The Skyrim: Home of the Nords modding project aims to add the province of Skyrim to The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind’s in-game world. Skyrim is a land of frosty mountain peaks, thick forests of towering pines and barren tundra scavenged by giants and their lumbering mammoth herds. Here the martial Nords make their homes in the storied capitals of their Hold Kingdoms and the isolated strongholds of their proud clan families. Everywhere, they live for battle and ballads – eking out a hardy life in an ancient land awaiting exploration.
Our rendition of Skyrim draws heavily from the golden age of Elder Scrolls lore – the fantasy renaissance that brought us the first Pocket Guide to the Empire’s brilliant provincial sketches and Morrowind’s creative tone and unconventional charm. At the same time, we take into account the best ideas presented in Bethesda’s landmark action RPG, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, adapting them to fit our vision. Using unique 3D models, massive detailed landscapes and in-depth world building, we hope to shape a land and gameplay experience well worth an adventurer’s attention.
I am proud to present a new update to mark what feels like a fresh start at Skyrim: Home of the Nords. A few months ago, our project’s founder and leader since 2008 – Lestat DeLioncourt – stepped down from administrating the mod to pursue a career in professional game design. Since then, our team has gone through a spirited transition, moving to a new forum that now hosts Province: Cyrodiil and other ambitious landmass mods under the Project Tamriel banner. With this consolidation, we hope to promote cooperation and collaboration between our efforts to build portions of Tamriel.
At the moment, the SHotN team is focusing its efforts on developing The Reach, Skyrim’s most cosmopolitan Hold. Located in the far west of the province, The Reach acts as a borderland between the competing cultures of Skyrim, Hammerfell and High Rock. From bands of near-feral Reachmen to the crumbling fortress ruins of esoteric High Elven merchant-princes, every race imaginably has left its mark on the region’s rugged landscape. Scarred by war and largely untamed, The Reach offers plentiful secrets to uncover atop its lofty mesas and within its deep ravines.
Progress has picked up on our second release, the sprawling merchant city of Karthwasten. Putting this massive metropolis of over 80 buildings together took a prolonged effort, and I am personally excited to see it come so close to completion. Work on the city’s dialogue has progressed nicely, and players can expect a diverse mix of noble, shady and egotistical characters to meet and chat with. At the same time, our level designers recently finished the last of three massive manors that dominate the city. Only a few token interiors remain unfinished.
While we continue to chisel away at Karthwasten, work has picked up significantly on other corners of The Reach. Our longtime modeler Worsas (also known as Muspila) recently took it upon himself to completely overhaul Karthgad. Many of our project’s longtime followers have likely already visited this backwoods village in our first release, though much about it has changed since then. Worsas has reshaped the original settlement’s blocky layout into a far more compact and organic design. To go along with its outward redesign, Karthgad’s NPCs and dialogue are also receiving a major facelift, to give the village an unfriendly atmosphere befitting the lawless clansmen who dwell with in its palisade walls.
As we review our project’s exterior landscape, other areas will receive similar tweaks and reworks. Last week, Berry – our project’s newest exterior wizard – finished revitalizing a section of wilderness to the west of the Vorndgad Forest, transforming a flat field into a craggy cliff-range that features a clifftop Direnni ruin and tribal Reachmen hideouts. Berry has brought a newfound sense of mystery to this area, hiding plenty of secrets in its inhospitable crevices.
Finally, work has rapidly commenced on one of The Reach’s crowning jewels – the capital Markarth. Anyone who has played the fifth installment in Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls series will no doubt recognize the city’s name, though we have made sure to give our version a distinct visual identity. In the place of Dwemer ruins, our Markarth rests within a crumbling fortress built by the Direnni – a High Elven clan that once ruled over northwestern Tamriel.
Constructed on different planes of elevation, the city will present a multitude of interesting sites to explore, including the Imperial College of the Voice, founded by Emperor Tiber Septim to return the power of Thu’um to the ancient and honorable art of war. Conspicuously absent from The Elder Scrolls V: Skryim, the college’s unique building is part of a treasure trove of resources painstakingly crafted by our modeling team over the years, of which Worsas has created roughly 40 percent, Lestat 40 percent, while other modders like Dirnae and Berandas have chipped in the remaining 20 percent. Of course, resources alone wouldn’t be of much use without talented level designers. Roerich has built Markarth from the ground up as a truly brilliant settlement fit for The Reach’s king.
As a project that hopes to bring to life an entire nation, Skyrim: Home of the Nords is always looking for passionate Elder Scrolls fans to join our team. Contributors are needed across the board. Exterior and interior work will see much attention in the coming months, as we complete and fill new lands and start work on the divided city of Dragonstar. In addition, we need quest designers to fill our lands with stories, and modelers who can construct additional building blocks. Most of all, we want more people to join in on the fun of hobbyist game design and world building.