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Character Build: The Imperial Paradigm

Tags: #Character Build Knight  #Character Build Hero  #Race:Imperial  #Rank:Bloodworks  #Phil  #Charcater Build Alchemist 
  • Member
    May 19, 2017

    The Imperial Paradigm once belonged to the Knightly Order of the Dragon, a mysterious chivalric organisation originally formed by Tiber Septim upon the founding of the Empire.

    Only seven beings have ever achieved the rank of Champion of the Order but their actions and names have been all but lost to history. It is said, however, that each Champion mastered the use of weapons to such an extent that their connection to these items transcended the physical.

    Ancient legend holds that when the Empire is at it's greatest need, one shall return and reclaim the ultimate symbol of the Order - The Champion's Cudgel - in order to defend Tamriel again...



    The attraction of any Two Handed class lies in their straightforward approach to combat. But this simplicity can limit offensive options, especially on a console where there are only two hot keys.

    The Imperial Paradigm will overcome this limitation by utilizing runes created by the Dawnguard Rune Hammer to increase their Destruction skill. This way, ranged destruction magic can be brought to bear thanks to the Rune Master perk.

    In addition, by taking the augmented level destruction perks, a crossbow's Exploding Bolts will be more effective and the ultimate refinement of the Paradigm's art - the Champion's Cudgel - will become an instrument of tremendous power.

    Race: Imperial

    Major Skills: Alchemy, Destruction, Heavy Armour and Two Handed

    Minor Skills: Archery, Block, Smithing and Speech

    Stat Spread: Health 3/ Stamina 1

    Shout: Become Ethereal

    Stone: The Lady

    Weapons: Dawnguard Rune Hammer, Enhanced Dwarven Crossbow, Exploding Bolts and the Champion's Cudgel

    Armour: Imperial Heavy Armour with an Officer's Helmet or Closed Imperial Helmet - you can get one from the Shrine of Talos near Autumnwatch Tower

    Misc Gear: Amulet of Talos




    Alchemy: Alchemist 4/5, Physician, Benefactor, Poisoner and Concentrated Poison

    Destruction: Novice Destruction, Apprentice Destruction, Rune Master, Augmented Flames 2/2, Augmented Frost 2/2 and Augmented Shock 2/2

    Heavy Armour: Juggernaut 5/5, Well Fitted, Tower of Strength and Matching Set

    Two Handed: Barbarian 5/5, Skull Crusher 3/3, Champion's Stance, Devastating Blow, Great Critical Charge and Sweep



    Archery: Overdraw 3/5

    Block: Shield Wall 3/5 and Quick Reflexes

    Smithing: Steel Smithing and Dwarven Smithing

    Speech: Haggling 3/5



    The idea with this build is to use the Dawnguard Rune Hammer and Champion's Cudgel in synergy with one another: The Hammer's runes will level your Destruction skill which will allow you to perk that skill's augmented level slots to further increase the damage of the Champion's Cudgel and your Crossbow's Exploding Bolts. I interpreted this process as a spiritual link developing between character and weapons.

    This theme also suited the build's use of the Become Ethereal shout which became a means of healing, dealing damage and leveling all at the same time. By learning the Force Without Effort power from Paarthurnax combined with the regenerative power of The Lady stone, I was able to heal 45 points during the shout's duration. This is about 15 more health over 17 seconds compared with Eternal Spirit and stacks with the Tower of Strength perk.

    Alchemy plays an important part as it is your main way of healing in the form of restore health and health regeneration potions. It is also an essential defensive art to master as it will aid dragon and vampire fighting - the Imperial's lack of resistances can be easily offset by alchemy.

    To enhance offence, drink a potion of fortify destruction to massively increase damage from each smite from the Cudgel and hit from Exploding Bolt. The Speech skill will be useful in keeping the prices of the Fire, Frost and Void Salts needed for your ammunition down.

    Main Quest: Do The Horn of Jurgen Windcaller early to pick up the first word of the Become Ethereal shout and unlock Cultist Attacks for a natural progression to Solstheim. You may wish to progress as far as The Throat of the World to learn Force Without Effort from Paarthurnax. This will provide stagger bonusses and enhance your health regeneration while ethereal.

    Coming of Age: Help Salma and Beem-Ja explore Ironbind Barrow and get another word for Become Ethereal.

    Dawnguard is essential to acquire the Rune Hammer and  these quests must be completed:  Awakening, Bloodline, A New Order, Bolstering the Ranks and Lost Relic. Do the six Ancient Technology quests from Sorine Jurard to get the Enhanced Dwarven Crossbow and Dwarven Exploding Bolts.

    Dragonborn: March of the Dead to reclaim the Champion's Cudgel.

    The Civil War Imperial Legion questline: Start this early, complete later as the mood takes you to mix things up.

    Rise in the East: Not essential but it fits the Imperial theme of this build nicely. Plus, Adelaisa Vendicci can become a follower after the quest is over.

    Imperial Armour looks so cool with the Officers Helm and even better with the wicked Closed Helmet but because you can't always keep it in tip top condition you'll need some defensive help.

    This help comes in the form of Become Ethereal, a really easy shout to master early on and one that has a massive effect on gameplay. Some tactics are obvious, like using it to set up a stamina-free Great Critical Charge or using a single word to protect from dragon fire. Others are more subtle, like using the shout to switch hot-keyed weapons without being exposed.

    My favourite application for this shout was:


    A Fronte Praecipitium A Tergio Lupi!

    Dawnguard Rune Hammer + Regenerate Health potion + Feim Zii Gron

    Surrounded and at risk, the Champion lets the spiritual bond with her weapon take the place of her corporeal form, allowing eighteen seconds of health regeneration. As your tonic reinvigorates you, use the Rune Hammer to place devastating fire traps to destroy your impotent foes at a cost of only 25 stamina per bash. With an Amulet and Blessing of Talos, the cooldown time on this shout is only about six seconds so you can rinse and repeat this tactic.




    Offensively, it pays to maximise damage against harder opponents:

    Vae Victus!

    Concentrated Poison + Ignis Gelidus + Champion's Cudgel + Sweep +Sweep + Sweep

    Your first sweep will set up all enemies in front with Weakness to poison. Your second sweep will stack the weaknesses. Your third sweep will destroy everything as you bring the Empire's Justice to the farthest reaches.


    For regular encounters that don't require any special tactics or alchemy, I liked to open combat at mid-long range with a well placed Runebash from the Hammer. Depending on the distance, one or more can be cast before switching to the Cudgel. Weakened by the time they get to me, enemies can be slaughtered easily. The more runes bashed out means more damage the Cudgel can deliver when you pick the appropriate destruction perks upon leveling up.

    The crossbow and exploding bolts came into play against dragons on the wing. I'd use one word of Become Ethereal while the dragon hovered using a breath attack before getting a shot off while he was motionless. A fortify destruction potion and a nice poison can really stack up the damage of each bolt.

    On the quest for the Rune Hammer and Exploding Bolts you'll be fighting lots of vampires. Use these potions to protect and fortify against their magic.


    Aqua Vitai - Vampire Dust +Lavender + Garlic = Fortify Stamina and Regenerate Health

    Aqua Pura - Vampire Dust +Mudcrab Chitin + Garlic = Cure Disease, Regenerate Health and Resist Poison

    Vinum Invictus - Bee + Dragon's Tongue + Fly Aminita = Fortify Two Handed, Regenerate Stamina and Resist Fire

    Glacialis Liquidus - Bleeding Crown + Slaughterfish Scales + Thistle Branch = Fortify Heavy Armour, Resist Frost and Fortify Block

    Munio Exitium - Nightshade + Glowing Mushroom + Wheat = Fotify Destruction and Fortify Health

    Absorbio Salus - Charred Skeever Hide + Blue Mountain Flower + Mudcrab Chitin = Cure Disease, Resist Poison, Restore Health and Restore Stamina


    Use these poisons to further augment the elemental damage of your Champion's Cudgel, Exploding Bolts and Fire Runes.

    Ignus Gelidus - Abecean Longfin + Bleeding Crown + Ice Wraith Teeth = Weakness to Fire, Frost and Poison

    Attonbitus - Bee + Deathbell + Giant Lichen = Weakness to Shock, Poison and Ravage Stamina

    Tardus - Salt Pile + Deathbell + Torchbug Thorax = Slow and Weakness to Magic


    This build went through a number of iterations since I started but I feel it wouldn't be anywhere near as simple yet incredibly fun to play if not for two people. So I'd like to say a big thank you to Mason who insisted I not use destruction spells, instead focus solely on the hammer to level that skill and also for proof reading. Remy Roodenburg for his advice, support and constant urging that I "trim the fat". Cheers guys!

    Mention must also be made to Ben C for the ever helpful Alchemy Calculator; to Nikolaj Poulsen and his very useful Gameplay Mechanics discussion and also for finally settling the naming issue.

    Thanks to Vazgen for the Absorbio Salus potion and for the new and improved images.

    And thank you for reading!


  • May 19, 2017

    I've never gotten the Rune hammer as I never side with the Dawnguard - this looks like a fun build to play when I get around to using it!

  • May 19, 2017

    Holicus crapicus! This build looks great. I liked it when it first came out and yay, I get to like it again. :D

  • Member
    May 19, 2017

    Ego vere diligit haec aedificant. Diligo conceptum et simplicitas de illudus. Factum usum tibi lingus Latinus est magnus.

    (I really love this build. I love the concept and the simplicity of it. The fact you used Latin is great. too.)

  • Member
    May 20, 2017

    Pestilence said:

    I've never gotten the Rune hammer as I never side with the Dawnguard - this looks like a fun build to play when I get around to using it!

    Thanks Pestilence :) Yeah, the Runhammer is a fun toy, def give that hammer a go!

    Lissette Long-Chapper said:

    Holicus crapicus! This build looks great. I liked it when it first came out and yay, I get to like it again. :D

    Thanks Lis, for both the original and the new :)

    Pax! said:

    Ego vere diligit haec aedificant. Diligo conceptum et simplicitas de illudus. Factum usum tibi lingus Latinus est magnus.

    (I really love this build. I love the concept and the simplicity of it. The fact you used Latin is great. too.)

    Thanks Davey :) I likely got the latin wrong, I never corrected the first time, but seeing your post reminded me that Elyrius recently asked me for a link to this old build. So thank you for the compliment and for the memory kick :D

  • Member
    May 20, 2017

    @Phil the Latin is fine in this build because it is a weird language to learn at first. You're welcome. :)