Skyrim Special Edition

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About this mod

A large, complete overhaul of 6 major palaces and castles in Skyrim.

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For original Skyrim:

To Everyone Who Gives This Mod a Try

Getting this mod to work may not be easy. What I expect for its users is to read and acknowledge the most essential part of the description beforehand.
This is a comprehensive mod that I have been working on for 2 years. So there's a lot I did here, and I want you to enjoy it at its very best. If you don't pay enough attention to what I write here, you'll probably have "ruined" experience, which is what neither of us want.

1. Load "Palaces Castles Enhanced.esp" at near the bottom of your load order if not the very bottom, and do not let LOOT or BOSS sort my plugin as these tools are known to place my plugin near the top of your load order, which is wrong.
2. Start a New Game for the best, most likable experience. You can install it in ongoing game saves, but some objects will not be correctly placed if the mod is installed in mid-game which may cause some bad issues (e.g. Elisif's Throne floating in mid-air). This is due to the way Skyrim's game engine works, not a fault of the mod.

Oldrim version showcased by MxR in his video (from 7m~)

  • Remodeled interiors for 6 major palaces and castles in Skyrim, including Dragonsreach, Blue Palace, Castle Dour, Mistveil Keep, Understone Keep, Palace of the Kings, and Fort Dawnguard.

  • 17 new interiors. The NPCs inside the castles and the palaces will have new behaviors and daily schedules and make use of the new areas.

  • Dozens of new NPCs with clear purposes and daily schedules to add a more lively and realistic feeling to the palaces and the castles.

  • Dynamic changes and additions related to the progress of the Civil War quest-line.

  • An excitement of finding secrets and re-discovering the great history of the great palaces and castles of Skyrim.

  • Several quest-based events that take place inside the palaces and the castles.

  • Overall, many new surprising, exciting, beautiful additions as a proud result of of over 18~24 months of modding.

  • Provides support for the users with several popular mods.

  • Polished with several mod-development tools. Any unnecessary or dangerous records are carefully taken out. This is a bug-free mod.


Hearthfire DLC & Dawnguard DLC


Original Mod:

<Backstory and stuff>

<The summary of features>

Redesigned quarters and hallways.

New interiors: Stewards Living Quarters (Private), Jarl's Living Quarters (Private), The Parlour (Private), The Kitchen and Laundry Room (Private), Old Dungeon.

You can obtain the Jagged Crown after delivering it to General Tullius.

You can freely visit the new interiors without trespassing after completing the quest "The Man Who Cried the Wolf"

Elisif, Falk Firebeard, Bolgeir Bearclaw, Sybille Stentor, Thane Bryling, Thane Erikur, Irnskr Ironhand, Melaran, and Palace Guards are given a completely new set of daily routines. The members of the court will now travel to new locations to eat, study, bathe, and so on.

New music scores along with "Imperial Thrones" will play inside Blue Palace and its related areas.

New outfit for Sybille Stentor.

Paintings for Jarl Elisif.

Improved conversation scenes at the court.

The delivery quest "Elisif's Tribute" is modified so that you will meet Elisif in her private chamber at night time, rather than discussing Talos worship in public.

Original Mod:

<Backstory and stuff>

<The summary of features>

Redesigned quarters and hallways: Mistveil Keep, and Mistveil Keep Jar's Living Chamber.

New interior: Mistveil Keep Tunnel.

A cook named Padma and Laila's personal guard husky.

Vastly revised daily routines for the Jarl of Riften, the Steward, the Housecarl, Wylandriah, Harrald, and Saerlund. All of them will bathe once a day.

A painting of the Jarl, which changes according to the result of Civil War.

New music scores will play along with "Dragonsreach" inside Mistveil Keep and its related areas.

All of the conversation scenes between NPCs at Mistveil Keep were revised so that they are more smooth, realistic, and dramatic.

Original Mod:

<Backstory and stuff>

<The summary of features>

[font=Trebuchet MS]Redesigned quarters and hallways:
Palace of the Kings, Palace of the Kings Upstairs (the one where Wuunferth's room is in. Now renamed as "Palace of the Kings West Wing"), Palace of the Kings Upstairs (the one where Ulfric sleeps in. Now renamed as "Palace of the Kings Upper Rooms"), Windhelm Barracks.

New Interiors: Palace of the Kings Cellar, Freyja's Potions, Abandoned Living Quarters, Palace of the Kings Underground, Bath Hall, Old Library.

Heavily revised daily routines for the Jarl, Galmer Stone-Fist, Steward, Wuunferth the Unliving, Sifnar Ironkettle. All of them will bathe everyday. Adds a few new daily routines for Captain Lonely-Gale and Torsten Cruel-Sea, who were supposed to have a conversation scene with Ulfric but never actually visited Palace of the Kings.

New workers at Palace of the Kings, such as a huntsman named Hasbir who sells you some meat, a couple of new servants, 3 new Housecarls for Ulfric, 2 new mercenaries for Ulfric who can be hired as your own after Ulfric is defeated. Some of them are your enemies in Battle for Windhelm.

The Jagged Crown can be re-obtained after giving it to Ulfric Stormcloak

New music scores will play along with "Dragonsreach" inside Palace of the Kings and its related areas.

New painting for Ulfric.

Dynamically gets remodeled after Imperial's victory in Windhelm.

All of the conversation scenes between NPCs in palace of the Kings have been revised.
The conversation scene between Galmer and Ulfric, in which Galmer asks Ulfric if they can turn a dragon into an ally to Stormcloak, have been changed its triggering condition so that it, hopefully, can be seen more frequently.

<Backstory and stuff>

<The summary of features>

Redesigned quarters and hallways: Dragonreach, Dragonsreach Jarl's Private Quarters.

New interior: Armory & Bath Hall

Adds a few new daily routines for the Jarl, Steward, Housecarl, Hrongar, and Farenger Secret-Fire. All of them will bathe everyday.

All conversation scenes between the Jarl, Housecarl, Steward, and Hrongar that take place inside Dragonsreach have been revised.

Provides Irileth a proper place to sleep.

New music scores will play along with "Dragonsreach" will play inside Dragonsreach and its related areas.

<Backstory and stuff>

<The summary of features>

Redesigned quarters and hallways

New interior: Understone Keep Private Quarters

Adds a few new daily routines for the Jarl, Steward, Housecarl, Aicantar, Calcelmo, and Ondolemar. Everyone except 2 mages will bathe everyday.

Faleen (along with Igmund and Raerek) will no longer imprisoned in Blue Palace after the defeat of Imperials in Markarth, but instead transported to Understone Keep Private Quarters, to prevent Calcelmo from running & swimming all the way from Markarth to Solitude during the Mara quest.

All conversation scenes between the Jarl, Housecarl, Steward, Calcelmo, and Aicantar that take place inside Understone Keep have been revised.

New music score along with the vanilla music will play inside Understone Keep.

<Backstory and stuff>

<The summary of features>

Redesigned quarters and hallways

New interiors: Castle Dour Valetudnarium, Castle Dour Emissarium

Several new soldiers with different ranks with their own daily routines. A new cook will sell you food once completing your first mission as Imperial soldier after taking the oath.

You can now obtain a key to your own private chamber in Castle Dour after completing your first assignment for the Legion. You can also obtain a key to Castle Dour Tower after completing all of your missions for the Legion. Speak with General Tullius and he will grant you these keys when you ask him.

All conversation scenes in Castle Dour were revised.

A painting of Emperor.

<Backstory and stuff>

<The summary of features>

Redesigned quarters and hallways: The entry Hall, main guild hall, crafting area, cave areas, upstairs bedchambers, and Player’s private chamber.

Newly-added quarters: Cozy bed chambers dedicated for a few Dawnguard members, and Fort Dawnguard Vault (New interior cell).

3 new books, found in Fort Dawnguard.

Re-optimized Fort Dawnguard interior.

A few more trolls and huskies to better populate the cave areas.

Slight improvements for Dawnguard members' daily routines; slight changes are made in their work & sleep locations, etc. Does not add any new behaviors like bathing, etc.

Several new workers who attend to their work in and out of Fort Dawnguard. 2 of them will remain after the renovation is completed. 1 new cook, an Argonian named Salty-Fingers, whom you can purchase food from after completing the first Dawnguard quest “Prophet”.

All conversation scenes involving Dawnguard members are modified.
The conversation between Sorine and Gunmer about Florentius will not be triggered until Florentius is rescued from Ruunvald.

The conversation scenes between Gunmer and Isran, one in which Isran asks Gunmer about his plan involving the use of Armored Trolls and another in which Isran and Gunmer discusse about forging Dawnguard armor and weapons, will not be triggered after the main quest of Dawnguard is completed.

Actors now properly face each other, make proper facial expressions when appropriate, do not pose awkwardly between sentences in all of the Dawnguard conversation scenes.

Please note that any mods that make changes to Fort Dawnguard interior is incompatible with Palaces & Castles Enhanced, but compatibility patches with 3 major lighting overhaul mods and Horse on Patrol - Dawnguard are available. Palaces & Castles Enhanced does not edit the World Space “Dayspring Canyon”, being consistent to my focus on interiors.

There will be NO compatibility patches or whatever means of support for any other Fort-Dawnguard-related mods, so if you wish to use one of those mods in combination with Palaces & Castles Enhanced, it is advised that you put Palaces & Castles Enhanced after that mod as well as making edits to it by using TES5Edit if necessary in order to avoid conflicts.

For more detailed information on compatibility, please take a look at the Article section where all of the compatible & incompatible mods are listed.

New "Immersive" Music Plays in 5 Palaces!

New music scores for 5 palaces and castles in Skyrim. Now that we have more variations of songs that play inside the palaces and castles, the vanilla music score "Imperial Throne" will no longer play in Palace of the Kings, Mistveil Keep, or Dragonsreach.

All music tracks used in this mod are also used in Hothtrooper44's Immersive Music mod, so if you've played Immersive Music you know what kind of music you'd expect to be played.

They're fantastic and very historical music scores performed by Adrian von Zielger that add the sense of spectacle to the Jarl's residences.

If you wouldn't like these new music scores to play, you have the option file "No Custom Music Patch" to revert the music settings to vanilla which you can install along with the main plugin. Please make sure to load the No Custom Music Patch after all of your other compatibility patches, otherwise it will not work and you'll have to keep hearing the new music scores.

More About NPC's New Daily Activities, Schedules, AI Packages

Many NPCs in the palaces and castles are now seen doing new things in the new areas and overall much more lively and active.

The Jarl will no longer just sit on their Throne all day long so Ulfric's statement of being a busy man is no longer a false statement.

The noble people of Skyrim finally bathes now that they have bath halls in their palaces. Every Jarl, Housecarl, Court Wizard, and Steward will use their bath halls every day as well as a few others who live with them, such as lower servants and family members of the Jarls.

When they enter their bath halls they will undress before dumping themselves into a hot water. Inside the baskets near the bath halls you'll find their equipped armors and clothing. If you're playing as a thief and looking to steal from them, their bath time is a great chance for it!

Other than bathing, many of the people in 5 palaces have been given special activities to attend to. Ulfric can be found in Temple of Talos in early morning, Laila holds a war council, and much more!

Everything You Need To Know about Civil War and Palaces & Castles Enhanced

Many changes will be brought to the castles and palaces as you progress the Civil War quest line.

After "The Jagged Crown":

If you sided with the Imperials and gave the Jagged Crown to Tullius, you will be able to find it later somewhere in the Blue Palace. If you gave the Crown to Ulfric, then the Crown will be there for your taking in the Palace of the Kings.

When the Hold Is Taken By Their Enemy:

Some dramatic changes will be brought to the palaces and castles in Skyrim when the parent city is taken over by the opponent faction of the Civil War.

(A Few Examples of Changes)
The painting of Jarl Laila in Mistveil Keep will be removed and the painting of the new Jarl will take its place.

A new dummer servant will be welcomed into the Palace of the Kings after the Imprials take over Windhelm.

A new Jarl will be wearing the attire fit for the Jarl.
This is the similar feature introduced in Appropriately Attired Jarls mod. However the outfits the new Jarl will be wearing are not identical to that of the old Jarl in my mod, unlike Appropriately Attired Jarls.

Death...Or Exile

As you may know, when you take over a city during the Civil War quest line, the Jarl and their allies will lose their homes and take a refuge in another castle. The mod makes some important changes to this mechanic.

1. Their belongings, including their armor, noble clothes, circlets, rings, will be confiscated by their enemy. They'll be literary stripped off their titles and all the wealth that went with them, so they will no longer be dressed like nobles. Their confiscated belongings can be found in a castle located in a winning side's capital city; the Empire will store what they confiscated in Blue Palace and the Stormcloaks will bring them to Windhelm Bloodworks in Palace of the Kings.

2.  If the defeated Jarl has sided with Stormcloak, they will be transported to Old Dungeon in Blue Palace. If the Jarl is an Imperial loyalist, then they will be sent to Old Soldiers' Quarters in Palace of the Kings. They will no longer attend to their endless drinking party at the castle or hang out in the main chambers of these castles.

There are some, however, who don't get their punishment in this way.

1.) Korir, the Jarl of WInterhold who supports Stormcloaks, and his family members will be moved to Brunwulf's house in WIndhelm just like vanilla Skyrim. Their belongings will not be confiscated as I figured that they don't own much from a start.

2.) Jarl Igmund of Markath who supports the Empire along with his housecarl Faleen and steward Raerek are also exceptions.Their belongings will be confiscated just like the others. However their place after the exile is not Blue Palace anymore; the new private quarters in Understone Keep will be their new home. In Vanilla Skyrim, due to the fact that Faleen is transported to Blue Palace after being exiled, Calcelmo literally had to marathon across Skyrim to find his lover in the capital during the Mara quest. A man of his age shouldn't have to exhaust himself like that. So Faleen along with her Jarl and also the steward won't leave Markarth anymore. But they are not allowed to leave the dark private quarters nor can they access to their confiscated items which you can find in the Jarl's living quarters in Understone Keep. The private quarters will be heavily guarded so essentially it's their prison.

For list of all of my compatibility patches, take a look at Compatibility Article here.

I made this mod with a maximum compatibility in mind;
I'm confident to say that I did the best I could do to make this mod compatible with many other mods, for 4 reasons.

1. It doesn't change the exterior. Palaces and castles Enhanced is only about interiors. Although it has worldspace records inside the plugin, it is perfectly safe to use along with other city overhaul mods such as JK's Skyrim, Dawn of Skyrim, Expanded Towns and Cities and so on, as long as they don't change the interior design of the keeps.

2. No vanilla unique NPCs are edited. Yes, it adds new behaviors for npcs, but their new behaviors are given to them through quest aliases. This mean you can use any mods that affect the vanilla NPCs such as fantastic Bijin mods by rxkx, Ordinary Women, my another humble work called The Men of Winter, and so on.

3. No dirty records! By the dirty records I mean any unnecessary edits that are created in the process of mod-making and some dangerous edits to mark vanilla objects as "deleted". This mod is cleaned by TES5Edit by using both automatic procedure and polishing method by hand.

4. We have a plenty of Compatibility Patches.

Recommended Mods List

I have a humble suggestion for anyone who're interested in using this mod, to install the following visual enhancements mods as well. Most of the mods bellow are very popular and perhaps you have had them already installed.

Although they're not required at all, I highly recommend to use them to make your palaces look more superb.

Horse Cloaks by Hypno (
*Unavailable for Special Edition
: PCE adds 2 horses in the Mistveil Keep courtyard and they'll be wearing the purple horse cloaks if you have Horse Cloaks by Hypno installed. All you need is its meshes and textures so you don't necessarily have to activate its esp file. The horses will be "naked" if you don't have these files, but that wouldn't cause any serious problem.

rxkx22's Bijin mods
: His Bijin mods are the reason why I'm modding.

Static Mesh Improvements Mod (SMIM) by Brumbek

Pretty Animated Potions - Small Bottles Edition by dailyplanet

Ruins Clutter Improved by raiserfx

Forgotten Retex Project by JDAnchor
: A very neat collection, has the best Sweetroll retexture too!

CC's HQ Fort Dawnguard by ClearanceClarence or Dawnguard Fortress Improved High Resolution 2k by HXP
:The Touch of White from HXP's mod is also good.

Authentic Windhelm by laast
*Unavailable for Special Edition
and Noble Skyrim Mod HD-2K by Shutt3r
: For Windhelm architectures. I simply let Noble Skyrim overwrite Authentic Windhelm for perfection. I think Noble Skyrim's textures for Palace of the Kings interior parts are exceptionally superb. Also I really like textures for the noble furniture in Noble Skyrim and I recommend to use this one or Langley's mod for them.

Detailed Rugs by raiserfx or RUGNAROK by Gamwich

Langleys Texture Workshop by Langley
*Unavailable for Special Edition
: For rugs, display cases, and noble furniture textures. Although I personally prefer Noble Skyrim for the noble furniture textures, Langley's textures are also amazing.

: Surely a must have for everyone.

Riften Paralax textures from 4K Parallax Skyrim by Pfuscher by Pfuscher
*Unavailable for Special Edition
: For Mistveil Keep and the Riften tunnel interior/exterior. If you'd like to have a bit more fanciness in Riften architecture, how about CoP - Riften by Foggypath?

Ultimate Solitude or Tamriel Reloaded HD by 32cm
: For Solitude architectures. Pfuscher's Paralax Solitude mod is also great!

Ancient Dwemer Metal by SRW0
*Unavailable for Special Edition
: For Dwarven clutters in Understone Keep.

RUSTIC SILVERWARE by Gamwich or Superior Silverware - HD Textures by skyrimaguas, both with Rudy's meshes
Honey pot by benitoite
*Unavailable for Special Edition
Retexture for Bread - Hearthfire by quilb
*Unavailable for Special Edition
Insanity's Soap - Retexture by Amelli
*Unavailable for Special Edition
Realistic HD Baskets by Halk_Hogan_PL
Book Covers Skyrim by DanielCoffey and doccdr
Embers HD by mindflux
MAPS by Gamwich
*Unavailable for Special Edition
LITTLE THINGS by ramccoid and hishutup
*Unavailable for Special Edition

Use one of the mod manager tool to install. MO2, MO1, NMM, Vortex, whatever works for you.

You have 2 main files to download. One is the BSA archive which contains all new creative assets. Another is the esp file, which is updated more frequently than the BSA archive. I know the size of the BSA weighs a ton, sorry!
It's crucial to activate both Palaces Castles Enhanced.esp and Palaces Castles Enhanced.bsa before you play. Without the content in the BSA all new assets will be invisible in-game.

Now this is important,

You have to place Palaces Castles Enhanced.esp near the very bottom of your load order.

LOOT likes putting my plugin near the top of your load order, which is really wrong. If you use LOOT, don't forget to lower the load order of Palaces Castles Enhanced.esp later.

This is heavily due to the Navmesh changes in the plugin, which the new altered AI behaviors depend on. There are many other plugins known to make changes to these castles as well, which interfere with the new layouts in this mod. These are the reasons why you are highly recommended to load this mod after the majority of mods you're using.

If you have knowledge of using TES5Edit I advice you to look through your entire load order with TES5Edit and see if there's any conflicts with Palaces Castles Enhanced.esp inside your load order, and make your own patch if you noticed a sign of conflicts.

And also,

Start a New Game
if you can. The new game always works much, much better. Some of the persistent objects such as Thrones maybe missing if you try to install it onto the ongoing save data.

If you install this mod in mid-game and encounter any "weird" issue with it, it's most likely due to your installation.

Adrian von Ziegler - All new music scores used in this mod are performed, recorded, shared, and owned by Adrian von Ziegler.

Many, many people's creative assets are used in this mod. There even were many people who generously shared their amazing creations with me when I asked them, and supported me with their kind words.

Without them my mod could never be made. I'd like to thank everyone who supported me in the process of making this mod.