Skyrim Guides Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Skyrim Guides RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network How to Wait in Skyrim VR on Oculus, Vive, and PSVR Fri, 06 Apr 2018 17:34:38 -0400 Jonathan Moore

Although Skyrim VR turns the vanilla game's immersion up to 11, letting you throw fireballs, fight off Draugr, and steal cheese wheels in an almost-tangible Elder Scrolls landscape, there are limits to what we players will do to achieve that. No one wants to wait half a dozen real-world hours for Riften's guards to fall asleep at their posts. 

That's where Skyrim's "Wait" function comes in handy. And whether you're playing Skyrim VR on the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, or PSVR, you may have found waiting isn't as immediately intuitive as you might have thought. 

Using each platform's motion controls, all it takes is the press of a single button to wait in Skyrim VR

  • On Oculus Rift: Press and hold down the Y button
  • On HTC Vive: Hold the Left Menu button
  • On PSVR: Press the Start button

If you're trying to figure out how to wait in vanilla Skyrim, you can do so by pressing "T" on PC, the "Back" button on Xbox One, the Touchpad on PS4, and the "--" button on the Nintendo Switch. 

Simple as that. Now you can wait faster and easier than ever before -- both in and out of virtual reality. 

We have loads of Skyrim guides here on GameSkinny, from categorized mod lists to some effective builds.

Modding Skyrim to Make It More Like Dark Souls Sat, 10 Mar 2018 14:28:29 -0500 Kengaskhan


The Grim and Somber ENBs


Skyrim version can be downloaded here.


Dark Souls and Skyrim are all about atmosphere, and they both nail it -- in their own respective ways. But if you want to bring Skyrim's atmosphere closer to Dark Souls', you can do to Skyrim what every fantasy and sci-fi film director has done to their own works: add post-processing effects!


... or, have someone else do it for you!


The Grim and Somber ENBs are a collection of ENB post-processing presets meant to give Skyrim a darker mood. Don’t worry, it’s not as hard as it looks to install -- just follow the instructions and you’ll be good to go!


If none of the Grim and Somber ENB presets are to your taste (or you’re playing Skyrim Special Edition), just be aware that there are tons of ENB presets available at Nexus Mods -- you can find them all here (or here if you’re playing Skyrim Special Edition.)




Given the depth of Skyrim's modding scene, I'm sure there are plenty of mods that could fit on this list. Let me know of any that I may have missed!


If you're looking for more Skyrim-related content, you can find it all here!




Skyrim version can be downloaded here.


Skyrim doesn’t have the same omnidirectional camera movement that the Souls games have -- if you have your weapon drawn and you turn your camera, your character turns in that direction too. This makes a lock-on system less of a necessity, but like tumbling, the lock-on system is a pretty big part of Souls combat.


As far as customization goes, this mod is pretty straightforward, but if you find that the default lock-on texture isn’t to your liking, there’s a Dark Souls-themed texture replacer you can check out.


Unfortunately, there is no version of this mod currently available for Skyrim Special Edition. However, the Simple Face to Face Conversion mod has a Simple Lock-On Alpha listed under miscellaneous files that you might want to give a try.


SkyrimSouls -- Unpaused Game Menu


With “SkyrimSouls” in its title, there can be no mistake about which audience this mod was intended for -- though of course, players looking for a more immersive Skyrim experience will appreciate the mod’s function all the same.


SkyrimSouls -- Unpaused Game Menu does exactly what it says: it stops in-game menus from pausing the game. This means that you won’t be able to open your inventory to pause combat, chug five healing potions, swap out your armor, eat a wheel of cheese, and then resume combat. The mod is also highly configurable, and you’ll be able to pick and choose which menus you want exempt from the modified menu behavior (for example, you may not want the game to continue running while the system menu is open).


(If you really want to crack down on the potion chugging, you may want to check out Potions Animated, which forces the player character through a drinking animation whenever they consume a potion.)




With VIGILANT, your character becomes a Vigilant of Stendarr tasked with keeping the holds of Skyrim safe from the encroaching darkness. However, things get a little more complicated when a Daedric Prince takes an interest in the Dragonborn.


VIGILANT is divided into four parts (all included in the mod), taking you on a journey that will bring you to some truly Souls-esque set pieces to fight some equally Souls-esque enemies. VIGILANT also doubles as a weapon & armor mod, and you’ll be able to pick up some setting-appropriate equipment (there’s actually even some Bloodborne stuff in there) as you progress through the story.


Also note that while the base mod is not voice acted, the Skyrim Voice Alliance produced an English voice acting add-on for the mod -- you can get it here!


Wildcat -- Combat of Skyrim


One of the Souls series’ hallmark features is the lethality of combat, and it’s not just the player who’s fragile; most of the enemies your size will fall after three or four hits as well.


There are quite a few highly configurable combat overhauls available for Skyrim that make combat deadlier for all parties involved, but Wildcat in particular is fairly lightweight and adds a few extra mechanics that many Souls veterans will find familiar.

  • Stamina costs for all attacks, not just power attacks
  • \n
  • Faster stamina (and magicka) regeneration
  • \n
  • Staggering is more common (though I’d probably disable the injury system)
  • \n
  • Increased damage dealt to characters in the middle of an attack
  • \n

However, if you've already got a combat overhaul that you like, that should do the job just fine.


TK Dodge


What would Dark Souls be without dodge rolling? Well, the game would still be beatable for some people, but for the majority of players, it just wouldn’t be the same. Nexus Mods user tktk1 has produced quite a number of highly rated mods for the website (and I recommend checking them out), and amongst the most popular is TK Dodge, which adds a configurable dodge roll to the game.


You’ll be able to change the dodge’s input method (e.g., double-tapping a movement key to dodge vs. using a dedicated dodge hotkey), adjust the stamina cost and the invincibility frame duration of the dodge, and even choose between two different dodge animations!


Skyrim is a pretty popular game -- so popular, in fact, that Bethesda can't seem to stop themselves from re-releasing it on as many platforms as it'll fit on!


However, even a game as well regarded as Skyrim has its flaws, as evidenced by the numerous overhauls and tweaks available through mods for the game. Now, you could try to enhance your Skyrim playthrough by downloading a couple of random mods that happen to catch your eye, but you might be better off tailoring your game to build a more cohesive experience.


For example, why not try modding Skyrim to emulate the gameplay of another third-person, medieval fantasy action-RPG that's actually renowned for its combat?


Here are six mods that'll bring your Skyrim run a little closer to Dark Souls.

Skyrim Special Edition: How To Level Up Lockpicking With Less Stress Sat, 03 Dec 2016 12:00:01 -0500 StraightEdge434

Whether you have played the original edition of the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim or you've recently picked up Skyrim: Special Edition, you have most likely encountered many locked chests, jewelry boxes and doors throughout your travels through Skyrim. And you have probably wasted a good amount of lockpicks trying to crack open safes or valuable chests that hold great loot inside -- am I right?

As you probably also know, lockpicks aren't abundant in the game. Sure, you can buy them from merchants, but do you really want to spend money on them? Of course, not. But you will break them more frequently the more difficult a locked chest is (i.e. master chests). Oh, and to add insult to injury, the final perk in the lockpicking skill tree makes your lockpicks never break. But to reach level 100, you'll need to pick a lot of chests...

Thankfully, we've got you covered. This guide will tell you how to pick locks without having to waste lockpicks, money or time. Let's get started. 

Be Smart About Lock Picking! 

Picking a lock can be stressful and annoying!

Chests, particularly master chests, have great loot inside of them most, if not all of, the time. But it's not just chests that have glorious loot! Display cases with valuables, doors that create shortcuts (and have really wierd things inside) and jewelry boxes. All of these provide you with useful items that you can wear or sell for a lot of money. So, what do you do (if you're progressing legitimately) to take advantage of all these goodies?

If you are a thief/assassin build (or really any build for that matter), go with the Argonian class. They get a +10 to their Lockpicking perk, which not only makes it easier to pick low-level locks right off the bat, but also gives you an immediate stat advantage, making you closer to level 100 than any other class, helping you pick harder locks earlier on. 

PRO TIP: Don't forget to activate the Thief's Stone for an extra 20% boost!

Know Which Locks to Pick! 

I know it can be tempting to pick the lock of expert or master chests. Not only are they bigger and more gorgeous than regular chests, but they also carry better loot. However, I wouldn't advise picking those types of locks until your lock picking skill is higher, or you have the skeleton key (which we'll talk about in just a second).

Instead, jot down or take a mental note/memorize the location of the chest and then come back to it. Chances are, if you discovered it early, then your lockpicking skill was low, and/or you didn't have enough lockpicks to successfully open it. Remember: patience is key. Master chests usually contain items that scale with your level, so if you come back later, you'll receive even better rewards!

But On to the Mother of All Lockpicks ... 

The Skeleton Key...your best friend

For those who don't know, the Skeleton Key is the ultimate lockpick. What does it do? Well, it acts like every other lockpick in the game, never breaks! Never.

You can spend the entire day trying to crack open a master chest, but this little thing will never break. The best part is, you won't need any other lockpicks because this one will be prioritized (when you enter the animation, the game selects the Skeleton Key instead of a regular lockpick for you). Think of all the time you'll save! No more wasting money on regular lockpicks and no more scavenging corpses. 

The key also grants you experience every time you break open a chest. Every time you see a locked chest, door or display case (no matter what level it is), pick its lock! 

How Do You Get the Skeleton Key?

Inside the Thieves Guild, an organization of professional burglars.


To get the key, you'll first need to join the Thieves Guild, located in Riften, and progress through its storyline, where you are betrayed by Mercer, leader of the guild. After betraying you and the guild, Mercer steals all of the guild's treasure (ironic, huh?), and runs away with it. Eventually, you find him and you have to fight him tp get the Skeleton Key.

Here's the Quick and Easy on How to Defeat Mercer and Get the Skeleton Key Faster

Mercer can be tough. He can become invisible, and his weapon, if it hits you, drains 15 points of health per second. That can kill you fairly quickly if you're not cautious or high leveled. But thankfully, he can be defeated early on! 

If you know all three words to FUS-RO-DAH, once the dialogue finishes, ignore him, and run all of the way to the top of the room (near the statue's head). As soon as he comes up to you, use the shout to blow him off the statue, and see him plummet to his death. If he for whatever reason survives, quickly finish him off. 

Loot his corpse, and you'll get the Skeleton Key! To finish the Thieves Guild storyline, the Skeleton Key must be returned to where it came from. However, you don't have to do that! You can walk out and keep the key for yourself. When you reach level 100, you can return it. Simple as that. 

Now You're a Lock Picking Master

Bright, shiny coins!

Really, the best way to skip the grind of lockpicking is to get the Skeleton Key. Once you retrieve it, keep it! Don't get rid of it because there is no way to get it back! Use it to pick the lock of everything you see, and soon enough, you'll be lock picking machine, one that's got all of his pocket firmly stuffed with precious goods and gold. 

What are your Skyrim: Remastered lock picking secrets? Share them in the comments below! 

There's A Room Full of Dead Bodies in Skyrim Special Edition...Here's How to Get to It Wed, 30 Nov 2016 11:51:15 -0500 Auverin Morrow

Chances are that you've probably killed at least a few hundred people in your travels across Tamriel since the release of Skyrim: Special Edition last month. You probably also thought that once those bodies were looted for gold and lockpicks, they simply disappeared into Oblivion never to return. 

But it turns out, that's not at all what happens -- at least, not for most characters who die at some point in the game. Instead of simply disappearing forever, these lifeless bodies get sent to a rather grisly room called the "Dead Body Cleanup Cell". 

This is a hidden room in Skyrim that can only be accessed via console commands. With a surreal purple and green color palate, this eerily cross-shaped cell has four doorways at the end of each corridor, but no actual doors. Should you step through one of these gaping thresholds, you'll simply get ported back to the center of the death room. 

Pretty much any character -- especially NPCs you can interact with -- who gets killed in some fashion will end up in this room, their bodies piled up in the center. You can resurrect some of these NPCs if you have the means, but mostly it's just a gruesome holding cell. 

Still...if you want to check it out, here's how you can do it. 

How to Get Into The Dead Body Cleanup Cell

Like I said earlier, the only way to reach this cell is to use console commands. 

If you're playing on PC, all you need to do is press your ~ button and it'll bring up the console. From here, you can input a number of codes to tell the game what to do. While some folks use this to exploit infinite gold or turn on God Mode, we're going to use it to teleport. 

There are two ways to do this. The first is using a "move player" command. The second involves using "center on cell" commands. Here's the breakdown for each method.

Using "Move Player" Commands

The move player command will teleport you to any NPC you choose. As such, it's worth noting that this method will only work if you're trying to teleport to a NPC that's already dead. Otherwise, you'll just end up somewhere else in Skyrim.

The first step is to find the NPC's RefID. Let's say you finally get fed up with Lydia's snide remarks and bodyblocks, and kill her in a fit of rage. Her RefID is 000A2C94. Once you open the console command screen, you'll combine her RefID with the "move player" command as follows: 

player.moveto 000A2C94

So long as you've put it in properly, you should teleport to wherever Lydia is. And if she's dead, then it'll take you right to the Cleanup Cell where her body is being held. 

Using "Center on Cell" Commands

Center on cell commands will put your character smack dab in the middle of whatever cell you choose to name. While the "move player" commands rely on a specific character actually being in the cell we're trying to go to, this one doesn't have any such conditions. 

All you have to do is type in the following command: 

coc WIDeadBodyCleanupCell

And boom! You're in an open-air crypt. Creepy.

Using this method is known to cause Skyrim to crash, so make sure you save before you try it out. 

What About Console Players?

Sorry, folks. But this is likely a PC-only adventure. There is currently no way for regular console players to access the command interface. Some players have reported that plugging a keyboard into your console and hitting the ~ key will work, but we can't 100% confirm that it's true. 

There is apparently a very complicated way to turn your Xbox controller into a functional keyboard, but the steps required are too numerous and complex to list here. But if you want to give it a shot, you can check out the instructions for how to do so. Just keep in mind that they're only for the Xbox 360, so Xbox One and all PlayStation players will probably just have to go without. 

That's all there is to it!

Enjoy your time in the dead body museum. Whenever you finally decide to leave (which we're betting will be pretty much immediately), all you have to do is use either of the console commands above to teleport right back out of there.

Just make sure none of them follow you...

Did you know this hidden room existed? Planning to visit it anytime soon? Let us know in the comments!

Dressed to Impress: Unconventional Skyrim Remastered Character Builds Sun, 20 Nov 2016 12:00:02 -0500 Justin Michael

With the release of Skyrim Special Edition to the latest generation of consoles, as well as PC, I've been enjoying another crack at all the game has to offer. And now that consoles can also make use of some of the mods, I think it's the perfect time to share some of my character builds with my fellow roleplay enthusiasts.

In addition to the mods I covered in my previous article, four additional mods are required for some of these character builds to work to their fullest potentials. It's also worth noting that these mods can also be found on the Bethesda.Net launcher in-game.

  • Ordinator - Perks of Skyrim: An amazing perk overhaul system. Really, one of the best out there. 

  • Apocalypse - Magic of Skyrim: This mod makes magic more than just empowered versions of the same ole' spells -- the biggest flaw of the vanilla magic system. Now you can play a truly fearsome mage, one who's able to freeze their foes solid, entomb them alive in an earthen prison or summon armies of the undead. 

  • Imperious - Races of Skyrim: Imperious brings back those significant bonuses that games like Morrowind and Oblivion had for the different races in a very lore-friendly way. Argonians for example, have water breathing PLUS massive movement bonuses in the water. And Dunmer can summon an ancestrial spirit to aid them in battle.

  • Thunderchild - Epic Shouts and Immersion: Makes the use of shouts more immersive and adds a greater emphasis on the importance and power of being Dragonborn.
Garett -- Breton Spellsword

Garett the breton spellsword

Garett is a competent fighter and destruction mage looking to fulfill his wanderlust in Skyrim, a land teetering on the edge of civil war. Growing up in a family of craftsmen and artificers, he is skilled in armorsmithing and a natural enchanter, weaving powerful magics into his weapons for added boon.  

Primarily a mace-user, he enjoys softening up his targets with fire spells from the school of destruction and boosting his abilities with spells from the school of restoration.


Stat allocation - 2 Magic / 2 Health / 1 Stamina until LVL 20 - Garett relies heavily on a large magic pool to deal his otherworldly damage and has become hardier by focusing on heavy armor.

Standing Stone - The Lord. Increased physical and magical resistance allows Garett to sustain his godly fortitude in any fight.

Primary Skills (1-handed, mace focus / Heavy Armor / Destruction, fire path / Enchanting, spell scribe perk line)

Secondary Skills (Smithing, plate armor perk & arcane smithing / Restoration stat & healing boosts)

Raccan -- Redguard Alik'r Assassin

Raccan in Redguard clothing

Originally, Raccan came to Skyrim to find a rat-fink traitor who was a bit of a narc, undermining the leaders of noble families in Hammerfell who funded resistance fighters against the Aldmeri Dominion. During his journies, however, he realized that it would be possible for him to carve out a nicer living by ending lives for The Dark Brotherhood.

Taking his skills in Alchemy, Stealth and Illusion magics to the next level, Raccan observes his targets and plans the best approach -- leaving no trace behind.


Stat allocation 2 Magic / 1 Health / 2 Stamina until LVL 20 - Raccan remains out of sight, making use of illusion magic as much as possible. But if he's found, he's not like other Illusion mages: Instead, he has a large pool of stamina to draw on in a fight.

Standing stone - The Lord - The harsh life of growing up in the Alik'r Desert has made Raccan numb to most minor injuries -- physical and magical. 

Primary skills (1-handed, dual wielding sword & dagger / Sneak / Alchemy, poisons / Illusion, invisibility & suggestion spells)

Secondary skills (Light armor / Archery )

 Fenren -- Nord Follower of the Voice

Fenren began his life as a Vigilant of Stendar, born to parents of the order. From an early age, it was apparent that he was different. Though he rarely spoke, his actions told volumes of the strength that lived within him. After an unfortunate accident took his parents from him, he made a pilgrimage to the Throat of the World to honor their memory.

It was there he devoted the next five years of his life to the Way of the Voice and Kyne's mercy. He began to feel a strange force within him and was shortly thereafter tasked by the Graybeards to look into a rumor surrounding Helgen...


Stats allocation - 1 Magic / 2 Health / 2 Stamina until LVL 20 - Fenren still wears his Vigilant of Stendar uniform in remembrance of his parents. Because of this, many would-be enemies misjudge his stout combat acumen. This would be unwise. 

Standing stone - The Atronach Stone - Fenren was never as skilled in magic as the other Vigilant, but was, all the same, more capable of manipulating it to his benefit.

Primary skills (1-handed, maces / Restoration / Speechcraft, path of the Voice / Alteration, mage armor buffs)

Secondary skills ( Blocking / Heavy Armor)

But Are These Builds REALLY Unconventional? You Bet They Are ... 

If you are using the mods I have suggested above, as well as those in my previous article about Skyrim SE mods, then you'll understand how unique these characters are.

For example, on Raccan I took the Tripwire perk in the Sneak tree, which allows me to set up a trap for stronger enemies that my poison arrow might not kill instantly. Plus, what other Illusion mage is also an assassin, master trap-layer and combat-colossus? 

Or in the case of Fenren, the Speechcraft path of the Voice makes his shouts powerful and provides buffs to his base stats, setting him apart from other Graybeards.

And the mace specialization of Garett allows him to crush enemy armor with each blow he lands -- plus he's a magical beast... I mean a hulk that can also wield magic and make badass weapons. Who doesn't love that? 

What awesome Skyrim SE characters have you dreamed up? Let us know in the comments below.

Mod IQ: How to Create a Mod Part 2 - Best Tools to Use Sat, 19 Nov 2016 11:00:01 -0500 Justin Michael

Last week I covered a simple how-to tutorial on using the Skyrim Special Edition's creation kit to make a simple custom-weapon mod, where we were able to change the weapons' stats, enchantments and other attributes.

This week, we're going to cover some of the tools that can be used to make truly custom weapons for Skyrim.


Blender is the free and open source 3D creation suite. It supports the entirety of the 3D pipeline—modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing and motion tracking, even video editing and game creation.

Blender is a great option for getting into 3D modeling and learning the basics. Besides being free, there is a very active and thriving community that posts great tutorials and videos to help you along the way. 

The only downside that I've come across with Blender is the amount of importing and exporting of different file types that you have to do so the models are compatible. It can be a challenge to figure it all out at first.

If you're serious about trying to use Blender to make a weapon and import it into Skyrim, this is the best video I've found so far. It's about a 30 minutes long, but it's the most thorough explanation I've been able to find to date.

Autodesk Suite

The Autodesk® Entertainment Creation Suites provide an affordable end-to-end creation solution, packed with tools used by leading artists working in visual effects, 3D game development, and other 3D animation production.

An easier way to do custom weapons and armors is by making use of the Autodesk suite of tools. This includes Maya, 3ds Max and Mudbox, to name a few. If you watch the Blender video above, you'll notice that a number of the extra steps involve you exporting your weapon as a .3ds file extension. This is actually the native file extension for 3ds Max and would cut out a lot of the need to export.

The trade off of using the Autodesk tools is that they are not free -- they are actually fairly expensive if you want to use them for the purposes of making money. However, if you're simply going to use them to make FREE, non-commercial custom weapons for Skyrim, then you can obtain a student copy of the programs on a 3-year usage license.

If this is a route you're thinking about taking, then here is a good video on importing custom weapons into Skyrim using Autodesk tools.

I know that this is a lot of information to take in: That's why next week, I plan on doing another article where I will walk you through creating a custom dagger based off of the Dwarven dagger than can be found in the base Skyrim game. If you can't wait and want to give it a shot yourself before then, these video links should help you on your way. 

And if you want to get started with some great mods the Skyrim community has made over the years, try out these mods while you wait! 

What kinds of custom weapons would you like to add into Skyrim? Let me know in the comments below and keep your eyes out for next week's tutorial on creating our own custom dagger, which I'll be doing with 3ds Max. 

How to Create a Mod (Part 1): Learning the Basics by Building Custom Weapons Thu, 10 Nov 2016 09:41:21 -0500 Justin Michael

With the recent release of Skyrim Special Edition, the modding community has been buzzing to get mods ported from the original to the remaster. But this is also a great time to get on the modding scene for those who wanted to mod, but never did. 

But most aspiring modders have the same question -- how do I start? And while the answer may vary from modder to modder, I'm here to help you figure it out. We'll start off small and walk through the whole process with a very basic mod -- making your own custom weapon. I know it's nothing special, but we all have to start somewhere.

So with that in mind, let's get started.

Step 1: Set Up the Creation Kit

Before we can do anything, you're going to need to download the Skyrim Special Edition Creation Kit. Sign up for a account, then download the launcher that will have the Creation Kit. 

 Once that's all set up, simply open the Creation Kit, go to File -> Data and double click on the Skyrim.esm file until it's got an "x" next to it. Thenhit okay.

It's going to take a few moments to load everything so don't panic.

Step 2: Pick Out a Weapon

Okay, the Creation Kit is loaded and all the game assets are available for you to use. So what do you do now?

Well, the first thing you need to do is pick out a weapon type. 

For my example, I'm going to choose an Ebony Mace, as my character uses maces. In the window titled "Object Window", go to the Items drop-down and from there you'll find Weapons. It should look something like this:


Right-click on the weapon type of your choice and chooseDuplicate Item. Now you could leave the default name here, but I'd suggest renaming it for ease of finding it later if you want to make changes.

Double clicking on the duplicated weapon will open the Weapon tab, which looks like this:

Once you assign a name to the weapon (I chose Game Skinny Mace) then we can tweak a few other things. In the Game Data tab, we can change the physical and damage properties of the weapon. I cut the weight in half and increased the damage to 42, because it's the answer to life's greatest question -- just like this mace.

When that's done, all you really have to do is to hit the Ok button and save.

Once the file is saved, you need to add it to your load order. If you're using the function, the mod should be at the bottom of your list. Simply set it to enabled and start your game.

Final Step: Spawn the Weapon In-Game

In a future article, I'll cover placing things into the world but for now, we're going to use the console to spawn the item into our player's inventory. 

To open your console press the "~" key and a command prompt will pop up. From there, we'll type in help "Weapon Name" to get the weapon's item ID (in my case I typed in help "Game Skinny Mace" which had the weapon ID of 1D000D63 but yours will be different). You add the item to your inventory with the command: player.additem itemID Quantity (player.additem 1D000D63 1 in my case to spawn 1 mace in my inventory).

If you've done everything correctly then you should have the weapon that you made in your inventory. Congratulations, you made your first mod!

If you got lost in all of the instructions fret not for I have made a video for those who learn by seeing, then doing. And, if you're looking for some more mods to help fill out your game, check out my previous article on the top immersion mods in my game load order.

How to Make the Best Assassin Build in Skyrim Special Edition Wed, 02 Nov 2016 01:08:46 -0400 AwesumPawsum

There are lots of ways to play as an Assassin in Skyrim Special Edition. You can concentrate on just one weapon, like a dagger or bow. You can use Illusion spells to hide yourself and Restoration for healing, or write off magic altogether. Good guy vs. bad guy. get the idea.

But let's forget about roleplaying for a minute. Let's say you want to create the most powerful assassin possible.

This is how you do it.  

Skyrim Assassin Build Race: Wood Elf or Khajit (or Whatever You Want)

To be honest, race isn't a major factor. Wood Elves get a starting bonus to Archery, and Khajits get a starting bonus to Sneak. But since every race can max out every skill, it all evens out at the end.

If you don't necessarily care about the starting stats, I have two recommendations for how you should choose your race:

  1. Pick your favorite race: Love Argonians? Cool -- getting assassinated by a lizard would be kinda scary. But if you love something else, just go for it.
  2. Pick based on racial ability, not stats: The night vision that Khajit can use is nice if you install lighting mods. Nords have Battlecry, which help them get out of a jam. The extra magicka buff that High Elves boast is nice if you plan on using Illusion (which you should).

The point is -- race isn't too important. Pick one you like, and move on!

Skyrim Special Edition Assassin Build: Archery

This is a must.

While it is more satisfying to sneak up behind a baddy and slit their throat, that isn't always an option.

Here are a few reasons why you need to invest in Archery:

  • Whittle down groups of enemies from afar: It's difficult to sneak up on a group of 2-3 enemies, as they have a wider range of view. Taking them out without getting close puts you in less danger. 
  • Take out animals: Animals tend to hear/smell you better while sneaking than other enemies. Even though a high enough sneak score will eventually let you sneak up for a dagger strike, killing beasts from far away is very useful early game.
  • Dragons: These suckers fly. You can't. And even though it's nice to get a stealth attack on one with your dagger, there will be many battles where you won't have that luxury. Having a bow or crossbow to attack from afar is critical.
  • Poison Arrows. You can have a lot more fun with poisoned arrows than you can with a poisoned dagger. Throw a Fury potion on an arrow and watch your enemies mow down the poor soul who got the arrow in his back! Or apply strong health poisons to your arrows to take out a dragon very quickly.

So, yeah -- don't ignore Archery!

Assassin Build - One-Handed Weapons

Let me be clear -- you won't be investing many perk points here. Armsman is great, but that's the only perk you need to invest in. 

The reason you don't need to invest in anything else is that you're an assassin. Assassins don't do well in melee combat. They can hold their own, but their expertise is taking out enemies without getting noticed.

Armsman is critical because it adds so much damage to your sneak attacks. Even if you only take 2 points in it, that's increasing your damage by 40%. Multiplied by a factor of 15 (from the Sneak tree) adds up.

Skyrim Assassin Build: Illusion

First off -- you should use Illusion because it's the most fun tree of magic in the game.

But secondly, it's basically built for assassins.

Here's why:

  • Muffle helps stealth up to enemies early game, while you're still improving your Sneak skills.
  • Invisibility... well, its pretty obvious how useful this can be.
  • Silent Casting is critical to make sure you don't alert enemies to your presence.
  • Frenzy, Pacify and Fear can all be useful in the right situations. When you get a ton of enemies bearing down on you, these spells could be the difference between life or death.

Illusion is also very easy to level up, as Muffle tends to give you more experience towards it than it probably should. 

Do you have to use Illusion? Like everything else in this guide -- of course not. But why wouldn't you? It's utility is unmatched, making you a much more capable taker of life.

Assassin Build: Blacksmithing

To inflict maximum damage, you need the best weapons available. Even though you can obtain Daedric weapons with a Sigil Stone, the easiest (and most logical) method is to build up your Blacksmithing skills.

For one thing, this allows you to improve your daggers and bows much better. More damage means yet MORE damage from your sneak damage multipliers, which equals profit.

Secondly, it helps you stay ahead of the game as you encounter more difficult enemies. It's not easy to get your hands on a Glass or Daedric dagger early game. But if you can make something more in the mid-range, like an Orcish dagger and bow, that helps.

Plus, you'll be glad to have that extra damage when you go up against something you can't sneak attack, like a dragon that's already spotted you.

Skyrim Assassin Build: Alchemy

I'll be honest -- Alchemy was never my favorite skill tree.

But it's very useful.

In the quest of making the ultimate assassin, having a few poisons attached to your hip will be very handy. 

  • Fury poisons can help whittle down a group of enemies charging at you.
  • Health poisons will bring even the toughest foes down quickly.
  • Magicka poisons can be useful against mages that weren't happy to find you sneaking around.

If you don't want to invest in this tree, you can always buy poisons. The problem is that it's always a gamble whether or not the shopkeeper will have what you're looking for. Nevermind the fact that you can make stronger stuff than is available in stores.

Skyrim safety regulations or something.

Plus -- they aren't cheap!

Assassin Build: Dragon Shouts

I love dragon shouts. I think they're one of the best aspects of the game.

Anyways, some fit with the assassin gameplay more than others. Here are a few I'd recommend:

  • Throw Voice: Besides just being funny, this one does prove useful. It gives you the ability to get an enemy's attention, which is nice for getting them to turn their back to you. Granted, just shooting an arrow at a wall or the ground can do the same thing, but it's not as fun and that's more difficult when you're out in the open on flat terrain.
  • Aura Whisper: Why does the military invest so much time and money in reconnaissance? Because it's useful to see your enemies and know what they're doing. That's exactly what this shout does, which is especially useful for stealthy characters.

  • Marked for Death - If you get into unavoidable melee combat, you'll be thankful to have this one. The effects stack, so using it multiple times will quickly diminish your enemy's defense, letting you take them down quickly.

Need more? A few great defensive ones are Ice Form, Unrelenting Force, Whirlwind Sprint or Become Ethereal. Personally I think the 3 I highlighted fit an assassin character the best, though.

Assassin Build Followers: Warriors

When you're snooping around caves, dungeons, etc. you don't really want any kind of follower. They're too loud and dumb.

But it's not a bad idea to travel with one. When you get caught out in the open, you might appreciate the help that a strong follower can provide. A beefy warrior follower such as Mjoll or Farkus is best.

Why? Mainly because they'll charge into combat, letting you decide what you want to do. If it's a fight you can't win, you can run! If it's something you and your follower can handle, whip out your bow or Illusion spells and have at it.

The problem with archers and mages is they'll also want to hang back, essentially expecting you to tank for them.

Not good.

The Best Armor for Skyrim Assassin Builds: Dark Brotherhood or Nightingale (Light Armor)

You probably could've guessed that Light Armor is the way to go. It provides some defense, while also helping you stay stealthy. 

The thing is -- which one should you go with?

If you're partial to one of the kinds you can craft (such as Glass or Elven,) that's fine. Go for it!

But if you want to look the part of an assassin, it really comes down to either Dark Brotherhood or Nightingale armor. The Dark Brotherhood helps you do more damage, which is what you're looking for.

The Nightingale set is more catered towards thieves, but is the coolest looking armor in the game. If you're going for Skyrim's version of Fashion Souls (a.k.a. Dark Souls) this is the best one for you.


You can probably guess how to play an assassin, but I wanted to break it down quickly here.

  • When entering a cave or fort, tell your follower to wait for you far away so they don't attract attention.
  • Use your bow to take out enemies in groups.
  • Decide which shout is best for your situation (such as Aura Whisper while in a fort) and use it wisely. Remember that enemies hear most shouts (although Aura Whisper is quieter and harder for them to hear).
  • When you find enemies by themselves, go for a dagger kill to maximize damage output.
  • Use potions or spells when you're in a pinch, going up against strong enemies or need a boost to your Sneak skills.

You don't have to roleplay (such as taking lots of contracts from the Dark Brotherhood) but you can if you want!


One of the most fun ways to play Skyrim Special Edition is with an assassin build. They aren't as strong in direct combat as other builds, but it is probably the most overpowered build in the game. 

Good luck and have fun in Tamriel!

How Will Mods Work in Skyrim Special Edition? Wed, 26 Oct 2016 08:24:55 -0400 Justin Michael

With the special edition of Skyrim set for release in a few short days, one of the questions on the minds of current series fans is how the new edition will affect the mods they're currently using.

Well, there is actually no impact on your current mod list, as the special edition is its own separate game in that regard. If you're a user of Nexusmods like I am, you'll see that the Nexus is actually giving the remaster its own mod link that modders and current mod authors can use for creating mods for the remaster.

Additionally, the folks over at the Nexus have implemented a mod duplicate feature for all current Skyrim mods to make it easier for the mod authors to port their mods to the new game. According to an excerpt from the Nexus, the duplicate feature will take care of the following:

Duplicated mods will have the mod description, images, videos, tags and permissions copied over to a totally new mod page under the Skyrim: Special Edition game page. All other information will be blank, including download stats, endorsements, comments, bugs and files. The two mods will then be totally different from that point onwards and will be in no way linked. You can find more information about this decision here.

NMM image

While it might be possible to use some of the more basic mods without having a port made by the mod author, it is suggested that you use ported mods so that you are less likely to run into issues.

In addition to the visual improvements for the special edition, the game is DirectX11 compatible and also a 64-bit title, compared to the original 32-bit release. This means that we can expect the game to be more stable, as it has improved memory availability to make use of. But it also means there may be some compatibility issues with non-ported mod versions.

A number of popular modders -- such as Elianora, Arthmoor, and Chesko -- were given advance copies of the game and the creation kit. So we can expect a number of day-1 and week-1 mods to be available.

If you want to know more, the great guys over at Brodual posted this informative video late yesterday evening that goes into some more detail.

What are you most looking forward to in the Skyrim: Special Edition release? Let me know in the comments below and share your favorite mods too!

Skyrim Special Edition Unarmed Build - How to Be a Brawler Wed, 26 Oct 2016 08:17:11 -0400 AwesumPawsum

One melee build I'm gonna rock in The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim Special Edition is an unarmed build. Even though it's not as powerful as others, it's quite satisfying to take on a bandit fort or fire-breathing dragon with nothing but your fists.

The game isn't really catered towards unarmed builds, though. Unless you turn the difficulty way down, there are a few things you pretty much have to do to make this build viable without mods.

Here are the key components.

Skyrim Unarmed Build Race: Khajit or Argonian

I'll start by saying you don't have to use these two races. I just recommend them for one reason - they have racial bonuses to unarmed damage. Khajit have a starting unarmed damage rating of 22, while Argonians are at 20.

Makes sense, right? They have freaking claws! Humans (i.e. every other race) do not.

In fact, these races actually do more damage unarmed than they do with most starting weapons.

Personally, my favorite race is Nord -- which surprisingly can still work. Having the Battlecry racial power is nice if you get into a jam. It just means you will always do less damage, so you need to account for that with other things I talk about in this article. 

Skyrim Unarmed Build Armor - Heavy Armor

There are two reasons you need to use heavy armor for this build.

The first is that you need all of the protection you can get. You won't be taking out many enemies in just 1-2 swings, so you'll need as much armor as possible to protect yourself. Fights won't be long exactly, but they'll be long enough that you'll definitely be taking damage.

Reason #2 is a certain perk in the Heavy Armor tree --  Fists of Steel. This skill adds your heavy armor glove rating to your damage. 


This is one of the best ways to add damage to your fists. And if you can get a nice set of Daedric or Dragon gloves, it is a very nice damage boost.

That leads to the next necessity...

Skyrim Unarmed Build Crafting  - Blacksmithing

 To make Fists of Steel effective, you need the best gloves you can get your hands on. Even though you can find/create/buy some heavier armors without Blacksmithing, they get much rarer as you go for the high end stuff.

Hence, the need to invest heavily in this skill tree.

You don't necessarily have to go all the way to Dragonplate armor. You can still do pretty well with others, like Ebony (which I think looks the coolest). But if you want to maximize your character's damage (and defense), you'll need to go all the way to the top. 

Not only does investing in Blacksmithing help you create everything, but also lets you improve your armor much more. Even though improving armor/weapons is easy to forget about, it will make a huge difference over the long run.

But Blacksmithing isn't the only craft to invest in.

Skyrim Special Edition Unarmed Build Crafting - Enchanting

If you want to roleplay, Enchanting may not make much sense. After all, a brawler probably HATES the idea of spending time at a crafting table. Instead, they'd rather be wandering around Skyrim punching people in the face.

But if you want to get the most out of a brawler build, you need to embrace your inner Enchanter nerd. Why? Because there's an enchantment in the game that improves your unarmed damage. The problem is it can only be found in one place -- and it's on a set of light gloves. 

To get the gloves, go to Riften and into the sewers (called The Ratway.) As you navigate through, you'll meet a guy called Gian the Fist. Kill him, loot the gloves, then go disenchant them.

From there, you can start putting the enchantment on everything you'd like. Not every piece of armor can use it, but just putting it on a few pieces should be more than enough.

Skyrim Special Edition Unarmed Build - Shouts

You're the freaking Dragonborn. There's no reason not to use shouts to help you dominate the battlefield. 

Even though you have lots of options, these make the most sense:

  • Unrelenting Force: Everyone's favorite...and for good reason. If you get overwhelmed, this turns the tides by getting your enemies out of your face and helpless on the ground. You can also use this to escape a hairy fight by blowing your opponent(s) 20 feet away and then making a run for it. Or you can just use it to blast people off a cliff or fort wall, which is always fun.
  • Whirlwind Sprint: This is probably my favorite for warrior builds. It's not as important when going against melee enemies, but it is useful if you need to run away. Where this shout really comes in handy is against mages and archers. Whirlwind gets you in their face very quickly, letting you pound on them before they even realize what happened.
  • Become Ethereal: Great for several things. When charging a ranged enemy, this can help you close the gap without taking damage. You can also use this to shrug off dragon breath if you're out in the open and don't have something to hide behind.
    • Also fun for jumping off cliffs! 

  • Elemental Fury - This is a fun one. It increases your attack speed by 100% once you have all three words, but even just one word increases speed by 50%. That's a huge boost, letting you pound on your enemies with reckless abandon -- just as a brawler should. 

Again, there are other good shouts to choose from, like Ice Form or Marked for Death. But these four are (in my opinion) the best.

Skyrim Unarmed Build Weapon Tree - One-Handed

The bad news is that most perks don't really help you as an unarmed combatant.

The good news is there are two that do. Dual Flurry helps your dual-wielding attacks (including unarmed) fly much faster. The other, Dual Savagery, makes dual-wielding power attacks stronger.

While it'd be great if a perk like Armsman (which increases your damage) worked for unarmed, that doesn't seem to be the case. But still -- you can use the other skills referenced earlier to boost your damage to a sufficient level.

The Best Follower for an Unarmed Skyrim Build

The general thinking with followers is that you should have a companion who complements you and covers aspects of battle that you can't. So because you're a melee character, you may want to go with an archer or mage.

A few archers to consider are Jenassa in Whiterun or Faendel in Riverwood. If you prefer a caster, Marcurio in Riften is great.

...but there is something to be said about taking a melee follower with you. The main reason I say that is they will help draw fire away from you, whereas a ranged follower needs you to draw fire from them.

Since you are more important, it makes sense to have someone else helping you tank. This is especially true when going up against multiple enemies, where your melee follower can charge towards whichever ranged enemies are targeting you. 

Unarmed Build Combat Gameplay

No, I won't go into details on how to roleplay here. Instead, this is just to give you a general idea of how fights will often work out.

  1. Assess the situation - What are you going up against? If there are ranged enemies, is there anything you can hide behind for cover? If you have multiple melee enemies charging you, can you get into a doorway so only one can reach you at a time?
  2. Beat down melee enemies - Those bandits, or draugr, or whoever charges you goes down first. Again, try to fight them one at a time to avoid getting overwhelmed.
  3. Use a shout to close the gap between yourself and ranged - Once melee enemies are dead, use a shout like Become Ethereal or Whirlwind Sprint to get within melee range of your ranged enemies. This is especially important when going against mages -- archers deal damage, but mages can seriously wreck you if you don't have magic resistance.

When going up against dragons, consider having a bow or or magic staff to attack while it flies overhead. You don't have to, but getting in a little extra damage before it lands doesn't hurt. 

The best shout to use (assuming you don't have the one you find at the end of the main quest) is probably Become Ethereal. That way you can become invulnerable for a few seconds if you caught in a blast of fire or frost breath.


There you have it -- the Brawler. Playing unarmed in The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim Special Edition can be a very viable and fun play style. you just have to go a little out of your way to make it work well.

Have fun!

How to Make the Best Necromancer Build in Skyrim Special Edition Wed, 21 Sep 2016 09:33:53 -0400 AwesumPawsum

One of my favorite ways to play Skyrim Remastered is as a necromancer. The beauty (and curse) of this game is that you can play any kind of necro you want. 

...but when you stray too much, you aren't really playing a necromancer anymore. For example, if you wear heavy armor, use a two-handed weapon, and raise the dead, you're more of a death knight than a necro.

That's why I wanted to put together a short guide to help you out. This is, in my opinion, the best way to play a necromancer in Skyrim Special Edition without throwing in the crazy customization that mods bring. 

Keep in mind too that I'm recommending things from the standpoint of roleplaying. This isn't a min/max build, but instead meant to help you look, act, and feel like a necromancer. 

Without further ado, here are my recommendations:

Race - Dunmer (Dark Elves) or Breton

Something about Dark Elves make them seem like the natural fit. They're skilled with magic, are somewhat sneaky, and aren't the most upstanding citizens in Skyrim. At least, they aren't perceived that way.

So you could come up with a backstory that you were a Dunmer coming to Skyrim for a better life but became disgusted with how poorly you and your kin were treated. Then you turned to the dark side.

A male and female Dunmer character in Skyrim Remastered

Bretons aren't a bad choice, either. They're naturally slanted towards Conjuration, which is the heart and soul of the necromancer.  

Conjuration - Necromancy

This is probably the most obvious, which is why I wanted to put it up front. 

Necromancers bring dead things back to life. That's just what they do. Even though Atronachs can be useful for getting the first few enemies down, they aren't your focus. 

By focusing on the necromancy line of spells and perks, you get bigger, beefier, longer-lasting zombies. I don't have to tell you how useful this is, especially when you max out Conjuration and get to the point of having two summons!

But summoning the dead isn't the only trick up your sleeve.

Destruction - Ice

Most of your damage output will come from zombies, but you still need to be able to defend yourself. This is especially important when you don't have corpses available for summoning. 

Ice spells are great because they slow your enemy down and sap their stamina. I specifically remember a friend of mine telling me that he always had better luck using ice spells than fire. Even though fire does more damage, the utility of ice is what makes these spells rock.

an ice crystal representing ice magic and ice spells in The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim Special Edition

Just keep a close eye on your magicka. You don't want to use up so much of it with Destruction spells that you don't have any left to summon your zombie!

Alteration - Mage Armor

I won't lie -- I actually hate the mage armor spells. They don't last nearly long enough in my opinion. (Though magic mods can help with that.)

But they're still necessary due to how fragile you are. Because you won't be investing much in health or wear much armor, you'll need all the help you can get. Especially when you go up against archers that are focusing more on you than your summons.

To help conserve your magicka for more offensive spells, cast your mage armor right before a fight and let your magicka recover for a few seconds. Once the battle starts, magicka regeneration slows to a crawl. 

Weapon - Ice Staff or Raise Zombie Staff

Staves are fairly rare in Skyrim, but can prove very useful. For necromancers, there are two main options you may be interested in.

The first is a staff that casts ice spells like Ice Spike. This lets you keep up the offense even when you run out of magicka.

The other is one that lets you raise zombies. Again, the idea is it saves you from having to use precious magicka, which you can then use for mage armor or offensive ice spells. 

If you're having trouble finding great staves, one option is to make your own. I won't give you all of the details, but will say the Sigil Stone you get from getting to level 90 or above in Conjuration gives you the ability to make staves. 

Armor - Necromancer Robes

Necromancer robes from The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim Remastered

The robes you find on enemy necromancers (or sometimes in chests) are what you're looking for.

No, they aren't the most powerful in the game. But they are good enough AND they have a green human skull on the front. 

The best thing is you can combine these with a hood or mask, because they don't come hooded. That opens up the door for some customization, although there's one thing I recommend:

Hood - Vokun Dragon Priest Mask

When I think of a necromancer, the main aspect I think of is raising the dead. Vokun gets my vote as the mask they helps reduce the cost of your conjuration spells.

Another decent option is Nahkriin. This reduces the cost of your Destruction spells, letting you sling more ice around before having to run away like a little girl. 

Shoes - Any Cloth

...I got nothing here. 

While you could invest in Enchanting to beef up some cloth shoes, for the most part these don't matter. Pick whatever makes you happy!

Ring - Ring of Conjuration or Ring of Destruction

I know, this is kind of boring. But considering these are your two main sources of damage, you need to lower the magicka cost as much as possible. 

Another more unique option is Azhidal's Ring of Necromancy. This ring is kinda weird. It causes your reanimated minions to explode for 50 frost damage and die when they take damage.

Azhidal's Ring of Necromancy from Skyrim

So you're kinda turning your zombie into a walking ice bomb.

That's kinda cool, but in general I wouldn't say it's the best way to go. Your zombie can output a lot more damage than that over time, plus it can tank for you.

The main way I see Azhidal's Ring of Necromancy making more sense is if you're in an area with lots of weak monsters where the frost explosion may kill or at least almost kill most of the enemies. 

Amulet - Necromancer Amulet

I mainly put this one because of the name. It's not an amazing amulet, but considering it shares the same name as our build, I had to include it.

Plus, it's not bad. It benefits you in the two most important areas - magicka and lowering Conjuration costs. The slower stamina regen may get irritating, but only during long sprints.

Besides, it makes sense that necros wouldn't recover stamina all that fast. You're a mage, who (in general) is in worse shape than both rogues and warriors. 

Standing Stone - Ritual Stone

Ritual Stone surrounded by candles in The Elder Scrolls Skyrim

This one is a little obvious. The Ritual Stone is awesome for two reasons:

  • It allows you to raise an unlimited number of zombies- it's only limited by how far apart you are from the corpses.
  • The corpses don't disintegrate when they die.

Necromancers have created entire armies with this stone and marched on cities! It's pretty funny. 

My biggest problem is I would forget to use the power. I would usually have a dragon shout equipped instead, and then every once in a while remember how fun (and useful) this Ritual Stone power can be.

Another fun fact is you can reanimate just about anything except dragons and skeletons. So even though you can't normally reanimate that giant or mammoth - the Ritual Stone makes it possible. 

Dragon Shout - Soul Tear

Symbol for Dragon Shout in Skyrim Special Edition

This one takes a while to get, but I think it fits the necromancer mindset and play style more than any other.

When you hit an enemy using all three words of the shout, three fun things happen:

  1. You do a lot of damage (about 300)
  2. If you kill it, you fill an empty soul gem
  3. AND the body is raised from the dead to fight for you.

Win - Win - Win.

The only sad news is that when the zombie dies, the corpse disintegrates like most other zombies you summon. 

But the good news is that this shout can be used to reanimate enemies that are normally too powerful. Giants are the main ones that come to mind, but if you've reached a point where your Raise Zombie spells can't raise most enemies you're facing, this is a decent option.

Vampirism -- to Suck Blood or Not?

a Skyrim vampire casting a spell directly at you

I've read mixed opinions on this. On the one hand, vampires in Skyrim Special Edition have certain abilities that make sense for necromancers.

On the other hand -- necromancers control the undead. Vampires are undead. You would think they wouldn't get along all that well, since the necro tends to control the vampire's brethren.

My thought? Vampires are much, much smarter and more powerful than zombies, draugr and skeletons. They aren't even in the same ballpark. So vampires see those weaker forms of the undead the same way a necromancer would -- as slaves to do the bidding of the more powerful life form.

If you agree, go find a vampire nest and catch yourself some Sanguinare Vampiris. Let it evolve and turn you into a vampire, then have fun terrorizing the world as both a necro and a vampire!

Follower - Serana

Skyrim mage Serana in her typical garb

This is something else up for debate. Following on the vampire discussion, we realize that vampires and necromancers can get along. But should a necromancer take along another mage, like Serana, as their follower? 

I think in reality, most followers wouldn't want to follow a necromancer. For all they know, the necro will stab them in the back (or have a zombie do it) and then reanimate the follower's body. 

Hard to trust a fellow like that.

But Serana understands the dark side of life and won't worry about it. Sure, during some battles it'd be nice to have a follower that tanks for you. But since both yourself and Serana will be summoning undead creatures, you probably don't have to worry about it too much.


Obviously you don't have to follow this necromancer guide in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition, but it's an idea of how to build a pure necromancer, which is one of the best ways (in my opinion) to scour Tamriel.

If you want more sweet builds, check out GameSkinny's other Skyrim build guides.

The 5 Darkest Quests in Skyrim Special Edition Tue, 20 Sep 2016 12:22:49 -0400 AwesumPawsum

One of the best things about The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition is the huge number of quests available. Some are lighthearted, whereas others are pretty evil and dark.

In my opinion, here are the five darkest quests in Skyrim. There are a few others that didn't make the list, so don't worry about this being your only options if you are looking forward to being a bad guy. 

Spoiler alert - It's difficult to discuss quests without spoilers. If you're sensitive to them, leave now!

Dark Quest #1: Innocence Lost

When you visit Riften, you may find yourself in an orphanage. Where every kid is the exact same age as every other kid in Skyrim.

I know- weird.

Anyways, it's easy to see the caretaker, Grelod the Kind, doesn't live up to her name. She verbally abuses the kids, making you feel sorry for them since they have nobody else to turn to.

As you talk to the children, you quickly learn that one of their playmates escaped from the orphanage. They drop a hint he may have returned to his hometown of Windhelm.

In Windhelm, you may hear a few people talk about the boy's abandoned home. If you break in, you'll find him on the top level doing a dark ritual. He's trying to summon an assassin from the Dark Brotherhood to kill somebody in exchange for money.

As you might guess, he wants Grelod the Kind whacked. 

To me, an eight-ish year old kid doing a dark, magic ritual to have someone killed is pretty dark. 

But there's more!

Skyrim Dark Quest #2: The House of Horrors

This quest has you kill not one, but TWO good guys.

It all starts in Markarth. You'll find a Vigilant of Stendarr named Tyranus asking locals about an abandoned house. He thinks something sketchy is going on, and asks you to investigate with him.

...pretty trusting to check out a weird house with a complete stranger, but that's just me.

Anyways, as you start exploring the home you hear a voice. It tells you to attack and kill Tyranus before he returns the favor. If you don't, Tyranus eventually realizes what's going on. A Daedric prince is occupying the home, and he advises you get outta dodge ASAP. 

Unfortunately, the door is now locked. The prince, who turns out to be Molag Bol, says you and Tyranus have to fight to the death to escape. Tyranus obliges, so you have to kill him. 

Molag Bol then explains there's a certain priest he's come to despise. He demands that you bring the priest to the house. 

But your job doesn't end just by bringing the priest to the house. You also bring him downstairs where a cage is awaiting him. Molag Bol traps him, then forces you to beat up the priest. After the poor man finally submits, you're told to smash the priest's head in.

But hey -- at least you get a new mace. I guess. 

Dark Quest #3: Boethiah's Calling

Like most things in Skyrim, this is a quest I just happened to stumble upon. I started walking up this mountain and find myself surrounded by a bunch of cultists. 

The funny thing is that you can also start this quest if you get attacked by one of these cultists anywhere in Skyrim. I just happened to dodge that somehow.

Anyways, you learn this is a proving ground to gain the favor of the Daedric price Boethiah. The thing is -- you can't really progress in the quest without doing a dark deed.

You have to lead a follower there -- someone who knows and trusts you -- and sacrifice them.

If you're like me, you will find a follower you don't care about at all. For example maybe it will be a guild member who has a name but nothing is too special about them. 

After the sacrifice, Boethiah occupies the body and tells you (and all of the cultists) to battle to the death. After all, only the strongest can become Boethiah's champion!

So all of these people that were (relatively) friendly with each other suddenly start slashing each other in the face. If you don't want to end up as troll bait, you'll use everything you can to make sure you're the only one left standing. 

But that's not what makes this quest so dark in my opinion. It's the fact that you intentionally lead a lamb up there to be sacrificed just to make a Daedric prince happy isn't the happiest thing I did in Skyrim.

Skyrim Dark Quest #4: The Taste of Death

You may be able to guess where this is going, just based on the name of the quest.

This one starts by learning that there's something weird going on in Markarth. Corpses in the crypt are getting eaten. 

Yeah. Human corpses. Eaten.

At first, you figure maybe it's some kind of monster. Personally I figured it was a vampire with a weird fetish, or maybe a werewolf. Plus there are skeletons nearby, so perhaps the skeletons were just weirdos and confusing themselves with zombies. I dunno. 

Well as you investigate, you come across a bit of a weirdo. You can tell as soon as you meet her that she's a little off, but to continue the quest you have to go with the flow and do what she says.

As it turns out, there's a group of cannibals in the city. And they're kinda getting tired of two things:

  1. Eating people that have been dead for a little while.
  2. That pesky priest of Arkay that runs the crypt.

Your job, should you choose to accept it, is to trick the priest into following you to the cannibals' hideout.

Keep in mind that this guy really hasn't done anything wrong. He's trying to keep the dead from taking over the world and prevent bad things from happening to dead people. 

But that doesn't matter in Skyrim

If you choose to complete the quest... well, you can assume what happens. Cannibals + human enemies = dinner. 

Dark Quest #5: Frostflow Abyss

This one is very different, in that it doesn't involve your character doing the dark deed. Instead, it involves unraveling a sad story that is probably fairly common in a land as harsh as Skyrim. 

 The quest starts by entering a lighthouse. You immediately realize that things aren't right though, as you see a dead body in the main living area. When you inspect the body, you'll find a journal. Read the journal and you get an idea of what happened. 

The quest becomes a little bit of a riddle. You do a little searching around the house for clues, and slowly piece everything together. Eventually you find the cellar key and venture down, which is where the fighting begins.

The short of it is -- a family's dream of living in a lighthouse came to a nasty end.


As I mentioned earlier, there are a number of other dark quests. Sometimes it's digging around for information on a quest giver's loved one, only to find out the person died in the cold world of Skyrim.

Betrayal isn't uncommon either. Several quests either require you to betray someone or tell the story of someone betraying a loved one.

Bottom line -- there are plenty of dark quests in Skyrim Special Edition to seek out next month. Good luck and have fun depressing yourself! 

5 Great Warrior Builds to try in Skyrim Special Edition Mon, 19 Sep 2016 05:44:23 -0400 AwesumPawsum

Even though I personally prefer a mage, I won't deny that the "real" way to play The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition is with a warrior build.

Because come on -- when you think of a dragon slayer, do you think of a thin, frail dude hurling fireballs or ice? Probably not. You likely think of a muscular, fearless guy (or gal) charging straight at the thing with a sword or axe in hand. (And after all, that's what you see in every trailer for the game.)

There are lots of options for warrior builds, too. That's part of what makes Skyrim so amazing. Here are a few different ideas to try:

Skyrim Warrior Build #1: Paladin

If you're no stranger to RPGs, you have an idea of what a paladin would look like. Every game makes their variant slightly different, but there are a few similarities.

  • Heavy Armor - Paladins run straight into the thick of battle. They know their faith will protect them to an extent, but that doesn't mean they can forgo armor! Pallies should wear armor that looks somewhat noble, like Steel Plate or maybe Dwarven. Others like Orc or Daedric don't exactly make you think of a holy knight.
  • Shield and Mace - Club/mace type weapons are typical for Pallies because they're less barbaric than a sword or axe. Obviously a powerful mace is still something to be feared in the arms of a strong paladin, and the shield provides the extra defense you need to block attacks while diverting attention from allies.
  • Restoration - Paladins aren't able to heal the most serious of wounds, but they have a few Restoration spells at their disposal. They can heal themselves and allies, helping them to recover from fights more quickly. Their ability to Turn Undead comes from a long history of fighting skeletons, Draugr, and vampires. And they can restore the stamina of themselves and allies, which ensures they can fight at full strength from the first enemy to the last. 

Those are the key components of a good Paladin build. 

As far as roleplay, remember that  Paladins are holy knights, so they're pretty good folks. They help local townspeople with issues, don't join the Thieves Guild or Dark Brotherhood (as those are "bad" factions,) and are excellent candidates for joining the Dawnguard.

Warrior Build #2: The Barbarian

Let's turn in a completely different direction. A Barbarian is in it for himself and his clan, and will generally do whatever he feels is his best option for survival- regardless of whether it's the most moral thing to do.

Here are a few key components:

  • Two-handed Sword or Axe - These guys are animals. They forego the extra defense provided by shields for the extra power that two-handed weapons offer. 
  • Forsworn or Fur Armor - Barbarians often live in tents, caves or basic huts. They're much more in-tune with nature than most warriors. To keep to their roots and provide mobility in combat, they prefer light, warm armors like Fur. It also helps them look more like a bear charging you, which (when paired with a greatsword) is frightening!
  • Blacksmithing - Because they don't feel comfortable in large cities, Barbarians need to develop some kind of ability to craft their own weapons and armor. They never develop great skill, but enough to craft and improve their own fur armor and steel weapons.

Barbarians are savage and like to test their strength. They'll charge into a fort held by bandits or take on a quest to kill something (or someone) just for the fun of it! 

Warrior Build #3: Duelist

The Duelist is sometimes considered more of a rogue, but it depends on the how you look at it. On the one hand, Duelists are like rogues in that they're a bit sneaky and don't always fight fair. 

On the other hand, Duelists love to fight! They have superior sword skills and like to show them off. They're actually pretty cocky about it, which has been the death of more than one Duelist but in general, they come out ahead.

Here's what they rock:

  • Dual Swords - Duelists don't like shields, seeing them as too cumbersome and unnecessary. Likewise, they don't want to use a giant weapon, preferring instead to use two swords. The extra sword provides not only an extra defensive measure (i.e. thing to block with,) but lets them overwhelm opponents with a flurry of fast blows. 
  • Light Armor - Leather is the armor most typically used, as it's inexpensive and the Duelist doesn't get hit very much anyways! They prefer light armor due to the superior mobility. 

That's it. 

If you want to add your own flavor, feel free. For example if you want to add Blacksmithing to the mix to make/improve your on stuff or Alchemy to poison your swords, you can.

Warrior Build #4: The Dragonborn

The trailers for Skyrim depicted the Dragonborn (i.e. YOU) using Iron armor and weapons. These are literally the weakest heavy armor and weapons in the game, but so what? You're the freakin' Dragonborn, savior of the world! 

You can make it work.

  • Heavy Armor - Again, you have to use Iron. 
  • Sword and Shield - Iron...
  • Blacksmithing - To make this build viable, you'll need to use the best Iron weapons and armor you can get your hands on. Unfortunately vendors don't really sell upgraded stuff, so you'll need to make/improve it yourself.
  • Dragon Shouts - Lots of shouts. Even though every single build should use shouts of some kind, they lie at the core of being the Dragonborn. You can use any shouts you want -- whatever gives you the edge you need to come out victorious.

So how do you roleplay as the Dragonborn? Simple -- you slay every dragon you come across, and hunt them down across Skyrim.

...granted, how you do that is up to you. There is a dragon or two that you may want to let live, but I won't tell you what to do!

You're also more of a "good" guy or gal than an evil one. Since you've taken up the call to save the world, you probably aren't going around kicking puppies or killing livestock for no reason. 

Warrior Build #5: The Werewolf

My personal favorite.

The best part about Skyrim Special Edition is all of the flexibility it offers. The fact that you can become a freaking Werewolf and rip out the throats of human enemies is sick. 

Like, sick in a good way. And sick in a gory, gross way, too.

Unfortunately you can't run around in Werewolf mode all the time. But you can do the majority of your fights as a Werewolf, and build out your weak, human side like this:

  • One-Handed Weapons - This is the perk tree that helps increase your Werewolf damage. Most perks aren't directly applicable, you can either choose to ignore them or invest in them for those cases where you have to fight in human form.
  • Fur Armor or Forsworn Armor - You need to wear something light to shed quickly when you transform. By wearing fur, you are staying closer to your true, beastly self.
  • High Health - Perhaps the most important thing about a Werewolf build is investing in high health -- perhaps moreso than any other Warrior build. That's because your healing options are limited as a Werewolf- especially if you aren't fighting humanoid enemies.

Most Werewolves are part of a certain guild, so it makes sense to join them and progress through the ranks. Not only for the extra benefits and abilities they can teach you, but also for the companionship and protection offered in numbers.

Plus, dogs and wolves are pack animals. I would assume Werewolves would be the same way.


These are just a few warrior builds to try in The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim Special Edition. There are plenty of others out there, but I just wanted to share a few from my personal experience.

Thanks for reading and have fun! If you want more sweet builds, check out GameSkinny's other Skyrim build guides.

5 Fun Assassin Builds in Skyrim Special Edition Wed, 14 Sep 2016 06:02:05 -0400 AwesumPawsum

Even though I personally tend to lean towards mage builds, I can't deny that stealth/assassin builds will be more prevalent in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition. At one point I saw a poll that showed 50% of players played assassins, and mage/warrior builds each had about 25% of players.

So if you plan on going the sneaky route, here are a few fun assassin builds to play in Skyrim.

Skyrim Assassin Build #1: Fury Sniper

The Fury line of spells is among the most fun in the game. But if you aren't a mage, you can still enjoy watching enemies fight each other. Thanks to Fury poisons, mages aren't the only ones having all the fun.

Fury Snipers combine a bow or crossbow with Fury poison to take out their enemies from afar. Simply coat your first arrow with the poison and fire it off at the strongest enemy. All of its buddies will start attacking it, and you can just enjoy a sweet roll while you watch.

Here's how to play this build:

  • Bow or Crossbow - Duh.
  • Alchemy - You can plan on buying your Fury/Frenzy poisons, but that's a long shot. Instead it's better to plan on making your own, and the best poisons require a few points in Alchemy.
  • Archery - Again, duh. Just keep in mind that if your bow does too much damage, your Fury'd friend won't have much health left to fight your/its enemies.
  • Light Armor or Robes or Clothes - Your choice, but Light Armor is the more traditional route. 

Of course, some mods may come out (as they have on PC) for Frenzy enchantments, which would allow you to bypass the Alchemy/Poison route altogether. But then you have to use Enchanting, which is more of a mage route, not assassin.

Assassin Build #2: Pickpocket Poisoner

This build relies on what of the silliest skills in Skyrim. The "Poisoned" perk in the Pickpocket tree allows you to put a vial of poison in your enemy's pocket. that works I'm not really sure. Maybe it spills, goes through their clothes, touches their skin and instantly takes effect?

I dunno. 

But it does. And it can make for a funny way to defeat your humanoid opponents.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Damage Health - The most obvious type of poison to use is the kind that just takes health away. Pretty funny to see an enemy just drop dead from poison slipped into their pocket.
  • Frenzy - This can be fun, just keep in mind that you're probably the closest thing to the person, so they'll likely unload on you. But if you can get away quickly, his/her friends will become the new target.
  • Paralysis - This effect is fun. They basically just drop straight down and can't move, making them an easy target to slice and dice (if you so choose.) 
  • Calm - Just like the Illusion spell, it causes them to basically ignore you. Can be useful at times, but but I think the others are more fun.

As far as gear goes, you can basically use the same weapons/armor as a "normal" assassin build. i.e. dagger and bow. 

Skyrim Assassin Build #3: Nightblade

The Nightblade is my personal favorite. It's basically a "normal" assassin that throws Illusion spells into the mix.

Here's why that's useful:

  • Invisibility - Enough said.
  • Muffle - Chances are good you'll already have some perks to reduce the noise you make, but Muffle is a great way to make your footsteps almost completely silent. Muffle + Invisibility = Ridiculous.
  • Silent Casting - This lets you cast your other spells... well, silently. That way you don't alert enemies to your presence, whereas normally they hear the spells take effect.
  • Frenzy - Could be useful for thinning out a herd of enemies or making a quick getaway.
  • Calm - Calm + Dagger = Broken. An enemy can see you and come at you, then you just calm them down, walk up right behind them and slit their throats. It almost feels like cheating.

You can also use Fear but I never found it as useful as the others. Especially for a stealthy character, because those enemies will come back and may bring their friends!

Assassin Build #4: Trapper

Even though this is probably the weakest of these 5 builds, it is still fun!

You can basically do this one of three ways:

  1. Destruction Runes
  2. Bear traps
  3. Dungeon traps (those activated by pressure plates)

The basic idea is you rely on laying down traps for enemies than tricking them to walk over it. Enemies are generally oblivious to these things, so it's not difficult -- the difficult thing is just getting enough of them down to do some damage.

Granted, the pressure plates are often 1-hit kills, but obviously you can't always rely on having one around. Bear traps can be nice since they don't require any magic ability, but they don't do tons of damage (unless you get a mod specifically for traps.)

As far as getting your enemies to run over traps, your best two options are to either cast a spell or fire an arrow at a wall close to your enemy. You could also try running up to them and smacking them in the face then running away, but you risk running over your own traps.

Skyrim Assassin Build #5: Sniper

There are a few key points to roleplaying this build correctly. While at first glance it may seem like a stereotypical range-based assassin build, there's a little more to it than that:

  • Crossbow - You can't use a bow with this build. Crossbow is required because it is closer to a gun i.e. a sniper rifle. Plus, the crossbow's ability to penetrate 50% of your enemy's armor makes it perfect for taking out all types of enemies.
  • No Melee - Military snipers aren't exactly known for their hand-to-hand combat skills. Their focus is taking out targets from far away, meaning they're in trouble in close combat. If you get caught and enemies get in your face, this build has just two options: 1) Try to take them out ASAP with your crossbow at melee range or 2) RUN. You can carry a dagger if you want, but no One-Handed perk points are allowed.
  • Clothes (i.e. no armor value) - Remember, your job is to be as silent as possible. Even though Light Armor is more popular for assassins, you can't afford to make ANY noise. Even though there are perks that help muffle Light Armor noise, you'll never get up to a skill level that high unless you work with trainers several times.
  • Crafting - Crafting is allowed because snipers need the best weapons possible. While you may be able to find a good crossbow at a shop, creating and customizing your own is much more reliable. 

Kinda like this...but without the armor. 


Notice that I didn't make any specific references to the shouts you should use. Because shouts can almost break the game, I'll leave it up to you whether or not you incorporate them into your builds.

On the one hand, they're great for getting you out of sticky situations or just having fun. Plus some work better for stealth builds than any other, such as the "Throw Voice" shout.

But if you do your job right as an assassin, you won't be getting into many real fights. Your enemies should go down before they even know what hit them.

Thanks for reading, and I hope these Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition assassin build ideas help give you an idea of what's possible in this awesome game. Good luck! 

If you want more sweet builds, check out GameSkinny's other Skyrim build guides.

5 Unique Mage Builds to Try in Skyrim: Special Edition Tue, 13 Sep 2016 07:45:23 -0400 AwesumPawsum

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition will be released in about 6 weeks. That's a good amount of time to start thinking about what kind of mage builds you want to try when it hits the shelves.

...because you are going to play as a mage, right?

The way I see it, there are two main ways to play mages in Skyrim: 

  1. Be a generalist. You invest points in every single school and enchanting, making you a jack-of-all-trades but a master of none.
  2. Specialize. This allows you to focus on just a few schools and roleplay more. And no  -- just because you're roleplaying doesn't mean you need to speak like you just stepped out of Medieval Times.

The very first character I build in Skyrim was going to be a generalist. But over time I realized it wasn't how I really wanted to play, so I re-rolled. I found that by specializing, you give the game much more replayability and you'll probably have more fun. 

That's why I put together a few different mage builds to try. My personal favorites are #2 and #3, but I'm a weirdo.

Skyrim Mage Build #1: The Pyromancer

When I was a kid, we used to call one friend of mine a pyro... but really all of us were. What boys don't like to play with fire?

Skyrim gives you several opportunities to burn down your enemies. Rather than having to wait for a sunny day to burn bugs with a magnifying glass, you can just shoot fire out of your hands.

Very convenient.

Fire is great in this game because not many enemies resist it. This makes sense, considering you're in the coldest part of Tamriel. 

Here are a few core components of this build:

  • Destruction: Flame Cloak wraps you in flames, burning any enemies that get close. Fireball lets you shoot... well, a fireball. Fire Rune allows you to set traps that explode when enemies walk over them.
  • Conjuration: Flame Atronach conjures a fireball-shooting, ninja-kicking, floating being made of fire to fight for you. It also explodes when killed- an "Up Yours" move towards your enemies.
  • Fire-Enchanted Weapon: You're a mage, so you (theoretically) aren't the strongest person in the world. But that doesn't prevent you from wielding a fire-enchanted dagger or bow for when you run out of magicka. You could also use a fire staff. 

As far as other skill trees go, Alteration for mage armor makes the most sense, although I personally find it annoying to constantly re-cast it. Hopefully some great magic mods come out for Skyrim: Special Edition that grant a longer duration for mage armor.

Mage Build #2: Controller

I love Illusion spells. 

There are basically four branches -- Calm, Fear, Fury and Courage. The Controller uses all four.

  • Calm is best used in situations where you're outnumbered and need to improve the odds. It causes your enemy to just stand there and essentially ignore you.
  • Fear causes the enemy to run away. A friend of mine used Fear in caves to make all of his enemies run to the back, where he'd then use...
  • Fury causes things to start fighting everything it sees. If you're closest, it will go after you. If its best friend is closest, your enemy will turn around and start smacking that friend. 
  • Courage is a buff to cast on allies. Controllers typically travel with companions, as they do a lot of the dirty work and mop up the last enemy after the rest have run away or killed each other.

Personally, one of the most satisfying feelings in Skyrim is watching enemies take each other out due to Fury. But the other spells are fun as well. Calm is great if there's just one enemy (like an animal) and you don't really feel like fighting it.

Keep in mind that your main role with this build is to use Illusion spells, but it doesn't hurt to have some kind of damage-dealing ability like a weapon or Destruction spells. 

Skyrim Mage Build #3: The Necroblade

Some people call this build a Nightblade, but I think of them as two different things.

Nightblades use Illusion spells to complement their sneakiness. Necroblades lean on Conjuration -- namely Necromancy.

Here's how a typical dungeon might go:

  1. Sneak up behind the first enemy you see and slit his throat.
  2. Raise the body as a zombie to fight for you. 
  3. Get other enemies nearby to start looking for you. You can do this by shooting an arrow into a wall, or they may have heard you casting the Raise Dead spell and be doing this anyways.
  4. Your zombie will hear the enemy talking and seek them out, then start punching (or biting) them in the face.
  5. Rinse and repeat.

I love this build because it's the most sinister one I could think of in Skyrim. You're taking out enemies before they even get a chance to fight, then turn their dead bodies against their friends.

Meanwhile their friends have no idea what just happened. All they know is one minute they're hanging out drinking mead, and the next minute their former friend comes around the corner as a zombie ready to eat brains.

And you just hang out around the corner and laugh.


...or something like that.

Mage Build #4: Priest

What better way to follow up a dark, evil build with a light, holy-ish one?

Think of the Priest build as your basic healer build in an MMORPG. Namely, the one in Everquest. 

Your job isn't to take down enemies, but instead support your allies as they do most of the dirty work. 

There are several ways you can do this:

  • Restoration - Healing your allies and keeping their stamina up is your key focus. 
  • Illusion -  The main spells you'll use here are buffs like Courage. You can use the others, but that's getting more into the Controller build. 
  • Heavy Armor - You can't keep your buddy alive if you die after one hit. Wear heavy armor to help you stay alive.
  • Mace and Shield - The mace is because you can't always rely on your companion doing all of the damage -- especially during big fights with dragons or large groups. The shield is to help with survivability and bash enemies going after your buddy.

I suppose you could also call this a Paladin build, but generally Pallies are on the front lines whereas the Priest is in the back and only enters the fray when necessary.

Skyrim Build #5: Dragon Priest

There's a bit of lore behind dragons and the dragon priests that served them. ...but you don't need to read all of that stuff if you don't want to.

Here's how a Dragon Priest plays:

  • Mask - The most important thing is to wear your favorite Dragon Priest mask. Each mask has different stats and colors, so I can't really tell you which one to wear. In general though, you should choose one that helps Mage stats like schools of magic, such as Vokun or Nahkriin.
  • Robes - Most mage builds use robes, but they're especially important with a DP build. All Dragon Priests you find in the game are wearing robes, so you should too!
  • Staff - The staff you use is up to you, but a strong Destruction staff is best. Obviously one of those from a DP is preferred. 
  • Destruction - Dragon Priests hit fast and hard with Destruction magic. Pick your favorite and run with it.
  • Conjuration - One of the most annoying things about fighting Dragon Priests as a Conjurer is that they tend to turn your atronachs against you. Be prepared to do the same with your Dragon Priest build -- sending enemy minions back into their ranks is good fun.

The main roleplaying aspect I'd say to keep in mind is that DPs served dragons. Therefore it doesn't make sense to go the Dragonborn/main quest route unless you are justifying it by saying you are a rebel Dragon Priest or something like that. 


The best thing about Skyrim: Special Edition is the sheer number of possibilities available. These five builds are just a few. There are many more combinations you can try, like a Druid or Pacifist build. 

Whatever you choose to do, good luck and have fun in Skyrim!

Mods that will still be mandatory for Skyrim: Special Edition Tue, 21 Jun 2016 04:57:38 -0400 Kevin Malkiewicz

When Skyrim: Special Edition releases, not all mods will be obsolete. Pete Hines, the VP of PR and Marketing at Bethesda, confirmed that old mods will be supported with the new remastered version.

So here is a list of the best and must-have mods that will still be relevant even after Skyrim: Special Edition is released.


SkyUI is a mod that replaces the standard user interface. The mod is more PC-friendly than the standard UI, allowing for better inventory management, text search, and navigation. This mod is and will be a must-have for both editions.

Immersive Armors

Immersive Armors adds a large quantity of period-appropriate armor and clothing to the game. These items have been implemented into the world through drops, chests, vendors, and crafting. The total number of armor sets added with this mod is quite large, with 55 unique models and over 60 variants, new helmets, shields, and accessories that will make armor discovery new and fresh for a long time.

Skyrim Script Extender [SKE]

This mod allows for additional scripting capabilities, and is utilized by many mods -- including the first mod in this list, SkyUI. This mod is somewhat of a mandatory companion to most Skyrim mods, and should be one of the first you download.

Fores New Idles in Skyrim [FNIS]

Fores New Idles in Skyrim, is much like SKSE due to the fact that it allows for mods to add their own animations to the game. With this mod, you can add or change any animation imaginable. This can range from idle animations, combat animations, creature animations, and even killmoves.

Realistic Needs & Diseases

Realistic Needs & Diseases adds a survival element to Skyrim, and can change your perception on many items that exist in the game. Gone are the days of carrying around 50 cheese wheels or discarding food for potions. This mod makes eating, drinking, and sleeping mandatory. Penalties apply to stamina regeneration, health regeneration, and move speed. The mod also implements a sickness and disease system that requires cures through medicine or general TLC. Realistic Needs & Diseases will add a new spin on a fresh playthrough or existing save.

Character Body Mods

Section is purely subjective, as there are a wide range of body mods for Skyrim. There are mods for both the female and male models. The most popular mods include Caliente’s Beautiful Bodies Edition [CBBE], DIMONIZED UNP, and Better Males. These mods have an improved poly-count, and allow for custom textures and armors. These mods include nudity and are NSFW, but some have a SFW option.

These mods should get you started on the path to complete customization and will still be relevant when the new Skyrim: Special Edition releases. And if you're looking for NSFW Skyrim mods to bring to your new edition, we've got plenty of those, too.

How to reassociate NXM files with Nexus Mod Manager Mon, 20 Jun 2016 08:36:06 -0400 Lisa Filmer

The Nexus Mod Manger file extension (NXM), are files that are associated with the popular Nexusmods hub. On the website, you can download and install mods for different games like Skyrim, Fallout 4, and others.

You can download a program called Nexus Mod Manager from the Nexus website. Then, when you go to install a mod from the website, you can click the green “Download with Manger” button, which will normally open the Nexus Mod Manager program.

You many have accidentally (or intentionally) associated Nexus Mod Manager files with another program, such as Mod Organizer. This article will help you reassociate your NXM files with Nexus Mod Manager.

By doing this you will be able to click on NXM URLs, or the green “Download with Manager” button on the Nexus Mods website to open the Nexus Mod Manager program.

Here is what you need to do to re-associate your NXM files with Nexus Mod Manager:

  1.  Open the Nexus Mod Manager Program with administrative permissions (right click “run as administrator”)

  2.  Click on “Settings” at the top in Nexus Mod Manager

  3.  In the General tab, check box “Associate with NXM URLs

  4.  If “Associate with NXM URLs” is already checked, uncheck it and recheck it
  5.  Click OK

***Please note that you have to open Nexus Mod Manager with administrative permissions, otherwise the “associate with NXM URLs” box will be grayed out, and you won’t be able to check it.

Now your NXM files are associated with Nexus Mod Manager again! To make sure, go to the Nexus website and try downloading a mod with the green “Download with Manager” button. It should open the Nexus Mod Manager program.

The quick and easy guide to modding Skyrim (without crashing a ton) Fri, 30 Oct 2015 05:26:26 -0400 Robert Sgotto

Ever wanted to be a Jedi in Skyrim? Or maybe you just wanted something to improve immersion like better lighting or foliage. Maybe you just want to be a chair.

If you've ever been interested in modding but unsure of where to start, look no further! I'll explain step by step with instructions how to set up Skyrim and get it working friendly with mods.

After this guide you will know how to mod: 

  • Skyrim
  • Fallout 3
  • Fallout: New Vegas
  • Oblivion

I'm going to use Skyrim for this tutorial, but you can use this guide for the Bethesda games listed above.

There's a reason the term "Mod it till it crashes" exists. There are important steps to follow, and while I did my best to compress the necessary steps, it's still a process. This guide will make the process smoother, and save you time by doing things right the first time.

Modding can be a minefield of errors and headaches if you don't follow instructions. If you don't like reading modding might not be for you. If you're not careful and don't follow instructions, you'll run into all sorts of problems.


First, head over to the Nexus and make yourself an account! The Nexus has the largest library of mods to date and will make finding/supporting mods easier than you could imagine.

Directory and File Organization 

Windows User Account Control doesn't play nicely with modded Skyrim. The first thing we need to do is create a new Directory for a fresh Skyrim install. 

Go to C:/Games/ and create two folders. Skyrim Utilities and Steam Library 2. It should look like this: 

Next, you'll want to install Skyrim into your Steam Library 2 folder. To do this open Steam and go to view settings:

Next click downloads, then click steam library folders:

Now click "Add library folder" and select your Steam Library 2 folder:

Now you will have the option to install Skyrim with Steam to your Steam Library 2 folder. First parts, done! 

If you are doing a fresh install of Skyrim, run the game once and then exit it. This allows the game to set up some necessary paths.

Mod Organizer

A mod organizer is your bread and butter. It is what you'll be using to add mods, and how you'll launch Skyrim from now on. For this tutorial, we will use the MO simply called Mod Organizer. It is safer to use than the rest and has a few exclusive advantages over the other MO's.

Installing and setting up Mod Organizer

Mod Organizer Download

  • Go to your Skyrim Utilities folder and make a new folder inside called "MO Versions" (This will help if you ever have to use older versions of MO)
  • Download the latest MO installer and put it in your MO Versions folder
  • Run the installer and point it to your main Skyrim directory, it should look like this:

Once you've installed MO, you will have a folder in your Skyrim directory titled Mod Organizer:

First-time setup

The first time you run MO it will give you a tutorial and ask if you want the program to handle .nxm links. Answer "Yes" to this as it will allow you to use the "download with manager" button that many mods have on their Nexus page.

You must run all other utilities that you run through MO(SKSE, LOOT, etc.)

To do this:

Open the drop down menu near the big "Run" button. Then click "Edit..."

After you click edit, you will see a new window. The title box is for the name of the program. The binary path is where you put the path location for the programs .exe.


Once you've selected the .exe for the Binary, make sure Close MO when started is unchecked2, and then click Add.

We will be installing a few utilities next, so refer to this section if you need to.


Skyrim Script Extender, or SKSE

This might be one of the most important requirements to mod Skyrim. SKSE expands the scripting abilities of Skyrim, which allows mods to truly shine.

It also includes the Skyrim startup memory patch, literally the most important patch for a stable, modded Skyrim.

SKSE installation and how to

SKSE download

  • Create a new folder in your Skyrim Utilities directory and name it SKSE
  • Download the SKSE 1.7.3 installer and put it into the SKSE folder. Make sure it is 1.7.3! 
  • Run the SKSE installer


After it has installed open Mod Organizer and add skse_loader.exe to the launcher menu:

IMPORTANT NOTE: This is how you will launch Skyrim now. Not through Steam, not TESV.exe, only with SKSE through Mod Organizer.
Applying the memory patch
  • Go to your Skyrim Data directory
  • In the Data folder, create a new folder and name it SKSE
  • In the new folder, create a text file (right click, create new text document)
  • Rename the file to skse.ini
  • (Make sure you are changing the actual file extension and not renaming it skse.ini.txt. If you are unsure just watch this quick 40-second tutorial)

Next, open the skse.ini file and copy/paste these lines into it:




That's it for SKSE.


LOOT - Load Order Organization Tool

This tool will make sure your mods and plugins don't conflict. An important tool if you plan to use many mods, it won't solve all your problems, but it will sure as heck make sure your mods don't fight each other (and cause crashes.)

How to install and use LOOT

LOOT download

  • Create a new folder in your Skyrim Utilities directory and name it LOOT
  • Download the archive into the LOOT folder
  • Extract the content into the folder

Make sure to add LOOT to the list of executables in Mod Organizer.

Once you have the mods you want downloaded and installed, it is a good idea to run LOOT. To do so run LOOT from MO and then select sort plugins:

LOOT will take a couple of seconds and then display its results. Select Apply:

Now your mods will play happy together.



WARNING: ENBoost does not work on every system. There are all sorts of issues that can cause ENBoost not to work. If you can't get it to work after following these steps, you'll have to visit the forums for a fix.

ENBseries is an overlay that adds post processing and shader effects. It allows people to create ENB presets that add Ambient Occlusion, Depth of Field, and other pretty things.

For now we're just going to handle ENBoost, which comes included with the ENBseries. ENBoost won't add any graphic effects, but it will change the way Skyrim manages its VRAM. It is recommended you use ENBoost to increase the stability of Skyrim.

Installation and how to use ENBoost

ENBSERIES download

  • Create a new folder in your Skyrim Utilities directory and name it ENB Manager
  • Create a new folder inside of ENB Manager and name it Versions
  • Create a new folder inside of Versions and name it 2xx (xx is for the version number of the ENB)


After you click the newest version, scroll down to the bottom until you see a small black box that says download. Click it to download the file.

Place the archive in Skyrim Utilities/ENB Manager/Versions/2xx

Right click the archive and select 'extract here'. It should look like this: 

Open the WrapperVersion and select only these 3 files:


Copy and paste these files into your main Skyrim directory. It should look like this: 

Next, open the enblocal and edit them according to this page. (Each computer is different and has different values, this link will help you find out how to edit enblocal according to your system.)

Now your set for ENBoost. If you'd like to learn about ENB presets and how to use them read this link.


Installing Mods

Wowsers! Finally, you can start installing mods! It's pretty easy now that you've gotten everything set up! I'll show you how to download a mod and then present a list of mods that I believe are essential.

We'll download the Unofficial Skyrim patch that fixes tons of bugs.

Unofficial Skyrim Patch

Click on that link and then you'll see a bar that looks like this: 

The three main buttons you'll use on this toolbar are underlined. To download the patch, click on Files, then click on download with Mod Manager. A prompt will come up, agree to it, and then if Mod Organizer asks you to log in, do so.

The file will now be downloading in Mod Organizer. You can view the download progress if you want.

When the file is done downloading, double click to install, then click okay. The mod will extract its files and presto! Mod installed! Easy right? Don't forget to check the box beside the installed mod to activate it.

You did it! Now you know how to install mods to Skyrim, and by association Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, and Oblivion.

Here are some essential mods that fix bugs and issues in Skyrim:

You're free now! Free to Mod Skyrim however you'd like. If you want Macho Man Randy Savage dragons, there's a mod for that. If lightsabers are your thing, there's a mod for that. Hate the PC User Interface and feel like it was made for consoles? There's a mod for that. There's a mod for everything, including various NSFW mods. There's even a mod that puts the moon from Majora's Mask into your game.


If you'd like to have what we did and why we had to do it explained, head over to the Skyrim Modding Reddit I can't possibly explain all the reasons behind the steps in one article, but they won't have a problem! Happy modding!

Ten Books You Shouldn't Have Ignored in Skyrim Sun, 23 Nov 2014 17:42:36 -0500 Kathryn Baker


With over 450 books in Skyrim, there are obviously ones that did not make the list. That doesn't mean that they aren't enjoyable. As an extra bonus, here are some interesting quotes from some other books in Skyrim. 


The Last Year of the First Era Book One: Morning Star

by Carlovac Townway

"Zuuk," said Empress Tavia. "I'm bored. Let's discuss methods of assassinating my husband today."


Chaurus Pie: A Recipe

by Nils

If I have to hear one more time about that famous gourmet who wrote that recipe book, I'll hack off my own ears with a blunt axe. Sure, he can cook up some dishes fit for them stodgy Imperials and them poncy Bretons, but real Nords want real Nord food, and my chaurus pie is just that.


Eslaf Erol Book One: Beggar

by Reven

During pregnancy, the Queen had been more than twice as wide as she was tall, and the act of delivery took three months and six days after it had begun. It is perhaps understandable that the Lahpyrcopa elected, upon expelling Eslaf to frown, say, 'Good riddance,' and die.


Flight From the Thalmor

by Hadrik Oaken-Heart

The only thing I now understand for certain is this: if the agents of the Aldmeri Dominion cannot have your soul, then they will take your very life. 


A Gentleman's Guide to Whiterun

by Mikael the Bard

Adrianne is quite fair, but I should not want to find myself being introduced to the keen edge of that husband's war-axe. If married ladies are your preferred sport, then have at, but don't say that you weren't warned!


Maluril's Journal

by Maluril

Skyrim, not so bad if you don't mind the smell of mammoth.



Author Unlisted

Little boys shouldn't summon up the forces of eternal darkness unless they have an adult supervising, I know, I know.


Uncommon Taste

by the Gourmet

This book is a great one, because it contains recipes! As a Baker (pun intended), I really enjoy food, so I was excited to actually find recipes that I could make. (Other books contain recipes, but those relied on mythical beasts, so I couldn't really make those).


The two recipes in this book are Sunlight Souffle' and Potage le Magnifique. Some of the measurements are medieval, such as a flagon of flour, so you may have to estimate a little on measurements. That being said, all the ingredients are real, so I'm assuming that you can actually make these recipes. The oven temperature is "moderately hot", so you may have to search the Internet for souffle temperatures.


That being said, I think it would be pretty awesome to cook food that people ate in Skyrim, using Skyrim's own recipe. Check it out here.


The Last Scabbard of Akrash

by Tabar Vunqidh

This book holds a story of slavery, serial killers, and a young noblewoman. Spoiler Alert: The ending is bittersweet.


The story opens with a young noblewoman going to an armorer repeatedly. While most people thought it strange or a sign of an affair, the armorer actually reveals that the noblewoman was learning the craft of refining blades. 


The scene changes to a room filled with slavers. They discuss a serial killer who has been killing people involved in the slave trade. They are on the hunt for him or her. One of the slavers is asked to give his blade for the hunt, but he declines. Instead, he's focusing on marrying his daughter off.


Later, the slaver's daughter sneaks out, delivering her father's blade to a Khajiit slave. The slave is the serial killer, striking out against the trade that held him captive, using a weapon from one of the business' leaders. The noblewoman repairs the weapon when he is done killing, so her father will be none the wiser. Their teamwork, however, suddenly faces trouble when the Khajiit is injured... but that's all I'm going to reveal.


If you want to know the end of the tale, then you should read it here. Note: This story was also featured in Oblivion.


The Horror Of Castle Xyr: A One Act Play

by Baloth-Kul

 As mentioned in the title, this book is actually a one-act play. There are only four characters and the story itself is a mystery.


The play commences with the appearance of the Captain of the Imperial Guard. He arrives at Castle Xyr to figure out who froze an Argonian to death during the summer. He is greeted by a Dunmer maid, who informs the captain that she is the only one in the castle; the lord and his servants had left. The Captain asks to investigate the castle based on the Argonian's dying ramblings, and the maid has to let him in.


The Captain eventually discovers a secret passageway, which leads to a torture room. It was unclear what the purpose of the torture was, but he searches anyway.


At that moment, his Lieutenant arrives and discusses the case. The fourth member, an Argonian mage, shows up to deliver a magic book. The back of the book includes notes that discuss the particulars of the tortures and the reasoning behind it. However, the Captain still needs to capture the one responsible.


Interested in reading the ending? Check it out here


A Game At Dinner

by An Anonymous Spy

This book is actually in the form of a letter. A spy contacts his master, telling him about an event that took place in the palace where he was spying. The spy had noticed other people who were possibly disloyal to the Prince, but thought nothing of it. However, the Prince was not unintelligent and had noticed the deception. He hired an alchemist to poison someone in his court.


The letter discusses the dinner party that the Prince called for his advisers. The spy was wary after seeing the alchemist, so he didn't eat anything, only mimicked the action. However, the Prince was ready for this deception, and announced that the silverware was poisoned, not the food. Long story short, a spy was caught, but I won't spoil the ending.


This story was also in other Elder Scrolls games, but I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to include it in the list. Read it here.


A Concise Account of the Great War Between the Empire and the Aldmeri Dominion

by Legate Justianus Quintius

For those who are interested in The Elder Scrolls history, this book is extremely important. The previous game in the franchise was Oblivion, which occurs approximately 200 years before the events in Skyrim. This book covers the Great War that occurred between the previous game and this one, which sets up the political climate of the game.


The book starts off by discussing the weakness of the Empire and the rise of the Aldmeri Dominion (the Thalmor). Long story short, the Thalmor sent an ambassador to demand outrageous tributes from the Empire, and the Empire declined. In a move of confidence, the Thalmor ambassador revealed the decapitated heads of over a hundred of the Emperor's men, which quite understandably started a war. 


The war itself last five years. The Aldmeri advanced into Cyrodiil and sacked the Imperial City, but was eventually overrun by the Empire. To stop the bloodshed, The White-Gold Concordat was made, which ended the war but involved concessions by the Empire. This uneasy truce is the basis for the tense political climate in Skyrim, so it's very helpful to read in order to better understand the current system.


Want all the bloody details yourself? Read it here.


A Children's Anuad: The Anuad Paraphrased

 Author Unlisted

This book is actually quite interesting. It's a simplified tale of the creation of the world, which I wasn't quite familiar with. Skyrim is one of the only Elder Scrolls games that I've played, so a lot of the original lore was unknown to me.


Anu and Padomay were brothers that entered the Void, which was the beginning. Their existence made Nir come to life. Both brothers loved Nir, but Nir loved Anu. Anu and Padomay ended up fighting over Nir. Long story short, Padomay left for a while and Nir gave birth to Creation, but died because of Padomay's previous actions.


Padomay came back and shattered Creation. Anu did his best to restore the world. The brothers ended up fighting and both were cast out of Time forever. Through their fight and Anu's restoration, two races were left on the world, which later became the other playable races.


This book was a really interesting origin story and tells of the Mythic Age in Skyrim. Read it here.


The Argonian Account

by Waughin Jarth

Unlike my previous choices, The Argonian Account is actually a series consisting of four books. These books are different segments of Scotti's misadventures on the same quest to improve a trading route.


Scotti is a senior clerk for a trading company and, after completing one big job, hadn't done anything work-related for months. However, through the stories he recounted, people seemed to think he was actually really good at his job. Through a series of events, Scotti gets the important job of fixing the Black Marsh account, which requires him to travel to Argonian territory and meet with investors.


Scotti was out-of-shape from his laziness, so he really was not in the best condition to quest. Additionally, he knew nothing of the account or the dangers of the Black Marsh. In four books, he loses documents, gets accidentally kidnapped, almost attacked by raiders, nearly eaten alive by multiple creatures, actually eaten alive by another, paralyzed, halfway drowned, double-crossed, and laughed at several times. Somehow he actually fixes the problem of the Black Marsh by doing what he apparently does best, being lazy and greedy.


If you're a fan of your protagonist suffering but eventually winning, then this series is for you. It's quite enjoyable, and the beginning is reminiscent of The Hobbit with the reluctant hero.


Original artwork for The Argonian Account was made by SlayerSerena. You can read the story here.


Ancient Tales of the Dwemer Part X: The Dowry

by Marobar Sul

This book is part of a collection of "Dwemer" tales, though the origin of the stories and the real author have been contested by Skyrim historians. These arguments over the true origins are added as appendices in each story of the series, which is a nice touch to the realism in the game.


This tale is a tale of romance. A rich man has a beautiful, strong, intelligent daughter with a boring personality. That being said, she has plenty of suitors since her father is offering a large dowry. The father decides to weed out her suitors by offering multiple tests that they must pass.


The first test is a test of monetary worth. The rich man wants the suitors to prove that they're not after his daughter's dowry. A lot of suitors fail this, but many pass. One man in particular, Welyn, was impressively adorned. The second test was a test of intelligence. More suitors failed, but Welyn again became the favorite.


However, the rich man wanted his daughter to be happy, so he made a last test; the suitors must make her smile. As the daughter had an unimpressive personality, everyone failed. However, Welyn made a counter-offer; if he and the daughter became engaged,he would make her laugh in the beginning of the engagement.


I'm not going to spoil the end of the story, but it's definitely worth the read. Welyn is a likeable character, and his secret at the end is great. Learn his secret here.


Advances in Lockpicking

by Unknown

This book is one of my favorites in Skyrim to read. While it is a skill book that increases your Lockpicking skill, the author's tone is quite amusing, and the repeatable quotes are plentiful.


The author is a simple thief. They repeat this multiple times, reminding their reader that, while they are a good thief, they're not as good of a writer. That being said, their book covers some interesting concepts about lockpicking, such as how to deal with touchy springs and the best lockpicks to use.


The book itself is very short, but it is pretty funny. The last lines of the book are pure gold too:


Some thieves can't read. If you can't read, get someone to read this book to you. It will make more sense then.


If you liked that quote, then you'll like the rest, which you can read here.


Ahzirr Trajijazaeri

by Anonymous

I love playing as "beast" characters, so the Khajiit have always been one of my favorite races. That being said, I did not really know much about the race, outside of the fact that they're wandering traders in Skyrim and often fantastic thieves.


This book goes more into the cultural norms of the Khajiit. As the author says, most of the information was passed down orally, and this is the first time it was compiled for others to learn about the Khajiiti way of life. Ahzirr Trajijazaeri covers a lot of information, but is written almost playfully, so it's both an educational and fun read. Topics include "It Is Necessary To Run Away",  "Kill Without Qualm", and "We Justly Take By Force".


The author is straight-forward and no nonsense, but also a bit sassy. In the section "Enjoy Life", they write:


Life is short. If you have not made love recently, please, put down this book, and take care of that with all haste. Find a wanton lass or a frisky lad, or several, in whatever combination your wise loins direct, and do not under any circumstances play hard to get. Our struggle against the colossal forces of oppression can wait.


 The Khajiit are hedonistic, taking their simple pleasures seriously. They laugh at their enemies' idiocy, make lewd jokes, and enjoy taking moon sugar. That being said, there is a seriousness that underlies their race; they are facing oppression and will fight it with their last breaths. However, the whole time they face their adversaries, they will be smiling; they know their victories are assured, and that their smiles drive their adversaries insane.


Interested? Read it here.


The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is an open-world RPG with an extreme depth of lore. The main quest is fairly elaborate and the side-quests are countless. There are references to the events in previous Elder Scrolls games, and intricate histories and cultural norms for each of the 10 playable races. With this much information to enjoy, it's sometimes hard for players to really experience the complexity of the entire game.


I am a "completionist." I call myself this because I can't leave any stone unturned or any quest unfulfilled. I need to experience every aspect of the game, which is fairly time-consuming in an open-world setting like Skyrim. In my endless quest to complete the endless amount of quests in Skyrim, I ended up reading every book that the developers wrote. There are over 450 readable books in Skyrim and, while some help develop your skills, most are just interesting to develop the world's lore.


This slideshow is a compilation of some of the most interesting books in Skyrim that you may have overlooked. Some elaborate on the history of the area, some develop your understanding of the races and their customs, and some are just fun to read. Which ones are your favorite?

Building Your Skyrim House - Hearthfire Building Basics Tue, 23 Apr 2013 21:37:03 -0400 Stephen Johnston

I can't seem to put Skyrim down. Whenever I look at the release date of Skyrim I realize just how long I've been playing it. I have Skyrim on my XBox, my Playstation and my PC. Each with 200 hours or more played... yeah

Nevertheless, I am just getting around to playing Hearthfire. Yep, just getting around to it. Just getting around to building my House in Skyrim. Casa de Stephen.

So, I was in search of info on how to build a house in Skyrim and I found the above video and the Hearthfire wiki page. Takeaways from the videos and figuring this out:

  1. In the house you get form Dawnstar there is a quarry and clay pit right in front of where you craft your house at. There are quarries and pits very near the other locations as well.
  2. Corundrum, leather straps and wood are much more in play. Raid your stored up items. I'm a pack rat so I've had this just laying around.
  3. Iron Ingots are in abundance inside the Solitude blacksmith (27 or so)
  4. Building your house is kind of fun...

Anyway, I may be slow to get on the Skyrim housing bandwagon, but Hearthfire is a pretty fun update for Skyrim!