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I've spent hundreds of hours exploring Skyrim across countless saves and multiple editions, and not surprisingly I've been on dry land for most of it. Skyrim's ocean is murky and full of unfriendly fish. Of my many downloaded mods, only a couple affect water, and then only the surface, but Depths of Skyrim, uploaded last week, changes a great deal more.
Depths of Skyrim is an underwater overhaul that gives the game's damp areas the same sort of attention that's been lavished upon its mountains and forests. No more diving off the coast just to discover some weeds and a slaughterfish waiting to snap at you until you flee back to shore.
Modder TheBlackpixel has introduced new types of grass and kelp, more than 1,000 new fish, none of which have a penchant for slaughter, hidden treasure, whole forests of coral and, most importantly, a bunch of new horkers merrily swimming across the sea. Horkers, of course, are Skyrim's greatest and most majestic creatures. Don't go killing them for their tusks.
If you've got any other mods that spruce up the ocean and rivers, like the popular Realistic Water 2, Depths of Skyrim is compatible and should even enhance bodies of water added by other mods, too, though don't expect new fish or giant kelp. TheBlackpixel recorded a frame rate drop of just 1 fps, but your performance could vary.
If you're playing with Skyrim Special Edition, you'll need this version of the mod instead. It's otherwise exactly the same. In both, you'll have to pop into your Skyrim.ini file and change iMaxGrassTypesPerTexure to 7 or above if it isn't already, or the mod won't work.
I recently confessed to a friend that I never finished the DLC, despite the ridiculous amount of time I've spent in Skyrim, so my shame is tempting me back once again. This time, though, I'll be spending a lot more time swimming. If you've also got a hankering to return to the eight-year-old RPG, here are the best Skyrim mods.
Since January, once a week 83-year-old Shirley Curry has been cracking open a book and reading it to her audience of some 600,000 Youtube subscribers. Not just any books—the books inside Skyrim, which she's been playing as the Skyrim Grandma since 2015. There's a warm Mister Rogers quality to her voice as she begins each video with a "Good morning, grandkids." Except unlike Mister Rogers' gentle life lessons, these books have titles like "Of Crossed Daggers" or "Pension of the Ancestor Moth."
Still, they're soothing with Shirley Curry reads them, and that's the whole point.
"I started this series because everyone likes to hear me read so I thought, well, I can just sit and read the Skyrim books to them and see how they like it," Curry tells me over email. "So all my 'grandkids' were my inspiration. But I didn't want it to be too boring for them or for me, so I made a Grandma and pretend the neighborhood kids come to listen to a story time. I sit or stand in different places to change up the view."
In the latest video, embedded above, Curry stands on a deck overlooking a lake and takes some time at the beginning to compliment the day's lovely weather (in Skyrim). She points out how pretty a small island with a lone tree is, in the distance. Later, she'll chastise herself for not having met all her neighbors yet, and ask her NPC companion Inigo why he's not wearing any shoes. It is probably the sweetest and most pure six minutes and 23 seconds of internet you can experience today.
It's almost overwhelming to watch something this utterly, guilelessly nice in 2019. It does things to my heart. Is this… inner peace?
After reading last week's book, Watcher of Stones, Curry pauses for a moment, asks Inigo for his opinion on the book (he doesn't have one), then offers her take. In the story, a man spends his life seeking glory in hopes of being granted special powers from the Guardians' stones, but it never happens.
"I think that that man really had the whole thing wrong," she says. "All along, he was already empowered by his own abilities and his own strength. Or we could think about it another way. Every time he touched these stones they really did give him this power. He just didn't realize it... But I prefer to believe that he really did all these things on his own abilities, and using his own strength, and didn't realize how much he had actually changed his own life and accomplished within his own self. Do you feel that way, grandkids?"
Over email, Curry tells me that's part of the fun for her. "If I can sum up at the end with a moral to the story, or a question to make them consider and think about something in the story, then that's what I like."
Curry shot back a "lol" when I asked if she plans to read all 300-some books in Skyrim's world. That was never a goal, and she expects to get bored of the GrandmaShirl's Bookshelf series and move onto something new long before then. For each recording session she's traipsing all over the world, hunting down traders to buy new books or raiding caves or homes with Inigo to find ones she hasn't read.
"What makes this enjoyable for me is that it makes my viewers happy, and I enjoy the feedback I get from them," she says. "Especially when I hear 20 and 30 year olds tell me they saved it for bedtime and how nice it was to be read to at bedtime, and the memories it brought back to them and so on.
But, when I'm tired of it, they probably will be too, so I'll end it then. I'll dream up something new to take its place. :)"
Whatever that is, I'm sure it'll be lovely.
You might've heard of an ambitious Skyrim mod called Religion that completely changes the way you interact with the gods of Tamriel—it's one of the best mods for Skyrim. With the mod installed all your actions, from the crimes you commit to the armor you wear, affects the way individual gods view you, and they can either bless you or curse you as a result. The whole mod has just been overhauled for its version 3.0, adding religious visions and new gods called Ancient Spirits, as well as the 13 Constellations.
It's an incredibly deep system with lots of moving parts, and you can have multiple blessings—or curses—at the same time. All of the gods are looking for different things, and you'll get clues about their desires through visions. To receive visions, you'll first have to worship them at set points in the world, which increases their disposition towards you based on the amount of in-game time you spend worshiping them (don't worry, you can press T to wait if you want to rack up many hours at once).
Once you've worshiped them enough to receive a vision, you'll be able to ask them for guidance or for a boon. But you don't want to ask for a gift too early, because it might annoy some gods, causing them to curse you.
It sounds like it will reward exploration and investigation. You'll have to read books related to the gods to find out exactly what they want, and respond with your actions accordingly. Blessings gradually get more powerful as disposition increases, and some are specific to each god: if Julianos likes you enough they'll let you cast spells without using magicka, or if you worship the Daedric Lord Azura then you might gain invulnerability.
Displeasing the gods through your actions can also make you cursed. The Nine Divines, in general, won't like it if you commit crimes. If you wrong enough people, they might decrease your health, magicka and stamina regeneration for a period of time. Daedric curses are more imaginative. If you ask Malacath for help but they "they don't find you amusing enough", you'll receive a curse that means you're blamed for every crime committed in Skyrim.
I like that it's not completely transparent: you can tell a lot about what each god wants from the lengthy descriptions on the mod's Nexus page, but you'll still have to find out more if you want their blessings.
If you're interested, you can download the mod for Skyrim Special Edition here. The 3.0 version for regular Skyrim is here. It's still in beta, so expect some rough edges and some missing content—creator IronDusk33 is working hard to complete it all.
If you've got an itch for more adventures in Skyrim, you'll soon be able to delve into draugr-infested crypts and fight in the civil war on your table. The Elder Scrolls: Call to Arms is a tabletop miniature adaptation where you'll lead followers into dungeons and battles with diminutive heroes drawn from the RPG.
While Call to Arms is a skirmish wargame, with two groups of heroes and warriors trying to bash each other over the head, there's also PvE threats and narrative events promising to shake things up, a bit like fellow spin-off Fallout: Wasteland Wafare. Players can team up against the game's monsters, and the PvE system also means you can play solo.
A two-player starter set and reinforcement sets for two factions, the Stormcloaks and Imperial Army, will launch in the first wave, focusing on Skyrim's civil war. To lead them, you'll get Hadvar, Ralof, Yrsarald Thrice-Pierced, Marcurio, Mjoll the Lioness, Ulfric Stormcloak, Galmar Stone-Fist, General Tullius and the Dragonborn's long-suffering pal, Lydia. Speaking of the Dragonborn, you'll also be able to field one, but the miniature is sold separately.
While Skyrim's civil war is the setting of the first wave, more races and characters are already planned. Future waves will expand on the Skyrim base game, as well as delving into Oblivion, The Elder Scrolls Online and more.
Call to Arms is due out at the end of the year.
The team behind co-op mod Skyrim Together has received "multiple direct death threats" from members of its community, it has revealed.
In the mod's May report one modder, Yamashi, apologized for saying last month that the team "[doesn't] owe the community anything". The team said Yamashi's comments were "poorly written and a result of a lot of pressure and frustration"—but that pressure came partly from fans "harassing" them, with some going as far as to send death threats, they said.
"Since March a part of the community has been harassing Yamashi, even going so far as to send multiple direct death threats (all of which have been properly reported to the appropriate authorities)," they said. "At the same time many are not asking—but demanding—that we do certain things such as weekly updates, that we open source the mod, etc.
"We know that you are most likely trying to help, but this isn’t helping...our work on this is very irregular, with people maybe not being able to work on the mod for weeks, and then suddenly having full weeks to dedicate to the project. Yamashi’s comment was targeted at the minority of people who were aggressive and toxic, if you are not harassing or making demands, this comment does not apply to you."
The mod was effectively rebooted this month after a series of setbacks, including having to apologise for using code from the Skyrim Script Extender. In the May report, the team revealed that they plan to release a new build of the mod every day from now on, based off the latest code. These builds "might not work, and will definitely be buggy", but it gives fans a way to see the progress being made.
"We do not suggest trying to seriously play the mod like so right now, as this is just for players who are eager and feel they can put up with minor up to plenty of bugs and crashes," the team said.
The open beta currently has no release date.
Multiplayer mod Skyrim Together reached a big milestone in January, hitting closed beta after years in development. Since then there have been considerable setbacks, starting with the use of code from the Skyrim Script Extender mod without attribution. After this came to light, the beta quickly ended and work started on removing it. That was expected to be a big job, but according to one developer, the entire codebase has now been crapped.
On Reddit, Ijustwantsteamdosh gave a brief update, explaining that the "entire codebase" had been scrapped, but that the mod was still being worked on and a "new approach" to release was being considered. The overhaul is not a result of the SKSE code being removed, they clarified, but the team felt that it was a good time do a "restructure of class hierarchy and how things interact with each other".
Developer f13rce_hax provided more details. The team hasn't started from scratch, as most components can be copied from parts of the mod that worked. "It's not really scrapped, but rather a restructure," they said. And quite a lot of progress has been made; it's back to where it was during closed beta.
An official progress report in being worked on, too, with more information on the mod's development. It was looking good earlier in the year and was on track for an open beta, though that was before the overhaul. There's no word on the rescheduled open beta or another closed beta yet.
Tourism continues to be one of Skyrim's biggest industries, with people visiting the chilly province to enjoy its many towering mountains, primeval forests and dragons that look like wrestlers. The one downside of being a tourist is all that walking. Skyrim's big and you wouldn't want to miss anything by teleporting everywhere. PhysicsFish's SkyTrek mod has the solution.
SkyTrek is a new autopilot mod that lets you set a destination and automatically walk, ride or fly there. Just hop on your dragon or horse and you can enjoy the view while your mount does all the work. You can also open doors, so you won't get stuck when faced with a gate, and you can get into fights, so don't worry about getting murdered by the first wolf that crosses your path.
Your speed is customisable, within limits, so you can take a leisurely stroll to Whiterun or get your cardio done for the day by jogging up a mountain. It's possible to target NPCs and follow them, too, in case you're looking for company. You'll be able to follow them indoors, as well, so there's no escape.
If you want, you can even become an NPC yourself. The Life mode will make you behave like an NPC with its own schedule, letting you plonk yourself down in a tavern or somewhere else and take a break from the hardships of the road. You deserve it.
SkyTrek is thankfully compatible with several other mount mods, including Immersive Horses, Convenient Horses, Gypsy Eyes Caravan, Dragonkiller Cart and Audiobooks of Skyrim. The latter is to give you something to listen to while you're travelling to your destination.
It sounds perfect for roleplaying and making videos, or maybe you just fancy a wander. Despite Skyrim being nearly eight years old, I still find myself popping back into muck around with mods and do some sightseeing, even if it's somewhere I've visited a dozen times before.
Update: Some users were apparently having issues with logging into the website and/or redeeming the free Morrowind code. Those problems appear to have been resolved, and Bethesda has extended the free offer through the weekend.
The Elder Scrolls: Arena is 25 years old today, and to celebrate the big birthday Bethesda is giving away The Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind. Just pop over to bethesda.net, log in to the site (or sign up if you need to) and then—wait!—do not hit the "Redeem Now" button yet!
I know, that seems like the obvious thing to do but first you want to take note of, or perhaps even select and copy, the "TES25TH-MORROWIND" code, without the quotes. Now hit the redemption button, put the code into the field, click where you're told, and the game will be added to your account, accessible through the Bethesda launcher.
The previous Elder Scrolls games, Arena and Daggerfall, are also free (and have been for awhile now), but Morrowind is the one that put the series, and Bethesda, on the map. It's big, bold, and beautiful, unconstrained by the bug-ridden wonkery of the games that came before it or the comfortable conventions of the ones that followed, and it is free. Today only, though, so get on with it.
This is not the only thing Bethesda is doing to mark the 25th anniversary of The Elder Scrolls: There's also a free-play event coming this weekend to The Elder Scrolls Online, some anniversary loot in The Elder Scrolls Legends card game, and new in-game content for The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim.
Update: The Skyrim Together team has used its March 2019 report to apologise for using code from the Skyrim Script Extender, clarify how it happened and detail what it's done to fix the issue. It's an unusually comprehensive, formal apology that's been split up into different sections. It could be given as a presentation. There are probably slides.
Like the original developer response on March 1, this one confirms that SKSE was used previously, but after a falling out between the teams, it was removed. Some of the code could have remained, however, and further investigation by the Skyrim Together team, along with assistance from SKSE's creator, showed that it was using a loader similar to an older version of the SKSE loader, which the team claims was grandfathered in from the Skyrim Online mod.
"There is no excuse as to why this code has remained in the codebase for this long and was distributed without credit or acknowledgement," the apology reads. "Going forward we will do our utmost best to respect the SKSE team and their work and ensure the license request is maintained in the long run."
All "dependencies, associated content or related code" have been removed from Skyrim Together, the report claims, and SKSE's creator has been invited to confirm this when next update is ready.
Original story: The Skyrim Together mod, which allows up to eight players to play Skyrim in co-op mode, has been in the works for years, and it recently inched a bit closer to the finish line with a playable closed beta. This week, however, drama erupted as the developers of Skyrim Script Extender accused the makers of Skyrim Together of using SKSE code without permission or attribution.
"Skyrim Together is stealing [Skyrim Script Extender] code, uncredited, without permission, with an explicit term in the license restricting one of the authors from having anything to do with the code," a SKSE developer posted on Reddit. "The proof is pretty clear when you look at the loader and dll in a disassembler. They're using a hacked-up version of 1.7.3 classic presumably with some preprocessor macros to switch structure types around as needed between the x64 and x86 versions."
The SKSE developer also points to a Reddit message from a Skyrim Together dev a year ago, which states: "We aren't using SKSE at all but the mod will be able to be loaded by SKSE's loader."
The Skyrim Script Extender , if you're not familiar with it, is an important and highly regarded mod in the Skyrim modding community as it expands Skyrim's scripting capabilities and allows for more complexity from other Skyrim mods that use the SKSE.
A Skyrim Together developer posted a response yesterday, admitting that SKSE code was in fact used earlier in Skyrim Together's development, and that there may be leftover code that wasn't entirely removed:
"We have had disagreements with the SKSE folks in the past, I have tried to communicate with them but they have never replied, so we stopped using their code. There might be some leftover code from them in there that was overlooked when we removed it, it isn't as simple as just deleting a folder, mainly our fault because we rushed some parts of the code. Anyway we are going to make sure to remove what might have slipped through the cracks for the next patch."
Mod controversies get murkier and more heated when there's money involved, and there's quite a bit of money involved in Skyrim Together. The Skyrim Together team has a Patreon, and the closed beta of Skyrim Together required a contribution of at least $1 to access it. A buck to beta test a mod doesn't sound unreasonable—any number of modders have Patreons and some, like GTA modder JulioNIB, give supporters early access to the mods they create.
The Skyrim Together Patreon, however, is massive, with over 28,000 subscribers contributing over $33,000 a month for the Skyrim Together modders. This leads some in the community to consider it a 'paid mod.' It's not entirely inaccurate: the only way to get into the Skyrim Together closed beta was by subscribing for at least one dollar. But, as the Skyrim Together modders point out, the mod, when it is completed, will be free to use for everyone.
"If you don't think we deserve your money we are not forcing you at all, you are free not to use our mod while in closed beta or even when it's released," the modder posted. "I have been working on this for 8 years, and we are 10 people working on it right now, 35k after taxes for 10 people and years of work is less than minimum wage."
On the other hand, if Skyrim Together is indeed using code lifted without permission from SKSE, and then earning thousands of dollars per month, they'd be profiting from the work of the SKSE developers without permission or attribution.
I've contacted the developers of Skyrim Together and the Skyrim Script Extender for any comments they'd like to give beyond what has been posted publicly, and will update this article if I receive a reply.
Remember Mjoll the Lioness? If you spent much time in Riften, you'll have heard her railing against the Thieves Guild and the corrupt Black-Briar family, and you might have found out she lost a magic sword called Grimsever, leading to a sidequest to recover it from a dwemer ruin.
Kirie Cosplay, who estimates she spent two months of her spare time working on the armor, wig, and makeup for her impressive Mjoll the Lioness outfit, didn't have a convenient Dragonborn around to search for Grimsever and had to craft that herself as well.
"My Grimsever is all made from EVA foam," she explains. "I drew out all the detailing and used a Dremel tool to create the curves and ridges, and placing layers of foam where larger details were needed. The blade has been coated in a gloss and even with a glow in the dark coat!" As cool as the finished result looks, there's one downside to owning a glow-in-the-dark sword. "I keep it in a wardrobe so it doesn’t spook me too much at night," she says.
In a game where NPCs can sometimes blur together, Mjoll's a memorable standout, which explains why Kirie's still cosplaying her years after Skyrim's release. "Mjoll the Lioness is a unique character," she says. "She has strong features, while also having face markings which makes her appearance very appealing to me as I love to play with makeup."
Mjoll's practical armor, complete with fur lining, turned out to be a challenge not just to make but to hold together. "I think the hardest part of this costume was to create attachments for the armor pieces," Kirie says. "A few of them sit fine with just some strapping but I had to come up with ways for the hips and shoulders. The leather straps are slid up under the shoulder armour to meet the velcro pieces inside them. The curve along the top of the shoulder also has velcro to have it sitting just right."
Like the sword, the armor is mostly made from EVA foam, with some foam clay from Lumins Workshop. "I used contact adhesive for the foam pieces and super glue for all the tiny fiddly bits. It was fun to make the foam pieces look metal and rusted! Other pieces used fabric and fake fur. I dirtied up the fur as well to make it look not so shiny new."
That's a big part of the appeal of making a Skyrim-themed cosplay for Kirie. Being a Nord means getting to look like you've been through the wars, or at least knocked down by dwemer automatons a few times. "Making Skyrim cosplays is exciting because of how creative you can be," she says. "Almost every piece will need weathering or dirtying. How will you make this fabric look like it survives running through caves, snowstorms, even dragon fire? I would say never do a costume from this kind of environment and have it look like it's just come off the shop rack!"