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About this mod

A trait system affecting enemy creatures' resistances and weaknesses to magic (fire/frost/shock), physical damage (blade/blunt/axes/arrows), poison and disease.

Permissions and credits

SSE version available here.

Changes the resistances and weaknesses of creatures and armor to magic and physical damage enhancing combat challenge and variety.
21 books to be found throughout Skyrim that unlock extra effects.
Covers all vanilla armors and enemies, except dragons and playable races.
Modular: choose only the creatures module, only the armors module, or both.
Compatible: No race or leveled list edits, installer includes patches for many other mods and expansions for mod-added enemies.
Lightweight: only a handful of scripts, none runs more than once.


Know Your Enemy fixes Skyrim's repetitive combat by changing the resistance and susceptibility of different creatures and armor pieces to different types of damage. No longer will you be able to slaughter your way through Skyrim armed with only a single weapon or spell, instead you will need to flexibly adapt your strategy to the current foe.

Here's how it works: Know Your Enemy adds 33 different traits that affect how much an enemy is damaged by different kinds of attacks. Physical attacks are broken down into blades, axes, blunt weapons and bows. Magic attacks are broken down into fire, frost, shock, poison and disease. Each creature or armor piece is given a number of traits that stack to determine its overall resistances and weaknesses. Open the spoiler below for an armor example:


Here's a creature example too:


But that's not all! Know Your Enemy includes a series of 21 bestiaries that give information about creatures' weaknesses and unlock additional effects. The books can be found across Skyrim and will be a challenge to find, so happy hunting! To see an example of the unlockable effects, open the spoiler below:


There's one last book that acts as an in-game introduction to the armor system. It can be bought from any blacksmith.


Part of the fun is not knowing what the traits are and instead experimenting with different approaches to figure out good strategies. All the traits have corresponding loading screens that will give you tips too. But, if you really want to know exactly how each trait works and which enemies they apply to, open the spoiler below:

Creature traits:


Armor traits:



Again, I suggest you play the mod and try to figure out enemies for yourself, but for a bit more info I've added a pdf as an optional download that discusses the distribution of resistances and weakness across creatures in considerable detail. If you really want to know exactly how different enemies are affected open the spoiler below.



Know Your Enemy uses the main armor piece to determine resistances and weakness, so you can wear whatever gloves, boots and helmet you want. An in-game introduction to the armor system is provided by a book that can be bought from all blacksmiths. As ever I suggest playing the game to learn about the armors too, but to get a sneak peak open the spoiler below:



Download and run the installer. It includes:
- The creatures esp (optional)
- Various patches
- Various extensions for other mods
- The armors esp (optional)
- An optional tweak to the silver perk
- An optional esp to remove the books.
From the above you can probably tell that KYE includes many possible esps, given this I suggest you merge them after installation.

I have tested the following procedure myself and it worked perfectly:
- Make a backup save
- Uninstall current version of KYE
- Install new version of KYE
- Load save

Uninstalling mods mid playthrough is a bad idea unless you are very careful. KYE adds perks to the player, as well as to enemies and the there is a possibility for null references to remain after uninstall. If you want to do it though, it's straightforward: deactivate the esps and remove them from your load order. Here are some extra tips: uninstall in a cell with no enemies loaded, make sure you have no copies of the KYE books on you, use a save cleaner.

Skyrim Legendary Edition (skyrim.esm, update.esm, dawnguard.esm, hearthfires.esm, dragonborn.esm)
Unofficial Skyrim Legendary Edition Patch

Performance impact:
None. KYE has a small number of scripts that only fire once (two at the start of the game, and one for each of the 21 books). Everything else is mediated by perks, most of which only run at the point of impact, and you should not expect any FPS hit.


Know Your Enemy is designed for maximum compatibility with zero active scripts. It only edits the following types of records:
- NPC records, traits are added as perks
- armor records, traits are added as keywords
- spell records, vanilla resistances are removed from the racial abilities of non-playable races

NPC records are the main source of incompatibility (typically other enemy overhauls). Though mods that add new creatures, armors, or attack types will need a patch to be affected by KYE's trait system.

100% Compatible:
Arrows and bolts tweaks
Audio overhaul Skyrim 2

Birds and flocks -  the birds added by this aren't NPCs
Combat evolved
Complete crafting overhaul remade

Diverse dragons - KYE doesn't touch dragons
Genesis - Dynamically increased spawns
Heavy Armory - the added weapons use vanilla keywords and so will fall into the following categories.
                             Blade: shortswords, glaives, spears, shortspears, daggers, tantos etc, tridents
                             Axe: halberds, battleaxes, hatchets
                             Blunt: clubs, maces, warhammers, quarterstaves, mauls, long maces
Height adjusted races
Increased Enemy Spawns
Moonlight Tales
Mortal Enemies

Racial body morphs
Skyrim Revamped - Complete Enemy Overhaul
- just remember to use the KYE version
Ultimate Combat


Compatible with a patch (included in installer):
Advanced Adversary Encounters - as another enemy mod AAE conflicts a lot with KYE. Nonetheless a patch is provided in the installer. This strips out the resistances added by AAE and replaces it with KYE's trait system. /u/TendiesForBreakfast helped a lot with the patch.
Cutting room floor - has a single conflict over the Spirit of the Ancient Wanderer, I consider the patch optional and load order unimportant.
Immersive horses - the patch resolves conflicts over (you guessed it) horses. Unless you want to attack horses feel free to ignore the patch and load IH after KYE, patch provided by Sthaagg.
Konahrik's Accoutrements - minor conflict, patch provided by Sthaagg.
Morrowloot Ultimate - conflict over draugr - MLU edits their inventory, KYE give them traits. Patch is strongly recommended.
SkyTest - conflict over various wild creatures, patch strongly recommended.
Undeath - conflict over draugr and skeletons, patch strongly recommended, patch provided by Sthaagg.
Wild World - conflicts over many NPC records. File kindly provided by Takahirn.

Mods that add new NPCs which inherit KYE's traits via a patch (included in installer):
High level enemies - the expansion in the installer extends KYE's trait system across the new enemies added by HLE.
SkyTest - adds a bunch of new creature types (cubs etc). The patch will give them traits too.

Mods that add new NPCs that don't inherit KYE's traits
Birds of Skyrim - new birds wont have traits, but doesn't matter as you probably (hopefully) don't attack them.
Cats of Skyrim - none of the cats will have KYE's traits. Not a problem though as hopefully you aren't attacking the cute kitties.
Elemental Destruction Magic - the newly added atronachs don't have traits.
Hammet's Dungeon Pack - adds new NPCs to various dungeons. A patch would be needed to give these new NPCs traits. However, because the new NPCs are limited to the new dungeons I'd be happy running both without a patch for now.
Monster Mod SE -  no KYE traits will be applied to the new NPCs added by MM.
skyBirds - the new birds won't have traits, but not a problem as you shouldn't be attacking them.
Skyrim Immersive Creatures - adds loads of new NPCs. Because these are added to vanilla lists I wouldn't recommend using it and KYE without a patch - you'll continually encounter a mix of enemies with and without KYE's traits. I'd suggest choosing between them: KYE adds strategic variety to vanilla enemies, SIC adds visual variety via new enemies.

Mods that add new attack types that aren't affected by KYE's traits
Elemental destruction magic - the new kinds of destruction magic (wind, earth etc) are ignored by KYE's traits and so if you play as a mage who specializes in these new types then you will notice very little impact from having KYE installed.

Minor conflicts:
Better Vampire NPCs - conflicts over death hounds and gargoyles (though not vampires as KYE does not touch them). Which ever you load last will "win".
Bring Your Silver - actually 100% compatible in a technical sense, but the effects of BYS will stack with those from KYE making creatures like undead extremely powerful. If you are using KYE I wouldn't use BYS aswell.

Major conflicts:
Equilibrium - Rogue-like encounters - conflicts with KYE over many NPC records.
Revenge of the enemies - lots of conflicts. If you want super tough enemies go for RoTE, if you want a more varied experience without radically changing difficulty go for KYE.

Future plans

I've implemented every feature that was on my to-do list, but if you have additional ideas please let me know in the comments. I might have time for some patch making, and I am more than willing to host user made patches, though single armor patches are probably too numerous to include in the installer. There's always scope to tweak and adjust the traits and I will do so in response to user feedback, however the mod has already been extensively adjusted and I currently consider it to be very finely tuned so significant changes are unlikely. For more information on the design of traits see pdf available in the optional downloads section.

If you're interested in making a patch for KYE and another mod, but not sure how, open the spoiler below.



1) Why use traits instead of just giving each species its own specific resistance and weaknesses?
Two reasons. First, traits that affect multiple species allow you to use past experience with enemies to guess at likely strategies for similar enemies. Second, traits combine in interesting and fun ways. Sometimes a creature ends up with an immunity, not from a single trait, but from how all its traits work together. Similarly, some enemies end up with crippling weaknesses.

2) Does this make the game harder?

Yes and no. If you try to play like vanilla Skyrim and use a single strategy for all enemies you will probably find some enemies extremely difficult. If you use the spoilers above to see each species weaknesses you will probably find the game a little easier (though only a few enemies have crippling weaknesses and some have none at all). If you play the way I intend and experiment with different approaches you will find new enemies tough at first, but as you learn strategies to deal with them they will become more manageable. As you discover the books new approaches will open up too.

This said, NPC AI does not take this sort of stuff into account so sometimes NPCs will have a very hard time. For instance, in one of the companion quests you are accompanied by Aela and Farkas etc and must fight ghosts. However, the weapons carried by these NPCs don't damage ghosts with KYE installed and so it will basically be up to you to kill the ghosts while the companions simply distract them. In another quest, you and Neloth (an NPC who mostly knows shock spells) fight dwarven automata, however, with KYE these are immune to shock so Neloth won't be much help. Nonetheless, these moments are few and far between, and when NPCs are your followers you can change their equipment strategically yourself (though you can't make the read the books due to an engine limitation). As such this shouldn't be a major problem.

3) Will this mod force me to play as a jack-of-all-trades?
No, however single weapon builds are less viable with this mod. Instead you should invest in two or three different attack types. So you could combine blunt weapons with offensive restoration spells (from Apocalypse for instance). Or you could combine shock magic with poison and bows. You can certainly go for a pure magic or pure physical build though; combining swords and hammers should work well too. That said, depending on which skills you favor you might still encounter a few really tricky enemies. If you really want to remain a specialist, then another option is to use a complementary follower, someone with strengths against enemies you struggle with.

4) Do I need a bashed patch?
No. The books are added to leveled lists at runtime via a script and so will be added to lists without the need of a bashed patch.

5) Where can I find the books?
The armor book is sold by all blacksmiths, but the creature books are much rarer. They can be found in boss chests associated with human(ish) enemies (bandits, imperial legion, stormcloaks, forsworn, hagravens, vampires and mages). Different books are more likely to be owned by different types of enemy (e.g. mages are more likely to own magic-relevant volumes), but any book can be found with any of the above enemies. Each boss chest has about a 10% chance of containing a book but some are much rareer than others. In general I wouldn't expect you to find all 21 volumes until you get to a very high level.

6) What's the difference between KYE's armors module and True Armor? Can I use both?
True Armor is a great mod, but you probably don't want to use it and KYE's armors add-on at the same time. For this reason, I made KYE's armors a separate esp so you can use True Armor with the KYE creatures module no problem. That said, I do think KYE's armors module is good! In general I think KYE's armors module is simple and stripped-down compared to True Armor. Here are some specific differences between the two:
- KYE's armors module is script free, True Armor uses scripts.
- KYE's armors module is has no MCM, True Armor has an MCM.
- KYE's armors effects are flat resists/weaknesses, True Armor's effects are more complex and stochastic.
- KYE's armors module is only based on the cuirass, True Armor takes all armor pieces into account.
Try both and let me know what you think!

Synergistic mods

Rather than recommending my favorite mods, I thought I'd suggest some mods that specifically work well with Know Your Enemy, so here goes:

Know Your Enemy overhauls enemy defenses, but why stop there? For a more complete experience you should consider upgrading enemy offenses too. Advanced Adversary Encounters is a popular approach (patch in the KYE installer), but a worthy newcomer is Skyrim Revamped - Complete Enemy Overhaul (has a patch for KYE), these give enemies new spells and so on, making them more dangerous. You might also consider fixing up enemy combat AI, with smilodonwildcat or combat evolved (all fully compatible with KYE). Finally, I would strongly recommend Mortal Enemies which places reasonable limits on how enemies can move in combat, it's so sensible its practically a bug fix.

Although KYE covers most enemies, it doesn't touch the playable races, so consider mods like imperious and diversity for those (both fully compatible with KYE). Neither does KYE affect dragons, so mods like deadly dragonsdiverse dragons, and so on, are always good choices. 

KYE gives you more reason to carry around multiple weapons, so why not show them off with a mod like visible favorited gear? You can also get a greater variety of weapons with a mod like heavy armory.


Special thanks to Sthaag, /u/TendiesForBreakfast, Takahirn, sirjesto, sasnikol, SidePannel, thelegg77 and FeelTheBerne who have contributed to the development of this mod by providing patches. Extra special thanks to thelegg77 whose support has been tireless.

Thanks also to tx12001 and sirjesto for their work on Advanced Adversary Encounters which was a major inspiration for this mod; the folks over at r/skyrimmods who offered feedback and encouragement, particularly Arindel who helped with adding books to leveled lists via a script and the 340 users who completed a questionnaire that helped me balance KYE; and, finally, thanks to Bethesda for making such an easily modded game that I can't put down.