2016 December Miles

Jan 2, 2017

  • cycle: 62 miles
  • run: 50 miles

This month I ran twice as much as November with fewer bike rides. Endured a bit of struggle with health, and I’m also slowly becoming acclimated to the cold. I ended the month strong, though. This photo is from the Murdock Canal Trail near Highland.


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How to Disable Random Dragons in Skyrim

Dec 22, 2016

This post contains spoilers for those never having played the main quest in TES V: Skyrim. Includes a brief lesson for beginners on using Creation Kit (CK).


Too many dragons

There are too many dragons in Skyrim! Sure, it’s the The Elder Scrolls way of continuing to play and be whatever you want your character to be even beyond the main quest ending. However, the dragon numbers in TES V: Skyrim never made much sense to me. Given that Alduin resurrects dragons from a limited number of burial mounds (and let’s assume other sources) then there should be an end to the dragons. Not hundreds of dragons. There are so many dragons, though, the Dragonborn may battle two or three at once and end up unlocking every shout in short order. The dragons aren’t all that challenging, either, certainly less scary than bears. Fighting dragons start out as exciting, but may become tedious, almost as annoying as Morrowind’s cliff racers.

The story makes more sense to me if the dragons are limited to the named dragons risen from burial mounds, the word-wall dragons, the Labyrinthian dragon, the Soul Cairn dragon, and the dragons in Solstheim. Limited dragons makes the game more exciting, especially if dragons are scaled appropriately for challenge. Dragons would seem more majestic, and less like common birds. Fewer dragons also means managing shout selection early in the game, and there will still be enough souls to unlock all shouts if desired.

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Necromancer's Camp Mod for Skyrim SE

Dec 14, 2016


For TES V: Skyrim Special Edition, I created a mod, “Necromancer’s Camp” add-on for Chesko’s “Campfire - Complete Camping System”. This mod adds necromancer-themed tents, conjured shelters, weapon, and undead minions to the game. It is, of course, compatible with “Frostfall”. Read the details on my Necromancer’s Camp page, or download on Nexusmods.

I started work on this mod in original Skyrim last summer using Chesko’s Campfire Dev Kit and tutorials. I recommend any player interested in adding more gear to their game, check out the tutorials. Only basic Creation Kit experience is needed as the developer’s kit takes care of the tricky parts. Creating new gear can be accomplished using Nifscope to create mesh-mashups and change textures along with photo editing software, like Gimp, to edit textures. All of my new items were created from existing game assets, some with new textures. More complicated items would benefit from 3D modeling software.

Doing more with Campfire was a minor goal. I ended up granting conjure casting bonus to the new undead minions if the caster has the Campfire Inspired or Uplifted bonus.

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2016 November Miles

Dec 1, 2016

  • cycle: 184 miles
  • run: 25 miles

Snow during the last week of the month held my total runs and rides down. Mid-month treated me to a warm weather and an outing on the freshly-cut Vertigo Trail, and I tip my hat to the master trail cutters. It is one blast of a good run. On a Tuesday late afternoon after opening weekend, a short line developed at the top providing a picture opportunity while I caught my breath before heading down. Just over a day later the temperature dropped and a light snow shower arrived. Once the trail dries out I’ll return to Vertigo.


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Convert Old Skyrim Mods for SE

Nov 4, 2016

This article assumes the reader has basic knowledge of mod creation. Beginners should consider trying some Creation Kit tutorials first. For step-by-step examples, see “Convert Black Sacrament Armor to SE” and “Update Meshes for Skyrim SE”.

When transferring existing plugins from Skyrim 2011 to Skyrim Special Edition (SE), there are a few important changes to consider. Many mods should convert without too much effort, but be aware that some mods may require extra editing. Mods depending on SKSE or SkyUI require advanced skills, and mods with dirty edits or other issues may need special attention. Mod author, Arthmoor, outlined changes for Skyrim SE on AFKmods:

  • Animation files (.hkx) need updating using tool included with SSE Creation Kit (CK).
  • BSA files need repacking using the archive tool included with CK.
  • Some meshes (.nif files) may need updating.
  • Textures using .dds should work. Targa .tga-files will not work.
  • Normal maps may need to be updated using DXT5 compression.
  • Plugin ESP files should be checked and updated by loading and saving in SSE CK.

Creation Kit may be obtained at by using their manager. Install CreationKit to your Skyrim Special Edition folder. If a plugin has multiple masters, don’t forget to edit CreationKit.ini under General section:

"CreationKit.ini [General]"

Player’s notes

If an author has long since disappeared, players may convert mods for personal use. Stick to simpler mods and realize some conversions may require practiced editing skills. Watch out for plugins that edit waterflow, NPCs, or lighting. You may want to use TES5Edit check-for-errors feature first. Even though some errors or dirty edits may be fine in 2011 Skyrim, these errors may break or cause other issues in Skyrim SE. Best to let original author fix these issues.

Please do not distribute mods without author’s consent.

BSA repack

If the plugin includes an archived BSA-file, it must be packed with the new archive tool included with CK. Extract the contents of the old BSA using BSAopt into an empty folder. Load the existing BSA, select all contents, choose use folder button, and unpack. Check for meshes, FaceGen data, or animation files that may need updating (see below).

The new CK archive tool, archive.exe, is found in \Skyrim Special Edition\Tools\Archive\ folder. If your loose files are located somewhere other than in “Data” folder, change the Root Dir to where your files are located. Load the extracted contents folder using Edit->Add Directory and make sure everything has a checkmark (Edit->Check All). Check compression if you’d like. Choose File->Save As to archive and use the same name. Verify folder structure of archived file using BSAManager.


Clean up loose files and test in game.

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