As if I didn’t have enough playthroughs active in various games already, hi, I’m starting a third active Skyrim playthrough!
I was really not happy about having to ditch Harrowhark, and in the days since I canceled her run, I’ve been working on trying to stabilize my mods situation. I’ve now gotten a list of mods to the point where things seem playable, so I’m going to make a run with this set.
And just to vary it up from previous runs (even Harrow’s), this time I’ll be playing a male character. This is one of the few things I haven’t done yet in Skyrim, and I want to say I’ve done it at least once.
Plus, after exploring RaceMenu, KS Hairdos, High Poly Heads, and a few other mods that make it possible to make a dude in Skyrim that not only doesn’t look terrible but is actually kinda hot, that upped my interest in running a male Dragonborn for once.
So before I get Elessir’s official playthrough reporting under way, I’m putting up this post to specifically document what mods I’m running with him. I will not be changing these mods in any way, because I’ve learned a hard lesson from Harrow’s playthrough imploding: do not under any circumstances fuck around with your mods during a playthrough.
(I know there are some exceptions to this rule, for example, things that only change armor, or other simple textures. But really, I’m trying to make myself adhere to this rule on general global principle. My play experience, I feel, will be the better for it.)
Full mods list behind the fold. Most of these I had in Harrow’s run, but there are some notable exceptions.
New mods for this run
- A Matter of Time – This one adds some nice widgets to your HUD that can let you track what time of day it is in-game, and it’s highly configurable. I really like having the in-game date and time visible on either side of my main compass bar.
- Aesthetic Elves – Prettier head morphs for female elves. This will impact NPCs only in this run, of course.
- eFPS – Official Patch Hub – Official bugfixes for the eFPS mods I was running before.
- Ethereal Cosmos – Special Edition – Vivid – Trying a different version of the offered sky textures for this mod this time, just to see if I like it better.
- Expressive Facial Animation – Female Edition – Pretty much what it says on the tin, this is supposed to adjust the facial expressions for female characters. I’ll see if I notice a big difference!
- Expressive Facial Animation – Male Edition – Male version of the previous mod.
- FileAccess Interface for Skyrim SE Scripts – This let me save out settings files for RaceMenu and A Matter of Time, which was super helpful doing a bunch of test playthroughs with different mod configurations. It also meant I was able to quickly rebuild Elessir once I was ready to properly play him.
- Fine Face Textures for Men SSE – Also pretty much what it says on the tin, and so far this seems like it contributes to male characters having better detail to their faces. I wish there was an equivalent version for female characters.
- Grass FPS Booster – Installed this after seeing it referenced on multiple lists of mods to get if you want performance boosts.
- High Poly Head – There are other mod sites besides Nexus, and I had to go to vectorplexis.com to get High Poly Head, which I needed to get the most out of RaceMenu. Fortunately it installed no differently than any mod I’ve pulled down from Nexus.
- Immersive Armors – Wanted to try this partly because it includes the Bosmer armor I ditched out of Harrow’s run, but also because it has a bunch of other cool-looking armors as well. I’m particularly interested in the Crimson Ranger armor for Elessir. WARNING: I had to turn this mod on after getting out of Helgen, because having it on during the cart sequence completely fucked up the physics and made the sequence unplayable.
- Immersive Citizens Jorrvaskr Door Fix – Elessir’s not going to be joining the Companions, but I got this bugfix mod anyway on general principles.
- Immersive HUD – iHud – This one I had to get because it has the ability to let you toggle your HUD UI completely off! Very helpful for screenshot purposes. 😀
- Immersive Hud Settings Loader
- Immersive KS Hairdos – This one goes with KS Hairdos, and is not a replacer for it; it whittles down the mind-bogglingly large selection of hairdos in the other mod to a set a bit more lore-friendly.
- KS Hairdos SSE – This mod is singlehandedly responsible for my finding Elessir some very appropriate hair. 😉
- Lightened Skyrim – Another mod I installed as a performance tweak.
- Assorted additional Practical Female Armor mods – As with the original Practical Female Armors mod I installed, Elessir of course can’t use these, but his female housecarls can.
- RaceMenu – Now that I’ve actually used this mod in character creation, I see why people like it so much. The additional options for building a character were pretty awesome.
- SkyHUD – Another HUD-changing mod which I pulled in mostly because it has some kerning fixes to location discovery notifications! But it has other features I may explore as well. Compatible with iHUD.
- Skyrim Landscape and Water Fixes, SSE Display Tweaks, and SSE FPS Stabilizer – More performance tweaking.
- The Eyes of Beauty SSE and The Eyes of Beauty SSE – Elves Edition – This mod comes with two files, the main one and the one for elves, and I pulled down both of them.
- Thieves Guild for Good Guys Settings Loader
- Thieves Guild for Good Guys – Taking Care of Business Redux – A different version of the Thieves Guild mod I tried in Harrow’s run, which will hopefully have fixed the issues I saw with Delvin’s jobs, we’ll find out!
- Whiterun Wall Fix for Noble Skyrim
- Zak’s Female Imperial Guards and Soldiers – A different mod to put female guards into the Imperial-controlled holds, just because I really want them, but the other mod I tried had the game-breaking bug at the beginning when running Dragon Rising.
Mods I had in Harrow’s run
I called out all the links for these on my post Mods for Harrowhark’s Playthrough, so I’m not going to repeat them here. Just noting the list of the ones I’m keeping.
- SSE Engine Fixes – Right now I have only the second of the two files from this mod, because when I activate the first one it throws me an error about a DLL not loading. I think but do not know for sure that this may be a result of the mod not getting properly updated to reflect updates to the SKSE? But I’m working okay right now with just the second of this mod’s two files, so I’m not going to worry about this much.
- Address Library for SKSE Plugins
- Armor and Clothing Extension
- Ars Metallica
- Bards Reborn Student of Song
- Bards Reborn USSEP Patch
- Bards Reborn Student of Song Script Fix
- Beyond Skyrim – Bruma
- Beyond Skyrim DLC Integration Patch
- Campfire – Complete Camping System
- Campfire Bits and Pieces Hoarding Fix
- CC Bow of Shadows Lingering Invisibility Fix
- Convenient Horses
- Cutting Room Floor
- Dark Brotherhood for Good Guys
- Dark Brotherhood for Good Guys Journal Hotfix
- Dawn of Skyrim
- Dawn of Skyrim Fishing Patch
- eFPS – Anniversary Edition
- eFPS – Exterior FPS Boost
- Enhanced Volumetric Lighting and Shadows
- Ethereal Clouds
- Guard Dialogue Overhaul
- Happy Little Trees
- Hearthfire Dolls Are Ugly
- Hearthfire Display Case Fix
- Hide SkyUI
- Immersive Citizens
- Immersive College of Winterhold Patch Collection
- Immersive College of Winterhold SE
- Innocence Lost Alternative
- Ish’s Souls to Perks
- Lucien – Because I loved Lucien as a follower and I will be taking him on again.
- Lucien Creation Club Patch – Just to get in all the Lucien lines for all the AE content!
- Lucien Bruma Patch – And his lines for Beyond Skyrim – Bruma, as well.
- Menu Maid
- Noble Skyrim – I really like the overall visual changes of Noble Skyrim, but this time through I’ll be using the Performance versions of the textures for the mod, as part of my attempt to get better outdoor performance. Particularly on the Deck.
- Powerofthree’s Tweaks
- Practical Female Armors SE – The original Practical Female Armors mod I installed, which I am keeping in this run for the sake of putting better armor on female housecarls.
- Practical Female Hide Armors
- Realistic Water Two
- Relationship Dialogue Overhaul
- Almost all of the “Rustic” series of texture overhaul mods. (I deleted the “Rustic Mountains” one just because Vortex bitched at me at one point about it being redundant due to getting overwritten by other mods.)
- Rustic Amulets
- Rustic Animated Potions and Poisons
- Rustic Azura’s Star
- Rustic Clothing
- Rustic Clutter Collection
- Rustic Cooking
- Rustic Daedra
- Rustic Dragons
- Rustic Elderscroll
- Rustic Forsworn
- Rustic Frostbite Spider
- Rustic Furniture
- Rustic Reliefs
- Rustic Soulgems
- Rustic Spriggan
- Rustic Windows
- Serana Dialogue Edit
- Simply Knock
- Simply Knock SKSE64 DLL
- Skyrim Script Extender 64 (SKSE64)
- Skyrim SE Project Optimization
- Realistic Animals and Predators
- SkyUI Flashing Savegames Fix
- SkyUI.esp Plugin With Skyrim.esm Master
- Sounds of Skyrim – Dialing this one down some just because I found a lot of its sounds distracting. Used the “Light” settings when running its installer this time.
- The Paarthurnax Dilemma – Because I’m still on #TeamTheDragonLivesGoddammit, Delphine!
- The Paarthurnax Dilemma – Voiced Dialogue
- Tidy Up
- Unofficial Skyrim Special Edition Patch – Goes without saying, really!
- Warmer Bandit Armor
- Weapons Armor Clothing and Clutter Fixes
Mods I’m keeping around but just not activating in this run
- Hedge Mage Armor – I love love love the Hedge Mage Armor, but the armor was designed for female characters only, so I’m not running the mod for Elessir. There’s a male version of the armor in another mod, but I was underwhelmed by how it looked on the guys in the screenshots on its page. And I’m pulling in Immersive Armors for this run, so I’ll have plenty of other armor types to try.
So let’s see if this works without exploding, shall we?
I took variations on this set of mods through a bunch of testing, and did like a dozen tests that started with Helgen and went up to the point of fighting Mirmulnir at the Western Watchtower. That gave me a pretty decent range of test scenarios.
And this current set is getting me real good FPS numbers inside dungeons. Running on my VM, I saw my FPS routinely topping 100 in Bleak Falls Barrow. Outside, on the roads between Riverwood and Whiterun, I managed to hold fairly steady in the range of the low 30’s. Which is an improvement over Harrow’s run.
On the Deck I was getting similar numbers in exterior locations. In Bleak Falls Barrow I was framerate-capped at 60, because the Deck locks you by default to 60. (I may test unlocking that just to see what happens, though.)
Any questions, drop a comment!