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Do you really like your beer, or are you just a victim of Capitalist Propaganda? How you can learn how the free market works while you guzzle some suds, and how beer can help you to understand the vast conspiracy that is slowly degrading America.
You can't understand Capitalist Propaganda unless you have a solid understanding of what Capitalism is beyond the literal definition of the word, which is just an abstract ideal. Propaganda plays off of the discrepancies between the ideals of Capitalism, like the free market, which is another abstract ideal, and the reality of Capitalism in practice in America, which can be characterized as Trickle Down Economics. Capitalism sought to be a pragmatic alternative to its economic predecessors, a fact which drives Capitalist Propaganda. However, through layers of abstraction throughout the years, it has become more of a religion, as critics refer to the increasingly ideological concept as "Supply Side Jesus", meaning you give all the money to the rich, it'll trickle down to the poor, and they can "vote" on the actions of the capitalists through monetary interactions in the free market.
Capitalist Propaganda is engrained in America, because at the time of our founding, Adam Smith wrote "Wealth of Nations", which is considered the Bible of the Free Market. This groundbreaking work utilized Newton's Laws of Physics, which were en vogue at the time, to describe how interactions in the marketplace would balance each other out, just as the laws of Newtonian Physics do.
The very noble purpose of Wealth of Nations was not create the oligarchy we have today, but to do the opposite. He wanted to describe a system that would protect individual freedoms and be truly democratic. Just as Lenin and Stalin bastardized the works of Marx, so too have capitalists in America bastardized the intentions of Adam Smith.
Capitalism and Socialism are best learned side by side, in my opinion, to avoid falling into the trappings of either ideology that our brains like to do. Which one is better? It depends on the market, but the answer is almost always somewhere in between.
Through learning how Socialist concepts can be applied to problems in Capitalism, you can cut through the propaganda and will see for yourself that these problems can be solved if we just drop the labels and do what's best for society and the individual. The problem is always finding the proper balance.
WHAT? CAPITALISM AND SOCIALISM ARE JOINED AT THE HIP?
Yep. You can never live in a pure economic system. Purity is always an illusion. If you want something to be pure, you have to put a lot of energy into making it that way. Nature likes to mix stuff up. This is why ideologies around racial purity and fascism always fail. There are people who want a "pure" economic system, but they are usually the people at the top and would only get richer from more purity while the rest of society loses freedom and slowly starves.
In a nutshell, Capitalism promotes laws that benefit those with money, while Socialism promotes a safety net that benefits everyone. Every single human is born into Socialism. As a baby, you need food, someone else works for it and gives it to you, but then at some point, you are expected to exchange labor for capital, and buy your own food. See? The two are forever bound as the yin and yang. You can also grow your own food, but for that you need land, which is capital.
These interactions are very tricky. I only want to tell you enough so that you can start to see Capitalist Propaganda, because right now, you're like a fish in water that can't see water. I often use this line to describe a person who can't see their own homegrown propaganda. The best way I found to study Capitalism is by relating it Socialism, the "air" above the "water" of Capitalism, if that makes sense.
I always find it best to look at a microcosm to understand these concepts. And today, that microcosm is beer.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST AND THE ILLUSION OF CHOICE
Before I poison your mind with my own propaganda, picture you're on vacation and you walk into a bar and want to order a beer. If you really want to understand the power of propaganda in your own life, really think of this before we break this all down. Really think, what makes you decide which beer to order? Do you like to look at the labels on the tap or bottle? That's obvious propaganda. It has absolutely nothing to do with the taste or quality of the beer itself, but sways your opinion toward logos you've seen before, which is why you see so many beer advertisements, which means that money that could've gone into quality is instead going into propaganda, and you're already biased towards an inferior product. Interesting. You really can't help being swayed by marketing, but at least you can be conscious of that fact, and that's important in order to be an informed consumer.
Do you ask the bartender for a recommendation? Why would you do that? You don't know the bartender any better than the beers in front of you. How do you know they aren't paid more to offer you a beer that sucks and is 12 years old and the owner wants to get rid of it? Do you ask for a certain style of beer? Do you ask for a local beer? And once you finally narrow it down to a few choices, do you ask for samples so you can make up your own mind? You should always do this. Then we get into "flavor propaganda", which we'll discuss later. Jeez. Did you every realize there was so much complexity behind being an informed consumer and just ordering a simple beer? Maybe you'll give in and just tell the bartender to pour whatever. Choice is difficult sometimes.
If you really visualize this and take a minute to let this sink in, you'll start to understand how external forces hijack the processor in your mind to manufacture desire through the illusion of choice. However, your health and enjoyment of the beer is not the goal for these external forces, they only want you to purchase. The perfect example is fast food. They know their product sucks, but they know you'll keep buying it, but that doesn't keep them from lying about how delicious it is in their ads. There is far more at play behind the curtain. There is a science behind addicting you to things, this is reinforced by a corporate tax and subsidy system that contorts the free market pushing centralization of production through homogenization and use of chemicals to hide the homogenization, and simply because there is more than one option, they make you feel like you have choice. This, in a nutshell, is how the illusion of choice works in the free market. It's not about what YOU want. The producer manipulates you to think you want what they have. Through this, they deceive Americans into buying products with a list of ingredients that a person would never freely choose to consume. So if you want to order a beer with no shit in it, then you're shit out of luck in America. You could in Germany, but we'll discuss that later.
While you're standing at that bar, you aren't conscious of the fact that your interests are in direct opposition to those of the bar owner's. Capitalists hide this fact with their perfect smiles, but Marx described this in detail. You want the best beer for the cheapest price, and the bar owner wants to sell you the cheapest beer at the highest price you'll pay. It doesn't stop there. The bar owner flips roles in the same situation with the beer distributor, who does the same with maybe another level of distribution, and continues to the brewer, then goes to the brewer versus supplier, supplier to farmer, and even though you'd think it stops there, the farmer has to deal with suppliers of equipment and seeds, and on and on.
Add to this list their auxiliary staff of HR, drivers, managers, brewers, bottle/keg makers, and of course owners, none of them care whether you actually like the beer you're drinking as long as you keep buying more. That's the big driver here.
Did you ever realize that every time you buy a beer, your own capital is partially responsible for creating and sustaining all of these jobs involved? You, my dear beer drinker, are the true job creator. Budweiser can brew all they want, it means nothing without buyers, who are the true engines of capitalism. Instead, you're treated as a rube by suits in a boardroom somewhere.
Capitalist Propaganda tells us the billionaires are job creators, but this is a lie. Jeff Bezos can't drink enough beer to sustain all these jobs. So why do we let him hoard all the money? Wouldn't the economy do better if we spread out Jeff's money so more people could buy more beers and more jobs would be created? According to Socialist Economics, yes. That's actually, quite simply, a Socialist Free Market. Did you even know that existed? The power hungry greedy people who are too lazy for manual labor go to such great lengths to make sure you don't learn it. They want you to think that only Capitalism allows you choice in the market. I'm sure you can guess why they say that.
Capitalism maintains itself by exulting the wealthy who use their economic power to punch down. The only way this system won't fall into fascism and fail is if the consumers start to punch back. Where Marx envisioned the Dictatorship of the Proletariat as they usurped power from the Bourgeoisie, a modern alternative is just teaching people to understand the system we live in, so that we can just start making changes in the way we live and to whom we give our money.
See that? Capitalism and Socialism can get along nicely, so long as the consumers are informed.
CLASS CONSCIOUSNESS AND THE ALIENATION OF LABOR CAUSING LONELINESS IN SOCIETY
What I described within the previous section is what Marx called "Alienation of Labor". Each step in the process of making your beer is isolated from the others, so no one feels ownership over the end product or a true connection to the consumer, or job creator. Even the bartender selling it is alienated from the profit of their labor in serving the beer, so they only focus on the service aspect of giving you the beer, because that is where they earn their tip. They can't really fix anything about a shitty beer other than to offer you a different brand. The capitalist owner is usually not there. Their only interaction is setting the rules for everyone in the bar to follow, and pay themselves more than everyone who has to follow those rules. This is part of the conflict between the classes. I'm not saying it's right or wrong, I'm just pointing it out. The bar owner themself has to spend money on propaganda to attract customers that could be spent in other places, so has to find ways to cut costs. Unfortunately, they buy cheaper beer...and this is why you end up with IPAs. No one is connected to the products, so they only look at prices and find the cheapest, passable product. This is the race to the bottom of Capitalism.
Compare this to when brewpubs were a new thing. The brewer would come out and talk to you about the beer, you would give feedback that could effect future batches and it connected everyone to each other through commerce. It makes business "social" and I think nearly everyone enjoys that, but it is losing out in competition with chain breweries that enforce isolation and make cookie cutter propaganda and cookie cutter business models so they can turn owners into managers and suck all the profit back their corporate headquarters and offshore accounts. They kill the experience and make everything transactional. And all the kitsch they hang around their cookie cutter chain bar is just to hide the fact that no one in that place cares about anything other than not getting fired. Everyone is effectually alienated from everyone else. It's worth a read to check out this page on Marx's Theory of Alienation.
This alienation is the root of a lot of misery in society. Humans are communal animals forced to live in a society of individuality and alienation. As they mope around, they seek an escape. And that is why advertising is so nefarious. It seeks to manipulate you in that state. Imagine driving home from your alienating job to you empty home, but looking up and see a billboard with bunch of actors laughing and drinking beer. They take pictures that make these actors look like friends. It's just for show. They aren't selling beer to those laughing people in the picture. They're tempting lonely people to drown their sorrows. Capitalist Propaganda is used so your brain doesn't understand what it wants. It wants friends, then sees the words Bud Light. So when the bartenders asks...Make it a Bud Light. Look at how much money they spend to manipulate and capitalize on people's suffering.
Propaganda in Communist countries is controlled by the government, so it's clear who the enemy of your freedom is. Capitalist Propaganda hides behind the layers of complexity of the same economy you rely on to survive, so you never know what's propaganda or where it's coming from. Marketers find every way imaginable to get their disinformation in front of your eyes, even enlisting your friends on Facebook in annoying MLM schemes. Propaganda invaded everything that can be legally monetized. It's in the media, and not just commercials anymore. There's product placement, stories injected into the news, and even movies and social media created an entire industry of "lifestyle propaganda", telling you how to live your life and indulge in overconsumption. It's REALLY hard to get away from Capitalist Propaganda. There is so much money and research behind it and so much depth, even this long post is only barely scratching the surface. I just want to open your eyes to it.
I can't make you see all this. No one can. I can only describe it as best as I can. What you will experience when you understand this is what I call "Economic Enlightenment", similar to what Marx called "Class Consciousness". Once it happened to me, the world looked amazing, and the shitty propagandists selling us false hope all look like clowns in a very odd circus of vanity, despair and mediocrity.
Once I understood this, I saw clearly how we are increasingly trapped in a form of Corporate Slavery, led by seriously ridiculous oligarchs like Mark Zuckerberg, who thinks he's the reincarnation of Augustus Caesar or something. That's why he has that haircut! This is a guy who stole a company and hired "screen psychologists" from Las Vegas to get you hooked on Facebook the same as casinos do with slot machines. He wants to be the funnel for propaganda throughout the world. He wants to be the kingmaker, decide what people buy, who they like, what views they hold. He can only do this because so many companies spend so much money to put their propaganda on that platform. They can only have this much money because the free market is not actually free. It's bought and paid for on platforms like Facebook and Amazon. The money that was supposed to "trickle down" is instead being spent on Capitalist Propaganda on these platforms, to get the proletariate to trickle their money up through endless, nonsensical online purchasing and local businesses who send the town's money to people who can't do anything with it but buy up properties that increase your rent and cost of living.
When people get drunk on the power of propaganda, they forget the lessons of the past. Propagandists always fall prey to their own delusions over time. In reality, your life is better without Facebook. There isn't anything on there that is healthy. Even if you just want to talk to a few friends, you are going to fall for the propaganda there. You can't help it. And if your bar advertises on Facebook, just think, that money could've gone into purchasing higher quality beer then sold at the same price, instead of going to Mark Zuckerberg so he can drop $30 million to buy the houses around him so no one can spy on him while he spies on you. You really gotta watch out for a guy who combines spying and propaganda all into a single app and thinks he's going to bring 200 years of peace to America. History is littered with knuckleheads like that. It's best to get off Facebook and encourage everyone else to do the same. Zuck only wants to lead himself to the Promised Land, and he's using your ignorance to fuel his own delusions by deluding you into thinking you want what he has to offer.
Let's get back to beer.
IPAs AND THE FREE MARKET VS THE RACE TO THE BOTTOM
I like beer. When I worked in Germany, it was easy to walk into a bar and, like Farva, just order a liter o' beer. Often, there would only be two choices, light color or dark. As a matter of fact, even at the most famous beer festival in the world, Oktoberfest, people mostly drink the same standard type of beer, and no one complains about the lack of choice. It's quite easy. You can order with one finger. No need to see a menu or ask what's in it. It's simply beer. This worked for centuries. Consumers are fine with it. Prost! Have you ever shared a story like this and people say, "Oh, that would never work in America. Americans want choice." Yeah. Because we are flooded with Capitalist Propaganda.
So if consumer choice isn't pushing for a selection, why would a free market call for it? Imagine there are two bars and one of those bars says "30 beers on tap" and the other doesn't. You're more likely to choose it, and the other bar will have to compete in some way, often by copying. This forms trends, and people mistake this for something customers wanted. Trends are always marketing. Don't believe me? What happened to fidget spinners? So now you have a bunch of beers that no one asked for, yet will now demand. Competition creates more Capitalist Propaganda to create demand for something you never even wanted, but makes you think you do. And that's the best propaganda. You think you are thinking for yourself. This is the fallacy of consumer choice.
If you want to understand just how important that last paragraph is, consider this, "consumer choice" is the same propaganda they used to get you to carry around a device that spies on you 24/7 and sends that data to people you don't know, and you can't stop it, can you? You chose that. You wanted it. Not only that, but you paid $1,000 for the device to opt into their spying program, for the privilege of being mind controlled by the propaganda their AI selects for you. Did you read the Terms of Service? As bad as you may have thought Communist Propaganda was, Capitalist Propaganda is far better, and far stealthier. You believe you have freedom of choice. But your only choice is usually take it, or leave it. Oh, you need it for work? Maybe find a different job. Or just succumb to mass surveillance, and next year, you can drop another grand on a device with a marginally better camera.
There is a way to free yourself. You just have to understand the nature of propaganda. It took me a while, but I eventually broke free. Under Socialism, there would be laws against the exploitation of consumers. Capitalist Propaganda tells you that this takes away your freedom. This is a lie. Regulations give you the freedom to not have to worry whether the beer you're drinking has poison in it.
Germany has a lot of regulations on beer. It has the Reinheitsgebot (purity order), a law passed in 1516 that states that beer can only consist of water, hops and barley. Note, this is a different use of the word "purity" from earlier, as beer is itself a mixture of things. Historically there have also been regulations where beer could only be sold regionally, so no matter what part of Germany you were in, you only got a certain brand of beer at the bar, but it didn't matter because they all had the same ingredients. They could make wheat beers or unfiltered, but they were generally variations of pilsners and lagers. One meaning of the word "Lager" in German is "storage", meaning the beer was brewed in a way that it could be stored, allowing them to brew in bigger batches and store it.
Lagers use a more complex brewing process, so only larger breweries would make them, but this worked because of protected territories. America has a similar system, because each state has its own regulations on alcohol, but this is changing as corporate lawyers fight to homogenize the rules favorable to them, but the consumer loses control. Big brands tend to be lagers as they have general appeal to a wide audience. Did you notice this is the second time I pointed out that corporations create homogeneity? Without regulations, corporations create Fascism. That is why I tell people that we already live in the NWO but corporations rule the world instead of governments. Why do you think so few conspiracy theorists make this connection? Propagandists are paid a lot of money to keep even our small community confused about the reality of what's happening. Now, check out conspiracy and you'll see what I mean. They are spreading propaganda for the NWO over there and don't even know it. I tried to point that out and they finally banned me. Oh well. They'll figure it out in their own time.
In America, in 1978 it became legal to brew beer at home. This is what led to the explosion of new beers in the US decades later. Americans don't have purity laws, so could test new recipes. But people didn't generally like IPAs before, so how did they become so popular that they control 30% of the market? Marketing, of course. Create the market and tell people what they want.
IPA stands for India Pale Ale. It was invented by the British as an easy way to make a beer that they could drink in India. People only drank it out of necessity, as the other beers couldn't make the trip. IPAs are very easy to make and very forgiving, because if you mess it up, it already tasted bad anyway. As people started trying to get into microbrews, they often didn't have the capital to make lagers at small scale, and also wanted a simpler process so they didn't have to hire or train expert brewers, IPAs are cheap and easy to make at smaller scale.
In order to make it drinkable, brewers experimented with many different flavorings. This created a cult following of craft IPAs, where people would drive hours to stand in line for hours to try the newest concoction. The trendy nature of the craft beer world kept people training their palate to adapt to the taste of an IPA, making people start to actually like them. The flavorings made people think they were different, so even if they didn't like it, marketing tactics kept people coming back to try the latest blend. Your palate can adapt A LOT. Swedish people love Surströmming, but watch this video of Americans trying it for the first time. They tried to get me to eat it several times, but I would rather sit in a sauna until Tuesday to avoid smelling it while watching them eat it. It really smells that bad.
IPAs enticed people with popular, aromatic ingredients like bananas and pineapple. This is what I call "flavor propaganda". It's not bad in and of itself, but it can be easily misused to cover issues with quality or hide the taste of preservatives. Since we don'e have laws like Germany, you're left to rely on the knowledge and honesty of the bartender to find out. They don't make this info readily available, which is another form of Disinformation.
So if you think you actually like IPAs, just remember, you are just like a Swede eating rotten fish. A lot of propaganda went in to making IPAs popular, but it's the cheapest, easiest product to make that can be sold at the highest price, so they become popular. This is what business students call a business plan. To overcome the bad taste, IPAs were marketed as "classy" to shame you if you choose the more expensive to produce and more appealing pilsners and lagers, which were given a bad name due to being associated with major brands like Bud Light. This makes it harder to market microbrew lagers, which can only fetch a certain price due to association. And this is what is referred to as the "race to the bottom" in Capitalism.
Instead of trying to innovate ways to produce the beers you want, they just figure out how to get you to pay more for an inferior product, just like they do with BBQ. They make you think you want it. From this you can understand why "food" is full of junk that you wouldn't feed your dog. Whatever legal poison helps cheapen the product is considered "smart business", another propaganda term designed to hide the reality of doing immoral and harmful things to other humans for profit. If you make money on it, it's good. As if there aren't better choices we could come up with if there truly were a free market with an informed consumer.
STRENGTHEN THE FREE MARKET BY BEING AN INFORMED CONSUMER
We don't need a Communist Revolution to make positive changes, so take off your ski masks and put your Antifa flags down. I like microbrew culture and still enjoy IPAs, but understanding the marketplace is how I do my part as an informed consumer and job creator to help create the world that I want to live in. I encourage you to do the same. Vote with your dollars. Don't let the Zuck-type sociopathic, corporate people in a distant land decide what you consume by looking at ads on his platform. Visit local breweries and talk to the brewmaster. Don't reinforce alienation from labor. Connect with the people who make the things you buy. Support independent entrepreneurship. These are the paths to a brighter future where we share in the abundance of wealth.
Discover Economic Enlightenment for yourself and realize that We The People are ultimately in control. Wealth inequality is greater than it was in France before the French Revolution. Don't let this train take us into the depths where another Lenin will arise and spend the night shooting people.
How you choose to spend your money today is what decides what will become the society of tomorrow. And remember, you always have the choice to buy nothing at all. I never saw a billboard that said that.
LET THEM DRINK BEER!
I hope this gave you a glimpse behind the curtain of Capitalist Propaganda. Propaganda isn't just political, it has invaded everything and it's at full blast right now. I hope you can piece together how Capitalist Propaganda is actually designed to make you subservient by controlling what you want so they can maximize their own profit and teach you to accept whatever they offer, the homogenization of choice. However, your life is your own and you should remain in control of all aspects of it, including your desires.
Richard Wolff is an economist who studied at three elite universities in America and discusses how he was not able to even learn about Socialist Economics in the ivory tower, even though Capitalist Propaganda calls universities leftist. He found no department in America that is even willing to teach it or study it. Capitalist Propaganda censors these ideas, especially at the university. People in power don't want the serfs to learn about themselves. Check him out on YouTube. You'll realize that unchecked Capitalism leads to Fascism and Slavery, which is why they want to get rid of the minimum wage, so that we can return to sharecropping which is already increasingly happening in America under different names, like "student debt", "mortgages" and "insurance". Don't you think it's odd that a person has to go into debt so they can generate profits for corporations who really ought to be paying for this education themselves? If you have to go into debt before they'll hire you, it's much easier to negotiate against you.
If you want to see other examples of propaganda, check out this random tweet from one of America's Top Capitalist Propagandists. These are very odd pictures, and the only thing I can see in them is that they must be promoting those outfits, likely the blue dress, maybe those men's outfits as well. One thing you know is that she didn't become a billionaire by letting any single opportunity to enrich herself at the expense of others pass her by. I didn't look it up, but I am certain they sell that blue dress, or whoever does paid her to post this.
That's the main reason celebrities use social media. It's marketing. Their whole schtick is to sell garments made in a sweatshop in a foreign country by people who can't even afford a beer to Americans who are facing bankruptcy and homelessness themselves.
Read the replies of the tweet. These people have influence that vastly outsizes their understanding of their impact on the world. There are guillotines in the comments. There usually are. I'm seeing them a lot lately.
This type of propaganda is everywhere. And it's destroying America. Just like propaganda led to the demise of Nazi Germany, we could be looking at the same thing, but worse. It could start off as famine.
If you're having trouble deciding between the beers you are being offered, it's probably because you don't want anything at all, in which case the proper choice is: nothing. Or, try tap water. Maybe you're just thirsty. Now ask yourself, when you envisioned yourself at a bar, did you ever think to order water instead? Did you entertain the idea that you didn't even want a beer. That's the power of suggestion.
What if the rest of the world just cut America off from the means of production outsourced to areas with cheap labor? We would have our own famine and likely war. And if we have a revolution here, with the masses in the country being so disinformed about everything and not having any sort of class consciousness at the moment and instead stuck in alienation, the leader that rises here will likely lead to something horrifying. And we censor ourselves from pointing out the simple fact, that the only way America will survive is to tax the deluded royalty like Kim and Mark back to reality, so they can't indulge their reckless, childish delusions by selling off the very fabric of our nation to the highest bidder.
That doesn't make me a Socialist, that just makes me honest.
Enjoy your beer!
Thanks for reading and I hope I helped you understand how you can empower yourself. I'm excited about the one I wrote for Election Day tomorrow to keep our NOPOL spirits up while all the politics clouds the airwaves. Cheers!
Sheogorath is an architect - or, how I went mad trying out settlement overhauls in 2020
I then thought I would have my cake and eat it too trying to mash as much together as I could- the mods that are tangentially related to cities, such as the carriages mods, the notice board and missives, docks, outlaws refuges, holidays, sewers, lanterns of skyrim II, glorious doors of skyrim, guards armour replacer... Pride comes before a month of modding algebra, as they say.
As a side note I'm pretty sure any and all problems I have encountered with any mod are my own fault and I don't magically expect authors or patch makers to have everything perfect for my own convenience, especially if I am testing the limits of compatibility. Furthermore mod authors should ignore my criticisms as they're based on my tastes and mine alone- they do not invalidate the creativity and work you've put in. You're all brilliant. This is also not a guide to the best set up for cities in skyrim, merely a snapshot of madness.
You can also get all of the above mentioned "tangential" mods working with the JK/DoS/Arthmoor set up with patches, as well as big quest mods such as 3dnpcs, or various playerhomes. It's a fine setup, and I would recommend it if anyone hasn't given it a go. My desire to replace was basically FOMO on 2020 mods.
Cities of the North - Where the Great Cities changes the layout, so this mod radically alters the building shapes to give the settlement a unique shape and fingerprint.
Holds the Cities Overhaul - A huge all in one mod, but actually despite the huge patch centre I got spooked early on in the decision making progress about compatibility and wanted to mix and match some town overhauls with other town overhauls so I'm sorry although it looks great in parts I didn't give this a real look. Fans of Holds will have to look elsewhere.
Expanded Town and Cities - someone pointed out I didn't mention this one at all, and I admit I think I've done missjennabee dirty. It was a staple of my LE load order- you could combine it with Arthmoor and JK in many/all cases, and was modular or all in one. She decided to build again from the ground up in SE, which while coming from a good place of trying to refine her work was actually from my point of view is quite unfortunate as when I moved to SE it wasn't finished, and it ended up being dropped. Even today it's only a few locations, so I had a massive blind spot on it when building my load order and didn't consider it. There are plenty of patches available for it to integrate so check it out. I've mentioned where it's a possibility in each section.
1-settlement overhauls - we'll get to them in turn.
CFTO vs Convenient Carriages - Convenient carriages seems slightly less elegant but easier compatibility when you can't keep in your head straight what you're using. I've switched over, though I'm sure with enough thought I could have kept CFTO.
Riverwood Yep, it's JK again. I like my Riverwood small and sleepy- at one stage I considered Riverwood light add-on but there's a lack of information on what that does. I indulged in Beginner's Shack because you can make it a home for a 3dnpc character. An alternative might be the Expanded towns and cities version, but I didn't investigate.
Riften, Windhelm Honestly I'm in two minds to learn how to make Dawn of Skyrim modular and throw it back on for these two settlements. Snowy AF Windhelm provides Windhelm with a neat solution to giving Windhelm a little more character- throw it under so much white stuff the city of london will be after it (one manhole for skyrim sewers is lost). Riften Docks Overhaul is a welcome "best of" addition to the outskirts of the city- don’t be a idiot like me and make the beta 1.5 file overwrite instead of merge the 1.4 file, it’ll cause any tamerial cell load to crash. In the end I didn't plump for any of the city entrance overhauls for Windhelm, even though the bridge is a bit dull, apart from Windhelm Bridge Seam Fix to stop the very obvious line on the lip of the bridge. Feels like a sledgehammer to crack a nut but it works.
Markarth It's JK. I felt Dawn of Skyrim was almost too busy but not quite, so playing without it will make the city feel a bit cleaner for this playthrough. I loved the beautiful bridge of City entrances overhaul but the compatibility problems reported led me to go for the fixed version instead. Stoop over Markarth is a nice balcony I can observe the forsworn revolution from and I like my Understone Keep rubble swept up thank you very much.
Solitude There's actually more solitude (the city itself) overhauls about now, and honestly I didn't think I would like Enhanced Solitude as much as I do. A patch is available for JK (or JK+DOS) and outlaws refuges, the mod does drop in fps a little but makes up for it in the new shops and bustle. I think the bit I love the most is the paved shop street going up from the outer gate to the solitude worldspace gate. Don't use the JK-Missives patch to make the pair compatible, or you'll lose the board behind a wall. Do use the JK Noticeboard patch. No, I have no idea how Holidays is going to cope with it. If you use skyrim sewers you'll notice the manholes fade in, but as far as I can tell is otherwise useable.
The author also really liked solitude expansion and has both offered a patch for it and a whole new complimentary mod Enhanced Solitude Docks that works off it that does for the docks what enhanced solitude did for the city itself. However, both lagged like crazy for me (there is a patch for majestic mountains in Enhanced Solitude Docks but as I’m running cathedral either the problem is this user being an idiot, or cathedral majestic mountains is different and the patch provided doesn't fix whatever the issue is), and when I tried out solitude expansion some buildings were morphed into the mountains and inaccessible. Please note I was using the Enhanced S – S Expansion patch at the time, so the usual caveat of a missing a patch somewhere is probably true. There's some additional tweaks and other mod integrations available here which you may be interested in, including skyrim sewers replacing an area introduced in enhanced solitude docks.
I've gone for Solitude Docks Updated this time round. It is a more focused overhaul (and distinctly less laggy) with plenty of patches on offer and does well enough for me. Don't forget your frescoes and rectory for holy characters, or harborside for a sea view (though I found it too caused a small amount of lag with my setup). Finally, Centred Blue Palace Throne makes the throne room just that little bit grander.
Falkreath The great city of Falkreath is actually what inspired me to rejig in the first place. I adore that graveyard, especially when paired with Sepolcri (as far as I can work out, the aio great cities patch works for falkreath even if you're just running the individual great city of falkreath). I cut JK- this was a pinch point for the JK-Great city patches, especially around the jarl's longhouse, the blacksmith, and too many big trees in the graveyard. Missives will work, but it'll be half out a low wall, and using the JK-missives patch will move it in front of the execution block. Best just select the offending wall pieces and use the disable console command. I find the opening hall to the jarl's longhouse slightly odd (a tight room that turns into the main hall), but it's a wonderful looking building inside and out (ignore the lighting in the ceiling). I dread to think what cities of the north's falkreath will do to it in the future- I'll never get the damn thing compatible, will I?
Dawnstar I think I've spent more time modding dawnstar than any other location.
This is another classic Great City series example- strong walls, tall Jarl’s palace, busy port. I think pairing it with JK felt like a mistake- there are some tight spots along the upper wall area by the mine and on the docks and the city entrance that I felt the extra touches from both mods overwhelmed rather than added, and I felt it certainly didn’t help the navmesh. There are additional problems if you’re running CFTO with this combination- I got tired trying to work out which patch would move the ferryman back onto the docks, and the carriage out front will refuse to unphase from the wall even with the patch- again, probably my error. Cities of the North goes for a simpler approach to Dawnstar- no planked dock, but the town is shaped by these wonderful cosy Nordic houses that stand out against the snow instead. The Jarl’s longhouse exterior and inn exterior both look fantastic, and the jarl’s interior has this cool raised dais above a feasting hall which all feels very medieval. I haven’t tried to see if characters will feast there instead of the inn, but I really feel they should- someone should make a mod, or it feels like a waste.
The inn is rather large and has an oversized oven as a focal point but I have been getting constant errors in the opining dawnstar “I can’t sleep” scene- the barman is able to speak but I can’t find him even with clipping turned off, and the dark elf doesn’t appear most of the time. I think there might be a bad install or something to check there. The whalebones in the roof are an excellent touch, but all in all I wish I was eating and drinking in the Jarl’s hall. I can’t comment too much about it standalone but I felt it dovetailed well with JK- the JK detailing around the dock, buildings around the mine, and entrance is kept and apart from maybe one narrow squeeze on the walk between the jarl longhouse and the inn it still feels spacious. You can even throw in Arthmoor’s Dawnstar for a slightly bigger town- just head on over to the huge patch collection maintained by Janquel, who I think honestly deserves almost as much praise as the mod authors for his extensive work here. We’ll see them again in Morthal. I feel it’s almost unfair I haven’t tried the Cities of the North – Great City version of Dawnstar (same patch page), especially as I’ve replaced CFTO with Convenient Carriages which was the main headache inducer, but I reckon that’ll be a strong option to look at if you’re looking to reshape dawnstar. I’m sticking with the CotN-JK-Arthmoor version for now, but will admit I slept on the expanded towns and cities version.
Morthal I adore the CotN houses for Morthal. They have this bleached look that makes me weirdly think the trees were felled and lay in a bog before being used. The inn is cosy, the Thaumaturgist’s hut is this weird two story building (suggestion – a fence on the top exterior floor), and the houses tend to have their own sheltered exterior to keep stuff. The guy who wants to be a guard has some practice dummies in his which is some nice environmental narrative stuff. The inn is this weird slightly twisted hall (I think it needs an inn counter area rather than table for the innkeeper but this is probably a design choice), and highmoon hall is beautiful inside and out. I have thrones of skyrim over the default version included here, but if you like your Canadian Native American legends I guess it looks like east coast Native American art. Again, pairing with JK does wonders- a palisade around the entrances ties everything together, and small details here and there make it feel more lived in (even if the blacksmith sometimes gets a bit stuck). The noticeboard/CotN patch offered does work until you add in JK- it then gets hidden slightly behind some crates. I’d recommend either the JK COTN patch removing those crates (there’s plenty in that little nook already) or the noticeboard patch moving it slightly to its left behind the wooden bench. In the meantime, you can simply use the disable command. Bridges of Skyrim adds a bit to it as well.
The Great City of Morthal has some strong ideas about walls (its worn palisade is a superior version of JK’s, and adds a small amount of stone which might be a bit much) and has the nicest drawbridge (if you use bridges of skyrim the patch will overwrite it with the Bridges of Skyrim version which I think is a shame). The lagoon feels a little busier and there’s a whole extra vendor opposite the jarl’s longhouse. As usual, pairing with JK is a mistake- you can barely get down the main street with all the extra decorations and points of interest, never mind the NPCs. Pick one and go for it. However, and remember it may just be me because I’ve never seen anyone else complain, I noticed that the raised entrance to the jarl longhouse will cause guards to phase through the planks and drop down so you’re looking at a torso on guard. The navmesh at the crossroads with the inn leading to the bridge appears to have some problems- guards, children, and people from the opening scene will get caught and bump into each other, even without the missives board present. They will be unable to disentangle themselves at all. Therefore I went with Cities of the North/JK. I didn’t give Morthal Overhaul II or Morthal Ages a go, so apologies for that. In my small testing run abouts I’ve seen the positive impact Denizens of Morthal has even just walking into the inn, so keeping an eye on that one (the author has even replied to this thread with their future plans!).
Winterhold I like my Winterhold overhauls similar to Brexit- a very obvious show of yesterday’s grandeur being yeeted off a cliff where everyone can see the ruins. I guess in real life if this happened a hundred years ago or whatever we wouldn’t be seeing fully formed buildings down the bottom and they would have rebuilt a fair bit of the town but hey, if it looks pretty I’m willing to forgive. This does rule out the various restored winterhold mods (1, 2, 3. Realistic winterhold restores a bit too much for my taste as well. I admit, I haven’t tried out Capital of Winterhold (sorry!) but it’s more the approach I was thinking of. Oddly enough, I really didn’t like the pictures of CotN’s version. The houses themselves are wonderful, like giant mountain goats in blizzards, but there’s not a huge amount of ruin decoration, the town is very sparse, and the fortress while undeniably cool is not what I want in my Windhelm. It’s too… developed and big and cool to have just 3 buildings next to it. With the included JK patch apparently the ruins get spruced up a bit. A patch with the Great City (hello again Janquel) makes it more like CotN than the great cities, which I guess is inevitable but a shame.
Winterhold – Expanded ruins is possibly my favourite set of ruins to add to Winterhold, and comes in several flavours- a full version with walls, ruins, underground maze, extra lore/quest, and player home, or modular. I paired the ruins/walls only version with QaxeIsKaze’s excellent but sadly unavailable Rebuilding Winterhold. However, the Great City of Winterhold has some really nice ruins, and soldierofwar has clearly put in the effort to design the ruined area to have a view of it tumbled down into the sea below. The houses down the cliff look a little too intact but it’s glorious. I’m a big fan of using what is basically the windhelm buildings, they add a lot of character and make the city feel narrower and claustrophobic, and the extra blacksmith clanging makes you feel like there’s still life in the old place yet. I couldn’t work out how to make the great cities – outlaws refuges patch work with just the modular “Great city of Winterhold” file, but I can live with the extra well. It’s not necessarily perfect for me- there doesn’t appear to be a JK patch (so I removed Winterhold from JK as noted above), I’ve hit the reported error of Birna’s shop being closed at all times, and there are a lot of houses that are unoccupied but you can only tell by looking closely and realising the doors are boarded up- perhaps the windows should be as well, or at the very least no lights coming from them? There is also possibly an issue with the crossroads here as well- there are 2 guards that appear to halt and not move from the spot. Strangely the Jarl’s steward will happily wander through- perhaps it’s a guard patrol route choice rather than a navmesh error? The jarl longhouse is suitably impressive by itself but is hidden away in a narrow side street rather than the main street, but I like the new rotated inn building and where it opens out to. Again, I seem to remember problems with CTFO but maybe that was my end not figuring out the patches, but moving to Convenient carriages solves it.
There’s a new alternative about that I have in fact gone at time of writing– ClefJ’s Winterhold- I need to run the Better Dynamic Snow patcher and had a problem with floating embers in the inn from embersxd, but it’s a strong design that’s had some thought behind it with a spectacular central fountain square, a redesigned jarl palace (though the opening foyer is surprisingly small), a tucked out the way player home, and a moderately expanded amount of shops on offer including a clothing and a blacksmith vendor . Even the houses themselves have had a small makeover that brings something unique. I had a minor problem in that the embersxd patch that is allegedly there doesn’t seem to download, but I submitted a question to find out if it was my end or not. I also noticed Birna was closed in this mod too. There are other patches that I believe are in development- missives is perfectly usable but oddly placed in front of some irrelevant stairs at present which will be rectified.
Raven Rock Honestly there’s not much out there for Raven Rock. Quaint Raven Rock add lots of visually interesting things around town- I like the combined statues of the daedra the most. I just went for that.
Dragon Bridge This is another Great Cities mod I was really excited to try out. I like the design philosophy behind it- great big walls befitting a strategic point, and the addition of the jetty while not very functional really breaks it up and makes it more visually interesting from the other bank. The picnic table on top of one of the walls is a favourite spot of mine too. The conversion of the Penitus Oculatus barracks into what almost appears to be a chapter house with a church-like tower from the outside adds a bit of variety and I have grown to like, while the legionary on guard in the very fortified bridge section of the town really makes you feel like you’ve walked into a heavily guarded fortress. I feel there is a navmesh or guard route issue as I keep spotting them bumping into walls, but they free themselves after a while. This really doesn’t work with JK, even with the patches I tried out- have a look at the execution block area or the inn’s outside area if you don’t believe me. I miss JK putting the blacksmith near the Penitus Oculatus barracks, but it’s a minor quibble and is worth the trade off. I’ve noticed Skyrim 3d rocks makes a rock under the blacksmith pop up through the decking (a simple disable command fixes it). A final minor quibble is that maybe the wolf that’s very close to the city should be disabled because it just makes npcs run around and freak even if they easily deal with it. Although JK is out and should be disabled, the Arthmoor compatibility patch included on the page works flawlessly. This is what I’m running with at the moment.
Ivarstead As we move to the smaller settlements, you can really tell that Soldierofwar is trying new ideas and has maybe increased their skills. There’s no huge wall like the great city collection, but suddenly Ivarstead has an impressive temple to Kynareth- which really makes sense as you consider it’s the last major stop on a pilgrimage route before the big trek up the mountain, and in many cases I bet the last stop (we know not everyone goes up the mountain). It’s based off stave churches in scandanavia and has a wonderful interior- the author has been asked a few times if it’s not too tall but they've replied several times (including to me) that it’s in proportion to real life, so who are we to argue? Besides, it’s the last bit of flat ground on the trail before High Hrothgar, if a jarl wanted to build something big Ivarstead is the place to do it. All the buildings have had a makeover, and I’m a big fan of the bridges and lake jetty in particular. The interior of the inn is also changed to match the exterior, and reminds me a bit of some of the city of the north inn interiors. There’s so much character added to this small village, I knew I had to give this mod a shot. There’s also an impressive patch collection which includes a JK patch!
Rorikstead JK’s Skyrim/Arthmoor actually turned this small farming community into a relatively heavily fortified and busy settlement- I think it’s the extra shops JK added. I don’t know if the Great City version of the village was supposed to invoke a viking D-style enclosure fort/settlement (it’s a thing, according to a book I read), but Rorikstead almost perfectly fits the profile. It’s got a feasting hall for the lord which looks spectacular from the outside, and a couple of key buildings (the inn, though in real life this would probably be an armoury or stables) inside, and several dwellings and farms on the outside. There’s not quite as much farming added as in JK/Arthmoor or extended towns and cities, but it still all looks very prosperous. There’s even a ruined house which must be some poor horse thief’s. The inside of the hall is surprisingly small- I was looking for an upstairs for where Rorik slept. It’s also again a pity this wonderful lord’s hall is not going to be used by the NPCs (again, tell me if I’m wrong) because everyone will pile into the inn. Ah well- it’s a fortified small farming village with a real visual identity, rather than a middle skyrim falkreath/dawnstar. I love it.
Kynesgrove, Darkwater crossing, Soljun's Sinkhole, and Old Hroldan The first 3 are basically Arthmoor exclusives (Note: Someone pointed out Expanded Towns and Cities for Darkwater Crossing, sorry)- I’m actually a little surprised there’s not many mods for Kynesgrove- dragon mound, mine, proximity to Windhelm, main quest… seems like a few things you could work with there. I have seen that the Great Town mod is going to release at some stage though, so looking forward to that. Soljun’s Sinkhole is actually touched on by the Great Village of Old Hroldan, as it changes the farmhouse that makes it up to match the tileset introduced in that mod to keep it consistent. These buildings are very distinctive- the inn especially is unrecognisable and novel with its 2nd floor main common room. The ruined wall with the talos statue looks striking as well, and an attempt to change what was in vanilla basically an isolated inn in the reach with the lore of the location, but more emphasis is on the present day village than the old fortress that used to be here. The other mod I’ve tried (and have used previously) Old Hroldan Ruins does the opposite- it makes a vast set of ruins that dominates the road to Markarth with its tall towers and relatively heavy guard contingent. It comes in two flavours- ruins (and monument) only, and “full” which adds a shop in a ruined house, a recently abandoned house you can take over (with a crafting basement) and a very extensive dungeon of ghosts that if I recall correctly fought against Tiber Septim. I always seem to get the forgemaster’s fingers stuck there. The whole place just looms out the fog if the weather is inclined to be dramatic and you get a real sense of people scratching a living in the ruins rather than it being a thriving settlement. But the real success story about this location is that thanks to the efforts of that amazing person Janquel and cheesetoast8 every mod mentioned in this section is compatible. Everybody lives/mods, Rose. Everybody lives.
Shor's Stone Can you remember the last time you went to Shor’s Stone? I can’t either. Although I like the different building style (I swear these minor villages buildings are getting closer to CotN standard of differentiation every day) I was at first put off by the addition of Fallowstone Hall, as I am unfamiliar with ESO and thought the idea of a companions outpost in this tiny village in such an epic-looking clifftop fortress was too much. But the hall itself is rather small (though it has a vault and items etc), the fortress is in ruins and made of this very shetlands style piled stone, so I’m willing to give it a chance over Arthmoor’s functional village this time. I may change my mind. Once again Janquel has patches, though they appeared to have trouble with working out what to do with Elder Scrolls Online Imports.
Karthwasten The great town offers the same Breton-inspired buildings seen in Old Hroldan, but also expands the town’s functionality and makes the hall actually interesting enough to have been pointed out way back in Arena. Yes, there’s patches by the usual suspect.
Mixwater Mill These are perhaps candidates for the prettiest Great Village/town buildings. An unfussy extension of a small lumber camp that is once again serviced by Janquel. This in contrast to the slightly more involved and extensive Mixwater Mill Reborn.