Build Your Own Skyrim, Part 3: Let’s Have Fun
The Other Stuff
Previously: Part One and Two of our Skyrim modding guide.
My other posts sort of circle-strafe around the crazier ideas that modders have had with Skyrim. Instead we very calmly patched a few holes, and then we respectfully accepted their help to rework the world a bit. It’s taken me a while to have the courage to look at those majestic mountains, curls of cloud hanging off like cotton on the breeze, and say to myself: we need some My Little Pony weapons. I am sorry, Bethesda. Some of the things here are silly, but I can’t help myself. You’ve made such a serious world that, well, there needs to be some fun. Now it’s not going to be a pile of garish nonsense, although one or two will be a bit odd. I’m really just looking at mods that make the world or playing in it a bit more interesting and fun. This collection in a little bit different: fun is not a theme that’s easily quantified, and as such they’re somewhat all over the place and a bit more personalised.
But to begin with we’re not getting terribly wacky. Skyrim’s been out for five months now, and with a world so open and detailed, a lot of people will want to return again and again. If you want to, but you’re put off by the idea of replaying the bloody unskippable cart ride, the dragon battle, and the character choices, then install Alternate Start - Live Another Life – it skips the opening, and lets you choose another route for your character into the game. You could be camping in the woods, or arriving on a ship. You start off in a shack and make your selection from a statue in the corner. After sleeping you begin your new life. Kicking off the main quest requires you to find a dead adventurer near Helgen. Picking his journal up and reading it will set off the dragon attack.
That ought to put a skip in your step, but if you want to augment that then there’s this Leviation mod. Now it’s not really something that makes you float: it’s more of a teleportation, where you aim to where you want to be and your character is launched forwards. I wouldn’t include it if it simply let you do it without any consequences: it costs mana and has a range according to how far you can lob the ball, so you’re not going to be zapped to a mountain top, and if you move too swiftly you’ll take fall damage. Think of it as the Running Water Crossinater, or the Mountain Climbing Easyfier.
But if you’re determined to take to the skies, there’s only one conveyance that makes sense in the world of Skyrim. Can you guess? Go on, just for fun. Fine, be that way. Sadly the mod I’m about to link to has some trouble, but it’s actively being worked on and I’m sure the problems will crumble. The Dragon’s Curse lets you morph into a Dragon. That much is awesome. You have shouts, fire, you’re a terrifying vision of flame-filled terrifyingess, flicking your tail out at puny humans and snapping at them with your mighty jaws. You’ll note I haven’t mentioned ‘flying majestically’, or even ‘hopping slightly’. While flying is an option, it’s still liable to crash the game. You need to save the game when you’ve transformed into a dragon then load that save. After that you can launch into the skies. It’s close to working, and the hefty animation of the great lizard is enough to make me recommend it, but while it’s still more potential than realisation, soon this will be the best damn dragon-transformation mod on the Workshop and/or Nexus.
Similarly, but only that it’s in Skyrim and somewhat involves dragons is Skyrim: Warzones. When Jim talked about the joy of watching NPCs battling it out without your interference this was the mod he was unintentionally imagining and with the power of his thoughts made it be: it creates vast battles in the wilderness, faction versus faction fistycuffing it out. You get to see electricity zapping in the distance as giants stalk past, clubbing at everyone around them, and you’ll be attacked or defended if you have certain allegiances. What’s neat about this mod is just how those battles take place: they’re somewhat instanced, so it’s not an all-out war, but instead pockets of land are given over for the fight clubs to meet: when you know where one is you can come back whenever you’re in the mood for a stramash. It’s a lot of fun.
But not particularly wacky. For that you can turn to Posh Mudcrabs. I think quoting the notes for this will suffice: “Replaces the models of all mudcrabs in the game with a mudcrab with a top hat and monocle.” Quite, and rather. This classy crustacean will make Skyrim 60% extra spiffing. It’s based on Total Biscuit.
Not spiffing or wacky, but fun to let loose on the world is Werewolves of Skyrim - it adds werewolf NPCs to all the holds in the land. They’re rarities, although frankly they’re still a little busy for something considered rare, and come out at day as well as at night, but the impact they make, that you’re aware they’re out there roaming the plains in search of tasty Dovahkiin, put me on the mood of An American Werewolf In London: wandering around in the dark, with a relatively new character was kind of creepy.
But if it gets just too terrifying wandering through the forests knowing there are werewolves out there picking bits of granny out of their teeth, you can seek to restore balance with Jango. What is he? Or your everyday, rideable sabretoothed cat. I swear, more than the dragon shouts and the sillier helmets, Jango has given me that swagger, that style. I blindly crest hills not caring what’s on the other side, shouting “Who’s the Dovahkiin, motherfuckers? That’s right!” He’s a striped white cat with regenerative health. He tears things to pieces in the way only a giant cat made of muscle and teeth can, but he’s been imbued with catlike cuteness: he’ll sleep at your feet. He even has as chewbone. I love the thought that’s gone into him, and he’s by far the best thing in the game.
Now I promised myself that I’d avoid picking at the character creation or dressing scab, reasoning that it’s such a personal decision. I’m also avoiding class and speciality fixes, because they’re too numerous to wade through. If you have any suggestions, please add them in the comments. I won’t even charge for your help, like in Kickstarter. I am going to recommend one set of armour, though, because if there’s anything that can tempt me to care about the look of my clothing over and above the perks it provides, it’s armour imbued with void effects. It has two states: dark and foreboding in the normal stance, and black as David Cameron’s heart in war stance. Best to not use it as an archer, as the living shadow effect tends to waft into view, but for all other occasions it makes a good talking point: “Say, how do you keep your tendrils so evil?”
So that's Skyrim all modded. What's next?