In TES V: Skyrim Special Edition, moving weapon position style or adjusting weapon positions for better fit on your character is a fairly straight-forward process by editing the custom skeleton, “XP32 Maximum Skeleton Special Extended” (XPMSSE) by Groovtama. As of April 2017, the only weapon styles available for immediate play include 1-handed swords on back, daggers on back hip, and Belt-fastened Quivers (BFQ) with bow. All the nodes for the other styles exist, but haven’t been set yet for download. Let’s set our own default weapon style! We can also adjust the positions of weapons and quivers to better fit the character if needed.

This tutorial assumes comfort with file management and willingness to learn if not some experience with editing nif files. I share step-by-step instructions on turning main weapon edge-side up and adjusting weapons-on-back distance. The process is the same for choosing other XPMSSE-included weapon styles.


If you don’t already have the custom skeleton you’ll need to install that first and make sure it’s working in game. We’ll also need the handy tool, NifSkope, to edit the skeletons (male and female).

  • XPMSSE 4.20 by Groovtama (old 4.20 no longer available)
  • NifSkope - Niftools

Make a backup copy of your skeleton files in case something goes horribly wrong. Best to copy them to a backup folder so you can easily copy them back to start over.

Skeleton nif-file locations:

  • \Data\meshes\actors\character\character assets\skeleton.nif
  • \Data\meshes\actors\character\character assets female\skeleton_female.nif

How to set sabers edge-side up

When a saber (katana) hangs horizontally below the belt at thigh-level such as on ancient heavy-armored soldiers, drawing the sword is easiest with the edge-side down. However, when the saber is tucked inside the belt or sash at an angle, such as is when worn with a kimono or hakama, then drawing the sword edge-up comes more naturally. Turned edge-side down then the handle is too high.


Let’s flip the sword over. Remember to save a copy of your installed skeleton files in case you need to revert back.

The problem has beens solved, so we don’t need to figure out rotations or translations. Years ago Fushimi edited the skeleton for “FSM skeleton de Gozaru” which flipped the sword, and this new node has been incorporated into XPMSSE. All we need to do is activate the FSM Sword node in the skeleton by designated the node to place our WeaponSword.

The skeleton is a collection of nodes for body parts and wearable gear. The hierarchy makes it easy to navigate, and with some investigation it’s easy to see a weapon is placed as a child of the node attached to. The main one-handed sword is denoted by the WeaponSword node. If you installed sword-on-back option of XPMSSE then you’ll find the WeaponSword node down the upper body (CME UBody) down through WeaponSpine1 node which holds all the gear on the back. The default position is on the hip, a descendent of the lower body (CME LBody).

Our goal: move the WeaponSword node from wherever it’s at (default WeaponSwordDefault) to the child of MOV WeaponSwordFSM node.

If you’ve never used NifSkope before, navigate the hierarchy by clicking on the arrows (greater than sign), or in the Block Details window right-click on Children and select Follow Link.


  1. In NifSkope, open the skeleton.nif or skeleton_female.nif.
  2. Navigate down (click the arrow) of NPC Root > NPC COM > CME Body > CME LBody.
  3. Continue to NPC Pelvis then Weapon Pelvis which is where we have a bunch of weapon options.
  4. The Default Sword > ** WeaponSwordDefault node is where your sword is current at. Go there and find WeaponSword node.
  5. Right-click WeaponSword and select Block > Copy Branch (screen capture above).
  6. Right-click WeaponSword again and Block > Remove Branch.
  7. Navigate down FSM Sword > CME WeaponSwordFSM and find MOV WeaponSwordFSM node.
  8. Right-click MOV WeaponSwordFSM and select Block > Paste Branch.

Now your WeaponSword should appear beneath MOV WeaponSwordFSM as in the screen capture below (male on left, female on right).


Save your file, and do the other skeleton if you desire. With some investigation, you may change existing weapon style positions following this same procedure.

How to adjust weapon-on-back position

If you’d like to move your sword on back closer or farther from body, or tweak the rotation to avoid clipping your other gear, a little experimenting goes a long way.


My female characters ended up with their BFQ quivers embedded in their butts! The sword on back is so close it clips butt and hat. It’s less severe wearing armor, but the quiver remains partially inside the armor. Fixing the sword requires adjusting the translation and rotation of the weapon-on-back node which is Weapon Spine 2 node, and translating the Chesko Quiver node.

Fixing the quiver is as simple as translating the Chesko Quiver node out (on negative Y axis) a few. I tried 3.0, a bit far, and ended up on Y -2.67. That’s that. I decided to move the entire weapon set on back, the Weapon Spine2 node, so that it adjusts staff, shield, bow along with the sword. If later I find something else doesn’t work out, I may need to come back and compensate.

Translations: Y is forward and back, Z is up and down, X is left and right. Think as if facing in first person with Y-positive out before you, Z-positive towards the sky. Rotations: P twists on the Y-axis and R turns on the X axis. If that’s confusing, try changing one value and look at it the difference in game.

The before (left) and after comparison images below show one way to get the sword, quiver, hat, and handbag to not clip when standing.



outfit from Blades Hakama SE

Adjusting the Chesko BFQ quiver:

  1. In NifSkope, open the skeleton_female.nif.
  2. Navigate (click arrows) of NPC Root > NPC COM > CME Body > CME UBody.
  3. Open the NPC Spine1 node and open Weapon Spine1 node.
  4. Select Chesko Quiver node.
  5. In Block Details window find the Translation and Rotation entries. Edit by double-clicking the line, adjust, and hit enter.
  6. Adjust Y negative to move back. I chose Y = -2.67 which then appears to rest on my character’s butt.
  7. Save and check it out in game.


Adjusting the weapon on back:

  1. In NifSkope, open the skeleton_female.nif.
  2. Navigate (click arrows) of NPC Root > NPC COM > CME Body > CME UBody.
  3. Continue through 2 spine nodes to NPC Spine2 and open CME Spine2 node.
  4. Locate the Weapon Spine2 node. Decide if you want to edit this node or just the sword, Default WeaponBack or 1H Swords on Back.
  5. In Block Details window find the Translation and Rotation entries. Edit by double-clicking the line, adjust, and hit enter.
  6. Experiment to find best position.
  7. Save and check it out in game.


If all goes wrong, or you don’t like the results, replace the skeleton file with the backup copy.

For my character, I moved sword back slightly, Y = -0.65, and down a bit, Z = -1.2. Turning it towards the shoulder helps avoid the hat and perhaps easier to reach: P = 9.0. Since the sword is out a bit, and still clips my character’s butt, I pulled the handle closer by rotation R = 6.67.

When crouching the handle just misses the hat.


Mods shown in images

Skyrim Special Edition and The Elder Scrolls are trademarks of Bethesda Softworks LLC. All other trademarks belong to their respective owners.