Now that the console crowd has been spoiled with mods on Bethesda games for some time, the number of options to change up the vanilla experience for Skyrim has absolutely exploded.
Even years later, you can consistently get entirely new ways to play the game and completely new ways to see it with graphics overhauls. With more than 7,000 mods now floating around for Xbox One, sifting through the dreck to find the most useful mods becomes quite a chore.
Skyrim Winter Overhaul Special Edition 2017
That's where we come in, finding all the best mods you should be using for Skyrim in 2018. We're going to assume you already know that you should download the unofficial Skyrim patch, grab the cheat room, and install the enhanced blood textures. If you didn't already know that, well, now you do!
Unsurprisingly, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Special Edition is no different. A fully priced remaster that includes all of the original release's downloadable content, it's undeniably the best.
Past those basic mods, here are 11 must-have mods available right now, including the best bow mods, archery mods, and hair mods for Skyrim Special Edition on the Xbox One.
Vampires Suck: No Attacks In Town
Forget AI overhauls, enhanced weather, rich merchants, or perk tree changes. If there's one single, critical, must-install mod for Skyrim, it's this bad boy right here. I lost count of the number of times the guards in a town started attacking me because I defended myself against a sudden vampire attack.
Those annoying blood suckers make it a major chore just to head into town and sell your loot, let alone try to wrap up any quests. Barring a major guard AI update from Bethesda (unlikely at this point), this mod is basically a requirement to even enjoy the game at all.
Complete Archery Overhaul
For a radically different ranged combat experience, the Complete Archery Overhaul does exactly what it sounds like. All bows will require a bowstring to function, which must be crafted separately.
The aim auto assist is disabled, and a large number of tweaks are made to how arrows function and deal damage, including major changes to the archery tree and modifications to how many arrows can stick out of an enemy at one time.
The end result is something markedly different from the base gameplay, and well worth trying out if you like to play as a marksman.
Scoped Bows SE
Its a simple change offered here, but one that can drastically alter the way you play as a ranged combat character during a Skyrim playthrough.
This mod adds a scoped variant of every single vanilla game bow (it won't put them on extra bows you've added through mods) that includes two different sights -- one for a quick shot, and one for careful aiming at a distance.
Apocalypse - Magic Of Skyrim
For those who prefer a magic-slinging character over a ranged archer, this is easily the biggest and most useful mod to change up how the magic system works.
155 new spells are added across all the schools of magic, complete with custom effects and animations that blend in with the existing spells. From burying a victim in the earth to conjuring another wizard to fight for you and even to lobbing volcanic lava bombs, you won't ever run out of killer new spells to try out here.
Superior Lore-Friendly Hair
There are more than a few hair and body replacement mods out there, but this one stands apart for a couple of reasons. First up, it's significantly smaller in overall file size than the others, leaving you more room to install other Xbox One mods.
The changes are also specifically meant to evoke a proper Elder Scrolls fantasy feel, so you won't get any weird, outlandish hairstyles that don't match the surroundings. All the various high-definition changes to the hair also modify a specific texture within the game -- rather than adding a new one -- so you won't run into any compatibility issues.
Apachii Sky Hair SSE Main
If you prefer a much wider range of options over the previous smaller mod, Apachii Sky Hair is the way to go. Rather than changing the hair effects for other characters you interact with in the world, this one offers 42 new hair styles to choose for your own character. Whether male or female -- and even including some Khajiit options -- you are bound to find something you like here.
Try saying 'unique uniques' five times fast! When you're done with that, go download the mod, because it results in some killer visuals for unique weapons across the game.
Weapons like the Pale Blade, Dragonbane, Angi's Bow, and Red Eagle's blade all get major retextures to look more interesting and set them apart from their standard weapon counterparts.
Moonlight Tales Special Edition
Much like how the archery overhaul changes ranged combat, Moonlight Tales completely and totally revamps the game's werewolf mechanics. Lunar cycle mechanics are introduced, along with an entirely new perk tree based around lycanthropic transformations, custom animations and sounds, and a lot more. If you've always wanted a more in-depth shapeshifter-type character in Skyrim, be sure to add this one to your load order straight away.
Diverse Dragons Collection
More than a mod, this is actually a super mod collection that adds 28 unique dragons to the game that all look remarkably different for more variation in the game.
Multiple levels of dragon strength are also added that scale with player level, ensuring a challenge no matter where you are in the game. Get ready for some serious fights, because they've all got new breath weapons as well!
Ordinator - Perks Of Skyrim
If you've played through Skyrim repeatedly, the existing perk structure can get repetitive and boring, even after trying out different character types. Ordinator gives you a brand-new leveling experience by replacing every single perk in the game with 400 new options that all have unique names and different bonuses.
Placing tripwires as a thief, planting a rallying banner for buffs as a warrior, converting healing spells into damaging holy fire as a mage, and more are all possible with these perk changes.
The Forgotten City
The Forgotten City is one of those creations that showcases why the PC and Xbox One mods are pretty much always going to beat out the PS4 versions (which don't allow new assets and thus can't include large new areas like this one).
The 'mod,' which is really more of a free DLC, includes a full, extra six-hour experience beyond the base game, revolving around a murder mystery in an underground city.
There's a dynamic story here with multiple possible endings, and it's frankly better written and executed than a lot of the vanilla Skyrim quests. Add in voiced characters and music on top, and this is a mod to immediately try out when you've already explored all the other nooks and crannies of the map.
Obviously there are hundreds of other mods well worth your time, but right now, these 11 are some of the best available.
What did you think of our picks, and what other Xbox One Skyrim mods would you recommend? Let us know in the comments below, and explore even more more options here:
So, you’re about to start an exciting new adventure in Tamriel. Maybe you’ve played Skyrim before. Maybe this is your first go-around. If you’re playing on console, a wealth of options are now available to you, all thanks to the power of mods.
Accessing mods is easy: there should be an option right on the main menu:
Once selected, you will be prompted to sign in to your Bethesda account. If you don’t have one, you can make on here. From there, you should be able to see the most popular mods, highly rated mods, and more:
It’s literally just a matter of selecting your preferred mod, and downloading it. Easy. Do note that if you have mods active, your save file will disable achievements and trophies.
It’s also worth noting that, depending on what platform you are playing on, your options will greatly differ. Unfortunately, on PS4, mods are more limited—Bethesda says that PS4 mods will not be able to use “external assets,” which is a bummer. Some of the most famous, classic Skyrim mods, like the one that replaces Dragons with Thomas the Tank Engine, use all sorts of outside assets. Alas.
You can see this limitation on display when you compare the mod offerings. PS4, as of this writing, only has 47 mods on day one. Xbox One, by contrast, has 122. Both will gain many more mods as the days go on, but if you have a choice between the two versions, I’d suggest going with Xbox One—no shade, but that platform has more options. Bethesda says that in terms of storage available, you get 5 GB of mods on Xbox One and 1 GB of mods on PS4 as well.
With all of that said, what should you download? While you can view mods through the in-game interface, you can also sort through them on the official Bethesda website. Online, if you are logged in, you can queue up mods to download on your console, which is handy.
Here’s what you should get, ranging from serious mods to totally ridiculous tweaks. It’s not Skyrim unless it’s both hardcore yet absurd, after all.
Unofficial Skyrim Special Edition Patch, by Arthmoor
“A comprehensive bugfixing mod for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Special Edition. The goal of the Unofficial Skyrim Special Edition Patch (aka USSEP) is to eventually fix every bug with Skyrim Special Edition not officially resolved by the developers to the limits of the Creation Kit and community-developed tools, in one easy-to-install package. Features: - Hundreds of gameplay, quest, NPC, object, item, text and placement bugs fixed. - Created by the authors of the Unofficial Oblivion Patch series. - No unsafe changes (such as deletions of stock objects). - Designed to be compatible with as many other mods as possible.”
Download for Xbox One here.
Call of Trainwiz, by TrainWiz
“People have often asked me “Trainwiz, if you are a wizard, and a train wizard, what train spells do you know?” So, to show those people, I created this mod. It adds a shout that, when used, will create an effect similar to Alduin’s meteor shower spell. Except instead of meteors, they’re trains. It will rain trains. You have read this correctly, and you have been warned. I take no responsibility for any damages sustained while it’s raining [censored] trains.”
Download for Xbox One here.
Just Walk: No Fast Travel by DylanJames
“Just Walk” is a mod that disables Fast Travel and Fast Travel Messages in all of the vanilla worldspaces.
Download for Xbox One here, and for PS4 here.
Cutting Room Floor, by Arthmoor
“A content restoration mod for Skyrim and the official DLCs. From the depths of the ether, or just the cutting room floor, comes forth several NPCs, some quests, and other miscellaneous content which was created but never implemented in the game. If ever you had the feeling that Skyrim was missing something, you were probably right! This mod should relieve a bit of that. Villages that were supposed to exist have been brought back. Quests that were partially implemented have been completed. Various items have been restored that were still in the data files. NPCs have been brought back to the game and given homes where appropriate. Plus plenty of other random bits of stuff that was mentioned in the game but didn’t exist yet.”
Immersive Poisoned Apples, by Bombchu
“Purification of Skyrim is my love letter to Oblivion’s Dark Brotherhood questline. After finding the recipe, you’ll be able to craft Poisoned Apples at any cooking station if you have the ingredients. You can then offer the them to denizens of Skyrim in conversation, depending on your relationship with the individual and your speechcraft skill. Also, depending whom you ask, you might see surprising responses ;) You’ll also be able to sneak them into the pockets of unsuspecting victims to be discovered and consumed soon after. Note that this method does not work when used on members of the Thieve’s Guild.”
Elemental Destruction Magic, by reaperix
“Elemental Destruction Magic Adds earth, water, and wind as new types of destruction magic. Besides dealing the same amount of health damage as their vanilla counterparts, each new type of destruction magic has a unique secondary effect as well. Water spells stop enemy Magicka and Stamina regeneration for several seconds, earth spells stop Health regeneration and have a chance to stagger targets, and wind spells have a chance to blow targets away. This mod contains 30 new spells, including 24 destruction spells, 6 conjuration spells, 3 weapon enchantments, and 3 armor enchantments, and 6 new perks. New spell casting enemies that use these new spells have also been added. This mod also includes the spell Ash Cloak, to replace the vanilla Whirlwind Cloak spell and adds a new Dragon Priest masks for each element.”
Download for Xbox One here. A similar mod, Phenderix Magic Evolved, adds 350 new magic spells on PS4, and can be downloaded here.
Campfire: Complete Camping System, by Chesko
“Campfire is the most feature-rich camping gameplay mod for Skyrim, and the foundation of Frostfall. You are immediately granted two new Survival Skills, found in your Magic menu: Resourcefulness, and Instincts. Build a campfire from a small, fragile spark to a roaring blaze, and use it to cook with a cooking pot (or just grill right over the flames). Sit with your followers, keep warm, and let the larger campfires uplift and inspire you (granting a small XP bonus). Create tents at any tanning rack. Stalk your prey using Instincts to see the sounds of nearby moving creatures, and be able to smell the dead (and undead!) from a long distance. Create and buy camping equipment using items in the world around you. Build 4 different kinds of tents, create tanning racks, a portable enchanting kit, and more. Use found deadwood to build hatchets, arrows, and other useful creations. You can create over a dozen useful items on-the-spot no matter where you are in Skyrim.”
Frostfall: Hypothermia Camping Survival, by Chesko
“REQUIRES CAMPFIRE: COMPLETE CAMPING SYSTEM. 3.3 RELEASED. EXPECT UPDATES THROUGHOUT THE NIGHT! ENJOY! You are now prepared to face a colder, harsher Skyrim. The three main components of Frostfall are hypothermia, cold water survival, and camping. Frostfall adds 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 tracks your location, weather, time of day, worn clothing, and more, to determine your current condition in a seamless way that feels easy to jump into and start playing. It is highly customizable, whether you’re looking for a lightweight immersion enhancement or a deeper challenge.”
Beast Skeletons, by Prometheus
“The Elder scrolls world feature several races, but , don’t you find strange that in all dungeons and caves you only find human skeletons and skulls? This mod solves this little immersion problem by adding new skeletons for all races in a lore and non intrusive way . After all Skyrim is still a human dominated land so those beast skeletons will be rare, but yet , now will exhist in world.”
Funny Followers, by Trainwiz
By now you’ve probably realized that there just aren’t any followers out there that really tickle your fancy! You’re disappointed, and expected followers that were a bit more.. well, funny.
The Forgotten City, by The Modern Storyteller
The Forgotten City is an award-winning, critically acclaimed expansion mod offering a unique 6 - 8 hour experience: a murder mystery investigation set in an ancient underground city. You’ll need to solve it using your wits, and the ability to travel through time. It has a dark, non-linear story in which you’ll interrogate suspects, explore the city and its many secrets, and navigate challenging moral dilemmas. It features multiple endings, an original orchestral score, and professionally voiced dialogue.
Rain and Snow FX, by Chesko
Rain and Snow FX allows your character to show frost and wetness (complete with dripping particle effects) when in the rain and in snowstorms. Your skin will also be wet during and just after swimming. When the weather clears or you walk into an interior, the effect will quickly go away. When in the snow, your skin and armor will ice over in a noticeable way. When in the rain, the effect is more subtle, but your skin will be shiny and dripping.
Ars Metallica by Arthmoor
A simple mod to expand on the crafting system in Skyrim. 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.
Alternate Start - Live Another Life, 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!
Skyrim Snow Overhaul
Relationship Dialogue Overhaul by Cloudedtruth
Adds over 5,000 lines of completely voiced dialogue for NPCs for more than 50 voice types, focusing mainly on friends, followers, spouses, and rivals. All dialogue is voiced using the original voices from the game, achieved through re-adding existing dialogue in new and suitable places, as well as editing together multiple lines to form brand new dialogue.
Rich Merchants of Skryim, by Micah Ghost
This is a simple mod that increases the extremely low vinilla merchant gold level to 10,000 gold for every merchant in game.
Immersive Indigestion, by AlpineYJ
This mod adds some indigestion to most of the NPCs in Skyrim. In other words, they now burp and expel flatulence. This is especially so when they are eating, exerting large amounts of effort (swinging a weapon), or when they discuss parts of the civil war with you. Yes, some of the sounds I created myself using my own indigestion. I won’t tell you which ones. :)
VioLens - A Killmove Mod by The-Reko
VioLens - A Killmove Mod SE gives you in-game control over both Ranged and Melee Killmoves.
Ring Of Increased Carry Weight by Micah Ghost
A simple mod that adds a one ring that gives the wearer 1000 points of extra carry weight per ring, and another that adds 1000000 carry weight. It’s your choice.
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Katnip for Khajiits
This mod adds dried catnip to Skyrim, purchasable from the Khajiit caravans. If you are a Khajiit, the effects will be like that of a drug - similar to how catnip affects cats in the real world. First, you’ll get a hit from the initial intake - the world will seem as though it’s in overdrive for a few seconds (using the Slow effect). Once this has worn off, you’ll see through a drugged haze (using the Sleeping Tree Sap effect), but your power in illusion will increase, as your perception of other realities is boosted. You will also find that your hunting instincts are sharpened (one-handed skill fortified by 10%).
P.S. Make sure to read the full description for these mods - in order for them to work, you will sometimes need additional files / other standalone mods.
If you’ve got a recommendation to share, make sure to leave a comment!