Immersive Skyrim: Introduction

One of the reasons I built a PC for myself this year was gaming. I hadn’t had a real, solid gaming machine yet and was excited to try it out. In particular, I wanted to see what I could do with mods on Skyrim.

I managed to gather a fair amount of mods that all worked together to give me an interesting, immersive experience. While I haven’t gotten very far in the game’s storyline (technically I haven’t officially started, but I’ll explain that later) I’ve had an interesting time wandering around, doing a bit of dungeon crawling, and ending up getting into and out of a fair amount of trouble.

I thought since I was having so much fun with this play style, someone else might too and so here’s the first part of my guide on playing Skyrim with a bunch of immersion mods. I’ve also added one “in character” cheat mod that keeps things fun.

Okay, fine, I’ll start with the cheat mod.

My character, as I’m playing her, is a Kajit from elsewhere in the Elder Scrolls world. She and her mother (who died recently) were traveling merchants and tinkers. In her grief, she sold everything they had except for the Haven Bag that had been passed down in the family for generations. She came to Skyrim to see what it was like and maybe try starting her life over again.

So yeah, the Haven Bag is probably the cheatiest cheat ever. It’s a house you can carry as a piece of equipment, complete with a bunch of loot, bed, alchemy table, workbench, etc. etc. So sue me, I’m a pack rat. I have to pick up everything I see and having a limited inventory is not for me. Yes, I’ve also slept in the bag and used it to warm up. But this is a land of magic, right? And yeah, this is what my character’s ancestors used to get by in life. It’s there to be used.

Okay, now that I’ve finished justifying why my total cheat is okay, I’ll tell you a bit more about the immersive mods I gathered to make the world feel more lived in and real, not to mention more dangerous. I’m going to go over the general categories now, and then break down the mods in separate posts later.

Before I get started, I’ve created a spreadsheet that lists all the mods, including the load order and links.

First, I have a bunch of what I’ll call “General” mods. These are the standard mods that are recommended that most players use, even if they’re playing a fairly vanilla game otherwise.

Next comes the “Cosmetic” mods. These make the whole world a little prettier, a little more lively, and a lot more realistic, especially when it comes to the animals in the world. I added quite a few of these.

“Loot and Trading” will be after that. I’ve added just a few things to make trade more realistic and add some depth to the world that wasn’t there before.

After that, I’ll talk about the “Direct Effects” mods I’ve added. These add more interactivity to the environment itself, effect the character’s stats, or modify the way the inventory works.

Finally, I’ll cover one of the most interesting set of mods I’ve added: “Health”. These are the mods that massively change the way the game is played and ties all the other mods together into a more immersive, impactful experience.

All in all, adding these mods has made Skyrim interesting and more challenging, though not in the typical way. Monsters and men retain their same level of difficulty. It’s the environment itself that seeks to punish with a more dangerous journey and reward with more beauty and subtlety.

Now I just wish I could keep avoiding that pesky main storyline.