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About this mod

Modular gameplay expansion mod with a uniquely player-acentric design:
Legacy spells, new magic, parrying and dodging, knockouts, disguises, aim-shake, expanded persuasion, multiple followers, new crafting options, lock requirements and lock-smashing

Permissions and credits
SU’MMER: Skyrim Universally ‘Mursive Mechanical Expansion & Recalibration

SU’MMER is a gameplay expansion for Skyrim with a comprehensive purview and unique ‘universal’ design philosophy. SU’MMER comprises 12 modules, each of which aims to either expand an underpowered game system or balance out an overpowered one through the introduction of new gameplay mechanics. So, what gameplay systems does it address, and how exactly does it affect the game?

Melee Combat ==========================
  • Problem: In Skyrim, the best defense is usually a good offense, and timing counts for next to nothing. Against the game’s flailing, predictable foes, heavy weapons suffer little from their slowness, blocking is a dull affair, and dual-wielders and spellswords who are not even afforded that luxury must resort to button-mashing and kiting to end fights before defense is needed.
  • Solution: Timed dodging provides a high-risk/high-reward alternative to blocking and increases the pace and mobility of combat. Just tap the sprint button while moving sideways or backwards with a fist, weapon, or spell raised. Utilizes unused vanilla dodge animations.
  • Solution: Parrying opens up defensive options to dual-wielders and spellswords, and helps to balance the strength and staggering power of two-handed weapons by penalizing their sluggishness and predictability. Swing a weapon or fist within an instant of your opponent’s, and your own will be treated as a block, staggering the opponent and mitigating damage.
Marksmanship ==========================
  • Problem: An overpowered skill, marksmanship provides an irresistible advantage against the game’s bumbling AI opponents, which has sent countless diverse and promising Dragonborn down the well-worn path of stealth archery.
  • Solution: To make archery more difficult, stamina will drain and the screen (and controller) will shake while drawing bows or loading crossbows, making aiming more difficult and encouraging careful shot timing to conserve stamina. Shake strength is configurable, and is optionally extendable to spellcasting and melee weapons.
Magic ==========================
  • Problem: Moreso than previous Elder Scrolls games, Skyrim suffers from a lack of spell diversity, with old favorites and even generic staple spells having disappeared only to be replaced by boring gradations of fire/ice/shock/healing spells. While Skyrim brings a number of interesting new magic archetypes to the table, a great many of them are available to the player only as shouts.
  • Solution: Legacy spells bring back the best of Morrowind and Oblivion, including Alteration spells like Jump, Slowfall, and Mark & Recall, Conjuration spells summoning classic bound weapons and armor, Destruction spells that drain attributes and resistances or inflict pure magicka damage, and Illusion spells that silence enemies’ casts and provide Sanctuary against incoming blows. Restoration may have benefited the most from the addition of classic stat and resistance buffs, reflection and absorption spells from the deprecated school of Mysticism, and offensive spells that afflict the living with poison.
  • Solution: New spells draw on Skyrim’s expanded palate of shouts and scripting advances to create entirely new playstyles for mages. Fling opponents through the air and distract them with suspicious noises, teleport through space and manipulate the timescale, bring dead allies back to life, change the weather at will, and hold time itself in your hand. These spells are presented in as lore-friendly a way as possible, and will particularly benefit those who roleplay non-Dragonborn characters using mods to disable the main quest or dragons but still wish to use the powers afforded by shouts.
  • SolutionNecromancy has always featured prominently in Elder Scrolls lore, but been essentially indistinguishable from any other form of Conjuration in practice. Now you can harvest flesh and bones from the deceased to use in new spells that raise undead thralls which never expire and don’t count towards your summon limit, allowing you to lead an army of the dead, including Draugr, Skeletons, and Skeletal Dragons.
Alchemy ==========================
  • Problem: The mechanics of potion consumption fundamentally imbalance combat in favor of the player. With minimal advance planning and the ability to pause time in menus, you can grind your way through most enemies by slugging down any number of potions whenever your stats dip.
  • Solution: Every action now has an inverse and proportionate reaction. Potion effects are followed after their expiration by toxic aftereffects that impair the skills or stats buffed by the original potion, encouraging careful timing and strategic consumption. However, tolerance towards these effects builds with Alchemy skill and receives an immediate buff through Poison Resistance, potions of which can even be used as buffers to diminish the toxicity of other potions throughout the duration of the Resistance potion. Just beware the crash thereafter...
Stealth ==========================
  • Problem: At the end of the day, stealth in Skyrim is a two-trick pony, boiling down to an exercise in staying out of sight when you’re outgunned and abusing sneak attack multipliers when you’re not.
  • Solution: Disguises provide an alternative to invisibility and evasion. Actors will recognize you as a member of numerous factions, including the Legion, Stormcloaks, Thalmor, Forsworn, Guards, and more when sufficiently adorned in their clothing or armor. Incidentally, your clothing must be chosen more carefully in public as you level up your skills and wear it more comfortably; you can no longer walk into Solitude dressed in full Stormcloak garb without provoking a furor.
  • Solution: Pacifists who prefer not to kill will find their preferences better-accommodated, as foes can now be knocked out with a fist, shield, special spell, or the blunt of a weapon. Unconscious foes can be looted and dragged, and will revive after a random period of several hours or when struck by a weapon or spell.
Lockpicking ==========================
  • Problem: A skill with no bar to entry and little sense of progression, lockpicking makes it possible for any meat-fingered brute with enough lockpicks to crack ancient chests and reinforced doors alike with minimal patience and no training.
  • Solution: Lockpicking requirements prevent you from cracking locks above a configurable skill level, so practice is now essential for thieving characters. Not to exclude anyone, mages who invest in Alteration will have access to new unlock and lock spells that scale to their skill level, and even pure warrior types will be able to crack simpler locks with enough force from a weapon.
Speechcraft ==========================
  • Problem: Beyond securing better prices and ensuring success in the few minimally-consequential persuasion opportunities sprinkled throughout the game’s quests, Speechcraft offers few advantages in the way you interact with the world. Additionally, pacifist characters are essentially out of luck in the merciless world of Skyrim, where downed enemies proclaim their submission before popping up to stab you in the back.
  • Solution: Contextual persuasion opportunities open up new gameplay options and even personalities to the player. Beg for money while wearing ragged clothing, rob passers-by while you weapon is drawn, or instigate a brawl with an insult and your raised fists. Be careful how you use these tools though; powerful actors may see through these threats and attack preemptively, and weak ones may be so intimidated that they sound an alarm against you.
  • Solution: Pacifists will now find that downed foes actually yield. Slightly-less-pacifist (or just more-pragmatic) characters will find that these foes can also now be robbed for their equipment, recruited as followers, or told never to show their faces again, useful if they’re the target of a bounty or assassination quest or seem too eager to stick around your newly liberated hideout.
  • Solution: You can now recruit up to 7 followers and 7 animals. You can also set a maximum party limit that applies jointly to followers and animals. As your party grows, you will learn shouted commands that can direct all your followers in a growing radius simultaneously.
Crafting ==========================
  • Problem: Beyond improving weapons and armor, crafting has little to offer in combat. Crafting progression is reflected only in other armor and weapon skills, and it’s easy for hours sunk melting down iron daggers to be invalidated throughout the early game when you level up and start finding gear made from newer, more powerful materials.
  • Solution: The ubiquitous traps placed throughout the gameworld, such as bear traps, pressure mines, and tripwires, can now be crafted, deployed, and picked up at will. New recipes make it possible to enhance traps with new offensive properties, such as frenzy, paralysis, or good-old-fashioned explosions.
  • Solution: For more academically-minded smiths, the remnants of the Dwarven civilization laying strewn about Skyrim’s ruins can now be used to craft portable Dwarven Automata, including Spiders, Spheres, Ballistas, and Centurions, which can be stored in your inventory and deployed in combat. For non-enchanters in particular, this offers an alternative sink for the hundreds of otherwise-useless soul gems you acquire in your travels.
Recalibration ==========================
  • An optional module with a few gameplay adjustments that play well with the other modules and offset some of the benefits afforded by the new features, but that edit too many vanilla records to merit inclusion in the main mod. Note that this file (and only this file) requires the Unofficial Skyrim Legendary Edition Patch and carries forward its edits whenever possible.
  • Carry weight of 100 for races, 150 for vampires
  • No longer start the game with 'Flames' and 'Healing' spells
  • Movement, swimming, and horse speeds have been decreased
  • Fall damage scales more realistically - you take enough damage from short falls to prevent you from easily jumping your way down mountains, and most characters will die falling from a height of more than a few stories
  • Light, noise affect stealth more
  • Enemies search longer when alerted
  • Crime alarm radius has been decreased
  • Animals, monsters, bandits, spouse, and housecarls won't report crimes
  • Animals and creatures are less aggressive
  • Carriages cost more
  • Speech checks are harder
  • Gold has weight
  • Dead body collision can be used as an alternative to the 'Knockout' drag feature

So why this particular mix of gameplay elements? Why use SU’MMER when so many of these elements exist in other mods as an a la carte buffet of individual game elements? Essentially, SU’MMER offers a polished and coherent all-in-one gameplay package, and was made with a particular design philosophy that emphasizes adaptability over all. While it looks similar on the exterior to other large-scale gameplay mods, its execution makes it different under the hood.

  • Perhaps the least visible feature from an average player’s perspective, I believe this aspect of SU’MMER will make a big difference on the durability and adaptability of the mod, and will hopefully serve as a proof of concept to other modders. Almost all mods that add gameplay elements make use of scripted magic effects running on the player to track their actions and respond accordingly. These effects can be applied to other actors to confer the same effects on them, but many foibles in the game’s scripting and engine limit what these magic effects can easily do in practice. Many mods compensate for this by using quests to track the player’s “alias” instead. Unlike effects though, these cannot be extended to a dynamic number of other actors without adding a functional excess of quest aliases, potentially dozens for complex features that require interaction between numerous NPCs. As such, many mods implement quest elements that apply only to the player, and some make use of player-specific scripting crutches that slow scripts down by orders of magnitude. SU’MMER does what (as far ask I know) no other mod does and uses innovative scripting methods to implement all of the included game systems entirely through magic effects (barring intrinsically quest-dependent systems like dialogue) and in a way that does not assume the effect is running on the player (barring intrinsically player-centric systems like screen and controller effects and skill advances). To be clear, many of these techniques are less efficient than more conventional quest-based scripting methods. However, it is my hope that this design will open up new ways for SU’MMER to interact with mods like ASIS and EtherealCoder's Ether Dynamics Advanced AI that expand existing game systems to NPCs, and the forthcoming crop of online multiplayer mods like Tamriel Online and Skyrim Together that decentralize the player’s role in the world.
Compatibility ==========================
  • While SU’MMER will expectedly step on the toes of any mods that add similar features, it alters very few vanilla records and will play nicely with most other mods, even ones that change game settings, perks, AI, and more. Whenever possible, values such as action costs and skill levels are drawn from Game Settings and will adopt changes from other mods in your load order. Additionally, it’s easy to extend features like potion toxicity and armor disguises to items from other mods; patches can be built in minutes by dragging items into indexed formlists or tweaking a global variable or two.
Customizability ==========================
  • While SU’MMER is calibrated to better balance the vanilla game and reward skill training, players who dislike the limitations it applies have the ability to customize almost every feature to their liking. If you have a mod that does a certain feature better, you can turn off undesired features altogether. Configuration is conducted through a SkyUI MCMenu, with individual pages for each gameplay module. This page also allows you to distribute SU’MMER’s added items throughout vanilla leveled lists so that added content will appear throughout the world, without baking into your save from the moment you load. There are also one-click options to test any individual feature by adding SU'MMER's spells, perks, and items to your character.
Coherence ==========================
  • On its surface, above all the interior bells and whistles, SU’MMER is a solid, fun-to-play mod that makes nods to previous Elder Scrolls games while improving the changes that Skyrim has made to their formulae. Most of the included spells are ripped straight from the lore of previous games, and those that aren’t fit right in through naming conventions and the use of vanilla assets. New assets for objects like bound armors, portals and Dwarven Automata were cobbled together from existing meshes and textures.

  • Skyrim Legendary Edition / Skyrim with all DLCs (I will likely get around to a Special Edition port once SKSE is no longer in alpha - others are welcome to attempt a port in the meantime)
  • SKSE Version 1.7.3+
  • SkyUI (for MCM Menu)
  • Unofficial Skyrim Legendary Edition Patch (only required for 'SU'MMERecalibration.esp' - the main file can be used without it)

  • Download with the ‘Download (NMM)’ button through Nexus Mod Manager
  •    OR
  • Download and install with Mod Organizer from the URL or the downloaded archive
  •    OR
  • Download manually, unzip file and place contents (SU'MMER.esp, SU'MMER.bsa, SU'MMER.bsl, and SU'MMERecalibrated.esp) directly into the ‘Skyrim/Data’ folder
  • The SU’MMER Loose Files & Modules download can be ignored by anyone who is not a modder or does not want to install and patch modules individually. The modular plugins included in this download can generally be used as-is, but installing the “Magic” plugin standalone will result in a non-functional version of the SU’MMER MCMenu if SkyUI is installed. It can be safely ignored and won't affect your save files. Modular plugins should not be used in conjunction with the full mod.
  • If a warning about replacing any of the following scripts appears when installing the loose files version, you most likely have an older or identical ‘Brawl Bug Fix’ mod installed, or one of the numerous other mods that include these fixes. Those that use Enai Siaion’s ‘Modern Brawl Bug Fix’ can be safely overwritten, as the scripts will be identical. Those that use an older version such as jonwd7’s ‘Brawl Bugs Patch’ are generally safe to overwrite as well, as the new versions resolve more instances of the brawl bug than do the previous. Consult the overwritten mod’s page or readme if in doubt.
  •      BladesSparringScript
  •      CompanionsSingleCombatScript
  •      C00ViklasScript
  •      C00TrainerScript
  •      C00JorrvaskrFightAthisScript
  •      C00JorrvaskrFightNjadaScript
  •      DGIntimidateAliasScript
  •      DGIntimidatePlayerScript
  •      MS11CalixtoScript
  • Many script values for skill requirements, stat costs, etc. are set dynamically from the game's GMST values. Load SU'MMER before any mods that edit these if you want it to account for changes.
  • If using any mods with competing features, load them below SU'MMER and deactivate the conflicting feature in the MCM - for dodge, trap, and multi-follower mods in particular, it should be enough to let the competing mod overwrite the animation trees, trap activators, and DialogueFollowerQuest respectively - these are the only vanilla forms touched by the mod. If building a merged patch, exclude SU'MMER from your patch if you want any features to be overwritten - all edits to leveled lists are triggered at runtime anyway, as described below...
  • To maintain compatibility, this mod makes no direct edits to the game's leveled lists. To distribute SU'MMER items like spell tomes, staves, scrolls, traps, and dwarven automata throughout the game world, open the MCM, check the 'Distribute SU'MMER Items' button, and close the menu. You will receive a confirmation message onscreen when the script is done distributing/removing the items. You can later un-check the option to remove these items from the leveled lists, but this will not remove any instances that have recently loaded or are in persistent inventories.
  • If you wish to test individual features, you can use the testing functions on the main MCM page to add items, perks, and spells from the mod directly to your character.
  • To uninstall, check the 'Uninstall SU'MMER' option in the main configuration window, exit the menu, and choose 'yes' in the resulting messagebox. This will remove perks from your character, deactivate certain features, and remove SU'MMER items from leveled lists (you do not need to separately un-check the 'distribute' option before running this). Like any mod, this does not make it safe or advisable to uninstall a mod mid-playthrough, especially if you have distributed items or are using features that add spells to NPCs, such as 'inter-NPC parrying.'

Bugs and Troubleshooting
  • A specific gameplay feature isn't working
  • The MCM menu provides access to debug modes that will print notifications to the screen so that you can see what the main scripts are doing for each feature. Try to reproduce the bug with the debug feature on and note any messages that appear irregular, i.e. repeatedly or with illogical values.
  • The MCMenu doesn't appear
  • All MCMs will sometimes fail to initialize on their first load. Try opening the menu window upon loading the game, closing the menu for several seconds, then re-opening. If this does not work, try reinstalling SkyUI, or using Jaxonz MCM Kicker.
  • New persuasion topics don't appear on any actors
  • This is a problem with the engine. Save with the plugin loaded then re-load and they should start appearing. Additionally, it may be that dialogue conditions or priorities are preventing them from showing up. Make sure that your clothing actually has the 'ClothingPoor' keyword if trying to beg (vanilla clothes with this keyword include the Ragged Robes, but not the 'Roughspun' items - the Unofficial Patch adds it to several other clothes as well). If brawling and robbery options don't appear, it may be due to quest priorities or scenes. All new persuasion attempts are set to medium (50) priority and will not run during scenes, so they may not be available when certain quests are running or certain characters are interacting.
  • Characters casting Bound Armor spells appear transparent along with the armor
  • This visual bug can occur on the first time casting Bound Armor spells, but will usually resolve itself by removing and replacing the armor, recasting the spell, or reloading. Alternatively, this may be due to an interaction with an ENB or texture replacer.
  • Casting the bound shield spell removes characters' gauntlets
  • This only occurs for certain items (just the Fur Gauntlets, as far as I know) due to the way that their slotmasks were set. It would be outside the scope of this mod to edit a vanilla item record for compatibility, so this will remain as-is, as it only occurs on a small minority of items. Kryptopyr's 'Weapons and Armor Fixes Remade' purports to solve some of these issues, though I haven't tested it myself.
  • The Dodge animations are not playing properly
  • Make sure you don't have another dodge mod installed that is overwriting SU'MMER's edits to the animation trees or triggering a new animation to play with the 'Sprint' button.
  • My followers aren't processing orders properly
  • This bug affected earlier versions of SU'MMER but has been largely resolved since v0.2. If followers' dialogue options are disappearing or commands are not processing, attempt to use the 'Reset Followers' feature in the MCM, then re-recruit your followers. If this issue is persisting from an earlier version after you update, try using console commands to reset your followers' factions and AI packages before you re-recruit them.

  • SKSE Team
  • Jaxonz for their MCM Helper
  • Enai Siaion for their Modern Brawl Bug Fix, which is included in this mod
  • Proksi for open-sourcing Action Combat, which was a starting point for this mod’s parrying feature
  • The Bethesda forums, Reddit’s R/ModdingSkyrim and R/SkyrimModders communities, and all of the users who provided help and guidance there
  • Many thanks to GkSanchez and others on Reddit's R/ModdingSkyrim community who helped with the Spanish translation

  • I’ll frequently go long periods of time without the time and/or motivation to update my mods, and like any mod author there’s no guarantee that I won’t drop off the face of the internet someday, but the last thing I want to do is leave a mod orphaned to restrictive permissions or the expectation of my blessing for its use. Permissions for this mod are open: you can upload this mod to any site, make changes to and/or publish separately any of the component plugins included in the archive, or publish altered versions of the the complete mod under your name, no credit required. The only restriction is that you can NOT derive payment, through crowdfunding or otherwise, for recognizable redistributions or edits of this mod.
  • All graphical assets in this mod have been adapted from Bethesda’s marketing and in-game assets. As such, I imagine they’re subject to the same restrictions on redistribution and inter-game porting that apply through the normal user license.