Arcane blacksmith is of course taken since we enchant.

    Restoration is only used between fights or during become ethereal so only basic perks are needed to get us ready for the next battle.

    Unperked Skills

    I used Alchemy to create paralysis poisons that provide a "freezing" effect to my arrows. The lowest level of this poison will still drop a foe to the ground, giving you a few seconds. Weakness to frost poisons can help against enemies with a high resistance to frost damage. Restore health, stamina, and magicka potions are all great to have too.

    I used Block as needed. This is usually in melee fights when I don't need a spell in my off hand at the moment. It never hurts.

    Beginning Gear

    Leather Armor+Fortify Light Armor

    Leather Bracers+Fortify Archery

    Leather Boots+Fortify One-Handed

    Adept Hood

    Silver Ring+Fortify One-Handed

    Silver Amulet+Fortify Magicka

    Skyforge Steel War Axe+Frost Damage

    Imperial Bow+Frost Damage

    Ending Gear

    (same enchants)

    Light Stalhrim Armor

    Light Stalhrim Gauntlets

    Light Stalhrim Boots

    Adept Hood

    Stalhrim War Axe

    Stalhrim Bow and Arrows

    Special Moves  

    Avalanche: A devastating opener making effective use of blitzkrieg tactics to take enemies out of the fight before they can even draw weapons. Sneak + freezing arrow + frost rune + ice form shout + critical charge


    Northern Wind: When the fight gets too hot, take a deep breath and cool it down. Enemies will continue to be damaged by frost cloak while not being able to hit you as you become one with the wind. The move is ended with a bang, using fast healing and frost rune at your feet. Frost Cloak + Become Ethereal + simulcast Fast Healing and Frost Rune.

    Back Story

    The Thieves Guild should have put Grelod on the payroll. She’s been responsible for turning many young orphans into hardened immoral adults. You were no different. When you were old enough to leave, you were welcomed into the ranks of the Guild learning to move with stealth and ambush your mark in a back alley. In a moment of childish retribution you used your new talents to take revenge on Grelod the Kind. The murder weighed heavily on your mind for some time, and eventually you fled your life in Riften to seek redemption in the wilderness. In time you learned to adapt your skills to life outside of the city. Still the guilt of that murder haunted you, and it prompted you to intercede when you came upon a merchant attacked by bandits. However the fight was more than you bargained for, and they would have killed you if not for your sudden manifestation of ice powers. Saving that merchant felt good. Perhaps actions like this would help you find redemption for your mistakes.

    It’s been five years now since that day on the road. Since then, you’ve cleared out bandit camps, defeated dangerous beasts, rescued innocents from necromancers, and so much more. With each good deed you hope that you might have removed some of the black stain of murder from your soul. Your ice powers continue to manifest themselves, but you possess no real control. This magic isn’t something that you gained by careful study. It is wild and untamed, coming naturally when your adrenaline is pumping. Perhaps someday you might go the College to see if they can help you refine your magic, but you’ve learned enough to help you do what needs to be done.

    Rangers don't have a guild. They can't be trained because being a Ranger isn't about possessing the right skills. It's having the right state of mind. It's about putting yourself in harm's way to protect your homeland. Doing this is a thankless job, and it can be a lonely life. Especially because you can be somewhat gruff and awkward in normal society. People tend to fear you.


    Thieves Guild: Starting the Thieves Guild is necessary to set up the back story. Only do the first few jobs and Kill Grelod the Kind while you are at it.

    Main Quest: Dragons are rampaging all over Skyrim. As the Dragonborn it is your destiny to cast down Alduin.

    Imperial Legion: While you are a strong believer in the divinity of Talos, the Stormcloaks are the aggressors, and they have thrown Skyrim into chaos. Put an end to it.

    Dragonborn: This new Dragonborn is a threat to everyone. Travel to Solstheim to bring peace.

    Companions: You sought honor and brotherhood among the ranks of the Companions, but left upon discovering their dark secret. Perhaps one day you might return to help Kodlak cleanse the taint.

    Destroy the Dark Brotherhood: Apparently killing Grelod the Kind did not go unnoticed. Take out this band of murderers for the greater good.

    College of Winterhold: You joined hoping to get a better control of your powers, but ended up getting more than you bargained for. Sort out this mess. For Skyrim.

    Dawnguard: Vampires are just another threat to the land you love. Do what needs to be done.


    Occasionally you might encounter like minded people that join you for a time. Possibilities include Erik the Slayer, any of the housecarls, Mjoll the Lioness, Uthgerd the Unbroken, or Erandur. Any of the dogs, but especially the war dogs from the Dawnguard will also be good to have.



    Thanks to you all for reading my build. I have received inspiration from so many of you, and it has really enhanced my gameplay and they way I approach an rpg. Special thanks to Golden Fool for the new perk spread.





  • Member
    January 9, 2015
    Nice job; this is your first build, right? The only suggestion I have is to specify that you are using (I assume) light stalhrim armor.
  • Member
    January 9, 2015

    good job it was a while i was looking for a nord build without licanthropy and using magic ^^

  • Member
    January 9, 2015

    Thanks a ton. I took care of it.

  • Member
    January 9, 2015

    An ice-slinging Nord ranger, quite the concept, but you made it work. Phenomenal for a first build, +1 from me. 

  • Member
    January 10, 2015
    +1. What is your recommendation for m/h/s on this build?
  • Member
    January 10, 2015

    Sorry, I didn't realize I left that out. I've added it in under the perks section.

  • Member
    January 11, 2015
    Thanks. I was running something pretty close to that.
  • January 18, 2015
    This is very good I love Rangers but usually I play "the sniper ranger" :P great twist using frost magic and stalhrim gear and weapons and what better to play that then a nord having frost resistance !:P +1
  • Member
    January 18, 2015

    Good job! This is an insane build! Congratulations. Particularly like the specialist moves.

    I think I'll use this on my next playthrough!