The 50 best Skyrim mods
Armoured Skeletons and the Walking Dead
You spend a lot of time in Skyrim fighting draugr, so any mod that adds more undead is bound to have a big impact. This one adds several new draugr and skeleton types of wearing bits and pieces of tattered armour. Each enemy type has a different fighting style and level of toughness based on what they were in life, whether they’re skeletal knights, undead Thalmor or even a high level Lich. It’s a simple, lore friendly way to add a lot more variety to your enemies. You won't need this if you're using Immersive Creatures, as they're bundled together.
There are a lot of excellent retexture mods available for Skyrim, but the sad thing is that you can only ever use one at a time. Automatic Variants exists to correct that problem. It allows Skyrim to randomly choose different skins from a pool of variants, so each animal looks unique. Because of the nature of this mod, it’s a little complicated to install. First download Automatic Variants, then download any texture packs you want to use (I recommend Bellyache’s animals). Drop the texture pack into the folder, then run the AutomaticVariants.jar file to build the mod, which goes last in your load order. Every time you add new mods or skins, be sure to build the mod again.
Bellyache’s New Dragons
Bellyache is well known for doing some lovely animal textures, but this mod is a bit different. Instead of just textures (you can get those here) Bellyache has created several individual dragons, each with its own abilities and territory to control. They’re been carefully placed so that they shouldn’t overlap too often with vanilla dragons, and you shouldn’t have to fight both at once. There is one caveat however: if you’re using an alternate start mod, you’ll notice some of these Dragons appearing very early in the story, before you’ve even had your first dragon fight outside Whiterun. So you may want to wait until you’ve gotten to that point in the main quest before activating the mod.
If you’re tired of fighting Skyrim’s vanilla creatures and don’t mind dubious canonicity, then check out Immersive Creatures. Modder lifestorock has assembled an astonishing 2,500+ new creatures to populate Skyrim with. From goblins to crocodile demons to dragon-people to strange bug things I don’t quite understand. There’s even a dwarvern mechanical dragon! As you might have guessed, this mod is not for those who want to keep things ‘lore friendly’ (they should try Armoured Skeletons instead) but if you don’t mind that sort of thing, Immersive Creatures is a great way to ensure you’re always surprised by Skyrim’s monsters.
High Level Enemies
Play Skyrim long enough and you'll notice that the difficulty drops off sharply at later levels. The problem is that a lot of standard enemy types don't have high level variants. The toughest Bandit, for example, is level 25, not much of a challenge when your Dovakhin gets past level 30. High Level enemies contains hundreds of new enemy types, ensuring that basic enemies remain a challenge well into the endgame.