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Here’s a List of the Best Skyrim Immersion and Realism Mods

If you’re a fan of dying of hypothermia by accidentally falling into a frigid lake, these Skyrim mods might be for you. Not for the faint of heart.

Note: These mods are for the non Special Edition of Skyrim. For updates on Skyrim Special Edition mods, check out our section on gaming.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has been around for many years now, and it still doesn’t show any signs of leaving the realm of public consciousness. Although Bethesda’s Special Edition of Skyrim features improved graphics and a 64 bit application in a new version of the Creation Engine, the modding community was always stronger with the original. It’s still tough to beat the non-special edition of Skyrim if you want to be fully immersed. For now though, there are a ton of amazing graphics mods to make the old Skyrim look pristine and new, but if you’re looking to play it in a grisly, hardcore fashion like the wintry and mountainous conditions indicate, look no further. Here’s a list of amazing Skyrim Immersion mods that’d probably make you feel frigid and frosty IRL.

skyrim immersion mod leaves fence
This is just the part where the tundra isn’t trying to kill you.
Before we get to the hardcore stuff, let’s look at some mods that make some small quality of life improvements.

First there’s Auto Unequip Ammo, a mod that does exactly what it says. Ever switch from a bow to a sword only to have your ugly iron arrows still equipped? This changes it so that ammo is only equipped when wielding a bow or crossbow.

Then you can get Wearable Lanterns, so you have cool torchbug-lanterns attached to your waist. There’s no need for those ugly torches anymore.

skyrim torch mod
Who needs lanterns when you have a stick of fire though?
Realistic Wildlife Loot and Recipes lets you hunt animals and creatures across the land and get what you deserve. No longer are you killing a deer and getting one piece of meat and an arrow; you’ll be able to get multiple cuts, and a realistic amount of eyes and teeth and all that. It also modifies alchemy recipes and food, making for some interesting new gameplay mechanics. It hasn’t been updated since 2013 though, so you might prefer alternatives like Thematic Loot.

Footprints does exactly what it says; giving you and different creatures in Skyrim footprints in the snow. You wouldn’t realise how much of a difference this makes, but once you have it installed you’ll wonder why Bethesda didn’t put it in the vanilla game.

skyrim footprints mod

Cloaks of Skyrim and Winter is Coming

There are 2 main cloak mods in Skyrim that enhance the Game of Thrones feel when exploring cities and dungeons. These are Cloaks of Skyrim and Winter is Coming. Cloaks of Skyrim features everything from thin linen shawls to burlap cloaks, some even with emblems of the Holds. Cloaks of Skyrim adds hundreds of unique cloaks to the game, so NPCs will start wearing them and might even have their own special cloak designs. Winter is Coming features fuller, larger cloaks like the ones Ned Stark wears in Game of Thrones. These are different coloured bearskin and wolfskin cloaks and tons of other varieties. Both mods can be installed at the same time and are compatible with every mod in this list, and between the two, your Skyrim’s going to feel a lot harsher. But it’s nothing compared to the next one.

Falkreath Cloak from Cloaks of Skyrim
Falkreath Cloak from Cloaks of Skyrim

Frostfall

Why doesn’t the seething cold in Skyrim outright kill your scantily clad, iron headed Dovahkiin? The weather doesn’t seem to affect anything, as you can swim in presumably ice-cold water, climb mountains like it’s nobody’s business and not so much as cough when roaming around the bleak, snowy wilderness. Frostfall changes all of that. You now have to keep yourself warm, by wrapping yourself up in warm clothes. If not, you die. Or atleast suffer the various stages of hypothermia till your screen starts shaking when you shiver before cowering into a local inn to warm up, or chop wood, set up a tent and start your own campfire. Frostfall is a smart mod that tracks wetness and coldness depending where you are in Skyrim and urges you to take actions like a real adventurer would.

Campfire in Skyrim

Wet and Cold

This mod adds a multitude of weather dependent effects that truly immerse you within the game. Visible drips of rain, moisture breathing out of peoples’ and animals’ faces in frigid cold, snow accumulating on creatures and structures and a lot more. This mod interacts marvelously with a lot of other Immersion mods. With either of the cloak mods installed you’ll see NPCs bringing leather cloaks in the rain and thicker cloaks in the snow. This is a must have if you’re going for a Skyrim immersion playthrough.

skyrim rain mod

Realistic Needs and Diseases

There’s a certain charm to eating 20 pieces of raw dog meat to regain your HP in Skyrim, but that’s not really realistic or immersive. Realistic Needs and Diseases is an overhaul for diseases, food, water, inebriation, potions, sleep and camping. The way it balances gameplay difficulty and realism is frankly amazing. You now have to take care of what you eat, drink water regularly, and set up bed-rolls or start a camp to get some sleep. Alcohol has some interesting effects and the tradeoff is harsher than in the vanilla game – but so much more interesting. A tip from me, hit the Skooma. (Obligatory stay in school, don’t drink, kids).

A Dead Elk in Skyrim

Immersive Creatures

There’s a lot of other great mods with the “Immersive” title that I’m not including in this list, because even though they make the game a lot more interesting, it’s not relevant for a hardcore Skyrim adventurer who needs to get 8 hours of rest to not die. But I have to include Immersive Creatures simply for the great way it interacts with every mod in this list. With Realistic Needs and Diseases you’ll get so many more creatures to loot and scavenge from. If you’ve ever wondered what a giant Dwemer built metallic dragon would have looked like, this is the mod for you.

skyrim immersive creatures dwarven dragon

The Skyrim modding community is one of the greatest accomplishments in gaming, and without it this game wouldn’t have stayed alive and burning with passion for so many years. There are a lot of other great mods that you can check out. Skyrim Special Edition mods are also plentiful and has a wonderful community.

Not sure about which CPU setup would be best for Skyrim? Our gaming benchmark summary guide can help you out.

Written by Upamanyu Acharya

I founded Fynestuff. I play games, write TV and tech articles and look towards putting Buzzfeed out of business someday. Reach me on Twitter:
@upa007

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