Skyrim Special Edition

About this mod

This mod is a complete overhaul of the alchemy and cooking systems. Its intention is to provide a balanced, consistent experience throughout all aspects of alchemy and cooking, from harvesting and collecting ingredients to high-level potion and food creation.

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Alchemy is perhaps the most complex skill system in Skyrim and has the potential to be a beautifully nuanced crafting system. Unfortunately, it is also plagued by inconsistencies, imbalances, and poor design choices that often reduce the skill to little more than an easy way to make a quick pile of gold. This mod seeks to change that, to both balance and enhance the inherent complexity of this system and bring greater versatility and enjoyment to the Alchemist's craft.

  • All aspects of Alchemy have been reworked for greater balance and consistency.
  • Fixes bugs relating to harvestable objects in Skyrim, including the flora respawn bug.
  • Options to set the duration of restore potions and damage poisons to 1, 5, or 10 seconds.
  • All potions have been renamed to allow them to naturally sort from strongest to weakest.
  • Player-created potions will be named to better reflect their strength and effects.
  • Player-created potions will be fully consistent in strength, cost, and name to the ready-made potions found in game.
  • Impure potions no longer provide a quick means to get rich.
  • Adds 16 new alchemical effects that can be created from ingredients and found as ready-made potions.
  • Grenades and long lasting weapons coatings open up new combat strategies and play-styles.
  • New portable alchemy workstations allow potion creation to take place anywhere.
  • Create salves and poultices which can be applied to bandages for an alternative to healing spells and potions.
  • Distill weaker potions to make stronger versions.
  • Over 100 new lore-friendly ingredients have been integrated into the world.
  • Adds 51 new critters: 21 moths & butterflies, 11 dragonflies, and 19 pond fish.
  • Harvest amounts from plants and animals have been adjusted for greater realism and less tedious gameplay.
  • Hearthfire's gardening feature has been updated to include missing vanilla plants as well as many of the newly added ingredients.
  • Features high-quality meshes and textures from some of the best modders and artists in the community.
  • Harvest blood and other powerful alchemical ingredients from fallen enemies.  Vampires can use the blood to create unique blood potions.

  • Meat can be harvested from nearly all animals and creatures and used in new cooking recipes.
  • Over 100 new food items have been added.
  • All food effects have been altered to use extended duration 'fortify' effects.
  • Large foods and drinks are now automatically divided into smaller servings.
  • Cooking recipes have been reworked for better balance and greater realism.
  • You'll gain cooking experience and increase you cooking skill as you create foods.
  • Increasing your cooking skill will give you access to more complex recipes and increase the strength of the foods you consume.
  • An entirely optional and incredibly light-weight hunger and fatigue system is included for those who don't want to use a separate needs mod.
  • Alcoholic drinks will now cause drunken effects with increasingly severe penalties.
  • Cannibalistic recipe options have been provided for followers of Namira.

This mod was a massive undertaking, and I am fortunate to have had some incredible help in creating it.
I am especially grateful to Tascani, Teabag86, and Excinerus for all their work and assistance. This mod would not have been possible without their help, hard work, and inspiration.  I also want to give a special thanks to Impulseman45, SparrowPrince, gooball60, theregisteredone, wiseman303, and Kelmych for providing additional custom resources for this project.

  • Tascani created the bombs used in CACO. The smooth and efficient functioning of this system is all his doing.  He also worked on balancing, brainstorming, and many other technical aspects of the mod. 
  • Teabag86 helped to brainstorm and test ideas, modify meshes, create spreadsheets and food recipes, pull together and track resources, and worked on many other aspects of this mod.
  • Excinerus was also crucial to the creation of the bombs, created all of the fantastic new meshes used by the bombs, as well as creating and modifying many of the other custom meshes and textures.
  • Impulseman45 created the gorgeous new butterfly and moth meshes along with many of their textures, as well as the new ironwood tree.
  • Kelmych helped create the food recipes and organize the massive amount of spreadsheet data used in the creation of this mod.
  • SparrowPrince helped to modify and improve various meshes and textures.
  • Gooball60 designed unique potion bottles for the new effects and allowed me to include some of his other meshes from Unique and Improved Potions.
  • theregisteredone created the beautiful new dragonfly textures that are used in this mod.
  • wiseman303 for allowing me to include his Flora Fixes, along with providing a few corrections and new harvest animations for several of the models that were missing them.

You must have the following installed in order to use this mod:

Please note that this mod uses SKSE extensions that need to be updated whenever a new update for Skyrim is released.  It is recommended that you disable automatic updates in Steam in order to allow time for SKSE and mods such as CACO to get updated.  Running this mod without the correct DLLs for your version of Skyrim will result in certain features, such as potion-making and bombs, not functioning correctly.

CACO uses the furniture nodes in alchemy and cooking crafting station meshes to detect when an item is crafted. Consequently mods which remove the furniture nodes from these meshes, such as No Crafting Animations, will break much of CACO's functionality.

Complete Alchemy and Cooking Overhaul - Settings Loader - Save, load, and import MCM settings from an existing save.

Download the main file along with the DLL files that correspond to the version of Skyrim SE that you're running.  Install the main file first, then allow the DLL files to overwrite the older DLLs included in the main file.

It is recommended that you install Complete Alchemy & Cooking Overhaul at the start of a new game.  If you install it in an existing game, there may be inconsistencies and other oddities.  Pre-existing player-made potions may end up with broken effects, and already claimed alchemy perks may not function correctly.  For similar reasons, it is strongly recommended that you do not uninstall this mod from an existing save game. To assist those looking to test this mod's balance and features prior to committing to using it in a new game, I have provided several utility options in the Mod Configuration Menu under Help.

Complete Alchemy & Cooking Overhaul should be loaded after any mods that modify the vanilla ingredients or alchemy effects.

True Fortify Effects for Magic Skills - This option is recommended only if you are using a magic overhaul that allows spell strength to scale with your skill level. This file will modify the alchemy-related "fortify magic skill" effects so that they actually fortify the skill rather than directly altering magnitudes or percentages, making them consistent with the changes CACO makes to the other Fortify Skill effects. This is an .esp / ESL flagged file, so it won't take up a spot in your load order.


Alchemy is a fairly difficult aspect of the game to fully balance.  It is a vastly more complicated system than smithing or enchanting.  Smithing has a handful of crafting components that are used to create the majority of all crafted items, and none of those components have their own internal magnitudes or other properties that contribute directly to the strength of the crafted item.  Even in the base game, Alchemy features over 100 ingredients, each with four distinct properties, and each of those properties can be set with a different magnitude or duration.  The result is a very complex system, but I feel that also makes it a much more interesting skill than it's more straightforward cousins. This mod attempts to balance all factors that contribute to alchemy. For better or worse, this means that it edits quite a few records within the game.

Balancing Alchemy starts with the magic effects that comprise the core of this skill.  The goal here is to treat the effects more consistently, and to balance their cost and value with regard to both their rarity and their utility within the game.  The most costly effects are now also the rarest effects and at the extreme end of the scale, they may only be represented by a handful of ingredients.  Existing ingredients were adjusted to reflect this, and new ingredients were added to proportionally increase the 'commonality' of the cheaper effects.

  • Effect Cost. The base cost for all alchemy-related magic effects has been adjusted. I've tried to re-price the effects based on their utility and potency during game play so that the most expensive effects are both truly valuable and also fairly rare. The range of these values has also been significantly decreased. The base cost for effects in the vanilla game ranged from 3 to 285, meaning that some potions remained nearly worthless even at high alchemy levels, while other effects would create vastly overpriced potions. This also encouraged the player to focus exclusively on the most expensive effects (particularly ones that were also disproportionately common) in order to advance their skill level and quickly farm a lot of money. The new adjusted base values range from 35 to 95. This range is great enough to provide a sense of increased value for the more powerful effects without creating the huge disparity of prices that were previously seen. This also allows the player to focus on the effects that are most useful to their current character without hindering their experience gain and skill progression.
  • No instant effects.  All Restore H/M/S and Damage H/M/S effects now have some duration.  By default, this is set to 1 sec (which was actually the vanilla setting in some cases).  However many people, myself included, feel that Restore potions and Damage poisons are better balanced when their effect is spread out over several seconds.  CACO provides the option to change these effects from 1 second to 5 or 10 seconds.
  • Restore effects do not stack.  In the vanilla game, all Restore effects stack with themselves.  This allows a player to quickly consume a stack of potions and completely heal themselves.  By default, these potions will no longer stack.  If two potions with the same effect are consumed, then one of the potions will be canceled out by the effects from the other.  This change can be disabled in the MCM.
  • Fortify Skill effects.  Most of the Fortify Skill effects have been altered to actually fortify the skill rather than directly altering magnitudes or percentages.  The magic skills have been excluded from this change, but can be added by installing the optional "True Fortify Effects for Magic Skills" file.
  • 16 New effects.  Sixteen new effects have been added to the game.  Five of these replace vanilla effects, and 8 of them were already present in Skyrim, just not available for player-created potions.  The new effects are: Cure Poison, Resist Disease, Damage Undead and Lingering Damage Undead, Waterwalking, Fortify Unarmed, Detect Life, Fortify Speed, Resist Paralysis, Fortify Speech, Night Eye, Drain Intelligence (reduces spell power), Drain Strength (reduces attack damage), Fatigue (reduces available stamina to 0), Etherealize, Feather (increases carry weight), and Silence (reduces available magicka to 0).  The effects that are no longer present are Ravage Magicka (replaced with Silence), Ravage Stamina (replaced with Fatigue), Fortify Barter (replaced with Fortify Speech), Lingering Damage Magicka and Lingering Damage Stamina (replaced by Damage Undead and Lingering Damage Undead).

Alchemy can be seen as the utilization of the natural world and the harnessing of the properties inherent in natural materials. These raw components are the essential "building blocks" for alchemy. In the vanilla game, these blocks are generally all the same size and shape, and the value of their effects has little relationship to the price or rarity of the ingredient. This makes vanilla alchemy fairly predictable; if an ingredient has Fear as one of it's properties, then it doesn't matter if it's a Daedra Heart or a Dragonfly, it will result in the exact same potion. However, the downside is that this makes vanilla alchemy rather dull. What's the point of seeking out rare or expensive ingredients when you can easily harvest bushels of mountain flowers? This is also one of the keys to balancing the profitability of alchemy. Cheaper ingredients need to produce cheaper potions; otherwise it becomes too easy to turn that pile of 1-gold flowers into a stack of 100-gold potions.

  • Effects and Strength. The most valuable effects are represented by the fewest number of ingredients, and those ingredients generally tend to be rarer than the ingredients that have common effects for their properties. Paralysis (the most expensive effect) can be found on only 7 ingredients, while Resist Disease (one of the cheapest effects) is found on 21 different ingredients. Likewise, the rarer or more expensive an ingredient is, the more powerful it's properties tend to be. It is now much more rewarding for an Alchemist to find those rare ingredients.
  • Order of Properties. As in vanilla, each ingredient has four alchemical properties. However, these properties are no longer randomly assigned a spot within the ingredient. Properties have now been listed in order of their "potency" with the most potent property listed first. This means that an ingredient's primary property (the first one you discover when you eat an ingredient) is the one with the strongest relative magnitude. All other things being equal, this is the effect that will give you the most "bang" from that ingredient. However, this is relative only to the other properties of that particular ingredient. The fourth effect on a Daedra Heart will still be stronger than the first effect on a Monarch Wing.
  • Ingredient weight and price. Ingredient weights and values have been adjusted to make more sense relative to one another and to other items in the game. Rare or unusual ingredients, or those with valuable effects, are more expensive than common ingredients or those with cheaper effects.
  • Complimentary effects. In assigning effects to ingredients, I've also paid attention to what combination of effects are possible.  With CACO, you'll find that you can now create many more useful and naturally complimentary combinations of effects.
  • No instant "Cure" ingredients. In the vanilla game, you could eat an ingredient with Cure Disease as the first effect and achieve the exact same benefit as you would have from a Potion of Cure Disease. That makes the potions rather useless and redundant. Therefore, this is the one exception to way effects are prioritized within an ingredient. Cure Disease and Cure Poison are never the first property on an ingredient. You need to create the potions themselves in order to benefit from these effects.
  • New ingredients. Over 100 new lore-friendly ingredients have been added to the game. The number of added ingredients was actually determined based on the way the effects have been balanced. I've tried to add a fairly wide assortment of items, both for balance and for added interest and diversity in the world. Many of the ingredients were selected because they were available in past Elder Scrolls games. However, I've tried to only choose those items that could reasonably be expected to grow in Skyrim (or Solstheim) or else would be suitable for long travel and import by merchants and traders (root pulps, teeth, nectars, etc). There are also a wide variety of new fish and insects and new organs that can be harvested from animals and creatures. Most ingredients can be bought from merchants or will spawn in various leveled loot lists. There are also a small handful of special ingredients that occur in only one or two locations in game.
  • New "vanilla" ingredients. There are several vanilla items that have been given new purpose as alchemy ingredients. These include Horker Tusks, Dragon Heartscales, Bone Hawk claws, and Soul Husks. These items will be automatically swapped for their new ingredient version when you load CACO for the first time and whenever you pick up one of the vanilla items. Quests related to these items have been modified to use the new version. In order to facilitate compatibility with other mods that might use these vanilla items, there is an option in the MCM to manually exchange the items for their vanilla equivalent.
  • New Harvestables and Plantables. Some of the new ingredients have been placed around the world as harvestable plants and mushrooms. Many can also be planted and grown in Hearthfire gardens. Sulfur can be mined from new Sulfur Deposits.

Harvest Overhaul has been fully incorporated into CACO and extended to also cover any new harvestable items. The number of ingredients harvested now reflect the amount that appears to be harvested. Similar adjustments were made to the Hearthfire garden versions. These adjusted harvest amounts have been taken into consideration when calculating the rarity of an ingredient, so while you may get many more ingredients than you did before, they remain balanced within CACO's overall Alchemy system.

  • Creature Harvests. The number of ingredients and amount of meat harvested from animals and creatures has been adjusted to more accurately reflect the appearance and size of the creature. Gold and other foreign objects have been removed. With the new Anatomist perk, Blood and other unique ingredients can be harvested from dead creatures. A couple of vanilla ingredients, such as Sabre Cat Eyes and Frostbite Venom, now require this perk before they can be harvested.
  • Clams and Oysters. Both Clams and Oysters will now drop Pearls and Mother of Pearl, but Oysters have a much higher chance. Rarer Black Pearls have also been added as a new ingredient.
  • Bird Nests. Bird eggs have been resized and nests can now spawn with multiple eggs. Chicken nests will respawn every 24 hours.
  • Beehives & Apiaries. Beehives and Apiaries have been altered to spawn more reasonable quantities. The beehives at Goldenglow now also use respawning Apiary inventories (as long as the related quest is not currently active).  Bees no longer spawn with Vacant Beehives.
  • Spriggans. If a daedric dagger is equipped, then spriggan sap can be harvested from spriggans in addition to their other ingredients (a particular quest-related dagger also works).
  • NPC Harvests. Blood, Flesh and other unique ingredients can be harvested from dead NPCs. The Anatomist perk and a Scalpel or Blood Extractor is required to harvest blood and organs. Bloods reflect the individual traits of each race and are potent alchemy ingredients. The NPC Blood ingredients also serve as minor blood potions for vampires and can be combined at the alchemy lab to create stronger Potions of Blood with unique properties. Flesh can be harvested with a dagger after the player has completed Namira's quest (or enabled the Cannibalism option in the MCM).
  • Gardening. Missing vanilla plants have been added to the Hearthfire gardening feature and many of the new ingredients can also be planted.
  • MCM Options. The chance to receive additional ingredients can be customized from within CACO's MCM. There is also an option that will allow you to disable this feature and return to the vanilla settings of 1 ingredient per plant (and similarly, 1 food item per animal).

When it's all said and done, this is what Alchemy is all about: creating potions. The vanilla game tends to treat potions rather inconsistently. In some cases, even the weakest player-made potions were much more powerful than any of the available generic potions. In other cases, even with 100 skill and all perks, the player could never hope to match the quality of the best generic potions without resorting to cheats and crafting loops. These inconsistencies are now gone. CACO assumes that generic potions were made by other alchemists with access to the same range of skills, perks, and ingredients that the player has, and as such, all generic potions follow the same progression in strength and value as the player-made potions. The strongest generic potions are presumed to have been made by master alchemists with 80-100 skill and a minimum of 4 perks. This still allows a player who maxes out alchemy to create better potions than any they can find. Using rare ingredients will further increase this difference.

  • Alchemy skill. The player's alchemy skill level now has a much greater impact on the strength of the potions you make. This allows the potions to scale better with the player's level, and makes leveling alchemy feel much more rewarding.
  • Potion names. All ready-made potions have been renamed to follow a more consistent naming convention. Potions will now sort alphabetically by strength and will be consistent with the names of player-made potions. All two-effect potions are now called "Draughts," and potions with three or more effects are now named "Elixirs."
  • Potion weight. The weight of potions is now based on the number of effects they have. Potions with a single effect will weigh 0.3; Draughts (potions with two effects) will weigh 0.4; and Elixirs (potions with three or more effects) will weigh 0.5. This applies to both player-created and ready-made potions. This rewards players for finding more efficient combinations of the effects they want to use.
  • Potion appearance. The appearance of the ready-made potions has been altered to reflect the new weight scheme. Potions of a single type will use the same mesh. So single-effect potions will use the smallest potion mesh. Draughts will use the second potion mesh, and Elixirs will use the third potion mesh. The largest meshes have been reserved for various specialty potions. The strength of the potion is represented by differing textures, with weaker potions appearing duller in color and stronger potions appearing brighter (NOTE: this feature has not yet been fully implemented to cover all potions).
  • Impure Potions. Impure potions, those with both positive and negative effects, should be considered rubbish or failed alchemical experiments, but in the vanilla game, these potions are often some of the most highly valued items you can create.  It makes no sense why these potions should be worth a king's ransom, and it actually makes taking the Purity perk detrimental rather than beneficial. CACO applies severe penalties to all Impure potions. Essentially, they are now treated as a waste of ingredients, and are only good for learning new ingredient properties. The Purity perk will be absolutely necessary if you want to combine certain ingredients to create worthwhile potions.
  • New multiple-effect potions. Ever wondered why only the player and a handful of thieves can craft potions with more than one effect? Well, no longer. CACO adds an entire range of ready-made Draughts and Elixirs with combinations of multiple effects that can be found in loot and sold by merchants. There are currently 9 new ready-made Draughts and 8 new Elixirs, though I plan to double or triple this number in future updates.
  • New ready-made potions. Generic, ready-made potions for each and every alchemical effect can now be found in loot or for purchase from merchants. This includes all newly added effects as well as all vanilla effects that were missing proper potions.

There are several serious issues with the vanilla Alchemy perks. Probably the gravest imbalance is the Purity perk, but the three ranks of Experimenter are fairly worthless as well, particularly at the skill levels required to attain them. Furthermore, while not an issue of balance, the Alchemy perks are simply lacking much interest or variety. CACO hopefully changes all that.

  • Alchemist. Reduced from five ranks to three.
  • Naturalist. This is basically a replacement for Green Thumb, designed to work with CACO's overhauled harvest rates.
  • Field Alchemist. CACO introduces five new types of mortars and pestles which can be used to craft potions anywhere. However, they suffer a 50% reduction in potion strength as opposed to a full alchemy lab. This perk halves that penalty, so that potions created in the field are 75% as effective as those created at an alchemy table.
  • Anatomist. This perk allows the player to use blood extractors to harvest blood from certain creatures and NPCs. It also allows additional ingredients to be harvested from creatures (as well as NPCs, provided a scalpel is used).
  • Physician. Provides a permanent 15% boost to health regeneration rate, and allows for the creation of beneficial poultices and tonics. Poultices are first applied to bandages which are then worn to provide a boost. Bandages can be created from linen wraps at a tanning rack. They must then be cleaned using either a cookpot+water or a retort+alcohol. The effects for bandages and poultices only work when the player is injured. The effects cease once the player is fully healed. They also cannot be applied while in combat. Once used, the bandages need to be cleaned before they can be used again. (NOTE: There are currently only a few types of poultices available. I plan to expand the range and diversity of these recipes in future updates).
  • Snakeblood. This perk is now a combination of Experimenter and Snakeblood. However, instead of receiving a guaranteed ability to learn more effects when you consume an ingredient, you are given a percent chance that you will learn more than 1 effect each time you eat an ingredient. This percent chance increases with the number of ingredients you have consumed. In addition, your resistance to poisons is now also tied to the number of ingredients you have consumed, and will continue to increase the more you eat (think of it as a form of mithridatism).
  • Benefactor/Poisoner. Potions/Poisons you mix are 25% more effective. (NOTE: In future updates, I plan to add a number of poisonous foods and tie their recipes into the Poisoner perk).
  • Purity. Same effect as vanilla, but also has added benefit of reducing the weight of beneficial potions by 0.1. As mentioned above, in the vanilla game, many players avoided taking this perk because it actually devalued their potions. Since Impure Potions are now nerfed, this perk has considerably more value than it's vanilla equivalent.
  • Concentrated Poisons. This perk now does exactly what it says: All poisons now last for twice as many hits. The vanilla perk did not truly double this value, but merely set it to 2. This has been changed to a true multiplier, which also means that waxes with a base of 10 hits will now last for 20 hits. As an added effect, this perk will also reduce the weight of all poisons you create by 0.1.
  • Catalyst. One of the two new master perks that have been added to the Alchemy tree. This perk allows you to create more powerful grenades, weapon waxes, and other specialty poisons.
  • Chymist. The second new master perk. This perk will allow you to refine common ingredients into more powerful "extracts" and distill weaker potions into stronger ones. (NOTE: Additional recipes for specialty potions and additional refined ingredients will be added in future updates.)

In my opinion, this is one of the most exciting new features of CACO. TasCani has created a wonderful system for throwable weapons. A lot of work has gone into this feature to ensure that throwing bombs feels responsive and natural when it comes to animations and equipping. All bombs and projectiles use custom meshes made by Excinerus. TasCani's system for throwable bombs is very light-weight from a performance standpoint and works incredibly smoothly. There are currently three varieties of elemental bombs but more will hopefully be added soon.

  • Custom Effects.  All bombs and projectiles use custom designs and effects. There are currently three types of bombs: Incendiary Bombs, Frost Bombs, and Shock Bombs. Bombs do various amounts of AOE damage and a smaller amount of continuing damage over time. In addition, several bombs have unique effects, such as a Deep Freeze effect, with a chance to instantly kill the target, and the ability for Shock bombs to temporarily disable Dwarven Automatons. 
  • Crafting. Alchemical bombs can be crafted using a Retort. The weakest versions can be created with the first alchemy perk, the second rank when you reach an Alchemy Skill of 60, and the most powerful rank can be crafted after taking the Catalyst perk.
  • Supports Dual Wield & Mounted Combat. Bombs can be thrown from either hand and work with dual-wield block mods. They can also be thrown from horseback allowing for ride-by ranged strikes.
  • Block & Boom. Bombs will injure the player if they are too close to the explosion. If you block an attack with a bomb in hand, there's a chance the strike might cause it to explode.
  • Use for traps or ambushes. Bombs can be dropped on the ground then detonated by external means, such as spells, arrows, or other nearby explosions. This allows for the strategic placement of several bombs which can all be detonated with a single strike as an enemy approaches.

In addition to the new bombs, there are several other new features that are now part of the alchemy system and expand the utility and versatility of the alchemist's tool kit.

  • Weapon Waxes.  Waxy coatings can be made to poison your weapons for multiple hits. Each hit will be proportionally weaker than the single-hit poisons, but waxes last for 10 times more hits than standard poisons.  Waxes are created using the Retort. Additional specialty waxes which target specific types of enemies, can be created once you take the Catalyst perk.
  • Mortars and Pestles. CACO adds five ranks of mortar and pestles to the game. Having one in your inventory will enhance the strength of the potions you create, up to 20% stronger potions for having a Master Mortar and Pestle. They can also be activated directly from your inventory to allow you to craft potions anywhere. However, the potions you create using just a mortar and pestle will be weaker than those you create at a fully furnished alchemy table. You can take the Field Alchemist perk to reduce this penalty, but it cannot be eliminated completely.
  • Alchemist's Retort. This is a new type of Alchemy crafting station that allows for recipe-specific crafting. Retorts can be accessed at any tabletop alchemy lab and can also be purchased as a separate portable crafting station.  A retort is needed in order to create bombs, waxes, distilled potions, purified ingredients and extracts, salves, poultices, and other specialty potions.
  • Alchemist's Crucible. This is another new alchemy tool.  A crucible can be used to standardize player-made potions.  This will convert your potions and poisons into their generic equivalent.  In most cases this will result in a decrease of the potion's strength.  However, it will allow player-made potions and poisons to be used in the wax coating and distillation recipes that allow you to create stronger versions of potions and poisons.  Currently, the crucible will only work with single-effect potions.
  • Salves, Poultices and Bandages. These provide alternative means of healing for characters who might not want to always guzzle potions or use healing spells. Bandages can be created from linen wraps at a tanning rack. They must then be cleaned using either a cookpot+water or a retort+alcohol. The effects for both salves and poultices only work when the player is injured. The effects cease once the player is fully healed. Once used, the bandages need to be cleaned before they can be used again.
  • Changes to Altars. Altars no longer Cure Disease. This was done to help balance the usefulness of the Cure Disease potions. This effect is still quite common, and Potions of Cure Disease are readily available at apothecary merchants. The intention was not to make diseases more difficult to cure, but rather to emphasize the role of alchemy in everyday life in Skyrim.


Food and Cooking composes the second half of this mod. Cooking isn't really given much importance in the vanilla game and seems to be more of an after-thought than something with any real purpose in the game. Obviously there are mods that address this by making food an essential need in order to stave off hunger and starvation. CACO is not really a "needs" mod and is not intended to be. However, it does attempt to make cooking and food feel more interesting and well-integrated into the game, while also making it more balanced, and providing the player with a sense of reward and accomplishment for their cooking efforts.

Food effects have been reworked to make them more distinct from alchemical potions. The vanilla game treats food items pretty much like very weak potions, and when you're in a bind and low on heath, you can instantly consume 50 cabbages to restore your health in the midst of combat. This seems more than a little silly, and my main goal was to make food feel more like food. It isn't particularly strong and probably isn't going to make a critical difference in combat, but the idea is that eating regular, well-rounded meals will provide you with small, long-duration benefits.

  • No instant recovery.  All instant Restore effects have been removed from food and replaced with long-duration fortify and regeneration buffs.
  • Game-based durations.  Nearly all food effects will range in time from 1 to 4 hours. These effects are measured in game-time and will adjust automatically based on the time scale setting you are using. The duration of the effect is roughly equivalent to how filling the particular food item would be, and the intention is that the effects from a filling meal should last approximately 4 hours game-time.
  • Effects do not stack.   While food effects can be used in addition to potions, spells, or other bonuses, they do not stack with other food effects of the same type. This means that you can have one Regenerate Health effect, one Regenerate Stamina effect, and one Regenerate Magicka effect from different food items, but you cannot have two Regenerate Health effects from food at any one time.
  • Balanced meals.  In general, food effects follow this pattern: Vegetables & Grains = Health; Fruit & Sweets = Magicka; and Meat & Cheese = Stamina. When combined with the fact that identical food effects do not stack, this is intended to encourage the player to consume more "well-rounded" meals instead of focusing on eating stacks of the same type of food.
  • Complex recipes create stronger foods.  Raw, uncooked foods will give you pretty paltry bonuses. Cooked foods will give you stronger bonuses, and the more advanced or complex the recipe, the greater those effects will be. I'm still adjusting the balance of the various recipes, but basically, the idea is to reward the player for taking the time to create more involved recipes.

This mod adds a massive number of new food items that you can harvest, purchase, plant or create. Many of the alchemy ingredients also double as new food items and are used as components in cooking recipes. I've made extensive use of many other great food and cooking mods and resources in order to make sure that almost all of the new food items have a unique appearance.

  • New Animal & Creature Meats.  Meat can now be harvested from nearly all animals and creatures and used in new cooking recipes. This includes foxes, hawks, sabre cats, bears, trolls, chaurus, and a few others. In addition, the quantity of meat that you'll get from an animal has been altered to better reflect the size of the animal. However, these amounts should still feel fairly balanced and are not an attempt at truly realistic quantities of meat. These new meats can be cooked, marinated, turned into soup, made into jerky, and used in various other recipes.
  • Cannibalism. Devotees of Namira can harvest Flesh from humanoid NPCs by equipping a dagger or scalpel. If you haven't completed Namira's quest, your character can harvest Flesh by enabling the cannibalism option in the MCM settings.
  • Portion Control and Serving Sizes.  Large foods and drinks are now automatically divided into smaller servings when you consume them. Those massive cuts of meat are now treated like four steaks or servings. A bottle of wine is four drinks. A wheel of cheese is cut into individual wedges, and a loaf of bread is eaten as two half-loafs.
  • Weight and price adjustments.  The values and weights for all food items have been adjusted to reflect their relative size and apparent weight. However, certain foods like soups have been made somewhat heavier in order to approximate the added difficulty in porting these foods around (and to place more emphasis on cooking and eating a meal immediately rather than lugging around 50 bowls of soup. To counter this, new light-weight travel foods, like meat jerky, have been added to provide more convenient food for adventurers.

All cooking recipes have been reworked with more logical proportions and for better balance and progression.  You are no longer required to have salt just to cook meat, though the use of various seasonings will still produce tastier results.  The food you cook will be more valuable (and weigh less) than the sum of the raw ingredients used to produce it.  As your cooking skill increases, you'll gain access to more complex recipes with stronger properties and more interesting effects.

  • More realistic recipes.  Cooking recipes have been reworked for better balance and greater realism. This also means that in some cases one recipe will create multiple items. For example, soup recipes will generally create 4 bowls of soup instead of just one. This allows a better, more realistic, distribution of ingredients.
  • Use of Water.  Recipes like soups and stews require the use of water. Water jugs can be collected from wells or simply crafted for free at a cookpot (both of these options can be disabled if desired). I felt that the addition of water to the recipes was necessary (otherwise there's not really much difference between making a steak and making a stew). It also was done with the intention of making it easier to create compatibility between CACO and other "needs" mods.
  • Ingredient portions.  Salt, flour, wine, and other ingredients are now used in smaller amounts. Sacks of flour are automatically divided into 20 cups of flour, salt piles into 10 pinches of salt, etc.

To make cooking more rewarding and to provide a sense of progression. Creating food at a cookpot will now gain you cooking experience. This is tracked separately from any of your standard skills, and your current skill level can be found in the MCM. As your cooking skill increases, you'll gain access to more advanced recipes. You'll also benefit more from the foods you consume. The strength of food effects will increase with every 25 levels.  By the time you become a master chef, food effects will have doubled in strength from their base magnitudes. Therefore, increasing your skill will not only gain you access to more complex recipes to create foods with stronger base effects, but it will also make even the simplest recipes somewhat more useful.

An entirely optional and incredibly light-weight hunger and sleep system is included for those who would like some additional incentive to consume food and sleep regularly but don't want to use a separate needs mod. These options are disabled by default and must be enabled in the MCM. These features use almost no scripts and are just about as simple and basic as a "needs" feature can be. They can also be enabled and used alongside other needs mods if you simply wish to add increased penalties on top of whatever the other mod is doing. Obviously, though, the effects and stages won't line up exactly with those from other mods.

  • Hunger. If you enable this option, your hunger will proceed through three possible ranks. If you do not eat within 6 hours of your last food effect wearing off, then you'll become Hungry. If you still do not eat for another 12 hours, then you will progress to Famished. And if you continue to avoid food for a further 12 hours, you'll find yourself Starving. Each of these three stages will result in increasingly severe penalties to your health, magicka, and stamina regeneration rates. However, you won't die from the effects, and eating any type of food will reset the process. Satiation is simply determined based on the duration of the food effects, which will determine how frequently you need to eat to prevent hunger from setting in.
  • Fatigue. If you enable this option, your fatigue levels will also progress through three ranks. If you meet the minimum number of hours slept, you'll be given the rested or well-rested bonus, which will last for the same duration as the length of time slept (max 8 hours). From a fatigue standpoint, the invisible "Not Tired" stage will last for 2 times the amount of time slept (capped at 16 hours). Once that duration expires, you will become Tired. If you don't sleep for a further 8 hours, then you will progress to Fatigued. If you still don't sleep, then after another 12 hours, you'll find yourself Exhausted. Each of these three stages will result in increasingly severe penalties to your Intelligence, Strength, and Experience Rate. Intelligence is a measure of the strength and effectiveness of your spells, and Strength reflects the amount of damage done by your physical attacks. Sleeping for any length of time will cancel out all fatigue effects and start the process over from the beginning.
  • Changes to Rested Bonus. In order to add new sleep-related effects, CACO changes the way the Rested bonuses are applied. By default, you'll now need to sleep a minimum number of hours in order to get the rested bonus, and the bonus will only apply for a duration equal to the time slept (capped at 8 hours). No more sleeping 1 hour and feeling "well-rested" for eight hours. There is an MCM option that allows you to adjust the minimum number of hours required to receive these bonuses. You can also disable this feature entirely and revert the Rested, Well-Rested, and Lover's Comfort bonuses to their static 8 hour duration. However, this may also reduce or even eliminate the sleep bonuses granted by certain teas, salves, or other items. This feature must be enabled if you wish to use the optional Fatigue penalties.


In addition to the foods, the drinks in Skyrim all have alter properties as well. In general, I've tried to diversify the effects in order to make alcohols more interesting. Wine tends to be good for your health, while Brandy can get you better prices. Need a small bump to help you get those last few pounds of loot out of that dungeon? Try a swig of Sujamma. Want to add a bit more strength to your arm? Then help yourself to a good old Nord mead, or if you can afford it, splurge on a bottle of Flin.

  • Fortify Effects. I've tried to stick very close to lore when assigning the various effects. However, like food, the focus is on "Fortify" rather than "Restore" effects. Most effects last for 1 hour of game time (and will automatically adjust to fit your time scale settings), though some of the secondary effects are shorter.
  • Consistency. As much as possible, I've tried to cross-reference both lore and a drink's ingredient properties to make everything feel as consistent and logical as possible. For example, Mazte is described as an invigorating brew made from saltrice, and as such it Fortifies Health and Stamina Regen (which also happen to be the first two alchemical properties of Saltrice, one of the newly added alchemy ingredients).
  • Stacking Effects. Unlike foods, the effects of alcoholic beverages do stack. This means that multiple drinks can actually provide some significant bonuses and advantages. However, these benefits must be weighed against the cost and penalties of increased inebriation and drunkenness.
  • Inebriation. In contrast to the very simple treatment of hunger, CACO adds a fairly sophisticated treatment for alcoholic inebriation and drunken effects. Inebriation includes a whole range of various effects and progresses through 6 stages as you consume greater quantities of alcohol. At the lowest stages, some of the effects are positive, but as you drink more, the effects become stronger and increasingly more negative. So while you can potentially gain greater effects by stacking the beneficial effects of a drink, you might quickly find yourself completely incapacitated if you aren't careful. Inebriation will slowly wear off once you stop drinking. NPCs can also be affected by drinks, and I've even added a few additional effects specifically for them such as a boost to their confidence and aggression levels.
  • Drink Strength. Different drinks increase your alcohol levels by different amounts. This corresponds roughly to what you would expect from a similar real-life drink serving and it's alcohol by volume amount. There is also a random variable for some drinks, and the more generic the drink, the less regulated it's production, and the greater the random variation. So village wines and generic meads and ales will vary more widely in their percent alcohol than professionally produced Alto wines or Blackbriar mead.
  • Tolerance. You can also build up tolerance for alcohol over time by getting drunk repeatedly (reaching inebriation stage 4 or higher) or by increasing your poison resistance. Increasing your tolerance for alcohol will allow you to consume more or stronger drinks before progressing to higher stages of inebriation. It will also decrease the amount of time it takes you to recover from the effects of alcohol.
  • Visual Effects & Animations. Progressive stages of inebriation will be accompanied by associated visual effects, increased stumbling, and drunken animations. These can be disabled in the MCM if desired, though I feel that they do contribute to balancing the effects of alcohol.


This mod pulls together the work and resources created by many other mod authors and artists.  Their wonderful contributions have allowed this mod to far exceed anything I could have hoped to create on my own.  The following mod authors have generously allowed for their work to be used in this mod:

Thank you all very much for permitting your work and resources to be included here!
For full details on image and resource permissions see the included Credits and Permissions file.

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