Skyrim Special Edition

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About this mod

The aim of this mod is to provide a subtle, lore-friendly improvement to the Dragons of Skyrim that makes encountering one feel more like a boss fight and less like a slightly-more-difficult animal encounter.

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The aim of this mod is to provide a subtle, lore-friendly improvement to the Dragons of Skyrim that makes
encountering one feel more like a boss fight and less like a slightly-more-difficult animal encounter.

Unique Dragon Names
All dragons are individuals with unique names.
A unique tooth can be taken from each one as a trophy.

Deadly Dragon Breath
Dragon fire and frost attacks feel more like the deadly, town-destroying breath of dragons
in most pop-culture mediums, not like mid-to-high level destruction spells.

Increased Variety
A subtle expansion of dragon appearances provides more variety and allows
some of the vanilla boss dragons to feel even more unique.

Installation Options
Three installation options to choose from: Light, Heavy, and Full.

Requirements and Compatibility
Dawnguard and Dragonborn required.
No other mods required.
Fully compatible with all my mods.
A list of compatible dragon mods is included in the description.

Special thanks to I2edShift for giving me permission to use textures from Bellyaches HD Dragon Replacer Pack,
and to Brumbek for meshes and textures from Static Mesh Improvements.

Choose the version that's right for you
The Light, Heavy and Full versions offer a selection of different features.

For a detailed description of features,
press the spoiler button below

Unique Dragon Names
- Dragons unnamed in the vanilla game (including mod-added dragons) will be randomly assigned one of ~500 names
- No two dragons will receive the same name, so once all ~500 have been assigned, dragons will spawn with generic names
- Each name was written by me and is made of three dragon words in accordance with the lore

Teeth Trophies
- A unique tooth can be taken from every named dragon in the game (except Alduin), including vanilla named dragons
- For example, Mirmulnir's Tooth can be taken from Mirmulnir
- Teeth act as trophies and serve no functional purpose

Dragon Loot
- To make loot from dragons feel more realistic, armor and gold drops have been removed
- Dragons will drop Dragon Bones, Dragon Scales, a Dragon Tooth (see above) and Dragon Ash
- Dragon Ash is a new alchemy ingredient that comes in two varieties (Fire and Frost) and has a unique effect that reduces shout cooldown times

Dragon Breath
Dragon breath attacks have been completely remade. In testing, I have found the changes below mean dodging dragon breath is top priority during a dragon fight. It makes assessing the surrounding area and identifying your cover options important, and increases the challenge in dragon battles in a really fun way. It makes dragons feel like fire-breathing monsters, not like big animals that use fire magic.
- They don't scale with the dragon's strength, so all dragons can inflict the same amount of elemental damage (stronger dragons still have more health and stronger physical attacks)
- Dragon breath now inflicts damage equivalent to your current health per second (minimum: 100), meaning that a blast of fire/frost from a dragon is enough to kill very quickly (but not so quickly that elemental resistance, instant healing or etherealisation aren't options if you react quickly)
- Fire attacks create fire barriers
- Alduin's raining fire attack doesn't include rocks anymore, but leaves a fire barrier
- If standing close to a dragon, breath attacks will knock you down
- Secondary attacks inflict damage equivalent to 60% of your current health per second (minimum: 60) and are much faster

Note: if you are using a mod that allows you to customize dragon shout power, I recommend setting the customization mod to vanilla power levels.

Increased Health
- Every dragon gets a x1.5 health boost.

Variety Expansion
This expands the variety of dragons from 12 to 44. This is similar to Splendor, but with some important differences:
- I have remade all textures (using Bellyaches textures as a base) to work on the correct meshes, so odd/missing textures aren't an issue
- Rather than taking all textures and all meshes and including all variations, I have only used variations that I think look good
- Two new varieties: Blue Dragons and Silver Dragons
- Each variation has a preset strength, so you can tell how strong a dragon is by looking at it
- I have removed the stranger-looking vanilla meshes from leveled lists (i.e. lake, legendary and serpentine) and made them unique to vanilla dragons:
*The lake dragon appearance (i.e. orange with fins and a beak) is now unique to the twin dragons, Naaslaarum and Voslaarum
*The legendary dragon appearance (i.e. compound eyes) is now unique to the underground dragon, Vulthuryol, who also has a fiery coloring
*The serpentine dragon appearance (i.e. black, hornless and with a big underbite) is now unique to Sahrotaar
*Revered dragons now look like basic dragons but with a unique orange texture
*Legendary dragons now look like ancient dragons but with their purple colouring
*Serpentine dragons have been removed from the leveled lists and replaced with level-equivalent variants

Vanilla Variety

ZDra Variety

Elemental Coloring
- Dragons have a coloring that matches their elemental type, so no more fire-coloured dragons breathing frost
- Brown, Green, Fire, Bronze and Orange (Revered) Dragons breath fire
- Blue, Frost and Silver Dragons breath frost
- Legendary dragons are the exception: they can breath both
- Increased fire/frost resistance to 65% in fire/frost dragons

Removed LOD
- LOD is a feature that makes dragons blurry at a distance to save processing power. This makes dragons ugly at a distance and provides a benefit that is unnoticeable to most people, so I've removed it

Removed Bleeding
- Dragons will become covered in blood when you damage them in the vanilla game. I have removed this feature because A) I don't think the blood effects look good, and B) they don't always feel appropriate. Even if you've filled a dragon with arrows, I find it faintly ridiculous if its head is completely red

Choose the version that fits your playthrough
The Light, Heavy and Full versions have different levels of compatibility with other dragon mods.
Heavy - Breathless has the same compatibility as Heavy; the same is true for Full.

*Includes mods like Cunny’s Alduin, Alduin’s Imprefvicticious and Chapper’s Demonic Retexture Mashup, and Alduin Dragonskin Retex
†Dragon varieties added by the Full version of this mod are based on Bellyaches’ texture, so special thanks go to them for this mod
**I recommend installing the version which doesn’t include more powerful shouts as this will stack with ZDra’s Deadly Shouts feature

For a guide on checking compatibility with
other mods, press the spoiler button below

The list above details ZDra’s compatibility with other popular Dragon mods. You can check ZDra’s compatibility with any other mod by answering these questions (note: if you’re unsure of the answer, try using TES5Edit to check):

1) Does the other mod edit the vanilla spell, AbDragon?
Yes: the mod won’t be compatible with ZDra
No: the mod will be compatible with the Light version of ZDra

2) Does the other mod edit/replace the dragon breath shouts and/or spells?
Yes: the mod won’t be compatible with ZDra Heavy or Full
No: the mod will be compatible with the Heavy version of ZDra

3) Does the other mod edit the dragons OR the levelled lists including dragons in any way?
Yes: the mod won’t be compatible with ZDra Full
No: the mod might be compatible with all versions of ZDra

4) Does the other mod provide new meshes or textures for vanilla dragons?
Yes: if the new mesh / texture only affects Alduin, Paarthurnax and/or Durnehviir, this won’t cause any issues. New textures and meshes that affect other vanilla dragons will be overwritten by the Full version of this mod
No: the mod will be compatible with all versions of ZDra

If you're updating this mod mid-playthrough, make sure you unistall the previous version first, make a clean save, and then install the new version.
This is the safest way to update and should work without issue, but it's not 100% safe and can break your save, especially if you have lots of mods.
The safest option is to only update when starting a new game.

V1.2 update notes:
V1.2 update
This update has been made in response to a large number of requests for a version without the changes to Dragon Breath attacks. I recommend you do not install V1.2 mid-playthrough if you've already used V1.1 in the same playthrough. Only install V1.2 for new playthroughs or playthroughs on which V1.1 was never installed.
- Full and Heavy versions: added an optional BREATHLESS version, with all the features of the Full/Heavy versions without the Dragon Breath changes
- Full version: enabled the unique status of the Blackreach Dragon (Vulthuryol) to prevent bug causing it not to spawn correctly
- All versions: repackaged game files as BSA
- All versions: removed unnecessary navmesh edits
V1.1 update notes:
V1.1 update
TThis update has been made to fix bugs. I have tried to make sure the updates can be applied mid-playthrough for people already using this mod, so this shouldn't be an issue. However, installing mod updates mid-playthrough is never 100% safe, so I would advise caution. At the very least, I would recommend uninstalling and making a clean save before updating version (this will cause you to lose any tooth trophies, and you may encounter some dragon names you've already seen). Changes:
- Fixed the bug causing dragons in lairs to spawn with previously-used names and teeth that didn't match
- Updated Drain Vitality dragon shouts in line with USLEEP edits to prevent bugs
- Fixed the typo on Gonhindlah's Tooth