Survival Mode adds new gameplay features and challenges to transform Skyrim into a land of unrelenting cold and harsh wilderness. You can check out the map below to see all the treacherous climate zones, plus helpful landmarks that could ensure you survive your journey.
For maximum challenge, try Survival with Legendary difficulty.
Survival Mode changes Skyrim in the following ways:
Over time, you will become hungry, which will impact your total stamina, as well as your ability to wield most weapons. As you become hungrier, your total available stamina will decrease, represented by a dark region inside the stamina bar. Eat food to restore your hunger. If you eat enough, you will receive the Well Fed bonus. Cooked food restores more hunger than uncooked food. If you eat raw meat, you may contract Food Poisoning, which can prevent you from receiving health benefits from food until the effect wears off. Hot soups can now be cooked by using fire salts, which restore your cold and also grant a bonus to your warmth rating.
Skyrim Survival Famished
Even the most stalwart adventurers will need to rest from time to time. Fatigue decreases your total available magicka, represented by a dark region inside the magicka bar. As you become more fatigued, the effectiveness of potions will begin to decline, and your ability to recover magicka and stamina will begin to suffer. You will need to periodically sleep in a bed in order to restore your fatigue. In Survival, the Well Rested bonus is no longer granted automatically after sleeping. If you sleep outside, you will not be able to get a restful night's sleep, waking up Drained at best. If you sleep in a bed indoors, you will receive the Well Rested bonus.
The frigid chill of Skyrim is now a formidable foe unto itself. Traveling in snowy or rainy areas will increase your Cold. Cold decreases your total available health, represented as a dark region inside the health bar. As you become colder, your movement speed and ability to pick locks and pick pockets will begin to suffer. If you reach the highest level of Cold, your health will be reduced to zero and you will die from exposure to the elements. You can warm up by standing near a fire, eating hot soup, or moving to a warmer location. A sun or snowflake icon will appear near the compass to note whether you are currently getting warmer or colder.
Skyrim Survival Cold
The higher your warmth rating, the more slowly you will feel the effects of cold environments. Most clothing and armor provide warmth, displayed on the item's description. Some armor is exceptionally warm, while others are ill-suited to protect their wearer from harsh climates. You can also temporarily increase your warmth rating by eating hot soup or holding a torch.
Taking a swim in an ice-cold river can make for a quick death. If you swim in a freezing area, you will immediately become colder and begin taking health damage. Exit the water as soon as possible in order to begin warming up and stop the loss of health. Using a Flame Cloak spell or the Dunmer Ancestor's Wrath ability can make you temporarily immune to the effects of freezing water.
Fast Travel is disabled. If you wish to go somewhere, you must do so on foot or by horseback. You can also take a carriage or boat to your destination, but note that you may arrive hungry, cold, and in need of rest after a long journey.
Skyrim Survival Mountain
You no longer regenerate health. You must use restorative spells, food, and potions to replenish your health.
To level up, you must now sleep in a bed. You may still spend your perk points later once they have been granted after sleeping.
Your carry weight has been significantly reduced. Becoming over encumbered also quickly drains your stamina and causes you to become fatigued much faster. Arrows and lockpicks now have weight.
Creatures across the land now carry threatening new diseases, and previous diseases are now even more debilitating. Eating uncooked meat can now cause Food Poisoning. If you fail to cure a disease, it may progress into a more serious version over time.
Skyrim Survival Elements
Time spent while unwell puts you at risk of contracting an affliction, which causes effects that can linger long after you have improved your condition. Afflictions will naturally wear off, or can be cured like other diseases. Some Afflictions include:
Weakened: You are less effective at using melee weapons and blocking damage with your shield.
Addled: All enchantments and spells cast are less effective.
Frostbitten: You are less effective at picking locks, picking pockets, and doing damage with a bow.
Shrines no longer cure diseases for free; you must now make a gold offering in order to receive the shrine's benefits. Shrines you craft in a house you have built can be used for free.
Perks & Standing Stones
The Extra Pockets perk and The Steed Stone now grant 50 extra carry weight, instead of 100.
Vampires & Werewolves
Both vampires and werewolves can restore their hunger by feeding on their victims. While transformed into a Werewolf or Vampire Lord, you will become colder much slower than normal.