Introduction

Welcome to The Phoenix Flavour, a Vanilla-plus modding guide for Skyrim SE.

Overview

The Phoenix Flavour for Skyrim SE is a modding guide like many others, teaching you how to set up a certain set of tools and mods for best results. Unlike other modding guides, it contains many optional mods as well as a dedicated Customisation section.

Overall, the guide is highly accessible for modding beginners with its countless additional notes, explanations and screenshots. The less experience you have with modding Skyrim, the more important it is that you read everything carefully.

The guide was written with the assumption that most readers have little previous knowledge about modding and supplies the basics before going more in-depth. Whenever you feel confident about your knowledge in a certain area, feel free to skip ahead.

If you are unwilling to dig deep into the topic of modding Skyrim, there is always the Wabbajack option.

Wabbajack

Anyone who does not want to or is unable to invest large amounts of time into modding Skyrim SE should look into the Wabbajack version of The Phoenix Flavour instead of the installing it manually.

Wabbajack is an auto-installer capable of “cloning” a full mod setup including all tweaks and changes to someone else’s system. It requires virtually no modding experiences and very little effort, although to automate the download process a Nexus Premium account is required.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Wabbajack
The actual mod installation can be done over night with zero effort.
All additional instructions will take much less time to follow and complete than a full run of the Classic Guide would.
Since most of the process is automated, it’s unlikely that you will make a mistake that takes time to track and fix.
At least one month’s Nexus Premium subscription is required for Wabbajack to automatically download the files.
You will learn nothing about modding or utilising the required tools.
You will miss out on the Customisation options that the manual guide offers.

Legacy of the Dragonborn

Thanks to Lively, the Wabbajack installer now features an optional Legacy of the Dragonborn profile with full integration of the mod plus a few extras for those cannot live without the museum.

About The Guide

Features

Regardless of whether you build the setup manually or use the Wabbajack Installer, here is what the resulting mod setup will feature:

  • A Better Skyrim: The guide includes hundreds of mods across forty categories, all carefully selected to fit my vision of a lore-friendly, improved but not radically changed Skyrim. The Phoenix Flavour strives to provide a solid upgrade of the vanilla experience with modern visuals and additional content.
  • Custom Files and Patches: Both the final patch as well as some patches and plugin replacers installed during the mod setup have been made specifically for the guide by Umgak and myself. They ensure compatibility as well as consistency between all included mods.
  • Customisability: In order to account for differences in taste among all users, a large amount of mods were marked as optional and are not required to be installed. Other mods come with extensive customisation options usually provided ingame through Mod Configuration Menus. A list of additional compatible mods and optional tweaks is available in a dedicated section of the guide.
  • Performance: The Phoenix Flavour was created for gameplay instead of screen-archery and will for most people deliver solid results on a 1080p monitor resolution. For higher resolutions, better hardware is required. Through INI changes, reasonable texture resolutions, a performance-friendly grass overhaul as well as a skippable ENB section and the choice to use low settings in DynDOLOD, you can tweak your game until you reach a stable framerate.
  • Stability: Skyrim SE itself is already very stable compared to Classic Skyrim. You may still experience the occasional freeze or crash, but they will be very rare (perhaps once every 20 to 30 hours). These happen in Vanilla and they will happen in TPF.

Vanilla Plus

The concept of “Vanilla plus” simply refers to a mod or mod setup that improves the existing game without attempting to turn it into something entirely different. It is a matter of preference and there are guides with different approaches out there for those who are tired of Skyrim’s core gameplay.

Included Mods

You can find a full list of mods here.

  • Visuals: Cathedral Weathers, Luminosity and Relighting Skyrim, Cathedral Landscapes.
  • Textures: Noble Skyrim 2K overwritten by dozens of smaller mods (including the RUSTIC series and aMidianBorn).
  • Distant Level of Detail (LOD): DynDOLOD is included and mandatory; 3D tree LOD is optional.
  • ENBSeries: Using ENB is optional, there are instructions to add a preset and related mods.
  • Body Replacer: Caliente’s Beautiful Bodies Enhancer.
  • Gameplay: Featuring the full suite of SimonMagus’ suite of lightweight overhauls.
  • Loot and Rarity: Concept borrowed from Morrowloot, although much lighter and more stream-lined.
  • New Companions: Custom-voiced companions of (arguably) the highest quality are included: Inigo and Lucien.
  • DLC-Sized Mods: The Forgotten City in the optional content addon.
  • Needs and Survival Mods: None included.

Additional Mods

Please wait until after you completed the guide and tested your setup before adding more mods, otherwise you will no longer be eligible to receive support on our Discord server should you need it. We do not - and cannot - offer support for setups that are not 100% TPF. This includes Creation Club content.

Our Tools

The Phoenix Flavour is built using the most advanced, feature-rich mod manager out there: Mod Organizer 2, a tool vastly superior to both the outdated Nexus Mod Manager as well as the newer Vortex.

In addition to MO2, we will routinely utilise the official Creation Kit as well as SSEEdit and the Cathedral Assets Optimizer in the Classic Guide. Over its course you will be provided with detailed instructions for all these tools (and more) in order to teach you how and when to use them correctly.

This guide neither supports nor recommends LOOT. You should not use it at any point on a TPF installation.

Suggested Setup

The specs below are recommended for those looking to install all visual mods with high settings as well as 3D tree LOD through DynDOLOD and a full ENB preset. There are plenty options within the guide that allow you to lower its performance impact so that the modded game remains playable even on weaker machines.

Modded Skyrim is highly GPU-dependent. A fast card with plenty of VRAM will considerably improve performance. Installing the game on an SSD will improve load times dramatically and prevent stutter.

  • CPU: Processor with high single core performance (3.2GHz or more).
  • RAM: 8-16 GB of DDR3 or DDR4 memory, running at 2400MHz or faster.
  • GPU: A modern card with at least 4GB of VRAM (ideally 6-8GB).
  • Hard Drive: At least 80GB of free space, ideally on an SSD.
  • Monitor: With a standard (16:9) or widescreen (21:9) aspect ratio.

Free space: The full TPF installation is about 60GB large, excluding downloads (they can easily be saved to a different hard drive). Skyrim SE is another 13GB. Obviously you need to remember that your hard drive needs to have some free space left, around 20% for optimal performance.

Widescreen support: UI patches and replacers can be found in the Resources section to be installed after the main guide.

Phoenix’s Build

  • CPU: Intel i5 7600k @4.2GHz, hybrid-cooled
  • RAM: Corsair Vengeance 16GB DDR4-3200 Memory
  • GPU: EVGA GTX 1070 Founder’s Edition (8192MB VRAM)
  • SSD: Samsung 850 Evo Series 256GB SSD (OS)
  • SSD: Samsung 860 Evo Series 1TB SSD (Games)
  • Monitor: LG 27GL850-B UltraGear 1440p @144Hz (primary)
  • Monitor: Acer S242HL 1080p @60Hz (secondary)

Monitor Resolution

Never underestimate the impact that high monitor resolutions have on performance. I would consider my setup to be on the higher end of the mid-tier spectrum, and when playing at 1080p I can get stable 60-100 FPS everywhere. At 1440p, I notice a considerable performance impact, losing 20 FPS on average. With the amount of additional pixels to render on resolutions like 1440p and upwards, the hardware requirement does go up quite harshly. And don’t expect 60FPS when playing on 4K with ENB.

The guide includes instructions to change the game’s resolution.

Discord

On our dedicated Discord server for The Phoenix Flavour, we are providing support for the main guide as well as the Wabbajack version of TPF. We are also talking guide changes, Skyrim modding, and gaming in general. Feel free to join us here!


Last modified September 13, 2020