Skyrim Special Edition
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FableForge

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About this mod

You can configure how easily your enemies should surrender, and you can choose to knock them out rather than killing them. You can also knock people out in other ways, even if they didn't surrender (say, sleepdarts!). Lightweight, compatible with everything, no 'cloak spells' nor attaching scripts to actors, everything configurable in MCM.

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Changelog

1.41:
  • Tiny but necessary compatibility fix with Melee Power Knockback's new cooldown feature. Update both mods, and sort this one lower.
1.40:
  • Added new "Knockout" spell. It's in the Illusion school of magic, and you can find spell tomes in all the same leveled lists as the rest of the Illusion spells.
  • Enemies who wake up from their knocked-out state will likely be aggressive again (unless they see you fighting and choose to surrender, as normal).
  • Guards who surrender to you should no longer try to arrest you. This doesn't reduce your bounty though -so other guards who haven't surrendered yet will still try to arrest you.
  • Important compatibility fix with Melee Power Knockback; please install the latest version of that mod too, but load this one lower in the load order.
1.37:
  • You're now able to wake up knocked-out people without bashing them; just activate them and choose the "Wake up" option (this is useful if some enemy knocks out your follower with a power attack and you don't feel like bashing poor old Lydia to wake her up).
  • Draugr, ghosts and skeletons no longer surrender (it didn't make sense for them to have a sense of self-preservation given they're already dead).
  • Poison-driven knockouts are now silent (you can still make noise with your melee attacks, but the knockout itself is silent). Poisoned targets will stumble between 3 to 6 seconds before eventually collapsing.
  • Duration of weak and regular knockout poisons has been buffed from 10 to 30 and 60 to 90 seconds, respectively.
1.35:
  • By popular request, you can now pickpocket knocked-out people even if you don't have Quick Loot. Just activate them and choose "Pickpocket".
  • Here are the big ones though: you can now knock people out with any melee attack if you wish to, not just bash attacks.
  • Also, NPCs can knockout each other with power attacks.
  • In exchange for these features, I had to make Melee Power Knockback a requirement -there was no other way to attach the knockout spell to *all* player attacks as opposed to just bashes. I hope you enjoy MPK, and remember you can always nerf it in its own MCM if you don't actually want its knockback features and are installing it just for Combat and Surrender's sake. See below for installation instructions, and new question in FAQ.
1.25:
  • Sleepdarts! Basically, some paralysis poisons found in common loot and vendors are now knockout poisons weak, normal and strong, which work for 10, 60 and 300 seconds respectively. Compatible with all leveled lists mods (since I'm just taking the place of certain paralysis poisons).
  • You can also combine Canis Root and Imp Stools to make your own knockout poisons -their duration depends on your Alchemy skill and perks.
  • New options in MCM menu allow you to configure whether or not knockout poisons apply to melee weapons (they always apply to ranged) and up to what level of enemies can succumb to them. Looking for a low-damage, lore-friendly weapon to deliver your sleepdarts? Say hello to my little friend. 
1.20:
  • If you install Dynamic Animation Replacer surrendered foes will walk around slightly hunched over and mopey.
  • You can now configure a hotkey to launch a knockout-only, no-damage power bash. This requires SKSE and unfortunately makes it impossible to keep the file as an ESL, so we're back to ESP. See below for upgrade instructions. Check out this puppy if you're interested in a cool bash-animation. Combined with MPK it makes for a really satisfying combo.
  • Added new option to MCM menu to determine whether or not surrendered enemies should be an automatic knockout.
  • For nerds only: in the console use 'getav fame' in the middle of a fight on yourself and/or your enemies. If their number is lower, they'll surrender.
  • The important parts of the MCM menu can also be accessed via a Lesser Power -this is mostly to benefit console users who can't have an MCM (Xbox users see link in 1.10 below).
1.10: 

Description

You can configure how easily your enemies should surrender, and you can choose to knock them out rather than killing them. You can also knock people out in other ways, even if they don't surrender. Lightweight, compatible with everything, no 'cloak spells' nor attaching scripts to actors, everything configurable in MCM.

Basically, you don't have to just murder everyone in your path anymore, Dragonborn. Unless you want to, like Miraak.

See the 90-second video that explains most everything:



Knockout

You can knock someone out in any of these ways:
  1. Wait until he surrenders, then bash him 
  2. Sneak up behind him, then bash him
  3. Hurt him until he's in 'bleed out' (on his knees, bleeding), then bash him 
  4. Hurt him until his health is low enough, then bash him
  5. Reverse-pickpocket a knockout poison on him (if you have the Toxic Touch perk from the Pickpocket skill tree)
  6. Hit him with an arrow or bolt that has knockout poison applied on it (you can make the poison with Alchemy, or buy it from vendors, find it in loot, etc.)
  7. Enable the "any attack" option, set the minimum health and random chance to your liking, and simply hit your enemies any way you like
  8. Cast a knockout spell at him (from the Illusion school; you can find Spell Tomes in all the usual places)

Any bash will do, no matter if it's with a shield, or unarmed, etc. (works great with Simple Dual Wield And Unarmed Block). Sometimes they'll drop their weapon. You can also rob them blind while they're knocked-out, and since they're in ragdoll, you can drag them around as if they were dead. But they're alive, and after about 5 minutes they'll wake up. If you don't want to wait, just bash them again and they'll wake up. If you're concerned about your bash attack killing them off, then you can reduce your own bash damage in the MCM, or use the special configurable no-damage bash attack.

In fact, all of the above is configurable in the MCM (see image), and you can also add a random chance factor if you wish. 

NPCs cannot knock you out, but with power attacks, they can knock out each other if the "any attack" option is turned on.

You can craft knockout poisons using Alchemy (Canis Root plus Imp Stools) or you can find them in ordinary loot and vendors. You can find the Knockout Spell Tome books in all the same places where you usually find Illusion Spell Tome books.

Surrender

When deciding whether to surrender or not, an enemy considers:
  1. His skills and health (warrior types go by whichever skill corresponds to their equipped weapon -One-Handed, Two-Handed or Archery, while mage types go by their Destruction skill)
  2. Your skills and health (same as above)
  3. How many others are also fighting you (even if they belong to other factions, as long as they are hostile to you)
  4. How many of your followers are still fighting alongside you (guards don't count nor do other neutral parties even if they get involved)
  5. The settings in the MCM

So, as their health winds down and their buddies start to fall around them left and right, baddies will be more and more likely to call it quits. Likewise, if your health drops and your followers die, maybe someone who had already surrendered can change his mind and start taking swings at you again!

In order to judge you and figure out their chances they first to need to see how you attack. The most important factor (after the MCM slider of course) is HP. After all, if you're very low on HP you really don't care if the entire army is backing you up -you just want to survive the next ten seconds. But remember fear can spread -if one guy calls it quits, that slightly demoralizes everyone around him and maybe now someone else quits, and then another, and then you get a snowball effect. Sell-sell-sell like a market panic. It can go the other way too -one guy who had already surrendered eventually recovering enough HP to feel gutsy again and standing up can cause his buddy to also rise again, and so on. These snowball scenarios are somewhat rare (because everyone needs to be more or less close to the edge between quitting and not quitting) but entirely possible. 

Importantly, your followers (vanilla and modded) will try their best not to kill people who already surrendered, or who are knocked-out.

Compatibility

Should be compatible with everything. I notice no performance/FPS issues -everything wraps up cleanly even if you leave the cell and come back, resurrect people in the console, or whatever other shenanigans I could think of. 

It uses perks to trigger the knockout effect -I tested with Ordinator and found it is compatible. It also uses a bunch of obsolete variables that Bethesda coded in for every actor, but never actually implemented (such as "FavorPointsBonus" whatever that was supposed to be!) so if any other mod uses those too there could be a conflict, but I'm not aware of any.

It works beautifully with my other mod, Melee Power Knockback, which adds a cinematic oomph to your power attacks (and is now a requirement to enable the "any attack" option).

The knockout portion is incompatible with Racial Body Morphs SE because that mod uses skeletons that are a bit old. Instead, use that mod's more modern replacement, FK's Diverse Racial Skeletons -knockout works just fine with that one. Not compatible with Tyrannical Trolls nor Sinister Spriggans -their nif skeletons don't react well to ragdoll.

Why am I not like the other girls

There are other yield mods out there, but they don't do knock-out, and they use cloak spells to attach scripts to every actor around you. Now, not all cloak spell scripts are bad things, but many bad things are cloak spell scripts, so I went the extra mile to avoid them. Then there's the follower issue: in those mods even if you accept the baddies' surrender your follower may still finish them off anyway. This was a hard nut to crack because I didn't want to mess around with AI packages (because doing so then messes around with custom followers' AI and now you need a patch for Inigo, yadda yadda -it just gets bigger). Instead I found a decent compromise: your followers will still give chase for a few seconds for flavor, but after that they'll let them live. Everything I did is meant to be as unobtrusive/reversible/light as possible. 

Also, there are other knockout mods out there, but they don't do yield, and in addition to the cloak spell issue above, they rely on the paralysis magic effect to simulate knockout -this makes the NPCs stiff. I wanted ragdoll instead, and I got it. Lastly, some other mods are limited to only certain weapons (maces) and I wanted more flexibility.

Installation

Install this mod as well as MPK's knockbackViaRace.zip (they share one file, and as long as you're using the latest version of both mods it shouldn't matter which overwrites which).

Sort to the bottom of the load order, below MPK.
Or seriously, do yourself a favor and just install Mod Organizer 2 or Vortex already; it's not 2012 anymore.

As soon as the game launches you'll get a little notification saying "Knockout and Surrender installed. Don't forget to enable Surrender in the MCM menu!." -if you see that, it means the mod is installed and should work. Don't forget to enable Surrender in the MCM menuYou also have a new minor power to toggle the knockout effect on and off.

Upgrading from the ESL versions: Basically, you need a clean save. If you already know what that means, then just do that, carry on soldier. If you don't know what a clean save means then here is an explanation: uninstall knockout.esp or esl and clean your save file using Fallrim tools. Then launch the game without the mod, and in the console enter setstage SKI_ConfigManagerInstance 1This will remove the MCM menu -do confirm that it's gone. Save again: now you have a clean save (or as clean as it gets in Skyrim). Now you can install this mod again, normally, and enjoy the new options in the MCM menu (and this is true for any mod with an MCM: if it takes too long to show up after installing, you can always enter the code above in the console and wait a minute. It will come).

Upgrading from an ESP version: just overwrite the file, everything should work fine. 

Uninstallation

Remove the esp and the scripts -or turn off in MO2. Nothing much should be left behind in your savegame, but you can clean it up with Fallrim tools -which is another must-have if you're into modding.

FAQ

  • Can I configure how long the enemies stay surrendered or stay knocked-out?
It's not easy; unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a way to dynamically modify a magic effect's duration other than typing it in the Creation Kit. As of now, surrendering lasts an hour, and knockout lasts five minutes. Remember: you can bash them again to wake them up from a knockout, and if circumstances change anytime (if you take too much damage, or if they suddenly get healed or if they get new allies to fight you, etc.) they may decide to come out of their surrendered state and fight you again.

  • Can enemies take other factors into consideration when deciding whether to surrender or not? Such the enchantments in my sword, or my Daedric armor, or my awesome sneak skill, etc?
All technically possible, but I want to keep the algorithm really light, so for now the only thing that matters is the skill related to the weapon you and they are using (or Destruction if you or they are mages), everyone's health, and how many other people are in either side of the fight. You can always play with the slider in the MCM to find a balance that works for you.

  • Okay, what if I have a sword in one hand and a spell in the other? Which one counts for intimidation purposes?
Whichever is greater between your One-Handed and Destruction skills. Other magical schools don't count for surrender purposes.

  • The enemies keep dying when I bash them! Or I killmove them with the shield!
Your bash probably does a ton of damage -this can happen with certain perks. Use Violens to turn off shield killmoves, and/or use this mod's MCM to tone down your bash damage to something more pacifist if you'd like.

  • The enemies have their hands up in surrender, or are crouching in fear, but in their idle dialog they don't sound panicked!
I don't think I can mess with their idle dialog without involving package shenanigans, and I'm trying hard to stay very lightweight and avoid package shenanigans... but there might be no other way. I'm thinking about it... 

  • I knocked out / cowered everyone in the room, then I left to some other cell (through a loading door) and when I came back they had all woken up / weren't afraid anymore!
This is by design -I don't want to make permanent changes to any NPC. I want the mod to be safe to install/uninstall anytime and don't leave too many footprints behind.

  • How does this handle the infamous Brawl bug? How about that part of the Companions questline where you need to punch Vilkas?
Both covered!

  • Can you make it so that instead of killing someone to meet an objective you can just knock him out instead? For example, can you change it so that "Kill the leader of Serpent's Bluff Redoubt" becomes "Knock-out the leader of Serpent's Bluff Redoubt"?
I admire your pacifism, but sadly no -I don't know how to accomplish that in any lightweight way that would also work for mods. Just have your followers kill them off -followers will still chase and attack enemies for a few seconds after they surrender. We can't Undertale 100% of Skyrim, just the in-between parts.

  • Can you knock out a dragon, or make him surrender?
Nope. Dragons, Dwemer automatons, Draugr and Skeletons will never surrender. And there's a bunch of creatures that it doesn't make sense to knock out, realistically. The list includes: Undead (Draugrs and Skeletons), Lurkers, Chaurus, Ash Guardians, Werebears or Werewolves, Gargoyles, Vampire Lords, Dragon Priests, and Atronachs. You can still cower and knockout vampires and dremora though, as well as spiders, trolls, spriggans, bears, tigers, rieklings, dogs (you monster), and pretty much any other creature. Just let them see you swing your weapon and they'll decide what to do.

  • Something terrible happened! Nazeem turned into a dremora! The Bannered Mare caught on fire! Ulfric is lollygagging!
Unlikely to be from this mod -I don't attach scripts to actors -I don't even give them perks. Knockout is classed as a magicaleffect with a finite duration, and so is surrender. Experienced modders: please feel free to review my source code; I always welcome all feedback!

  • Seriously, you made your other mod a requirement dude?
Listen, I need to deliver the knockout spell somehow. When it was just bash, I could attach to it a Perk entry point and be done with it, but to have *every* attack I needed a way into *every* attack and conveniently that's what MPK already does. If I had just replicated MPK here then I would have had to build a patch instead and that would be three files in your load order instead of two. But listen: if you don't want to knockback enemies all you have to do is use the MCM of MPK to reduce the chances to zero, and it'll be like it's not even there. Of course, I do hope you give it a try though -I think it's actually fun but I'm biased of course. 

Credits

  • Ragdoll Paralysis Redux - I nearly slammed my head on the desk trying to get the ragdoll state and this mod showed me how to do it.
  • https://www.creationkit.com/ - I must have bookmarked a dozen pages already.
  • Injured Animation Replacer - I use this to make surrendered enemies walk around hunched-over. If someone can make better animations (to make NPCs walk around cowered rather than constipated!) I'd be eternally grateful!
  • The amazing community keeping this 9-year-old game as if it had released yesterday.


Ad Time!

Would you like to thank my voice actors for the tremendous work they do? Please join my Patreon.

Join us in discord at https://discord.gg/52qUTXu

Check out my other mods:

  • There is No Umbra - A floating sword follower - Continue the legend of Umbra -now as a living, floating sword that will follow you in your travels and fight for you using custom animations. Includes two quests with good and bad endings, professionally voice-acted, and well-integrated with the lore. See the trailer!
  • Melee Power Knockback - It makes it so your power attacks send the enemies flying -and you can get knocked back by them too. Totally configurable.