Skyrim Character Building » Discussions

Character Build: The Trebbite Monk

Tags: #Character Build Elementalist  #Character Build Battlemage  #Rank:Legendary  #Race:Altmer 
  • Member
    April 14, 2014

    And so it's finally here! Easily the most fun I've had in this game, the Trebbite Monk combines fast-paced agile combat with both defensive and offensive magic creating a perfect blend of Warrior and Mage archetypes. Inspired by the lore for one of my favorite races and utilizing some tricks never used before without any glitches this character quickly climbed to the very top of my list! And so, without further ado, I'm proud to present...

    Trebbite Monks were an old Altmeri monastic order active during 3rd Era in the city of Firsthold. Despite dangerous political orientation (pure Altmer bloodlines on all Summerset Isle, especially in royal families) their research into Alchemy and Alteration was highly beneficial for the common folk and the members of the order were well received and respected by the people.

    Needless to say, the Dunmer queen of Firsthold – Morgiah, didn’t enjoy the growing popularity of the order. The “Black Queen” orchestrated a whole “rebellion” to set the monks up. After the doomed coup attempt was quelled she started to act. Members of the order were branded traitors and faced an ultimate choice – either to face an imminent death or to be exiled to the mainland. Today many Trebbite Monks still wander Tamriel continuing their research and hoping to set foot on the Blessed Isles again one day…

    Race: Altmer

    Standing Stone: Lady (+ Atronach with Aetherial Crown)

    Stats: 0/3/0 – put all points in health.

    Shouts: Slow Time, Elemental Fury

    Powers: Secret of Arcana, Highborn

    Passive Abilities: Agent of Mara, Seeker of Sorcery, Sinderion's Serendipity


    Alteration – Trebbite Monk’s primary defensive skill it can not only provide whole 300 AR but even mitigate all incoming physical damage by 80%! Not to mention its other useful applications like Paralyze and Transmute. 

    Spells: Oakflesh, Stoneflesh, Ironflesh, Ebonyflesh, Dragonhide, Candlelight, Magelight, Transmute, Telekinesis, Waterbreathing

    Destruction – This magic school is traditionally used by the Altmer and Trebbite Monks are no exception. Cloak spells provide extra DPS when fighting in close quarters and Ignite allows you to focus on melee combatants in group encounters while the archers and mages burn to a crisp.

    Spells: Flame Cloak, Lightning Cloak, Ignite, Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning

     – Undead and necromancers were a problem on Summerset Isles too and as followers of Auriel, Trebbite Monks knew how to deal with them. Most prominent is the use of sun spells with the wards being secondary.

    Spells: Healing, Lesser Ward, Sun Fire, Stendarr’s Aura, Vampire’s Bane

     – Trebbite Monks assisted the people of Firsthold with their knowledge of plants for many years and became known as prodigious alchemists. They always carry a large variety of brews with them - both beneficial and debilitating.

     – Lightning-fast reflexes were always a trademark of the order members and years of wandering honed them even more. Tales about Trebbite Monks being faster than the perception of the eye still circulate on the Summerset Isles.

     – Often used as a backup weapon by the others, daggers become deadly tools in the hands of an experienced Trebbite Monk. Low weight and speed of strikes complement Trebbite Monk’s agility perfectly.


    Perk Spread (Level 40)


    Against chargers – those include crazy bandits screaming “Skyrim is for the Nords!!” and rushing towards you with a warhammer, deadly dwarven spiders and spheres, melee draugr…

    This is the type of combat where Trebbite Monks excel. Due to their almost inhuman speed enemies can’t even touch them while being damaged by both the cloak of the monk and constant strikes of the dagger sometimes coated with weakness to element poison for even higher effect. “Float like a butterfly sting like a bee” anyone?

    Against mages

    Charging Trebbite Monk is a terrifying sight – a whirlwind of lightning and fast dagger strikes closing in with a great speed absorbing almost all hostile spells. Mages will soon find their magicka drained and will be forced to rely on a dagger versus dagger combat where Trebbite Monks have no match.

    Against archers

    Long ranged shooters would’ve been a problem for Trebbite Monk if not an ancient relic – Ahzidal’s Ring of Arcana. By putting those archers on fire the monk can afford to forget about them and focus on more dangerous (and closer) targets.

    Against bosses – dragons, Dwarven Centurions etc.

    There are multiple options for Trebbite Monk. Utilizing Slow Time shout combined with Fortify Alteration potion and Stability perk they are able to apply a lot of Ignite effects combined with Weakness to Fire poisons on dragons. Wards and spell absoprption nullify dragon breath and Centurion steam breath, if those creatures ever manage to use it. Destruction spells and quick dagger strikes complete the package.


    Lacking formal magical education the Trebbite Monks use enchanted apparel to increase the number of spells they can cast without exhausting themselves. Since there are no points put in magicka we need all the fortify magicka equipment we can get and College of Winterhold questline provides us with almost a full collection.

    Aetherial Crown

    Lady Stone – Regenerate Stamina 25% faster, Regenerate Health 25% faster 
    Atronach Stone – Magicka +50pts, Spell Absorption 50%, Regenerate Magicka 50% slower

    Ahzidal’s Ring of Arcana
    Ignite and Freeze spells (obtained at the third phase of the Unearthed quest)

    Savos Aren’s Amulet
    +50 magicka

    Archmage's Robes
    All spells cost 15% less to cast, +50 magicka, and magicka regenerates 100% faster.

    Archmage's Boots
    40% Resist Shock (found in the Arch-Mage’s Quarters)

    Together this equipment provides 150 extra magicka which combined with Altmer racial boost brings Trebbite Monk’s magicka pool to 300 magicka along with 15% cost reduction for all spells and 100% extra magicka regeneration (Atronach stone negative bonus is nullified with Recovery perks). That allows the Trebbite Monk to cast both flesh spells and cloaks and still have some magicka left for other spells!

    Trebbite Monks are notorious for their masterful use of daggers and they never use inferior weapons. Ebony daggers are the best of which they are able to obtain, lacking the knowledge of Smithing. Blade of Sacrifice will be the final choice; it is well balanced with low weight and high damage.
    Using the secrets of the Dwemer obtained from the Black Book: Filament and Filigree the Trebbite Monk also gets the power to use the legendary Keening for 60 seconds once a day. Be wary not to abuse it though as using Keening for longer will take away its power!


    Syrabane's Patronage

    EffectsFortify Alteration + Resist Poison
    IngredientsThistle Branch, Grass Pod, River Betty

    Magnus’s Power

    EffectsFortify Destruction + Fortify Health
    IngredientsNightshade, Wheat, Glowing Mushroom

    Stendarr’s Protection

    EffectsFortify Restoration + Regenerate Magicka
    IngredientsSalt Pile, Garlic, Abecean Longfin


    Jephre’s Fury

    EffectsSlow + Weakness to Poison + Weakness to Shock
    IngredientsDeathbell, Giant Lichen, Trama Root

    Xarxes’s Curse

    EffectsWeakness to Fire + Weakness to Poison
    IngredientsDeathbell, Giant Lichen, Trama Root

    Phynaster's Imprecation

    EffectsParalysis + Lingering Damage Health
    IngredientsMora Tapinella, Canis Root, Imp Stool

    The Trebbite Monks follow the ways of the elven ancestors. If presented similarly to the Nine Commands of the Eight Divines they can be written as such:

    - Stendarr says: Be kind and generous to the people of Tamriel. Protect the weak, heal the sick, and give to the needy.
    - Mara says: Live soberly and peacefully. Preserve the peace and security of home and family.
    - Xarxes says: Learn and remember. The past holds the key to the future.
    - Phynaster says: Do not rush. Always think before acting.
    - Jephre says: Listen to the song of Mundus, and heed its missives. Observe and honor the laws of nature, of life, and of death.
    - Magnus says: Do not abuse magic. Keep the balance and use it wisely.
    - Syrabane says: Know and study the laws of magic. When in doubt, seek wisdom from the wise.
    - Auri-El says: Honor your parents and follow in their example. Worship the Eight, do your duty, and heed the commands of the saints and priests. Guard and tend the bounties of the mortal world, and do not profane the spirits of the dead.
    - The Eight say: Above all else, be good to one another.

    Daedra worship is a big taboo for Trebbite Monks and they try to avoid any contact with the Daedra. If somehow they are forced to deal with them, they’ll try to undermine the Daedra every chance they get.

    College of Winterhold – Тhe immense magical knowledge hidden in the walls of that magical institution is interesting to any Trebbite Monk and discovery of the Eye of Magnus solidifies their resolve to explore everything it has to offer.

    Shalidor’s Insights – The former archmage of the College is rumored to have found (or stolen from Akatosh) "Glamoril", or the secret of life in elvish. Trebbite Monks try to find whether this is true or not by tracking Shalidor’s works scattered all over Skyrim.

    Lost to the Ages – The Dwemer seem to have found a way to get to Aetherius but their refusal to accept the Aedra denied them true ascension. The Trebbite Monks try to combine Dwemer technology and Aedra worship to follow Auri-El’s example and lead their people back to Aetherius. Dwemer of Skyrim used a rare and enigmatic material called Aetherium which, perhaps, can be of help…

    Arniel’s Endeavor – Arniel Gane’s research perfectly coincides with what Trebbite Monks are working on.

    Main Quest – The Dragonborn blood is a gift from Akatosh and who is better fitting to receive it than Trebbite Monks – devout followers of Auri-El.

    Dawnguard – The vampiric spawns of the Daedra are abominations on the face of Nirn and should be destroyed. Trebbite Monks will aid the Dawnguard in that quest.

    Trebbite Monks are not the ones for settling, but they keep outposts throughout Skyrim for emergency restocking and rest. Each outpost contains only the basic things essential for adventurers and each of them has a garden with various alchemical ingredients (Windstad Manor also has a fish hatchery in addition to the garden).

    Know which ingredients to plant as some of them are quite common even without Hearthfire, like Wheat and Thistle Branch. Good alchemists reserve those spots for more rare ingredients like Giant Lichen and Imp Stool.

    Shalidor’s Dragonhide – Use Shalidor’s Insights: Alteration to be able to cast Dragonhide. The scroll also gives Dragonhide +50% duration. Combined with Syrabane's Patronage (Fortify Alteration) and Stability perk the spell lasts for about two minutes!

    Trebbite Reflexes
     – Use Elemental Fury shout and then dodge the power attack of an enemy with Quick Reflexes. Slice him to pieces with crazy-fast dagger strikes combined with passive DPS from your cloak spell.

    Dwemer Secrets
     – Use Shalidor’s Dragonhide, Elemental Fury and Secret of Arcana then charge enemies dual wielding Blade of Sacrifice and Keening. Unenchanted Blade of the Sacrifice in the left hand allows the use of Elemental Fury and you will be able to deal a ton of damage while also restoring all the three stats.


    - It is possible to obtain an Elven Dagger at level 1. You can find it at Journeyman’s Nook; it’s near the body of former College of Winterhold student – Borvir.
    - Shalidor’s Insights quest allows you to explore all of Skyrim and be rewarded by very useful scrolls in the end.
    - Blade of Sacrifice can be obtained without starting the Boethiah’s quest by looting it from the dead body in the pit.
    - Using only the first word of Slow Time makes you move faster than with all three words and apply more hits and Ignite spells.
    - Mage’s Circlet can be a good substitute for Aetherial Crown, just keep in mind that it’s leveled. I got it at level 18 and it gave +50 magicka. You can find the rewards and required levels here: UESP page for Mage's Circlet
    - Hearthfire gardens should cover all the ingredient needs. There are only three ingredients in the given recipes that you can’t farm – Salt Pile, Garlic and Trama Root, but you should have no problem finding or buying those.
    - Jarls provide enough building materials to build the basic house (without furniture) and a garden.
    - Bones of the Earth can serve as a replacement for Dragonhide if you don't mind reacquiring it at Earth Stone every time.
    - Aetherial Crown has an annoying clipping issue with the female version of Archmage's Robes. I was forced to make a mod that fixes that. You can find it here: No Clip Aetherial Crown
    - For more detailed information about character's backstory and personality, please, see Profile: Elnarya Direnni, The Trebbite Monk and An Interview with a Trebbite Monk


    Closing Remarks

    I want to express my deepest gratitude to the guys on Skype (Tim Faroe, Ponty, Henson, Kyrielle, Jo'Daro, Armathyx, Adam "Snacks" Gould) for listening to my ramblings and encouraging me with their invaluable advice!

    Thanks to Teccam and Mason for testing something for me; despite it didn't end up in the final product I very much appreciate you taking time with this!

    Credit to Ben C for his Secret of Arcana - More Powerful than you Think discussion that served as a basis for Dwemer Secrets technique.

    And last, but certainly not the least - Vix and Kynareth. Vix actually gave me the idea for the faction and both of them helped to develop the lore background!

  • April 14, 2014
    Now the big question is: how do I turn this into a Redguard? :P

    But seriously, this is a long time coming. I remember you mentioning these guys months ago. And it was well worth the wait. Easy +1, great job, Vaz.
  • Member
    April 14, 2014

    Thanks Matt! No Redguards in the Trebbites I'm afraid  Though one of the wondering ones may teach a Redguard who is willing to learn... 

    This build was being worked on since I joined, there are so many people to credit, I forgot two of them!! I'm now fixing that mistake! 

  • Member
    April 14, 2014
    This is cool. If the rumors are true, this is your first build, correct? You could also consider bones of the earth for the instant cast. I doubt you'll be in a position in which your flesh spell suddenly timed out, but its a nice back-up. I believe they are also affected by the enhancements of stability and shalidor scrolls. And potions.
  • Member
    April 14, 2014
    Good call with the Bones of the Earth. It can serve as a replacement in Dwemer Secrets move for once a day badassery :) Reacquiring it is a pain though, especially since I don't fast travel and I also wasn't sure how it'll fit the RP of worshiping elven ancestors. I'll add it to the Notes though, not everyone is as crazy as me to pay 250 gold every time they travel to Solstheim :D
  • Member
    April 14, 2014
    Oh. Right. Well, its a nice addition. And some people who's gonna try this build may not mind fast travelling. :-) And Im thinking just for a backup spell. Ive never experienced a fight that lasted for more than two minutes, but I suppose its for levelling, when you dont have dragonhide yet. Like when suddenly your stoneflesh suddenly ran out coz you forgot to recast spells prior to entering the battle.
  • Member
    April 14, 2014
    You have no AR without flesh spells. On Master it's quite noticeable when you forget to cast those :D There is no real need for such a backup spell since you have Slow Time and Become Ethereal as panic buttons and they are activated in place of Bones of the Earth. However, the last move will be much faster to perform (and with less menu surfing) if Dragonhide is replaced by that power. :) I'll add it tomorrow, on my phone now, don't want to mess up everything lol :D
  • Member
    April 14, 2014


    (Will follow up with proper feedback shortly...)

  • Member
    April 14, 2014

    First off, LOVE the presentation. Beautiful screenshots, great gear selection, very clean formatting, and good use of small images to break up the text. I've never worn the Archmage's robes on a female character, and I must say it looks great! Is that the vanilla texture, or modded?

    Great lore integration as well. I wasn't aware of this faction, but it fits absolutely perfectly. How long did you know you were going to use this faction for the build?

    Love the red mage style, with mostly spells that can be acquired early on and/or cast without too much Magicka. Alchemy can still make these very effective, and not enough people seem to understand this!

    Nice potions. I especially love Xarxes' Curse. Don't think I've ever seen that one in a build before, and all three ingredients can be grown in Hearthfire's garden/greenhouse. SOLD! Do you have any suggestions for places to harvest Trama Root?

    I also love the idea of using Hearthfire homes as "outposts" where you only build the base house and garden for Alchemy. Requires basically no investment/effort on the player's part, and you can probably just travel between each house, maybe waiting a day between each cycle, to harvest ingredients en masse. Very clever!

    I take it you weren't able to get the desired effects from Fortify Restoration/Destruction potions on your Stendarr's Aura? That's a bummer, would've been pretty cool if they'd both affected the cloak's range and/or damage output.

    I've never tinkered with the Shalidor's Insights scrolls -- since that quest is radiant, I take it you can just keep going back for more copies every few days? That's a really cool concept, and absolutely perfect for Dragonhide here. One of my favorite little tricks in here! Just FYI, if you pick up the Dual-casting perk, I believe it will actually apply to Dragonhide if you pull both triggers/buttons when casting. My guess is you wouldn't have enough Magicka to dual-cast it, but if you could find a way to make that work, your Dragonhide could easily approach/surpass five minutes in duration. That would be utterly insane!

    Also, I'm sure you know this, but you can actually re-read the Filament and Filagree Black Book to enter it and reselect Secret of Arcana immediately after you use it, so that power (and thus, Keening) can be used more than once per day. Keening is an awesome weapon, and sometimes you just can't wait 24 hours to use it again. It's not a glitch either -- just playing smart. 

    You can, of course, use that same trick to pull off dual-cast Dragonhides at will.... So again, worth noting if you want to truly maximize Shalidor's Dragonhide. Also, Become Ethereal is invaluable for setting up Dragonhide in a pinch (if you don't have Bones of the Earth on hand). The Shout should remain active until you actually release the triggers/buttons to cast the spell. SO I'd treat that as more of a precaution than a panic button -- if you do it properly, you'll never need the panic button, but you'll still have Become Ethereal triggered if such a situation ever does arise.

    Also, just a minor error: you say weary where I believe you want wary, when talking about Keening under the "WEAPNS" header.

    Still need to watch the video, but man, Vaz, this is just wonderful. Instantly one of my favorites in the group! Will try it out myself once the second CB event is over with! One of the easiest +1s I've ever given.

  • Member
    April 14, 2014

    * "WEAPONS"

    ^ Classic Muphry's Law. Made that edit at the last second, then saw the typo and my 15 minute window was already up.