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Character Build: The Ulfhedinn

Tags: #Race:Nord  #Character Build Barbarian  #Character Build Scout  #Character Build Assassin  #Rank:Exemplar  #Ulfhedinn  #Ulfsark 
  • CBR
    October 11, 2012

    I've been wanting to do this build for a very long time, but I wanted to make sure that I'd thought it through before posting, since there are a variety of ways to make this awesome historical warrior/legend a reality.  I finally settled on what I wanted, and ended up with the most fun character that I've designed myself to date.

    I give you...

    The Ulfhedinn

    The Ulfhedinn ("ulf-heh-deen") is the viking's answer to the ninja.  A variant of the 'Berserk,' or "bear-skin," the wolf-skins were ruthless and fearless warriors who were masters of night combat, guerilla warfare, and stealthy infiltration.  Hired as mercenaries by the Roman Empire, they performed night raids from rivers that would make modern SEALs envious, raiding and pillaging villages of the English, Scottish, and even other Norse before vanishing just as quickly.  The survivors would find their village destroyed and their women and gold gone as the sun rose.

    Shrouded in myth, the Ulfhedinn are legendary warriors.  Odin's own personal guard is constituted by two wolf-skins from the fabled Saga of the Volsung (no relation to the Dragon Priest).

    In Skyrim, the Ulfhedinn is equally at home in the shadows and in all-out combat.  Equipped in light armor, he stalks the shadows, chooses a target, and suddenly the enemies find themselves a man down against a raging animal of an opponent in their midst, hacking them to shreds with the ferocity of the wolf he resembles.

    The Build

    Race: Nord

    Stone: Thief ==> Shadow

    Powers: Shadow Stone, Agent of Stealth, Throw Voice, Beast Form (for travelling and some assassinations), Elemental Fury

    Weapons: Blade of Woe, Ancient Nord Hero War Axe/Sword

    Apparel: Savior's Hide, Boots of the Old Gods, Stormcloak Officer's Helmet, Hide Bracers of Wielding

    I enchanted my gloves myself (grand soul gems with no perks in enchanting), but hide or leather bracers of major wielding would probably be better.  I also enchanted my helm with waterbreathing, but of course this is not necessary.

    Shield of Solitude or Targe of the Blooded, proceeded by generic hold shields - they're light-weight for superior sneaking before the 'silence' perk and look cool.  Hold off on getting The Shield of Solitude until later if you can, since it's a leveled item (post-40 is ideal).  Ysgramor's Shield makes a good intermediary.

    Jewelry of fire-resistance, health, health regeneration, 1-handed, or light armor.

    Major Skills: Sneak, 1-Handed, Block

    Minor Skills: Smithing, Light Armor, Alchemy

    Quests: Ill-Met by Moonlight, Dark Brotherhood, Companions*

    *Do the Companions early on; with literally no chance at sneaking with dumb brutes like Farkas around, you'll be sorely outmatched in open combat later on in the game

    Stat Distribution: 0 Magicka, 2 Health, 1 Stamina

    Perks (Level 50)

    One-Handed: Armsman (5/5), Hack and Slash or Bladesman (3/3), Fighting Stance, Savage Strike

    Block: Shield Wall (3/5), All

    Smithing: Steel, Arcane

    Light Armor: Agile Defender (5/5), Custom Fit, Unhindered, Windwalker, Deft Movement

    Sneak: Stealth (2/5), All

    Alchemy: Alchemist (5/5), Physician, Benefactor


    Playing the Build

    I love stealthy assassin-type characters, but as Mason pointed out in his Morag-Tong build, Illusion magic has a habit of destroying the "stealthiness" of an assassin, and breaking the character (especially once you hit level 75).  I was caught by his line of invisibility being an "ultimate trick", and realized you could recreate this best of all with the shadow-stone (it seems underused, what with everyone using the Atronach, Lord, and Lady stones nowadays).

    This guy is my attempt at making an aesthetically pleasing character with a story that combines the skills of an assassin with the abilities of an organic warrior (no magic and little to no enchanting).  He sneaks in and attempts to eliminate the baddest bad-guy with a dagger first, and then proceeds to slaughter everyone remaining with the axe and shield.

    Ordinarily I'm not a fan of alchemy, but given his role as a warrior and lack of restoration or enchanting, he needs some sort of health regeneration.  Good potions for boosting alchemy are giant's toe + wheat and blue butterfly wing + blue mountain flower.  Good potions for yourself are luna moth wing + vampire dust and bear claws + hanging mossand I'm working on finding more good ones.

    As for role-playing, try to use only fur armor if possible until you can get the build items.  There's a fur hat on a table in White River Watch east of Whiterun.  For even better role-playing, use only wolf hide to improve your armor.  If you want to join the Stormcloaks, never fear - a Stormcloak Officer Helm* can be looted off a target during one of the Dark Brotherhood Forever radiant quests, or from Captain Valmir in Forelhost if you followed Ralof or have joined the Stormcloacks.  Histtory-wise the Ulfhedinn were tribal mercenaries so they would fit in on either side of the Civil War.

    Given his skill-set and his character, the Jarl's Bounty radiant missions against bandits are a fun way to earn money and stay occupied in early parts of the game, and this guy is pretty darn good at it too - even better then the Aldmeri Assassin (who has a propensity to get 1-hit-killed by Bandit Chiefs with 2-handed weapons if you're not careful).




    "When you wear the skin long enough, you became more wolf than man."

    Tricks and Tactics


    Mordvagr (Beast Form) - "Killer Wolf" For assassinations in crowded areas where the Wolf-skin doesn't want the personal recognition (yet), he dons his battle-cloak and strikes with fury and anonymity.

    Doppleganger (Shadow Warrior + Throw Voice) - "Shapeshifter" The Ulfhedinn, like their far eastern cousins the ninja, had a reputation for being able to seemingly vanish in plain sight, owed to their ingeniously designed cloaks which appeared like rocks from even close distances.

    On a more technical note, this technique works, but you can't shout and crouch simultaneously.  You have to shout and then crouch immediately afterwards.  Distance from your opponenets helps tremendously.


    Dominating Agility (Shield Bash + Shadow Warrior + Assassin's Blade/Backstab) - Your bread & butter combat technique.  Diving, rolling and striking in a flurry of shield and axe and dagger, the Ulfhedinn appears behind his slower opponent and quickly dispatches them while beating the stronger back with his shield.

    Fatal Blow (Power Bash + Savage Strike) - The Ulfhedinn is a mercilessly aggressive and skilled attacker.  He knocks his enemy off balance to break their defenses before decapitating them.

    (Horker Stew + Potion of Health Regeneration + Shield Charge) - The fabled fury that characterized all Berserkers, including Ulfhedinn; a trans-like state of such rage that "fire and steel have no effect" and nothing can stop them.

    Dragon-Slayer (Elemental Protection + Elemental Fury + Potions of Regeneration/Fire Resistance) - The Wolf-Skin cuts the dragon skillfully and viciously, bleeding it out while impervious to it's fiery breath.

    Dark Brotherhood Quest: Mzinchaleft

    Overall, this guy is not only incredibly powerful, but he's unbelievably fun.  Whether you're running around taking on ice-dragons mano a mano, slitting the throats of hapless bandits, or ripping up Vittoria Vicci in front of a crowd in the anonymity of wolf-form, the Ulfhedinn can handle it, and do it with style.

    Comments, questions, and suggestions encouraged. Enjoy!

    UPDATE: Accidentally deleted save-file, so I'm replaying this build, with a few modifications.  Using only a sword, instead of an axe and dagger, and didn't take the Deadly Aim and Assassin's Blade perks.  Liking the modification!  I'm going to try to go for the Nightingale Outfit with some sort of Dragonscale Helmet, a Nord Hero Sword, and Shield of Solitude for the final outfit...

  • Member
    October 11, 2012

    This is awesome! You had me at "viking's answer to the ninja". Great stuff. I, too, would like to see some battle tactics or something. +1

  • Member
    October 11, 2012

    Really great build here. Nice presentation, nice background, and enough about the playstyle to know what we're doing.

    Something I might suggest is you can get an entire set of Stormcloak armor right after joining the Stormcloaks by killing Captain Valmir at Forelhost the first time you see him (before he changes clothes)

  • October 11, 2012
    This is the answer to my problem. I'm in absolute love with stealth builds, but I want to also be a warrior, now I can be both. I think the shadow stone combined with the aetherial crown makes it completely broken since all you need to do is activate it first then switch it out for another stone and unequip the crown, re equip the crown and you can use the power again and again and again.
  • October 11, 2012
    But ponty, the first time you see him he has imperial armor on. You have to go through the dungeon and kill the dragon priest first, then you can go and kill him and he will have the armor set
  • October 11, 2012

    Like everyone has said before me you have something really good here. I think this will skip the blood-works and with a bit of polish, could go even higher. +1

  • Member
    October 11, 2012

    Actually, it depends what faction you're in. If you're neutral/Imperial he's wearing Imperial armor but if you're a Stormcloak he wears Stormcloak Officer gear - a Stormcloak wouldn't exactly take orders from an Imperial!

  • Member
    October 11, 2012

    I actually signed back in on a work computer so that I wouldn't forget to like this. As ashamed as I am to admit this, I haven't played Skyrim in a month or so now, I got caught up in resetitous. But I believe I will start back up with this build.

  • CBR
    October 11, 2012

    Glad to hear all the positive feedback!  I'll add some battle-tactics ASAP

  • CBR
    October 11, 2012

    Updated with a few tactics.  Hopefully I'll have some screenshots of my guy and a few more tricks and strategies by tommorow for you.