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Character Build: The Apprentice

Tags: #Character Build Mage  #Character Build No Crafting  #Character Build Unarmored  #Rank:Legendary  #Hall of Fame Build  #TwistedOrthrusBuild 
  • August 7, 2012

    The Apprentice

    The apprentice is a young mage born in the month of Sun’s Height. Because of this, the apprentice has a far stronger link to Aetherius than most. This allows the apprentice to draw magicka directly from Aetherius to refill their magicka reserves, but leaves them vulnerable to even the weakest of spells. The apprentice has now travelled to Skyrim searching for a mysterious stone, rumored to grant power to those born under the sign of the apprentice.


    Race: Altmer is the race best suited to this build because of their active and passive abilities. However, almost any race is viable for this character. I would suggest you do NOT play as a Breton because of their magicka resistance, which takes away the unique factor of this build.

    Guardian stone: The Apprentice (Use the mage until you find it)

    Possible Quests: Collage of Winterhold, Main quest, Dark brotherhood, Civil war (either side), Dawnguard (either side)

    Dragon shouts: Unrelenting force, Ice form, Become ethereal, Slow Time

    Gear: The best robes, ring and headpiece with a magicka regeneration enchantment you can find. End game this is master robes, ring of recovery and Morokei.  

    The Amulet of Akatosh is unique in being the only amulet with a magicka regeneration enchantment. However as it only gives a 25% boost you may feel that a different amulet may be more useful.

    For other clothing shrouded shoes work well and an amulet of health or magicka.


    I wanted to create a pure mage build that had something unique to it. While a lot of mage builds focus on getting cost reduction gear in their favoured school, this one uses extreme magicka regeneration to use all schools. I also noticed that most mages strike an almost perfect balance between offence and defence by using alteration for physical and magical protection. This build instead purposely weakens itself to magicka and uses an unrelenting offence to make sure enemies do not get a chance to attack.

    Your main strength will be your magicka regeneration. I did a lot of research for this online and also ran my own tests.

    Standard out of combat magicka regen is 3% of total magicka per second. This percentage does not change as your magicka pool increases. In combat regen is 1/3 of this giving us 1% per second.

    An additional 525% magicka regeneration speed can be gained without utilising the necromage perk or the enchanting skill tree.

    Master robes- 150%

    Morokei- 100%

    Amulet of Akatosh- 25%

    Ring of Recovery- 100%

    Apprentice stone- 100%

    Recovery perk 2/2- 50%

    This gives a total of 18.75% per second magicka regeneration out of combat and 6.25% per second in combat. With this achieved it takes just 6 seconds to fully recover all magicka from 0 when out of combat. In combat it takes 16.5 seconds to fully recover all magicka. With this achieved you can fully embrace the apprentices fully offensive fighting style without worrying about not having enough magicka to sustain it.


    Because of the way the apprentice fights, it makes sense to roleplay him/her as a hotheaded young mage. While not necessarily evil, it fits nicely to give this character a large and easily damaged ego. When being asked to complete quests, purposely avoid thinking things through and what possible consequences your actions may bring.

    Additional Magicka Regeneration

    As well as the constant magicka regeneration from enchanted clothing, temporary boosts can be gained to help in harder fights.

    Meal from spouse- 25% for 600 seconds

    Elsweyr fondue- 25% for 720 seconds

    Blessing of Akatosh- 10% for 8 hours

    Potions of lasting potency- 50%-100% for 300 seconds

    Highborn ability(Altmer only)- Increased magicka regeneration for 60 seconds


    Illusion: Frenzy spells will become vital to the apprentice, especially against mages. Turning your enemies against each other will keep you alive and also allow you to focus on bigger threats.

    Conjuration: Chose either the necromancy or atromancy path and use your thralls to unleash even more damage.

    Destruction: Your main form of attack. You have enough perks to specialise in all three elements but you must at least choose 1. Impact will become your best friend.

    Restoration: While a minor skill it can still be useful. Healing can save your life when hit with a stray arrow and it can be very useful against the undead.

    Sneak: While it will not be perked it can still be useful. Remaining hidden until you are ready to attack will prove a huge advantage in combat.

    Attributes: A maximum of 10 points should be put into health. The rest should all be put into magicka.


    When going into combat against a group the apprentice should use frenzy spells to draw attention away from him/herself. When this is done summoning a dead follower or an atronach can help with tanking and dealing damage. From here the apprentice can continue to summon followers and induce frenzy among his/her enemies while using destruction's impact perk to kill the strongest enemies off first. Invisibility can be used to escape from enemies with the unperked sneak skill.

    In single combat the apprentice uses the impact perk to make sure enemies cannot fight back, recharging your magicka in-between attacks while the enemy is staggered.

    When the apprentice runs out of magicka they use dragon shouts to stun enemies, giving the apprentice enough time to recover and continue the fight.   


    At low levels this playstyle can be challenging in longer/harder fights without maximum magicka regen. Remember to keep your distance from enemies because of your lack of defence. I also found that although runes have a high cost, they can make the difference between life and death at low levels. Magical staves can also come in handy while waiting for your magicka to regenerate.

    Necromage and Vampirism

    By becoming a vampire and using the necromage perk, the apprentice can increase magicka regeneration even more. A total of 655% can be achieved without temporary effects. This may make choosing which side to join for the dawnguard quests a lot easier and gives access to the ring of Erudite. Just remember that this will make you even weaker to fire magic but give you a resistance against frost magic. 

    Final Thoughts

    This will be where I post my perk spread but first wanted to go through two more skills that could greatly benefit the apprentice.

    Alchemy: Creating potions could further boost the apprentice’s magicka regeneration for tough fights but also work well for poisons. Using a bound bow on a group of frenzied enemies with a weakness to magicka/element poison could help remove the threat of powerful enemies or mages quickly.

    Enchanting: With the help of alchemy it could be possible to create gear with even higher magicka regeneration. While I avoided this to keep the game challenging it may appeal to others.

    Alteration: This has been purposely avoided to keep this mage build unique. The build is based around the apprentice stone and therefore should accept its strengths and weaknesses.

    This perk spread is just how I developed my character. He cost reduction perks are optional depending on what level spells you use from each school and you may choose any or all of the spells in the destruction tree.

    I had a lot of fun playing this mage character as it had different strengths and weaknesses to that of a regular mage. It was also a lot of fun to use a guardian stone that is rarely utilized and make it a core mechanic of the build. I encourage people to give this build a try as it was the most enjoyable mage character I have played. Hope you guys enjoyed and I would really appreciate any feedback or criticism.

  • August 7, 2012

    Just four skills with perks, and the level ending at level 35 -  awesome!  I also like the weakness built into it; but it may be bit too much with both low health and weakness to magicka, since I play ironman/master.   Still, I may give it a try at some point.  I don't understand why DB is necessary, and I will probably omit it from any play through I try (unless I decide to definately make him evil - then I'll be a vampire too).    (+1)

  • Member
    August 7, 2012

    Cool build! I always wondered what to do with that stone, couldn't figure out a way to make it useful. But I might have to try this. By the way, Slow Time could be another useful shout. At longer ranges it would help you dodge enemy spells as they fly at you, and at close range it makes the dps destruction spells way mare effective, though also more effective against you, so watch out! +1

  • Member
    August 7, 2012

    Love this build, always a big fan of pure-mage builds. Just 1 thing I'd suggest though, would be taking specialization in Shock spells over flames. The magicka drain portion of it can come in handy against other mages, helping combat your innate weakness to opposing spells, and disintegrating them is just more fun than making them turn and run for the last fraction of a second of their dwindling existence. Just a suggestion though, that'd be how I play it.

  • Member
    August 7, 2012

    Awesome! You could roleplay this build as a hot headed new mage who is strong but also weak against magic he uses! +1

  • August 8, 2012

    And to think a week ago I was saying " I want to play a mage but there aren't a lot awesome mage builds." Well now I have this and the Fear Monger, sweet job on this unique build! +1 like from moi!

  • August 8, 2012

    Heh, I had this same idea and I am currently level 24 with my mage. I decided I would like to take him to level 50 though and focus on all the destruction elements. I also only used restoration to get recovery though and have put no points in health. This makes healing kind of pointless since anything can one shot me.

    Playing on master difficulty with this build has been somewhat frustrating, but rewarding. Any random ice spike = instant death. I found calming or frenzying other mages first is a big help and also invisibility is a life saver. 

    Traveling around skyrim is different story and I always feel afraid about a random arrow or saber cat, but I have dual impact ice storm for any cat now. I first tried to calm the cats, but I usually died due to them already being to close. 

  • Member
    August 8, 2012

    Very nice idea... I have been wanting to use that stone for awhile, but I'm glad someone else played through and crunched the numbers on it first.  This may be my next pure mage build... maybe even my vamp build for Dawnguard!  +1

  • August 8, 2012

    Thanks for the feedback everyone.

    @RuneRed- I played this on master and the magicka regen makes sure most enemies don't get a chance to attack. However at low levels it will be very difficult and I would suggest holding off getting the apprentice stone until you get some good magicka regen gear. As for the dark brotherhood none of those questlines are necessary just suggestions.

    @Teh Gargoyle- You can use whichever element you want or use all 3. I chose lightning on my last mage build for that exact same reason so this time I tried something different.

    @Oscar- I never tried invisibility so thanks for the tip.

    @Paul England- It would be interesting to see how the necromage perk affects both the magicka regen and the weakness to magicka.

    @R.S. Lake and Henson- I used both of your suggestions during my playthrough but overlooked them when writing this up. I will add these in tomorrow when I have more time.

    Again thanks for the feedback everyone and I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

  • August 8, 2012

    what is the ring of recovery and where can I find it? +1 :]]