Modding Skyrim

A Resource Repository and Modder's Almanac

You are probably here for one of two reasons:

1) You are brand new to modding and do not know where to start

or

2) You are a veteran modder and have a specific question.

I want to help. That is why I created this website and guide, after all. But it’s not a guide like you may be expecting; this is what I am calling a Modder’s Almanac. This is “a handbook, typically published annually, containing information of general interest or on a sport or pastime.” While I am not publishing this annually, I anticipate it needing to be updated regularly, as new mods are released every day and newer versions of modding tools and resources are released often.

For more information on why I wanted to do this, read this Reddit post.

This is very much a Work-in-Progress, so please provide feedback, comments, suggestions, etc. I just ask that you do so respectfully, to myself, those that created the mods/tools/resources, and to any others that contribute. Please join our Discord for additional help or for offering suggestions/feedback.

What to Expect:

This is not a list of mods to install, nor is it a textbook on how to create and patch a modlist. This is a reference book on where to find all of that. There is a Glossary of terms you will encounter on your modding adventure, as well as a list of Tools you can use. There are links to modlists, of the Do-It-Yourself and of the Wabbajack variety. There is a list of YouTube videos that can be helpful if you are a more visual learner. There is some fun stuff here and there to de-stress when you crash for the fourth time in an hour, and there are suggestions on where to look for help in diagnosing the cause when you are ready to try again.

Beginners – The best place to start is always at the beginning. Check out the Beginner’s Guide page, where you will find a quick explanation on how/why to use Wabbajack, some quick information on Mod Organizer 2 and Vortex, some modlist guides you can try out if you are interested in how to make a specific modlist work for your game, and a not-so-quick tutorial for creating a manual modlist. From there, I suggest reading through the Glossary and Tools pages. If you are a visual learner, check out the Youtube page. I am NOT an expert, but I have learned a decent amount, and most importantly: I love to research things. I have tried to do my due diligence while doing so. And please follow r/skyrimmods; between that and various Discord servers, there is an amazing community out there to help.

Intermediate – this is going to depend more on where you are on your modding journey and how much research you did so far. If you are the type that skipped a lot and downloaded 100 mods and didn’t really read anything, I am going to politely suggest you start with the options listed in the Beginners Guide section. If you followed a guide or two, but still feel lost, I would suggest skipping to the Tools page and reading through some of the options there because chances are you just want to learn about a specific thing. If you are a read-everything-but-still-run-into-issues type, you might want to skip to the HELP page to see if whatever you are experiencing happens to be there. There is also a Mod Categories section that is continually changing as I try new mods and new mods are released everyday.

Expert – what are you doing here? But seriously, you are probably way more knowledgable than me, so either please help me improve this website (or correct any misinformation before it spreads like Peryite wills it). If you are looking for more information, maybe related to more in-depth mod editing/creation, I do have WIP sections on the Creation Kit, Blender, etc. I have plans to add a guest article section someday, so if you have interest in writing up a summary tutorial of a tool/process/etc (or already have), please let me know. I am also considering adding more reviews of mods, so let me know if you are interested in writing one. I will have the final say in what is added to this site, but would love others to contribute if they are interested. Please message me either on Discord or Reddit.

I am going to attempt to keep this as uncontroversial as possible, so you will not find a “this is the best weather mod or ENB” post. I will try to provide resources to reviews and comparisons, so that you can make those decisions for yourself. I will try and keep the information, about tools/mods/guides/etc, as up-to-date as possible, but it is inevitable that there could be out-dated information. Please let me know if you see anything and I will update as soon as possible.

And, finally, I know that there are non-Nexus sites and mods, but this is not the place to debate about which is better or worse, nor will I link to places like Lovers Lab. It is completely up to you if you want to explore that side of modding, but I will not be linking to NSFW sites. There is ZERO judgement; it’s just not for me. (I am aware that there are SFW mods on that site, but the site itself is NSFW because of the ads, so I stand by my decision.) There will be other non-Nexus sites linked here though, as many of the tools and tutorials themselves are hosted elsewhere.

Posts

I have a Google Keep list that is a very confusing jumble of ideas that I want to write about/add to this site, but they don’t really FIT anywhere. These are ideas for specific playthroughs, lists of mods that fit certain themes, longer reviews of particular mods, and thoughts on modding in general. So, welcome to the sort of “blog” part of the site, where you’ll find less objective content and more subjective content (mostly Skyrim and modding related…mostly). HERE BE MONSTERS. Not really, but here do be opinions and, more often, really random word vomit. Feel free to skip to the actual content of the site, but if you like a (hopefully) entertaining read, please do check some of these out. If you have a request for a future topic, let me know!

About Me

I am an obsessive modder that has learned what seems like a significant amount since I started modding in early 2020, but I know that I have barely scratched the surface. I love the modding community and this is my way of giving back.

In my travels across Modriel, I have become a scholar of a sort, with little knowledge and experience myself, but with a desire to learn as much as I can. I have encountered many masters, of Zorox and Aak (creation and guidance), and those that seem to understand Keizaal itself. (Oh, did I not mention I’m a giant dork?)

Nothing on this site will be information that I have created myself (unless I do add a review section someday), but hopefully this will become a resource that will be useful to many, whatever their experience level. I will always try to make sure I give credit to all the appropriate parties, but it is possible/probable that I will make mistakes. Please let me know so that I can correct any misinformation as quickly as possible.

Thank you DarkLadyLexy, Phoenix, Featherstone, Daralima, G’k, GamerPoets, Gopher, ForgottenGlory, all the moderators at r/skyrimmods, so many mod authors, and many others. Some have provided inspiration, others feedback, but all of you have helped me learn more about modding.

My current character - Bethinia Swift-River (Nord)

I want to make sure that I make something very clear: Guide creators, moderators, mod authors, YouTube creators, veteran modders, etc, are all amazing and none of us would even be here if it weren’t for them. I am not trying to replace any of these wonderful people, nor am I trying to diminish what they do. This is NOT a “you are leading this community poorly” diatribe; this is an attempt to showcase their work and make it even easier to navigate for both new and older modders alike. I want to contribute in a way that will hopefully complement the already existing modding community. Please remember to endorse any mods you download/like and consider supporting mod/guide/video/tool creators on Patreon. I hope you all enjoy!

Please remember to endorse any mods you download and like, and if you appreciate all the hard work that goes into creating a mod, consider giving kudos to the author on Nexus as well (the Give Kudos button can be found on the user’s page).

How do I use Modwatch?

  • Navigate to modwat.ch and click on “Download Here”
  • It will take you to NexusMods where you can download the uploader.
  • I created a folder called “Modwatch” where I keep all my modding tools.
  • Extract (via 7-Zip) and add to that new folder.
  • Navigate to that folder and run the executable Modwatch.exe.
  • Create a username and password
  • Add your game (and you can also add a tag and ENB)
  • Click on the folder icon and navigate to the profile you are using in your Mod Organizer directory (mine is D:\MO2\profiles\macpherb)
  • Save and Upload
  • In your internet browser, go back to modwat.ch and you can find your upload under the Latest Modlists section.
  • It’s super helpful for anyone trying to help you diagnose an issue because it will show your plugin load order, your modlist, AND your ini files.

How many mods can I have?

  • There is technically no limit to how many mods you can have, BUT there is a limit to how many plugins you can have, and your computer can only handle so much of everything else (textures, meshes, etc). Also, keep in mind that only one of, well anything, can “win” over everything else. If you have five different textures for bees, only one will actually show up in the game, so…why have the other four?
  • For Skyrim LE, you can have no more than 255 plugins of any kind active. If you try to run the game (or any executable like LOOT) with more than that enabled, it will disable some of them automatically.
  • For Skyrim SE, you can have no more than 254 ESP/ESM plugins active, but you can have 2048 ESL/ESPFE plugins. All ESL/ESPFE plugins load into that final 255th
  • Also keep in mind that there is a reference limit. Read this post to learn more about the reference limit and use this script in xEdit to see what your reference number is.

What are the differences between plugin types? (this is a VERY basic list of differences)

  • ESL – Elder Scrolls Light Master
    • Loads – with the masters at the top of the plugin load order
    • Slot – doesn’t take up a plugin “slot”
  • ESM – Elder Scrolls Master
    • Loads – at the top of the plugin load order after base game/DLC
    • Slot – takes up a plugin “slot”
  • ESP – Elder Scrolls Plugin
    • Loads – can be moved to pretty much anywhere under the ESMs/ESLs
    • Slot – takes up a plugin “slot”
  • ESPFE – Elder Scrolls Plugin Flagged as a Light Master
    • Loads – can be moved to pretty much anywhere under the ESMs/ESLs
    • Slot – doesn’t take up a plugin “slot”

How do I post to Reddit?

  • Do:
    • Have you read the available resources first? This includes the basic resources on the Skyrim Mods subreddit, the mod description page, and if you are following a guide, EVERYTHING provided by the author.
    • Have you done a basic Google search? You are most likely not the first person in the decade since Skyrim came out to have this issue. Why not see what other people have found and maybe used to fix your issue?
    • OK, if you still can’t figure it out, then you can create a Reddit post:
      • Add your Modwatch link (see above)
      • Add which mod manager you use (if you use NMM, I will be SHOCKED if you get any replies other than “switch to a different mod manager” and I will try not to say “I told you so”.)
      • Add the appropriate flair (LE, SE, etc)
      • Add as much information as you can, because if you don’t, the first, and maybe only responses will be asking for these things
    • Be polite and respectful; it is not anyone’s responsibility to help you. If you do get a response that is less-than-nice, ignore it and don’t feed the animosity. If you haven’t done the above steps, it is unlikely you will get much help.
  • Do Not:
    • Don’t post “I crash every time I try to start the game!!!”…with no other details
    • Don’t ignore the rules:
      • Be Respectful
      • No Piracy
      • Tag NSFW content
      • No Memes
      • No Screenshots or gameplay stories
      • Do Your Research
      • Necessary Information
    • Don’t post “This mod author sucks because….” – you don’t know how much effort goes into creating a mod, and even if you do, how does this help anyone? More often than not, bugs and issues are because a mod conflicts with another, not because of an issue with one particular mod. If you made a cake with chocolate chips and paprika, it’s not going to be disgusting because one or both of those ingredients is gross, but because they have conflicting flavor profiles.
    • Don’t expect others to do your work for you, BUT if you are at your wit’s end trying to solve a problem, the worst thing that can happen if you ask for help is someone can be a little patronizing or no one can respond at all. The best thing that can happen? Someone actually helps.

When posting to a Discord server, make sure you have followed these steps first (especially in regards to Wabbajack installs, but really these are good guidelines to follow at all times):

  • Look at the Pinned messages because your question might be answered there.
  • Make sure you have read through the entire readme, FAQ, any other resources provided, and I suggest looking at the bug report on the github as well, because often your question will be answered there.
  • Look through the more recent posts, and/or use the search function, because often your question can be answered there.
  • Make sure you follow the Discord Server rules! (These are specific per server, and there are some very grumpy people that don't respond nicely if you break them, mostly because they are broken constantly.)
  • Remember! There is no Lydia on Discord; no one there has sworn to carry your burdens, so be polite and show your gratitude for all the hard work that has gone into modlists/mod creation/etc.