Skyrim Special Edition

File information

Last updated

Original upload

Created by


Uploaded by


Virus scan

Safe to use

About this mod

A Loot and Encounter Zone Overhaul that focus on open world experience and freedom.
Also enable easy integration for modded weapon or armor.

Permissions and credits
  • Turkish
  • Spanish
  • Mandarin
  • German
  • French
Open World Loot (OWL) is a loot and encounter zone overhaul mod that I have been loosely developing and refining for more than a year. I published a beta version last year and keep play-testing the mod since then.

The goal of OWL is to provide an OPEN WORLD and immersive experience, let the player have a sense of progression as well as obtaining believable and balanced loots throughout your adventure and exploration.


  • Encounter zone setting that retains the open world experience with a sense of progression.
  • Immersive and balanced loot and level list changes that enhance the gameplay with progression in mind.
  • Enable easy integration of modded weapons and armors.

What is the difference between OWL and other loot/encounter zone mod?
Unlike MorrowLoot Ultimate or Skyrim Revamped, OWL does not delevel the world. You get the freedom to explore Skyrim depending on your own pace and desire. Each dungeon and zone has a min and max level, depending its enemy type. Zones with powerful enemy, unique bosses or artifact inside tend to have higher min/max level.

Also unlike MLU, OWL does not entirely remove high level loot from the level list. Instead it makes use of the special loot mechanic from Skyrim Revamped but make the loot mostly depending on player's level. Don't worry, you still won't see glass+ tier items flying around. The high tier loots will be found in the boss chests or high level enemies like vampire boss only if you are high level enough.
The philosophy behind is that those high level gears, especially the weapons, are not your end game items. With all the artifact mods like Reliquary of Myth in your game, the unique items will be your first priority in each stage of the game. Normal items, even the ebony+ tier, are just temporary equipment to use until you get the unique artifacts with powerful enchantments.

OWL is also built with a special structure as a framework for easy integration of other weapon or armor mods. In the easiest case, like most of the Billyro's standalone weapon, You just need to put the weapon into OWL's specific weapon tier level list (say steel tier sword) and it will have a chance to appear at where the steel sword normally be found. 

So if you are interested, below will get into some details of the mod. Let's start with the simple part, encounter zone.

Encounter Zone
The encounter zone of OWL is loosely based on Arena with added max level and small adjustment to min level. If you are not familiar with how encounter zone work in Skyrim, I suggest to read the description of Arena for a clearer concept.

Leveled Actor Multipliers:
Easy: 0.33x > 0.75x
Normal: 0.67x > 1.00x
Hard: 1.00x > 1.25x
Very Hard: 1.25x > 1.50x

Min/Max Level of zone according to different enemy type:
(Generally, each zone has different number within this range depending on quest and progression. )

Humanoid (Bandit/Forsworn/Warlock,etc.): level 5-60
Draugr: level 10-80
Falmer: level 20-80
Vampire/Giant/Dragon: level 25-80
Dragon Priest: level 30-100

Zone with unique bosses or artifacts inside usually have no max level.

In OWL's design, level 1 to 15 is considered to be Early Game, you mostly deal with humanoid enemy and doing some early stage main quests and guild quests.
Level 15 to 30 is regarded as Mid Game, at this stage you should have gathered some solid gears and have a sufficient build for mid stage main quests and finish the guild quests.
After level 30, you have entered the Late Game. At this stage you should have a concrete build for most of the challenge in game. You started to hunt down the appropriate artifacts for your build (Yes you should use Timing is Everything and set all the daedric quests starting after level 35-40).
Once you have completed you build at around level 40 to 50, you have reached the END GAME. At this stage You can wrap up the playthrough and finish the main quests and other contents as you desire.

Loot and Level List
The loots you get in OWL are largely based on player's level, but, not in the broken vanilla way that seeing every bandits running around with glass+ gears and draugr swinging ebony weapons on you at high level! To create a balanced playthrough with a sense of progression in an immersive way, OWL restricts the best gears to the boss chests of the high level enemies. This is done by special loot mechanic inspired from Skyrim Revamped.

OWL also makes many immersive tweaks to the level list:
  • Animals won't drop gold and jewelry.
  • Health/Magicka/Stamina Potion loot has better progression curve. In vanilla the high level potions drop too late, you often find that you are still using low level potion at high level because you don't have sufficient high level potions in your inventory. (I use mod that turns potions into DOT effect and you cannot spam it to heal. )
  • Chests contain logical loots. For example warlock chests have more chance to contain scrolls and staves. Many scroll loots also have progression curve now. (In vanilla many level list use the highest level scrolls which is imbalance. )
  • Always get the best version of leveled items. (Dragonbane, Miraak's gears, etc. )
  • Khajiit Merchants sells rare items like silver and Alik'r weapons, etc.
  • Many other little consistency and balance tweaks.

Below are the starting level range of each type of weapons for reference:
(Weapon and armor have slightly different level range, also there are some exception case, but you get the picture. )

Iron: level 1
Steel: level 5-10
Dwarven: level 6-15 (Always found in Dwemer Ruins)
Elven: level 12-20 (Always on Thalmor Soldiers)
Orcish: level 19-25 (Always found in Orc Strongholds)
Nordic: level 19-25 (In Solstheim, mostly)
Glass: level 25-40
Ebony: level 30-40
Stalhrim: level 30-40 (In Solstheim)
Daedric: level 65 or above (Unless you deal with the "devil"... )
Dragonbone: level 65 or above (In Solstheim as it makes sense for a place under the influence of the first Dragonborn to have dragonbone gears)

So if you go into a dungeon before level 30, you won't find any ebony items. And you also won't see ebony gears in some of the low level bandit cave which has max level 30. Also, the chance for a bandit camp to have "special loot" is very low (like 10%) due to the container change OWL made.

Yes, OWL overhauled more than just the level list, it also made changes to the container records (which controls the items you found in chest), outfit records and a handful of NPC records (which assign the necessary gear framework to specific NPC type). This led to the next part of OWL, a framework that enable easy integration of standalone weapon and armor.

Gear Framework for Easy Integration of Modded Weapon and Armor
So in vanilla the enchanted gears have a sublist mechanic that draws the items from a pool of various enchanted counterparts. For example, if you are about to get an enchanted steel sword from chest, the loot will draw from a pool of steel sword with different enchantments (fire, shock, turn undead, etc. ). But this isn't the case for the normal unenchanted weapon, which means if the main level list decided you get a steel sword, you get a steel sword, since vanilla game only have 1 steel sword variant.

The problem is that if you wanted a modded steel sword to be added into the level list, you need to put the sword into every level list that included a steel sword. If you have multiple weapon mods wanted to add, it will interfere with the opportunity of getting each tier of weapon. Let's say in vanilla a sword level list contains 4 steel sword and 1 ebony sword, you have 1/5 chance to get the ebony sword. If you add in 5 modded steel sword, you now only have 1/10 to get the ebony sword. On the other hand if you add in 3 modded ebony sword, you will now have half chance to get the ebony sword, which breaks the intended balance.
What's worst is that if you have a loot mod that changed the level list structure, it causes major conflicts between the loot mod and the weapon mods, since the weapon mods' level list are usually designed for vanilla level list. Bashed Patch can't solve these kind of conflict, you have to manually adjust the level list for a compatibility patch.

What OWL does is applying the sublist mechanic to normal unenchanted gears. Now if you are about to get a steel sword, it will draw from a pool of steel sword variants. Of course in base game there is only 1 steel sword. So OWL 1.0 comes with patches for Reforging - To the Masses and Armor Variants Expansion to spice things up. Those 2 mods are what I am currently using for my vanilla plus playthrough. I might write a guide on how to integrate weapon and armor mods into OWL gear framework, but experienced users should figure it out right away by looking into SSEdit. Just one note, the armor mods need extra steps since you need to create OUTFIT records too.

Weapons Armor Clothing and Clutter Fixes - Soft requirement, OWL follows its tier changes to Dwarven, Elven and Orcish items.
(If you don't use WACCF, you might want to use the vanilla progression patch by Qolore7. )


Weapon Armor Attribute Tweaks - my mod for non-WACCF users. Both main or lite version will do.

OWL has included necessary Bash Tags so I suggest to create a Bashed Patch. Also remember to double check in SSEdit to make sure OWL changes are taking priority.

Obviously not compatible with other loot mods.
If you have other weapon or armor mods that edit the same level list, you need to create a patch by letting OWL overwrite the main level list, and then add the modded items into OWL's gear framework level list.
OWL also edited NPC, Container and Outfit records, highly recommended to check in SSEdit to resolve the conflict.
Morrowloot Miscellania is compatible except for the Hybrid Loot module. I actually recommend to use the Item Distribution module with OWL.

OWL and its patches should be placed as low as possible in your load order.

Most of the conflicts between OWL patches can be resolved by bashed patch and it is recommended.
Compatibility and Supported Mods

A Basic Tutorial on How to Integrate Weapon and Armor Mods into OWL Gear Framework

Reliquary of Myth - In the philosophy of OWL, the artifacts are your end game items. So artifact mods are necessary and RoM is my artifact mod of choice.
Timing is Everything - This mod is highly recommended in order to set the starting level of all artifact quests to at least level 35, preferably 40. Otherwise you can obtain many powerful artifact in early levels and render other loots redundant.
ArteFakes - Enhance the appearance and stats of many unique items.

Unique Items Tweaks - My other mod to enhance many miscellaneous artifacts.
Reforging - To the Masses - Add in many immersive weapons into the level lists. Compatibility patch is provided.
Armor Variants Expansion - Add in immersive armors into the level lists. Compatibility patch is provided.
Experience - I included a preset file for OWL in optional file. But you can also use the original setting. OWL preset reduce most of the experience gain but enable killing XP.
Locational Encounter Zones - This thing does something good. This was written by Ghastly, so it's worse than the rest of the description.

Future Plan and Ideas
For now OWL already has all the features I want for my next vanilla plus playthrough, but there are still rooms for further development. I will throw out some ideas here for my future playthrough and in case others want to further develop the mod themselves.

  • Currently OWL only apply the Gear Framework to mosty material based weapons and armors. But it can also apply to more Faction Gears such as Imperial(Armor), Stormcloaks, Forsworn(Armor), Alik'r(Armor), Dawnguard(Armor), Vampire, Thalmor(Separate from Elven gears), Blades, Thieves Guild, Dark Brotherhood, Companion, etc.
  • Make use of Spell Perk Item Distributor (SPID) to apply the Gear Framework to different NPC according to faction or group. (e.g. Alik'r, Pirate, etc.)
  • Integrate more weapon and armor mods into the OWL, like NordWarUA's mods. With enough gear mods, OWL can even turn Skyrim into a looter game. :)

MorrowLoot Ultimate for the inspiration and reference.
Skyrim Revamped for the inspiration and reference.
Arena for the inspiration and reference.

Also big thanks to sasnikol for providing some of the patches and other supports. Go check out his Enchanting Adjustments Updated mod.
Huge thanks to GhastlyGamer13 for providing many patches and other supports. He is basically the moderator of OWL right now. :)