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Character Build: The First Horseman of the Apocalypse (Modded)

Tags: #Character Build Vampire  #Character Build Villain  #Character Build Mods  #Character Build Ordinator 
  • February 4, 2017

    Character Build:

    The First Horseman of the Apocalypse: Pestilence [Revisited]

    (Modded Build)




    "They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine, plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth."


    Pestilence, Bringer of Plagues, spreads disease wherever they go. A harbinger of the end times, the First Horseman of the Apocalypse has little regard for the affairs of mortals and wanders calmly through Tamriel, infecting those they come across with the Gift of Peryite and leaving behind putrid corpses in their wake. Their use of vile plague spells and brandishing of infected blades makes Pestilence a true horror to face on the battlefield.




    A major revision of the original first installment to my Apocalyptic Horsemen series (War here // WIP Famine here // Death TBA). 

    Note: To play this build you will need Ordinator - Perks of Skyrim and Wintersun - Faiths of Skyrim

    You will also need The Four Horses of Apocalypse for your mount. (See the Optional Mods section for more recommendations)

    Race: Altmer or Breton for their magical capablities. Though in the end, it’s whatever you feel looks most formidable. 

    Sign: The Mage. 

    Shout: I don’t use shouts, but Marked for Death and Drain Vitality offer themselves nicely.

    Stats: 2/2/1 (M/H/S). 

    Major Skills: Restoration, Light Armor, Alchemy, One-Handed.

    Minor Skills: Conjuration, Smithing, Enchanting, Sneak.

    Equipment: Any gear you deem formidable. I suggest the vampire armor set paired with an apprentice hood and the Ring of Erudite. A green circlet or the Jagged Crown make good headpieces as well.

    Weapons: Swords and daggers, preferably Ebony/Daedric. At lower levels, Orcish looks good. Miraak's Staff for something unique.

    Follower: At the beginning, yes. Once strong enough - none. You also aren’t a Horseman of the Apocalypse without your horse.

    Quests: Dark Brotherhood, The Only Cure. 



    Major Skill Perks:



    Pestilence is the embodiment of sickness. The disease magic of the Restoration perk tree is the basis for the Plague Bringer’s build.

    0 - Restoration Mastery (2/2)

    Cast Restoration spells for 35/50% less Magicka, and Restoration spells are 0.25/0.5% more powerful per level of Restoration.

    Pestilence is a master of the twisted form of Restoration magic.

    40 - Necromanticon

    Study the arts of inflicting disease, learning the "Putrefy" spell. When your Restoration skill reaches 50/75, you learn "Death Cloud"/"Carrion Wind." These spells deal disease damage to living and undead.

    The spells unlocked by this perk are essential to Pestilence’s arsenal, allowing them to unleash a storm of infectious disease magic. 

    70 - Chalice of Tears

    If you are diseased or undead, your Restoration spells are 15% stronger and last 50% longer. 

    Pestilence is the literal embodiment of sickness and will spend much of the playthrough diseased and/or undead.

    70 - Plague Doctor

    You radiate an aura of death that reduces the poison and disease resistance of anyone approaching within 40 feet by 50% for 30 seconds, whether friend or foe.

    Pestilence radiates sickness and decay to all they come across; this perk is a must. 



    Light Armor

    Pestilence is swift and deadly, striking their opponents and infecting them before escaping untouched.  

    0 - Light Armor Mastery (2/2) and 70 - Hissing Dragon

    Armor rating of Light Armor increased by 20/40%. You gain a small amount of Light Armor experience when wearing at least two pieces of Light Armor in combat. // You may choose a damage type (fire, frost, shock, poison, disease or sun). Unarmed attacks unleash a shockwave that deals the chosen damage type to all targets in front of you. Requires two free hands. Does not activate while sneaking.

    Pestilence moves swiftly on the battlefield and armors themselves only lightly. If you decide to go the unarmed route, Hissing Dragon is mandatory, which allows you to select unarmed disease or poison damage, which will send forth a wave of pestilence every time you strike down your opponents with your bare hands.


    While the First Horseman primarily relies on their disease spells, they are no more deadly with a sharp blade either.

    0 - One-Handed Mastery (2/2) and 20 - Disciplined Fighter

    One-handed weapons do 25/50% more damage./, and critical strikes with one-handed weapons do 2% more critical damage per level of One-Handed.// Reduces the Stamina cost of power attacks with one-handed weapons by 15.

    Pestilence is a capable swordsman, able to swiftly strike down those who stand in his way. 

    40 - Furious Strength

    Power attack damage with one-handed weapons increased by 15% plus 0.1% per point of Stamina. Unlocks decapitations.

    The First Horseman is no frail old mage - they are a nightmarish force to meet on the battlefield and are just as deadly with a blade as with their spells and poisons.



     The Plague-Bringer is a master of disease and poison and thus uses Alchemy to their infectious advantage.

     0 - Alchemy Mastery (2/2)

     Potions and poisons you make are 20/40% stronger

     The Apostle of Peryite is well-versed in the art of alchemical poisons.

     30 - Poisoner

     Poisons become 1% stronger for each alchemy level

    Pestilence is a master of poison, able to brew the deadliest potions.

    40 - Bottomless Cup

    Poisons applied to weapons last for one additional hit per 10 levels of Alchemy.

    Essential for granting Pestilence poison with every strike.

     80 - Amplify Lethality

     Grants power to reduce target’s poison resistance by 250% for 10  seconds

     Optional, though this perk will ensure even the mightiest of foes falls prey to   the power of Pestilence.

     90 - World Serpent

     Shouting turns your blood poisonous for 15 seconds, when you get hit with a weapon, unleashes a powerful attack that deals 50 poison  damage per second for 10 seconds.

     Optional, but if you’re Plaguebringer is also Dragonborn, then this will ensure they are a formidable foe to anyone they come across.


    Minor Skill Perks:


    Thought not strictly essential to the build, the following skills and perks are practical.

    40 - Rat King

    When entering combat, creates 3 undead Skeevers under your control. Their corpses can be raised, but they dissipate when combat ends. Use the "Merciful King" power to temporarily prevent this ability from activating.

    Plagues have always been associated with rats and the rat is one of Peryite's creatures - this summons a pack of skeever to your side every time you enter combat.


    Optional skill tree, though if playing a vampire, you will need decent regeneration enchantments.


    Depending on your blade of choice, you will need to invest in the appropriate perks, especially since you will be using a non-enchanted blade for most of your playthrough.


    Optional skill tree, if you wish to silently inflict your diseases.



    Gameplay and Roleplay:

    The Plague Doctor's fascination with disease began at an early age. Due to this, they were often shunned by those around them - but it mattered little, for all ther focus lay in unravelling the secrets of sickness. 

    Upon reaching Skyrim, they served under some of the brightest alchemists, and even turned to the College of Winterhold, in their pursuit of diseases and the twisted path of restoration few dared follow. It wasn't long before the Dark Brotherhood heard word of their unique potential skillset: the ability to kill and make it appear natural to all but the keenest observer. And it was while serving the Dark Brotherhood that the Plague Doctor learned of the Daedric Prince of Blight and began their worship of him. After many years of loyalty, they had been granted the ultimate gift: The Gift of Peryte.

    And thus was born the First Horseman.


    The First Horseman of the Apocalypse has little regard for the lives of Tamriel’s citizens, extinguishing life as they see fit. Murder and kill as you please, whether by sneaking into houses at night and silently inflicting horrid poisons on the sleeping, or breaking down the  gates of a bandit fort and mass-infecting anyone who you come across.

    Pestilence's purpose on Tamriel is two-fold: they are to actively catch any and all diseases they can catch in order to embody true sickness, and they are to wander Skyrim and inflict those diseases on anyone unlucky enough to cross paths with them. Infect any and all wildlife and travellers you come across, leaving behind rotten corpses in your wake.

    As a devotee to the Daedric Lord of Blight, Peryite, you shall never attempt to heal your diseases and are a vessel through which the Gifts of Peryite can be spread throughout Tamriel.

    There are a variety of ways Pestilence can bring about World's End, with an equally diverse selection of motivations for their character. Choose whichever you deem appropriate and wreck havok on Tamriel.


    Spells of the Plague Bringer:

    The spells and abilities included in the mods Wintersun - Faiths of Skyrim and Ordinator - Perks of Skyrim form the basis for Pestilence's deadly magic.

    Ordinator - Perks of Skyrim:


    • Inflicts 8 disease damage per second for 15 seconds to a living or undead target.

    The primary and basic attack of a young Plague-bringer.

    Cloud of Death

    • Toxic explosion at the target location that deals 14 disease damage for 15 seconds.

    While Putrefy is great for lower levels, Cloud of Death is where Pestilence’s true power lies, allowing them to infect groups of people in a small radius.

    Carrion Wind

    • Living and undead targets in the path of the whirlwind take 22 disease damage for 15 seconds.

    The ultimate plague: Carrion wind sends forth an unstoppable whirlwind teeming with disease, infecting all who come in it’s path. This is Pestilence’s ultimate horror and there are but few foes who can withstand this spell when cast as constant waves of sickness.

    Wintersun - Faiths of Skyrim:

    Worshipper - Taskmaster

    Learn all skills X% faster (based on favor with Peryite). Meditate to request Peryite's Gifts to gain favor.

    As a worshipper of Peryite, you will be granted with a quicker understanding of things. And more importantly, you will be granted the option to accept Peryite's Gifts.

    Devotee - Green Dragon’s Breath

    Activate a living opponent in combat to inflict all of Peryite's Gifts you have on the target, plus 5 disease damage per second for each gift. Meditate to recharge.

    Peryite's ultimate sign of appreciation for your devotion - the ability to unleash all the sickness within your body on an unwilling opponent. Deadly and inescapable.


     Optional Mods

    While these are strictly speaking not mandatory, the following mods are highly recommended in order to grant a more diverse collection of disease magic that Pestilence can use to unleash virulent plagues upon the world of Tamriel. 


    Apocalypse - Magic of Skyrim:

     Includes various disease-themed spells.



    Infects a corpse to radiate disease, damaging any foes near it.

    Especially useful when cornered in small spaces - cast on the corpses of your fallen foes and watch as the survivors wilt away. 


    Horrid Wilting

    Damages living targets with disease.

    Manipulate the life of your foes, rotting them from the inside and dwindling their health through disease.



    You and nearby allies absorb Health from the cursed target.

    This spell should prove helpful in helping the First Horseman last longer on the battlefield.


    Life's Finale

    Deals lethal disease damage over time to living enemies and yourself.

    An incredibly deadly master-level disease spell that rots away living target's in it's reach.


    Grimoire - Spell Package:

    Includes even more interesting disease spells.


    Black Swarm  

    Target is attacked by a swarm of flies, which do 4 disease damage for 20 seconds and can cause the target to stagger.

    The spell, although under the conjuration tree, deals dstacking disease damage and staggers.


    Plague of Locusts / Infestation / Dread Cocoon

    Targets that fail to resist are infected with a plague. On death, the target spawns a horde of locusts/poisonous spiders, which attack and infect other hostiles with the plague. // Cast on a corpse to implant it with a fearful creature, which will hatch from its cocoon in 15 seconds. Those attacked by the creature also have a chance to be infected.

    These plague spells from Grimoire are some of the deadliest weapons Pestilence can have in their arsenal, allowing them to send forth waves of diseased insects that burst from the bodies of the dead and attack enemies, distracting them from you and simultaneously infecting other foes.

    Plague Bringer

    For 30 seconds, every target struck with your weapon is infected with up to 6 diseases. Disease vectors are consumed from your inventory to power this spell.

    When cast with an unenchanted weapon drawn, Plague Bringer will remove ingredients from your inventory and imbue the coresponding sickness into your weapon, infecting those it strikes.

    Rite of the Old Gods

    Lowers the poison and disease resistance of nearby enemies by 50%. Chance to infect enemies with a random disease - even if normally immune. Lasts 120 seconds.

    A master-level spell to weaken your foes resistance before unleashing your true plague.


    Sacrosanct - Vampires of Skyrim 

    Ruler of Locusts (Power)

    Once per battle, activate an enemy to send poisonous insects. 

    Sacrosanct offers the Redguard vampiric ability to send forth a swarm of poisonous insects to attack your enemies - something which you might want to consider. The spell is best used on the most formidable foe on the battlefield: two-handed berserkers have the potential to cut down Pestilence, for example.


    Peryite's Blessing - A Special Shout 

    Peryite's Blessing offers Pestilence the ability to spew forth powerful venom, much like the Afflicted. Few can survive the diseased bile once it touches them. 


    Odvar the Afflicted

    Speaking of the Afflicted, this mod gives you an Afflicted follower with a sense of humor and a range of useful supporting skills.


    Diseased - Diseases System Overhaul

    With Diseased - Disease System Overhaul installed, Pestilence will have access to the ability to concoct disease potions. On studying the book Greyfox’s Anatomy they will soon enough be mixing potions ranging from Deadly Ataxia to Brainrot Fever poisons. Be creative in the diseases you wish to consume Skyrim with.

    Warning: have not tested with Wintersun. Since Peryite requires you to never heal diseases, and this mod makes almost all diseases deadly, they may not work well together.


    Religion - Prayer Meditation Worship 

    An older alternative to Wintersun, which also allows you to worship the Daedric Prince Peryite, Lord of Pestilence. Gain his favor, and he may grant you several blessings.



    Combat style: 

    This is the fun part. As Pestilence, Bringer of Plagues, you radiate disease and drain the life of those you come across – there are several diverse ways to go about how the First Horseman spreads sickness and death over the battlefield. The beauty of the Plague Bringer’s build is the use of multiple damage over time illness spells and/or poisons on the enemy, inflicting virulent diseases upon your foes and stepping back to watch as their health rapidly dwindles, dying before they can even strike back. 

    You’ll want to ensure that your foes perish as quickly as possible, sending out waves of sickness into the fray and killing off the enemy – preferably before they even have the chance to reach you. But Pestilence is not a frail old man; he is an Apocalyptic Horseman and is well-versed in the blade. If need be, the Bringer of Plagues can jump straight into the middle of the fray, weilding infected blades and striking down his enemies.


    Levels 1 - 15 (approx.)

    Starting off, you will want to focus intensely on levelling your Restoration skill to 40, in order to unlock the basic disease spellPutrefy and Cloud of Death as soon as you can. Also, work on brewing basic poisons for your weapons. Those will form a good basis for the beginnings of Pestilence's reign.Try to find a suitable follower early on as well (preferably with essential status, so your damage over time spells don't accidentally kill them).

    Once you are decently strong and have good protection, you will want to head out and locate Peryite's Shrine as quickly as possible, and you will need to attempt to catch a disease. The reason for this is that Peryite refuses to speak to those who are not diseased. Any sickness will do, though I advice against Sanguinare Vampiris (at least, at the beginning). Being a vampire is incredibly hard at lower levels, and with the debuffs of the various disases you'll be carrying, you will want to wait until later if you really want to be a vampire.

    Once successful, you will worship Peryite at his shrine and accept his gifts (various debuffs/diseases). Important: we will "cheat" slightly (only slightly). The gift you receive is random. Our goal is to reach 110% devotion without receiving a debuff to one of our major skills (otherwise this playthrough is more frustrating than fun). So accept Peryite's Gifts and if they weaken your major skills, reload and try again.

    Once you have Green Dragon's Breathe, you may go forth and begin the mass-infection of life on Tamriel. 

    Allow your follower to get in the middle of the fray, striking with disease magic from the sidelines. When forced into close combat, poison your blade and go for the throat. Should an especially dangerous opponent approach you, launch Green Dragon's Breathe on them to stagger them and unleash a deadly wave of disease. Once the battle is over, meditate over the diseased corpses to recharge your power and please Peryite.

    Note that smithing and enchanting can be useful in giving you the upper hand in terms of equipment in the beginning. Avoid vampires and dwemer constructs, for they are resistant to both poison and disease, leaving you vulnerable. This can be avoided with the Peryite's Blessing mod, which affects all enemies.


    Levels 22 - 47 (approx.)

    These levels are where Pestilence begins to evolve into a true horror on the battlefield. 

    Upon entering combat, cast Carrion Wind followed by Death Cloud into the fray, infecting and killing off the weaker enemies before they even reach you. If using Grimoire - Spell Package, try to use Plague of Locusts on the rats conjured up from Ordinator's conjuration tree perk. Once dead, the rat's body will burst open and unleash diseased insects that will attack and infect others, whose bodies will also burst open on death, unleashing more bug swarms to spread sickness. 

    While your foes fend off the insects/rats, continue sending forth waves of sickness into the fray and further dwindling their health. If any opponents come too close, strike them down with a poisoned blade of your choice or use Grimoire's Plague Bringer spell to imbue your weapon with with diverse ailments to strike down your foes with.

    Use Green Dragon's Breathe on the strongest opponent or as a last-resort defense against opponents who come too close to slaying you. 

    If playing a Vampire Redguard with Sacrosanct installed, you’ll want to use Ruler of Locusts on the strongest foe as well, not letting them come close and getting them out of the way quickly. The same tactic goes for using Peryite's Blessing. 

    For the ultimate plague, cast Grimoire's Rite of the Old Gods followed by Life's Finale, in order to bring the a virulent and unstoppable wave of disease upon those in your immediate surroundings.

    Whether you are in the middle of the battlefield, striking down enemies with infected blades, or watching from afar as your plague of rats and locusts tear foes apart, Pestilence is an insanely fun evil playthrough. Be creative in the way you spread disease throughout Tamriel.



    • Due to the way spell tomes are randomized, it can be extremely hard to get certain spells, which is why it's important to reach restoration level 40 as soon as possible. I've noticed Plague of Locusts is somewhat rare in my playthrough - despite being level 90 in restoration and the spell being an adept spell (50) I did not come across it at any spell merchant. 
    • With the above mods, this build is truly very diverse in combat. Experiment with the spells and don't hesitate to switch back and forth between combat styles.


     Screenshots of my personal playthrough here.

    Photo Credits:

    Draxmusthurt / Daarken Hounworks/ theDURRRRIAN/ / Miguel Brüger / Alexander Koval

  • Member
    February 4, 2017

    First post, first build. Impressive stuff! Modded too, for extra spice. Nothing bad to say here, welcome Pestilence. Hell of an entrance +1!

  • February 4, 2017

    @Phil, Thanks man! Glad you enjoyed reading - won't lie, if ever I do another of these, I'm not sure I could top this! Definitely one of my favorite modded builds.

  • Member
    February 4, 2017

    I won't lie and say I understood everything - I have yet to take the plunge into Ordinator and I don't think all the others are available on Xbox One, but after reading through your mod links I think I am up to speed. Someone more knowledgable than I can likely discuss the mechanics with you in greater detail, but what impresses me most is the theme and your balls to signup and post a build. That is cool af!

    Are you a long-time reader of TV and the builds? If so, what took you so long to get here? Introduce Yourself, dude. What's next for you seeing as you are off to a flying start?! :)

  • February 4, 2017

    I definitely recommend taking the plunge into Ordinator! It gives you so many new options for playthroughs, it's incredible. Apocalypse is by the same author, and I'm fairly certain both are available for Xbox One. You could technically do the build with only those two, but then you don't have the badass plague spells where insects explode from dead enemies haha. 

    As for the theme, I've always found The Apocalyptic Horseriders to be crazy interesting. You seem 'em in TV shows such as Supernatural, as well as both Xmen comics and films. 

    Long-time reader: Not at all! I've known about TamrielVault's character builds and before writing this, did read a handful of them for fun. Honestly only signed up so I could post my own build haha. I'll be sure to introduce myself when I get the chance! 

    As for what's next... Probably just read through any new and old builds until I get inspired to write another :D

  • Member
    February 4, 2017

    I like every single word in that reply! The Horesman are cool, reminds me of my Red Dead days :D So ok, Ordinator and Apocalypse at least, great to know.

    Yes: Read, comment and like other builds. Say hi in the forums and tell us about yourself when you get time, use the inspiration you find here to create more builds. Welcome, once again! :)

  • February 4, 2017

    I'm pretty sure if I write another, it'll also be lightly modded. I've had tons of fun doing Fishermen builds, as well as Traveller builds. Dwemer Scholar builds are also really fun. Or perhaps a LOTR-inspired build - there doesn't seem to be a Gandalf build yet! haha

  • Member
    February 4, 2017

    Pestilence said:

    I'm pretty sure if I write another, it'll also be lightly modded. I've had tons of fun doing Fishermen builds, as well as Traveller builds. Dwemer Scholar builds are also really fun. Or perhaps a LOTR-inspired build - there doesn't seem to be a Gandalf build yet! haha

    That bit about Gandalf isn't exactly true :P There were plenty back in the days when the death matches were held to remove any builds that didn't really meet the group's standards. I'm sure you can work out what happened to them all.

    Unless of course you were making a joke about there being many of them, in which case:

    The Joke


    My Head

  • February 5, 2017

    @Golden Fool: Aah, OK - I did not know about those! Either way, I won't be writing a build for a while probably anyway. These are tough and a lot of work haha

  • Member
    February 5, 2017

    Damn. Hell of a first build, Pestilence! I'm very impressed! I love the art you've chosen here too. It's perfect for the vibe you've got going on here.

    I gotta say the names of some of those spells in those mods--Carrion Wind for example--paint such a wonderfully putrid picture. :D I'm definitely going to check those out. Super intriguing. I could definitely see myself playing this build in the future. The only thing I'm really missing here is the roleplay element. That's always one of my favorite aspects of a build because no matter how fun the mechanics are, to me, roleplay is the glue that holds it all together and gives me drive and direction, helps me construct a recommended quest list and order. So I'm just wondering about this character's motivation and story. Is there a tie in to Alduin, for example? I noticed you weren't using shouts but mentioned Drain Vitality and MFD were nice possible additions. So personally that's the only element here I'd like to see expanded on. This is an awesome build though!

    Oh! And if you wanted an option for a "pale" horse that fits the build, there's a mod for an ethereal horse (called just "Ethereal" I think) and that might be an option to check out too. It's a summon, but the horse follows you for as long has you have it summoned (whether you're riding it or not), then you cast a separate spell to release it.