Best Skyrim Helgen Mods: The Ultimate Collection

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Few places in Skyrim are as mysterious as Helgen.

Every Skyrim fan knows Helgen as the place where it all started. It was supposed to be where the civil war would end with Ulfric’s decapitation – but Alduin had other plans.

We can’t ever learn anything about Helgen because Alduin burns it to the ground so thoroughly that nobody bothers to clear the rubble after the attack.

Well, nobody except for Skyrim modders.

The following list contains a wealth of changes to Helgen, from minor tweaks to a complete reconstruction.


8. Helgen UV Tweaks

Helgen UV Tweaks Skyrim mod

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First up, we’re going to fix up what’s left of Helgen after Alduin’s devastating attack at the start of the game.

Now, I don’t mean rebuilding the town.

Instead, Helgen UV Tweaks by IWantATardis touches up the textures for the smoking rubble.

In vanilla, everything looks fiery but a little unrealistic and blurry. This mod makes the planks and beams look a bit smoother.

It doesn’t address the fact that the cinders never fully go out, but we can chalk that up to dragonfire being magic.


7. Helgen Rebuilt (LE)

Helgen Rebuilt (LE) mod for Skyrim

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Those who’d like to look at what Helgen was like before the disaster will love Helgen Rebuilt by KahvozeinsFang.

This mod simply undoes the damage caused by Alduin, allowing you to explore Helgen as it looks while you’re being carted to the execution block.

It prides itself in being vanilla-styled and not turning Helgen into a big city with unimmersive additions.

Note: Install this after you get out of Helgen the first time, or it could break the opening sequence.


6. Helgen Keep Removable Torches

Helgen Keep Removable Torches Skyrim mod

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The next mod is a small but meaningful addition to the keep you have to get through on your way out of Helgen.

To make the starting area more immersive, this mod by RyukiKato replaces most of the fixed torches lighting the walls with removable torches so you can grab one and use it to light your way.

This might be superfluous for the average player.

But if you’re trying to make Skyrim as realistic and immersive as possible with custom lighting mods and stuff like that, then this adds a lot to the starting sequence.


5. Helgen Keep Bandit Chief Executioner

Helgen Keep Bandit Chief Executioner mod for Skyrim

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Have you ever wondered what happens to the executioner that was about to chop your head off after the dragon attack?

I remember making my way back to Helgen in hopes of finding his corpse and looting his gear, only to find the town completely deserted.

With this mod by AndrealphusVIII, you get a lore-friendly answer to the question. He either survived and became the Chief Bandit at Helgen Keep, or the Chief Bandit looted his body and kept his outfit and weapons for himself.

This mod allows you to acquire the executioner’s equipment by clearing Helgen Keep a second time and killing the bandit leader.


4. Lively Helgen

Lively Helgen Skyrim mod

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After starting the game a few times throughout the years, I noticed how barren Helgen feels when you’re being carted in.

Sure, some kids are running around, and the people react to your arrival, but other than that, it’s just houses and little else.

This mod by RPGrobot makes the place livelier with small additions like a stable, a discreet herb garden, and my favorite: coffins ready to be filled with traitorous Stormcloaks (and an unlucky thief).


3. Opening Scene Overhaul

Opening Scene Overhaul mod for Skyrim

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If you want to take things further and really change your brief stay in Helgen, you’ll want to check out the Opening Scene Overhaul by Publick Gamer.

This mod adds a ton of new content to the start of the game to make it feel new after all these years.

Some of the changes relate to the fact that this is Ulfric’s execution. You’ll notice a bigger Thalmor presence, more dialogue during the dragon attack, and – most importantly – you get to escape with Ulfric!

All of the new scenes are fully voiced, making your time in Helgen more memorable.


2. Alternate Perspective

Alternate Perspective Skyrim mod

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Alternate Perspective by Scrab is another exciting approach to the opening sequence that’ll let you experience Helgen in an entirely new way.

You’ll start the game inside an Inn, where you’ll get to create your character and decide where you want to go.

Up until this point, it’s like any other alternate start mod, except you’ll have to make the journey to Helgen to start the main storyline.

The town is rebuilt and fully functional, so you can explore at ease until you sleep at the Inn. Upon waking up, you’ll be roped into the chaos of Ulfric’s execution and Alduin’s attack without being one of the prisoners.


1. Helgen Reborn

Helgen Reborn mod for Skyrim

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The most complete Helgen overhaul available online is Helgen Reborn by Mike Hancho, which gives this sleepy old hamlet in southern Skyrim a whole new life.

This mod goes further than just rebuilding the town to how it was before the attack.

Instead, it allows you to get involved in building back better throughout 6+ hours of extended gameplay with fully-voiced characters and a ton of exciting quests.

You get to choose what side Helgen will side with in the war, discover the secrets of The Keepers of Hattu, and get involved in a conflict with a Justicar from the Aldmeri Dominion. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

Of course, you’ll be greatly rewarded for your efforts, gaining access to a fantastic new player home, three new sets of armor, and lots more.

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Nelson Chitty

Nelson Chitty is a Venezuelan expat living in Argentina. He’s a writer and translator passionate about history and foreign cultures. His ideal weekend is spent between leisurely playing games of Civilization VI and looking for the next seinen anime to marathon.