How to Change Your Appearance and Name in Skyrim
Want to Change your Character's Name and Appearance in Skyrim?
Important: You can only change your character's appearance and name if you have the PC version of Skyrim.
With all of the character customization options that you get with Skyrim, it's easy to go overboard and choose an appearance for your character that's exciting at first, but then quickly loses its appeal.
If you've already invested dozens of hours in your character, earned a ton of gold, and completed numerous quests, it's not surprising if you don't want to go back and do it all over again with a new character just to change the way you look. Fortunately, there is a way to change your character's name and appearance later in the game by using the console. Read on to learn how.
Note: You can also use this to change your sex if you want, just don't change your race! (See the notes later on.)
Before we begin, don't forget the number one rule of modding: Always make a new save before making any changes to your character's appearance or name, like you should for all console changes. This will allow you to revert to a working saved game if for some reason changing your character causes any problems.
To change your character's appearance:
- Open the console by pressing '~', which is located in the top left corner of standard North American keyboards.
- Type showracemenu in the console and hit Enter. This will pull up the character creation screen that you first came across when you initially created your character.
- Press the '~' again to close the console so that you can start making changes.
- You can change anything about your character's appearance, including the gender. Avoid changing the race, though, as it may mess up your stats. (More on this below.) When you are done, just select 'Done.'
- You will be prompted to re-enter your character's name and the game will resume.
To change your character's name:
- If you just want to change your character's name, you don't have to make any changes to your appearance, just select 'Done' and type your new name.
Warning: Changing Your Race Changes Your Stats
If you change your character's race, your stats will change as well. This is because each race in Skyrim has different strengths and weaknesses—these are reflected in the different starting levels in different skills. Therefore changing your race should, in theory, change your skill levels because your old racial modifiers will be removed and your new racial modifiers will be applied. However, this isn't the case. Instead, changing your race may result in the following:
- Mismatched experience and skill levels. Unfortunately, the game doesn't automatically allocate your previous experience with the same skills that you've built up while playing, so your new skill levels won't match the levels you had before. In fact, it seems to just sort of dump all of your experience into Destruction and Restoration (at least in all my attempts.)
- Rebalancing your stats and changing levels. Even worse, it affects more than your skill levels. Changing your race also leads to the effect of either rebalancing your Magicka, Health, and Stamina stats by setting them as all equal, or it'll set them all to 100. The changes to your skills may also result in your level changing as well.
- Losing particular racial powers. Changing your race may also cause you to lose the racial power you had when you started the game, but won't necessarily add the racial power for your new race.
All in all, changing your race using showracemenu is a bad idea.
Using SetRace and SetPlayerRace to Change Your Race
Can you change your race without using showracemenu? You can use the console commands setraceraceId or setplayerrace raceId (you need to change raceId to the ID of the race, like ImperialRace or KhajiitRace, etc.) to change your character's race. However this has the unfortunate side effect of causing the game to forget where your head texture is located: the next time you load the game, your head will be missing!
Therefore, there is no known way to permanently alter your character's race without causing a bug of some sort.
Changing Your Character's Size
The weight slider allows you to adjust your character's build, but it doesn't give you any control over the character's size. If you want to make your character taller or shorter, therefore, you have to use the console.
To change your character's size:
- Open the console '~' and type: player.setscale x.x (where x.x is the scale you would like your character to be set at—for example, setting your character's scale to 0.98 will make them a little smaller, and 1.02 will make them a little taller. The default is 1.0.)
- Type '~' again to close the console when you're done.
- You can check the current scale of your character by typing player.getscale (you don't need to provide a number.)
Note: Don't go crazy with these settings because it's very easy to blow your character way out of proportion. (Unless, of course, that's what you want to do.) Usually adjusting them by .2 or .3 is enough to get the effect you're looking for. If you make your character too small or too big, you may run into gameplay issues. (For example, I set one character to 0.5 and after a couple of minutes they started to run really slowly.)
As always, use console commands at your own risk.
Play as a Non-Player Character
In response to a number of requests, I've started uploading screenshots of the slider settings for various NPCs from Skyrim.
You can use these settings to make your character look like another character from the game (tweaking them however you like, of course) or, if you're a PC gamer, use the plugins or save files I've created to play as one of these characters 'out of the box.'
If you have any special requests, just shoot me an email or comment below.