Mods to Improve Appearance of and Customise Your Skyrim Player Character
Hi and welcome my latest article on the Elder Scrolls V Skyrim. Today, I will be looking at player character customisation using Skyrim mods. This will give you far more freedom to create a truly unique player character as well as increasing the replay value of Skyrim as each character that you play will be different, with different strengths and abilities.
Today I will:
- Introduce a number of Skyrim mods that will allow you to not only greatly improve your characters appearance, but will also give you far greater freedom over what you can adjust
- Look at how you can customise character creation including starting class, statistics and your birth sign
The character customisations available once you install the mods I introduce below include:
- Permanent birth signs
- Adjusting character attributes based on gender and race
- Picking a starting preconfigured class such as mage, bard or monk or creating a fully customised class by choosing six major skills across combat, magic and stealth similar to the character creation systems available in earlier Elder Scrolls games
- Dynamic skill progression
I have an article that introduces a number of fantastic textures to update your characters (and also Non Player Characters in Skyrim) eye, hair, face and body textures. In addition, I look at the two most popular body model replacement CBBE and UNP. These give your Player Character a more natural look which if you use CBBE is also hugely customisable, That hub can be found here:
I also look at a number of high quality texture replacers for both your Player Character and also NPCs. These include two packs of textures that replace just the clothing for the NPCs as well as very high quality and beautiful cloaks and robes for your player character. This mod can be found here:
Finally, when considering the appearance of your Player Character, I also have a hub that looks at some of the very best armour replacement mods available. These are all of stunningly high quality while also being lore friendly. They include the excellent mods aMidianBorn Book of Silence, Immersive armors and Calientes Vanilla Outfits for CBBE as well as a collection of mods that introduce shields, armour for barbarians, wood elves and rangers. My hub on new armours can be found here:
Enabling in depth customisation of your player characters face and body in Skyrim
The default Skyrim player character creation has 45 sliders that allow you to adjust aspects of your characters appearance including the:
Using mods, we can greatly expand that. When done in conjunction with body, hair, face and eye texture replacement mods, this not only allows you a tremendous amount of freedom when creating a new character, the end result will also look far better.
To increase the customisation available, we will install Race Menu by Frank Sirius and the RaceMenu - DisableFaceGenCache patch to fix a crash that can occur if you have too many hair, eye or brow mods installed.
Using the RaceMenu mod, we now have 59 sliders available to customise our character. It offers a number of new features to the default player character experience including:
- The mod mirrors the popular Sky UI look, with improved categories
- All the sliders now have a numeric display
- You can zoom in and out to see your character closer up or further away
- Lights can be turned on or off to allow you to better see how your character will look in game
- Race Menu gives you far greater freedom when choosing colour tints
Thanks to the Race Menu mod, Skyrim now displays some information about each race and also the racial bonuses that they receive should you choose that race for your player character.
Note: If you make changes that you don’t like and want to start again, go back to the Body menu and select a different preset option. Skyrim will warn you that you will lose your changes, select OK to start again.
You can see from the screenshot below that I am ready to start my new game with my female Breton. I chose the Breton race because she is going to be a mage and the Breton racial bonuses fit a mage class well.
You can see my character in game below.
Note: to see your player character in game, ensure that he or she has their hand down by their sides (click R to enter or leave combat mode) and rotate by holding down the middle mouse button and moving the mouse. Zoom in and out by scrolling the middle mouse button.
Customising Character creation including birth signs, classes, specialisations and attributes in Skyrim
One of the greatest weaknesses of Skyrim in my opinion when you compare it to earlier games in the Elder Scrolls series is the lack of customisation available when creating your new character.
Aside from choosing the race and sex of your character, everything else is the pretty much the same every time you create a new character. The perk system does allow you some variation, but in the end most characters will end up the same a jack of all trades character.
To add back that variation, I recommend the Character Creation Overhaul mod by Syclonix. This mod when installed allows you to choose from four possible options:
Diverse Races and Genders – varies starting attributes based on gender and race
- Dynamic Skill progression- as in Morrowind and Oblivion, skills that are part of your race or class are easier to learn than other untrained skills
- Oblivion carry weights – the amount characters can carry is lowered to the values seen in Oblivion
- Permanent Birthsigns – birth signs can now no longer be changed mid game
So now when we create a new character, on top of the default options of choosing a race and gender we are invited by the mod to choose a class and a birth sign
- First, choose to keep or change your race
- Next choose your birthsign, which corresponds to a standing stone in the vanilla game
Now comes the fun part, you can choose from:
- seven combat classes
- seven magic classes
- seven stealth classes
- or you can create a custom class which is the option I will choose.
Having chosen a custom class, I now have to choose a specialisation. Skills relevant to my specialization gain a +5 bonus and increase +5 percent faster
- I will choose magic as a specialisation as my character is a mage
- The next step is to choose a favoured attribute which gains a +20 starting bonus. I will choose Magicka
- Finally, I get to choose my six major skills which will also gain +20 and increase 20% faster.
I chose for my major skills, Alchemy as I love creating potions, the magical schools of Alteration, Restoration, Destruction, Conjuration and One Handed so I can wield a dagger more effectively. Now you can see in the screenshot below that my major skills received a significant boost.
If you compare the skills screen to a character created without the Character Creation Overhaul, you can see that all skills start at 15, aside from those that are given a +5 due to a racial bonus and they will all increase at the same rate.
Using a number of mods, we have taken the improved higher resolution textures we installed as part of my first hub on improving body, face hair and eye textures and been able to customise them in a far more granular way than was possible in vanilla Skyrim. As you can see from the sheer number of options available for the extended sliders introduced by the mods the possibilities are endless.
In addition to your characters appearance, we also looked at the character creation process and overhauled that, again using a mod. Now, rather than the only variables you can choose being race and gender, you can:
- Choose a permanent birthsign
- Choose skills
- Enjoy race based bonuses to attributes
- Select a pre-defined class (for example, mage, bard, monk etc) or create a custom class
All of this, alongside dynamic attribute increases based on your bonuses from your class or race will mean that each character that you play in Skyrim will be different to the last.
I do hope that you have enjoyed reading my hubs on improving the appearance of your player character to give you more freedom to create a character that looks exactly as you want it to as well as customising the character creation process to give your characters greater variation. Please feel free to leave a comment below and thanks again for reading.
Which of the two mods featured will you install and use as a result of reading this hub?
© 2015 Robbie C Wilson