Skyrim Character Building » Discussions

Character Build: The Nightstrider

Tags: #Character Build Archer  #Character Build Mage  #Character Build Vampire  #Rank:Exemplar 
  • Member
    April 16, 2013

    Recently, I've been at a loss for a bit what to play in Skyrim. What kind of character should I play? How can I make this a unique play through? Some of you may know that I have been testing items that I haven't used before. This time, I used a vampire, but I also decided to use The Ring of the Erudite, much like Zach did in his build The Vampire Count. I also looked back at my build The Skaal Outcast and thought "a vampire archer….how can I make that unique?" This is by far the most rewarding build that I have played as so far. This build uses both Dawnguard and Dragonborn, so be warned. So now, I present to you:

    The Nightstrider

    The Lore/Stats:

    The Volkihar Nightstriders was a group of Volkihar Vampires sent around Tamriel, and were known for being able to walk in the daylight without impediment. They were masters of magicka, and excellent archers. The Nightstriders were also known for their mastery of Mounted Combat, and rode steeds faster and stronger than any found on Mundus. They were master Alchemists, and were known to be master marksman, snipers, and scouts by day. At night, however, they became powerful frost mages, and were a huge threat to any who oppose them.

    You are the one of the last two Nightstriders today. Gifted with unnaturally high magicka regen at the price of a weakness to magicka, you work with (and secretly against) Harkon to end the life of any person who dares question the power of the Volkihar.

    Race: Altmeri Vampire

    Stone: The Apprentice Stone

    Major Skills: Archery, Destruction, Alchemy, Restoration, Sneak

    Minor Skills: Light Armor, Enchanting, Smithing, Alteration

    Major Quests: The Dark Brotherhood, Dawnguard (Vampires), Rings of Blood Magic, Black Book Quests, House Telvanni (optional for extra spells), Theives Guild, College of Winterhold, The Jagged Crown, Dragonborn

    Shouts: Frost Breath, Ice Form, Become Ethereal, Dragon Aspect, Disarm, Slow Time, Whirlwind Sprint, Drain Vitality, Aura Whisper, Throw Voice

    Skill Spread: 5/3/2 until level 61, then 5/2/3 until level 71. Put the last 5 into magic. The end result should be: 550/300/250.

    Perk Spreads: Level26|Level51|Level76

    The Reason for not having Necromage on this vampire build is because I felt that with the magicka regen rate, this build would be powerful enough.


    Note: Italicized enchantments are used after getting "Extra Effect"

    Body: Royal Vampire Armor

    Gloves: Nightstrider's Gloves: [Vampire Gloves (Fortify Archery, Fortify Light Armor)]

    Boots: Nightstrider's Boots: [Vampire Boots (Fortify Fire Resist, Muffle)]

    Circlet: Nightstriders's Headpiece [Gold and Ruby Circlet (Fortify Magicka Regen, Fortify Destruction)]

    Necklace: Nightstrider's Amulet [BoneHawk Amulet (Fortify Resist Fire, Fortify Archery)]

    Ring: Ring of the Erudite


       - Auri-El's Bow

       - Vampire's Touch [Stalhrim Bow (Frost Damage, Absorb Health)]

       - Nightstrider Bow [Nordic Bow (Frost Damage, Shock Damage)]

    Black Book Powers:

    Epistolary Acumen: Dragonborn Frost (Turns Frost Breath into a more powerful form of Ice Form)

    Filament and Filigree: Secret of Protection (take 50% damage from anything)

    Hidden Twilight: Mora's Boon (Regenerates all stats)

    The Sallow Regent: Seeker of Sorcery (10% reduction in magic costs and 10% better enchanting)

    Winds of Change: Companions Insight (Followers [Serana, if you have a follower] take no damage from you)

    Untold Legends: Secret Servant (Daedric Butler holds your items for you)

    The Ring of The Erudite

    The Ring of Erudite has a phenomenal synergy with this build. What the ring does is that it gives you 100 magicka and doubles your magicka regeneration rate. This means that you would have on this build upwards of 650 magicka by the end of the build. Also, with perks, enchanted armor, and the apprentice stone, you would have 300% magicka regen during the day, and 400% at night. With the Ring equipped, these are augmented to 600% regen during the day and 800% regen at night.

    That's right. 800% Magicka Regen. You can do so much if your magicka is regenerating at such a fast speed, and with Highborn, for a short time, you can become an even more powerful mage at night. The 600% magicka regen during the day is also nice because when your Health and stamina are not regenerating, you can easily make that regenerate without worrying about your magicka at all.


    The gameplay for this build is vastly different depending on whether you are playing during the day or the night. This made the build difficult, as you had to think about combat differently if it were daytime as opposed to if it were night and you were fighting. The enchantments on your Armor also made it easier to fight as a "day-walker", as you didn't have to worry about fire damage.

    During the day, combat should be all based off of stealth, and archery. Although you do have an impressive 600% magicka regen, your health and stamina are still at 0% regeneration; in addition, all your stats are lowered and you also have a weakness to magic because of the Apprentice Stones. Because of this, Magic during the day should be used almost purely defensively; cast ebonyflesh and use magic to heal yourself after open combat. Stick to the shadows. If you do get forced into open combat, cast Frost or Whirlwind (DB) Cloak; however, these are the only destruction spells that should be used during the day. Drain Vitality, Marked For Death, Aura Whisper, Throw Voice, Ice Form, and Whirlwind Sprint are all great shouts to use during the day; they have the power to deceive and hinder your opponents, and Whirlwind Sprint is great to get behind your enemies quickly. Different potions/poisons should also be used in conjunction with your bow, particularly frost damage poisons on Nightstriders Touch. Good potions to use are invisibility, and fortify marksman. 

    At night, however, you will be at full power, with 100% Health and Stamina regeneration and 800% magicka regeneration. This is almost broken if it weren't for the relatively lower health and stamina stats and the weakness to magicka. You should shift to mage mode, using frost spells as often as possible. If you are facing a dragon, you should always fight it as a mage. If caught fighting a dragon during the day, the easiest way to remedy this is using Auri-El's Bow and Bloodcursed Arrows to black out the sun, and proceed fighting from there. You should always have Frost/Whirlwind Cloak up while fighting in this mode. Paralysis is also a great spell to use; you can incapacitate a few enemies while you deal with the more powerful beings. Slow Time, Frost Breath, Marked For Death, Drain Vitality, and Become Ethereal are great shouts great to use; they protect you, as well as make you more powerful and cause damage to your enemies. 

    In addition to this, no matter what time of day it is, mounted combat should be used as well for larger groups of enemies. Open combat on your mount, Shadowmere, should consist of using bows to pick off easier targets in a few run throughs, then jumping off the horse and picking off the rest of the group with magic.

    Finally, I know that on the site, it is frowned upon to use all crafting skills, Alchemy, Enchanting, and Smithing. Because this can overpower a build, i put a restriction on this: YOU CAN'T USE ALCHEMY TO ENHANCE YOUR ENCHANTING, AND VICE VERSA. This means, the potions that you can make without enchanted items and enchanted items you can make without using a Potion of Enchanting is all you can use. You can use enchanting and Alchemy to increase your smithing, but I feel like that won't break the game as much as the Alchemy/Enchanting combo.


    This build actually has a second version (remember, there are two left) of the Nightstrider, thi one using a different set of weapons.  I restarted playing this build as an assassin/spellsword variation rather than a marksman/mage version. The perk spread at level 76 is found here. Just add in the one handed/sneak as you see fit while you level up. This version uses the Blade of Woe by day, and the Vampire's Blade (Blades Sword [Frost Damage, Absorb Health)] by night. During the Day, I usually had a paralysis spell or a restoration spell in my left hand; at night, i had a frost rune/ or paralysis spell in my left hand. Strategies changed a little bit also because you would be forced more into open combat during the day, and I didn't have Auri-El's Bow to get rid of the sun when a dragon attacked, so this version of the build also forced me to pick my battles. This play through, in my opinion is a lot harder to play, but it is also just as fun as the original!

    Well, that's it for this build. I hope you guys enjoy this. This really has been the most rewarding play through of the game that I have had, because depending on the time of day, the two different styles of fighting really forced me to think of things either in a stealthy way, or a balls out attacking way. I also have a new build coming up that features both this build and The Ash Hunter in the backstory. Thanks for reading everyone, and enjoy!

  • April 16, 2013
    Still think the vanguard name isn't a perfect fit, but still I like the build
  • Member
    April 16, 2013

    I tried to think of something else but I couldn't! But I see what you mean though

  • Member
    April 16, 2013

    That was the idea! Vampires are kind of opposite of humans; they are awake while all others are asleep. Also, the scout at day, mage at night really made me think on two different levels depending on when i was playing.

  • Member
    April 17, 2013

    Awesome build here combining the two add-ons love the backstory +1 

  • Member
    April 17, 2013

    Very interesting vampire build! +1

    Can you tell me how you get that high magicka regeneration? I counted 100% from Apprentice Stone and 100% from Ring of The Erudite am I missing something? You use Flame Cloak doesn't Frost Cloak fit the theme better?

  • Member
    April 17, 2013

    Sure dude! I'll edit the Ring of Erudite to give a rundown but:

    Vampire Royal Armor (125%)
    Your enchanted circlet (25%)
    Restoration Perks (50%)
    Your Natural regeneration (100%)
    Apprentice Stone (100%)

    That is 400% Regen. I did tests on the Ring of Erudite, and it actually doubles your regeneration time. so this 400% will go up to 800%. That's during the night though. since your natural regeneration drops off during the day, then during the day it is just 600%

    Also, I'm reading frost cloak on my screen, where are you seeing flame cloak?

  • Member
    April 17, 2013

    This build is really good. It must be very fun to roleplay with.
    Good job mate.

  • Member
    April 17, 2013

    Do you have to be a Vampire to use the Ring of the Erudite?

  • Member
    April 17, 2013

    Technically no, but you have to join the Vampires during Dawnguard to get it.