As I’ve said before, I was always fascinated with the Lich story-line from Oblivion.  Liches show up in literature and culture all the time, and always seem to embody the ultimate evil, metaphorically speaking.

In an attempt to achieve this, I present…

The Lich

The Concept

A lich is, or rather was, a person who achieves immortality by putting their soul into an inanimate object (or, in Voldemort’s case, at least two animate ones) called a phylactery.  For Sauron, it was a ring.  For Koschei, it was a needle, hidden within various other things.  Celedaen shatters this “myth” in his book “The Path of Transcendence,” in which he details his attempted journey to lichdom before being assassinated by a rogue adventurer.

The true power of the lich is achieved in a combination of Necromage-enchanting and special equipment and perks to make you invincible – somewhat ironically, given that you’re becoming undead in the process of defeating death.  A time-consuming task, but as they say, the destination is the journey itself.

The concept is very similar to EasilyRemember’s Undying build, but with a few significant changes.  The Lich doesn’t use destruction.  Instead, he uses conjuration and restoration, accompanied with the Atronach Stone, Konahrik, and powerful enchantments only achievable as a member of the undead to achieve immortality.

The Build

Race:  Vampire Altmer (for story and for magicka bonus – Bretons don’t look very intimidating in full heavy armor)

Sign: Mage, to Atronach

Shout: Ice Form, Frost Breath, Become Ethereal, and Summon Durnehviir.

Stats: 3/2/0 (M/H/S)

Major Skills: Restoration, Alteration, Conjuration

Minor Skills: Heavy Armor, Alchemy, Enchanting (Two-Handed + Smithing)

Gear: To start with, you can kill Uthgerd the Unbroken in the Bannered Mare (beat in brawl, get her to follow, take her to remote location, kill her) for some very-early steel-plated armor.  Later on, you’ll be aiming for Daedric Armor, Boots, and Gloves.

Since you won't be needing much stamina and you'll be regenerating health with regeneration, the Necromancer's Amulet makes a great early item for you.

As far as the enchantments, I wanted to go for some incredibly powerful defensive gear without it being overpowered (free casting) and this is what I ended up with

  • Helmet – Konahrik
  • Armor – Health, Alteration
  • Gauntlets – Two-Handed, Magicka
  • Boots – Two-Handed, Stamina
  • Ring – Magic Regeneration, Conjuration
  • Necklace – Restoration, Alteration

Weapons – A good enchanted two-handed sword.  Since you’ll be doing lots of enchanting, Fiery Soul Trap is a good early one to have.  Later on you'll be going for Absorb Health + Frost Damage.  For appearances, use a Ancient Nord Greatsword (17), or a Honed Ancient Nord Greatsword/Nord Hero Greatsword (20) until you can manufacture a Daedric one.

Follower: Mjoll the Lioness, and eventually J'zargo.  Give your follower a Staff of Zombies to make your army even larger during combat.

Dead Thralls: With the necromage perk, you can pass the normal level-40 cap on Dead thralls from the ranks of the undead.  Good candidates include Master Vampires (lvl 42), Volkihar Vampires (lvl 48), and Draugr Death Overlords (lvl 45).

Quests: Main Questline, Blood on Ice, Dragon-Mask Quests, and Master Restoration, Alteration, and Conjuration Quests (College of Winterhold).

Perks: (Level 50)

  • Heavy armor – Juggernaut (5/5), Well-Fitted
  • Two-Handed – Barbarian (5/5)
  • Conjuration – Novice through Master, Summoner (1/2), Necromancy, Dark Souls, Twin Souls
  • Restoration – Novice through Master, Regeneration, Respite, Recovery (2/2), Necromage, Avoid Death
  • Alteration – Novice through Master, Dual-Casting, Magic Resistance (3/3), Atronarch
  • Enchanting – Enchanter (5/5), Insightful Enchanter, Corpus Enchanter, Extra Effect


I won’t talk much about role-playing, since his optimal/normal combat tactics are pretty much in line with his character.  Basically though, your minions can kill everything while you focus on maintaining your invincibility, striking anything stupid enough to get close to you.  It's worth noting that you're wearing full heavy armor with zero points in stamina and not using the Steed stone.  Even before you get Shadowmere (an excellent follower in its own right), a horse would be an excellent investment.  In combat, this isn't a big deal, since you will be relatively stationary even at later levels.  Imagine yourself as a zombie within a magical tank of a suit of armor.

Your necromage perk affects enchanting, a skill commonly used by players to get unbelievable powerful gear, but here we are focusing less on weaponry (to keep things from getting boring) and focusing the necromage perk more on defense - enchanting your ring, necklace, and armor with a combination of fortify health, health regeneration, heavy armor, magic resistance, restoration, and alteration.  Also, necromage will make your alteration and restoration spells significantly stronger.

If your health is in good shape, you can use your magic more offensively to speed up your thrall's annihilation of the enemy.  Paralysis spells, healing your thralls and follower, and using your offensive shouts (including Summon Durnehviir) should clean up any foes in a glorious route that you can orchestrate watch from a relative distance.


Before being mortally wounded by a Dark Brotherhood Assassin in Cyrodiil, you managed to partially transfer your soul into a small hourglass.  Thus, as your last breath passed, you didn’t completely disappear.  The foolish assassin didn’t properly dispose of the hourglass, and it was only a matter of time before it found its way into the hands of someone who knew just enough about its power, but not enough about it to leave it alone.  A necromancer from Skyrim acquired the hourglass, and, slowly, you acquired him.  Now you are Celedaen, the reborn, and your path to Lichdom may resume.  This time, you WILL succeed...

Tags: Character Build Necromancer, Character Build Sorcerer, Character Build Vampire, Race:Altmer, Rank:Exemplar

Views: 34725

Replies to This Discussion

Always wondered what a lich was, +1. By the way kind of off topic, but since you are a literature teacher would you care to help me?

Not a lit teacher yet, haha, but I'll do what I can :)

I don't actually have Dawnguard... it just seems like it would fit

I don't see why this has so little likes compared to other, "lesser" builds haha. I like it a lot, already gave you +1

This is actually very good! I strongly advise you to give this a good polish CBR so it gets the attention it deserves!

Find a way to shrink down some of those paragraphs to make the content pop, especially the information regarding Celedaen because its very elder scrolls specific! I'm thinking people have seen that small book you wrote and decided not to continue and it's a shame...

The perk breakdowns (20 - 40 - 60) need a good haircut as well, just present it at level 50 or 60 maybe and if people need additional information they will ask (drawing more attention to the build).

The existing art is really nice, I know for a fact that there is some incredible Lich King art around the net that you could use to really make this shine though so make sure you dig around a bit more and lose that grainy in game shot...

Your choice though mate, I'm just thinking what I would do...


I just spent a bunch of time redoing the Demon build, I'll work on this one next. Thanks for the pointers! Points well taken from (I'm fairly certain I can say this objectively) the best character-builder on the site. I'll try to get some more play-time with him and modify him appropriately.

Re-arranged some things - put the journal exerpt at the bottom, added some relevant stuff and took out some irrelevant stuff.

Hey CBR, 

Was doing a built similar to this, but concentrating on very different perks and startergies. Anyways, it's a good build but could use some polish and some revision to the skills sets and combos.

I think it would be easier to.go to riften, then get this quest from this guy who wants you to steal a horse,.then when you get the place where you steal the horse, just kill all the mercenaries, they all wear steel armor and are pretty easy to kill (one shotted with ancient nord bow on adept)

Nice build, nice layout, nice +1 :)

Good build. +1 like.


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