Difference between revisions of "User:DrPharmDawg/SkyRem Guide Section1"

From STEP Modding Wiki
Line 4: Line 4:
<div style="border-top:1px solid #333; border-bottom:2px solid #262729; background-color:#3d3838; padding:2px 10px; text-shadow:none;color:#7F7A76; font-size:95%; font-weight:bold;box-shadow: inset 0 -1px 1px 1px rgba(46,46,46,0.75);"> [https://wiki.step-project.com/User:DrPharmDawg/SkyRem_Guide_Changelog Changelog] &nbsp;&nbsp;|&nbsp;&nbsp; Release Date: {{fc|#B2A69F| September 20, 2019| }}</div></div>
<div style="border-top:1px solid #333; border-bottom:2px solid #262729; background-color:#3d3838; padding:2px 10px; text-shadow:none;color:#7F7A76; font-size:95%; font-weight:bold;box-shadow: inset 0 -1px 1px 1px rgba(46,46,46,0.75);"> [https://wiki.step-project.com/User:DrPharmDawg/SkyRem_Guide_Changelog Changelog] &nbsp;&nbsp;|&nbsp;&nbsp; Release Date: {{fc|#B2A69F| September 20, 2019| }}</div></div>
<div style="text-align: center;"><font size="3">Current Version: 2.1.0</font></div>
<div style="text-align: center;"><font size="3">Current Version: 2.1.1</font></div>
<div style="text-align: center;"><font size="3">Created and maintained by DrPharmDawg</font></div>
<div style="text-align: center;"><font size="3">Created and maintained by DrPharmDawg</font></div>
<div style="text-align: center;"><font size="3">Last Update: {{ #time: G:i:s j F Y|+1 hours| {{REVISIONTIMESTAMP}} }} (GMT)</font></div>
<div style="text-align: center;"><font size="3">Last Update: {{ #time: G:i:s j F Y|+1 hours| {{REVISIONTIMESTAMP}} }} (GMT)</font></div>

Revision as of 16:45, October 8, 2019

Skyrim Roleplay Enhancement Mod Guide for Special Edition
(SkyRem Guide)
Changelog   |   Release Date: September 20, 2019
Current Version: 2.1.1
Created and maintained by DrPharmDawg
Last Update: 23:12:32 30 May 2020 (GMT)

Section I: Getting Started


SkyRem Guide Pages

Section I: Before You Start <-----
Section II: First Steps
Section III: Next Steps
Section IV: Optional Steps
Section V: Final Steps

SkyRem Guide Support

Discord: Discord Channel for all things SkyRem (Guide and Mods).
Patreon: Support SkyRem development via Patreon.
PayPal: Support with a one-time donation via PayPal.
Trello: See guide development progress on Trello.


What is SkyRem? Yes - SkyRem is an acronym (if you have delved into any of my mods, this is probably very apparent) for Skyrim Roleplay Enhancment Modding.
The SkyRem concept began with the desire to tweak character creation and development and has since developed into two (currently) series of mods and now a guide as I work to put it all together. The goal: the ultimate roleplay experience in Skyrim. Alone, it is a great game. With the involvement of the modding community, it has become a phenomenal game. This guide, along with the few mods I have authored, is my attempt to give back to that community (or at least contribute in some way).

There are great guides available already, with different focuses, different objectives, varying degrees of difficulty, etc. After countless hours of using other guides, adding, subtracting, altering... this guide is my "finished product" based on the concept above and the priorities below.

This is not a difficulty or beautification focused mod guide by design. One could argue that difficulty is incorporated simply by the nature of the roleplay focus and modifications, but the intent of the guide goes far beyond just making Skyrim more difficult. As for beautification - I include plenty of mods specifically for this, but do not spend an inordinate amount of time determining which texture from this mod should overwrite this one, etc. I have also incorporated these into the guide in a way that will make it easy for you to add / subtract / substitute... whatever you prefer (or whatever your system prefers).

Guide Priorities:

(1) Stability
(2) Performance
(3) Mechanics
(4) Content
(5) Aesthetics


DrPharmDawg's Rig Spec
Motherboard ASUS® G751JY
CPU Intel® Core i7 4710HQ @2.50GHz
GPU Nvidia® GeForce GTX 980M 4GB GDDR5
System RAM 24 GBs
Operating System Windows 10 64-bit
Monitor Resolution 1920x1080


The guide is divided into several Sections:

  • Section I: Before You Start - Introduction, general information, preparing your setup, and "how to's" for modding.
  • Section II: First Steps - The beginning of the mod list and installation. Primarily covers priorities 1-3.
  • Section III: Next Steps - Continuation of Section II. Primarily covers priority 4.
  • Section IV: Optional Steps - Continuation of Section III. Primarily covers priority 5.
  • Section V: Final Steps - Patching and in-game setup, such as MCM settings.

This guide provides:

  • A stable and Performance Friendly setup.
  • Installation and instructions for the using various modding tools and techniques.
  • Patches to make the various setups work together (available on Nexus).
  • Support via Discord and regular updates (but hopefully not so many that you spend more time modding than playing).

This guide does not:

  • Include ENB or Reshade: I do not use them nor do I care for them. The trade-off for performance is (IMO) not worth it.
  • Include Dead Mods: Mods that need updating or mods with excessive (or unanswered) bug reports/comments) without simple solutions.
  • Include CBBE: What little I do in this regard is UNP.
  • Include 4k+: Whenever possible, I use 2k at the most. There are a few exceptions in which 2k is not available however.

Guide Organization

The guide is organized as follows: Sections >> Steps >> Parts

These three levels are used to organize the guide into increasingly smaller and more specific groups of information and mods.

Section 1: Before You Start Introduction, information about the guide and how to use it, and setting up your Skyrim to be "modding-ready".
Section 2: First Steps Modding with a focus on the priorities #1 - #3 (Stability, Performance, and Mechanics).
Section 3: Next Steps Continuation of Section 2 with the focus on priority #4 - Content.
Section 4: Optional Steps Remaining mods for priority #5 - Aesthetics.
Section 5: Final Steps Patching and any final touches before doing in-game setup (such as recommended MCM settings).

In addition to this three tier approach, Parts (the lowest tier) are tagged as follows:

Red (Core): Required (Either because they are key to the concept of SkyRem, or incorporated into the provided patches).
Blue (Extended): Recommended but not necessary. Generally include content that should NOT be added/removed mid-game (so plan ahead).
Green (Visual): Optional. Consist only of textures, meshes, and/or other assets that can be easily added/removed based on preference (or performance) at any time.

One final note on this organization: Mods may contain patches or FOMOD options that are based on your choices made about Extended (Blue) mods. Watch for mods, options, or information highlighted in YELLOW. This indicates you need it if you choose to use that mod, or not need it if you choose not to use it.

Mod Legend

Each mod utilizes this template:

Mod Name & Link

  • Author of Mod
  • Version used by SkyRem Guide
  • Tags (See below)

FILES: File(s) to Download and Install

Note: Any additional installation instructions or steps to take following installation.
Info-Logo.png Notice: Unless otherwise indicated within a Note line, always select [Merge] when prompted if installing multiple files for a single mod.

Mod Tags

Tags are described below. Read through the mods "card" prior to starting installation of that mod to prevent having to back track. Dark Tags with Light lettering indicate new or updated mods and download and/or installation needs, such as Newly added or BSA extraction.
Light Tags with Dark lettering indicate post-installation needs such as optimizing meshes, ESLifying, merging, porting, or cleaning).

  • TOOL
     : Tool utilized during the modding process. Not actually a Mod, but required for proper guide installation.
  • NEW
     : Newly added Mod since previous version.
     : Mod has been updated since previous version.
  • BSA
     : During installation, select YES to extracting the BSA.
  • CAO
     : Run the Cathedral Asset Optimizer (CAO) to properly convert the files for use with SSE.
  • ESL
     : Plugin (ESP) can safely be tagged as an ESL using SSEEdit.
     : Plugin will be included in a Merge using zEdit.
  • PORT
     : Mod needs to be completely converted from LE to SSE.
     : Mod needs to be cleaned using SSEEdit.
     : Mod contains patches (either separate files or in a FOMOD) that need to be installed as an individual Mod.
  • CORE
     : Mod contains a Master for the Core Patch.
  •  : Mod contains a Master for the Extended Patch.

Merging Mods

Merging is essential to adhere to the 255 plugin rule. ESLs help with this also, but not all tools are setup to handle ESL files, so we still want to keep the total number of plugins under 255.

Some Parts of the guide include Merged in the header. Mods within that Part will include the
tag as well. Following Parts that include mods intended to be merged will be a Merged ***** "mod". At most there will be one merge per Step (one merge for Fixes, one for Gameplay, one for Immersion, etc.)


  • The format for the Guide version is X.Y.Z.
  • Z indicates minor changes such as small fixes, mods moving, minor mod version updates, etc.
  • Y indicates changes that may require rebuilding merges/patches, mods added or removed, major mod version updates, etc.
  • X indicates changes that may require a new game such as larger overhauls of the guide, etc.

Guide Notes

  • Following completion of each Step, sort (Loot) and test your setup. This is much easier than troubleshooting after completing the guide if something goes wrong.
  • Remember, anything highlighted YELLOW indicates a selection to be made if using the associated mod from an Extended Part.

Guide Stats

Upon completing the SkyRem Guide (assuming a full install of Core + Extended + Visuals) as of v2.1.0:

  • Total Mods (Left Pane of MO2): 816
  • Total Plugins (Right Pane of MO2): 249
  • Total ESMs + ESPs: 207
  • Total ESLs: 42

This leaves room for 48 non-ESL plugins - Enough to further customize your mod load.


Skyrim Special Edition

The SkyRem Guide assumes a freshly installed, never modified Skyrim Special Edition Version 1.5.80.

Always start with a Clean Setup when starting or restarting any guide. Sometimes this is the only way to ensure there are no remnants from a previous modding experience gone awry, or left overs that will result in issues later. Unintended changes can happen to your base game files, no matter what you do to keep them untouched. If ever in doubt, start from scratch by removing, re-downloading, and re-installing. While this is a hassle to say the least, the last step in the First Steps section will be in anticipation of returning here at some point to start over.

Make sure Steam is not in your Program Files directory. If it is, install it elsewhere. The ideal scenario is on a separate drive from your OS, preferably on a SSD drive. Having Steam installed in your Program Files can lead to issues during the modding process.

With a clean setup, create your INI files, turn off the Steam Overlay, and disable Automatic Updates in Steam as follows:

1. [Launch] Skyrim through Steam to complete setup of INI files, then [Exit] the Skyrim Launcher (but keep Steam open).
2. Click [Steam] and [Settings] in the tool bar.
3. Select the [In-Game] tab and uncheck the [Enable the Steam Overlay while in-game], and click [OK].
4. Navigate to your [Library], right-click [Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition] and select [Properties].
5. Navigate to the [Updates] tab, and under [Automatic Updates], change the drop-down to [Only update this game when I launch it].
6. [Exit] Steam.

Creation Kit

For the purpose of this guide, the CK will only be needed to properly port mods from LE to SE. The CK can also be used to modify plugins and create new mods. We will not be using it for these functions (therefore not covered in the SkyRem Guide). If you do not have the CK, or if you are starting with a fresh install:

1. Download and install Bethesda.net Launcher.
2. [Launch] Bethesda.net and click the [CK Icon] on the side bar.
3. [Launch] the CK - when asked to Extract scripts, click [YES]. This may take a few minutes.
4. Navigate to the Skyrim Folder - you should see the CreationKit.exe now. Create a new text file and name it CreationKitCustom.ini.
5. Copy and paste the lines in the following box into this file, save, and exit.


Until the Creation Kit Fixes mod is updated to the newest CK release, download and replace the CreationKit.exe with this one: Creation Kit EXE

SSE CreationKit Fixes

  • Author: Nukem
  • Version: 2.3
  • TOOL

MAIN FILE: CK64Fixes Release 2.3

Install: Manually download and extract the file into the Skyrim folder.

Folder Structure

Currently, you have a Steam folder that contains Steam and Skyrim SE. In preparation for the next few steps, complete the following to finish your folder structure.

1. Navigate to the folder in which your Steam folder is located.
2. Create three new folders and name them Tools, Mod Organizer 2, and Backup.

You should have a folder (root) that looks something like this:

This PC > Game (E:)
  Mod Organizer 2



  • Author: WrinklyRobot
  • Version: v0.14.5
  • TOOL

MAIN FILE: LOOT.Installer.exe

Install: Manually download and run the installer. Install to the Tools folder.


  • Author: ElminsterAU and the xEdit team
  • Version: 4.0.2
  • TOOL

MAIN FILE: SSEEdit 4_0_2

Install: Manually download and extract the file into the Tools folder under SSEEdit.

SSEEdit Script - Fix Oldrim Mods Waterflow

  • Author: unblest
  • Version: 1.2
  • TOOL

MAIN FILE: fix_waterflow_script

Install: Manually download and extract the _fix waterflow for Oldrim mods.pas and _make a patch file for waterflow for Oldrim mods.pas files into the Edit Scripts folder for SSEEdit.

MXPF - Mator's xEdit Patching Framework

  • Author: Mator
  • Version: 1.1.0
  • TOOL


Install: Manually download and extract the file into the SSEEdit folder in your Tools folder.

Wrye Bash

  • Author: Wrye Bash Team
  • Version: 307.beta4
  • TOOL

MAIN FILE: Wrye Bash 307 Beta3 - Standalone Executable

Install: Manually download and extract the file into the Tools folder under Wrye Bash.

Mator Smash

  • Author: Mator
  • Version: 1.0.2
  • TOOL

MAIN FILE: Mator Smash Hotfix 2

Install: Manually download and extract the file into the Tools folder under Mator Smash.

Cathedral Assets Optimizer

  • Author: G_k
  • Version: 5.0.4
  • TOOL

MAIN FILE: Cathedral Assets Optimizer

Install: Manually download and extract the file into the Tools folder under Asset Optimizer.

DLL Plugin Loader

  • Author: meh321
  • Version: 1
  • TOOL

MAIN FILE: DLL Plugin Loader v1

Note: Follow the instructions on the Description page (How to install and How to check everything is working correctly) sections.


Mod Organizer 2

  • Author: Tannin-MO2 Team
  • Version: 2.2.1
  • TOOL

MAIN FILE: Mod Organizer 2 (Archive)

Install: Manually download and extract to the Mod Organizer 2 folder. Run MO2, selecting [Portable] when prompted. Choose [Skyrim Special Edition] and [Yes] to allowing MO2 to handle Nexus links.
Setup: Once in MO2, complete the following:
  1. Click the [Configure settings and workarounds] icon (last icon in tool bar; wrench + driver). 
  2. Under [Paths], change the Downloads if you want downloads going to a different drive/folder.
  3. Enter your login information under the [Nexus] and [Steam] tabs and click [OK].
  4. Click the [Configure Profiles] icon (ID Card).
  5. Click [Create] and name the new profile Vanilla.
  6. Create a second profile, naming it SkyRem, and exit the [Configure Profiles] function.
  7. Change the current [Profile] by selecting Vanilla in the adjacent drop-down box. You can now delete the Default profile.
Executables: Setup the tools installed earlier so they can run through MO2 (and utilize MO2s VFS).
  1. Click the [Configure the executables that can be started through Mod Organizer] icon (two gears).
  2. Click the [+] to add a new executable.
  2. In the title field, enter LOOT.
  3. Point the binary field to the Loot executable file (use the [...]).
  4. Click [OK] (or click [Apply] to add an executable and keep the window open to do more with executables).
  5. Repeat Steps 2-4 for: Creation Kit, Wrye Bash, Mator Smash, zEdit, and SSEEdit (use the SSEEdit.exe file). Note: Only use SSEEdit64.exe if experiencing issues with SSEEdit.ese).
  7. Repeat Steps 2-4 for: SSEEdit Quick AutoClean using the executable SSEEditQuickAutoClean.exe.

Merge Plugins Hide

  • Author: deorder
  • Version:
  • TOOL

MAIN FILE: Merge Plugins Hide

Install: Copy all files except LICENSE and README.md inside your Mod Organizer 2 plugins directory. The plugin will be added to the Tools (icon with puzzle pieces) menu.



  • Author: matortheeternal
  • Version: v0.6.4
  • TOOL

MAIN FILE: zEdit_v0.6.4_-_Portable_x64.7z

Install: Manually download and extract the file into the Tools folder under zEdit.
Setup: Run zEdit through MO2, select zMerge in the drop-down box, and click [Start Session].
  - Click on the [Edit Settings] (gear) in the upper-right of the tool bar.
  - Click [Integration Settings] and set Mod manager to Mod Organizer 2, MO2 instance to Portable, and set the paths fields.
  - Click [Merge Settings] and set the output path to the MO2 [mods] folder. Leave the Integrations options unchecked.
  - Click [Archive Creation Settings] and enter 999999 in the Minimum files per archive field and make sure both advanced options are unchecked.
  - Click [OK] and exit zEdit.

Experience Mod zEdit Patcher

  • Author: mtreis86
  • Version: 1.1
  • TOOL

MAIN FILE: ExperiencePatcher

Install: Manually download and extract the file into the zEdit/Modules folder in your Tools folder.

UPF NPC Enchant Fix Patcher

  • Author: Hishy
  • Version: 1.3
  • TOOL

MAIN FILE: hishyNpcEnchantFix

Install: Manually download and extract the file into the zEdit/Modules folder in your Tools folder.

UPF Cell Encounter Level in Name Patcher

  • Author: Hishy
  • Version: 2.0
  • TOOL

MAIN FILE: hishyCellEncounters

Install: Manually download and extract the file into the zEdit/Modules folder in your Tools folder.

UPF Khajiit Ears Show Patcher

  • Author: Hishy
  • Version: 1.0
  • TOOL

MAIN FILE: hishy-khajiit-ears-show

Install: Manually download and extract the file into the zEdit/Modules folder in your Tools folder.

UPF No Dragon LODs Patcher

  • Author: Hishy
  • Version: 1.0
  • TOOL

MAIN FILE: hishy-no-dragon-lods

Install: Manually download and extract the file into the zEdit/Modules folder in your Tools folder.

UPF Opposite Animation Disabler

  • Author: Hishy
  • Version: 1.1.1
  • TOOL

MAIN FILE: oppositeAnimationDisabler

Install: Manually download and extract the file into the zEdit/Modules folder in your Tools folder.

zEdit patchers warehouse

  • Author: Bystander
  • Version: 1.0.2
  • TOOL

MAIN FILE: zedit-potions-weights
MAIN FILE: zedit-spell-absorb-fix
MAIN FILE: zedit-visual-transfer
MAIN FILE: zedit-water-damage

Install: Manually download and extract the files into the zEdit/Modules folder in your Tools folder.



  • Author: Sheson
  • Version: vBeta 56
  • TOOL

MAIN FILE: xLODGen beta 56
OPTIONAL FILE: SSE-Terrain-Tamriel.esm (Located further down the page under Recommended Optionals)

Install: Manually download and extract to the Tools folder under xLODGen.
Setup: In MO2, create an executable for the xLODGenx64.EXE. In the argument field, add [-sse -o:"X:\Mod Organizer\Mods\SSELODGen Output"] where X is your root directory for Mod Organizer.
Setup: Install the optional file (SSE-Terrain-Tamriel.ESM) as a mod in MO2. You can do this by creating a folder in your MO's Mods folder named SSE-Terrain-Tamriel and moving the downloaded ESM file to this folder. Do not activate it at this time. It should only be active when using xLODGen to generate LODs.

Dynamic Distant Objects LOD - DynDOLOD

  • Author: Sheson
  • Version: 2.73
  • TOOL


Install: Manually download and extract to the Tools folder under DynDOLOD.
Setup: In MO2, create executables for TexGenx64.EXE and DynDOLODx64.EXE. In the argument field, add [-sse] for both executables.


Skyrim Script Extender (SKSE)

  • Author: Ian Patterson, Stephen Abel, Paul Connelly, and Brendan Borthwick (ianpatt, behippo, scruggsywuggsy the ferret, and purple lunchbox)
  • Version: 2.0.16
  • TOOL

MAIN FILE: Current SE build 2.0.16 (runtime 1.5.80)

Install: Extract the files and move the following to your Skyrim folder:
Install: Return to the extracted files and Archive the Data folder. Install this as a new mod through MO2 (second icon in the menu bar). Name the mod SKSE Scripts.


The following procedure will clean your master files (or other files that require cleaning). This process will be used several times through the modding process. Typically, you will not need to back up anything, but for the purpose of keeping your Skyrim folder as clean (and vanilla) as possible, we will be doing this here.

1. Copy and paste to the desktop the Update.ESM, Dawnguard.ESM, Hearthfire.ESM, and Dragonborn.ESM files in the Skyrim/Data folder (this is temporary).
2. In MO, use the Executables drop-box to select [SSEEdit QuickAutoClean] and and click [Run].
3. Select ONLY the Update.ESM and click [Run].
4. Once you see the message Quick Clean mode finished, you can exit.
5. Restart [SSEEdit QuickAutoClean] and repeat for each of the remaining 3 ESMs above. Complete one at a time.

Complete cleaning of Dawnguard

1. Dawnguard.ESM needs to be cleaned twice (simply repeat steps 2-4 above a second time with Dawnguard.ESM).
2. Launch [SSEEdit] (not the QuickAutoClean) and load only Dawnguard.ESM.
3. Navigate in the left pane to: [Cell] >> [Block 5] >> [Sub-Block 3] >> [00016BCF].
4. Remove the [XEZN] record by clicking on it in the right pane and selecting [Remove].
5. Navigate in the left pane to: [Cell] >> [Block 2] >> [Sub-Block 1].
6. Right click [0001FA4C] in the left pane and [Remove]the entire record.
7. Navigate in the left pane to: [Cell] >> [Block 8] >> [Sub-Block 1].
8. Right click [0006C3B6] in the left pane and [Remove]the entire record.
9. Exit SSEEdit, saving Dawnguard.ESM.

Create a Cleaned Masters mod and move the Vanilla files back to the Data folder.

1. Navigate to the Data folder with the files you just cleaned. Select these 4 files and create an archive.
2. In MO2, click [Install a new mod from an archive] icon (second icon), and open the archive you just created. Name the mod Cleaned Masters.
3. Move the backup files back to your Data folder (overwrite), and delete the archive in the Data folder.

If you open MO2 now, you should see the SKSE Scripts and Cleaned Masters mods in the left pane.



  • Author: DoubleYou
  • Version: 3.2
  • TOOL

MAIN FILE: BethINI Standalone Version

Install: Install in the Tools folder.
Setup: Do NOT run BethINI inside MO (do not setup an executable). MO should be completely closed before running BethINI. Under the first tab (Setup), make sure the correct profile is selected under INI Path. If not, select the one you want to work on and allow BethINI to reload before moving on to the steps below.

  1. Basic: Click [Default]. After the Default settings load, click [Medium]. After the Medium settings load, select BethINI Presets and check the Recommended Tweaks.
  2. Set the remaining tabs up as pictured below.
  3. Once done, return to the Basic tab and click Save and Exit.

Optional Settings
Select the [Custom] tab to make the following changes:

Interface >> fBookOpenTime >> 200.0000

With the base Skyrim.INI and SkyrimPrefs.INI set, find the SKSE Scripts in MO2's left pane, right-click, and select [Open in Explorer]. Create a new folder named [SKSE] and open it. Create a file and name it SKSE.INI. Copy and past the following into the new file, save and close.




To prevent having to restart from scratch [again], this is a good time to create a complete backup of everything up to this point. If something goes wrong, this will be your restore point. Backup the entire /Steam/SteamApps/Common/Skyrim Special Edition/ folder, and place the archive in your Backup folder, naming it Skyrim Vanilla Backup. I also recommend doing the same for your Mod Organizer 2 folder and your Tools folder, resulting in 3 backup files in the Backup folder.

Once this is done, it is time to move on to the Core Guide.

If (when) you need to start with a clean setup, you can now simply delete your /Steam/SteamApps/Common/Skyrim Special Edition/ folder and extract the backup.


Clean Mod

Mods tagged with
need to be ran through SSEEdit's Auto Quick Clean function.
  - Open MO2.
  - Select SSEEdit QuickAutoClean in the executables drop-down box and click [Run].
  - In the mod list that opens, check the mod that you want to clean and click [OK].
  - SSEEdit will run for a few moments. Once you see the the completed message, Close SSEEdit.
  - In the final pop-up, make sure the mod you cleaned is selected so it will save.

Sort Load Order

It is recommended to sort your load order and test your setup following each step. LOOT will do the majority of your sorting automatically, and any manual adjustments needed will be noted in the final steps prior to the final sorting. Note that LOOT will identify plugins that need to be cleaned and keep a tally by the Dirty Plugins header near the top. If this number is anything other than 0, scroll through your mods in the right pane and find which mod requires cleaning and take the necessary steps. Also research any Errors noted. The Warnings can be ignored as they pertain to compatibility which is largely addressed with Merges throughout the guide, and because they are merged, LOOT will not find them.

To sort your Load Order:

  - Open MO2.
  - Select LOOT in the executables drop-down box and click [Run].
  - In the window that opens, click the Sort Plugins button in the upper right (three lines).
  - If LOOT determines any mods need to be rearranged, [Apply] will appear in the tool bar where the Sort Plugins button was.
  - Click [Apply].
  - Exit LOOT.

Extract BSA

Mods tagged with
contain at least one BSA (Bethesda Archive files). A BSA contains various assets that need to be extracted from the archive.

There are several options to extract a BSA file.

Allow MO2 to extract BSAs during install:
  - Open the Configure settings and workarounds (wrench and driver icon) and go to the [Plugins] tab.
  - In the upper-left window, click [BSA Extractor].
  - In the window directly to the right, update [enabled] to [true].
With this set to true, any mod you install that contains a BSA will prompt you whether to extract it or not. If a mod is tagged
, select [Yes]. If not, select [No]. The downside to this method is you have to remember to turn this on and off, or you have to answer the prompt every time a mod is installed containing a BSA, the majority of which you do not need to extract. I prefer to keep it enabled and sacrifice the time of one additional click.
Extract BSA within MO2:
  - Click the [Archives] tab in the right pane.
  - Locate the BSA you want to extract. Right-click it and select [Extract].
  - Navigate to the location you want to extract the BSA (extract to the mods folder).
  - Delete the BSA.
This option is good as you do not have to remember to turn a setting on/off or constantly be asked, but the navigating to the mods folder can be even slower, and you must delete/hide the BSA afterwards.
Utilize external BSA extractor. I will not be covering these, but there are a couple out there. Their respective pages provide all the information you need to install and utilize the tool.

Optimize Meshes

One of the most common causes of CTDs - Meshes. This step needs to be done with any mod flagged
. The problem is that NIF files (mesh files) need to be optimized to be used with SSE (if you are using LE mods containing NIFs).
Optimize NIF Files:
  - Navigate to your Tools/Asset Optimizer folder.
  - Run [Cathedral_Assets_Optimizer.EXE].
  - Click [Open Directory], navigate to the mods folder, and click [Select Folder].
  - Unless otherwise explicitly stated, you only want the [Necessary optimization] option checked under both [Meshes] and [Textures].
  - Click [Run].
  - When complete, simply close the window.

Port Mod [from LE]

Mods that are flagged
need to be completely converted to SSE. This is a two step process.
Fix the Form Number (from 43 to 44):
  - In MO2, use the executables drop-down to run the [Creation Kit].
  - Once open, select [File] and [Data] in the tool bar.
  - In the window that comes up, double click the mod you are converting, and click [Set as Active] and [OK].
  - This may take a few moments to load. Ignore any errors that show in the additional window.
  - After the mod is loaded, re-save the file by going to ([File] and [Save].
  - Make sure you see Saving... Done! in the bottom bar. If you do not, the plugin did not save in Form 44.
  - Exit CK.
Optimize Assets:
  - Use the procedure above for optimizing NIFs.
  - If the mod has a BSA, check the [BSA] option with [Extract old BSA] and [Create BSA] checked.
  - Exit optimizer when complete.

Merge Mods

Mods tagged
will contain at least one plugin that will ultimately be merged with zMerge to condense your plugin count. Several steps will contain a merge card instructing you to merge all of the tagged files in that Step / Part.
In MO2:
  - Run [zEdit] from the executables drop-down.
  - On the opening screen, select [zMerge] in the first drop-down and click [Start Session].
  - Click the [Create Merge] button.
  - In pop-up's [Details] tab, name the merge (the filename will update automatically. Leave the Merge Method as the default.
  - Go to the [Plugins] tab, select all the plugins to be merged, and click [OK].
  - There is no need to change anything under the [Load Order] or [Data] tabs if following the guide.
  - Find the box containing the merge you just created. In the upper-right area of that box, click [Build].
  - When zEdit finishes running, exit.
  - In MO2, the new merged mod will be located at the bottom (you may have to [Refresh] your view.

Flag Plugin As ESL

Mods flagged with
can be flagged as an ESL, thereby keeping it from counting towards your plugin limit of 255.

It is safe (and faster) to wait until the end and flag all plugins at one time. This does not have to be done as you install them (just do not forget to do so).

- In MO2, open SSEEdit.
- Select the plugin in the left pane.
- Right click the field next to [Record Flags] in the right pane (do not click on Record Flags, but the field to the right of it).
- Select [Edit], check the [ESL] box in the pop-up, then click [OK].
- Exit SSEEdit.

Find Plugins That Can Be Flagged ESL

While not technically something that is required for the guide, this is a good tool to use if you are nearing the plugin limit and want to find plugins that can be flagged as ESL to reduce the count. Handy if you are adding to the guide (or doing an extensive amount of the Core + Extended).

- Ensure all your plugins are activated in the Right Pane of MO2.
- Launch SSEEdit from MO2.
- In the pop-up, hold [Shift] and click {{{2}}}.
- Once loaded, right click anywhere in the left pane and select [Apply Script].
- In the pop-up, find [Find ESP plugins which could be turned into ESL] in the Script drop-down box and click [OK].
- Review the output messages for any plugins that include Can be turned into ESL by adding ESL flag in TES4 header.
- Use the How To >> Flag Plugin as ESL to flag all plugins with this message.
- Exit SSEEdit.

End of Section I