This article was originally going to be one of those articles. You know, the articles we have about nude mods. In fact, we have quite a few articles about Skyrim’s nude mods, but none actually recommending actual nude mods. There is plenty of choice when it comes to Skyrim nudity, but I’m not actually that well versed in it. I just got the most common female body mod, installed one of its many versions and called it a day. And I couldn’t even remember what it was called. I had to open up Mod Organizer to check it out.
Once I had Mod Organizer open though, I realized two things: firstly, I apparently care little about vanilla human textures and, more importantly, I have a LOT of dragon textures. So here we are, looking at cool dragons.
A Custom Odahviing – Odahviing Replacer Project
When Play as a Dragon originally came out, there was no option to choose a dragon texture or skin or anything like that. All we had was the default Odahviing model. But I discovered that, if you change Odahviing, you change the playable dragon. And the Odahviing Replacer Project gave me tons of options, in all sorts of colours.
Unfortunately this mod is kinda defunct due to Bellyache’s Dragon Texture Replacer (see below) but there are a lot more colour choices to be had here. Including some unusual ones like making Odahviing into Spyro.
An Actually Cool Serpentine Dragon – HD Serpentine Dragon Texture and Mesh Fix
Serpentine Dragons have a bad time in Skyrim. By default they are really ugly and the only half-decent one gets killed after you make it your bitch. But Serpentine Dragons are supposed to be high level enemies, so their lack of threatening looks is kinda weird. And to make matters worse, there’s only a handful of re-textures for them. Thankfully opusGlass, the creator of Diverse Dragons, has made this texture which genuinely looks good and actually scary.
Unique Named Dragons – Chaos Dragons
I’m not a fan of all the dragons in Chaos Dragons. Some of them are somewhat goofy-looking or have too much going on. But Chaos Dragons actually does something pretty cool and gives unique textures and models for all named dragons. This means that every named dragon looks different. Not just the basic ones like Odahviing and Paarthurnax, mind you. Chaos Dragons actually does have a unique model for all dragons, including the very first one you fight, the dragon in Blackreach and the two ice lake dragons in Dawnguard.
While there’s too many to actually go through, it’s worth checking out.
Brilliant Leviathan – Bellyache’s New Dragon Species / Bellyache’s Dragon Texture Replacer
Bellyache’s New Dragon Species is one of the older mods that add new dragons to Skyrim. Unlike more modern mods like Diverse Dragons though, this mod just placed a handful of beautiful dragons in set locations in Skyrim. But people wanted to replace normal dragon textures with the ones Bellyache made, because they’re all very, very nice. So now we have Bellyache’s Dragon Texture Replacer, which lets you pick what texture you want on what dragon, using not just her skins but vanilla skins as well. So, if I wanted to, I could make every dragon use the Frost Dragon texture.
For me though, the Brilliant Leviathan is by far the nicest texture in the whole pack. The look of the wings just seems so damn majestic, even on a big scaly monster that wants to kill you.
Frost Dragon – Colorful Dragons 3
By far my most favourite dragon texture though is the Frost Dragon from Colorful Dragons 3. I don’t really know what I like about it, but this texture pack has stayed with me. To the point that I actually repackaged just the Frost Dragon texture so I can use it alongside other dragon mods. It just screams “FROST DRAGON” so much more than other textures. But it does so without just going for large amounts of white.
You shouldn’t sleep on the other textures in this pack though. While I’m not fond of the green used for base dragons, pretty much every other texture is, as the name suggests, bright and colourful, but also damn unique. Odahviing looks great and the Ancient Dragons are amazing too.
Bonus mod – Splendor Dragon Variants
I was going to add Diverse Dragons as the bonus mod here, but honestly, I think Splendor is all-round better. A lot of dragon mods end up adding lots of very strong dragons with weird gimmicks, which then don’t play well with mods that alter dragon difficulty and AI. But Splendor doesn’t add new dragons. It simply recombines existing vanilla dragons into different versions. So you can get a Frost Dragon with an Elder Dragon’s colourings that breathes fire. Or you can get a Blood Dragon that breathes ice and has the same difficulty as an Ancient dragon.
Splendor isn’t the first mod to do this though. Originally, a mod called the Dragon Engine did something similar but was kinda finicky and didn’t always work. Splendor however is compatible with basically everything. Even if you have different textures and models on your dragons, Splendor will still combine them using whatever you have. And frankly, that compatibility is impressive.
Anyway, those are the dragon mods I use. Although my next Skyrim play-through will probably be a lot less bloated. Or maybe I’ll try out Special Edition again at some point…