Skyrim Special Edition

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About this mod

Chasing butterflies, diving into rivers, sifting through foliage, poring over every inch of cave wall...mindless tedium I was sick of many playthroughs ago. Why not brush off your spellbooks and let a little Alteration magic do the work for you?

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Chasing butterflies, diving into rivers, sifting through foliage, poring over every stump and inch of cave wall to find the fungus among us...there are things I look forward to when beginning a new playthrough, but meticulously grinding for alchemy ingredients is definitely not one of them.

I had a look over existing solutions to this problem, and I find none of them to be satisfying on either a functional, or technical level.
To remedy this, I present my solution: IHarvest.

-- Usage --
This mod adds a single spell, "Harvest".

To use the spell, just cast it. Note that, as a concentration spell, it will continue to operate as long as you cast it. It will scan your surroundings, learn what in the area can be harvested, and finally send out little, magical Getter Critters to fetch stuff for you.

To get the spell, you'll have to find a spellbook. I hand-placed about 20 of these around Skyrim and Solstheim—check areas where alchemists live (more specifically, lived, especially those who met an unfortunate end), in witch or hagraven dwellings, etc. If you have trouble finding a copy, some hints are down below under --- Locations ---.

Somewhat harder to find, also available is a Staff of Harvest. I especially recommend its use for less magically-oriented characters, but don't disregard it even if you can afford to cast the spell, as it operates slightly differently, and is useful in its own right.

You don't really need to know anything else, or to read the rest of the description unless you want to—the mod is designed to "just work™".

Still reading? The rest is pretty tl;dr, but more power to you.

The spell's range and "refire" speed will improve as your Alchemy and Alteration skills level up, and dual casting the spell further increases range and refire rate substantially. Casting the spell separately in each hand doesn't seem to work on account of some engine limitation or other.

The mod will automatically harvest any TREE and FLOR records that produce ingredients, as well loose ingredient items, and most scripted activators that produce ingredients.

The mod will never steal, which means that it will ignore any object marked as "owned", even if taking those ingredients would not count as stealing on account of interpersonal relationships. It will not search containers, as that is not in the spirit of the mod.

As of v1.1.0, the magicka cost of the spell is still pretty cheap, but is considerably higher than before. Use of the Staff of Harvest is recommended for less magically-oriented characters, however you may also choose to retune the magicka cost to your liking using the MCM menu.

You can adjust how much Alteration experience the spell awards in the mod's MCM menu. The default value is worth quite a lot of exp at lower Alteration levels, though it tapers off considerably by level 50 or so, and takes several tens of thousands of casts to max out Alteration by use of this spell alone.

-- Locations --
Though the intention is to randomly stumble across the mod's items while naturally playing the game, here are some hints if you need a little help.
  • One might try checking the library belonging to a group of rogue mages known for bibliotheft
  • The home (tomb?) of a particular nirnroot-obsessed Altmer would be a good place to look
  • A certain witch haunting the outskirts of Riverwood has been rumored to be harboring a copy
  • A friendly hagraven was known to have kept a copy, before being thrown in a cage by her sister
  • One wonders why the owner of an ancient, self-filling potion flask would need to amass large quantities of ingredients, and yet...
  • An eccentric staff enthusiast might take interest in a means to expedite the gathering of fungal nutrients
  • Those 'ugly fungus-looking things' would be a lot harder to reach without a certain someone's staff on account of that damn least she won't be running out of souls any time soon
Here are the exact cell locations of everything:

-- How it works --
There are a couple other mods that do similar things on the nexus, so you might wonder "why is this better?" Well, here's a big technical information dump if you're curious:

Technical aspects aside, this mod also has Getter Critters, and I think it's really cool to look at 'em go.

-- SkyPal, Story Manager, and Start modes --
v1.2.0+ makes use of a new library originally custom-built to improve IHarvest, named SkyPal, by doticu (aka r-neal-kelly).

SkyPal adds some new Papyrus functionality that IHarvest can use to greatly improve both script speed and reliability. Additionally, a new feature to v1.2.1 selectively modifies Getter Critter collision so they won't knock around the player or NPCs, or mess up physics objects, as I originally envisioned for the mod but wasn't able to accomplish for technical reasons.

Note that SkyPal is not required, and if not available, the mod will fall back to Story Manager mode by default. This usually works fine, but in my experience is slightly more crash prone, and on account of some game engine quirk, has a tendency to randomly stop working for short periods, up to a few minutes at a time.

The other mode available is Start, which (again, in my experience) doesn't randomly break as often as SM mode, but is slightly more likely to crash the game, especially with other scripted mods installed.

-- Troubleshooting --
If the mod fails to load—there's no spellbook in the obvious locations like the Alchemist's Shack, or Anise's Cabin's basement:
  • Double check your load order. NMM in particular has trouble with .esl files, and you have to make sure the plugin is actually activated.
  • If you're having trouble with the .esl version for some reason, you can also try installing the mod for Skyrim VR in the FOMOD installer, which is exactly the same as the standard version, except with the plugin extension changed to .esp.
If the mod was working for a while, but suddenly stops:
  • First, just try going somewhere else and cast again there. On occasion, the engine just stops finding stuff properly, and I have no idea why. If you then return to the original area, the spell will often spontaneously start working again.
  • If it still isn't working, try opening the MCM menu and run Recall Active Critters, and Clear Flora Cache. Wait ~10 seconds for those to run, and briefly cast the spell to start the "learner" routine, which will take about a minute to rescan the nearby area. Then, try casting the spell again.
  • If the spell still doesn't work, reopen the MCM menu, and run Delete Getter Critters. By this point, the mod will usually start working again.
If you're still having trouble, or your issue isn't listed here, leave a comment/bug report, or send me a PM and I'll see if I can help.-- Compatibility --
You probably don't need to know any of this, but I've documented it here anyway in case you'd like to know.

This should work out of the box with any mod that adds new harvestable ingredients, no patches required. The main exception to this are harvestables implemented as scripted activators (such as Nirnroots), instead of normal tree or flora records. These require a bit of extra scripting to handle, so please leave a comment or bug report if you find an unsupported mod and I'll see about fixing it.

Skyrim VR is semi-supported, however I have not been able to test properly myself for lack of the appropriate hardware.

The mod is an .esl, as the .esl format best fits the mod

You shouldn't have to worry about load order, anywhere high in your load order (where .esls naturally load anyway) should be fine.

Technically speaking, this spell is not player-centric; or, in other words, if you had some way to get an NPC to cast the spell, it will probably work for them just fine. I'm not really sure how one would go about doing this, but if you want to experiment, then please, be my guest.

I don't have any plans to backport the mod to LE/Oldrim/Classic, sorry:

-- Vanilla Fixes --
All recommended fixes are included by default in the FOMOD installer as of v1.1.5, but the old notes are listed below:

-- Known Issues --
Try as I might, there are a few annoyances that I have not been able to fix. None of them are major, but here's the list:
  • Getter Critters have collision like any other actor, and occasionally will push the player or other objects around as they do their business.
  • The best known workaround is to install I'm Walkin' Here, which will (mostly) prevent critters from colliding with the player.
  • The critters probably won't work right, if at all, in modded areas lacking a navmesh.
  • Getter critters have a tendency to wander into areas that most other actors would have no reason to do so, and in doing so have a good chance to discover bad navmeshes, which may cause your game to crash. If you find that casting the spell in a particular area consistently crashes, you may want to try again with all other mods deactivated, and try enabling a few mods at a time until you find where the trouble is. To fix this would require renavmeshing the area by hand, which is a pain.
  • Papyrus logs are noisy, and this mod sometimes contributes to that noise. All of the errors listed below are harmless. Note that your line numbers will most likely be different than the ones below because of script version differences: