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Skyrim: 10 Essential Mods For An Immersive Playthrough (That Work On Xbox)

Although Skyrim's seemingly endless string of re-releases are the subject of much bellyaching and many memes among Bethesda fans, one incredibly radical addition that the Special Edition release introduced was mod support for consoles. Xbox players, however, definitely get access to a wider array of goodies than their Playstation counterparts, opening up a bigger spread of possibilities when it comes to altering their gameplay experiences. And one of the most popular angles for Skyrim modification revolves around immersion and realism.

RELATED: Skyrim: 10 Hidden Areas You Didn't Know Existed

Sure, Skyrim's expansive open world is already easy enough to get lost in, but a few balancing tweaks, additional gameplay mechanics, and graphical improvements can make it seem like a world you can truly live in. If this sounds exactly like the Skyrim experience you've always wanted, then keep scrolling to check out ten of the best immersion-enhancing Skyrim mods that you can actually use on the Xbox One.

10 Campfire: Complete Camping System

Campfire is the most important mod on this list. Apart from being necessary in order for its sister component, Frostfall, to work, it lays the foundation necessary for your character to set up a camp: tents, fires for cooking and warmth, the works!

It adds a lot more than that, too. You'll also be able to train and advance in a set of new survival-oriented skills, gather firewood, and utilize your instincts to track enemies or wildlife. It might all sound a little daunting at first, but it integrates well into Skyrim's UI and is crucial for putting together a good set of immersive mods.

9 Frostfall: Hypothermia, Camping, Survival

Frostfall, like Campfire, is absolutely indispensable to your load order if you're shooting for a more immersive Skyrim experience. Frostfall revolves around four new statistics in total. These are Warmth, Coverage, Exposure, and Wetness. Think of the first two as "defenses" against the latter two. Exposure is combated with Warmth, and Wetness can be defended against with Coverage.

Wetness, whether from rain or swimming, causes your exposure to rise faster. Higher exposure means negative status effects and can culminate in losing consciousness. You can keep it at bay with warmer clothing, or by stopping to rest near a campfire when you can. Frostfall is highly modular, so you can tune how "hardcore" you'd like the penalties to be. You can even use it to disable fast travel if you're really committed.

8 Climates of Tamriel for Xbox One

Climates of Tamriel is, for the most part, an aesthetic enhancement to accompany Campfire and Frostfall, but it makes a multitude of great enhancements to Skyrim's weather systems. You'll definitely appreciate them, given the new emphasis that Frostfall's survival mechanics place on weather conditions.

RELATED: Skyrim: 10 Weird Mistakes They Never Patched Out

It adds an incredible spread of new weather variations, complete with new visual effects as well as improved effects for the existing ones. The audio effects are also pretty awesome, especially the addition of indoor audio for weather - when ducking into an inn to get out of the rain, you'll still hear it pattering on the roof.

7 iNeed - Food, Water, Sleep

iNeed sort of ties up the suite of survival-oriented mechanics by adding systems for hunger, thirst, and fatigue. Obviously, this means that your character will actually need to eat food, drink water, and sleep in order to forgo crippling status ailments.

Most food items will have hunger values attached to them, with cooked and prepared items being more effective than the alternatives. It also adds a waterskin item that holds three "charges" of thirst-slaking water and can be refilled from bodies of water, wells, snow, or by an innkeeper or merchant.

6 Wet and Cold

Wet and Cold adds a wide variety of environmental effects that are dependent on weather, such as visible breath in colder conditions, rain or snow accumulating on exposed characters, and more. It also allows the player to slightly customize AI responses to weather conditions. For example, NPCs can be made to equip weather-appropriate gear during a rainstorm or tailored to seek shelter from it. Even Solstheim's ash storms get some love.

RELATED: Skyrim: 10 Obscure Spells & Shouts That Are Impossible For Players To Obtain

There are also some subtle gameplay effects, such as all characters moving 15% slower during a windy blizzard. Likewise, hostile NPCs will have a harder time detecting stealthy targets in weather conditions that might impair their vision.

5 Winter Is Coming SSE

Winter Is Coming is hardly a necessary inclusion in your load order, but it certainly adds a nice bit of flavor, as well as a bit of additional help with tackling Frostfall's exposure mechanics. All it really does is add a new set of wearable cloaks, capes, and hoods to the game.

The cloaks and capes take up their own inventory slot, so they won't conflict with any existing equipment. They also have warmth values attached to them, though the Winter Is Coming Survival Mode Patch might be necessary in order to take full advantage of that. The new clothing also looks incredibly radical, is craftable, and is added to the leveled loot lists of most humanoid NPCs.

4 Climates of Tamriel: Darker Nights

This branch of Climates of Tamriel is fairly self-explanatory, but for the sake of abundant clarity, it makes night time in Skyrim feel a bit more like actual night time. It really works too, as you'll have difficulty making your way through the wilderness after sunset without a torch to light the way.

RELATED: Skyrim: The 10 Most Powerful Weapons With Unique Enchantments, Ranked

It adds to the sense of realism in no short measure, with different weather patterns or phenomena such as the aurora affecting just how dark it gets. As an added bonus, it makes the Night Eye effect seem to actually matter. So, there's a real and valid reason for learning the spell or making use of the Khajiit's natural affinity for this ability.

3 Lampposts of Skyrim: Special Edition

It might seem like an awfully small thing, but it does wonders as far as truly making the world of Skyrim feel a little more alive and "lived in," so to speak. All this mod really does is add lampposts throughout Skyrim's many lengthy roads.

This mod really stands out when combined with Climates of Tamriel: Darker Nights, making them feel a little more important and altogether better-looking. Between the two, traveling at nighttime feels much more engaging, especially when you pass fellow travelers or patrols by the light of a nearby lamppost.

2 Immersive Patrols

Though it isn't exactly a cure-all solution for the relatively disappointing Civil War questline, Immersive Patrols helps to lend some scope and a bit more action to the whole concept by ratcheting up the number of Imperial and Stormcloak patrols encountered on the road, resulting in more spontaneous skirmishes and battles to witness or participate in.

These patrols will stop spawning once the civil war ends, giving the player a little more actual finality once they've concluded the questline. As a neat bonus, it also adds Skaal and Riekling patrols to Solstheim, as well as more Dawnguard patrols for the Dawnguard DLC.

1 Wildcat - Combat of Skyrim

Wildcat, in a nutshell, makes combat in Skyrim a lot more dangerous. It starts by turning up and evening out the damage bonuses experienced by players versus NPCs, and improves combat AI to make enemies a bit more cautious and tactical in their approach.

Even more interestingly, players can now inflict and sustain injuries that have profound and lasting effects on combat. Injuries to the chest will drain stamina very quickly, for example, while sustaining a traumatic leg injury will knock the character over and has the chance to cause them to fall when running. The injuries last five minutes, or until healed to full HP, but have enough of an impact to immediately change the outcome of any fight.

NEXT: Skyrim: The 10 Most Exceedingly Rare Items In The Game


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Top 20 Best Immersion Mods For Skyrim Players

Have you ever wanted to feel more immersed in the Skyrim world?

Well I can certainly relate. It’s a world in which you could get lost for hours if you just let your imagination fly.

And the modding community has come together to create some of the greatest immersion mods that you could ever wish for. Some of these mods are not compatible with each other, but most should work well to help you create a lore-friendly environment where everything seems to come to life better than in the base game.

Just keep in mind that some of these mods will take up a lot of space and may cause bugs if they don’t play well together.

You should always create a backup save just in case something goes wrong. Worry not, though – I’ve tried most of them and they work almost flawlessly. Warzones can cause a bit of trouble, but I’ve included it here because it’s an amazing mod nonetheless.

Immersive Detection of NPC

Immersive Detection of NPC Skyrim mod

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This incredible mod helps you to correct an issue that many players seem to hate – you can easily get detected and shot at night just as if it was daytime, which makes no sense and breaks the immersion that the game can create.

Using this mod, which should be compatible with any other mod on this list, makes it so that enemies aren’t capable of seeing you as easily in the night as they do in the base game.

And it also makes it so they lose accuracy when shooting during the night.

It really adds a new layer of depth to the assassin playstyle that we all love so much!

Immersive Beds

Immersive Beds Skyrim mod

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Have you ever wondered why no one in Bethesda assumed that it would be a good idea to animate your character going to sleep when you select a bed?

It sometimes feels like beds don’t really serve their purpose in the base game, which is where this mod comes in – it adds the option to use sleepwear as well as extra animations when you go to bed and get up from it.

Immersive Jewelry

Immersive Jewelry Skyrim mod

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Immersive jewelry adds a massive number of new jewels to the game, most of which are designed to look unique and represent the classes and races to which they belong.

It’s an awesome mod and very detailed, considering that it has over pieces of jewelry to date. Crazy!

Immersive Saturation Boost

Immersive Saturation Boost Skyrim mod

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Base game Skyrim didn’t look too good when it was first released.

But it’s understandable given the year and the technological limitations of the PS3 and Xbox With the release of the Special Edition things changed for the better and the game now looks better than ever.

However there still seems to be something off with the saturation levels of the camera.

This mod makes everything look like as if you were really in the locations that the game takes you to.

It emphasizes the way shadows look and adds a necessary grade of saturation that the base game was missing. It’s a spectacular mod, and one you should try out with shaders too.

Dragon Combat Overhaul

Dragon Combat Overhaul Skyrim mod

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It truly is a shame that this mod was removed from the Nexus because the owner had some personal issues to work through.

However it still remains as one of the best Skyrim mods of all time, not only in terms of immersive mods, but in general.

It really didn’t take a better spot on this list solely because of the fact that it isn’t being updated anymore and you can’t find it on the Nexus(but there are downloads out there, for example in this thread).

This mod improves the way you fight dragons and makes everything feel more natural.

If you feel like the dragon combat is a bit bland in the base game then I really encourage you to give this one a try.

Warzones – Civil Unrest

Warzones Skyrim mod

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Warzones is an incredible mod which truly brings you the sense of war that Skyrim is supposed to be under into the game.

It adds thousands of NPCs, all of which are ready to fight one another in a blood bath like no other Elder Scrolls game has ever seen.

It does require you to have a powerful computer or you might experience crashes – it takes a lot of resources to keep everything running!

But it does make Skyrim feel like it’s actually at war, like it’s supposed to be in the story.

Everything just feels a bit too calm to be true in times of war so this mod is a great fix for that.

The Joy of Perspective

Joy of Perspective Skyrim mod

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The Joy of Perspective is an amazing mod for those who love to play in first person.

In fact, first-person gameplay is a crucial part of immersion. And base game Skyrim fails at delivering a good experience to players who want that FPS point of view.

With this mod you won’t feel like you’re floating around when playing in first person and you’ll be able to look around in a much more natural manner.

Real Shelter

Real Shelter Skyrim mod

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It’s honestly ridiculous how rain falls through the roof even when you’re below a shelter.

This mod, although rather simple, gets rid of that small little detail that breaks the sense of reality that you would take to cover yourself from a storm. Often times it is the little things that matter.


Hunterborn Skyrim mod

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If you’re into hunting, boy you’re going to absolutely love this mod.

This makes it so hunting feels way more realistic, as you’ll have to properly kill animals and skin them if you wish to collect their resources.

No more looting their corpses as if they were carrying stuff in their imaginary pockets.


Frostfall Skyrim mod

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Some people really shouldn’t be walking around in the cold and acting as if nothing happened to them.

Frostfall adds the element of surviving the cold into a major core mechanic in the game.

You’ll have to take care and try not to freeze to death when roaming around Skyrim. Keep your torches and campfires ready – you’ll need them if you want to venture into a blizzard.

Immersive HUD

Immersive HUD Skyrim mod

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It really doesn’t feel too realistic to keep your HUD around as if it was part of your robotic interface.

This mod is a complete rework to the base game interface which makes it look far more realistic in every sense of the word.

It doesn’t entirely remove it, but it does change it to a point where it doesn’t get in the way mid-game and allows you to play as if it wasn’t there.

It’s really cool – especially if you play in first person.

9. Skyrim Immersive Creatures

Immersive Creatures Skyrim mod

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It doesn’t really take a lot of time playing Skyrim to get to know all the mobs in the game.

It gets really boring sooner rather than later, and it breaks the feeling of immersion knowing that there are only a handful of animal types in such a gigantic region.

This mod adds dozens of new creatures to correct that. And I can vouch for its quality – the creatures look really good.

8. Immersive College of Winterhold

Immersive College of Winterhold Skyrim mod

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The College of Winterhold is one of the major frustrations of mages in the game.

It feels like it has so much to offer than what the original game had in store for us, but thankfully modders have managed to get the best out of it.

This completely changes the way the college looks as well as some of the people who live in it. Again, small but useful details.

7. Convenient Horses

Convenient Horses Skyrim mod

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Honestly this is the best horse mod that exists for Skyrim. Period.

It’s just too good and makes horses feel like they are actually alive for once.

You can even create and manages your own herd of horses, bringing them around Skyrim in your adventures or making them stay in one place.

You can make customizations to your followers too and which horses they use. It’s really in-depth and you can spend hours at a time just micromanaging your horses.

The mod also adds a ton of new items like horse whistles, new horse armor, and many other features that will improve the quality of life of every rider on the region.

You’ll even get the ability to harvest plants from the back of your horse – with no need to get down from that saddle.

6. Beyond Skyrim

Beyond Skyrim mod

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I have already featured this amazing mod in other lists before, but it has truly earned another place in this post too.

Beyond Skyrim looks to add new locations beyond the borders of Skyrim.

And even though the mod currently only adds Bruma, it does make Skyrim feel more connected with the reality of Tamriel by letting you visit a fan-favorite location of Oblivion.

5. Perkus Maximus

Perkus Maximus Skyrim mod

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Perkus Maximus doesn’t add a single element into the game.

Instead it overhauls the complete perk system adding hundreds of new perks to the game as well as countless spells.

Everything added with this mod is lore-friendly and fits perfectly into the Elder Scrolls universe, which only adds a bit more of the essence that the game sometimes feels like its missing.

4. Alternate Start – Live Another Life

Alternate Start Skyrim mod

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The beginning of Skyrim is one of the most iconic moments in gaming history.

However the intro sequence is as long as it gets. And with each playthrough it gets more and more repetitive.

This mod adds new ways for you to start the game and lets you choose what your character was before you create them.

You’ll be able to select many things for their background, and the creator of the mod has made sure to keep things relevant by making every decision that you take have an impact on how the story develops.

The new storyline created for the mod is very cool too and fits perfectly with Skyrim’s main questline!

3. Interesting NPCs

Interesting NPCs skyrim mod

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Tired of those boring ass folks just hanging around mindlessly? Me too. And this mod is as professional as it gets.

It adds over new NPCs as well as countless new followers. And guess what, all of them are fully voiced.

The level of immersion that these new NPCs provided doesn’t only come in numbers – the quality of the dialog is just something else. It clearly shows that there was a lot of work put into this mod by the team.

Best of all is that with new NPCs come tons of new quests. The mod includes over 50 new missions for you to complete and help out these countless new strangers.

2. Immersive Patrols

Immersive Patrols mod

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This is an incredible mod for those of you who own Solstheim.

It adds faction patrols to the realm which can even trigger civil war encounters when they cross paths with each other.

In fact, if you happen to stumble upon a patrol that belongs to the enemy faction in relation to the one you’ve selected, you’ll be in instant danger as they will try to kill you on sight.

This mod completely overhauls the Solstheim experience and makes the DLC a hundred times better than it already is.

1. Sounds of Skyrim

Sounds of Skyrim mod

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It’s the little things that matter most. And those small details are what makes the Sounds of Skyrim such a unique, game-changing experience.

This mod adds over new sounds to the game, and I’m not placing it in the first spot lightly.

The mod really changes the way you perceive the environment in the game. You’ll notice a lot of differences if you’ve been playing the game for a few years now.

Even if you’re a new player, Sounds of Skyrim does an amazing job at integrating you and transporting you deep into the world of Tamriel.

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Skyrim: The Top 15 Immersion Mods So Far

Players love Skyrim because of how immersive the play experience is. Getting lost in the vast, chilly province of Skyrim is probably the most enjoyable aspect of the game, and that level of immersion can be expanded on with a series of ultra-cool mods that inject new experiences into the game.

We've already covered the Top 10 Graphics and Audio Mods for Skyrim, so let's run down a list of the top Immersion Mods that can turn Skyrim from a fun exploration game into a full-fledged "I'm really there!" experience.

RELATED: Skyrim: The Top 10 Graphics Mods So Far

Updated April 9th, by Anastasia Maillot: Skyrim has survived over a decade as a successful open-world fantasy RPG, and much of it is because of how active the modding community is, even on console. There's always new content and additional features players can try to spice up their gameplay experience. Over the years, increasing immersion has been one of the many goals of fans.

If you're looking to get back into Skyrim but feel like the vanilla experience just doesn't deliver enough, there's a few more additional mods recommended for PC players. Some of these changes might feel small, but in the end they make the biggest difference when it comes to gameplay.

15 Immersive Animated Looting

Animations in Skyrim definitely show just how outdated the game is. For players who enjoy Skyrim from a third-person perspective, it can be especially weird to see the lack of proper animations when opening doors or interacting with various objects around the world, such as looting a chest.

The Immersive Animated Looting mod introduces some fast yet realistic animations to fix this. Because the animations are relatively quick, they don't feel too intrusive either during gameplay. It also ensures the mod can run smoothly on low-end PCs as well.

14 Animated Clutter

On top of having animations for interacting with chests and doors, it's a shame that Skyrim didn't introduce animations to specific clutter that can be interacted with. Opening up a pouch or a knapsack doesn't actually animate on screen, but luckily there's a mod that adds some realism to clutter as well.

RELATED: 10 Things The Elder Scrolls 6 Should Fix From Skyrim

Animated Clutter makes containers of all kind, and not just chests, actually open up in front of the player's eyes. From knapsacks to barrels, to even coffins and beehives, these small and light weight animations will give the game a more organic feel when adventuring.

13 Immersive Sounds - Compendium

While audio mods are sort of a thing on their own, this immersive sound mod is an absolute must-have on top of other immersion mods. That's because immersion isn't just about gameplay mechanics, but also the feel, sound and look of things. The sounds of Skyrim, although well-made, could use a coat of fresh paint after a decade.

The Immersive Sounds - Compendium mod introduces a massive variety of sounds for combat, nature and any other type of environment. Footsteps on different surfaces in particular will sound and feel vastly different, even coming from other creatures and beings.

12 Immersive Patrols

Random encounters and events are a huge part of Skyrim's immersive environment, but sadly the patrols that walk around the world feel a bit empty most of the time and devoid of any real purpose. Now, patrols actually have a true place and role in the game, thanks to their adjusted amount and better AI.

Immersive Patrols adds in more excitement when it comes to coming across groups of Thalmor, Stormcloaks or Imperials in the wild. Dawnguard patrols are also included. Sometimes, patrols can come to help the player and other times it can put you in the middle of a small civil war battle.

11 Zim's Immersive Artifacts

The Daedric artifacts in Skyrim are some of the coolest weapons in the game, but in truth, only a few of them actually feel worthwhile. If these weapons really were that epic, they would need to be more powerful, without being unbalanced and ridiculous at the same time.

RELATED: Skyrim: 10 Areas You Should Visit Immediately

Zim's Immersive Artifacts brings that balance to life. Artifacts crafted by god-like beings will actually feel that way, as the mod removes the leveled aspect of such items. This makes collecting these rare artifacts that are only spoken of in legends and tales so much more rewarding and immersive.

10 Frostfall

Who doesn't like the idea of freezing their twig n' berries off to the point of severe hypothermia? That's what Frostfall is for! This uber-popular immersion mod adds temperature effects to Skyrim which can have drastic repercussions for your character. No longer can you stride through the northern tundra in a freezing blizzard with nothing but your skivvies on and expect no penalty.

Frostfall makes wearing the appropriate clothes and building up a tolerance to the cold a key component of gameplay. Failure to abide by Mother Nature's harsh rules, and you'll wind up a bipedal Popsicle that the Thalmor are sure to laugh at as they walk by.

9 Camping Lite

Only an impatient cad with an arrow in the knee would fast-travel to the nearest Inn when the sun goes down! Gamers who want real immersion will stop and build a campfire when the lights go out, which is exactly what Camping Lite was designed for.

This mod streamlines the campfire building process down to a few inventory abilities for ease of use, which makes it well suited for those who aren't necessarily after the hardest-core experience, but still want a bit of challenge and immersion during their adventures.

8 Immersive Citens - AI Overhaul

Vanilla NPCs don't have a lot going on upstairs, and that can break immersion, especially when you're wandering around towns and villages. Immersive Citizens - AI Overhaul seeks to remedy this by doing exactly as the name implies: smartening up the game's NPCs.

Combat AI, scheduling, travel and reactions to the surrounding environment and weather all get a bump in quality. It'll never be perfect, but this mod goes a long way to making the game's NPCs more believable.

7 Immersive Fallen Trees

The province of Skyrim is a lush, organic environment that feels very natural on its own.  Toss in a few graphical mods and it really comes alive, but why stop there? Immersive Fallen Trees adds a subtle but very important layer of immersion to Skyrim by injecting strategically placed fallen trees throughout the landscape to make the environment feel older and more organic.

RELATED: Skyrim: 5 Of The Best Areas (& 5 That Are Just Terrible)

Certain fallen trees can even be used to cross waterfalls. It may not seem like much, but this is one mod that can really enhance the game's immersion.

6 Skyrim Battle Aftermath

For a province supposedly in the midst of a civil war, it sure feels uneventful! Skyrim Battle Aftermath makes the conflict between the Stormcloaks and Imperials feel all-too real by adding battlefields across Skyrim that showcase the brutality of the feud.

Dead corpses litter the ground, helmets are thrusted on spikes, dead horses and carriages are strewn about, and arrows pinprick the landscape. It's always quite an experience to stumble onto one of these sites of carnage, which helps to drive home the immediacy of Skyrim's most notorious civil war.

5 Blowing In The Wind

Weather is a major part of the Skyrim experience, and with it comes a whole lotta' wind.  Blowing In The Wind is a simple mod that causes signs and lanterns to flap about in strong winds, creating a sense of realism when the weather gets brutal.

It's certainly a step up from the static nature of these elements in the vanilla game and creates another layer of immersion and realism to draw you in.

4 iNeed - Food, Water And Sleep

Left to their own devices, your Skyrim characters will last for years on end without having to gobble down so much as a single sweet-roll. What kind of realism is that? iNeed rectifies this problem by adding in real-world needs that you must take into account.

RELATED: Skyrim: 10 Stormcloak Rebellion Memes That Are Too Hilarious For Words

Food, water and sleep are now vital not just to your survival, but your overall health as well. Where you sleep will affect how you feel the next day, and can have a direct impact on your stats. By measuring these things accordingly and keeping your player in tip-top shape, you'll be better equipped to handle the world around you.

3 YOT - Your Own Thoughts - First Person Messages

In love with the sound of your own voice? YOT (Your Own Thoughts) is a great mod that extends your inner monologue into Skyrim to add a subtle layer of immersion. No longer will the game give you third-person messages.

From now on, message prompts will talk exclusively in first-person so that you become a part of the narrative, rather than a semi-active onlooker. Surprisingly, this mod can draw a player in simply by shifting the focus of communication onto themselves.

2 Wet And Cold

Wet And Cold tacks on a variety of weather-focused effects onto your main character and other NPCs. Emerging from a body of water will cause you to drip all over the place, while breathing in cold weather will produce moisture from the mouth.

RELATED: Skyrim: The Top 10 Sound & Music Mods So Far

Snow can build up on your armor and clothing during a blizzard, while strong winds can have a deteriorating effect on your movement speed. Combined with Frostfall, this mod can really draw you into the harshness of Skyrim and its unpredictable weather patterns. It changes not just the physical aspects of your character, but your stats as well.

1 Visible Favorited Gear

The Favorites function of Skyrim allows you to quickly hot-swap a variety of items with a simple keyboard press. Why not take it a step further? Visible Favorited Gear actually displays your favorite items on your character, which greatly adds to the immersive experience.

Why shouldn't that huge broadsword be featured on your back along with the other items you've favorited? Naturally, this mod does require a bit of common sense, and it can be a tad finicky sometimes, but it's a great mod for showing off all that dangerous weaponry your character is packing!

NEXT: Skyrim: The 10 Best Mods That Make The Game Feel Fresh


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Essential Skyrim Immersion Mods

The best Skyrim Special Edition mods

Several years into its life, the best Skyrim Special Edition mods have caught up to the best in Oldrim modding. Many of our favorites from the original have been ported across, so you may recognize some of those on this list. But there are plenty of new mods as well—nearly a decade into its life, Skyrim and this better-performing Special Edition are still fertile ground for new creations. Boot up your mod manager of choice, because Skyrim modding hasn't slowed down in

Oldrim Modding

Looking for mods for the original version of Skyrim? We've selected over of the best mods for improved visuals and optimization, new quests and locations, roleplaying and immersion, creatures and NPCs, and much more. These are the best Skyrim mods.

Skyrim Script Extender wasn't compatible with Skyrim: Special Edition at launch, but has been for a while now (it'll be labelled "Current SE build" at that link). Once it's installed, go into Skyrim Special Edition's properties in Steam and set it to "Only update this game when I launch it" and launch Skyrim with skse64_loader.exe,  as otherwise every update to the creation club will break the Script Extender and you'll have to download a new version.

Thanks to the Script Extender, essentials like SkyUI are now available in this slightly prettier (it does have nicer shadows), and more stable (you can alt-tab as much as you like, and weigh it down with more mods) version of Skyrim. To be fair, there were other changes as well. 

Some of the following Skyrim Special Edition mods can be found on Bethesda's site, but the links we'll post all point to our go-to, NexusMods.

Mods added in recent updates of this list have been marked with a &#;. And if you're looking to have even more fun in Skyrim, check out our list of Skyrim console commands.

The best Skyrim Special Edition mods

Mod managing

It's easy to get carried away modding Skyrim Special Edition very quickly. To help you keep track of all your various additions, be sure to use a mod manager of some sort. Here are the ones we suggest you try out.


For downloading, installing, and managing these Skyrim Special Edition mods and others, we recommend Vortex. It's an extremely useful utility, and it works with a number of other games like the Fallout series, the Witcher series, Darks Souls, XCOM 2, and lots more.

Mod Organizer 2

As an alternative to Vortex, Mod Organizer 2 is meant for modders who plan to do a lot of experimenting with installing and uninstalling various mods. It handles a bunch of Bethesda games, so you can use it to manage things other than just Skyrim SE if you'd like.

Patches, UI, and cheats

We all know the reputation Bethesda's games have. Plenty of fans have taken it upon themselves to fix bugs, optimize systems, and make user interface more to their liking. 


The heavens parted, golden saints sang, and SkyUI was finally supported by Skyrim Special Edition. This interface replacer makes Skyrim feel like it was designed for mouse controls, and lets you filter and sort inventory based on weight, value, damage and the like. Also adds an in-game mod configuration menu several other mods rely on.

Better MessageBox Controls

Increases the clickable areas of menu items so they're the actual width of the item rather than just an absurd little square in the middle of it. You have no idea how much better this tiny quality-of-life tweak makes things. It also improves the keyboard controls in a few ways. For instance, tab will always take you back a stage and enter will let you select an option even when you're crafting and would normally have to mouse back over it.

A Quality World Map 

Skyrim's map is functional but boring. A Quality World Map offers multiple ways to fix it. It can replace the map with a much more detailed world texture, with colors that help delineate the separate areas much more obviously, but there's also an option to have a paper map, with a more Oblivion look, if that's your thing. 

Achievements Mod Enabler

Just because you're modding doesn't mean you're cheating (necessarily). So why does the SSE disable achievements if you've got mods running? Stick it to 'em by using this plugin from xSHADOWMANx that lets you earn achievements even while using mods.

Project Proteus

While you could switch to another savegame to play your Khajiit archer for a while, Project Proteus lets you import your characters into an existing world state—meaning you can switch to a character with their own items, skills, and spells, but keep your current quest progression. NPCs who have died remain dead, items left in storage can be retrieved, and so on. It also lets you edit NPCs and items, even the weather. Some of what Project Proteus makes possible is already doable with Skyrim's console commands and existing mods, but this brings it all together in a single pop-up menu. 

An improved character creation menu, with numeric displays for all sliders, and the ability to choose any color for your hair, skin, or other tints rather than being limited based on race. There's a sculpt mode if you want to get right into messing with the geometry of your head, and you can turn the light illuminating your face on and off to see how your features will look in different situations, which is a blessing

Unofficial Skyrim Patch

This mod is a compendium of hundreds of fixes for bugs, text, objects, items, quests, and gameplay elements assembled by prolific modder Arthmoor. The patch is designed to be as compatible as possible with other mods. If you've got a few hours, you can read through the patch notes.

&#; Binaural 3D Surround Sound for Headphones - HRTF

"HRTF (Head Related Transfer Functions) refers to the way that the curvature of one's ears are used to localize sound in 3D space." I don't know exactly what that first sentence means, but I understand the second one. Make SSE more realistic for your ears with this mod, though note it only works if you play exclusively in first-person. You may also want to check out Immersive Sounds for a huge overhaul of Skyrim's sound effects.

Quests and Locations

Skyrim may be a huge place, but modders are always finding ways to make it bigger. We've collected some really impressive location overhauls to expand your Skyrim experience along with some huge quest mods to take you on new adventures.

The Forgotten City

Skyrim's got lots of adventure, but here's about 10 hours more courtesy of writer and developer Nick Pearce. Play detective and solve a murder mystery while exploring a massive, ancient city. It's got excellent, award-winning writing, a non-linear story, fantastic voice acting by a large cast, an enjoyable original soundtrack, and even a touch of time travel. Here's our write-up of the Forgotten City Skyrim mod. It's also been adapted into a standalone game set in ancient Rome.

Legacy of the Dragonborn 

Adds a gallery you can fill with unique items, a museum to your achievements that is also a library, a storage facility, a questline of its own, and a place to learn archaeology complete with its own perks. While there is a version of Legacy of the Dragonborn for Oldrim, the v5 update specifically for Special Edition remaps the building to make it larger and more like a real museum.

Enderal: Forgotten Stories (Special Edition)

This total conversion creates an entirely new world, very nearly the size of Skyrim itself, and populates it with new dungeons, quests, monsters, and fully voiced NPCs. Some of Skyrim's systems have also been tweaked, there's a new custom story to enjoy, and a good 50+ hours of new adventures to be hard. You can read about the opening hours of Enderal here. 

Vigilant SE

Vigilant is a four-part quest mod that adds some Dark Souls flair to Tamriel. After getting stuck in Oblivion, you'll face off against otherworldly monsters and big, Souls-style bosses while exploring areas filled with special items and keys. Beyond that, the 'Anvil of Zenithar' allows players to craft their own wares after finishing objectives, besting bosses and reaching new areas. Vigilant Voiced adds voice-acting.

You can also snag the same modder's Bloodborne-themed adventure called Glenmoril.

Moonpath to Elsweyr

Moonpath to Elsweyr was one of the first quest mods for Oldrim back in the day. It's made its way to SSE now with its two new regions and custom quests. In Jody's Moonpath spotlight he talks to its original creator.

Helgen Reborn

Who's going to rebuild Helgen after it got toasted by a dragon at the beginning of the game? You are, of course. It's a huge, fully voiced quest mod where you'll restore the town, choose a faction, and fight in the new arena. Chris wrote about Helgen Reborn years ago for Oldrim, so we're psyched to replay it in SSE.

Cutting Room Floor

Another big mod from Arthmoor restores loads of content that exists in SSE's data files but wasn't implemented in the game. Numerous locations, NPCs, dialogue, quests, and items have been brought back into the light, and Skyrim is richer for it.

JK's Skyrim

This big construction overhaul mod redesigns all of Skyrim's major cities and some settlements as well. Every city has been reimagined to more distinctly fit its own theme with new buildings and vendors. It doubles as an immersion mod as well, with local banners and guards changing allegiance as Skyrim's civil war develops.

The Asteria Dwemer Airship

There are player home mods to suit all tastes, but the Asteria is a particularly nice one—a flying ship with all mod cons, by which I mean storage space and crafting tables. It's permanently docked, however, and can't be moved around, though it does have a teleporter for a more immersive alternative to fast-travel. If you want a flyable skyship, try the Dev Aveza.

Visual mods

Even with Skyrim Special Edition, there's still plenty of room to make Tamriel prettier. Modders have updated how characters look and added higher resolution textures, among other things, to put a new shine on the game.

Climates of Tamriel

Climates of Tamriel is a huge overhaul adding new weather types, new lighting, and clouds. It can make night-time darker as well for a more immersive adventuring experience. There's even a winter version that covers even more of Skyrim in snow.

Realistic Water Two

Realistic Water Two, drawing and expanding on the work of some earlier water mods, adds better ripples, larger splashes, re-textured foam and faster water flow in streams, bobbing chunks of ice, and even murky, stagnant-looking water in dungeons. For all your extremely realistic screenshot-taking needs.

Total Character Makeover

Skyrim's NPCs already looked dated when the game was first released, and they certainly haven't aged well. The SSE might improve the looks of the world, but it doesn't touch its citizens, so this mod from Scaria should be on your list. It gives everyone in the game (including your avatar) a facelift with more detailed textures that won't kneecap your framerate, without making characters look out of place.

Vanilla Hair Replacer

We can all agree Bethesda's RPGs aren't often stunners in the hair department. So many hair mods get carried away turning characters into models, though. Vanilla Hair Replacer aims for more lore-friendly changes for Skyrim's default hair choices so NPCs look a less scraggly but still like they hail from Skyrim. Be sure to check the "recommended mods" section of the page to get your characters looking exactly like the ones in the screenshots.

Static Mesh Improvements

While Skyrim Special Edition adds plenty of enhanced visuals, it doesn't do a thing to improve the original game's low-poly meshes. This mod edits hundreds of 3D models placed in thousands of different locations for items like furniture, clutter, architectural elements, and landscape objects to make them look nicer and more realistic.

Glorious Doors of Skyrim

Hear me out. Aside from NPC's faces, what are you going to have your nose up against in Skyrim most often? Well yeah, enemies, but also doors! Modder "Hype1" has created lots of new door meshes with glorious 4k textures so you'll never be stuck picking the lock on a low-res door again. While you're at it, Book Covers is a mod that will make books as beautiful as they deserve to be.

Companions and Creatures

Skyrim is an even more beautiful place thanks to the visual mods and new locations on this list, but you'll want to populate it with interesting people too. These mods add some of our favorite companion characters, and some cool creatures for them to fight too.


This companion mod is a particularly sweet one, based on popular octogenarian YouTuber Shirley Curry, otherwise known as the "Skyrim Grandma". Created by fans and voiced by Curry herself, the Shirley companion shares Curry's likeness. Tamriel's Shirley has her own lore-appropriate backstory too. After you've completed her recruitment quest, Shirley will join you, fighting alongside you as a barbarian warrior—Curry's preferred combat style. Curry has already started playing with the mod herself, which you can catch the beginning of in her new video series. 


Maybe you don't think a blue Khajiit who follows you around commenting on everything and being sarcastic about Lydia is what Skyrim needs, but trust us on this. Inigo has tons of dialogue, some tied to his own questline and more that crops up at appropriate times depending on the location you're at. He can be told where to go and what to do by whistling, and will follow you even if you've got an existing companion, chatting away with them thanks to skilfully repurposed voice lines.

Vilja in Skyrim

A sequel to a much-loved Oblivion mod (which Terry Pratchett contributed to), Vilja in Skyrim adds the great-granddaughter of the original Vilja as a follower. She's an alchemist with her own questline to follow and a unique system to give her orders—essentially spells bound to hotkeys that can be used to co-ordinate attacks. Like Inigo she doesn't count toward your follower limit, and if introduced to each other Inigo and Vilja will even chat among themselves. 

Yennefer of Vengerberg

Will we ever tire of crossovers between our favorite big RPGs? No, we definitely will not. This follower mod adds a custom-made Yennefer that re-purposes her lines of dialogue from The Witcher 3. She dual wields magic, of course. Sadly, she isn't eligible for marriage. The same modder has also made a Ciri follower mod and contributed to mods for Geralt and Triss followers all based on their Wild Hunt selves.

Amazing Follower Tweaks

This extremely popular mod for Oldrim is one you'll want to grab the Special Edition version of too. It lets you micromanage a lot of details about your companions like their gear, how to fight, and which of your many houses to live in.

Convenient Horses

This mod makes having a horse much less of a headache. You can have conversations from horseback. You can loot and gather herbs while mounted. Your followers can even buy and ride their own horses instead of sprinting helplessly behind you. 

Diverse Dragons Collection

Despite the Special Edition's visual overhaul, its dragons are still a bit ho-hum. This mod, contributed to by a large collection of modders, adds 28 new and unique dragons with different models and textures, and capable of over a dozen new breath attacks and abilities. The dragons come in different ranks as well, to ensure you have a challenge no matter what your level.

&#; Strigoi - Enhanced Vampire Encounters

With Strigoi installed, whenever vampires spawn there's a chance to meet some of its new varieties of bloodsucker. These powered-up undead might turn into bats, throw you around, or just generally be a lot tougher than regular vampires.

Insects Begone

Why is it always spiders in RPGs? Well, it doesn't have to be. Insects Begone replaces all the spiders and chaurus insects with bears and skeevers instead. It also removes decorative spiderwebs and other spider-related decor. If you can't deal with all the giant spiders plaguing Skyrim, this mod will squash them.

Magic, combat, and skills

If being the Dragonborn isn't enough, these mods give you new abilities to tinker with. Some are mundane skills like additional crafting abilities, others are new shouts and spells to play with.

Arcanum: A New Age of Magic

Arcanum is a huge addition to Skyrim's magic system. It lets you summon tornados and meteors among many other feats. It doesn't just throw all these new skills at you as soon as it's installed, though. Arcanum is great for starting a new playthrough of Skyrim with because unlocking spells is a more lore-friendly journey of custom quests, crafting, and adventuring. 

Combat Gameplay Overhaul

CGO strikes a great balance for those wanting a bit more out of Skyrim's combat without turning it into too much of a fast-paced action game. It adds the ability to dodge roll, which surprisingly looks pretty decent in first-person. There's also the ability to switch between one- and two-handed grips to change how attacks land. Oh, and you can attack in midair, along with lots of other smaller tweaks.

Modder "DServant" also created the Archery Gameplay Overhaul which takes a similarly even-handed approach to improving bow use.

Wildcat - Combat of Skyrim

Wildcat is a much heavier combat overhaul, and an extremely popular one. It makes combat more deadly with increased damage and stamina use, but that's not all. It also adds an injury system where taking enough damage has a chance to give you a serious injury that could knock you down, unequip your weapon, or give you other dangerous effects. It rewards you for properly timed blocks and for attacks of opportunity while enemies are performing other actions too. 

Sneak Tools SE

For the Thieves Guild and Dark Brotherhood members among us, Sneak Tools adds extra functionality to being good at hiding. Instead of just a damage bonus, you can kill NPCs from behind with daggers, knock them out with fists, and assassinate them while they're sleeping. You can douse torches and arrows to better sneak through the shadows and use a bunch of new arrow types with sneaky benefits.

Ars Metallica - Smithing Enhancement

When you're not playing a metal-plated tank, there's less use for smithing. Archers, thieves, and other stealthy characters have no issues finding light armor on their adventures, so there's never been much reason to make it themselves. This mod by Arthmoor gives slippery sorts reasons to learn smithing by letting them forge arrows, lockpicks, and guild-specific armor, as well as melt down bulkier armor they'd never actually wear into ingots.

Roleplaying, survival, and immersion

Roleplaying and immersion mods are all aimed at making Skyrim Special Edition feel just a bit more real. 

&#; No NPC Greetings - Reduced Range Greetings

Sick of NPCs repeating the same catchphrase from across the street every time they see you? Sick of guards commenting on your best skills, which they somehow know all about just by looking at you—even Sneak? This mod has a few options for fixing the issue, whether you want to reduce the distance these barks trigger at, or get rid of them altogether.

Simply Knock SE

Sometimes you don't want to break into someone's home and have the local guard after you. Instead of lockpicking, this mod gives you the option to just, you know, knock on the door. If someone is home they might answer, giving you the option to earn entry with your speech abilities. If they don't answer, then get your lockpicks out.

Skyrim Fishing SE

Hear us out, fishing in Skyrim is good. It's a great addition for survival playthroughs. No more fishing with your hands—there are fishing poles, nets, bait, and even Dwarven "explosive" fishing. You can even catch some junk to sell.

Alternate Start - Live Another Life

If you're playing Special Edition, you're starting from scratch whether you're a newcomer to Skyrim or a veteran. Why not start your new game as someone other than the Dragonborn? Alternate Start—again, by Arthmoor—is a roleplaying mod that gives you choices on how you'd like to begin your next playthrough. Are you a patron at in inn, a visitor arriving by boat, a prisoner in a jail cell, or a member of a guild? You can start as a soldier, an outlaw, a hunter, even a vampire. It's a great way to re-experience Skyrim from a different perspective, and skip the tutorial while you're at it.

Open Cities

It's a little immersion-breaking to enter a city through a gate and encounter a loading screen. Open Cities aims for more of a Morrowind feel: the cities aren't instances, they're part of the larger world. Stroll right in—or ride in on horseback—without a break in your experience, and these cities will feel more like real places than loaded-in maps.

Opening Scene Overhaul

This mod, by elderscrolliangamer, changes and enhances Skyrim's opening sequence by restoring dialogue that Bethesda chose to cut, but which is still present in the game files. With that content restored, you'll learn more about the world you're preparing to inhabit by listening in on additional conversations and seeing full sequences that were snipped before release. Best of all, if you choose to side with the Stormcloaks, you'll actually be able to escape Helgen with Ulfric himself at your side.

Relationship Dialogue Overhaul

This mod by cloudedtruth adds thousands of lines of voiced dialogue for NPCs to make you feel like you have a closer and more personal relationship with followers and friends. Your spouse will no longer sound like a random follower, but address you in a more personal manner, and those you've angered will have a host of new insults to hurl your way.

Frostfall and Campfire

Skyrim Console Commands

There's no need to play Skyrim as a humble warrior. Become a giant, fly, walk through walls, spawn any item you want, and even become Santa Claus with Skyrim console commands, and give yourself every item in the game with Skyrim item codes.

Looking to turn SSE into a survival experience? Then bundle up and look no further. These mods from Chesko make the frosty world of Skyrim more dangerous more immersive and enjoyable with a system that makes you manage your temperature in the cold climate. Hypothermia is an issue, especially if you swim through icy water, so you'll have to dress warmly, and camping elements include craftable tents, torches, and other gear. There's even a crafting skill system.

Also, check out Wet and Cold, which adds weather-dependent visual effects and sounds.

Positive Undressed Reactions

What could possibly be more immersive than walking around in your underclothes and being lavished with compliments by strangers? OK, maybe it's not that immersive but it is a fun one. On top of that, this mod also uses a very cool new AI-based voice synthesis tool called SKVA Synth to create some of its voice lines.


Se mods skyrim immersive

Skyrim: The 10 Best Immersion Mods To Date

Content Warning: This article contains references to violence

Skyrim's out-of-box game mechanics are fairly solid, but as time marches on, it's easier to spot just how outdated they've become. For gamers who want to replay Skyrim in the modern-day, a good level of immersion is a must. However, that's hard to achieve without the installation of mods that directly affect how they interact with the world.

RELATED: 10 Best RPG PC Games Of All Time (According To Metacritic)

The right immersion mods can make Skyrim feel fresh, engaging, and realistic in a way that the base game simply can't achieve. Adding these mods to a load order will revamp the gameplay experience for a new playthrough, and allow players to fall headfirst into the adventure, all over again.

10 Dynamic Things Alternative

By default, many of Skyrim's objects are non-interactive, and mostly there for decorative purposes. It's considered a missed opportunity to add a little more depth and immersion to the game, which is where Dynamic Things Alternative comes into play. This mod allows interaction with many items that were previously static in nature.

Players can harvest materials from mammoth skulls and dead animals, practice archery and melee skills on targets and dummies, and interact with crates, hanging taproots, and more. The in-game objects are never replaced, only modified for the sake of injecting a bit more interaction with the surrounding world.

9 Campfire - Complete Camping System

Outdoor aficionados who like to rough it in the wilderness will appreciate Campfire - a mod that does exactly as its name implies. It allows players to build campfires by harvesting nearby resources and placing them anywhere in the game world. This is great for players who don't like fast traveling and prefer to camp out at night.

Campfire also works hand-in-hand with Frostfall, another mod that takes into account Skyrim's deadly cold climate. Campfires can keep the player warm and prevent them from freezing to death, which is great for those who enjoy the more hardcore aspects of ultra-difficult survival games.

8 Immersive Citizens - AI Overhaul SE

NPCs (non-player characters) represent one of Skyrim's weaker muscles, and Immersive Citizens tries to fix that by injecting better AI and a more robust system of interaction. No longer do NPCs wander around aimlessly like robots with bad programming. After installing the mod, they'll begin acting in a more intelligent and scripted manner.

The mod also overhauls the combat mechanism, giving enemy characters a lot more wisdom when it comes to engaging the player. Survival instincts are taken into account, which means enemies won't be so quick to hurl themselves callously into a fight. It's a solid must-have for gamers who want the best from their NPCs.

7 iNeed - Food, Water And Sleep

Skyrim has a lot intense and challenging quests, but sometimes, even they aren't enough to give players a run for their money. By default, the game doesn't particularly care about basic needs like food, water or rest. Players can run through the entire game without taking so much as a sip of water and lack of sleep doesn't really have as much of an impact as it should.

iNeed is a must-have little mod that actually forces the player to take care of themselves. Regular food and drink are necessities, which means they'll do more than just take up space inside the inventory. Lack of proper sleep will also have detrimental effects on the player's stats, as it should.

6 Blowing In The Wind

This mod has been out since , and it offers a subtle, yet very immersive experience for Skyrim players. Things like hanging lanterns, store signs, and other items now react to blowing wind, creating a sense of believability in the game's weather system.

RELATED: 10 Best Adventure Games On Nintendo Switch

Blowing In The Wind is loaded with compatibility patches for many other popular mods, so it's best to check the mod page for a full description. It may not seem like much, but if there's space on the load order, this mod can go a long way to adding a bit more immersion into Skyrim.

5 Immersive Movement

While some players might not mind Skyrim's rather embellished approach when it comes to movement and combat speed, some may wish for a more authentic real-world experience. Immersive Movement brings a sense of weight and logic to the player, and the various NPCs and creatures in the game.

Humans now walk and run at normal speed, which means it's far more difficult to cover vast distances on foot. This makes owning a horse much more practical. Similarly, various creatures move in a more realistic manner, and combat is affected by the type of weapon being wielded, its weight, etc. In short, the mod tries to weigh down Skyrim's movement engine with a correct sense of realism.

4 Immersive Interactions - Animated Actions

One of the coolest immersion mods to come out in is Immersive Interactions, which overhauls how the player interacts with the world around them. For the first time, context-aware animations are now at the forefront, allowing the player to connect better with NPCs and creatures while tackling everyday tasks with more realism.

For instance, players will now physically pick up and gather firewood, wave to NPCs, bend down to pick a lock, or pet an animal. These are just a few examples of what the mod offers, and it's perfect for those who want to feel like more than just a lumbering statue, disconnected from what's going on around them.

3 Jaxonz Positioner Converted

One of the most overlooked immersion mods is actually one of the best of the bunch. Jaxonz Positioner Converted has been around for a while, but its most recent set of updates has turned it into a must-have for those who crave immersion. The mod allows the player to pick up, rotate and position most items in the game, which is perfect for decorating.

Players with a home will appreciate this mod the most, as it allows them to reorganize things like chairs, tables, and other decorative items with a few simple key presses. Players can even drop weapons, armor and other items found during travels, and position them exactly where they'd like. Once done, a simple button press locks said item in place, preventing it from being knocked around by accident.

2 Realistic AI Detection (Better Sneaking)

Skyrim's vanilla stealth mechanics are a massive mixed bag. On one hand, enemies can detect a player with total ease, even without a direct line of sight, but once the sneaking skill level starts going up, they can't even see the Dragonborn right in front of their face. Realistic AI Detection aims to fix this problem.

RELATED: 10 Best Games Available In Steam’s EA Play (According To Metacritic)

Essentially, the mod is all about balancing out the extremes of the sneaking protocol. It takes into account lighting and shadows, movement, armor type, and distractions when calculating detection variables. This means it's both harder, and easier to sneak around, depending on logical criteria.

1 Hunterborn SE


This mod alters the process of looting a dead animal by introducing dressing, skinning and butchering mechanics. It also changes the harvesting process by adding other materials that can be used to create potions and recipes. It even comes with a set of hunting knives to supplement the experience.

NEXT: 10 Skyrim Mods That Crush Bugs & Prevent Crashing


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About The Author
Derek Draven ( Articles Published)

Derek started writing about video games at age 14 and went on to write for GamePro Magazine and several other prominent outlets. He now brings his veteran pop culture XP to ScreenRant.

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The Most Immersive Skyrim Mods In 2021! (Immersive Skyrim Mods Episode 4)

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