The 100 best Skyrim mods | PCGamesN

The 100 best Skyrim mods

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It can be a tough job finding the best Skyrim mods. Mostly this is because there’s a lot of them: more than 28,000 Skyrim mods to download on the Steam Workshop, and countless more on Skyrim Nexus. They’re the work of a thriving and diverse scene; an army of fans and bedroom coders determined to make the game a photorealistic fantasy utopia. Or just transforming farmyard animals into deadly explosives. But when you’re looking for Skyrim mods, where do you start?  

Here, actually. That’s where we come in. We’ve put together a comprehensive list of the 100 mods we think are essential to improving Skyrim above and beyond the out-the-box experience. They'll make the vanilla 2011-released game look better than even the 2016 Special Edition version. And, best of all, every one of these Skyrim mods is free!

Meet elves, aliens, the undead, and more in the best RPG games on PC.  

If you’ve never modded before, there’s nothing to worry about when it comes to modding Skyrim. The Steam Workshop makes it easy to install and activate mods, and the more advanced ones are simply added to a special folder. Not sure where to start? Keep reading and we’ll show you the way, young adventurer! 

How do I install Skyrim mods?

Skyrim mods landscape

Skyrim is one of the easiest games on PC to mod thanks to its deep integration with the Steam Workshop. All you need to do is follow the links we've provided to the Workshop pages, and 'subscribe' to the mod. This will download and apply the mod to your game with no fuss at all. 

Some mods are not on the Steam Workshop. For those, we've linked to the Skyrim Nexus. Each mod will have slightly different instructions for installing, so be sure to follow the steps the creator has provided carefully. You'll likely be adding things to the Skyrim 'Data' file, which can typically be found at:

C:\Program Files\Steam\steamapps\Common\Skyrim\Data

Windows will alert you that you’re overwriting files, so press ‘OK’ to accept the changes. It’s best to make a backup of your Data folder before you start modding in case you need to return Skyrim to its original form. 

Essential Skyrim Mods 

Skyrim Script Extender

As the years have gone on, mods for Skyrim have become ever more ambitious and complicated. In order for some mods to run correctly, the scripting capabilities of Skyrim have to be increased to allow the game to handle more complicated commands. It’s advised that you have Skyrim Script Extender installed when modding just in case it’s needed by any mods that catch your eye. 

Unofficial Skyrim Patch

Unofficial patch Skyrim mod

Like everyone of Bethesda’s games, Skyrim is a bit on the buggy side. Despite heavy patching, the official development team have never quite smoothed everything out. The Unofficial Skyrim Patch is a constantly updated mod that aims to fix hundreds of gameplay, quest, NPC, object, item, text, and placement bugs. For basic performance this mod is essential.

Relighting Skyrim mod

Relighting Skyrim

Have you ever looked at where the light shines from in Skyrim? All too frequently it’s from an illogical source (Doors that shine – really, Bethesda?). Relighting Skyrim entirely reprograms the game’s light sources, ensuring light beams out from only fires and stars, and not from planks of wood.

Static Mesh Improvement mod  

Static Mesh Improvement mod

A massive mod comprised of numerous Workshop files, Static Mesh Improvement works absolute wonders in removing all those horrible niggles from the objects of the world. Edges have their angles worked away so stones are finally smooth and bowls made round. Textures now run smoothly and those unsightly seams when two textures meet are eradicated. The extra polygons will impact performance slightly, but this really should be at the top of your priorities when it comes to making Skyrim beautiful.

FXAA Injector mod

FXAA Skyrim mod

The tool of choice for Dead End Thrills, FXAA Injector pumps a variety of anti-aliasing techniques into your Skyrim system to help create a much more sharp and vibrant image. Post-processing effects like bloom, technicolor, sharpen, and tonemap can be cranked up or down on a slider system to alter the visual quality to your own personal preference.

2K Textures 

Skyrim 2K textures

2K Textures actually provides textures up to 4K in resolution, a whopping eight times the resolution of vanilla Skyrim, and four times that of the official HD patch. The mod applies new textures to almost everything in Skyrim, from the floors to the skies, and everything inbetween. The effect is understandably astonishing, as is the requirement (4GB RAM and 1GB video memory). A ‘lite’ version can be used on less-powerful systems, or even a mix of full and lite elements for a good balance.

SkyUI mod 

SkyUI Mod

Skyrim is a very solid PC game, but there are telltale signs that the game wasn’t solely designed to be played on a computer. The user interface is the leading clue; wholly built to be navigated with a controller. SkyUI completely rebuilds the HUD and interface of Skyrim, making it much more friendly for keyboard and mouse users.

Sounds of Skyrim mod 

Sounds of Skyrim mod

A massive mod made up of three packages, Sounds of Skyrim adds 450 new sound effects to create a realistically noisy world. It eliminates moments of unnatural silence with birdsong and wind out in the wilderness, and the hustle and bustle of human life in cities. Walk by doors and windows to overhear what’s going on inside. Approach cave entrances to listen to the drip and echoes within. Effects change depending on the time of day too, with nocturnal animals sounding out at night, and children shrieking during the day.

Moonpath to Elsweyr mod

Moonpath to Elsweyr mod

Travel to Elsweyr, a tropical region inhabited by a great variety of new creatures. Hunt hyenas in the desert and stalk raptors in the jungle as you complete the six-quest-long storyline revealing wonders of the area. The jungle areas are particularly impressive, and there’s a notable amount of care taken with creating the characters of Elsweyr, who are all voice-acted for a little extra immersion. It’s worth grabbing the HD Texture Pack too, which boosts the mods visuals to 2K quality.

Dwemertech mod 

Dwemertech

The Dwemer left Tamriel years ago, but a small council of scientists stayed behind and are now planning to bring the Dwemer back to the world. A powerful mage is required to help them, and the rewards will be plentiful if they succeed. You’ll need a character with a skill level of 40 in Destruction, Alteration, or Restoration to start this quest, which will take you to an elaborate Dwemer base on Masser. 42 new spells make up part of the mix, but rather than being traditional magic these are Dwemer ‘bionics’, allowing you to tap into the technology of the dwarves. There’s an unusual sci-fi feel to the environments and props, making Dwemertech a exceptionally fresh experience within Skyrim. 

BeArserk

Bear Minstrel mod

The most gallant heroes always have a minstrel in tow to sing of their noble deeds and tremendous victories. Make your minstrel something the townsfolk will never forget with this lute-playing bear.

Skyrim graphics mods

Skyrim is a gorgeous game, but it’s by no means at the top of its game. Take a quick look at Dead End Thrills and you’ll see that, with a bit of tweaking, the land of the Nords can look nothing short of ‘next-gen’. It’s not difficult to achieve either; even the most novice PC gamer can enhance their Skyrim experience by clicking the ‘Subscribe’ button in the Steam Workshop on these mods, and hey-presto, we’re playing a Skyrim HD remake three years early. 

A Quality World Map

A Quality World Map Skyrim mod

One of the most popular mods, Quality World Map boosts the visuals on Skyrim’s world map, adding plenty of details like clearly defined roads and much more texture in the mountains and plains of grass. It also includes the Solstheim map for anyone with the Dragonborn DLC. 

Pure Waters 

Water effects are notoriously challenging to pull off, and whilst Skyrim’s rivers look tantalising at a distance, up close they’re murky, stiff, jelly-like gunge pools. Turn them into refreshing, cool, clean dreams with Pure Waters. This mod thins down the appearance of water to acceptably fluid levels, adds some wonderful wave and flow effects, and gets those reflections just right. 

Pure Weather

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Combining wonderfully with Pure Waters is Pure Weather, which impacts rivers with better shores, but also brings some phenomenal rain, snow, and fog effects into Skyrim’s skies. Mountains look especially beautiful when shrouded in Pure Weather’s astonishing fog clouds. 

Better Embers 

Better Embers

If water is considered difficult to replicate, fire must be written off as impossible. Whilst Skyrim’s fire effects continue to be that awkward GIF-style flicker, Better Embers introduces some lovely warm-looking fire residue to the world’s hearths. These pinpricks of glowing heat replace the default chunky slabs of light to create some truly mesmerising fire pits. 

Deeper Snow

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In certain areas of Skyrim snow is dynamic and builds up over time. But whilst technically impressive, these gradually growing snow piles are rendered in an ugly pure-white texture that makes it look like a bucket of paint was tipped over the landscape. Turn these regions into blankets of crisp-looking fluffy snow with this great texture replacement

Logical Grass 

Logical Grass Skyrim mod

When trekking through Skyrim’s wilderness, its natural carpet can feel a little like weeds pushing through concrete rather than dense undergrowth. Logical Grass improves grassy regions, populating them with multiple times more blades and wild foliage elements for a believably natural look. 

Enhanced Blood 

Enhanced Blood

Has someone been bleeding around here, or did they just drop a jar of jam? That’s frequently the question posed by Skyrim’s forensic investigators when visiting crime scenes because the default blood textures appear more like globs of strawberry puree than human juice. Enhanced blood does away with splats and replaces them with high-resolution spatter patterns with just the right viscosity.

Wet and Cold 

Wet and Cold

Skyrim is a bloody chilly place. There’s so many opportunities to get wet-through or frosted by snow, yet the effect is never seen. Enter Wet and Cold, a mod that adds numerous weather effects to characters. Snow gets caught in hair and sticks to clothes, water drips from armour, breath steams on cold air, and NPCs run home during storms.

Eyes of Beauty 

Eyes of Beauty

There’s no bigger culprit than the dreaded ‘dead eyes’ when it comes to breaking immersion. Eyes of Beauty adds a stunning collection of realistic eyes to Skyrim’s characters, making NPCs’ soul windows something you’ll want to gaze into like a besotted schoolgirl.  

Real Glaciers 

Real Glaciers

The northern regions of Skyrim are filled with vast ice formations. Real Glaciers makes them an unmissable attraction, recolouring them from a frosted window effect to a much more realistic ice finish, complete with crack lines and a glassy reflective surface. 

Lanterns of Skyrim 

Lanterns of Skyrim

Lanterns of Skyrim adds a variety of new lamps to the world in a selection of logical places. The new light sources certainly help navigation in the dark, but it’s the feeling of life that they add that’s the true value. Skyrim feels lived in, populated, and functioning, all thanks to a few extra candles. 

Towns and Villages Enhanced

A pack of enhancements for every town and outlying village in Skyrim, the Enhanced collection adds numerous extra details to the world’s populated areas. The most notable is trees; there are trees in every garden, roadside, and grass patch. For some people this will be a little too much, but it does radically transform the feel of each town, and that extra bit of leafyness banishes the harshness of bare stone. 

Enhanced also throws in a boatload of chickens into towns, just in case things weren’t Fable-like enough for you. 

Immersive Saturation Boost 

Immersive Saturation Boost

As strong as Skyrim’s art is, there’s no denying that its colours are a bit washed out. In the chilly mountainous areas this is fine, but take a walk in a forest on a sunny day and things just don’t feel as lush as you’d wish they would. Immersive Saturation Boost injects the world with a pack of melted Crayola crayons, strengthening those autumn oranges and boosting the fresh greens. The effect may be a little bold for those who prefer the Winterfell look, but for those tired of the drab this mod is the miracle cure. 

Detailed Cities 

Detailed Cities

If the astonishing influx of trees in the Towns and Villages Enhanced mod drives you crackers, but vanila Skyrim feels too bare, then a subscription to Detailed Cities should keep you happy. A healthy middle-ground, Detailed Cities plants some trees and adds some decor without completely reinventing the look of Skyrim’s settlements.  

Relighting Skyrim 

Relighting Skyrim

Have you ever looked at where the light shines from in Skyrim? All too frequently it’s from an illogical source (Doors that shine – really, Bethesda?). Relighting Skyrim entirely reprograms the game’s light sources, ensuring light beams out from only fires and stars, and not from planks of wood.  

Vurt Flora 

Vurt Flora

Bring the varieties of flora up to uncountable levels with Vurt Flora. This mod makes forested areas absolutely stunning, peppering the undergrowth with a plethora of colourful blooms and grasses.

HD Plants & Herbs

HD Plants and Herbs

Skyrim’s fauna suffers significantly at the hands of the resolution gods, their low pixel-count turning them into splodges rather than petaled beauties. HD Plants & Herbs sharpens them up and makes them bloom with sharp, defined leaves. 

Static Mesh Improvement 

A massive mod comprised of numerous Workshop files, Static Mesh Improvement works absolute wonders in removing all those horrible niggles from the objects of the world. Edges have their angles worked away so stones are finally smooth and bowls made round. Textures now run smoothly and those unsightly seams when two textures meet are eradicated. The extra polygons will impact performance slightly, but this really should be at the top of your priorities when it comes to making Skyrim beautiful.

Advanced Skyrim graphics mods

For the more savvy PC user, these visual enhancements require a little more tinkering. But for the price of some file adjustments and faffing around, you can transform Skyrim into an absolute awe-inspiring work of art. 

FXAA Injector 

The tool of choice for Dead End Thrills, FXAA Injector pumps a variety of anti-aliasing techniques into your Skyrim system to help create a much more sharp and vibrant image. Post-processing effects like bloom, technicolor, sharpen, and tonemap can be cranked up or down on a slider system to alter the visual quality to your own personal preference. 

Real Vision ENB 

Among the most famous graphical mods for Skyrim are the ENBseries. Real Vision produces some absolutely tremendous photorealistic effects, especially when combined with a number of other mods available from either the Steam Workshop or Skyrim Nexus. Take a look at the video above to see the mod in action. Just remember to draw breath every once in a while. 

Real Vision ENB is designed to work in conjunction with Climates of Tamriel, so make sure you have that installed, too. 

Climates of Tamriel 

A weather and atmosphere modification, Climates of Tamriel entirely recalibrates the weather and lighting of Skyrim for a much more realistic and picturesque world. Clouds, sunsets, storms, rain, and mists are just some of the thousands of effects that it adds, with everything created from scratch. The entire lighting system is handcrafted for more realistic sun and starlight. The impact to the game’s atmosphere in indisputable. It will hammer your system, but if your PC has the muscle this is a must-have. 

2K Textures 

2K Textures

2K Textures actually provides textures up to 4K in resolution, a whopping eight times the resolution of vanilla Skyrim, and four times that of the official HD patch. The mod applies new textures to almost everything in Skyrim, from the floors to the skies, and everything inbetween. The effect is understandably astonishing, as is the requirement (4GB RAM and 1GB video memory). A ‘lite’ version can be used on less-powerful systems, or even a mix of full and lite elements for a good balance. 

HD Fire Effects 

We’ve already fixed the embers in fireplaces with Better Embers, but there’s nothing in the Workshop to fix those tissue-paper-like flames. HD Fire Effects does a fantastic job of animating some truly hypnotic, realistic flames. The effect is applied to not only smouldering hearths but fiery magic attacks, too.

Skyrim gameplay mods

Mods are much more than mere visual enhancers; they can fundamentally change the way the game operates. These mods change the way you play Skyrim, from adding new methods of attacking, through different ways to traverse the world, to altering the way the user interface works. 

Cutting Room Floor

Skyrim mods cutting room floor

Skyrim comes with a lot of content: we’re talking almost 100 hours of things to do before you even start messing with mods. But did you know there’s even more than that in vanilla Skyrim? The game is full of content that never made the final cut, hidden away from view. This mod restores NPCs, quests, items, and other miscellaneous things that were denied a place in the final build. 

Lightweight potions

Skyrim mods Lightwieght potions

Skyrim can be quite the challenge when the difficulty gets cranked up. With bigger beasts comes bigger wounds, and you’ll need to be chugging potions to keep yourself healthy. At 0.5 weight per potions, these curatives are pretty light, but if they were nothing more than feathers you could certainly have more at hand for when the going gets tough. This mod reduces potions to 0.1 weight, so you’re guaranteed to be carrying more than enough for the journey. 

Potion of Ultimate Leveling 

Potion of Leveling Skyrim mod

Skyrim is the kind of game you’ll happily put hours and hours of time into, but when you roll a new character sometimes the last thing you want to do is spend days levelling them up. For a quick jump to the fun stuff with a new character, simply brew this Potion of Ultimate Levelling, guzzle down, and increase every skill by 85. 

Hazard Gambling minigame

Hazard gambling Skyrim mod

Modern RPGs always have a minigame or two to distract you (see The Witcher 3’s Gwent card game), but Skyrim is lacking in any fun pastimes. This Gambling mod adds the dice game Hazard to Skyrim’s taverns. It’s an old English game, which was very popular in the 17th and 18th century, based on betting on dice rolled in a cup.

Become High King of Skyrim

Become High King of Skyrim mod

When you complete everything there is to do in Skyrim, those randomised quests asking to to find swords lost down wells just don’t cut it. So use this mod to become High King of Skyrim and start bossing lesser souls about. Have people jailed, executed, or enslaved, order anyone to yield their possessions to you, demand anyone in the world becomes your follower, and command an army. 

You’ll need to complete a quest to prove yourself worthy, though; just downloading a mod doesn’t make you King by default! 

Interesting NPCs

Interesting NPCs Skyrim mod

Skyrim has hundreds of people in its world, but so many of them are just bland character cutouts like ‘old man’ or ‘farmer’. Add some realism to the world with Interesting NPCs. Now everyone you meet will have a huge dialogue trees that will allow you to learn about them and role-play conversation. Voiced by a cast of over 80 voice actors, this mod really brings the citizens of Skyrim to life.

Dwemer Dogs companions

Best Skyrim mods Dwemer Dogs

Dogs, as the entire internet will tell you, are great. So great that they need to be in at least your peripheral vision at every moment of the day. That’s where this Dwemer Dogs mod can help out. You can use a spell to summon a robotic dog to stand by your side for a whole hour. Sure, they can’t actually do anything other than bark and be astonishingly cute, but who needs function when the form is so good? 

Sneak Tools

Sneak Tools Skyrim mod

By and large, Skyrim doesn’t do sneaking all that well. To make a stealth playthrough more compelling, use this mod to add a variety of new sneaky tools to your arsenal. Now you can slit throats, knock people unconscious, conceal your identity with a mask, extinguish lights, and use Thief-like special arrows, including the rope arrows! 

Invested Magic 

Invested Magic

Magic may be a tempting route to take in Skyrim, but the way sorcery functions in the game can make it very off-putting. Invested Magic addresses Skyrim’s poor buff systems by making them an ‘investment’; casting them only costs ten mana points, but those points are deducted from your total mana pool for as long as the spell lasts. Buffs last for much longer now – stopping that annoying need to constantly re-cast – but the trade-off is a smaller mana reserve for other spells. A much more logical way of handling armour spells, we’re sure you’ll agree. 

Midas Magic Evolved 

Midas Magic is an excellent mod that adds a whole library’s worth of spells to the discerning caster’s arsenal, and it certainly makes being a wizard much more appealing than in the vanilla game. Midas Magic Evolved only strengthens that mod, adding a further 250 spells. Wonderfully, these include a variety of ‘beam’ spells, adding a little Magicka chaos to your wizarding adventures. 

Realistic Needs and Diseases 

Realistic Needs and Diseases

With survival sims like DayZ and Rust booming with increased popularity at the moment, it’s no wonder modders have been inspired to add a level of hardcore survivalism to Skyrim. After all, its snowy expanses are the perfect lands to test your mettle in. Realistic Needs and Diseases forces you to eat, drink, and sleep regularly to stay functional, making a stop at the tavern a fun but necessary part of your daily routine. Diseases are much more damaging to your health, and require adequate treatment before you can continue your adventure.  

Become a Bard 

Warriors and rangers are ten-a-penny on the streets of Skyrim. Gain true respect by adopting an artful profession: Bardism. Sing your way from tavern to tavern and earn yourself a pretty penny from ale-guzzling patrons the world-over. Your bard will be able to play any instrument in Skyrim, and a simple tap of the Z key will cause them to erupt into song. Your companions will even join in should harmonies be required. A skill tree will help you improve your vocals and bag you Christmas No.1. 

Dragon Knowledge 

With the amount of dragons burning down Skyrim’s towns these days, the likely scenario for a mighty Dragonborn like yourself is a massive stockpile of dragon souls with nothing to spend them on. Dragon Knowledge takes a few liberties with Skyrim’s lore and suggests that absorbing the soul of the great winged ones would grant the Dragonborn new insights into the ways of the world. In other words, you can spend dragon souls on skill-tree perks. 

Craftable Clothing 

If you’re more comfortable in threads than you are a great mound of bulky armour, you’ve been cut quite the raw deal in Skyrim. Whilst armour users can merrily skip away to the forge and hammer themselves out a new helmet or breastplate, you’re stuck with tacky store-bought jumpers or the robes you’ve pulled off a corpse's back. Craftable Clothing remedies this injustice by making the tanning rack a key to all kinds of fashionable garments, from hard-wearing trousers to stylish mage robes. No longer will men and women of the cloth be second class citizens in the war of Skyrim’s catwalk. 

Fishing 

The MMO-favourite hobby of fishing finally makes it into Skyrim by way of this mod. Fishing adds rods, nets, and dwarven boomfishing to the game. Rods and nets can be set up by riversides, and bait must be attached to lure in your prey. Dwarven fishing methods prove a little more military-inspired, with explosives thrown into the water to kill fish en-masse and provide a haul ideal to sell for profit. 

Faction: Pit Fighters 

Pit Fighters

Pit Fighters is a new guild for Skyrim, offering up a great questline as you battle for glory in the gladiatorial-like pits. The quest’s NPCs are fully voiced and the mod comes with a variety of arenas to do battle in. There’s even money to be made from the bookkeepers who conduct betting on each fight. 

Monsters Reborn 

Monsters Reborn

Tired of fighting the same old Draugr and Mud Crabs? Monsters Reborn introduces a massive range of new enemies and creatures into Skyrim, across a vast range of levels to offer a stiff challenge. From lowly Werewolf Behemoths to brutally powerful Blizzard Dragons, Monsters Reborn adds a welcome level of variety, and scales enemies to pose the right level of difficulty to your character. 

The Dance of Death 

Adding a significant collection of new finishing moves, The Dance of Death makes Skyrim’s combat that little bit more brutal. Each new move is attached to a perk, so as you gradually work your way through a melee weapon’s skill tree, you’ll unlock new and more excessive kill animations. 

SkyUI 

Skyrim is a very solid PC game, but there are telltale signs that the game wasn’t solely designed to be played on a computer. The user interface is the leading clue; wholly built to be navigated with a controller. SkyUI completely rebuilds the HUD and interface of Skyrim, making it much more friendly for keyboard and mouse users.

Apocalypse Magic 

Apocalypse Magic

Another magic overhaul mod that adds 140 new spells to Skyrim, Apocalypse Magic’s most notable point is putting emphasis on magic schools that are not Destruction or Conjuration. The goal is to make Alteration or Illusion magic a viable spellcaster path, without having to dabble in Destruction to be effective. 

Multiple Followers

Multiple Followers

The classic days of RPGs allowed you to gallivant across the land with a party of loyal companions ready to bash in heads and drink taverns dry. Skyrim, unfortunately, limits you to just a single companion, destroying any hopes of putting together a Fellowship of the Dragonborn. Multiple Followers fixes this by allowing you to recruit up to seven companions for your journey. 

Better Combat AI

Better Combat AI

Whilst Better Combat AI can’t stop the clunky nature of Skyrim’s sword swinging, it does make the whole affair much more tactical. Enemies will adopt better strategies for fighting, such as attempting to cripple you, or using power attacks to break your defence. The mod also adjusts your enemies intelligence depending on type; bandits are much more ferocious than angry farmers. 

GreyLight Soul Summoning 

For those looking to bring a little extra muscle to battle without messing around with conjuration magic, GreyLight adds an interesting new ‘soul summoning’ mechanic. Killing enemies in the world allows you to add their soul to a register, which you can then call upon at any time in battle. Almost every enemy type is accounted for: from bears and wolves through Falmer and even dragons. It’s basically a really macabre version of Pokémon. 

Camping Kit 

Camping Kit

The true Dragonborn does not fast-travel between locations, but walks to their destination on foot. When night falls, they set up camp using this fantastic camping kit mod. Craft a tent at a tanning rack and then set it up out on the road. It provides shelter from the elements and enemies, and even has a ‘DarkFire’ which gives off heat but not light to prevent bandits seeking you out in the dark. 

Duel Combat Realism 

Duel retools Skyrim’s combat to offer a more realistic and logical battle system. Blocking attacks becomes vital, and a good shield no longer simply dampens the damage of an enemy’s blow, but can negate it entirely. The stamina bar becomes exceptionally important as it represents your ‘balance’ in combat – the more stamina you have, the better you’ll be in close combat. Duel also puts an emphasis on what armour you’re wearing and how it affects your defence, as well as retooling the stealth system to make hidden strikes much more rewarding.

Better Hunting 

Better Hunting

A small mod that simply changes the values of animal pelts, meat, and parts. The idea of Better Hunting is not to make the act of taking down animals better, but improve the rewards for selling your catches, thus making hunting a viable pursuit. Furs and meats traditionally demand high prices, and with this mod you’ll be able to finance your other world-saving pursuits with the animals you bring back to town.  

Engineering 

Engineering

The dwarves may be gone for good in Skyrim’s lore but that doesn’t mean their technology has to be lost to the winds of time. Engineering allows you to craft a variety of Dwemer machines to help you in battle. Finally, a use for all those Dwarven Gears cluttering your inventory!

Reverse Crafting

Reverse Crafting

That sword you found may be pretty useless in its current form, but the steelwork surely has value. If only you could melt it down and reforge it into some cool armour or a nice new helmet. Vanilla Skyrim refuses to allow such sacrilege, but Reverse Crafting adds the simple but exceptionally useful ability to break down items into their base components, allowing you to recycle waste rather than simply throwing it away. Keep Skyrim green, please! 

Tame the Beasts of Skyrim 

Take a pet with you on your journey through Skyrim – it’s both a rewarding pursuit and helps you out in battle! This mod allows you to tame any beast in the wild using a special shout. Once a beast is tamed you’ll be able to assign it a role (DPS, Tank, or Magical) and have it assist you out on the open road. Pets do require looking after, though, so please remember to feed and water them. You can also spirit bond with your pet, merging your souls together and allowing you to directly control them. 

Glowing Ore Lines 

A mod that simply causes ore lines in rocks to glow brightly, making spotting mining opportunities much easier.

To Have and To Hold Marriage Mod

To Have and to Hold

The aim of this mod is supposedly to strengthen the bond between you and your husband/wife in Skyrim, but quite honestly it sounds more like a homewrecker’s paradise. You can now divorce your partner should you become bored or them. Should polygamy be more your thing, the mod will allow you to take on up to 11 spouses, which is sure to impress your original spouse. You can ask your partner to play ‘Dress Up’ with a variety of new outfits as well as take part in three small quests to bring you closer together. 

Dynamic Fires 

Dynamic Fires allows you to light and extinguish flames in logical ways. Blast wood with your fireball spells to ignite and hose it down with frost to put it out. Torches can be used to light campfires with the bash attack, too. A small mod, but one that adds some excellent immersion. 

Monster Mounts 

Horses are so pedestrian. Why gallop around on a steed when you could skitter on a giant spider, bound on a massive kitten, or balance on the shoulders of a troll. Monster Mounts allows you to ride on the back of 87 different, wonderful monsters, all inflated to perfectly mountable sizes. You’ve never looked heroic until you’ve ridden into battle on the back of an oversized puppy. 

Skyrim weapons and armour mods

When it comes to equipping yourself for battle looking badass is near the top of your priority list. You want the coolest weapons and the most stylish armour plating around. Sometimes, Skyrim’s vendors just don’t have what you need, but thankfully these mods bring a great variety of new fashions and weapons to Skyrim’s lands. 

Bandolier bags and pouches

Skyrim mods Bandolier bags and pouches

Skyrim is a world with a lot of things to pick up, and few things you’ll want to leave behind. But even the Dragonborn is not Superman – they cannot haul everything. Should you be running out of inventory space all too often, try these handy bags and pouches. Crafted from the tanning rack, they add a good chunk of extra carry weight to your character, meaning you’ll never have to leave anything behind again. 

Throwing Weapons 

There’s more to ranged combat than spells and bows, which is why this mod adds a wonderful collection of sharpened throwing weapons to the Skyrim armoury. Javelins, axes, knives, and even grenades can be equipped and hurled at enemies, and your skill with them improved via a skill tree. 

Daedra Hunter Armour

Daedra Hunter Armour

This mod adds a suit of ornate armour to the game, but finding it requires you to embark on a little quest first. Follow the diaries of a Daedra Hunter through numerous dungeons in order to discover the prize, along with a great collection of new one and two-handed blades. Start the quest by finding the Buried Tower southwest of Riften. 

Staves of Skyrim

Staves of Skyrim

Staves of Skyrim is a staff overhaul mod that adjusts the way staffs work in Skyrim, as well as adding some beautifully detailed new staves to the game. Staves now come in heavy and light variants, as well as magic and defensive. With a defensive stave you can block incoming attacks in a similar manner to a shield. This allows mages to defend with a weapon that suits their class, rather than having to use a warrior’s shield. 

Dragon Bone Weapons

Dragon Bone Weapons

It takes a long time to reach the crafting level requirements to work with dragon bone, and it’s rather devastating to discover you can only forge light or heavy plate armour from the skeletons of slain wyrms. Dragon Bone Weapons finally adds a full variety of weapons to the crafting system, allowing you to strike fear into the hearts of dragons everywhere by stabbing them with their brothers. 

Talos Armoury 

If Daedric fashion isn’t your thing, perhaps you need to go to the opposite end of the spectrum and wear a style that's godly in nature. Talos Armoury adds the armour of hero-god Talos himself to the game, and can be crafted only at the Forge of Talos. You can also recruit the Avatar of Talos as an NPC follower.

Royal Elven Armour 

Royal Elven Armour

Some stunningly lovely armour as worn by the Elven Royal Guard, now available for the common folk to craft at all good forges. 

Immersive Armours

While adding an impressive 55 new sets of armour to the game is what it's all about, Immersive Armour’s secondary aim is avoid disrupting the natural feeling of Skyrim. The armour is all lore-friendly and feels suitably ‘Bethesda Official’, and is integrated in such a way that they feel like genuine elements of the world. Find them on bandits, in chests, at vendors – these are not ‘craft-only’ pieces. 

Immersive Weapons 

Working in exactly the same way as Immersive Armours, the Weapons version of the mod seamlessly adds 224 new weapons to Skyrim. 

Cloaks of Skyrim 

Cloaks of Skyrim

For a fantasy game, Skyrim is severely lacking in cloaks. Everyone loves a swooshy cloak, and Cloaks of Skyrim adds 100 wonderfully detailed cloaks to the game. Worn by player characters and NPCs alike, they are both stylish and can be worn over any existing armour set. Cloaks can be crafted at the tanning rack, but be sure to read up on how to stitch them together in Fryssa the Wide's Nordic Tailoring, an in-game book you’ll need to find before you can craft. 

Skyrim world mods

Skyrim is densely populated with areas to discover and explore. But if you’ve already spent a hundred or so hours with the game, chances are you’ve seen it all. It’s time to add new areas to the world with a great set of mods. 

Open Cities - Legendary Edition

Open Cities

More detailed environments bring with them a notable curse: loading screens. Skyrim has them everywhere; it feels like you can’t open a door without going through a loading screen. Open Cities banishes loading between outside and inside cities, allowing you to pass through their gates and into the streets in one seamless movement. Now you can gallop through Riften on horseback, or coax a dragon into a city centre to fight the local guardsmen.  

Hermit Tree House

Skyrim mods hermit tree house

If you’d rather live a more humble existence out in the beauty of Skyrim’s forests, this Tree House mod is tailor made for you. It’s not made up of cells, meaning you don’t need to load to get inside, so you can still admire those beautiful, serene vistas from the windows. And thanks to its height, it’s a great vantage platform for hunters, too. 

Build Your Own Town - Becoming a Lord 

Build your own Town

The Hearthfire DLC introduced the ability to build houses in Skyrim but this mod takes things several steps further. Becoming a Lord grants you a plot of land as a blank canvas for building an entire city. It’s SimCity-meets-Skyrim, and you don’t even need to own Hearthfire for the mod to work, either. It is very much a work in progress at the moment, so only wooden constructs can be created, but this is certainly a project to watch and test as new features are added. 

Castle Volkihar 

If you prefer your fortresses ready-built then Castle Volkihar is about as grand as they come. A colossal vampire castle filled with winding corridors, turrets, and dungeons, it also comes bundled with its own questline. Set after the events of Dawnguard (you’ll need that DLC, by the way), you’ll need to take Auriel’s Bow with you to defeat Harkon’s occupying army in order to free his brother and his coven who have been locked away in the castle crypt. 

Tundra Defence 

Tundra Defence grants Skyrim a Tower Defence/Horde mode style minigame. Build your own outpost in the wilderness of Skyrim and then defend it from waves of attackers. Guards can be hired to help defend your land and citizens can live in your boundaries in exchange for taxes. Enemy raids can be triggered manually for instant action, or set to random intervals where attackers can strike at any time. This adds a nice element of responsibility to the game, as ignoring attacks can leave your camp in ruins.

Community College  

Located east of Whiterun, the Skyrim Community College is home to 18 trainers and 18 merchants who will aid you in becoming a master in the many arts of adventuring. Finally, you won’t need to waste your time trekking across the land in search of the trainer you need; simply attend the community college for a course in sword-swinging and gain all the knowledge you need in one convenient campus location.

Greystone Castle 

Greystone Castle Skyrim mod

An exceptionally grand player house located on a cliff northeast of Ivarstead, Greystone Castle is an elaborate bespoke build containing chambers for every kind of crafting imaginable. There’s no questline associated with it, but there’s no denying that it's an impressive creation that no Dragonborn should live without. 

Into the Deep - Atlantis 

Atlantis

As the name suggests, Into the Deep recreates the sunken city of Atlantis within Elder Scrolls lore. A huge sunken dungeon accessed by a boat from the Dawnstar Sanctuary, Atlantis is teeming with mermen, goblins, traps, whirlpools, and even the agents of Hades. The journey to the end of the dungeon’s ten chambers is a good four hours, and you’ll have to defeat a challenging boss before the sunken city reveals its treasures to you. 

Val Lyrea

Val Lyrea is a vast dwarven citadel located in the field of Whiterun, made up of cavernous halls with gilded monuments and great hissing clockwork machines. Populated by merchants and new characters, you’ll also find a great set of enchanted Dwemer armour in the halls.

Wyvern Rock Castle 

A beautifully designed player-home castle, the fun in Wyvern Rock comes from its multiple secret rooms. A labyrinth of secret passages behind hidden doors will lead you to chambers containing the previous owner’s treasures. 

The Asteria Dwemer Airship 

If one of the modding community’s vast castles and mansions isn’t quite flashy enough for you, perhaps a flying boat will be something worthy of your tastes. The Dwemer were well known for their ingenuity and, surprisingly, airships are actually part of The Elder Scrolls lore. The Asteria is inspired by the Morrowind quest Bloodmoon, and not only looks fantastic, but has decks kitted out with all the forges, enchanting tables, and tanning racks that you could possibly need to lead a life of luxury in Skyrim.  

Sounds of Skyrim 

A massive mod made up of three packages, Sounds of Skyrim adds 450 new sound effects to create a realistically noisy world. It eliminates moments of unnatural silence with birdsong and wind out in the wilderness, and the hussle of human life in cities. Walk by doors and windows to overhear what’s going on inside, approach cave entrances to listen to the drip and echoes within. Effects change depending on the time of day too, with nocturnal animals sounding out at night and children shrieking during the day. 

The Elder Scrolls Places 

Elder Scrolls Places

Places is an intriguing mod that recreates a variety of locales from the very first Elder Scrolls game and places them into Skyrim’s landscape. To keep it lore friendly, the places have been reimagined as they would be 200 years on – the time difference between Arena and Skyrim. For long-term players, this a true piece of fan-service. 

Falskaar 

Falskaar is a particularly famous mod. More expansion pack than a simple questline, the mod adds 25 hours of campaign content and a whole new continent. 2,000 hours in the making, creator Alexander J. Velicky created it to gain the attention of Bethesda. He now works at Bungie on Destiny, which should shout about the quality of his work. An absolute necessity and the most ambitious mod on this list. 

Skyrim adventure mods

You’ve proven yourself the saviour of Skyrim, you’ve risen in the ranks of every guild in the land, and you’ve found the missing swords of a thousand wandering adventurers. Your quest log is empty and you’ve been left lacking in purpose. These are the mods you need to keep you journeying for that extra mile. 

Voyage to the Dreamborne Isles 

Best Skyrim mods Dreamborne Isles

If there’s a more exciting looking mod out there, we don’t know about it. Voyage to the Dreamborne Isles is the most stunningly beautiful world created for Skyrim; all saturated colours and neon fauna. Its quest is laden with puzzles rather than packed with combat, although there’s certainly still plenty of danger posed by a trio of ferocious dragons. 

The Rabbit Hole Dungeon 

Rabbit Hole

Just north of Falkreath is the Rabbit Hole Dungeon. As the name suggests, it burrows down 50 levels deep. Each floor contains enemies, and defeating them unlocks the door to the next cavern. An arena-style combat challenge, this dungeon also randomly changes on every visit to encourage multiple replays. 

ThirteenOranges’ Quest series

Quests

ThirteenOranges’ quest mods are amongst the most highly rated on the Steam Workshop, and it’s easy to understand why. Lore friendly and prioritising exploration and story, each one of the five quests in the collection adds new areas to discover, all littered with a vast collection of heavily-researched texts. You’ll visit Daedric realms, infiltrate the tower of a sorcerer, slay a giant, and sail dangerous waters, as well as clock up an impressive amount of game time in the process. 

Moonpath to Elsweyr

Travel to Elsweyr, a tropical region inhabited by a great variety of new creatures. Hunt hyenas in the desert and stalk raptors in the jungle as you complete the six-quest-long storyline revealing wonders of the area. The jungle areas are particularly impressive, and there’s a notable amount of care taken with creating the characters of Elsweyr, who are all voice-acted for a little extra immersion. It’s worth grabbing the HD Texture Pack too, which boosts the mods visuals to 2K quality. 

Fight against the Thalmor 

More a campaign than a questline, Fight against the Thalmor is comprised of four Workshop files each containing a chapter of the prolonged struggle against a bunch of racist elves. Rather than offering up standard quests to the log, the mod provides the locations within the game and allows the story to play out naturally through the use of letters and journals, NPCs, and a few side-quests. Whilst not as narrative heavy as most quest mods, Fight against the Thalmor offers some stunning locations to spill blood in.

The Evil Mansion

A worthy adventurer shouldn’t find a haunted house any trouble at all. But as you approach this house you’ll start to notice that this dwelling feels a little familiar. The Evil Mansion is a recreation of Resident Evil’s zombie-infested house, and requires cleansing of its hideous undead inhabitants. Expect the classic moments – including those dreaded dogs – all made-over with a Skyrim-friendly feel. And with the mansion cleared you can settle in and make it your home. 

Wrath of Nature: Path of the Druid 

Wrath of Nature Skyrim mod

Take on the four trials of this questline and you’ll be rewarded with the classic druid ability of transforming into animals. Wolf, Tiger, Bear, and Tree-thing forms will be at your disposal after proving your worth in the druid trials, each offering indefinite periods of animal form and a selection of special abilities. 

Arissa 

Arissa

A mere two quests long, this is certainly the shortest adventure on our list, but the reward is something quite special: Arissa herself. A new companion for Skyrim, Arissa is one of the most well-crafted NPCs from the modding community. Fully voiced with 450 lines of dialogue, and fleshed out with a substantial backstory, Arissa is a well-travelled Imperial rogue looking to help out the Dragonborn. She doesn’t run on normal follower code, so you can bring her along as a second companion even if you don’t have the multiple followers mod installed. 

The Dark Brotherhood Resurrection 

An extension to the Dark Brotherhood questline, Resurrection adds 22 new quests and contracts to murder the six most powerful men in Skyrim. You’ll be aided by Averna and Stabby, two new fully-voiced assassin followers, and your final reward is promised to be “the Biggest, Most Ridiculously massive hoard of treasure you've ever seen.” You can also feed people poisoned apples, which is probably the best reason we can provide for downloading this mod.  

Dwemertech 

Dwemertech

The Dwemer left Tamriel years ago, but a small council of scientists stayed behind and are now planning to bring the Dwemer back to the world. A powerful mage is required to help them, and the rewards will be plentiful if they succeed. You’ll need a character with a skill level of 40 in Destruction, Alteration, or Restoration to start this quest, which will take you to an elaborate Dwemer base on Masser. 42 new spells make up part of the mix, but rather than being traditional magic these are Dwemer ‘bionics’, allowing you to tap into the technology of the dwarves. There’s an unusual sci-fi feel to the environments and props, making Dwemertech a exceptionally fresh experience within Skyrim. 

Skyrim funny mods

With its washed-out colours and constant threat of death by dragon fire, Skyrim is quite a grim game. Take a break from the weight of saving the world by being a bit silly. These mods will help insert a sense of humour into Tamriel’s coldest regions. 

Jedi of Skyrim

Jedi of Skyrim

If you can mod a game that involves swords, you can guarantee there’s a Star Wars mod out there somewhere. Skyrim is no exception, and lightsabers are fore and centre in the Jedi of Skyrim mod. It’s deeper than just humming blades though, with skill trees for Knights of the Old Republic-style Jedi classes that grant classic Force abilities like Mind Trick, Grip, and Lightning.

Storrm Troopers  

If the robes in the Jedi of Skyrim pack don’t shout Star Wars loud enough for you, why not dress up in this Storm Trooper armour? It’s not even Storm Trooper-themed plate; this is a 100% accurate, white-and-black plastic Storm Trooper costume. And it’s not only the classic designs either – the mod packs in Snow Trooper, Death Star Trooper, and Clone Trooper variations too. 

Iron Man 

If Star Wars is a bit too 1970s for you, inject Skyrim with the latest cinema phenomenon with this Iron Man armour mod. Containing the classic Mark VI, embodiment of freedom Iron Patriot, and the Stealth suit, the Iron Man mod also provides Pepper Potts as a companion, and a unique piece of Dwemer technology in place of cheerful AI J.A.R.V.I.S. The suit doesn’t fly, but it does look pretty flash in hotrod red. 

BeArserk

The most gallant heroes always have a minstrel in tow to sing of their noble deeds and tremendous victories. Make your minstrel something the townsfolk will never forget with this lute-playing bear.  

Squeaky Toys 

Squeaky Toys

There’s no denying the joy of smacking people around the chops with the big purple… things… in Saints Row. Squeaky Toys brings that same joy to Skyrim without the need to be uncouth. Massive inflatable hammers and bats with just the right squeak pitch on every impact. 

Call of Trainwiz

Nothing demonstrates the power of the one true Dragonborn like an airstrike. But don’t settle for anything less than Grade-A, high-explosive locomotion munitions. Call the contents of London Euston down upon your foes with this most deadly of shouts

The Minecraft Mod 

Minecraft Mod

Skyrim has crafting, and Minecraft is a game all about crafting, so they’re a natural pairing. This is still a mod-in-progress, but subscribe to it now and you’ll be granted the classic Diamond Sword and Pickaxe, the Ender Sword, a Diamond Shield, and Diamond Ingots. Naturally, Diamond Ingots are used to forge the weapons at the smithy station, keeping the ‘craft’ in ‘Minecraft’ very much alive in Skyrim. You can also make arrows for your bow in the Minecraft style. On the way are Creepers, Ender Dragons, Skeletons, and craftable armours.  

Pokémon in Skyrim

Pokemon mod

Team Rocket have invaded Skyrim! That means it’s time to kiss your mother goodbye and set out on your journey from Whiterun to become a Pokémon master and defeat the nefarious animal-cruelty gang! Catching a wild Pokémon is easy: just beat it to death with your favourite weapon until it’s dead. This will add the beast’s name to the book of Pokémon, which can then be used to summon them in battle. You’ll start your journey with a Pikachu (or at least a garishly-coloured rat), but 12 other pocket monsters are hiding out there in the world in need of a slave master. Gotta slay ‘em all!  

Explosive Chickens 

Explosive chickens

Turn bwark bwark into boom boom with these highly volatile poultry explosives. Simply fire projectiles at them from a safe distance for instant fire, burst eardrums, and chargrilled wings.

Subnautica
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MrJinxed avatarMatt Purslow avatarShriven avatarAcid Hoover avatarnu1mlock avatartransparent cat avatar+9
Shriven Avatar
3493
3 Years ago

Shlongs of Skyrim...right....right guys......r....right?

5
InspekUrGadget Avatar
1
11 Months ago

So right lol!

1
Acid Hoover Avatar
100
3 Years ago

Out of all the mods that I've currently got installed, the killmove mods are the ones that give that extra wow factor, and heighten the cinematic feel of combat.

As well as Dance of Death, Advanced Kill Moves is also really good. Possibly a bit better than DoD IMO, but a bit more over the top.

http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/10291/?

3
MrJinxed Avatar
909
3 Years ago

I was contemplating replaying skyrim for a moment, but there's just no way I would want to install 100 different mods or whatever. I wish there was some sort of mod manager or mod collection pack of the top mods like with morrowind.

1
Matt Purslow Avatar
92
3 Years ago

It's not quite an instant fix, but if you take a look at our Steam Workshop collection (linked just after the intro paragraph of the article) you'll find almost every mod in this list there. Just click the button on the mods you like and they'll instantly install.

1
MrJinxed Avatar
909
3 Years ago

I noticed that, but that would mean I'd have to go through every single mod of the newspost here and check out the video and judge if it's worth including.

I mean, I might do it sometime, but I just wish there was some sort of definitely skyrim 2.0 mod collection pack or whatever. Maybe some day, eh :)

1
Acid Hoover Avatar
100
3 Years ago

Personally, I prefer using the Nexus Mod Manager, as it is easier to install/uninstall mods whenever you wish. I then use that alongside BOSS for correcting your load order.

You could have a look at this MrJinxed, there's nothing packaged for you, but it does at least give you a really good head start on getting the modding up and running:

http://www.skyrim-beautification-project.com/

2
MrJinxed Avatar
909
MrJinxed replied to Acid Hoover
3 Years ago

Thanks, I just might. That is if I ever find the time to play this game again. Or I might just wait until Skywind is out. Hmmm decisions, decisions.

3
.zerO Avatar
2
2 Years ago

you could also get enderal the shards of order it is going to be the largest skyrim mod out and it should be here soon

2
stanscut Avatar
61
stanscut replied to .zerO
1 Year ago

Im currently playing through the german version and I have to say its the best mod/totalconversion I have ever seen, incredible work...

1
spiritwalker Avatar
4
1 Year ago

Where is your Steam Workshop collection? I don't see the link your talking about?

Thanks

1
Shriven Avatar
3493
3 Years ago

So, all of these work together and all of them are in the steam collection?

1
Matt Purslow Avatar
92
3 Years ago

Other than the few which are only on the Skyrim Nexus, these are all in the Steam Workshop Collection. As for conflicts, the only one you should have a problem with is the Enhanced Blood vs Crimson Tide blood mods. They conflict, so you'll have to choose between them.

Otherwise, just download the lot!

1
nu1mlock Avatar
770
3 Years ago

"heighten the cinematic feel of combat" You know what would increase the cinematic feel even more? Playing Skyrim at 24fps. /s

1
transparent cat Avatar
25
3 Years ago

there's a distinct lack of "cute little elf girl" mods on this list

1
ghstwolf Avatar
1
2 Years ago

The follower mod Inigo (http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/40960/?) is, imho, the best follower mod created; incredibly immersive, strong character with a great background story, and also Gamespot award for best mod of the year.

I've tried one heckalot of follower mods, and ditched them all for various reasons; conversely, I won't play Skyrim without Inigo.

1
ShaduShah Avatar
1
4 Months ago

i want to be clear first! have you updated your list as per new mods of last Q4 2017 is there WICO or skin texture whatever, well im new, i just want graphics and essential mods, im not sure if i follow, that this is years ago post, and if it has been updated by you recently ? to next-gen looking graphic mods for skyrim LE

1
coal.silvermuzzle Avatar
1
2 Months ago

I can't find the BeArserk mod any where, does anyone have a link?

1
waltzingandy Avatar
1
2 Years ago

I would agree with a lot of these, but sticking to mostly Steam Workshop has left a few good ones of the list:

Helgen Reborn : http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/35841/?

Blacklands: http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/38635/?

Both are superb, and add a lot of new quests and lands.

Another essential one is "Move it Dammit for NPC Companions and followers", (http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/4020/?) they final get out of your way!!!!

And one final one, I've tried a lot of the big, new player homes, and love quite a few of them, but this one just "expands" Breezehome and really is everything you need:

http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/11158/?

0
athaddy Avatar
1 Year ago

I don't know which mod is responsible, but I can't play the dlc dawnguard now. Anyone else have this issue?

0