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Character Build: The Imperial Legion Battlemage

Tags: #Character Build Elementalist  #Character Build Enchanter  #Character Build Battlemage  #Rank:Recognized 
  • Member
    August 22, 2013

    The further improved take on the Imperial Legion Battlemage. What I wanted to accomplish was a lore oriented development of this "prestige class". Based on the skill sets in Morrowind and Oblivion I ended up with a pleasing choice of skills that allowed me to even play with penalties on the character's gameplay (because an overpowering character has a very short life). The result is a lively, slow-paced, burdened experience of a character who wants to see the world a better place but keeps bumping into chauvinism, racism, intolerance, prejudice, sexism and other plagues that are nurtured by underdeveloped cultures.

    The Imperial Legion Battlemage

    We are wizard-warriors, a deadly mix of scholar and soldier trained in both lethal spellcasting and heavily armored combat. We usually sacrifice our mobility on the battlefield to focus on supplementing our melee attacks with elemental damage.

    The Imperial Legion is the most versatile army in Tamriel and its opponents always know what to expect from battling the Legion. However... we, we are known as the Imperial Legion Battlemages. When our opponents see us, they never know what to expect...

    Race/ Stats

    Race: Breton

    Attributes: 1 Magicka/ 1 Health/ 0 Stamina

    Stone: The Lord

    Major Skills: Alchemy, Enchanting, Destruction

    Minor Skills: Conjuration, Alteration, Heavy Armor

    Optional Skills: Smithing, Speech (added because of roleplay)

    Weapons: Silver Swords

    Armor: Heavy Armor + Mage Hood

    Shouts: NONE.

    (In the picture above, J'zargo is using a crafted Imperial Helmet, not one of the two non-crafted versions)


    You have studied the Battlemage traditions. Not all Battlemages used the same skillset. You have come to understand and play upon the strengths and weaknesses of what you understood the class to be and your skillset does nothing else than make a statement about your own presence in combat.

    Alchemy - Selling potions would make you enough money to be able to get training for all your skills and your combat will even rely on some of your crafted potions/ poisons. For example, you knew for a fact that using Poisons of Ravage Health would help you down even the most terrible foes.

    Destruction - Faralda would soon become your friend. And so would Fire and Shock Spells which would increase your spellcasting output and also your enchanted weapon's damage, supported by your Destruction skill perks.

    Enchanting - You will start imbuing your equipment with magic soon, and thus you will be always one step ahead of whatever danger you might find yourself in.

    Heavy Armor - You simply could not do without Heavy Armor and given that you did not intend to use a Heavy Armor helmet you were only interested in perks like Juggernaut and Conditioning. Plus, as you needed armor pieces on-demand, you also decided to become a Steel Smith, increasing your Smithing skills on the side, while tempering the armor pieces you and your follower would use.

    Alteration - Alteration always gave you that little bit of comfort just before the battle. It would allow you to pay more attention to your surroundings with Candlelight, it would passively make you more resistant to the magic damage taken, it would temporarily increase your Armor Rating, allow you pre-combat insight through spells like Detect Life and Detect Dead and if ambushed, you could use one of the magic skill's signature spell, Paralyze.

    Conjuration - If upon knowing your opponents you knew your chances of success were slim, you would summon an elemental creature to either keep your opponents from reaching you, to enhance your damage potential. Ultimately, you would use Conjuration in order to trap the souls of your opponents in your empty Soul Gems.


    Your most iconic piece of equipment is your Silver Sword. It was the standard weapon of all Imperial Legion Battlemages in Cyrodiil. The Legion always needed recruits. Thus, when they recruited you, they recruited a Battlemage serving the tradition of the most Imperial province, Cyrodiil. The Silver Sword is "especially effective against Undead", doing an extra 20 damage per hit to werewolves, werebears, vampires, skeletons and all sorts of reanimated creatures, ghosts, Draugr and even Dragon Priests.

    The only piece of equipment you do not use is the shield and even though every now and then Battlemages made use of shields, they would prefer to Conjure a meat-shield which helped with flanking and controlling the line of sight in battle, or just use an Alteration Flesh spell. "Shields are for warriors (battlemages would say), the difference being that we're mages..."

    Player - Imperial Heavy Armor set  + Mage Hood:
     - Head - Fortify Destruction + Fortify Alteration
     - Neck - Fortify Heavy Armor + Fortify Destruction
     - Chest - Fortify Heavy Armor + Fortify Alteration
     - Hands - Fortify Heavy Armor + Fortify One-handed
     - Finger - Fortify Heavy Armor + Fortify Destruction
     - Feet - Fortify One-handed + Resist Shock
     - Weapon - Fire Damage/ Shock Damage/ Absorb Health/ Paralyze

    Optional equipment pieces:
    - Neck - Fortify Barter or Amulet of Zenithar
    - Neck - Amulet of Dibella (+15 Speech helps immensely with Persuasion checks)
    - Hands + Finger - Fortify Unarmed + Heavy Armor - Brawls made easy

    Follower - (I chose J'zargo for roleplay and similarities in skillsets) - full Heavy Armor set (non-craftable head piece - J'zargo is a Sorcerer)
    - Head - Fortify Magicka + Fortify Regen Magicka
    - Neck - Fortify Heavy Armor + Fortify Health
    - Chest - Fortify Heavy Armor + Fortify Health
    - Hands - Fortify Heavy Armor + Fortify Magicka
    - Finger - Fortify Heavy Armor + Fortify Health
    - Feet - Resist Fire + Resist Shock
    - Weapon - Silver Sword - Absorb Magicka + Absorb Health

    Gameplay/ Combat Mechanics

    Damage Dealing

    • Swords (imbued mainly with Fire/ Shock through Enchanting, honed by the potions you create through Alchemy and your progressively increasing skill in One-handed weapons) - as a plus, they are the second fastest generic melee weapon in the game (after daggers)
    • Direct Damage Spells (through decreased Magicka consumption via Enchanting and Alchemy)
    • Food - Elsweyr Fondue (through increased Magicka pool)

    Damage Mitigation

    • Armor Rating - increased through skill in Heavy Armor, through Fortify Heavy Armor through Enchanting, through potions of Fortify Heavy Armor via Alchemy
    • Magic Armor - through Flesh spells via Alteration
    • Magic Resistance - decreased damage from spells that land on you due to your Breton racial, potions of Resist Magic via Alchemy, Resist Magic enchantments via Enchanting and via the Magic Resistance perk of Alteration
    • Spell Absorption - through the Breton racial Dragonskin

    Damage Avoidance

    • Fleeing - in Heavy Armor your Stamina will deplete fast, luckily you would always have some potions of Fortify Stamina just in case
    • Evasion - generally by means of positioning your summons via Conjuration so as to proceed with flanking
    • Detect Life/ Dead - Spells in the Alteration magic school
    • Paralyze - initially via potions through Alchemy, later via Enchanting and in the end, combining the two with the Paralyze spell from Alteration
    • Summoning creatures - via Conjuration (you would only use elemental, no fiddling with the dead for you)
    • Slow - via potions through Alchemy
    • Fear - only in the early stages, via potions and Enchanting. You are not using Illusion so there's a limit to what you can do
    • Frenzy - same as with the Fear mechanic
    • Turn Undead - Same as with the Fear mechanic, you lack proficiency in Restoration to really master the technique
    • Banish - via Conjuration and Enchanting

    In layman's terms, your armor rating will be increased as need be, by several means (which is needed since you will not be using the perks Well Fitted and Matching Set in Heavy Armor). Your physical damage will be low but your magical damage will be high. Your Magicka pool will never take a hit mainly because of your potions. You will avoid the opponents damage and improve your own through summons, and when you would encounter a fierce enemy, the mechanics of Paralyze will be put to good use.

    Recommended Factions/ Quests

    The Companios  Being the first faction you can join, it's with their help that you test yourself in real battle for the first time. And adventuring with them, you encounter the Silver Hand, and so you come upon your future weapon of choice, the Silver Sword. Another benefit is that they offer Master training in Heavy Armor.

    College of Winterhold - After realizing you were spending most of your time around court wizards and apothecaries you joined the College of Winterhold by mistake as you only wanted to get a feel of the College. Then you figured out the trainers there would be able to help with improving your magic skills.

    The Heart of Dibella - Ever since you met Senna, a Breton like you, you wanted to propose. And it seemed the only way you two could be together was if you could find the new Sybil for the Temple of Dibella. You were a worshipper and as such, you enjoyed life. Thinking of Senna's piety you knew you had found your soul mate...

    Imperial Legion - Dipping in the knowledge of the College elders you started seeing things in a different light. It's true the Stormcloaks were double-crossed. It's also true that Ulfric murdered Torygg, although Torygg personally supported Ulfric's cause. Against people, the Thu'um was overkill...

    Destroy the Dark Brotherhood! - The primary mission of the Imperial Legion is to preserve the peace and rule of law in the Empire. The Dark Brotherhood assassins would never patrol roads, provide guardsmen for towns, cities, counties and nobles. Ritualistic murder will never be above the Imperial Law. And you got a bit tired of Assassins trying to kill you.

    Thalmor traveling on the road/ Thalmor vs Stormcloaks/ Thalmor with Prisoner/ Thalmor vs Player - You had enough insight to understand that the Stormcloak Rebellion was also fueled by the Thalmor who wanted to diminish the power of the Empire by any means. Ulfric had been a pawn for the Aldmeri Dominion without even knowing it. Everything made sense... the Great War, the Forsworn Uprising, the campaign for the White-Gold Tower, the Markarth Incident, the terms of the White-Gold Concordat, although the Empire had won the Great War... and now, the Stormcloak Rebellion. Plus, Nords may have seemed racist, yes, but not when compared to the Thalmor... So you made it your spare time occupation to toy with them whenever you saw any, pray to Talos that thy are healthy and wish them live long. In a matter of speaking, that is.

    So this was what your life had become. In combat, preparation would make the difference between success and failure. You never charged into battle; you carried your battles by always waiting for somebody to throw the first punch. Based on that you would calculate your riposte. There were no special moves. There was no glory in fighting. The only happiness combat brought was that your life was spared for yet another day. Another day that you might encounter and punish the Thalmor. Another day that you might make the Stormcloaks understand the Rebellion was pointless and it would never accomplish anything. Another day together with Senna.

    This is the story of a Breton trying to make a difference...

  • August 22, 2013

    I love battlemage builds and this is a good one for sure. Faithful to the lore, by being as closely equipped to battlemages in Oblivion as possible. Thoughtful design, you've got a balance of skills that suggest you play tested this properly so well done for that! I also like the screen shots.

    The writeup is a bit hand-holdy at times, definitely some elements of a walkthrough disguised in there but at the same time it is further evidence of adequate play testing.

    My one question would be, what did you mean about having a craft-able/non craft-able helmet and when do you use it?

    +1 from me!

  • Member
    August 22, 2013

    Thank you.

    The crafted version of the Imperial Heavy Armor head piece is tagged incorrectly in the game, and because of that, it is governed by the Light Armor skill. If using this crafted helmet, you cannot get the bonus from the Matching Set perk (Heavy Armor).

    The usage of the helmet depends on the encounter and it would give you that very small bit that could help you win a difficult fight. The build is not an overpowering build. You will find yourself in situations where, having used all potions of Fortify Heavy Armor, for example, or poisons of Ravage Health, you would have to get back to HQ and brew them before you can deal with the encounter for good (referring rather to dungeons).

    Many times you will feel at odds with your destiny in Skyrim, and all you want to do is to get home. One way or the other.

    I think there's too much role-play into it...

  • Member
    August 22, 2013
    You can craft Imperial Armour? Did I miss something?
  • Member
    August 23, 2013

    If I recall, Steel Smithing lets you craft the heavy set

  • Member
    August 23, 2013
    @Ponty it also lets you craft the light set as well but not the studded one.
  • Member
    August 23, 2013
    Oh, I must of missed that. Never really liked the heavy stuff anyway.
  • Member
    September 20, 2013

    No perks in one handed...?

  • September 20, 2013
    With enchanting his sword will do a good amount of damage anyway.
  • Member
    September 20, 2013

    Agree with ben, good build, seems like there is really great info in there but there is t a glut of information that could probably be trimmed down. 

    I especially like the bit about not finding glory in fighting, don't know why but it really works for me.