Skyrim is a big place. It’s jam-packed with odd faces and cool places, but you could always mod it to be packed a little tighter. Maybe even expanded beyond or made to draw you in more closely. If you’ve been interested in seeing original areas, embarking on a new quest, or renewing your immersion in the old, take a gander at these selections from the fantastically robust Skyrim modding community.
QUESTS AND CAMPAIGNS
Tired of the cold? You ought to meet the new faces in the Dead Man’s Drink. A pair of Khajiit wait to whisk interested parties away from the bitter north toward and toward sandier frontiers. They’re bound for Elsweyr, the decidedly warmer deserts and jungles of the Elder Scrolls’ cat people. This campaign, ideal for those who’ve finished the game’s primary story line, sports new voice acting, new location-appropriate flora, fauna, and architectural assets, and multiple quest lines.
The East Empire Company has a dragon problem. Naturally, you’re the one to hire. Whether the thing is on a wanton fit of violence or has a more specific purpose is unclear. Your quest will lead you to the island of Wyrmstooth, a frigid rock whose dungeons, landscapes, and audio were built specifically for this unofficial expansion. Once you’ve visited the Greybeards and reached into double-digit levels, a courier will track you down to begin your journey.
Straying into the waters north of Skyrim is a bad idea. But that’s never stopped you, has it? Well, the crew of The Winter’s Warmth is prepared to venture there with you. This ship will convey you to a myriad of new hot spots of adventure, including a port with shelter you might call home. Just head to the Solitude docks to hire your new friends, then shove off to see what you can find out there. Try not to disembark with anybody important, though, as some jumping will be required to see all there is to see.
The Thalmor are up to something. Again. This time, your efforts to thwart them will see you travelling to Eastmarch, uncovering presumably nefarious plans and discovering the lost Orc stronghold of Adal Matar. From there, launch expeditions into three new dungeons and 14 new wilderness zones. The accompanying purchasable property hold a sauna that alone must make it worth the price, right? It’d be a good place to bring the new follower described by this mod’s creator as the most beautiful Orcish merchant girl in the game, at least.
This one is a single dungeon, but its builder claims that it’s one of the largest dungeons ever made. A ship outside Dawnstar Sanctuary will ready itself to take you not just outside Skyrim, but outside the Elder Scrolls setting altogether. You’ll be transported to the mythological Greek city beneath the sea to face an unnamed evil, battling through mermen and witches to push through each section. Be careful, though, as the difficulty is set quite high.
Note: the Skyrim Script Extender (SKSE) and SkyUI may be useful for enabling advanced features of or outright required for the mods below.
Skyrim is a harsh environment. Ignoring its inhabitants, the biting wind and subzero temperatures are enough to get the better of even the most intrepid of adventurers. It would, at least, if The Elder Scrolls were a bit closer to reality. Enter Frostfall: the mod that punts hypothermia up the hierarchy of dangers to worry about. Because even Nords should think twice about swimming in glacial waters. Frostfall will consider your body temperature and wetness relative to your environment and equipment and punish you accordingly. Fortunately, it also equips you with tools such as campfires and tents to help stave off a deadly chill. SkyUI will make customizing the mod’s features significantly easier.
Make the elements that much more visceral. When temperatures fall and water seems to cling to you, the Wet and Cold mod is going to make you look, feel, and sound the part. Water drops from your body after a swim or rain, your gushy, liquid fills shoes will squish, snow will stick to and accumulate upon your armor, and your breath will puff into steam clouds. Pair this with Frostfall to drive the harsh climate home. Use with SKSE will spread cold weather gear through the NPC population.
If swords, monsters, and the cold weren’t enough to worry about, there’s always subsistence and microscopic enemies. Sure, diseases were in before, but everything short of Sanguinare Vampiris was easily ignored. This mod brings the rest of the ailments into properly debilitating territory and shoves food, drink, and sleep into necessities. Food items will drastically gain importance, you’ll need to concern yourself with clean drinking water, and the effects of deprivation, like reduced stamina and damage, will stack as you neglect your character. To make things a bit easier, you can opt to prepare some original recipes!
Wild animals are no longer ambulatory wooden boxes with this mod installed. In addition to stalking down and killing your prey, Hunterborn will make you work to extract resources from the bounty by hand. Downed wildlife are interacted with – either scoop up the body to take somewhere safer or process it where it lies. Alchemical ingredients, meat, and hides will have adjusted weights and, if paired with the mods above, uses. SKSE and SkyUI are required.
A pick-and-mix of all kinds of weather, lighting, and audio updates. You’re free to choose which of the optionals you want, of course, but I might suggest including the winter edition to cap off the difficulty-of-mere-existence aspect we’ve been building. It’ll lower temperatures over the entire province, making previously temperate that much less survivable. Or, you know, leave the snow to its original haunts and enjoy the new feel of the world at, it’s claimed, no framerate loss.