skyrim: mods and build

There are so many cool mods out there, Rakuno published a great list which I need to check out properly and Ocho also has listed his top 10 mods.  *Edit* Ravanel has also listed the mods she uses.  All 3 lists are definitely worth checking out.  I only have a few mods installed as I am over-cautious and worry about overloading my system and whether or not mods will clash with each other…


  1. Better Females by Bella (core packs) by Teleportdactyl (original mod on nexus by BellaGail)  Its not a look I usually go for but I don’t particularly like the standard wood elf model.
  2. The Reserve by Lixthe  gorgeous home with everything you need
  3. Build Your Own Home by Supernastypants its just a lot of fun!
  4. Automatic Perks by Mecha Gamera  (CHEAT mod) Basically if you have levelled a skill and are entitled to a perk, you gain it.  You don’t have to wait and skill up one perk per level.  Yes it is slightly overpowered but given the amount of hours I’ve played, I felt justified 😉
  5. Salt Pile Crafting by SHiLLySiT  Make salt from mudcrab chitin.  Its just nice to have another source of salt rather than scavenging for it.
  6. More Rain by Zappoo  
  7. Better Dynamic Snow by DMP
  8. Arrowsmith: Vanilla Edition by Samutz A must for archers.

I think most of these mods are available on nexus too, I use the Steam workshop currently but I may go back to using the nexus mod manager.

Some screenshots of before and after screenies of Better Females, some Build Your Own Home shots (am still building the home) and a few from The Reserve (there are more rooms and facilities outside that I didn’t take screenies of):

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


I thought people might be interested in how I set my character up.  I play a sneaky, bow-wielding thief type.  I use my bow exclusively, even at short range (the only time I use melee weapons are either if my bow is disarmed and I don’t have a backup or against ice wraiths who are hard to hit with a bow).   I also don’t really use magic…  although having a few healing/conjuring spells and stock of scrolls can be handy.  I use the Shouts though (and normally, as I press Z for Fus do Rah or the turn to ice shout, I hope I haven’t got Whirlwind Sprint active :P)  I never use a companion, it doesn’t quite work with my playstyle and I just don’t really like it… I like being on my own 🙂

This is the great thing about Skyrim, there are so many ways to play and build your character, and they all work 🙂

The Thieves Guild questline is, in my opinion, the best questline in the game.  The characters are great and really well-voiced, there are twists and turns, lots of sneaking AND lots of sneaking with Brynjolf and Karliah and you end up with 3 sets of great sneaky gear.  I love the atmosphere of the Thieves Guild, it plays into the gentleman thief stereotype (no killing – bad for business ;)) or the old east end stereotype – bit naughty but their hearts are in the right place.

Back in the day, when I played Daggerfall I used to be a light armoured melee type (and levitate! I miss levitate!), Morrowind I was still meleeing but started using the bow a lot more and then in Oblivion, I finally found my calling and started properly down the sneak thief route.  It still feels a bit wrong when I walk around town in my thieves guild gear and I’m not kill on sight…  It was fantastic though when I found the bust of the Gray Fox in Skyrim!


I get my health to a level where I’m surviving enough (200 is usually my first goal), then I bump up endurance so I can carry more and zoom with my bow for longer.  I will put some points into mana, so I can cast some last-resort panic spells.  Then carry on health > endurance > mana

I have now started using the Perk Cheat (listed above) but the perks that follow are easily achievable without resorting to a cheat.  I’ve only been using the cheat for the last few days and I already had my main trees sorted, so for me, its just given a boost to speech and crafting.  I prioritise the Archery, Sneak and Lockpicking trees, and will get those levelled first.

Archery tree:  I max out this tree.

Sneak tree:  I max out Stealth, Muffled Movement, Backstab – to get to next perk~>Deadly Aim.  I don’t find the rest of the sneak tree to be particularly useful (I like to setoff traps and lure enemy in, the roll looks very cool but erm doesn’t seem to have any actual benefit)

Lockpicking:  I max out all except for Locksmith (picking locks isn’t that difficult esp with the other perks) and Unbreakable (this skill would be more useful at beginning when picks are limited, by the time you get to it I tend to have picks coming out of my ears)

Pickpocket:  I just spend enough points to get to Extra Pockets which increases your carrying capacity by 100

Light Armour:  I tend to just spend in Agile Defender and Custom Fit as I prioritise damage.

Those are my core trees.  Once I know I have enough perks to do the above I’ll look at other trees such as Speech or Restoration.  For crafting, I would put points into alchemy first, then enchanting and then smithing.  Reason being, that potions are always useful, being able to enchant your looted gear is also useful.  You can make some awesome gear with smithing but… I find the game isn’t difficult with the quested or looted gear you gain so its not a huge deal for me.

So, what mods do you use and how do you build your character?


7 comments on “skyrim: mods and build

  1. Hm. I didn’t know about that salt pile crafting mod. I might give it a try considering how often I am out of them. On the other hand I don’t have that much stock of crab chitin either…

    As for favorite storyline my favorite has to be the Dark Brothehood one. It is just big human tragedy. Granted it is all taken to extremes because a lot of the people involved are a bunch of psychopaths but it is still a tragedy. The main story line isn’t bad either. The Dawnguard main storyline is pretty good too although it feels a bit short when it is all done. On the other hand if they made it longer it would probably be filled with nonsensical plot twists just to keep things going. So I guess it is just right as it is.

    As for character builds it depends on the character I am playing. I won’t go into the details of the perks since I use a mod to change them and I don’t remember the name of the original ones. So I will just keep it very generic. 🙂

    Warrior: This was my first character as it usually is in any Elder Scroll game. My build was more of a one-hand war axe, shield, heavy armor, smithing and very little else. He didn’t need much more than that to deal with all the threats he met though out the game. Him and Lydia made a pretty good duo. Although near the end of the game he did substitute Lydia for a nuker follower he found out in a ruined tower who offered to tag along if he helped her. Used a lot of shouts too, getting almost all of them.

    Mage: Trying to master all schools of magic and enchanting. Not only because he is a mage but because it seems there are some quests for each school of magic if you master them. The drawback is that training can get pretty expensive as I don’t use most of my spells besides destruction, restoration and when I remember, it alteration to raise my defense. Enchanting is lagging behind a lot too despite my original plan to focus on it to get some good enchanted gear for him and his followers.

    He usually takes Lydia and Mjoll with him (thanks to Amazing Follower Tweaks since it allows him to keep more than one at the same time) and some times also an assassin mercenary or a nuker depending on circumstances. Although some times I just send Mjoll back to Riften when her talkative nature starts to get on my nerves. I love her to death and her lines, almost as much as Lydia. But she does have a tendency to talk a little too much and with only a handful of lines, this can get annoying.

    Thief/Assassin/Vampire: The one I am currently playing. My original one is gone due to being played with a heavy mod list that changed a lot since them. So I am pretty sure that save file is beyond gone. That and I like to take some trophies from my most important quests and other important events. I wanted to make a lair for her to hang out all the stuff in a trophy room of sorts but by now I am pretty sure I wouldn’t remember where I got each stuff or its significance. Still got no lair but haven’t collected that many stuff yet.

    The other reason is because I am more knowledgeable about how to play a thief/assassin now and I wanted to do things different. Also to test my mods to see how much a follower would get in the way if you sneak around a lot. Still on the fence about it given certain details.

    As far as strategy goes, I prefer to sneak to my target and stab them. Although if I am not feeling like taking risks I pull out the bow and shoot the target from a distance, hoping to kill it with one shot.

    Perks I am planning for are dual-wielding blades, sneaking, lockpicking (just so I can unlock those master and other hard locks without tearing my hair out), pickpocketing, bows, alchemist and the one about dealing with people (forgot the name of it). If possible I would also like to raise my enchanting and smithing eventually. But those are much lower priority. Right now I am focusing on better and more varied ways to kill people. 🙂

    And yes, I miss the levitate spells too! Specially when a quest requires me to go up a mountain and I am trying to figure out where is the path to get up there!

    Whew. That was a big wall of text. I should just have made a blog post about most of it now that I think about it… :p

  2. First, thanks for the mention. 🙂 Right now I’m almost level 40 (and barely even started the main questline), and I focus on One-Hand weapons (Maces), Light Armor, Restoration magic, Sneaking, Speech, and Destruction Magic (Lightning). But really, like all Elder Scrolls games I’ve played, I like the jack of all trades.

    However, I’ve stayed away from lockpicking abilities, only because you just need to carry a lockpicking amulet and then even master locks become easy. Spending points on that tree just seems like a waste.

    If you like to use traps, though, setting your own with fire/frost runes work well, too. Just need to get enough mana to place one down first.

    Also, like you, I don’t like using companions. Didn’t have one for Morrowind or Oblivion, and I don’t need one here. It’s nice they’re around, but every time one just follows me for something, I just want to get the quest done as fast as possible.

    Now, as far as mods go, I’m using about 35 of them. 😛 I find that unless there’s an obvious direct conflict, that everything works great together. If it doesn’t, even shifting around the load order solves it. By the way, see that blue woodcutter’s stump in the background? You may want to look at this mod, too…

  3. @Rakuno I always think about trying out different playstyles or skills but I always end up gravitating back towards my bow! and sneaking… though that can catch you out – i’ve sneaked about and not realised that there was someone sitting in a chair and nearly jumped out of my skin when I’ve turned round 😉 and thanks for your comment, its great hearing how other ppl build their characters – maybe you should turn it into a blog post? 🙂

    @Ocho firstly, many apologies for not commenting on your skyrim posts – I did read and enjoy them 🙂 thanks for the reassurance about the mods and um that blue stump… after I did a quest for ice wraith teeth (to chill her produce) I assumed they were blue cos they were erm… cold! hadn’t realised it was a graphical glitch (like the logs) der!

  4. Not wrong to sticking to your preferred play style. I had a similar problem with my mage, he is cool and all but after a while I was really longing for some melee, which is my preferred play style. Thus my thief/assassin was reborn! 🙂

    And yes, I am thinking about maybe writing a post about them. But I would have to take good screenshots and… well, I just don’t feel like taking screenshots right now. >_<

  5. Aargh, I really thought I had replied to this one!

    Better late than never, I guess.

    You already know what I build like (less health than you, more stamina on my hunter type), but it does require bringing Lydia with me to tank for me when it gets though. Recently, I’ve fallen to my old magic preference and played a bit on my mage. Might swap over to her, not sure yet – can’t choose! Going for more balance between health/magicka there and will mostly solo stuff.

    As for the talent trees: I’m not that high level yet, so can’t say that much about it yet. Now just spending them in the obvious choices for hunter & mage types. I do have a mod that improves the talent trees and I love it! It really gives you loads of extra options to play with.

    I love all the mods you and the others have been posting! I really need to sit down and write down all those that I want to try out myself. It’s been a bit of a job that I’ve put off, as I’m having some crashing issues with Skyrim lately. Reinstalling and updated all my mods helped a bit, but it’s still doing it sometimes. Perhaps I just need to reinstall the whole game. Anyway, when that’s fixed I’m planning to write a post about the mods I like on Ravalation, rather than making your poor comments totally overflow here!

    Love your post, more Skyrim posts ftw!

  6. there’s so many good mods out there! I definitely need to go through Ocho’s and Rakuno’s lists as I’m sure I’m missing out on some cool stuff.

    I haven’t had much chance to play recently though (rl is busy busy busy!) and given Rohan is out soon, I’ll probably won’t pick it up again until October ish :/

    look forward to reading your post 🙂

  7. Pingback: Happy 5th Year Blogoversary to me! | StarShadow

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s