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Character Build: The Elder One

Tags: #Character Build Dual-Wield  #Character Build Crusader  #Character Build Juggernaut  #Rank:Legendary  #Hall of Fame Build  #Nature  #Chloromancy  #Miraak  #Tree  #Vine 
  • Member
    July 15, 2014


    The girl tore through the woods, spiky branches whipping at her tear stained face. The vampires raced after her shouting and swearing, furious that their prey had escaped. The girl broke through the thick the forest into a clearing, where a large bog greeted her. She stumbled forward, her momentum carrying her towards the thick mud and she fell. The vampires caught up but managed to stop themselves in time to watch as the girl began to slowly sink down into the murk.

    There was a sudden rumble, building up to an enormous roar... then silence. The vampires looked at each other in terror. The silence continued. Suddenly a giant beast erupted from the bog, as tall as a giant it seemed. Two huge vines protruded from where it's arms should be, it had a huge rocky wooden torso and two glowing green eyes. It stood still. The deadly silence made a dark return. No one moved. The creature looked at the two vampires, then at the girl, who was neck deep in the mud. It paused again, then quick as an arrow, it brought one of its massive vines down on one vampire and sent the other flying into a tree.

    It loomed over the girl, who was almost completely submerged in the mud. He thought for a while before pulling her out, laying her down and stepping back. She looked at him at first in fear but gradually realised that he meant her no harm. She smiled at him, thanked him, and ran off.

    This build has no solid lore foundation, however I believe that it is entirely possible. It is inspired partially by the Ent in Lord of the Rings and partially by the Golems of Jewish folklore.

    Long ago, before the Atmorans arrived in Skyrim, there lived many creatures not seen today, among them were the Elder Ones; creatures made of vines, wood and rock. They were essentially walking ecosystems, coated in all sorts of fungi and insects. It is said that they were created to guard the great Eldergleams and all of Skyrim's forests, forged from the sap of the great trees - which is said to be able to give life to rocks. They revered the Old Gods of nature.

    When the Atmorans arrived in Skyrim they were generally left alone by the Elder Ones. The peace didn't last long though and the Elder Ones were hunted down, the men burning them alive with flaming arrows. The Elder Ones were generally very individual and peaceful creatures, rarely communicating with each other and only fighting if they, or nature, were harmed. Although they were immensely strong the Atmoran's greater numbers overpowered them. By the time they united there were very few remaining. Some continued to fight the invaders, others went into hiding, ageing with the land, becoming slower and slower until turning into trees themselves.

    One though, was trapped in a bog during a mudslide. For millennia he slept in the murk, and it had a marked effect on him. He is no longer as tall as he once was as the mud compressed him. His hide has become petrified, hardened up from the minerals in the bog. But his vines are still as powerful, his old magic just as strong, and his nature the same as ever: kind to the kind, merciless to those who would harm him or the natural balance.

    -Thanks to (Goofy) goober for the epic screenshot of The Elder One in action and to HeroicXCV for the showcase video below!


    Race: Orc or Argonian vampire.

    Both work well, I personally went for Orc for the Berserker Rage, but Histskin is also incredibly powerful. Vampirism is necessary for necromaged dual flurry.


    Stats: 1/3/1 until you hit 130 magicka then 0/3/1.

    Stamina isn't invested in that much due to the absorb effect on Miraak's swords allowing for repeated power attacks.


    Stone: The Warrior then The Lady.

    The Lady is very useful for countering sunlight weakness and allowing more daylight sprinting without using become ethereal. It also reflects the regenerative aspect of the character, absorbing its surroundings to heal.


    Powers: All of the All Maker stone abilities seem very natural and can be seen as nature defending its old guardian, Mora's Agony, Secret of Arcana, Berserker Rage/Histskin


    Major skills: One handed, Alchemy, Heavy Armor

    Dual wielding is the crux of this build, you'll be swinging dual Miraak's swords as your viney blades of destruction. A second can be obtained using a minor glitch where you drop the sword on the ground and order a follower to pick it up. You then enter and exit an area (e.g Bleak Falls Barrow) and after a few tries the sword should be on the ground and in the followers inventory.

    Alchemy is key for the 'forms' aspect of the build which will be discussed later – very few potions are used as it can quickly become overpowered, particularly with necromage. Heavy Armor is used because what self-respecting man-tree doesn't have a thick hide to defend himself.

    Minor skills: Restoration, Smithing

    Restoration is used for the legendary necromage perk and the massive benefit to the dual flurry perk and potions it provides, do not take dual flurry before you are a necromage vampire or you won't get the benefit. Restoration also helps in various other aspects of the build such as poison rune and healing – I don't like using healing potions mid battle as it feels too easy so I generally used restoration to heal, absorbing life energy from nearby flora. Smithing is not very necessary until later levels, until then you're pretty overpowered, I had to play on master difficulty.


    Armor: Orcish armor, Orcish boots, Heavy chitin gloves, various Dragon Priest masks.

    I think this completes the look I was going for of petrified wood and you look like a walking tree with Orcish armor. A full set minus the gloves can easily be obtained incredibly early at Largashbur. I recommend at least one fire resistance enchantment, for the rest you either want fortify one handed or health regeneration.


    Weapons: Dual Miraak's swords, an unenchanted Dragon Priest dagger and a soul trap dagger.

    The Dragon Priest dagger is used if you ever want to use elemental fury, but it gets insane -the game barely registers that you move, especially with dragon aspect before hand. Your swords lose charge very quickly so a lot of souls are required – this levels up enchanting a lot as well, which can be useful. Until you kill Miraak I recommend the best swords you can find, and enchant one with one point of absorb stamina for limitless power attacks (provided you hit them) and one with frost damage to slow them down. Your swords are literally an extension of yourself – your viney whips of destruction. Use them well and use them often, watching these things swing in third person is awesome.


    Spells: Poison rune, Fast healing and Summon seeker.

    Used for healing or as part of one of the forms explained later.

    Shouts: Dragon Aspect, Become Ethereal, Fire Breath, Elemental Fury, Animal Allegiance

    Become Ethereal is useful in combination with Mora's agony and a choke point for healing time, as well as sprinting in daylight. Fire Breath is used occasionally if someone is awkwardly far away or if I can't be bothered getting my swords out to kill a skeever. I saw it as a sort of reverse photosynthesis, letting out your absorbed sunlight in a sudden burst of solar energy. Dragon Aspect is a phenomenal shout and provides huge boosts to power attacks, which are used near constantly, and even more armor. Elemental fury wasn't used much but was fun to play around with. Animal Allegiance was used for RP.


    Recommended Quests:

    Dragonborn main quest, The Black Star (Miraaks sword loses charge very quickly so the Black Star is a blessing), The Blessings of Nature, Agent of Mara, main quest until you become Dragonborn.



    Now here's the fun bit, playing as a tornado of vines is probably the most fun I've had in Skyrim to date. Something to note is that I had to play on a mix of master and legendary, depending on my mood, I was so overpowered. You might think that with two crafting skills and necromage that would be obvious, but neither smithing nor alchemy were over level 35 when I was level 25 on master. The Elder One's offence nearly always comes from his vines, however he does have a few tricks up his... umm...trunk? Power attacks are the name of the game as they do significantly more damage thanks to various perks, especially with Dragon Aspect, as well as staggering and generally being awesome.

    Three 'forms' are adopted in combat, each one aimed at a different situation. They are obtained through a potion, a Dragon Priest mask and an optional power to greatly boost strength. In general I would only adopt one form to prevent getting too overpowered, the forms also represent how he has altered his body to provide combat benefits – meaning you couldn't enter two forms at once.


    Vine form

    Your vines grow and sharpen as you feel a surge of power, giving you harder blows and more energy allowing you to power attack more.

    Potion of fortify one handed + fortify marksman + Rahgot (+optional berserker rage)

    The form I took most often, used for slightly tougher enemies, landed dragons etc. It is very powerful due to necromage boosting the potions massively in power and duration and brings your swords up to insane damage levels. If you want something to die, and you are in range, it will die.


    Rock Form

    Utilising your surroundings you bolster your defences with your surroundings, absorbing all manner of rocks, boulders and debris to create a near impenetrable shell from both physical and magical blows.

    Potion of fortify health and restore health + Otar (+optional Dragon Aspect)

    I didn't have to use this that often but when I did it saved my life, I generally used it against mages or airborne dragons, particularly fire users... I think the vampiric weakness to fire is very relevant here because being essentially a tree I think you would be quite flammable. Rock form is useful when you either can't hit someone or there are a lot of weak enemies who can be killed easily but do lots of damage in numbers


    Tree form

    You pause and connect your roots to your surroundings, tapping into the magicka inside all plants and trees and channelling it though you.

    Potion of fortify magicka and restore magicka + Nahkriin/vokun + conjure seeker/ash spawn/poison rune/healing spells (+optional secret of arcana/root of power)

    Nahkriin is very useful here, but irritatingly quest locked so I didn't bother. Vokun makes a decent enough substitute. I generally used this if I wanted a bit of a boost or wanted to mix things up a bit. The summons are The Elder One's only ranged ability, seekers looked a lot like forest spirits to me. They are decent at lower levels but lose their edge after a while. Ash spawn are formed in the same way as your earth armor and in my experience were good against dragons. I generally didn't use either of the powers as I had enough magicka to summon a seeker and heal a bit. I did use them with poison rune as with secret of arcana it can be incredibly powerful and really captures a natural look, useful if you want to bring your wrath down onto a particularly annoying opponent.



    As one might expect roleplaying as a walking tree who guards nature is interesting. The Elder Ones of old would protect the forest at all costs, this is likely why they were killed. My one however realised that a task of that scale would be impossible for just one. So instead I set myself long term goal and changed my motives a bit. My goal was to obtain an Eldergleam sapling (using my old magic to move the roots, not harming them) and find the ultimate place to plant it; I would explore caves, lakes, Spirggan dens and other similar places to try and find the best place for it to grow safely. Instead of killing people who harmed nature I realised that the natural balance involved killing, it involved chopping down trees and eating fruit. So I set out to keep nature pleasant and safe, killing bandits, necromancers, spriggans and anyone else who would attack someone simply enjoying a nice view or a tranquil lake.

    A few more RP notes:

    • Where possible try to avoid killing animals and instead use Kyne's peace or animal allegiance

    • When you harvest alchemy ingredients you are not tearing them from the ground or plucking them from the sky, you are adding them to the thriving eco system that is your very body. You are a walking tree remember, covered in mushrooms, roots and berries. Crawling with beetles, bugs and butterflies.

    • A weakness to the sun due to vampirism may seem strange for a tree. I saw it as the effort that I was putting into photosynthesising.

    • You have a significant weakness to fire, so avoid it as much as you can as I think a tree would find it terrifying.

    • Every so often visit Eldergleam Sanctuary to pray to the great tree.

    • Despite the fact that Spriggans seem like they should be my allies I saw them as extremist savages – violently attacking any passer by – and so had great disdain for them.

    Closing remarks:

    I found this build to be awesome fun, a third person view of this character looks awesome and is something you have to see to understand. I really enjoyed the unique roleplaying opportunities that this presented. Shout out to Oneness for his help with the build and his awesomely imaginative builds, they really inspired some parts of this and I think many will have noticed that. Also thanks to everyone else who helped out with this. This build was incredible to play, and the first time I've ever survived, and thrived, on legendary difficulty.

  • July 15, 2014
    Did you photoshop these pictures? If so awesome work
  • Member
    July 15, 2014
    Yeah I did them all myself, thanks!
  • July 15, 2014

    I'd love it if you could go over your technique with me sometime, or better yet perhaps create a tutorial in the art group. You've got talent there. 

  • Member
    July 15, 2014
    Really? This is the first time I've ever used Photoshop or gimp, I literally just looked at a few youtube videos :P
  • July 15, 2014

    Well you're picking it up a lot faster than I did. You should see my first attempts at coloring compared to now. 

  • Member
    July 15, 2014

    To echo Curse, awesome job with the artwork, and a really solid build you've put together! This is definitely a concept that'll give me a good reason to use Miraak's sword. Awesome work!

  • Member
    July 15, 2014

    Thanks, like I said in the build Miraak's sword is awesome!

  • Member
    July 15, 2014

    I love your Elder one! Very well presented, great concept and awesome art work! It deserves more than a single like. +1

  • Member
    July 15, 2014

    I'm thinking to use Miraak's Robes instead the armor for one of the forms. I will try it!