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(updated February 08, 2010)

Arwen's MW MOds page

Page Menu: What are Mods? | Proceed with Caution! | Downloading & Extracting Archives | Loading Mods | Solving Problems

What are Mods?


*** NOTE: MODs are only for the PC version of Morrowind.

One of the really nice things about Morrowind is that it also came with a program called "The Elder Scrolls Construction Set". Since I don't know much about using this program, I can't really explain very much. What I do know is that this program is used to create, modify, and edit data in the game. And these changes and additions are added to the installed game by using MODs.

MODs can be used to add to and modify your game.

They can even add totally new playable characters, like my Arwen Wood Elf MOD.

elfarrow.jpg (20118 bytes) Hairdown3.jpg (71805 bytes)
Default Wood Elf Character Arwen Wood Elf MOD

MODs can also add buildings, weapons, landscape, dialog, game play, quests, etc.

(See my Arwen's House MOD Page for an example of a building MOD.)

MODs are why Bethesda can call Morrowind "a never-ending game experience."

Arwen Note/Update: When I was originally writing my Morrowind Journal and playing the game, there were not all the many mods available for the game. So I was using very few in my own game (plus I was using a computer that could never have handle the mods that improved the game's graphics). On my next replay of the game I plan on adding a LOT more mods . . . and when I do, I'll add all those mods to this section.


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Proceed With Caution!

MODs can also really mess up your game, so it's very important that you use some caution. If you don't know what you're doing, you might even have to reinstall Morrowind. I've tried to explain this as simply as I can, but it gets a bit complicated. So, if you don't understand all of this, please get someone to help you.


Before installing any MOD:

Always back up your saved games (just copy your Morrowind/Saves folder to another spot).

Follow the instructions that came with the MOD . . . exactly. (Some MODs are very complicated and can be very difficult to remove.)

Make sure that the MOD is compatible with your version of Morrowind. (some require that you have the Tribunal and/or Bloodmoon expansions installed.)

If you have an older, slow computer system, some MODs will likely make your game nearly unplayable.(Due to enhanced graphics, long scripts, etc., which can kill your FPS.)

Most MODs do not come with an uninstaller! So, you need to understand exactly what changes a MOD makes, so that you will be able to uninstall it. (What new files are added? And where? Does the MOD also replace files? If so, you'll need to back up the original files first.)


Page Menu: What are Mods? | Proceed with Caution! | Downloading & Extracting Archives | Loading Mods | Solving Problems

Downloading & Extracting Mod Archives

Ok, now on to the teckie stuff:

You cannot just download a MOD into your Morrowind directory.

If you do . . . the MOD just won't work.

As you'll see, it's a bit more complicated than that.

Downloading a MOD: (This is the easy part.)

Normally all you have to do is click on a MOD file name and a download window will pop up.

You'll be asked something like; "Would you like to open the file or save it to your computer?" Click on "Save".

Then a new window opens. Select a place to download it to. (I usually just pick my desktop, where's it is easy to find.)


MOD files are almost always compressed (to reduce file size and download times)

So the file extension (the part of the file name after the ".") will be something like "zip".

Compressed files are called "archives."

To use the MOD, you have to extract the files first.

This is not really difficult, but you will need to install a special extraction program on your computer.

And there are many different compression formats (the most common are zip and rar, but there are a bunch of others).

So you have to use the correct extraction program, depending on the format.

And this can be a real pain!
I had like three different extraction programs installed.
Then I finally discovered
7-Zip.
This single program can extract just about kind of compressed file
(including zip, rar, ace, 7z, and many more).
And it's Freeware (which means that it's totally free).

Extracting a MOD:

Once you have installed the correct extraction program, start the program and open the compressed MOD file that you downloaded.
Before you do anything else, open the readme file (there usually is one; or some kind of a txt or doc file) and follow the install instructions ... exactly.
And make sure that you also read and understand any warnings that might be included.

If you can't locate any installation instructions:

Extract the MOD files to a temporary folder. (Never extract them into your Morrowind folder, without instructions.) Open this temporary folder and look at the files.
Morrowind MODs contain four main file types (but not all MODs have all four).
Copy each file type to the subfolders indicated (in the "/Morrowind" main folder):

*.ESP - (the ones with the knife.jpg (1511 bytes) icon.) These get copied to the "Data Files" folder.
(this is the main plug-in file.Some simple MODs only need a single .esp file to work.)

*.NIF - These get copied to the "Data Files/Meshes" subfolder.

*.DDS - These get copied to the "Data Files/Textures" subfolder.

*.TGA - These get copied to the "Data Files/Icons" subfolder.

Arwen NOTE: Sometimes the files will extract into subfolders (like /Meshes, /Textures, /Icons).
If this happens, just copy each subfolder into "/Morrowind/Data". (If you are asked about overwriting files, make sure you have backed up the original files, in case anything goes wrong and you need to put the originals back.)

Other files:

*.BMP - If the "Read Me" file does not explain what to do with them, move them to the "Data Files/Textures" subfolder.
*.JPG - usually just screenshots of MOD (You usually don't need these, but you can copy them to the "Data Files" folder, if you want.)


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Loading a MOD

Ok, you're nearly done - I promise - so don't quit yet.

Because, even after installing the MOD correctly, there's still one final step.

You still need to load the MOD into your Morrowind game before it will work.

Don't worry . . . this part is real easy.

- First, start Morrowind (but not the game itself, just the Launcher part).
- Instead of clicking on "Play" in the Launcher (like you always do), click on "Data Files".
- This opens up the Data Files window. On the left side is a list of all ESP files in the Data Files folder of Morrowind.
- Find the MOD you just copied (the *.esp file name - it will have a blank check box), and click on it.
- Most MODs give who they were "Created by", along with a "Summary" (listed in the center windows).
- On the right you will see the list of "Parent Masters". These are the required files that the MOD needs. ("Morrowind.esm" means you need just Morrowind, "Tribunal.esm" means you also need Tribunal . . . etc.) These files MUST be installed (and selected) for the new MOD to work.
- You load the MOD by double-clicking on it, which will put an "x" in the check box.
- Then click on "OK" to close the window.
- (To unload a MOD, all you have to do is open up the Data Files window and uncheck the MOD.)
- Now you can click on "Play" start Morrowind, with your new MOD.
- Most MODs work without starting a new game, but a few require that you start a new game.
This is another reason for understanding exactly what each MOD does, before you install it.

NOTE: If the MOD doesn't work, or causes Morrowind to crash,

or to have weird effects (usually with graphics)

. . . continue on to my next section:

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Solving MOD Problems

Avoiding Problems:

Remember: not all MODs are compatible, nor are all bug free.
So use only MODs that you know something about. You can learn about MODs at The Elder Scrolls Forums, in the Morrowind MODs section. (There are also some excellent MOD download links listed in the pinned topics.)

Don't ever install beta MODs . . . wait for the completed version to be released.

Add only one MOD at a time and play Morrowind for a while, before adding another MOD. There are a ton of MODs available for Morrowind, but it's best to not add too many. (After all, the more MODs you install, the more chance that you'll have problems.)


Error Message Fix:

This is needed when you get an error message when loading Morrowind, that says that a plugin was created under a different version of Morrowind. (For example: the MOD was made for Morrowind w/o Tribunal and you have Tribunal installed.)

Note: These instructions are from The Elder Scrolls Forums,

in the Morrowind MODs section - "Using MODs" thread.

I just added the (Arwen notes:) parts.

1.) Open Construction set. (Arwen note: start the Elder Scrolls Construction Set program)
2.) File->Data Files (Arwen note: select file from menu at top - then click on Data.)
3.) Click the checkbox next to Morrowind.esm (or if you have Tribunal, click next to Tribunal.esm).
4.) Find the plugin you want to update and click on it to highlight it
5.) Click the Active file button
6.) Make sure that just the .esm and the plugin you're fixing have X's in their boxes, nothing else on the list should. (Arwen note: double click on the X's to remove them each time.)
7.) Click Ok. (Arwen note: wait for everything to load - this takes a while - wait on the timer icon.)
8.) If you get error messages at this point, click through them. (Arwen note: click on the "yes" in the warning/error window.)
9.) Once it's done loading the files, do File->Save. (Arwen note: select file from menu at top - then click on Save.)

Missing Files:

Ok, you've installed a new MOD, loaded it correctly, and started Morrowind without getting any error messages.

Then you're playing the game, and you suddenly an error message pops up that Morrowind can not find a certain file.

1.) Write down the exact wording of the error message. Make sure that you include the name of the missing file, and where this file should be located.
2.) Look in the "/Morrowind/Data" folder for the missing file. (If you find it, skip down to #4)
3.) If you can't locate the missing file: extract the files from the compressed MOD file (the one that you downloaded), into a temporary folder. Open this folder, and find the missing file.
4.) Move the file to the correct subfolder (this location was given in the error message).

Other MOD Problems:

If you're still having problems:

Search in the Elder Scrolls Forums, in the Morrowind MODs section for the MOD that you downloaded.

Contact the owner of the MOD.

Join my Forums and post a message in the "Morrowind MODs Discussion" section.

I hope that my Morrowind MOD tips were helpful.


Page Menu: What are Mods? | Proceed with Caution! | Downloading & Extracting Archives | Loading Mods | Solving Problems

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