Skyrim – Hardcore Survival Challenge

Space Muffin BlogEver thought of playing Skyrim on Hardcore?…now, wouldn’t that be an interesting Challenge?

Playing Skyrim Vanilla (with no mods) is regarded by most hardcore players as an easy experience, even on the highest difficulties.

Hardcore Cherry

But if we add the “Hardcore cherry” on top, every single fight, every single decision becomes a matter of life and death. No more fooling around, no more clueless and careless decisions.

But the cherry alone won’t cut it, we need to take advantage of the right mods. For that purpose, i’ve prepared a “core” list of mods that will enhance combat, survival mechanics and atmosphere of the game. If you are not sure how to install them, you can check this easy guide made by Dr. Muffin.

The following mods can be found for both Skyrim and Skyrim Special Edition:

Smilodon – With the optional Smilodon Realistic Damage Plugin

Our first core mod aimed at improving the overall combat experience, by enhancing the combat AI and balancing the damage in a way that you won’t get to fight enemies sponges anymore (as you would in the higher difficulties of Vanilla Skyrim), instead, you will both deal very high damage to each other, effectively changing long battles into fast and lethal encounters, rewarding tactics and momentum.

Remember to download the optional Smilodon – Realistic Damage plugin, so that both you and your enemies deal the exact same rate of damage (x3.5 damage on Expert).


Enhanced Lights and FX – Hardcore

Something to spice up the whole atmoshpere with. This mod will make the dungeons go real dark aswell as making you carry a handfull of torches, potions, spells or even rolling a khajit alltogether for that nocturnal vision. Go with the Hardcore option during installation.

The SM Drop Lit Torches may come in handy in case you need a spare hand in dark situations.


Imperious – Races of Skyrim

More racial diversity with new powers and stats. No more predictable fights, now every single enemy can surprise you with his unique racial bonuses, effectively making every encounter fresh and challenging, unless you carefully check who you are up against in advance (as you should always).


Ordinator – Perks of Skyrim

A more in-depth overhaul of the perk system, which will greatly help those who wish to use magic, aswell as allowing you to shape and specialize your character as you imagine it, thanks to more useful perks and branches.


SkyTEST – Realistic Animals and Predators

What’s more scary than running from a mob of angry bandits? If you said Giants you’d be wrong, for the most dangerous predators often hunt at night and come without warning. Pack based predators that will hunt for everything they can find on their path. Fire will be your true friend for survival.

Also don’t forget to download: SkyTEST – Harder Creatures to boost up the challenge and making creatures even more menacing.


Immersive Patrols SE

Being in the midst of a civil war, Skyrim tends to appear way too peacefull. This mod implements patrols from different factions roaming the road and often clashing with each other, or with you…if you happen to be on their bad side. Dangerous roads wait ahead.


Survival Mode or Frostfall

What good is it being in a cold harsh region of the world if you cannot even freeze to death? Keep warm, seek shelter from the storm, eat and sleep, that’s exactly what’s gonna happen to you in this challenge. No more unrealistic deprivation of food, sleep and warmth.

Being a paid feature, the Survival Mode is totally optional. Alternatively you can use Frostfall made by the same author, coupled with Campfire and Realistic Needs.


Morrowloot Ultimate (Optional)

If you ever felt nostalgic of Morrowind and its high risk high reward system, then this is the mod for you. High Tier armor and weapons are rare and even hand-placed in some istances.

I made this mod optional because unlike Morrowind, you can very well encounter unfair and unbalanced enemies right from the beginning of the game, leading you to a quick and inevitable death. But if you are a big fan of unpredictable and unforgiving challenges with all the risk and concequences that come with it, go for it.

Requires the Unofficial Skyrim Patch to work properly.


That’s it for the core and optional list, feel free to add any other mod that can suit your experience, but nothing that will lessen the overall difficulty of the challenge.

Frame 1

  • Play through the game with all the aforementioned mods
  • Play on Expert Difficulty (to compensate for the exploitable Smilodon damage ratio in both Master and Legendary)
  • Save on a single saveslot, if you die, you have to delete that slot and start anew.

3 Stars

Now go, pick up your sword and make me proud…or laugh! Ahaha! I’ll see you in the next Challenge…dragonborn!

Useful Links:
Skyrim Nexus
Skyrim Special Edition Nexus 
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition



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