What are the best Skyrim mods? They can be tough to find because there’s a lot of them. 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. Or they’re just out to transform farmyard animals into deadly explosives. Whatever floats. But when you’re looking for the best Skyrim mods, where do you start?
Installing mods is quite simple for one of the best PC games and arguably the most popular RPG game there. This is due mainly to how Steam Workshop makes it easy to install and activate them, but also that you can add the more advanced ones to a special folder within your Skyrim files. You can also check out our guide to Skyrim console commands for more tips on changing up the open-world game or just making it utterly chaotic. The choice is yours.
The best Skyrim mods are:
This chonking great mod is the sum of 16 other mods that come together to make Skyrim a more hardcore and unforgiving experience. Ultimate Skyrim aims to do this by adding a greater focus on roleplaying, with additions of temperature, hunger mechanics, and an overhauled combat system.
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
Like every one of Bethesda’s games, Skyrim is a bit on the buggy side. Despite heavy patching, the official development team never quite smoothed everything out. The Unofficial Skyrim Patch is a regularly updated mod that aims to fix hundreds of gameplay, quest, NPC, object, item, text, and placement bugs. For basic performance, this mod is essential.
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 come out from fires and stars only and not from planks of wood.
The tool of choice for videogame photographer Dead End Thrills, FXAA Injector pumps a variety of anti-aliasing techniques into your Skyrim system to help create a much sharper and vibrant image. Post-processing effects like bloom, technicolor, sharpen, and tone map can be cranked up or down on a slider system to alter the visual quality to your own personal preference.
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 in between. The effect is understandably astonishing, as are the system requirements (4 GB RAM and 1 GB 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.
Skyrim is a very solid PC game, but there are telltale signs that it 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. Alternatively, you can try the iEquip Skyrim mod, which is designed to keep you out of the menu for longer periods of time by giving you a powerful hotkey system.
You can install hundreds of the best Skyrim mods to create the most immersive experience possible, but all of that work goes out the window as soon as someone dies in front of you. Their poor remains go flying into every rock, tree, and building, where they continue to twitch spasmodically. Skyrim’s ragdoll physics system never gets old, but it’s also entirely antithetical to realism. Thankfully, Realistic Ragdolls imposes a limit on the flailing limbs and lightweight bodies of humans and beasts, ensuring that the force you apply to them mimics reality. Well, unless you unleash your Unrelenting Force Shout, then all bets are off.
A Quality World Map
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.
Water effects are notoriously challenging to pull off, and Skyrim’s rivers look tantalizing at a distance. Up close, however, 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.
Combining well with Pure Waters is Pure Weather, which affects 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.
If water is considered difficult to replicate in games, then fire must be written off as impossible. While Skyrim’s fire effects continue to be that awkward gif-style flicker, Better Embers introduces some 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 mesmerizing fire pits.
In certain areas of Skyrim, snow is dynamic and builds up over time. While 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. Deeper Snow can turn these regions into blankets of crisp-looking fluffy snow.
Wet and Cold
Skyrim is a chilly place. There are 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 armor, breath steams on cold air, and NPCs run home during storms.
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 Towns and Villages 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 those extra leaves banish 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
As strong as Skyrim’s art is, there’s no denying that its colors 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 it just won’t feel as lush as you wish it did. Immersive Saturation Boost injects the world with a pack of melted 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.
If the astonishing influx of trees in the Towns and Villages Enhanced mod drives you crackers, but vanilla 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.
The Valhalla Combat mod redesigns the combat in Skyrim, inspired by modern action games like Assassins Creed Valhalla, God of War, and Elden Ring – to give the dated combat a much-needed makeover.
HD Plants and Herbs
Skyrim’s flora suffers significantly at the hands of the resolution gods, their low pixel count turning them into splodges rather than petalled beauties. HD Plants and Herbs sharpen them up and make them bloom with sharp, defined leaves.
Real Vision ENB
Real Vision ENB is a graphical mod that produces some absolutely tremendous photorealistic effects, especially when combined with a number of other mods available from the Steam Workshop. Take a look at the video above to see the mod in action. Just remember to draw breath every once in a while.
The City of Bromjunaar
The City of Bromjunaar mod transforms the location of Labyrinthian into a re-settled city and the “city for mages” as a reward for completing the College of Winterhold questline. It has six houses, an alchemist shop, a market with six merchants, a blacksmith, a small dungeon, an inn, a castle, a jail, and a mage academy.
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 on the game’s atmosphere is indisputable. It’ll hammer your system, but if your PC has the muscle, this is a must-have.
Skyrim can be quite the challenge when the difficulty is cranked up. With bigger beasts come bigger wounds, and you’ll need to be chugging potions to keep yourself healthy. At 0.5 weight per potion, 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. The Lightweight Potions mod reduces potions to 0.1 weight, so you’re able to carry more than enough for the journey.
Potion of Ultimate Leveling
Skyrim is the kind of game you’ll happily put hours into, but when you roll a new character, sometimes the last thing you want to do is spend days leveling them up. For a quick jump to the fun stuff with a new character, brew this Potion of Ultimate Leveling, guzzle it down, and increase every skill by 85.
Become High King of Skyrim
When you complete everything there is to do in Skyrim, those randomized quests asking to find swords lost down wells just don’t cut it. You can 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 huge dialogue trees that let you learn about them and roleplay conversation. Voiced by a cast of over 80 voice actors, this mod really brings the citizens of Skyrim to life.
Dwemer Dogs companions
Dogs, as the entire internet will tell you, are great. They’re 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?
By and large, Skyrim doesn’t do sneaking all that well. To make a stealth playthrough more compelling, use this Sneak Tools mod to add variety 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!
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 – removing the need to constantly re-cast – but the trade-off is a smaller mana reserve for other spells. A much more logical way of handling armor spells, we’re sure you’ll agree.
Midas Magic Evolved
Midas Magic Evolved 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 by adding a further 250 spells. Wonderfully, these include a variety of ‘beam’ spells, adding a little Magicka chaos to your wizarding adventures.
Become a Bard
Warriors and rangers are ten-a-penny on the streets of Skyrim. Gain true respect by adopting an artful profession: being a bard. Sing your way from tavern to tavern and earn yourself a pretty penny from ale-guzzling patrons the world over. Use the Become a Bard mod 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 number of dragons burning down Skyrim’s towns these days, a likely scenario for a mighty Dragonborn like yourself is having 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 perks in the skill tree.
If you’re more comfortable in threads than you are in bulky armor, you’ve been cut quite the raw deal in Skyrim. While armor 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 the back of a corpse. 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, while 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 to sell for profit.
Faction: Pit Fighters
The Faction: Pit Fighters mod adds a new guild for Skyrim, offering up a great questline as you battle for glory in the gladiatorial 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.
Tired of fighting the same old Draugr and Mud Crabs? Monsters Reborn introduces a massive new range of 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 to the beasts on the end of your sword and scales enemies to pose the right level of difficulty to your character.
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
While 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 defense. The mod also adjusts the intelligence of your enemies depending on the 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 Soul Summoning adds a mechanic that, when killing enemies, allows you to add their souls 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.
This is a small mod that 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 to 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 armor 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!
Legacy of the Dragonborn
A perfect mod for scavengers, collectors, and lovers of shiny things, Legacy of the Dragonborn provides you with a huge museum filled with trinkets and trophies from all corners of the map. This titanic mod also adds an extra story and a new exploration-based guild to take charge of. This is a great way to add a little extra purpose to all the exploring and side quests you’ll be doing anyway – for someone who spends so much time digging around for loot in caves, it makes a lot of sense to become an archaeologist while you’re at it.
Tame the Beasts of Skyrim
Take a pet with you on your journey through Skyrim – it’s a rewarding pursuit that also helps you out in battle! The Tame the Beasts of Skyrim mod allows you to do just that: snag any beast in the wild using a special shout. Once a beast is captured, 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 so you can directly control them.
Glowing Ore Lines
A mod that causes ore lines in rocks to glow brightly, making spotting mining opportunities much easier. You can find the Glowing Ore Lines in a surprisingly hidden section of the mods site.
To Have and To Hold Marriage
The aim of the To Have and To Hold Marriage mod is supposed 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 of them. Should polygamy be more your style, 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.
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.
Bandolier Bags and Pouches
Skyrim is a world with a lot of items to pick up, and you’ll want to leave behind a few of them. But even the Dragonborn is not Superman – they cannot haul everything. Should you be running out of inventory space all too often, try the handy Bandolier Bags and Pouches mod. 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.
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 armory. Javelins, axes, knives, and even grenades can be equipped and hurled at enemies, and your skill with them is improved via a skill tree.
Daedra Hunter Armor
This mod adds a suit of ornate armor 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 is a staff overhaul mod that adjusts the way staves 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
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 armor 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. You really should use the whole dragon as a sign of respect for one of the best dragon games around.
If Daedric fashion isn’t for you, then perhaps you need to go to the opposite end of the spectrum and wear a style that’s godly in nature. Talos Armory adds the armor 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 Armor
Some stunning armor as worn by the Royal Elven Guard, is now available for the common folk to craft at all good forges.
While adding an impressive 55 new sets of armor to the game is what it’s all about, Immersive Armor’s secondary aim is to avoid disrupting the natural feeling of Skyrim. The armor is all lore-friendly and feels suitably ‘Bethesda Official’, and is integrated in such a way that it feels like a genuine element of the world. Find them on bandits, in chests, at vendors – these are not ‘craft-only’ pieces.
Working in the same way as Immersive Armors, the Immersive Weapons version of the mod seamlessly adds 224 new weapons to 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’re both stylish and can be worn over any existing armor 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.
Campfire Unleashed – Wild Fires: Legendary Edition
Create over 1,000 items with the Campfire Unleashed – Wild Fires: Legendary Edition mod that lets you amplify the world around you, adding tons of items and decorations from landscape changes, including trees and roads, to domestic items such as furniture. You can even add working catapults with flames and whole castles and mountains for you to stand atop and gaze over your glorious newly created part of Tamriel.
Open Cities – Legendary Edition
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 – Legendary Edition 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 center to fight the local guardsmen – one of the best open-world games just opened up even more.
Hermit Tree House
If you’d rather live a more humble existence out in the beauty of Skyrim’s forests, this Hermit 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
The Hearthfire DLC introduced the ability to build houses in Skyrim, but this mod takes it several steps further. Build Your Own Town – 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’s 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.
If you prefer your fortresses pre-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 quest line. 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 coven, who have been locked away in the castle crypt.
Tundra Defense grants Skyrim a minigame in the vein of tower defense and horde mode. 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 within your boundaries in exchange for taxes. Enemy raids can be triggered manually for instant action or set to random intervals so attackers can strike at any time. This adds an interesting element of responsibility to the game, as ignoring attacks can leave your camp in ruins.
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; attend the community college for a course in sword swinging and gain all the knowledge you need in one convenient campus location.
An exceptionally grand player house located on a cliff northeast of Ivarstead, Greystone Castle is an elaborate bespoke build containing chambers for every 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
As the name suggests, Into the Deep – Atlantis recreates the sunken city 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 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 armor in the halls.
Wyvern Rock Castle
A beautifully designed structure and your new home, the fun in Wyvern Rock Castle 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 Dwemer Airship 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 you could possibly need to lead a life of luxury in Skyrim.
The Elder Scrolls Places
The Elder Scrolls 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 is a true piece of fan service.
Falskaar is a particularly famous mod. It is more of an 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.
Voyage to the Dreamborne Isles
If there’s a more exciting mod to look at out there, we don’t know about it. Voyage to the Dreamborne Isles is the most beautiful world created for Skyrim, with all saturated colors 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.
Rabbit Hole Dungeon
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’ Quests mods are amongst the most highly rated on the Steam Workshop, and it’s easy to understand why. Lore-friendly and prioritizing 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 clocking up an impressive amount of game time in the process.
Moonpath to Elsweyr
In Moonpath to Elsweyr, you travel to 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 quests of this storyline, revealing the wonders of the area. These 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 Skyrim HD Texture Pack, too, as it boosts the mod’s 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. While 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 one, 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, as such, 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
Take on the four trials of the Wrath of Nature: Path of the Druid questline, and you’ll be rewarded with the classic druid ability to transform into animals. Wolf, Tiger, Bear, and Tree 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.
A mere two quests long, this is certainly the shortest adventure on our list, but the reward is 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-traveled 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.
Enderal: Forgotten Stories
This mod is particularly special in that it doesn’t modify Skyrim so much as use Skyrim as a launchpad for a completely new and separate story. It’s called a ‘total conversion mod’ and is celebrated as a fantastic game in its own right. If you’ve already played through Skyrim several times and wish The Elder Scrolls 6 release date was in sight, Enderal could be the RPG treasure you’re looking for. It’s packed full of high-quality original voice acting, lore, game mechanics, and music. You can leave your traditional Skyrim install intact and download Enderal as a standalone package on Steam.
Jedi of Skyrim
If you can mod a game that involves swords, you can guarantee there’s a Star Wars mod out there for it somewhere. Skyrim is no exception, and lightsabers are fore and center in the Jedi of Skyrim mod. It’s deeper than just humming blades, though, with skill trees for the Jedi classes that grant classic Force abilities like Mind Trick, Grip, and Lightning.
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 armor? It’s not even plated armor with a Storm Trooper theme – 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.
If Star Wars is a bit too 1970s for you, inject Skyrim with one of cinema’s biggest phenomenons with this Iron Man armor mod. Containing the classic Mark VI, the 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 flashy in hotrod red.
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 of Trainwiz brings the contents of London Euston down upon your foes with this most deadly of shouts.
The 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 armors.
How do I install Skyrim mods?
Skyrim is one of the easiest games on PC to mod, thanks to its 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 and 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 to the Skyrim ‘Data’ file, which can typically be found at:
Mods don’t like it when your copy of Skyrim is installed in Program Files, which it probably will be. You’ll need to move your Steam directory out of Program Files to get your manually added mods working. It sounds scary, but the instructions are pretty simple. For the love of the divines, please back up your Data folder before you start modding in case you need to return Skyrim to its original form.
A word of caution – entering the world of shiny, exciting Skyrim mods will make you feel like a kid in a candy shop, but much like how grabbing fistfuls of gobstoppers and cramming them into your mouth might cause respiratory distress, stuffing mods into your mod folder in any old order might stop your game in a much more literal sense. Test them out one at a time, and if you want to manually add several complex mods, you’ll need to use tools like the Load Order Optimisation Tool and Mod Organizer 2.
And that’s all of our favorite Skyrim mods, all guaranteed to make your little section of Tamriel even more fascinating and fun. If you’re tempted to wade deeper into the depths of Skyrim modding, there’s a tool called Wabbajack, which you can use to compile a list of mods to be automatically downloaded for you from various sources. Who needs Skyrim: Special Edition, eh?