Bethesda has made successful RPGs one after another in the Elder Scrolls franchise. The fifth and latest installment, "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim," has a lively community as strong if not stronger than when it was first released six years ago. This achievement was made mostly by the ease with which the game development company allowed gamers to "MOD" the game.

What is the Animated Feathered Wings mod?

One of the more successful mods deals with the appearance of characters in-game, and gives them wings "like an angel, divine being, or cross-bred freak of nature." We found out via PC Gamer that this mod was originally developed by modder milisot1325 and is now being updated (and presumably maintained) by modder Delta 6.

The mod is called "Animated Feathered Wings."

How it works is that the mod adds "mutagens" to the game. There are 30 of these, and all can be crafted at any cooking station provided that user has the right ingredients. Once consumed, the mutagens will grant the player's character wings. The appearance of these wings depends on the mutagen consumed.

What's the advantage? Well, player characters with wings will be virtually immune to any kind of fall damage. The character also has increased jump height via the help of the Skyrim Script Extender ("SKSE"). However, SKSE compatible with Skyrim Special Edition has not yet been developed, so Delta 6 introduced a workaround.

"The wings are fully animated, have appropriate sound effects, and behave properly when the player sprints, jumps, casts spells, sneaks, swims, etc.," Delta 6 explains.

If users get tired of the wings, they can also "cure" the mutation by drinking a "Cure Mutations" potion, which is a craftable item added by the mod, as well.

A lively modding community

User-made modifications, or "mods" for short, add new life to the game by introducing elements players themselves made. These can range from simple modifications to the underlying stat and combat system, to more sophisticated ones like texture overhauls or a completely new region or map, complete with NPCs and quests that the player can partake.

Modding has been a big part of the Elder Scrolls franchise ever since the third game, "Morrowind," implemented the Elder Scrolls Construction Set. This application, bundled with the game, lets players easily create mods and save them in a lightweight format (.esp or .esm) so that they can be easily shared on the internet.

The Elder Scrolls Construction Set has shipped with the fourth and fifth games "Oblivion" and "Skyrim." It's not hard to imagine that the Construction Set will also ship with the sixth Elder Scrolls installment.