Kendeshel Playthrough,  Modding,  Skyrim

Prep and load order for Legacy of the Dragonborn playthrough

Y’all, I think I may in fact have a functioning load order for Legacy of the Dragonborn!

It took a while to get this set up, but less time than I was anticipating. So since I think this playthrough is going to be official, here’s a post to document what mods I’m using and what I did to get it all working.

Deets behind the fold.

Resources and basic process

Main resources I’ve used for this effort:

And here’s what I did to get this all up and running:

  1. Read over the Full Guide’s install instructions, and as per those instructions, installed Legacy’s main mod first.
  2. Went down the list of mods in the Complete Collection listed above, and selected which of those I wanted; I didn’t want to install the entire collection, since I saw commentary on its page that indicated it was out of date. So I wound up bringing in a selection of mods from that, the ones that seemed most interesting to me, but not all of them.
  3. Then reviewed what mods I have running in Elessir’s playthrough, and turned a bunch of those on for Kendeshel’s as well.
  4. Grabbed a couple of extra mods for the express purpose of finding good Redguard hair to use on my character, since she’ll be take two of Kendis, and I wanted this version to be a better match for my heroine Kendis Thompson on the cover of Faerie Blood. <3
  5. Installed the LotD official patches.
  6. Installed the LOTD Creation Club content patches.

In other words, I pretty much followed the Full Guide’s main install instructions.

I’ve been advised by the LotD Discord that since I play on unsupported platforms (namely, Steam Deck and my Win11 VM), they can’t really support me if any problems come up. So I wanted to make extra special sure that I followed their official guide. I’m hoping that since I did that, any problems I run into will be minimal.

Main takeaway here being: if a gigantic mod tells you in no uncertain terms to follow their install instructions, believe them.

What new mods I pulled in off the Complete Collection

  • Additional Hearthfire Dolls, because I liked the idea of all the extra types of dolls that you could maybe give to your kids, or collect yourself if you are so inclined.
  • Alternate Start – Live Another Life, because I’d not tried this before and I wanted to give it a spin. Especially since it hooks in well with starting a Legacy run. And the LoTD Discord mentioned that if dumps you into an initial room where you can have time to let all your chosen mods install themselves! After seeing Immersive Armors make the Helgen cart sequence go completely fucking batshit, I found this a very compelling argument for installing this.
  • Dawnguard Arsenal SSE, because I thought the idea of additional weaponry for the Dawnguard was solid. I’ve always found the assortment of Dawnguard gear a little lacking.
  • Moon and Star, which adds a whole extra adventure to run, with ties back to Morrowind. The title alone is highly suggestive of that, and of the Nerevarine in particular.
  • Project AHO, which adds in a new location and plotline in Eastmarch. House Telvanni is involved, and probably also Blackreach. More Morrowind-related stuff here.
  • Wintersun – Faiths of Skyrim, a mod which I’d already encountered before in exploring Nexus. I liked the idea of this, giving some more oomph to religious beliefs in the game, and also bringing in the opportunity for characters to actively worship deities besides the Divines. Particularly relevant if you’re playing a character race with its own pantheon. Like, say, a Redguard.
  • Wyrmstooth, another mod that adds a new location and a new quest line to play out.

What mods I pulled in from my previous set

I wound up pulling in more mods out of Elessir’s set than I’d planned! I’d originally started working on this load order with the rough idea that I’d try to keep it minimal. But after digging into the above mentioned collection as well as reviewing Elessir’s load order, I realized I had a few main goals I wanted to follow here:

  1. Opportunity to explore more new content from mods
  2. Keeping the main mods I’ve enjoyed playing with so far
  3. Pulling back on some of the mods I installed that were performance heavy

For number three on this list in particular, this means I’ve elected to leave out some heavy performance hitters like EVLaS and Realistic Animals and Predators. I’m also dialing back some on a bunch of the environmental and architectural mods I’ve tried before, just to see if that gives me some performance back. So Noble Skyrim is out, as are all of the “Rustic” series I’ve mods I’ve tried before and the Ethereal Clouds and Cosmos mods.

Here’s the list I decided on out of that set:

  • Part 2 of SSE Engine Fixes; I still haven’t gotten Part 1 to work without bitching about the version number of Skyrim that I have installed.
  • A Matter of Time
  • Address Library for SKSE Plugins
  • Aesthetic Elves
  • Armor and Clothing Extension
  • Ars Metallica
  • Bards Reborn Student of Song (and patches)
  • Campfire (and patches)
  • Cloaks of Skyrim; this is not active in Elessir’s run, but I’m bringing it back in for Kendeshel, because Legacy has compatibility with it and I want to see how that plays out.
  • CC Bow of Shadows Lingering Invisibility Fix
  • Convenient Horses, because I am not playing a modded playthrough without this, dammit, being able to call my horse on demand is too fucking useful 😀
  • Cutting Room Floor
  • Dawn of Skyrim (and Fishing patch for same)
  • eFPS (and patches)
  • Expressive Facial Animation (both Female and Male editions)
  • FileAccess Interface for Skyrim SE Scripts; this is very useful for saving presets in RaceMenu so I wanted this back
  • Fine Face Textures For Men, less critical if I’m not playing a dude, but still makes male NPCs look a bit nicer
  • Hearthfire Dolls Are Ugly
  • Hearthfire Display Case Fix
  • Hide SkyUI
  • High Poly Head
  • Immersive Armors
  • Immersive Citizens (and patch)
  • Immersive College of Winterhold (and patches)
  • Immersive HUD (and settings loader)
  • Immersive KS Hairdos
  • Innocence Lost Alternative
  • Ish’s Souls to Perks
  • KS Hairdos
  • Lightened Skyrim
  • Menu Maid
  • powerofthree’s Tweaks
  • All the previous Practical Female Armor related mods I’d had before
  • RaceMenu
  • Skyrim Landscape and Water Fixes
  • Skyrim Script Extender
  • Skyrim SE Project Optimization
  • Skysight Skins
  • SkyUI (and patches)
  • SSE Display Tweaks
  • SSE FPS Stabilizer
  • The Eyes of Beauty
  • The Eyes of Beauty – Elves Edition
  • Tidy Up
  • Unofficial Skyrim Special Edition Patch
  • Warmer Bandit Armor
  • Weapons Armor Clothing and Clutter Fixes
  • Zak’s Female Imperial Guards and Soldiers

A couple more new mods

I’m kind of staggered by how many female hairstyles are in KS Hairdos. Too many, in fact. I’ve seen multiple other mods explicitly dialing that back; the Immersive KS Hairdos one is the one I’m currently trying.

But a thing I noticed while trying to design Kendeshel is that to my eye, the vast majority of those female hairdos look way, way too elegant and fancy for Skyrim. I’ve seen yet other mods that address this, too, and redo a bunch of those with more vanilla-style hair textures.

What I really wanted, though, is a better assortment of hairstyles for Redguard women. In particular, I wanted something that could capture the same idea I had when I wrote Faerie Blood and described Kendis’ hair: i.e., that she had large, wavy, poofy hair that showed aspects of both her human and elven blood. And which was preferably dark red.

Redguard F Hair Grouped and Replacer got me some viable candidates, and even let me choose a style that would still show Kendeshel’s ears. Because this character is half Redguard, half Altmer.

Meanwhile, I learned from the LotD Discord that icecreamassassin, who I’m given to understand is the mastermind behind LotD, also did a mod to improve mannequin management in the game. So I’ve added that to this load order too.

All in all

This load order is not quite as large as Elessir’s, clocking in at 84 total mods.

And I know this is a pretty tiny load order compared to veteran modders out there with hundreds of mods in their load orders. 😀

But this seems like a pretty workable set to me! So Kendeshel’s playthrough will be going live. Watch for her posts to come soon!

As Angela Highland, Angela is the writer of the Rebels of Adalonia epic fantasy series with Carina Press. As Angela Korra'ti, she writes the Free Court of Seattle urban fantasy series. She's also an amateur musician and devoted fan of Newfoundland and Quebecois traditional music.