About this mod

Be a pirate or privateer! Pillage enemy vessels and obtain unique loot. Sail the Sea of Ghosts and explore the ocean floor! Pay your crew by sharing the spoils of your pillages, or better, give them rum!

Permissions and credits
  • Turkish
  • Spanish
  • Portuguese
  • Japanese
  • French


Users of the GENERAL STORES version need the new main file (for the textures and all) and then overwrite with the new General Stores esp. No problem with chests.

Users of the STANDARD version need the new main file AND need to make sure to empty the chests in the captain's cabin, near the forge in the ship, under the skooma lab, in the alchemy lab, and the barrels near the cooking spit. If you don't, all the items there will be gone.

Users of the NO HEARTHFIRES version (yes it is called HearthfireS not Hearthfire, at least the esm is) need the new MAIN FILE and then overwrite with the NO HEARTHFIRES version.

This will solve all your issues guaranteed:


I've been modding myself ever since Morrowind and longer than I knew the Nexus even existed, yet I never
released anything I created. I thought I'd change that. So I present:

Pirates of Skyrim: The Northern Cardinal under the Black Flag

1. What is this?
2. Installation Instructions
3. Features
4. Requirements
5. Compatibility
6. Known Issues
7. FAQ
8. Credits

1. What is this?

"Pirates of Skyrim: The Northern Cardinal under the Black Flag" is a massive expansion of the superb "Northern Cardinal" mod by swordboy, that I created by subsequently modding "Northern Cardinal". It is one of probably over 50 Skyrim mods I've made for myself but never released. As stated, I would like to make this the first I do release. Thankfully, swordboy has granted me permission, so here it is.

This introduces pirating to Skyrim. You can henceforth sail the Sea of Ghosts, explore the ocean floor, have naval battles, pillage unique treasure and display it in your upgraded captain's cabin, manage your crew and more.

2. Installation Instructions (!!! BE SURE TO CHECK THE REQUIREMENTS !!!)

Install the mod with NMM as per usual or drag and drop the 3 files in your data folder. You do NOT need the original mod by swordboy. He has explicitly given me permission to package everything, the base mod "Northern Cardinal" + my expansion "Pirates of Skyrim", into one file for convenience. So, if you have Northern Cardinal installed you will need to overwrite the original esp and bsa. Make sure to pick up everything you have stored inside the ship, or on the ship, or the new Solitude docks area incuding the interiors there, because it might get lost after overwriting. Just to be on the safe side.

                               I still urge you to go and download "Northern Cardinal" and to endorse swordboy's original mod.

To skip the quest associated with getting the ship open the console and type "setstage 0shipquest 200".
To start the quest, talk to Marician at the new Solitude docks area.


3. Features

Hint: What Brodual missed is that there is a BOARDING PLANK located next to the captain cabin's door. You use it to board the traders and the large battleship.

As you can see MMOx found the boarding plank and his sky is not messed up like Brodual's (they told me it was some conflict with their setup)

3:08 = Pirates

The Sea of Ghosts

Sail the Northern Cardinal (that's the ship's name if you haven't played the mod before) to the Sea of Ghosts and explore the ocean floor. Dive for pearls the size of your head and discover sunken ships filled with treasure waiting for you to loot them. Rescue a shipwrecked blacksmith from a slow death at sea and make him part of your crew. The 'ocean features' (as I call them) like wrecks and treasure etc. spawn and unspawn randomly every time you sail the Sea of Ghosts creating the illusion of an actual ocean you are sailing.

You will need a crew of three in order to sail the Sea of Ghosts.

Naval Battles

Use one of three telescopes(one near the steering wheel, one near the map on the deck, and one in the crow's nest) onboard to find enemy ships waiting to be boarded and have their cargo seized.

Board unsuspecting, sailing merchants, Imperial Ships, Stormcloaks...


...or a huge Imperial Battleship...

  • New: Seasnake Squadron (cannibalist Argonian pirates)
  • New: Explorers with a custom ship, custom armor, custom HATS, custom weapons (rifles, optional see below), custom shield
  • New: Thalmor with prisoners and/or treasures. Thalmor Sailor Elites carry a new weapon - The Glaive.

(See Image Section for Details)

Unique Cargo

Seize anything from fine carpets, furs, food, and valuable unique treasures to even RUM from your unsuspecting targets! 

  • NEW: Fine Silverware
  • NEW: Map fragments to be assembled at your desk in your cabin

Crew Management & Morale System
(can be - de facto - disabled by typing "set aacrewmorale to 999" into the console)

Your crew won't be sailing for free anymore. From time to time you will have to either share the spoils of your pillaging with them, or, even better, provide them with bottles of rum! The management of your crew is done via your first mate's dialogue options.

The amount of gold you will have to pay is based on a formula I came up with that does not make a smaller crew necessarily cheaper to maintain than a larger one and further takes the players gold into account.

Tell your crew mates to be part of the boarding squad, guaranteeing that they will be in the first row when the action is happening.

NEW: Upgradeable table that you can also decorate and use to summon your entire crew to the table

Expansion of the Captain's Cabin: Trophy Room with Displaying Booths

Buy the upgrade for your cabin for a hefty sum and 'craft' special booths displaying the unique treasure you have pillaged.

Each of the booths provides a special, themed bonus and, more importantly, looks cool.

What I am Working On
  • 'The Ayacan Archipelago' - a tropical archipelago located somewhere in the Abecean Sea with new enemies, palmtrees and all that shid for the player to explore.
  • 'Ayacana Island' a huge tropical Island somewhere in the Abecean Sea, close to the 'Ayacan Archipelago'.
  • 'Porto Ação' (it is meant to be FAUX portuguese) a Pirate settlement on 'Ayacana Island' with lore, backstory, quests and all that stuff. It starts out being rather run-down and crappy, but the more the player contributes though bringing in special loot and gold, the more it flourishes into an independent pirate nation.

Thank You to Donors!
It wasn't allowed before but now it is so I would like to thank all the insanely kind people who actually deemed me worthy of donating money to me for my work!
List of Donors (chronological order):
Jacob (same as above so double thank you!)
GSK Enterprises

Miscellaneous Tweaks

  • Your horse no longer teleports with you to the crow's nest.
  • Your horse does not sail with you period. I figured most people have Convenient Horses anyway and why would you bring your horse to the open sea?
  • Added a bunch of rope ladders to the ship's sides so you can get around.
  • In the GeneralStores version, there are auto sorting chests now.
  • A spellbook which teaches you a "Teleport to Northern Cardinal" spell can be found in the Captain's Cabin, in the corner of the room.
  • The game does no longer autosave when you sail to another port.


4. Requirements

I predominantly made this for myself and thus built it on base of the esp I use which is the NorthernCardinal.esp for the legendary edition without Falskaar/Wyrmstooth. Again, if there will be other versions depends on how well it goes.

NEWS: There is a NO HEARTHFIRES VERSION now. You still need Dawnguard & Dragonborn though.

For the Standard version you need:
...Skyrim.esm, Dragonborn.esm, Hearthfire.esm, Dawnguard.esm and !!!!!!!!!!!!!UPDATE.esm!!!!!!!!!!! (meaning no pirates, oh the irony)

For the General Stores version with autosorting chests in the ship's interior, you will need GeneralStores.esm by Harvey2112;

You will need the plugin "Fuz Ro D-oh" in order to be able to read the silent dialogue of your first mate, the shipwrecked guy, and the captured alchemist.
"Fuz Ro D-oh" is available here:

5. Compatibility

This is compatible with all the 300 mods or so that I use.

It is not compatible with all the mods listed in the original Northern Cardinal mod, with, in my opinion, one exception. I use NC and Pirates of Pacific together and other than massive clipping when you have not yet started the PoP quest, but the NC is docking in Solitude, I experienced no issues. In short I'd say PoP is compatible. If you finish the PoP quest before the NC quest you will experience no issues whatsoever.

NOTE: I experienced one compatibility issue with the mod called "Dynamic Things" once in one of my saves. There, it appeared that the engine could not disable crates because dynamic things was dynamically doing its thing with them. So, if you are using "Dynamic Things", like I do, you will probably need to disable crates and maybe even barrels from being unstaticalized, just to be sure.


6. Known Issues

Even though Hearthfire is required, because I have used assets, currently family-move-in into the ship is disabled. I had to comment out a line in the crewscript concerning this because the script would not compile otherwise, even though I do have all the hearthfire source files in my source directory. I don't care much for this hearthfire feature, so I don't consider it a biggy. It is probably easy to resolve though, someone just needs to point out why the script won't compile and I will fix it, np.

Actors falling into the ocean. The AI is being stupid on occasion, meaning some enemies will hurl themselves into the ocean rather than fighting you. Consider it cowardice on their part. I'm working on a fix. Should be way better now (since v1.2), since 1.3 enemies that fall in the ocean will drown after a while.


7. FAQ

Q: How do I get a crew / I can't make my follower join the crew why?

A: In order for NPCs to join the crew, they need to be followers and ON/IN the ship AND/OR have a crew journal in their inventory. This means giving them a crew journal (inventory / console / reverse pickpocket) is the fix if some follower mod screws up the dialogue. You can theoretically make ANY NPC a crew member by giving them a crew journal. That is not advised for important NPCs like Ulfric etc. YOU WILL ALSO NEED TO PURCHASE THE CREW'S QUARTERS UPGRADE.

Q: I can't sail to Raven Rock, why?

A: In order to be able to sail to Raven Rock (Solstheim) you need to
a) Have been there before and initiated the whole Dragonborn quest thing
b) Talk to the Captain who brought you there and convince him to give you the route
c) If the dialogue with the captain won't show up type "set 0ShipEnableDragonborn to 1" in the console
d) You can now sail to Raven Rock via the wheel/outside map

Q: I have installed the mod but it crashes when I start Skyrim after Bethesda logo. What do I do?

A: OK listen, a crash on startup is always always always always always due to a missing masterfile. That means you lack one of the following: Make absolutely sure you have Skyrim.esm, Dragonborn.esm, Hearthfire.esm, Dawnguard.esm and !!!!!!!!!!!!!UPDATE.esm!!!!!!!!!!!, if it still crashes you have probable installed the Generalstores version which obviously also needs GeneralStores.esm. So you either install normally or you get the mod General Stores. Since you seem to have trouble figuring out which file (out of 2) you need, I suggest getting the mod General Stores because after that there will be absolutely no more trouble for you. Given that you DO have Skyrim.esm, Dragonborn.esm, Hearthfire.esm, Dawnguard.esm and !!!!!!!!!!!!!UPDATE.esm!!!!!!!!!!! of course...

Q: Will this break my game? / Ehrmagerd, you broke my game!!!!!!!!!11111111
A: I run over 300 mods and I have installed, heck, I have CREATED this mod midplaythrough and my save is just fine. If you manage to break your save using this I am surprised you did not break your legs when you turned on your computer.

Q: Is this compatible with SkyRe/Requiem/PerkusMaximus etc.?
A: Of course it is.

Q: How do I disable the morale system?
A: type "set aacrewmorale to 9999" in the console. This does not disable it, but it'll make it so you can sail to the Sea of Ghosts etc. almost ten thousand times without the system impacting you.

Q: I used the telescope a few times, now it only says there are no other vessels around!?
A: For balancing reasons, you can only "reroll" 3 times. After that, you will have to return to one of the ports and come back to the sea in order to reroll again. The amount of reroll times can be set to a custom value by typing "set aaRerollTimes to X" and "set aaRerollTimesCustom to X" in the console.

Q: Why no MCM for your features??
A: I know nothing about creating an MCM menu. I personally don't need one as I know how to tweak things for my own in the CK. Whether I go through the trouble of putting a MCM menu in the mod depends on how this first-time-releasing-something experience goes.

Q: I want traders/pirates/imperials etc. to spawn more often/less often.
A: type "help aachance" in the console, it gives you a list of the probabilities. You can set the values to any value you want now. The telescope script will do the math for you and spread the probabilities out by percentage. Special thanks to cdcooley who helped me out on this and on how to make the values update.

Q: I don't own Dawnguard/Dragonborn/Hearthfires. Will you make versions that don't require the DLCs?
A: There is a NO HEARTHFIRES version now. Dawnguard and Dragonborn are not only awesome and give modders awesome resources but they are dirt cheap. Buy them.

Q: Why no Falskaar/Wyrmstooth support?
A: I built this on top of the esp of Northern Cardinal I use, which is the legendary edition without the "new lands". I'll see how things go and decide later whether there will be a version supporting the new lands.
Update: I do not have the new lands installed so I can't make the edits. The mod should work with the new lands installed but you won't be able to sail to Falskaar/Wyrmstooth.

Q: Something's wrong fix pls!
A: If you want me to fix something or change something you will have to provide DETAILED information regarding the issue. Statements as the above do not help me at all. Help me help you. Especially for the ocean floor I will need information where the issue happened relative to a prominent feature there (like what kind of wreck there was etc.).
Update: This still applies even though most users ignore it. Posting "OMG got issue XY fix plz" does not work in your favour, trust me.

Q: Do you take requests?
A: If by "requests" you mean you telling me what to do and then I do it. I don't think so. If, however, you want to pitch me ideas. Of course. I am open to suggestions especially regarding new types of loot. I am no modeler though so don't ask for things of which no models exist.

Q: Why is there a map marker in the middle of my map?
A: Because you did not update. It is harmless though.

Q: You should totally make a seadragon and sea monster and kraken fight and make the ship sailable and circle enemies and sharks and flying unicorns shooting lasers!
A: The things you mention would MAYBE be possible to be pulled off by an entire team of developers, modelers, an animations department etc.. Even then, given SKyrim's engine limitations it would be easier to create a new game entirely. You need to understand that modding Skyrim is not just ticking a box in the CK that says "Add awesome fight against kraken".

Q: Arizona Cardinals? Undownload!
A: Someone mentioned it on youtube basically saying "this has the Arizona Cardinals logo I won't download". Listen, I am not from the US, I know NOTHING about "American football", and you can change the banners to Imperial/Stormcloak/Pirate. Afaik the creator of the banner is Canadian so whatever!

Q: I don't want rifles in my game!
A: You can change the explorer's carrying rifles by activating the shipmodel in the captain's cabin. There you will find the Options Menu for this mod.

Q: I got the map directions. How do I get to the island?
A: If you play this legit there is no way you could get all 5 map fragments in less than a week. There is no island, yet.

Q: I've read the whole description, the FAQ, the stickies, the bug forum, but my issue is not addressed anywhere, what now?
A: Bravo! Post your issue with a detailed description of it and add the codeword "me hartey". I'll look into it.

8. Credits

Blary for Open Books, Alchemy Clutter, food containers etc.
Stoverjm for Open Books Library.
yourenotsupposedtobeinhere for Rug Resource.
BrettM for Experiment Pack and Aquarium Kit.
InsanitySorrow for all his Skyrim Resources.
Oaristys for Modder Resource Pack.
Ghosu for the Pirate Saber from his Weapon Pack and for the Flintlock Rifles.
Horrorview for the texture in Sexy Boats.
Daemonjax for his Just In Time Lighting Scripts.
TESA for Skyrim Resource Kit Project.
Tamira/Stroti for Assorted Resources.
Khugan (user name Conifer) for the crowns.
The coin texture is made by Bartalon.
LordKarnak for the pirate flag.
hothtrooper44 for the Seadog Armor and the Captain's/Ebony/Steel Cutlasses.
747823 for the Iron Cutlass.
swordboy for the original Northern Cardinal mod.

Harvey2112 for the assets used in the GeneralStores version.
Mr.Dave for the Tricorne & Feathered Tricorne, all the awesome hats (I named them Explorer's Hat), the mão esquerda, the rapier and the glaive.
TH3WICK3D1 for the blue stripes armor and the redanian retexture of it (Explorer's armor).
From the corresponding mod page:
Meshes and textures belong to CDProjektRED, the developer of The Witcher 2 (
These models and textures were not created by me (unless specified otherwise), it was simply used to create this mod.
the models were edited in Blender to adjust to the Skyrim set of bones."
markusliberty for the cyrodilic ship resource.
Luddemann for the "Feathered Beret" aka Bard's hat.

Teh-Husky for the amazing Netch Leather armor.
monk_ide for the new furniture (table and stands).


I'd like to express special thanks to all modders in general and especially to those who include their source files as this enables people like me to learn from their scripts. Those people made this mod possible.