This guide is intended to be a list of mods that work well together and enhance the Fallout 4 experience without straying (at least not too far) from the unmodded game, gameplay, and lore. As a user pointed out in the comments below, Fallout 4 is a lot more forgiving when modding than any previous Bethesda game. I only had two real issues when testing out all of these mods (and a lot that didn’t make it). The first issue was with a largish “expanded territory/quest” mod that caused CTDs for me, presumably due to known conflicts with one of the DLC. The other issue I had was my own fault, forgetting to install a patch after downloading.
Please read all mod pages before downloading and installing mods. When downloading, pay attention to the files you are grabbing. Some mods require you to download different files depending on which DLC you do or do not have. All mods listed here will work with all DLC installed. Not all of them will work with only the base game installed.
If you are having problems with mods or with your install, please refer to the mod pages, your load order, and your patches before considering your install broken. I have verified that all of these mods will work together. If they are not working for you, you may have made an error during install, most likely forgetting to read and/or grab required patches or selecting the wrong options during the FOMOD install process.
I am one person. I can try to help you, but I can not guarantee I can, or can in a timely fashion. Please post all issues on the Fallout 4 Discussions, where there are many more people that might be able to help.
Steam and your PC
Please note that the default Steam install directory is \Program Files (x86). Windows treats its Program Files folders a bit differently than user created folders. As a result, sometimes non-standard programs, regardless of whether you choose “Run as Administrator” through right-clicking or ticking under Compatibility, will be denied access to files and/or subfolders. Prior to Fallout 4, I had not had any problems in this respect, although I know many had and still have problems. This is not a Fallout 4 problem, it is a Windows/Windows User Acces Control problem. Even on a single user machine, the user is not, and does not have access to, the same as the escalated Administrator account, even when that user is categorized as an Administrator. The end result of this is that you may sometimes experience errors, glitches, and even crashes that are completely unrelated to the game itself, but rather Windows seizing control of and denying access to files and folders.
Troubleshooting and/or working around this problem is well beyond the scope of this guide. Fortunately, there is a simple solution to prevent problems in the first place. Install Steam to its own path, outside of Windows’ Program Files folders. Make sure your Steam Library folder does not exist under either Program Files folder. Set the Steam and Steam Library as “safe” or “ignore” within your anti-virus/security suite of programs including, but not limited to, Windows internal programs.
New to Modding?
You need a Mod Manager. If you’re only using a handful of mods, it is possible to manually install them. However, with a game like Fallout 4, where there are literally hundreds of top notch mods, it is doubtful that you will keep your mod count in single digits. There are two basic choices. Vortex is simple, straightforward, and easy to use. However, it is no where near as powerful as Mod Organizer 2. And, the more mods you install, the less likely you will be to easily resolve issues in Vortex. Users of Mod Organizer will find nothing really unfamiliar in day-to-day usage. I would not consider using Vortex if your planned mod list will be more than a couple of dozen mods. Even then, the investment in time learning how to use Mod Organizer 2 will, in my experience, eventually pay for itself.
Vortex tutorial, first video:
Mod Organizer tutorial, first video:
Core Modifications Prior to Installing Mods
This is a very simple process, just follow this tutorial:
F4SE – Fallout 4 Script Extender
This modification is not technically a “mod”, but rather allows mods access to the Fallout 4 Scripting Engine without which many mods will not work. If you are only interested in texture mods and/or ENB as a means of improving looks, you may not need F4SE. But now that the excellent mod, MCM, is supporting more mods, F4SE is worth it for this reason alone. The downside is that F4SE will automatically cease functioning whenever Bethesda releases a version change to Fallout 4. Historically, the F4SE team has been able to release their new version within hours. Mod Organizer will recognize F4SE automatically. WIth my last try with Vortex, it did not.
You can get F4SE here: Link
UFO4P – Unofficial Fallout 4 Patch
This is a comprehensive bug fixing mod that is meticulously maintained. It fixes most of the known bugs that slipped through Bethesda’s development cracks. It is included in this section for two reasons. First, some mods actually require it to be installed. And, second, if you download no other mods, this is the one you should download, especially if you’re experiencing bugs and glitches in game.
UFO4P can be found here: Link
It is important to state that ENB and ENB Presets are two different things. An ENB Preset is basically a graphical “skin” that sits on top of ENB. You will need to install ENB if you wish to use presets. Even if you do not use presets, ENB is generally more stable and quicker than the internal effects engine and I would highly recommend using it, even without a preset.
You can download the ENB for Fallout 4 here: Link
The process has changed a little in that there is a VRAM size test now.
There is a tutorial here:
If you’re going to use one, I strongly suggest picking one now and installing it. GPU heavy ENB Presets may require you to rethink your mod list and it is much easier to change ENB Presets, for the most part, without ruining your saves than it is to remove mods.
ENB Presets are very subjective. I prefer lighter, more realistic, less cinematic presets. I am using Subtle, but will list a few more here for you to examine on your own. Most ENBs are simple extract and overwrite installs. See each preset’s mod page for installation instructions.
- Subtle ENB – Immersive Wasteland Preset found here: Link
- Vogue ENB – Realism is a bit more cinematic and heavier than Subtle here: Link
- Decent ENB – Natural and Performance Friendly is a bit more somber and stylized than Subtle. Despite the title, I find Subtle more responsive. Decent can be found here: Link
- Pilgrim – Dread the Commonwealth is a highly stylized, horror influenced ENB that also effects other in-game experiences like sound, weather, and lighting. I would not, however, suggest it for a lore-friendly, closer to vanilla, play through. Pilgrim can be found here: Link
Sorting your mods properly is still important. If you don’t have LOOT, you can get it here: Link
You must sort your load order with LOOT before creating a Bashed Patch.
You can find a tutorial here:
Wrye Bash is a must if you are installing any mods that add items, especially to leveled lists. Wrye Bash can be found here: Link
It is important to note that, once you know how to do this, creating a Bashed Patch is a fairly simple process. It may be annoying at first, but it needs to be done to have a stable game. Wrye Bash is a bit of a bear to use with Vortex. Mod Organizer can easily be configured to run Wrye Bash.
There is a basic Wrye Bash tutorial here:
Hopefully, you will not need this. But, you may, depending on other mods and your tolerance for overwrites. More advanced modding, and not necessary for this guide to work.
Get it here: Link
General Modding Notes
Certain mods will add holotapes or items to your inventory or require you to craft them. Some of these mods will not work or not work to your intent without being configured first. Please read mod pages/descriptions before installing. If necessary, note which mods require or allow configuration and how this is accomplished. Your modding experience will be far more enjoyable the less you are confused by it in-game. If a mod specifies that it uses Mod Configuration Menu (MCM), it is vastly preferable to install MCM than to use holotapes/items.
Since I’ve been asked a few times… The order in which you install these mods is not really that important. I suggest selecting an ENB first, but you don’t have to. There is a difference between physically installing the mods and the order of which they are when the game loads. As far as I am aware, Vortex still has the same problem Nexus Mod Manager had in this respect. Mod Organizer 2 allows you to just this by drag and drop, or simply entering the place in the install order (left pane). With this in mind, most of the below refers to Vortex Mod Manager (VMM). Mod Organizer 2 (MO2) users have a lot more flexibility.
The only ordering you really have to obey is this:
- Any mod that explicitly states it should be installed for new games only should be installed first.
- If a mod requires another mod or mods, the prerequisite mod must be installed before the mod that requires it.
- If a separate patch is required for one or more mods that do not required one another, any of the mods can usually be installed before the others, and the patch installed when all are installed.
- If any patch is part of the FOMOD installer of a mod, the mod/s it is patching for should be installed first.
- Texture/mesh only replacers install loose files over one another. You can pre-examine these loose files, but honestly the full impact won’t be seen until you’re in game. And to be brutally honest, it would be a major pain to examine every single little texture. This also holds true for the more current trend of packing those loose files into archives, which also improves performance. Again, MO2 outperforms VMM in this department. But this is making simple mods far more advanced in handling and a topic for a separate guide.
- Exceptions to the above include, always allow mods that change textures with effects changes (water is a good example) to completely overwrite other mods and deny any overwrites from other mods. In this mod list, ELFX and WET are good examples.
- Exceptions to exceptions include mods that change the effects and textures of an effects and texture mod above. There are no clear examples here with the possible exception of Wetness Shader Fix. I don’t recall if it overwrote WET, but it should, otherwise the effects would potentially go unnoticed in game. The only really clear example is in Skyrim where ELFX and Torches and Candles can have some weird graphical smoke glitches if both are used.
- Lastly, all hand-picked textures for specific items or item groups should be installed after any core replacers.
- All in all, this is a very safe and forgiving mod list that is very difficult to break unless you skip reading mod pages.
Mechanics – System
These are mods that do not necessarily have an effect on gameplay, but are more out-of-game changes.
- Achievements – Reenables achievements in your modded game.
- Armor and Weapon Keywords Community Resource (AWKCR) – A framework required by other mods, most importantly Armorsmith Extended. Allows categorization of items for a cleaner inventory.
- Cartographers Map Markers – Adds map markers for unmarked locations. The mod does not reveal them. You still need to discover them.
Configurable Power Armor – Newest update allows configurable health, carry capacity, speed, jump height, core consumption.
DO NOT USE. DOES NOT RESET VALUES ON EXIT. SPEED AND CARRY WEIGHT ALL STACK EVERY TIME YOU EXIT.
- CCCleaner – MCM Configurable. Removes Creation Club item and messages from the main menu.
- Creation Club File Fixer – If you’re like me and have no intention of using any of the forced download mods, this replaces those files with tiny ones, reclaiming drive space.
- Durable Vertibirds – Tired of Vertibirds being shot down so easily?
- Essential Named Settlers – Until certain settlers can flee to safety, this is the only way to insure they live long enough to get into our characters’ stories.
- Extended Diamond City Holidays – Did you know they decorate in Diamond City for Halloween and Christmas? I didn’t, because I wasn’t there on those dates. This extends Halloween to the week before through the week after and Christmas through all of December. Potential issues during holidays when using HD/UHD textures and Diamond City expansions. These will occur anyway, but are made more visible by the extended holidays.
- Fallout 4 Live Action Trailer as Main Menu – Because I already know the intro story and the trailer is much cooler.
- Faster Workshop (Workshop Lag Fix) – It’s not perfect, especially if you have a lot to load, but it’s far better than not having this mod.
- Generator Overhaul – Increases the power output of the base generators.
- Glowing Animals Emit Light – Does exactly what it says.
- HUDFramework – Framework that allows other mods to insert HUD widgets. Don’t forget the DEF_UI patch. You only need the patch if you’re using the DEF_HUD part of DEF_UI. If using DEF_INV, you don’t need the patch. I would install all of these, and Valdacil’s Item Sorting all at once, as a package. If using Mod Organizer, do NOT patch internally. Run the autopatcher on its own.
- Immersive Settlers – New settlers after install will be renamed. Existing settlers may need renaming through holotape. All of my settlers now have random assigned names.
- Immersive Vendors – All this does is fill the vendors’ empty booths with visible static items.
- Load screen replacer – Load Screen Apocalyptic Replacer – Because black load screens suck.
- Longer deathcam – Changes the deathcam delay from 3 seconds to 3 minutes, but is instantly interruptable.
- Mod Configuration Menu – So much better than Holo Tapes. Adds a Menu option to configure mods that use it.
- More Varied Body Shapes and Skins -and- More Varied Creature Shapes – Settlers come in different sizes, so do critters. For critters, supposedly, bigger equals stronger. Don’t forget the Better Settlers patch.
- Realistic Ragdoll Force – Works the same as in Skyrim, no more Super Mutants flying back from your tiny pipe pistol.
- Settlement Attacks Beyond – Moves in-border spawn sites just outside the border.
- Settlement Menu Manager – Essentially, a Workshop menu framework. Comes with a handy repair utility for missing menus, submenus, and items.
Valdacil’s Item Sorting
Valdacil’s sorting is a comprehensive tag list of vanilla and DLC game items that allows them to be categorized in inventory. There are, literally, dozens upon dozens of patches. Unfortunately, they include plugins. Until a more elegant solution arrives, I recommend limiting the number of patches used. Hopefully, in the future, the mod author will incorporate more patches into a comprehensive FOMOD or will allow other mod authors to upload their items to a compiled list via wsdl/xml framework.
Also, when installing, unless you want dozens of plugins, choose Val’s picks and Customize on the first screen, and Junk-DEF_UI on the subsequent screens and nothing else. Customized options install one plugin per option. Not good. Currently I am only running Valdacil’s until more elegant patching is implemented. It is looking more like a replacement sorter will come before comprehensive patching does.
- Valdacil’s Item Sorting – Renames existing items with tags that allow sorting and categorization.
Mechanics – Gameplay
These are mods that change how the game works and will impact your in-game experience.
- Armorsmith Extended – A complete overhaul of armor game mechanics.
- Auto Gamepad Switch – Confirmed to function, very well actually. If you use a gamepad, this is what you need to also be able to reliably use hot keys.
- Better Settlers – Increases the appearance variety of settlers. Pay attention to the requirements if you want certain features.
- Button Lowered Weapons – Allows you to choose when and where to point your weapon.
- Without the button press: Lowered Weapons – Automatically raises/lowers your weapon.
- Campsite – Immersive? Surely. But really a necessity in Survival Mode. Includes a patch to treat your sleeping bag as a real bed. Make sure you grab the AWKCR patch as well.
- Combat Helmet Illumination – Makes helmet lights functional.
- DEF_UI – Includes Def_Inv and Def_HUD. I recommend using both. Both require a little post-install configuration. Note that the font changes for inventory do not cover the entire UI or the Pip-boy. If using Valdcil’s, pay attention during the FOMOD. Do not overwrite Valdacil’s. Note the MO2 “workarounds” under HUDFramework above.
- Everyone’s Best Friend – You can have a companion, as well as Dogmeat. This isn’t needed if you’re already using Unlimited Companions or Amazing Follower Tweaks.
- Extended Dialogue Interface – I have now switched (safe to do so mid game) dialogue mods, looking forward to future mods which may require this framework.
- Alternative: Full Dialogue Interface – I didn’t even mind the shorthand most of the time. But there were times when I was like, “what the?” This solves those momentary problems.
- Give Me That Bottle – No longer toss your emptied bottles into that extradimensional junk pile. Very useful for Survival.
- Immersive HUD – Show/Hide the HUD on demand, also show individual HUD elements on specific triggers. Separate toggles for compass only and full HUD.
- Killable Children – This is not something I would normally use/install, but… There is a very interesting mod, Raider Children, that adds children to Raider camps and parties. They will attack you and your settlers. I can say this… while I expected it, I did not expect how powerful (not in a good way) the feeling would be when I had to pull the trigger.
- Live Dismemberment – No freakin’ way! Yes, way. Weapon arms are targets. No arm, no weapon. Drop ’em by shooting off a knee and they’ll still fire. Be aware that most body mesh replacers (CBBE, EVB, Jane) do not support dismemberment. There is a lower poly count CBBE version that supposedly does, but I have not tested this. Also, texture replacers may not support this.
- Alternative: Better Locational Damage – Has dismemberment, helmet headshot protection, back stabs, bleeding damage, knock backs. More comprehensive? Absolutely. Also, lots more scripting. Either way, you still need a compatible body if you want dismemberment. Use on or the other, not both.
- Lootable Vault-Tec Containers and Wood Crates – I understand that a lot got picked over, but surely not everything. This keeps the equivalency with Skyrim’s barrels in terms of lootables. You may be sorry, though, when you loot crates full of cement or steel.
- Move (Get Out the Way) – Works identically to the Skyrim mod of the same name.
- Alternative: Get Out of My Face (Push Away Companions and NPCs)
- No Aggro Impact Landing (Power Armor) – Removes friendly NPC aggro on impact landings.
- NPCs Travel – Adds more NPCs to the world that travel naturally from place to place. Some are friendly, some are not.
- Orphans of the Commonwealth – Fits in perfectly with Raider Children and Killable Children. The better side of that coin, settlement schooling.
- Pet – Call – Feed Dogmeat – There are other companion calling mods, but I prefer to NOT have autonomous humans (or synths) come running when I call.
- Player Comments and Head Tracking – Player head tracks items of interest. Adds player commentary and responses. Fully configurable.
- Raider Children – Raider culture would seem to support both bringing their own children on raids and conscripting wandering orphans.
- Red Rocket Road Map – A non-cheaty cheat to display all of the map markers.
- Salvage Beacons – Sets a marker for your otherwise lazy settlers to come grab all of the loot you’re accumulating for them.
- Salvage Beacons – Sets a marker for your otherwise lazy settlers to come grab all of the loot you’re accumulating for them.
- Sanctuary Dead Raider and Dog Removed – You’re welcome. Enable/Disable at will.
- Satellite World Map – I’ll admit, I spent a long time worrying over including this one, lore-wise. The color version is very nice. I went monochrome, though.
- Settler Sandbox Expansion – Now into Sim Settlements crafted buildings, stairs, etc. It is incredibly noticeable that the previously used sandboxing fix did nothing to disperse the settlers across the whole settlement. This mod fixes that. No more group clumping settlers.
- Survival Unlocker – Unlocks regular saving, the console, and the ability to re-enter Survival Mode after changing out. Worth it solely for being able to clip out when stuck after not sleeping all day.
- The Wasteland Codex – Interactive Lore Database voiced by The Storyteller – I recommend NOT using auto-play or you will get talkover. More for end of day, before bed, unwinding.
- Wastelander’s Cookbook – Extended recipes for foods and beverages, an excellent choice for Survival difficulty. Also allows the removal of Rads from cooked foods as an install option.
- Zoom-out Extended for World and Local Maps – Make sure you pick the correct module for your map mod.
Graphics – Core
Notes on texture/mesh replacement:
Unless you are working with a top-end GPU, it will be very easy to cripple your game if you use all 4K and/or 8K textures.
8K Textures should be reserved for items that are always, or almost always, the only primary texture on-screen. For instance, your Pip-boy world map, especially when zooming.
4K Textures should be reserved for large items that generally take up large portions of screen space during normal play. For instance, building walls and other architecture.
2K should be reserved for medium sized items like clothing items, armor, furnishings, and creatures.
Small items like ammo and ammo boxes, clutter and junk, aid items, etc. should be mostly 1K or smaller.
My order of install, allowing all overwrites is GraFix, Valius, FlaconOil, Vivid, All Weapons HD, then everything else.
Fundamental Changes to Visuals
These are mods that effect global changes to the game. Some will also effect sound and gameplay. On a side note, there is an excellent in tweaking guide from nVidia, for those using their GPUs here: Link
- Animated Chems Redone – Actually use chems when you use them.
- CROSS Crit Gore-overhaul – Redoes the criticals for many creatures when killed by fire, laser, plasma, etc.
- Crafting Highlight Fix – Removes the X-Ray shader when viewing items in trade, crafting, etc. MCM configurable.
- Darker Nights – I seriously recommend Darkest with Automatic Detection. Pay attention to the options if you installed ENB.
- DYNAVISION – Dynamic Depth of Field – ENB and Vanilla DoF are very GPU heavy. If you want DoF without the massive hit, try this. Full configurable in MCM.
- Enhanced Blood Textures – Better blood textures, and more control of blood appearance in general, also some death effects.
- Enhanced Lights and FX – Bethesda uses a lot of fake lighting, especially in interiors. And (weirdly) some objects that should emit light, don’t. ELFX fixes both. You should not see any FPS loss, and even if you choose not to install ENB, you should install this. Does not fix bad lighting issues in mods.
- FAR – Faraway Area Reform – FAR – Default Resolution – uGrids is still not recommendable. Use this or FO4LodGen in FO4Edit.
- Have a Beer – Animated Drinking – Place at the bottom of your load order or it will not work.
- No more floating razorgrain – Fixes the tendency for razorgrain to float in mid air.
- Rusty Face Fix – I am not sure if this is a new glitch, but this most recent playthrough, I have been plagued with ruddy/rusty/sunburned faces. This fixes that with no overhead.
- True Storms – Wasteland Edition – A complete weather overhaul. Your other option is Vivid. Both can be used together with a separate patch. Technically not purely visual, True Storms adds and fixes some audio as well. Gameplay will also be drastically affected by rad storms and fogs.
- Wetness Shader Fix – Fixes the weird Saran Wrap textures some items receive when they’re wet. Personally, I consider this mod a core bug fix because the vanilla effect visual is hopelessly terrible. Note that at level one, only the “saran wrap” is actually fixed. To fix the fake and terrible puddle shine completely, you’ll want one of the escalated options. I use level 3.
Core Texture Replacers
These are general texture and/or mesh replacement mods that effect many items across multiple item types, from weapons to furniture to architecture. It is suggested that these be installed first and experienced before moving on to the more specialized replacers in the Optional Texture Replacers section below.
- All Weapons HD (A.W.H.D.) – Replaces all vanilla weapons with better quality HD textures.
- Crows And Creatures – Significant improvement over vanilla crows. FOMOD will allow you to pick and choose which others you like over vanilla textures.
- FlaconOil’s HD ReTexture Project in 4k 2k – Replaces many textures in the game with better quality HD textures. Simply the best vehicle textures, in my opinion.
- GraFix Texture Overhaul 3a – Covers a ton of textures throughout the game. In conjuction with FlacoOil’s mod above and Vivid below, this is a good base to cover over with more handpicked (Optional) textures. I load this first and a lot of it is overwritten, but no where near most.
- Grasslands – I tried all of the other flavors of “green” this/that mods. Some were REALLY low quality, like green spray paint on the dirt textures with grasses plopped on top. The only real competition, imo, is True Grass, but it’s a bit too full for my taste (and has flowers). As of this writing, do not use 2.0, it’s as Verdant as Verdant for Skyrim, unless you want that. I am using Unhealthy – Extreme. Some users reporting marked fps loss with True Grass, thanks Ilja. I do not experience this with True Grass, but if you are experiencing it with that mod, you should switch to this one.
- High Resolution Texture Pack – Valius – Did FlaconOil and GraFix miss anything? Probably. Let’s cover our bases. Can’t hurt. Mostly all of these .esp-less mods.
- Transparent glass werks and bottles bugfix – Beyond necessary. Glassware looks like glassware, not dishwasher etched plastic…
- Vivid Fallout – All in One – All of the Vivid Fallout texture mods in a single archive/esp.
- WET – Water Enhancement Textures – There are several water overhauls available,
some better than others. I prefer this one, my second choice would be Vivid. I use the clearer option, leaving the rad damage in.
Graphics – Optional
Optional Texture Replacers
Most of these mods offer resolution and alternate texture options.
- 2K-4K HD Bomber Jacket Retexture
- 4k Black Suit and Tuxedo
- 4k Combat Armor
- 4K Silver Shroud outfit retexture
- Ammo Retexture
- Better Dials for Power Armor – Changes dial appearance textures only.
- Bottles Labels Overhaul
- Classic Red Scribe Robes
- Delightful Dead Fish
- Delightful Ivy – Skip this if you think plants can’t grow in the post-nuclear world, or just quit playing because, you know, uh, farming… it’s a thing.
- Desktop Fan Retexture
- Detailed Deathclaws
- Detailed Feral Ghouls
- Detailed Urban Food
- Duffle Bag Retexure
- Electrical Tower 8K 4K 2K
- EoW – Pre-War Books Retexture
- Fallout Texture Overhaul PipBoy (Pip-Boy) UHD 4K – There are dozens of Pip-boy texture mods out there totaling, probably, hundreds of options. I looked at almost all of them. This one is the highest quality, closest to vanilla that I could find. Just know that there are tons of options.
- FO4 SUN – Makes the sun texture more bearable, less white out.
- Gauss Rifle Retexture
- Glow Color Change – Changes fusion cores to the glowing color of your choice. This is the mod changing the core colors in some of my screenshots, for those who’ve asked. There is no randomization/factionization, it’s all the color you pick at install.
- Gravel Redone 4K – This is handled fine by Vivid, in my opinion.
- HD Raider Armor
- HQ Bathroom Stalls
- HQ Statues
- KG’s Barbed Wire
- KG’s Chain Link Fences
- Live Action Mr. Handy – Adds lights (like in the trailer) back to Mr. Handy model eyes. I have had issues where this does not function on Codsworth if he is not a companion.
- Lore Accurate Holodisk Holotape – No more N64 carts, yay!
- Lots More Facial Hair
- Lots More Male Hairstyles
- Minutemen General Retexture
- MOON – There are other options. I liked this one best.
- PipBoyShadows – Adds dynamic shadows to Pip-boy and helmet lights.
- Piper’s Coat HR – There are so many retexture remeshes out there. This is the closest to the original and highest quality.
- Ponytail Hairstyles – Required for some Better Settler options.
- Power Armor Hud – No Transparency – Makes the Power Armor “dashboard” a solid entity not affected by your normal HUD’s opacity settings. Also adds some neat option effects and different dash types.
- Power Line Physics – Player placed power lines now have the same sway physics as game placed power lines. I recommend the lowest options on both.
- Proper Flyers and Posters
- Protectron HD – 2K and 4K
- Proto Vault Suit – Many different options.
- Proto Vault Suit – Standalone – Adds vault suit variants from the above mod into the game.
- Prydwen 2K Textures
- Railroad Armored Coat HD Retexture
- Real Leather HD Note that this will overwrite HD Raider Armor leathers. I am currently using this mod’s Raider leathers. I seriously recommend the less shiny specular maps option unless you like very well oiled leathers.
- Retextured Chems – Ephla’s Unique Chems v.1
- Retextured Super Mutants
- Retextured Terminals – by Ben Ephla – Be careful here, there are many mods above that have terminal retextures.
- Rickety Restored Sanctuary Bridge – There are some others. I thought this one fit in better with the vanilla theme.
- Robot Armor Retextured (4K and 2K)
- ScratchMade – New Combat Shotgun and Rifle textures
- ScratchMade – New Double Barrel Shotgun textures – Overwrites portions of the above.
- Steamer Trunks Retextured
- Street Signs Retexture
- Swinging Animated Meat Bags – Get this.
- Telephone Retexture
- Valentine REBORN
Sound Effects Modifiers
While not sounds themselves, these mods change how sounds, well, sound, in-game.
- Reverb and Ambiance Overhaul – What ELFX and ENB do for light, this one mod does for sound. You may not even know you “need” this until you have it installed. Watch the videos on the mod page and tell me I’m not right.
New Sounds and Sound Replacers
- Brahmin farts – Xtreme immersive – Cattle Farts – softly – Imoosive – It’s what cows do, right? Okay, it just makes me smile. Seriously, though, go with softly.
- Cinematic Sounds – Explosions – Really feel like something larger than a firecracker actually exploded.
- Commonwealth Warfare – Realistic Gun Sounds And Bullet Cracks – This one may throw you initially, especially the bullet cracks. Trust me. Stick with it.
- Commonwealth Warfare – Explosions – Yes, along side Cinematic Sounds.
- Immersive Footsteps Overhaul – Clanking Clothes and Deep Footstep – For me, another must have sound overhaul.
- Immersive Squeaky Doors – I’ve been using this since release, just forgot to add it here.
- Intense Realistic Gun Sounds Overhaul (IRGSO) – Energy Weapons Update – Yes, alongside Commonwealth Warfare. Like graphics mods, covering all bases. I like these duplicate sounds better.
- No more cash register sound when XP gain – You’re welcome.
- P.A.M.S – Power Armor Movement Sounds – Yet another sound “you need this” improvement mod that should be in every load order. I prefer Heavy.
- Radiant Birds – Much, much better bird sounds.
- Terrifyer – Ghouls – Added this on release, don’t know how I forgot to add it here. You MUST get this Feral Ghoul audio overhaul.
Armor and Clothing
I do not use CBBE, I do not know if all of these mods are CBBE compatible. They are all vanilla compatible.
- Eli’s Armour Compendium – Fair warning, there is a fair bit in this mod that is not lore friendly. The only reason I installed it was due to some requirements in Better Settlers. If you can forego the option (see Better Settlers mod page), you might consider doing so if you don’t want to see graphic tees in game. Contains both armors and clothing.
- K-9 Harness – Tactical Body Armor and Backpack for Dogmeat.
- Raider Power Armor Chop-Shop – A very well done mod impeccably showcasing a Raider/Mad Max vibe that fits perfectly into FO4 lore. Not just a graphical mod, functional improvements as well.
- Rebel Camouflage Pack – Not necessarily lore friendly, maybe too modern for some.
- Submersible Power Armor
- T-51.C Advanced Computer System – An audio warning from your suit’s on-board computer when Core depletion is imminent. Fair warning, if you’ve adjusted Fusion Core consumption in another Power Armor mod, the verbal warnings may be inconsistent with the charge you’re seeing while in your armor.
- Wasteland Sniper – Like Rebel, this may have a “too modern” feel for some players.
- Adventurer Outfit – A very nicely done, lore friendly outfit.
- Backpacks of the Commonwealth – More than just craftable (and useful) items. They’re fully integrated into the game, including leveled lists.
- CROSS Circular Glasses – Because Ozzy wears them, so should you.
- Wearable Backpacks and Pouches.
- Wearable Squire Outfit.
Lore friendly only.
- Crossbows of the Commonwealth – If it’s good enough for Daryl Dixon… Note, swapping in the crossbow on a lower level character, I noticed how overpowered it is at lower levels. Recommended for later, level 15-20+.
- Crude Blowback – Based off of unused concept art.
- DefenseGun – After installing this mod I have realized that it is probably one of the most underrated mods available. There’s a huge gap between Pipe weapons and Pre-war weaponry. Surely there are gunsmiths capable of patching together something a little better than a block of wood, some copper pipe, adhesive, and screws. Once you’ve installed it, I’m sure you’ll feel the same.
- Handmade Revolver – Comes stand alone or as a replacer. I chose stand alone. I think this is my favorite mod weapon, by far. I just love the character.
- Murdering Chainsaw – For the psychos. Leveled list, definitely do the leveled list and Raiders will sometimes have them as well.
- See Through Scopes – Replacer or added. Recommended by a forum friend. I am not very fond of non-penalizing scope usage, so this normally wouldn’t pop up on my radar. After playtesting this mod for a second time, and using discrimination on to what to attach these scopes, it now has a place in my load order.
- The Pipe Shotgun – Did you know it was missing?
- The Widow Shotgun – Hell Oh beautiful.
- Unique Uniques – Unique Weapons Redone.
Items and Crafting
All non-Weapon, non-Armor/Clothing mods. Some are tactical, some useful, none are really frivolous.
- Canteens of Commonwealth – Adds craftable canteens to the game, exceptionally handy for Survival Mode. They come in Purified and Dirty version, each taking six bottles of respective water to fill at a cooking station. Also adds water collection sites.
- CROSS Jetpack – Because if it can lift a huge, hulking mass of Power Armor with a human inside, why couldn’t it lift just the human?
- Functional Wedding RIngs – It’s always been a bit of a bother that Nate/Nora is reduced to nothing more than a useless ring. Useful, not overpowered.
- PreWar Binoculars – Especially useful for reconnaissance for characters who don’t use long range scopes.
- West Tek Tactical Optics – As above, very useful, especially Night Vision.
- Better Cooking Stations – Adds much needed visual and sound improvements to the various cooking stations. While on its surface this mod may appear to be a simple mesh/texture/audio replacer, it does a lot, lot more than that. Recipes now make sense according to station type. No more stewing on a spit or roasting in a hanging pot. Settlers can be assigned as cooks and become food vendors. Many other improvements to cooking dynamics.
- Crafting Workbenches – Adds workbenches for crafting weapons, armor, ammo, and junk items.
- The Mobile Mechanic – Portable workbenches for on the go weapons and armor upgrade and repair. I was kind of iffy on this one. Reading in more depth and looking at the item weights and hearing that all scrap still get placed back in your inventory, I’ve now added this.
There are a few mods for new creatures. I did not find any of them to be both high enough in quality as well as lore friendly to be included here.
- Commonwealth Chickens and Rabbits – Adds rabbits and chickens to the main land/settlements.
- Craftable Cats – Worth it just for the variety of breeds not available in vanilla.
Homes, Settlements, and Cities
New Player Character Homes
I tend to shy away from all home mods; not on the grounds that I am against the character having nice/multiple places to live, but more because they tend to be placed on the worldmaps and in such a way that you can almost always find another mod that will conflict in some way. Since you already can build any home you’d like in settlements, it hardly even seems necessary for any amount of roleplaying purposes. You can, of course, simply choose not to populate any given settlement, and voila, new player character base of operations. Still, one did catch my eye as something a “lazy” character would do instead of building an actual house.
- Basement Living – Bunker and Basement Player Homes (with standalone Workshops).
- Personal Storm Shelter – Excellent implementation of a lore friendly way to give you a jump start in surviving Survival. Fair warning, this is a little overpowered for lower difficulty levels and clearly intended for Survival. You can, if you like, adjust some of the loadout options. Bonus, works with Sim Settlements and Rise of the Commonwealth.
- Filled Brahmin Feed and Water Troughs – There are some alternatives to this mod. One reuses the same (broken) bathtub texture. Another introduces poured concrete troughs. I prefer the rustic tub feeders.
- Fusion core refueler – Adds a craftable recharger that uses nuclear material to recharge fusion cores. Let’s face it, realistically, the Power Armor uses WAY too much power to have ever been a viable combat solution in its vanilla state. Reducing that consumption, carrying a few cores, and recharging provides both a more realistic and less annoying experience than vanilla.
- Longer Power Lines – Because we don’t have or need utility poles every 10 yards.
- Settlement Supplies Expanded – Adds hundreds of placeable items to settlements.
- Uncapped Settlement Surplus – Stop penalizing overproductive settlements.
This list contains the core mod that has completely revolutionized the settlement portion of the game and, for me, has made it playable. The rest are add-ons to the core mod’s framework.
- Sim Settlements – The gamechanger, worthy of its own heading. Highly recommended to get the Three-In-One version that includes Industrial Revolution and Rise of the Commonwealth, even if you’re working with an old build. Upgrade is seamless and should not break your game.
- Altairp’s Animal Farm – Add-On for Sim Settlements
- Always Free Sim Settlements MrJoseCuervo AddOn Pack – Rolls up the mod author’s other add ons for Sim Settlements into one mod.
- Industrial City Sim Settlements Add-On
- Sim Settlements Add-On – Home Improvements AIO
- Sim Settlements Add-On Pack-Junk Town
- Sim Settlements – Idek’s Logistics Station
- Sim Settlements – Ruined Homes and Gardens Add-on
- Sim Settlements Mayors – If you plan on using the features of Rise of the Commonwealth to allow one or more settlements to choose their own destinies, then you may appreciate the leader packs that will allow more NPCs to lead the settlements (as opposed to only your followers).
- Sim Settlements Mega Pack – Year One – Incorporates about half a dozen of the most popular early add ons for Sim Settlements.
- Sim Settlements Scrappers
- SimHomestead – A Sim Settlements AddOn
- SimSettlements – Vanilla Leaders – It is okay to have more than one leader pack. Just make sure to only use duplicate leaders once if they still appear in the available leader’s list.
- Wasteland Venturers 2 – Sim Settlements AddOn Pack – A version which includes the original is available.
I have excluded Goodneighbor. The mods that are available have too many issues to recommend using any of them. Mostly these result in fairly frequent random crashes.
Diamond City Expansion– As with any more expansive mods that change existing areas, use this mod with caution. I did not have any crashing issues at all, but that’s not to say that there can not be. Do not confuse with Diamond City Enhanced, which only adds visual details. Diamond City Expansion is not finished and is still building the Jewel of the Commonwealth. Removed due to clipping and meshes popping in an out. Note this only happened during Halloween. Probably the extra decals tipping the scales. I would rather be stable than have the little extras.
- Immersive Drumlin Diner – From the very beginning, the lack of security at Drumlin bothered me. This fixes the incongruity between the Diner and its introductory mini-story. Fair warning, this can be flaky. I reenabled this for my most current playthrough and have had no issues at all. However, in the past, it has resulted in area crashes.
I have only considered standalone stations. Since replacer stations will replace each other (usually over Classical Radio), there does not seem to be much point in them.
- Atomic Radio – All other mods are downloaded from the Nexus. However, with the tracks, this file would have either exceeded Nexus’ limits or receives more consistent updates. There is a download link on the mod’s file page here: Link that points to the link here: Link if you want the pre-loaded tracks as opposed to loading your own. This is a partnered mod with Tales of the Commonwealth, which is listed in Quests and Locations under Extending Your Gameplay below.
- Blues Radio – A superb mix of (very) old time blues tracks.
- Old World Radio – Boston – Adds a bunch of themed stations for your listening pleasure. Survival Mode, Campsite, and a horror story on the radio. Nothing goes better with an end of day meal in the waste. Warning, there are some non-lore friendly stations.
Extending Your Gameplay
Quests and Locations
The following mods will add new quests and/or locations. I have carefully considered these with respect to compatibility with one another and the vanilla game and all DLC. There are several more available, both larger and smaller. Some have been removed from consideration because of quality, some because of plaguing compatibility issues, and some because of severe breaks with lore.
It is important to note here that all of the larger “DLC sized” mods available right now are of lesser quality than Bethesda production. Almost all of them have issues with voice acting (either the audio or actor or both) and may break lore in some (or many) ways. If you are a canon purist, none of these mods are for you. It is highly likely that the events in these mods will never slip into canon.
- A Cannibal In Concord
- Atomic Radio and Tales from the Commonwealth – This mod is partnered with Atomic Radio, listed under Radio Stations above. They share the same mod page, however the full download of Atomic Radio is available only off-Nexus.
- Beantown Interiors Project – You know all of those boarded up buildings that you can’t get into? They’re fixing that. It is not without issue. Clipping, tearing, and pop in (and worse, out) do happen from time to time.
- The Collector’s Guides – Missed a bobblehead or comic or two? Starts quests for collectibles. An excellent non-cheaty cheat to grab those missing collectibles.
- Vault 1080 – If the Vault number bothers you, there is a mod to change everything 1080 to 80. This is the nVidia designed mod intended to showcase their hardware in game, but also very enjoyable.
I have tried to consider mostly only fully voiced companions here, but have a soft spot for dogs. While Pugmeat, Pirate, and Shadow are awesome companions, I’m now focusing on a leaner, more concentrated traveling “party”. I would have kept Pugmeat if he was an actual follower of me, instead of Dogmeat. Unfortunately, he is an immovable object unaffected by “Move”, and a liability in close quarters. I’ve left them here because I may do another “dog pack” playthrough with unlimited companions. All are still safe to use with the current mods. If you want more than one companion, scroll down to my Honorable Mentions for the link to Unlimited Companions Framework.
Classic Dogmeat a.k.a. Pirate – Pirate the Wasteland Mutt (Standalone Companion)– There are Dogmeat replacer and standalone versions. I am using the standalone. Removed only because I won’t be using it.
- Ellen – the cartographer
- Heather Casdin – Patches for FDI or XDI, AE and VIS are in a separate FOMOD download.
- Heather Casdin – Assorted Patches – Note that certain options completely overwrite the llamaCompanioneHeather.esp in the main file. If using MO2, you probably want to hide the original.
Panzerhund– Can be either a replacer for Dogmeat or a stand alone companion. The mini version works better with the anims and is closer to Dogmeat’s size Removed only because I won’t be using it. Pugmeat– Great mesh and texture. I chose the small (more realistic) stand alone, with K-9 tactical mesh and texture. Note that vanilla armors do appear to work just fine as well. As a stand alone, Pugmeat appears to act as a Dogmeat follower. Removed only because I won’t be using it. Shadow the Dark Husky Companion– Stand alone or replacer. Removed only because I won’t be using it.
Mods for Future Testing
These are mods that are new or new to me that I am looking at possibly adding. I can’t promise anything. But if you put new mods in the comments, I may add them here if I haven’t already tried them. Or, at least comment on them. For example, CBBE, I won’t be adding here. But if someone develops an EVB type mod with dismemberment that works with vanilla outfits, I might.
- Placeholder – Currently no Untested Mods
Not For Me, Maybe For You
These are mods that I’ve tried, but they just weren’t for me. They’re solid as far as I have been able to test play them, usually at least a couple of hours. I just didn’t enjoy them enough to keep them in my mod list.
- Combat Zone Restored – This is not a new area, but a restoration of removed content from the vanilla game. Of all mods listed in this guide, this has the most potential to ruin your game. Recommended to use only on a new game specifically with this purpose in mind.
- Craftable Animated Flagpoles – I Pledge Allegiance… No longer using this.
- Automatron EyeBot Companions Removed due to lack of use.
- Better Quarry Sites – Replaces textures in and around quarry sites with better HD images. Not the best, but will cover some that others may not. Install before the core graphics above and accept all overwrites. No longer using this, most if not all textures are overwritten anyway. I notice no real quality difference.
- Enhanced Vanilla Bodies – I know CBBE exists, thank you. CBBE is, let’s be honest, not about gameplay. EVB offers vanilla body remodels of both genders. If you play in first person, the hands will be hugely appreciated without gloves. The detail is great, maybe not as great as CBBE, but certainly passable. Problem is, there’s no dismemberment, which IS about gameplay. If you are so inclined, CBBE offers a lower poly model with dismemberment. But the disparity in quality between male (not covered by CBBE) and female models may become jarring. There is no male equivalent of CBBE with dismemberment right now. If there was, I might use them. With EVB, the biggest advantage is no body slide, no outfit studio for continued maintenance. No longer using this. I tested it for hours and hours and it works fine, but with dismemberment mechanics lost, I’ve discontinued use.
- Fusion City Rising – Quest Mod Plus – Is it lore friendly? Um… maybe? There are a lot of areas, things, people that feel like they would be more at home in the Blade Runner universe. But, maybe that’s just me. There are, too, many story points that, while technically lore-based, will never be canon. There is also a sequel (Outcasts & Remnants) and companion mod (Hookers of the Commonwealth) as mentioned below. Removed due to lore issues and some issues with vanilla bodies.
- Hookers of the Commonwealth – Okay, I know, it’s distasteful. It’s grimy and gritty and gross, but it’s also something that will live on as long as humans live on. I actually welcome this type of offensive realism. But realize one thing before you poo-poo this. It’s not all about prostitution. In fact, in your game, you’ll likely, long-term at least, appreciate the subway system more than the hookers. Removed due to vanilla body issues.
- Moon Size Adjuster – Some moon textures are a bit small, this will fix that. For me, the moon I am using doesn’t need this.
- More Where That Came From – Diamond City Radio Edition – Adds more song variety to Diamond City Radio without sacrificing commentary. Removed because, while it does not replace commentary, it does so clumsily, routinely skipping tracks to let commentary play instead.
- Multiple Floors Sandboxing – Skip this unless your NPCs won’t go up and down stairs in muti-level buildings. Improved navmeshing and fixes have made this unnecessary for me.
- Nightstrikers – Probably the only new creature mod good enough and lore friendly enough to be included in a playthrough. However, I found the texture work a little lacking.
- OCDecorator – Place items as static objects in your settlement/home. I removed this, not for me. But for the budding interior decorator in you…
- Outcasts and Remnants – Quest Mod Plus – This is the sequel to Fusion City above.
Removed due to lore issues and vanilla body issues.
- Sable Dogmeat – The darker Alsatian. I think this one looks more realistic, less shiny. However, I prefer the original Dogmeat color and have discontinued using this.
- Snappable Junk Fences – Stopped using this when I start letting Settlers build their own cities.
- Solar Panels – Not lore friendly in the least. I have stopped using this.
- Spring Cleaning – Many tiny issues with “cleaning up”. I’ve decided I’m more into exploring and playing and letting the settlements do their own thing.
- Subway Runner – Connects the Commonwealth subways. Compatible with, but does not require, Hookers of the Commonwealth. Removed, but would consider reading if playing a subterranean character.
- Thematic and Practical – Workshop Settlements – Structures and Furnitures – Again, Sim Settlements has made this obsolete for me.
- Tidy Settlers – Instead of doing it yourself with Scrap Everything or Spring Cleaning, let your settlers function as sanitation workers. Create a rubbish bin and assign. Adds to Happiness. Works well, if slow. I no longer have need of this thanks to Sim Settlements.
- Timer Power Switch – Automatic night lights. Not verified to work with sunset time changes in Darkest Nights. Deja vu, another one I don’t use any longer.
- Unlimited Companion Framework – Removes the one-at-a-time companion cap. Allows 15 actual companions plus unlimited followers. If you just want Dogmeat and a companion, you do not need this. This is for multiple (i.e. Valentine AND Piper AND Curie) companions at the same time only. If you only want Dogmeat and a companion, use Everyone’s Best Friend instead. No longer using this. Someone mentioned that AFT should be listed. While it is, arguably, the better of the two main follower mods, it is not, and has never been, stable enough to recommend for a stable game, the point of this guide. I have preferably used AFT in Skyrim and Fallout. In both cases, crashes and glitches were too frequent to recommend for others.
- Vertibird Jump – Allows the player to jump from the veritbird. Current version does not support latest F4SE and will not work.
Original Link – Continuation of discussion