Skyrim is a pretty dangerous place, but the people there don’t mind.
There are vampires, dragons, bandits, and political upheaval. Still, people worry more about small fights with their neighbors, and there’s always someone at the tavern to share a drink with.
It gets to the point where it takes me out of the experience. The situation in Skyrim is bad, and the mood should reflect that.
I get that Bethesda wanted the game to feel epic and exciting, but I won’t be happy until Skyrim is a dark fantasy like it should have always been.
I’ve made some of the darkest and foggiest Skyrim mods ever made to make this happen.
- 12. Nyghtfall – Dark Fantasy Music
- 11. Cloaks of Skyrim Retextured
- 10. Flying Crows
- 9. Darker Nights
- 8. Lanterns of Skyrim II
- 7. Skygazer Moons
- 6. Enhanced Lights & FX
- 5. Obsidian Weathers & Seasons
- 4. Supreme and Volumetric Fog
- 3. Dark Forests of Skyrim
- 2. Snakorn’s Dark Fantasy ReShade
- 1. Dark Fantasy Reshade_ENB
12. Nyghtfall – Dark Fantasy Music
Turning Skyrim into a dark fantasy game is all about ambiance.
There are already plenty of horrifying monsters and dark happenings in every hold. But thanks to the way the game is built, we tackle them fearlessly – almost unceremoniously.
One fantastic way of setting a darker mood is changing the background music to something much more somber.
Nyghtfall (this mod) by Nyghttones does just that.
It’s comprised of 65 original music tracks with a darker sound.
They’re inspired by the original music, but made to sound more ominous and sinister.
11. Cloaks of Skyrim Retextured
Cloaks are a staple of dark fantasy.
You can’t ride through the cold tundra night with no extra protection – and everything is much more dramatic whenever you’re wearing a cloak.
Cloaks of Skyrim Retextured (made by ElSopa) is an updated version of a classic cloak mod. Altogether, it includes over 100 new styles of cloaks to show your color around the province.
Some of them show your allegiance to factions, holds, or even the gods.
Others are plain and only serve to keep you warm.
The ones we care the most about are the dark designs.
A burnt-up cloak, or one made of crow’s feathers, could go a long way in setting the tone of your adventure and helping your roleplay feel natural.
10. Flying Crows
Nothing says “pointless and super-violent civil war” like a murder of crows flying in circles over every battlefield and city.
Crows thrive where there is death, and Skyrim has plenty of it.
Flying Crows by Kongemeier releases around 30 groups of crows in varying sizes all over Skyrim to accentuate the feeling of exploring a harsh land where only the strongest survive.
Regrettably, the crows are just a decoration – so don’t waste your time throwing flash grenades at them like this is Resident Evil 4.
9. Darker Nights
Crows flying over every major road can definitely make Skyrim feel more inhospitable during the day, but what happens after sundown?
Chaos and horror. That’s what.
With Unforbidable’s Darker Nights, moving around after the sun sets becomes a major ordeal – just like it should be in a dark fantasy setting.
You’ll need torches or lighting spells if you wish to travel during the night, lest a powerful Necromancer and his zombie dogs catch you off-guard and put an end to your bizarre adventure.
8. Lanterns of Skyrim II
If Darker Nights is so much trouble you’ve begun to avoid traveling at night, it’s time to set up some public infrastructure along the roads of Skyrim.
I’m talking about Lanterns of Skyrim II – a mod by WizKid that turns Skyrim’s roads, towns, and cities into better-lit environments.
Finally, a reason to stay on the main roads rather than run everywhere in a straight line without regard for forests or mountains on the way!
With this mod installed, the night is full of dramatic and moody lighting that contributes to a dark fantasy atmosphere.
If you like this idea then make sure to check out Wearable Lanterns too.
7. Skygazer Moons
Lanterns of Skyrim is a fantastic mod.
But as anyone living in a major city can tell you, artificial light everywhere isn’t the most enjoyable thing.
Sometimes, you need to stare up at the night sky…
Make the most of Skyrim’s almost non-existent light pollution and admire Masser and Secunda – Nirn’s giant moons – thanks to Skygazer Moons by FadingSignal.
It’s easily the best night sky texture mod ever released, and the sight of a bright full moon (or two) ominously shining over your dangerous adventures is a staple of dark fantasy.
6. Enhanced Lights & FX
Since we’re putting so much effort into sources of light, we should take a moment to improve the way light behaves in Skyrim’s engine.
There’s no dark fantasy without wary people discussing the night’s horrors in hushed voices by candlelight.
And Anamorfus’ Enhanced Lights & FX can help set the tone with realistic and moody lighting.
This essential mod also injects more visual effects that have nothing to do with light, including smoke and translucent tent fabric. They’re great additions that will make any bandit camp raid a lot more immersive.
5. Obsidian Weathers & Seasons
You wake up at the inn. It has been raining for two days straight. You spend the afternoon listening to the mediocre bard until, just after nightfall, the rain finally lets up.
Unwilling to lose more time, you set out into the night but soon come to regret it as a thick fog falls around you and ominous noises can be heard from every direction.
What will become of you?
That’s the kind of bleak, dramatic situation you can find yourself in here, thanks to Obsidian Weathers & Seasons.
This mod adds over 90 unique weathers that’ll rotate throughout the year.
You’ll be assailed by torrential rain during Rain’s Hand, or get buried in cold snow on Evening Star.
4. Supreme and Volumetric Fog
If you want fog that sets the stage for horrific encounters in the lonely roads and forests of Skyrim, you need to get MannyGT’s Supreme and Volumetric Fog.
Fog has always been present in Skyrim, but never like this.
Have you ever been trekking on a mountain with fog so thick you couldn’t see anything a couple meters in front of you?
That’s what Supreme and Volumetric Fog can do at its most intense.
I’d also recommend MannyGT’s Morning Fogs, which adds rolling fog over Skyrim’s rivers and lakes to make them scenic and evoke a dreamy atmosphere.
It’s an incredible detail that elevates these landscapes, and it matches the dark fantasy aesthetic.
3. Dark Forests of Skyrim
Forests are mysterious places full of life and forces beyond a single human’s comprehension – especially in dark fantasy settings, where bog witches and other untold horrors may lurk.
Dark Forests of Skyrim is an attempt by creator MobiusBelmont to leverage forests to give the province a somber and haunting atmosphere.
For the most part, the mod focuses on making forests thicker and more absorbing. But it also adds many new trees to many areas, including twisted spooky oaks and eerie skinny pines.
My favorite addition is, without a doubt, the fungal forests – located mainly near the border with Morrowind. It’s both atmospheric and lore-friendly!
2. Snakorn’s Dark Fantasy ReShade
This mod is a Reshade preset for Skyrim SE that makes the game look darker and more grimy. To use it, players need to download Reshade version 3.0.3 and install it with all effects.
They then need to download and unzip the preset’s ini file into the main Skyrim SE folder and select the preset from the Reshade menu by pressing Shift+F2 in-game.
1. Dark Fantasy Reshade_ENB
This mod is a Reshade and ENB-Reshade for Skyrim that adds distance depth of field and removes autofocus.
The distance depth of field helps hide poor distance textures and details. The mod creator believes that it looks good. The preset can be used with or without ENB.
The mod works with vanilla lighting and Vivid Weathers SE, and it also works with ELE (SE) and without ELE (SE).