Skyrim Character Building » Discussions

Character Build: The War-Priest

Tags: #Character Build Crusader  #Character Build Healer  #Character Build Supporter  #Rank:Legendary 
  • June 20, 2012


    The War-Priest is a divine instrument of death (or, to put it in terms of gameplay, a Spellsword with a Restoration focus). And there is no catch; that simplicity is exactly what's so liberating about this build, and what allows the depth to be derived from the gameplay itself.

    More supportive than a Paladin, more ass-kicking than a Cleric.


    The War-Priest

    Most "holy warrior" classes tend to lean heavily towards one end of the spectrum or the other - healing or warring - as with a support-focused Cleric or combative Paladin, for instance. The beauty of this build is that it falls dead in the middle of that spectrum.

    I fell in love with the idea of a Healer build when I escaped Shimmermist at level 3 or so by the skin of my teeth on a recent playthrough, and only managed to do so by kiting the Gloomlurker and Centurion while healing Lydia back to her feet every time she went down, as they wailed on her and she wailed back in an epic and grueling battle of attrition. Not only did it make me appreciate the worth of my follower a thousand times more than I ever had up until that point (my walking suitcase became my savior), but it also made for a surprisingly thrilling gameplay experience to have to strike a perfect balance between staying alive and keeping her alive, as my only chance at victory (and, yes, my meatshield).

    This build carries over the thrill of that idea without the threat of becoming bored with the passive path, because the War-Priest can more than hold his own too. Being able to bash in the skulls of foes with your holy scepter means not having to entirely depend on often-unreliable AI to carry you, but having that option if you so need or choose to. And if the idea of healing a comrade to do your dirty work for you doesn't sound appealing, how about healing an army of them? Try some of the methods of obtaining multiple followers in this game and become your party's grand-healer - it's a true spectacle to behold when a group of the War-Priest's most devoted rain down holy justice upon your foes for you while you keep their health flowing.


    Race: Any race, any gods. (Mine, an Apostle of the Mane, is but of course a majestic Bengal tiger-looking Khajiit lol).

    Major Skills: Restoration, 1 Handed

    Minor Skills:Enchanting, Smithing, Light Armor, Alteration.

    Gear: Ebony Mace (Holy scepter) + Ancient Falmor Armor + Aetherial Crown (the absolute perfect look for a hybrid healer/warrior class, and the chance to use two standing stones? Yesplzthankyou!)

    Stones: Atronach + Lord. (As a healer extraordinaire, the more magicka you have, the more health and stamina you have + you'll want the extra defense to make up for not getting full set armor bonuses).

    **** It's also recommended that you wear an Amulet of Mara and quest under Mara's blessing (for reduced Restoration costs).



The Build

    If I've learned one thing in my many playthroughs it's that less is more: keeping one hand free for casting and one swinging away at enemies with your weapon of choice (Spellsword style) is both the most straightforward and most versatile playstyle available in this game, in my humble opinion. No clumsy switching between redundant defensive techniques (there's no need for shields when you can cast spells to ward, armor and heal yourself here), no need to put your weapon anywhere but through the back of your enemy's skull, and no need for immersion-breaking menu navigation. When your focus remains on keeping yourself and your comrades alive and well while keeping your enemies dying and dead, there's nothing to distract you from the fun.

    Divines smile on you, friend (and bestow brutal ass-kickings upon you, enemies).


    Level 50 Perk Spread

            1-Handed                      Enchanting                Restoration             

                                  5/5 Armsman                5/5 Enchanter                  Novice-Master                           
                                  3/3 Bonebreaker           Insightful Enchanter           Respite                                                                 Fighting Stance              Corpus Enchanter          Regeneration                                                           Savage Strike                  Extra Effect                     2/2 Recovery                                                                    Critical Charge                                                     Avoid Death                                                                   Paralyzing Strike                                                  Dual Casting                               


    Alteration                Light Armor               Smithing

              Novice-Master              5/5 Agile Defender             Elven-Ebony      
            Atronach                                                                  Arcane   


    As for Shouts, Slow Time is an excellent defensive measure, ensuring your life is fully replenished long before your enemy's axe comes crashing down on your skull (plus nothing makes combat feel more epic than Skyrim's take on bullet-time). Imbuing your scepter with the power of divine winds with Elemental Fury is also a great means of gaining the upper hand in combat, and transitioning between the mortal realm and heavenly plane with Become Ethereal is another incredible defensive measure, especially when coupled with certain spells and the rejuvenating splendor of the Eternal Spirit power from meditating on the Shout. Storm Call is just an aesthetically awe-inspiring means of invoking the wrath of god upon the world around you. And lastly, destroy the Dark Brotherhood to rid the world of those vile miscreants, and you'll be able to strike vengeance upon thee like never before with Marked For Death (as explained below).



Special Moves:


     Consult the scripture to strengthen the will of your comrades and ensure their faith remains unwavering in the face of adversity. (Scrolls are the perfect thematic fit for this build, allowing us to buff followers without having to invest in the otherwise unneeded Illusion skill, and making them unstoppable when combined with your healing touch.)

    Scroll of Call to Arms + Healing Hands



    Transport your physical shell to the heavenly realm, causing your transgressors to phase right through you while your lifeforce is fully restored. (Or in lamen's terms, heal without repercussion.)

    Guardian Circle + Become Ethereal w/ Eternal Spirit Upgrade



    Judgment Day:

    Set the unholy ablaze and strike them down as they attempt to flee their day of reckoning in terror. (Because the only thing that sucks about turning undead is having to chase them down, and this combo prevents that beautifully.)

    Bane of the Undead + Slow Time



    Wrath of God:

    Strike your foes down with enough divine might to tear through even the most heavily-forged armor and with more force than any mere mortal can withstand. (Ignoring an enemy's armor rating entirely would be enough if it stopped there, but it doesn't - you can actually give them a negative armor rating and make your attacks even more devastating than they should be.)

    Marked for Death III + Bonecrusher III



  • June 20, 2012
    Very Great build!
  • June 20, 2012
    Why thank you!
  • June 21, 2012

    Nice build again snakes!

    The special moves are all simple, fit the theme and most of all effective. Seeing alot of badly thought out abilities on other builds at the moment so this is nice to see. I also like the simplicity of this builds skill choices.

    You can always choose to destroy the dark brotherhood to get marked for death rather than joining them, its not like grelod doesn't need a purging!

  • June 21, 2012
    Cheers again, Mason! Couldn't be happier with your feedback. 1st of all, brilliant idea with the Dark Brotherhood and I haven't the slightest clue why that option slipped my mind, so thank you very much for suggesting it. I also couldn't agree more about the latest influx of special moves so I'm very grateful you recognize the simple-yet-effectiveness of my own. That's really what I aimed for with the whole build, in the hopes that the simplicity would be appreciated for what it adds to the gameplay, so I'm glad you did. Focusing solely on Restoration and One-Handed with the rest of your skills geared towards support really opens up your options; the ebb and flow of combat becomes much more nuanced when you not only have to strike a balance between defensive healing and offensive bludgeoning but also who to heal and let do that bludgeoning. This build really hit its stride for ms early on, when Lydia and I wondered into a camp we had no business being in yet: I was one hit from death and Lydia was on all fours clinging to dear life too, when I made the snap decision to heal her instead of myself with an enemy barreling down on me and it paid off. Lydia sprang back to her feet, intercepted what surely would have been my killing blow, and proceeded to beat the living crap out of the bandit chief for even thinking about raising his hammer to me. From then on this build has been a top contender for my favorite playthrough.
  • June 21, 2012

    This build is very suprising because my main character that I have an enormous amount of play time on is almost this exact style, using a mace and a healing spell to wreak havoc then backing off to heal yourself and your folower.  

    my particular version uses heavy armor restoration and one handed for major skills and enchanting and smithing for minor skills.  

    As my character progressed it is now to a point that I do not even need to wear my dragonplate armor and I instead opt for archmage's robes for the extra magicka advantage.  

    having mastered every skill (no farming) on this characer its nice to know that someone else actually thought it was a viable character!  Great Build!

  • Member
    June 21, 2012

    Nice!  A very 'simple', straightforward build, but it's all about the delivery/presentation, which you excel at.  That's not to imply that the mechanics aren't great as well - they look rock solid to me! 

    My wife is actually playing almost this exact thing at the moment, except she is also doing a little Destruction (Fireball seems pretty righteous!) and Blocking (for the true D&D-style cleric mace-and-board approach). 

    I love that you mentioned the scroll option for Rally/Call to Arms.  I'm very glad Bethesda moved Turn Undead from Conjuration to Restoration, but it seems odd that the rally spells are still stuck in Illusion.  This circumvents that nicely.

    I noticed you took 3/3 Bonecrusher - I have read that that perk is actually pretty ineffective, as most of Skyrim's enemies have zero armor rating (or very low), so you're effectively only doing a few extra points of damage.  Have you noticed a difference in your playthrough?  I'd love to know if that perk is better than the conventional wisdom says.

  • Member
    June 21, 2012

    Another good build, it's surprising how awesome the most basic of builds can be. In recent months I think I've been trying to go with crazily comboing all these different perks/shouts/abilities yet I'm having/had loads of fun with the pure thief and mage I've been using recently. I've always found it difficult to level Restoration without explicitly farming it, but it actually levels quite quickly when you're using it all the time. Other-healing spells are heavily underrated in my opinion, I've been toying with them on my newest character, as much as I've hated followers in the past!

    Overall, simple, effective and unique, +1

  • October 14, 2016

    What about the quests a War Priest would do?

  • Member
    November 8, 2016

    Build Restoration: Complete!