Even with the Special Edition in our Steam library we still keep playing around with the normal game due to our modded saves and the characters we created. If you never really played Skyrim before you can check this post for a general overview, today I want to create a complete and detailed list of what I consider the best mods and command lines you can use in your playthroughs for a better experience.
Also, if you directly got the Remastered version and never owned the first copy you can skip your reading to the ‘console commands’ section, because the new game still has a few modding limitations and it is in a sort of test phase where many mods are not compatible due to the lack of some primary plugins. Don’t worry though, I will definitely make a list for it as well as soon as it improves! (You can eventually read this if you found a few interesting mods that you want to try out in the meantime).
In case you never really modded Skyrim before there are a few things you need to do first. Be sure everything is updated to the latest version and then install SKSE and SkyUI. These two files are very essential, being required by the 90% of mods which are built over them and their interface.
Before installing any mod please read carefully every single description offered by the authors! Be sure all you have is updated and the required files are into your mods folder as well!
Beware, this is a very long documentation! 😀
This game has a lot of breathtaking and very large locations that you can visit and explore, however the original meshes and textures can be a little outdated and don’t look as good as the most recent games. Thanks to a bunch of very well made mods you can visibly improve your sceneries with HD textures, new meshes and additional components.
Now, take in mind that some of these mods I’m linking are purely optional and just for fun and/or screenarchery purposes. Also be aware that many of these can modify the same vanilla files, thus you have to choose between them according to your tastes.
Roads and landscapes
Unique Grasses and Groundcovers or Unbelievable Grass Two
Real Roads for Skyrim
Vivid Landscapes – All in One
High Quality LODs
Alternative Rock and Mountains
Skyrim Flora Overhaul
Animals (wild, mounts, followers, etc)
Henrys All Animals BeFriend
Zira Retextured Horses
Dogs of Skyrim
Even More Dogs For More Immersion
Dogs Kingdom or Pets Kingdom
Fully Flying Dragons
Realistic wolf howls
True Wolves Of Skyrim
The majority of mods created for Skyrim are definitely made for unique characters, transforming a flat 2011 face into a high quality ‘next gen’ beauty. There are definitely too many mods out there for me to link them all, thus I’ll give you the most endorsed ones and what I always used from ‘Modding Day 1’ until now.
Note: for a better customization you NEED to install RaceMenu. Mods compatible with that script probably won’t work correctly without it.
Heads and bodies
DIMONIZED UNP female body or Caliente’s Beautiful Bodies Edition (NSFW material)
SG Female Textures Renewal or Pride of Valhalla
Better males or Dizona (NSFW material)
UNP Tender Hands
SkySight Skins (also includes better feet meshes for males)
Detailed lips (fixes the horrible jaggies)
Sporty Sexy Sweat – wet body skin texture or WetBumps (these will replace any other body texture you have installed)
True Eyes or The Eyes Of Beauty
Invisibility Glitch – Eyes Fix
Eye Normal Map Fix
Eyes Glitch Fix (I find this one very important if you care about details, because it completely fixes a problem related to the corners of a character’s eyes that for some reason appear broken/incomplete)
With the plugins included in RaceMenu you can apply two (or more) different paints changing their colors and opacity.
Presets for RaceMenu (character creation)
Better Male Presets
Inhabitants of Skyrim – Character Presets
Expanded Skyrim Presets
Bretonnia – New Breton Presets
Ciri from Witcher 3
Geralt RaceMenu Preset
Tannick Standalone Follower and Preset
Nord Male Preset by Tair
Zuna the Battle Fairy
Alistair Theirin Dragon Age
Various presets for different races
You can load your custom presets with F9 from your keyboard.
Armors and clothes
Winter Is Coming – Cloaks
R18Pn 08 – Lingerie Set for CBBE or 7BSeveNBase UNP
UNP Minidresses Collection
West Wind Combat Series – Misfit Mage UNP
Face Masks of Skyrim
Osare Culort Outfit – UNP
Ashara Romantic Outfit for CBBE – UNP – FavoredSoul
Osare Underwear – UNP
Charming High Heels for CBBE HDT
Opulent Outfits – Maids and Merchants
Osare KneeSocks – UNP
Chapman Tomb Raider
Fluffy Travel Attire
TERA Armors Collection
Scarlet Dawn Armor
Nightingale Prime HD
Merta Assassin Armor UNP – CBBE
Triss Armor Retextured CBBE HDT
Northgirl Armor UNP
Tembtra Thief Armor UNP – CBBE
Improved closefaced helmets
Demon Hunter Armor
Crimson Twilight Armor
DreamBurrows Regal Huntsman Armor (Assassin’s Creed style)
Knight Of Thorns Armor And Spear of Thorns
Daedric Reaper Armor
Emfy Cleric Robes UNP – CBBE
Ashara Princes of the Woods for UNP and male
Blood Witch Armor
Dragon Knight Armor
Perfect Legionnaire – Imperial Armor Reforged
Celes Nightingale Armor UUNP – CBBE
Gwelda (Little) Red Riding Hood Outfit UUNP – CBBE
Hunting Grounds Outfit
aMidianBorn Textures For Immersive Armors
Ursine Armor Pack UNP
Dread Hunter and Huntress Armor
DreamBurrows Regal Assassin Armor
Eldrids Armor Mashup UNP
Dwemer Goggles and Scouter
Nights Watch Armor
Blue Jeans T-shirts and Singlets
Isilmeriel LOTR Weapons Collection
Sword of the Ancient Tongues
Weapons of the Third Era
TERA Weapons Collection for Skyrim
Dread Knight Weapon Set
Ghosus Weapon Pack
Expanded Skyrim Weaponry
Overall bugs fixes
The game is not fully stable with certain mods installed and even a few vanilla things could make your eyes sore. With these useful fixes you can improve your performance and avoid a random crash and/or some minor glitches.
Tools and animations
In order to properly use some specific files (especially the ones related to custom animations and poses) you have to download the basic mods first. Some other things are simply an addition, but they can make everything a lot easier (if you already played the full game and want a quicker playthrough).
AddItemMenu (this will give you almost all the items and armors available without crafting, surely great if you don’t feel like spending more hours exploring to collect the needed materials. Works with newly installed mods too)
Extended Carryweight (makes the inventory’s weight limit way higher, so that you don’t need to apply the command line in every savefile)
XP32 Maximum Skeleton Extended (replaces the vanilla skeleton)
Realistic Ragdolls and Force
Magiska – Spell Casting Animations
HDT HighHeels System
Fores New Idles in Skyrim
Pretty Female Idles
Pretty Sit Idles
Realistic Animation Project – Idles
Magiska – Spell Casting Animations
As always remember not to pick more animations for the same purpose, since they won’t be compatible (for example Pretty Female Idles and Realistic Idles will certainly replace the same animation).
Warning: FNIS is 100% required if you install these animations (or any other). You have to run GenerateFNIS_for_Users in order to make them work properly and select the files from the list if you have them. For Mod Organizer users, you can run it directly adding the executable in your drop-down menu, but for more detailed instructions you should watch this guide to avoid any unpleasant issue. For Nexus Mod Manager go here instead.
If all of a sudden your game crashes giving you an error related to a file called Foot.Ik as soon as you load a save, simply run FNIS all over again to fix it. This may happen randomly especially after the removal of some other mods.
If you are interested in expanding your races and create more characters you can easily do that installing the Custom Races mod. People have created different ones such as:
The cool thing about these new races is that you don’t even need to modify the original faces too much. They already come with completely new features.
Note: Sometimes installing a new Race could cause an instant CDT while entering the game or RaceMenu. In that case check your installed mods to see if anything required is missing and that your general load order is good enough. Some of the races could also require a different version of Custom Races, thus it’s up to you to decide which mod you want to install.
To properly check your load order you can use LOOT (guide). Again you can use it directly in your Manager of choice adding it to the list of executables. I’d also install it in your mod folder instead of the common Program Files, especially if Skyrim is on a different drive.
There also are many different followers you can download and place in your game. Generally you can have only one, but you are now able to remove the standard limit using Immersive Amazing Follower Tweaks.
Skyrim Romance is a custom mod which introduces Bishop, a new male character that you can hire as follower and potential romance option along your journey. Bishop is originally a character from the famous fantasy series Neverwinter Nights (precisely Neverwinter Nights 2).
There also is a full guide in case you want to know how it works.
Note: You can technically romance him also with a male character, however being created mainly for female players, Bishop will talk to you as if you were a Lady no matter what.
ENB Presets and general lighting
Skyrim can be visually improved with one of the many ENB configurations available. Some of them are performance friendly, but others are not. It solely depends on your rig and the amount of mods you have installed. 4k textures require a lot of RAM as well as high poly meshes.
Seasons of Skyrim ENB True HDR
True Vision ENB
Natural Lighting and Atmospherics for ENB
BLEAK ENB – UNBLEAK ENB
The Grim and Somber ENBS
K ENB Pure Light
Saraan Suum ENB
ENB is usually compatible with other lighting mods such as Enhanced Lights and FX.
Carefully follow all the listed instructions!! A few modification need to be applied in your SkyrimPrefs.ini file(s) most of the time!
Another mod you could use in addition is Dynavision. It basically adds a nice Depth Of Field effect that, even if usually included in your ENB preset, is much easier to use, configure and deactivate when not needed.
If you want to expand your Skyrim adventures you may consider to also get Enderal. It’s a sort of additional game (completely fanmade) that uses the same engine, world and graphics from Skyrim, but it’s completely standalone and many players consider it even better than the original thing itself.
Just like Skyrim it supports mods and ENB presets, however it won’t recognize them if you have modded the standard game. Check the full modding guide here.
To conclude, if you thought modding Skyrim was as simple as drinking a glass of water you were totally wrong. My suggestion is to keep testing over and over whenever you add a new mod, don’t install like 50 new files all at once without checking first, you might be sorry after if you find out the game crashes and you don’t know what is causing that in the first place.
It requires patience and dedication.
The majority of CTDs are indeed caused by mods if they are incompatible with other installed files or the version of your Skyrim. If you use Mod Organizer you should definitely make backups whenever you find a configuration that properly works, in case you screw up badly and only can go back to a previous list.
You may be able to put over 200 custom plugins there, but the game apparently has a limit and the moment it starts crashing randomly with every new mod you’ll know that might be the end of it.
If there still are a lot of mods you’d like to try out, there is a way to run more profiles in order to build different modding lists.
For Mod Organizer you just need to click on the Configure Profiles icon on the top and click on the Create button. Write down a new name for the empty profile and check Local Savegames to keep your new characters out of any other profile. In order to switch between profiles just select the names from the drop-down menu next to Profile and you will notice that your new list has 0 plugins activated (except the DLCs if you have them). This way you can decide which mod you want to use keeping your previous saves and lists completely untouched.
Warning: Do not remove/uninstall the plugins from your newely created profile. Even if you have a new configuration your mods path will still remain the same. Removing a plugin from one profile will also affect the others. Just leave what you don’t want to use unchecked. To avoid confusion, rename your mods adding something like “– Profile 2” at the end of every new plugin, this way you will know you don’t have to activate it also in your default list.
Nexus Mod Manager now has a Profile Management as well. You can see the difference between the two programs in this video.
Are you tired of starting over with every new character and wait for ages until you can finally earn more money and craft the armor you want? Do you need specific materials but can’t bother to explore the same locations and fight the same enemies all the time?
Skyrim has a wonderful console that you can trigger pressing the tilde key and it allows you to type tons of useful commands, no trainers required!
player.additem 0000000f <#>: It will add additional gold according to the number you type instead of <#>.
player .addItem <ItemID> <#>: this line will add a material of choice to your inventory and you can put any number you want. For example, if you want to get more iron Ingots, you’ll need to type player.additem 0005ACE4 200.
More crafting materials codes here.
coc “LOCATION”: You want to move from Riverwood to another location, but it’s way too far and you have to walk a long road. Not anymore! Let’s say you need to go to Kynesgrove, your command line will be coc Kynesgrove. Fast travel ftw!
For more location IDs, check this page.
tgm: The old well known God Mode.
kill: If you are facing a strong enemy and you can’t win unless you increase your level, you can still proceed along that path simply opening the console, selecting the opponent with your mouse and typing this command. Instant kill for them!
Resurrect <#>: You accidentally selected your follower instead of an enemy and kill them. Click on the corpse in the console and type Resurrect 1 to revive them keeping all their items intact.
Equipspell <SpellID> <left/right>: This will give your character new spells instantly.
unlock: Easily unlocks a target chest or door.
player.unlockword <shoutID>: Immediatly unlocks a dragon shout.
fov <#>: It changes the Filed Of View. 60 is the standard value used by the game, the lower it is the closer your subject will be to the camera.
player.addperk <PerkID>: Add perk to your player.
player.setlevel <#>: Increase your level as much as you like.
enableplayercontrols: It makes the player’s controls available also in cinematics.
qqq: It quits the game immediatly without opening the menu.
set timescale to <#>: Would you like a more realistic timescale where you don’t have to go from day to night in a few minutes? Set the value to 1 to get a real-time scale, put it back to 20 if you want to reset the original one.
sw <WeatherID>: You have the power to change the current climate!
Weather codes here.
disable: You just removed an item from your inventory and it dropped on the floor. If you want to take a clear screenshot there it may ruin your composition, so open your console and type this code once the item is selected (alternatively you can just type MarkForDelete to permanently remove it).
There are more console commands that I intend to post in my next Skyrim article, related to the in-game photo mode and the posing process. Stay tuned for the full guide.
As always feel free to ask me anything if you have questions!