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Character Build: The Shadow of Dawn (Full Version)

Tags: #Character Build Spellsword  #Character Build Crusader  #Character Build Rogue  #Character Build Nightblade  #Race:Breton  #Mods  #Ordinator  #SE Rank:Adept  #Furrion 17 
  • Member
    May 19, 2018

    For the full Backstory Click Here

    Born into a minor noble house in Wayrest in the 178th year of the 4th Era, Alayne was the youngest child of two children. Her mother had died giving birth to her, a fact that her brother would never let her forget, even if his resentment was unspoken, she knew it was always there. Her brother Robert was 10 years her senior and was being groomed to inherit her father’s business and estate. She would be married off to some rich lord to curry favour with his family no doubt.  She hated that idea, which often would annoy her father. Left to her own devices growing up, she would frequent the estate's library wing quite regularly, where she would read tales about famous adventurers and gallant knights; often ending with rescuing a beautiful lady or princess.  She liked the idea of being a knight more than some swooning dolt. Sometimes she would play with the servant’s children, though she would never tell her father, he had strong opinions about mixing with peasants. Her father was a renowned merchant who had set his business up in the Wayrest docks. He had trade agreements with several notable houses from all over The Iliac Bay. Some ships would even go as far south as the Summerset Isles, or north to the frozen land of Skyrim. 

    A day in the year 188 changed everything. It was the day she found out the truth and the lies…It was an unremarkable day as any to start with, she broke her fast with her father and brother before saying her goodbyes and seeing them off as they headed down to the docks toward father’s business. She then walked down to the west wing of the estate as she would oft do to read in the library. It was late in the afternoon and she was day dreaming about what her father was going to bring home that day. Sometimes, he’d have new books for her to read, or a new dress… she hoped it was the former. Her day dreaming was interrupted by the sudden ringing of bells.  Strange, she remembered thinking, they never rang the bells at this time.

    She got up to walk over to the window, but before she could, her brother burst through the doors, the serving woman gasped and dropped the honeyed milk that she’d been bringing to Alayne. Her brother’s tunic was covered in blood and he was dirty and sweaty.  He must have run the horse half ragged to be looking like that, she thought. Alayne opened her mouth to say something, but he cut her off, and grabbed her by the hand and said she had to hide and that they’d killed father and most everyone at the docks. The city was under attack by pirates and corsairs, she heard her brother saying while her head swam at the sudden shock of what was happening. He took her to her mother’s old study, why, she didn’t know.  What was there that could possibly help them? He started at the book shelf and she yelled at Robert not understanding why he’d want to look for a book at a time like this. He turned and the look on his face was stone and solemn. She let him be after that and just watched in fearful silence. The bookshelf creaked and cracked and slowly began to open. Her brother grabbed her and told her that she had to go in there and not come out until he came back for her.  He told her that she’d find things that wouldn’t make sense and he would tell her everything once the crisis was over. He shoved her into the darkness and the bookshelf swung shut. 

    It was pitch black inside and she could hear the muffled sounds of bells ringing. She sobbed quietly, fumbling at the walls eventually finding perchance a lantern with some oil in it.   She nearly knocked it over as her hand clumsily brushed over it. She grabbed it off the wall and used the flint that was strung on the side of it to light the oil within. When she had finally lit the lantern, she made her way slowly down the cold flagstone steps. The steps were full of dust and cobwebs and she heard a mouse scurry away as the light rounded the stairwell. A few moments later, the steps broke off into a small room. She lifted the lantern to get a better view and a sudden flash caught her eye as light reflected off a silver sword. She made her way over cautiously. The blade itself was rather plain, but it had an ornate cross guard with beautiful patterns and swirls, that met a fine leather grip dyed crimson red.  At the top of the hilt, sat a round pommel with the knot of Arkay inscribed into it. She ran a finger along the blade and winced, the blade was still sharp and a red line of blood quickly formed across her finger. 

    Days passed before she plucked up enough courage to come out of the secret room. Alayne soon found why her brother hadn't returned. Robert lay lifeless in the passage, his head had been caved in and a knife had been plunged into his chest. The estate was deathly quiet as she sat with Robert's body weeping uncontrolably in anguish and grief. 

    That day had changed her, she knew then. and as the years passed, she dedicated herself to learning her mother's trade. Her mother had been a vampire hunter, you see, and she had kept many tomes of research that Alayne read fervently over the years preceding Wayrest's sacking. She'd even managed to hunt a few vampires down from the Montalion clan which was no easy feat. It had taken her 10 years of honing her skills with blade, magick, and subterfuge to even think of taking on one of the beasts. But in the end, she rose to the challenge and emerged mostly unscathed, save for the scar that streaked across her lower left cheek.

    It was happenstance she found herself on a ship to Skyrim.  She had learned through some contacts that there was a pirate who frequented Solitude's docks who would often boast of his exploits in the sacking of Wayrest,  those exploits included running his cutlass through a certain noble merchant from Wayrest and plundering the goods from his warehouse at the docks. Alayne couldn’t let that stand, she settled any affairs she had the very next day and left the estate in the capable hands of her butler. There was also some research she'd found of her mother's some time ago that she intended on seeing to whilst in Skyrim. If the research was accurate, there was supposedly a legendary artifact there, located near the small town of Dragon Bridge. This artifact was said to be a sword of unmatched beauty that glowed with such power and splendour that any false life in its presence would be purged from exitance. A lead she thought well worth following up on.

    As the ship rounded the cove, she donned her cloak hiding her silver beneath it and pulled up the fur hood as she stepped out of the cabin into the bitter cold wind. The sounds of gulls and bells carried through the air and in the near distance, she saw the great arch of Solitude with the Blue Palace standing proudly upon it. They had arrived in Skyrim at last. The captain looked down to her from the ship's wheel, gesturing her to come see him. After concluding her affairs on the vessel and arranging for her belongings to be taken to Solitude's finest inn, she was set to depart when the captain asked her one final question. “What is it that you hope to accomplish my lady?"

    "Vengeance." She simply replied, stepping off the ship onto the docks. 



     Breton: With Imperious races installed, Alayne will gain the passive effect "Spell Mantle" which grants a 15% bonus to magick resistance and a 25% chance to absorb spells at low magicka, the Stones of Galen passive effect which grants an extra effect to standing stones (the effect Alayne will gain is a 20% chance to do double sneak damage, from the shadow stone). There is also a random encounter event that allows you to find The Grail of Betony on a "Treasure Hunter" this will grant Alayne a 50% bonus to Magicka and Stamina regen. And lastly, there is an unlockable power that is completed by finding 10 standing Stones. This allows you to mimic your target's racial power once a day. 

    Name: Alayne 

    Gender: Female 

    Age: 23

    Standing Stone: With Andromeda Standing Stones installed the Shadow Stone will grant Alayne two passive effects and an unlockable power. The first effect is called Blur and grants 20% faster movement speed while in combat. The second is called Hide in Shadows and grants 20% better sneaking and sneak damage when close to a wall or structure. The unlockable power Shadow step allows you to blink a moderate distance to a target at the cost of 50 stamina. This is unlocked by finding all the Standing Stones in Skyrim. 

    Morality and Personality: Chaotic Good. Alayne has a strong hatred for pirates and bandits and will actively seek to destabilize their activities in any way possible. She has no qualms with joining The Thieves Guild, but will not steal from the poor or infirm. She doesn't mind bending the rules if it helps bring about the greater good. She is very skepitical of Jarls and other leaders after Wayrest's own ruler King Barynia was found to have hired the corsairs who sacked her home to further his own agenda. She is free-spirited and is rather cocksure of her abilities.


     All of these mods are available for Xbox and PC

    Esential Mods:

    Recomeneded Mods:






    • Silver Sword - Find this by "visiting" Gallows Rock to see if the Silver Hand have any common ground with The Dawnguard.
    • Dawnbreaker - The ultimate vampire hunter's sword, this is one of the reasons Alayne came to Skyrim.
    • Nightingale Prime Armor (Mod) - Found outside Nightingale Hall. For immersion purposes I'd recommend only getting this once you gain entry to Nightingale Hall via Thieves Guild quest line. Alternately vanilla Nightingale Armor will suffice. For early game options refer to level 20 version of build. 
    • Mage's Circlet - Obtained during College of Winterhold quest line.
    • Savos Aren's Amulet - Obtained during College of Winterhold quest line.
    • Ring of Fortify Restoration - I got mine from Radiant Raiment.


    • Ocato's Recital - You can load up to 3 self targeting spells, and they will activate when entering combat.
    • Shroud/Invisibility - Alayne can cloak her self by manipulating the light around her.
    • Muffle - Allows Alayne to move silently.
    • Flesh Spells - Alayne can reinforce her armor to better absorb damage.
    • Fireball - Fireball allows Alayne to deal immense damage to close knit groups.
    • Runes - Alayne can use a variety of runes imbuing them with fire and sun based magicks.
    • Bolide - This fire spell will do more damage the further away Alayne is from a target, up to 5 times its base damage.
    • Vampire's Bane - Alayne can hurl explosive balls of holy light to destroy the undead and vampires.
    • Turn undead - With a strong understanding of Restoration, Alayne's turning spells are much more effective than those of others.



    Find all Standing Stones: Not a quest per se, but finding all of the Standing Stones is essential in gaining the shadow Step ability from the Shadow Stone. And since questing for artifacts and mystical items is ingrained into Breton culture, it makes sense that Alayne would want to seek them all out.

    Lights Out: One of the first quests Alayne will set upon doing after she's set herself up in Solitude. She will play along with the lizard's plan as it furthers her own investigation into tracking down the pirate who murdered her father. 

    Rise in the East: Another worthy lead for Alayne to follow up on, she will gladly help the East Empire Company rid themselves of the "Bloodhorkers". 

    Break of Dawn: Alayne will be a little hesitant of doing the bidding of a daedric prince, at first, but sees the good she can do if she is in possession of an artifact as powerful as Dawnbreaker. 

    Man Who Cried Wolf & The Wolf Queen Awakened: Helping Haafingar be rid of an ancient evil such as Potema and her undead minions is something Alayne will gladly offer her services to do. Feeling that she is far better equipped to take on such a task than anyone else with her set of skills.  

    Thieves Guild: Alayne will happily join the Thieves Guild, hoping that her morality of stealing only from the rich and helping those in need might rub off on guild members.  She soon finds herself caught up in guild politics. Her jobs eventually lead her to the option of gaining more knowledge in shadow magick but at what price.... 

    College of Winterhold: The college harbors many secrets. Secrets that Alayne can use to further her knowledge in the Shadow Magick like abilities the Montalion Clan use. She can also gain further insight into the Restorative arts with the help of Colette Marence.

    Dawnguard: One of the more obvious factions Alayne will find common ground with. Being a vampire hunter herself, she will gladly join them in their quest in ridding Skyrim of the Volkihar clan's threat. She will find it hard to work with Serana at first, but will seek to help her cure herself of her affliction. (Note that if you are too pushy with Serana about getting cured she will stonewall you and refuse to talk about it further. Be more tactful and coercive and she will eventually seek out Fallion).

    Blood on the Ice: After hearing about a slew of recent murders plagueing the citizens of Windhelm, Alayne takes up the quest to track down the killer. She quickly learns that men can be just as depraved as vampires.  

    Laid to Rest: Alayne will look into Morthal's burnt down house upon passing through, as she notices there is somthing amiss in the town and wonders if it might have anything to do with Alva, who is suspiciously pale....

    Vampire Hunter: More of a personal quest, Alayne will take it upon herself to eradicate any vampires she meets. Some possible targets include; Sybille Stentor, Movarth Piquine, Laelette, Alva, Vighar, Hert, Hern, and the Volkihar Clan.   


    Atributes: 1:2:1 (Stop perking magicka and stamina once you get to 250 on each, equipment used will buff them plenty) 


    Major Skills:

    Sneak: Alayne's skill in subterfuge is such that at times she can literally melt into the shadows, allowing her to move undetected and strike hard at unsuspecting foes with physical and Magickal damage.

    Light Armor: Alayne prioritises fast movement and finesse and thus favors light armor.

    Restoration: Restoration is Alaynes primary form of offence and defence when it comes to facing the undead. Subsequenly all of her physical attacks and restoration effect's on them are more powerful due to her rigrous study of the art of Restoration.

    Alteration: Through the study of alteration, Alayne has learned to better manipulate other schools of magicks, control the flow of her magicka to supplement her blade skill and alter her very person. A note on Alteration; Wild Shrines (For the locations of shrines click here), Welloc's Dormant Arcana (Empower Restoration, Fortify Armor, Resist Magick - Linked to a Flesh Spell like Iron Flesh), Alter Self: Resistances (Resist Shock, Resist Fire) and Alter Self: Attributes (Fortify Magicka).

    Minor Skills:

    Destruction: Alayne has learned how to wield fire and inscribe multiple runes at a greater distance. She can take advantage of weakened enemies and do more damage to them with her flames and even cause some to flee the field.

    One Handed: Not afraid to get up close to her foes, Alayne can make good use of her silver blade with quick decisive cuts.

    Enchanting:  Alayne can use her knowledge of enchantments to imbue her blades with spells and empowers them further when weilding magick. A note on enchanting; Spellscribe (Turn Greater Undead).

    Illusion: A cornerstone to Alaynes fighting style, she has learned to bend the light around her rendering her imperceptable at times. She can also conceal any audible noise from enemies allowing her to cast and strike with the element of suprise.

    Gameplay: First off, Alayne is not the dragonborn so she will not pursue the main quest (however if you do wish to use the thu'um, you can, it is just not a major thing for the build). If you have Alternate Start installed I recommend starting Alayne off in Solitude by way of ship. Alayne will often approach combat quite tactically, choosing to eliminate troublesome enemies such as archers and mages first under the cover of stealth. Upon being detected, Ocato's Recital will activate granting her one more chance at a stealth kill after which she will switch into a fast paced spell blade where she will hurl spells and skilfully dodge and slash at her enemies. The 20% boost to movement she gains from the Shadow Stone really is handy at becoming a blur on the battlefield and also allows for some devastating sneak attacks when hidden. Alayne is a bit of a lone wolf and will not recruit any followers, prefering to rely on her skills in subterfuge to see her through difficult battles. She will actively hunt down vampires,  the undead Draugr, and Dragonpriests wherever she finds them. Any pirates or bandits she encounters, she will deal with swiftly and mercilessly.

    Combat: At its core this build plays like an aggressive Nightblade, easily switching to and from stealth as the need arises. Enemy types to be wary of are archers and spellcasters. Use abilities like shadow strike to deal with these targets. Enemies with two handers are also problematic and should be taken care of at a distance where possible, though if you are good at reading their moves you can get a few quick strikes in after a missed power attack. When faced with groups of non undead use guerilla tactics, using Shroud to break their line of sight, and taking them by surprise again. Whittle them down to a manageable number and then switch to a spellblade roll to take care of the remaining few. When faced with large groups of undead use spells like Repel Undead and Circle of Protection to rout them. Crusaders Fire will soften them up as well as Warriors Flame when it hits them.  Take out draugr deathlords first by using stealth, as they can and will easily disarm you. Then focus on the other variants.

    Alayne is a rogue class not a warrior class, so this build is all about fighting smarter not harder. For a look into how combat runs check out the link.

    • Embrace Shadows -  Ocato's Recital + muffle, flesh spell and invisibilty 

     A simple yet essential ability for the build. With the use of Ocato's recital (loaded with a flesh spell, muffle, and invisibility), Alayne can instantly become intangible to the eye whenever a conflict begins. 

    • Shadow Strike - Shadow Warrior + Sneak attack or Shadow warrior + Shadow step + Sneak attack 

    When in open conflict Alayne can use a rare form of shadow magick becoming temporarliy undetectable sometimes apearing across the field to slip her blade into an unwitting archer. The shadow warrior perk allows her to slip into the shadows and strike hard at foes who lost sight of her. For distant foes this can be comboed with shadow step to great effect if timed right. 

    • Hidden Flame - Shadow Stone (Stones of Galen, Hide in shadows) + Demolition Job + Fire Spell 

    Alayne has mastered the art of surprise and thus she not only gains a bonus to physical attacks, but also the arcane when hidden. She can place multiple fire runes around the field, snipe distant enemies with bolide, and throw explosive fireballs into unsuspecting groups to great effect.  

    • Ring of Fire - Circle of protection + Wall of flames + Crusaders fire 

    When surrounded by undead melee combatant's Alayne can lay down a holy ring imbued with powerful flames. Undead who cross the freshold flee and are smited with holy fire.  

    • Dust to Dust - Apotheosis + Dawnbreaker + Crusaders fire + Vampires bane 

    When in a situation where Alayne is faced with a particualy large group of powerful undead, she can channel the power of Dawnbreaker to burn away the corruption of false life, rapidly burning them and if one should fall while afflicted by Dawnbreaker's (Meridia's wrath) enchantment, the rest will flee becoming especially suceptable to further restoration spells, if they were not destroyed outright from the explosion. She then destroys any stragler's with with the vampires bane spell. 

    This build is the culmination of weeks of painstaking effort and coffee fueled evenings. I am so happy to be able to present it to you in it's entirety. It is the full realization of the earlier level 20 build I produced and so much more.

    If you enjoyed reading the build and want more, I have Alayne's full backstory in the Story corner. 

    Credit where credit's due, so thanks to Tysoyaha for sharing some insight into the mechanics of Shadow Step. Props to Dean for using the Alignment system, I pinched that idea off him. He has some great builds so check em out here.  Also, thank you to The Long-Chapper and Ilanisilver for proof reading and spell checking the build. And everyone else who helped me throughout the builds inception by providing opinions and ideas, couldn't have been what it is without you all!

    And a little disclaimer, the art, except for the first picture, is not done by me and I do not take credit for art I used. That should go to their respective artists.

    And Lastly thanks to you the reader, if you got this far it means I did a good job. I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did, and if you want to see more by me click my name - Furrion, or follow the links below.

  • Member
    May 19, 2018

    Well this one was a long time in the making. I'd like to thank everyone who helped out along the way couldn't have got it done without you guy's. Hope you enjoyed the read and keep an eye out for my next build, whenever that may be (sooner rather than later, all going to plan). Cheers guys - Furrion :D :D

  • May 19, 2018

    I don't have much more to say that I haven't already said :P Love the build, can't really see many flaws and it's just a really fun read :D

  • Member
    May 19, 2018

    Thanks Deebs! Glad you liked the read and hopefully this gave you a new reason to try out a Nightblade Build :)

  • Member
    May 31, 2018
    Since you're recommending Dawnbreaker, how did you justify soul trapping to recharge the blade? It's some pretty nasty stuff.
  • Member
    May 31, 2018

    Yea was a struggle to come up with. The character is good as whole so using white souls was the only way I saw being able to pull that off. Animals aren't as sentient as say man and mer, so the practice doesn't seem quite as bad. Though that's geting into some moral and ethical territory there lol. Also the undead I can see Alayne using thier souls as well, at least Draugr any way, if it's already dead how much of a soul can it have really? But vampires are a bit more tricky cause they are still very much sentient, so as much as the character despises vampires, I'm not sure she would trap thier souls especially after seeing what happens to "Black Souls" in the Soul Cairn. Again it's very morally ambiguous skill so it's quite hard to determine what exactly is OK. A very good question though. I hope that my answer helped a bit. Also I brought a lot of the Soul gems or just found them. I found Dawn Breaker didn't drain very fast particuarly with the skills invested in enchanting, and because it has a massive amount of charges. I only had to recharge it two or three time the whole playthrough.

  • Member
    July 13, 2018

    The expanded bulld here is great, especially with the additional artwork.  I'm hoping to play through the unmodded version that we discussed in the other topic in a couple of weeks time.

  • Member
    July 14, 2018

    By the stars, the huge pictures bring out the beauty in your build!

  • Member
    July 27, 2018

    Irissa said:

    The expanded bulld here is great, especially with the additional artwork.  I'm hoping to play through the unmodded version that we discussed in the other topic in a couple of weeks time.

    Thanks Irissa! Let me know how it goes :)

  • Member
    July 27, 2018

    Noodles said:

    By the stars, the huge pictures bring out the beauty in your build!

    Thanks mate, the pictures really help to bring a sense of character while reading the story I think. And also make the build have a nicer flow overall when going through it. So thanks for the pointers on picture placement :)

    I've done a simmilar style to this layout on the build i'm working on at the momment, will hopefully get that done soon... God knows I've had so much on lately I've hardly had a chance to jump on the site to check on things.