Last Time: I plundered the strategy guide treasure chest, and revealed my five favorite Dawnguard items. Read it now!
This Time: I enter the construction phase and build an abode most suitable for a Nord adventurer.
Pro-Tip 1. : A choice parcel of land (in this case, overlooking the edge of Whiterun with the Throat of the World in the distance) is given out only after certain obligations are met.
“Are you handy with a hammer and saw?” Unfortunately not; my finely-preened digits must be constantly covered in velvet gloves, lest they dry out in the harsh winters here in the Pacific Northwest. Plus, accidentally cutting a finger off wouldn’t help in this game-playing and guide-writing lark. However, my Skyrim hero is a veritable Bob Vila / Handy Andy (delete one depending on your knowledge of American or British home improvement carpenters) when it comes to constructing impressive Nord structures. With the advent of the Hearthfire expansion, it was finally time to impress my hand-maiden and main squeeze Lydia, and build us a home. With an adopted tyke only two blogs away, it was time for a house. Not one of those pre-fabricated hovels in Solitude or Riften though. The southern wilds of The Pale were a-calling.
Naturally, the first (contractually-obliged) plan of action was to read pages 654 to 670 of the Revised and Expanded Official Skyrim Guide. This meticulously lists all the various facets and shortcuts for creating a home you can be justly proud of. Then I went about choosing my land from the three plots available. Falkreath? Too close to the paths; I’d always be slaughtering Bandits or Wolves. Hjaalmarch? Although my own fishery appealed, who wants to live in a swamp? Not this adventurer. So I settled on The Pale, contacted Jarl Skald, and once certain favors were completed, and 5,000 coins deposited in the Jarl’s coffers, the land was mine.
Now for the basic construction elements; Quarried Stone, Clay, and Sawn Logs. The first two require a pickaxe and the deposits near your residence (place both in the chest near the carpenter’s workbench so you’re not constantly encumbered). But the third needs felled trees from a lumber mill:
Pro-Tip 2: Clay and Quarried Stone are available on your building site. Sawn Logs need to be bought from Solitude Sawmill (Windstad Manor), Anga’s Mill (Heljarchen Hall), or Half-Moon Mill (Lakeview Manor).
With enough raw materials to build a small town, never mind a manor on the tundra, I began construction once I’d cleared the area of wandering wolves. When it came to choosing the three additions to the property, it all came down to the chambers that would be most beneficial to my play style. I was primarily a hunter and alchemist, and enjoyed collecting. Although I toyed with the idea of a library, and then finding a copy of every single book across the province, sanity soon prevailed, and I instead opted for a trophy room, greenhouse, and kitchen. If you’re undertaking the same plan, be sure you understand what each addition gives you. For example, I’d be growing a variety of fungus and flowers to help my ingredients in the greenhouse. I’d be collecting the remains of entities I fought to display them in the trophy room. And Heljarchen Hall is particularly well suited to a kitchen:
Pro-Tip 3: Part of the sprawling Heljarchen Hall. In this example, it’s worth building a kitchen as one of the east wing additions. Why? Because this location is the only one allowing a Mill as an outbuilding, allowing you to make flour, which you can use as an ingredient in your kitchen’s oven. Fancy baking goods are but a few hours’ ceaseless toil away!
You have a favorite dwelling in Skyrim? Then why not tell us about it?
Until next time (when outbuildings and servants are the order of the day) may your garden be flowering, and your Housecarl be happy to quarry all your stone…