The Vigil of Stendarr. If you have played Skyrim for more then a couple of hours you have probably run into several Vigilants of Stendarr. If you've talked to them then you probably already know what their purpose is and history is. I'll take the time to go over it real quick though, for those that don't know. The Vigil of Stendarr is a militant religious order that was founded shortly after the events of the previous Elder Scrolls game, which centered around the events of what was known as the Oblivion Crisis. Their purpose is to hunt down and destroy primarily Daedra, although they also hunt down vampires werewolves and witches. They show disdain for these beings due to their disregard for mortal life. Vigilants can be found patrolling the roads in Skyrim, hanging out at their base of operations, the Hall of the Vigilant(assuming you don't have Dawnguard installed), and at Stendarr's Beacon in The Rift. There are also random world interactions that involve Vigilants fighting either an Atronach, Skeletons or a Vampire. Overall the Vigil has a very small role in the game. It's not possible to join their faction and once you install Dawnguard their main base of operations is destroyed. They are ultimately replaced by the Dawnguard faction which you can join but primarily focuses on fighting vampires. I always thought the Vigilants of Stendarr were pretty interesting NPCs so I thought it might be interesting to create a character based on them. In my experience so far though this is a pretty tough build, if you like the build but think you might be frustrated by the difficulty, it maybe best to keep the difficult setting on Adept.
The Vigilants of Stendarr are pretty varied in terms of race. Keeper Caracette, the leader of the Skyrim chapter of the Vigil, is a Breton. Vigilant Tyranus, the only other named Vigilant pre-Dawngaurd, is an Imperial. The rest of the generic Vigilants that you encounter are either Dark Elf, Nord or Redguard. I'm sure that the nature of the Vigil of Stendarr means that they don't discriminate against race so I think it is OK to choose whatever race you prefer. Although if you're trying to stick to more purist build then maybe you might want to choose from the five aforementioned races. Personally, I chose to be Breton.
Vigilants of Stendarr wear the following gear; an Amulet of Stendarr, steel cuffed boots or steel plate boots, steel Nordic gauntlets/steel Imperial gauntlets or steel plate gauntlets, a notice hood, novice robes of alteration or novice robes of restoration. They also carry the following books; Physicalities of Werewolves, The Book of Daedra, Varieties of Daedra, and Immortal Blood. They also carry a torch and any kind of mace. Now, I took serious liberties with gear. It seemed like it would be tough limiting myself to such weak gear. I felt the most defining and important characteristics of the Vigilants were the fact that they always wear an Amulet of Stendarr, have heavy armored gauntlets and boots and mage clothes for the chest and head. So, I did follow those guidelines. Keeper Caracette and Vigilant Tyranus wear apprentice grade cloths so I thought that staying at novice level wasn't necessary. However, the style of robes and hood worn by Vigilants ends at the Adept level. Expert and Master robes don't have an accompanying hood and have an entirely different design. In place of a hood I used the Mage's Circlet, a leveled mage's guild quest reward. It grants 70 magicka when you recieve it as a reward at level 25. I also gradually changed to higher grade armor as I changed robes. My current and likely final gear setup is; a Amulet of Stendarr, Dragonplate boots, Dragonplate gauntlets, Mage's Circlet and Arcmage Robes. It's up to you what gear you want to wear. Purists should choose to only use up to Apprentice level cloths with steel plate armor. If not though and you feel like taking liberties like I did, choose whatever look you like while adhering to the basic principles I mentioned earlier.
Combat and Perks
Vigilants of Stendarr have the spells Oakflesh, Healing and Lesser Ward. Obviously as you become stronger you'll be using much more powerful versions of these spells and trust me you'll need to. I took some liberties with spells as I felt the Vigil's arsenal could use some expanding. It's not a bad idea to get Turn Undead, it seems like the kind of spell a Vigilant would have. Although conjuration is mostly reanimating the dead and summoning daedra, which you want to avoid being a Vigilant, there are some useful spells. Conjure Familiar and Conjure Flaming Familiar are really the only acceptable summons even though they are of limited use. You'll also probably want the Banish and Expel Daedra spells to counter your enemies summoned daedra. The destruction magic is also going to be useful. Since you'll be fighting a lot of vampires, focus on the fire branch of the destruction tree. The flesh spells in alteration are going to be important, since you don't get a lot of armor from the boots and gauntlets. Also, you may find the Detect Life and Detect Undead spells to be useful. The Paralyze spell is a useful tool in a jam as it can grant you a momentary reprieve from an enemy. Since you'll be wearing the Amulet of Stendarr if you want to follow this build faithfully it's not a bad idea to work on your block skill. Even just blocking with your mace or torch will help mitigate damage if you're in a pinch. For what perks I chose please refer to this. You don't have to follow that perk guide to the letter if you don't want to but those were the perks that I thought would be the most appropriate for this build.
Any quests involving vampires namely; Laid to Rest, Kill the Vampire, Dark Ancestor, and The Wolf Queen Awakened. Any Daedric Artifact quests that have an outcome that would be considered unfavorable to the Daedra Lord. This Includes; The Black Star, Pieces of the Past, The Taste of Death, and Waking Nightmare. If you have the Dawnguard expansion involved that entire questline is also pertinent as some of the remaining Vigilants join the Dawnguard as well. In addition to these quests I also completed the Mage's Guild Questline and The House of Horrors(For role-playing reasons which I will explain in the next section).
Role Playing Advice
One of the first things you should do once you make it out of the tutorial is make your way to Mara's Eye Pond/Den. Inside you will find some vampires and a dead Vigilant. You can take his gear for yourself if you don't already have an outfit and his corpse also contains an Amulet of Stendarr. Return there regularly to clean the place out of Vampires. Also relatively close by is Cronvangr Cave. There are Vampires hidden in a secret room that can be accessed by activating a button on the wall towards the middle of the first room. Broken Fang Cave, Haemar's Shame and Shriekwind Bastion are also places where vampires reside that aren't associated with any of the quests I mentioned above. Hunt down any vampires you can! Fortunately quests will cover most of them. There are a couple hiding in plain sight though. Hert of the Half-Moon Mill feeds on passing travelers. She won't put up much of a fight but put an end to her reign of terror. Sybille Stentor is the quest giver for Kill the Vampire. Odd considering she is one herself. It's up to you if you want to kill this one but considering she never leaves the Blue Palace she might be more trouble then she's worth.
One of the most important aspects of role playing a character is to try and make some kind of story. When you do anything significant try to imagine some story around it. You can rationalize any action your character does by just creating a story around it. For example, I was very interested in the quest The House of Horrors for this build because a Vigilant is involved and the reward is a mace, the main weapon the Vigilants use. Also the mace becomes slightly stronger when you get the destruction fire perks. However, this quest doesn't have an alternate ending, meaning that you have to do the Daedra Lord's bidding. I thought of a story that could justify my character completing the quest, which I will write to serve as an example.
So, after clearing out a den of Vampires, my character, Daemon heads to Markarth to stay at the inn for a couple of days and investigate the city. Upon arriving he runs into a fellow Vigilant by the name of Tyranus. Tyranus is on a case and currently investigating an abandoned house, Daemon agrees to help Tyranus investigate. Once inside things go awry when they find out that they are out of their league. The Daedric Lord Molag Bol speaks to each of them demanding that they kill one another. Tyranus folds to the Daedric Lord's will and attacks, it is a close fight but Daemon reluctantly strikes him down. Stricken with grief over the fact that he had to dispatch his fellow Vigilant, Daemon takes Tyranus' robes and amulet and wears them as a sign of mourning and as a memorial to his fallen comrade. Daemon isn't out of the woods yet though, he heads towards the shrine of Molag Bol where he receives his instructions from the Daedra Lord. Molag Bol wanted a man named Logrolf the Willful, a priest of Boethiah, brought before him. Now permitted to leave the house Daemon left to find Logrolf while reflecting on the events that just transpired. He didn't care what happened to Logrolf, any servant of any Daedra Lord meant nothing to him. His primary concern was to be free of Molag Bol's grasp, he was unsure of what the Daedra Lord's plans for him were.
Getting to Logrolf was challenging. He had been trained to fight Vampires but, most of them specialized in magic and were lacking for any kind of armor. The Forsworn were another story, these reachmen were seasoned guerrilla warriors, they were hard men. Daemon was not yet experienced enough to go toe to toe with the Forsworn with his skills as a warrior alone. Luckily Daemon was an adept healer thanks to his training with Keeper Caracette and that ultimately proved to be the leg up he needed. He found Logrolf bound and behind bars. He managed to persuade the priest that he was a fellow follower of Boethiah. Logrolf uttered some words of gratitude and mentioned that he needed to go to Markarth to the altar of Molag Bol. Daemon let him go on ahead, carefully tailing him but staying out of sight. No doubt he still had a part to play in whatever it was Molag Bol had planned so he followed Logrolf all the way to the altar.
He saw Logralf trapped and heard him exchange words with the Daedra Lord. There was no mistaking the surprise in Logralf's voice when he saw Daemon enter the room. Daemon took the mace that Molag Bol had given him, a rusty mace, and reflected on the words spoken by Molag Bol. "Crush the spirit from Logrolf's bones. Make him bend to me." What was one less Daedric servant in the world? Surely no one would miss Logrolf. Again and again he bought the mace down on Logrolf's head, at least attempting to grant him a swift death. Molag Bol was having none of that though, he wanted submission not vengeance. The seemingly lifeless Logrolf once again sprang to life. Knowing all too well what was in store for him Logrolf began to plead. Logralf submitted to Molag Bol's will, pledging his soul and forsaking his lord Boethiah. "You're mine now, Logrolf," said the Daedric Lord. With one final swing Daemon put the old man out of his misery. The rusty mace completely changed into a large, terrible, and powerful looking weapon. The mace had a heft to it and merely holding the weapon gave him a strange sensation, a feeling of dominance. "The Mace of Molag Bol! I give you its true power, mortal."
He spent the night in the Silver-blood inn, staring at the prize he had been rewarded with for his service to Molag Bol. He should turn this monstrosity in to the Vigil's main headquarters where they would lock it up for good and never speak to anyone about what he did. It didn't matter if he was forced into serving Molag Bol or not, if the Vigil found out about him killing Tyranus and working for Molag Bol he would surely be cast out or worse, executed. The way the mace made him feel though, he felt as if he could destroy anyone or anything in his path. Surely there must be a way he could use the weapon as a tool of justice, as he was for the Vigil and Stendarr. He thought about the words Molag Bol left him with, "When your enemies lie broken and bloody before you, know that I will be watching." At that moment he realized what he had to do. He remembered back to when he had been training and studying up on vampires. It was said that Molag Bol was the origin of all vampires, that they were almost like his progeny. Daemon would carry that mace as an act of penance for killing Tyranus and for serving Molag Bol; and he would use the mace to bring death to countless vampires in an act of defiance and revenge for the things Molag Bol made him do. And Molag Bol would see every second of it. Still though he had a nagging thought in the back of his head. Daedric Lords were known to be all-powerful and all-knowing. It was hard to believe that Molag Bol would choose him as his champion and not have the foresight to anticipate his actions. Maybe this was Molag Bol's plan all along? Maybe he needed someone to thin the herd as it were? Daemon would never know but his resolve was strong, he headed out into the world with the mace strapped to his side. The Vigil would not likely let his actions slide but he would deal with that when the time came. For now the only thing he had on his mind was where he was going to hunt for vampires next.
Well, I got a bit carried away there but I did enjoy writing that. As you can see, with a little creativity you can turn any action or any quest into a character driven story. You don't have to write it all down though, I think it's enough to imagine the story as it's happening, to get inside your character's head. All you need is enough imagination to keep it interesting. So, I think I've covered all the bases for this character build. Hopefully you have everything you need to get started on your own character if this sounds like something you would like to do. Even if you're not planning on using this build I hope you enjoyed the read!