Skyrim: Orc Hearthfires

Greenspring Stronghold

The Hearthfires DLC for Skyrim adds the ability to build your own home in three different locations around the province, providing player homes in holds that didn't have one in the city. Unfortunately, all the houses are essentially the same, with no variation in architectural style, and the choices are limited to three wing layouts for each of the three available sides of the main hall. There was some indication that texture sets were intended to be used to make the homes distinct, but that didn't happen.

In particular, there are no dwellings that Orcs might feel at home in. The same could be said of the beast races, but they also have the issue of lack of spouses and children. There ae no Orcish or Elven children in the original either, but that can be fixed.

This mod is intended to address the housing issue, and since voice acting is an impediment, without adding any new dialog. The player will be informed by courier of his new holding, and just get on with it. Dialog with lumber merchants etc. is already provided by the official DLC, as are materials etc.

There are no stewards at strongholds, so all the associated options of the Hearthfire homes are also absent. You get no bard, no carriage driver, and nobody will furnish the house for you. You have to do all the work at your stronghold!

The site

Since the four Orc Strongholds are around the edges of the map, the logical place for a new one is in the middle. The tundra area west of Whiterun is also well-provided with ore veins, and has sufficient space for the building. Greenspring Hollow has a single creature guarding it, and it doesn't range far, so a location not far away (but far enough to avoid problems,) was chosen. This is also reasonably close to Halted Stream Camp, a useful source of iron and Mammoth Tusks.

What you get here that the other sites don't have is the option of a stockade and guard tower. Whether it's because the fortifications are daunting, or for some other reason, you won't get bothered by bandits and giants here. Wolves are likely to follow game past the stronghold, as there are several spawn points nearby. You may also be bothered by mudcrabs when you go gathering materials, as many of the ore veins and clay deposits are near the water.

Dushnik Yal and Mor Khazgur have Orichalcum mines, and Narzulbur has an ebony mine, but like Largashbur, initially there is no mine at this stronghold. However, there are corundum veins both north and south of the site. Two iron veins are by the water near (or on) the island with the mud crabs, and another is in the hills to the north-west. Rock can be quarried at the first large rock to the south-east, and clay is again by the water. You'll also come across a gold vein, and the waters provide good fishing!

After you recruit the Wise Woman, there will be the opportunity to re-open a mine not far from the stronghold, and recruit miners to work it,

The quest

The player needs to help the people of the existing strongholds in order to be granted the title to the new location. That will result in becoming Blood-kin, if the player isn't an Orc, so you'll be Orc enough to deserve it. This is similar to the quests that make you Thane in the cities, but spread over the various Orc Strongholds.

The quest begins when you leave Largashbur after completing The Cursed Tribe. You need to help the Orcish people. At Dushnik Yal, Mor Khazgur and Narzulbur, do any radiant quests, such as the Forgemaster's Fingers, or Fight! Fight! or just mining ore for them! A total of five such quests must be done. Completing quests for certain other Orcs outside the strongholds may also contribute to the count. If you did these quests after installing the mod, but before completing The Cursed Tribe, those will have been counted already. Quests known to contribute include:

Once these are done, a courier will be dispatched to say that the chiefs have met in council, and granted you the right to start a new stronghold. The land has been purchased from the Jarl of Whiterun, and you can go and start building right away.


Like the DLC homes, you start with a small dwelling that can be used as a base while you put up the larger one. There are sufficient materials in the chest behind the drafting table to construct the hut, and it also has the leather strip you need to make the Tanning Rack, which will let you make more leather strips. Similarly, there are enough iron ingots left over from the hut to make the smelter, which is needed to make more iron ingots. You will have to mine clay and stone, but that doesn't need any subsequent processing. Unlike Lakeview, Windstad and Haljarchen, the starter building is not attached to the main building, and can become the Wise Woman's hut later. There is no workbench in the hut, and it does not have an interior cell. Furniture for the Wise Woman is added at the exterior workbench, just like the other items outside, such as the smelter and forge. These pieces are: an Alchemy table, an Enchanting table, and her bed.

There are only two interior cells - the longhouse and its cellar. The longhouse design does not permit adding wings. However, you are getting a completely different house type this time. The cellar layout is distinct, and provides an extra bedroom, as well as storage. Since the forge etc. are outside, they aren't duplicated there. All the furnishings are "noble" style, rather than Orcish, as the player has the tastes of an adventurer, rather than a traditionalist Orc.

And then what?

Once the stronghold is built, you'll want some Orcs to live there with you. If the conditions are met, you'll be able to rescue a candidate for Wise Woman, which will start the process.

Recruiting staff for the stronghold will also get you to the point where she'll direct you to a nearby abandoned mine that could be re-opened to provide employment for even more Orcs.