I’ve collected a bunch of Skyrim mods that I’d like to document, mostly so I’ll have a list of all the core-to-me mods, but also to have a place to point my friends when they ask. I’ll try and keep them organized into a couple sections that I’ll briefly go over.
It seems I’m a fan of complex systems (particularly the emergent story telling that comes from them), and as such, many of my game play mods fall under “Immersion”, “Realism”, and/or “Survivalism”.
While I enjoy a good story, scripted or entropically generated, I also enjoy cinematic visuals. I tend to really have two play styles: role playing, and photo touring.
Before I completely bore you, allow me to entice you with a selection of recent random screenshots.
General / UI Mods
Personally, I use Nexus Mod Manager, but I’ve considered using Mod Organizer, mostly because of the mod profiles. Also, you’ll want BOSS to help you get your load order sorted (and be sure to pay attention to any errors or warnings). Finally, if (more likely WHEN) Skyrim starts crashing on launch, I found it’s easiest to use TES5Edit. The error messages when it fails to load tend to point to hidden missing mod dependencies.
- SKSE – Not quite a mod, and slightly more involved to install
- Autosave Manager
- Better MessageBox Controls – Real nice if you use a 360 controller
- Customizable Camera
- Disease Descriptions for the Immersive Adventurer
- Even Better Quest Objectives – more descriptive
- Immersive 360 Controller – Adds extra Hotkeys for 360 controller users
- Immersive HUD
- Lore-Based Loading Screens – Another way to dive into the lore.
- Nexus Mod Manager or Mod Organizer
- Reflection – Level up messages
- Skyrim Optimization Project
- TTYM – Think To Yourself Messages – First Person game messages
- The Unofficial Patches:
Game Play Mods
There are a few ways to categorize these, and I’ll try to keep them somewhat related.
- A Place To Sleep – Adds more sleeping bags around Skyrim
- Disable Basic Health Regeneration – makes battles that much more interesting. after a good battle, I’ll put on some bandages eat a hearty elk steak and heal up.
- Dovahkiin Relaxes Too – Adds some animation (useful for screenshots) and a bedroll
- First Aid
- Frostfall – Hypothermia Camping Survival – try to stay dry and wam
- Harvesting Animation – An immersive animation when harvesting
- Hunterborn – Makes cleaning/skinning/harvesting a little more involved
- Realistic Needs and Diseases – You’ll need to sleep and eat
- Sneak Tools – Adds useful tools like rope or fire arrows (and also a craftable packed bedroll that you can unroll and sleep on)
- Wet and Cold – Makes it difficult to see when it’s too rainy or too snowy (also makes it obvious you’re freezing or wet)
- Wet and Cold – Ashes – an add-on for Wet and Cold that adds ashes
- Dance of Death – You can set the chances of getting a cinematic kill move
- Dragon Combat Overhaul
- Duel – Combat Realism – Makes the Combat AI less dumb
- Locational Damage – HEADSHOT!
- TK Dodge
- TK HitStop
- TK Recoil
- Throwing Weapons Redux
- ABT – Arrows and Bolt Tweaks
- Alternate Start – Live Another Life
- Arrowsmith – craft arrows!
- Bury The Dead – Now you can bury your dead followers instead of leaving their bodies where they lie.
- Civil War Overhaul
- Convenient Horses – Adds useful things like horse whistles, horse packs, and letting your follower(s) ride.
- Dynamic Things – Adds way more interactive elements AND makes the training dummies and targets useful
- Guard Dialog Overhaul
- Horsemen – Mounted Combat Enhancement
- Lanterns of Skyrim – Be sure to grab a preset as well, they have a preset for the Realistic Lighting Overhaul mod I’m using
- Lantern Caretakers – An add-on for Lanterns of Skyrim
- Master of Disguise – Real Faction Armor – Faction Overhaul
- ~ Immersive Beds – much more realistic bed time (getting in/out of bed) ~
- Another Sleep Mod – Alternate to immersive beds (seems less buggy)
- Realistic Ragdolls and Force
- Sometimes Pick Up Books
- UFO – Ultimate Follower Overhaul – Multiple followers!
- Wearable Lanterns – and add-ons:
Liven up the Place
- Birds of Skyrim
- Expanded Towns and Cities – Adds buildings and other places to cities
- Immersive Patrols
- OBIS – Organized Bandits in Skyrim
- Pets of Skyrim
- Populated Cities – Makes it seem like people actually live here!
- ~ Real Wildlife – Adds a bunch of wildlife ~ superseded by…
- SkyTEST – Realistic Animals and Predators
- Run For Your Lives – Civilians run when you’re being attacked by a dragon…
- When Vampires Attack – … or Vampires!
- ApachiiSkyHair Natural Retexture
- Ethereal Elven Overhaul
- Pumping Iron – This makes it so your character slowly gains mass as they level; there’s no game changing effect, purely cosmetic.
- XCE – Xenius Character Enhancement
- XCE – Warpaint and Dirt
Make Things Prettier
- AOF HD Trees LOD
- Automatic Variants – This creates a system for loading and randomizing multiple skins for the same models (mobs, mostly). There are a bunch of AV packages you’ll want to grab for it as well.
- Deadly Spell Impacts
- Dramatic Clouds
- Project Parallax Remastered – Requires ENB, SMIM, and Skyrim HD
- Ruins Clutter Improved
- SMIM – Static Mesh Improvement Mod
- Skyrim HD – 2k Textures
- Vivid Landscapes Series (probably requires ENB)
Make Things More Realistic
- Argonian Raptor Feet – Raptor Claws!
- Better Dynamic Snow
- Dead Body Collision Fix
- Digitigrade Khajiit – Cat feet!
- Dual Wield Parrying
- Dynamic Vampire Appearance – Changes your appears based on your stage of vampirism
- Finer Dust
- Fire and Ice Overhaul – Fires burn and spread and Ice builds!
- Touring Carriages
- Proper Length Arrows
- Pseudo Parry Animation
- Real Shelter – non-Climates of Tamriel
- Realistic Lighting Overhaul
- Realistic Smoke and Embers
- Realistic Water 2
- SkyFalls and SkyMills
- Skyrim Sizes – variable heights based on race and gender
- Smooth Blade Draw and Sheathe
- Treebalance – Speech Tree: Yield to and accept yielding opponents
- Windmills Resized
Finally… let’s talk about ENB – I’m using the Somber ENB Lut Sepia Preset. Installing ENB presets are somewhat involved, but Gopher has a few good videos about how to get started with them. Here’s Gopher installing the Sharpshooter preset, the process for other ENB Presets will be fairly similar.