The Dawnguard rune hammer is one of the most interesting weapons in all of Skyrim. It might appear to be a regular Dawnguard warhammer, but by bashing with it you place a fire rune as if you had cast the fire rune spell. This build specializes in the rune hammer to create a hybrid mage/warrior playstyle without constantly swapping spells or needing to use a one handed weapon. This character should aim to get the rune master perk as soon as possible, which makes the fire rune a true ranged attack. Now you can set enemies aflame from a distance without having to swap around spells and equipment!
The fire rune allows this build to give dangerous opponents space, taking them on methodically with tactically placed runes. It is also an area of effect explosion, great for clearing out multiple weaker enemies in big skirmishes. Since this character is already investing in destruction, a flame cloak is also added to their arsenal. The cloak works well with the long reach of a two handed weapon and the tactical gameplay that the fire rune encourages. The Nordic rune master with all its pieces is a flurry of flames that's still rocking a full set of heavy armor and wielding a skull-crushing warhammer with both hands.
An important technique for the Nordic rune master is what I call a side bash. By bashing with the rune hammer while aiming down and to the side a bit, you can plant a rune on the ground next to the enemy and still hit them with the staggering bash. This immediately sets off the rune to add a fiery explosion to the punishment of the stagger. The quick reflexes perk is vital to making sure you can line up the side bash in time. After getting the hang of this technique, it makes interrupting power attacks even more satisfying and deadly for your foes. Another option with the side bash is to use it much more aggressively. While casting the fire rune spell requires paying for the entire cost, a weapon bash can be performed with just one stamina. By repeatedly bashing an opponent and chaining staggers, you can dish out serious fire damage to an especially dangerous opponent while staying safe. The lady stone's stamina regeneration helps with this tactic, so it's chosen as the build's standing stone.
With the Dragonborn DLC, the build can be enhanced with either Ahzidal's helm of vision or the Ahzidal dragon priest mask. The helm of vision is a unique ancient Nord helmet which increases the range of runes and summons, but makes them cost 25% more magicka. Since the rune hammer's runes cost zero magicka, the helmet has no downside for the Nordic rune master. Ahzidal, meanwhile, provides an increase in fire damage.
If you want to play as the dragonborn with this build, there are two shouts that stand out. Fire breath is thematic and can be enhanced by meditating on it with Paarthurnax and through The Gardener of Men quest in the Dragonborn DLC. Become ethereal is a powerful shout for the Nordic rune master because bashing does not end become ethereal like a normal attack would. For especially dangerous fights, a dragonborn Nordic rune master can become completely untouchable as the opposition is bombarded with exploding runes.