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Character Build: The Kinetic

Tags: #Character Build Battlemage  #Character Build Bound Weapons  #Character Build No Crafting  #Rank:Mythic  #Halifax  #Vampiric Grip 
  • Member
    February 8, 2015

    The Kinetic

    Intrigued by the use of Vampiric Grip in human form, I decided to create a build that centered around its use as a main form of offense, capitalizing upon its capabilities and supplementing its limits with other standardized forms of combat. 

    This build was initially created as a means to simply play with and understand the workings of the skill. However, what I found instead was a fun and versatile character that, despite its simplicity, provided me with a unique and entertaining playstyle that resulted in hours upon hours of fascinating and enjoyable gameplay.

    I hope that with the information and details provided below that you will be able to fully experience and enjoy the build for yourself. Though it has its limitations, I do believe that the character’s distinctive strengths will be able to outshine its weaknesses, creating a playthrough that is both fun and unique to play as a whole – both for beginners, as well as hardened veterans of the game.

    The Kinetic

    A fallen monk, the Kinetic is a man both practiced in the art of restoration, and a master of a form of magic known as “Telekinesis”. Unfamiliar even to those learned in Alteration, the magic is a school both new and unfamiliar to the land of Skyrim using both energy and willpower as its catalyst. Some believe that his powers - and his origins - are vampiric. Others believe him to be a mage, consumed by an insatiable anger that had driven him to power since he was a child. But though scholars and academics still bicker over the nuances of his existence upon Nirn, all would agree on a single fact: 

    Whatever and whoever he was, he was a master of his craft, a man ahead of his time that would introduce his great and terrible art upon the lands and sons of Skyrim, for better...or for worse. 

    Who is the Kinetic?

    The Kinetic is a man, sent by his parents to a monastery at a young age to both gain mastery in magic, as well as to calm his rage-driven temperament under the promise that his talent would see him through to becoming "Archmage". However, denied the teachings of the Destruction tree by monks fearful of his darker intentions, the boy grew up deprived and hungry for knowledge, eventually finding his ill-gotten chance in the pages of a forbidden spell tome. 

    In it, the young man learnt the powers that lay behind the Bound Sword, years of meditation lost as he eventually carved his mark into both animal and unsuspecting monk alike. Discovered in due course and stopped by the elder monk himself, the man - weapon banished by the elder's superior magic - finally faced a death he had long since deserved...

    ...But of which never occurred. In a moment of rage and desperation, the man's powers awoke, granting him the inherent ability to throttle the elder monk and crush them upon the walls of the monastery through sheer willpower alone. Now lacking a home, the man - now the Kinetic, decided to flee for the border of High Rock to escape retribution- which is where our story truly begins. Will he finally realize his parents' wishes? Will he obtain the power that he so desires - and show it off for all to see? And will he - perchance - find the cause of the bloodlust that brings him power and dominates his very being? Only time will tell.

    Why the Kinetic?

    I think the time I truly fell in love with this build was when I threw a Forsworn across the entirety of Karthspire. It was...enchanting. Their body, sailing through the air like a frisbee before landing ceremoniously upon the cold, hard ground beneath. At that point, I'd forgotten how long I'd been playing....though as I plucked another unsuspecting member of the Forsworn from the bridge complex beneath, I came to the realization that I simply didn't care. 

    Whenever I used magic in Skyrim, things never really felt like they...connected. It was all about shooting little balls, waiting, and generally not being too involved with the impact of the entire affair. And though it certainly had its upsides, I eventually found that the rooty-tooty-point-and-shooty aspect of it all just got a little...well, stale after a while. It was just too practical and straightforward, if you know what I mean.

    And then I started to want. I wanted a type of magic that was interactive. Something that was brutal. Something that worked in tandem with other schools of combat. Something that made me feel involved with the nuances of it and made me feel like I was in control, rather than something that was just "fire and forget" with a single setting. I wanted magic that made me feel empowered, versatile and unique as a player, yet had enough limitations and drawbacks to it that made me stay on my toes and make compromises between my strengths and my weaknesses. 

    ...And I found it. In all honesty, I never really thought much of this sort of ability at first - after all, it seemed to me like a bit of a gimmick, at best. But between the grip-induced beatings, crowd control capabilities, and the launching of both people and animals into the stratosphere, I realized that I was actually enjoying myself. Nothing felt better than catching a bear mid pounce, and pounding it into the floor whilst it wriggled helplessly within my grasp. Nothing could really compare to dragging a bandit away from his friend and finishing them off without anyone else noticing. And nothing felt more satisfying than grabbing a troublesome mage from afar, interrupting their abilities as I drained the life from their body before casting their soon-to-be-lifeless body off from the edge of the battlements. 

    In essence, I loved it. I felt like I was playing Skyrim differently, though as a character, I was still in the exact same world as I'd always been in. That being said, with the build details shown below, I hope that you too will feel the same.


    As vampiric grip is a spell not associated with any of the available schools of magic, this build will be relying off a large amount of magicka, as well as magicka regeneration, to maximize one's ability to make use of this mana-hungry spell. 

    Race: Altmer or Breton (Vampire Lord optional)

    Altmer is a natural choice, sporting a significantly larger magicka pool as well as access to the Highborn ability. However, Breton also makes for a viable defensive option, with Dragonskin and passive magic defense offsetting the build's weaknesses to both fire (glitch/choice dependent) and magic.

    Stats: 1/0/0 until a base pool of 200 magicka is obtained. Afterwards, 1/1/0.

    You will be fragile during the early stages of the game - and probably will remain that way later on as well, regardless of level. However, this issue will be offset with the use of both restoration and vampiric grip as a means to both heal, and to keep the flow of enemies at bay. 

    Stone: The Apprentice Stone

    Though the Apprentice Stone makes you weaker to magic, it will also greatly increase the rate at which you recover magicka as well, allowing you to recharge your magicka at a reliable rate even in the middle of combat. 

    Blessing: Blessing of Akatosh

    Mostly optional, this blessing provides an extra 10% worth of magicka regeneration for eight hours. However, due to the dubious nature of its availability, I personally would only activate this blessing if - and when - it is found, or when it is easily accessible.

    Black Books: Secret of Arcana or Secret of Protection

    The Secret of Arcana and the Secret of Protection will help with casting and bulk respectively, giving either no spell cost for 30 seconds, or halving damage received for the same duration. As such, with Secret of Arcana activated, you can use Vampiric Grip on a target indefinitely - even past the secret's 30 second duration shown - so long as you do not let go in the process. 



    As a character with relatively little health, there will inevitably be times when you will need to heal yourself. However, where restoration truly shines is in its ability to block magic with wards - a valuable skill, considering the weakness to magic brought upon by the use of the Apprentice Stone. As wards only block the base damage of enemy magic, there will be hardly any need to use anything past a lesser ward if you wish to block enemy fire. Most importantly, you will want to aim for the "Recovery" perk within this tree, which will increase magicka recovery levels by about 50% once fully perked. 

    Perks: Novice Restoration, Apprentice Restoration, Recovery (2/2)

    Spells: Lesser Ward, Fast Healing

    Optional Perks: Regeneration, Necromage

    One Handed

    This skill, as I'm sure you have already expected, is used to supplement the damage of your "off-hand" weapon - the Bound Sword (See details in the Conjuration section below). Though you won't be using your sword extensively, the ability to handle - and kill - enemies even in areas with low ceilings and no ledges is a quintessential feature that is intrinsic to the build at large. 

    Perks: Armsman (5/5)

    Optional Perks: Bladesman (3/3), Fighting Stance, Savage Strike


    As mentioned above, the perking of this tree will allow you to efficiently use the skill Bound Sword in combat. Why Bound Sword? You can't grab Atronachs. In fact, should a Flame Atronach appear, you will have a very difficult time handling them, and will probably die to their flame cloak if you don't finish them off fast enough. The Bound Sword solves this by having an in-built banish enchantment, easily crossing off one of the build's greatest enemies from the threat list altogether. Soul trap is nice too, supposing you feel the desire to look into the Enchanting tree. 

    Perks: Novice Conjuration, Mystic Binding, Soul Stealer, Oblivion Binding

    Spells: Bound Sword

    Light Armor

    With the equipment given, your only pieces of "Armor" will probably be your gauntlets and your boots. And Morokei, which, for the record, is an article of Light Armor as well. That being said, considering that the build doesn't use Alteration for the sake of simplicity, you'll probably want to perk either this OR heavy armor, according to your tastes.

    Perks: Agile Defender (5/5)

    Optional Perks: Juggernaut (5/5) (If you have decided upon heavy armor)

    Enchanting (Optional)

    Don't like the armor selection chosen? Think you can craft something better? Want to give yourself a set of gauntlets and shoes that'll outperform other sets? Alright, I suppose. Even though the build doesn't need enchanting to work, it can very easily accommodate it, what with the soul trap effect from Bound Sword doing half the work anyway.

    Recommended Perks: Enchanter (5/5), Insightful Enchanter, Corpus Enchanter, Extra Effect

    Vampire Lord

    Three perks are required here, simply for the discount on Vampiric grip from 50/s to 33.5/s. Get them! It works in human form, and could give you a couple more seconds with the grip. It's well worth the time!

    Perks: Power of the Grave, Vampiric Grip, Unearthly Will


    This equipment should, in conjunction with the Apprentice Stone, grant you +300% Magica Regeneration and +200 Magicka, not counting the bonuses gained by the Ring of the Erudite. Still, as mentioned above, if you feel like enchanting or if you think you can make something better than this, then be my guest!



    +100% Magicka Regeneration.

    Self-explanatory, the doubled magicka regeneration is more than welcome in a build as mana reliant as this. 



    Savos Aren's Amulet

    +50 Magicka

    I should mention here that magicka regenerated per second is based off a percentage of your maximum mana. Albeit minor, you can and will be recovering "more" magicka on average with this amulet - which can be obtained in the same quest as Morokei and the next item on the list...

    Archmage Robes

    +100% Magicka Regeneration, +50 Magicka, -15% spell cost for all spells

    Now this one's perfect for the build. Sadly the cost reduction does not in fact apply to vampiric grip, but nonetheless, I am certain that the mana regeneration and extra magicka are reason enough to use this as is.


    Ring of the Erudite

    +100 Magicka, with increased magicka regeneration

    So we know what the extra magicka does for the build, but hear me out about the additional magicka regeneration. This ring does not modify magic regeneration like the other ones that simply multiply its base value. No, the magicka regeneration rate on this ring is in fact additive. Essentially, what it does is add +2% to the BASE magicka regeneration rate as opposed to the multiplier, making 3% out of combat regeneration 5%, and 1% in-combat regeneration 3%. THAT total then gets modified by the rest of the equipment as well as the Apprentice stone, truly making your magicka regeneration impressive.

    Boots of Choice with Resist Fire/Shock

    I would recommend Resist Fire / Shock as an enchantment, simply because of the character's weaknesses to magic (fire magic in particular for some cases), as well as heavy magicka reliance. Though I cannot pinpoint a guaranteed location for a fire-resisting set of boots, I am aware of a set of +40% shock resistance boots found within the Archmage's headquarters upon completion of the College questline.


    Gloves of Choice with Fortify One Handed

    Same as the above, though this is simply to augment the damage dealt by your Bound Sword.



    Your Action Plan 

    Want to get ahead and straight into the build? Great! Listen up!

    Here are your priorities: 

    --Obtain Bound Sword (Fast Healing optional but preferred).
    --Beat the College of Winterhold questline either completely, or up until Morokei is defeated for gear.
    --Become a Vampire Lord in the Dawnguard questline at Level 10, obtain your perks, and quest for the Ring of the Erudite.
    --Perform the glitch.
    --Cure your vampirism (Optional).


    --The College of Winterhold questline may prove difficult at low levels. Consider bringing Uthgerd early on as a follower, as well as Serana once you reach level 10. 
    --The Apprentice Stone isn't necessary until Vampiric Grip is obtained. Stick with the Warrior stone until then to avoid working with a crippling magic weakness during the College questline. 
    --Until you get Vampiric Grip, an offhand healing spell like Fast Healing will net you relevant EXP for faster leveling.

    Keep in mind that I have purposefully avoided the main quest for this build and playthrough, in an attempt to avoid both dragons as well as the "same old quests". If you want ungrabbable dragons raining fiery death upon your fragile being, then that's your decision to make. I'm...not sure that dealing with them is going to be particularly fun as a whole, though.

    Combat: Tips, Tricks, and Strategies

    Ah, finally the meaty part. There's a lot that can be done with Vampiric Grip alone that doesn't involve choking or short distance throws. As such, I'll be listing a number of tips, tricks, and maneuvers that I've found incredibly helpful during my playthrough of the character.

    General Combat

    Before anything else, I feel that I should clarify that, at heart, the Kinetic is a frail character that cannot take too many hits. Thus, by using your Vampiric Grip to its full extent, you should make it a point to keep enemies either incapacitated or away from you at all times, either by flinging them, hurling or pulling them off ledges, or by simply beating their incapacitated bodies to death with your sword. Try not to hold an enemy for too long, however, as the cost of your Vampiric Grip will drain your magicka rapidly, even with both 400+ mana and cost reduction active.

    Remember to stay vigilant of your surroundings. Keep track of drops, ledges and other fallback points that'll grant you easy kills if you decide to throw groups of enemies off. Don't let yourself get surrounded - Even if you don't have time to properly launch everyone around you sky high, a quick grab and release will still send an enemy flying, thinning out the crowd and buying you time to either move, fight, or regenerate magicka. Also remember that depending on the glitch's performance, you may be able to walk on water - so keep that in mind if you need to create distance.

    Besides this, you WILL need a clear view of your target - not just their head and upper chest - to be able to grab them. You'll probably find it much easier if you aim at a target's center, in that regard. I've had things as trivial as grass and uneven ground block my grip's line of sight, so...keep that in mind the next time your crosshairs seem to fail at catching a target, and adjust your position accordingly! Nonetheless, don't forget that your Vampiric Grip range is insane, and, to some extent, possesses better effective range than even archery, being capable of interrupting animations and dismounting riders from their horses. Keep in mind that it will be harder to grab friendly targets compared to those hostile or neutral to you.

    Additionally, remember to give yourself enough time to react and prepare. Firstly, your Vampiric Grip has a chargeup/lock on time that, whilst almost negligible, may lead to danger if the delay is not accounted for. Secondly, though your Vampiric Grip is a spell that may still be cast even on short notice, do note that your Bound Sword isn't, taking time to both cast and materialize. 

    In light of this, the following is a maneuver that will provide you with enough time to either react to an ambush, or safely resummon your bound sword in the middle of a fight. I call it, for lack of a better name:

    "The Foiled Ambush"

    Use your grip on an enemy, catching them whilst simultaneously summoning your bound sword in your main hand. After completing your cast, the enemy will be flung away automatically. 

    Lastly, a reminder about fall damage. Fall damage is calculated by the difference in height between starting and finishing points. No matter how high or how far you fling a target, you have to consider where they're going to land, and if it's any higher or any lower than the place where they once started. You can throw someone a massive distance away, yet still fail to deal any damage if they land on ground both higher and similar to the level they were previously on. Consequently, if you're on high ground and really want to kill something with fall damage, your best bet would be to drag an enemy up, let go, and throw them back the way they came. You'll be surprised at how much a little height difference can do, even if they are falling into water.

    Of course, if there's no large drop on hand, there's always an alternate maneuver that will greatly extend your throw range the further an enemy is from you. This maneuver I like to call:

    "The Slingshot"

    By grabbing a target from afar, you will notice that the speed at which their ragdolls accelerate towards you will increase over time, with longer distances resulting in higher "speeds". By quickly turning around (by roughly 180 degrees) in the direction of the ragdoll's acceleration and letting go before the ragdoll stops, you can "fling" the target an absurdly large distance away.

    This is incredibly useful when there are no ledges nearby, or if there is a gentle slope with only minor height variation, as it allows the target to find - and fall through - a greater difference in height. It's also great at separating enemies from each other so that you can fight them one on one, though more often than not, its effect will result in an instant kill. 

    Against Mages

    Your greatest weakness is magic. That being said, grab and kill the mages FIRST. And if you have to fight multiple mages, kill the ones that use fire first, and the ones that uses frost last, as your transferred Vampire Lord passives may grant you additional fire weaknesses and frost resistances. Remember to KEEP YOUR DISTANCE when fighting them, as most spells will lose accuracy and effectiveness at longer ranges - especially in regards to fire magic. Luckily, your Vampiric Grip is hitscan, so you yourself won't be at much of a disadvantage whilst doing this. 

    Don't. Forget. Your ward. (Or if you are a Breton, your Dragonskin). Typically, you will need neither of those, considering that you'll be able to dodge past most enemy attacks fairly easily at longer distances, grabbing them before any significant damage has been done. However, you'll still want to have a ward on hand during times where you can't get a clear vantage point of an enemy's location, when you're in a tight spot that makes it difficult to dodge, or when they are using high damage area-of-effect spells that are difficult to dodge. This isn't meant to block all magic, mind you. Just enough to buy you time to snatch them and do them in for good. After all, when a ward shatters from too much damage, it still will block the hit, allowing you time to get away or run for cover. 

    If you've been damaged, but don't have time to switch to your healing abilities, do note that simply holding an enemy with Vampiric Grip will still slowly heal you. Furthermore, as long as they haven't expired yet, you'll be able to move around at full speed with them in tow - which will let you retreat from any other enemies as well as beat your target to death in private. 

    Against necromancers, your Vampiric Grip ability lets you deny the resurrection of nearby corpses, so long as they aren't skeletal. Simply focus your grip on the target being raised, and it will immediately turn to ash, preventing it from being utilized again. 

    Against Ungrabbable Enemies

    If it's an Atronach, your Bound Sword will easily be able to banish them, so long as you can get close enough and dodge their magic in the process. You will be able to freely ignore mammoths as well, considering that you'll be able to grab - and fling - giants around for easy gold and items. 

    As for Dragon Priests...I'd recommend running, or using a follower to handle those instead. 

    Stealth Combat

    Stealth, believe it or not, is an actual option in the build, considering the silence of the grip when channeled, as well as the fact that the "noise" of the spell (if "noisy" at all) is generated around the user rather than the receiver. This being said, you will be able to grab people from far away without others noticing you as long as you haven't been detected before. I've personally even avoided bounties by trying this on guards, so...if you're fast can potentially slingshot an enemy with this method without breaking stealth or incurring a bounty. 

    Also remember that crouching will help thin your crosshair into a dot, allowing you to easily aim your Vampiric Grip at distant targets. With this, I've been able to grab bandits from across the entirety of Valtheim towers, even on ground level, as well as those across the Lost Knife Hideout's complex! 

    Of course, these are all precursor to the true maneuver that defines this area:

    "The Beatdown"

    With your Bound Sword out, grab an enemy, aim down, and melee them repeatedly without loosening your grip. This results in a fairly silent onslaught that leaves the enemy helpless within the confines of your grasp, unable to move or speak. Power attacking automatically cancels the grip, and is thus not recommended. 

    This may be performed in and out of stealth against opponents when no ledges are readily available, and must be done at long ranges if one wishes to avoid detection. May be used in conjunction with the Secret of Arcana for infinite duration and an almost guaranteed kill. 

    One of my personal favorites, this brutal slew of attacks will turn the playing field in your favor even against the toughest of enemies, preventing them from fighting back or revealing your position by voice. Furthermore, the time it takes for them to stand back up will let you easily regenerate magicka, allowing you to grab them for a second and third round. The residual choke damage doesn't hurt either.

    That's it! Have fun playing!

    Ninja Edit: Enemy up in your face? Nothing to do with all that extra stamina?  Instead of just flinging them away or running off, why not consider power attacking? The distance that an enemy staggers when power attacked is supposed to place them out of your melee range. But...then again, you're the Kinetic. All you need to do is grab them back and utilize The Beatdown to even out the field. Be warned, though: Against multiple enemies, you may be too strapped for time to pull this off efficiently!





  • February 8, 2015

    Awesome work Halifax! This write up came a long way in such a short time. Remember to go and tag you discussion in the workshop for deletion now. 

  • Member
    February 8, 2015

    And to tag this discussion here for the archives! Great job, Halifax, it turned out really well! Why to set an example for what a first build should look like!

  • Member
    February 8, 2015

    Done and done! Thanks for the support, you guys! :D 

    Edit: Wait a sec. I tag this with? D:

  • Member
    February 8, 2015

    Having heard about this build since before it was even posted in the Workshop, it's great to see it in it's finished form. Awesome work Halifax!

    One small thing, Unearthy Will is the Vampire Lord perk that reduces the cost of Night Powers and Blood Magic by 33%, and can be gotten right after Power of the Grave. Maybe you should add it to the perks taken in the Vampire Lord tree?

  • Member
    February 8, 2015

    Well, you got the rank right, and you can add up to 3 tags from those used by the archive. <-link

  • Member
    February 8, 2015

    I actually added the rank tag. Sorry, but I've fallen in the habit of automatically adding a rank tag whenever I see a build without one. 

  • Member
    February 8, 2015

    Good habit ;D

  • Member
    February 8, 2015

    Eeeeek! How'd I let that one slip past me?! I'll add it right away!

  • Member
    February 8, 2015

    After messing up my tags for a couple minutes, I finally did it! :D I've added Battlemage and Bound Weapons tags, since I think they fit the most. Maybe I'll add Mage too..

    Or "No crafting"...Hmm...maybe "No crafting" is a better tag overall..

    ...Or Vampire? Agh, the choices! :P