The guilds and factions that make up Skyrim are a big part of who we are and why we love the game so much, especially if you’re like me and have been playing Elder Scrolls since before Skyrim came out.
But as time goes on, people in each group start to feel the same.
And we usually try to find ways to make them better or at least change how they look a little.
I was in the same situation, so I went on a hunt for the best mods that change factions in subtle and complex ways, so that my next playthrough would feel a bit different.
I think this list is pretty good, and I hope you agree.
Let’s get to it!
- 27. Stormcloaks
- 26. Volkihar Clan
- 25. College Visitor Pass
- 24. Thieves Guild Requirements
- 23. Underground Gladiator Arena
- 22. Trainers Guild for Aspiring Mages
- 21. Work a Steady Job as a Blacksmith
- 20. Aldmeri Dominion Strengthened – Join the Thalmor
- 19. Archmage Tolfdir
- 18. Dark Brotherhood for Good Guys
- 17. Better Archmage Quarters Inside the College of Winterhold
- 16. Imperial Legion Armor Variety
- 15. All Thieves Guild Jobs Concurrently
- 14. Glorious Fort Dawnguard
- 13. Dawnguard Sentries Plus
- 12. The Forsworn Legacy
- 11. Vigilant of Stendarr Quests
- 10. Wars of the Third Era LOTR
- 9. College of Winterhold Glory Days
- 8. College of Winterhold Entry Requirements
- 7. Thieves Guild Redone
- 6. Dark Brotherhood Reborn
- 5. Become a Bard
- 4. Enhanced Skyrim Factions – The Companions Guild
- 3. Thieves Guild for Good Guys
- 2. Sokco’s Guild Starter
- 1. Hunting in Skyrim – A Hunting Guild
The Stormcloaks are a rebellious group dedicated to preserving Nordic rule and freedom in Skyrim.
Their main enemy is the Imperial Army and their leader is Ulfric Stormcloak, who you encounter in the opening sequence of the game.
You have the option between choosing to side with them or the Imperial Army.
26. Volkihar Clan
The Volkihar Clan is a powerful vampire tribe said to be from eastern Skyrim.
Legend paints the Volkihar as paranoid and cruel. It is said their breath could freeze their victims’ blood within their veins.
Some believe they live beneath the ice of remote and haunted lakes, never venturing into the world of men except to feed.
In reality, they quite similar to their Cyrodiilic cousins. They are known to seamlessly blend into society and prefer to feed on sleeping victims.
25. College Visitor Pass
What kind of college won’t let you visit it just because you aren’t a member?
I mean, how on Earth am I supposed to know whether I’d like to join if I can’t even see its infrastructure first?
The answer is The College of Winterhold, where they tell you that you can’t pass because you aren’t enrolled, but they probably just want to make you a member first before you check out the decadent state of its grim interiors.
The College Visitor Pass mod allows you to walk and roam freely through the halls of the college, even allowing you to complete side quests that shouldn’t require you to be a college mage to get them done anyway.
24. Thieves Guild Requirements
This mod makes the Thieves Guild much stricter when it comes to who they recruit.
You now need to be a proper thief if you want to join, and you will need to follow requirements if you wish to activate the questline.
23. Underground Gladiator Arena
Oh man, I was super excited when I saw this mod at first.
If you are like me and spent countless hours playing Oblivion, then you probably grew as fond of the arena as I did. That Colosseum feel might be hard to imitate in Skyrim. But this mod is as close as you’ll get to reviving the Oblivion arena as possible.
It adds an underground arena where you can go against some of the strongest fighters in Skyrim and show your true might against countless foes until you face the Grand Champion.
Kill him and become the champion yourself!
22. Trainers Guild for Aspiring Mages
The Trainer’s Guild is a new guild that has opened up in Skyrim, which allows everyone to join them for a fee.
The main objective of this guild is to gather mages who have no sort of affiliation with the College of Winterhold and wish to remain like this, but still wish to form part of an organization that gathers magical talent in the lands.
The mod includes a player home as well as a fence and a new enchanter to spice things up for the Dragonborn and their quest to become the ultimate mage in the land.
21. Work a Steady Job as a Blacksmith
Although not a guild per se, you can become a freelance blacksmith if you choose to install this mod.
How cool is would it be to have a nine to five job in Skyrim?
Probably not that cool I guess, but if that’s what you want to roleplay as then this is the mod for you.
With this installed you get unlimited tasks that you’ll be able to perform and get paid for doing them, and you can keep doing them until you’re bored or if you feel that you have more than enough money already.
It’s your life as a blacksmith in the world of The Elder Scrolls!
20. Aldmeri Dominion Strengthened – Join the Thalmor
Wood Elves, High Elves, and Khajit will now be able to join the ranks of the mythical Thalmor.
All of the Thalmor in the land will become friendly with you after you join them, and although this mod doesn’t bring a whole bunch of quests to the game, it will add new followers as well as the gratitude of the Thalmor instead of their usual disdain towards the player.
What’s even better is that you’ll get to enter the Embassy again after you’ve completed the quest. Gone are the days of hate towards the Dragonborn.
19. Archmage Tolfdir
Being the Archmage of the College of Winterhold is a particularly draining task. And you might want to help the college at first, but taking on the role of their leader is too much for some.
This mod allows you tell Tolfdir to take the role himself, which will make him take the same role as the previous Archmage and live in the quarters of the College wearing the robes.
Keep in mind that this mod will still let you finish quests that need you to be the Archmage to start, so you won’t lose any potential missions.
18. Dark Brotherhood for Good Guys
Well this mod isn’t as “evil-to-good” as the Thieves Guild for Good Guys mod.
But it doesn’t let you study your targets more before you kill them.
You will be an assassin anyway who works for the forces of darkness, but you will learn why some people need to die before you execute each kill.
The mod also reworks the dialogue of the player, so you sound less like Christian Bale in American Psycho and more like Johnny Depp in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
I know it’s not much of an improvement, but still.
17. Better Archmage Quarters Inside the College of Winterhold
If you’ve already installed the mod to make Tolfdir become the Archmage, then go back.
You will want to give this mod a try as it makes the quarters of the Archmage inside the College much better.
It will finally feel cozy and not like you’re living in a ruin that seems to be falling apart. Also you get new mannequins. How cool is that?
16. Imperial Legion Armor Variety
Imperial Legionnaires might be fearsome and mighty warriors, but they sure as hell lack a sense of fashion.
It’s not easy to get your battle wears designed by Hugo Boss like the Nazis (yes that happened), but a bit of variation suits everyone well.
This mod makes the Imperial fighters dress differently, as it adds new variations to the way they dress. A simple mod, but visually appealing.
15. All Thieves Guild Jobs Concurrently
Enough with taking up to two jobs at a time.
With this mod you’ll be able to take all seven types of jobs that the Thieves Guild offers at once.
Gone are the days of not being able to multi-task when it’s actually a simple thing to do for a skilled thief. Make the best use of your skills as possible and take on multiple small jobs at once.
14. Glorious Fort Dawnguard
It’s time to make Fort Dawnguard the best version of itself possible.
Get down to business with this standalone mod that is meant to take you on a mission to rebuild Fort Dawnguard and make it a much more glorious version of itself.
It will get new areas, new patrols, new NPCs, and much more. Just be sure to complete the entire guide!
13. Dawnguard Sentries Plus
Congratulations! If you downloaded this mod, there are now Dawnguard sentinels in every major city in the game to aid citizens and guards in their attempt to fight off vampires.
It really makes no sense for all the forces to be concentrated in Fort Dawnguard or spread thin across the lands when they can easily be patrolling towns and cities to prevent vampires from running havoc.
I have no clue why this isn’t a thing in the base DLC, but it is now after I’ve downloaded the Dawnguard Sentries Plus mod.
12. The Forsworn Legacy
This lore-friendly mod allows the Dragonborn to become part of the Forsworn, one of the weirdest and most frowned-upon factions in the game.
By joining them you’ll be able to interact with their members and even meet new members that aren’t originally in the game.
What’s even better is that the Forsworn Legacy mod comes fully voiced, and all new characters include custom voices that you can enjoy in the game.
11. Vigilant of Stendarr Quests
The Vigilant of Stendarr are some noble warriors that serve under oath to Stendarr, which means that the organization itself is not easy to join.
You will need to fulfill a specific set of requirements if you wish to join the ranks of the organization, but should you happen to be noble warrior you should have no problems in doing so.
In any case, the mod comes with a bunch of quests and things you can do in the organization. All of the mod is voice-acted so immersion won’t be an issue at all.
10. Wars of the Third Era LOTR
If you’re a Lord of the Rings fan, then you need to check out this mod like right now.
This mod makes it so Uruk warriors are approaching Skyrim and about to invade it, and guess who needs to save the day once again?
Yep that’s right – the guy with the ability to harvest the souls of dragons.
This amazing mod mixes The Elder Scrolls with LOTR to create a compelling and unique story where you’ll be the hero at the end of the day.
The mod naturally includes new races, battles, weapons, armor, and much more. Check it out and mix two franchises that definitely go really well together.
9. College of Winterhold Glory Days
Imagine if those ancient halls of the College of Winterhold hadn’t seen their best years yet.
Imagine if the best things were yet to come for the College, and it wasn’t as grim-looking as it is in the base game. Well, imagine no further.
You can now download this mod, which will have the college fixed and restored to its former days of glory when things weren’t going too badly for the mages there.
You will get new classrooms, NPCs, students, mages, and a full reconstruction and improvement of the college area like you have always dreamed.
An ideal mod for those that were always disappointed by the state of the college during their Skyrim playthroughs.
8. College of Winterhold Entry Requirements
In my latest Skyrim playthrough I went straight to the College of Winterhold after finishing the first few quests that the game has in store for us.
I had the option to instantly join the college without even knowing basic spells from any of the schools of magic.
I mean that’s cool and all in terms of inclusion, but it makes no sense for me to join the college without knowing useful spells.
This mod makes it more difficult for the Dragonborn to join the College of Winterhold by adding specific requirements that truly make you worthy of forming part of such a prestigious institution. Train yourself in the various schools of magic and learn before joining an advanced learning institution.
You may want to combine this mod with the College Visitor Past that I ranked at the 25th spot, as it will allow you to enter the college with a pass even when you’re not a member.
7. Thieves Guild Redone
Progress through the main story of the Thieves Guild by completing its fantastic questline as always, but watch as the environment in which the thieves live actually improve as the guild evolves.
Gone are the days of beds being added to the headquarters and thieves going crazy about them.
It’s time to have those Thieves Guild locations really improved, and this mod aims to do just that.
You’ll notice how many things get added to the grounds of the Ragged Flagon and Thieves Guild Headquarters, including lightning, furniture, and even loot.
Make the best of these new improvements that will truly reflect the growth of the Thieves Guild!
6. Dark Brotherhood Reborn
Man, why do all assassins and darkness-dwellers get portrayed as filthy scum that live in things that either look like sewers or smell like them?
I mean just because I go around killing people for a living doesn’t mean I don’t have a proper sense for décor, right?
I know you agree with me – especially if you’re a massive fan of the Dark Brotherhood like me (even though it was better in Oblivion).
This mod changes the Dawnstar sanctuary and makes it truly feel like a base for the Dark Brotherhood.
You will be able to see how true assassins live in Skyrim, and not how they were originally portrayed by Bethesda.
5. Become a Bard
Yay, bards! I don’t know why such an iconic RPG class was left out of playable Skyrim characters (and TES in general), but bards are now in full force in Skyrim thanks to the Become a Bard mod.
New quests, new songs, and much more await those who wish to walk the path of music in Skyrim.
No need to be a warrior anymore.
It’s time for you to pick up your trusty ukulele and sing the songs of the ancient.
4. Enhanced Skyrim Factions – The Companions Guild
This mod is a complete rework of how the Companions Guild works.
You will no longer be able to become the leader of such a prestigious institution by being a low-level warrior, or a weak mage. You will have to earn your way through the ranks of the Companions and truly show that you’re worth being the leader of this amazing guild.
The mod improves story progression and adds new requirements that are meant to make rising through the Companions Guild ranks ever more satisfying.
3. Thieves Guild for Good Guys
Now this amazing mod completely reworks the Thieves Guild and allows you to become a member of the guild without sending anyone to jail, or even being a bad thief.
The mod incorporates various voiced quests to the game, which are meant to make the Thieves Guild restore its long-lost honor in Skyrim.
You can make the Thieves Guild a completely different entity to what it is. And it’ll all be done at the hands of the Dragonborn.
Not all thieves are bad guys, right? Show it!
2. Sokco’s Guild Starter
It’s time for you to start the guild that you always wished it existed in Skyrim.
Create your own faction and choose why you’ve created in, recruit members, and even choose a base for your guild to exist.
You can have up to 10 guild members in your guild but almost anyone in the game can be recruited. How cool is this! Definitely give it a try if you have time.
1. Hunting in Skyrim – A Hunting Guild
Alright, I’m not going into much detail with this mod because I really want you to try it out yourself.
The mod doesn’t only add a Hunter’s Guild; you will also be able to experience hunting like never before with the ability to skin game, trapping, and even stat tracking for your kills.
It’s a marvelous mod and I recommend to anyone that’s reading this if you like the hunting mechanics in RDR2.