Skyrim Special Edition

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About this mod

A large scale overhaul for the city of Solitude which aims to make it feel like a massive and epic historic medieval city. Worthy of being called the Imperial capital of Skyrim, with a heavy emphasis on high epic fantasy style and sensibilities. New statues, towers, flags, buildings, NPCs, music and more.

Now for SSE thanks to Anduniel!

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Brief Overview:
A decent sized overhaul for the city of Solitude with an epic fantasy twist. 

When I first entered Solitude, I cannot put my disappointment in words. It was crap, plain and simple. No two ways about it. Too few people, too much empty space, not enough history for such an old city with so much lore behind it. It was smaller than a village with walls. I found this old file on my Google Drive and even though all of my F:NV mods perished with my laptop's HDD, this one did not. This mod has been in my head since Skyrim first came out so I took that file from my drive, spruced it up and released it.

Solitude is the Imperial capital in Skyrim and I wanted to bring a little bit of Cyrodiil back into Skyrim as I think it should have been. Vanilla Solitude is a little medieval-y in the vanilla game but falls short of the greatness it should have had. This mod tried to go all out into bringing that epicness into the game.

There are a lot of new statues, new buildings, npcs, notes, armors, music and more. The mod does a lot, just making an exact list would be a pain and I honestly lost count of everything I've added, but if I had to make a short list here goes:



New large spired towers surround the city ala classic medieval fantasy architecture as seen in other fanstasy titles. New spire towers, round towers with crenellations and bastions. Shadiversity's videos helped give me much needed ideas for realistic castle design. Also classic castle style red flags for the spires and blue flags for the blue palace which are visible from a distance. The towers also have working windows with lights which light up at night and extinguish during the day.


A mini city now exists in the mountain that overlooks the city (inaccessible though and exists purely for cosmetic reasons). It was heavily inspired by Minas Tirith from Peter Jackson's LOTR trilogy with the large blade like cliff dividing sections of the city. There is something similar here but the mountain divider has a large wolf head carved into the mountain itself, fitting I think and it looks pretty epic too.  


A lot of new armors were added to break the monotony and add greater variety and uniqueness to some characters.

The guards in the city will wear new unique medieval style guard armor while the guards outside the city aka the Haafingar guards will still wear their regular vanilla armor. This was done in order to make the city guards seem more unique and make the city stand out more. Only the city guards will wear the medieval style guard armors. 

The elite Blue Palace guards will wear Knightplate to show their status and to make the city feel more knightly as opposed to Windhelm and the rest of Skyrim.

Ser Bolgier Bearclaw is a great warrior and the housecarl of the Jarl of Solitude. He now looks and feels the part and now wears unique golden knight armor and would give 'The Mountain' a run for his money. He also has a unique medieval claymore suitably called 'The Bear's Claw'. 

Guard captain Aldis wears unique black and red knightplate with the Solitude insigina to show his position as captain. No longer will he
wear generic steel armor and guard armor. This is Solitude dammit, the imperial capital!

The Knight from Chorral will wear unique knightplate with a Chorral insignia on the breastplate along with a Chorral kite shield and a sword with Chorral's sigil on the sword's pommel. Chorral overload I know.

No longer will they look like commoners. They will look like get this.... bards! A feather cap and clothes fit for these aspiring minstrels.

>NEW UNIQUE ARMORS AND WEAPONS for the unique NPCs and for the player to aquire. 
Various unique knightplate armors that the player can buy from the new armor vendor. Exquisite Knightplate is similar to Nordplate in stats but looks more like armor a classic knight would wear. There is also a new relic armor set you can buy which belonged to the 'Silverfall Paladin' of legend. It is powerful but not OP and is quite expensive to balance things out.  


Stone and marble statues to reflect the city's history. Statues are an important part of medieval cities. There are a lot of new statues from a large imposing statue of the wolf queen to statues of old kings, tourneys and knight heroes. Pictures speaks a thousand words so check the images to get a better idea of them.


An old brothel with a note explaining it's closure. The building itself has a unique exterior and pretty much looks like a medieval fantasy brothel. Seriously why were they no brothels besides the bunkhouse? Does Bethesda live in a perfect world where everything is sunshine and rainbows? Why do they shy away from this stuff? I guess if they went down that road the casual kids wouldn't be able to buy it which means less money for Todd's retirement I guess. He can probably already afford an island on Fiji as it is.

An armor vendor who doesn't care about your level because he knows the world doesn't revolve around you. He sells ancient relics of past heroes ala classic RPGs as previously mentioneed. I hate level scaling. I hate it. I hate it! What's the point of going to a new city only to find the blacksmith selling you the same random levelled crap that everyone else is? Seriously, what's the point? I grew up on old school CRPGs and I used to feel as giddy as a school boy walking into a large city, going to the armor shop first thing and drooling all over the heavyplate and unique armors while being a level one squire who at this point couldn't even pick up and swing a sword properly. The blacksmith is the father of the Chorrol knight and will sell you the best armors at level one but the prices are slightly inflated to balance things out.

I also recommend you use TDF armor and weapon restriction for even improved balance. Restrictions are a good thing Bethesda.

Some classic medieval style tunes will play around the city to further reinforce the medieval feel and Gregorian chanting will play in the Divines Temple instead of generic city music. Seriously, why was there generic town music playing in there? Not anymore, now when you go inside, steel yourself as the Divines are watching and the music will reflect that.

Mostly flavor text and for fun to help fill in the gaps. Totally lore friendly. 

At the moment only a few unique npcs are added. One of them is Ser Jory, a knight from Chorrol. He was meant to be a more fleshed out character. Friars are planned along with more knights and bards.



I felt that the direction Bethesda took with Skyrim, to make everything gritty and realistic in a fantasy setting was a huge blow to the game and it backfired miserably and made everything dull and bland. There isn't enough epic fantasy here. What's worse, Skyrim fails at the gritty realism aspect too. The Solitude Arch clearly defies the laws of physics. Fires burn forever, sealed off dungeons still have candles and burning braziers inside them along with fresh food. The cities are unrealistically small without a sustainable population or farms to feed them. Where are the brothels, where is the filth and corruption? Are you telling me things are this idyllic in a world like Tamriel? Beth did the same thing in Oblivion, stripping out all the nuanced politics, The Colovian-Nibanese division, lack of prostitution, slavery and racism. Everything was cheery and Bravill was cleaner than the cleanest medieval fantasy city.

Apart from the theme song, nothing about the game screams epic. The cities are small and undetailed, the dragons are pitiful and pathetic wyvern-esque lizards, the armors and weapons are dull and colorless, the npcs even more so. Even the Nordic farmhouses, they don't scream Nordic. Where is the woodwork? Where are the classic Nord architecture tropes? The farmhouses were just plain wood. Everything is the opposite of epic and fantasy when it should be the opposite. Sorry for my minor rants, I can't help myself and have a love/hate relationship with the TES series.

Anyway, I hope you will enjoy the mod.

Cheers, Faram

Q. Will you be making more city mods?
A. Epic cities was part of a planned series but at this point, I'm surprised I even got Solitude to stumble out the door as it is. Windhelm was supposed to be next , with towering viking-esque statues and an old city feel with smaller Nord viking houses and a larger stormcloak presence like soldiers living in tents and blacksmiths working around the clock in the blistering cold to fuel the war effort. Even Solitude wouldn't have compared to it's epicness! It would have been opposite to the dump that was vanilla Windhelm. Oldest human city in Tamriel my foot! 

Q.Why the huge fires? (Redundant post V1.15)
A. As for the large fires, this was more of a technical thing rather than a design decision. The largest fire was meant to be a beacon and was supposed to be placed on top of the mountain all LOTR style but Solitude uses occlusion bounds and culling for performance and placing it on the mountain top made it invisible in-game. Also, if things are too small and if they are out of the occlusion bound area they will not render and will flicker when you get close or pan the camera. To avoid this, I had to scale them up and place them in very odd places. This was the only way. I was going to place it in the Tamriel worldspace but there are enough LOD shortcomings in the mod as it is and I do not want to add to them. It would require multiple esps and changing the occlusion bounds thus leading to complications and not breaking the game completely is a modding philosophy I intend to follow.

Q. Some meshes/textures aren't up to my high standards. Why did you release this? Have you no shame?
A. I'm sorry my work isn't up to your exacting standards. Why don't you open up Photoshop/Blender yourself and see how well you do? You don't like something, by all means, make your own mod.

Mod was made with performance in mind and is one of the main reasons I don't wanna open Nifskope and blender for a while. Rather than use multiple objects in the CK to make a single structure I decided to go the extra mile and painstakingly combined statics in Blender and Nifskope so only one object would be used to show a single structure, thus saving on performance. 

Report on performance if you can.

Contrary to what the images make it out to be, this mod will not kill your fps! (it should barely affect it). A lot of hard work went into optimizing it. If it affects your performance, you do your part and you let me know! 

Mod has been cleaned with Tes5edit. No ITMs or UDRs.
Mod requires USSEP and thus all DLCs

Not compatible with any mods that edit the interior of the Solitude worldspace which means not compatible with other Solitude overhauls. Doesn't affect the exterior so you can use exterior Solitude mods just fine.

Fully compatible with Legacy of the Dragonborn out of the box.

Fully compatible with Bells of Skyrim, no patch required. Load my mod after it.

Compatible with Blowing in the Wind. Load my mod after it.

Compatible with Skyfalls and Skymills. Load it before my mod or you will get two large Solitude windmills.

Compatible with Skyrim sewers I believe. Every RPG game needs sewers under the cities.

Doesn't touch the blue palace interior. Fully compatible with Palaces and Castles Enhanced.

As I stated earlier, mod is unfinished but there are no game breaking bugs. Issues I am currently aware of are:

>The brothel closure note is on the ground and not pinned to the door as it should be.
>The de-levelled armor shop 'The Heart of Steel' doesn't have an interior. The blacksmith is sitting on a stall outside the shop. If anyone wishes to make interiors let me know.
>The 'Silverfall Paladin Shield' has a unique enchantment which mimcs the Dawnguard Rune shield aura effect but for some reason equipping the shield makes all NPCs remark that you have an active spell going on and will remark and I quote 'cut it out'. I don't know how to fix this.
>Some foliage clipping
>Pictures show green trees. The SE version uses vanilla aspens
>Some statues have messed up glowing faces due to new shaders in SE (needs to be fixed)
>There is some repetition in the over city chunks. Still WIP. 

If there are bugs I have missed, let me know. When I get around to it, I will do my best to fix them.
Bethesda for Skyrim and the CK
Cities are Cities by multidirectionel for the original inspiration
Darkfox127 for his tutorials
ChrisKley for motivating me to finish and release the mod. Seriously, this mod wouldn't exist without him
The amazing Anduniel for porting the esp to SSE.

I will try not to miss anyone.


Solitude Towers Flags - iLita (
Modder's Resource - Pillars - Incaendo (
Modder's Resource Pack - Oaristys and Tony67 (
Resources for modders - Runspect (
Modder's Resource Pack - The Witcher Extension - Oaristys (
Mr Siika Castle Seaview Kit - mr_siika and Tamira (
Scarla's Toybox - Modder Resources - Scarla (
Komodo's Lair - Snow Elves - Komodo (
Flag banner - GreyFox77 (
Stendarr Statue Modders Resource - Edhildil (
Vampire Castle - zardalu (
Strotis Treebench - Stroti and Tamira (
Strotis Market Stands - Stroti and Tamira (
Malo Statues - Malo (
Antique statue - Tamira (
Lor Modders' Resources - Lor (
Thalmor banner -

Trees -
Portcullis -

Galanterie - German Inspired Longsword - Billyro (
Scottish Claymore - Billyro (
Traveller's Shield - Billyro (
SPOA Silver Knight Armor - dopalacz (
SPOA Silver Knight Shield - dopalacz (
W3's Toussaint knight armors resource - Medtech (
Knight armor - Medtech (
zzjay's wardrobe - zzjay (
A Steel Heater Shield - Abakus (
Witcher 2 Armor Collection - CDPR-Afrotoast42-Lordofwar-Redxavier-TH3WICK3D1 (
Alternate Shield of Solitude - ImJustAGamer and Abakus -

Roof -
Red Cloth -
Rock texture -
Grey rock texture -
Bark -

Gregorian Chant Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Pippin the Hunchback Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Teller of the Tales Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Village Consort Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License