Despite the improvements it brings to the original, The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim Special Edition has proven no less moddable, fans flooding it with their own creations that enhance and expand its RPG experience in a plethora of ways.
Searching for Skyrim Special Editions mods soon after installing the game is second nature to a great many players, to the point where mods can become the main reason for jumping back in.
But going through a library that's been built over many years can prove daunting, which is why we've put together this list of the best Skyrim Special Edition mods.
Skyrim Special Edition Mods
While our best Skyrim Special Edition mods list might not be exhaustive, it contains picks that enhance different aspects of the game, from its UI to its graphics, and expand others.
These best Skyrim Special Edition mods should provide a good first step into modding the game for new players while potentially shining the light on some that veterans might have skipped over.
Mod Organizer 2
Mod Organizer 2 may not be vital if you're starting off with only a few Skyrim Special Edition mods. However, as they begin to pile on and you begin experimenting with more of them, you'll want to have them organized in a nifty list that lets you track which of them are active at any given time. That's what Mod Organizer 2 excels at. Grab it from Nexus Mods.
The SkyUI is indispensable if you're playing on PC, greatly enhancing the game's UI by increasing the number of items that fit in menu screens while also making them more easily readable. With it, getting to that potion hidden at the bottom of your inventory takes considerably less scrolling. Get it from Nexus Mods.
Unofficial Skyrim Special Edition Patch
Like most Bethesda games, Skyrim Special Edition was no stranger to bugs when it launched. That's where the Unofficial Skyrim Special Edition Patch comes in. A tool made by the team behind Oblivion's similar Unofficial Patch, it aims to squash all the bugs it can, ensuring that users get as stable and polished a Skyrim experience as possible. Grab it from Nexus Mods.
A Quality World Map
Whether you want to fast travel or simply remind yourself where exactly in Skyrim you currently are, you'll use the world map fairly often. While the base version already features detailed geography, installing A Quality World Map gives access to higher quality 3D textures alongside a paper version of the Skyrim map, both of which include roads. Find it on Nexus Mods.
Skyrim Special Edition's base offering of armors will see you unlocking quite a few on your way the badass looking Daedric Armor, however, even so, their numbers are fairly limited. The Immersive Armors mod greatly expands it by introducing 55 new sets alongside a massive amount of other, non-set armor pieces, including shields, capes, earrings and more. Better yet, they're all balanced and lore-friendly, so that they naturally fit into the Skyrim experience. Grab it from Nexus Mods.
Ordinator - Perks of Skyrim
Ordinator - Perks of Skyrim takes the game's existing skill trees and expands them to feature more choices and add new ways of playing as each specialization. As an example, the Smithing tree grants you the ability to craft deployable Dwemer Autocannons at forges or anvils, which can then be deployed in combat to act as turrets. If you're after trying new or different builds for your characters, this is a must-have. Find it on Nexus Mods.
Apocalypse - Magic of Skyrim
On a similar note to the mod above, although specifically targeting magic, the Apocalypse - Magic of Skyrim adds 155 new spells with custom animations to the Special Edition. That's 31 new spells for each school, alongside staves and wands, that contribute to making spellcasters a viable choice even without going down the Destruction or Conjuration paths. Get it from Nexus Mods.
Relationship Dialogue Overhaul - RDO SE
The Relationship Dialogue Overhaul mod, or RDO SE for short, makes conversations considerably more varied by adding 5,000 lines of dialogue to Skyrim Special Edition's characters. The goal is to add more nuance to conversations with NPCs and make them better reflect their relationship with the player. Grab it from Nexus Mods.
Open Cities Skyrim - SSE
Skyrim Special Edition's cities can feel sectioned off from the rest of the world due to the loading screens that separate them. The Open Cities Skyrim - SSE removes that requirement in each of the game's five major settlements. Installing the mod will save you quite a bit of time while making it possible to freely ride into town and get help from guards if you happen to have pursuers on your tail. Find it on Nexus Mods.
Enhanced Lights and FX
No Skyrim Special Edition mod list is complete without one that makes the game more pleasant to look at. The Enhanced Lights and FX mod makes all light sources emit light while adding new water reflections, candle smoke FX and even some new lantern bugs around Riften. The changes go far beyond the few listed here making Skyrim look more vibrant. Get it from Nexus Mods.
Alternate Start - Live Another Life - SSE
The now-notorious Helgen scenario may be a great introduction to Skyrim Special Edition and its meanest Dragon, however, if you're the type of player that likes leveling multiple characters, you'll probably grow tired of it sooner or later. The Alternate Start - Live Another Life - SSE mod lets you start off on your adventure much quicker while also giving you the option of choosing between multiple starting scenarios. You can choose to set off with little to your name in any of the major cities, begin the game with an owned property, or as a new member of a guild, to name a few choices. Download it from Nexus Mods.
Total Character Makeover
Characters play an important role in Skyrim since you'll spend most of the time playing as one but also interacting with various others as you pick up quests and do battle. But those in the base game can, sometimes, have rather uncanny looks. The Total Character Makeover aims to make Skyrim Special Edition's characters more aesthetically pleasing by introducing a swathe of improved textures, all while retaining their distinct Skyrim feel. Get it from Nexus Mods.
Jump Behavior Overhaul
Skyrim Special Edition's default jump animations can feel a bit stiff and lacking in variation, possibly affecting immersion for some players. The Jump Behavior Overhaul adds different kinds of jumping and landing animations that are also more fluid than their default counterparts. Not only are they based on real-life references, but you'll also find that height and equipment determine which jump animation plays. Jumping from higher up will require a brief moment of recovery while, in other cases, it can even see your character rolling before getting back on their feet. Find it on Nexus Mods.
Capital Whiterun Expansion
The Capital Whiterun Expansion mod expands Skyrim's central major city by adding two new districts which include 14 new buildings and 22 new NPCs which blend nicely into what vanilla Whiterun has to offer. Bluesky Hall acts as a new purchasable player home while weary travelers can rest at the new Roadhouse tavern found outside the walls. Get the mod from Nexus Mods.
A Cat's Life
A Cat's Life is a Skyrim Special Edition mod that drastically increases the cat population in the game's towns and villages. You'll not only begin to encounter them more often as you enter settlements, but can get a cat of your own either by earning a stray cat's trust or by purchasing one from the two new cat stores that the mod also introduces. You'll be able to care for your cat, purchase beds and collars, and take it with you on adventures as a follower. Grab the mod from Nexus Mods.
Non-essential Skyrim Special Edition Mods
- Convenient Horses
- Obsidian Weathers and Seasons
- Enhanced Blood Textures SE
- Zim's Immersive Artifacts
- Realistic Water Two SE
- Immersive Wenches
- Static Mesh Improvement Mod - SMIM
- Skyrim Flora Overhaul SE
- Immersive Citizens - AI Overhaul SE
- Ruins Clutter Improved
- Wildcat - Combat of Skyrim
- Bandolier - Bags and Pouches Classic
- Audio Overhaul for Skyrim SE
- Diverse Dragons Collection SE (DDCse)
- Embers XD
- The Elder Scrolls Legends - Loading Screens
- Paper UI Sounds for Skyrim
Found other cool Skyrim Special Edition mods that didn't make our list? Let us know in the comments below!
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