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Character Build: Malkoran's Split Soul

Tags: #Character Build Necromancer  #Character Build Illusionist  #Character Build No Crafting  #Race:Breton  #Rank:Legendary 
  • Member
    December 23, 2013


    After played many different builds, I decided to refresh my playstyle and discover novel strategies along the way. The result is a very powerful glass cannon with an equally unique niche.
    The playstyle of this build is unusual and has a huge synergy between all of his skills and equipments. I invite all of you to read it carefully to really understand how it works. It requires Dawnguard and Dragonborn DLC. This build allows you to realize the true potential of no-crafting and it's focused on the use of a specific "Dead Thrall", Malkoran, the powerful necromancer and defiler of Meridia's temple.
    Henceforth known as MSS, this is an intriguing and challenging build, viable mainly at Legendary despite its fragility. As a ghost, it's only natural that we have a few tricks up our sleeve, and this build is reliant on some fun glitches, as well as the black arts of Conjuration and Illusion in tandem with the ever-useful Sneak tree. These elements allow MSS to live up to its ghastly billing.


    Death is only the beginning! My powerful mind will win over matter!


    Malkoran's Split Soul

    Malkoran is one of the few NPCs in the game that, when raised using "Dead Thrall", retains his unique power. Every time he dies (again), a powerful shade, with a huge vengeance desire, emerges from his corpse to spread the seeds of destruction. Malkoran is a very powerful, self-sufficient cryomancer, who can cast "Turn Undead" and heal himself. His shade, on the other hand, wields ice, shock and fire spells to vanquish their foes. As a bonus, they will also drop 250 septims upon their death!

    To obtain this Thrall, you must use the Dead Thrall spell on Malkoran before taking the Dawnbreaker, then after you've spoken with Meridia, you have to get back into her temple. Malkoran is trapped in his hall behind a locked door, but once you get there, it is enough to wait for an hour and he will appear next to you.


                                                                                          Backstory                                                                                         The powerful necromancer, Malkoran, made a bargain with Ideal Masters to enhance his dark powers. However, his new found abilities came at a price. In exchange, these Ideal Masters claimed half of Malkoran's soul. You are the half that was bartered away to be forever trapped in the Soul Cairn. You are the evil, albeit extremely weak, ghost, that was torn from his body...and you are back to rescue your body. Malkoran has your body and he is the only thing that tethers you to Nirn. Meridia, outraged at your former self's desecration of her temple at Mount Kilkreath, giving you the blood of a dragon, she brought you back from Soul Cairn, knowing that you are the only one that could exhume the defiler from her temple.


    Once you've defeated Malkoran and his Shades, you gain control of his body. At that point, your goal is to acquire even more power to keep control of your alter-ego, which is the Shade that emerges from your body upon death, that desires to kill you.
    Imbued with the blood of a dov by Meridia, it is your destiny, as Dragonborn, to banish the World-Eater forever, vanquish the Dragon Priests, and to thwart Miraak's return to Solstheim.




    The Build

    Race: Breton\Vampire

    Stat Distribution: 1(M) : 0(H) : 0(S)

    Standing Stones: Mage and Lover, then Apprentice and Tower via use of the Aetherial Crown.

    Weapons: Miraak's staff, Auriel's bow (to shroud the land in the darkness).

    Gear: Shrouded hood (early game), any College's Robes (early game), Aetherial Crown / Mage's Circlet, Arch-Mage's Robes or Necromancer's Robes, Shrouded shoes, Ring of the erudite, Necromancer's amulet, Mystic Tuning Gloves.

    Miscellaneous: ''Do Not Delete'', Platters, Wooden plates and Buckets

    Dragon Shouts: This build doesn't really rely on a heavy use of shouts, but many of these fit very well the roleplay:

    Marked for death(MFD), Whirlwind Sprint, Become Ethereal, Aura Whisper, Call Of Valor, Clear Skies, Dismay, Dragonrend, Soul Tear, Throw Voice, Disarm (check Ponty's Guide to dungeon backdooring below), Battle Fury, Bend Will, Dragon Aspect.

    Powers: Vampire's Lord (used ONLY for the glitches, see below), Mist Form in human form (keep it always ready. See glitch), Secret servant, Secret of arcana.

    Abilities: Seeker of shadows, Mora's Grasp, Scholar's insight, Ethereal Spirit, Blood of the Ancients.

    Spells:All Soul Cairn summons (except Arvak), Arniel's Shade (for tanking), Ash Guardian, Bound Sword (only for the Vampiric Grip glitch), Candlelight (essential in some Black Book's quest), Command/Expel Daedra, Dead Thrall, Detect Dead/Life, Dremora Lord, human form Vampiric Grip (ALWAYS keep it ready in your left hand), Frenzy, Rout, Rally, Magelight (used to keep an eye on Malkoran's body even in darkest spots), Telekinesis

    Follower: only quest followers


    My deep anger will fuel my powers!


    Major skills:

    SNEAK: As a ghostly apparition, it is difficult for others to detect you.
    Warning: I play on PS3 and have "Stealth 5/5", but it's bugged on PC and XBox, so I recommend you to take only "2/5" in it.

    ILLUSION: You are a master of mind control, and you use your powers to exploit the minds of others for your plans.

    CONJURATION: As a ghost, you can temporarily haunt an already existing body, or summon a body to possess.


    My silence will hide my plan...


    Minor Skills:

    DESTRUCTION: Destruction gives us access to Whirlwind Cloak, which will be used to kill Malkoran (thereby 'extracting' his Shade) and Vampiric Drain falls under this tree, as well.

    RESTORATION: Used purely for leveling in order to buff the survivability of the character.

    ALTERATION: Used for Telekinesis (Redwater Den) and Detect Life and Detect Dead spells.


    Level 38 Perk Spread

    ...and when I return...



    I attempted to recreate Malkoran's appearance with an 'undead' touch. I gave him white hairs and beard, black around the eyes and a pale skin.

    I switched some skills with some glitches that fit better your nature.You are a ghost, so you can't fully interact with the material world, but you can always find an alternative way to reach your goals (If you need, in almost any dungeons, you can enter in it by the backdoor, but you must first find it. Pay attention to not break some quests!!!), in fact, you can walk through walls instead lockpicking and in this way find some useful spectral floating items and hidden chests, but you can take and use ONLY your base equipment, spells, items and gold. You can't neither use potions and scrolls (you can use a Restoration Elixir once to boost the Arch-Mage's robes).
    The mages are almost the uniques that can feel you and speak with you. They can teach you many things, but you can trade ONLY after you've rescued your body.

    You've never been loyal to Meridia, therefore hide or get rid of Dawnbreaker, it's too dangerous for you and your body.

    The only place that you can call "home" is Malkoran's body, so you can store your rewards only in it (no weapons) or at most in the Arch-Mage's Quarters.

    Whenever you need, you can go in the spectral plane using Mist Form, in this way you can prevent any type of damage and run for several seconds, using only 25-30 of magicka, however it makes you impossible to do anything other than hide or move.



    As many of you will understand, the basis of survival of this Build in early game, is the mastery of what I call "The Riften City Shuffle", ie while everyone looks right, you go left. At the beginning a longbow and some arrows are enough, so while all run towards the wall where you threw the arrow, you'll slip behind them and continue on your way. Continuing the adventure you will find more and more applications developed and effective. You can also take advantage of the surrounding space, climbing, entering water and obviously Sneak. In the late game, you'll have a huge battlefield control using all the Special moves.

    Malkoran and his Shade

    In mid game, once you have reached a good level in Sneak, Level 90 in Conjuration and 75 in Illusion, you will finally fight Malkoran, so you need Frenzy, Rout, Dead Thrall (Marked For Death and Vampiric Grip optional, never use MFD on Malkoran, NEVER) and Conjure Dremora Lord spells (Survival of the Fittest). Using Frenzy on Malkoran or on his henchmen, he will eliminate them easily. Then you must cast Rout and Dremora Lord, while you can play volley ball with him. After the battle, you'll must use the Dead Thrall spell on his corpse and then take the Dawnbreaker. Completed the quest you'll can finally reach your first main goal, so return to the temple, in the last chamber and you'll find its door locked and Malkoran trapped behind it, so wait for a hour and he'll appear near you.

    Once the Shade comes out, use (Waking Nightmare) Vampiric Grip to stagger it, MFD, Dremora lord, then while the Dremora makes his work, you can help him holding it with Vampiric Grip.

    Whirlwind Cloak

    In combat, Malkoran uses ice magics and he is very powerful , even against dragons. The Shade instead uses all elements . To avoid being attacked by it , you need to remain hidden . The Whirlwind Cloak is a very important spell in your arsenal, it can instantly kill your Dead Thrall or other summons and you need it to have full control over the life and death of Malkoran . It's useful to prevent his beheading or to change your strategy of battle. To obtain this spell, you need 50 in Destruction skill tree and give your help to Neloth Telvanny in his researches, making some side quests.

    Vampiric Grip

    Your fast magicka regeneration allows you to cast this spell very often. The Vampiric Grip is an incredibly powerful spell and is used to: retrieve the Malkoran's corpse, because this spell also works a mile away or to throw him alive against the enemies, to shoot enemies in the air or push them off a cliff., and to stun the Shade when you no longer need it, to kill it more easily. Every time you fight the Shade, remember that this spell has two different effects on it:

    • By casting it once (say 1 second), the shade becomes permanently staggered and almost invulnerable (it takes very little damage). In this way you can also use the Shade as a lure\tank to your enemies.
    • Instead, by casting it for an extended time, you can remove the invulnerability effect until you run out of Magicka.

    This is a spell from Vampire Lord form, but you can use it even in human form easily, with this method: cast the Conjure Sword spell with your left hand, then become a Vampire Lord, so set this spell up and revert form, immediately open your menu of favorites and select again Vampiric Grip before the end of the transformation. 

    Remember that this spell doesn't work on Soul Cairn foes or summons, dragons, dragon priests, pale lady, ice wraith, skeletons, mammoths, ghosts, Harkon and Miraak.

    Mist Form

    The Mist Form is the best defensive power of a Vampire Lord.  You are not a vampire, but a ghost, so you can entirely evade any sort of damage and return in your plane in any moment, even in mid air, jumping, falling,casting a spell, running, etc. You can activate this power in human form, but the huge difference between its normal use and this one is, that this power will not require a cooldown and will cost almost 40 magicka. You'll can use the Mist Form power in human form in this way: become a Vampire Lord, select and activate Mist Form, then revert form just few seconds before the end of the cooldown (almost 25 seconds without Necromage perk or 32 seconds with it, see the link to the video below).

    "Do Not Delete"

    The "Do Not Delete" is a miscellaneous stolen item you can find and take in different locations (see links about it below). It appears as a chest still in mid air in the place you drop it and you can use it as a sort of "spectral" stair or to "fly" to enter in some dungeons (from the exit) to avoid some dangerous enemies' attacks and so on. It's essential to easily open secret merchant chests in Winterhold located behind some walls without fall into the "void" you'll find behind that walls(check the links below to see where\how you can use it). You can also use several of them in combat, as stairs, to cast Vampiric Grip from an higher position, so you can inflict more fall damage.

    Platters, plates and buckets

    The platter allows you to use one of the most useful of your powers, but it takes a bit of practice. Grabbing one of them and placing it overturned against a smooth wall or a door, you can walk, run or use the Whirlwind Sprint through it (check Ponty's Guide to dungeon backdooring below). The "Do Not Delete" will allow you to remain suspended in the void area behind the walls. Sometimes, especially in the early game, it may also be useful in combat, because it will allow you to hide behind a wall, giving you protection against many types of attacks.

  darkness will cover everything!


    Maneuvers & Special Moves

    Pushed Down the Stairs

    Requires: Sneak, cliff, human form of Vampiric Grip

    This is your signature move. With fall damage you can kill almost
    everything(even on Legendary)


    Stairway to Oblivion

    Requires: multiple ''Do Not Delete'' and Klimmek's supplies

    You can use these "floating stairs" for the unreachable spots or to use it in tandem with ''Pushed Down the Stairs''


    Blood Bound

    Requires: Vampiric Drain, Malkoran(Dead Thrall) or his Shade.

    You can cure yourself only in this way, but rarely you'll need it.


    Army of Shades

    Requires: Whirlwind Cloak, Dead Thrall Malkoran, Sneak, Vampiric Grip.

    You can maximizing the curse that afflicts your body to create an unknowing army to overwhelm even the strongest of your foes. You can kill and reanimate Malkoran multiple times to create an army of Malkoran's shades. You can rescue his body even if rounded by enemies using Vampiric Grip to reanimate him again. They can "easily" kill a dragon (and you), if in large number. Be warned: you must defeat them after the battle.

    Survival of the fittest

     Your masterful manipulation of people's minds allows you to start a deathmatch and deploy your champion.

    Requires: Frenzy, Marked for death, any melee summon or Boneman+ Rally(optional)

    Very useful against groups of enemies and dragons.

    Waking Nightmare

    Once your body has been annihilated, your spectral appearance debilitates and makes flee even the pluckiest of your foes.
    Requires: Rout, Marked for death, Malkoran (dead), any melee summon or Boneman

    Essential against gargoyles and other foes that cure themselves.


    Your ghostly powers can move items to throw them at your foes and strike fear within their hearts.

    Requires: Sneak, Rout(useful,but optional), Marked For Death, Telekinesis, any item.

    This is your secondary means of dealing direct damage.


    Factions and quests

    The College of Winterhold's main quest, Out of Balance, Conjuration Ritual spell, Arniel's Endeavour, The Black Star, Destroy the Dark Brotherhood(only for equipment and Marked For Death), Dawnguard main quest(Volkihar side), The Rings of Blood Magic, Ancient Power, Blood on the ice, Wind and Sand, The Break of Dawn, Main quest, Dragonborn's main quest, Black books quests.

    After the events in Helgen and leveled a little in Sneak, run to Whiterun and from there travel to Dawnstar, Solitude and Markarth to take the gold you'll find in the hidden chests. Travel to Riften to take 3 "Do Not Delete", some platters, gold from Elgrim's chest and to kill Grelod, The Kind. Travel to Windhelm to complete "Blood on the ice" quest, to obtain the Necromancer's Amulet and talk with Aventus Aretino to join the Dark Brotherhood. Go to the Academy of Winterhold to train and level your magic skills and become the Arch-mage. Once your Destruction level reach 50, travel to Solstheim and do the research quests for Neloth to obtain the "Wind and Sand" quest and buy the Whirlwind Cloak spell. Return to Skyrim and start the Dawnguard quest, siding with vampires to take Vampire Lord powers, the Ring of the erudite, telekinesis spell and the summon spells from Soul Cairn. At this point travel to Meridia's beacon and complete her quest to take Malkoran. Now you can start the main quest and complete Dawnguard and Dragonborn.



    Save only after you're sure that Malkoran is with you and remember that he can disappear during the quest to find Valerica, so leave him outside of the Volkihar Castle. You can check this under “Active Effects” in the magic menu, but must see him.

    Never use Marked For Death on Malkoran, NEVER!!!!

     If Malkoran is de/capitated, lost or turns in ash, you have failed.

    If you've committed such a blunder, you must find a new body (unique NPC) to possess. You can use Orchendor, Kornalus, Chief Yamarz, or a mage follower. You could also decide to wander as a ghost for all eternity

    Ending notes

    Here there's a list of links you need to find some items and use MSS's glitches and tricks:

    Ponty's Guide to Dungeon Backdooring

    Vampiric powers in human form(for Mist Form, revert form taking note of its cooldown)

    How to walk through walls and hidden chests x4 in College of Winterhold

    Do not Delete + hidden chest

    Hidden chest in Dawnstar

    Do not Delete in Riften


    This is my first build and English isn't my first language, so any constructive criticism, suggestions and comments are welcome.
    Thank you very very much to Bryn for believing in this build, to Ben C and Raidriar for their helpfulness and feedback, to Shuuiketsu for his perk spread image, to Bruccius Roscius for correcting the text and to Ponty for his awesome "Guide to Dungeon Backdooring", it will help all of you a lot! Lastly I again thank all of them for their kindness and availability, without their help, this build would look very different!


    Thank you all and enjoy it!!!

    Nings experiencing minor bugs that affect the like counter. Here's how many people liked this build prior

    -Curse Never Dying



  • Member
    December 23, 2013
  • Member
    December 23, 2013

    Today I discovered that any follower can open any lock. I've never seen anywhere. You know?

  • Member
    December 23, 2013
    It was a bit tough to read through but considering English isn't your first language, great job! This is some very unique gameplay/roleplay and you've added in so many things I didn't know about. Definite +1 for an unusual but intriguing build :)
  • December 23, 2013

    Oh I like this. I hated that scum bag Malkoran when I fought him so using his dead body to my advantage sounds great.

  • Member
    December 23, 2013
  • December 23, 2013
    Yeah, it makes lockpicking pointless cause they open them all with little effort...
  • Member
    December 23, 2013

    Nice one, Anderson! Creative and interesting concept, and solid execution. You did a great job with the special moves especially. Lots of cool stuff in there. It reads a little dull in the middle IMO. You're pretty wordy with the Major/Minor skills. It would probably help to make a perk spread image, rather than list the perks for each skill. I'd also recommend trimming the pro and con list, or maybe separating it into a written gameplay section, and a written roleplaying section (since there are some pros and cons for both RP and GP, and those are very different subjects).

  • Member
    December 23, 2013
  • Member
    December 24, 2013
    I think it's mostly the excessive parentheses and grey text. You also word things strangely but that's just because the English language is stupid and I get that. Besides, it kind of goes along with such a strange build :)