Oblivion Modding Guide
This guide isn't meant as an in-depth tutorial of how to use certain tools, or which mods to install, but rather some guidelines that always apply.
- Install the game outside of Window's default Programs directory. User Access Control can be moody and sometimes some of the tools don't work properly with it. Better to be safe than sorry. On disc and GOG, you can just select whatever directory you want. On Steam, you have to have either your whole Steam install outside of Programs, or you can create a new library on another drive, in Settings > Downloads > Steam Library Folders.
- Run Oblivion once before changing anything, start a new game, then you can close it again. Optional: Set all the graphic settings to what you want now, then never touch the OblivionLoader.exe again. You don't need it to access your mods, it messes up more than that it helps. Sometimes when your graphics card driver gets an update, Oblivion will think it's a new one, try to find matching settings, fail to recognize your GPU and decide that "medium" is the best you deserve.
- You should know how to create folders, copy files, download files and what file extensions are and how to view them.
- Usually you can turn file extensions on somewhere in Windows explorer, under options > view > uncheck "hide known file extensions". This might not be 100% accurate, because my Windows isn't English. Some mods have the same file name for their esp, esm, bsa and ini file. It is crucial that you can see the difference.
- When you click to download any file, your browser should ask what to do with that file. For some kind of files, it wants to automatically open those with an assigned program, like omods with Oblivion Mod Manager. If using Wrye Bash, you should always save those files instead of opening them, and then moving them into the installers directory. Even if some Mod Managers can handle 7z directly, it's a spectacularly bad idea to assign the file extension as a whole to that. If your browser doesn't give you the option to save, check the browser settings.
- Get 7-Zip. It can extract zip, rar and 7z archives and 99% of all mods are either of those.
There are two Oblivion directories:
- One is wherever you installed it to (and I hope you followed 1. and it is not in the default Programs directory). Let's say its C:/Games/Oblivion. This is where the game itself is and where all your mods will have to end up once they are installed with the mod manager of your choice.
- The other is in My Documents/My Games/Oblivion. This is where your settings and saved games are stored. This folder is NOT nuked when you uninstall the game, so if you've had a previous install, make sure to go in there and get rid of the Oblivion.ini or it will keep old settings and probably cause problems. A new one will be generated when you start the game.
- If you use Steam, don't rely on Steam cloud for backing up your saves.
- Once you have a nice running game, go in the second location and make a copy of the Oblivion.ini. A few mods make changes to it and can mess up things, sometimes when you don't expect it, so having a backup of a working config can be good. Careful: The ScreenShot index is saved in there. If you restore an old ini and did take a lot of screens, you will overwrite them when you take more. Make sure to save your old screenshots if you want to keep them or adjust the index.
- Also careful: When the game crashes, ini settings are not saved. They are saved on crashless exit. If you changed settings, you need to change them again. If you took a lot of screenshots, you will overwrite them next time you take new ones. Rename them or adjust your screenshot index in the ini.
- You can manually save the ini ingame by opening the console and typing "saveini" and pressing enter.
The Mod Managers
There are several options. Pick one. I personally use Wrye Bash, because I need it anyway for the Bashed Patch and various other features, so why should I grab another program for installing? Options are:
- Wrye Bash. It's an invaluable toolbox for Oblivion and the Installer function is just a small part of it. Even if you use another Mod Manager, eventually you will need Bash's Bashed Patch. You can find my Wrye Bash guides on this blog.
- Oblivion Mod Manager (OBMM): Outdated. Might work for some mods, but I've often read about problems. Rather don't use that. The need to create an omod before installing is unnecessarily complicated.
- TesModManager: Updated version of OBMM. I have no idea how well it works.
- Mod Organizer 2 (MO2): Some people say it works well and it's still actively developed. Its probably biggest feature is virtualization. When you use MO2, your install directory will stay untouched, making it super easy to change mod setups in seconds.
In 2019 an update was released that fixed OBSE working with the Steam version of Oblivion. You need to look up a guide for that if you insist on using MO2. Additionally, I believe obse mods (dll files) need to be installed manually if you use MO2.
If you are already familiar with MO from some other game, you should know how that thing works, how you get tools to play nicely with it and can just continue using it. If you don't, I'm not sure I would recommend learning it for Oblivion alone. It can't hurt to use it, though. Unfortunately, I can't help you with that.
If you use it, all additional tools have to be run through it.
- Nexus Mod Manager (NMM): How do I put this nicely: Don't. It came after the best Oblivion years and a lot of mods won't work with it. If you want to keep it simple, it might work, but don't be surprised if you run into trouble sooner or later.
- Vortex: It's not as bad as NMM, but not optimal. You can give it a try, but don't be too surprised if there are some mods it fails to install 100% correctly. Please be aware that Vortex automatically uses LOOT.
Whatever manager you use, you must have a thing called Archive Invalidation and reset timestamps on BSA files. Wrye Bash does this automatically. This is what it means:
All Oblivion files are stored in special archives called BSA files. For example Oblivion - Textures - Compressed.bsa. When you set up Archive Invalidation it will allow files that are placed inside the game's data folder to overwrite the vanilla assets. Want the glass armor to be blue instead of green? Install a mod to overwrite the glass armor textures. Here's the catch: The files inside the data folder must be of a newer date than the BSA. That wasn't a problem when the game was sold on disc, because all mods would be newer than the game when it was made. Steam, though, downloads the bsas with a current date and the mods will be older than that. That's why the tools will reset the BSA date to 2006.
You can also use the small OBSE plugin SkyBSA, which attempts to fully replace Archive Invalidation and bring some sanity into Oblivion's file handling. There is no harm in using both.
Please note: No matter what mod manager you use, if you dig for obscure mods chances are you will always stumble upon some mod that cannot be easily installed with any of them. Some mods have just weird file structures, like "Modname/Modname/Option A/Data/Meshes" or hell, I've even seen a .7z inside a .rar once.
You only have 2 choices for those mods: Don't use them or learn what you are doing and put the files you want into a new folder manually to install them. Every mod manager out there should be able to handle a file that has the most simple file structure of just containing an esp/esm, meshes, textures, etc.
Some common Expressions
- OBSE is the Oblivion Script Extender, found here, needed for a lot of mods.
- Your load order is a list of all active mods, sorted by how they are loaded into the game. It's often used for troubleshooting. You should be able to get a copy-pasteable list with most mod managers. Wrye bash's list is the best, as it also shows merged and imported files (right click on top of modlist > List Mods).
- The Data-folder is under Oblivion/Data. It's where almost all mods end up.
- BAIN is the Wrye Bash Installer, mostly referenced when a mod is explicitly made to work with that. Wrye bash can install every mod out there that has the above mentioned simple file structure.
- OR is Oblivion Reloaded, a mod that changes a lot of things, graphics and gameplay. It can give some awesome effects, but it is not easy to set up. I would not recommend it for a beginner.
- An OMOD is a mod specifially made for Oblivion Mod Manager, though others can handle it by now as well.
- xEdit is the common name of Tes4Edit (it can also be used on other Bethesda games as Tes5Edit etc, hence the x). It's a tool used for editing and cleaning mods.
- The CS is the Oblivion Construction Set. It's used to create mods for the game. CSE is the Construction Set Extender, an OBSE plugin for the CS that makes it more user friendly.
- BOSS is Better Oblivion Sorting System. It's used to sort the load order of your mods. BOSS is only used for Oblivion.
- LOOT is the Load Order Optimisation Tool. It's used for other Bethesda Games as well and is constantly getting better for use with Oblivion.
- UL stands for Unique Landscapes, a collection of mods that overhauls a lot of Cyrodiil to make the regions more unique. The nature of these mods causes them to need a lot of patches with other mods.
- BC or BBC stands for Better Cities, a huge mod that overhauls all the cities of Cyrodiil.
- OC, OCC and OCR stand for Open Cities (Classic or Reborn) which move the cities of Cyrodiil into the main worldspace, allowing you to walk into them without a loading screen. They will need patches for every mod that adds anything to the game's cities.
- OCO/OCO2 is Oblivion Character Overhaul (v2). It's the most commonly used character face overhaul for Oblivion.
- COBL stands for Common Oblivion, a mod that acts as a library for assets and functions often shared between other mods.
- Vanilla refers to a unaltered Oblivion install.
- HGEC is a body replacer for female bodies. It stands for HG Eye Candy and its texture mapping is the most commonly used one in mods. There are a tons of variants, one of them being EVE the Eyecandy Variants Expansion.
- Similarly, TGND stands for The Girl Next Door, another female body replacer, which needs different textures to work. Some clothing mods will work only for one or the other.
- Robert's Male/Female (sometimes shortened to RM/RF) are another set of body replacers, with robert's male being the only widely used male body replacer for Oblivion. You can find the male one on nexusmods by searching for "RobertMaleBodyReplacerV52".
Most custom armor and clothing supports at least robert's male and HGEC.
- BBB stands for Better Bouncing Boobs and I'll leave it to you to figure out what that does.
The Kinds of Mods
- Almost all mods come as archives that are either .zip, .rar or .7z. All of those can be opened with the free program 7-Zip, download it here. As long as the file structure isn't completely haywire, most up to date mod managers should be able to handle those files. As mentioned above, some (mostly older) mods have weird file structures though and you might have to extract the file manually and clean it up a bit before installing. I've explained 2 ways of doing that in Part 1 of my Wrye Bash guide.
- Some mods come as .omod. Those must be installed with Oblivion Mod Manager. You could, however, extract the .omods and install the contents with another mod manager; depending on how complicated the .omod-script of that mod was, this would require some in-depth knowledge of what each file does. All .omod mods I personally know of have Wrye Bash installer alternatives, though. If you don't want to handle the Bain version of Darnified UI, you can just install that first with OBMM and then install all other mods with a better mod manager. It is not recommended, however, as installing and then uninstalling other mods with certain UI elements will break things.
Wrye Bash can extract .omods. Just drop it into the Bash Installers directory and open the Installers tab, it will automatically unpack it.
- A very few mods come with their own .exe installer. It should be possible to install those into a dummy folder outside of your Oblivion directory and then just grab the whole thing and install it with the mod manager of your choice. I know of no current, widely popular mod that comes like this.
- The 4GB patch (not needed for the GOG version) patches the .exe, it is nothing you just install, it is a program you have to use on the Oblivion.exe.
- Similarly, BOSS, Tes4LodGen, Tes4LL, xEdit and stuff like that are programs, not mods. They have to be installed on their own and run independently to work. Some of them can be installed outside the Oblivion directory to not clutter it. They can not be installed with a mod manager, because well, they are not mods.
- OBSE is no normal mod, it is a set of .exe and .dlls, that have to be placed manually into the Oblivion directory (NOT into /data). You then have to start the game via obse_launcher.exe to have it working (unless you are on Steam, then it should load automatically). Once you play with OBSE and use OBSE mods, don't ever run the game (and save it) without OBSE. This would delete all your stored data regarding OBSE from your save game and probably mess up a lot of things, even if you start it with OBSE again later.
- If OBSE mods you download require to be put into Oblivion/Data/OBSE/Plugins and it doesn't exist, just create it. Even if you cannot install OBSE itself with a mod manager. OBSE mods, however, can be handled by some.
- ENB (Graphics and Boost) also are no normal mods, they also go into the Oblivion directory (NOT into /data). You'll need the d3d9.dll from the dev's website and some preset of your liking. Usually those have a bunch of files, like enbseries.ini and enbeffect.fx, those also go into the Oblivion directory. There is a mod manager kinda thing for ENB, but I have no experience with that yet.
But what exactly IS a Mod?
There are different types of mods:
- Some mods contain only an .esp or .esm file. Those are file types unique to Bethesda games. Those files change or add things from/to the base game, but they cannot add any new looking objects like new armor, clothes, building parts that don't exist in Oblivion.
Example: A mod takes the iron sword, calls it Dragonsword, gives it a 50pt fire enchantment and places it in the Market District on a ledge. No new assets were used.
- Some mods have "loose files", which means a meshes and/or textures directory with subfolders containing mod files like models and textures. In combination with an .esp/.esm file those are used to add completely new stuff to the game. On their own, they are most likely replacers that change the look of existing stuff.
Example: The Dragonsword from the last example actually gets a completely new, unique model now.
- Some mods have an .ini file as well. This is where you can change settings about the mod. It is important that this file is neither renamed nor moved from where the mod install put it (unless the readme tells you alternatives, like putting it inside data/ini). Open the ini with a text editor to check and adjust settings.
- Some mods come with a .bsa file. Those .bsa files can contain all objects, textures and sounds and are loaded alongside an .esp file. The .esp and the .bsa must have the exactly same name - At least start with it. MyMod.esp would be able to load MyMod - meshes.bsa and MyMod - textures.bsa. If you have a mod that contains an .bsa file alongside an .esp file, make sure to not rename them - or rename both.
Never unpack a .bsa, unless you really, really know what you are doing. It is not necessary and just makes things more complicated.
- Speaking of, renaming mods usually isn't a wise idea. BOSS wouldn't recognize them. Many compatibility patches rely on all mods having the names the authors gave them. If a patch looks for the file "xulArriusCreek.esp" and you renamed it, the patch won't work. Some mods even have built in support via script for popular mods like Open Cities and Unique Landscapes. Even if you use no patch yourself, you don't know what' s happening internally. Just don't rename mods.
- Some mods are pure OBSE plugins that would only contain a .dll file (most probably already in the correct file path of Data/Obse/plugins/) and maybe an ini file. You will not see those in your load order, but it is still important that you remember you have them and mention them when you need to ask for help.
- Some mods contain all of the above.
- Some mods contain all of the above, but in several subfolders. There might be a core folder which has meshes, textures and esm, and several optional esps in their own folder. Most of the time those are either pretty self explanatory (always install something called 00 Core, because well, it's the core. Only install something like "10 All Natural Patch" if you actually use all natural), or explain it in the readme, or bring a wizard - or all of it.
Example: A body replacer might have the folders
00 Core Textures
10 A Cup
10 B Cup
10 C Cup
20 OCO Patch
You would to install the Core Textures, pick one of the cup sized (that's why they all start with 10) and only pick the OCO patch if you actually use OCO.
In the long run, it might save you some headache if you make yourself familiar with what a mod IS and how a mod manager works. Take a small mod, look into the .7z, see what is in it. Then learn what happens when you install it, which files get moved to where. If a mod contains a file Mod.esp, that file will end up in Oblivion/Data/Mod.esp. If a mod contains meshes/creatures/fox.nif, that file will end up in Oblivion/Data/meshes/creatures/fox.nif.
I mean, this is not strictly necessary, but it makes things so much easier if you don't see mods as this witchcraft stuff, but just as files that have to be placed at a certain location.
All esp and esm files are in the data folder.
Other files will be in subfolders and either replace original assets or be referenced by esp and esm files.
If you have OBSE mods, they will be automatically loaded from data/obse/plugins when you launch the game with OBSE.
That's how mods work. No witchcraft included.
Adding and Removing Mods
When you are ready to start: By the nine, don't install dozens of mods at once, then start the game and then wonder why nothing works. Even if you follow a mod list. Start small. Install only a bunch of small mods at a time, or one huge one - there really is no need to check ingame for a silver platter replacer, but if you install a huge overhaul, better check it on its own.
Open the game, see if it still loads, if anything looks off. You can leave the tutorial right after you selected a race by using, for example, "cow tamriel 0 1" in the console. This will put you into the middle of the world. You'll be damn weak, have no class, but you can check if the world still has a sky, trees, and with "tmm 1" you can enable all map markers to travel to any city to check stuff. "tgm" for god mode also helps when walking around this weak.
Don't forget to run BOSS and rebuild the Bashed Patch before launching the game.
Adding or removing most mods doesn't require a new game, though some things might require some more steps to work correctly after you uninstalled them (check each mod's readme!). I would, however, recommend to start a new game if you install or change huge mods like full overhauls.
Mods that I know of that cause problems:
- Uninstalling some leveling mods (player character leveling) mid-play will leave you with messed up skillcounts for levelup. Usually those readmes have instructions how to fix that, if it's possible to uninstall the mod.
- Mods that chance vanilla doors might cause problems, because doors are saved into the savegame once you've been there. Mod doors are not a problem, because even if you change locations, you could do a "clean save" to fix that.
- Uninstalling weather mods while outdoors and a modded weather is active. Go inside and set the weather to "fw 38eee" sunny before removing the mod.
- Race/Hair/Eye mods which the player character currently uses. Change it first.
- Race/Hair/Eye/Gear mods of the player character from the moment they got their statue (omg spoilerz). There are fixes for that on the nexus.
- If changing/installing/uninstalling mods that change gear, creatures, inventories, it might be best to wait in some empty interior for 3 (or whatever your respawntime is) days so the world resets.
- If removing or adding overhauls, you might end up with naked npcs and or npcs with wrong levels. Right click on (a copy of!) the savegame in Wrye Bash allows you to update NPC levels and waiting in a remote location indoors for 3 days might fix inventories, but there is no guarantee.
- Sometimes, the game just won't load when you deactivate a certain mod, probably because of running scripts or something. I don't know all causes, just don't fully remove a mod and just assume your save will work after, always test it before throwing away the files.
The more mods you have, the harder it will be to nail down conflicts and bugs. That's why
When installing mods, make sure to:
- Actually consider if you want a mod or if you just install it because it is on some list. Lists are great, some point out mods I would never have found on my own, but everyone's taste is different and Oblivion modding is all about making your game. I always played with weather mods because they sounded so nice, but I just recently uninstalled them and not only do I not miss them, I actually prefer the vanilla lighting so far.
- Similarly, how many quest mods do you need? Are you planning to play a holy crusader? Why exactly do you need to install 5 dark brotherhood mods then? Do you really need 10 huge quest mods for one game? Are you planning to play the same character for 500 hours? If you answer all that with YES, great, go ahead, but if not, just think twice about if you really need everything at once. I used to pull the Lost Spires across 10 savegames and never actually started the quest. Don't be like me.
- Check if you've downloaded all required files. Not every mod author sorts the files in the most clear way (many even because the mods are older than some of nexusmod's site changes), but if the Main Files section of the mod at nexus contains a 500mb+ package and a 25mb package, one contains the meshes and textures and other files needed for the mod to work, while the other is just the .esp file. This is so there is no need to download (and upload!) the whole huge thing every time something small changes. You will need both.
Always check the files section. Don't just press this dumb download button at the top of the page.
- Also check the other sections of files at the nexus, like update or optional files. Often there is a patch/update you might need as well. You can check the upload date of the files - if it's the same date and time as the main download, it should be included, if it is newer, you might need to download it separately.
Of course, for many mods the version number makes that clear already, but again, some mods are older than the implementation of version numbers on nexusmods.
- Read. The. Readme. Read what the mod does. If there is an ini file, check it to see if anything is disabled/enabled you don't want. Never assume a mod is exactly what you expect, always check.
- If you don't want to read the readme of every mod you install because it's too much work, by the Nine, at least read the readme of mods with multiple esp files to check if they are meant to be used together or if you have to pick one of them. Don't just blindly actiave all .esps if a mod has several. Sometimes it's needed (like having Open Cities.esm for the shared files and Open Cities Reborn.esp and Open Cities New Sheoth.esp to actually use them). Sometimes they absolutely must not be used together (like having different variations Crowded Roads or Natural Weather). I swear if I see another person asking for help when they installed 4 optional weather mod files, I'm gonna cry.
- On the other hand, some mods are really old. I'm talking before any mod managers old. Im talking nexusmods was still called tesnexus (perhaps even tessource :D) old. When the readme says to extract the files into the /Data directory and use the Oblivion Launcher to activate the mod, don't. Use your mod manager for all that.
- You can also always skim over the comment section of there are any problems you see mentioned on the first page. But keep in mind, unhappy people are more likely to leave a comment than the dozens or hundreds of happy users and a lot of the problems that are posted are the user's fault, not the mod's.
- Check for patches. There are a few big mods that touch a lot of land and will probably conflict with other mods. What comes to mind are: Unique Landscapes, Better and Open Cities, Reclaiming Sancre Tor. UL has a huge patch collection on the nexus, as does Open Cities. Make sure to sort your load order with BOSS (you can try LOOT, but I'm still seeing reports about land bugs when using those big mods, sorted by LOOT) and rebuild the bashed patch.
Create/Rebuild the Bashed Patch
- The Bashed Patch merges some changes mods do to the game to work together. Maybe you have a mod that adds new pretty bottles to the boring vanilla potions - and another mod that changes their value. Usually only one mod would work, the other be completely overwritten. With a Bashed Patch, however, both can work together: You import the graphics with one, the stats with the other and tadaaa! New bottles with new prices. Most tag suggestions will be imported automatically. You only need to change them if something isn't working the way you want it.
- The Bashed Patch also automatically merges all Leveled Lists of all installed mods. If you have one mod that adds a set of orcish weapons and one mod that adds spears into the same lists, no problem.
- The patch also has a tweaks/settings section, where you can change certain aspects of the game to your liking. Some of the most notable settings: Harvest chance, arrow recovery chance, all armor/clothing shows amulets, third person camera movement, sort spells (by putting their school and level in front, like D0 - Fireball).
- For further info, you can check my Wrye Bash guide. But for most users, just rebuilding it with the automatically delivered tags and tweaking some settings should be enough.
- Almost all mods need to be loaded before the bashed patch. BOSS will take care of this for all mods it recognizes - unrecognized mods will be put at the end of the list and you should move them up manually (And, if they are public available, report the missing file to the BOSS team.)
- Note: Some mods must load after the Bashed Patch, most notably Maskar's Oblivion Overhaul. If they are recognized by BOSS and put after, this is correct. Only manually move mods that are not recognized.
- Some mods, mostly small patches, can be fully imported into the Bashed Patch and then deactivated to save space in your load order. Those will be marked with a little green + and deactivated. Leave them deactivated. A green + means all is well and all mod data is imported into the patch, you don't need that file active.
- You need to rebuild the patch every time you change anything about your load order. And run BOSS before you do so. You can add unrecognized plugins to BOSS's userlist, so you don't have to move them manually each time. Part 3 of my Wrye Bash guide has a short section about that.
If you run into trouble
- Yellow squares everywhere means missing meshes, pink or black textures means missing textures. This is in 99% of the cases user error while installing. You can find which mod the missing stuff comes from by using FormID Finder or RefScope. Then make sure you installed it correctly (as mentioned above, including files that might be a separate download!)
- The 1% mod error is a possibility, though. No one is perfect. If it's a common problem, it will often be mentioned on the first page of user comments for the mod.
- Land tears or objects clipping into each other often means two or more mods are incompatible, mostly in combination with unique landscapes or better cities mods. Check if there are patches, install the right ones, sort load order with BOSS, rebuild bashed patch. If there is no patch and the conflicts are huge, chances are you'll have to remove one of those mods.
- Don't install mods like RAEVWD, huge texture replacers, all Oblivion Reloaded features with a heavy ENB and some script heavy mod and complain about performance. The game often just can't handle it, no matter how good your PC is. It can't use enough RAM, and it can barely use more than one CPU core. If you want perma 60 fps, you will probably have to make a few decisions.
- If you crash at a certain spot, you can disable mods in groups and see if it persists. Disable half of them, if it's gone, enable half of the disabled mods, see if it returns, then try to nail it down. This isn't easy as sometimes it's conflicts that cause crashes and sometimes it's just WTF. And even if you think you found the culprit, double check before confronting the mod author, in the optimal case by having just that one mod active (but that's not always possible) and still running into the bug.
- If you crash at a certain spot in the wilderness, you can try to go into TestingHall (coc testinghall) and wait for 3 days (or whatever your respawn time is) and then leave through the door to Hawkhaven so you can fast travel out. Perhaps a spawning monster was corrupt somehow and it should be gone after the cell has reset.
- If you plan to ask for help online, bring as much info as you can. The installed mods (see Load Order, best exported with Wrye Bash right click on top > List Mods), the installed mods that don't appear in load order, like OBSE mods, what you've tried already, anything that helps.
Oblivion can be a bit moody in its original state already, but when modded, no one knows what can happen. I would strongly suggest keeping more than one savegame of each character you play at any time.
If you crash while saving, or run into a crash on load that renders your only savegame unusable, guess what, all your work for the last 20, 50 or 100 hours was just wasted.
You could just keep one save every time you level up and delete older ones as you progress. That way you will perhaps lose an evening's worth of progress, but not weeks.
Furthermore, the game's auto- and quicksaves are unreliable and loading ingame can lead to instability. It is often recommended to close the game and restart it instead of loading during a session. I admit to being lazy, so I just quit to main menu and load then, hoping that it will be enough.
It is also recommended to not overwrite saves, but create a new one and delete the old one afterwards.
There are some autosave mods out there that will behave like auto- and quicksaves, but create full saves that don't suffer these problems. With a nice autosave mod that cycles through a set number of autosaves, you are pretty much on the safe side and don't have to bother keeping track of anything.
And a last note
... that is important to me: If you run into trouble, if a mod breaks, if something doesn't work: Ask for help but be polite. No matter if a modder messed something up, forgot a file, has a weird file structure or added a feature you don't like: You don't insult them.
That modder spent some of their time to create something for others to enjoy and went through the trouble of sharing it - which in some cases requires extra effort writing a documentation, creating the page, making patches and answering questions. It doesn't matter if it is a single sword placed in the IC or some 100h quest mod.It is someone's work that you get to enjoy for free, and if you don't enjoy it, you don't have to use it.
No modder is obligated to change anything for you. You can suggest things or report bugs (which you should at least try to nail down to this particular mod), but still, be polite about it. Unless you can do it better (at which point I'd strongly suggest giving helpful tips and solutions how to fix the problem instead) you don't get to complain about what other people share.
Sorry if I sound kinda angry about this, but it hurts seeing great mods always plagued by the same "this mod is shit it doesn't work" comments of people who failed to follow the instructions.
2020-03-08: Added mention of SkyBSA, added a lot of abbreviation explanations, clarified MO2 works with Steam now, cleaned up some stuff.