Skyrim Special Edition

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Arctal

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Arctal

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About this mod

Perform combos with spells, weapons and a special new Shout. Remove the need for menus or hotkeys and instead discover a system where swapping spells and using multiple weapons is streamlined and rewarding. Experience a plethora of customized sounds and visual effects. Grow in power by playing skillfully, not just from levels and gear.

Requirements
Permissions and credits
Translations
  • Russian
Changelogs
This mod is fully compatible with both VR and non-VR
Now also available on XBox: https://bethesda.net/en/mods/skyrim/mod-detail/4120913
There's an Oldrim port available under "Files"











What this mod is aiming for

  • No more spamming dual-casted fireballs. Instead, reward the player for switching between different spells and combining them for greater effect.
  • Make weapons (staves and fists included) and magic interact and combo with each other. 
  • Keep the player in the game and out of the menus by introducing a new streamlined way of accessing abilities and weapons without relying on the shaky and limited hotkey system. Free up those hotkeys for other things.
  • Make every single ability truly unique. Everything should have its own mechanic and reason to be used. An ability should never be made obsolete by learning a newer one.
  • Only use balanced mechanics that don't break the game. E.g. no paralysis, teleports or insta-kill spells.
  • Make player skill count. Stats, perks and gear will still help but actually knowing how to fight should be just as important.
  • Provide significant mechanical depth. The player should constantly be discovering new ability interactions and intricacies, and may find new ones even after months of playing.
  • Address the vanilla visual and audio issues that occur when toggling between spells and weapons so that it feels fluid and intentional.
  • Give Bound Weapons a reason to exist. Give them a central role in the system so they can finally have some time in the spotlight. They deserve it.

Further reading
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Features


Safe and easy to try out

  • Doesn't change anything in the base game. Cleaned in xEdit. Only adds new things. Can be installed mid-save. 
  • No requirements. Not even on SKSE. This mod is entirely stand-alone.
  • Easily disabled. Should you decide that you don't like it, there's a one-click menu option to cleanly and completely remove all of its magic, scripts, etc.
  • Minimal performance impact. Optimized scripts (see "Performance" below).


A deep combat system that promotes variation

  • Switch spells and weapons in a brand new way. A new Draw spell enables you to siphon energy out of your environment and focus it into special elemental spells and a new Shout can bring special Bound Weapons into existence.
  • Everything interacts with everything else within the mod. Perform combos by mixing elemental spells. Attune yourself to an element using a spell and then consume that attunement with a Bound Weapon strike to unleash element-specific effects. Shout to convert your held spell into a new ability unique to that element. Finally, as the capstone of your abilities, shape the elements into physical creatures and then fire your spells at them to release an entire array of special creature detonations. All in all, you're looking at 30+ unique effects that you can trigger when fully unlocked.
  • Progressively unlock abilities. The mod will start you off with a basic but still very capable set of fundamental abilities. Each magic-skill threshold (apprentice, adept and expert) will then gradually unlock more and more variation, power and tactical options.
  • Learn in your own way. Get guided through how the mod works by an in-game quest and/or read the in-game book, practice and learn on your own terms. You can even just wildly experiment and see what happens. All approaches are supported and equally encouraged. You can turn the guiding quest on and off at any time you wish.
  • No two things are the same. Every spell, weapon and combo ability produces completely unique mechanics that will change how you fight.
  • A far better Ward spell. This serves all your defensive needs in one package. It's a physical shield, a magical ward, a healing spell and a light-emitting torch, complete with stamina-drain mechanics and timed blocking functions.
  • Get more powerful by getting better as a player. A number in a stat sheet will no longer be the main factor determining your success, how you use your abilities makes all the difference.
  • Customize your character with perks and items. The spells, abilities and weapons in this mod will all level their appropriate skill trees and be affected by perks and item effects. The streamlined comboing system means you will be using many more of Skyrim's skill trees in every fight, giving you far more options for your perk points.
  • Everything available everywhere. Anyone that has visited a Dwemer ruin has seen half their spells and abilities become useless due to resistances and conditions like "can only be used outside". It makes those (major) parts of the game a drag. The spells in this mod have no conditions on them and they separate their mechanics from their damage. The damage can still be resisted or enhanced by weaknesses as with any other spell but their special mechanics like combos and control effects will always apply, ensuring they remain valuable in any scenario.
  • Cooldowns instead of Magicka. Hiding in a corner for a minute or chugging several entire potion bottles in the space of a millisecond just to get your magicka back isn't fun or immersive. With this mod, magicka is useful but not required, much like a warrior's stamina. Each powerful ability instead has an individual cooldown that changes how it acts if you try to spam it.
  • Tested, balanced and polished. No overpowered spells or gamebreaking mechanics. The mod aims to provide a difficulty level similar to vanilla, meaning you should get a difficulty level you're used to, even if you run difficulty mods.


An immersive experience

  • Never open a menu in combat and remove the need for hotkeysEach and every ability can be performed during a single fight by using only your Attack/Cast and Shout buttons due to how the Draw and combo systems are designed.
  • Meticulously crafted effects. All features, from spells to weapons to mechanics, are accompanied by carefully picked and modified sounds and visual effects to make them truly unique and impactful.
  • Eating books won't make you master these spells. Feel like a real mage by actually studying and/or experimenting to learn how to use each new ability. You yourself need to figure out (with some optional guidance) how to trigger each effect, how it fits into your larger spell chains and how each ability's unique mechanic can synergize with the rest of your kit to be fully effective.
  • Lore-friendly writing. Get introduced to the new combat art, read about how your abilities work and configure the mod to your liking by using books and quests that keep you within the Elder Scrolls universe.
  • Less immersion-breaking issues when changing equipment. Visual effects have been added so that weapon/shield models don't just *pop* into thin air (like they do in vanilla) when you cycle between the new spells and weapons. The usual clicky and looping noises when swapping magic are removed and replaced for the new spells. All of the added stuff is thoughtfully synced with existing animations to look fluid and fitting.


An expansion, not a replacement

  • Highly compatible. No conflicts with anything else out there. Can be thrown onto practically any load order (see "Compatibility" below). 
  • Can be used alongside all your old favorite spells. Either from vanilla or from other spell packs. You cannot Draw or combo other spells but they are still as useful as they were before in providing utility and additional damage. Included features like "Refocus" or alternate casting mods like Wizard Warrior (for SSE) and VRIK/MageVR (for VR) can smoothly weave the casting of these spells into your rotations. Various abilities in the mod will restore your magicka, which will often be wasted if you don't take the chance to spend it on external spells. The mod's balance expects you to make use of this resource, so don't forget about it!
  • Imbue your weapon with the elements. All your drawn spells can be imbued into a weapon of your choice. Once imbued, that weapon can take part in elemental combos and Power Attacking will bring forth a torrent of energy that parries melee hits and swats spells and arrows out of the air. The imbue effect can be stacked on top of any other enchantment in the game and works with any weapon (even staves and fists).
  • It's very flexible. You can play it as a mage wielding spells in both hands, a spellblade, a traditional mage with a staff in one hand and a spell in the other, a sneaky arcane archer or a berserker wielding a fiery battleaxe, just to name a few. You can even just grab the Ward spell to get a cooler shield and play standard sword & board while ignoring everything else. Your choice!




Reviews

Batch 2:
"This was well thought out and ingeniously done. So far appears to be well balanced, plays well with my other mods and once again has me addicted to Skyrim. Discovering this mod on this return to Skyrim has all my other games being neglected." -augustasgreen
"I get goosebumps every fight with this mod, and that is something I haven't felt since I was a kid." -Vrimbued
"Combat in skyrim just doesn't get better or any more fun than this." - michealxlr
"The learning curve might seem difficult at the begining, but dam it is rewarding when you finally get those nasty combos." -oxtoraxo
"I wish I could endorse this mod twice." -DucksAreReal
"11/10. Brilliant work." - kalenmiyan
"Spellsiphon is a masterpiece." - tuifua


Batch 1:
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Getting started

First off, note that this mod is intentionally very different from standard magic. It's not just a collection of new spells but also a whole new way to access them in combat. Starting with it against difficult enemies without understanding it will most likely get you both confused and killed. Practicing on easier targets first is highly recommended! That said, the system is designed to be intuitive and logical so the time needed to get a basic grasp of it should not be too long.

The mod comes with an optional tutorial quest and an in-game book that will be in your inventory as you load or start your game. It will tell you everything you need through lore-appropriate text and quick references. Books have always been the main way you learn things in Elder Scrolls games, so it felt appropriate. If for some reason you don't find it in your inventory or you happen to lose it, it is also laying on top of the bar counter at the Sleeping Giant Inn in Riverwood.

Don't feel forced to read all of it before heading into combat. The guided tutorial will send you into combat early and if you decide to go the unguided route, you should still do the same. The mod is balanced around you slowly learning while levelling.

Since there are several new sources of power in this mod that are not available to vanilla magic (combo-bonuses, new gear-based bonuses, cooldown-based combo-finishers, new control effects and escapes, etc.) and since this magic is free-of-cost, the base damage of Spellsiphon spells is weaker than normal magic. The intention is for you to master the system, invent clever ability-chains and adapt your gear to the point where you make up the difference. It's also intended for you to eventually mix in at least one normal spell to make use of that higher magicka-fueled standard damage in addition to your Spellsiphon damage to be fully efficient. Another possible approach is to mainly focus on standard spells and only use Spellsiphon magic as a fallback when out of magicka. For details on the new ways that gear, perks and skill-levels affect you, see the "Progression" section below.

NOTE: Starting from v4.0, the abilities you see in the Trailer, Tutorial and Summary videos will now unlock gradually. The Summary mentions this as it was made during the 4.0 Beta but the earlier videos don't. To use any Discharge, Bind or Summoning effects, you need to unseal and read the related "Elemental" tomes in your inventory. The in-game tutorial and texts will point you towards them or you can check the details in the "Unlocks" section below.





Details

The following sections are optional reading material for those that want more details. You don't have to read any of this before you start playing. The short version is that the mod has no special installation procedures, is compatible with practically everything, can be used alongside any other spells or weapons you wish and gets boosted and altered by items and perks (vanilla and modded both work) in logical ways.



Functionality

How does it work exactly?
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VR Arrow Cooldown add-on
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Progression

Stats and Gear
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Perks
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Unlocks
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How to increase your damage
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Technical

Installation, updating, performance
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Compatibility
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Configuration Guide


This part of the page aims to help configure Spellsiphon for various playstyles and to give you an idea of what you can do with the mod aside from the built-in spells and weapons. This is not an exhaustive list of all possibilities but it should cover most of the common playstyles that people tend to use. Just like the Details section, this is optional reading material. You will get an introduction to your options through the tutorial and/or can figure it out yourself in-game if you want (and have the patience). You can also come back here later if you find that the in-game explanations did not answer your questions.

The configuration system is made up of two parts.
  1. The “Spellsiphoning Research” book that gives you options for setting up your character before engaging in combat. You get this book when you open the main "Spellsiphoning" book for the first time.
  2. The 4 toggle Powers that allow for changes in the middle of combat (or out of combat whenever you have use of them). These are learned through the Research book once and are then always available as normal Powers. To use these without requiring menus, check the "Using Powers" section below.

The sections below will show you how to use the book and Powers to adapt this mod to your preferred combat style.


Using only Spellsiphon (recommended when starting out)
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Using normal weapons
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Using other spells
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Using Powers (without needing menus in combat. Required for many advanced playstyles)
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The Imbue System (recommended when using normal weapons)
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Complementary mods

  • Ordinator barely needs mentioning, it's the most popular perk overhaul out there. But I wanted to put it here to highlight how much it expands on Spellsiphon's possibilities since you are using almost every single perk tree in the game when doing the various combos. If you want to unlock tons of new mechanics as you level and get a unique combat experience on every new character, this mod is for you. A new variation from the same author called Vokrii is also a great alternative for those that want a closer-to-vanilla experience with a less overwhelming amount of options.
  • Individual Shout Cooldowns makes it possible to use your other Shouts without locking yourself out of a large part of this mod's abilities for the duration of the cooldown. You'll need at least vanilla hotkeys to switch shouts though. Check out the VR-specific mod for that below.
  • Forgiving Friends is an extremely light-weight mod that simply makes people very forgiving. If you're tired of your quest allies or followers turning on you when you accidentally hit them with something and don't want to install large follower overhaul mods to fix it, you can use this instead. Alternatively, or in addition, you can also get the Companion's Insight ability from the base game that prevents all friendly fire.
  • Followers Don't Draw Weapons can be nice to have due to the frequent switching of spells/weapons that you will be doing with this mod. Without it, followers will sheath and redraw their weapons every time you Draw or Bind outside of combat. Just note that it may have some negative effects on AI (according to some mod comments).

VR specific:
 

  • Vanilla Hotkeys for Oculus Touch is my personal Oculus Touch controller mapping that is optimized for quick and comfortable combat. It includes access to all 8 built-in hotkeys which (with Spellsiphon) are freed up to be used for shouts, powers, potions, food, etc. It also allows shouting by gripping either the left or right controller which feels a lot better when summoning Bound Weapons as you'll be literally gripping and pulling them out of the void.
  • Weapon Throw VR need I say more? This one lets you throw your weapons with real swings of your arm and recall them to your hand at will like Thor. Completely compatible with Spellsiphon so you can use Imbued thrown weapons to produce combos and you can throw Bound swords and axes to trigger a Discharge. You can even throw weapons simultaneously as you're drawing/releasing spells but catching recalled ones will interrupt you (that is just how Skyrim works when things re-equip) so take that into account.
  • No Stagger Mod makes you immune to stagger. In original Skyrim this would cause the screen to shake and your character to recoil slightly. In VR, your movement is locked down, the screen gets a white tint and your weapons and shield get greyed out and disabled. It feels very unnatural and annoying. Sure, being immune to stagger makes the game slightly easier, but most people find playing it in VR harder so I'd say it evens out.
  • Bound Bow FX Restored puts the cool purple flames and nice fade-in effect back on the Bound Bow. The VR version of Skyrim removed these for some reason. If you have another mod that changes Bound Weapon meshes, that mod may already have fixed this for you. But if you don't, I highly recommend this if you're gonna play with the Bound Bow as your primary Discharge weapon.