29 mods you should download for Skyrim Special Edition on Xbox One, PS4 and PC


*Updated 30/11/16* I've added a bunch of new mods that are compatible with Xbox One and PS4, so peruse at your leisure!

Skyrim is a beast of a game. I’ve sunk way too many hours into its gaping maw because everytime I hear that theme music my hair stands on end. I love all its locations, NPCs, different environment biomes, monsters, and, of course, its quests - but everyone knows there are still things which need a few tweaks. I’ve trawled through all the mods around to bring you the additions that Skyrim Special Edition on console so desperately needs. 

If you’re wondering where our Skyrim Special Edition review is, don’t fret: it’s on its way. We’ve locked Andy in a room with a flagon of mead, a wheel of cheese, and Skyrim Special Edition, so it will be heading your way as soon as he’s done slaying dragons and marvelling at the landscape.

I’ll be updating this list periodically with which consoles these mods are available on, so be sure to check back to see what new delights await you in Skyrim Special Edition! Or take a look at the story mods for Skyrim Special Edition if you want to add hours of gameplay to your Elder Scrolls experience and neglect going outside for a couple of days.

Spoiler alert: there’s a couple of story spoilers in this post, so read ahead at your own risk.  

Markers: No more wandering aimlessly 

Dragon priest quest markers
Available on:
PC

These masks lead up to an overpowered mask called Konahrik but getting it is tricky, so it’s best to put this off until you’re a high level. The quest itself has a tiny bit of story too which eases the feeling that you’re on another fetch quest.

Stones of Barenziah markers
Available on:
PS4,  Xbox One,  PC

The bloody Stones of Barenziah. This quest sat in my tray for the time it took me to complete all the major quests and a chunk of the sidequests, and I had only found about six. This mod is essential if you want to get all of the stones and find out what mysterious item they make in the end.


Impatience of a Saint markers
Available on:
PS4,  Xbox One,   PC

I was running around the hellish Soul Cairn in circles for a good hour trying to find all of the pages to Jiub’s opus, and this mod cut that time down to about ten minutes. Completely worth it. 

Travelling around Skyrim

A Quality world map and Solsheim map
Available on:
PC

My god, I cannot emphasise enough how much better this mod made Skyrim. If you’re like me and you don’t like to fast-travel the vanilla map, whilst pretty, is almost useless when you’re trying to find a road which will take you from Riften to Solitude. This mod overhauls the map so it’s easy to find routes between cities and picks out most of the paths you could easily miss otherwise. 


Rain and Snow FX
Available on:
PS4, Xbox One

A small addition but one that makes a bucketload of difference: makes you look wet in rain, and frost tints you body when you’re walking through a blizzard. 


Better horses
Available on:
PS4, Xbox One, PC

Among other things, this equine mod has a new horse AI so your mount will flee combat, more stamina (so more galloping), invulnerability (especially useful for me as I tend to Leroy Jenkins in every fight), plus they’re faster. 


Project Hippie
Available on:
PS4

Find it. Download it. Marvel at how this mod lets cities reach their potential, finally turning into the luscious, immersive locations they were meant to be. 


Open Cities Skyrim
Available on:
Xbox One

This means that you don’t have to endure loading screens when you enter cities, which makes for a beautifully seamless transition between shooting deer in the wilds and selling your haul from raiding dungeons to merchants.

Castle Volkihar redux
Available on:
PC

For those bloodsuckers amongst you this mod is sure to be a favourite, as it turns Castle Volkihar into a small town, finally making it feel like you’re really part of the night-walking, bat-loving elite. 

Improving gameplay

Skyrim Special Edition Unofficial Patch
Available on: Xbox One, PC

I’ll keep this brief: download it. It fixes a ton of bugs and is compatible with the vast majority of mods. Win-win.

Static Mesh Improvement
Available on:
Xbox One, PC

This mod adds vast, very visible improvements to the 3D models for most objects in Skyrim. It replaces the low-polygon meshes for most banal objects in the game, and trust me - you'll notice the difference. If you're still unconvinced, head over to their page on Bethesda or Nexus and see the screenshots for yourself. 


Skyrim graphic overhaul
Available on:
Xbox One

It’s simple: this mod makes Skyrim look a ton better. It adds textures to objects in-game such as more plants and grasses, fur looks like fur and not sheets of grey, as well as smoke. Expect in-game immersion to shoot up after installing this mod.


Alternate start - live another life
Available on:
Xbox One, PC

Fed up with being the Dragonborn? I don’t blame you, and this mod lets you start as almost anything from a necromancer’s assistant to a shipwrecked sailor. For those of you who love to replay Skyrim, it lets you roleplay to your heart’s content.


Become a Bard
Available on:
Xbox One, PC

As if the title wasn’t self-explanatory enough, I’ll spell it out for you: this mod lets you become a proper bard, not just a travelling Dragonborn who occasionally helps out the Bard College in Solitude. You can pick your preferred instrument, decide which songbooks you want to specialise in, choose bard followers, and play songs anywhere including in taverns where you’ll earn tips for your musical endeavours. Become a Bard gives the Bard’s College a purpose, letting it stand tall alongside the Thieves’ Guild, the Companions and the College of Winterhold.


Dragon souls to perks
Available on:
Xbox One, PC

By the time you’ve sunken about 50 hours into Skyrim, you’ve probably got a heap of dragon souls sitting beside your Thu’ums, useless. If you don’t use shouts particularly often, this mod makes sure the souls don’t go to waste. They let you ‘buy’ perks, with the ones higher up the skill trees costing more souls to purchase. Get out there and slay some dragons!


Left hand rings
Available on:
PC

Pretty simple, but somehow overlooked by Bethesda - after all, rings aren’t restricted to your right hand in real life, so why should they be in Skyrim?


Sounds of Skyrim: Civilisation; Dungeons; The Wilds
Available on:
PC

The immersion will jump once you install this mod, as it means that dungeons, towns, and the countryside will sound different each time you venture out. That means no more hearing the same birdsong no matter where you are, no more repetitive dripping from Ancient Norse obelisks, or certainly a rediction in that dratted clanging sound of the blacksmith’s hammer in every city you go to.  


Unread books glow
Available on:
PC

The completionist in me loves this mod. Make sure to make this one of the first mods you download though, as if you download it mid-game all the books you’ve read to that point will be marked as unread. The feeling of reading the last glowing book before you add it to your collection is so satisfying. 

Fixing NPCs

Immersive citizens AI overhaul
Available on:
PS4, Xbox One, PC

NPCs in Skyrim are interesting beings to say the least, as they’ll try to pick a fight with any dragons swooping around their village. This mod means that they won’t try to fight you (or any other overpowered creature) if you’re a higher level than them; instead they’ll run and hide in a hideout, which will be assigned randomly and could be a home, temple, Jarl’s stronghold, or anything similar.

Run for your lives
Available on:
PC

NPCs in Skyrim are surprisingly ballsy. They’ll take on bandits and even dragons. That’s fun to watch, but it will sometimes result in quest-givers getting roasted a bit too badly, and expiring before your very eyes. This mod changes that, and makes NPCs run for cover when enemies approach, which saves you the trouble of running around trying to save the brave, valiant idiots.


When vampires attack
Available on:
PS4, Xbox One,PC

Like Run for your Lives, this makes NPCs flee when vampires attack. Simple. An alternate version of this mod which stops vampires attacking in towns is available for PS4 and Xbox One, and is worth a download if you want your NPCs to stay as alive as possible.


Guard dialogue overhaul
Available on:
PC

No more hearing about arrows in knees. Guards get more dialogue options with this mod, and they even address you in a special manner if (or when) you’re a Thane. There’s nothing like the thousandth hearing of not-Schwarzenegger’s ‘Let me guess. Somebody stole your sweetroll?’ for breaking immersion.


The Paarthurnax dilemma
Available on:
Xbox One, PC

I got quite irritated at the quest Delphine gives you to kill Paarthurnax, as there’s no option to quite simply say no. If you declinee, the quest has to litter your journal for eternity. That’s all changed in this mod, so you can spare your scaly friend and let him fly free. 

Combat: make things more deader

Dragonbone weapons complete
Available on:
PC

Makes dragonbones even more useful and lets you craft badass, top-tier weapons from the bones of your scaly victims. Worth it for those who like to build a hard-hitting character wielding the best gear in the game.

Phenderix: magic evolved
Available on:
PS4, Xbox One

For those who love the sight of lightning crackling from their fingertips, you’re spoilt for choice with this mod as it adds over 370 new spells. There are new spell archetypes, including bombs, growth, and plus you can summon any creature in Skyrim! 


Better combat AI
Available on:
PS4, Xbox One, PC

With this mod NPCs fighting styles drastically change. Now they’ll try to block, bash, and stagger, as well as disengage from melee combat when they get too far away from ranged characters. Genius!


Enhanced blood textures
Available on:
Xbox One

It’s simple and the title says it all. Gore never looked better.


VioLens: A Killmove mod
Available on:
 PS4, Xbox One, PC

I love seeing my character execute a badass kill-move to take down enemies, and this mod makes fighting a joy. Flourishes when you’re about to kill somewhen while dual-wielding, brutal finishers, executions for dragons - it really has it all.

Bonus companion

Dovahbit of Caerbannog
Available on:
Xbox One,  PC

Dovahbit is a rabbit who carries your stuff, comes with its own little saddlebags, and can wear helmets. You haven’t enjoyed Skyrim at its fullest until you’ve looked behind you and seen a small brown rabbit wearing a horned helmet hopping after you. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hi, I'm Zoe! When I'm not gushing over Bioshock or playing Dungeons & Dragons you'll find me trying to unearth another ring to add to my knuckleduster-worthy collection.
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