Skyrim's latest downloadable content is all about houses. Big houses, small houses, brown houses, and... well, they're all kind of brown.
Out this week for Xbox 360, Skyrim's Hearthfire puts you in charge of your very own dream mansion. You'll get to collect lumber, mine ore, craft nails, and build a house from the ground up, decorations and all.
I've played a bit of the new expansion. Here are 10 things you should know about it.
1) To start building your new mansion in Hearthfire, you'll have to get yourself a plot of land. This is a similar process to buying a house in Skyrim: you can do it when you become Thane of a city, which happens when you help out that city's Jarl and do some quests for them and whatnot. It appears you can only buy land from three cities: Falkreath, Dawnstar, and Morthal.
2) Yes, this means you won't be able to do anything in Hearthfire without doing some city quests first. Sorry.
3) Your brand new land plot comes with a handy manual, a drafting table (for plotting out buildings), an anvil (for hammering locks and nails), and a carpenter's workbench (for constructing your new home). You'll have to build a whole lot of things: every section of your house requires a foundation, walls, a door, a roof, etc.
4) Getting ingredients for these buildings — like corundum and glass and quarried stone — is kind of a pain in the arse. Get ready to fast travel a lot.
5) Some of the things you can add to your home: an animal pen, a workbench, a fish hatchery, a garden, a grindstone, a smelter, a stable, a greenhouse, an enchanter's tower, an armory, a storage room, a trophy room, a kitchen, a laboratory, and a library.
6) When you start a game of Skyrim after installing the DLC, you'll get a letter saying you should head to the orphanage in Riften. If you've done the quest involving the first matron there, you'll find a new lady in charge named Constance. Why are all orphanage owners named Constance? I don't know. But now you can adopt kids.
7) Things you cannot do with your new kids: command them to alphabetize your book collection; murder them; put them to work in an elaborate lumber-harvesting sweatshop; feed them to dragons; turn them into vampires; throw them off your library tower; build your home out of them.
8) Things you can do with your new kids: give them things; play tag; play hide-and-seek; get creeped out by their weird wooden kid faces.
9) You can also hire stewards to manage your house and do tedious tasks for you. Some GameFAQs users have started compiling lists of stewards you can hire and children you can adopt. If you are the type of person who enjoys building homes and decorating and all that jazz, you will enjoy this DLC.
10) On the other hand, pretty much everything in this DLC you can download as a mod on your PC for free. Just throwing that out there.