Skyrim modders are the kind of people who took the phrase, “the only limit is your imagination”, quite too literally.
Released way back in November of 2011, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has since been ported to the current generation of consoles, as well as in VR, and, judging by how many people are still talking about it and playing the game, Skyrim might even see new life in the PlayStation 5 or the Xbox Series X once the next-generation consoles hit the market.
It is also this popularity that helps explain why modders have yet to stop giving Skyrim the time of their day.
While this is a good problem to have, the fact is, with new mods being made every day, trying to sift through dozens of these mods to find exactly what you’re looking for can take quite some time, especially if you’re new to the modding community.
Thankfully, we’re here to help you find the best Skyrim mods out there.
Below, you’ll find a detailed guide to the must-have Skyrim mods, including everything from making the dated user interface look more modern to improving the graphics and even adding an entirely new campaign.
Best Skyrim Mods
1. Diverse Dragon Collection
Skyrim kicks off your adventure in what is arguably the most meme’d video game-opening scene ever and thrusts you into a role where you’re supposedly destined to do battle against dragons until the end of today.
Your first few encounters against these winged beasts feel exactly just as epic as that sounds.
Unfortunately, after a while things get old, and these dragons feel no more amazing as the mud crabs aimlessly wandering about in Skyrim. But, with the “Diverse Dragons Collection”, you can spice things up by adding 28 new dragons to Skyrim, each one just different enough, both in looks and in their abilities, to make every battle against a dragon less of a drag and something that you’d actually look forward to.
Note: Splendor: Dragon Variants is an excellent alternative that’s available on the PlayStation 4.
2. Realistic Conversation Overhaul
Yes. We get it. You’re the Dragonborn. You were born to slay dragons (it’s in the name, duh?) and save the world.
Accordingly, all the attention and adoration in the world is showered upon you, especially once you’ve actually gone out and done some of the legendary stuff that you’re supposedly meant to do. The only problem? It’s as if you’re the only one that exists in the world in the eyes of the citizens of Skyrim.
While that is indeed technically true, you’d think that Bethesda could’ve done better in terms of making NPCs interact with each other more.
Thankfully, mods like the “Realistic Conversation Overhaul” exist.
With this installed, the good folks of Skyrim will chat less with you and more with each other. Not only that, but it also alters their behaviour so that the cities feel more realistic, with its inhabitants looking less like pre-programmed NPCs and more like real people living their daily lives.
3. Better Combat AI
We all know that companion AIs like Lydia are sworn to carry your burdens and they do a fine job doing it, but, let’s be honest, they’re not exactly all too bright up there, if you know what I mean.
Often seen charging headfirst into combat, only to find themselves limping a few moments later if not dying altogether, the “Better Combat AI” mod changes that so the fighting NPCs of Skyrim are able to put up some semblance of an actual fight against anyone and everything that comes their way.
With this mod installed, the AIs will actually try to block and bash enemies, as well as stagger about. They’ll even learn to disengage!
Now, how about that?
4. Unofficial Skyrim SE Patch
Bethesda is known for two things: making great open-world sandbox games and filling it with glitches and bugs.
The “Unofficial Skyrim SE Patch” fixes many of the issues commonly associated with vanilla Skyrim. This includes everything from missing quest items to NPCs not appearing for one reason or another.
Thus, this makes this mod one of the most essential Skyrim mods out there.
Unless, of course, you think that the bugs and glitches of Skyrim are part of what makes the game so great.
5. Warmonger Armory
Let’s face it. Skyrim is deep in lore and all, but its weapons, armors, and clothes, don’t really match that depth. Sure, you have dozens of options to choose from, but for a game of this scale and size, you’d expect there to be hundreds.
Made with “compatibility in mind”, the “Warmonger Armory” mod adds just that to Skyrim.
Everything included in the mod is based on the classic lore from the entirety of the Elder Scrolls franchise, with outfits and gear going as far as to being categorized by race.
6. Uncle Sheogorath
Do you remember when we said that your imagination is your only limit?
Well, apparently, the guys who came up with this mod has the sort of imagination that most of us can’t even begin to fathom.
Channelling his own Sheogorath, Skyrim’s resident Daedric Prince of Madness (think of him as the god-like child of DC’s Joker and Marvel’s Loki, only a bit more funny and hilarious but also a tad more pedantic), the modder replaced all of the loading screen texts in the game with the thoughts of the aforementioned Daedra.
There’s a wide range of the excerpts changed, going from adaptions of the old ones to entirely new texts.
Regardless of which, all are just as absurd as they are hilarious.
If you’re looking to inject more fun and hilarity into your Skyrim playthrough, we can’t think of any other mod to add to your game.
7. Forgotten City
After spending dozens of hours playing Skyrim, you’ll realize that it’s less about trying to save the world and more about venturing into new places. But, while Skyrim does indeed surprise you with a new path or cave every now and then, you can only explore enough of it to eventually have visited every nook and corner of the world.
The “Forgotten City” mod is all about injecting an entirely new and original place into Skyrim.
An award-winning expansion that offers nearly a dozen hours worth of brand-new content, this mod features everything from puzzles and drama to its own score, storytelling, as well as multiple kinds of endings.
The fact that the mod is set to be released as its own standalone game is proof enough that it’s well worth a try.
8. Immersive HUD
Available on: PC
Skyrim’s a great game and all, but it sure does have its flaws.
Among of which is the ugly HUD.
One of the most immersion-breaking things in Skyrim, the HUD stays onscreen all of the time, which will continue to happen. Unless, of course, you install this mod.
Once installed, the “Immersive HUD” mod hides everything that you’re not actively using, including the status bars and the crosshair. It also gives you the option to adjust the opacity or toggle on and off the quest markers, as well as the compass.
The only issue we have with this mod is that it’s only available on the PC.
9. Legacy of the Dragonborn
Available on: PC
“Legacy of the Dragonborn”disguises itself as a mod that simply gives you, the player, a museum to showcase everything and anything that you’ve found in Skyrim.
However, as soon as you try to flesh out your museum in Solitude, you’ll find yourself being thrust into a gigantic story filled with twists and turns that we believe is best left for you to explore and find out.
As an added bonus, this mod is perfectly compatible with other quest mods.
10. Surreal Lighting
The “Surreal Lighting” mod is a rather different take compared to the other graphic-based mods that are available for Skyrim.
Instead of trying to make Skyrim feel more like real life, this mod wants Skyrim to feel more fantasy-like than it already is as if that was possible. But, apparently, it is, and once installed, Skyrim’s world transforms into a gorgeous pink and blue landscape that will help make even the most dreary of places in Tamriel more vibrant.
11. Castle Volkihar Redux
If you’re one of those who preferred to stay infected with Sanguinare Vampiris, the “Castle Volkihar Redux” mod transforms the aforementioned castle into a small town that will make it feel like there’s an entire community of bloodsuckers out there, which is either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on where you’re coming from.
12. Alternate Start: Live Another Life
We get it. You’re the Dragonborn. You’re supposed to save the world.
But, let’s face it. You can’t always be legendary. Sometimes, you just want to live the life of a commoner, which, unfortunately, for an open-world sandbox title like Skyrim, is not possible out of the box.
The “Alternate Start: Live Another Life” mod lets you start the game however you like.
If you’ve played through Skyrim before and want to take the roleplaying part of the title more seriously, this is the mod for you.
For PlayStation 4 users, there are viable alternatives. This includes the “Realm of Lorkhan” mod that lets you start off Skyrim in a different realm without breaking the game or while also still allowing you to start off the main quest.
13. The Paarthurnax Dilemma
“What is better, to be born good, or to overcome your evil nature through great effort?”
That timeless quote right there is courtesy of our great friend Paarthurnax, who, for some reason, Bethesda basically forced us to kill near the end of Skyrim, or choose to have the quest sit on your journal forever.
Thankfully, this mod fixes that.
The “Paathurnax Dilemma” is a mod that lets you decline and spare your beastly friend so he can go his merry way.
14. Phenderix: Magic Evolved
Believe it or not, Skyrim could use a bit more flair.
In particular, magic users would love to have more variety in terms of the spells that they could cast on their enemies.
The “Phenderix: Magic Evolved” solves this problem by adding more than 400 new spells into the game, spoiling magic users with a variety of spell archetypes, including the ability to summon all sorts of magical creatures when fighting dragons in Skyrim.
15. Apocalypse: Magic of Skyrim
We initially wrestled between the “Phenderix: Magic Evolved” and the “Apocalypse: Magic of Skyrim” mods, but, then, we came to think about it, and realized, “why not both?”.
Further spoiling magic users with choices, this mod gives users a further 155 new spells, or 31 spells per school, to use at their disposal. This includes everything from summoning chairs and volcanic eruptions to teleporting to places.
With both this and “Phenderix: Magic Evolved” installed, it’ll be difficult to go back to playing as a magic-based user in vanilla Skyrim.
16. Voice of Madness: A Wabbajack Shout
Available on: PlayStation 4
PlayStation 4 users have long lamented that they got the short end of the stick as far as mod support for Skyrim goes. However, those who own a copy of Skyrim on their PS4 actually have a couple of aces up their sleeves, specifically, this mod.
The “Voice of Madness: A Wabbajack Shout” mod lets you transform your Thu’um into something that could either shout your enemies into Oblivion or make it so that it’s raining cheese.
Yes. You read that right. Cheese.
Now tell us if it’s not enough to make this one of the best PS4 Skyrim mods.
We dare you.
17. VioLens: A Killmove Mod
The kill moves of Skyrim are fun for the first few times, but they get old rather quickly.
If you’re someone who’s played through Skyrim multiple times already, then you’ve surely wished to have the ability to skip through every time your character does a kill move.
No offence. Skyrim’s kill moves aren’t bad. They’re actually quite fun the first few times.
Unfortunately, this means that the kill moves get old rather quickly, which is exactly why we recommend installing the “VioLens: A Killmove Mod” as soon as you can.
This mod makes the dreary fighting and executions of Skyrim an absolute pleasure, especially when you’re doing the kill moves on dragons or dual-wielding your favourite one-hand sword combo or dropping one brutal finisher after another.
18. Better Horses
Skyrim’s horse AI is flat-out bad.
There’s just no getting around that.
Well, except, there is, via the “Better Horses” mod, which gives your horse invulnerability, more stamina, and more speed.
This is easily one of those essential Skyrim mods for those who want to play through the game without using fast travel.
19. Amazing Follower Tweaks
What would you give to have multiple followers in Skyrim?
We know you’re already imagining all the hilarity and chaos that this would entail, so, we’re just going let you know that this is the exact kind of thing that you can expect once you have the “Amazing Follower Tweaks” mod installed.
But, having more followers isn’t the only thing that you’ll get with this mod.
In addition to having five followers at a time, the mod also lets you manage their levels, combat style, spells, and outfits. The mod even lets you turn them into a vampire lord or a werewolf, depending on your preferences.
As an added bonus, you also get a much-improved AI, as well as multiple toggleable options, such as more carry weight, among others.
20. Jedi of Skyrim
Electronic Arts may have done fans right with the release of Fallen Order, but true padawans know that there’s no end to your training.
If, for example, you’ve finished playing Fallen Order, or it simply wasn’t what you expect, then the “Jedi of Skyrim” mod might be more like right up your alley.
Combining the best of both Skyrim and Star Wars, the mod isn’t just a mere re-skin. Rather, it’s a massive mod that actually tries to incorporate the lightsabers into the game’s lore as “Magicka Sabers”.
Not only that, but it also comes with its own perk system that allows you to improve your skills in the way of the Jedi however you see fit.
21. Sounds of Skyrim
One of the best things about Skyrim is its original score and music. However, we’d be lying if we said that it couldn’t stand to be better like better ambient effects depending on the location.
Adding the “Sounds of Skyrim” mod helps address this issue by adding more than 400 new sounds into Skyrim.
After having the mod installed, you’ll instantly notice the difference once you go venturing out into the wild, or even when you go inside any city and hear more ambient noise, such as the laughter of children playing or busy streets than before.
Note: While this mod is currently not available on the PlayStation 4, the audio quality on the PlayStation 4 version of Skyrim is considered the best.
22. Quality World Map
The world of Skyrim is so vast that we wouldn’t be surprised if you told us that you found yet another secret spot after playing through the game for the nth time.
Such is the attention to detail that Bethesda put when developing the game.
We just wish they’d done the same for the map though.
As the game’s representation of the in-game world via the main menu, the map should, at the very least, come with more details. But, it doesn’t, which is where the mod, “Quality World Map” comes in, as it adds better-looking and more accurate representations of the various roads that stretch all across Skyrim.
You’ll even get access to a variety of viewing styles via the mod, which only helps make playing Skyrim more immersive.
23. Forests of Skyrim
It doesn’t take an expert on anything to tell you that forests have to be thick and luscious.
Unfortunately, the forest areas of Skyrim are anything but.
Installing the “Forests of Skyrim” is a quick fix for this common issue across all the platforms that Skyrim is available on by adding a number of trees into the game and drastically changing the experience of traversing through the game’s numerous mythical forests.
If you prefer a darker take on this, you may also use the “Dark Forests of Skyrim” mod.
Either way, both are excellent mods that should make Skyrim a better game without breaking lore.
24. Stones of Barenziah Markers
If we’re being honest, a huge chunk of time spent playing Skyrim was wasted looking for certain stuff in the game.
One of the most notorious time sinks of Skyrim is the Stones of Barenziah.
With the “Stones of Barenziah Markers” installed, this shouldn’t be a problem, as they’ll be marked on your map, making it easier for you to get your hands on all the stones and the mysterious item reward that’s created once you’re done.
25. Enderal: The Shards of Order
Available on: PC
Last, but certainly not the least, on our list of the best Skyrim mods, is “Enderal: The Shards of Order”, which, if we’re being honest, is less of a mod and more of an entirely new game using assets borrowed from Skyrim.
With 100 hours of new content, including its own campaign and voice acting, you’d have to wonder why the makers didn’t just make their own game.
In any case, the mod will treat you to a wide variety of new locals and places to visit, as well as include its own talent system and overhauled skill, which should help give you even more of a reason to sink another hundred more hours towards your Skyrim playtime.
With that said, it should already be obvious why we consider this as one of the best Skyrim mods for PC.
Before anything else, we’d like to warn you that, as amazing as most Skyrim Xbox Onemods and PS4 mods are, they don’t always work together. This means that you might want to be careful about which mods you want to install in your game.
We’d also like to remind you that mods centered around environmental and graphical overhauls, can and will affect gaming performance.
Lastly, we’d like to let you know that plenty of Skyrim mods are not available on the PlayStation 4. This is mostly because of Sony’s decision to restrict the limit of external asset imports to just 1GB.
With that said, we did try to make sure to include a wide variety of mods, which, in our eyes, are must-haves for a complete Skyrim gameplay experience.