Skyrim Character Building » Discussions

Character Build: The Volkihar

Tags: #Character Build Battlemage  #Character Build Vampire  #Race:Breton  #Rank:Legendary 
  • May 12, 2012

    It was time to experiment with elven armour, most folks hate the look but I’ve come to actually really like it, elven suits a female character well and looks pretty cool at night so I decided to make another vampire build…

    The Volkihar

    A former priestess of Dibella, your isolated chapter was set upon by one of the deadliest clans of vampires in Tamriel. Left for dead, you awaken to find your sisters slaughtered and your body harbouring an incurable disease. Despising your new form you swear eternal vengeance on those that defiled you.

    The Volkihar combines her new vampiric reflexes and speed to overwhelm her opponents in combat, her unusual bloodline gives her an affinity with ice magic and as she develops her abilities she is capable of harnessing this element to maximum potential.

    As a priestess you have no prior knowledge of fighting and will recruit in the current civil war to condition yourself in weaponry and different armor styles, this will also serve as a cover for you to hide your dark secret. You will also be joining the College of Winterhold, the wealth of knowledge contained therein may allow you to better understand your condition and perhaps locate the secluded coven of vampires that destroyed your life.

    It started with blood, it will end the same way.



    Race: Breton Vampire

    Stone: Atronach

    Major Skills: One or Two Handed, Light Armor, Destruction.

    Minor Skills: Smithing, Enchanting, Restoration.

    Weapons: Elven Greatsword or Elven War Axe.

    Armour: Enchanted Elven Armour.

    Essential Quests: Agent of Dibella, Agent of Mara, College of Winterhold, Civil War.


    The Build

    The lore surrounding the Volkihar of Skyrim has always fascinated me; their ability to freeze a man’s blood with their breath and reach through ice to snare prey all sounds incredible. I decided to play a vampire in a different way, rather than clinging to the shadows and casting illusions I created a strong fighter/mage with a simple ability set that grows naturally and culminates with the awesome necromage perk.  

    As a former priestess of Dibella her blessing is a nice fit and allows us to do 10% additional damage against the opposite sex, this character will be fighting in the civil war and there are scores of men-folk to be fought during that questline. The agent of mara blessing is completely optional but enhances magical resistance by 15% which is useful to combat her vampiric weakness to fire.

    The atronach stone is often viewed as an odd choice for a character, but for a vampire it will let us brave through fire attacks during the early days without needing to invest in alteration to build magical resistances as well as giving us a greater pool of magic to cast runes and frost cloak earlier. This character will be eventually taking the necromage perk bringing her spell absorption to around 62% meaning that you will be well protected even as a stage 4 vampire.

    Vampires are known to have lightning reflexes and amazing speed and in some cases they can even phase or turn to mist. I wanted to really embody this during the playthrough and made individual shouts a play style rather than just using them on a whim.

    Become ethereal is an amazingly useful ability for a vampire character, outside combat it means that we can ‘daywalk’ safely without the crippling stamina loss and during the night the Volkihar can sprint endlessly with no additional points invested in stamina. Ethereal’s real potential is unleashed during combat where you can phase between groups of assailants, avoid dragon breath and launch deadly surprise attacks. Frost cloak can also be used while ethereal and will quietly tick away in the background sapping life and stamina from your foes. All these traits coupled with the power to dive from the highest cliffs without taking a scratch make this a lovely immortal talent. Become ethereal should be your trigger shout, almost permanently.

    Slow time is a hugely underrated shout, possibly because 2 out of the three word walls are faction locked so during an average playthrough many players will not witness its truest form. Slow Time is best compared to unrelenting force, stage 1 is underwhelming but as you work up to level 3 it becomes incredibly powerful and even gives elemental fury a run for its money in terms of combat effectiveness. If one was to witness this ability being used in real time they would just see a blur, exactly what I wanted to achieve for a vampire character. You can catch enemy arrows as they fire them, dodge sword strikes within a hairs breadth and generally just be an awesome vampire.

    With shouts being used so frequently this character will wear an amulet of Talos at all times as well as questing under the Talos blessing which lasts for an impressive 8 game hours. With 40% shout time reduction become ethereal can be used almost permanently and once the necromage perk is taken her shout cooldown is reduced by 50%, meaning that you will be fighting in ‘matrix mode’ for over half of your encounters. This IS awesome and has to be seen to fully appreciate!

    Slow time and ethereal duration is lengthened by 50% once the necromage perk is taken, this bolsters the effectiveness of your character hugely!

    The Volkihar sprints effortlessly through the night…

    Elven armor requires some rare and expensive materials to smith, quicksilver being one of them, expect to pay a lot for materials and carry a pickaxe for mining quicksilver.

    Elven weapons are stronger and in my opinion better looking than both their dwarven and orcish equivalents, choosing between the exquisite elven greatsword and the deliciously sharp elven war axe turned out to be quite a heartbreaking decision for me. In the end I opted for the war axe because one handed weapons provide for a more versatile playthrough, allowing for both shields and spells to be used seamlessly. But make no mistake, the elven greatsword is gorgeous, and in the hands of a female vampire ‘feels right’. It’s all players’ choice.


    Level 50 Perk Spread

    Stat Placement: Magicka 1 / Health 2 / Stamina 1

    Some unusual skill choices for a vampire build then, no illusion, conjuration or sneaking, but this does make some of the vampire 'once per day' powers feel more unique if you choose to use them.

    Enchanting has been taken because magical weaponry works very well with slow time and also to raise the Volkihars fire resistances on armor, combined with the atronach stones absorption this should keep her running against enemy casters.

    You can begin creating elven armor early during the playthrough so there is really no need to maximise smithing, arcane blacksmith is a lazy perk, you can always smith your armor and then enchant it to create the same effect so there is no point in rushing to take that perk, just be organised.

    Runes are always great fun and one of the most time efficient ways to level destruction naturally. It takes only 9 runes to level destruction from level 44 to 45 without the mage stone.

    Vampiric weapons are a perfect fit for this character, I opted for an Absorb Health/Frost Damage enchantment to fit the theme.

    Many thanks to TZ gaming for the showcase video!

    Special Moves

    Daywalker (Novice)

    By using become ethereal you can travel quickly during the day without using stamina. This can be really handy when your in an isolated area and you get caught by the sun.

    Requires: Become Ethereal.



    Ethereal Rune (Apprentice)

    A duel cast frost rune is no joke, dealing out 110 damage, slowing and staggering enemies. Combined with become ethereal you can safely attract a large group of enemies to your location before letting this off at your feet.

    Requires: Become Ethereal, Frost Rune.



    Mistwalker (Adept)

    Her vampiric bloodline allows the Volkihar to embody a vortex of frozen mist that cannot be harmed by spell or sword.

    The deep freeze perk carries a paralysis effect causing enemies to fall frozen to the ground. (...freeze a mans blood in his veins...) Duel casting extends the cloaks radius and the necromage perk will augment this ability further dealing 900 damage over its extended 1:30 duration.

    Requires: Become Ethereal, Frost Cloak.


    Frost Wave (Adept)

    Time slows as the Volkihar channels her entire being into a wave of devastating frost magic.

    The slow moving nature of ice storm and its large radius means that during slow time an enemy is in the 'area of effect' for much longer than normal, even at normal game speed an ice storm has the ability to hit the same target more than once in a single cast. During slow time it becomes devastating.

    Requires: Slow Time, Ice Storm.


    Immortal (Expert)

    Bathed in a swirling tempest of frost, the Volkihar attacks with a speed and precision that no mortal could ever match. Its the highest expression of her physical power.

    Necromage extends both the duration and speed of Elemental Fury, meaning that it lasts for over 20 seconds and your attacks are 125% faster. Duel casting a frost cloak beforehand imbues your weapon with its icy magic causing both frost paralysis and severe pain.

    Requires: Necromage, Deep Freeze, Stage 3 Elemental Fury.


  • Member
    February 26, 2013

    the Daywalker ability slightly counteracts the dangers and you could just enchant your armour with some regenerating enchants. You could choose to swap the Atronach for the Lord Stone, and invest in Recovery asap while running the Lord.

    There's my two cents' worth

  • February 26, 2013
    Top tip: travel at night...
  • Member
    February 27, 2013

    I don't know why I have liked this yet. wow. instant +1 I'm going to try to play this today. Thanks for the build.

  • Member
    February 28, 2013

    Admittedly when you decide to do some shopping during the day and a dragon shows up it ruin your day.

  • Member
    February 28, 2013

    Absolutely impressive! I have yet to make a vampire in Skyrim and this is going to be my first.  With Dawnguard though, should I integrate this into it as best as I can?  Also what questlines do you prefer I do?  Cannot wait to give this one a shot.  I already have done your Alik'r build and it was fabulous.  Keep up the awesome work.

  • Member
    March 7, 2013

    I won't play the game for you, nor am I answering in Mason's place but I will suggest what I treated the build as. Basically I imagine that she is slowly "unlocking" her abilities as time goes on so in the mean time she's training them by doing really anything that comes her way. Of course morality will play a part, she's not one to jump into thievery or the Dark Brotherhood even though she knows she's doing a lot of killing. I'd put off doing Dawnguard until she's nearly level 50, it'll be tougher no doubt sort of appropriate

    Just my two cents..

  • Member
    March 7, 2013

    Awesome awesome awesome build.  I have to try this. 

  • Member
    March 11, 2013

    Granted you don't fully go with the plans of the Volkihar and you still seek revenge on them in the long run. Nearly done with Dawnguard using this build. Would like to use the new Vamp armor but it is weaker then Elven. Maybe if I get Blacksmithing high enough it could be useable. Only draw back is no head piece.

  • Member
    March 11, 2013

    Stat allocation?