TL;DR - too long; didn’t read.
In vanilla Skyrim, you gain levels by increasing your proficiency in various skills. Proficiency is gained by using said skills. For example, if you sneak a lot around enemies, your sneak skill will eventually increase which will also give you progress toward the next level up. Leveling up, you will then be given a choice between the three main attributes (Health, Stamina, Magicka) as well as a perk point.
Levelling in TPF works the same way with some adjustments.
The rate at which you gain skill progression, level-ups, perk points, and attributes is controlled by Cheshyr’s Skyrim Uncapper preset for Adamant.
Among other things, Cheshyr’s Uncapper preset rebalances crafting skill gains so that they do not contribute as much to your overall progression toward the next level. Otherwise, due to the abundance of crafting material, you would be able to quickly grind out a few levels with crafting alone (like in vanilla). If skill gain for crafting professions was simply slowed down, increasing your skill level for access to higher level perks would become a frustrating grind. Thus, the best solution was to decrease the amount of progress toward a level-up a skill-up in crafting skills grants.
The speed at which you level up (which is determined by how quickly you gain skill proficiency and how much the gained skill proficiency progresses you toward the next level-up) is adjusted for different periods in your playthrough. Leveling was slowed down for the early- and mid-game so that you spend more time in the arguably most interesting phase of any playthrough. As you approach level 40, level-ups will become progressively faster until they surpass the vanilla rate.
This makes sense in multiple ways: The leveled loot and encounter system of vanilla Skyrim will progress you very quickly through loot tiers and enemy variants until it spits you out north of level 35, having seen the vast majority of what the game has to offer. By slowing down progression before that happens, you spend more time in that part of the game where leveling up constantly unlocks new enemy types and gear variants as you play. This part of the game is also where many of the unique quests unlock, Daedric quests among them. You’ll be collecting your first artifacts and catch glimpses of what you will become.
In order to keep your own progression interesting, you will be awarded a bonus perk point at regular intervals when leveling up.
Additionally, if you select Health or Magicka as your attribute when leveling you up, you will also receive a small amount of additional carry weight. In vanilla, your carry weight will only increase (by +5 points) if you select Stamina. This is still the case, but a smaller amount of extra carry weight can now also be gained when selecting Health or Magicka.
The ability to reset skills to “Legendary” was added in vanilla Skyrim to prevent the player from “wasting” skill gain on skills they already brought to 100. This essentially removes the level cap (previously at 81) as you can simply reset and re-level any skill, and continue progressing toward another level-up. Unfortunately, making a skill “Legendary” would reset to skill level 15 which means losing access to all parks and having to start all over again.
With Cheshyr’s Uncapper, you will be able to reset a skill from skill level 90 onward. This gives you the choice to skip the grind from skill level 90 to 100 and reset immediately at the cost of quick access to the “capstone perk” which becomes available at skill level 100. Thankfully, if you choose to reset the skill, you will be set back to skill level 40 instead of 15, meaning you can retake essential perks immediately.
The UI will not display it before level 100 is reached in a skill, but you can reset it to Legendary as soon as you are at level 90.
The perk trees in TPF are from SimonMagus’ Adamant - A Perk Overhaul which Cheshyr’s Skyrim Uncapper preset was specifically made for. This allows for a good synergy between the two. Adamant also requires Simon’s Mysticism - A Magic Overhaul which similarly allows the two mods to play off each other.
Some key features:
Adamant perks are “vanilla plus”, meaning they feel very similar to the original perk trees, but with noticeably less filler character. Capstone perks (those unlocked at skill level 100) are powerful and worthy of the grind unlike many of the lackluster vanilla equivalents. For example, in vanilla the capstone perk for Archery gives you a 15% chance to paralyze your target. Adamant’s Archery capstone perk with guaranteed critical damage to enemies at full health is a great deal stronger and more rewarding in comparison.
Please refer to the mod page for up-to-date perk descriptions.
If you want are unhappy with how you spent your perk points, there are multiple ways to reset them:
Make a skill legendary:
Upon reaching skill level 90 in any skill, you can make it “Legendary”, resetting it to level 40 and refunding all perk points. See Legendary Skills section.
Complete the Dragonborn DLC main quest:
At the end of the main quest on Solstheim, you have the option to refund all perks from any of your perk trees at the cost of one Dragon Soul per tree.
Buy a Draught of Fate Unwound:
This potion was added by Ish’s Respec Mod and will automatically refund all your perks upon consuming it. Other than a relatively high price, there are no downsides associated with it. It was added primarily to allow users to refund perks before updating the perk overhaul, Adamant, as otherwise points spent on removed perks might be lost.
You can buy a Draught of Fate Unwound at Elgrim’s Elixirs in Riften.
Combat in TPF is affected primarily by Blade and Blunt - A Combat Overhaul which adds complexity to the vanilla hack-and-slash system. It adds emphasis on Stamina management and movement. Please refer to the mod page for more details.
The optional Timed Block module is not featured in TPF. A well-timed bash to interrupt an enemy’s attack will have a similar effect of opening them up for a counter-attack while presenting a higher risk if mistimed.
In vanilla Skyrim, there are multiple difficulty levels ranging from Novice to Legendary. They primarily increase incoming damage while decreasing outgoing damage which in practice means that enemies become “bullet sponges” (taking very little damage) while the player is progressively more vulnerable. You can checke the vanilla modifiers here.
Blade and Blunt adjusts the difficulty modifiers, slightly increasing incoming damage. With those changes, combat will feel noticably more difficult than vanilla to the point where you may be one-shot by certain enemy types. Facing mages without any magic resist enchantments or potions can be perilous.
In TPF 4.7, I elected to revert to the vanilla damage modifiers. If you would like more difficult combat, rather than increasing the difficulty ingame, you should uncheck the Blade and Blunt - Vanilla Difficulty Modifiers mod under COMBAT & ENCOUNTERS.
The reason why I reverted to the vanilla modifiers in TPF is because occasionally users complain about tough combat while absolutely refusing to lower the game difficulty out of a misplaced sense of pride. TPF combat with Blade and Blunt (and some other mods) is more challenging than vanilla, and you should never feel bad for lowering the difficulty in order to have fun.
Adamant’s smithing perk tree fixes inconsistencies with the vanilla one where perks were split into light and heavy. This makes sense for armors where that distinction is made but not for weapons. A heavy armor character may still want to upgrade their Orcish sword to Glass which requires a lower skill level than Ebony but it does require the other “light” perks which the heavy armor character likely didn’t take. It’s inconvenient to say the least.
Adamant fixes this by splitting the smithing perk tree into a crafting and a tempering branch. Progressing the crafting branch will unlock recipes for stronger equipment tiers while the tempering branch will improve your ability to upgrade your equipment.
Equipment can now be improved up to 10 times. Every time to you sharpen a weapon at the grindstone or improve an armor piece at the workbench, its damage or armor rating are increased by exactly one point. The name of the item is updated to reflect the tempering tier. For instance, an iron sword upgraded four times would display in the inventory as “Iron Sword +4”. Unlike with the vanilla tier names (Fine, Superior, Exquisite, etc), you can immediately tell how many times you already improved the item and how many times you can still do so.
In vanilla, a fairly advanced perk is required to temper enchanted equipment: Arcane Blacksmith. The perk is unlocked at skill level 60.
In Adamant, this perk was removed from the perk tree and given to the player automatically. The idea is that being forced to decide between a weak but enchanted weapon or a strong but unenchanted item is not particularly fun. Instead you will now be able to temper your enchanted gear in order to make it useable at your level without having to level to Smithing 60 and invest in a perk.
While TPF does not feature a full horse overhaul, there are three mods that make horses a great deal more convenient. For one, they will no longer attack and instead flee upon entering combat. The five buyable horses as well as the unique Frost were also set to Essential so they will not die if they do get hit.
Thanks to Irondusk’s Saddlebags, you can store up to 500 weight units of items on your horse. Simply interact with your horse while sneaking and you will be prompted to open your saddle bags. The mod also adds a Horse Whistle power with which you can command your horse to wait or follow.
When you have a follower, you will be able to buy a horse for them at any stable which they will then call and ride whenever you mount up on your own horse.
Upon interacting with a shrine, you will receive a blessing from the associated divine that lasts for 8 hours. You can only have one blessing at a time. These are vanilla features, but they were tweaked by Adamant’s Shrines and Amulets addon.
The addon also tweaks the effects from amulets of the divines to match the updated shrine blessings. In vanilla, shrine and amulet effects were identical except for Julianos and Kynareth whose amulets increased Magicka and Stamina by 10 points respectively while the shrines awarded +25 points. Their amulets now also grant +25 points in the respective attribute.
In Adamant, a perk from the Restoration tree also directly affects divine blessings. The first level of Pilgrim (Restoration 30) increases the strength of divine blessings received to shrines while the second level (Restoration 60) adds an additional effect to each blessing.
Please check the section on Shrines and Amulets at the bottom of the Adamant mod page for more information.
Shrines no longer cure diseases upon interacting with them. You will need to buy, find, or craft a Cure Disease potion.
There are two unique effects as blessings granted by Mara and Dibella respectively upon completing quests in their honour. These quests are The Book of Love for Mara (which in TPF occurs only after completing Spread the Love) and The Heart of Dibella for (you guessed it) Dibella.