Alternate Start – Live Another Life
Live Another Life provides an alternative means to start the game for those who do not wish to go through the lengthy intro sequence at Helgen.
Misery and despair have haunted you all your life. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, you’ve been arrested and thrown in the dungeons. Your trial was supposed to be weeks ago, only nobody has come for you. It’s been so long since seeing daylight you no longer know what month it is anymore. The dungeon is cold, damp, and worse still, you’re running out of food. At least you have that leak in the wall for water. It seems as though you’ve been forgotten, soon to rot away and die. The eight have forsaken you! Or… have they?
Live Another Life provides an alternative means to start the game for those who do not wish to go through the lengthy intro sequence at Helgen. You will be given the opportunity to choose your race and then choose a new life for your character to lead. A wide variety of choices will be available. What you choose will have a lasting impact, so choose carefully or the gods may forsake you again!
Additional support has also been provided to allow you to extend Live Another Life with your own starts.
Live Another Life Bug Tracker
Official Skyrim patch 22.214.171.124.8 or greater. Using earlier game versions will result in CTDs and other problems. Just don’t.
Official Dawnguard, Hearthfire, and Dragonborn DLCs are required.
Use of the Unofficial Skyrim Legendary Edition Patch is STRONGLY recommended.
You will need to turn on subtitles to see the text for the startup quest.
Alternately, download and use Fuz Ro D-oh – Silent Voice to see subtitles only on those NPCs with no voiced audio. This requires SKSE.
DO NOT extract the contents of the BSA file into your Data folder as loose files, or let your mod manager perform an equivalent function on the contents of the file. Doing so will cause things to load in the wrong order and break the game. Skyrim is intended to load a BSA alongside it’s ESM/ESP file. Circumventing this causes issues which we will not provide support for. If you insist on going against this advice, you will receive no support for the problems you generate as a result of this.
Installation – Wrye Bash BAIN
Drop the archive into your Skyrim Mods\Bash Installers folder, then install as usual.
Make sure the mod is active in the Wrye Bash mods tab.
Installation – Nexus Mod Manager
Use the “Download with Manager” button on the Live Another Life page at Skyrim Nexus. The installer should take care of things from there.
Or add it to NMM manually through the “Add File” dialogue.
Then simply make sure NMM has the mod activated.
Installation – Manual
Drop Alternate Start – Live Another Life.esp, Alternate Start – Live Another Life.bsa, and Alternate Start – Live Another Life.ini into your Data folder.
Activate the mod using whatever management tool suits you.
Uninstalling Live Another Life
Due to the nature of Skyrim mods, especially those adding scripts, it is strongly discouraged to attempt uninstalling a mod from your active game. Any mod that is more than pure mesh or texture replacements has the possibility to leave behind permanent changes to your save that you may not want. This is not something modders can correct for. It is how the game was designed by Bethesda. No support will be provided for anyone who uninstalls this mod from an active game and continues on with that save.
That said, should you insist on going forward with doing so you must adhere to the following:
First things first. You need to be sure the main quest has been started before you can uninstall this mod. The quest “Live Another Life” must have been marked as completed, AND you must have “Before the Storm” listed in your journal. Uninstalling prior to this will break the main quest as well as the civil war.
It should also go without saying that if you’re using the farmhouse start, clean your stuff out of it first because if you don’t you’ll lose it all.
Clean your stuff out of any other start location containers you may be using, including any that are part of the vanilla game because they will NO LONGER BE SAFE STORAGE!!!
Once that’s done, use your preferred method to uninstall the mod. The .esp, .bsa, and ini files must be removed entirely.
Steam Workshop users should be sure to unsubscribe before doing this or the launcher will simply replace those files again.
Due to the sensitive nature of the mod, it should be loaded relatively late in the load order. A lot of other mods may seek to make modifications to Helgen and the charactergen quests. Moving this further down in your list will likely help, a lot. I highly recommend going with the order LOOT specifies.
Starting the Main Quest
Skyrim has a lot more flexibility in pursuit of the main quest, even when playing the default Helgen scenario. Alduin’s appearance does not force one to pursue the main quest beyond Helgen. So this mod is mainly providing a mechanism to bypass Helgen and not encounter Alduin either. The game will patiently wait for you to follow along. So there’s no special effort really needed to avoid it, just don’t do it 🙂
For most of the starts, it will appear as though your “Live Another Life” quest has stalled. You will not have an active objective telling you where to go next. When you are ready to begin pursuing the main quest, talk to an innkeeper and ask them for rumors. You’ll be given a generic rumor about Helgen and told to travel there. You can also simply go to Helgen on your own without anyone telling you to do so.
The main quest will also start if you join the Civil War, complete the first two missions for your chosen side, and then get sent to Whiterun. Once there, you’ll find Whiterun closed. If you manage to bribe or persuade your way in, the next guard you pass by who delivers the line about Helgen being hit by a dragon will resolve the beginning portion. Otherwise asking them what they mean by dragons will get you pointed toward Helgen and you can proceed from there.
If you somehow avoid all the guards and get into Dragonsreach without ever hearing about Helgen, the MQ will be force-started upon entering the main hall. Sorry, but this failsafe is required because it is not possible to advance the Civil War until Bleak Falls Barrow and Dragon Rising have been completed. Bethesda did not supply dialogue to allow for a Stormcloak takeover of Whiterun before starting the Main Quest.
Choosing the campsite start will begin immediately with the encounter with Alduin.
Using this mod to follow the default Helgen sequence will play out the same as the vanilla game.
As of version 2.5.0 and higher, Live Another Life allows for extensions to be written to provide additional starting options. This is a known list of extensions that are available:
City Guard – the example extension provided on the Nexus page for LAL.
Legacy of the Dragonborn – An extension to allow you start as a relic hunter for the mod’s museum in Solitude.
Death Alternative – Alternate Start Addon – Various options to start as a slave and/or captive.
Salmon Shack – LAL Version – Start option utilizing MannyGT’s Salmon Shack.
New Beginnings – Several new start options using the extension framework.
Starting Spell Choice
Tested and confirmed to work with Open Cities Skyrim.
Known to be incompatible with any mod which attempts to remove the essential flags from any NPCs in Helgen.
Not compatible with Opening Scene Overhaul due to conflicts with edits to MQ101. Moving LAL after it in the load order should resolve the problem but obviously that then makes the opening scene overhaul a moot point because it will be overridden. If you ignore this and leave it with OSO after LAL, the initial load screen will freeze and the game will never load. There is nothing that can be done about this. Do not follow advice given to install OSO after saving in the prison cell either if you plan to run the vanilla start because that will still mess up several things LAL expects to have happen that won’t.
Descent Into Madness causes the game to get stuck loading the prison cell, regardless of load order.
The Oblivion Racial Bonuses module from Occupy Skyrim is not compatible since OCS OSR.esp alters MQ101.
The Forsworn Legacy – Use the “Savegame Version” and delete Data\Scripts\QF_MQ101_0003372B.pex after installing it. DO NOT USE the “new game” version as it will not work with my mod.
Helgen Reborn – Previously required a lockout for the vanilla start. As of Helgen Reborn 105.3 this is no longer the case and all start options are now fully compatible.
Morskom Estate – Previously required a lockout for the vanilla start option. This is no longer the case with Morskom 1.3 and above. All start options are now compatible.
Shlongs of Skyrim (ugh, yes, there really is a mod about that) – This has been reported to completely mess up the cart ride for the vanilla start option. If you’re going to use that mod, it is best to wait until you’re off the carts and inside the keep before installing it.
Become High King of Skyrim – Edits MQ101, though it’s a dirty edit. Either clean the mod using TES5Edit or make sure it loads BEFORE Live Another Life so that it won’t cause the “new game” menu to get stuck.
Better Vampires – No issues should arise from using LAL and BV together. Even the vampire start should work properly as the method LAL uses to change you into one uses script calls BV retains in its edited version of the player’s vampire quest.
Pirates of the Pacific – Has been reported several times to cause the player to spawn somewhere completely off the map. It is not currently known what causes this as it really shouldn’t be possible.
Buy_Whiterun3 – The optional “New Start” file has been confirmed incompatible because it modified the MQ101 quest scripts. Do not install the optional file.
Reclamation Legacy Armor – This mod, now obsoleted by an update, had a patrol package edited that should not have been which would cause Alduin to get stuck in Helgen. The renamed version of the mod, “Reclamations Morrowind Style” no longer has this problem.
Requiem – Has several ITMs, one of which touches MQ101 and will interfere with my changes to the quest. MQ102 is also edited and will block necessary changes. Move Requiem above LAL in your load order. Cleaning alone will not resolve the issue.
Declutter: Outdoor Decorative Plants – For some reason causes the house at Windstad Manor to show up at Lakeview Manor.
Mods altering the Abandoned Prison (cell 00021594) will probably need to be patched since the navmesh has been edited.
Mods which alter the following quests will not be compatible without a patch:
MQ101 – Unbound
MQ102 – Before the Storm
WERoad01 – Farmer refugees after dragon attack
Mods which edit the following scripts will not be compatible unless patched:
The Thane offer won’t be available in every city right away if you use a property owner start. The quest interaction makes doing so impossible without sacrificing too much of the content to it.
When picking the Companions guild start, you need to go watch the fight before Vlikas will go outside to train you.
When choosing one of the two civil war starts, you are strongly advised to let the Jagged Crown scene play out. If you don’t, the quest may fail to start and the entire civil war quest line will get jammed.
There may be some unfound dialogue that references Helgen. If you find some and have NOT witnessed Alduin fly overhead yet, please report those with as much detail as possible.
Some quests in a major city you pick a start for may not be available until after you’ve left that city and returned later. This is normal. It’s due to how “Change Location” events work in the game and there’s nothing that can be done about it.
If you pick the ship arrival start for Raven Rock, the mouse is not being locked down for some reason when the function is called to run the animated ship ride. No know solution for this exists as of yet. Avoid moving the mouse. It will disrupt the scene, even though the boat will arrive properly. It just looks goofy as hell.
Chesko – For his polygon shape detection script.
Nikkita – For her awesome work on the voiced lines for the statue of Mara in the starting cell.
Dwip – The new mesh section for the farmhouse interior.
This mod is not made, guaranteed, or supported by Zenimax, Bethesda Game Studios, or any of their affiliates.