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Character Build: The Drunken Mage

Tags: #Golden Fool  #Character Build Mage  #Character Build Unarmed  #Rank:Exemplar  #Race:Altmer 
  • Member
    April 8, 2015

    The Drunken Mage

    Having almost died fighting for the Aldmeri Dominion during the great war, the Drunken Mage is no stranger to the horrors of a battle field. His memories of what he has seen haunt him and have driven him to leave the Dominions forces in favour of the life of a travelling mage, and in the hope of forgetting he has turned to the various ales and meads he can get his hands on to try and bury his past. 

    While he may have met with little success on this front he continued to wander across Tamriel until he found himself in Skyrim; what little he knew of the province and it's people was learned from the mouths of the Thalmor and on the battlefield. One thing stood out in his memory, it had been drilled there when he was barely older than a child, 'the Nords were little more than drunken barbarians'. With this in mind he continued to wander until he found his way to Whiterun, where he found what he was looking for.

    Anyone interested in learning more of this guys background you can read it here.

    The Build

    Race: Altmer (Vampire Lord, Solely for the stacking glitch)

    Stats: Magicka 1/Health 1/Stamina 0, while this character is mainly a mage the points into health go a long way in keeping you alive when you switch to drunken stance which I’ll explain later.

    Once your health reaches 200 without enchantments; which should be level 21 if you prioritized magicka, switch to Magicka 2/Health 0/Stamina 1 this should fill out your magicka pool as well as increase the number of power attacks that you can use.

    Major Skills: Destruction, Illusion, Alteration & Restoration

    Minor Skills: Conjuration, Speech & Sneak (unperked)

    Standing Stone: Mage to start off, then switch to the Lord as the armor and magic resist will help in melee.

    Powers: Sailor's Repose

    Shouts: Dragon Aspect (2 words), Marked For Death & Whirlwind Sprint


    While you aren't perking enchanting; with the use of a grand soul gem you can enchant your gloves with 5 points of unarmed damage, which when combined with the 20 points from the Ring of the Beast and an Altmer's base unarmed damage of 4 this gives you a total of 29. Almost twice the base damage of a dragonbone sword in each hand. 

    Through the use of the stacking glitch we are able to equip both the Ring of the Beast and the Ring of the Erudite, which removes the need to switch between them as they are needed and makes easier on those of us who play on consoles and only have two hotkeys. First off you are going to need to be a Vampire Lord and have a follower with you. As you activate Vampire Lord Form speak to your follower (it may take a couple of tries but it will work eventually) and wait for the transformation to complete. Once it has go into your followers inventory where you can equip both of the Rings allowing for you to have both of them in effect when you revert back to human form.

    At this point you can decide whether or not you want to stay a vampire, personally I chose not to as I found the sun penalty to be fairly annoying. Either way I suggest not completing the Rings of Blood Magic quest since this will prevent the rings from being removed from your inventory during quests like Diplomatic Immunity or if you're arrested, allowing you to never have to worry about performing the glitch again.

    Due to the lack of enchanting perks your Drunkard's Robes should only boost magicka regen by about 20%, while this is lower than even the novice robes; I felt that it suited the character, since he has spent quite a few nights sleeping in ditches it only makes sense that his robes have started to fall apart and with them wouldn't the enchantment start to weaken?


    In combat there are two separate "Stances" that the Drunken Mage takes. The First being Scholar's Teachings, which consists of being sober and fighting with your magic in various ways, you'll spend most of your time like this. The Second is Drunken Stance, where you take a drink of Sleeping Tree Sap and abandon your spells to run into the fray fists at the ready. 

    Scholar's Teachings:

    Ring of the Erudite + Novice Hood + Savos Aren's Amulet + Drunkard's Robes

    For the most part while sober the Drunken Mage fights like your average mage. With his near mastery of each of the magic schools he is able to use a diverse range of tactics to eliminate his foes; be it a simple use of the elements in the form of his destruction spells, or raising the dead to force those he has defeated to fight along side him for a time. He is also capable of sowing disarray within his enemies forces either causing them to run in fear at the sight of him or to turn them against each other by manipulating old grievances or jealousy.

    Having been forced to hide from those that he has upset during his drunken antics, he has become capable of staying unnoticed when he fells the need. In combat he uses this to turn the odds in his favour by taking the chance to use a couple of well placed illusion spells before he is spotted. The quiet casting perk is not taken because he is not a mage that hides in the shadows while his illusion and conjuration spells fight for him, he simply uses his meager skills in sneak to set up the field before the battle starts.

    In this state his main form of defense are his illusion spells and his summons/raised allies; by using conjuration to create meat shields between him and his foes, he is free to start raining destruction spells upon the battlefield. Once he gains the Master of the Mind perk he can start using his courage and rally spells to boost the strength of his summons to increase the amount of time that he can be on the offensive before having to reset his defense.

    At latter levels he gains access to the alteration spell Paralyze, which can be used to either immobilize those foes that get too close or to keep a target in place while he rains destruction down upon them.


    Wall of Pain:

    Miraak's Staff + Wall Spell

    The Drunken mage creates an impassible wall between himself and his foes allowing him to stand his ground and cast spells free of being interrupted by a sword to the chest or other such distraction.

    By casting your wall spell as you activate Miraak's Staff you can create a barrier that will prevent enemies from coming within reach of you and that will also deal damage based on the element of the wall spell used. While the witless AI of Skyrim repeatedly run into the wall only to take damage and be knocked back you can freely cast any spell that you choose without having to worry about melee attackers getting near.

    Torch of the Living:

    Repel Undead Spell + Fire Spell

    Using his knowledge of life forces the Drunken Mage causes undead to flee before him while raining flames down upon them.

    By using a repel undead spell on a group of draugr you become free to fire spell after spell at them as they flee. This works well on lower level undead, but be warned higher level draugr and vampires will only be staggered by the initial strike of the spell and then will continue towards you.

    Mind Games:

    Pacify + Frenzy

    The Drunken Mage takes control of the minds of his foes causing them to turn their attention from him and onto their allies, allowing him to watch as they tear themselves to pieces.

    By first casting Pacify onto a group of enemies and then blasting them with Frenzy you go from having a group of bloodthirsty bandits charging towards you, to having a nice show to watch as they turn upon each other. Sure it can be done with the lower level spells like calm but it is a lot harder and more costly to hit each individual opponent.

    Drunken Stance:

    Flesh Spell + Ring of the Beast + Brawler’s Gloves + Sleeping Tree Sap

    Taking a drink of his favourite brew the Drunken Mage loses all sense and charges into combat with only his fists as weapons. While in this state he is numbed to the pain of his wounds and as such is able to keep fighting long after he would normally have been defeated; yet this is not without risk as when the sap’s influence wears off the full force of his wounds strike him, possibly leading to his death should they be severe enough. His ability to fight on is extended even further by perking Avoid Death which when combined with Regeneration and Sailor's Repose will heal for 400 health; fully healing you once a day.

    When you switch to this stance can determine the outcome of the battle; two early and you risk dying before you can defeat your opponent, too late and you may not have the magicka to cast your flesh spell leaving you without the armour to withstand their attacks.

    We're going to be needing quite a bit of Sleeping Tree Sap to be able to use this frequently; unfortunately there is a rather limited supply in set locations. To get around this we'll be using a duplication glitch; which can be found here to get our fix. First things first you'll be needing some sap to duplicate, when I first got out of Helgen I ran straight to Sleeping Tree Camp where you can get three bottles right from the start. I then went and got Uthgerd the Unbroken as her acquisition seems appropriate for a character that has a tendency to start drunken brawls.

    I recommend doing the next part at the Ragged Flagon. Just before the door that leads inside drop all the sap that you have in your inventory; make sure that you drop each one individually otherwise it won't work properly. Then tell your follower, in my case Uthgerd, to pick up each bottle of sap and have her wait outside the door while you head into the Flagon. When you come back out there should be copies of some if not all of the sap that your follower is holding, on the ground around them. Now all you have to do is pick them all up and take those back from your follow that they may have and repeat until you have a number you're happy with. For me this was anywhere between 50 and 60 bottles.


    Drunken Rage:

    2 words of Dragon Aspect + Drunken Stance

    When faced with stronger opponents the Drunken Mage only gets angrier, his swings become more erratic and he puts more weight behind them dealing more damage with each blow. His rage also allows him to ignore a larger number of injuries.

    This is mainly used when facing dungeon bosses or dragons, as you can only use it once per day. The boost to power attacks makes them more useful than they are when in your normal drunken state allowing you to deal more damage with each power attack. The bonus 100 AR and resistances to fire and frost are a welcome boost to our defenses and make it easier to go face to face with dragons when needed, the Ancient Dragonborn is nice too.

    Wrathful Aura:

    Marked For Death + Drunken Stance

    When faced with the Drunken Mage's blind fury, his foes become hesitant allowing him to land blows that they would normally be able to avoid.

    By using Marked For Death when you first switch over to Drunken Stance your foes will gradually become more and more vulnerable to your strikes, allowing you too either defeat a single stronger opponent faster or to be able to easily face a group of weaker foes. When used in conjunction with Drunken Rage you become capable of dealing some damage that your enemies will really feel.

    Drunken Stumble:

    Whirlwind Sprint + Drunken Stance

    The Drunken Mage stumbles forwards closing the gap between him and his opponent with surprising speed.

    This is mainly used to close in on those you are fighting after switching. It can also be used to re-position or flee, but what drunken brawler would be thinking of that?

    Closing Notes

    Ok lets get started with the Thanks that I need to give, First off Gollum for suggesting the use of Marked For Death which lead to the creation of the variations of Drunken Stance. Next up is Dragonborn for helping with... well a lot; there was helping me decide on the stat placements after level 21, some perk placements, naming and creating some of the variations and tactics. Oh and finally Morta who took the screenshots that I then brutally murdered and then Frankensteined back together to create the first and last images in the build.

    Likes: (Ning) 60 + Displayed


  • April 8, 2015


  • Member
    April 8, 2015

  • April 8, 2015

    Fine real comment. Great Build Golden Fool, I like the artistic style that makes this build seem very different from  most other builds. An interesting build for sure and one I enjoyed watching grow... a +1 from me

  • Member
    April 8, 2015

    Man, I love the way your character holds that lightning spell. It reminds me so much of Chidori from the Naruto anime. And the tree sap idea is awesome. It's a shame it comes in small doses in Skyrim.

  • Member
    April 8, 2015

    The lightning was Morta, but I'll still take the credit .

    Yeah that's why I had to resort to the duplication glitch, for it to be viably to use it for the build.

  • Member
    April 8, 2015

    I really like how this one turned out!

    PS: Thanks for the thanks

    PPS: Another way to augment your fist damage is to use Flame/Frost/Lightning Cloak. Not only does it add 8 DPS to your enemy by standing next to them, it also adds damage directly to your fists.  

  • Member
    April 8, 2015
    Hehe. Nice job.
  • Member
    April 8, 2015

    I thought that was just a rumour? So the 8 DPS from your cloak will also apply to your fists, giving you an extra 8 damage in unarmed?

  • Member
    April 8, 2015

    it's the same thing isn't it? you'd be so close in melee that the cloak would be doing the damage even without you attacking