Character Creation & MCMs

Character creation and MCM instructions for Living Skyrim.

Getting Started in Living Skyrim

If you’re coming from a previous version of Living Skyrim (1.x.x or 2.x.x), throw out everything you thought you knew. If you’re new to Living Skyrim, welcome! It’s gonna be a bumpy ride - at first.

  • Bandits are your best bet for early levels. They usually come in small enough groups to be manageable and are almost always around your level or slightly higher.
  • Undead are going to be nearly impossible until you hit level 10-15. This includes skeletons, draugr, vampires, etc. Dwemer and Falmer are out of the question until higher levels as well. Dragons start at level 20 and only go up.
  • Most questlines should be doable from the very beginning, but keep in mind the previous two points. Bleak Falls Barrow will present a significant challenge to low-level characters and the first dragon fight will require around level 20.
  • The Whiterun/Riverwood area is best for starting out - northern areas will be significantly more difficult.
  • Overworld enemies are going to be easier and in smaller groups than dungeons, but avoid the larger overworld locations when starting out: Silent Moons Camp, Fort Greymoor, etc. Delving into caves and dungeons is a good way to get surrounded by a group of 6-10 enemies.
  • Followers are your friends! There’s an absolute boatload of followers for you to find and pickup - whether it’s Inigo, Garm, Mirai, Hoth, or any of the 3DNPCs, there’s bound to be at least one person in every city that you can ask to help you out. Nether’s Follower Framework also lets you recruit many of the generic mercenaries you see wandering around if you just want a temporary companion. It’s extremely easy to assemble a diverse adventuring party if you so choose. If you prefer the lone wanderer style, be prepared for things to be more difficult - having at least one follower is highly recommended.
  • Specialize your character. The combination of class and customization mods lets you focus your character in a way that vanilla Skyrim never did. It’s extremely likely you’ll start with one, maybe two skills that are any good and the rest will be total garbage. Focus on what your character is good at and it will pay dividends. When selecting how to allocate your attribute points, think about the rest of your build and put points into attributes that compliment how you want to play. Many attributes provide direct bonuses to how much damage you deal with specific types of weapons, how much health/stamina/magicka you start with, and so on. Specialized characters are much better suited to the challenges of Living Skyrim than jack-of-all-trades types. This also encourages you to pick up a follower that compliments your skills. Playing a tanky two-handed character? Find a follower that can cast healing spells on you and do magic damage from the backline. Playing a stealth archer (again)? Find a beefy sword and shield warrior to keep the enemies at bay while you snipe from the shadows.
  • Magic, as usual, is extremely powerful in Living Skyrim. Even if you’re playing a primarily weapon-focused character, dipping into alteration, conjuration, or illusion will likely benefit you greatly. Similarly, enchanted items are very useful and should be carefully hoarded and used frequently. Smart Cast is beneficial even for characters that aren’t primarily focused on magic.
  • There’s a loading screen tip I’m fond of that says something along the lines of “Strong enemies care not if you’re just starting out, they’ll kill you all the same.” Don’t be afraid to run away.
  • Alternate Perspective modifies how the main quest begins in Living Skyrim 3. With any start except for the Dragonborn start, Helgen will remain intact as a fully functional town until such time that you decide to start the main story. To begin the main Skyrim story, go to Helgen and speak with the innkeeper. The dialogue option “I’d like to rent a room (Start intro)” will begin the opening sequence of Skyrim with the notable change that you are a bystander that gets caught in the Alduin attack.

Character Customization Mods

When creating your character, you’ll find there are a lot of options that are available to you. From hairs to tattoos to eyes and more, Living Skyrim has included a comprehensive suite of mods that allow you to tweak your character’s appearance to exactly what you want. And, if you’re struggling to figure out where to begin with character creation, a number of presets made by the Living Skyrim community have been included for you to pick from. In general, you’ll have more options for everything.

There is one particular mod you need to be aware of during character creation: High Poly Head. To have your character use High Poly Head, you’ll need to change the head part using the RaceMenu slider of the same name to option 3. Note that if you do use High Poly Head, you may need to do some manual sculpting using the RaceMenu sculpt feature to remove any clipping issues with eyebrows or beards.

A Word About Difficulty

Living Skyrim is intended to be played at the Adept difficulty level. If you wish to have a challenge or find the game too difficult, you can and should adjust the game difficulty as you wish. Adept is merely where I (ForgottenGlory) like to play - it provides a decent challenge without being overly difficult.

Also, while fantastic for roleplaying purposes, ELSA and Classic Classes & Birthsigns can make the game significantly easier. If you wish to have a more difficult time of things - especially in combat - you can and should skip setting up ELSA, and CC&B.


ELSA gives you a bonus to a single skill based on your character’s background. To do this, select the “Reflect” option from your Power/Shout menu and then press the Shout key (Usually Z) to select your background. If you are opting to skip ELSA, simply do not activate this power/shout.

The choices you make in the ELSA menus are permanent and cannot be changed without starting a new character!

Classic Classes & Birthsigns Reimagined

You will start the game with a book in your inventory called “Classic Classes”. Read this book to select a class and birthsign for your character. The book can be safely disposed of as you wish. If you want a challenge, try playing without selecting a class/birthsign. You can still select a birthsign by finding the appropriate standing stone at any time. If you wish to skip using CC&B, simply do not read the book and dispose of it as you wish.

The choices you make in the CC&BR menu are permanent and cannot be changed without starting a new character!

Mandatory control and MCM settings

When you are finished making your character, a bunch of text will start scrolling in the top left-hand corner of the screen. Wait for all text to disappear from the top left before proceeding. If you receive any pop-up messages during this wait, read them, then click through them.

Now, save your game. Then load that save.

And that’s it! The MCMs will be configured for you automatically and you can begin playing.

Further Changes

Due to some unforseen issues with hotkey bindings during the recording process you may have several overlapping keybinds once you have done the above steps, all known conflicts are listed here, so you can adjust them yourself:

Take Notes

  • Open Journal should be bound to the ‘B’ Key.

Immersive HUD

  • Options
    • Enable Hide shout meter with compass