Holds The City Overhaul by Galandil
Skyrim » Cities, Towns, Villages, and Hamlets
Added: 02/04/2016 - 02:16PM
Updated: 30/01/2017 - 04:33PM

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0.0.6 Latest version

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Uploaded by Galandil


Last updated at 16:33, 30 Jan 2017 Uploaded at 14:16, 2 Apr 2016

Holds is a city overhaul project which focuses on what I think are the weaknesses of Skyrim compared to the older Elder Scrolls titles. The mod expands upon the cities of Skyrim and adds more settlements, architecture, outfits, books and named characters with their own backgrounds, homes and daily routines while ensuring they feel natural and realistic.
Falkreath, Winterhold, and Dawnstar have been rebuilt from scratch with their own unique designs. The mod also adds a bundle of new settlements like Amber Guard and Black Moor. Most of these new settlements have been placed far out of the way and hidden from view to not ruin the expansive wilderness theme of the game. The aim of all of this is to create a more memorable and diverse experience, making the cities actually feel like cities hopefully without ruining the natural and realistic design of the vanilla game.
This is not a botanical garden mod, nor is it a beautification mod. Holds aims to stay as lore-friendly as possible and at the same time expand on the backgrounds and stories for its locations.
I started working on this project late November 2012 and have devoted averagely two hours a day to the creation kit. One of the reasons I felt this project was necessary was the announcement of various modding projects adding new content to the game. The problem, for me was how expansive their cities looked compared to the cities in Skyrim. Coming into Skyrim from Oblivion I was expecting there to be a 'Better Cities' mod available early on, but there wasn't and I missed the features the Oblivion City Overhaul brought to the game.
The mod adds a variety of new books written by myself and Alfredasl which attempts to flesh out the land and history of Skyrim. They are spread to three locations: the Book Store in Falkreath, the Haafingar Library in Solitude and The Palace of Kings Library in Windhelm.
Any criticism, questions, and help will be greatly appreciated, even the criticism. However I will have to ask that you make constructive criticism; your opinion does matter and could very well inspire me to make changes, however I have designed this project with myself in mind.


Installation and Requirements

Make sure that you have a stable and performance friendly game.

It is higly recommended to install ENBoost. Holds uses a lot of memory and might crash unless ENBoost is installed.
Check out the STEP guide on how to install ENBoost.

in SKSE.ini to make sure you don't get infinite loading screen.

I advice installing the mod manually. I have no experience with the mod installer tools and therefor I cannot be much help, and there have been reported many problems from mod users when installing with these tools. What is important is that Holds is loaded last, the only thing that should be loaded after Holds.esp should be its compatibility patches and alternative performance patches. So an example:


Do let me know if your having any problems :)

Naruto2698 has found a possible fix for those who are experiencing crashes and memory related problems (Experimental):

Here's something that can help people finally get rid of their crashes while using skse and sheson memory patch!

add to your description for people to create a shortcut, and right click it to properties to add -forcesteamloader to the path

so it looks like this:
"C/users/blah/desktop/skse_loader.exe" -forcesteamloader

"I just did this and I'm roaming around solitude crash free upon npc load! and my cells load quicker than before!"

Install the meshes and textures from 'Winter Is Coming - Cloaks' by Nivea. You do not need the esp, but you do need the meshes and textures. Give her an endorsement while you are at it.

Now install Holds into your data folder. Make sure you have compatibility for the mods you suspect would conflict with Holds, see the map on the description page if your unsure, the red marked area's are altered by the mod. Make sure that Holds is at the very bottom of your load order, and that your compatibility patches are beneath the Holds.esp. Now activate Holds and whatever compatibility patches you choose to use in your load order and launch the game. Any problems you encounter can be discussed here on the mod discussion panel, or reported in the bug report panel.

It is advisable to start a new game after installing Holds to avoid annoyances such as the game remembering a bed at a certain location which leaves it stuck in a wall or- something because Holds changes the location. 

Hope you enjoy! :)

How to use with Dyndolod

You will need to use the complete or modular version without the compatibility patches activated when creating the LOD. Once that's done you can safely activate the compatibility patches, and play. :)

Crash in Solitude

If your having crash issues near Solitude, here is the likely cause: Immersive Creatures. I am not entirely sure why it happens, but by disabling Immersive Creatures the crash ceased completely. Anywhere else the two mods work fine together, but just near Solitude it does not. I will look into this, but consider the Immersive Creatures patch incapable of resolving this issue. I would advice people who wish to use Immersive Creatures alongside Holds to play with modular, and leave Solitude deactivated for now, or to make the choice on whether to use Holds or Immersive Creatures. Will contact mod author and talk to him about it and see if we can find a solution.

Crash Dawnstar / Falkreath due to Dragon Combat

Dragon combat that occurs within these city spaces have an odd habit of causing a CTD, either just as the Dragon appears, or sometime later. It also appears to be random which makes me believe that its caused by memory and engine, and not a problem with the mod itself. When a dragon appears it will prompt every NPC within a certain range to react, Holds adding a lot of people may be too much for it to take. I thought at first this was caused by the MHDT, but that's not the case. I managed to fight first 1, and then 3 at once later dragons in Falkreath with no crash, but I also fought 1 dragon in Dawnstar and crash would occur randomly. I will see about speaking with the author of Deadly Dragons and see if he can share his knowledge with me, and maybe see if he can help me with a patch. In his mod he uses a MCM system which allows you to have 'Safe-Zones' which means cities wont be attacked by dragons. Maybe as a temporary workaround we can see about doing this until we can find a proper fix for it. Otherwise, if I'm right and its engine related, this might very well be solved in the Skyrim Remaster where we will get a much more capable engine.


Arissa's compatibility patch has a small issue where she will either leave the inn when you first meet her and will have ninjaed off to the southern city gate, or she will not leave the inn. I have tried to resolve this, something is not clicking, but if you run out the southern city gate and down the road to where the road splits off between three directions and run around the grassy area on your right as you head from Falkreath, you will prompt the 'Event' which progresses Arissa and will from here act normally. The area is just between the road from Falkreath and the road on your right, so keep near both roads.

Current locations affected by Holds

What to expect

Memorable cities and new settlements, named individual characters with daily routines and background stories. New shops and inn's, new designs and new books, new outfits, and new locations and secrets to explore and more content in the future, as well as focusing on the other weaknesses that Skyrim has compared to the other games.

Future Plans

Implementing modular versions of the mod, separating cities and settlements for people who only wish to use parts of the mod, and perhaps combine them with other City Overhaul Projects.

Adding more compatibility patches.

Implementing Dialogues for the characters.

Adding Quests which will be added step-by-step as I complete them.

Implementing new Guilds, as well as working on continuations/conclusions to the vanilla guilds which I felt was left hanging on a poor note.

Adding more Outfits.

Implementing new systems such as Banking, alternative transportation with radiant events, and more.

Finishing and implementing area's that were not included in the current iteration.

Depending on the popularity of the mod I would consider adding more books, more locations, dungeons and more. I have enjoyed modding this project and I will gladly continue working on it for as long as people find my work enjoyable. 

There are many features implemented in Holds already implemented, artifacts to be found, vaults to be looted and secrets to be unlocked. I will at some point release a guide to all of this but for now I hope you will enjoy exploring on your own.


I would welcome any help with open arms. I will also support anyone who wishes to create patches/fixes/new content for Holds, provided they use my mod as a dependency.

Helping me get noticed, and perhaps volunteering yourself as a developer, writer or voice actor would be very appreciated!


Q: Do you intend to make this modular?
A: Yes! I do, but because of the deadline I did not have time to do so before release, expect it to be modular soon!

Q: I see purple textures on some of the outfits!
A: Your likely missing the meshes and textures of the 'Winter Is Coming - Cloaks' mod by Nivea.

Q: I have found a bug/problem! What do I do?
A: Report the bug in the bug panel. And I will see what I can do.

Q: This mod makes my frame-rate drop at 'X' location(s).
A: This can be fixed by:

1: Unchecking ObjectPostProcessing in your ENB, and lowering your ENB quality. Seriously don't have your game looking like you've lost your contact lenses, its not good for your eyes and not good for your performance.

2: Evaluating your choice of texture and meshes. This is purely subjective as I use as much 4k resolution textures as I can and have an average 57-60fps even in the heaviest area's (Falkreath, Solitude harbor). This depends completely on the quality of your computer and is something your going to have to figure out how to deal with on your own. Alternatively I could be persuaded to create a performance version of Holds.

Q: I crash instantly at 'X' location. What do I do?
A: Report it in the bug panel and make sure you include a list of your Skyrim Load-list, and I will see what I can do.

Q: Is 'X' compatible with Holds?
A: Check the compatibility list:

Q: Can you make 'X' compatible with Holds?
A: Sure, provided the mod author is okay with it. Ask away.

Q: Can I make a compatibility for Holds?
A: Yes you may. Do ask if you have any questions.

Q: I want to create a patch/fix/extra content for Holds, do I have your permission to do so?
A: Not only will I support you, but you do not need to ask me for permission. Provided you make your mod dependent on Holds and do not include any of the meshes, textures and scripts, or claim ownership of Holds.

Q: May I use your meshes and/or textures in my own mod?
A: Ask permission. I do not own everything in the mod, but even so I am comfortable making sure I know who makes use of my own content.

Q: May I re-upload your mod at another mod sharing website?
A: No. This mod is -Mine- and on the Nexus only. If I find out you've stolen this mod or uploaded it as part of some mod-pack then I will be very angry with you.

Q: I was wondering if I might share some idea's and perhaps things I want changed about Holds, where can I do so?
A: Either at a discussion forum, or in the comment section. I welcome new idea's :)

Q: Would Holds be interested in benefiting from my talents? As a voice actor/level designer/writer/quest and dialogue designer?
A: Yes, but I will need to see examples of your previous work.

Q: I've uninstalled your mod but I still have your LOD, how can I fix this?
A: Use LOD generator to overwrite the Holds LOD. It is very easy to use, follow the instructions.

Q: I don't like this mod. It is not for me.
A: I am sorry to hear that. Holds is a Project that I have created with myself in mind. I hope you find a City Overhaul that suits your preferences.

Q: I am having purple tree's, please help me!
A: Try deleting the "Trees" folder inside Data/Meshes/Landscape. The old assets accidentally included a few SFO trees which is causing the issue. And Nexus refuse to update to the new version properly even after re-uploading the files.

Q: I am having problems downloading the assets/Meshes, textures and scripts.
A: For some reason some are, some aren't. I am trying to fix this, if you experience this problem then post it in the comment section so I know the problem persists. I am trying to find ways to fix it!


First and foremost: A special thanks to Breti, the creator of the Rochester mod, for providing me not only with 99% of the resources used, but also for his help with the Solitude resource collisions. Without him, there'd be no project. Thank You.

Alfredasl deserves recognition for writing the books for Holds with me.

I would also like to give a special thanks to Drakulux who created the mod which he has allowed me to implement into Holds. I have implemented it from the ground up, with some minor changes. But I still think Drakulux deserves recognition for his hard work!

Kalzim7878 also deserves recognition for allowing me to mimic parts of the Solitude harbor to his mod . I have of course implemented it from the ground up, with rather large changes, Kalzim7878 nice harbor outlay was definitely inspirational, thank you!

I also believe Rilax deserves a mention. He has at the time of this writing not released the work I was inspired from. He did however upload a couple of screenshots from the Riften Waterfront that inspired me to make similar changes. He deserves recognition for his hard work!

Lastly a man called Reindeer51 deserves a big thank you for his understanding and permission. Reindeer51 is the author of the "SNOW CITY - Windhelm Unleashed" mod:  was kind enough to grant me permission to make a similiar design in my expansion of the city to the west. Thank you!

If you've granted me permission, and don't find your credits here, please do contact me, however there have been many permissions granted, and I have yet to make use of all of it. However do know that your content is well appreciated all the same, and will likely be used in the mod eventually. When it is used, the credits due will of course be granted.









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