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Contest Build: Rust and Steam

Tags: #Character Build Juggernaut  #Character Build Warrior  #Character Build Vampire  #Rank:Recognized  #Contest5  #Dragonborn1721 
  • May 30, 2016

    Imagine an army of Dwemer Automatons, rolling towards a cove of bandits, with a Vampire Lord leading the charge, firing balls of Blood Magic into their enemies before ripping them apart with his talons. Pretty damn awesome right? Well that's what you'll be getting with this build, all rolled into a package with cannibalism, a crazed maniac of a man and of course, lots of Steam based attacks with the Visage of Mzund

    Welcome to Rust and Steam, my latest build and a damn interesting Dwemer Based build that rolls the excitement of a treasure hunter, in with the death and crazed destruction of a manic Vampire Lord. 

    Tales of the Reach - Volume 1, Chapter 6

    You have come here seeking stories of horror. To hear about murderers of the most evil sort, deaths so gruesome that even Molag Bal or Namira would reel back, struck with disgust at the mere retelling. That is the sort of story that you seek tonight, well that isn't exactly the type of story I'll be telling...But the beast that features in this story, is exactly the kind of mindless killer that should scare you. 

    Rust and Steam, are what binds this feral beast together. Once he may have been a man, perhaps even one of the mer, but who he was no longer matters, his soul has long been twisted with madness, suffering and death. I very much doubt this feral thing ever remembers his old life anymore, all he feels, is the craving for death, and for blood.

    Once it was a simple treasure hunter, searching the ruins around Markarth for treasures beyond wealth. Items that can turn even the weakest man into the most powerful warrior ever. His luck however, was abysmal. Oh he found powerful items, like the famed bow Zephyr, which imbues the holder with speed of the draw, and he even created the Aetherial Staff, which granted him the ability to create Dwarven Automatons from nothing. Both were powerful, but neither gave the treasure hunter the power he wanted.

    No, it was the Daedra that did that, Namira and the great Molag Bal twisting his very being into that of a crazed killer. Granting him powers, at the simple cost of other people's blood and flesh. And the treasure hunter gladly took this power, becoming one of the most powerful creatures to ever stalk Skyrim's wastes.

    To this day, it is said that the screams of his victims echo throughout the Reach. That the rush of Steam can still be heard rushing through the air, that the scent his rusted armour and blood-stained weapons gives off cover this land.  

    Race: Imperial

    Stat Placement: 0 Stamina, 1 Health, 0 Magicka

    Total: 260 Stamina, 440 Health, 100 Magicka

    Skills: Heavy Armour, Two-Handed, Archery and Smithing

    Powers: Breath of Nchuak

    Follower: Steadfast Dwarven Sphere

    The Aetherial Staff - Easily the most under-used of the three Aetherial Tools, because...well it isn't reliable. Sometimes you'll summon a Sphere, which is fairly powerful and capable of backing you up or can fail completely, leaving you with a pile of scrap. And that, is exactly what made it into the perfect tool for this build. An unpredictable summon that could either help you in a fight, or leave you wide open for a short period of time. This along makes each fight thrilling and new. 

    Visage of Mzund - What can I say, it's another...honestly rather weak item in the long run. The Stamina Enchantment is amazing, AR is great, but the thing that makes it special, the Breath of Nchuak (And yes I'll spell that wrong every time it appears in the build) is a rather weak attack for how much it costs. Doing 15 damage/second for a decent chunk of stamina. However, that doesn't mean it's useless. Weaker enemies will just straight up die, you can easily take out 4 or more simple Bandits or Wolves with a single blast of steam, allowing Rust and Steam to effectively pick apart the enemies that are an actual threat to it. Of course it is also semi-useful at whittling down stronger enemies. 

    Locket of Saint Jiub - A rather simple, but important item that adds another layer to our ever growing Stamina pool. The AR bonus is alright, and the Carry Weight is actually pretty useful, but really we want this for that massive Stamina bonus. 

    Amulet of Bats - Whenever you transform into a Vampire Lord, you should definitely equip the Amulet of Bats, it's a powerful enhancement to two powers we use fairly often in VL form. 

    Ring of Namira - This is the true key item to the build, allowing it to function in combat on a much more interesting level. The ring itself gives a hefty bonus to Stamina which is great, but the effect of devouring a corpse is even more powerful. Increased Health and Health Regen increase Rust and Steam's survivability even more.

    Weapons and Armour - Zephyr and a Dwarven Warhammer are the main weapons, the former is mainly used for quick shots and when combined with Power Shot can stagger enemies giving the  lower damage a benefit. The Warhammer is our primary weapon and is used for burst damage against any enemy. Obviously our armour is a full set of Dwarven Armour (Minus the Helmet) enhanced with Smithing.  

    Combat for Rust and Steam is broken into three 'forms', each capable of dealing with foes in completely different ways. You have the Tank form, capable of unleashing massive physical attacks while also resisting most damage thrown at you from physical attacks. Steam is your long ranged form, and combines the Breath of Nchuak and fast paced Archery to keep enemies at bay. And the final form, Blood and Claw is a mixed melee/ranged form that uses all the power of a limited Vampire Lord form to crush enemies easily. 


    This is our most basic form, it doesn't have any real powers or unique abilities, but it does have the benefit of being powerful as all hell. The Tank form combines pure power with a defensive stance that's almost impossible to physically harm him.

    Sweep is of course our main type of non-standard attack. It's just a useful attack to deal with multiple opponents, it's most effective against, well any pure melee group of enemies. Sweep really emphasizes this form's weakness against long-ranged enemies and relative ease that it deals with melee enemies. 

    Voice of the Emperor is a relatively useful ability, though honestly not one I used that often. However if you play on harder difficulties than I did (so Legendary or Modded) it might be a lot more useful for you. Being able to 'stun' enemies into just standing there is the kind of sadistic power that just fits in with both a Vampire, and a crazed cannibal. 

    The Aetherial Staff is a key component to this form, the ability to summon either a Sphere or Spider, while again not the most powerful is yet another thing that can enhance your melee capabilities. Having the Sphere either working as a powerful melee distraction or a long-ranged support is a great benefit. 


    I've always been a fan of the Visage of Mzund, not because it's amazing but because it's one of the few items in the game that are actually unique. It gives you a completely unique power, that no other item, power or spell can give you, and that is pretty sweet. That's why I wanted to have a form that actually used the Breath as a powerful part of it's combat potential. This form combines Archery and the Breath of Nchuak to whittle down opponents more than anything, it isn't as powerful directly as the Tank form, but is more effective either against Archers or against stronger enemies you can't beat directly. 

    Breath of Nchuak is obviously the main part, it isn't the most powerful attack, but it is a long ranged attack with a massive AoE. And that is the key to the form, while Archery is designed for single target combat, you can assault a stronger enemy and then slowly damage weaker enemies that group together. It's a perfect attack for dealing with enemies as a kind of side thought. 

    Archery as I mentioned above, is meant to deal with a single stronger enemy, and the main use is to constantly stagger them with Power Shot. 

    Blood and Claw:

    Our Vampire Lord form. The Blood mode has it's weaknesses, remember our stat output and how  we hadn't put any points into Magicka, well that really makes playing in Vampire Form slightly more difficult, if we can't pull out an infinite, or even large amount of Spells to deal damage, but we also won't be doing all that much with our Claws (Only about 50 damage...) we can't rely purely on melee form. So instead of a juggernaut capable of finishing off opponents with ease, or a Mage capable of devastation, we're forced to play a combination that deals with opponents with a combination of powerful Claw strikes, with Night Powers and the occasional use of Blood Magic to whittle down enemies during longer paced battles. 

    Mist Form is our primary Night Power, because it is by far the most useful power available to a weaker Vampire Lord. Being able to regenerate all of our stats and avoid damage for around 20 seconds is pretty powerful. It works as both an effective defensive skill, as well as an easy way to find a more stable position for offense.

    Bats, to me is one of the sweetest powers out there. Not only can you use the power Bats that more or less works like Whirlwind Sprint, which can be upgraded to knock foes back with the Amulet of the Bats, however these are not the most interesting use of Bats in the Vampire Lord form. Night Cloak, is a pretty damn cool passive power allows you to drain the health from enemies in melee range. In other words it works as another kind of defensive power that adds 'healing' to your character in melee form. 

    Together, Bats and Mist Form make up the key defense to this form, the ability to move around the field without needing to fear danger, and will be your go to option. Offensively, the Vampire Drain spell will be your only real source of damage, the other Blood Magics are simply too draining on our meager Magicka reserves. This is perfect for long ranged, multi target bombardment as well as healing (kind of). 

    Now, most of the time we'll be dry of Magicka rather quickly, so we can't always fight with magic. Most of the time, we'll have an arguably weaker weapon to fight with, our Claws.  

    Poison Talons is a required perk here, simply because it increases damage...Without it, our damage output would be incredibly low in this form, especially when compared to our Human Melee form, but with it we can be an incredibly interesting fighter. 

    Night Cloak is another crucial power/perk, giving us a Drain Life effect in the form of a cloak of bats. I hardly need to go into how useful this is, not only does it increase average damage output but it also gives us a healing (of sorts) option in melee form

    The melee portion is meant to be played without touching your Magicka draining spells or powers, and should be used whenever your Magicka is low or completely empty. You can always fight in this form until your Magicka regenerates, and then swap back to the Blood portion. 

    Rust and Steam is a build based on a single goal...Power, and the road to gaining it. This goal, is what I spent my entire game aiming for, doing anything, anywhere for that power. I would kill a couple farmers to gain more perks for my Vampire Lord form, destroy a village if I felt there was a threat within to my power, betray a follower in order to get to the end of a dungeon, anything that would either increase my power or allow me to continue having power. 

    This build is designed to be played as a force of, honestly I wouldn't say evil. There is no desire to cause pain, or to destroy for the sake of destruction, consider it a wild animal, it kills by nature, this man in a shell of Dwemer metal doesn't know how to do anything except cause pain in order to increase it's own power. 

    But the early parts of the build, were played more like a simple treasure hunter, delving into Dwemer Ruins in an attempt to find metals and artifacts, that eventually made him seek power (around level 10), and after that it was a steady rise until around level 20 before I turned my character into this cannibalistic, force of nature.

    Lost to the Ages was the very first quest I completed. It's a difficult journey through Arkngthamz, but after that it allows you to both travel a large portion of Skyrim's main land mass and collect a tonne of Dwemer materials and best of all give you that end goal of the Aetherial Staff. 

    Finished: Level 6-7

    The Lost Expedition was my second quest, not only was it a mission given to us by the foremost scholar in the history of the Dwemer, why wouldn't a treasure hunter go to him for a bit of knowledge. Other then that, Nchuand-Zel is a great, great location for free Dwemer Metal, the entrance alone is full of more metal than just about anywhere else.

    Finished: Level 10

    This is where I started to delve into the darker side of the character by completing The Taste of Death for Namira's Ring. I started cannibalizing corpses whenever I could in order to get a quick bit of power before a battle.

    Finished: Level 15

    After level 15, I finally started the Dragonborn Questline in order to gain the final, but perhaps most important part of my arsenal, and just generally gain levels like nobodies business. The main goal is to grab the Visage of Mzund, as well as the Steadfast Dwarven Sphere, which requires a fair amount of work and ends up gaining you a tonne of power. Miraak is a secondary goal at best, and is only chased after because...well he did take power from you, even if it's power you don't want (Dragon Souls) 

    Finished: Level 22 (Ish) 

    The final questline I completed was the Dawnguard, which I know is odd for a build that partially focuses on using the Vampire Lord form, but the final 10 levels of this build are the hardest to level through. You've probably finishing up the final levels of Two-Handed, Archery and Heavy Armour, and as we all know...Leveling up Heavy Armour is such a pain, so really this is the longest third of the build. Level 23 marked my final descent into madness, I started butchering massive swathes of people to get those Vamp Perks as quickly as possible, and just generally doing anything to gain more power. 

    I hope this was an interesting build, I know it doesn't use any fancy techniques, powers or combinations that I usually use in a build, but I think that's something that really enhances the basic gameplay...Anyway, thanks for reading and don't forget to leave a comment, and possibly leave a like as well.

    Right, before I go, I need to thank two people. Golden Fool, for the Vampire Lord screenshots (slightly edited by yours truly), really helped me grab some art for the later parts of the build. And honestly without Lissette I never would have finished this build, we had some pretty good talks about our builds (Check out her Dwemer Build) over the last couple of weeks, and it really helped me shape it, and find the motivation to actually finish it. 

    If you want to see more of my builds, check out the Dragonborn1721 tag, and if you want to check out the other pretty radical Contest Builds do that (but hey, you can look and then give me their like )

  • Member
    May 30, 2016

    First Like! Great Build, Dragonborn!

  • Member
    May 30, 2016
    Second dwemer build of the day, and I can only say that with each new build released, this contest keeps heating up, as does my excitement! Well done as always Dovahkiin +1 :)
  • Member
    May 30, 2016

    So, I guess it's night of the living dead dwemer, then? 

    Great build DB, I'm glad to see the Aetherial Staff getting some love! This sounds like a really fun build to play, with the added risk factor and all, and I love how you've got the VL form as a major part of gameplay. 

  • Member
    May 30, 2016

    Just Great, you introduced us to another Blood Sucker. Jake is not Happy.

  • May 30, 2016

    Thanks Kael, the Vampire Lord form was something that I realized most builds don't go that far into unless they you know focus on a specific part (The only one coming to mind is Vampiric Grip) so it was something that was a lot of fun to really pick apart. 

    Thanks for the comment and like Kael, means a lot 

  • May 30, 2016

    Long live the evil Blood Suckers 

  • May 30, 2016

    Thanks Caesar, always appreciate it 

  • Member
    May 30, 2016

    don't let the Big Bad Argonian Werewolf hear you.

  • May 30, 2016

    Hehe, not my goal. Though, I will admit we need more can never have too many Werewolf builds