Skyrim Special Edition
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Kevin Fitzgerald

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Makes small changes in order to balance the races without going too far.

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In the base game, races are simultaneously not well balanced and mostly irrelevant. Many mods have attempted to fix this, but most go way too far. In keeping with my "vanilla+" outlook on mods, I decided to make something smaller. All ten races now have useful passives and powers that will matter, but are balanced with each other and not so powerful that you shouldn't still feel free to pick any race for any purpose. Importantly, I did not touch the race records themselves (not even orc, who now has a passive). This only affects passives and powers, nothing else. This makes it very compatible with other mods.

The changes to the races are below. These are additions to the effects of their existing abilities and powers.

Altmer: In addition to rapid magicka regeneration, Highborn power now also applies a +25% boost to the power of all spells you cast while it is active (duration or magnitude depending on school). The Highborn passive now also doubles the effectiveness of soul gems when recharging a staff.
  • Altmer were very good and didn't need much improvement. Highborn in particular was always a useful power, but because it was essentially free magicka potions once a day, it was a little boring. My solution was to add extra effects that are also identical to drinking potions. This will stack though, so Altmer are now capable of stronger magic than any other race, if only briefly. In addition, altmer are better at maintaining charge in a staff. Their doubled recharge for staves is very niche, but still welcome.

Argonian: In addition to rapid health regeneration, Histskin now also makes you share half the melee damage you take with attackers. Passives were renamed to Scales and Amphibious and they now add 50 Armor and +150% health regeneration while in water.
  • Argonians needed a lot of love. Histskin was decent, but boring for the same reasons Highborn was. Now it doesn't just let you take damage, it encourages you to because enemies will be harming themselves. Argonians are much fiercer in melee combat with this active. To help with durability even more, they also now have a little extra armor from their thick scales. As a cool bonus, they also now regenerate health way faster even when Histskin isn't active, but only while in water. Standing in a stream, swimming, or being outside in the rain will trigger this. Argonians can now swim to heal, and you'll be feeling very lucky on rainy days!

Bosmer: Command Animal was renamed Master Hunter. When activated, for 60 seconds, you gain +50% archery damage and a 30-foot cloak spell that constantly forces nearby animals to be peaceful, even if attacked. When it ends, any animals it affected remain non-hostile. Passive renamed to Nature Affinity and it now includes +50% stamina regeneration.
  • While in range of Master Hunter, animals are constantly calmed. When this wears off or they leave the range, they'll still be non-hostile as long as you don't repeatedly attack them. Clever use of Command Animal will let you freely walk outdoors without concern, and you can convert whole forests into safety zones (they will stay non-hostile even after respawn). This can also be used for rather cheap hunting. Because it uses the same method, if you use the Animal Allegiance shout, it will cancel this permanent non-hostility when it ends. With Master Hunter providing bow damage and their naturally boosted stamina regen, bosmer are finally the master archers they're supposed to be.

Breton: Passive renamed to Aegis, and now includes a lesser ward while blocking.
  • Bretons didn't really need anything, so I gave them a small benefit that's still quite cool. Bretons are now the only race who can innately block spells. While blocking with a shield or weapon, they get a 40-point ward. It shatters fairly easily, but it's something no other race has. Bretons are truly the unmatched masters of magic defense, if only barely. This will stack with any other ward-while-blocking effects, such as Spellbreaker or the Lightning Rod perk from my Two-Handed Tree mod, so battlemage Bretons will always be able to block spells better. As a note, Aegis doesn't have the ward shimmer visual, but it's still a ward and thus can benefit from Ward Absorb.

Dunmer: Ancestor's Wrath now drains all of the damage it causes into healing for the user. Its damage has been improved to 12 per second and its range to 20 feet. Passive renamed to Ashen and now reduces the duration of incoming fire damage.
  • The dunmer power was just a free Flame Cloak. It's now more powerful and heals you all the damage it causes, making it useful even at higher levels. Step into a crowd and the health absorbed can get pretty high, so dunmer are safer when caught in melee range now. Dunmer are also now unquestionably more fireproof than other races can get. Their passive now halves the duration of fire damage they receive. This effectively halves the damage they take from fire spells that have a duration (Flames, Flame Cloak, and fire dragon breath) and reduces the extra burn damage from other fire spells. It's not actually a huge effect in practice, but it's enough to set them apart.

Imperial: Voice of the Emperor now forces all NPCs in the area to be your allies for 3 minutes and leaves them non-hostile after the effect ends. Passive renamed to Tactician and now includes +50 stamina and +25 carry weight.
  • Imperials are supposed to make excellent assassins, commanders, and diplomats. This new power reflects that a little better. Things touched by Voice of the Emperor remain permanently non-hostile until you attack them, and for three minutes will even come to your defense. This allows for a pacifist playstyle no other race can truly match, but can certainly be used to kill more safely too. To show that Imperials are meant to be master tacticians, they have increased stamina and the carry weight to go with it.

Khajiit: While sneaking, you can detect targets by sound and smell out to 180 feet. Khajiit take reduced fall damage.
  • Claws and night eye were always niche abilities that weren't really that good, but were cool. In keeping with this, I've added detection while sneaking and halved fall damage. Detecting things by sound and smell really changes the game. You owe it to yourself to at least try Khajiit now. Targets glow faintly based on their scent (living are orange-red, dead & undead green, and machines blue) and brightly based on noise (moving or attacking). Sneaky players will really appreciate how useful this can be, but most importantly, it's just really cool. I also suggest getting a Night Eye mod to improve their power. I specifically didn't touch that so that you can pick whichever night eye mod is your preference and not worry about mod conflict.

Nord: In addition to causing fear on living targets for 30 seconds, Battle Cry now also turns undead for 30 seconds and paralyzes daedra and dwarven automatons for 10 seconds. Non-hostile targets are instead rallied for 30 seconds. The stagger effect was removed. Passive was renamed to Child of the Sky and it now reduces shout cooldown by 10%.
  • Nords didn't need much. Changing Battle Cry so it works on more things and no longer scares allies really improves the utility of the power without actually making it much stronger. For the passive, I simply followed the lore. The in-game book Children of the Sky talks about Nord shouting. Nords should be the very best as using the thu'um. A small cooldown boost will be noticeable without going too far, and you can stack it with the Amulet and Blessing of Talos.

Orc: Added passive Brawny that gives +10% weapon swing speed and +25% enemy stagger. Berserker Rage now also halves damage taken from magic.
  • Berserker Rage didn't apply to magic damage. I've fixed that. I've also now given orcs a passive like they always should have had. They'll now swing a bit faster and hit a bit harder than other races. Orcs are supposed to be the best at melee combat, and with a small speed and stagger boost, they are now the best, if only slightly. Admittedly, you won't notice the stagger boost, but the speed is nice.

Redguard: Adrenaline Rush slows time while active. Passive renamed to Hardy and now adds 50 health.
  • Adrenaline Rush was about equal to simply drinking soup, so it needed something better. Now it also slows time by 75%. For their passive, Redguards are very hardy warriors. Added health makes them able to endure a bit more than other races. By the way, due to the way the game handles displaying fortified health on NPCs, it's going to look like you aren't doing any damage to redguards you fight until you get through their bonus 50 points.

This is very compatible with many other mods has updater scripts for when you apply it to an existing game.