Check out all the best mods you can apply in Skyrim Special Edition in 2023.
One major contributing factor behind Skyrim’s long-running success is its extensive moddability. In Skyrim, players can modify their game files to customize existing features or add new ones to enhance their gameplay experience.
This includes adding new quests, locations, and characters, spawning new items, enemies, enhancing graphics, and more. Moreover, mods will also allow you to unlock new weapons and skills for your character.
Players worldwide have come up with new and innovative mods over the course of ten years. If we combine the ones available on Steam Workshop and NexusMods website, approximately 100,000 Skyrim mods exist today. Hence it becomes near-impossible to determine which mods are actually worth trying out.
Read More: Skyrim: All Console Commands & Cheats
To ease your search a little, we have compiled and categorized a list of the top 50 best Skyrim Special Edition Mods you can try out in 2023.
List of Best 50 Mods in Skyrim
Below are all the best mods available under each category in Skyrim Special Edition. Keep in mind that these mods are not ranked in any particular order, so try out the ones that best fit your gameplay style!
Skyrim Graphical Enhancement Mods
The world of Skyrim is huge. Bethesda created a vastly immersive fantasy world to ensure that Skyrim becomes the greatest open-world RPG in existence. However, this also led to cutting corners in graphics quality and textures. That said, the game’s vanilla textures might feel outdated to players looking to enjoy Skyrim in 2023. That’s where the following mods come to your rescue:
1. Skyrim HD – 2K Textures
The Skyrim HD – 2K Textures mod from NexusMods improves the overall texture of landscapes, architecture, dungeons, and clutter to give the whole game a cleaner, sharper look that’s fitting for modern gaming platforms. Moreover, you can tweak the texture quality to match your system’s capabilities.
2. Static Mesh Improvement
This mod goes a step further in improving the game’s look by smoothing out the textures of static 3D models and objects in Skyrim. The Static Mesh Improvement mod includes improving the texture of furniture, items, clutter, and architecture and negating collision errors.
3. A Quality World Map
If you’re looking to change how the world map looks, then A Quality World Map is the perfect mod to get. This mod will add new sets of map looks for you. You can either go for the highly-detailed 3D world map or a more medieval-style paper world map texture. The best feature about this mod is that it displays roads on the world map, no matter which texture you’re going for!
4. Towns And Villages Enhanced
This is another great graphical enhancement mod you can get to add a touch of realism to the towns and villages in Skyrim. The Towns And Villages Enhanced mod will improve the texture of towns, outposts, farmhouses, trees, and foliage to make your surroundings more immersive. In addition to that, this mod will also add new building models and NPCs to make towns livelier.
5. Detailed Cities
Like the previous mod, the Detailed Cities mod will improve the textural quality of capital cities across Skyrim to give them a more polished look. This mod will add over 100 new items, improve the texture of trees and architecture, and more. This will make your journey across Riften, Solitude, Riverwood, and Windhelm more immersive.
6. Skyrim Flora Overhaul
This mod will improve the texture of trees and branches, bushes, grass, flowers, and every greenery you can think of. Moreover, it will also add new assets to bring out the lushness of the open world. The Skyrim Flora Overhaul mod is perfect for those who want the landscape to look more realistic and vibrant in scenic photos.
7. Enhanced Lights And FX
The Enhanced Lights And FX mod will improve the lighting conditions across all of Skyrim, making everything look more vibrant, dramatic, and realistic. Moreover, it will also add new effects like smoke from candles, reflection on the water, translucent effects on imperial tents, and more.
8. Immersive Animations
This mod will improve the animation of objects and character movement to make things more realistic and polished-looking. In addition to making movements more fluid, players can also customize the rate at which things move. The Immersive Animations mod is always improving, so it is a great mod to have if you’re looking to make your gameplay more immersive.
Skyrim Quest Mods
The Quest mods in Skyrim Special Edition are designed to add new storylines and characters that can give you 100+ hours’ worth of additional content. With these mods in your arsenal, you will never run out of things to do in Skyrim.
This is perhaps the most ambitious Skyrim mod of all, as it is an entirely new game based on Skyrim. Enderal offers almost 100 hours of additional gameplay and even has its own DLC named Forgotten Stories. The mod contains over 30 hours worth of professionally voiced dialogue and freshly composed soundtracks. Moreover, Enderal has its own story and unique character interactions, making it one of the most dedicated Skyrim mods of all time.
10. The Notice Board
If you’re familiar with The Witcher franchise, you’d know that the game features a Notice Board mechanic that allows players to obtain additional side quests besides the NPC quests. This mod brings that mechanic to Skyrim, placing Notice Boards outside inns for players to interact with. You will be able to carry out various monster-hunting quests, bounty quests, rescue quests, or fetch quests through the notice boards across cities.
11. The Forgotten City
This expansion mod introduces over 8 hours worth of content. Not to mention, the script for The Forgotten City won a national Writers’ Guild award, making it the only mod in history to do so. The mod will allow you to explore an ancient underground city and solve an intense murder mystery using your wits. Not to mention, you will also get to experience time traveling!
12. Pirates of Skyrim – The Northern Cardinal Under the Black Flag
Similar to Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, this expansion mod will allow you to embark on a pirate adventure as you sail across the Sea of Ghosts and explore the vast oceans. The Pirates of Skyrim – The Northern Cardinal Under the Black Flag mod is an expansion of the famous Northern Cardinal quest mod. This mod will allow you to sail your pirate ship, recruit members, battle and raid other ships, and loot treasures.
13. Brynjolf and the Riften Guild – Birthright
If you were left underwhelmed by the abrupt ending of the Thieves Guild questline, then this mod is for you. This quest mod extends the faction’s storyline, giving players proper closure on your guild members’ fate. The Brynjolf and the Riften Guild – Birthright mod brings back the two beloved characters, Brynjolf and Rune, and completes their stories. Moreover, in addition to the massive story content, you will also unlock four new dungeons and Brynjolf as a potential marriage partner.
14. Moonpath to Elsweyr
The Moonpath to Elsweyr expansion mod gives you access to the Khajit’s homeland of Elsweyr, allowing you to explore tropical jungles and vast deserts. In addition to exploring new areas and completing various quests, players will also encounter new creatures, such as raptors and hyenas. Moreover, you will also unlock an airship to travel to Ensweyr.
Featuring a brand-new storyline and location, the Wyrmstooth mod remains one of the finest quest mods you can get in Skyrim. This dragon-hunting quest will take players to the Island of Wyrmstooth to defeat a dragon that’s been making life difficult for The East Empire Company. Not only will you unlock the new main storyline and a new dungeon, but you’ll also find plenty of location-specific side quests. Moreover, you will also find a potential companion with their own questline.
16. Faction: Pit Fighter
Factions are one of the best features of Skyrim because they introduce new characters, trainers, and unique storylines. The Faction: Pit Fighter mod adds a brand new Faction for you to join, featuring unique NPCs, weapons, a dedicated questline, and faction ranks to climb up. This mod will allow you to join a group of arena fighters who will continually test your strength. There is also the Faction: Pit Fighter OCS Version for those who have the Open Cities mod installed.
17. The Paarthurnax Dilemma
The Blades are often met with criticism for how they handle things. Given that you’ve joined the faction, you’ll eventually have to decide to slay the wise dragon Paarthurnax. However, this mod brings a much-needed change to the faction’s story ending. If you choose to spare Paarthurnax’s life, you can now use the Paarthurnax Dilemma mod to reason with Delphine and Esber and convince them to show compassion.
18. Moon and Star
This quest mod is centered around a mysterious and powerful criminal from Morrowind, and you’ll have to decide whether this person is worth hunting. The Moon and Star expansion mod features a central main questline, four additional side quests, as well as trainers, weapons, and spells. Moreover, you’ll also get to explore a brand-new dungeon with intricate puzzles.
19. Helgen Reborn
The Helgen Reborn mod gives you the opportunity to rebuild the town of Helgen and become its ruler while uncovering many dark secrets. You will reunite with familiar faces, uncover an underground slavery ring and get to fight in arenas. Moreover, you’ll also unlock six new dungeons and a potential marriage partner. Furthermore, the expansion mod is fully voiced and will give you 6 hours worth of story content to enjoy.
This expansion mod adds a whole new world space that is independent of Tamriel. The Falskaar mod will give you 20 to 30 hours of additional content — featuring 9 main quests and 17 side quests. You will also meet unique new characters and a bard that will sing 14 new tracks. Moreover, you will also unlock various spells, books, recipes, weapons, armor, and Shouts.
Undeath is a fairly small quest mod that explores the story of an evil necromancer that is trying to obtain immortality. You will find yourself in a situation where you can either choose to stop him or carry out the mission yourself. The quest mod unlocks a brand new location called Dragontail Mountains, along with new soundtracks and abilities. Moreover, if you choose to go down this unholy path, you will transform into a Lich who can rule over the undead.
Skyrim Character Mods
Although Skyrim does let you create your own character, there are some serious limitations. You might struggle to find the right hairstyle, skin tone, or race. On the other hand, the NPCs might all look the same to you, with minimal variation. This is where Character Mods come in. With the following mods, you can change the appearance of NPCs and your own character beyond the default limits.
22. Total Character Makeover
This mod will completely overhaul the character appearances in Skyrim, bringing realistic textures to faces and bodies. This includes improving hand and foot meshes, adding double-sided eyelashes, and improving teeth, eyes, eyebrows, and beard textures. Moreover, the appearance of makeup, dirt, freckles, scars, and warpaint will also be improved. The Total Character Makeover mod will make the game more immersive and make characters more visually pleasing.
23. Apachii Sky Hair
The selection of hairstyles in Skyrim’s character creation leaves much to be desired. The Apachii Sky Hair mod aims to fix this problem by introducing various hairstyles for humans, orcs, and elves from Sims 2 and Sims 3. In addition to bringing new hairstyles, this mod also fixes the hair textures to give them a more realistic appearance.
Skyrim’s character creation menu and customization levels are already pretty impressive. However, there are still some aspects of your character that players cannot fully customize at will. The RaceMenu mod solves this problem by overhauling the character creation menu and adding new customization options. For instance, you can choose any tint for your skin, hair, or eye by inputting the desired AARRGGBB value. Moreover, you can also adjust your character’s height, along with other body parts. Not only that, but the mod will also add new tattoos and allow you to add warpaint wherever you please.
25. The Eyes Of Beauty
One of the drawbacks of a large-scale RPG like Skyrim is that minor details are sacrificed to focus on more important features. Although Skyrim has one of the most immersive open worlds, barely any effort was put into giving its characters a life-like appearance. The Eyes of Beauty mod aims to give life to characters by adding eye textures that are both realistic and lore-friendly. Moreover, you can also access more eye options in the character creation menu.
26. HDT Physics Extensions
There’s more to achieving hyperrealism than just ensuring crisp visuals. The HDT Physics Extensions mod takes the game’s physics engine capabilities up a notch, improving object animation. The mod offers improved cloth and hair movement along with realistic jiggle physics. This means that skirts and capes will be flowier, hair will move more naturally, and more.
Skyrim Weapon and Armor Mods
It’s fair to say that Skyrim has a large collection of weapons and armor to choose from. Having said that, tracking them down can be cumbersome. Moreover, players may want to try out more diverse options. The Weapon and Armor mods in Skyrim extend the weapon and armor pool and improve their textures to make them more detailed and realistic. Furthermore, these mods will unlock unique weapons and armor that greatly change how you play the game.
27. Immersive Weapons
Although Skyrim does offer a vast range of weapons in the game, they all start to feel repetitive after a while. So, if you’re looking to diversify the selection of weapons without straying from the essence of Skyrim, then this mod is for you. The Immersive Weapons mod will place over 200 new weapons for you to find all across Tamriel. With this mod, you will find unique Battleaxes, Greatswords, Daggers, Swords, Maces, and Warhammers. Moreover, each of these weapons will be appropriately leveled and highly detailed, making them a far better choice than the vanilla weapon pool.
28. Immersive Armors
Just like the previous mod, the Immersive Armors mod drastically improves the armor selection in Skyrim. You’ll find a wide selection of lore-friendly armor sets that blend seamlessly with Skyrim’s world. Moreover, they are all unique-looking and highly detailed, which will make your gameplay experience more immersive.
29. Cloaks of Skyrim
Cloaks are a fashion statement in any medieval fantasy roleplaying adventure. As such, the Cloaks of Skyrim mod adds over 100 styles of cloaks that can be obtained as loot or crafted for materials. In addition to being stylish and lore-friendly, these cloaks can also be enchanted to give you additional protection. And if you’re a huge Game of Thrones fan, you can also try out the Winter Is Coming – Cloaks mod.
30. Throwing Weapons
This mod will allow you to increase the selection of ranged weapons in the game. In the vanilla Skyrim, your ranged attacks are limited to magic-based attacks and bows. However, with the Throwing Weapons – Death From Afar mod, you can defeat enemies from afar using Throwing Axes, Throwing Knives, Javelins, Throwing Potions, Grenades, and other miscellaneous items. You can also add the Throwing Weapons Redux mod with this, as it offers a wider selection of grenades.
31. Project Flintlock
If you’re looking to further expand your selection of ranged weapons in Skyrim, then this mod is for you. The Project Flintlock mod will add guns to your arsenal of ranged weapons, including powerful firearms like Flintlock Rifles with bayonets, Grenade launchers, and Blunderbuss. Moreover, the mod also makes ammo and supplies appropriately available. In addition to that, you will also unlock a new area called the Outlander’s Camp and Cave.
32. Wearable Lanterns
When exploring dark caves and crypts, you’d want to keep both hands free to fight off any imminent danger. However, carrying around a torch can be troublesome during such times. This is where the Wearable Lanterns mod comes to your rescue. This mod will allow you to attach a lantern to your belt, lighting your way while keeping your hands free.
Skyrim Combat and Magic Mods
The Combat and Magic mods in Skyrim exist to give you an edge in battles, along with making battles more immersive and realistic. This includes adding more gore, implementing realistic enemy AI behavior, and adding new and improved fighting maneuvers.
33. Maximum Carnage
This mod is for all the gore lovers who want to send their enemies’ limbs flying with their melee attacks. The Maximum Carnage mod increases the brutality of your melee attacks by tenfolds, making battles more intense and realistic. In addition to the added gore, you will also witness new animations with sound effects!
34. Precision – Accurate Melee Collisions
If you want to add a touch of realism to your hack-and-slash melee combat, then the Precision – Accurate Melee Collisions mod is for you. As the name suggests, this mod will increase the precision of your attacks, adding true Havok collisions that are physically accurate. Moreover, the mod also adds weapon trails, along with integrating hit stops and camera shakes that mimic your attack movement.
35. Duel: Combat Realism
Hack-and-slash combat is fun, but not if it continues to feel repetitive and unrealistic. The Duel: Combat Realism mod aims to make melee combat more realistic by adding tweaks to how NPCs react when getting hit and making the enemy AI smarter. This means that enemies will now try new tactics to evade or counterattack and show better teamwork to take you down.
36. Apocalypse – Magic of Skyrim
This spell-pack mod will enable you to become the greatest mage across all of Skyrim. The Apocalypse – Magic of Skyrim mod is a must-have for players wanting to get the most out of their mage build. This mod will add over 150 unique and lore-friendly spells with custom animations. Moreover, it will also add new scrolls and staves to the game. Players can acquire these spells, scrolls, and staves through loot and by purchasing them for gold.
37. Spectraverse – Magic of the Magna-Ge
This one is a combination of a quest mod and a destruction spell-pack mod. The Spectraverse – Magic of the Magna-Ge mod features a new questline for players to complete. The questline is primarily focused on the Children of Magnus and features fully voice-acted scenes. The mod will give you access to 42 new Destruction spells that are not present in the base game. All of these spells are unique and come with custom animations. In addition to that, the mod also unlocks 6 new locations.
Being the Dragonborn means that you can use powerful Dragon Shouts against your enemies. The Thunderchild mod adds 29 new shouts to the game, each with unique effects that are not present in the base game. For instance, you can share your vitality with another living being, turn your allies into invulnerable stones, freeze time, block enemy spellcasting, and more.
Skyrim NPC Mods
NPCs are an important aspect of building an immersive roleplaying experience. No matter how realistic a map area might be, the world will feel bleak if the people in it aren’t interesting. The NPC mods in Skyrim Special Edition aim to bring life to these non-playable characters, integrating realistic behavior and interesting characteristics. Moreover, you’ll also be able to bring life to character interactions to give yourself a more immersive roleplaying experience.
39. Amazing Follower Tweaks
Want to have multiple followers that are intelligent enough to fend for themselves? Then this mod is for you. The Amazing Follower Tweaks mod allows you to recruit up to five followers at a time and micromanage every aspect of their life. This means that you can change their outfits, spells, and combat styles and give them orders. Moreover, you can also control their level-up system and assign a home of your choice to each of them.
Furthermore, you can also turn them into Vampire Lords or Werewolves and make them your superhuman companions. In addition, this mod will also make your Follower NPCs more intelligent, so they can watch out for traps, set up camp, and even ride horses.
40. Bandit Lines Expansion
You’ll encounter various human enemies, like bandits, throughout your adventure in Skyrim. These encounters can feel repetitive and annoying since the bandits have very little dialogue that is reused repeatedly. The Bandit Lines Expansion fixes this problem by adding a plethora of new dialogues. This adds more personality to these bandits, making your roleplaying adventure more immersive.
41. Interesting NPCs
The NPCs in Skyrim don’t offer diverse interactions unless they’re quest-givers. However, with the Interesting NPCs mod, you can enhance your roleplaying experience by giving NPCs interesting backstories and expanding their dialogue threshold. In addition to adding over 250 fully voiced NPCs, the mod also includes over 25 new followers and 15 more marriage options. Moreover, there are also over 50 new quests associated with these NPCs.
42. Immersive Citizens
The Immersive Citizens mod will change how friendly NPCs behave, bringing a touch of realism to how citizens react to their environment and toward aggressors. The mod includes a “Survival Instinct” feature which mimics true human behavior. This means that citizens will take more rational actions to protect themselves in dangerous situations. As for non-combat behavior, NPCs will react to environmental factors such as weather or human factors such as people’s relationships and professions.
43. Sofia — The Funny Fully Voiced Follower
This mod adds a brand-new, fully-voiced Follower named Sofia. She is witty, rebellious and certainly makes an unusual companion. Sofia’s smart AI enables her to comment on the player’s actions and environment. Not to mention, she even starts sounding drunk when you give her alcohol. Moreover, Sofia is also aware of all locations, main quests, and bounties – making her an excellent companion.
Skyrim Immersive Atmosphere Mods
The Immersive Atmosphere mods aim to bring life to the game’s atmosphere by adding new and improved sounds, traveling NPCs, and more. These mods aim to bring a touch of realism to Skyrim’s vast open world, making the game even more immersive than it already is.
44. Sounds of Skyrim
The Sounds of Skyrim mod enhances the game’s audio immersion by adding over 460 realistic sound effects. The mod aims to bring life to Skyrim’s environment by playing animal and insect sounds that change according to the in-game time and weather. Moreover, separate sound sets are also added for dungeons, caves, sewers, Dwemer ruins, and forts – alerting you of potential monsters lurking within. Furthermore, over 200 unique sound effects are added to mimic the bustling civilization in cities and villages.
45. Travelers of Skyrim
Traveling across Skyrim is no fun if it’s just you and the occasional bandits trying to rob you. The Travelers of Skyrim mod adds a range of traveling companions for you to bump into during your travels. The mod will add 50 new NPCs ranging from Alchemists, Mercenaries, Merchants, and Mages that keep traveling to and fro from over 30 locations.
The Campfire mod adds an immersive camping mechanic in Skyrim, allowing you to set up a campfire and start fires of varying intensity. You can cook or grill food with your Followers on these campfires, which will uplift your spirits and grant you skill bonuses. In addition to that, you can also forage for resources and buy new camping equipment like tents, tanning racks, and a backpack full of camping essentials.
Skyrim System Mods
The System mods in Skyrim give players more accessibility to customization and fix problematic features of the vanilla UI. These mods will allow you to tweak Skyrim’s systems, significantly improving your gameplay experience.
The SkyUI mod revamps the game’s UI and menus, making it more user-friendly than ever before. It restructures the menus and organizes loot to allow convenient inventory management. In addition to revamping the alchemy, crafting, smithing, and enchanting menus, this mod also adds a Mod Configuration Menu (MCM) that allows players to tweak and adjust all mods from their pause screen menu.
48. Build Your Own Home
If you want the freedom to create your personal space, then this mod is for you. The Build Your Own Home mod lets players construct and customize a home for their character right by the river outside of the Abandoned Prison. Like the Sims games, you can decorate your home however you want, adding furniture and decorations that match your aesthetic. Moreover, the home will also have a secret lair for Vampire and Werewolf characters.
49. Better Dialogue Controls
Have you ever encountered a situation where Skyrim’s buggy interface made you choose the wrong dialogue option? Then this mod is for you. The Better Dialogue Controls mod fixes the issues with how the keyboard and mouse controls overlap and interfere with each other when picking dialogues. This mod will ensure that your desired dialogue choice is picked every time, improving your gameplay experience.
50. Climates Of Tamriel – Weather – Lighting – Audio
Dubbed the “Number 1 Weather and Lighting overhaul” for Skyrim, this super popular mod allows you to experience hundreds of unique weather conditions in the game. The Climates Of Tamriel mod adds realistic weather effects with appropriate sound effects to match. Moreover, it also replaces the Vanilla cloud textures and lightning patterns with new and improved ones. Furthermore, the mod will also give players full customization accessibility, allowing them to tweak sound and lighting effects to their preference.
Do you wish to learn more about Skyrim? Then check out our other guides on All Guilds and Factions, Best Skyrim Builds, Best Skyrim Factions, How to Get to Forelhost, How To Install The Skygerfall Mod, and How to Fish in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.