Whenever I start a light-armored Skyrim playthrough, my first objective is to reach Riften and join the Thieves Guild.
It’s not that I love engaging in criminality or having to check my pockets for stolen goods to drop on the ground whenever I see a guard approaching.
It’s just that they have the best light armor.
Of course, I’m talking about the Nightingale Armor – granted by Daedric Prince Nocturnal to her elite shrine defense force and passed on to the Dragonborn after reaching the higher echelons of the Thieves Guild.
Still, being the best doesn’t mean it’s perfect.
Modders have come up with their own tweaks and additions to the armor – and for this list we’re looking at some of the best.
- 12. Nightingale Hood With Attached Cape & Eye Slits
- 11. Forged Midnight Nightingale Armor Retexture
- 10. Nightingale Shadowcloak
- 9. White Nightingale Armor & Weapons
- 8. Fully Improvable Nightingale Armor
- 7. Val’s Nightingale Heels & Cape
- 6. DX Celes Nightingale Armor Replacer
- 5. Nightingale Armor Redone (4K & 2K)
- 4. Frankly HD Nightingale Armor & Weapons
- 3. Zerofrost Mythical Armors
- 2. Nightingale Prime HD
- 1. Capeless Nightingale
12. Nightingale Hood With Attached Cape & Eye Slits
Becoming a Nightingale isn’t just about the cool armor and abilities – it’s a pledge of service to Nocturnal. All trace of your identity dissolves once you don the hood.
But what if you want your Dragonborn’s beautiful eyes to shine through Nocturnal’s veil?
This mod by YannikTheWelsch makes it easy by removing the fabric above your character’s nose and cheeks, revealing their gaze.
Another difference is that the armor’s cape is now conveniently attached to the hood instead of the chest piece.
11. Forged Midnight Nightingale Armor Retexture
The Nightingale armor set is described by Skyrim guards to be “like forged midnight” – as expected from a gift of Nocturnal.
And yet, the textures in vanilla Skyrim are so bright, they’re almost gray.
Creator Saecan improves the situation by darkening the armor and removing unnecessary sheen. The result is a jet black armor worthy of Nocturnal’s acolytes.
With this, your uncanny sneaking skills will actually look believable.
10. Nightingale Shadowcloak
An even better way to show off Nocturnal’s blessings is Pennox’s Nightingale Shadowcloak mod.
Instead of darkening the armor itself, this mod makes Nocturnal’s protection manifest as a smoky dark aura that’ll cover you whenever you crouch to sneak. It’s visually similar to Boethiah’s Ebony Mail, without any poison-related effects.
It definitely looks more magical than a regular black bodysuit, substantially increasing your immersion.
And it’s easier to believe in my new lord and savior (Nocturnal) when I can see their unholy particles envelop my mortal body.
9. White Nightingale Armor & Weapons
If you liked Marvel’s Moon Knight on Disney+, there’s a fair chance you’ll love the White Nightingale Armor mod by BrooksTK.
It’s hard not to notice the similarities between this fantastic, bright retexture of the Nightingale armor and Moon Knight’s own white bodysuit.
They even have similar moon-like symbols on the chest!
This is a sleek and attractive alternative to the vanilla armor that’ll provide better camouflage than any Nocturnal blessing whenever you visit Skyrim’s snowy peaks.
8. Fully Improvable Nightingale Armor
Due to its nature as a Daedric artifact, you can’t improve the Nightingale armor past a certain point.
Once it’s at Flawless quality, you’d need a Smithing level higher than the maximum of 100 to raise its stats at a workbench. It’s possible by drinking potions and getting some Smithing enchantments, but it’s an uphill battle.
That’s where Saecan’s Fully Improvable Nightingale Armor mod comes in.
After installing it, you’ll be able to get that Daedric artifact to Legendary quality without exceeding the limits of mortal blacksmiths through potion abuse.
You still need the Arcane Smithing perk, though!
7. Val’s Nightingale Heels & Cape
The media portrays legendary thieves as elegant and seductive masterminds who dress like royalty but sneak around better than urban rats – but the reality is much different.
Thieves value practicality above everything. If something doesn’t help you sneak around, it goes. Perfume and fashionable clothes are some of the first things to sacrifice at the altar of thievery.
Still, once you’re a servant of Nocturnal, can’t you just live a little?
Assuming Nocturnal’s blessing muffles your steps, Valennia’s bad-ass stilettos and a stylish cape might be the best way to feel empowered and perform your sneaky duties with enthusiasm.
6. DX Celes Nightingale Armor Replacer
Creator DeserterX has made several popular dark and sexy armor sets for female Dragonborn, including their seductive take on the Nightingale armor.
The DX Celes Nightingale Armor falls somewhere between lingerie and dominatrix suit.
This mod replaces the vanilla Nightingale Armor given out upon starting the Trinity Restored quest with DeserterX’s version, featuring less fabric and more neon glow.
Thievery has never looked this hot.
5. Nightingale Armor Redone (4K & 2K)
If you’ve ever looked at the Nightingale armor and thought it could use more depth, the Nightingale Armor Redone by IwantATardis is a must-try.
This mod gives the Nightingale armor a new spin with white and silver highlights that show off the armor’s different layers and gives it a more close-combat-oriented look.
This texture comes in 2K and 4K quality, meaning you’ll get incredible detail and justify all the cash you poured into your GPU.
4. Frankly HD Nightingale Armor & Weapons
Fans who just want a higher quality version of the vanilla design should check out FrankFamily’s HD Nightingale Armor and Weapons.
This high-resolution retexture of the Nightingale armor retains the same basic structure while introducing crisp new textures and lore-friendly adjustments.
Other than the 4K/2K quality, my favorite change is the heavy weathering effect seen on the armor’s leather. This Daedric artifact has been around for generations of Nightingales, after all!
This mod also improves the Nightingale Blade and Nightingale Bow with higher-quality textures and minor proportion adjustments, and adds a custom scabbard matching the armor’s weathered leather.
3. Zerofrost Mythical Armors
If you think the vanilla armor’s style is on point but still want something more refined, consider Zerofrost’s Nightingale Prime armor – included in their Mythical Armors pack.
Rather than trying to transform the Nightingale armor into something else, this creator distilled the essence of Bethesda’s design and rebuilt it from the ground up.
The result is an elevated version of the original armor with incredibly crisp details and a darker color that’ll turn you into Tamriel’s Batman.
Looking at this armor, there’s no doubt that some dark force was at play during its creation. It’s a worthy Daedric artifact if I’ve ever seen one.
2. Nightingale Prime HD
This is a reuploaded mod called “Nightingale Prime” created by ZeroFrost, which is an original work of art.
The mod was uploaded to the Skyrim Nexus on December 25, 2012, and the uploader expresses gratitude for being given permission to share it.
The description does not provide any information about the mod’s content or features.
1. Capeless Nightingale
This mod has been updated to be compatible with retexture mods, which means that it can now work alongside other mods that change the textures of the game’s armor.
Additionally, the mod author has removed the cape from the Nightingale armor, likely in response to a user request.
The mod description does not provide any other details about the mod’s content or features.