Welcome to Everyone’s Favorite Part of Skyrim: Troubleshooting Mod-Related Issues
A new Skyrim means new upgrades – we’ve got fishing, all kinds of new gear, new quests, and as you can expect, some software tweaks. It’s nothing too extensive, just a little something special to speed up a few processes. If you’re going in without mods, you shouldn’t have too many problems. But you won’t be doing that, will you? This is Skyrim, after all.
Turns out, a few mods relied on the processes Bethesda upgraded. Now they’re too fast, and some of those mods aren’t designed to handle that kind of speed. The end result is a black screen – music still plays, but none of the usual tricks are able to bring things back to a playable state. You’re locked out, and have to restart.
A prominent mod author made a reddit post warning people about the issue, and described the technical side of things – at least when it came to his own “Lucien” follower mod: “I realised that what was happening was the script was running faster than it used to. This meant that when the player loaded the game, Inigo’s esp [for reference: Inigo is another follower mod that Lucien can interact with] was detected, so the game tried to grab his reference to put into the alias. However, as the script was running so fast, Inigo’s reference hadn’t had time to load, so the script was attempting to fill the alias with a NULL, causing a crash.”
The solution that this modder came up with was to add a delay to that process, giving the game time to catch up with its own speed before loading everything.
If you’re experiencing crashes like this, PCGamer recommends steering clear of any script-heavy mods – at least until their respective authors recognize the problem and patch in a fix. The fix described sounds relatively straightforward, so if the mod author is still active, it shouldn’t be too long until everything is up and running until then. But in the meantime, take it slow and steady – I know that the urge to mod Skyrim ’till it breaks is a tempting one, but you don’t want the destruction to come this easy, right? Give it time, and read mod descriptions carefully.