SomethingSecret's avatarSomethingSecret

Total Overhaul


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A Collection designed with choice, immersion, and roleplaying in mind. It brings together some of my favourite mods from a myriad of brilliant authors to create a world that feels more alive, interactive, and beautiful than vanilla.

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3 days ago
Aug 31, 2022


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Revision 4 of Halcyon should function on Skyrim Anniversary Edition 1.6.353. Revision 5 was almost done when Bethesda updated the game to 1.6.640. Halcyon will not function on 1.6.640. My intention is to eventually rectify this and make Halcyon work on the latest release, but given the number of SKSE dependent .DLL injectors this modlist uses, this might take a while.

Halcyon is a Collection designed with choice, immersion, and roleplaying in mind. It brings together some of my favourite mods from a myriad of brilliant authors to create a Skyrim that feels more alive, interactive, and beautiful than vanilla.

Consistency is one of my primary goals, with the Collection built around how well many of the mods feed gameplay elements back into one another to create more meaningful encounters throughout the world. For this reason, you'll find a few of the bigger or more bespoke popular mods missing from this list. What you will find, though, is an experience made to feel like vanilla, but with more varied and engaging systems.

If you do decide to give this Collection a go, please ensure you are running Skyrim Anniversary Edition 1.6.353 (if you have updated, downgrading tutorials are easy to find). Read the Requirements and Installation section before downloading.

1. Features


Halcyon isn't about hardcore survival or difficulty, but it does endeavour to make Skyrim's world more immersive and interactive. Before you begin, you should be aware of a few things.

• Apart from Skyrim's Anniversary Edition, the core experience is based on EnaiSiaion's gameplay mods and kryptopyr's item overhauls. If you don't like either of these, you probably won't like Halcyon.

• Things in Halcyon take time. Playing with your inventory, crafting, picking flowers, reading, eating, etc. all cause time to pass in small doses, so choose your actions wisely.

• You do not begin with a map. You must buy or scavenge one, equip it to read it, and keep it in good shape at a tanning rack. Get those inkwells ready!

• Cities have been expanded with JK's interior and exterior additions, as well as expansive sewer systems and outlaws' refuges. Civilian NPCs have been overhauled with new AI packages, dialogue, quest options, and new encounters (both in cities and the wild). Most generic NPCs have also been given names now, praise the Divines!

• Hunters can enjoy the features of Hunterborn, Campsite, and Scrimshaw Expanded to make themselves a whole new game in the wild. Keep yourself clean, practise your hunting, cooking, and alchemy (get good enough and you can distill weak potions into strong ones or craft chemical grenades), and fulfil missives for some quick gold.

• Stealth gameplay has been altered considerably. Lighting and weather mods are selected with stealth in mind, and you can now knock enemies out for extended periods of time (up to twelve hours), giving you the freedom to plan your approach and actually explore before getting jumped again. In addition, nearly every locked chest in the game now has a key you can find.

• Additionally, you can now distract enemies by throwing rocks, peep through keyholes, beg for money or gamble it away, manipulate people into letting you into their homes, and mug people on the streets. Oh, you can also "bury" any accidental loose ends and clean up after confrontations, if things get out of hand...

• To temper the stealth additions, you'll find that guards are harsher. They'll follow you around if you're acting suspicious, confiscate illegal items they find on your person, and bells in the major cities will alert the local defence force to your violent actions, should you be discovered.

• Combat is much more challenging with Valravn, Smart NPC Potions, and fair, but heightened damage. While the world hasn't been de-levelled, you'll need to prepare for combat and also look for alternative options whenever possible to even the odds first.

• Fortunately, you now have hundreds of new tools and spells at your disposal thanks to EnaiSiaion's gameplay mods and kryptopyr's item overhauls, and if you feel like a change-up, become a vampire or a werewolf to completely change the way you approach the game.

• Mages (and warriors) now have the option of training at dummies or by re-reading skill books. It takes time and multiple sessions to learn spells, too, depending on your skill levels. Luckily, the College of Winterhold has had a facelift thanks to Obscure and is now the institution of study it was always rumoured to be. You might even score yourself a brand-new Research Journal to discover spells on your own!

• Want to avoid getting your hands even slightly dirty? Honed Metal lets you ask NPCs to render you their crafting or enchanting expertise (for a price). No more snobby scholars lowering themselves to pounding metal at an anvil for that new necklace! On the flipside, gear won't simply stay tempered and will need to be periodically repaired.

• If you're feeling festive, buy yourself an instrument and teach yourself to play like the bards of old. You can earn money in taverns or just put on a show, or you can learn some of the new Speechcraft perks and use a lute to woo your enemies.

• And a whole lot more! Check out the mod list or the Quick Notes below if you're curious: I'm sure there's plenty I've overlooked. Halcyon also includes a visual overhaul of Skyrim, but if that's specifically what you're here for, there are probably more comprehensive options available.

Quick Notes

• Press "X" to access your journal (the journal may open partially off-screen, but you can hold down shift and use the arrow keys to move it).

• Make sure you equip a map after you buy one to read it. It will also degrade with use and will need to be repaired at a tanning rack.

• Hold down your sneak key in front of a locked door to peek through the keyhole.

• Knock humanoid NPCs out by striking them with a blunt weapon or block-bashing them while they are unaware of your presence. Activating them while standing will wake them up, so make sure you're crouching to pickpocket them!

• Use any musical instrument in your inventory to play it. You will begin with little skill but will improve with practise (to the point you can earn some extra gold).

• Have your weapon drawn and interact with someone to attempt to mug them (you will have access to additional requests if your weapon is sheathed, such as begging for gold or asking for help).

• Visit a tavern to engage in some unscrupulous gambling.

• Lockpicks are rarer, but almost every locked chest now has a key you can find. You can craft lockpicks with the first Smithing perk.

• If you have the key to a lock in your inventory, you can now re-lock the door or container by holding down "Shift" and activating it.

• Activate a shovel in your inventory to bury a nearby corpse.

• Activate a broom in your inventory to clean up messes.

• You can knock on most private residents' doors to ask for entry.

• Inns are more expensive, but if you find yourself short on options, you can always try your luck for a free bed in an Outlaws Refuge.

• Containers now have a weight limit restriction.

• Train with weapons at any training dummy or re-read training books for more experience.

• Spell tomes are rarer, and it now takes time to learn a spell from them. Alternatively, you can make or buy a Research Journal, which you can activate in your inventory to research spells on your own.

• You can write theses and craft scrolls and tomes with your Research Journal, but these activities require paper rolls, inkwells, and quills. You can now find these at general stores, or you can craft your own (inkwells and paper are craftable with an alembic, and quills are craftable with the Scrimshaw ability).

• You can craft throwable bombs (requires a late-stage Alchemy perk) and refine potions with a retort, create basic alchemical elements with an alembic, and break down potions, ingredients, and enchanted items with a cauldron. Additionally, all these tools have portable versions you can buy.

• To be honest, Spell Research and Complete Alchemy and Cooking Overhaul are massive mods, and I recommend you visit their mod pages on the Nexus to get a full overview of their features.

• You will need a hunting knife to get started with field dressing and butchering your kills. You can find them at general stores or you can craft your own.

• You can make or buy Bestiary books that give you bonuses when hunting your prey.

• You can setup multiple tents and assign them different purposes in the wild. You can also buy a cooking pot to place over a campfire. To build your own campfire, activate a stack of three pieces of wood in your inventory (the CC camp is also still available to build with "Camping Supplies").

• You can cook meat in a pinch over any open flame (simply use the "Primitive Cooking" power near a fire).

• You have a cooking skill and survival skills that will improve over time (these are visible by accessing the Complete Alchemy and Cooking Overhaul and Hunterborn MCMs respectively).

• You can go swimming or stand in the rain to wash away dirt, but you'll need to find or craft soap to get properly clean.

• Enemies are quicker and smarter and now use potions. Damage is also doubled and made symmetrical (the enemy doesn't get a modifier advantage anymore). I'm still tweaking this part of the Collection to get the feeling I want, so it may feel uneven right now.

A lot more you can discover through the modlist or by exploring!

2. Requirements and Installation

2.1 Requirements

Halcyon is built around Skyrim’s Anniversary Edition (Special Edition version number 1.6.353 with all Creation Club content installed). It probably won’t work on any other game version, and you’ll probably experience warnings and inconsistencies if you don’t have all the Creation Club content installed.

In addition, please ensure you have installed Part 2 of SSE Engine Fixes (SKSE64 Plugin) before downloading. The three files contained in Part 2 can’t be installed automatically by Vortex and must be manually copied into your main Skyrim directory.

While Halcyon is less graphically intense than some Collections and Wabbajack lists, it still includes multiple 4K texture packs, mesh replacements, and script-reliant mods. Low-end machines may struggle at times.

For reference, Halcyon is being tested on the following hardware and is not exhibiting any major performance issues:

Intel Core i7-12700KF @ 3.60 GHz

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti

16.0 GB RAM


Windows 11

2.2 Preparation

Vortex allows you to create separate game profiles for Skyrim with different mods enabled or disabled so you can switch between setups quickly. However, because of the way Vortex and LOOT currently handle profiling, load order and conflict resolution settings are always shared between profiles. Additionally, Vortex prioritises any manual load order assignments over LOOT's automatic assignments or a Collection's metadata. It also retains these settings even if you uninstall a mod and reinstall the same version later.

Halcyon is designed as an all-in-one setup and consequently uses a manually assigned load order based on LOOT’s suggestions and my own reasoning. This means that if you have ever installed any of the mods included in this Collection before and manually assigned load order or conflict resolution settings to them (in any profile), Vortex will not overwrite your settings when installing Halcyon, and the Collection's metadata will not be correctly implemented.

For this reason, I recommend either beginning installation with a completely clean install of Vortex or wiping your current load order and conflict resolution settings before downloading the Collection.

To clear your current load order settings:

Do not use the Reset option in the Manage Groups prompt under the Plugins tab (not the Mods tab). This will simply assign your plugins to the masterlist group default as if you manually did so, preventing the Collection's metadata from implementing correctly. Instead, go to the Plugins tab and sort your plugins by Group. Double click on any one plugin in a group to bring up its properties in a panel on the right-hand side of the screen and then shift- or ctrl-click all other plugins in that group.

You'll notice the properties panel changes to only display a Group bar. You can then clear the group assignments using the little grey "x" in the Group bar, which will return the plugins to their automatic LOOT assignments (and thus allow the Collection to overwrite them). Unfortunately, you'll need to repeat this process for each group.

To clear your current load order settings:

Open the Manage Rules prompt under the Mods tab and click Clear Rules.

If you experience issues related to load order and conflict resolution settings after installing Halcyon, you can follow the above steps and then simply reinstall the Collection from the Mods tab to make sure no custom settings are interfering with the Collection's metadata (this can be done without redownloading anything).

2.2 Installation

Ideally, installation should take place after a clean install of Skyrim AE and all Creation Club content. Make sure Vortex is allowed to manage profiles for Skyrim and seriously consider installing Halcyon to a dedicated profile in case you want to add to it or create a new setup later.

• If Vortex is already managing Skyrim for you and you have mods installed, please see the Preparation section above. The most hassle-free installation is one that takes place on a clean install of Vortex with no mods already installed. Once Halcyon is installed and its metadata is in place, however, feel free to make whatever additions you like!

• If you've followed the above steps or this is the first thing you're doing on Vortex, simply click Add to Vortex and let the program do its stuff. If you are a Premium member, Vortex will take care of everything. If you are not a Premium member, you will have to activate each download in turn. Halcyon also includes LOD data, a Bashed Patch, and MCM Recorder presets for your convenience.

• You may experience issues downloading the Collection. Unfortunately, these are usually tied to how Vortex handles this process (remember: the system is still being tested). If the issue is clearly related to Vortex or Nexus, I’m afraid I can’t help you.

• Once the Collection is finished and Vortex tells you it's complete, start the game!

2.3 In-Game Setup

Like most Collections, Halcyon comes with dozens of MCMs. You're free to alter these as you see fit, obviously, but if you'd like to replicate the intended setup, I’ve included MCM Recorder presets for your convenience. To activate them, follow these steps:

• When you click New on the game's start menu, you will encounter the truncated startup added by Skyrim Unbound. Once the mod tells you to open the MCM, simply open the main menu, click on System, and then on Mod Configuration.

• Navigate to and click on MCM Recorder. You should see a prompt that lets you begin a recording or choose a recording to play. There should be Default Settings by SomethingSecret listed under the second option. Click on it.

• The mod will show you some details about the recording. Click on Yes and follow the mod’s instructions (close the MCM and main menu).

• You will encounter another prompt that lets you “run” the recording, view the steps involved, “add” to the recording, or cancel the operation. You just want to run the recording.

Be patient. It will take several minutes for MCM Recorder to process all the steps and for Spell Research to import all the data it needs. Spell Research will prompt you several times to ask if you would like to import spells from DLC packs and other mods. Click on Yes or Correct to every prompt you see.

MCM Recorder will tell you when it's finished "playing" the recording and Spell Research will tell you when all spells are imported. Once you have seen both prompts, the process is complete.

This step is optional but HIGHLY recommended! MCM Recorder doesn’t recognise Sky UI’s MCM, which means I can’t create a preset for it. However, I play with the following adjustments in Sky UI’s MCM: under the General tab and the Active Effects HUD section, change “Icon Size” to “Small” and increase “Minimum Time Left” to “600s”; under the Advanced tab and the Active Effects HUD section, change the “Horizontal Anchor” to “Left”, the “Vertical Anchor” to “Center”, and the “Vertical Offset” to “-85”. This places status effect icons on the left side of the screen and lines them up horizontally with Loot and Degradation’s item icons. If you do not make these adjustments (or your SKY UI is otherwise set to its defaults), you’ll have status icons appearing beneath item icons and the A Matter of Time widget.

• After MCM Recorder is done and you have either adjusted Sky UI or left it as is, you can navigate back to the MCMs. Find Skyrim Unbound and use its interface to select your starting parameters. Once you’re satisfied with your settings, click Let’s Go! under the Main tab to enter the character generation interface.

• Enjoy!

3. Finally

Thank you, Bethesda, for your wonderful game and the framework it represents, and thank you to the folks at Nexus for helping the community thrive. Also, thank you to all the mod authors out there, past, present, and future! It took me long enough to put this Collection together: I can only imagine how much work goes into building these assets. Skyrim wouldn't be the world it is today without you!


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Bug Fixes
DLC Required
Fair and Balanced
Leveled Lists
Quality of Life