Skyrim Character Building » Discussions

Character Build : The Avatar of Shor

  • December 21, 2018



    Since 2012 i never played a dragonborn character. The main quest is quite fast and boring on many aspects, but after several years, with a better knowledge of the Lore i find the nordic culture and mythology quite fascinating. So i tought it was time to play a true nord dragonborn. But where to start ? Well, by reviving the ancient nordic tradition and lore regarding religion and mythology. The idea to play a nord character which involves an original roleplay and focus on exploration of this land full of mystery was very exciting. With mods like Legacy of the Dragonborn for instance, playing a nord dragonborn who uncover the secrets and mysteries of the land of his forefathers offers amazing perspectives. I made a lot of researches in order to write a backstory which i hope you will appreciate. The Old Gods have been forgotten, but there is One who remembers.

    I have chosen a nordic point of view of the events of Skyrim regarding the lore and religion and the Legendary dragonborn appears to be both an aspect of Shor and a Dragonborn. The character worship the old nordic pantheon and follow the footsteps of Talos Stormcrown (the fusion of Hjalti and Ysmir Wulfharth, the duo that would come to be known as Tiber Septim). The Greybeards refer to the character as "Ysmir", "Dragon of the North" and "Stormcrown" at various points. When the time will come to fight Alduin in Sovngarde, Shor is absent from Shor's Hall. The King of Gods has forbidden any of the spirits of Shor's Hall from leaving to fight Alduin. Only when The Last Dragonborn appears at Shor's Hall can he and the three first Tongues leave, because they have been waiting for him. Ysgramor muses that perhaps Shor foresaw the Dragonborn's coming. 

    Then why Shor and not Akatosh ? Well :

    The Eight Divines are viewed by the Nords as a “Southern” import. They retain some of the taint of the Alessian Order, and are basically viewed as a religion for foreigners. Their gods are fine for them, but Nords need Nord gods. Some of the gods are the same (or similar) – significantly these are the three female gods, which are far more important to the Nords than they are in the Imperial Cult. (Kyne is in fact the de facto head of the Nord pantheon.) The Nords are perplexed and disturbed by the Imperial Cult’s focus on the Dragon God – they regard this as a fundamental misunderstanding of the universe, and one likely to cause disaster in the end. (Which fits perfectly with the pessimistic Nord view of the world in general – things are likely to turn out badly, and it will probably be caused by some foreigner.) Lucky for the world that the Nords are so diligent about keeping Alduin asleep, while the southerners are busy trying to get his attention! Any mention of Akatosh in a Nord’s presence is likely to bring a muttered invocation to Alduin to stay asleep in response.

    The Nords Totemic Religion



    The Avatar of Shor



     Character's Backstory



    22th Frostfall 4th Era 176


    Froki was still an active hunter in the Rift. Frostfall was already well into the month and Froki has been tracking a bear for three days. His trail led him to a clearing covered by a mantle of fresh snow. His steel-coloured eyes contemplated a macabre scene: a wagon was overturned, three men and a woman laid dead and bathed in their blood. The young hunter recognized the Falmer's arrows. 

    As he approached the deads to offer them their last rite, he heard a child's cry. Even in death, the young woman's hands still held her belly where a few hours ago she carried life. A spear had pierced the abdomen and only Mara knew how the child could be born. 

    Froki took the little being in his arms and wrapped him in his wolfskin cape, looked at the spear without understanding and laid his eyes on the child before talking: 
    "Asgeir... he said with gravity. The spear of the Gods. You'll have that name so that one day you'll turn that weapon against those damn elves. May Kyne gives you her vigor and Shor guides your arm with his right anger".



    18th First Seed, 4th Era 184



    It was bear hunting month. We were camping in the Rift and Froki was lighting a fire. The man often remained silent and when he spoke of his rocky voice it seemed as if each word sounded like a warning.

    "Froki, I said to him, have you ever killed a man? He looked at me for a long time before answering:

    - Indeed lad, mainly bandits.

    - Then it's not a big loss. They don't deserve to enter Sovngarde !

    - Don't get me wrong, lad, you're talking about what you don't know. Shor does not judge a nord by how he lives but by how he dies.These bandits invoke Ysmir and Shor when they fight. They are no less nord than you, they have simply succumbed to Orkey's deceit, the Woodland Man. Hold your tongue or you will end up like these city priests hastily judging others."



    The Snake, Orkey is known as "The Woodland Man", Herma Mora



    9th Last Seed, 4th Era 192


    Froki and i often went for a few weapons passes near Lake Geir at the foot of the Throat of the World. The end of these training sessions was often an opportunity to meditate on the teachings of Shor and Kyne. The huge mountain invited us to contemplate, but my gaze was on the mead that the aging hunter drank in silence.

    "Don't think about it, young beard! Threw Froki at me with a severe look.

    - I am old enough to drink, « old bear » and earlier i felt your arm weakening," I laughed.

    - The mead is the reward for the true nords who have proven their worth. You haven't shed your first blood yet, if you drink without deserving it, you're no better than those idle alcoholics found in taverns! Even those who enter Sovngarde must first cross swords with the mighty Tsun to enter the Hall of Valor and drink at Shor's table."

    I meditated on his words as the old hunter mumbled in his beard. I always had respect for this old hermit who had raised me and i thanked the gods for having received an education from the wisdom of ancient Atmora. But more than Kyne's way, the hunter's way, I wanted to follow Shor's way, the warrior's way.


                                                                                                  Only the brave can enter the Hall of Valor and sit at Shor's table to drink mead and hear the                                                                                                    songs of great deeds.




    29th Evening Star, 4th Era 193


    The cold was biting and piercing my flesh. We had been walking for several days when we finally arrived at Shor's Stone and were welcomed by Filnjar the blacksmith, an old friend of Froki. The man's face was hard but benevolent, his beard was already grey and his age was old. He looked at me and said:

    "So Froki, is this the young man you told me about?

    - That's right, you old fool. Here is a young fool who wants to follow the warrior's path, you should get along well together, both of you" he said with a loud laugh.

    - Why did you bring me here Froki? I asked.

    - To become a warrior, Filnjar answered directly. Yngol himself was a great warrior, but that did not prevent him from being the great blacksmith who gave birth to Wuuthrad. Don't you know the common saying in the north son ? You can only trust the steel your have fought and submitted on your own.

    - You will also be invited to the Clever Craft, explained Froki, the city dwellers have become ignorant of Jhunal's business, but it was He who guided Azhidal to enchant the weapons of the 500 who followed Ysgramor. Filnjar, does Sergius Turranius' apprentice keep coming every other moon?

    - He does, indeed, replied the blacksmith.

    - Perfect, conluded Froki."

    I didn't have a say, but i trusted the old hunter completely and even when i learned that i was going to spend many years in apprenticeship, i remained silent. Sergius Turranius was Skyrim's greatest enchanter. He resided at Winterhold College and traded with all the jarls in the province. Such orders required many White Soul Gems and the Grand Master regularly sent one of his apprentices to the most prolific hunters to capture the « animus » of the animals of the region. I was quickly seduced by the forge and the Clever Craft. I learned that it was Sergius Turranius himself who had enchanted Froki's bow. The « old bear » had lost it a few years ago in circumstances he never wanted to share with me.



                                                                                                                                                Azhidal using the Clever Craft to enchant the weapons for the                                                                                                                                                500 Companions.


    4th Hearthfire, 4th Era 201


    Iron and blood. This is the scourge that has plagued Skyrim since a year when the nords have been fighting each other. Fathers against sons, brother against brother, Stormcloaks against Imperials. Ulfric calls on Talos to lift the holds, but what does he know of the ancient gods, who brought shame on our traditions by using deceit to challenge a High King with a newly born beard?

    The nords have forgotten the glory of Ysgramor, the fury of Kyne and the sacrifice of Shor. They became city dwellers, kneeling in their temples worshipping foreign gods. They have forgotten the legacy of ancient Atmora while hoping to find a place in Sovngarde in the Hall of Valor, may Tsun crush thoses sycophants.
    They forgot that it was the blood of the Atmorans, offered on the ancient altars of the dragon priests that kept Alduin, The World Eater, asleep. 

    The land of Atmora is now frozen; a freezing wind pierces the flesh of all living things and its echo only resonates in the voice of the Skalds.  The nords have forgotten our Father Shor, protector of mankind and King of all gods, destroyer of Mers, from whom Trinimac (cursed be he) tore out the heart. But some of us remember.

    I remember the Hearth gods who watch over the current cycle of our world. 
    I remember Mara, the loving and ferocious she-wolf servant of the Widow of Shor. I remember Kyne, the falcon whose breath on the Throat of the World gave birth to men and protected us by teaching us the Thu'um to face the wrath of dragons. 
    I remember Jhunal unjustly erased from memory, the owl who illuminated us with the gift of Clever Craft.

    Froki taught me the Old Ways, the myths and the history of our heritage. He taught me how to handle the bow and the battleaxe but above all, how to survive in the wilderness. He told me that there are only three things that a true nord must fear. First of all, women, who are more unpredictable than a sabrecat. Second, breaking an oath is the vice of the elves and finally, the deceit of the "Woodland Man", Orkey who is also called Hermaeus-Mora by the city dwellers.

    I followed the path of the warrior, determined to honor Shor. It is said that ancient myths are now a reality, that a powerful dragon has ravaged Helgen. Today, the nords are forced to remember. Some hide in their temples, others appeal to the Ancient Heroes of legend. As I look out over the horizon, I tighten the last loop of my iron armor and put my battleaxe on my shoulder: "It's a great time to measure yourself against Tsun".

    I walked with a decided step towards the inferno of fate and only one thing was at the end of the road, Victory or Sovngarde!






    The Avatar of Shor is a true nord who follow the ancient tradition of the land of Atmora. He is proud but not arrogant, harsh but forgiving and fair, hot tempered but merciful. He value friendship and loyalty above all else. He distrust elves as a people regarding the History, but that does not mean he is racist. He is not racist as a whole not because he is for an Empire opened to everyone and people should crossbreed, but because he judges people on their acts. He distrusts elves that are linked to the Thalmor not because their religious view is opposed to the very existence of men and Nirn, but because they are linked to an elven government. He does not simply distrust them because they are Mers, nor he would mock a breton for his lineage. He would not defend a man who is not honourable simply because he is a man. 


    Religious view


    The Wintersun mod offers you the possibility to worship any deity of the Tamrielic universe. The worship of Shor is very important for the immersion/roleplay of the character and adds several amazing assets when it comes to blessings : 

    Shrine blessing {Elf Slayer:} Deal <15>% more attack damage and critical damage against elves.

    Worshipper{Another Name for Freedom:} Take % less attack damage and stagger from elves (based on favor with Shor).

    Devotee{Destiny:} When entering combat with a mighty foe, Shor sends a Shield-Thane to assist you. Meditate to recharge.

    The character follow the Old Gods and mainly Shor of course but he is not intolerant nor fanatic. Beware on that. He is not an extremist. He simply think nords need nordic gods. That's it. He will mock the priest of the divines but will not spit on their face nor kill them. Daedras are a big no for the Avatar of Shor and are associated to the Woodland Man. Do not be tempted or tricked by thoses liars.


    Regarding Civil War and Factions


    It is up to you to pick a side or stay neutral but to me the Avatar will take a side and choose the Empire. Yeah, he is not a "Skyrim belongs to the nords" since nords can't even truly stay true nords. Despite the fact he does not like Ulfric, he understands the war only serves the Thalmor (and Alduin) a united Empire is better for mankind. Ulfric's challenge is legal but not honourable (which has been discussed many years on TESlore and we know what it is like now) but he also use Talos as a banner to uplift the Holds and does not care about the old nordic pantheon. He just wants war. In the First Era the Nordic Empire was huge, but collapse because of a civil war, and that was the very reason why the Moot and the election of High Kings has been introduced. And what does Ulfric says about the Moot ? "And damn the Moot! We should risk letting those milkdrinkers put Thorryg [sic]'s woman on the throne? She'll hand Skyrim over to the elves on a silver plate".

    No she wont, because even she is not clever and a bit naive there are advisors who think on the interest of Skyrim and the Empire. Everybody knows there will be a Second Great War and the Empire is preparing. Ulfric neither respects the Jarls nor the traditional political institutions of Skyrim since the First Era. But again, you are totally free to join the Stormcloaks.

    You might join the College of Winterhold at some point in order to improve your skill in the Clever Craft. It was easier for me since i use Lucien (follower mod) which also helped me to find a justification to do the Bards College quest (Lucien is a scholar who came to Skyrim on an expedition to study lore, history, music, architecture and ruins).

    The Companions will of course be a very important moment of the playthrough. I suggest to stop the quest when Kodlak ask you to cure him. You accepted the beast blood in the name of Brotherhood, but you quickly realize the curse thanks to Kodlak's wisdom. On the way to the hagravens' lair to find a cure you stop at Falkreath and witness the recent tragedy that happened when you meet the priest of Arkay in the graveyard. You decide to investigate and meet Sinding. You realize the beastblood is truly a curse and Sinding is suffering as Kodlak does (not for the same reasons of courses, but still) and you understand you will soon be doomed too. This quest helps you to progress the Companions quest in a more organic way. The Avatar of Shor is not the perfect hero, he might misjudge situations and make mistakes. But he will always try to redeem himself. You think joining the Civil War is breaking a Oath to the Companions tradition ? Then refuse to wield Wuuthrad and lead the Companions.



    The Build



    Race : Nord

    Stats : 2 health   1 stamina   0 magicka

    Stone : Warrior Stone (with Andromeda mod you'll have : 

    • Power attacks do 15% more damage, and ranged weapons do up to 15% more damage based on distance. 
    • Learn all Warrior skills 10% faster

    Skills : Two Handed, Heavy Armor, Block, Smithing, Archery, Speech, Enchanting

    Equipment : Iron armor set + iron battleaxe (early game)

                          Steel armor set + Skyforge steel battleaxe (mid game)

                          Armor of Ysgramor set + Battleaxe of Ancient Tongues (end game)











    Ordinator provides a formidable two handed tree. We are not going to look at every perk of the build but some are key perks it is important regarding the playstyle of this character. I had to make a choice regarding how heavy to invest on this tree and i decide to not invest on positional perks. The perks i choose fit the character : he knows no fear and charge on sight using Trample (Can perform a two-handed sprinting power attack that deals up to 50% more damage and critical damage to a target above half Health. The higher its remaining Health percentage, the more damage and critical damage is dealt) to quickly finish his first foe. If not, Execute will get the job done (Forwards power attacks with a battle axe execute targets below 30% Health, delivering a critical strike that deals twenty times critical damage).

    I also prefer to rely on strong passive bonus and positional power attacks perks, this is why i took Ferocious Strength (Power attack damage with two-handed weapons increased by 15% plus 0.1% per point of Stamina. Unlocks decapitations). When coupled with Decimate (Sideways power attacks with a battle axe hit all targets in front of you. This deals 20% more damage for each enemy within 8 feets) it ensures to quickly finish off a group of enemy.

    At higher levels, Massacre (In combat, swinging a two-handed weapon has 10% chance to increase attack speed by 175% for 3 seconds) and Enter the Arena (Massacre always activates when you take your first two-handed swing in combat. This effect has a 30 second cooldown) is a powerful combo which shows how brutal battleaxe is in Ordinator : the fight ends before it begins. That is important since this build does not use restoration nor alchemy. This is the berserker way.


    The first perks of this tree give you good AR bonus, especially Heavy Armor Fit (Armor rating of Heavy Armor increased by 25% if wearing all Heavy Armor) and Heavy Armor Mastery (Armor rating of Heavy Armor increased by 20/40%. You gain a small amount of Heavy Armor experience when wearing at least two pieces of Heavy Armor in combat). The basic Perk is incredibly useful, not only it boosts your damage reduction nicely but is also grants you experience in heavy armor in combat... by simply wearing heavy armor in combat. So basically you do not need to be a masochist in order to level your heavy armor skill tree and believe me, it levels pretty well by itself without being overpowered or game breaking.

    Basically with Ordinator, the more foes attacking you, the more they are exhausted by this effort, the less damage they inflicts to you. This is the idea when i choose Defiance (You are trained to deflect incoming attacks while wearing all Heavy Armor. Whenever an enemy attacks you, you gain 15 points of armor rating for 10 seconds) because it stacks. Yes, you heard it well, it stacks.

    Battle weary (Tired enemies have a harder time defeating your armor. You take up to 20% less attack damage from enemies with half or less Stamina, if wearing all Heavy Armor. The lower their Stamina, the less damage you take). As mentioned above, you want the enemy to exhaust in longer battle. Dodging a power attack or Time Blocking a heavy blow, everything contributes to weakens the impact on your armor. Ultimatly, Never Kneel (If wearing all Heavy Armor, take 30% less attack damage from power attacks) helps with damag management while protecting you from a rogue enemy striking your back with a heavy two handed sword...

    The might of the Avatar of Shor is perfectly illustrated by the end game perks : Sovereign (When struck by an attack, subsequent attacks are deflected if wearing all Heavy Armor. You take 75% reduced damage from attacks for 1 second) greatly help when surrounding by multiple enemies while you are trying to use Decimate.
    Face of the Mountain (When struck by a power attack or power bash, the attacker's strike rebounds forcefully as if striking solid rock, staggering them and potentially knocking them to the ground if wearing all Heavy Armor) is a perfect way to CC your enemies while using a two handed weapons.


    Ordinator offers many tools in the blocking tree, and 90% of its perks are perfectly fit and usable with two handed weapons. Maxing out Block Mastery at 2/2 is vital, 20% damage reduction is huge believe me. When coupled with Timed Block (Assume a defensive position for 1 second after raising your shield or weapon, blocking 30% more damage and staggering attackers in melee range), it allows you to be very resilient while staggering the enemy in order to deliver a devastating blow with your battleaxe using Bisect (Standing power attacks with a battleaxe deal bonus damage equal to 15% of a target's current Health, max. 150 damage)


    The goal is here to be able to improve the High Tier equipment you will use at end game. It also adds a lot to the roleplay. With the basic perks you can cap your armor rating, this is why i always choose the perks that improve the weapon tempering.

    For instance : Advanced Workshop (You may choose to upgrade one grindstone or workbench to an Advanced version for 2500 gold. It improves items one tier higher items can be improved beyond Legendary). Smithing Specialization (You may choose an item type: One-Handed, Two-Handed, Light Armor, Heavy Armor or Archery. Items of the chosen type can be improved 20% better at a grindstone or workbench).  Fuel the Inferno (When activating an Advanced Grindstone or Advanced Workbench, you may choose to sacrifice a Dragon Soul to improve items by a further one tier during that session).

    Yes, that means several tiers beyond Legendary.



    Speech. The core tree of this build, the very essence of the Thu'um. The perk tree in Ordinator is amazing and when Thunderchild comes into the dance it is even more exciting. And the Universe Listens (Shouting restores points of Health, Magicka and Stamina equal to your shout cooldown in seconds. You gain Speech experience when shouting based on your shout cooldown) is the very first perk you shall take to unlock the rest of the branch  but more important, it helps you to get experience in Speechcraft by using Shouts but also give you a nice restoration effect in battle. For instance by using fire breath (100 second cooldown) it restores health, magicka and stamina by 100. The longer the cooldown, the higher the attributes are restored. But dont worry if you plan to max the cooldown decrease with Summermyst "Deep Breath" enchantment or other perks : you'll be amazingly strong by the time. 

    Talking about cooldown, reducing it is the key to this build. Remember this build do not use alchemy or restoration. You heal with potions you find and you need the battles to be brutals and quick. Become Etheral will help you to survive in tough situation so the more often you'll be able to use shouts the better. Windborne (Shouting summons up a divine wind, granting 30% extra attack damage and 15% increased movement speed for 15 seconds. This effect stacks) goes into that logic, by using more shouts faster, you become more and more stronger while  Force Redoubled (2) (25/50% chance to reduce the cooldown of any shout to 3 seconds) can be a life saver when you really need it to burst damage shouts for instance. Hurricane Force (Shouts that affect others are 1% more powerful per level of Speech) will ensure your shouts to become stronger and stronger.



    A note regarding Thunderchild mod 


    The mod brings new stuff like mantras, meditation and finding hidden Pillars of Voice in the wilderness to improve your shouts. The mod as a whole is very rewarding and helps to build a good immersion around your character. 

    Fire Breath, Frost Breath, Storm Call, Whirlwind Sprint, Elemental Fury, Cyclone, Unrelenting Force, Dragon Aspect and Dragonrend are going to be your Vanilla Shouts Arsenal and will get great benefit from your Speech perks. But Thunderchild brings new shouts on the table and it would be a shame to miss thoses :


    Annihilate [Use gravity to harm enemies or lift them into a black hole]

    The effect in game is impressive and devastating. The first Word drains 200 magicka and stamina per second which instantly triggers Battle Weary and dragons cannot use breath attacks since they will be... well, very weary because of the drain. The second Word drains 25% of the current HP so it is good to use as an opening during battle.

    Stormblast [A single powerful melee strike that calls down Talos' lightning]

    This is a shout you shall use often. It basically adds base 250 lightning damage to power attacks !

    Lightning Shield [Shock nearby enemies, retaliate against damage or become invulnerable]

    This is a very good defensive shout. It makes you invulnerable to all physical damage.

    Shattersphere [Cast a single powerful sphere of ice, or summon a spirit storm]

    Very good 1/day shout. The third Word gives your 400% stamina and magicka regen. It is also a good extension to "Nord Avatar" 1/day power from Imperious mod.

    Shor's Wrath [Oust intruders, gain godly powers or sing Shor's ghost into the world]

    You are the Legendary Dragonborn, the very Avatar or Shor, shall i tell you why to use this powerful Shout ? Fight with the King of Gods at your side ! 

    Evocation [Shout a spell of your choice or raise a tower of magic to cast from]

    The fact we do not use any school of magic do not prevent you from finding a spell you like and cast it by using that shout. For instance you could add a Healing Spell for emergencies.



    We could have used mods like "Honed Metal" and completly get rid of Enchanting. But the Clever Craft is an important par of the lore and the character backstory/roleplay. Here the perks only serves enchanting weapons and armors. When the moment will come to serious enchanting (having 100 skill enchanting), i advise you to take Face of Death perk in Heavy Armor tree.

    This basically allow you to get a 20% armor boost when not using an armoured helmet. Why ? Simply because of Regalia (New enchantments placed upon robes, circlets, hoods and necklaces are 30% stronger.) and the fact you can couple it with Miracle (You put your heart and soul into the next item you enchant at an Arcane Nexus, placing up to three enchantments upon it that are 25% stronger. Try as you might, you will never be able to repeat this feat). Believe me, it worthes it.





    Sacred Trials of Kyne

    Missing in Action

    Bards College

    Companions (until Blood's Honor)

    I'll met by Moonlight

    Companions (until the end)

    Main Quest (until The Horn of Jurgen Windcaller)

    The Words of Power (Become stronger with Thunderchild and gather Dragon Priests Masks)

    Dragonborn (until the end)

    Main Quest (until the end)

    Beyond the Reach




    Special note

    Starting with the Trials of Kyne is important for immersion since you'll start at level 1 at Forki's Shack. But moreover, by the time you complete the quest you will be around level 13 and visited many holds (Hope you dont fast travel and use Campire and Frostfall/Ineed of course).

    Ashore in a Sea of Ghosts / The Pale Lady / The   Legend of the Red Eagle / Forbidden Legend / The Forsworn Conspiracy and other quests like these can be done at any moment. Remember to refuse theft/murder quests.

    Concerning the Forsworns, the Avatar of Shor will kill them all. They are savage, dark cult daedric worshippers. That does not mean the rulers of Markarth worth better, but the character cannot simply accept to help the Forsworns.




    Mandatory Mods









    Classic Classes and Birthsigns

    Legacy of the Dragonborn

    KS Dragon Overhaul 2






     I would like to give credit and huge thanks to Marbey (Reddit), a friend of mine i met on Discord and with whose i had many great discussions about the game, the lore and the modding. Many gameplay aspects from this build would have not been possible without his "powergaming tips" and many aspect of the roleplay and lore of this character could have not been done without his help. Thx bro !

  • Member
    December 21, 2018
    This looks like a really carefully-planned and well thought out build! Kudos! It looks like the Know Your Enemy mod might be a really good one to add to the list.
  • Member
    December 22, 2018

    well done. A proper Nord playthrough is essential for any Skyrim fan. And this is a Great One!

  • December 23, 2018
    Thank you guys.
  • Member
    December 27, 2018

    Good backstory and lore here, and it's nice to see a true Nord character who sides with the Empire!