Top 25 Best Skyrim Combat & Encounter Mods (All Free)This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
Playing Skyrim in any difficulty above Adept would’ve probably taught you that combat isn’t as easy as you may think; but it also isn’t as varied.
Sure, back when Skyrim came out we absolutely loved the fighting system.
And how easy it was for you to mix attacks and create unique ways of playing the game.
But things change, and so do video games. Right now with the release of many quality fighting games, the combat in Skyrim can feel a bit too bleak for my current taste.
That’s why I’ve made this list of some amazing Skyrim combat mods that will do wonders to improve your game, and to make fights feel like they never have before.
I had a ton of fun writing this list and trying out these mods, and I know you’ll love some of them too!
25. Glamorous Combat
Glamorous Combat activates slow-motion movements in certain parts of fights to make combat feel more cinematic.
It’s a simple mod, which is why it’s ranked so low, but it’s still pretty cool nonetheless.
24. Sands of Time Sleeping Encounters
It truly makes no sense for us to be sleeping the middle of nowhere without fear.
This mod makes it so you might sometimes wake up in the middle of your little nap surrounded by foes, or being attacked by a bear, or whatever.
In any case, it makes you think a bit before sleeping in the middle of nowhere.
This mod aims to rework NPC spawns and the quality of loot compared to the strength of your foes, and it does so in a fantastic manner.
It’s not easy to go into detail in regards to how many things this mod does, so I’d encourage you to check it out if you want more accuracy with NPC spawns and the location where they appear.
22. Fight or Fly
If you don’t want to play as a cold-blooded killer, this mod is for you.
It makes humanoid NPCs flee the scene when you’re about to kill them.
If you wish to keep their loot and not slay them, you can talk to them like a civilized warrior.
21. Battle Fatigue and Injuries
Battle Fatigue and Injuries deals with the way the game treats player damage.
Whenever you’re in a battle you might get hit on any of your limbs or your head, which will cause you to receive debuffs that affect your health in a specific way.
You will experience instant health loss and other unfortunate effects if you can’t properly block or dodge attacks.
Having low health will also mean you get battle fatigue, which is very difficult to shake. Be prepared to fight like never before and get your big boy pants on.
20. Attack Commitment
This is the first Dark Souls-like mod in my list; I’ve added two more as well, which you can download to make Skyrim feel more like one of the most frustrating games in existence.
Attack Commitment makes each of your attacks a decision to make, as you won’t be able to turn easily after hitting that attack button.
It really makes each strike go the way it was first intended to go – even if you want to change directions afterward.
Choose wisely and aim well or face an imminent death for your incompetence.
19. Horsemen – Mounted Combat Enhancement
It’s hard to tell why mounted combat wasn’t a proper thing in the vanilla game.
It needed many tweaks to make it useful, but this mod does just that.
It aims to improve the way mounted combat works. And it doesn’t only do it for the player but also for the NPCs.
You may see your followers ride horses and impose themselves upon your foes with the utmost quality of skills.
Mounted combat truly becomes something to consider as part of your arsenal when this mod is in the game. Riders, download it!
18. TK Recoil
TK Recoil makes the use of arrows, crossbows, and even staffs even more realistic (or at least it makes staff feel like they were real).
It adds a small recoil to the animation after you fire an arrow or cast a spell, alongside a small pause that you’ll have to wait out before casting or shooting again.
It doesn’t make spells feel more difficult or anything. But it does add an element of immersion that was missing from the vanilla game.
Simple yet effective. A full 10/10, would recommend.
17. Mortal Enemies
Do you know how unrealistic it is for you to miss attacks while fighting thieves while others land every single hit as if they were the reincarnation of Thor?
Well this mod removes that from the game.
Gone are the days where farmers have better accuracy than a man who was born to absorb the souls of dragons.
Mortal Enemies takes away the “aimbot” that seems to be embedded into every single humanoid NPC.
It enables them to miss attacks, and it allows the player to take advantage of their misses by seeing how they become more and more fatigued as time goes by.
This might be one of the most underappreciated mods that the Skyrim community has to offer.
16. TK Combat
If you’re looking for mods that feel like they could be in vanilla Skyrim, then look no further.
Well actually you should, because there are some fantastic mods further down in the list. But you get the point.
TK Combat is a mod that allows you to use special abilities with your sword, but they can only be triggered using magicka.
This mod truly takes battlemages to a whole new level of badassery, and it feels as vanilla as possible – the creator of the mod made sure to use effects and moves that were already in the vanilla game to ensure that players have the utmost realistic and lore-friendly experience possible.
I have to admit that I chuckled a bit when I read the description of this mod. The creator is a non-native English speaker and he kept it quite simple.
Leaving my non-xenophobic remark behind, this mod is actually fantastic. It adds a lock-on system to the game which truly takes combat to the next level by allowing you to rotate between foes in a fight, without struggling or losing sight of them in the heat of the moment.
The mod has been updated and now includes a kickass system which truly lets you see where you’re going to attack with a visual indicator and improved tracking.
14. Action Combat
Don’t be deceived by the comically unoriginal name of this mod.
Action Combat adds action to your combat by adding the ability to PARRY ATTACKS into the game.
Your foes (and yourself) will react to successful hits, as damage is no longer just a bar but also reflected on how you fight.
Make your foes vulnerable and slay them while they are weakest.
Take full advantage of the heat of combat and kill your enemies when they least expect it.
This is a truly fantastic mod that adds half of the Dark Souls combat mechanics into Skyrim, albeit in a not-so-professional manner.
13. Dodge Mod
Hey we’re able to dodge now, guys!
This mod literally adds the ability to dodge to the game, which means that you’ll get to roll around like a madman whenever you feel the slightest semblance of danger.
It’s Dark Souls all over again if you have the Action Combat mod installed. But with dragons and clunky movements.
The best thing about dodging in Skyrim is that this isn’t The Witcher III, so you’ll be able to roll down a small set of stairs without dying of fall damage.
The marvels of technology will never cease to amaze me.
12. Heart Breaker – A Killmove Mod
This gore-y mod makes it possible for you to rip apart the heart of your foes when they’re down on health.
It’s a super violent mod that truly makes the Dragonborn look like a blood-thirsty murderer whenever you activate the option to take a heart by force, but hey – it’s super fun to look at.
Besides, you get to decide how the Dragonborn lives his life. So you might as well go on a murderous rampage against the innocent.
All for the sake of heart-collecting, of course.
If you wish to feel truly like yourself while fighting foes in Skyrim, then Wildcat might as well be the mod of all mods for you.
It makes combat truly feel dangerous by increasing the damage that each attack does (both to you and to your foes).
However my favorite feature of this mod is the improved staggering.
You really need to be mindful of your stamina while in combat, as it doesn’t recharge as quickly and you will be severely punished by letting it deplete.
10. ACE Combat Skills
ACE is actually a compilation of mods that aims to break down combat and make it far better and enhanced by adding individual depth to the different skill trees that make up the Dragonborn’s abilities.
This mod lets you select which parts of combat you wish to improve by simply installing certain parts of it, although I do recommend getting all of it installed.
It’s really just a fantastic mod.
9. Dual Wield Parrying
Have you ever dreamed about parrying while wielding two swords at once?
There’s really no reason for that not to be an option in Skyrim.
Well, it does seem a bit overpowered if you think about it.
But it doesn’t make sense for you to be completely unable to put your damn swords in front of you two try and deflect an attack. If you think like me, then rejoice – this mod allows you to parry attacks while dual-wielding!
8. Combat Evolved
This mod is a sort of lightweight compilation of other fighting mods on this list, as it adds many of the features that you can expect to find on them but has the main objective of turning combat in Skyrim into a lethal and much less forgiving activity.
Be prepared to get absolutely slaughtered if you happen to miss a strike, as this mod makes foes much less forgiving than they are in the base game.
7. Deadly Combat
If you’ve ever felt that the pace of combat in Skyrim just didn’t feel right then this mod is for you.
I always hated how some things weren’t really affected by timing. Which I think make the game feel much less realistic than it should have been – especially when it comes to fighting, which is such a crucial part of the game.
Deadly Combat rewrites fights in Skyrim and modifies their pace, makes them more affected by the timing of your attacks, and reworks the damage system a bit to fit the changes made to combat.
6. Locational Damage
Location Damage allows you to deal damage to your enemies depending on where you hit them.
As such, you may deal more damage to your foes if you hit them on the torso than you would if you hit them to the legs.
It basically turns every enemy into a more “living” creature (or unliving, depending on what you’re fighting against). It truly complements other combat mods quite well.
5. Warzones 2015 – Civil Unrest
This is by far the best encounter mod that you’ll find on this list.
And probably on the entire internet if you’re a person of war like me.
Now it doesn’t make much sense for Skyrim not to have epic conflicts all over the place when the region is at war, does it?
The creator of this mod thought exactly the same, so he created this mod to fix that.
With Warzones you will be able to walk into literal zones of war as you walk and roam the plains of Skyrim.
Never again will you feel safe, as ambushes and armed conflicts become a part of your daily life when this mod is installed.
4. Deadly Mutilation
If you’re into gore and violence my friend, you need to give this a try.
The Deadly Mutilation mod gives you the ability to chop your enemy’s limbs off, and you can even electrocute them with electricity or even burn them with fire.
Watch how their guts spill out after a devastating blow and rejoice in the pitiful acts of violence that probably happened in Skyrim but Bethesda wouldn’t like to show us.
3. Ultimate Combat
I love Ultimate Combat. And not exactly because it makes the game harder, as many of the mods on this list aim to do.
Ultimate Combat made me feel like Skyrim was a totally different game whenever I drew my sword on my enemies and starting swinging it towards them.
The pace of fights feels completely different, to the point where you start thinking that you’re playing a different game.
It’s super fun, and even though you could argue that it makes the game a bit easier, it makes it far more entertaining to play – especially if you’ve gone through Skyrim and its side quests for a handful of times like me!
2. Duel – Combat Realism
Fights in Skyrim can feel a bit outdated thanks to how much games have advanced since the game came out.
Let’s face it, most modern games offer in-depth combat that changes depending on the environment and other things that actually affected warriors back in the day, so why would Skyrim not have this?
Duel Combat Realism is a mod that aims to fix this issue.
It implements a whole new combat system that affects damage as well as resistance depending on the type of armor that you have, and even your own stamina too.
The physical state of those who play their roles in a right now plays a part on its own.
And it’s all thanks to this fantastic mod.
We can all agree that kill moves are some of the best things in Skyrim combat.
I mean, there’s really nothing that sucks about seeing some quality slow-mo finishing move done in that annoying creature that was giving us a hard time.
VioLens allows you to make whatever you wish of finishing moves to be.
It literally lets you tweak which kill moves trigger and when they do it, and you can even choose animations for each individual weapon.
This mod makes combat so much more satisfying that I’ve decided to rank it as the number one mod on my list. Even when other mods work closer with combat itself.
What can I say? I’m a sucker for cinematic endings!