This post covers how to set up The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim with my preferred mods. These mods rebalance Skyrim’s combat to be much more interesting. The player, NPCs, monsters and dragons are all far more lethal. Success will require careful planning, smart choices and adaptation to the environment. The changes are comparable to Metro 2033’s Ranger difficulty settings. The game is not necessarily harder, but more realistic and fun.
Purchase The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Legendary Edition. Alternatively, if you are upgrading from a previous version of Skyrim purchase the Dragonborn and Dawnguard DLCs. Also download the free High Resolution Texture Pack DLC. The Hearthfire DLC is optional.
Run Skyrim without mods and play for a few hours to make sure you don’t have any issues with Skyrim in general.
Mod Management Utilities
Download and install the following tools:
- Skyrim Script Extender (SKSE), a wrapper for the Skyrim game executable that enables mods to change the game beyond what is possible with the official mod tools.
- Nexus Mod Manager (NMM), an application that makes it easy to install and enable mods.
- Better Oblivion Sorting Software (BOSS), a utility that automatically resolves certain compatibility issues when using multiple mods together.
Use the Download (NMM) button on each page to install the mod using NMM.
- Unofficial Skyrim Patch, a general bugfix mod
- Unofficial Dawnguard Patch, a bugfix mod for the Dawnguard DLC
- Unofficial Dragonborn Patch a bugfix mod for the Dragonborn DLC
- Unofficial High Resolution Patch, a bugfix mod for the High Resolution Texture Pack DLC
- Unofficial Hearthfire Patch, a bugfix mod for the Hearthfire DLC (Only if using Hearthfire)
- SkyUI, a mouse-driven UI overhaul
- RaceMenu, an advanced character creation menu replacement
- Skyrim Redone, a gameplay overhaul and rebalance
- Skyrim Community Uncapper, a tweak that allows skills to level above 100. (Recommended for SkyRe)
- Deadly Dragons, a customizable rebalance mod for dragons
- Frostfall, a hypothermia simulation mod
- Climates of Tamriel, a weather and lighting overhaul
- Realistic Lighting Overhaul, a lighting overhaul
- Water and Terrain Enhancement Redux, a water graphical enhancement (Click Files for download link)
- Alternate Start, a tutorial skip mod
Install and enable the mods in NMM. Run BOSS once to automatically sort the mods and prevent overwrite issues. Finally, run Skyrim through NMM with the “Launch SKSE” button.
Once in game, configure the mods through the new SkyUI Mod Configuration Menu in the Esc menu. I recommend the following settings:
- Leave Frostfall disabled until you have obtained a tent and woodcutter’s axe. Some of the Alternate Starts start off in very cold conditions without the necessary equipment.
- For an extra challenge, disable Fast Travel in the Frostfall menu.
- Adjust the Deadly Dragons difficulty. When using SkyRe, the normal difficulty is far too easy but the expert difficult is somewhat too difficult.
- Consider setting the “Important NPCs are essential” option in Deadly Dragons. If this is turned off, quest NPCs can be killed in dragon attacks and many of the game’s quests can become permanently inaccessible. If this is turned on, hundreds of NPCs throughout the game will become invincible, which may break immersion. Set this option to your preference
Explore the other options and customize the game to be fun for you.
This guide was originally posted on my private gaming server at the request of several friends.