Current version: 2/24/2021 184.108.40.206 Beta 5
Welcome to Living Skyrim! Living Skyrim is, has been, and will continue to be about one thing: breathing life into Skyrim. When playing vanilla Skyrim, there are times when you’ll find nothing to do, nowhere to go, and no one to interact with. Living Skyrim seeks to correct this in every possible way. Within this modlist, you’ll find a semi-lore friendly approach to adding an astounding amount of NPCs, quests, dungeons, followers, and more. It is uncommon to go more than 5 minutes without coming across something, be it an NPC to fight, a new questline, or any number of other points of interest. Content alone isn’t enough, though. You’ll also find a varied selection of enhanced gameplay mechanics ranging from being able to select a class and specialization for your character, expanded perk trees, all the way up to dozens of new spells, melee combat mechanics, and more. Normally, when the mechanics have been overhauled this thoroughly, you’ll find a significant amount of tedium - Living Skyrim seeks to keep the fluid, ever-forward direction of Skyrim’s gameplay. You’ll find no mods that require you to stop and manage status bars, systems, or anything else. Living Skyrim isn’t meant to slow the pace of Skyrim to a crawl by forcing you to stop and camp, manage needs, or other such similar systems.
That said, Living Skyrim is home to a suite of mods that allow you to create and roleplay characters of great depth - you’ll find more traditional RPG elements such as picking a class for your character, assigning attribute points, a backstory, a deity to worship, and more. If you’ve played Dungeons & Dragons or similar games, this all may sound familiar to you. Add in the wealth of character customization options allowing you to specify exactly what you want your character to look like and you have a fast-paced, roleplay-capable, and replayable modlist. Sharing your character’s story and adventure is highly encouraged.
All of this is on top of a high-quality graphics package intended for higher-end PCs. While the performance of Living Skyrim 3 specifically has been greatly improved over previous versions, you will still need a decently powerful computer to run the list. The ENB presets, weather, flora, fauna, textures, and meshes have all been hand-chosen to provide a consistent and gorgeous game look. For distant objects you’ll find xLODGen, DynDOLOD, TexGen, and even the Grass Cache have been created for you to ensure that even distant objects look as good as those up close.
I hope you enjoy Living Skyrim.
Oh, and before I forget: Living Skyrim exists exclusively as a Wabbajack installer. A manual guide is not planned and will not happen.
Before you get started installing or playing Living Skyrim, it’s important to note a few things:
|Important!: Blocks labeled important like this one will tell you when you need to pay extra attention to something.|
|WARNING: Warning blocks like this will warn you when you absolutely must not forget to do something. Failure to heed to warning blocks is cause for disaster.|
Living Skyrim v3.0.0 has been cut back severely from the performance hog it was in v2.0.0 and on. Textures range from 512x512 to 4K and everything in between. The following system is ForgottenGlory’s personal computer and is able to run the list at a constant 60FPS including ENB at 1440p monitor resolution.
In general, it is recommended that you have a processor with a clock speed of at least 3GHz and a graphics card with at least 6GB of VRAM. 4GB graphics cards may be able to run the list if you do not use ENB, but it is not guaranteed.
As for RAM, 16GB is the minimum recommended specification for running the list. 32GB is the ideal amount, and anything more than that is honestly overkill for this list.
If your PC is struggling to run Living Skyrim, see the Performance Optimizations section of this document for tips and tricks to receive better performance.
Before proceeding with installation, it’s important that your Steam and Skyrim Special Edition install are configured correctly.
First, make sure that your Steam library, and therefore the Skyrim Special Edition install folder, is not located within your Program Files or Program Files (x86) folders. Having the Steam library or your copy of Skyrim Special Edition in either of these folders is known to cause issues. Instructions on how to move your Steam library can be found elsewhere on the internet.
Next, you’ll need a clean copy of Skyrim Special Edition. To get your copy to this state, follow these steps:
|Protip: If you want to be absolutely certain you have uninstalled Skyrim completely, download and use Skyrim Shredder.|
Afterwards, you need to disable automatic updates for Skyrim to avoid a game update breaking your copy of the game and therefore the modlist.
Once the above steps are completed, launch Skyrim SE through Steam to create any INI or registry entries the game needs. Immediately exit the launcher once it has successfully selected a graphics preset for your hardware. The INIs it just created will be overwritten by the ones included in the modlist, but this is a necessary step for Wabbajack to recognize that you have the game installed.
Last, but certainly not least, make sure you have deleted or disabled any and all Creation Club content that may have downloaded with the game.
We’ll now setup the folders needed for the installation to proceed smoothly.
|WARNING: Failure to set up these folders properly will result in the install failing. For example, [install drive]\Wabbajack\Living Skyrim is incorrect.|
If you are updating your existing installation of Living Skyrim, skip to the Updating Living Skyrim section of this document.
It’s now time to begin the installation of the list. Follow these steps:
|Important!: Reading the Important Mods section of this document is not optional. You won't have any idea what's going on if you don't.|
Once complete, Wabbajack will indicate it is done with a green box that says “Installation complete”. You may exit Wabbajack after this appears.
Now, you must copy some files to your installation folder of Skyrim Special Edition. This is required for the list to function properly.
|WARNING: These files include SKSE and Engine Fixes Part 2, both of which are essential for the list to function correctly. Failure to copy these files will result in the list not working.|
Among other things, Wabbajack has installed a copy of Mod Organizer 2 for you. This copy of Mod Organizer 2 is specific to Living Skyrim and will not affect any other modlists you have installed.
There are two mods that can be optionally enabled, depending on your preferences and computer configuration.
The first is Complete Widescreen Fix. This should only be enabled if you are using a 21:9 monitor at 2560x1080 resolution or higher.
The second is QuickLoot, which adds a Fallout 4 style loot menu to bodies, containers, etc. This mod provides a significant quality of life improvement to looting, however it can cause issues with mods that run scripts upon looting certain objects. Enable it, or don’t, it’s entirely up to your personal preference. If you do enable it, it’s recommended that you also enable the retexture for it to match the rest of the Skyrim UI.
Lastly, Gamepad++ is included if you plan on playing the list with a controller. Reading the mod page for this mod is not optional if you’re going to use it.
ENB is not required to run Living Skyrim, however, it is intended to be used with it and highly recommended. Weaker computers should opt to skip ENB or use Reshade. Support is not provided for Reshade.
The following ENB presets are known to look great when playing Living Skyrim: Amon ENB Reborn, Silent Horizons, Rudy’s, and Re-Engaged. However, you can and should experiment to find the best ENB for you both in terms of looks and performance. Not all ENB presets are created equal, and deciding which one to use is a highly subjective process.
If you wish to use ENB, follow these steps:
[install drive]\Steam\steamapps\common\Skyrim Special Edition)
|Important!: Make sure your chosen ENB preset is compatible with Obsidian Weathers!|
|Important!: You should not need to download any additional files other than the preset. Things like ENB Helper and Particle Patch are already included!|
If you are updating Living Skyrim, the process is very similar to installing the list. Before you update, you should at a minimum backup your save files. Updating may delete any saves that are present. Additionally, make sure you are using the latest version of Wabbajack (it should automatically update itself when you launch the program).
To actually launch and then play Living Skyrim, follow these steps:
|WARNING: Loading a save from another modlist or from before you installed Living Skyrim will corrupt that save, do not do this.|
For the Beta, some MCM settings have been pre-set for you. See this document to set the remaining MCMs that are required for LS3 to function correctly: Click Here
If you’re coming from a previous version of Living Skyrim (1.x.x or 2.x.x), throw out everything you thought you knew. If you’re new to Living Skyrim, welcome! It’s gonna be a bumpy ride - at first.
Living Skyrim includes a number of mods that increase the population of both creatures and characters in the world. The first and most important one is Populated Skyrim Hell Edition This mod features a grand number of new NPCs in every location you visit. It has an option for 50% less NPCs which is turned on by default, you can disable this option in the mod’s MCM if your PC can handle it or you want an extra challenge.
Next is OBIS, which adds a ton of mid to high-level bandits to the world. In general this covers most of the overworld locations.
Organic Factions adds groups of NPCs that dynamically expand, recruit, and find new leaders. They will spread to conquer new territory and if left unchecked can take over entire holds. Keep an eye on the notifications for this mod, as it will keep you up to date on who is in control of what regions. You can also stumble across battles between factions if their territories overlap.
What does this mean? Well, to put it simply, there are a lot of NPCs to find and interact with now. Silent Moons Camp for example now has somewhere in the range of 30 enemies to fight. It is impossible to go more than 5 minutes without coming across an NPC of some kind be it bandits, a patrol, or an animal. Getting a follower or two (or four) is highly encouraged. You will have to revisit some dungeons once you are stronger or have more followers. The Take Notes mod is included to chronicle your adventure and also to help you remember what places you need to revisit.
Very few quests are untouched by Living Skyrim. Whether it’s a location revamp like Bleak Falls Barrow Revisited, or a quest rewrite like Finding Helgi and Laelette, it’s unlikely you’ll play most quests the same as you would in vanilla. This isn’t even to mention all of the new quests added by Living Skyrim. See below for a complete list of quest-related changes and the new quests added by this list.
|Quest Changes||New Quests||New Lands|
It would take a tome to cover every single mod here, but there are a few to be aware of in particular: Not So Fast - Main Quest, Not So Fast - Mage Guild, Timing is Everything, and Legacy of the Dragonborn. The first two introduce breaks in the main storyline of Skyrim and the Mage’s Guild questline, giving you time to go do other things while waiting for those to progress. You’ll need these breaks as there’s a significant difficulty spike between Bleak Falls Barrow and your first dragon fight as well as between the First Lessons quest and the expedition to Saarthal. Timing is Everything delays the DLCs (Dragonborn and Dawnguard, specifically) and various other quests until you are strong enough to take them on.
Legacy of the Dragonborn of course requires no introduction, but if you’re somehow unaware, it adds a museum in Solitude that allows you to proudly display the various items you’ll find in Skyrim. It has a home for almost every unique item (and many non-unique items) as well as introducing its own questline, a new guild you can be the leader of, and its own player home. While Legacy of the Dragonborn is not a focus of Living Skyrim, every applicable patch has been included as well as The Curator’s Companion so you can easily identify items that go in the museum and you can reasonably expect to have a home for any and all items you come across. If collecting and hoarding items is your thing, Legacy of the Dragonborn is for you.
Smart Cast has supplanted Sustained Magic in Living Skyrim 3 for a multitude of reasons, the primary being that it works with every other magic mod out of the box. With Smart Cast you can set up specific rules and conditions under which spells will be cast for you - assuming you have the magicka to cast them. It also lets you combine spells into a single cast, again, assuming you have the magicka to cast them both at the same time. This mod has quite a few features available, reading its mod page is highly recommended.
Spell Tutor completely changes how your character learns new spells. Instead of “eating” the book and learning the spell, you now have to spend time studying the spell to learn it. The amount of time it takes to learn new spells is completely configurable through this mod’s MCM menu, so feel free to tweak it to your liking. It also places a restriction on how high your skill needs to be before you can even attempt to learn more powerful spells. This mod’s inclusion is intended to help balance magic as the combination of magic mods included in Living Skyrim make magic significantly stronger.
Mysticism, Forgotten Magic, Tomebound, Triumvirate, and Elemental Destruction Magic make up the mods adding new spells to Living Skyrim. Between all of these and the additional options found below, it is possible to have multiple mage playthroughs and never do the same build twice.
Thunderchild, Summermyst, and Wintersun, and Mundustar are all included to make magic as diverse as possible with a huge breadth of options. Wintersun covers the religious aspect of the game, Summermyst covers enchantments, Thunderchild covers shouts, and Mundustar covers the various standing stones of the world.
The core combat package of Living Skyrim is Blade & Blunt, The Ultimate Dodge Mod, and VioLens. Assuming a fair fight this generally means that combat will be fast-paced and somewhat deadly. You won’t get one-shot unless you’re fighting an enemy that is significantly higher level than you (10+ levels above your own).
Archery Gameplay Overhaul completely revamps the archery system in Skyrim. You’ll find it now has much more realistic gameplay including arm fatigue, the ability to spread poisons across multiple arrows, stamina drain while the bowstring is pulled, and so on. This mod is highly configurable via its MCM menu, so feel free to tweak it to suit your playstyle.
Also for your consideration: SkyTEST, Deadly Dragons, and Arena - An Encounter Zone Overhaul. Enemies in general will be smarter and stronger across the board, and will dynamically update their levels to match or surpass you as appropriate.
Vokrii is the perk overhaul of choice for Living Skyrim. It is a lightweight but still complete overhaul of the perk trees allowing for an incredibly diverse amount of character customization and specialization. Experience is included to control the rate at which your skills and levels progress. By default, only clearing dungeons and completing quests will provide XP. The optional skills XP and kills XP modules should not be turned on - Living Skyrim isn’t set up to use these by default and can therefore cause issues.
There are two sides to the Skyrim economy: Loot, and trade. Loot is your primary source of income, and trade your primary source of expenditure. To address this, Living Skyrim seeks to overhaul both sides of this coin.
On the loot side, you’ll find that chests and enemies are fairly abundant loot thanks to GOLD, Dynamic Dungeon Loot, and Lock Related Loot. In general, chests have been overhauled such that no two chests are ever the same and contain a fantastic assortment of things you can find. You may also find powerful items significantly earlier than normal due to Dynamic Dungeon Loot. Normally this would be cause for concern, but you will also find that the amount of just randomly placed objects in the world has been significantly decreased by Iris. The removal of most of the items placed in the world shifts the focus of loot from picking up everything in a dungeon to seeking out and opening every chest you can find.
Opposite the loot side, we have the economy side of things. Naturally, because of the increased amount of loot you’ll find, the price of many items has been increased drastically. No longer will a set of steel armor cost just a couple hundred gold - instead, you’ll find it costs well over 1000 gold, and higher level armors only get even more expensive. The same is true of just about everything you can purchase from a vendor. This is due to the combination of Trade & Barter and Eve. Items will sell for less and cost more to buy across the board. This is necessary to make looting feel significant while also keeping some semblance of balance. In general it will be more difficult to obtain obscene amounts of gold, but it is still possible - that’s just how Skyrim works without going completely overboard modifying the loot/economy. Also, for the more kleptomania-inclined among you, you’ll find some helping hands in Khajiits Steal Too.
Living Skyrim includes a completely different UI and HUD experience than what you’re used to, probably even if you’ve played modded Skyrim before. Less Intrusive HUD II is 100% customizable through an in-game menu, allowing you to change the position, size, opacity, and anything else for any HUD element. EZ2C Dialogue Menu changes the dialogue menu to be easier to read and use and is also 100% configurable. See the mod description pages for EZ2C and Less Intrusive HUD II to see how to configure these to your liking. Immersive HUD keeps pesky HUD elements out of the way when you don’t need to see them. Lastly, Favorite Things greatly expands the SkyUI Favorites menu to make it larger, easier to use, and more customizable.
When creating your character, you’ll find there are a lot of options that are available to you. From hairs to tattoos to eyes and more, Living Skyrim has included a comprehensive suite of mods that allow you to tweak your character’s appearance to exactly what you want. And, if you’re struggling to figure out where to begin with character creation, a number of presets made by the Living Skyrim community have been included for you to pick from. In general, you’ll have more options for everything.
There is one particular mod you need to be aware of during character creation: High Poly Head. To have your character use High Poly Head, you’ll need to change the head part using the RaceMenu slider of the same name to option 3. Note that if you do use High Poly Head, you may need to do some manual sculpting using the RaceMenu sculpt feature to remove any clipping issues with eyebrows or beards.
Living Skyrim includes a fairly diverse selection of player homes that are suitable for a number of different character styles. See below for a complete listing.
Additionally, several of the quest mods included with Living Skyrim have player homes associated with them. Namely, Legacy of the Dragonborn, Helgen Reborn, and Project AHO. Make sure to investigate all of your options!
Nether’s Follower Framework has too many features to list, but what you need to know is this: You can have multiple followers, you can configure just about anything about them, and you’ll have a lot more flexibility with controlling your followers. You can also import followers added by mods to be able to use NFF’s features on them.
|Important!: Do NOT import standalone followers (Inigo, Lucien, etc.) into Nether's Follower Framework. It will 100% break them. The notable exceptions to this are Auri and any of the Interesting NPCs followers.|
While we have tried out best to eliminate as many bugs and inconsistencies as possible, it is unfortunately a near certainty that at some point you will come across something that could be considered a bug. Whether it’s duplicate objects overlapping, an imbalanced crafting recipe, or something else entirely, it’s important that you report bugs you find on the Living Skyrim 3 Github so that it can be fixed for everyone.
To report a bug, follow these steps:
After that, you’ve filed your bug report and the LS dev team will take a look at it as soon as possible.
|Important!: Don't forget to check back on your report periodically just in case we request more information from you.|
The short answer: wait for an update to the list. The long answer is you can try to install the missing mods manually if the files are still available on the Nexus, but again, do not ask for anyone to share old files. I work a full-time job in addition to several other personal projects, of which Living Skyrim is just one. If installs are failing, I will try to update as quickly as possible but sometimes it may be a couple of days before I can get to it.
Nexus Premium is limited to 2500 downloads in a given 24 hour timeframe. Usually this limit resets around 8PM Eastern Time. Wait for your limit to reset and you’ll be able to proceed. Usually this only occurs after attempting to download the list multiple times in a row or when attempting to download multiple lists in the same 24 hour window.
Yes, just close Wabbajack. When you start the installation process again it will pick up from where it left off.
Yes, but remember that if you need to update the list you will have to download all of the mods that have updated again.
You’ll need to download this manually and put it in your downloads folder. The mirror for this file can be found here: LS3 DynDOLOD 3.0.0
You’ll need to download this manually and put it in your downloads folder. The mirror for this file can be found here: LS3 SSELODGen 3.0.0
You’ll need to download this manually and put it in your downloads folder. The mirror for this file can be found here: LS3 Grass Cache
You’ll need to download this manually and put it in your downloads folder. The mirror for this file can be found here: INPCs Visual Overhaul
Read this modpage: Not So Fast - Main Quest
Read this modpage: Not So Fast - Mage Guild
This is a known issue with TUDM. Press the Dodge Style Toggle key (Your
\ | key, by default) and your character should resume moving.
Only if you are not changing your character’s gender or race. Changing gender/race will cause issues with powers and passive buffs your character has.
No. The choices you make are permanent. You can increase your attributes through various methods, refer to this modpage for more details: AVA
Check the SSE Display Tweaks INI file to make sure you have the resolution for your screen set correctly. You may also need to check BethINI or the Skyrim INI files to make sure they all match your screen’s resolution.
You’ll need to manually set the path for SKSE using the Edit Executables menu in MO2. Also make sure you have followed the Game Folder Files step of this readme.
I strongly advise against it. With as many mods as there are in the list, you’ll need a full breadth of keyboard keys to activate and use every feature. If you absolutely must play with a controller, please, for the love of all that is holy, use Gamepad++.
Make sure you’ve disabled all overlays for Skyrim. The most common ones are Discord, Steam, and nVidia. Other overlays from things like MSI Afterburner and f.lux have also been known to cause issues.
Technically yes, but also no. Movement Behavior Overhaul requires that the FPS of the game be capped at 60FPS. Display Tweaks SSE is included to allow higher refresh rates, but exceeding 60FPS is a recipe for disaster.
First, check to make sure you’ve followed the MCM instructions for XPMSE. This should fix any weirdness (sword on hip but being drawn from back, for example.). If you’ve just equipped a new weapon/shield, the animation to draw it may be weird for a few seconds but it will eventually fix itself. XPMSE and AllGUD need a few seconds to register the new weapon configuration and should fix themselves. This is not a bug, just be patient and the mods will figure it out eventually.
Yes, Complete Widescreen Fix is included by default. Just make sure to enable it in the left pane of MO2.
Yes, this is a known issue and is somewhat intended. Legacy of the Dragonborn’s museum counts spell tomes towards its display count, so rather than have players find/buy two copies of a spell tome (one to learn from and the other to store in the museum), I’ve opted to allow spell tomes to stay in your inventory. If you don’t like having the temptation of “cheating” and don’t mind having to hunt down a second copy of the book, you can always enable “Destroy Spell Tomes” in the Immersive Spell Learning MCM.
It’s being modified by EZ2C Dialogue Menu. Check that mod’s page for details of how to configure it if it’s not to your liking.
By default, Living Skyrim has every character be never nude. Underwear is worn by all NPCs and the player character and cannot be unequipped. Support is not provided for making the list Nude.
Many Skyrim modders ask the question: “Can I add mods to Living Skyrim?” (Or, “Can I remove mods from Living Skyrim?”, or, “Can I change the mods included with Living Skyrim?”)
If you are asking this question from a perspective of just installing the mod and expecting it to work, then the answer is a resounding, unequivocal NO.
The longer and slightly more technical answer is: “I don’t know, can you?”
To expand on this: nobody knows whether you can add a certain mod or not. Adding to, changing, or removing from the list isn’t a yes/no question. In 99.9% of cases, the answer is, “Yes, but…“
The “but…” part of that answer refers to the process of installing any mod and stems from a deeply rooted belief that mods are either compatible with each other, or they are not. Assuming that any mod is (or is not) compatible with any other mod is absurd. Every mod can be made to work with every other mod, the real questions you should be asking are: “How much work would it take to add this mod?” and “Do I have the knowledge, tools, and skills to add this mod?”
And unfortunately, the answer to those questions is a resounding, unequivocal, “It depends.” And it depends on the answers to these questions, which you, and only you, can answer: Does it require compatibility/consistency patching in xEdit? Does it require modifications in Creation Kit? Does it require that it be loaded in a certain place in the load order? Does it need additional mods (which also require answers to these questions) to function?
Lastly, I (ForgottenGlory) and the Living Skyrim development team do not support this in any way, shape, or form. If you’re going to add a mod to Living Skyrim, you need to be prepared to do it on your own. I understand this isn’t an ideal answer for people relatively new to modding, but you need to understand that hundreds of hours have been spent putting together Living Skyrim, making it as stable as possible with all the mods working in harmony. Adding a bunch of random mods on top of it and then expecting it to “just work” is naive at best.
“Can I add a mod to Living Skyrim?”
I don’t know, can you?
The Living Skyrim Performance Guide can be found here: Click Here
Questions will get added here as they are asked.
If you read through the entire readme, congratulations! You get a cookie. If you need any further help, feel free to reach out on the Wabbajack or Living Skyrim Discord Servers. Do not direct message ForgottenGlory, any of the Living Skyrim dev team, or any Wabbajack staff members for support. I (ForgottenGlory) speak for myself, but I do reserve the right to ignore any requests for support direct messaged to me and block you.