How to Play as Monsters In Skyrim (Mod)
(TIME IS RUNNING OUT. Find the truth in Christ now.)
This is part 1 of my 2 part tutorial on how to make any monster fully playable in Skyrim and shape shift into it with a spell. On this page, I show you how to fix the camera view for each monster race and enable all of it's attack animations to be used by the player. I also show you how to create a new variation of each monster race so you have the ability to turn into whichever visual variation you wish to.
In part 2, I will teach you how to create new shape shifting spells that will allow you to turn into the monsters you make playable here. When you are finished with the part 1, click the following link to go to part 2: How to Create New Shape Shifting Spells in Skyrim
Before We Get Started
Before we get started and I show you how to make monsters playable in Skyrim, I would first like to announce that I just barely released the final version of my own Master Shape Shifter mod version 2.8.4. Watch the trailer for it below and, if you want, after the video post I'll list intructions on how you can download it yourself! :-]
Then after that, the tutorial will continue.
Download Master Shape Shifter Mod v1.8.4
You can download my Master Shape Shifter mod in the video description of the following link on Youtube! Enjoy. :]
Step 1 - Round Up Your Tools
Before you can start making various monsters playable in Skyrim, you need to round up your tools!
For this tutorial you will need the following:
1) NifSkope with Skyrim XML file
2) The Creation Kit
3) Fallout Mod Manager
Step 2 - Fix The Camera
Monster's cameras are, by default, at ground level in between the monster's legs for some reason. To fix this, we need to add a new camera bone to whichever monster you want to make playable.
First off, you need to extract the skeleton.nif file of the monster you wish to play as and put it under Data\Meshes\Actors\<whatever the monster's name is> . To do this, go to your Skyrim\Data directory and right click 'Meshes.bsa'. (If the monster you want is in an expansion pack, DLC or mod, you may have to instead open the .bsa file of that mod.) Now, select 'open with...' and from the list that appears, select FOMM.
Navigate to the directory of the creature you want and extract the skeleton.nif file to the directory specified above. You will also need to extract the main character's skeleton.nif file. You can find that under actors/character/character assets/skeleton.nif.
So far so good? Now open up NifSkope and load up the skeleton .nif file of the creature's skeleton you extracted. Open a second window of Nifskope and open up the character's skeleton .nif file as well so you can see both side by side.
You want to copy the 'camera 3rd' section from the main character's skeleton to your monster's skeleton. To do this, right click 'camera 3rd' and select 'block > copy branch'. Then right click at the top of your monster's skeleton . nif file where it says 'skeleton.nif' and select 'block > paste branch.'
Now you want to go back over to your main character's skeleton file and, for each of the entries including and under 'camera 3rd', click the little 'txt' icon in the bottom window panel and that will pop up a dialogue box that says 'select a string or enter a new one.'
Copy whatever text is in the bottom field and go over to your monster's .nif file and click the same little 'txt' button there. Paste the text you copied from your main character's file here. Do this for all five lines. When you are finished, you should have something similar to the picture to the right.
Great! Now save your skeleton.nif file for the monster to replace the old one.
To test at this point, fire up Skyrim and open the console. Use player.setrace 'whatever race the monster is' to make sure your camera is working properly.
If, for whatever reason, the monster and camera are shaking uncontrollably, shrink the dimensions of the bounding box (which shows up as BBX  in NifSkope). Some monsters, like the frostbite spider and dog, do this.
Step 3 - Enable Your Monster's Attacks
Close out of FOMM and NifSkope, if you haven't already and open up the Creation Kit.
Load up Skyrim.esm and click File > Save to save your new plugin. Once you have done that, go under Gameplay > Animations from the menu bar at the top of the window. This will load up a list of all the .hkx animation behavior files in the game.
Navigate to the monster you want to edit and click the little plus sign next to it, to expand the list of all of it's behaviors and their related animations.
Now, some monsters will already have entries called 'ActionLeftAttack' or 'ActionRightAttack', but even if they do, they won't be able to attack most of the time, except for the draugr and skeletons. I am about to show you how to enable their attacks whether they have them or not.
IF THEY DON'T HAVE THEM:
#1 Right click at the top of the list where it says Actors\<monster category>\behaviors <monster type>\etc and select 'Insert Child'. This will bring up a list of new behaviors you can add.
Add the following:
#2 Go through to each of the actions you just added and enter a name under 'ID' and then select which attack animation you want each behavior to trigger. I recommend using ActionJump for the forward power attack and dual attack as a different power attack.
#3. Click 'OK' then click save.
IF THEY DO HAVE THEM:
For example, the Falmer has his left attack animation set to use magic and his right attack button set to use his bow, when it's equipped.
If you run into a similar situation, the solution is simple. Simply select either the right or left attack and, instead of messing with the stuff underneath it, just change the animation of the behavior ITSELF from 'NONE' to whatever attack animation you want to play.
NOTE #1: When testing out the attacks in game, I have found that the wolves and dogs attacks naturally don't hit when they attack most things - including NPCS. They play the animation, but their attacks don't register as hitting the NPC.
The solution I have found to this is to open up the monster's skeleton.nif file in NifSkope and go to the section called 'NPCRoot'. Here you, you need adjust the translation by sliding it forward on the Y axis by 20 points. So, I would change Y from 0 to 20 and save it.
In addition to adding 20 points to the Y axis of NPCRoot, you also need to subtract 20 points off the Y axis dimension of BBX , which is the character's bounding box.
Now, depending on the size of the creature, you may need to adjust the NPC Root translation and BBX  Y dimension by MORE or LESS than 20 points. The rule of thumb here is that the creature's head should be visibly sticking out of the bounding box while his body is still within it.
This solved most of my issues.
However, sometimes, such as in the case of the horker and mammoth, this alone does not work. If you find a monster that this isn't fixing the problem with, in the Creation Kit, go under 'Character > Race' in the left hand object window. Double click on the race of the monster you are trying to fix and go under the 'Combat Data' tab. Change the 'Unnarmed Reach' box. I normally double the number that's already there and then experiment from there.
In fact, if the monster you wish to play as non-bipedal, you better do this, I've found.
NOTE #2: If for whatever reason some of your monster's attacks stop working in game, it's because you were previously a different creature with spells equipped. To fix this, open up your magic menu and equip and spell in both hands, then unequip it. You may have to use player.setrace to go to another creature and then back to the one you want to be at the moment in order to get it to work, but this should re-enable your attacks.
NOTE #3: If your creature attacks with it's head (such as dragons shouting), you need to disable the head tracking, so it won't always be looking in the opposite direction of where you are trying to aim. To do this, open up the creature's race entry under 'Character > Races' in the toolset and uncheck the box that says something along the lines of 'uses head tracking.' This will allow you to aim the dragons head toward wherever the target is.
Step #4 - Choose Your Variation of Monster
There are tons of different variations of monsters in the game that are not currently assigned their own race. This means you can't play as all of those other variations, without doing this first.
#1 In the Creation Kit, go under 'Race'. Look for the race of monster that is the base type that you want to play as. Open it, and go over to the 'Body Data' tab. Now, under the tab that says 'Skin', you will see it's currently set to whatever variation is default. Take a look on the drop down list to see what other variations there are BUT DO NOT CHANGE IT YET!
#2 Find the variation you want to play as and LEAVE THE DROP DOWN BOX AT DEFAULT SETTINGS FOR NOW. Instead, Change the name of the race in the top box that says 'ID' to match the variation you want to play as. Click 'OK' and it will prompt you with a message saying that race doesn't already exists - do you want to create a new race? Click YES! If you click 'no', you may cause serious issues.
#3 Now, load the new race back up off the race menu. Under the 'General Data' tab (where you start), in the bottom right hand corner it will say 'Copied Data' with two drop down boxes underneath that are currently set to 'NONE'. Change both of these to whatever the base monster type race was that you duplicated.
#4 Go back under 'Body Data' and NOW you can select the variation of monster you want. Take note of the name of the monster race you changed it to, because that's what you will use in the console command player.setrace to turn into the monster in game.
Then again, if you forget, you can always use the console command 'findform race <keyword of monster's name>' and it will return a list of matching races in the game.
Step #5 - Become The Monster
Once you have done both all of the previous steps, it's time to jump in game and test everything out, so load up Skyrim Launcher and make sure your .esp file is selected from the Data list. Launch the game.
Once in game, go player.setrace <whatever race you just modified>. You should be able to attack and have your camera in the correct place.
Now, you'll probably want your monster specific spells and weapons. To get them, use the console command 'help <keyword from monster's name> 4'. This will bring up a list of all the instances of the monster's name in the game. Use the page up and page down keys to scroll through this list until you find entries called 'SPEL' or 'WEAP' or even 'ARMO' or 'AMMO'.
Once you found what you want, use player.additem or player.addspell to get them.
If it's an item, you need to specify a quantity at the end. For example, 'player.additem 0001AC43 1'.
If it's a spell, you'll also need to use 'player.equipspell <refcode> left' (or right, if you want to equip the spell in the right hand.) You may even have to do player.equipitem, if it's a weapon that's not set to show up in your inventory.
NOTE: If you put the spell in the wrong hand, it will mess up the monster so it can't attack at all. If this happens, setrace to another monster and then set it back and try the other hand.
At this point, you are ready to create a new shape shifting spell that will allow you to transform into this creature at will! To learn how to do this, click through the link to part 2: How to Create New Shape Shifting Spells in Skyrim.