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 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 made made but 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.
When the difficulty gets cranked up, Skyrim can be quite the challenge. 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
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
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 very popular in the 17th and 18th century, based on betting on dice rolled in a cup.
Become High King of Skyrim
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!
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 alive.
If you feel Skyrim calling to you, but reject the title of Dragonborn, then Unbound is the mod for you. It allows you to start the game in exactly the manner you choose: create your own starting gear, spells, and class, and even dictate how many dragons can spawn. Should you wish to tread the hero’s path, you just need absorb a dragon soul to get the main quest started. Otherwise, simply chose a starting point and live a life of any path you fancy.
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 grapple rope arrows!
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 10 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 Magica chaos to your wizarding adventures.
Realistic Needs and Diseases
With survival sims like DayZ and Rust booming with increased popularity at the moment, it’s no wonder that 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 off 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.
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 insights into the ways of the world. In other words, you can spend dragon souls on skill-tree perks.
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 of a corpses 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.
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-mass and provide a haul ideal to sell for profit.
Faction: 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 arena to do battle in. There’s even money to be made from the bookkeepers who conduct betting on each fight.
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 just 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.
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.
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.
The classic days of RPGs allowed you to galavant 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
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 Pokemon.
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, representing 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.
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.
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!
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
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 spouse. You can ask your partner to play ‘Dress Up’ with a variety of new outfits, and take part in three small quests to bring you closer together.
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.
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 perfect mountable sizes. You’ve never looked heroic until you’ve ridden into battle on the back of an oversized puppy.