Song of the Sea is a fan-made Skyrim mini-DLC that lets you become a deadly mermaid

In Skyrim, much like reality, the overworld is well-explored. Over the last 10 years, inquisitive nomads have roved its rolling pastoral plains, climbed its highest hills, and plumbed the depths of its deepest holds and keeps. There isn’t a nook or cranny in the whole of the dragon-ravaged realm that’s yet to be uncovered. And yet in Skyrim, again much like reality, much of its oceans remain unexplored.

That’s where Song of the Sea (opens in new tab) comes in, an in-progress player-made mod that creator Adam Lampman, otherwise known as Delta 6, bills as a “mini-DLC” that adds new siren-themed quests, abilities, and locations to a world you otherwise know so well. Centred around the game’s Sea of Ghosts – the northern waters that divide Tamriel and Atmora – expect a character-driven storyline, the chance to morph into sirens, acquire new water-based powers, and to set up shop inside an underwater lair. “I have a storyboard that’s 45 pages long,” says Lampman. “I’m aiming for about six to eight hours of content come full release.”

Water you on about

Skyrim

(Image credit: Bethesda; Adam Lampman)

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(Image credit: Bethesda)

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Lampman says it wasn’t the Sea of Ghosts and its coinciding lore that inspired him to create a mermaid mod, but instead the scope for cool water-based gameplay elements. During his most recent playthrough of Skyrim, of which there have been many, he found himself using water-based magic more than usual – leveraging the likes of Waterbreathing, an Alteration spell found in the base game that lets you breathe for longer underwater; and other mod projects such as Reynos’ Fins, featured in the Apocalypse pack that lets you swim 100 percent faster for 60 seconds. 

“Some part of my brain was like: ‘Hey, you’re pretty much a mermaid. Oh, yeah. I guess I am. Okay.’ And then I saw someone post a mermaid outfit mod. And that same part of my brain was like: ‘Hey, put all these things together. It’ll be awesome.'”

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(Image credit: Bethesda; Adam Lampman)

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(Image credit: Bethesda; Adam Lampman)

Image 1 of 5

(Image credit: Bethesda; Adam Lampman)

Image 1 of 5

(Image credit: Bethesda; Adam Lampman)

Image 1 of 5

(Image credit: Bethesda; Adam Lampman)

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Working currently as a one-man team, Song of the Sea is still a ways away from the finished article, but what Lampman has crafted already is indeed awesome – and with a pretty meticulous roadmap that includes an imminent public alpha, what lies ahead looks ever better. From voice acting to new NPCs and enemies, being able to morph to human form on dry land, and a reworked levelling system and skill tree – including a specific branch for hydromancy – Lampman may even be selling himself short with his sub-eight hour runtime prediction. 

On the latter, he says: “The hydromancy tree skill set is more about manipulating the water itself. The first basic skill you get is like echolocation, which is an underwater variation of Detect Life from the base game.  ‘Refraction’, on the other hand, lets you use the water to bend light around you to become invisible. This one is temporary, but all  of these abilities and skills can be upgraded as you upgrade that tree itself. For example, Refraction only works underwater at first, but eventually it becomes available out of water.”

“I’ve also added the ability to walk on water, and another, which took a bit of work to make but is also a lot of fun, is Undertow. It doesn’t deal any damage, but if you hit an enemy on the shore, the idea is that you build water underneath them to the point where there’s an explosive blast, like a little geyser, which shoots them up in the air towards you and into the water. So you can forcibly pull enemies into the water, where you’re stronger and they’re weaker. You can literally pull enemies into the depths and it’s a lot of fun to mess around with.”

A right geyser

Skyrim

(Image credit: Bethesda; Adam Lampman)

“Undertow doesn’t deal any damage, but if you hit an enemy on the shore, you can create an explosive blast, like a little geyser, which shoots them up in the air towards you and into the water.”

Adam Lampman, creator of Song of the Sea

Making all of this work is no easy task either. Lampman says there were points during the last year when he was putting 30 hours of work per week into the Song of the Sea, this on top of a 40-hour week in his day job. Motivation while working on hobbyist, and thus unpaid, mod projects isn’t always forthcoming, but Lampman is focused on carving a path into full-time game development as a career, and considers his work to be invaluable resume fodder. The fact that he loves Skyrim, of course, makes the medicine go down a little smoother. 

The fact that Skyrim still has such a thriving mod scene well over a decade since launch is, to Lampman’s mind, one of the very reasons players have stuck around for so long. With Song of the Sea, he aims to dig into a lesser-explored facet of wider Elder Scrolls lore while demonstrating the quirks and powers of the siren race via their natural habitat, their skills and their abilities – each of which translates to a cool manoeuvre or attack in-game.   

The hardest parts of doing all of that? First of all, Lampman says the unique features housed in Siren’s Rest, the mod’s underwater living space, were a lot harder to implement than they are to use, and that the process required a lot of 3D calculations in situ. The second trickiest thing, believe it not, was adding bookshelves. “Making bookshelves in Skyrim is super annoying,” says Lampman, laughing. “It’s like a 12-step process, and you can’t just make one and then copy and paste it because the Creation Kit will crash. I put a lot of bookshelves in the library shaft area so that was really annoying. I’ve made a player home with a tonne of bookshelves inside, and players probably won’t collect nearly as much stuff. But it looks cool; it’s neat and it’s there if you want it. The same goes for customisable lighting – players will play however they want and that’s the way it should be.”

In the interest of further reading, you can learn more about Song of the Sea on its ModDB page. We’ll be taking the alpha for a spin whenever it’s ready later this year, so keep your eyes peeled for more words in due course. And in the interest of resting your eyes, let us leave you with that hilarious enemy-water-blasting Undertow skill in motion:

Fancy that? Keep your eyes peeled on Song of the Sea’s development here


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