Karliah is one of the most unique and important NPCs in vanilla Skyrim. She is a member of the Thieves Guild and is one of the most interesting people there.
She is a good archer, a great thief, and the cutest Dunmer in the game with the most interesting eyes.
Why wouldn’t you like her?
Well, most interactions with her end when the Thieves Guild questline is done, but those interactions were important enough for mod makers to give Karliah more life and chances.
This list is a collection of the best Karliah-related mods that you can use the next time you go to Riften.
- 12. Nimriel Follower or Karliah Replacer – High Poly Head – 4K FaceTint – ESL
- 11. Nightingale Hall Restored – Karliah as a Follower
- 10. Lonely Karliah
- 9. GLAM Karliah
- 8. Younger Karliah
- 7. Pandorable’s Lethal Ladies – Jenassa Karliah
- 6. Women of the Thieves Guild
- 5. Bijin NPCs
- 4. Karliah’s Outfit Returns
- 3. Hoodless Karliah
- 2. Karliah in the Thieves Guild Headquarters
- 1. Karliah Red Eyes
12. Nimriel Follower or Karliah Replacer – High Poly Head – 4K FaceTint – ESL
This mod adds a new follower called Nimriel, who is a young fire mage that can be found in the College of Winterhold. She is marriable, protected, and levels with the player.
The mod also includes a Karliah replacer that removes her hood and uses the player’s in-game body. The mods require High Poly Head, KS Hairdos, and other cosmetic mods.
It is recommended to use Nether’s Follower Framework and Relationship Dialogue Overhaul for the best experience. The installation can be done manually or through a mod manager.
The mod is compatible with other mods, but Karliah’s weight should be set to 100 and her plugin and textures should be loaded last to avoid issues.
11. Nightingale Hall Restored – Karliah as a Follower
This mod upgrades Nightingale Hall after completing the quest Darkness Returns in Skyrim. It adds a portal to the Twilight Sepulcher, a shrine to Nocturnal, a kitchen, alchemy table, workbench, grindstone, training room, and bedroom with additional storage.
Karliah becomes a follower with her own voice responses, and players can acquire her unique paralytic poison. The Nightingale gear can be upgraded and two alternate versions are added for different qualities.
However, Karliah’s Knapsack and the training chest will respawn every 7 days, so they should not be used for storage.
10. Lonely Karliah
While she can be a temporary follower during the Thieves Guild questline, she is among the best of them in the game.
Now that short-lived companionship can continue!
This mod allows players to have Karliah as a follower to come along on adventures after completing the Skeleton Key quest.
But wait – There’s more!
This mod also allows players to marry Karliah, who has unique features as a spouse.
She buys stolen items, she is naturally defensive of her property and family, and the guest at the wedding include guild members and Mavin Blackbriar herself!
She might be among the best of the wives not offered in vanilla Skyrim!
9. GLAM Karliah
Many mods love to glamor up female NPCs and overdo it… but this one walks the line a fair bit to give Karliah a unique look without pushing into territory above PG-13.
This mod gives Karliah a fairer complexion, softer features, and unique facial markings.
It also gives her a unique hood to go along with her armor.
This look works well with her vanilla voice, and gives her a distinct aesthetic while keeping her personality and other unique features (her purple eyes).
And while it’s true that pale Dunmer aren’t common in Tamriel, Karliah isn’t a typical Dunmer, so the look fits very well with her.
8. Younger Karliah
Here’s another cosmetic mod, but this one adheres more to Karliah’s default in some ways.
She keeps her purple eyes, dark hair, and purplish-gray skin, but her appearance is much younger than her vanilla model.
With a fresh hairstyle to go with the youthful age adjustment, it allows Karliah to match her voice much more easily.
And she’s still lore-compliant with her racial features staying on the model!
She can once-again be a spry young Dunmer thief looking to make a life in Skyrim and serve Nocturnal.
7. Pandorable’s Lethal Ladies – Jenassa Karliah
Yup, more cosmetic mods – but this one is a sort of two-fer.
Still, we’ll be focusing on the Karliah part more than anything.
This mod is a “neck up” edit to the models, meaning only the features of the face, head, and hair are changed – and this is partly for the better.
Like with GLAM, this Karliah is on the pale side, has soft features, a dark hairstyle, and kept her eyes with some minor enhancement – mixing a bit of Dunmeri red in.
This change makes it seem like she was born with them red, but they changed to purple through some outer influence.
Likely Nocturnal, but that’s still uncertain.
6. Women of the Thieves Guild
So this mod is a cosmetic overhaul that affects all the Thieves Guild women – and Karliah is among the more remarkable changes in this mod.
She keeps her dark gray skin and large purple eyes, albeit a bit darker, but the rest of her face meshes well with the uplift.
She has equally smooth and angular features, melding her Elven heritage with her age as a Dunmer.
Plus her hairstyle is also a drastic upgrade from her vanilla hair.
Now she’s ready to strike hearts with charm and arrows!
5. Bijin NPCs
Bijin is among the most well-known cosmetic mods for female NPCs – and Karliah was among the first of the models in this mod!
She’s pale (once again) but still carries her unique features, such as her face markings and purple eyes, but her softer features and an improved hairstyle.
The best part of this mod though, aside from all the NPCs in it, is that you can adjust the model meshes!
You can give Karliah (and other NPCs) any body shape of your liking.
And the best part about Bijin is that a majority of other cosmetic mods for female NPCs are compatible with it – allowing vast customization options if you like to beautify Skyrim.
4. Karliah’s Outfit Returns
In vanilla Skyrim, after completing the Thieves Guild quest, Karliah remains in her Nightingale Armor for the rest of her days.
You’ll never see her in her original outfit – and it’s a bit awkward after going through all of that to see her back in the guild, only for her to continue wearing that out of place armor.
This mod easily remedies that by replacing Karliah’s outfit once she returns to the guild.
Now she won’t stick out like a sore thumb among the other guild members when she returns to the hideout.
3. Hoodless Karliah
Karliah has the best eyes and sweetest features of a Dunmer, but she always hides it under that hood of hers.
No more of that!
Because this mod makes the hood no longer an issue, removing it outright from her ensemble.
No longer can this Dunmeri thief had her face and charm from the world!
We can allow her to freely show her face and no longer hide – like she did when she was once framed for murder.
Display her cute features for all to enjoy (mostly) and liberate her from the fugly old hood.
2. Karliah in the Thieves Guild Headquarters
After the end of the Thieves Guild quest, Karliah also has a habit to staying at the Nightingale Hall, even after being cleared of the murder charges against her.
That no longer will be an issue with this mod installed.
This will set Karliah’s default location within the Thieves Guild hideout, giving her a bed, a path to move along, and the ability to interact with items in the guild.
It also makes her easier to interact with and locate in congruence with the other mods on this list.
Instead of having to trek all the way to the Nightingale Hall to recruit her (or propose to her), you can head down into the Thieves Guild hideout and easily find her among her peers.
1. Karliah Red Eyes
Karliah’s purple eyes are the most notable of her features – but many aren’t fans of that appearance.
“Because Dunmer all have red eyes naturally!”
For the lore-centric tightwads out there, here’s the mod to calm your uproar.
This simply overrides Karliah’s eyes to give her the typical red eyes natural to Dunmer.
While is does look good on her, most Karliah fans agree she’s vastly more appealing with her purple eyes.
But if you ride the “Red Dunmer Eye” bandwagon, this mod will be a good addition.