Damn near every time I stream Skyrim I get asked what mods I’m running, and since I run so many, I’ve said that I would write a blog post listing all the mods that I’m running. This is that post. Heck, I’ll even keep it up to date as necessary.
Before I even begin, I need to say that these are all Skyrim Nexus mods. If you’re looking for the convenience of mods from the Steam Workshop, while I won’t be linking to any, some of these mods exist in a reduced capacity on there, so you might have some luck. While I used to use Steam Workshop mods, the very reason why they’re so convenient ended up working against them; the subscription method. When you find a mod you like, you subscribe to it, and the next time you launch Skyrim it updates your subscribed mods automatically. Convenient, right? Well, if one of your mods updates, the new version could conflict with other mods you’re running. Depending on the severity of the conflict you either have to grin and bear it, or remove the mod, as mod authors are by no means required to make their mods compatible with others’. The same holds true with Skyrim Nexus mods, but the difference is that you can choose not to update, or roll back to an older version, or if you’re lucky somebody has coded a compatibility patch for it. Long story short, automatic updates for mods is bad, mmmkay?
If you’re new to mods from the Skyrim Nexus, you’ll want to head here and download it. I also recommend watching this video by Gopher if anything about the installation/download/configuration process confuses you. Gopher makes good and informative videos, and any mod that has a video by him is worth having a watch. He also makes some mods, and while I can’t speak for all the mods that he’s made or collaborated on, the ones that I use are top notch.
Some of these mods also use SKSE, which is a script extender. Basically, SKSE makes some of the really cool mods possible, as what they do isn’t possible with the default scripts in Skyrim. I recommend watching this video by Gopher before downloading and installing it from here. SKSE supports the most recent version of Skyrim available on Steam and only that version, so if you pirated your copy of Skyrim, well… tough titties.
I will be listing my load order at the end if you’re just going to run the mods I have listed here, but if you plan on getting more, I highly recommend you download BOSS. BOSS is responsible, for the most part, for the order in which I have my mods loaded. You should read the description (as an aside, if you’re not reading the description for all the mods, you really should be), but basically it reorders your mods so that there are as few conflicts as possible.
I promised to keep this up to date, but a recent save corruption has rendered my streamed character unusable so I’ve reworked my mods. The list below is just that, a list. I’ll list off all my mods in alphabetical order. They can all be found at the Nexus. I intend to edit this and format it properly (in the style of the previous mod rundown which you can still find below my list) at a later date. The reason I’m not taking care of it now is because writing these takes a decent length of time and if I were to do so now, I wouldn’t have the mental energy to stream tonight. So for now, you get the list ;p Some of the mods in the list are linked in the old section though as I still use them.
1st Person Camera Height Change – Morrowind Race Heights
A Quality World Map
A Thinner Compass
Acquisitive Soul Gems
Alternate Start – Live Another Life
Amazing Follower Tweaks
Arrows and Bolts Tweaks
Auto Unequip Ammo
Casual bow animations – option b
Categorized Favourites Menu
Categorized Favourites menu CFM – Archer Alchemist
Cloaks of Skyrim
Crimson Tide – Blood
Dragon Priest Mask Quest Markers
Drinking Fountains of Skyrim
Dual Wield Blocking Animations
Dual Wield Parrying
Enhanced Distant Terrain
Ethereal Elven Overhaul
EZ2C Dialogue Menu
Fantasy Music Overhaul
HD Textures DLC Fix
High Quality 3D Map
Liasmah – Colour and Size for your Map and HUD
No NPC Greetings – reduced distance
Realistic Lighting Overhaul
Realistic Needs and Diseases
Skyrim -Community- Uncapper
Skyrim Flora Overhaul
Static Mesh Improvement Mod
Stones of Barenziah Quest Markers
T3nd0s Skyrim Redone
The Dance of Death
Unofficial Dawnguard Patch
Unofficial Skyrim Patch
Wet and Cold
Winter is Coming
These first two mods will not be listed in the load order, however, as I installed them while I was still using the Steam Workshop, and I installed them manually, and not through NMM.
This mod, as you might imagine from the name, makes ore veins glow. This is one of the mods that I actually consider ‘essential’. In one of my streams, somebody asked if ore veins were from a mod, as they’d never even seen one. This mod basically means you’ll never miss a vein again. They’re also colour coded too; ebony is purple, orichalcum is green, etc.
Well, this is embarrassing…
I am using a mod that, when I pull my favourites, makes the horizontal portion of the screen taken up by them all black, and allows favourites to fill the entire vertical. It’s embarrassing because I can’t find the mod that does this. I’ve been meaning to replace it with something more robust, anyways.
Now onto mods that I actually installed via NMM, and have links for.
This mod got installed because of one (now deleted) playthrough. I was playing as a female High Elf, which is one of the taller race/gender combos. Noticeably so, even. And something else I noticed is that with the default first-person camera height, a female High Elf, when in first-person camera, is actually looking out through her chest. This mod makes it so that your first-person camera is actually where it should be for your race/gender. It’s a tricksy mod, though. When installed via NMM you’ll be prompted to select you gender and race. That’s because it modifies the camera height on a global basis. If you select female High Elf, and play as a male Wood Elf, the camera will be above where your head is. If you switch characters, you’ll have to uninstall and reinstall it via NMM to reselect your height. It’s not a huge deal, but it bears being mentioned. Unless you’re using a mod that changes the height of the races – I am not – install the “Default Skyrim Sizes” file. Do not install the Morrowind or Oblivion ones (unless you’re using a height-changer mod that sets heights to those values, obviously).
This mod does exactly what it says on the tin. Just improves the quality of the in-game 3D map. I have the “HQ3DMap – Meshes Hi-Res” version installed. While not required for the next mod, it is highly recommended that you have this installed with it as your options become severely limited without.
This just adds to the improvements that the previous mod added to the world map, by removing some of the cloud cover and adding roads to it. Because I do have the High Quality 3D Map mod, my installation is for high-res 3d with minimal cloud cover and all roads shown.
Another mod that does exactly what it says on the tin; it makes the compass thinner. The default compass doesn’t seem that large until you get used to this. Then you find yourself wondering why you didn’t think the default compass was too big. NOTE: Although I have this listed before iHud (due to the alphabet), I recommend you not install this until after iHud. iHud’s will override this mod’s compass. You will, of course, know this if you read the description on the mod’s page (like I said you should earlier). The latest version appears to have iHud support, but the main description does not reflect this, so better safe than sorry ;p
This mod is an odd one, as I have it installed, and I know what it does, but I don’t actually know if it does what it says it does. With this mod installed, you’ll never under-fill a soul gem again. If you only have Grand Soul Gems in your inventory and you trap a common soul, the common soul will faff off. Petty souls go in petty gems, black souls go into black gems (including the Black Star), etc. One notable exception is that any size soul will go into Azura’s Star. If you do not have Dawnguard, install “Acquisitive Soul Gems – 2_1” in the Old Versions section as that is the latest version that does not require Dawnguard.
Want to make another character, but don’t want to wait through that damn cart ride just to get to design him/her? This mod is for you. It starts you off with character creation, and you can select a different starting background, with some only available depending on your race. For example, if you make an orc, you have the option to start off in an orc stronghold. If you start as a dunmer you start off in a major city as a refugee from Morrowind (with a [stolen] horse). You are given a quest that will progress the main storyline, but based on my experience with it, it can be a little buggy, so I honestly suggest using this to design your character, and then select that you got caught trying to cross the border, sleep in the bed, and then go afk for a bit. That option puts you back in the normal start, skipping over the default creation process. Basically, it lets you design your character first without breaking the plot at all. Assuming you want to advance the main plot at all, of course. ;p Whether you do or not, choose what you want. Just selecting the cart will cause the least amount of console commands.
Read the description on the site for this one. It tweaks too many things for me to summarize accurately beyond the fact that having this mod made me willing to have followers again. Fair warning; it’s kind of buggy about dogs and Dawnguard NPCs – especially with Serana. Fair warning to my fair warning; your mileage may vary – my issues may not occur to you. Even with those issues it’s still a great mod.
This mod does a lot of things relating to arrows and bolts. To get the full effect from this mod, you’re going to have to edit an .ini file so be warned of that. My personal settings are the same as the author’s recommendations (scroll down the description to find them), though I do keep my crosshair enabled. If you don’t have Dawnguard, don’t install the settings that involve crossbows/bolts.
Does about what you’d expect. If you switch out your bow/crossbow in favour of another weapon/spells it will unequip the arrows/bolts. It will also equip the ones you were using last when you switch back. No more switching from your bow w/ glass arrows to heal, and then switching back to your bow only to be using falmer arrows. If you don’t have Dawnguard, install “Auto Unequip Arrows v3_0” as that is the latest version that doesn’t require it.
This mod allows you to use multiple texture packs, and have, like the name suggests, automatic variants. This is quite a bit more complicated to install (though still fairly easy) than any other mod I have listed here, and I heavily recommend you watch this video that goes into detail on the installation process. If you follow me on twitter, you head me bitching today (Dec 6, 2012) about Java, and getting it to properly run a .jar file. This mod was the file I was trying to get Java to run. That is not this mod’s fault, it’s Java’s fault for being a dirty piece of shit. And in the end, it was worth it. As for which AV packages I run? I’m honestly not sure. I downloaded quite a few, and picked the skins I liked from within them. Fair warning: since installing this, I’ve had the occasional issue with iHud where it runs fine, but the key to toggle the compass no longer works. A restart of Skyrim seems to fix it, though sometimes multiple restarts are necessary. Comments on the iHud mod page point at Live Another Life (one of the other mods I have running) as the culprit, but I’ve not updated that recently, and I’ve not experienced this issue before. The having to restart Skyrim can be kind of annoying, but the end result is worth it for me. And again, your mileage may vary.
This replaces the animations for standing, walking, and running with an un-drawn bow to be a bit less… ape-like. I use option b, but look at the screenshots to see which option you’d prefer and install that one.
I don’t like using the fast-travel, and the way horses work in vanilla Skyrim just didn’t cut it for me for various reasons, so I ended up travelling on foot a lot. Amongst many options, this allows me to gather herbs while mounted, dismount quickly if enemies are nearby (I prefer dismounting to mounted combat), and have armour for my horse. Many, many options. If using this and Amazing Follower Tweaks, disable mounting in AFT’s dialogue menus. This does it better. Of the optional files, I only have the Unique Frost skin installed.
This mod changes the textures for blood (and draugr, insect, dwemer variants), as well as the way it is shown on enemies. Slashing a dude in the arm will look different than smashing a dude in the chest with a mace. For various unavoidable reasons, blood will still not show up on faces. This, like many other mods in this run-down is mostly installed for the purpose of immersion.
This adds (or not, depending on whether you install the main file or the Loremonger Edition) a bunch of dragons, as well as allowing you to adjust the difficulty of dragon fights. It also introduces the assault system which allows for dragon fights more often. Honestly, read the description on this one. If you don’t have Dawnguard, you’ll want to install “Deady Dragons v4-5-0” or it’s Loremonger variant. I personally use Vanilla strength dragons, with no new abilities on the vanilla dragons, but with the knockdown enabled, and an assault timer of 36 hours +/- 12 hours.
WARNING: While I have the optional download to make this mod SFW by adding bikinis, this next mod is still an ‘adult’ mod, and the very first screenshots make that abundantly clear by showing tits and muff.
This is a female body replacer, and like I said in the warning before I even linked it, by default it’s also a nude mod. I don’t particularly care for nude mods, and I would have installed the bikini optional download even if I wasn’t streaming this game. I originally installed this because an armour mod I was interested in had this as a requirement. I ended up not overly caring for the armour mod, and just ended up keeping this. I was going to say ‘keeping this out of laziness’ but some of the other mods are basically just compatibility patches for this, so it wasn’t that lazy. Skip it or add it as you prefer. If you skip it, some of the mods I’ll be mentioning won’t be necessary, and if you add it, some of the mods will be necessary (and any mod that adds armour with female variants will need a compatibility patch to look right on this mod’s bodies). I installed the Main Body variant and the SFW bikinis (which require a manual install) for it.
This adds a quest (with markers) to your journal after you’ve killed a Dragon Priest to aid you in finding and killing the others. This doesn’t touch the masks, so finding the wooden mask won’t give you the quest, nor will it help you find masks you may have dropped/sold.
This mod helps make elves look more… elven. New head shapes, facial markings, bears, etc while still being lore-friendly. See the description and screenshots for more info. (It doesn’t affect any elves added by Dawnguard)
Because this one is fully configurable, this one takes a bit of work to get it ‘just right’, and involves editing a .cfg file. I personally use the default font with subtitles being size 16 white, speaker font being 20 white, tab 20 white, topics unbulleted, new highlighted topics 18 gold, new unhighlighted topics 18 white, old highlighted topics 18 dark red, old unhighlighted topics 18 dark grey, and the topiclist 18 white, with an alpha of 100, an x_pos of 20, and a width of 600. Colours are based on the config file’s names for the colours. I realize this is a bit gibberish-sounding, but it was the easiest way to explain my settings without doing a straight copy/paste.
Exactly what it says on the tin. It changes all the music in the game as well as adding a whole bunch more. They are all quality songs, imo. Unlike a lot of other music mods, this is a replacer. Normal Skyrim soundtrack songs (aside from the title screen) will be gone as they don’t mesh well with the songs this mod adds. If you have Dawnguard, you’ll need to install the Dawnguard patch.
If you installed Bethesda’s (Bugthesda, amirite? ;p) HD texture packs you may have noticed things like white logs in campfires, and purple chopping blocks. This fixes those graphical issues. Obviously only bother installing this if you’ve installed Bethesda’s HD texture packs.
This is honestly the only armour mod you’ll ever need, unless you crave armour that is absolutely ridiculous-looking. All kinds of balanced and lore-friendly armour, that is both craftable and lootable from enemies. It’s a hefty download at 326 MB (which is why you won’t find the full pack on Steam Workshop, only individual amour sets), but it’s well worth it. If you installed DIMONIZED UNP, you’ll need to install the UNP support patch from the optional files after installing the main mod.
Makes the HUD, well… more immersive. Health, Magicka, Stamina bars disappear faster, a toggle of the compass (and consequently floating quest markers), crosshair only when needed… I run this with default settings (crosshair only enabled when over something usable, using magic, or a ranged weapon) but with the compass toggled on. This mod is made by Gopher, whom as I mentioned previously does good things (I may fancy him a bit based on his voice in his videos, but that’s besides the point).
This came out of beta less than a week ago, as of this writing, so it’s still got some kinks to work out (lighting issues on the Snake Axe and Pick). I don’t particularly care for some of the weapons it adds, but it adds over 200, so “some” is a fairly small number. Fair warning; some people in the comments have mentioned that they’ve been having crashes to desktop when in the glass section of crafting since adding this. I’ve not unlocked glass yet on any of my characters so I’ve not experienced this issue. Even so, I recommend saving before crafting with this enabled, just in case. Also, like Immersive Armors, this one has a hefty file size.
This mod gives me an internal conflict. I like the way it reorganized the HUD, but I don’t like that it moved the sneak indicator away from the crosshair. As such, I don’t actually use the main file. It’s up to you if you want to, of course, but there will likely be a mod conflict with this and Immersive HUD if you do. I’m just using the optional file “Map – Trinity Colors Resized”.
This is a handy helper for lockpicking that isn’t a flat-out cheat (it’s hard find mods that affect locks in any way that don’t either make it a lot harder or a lot easier). It adds notches around the lock, to give you an easier-to-remember reference point for where your pick was when it broke. I use option C.
This mod let’s you mine ore with the Flames spell that every character starts with. There are other, more lore-friendly mods that let you mine ore without having to lug around the 10 pound pickaxe, but I like this one. *shrug*
“I work for Belethor at the…” SHUT UP! As you might imagine, this removes proximity greetings from NPCs. I use the Reduced Distance version, so they’ll still say stuff at me, but I pretty much have to physically bump into them for it to happen.
This is just, as you might imagine, an icon set for SkyUI. I happen to like it more than the default icon set that is packaged with SkyUI, but hell, you may prefer the Celtic icon set that is also packaged with SkyUI. Or, horror upon horrors, you may prefer the default inventory/spell UI. Rumour has it that this will be packaged as an icon set with SkyUI in the future, but as it stands now, that is not the case. Install this only if you have SkyUI, and install it afterwards, saying no if it says it is out of date, but overwriting any files that it asks about (as they will be replacing the icons you chose when you installed SkyUI)
Default Skyrim is too bright. The only difference between night and day is night has a blue filter over it, and the sun isn’t up. This makes the lighting more realistic without being too dark, and without a noticeable impact on performance (personally it improved performance for me). You can still kind of see at night, but you will find yourself using torches and the light spells for once. If you’re using NMM to install use that version only. And then manually install the 3_5 version if you have Dawnguard. I use the Vision Lighting, which is why I can still see at night and in dungeons, though it did still prompt me using torches and light spells.
This mod changes how all the grass, plants, and trees look in the gane, overall making for a much more beautiful and lush looking countryside without adding more grass or trees. This mod can be fairly memory intensive, which is why you’ll notice that it has recommended system specs in the description. However, the Low-Res version (which is what I have installed) is still a noticeable improvement, with a negligible impact on performance (YMMV).I have the Low-Res version installed, as well as the dead shrub low-res and shiny roots fixes. Those fixes aren’t necessary if you install the hi-res version (and hell, may not be necessary even with low-res, but I’ve installed them anyways). I’ve also installed the “No Lupins ESP” as Lupins looked too much like Lavender to me, and were making me go out of my way to gather an herb that… wasn’t an herb.
This requires SKSE. I think some of the mods I’ve already listed require SKSE as well, but if they have, I’ve obviously not mentioned it beyond me mentioning it at the start of the post. That said… Look at the mod’s description/screenshots and Gopher’s video. Are you downloading/installing SkyUI yet? If not, what the hell is wrong with you?
Exactly what it says on the tin. Especially handy when combined with Deadly Dragons as you’ll fairly quickly have more dragon souls than there are shouts in the game. It also allows you to spend souls for health/stamina/magicka, and is the cost is customizable in-game.
This changes how clean things ranging from apples to barrels to the knocker handles on big doors look. Obviously it’s just mostly a graphical improvement mod. I can’t remember off-hand which selections I went with, as there’s a lot to choose from, but I believe I choose mostly in the low poly count, with the exception of choosing the new barrels with animations, as I really liked those textures/animations.
Much like the Dragon Priest Mask mod – made by the same person – this adds quest markers to the map for the locations of all the Stones of Barenziah once you’ve progressed the quest far enough for them to be Stones of Barenziah instead of Unusual Gems. Incredibly handy, as finding all 24 without a guide up is a pain in the ass.
Honestly, I only use this so I don’t have to keep casting Candlelight at night, but that’s not the only spell it handles. Read the description for full details. Even though I’m only using it for one spell, it’s super handy.
Adds a bunch of originally unused or unassigned killmoves tot he game as well as a bunch of controls so that all killmoves are in third-person, adjusting killmove chance, adjusting the chance of a decapitation, allowing killmoves to happen any time you kill somebody not just on the last enemy, etc. If you have Dawnguard, install “3-3 Fixed” only. If you don’t have Dawnguard, install 3-1 only.
This one’s a bit of a misnomer as bookshelves are still limited, just in a more appropriate fashion. Default bookshelves only held a max of 18 books, even if the ‘books’ were all notes and letters. This allows each shelf to hold as many items (not just limited to book category. you can place ingots, scrolls, gems, what-have-you) as their width will actually allow. The mod author is constantly adding placement properties too so, while dragon claws may not place properly now (place one and you’ll see what I mean), they may in the future.
Only install the applicable patches – don’t install the Dawnguard Patch if you don’t have Dawnguard, don’t install the Hearthfire Patch if you don’t have Hearthfire. If you have both DLCs, install them in the order of Skyrim Patch, Dawnguard Patch, Hearthfire Patch. These mods are, as you’d imagine from the names, comprehensive patches that seek to fix bugs that aren’t fixed by Bethesda’s patches, while remaining compatible with as many mods as possible. If these one of these mods fixes a bug that Bethesda fixes at a later date, they adjust it to reflect that. These are must-have for me, and they should be for you too. Also, because they seek to not duplicate Bethesda’s fixes you’ll want to keep an eye on them for updates, especially if Bethesda has released a patch recently.
Only bother installing this f you installed the DIMONIZED UNP body mod. This just makes vanilla armour fit to the UNP body in the same way that it would with an unmodded body mesh. Basically a compatibility patch for Skyrim to that mod.
Exactly what it says on the tin. It’s configurable in-game as well, so you can change how much glow they glow, and whether it’s for all books or just skill books. I have it on default settings (medium glow and all books)
These mods are listed in the Plugins tab of NMM, but not in the Mods tab, so they may have been installed manually or they may have been added by a previously mentioned mod.
As you might imagine by the name, this mod improves the way the dynamic snow looks. Now it actually looks like snow instead of a white sheet.
While the main effect this mod has on gameplay won’t be immediately visible (Nina uses two-handers), it does have an effect on my gameplay with Nina. At least, the version I have installed does. The default version requires Script Dragon to work as intended. Script Dragon is, like SKSE, a script extender. It’s not as popular, and I feel, not as robust, but it is popular. A decent chunk of the mods I use already require SKSE, and I don’t see the point of running two script extenders (especially since I highly doubt they will play nicely with each other). Instead, I’m using the most recent non-Script Dragon version, which is still in the “Dual Widl Parrying 2_41” download. You’ll have to install this manually, even if you are using Script Dragon, so be sure to read the instructions in the description. As I’m not using Script Dragon and I have Dawnguard, I installed the RandomAttacks and the RandomAttacks_Dawnguard .esp’s. With that said, this allows you to parry with your off-hand weapon, in a similar way to parrying with two-handers. It even skills up Block (slowly). The RandomAttacks version is the only non-Script Dragon version that doesn’t remove any moves (and a ‘bash’ when blocking becomes a power attack with the left weapon), but in doing so it also means you can’t control which weapon swings when you left-click (except when sneaking). Now the reason you’ll be ‘seeing’ this mod on Nina even though she’s not dual-wielding is that while this mod is in effect, any spell in your right hand won’t cast. Even with a shield equipped. So it’s off-hand casting only with this mod (though it doesn’t affect the right-hand casting as a Vampire Lord). If you’re going to be casting anything other than the occasional spell, I recommend you either not install this mod at all, or disable it for the character (don’t disable it on a character that already has saves with it enabled, that will cause save bloat). It’s a useful mod – if it wasn’t, I wouldn’t run it – but as you can see, it has a lot of caveats.
I dislike the blood splatter on the screen. A lot. This allows me to adjust the amount and duration it stays on the screen. I have it set to not show up at all. I’m using the SKSE version, which allows you to change the amount without save-game bloat. Though, given that I’ll never not want no screen blood, using the (None) .esp from the main file would be just as effective.
Finally, we’re at the part of the post where I tell you what order I have all my mods loaded in (in NMM, if only because it gives me a numbered list) so they all run as smoothly as possible. Just a reminder, my load order is almost exclusively set with the aid of BOSS, which if you intend on running a lot of mods, or even a small amount of mods that happen to have feature overlap, is essential in reducing CTDs (crashes to desktop)
- Unofficial Skyrim Patch.esp
- Unofficial Dawnguard Patch.esp
- Unofficial Hearthfire Patch.esp
- Realistic Lighting – Dawnguard Patch.esp
- Realistic Lighting.esp
- Realistic Lighting Patcher.esp
- Fantasy Music Overhaul.esp
- Skyrim Flora Overhaul.esp
- Convenient Horses.esp
- Convenient Horses – Unique Frost.esp
- Auto Unequip Ammo.esp
- Acquisitive Soul Gems.esp
- Better Dynamic Snow.esp
- Immersive Weapons.esp
- The Dance of Death.esp
- Dual Wield Parrying_RandomAttacks_Dawnguard.esp
- Dual Wield Parring_RandomAttacks.esp
- Crimson Tide – Blood.esp
- ABT – Loot Arrows HARDCORE.esp
- ABT – Faster Arrows Improved +50%.esp
- ABT – Faster Bolts Improves +50%.esp
- ABT – Merchants Arrows HARDCORE.esp
- ABT – Progressive Damage (BS and CCO).esp
- ABT – Recover 50% Less Arrows and Bolts.esp
- ABT – Bolts Renamed for BS and CCO.esp
- Reduced Distance NPC Greetings.esp
- Alternate Start – Live Another Life.esp
- Blood Options (SKSE).esp
- Automatic Variants.esp