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Character Build: The Orc Shaman King

Tags: #Character Build Elementalist  #Character Build Battlemage  #Character Build Werewolf  #Rank:Legendary  #Race:Orc 
  • Member
    November 26, 2012

    The Orc Shaman King

    This build was inspired by many things : D&D druid and shifter class, Warhammer 40k Orks and Warlords and uses some parts of Narmis Guardian of Silence build. It was also inspired by RL savage tribesman.  However, I didn’t use ES lore. I just wanted to create a build that would look, play and roleplay like the character I had in mind so I created my “own lore” within Elder Scroll.

    I wanted to play a savage wizard that would also wield a 2-handed weapon. I was tired of using alteration for defense so instead I used a powerful ability granted by the Atronach stone and Guardian Circle…

    That being said, here is the Orc Shaman King.

    There’s many remote and unexplored lands in Tamriel where civilized people never been. You were born in such a place.

    For centuries your tribe has lived in unexplored parts of the Cyrodiil jungle. Not unlike “civilized” orcsimer, only the chief of your tribe is allowed to have children. Every male spawned by the chief can compete to become the “Chosen One”, the orc who will take the place of his Father as the tribe’s Shaman King when times come.

    However, unlike common orcs, your tribe doesn’t worship Malacath. Your tribe veneration goes to the spirits of nature. With their help, skilled male are allowed to learn how to manipulate nature’s energy in addition to their fighting training. Most only learn how to heal by using this energy or how to manipulate one of the three elements and are known to the tribe as Witchmen. The Witchmen lead their tribe in hunts and wars and are known to devour their fallen enemies to absorb their strength and life energy…

    The Chosen One

    Every 10 years, 10 young witchman males are selected by the ruling chief and the eldest Witchman and have a chance to become the Chosen One. Those 10 orcs will undergo a brutal training that will allow them to fully canalise the Waagh, the name’s given to nature’s energy. This training consists of many battles against savage beasts and hours of enduring the torture of harsh elements. Many dies during the training but those who succeed wield a really terrifying power : the ability to control nature itself. They can control fire, ice and lighting at will, can modify their own body to take the shape of wild animals and can even accelerate their own metabolism to heal faster and achieve other greatness.

    The one who is considered the most powerful is declared the Chosen One and is allowed to duel the ruling chief. In case of victory, the Chosen One becomes the tribe’s Shaman King. During a long feast that last many days, the new King eats the ancient chief and the remaining contender of the Chosen One title. Your tribe believes that this way, each new King will be more powerful than the previous one.

    You were one of the contenders selected to be the next Chosen One when you were captured by the Empire on Skyrim borders. Even though many of the legionnaires died while they tried to arrest you, they finally succeeded. However, your power over nature, your courage and the brutal way you were using that enormous bone as a hammer caught the eye of another Legion prisoner…


    Race : Orc (Werewolf)

    The build can be modified if you don’t like Orcs but you’ll have to change some “special abilities” I was using. However, remember that you are a savage… Good race that comes to mind are Nords, Bretons (Forsworn!), Bosmer and Argonians

    Stone : Lover stone then Atronach

    Major Skills : Two-handed – Destruction – Restoration - Enchanting

    Minor Skills : Block ––Conjuration – Light Armor – Smiting (optional, see equipment section)

    Weapons  : Enchanted Dragonbone Warhammer  (Dragonbone = optional, see “weapons” in the equipment section below))

    Armor: Fur Armor (Furs is optional, see “Armor” in the equipment section below)

    Shouts : Fire Breath – Frost Breath – Ice Form – Storm Call – Whirlwind Sprint

    Quests and factions:

    • Join the Stormcloaks
    • Complete the Main quest
    • The Black Star quest (for enchanting)
    • Companions (until you become a werewolf, then it’s up to you)
    • College of Winterhold (until the “Good Intentions” quest is done so you can access master spells)
    • Ill met by moolight quest (For ring of Hircine and possibly permanent feeding, see “special abilities” below)
    • The Taste of Death (For Ring of Namira)
    • Blood on Ice (Necromancer’s amulet = optional)


     PERKS AND ATTRIBUTES at level 55 (60 if smiting is used)

    Major Skills

    Two handed: Barbarian (4) – Champion Stance – Devastating Blow - Sweep

    Destruction: Everything (Master and Rune Master are optional though)

    Restoration : Novice to Master – Respite – Dual Casting – Recovery (1) – Avoid Death

    Enchanting : Enchanter (5) – Insightful – Corpus – Extra effect

    Minor Skills

    Conjuration: Novice – Necromancy – Dark Souls – Twin Souls

    Light Armor: Agile Defender (5) - custom Fit

    Block: Shield wall (1) – Quick relflexes

    Smiting : Steel to Dragon, light armor side (optional, see “weapons” in the equipment section below)




    • The Shaman King is a powerful caster who has control over every elements. He has access to every spells in what the civilized people call the Destruction school of magic and he can unleash waves and waves of powerful spells. His control of nature energy is so great that he can momentary give life back to the dead by using electric impulse to reactivate nerves and cells in the body. The most powerful Shaman Kings are even rumored to be able to permanently bring people back from death. He can also increase the rate at which his body heals and can take the shape of a wild beast when desired (“unfortunately”, the only form available is werewolf ;) )
    • The Shaman King is also a fierce and powerful fighter who is not afraid to go toe to toe with his enemies. He will often enter a rage state as he crushes his opponents bones mercilessly with his hammer and add another notch to his weapon when he has finished devouring the victim’s corpse.
    • Beeing a powerful warlord, the Shaman Orc has great charisma over other Orcsimers. The Shaman is often found in company of other orcs that would happily give their life for him. Dying for the Shaman King and being devoured by him is considered a great honor…
    • The Shaman is able to use sigils that can either harm is enemies (runes) or help him in battle (guardian circle) He also wears grigris, totems and amulets that gives him mystical powers (enchantment).
    • Aesthetic : a big part of this build was the look which was meant to be primitive and savage. That’s why I chose to use a Dragonbone Warhammer and fur armor as I felt it was what matched the primitive look the best. To complete the look, I was wearing the Stormcloak officer helmet. However I give many suggestions in the equipment section if you wish to use something else.

    Gameplay and power leveling

    I did this builds two times in a row but didn’t do it the same way each time. I’ll give the pros and cons of both methods when I feel it’s necessary.

    Note that the build is using very basic armor (fur) and do not use alteration spells. Getting the Guardian circle spell is a key element of this build.


    • The Atronach Stone – Guardian circle combo! Being in a Guardian Circle while having the Atronach Stone buff gives you infinite magicka… Your magicka will completely regenerate every few seconds which means that you can cast a LOT of offensive spells before your enemies get to you. You can also recast Guardian Circle again, again and again as long as you are not getting overwhelmed or disrupted. In addition, Guardian Circle can be Dual Casted.
    • Having access to every destruction spells makes you more versatile: you can chose the element needed at each battle.
    • By having the ability to raise dead, you had another layer of offensive and defensive proficiencies that is especialy useful at low level.
    • Use the best hammer you can get your hands on until you get the Dragonbone one. With many points in 2-H, you will easily crush the skulls of any foe stupid enough to come close to you. Your minor investment in block makes you even better in melee combat.
    • Having power over elements, the Shaman doesn’t suffer much from elemental magic attacks. It can even boost his own power (Atronach stone)
    • Having weak armor and not using alteration or alchemy means that you have a rather weak defense, especially a low levels. Use a follower and raise dead when you can. Expect to use restoration spells a lot in the early levels.
    • Mobility and endurance : wearing light armor makes you a mobile fighter that can change position quickly when needed. Having respite and high level restoration spells makes sure you will almost never run out of stamina when you have to fight or run for a long time.
    • Your beast form (werewolf) gives you another way to fight (feels great to add some changes from time to time!) and also provides you a free and fast method for traveling and exploring. You also have more offensives abilities than a normal werewolf… see special abilities!
    • Battle strategy:
      • Chose a place where you can stand your ground without being surrounded then cast Guardian Circle
      • Cast runes and/or walls in the path your enemies will take to get to you. If you chose to use Rune Master, you'll be able to cast many runes as they can to you, a new one each time the last exploded. Dual casted runes are no joke... :D
      • Start nuking your enemies with destruction spells.
      • As they are getting close, dual cast a cloak spell, use a shout on them and finish the job with your hammer.
      • If you need back up, raise the coprses that surrounds you with a conjuration spell.
      • If you ever run out of health or stamina, use a healing spell.
      • In the rare case where you’re getting your ass kicked, use whirwind sprint to reposition yourself (see Wild Escape in abilities section). If your opponents are far enough you can use that chance to switch to your beast form or cast Guardian Circle again.
      • Add a notch to your hammer and eat your last victim…

    Power leveling

    Since you will have weak defense, getting Guardian Circle is a key element. The first time around I got the spells way too late in the game. I strongly suggest you powerlevel restoration early to get access to the spells asap. I offer you 2 ways : the RP one and the non-rp one.

    Power leveling restoration while "roleplaying":

    To get control over nature’s power, the Chosen One has to undergo a cruel training. He has to endure “elemental pain” in order to understand the energy and be able to let it flow through his body… You have two way of achieving this:

    • Fire : Find a place where you can constantly get hurt by fire. You can to that at the end of Shriedkwind Bastion where activating a lever makes fire spurt from a pipe.
    • Water : Find some deep water, drown, heal, repeat.
    • Frost/Wind : In High Hrothgar Courtyard there is a zone you can't access because of the wind. Stay close to that zone and you will take constant damage. By changing gears (faster magicka regen) and game difficulty, you can heal and get damage at the same rate. That means you can use rubber band on your controller to hold the trigger and do something else while your skills level up... However, be sure to check from time to time, I died once while doing this.

    2 non-roleplaying ways

    • Go to Bleak Falls Barrow. Defeat the Draugr Overlord then go back to the hallway where axes are coming out of the wall. Stand in front of one of the axes and cast healing in both hands.
    • The “Ponty trick” : This way was found by Ponty. Use Ice Form on a trainer and pickpocket him as he is getting up. No bounty and 100 % success rate. However, I think you have to join the faction of the trainer for this trick to work.




    • Weapons :As I said before, the look of my character was a big factor in this build. I had only one weapon in mind when I created it and it was the Dragonbone Warhammer. Until I could get one, I chosed the best hammer I could get my hands on. The elven hammer looks great with that eagle head. You have many options on how to get your dragonbone hammer if you chose to use one :
      • Go into Soul Cairn : one of the three Keepers got one. That’s what I did the first time around. Pros : you don’t need smiting perks. Cons : It take times and I personally hate the Soul Cairn.
      • Take perks in smiting : Pros : You don’t have to start DG quest lines. You can also get a hammer really fast if you exploit trainers to level smiting. You can create and improve Dragon Scale armor. Cons : You have to spend more perks that could be used elsewhere. It can also be time consuming if you don't know what you are doing.

    You will also need other weapons enchanted with fire, frost and lightning damage to use one of the special abilities, the Elemental Beastform.


    • Armor :
      • Chest :Fur armors where once again chosen because of aesthetic. However, other armors fits the idea:  hide, leather, scaled and forsworn. Savior’s Hide, which can be obtained at the same time you get Hircine’s ring, has a really nice look and the 15% magic resist is great. I felt like dragonscales didn’t have the style I was looking for but it is a good option, especially if you chose to spend perks in smiting.
      • Helmet, I used the Stormcloak Officer helmet. Forsworn headdress also look nice as well as scaled helmet. Dragon Priest Masks look great too: they look like some kind of ritual mask. However, the only light mask that is really useful to this build is Morokei and you would have to go throught Labyrinthian to get it. Easy way to get the Stormcloak Officer Helmet : Go to Dushnick Yal. An female orc named Murbul wears one. Get in there during daytime in werewolf form, kill her, escape, then come back to loot her body. 
      • Boots and gloves : Use the best savage armor parts you can get. If you chose to take smiting perks, use dragonscale boots and gauntlets.


    • Ring of Namira : Needed to feast on your victim. The stamina boost is really useful and the increased health and regen is really helpful since you have low defenses. 
    • Necromancer’s amulet (optional): This is especially useful at low levels and is easy to get. Since no perks are used to lower conjuration spells cost, the 25 % reduction from the amulet combined to the 50 extra magicka is just great. However, this can easily be replaced when Enchantment is leveled : You can enchant an amulet that will give you the same benefits without the drawbacks. The Bone Hawk Amulet looks especially good.
    • Ring of Hircine : You want to be able to be a werewolf anytime you want, right?
    • Black Star : It’s an easy way to refill your weapons and gives you easy access to grand soul for enchanting
    • Atronach Stone : Once again, the extra magicka is great to help cast conjuration spells. The 50% spells absorption is a really powerful defensive ability and the magic regen penalty is a joke, really… Combined with the Guardian Circle spell, you have unlimited amount of magicka and the penalty can be nullyfied easily with perks or gears.


    Here’s the enchantment I used for this build:

    • Shaman King Crown : Fortify Destruction + Fortify Restoration
    • Ancestral Tribal Armor: Fortify Restoration + Fortify Conjuration
    • Savage Gauntlets: Fortify 2-Handed + Fortify Light Armor
    • Wanderer’s Boots: Fortify Stamina + Fortify 2-Handed
    • Witchman Totem (amulet): Fortify Conjuration + Magicka
    • Tomahawks of the Wilds (2 Dragonbone Warhammers):
      • Fist of the night :Leach your enemies life energy with this dreaded weapon : absorb magicka/soul trap. Useful to regain magicka or refill soulgems
      • Nature’s Fury: shock + frost damage

    Even though the Atronach/Guardian Circle combo replenish your magicka, you will have to lower Restoration cost to be able to dual cast guardian circle, unless you want to put a lot of points in magicka. Since no spells perks are taken in conjuration, spell cost reduction is a good option. However, they can be replaced when once you get permanent thralls or you can chose to create a full set of conjuration items…

    Special abilities

    • Elemental Beastform : Give your claws the power of nature…
      • Dual wield enchanted weapons and activate beastform during the middle of a power attack animation. Tricky to use at first but really powerful.
      • Don’t forget that you can use a cloak spell before using beastform.
      • Inspired by Narmis’ Guardian of Silence


    • Undying Blazing Fury : Test the courage of your enemies… and laugh at them.
      • Dual Cast Flame Cloak + Berserker Rage + Guardian Circle + Avoid Death
      • Let your enemies get to you and enter your circle. Laugh at them while you sustain every attack they throw at you. It should not be long before you see your foes running around screaming, trying to extinguish flames that are slowly killing them.
      • What about Undying Thunder Fury? Undying Frost Fury maybe? ;)


    • Wild Escape: Overcharge your body with electricity to empower your muscles, make a fast retreat… and kill your following enemies
      • When the battle seem to go in favor of your foes, cast a healing spell and a lightning cloak (with disintegrate perk) then use whirlwind sprint to reposition yourself. Lighting cloak will make sure those remaining wounded enemies who try to catch up with you get even more severely wounded... or simply die in the process, leaving an ash pile behind...
      • Chose a new tactic from your new position: New guardian circle spell, beast form, heal then attack, Master Destruction spell, etc.


    • Relentless Elemental Onslaught: Unleash the power of nature on the fools who stand before you.
      • Atronach Stone + Destruction magic & Impact+ Repeated Guardian Circle
      • While under the influence of the Atronach stone, you will completely replenish your magicka again and again while standing in a guardian circle. This means you can cast rune and walls in front on you, nuke your enemies with all you got and recast guardian circle when it’s about to wear off. If you get overwhelmed and cannot melee, use Wild Escape
      • The Shaman King mastered every Elemental Dragon Shouts. Make good use of them. Note: Storm call can kill your followers.


    • True Cannibal (optional)
      • If you are wearing the Ring of Namira and receive the Cursed Ring of Hircine from Sinding during the quest Ill Met By Moonlight, you will forever be able to feed off of bodies and obtain +50 health and +50% health regeneration
      • This one is inspired by Narmis’ Guardian of Silence. I say it’s optional because I never successfully did this but Narmis used it and you can find info on this glitch on Skyrim UESP.



    Ulfric Stormcloak didn’t fail to notice your immense power when you got captured. As you were escaping Helgen, he made Ralof swears that he would find a way to bring you to Windhelm. With the help of a powerful wizard (some rumors says the Archmage of Winterhold himself), Ulfrik put you under a powerful spells that allows him to influence your thoughts. He promised to give you and your people a vast territory where you could live without fear of getting bothered by anyone in exchange for your servitude. He then unleashed the powerful creature you are on Skyrim. Little does he know that a savage beast like you is not tamed that easily…

    • The Ring of Namira is used to mimic the fact that you feast on your enemies. Eat at least one of them after each battle.
    • Ulfric is using you : join the Stormcloaks and do any quest or actions that would be appropriate : get rid of imperial soldiers, attack the thalmor embassy, defeat the Forsworn, etc.
    • Use only Orcsimer followers and give them primitive gears to make them look like they are part of your tribe.  When choosing your dead thralls, chose orcs too… until you can show Ulfric who’s the boss : when you feel that everything concerning the Stormcloaks and the rebellion has been done, use him as a dead thrall so everyone can see the true power of the Shaman King.
    • You are a savage that is used to live in nature. Don’t buy a house.
    • You are not used to these lands customs : feel free to trespass any rules or kill anyome you don’t like.
    • Complete the mainquest : even though you come from uncivilized lands, you fully understand the threat of the dragons and won’t let them destroy the world you enjoy.
    • Beeing a savage, you don't know how to read, so don't use magic scrolls. You were born with the ability to control nature, not magic : don't use staves. You don't even understand how they work...
    • If you chose to go to Soul Cairn, don't use the DG conjuration spells as they don't fit the RP of this build.

    Good orc followers/dead thralls options:

    Ghorbash the Iron Hand : Found in Dushnick Yal, same place where you can get a Stormcloak Helmet. Despite wearing heavy armor, he is better with light armor. Give him fur, a hide shield and a forsworn axe and voilà, you got yourself a savage bodyguard.

    Lob : Found in Largashbur (you have to do the Crused tribe quest). Good with light armor and 2-H weapon. Be kind and give the fella a Dragonbone warhammer.

    Ugor: Found in Largashbur too (you have to do the Crused tribe quest). Good with light armor and archery. She can also unlock chests.

    Borgakh the Steel Heart : Found in Mor Khazgur. She prefers heavy armor but she can be married. As the Shaman King, you will need a wife someday...

    Chief Yamarz (as a dead thrall) : Found in Largashbur. Yamarz is arguably the most hardy dead thrall target in the game, boasting over 1200 health and having four armor pieces that can be enchanted and smithed.

     That’s about it. Hope you enjoy it!

    Check out my other builds!


  • Member
    November 26, 2012

    Wow, this is extremely well thought-out! I have yet to try an orc build, but I'm excited to try this one. There is an abundance of small touches that flesh this one out wonderfully. This is headed for Legendary status.

  • November 26, 2012

    This is a spiffy build +1

  • Member
    November 26, 2012

    Thanks man!

    That's really appreciated and I hope you'll have fun with this build. I hope you'll fall in love with the awesomeness of being an orc ;)

  • Member
    November 26, 2012

    Love it! I am so trying this in my next playthrough and it will be my first roleplaying character!

    Can't wait to see what you're making next!

  • Member
    November 26, 2012


    I forgot to mention :

    When I was still working on this build , TwistedOrthrus and NobodyBeast helped me out a lot when I had to make some tough choices and have answered a lot of my question.

    Thanks guys! :P

  • Member
    November 26, 2012
    definitely going to the top of my list of builds to try out +1
  • Member
    November 26, 2012

    Great build! Very in depth an dusch, and a unique way to use an orc.I am glad I am not the only one who looks to WH40k when making characters (great source of lore).

    And the 2nd picture is really good 

  • Member
    November 27, 2012


    I added some info that I forgot in the strategy sections. I also added RP elements that I'm using that I forgot to write the first time and I added a list of great Orc followers/dead thralls option at the end of the build. Enjoy!

  • Member
    February 13, 2013

    Hey, what Magicka/Health/Stamina would you recommend?