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Skyrim:Survival Mode

< Skyrim: Creation Club
Survival Mode
Released September 28, 2017 (beta)
October 4, 2017
Size 12.8 MB (PC) / (?) (Xbox One) / (?) (PS4)
Filename ccqdrsse001-survivalmode.esl
PC Free on Special Edition
Available from Creation Club for 500 CC Credits (formerly)
Other Also available on Xbox One and PS4
Patch Special Edition Version 1.5
Survival Mode
Map of Survival Mode changes

Survival Mode is a Creation that introduces a new gameplay mode for Skyrim Special Edition. It was released for PC through Steam beta on September 28, 2017 and became available on PC, Xbox One, and PS4 on October 4, 2017. It was free for the first week of release and then cost 500 CC Credits to purchase; it is now free again on all platforms with the release of the Anniversary Edition on November 11, 2021.

This Creation works well in conjunction with the Camping and Adventurer's Backpack Creations, which help alleviate some of the difficulties in Survival Mode.

Official SummaryEdit

In Survival Mode, your greatest adversary is Skyrim itself. Unrelenting cold, harsh wilderness, famine and fatigue - do you have the strength to endure? (Creation can be turned on or off in Settings menu. For details, consult Help Menu.)


Survival Mode introduces several challenging changes to gameplay and new gameplay features in order to transform the majority of the map into a harsh, cold wilderness. Survival can be played on any Difficulty setting, with Legendary difficulty recommended for the most challenge.

Most Survival features are disabled until after the quest Unbound is completed.

The specific changes are as follows:

  • Hunger: Over time, you will become hungry, which will impact your total stamina, as well as your ability to wield most weapons. As you become hungrier, your total available stamina will decrease, represented by a dark region inside the stamina bar. Eat food to restore your hunger. If you eat enough, you will receive the Well Fed bonus. Cooked food reduces hunger more than uncooked food. If you eat raw meat, you may contract Food Poisoning, which can prevent you from receiving health benefits from food until the effect wears off. Hot soups can now be cooked by using fire salts, which reduce your coldness and also grant a bonus to your warmth rating.
  • Fatigue (also referred to as Exhaustion): Fatigue decreases your total available magicka, represented by a dark region inside the magicka bar. As you become more fatigued, the effectiveness of potions will begin to decline, and your ability to recover magicka and stamina will begin to suffer. You will need to periodically sleep in a bed in order to reduce fatigue. In Survival, the Rested or Well Rested bonus is no longer granted automatically after sleeping. If you sleep outside, you will not be able to get a restful night's sleep, waking up Drained at best. If you sleep in a bed indoors, you will receive the Rested or Well Rested bonus as usual. The Well Rested bonus requires a minimum of 2 hours of sleep.
  • Cold: Skyrim is now divided into warm, cold, and freezing climates. Traveling in snowy or rainy areas will increase your Cold. Cold decreases your total available health, represented as a dark region inside the health bar. As you become colder, your movement speed and ability to pick locks and pick pockets will begin to suffer. If you reach the highest level of Cold, your health will be reduced to zero and you will die from exposure to the elements. You can warm up by standing near a fire, eating hot soup, or moving to a warmer location. A sun or snowflake icon will appear near the compass to note whether you are currently getting warmer or colder.
  • Warmth: The higher your Warmth rating, the more slowly you will feel the effects of cold environments. Most clothing and armor provide warmth, displayed on the item's description. Some armor is exceptionally warm, while others are ill-suited to protect their wearer from harsh climates. You can also temporarily increase your warmth rating by eating hot soup or holding a torch.
  • Freezing Water: If you swim in a freezing area, you will immediately become colder and begin taking health damage. Exit the water as soon as possible in order to begin warming up and stop the loss of health. Using a Flame Cloak spell or the Dunmer Ancestor's Wrath ability can make you temporarily immune to the effects of freezing water.
  • Disabled Fast Travel: If you wish to go somewhere, you must do so on foot or by horseback. You can also take a carriage or boat to your destination, but note that you may arrive hungry, cold, and in need of rest after a long journey. Fast travel is enabled while riding a dragon, but not every map marker can be flown to.[verification needed — which? probably just walled cities, this is normal] See the Transport article for more information on how to get around.
  • No Health Regeneration: To replenish your health, you must use Restoration spells, food, potions, and apparel enchanted with health regeneration.
  • Leveling Up: To level up, you must now sleep in a bed. You may still spend your perk points later once they have been granted after sleeping.
  • Reduced Carry Weight: Your initial carry weight has been reduced from 300 to 150. Becoming over encumbered also quickly drains your stamina and causes you to become fatigued much faster. All lockpicks now have weight and the new types of arrows added in the anniversary edition have weight as well (including Bound Arrows from Bound Bow, which is probably a bug.) The Extra Pockets perk and The Steed Stone now each grant 50 extra carry weight instead of 100. If you use enchanted apparel to fortify your carry weight, and then exceed that higher weight limit, the only way to stop the stamina drain is to reduce your weight to under the limit and then remove an item of apparel e.g. remove and/or equip a shield. Immediately adding another enchanted carry weight item will not stop the drain, although it will let you move at the normal rate. Once the drain has stopped, you can put back apparel and items so as not to exceed the limit.
  • Heavier Arrows: Which arrows are affected has changed in different versions of the addon, but currently, all arrows in the game weigh 0.1 instead of being weightless.
  • Heavier Lockpicks: Lockpicks weigh 0.1 instead of being weightless.
  • Disease: Creatures across the land now carry threatening new diseases, and previous diseases are now even more debilitating. Eating uncooked meat can now cause Food Poisoning. If you fail to cure a disease, it may progress into a more serious version over time. Being a Werewolf will no longer make you immune to disease.
  • Afflictions: Time spent while unwell, because you have failed to eat, rest or warm yourself, puts you at risk of contracting an affliction, which causes effects that can linger long after you have improved your condition. Afflictions will naturally wear off, or can be cured like other diseases. Afflictions include Weakened, Addled, and Frostbitten.
  • Shrine Offerings: Shrines are no longer free; you must now make a gold offering in order to receive the shrine's benefits. Shrines you craft in a Hearthfire house or those found at Goldenhills PlantationCC can be used for free. Blessings are diminished if taken while fatigue is drained (or worse) and remain so until the next blessing.
  • Vampires and Werewolves: Both vampires and werewolves can restore their hunger by feeding on their victims. While transformed into a Werewolf or Vampire Lord, you are immune to health penalties associated with the more severe stages of cold, but will lose the Warmth of any gear you were wearing in humanoid form.
  • Standing Stones are less effective: For example, the Steed Stone only confers +50 to fortify carry weight.

Racial PassivesEdit

  • Argonian
    • Weakness to Cold 25%
    • Raw Diet (no food poisoning)
  • Breton
    • (No change in Survival Mode)
  • Dark Elf
    • Resist Fatigue 25%
  • High Elf
    • Resist Fatigue 25%
  • Imperial
    • (No change in Survival Mode)
  • Khajiit
    • Raw Diet (no food poisoning)
    • Resist Cold (+15 Warmth)
  • Nord
    • Resist Cold (+25 Warmth)
  • Orc
    • Resist Hunger 15%, Resist Fatigue 15% and Resist Cold (+10 Warmth)
  • Redguard
    • (No change in Survival Mode)
  • Wood Elf
    • Resist Fatigue 25%

Tips for Survival ModeEdit

  • You can gain access to free beds and food by raising an NPC's disposition. Completing favor quests, such as chopping wood, is an easy way to accomplish this.
  • Reducing carry weight is important. Hilda, Bone Wolf and other Pets of Skyrim can be very helpful if you become over-encumbered. They also provide instantly summonable access to stored crafting items, surplus arrows, food and other heavy gear you don't want to constantly carry.
  • The most weight-efficient player cooked foods are Salmon Steak, Seared Slaughterfish, Rabbit Haunch and Steamed Mudcrab Legs at 0.1 weight to replenish 220 Hunger. Benefits-over-time foods like Vegetable Soup and Beef Stew are usually 0.5 weight and restore Health or Stamina for 12 minutes of play time. The most maximally restorative food available is Crab Stew which restores both Health (1pt/sec) and Stamina (2pts/sec) for 12 minutes.
  • With the right perks (Unhindered or Conditioning), your Light Armor or Heavy Armor outfit will weigh nothing. Additionally, any other carried armor pieces of the same type of material (Leather, Elven, etc.) as the set you are wearing will also weigh nothing.
  • Some armors are warmer than others. The maximum warmth protection you can achieve by armor is 54 Points for Body Armor, 29 Points for Helmets and 24 Points for Gauntlets and Footwear.
  • Temperatures drop once the sun goes down, making terrain that is passable by day potentially hazardous at night. It's useful to plan shorter trips and start the day with an idea of where you want to sleep that night.
  • The Camping creation allows you to pitch a movable campsite for staying warm, cooking simple foods and sleeping (though you'll wake up drained since it's outdoors). Craft a Camping Supplies at a forge in advance and bring it along, or stow with a follower or pack animal for a future emergency. Remember that these are consumables, so even if you choose to disarm the camp, you will not get the Camping Supplies back.
  • Staying warm while traversing snowy terrains can be a challenge, particularly in areas like Winterhold or Solstheim that lack transport. Besides wearing warm clothing/armor, carrying a torch (+50 Warmth) and eating hot soups as needed to reduce coldness, you can warm yourself by standing near campfires, smelters, forges, raised fire bowls, giant's bonfires, smoldering embers, wall torches, candelabras and the like. Stepping inside most caves or other indoor locations can help by providing protection from the weather, though they don't warm you like a heat source does. Note, however, that some locations are designated as cold, and will not help.
  • Weather conditions in the area where you are traveling, such as Snowing, or Rain, will speed up the freezing rate. Shouting Clear Skies will clear up the weather and help slow down your freezing rate.
  • To swim in cold water without freezing (possibly to death), either ride a horse, use the Flame Cloak spell beforehand, or waterwalk while wearing Ahzidal's boots.
  • You cannot die of cold while in Werewolf or Vampire Lord form.
  • Enemy Frost spells and shouts are much more dangerous, as they also increase the Freezing rate.
  • Remember that Fatigue affects all potions, not just those that replenish your Health, Stamina and Magicka. This includes the effectiveness of potions that increase your skills, such as Enchanting or Smithing. Plan accordingly.
  • Torches wear out over time and can get snuffed out in the rain, so loot them as needed from dungeon walls, etc. Use Magelight or Candlelight spells to search dark areas instead of torches to conserve torches for warmth.
  • Certain battles, such as fighting Alduin, will be considerably harder due to the weather. Consider preparing Hot Soups and pre-assembling a Camp before tackling these enemies.
  • The Ring of Namira is a great artifact for survival, as you can feed on dead humanoid enemies.
  • You can gain health regeneration if you fortify your health regeneration, for example by the Lady stone, as survival only reduces it by 100%, but does not disable it.
  • Purchasing land and developing your housing is important. An upgrade that you can add to your houses is a Carriage. House carriages are free (after the initial cost), provide you another transport point, and will take you both to capitals and smaller villages throughout Skyrim.
  • You can use dragon lairs to move around fast after you have unlocked the Bend Will shout. The dragons won't give you a dragon soul once they respawn so they can safely be left to fly back to be used later without the need to wait for the lair to respawn.
  • Argonians may need to light a torch or eat a "hot" meal in order for heating sources to work in frigid situations the way they do for other races.
  • It takes 11 hours of rest to restore you completely from absolute fatigue.
  • It takes 1334 units of food to become well fed after being completely starved.




  • While the author of this Creation is unknown, they are referred to as 'QDR' in the game data.


  • It's sometimes possible to fast travel when survival mode is enabled. After leaving a location that returns you to Tamriel or Solstheim (e.g., a house, dungeon, city or even after taking a carriage), if you open the map quickly enough, you will be able to fast travel. After fast traveling, your survival status (tiredness, warmth and hunger) will be updated.
  • If you're damaged, it's possible to heal to full health in a cold area if there's a source of fire for warmth. To do so, just stand in the cold until your missing HP bar is grayed out (or closed to grayed out) as a result of being cold. Then stand in fire and as you get warmer, your HP will scale back to full as the grayed out HP bar recedes. If your HP is very low, you may have to repeat this process a few times to get back to full HP.
  • If survival mode is enabled, some NPCs may treat you like you are sick all the time, no matter whether any negative effect is active or not.
  •   If playing on Nintendo Switch, the game may crash when you reach freezing status.
    • This bug is fixed by version of the game on Nintendo Switch.