NPC Knockout Overhaul by Sevencardz and Noobzor
Skyrim » Combat
Added: 05/04/2014 - 12:37AM
Updated: 31/01/2015 - 08:10PM

1,372 Endorsements

3.2 Latest version

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Uploaded by sevencardz


Last updated at 20:10, 31 Jan 2015 Uploaded at 0:37, 5 Apr 2014


Big thanks to Brodual and EonBY for making the videos!


Ever wish you could just disable your opponent rather than killing him? Frustrated that your expert thief can't knockout a guard and take his weapons? Tired of having never ending fights with essential NPCs who just won't stay down? Looking for a more immersive way to keep your followers alive while still allowing them to get disabled in battle? Well friend, you've come to the right place.

NPC Knockout Overhaul (NKO) makes it possible to knockout almost any humanoid NPC in Skyrim, the DLCs, and any mod that adds humanoid NPCs to the game. An NPC can be knocked out by a sneak attack or by anything that does enough damage to incapacitate, but not actually kill the NPC. Once an NPC is knocked out, a variety of options become available including searching, grabbing, and reviving the NPC. NKO can also be configured to protect all unique NPCs from death by any source except the player.

Humanoid races that can be knocked out include: Breton, Imperial, Redguard, Nord, Altmer, Bosmer, Dunmer, Orsimer, Argonian, Khajiit, Dremora, Vampire, Lycanthrope, Hagraven. Any NPC who belongs to one of these races and who is not invulnerable or a ghost can be knocked out under certain conditions. Children can also be knocked out if Non-Essential Children is installed.


One way to knockout an NPC is to sneak up and clonk him in the back of the head with a mace or bash him with a shield. This is known as a stealth knockout. This feature allows you to disable unsuspecting enemies, neutralize pesky guards, as well as kidnap and/or rob people. You can also use a sneak attack with your fist to knockout an NPC, but that won't work if your target is wearing a helmet - a limitation which is lifted if you have the Fists of Steel perk and you wear heavy gauntlets.

An NPC suffers a stealth knockout when hit by...

  • A sneak attack from a mace.
  • A sneak attack from a shield bash or weapon bash.
  • A sneak attack from a punch (ineffective if the NPC is wearing a helmet).


Another way to knockout an NPC is to do enough damage to make him lose consciousness or go into shock. This is known as a damage knockout. This feature allows you to disable enemies in combat without having to kill them, even if they are flagged as essential or protected. NPCs will typically go into a 'bleedout' state at low health where they become injured and crawl on the ground. If the NPC takes any damage during bleedout, then it will result in a knockout. The NPC will also be knocked out automatically if that NPC remains bleeding out for longer than X seconds without recovering, where X is equal to the NPC's current character level.

An NPC suffers a damage knockout by...

  • Taking non-fatal damage while in the bleedout state.
  • Remaining in the bleedout state for too long, resulting in loss of consciousness.
  • Suffering from a stealth knockout and then taking a large amount of damage afterwards.
  • Getting beaten in a brawl (Brawl Bugs Patch required).


Knocking out an NPC allows you to do a variety of things with the NPC's unconscious body including accessing the NPC's inventory, grabbing and moving the body, reviving the NPC from knockout, killing the NPC, feeding on the NPC, etc.

Once an NPC is knocked out, you can...

  • Search and/or disarm the NPC without being charged with stealing.
  • Grab the body and move it or toss it into a river, off a cliff, into a fire, etc.
  • Revive the NPC with any non-hostile spell or potion, such as healing hands or a stamina potion.
  • Kill the NPC if the NPC is not flagged as essential or protected.
  • Have a snack if you're a hungry vampire with Better Vampires.
  • Rip out the NPC's heart with Heart Breaker.


NKO can be configured to add the protected flag all unique NPCs by choosing the option in the MCM. This will protect all unique NPCs from death by any source except the player and the player's allies, provided those NPCs are not already protected, essential, invulnerable, ghosts, or meant to die in a quest. This feature is scripted and will apply to all humanoid, vampire, and non-essential child NPCs. The advantage to scripted protection is that it is automatically compatible with any mod which adds unique NPCs to the game. This includes the big boys like Interesting NPCs and Inconsequential NPCs. This allows unique NPCs to join you during bandit raids, vampire attacks, and dragon sieges. Rather than dying, they will simply get knocked out, get revived, get knocked out again, and so on. As the player, you and your allies can still kill protected NPCs, so avoid engaging in any unintentional friendly fire. You also have the option to exclude your followers from damage knockouts completely.

Certain NPCs are excluded from protection because they are meant to die in quests. Please see the Unique NPCs with Scripted Deaths for NKO spreadsheet for a list of NPCs who are always excluded from protection. I also recommend NPCs Protected Redux by Blattgeist for a more comprehensive solution with more features.


NPCs will eventually revive from being knocked out after a period of time, but any healing spell or non-hostile spell will revive an NPC from knockout immediately, provided the NPC has restored an adequate amount of health. The percentage of health needed to revive a knocked out NPC is configurable via MCM. Potions can also be used to revive NPCs from knockout. Simply activate the NPC, choose the 'Search' option, and give away any potion you have. The potion will be used immediately and the NPC will regain conciousness if the NPC has enough health. NKO can also be configured to prevent NPCs from reviving from knockout for any reason until combat is over and/or to enforce lethal consequences for NPCs who are knocked out from damage, but are left untreated.

When an NPC revives from knockout, that NPC will look for someone to blame, so he or she sends out an assault alarm (Help! I'm being attacked! or Last mistake!). If you're nearby and you did it and you get spotted, then you get slapped with a bounty and probably assaulted. However, if you stay out of sight until the NPC stops looking for the culprit, or if you leave the area for a while, then you're off the hook. Also, if you knockout an NPC with relationship status of friend or better (like a follower), then no assault alarm is triggered upon revival.


How long knockouts last and how lethal they are depends on how you have NKO configured using the Mod Configuration Menu (MCM). By default, stealth knockouts last for 15 in-game minutes to 1 in-game hour and damage knockouts last for 1 to 2 in-game hours. You can also turn off stealth or damage knockouts entirely by setting the corresponding time intervals to 0. By default, activating an NPC who is knocked out will open a menu which provides the options to search, grab, and/or revive the NPC. The action performed when activating an NPC can also be changed in the MCM and a separate action can be assigned to sneaking vs standing activation. The various actions are as follows:

  • No Action - Activation does nothing. This allows for other mods to use the activation like Better Vampires.
  • Options Menu - Activation opens a menu with the search, grab, and revive options.
  • Search - Activation opens the NPC's inventory.
  • Grab - Activation prepares your character to grab the NPC with your left hand.
  • Revive - Activation attempts to revive the NPC, which is only successful if the NPC has enough health.


NPC Knockout Overhaul comes with its own installation script and requires the following unless otherwise noted:

Before uninstalling or upgrading, make sure all NPCs have recovered from knockout and then save the game and then uninstall the mod. My users report that you will also need to use a script cleaner of sorts to get rid of any remaining scripts baked into your save, but that could cause more harm than good if you don't know what you're doing, so I would only recommend that for advanced users. The simplest solution is to start a new game or leave the current version installed until you do start a new game and then install the newest version at that time.

I also highly recommend the following tools for modding Skyrim in general:
Mod Organizer because it's freaking awesome.
LOOT to get your mods loaded in the right order.
TES5Edit to clean and merge mods.
Skyrim Startup Memory Editor for general stability.


NKO is configurable via a Mod Configuration Menu (MCM), originally provided by noobzor who volunteered to make it for us! A scholar and a gentleman, that noobz. Note: You can also change any configuration option for NKO by changing the value of the global variable via the console.

NKO can be pre-configured by editing the NPC Knockout Overhaul.ini file. Initialization will only happen once per save game when the mod is first loaded, after which you are free to change and experiment with the settings via the MCM. Once you have found your preferred settings, you can turn on debugging and copy the INI configuration String from the Papyrus log and paste it into your NPC Knockout Overhaul.ini so the mod will automatically load your preferred settings when starting a new game.


By design, NKO doesn't conflict with much of anything and is generally compatible with most mods. The only exceptions being mods that deal with NPC bleedout, such as yield mods. The few vanilla records that NKO does overwrite are as follows:

fBleedoutRate=15 -> 86400
fEssentialDeathTime=20 -> 86400
fEssentialDownCombatHealthRegenMult=0.75 -> 0
fEssentialHealthPercentReGain=0.3 -> 0
fEssentialNonCombatHealRateBonus=5 -> 0
DialogueGeneric - added unconscious and paralysed conditions
DialogueGenericUniqueVoices - added unconscious and paralysed conditions
WICastMagicNonHostileSpell01 - added unconscious and paralysed conditions

Some NPCs do not trigger a bleedout state in vanilla and so these NPCs are immune to damage knockouts by default.
Bandits outside of Whiteriver Watch: 812fd, 80b81, 81329


Q: One of my NPCs is permanently knocked out and won't revive! What do I do?

A: Open the console (tilde [~] key), click on the NPC, and enter the following commands:

forceav paralysis 0
setunconscious 0

If that still fails, try command: recycleactor


1. Turn on Papyrus trace logging in your Skyrim.ini file:


2. Turn on DebugKO in the MCM or open the console and type -> set debugko to 1

3. Confirm that you can recreate the issue with a given NPC or NPCs. If you can not make the problem happen consistently, then the problem is not caused by NKO. Most likely a mod conflict, load order problem, or corrupted save game.

4. Confirm that you can recreate the issue after starting a brand new game with only minimal mods. I highly recommend using Mod Organizer to do this. It will allow you to quickly and easily setup a profile with only a select few mods and start a game completely separately from your other save games so that you can test things out in isolation like a proper modder.

5. Provide my team with as much information as you can about the NPC(s) in question: name, ID, mod, quest, location, papyrus logs, load order, what seems to cause the issue, and any other relevant information you can think of. More is better here. Use or a similar service to post large text such as papyrus logs or load orders so as not to clutter the forum.


NKO was originally designed with the intention that it would not require an ESP and that it would make only minimal changes to the game while acceptably achieving its goal. Although the minimalistic philosophy still applies, in order to keep said philosophy, an ESP is now required to support certain key features, improve efficiency, and fix bugs. I will consider requests to add features or mod compatibility changes that fall within the scope of this mod and which complement the overall goal in some way.


Some mods just seem fun, others add something novel, and then there are mods like this. Mods that notice an irritating or broken aspect of the game and take it for a long drive out to the woods, push it out of the car, and then release a pack of snarling wolves on top of that. - Peccadillo

I absolutely love this mod. I decided to take on some strangers at the risk of getting a bounty. However, I noticed some of them, during the fight, fell unconscious rather then died. So I piled the bodies up and burned them, just to make sure they were dead. Morbid stuff. - Thingamajig

I dropped a bunch of things on the floor in the Sleeping Giant Inn in Riverwood, including some armor. Suddenly, several NPCs run over, and start arguing over who is going to take it. "I'll take that." "Not if I have anything to say about it." "I'd like to see you try!" Before long, a brawl ensues, that eventually sucks in almost every NPC in the building, and when the dust settles, the only ones left standing are Delphine and me... and a pile of knocked out fools. - noobzor

I love this mod. Love it love it love it. Probably more than would be considered healthy by members of the psychiatric profession. - TwilightStar

I am eternally thankful for your efforts. - crisandleon


I highly recommend these great mods to complete your Skyrim combat experience:

Combat Evolved by CrushBoss
Revenge of the Enemies by MyEvergreenHometown
High Level Enemies by Dalquist
VioLens - A Killmove Mod by Reko
NPC Smarter Water AI by John Jarvis
Follower Trap Safety by Alek
Faster Get Up Stand Up Animation by DarkAngel13
NPCs Protected Redux by Blattgeist (disable protect uniques in NKO)
Non-Essential Children by The Team Mystery
Better Vampires by Brehanin
Cerwiden Smart Healer Companion by Mujuro
Interesting NPCs by Kris Takahashi
Inconsequential NPCs by Ripple
Sneak Tools by Borgut1337 (disable knockout feature in Sneak Tools)
Death Alternative - Your Money or Your Life by BralorMarr (disable follower tracking in DAYMOYL)
Requiem by Xarrian and Ogerboss (disable steadfast enemies in Requiem)


noobzor for creating NKO's Mod Configuration Menu.
btbg for Telekinesis can grab and throw people.
ColonelCorn for Werewolf Bleedout Fix.
Jaxonz for the Jaxonz Console Plugin.
Brodual and EonBY for making the mod videos.
Blattgeist for researching which unique NPCs should not be protected.
kryptopyr, Seb263, fireundubh, tonycubed2 and others for helping me learn and improve the mod.
The SKSE team for providing more functionality to mod Skyrim with.
The SkyUI team for providing the MCM framework and SkyUILib.
The Nexus for hosting the mod and supporting the community.
The Nexus community for testing the mod and suggesting interesting ideas.
Bethesda Softworks for creating Skyrim and allowing us to mod it.