The 50 best Skyrim mods
Quests and New Lands
Moonpath to Elsewyr
For those who are sick of snowy mountains, Moonpath to Elsweyr offers two brand new environments, lush jungle and barren desert. This quest mod takes you to the Khajit homeland of Elsweyr, making a strong case for setting the next Elder Scrolls game there. Unlike Falskaar the Elswyr added by this mod isn’t a fully explorable continent, but rather a series of locations you can visit in your airship. Did I mention you get an airship? You get an airship. Plus you can install an add on mod to get a talking tiger for a follower. Best mod ever.
Falksaar made a lot of headlines when it came out a year ago. It’s a massive ‘DLC sized’ continent created by a young modder as an audition piece for Bethesda. So how does it hold up? Well the island itself is certainly impressive, comparable in size and scope to Dragonborn’s Solstheim. While it doesn’t have the exotic locations of Elsweyr, it does present them as a single, seamless location. The downside is how linear it can be, with locations locked off until you’ve passed a certain point of the main quest, or quests that force to follow NPCs because you can’t open doors or throw switches yourself. Still the continent itself is worth exploring. Just be prepared to download a bunch of compatibility patches if you’re using lots of other mods.
Wyrmstooth is the other new island mod, the one that never got as much publicity as Falskaar, but remains a cult favourite amongst Skyrim modders. It starts at level 10, when the Dragonborn is commissioned to slay a dragon on the island, and the plot unravels from there. Right off the bat Wyrmstooth hands you a narrative hook, something both Falskaar and Moonpath lack, an actual reason to explore this new place. Plus it ties itself neatly in the Skyrim lore of Dragons and the Dovakhin. Personally I prefer it to Falskaar, but there’s no reason you can’t install both.
Helgen Reborn is a huge quest mod that centres around rebuilding and ruling the town of Helgen, also known as “That place that got burnt down at the start of the game. You know, the one you immediately forgot about afterwards". Following the quest will lead you to creating a ragtag bunch of misfits to act as the town guard, while the city itself slowly expands around you. I could explain more, or you could just read Chris’ Mod of the Week article on it. As a small note: you may wish to disable this mod until after you’ve completed Skyrim’s opening sequence, as mods that change Helgen can often mess up the intro.
Descent into Madness
Descent into Madness was one of the highlights of Richard Cobbett’s Week of Madness diary. Take a nap in your bed in Breezehome and you’ll be transported into the realm of Sheogorath, where two nations called Madness and Dementia are engaged in an eternal clash of the crazies. Each side offers a different, hour long questline full of puzzles and riddles, all set within a bizarre, dreamlike landscape.