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Old 09-22-2012, 06:48 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2012
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A Detailed List of the Best, Most "Essential" Mods for Skyrim

I made a Reddit post a week ago, about some my person list of the most "essential" mods for Skyrim, ranging across all categories from UI to Graphics to player homes.

I'm also in the process of making a new "revised" list, which should be done by next week. It took me around 3-4 hours to compile this list, as I put in neat hyperlinks for the mod names, brief descriptions, and video links (usually by Gopher, Brodual, or me) of the mods.


Here is a rough copy-pasta job done of the notepad document I used for the post to Reddit, though its best viewed by going to Reddit of course =)

Start of the long copy-pasta:

My list of mostly essential Skyrim mods for the best possible Skyrim experience.
Also, check out [this YouTube channel for Skyrim mod videos](http://www.youtube.com/insane0hflex) to stay updated on the latest and greatest Skyrim mods.

For most of these mods - get the [Nexus Mod Manager - NMM](http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/modmanager/), and use that to install them. Easy program to download, install and remove mods with a click of a button.

Then, get [Better Oblivion Sorting Software (BOSS)](http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/6) - to keep your mods properly "load-ordered" and so that they play nicely with each other. Activate and install your mods with NMM, then run BOSS to sort the mods, then play! Very easy and user friendly.

**User Interface mods (at the very least get these 3 mods, even before you play Skyrim for the first time)**

* [Categorized Favorites Menu](http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/4862) - makes the favorites menu a ton better for KB+M. Instead of a list you now get a - larger screen-sized list with categories for the favorites

* [iHuD](http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/3222) - Removes the HUD when you don't need it (ie out of combat), and displays it when you do need it(combat) [Video by Gopher](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iffV57Z3nLc)

* [SkyUI](http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/3863) - If I had to download one mod, this would be it. An amazing overhaul of the Skyrim inventory and magic menu (not crafting!). Do yourself a big favor and download this now.



* [All in One Face](http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/17704) - install this after [Xenuis Character Enhancement](http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/2356) - Both are texture mods that adds a lot of detail to male and female faces.

* [Booze Bottles HD](http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/19922) - Replaces the textures of alcholic beverages with a unique and great looking label. [Video](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1KQDwhcsujI)

* [Crimson Tide](http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/12798) - A mod that that overhauls blood within the game, better texture, on-hit blood spray effects, pools blood on the ground, and more. Great mod, definitely pick this one up.

* ENB - top 3 picks - [Enhanced Motion Picture ENB](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMvXw...ure=plpp_video) , [Countervibe ENB](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ig-Cy...ure=plpp_video), or [Enhanced Vanilla ENB](http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/17326) - the latest ENB mods only tank performance about 3-7 FPS if you keep SSAO off, so now its relatively performance friendly and not the infamous "FPS Killer".

* [Radiant and Unique Potions and Poisons HD](http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/18799) - adds custom labels to all potions and poisons in Skyrim. I highly recommend to download it. [Video](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SpTyC3DvGWM)

* [Skyrim 2K HD](http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/607) or [Skyrim Realistic Overhaul](http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/5400) or [BOTH! - Texture Pack Combiner](http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/20801/) - My favorite 2 "HD Texture Overhauls" of Skyrim. Both are good on their own, but you can combine them both for the best experience possible.

* [Vurt's Floral Overhaul](http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/141) , [Lush Trees](http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/3385) , and [Lush Grass](http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/3288) makes the plants of Skyrim photo-gorgeous and really pretty.

* [W.A.T.E.R.](http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/13268) - overhauls the waters in Skyrim - fixing flow, better textures, etc. Also adds cool touches like reeds.



* [Birds and Flocks](http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/11555) - Adds many birds across Skyrim that add to the ambience and immersion.

* [Footprints](http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/22745) - Now when you walk in snow, you leave a footprint behind! [Video](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MnUl...ure=plpp_video)

* [Get Snowy](http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/19660) - When its snowing, snow now shows on your armor/skin and other NPCs around you too! [Video](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tkBnL...ure=plpp_video)

* [No Spinning Death Animation](http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/17214) - removes the wierd spinning death animation that happens when you or NPCs die, and replaces it with a realistic ragdoll. Must have mod.

* [Player Headtracking](http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/23600/) - Your character turns his/her head to regard other NPCs when they are talking, passing by. Great immersion booster when in 3rd person. [Video demonstration](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZww2DTlfpA)

* [Run for Your Lives](http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/23906) makes NPCs in cities and villages run inside their home when the city is attacked by a dragon. Cool immersion mod, although they walk instead of run, to their house for safety. [Video](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJXmWsCKrz0)

* Also, consider [Open cities](http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/8058) - although I haven't used it for a while. Basically, it removes the "doors" before you enter a city like Whiterun, so you can seamlessly transition from the outside world to the city without a loading screen. (Arthmoor, the author of this mod, is a great modder btw)



* [Apocalypse Spell Package](http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/16225) - My favorite magic mod. Adds over 160+ fair and balanced spells across each school of magic. A must have for mages and spellswords. Well, heck, any class. [Video -old](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsRSo...ure=plpp_video)

* [Deadly Combat](http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/5485) - Makes melee combat more challenging and rewarding, imo.

* [Deadly Dragon Spells](http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/16481) and [Deadly Dragon Armory](http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/16474) - [Video explaining/showing both mods](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-LRp0eyMv4)

* [Deadly Dragons](http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/3829) - adds several new dragon types, makes dragons deadlier. Worth checking out.

* [Smash Locks and Lock Doors](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAZHJoiAP30) - Now you can break locks with your melee weapon. Great for brutes or those tired of the lock picking minigame. [Video](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAZHJ...ure=plpp_video)

* [Sneak Tools](http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/19447) - Knock someone out, slit their throat from behind, use masks to clear your bounty, etc. [Video by Brodual](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sf3BINEv0Ds)


**Best Armor and Weapon Mods**

* [Bandolier](http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/16438) - Increase your carrywieght capacity by crafting bandoliers, bags and pouches. Great for hoarders.

* [Cloaks of Skyrim](http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/12092) - Adds many different types of cloaks to many NPCs and the crafting menu. Fantastic mod.

* [Chronicles of Steel - Realswords](http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/12506) - Implements over 70 new and realistic swords into the leveled list of Skyrim, cannot forge these weapons so the only way to find them is by killing bandits =)

* [JaySuS Swords](http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/1002) - Many great looking swords are available to craft, although you can add them to the leveled list with an optional download.

* [Immersive Armors](http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/19733) - Tons of great lore friendly armor items are added by this excellent mod, by hothtrooper44 who is very well known for his great armor mods. [Video](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4OV5MYTdau8)


**House mods**

* [Grey Ledge Manor](http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/18112) - Great medium-sized player home located in the worldspace so no loading doors or interior cells to load. Simply walk right into your house! Also includes a blacksmith merchant and all the player home essentials. [Video](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7y8s...ure=plpp_video)

* [Stag's Rest](http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/23847) - Another great medium-sized player home with all crafting utilities, 9 shrines, all the guardian stones, named storage areas. [Video](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_l8WGCsY9EM)

* [Windmill Shelter](http://www.skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/17742) - Small compact home with everything you need. No clutter and placed in a great location in the Rift. [Video](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pR3Ul5ugBZ4)


**Miscellaneous Cool Mods**

* [Amethyst Dreamworld Hollows](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjJ8i...ure=plpp_video) - Cool player mansion that has several unique features like a quest, NPCs, changable scenery, on/off lights, a mark-and-recall spell, an archery range, and more.

* [Atvir Dres](http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/19348) - Night Elf male follower with full-voice dialogue (well done too), excellent follower mod.

* [CLARALUX](http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/17605) - Adds light sources via torches, lanterns, fires, etc to the roads, towns, and cities of Skyrim. Highly, highly recommended.

* [Lost Art of the Blacksmith](http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/1020) - Adds many missing items that should be craftable, to the forge.

* [Lost Magic](http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/22753) - Another neat little spell mod. [Video](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMOmA...ure=plpp_video)

* [Skyrim Monster Mod](http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/9694) - adds tons of new monsters to the game. Lore friendly patches available.[Video by Brodual](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjOIlAuUwY0)

* [UFO](http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/14037) - Have more than 1 follower and a bunch of new options. [Video by Gopher](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aC1Z2A0Lws8)

* [Wearable Lanterns](http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/17416) - add an attachable lantern to your belt, so you don't have to carry a torch when exploring dark areas, perfect for combat in the dark.

* [Warzones: Civil Unrest](http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/mods/9494) - adds a ton of warring NPCs in many locations across Skyrim, so now you can see battles between factions like the Imperials and Stormcloaks and participate in them!


Thanks for reading! I'll try to help anyone that has questions - either leave a comment or PM me. This list will also be updated from time to time, but this should keep you busy for a while =)

Also, feel free to suggest mods that you really like that you feel should be included in this list.

Note: I don't personally use the workshop often - hence the lack of SteamWorkshop mods/links. I fully support the Nexus network, ever since my early days of modding Morrowind back in the day =)

TL;DR: [Skyrim Nexus - go here to download mods](http://skyrim.nexusmods.com/), watch Skyrim mod videos to learn about the best mods [here - insane0hflex](http://www.youtube.com/insane0hflex), [here - Brodual](http://www.youtube.com/Brodual), and [here - GophersVids](http://www.youtube.com/GophersVids).
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Old 09-24-2012, 12:58 AM   #2
Join Date: Dec 2011
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Thumbs up

Nice list, appreciated.
Gh0stDog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-24-2012, 01:44 AM   #3
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Very good list. Sneak Tools sounds interesting.
imm0dium is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-2013, 02:57 PM   #4
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You left out "Castle Volkihar Redux" for Dawnguard!

For the best evil Dawnguard vampire home mod, checkout "castle volkihar redux" on steam and nexus.

The vampire castle has been upgraded into an entire town with three new towers, a dozen followers, guards, special spells, unique crafting, teleporting, way more than I can list here.

On Steam:
on Nexus:
scubasteve88 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-23-2013, 04:18 PM   #5
Join Date: Jul 2012
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Every time I see this topic pop up the same question runs through my head: How the hell are you defining "essential"?

I have none of these mods, yet I am still able to play the game. Obviously they are not "essential" as my dictionary defines them. I don't even see any bugfix mods on the list.
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Old 04-24-2013, 02:23 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Brandybuck View Post
Every time I see this topic pop up the same question runs through my head: How the hell are you defining "essential"?
you have a point, i was thinking the same. Probably the author couldn't find a better word to describe it.
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Old 04-24-2013, 09:55 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Brandybuck View Post
Every time I see this topic pop up the same question runs through my head: How the hell are you defining "essential"?

I have none of these mods, yet I am still able to play the game. Obviously they are not "essential" as my dictionary defines them. I don't even see any bugfix mods on the list.
I read "essential" here as "best must play mods in my opinion." I know it in this meaning from many current internet texts and conversations. You are correct in a strict sense, of course, but how else can you take this for real. I appreciate these lists now that game development is officially over and will certainly be looking at them for personal experimentation. They save me time looking through the huge list of mods.
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