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About this mod

This is a light script-free combat mod and difficulty increaser. It is made to compliment and work with the three major combat overhauls: Duel - Combat Realism, Deadly Combat, and Ultimate Combat. This mod makes combat more dangerous and unforgiving. Combat Evolved changes nearly every aspect of combat.

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"Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you." -- Friedrich Nietzsche

"Fantastic work on the Combat Evolved mod! We loved it, so we decided to feature it in a Skyrim Mods video." Brodual

Thank you to Brodual from the awesome video and review of Combat Evolved!  Made the Top Mods of 2014 list!

Thanks to Jebbalon for the awesome video(!) and to Cal from Dirty Weasel Media for the great review and video comparison!

This is a light script-free combat mod and difficulty increaser. It is made to complement and work with the three major combat overhauls: Duel - Combat Realism, Deadly Combat, and Ultimate Combat. It can be run on its own and is balanced on its own but you will miss out on several features that the full-featured combat overhauls provide. It even works well with Skyrim Redone (SkyRe) and ASIS but there are minor, non-game breaking differences.

This mod was designed to be compatible with nearly everything. No NPC records, perks, or leveled lists were modified. All of the magic of this mod is accomplished through combat styles, game settings, and NPC Spells (player spells are unaffected).

Combat Evolved changes nearly every aspect of combat. Combat is more difficult, realistic, and challenging! Enemies are more aggressive and are smarter. Enemies will generally pose a higher level of challenge for the player at all levels.

This mod makes combat more dangerous and unforgiving. One of my biggest complaints in vanilla Skyrim and even with the popular combat mods out there is that once you hit level 30 and above combat is a joke and the player is nearly invincible. With my mod enemies are a threat at any level. No longer can you have four enemies all beating on you while you don't move an inch or have a care in the world.

Stagger, knockdown, enemy skills, and enemy damage (and much more) are all enhanced to be more immersive and realistic. If you don't move around, dodge, and actively use your brain you will die a painful death. Combat sneaking has also been improved to be more difficult. No longer can you snipe enemies at range and wipe them all out.

Enemies will actively try to surround the player and attack. They will also bash and block more often and attempt to dodge attacks. Magic attacks are no longer a joke above level 30. You will feel it when attacked with magic now. Maximum magic resistance and armor rating have been reduced. Creature poison is also a lot more dangerous. Being poisoned by a giant spider no longer does less damage than spilling a hot drink in your lap!

In order to maintain balance with the popular combat overhauls I had to overwrite a few of their settings. At first I tried to avoid this and not touch any of their settings but balancing the mod became impossible. Yes, this mod could be improved if I edited NPC records and leveled lists, however, the entire goal of this mod was to have it fit in with virtually any load order and not be a compatibility nightmare.

There are some encounters that have fixed levels and will be substantially lower in level than the player. This is a known issue and won't be corrected by this mod since it falls outside its scope. Enemies that are leveled with the player should pose a greater challenge.

No mod will make enemy behavior 100% realistic.  There are numerous limitations with the AI engine Skyrim has given us!  All I can hope to do is to improve the experience.

NPC spells are more powerful yet player spells are left unchanged.  In order to balance player magic with NPC magic I recommend that players install one of the popular magic mods.  The lightest of these is Simple Spell Scaling which I have used for several years with good success.  More elaborate solutions are available such as Empowered Magic and Better Magic which work well also.

Many users will find that they need to lower the game difficulty by one setting which will, in most cases, still provide an increase in overall difficulty with this mod enabled. There is no longer a need to crank up the difficulty level to have challenging combat. I recommend that most users play on Adept or lower difficulty when starting a new game and then bump up the difficulty setting one notch once they reach level 20-30. I used to play on Master or Legendary difficulty setting before I developed this mod and now play on Expert. Please lower the game difficulty by one notch after installing Combat Evolved. If combat is still too difficult then lower it one more notch. Most users will find that if they lower the game difficulty setting by one notch the mod still provides a 25% - 50% increase in overall game difficulty from what they were using on the higher difficulty setting.

Players having difficulty with magic doing too much damage should read and follow this guide: Magic Resistance Primer

Enjoy the Combat Evolved experience! Prepare to have your ass handed to you!

This mod is compatible with nearly everything including the three major combat overhauls: Duel - Combat Realism, Deadly Combat, and Ultimate Combat. I didn't touch any dragon combat styles or settings so it should be 100% compatible with all dragon mods.

This mod is compatible with Revenge of the Enemies, Supernatural AI, SkyRe, ASIS, SkyTEST, SPERG, and Skyrim Unleashed as long as you place Combat Evolved after these mods including all of their patches.

Thanks to the efforts of raulfin we now have a Combat Evolved - Skyrim Redone Edition.  Please use this version if using Skyrim Redone (SkyRe).

I released a modular version of Combat Evolved so that players can pick and choose what features they want and don't want.  This also helps greatly with compatibility when players have a different mod to handle certain features (stealth, magic, poison, difficulty, etc.).

Questions about Compatibility

Combat Evolved was designed from the beginning to be compatible with just about everything. This design was not an afterthought. Combat Evolved only touches Combat Styles, Game Settings, Enemy Spells, and Enemy Poison. If your mod doesn't touch these areas then it should be fully compatible. You can easily compare both mods in TES5Edit to check for potential conflicts. I've done this repeatedly when players ask me if a certain mod is compatible that I'm not familiar with. Players can easily do this themselves as there is no magic in it and is a simple process.

Sneak & Stealth Overhauls

Even though Combat Evolved now includes a minor sneak/stealth overhaul, players can still use their favorite sneak or stealth overhaul with Combat Evolved.  Just place it after Combat Evolved in the load order so it will overwrite most of Combat Evolved sneak settings.


If using Requiem you need to place Combat Evolved before it in the load order so that Requiem can overwrite any conflicts. Requiem has a vastly different approach to combat and you will only get roughly 33% of the benefits of this mod.  It handles damage in a unique way and is different than any other combat overhaul that I've seen. Because of this Requiem is incompatible with many mods. I've examined it closely in TES5Edit and it almost seems as if the author wanted it to be this way. You will get most of the Combat Style improvements and a few of the combat tweaks but Requiem will overwrite most of everything else. For this reason Requiem has to be placed after Combat Evolved in the load order. Combat Evolved was designed from the beginning to be as compatible as possible and fit into virtually any load order. Requiem is one of the few mods it has compatibility issues with.

Perkus Maximus (Perma)

Perkus Maximus (Perma) is fully compatible with Combat Evolved! I did a detailed examination of both mods and compared them in TES5Edit. There are three minor differences in the Thief module (sneak settings) and one minor difference in the Warrior module (bash reach). Combat Evolved can be placed before or after Perkus Maximus (Perma) in the load order. The four minor differences don't come close to needing a compatibility patch.

If you want slightly harder stealth place Combat Evolved after Perma. If you want slightly easier stealth place Combat Evolved before Perma.


Wildcat is very similar to Combat Evolved. Both mods edit the same combat styles and most of the same gameplay settings. They can be placed in the same load order, however the last combat mod will overwrite most of the settings of the other. For this reason it is recommended to only run one or the other. If you do run them both then place the combat mod that you want to take precedence after the other one in your load order (last mod always wins if there are conflicts). There are several features in both mods that do not overlap such as poison and spells in Combat Evolved and timed blocking in Wildcat.

ERSO 30 - Better Enemy AI (we modify the same combat styles) - And yes, they are different. I have no intention of getting banned from the Nexus like others. I fully understand that two other authors have tried to copy this mod (identical or nearly identical) and place it on the Nexus which they got banned for. It took me many painful hours to rebuild all the vanilla combat styles to my satisfaction.

Differences between Combat Evolved and ERSO 30 - Better Enemy AI

They are both large improvements over vanilla. Overall, I feel that my Combat Styles are better and will provide the player with great AI and maximum challenge. ERSO Enhanced Enemy AI has excellent combat styles also and is a great mod, no question. Combat Evolved replaces it though and you won't get any benefit from running both. My combat styles allow more actor types to dual wield. Mine are also fully compatible with Extensible Follower Framework (EFF). Mine are also tuned to work in harmony with my combat settings and tweaks. For example, if you were to place ERSO below Combat Evolved in the load order some enemies would be overpowered while some would be too weak. Mine are completely tuned and balanced for Combat Evolved.

ERSO Enhanced Enemy AI only changes Combat Styles and nothing else. I modify the combat styles plus a lot more (see the Description section above).

This mod in now out of BETA.  Currently no known bugs exist.  Please report any issues in the Posts section. I'm mainly interested in bugs and balancing issues.

UPDATE: Ever since version 0.5 BETA the mod has been highly stable and working very well. There are really only a few balancing and realism issues to work out. No major or even minor bugs have been reported since this version. You can feel confident about adding it to your load order without causing problems in game.

Place this mod towards the end of your load order or after all combat, creature, and encounter mods and their patches. Requiem users should place Combat Evolved before Requiem in the load order.

BOSS and LOOT will not sort Combat Evolved properly. You must create a custom rule and place it towards the end of your load order.

Here is an example load order. I am NOT telling players to install all of these mods, this is just an example:

Rebirth Monster (Revenge of the Enemies)
Deadly Combat, or Duel - Combat Realism, or Ultimate Combat
SkyRe (all modules that you want except for reproccer)
Combat Evolved or Combat Evolved - Skyrim Redone Edition
All Sneak & Stealth Overhauls
All Magic mods such as Simple Spell Scaling, or Empowered Magic, or Better Magic
SkyRe Reproccer

Skyrim version 1.9.32 or later

1. Extract the contents of the 7z file
2. Copy the contents into your Skyrim's Data folder
3. Activate Combat Evolved.esp
4. (Highly Recommended) - Lower the in game difficulty setting by one level. View the full Description for more details.

1. Remove 'Combat Evolved.esp' - Since this mod touches no NPC records or leveled lists it is generally safe to uninstall if you don't like the changes.

Version 2.4b
Fixed an issue that could cause flying dragons to breath a breath of smoke instead of fire (huge kudos to LordMala for identifying this bug!)

Version 2.4a
Fixed an issue that could potentially cause 'no AI' / 'unaggressive actors' if an actor was spawned via script and not in the normal fashion (huge kudos to FishBiter for identifying this illusive bug! )
Greatly improved or fixed an issue that could cause actors to over-block or block all the time

Version 2.4
More consistent stagger with arrows and magic - before, various actors would produce a different stagger level when firing the same bow and arrows
Improved Combat Styles
Changes to bring it line with my other mods, especially changes made in Animal Tweaks that apply to Combat Evolved
Added animal combat styles from Animal Tweaks
Enemies will dodge more (hopefully) - this is about as good as I can make it without using scripts or behavior packages
Guards Attack Hostiles mod is now integrated into the all-in-one (normal version), Base Game, and SkyRe versions
Immunity to paralysis if magic resistance equals or exceeds 60% - this affects everyone (both the player and AI actors).  Will only take effect if using the Skyrim default paralysis spell/effect (most mods do).  Affects all types of paralysis in the base game.
Lowered dual casting effectiveness from 2.8 to 2.5 - was a bit too powerful
Fixed spider and chaurus spit - all spiders and chaurus will not properly use their spit attack when at range (will forward this fix into the next release of Animal Tweaks (soon))
Misc tweaks and improvements

Version 2.3
Lowered stagger and stagger duration by 25% - please provide feedback on this change - I don't want to lower it too much and damage immersion
Minor stealth rebalance and tweaks - light doesn't destroy your sneaking chance now (has less of an impact than before)
Combat Style improvements and tweaks - continued improvements to archers and magic users - greatly improved mammoth combat style
Added Deer and Mudcrab combat styles to keep it consistent with my 'Animal Tweaks' mod
Added a slow and stagger effect to level 3 Spider and Chaurus poison effects (bite and spit) to keep it consistent with my 'Animal Tweaks' mod
It is truly deadly and scary to get poisoned by Spiders and Chaurus now - be careful and come prepared with Cure Poison and Restore Health potions
Minor miscellaneous tweaks and improvements
Combat Evolved - Base Game Version 2.3 - released - No DLCs required!

Version 2.2
Improved Compatibility with the Unofficial Patches - carried over a few changes that applied to Combat Evolved - no dependency to the Unofficial Patches as usual
Improved Compatibility with Dawnguard & Dragonborn - 100% compatible now - minor adjustments (nothing game breaking in earlier versions of Combat Evolved)
Improved Compatibility with Enhanced Blood Textures
Lowered the Combat Radius by roughly 10% - was causing too many enemies to leave their default location prematurely and come after the player - still a minor problem but improved
Tweaked the Combat Styles for archers and magic users to help them act more intelligently and be more defensive - this is about as good as I can make it
The mod is feature complete but I will continue to fix bugs and improve game balance and possibly find other ways to improve it

Version 2.1
Lowered enemy bashing chance slightly
Lowered the stagger effect (all types) slightly
Tuned the sneak settings (again, this never seems to end)
Made the modular hardcore sneak module more difficult
Made the modular hardcore damage module more difficult

Version 2.0a
Major Combat Styles overhaul.  Improved nearly 75% of the Combat Styles. 
Added more finesse to them.  Fewer enemies will act like berserkers
now.  Improved AI behavior.  Most enemies will be more defensive and
care about their own survival.
Finished the stealth overhaul.  Combat Evolved is now a full stealth overhaul as well as combat overhaul.  No
need to run a separate Sneak or Stealth overhaul unless they fit your
individual play style better.
Combat sneaking is easier but made all other areas of sneaking more difficult
Tweaked and improved many combat settings
Enemies are a bit more likely to flee or get knocked down when low on health
Fixed a few minor bugs
Balanced combat out a bit more.  Fixed a few unbalanced Combat Styles
Lowered the difficulty on Novice and Apprentice gameplay difficulty settings
for those running multiple game difficulty increaser mods
Leaving Player magic and spell changes out of the mod.  Players will need to add
a mod to increase player magic and spell effectiveness.  Suggestions: 
Simple Spell Scaling, Destruction magic skill damage scaling, Empowered
Destruction Magic
Reversed a few settings from version 2.0 that weren't working as expected
Removed two settings that potentially could cause issues with quest triggering
Fixed the crime reporting distance so that guards will enter buildings, shops, and homes now
All-in-One version 2.0a released
Modular Version 2.0a released - For those running other overhauls that conflict
with Combat Evolved. Players now have greater flexibility in mixing
and matching what features they want and don't want. Includes an fomod

Version 1.6
Removed unnecessary mod dependencies (all of the Unofficial patches).  This
should help those who play Skyrim in a language not supported by the
Unofficial patches.  I still HIGHLY recommend them for the vast majority
of players
Lowered Poison damage by 20% - 40% based on poison and creature type
Removed the penalty for combat health and magicka regeneration to match the stamina setting
Included the MaxArmorRating setting (75%) that I thought was in the mod from the beginning
Fixed all compatibility issues with Extensible Follower Framework Beta (EFF) - fully compatible now
Minor tweaks to several Combat Styles - gave the default combat style dual
wield capability if they had two 1H weapons in their inventory
Various tweaks to improve AI behavior
Added damage and/or effect increases to several NPC spells such as Wall of
Flames, Antronarch Storm, Targe of the Blooded, Wall of Fire, Frost, and
Shock, Mortal Wound, and Potema Wall of Storms
Added the poison damage spell increases back into the "Combat Evolved - No Magic or Spell Changes" version of the mod
Increased the maximum magic resistance to 75% for the "Combat Evolved - Less NPC Damage" version of the mod

Version 1.5

Tweaked sneak settings a bit more
Improved compatibility with Stealth Skills Rebalanced - I believe that there are
only two very minor conflicts now - Combat Evolved can be placed after
it now in the load order
Improved compatibility with Skyrim Redone (SkyRe) a bit more - It's not going to get any better than this unless
you use a patch or new version mentioned below
Removed the penalty for combat stamina regeneration - It is now the same regeneration rate in and out of combat
A successful Block now stops 95% of total damage instead of 92%
Lowered combat and bashing distance slightly
Lowered the paralysis duration to 1 second (was 3 seconds) for the NPC Ice Spear spell
Added a 1 second paralysis perk effect to the NPC Ice Spike spell
Lowered the fear chance and duration of the NPC Incinerate spell significantly
Increased the slow effect duration of NPC ice spells to 5 seconds (was 3 seconds)
Fixed minor inconsistencies with some of the NPC spells
A few miscellaneous game setting and combat style tweaks
The mod is now out of BETA. Bumped up the version to 1.5 to reflect this as being the 5th release.

New Version: Combat Evolved - Less NPC Damage - Enemies will do less
damage. Removed the increased level scaling for enemies. Removed the
difficulty changes. Players who don't wish to lower their difficulty
setting or wish to have less of a challenge should use this version.
This is a standalone version and does not require the main file.

New Version: Combat Evolved - No Magic or Spell Changes - Main file minus
ALL of the magic and spell changes. ONLY use this version if you are
using another magic overhaul mod. Otherwise magic will be grossly
underpowered compared to melee damage. This is a standalone version and
does not require the main file.

New Version: Combat Evolved - Skyrim Redone Edition - Favors Combat Evolved settings over Skyrim
Redone while preserving SkyRe functionality and balancing and includes
all of the spell effect improvements from SkyRe. Two versions included.
One version requires the SkyRe_Main.esp and SkyRe_EnemyScaling.esp
modules and the other version only requires SkyRe_Main.esp. This is a
standalone version and does not require the main file.

Version 0.6 BETA
Tweaked sneak settings. Made it a bit easier overall but NPCs can detect
players from a longer range now to help balance it out. If you really
want to sneak well in or out of combat you need to turn off auto run
(walk instead) and wear clothes (no penalty) or light armor (penalty).
Also a high Sneak skill with perks and Sneak enchanted gear is helpful
or use Sneak potions. Heavy armor, running, combat, and light sources
will greatly increase the difficulty. Sneaking is no longer a walk in
the park! Don't be surprised if you can't sneak past a nearby NPC in a
fully lit room.
Modified creature poison to not allow absorb and reflect
Modified spider poison to have a longer duration but do less damage (same damage overall)
Player shield bashing is now equal with NPC shield bashing. The Skyrim vanilla setting made it almost useless
Slightly less stagger when blocking attacks with a shield or weapon
Weapon bashing is slightly more effective
Enemies will become aggressive to the player at an increased distance. It is
kind of an immersion breaker to stare at an enemy and have them do
nothing until the player gets really close. Still a problem but better.
A few miscellaneous game setting tweaks
Changed the information in the Compatibility and Load Order section for Requiem users

Version 0.5 BETA
Made improvements to the mod to make it more compatible with Skryim Redone
(SkyRe) - only very minor conflicts now, nothing game breaking
Made improvements to several combat styles for balancing and to bring them in line with similar actor AI
Added perk effects to some NPC spells (player spells are untouched and unaffected)
The mod seems to be stable and performing well so I'm bumping the version up a few notches

Version 0.2 BETA
Fixed a compatibility issue with Immersive Weapons
Fixed some NPC spell costs that were too high which resulted in the spells not being used
Gave all bosses, draugrs, falmers, and berserkers dual wield capability if they had two 1H weapons in their inventory

Version 0.1 BETA - Official Release

Unofficial Skyrim Patch
Unofficial Dawnguard Patch
Unofficial Hearthfire Patch
Unofficial Dragonborn Patch
SKSE (latest non-alpha/beta version is highly recommended)
BOSS (outdated and no longer being developed) Or LOOT
Wrye Bash
ENBoost (only if not using a full ENB - use version 0.236 of ENBSeries)
Fuz Ro Doh
Brawl Bugs - Compatibility Edition

User Interface
Immersive HUD - iHUD
Less Intrusive HUD II
Extended UI
Better Dialog Controls
Better MessageBox Controls
Categorized Favorites Menu
A Quality World Map

Deadly Combat, Or Duel - Combat Realism, Or Ultimate Combat
Combat Evolved

Animal Tweaks
Deadly Wenches
OBIS - Organized Bandits In Skyrim
Skyrim Immersive Creatures
Deadly Dragons (don't install the optional Deadly Monsters component - it conflicts with too many other mods)
Bellyaches New Dragon Species
Immersive Patrols II
PermaZONES - Dangerous Encounter Zones for Skyrim
Populated Forts Towers Places (Google 'Erkeil Team – SKYRIM MODS')

Encounter - For High End Gaming Systems, Highly Optimized Games, and Advanced to Guru players
The Way of the Dovahkiin - Ultimate Deadly Encounters aka Sands of Time (don't install this mid-game!)
WARZONES 2015 - Civil Unrest (don't install this mid-game!)
High Level Enemies - scaled version - add all the DLC optionals - I prefer not to use the SIC edition if also using Revenge
Revenge of the Enemies - use the SIC Revenge patch from the SIC site

The Paarthurnax Dilemma
Barenziah Quest Markers
Dragon Priest Mask Quest Markers

Follower and Dialog
Extensible Follower Framework (latest version) (highly recommended) Or Amazing Follower Tweaks
Follower Commentary Overhaul
Guard Dialog Overhaul
MFVM - More Follower Voices Mod Plus Khajiit Marriage
Sleep Tight

Perkus Maximus (Perma)
PerMa Compatibility and PaMa Patches (PCaPP)
Defluffing PerMa and PerMa Extended Perk Descriptions
Perma Patches and Tweaks
Weapons and Armor Fixes Remade (use 01 WAF Complete and 08 True Orcish Daedric + any needed patches)
Elys Community Uncapper (use the INI from the Combat Evolved or PCaPP site)
Longer Durations and Annoyance Fixes
Forgotten Magic Redone
The Real Way to Shout
Marked for Death - Ultimate
Simple Spell Scaling (if not using Perma)
NPCs Protected Redux with Uncapped Followers
Backup Movement Speed Reduction
Treebalance - Speech Tree (if not using Perma or a Speechcraft perk overhaul)

Werewolf and Vampire
Better Vampires - ML (turn corpse feeding OFF - buggy) - need someone to tell me how to turn off slow motion attacks, PM me
Bloodthirst - Vampire NPCs can feed
Dark Maneuvers
Moonlight Tales - Werewolf and Werebear Overhaul or Moonlight Tales - Werewolf Essentials
Heart of the Beast - Werewolf Sound and Texture Overhaul (Alpha sounds, meshes, textures)
Werewolf Perks Expanded

VioLens - A Killmove Mod
Unread Books Glow
Lanterns of Skyrim (set timer to 120 seconds)
New Bard Songs
NPCs of Dibella
Immersive Wenches
Smaller Atronachs
Face Light
Faster GET UP STAND UP animation
Realistic Ragdolls and Force - use the Realistic version - you ONLY need the ESP
XP32 Maximum Skeleton -XPMS - use the 1.9x version unless you have to have HDT (should be the last mod that you install)
Glowing Ore Veins
Faster Mining
More Firewood per Chop

Better Animal Footsteps (install this mod first (before other sound mods) to allow other sound mods to overwrite some files)
Audio Overhaul for Skyrim 2 (make sure you add patches for any needed mods)
Immersive Sounds - Compendium (make sure you add patches for any needed mods)
Fantasy Sountrack Project + Combat Music - Google 'AceeQ Modding' (use non-replacers) (make sure you add patches for any needed mods)
Immersive Skyrim Thunder
Enhanced Draugr FX
Enhanced Beast FX
Thundering Shouts

Guides and Tutorials
Skyrim Guides and Tutorials

TES5Edit (release version) or TES5Edit (pre-release version - recommended)
TES5Edit Merge Script
Optimizer Textures (use minimal setting - don't include BSAs)
Optimizer Textures – Improved INI file
Savegame Script Scalpel - Papyrus Data Transfer
BSA Unpacker

Make sure that you install any needed mod requirements/dependencies and compatibility patches for the mods that you use. Please pay close attention to this! Follow ALL mod instructions for each mod that you install!

These are the Core mods that I run and have been running many of them for years without issue. The above mods I recommend without reservation and are generally solid and well written.

Highly Recommended System Specs:

Windows 7 64-bit or Windows 8 64-bit
Intel Core i7 Quad-Core or Intel Core i5 Dual or Quad Core Processor
8 GB DD3 RAM (or more)
Nvidia GeForce 580, 680, 770, 780, 970 or faster Video card with a minimum of 2 GB VRAM (3-6 GB VRAM is optimal)
Optimize your Skyrim setup using all of the advice in this guide
- How to Have the Best Modded Skyrim Experience

If you don't have the Optimal System Specs then choose 1K versions (whenever possible).

Bethesda Hi-Res DLC Optimized - Full 1K (use this instead of the Official High Resolution Texture Packs!)
Langleys Textures Workshop - all-in-one
Dust Effects
Vivid Clouds and Fogs
Realistic Clouds - 2K
Luminescent Luna Moths - CyanMoth
Better Dynamic Snow
Quality Snow HD 4K - works with Better Dynamic Snow
Quality Snowflakes
AURORA - v2 x2048
Real Roads for Skyrim
Ruins Clutter Improvement
Skyrim Realistic Overhaul - SRO - Google 'Skyrim Realistic Overhaul - SRO torrent' - beware that many torrent clients and torrent sites are fully of viruses, malware, and spyware - PM me for recommendations
Skyrim Realistic Texture Overhaul Landscape - don't use LODs
SkyFalls and SkyMills - if installing manually make sure you check each folder for files - it's super easy to miss some and will break your game if you do - carefully follow all instructions!
Cinematic Fire Effects 2 HD
SMIM - Full - use the all-in-one ESP
Skyrim HD 2K - Full
Moss Rocks - use SMIM compatible version
Skyrim Realistic Texture Overhaul Dragons - download the Deadly Dragons and Bellyaches New Dragon Species addons
Project Parallax Remastered HD 2K - only if using an ENB
Project Parallax Stonewall Update - only if using an ENB
Vivid Landscapes - Dungeons & Ruins - 2048 - use SMIM and Better Dynamic Snow patches
Vivid Landscapes - Volcanic Area - 2048 - use HQ Parallax optional
aMidianBorn Caves and Mines
Skyrim Flora Overhaul - Full Regular - v.2.0 alpha or newer
Realistic Aspen Trees
Vivid Landscapes - Cliffs & Creeks - 2048
Superior Rocks - Light Grey HD-2K NEW
Seasons of Skyrim ENB - (personal preference is True HDR with No DOF optional)
Real Ice - Azure Glacier - 2K + Parallax - install less bright addon
Vivid Landscapes - Tundra Moss Revised - red - use Parallax Map addon (if using an ENB) plus the SMIM patch
Realistic Water Two - High Resolution
Realistic Water Two - ENB Textures - only if using an ENB
Watercolor for ENB and Realistic Water Two - only if using an ENB - follow all instructions!
SkyFalls and SkyMills - (Main mod already installed) - install Parallax (if using Project Parallax Remastered), Realistic Water Two patch, LOD addon
HD Enhanced Terrain PRO - Blended Version
Vivid Landscapes - Orc and Farmhouses - 2048 - use SMIM Ropes and SMIM Carriages downloads
Rustic Windows
High Quality Food and Ingredients
Jen's 2K Food and Ingredients
Realistic Sun and Sunglare - Climates of Tamriel not needed or required
Realistic Smoke and Embers
Detailed Rugs
Natural Grass Texture Floor
High Definition Ivy
Better Nirnroot
Blacksmithing Design HD
Roadsigns Redone
Animated Dwemer Lift Load Doors
EWIs Glowing Mushrooms, Hanging Moss, Blackreach Mushrooms, HD Thickets
Skygazer Moons - 2K
Oil - 2K
Realistic HD Ores
Realistic HD Ingots
Realistic HD Misc
PELTAPALOOZA - Pelts of Skyrim Expansion
Verdant - A Skyrim Grass Plugin (shorter grass version) (set iMinGrassSize=75 for best results)
Rustic Pottery
CM Bark - need the URL, please PM me
4K Parallax Treebark - 2K - use Realistic Aspen Trees patch
Embers HD - 2048 - install forges addon
Vivid Landscapes - Tundra Region - 2K - install any patches that you want
Lock o Motion

Make sure that you install any needed mod requirements/dependencies and compatibility patches for the mods that you use. Please pay close attention to this! Follow ALL mod instructions for each mod that you install!

These are the Core mods that I run and have been running many of them for years without issue. The above mods I recommend without reservation and are generally solid and well written.

Bethesda - For the awesome Elder Scrolls series and their Construction Kit
The Nexus Staff - For putting together a forum for sharing mods and bringing this community together
GhostAgent - For creating the logo (at top) and for the description page design and graphics
Tonycubed2 (author of Sands of Time) - For sharing this mod with his fan-base when initially released
Jebbalon for creating the great video for this mod
Cal from Dirty Weasel Media for the great review and video comparison
Combat Evolved - Skyrim Redone version created by Raulfin
Raulfin for helping with the fomod installer for the Combat Evolved - Modular version
Brodual for the excellent review and video of Combat Evolved

Become the monster.................stare into that black abyss.