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Visage of Mzund, Necromage Vampire and Fortify Destruction

Tags: #Tips and Tricks Hints  #Tips and Tricks Items  #Tips and Tricks Magic  #Breath of Nchuak  #Visage of Mzund  #Fortify Destruction  #Necromage Vampire 
  • October 29, 2017


    So I've done a little searching, and as far as I know this has never been reported anywhere online - either on here or any of the other Skyrim related forums. Are you ready for it?


    Using the Visage of Mzund, the damage of the Breath of Nchuak power is affected by Fortify Destruction potions.


    UPDATE: Damage, duration and stamina usage are also affected by being a Necromage vampire, see below.


    I'm not sure why this hasn't been documented before, my only guess is that it's because the changes to damage don't feature in the tooltip for Breath of Nchuak in the powers section - it still reads as 15 damage per second. Possibly it's only come into effect in the Special Editions? In any case, I made friends with the cave bear on legendary difficulty just outside of Ivarstead. Here's the damage of Breath of Nchuak only without a Fortify Destruction potion:



    Then I reloaded, and I took a +243% Fortify Destruction potion - the max available through a Necromage vampire crafting loop without Resto exploits. When using the potion on a Necromage vampire, the effect is magnified to +303%, slightly more than quadrupling your damage. I let rip only Breath of Nchuak against the cave bear again:



    This was done on the PS4 standard edition, on legendary difficult, so it'd be good if someone could verify this works on a different platform. As I'm on PS4, I can't drill into the exact numbers here, but it doesn't take a mastermind to realise that the below health bar has more damage taken off than the top health bar.


    UPDATE: So I deleted all my original damage calculations, because I made another new finding... Necromage vampire seemingly effects all aspects of Breath of Nchuak! We're talking duration, and damage and stamina usage.


    I found this out by noticing that when you use Breath of Nchuak, while it's running it appears in your "Active Effects". Here's a non-vampire using Breath of Nchuak (I got the cure from Falion for the test):



    And here's the effect from a Necromage vampire:



    The menu was opened up as soon as possible after power usage, to give you a sense of the duration. While the duration may not be accurate, when you use the power it is tangibly increased.


    While originally I was looking at Breath of Nchuak under "Powers" when I did the Fortify Destruction test, when you take a Fortify Destruction potion the damage still reads only as 18 under "Active Effects", so it doesn't take into account the damage difference either. It's only in Active Effects where you see the Necromage vampire difference recorded, and not under Powers where it still reads as 15 damage per second.


    The stamina use of the power is increased from 85 to 140ish, however I'm unsure if this is due to the duration increasing (with the stamina cost seemingly being per second also), or if the cost itself was multiplied by vampire Necromage, or both. Someone would have drill into this on PC to get more details, but just be aware for a Necromage vampire the power uses much more stamina.


    In terms of damage per second (assuming displayed is what is used), for a Necromage Vampire with +303% Fortify Destruction, it's:


    18 x (1 + 3.03) = 72 damage per second. Over a 4 second duration (though in timing it, it seems to last for five), you have 4 x 72 = 288 damage.


    While this damage isn't incredibly high compared what you can do with other Destruction spells, and usage of the power is Fortify Destruction potion heavy, I would say the supplementary damage with the potions is now competitive enough for dedicated use on legendary difficulty. You need a good supply of stamina (Resto spells, Adrenaline Rush, Absorb Stamina weapons) to make it viable, but viable it definitely is.


    There's one other more interestng means of recovering stamina that I'm going to post a build on in the next day or two (EDIT: I won't get round to posting the build now - so it's Blood of the Ancients Vampiric Drain. It Heals stamina, magicka and health while dishing out damage with the previously mentioned fortify destruction potions. See posts below), but I thought rather than letting the finding sit I'd share the love and create a little hype for my build! Other than that, it's going to be a fairly standard dwarf build, but I'm going to try and differentiate it from a role-playing perspective - focusing on an Altmer so obsessed with the Dwemer he wants to become one. The Alder transformed into the Dwemer long ago, and the Altmer are most similar to the original Aldmer, and the Dwemer made the Snow Elves into the Falmer - so why not have a little racial transformation?


    To round off the other Breath of Nchuak tidbits, a previous post here has detailed back-dooring Fahlbtharz to get it early using the hold-item Whirlwind Sprint glitch (see here). There's also a method to access Breath of Nchuak without the helmet equipped posted on the wiki (see here - if someone has a more original source let me know, wouldn't surprise me at all if it originated here). You need to favourite both the Breath of Nchuak power and the helmet itself, and have both equiped, then if you bring up the favourites mini-menu (I presume there's a version of it on PC, there definitely is on console editions). If you unequip the helmet followed by unequiping then re-equiping the Breath power, you'll have the helmet off yet still be able to use the Breath attack - however the stamina bonus is lost. I've tested it myself and it worked fine, again PS4 SE edition.


    The last thing I thought I'd mention is a lore factoid that seems a little less well known - Mzund is actually a place rather than a person. During Lost to the Ages, the quest about uncovering the location of the Aetherium Forge, Katria's journal states one "of the moldy old books in Mzund mentioned the Forge". Therefore possibly Nchuak (from "Breath of Nchuak") was a Dwemer hero, not on par with Kagrenac or Rourken, but presumably a bit of a badass dude if he was wearing a helmet that bore the name of his entire city. I'm probably going to go with "Nchuak Reborn" for the title of my build, given that the guy wants to become a Dwemer.


    There we have it, I hope people have found this interesting, and it sparks more builds - not necessarily just Dwemer focussed builds given the power can be put on any character without the helmet. If someone else verifies this on another platform, feel free to update the wikis (probably listing that it is boosted by Fort. Destruction potions, but list it as a bug that the damage isn't adjusted in the power description. EDIT: I jumped the gun and did it myself, on both UESP and the normal Wiki, hopefully to get it verified faster). Hope you enjoyed!

  • October 29, 2017

    Hmm, I can't see the pictures (or videos...) at the moment but I am definitely 100% down if Breath of Nchuak is indeed boosted by Fortify Destruction Potions (would also have to test a few other things like Shalidor's Insights: Destruction to see if that boosted it as well), there's a lot that can be done there including a re-imagining of one of my old builds. Yeah, that'd be pretty sweet, ah anyway, the awesome trick if it definitely works Jojo, definitely an interesting find :D

    Oh and as for the trick about using the Breath without the Helmet, I remember Halifax discovering that a couple years back with Namira's Basilisk. Halifax was really awesome at finding some interesting tricks like that.

    EDIT: Pictures just started showing and that looks pretty conclusive to me, I assume they were two different Cave Bears based on the shots and that's a huge leap. Could be very interesting :D

  • October 30, 2017

    Big UPDATE: It's also affected by Necromage vampire. I'll edit my findings into the OP.


    Yeah it seemed pretty conclusive to me too, though naturally it would be good if someone could verify it independently. The bear was the same in both instances, I just reloaded after testing without a potion when it was on full health, then took a potion and tried again. In the first shot I'm facing the Throat of the World mountain a little more, so that's why it's darker - as the Breath comes from the character you need to face wherever the bear is to keep it on target. You could say maybe the first time I tried I wasn't on target, but I've tested this properly five times or so, so it seems to be consistent to me (plus I'm using the power all the time now, and I can notice the difference in casual play). I would make a video, but it's a little awkward on a PS4 - if anyone wanted to make one then feel free.


    From what I can tell, the Breath hits multiple targets as well (I ran around and annoyed some guards), so while the damage isn't crazy high the crowd control is pretty respectable. There's other fairly natural pairings, such as a destruction cloak, that help it to amp up the damage a bit. I've been using the Lightning Cloak with Disintergrate, and it's very cool to use the Breath on people and see them crumble into ash. I'll try to get my build up probably today as it has another fairly unique synergy with the Breath, however it's a bit lacking it shouts so I wanted to look into getting a few more before I finalised things.


    I don't see any reason why Shalidor's Insights wouldn't work. Personally I only like to use resources for a build that are easily acquirable - I guess the scrolls aren't that tricky to get ahold of but I don't think I'd ever end up using them given the supply feels so limited! I guess if you're looking for the Breath to be your only source of damage, that'd be a way to go.


    For Halifax's build, it looks like he posted it after the exploit was posted up on the wiki discussion I mentioned. I'm sure they would have independently found the exploit, but I'll leave the wiki link for the time being as it seems to be the earlier source.


    I think a very nice way to use the power, outside of what I'm doing on my own build, is to use it with a shield. Spellbreaker with Ward Absorb would allow for magicka recovery while you blast away, allowing you to heal your stamina with Respite Restoration spells. The DG Rune Shield allows for double cloaks with it's own ability, and while the cloak effect of the shield also drains stamina, somewhere on here I read that you can eliminate the stamina cost with Become Ethereal. Certainly a lot a possibilities...

  • Member
    November 3, 2017

    I'm still fairly new to the DLC, but this looks really cool and the RP possibilities from making this helmet actually viable are pretty cool. I'll bet there are a lot of Dwemer inspired builds that could benefit from giving this a read :D

    BTW, this has been shared on the Vault's Twitter page :D

  • November 4, 2017

    Nice! Glad to see it was appreciated! I updated the wikis with the info, but shared it on here first - so this site can have the original claim to the find ;-D


    I've got an exam coming up so I'm not too sure if I can manage the build write up now, so if anyone wants to do a decent write up of the concept feel free. The signature move I haven't mention yet was essentially dual casting Vampiric Drain with Blood of the Ancients to constantly re-supply your stamina (with the aforementioned +303% fortify Destruction effect from a potion with Necromage Vampire, it absorbs 44 Magicka, Stamina and Health simultaneously - with a Novice Destruction and a single Fortify Destruction school enchantment you restore more magicka than you use) while blasting out the Breath of Nchuak and having a Lightning Cloak enable with Disintergrate. This gives about 128 damage per second by my calculation (44 + 72 + 12), while simultaneously healing you and looking really cool (almost like by draining their blood you're thoroughly dessicating someone until they become ashes) - and is just about viable for Legendary difficulty, making fights not feel like a cakewalk all the time.


    It also fits a neat concept of the blood you're draining serving as fuel for the helm, and I was going to play off the idea the character believes he has made what is essentially mechanised power armor - the first new machine since the work of Sotha Sil. You can incorporate ideas from quests here for RP, such as him believing his gauntlets are enhancing his blood draining powers, and the breastplate converting this fuel, with him getting the ideas for their design from the Essence Extractor in Discerning the Transmundane. When the character has made a real set of machined power armor, or he's just a charlatan and a dwemer obsessed nutjob, is something you can play around with.


    Like a lot of Dwemer builds, I then got the Steadfast Dwarven Sphere and the Aetherial Staff for two Dwarven buddies running around. I enchanted a couple of pieces of the gear for 39% illusion cost reduction, which with Necromage vampire becomes 98% reduction, and used this to cast Call to Arms on them (after a fortify illusion potion) - which works seemingly with Master of Mind on the automatons. I didn't focus on any other illusion spells, as I didn't want to detract from the signature Lightning Cloak/Breath of Nchuak/Blood of the Ancients Vampiric Drain. It's worth noting that vampire Necromage I think is perhaps the only thing that lengthens the summon of the Aetherial Staff (several sources claim that it isn't affected by any conjuration perks or potions, though I didn't test this myself), giving you a 75 second duration.

    I will say Vampiric Drain doesn't work on enemy Dwemer machines, and the Blood of the Ancients stamina and magicka absorb part of the spell doesn't work against the undead. Against the undead, this can be rectified a bit by playing an Altmer and using Highborn when you need to. I also went for Fortify Unarmed enchantments on my gauntlets, a ring, and Necromage Fists of Steel as a back up combat option - and it also makes the suit come across more as power armor by providing physical strength. With Marked for Death, and your two dwarven automaton buddies (making sure you have Companion's Insight), the unarmed side of things is fine for dealing with undead and other Dwemer machines - particularly if you use +303% Breath of Nchuak to bolster it (obviously you're not recovering stamina rapidly like normal, but stamina recovers reasonably fast in combat anyway). Plus, so long as you don't use Lightning Cloak for Disintergrate, everyone likes those cool unarmed finishing moves - particualrly in Dwarven armor!

    It terms of the RP, I was focussing on an Altmer who wanted to be a Dwemer. Becoming vampire somewhat fits this, as it itself is a racial change more or less, so that process would be worthy of study for someone looking to achieve that. Additionally, Septimus tells you the blood of different elven races can approximate vampire blood - possibly by feeding on elves you could pretty much have Dwemer blood in your veins. Skyrim is also an appropriate place to try and study racial transformation, as the Dwemer themselves transformed the Snow Elves into the Falmer. Possibly by reverse engineering that process an Altmer could become a Dwemer (remembering that the Aldmer, which the Altmer are extremely similar to, were forerunners to the Dwemer in the first place).

    Someone feel free to run with whatever bits of this concept you like in your own build, as mentioned I've got an exam coming up so I need to be revising that rather than sinking a crap load of time into another write up. I'll be happy so long long as you give me some sort of nod for the signaure move Blood of the Ancients Vampiric Drain/Breath of Nchuak/Lightning Cloak. Enjoy!

  • November 4, 2017
    Amazing how Skyrim yet has secrets for the inquiring mind, even from a gameplay standpoint. Excellent find!
  • November 4, 2017

    Thanks, and yeah I guess there's always something rewarding about discovering something new about a 5+ year old game - with the amount of people who have played Skyrim you wouldn't think there would be anything left!

    I guess my mind wasn't that inquiring - I discovered it pretty much by accident. I was looking to use the Fortify Destruction potions to up the damage for Blood of the Ancients Vampiric Drain, not expecting it to do anything to Breath of Nchuak as was previously reported (which combined would have made the damage about 70ish per second if it wasn't boosted, with the combined effects of the Lightning Cloak and Vampiric Drain, instead of the actual 128). However, having some fun blasting some guards with it, it seemed to be working much better than I anticipated. Testing it gave the result I showed above.


    Probably there's still a few more secrets left in the game, particularly with the more rare powers or abilities like Breath of Nchuak.

  • Member
    November 4, 2017
    Now I want to see a build incorporate the Visage and Whirlwind Cloak for a centurion that can use steam prsssure for crowd control.
  • November 4, 2017

    Do it! I think the Necromage vampire combo certainly makes the damage significantly more legit, and of course you need to be comfortable with a crafting build (Smithing, Alchemy and Enchanting), but I think there's loads of builds that can spiral off this. As I said, it being usable with shields I would say is also a great basis for builds.