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About this mod

A minimalist, lore-friendly mod that tweaks the way the vanilla game handles the balancing of races and birthsigns, especially when it comes to pure caster characters.

Permissions and credits
Announcement: I've added a Recommended Mods and Installation section!

General Description:

I find that the way the vanilla game handles racials and birthsigns, especially  when it comes to the magical arts to be, well... broken. The Breton are infamous for their staggering 50% resistance to all outside magical effects while, comparatively to Breton, The Altmer's handling of weaknesses to the elements next to its fortify magicka bonus is a little silly. This isn't even mentioning the imbalance of those classes for being pure spellcasters when compared to the other races. Because of this I decided to pick up the Construction Set myself for the first time and do some minor doctoring. My intentions with these changes are fairly simple; Bring Breton and Altmer more in line with other races whilst also liberating the magically inclined playstyles from those characters by redistributing the total magicka bonuses into the caster-oriented birthsigns instead of races, all with as little mud-tracking on the carpet as possible. I've also touched up racial bonuses in general, all whilst trying to keep as close to vanilla as possible.

Version 2 is Finished!
In version 2 I've continued to assess racials and, much moreso, birthsigns, attempting to bring the untouched signs up to a point where they can compete more effectively with the altered caster signs and be more useful in general. In my attempt to complete this task I tried to stay as close to vanilla as possible whilst also considering balance. However, I also took some liberties and went beyond basics with certain signs that I felt to be dull or in need of a complete overhaul. As such, the original version with the largely untouched birthsigns from version 1 will remain available for download.

To clarify, all of the listed changes below this point are in version 2. The changes from version 1 will be marked in the description below.
You should only be downloading one version of this file, using both may cause issues.


[14 Mar 2017]: I found an issue in the version two file concerning the Restore Fatigue effect in The Steed birthsign: It wasn't there! Oops. This should be fixed now
[19 Mar 2017]: I spotted an issue in the description section concerning The Serpent birthsign. I didn't mark down an additional and important effect it
inflicted on its target: Weakness to Poison. I have changed the description to reflect what is in the mod.
[22 Mar 2017]: I fixed some sloppy wording in the in-game description of The Steed birthsign that smooshed the words up against the confirmation button, that should now be fixed. Additionally, the Riposte Lesser Power wasn't damaging fatigue like it should have been. On my second look over I decided to not only add the fatigue damage back, but reduce it (from 80 to 70) and add a slight magicka cost, 45. This has been added in the latest version.
[8 Apr 2017]:
After some additional playtesting with The Lady birthsign I've decided to alter the bonuses it provides slightly, both to improve gameplay and to balance it better with the other birthsigns. Its Magicka regeneration bonus has been increased from 3 to 5, its fatigue regeneration bonus has been decreased from 5 to 3. The added fatigue regeneration rate of The Steed remains unchanged.  

In-Depth: Racial Bonuses
(Abilities, powers and races not mentioned remain untouched)

(Version 1 starts here!)

The Breton (Manmer)

-Breton Magic Resistance bonus reduced from 50% to 15%

Reasoning: Lets face it: this is the reason why most race retooling mods exist. Ignoring 50% of all negative magical effects in a racial bonus is ludicrous. 15% in addition to a minor magicka bonus seems more reasonable.

-Breton Enhanced Magicka bonus reduced from +50 to +20
Reasoning: The added magicka for this class has been reduced and distributed to the caster Birthsigns to improve racial balancing.  It's fairly small, but when added to from a caster birthsign the Breton's total magicka will be approx. the same or better than before, and still higher than most.

The Altmer (High Elf)

High Elf Enhanced Magicka bonus reduced from +100 to +40
Reasoning: The added magicka for this class has been reduced and distributed to the caster Birthsigns to improve racial balancing. The Altmer's magicka bonus is still the highest and still half decent to compensate for it having one of the few negative racial passives in game. 

-High Elf Elemental Weakness penalty reduced from 25% weakness to each element to 10% to each element
Reasoning: A slight buff to coincide more reasonably with the improved apprentice birthsign and other altered racials. Not too high, but neither is your magicka bonus. I think this change is a bit more reasonable.

The Argonian (Saxhleel)

-Argonian Poison Immunity has had it's name changed to Argonian Poison Resistance, and its bonus has been reduced from 100% to 50%
Reasoning: Being immune to all poisons is pretty strong for a racial, especially with the additions I've made to this race. 50% seems more reasonable all things considered.

-New Passive Ability: Argonian Enhanced Spirit, +20 to total magicka, +25 to total Fatigue.
Reasoning: Both In lore and statistics Argonian Boys are seen as capable warriors, and Argonian Ladies are seen as capable casters. I've added this passive to reflect that.

-Argonian Starting Security reduced from +10 to +5
-Argonian Starting Mysticism increased from +5 to +10
Reasoning: A minor change to reflect my Argonian's slight push from utility into more 'offensive neutrality'. I think the add to Mysticism also ties in well with their tribal roots.

Orc (Orsimer, Pariah Folk)

-Orc Magic Resistance has had its name changed to Orc Resilience, its Magicka Resistance has been reduced from 25% to 15% and gained a bonus of +10% Shield
Reasoning: I felt I needed to reconsider the Orc's Magic resist after altering the Breton's. Like the Breton, the magicka resistance has been reduced. The addition of some shielding to such a hardy race seems appropriate, I think.

Imperial (Cyrodiils)

-The Voice of the Emperor greater power is now a lesser power with no cooldown on touch (from on target), still +30 charm for 30 secs
Reasoning: This should be a bit more handy of a tool for the so-called 'Diplomats of Cyrodiil'.

-New passive ability: Roots of Cyrodiil, fortifies Health and Magicka by +10, Fatigue by +20, Shield by +5, and Magicka Resist by +5
Reasoning: I've decided to add a general buff to the Imperial to bring them a little farther up to snuff with the other races. I think a middling passive like this suits them fairly well. If push comes to shove I may add a little something else to them in future, but for now, this should suffice. (This was added in version 2, but it exists in both versions!)

Bosmer (Wood Elf)

-The Beast Tongue greater power has become a lesser power and been buffed significantly, now effecting creatures up to level 25 (max level) for 180 secs (three minutes) at a cost of 60 Magicka and Damage Fatigue 60
Reasoning: As the only Bosmer racial besides stock elf disease resist I feel this deserves some kid gloves and much needed effectiveness. Have fun!

Dunmer (Dark Elf)

-Dark Elf Fire Resistance has been renamed to Dark Elf Battle Readiness, its fire resist reduced from +75% to +45% with an added +5% Shield effect
Reasoning: As the designated spellsword and/or 'jack of all trades' I felt this passive could be tweaked to make the fire resist a little less dumb and add some hardiness to a character who'd likely see some melee combat. This seemed like a reasonable change.

In-Depth: Caster Birthsign Changes

Reasoning: As previously stated I've bumped quite a bit of Magicka out of the designated caster classes and poured it into the caster Birthsigns (using the original version of the Altmer to decide the bonuses) to make being a caster for any other class a lot less painful. As a result:

-The Mage Birthsign has had its Magicka bonus increased from +50 to +125

Reasoning: A standard, safe choice for any character who wants to be a pure caster, even if they don't have 50 to 50+ Extra magicka as a starting line.

-The Apprentice Birthsign has had its Magicka bonus increased from +100 to +200, and its Magicka Weakness penalty has been reduced from 100% to 30%
Reasoning: The original amount of Weakness to Magicka on this Birthsign was absolutely crazy, especially when considering that it would probably be favored by squishy caster classes. 30% seems like a much more reasonable penalty, especially when compared with the improved Mage Birthsign. Caster Bretons and Orcs will feel much less pain from this, and Altmers will have their fairly minor weakness to most damage-dealing magic intensified to a more dangerous but manageable level.

-The Atronach Birthsign has had its Magicka bonus increased from 150 to 200
Reasoning: See above.

(version 1 ends here!)

Added in Version 2:

Imperial (Cyrodiils)

-New passive ability: Roots of Cyrodiil, fortifies Health and Magicka by  +10, Fatigue by +20, Shield by +5, and Magicka Resist by +5

Reasoning: I've decided to add a general buff to the Imperial to bring them a little farther up to snuff with the other races. I think a middling passive like this suits them fairly well. If push comes to shove I may add a little something else to them in future, but for now, this should suffice. (This was added in version 2, but it exists in both versions!)

In-Depth: Birthsign Changes

-The Lady's effect has been changed: it now restores +5 Magicka and +3 Fatigue per second. It also fortifies your health by +20
Reasoning: The Emperor says of the lady: 'Today the Lady shall fortify you in your quest for glory'. To me this means improving your character's ability to continue fighting while in combat; the original boost to endurance and willpower seems to support this. To go over some numbers, Fatigue restores at a static rate, +10, which is effected by running and your athletics level, bringing it down to, to my knowledge, anywhere from +5 to +10 fatigue per second. A 30% boost to this rate is quite significant. A +5 rate of regeneration to magicka is also quite significant, especially for characters who expect to have low-to-average magicka pool; I'll keep from going over the math of magicka regeneration as it's much more complicated. FInally, you get a bonus of +20 health to make up for the loss of endurance a bit. This sign would be helpful to most any character, but it caters especially to hybrid/spellsword types.

-The Lord has received a minor change: its Blood of the North lesser power (Restore Health +6 over 15 secs) has become a passive heal at half the power (Restore Health +3, Passive). Its weakness to fire remains unchanged
Reasoning: I wanted to make this a passive ability to reduce it's maintenance, a popular choice for many birthsign mods. I refrained from making this value too high for fear of breaking low-mid level play, in which it is still an amazing choice.

-The Lover has been changed: It now fortifies your personality by an additional 100 and gives you the Lover's Caress lesser power, a free touch spell that boosts all of your target's attributes by +30 and restores their health by +3 over 60 seconds
Reasoning: I'd say I took the most liberty with this birthsign. Instead of retooling its greater power into a lesser variant like I did with many others, I decided to change its functionality entirely in a way that would still fly lore-wise. As such, those who choose this birthsign are much more lover than fighter. Their massively boosted personality makes it less and less likely with further boosts that enemies will attack them unprovoked, as well as all the other bonuses granted, including guards paying your fines and etc. If there should come times when you're paired up with friendlies, your free touch spell is a perfect reflection of your powerful charisma effecting them directly. I wanted this birthsign to be unique and fun to use, hopefully this is an effective solution.

-The Ritual has received a minor change: The Blessed Word lesser power has had its duration reduced from 60 to 10. It now has an area of 10 and is a touch spell that doesn't require contact to 'explode'. Its cost has been halved. Mara's gift has been changed from +200 immediately to +10 over an extended period. Finally, Those born under this sign are granted a bonus to their restoration (+20) and a drain on their conjuration (-10).
Reasoning: I wanted to soup this up a little bit and make it more immediately usable for both priestly types and cruesadery types. I think I accomplished that decently enough. The ritual wasn't too bad originally, so most of these changes are flavoring and/or QoL improvements.

-The Serpent has been changed: The user is granted a 100% immunity to poison. Additionally, the Serpent Touch greater power has been changed. It is now a lesser power that damages the target's health, fatigue and speed slowly (+3) and weakens them to additional poison effects significantly over 60 seconds, damaging 70 of your fatigue as a cost
Reasoning: As is the case with several other birthsigns, I've altered the primary greater power of this sign to be more generally usable at a cost, allowing it more chances to effect gameplay in a unique way. Given time this power will deal a very nice chunk of damage and, inevitably, root the enemy in place, even knock them out if they aren't smart. It will also synergize very well with characters who want to use poisons during their career. The fatigue cost is still fairly high, however, so if you use it in a fight be sure you mean it, or YOU might be the one who ends up on the ground.

-The Shadow has been changed: The Moonshadow greater power is now a lesser power; it turns the user invisible and fortifies their speed by 50 for 8 seconds, damaging their fatigue for 8 every second as a cost for a total of 64 fatigue lost
Reasoning: This seemed fairly obvious. Greater power into a lesser power like the others to change up gameplay more significantly. Invisibility is quite a powerful tool to have, especially if you didn't need to train your illusion at all to get it and still have the benefit of mainlining other skills. In the interest of keeping things interesting and balanced I think this skill is right where it should be, and just like all the other fatigue-damage-over-time abilities, the impact of this one is improved noticeably by training Athletics.

-The Steed has been changed: It now grants a +20 bonus to both Speed AND Athletics, as well as boosting fatigue regen rate by +5. Players who choose this sign also gain the Freedom lesser power, a spell that fortifies their speed and feathers them for +100 whilst also adding water-walking for 10 seconds, burning 15 fatigue a second to compensate
Reasoning: I feel as though I've properly carved out a niche for this sign in such a way that it may be used, but doing so has been difficult to get just right. This should serve as a fine birthsign for players who want to go go go without being hampered by burdening effects, bodies of water, or their fatigue running low.

-The Thief has been changed: It now grants a bonus of +20 to luck and + 10 to agility. It also teaches you the greater power Spree, giving you Chameleon 75%, Speed +100, and Security +100 for 60 seconds
Reasoning: The added luck to this sign is quite powerful, I think, as it shadow-boosts all of your skills by +8 even if they're maxed out already, making it a valuable stat to have for all build types. Not only that, but the Spree greater power is great for those with sticky fingers, especially if you have a mod that improves the thieving benefit from houses.

-The Tower has been changed: The greater power Tower Key is now a lesser power, and free. The Tower Warden greater power has been renamed Riposte; it is now a lesser power that gives you melee damage reflection +30% for 20 seconds at the cost of 70 fatigue and 45 Magicka
Reasoning: The orginal greater powers for this birthsign were pretty abysmal, even counting that it allowed you access to Reflect Damage as a spell component if you went for the mages guild. I think this change suits the sign quite well, giving it a nice bit of QoL utility and a powerful defensive and offensive skill rolled into one, for a price.

-The Warrior has been changed: It now gives a boost of +10 to both strength and SPEED whilst also boosting the player's health by +40. The player also gains access to the Enrage lesser power, draining their health by +40 and damaging their fatigue by +40 in order to boost their strength and speed by an additional +20 for 20 seconds
Reasoning: Last but certainly not least, I wanted to make this sign a solid choice for warriors of any type, allowing them to use their heads to maximize their potential. Now you have the choice of maximizing your health pool or boosting your offensive capabilities during a fight, all in one skill.


Installing this mod is the same as pretty much any other. It ships in a WINRARZIP file, so either open up the zip and place the esp into your Data folder, or select the entire archive in OMM and create a new OMOD. As another note, the installation of this file will most definitely conflict with any other mod changing birthsigns or racial bonues, so check your load order or create a special patch if you want to use both.

Recommended Mods:
Below is a list of mods that I use and recommend. To pair with this mod especially, but also to improve your Oblivion experience in general.

Realistic Leveling by Donovan Baarda (http://www.nexusmods.com/oblivion/mods/13879/?) is a great way to make having extra levels in skills early on be less harmful to your growth, as well as for its more streamlined and reasonable approach to leveling in general.
Vanilla Combat Enhanced by Kobal (http://www.nexusmods.com/oblivion/mods/45314/?) is an amazing way to turn melee combat into less of an ineffective slog and more of a rewarding and exciting experience in a way that doesn't flip the game on its head. It also pairs perfectly with:
-Elys- Uncapper v098 by Elys and hosted by Ulrim (http://www.nexusmods.com/oblivion/mods/31464/?) is the best and only way I've found to both make strength and agility useful for adding damage past level 100 without forcibly uncapping all of the stats and skills in the game (via modifying the listed .ini). Any part of this mod that fortifies agility or strength allows those effects to stay useful to the player forever, and not just until they cap their primary attribute. 
Phitt's Worthwhile Thievery by Phitt (http://www.nexusmods.com/oblivion/mods/4318/?) is a great way to make stealing from buildings in Oblivion actually worth the time, effort and risk you payed. When I mentioned The thief skill Spree being especially useful for those with Thievery mods, this is the one I was talking about.
Vanilla Spells and Vampirism Improved, by Me! (http://www.nexusmods.com/oblivion/mods/47681/?). My newest personal mod to improve the state of the vanilla game's balancing. It improves many of the stock spells sold by NPCs, as well as the powers granted to you by being a high-level Vampire.

Final Thoughts:
If you've decided to download this mod then I hope I managed to improve the game for you in a meaningful way. If there are any issues with with this mod (misspellings, wrong stats, stat breaks game balance in X instance, etc) please feel free to comment and leave your feedback.