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(updated September 09, 2013)

Arwen's Mod List
part Four

The mods in this section can help make Skyrim feel more realistic, which can greatly enhance your role-playing experience.

Many of these mods will also make your game MUCH more challenging, so install these mods with caution.

I have divided the Realism mods into separate sections devoted to Combat, Overhauls, Economics, and Survival mods.

The last section contains Misc. realism mods, along with links to other mods in my list that also make the game more realistic.

Page Menu: | Combat | Overhauls | Economics | Survival | Misc. Realism
More Realistic Combat

The mods in this section completely overhaul combat in the game, making it much more realistic - and much more difficult to master.

Duke Patricks - Archery And Heavy Weapons Combat v.10.3 [requires SKSE] (10/25/12) - by Duke Patrick:

"This mod and all it's features is a port of my Oblivion mod. It is intended to be a combat simulator (as much as I can mod Skyrim to be anyway) based on my 30 years of medieval western heavy weapons (SCA tournament) fighting. I was King twice and hold the rank of Duke and Knight in the SCA.

But this is also a work in progress! There are still many features needed to give all play styles more ways to fight. But some features will not be possible until SKSE allows it.

And the PACE of the combat will possibly be slower than you are use to in games. But it will also be brutal and you will actually feel the weight in your attacks and blocks!"

Version 10.0 Changes:
Overhauled the Skyrim 6 combat perk trees: Marksman, 1H Weapons, 2H Weapons, Light Armor, Heavy Armor, Block
- JustinOther (a modder that specializes in Skyrim's script lag) has edited a few of my key scripts to help speed them up a little. Do not expect miracles as I will not let him "go crazy" on my scripts because in the end I still need to understand what is happening in my own scripts and some of the features that my mod accomplishes cannot be done natively. However what he has done already has improved the script lag noticeably!

Arwen Notes: This mod results in the most realistic melee combat of any mod I have tried, but it is perhaps a bit more realistic than what all but the most hardcore users may want. You also have to change the way you fight, or combat will be very frustrating.

Important: Make sure that you follow the instructions in "Duke Patricks Combat - Installation Read Me 3of3.doc." You have to do a bit more than just install this mod with the NMM. (There are also notes on editing the "aadpCombat" text file.)

This mod is now working much better for me. I did however have to make some adjustments to be able to use this with my current character, since the Character Creation Overhaul mod reduced some of my character's stats to the point that Duke's mod was initially unplayable for me:

1.) My Stamina was only 60, so I kept running out my Stamina after just 1 or 2 Melee hits (or even a block or two), and then I got creamed.
2.) My little Wood Elf was getting killed with blows that sent her flying across the room, in a way that was not very realistic.
3.) She wasn't strong enough to even pull a long bow all the way back, so even though she had a starting Archery skill of 20, she could not use even a low-level bow effectively.

I fixed #1 by using ACE - Combat Skills' BYOG feature to add 25 more Stamina, pushing her Stamina up to 85; and I also increased her Stamina Regen Rate my 25% (since Stamina was reduced too much by the Character Creation Overhaul).

I then edited Duke's "aadpCombat" file, making the following changes:
- set aadpBlockStaminaMul to 0.5 ; [default was 1] This reduced the Stamina drain for blocking by 50%
- set aadpTitanSmash to 0.7 ;  [default was 1] This reduced the size/strength bonus factor by 30%, she still is at a disadvantage when fighting larger opponents, but she now at least has some chance of surviving.  And she can now pull a long bow all the way back.

Duke Patricks Combat

This next mod isn't technically a Combat mod, as it affects more than just combat.  But it does have a major effect on combat and it does make combat more realistic.

Fatigue Effects v.1.4 (08/25/12) - by rohverK:

"This mod creates a more realistic fatigue system, every action you do spends stamina or magicka, resulting in physical or mental fatigue. And depending on how exhaustion you had been missing factors such as speed, strength, magic resistance, skills power, and at lower levels result in disorientation or stagger."

"This mod modifies Dovahkiin and all NPCs, creating a more realistic, complex, lore friendly, responsible and strategic system in battle and outside battle."

- Potions and enchantments are now more necessary.
- Electric spells cause Magicka damage, making enemies and you disoriented (like ice spells damage stamina and makes victims more fatigued).
- The respective characteristics of each race are intensified, making the races more unique:

The Racial differences are all shown at the download link page.

Version 1.4 Changes:
- Persistent Low Damage Resist bug fixed.

Compatibility: Do NOT use this mod with Duke Patrick's Combat mod, since his mod also adds fatigue effects.

Arwen Note: This mod affects not just the Player, but also the NPCs and Creatures as well. Now running makes you tired; as does drawing a bow (they both decrease your Stamina).  This mod makes combat a LOT more strategic, as you cannot just jump into combat without thinking.

Fatigue Effects

Page Menu: | Combat | Overhauls | Economics | Survival | Misc. Realism

Overhauls are large mods that alter the game in many ways.  They are often modular (made up of several esps), so you can use just the parts that you want (although each module often covers way more than a single aspect of the game).

ACE - Combat Skills v.12a (07/06/12) - by by Athyra:

"ACE is a collection of mods which can be run independently of each other. ACE aspires to brings more depth and balance Skyrim while maintaining its original feel. It does so by adding depth to the skill trees and adding new functionality. Below is a list of each module with an explanation of how it alters Skyrim."


1. ACE - Archery: What!? Only ONE type of ranged weapon in Skyrim?! Not anymore! Now two different types of bows!
2. ACE - Armor: Heavy and Light are too similar in vanilla. Now there is a much bigger difference between their playing styles.
3. ACE - Enchanting: No more need to self-nerf! The seriously overpowered Enchanting skill tree is reworked. Loopholes plugged!
4. ACE - Magic: Spice up that boring repetitive spellcasting with some Casting Forms!
5. ACE - Melee: Sword&Dagger, Axe, and Mace perks are split up and each given a distinct playing style.
6. ACE - Smithing: Legendary really is legendary! No more super-items or armor-cap-reaching light armor!
7. ACE - Speech: Gold is important again and shopkeepers know it too!
8. ACE - Realistic Fighting: Attack from the back, the side, while running, go for Sure Footing. These factors and more all matter now!
9. ACE - Synergy Bonuses: Synergy Bonuses automatically adds a multitude of bonus effects based on current perks, skills, items, race, etc.
10. BYOG (Balance Your Own Game): A large set of options that tweak various parts of game balance.

Compatibility: There is a large selection of compatibility patches available (under files) for other Weapon Mods.

Arwen Note: Contrary to its name, this Overhaul does way more than just affect combat. For me, one of my favorite features is the BYOG (Balance Your Own Game).

I'm currently using ACE - Enchanting, ACE - Magic, ACE - Smithing, ACE - Speech, and the BYOG esps.
The BYOG settings I am currently using in my own game (with both Third Era Attributes and Classic Classes and Birthsigns active):
- Carrying Weight -100 (under General)
- EXP Rate at -50% (under Skills),
- Health Regen -50
- Magic Cost +50
- Magic Duration -50

ACE - Combat Skills

Page Menu: | Combat | Overhauls | Economics | Survival | Misc. Realism
More Realistic Economics

Economics of Skyrim v.1.3 (08/30/12) - by Thomas Kaira:

"You have arrived at your local Blacksmith, and are shopping for new toys, armor, whatever it is you want. Ever notice something odd? Like how every single blacksmith seems to have exactly the same items in stock? Well, that’s because they do.

Every major merchant in the game have their shops stocked based on a single boilerplate arrangement of leveled lists, which both randomizes their stock and it is also rather obviously scaled to match your level. It works, but is very inelegant and can raise a few eyebrows when the smith who had nothing but low-grade Steel one day suddenly has a boatload of Ebony gear the next.

Wouldn't it make much more sense for the merchants to stock items based on the resources available to them in whichever region they are found? These are not modern times, merchants do not rely on buying things from other people to sell; they sell what they make. I, for one, feel the game's economy should reflect that. That is where this mod comes in.

And now, it's better than ever! Gone are the old issues with unusable ingots and duplicated items! The mod has received a total makeover, literally rebuilt from the ground up. This means you can be assured a much better economic experience than before."

Global Economics:

- General merchants: will now be geared towards selling food, books, clothing, jewelry, and odds and ends.

- Alchemy shops: stock regional ingredients much more often and in much higher quantities along with some ingredients that are imported from other areas of Skyrim, though these will not always be available and stocks will not be guaranteed. Rare ingredients will have a chance to be stocked by any city-dwelling alchemist, but that chance is lower and you won't find as many available.

- Blacksmiths: sell weapons and armor based on what is available to them in their specific region. There will be an occasional, though very slight, chance for rare items to be in stock, though you will need to have played the game for some time before you can actually see them (for the sake of balance).

- Innkeepers: serve food based off of a regional menu. This menu are strictly adhered to, as they do need to keep costs down. Buying local product is a good way to save some coin. The inns found in major cities serve a wide range of foods along with a selection of desserts, whereas inns and taverns found in the more rural areas of Skyrim tend to operate on a more rigid "this is today's dinner" style.

- Merchant stocks are now un-leveled. If you have the coin, you've got the product. What is available for you to purchase now depends on where in Skyrim you are shopping. (Whiterun and Riften, for instance, now have vastly different goods for sale.)

- The vast majority of Skyrim's merchants no longer sell magic items. If you are shopping for spells and soul gems, your best bet is to visit your local court mage or take a carriage to Winterhold.

- You will have to pay extra for non-local goods than for local product to make up for shipping costs.

- If you are looking for goods that may not be entirely from legitimate sources, Khajiit Caravans should have what you need. They are also the only merchants who are openly willing to sell you lockpicks.

- Orcish gear is available for cheaper prices in the various Orc Strongholds in Skyrim. Of course, actually being allowed to buy it is something you'll need to figure out for yourself.

See the download link for the full details, as the above is only a portion of all that this mod has to offer.

Version1.3 Changes:
- Fixed Bug: Turning off Regional Values through the menu option would render you unable to turn it back on.
- Fixed Bug: Removed some debug leftovers from Blacksmith Services scripts.
- Fixed Bug: The “order ready” objective for the blacksmith services will now be removed properly when you pick up your equipment.
- New Feature: Haggling Customization. Control how easy or hard a bargain merchants provide. A new menu option, “Merchant Difficulty,” is available that allows you to select between a few pre-set values, or create your own.
- Feature Change: Blacksmith services now provide graded tempering services. Choose your quality instead of having it fixed per blacksmith, and prices will now reflect the quality of temper you desire.

Arwen Note: This is a fantastic mod! And is one of the best economic overhauls I have ever seen. If want a more realistic game, this mod should be near the very top of your download list.

Economics of Skyrim

Page Menu: | Combat | Overhauls | Economics | Survival | Misc. Realism
Survival Mods

Frostfall - Hypothermia-Camping-Survival v.1.6b (04/29/12) - by Chesko:

"The three main components of Frostfall are Hypothermia, Cold Water Survival, and Camping Equipment.

The primary objective of this mod is to add a deep, immersive level of gameplay to Skyrim, while keeping tedium to a minimum. An immersion mod should never get in the way of having fun.

Frostfall uses a sophisticated system to track your location, weather, time of day, worn clothing, and more, to determine your current condition, in a seamless and immersive way. It also features a large variety of craftable camping equipment, including craftable torches. It is highly customizable, and very compatible with most other mods, including worn cloaks, camping, food, timescale, lighting, werewolf, and vampire mods.

- Both Camping Kit of the Northern Ranger and LtMattMoo's Camping can be use alongside Frostfall's own camping equipment.
- Imp's More Complex Needs: is fully compatible, even though it also includes hypothermia
ManSh00ter's Basic Needs: Arwen Note: I am currently play test this mod, and so far it seems to be fully compatible.
- WATER - Water And Terrain Enhancement Redux: "Frostfall also now features OpticShooter's Get Wet - Water FX shader from W.A.T.E.R, built directly into Frostfall to enhance the visual effect of being wet from rain or swimming. It is also timed against Frostfall's new game mechanics. (Used with permission)"

Arwen Note: This is a VERY cool mod!  Note that you have to  read a copy of "The Survivor's Guide to Skyrim" (which can be found in any inn in Skyrim) before this mod will be initialized.  That in itself makes this mod more immersive, but the book is not only the mod's starting trigger . . . it is an actual survivor's guide. and it is also how you configure the the optional parts of the mod.

Frostfall - Hypothermia

Arwen Note: This next mod. by Chesko (the creator of Frostfall) has not been released yet, but it will likely become my choice in a Hunger/Thirst/Drink mod once it is available. [The download link currently will just take you to the mod's discussion topic.]

Last Seed - Primary Needs and Primitive Cooking v.x (future) - by Chesko:

"Last Seed will be a hunger / thirst / sleep mod that has a strong emphasis on simplicity while still retaining immersion and increasing the importance of food and water. Expanding the existing cooking mechanics is also a desired focus."

Last Seed - Primary Needs and Primitive Cooking

Fishing In Skyrim v.0.92 (08/02/12) - by Arodicus Snaux:

"Adds working fishing poles, nets, Dwarven boomfishing, working fishing gear, and many other fishing-themed goodies to Skyrim. Stop trying to grab fish with your bare hands! Look for a free pole and net in a rowboat on the Riften canal, or talk to local general-goods vendors and apothecaries in Riverwood, Whiterun, Riften and Windhelm."

- Working Fishing Poles and Bait
- Fishing Nets
- BoomFishing (explosives stun fish)
- Fish vary Regionally
- Adds a Fishing Vendor (who you can buy fishing poles).
- Fishing Spells

Changes in v.0.92:
- Update for 1.7, minor bugfixes, new models

Compatible with Improved "Fish - New Fish - More Spawning" and other mods which add "CritterFish"

Arwen Note: This mod isn't technically a survival mod, but it it survival related, so I included it in this section. It also adds more variety of fish, as well as some relics (some are treasures, and some are junk, that you might also pull in)

Fishing In Skyrim

Page Menu: | Combat | Overhauls | Economics | Survival | Misc. Realism
Misc. Realism Mods

This section contains general realism mods, most of which make the game a bit more immersive.

At the end are links to other mods in other sections of my list that will also make your game play a bit more realistic.

Alternate Start - Live Another Life v.2.1.7 (10/12/12) - by Arthmoor

"Misery and despair have haunted you all your life. Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, you've been arrested and thrown in the dungeons. Your trial was supposed to be weeks ago, only nobody has come for you. It's been so long since seeing daylight you no longer know what month it is anymore. The dungeon is cold, damp, and worse still, you're running out of food. At least you have that leak in the wall for water. It seems as though you've been forgotten, soon to rot away and die. The eight have forsaken you! Or... have they?

Live Another Life provides an alternative means to start the game for those who do not wish to go through the lengthy intro sequence at Helgen. You will be given the opportunity to choose your race and then choose a new life for your character to lead. A wide variety of choices will be available. What you choose will have a lasting impact, so choose carefully or the gods may forsake you again!"

Arwen Note: This mod is perfect for users like me, who begin the game many times, and want to role play the beginning in a different way.

Alternate Start

Ars Metallica - Smithing Enhancement v.1.1.2 (10/10/12) - by Arthmoor:

"The crafting system is one of Skyrim's better features, but for thieves and archers, there's not much use for the system. Light armor is dead easy to come by in already finished forms, but arrows can sometimes be scarce in the types you may want. Lockpicks have been known to be somewhat scarce too, yet are relatively basic to construct. Ars Metallica aims to fill in some of the basic issues I had with the crafting system by doing the following:"

- Allow archers to forge their own arrows out of the various ore materials, wood, and feathers. Indirectly making it somewhat useful to chop wood too.
- Allow thieves to make their own lockpicks out of iron or steel.
- Provide skill advancement for the use of the smelter to melt down ore. After all, that's as important as knowing how to shape it once refined.
- Provide skill advancement for the use of the tanning rack to make leather. That's far more important in my mind than the skill advances from using the leather to make stuff.
- Provide for a small amount of skill advancement from mining the ore itself out of ore veins.
- Provide the ability to melt down existing pieces of armor and some clutter items into ingots so that you can then use those ingots to make missing pieces of a set if you want.
- Allow members of factions to forge equipment appropriate to their guild. Thieves can make guild armor. Assassins can make Brotherhood armor. Legionnaires can make Imperial armor, and so on.

Compatibility: Dawnguard support included with the additional patch file.

Arwen Note: This mod expands and enhances the crafting system . . . especially if your character is a thief or an archer (which improves the game balance for these players).

Ars Metallica - Smithing Enhancement

Better Quest Objectives v.1.5 (03/30/12) - by whickus:

"Have you ever wanted to turn those quest markers off but couldn't because the quest description doesn't give you any indication of where to search for your objective, so you're forced to blindly make a beeline to that marker, taking the wonder of exploration out of it? That's why I've created Better Quest Objectives! What I've done is edited nearly 250 quest objectives/descriptions, spanning over 160 quests, that have super vague or even non existing descriptions of where you're supposed to head next."

"For example: This Guy tells you to go talk to That Guy. Well, That Guy is in a town you haven't been to yet because you're brand new to the land of Skyrim so you have no idea where that town is. Also, nothing in the quest description even mentions the name of the town. You're just supposed to remember the name of the town that This Guy mentioned. This is even worse if you picked this quest up 30 hours ago and haven't touched it since, which means you've probably forgotten the details of the spoken conversation."

In the above situation, the quest objective is changed from: "Talk to That Guy" to "Head to This Town at the eastern base of This Mountain and talk to That Guy."  This will allow you to progress the quest by actually navigating your map and not blindly following the quest marker.

Certain quests with ambiguous descriptions were alone, since finding the locations is supposed to be a riddle in these cases. Also, if the quest involves a journal that is supposed to shed light on the objective's location, the journal is edited, instead of editing the actual quest description.

This mod also cleans up various typos and inconsistencies (for example, misspelled names or referring to a statue as a chalice, etc).

Warning! This mod has not been updated for months, so it is currently not compatible with the Unofficial Skyrim Patch or any of the official DLC.

Arwen Note: I am not currently using this mod, as I have the Unofficial Skyrim Patch installed, but I'm hoping that it will at some point be updated to be compatible. This mod finally allows me to leave the quest markers turned off! Before installing this mod, I would often have to turn the markers back on, because it was often nearly impossible to complete a quest without them.

Better Quest Objectives

Dynamic TimeScale - Standalone v.3.0 (09/15/12) - by Kae Arby:

"Dynamic TimeScale adjusts the game's TimeScale based on the player's circumstances."

- Fully configurable
- Detailed instructions inside the configuration book [Configure DTS].
- Independent timescales for Wilderness (Roaming about Skyrim), Outdoors (major cities and outdoor dungeons), and Indoors (inside building and underground dungeons).
- Three optional timescales that kick in when you're in combat.
- The ability to determine what constitutes "in combat" (NPC agro, weapon drawn, or both.)
- Can be cleanly uninstalled (no runaway scripts, no console commands.)

Arwen Note: I have configured my DTC with the following settings:
- Wilderness Timescale = 10 : In Combat = 8
- OutdoorTimescale = 10 : In Combat = 8
- Indoor Timescale = 6 : In Combat = 4

Dynamic TimeScale - Standalone

Equipable Skyrim Map v.4.4 (2/13/12) - by ScarabMonkey:

"Installs a craftable map that can be equipped like a shield, block to bring the map up to look at it better. Lowers when running.
Craft at the tanning rack."

v4.0 adds equip-able treasure maps - craftable if have the original in your inventory

Arwen Note: This mod adds a 2D leather map that is available from various vendors (it is a realistic old 2D type map . . . not a GPS map that pinpoints your locations.

Equipable Skyrim Map

Radiance v.1.02 (10/09/12) -by opaj:

"Radiance seeks to make your Skyrim experience a little more immersive by adding new world encounters and events that reflect the world and your impact on it. This mod adds over 30 encounters, and with Radiance, you may:"\

- Bump into fellow adventurers you've helped in the wild, having adventures of their own!
- Suffer the consequences for your actions when your enemies seek revenge!
- See the resulting battles when you stir up major conflict throughout the world!

Arwen Note: This mod adds a lot of immersion, by making Skyrim's game world feel a LOT more alive.


SM Drop Lit Torches v.2.0 (09/08/12) - by Strategy Master:

"This mod allows you to drop lit torches to the ground when you can't spare a hand to hold it."

Version 2.0 Changes:
- Redesigned the core script (should be more reliable and fix alot of the existing torch drop bugs)
- Dropped torches are now changed to be owned by the player (To prevent crime triggers happening again when you pick up a dropped stolen torch)
You can now use the hotkey torch to drop torches.
- If a weapon is equipped and weapons are drawn when pressing the key it will drop a torch
- Otherwise torch is equipped
- If torch is already equipped it will be unequipped
- Hotkey torch will now revert to your previously equipped equipment if you have no torches

When you switch from a torch to another weapon/spell/shield the previously equipped torch will be dropped to the floor.
- The torch will only be dropped if you switch to a drawn weapon.
- If you pick up the torch on the ground without a weapon in your left hand or with no weapons drawn will automatically re-equip the torch.
- You can also manually drop the torch if need be.

Hotkey Torch
- When you carry torches a new lesser power called Hotkey Torch will be added
- Equipping this power automatically equips a torch (you do not have to cast the spell), and to also unequip an equipped torch
- Can be keep as a favorite, so that when you drop all your torches you don't have to keep rebinding torches to your favorites.

-This mod should work on all carriable light sources or mods that add new torches etc.

SM Drop Lit Torches

Page Menu: | Combat | Overhauls | Economics | Survival | Misc. Realism

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