The Troubles In Making A Dragon Follower Mod

Let’s face it, I’m not very good at making mods. They’re hard. Even though Skyrim has tools to make mods, it’s still hard.

Most of the mods I’ve made haven’t worked that well. Electric Breath has a weird bug that makes Fire Breath silent which I never worked out how to fix. The houses I’ve made, one of them doesn’t have proper LODs and another has a weird hole in a mountain but it’s small and fixable. A third, more temple-like structure remains unfinished. My dragon summoning mods all work but the AI packages bug out occasionally.

Most of this though is nothing compared to the work I’ve done trying to make a Dragon Follower.

"I will make your life difficult, mortal."
“I will make your life difficult, mortal.”

I’ve managed to completely and utterly fuck my game several times while trying to make a dragon that works somewhat like Odahviing.

Of course, it all seemed obvious at first. Just copy and paste all the stuff related to Odahviing, point it at my new dragon and go from there. Nope, didn’t work. The issue was probably with one of the scripts that always seemed to point to Odahviing no matter what. I never worked it out.

After that, I decided to look at summoning creatures. Originally this didn’t work well. Dragons have complicated attack AI and aren’t meant to be summoned. I followed the one Creation Kit tutorial I could find, summoned my dragon via a spell tome and the dragon just span round in circles. Funny, but not useful.

So I sulked for a while and played through the Dawnguard quest, where I ran into Durnehviir. I’d forgotten that he was a summoned dragon that actually worked. I looked at how he worked in the Creation Kit and it was still pretty complicated, but I managed to make a similar version that mostly did was it was supposed to. I released this mod on the Skyrim Nexus and got a handful of downloads. No one ever seemed to get the random bug I got where dragons would teleport to your location. Since they always despawned after 5 minutes though, it was never an issue. I wrote an article about it here.

I also later made a mod called Summon Sahrotaar, the poor dragon who helps you battle Miraak, only to be cruelly killed and eaten by Herma Mora’s bitch.

With that mod completed, I wasn’t really satisfied. You see, I wanted to make my Dragon character, Lokmahro, into a follower. But I didn’t want to summon him. That suggested that Lokmahro was dead or something and I was bringing him back to life. No, that would not do for a character who spent his days knocking other dragons out of the air.

Seriously, Lokmahro is really good at taking out other dragons.
Seriously, Lokmahro is really good at taking out other dragons.

Later on, I stumbled across a mod that claimed to have a frost dragon follower. A ‘female’ one, despite not appearing different in any way from normal dragons. This inspired me to have another look at a follower.

Random thing, female Dov, as in dragons, don’t really exist in the Elder Scrolls. Dov are gender-less shards of Akatosh. There are ‘Jills’, which are the handmaidens of the Dragon God of Time, but we don’t know what they look like.

Anyway, back to that follower. Turns out, the mod was a bust. The only way you could stop the dragon from following you was to remove the mod. I was still inspired though, and decided to work with their rather nice AI package.

It took me three weeks, but eventually, I made it so that Lokmahro lived at the Throat of the World, would magically appear above you whenever you wore his necklace and would fly home whenever you unequipped it. It’s the most basic of functionality, but I don’t care. I’m still working on him, on and off, but at least Lokmahro doesn’t eat my game saves or anything any more.

What’s the point to all of this? Very little. All I learned from the experience is that modding for Skyrim is really fucking hard. I already had a lot of respect for modders, but now I have even more respect for them.

Actually, I say that, I learned something else too. Dragons can actually use the Dragon Aspect shout, if you give them the ability to use it.

That’s cool.

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