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Paid Mods

Todd Howard keep trying to make paid mods a thing. This section has a long history so buckle up because he's been fucking us since 2003 and he's been doing it so slowly and secretively that some of you haven't even noticed you had his dick in your ass and think you actually enjoy it!

Back in the days of Morrowind Bethesda would create small plugins to advertise the game's Construction Set in Magazines. Some of these Magazines would host community made mods before internet download speeds were up to snuff. All of these plugins were released for free on Bethesda's website (Except the Xbox exclusive but we'll get back to that) and are looked fondly on by the TES community. Many Morrowind devs would release their own mods to various sites for free and the modding community for Morrowind continues to be one of the most active modding communities around! However the cracks started to show here and things would only get worse from this point onward.

When Oblivion came around some of the devs through together a small plugin to allow the player to buy armor for their horse. They wanted to release it for free on the website alongside the Xbox 360 store but Microsoft advised them to charge money for the addon. This would open pandora's box for Bethesda's greed and Horse Armor would go on to sell more than all other DLCs for Oblivion while being remembered by fans as a garbage heap that wasn't worth the money. Bethesda themselves would respond to the criticism with several joke “sales” up-charging on Horse Armor while putting the rest of the addons on sale. Other companies would follow this model and now the AAA gaming industry will charge you $5 for a playerskin in your favorite game.

Come Skyrim Todd kept dropping hints that he wanted to add a way to monetize the community mods. Now from Todds perspective he loves his modding community, plays various community mods (He really like Inigo and HDT boob physics if you were wondering) and wants to create a system where Bethesda and modders can help each other make more money. He integrated the Steam Workshop into the PC release of the game and would collaborate with Valve to create an entirely exclusive PC addon to bring the Portal Space Core to Skyrim! Initially it seemed like Todd was just waffling in these interviews with the release of Hearthfire it seemed like Bethesda would continue to pump out small DLCs that the industry had become accustomed to over the last decade, then 2015 happened…

Bethesda used the Steam Workshop to announce the Paid Mods program and released a bunch of addons made by the community of various degrees of quality all being charged for insane amounts! $99 Horse Balls would make it on the program before it's swift cancellation. Some mods that were previously free now cost money such as SkyUI and Midas Magic. The community was outraged and would go on to harass Bethesda, Steam, and the Mod Authors who went along with this non-sense! It seemed like a bleak vision of what would become of one of gaming's purest subcultures. Thankfully, one old man would put a stop to the foolishness!

Fore, the author of the FNIS animation framework noticed that the Paid Fishing Mod required his framework and threatened to sue Bethesda and Steam! The program was quickly discontinued and many of the old Paid Mods were rereleased for free on the Skyrim Nexus. Nature could heal and the Skyrim modding community had taken a firm stance against the Cyberpunk dystopia Bethesda was offering modders! Paid Mods would be a punchline for years to come! Then Bethesda tried it again…

Skyrim was released again with a 64 bit engine and some light graphical touchups. This version would lack Steam Workshop support though modders never much minded since that platform was buggy and broken anyways. Now you and console players could download mods in game using the system but PC players never really cared. A year later in 2017 Bethesda would try their hands at Paid Mods again, now specifically contracting modders for a system known as Creation Club: All unique plugins that would be developed in house with Bethesda supervision to assure vanilla game quality levels! They would even cost Bethesda's new bullshit fake money you had to buy with real money! Occasionally Bethesda would even release these addons for free. Community reaction to the system was initially very negative, this was paid mods again and the community already made it clear last time that they weren't going to pay for mods! But without the legal risks the system carried on. April Fools Day jokes from the past like the Dwarven Mudcrab were released for real world money. Thanks to console players not knowing better the Dystopian nightmare of Paid Mods seemed to be here whether or not people bought in right away. Once the Creation Club started releasing mods that weren't properly covered by free mods the tone started to shift. Reddit and the Nexus began outright endorsing the Creation Club and even some people on 4chan started to encourage people to pirate the plugins that had decent content. Modders started expanding on Creation Club content adding it to leveled lists and giving them proper voice acting and questlines. By the end of the program what had started as a loud defiance from the community had turned into a quiet and bitter no. With the Anniversary Edition including every single plugin and a number of new plugins only costing $20 many people even said the plugins were worth the money.

Now in the present Bethesda has created the “Verified Creators” program which allows modders to charge for their own curated mods. They're even allowed to have voice acting and have generally proven to be of decent quality. Don't be fooled though, these aren't worth the money!

These were the mods that people tried to charge money for in 2015. Most of them were garbage ports of items from Valve games. If they're re-released and worth checking out you can find them in the other guides. If they're shit but exist still I've linked to them for the curious. If you want to try the others there are torrents out there!

Arissa - The Wandering RogueArissa was originally a paid mod by Chesko from Bethesda and Steam's ill-fated Steam Paid Mods system. Ironically she was one of the better mods from that system and is now free to download. I've linked a custom port to her since she was never officially ported to SE.
Art of the Catch - Animated FishingHeres an SE port of Art of the Catch for those interested. This mod lives on in the Fishing CC plugin.
Blazing RingswordLooks like a sword from DOTA to me.
Blind RavenSlut armor
Butterfly SwordAnother DOTA weapon
Castle Volkihar RebuiltArthmoor tired to make Castle Volkihar into a house mod. Don't actually use this one though.
Firelink ImplementsDark souls firelink sword. I've linked to a nice compilation of Dark Souls ports
Gifts of AkatoshThis one was later released for free but was used in the advertising for the system.
iNeed - Food, Water and SleepThis started as a free mod and is still free. The fact it ever cost money is hillarious!
Lambda LocatorGordon Freeman mod guys! POG! LOOK IT'S A CROWBAR!
Midas Magic Gold EditionHot sexy Argonians in your area! This mod had the gall to release for free but spam the player with adds to get the paid version!
PurityOld mod that isn't good and nobody uses anymore. I just linked to community shaders instead for people who want to tweak their graphics settings!
Sange SwordAnother DOTA weapon
Scrib CrusherA unique hammer for killing creatures that aren't even in Skyrim. Cool!
The Shadow Scale SetThis set looked cool on the surface but was clearly very quickly pasted into the game. It has since been updated and released for free though!
Shezrie's Bleakden TownThis one was kinda cool but people started sending death threats to the creator and she got scared and quit modding. There was a free version of this also but according to some sources the paid version was more updated?
The Watcher StaffThis was a kinda cool looking staff but it was never worth the money. I guess it's legacy lives on in the CC staff mods!
Wet and ColdOutdated mod that many people used for a long time. I've linked to the version that just adds the new assets.
Yasha SwordAnother DOTA port…

Creation Club

Paid Mods sequel that some people liked I guess. If you want to pay for any of these you can get them in the Anniversary edition for $20 or even cheaper if you wait for a sale. I don't recommend using them all unless you hate yourself though. Only use the ones that link to expansions linked here. All others will link to alternatives that are free!

Arcane AccessoriesArcane Accessories adds a handful of spells from previous Elder Scrolls games. There are a million spell packs for Skyrim to varying degrees of quality. This one has a distribution patch I've linked to
Arcane Archer PackArcane Archer Pack adds a handful of new arrows to the game. There's probably more than I use that adds neat arrows like this but I'm only going to list the one I use. You can feel free to use this one I guess since it's not very invasive though.
ChrysamereChrysamere adds a barebones questline to gain the Paladin's Blade from Morrowind. There are a million versions of this artifact out there, but here's my favorite with a patch to add the model from the CC if you want!.
Divine CrusaderThe Divine Crusader's armor is back in Skyrim and it's been stolen by bandits… This creation is pathetic and their way of fixing the lore is a joke. There is a nice fix for this creation called Knight of the North that I've linked to that adds a nice questline for the relics.
Plague of the DeadHunt Negromancers and get zomboid spellbooks. This quest sucks and is the perfect example of the kind of garbage the Creation Club has produced over the last 5 years. There's a bunch of zombie mods out there that are better than this but the assets were used well in the mod I've linked to
Ruin's EdgeAh, the funny man's bow, one of the many Sheogorath artifacts that the Creation Club loves to churn out. It's shit and was so shit in fact that one modder took it upon himself to make a superior version. I used to link to his vision but the boys over at the Extended Cut integrated the artifact so I've linked to that here. I'll go into more detail on that mod later!
Staff of SheogorathNow we go the funny man's staff… even though in Oblivion they said that if you wield the funny man's staff you'll become him. It's shit and someone remade it but better. I used to link to his vision but the boys over at the Extended Cut integrated the artifact so I've linked to that here. I'll go into more detail on that mod later!
Stendarr's HammerSo they took the joke item from Morrowind but then realized they had to make it usable because people were paying money for it. Maybe this could have been something cute for them to offer people for free but now it's just an embarrassment. I've linked to Morrowloot since it added a better version of the artifact.
Survival ModeThe swan song to Chesko's modding career. Survival mode it's actually that bad but it's anonymous creator Chesko actually made something better and free.
Dwarven Armored MudcrabThey made an April fools day joke about this one years before the Creation Club was a thing… It's kinda pathetic that they went through with this.
Lord's MailSo they took the Lord's Mail from Morrowind and gave it a coat of paint? And then a crappy quest to go alongside it? Does bethesda remember these are the artifacts of Demigods? I've linked to an overhaul that even comes with a custom retexture adding a whole new Minotaur dungeon!
Adventurer's BackpackSo this one is actually kinda neat but don't spend $20 for this.
CampingA companion to survival mode that they bundle separately from Survival Mode itself. It's shit and there's better camping mods that even work with survival mode.
Nix-HoundOh sure he's cute now but he'd eat you if he got hungry enough.
ShadowrendSo this one actually breaks if you have a non-vanilla character because the shadow version of yourself wasn't expecting the player to use mods… Again it was integrated into the Extended Cut so go ahead and grab it to use alongside that mod.
Tundra HomesteadElianora is from a made up country Russia and Japan use as a fish laundering scheme called “Finland”. Her mods are usually alright but this is just kinda mediocre as far as her mods are usually concerned.
MyrwatchAnother house by Elianora but this time it's a small wizard tower. Wait a second… That Finnish bitch already did this exact mod years ago! I'm not going to port this one but I doubt it would take much effort.
Nordic JewelrySome neat little pieces of jewelry that Bethesda tried to charge money for. Go ahead and use this one if you want
Pets of SkyrimWhile it's kinda cute this isn't worth $20. Especially since none of these little idiots can do anything. I've linked to an overhaul since they are cute though.
Rare CuriosIt's a bunch of alchemy ingredients that Khajiit sell you. I've linked to the distribution patch.
Bone WolfYa like bones? I like bones. This one isn't too bad and he's kinda cute even. But we can do better than this. Here's a distribution patch.
Staff of HasedokiIt's a unique looking staff I don't know what else to say.
Wild HorsesCouldn't drag me away ~! This mod is a weird as shit and adds a quest to get your own horse. Has a patch to make it more functional.
Civil War ChampionsSo with this one you can become a regular poster on the thread with an Imperial waifu. These Armors look fine
Saturalia Holiday PackThey charged money for a reindeer and santa outfit. There's not even reference to Uncle Sweetshare from Morrowind in this. An insult the holiday! Thankfully Jayserpa covered this one!
Elite CrossbowsNot worth the money but hey they look nice. Here's a distribution patch.
Vigil Enforcer Armor SetFor how short this quest is at least the concept of playing detective lends itself well to the lack of voice acting. I would never recommend this one seriously though there are way better alternatives. I could be REALLY mean and link to Vigilant but I'll only be moderately mean and link to Nordwar's mod.
Sunder and WraithguardDo you really want to spend money on ANOTHER Sunder and Wraithguard mod… At least Trainwiz worked on this one so it's decent.
Forgotten SeasonsSo it's trainwiz level design without any of the clever writing or goofy characters… So this one isn't actually bad and if you wanted to pirate it I would say it's worth a playthrough but honestly don't buy this. This is where the Creation Club apologists really started and now they've infected the entire ecosystem of the community with garbage taste. I've linked to a patch to restore some cut content too!
Arms of ChaosKind of a neat take on Arena Lore but is that worth $5? The answer is no.
Shadowfoot SanctumElianora made a thief house this time. Wait a minute… What a shocker she already did this one too. I wonder if she's messing with us?
Spell Knight ArmorI really like these sets and the quest is another that lends itself well to the format. There are better Breton armor mods though
UmbraSo that sword they wrote out of the series with an entire book is back. This one has a neat dungeon and bossfight. There's a couple of replacers so I've linked to the Skyblivion one.
Dawnfang and DuskfangThis one also has a neat dungeon and gimmik but again this can be done better. This one is also in Legacy of the Dragonborn but I don't want to outright recommend that mod. Look into my other guides for why but if you already use that mod just use it's version.
Expanded Crossbow PackSome nice looking crossbows but like there are other crossbow mods… Here's a distribution pack though
Every Single Blades Port/Alternate ArmorsThese are all the same and I refuse to list them all individually. All the quests are shit but the armors look nice. Just use other armor mods honestly guys -.- Here's a patch to link all these armors together into a single quest to take out a gang of bandits
HendhraheimElianora seriously just copy pasted Breezehome outside the city.
GoblinsYeah they're cute too but we can do better.
Dead Man's DreadRemember Elder Scrolls Adventure: Redguard? No you don't. It was shit and only ran on computers that don't exist and have never existed. It was the first game Todd directed though so it's no wonder he approved this. Here's a distribution patch.
Saints and SeducersThis is another one that apologists point to when trying to defend the creation club. This is absolutely fucking shit. Its 4 bandit camps and a crappy dungeon. Honestly I wonder if Bethesda paid people off to shill this shit. At least the assets in this one are public. Now this one has a huge overhaul taking the player to the Shivering Isles which I've already listed a couple of times! It's one of the best Quest Mods ever made but sadly requires CC content to exist so I can't in good faith recommend it on the Quest Mod page (even if the required assets are all free).
Gray Cowl ReturnsNow this one is insulting. It is hands down the worst depiction of the Gray Cowl anyone has made in Skyrim. If you even joke about using this one you deserve to be beaten for your insolence!
BittercupSo this is a smaller quest that was released with the anniversary edition. It's set in Falkreath and sounds kind of cute but there's actually a much better Falkreath focused mod out there.
Bloodchill ManorSo it's a vampire manor I guess? There's a lot of these for free already though.
Bow of ShadowsAnother artifact that has been done a number of times. This one is in Legacy and that's actually the version I use but here's an alternative because Legacy can be kind of poopy.
FarmingJust play Stardew Valley or something.
Fearsome FistsBethesda has the ability to create new skill trees but refuses to give us that feature in the creation club so we have to use weird workarounds. For some reason when they decided to overhaul Unarmed attacks they didn't think to give us that option and now it's just a bunch of fists. I have linked to an overhaul for those interested however.
FishingAnother anonymous creation likely by Chesko. This one has some history to it as discussed above but thanks to Jayserpa it has been revamped into an actually good mechanic! Since it was released for free there's really no reason to not use this mod with the overhaul! Here's a Bonus minigame overhaul too! Oh and another Bonus Boss overhaul of the Emperor Grab!
Gallows HallY'all like Bones? We got bones at home too!
Ghosts of the TribunalIt's Morrowind Nostalgia and you guys know I love Morrowind Nostalgia. But I can get Morrowind Nostalgia for free and it's better. That being said I like the quest in this one with the Voice patch and the models look really good. IDK guys maybe I've just been poisoned by Todd's lies
GoldbrandAnother artifact everyone and their mother has done themselves. And yes this is one of the worse depictions.
Headman's CleaverHey did you guys know that Bethesda actually made working Spears for Skyrim and just chose to never release them? This isn't a proper spear with custom animations though.
Nchuanthumz: Dwarven HomeArthmoor tried to make a house that's cute. Too bad he's shit at it.
Negromantic GrimoireSame as the last spell pack, we have better shit for free and have for years!
Redguard Elite ArmamentsThis might as well be a blades port but there's a voiced patch so here.
StavesThis shit should have been free. They're nice looking but seriously $6 for some staves of all things?
The CauseSome Oblivion Nostalgia but this time with retcons. I guess the Mythic Dawn aren't just that one weird dude who's way into Roleplaying in Dawnstar. I don't have much nostalgia for Oblivion so I'm just going to point you guys to my favorite Oblivion inspired quest mod.
The ContestKris Takahashi wants to make his own Ice Blade mod that's cute. But we've had a vastly superior version for years. Oh also the Fists in this mod are in Morroloot.

Verified Creations

Bethesda's newest Paid Mods system. All will link to free alternatives unless a proper overhaul ever releases. This system is still new and people I've talked to say that it might lead to something worthwhile in the future. Still will never compete with the volume of great mods on the nexus!

Aldmeri Anti-mageHalf decent Thalmor robes but there's way better free versions!
ArquebusThis one has a neat dungeon with a decent concept and is certainly unique but there's been Guns in Skyrim for years!
East Empire ExpansionOnly Verified Creation so far without a real “Alternative” but I refuse to actually recommend it so here's 3DNPCs!
Katja The ThiefArissa 2.0 but I hate her voice so just get Arissa!
Legendary Dungeons: Dwarven DelvesTrainwiz dungeon pack but you could just get the many free mods Trainwiz has instead
Shadetree LodgeElianora releases another Rift playerhome but this time charges money
WinterfrostA house mod not made by Elianora… Looks fine but why settle for that when we can get amazing for free!
MorthalArthmoor Morthal overhaul that costs money. Judging by his other city overhauls I'd say you should skip it so here's Cities of the North instead!
Echoes of the ValeEasierRider released a point of interest mod for the Forgotten Vale. It's neat but you could just use Falmeroon
Thief HideoutsElianora releases another thief playerhome but this time charges money
Bthar CavernsArthmoor Falmer dungeon… I think you know to avoid Arthmoor even when his mods are free so I'm linking Falmeroon for anyone who was considering paying for this.


And that's the end of the Skyrim Guide. I'll continue to keep things updated as much as I can and help the other writers of the pages flesh their sections out. Thank you to everyone who's helped with recommendations and given me their opinions Even when you're wrong! The follower pages will also need to be updated as more old links are uncovered! Overall though I am proud but very burnt out after overhauling these guides and I need a nap. Oblivion, Morrowind and Fallout pages coming eventually. There's a Daggerfall mod guide already in the works too! /tesg/ is dead FOREVER!


Lol everyone in this picture is ded

Skyrim Guide Index

paid_mods.txt · Last modified: 2024/04/16 20:24 by lain