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Contest Build: The Bosmeri Wildmage

Tags: #Character Build Mage  #Character Build Alchemist  #Race:Bosmer  #Contest Gold  #Ordinator  #SE Rank: Adept  #Character Build Staff  #Plunders  #Judged Contest 
  • June 23, 2018

    "You say the world ends at what you can see with your eyes. We say, that is where the world begins." ~ Visions of the Green Pact Bosmer

    The Bosmeri Wildmage does not draw their power from books. Theirs is an ancient system of magic, not written down, but passed from master to apprentice and gained through practical study and vision quests. It draws upon the powers inherent in the natural world, especially the animals the Bosmer hunt and rely upon to live. All Bosmer believe that the bones of an animal contain a story, of its essential nature and abilities. The Wildmage walks in the world of these stories. To them, the bones whisper secrets of transformation, summoning, evocation and healing.

    To one such Bosmer, came a vision. Of the northern edge of the world, and a great beast, with a mind and will of it's own. A creature that spoke its own stories, shattering the tales of Mundus. This dreadful vision was brought before the Silvenar, the voice of the Bosmer people. Whether the vision was 'real' as simple-minded humans would conceive reality, whether the beast was flesh and blood or existed in the spirit realm, was not how the Bosmer mystics framed the issue. The Silvenar clearly recognised the beginning of an important story, an urgent beckoning of a soul onto a path that must be followed. The young Bosmer was sent from the forest to follow this story to it's end.


     How it works

    I created the Wildmage's way of approaching magic using a unique Bosmer racial ability, courtesy of the Imperious mod. A bird will periodically – around once or twice an in-game day when outdoors – mark a particular animal to hunt. This animal will drop extra loot – including spell tomes. After taking a starting spell in each school – Healing, Spark, Conjure Familiar, Candlelight, Fury – the Wildmage will gain new spells using the hunting bird mechanic, and this mechanic only. This means no buying spells, and no looting spells other than from the special animals indicated by the harrier. This represents the Wildmage learning from their experiences communing with nature, with fallen prey and the spirits of Skyrim.

    As a result of these spell finding rules, no two Wildmages are identical and there is no definitive spell list. The joy of their method of spell acquisition is that you never know what you are going to get and the more modded spells you've added to the level lists, the more fun you will have. I played with Apocalypse and Tomebound installed, but I'm sure there are more out there.

    The build also heavily utilises the Hunterborn mod, for equiments and alchemy ingredients, when looting animals indicated by the harrier, note they must be manually looted, not field dressed. Doing so will not only net you your spells, but extra pelts, meat, lockpicks, enchanted and unenchanted jewellery, gold, and additional alchemy ingredients. Field dressing a carcass will cause these items to vanish.



    Mods: Ordinator, Imperious, Apocalypse, Andromeda, Hunterborn, Scrimshaw Expanded, Starting Spells, Alternate Start. The EnaiSaion mods Imperious and Ordinator provide the basic mechanics of this build and are essential. Hunterborn and Scrimshaw Expanded are also essential for equipment. Andromeda, Alternate Start and Starting Spells are optional but helpful. I also used Frostfall, Camping and Realistic Needs and diseases, but Survival Mode or other needs mods of your choice would also give the playthrough a wilderness feel.


    Race: Bosmer. The unique spell-finding mechanic of this build means that they must be a Bosmer, who alone possess the spiritual connection with nature to follow this path.


    Equipment: Enchanted Bone Armor, Bone Rings, Dragonbone Headdress and scrimshawed Talismans. Scrimshawed Staff of Lightning Bolt, Diadem of the Savant.  


    Star sign: Apprentice. The Wildmage's power has the variability and unpredictablility of nature. The Andromeda version of the apprentice stone gives spells a chance of being more or less effective. It's not vital to the build though if you don't like Andromeda.


    Skills: Destruction, Illusion, Restoration, Alteration, Conjuration, Light Armour, Alchemy, Enchanting.


    Stats: 3:1:0



    I chose to perk one line of the Destruction tree to make sure the build was combat effective no matter what other spells are found. Shock magic is the bread and butter damage dealing ability of the build, starting with Sparks and adding whatever other lightning based spells you find. Static Field, Ionised Path, Arc Burn, Magnetize, and Electroconvulsions keep even lower level spells effective. Force of Nature gives an appropriate bonus to storm magic in the rainy woodlands of southern Skyrim that most resemble the elf's jungle homelands. 


    Crowd control spells can come in handy for a pure mage. Perk Night Eye to make travelling the wilds after dark much easier. When travelling with a Bosmer animal companion, using conjurated pets or summoning animal allies with a shout, the Wildmage benefits from Imperious Splendor which gives bonuses to allied creatures.


    Any healing spells you find have obvious utility, and some Wildmages may attune themselves to undead destroying energies. The Spirit Tutors perk adds bonuses to Restoration magic if you can find them.


    This school adds a wide range of utility spells you might find. The Wild Shrines perk is a perfect fit for this build – hidden places of power that when found give a bonus to each school of magic.


    Pets greatly add to the survivability of a mage that travels alone, so they are always good to discover. Here is another area where the paths of each Wildmage differ. One might learn to call the spirits of Skyrim's dead, another might be befriended by elemental atronachs. Only Conjuration Mastery is perked here, keeping options open.

    Light Armor

    The Wildmage wears scrimshawed Bone Armor. They get the most out of it with Light Armor Mastery, Unhindered, Light Armor Fit, and Annoying Mosquitos.


    When looting spells from hunted animals, these special creatures might also drop magical jewellery. Hang onto these until you're able to craft a portable enchanting set, or perhaps find an enchanting table in a hidden wilderness location. Studying and disenchanting these gifts of Yffre allows the Wildmage to imbue their own equipment with some power. Similar to finding spells, I only used enchantments found from these hunts. The Hunterborn and Scrimshaw Expanded mods allow the Wildmage to craft a staff of elemental power, and the enchanting tree is lightly perked to allow the use of this staff as a totem - Secretkeeper boosts spells in the left hand by 25% when a staff is equipped in the right. Carrying a destruction staff not only looks badass, but means you'll always have a source of offense if not many higher level destruction spells have dropped.


    The Wildmage knows the secret powers of the entrails of beasts and uses materials harvested in the hunt to tap into the powers of nature. Arguably the green Pact does not apply outside the borders of Valenwood, but a pious Bosmer is not going to break habits of a lifetime. This is where the Hunterborn and Scrimshaw Expanded mods come in. Harvesting animals using Hunterborn provides a vast array of new alchemy ingredients that are Green Pact friendly. I cannot claim to have got to the bottom of the Hunterborn alchemy system, especially with all the many ingredients added by Scrimshaw Expanded, so I'm not going to give specific recipies. In any case, the real point of drinking beneficial potions is often to gain the powers from the Ordinator Alchemy perk tree. Stimulants and Crimson haze give buffs to majicka Regen and Movement Speed when under the effects of a potion, and Maenad gives bonuses to base majicka and stamina. The real fun begins with the Witchmaster perk, when Yffre blesses a powerful Wildmage with the ability to tap into chaos itself. Witchmaster gives additional random effects when the Wildmage consumes any beneficial potion. These range from the comedically useless (bonuses to lockpicking), to spectacularly powerful (immunity to physical damage).


    "The bones of every beast have stories to tell" ~ The Source of the Bone

    The Wildmage is always prepared, so sort yourself out with a full set of camping gear appropriate to whatever survival and needs mods you've got – tent, cooking pot, waterskin, woodcutters axe, backpack. You'll need a good hunting knife – the elven hunting knife is RP appropriate, but poor at harvesting which is our main focus here, so I bought a nice glass hunting knife from the guy in the Drunken Huntsman in Whiterun. Finally, pick up a portable mortar and pestle from an alchemist and you're good to go. When flawless amethysts start turning up, you can craft yourself a portable enchanting kit.

    The Wildmage fashions their garb from the beasts they hunt, taking possession of the animal's strength, speed and mystical wisdom through wearing their bones and hides. So equipment for this build is almost exclusively creating using the scrimshaw ability in Hunterborn, which allows the creation of equipment and items out of animal bones and other items found with the harvesting skill. The scrimshaw menu seems to reveal its options based on the level of your harvesting and what you have in your inventory, so if something doesn't appear, it will be one of those reasons. 



    Armor, Gloves and Boots: Start with Bone Armor, Bone Boots and Bone Gauntlets. In the later game, when you're up to taking down mammoths, you can replace it with better variants made with fine mammoth hides. The Masterwork Mammoth Hide Armor is equivalent to scaled, which is just fine for a non-tanking mage. I don't want to be too prescriptive about enchantments, as it depends on what you loot from the hunt.

    Headwear: Travelling through Skyrim on foot will lead you through Labyrinthian sooner or later, and to take shelter in Shalidor's Maze. The Circlet of the Savant is a perfect fit for this chracter. The Dragonborn Wildmage has the spirit of a dragon, and often tests her spiritual strength against them. Scrimshaw Expanded provides a stunning dragonbone headdress that perfectly expresses the Wildmage's close relationship with dragons. The Circlet and the headdress can be worn together.

    Staff: The Wildmage's staff is the symbol and conduit of their power, through which they call lightning down on their enemies. A staff of lightning can be scrimshawed once your harvesting skill is reasonable. Don't be tempted to upgrade to a staff of chain lightning - it will only roast your companion animals.


    Jewellery: Jewellery is also scrimshawed. Bone amulets, rings and talismans are cheap and easy to make with the scrimshaw skill. I used an Amulet of the Flower Moon which gives bonuses to Restoration Magic and bone rings can be enchanted with whatever effects the Wildmage is lucky enough to find.


    Having playtested this build twice I can tell you that the gameplay for this mage varies not only from build to build, but changes as you play through, depending on what tools you find yourself having at any given point. That said, there are a few things that are always true. Combat usually proceeds something like this:

    1: Prepare Before any non-trivial fight, the Wildmage will drink a potion to go into a shamanic trance, increasing Magicka Regen, Movement Speed, Base Magica and Stamina, and at higher levels gaining further powerful effects from Witchmaster.

    2: Control When the fight starts the Wildmage will then generally plan to avoid taking aggro, as even in perked light armor they are not much of a tank, especially if like me you've taken to installing brutal combat mods like Wildcat or Fatality. There are many ways to take control of a situation: ambushing with runes, calling for allied animals, distracting with illusions and summoning pets are all things I've used at one time or other. The Wildmage is adept at assessing the environment and using their sometimes limited tools to best advantage.

    3: Destroy After that, it's time to let lose with lightning, using spell or staff.


    Animal Allegiance is a vastly underrated shout, allowing the Wildmage to call any passing creatures to their aid. Having the chorus's switch sides makes mincemeat of Falmer dungeons, and out in the open wildlife makes a great distraction for dragons. Kyne's Peace is also useful when travelling, to avoid tangling with animals you don't want to kill. 


    Followers just didn't feel right for this build. The Wildmage walks by their own lights, and would be infuriatingly whimsical and unpredictable from the perspective of a plain Nord following them around. They travel alone, not because they are misanthropic, but because solitude allows them to better hear the voices of the spirit world.



     "The Spinners tell of spirits to whom this land belongs....they are our ancestors, and our govenors."~ Elders of Bramblebeech


    The path of the wildmage: The Wildmage is tasked by the Silvenar to follow the story of their Dragon vision to it's conclusion. It's a great heroic quest for a Shamanic type. There's the initial discovery of their draconic spirit, then their learning from (and having to balance the influence of) a series of very different teachers (the Greybeards, the Blades, Parthurnaax, the Mages, Septimus, Odahving) and of course the final, critical confrontation with Alduin in the spirit realm. In the Bosmer worldview, it's a story about the very survival of stories, as Alduin Soul-Eater is a negation of the very soul/stories of the Nords and ultimately the world. He is fittingly defeated by one who is attuned to hear the stories of the many creatures of Skyrim.

    Getting started: Bosmer wizards are underpowered at the very start of the game, and it's worth taking time in the early game to get the Bosmer animal companion. This is another feature of the Bosmer in Imperious, and given after hunting ten animals pointed out by the harrier. This will take some days of hunting, so I started out spending a few levels exploring the plains of Whiterun hold, hunting, foraging and gathering basic equipment. These few levels are the time when the Wildmage attunes herself to the spirit realm of Skyrim, earning the respect of the local spirits. After the Wildmage proves herself worthy to be accompanied by a faithful wolf, she is ready for Bleak Falls Barrow.

     The Green Pact:The Green Pact is second nature to the Wildmage. Only non-plant ingredients are used for alchemy. They are carnivorous, preferring to eat what they have killed. Imperious also allows the 'eating' of humanoid corpses that have been killed, to give temporary buffs. They do not attack any creature without cause, although they will defend themselves against wild animals. Spriggans are an exception to the rule that plants cannot be harmed, as spriggan sap is a vital ingredient in some of the scrimshaw recipies. I roleplayed this as a confrontation between the Wildmage and nature itself, that tests the worthiness of the mage to craft these items of power. Gathering deadwood or chopping firewood is also fine as it involves using wood that has already been felled.

    Slow travel: The best way to roleplay this build and their connection with nature is to slow travel. Not just walking on the road, but taking the most wild, off-road route from place to place is a great way to find new and hidden corners of Skyrim. Hidden Hideouts of Skyrim is a nice mod to have here, which adds atmospheric little hidey holes in the wilderness. Although a Wildmage in Skyrim may be far from home, from the ancestor spirits of Valenwood, but they still bring the practice and mindset of taking guidance from the unseen with them on their travels. Following the bird spirit is a great way of adding flavour to your journeys as they will coincidentally lead the Wildmage to such things as good camping spots, intruiging caves or a traveller who needs assistance. I didn't seek out additional quests in town, but the Wildmage is sensitive to the will of the Gods and will take the hint if her harrier familiar leads her to a situation. Bosmer are described as an open and curious people, in spite of their odd customs, and a Wildmage is surprisingly friendly to ordinary folks needing their help. There's a dark side to the mercurial spirit of the Bosmer though and they will respond to insults and disrespect without mercy.

    The unseen world: The Wildmage is a true polytheist, who understands the world teems with as many unseen entities as living things. Her devotion to Yffre in no way precludes giving other gods their due, so several divine or daedric quests are very appropriate. As with most things with this build, I would not give a prescriptive quest list, but suggest the whimsical Wildmage do whatever she comes across that she sees fit. Herma-Mora does have a special place in Bosmeri culture, so Discerning the Transmundane and Dragonborn are a particularly good fit. Similarly, quests involving the unquiet dead might also be of interest: the Wildmage would make little distinction between a ghostly Nord and a local animal spirit. 


    I've had this build, or something like it, simmering for a long time. Right when I first got Ordinator, I thought 'there's a nature mage in here somewhere'. There have been many, many rerolls, and me going 'stuff it, this is too complicated', and playing something else. It wasn't until I got Scrimshaw Expanded that it all really came together. At this point I should give a shout out to The Hedge Mage, one of my favourite builds on this site, and the inspiration for this. Hope you enjoyed it, and happy trails...

  • June 23, 2018

    Your use and presentation here, especially of the mods, makes me want to play using them. I’ve never used hunterborn or scrimshaw, but they sound fun. And still, magic learning method is great. And the images you used are on point. I haven’t read much about the Green Pact or Bosmer nature in general, but I love the idea of your character finding out about the dragon spirit and it representing something completely different to her than it would for a Nord, but something just as meaningful.

  • June 23, 2018

    I enjoyed reading this build, Plunders. It has some really strong elements of cohesion and you use your mods in a very meaningful way that make sense instead of it just being "I used this mod just because". I have played "Hedge Mage" type builds before, My Elements of Oegnithr was a Hedge mage, where you only use what you find, so very cool. The presentation is rather elegant and supports the theme very well. I also enjoy the tie-in to the Silvenar and the Green Pact, so you made the lore person in me happy. Interesting to also see a Green Pact build that doesn't use the Ring of Namira. A more gentle Green Pact Bosmer build from you. 

    I also appreciate a build where there is attention paid to game mechanics that utilize the mod very well and there is enough backstory that we have some direction, but we are not force fed what blankety blank ate in the evening on Mordas the 23rd of First Seed, so there is room for different interpretations, instead of just doing exactly the same thing that the build does. 

    Well done. 

  • June 23, 2018

    Starting off with my normal spiel, proper comment will come next week mate, just want to have the contest scoring done before I comment because honestly the Scoring is going to be a lot more in-depth than my comments (yeah, I know, I didn't actually think it was possible). But yeah, I dig the build mate, it's quite excellent :D

  • Member
    June 23, 2018

    I really enjoyed this build! I love Hunterborn and the combination you created using the Imperious racial ability is a fantastic example of using the simple elements of a mod to greatly enhance your gameplay and roleplay. Nice job!

  • Member
    June 24, 2018

    Well shit Plunders, this is damn good work man, damn good

  • June 25, 2018

    finding out about the dragon spirit and it representing something completely different to her than it would for a Nord, but something just as meaningful

    Thanks! I started out struggling to picture what this character was doing in Skyrim, but the more I thought about it, the more I realised that it was a fit.

    and there is enough backstory that we have some direction

    Yeah, detailed backstory is not my strongest skill. I feel happier when I'm creating a theme that various characters could take on. I have noticed a trend in the months I've been away from Tamriel Vault for builds to get more 'backstoryish', more like RP profiles. It's challenging me to think more about that aspect. 


    Interesting to also see a Green Pact build that doesn't use the Ring of Namira.

    I forgot all about the Ring of Namira lol! Having an inbuilt corpse eating mechanism with Imperious means it isn't necessary.


    I’ve never used hunterborn or scrimshaw, but they sound fun.

    They are great fun, and funnily enough there's quite a lot in hunterborn for a magic type. Part of the forage skill in Hunterborn involves picking up old discarded robes, books and staves and restoring them. I did one playthrough with a grubby necromancer, with hunterborn and the necromancer's camp mod - that was fun.


    Well shit Plunders, this is damn good work man, damn good


  • Member
    July 7, 2018

    I  had been looking for a good excuse to try the Hunterborn ever since it had come out on Xbox, but was kind of sick of hunter characters cause I've run so many over the years.  Thank you for this so much!  I'm having a total blast playing this character so far.  I'm level 11 now and finally went and grabbed the Apprentice stone and it seems like the character is much more viable now.  Until then it seemed like I had a lot of issues with combat and magicka, but that might have just been me and lack of skill in running mages.  The best part was when hunting the plains of Whiterun I stumbled on a dead mammoth and camped out for days harvesting it.  Not only that but the way of getting spells has just seemed so story driven and appropriate, and by that I mean, for me the harrier seems to activate whenever I get ready to do something and seems to hand me an appropriate spell right before a climactic moment.  It's really difficult to put into words just how much fun this has been to me.  You've done a wonderful job here and should be proud of it.  I'm interested in hearing more about the grubby necromancer you mentioned as well.  

  • Member
    July 8, 2018

    Gonna' bookmark this 

  • Member
    July 10, 2018
    Plunders-The-Mountains, how are you using mods if, under your info, you only have an xbox 360 listed under platforms? That seems kind of strange.