The best Skyrim mods

Quests and new locations

Gotten your fill of Skyrim's official quests? Tired of repeating adventures you've done before? Looking for some new locations to explore and conquer? Start right here.

Legacy of the Dragonborn ⭐ 

the best skyrim mods: legacy of the dragonborn

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Legacy of the Dragonborn adds a gallery in Solitude where you can keep mementos of your time in Skyrim. It's a museum about you, with space for almost every unique item in the game. All those quest rewards and Daedric artifacts you went to so much trouble to earn but don't use can be displayed in a beautiful building with its own library, store room and more. The curator hands out quests to help fill it, there's an entire archeology system with its own perks, and Legacy is compatible with several major quest mods like Moonpath, Moon and Star, and Undeath so you can display items from those as well. The only downside is that it won't recognize items received before installing it, so it's worth starting a fresh save.  

Faction: Pit Fighter ⭐ 

the best skyrim mods: faction: pit fighter

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Miss the arena? This quest mod adds a group of pit fighters you can join to the Gray Quarter of Windhelm, each of them voice-acted. The bouts take place in bespoke arenas outside the bounds of the map, and you can choose to fight one-on-one, against teams, or against wild animals. You'll have to wait between fights, so it's a good faction to visit in between other questlines. If you use the Open Cities mod download this version instead, and make sure to read the notes on that page to get the voices working.

Airship Dev Aveza ⭐ 

the best skyrim mods: airship dev aveza

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Want your own flying ship? Yeah, course you do. This takes the airship model from the Moonpath to Elsweyr quest mod and combines it with the interactions from a separate skyship mod to make the best flying fantasy you'll get. The Dev Aveza is docked behind Solitude, and once it's yours can be flown all over the map. It's a much easier way to get to the top of the Throat of the World than walking, and it's got room on board for all your belongings.

Enderal: The Shards of Order

the best skyrim mods: enderal: the shards of order

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

Winterhold Rebuild

the best skyrim mods: winterhold rebuild

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Winterhold used to be the capital of Skyrim, but the inhabitants still haven’t rebuilt it since the Great Collapse. This mod solves that problem. It’s a quest-driven mod that not only rebuilds the town to its former glory (including more shops and amenities), but also gives you a horse and a lore-friendly player home.

The Paarthurnax Dilemma 

the best skyrim mods: the paarthurnax dilemma

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Ever wanted to tell the Blades to get bent when they tell you to kill your dragon bro? Well, now you can! With this mod from Arthmoor, you now have the option to explain matters to the Blades and make them see reason (although you might have to get a bit forceful—darn).

Cutting Room Floor

the best skyrim mods: cutting room floor

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Adds in a lot of content that Bethesda cut before release, including NPCs, dialogue, items, quests, and locations like villages, towers, farms, mills, and more. The mod author, Arthmoor, also organized and cleaned up the code so that everything would make sense and run smoothly. 

Heljarchen Farm

the best skyrim mods: heljarchen farm

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Have a burning desire to beat Nazeem at his own career? This mod adds a Hearthfire-style farm to Skyrim. Check out the notices posted at some of the inns, buy the property, and rebuild the ruined farm in Dawnstar into a model of agriculture with livestock and several farm fields. You can even upgrade it to include a guardhouse and your own meadery.

The Forgotten City

the best skyrim mods: the forgotten city

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This extensive mod not only gives you a new city to explore, but a murder mystery to solve, NPCs to interrogate, secrets to uncover, and, oh yeah, a chance to do some time travel. Voiced by over a dozen actors, this mod took years of development time and is recommended for characters over level five. We tried it out here. (The Forgotten City is also being made into a standalone game.) 

Sea of Ghosts

the best skyrim mods: sea of ghosts

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Ahoy, matey! Fancy yourself a ship captain? This mod lets you acquire a ship, hire a crew, and set sail for a number of quests on the Sea of Ghosts. There are seven quests scattered over a number of new islands, and the mod features professional voice acting to boot.

Enhanced Skyrim Factions - The Companions

the best skyrim mods: enhanced skyrim factions - the companions

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Ever thought it was pretty stupid that you got into the Circle after only doing a few minor quests, or that you were railroaded into becoming a werewolf? With this mod, you get a lot more quests, becoming a werewolf is your choice, and you can battle the Silver Hand with members other than Farkas or Aela.

Legendary cities

the best skyrim mods: legendary cities

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This mod adds ten new cities to Skyrim, all drawn from The Elder Scrolls: Arena, like Amol, Black Moor, Granite Hall, and others. Respectful of game lore, the cities have been added as close to their original locations as possible, and fit in with Skyrim's aesthetic nicely. They've even been populated with NPCs. We explored it here.

Undeath

the best skyrim mods: undeath

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As the saying goes: if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Alternately, you can beat 'em and join 'em. I'm talking about necromancers, in this case. Undeath is a custom quest in which you're tasked with wiping out an evil cabal of necromancers, with the twist that you can choose to continue their dark unholy work. You can even perform a ritual that will allow you to become a powerful Lich and command an army of the undead. It's meant for players over level 30. We covered it here.

Hidden Hideouts of Skyrim

the best skyrim mods: hidden hideouts of skyrim

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Puts a ton of hidden shelters in the game, dotted all over the landscape. They're great fun to stumble upon and perfect for outlaws to stash their stuff or just disappear from the law. The mod is customizable depending on how easily players want to find these places (you can turn map markers off).

Moonpath to Elsewyr

the best skyrim mods: moonpath to elsewyr

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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, which you can travel across in your airship. Did I mention you get an airship? You get an airship. We spoke to its creator about making one of the first Skyrim quest mods

Falskaar

the best skyrim mods: falskaar

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Falksaar is a massive 'DLC sized' continent created by a young modder as an audition piece for Bethesda. The island itself is impressive, comparable in size and scope to Dragonborn's Solstheim, though a bit more linear. Still, the continent itself is well-worth exploring.

Moon and Star

the best skyrim mods: moon and star

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A dangerous criminal from Morrowind has arrived in Skyrim, and your quest to track him down will take you to a new town and an inventive, puzzle-filled dungeon, introduce you to several new NPCs including merchants and traders, and outfit you with new weapons and spells.

Helgen Reborn

the best skyrim mods: helgen reborn

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A huge and fantastic 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." 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.

You also wind up with the coolest player home ever designed: read our article about it.

Descent into Madness

the best skyrim mods: descent into madness

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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.

The Notice Board

the best skyrim mods: the notice board

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Taking a page from The Witcher, this mod adds a notice board outside inns in every city in Skyrim. There you can collect radiant missions, some to gather materials or ingredients, some to fetch a specific item, others to hunt down bandits for a bounty or rescue a citizen. It's a good way to keep yourself busy when you're not saving the world.

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