The Elder Scrolls

Mods I can’t play without – inspired by post earlier from today.

Content of the article: "Mods I can’t play without – inspired by post earlier from today."

Someone asked in a post for people to comment with 5 mods we can't play without.

There's more than 5 I can't play without, so I thought I'd make post about them.

Will try to avoid crossover with my post about lesser known immersive mods ( I use, though there will be some of that.

I'd love it if people posted or commented their own lists of mods they can't play without (of any length) or discussed any of the mods I'm listing here or alternatives.

Using Total's Skyrim Overhaul as a base, thank you Total and friends for making that.

Also thanks to all the mod authors of mods listed here, you're great.


  • Requiem + AZ tweaks + minor arcana from Total's Skyrim Overhaul. Love this combo of mods and would never want to play without them. Too many changes to try to describe, but the mass system and movement changes from requiem also impact combat quite a bit – in ways I always want to have in my skyrim.


  • {Vigor – Enhanced Combat} – adds excellent version of weapon parry, makes blocking damage stamina (then health once stamina's at 0), poise, give potions to NPC's for them to use in combat. I let Wildcat/Requiem/Ultimate Combat's game settings overwrite vigor's.

  • {Realistic Ragdolls and Force} – I'm just using it for the gamesettings changes, which I've tweaked in the following ways: fZKeyMaxForce=500; fZKeyMaxForceWeightHigh=5858; fDeathForceRangedForceMin=6; fDeathForceRangedForceMax=16; fDeathForceRangedDamageMin=6; fDeathForceRangedDamageMax=21; fDeathForceForceMin=9; fDeathForceForceMax=13; fDeathForceDamageMin=10; fDeathForceDamageMax=18; fDeathForceSpellImpactMult=4.5

  • {SE – Intense Combat Experience} – mostly just use this to copy over its changes to combat styles so that more enemies use 'flanking' instead of 'dueling' – this means enemies are less likely to stand around and wait for 1 or 2 of their comrades to attack you, more likely to attack in groups and circle you.

  • {Flinching – Special edition version} – the remade version for DAR/nemesis, seems to work better in my game, adds flinching in reaction to attacks, which imo makes combat way more realistic.

  • {Retimed Hit Frames} – changes the point in the animation when damage is delivered. It's a subtle change, but the result is that the sound of an attack, the damage from it, the swing, and the enemy's bodily reaction to the attack all sync up better for a more realistic look/feel/sound to combat.

  • {Mortal Enemies SE} – I'm using the minor arcana/Az tweaks version but this is pretty important, limiting movement during attacks and de-aimboting enemies.

  • {Enemy (R)Evolution of Skyrim – EEOS – Spell Perk Item Distributor Addon} – now enemies can use spells from forgotten magic, apocalypse, and other popular spell mods.

  • {Heritage – Reflexive Enemies} – for more believable and diverse humanoid/bandit enemies.

  • Simple dual wield blocking from {Simple Gameplay Tweaks – Shouts and Dual Wield Blocking and More}.

  • I'm using all of these with Wildcat and Ultimate Combat and the Requiem+ mods from Total's Skyrim Overhaul and all so far seem to be working fine together, though lots of the Wildcat and Ult Combat features are turned off for compatibility.

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World believability + Exploration

  • {Simple Drop Lit Torches SE} – lets you drop lit torches, amazing.

  • {Immersive Patrols SE} – more faction patrols and merchants and adventurers and other people traveling roads of skyrim, adds more life and danger to traveling.

  • {AI Overhaul SSE} for better NPC schedules, more lively and believable NPCs.

  • I'm using Extended Encounters SSE 1.5 with the fixes from {Extended Encounters 1.6 SSE and Addons} the download for the 1.5 version. It has some issues that the author acknowledges, so may be wise to avoid it for now, but so far I still enjoy using it and still prefer 1.5 + the fixes from the nexus files for 1.5, as opposed to Immersive World Encounters or other encounter mods (or none).

  • {Take Notes – Journal of the Dragonborn SSE} – lets you keep a journal and write notes in game.

  • {No Road Predators Redone (with Less Predators Addon)} – using the less predators addon (yes I'm aware of the grammar), so there aren't predators on skyrim's roads (mostly) and there are fewer predator spawns overall. I wanted skyrim's wilds and roads to have more humanoid NPC's (including hostile ones and hostile adventurers or bandits) but also got annoyed with being attacked by 5 wolves, 2 saber cats, a troll and a bear every time I travelled between cities. This addresses that well.

  • {Unique Border Gates SE}, {Hold Border Banners}, {Immersive hold borders SSE and Hold Borders Consistency Patch} – for "hold guard" and "hold borders consistency patch" and "HBB consistency patch". Banners and border gates with guards to mark some key border points between holds, and also provincial border gates between Skyrim and the other provinces.

  • {Clothe Dead NPCs – Ported for SSE} – if you're like me and want to be able to use body mods for less terrible looking NPC's AND want to be able to loot armour but don't want naked dead bodies lying around.

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  • {Trade and Barter} and {Trade Routes}, which is easily ported to SE by resaving in the CK.


  • {Personalized Music – Skyrim Special Edition} – choose which tracks play where, takes time to set up but has been more than worth it for me once I took that time.

  • {Silent Combat Music} – I don't like finding out I'm about to get attacked by hearing the combat music, so I use this.


  • combination of {Improved Combat Sounds SE}, {Immersive Sounds – Compendium} and {Audio Overhaul for Skyrim SE}. These make the sounds far more realistic, add more ambiance, and more impact and intensity to combat – without anything over the top imo.

NPC Interaction

  • {Don't Speak To Me Forcegreet Disabler} – LE mod that I just load up in xEdit and copy the NPC forcegreets that I want to disable into a new patch so I don't need to port it, though I think porting it would be easy. Stops lots of the force greets (being forced into dialogue by NPCs) that I find annoying, examples are the guy in Markarth after the market attack, Vigilant Tyranus asking you about the abandoned house there.

  • {Immersive Speechcraft SE} – to convince NPCs to do stuff for you using the speechcraft skill.

  • {Relationship Dialogue Overhaul – RDO SE} – so NPC's more believably react to you based on your relationship with them.

  • {Skyrim Reputation} – so NPCs react to your actions in the world and your general reputation.


  • {XxAwesome_PotionsxX SSE} – makes potions look great, looks even better in game than in screens imo, especially with a good ENB.

  • {SkyrimSE Re-Engaged ENB} Obsidian version plus {Obsidian Weathers and Seasons} plus reshade just for some basic colour correction: liftgammagain, colourmatrix, vibrance, levels (1-4 FPS impact in my game).

  • {Enhanced Lights and FX} – makes it so lighting is based on specific light sources and reduces ambient light that isn't from a light source.

  • {ENB Light} – adds more realistic lighting to torches, candles, spells, wildly improves the look of the game at significant perf cost.

  • Billyro's weapons in {Skyrim Weapons Expansion}

  • Nordua/Nordwarua armours in: {Heavy Legion SSE}, {Unplayable Faction Armors SSE}, {NordWarUA's Race Armor Expansion}, {Guards Armor Replacer SSE}, {Realistic Armor}, {Unplayable Faction Armors SSE}, {New Legion}

  • Every load screen replacer I can find that I like the look of cause they all work alongside each other fairly simply.

  • {Improved closefaced helmets} – makes closefaced helmets look more believable and less videogamey.

  • {Expressive Facial Animation -Female Edition-} and {Expressive Facial Animation -Male Edition} for more expressive faces, and also {Realistic Conversations} to make NPCs talk more often and show more realistic emotions during conversation. I've manually increased some of those values further, especially the radiuses for dialogue and dialogue chances, lowered the combat timer, and the fGameplaySpeakingEmotionMinChangeValue and ……….MaxChangeValue.

  • {Kireina Skyrim SE – Human and Elf Facegen Overhaul} and {Cathedral Player and NPC Overhaul – HMB II} because these cover any faces not covered by other mods that change NPC faces and make them look, imo, much better. Can just load these before mods that alter NPC faces and make sure those other mods aren't BSA'd, OR just BSA these two mods and load their BSA's in right panel before any other NPC mod.

  • {Volumetric Mists} – adds volumetric mists to the game, I use the subtle version I think, not the most subtle one but the one in between.

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UI + Camera

  • {Customizable Camera} – lets you choose 3rd person camera position

  • {SkyHUD} – lets you turn off and move around specific parts of the HUD/UI, resize it as well.


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