Tuesday, July 10, 2018

My Current Skyrim VR Mod List not including Homes

(Home mods are listed here)

Mods are what makes skyrim an endless wonder of replay-ability keeping this creaky 8 year old  growing and vibrant.  Amazingly, a community of devoted Skyrim enthusiasts are still adding to the world's largest library of game mods which change Skyrim in diverse and unimaginable ways. One of the true joys of playing skyrim is reshaping the game world to fit one's peculiarities and I've probably spent more time modding than actual game play. But with 18,000+ mods, it takes time investment to separate out what will really enhance your gameplay.  My preferred mods listed here are family friendly i.e. no MXR/LL kinky stuff, this is not to say there is anything wrong with that per say but I am striving for a naturally immersive 4k realm.

Being Attacked Boarding the Dev Aveza (Legacy of the Dragonborn)

For gamers who are just starting out, I would recommend adding just 2-3 mods for each play so they can get a feel for what the mod actually does.  From a practical point of view, you want to debug and isolate incompatibilities and performance issues with small sets of changes. (True story: When I first started as a clueless noob, I mass installed about 40 mods that I got off lists from the internet. Weirdly the bandit women kept showing up naked like mannequins without nipples whenever I would loot their armor. I didn't know if this was the original game or a mod but it was definitely a creepy immersion killer. I didn't know if I should install a lady skin mod like UNP to restore biologic correctness but I ended up slapping on the "Skyrim Modesty Mod" to allow the dead some dignity. It made more immersive sense that Tamriel's females- outlaw or not- would wear some form of underclothing in the chilly Nord climate. It turned out WICO was at fault and I had somehow missed the never nude selection.)

Even if you have a powerful machine, you will break your game many times over by continually adding mods as you are building layers of instability on the original sand dunes that is the Bethesda Creation Engine. If you have just a middling machine- well then you will be spending a lot of time teetering off the edge and rolling back. Before my 1080ti/i9-9900K upgrade, my 1070/i7-6820HK Alienware would routinely crash and burn and debugging and pruning my mod list was just the cost of running mods.

But more importantly restraint is recommended for the following, think of mods like Christmas presents- don't open them all at once! Despite appearances, there is not an infinite supply of quality mods and it will be quite a long time til TES VI.

I use about 200+ mods currently on a GTX 1080ti at 200% SS running at mostly 90 FPS. I try to point out the fps hogs when I can.  The mods listed here are everyday mods exluding homes(separate list) or DLC sized ones like Project AHO& Falskaar.   Anything I consider essential, I've marked with a rating of plusses with +++ being the most critical for me.

Essential Core

Utility/VR Mods

  • Dragonborn Speaks Naturally(+++)- voice command is so much more immersive than scrolling through menus. I love the flexibility of pairing  custom console commands. I should do a separate post on this but I started using this during the Dawnguard DLC. It is however a bit humiliating when your husband is tittering when he hears "Transform me into a vampire lord"...
  • Haptic Skyrim VR(+) - Haptic feedback for spellcasting, melee weapons and bow. I love the subtle vibration when pulling a bowstring
  • showracemenu alternative(+++) - nicer than having to use console command, I use it to fork my builds from time to time to make versions friends can try.
  • vrmirror - Not just for vanity, I went out onto town with just wearing my loin cloth and got sniggered at.  I
  • Quality World Map(+++) - Take the blurriness out of the atrocious Bethesda map. IcePenguin I thank you!
  • no stagger in VR


  • Legacy of the Dragonborn- A expansion mod so complex it has it's own wiki. LotD establishes a museum in Solitude and you can even start your own explorer guild. LotD is chock full of new quests and custom characters but there is a certain satisfaction in filling the halls with the loot of your adventures. The airship Dev Aveza is included.

Custom Voiced Followers

  • Inigo(+++) - who doesn't love Inigo and his sometimes serious sometimes playful furry blue face!  He's a bad ass archer, singer, poet, witty jokester with a complex tragic backstory.  I love roaming the lands with a fellow Khajiit where he efficiently takes care of business- perhaps he is too overpowered with his ebony bow. You'll be impressed in the classy way he shows Nazeem who's who in the Whiterun market.
  • Lucien- This wimpy imperial intellectual and his hyper chatty hyper catty ways really grew on me. I love the way he sings behind me while we wander Skyrim.  Lucien shines because he has so much dialog with vanilla and custom followers. He whispered to me quite seriously, "I think Inigo has fleas."  But the way he will engage in conversation with you without you prompting his menu is fantastically immersive.
  • Hoth - So much much more than a violent tank. (to be fleshed out later) However some of his obnoxious lines that are funny at first are too oft repeated. 
  • Kaidan 2 - I installed Kaidan2 as he and Lucien have custom banter with each other. I find Akiviri stuff just not as lore friendly but after I bust him out of prison from the Thalmor,  I can't seem to kick him to the curb.  


  • WICO(+++)  - Windsong Immersive Character Overhaul- the most lore friendly overhaul out of the bunch to make NPCs look acceptable to 2015 standards. I preferred this over TCO.   You will be shocked how horrible vanilla humans look after you get used to WICO. Careful in your install, you can get naked ladies if you don't choose correctly!
  • (Immersive) Amazing Follower Tweaks -Probably the first thing anybody does with AFT is to make Lydia dance. I use iAFT to keep it lore friendly paring down those party features.   Careful,  if you already have a standard follower you might want to dismiss them first. 
  • Immersive Citizens AI Overhaul - it's hard for me to tell what is RDO vs AIO but it's nice change having the denizens gasp and say "Dragonborn, it's an honor" instead of racist Khajiit putdowns.
  • Real Dialog Overhaul- RDO
  • Modesty Mod- don't let those ladies go nude or show too much skin in the cold north. I don't know why I have this in my list except that when my Mom comes and visits, I'll going to put this on.
  • My home is your home - doesn't work with Inigo but is useful to send your vanilla followers to specific homes if you have a large squad on call.
  • Improved Meeko - makes Meeko less crazy aggro and Meeko will stop attacking enemies on sight.  I have command lines for everything but it's nicer to have it in one mod. Also I had a weird bug where Meeko was stuck in the bushes and this unstuck him.

Weapons - Armor - Gore

  • Real Bows (+++)- archery is the most believable combat mechanics in VR and deserves better and more functional looking bows.  Forsworn bows with the double limb design are so beautiful, I've hung them up in almost every house I own.
  • Ars Metallica - wouldn't smith without it.
  • Immersive Armors
  • LeanWolf's Better-Shaped Weapons
  • Enhanced Blood - it's a bit too gory but I'm too lazy to make up my mind to remove it


  • Cathedral Weathers(+++)- Currently using for a colder more diverse feel. 
  • Climates of Tamriel(++) - Vivid Weathers was lovely but the snow and rain didn't feel believable and really killed your immersion.  CoT has better snow and rain but tends to be much brighter than other weather mods. After playing for a month of gloomy overcast weather, I prefer sunny glare of CoT. (I disabled the enb preset as it was chewing up too much fps. enb vr )
  • Pure Waters (Pure Waters looks much more realistic except for waterfalls. I took out RealisticWaterTwo which looked terrible at distance)
  • Ethereal Cosmos- gives night sky a more fantasy feel
  • Ethereal Clouds
  • Wet and Cold- frosty breath definitely gives immersion in cold weather. 
Adding 4K textures gives you a Diderot effect and surrounding low resolution textures will start offending your immersion senses forcing you to update everything.

  • Skyrim 2017 Textures(+++)  - Pfuscher provides a strong base.
  • Book Covers Skyrim SE(++)
    • Rustic Clothing (++) -  Not sure you would play without this. Otherwise the vanilla costumes can chafe your eyes.
    • Rustic Noble Furniture 
    • Rustic Windows
    • Rustic Daedra, Rustic Death Hound, Rustic Spriggan, Rustic Frostbite, Rustic Cooking
    • Rugnarok - I wasn't going to waste the RAM and deinstall but everytime I look down and say "Damn, that's one fine rug"...
Meeko chilling out at Mammoth Manor- a fine house for followers to not get in your way
  • Peltapalooza -same, everything gamwich makes is generally of the highest quality except this one I am slightly on the fence about. It's better than vanilla to be sure but not as immersive.
  • High Poly Project - be amazed at the bristles in your broom, cabbages gone savoy. This one chews performance like nothing else, especially rendering all the rope in Riften. If you have the raw machine power of a 2080ti, waste it on this and see what it could be if you ramped up the polygons on useless clutter. I took it off to give more headroom to other mods but it was fun to have it for a month.


  • BirdsAndFlocks (++)- Seeing flocks scatter in the sky- guaranteed immersion for the first 12 times.
  • SkyTEST - Realistic Animals and Predators - Adds puppies to Skyrim! Author really should stress this more. This mod overhauls animal behavior in a more realistic way, adds juveniles, other farm animals like pigs.


  • Skyrim Flora Overhaul
  • HQ Bark(++) - The best bark textures in VR gaming.  However combo of SFP and HQ bark messes up LODs.
  • Immersive Fallen Trees - really does feel immersive to see giant trees fallen and making a bridge- I love running around Skyrim looking for them. 
  • Realistic Aspen Trees - adds oranges and reds for a true autumnal feel
  • HD Photorealistic Ivy(++) - so real looking. I didn't think this would make a big difference in immersion but ivy is hanging more places than you think.


  • Campfire - camping in the wilds of Skyrim with your own dog has it's own unique charms. I don't go hardcore with any survival mods like Frostfall but just want to relax out in the woods.
  • Cannabis Skyrim - Since I don't toke, I didn't think I wanted a lore unfriendly gag weed mod.  However finally I ran out of mods to try and gave it a go. My god the textures on the hemp plants are of such high quality and the comic value huge!  The shop Your Highness is a top class joint with so much attention to detail.  This mod also allows you to plant weeds all over Skyrim so you can finally embark on your Johnny Appleweed project.  Dynamic plant growth makes it fun.
  • Fishing in Skyrim VR - Although the mechanics are a bit thin, it's still fun running around Skyrim to see what you can drag in with your net.   Be careful where you throw your net.  I got human remains along with empty wine bottles in the swamps of Morthal.  Also mod let's you use a Dwemer bomb in the water- useful for getting rid of slaughterfish that's preventing fast travel.  
  • Become a Bard - in VR you don't get to see animations or actually play the instrument, but it's still fun air-playing at inns or setting the soundtrack when you want some other lore friendly music. I actually got kind of nervous first time I played at the Winking Skeever but the crowd warmed up.

Cities & Roads

  • JKs Skyrim(++) - Vanilla cities are sparse- the more you play the more you will notice this lack of richness. JK's Skyrim fills out the cities without going over the top.  JKS adds pulley system to Riften to move goods between the lower and upper levels, ladder on the roofs for thieves.  (I uninstalled Dawn of Skyrim since I didn't like the non-immersive cartoony rats it added to Riften and I prefer JKS alone.)
  • Kato's Whiterun with Trees(+++) - Making the trees much taller makes such a remarkable difference to make Whiterun into a believable old city. It's night and day.
  • Kato's Falkreath(+++)-tastefully done
  • Magical College of Winterhold- b/c vanilla is not so magical...
  • Skyrim Better Roads and Bridges
  • Immersive Roads SSE
  • Beautiful Honey Signs


  • Immersive Sounds
  • Audio Overhaul
  • No Bee Sounds+++ - I made the mistake of having a greenhouse in Hearthfire DLC and the buzz was obnoxiously loud. I was able to install the Skyrim version without trouble.

Other Immersion and Miscellaneous

  • Less Dragons++ - When you sigh when you hear the shrieks from the sky and the dramatic combat music. Dragon encounters should be a rare event.  When you realize you have 50 dragon souls and not enough shouts to fill, it's time to turn that down.
  • Realistic Boat Travel - the less fast travel you do, the more immersive the game becomes

Dawnguard DLC

  • Grave Gargoyles SE
  • Vampire Lord Retextured(Demonic)- sadly you can't see your bad ass vampire lord self, only when Lord Harkon transforms. 
  • CC's Fort Dawnguard Reborn
  • Northfire's Castle Volkihar
  • CC Fort Dawnguard Reborn 4k
  • FranklyHD Dawngaurd Armor and Weapons
  • Clear Refracting Icicle and Frost Atronach
  • Serana Dialog Edit
  • (For characters, WICO)

Reverted Mods

Ones which caused too much grief with incompatibility:
  • Open Cities - it never quite worked and prevented others like JK Skyrim from working
  • EnhancedLightsandFX - early on I had so much mod conflicts that I just took it 
  • BirdsOfSkyrim - Deinstalled due to scripting issues. I liked seeing diverse birds, and the airborn birds are fantastic. But sometimes birds are floating inches off the ground or doing glitchy things killing immersion. Also left hundreds of unattached scripts that needed cleaning.
  • footprints - performance problems

I know plenty of people love and use the above mods but I just had so many issues with the rest of my mod list that I decided to go without.

Mods too GPU greedy:
  • Verdant - Altered Forest Grass -  I could see I'd want to take screenshots with these but the stutter makes VR nausea-inducing.  Maybe if I get my next gen GPU, save up that money for the RTX 2080ti.
  • ENB- I decided that I'd rather have higher SS at 200% with 4k textures rather than have ENB.
  • KS Hairdo's - I thought it was a performance killer but I had to massively prune my list when the build became unstable.

Rejected out of personal preference
  • Lanterns Of Skyrim - added too many lanterns throughout the realm making it unnaturally bright and killing immersion of the dark night
  • Total Character Makeover -TCO characters looked too video gamey and samey. WICO NPC makeovers just looked more natural and lore friendly.
  • Cathedral Plants - looked great in the flat images but in VR, did not look as natural as the other human made 4k plant textures.
  • Noble Skyrim 

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