Skyrim Special Edition

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About this mod

Creature resistance overhaul. 16 damage types. MCM configurable difficulty. Finely balanced.

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  • Mandarin

Know Your Enemy 2 is the successor to Skyrim's most popular resistance overhaul. As challenging and finely balanced as ever, it has been rebuilt from the ground up for the ultimate experience. This is the creature module. There is also an armor module and a patch to integrate the two.

Sixteen damage types: The classic types of blade, axe, blunt, fire, frost, shock, poison and disease remain. Bows are now split into regular bows and crossbows. New damage types include fists, shield bashes, sneak attacks, sun, drain, and illusion.

Configurable difficulty: The MCM lets you choose from 4 levels of effect intensity at any time, magical and physical effects can be configured separately.

A simplified experience: There are no traits, no hidden books, and very few weaknesses. Most enemies fall into one of a small number of categories. Resistances come in only two tiers, "resistances" and "strong resistances".

A better inspect power: The player can inspect creatures at close range to learn their resistances. In the MCM you can activate numerical effect descriptions (e.g. "50% resistant" instead of "highly resistant") or make only dead bodies inspectable.

Finely balanced: All damage types are equally viable, with imbalances in the vanilla game accounted for. Most damage types pair well together for wide coverage.

A creatures general form affects their resistance to all weapons, fire, frost shock, sun, poison and disease. The other damage types (sneak, illusion and drain) are affected by intelligence (see next section).

Bristleback, Chicken, Cow, Deer, Dog, Elk, Goat, Horse, Husky, Rabbit, Riekling, Skeever, Slaughterfish, Wolf
Resistances: Some resist frost.
Neutral: Everything.
Intelligence: Low, some are moderately intelligent.

Armored frost troll, Bear, Cave bear, Frost troll, Giant, Horker, Mammoth, Sabre cat, Snow bear, Snowy sabre cat, Troll, Gargoyle, Lurker, Seeker, Werebear, Werewolf
Strong resistances: Blunt, fists and shield bashes
Resistances: Axes, crossbows, fire and frost.
Neutral: Blade, bows, shock, poison and disease.
Weaknesses: Trolls are weak to fire, otherwise None.
Intelligence: Typically moderate.

Dwarven Machines
Dwarven ballista, Dwarven centurion, Dwarven sphere, Dwarven spider, Forgemaster
Strong resistances: Blades, bows, crossbows, fists, bashes, shock, poison and disease.
Resistances: Axes and fire.
Neutral: Blunt and frost.
Weaknesses: The forgemaster is weak to frost.
Intelligence: Low.

Ghosts are not a race, but rather a collection specific NPCs across races.
Strong resistances: All physical damage except silver weapons.
Neutral: All magic.
Weaknesses: Silver weapons.

Ash Hopper, Chaurus, Chaurus Hunter, Chaurus Hunter Fledgling, Chaurus Reaper, Frostbite spider, Frozen Chaurus, Mudcrab
Resistances: Blades, axes, bows, fire, frost and poison.
Neutral: Blunt, fists, bashes, shock and disease.
Intelligence: Moderate.

Arvak, Bone man, Corruped Shade, Keeper, Mistman, Shade, Skeleton, Wrathman
Strong resistances: Blades, bows, crossbows, shock, poison and disease.
Resistances: Axes, fire and frost.
Neutral: Blunt, fists and bashes.
Weaknesses: Sun.
Intelligence: Low.

Death hound, Dragon Priest, Draugr, Hulking draugr, Vampire
Strong resistances: Bows, shock, poison and disease
Resistances: Blade, blunt, fists, bashes and frost.
Neutral: Axes, crossbows, and fire.
Weaknesses: Sun.
Intelligence: Mostly low, but dragon priests and vampires are intelligent.

Unique enemies
Ash Guardian, Ash spawn, Burnt Spriggan, Dremora, Falmer, Flame Atronach, Frost Atronach, Hagraven, Ice wraith, Karstaag, Magic anomaly, Netch, Spriggan, Storm atronach, Wisp, Wismother
Many enemies fall outside of typical categories and have their own unique effects. Some will be easy to handle, like the falmer who resist only poison. Others will be a challenge, like storm atronachs that resist everything except frost to some extent.

The effects of intelligence stack on top of the effects of creature type, and affect sneak, drain and illusion.

Many animals, regular undead, skeletons and Dwarven machines.
Strong resistances: Sneak.
Neutral: Drain and illusion.

Some animals, many beasts and all insects.
Resistances: Sneak, drain and illusion.

Some beasts, some undead, many unique creatures.
Strong resistances: Drain and illusion.
Neutral: Sneak.

Most damage types are fully effective against ~50% of enemies, resisted by ~20% and highly resisted by the remaining ~30%, but each type has different enemies they do well or badly against. A successful strategy is to combine two (or even three) different damage types. Picking complementary damage types can provide fully effective damage against ~75% of enemies, and near perfect coverage for mostly effective attacks.

Strengths: Animals and beasts.
Weaknesses: Machines and skeletons.
Good pairings: Axes, blunt, fire, frost, drain, illusion.
Poor pairings: Bows, poison, disease.
Notes: Blades are great for the the wilderness, but less so against exotic enemies.

Strengths: Animals and the undead.
Weaknesses: Only a few unique enemies and ghosts.
Good pairings: Anything.
Poor pairings: None.
Notes: Axes are a low-risk/low-reward strategy; very few creatures are highly resistant to them, but many are somewhat resistant to them.

Strengths: Animals, insects, skeletons and dwarven machines.
Weaknesses: Beasts.
Good pairings: Blades, axes, bows, crossbows, sneak, fire, frost, shock, poison, disease.
Poor pairings: Fists, shield bashes, and sun.
Notes: Blunt weapons have an unusual profile, being highly resisted by beasts, nonetheless, this means they pair well with many other damage types.

Strengths: Animals and beasts.
Weaknesses: Machines, skeletons and the undead.
Good pairings: Axes, blunt, fire, frost.
Poor pairings: Blades, sneak attacks, poison, disease.
Notes: Bows have a similar profile to blades. Any bow without the word "crossbow" in its name is considered a bow.

Strengths: The undead and insects.
Weaknesses: Skeletons and machines.
Good pairings: Axes, blunt, fire and frost
Poor pairings: None.
Notes: Crossbows are like armor penetrating bows and are very versatile. Any bow with the word "crossbow" in its name is considered a crossbow.

Strengths: Animals, insects and skeletons.
Weaknesses: Beasts and machines.
Good pairings: Axes, sneak and fire.
Poor pairings: Blunt, shield bashes and sun.
Notes: Fists have the same profile as shield bashes.

Shield bashes
Strengths: Animals, insects and skeletons.
Weaknesses: Beasts and machines.
Good pairings: Axes, sneak and fire.
Poor pairings: Blunt, shield bashes and sun.
Notes: Shield bashes have the same profile as fists.

Sneak attacks
Strengths: Intelligent creatures.
Weaknesses: Unintelligent creatures.
Good pairings: Axes, blunt, fists, bashes, fire, frost, drain, illusion.
Poor pairings: Bows, poison and disease.
Notes: Sneak attacks work with many other damage types, but poorly with bows which nerfs the OP stealth-archer build.

Strengths: Animals and the undead.
Weaknesses: Some unique enemies.
Good pairings: Everything.
Poor pairings: None.
Notes: Very few enemies have strong fire resistances, though regular resistances are common. To reduce fire being OP, the cost of fire spells is mildly increased, though this can be turned off in the MCM.

Strengths: Dwarven machines, some animals and beasts.
Weaknesses: Some beasts.
Good pairings: Everything except sun.
Poor pairings: None.
Notes: Frost is valuable because of its strength against Dwarven machines. Because it is otherwise less valuable than fire, the cost of frost spells is mildly reduced, though this can be turned off in the MCM.

Strengths: Animals, beasts, insects.
Weaknesses: The undead, skeletons and Dwarven machines.
Good pairings: Axes, blunt, fire and frost.
Poor pairings: Bows, poison and disease.
Notes: Shock spells are resisted less often than other damage types, but shock resistances tend to be strong.

Strengths: The undead, skeletons and some unique enemies.
Weaknesses: Everything else.
Good pairings: Axes, crossbows, fire and shock.
Poor pairings: Blunt, fists and bashes.
Notes: Sun is the same as in vanilla, so it typically only affects undead. Because of this it is a poor choice as your primary damage type. The inspect spell does not mention sun damage unless enemies as susceptible to it.

Strengths: Unintelligent creatures.
Weaknesses: Intelligent creatures.
Good pairings: Axes, fire, frost, sneak.
Poor pairings: Sun, illusion.
Notes: Drain has the same profile as illusion.

Strengths: Unintelligent creatures.
Weaknesses: Intelligent creatures.
Good pairings: Axes, fire, frost, sneak.
Poor pairings: Sun, drain.
Notes: Illusion has the same profile as drain.

Strengths: Animals and beasts.
Weaknesses: The undead, Dwarven machines, skeletons, many unique creatures.
Good pairings: Axes, blunt, fire, frost.
Poor pairings: Blade, bows, sneak, shock, disease.
Notes: Poison is more often strongly resisted than many other damage types.

Strengths: Animals, beasts and insects.
Weaknesses: The undead, Dwarven machines, skeletons, many unique creatures.
Good pairings: Axes, blunt, fire, frost.
Poor pairings: Blade, bows, sneak, shock, poison.
Notes: Disease is more often strongly resisted than many other damage types.

Physical/Magical Effect Intensity
These two sliders set the effect intensity of physical and magical resistances, from 1 (very mild) through 4 (very strong). The default is 3. The precise values are as follows:

Level 1: Strong resistance =   25% or   x0.8, Regular resistance = 10% or   x0.9
Level 2: Strong resistance =   50% or x0.67, Regular resistance = 25% or   x0.8
Level 3: Strong resistance =   75% or   x0.5, Regular resistance = 33% or x0.67
Level 4: Strong resistance = 100% or x0.25, Regular resistance = 50% or   x0.5

Percentage resistances are additive and affect fire, frost, shock, poison and disease, while multiplicative resistances affect all physical damage, drain, and illusion. Note that percentage resistances reach total immunity at level 4, but multiplicative resistances cannot.

Can Inspect Living Targets - If selected you can inspect living targets, otherwise targets must be dead to be inspected. It is enabled by default.
Quantitative Target Descriptions - If enabled the inspect spell provides numerical resistances and weaknesses, otherwise effects are described categorically. It is disabled by default for a more polished look.
Rebalance Spell Costs - If selected the cost of fire spells is slightly increased, while the cost of frost spells is slightly decreased, to improve balance between elements. It is enabled by default.
Boost Silver Damage Against Undead - If selected silver weapons deal 25% more damage to ghosts, the undead and werewolves. This helps them scale into the late game (in vanilla they deal a flat 20 extra damage, which is great early on, but useless later).

SKSE and SkyUI - for the MCM and inspect spell
SPID and KID - to distribute resistances
Address Library - for SPID and KID.

Download and install through your mod manager of choice. It is safe to install on an existing save. The plugin is ESL-flagged.

Check the update notes. Updates that change script properties will require a new game.

Safe to uninstall at any time.

Performance impact

KYE2 uses SPID to distribute resistances which greatly increases compatibility. However, the following issues may still arise:
  • KYE2 edits the racial abilities of vanilla creatures (not playable races) to remove resistances and weaknesses. If other mods edit these records a conflict will arise. 
  • Where mods add their own resistances and weaknesses they will stack with KYE2, potentially creating seriously tough enemies.
  • Where mods add new elemental spells, they might not interact with KYE2's resistances (though many do).
  • CACO's undead poisons rely on undead having 0 poison resistance. With KYE2 installed, CACO's undead poisons won't work against the undead. There's a patch in the optional downloads to fix this.

KYE2 distributes resistances according to enemy race. Mods that create new enemy races will need an expansion patch. Mods that add new enemies to existing races will not need a patch.

Building Your Character - diverse and fun builds with strengths and weaknesses
Master of One - A perk overhaul that transforms perks from generic character progression into a means to craft unique and specialized builds.
Curse of the Firmament - A standing stones overhaul that emphasizes tough choices.
Legacy - A race overhaul that bring strengths and weaknesses to each race.
Acolyte - A progressive-yet-unobtrusive religion overhaul with a long path to divinity.

Enemies and Combat - challenging, varied and fair combat
Know Your Enemy (armor modulepatcher version) - A resistance and weakness overhaul for enemies and armors.
Know Your Enemy 2 (armor moduleintegration patch) - An upgraded resistance overhaul: more damage types, more configuration, more polish.
NPC Stat Rescaler - A patcher that adjusts player and NPC stats for faster, fairer, and less spongy combat.
Enemy Releveler - A patcher that adjusts NPC levels to truly delevel the world.

Stats and stat growth - drawing out character growth to stave off premature godhood
Exhaustion - Incremental Fatigue - An ultra-lightweight injury/fatigue system.
Exercise - Incremental Growth - An add-on for Exhaustion that converts fatigue into stat growth.
Geometric Stat Growth - Stats grow by a configurable percentage on level up, instead of a fixed value.

Challenging Spell Learning
 - Spell Tomes trigger a costly ritual you must pass to learn spells.
Trainers Galore - An expansion of the training system designed for "training only" leveling.
Pick Your Poison - An alchemical handbook to support strategic foraging.
Configurable Perks Per Level - An MCM to edit how many perk points you get on level up.
XP Editor - A patcher that adjusts xp gain and leveling.
Sightseer - Standing Stones - Guidebooks for the standing stones, collectibles to find, and a hidden quest to unite them.

Mod Lists
Thoughtful Skyrim - A small, gameplay-focussed modlist that rewards preparation and planning.

Thanks to michaelfoushee for creating the image used on this mod page.