[Top 15] Skyrim Best Mods For Survival Mode

It's adventuring time, hope I don't take an arrow to the knee

With the playing of Skyrim comes the realization that since this actually is a fantasy game, playing a realistic survival mode is something that is a great addition to any playthrough that you might do, whether it’s your first or hundredth. This makes the game several degrees more difficult and makes it so you have to take care of things that you could honestly completely leave out in a regular playthrough, such as eating and sleeping.


On top of making the game way more difficult/realistic in terms of combat as well, this mode is really challenging for any level of Skyrim player. Though the special edition of the game added a brand new survival mode, there are some mods that just do it better.


So, let’s take a look at the best Skyrim survival mods!


15. Fast Travel Costs

Download Link: https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrimspecialedition/mods/23383


Fast travel in Skyrim was used way too much as a crutch and was far too easy to get things done with it. If you were in combat and ran far enough from the opponent, you could just fast travel away for either very little or no cost at all.


This mod seeks to change all of that as it now makes any and all fast travel cost something, meaning it can no longer be used as freely as it once was. Each time you fast travel, a certain amount of gold is deducted and it varies depending on how far you want to go, therefore incentivizing more exploration and getting to places realistically.


What makes this mod great:

  • Removes fast travel as a crutch that players can easily abuse
  • Gives way more immersion to the game
  • Gives players a reason to approach any altercation strategically


14. Vitality Mode

Download Link: https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrimspecialedition/mods/16308


It’s pretty crazy how unnecessary the necessities of life can be in Skyrim. This mod seeks to change that by making eating, resting and sleeping (among other things) so much more necessary for your character to be able to survive in the world.


Furthermore, it also takes Vampirism, Lycanthropy and Cannibalism into account, as players that have undergone any one of these 3 routes will need to feed more and on specific things. For example, Vampires will have to drink blood regularly, Werewolves will get more energy from raw meats and cannibals will get more health from feeding on meat and human bodies.


Why this mod is great:

  • Makes you way more observant and careful over how you need to play the game
  • Vastly improves immersion
  • Makes many overlooked aspects of the game way more useful


13. Advanced Cooking 

Download Link: https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/63082


Cooking is quite possibly the most overlooked part of Skyrim. To me, it was always an afterthought, so this mod was one that actually added some depth to the cooking system of the game.


This adds layers to the cooking system which actually encourages players to engage with it more. It consists of different tiers of recipes that you can cook, with the best ones being locked behind higher tiers that can only be unlocked by using this skill more. It encourages players to use the skill as much as possible and to take more of a role to cook food.


Why this mod is great:

  • Makes a very overlooked part of the game more important
  • Adds layers to cooking, making it something people have an incentive to learn
  • Very lore friendly and immersive


12. Keep It Clean

Download Link: https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrimspecialedition/mods/17846


Skyrim doesn’t require the player to remain clean. When they don’t clean themselves, realistically, it should have an impact on the gameplay but unfortunately it doesn’t.


With the Keep It Clean mod, bad hygiene has an effect on how others view and interact with you, as well as the player having more of a chance to contract diseases. Your stealth can also be compromised as your god awful stench can give away your location and presence. Furthermore, this mod also upgrades most inns to have a bath house as well as adding soaps.


Why this mod is great:

  • Very immersive
  • Gives an overlooked aspect of the game much more importance
  • If you ignore this aspect, it can negatively affect your gameplay


11. Immersive Horses

Download Link: https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/64067


When it comes to playing a survival mode for Skyrim, the first thing that we need to remove is the fast travel as it allows for the player to dodge the hostility of the wilds. This is where horses come in as they have been integral to the journey of any fantasy warrior.


Immersive Horses is by far the best horse mod for survival mode for Skyrim as it not only adds new commands for your horse and where you can summon it, it also adds various breeds with their own strengths and weaknesses, adding to the personality and immersion with the horse.


Why this mod is great:

  • Gives horses way more importance and personality 
  • Gives a reason to actually use the horses for traversal
  • Adds to the immersion
  • Horses are more than just vehicles now


10. Simple Taxes

Download Link: https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrimspecialedition/mods/14216


Survival is always more than just living like a hobo in the woods with nothing but a campfire and a tent to your name. It is basically also an overhaul to some aspects of realism in the game that make living in the towns and cities as realistic as possible.


This mod adds a taxation system on your assets in the game, making life function as it would have in an actual medieval/feudalist society. The things taxed are namely your house and your horse, so you will be taxed accordingly for those things, with great customizability with regards to how you want to do it.


Why this mod is great:

  • Makes all your purchases in the game require more thinking as to whether or not you can actually afford it, especially in the long run
  • Greatly improves immersion
  • You can choose whether you want to be taxed daily, weekly or monthly


9. Diseased

Download Link: https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrimspecialedition/mods/53111


A disease overhaul, this mod makes diseases aspects of survival to be taken way more seriously. In the vanilla game, you would just feel a little drowsy but be cured of all ailments upon drinking a potion of cure all, regardless of how much the disease had actually progressed.


This mod changes that up by making diseases much more threatening. The more they progress, the greater the effect they inflict on the player. This time, however, instead of drinking just one potion, you will need to read up on the actual disease itself in order to find the right specific cure for it. If not treated in time, the player can even die from it.


Why this mod is great:

  • Gives diseases way more importance
  • Gives the player a reason to actually pay attention to the game at all times
  • Adds higher stakes to exploration
  • Incentivizes reading up for the cure


8. Chasing The Dragon

Download Link: https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrimspecialedition/mods/23019


When talking of combat in Skyrim, we never really think twice about chugging health, magicka or stamina potions in order to come out victorious in battle because there really aren’t any side effects of it in the vanilla game. Well, what if I told you that you could get addicted to these potions?


Chasing the Dragon is a great mod that makes it possible for the Dragonborn to become addicted to the very potions that help them in their battles by adding a toxicity meter. This adds negative aspects on potions as well as the positive ones, and if the toxicity is really high, the player won’t regenerate any of the attributes.


Why this mod is great:

  • Makes the player think twice before chugging down different potions
  • Adds to the immersion
  • Adds stakes to potion usage


7. You Hunger

Download Link: https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/49421


Food is just about everywhere in Skyrim and regardless of where you go, you are sure to find something or the other. Even some long abandoned Dwemer ruins have bread here and there for you to just scoop up and replenish your health with.


That is where You Hunger comes in, a mod that makes food very scarce as compared to the vanilla game, so you really have to ration your food and have to be more strategic about when to use it. You can even die of hunger, so keep that in mind!


Why this mod is great:

  • Makes hunger something to really take into consideration
  • Improves immersion


6. Scarcity

Download Link: https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrimspecialedition/mods/8647


It’s almost way too easy to find any kind of loot and sell it in Skyrim. This mod seeks to make any and all kinds of loot much scarcer in the game, which ultimately makes it so much more rewarding when you eventually do come across something unique which you can sell for a great price.


This mod really does have a great improvement on the bloated economy of the game and really gives the player more of a reason to explore and acquire different goods.


Why this mod is great:

  • Improves the economy of the game 
  • Makes rare items mean much more because of their scarcity
  • Gives the player more of a reason to go out and explore


5. Frostfall

Download Link: https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/11163/


Crossing a frozen wasteland or swimming through freezing cold waters was never a problem in Skyrim because that never really had any sort of status effect on the player.  Well, with the Frostfall mod, all this changes as now, weather effects and temperatures actually mean something.


Now, if you’re walking through these icy tundras on your own and are not sufficiently equipped for them, that means you are now susceptible to weather related ailments such as hypothermia. This will make you very vigilant about the clothes you wear.


Why this mod is great:

  • Makes the weather system of the game actually mean something
  • Makes the frigid outskirts of Skyrim much more of a threat that needs proper preparation
  • Improves immersion
  • Makes the colder regions of the game serve their own purpose way better


4. Wearable Lanterns

Download Link: https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrimspecialedition/mods/7560


A very small change, but surely a welcome one. Dungeons in Skyrim can be very dark but all the vanilla game really offers to remedy this is the addition of carrying torches or casting a light spell, which can be a true burden if you’re getting swarmed by enemies as the torches do very little damage or the spell runs out.


Wearable lanterns is a great mod as it now allows for the player to wear a small lantern to their belt which they can also craft themselves as well. This is a great add to exploring in the night time or dungeon diving. This works super well with the Campfire mod as well.


Why this mod is great:

  • Allows freedom of usage of weapons in dungeons by giving us light
  • Allows for great night time exploring


3. Survive the Night

Download Link: https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/37042


Night time in Skyrim isn’t at all scary, unfortunately. However, this mod really changes this into something straight out of Amnesia. Though this isn’t the most realistic, this is one mod that really cranks up the survival aspect to 11, making being out from 9 pm to 5 am highly dangerous.


To top this off, this mod also adds an insanity meter, making it so it is in the best interest of the player to run and find shelter to keep safe from the horrors of the night.


Why this mod is great:

  • Completely transforms Skyrim into a horror game at night
  • Makes it in your best interest to find shelter in order to survive
  • Always keeps you on your toes


2. iNeed

Download Link: https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/51473


This is a must have for anyone who wants to do a survival playthrough of the game. This mod essentially requires the player to keep a lookout of 3 things; hunger, thirst and sleep. All 3 of these needs need to be addressed daily, with the player having to eat and drink thrice a day and needing to get a full night's sleep as well.


This mod also includes waterskins that need to be filled up with water repeatedly. If any of the aspects of the mod are ignored, the character becomes weak and has negative status effects applied to them whereas the opposite happens if they take care of their basic needs.


Why this mod is great:

  • This is a must have for any survival playthrough
  • One of the most immersive mods
  • Makes the player vigilant and require them to fill all 3 needs


1. Campfire

Download Link: https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/64798


This is widely regarded as one of, if not the, most essential survival game mods for Skyrim. It’s pretty shocking when you check the amount of campfires and campsites around the world but see that there is no option to make one for yourself.


Campfire changes this and not only adds the option to sit by these fires, but also to make your own fires and campsites in order to rest by them whenever you want to. It also adds an entirely new skill tree that is all to do with camping and how you can improve yours.


Why this mod is great

  • Really makes you enjoy the nature of the game
  • Can camp anywhere
  • Allows you to gather resources and make your own campsites
  • One of the most immersive mods

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Being naturally attuned to magic and bearing the strength of a thousand men, it's safe to say I'm used to adding a creative flair to my stories, always striving to tell engaging tales.
Gamer Since: 2005
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Whatever I can get my hands on
Top 3 Favorite Games:The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dragonborn, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Dark Souls 3

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