Simple Baseline Gameplay Mod Suite for Skyrim (LE)

Skyrim: Simple Baseline Gameplay Mod Suite

For PC Legendary Edition (LE)




To set a universal consistent mod list that I can recommend to readers of my builds, as well as to current and prospective builders moving forward — a list designed for a more diverse and engaging gameplay experience. To do so in a manner that is streamlined, easy to follow, and highly compatible.


Core Mods

These ten mods are strongly recommended, as they work well together and vastly improve the potential builds and synergies across all play styles. Install in the order listed below, and refer to my comments and screenshots for recommended options and settings as applicable. Please also download and install SKSE for LE, as well as SkyUI for access to the Mod Configuration Menu (MCM).


  1. Ultimate Combat: My recommended combat overhaul, as I prefer its approach over the other big combat overhauls. Where others add wounds, fatigue, stunted health, etc., Ultimate Combat makes combat more dynamic and complex without bogging you down in tedious micromanagement. Suggested tweaks: Disable Timed Block: Ordinator’s timed block perks are better balanced and more interesting. Disable Swing Effect: personal preference, but I find it a bit campy and distracting.
  2. Sacrosanct - Vampires of Skyrim: The vampire overhaul I recommend because it is balanced, well documented compatible, actively maintained, and available on both LE and SE. Includes new perks, powers, abilities, and mechanics that dramatically alter vampirism in both human form and vampire lord form. Recommended version 403; you only need the one file in old versions (or if you choose, the main file v5.10).
    • Note: Alternate Start users should not pick the vampire start, as it will fail to trigger the Sacrosanct vampirism properly. Sacrosanct adds a Potion of Embracing that you can use to gain vampirism on a new character if you desire.
  3. Summermyst - Enchantments of Skyrim: This enchantment expansion adds 104 new enchantments (55 armor enchantments, 49 weapon enchantments) that are fully and seamlessly integrated into the game, and further fixes many prominent bugs with vanilla enchantments. Current version 3.05 as of this guide; you only need the main file.
  4. Andromeda - Standing Stones of Skyrim: Replaces and enhances all standing stones to be more interesting and balanced, including a passive ability and an active ability for each. Download the main file, currently v1.02.
  5. Imperious - Races of Skyrim: Adds new passives, abilities, and baseline stats to the player and NPCs, allowing for much more interesting build possibilities and distinct play styles by race. Download one of the main files only (I suggest the most recent, currently v7.24).
  6. Apocalypse - Magic of Skyrim: This spell pack adds 155 spells (31 per school) plus scrolls and staves. Balanced around vanilla magic power. Highly compatible and light on scripting. Current version 9.45 as of this guide. Download the main file, as well as optional file “Ordinator compatibility patch”. Make sure the patch plugin loads after both Apocalypse and Ordinator (it should do so automatically if you sort with LOOT).
  7. Ordinator - Perks of Skyrim: A comprehensive perk overhaul that allows for much more diverse and specialized builds. Has comprehensive details and compatibility notes on the Nexus page which I strongly recommend reading. Download the main file (currently v9.26) and optional file “Thief Skills Rebalance” file.
    • Note: I do not recommend the optional extra perk points.
  8. Dual Wield Parrying Reimplementation: My recommended dual wield parry mod. I find it is more natively compatible, stable, and customizable than the other prominent options for LE.
  9. Moonlight Tales Special Edition: My recommended werewolf overhaul. This is the most recent version of the premier werewolf overhaul for Skyrim, and is available for both LE and SE in the same updated form. Adds new perks, abilities, howls, gear, visuals, lunar transformations, and more. Download the main file only (current version 1.35).
  10. Mortal Enemies - De-aimbot Your Foes: This mod comprehensively retools the “aimbot” damage cone for pretty much every enemy. For human characters, it is even tweaked based on weapon type. A power attack with a warhammer is a full commitment, whereas a quick jab with a dagger leaves some room for adjustment mid-swing. This is essential to allow for dodging and adding some weight to combat. Download main file v1.4 (just the first file on the list).



Optional Mods

These mods are not required; however, they synergize well with the core mods, allowing for more combat to be even more dynamic, engaging, and fine-tuned to your desired challenge level. Please take the responsibility of researching compatibility for these mods yourself; several of them may require some knowledge to use together, with the core mods, and/or with other popular mods. For this reason, I will not provide direct links for these. I will give a few pointers below, but I expect you to take an active role in reading the descriptions and understanding conflict resolution if you want to use these.


  1. SkyTweak: This mod allows you to customize virtually every game setting, actor value, and variable in Skyrim to customize your game to your liking. Examples include jump height, weapon reach, time scale, field of view, merchant gold, sale price scaling, experience rate by skill, damage taken/received, armor rating inputs, and many more options. It also comes with some very useful tweaks such as better crit scaling, bleed damage scaling, customizable trap damage, shout scaling based on held dragon souls, and more. It even comes with some optional scripts for timed block, death alternative, and more, though I do not recommend activated those; let Ordinator’s timed block perks be your option there. It can be manually ported to SE quite easily as well and retains *nearly* all functionality. A few settings I like:
    • Weapon reach: 1.20 (I suggest staying in the range of 1.10-1.25)
    • Bash reach: 1.08 (I suggest staying in the range of 1.05-1.15)
    • Damage taken: 1.60 (I suggest staying in the range of 1.30-1.70)
    • Damage dealt: 1.40 (I suggest staying in the range of 1.30-1.70)
    • Timescale: 15
    • Fast Travel Mult: 4.25
    • Trap Damage: 500%
    • Jump Height: 85
    • Dual Cast Cost & Damage: 2.50
    • NPC Magic Cost: 1.0
    • Lesser Power Cooldown Time: 0.2 seconds
    • NPCs Use Ammo
    • NPC Dodge Chance: 0.1
    • Crit Scaling
    • Bleed Scaling
    • Shout Scaling (I like 2.0%, but YMMV)
  2. ASIS: This is a SkyProc patcher that has several core features: Increased spawns (customized to your personal preference out of limitless options), ability for NPCs to properly use potions, enchantments, and perks (including from the core mods above), and more. You can choose which features you want with the patcher. If you use ASIS, I highly recommend grabbing the separate mod ASIS Improved INI Files. Let the Improved INIs overwrite the default INIs in your mod management tool.
  3. Weapon Parry Standalone: A very simple mod that adds just one more dimension to combat. If you and an enemy attack at the same time, the blows will cancel, both targets will take damage equal to what they would have taken if blocking.
    • Note: Make sure you load this early (before Ordinator) as it contains an outdated version of the Brawl Bug fix which is superseded by the version packaged with Ordinator.
  4. DSer Animations / Dual Wield Improved Animation / Blocking Animation Pack: My favorite combat animations for LE. Make sure these overwrite any other animation mods you may be using, such as Immersive Animations, Enhanced Animations, Realistic Animation Project, etc. (I recommend Realistic Animation Project as a baseline for movements and idles, for the record.)
  5. TK Dodge: The definitive dodge mod for LE (also newly available for SE). Very responsive, customizable, and well documented. If you use this, I recommend setting the invincibility window (i-frames) to 0.0, as Mortal Enemies allows you to actually dodge rather than just simulating it.
  6. VioLens - A Killmove Mod: The best kill move mod around, to my knowledge.  This mod adds new kill cams and allows you to customize when and how they are triggered. I particularly recommend the option for disabling enemy kill moves to the player (SkyTweak has an option for this as well, if you do not want to use VioLens).
  7. Loot & Degradation: This mod adds a mechanic whereby tempered gear gradually decreases in temper level through use in combat, and needs to be retempered to be kept in optimal shape. There is an option for gear to have a chance to break if it is untempered, though personally I do not recommend this. The mod also includes the ability to find tempered loot in the wild, and to pay smiths to temper your gear for you. This mod is highly configurable to suit your own preferences.
  8. Armor Rating Rescaled: A small but very impressive SKSE plugin that retools the AR formula to be more linear. In vanilla, going from 500 to 550 AR is much more meaningful than going from 100 to 150. This mod fixes that and makes them roughly equivalent.
  9. Ultimate Dragons: By the author of Ultimate Combat, this dragon overhaul makes dragons more powerful and grants new attacks, without adding the tedious mechanics that several other popular dragon overhauls use.
  10. Thunderchild - Epic Shouts and Immersion: A Shout expansion by Enai Siaion, author of many of the core mods (Ordinator, Imperious, Summermyst, Apocalypse, Aurora, and Sacrosanct). I opted not to include this in the core as I feel it is not as well balanced as the author’s other mods (adds several shouts I feel are overpowered, and new abilities that further strengthen the Thu’um). However, this opens up many new avenues for making a Dragonborn/Graybeard playthrough more interesting, powerful, and structured.



Thank you for reading! Let me know what mods you think are essential for the best gameplay and character building experience!


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  • Amazing guide Teccam. I’m sure this will prove very useful to many people. I have one question about ASIS though. What do the improved INI files actually do to ASIS?

    • Mainly the Improved INIs tackle two things:

      1. Generally optimized baseline settings for the ASIS patcher. More logical and effective settings that enhance gameplay compared to the original.
      2. The default ASIS INI files only support the vanilla game -- no mods, and not even the official DLC, are included in the patch. For ASIS to properly patch your game, you need to edit the INI files to tell it about any mods you're using that it may want to be aware of -- stuff like new lands, enemy expansions, perk overhauls, and spell/enchantment expansions. The Improved INIs unlock support natively for many of the most popular such mods.

      There's in incomplete list of supported mods in this article on the ASIS Improved INI Files page. The article also goes into more depth about how the INIs work, and how to determine whether you may need to further customize your INIs for the best experience.

      Skyrim Nexus - mods and community
  • Wow this is an incredibly detailed list. I currently play the PS4 version of the game but I am going to make the switch over to PC once I save up enough to build a decent rig. 

    Also what are your thoughts on Forgotten Magic? It’s the magic mod I am most eager to try out. 

    • Forgotten Magic's approach is interesting to me. I did a playthrough of my Sword-Singer build using the Conjure Weapon spell from Forgotten Magic Redone. It worked well, providing a sense of progression to the spell as I used it. I guess my criticisms of the mod would be that:

      • Most of the spells quickly outdo other spells, becoming overpowered early on (and continuing to grow for some time yet)
      • The progression rate for leveling up spells is very fast in my opinion

      The former can largely be tempered by personal limitations and/or various difficulty mods, etc. The latter, it may be possible to change in the Mod Configuration Menu. I don't recall if I ever looked for such a setting.

      • Limitations yeh. I think that’s a good idea. I myself have a bad habit of making characters way too OP. 

    • Forgotten magic is easily my favorite spell pack mod. Every spell basically comes with 10 of its own perks of which you can choose up to 5.  

      Theres so much synergy between each spell and their individual perks. So much so that one isn’t having to dig into difficult or convoluted exploits to make their build stand out. 

      But as Teccam said it is possible to quickly become overpowered unless personal restraint s exercised. Then again Anything can become over powered if you don’t restrain yourself.  My advice, as s with every build concept, is to take just what is needed to make your build and not a single thing more.

      You want your build to feel like something most players can pick up and hold their own with while still allowing the game to present them a challenge.

  • Sacrosanct looks pretty overwhelming on paper, but I’m pretty sure it’s simple once one tries it out, right?

    • Well, if you're referring to the title, I was using "simple" in the sense of a streamlined and conflict-lite package, more than that the mods themselves necessarily are all simple. But I think Sacrosanct is fairly straightforward for the most part. The documentation on the Nexus covers anything you would really need to know. And generally, vampirism plays out similarly to vanilla: You have similar strengths/weaknesses tied to hunger, you get unique powers and abilities depending on your stage of vampirism, you get access to strong magic and perks in vampire lord form.

      Sacrosanct just makes all of those more expansive and interesting, while adding some small side elements to further support a vampire playthrough. Like many of Enai's mods, it enables a much wider array of builds, as well as more synergies and deeper specializations. But it doesn't really re-write the vanilla concepts. If you know how to play a vampire in vanilla, you shouldn't have any difficulty getting into Sacrosanct.

      • Pretty solid argument. Cant disagree with that. It just seemed like alot to take in initially upon first reading it. 

  • Very nice mod list, Teccam! Do you know anything about the impact of these mods on performance? Most people know I play on a toaster so big mods aren’t an option for me, but these mods do seem cool and worth trying out.

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