Retexture - Part 4 : Forts , Imperial Forts


 - Retexture -

 Part 4

 - Forts,  Imperial Forts -


Retextures are great. Yes, generally they don't have an esp. They are just loose files (textures or meshes or both together) that take priority on your main BSA Skyrim textures file. That's what I like. No conflicts, no load order. Just a beautification of your game. That's great isn't it?
These architectures (forts) are very fast and easy to retexture. I believe , that's better to start to work on easy parts when you are interested to retex your game.

So, an easy process but a high impact in the game. Indeed, forts are imposing buidldings.
Even if I retex my game entirely, I have one important rule. I spend more time on frequent objects/ building/ terrain/ vegetation.
To be clear, my choice is precise and detailled for frequent content but I reduce quality when things are less noticeable. That's a solution to increase performances of your game. This rule allows you to win important FPS sometimes.
New HD textures are great but you musn't kill your gameplay and your fps . Retexturing is always a sensible mix between graphics and playability.
Ilinalta's Deep

It's raining on the tower

Forts are not present everywhere. They are just big structures that you can discover in the game. Forts can belong to Imperials or Stormcloacks. Sometimes by necromancers, bandits, etc.... They can be ruins too and sometimes a perch for a dragon!
Forts add a very important touch to the game. They improve the lore....a lot in my opinion. Better are your forts, better is your lore.
Vanilla textures are really ugly (grey and blurry). I strongly recomment you to retex your forts. The first time I made it, I remember, I was surprised by the change.
That's the reason why the visual impact is strong.
Forts are big structures with a lot of meshes. You may have some FPS drop if you watch them from a distance. This depends of the power of your ENB, of all details around the fort and of the number of NPCS inside walls.

The retex is easy. You'll not find a lot of good mods which are able to retex forts with taste and style 😀
Noble Skyrim walls (big stones)


Forts meshes and forts textures are located here:

  • Skyrim / data / textures / dungeons / imperial
  • Skyrim / data / meshes / dungeons / imperial

These meshes and textures change interiors and exteriors (forts only).
Vivid Towers + Rustic windows

A tower in the mist with Rustic Windows

All images are 4K. 16/9, 21/9 or vertical. As usual, you can watch them with the full 4K resolution. Perfect for 1080p, 1440p and 4K monitors.

Global view


As usual, Smim is a "must have". Smim is probably one of the first mod to install in your skyrim.
SMIM doesn't retex your forts, but SMIM improve meshes for clutters, furnitures, traps, chandeliers, barrels, chests. And all these things can be found in forts. So, use SMIM. SMIM is free and SMIM is safe.
It's always a good reflex to install SMIM first. SMIM is generally overwritten by a lot of new mods after a period but SMIM is simply essential to start the retexturing process.
And SMIM provides some very nice textures for small details. So, you win some precious time with SMIM.
SMIM is your friend.

note: If you use ELFX or RLO or other lighting mods, the good instalation order is:
  1. SMIM
  2. ELFX or RLO or RS or other...
  3. meshes and textures of the retex
Ilinalta's Deep : Vivid grounds and walls

Rustic Windows + Noble Skyrim + Vivid imperial forts

PART 2: Vivid Landscapes - Imperial Forts

The second "must have" to retex forts. This mod is almost complete. Hein84, the creator mades a wonderful job. His textures are so amazing and so detailled. This mod is the base to retex your forts.
The mod is available in 1K (1024*1024) for performance and 2K (2048*2048) for those who have a better GPU.
I tried both versions and the 1K is already very good. I use the 2K version. An easy solution to really improve your vanilla textures. Now, forts/fortresses/towers are real, massive and "mineral" like traditional fortified castles in Europe. Textures inspire "time".
Another big advantage of Vivid is the realism. You can see the cement and the sand between rocks and stones. Just like true and old constructions.
The 2K version is really impressive. Walls, floors, decals make sense.
The strong point of the mod: Wall textures have vegetations like moss and they have a great relief. I love them.
The mod provides meshes too. They are here to activate parallax.
They may overwrite SMIM. You can do it. These new meshes are safe and ENB friendly. A patch for non ENB users is available too.
This mod only provides content for Forts. So, don't be afraid, you'll not overwrite other contents.
Another patch is available for ELFX users (like me) in the optionals. Use it if you see some flickerings on walls or floors.

To install the mod, I don't have any special recomandations. You can install it fully (meshes + textures) with the method of your choice (MO or NMM or manually). " Vivid Landscapes - Imperial forts" must simply overwrite all.
A happy vivid crab on a vivid ground

Imperial prison : Noble ground and Noble woods

Snowy Vivid Forts

Vivid steps + Vivid moss

PART 3: Battlemaps with Beautiful Skyrim HD clutter and furniture

Download the file and extract it in an independent folder. We only need 3 small textures :)
In this mod, go to /textures/dungeons/imperial

take only:
- battlemap01
- battlemap01_n
- battlemap02

And paste them in your Skyrim/data/textures/dungeons/imperial

Sometimes, in Forts, you can find these maps. Now they are just better (1K).

About the mod : In this article, we are only interested about Forts. So, we use forts related textures. However, this mod is really good and cover a lot of small details for all your game. It does what a lot of mods don't do..... and some of these textures are rare. So, that's maybe an opportunity to explore a little bit more the mod and maybe you can pick up only textures you need/ you like. As usual a manual drag and drop can be very efficient for this style of retexturing.

  • Interesting content of this mod (drag/drop in the corresponding folder):

- bedpillow01 and bedpillow01_n
- enchantingsymbols01
- practicedummy01 and practicedummy01_n
- beerlabel01
- the "wine" folder.......very important...😁

Just take what you want. In all cases, you can rewrite them by other better HD mods of course. It's up to you. 

The "famous" tower.

A light in the dark

Fight on Noble ground
Big structure : Vivid Forts

PART 4: "Noble Skyrim" will save us

I don't install Noble Skyrim fully. The mod is only always extracted in an indepedent folder on my hard drive. I just use it for specific textures. Noble is one the best for some contents (wood materials, doors, glacier), less good quality sometimes (terrain, landcape).

In this case, we are using it to complete "Vivid landscapes - Imperial forts".
Some textures are missing in Vivid, but Noble will finish the job. We take some Noble textures which are better compared to Vivid textures. Both are 2K (in my case). The mix is superb.

In Noble, go to data/textures/dungeons/imperial and take :

- impfloormuddy01
- impfloormuddy01_n
- impfloorstone01
- impfloorstone01_n
- impstairs01
- impstairs01_n
- impwall01
- impwall01_n
- impwall03
- impwall03_n
- impwood01
- impwood01_n
- impwooddoorsingle01
- impwooddoorsingle01_n

Why only these textures? 
  1. Vivid doesn't cover all surfaces.
  2. Noble will overwrite some Vivid textures with better interesting textures
  3. Noble will add variations to walls and floors
  4. Noble doors are just perfect

Just drag'n drop them to your Skyrim/data/textures/dungeons/imperial. Some textures are new and some textures will overwrite Vivid. Yes, do it. 

Noble ground, Noble walls, Vivid walls and ELFX


Idye searching a secret passage... Noble walls (big stones) and Vivid walls (small stones)

PART 5: Windows must be rustic!

Sometimes, you can see big towers in forts. And these towers have windows. Windows are important because they must be adapted with the ambient light and with the time of the day/night.
A lot of mods are available to retex your windows.
Personaly, I really like Rustic windows. 1K or 2K and it works perfectly with ENBS. Some others mods can create strange results with windows color or reflexion.
Rustic windows is just perfect in my opinion. It works very good with Noble and Vivid too.
You'll have a perfect result during the night. Windows will be illuminated and they will emit interior lights. Very immersive and logical.

Instal the mod...fully. Overwrite all your old textures. Rustic is safe and clean. Rustic replaces all windows of the game (forts, cities, houses, etc...) If you do it now, all your windows will now be already covered for all your game. 

Vivid moss and Vivid walls (exterior)

PART 6: Optional

Some times ago, another mod was available : Amidianborn Imperial Forts. It's a good mod (2K and 4K), but it's not available anymore (the file is hidden on Nexus). So, I can't include it in my article and I can't advice it. I have a preference for mods that are available to the public, to you.
Cabal (the creator of this mod) explicitly said that he doesn't want his work to be upload outside nexus.
For this reason, I don't promote the mod. However, because the internet is huge, you can find it easily. Fell free to find it and to test it.

However, be assured, Vivid and Noble do the job perfectly. I analized Amidianborn Forts (2K and 4K version). The mod misses a lot of textures, 4K textures are only for a few exterior walls and 2K textures looks like more 1K.
If Amidianborn Forts were available, my recommendation would be still Vivid + Noble.

The mix Vivid + Noble gives one of the best result you can find for Forts and probably one of the best visual impact....especially with ENBS.

PART 7: I don't use them

  • Spice of life - Forts  
This mod mainly gives forts more variety in terms of looks. Interesting mod but too much variety (on walls) break the logical sometimes. Some of his recomandations don't match together sometimes. A personal opinion of course. Feel free to use it but I don't feel the need to use it because we already mix Vivid and Noble.

  • Tamriel Reloaded HD (1K, 2K, 4K) 
Tamriel reloaded provides some textures for Forts.
Long time ago, I used it. But the mod is instable with the esp unfortunatly and you may experiment conflicts with others mods.
Some textures are really stretch too (holes/windows in walls) and the mod is really incomplete. Its unique textures are hard to mix with other mods too. Some textures are too shiny with lighing mods too.
For these reasons , I don't use it.

  • Langley's textures workshop (2K or 1K) 
The mod covers some details in forts. Feel free to explore all files. But you can find better seperate mods, simply. The mod is nice if you are lazy for clutters. But if you don't take care, the mod can overwrite better mods that you have already installed...and specially SMIM or landscapes mods.
So, if you want to use it, do it with caution, precisely and manualy of course.
The modder himself write it : " Attention. This set of textures is intended for experienced users, those who can independently look and choose textures which are necessary. "

Diana cleaning a fort (Vivid walls)
I'm waiting you!
Cement between stones

FINAL PART: It's done!  

Yes, it's done. That wasn't complicated isn't it? I told you that you don't find a lot of mods which are able to do the job. So, the process is fast. That's just choices.
Hopefuly, SMIM and Vivid forts help us to have a very very good base. Then, work details with Noble and mods of your choice.
Forts are probably the easiest thing to retex and with the best visual impact in-game. They are important to me.
Well, now on Skyrim Scandal, you have vivid rustic noble forts.......and
Diana ready to clean Ilinalta's Deep

Thank you for your interest about my Skyrim articles on 2018.
I hope to finish my articles about retexturing for the incoming release of The Elder Scrolls 2024. Lol.

Thank you


  1. Well Spice of Life is extremly good when u know how to retex every part of this mod by yourself. Definitely will try your version, maybe even on several variants :D

    1. Spice of life is a good mod, I agree (textures change according to the region). That's the reason I speak about it in the article, even if I don't use it. The idea is good and logical.
      But the mod has "amidianborn forts " as a requirement (hidden file), and this can be confusing for players.

      Glad you are interested in my version :) and you can create several variants if you find other textures.
      If you have an interesting result for your forts, you can send me your images. I will include them to the article with all credits of course.

  2. After some FO4 season, i just come back to Skyrim, and i was crazy with the textures, your articles are very good! Last time i play Skyrim was with a 780ti, sometimes i had to reduce stuff to get 60fps, now with a 1080ti, i can go no limits and the GPU still don't get hot :)
    Thanks again!

    1. Hi Ralfetas.

      A 1080ti!!! that's a monster :) Yes, your skyrim will be definitly perfect with a GPU like that. One of the last windows update allows you to use a very large part of the memory of your GPU too.
      I believe that you can have a VideoMemorySizeMb near 20000.

      However, even with a 1080TI, if you instal too much mods and scripts, your fps will suffer. Mainly because the skyrim engine is old...whatever the gpu.

      so, just be reasonable, specialy with 4K textures.

      I hope you a good modding time, and thank you for your message.


    2. Indeed is a monster! And i have the evga ftw3 version, beautiful. But i work with 3D so i have good excuse to have one, even if all my renders are CPU based :)
      ENB says with this card we have 24000 available memory, because my monitor is 175hz, vsinc don't work very well, in 1440p with the mods i got 150fps, i notice when i see everything flying hehehehe, now ENB lock my FPS.
      But indeed the engine have some limitations, i was in FO4 for 3 years, playing, modding etc... modded skyrim, takes more HD space, use more GPU power and the loading are much faster them FO4, so even if the engine is old, i think is better to play and mod.

      Btw, let me ask you a question, did you see this mod?
      I still don't test it, but i think you are the best one to give any opinion.

      Thanks for everything again! :)

    3. Lol, 24000 available memory :) I only have a "small" 16000.
      Well, that's amazing. All your computer seems great...and with a very nice monitor too. It's important.
      For the Vsync, the Nvidia works very well. You can use the "Vsync speed version or adapted" of your GPU. If you don't use the nvidia Vsync, just use the Vsync of your enb with the fps limit. The 60 fps lock is preferable, even if you can go over. A 60 solid is hard to achive with a skyrim modded (in 1440 p). Good luck.

      About the glacier:
      I tried it several month ago (for the release). It was interesting but the visual impact wasn't here. Probably a matter of taste.
      But I'll try again. You motivate me to test again.

      Thank you


    4. Hi Again Ralfetas,

      After a second try of the glacier you linked me just above, I know why I don't use it.
      My lods and my snow don't match with these glaciers. My lods are bluer (more blue), so Noble or Skyland fit better.
      I can't change my snow (I like it), and the mix with "Glacierlabs" is not good in my game.
      For these reason, I don't use it.
      But I can recommend it for those who have the adapted skyrim.

    5. Indeed is a lot of memory, i check here is not 24 is 27404, but for skyrim 16k, even for modded skyrim i think is more them enough right? I plan to keep this gpu for at least 5 years.
      I am using the gsync to reduce the stutter in skyrim, my nvidia control panel don't give me much options on vsync... just enable or disable... I lock in 65fps in ENB, i put 65fps because using 60 they go to 45-60, putting 65 i am between 55-65, and this 5fps is not enough to make the physics crazy, there is a delay to the gpu go to 50% to 100% of usage, so this way i keep a more steady FPS.

      For the LOD, i was having a lot of problems with this too (in tundra regions mostly), them i discover dyndolod, he can fix all the LOD problems you can have, and make the views amazing, the only problem is the setup, they can take 1 hour to finish everything depending on the system, but the result is truly amazing. The nice thing about dyndolod is that he recreated all your LOD's, so custom houses, waterfalls, ice, everything is done according to your game.

      I will skip the glacier mod for now them, i just start the game, i still don't get to riften :)

      Thanks for the reply!


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