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*Admins - move this to the Mods forum if you think it will be better served there.  


I've decided to move on from Oldrim and embrace the new Skyrim Special Edition.  When I first started playing, I was going to run through the vanilla version just to get back into the game.  I thought "Why am I just accepting what I've already played for 1800 hours plus when I can improve my game by the wonderful mods that are out there?"

Well, I jumped into many rabbit holes and now I'm looking to the community for advice.  I've built my list, checked it twice, and found which mods are naughty and nice.

However, I want to understand some concepts that escape me.  

  1.   Why use SMIM when your just going to ovewrite it with another texture mod?  - Some mods have compatibility patches.  I never understood why you would use like three different texture mods:  I first stated with SMIM, then ELFX (but that was for environment, weather, and lighting), then Noble Skyrim which also included land, and finally Skyland which I find more pleasing to my view of a landscape.   I decided to eliminate Noble Skryim and just use ELFX with Skyland.  Keeps it simple
  2.  The Body Fetish - O to the MG!  If we don't get enough naked bodies on TV, we have to add them to Skyrim.  I'm not preaching, just saying no thanks.  However.  Bijin's AIO is probably the best I've seen among the character look overhaul.  Karlialh - on fire!  However, I found using Total Character Makeover, Divirsity and Bijins AIO a bit over kill. I could hardly see the scars on my Bosmer's face!  Plus I like that deep dark tone that shows some wear and tear on my character.  Sorry Bijin, but characters were meant to have some character - even in the face.
  3. Combat - A really tough choice with good options but bad implementation.   Advance Adversary Encounters is just overkill - sorry txt2001 - I appreciate the challenge, but trying to deal with those type of encounters from an early level is not what I'm looking for.  Combat Evolved had what I was looking for, but as I explored more options I found a better approach.  Combat Evolved still gets my vote over AAE.   Smilodon - the successor to Wildcat.  I tried penalty and injury mods (Vigor was my first).  While it did make combat more difficult, I found it a bit tedious because of the stamina hit that made my gameplay somewhat useless.  Over 2000 hours of holding a bow drawn now costs me my Stamina - that's something I would have to get use to.  Still I recommend this as an alternative to CE if you are wanting to have realistic combat over powerful enemies.   High Level Enemies - I like the concept of this mod as it combines the best of deleveled, scaled, and leveled enemies with increase combat skills.  I would consider using this over Skyrim Unleveled, but I like the concept of SU.  I recommend HLE over Combat Evolved and AAE.  You can use Smilodon, but I would recommend using one or the other - especially when you add immersion modes like Campfire, Frostfall, and Realistic Needs and Diseases.
  4. Skyrim Unleveled - a great pain in the ass mod, especially when you use his damage multiplier.  You will NOT survive a multi-enemie encounter at first level unless you cheat.  I don't recommend the multiplier - the combat is solid enough without it  Plus using Skyrim Alchemy Fixed introduces a challenge when healing in combat.  So, I'll just give a few words here about Skyrim Unleveled.   Bleak Falls Barrow will no longer be the Nordic Ruin to level up in.  You will have to find training elsewhere and I recommend you learn to chop wood - a lot of wood.  You can cheat and give yourself gold to purchase training - I will not.  I've added Ashara's merchant mod to provide merchants that sell skill books and are master trainers.  Along with Amazing Follower Tweaks and Housecarl's as Tanks, I should be able to roleplay my Assassin character without issue.  Also, SU provides the appropriate weapon usage and armor protection.  No longer can you hack and slash with a sword at a tanked player - you will just irritate him.   SU introduces crossbows into the game.  While they penentrate armor, they don't do a lot of damage.  However, against a light armored enemy, the bolts are quicker and you can move and shoot a lot easier than with a bow.  It adds yet another element in the game to further enhance a deleveled experience.   RECAP - don't use the damage multiplier; it is not necessary.  Make sure you have a tanked warrior and a mage in your follower group using AFT.   Be patient.  Think.  Move.  Don't be a hero, but be bold and brave.
  5. Amazing Follower Tweaks - Finally, more than one follower and I can make em dance!   This mod is useful in many ways but even more so when you add Frostfall (Campfire) as they can make camp if you need them to.  It is best to be in an open area as they will make camp right in the middle of the road!  Sneak mode is great because you can put your followers to invisible and muffled so you can sneak but have them with you if you fail.   
  6. Sneak Tools - so many times my sneak never works when using vanilla come from behind attacks.  With Sneak Tools you have the option of selecting what you want to do with success being determined on the difference in level, skill, and combat ability of the enemy.  So it is measured in real time base on multiple factors not just sneak skill and perk.  


There are a lot more but I'll just start here.  Please list your mods that you use - spare me the the body ones because I just don't care.  I'll post my mods uses and my load order for advice.




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If you think it would better to move this thread then use the report button and using that button by requesting to move your thread is a valid reason.

26 minutes ago, Strategy said:

Amazing Follower Tweaks - Finally, more than one follower and I can make em dance!   This mod is useful in many ways but even more so when you add Frostfall (Campfire) as they can make camp if you need them to.  It is best to be in an open area as they will make camp right in the middle of the road!  Sneak mode is great because you can put your followers to invisible and muffled so you can sneak but have them with you if you fail.

I've been using AFT since the day I downloaded it on Nexus in 2012 I think and I'm quite satisfied with AFT.

However, the make camp feature in AFT is one of the few features I no longer use in-game due for taking too much space when using the make camp feature (plus it breaks immersion IMO) and I bet you cannot find one single spot on the entire Solstheim that's large enough plus that spot must also be somewhat flat.  It is impossible I can tell you that, so that's why I don't use the make camp feature in AFT anymore.

Another reason for not using that feature is that the player cannot sit down while a follower can, which is why I can't play Skyrim without using Campfires (Frostfall requires Campfires) and Campfires allows both the player and a follower(s) to sit down.


If you wonder where AFT needs to be in a loadorder then let LOOT handle it or manually move AFT down and place it just before LAL (XB1) and the bashed patch (PC).

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However, I want to understand some concepts that escape me.  

  1.   Why use SMIM when your just going to ovewrite it with another texture mod?

1. The thing is, SMIM is mostly about fixing many mesh issues, aswell as making them look better. Some textures in the mod have been custom made to enhance the look of the work on the meshes, and where necessary have been made for technical purposes (for example a mesh may have needed an adjustment to UV mapping, so necessitated a better texture for the job)

You dont have to overwrite it with other textures, that is entirely your prerogative .. Personally I dont have any textures which overwrite SMIMs

2. Body mods - I dont understand how 'concepts that escape me' applies here, you are not asking any questions in your second paragraph, but just stating opinion of one mod over others - If you are asking why use them at all its all down to personal preference again, most people are probably young gamers and very excitable in the hormones, or they want better looking screen archery to show off (their machines capabilities?, their ability to mod the game?, something else?) - I have a weird reason probably not common, for immersion I dont think people in this barbaric world would even bother with underwear, so prefer a nude body mod which does not try to make the textures look like freshly bathed catwalk models, and no skimpy armours, just vanilla stuff converted appropriately, the occasional slight neck seam in certain lighting conditions also bugs the crap out of me :), bethesda likes making frankenstein monsters (although this has got a lot better since Morrowind days, when NPCs were more like Thunderbirds puppets).

3. Again personal preference, but the little tweaks to the game that Smilodon does fits the bill perfectly for me, I have also used Combat Evolved, and actually sometimes I think I will go back to it, its a close call between the two which I prefer, and especially when you add to Combat Evolved his other mod Animal tweaks (which is made to complement CE), I miss large mud crabs being awesome and hounding me down until I eventually finish it off, it becomes a creature deserving respect.

Combat Evolved plus Animal Tweaks also reminds me of a mod which was made for Oblivion which I loved, called Tamriel Immersion Experience (T.I.E), this mod made a lot of changes to the vanilla game without using any non-vanilla resources, and the gameplay was nicely enhanced.

T.I.E also delevelled a lot of the games enemies, so just wading in to a battle would be foolish especially early game. Sneaking, skirting around, and running away were quite often a better choice early game, while you go practice your fighting / archery skills on smaller creatures (go shoot a rabbit for lunch, or take on a grumpy mudcrab and build your skills before getting more ambitious)

Which leads on to your point 4 discussing Delevelling mods ?. Is this point also 'about a concept which escapes you' aswell or are you making a suggestion - If its the latter I can understand that, such mods make the game scary brutal and so you have to adapt with better strategies, instead of just nice for the average gamer who wants a win stick and finish the plot in a day. Next.

Gathering ingredients to make poisons and tip your arrows/knife to gain the advantage versus a stronger adversary are the kind of gameplay strategies I like.

5. I prefer a Companion (rather than just generic followers with a few more options to command them), which has been crafted to make them more realistic. Emma's Witchgirl for Morrowind was groundbreaking in its day, Emma was helped by someone known as Grumpy (R.I.P) who did a lot of the AI scripting, while Emma put the rest of the mod and voice acting together. Since then Emma has created Vilja for Oblivion and Skyrim LE, with the assistance of CDCooleys AI scripting, and also for Skyrim SE with the assistance of Amgepo. Vilja has been a long term favourite. Since then CDCooley has moved on to helping SmartBlueCat do the AI scripting for Inigo, my current favourite companion, so much attention to detail has gone into this mod I dont think we will ever see the likes of such a mod again, its authors are very gifted in many departments. So looking forward to version 3.

6. Sneak tools is something I have occasionally considered adding .. but never seem to get round to (which is odd given my preferred style of play is stealthy and usually involves a role play of the Thieves Guild or the Dark Brotherhood .. or both with a bit of a twisted background story)


Other mods I use :

USSEP is essential

Better Dialogue Controls, and Better Message Box Controls by Fabrice fix some minor game issues quite nicely

Run For Your Lives, When Vampires Attack and Ars Metallica by Arthmoor sort out some immersion enhancing to the game

Relighting Skyrim is a comprehensive adjustment to light sources throughout the game which is well done

and (shameless plug alert) ..

Kill the Orchestra gets rid of the invisible band following you everywhere ;)

And just for the better immersive visuals, Simply Bigger Trees SE plus DynDOLOD SE (beta at the moment) to work its magic on the land.


Edit : I am now studying High Level Enemies :), thank you for mentioning that, I had not heard of it before.

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I second what @alt3rn1ty said about CDCooley's genius-level work. He's also released some mods of his own that are absolutely fantastic. If I see his name on something I know it is quality.

I also wanted to add, if you're not using anything specific to AFT you may want to look at Extensible Follower Framework in its stead.

I love AFT but it is very finicky about other mods touching the recruit follower quest/dialog stuff and will not work properly if that happens, leading to you spend 10 minutes in SSEEdit trying to figure out what clobbered what.

EFF isn't intended to be as comprehensive as AFT, but if you're not using all of AFT's functionality it is a very viable and expertly-done alternative.



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Thanks alt3rn1ty.  (Again, another concept escapes me...why can't people spell correctly....O to the MG!)*.  Thanks Initiate!  I'll look at Extensible Follower Framework.

I plan on using Indigo.  However, with Skryim Unleveled, I'll need at least a tank player plus a mage just to finish Bleak Falls Barrow.   It's a tough mod for sure.  However, if you believe in Combat Evolved and Animal Tweaks (I'm currently using SkyTEST for the creatures and animals) I'll make a build around those two mods.

CDCooly - okay, i will review his mods.   I agree about AFT - it replaces MLU outright which I don't like when another mod has to dominate the game like that.  It is an in-depth mod for certain.   I'll be posting more of my mods as I'm starting to get SSE to not start at certain points (advice welcomed).



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