[Top 10] Skyrim Best Difficulty Mods For a New Challenge

The Dragonborn screaming to the Gods

 What’s up, y’all?My name is Ember and I’m back with yet again another Skyrim article. This one is for anyone out there who craves a more challenging playthrough.

 10. Frostfall

A video showing off the mod 

 Picture this: You’re going up from Whiterun to Dawnstar and you come across a wide river. There’s no way across, but you HAVE to get to Dawnstar for a quest, so, you make the decision. You jump in the river to swim across… aaaaand you re-emerge from the water completely fine, not hypothermic at all, not even blue fingertips. Well, Frostfall is going to fix that.  This mod adds hypothermia and realistic cold weather to Skyrim. You’ll have to go through life fighting off hypothermia all while trying to save the world from a ruthless dragon. This is definitely a good mod for anyone who wants to add a survival element to Skyrim. 

 How Frostfall makes things more fun:

  • Adds survival elements
  • Adds hypothermia that you can actually die from
  • Adds realistic cold weather
  • Adds the ability to make campfires
  • Adds armor stats that determine how much a piece of armor protects you from the cold

 Click here for download: https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/11163

9. SkyTEST

A video featuring the realistic animals

 SkyTEST is a mod that adds some more realism to the game. You know how you can just insta-kill a bear or a sabre cat if you’re at a high enough level. Ha! Not anymore! With SkyTEST, the animals in Skyrim get a smarter, more realistic AI script. Also, animals can’t report crimes now! So, being detected breaking into someone’s house by a chicken has no bearing on if you get caught. 

 How SkyTEST makes things more fun:

  • Adds realistic animal combat
  • Animals fear fire
  • Big animals like sabre cats can maul the player to death
  • Some animals have a chance of knocking the player on the ground
  • Animals that fight in packs will flee if they lose to many member

 Click here for download: https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/10175

8. Dead Is Dead

A video discussing the mod

 Probably the most intense mod on the list, this is exactly what it sounds like. If you’re dead, you’re dead. You literally can’t reload a save from a dead character unless the mod is uninstalled, so it’s pretty intense. Make sure you’re stocked up on healing potions. 

 How Dead Is Dead makes things more fun:

  • Ramps up the stakes during battles
  • Creates a list of all your fallen characters so you can keep track of your deaths
  • Adds an element of realism like no other

 Click here for download: https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/60179/

7. Enhanced Battle

A mod video that talks about Enhanced Battle

 Enhanced battle is a mod that, well, enhances battle. It gives you specific injuries (head injuries, leg injuries, etc) and affects stamina. The lower your stamina goes, the less damage you do. So, gone are the days of repeatedly bashing an enemy until they die, because with this mod, your eagerness to fight could be your own demise. 

 How Enhanced Battle makes things more interesting:

  • Gives more realistic combat moves
  • Gives specific injuries that need bandaging 
  • Gives NPCs more natural movement

 Click here for download: https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrimspecialedition/mods/38075?tab=description

6. Immersive Patrols 

A video depicting enemy soldiers attacking each other

 Skyrim is at war, right? So… where are all the patrols? You can see a few in the base game, but not nearly as many as there should be. Well, Immersive Patrols fixes that right up. With this mod, you’ll get to see Imperial, Stormcloak, Thalmor, and Dawnguard patrols (if you have the Dawnguard DLC). 

 How Immersive Patrols makes things more interesting:

  • Adds frequent patrols from all the major civil war factions and the Dawnguard
  • If two opposing patrols cross, they will fight and you get to see a mini-battle
  • If a soldier from the opposite side of the war as you encounters you, they’ll attack you on sight
  • Non-Khajiit caravans move between all the major cities except for Winterhold

 Click here for download: https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrimspecialedition/mods/718

 5. Alternate Start 

A video demonstrating the mod

 The video I included for this mod is using Alternate Start along with the Beyond Skyrim - Bruma mod, but that’s only needed if you’d like to start off how they did. If you’re tired of constantly starting out the same way, or just tired of the long cut scene at the start of the game, then this mod is perfect for you. Of course, for this to be a mod that enhances difficulty, you need to give your character a disadvantaged start, but it can definitely be used to increase difficulty nonetheless. 

 How Alternate Start makes things more interesting:

  • Gives players the option to choose between multiple different lifestyles and backgrounds
  • Adds some new NPCs
  • Can be used to make the game significantly more difficult if you choose a disadvantaged start 

 Click here for download: https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/9557?tab=description

4. Seriously Dark Dungeons 

A photo of a dreadfully dark dungeon

 You’re going through a Skyrim dungeon chock full of Draugr, you’re slowly making your way through the dungeon, absolutely terrifi- what’s that? You’re not scared because there’s somehow a bunch of lit torches in this ancient burial tomb and you can see perfectly fine? Ah, well, Seriously Dark Dungeons is gonna change that. This mod really immerses you in the game and forces you to pay attention instead of running through a dungeon all willy-nilly. 

 How Seriously Dark Dungeons makes things more interesting:

  • Makes dungeons dark, like, really dark
  • Forces players to wield a torch in their off-hand to be able to see even a sliver of what lies beyond the darkness

 Click here for download: https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/72594

3. Tougher Traps

A photo of a trap in action

 Now that it’s ptch-black in all of the dungeons, let’s add even more danger to it with Tougher Traps. This mod takes the normal traps in Skyrim and sky-rockets the amount of damage they do. Stepped on a pressure plate and got a spiked gate right in the face? You’re dead, no more of only taking a few points of damage from traps that would be lethal in real life. 

 How Tougher Traps makes things more interesting: 

  • Makes dungeons incredibly dangerous, so you can’t just charge through them
  • Makes traps a lot more realistic

 Click here for download: https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/952

2. Cutthroat Merchants

A photo of a merchants items for sale

Getting gold in Skyrim is really easy, too easy in my opinion. Cutthroat Merchants fixes that, it marks up the buying price of items significantly and does the opposite to selling price. So, for example, if something is worth, let’s say, 150 gold, you’re only gonna be able to sell it for 32 (or less, depending on how hard you choose for the mod to be), and you’ll probably buy it for around 400-500.

 How Cutthroat Merchants makes things more interesting:

  • Makes it harder to buy and sell items
  • Makes the game work in a way that you won’t be swimming in gold

 Click here for download: https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/2762


A photo of the Skyrim homescreen 

 So, Skyrim has a pretty obvious flaw; the ability to pause your game and chug health potions when you’re about to die in the middle of a fight. Well, this mod eliminates that flaw entirely. 

 How SKYRIMSOULS makes things more interesting:

  • Completely eliminates the paused menus, if you need to step away from the game, you have to save and quit
  • Eliminates the ability to stop a fight to chug health/magicka/stamina potions

 Click here for download: https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/83379

 Aaaand, we’re done! That was our article on the best mods to increase Skyrim’s difficulty, I hope you enjoyed the read!

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Hailing from a warm southern region, Ember has an inherent weakness to frost attacks. She gets a temporary stamina boost from consuming fried okra.
Gamer Since: 2012
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Skyrim, Oblivion
Top 3 Favorite Games:The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dragonborn, Plague Inc: Evolved

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