Creatures and animals
Looking for some more variety in Skyrim's bestiary, more realistic behavior from animals, and some upgrades for the countless dragons you'll have to fight? Here are some mods that make your enemies more interesting.
Really Useful Dragons, Macho Dragons ⭐
You've got two options for replacing Skyrim's dragons with something goofy-looking. The "Really Useful Dragons mod" adds Thomas the Tank Engine, who seems to make it into even more games via mods than Shrek these days, and Macho Dragons turns them into 'Macho Man' Randy Savage. Both are hilarious and creepy in their own way. Note that the first actually adds a variety of characters from Thomas the Tank Engine, if that's a selling point for you.
No Spiders, Insects Begone ⭐
Arachnophobes might appreciate the mod that replaces the spider textures with Spider-Man, although it still looks freaky as all get-out to me. Insects Begone is a more lore-friendly attempt at getting rid of the bugs, swapping spiders for bears and chaurus for skeevers as well as deleting spiderwebs and other arachnid clutter.
Enhanced Mighty Dragons Reborn
Guess what? You're not the only one who can shout, Dragonborn. This mod gives dragons a whole new toolbox of spells and shouts, new abilities like disarming attacks and the power to summon animals or other monsters. One can raise the dead, another can't fly—it's a skeleton—but uses deadly physical attacks. It's completely customizable as well, in terms of difficulty, frequency, and loot. We tried out these new dragons here.
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. Pick a bunch you like, and the mod will distribute those textures for you in the game.
Bellyache's Animal and Creature Pack
While it doesn't add new species, this mod does add around 100 recolored or touched-up textures for Skyrim's animals, everything from goats to bears to werewolves to the oft-discussed mudcrabs. You can choose from high or medium resolutions.
Basically, it makes horses a million times better. Your followers can ride them, and fight while riding. You can conduct conversations and loot while on horseback. There are a variety of new saddles and armor types. Dismounting is quicker and automatically draws your weapon. You can auto-mount horses when they're called, and even dictate their AI in combat.
If you're tired of fighting vanilla creatures and don't mind digressing from the lore, check out Immersive Creatures. A huge collection of modders contributed to assemble an astonishing 2,500+ new creatures to populate Skyrim. From goblins to crocodile demons to dragon-people—and even a mechanical dragon.
Tame the Beasts of Skyrim 2
You don't just have to slaughter every creature in Skyrim: you can also tame them, keep them on a farm, and have them accompany you on quests. Whether you want a pet mammoth or a pet chicken, this mod will allow you to assemble an impressive bestiary of loyal creatures. You can even breed them to create more powerful animals. Here's our write-up.
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.
Realistic Animals and Predators
Animals have been revamped with better AI and more realistic behavior. Bears will hibernate in winter, animals will travel to water to drink each day, and predators not only hunt but whatever they consume will remain in their inventory (belly) for a while. Instead of always attacking, they may flee, or simply just watch you. Plus, you won't just see full-grown animals but also their young following them around.
Table of contents
- Patches, optimization, and UI: A grab bag of useful improvements.
- Visual overhauls and weather: Make the game look beautiful.
- Quests and new locations: New adventures and new lands.
- Roleplaying, survival, and immersion: Find different ways to play.
- Creatures and animals: Some improved, some entirely new.
- Equipment and animation: Armor, weapons, and custom accessories.
- NPCs: Changes to the other characters, plus some new ones.
- Magic, combat, and skills: Soup up your sorcery, pep up your perks.
- How to install Skyrim mods: The best ways to install, organize, and use these mods.