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Character Build: The Hewing Rood

Tags: #Character Build Warrior  #Character Build Necromancer  #Character Build Vampire  #BlueDremora 
  • Member
    May 29, 2017

    The Tamriel Vault has seen enough vampire-, monster- and mage hunter builds to cleanse Nirn from any and all undead ten times over. I therefore decided to create a build that would fill a missing space in the spectrum of the character build section’s densely packed shelves. A build that is a direct reaction to other builds. I decided to create a vampire-vampirehunter-hunter, a character who specializes in slaying those who specialize in slaying him and his kind.


    “A dark gothic look… The Hewing Rood definitely has the feel of an anti-demonhunter badass”



    Character Concept


    There are several factors to keep in mind when designing a build that is meant to counter and defeat other specific classes or archetypes. Take the classic Witch Hunter for example: the class is designed to kill off practitioners of dark magics from a distance with bows and spells. The class makes use of conjured creatures to soak up damage whilst the Witch Hunter himself uses spells and enchantments to swiftly execute the non-armored mages with destruction-enhanced arrows. In other words The Witch Hunter has specialised in killing magic users by studying their weaknesses.

    In much the same way I had to carefully study which factors most Demon Hunters have in common, before deciding on a playstyle that would most completely excel against these common traits. Here is what I came up with


    • Most demon / monster hunters prefer to use ranged weapons when fighting. At the same time they go about this use of ranged weaponry in a unique fashion by not utilizing sneak.

    • Fire spells and restoration spells usually make up the bulk of a undead-hunters arcane arsenal.

    • Heavy armor often times play a factor. Otherwise alteration spells and anti-magic properties (note: The Atronach Stone) keep most demon hunters safe from the magical talents of necromancers and warlocks.     

    • It is typical for undead-hunters to use alchemy to weaken their foes prior to battle initiation or boost their own damage and survivability significantly.


    All in all these factors boil down to one aspect of gameplay an Anti-Vampirehunter can’t escape: a simple, solid shield. Block is a marvelous skill for fending off ranged attacks and bolstering a character's defense against the arcane. At the same time shields can easily be used offensively to knock down an opponent or relieve them of their weapon(s).

    Another aspect of gameplay that clearly counters the typical undead-hunter is speed; we want to reach the crossbow-wielding bastards and cut them to ribbons as fast as humanly (or should I say undeadly) possible, before they can cast painful fire-magics or fill us with arrows. To this end The Hewing Rood needs to abandon the typical vampire fightingstyle of ice-spells, armorless cloaks and necromancy: The Hewing Rood needs to stand his ground against both arrows and spells and combine his toughness with speed and ruthlessness. In other words The Hewing Rood needs to be a fast-paced, defensive build with archetypal vampire-aspects and necro-knight similarities.



    Everyone loves a bit of Necromancy



    Character Information


    Stats:1 Health / 1 Magicka / 0 Stamina till about 200 base magicka, then 2-3 Health / 1 Magicka / 0 Stamina. The build relies on a large pool of magicka and an extremely high magicka regeneration rate in conjunction with long lasting spells to be able to bolster up huge amounts of health without losing out on the magical aspect of the build.   


    Race: Dunmer or Bretons are by far the races most suited to deal with vampire hunters due to their natural resistance against fire magic and magic in general.  


    Stone: The Lord. In order to survive arrows, blades and spells The Hewing Rood enhances the effect of The Lord Stone via necromage to become near unkillable.   


    Equipment: Ebony Shield, Ring of the Erudite, Vampire Royal Armor, Vampire Gauntlets, Vampire Boots, Necromancer Amulet, Morokai, Ghostblade. The Hewing Rood is after all a vampire and luckily this combination of gear looks as aesthetically good as it is enormously useful.     


    Powers: Secret of Arcana, Champion of the Night, Seeker of Sorcery. The Hewing Rood makes use of a few powers to passively boost his toughness and help him level (Read: “Glitches / Exploits” section)  


    Spells: Flesh spells, Fast Healing, Reanimation spells and frost destruction spells. This build relies on a somewhat strange combination of spells, for a vampire. The overall goal of the spells used for this build is to make it as survivable as possible - which I will explain in further detail during the “gameplay” section.


    At first glance the build information may appear rather simple; there are no extraordinary enchantments or gear combinations too extravagant. However, all the skills, spells and powers (both passive and active) work in wonderful synergy once combined with necromage + vampirism. And although The Hewing Rood makes use of low armor gear he becomes incredibly though through block, alteration and restoration. When taken into consideration that necromancy also plays a major part of the build (a skill that has potential to double your damage and toughness by doubling your “teammates”) it is made obvious just how powerful The Hewing Rood has potential to become.        



    Glitches / Exploits


    The Hewing Rood is a vanilla build, but never the less it makes use of a few glitches and exploits to become something truly unique. None of these glitches and exploits are, however, game breaking and all of them perfectly fit within the character concept and synergizes perfectly with the gameplay of the build.    


    • Necromage and Vampirism: This exploit is one of the most well known Skyrim exploits to date, and no   wonder. For those for you who don’t know what the Necromage Vampirism exploit is, I will quote Albino: “Necromage is a Restoration perk that makes all spells more effective against undead. Specifically, it increases the magnitude by 25% and the duration (if applicable) by 50%. Since vampirism makes the player undead, this means that any spells and other effects that you use on yourself are also augmented by Necromage. For example, healing spells are 25% stronger and flesh spells are both 25% stronger and last 50% longer. However, Necromage Vampirism also makes negative effects on you 25% stronger, such as the stat reduction from your weakness to sunlight as a vampire...”

    - Albino, Guide to Necromage Vampirism


    • Secret of Telekinesis: This glitch is used to potentially power level alteration from 0-100 in about 5 minutes. No need to spam-cast oakflesh every time you enter combat to reach an alteration level that is actually useful! The way this glitch works is that you read “The Black Book: Filament and Filigree” and select the “Secret of Arcana” power at the end of the mini-dungeon. The power makes all spells cost 0 magicka for 30 seconds, but if you use the power > cast telekinesis on an object > num-lock your mouse-button (or tape your controller) this effect will work indefinitely (as long as you continually cats a channeling spell) and will thus level alteration in a matter of minutes whilst you grab a cup of coffee.  


    • Know Alchemy: This is not so much a cheat as a general tip. Most people find alchemy-leveling tedious and this is me showing you guys why it is not! First of all this tip requires you to play with no fast-travel. Don't do it! It ruins the game and I wish Bethesda had never put it in. Anyways, make sure to collect all ingredients as you travel and store them someplace safe when your inventory is full. Once ready to level alchemy, go to ** and simply plot in your ingredients via an iPad or something. At level 15 I was able to hit 65 Alchemy in one sitting by using this simple trick.       



    Skills and Perks



    Alteration:Novice - Expert, Dual Casting, Magic Resistance 3/3, Stability.

    Alteration is one of those skills that is hard to use effectively in Skyrim, but still has the potential to make or break a character - which is the case with The Hewing Rood. Alteration in conjunction with Necromage and The Lord Stone will render this build one of the toughest vampire builds ever presented (with a few exceptions) due to the prolonged and enhanced effect of flesh-spells and magic resistance.








    Alchemy:Alchemist 4/5, Physician, Benefactor, Concentrated Poison, Snake Blood.

    Alchemy is probably one of the most underrated skills in the game. In The Witcher games potions apply huge boosts to the character but in Skyrim this requires a relatively high Alchemy level. The Hewing Rood makes use of poisons to cut through any witch hunters magical or physical armor and apply deadly effects like slow, paralysis and fear to take control of the battlefield (Read: Useful potions section).








    Block: shield wall 3 /5, Power Bash, Quick Reflexes, Deflect Arrows, Elemental Protection, Block Runner.

    It’s not often you see a vampire armed with a shield, yet in the case of The Hewing Rood his shield is his bread and butter. Everything in the build revolves around this one skills; it makes the character near unkillable with physical and magical resistance alike, it adds tons of agility once some of the late-game perks have been acquired and it allows us to cast spells from behind protection. I cannot understate how important this skill is to the build!  







    The above skills are the major skills of the build, notice how all three help boost The Hewing Rood’s defensive capabilities. All the minor skills make up the characters offense - this build does not one-shot, instead it is designed to dominate prolonged fights and use dead enemies as undead minions to allow for tactical maneuvering and crowd control.



    Restoration: Novice-apprentice, recovery 2/2, Regeneration, Necromage, respite.  

    In this build restoration takes on much the same roll as Alteration in that the skill is used more as a passive stat-boost. With that said, the Fast healing spell will be one of the most frequently used spells as it helps The Hewing Rood maintain healthy and energetic despite wearing The Necromancer Amulet. Most importantly of all, however, is the Necromage perk as it boosts more or less every single aspect of the build.  






    Conjuration: Novice-Adept.

    Conjuration is marvelously powerful with surprisingly few perks. The skill is used to reanimate undead and bind them to our will. In turn this allows The Hewing Rood a bit of breathing space in which to recast flesh-spells, heal up or apply poisons to the most dangerous foes. The true power of necromancy is nevertheless the fact that reanimating an undead minion practically doubles your damage and the amount of health enemies have to chew through.







    One Handed:Armsman 4 /5, Fighting Stance, Savage Strike.     

    The one-handed skill is The Hewing Rood’s maine form of offence even though it contains surprisingly few perks. This is because the build makes use of potions and poisons on his blade to periodically hit like an enraged frost-giant and therefore very few requirements are necessary for huge amounts of damage. Furthermore The Hewing Rood has very little stamina and thus power attacks don’t play as big a roll as in other sword-and-board builds.      







    Destruction:Novice-Adept, Augmented Frost 2/2, Deep Freeze.

    From the destruction skill the element of frost has to be my favorite. Not only does it deal damage in a larger area than most other destruction skills, it also slows our pray (so we can get to them faster), drains their stamina and can influence crowd control by paralyzing low health enemies. On top of all the minor upsides to frost skills they also add yet another aspect to the build: magic damage.     







    *Perk Spread - lvl 25*

    *Perk Spread - Max level*






    Now that I have finally finished feeding you guys all of the practical information it’s time to get into the fun. How does The Hewing Rood play out?

    Well, rather nicely if I may say so myself! First of all this build works practically very well because it is a mix of a typical sword-and-board warrior and a vampire / necro-knight which are playstyles that are both simplistic yet enjoyable. Furthermore the build is not reliant on late-game perks to be playable during the early game; necromage won't make you deal more damage, it won't make you fly or breathe fire so don’t worry about that perk before you’re level 20. There is nothing less fun in Skyrim than desperately trying to reach some build-layout as fast as possible. Therefore my first piece of advice is to take it slowly, roleplay, find some vigilants of stendarr and kill them in their sleep (ahh so relaxing). Explore - It is what Skyrim is for (and it even rhymes).

    With that said, here is how I played the build:


    Early Game

    As with so many other Vampire Builds, the first thing on your “to-do list” is to contact vampirism and this is done by finding some vampires. Once free of Helgen go to Shriekwind Bastion, get vampirism, kill the vampires and take their dawnguard-vampire-gear. At this point you should more or less look the part with vampire light-armor and a sword and a shield. Next thing to do is go to Whiterun. In Whiterun you should head up to Dragonsreach and buy a few necromancer spells and frost spells. After that start “The Blessing of Nature” quest in order to train Restoration; gold won’t be a problem due to Alchemy and you’re in no real rush to reach 70 restoration, just pop in and level Restoration whenever you’re in town.

    Now it’s time to go to Windhelm and do the “Blood on the Ice” quest for one of your most essential pieces of equipment At some point after this you should grab The Lord Stone, don’t worry abou it not being enhanced yet. At this point I’d suggest heading to Riften and doing a few dungeon quests before going to Ansilvund and picking up the Ghostblade. If you play as slowly and adventurously as me you should have reached level 15-20 at this stage and steadily be leveling conjuration, destruction, one-handed, restoration, alchemy and block - the levels will come flying, trust me.


    Mid Game

    At this point you have a few options. You can either join The College of Winterhold and obtain Morokai and focus on leveling Destruction and Restoration (ignore alteration for now). The Dark brotherhood is also an option of you can make it fit role-play wise. But now is the time for hitting alteration levels. Do this by going to Solstheim and following my guide to “Secret of Telekinesis” under the Glitches/Exploits section. Once you’ve finished with The College of Winterhold and Dragonborn it’s time for Dawnguard, you’ve heard the rumors and the idea of using these vampire-hunters to join ranks with a truly deadly organization of vampires sounds intriguing. Once you’ve joined forces with Lord Harkon you can pick up the Royal Vampire armor and The Ring of Erudite and your stats will explode. Here is what It would look like at level 30 (although you will probably be around level 40 at this stage):

    • Magicka: 250 base +50 from amulet and +100 from ring = 400 magicka (437 with necromage).

    • Magicka regeneration: +125% from armor and +100% from mask = 225%. Base magicka regeneration = 3% + 2% from ring = 20 pr. Second +225% = 40 magicka pr. Second (50 with necromage). Because the ring increases the base magicka regen unlike other enhancements.

    After doing a few smaller Dawnguard quest i put it on hold and started “Boethiah’s Calling” to grab myself an ebony shield. Now you are all set up to handle the rest of Skyrim as you please in the late game.


    Between the Daedric quests, dungeon adventures and Dawnguard there is plenty of opportunity for an anti-demonhunter to spread a great deal of destruction throughout Skyrim. I would also recommend collection bounties of 1000+ gold in all the holds once you’re capable, it will add a nice twist of evil to your existence.  




    Closing Notes


    First of all I apologize for the long read. Second of all I hoped you enjoyed it! Now, before i close off the build i wanted to address the fact that I have left out a roleplay section, I did so on purpose because I generally view roleplay as something very subjective and it’s hard to come up with an outline based upon a build that is based solely upon gameplay. However, I would recommend you visit the roleplaying group for a few good ideas otherwise, if enough people wish for it, i could write a roleplaying guide and add it here.  

    Blue Dremora Out!

  • Member
    May 29, 2017

    Is this your first build? I assume it is, because it's not properly tagged - here is your one-stop guide to tags. Read it carefully - I'd pay attention to "how the build is tagged".

    As a first build, however, this is phenomenal. (And you've given me a good, concrete goal to shoot for exceeding, so thanks for that.)

    There are a few things I'm concerned with here, but no really major quibbles, and none of what I dislike about it particularly overshadows the fact that this is an interesting, well thought-out character concept, impressively executed and well presented.

    The biggest thing is this: I recommend some more in-depth information on how the character approaches combat, or how you've approached combat with this character.

    When presenting a level 50 build, I would suggest presenting also a mid-level perk spread at about level 25, so that readers get some idea of what the build looks like in the early game. You've covered part of this in your "Gameplay" section, but that has, unfortunately, made it rather devoid of details on how the character approaches combat.

    As for roleplay, I generally agree with you. That said, have you considered a DnD5e-style approach to roleplaying guide? Try asking some important guiding questions about the build. For example, "How did you contract vampirism? What were you like before succumbing to vampirism? How did it change you?" An extra-important one is "How did you come to specialise in slaying vampire hunters?"

    This is all my opinion. In the end, choices on creative design for your build fall to you and no one else. If you decide to change something about your build, do so because you have decided it, not because someone recommended the change. If you don't like the recommended changes, no one can, or should, force them. (I have to include this when I give feedback because I tend to be very pushy and naggy and always convinced that I'm right? It's not a very good quality to have.)

  • May 30, 2017

    This looks really interesting Blue.  I'll come back and give it a proper read later but I wanted to let you know that I went ahead and fixed your tags.


  • Member
    May 30, 2017

    Vargr White-Tree said:

    This looks really interesting Blue.  I'll come back and give it a proper read later but I wanted to let you know that I went ahead and fixed your tags.



    Great, thanks Vargr!

  • Member
    May 30, 2017

    @Solyeuse thanks for the feedbakc and praise, I apprechaite it. You are completley right, I forgot all about the actual combat (derp) I'll add in that section once I've got the spare time. As for the roleplaying I will most likeley not touch on that, not all builds do although I definently see what you mean. And as far as your opinion is concerned (lel), don't be afraid to tell me if you like or dislike something, I am a very self-critical person and I won't take anything personal so dont hesitate if you have ideas for improvements, it only helps me out!

  • May 30, 2017

    Wow Blue, this is a great build and easy like from me.  Also, there is an even easier way to level Alteration using the exploit you listed, while your are casting Telekinesis on an object you can open your map and fast travel across the map (Windhelm to Markarth) ater the loading screen you will be at 100 Alteration, no waiting.  Oh and there is a guaranteed ebony shield in Labarynthian, if your heading there to get Morokei you might as well get the shield too.


  • Member
    May 30, 2017

    Vargr White-Tree said:

    Wow Blue, this is a great build and easy like from me.  Also, there is an even easier way to level Alteration using the exploit you listed, while your are casting Telekinesis on an object you can open your map and fast travel across the map (Windhelm to Markarth) ater the loading screen you will be at 100 Alteration, no waiting.  Oh and there is a guaranteed ebony shield in Labarynthian, if your heading there to get Morokei you might as well get the shield too.


    God damn never knew! That makes thing easier at least, no waiting for lvl 30. Had no idea the telekenesis glitch was that easy haha, thanks Vargr I'll add it when I have time ;)

  • Member
    May 31, 2017

    Hey Blue, this is the second build of yours I've run into, and I love it all over again.  Alchemy isn't exactly my favorite, but I'm always willing to try a build with it.  I actually wanted to ask, you say "look at the useful potions options", but there doesn't seem to be one on the page.  I've read through a couple of times, but I can't find it.  But to the rest of this build, it's been fun playing so far, I'm still early in, but I'm liking it.  Keep up the great work.

  • Member
    June 1, 2017

    liked! great concept and execution. nice dark, yet 'righteous' feel to the build. like, if I were a vampire, I'd be like "yeah - kills those jerks" :)

  • Member
    June 1, 2017

    I like it! haven't gotten through to reading thoroughly yet, but I'll take a gander later today...

    That being said the ole telekenisis + Atronarch Stone + Circle spell is amazing (I did that myself when i wanted to get Alteration in my lvl 60 something character who had previously played the whole game as a strictly warrior type xD) definitely comes in handy