… She breathed a sigh of relief, hearing the tumblers in that lock fall perfectly into place, and the iron door cried out as she pushed it open. Slowly, bare feet began to dance lightly across the stone floors as she rediscovered what freedom felt like; creeping up the steps, a torch was spotted, as well as a dagger, which she snagged without hesitation. The golden glimmer of a key also caught her eye, and so she reached out and took it as well.
A deep inhale, before a slow exhale followed. All she had to do was get past the guards. She could do that; she knew she could. One step forward was taken; then another…
Then a voice she wasn’t quite expecting echoed through the air:
“When I get out of here, I’ll kill you all myself!”
This is the first line LivTempleton’s Kaidan (that’s pronounced K-AYE-DAN, not K-EYY-DAN via Mass Effect) says to you upon meeting him, as he stares down your Dragonborn through iron bars. I must admit, the sassy side of me was tempted to just scoff at him and walk away. However, the thirsty side of me looked at him, and with a grin, exclaimed, “Challenge accepted!”
Kaidan’s tune tends to change quickly after you release him; all it takes is finding the key and unlocking his cell. You can also pick the lock if you wish. After that, he asks you to locate his sword from a Thalmor deeper in the cells. You do that, and voila! You got yourself your very own bodyguard.
He doesn’t care about being indebted to someone, you see.
Credit: Stchi Wong via LivTempleton’s Discord Server)
Not that this is such a bad thing since Kaidan isn’t bad to look at. Liv spared absolutely no expense in designing Kaidan – taking influences from Godfrey Gao, combining vanilla meshes to get the half bun as well as real injury images and makeup tutorials for the scars of his back to design a character that is truly unique in appearance. His face tint and eyes are also customized for him – And dreamy to boot.
With over 800 professionally recorded lines by the spectacular Daniel Matthew Lemon, you’d think that Kaidan would have a lot to say. And, guess what, he does– along with being both quest-aware as well as aware of surroundings, time of day, and even weather. Take him to Whiterun; he will gladly judge the defenses as well as tell you a hilarious joke. Take him to Winterhold and a debate over magic will ensue. And the Rift – Kaidan loves the Rift. So much so, that there was a point that he literally would not stop talking about it. (Luckily, this has been fixed with his new Hearthfire update). Take him to a tavern and you can ask him about himself, tell him about your own history, and have actual conversations with him about how you’re feeling. And yet, despite being a character that one could consider “alive” like Inigo and Vilja, there is a definite stoic aura about him that separates him from our previously-mentioned blue, furry friend. Compared to Inigo, Kaidan is definitely the polar opposite in that he is quite introverted and calm, carefully considering what to say to the Dragonborn (most of the time) before doing so.
Indeed, there’s plenty to do with your new mysterious companion, but his most prominent features are both his romance questline, and naturally, his bloodline questline.
Credit: Stchi Wong via LivTempleton’s Discord Server)
You see, Kaidan doesn’t know where he came from. He never knew his parents, and his only clue to who his mother was is that sword of his. And so, you have the opportunity to help him on his journey into finding out who she was, and in turn, finding out his ancestry. As it currently stands, his investigation quest is not guided — meaning there are no markers, and nothing pops up in your quest log. No, my friend, in order to help our swordsman with this grand quest, you have to actually put in some legwork, starting with translating the runes on his sword once you have collected enough Shouts or read a certain book. His quest does follow the main storyline, so it’s best to keep him with you if you decide to play a new game.
But, that’s not what you’re here to read about, is it? No, I didn’t think so – you and I both know by now that Kaidan is indeed a romance option. All you have to do is actually get to know him enough, and slap on an Amulet of Mara to trigger the romance! That’s right – his romance isn’t forced upon you, So if you’re just looking for a platonic companion, just don’t speak to him while wearing the amulet and he’ll keep his pants on. But if you’re looking for a romance that feels natural in progression, Kaidan is the man for you. And if you play a male, fear not! Kaidan will love you just as much.
Credit: pencilcrap/Yuutew from LivTempleton’s Discord Server)
The option to marry Kaidan came with his most recent update as of January 3rd, 2018 – and with it, came options. Many different locations have been triggered to set off his proposal, as well as a special mini-quest to find one of his childhood hangouts if you so choose. Play your cards right and he’ll pop the question.
Accepting his proposal allows you to choose to have either a public wedding – which works the same way as your vanilla wedding – or you have the option to have a private wedding; just the two of you, under the branches of a specific tree in the Rift, with a servant of Mara. It even comes with custom music for the event. Short, sweet, and well worth the effort.
There’s still plenty of things to do after the wedding, however; After this, you can talk to him about which house he would prefer to live in, or even adopting one of the urchins that roam Skyrim; Kaidan has things to say about each and every one of them, including two of the children in Honorhall Orphanage. It doesn’t just stop there, as Kaidan will have actual conversations with the kids, even giving them gifts and sage advice. All-in-all, Kaidan is a good father at the end of the day – even if he’s a little… nervous, about the role.
Credit, Kaidan’s Nexus Page)
Now that we have all the lovely qualities of the mod out of the way, let’s discuss the technical bits – you know, the nitty gritty mod stuff. I have played with Kaidan on both PC and Xbox One – yes, he has been ported over to Xbox – and overall he runs fine on both platforms. Meaning if one piece of machinery is in the shop, you’ll always have access to our favorite red-eyed wonderboy!
Overall, he is fairly compatible with a vast majority of mods; his skin texture will change depending on which one you use – though keep in mind, his scars may disappear when in the nude. However, patches for vanilla meshes, as well as Sundracon and possibly SOS, which add to his scarred textures when in the nude, may possibly be created to make up for this. Mods that require messing with the AI are semi-compatible, but highly recommended to not be used on him, as they can mess with and break his tiny brain. Kaidan is, as you may have guessed from my blurb above, compatible with Live Another Life. You can use Sexlab with him – giggity – and he doesn’t take up a companion slot. I have ran around with Kaidan, Inigo, Niall, Fenrir, and Meeko all at once before. Chaotic, hilarious, and without any technical issues. And yes, he will travel with Bishop.
“K-Kaidan…? Why are you smiling like that? Stop it, you’re scaring me!” Credit: Zira Davine via LivTempleton’s Discord Server)
He does, however, tend to have a few hiccups – what mods don’t have issues? As it currently stands, he has a tendency to warp around. He also likes to stand right in your personal bubble, and sometimes he’s just so taken aback by your Dragonborn’s beauty (or handsomeness, if you prefer) that his jaw just drops open. These are all, of course, vanilla bugs that most companions deal with and so far nothing game-breaking.
With those out of the way, there are a few hiccups worth mentioning: sometimes Kaidan won’t talk to you when you go to collect him. Placing LAL below him should fix this. He currently cannot go to places such as Beyond Bruma and Harkon’s Castle; it is best to make him wait outside if you can for these places. As previously mentioned, mods such as AFT are best not used on Kaidan; some people have managed to get Kaidan to ride horses via placing Convenient Horses and Ride Sharing below his mod in the load order, though I personally wouldn’t recommend it. And sometimes, if using The Paarthurnax Dilemma/Ultimatum he doesn’t seem to acknowledge that you spared good ole’ Paarthie-Pants, and he will give you a good scolding. Again, putting those mods below Kaidan seems to fix the issue.
Seems like letting him be on top is a cure-all for all ailments, if you know what I mean. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
Credit – Nova from LivTempleton’s Discord Server; Commission Link: https://artistsnclients.com/people/Neroarts)
As a final observation, let us compare him to one of the top romanceable options on Nexus – Bishop, from Skyrim Romance. Because let’s face it, you’re at least a little bit curious, right? Well, if you are looking for someone who is just as up-front and blunt as Bishop, you are not looking for Kaidan. Though they may be equal adversaries in battle, when it comes to personality, they are as different as night and day. Therefore, those who may find Bishop to not be their type may find solace in the embrace of the crimson-eyed swordsman, rather than the amber-hued ranger.
But hey, this writer is hoping that one day, maybe down the line, Liv and Mara may sit down and write a little update for the both of them? Eh? Eh?! Ah, it was worth a shot.
And there you have it – a complete review of Kaidan, the mysterious wanderer without a home; from who he is as a person, to his life goals, to even the technical details. And with his new 2.0 rewrite in the works, there’s even more that will soon be worth exploring, including but not limited to romance tiers, a whole new quest with new characters, more dialogue for factions and DLC, and so much more! Kaidan is definitely a companion that is well worth releasing from The Abandoned Prison. And hey, maybe with a bit of coaxing, you’ll have a fairytale of a different sort to unravel, aye?
Just don’t forget to remind him of how adorable he is, Changeling.
Please Download the Mod Here: https://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/mods/86872
Editor: Mulsanne Blue
Author: Xeraphim is a long-time TES-lover and overall gamer who happened upon Kaidan a mere few days after he was released. Xeraphim also runs the official LivTempleton Discord Server, known as Kaiventures, and is listed as LivTempleton’s Kimmy on the official Nexus page, due to handling most social media promotions, as well as giving overall advice when needed.