The modding community dedicated to the Elder Scrolls series is probably the most productive and creative in the whole gaming playfield. Morrowind and Oblivion had hundreds of thousands of mods available, and some are still in production.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is no exception and while Bethesda just announced that the Creation Kit won’t see the light of day until January (which is a tad disappointing), the community is already using whatever it can to improve the game over the already amazing original. There already now nearly 3000 mods available for download, and that’s counting only the ones that I could personally find.
The purpose of this column is to help those that may be a little disoriented with the size and scope of what the Skyrim modding community offers. You’ll find here on DualShockers every Wednesday.
But, as every week, it’s time to let the mods do the talking, so without further ado, head past the cut for this week’s highlights.
Better Females by Bella
Above you can see my favorite model Lydia (if you follow my column you should be used to her my now) in a before and after comparison between her default Skyrim face and the one improved by this lovely mod by BellaGail, a veteran Oblivion modder that will surely sound familiar to many of those that loved the previous Elder Scrolls game (as a funny detail “Bella” means “Beautiful” in Italian).
While in the previous columns I showcased models that improved the look of characters while keeping somewhat close to the original style of the game, Bella’s mod is targeted to those that like the supermodel style. It’s not for everyone, but her textures are beautiful, and her colors stunning. The hand of an expert texture artist is unmistakable in this one, and if you prefer Skyrim‘s ladies to look like they found a much better make up artist, this is the best mod you can find at the moment. Even if you don’t, you can still try the “Less Make Up” optional file, that will still give you a radically beautified version of the ladies, but with a more natural look.
As usual remember that this mod will conflict with any other mod that modifies facial textures. If you have another mod that modifies both genders and want to keep it for males, install that one first and this one afterwards, overwriting when prompted. You can download it here.
Handsome male elves and humans
When you read the headline, you probably thought I would have talked about female beauty only. Well, I thought so too, as male beautification mods are still a tad scarce. Luckily MikoYork came to the rescue at the very last moment (the mod has been uploaded about a hour ago, talk about a last minute save) with this really nice mod, that will make the faces of male elves and humans definitely less rugged and arguably a lot more pleasing to the eye if that’s what fits your taste.
The effect is definitely more radical on elves than on humans, and makes the Elven races definitely more akin to the classic fantasy Elves than what the Elder Scrolls games made us used to. You can download the mod here.
Weathered Road Signs
The default road signs in Skyrim are a tad lackluster. The textures are muddled, they don’t look very realistic, and the text isn’t even that readable, turning navigating the land without the map from a fun challenge into a bit of a chore. This mod by sms2002sms fixes all the problems mentioned above, replacing the lackluster original textures with high resolution photorealistic ones and even improving readability, all in one nimble package.
It’s one of those small mods with a very pleasant effect. You can download it here.
Nowadays marriage is more and more fragile, and from now on the same goes in Skyrim. This little mod by Timber131 will make the day of a lot of unhappy husbands and wives. It’s a little different from other mods, as it will actually require you to use the console. You can download it here and use the Nexus Mod Manager to install it, then go in game, bring up the console ( “~” key, or “\” if you’re using an European keyboard), click on your nagging spouse, then type “bat divorce” (without the quotation marks) in the console, confirm with Enter, close the console, and you’ll set her/him free.
In 24 in-game hours you’ll be able to marry another NPC. Profit!
AEterna Circlets Improvement
Since we’re talking about beauty, it’s time to pay tribute to your inner princess. This mod by aeterna826 does that and more, vastly improving all the circlets in the game, replacing the textures with high resolution ones and adding a beautiful engraving that makes them look a lot more like jewelry and a lot less like roughly shaped piece of metal.
Improved Candles w different colors
Candles in Skyrim look like plastic, there’s no nice way to go around it, and since Skyrim isn’t exactly set in a time and place where plastic is commonplace, it’s only natural tho see a mod that gives candles a more natural and realistic look. That’s exactly what this mod by Volek does, and it doesn’t stop there: it comes in six colors (my favorite is the natural yellow) and, if you want, it also lets you remove the molten wax from the enchanting table.
You can find it here.
This mod by WheresMyPocket could be considered a cheat by many, but if you’re sick of having to travel all over Skyrim to find a merchant with enough money to buy what you have to sell, you may want to check it out. It simply gives 10,000 gold to almost all the merchants in the game (or 2,000 if you use the lesser version), so that they’ll pretty much always have enough gold on hand to empty your inventory. You will have to wait for maximum two days for the mod to take effect, as merchants will need to restock.
You can download it here.
Skyrim HD – 2K Textures
While Skyrim looks great, especially when you see its landscapes and objects from a distance, when you look at them from up close you may notice that Bethesda went a little too far with compression, with textures that look a tad muddled and show evident artifacts. This mod by NebuLa replaces many of the textures of the game with high resolution ones, showing a lovely level of detail and definition.
Skyrim HD – 2K Textures is one of those mods that have been around for a while, but has reached a great level of maturity recently. It’s still very much a work in progress, as replacing all the textures of the game will take NeBuLa a whole lot of time and effort, but 1.1 version is already a joy for the eyes in the covered areas, and what we have seen of the upcoming 1.2 looks even more promising (especially due to the addition of mipmaps, that will improve performance).
You can download it here, and remember to use the 4GB Skyrim together with it, in order to let the game use more than 2 GB of your RAM. It’s pretty much indispensable when you use high resolution textures like the ones included in this mod. Bethesda just announced that they will implement it by default next week (about time!), but for now we still have to stick with the mod.
Immersive Skyrim Thunder V4
This mod by Wordee replaces basically all the sounds of rain and thunder (including some powers) with better ones. It’s pretty straightforward, but, since it does rain a lot in skyrim, it also makes for a rather big improvement to certain situations of the game. I definitely suggest trying it. You can download it here.
I normally don’t include armor mods in my column, mostly because without the creation kit it’s impossible to add new items, so the current armor mods actually replace existing armor pieces in the game. Despite that, this one by Daejones stands out because it’s really well made (even if a bit on the skympy side, hopefully the ladies on the site won’t hate me for this) and because it replaces the female version of the Wolf Armor, that’s not used by any female NPCs, making the replacement less of a problem.
The modeling and texturing work is really great, so I can’t wait to see what Daejones will be able to do when the construction kit will be released. You can find the mod here.
Yes, it’s not practical as a defensive implement. I’m aware. Yes, there are no “clerics” in the Elder Scrolls setting. Who cares, really?
Dragon Glyphs HD
The Dragon Glyphs are a topical element of Skyrim, and you’ll see them a whole lot during the game. They are also rather blurry due to the low definition of the textures. This mod by Valstein0 gives you an alternate, more defined version of the Glyphs in several variants. You can choose between Dragon language and latin letters (not to my taste, but to each his own), and between a chiseled and a smooth version for each.
Personally, the chiseled dragon tongue (pictured above) version is my favorite. You can download it here.
And that’s it for this episode 3. I hope you found something useful to improve your game. As usual remember that full and exclusive credit for the mods listed above goes to their talented authors. Do come back next week for more mods at the Skyrim Mod Forge.
Read More Episodes of The Skyrim Mod Forge: Episode Zero – Baby Steps, Episode 1 – Large Address, Steady Growth and Lips, Episode 2 – Mod Managing, Beauty and Dragons, Episode 4 – Even More Beauty, Fashion and a Better HUD, Episode 5 – Hair, Flora and Weapons from Morrowind, Episode 6 – Handsome Men, More Hair and Armor From The Witcher 2, Episode 7 – Swords, Ice, Spells, Fashion and Realistic Light, Episode 8 – Cats, Shouts, Hideouts and Swords from LOTR, Episode 9 – Armor, Soul Gems and More Swords from LOTR, Episode 10 – Rainbow Colors, Weapons, Armor and Witcher Gear, Episode 11 – Companions, Pretty Faces and More from The Witcher 2, Episode 12 – Houses, Lovely Hairstyles and Riding Like a Boss, Episode 13 – Lovely Hair, Armor from The Witcher 2 and Hundreds of Books.