What I’ve learned from my experience with Survival Mode in Kendis’ run, and my decision yesterday to bail on it, is that:
- I really still like the overall idea of Survival Mode, but,
- As implemented in Skyrim’s Creation Club/Anniversary Edition content, it just makes things too damned difficult for my personal ability to enjoy.
I will probably take another crack at Survival Mode in a future playthrough. But this will depend entirely upon doing a modded playthrough specifically set up for it, a thing which, as I’ve said before on this blog many times, I can’t do on the Switch. So this will have to be a thing I do on the Deck and/or the Win11 VM on my Mac.
And I’m not going to try to bodge Survival Mode into Harrowhark’s current run–she’s already fairly well in on a playthrough, and she’s got challenges as it is since I’m playing her as a vampire.
But here are some notes about what mods Future Me is probably going to want to have for a modded Survival Mode playthrough.
Potentially interesting mods
SunHelm: This is a newer survival mod and is actively being worked on, which is a strong argument in its favor against Frostfall.
Frostfall: This is SunHelm’s competitor, an earlier and still popular mod, from what I’m seeing looking stuff up. It hasn’t been touched since 2016, though. So right now I’m leaning in the direction of SunHelm.
Campfire: I’m already giving this a test run in Harrowhark’s playthrough, and from what I’m seeing so far I like it. This will definitely be involved in any future modded survival playthrough I do. I like that I can carry around the same tent and related gear, and build and break a campsite without having to spend the gear and make some more.
Survival Control Panel: Honestly, this might be pretty cool for a super lightweight survival run. Because it would let me do the built-in survival mode but turn off the parts I don’t like. So that’s worth considering. But since SunHelm seems to come with its own control panel, this wouldn’t be necessary in a SunHelm run.
INeed: This is a streamlining of the mechanics that make you need food, warmth, and sleep. I see this one get mentioned a lot in conjunction with Frostfall, but again, may not be necessary in a SunHelm run since SunHelm is doing its own needs handling.
Wet and Cold: I really like the idea of this one, because it makes the NPCs have to give a fuck about the weather conditions too. Which, if I have to be miserable because it’s snowing, by god make everybody else have to bitch about it too. 😉 I think I’d feel a lot better about cold conditions in Skyrim if I could see the NPCs also being impacted. It’d certainly be nicer for immersion purposes.
Survival Spells: This one adds something I really wish was in the vanilla CC/AE game, a frigging Fortify Warmth spell. I figured out fast in Kendis’ run that being able to fortify my warmth via magic would help a lot. And since I do tend to prefer magically inclined characters, I’d be all over this.
Repel Rain: A spell pack for Frostfall, but might also be useful with SunHelm?
Convenient Horses: I have this in Harrow’s run as well, and hell, whether or not a survival run is the goal of a future modded playthrough, this has already become one of my critical go-to mods. So yes, any modded survival run I do will have to have this. Because if I decide to keep fast travel off, I gotta have me a horse.
Cloaks of Skyrim: Another one I added to Harrow’s run and so far I’m liking it. I think it’d be compatible with a survival run? I’d be looking at this though just for the sake of another piece of clothing available to protect my character from the cold.
Things I’d like to cover with a mod but haven’t identified mods for yet
In addition to the Fortify Warmth spell above, which seems like a really good idea, I’d also like to see a Fortify Warmth enchantment. Because not every character is going to be a mage. And I’d like to see a Fortify Warmth enchantment that you could put either on jewelry or on armor pieces. Maybe limit it to the same types of objects that can take fortifications of your magical skills, health, or stamina?
Such an enchantment should behave similarly to the Warmth ratings you’d get off of fur armor. So say if you’re wearing a piece of armor or clothing that doesn’t have a fur-tier Warmth rating because the item doesn’t actually have fur or isn’t made out of fur, you could drop this enchantment on it to bump up its warmth to be the equivalent of a fur version of the same item.
I feel like this should be a fairly basic enchantment, similar to how the Fortify Warmth spell in the Survival Spells mod is a fairly basic spell. I expect most magic-averse Nords would make their armor out of fur, sure. But we know from Sergius’ dialogue at the college that they do get enchantment requests regularly. And I feel like if the college has the ability to enchant things to make them warmer, citizens of Skyrim would absolutely take advantage of that.
However, you could totally do this in tiers. The most basic version of it could be, say, giving the enchanted item the Warmth rating of a similar piece of fur armor (where applicable). But if you have the right perks, you might be able to improve how much warmth you get off the enchantment. Master-tier versions of this enchantment might actually mean you’re walking around wearing something that’s keeping you the same level of warm that you’d get by being by a heat source.
Anybody know of any other mods I might want to consider?
Drop a comment and let me know!