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An ID is an identifier assigned by the developer or the Creation Engine development environment to each object in the game. This includes, for example, items, NPCs, quests, or parts of the world such as a sign on the wall or the wall itself. There are several types of IDs: Form IDs ('Base ID and Reference ID) and Editor ID's.

Form IDs[]

Form IDs are identifiers consisting of 8-digit hexadecimal numbers, e.g. 0009ccd7 or 000a2c8e. Leading zeros are optional and may be omitted.

Base ID[]

Base ID is in the game the identifier of the template for an object. This ID is used in scripts or with the console as well as commands that create new copies of this object, like additem or placeatme. The Base ID can be found out using the Creation Kit. To do this, open a game file (*.ESM or *.ESP file) of the game in the editor and select the appropriate category. The Base ID can be found in the "Form-ID" column (between "Editor ID" and "Count"). Within the game you can get the Base ID using the console command help <name of object>.

Referenz ID (Ref ID)[]

While the Base ID is the unique identifier for the template of an object, the Ref ID is the unique ID of a copy created from it. It is generated by the game engine when the object is created and refers exactly to this newly created object. This ID is used to manipulate existing objects with commands such as kill, moveto, or disable.

Any object not created by predefined scripts in the original game or in mods will have a reference ID starting with "FF" to indicate that this element is based on an object from this game. This applies to dynamically generated items, such as loot from containers, goods from merchants, crafted items, objects created with console commands, or random encounters.

Editor ID[]

An Editor ID is another identifier used to reference objects, but is not limited to 8 characters and the hexadecimal character set. This text identifier works similarly to a base ID in that it remains unchanged for all references to that object. It serves as a more readable identifier and often resembles the names of the NPCs or items it is associated with. It does not appear in the game, but is used in scripts.

Load order[]

The load order of modules (ESMs and ESPs) affects the ID identifier of the modules and thus the shape IDs of all objects from that module. The first two digits of a hexadecimal ID identifier correspond to the load order. You have to use a utility like xEdit to find out to which position a module was loaded. The base game module, for example "Skyrim.esm", is always loaded first and the ID starts with "00" accordingly. The ID identifier "FF" (decimal equivalent: 255) is assigned by the game engine for created objects and is reserved for them in the entire game.

Each loaded add-on occupies one place in the load list. According to this system, 254 modules can be loaded in addition to the game (266 existing slots in the load list, -1 for the savegame FF area, - 1 for the always required base game). For each additional module loaded, the first two-digit range of the identifier is increased by 1. For Skyrim Special Edition and Skyrim VR, the 64-bit variants of the game, the limit of loadable modules has been increased to 4096 by using "light" masters and plugins (*.esl files).

For each object there is a corresponding data set in the files. The game can only use one version of a data set at a time and modules loaded later overwrite the corresponding data sets from previously loaded modules. The load order is essential, because an incorrect loading order can lead to unwanted effects or even crash the game. There are some fixed rules for the load order

  • Main game files (Skyrim.esm and Update.esm) are loaded first.
  • Master files (*.esm) are loaded before plugin files (*.esp).
  • A maximum of 255 active modules (*.esm, *.esp) can be loaded. For the 64-bit variants, an additional 4096 active "light" modules (*.esl) can be loaded.

Example of the load order for the Skyrim main game with all official expansions:

Main game / Add-On game module Identifier
starts with
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Skyrim.esm 00
Update.esm 01
The Elder Scrolls V: Dawnguard Dawnguard.esm 02
The Elder Scrolls V: Hearthfire Hearthfire.esm 03
The Elder Scrolls V: Dragonborn Dragonborn.esm 04
  • For example, if only the add-on Dragonborn was installed, the identifiers of all its objects start with 02 instead of 04.
  • To clarify the dependency on the load order, in this wiki the first two digits in the identifiers of such objects are replaced by XX.
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