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Event Build: The Antimonarch

Tags: #Character Build Spellsword  #Character Build Enchanter  #Character Build Hero  #Rank:Event Exemplar  #Event:Artifacts 
  • Member
    March 3, 2016

    There was once a blade, colder than the night, infused with the soul of a Frost Monarch, made for the sole purpose of assassinating a king, handed to the army’s commander by an evil archmage. The military coup would have gone perfectly well, if not for the misplaced loyalty of several soldiers. Thus, the nation which could have turned into a superpower in military might and commercial capability remained an average establishment.

    The Blade, deprived of its destiny, developed its own consciousness, seeking to slay a king for ages thereafter. It made itself available to those with unique destinies, from measly slaving warlocks to slayers of gods, but never was it able to fulfill its duty. One night, as the Blade rested on a pedestal, demoted and disgraced from a weapon to an ornament, it shattered like frost on a leaf and abandoned its physical shell. To fulfill its destiny, it would need a new vessel, a new wielder and a new cause in a new land.

    Years down the line, there was an imperial deserter who grew tired of the incessant and stale values and perspectives he was expected to adhere to in his time in the army.  So strong was his desire to witness change in the system that it drew the spirit of the Ice Blade of the Monarch, a blade born of a monarch, made to kill a monarch, so as to crown a new monarch. And as the sword presented itself in his dreams, its cold silence beckoned him towards an icy land, where it would be reborn into the world...

    Race: Breton

    Stats: 0/2/1 until stats reach 100/300/200, then onward 0/1/1

    Stone: The Atronach Stone

    Major Skills: Two-handed, Block, Enchanting

    Minor Skills: Destruction, Speech

    Abilities:  Spells: Frostbite, Ice spike, Frost Cloak, Ice Storm

                      Powers: North Wind, Secret of Arcana, 

                      Shouts: Frost Breath, Ice Form, Slow Time

    The two offensive skills taken are Two-Handed and Destruction. Since we won’t be putting any points into Magicka, Destruction will take a back seat for the most part, only to be used to deal damage to approaching enemies or to borrow time for stamina to recharge. Greatswords are the fastest 2-handed weapons and consume the least stamina for Power-attacks. This is important, since Stalhrim, our material of choice, has higher stagger chance than other materials, making Power-attacks that much more useful.

    We won’t be wearing armor, so our physical damage mitigation will be coming from Block, a skill which also allows us to exploit Slow Time shout and disarm opponents. Speech is essential to any aspiring leader, be it to rally or retort, and the Antimonarch is no exception. The merchant-side of the tree allows us to better use Trainer-merchants while also allowing us to improve Skyrim's economy with bursaries for the shopkeepers. Enchanting is the overarching skill which will support every other skill, adding damage to weapons, buffing resistance and reducing spell cost. Most importantly, it is the skill necessary to recreate one of the most treasured artifacts in all of Tamriel.

    There are insufficient perks for all those mentioned above even if the 5 skills are maxed, so once the Blade is obtained, feel free to throw Destruction and Enchantment perks into Block and Speech.

    The gear is made for boosting two-handed damage, improving destruction cost and power, as well as augmenting melee fighting style. Without any AR apart from Dukaan, the Fortify Block enchantment on the gloves really help out against physical damage. The Ebony greatsword is the off-weapon used to fill soul gems. The Staff of Frost Atronach is used against enemies in overwhelming numbers and to use the special move (outlined later). Only use the staff once the Frost Blade of the Monarch has been obtained. 

    The Ebony Greatsword an be found on high-level Draugr like those in Lost Valkyggg. The Staff of Frost Atronach can be created at the Atronach Forge, or found in the Archmage's Quarters (belongs to the Archmage until the College questline is complete).

    Recreating a powerful artifact is not easy task, and just enchanting a blade will not do. The blade must be the pinnacle of magical infusion, the marriage of metal and magic, a masterpiece meant to last an eternity.

    Step 1: Soul Searching

    While the original blade was enchanted with the soul of a Frost Monarch (a special Frost Atronach), there are no such creatures in Skyrim. However, one comes very close: The Ancient Frost Atronach summoned by Arch-Curate Vyrthur.

    The Frost Monarch, unlike its lesser brethren, cannot have its soul severed by a simple Soul Trap enchantment. Like cutting frozen butter with a hot knife, we'll be using the Burning Soul Trap enchantment to surpass the Frost Monarch's tenacity and melt its soul into a Grand Soul Gem (make sure to be at least level 20 before entering Ancestral Glade if you want the Ancient Frost Atronach to have a Grand-sized soul). I enchanted an Elven Greatsword to fit the occasion, in honor of the Altmer Archmage who enchanted the original blade. 

    Make sure have an empty Grand Soul gem before the fight, or hand it to Serana until then. This is to track the Ancient Frost Atronach's soul, since such a feature is not available in vanilla Skyrim. 

    Step 2: Surpassing Sorcery

    To maximize the potency of enchantments, several tasks need to be completed to reap several benefits. This includes beating Ahzidal for his armor (+10 skill levels to Enchantment when wearing 4 of his armor pieces), beating Dukaan for his mask (boost frost damage and enchantments) and the Black Book he guards (this book grants Seeker of Sorcery, making enchantments 10% stronger), and finally stocking up on Enchanter’s Elixirs. 

    We will be pairing our final Frost enchantment with a Chaos enchantment to boost the former. To maximize the Frost Damage enchantment, we'll need to unlock several perks: Frost Enchanter, Extra Effect, Augmented Frost 2/2, Augmented Flames 2/2 and Augmented Shock 2/2 are all unlocked.

    Step 3: Superior Substrate

    Obtain a Stalhrim Greatsword. This is possibly the toughest part of crafting the blade, since there is no definite location for the weapon. Stalhrim weapons are available for sale from Glover Mallory or Baldor Iron-Shaper once the character reaches level 35, but can also be found in boss chests before that. Either way, it’s gonna take a while, but with training or luck, it should become a much simpler task. 

    Step 4: Rebirth

    Once all the pieces are in place, equip Ahzidal’s relics (chestplate, gauntlet, boots and ring), wear Dukaan and chug an Enchanter’s Elixir. Push the Frost Damage slider all the way to the right, then slide Chaos Damage all the way to the left. Select the Grand Soul gem containing the Ancient Frost Atronach's Frost Monarch's soul, and finally, rename the Blade. 

    With an ungodly 210 Frost damage enchantment, not counting the blade's own physical damage, The Ice Blade of the Monarch is a weapon born once in an eternity. (In the case of an emergency, Elixirs of Destruction and Deadly Aversion to Frost are there to output stupidly high amounts of enchantment damage.)





    Our combat will revolve around our greatsword, its enchantment and blocking. Frost enchantments and spells allow kiting while reducing the enemies’ ability to run or power attack. Since our armor rating is relatively low, we will depend on block to mitigate physical damage. The long reach of greatswords keeps enemies at bay, while also allowing Great Critical Charge to damage with great efficiency. Stamina is usually reserved for bashing rather than power attacking, which do not capitalize on the enchantment and only have a chance to stagger. Slow Time allows us to avoid damage and make maximum use of our enchantment damage while Frost Breath with Dragonborn Frost serves as a powerful burst of damage and a defensive tool. 

    Most enemies are easy to deal with, due to the overwhelmingly strong frost enchantment. This includes men and mer (even Nords), Animals, Draugr and other undead, Ash Spawn, Falmer and Dragons (even Frost Dragons). In summary, anything not immune to Frost will take damage from the enchantment, and that alone is enough to shatter them under the power of the blade. 

    There are several foes in the game which are resistant to frost, the most important ones being Dwemer Constructs. The spiders pack a decent mix of magic and melee damage, the spheres can snipe from afar or swiftly shiv from near, the Ballistas deal high damage from afar and the centurions are absurdly powerful. Let me be honest here: there's no way of dealing with them with frost magic. However, many of our clothing pieces are enchanted with Fortify Two-handed, some blocking action and help from Slow Time, these guys shouldn't be problems either. 

    Special Skill: Decree of the Frost Monarch

    Frost Cloak + Staff of Frost Atronach + Dragonskin + Atronach Stone + Slow Time + North Wind

    Borrowing strength from the blade’s spirit, the Antimonarch unleashes the full fury of a Frost Monarch. As ice crystals tear through enemies as they whirl through the air, two shapes stand unscathed, one looming and angular, the other a most familiar silhouette.

    The finishing move during challenging battles, this work especially well against hoards of enemies in closed corners. Sandwitched between the Atronach’s cloak and punches, the North Wind’s buffeting damage and cold slashes of a greatsword, few enemies are left standing by the time the blizzard subsides.

    The Antimonarch was not very inclined towards the Empire’s current condition: surrendering to snobby elves, suppressing local cultures, being the most inefficient political system around. Knowing that, he sought to cure the current Skyrim plagued by Imperial incompetence.

    The first step is to weaken Imperial grip on the land. Though it cannot be helped that they are mere puppets to the Thalmor, there is no easy way to make the Imperial withdraw, and drastic measures would need to be taken to bring about change. For example, killing the Emperor and the opposing General. Having a band of assassins to take out the new kingdom’s enemies would not be a bad idea either, and thus the Antimonarch would begin his part-time job as an assassin.

    Physical threats are, however, not the only obstacles to a nation, for economic might and public satisfaction must also be ensured. The Antimonarch might have the merit to lead, but lacks the popularity to rally the people under his rule. If only there were a man recognized by the natives, a man who embodied the spirit of Skyrim in his actions and thought, a man who would make the perfect figurehead to topple Imperial rule…

    But there is, and we see him less than a minute into the game.

    Ulfric Stormcloak is the confident, ruthless and Nord-to-the-bone to-be liberator of Skyrim. By serving him in the liberation of Skyrim, the Antimonarch would be able to gain his trust and demonstrate his own skills. After the long and arduous campaign, as the blade would come down on Tullius’s neck, Ulfric would have realized his dream. And that’s when the adrenaline would run out, and slowly thereafter, the guilt, sorrow, insecurity and impatience would settle in. He would still keep the façade of his “True Nord” image up, but for one as experienced as the Antimonarch, it would be the simplest act to see through. That would be the invitation to string the man and make him dance to the Antimonarch’s tune. There is no sinister undertone or ulterior motives, but rather, a simple trade-off: the creation of a puppet-king to stand in for the mastermind in the shadows is a cheap price to pay to make Skyrim great again.

    The Antimonarch is not particularly benevolent, but neither is he cruel. He is merely objective, and is willing to sacrifice much for the sake of the greater good. His actions are pragmatic and careful, but executed with flexibility and efficiency. With the people’s eyes on Ulfric, with the commerce in the capable hands of Ulfric’s advisors, with the military under Galmar’s guidance, the Antimonarch is free to be the roaming vanguard, personally getting objectives complete where the untrained natives would fail. This ranges from simple tasks like taking out things which are bad for business, like bandits and vampires, to awakening ancient evil so as to put it to sleep permanently. While he is not directly responsible for ruling the country, he is the man who brings the pieces together so that an autonomous, independent and strong Skyrim is made possible.

    This build was the first in many ways: I gave Enchanting the limelight for the first time, and I was very pleased with the results (it didn't require as much grinding as I thought it would). This is also my first build which wasn't based off a character from other material, so I had to retrace my Morrowind adventures for inspiration.

    Big thanks to Dragonborn1721 for the suggestions and the amazing banners, which added some much-needed aesthetic flair to the build.

    So, there you have it folks, a Skyrim-original build which took me back to my Morrowind days, and was a real blast to play. Hope you guys enjoyed it!

  • March 3, 2016

    You've got my like Doc, so far I have to say this is one of my favorite recreation builds for the Event so far, you've expertly recreated the item, from the effects and lore behind it just makes it really awesome to read. The build, in terms of Gameplay, Roleplay, etc, are all really awesome

    Great work Doc, it's a like from me for sure.

  • Member
    March 3, 2016
    Not sure if it was intentional or not but you do have some font size discrepancy in the Ulfric section. Looks solid though doc.
  • Member
    March 3, 2016

    Thanks for pointing it out! I accidentally bolded it, will fix it right away. 

  • Member
    March 3, 2016

    Thanks DB, for the like and the banners

  • Member
    March 3, 2016

    Love the roleplay to "acquire" the Ice Blade of the Monarch. Not a fan of frost magic but this one stands out the most due to the roleplay.

  • March 3, 2016

    No problem Doc, I'm just trying to figure out how this is still in the Bloodworks, it's a bit ridiculous 

  • Member
    March 3, 2016

    It takes time DB. One does not simply reach "Recognized" within a day.

    There... I just said it.

  • March 3, 2016

    True, true, though an excellent build generally would be able to, I guess I've just been underestimating how inactive the group can be when liking and commenting. 

  • Member
    March 4, 2016
    The second picture screams "Come at me bro'!!!" Amazing screenshot and awesome character build.