Skyrim Special Edition

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About this mod

Lore-friendly and highly defensible player home in the Rift. Medium sized. Family and follower friendly; crafting stations; generous number of planters; named storage; guards and other staff; mannequins and weapon displays, etc.

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If you're anything like me, you've long wanted a player home that felt secure and defensible (Skyrim is a great place for making enemies, after all) without being oversized or totally incompatible with Skyrim lore. A convenient safe haven where you can dump your wealth and urchins, without worrying that the Whiterun drunk will stumble in at 4 am and help himself to a Daedric artifact from a wall display. Grand and impressive without being a sprawling maze. A balance between aesthetics and utilitarianism.

If so, this could be the player home for you.


  • Acquired by a combination of bounty quest and purchase system
  • Room for a spouse, four children, and either two or six followers*
  • Depending on the version you choose, either two or six household staff and guards*, each with their own daily routine
  • Open-plan interior design, with galleried quarters around the main feasting hall
  • Five mannequins and various weapon racks and plaques for displaying your gear
  • All the usual crafting stations and plenty of named and generic storage for flexibility
  • Bailey (courtyard) with a byre for a cow, goat, and two chickens, stabling for your horses (and a dog), fifty-odd hearthfire-style planters, and training dummies and archery targets (which the guards will use)
  • Roof terrace with scenic pool, fountain, and shrine to Kynareth (with a modified blessing)
  • Additional lore in the book on the desk
  • Interior and exterior fully navmeshed (of course)

* There are two versions available: one with four guards (v 1.7a), and one which dispenses with these in order to provide a greater number of beds for followers (v 1.7b). Choose the one that best suits your needs from the Files page.

I am not a completionist, and as I made this mod for one of my own playthroughs, I have not incorporated unique displays for all the items you could conceivably collect over the course of your game. Nonetheless, there is plenty of named and unnamed storage to shape and adapt to your needs. It is also worth noting that my aim was to use assets from the standard game and official DLCs wherever possible; the only custom assets are the book statics. The castle should have a fairly vanilla feel to it as a result.


Heartwood Castle is situated on the main road west out of Riften, alongside Heartwood Mill. There is a fast travel point from the Riften docks (the northernmost berth bar Honeyside - check the mod images) which leads to the jetty outside Heartwood Castle, and back again, but in truth the fortress is only a short ride from the city, or indeed from Ivarstead further to the northwest.

Those of you with sharp eyes may be able to find a bounty posted in the Vilemyr Inn (Ivarstead) or Bee and Barb (Riften) tavern, but both of the dead mercenaries on the steps up to the main gate carry a copy of this as well; you can read the bounty to discover what you'll face when you enter the castle grounds and the prize for defeating it (spoiler: it's a dragon, and the castle, in that order).

The dragon carries the key needed to access the interiors, and be sure to loot the other corpses in the bailey for some treasure. The ledger on the desk in the master's quarters (top floor) will allow you to acquire Heartwood Castle and the attendant staff, which will set you back 20,000 gold. Bear in mind that the ownership won't update unless you purchase the deed to the castle, meaning that the storage and beds will be off limits until then.


This player home has been tested across a number of characters, and is compatible and recommended for use with Hearthfire Multiple Adoptions. You may also wish to use one of the many excellent follower mods out there, such as My Home Is Your Home, to rehome your favourite followers in the castle, or indeed Multiple Floors Sandboxing to encourage more natural behaviours for anyone you do relocate.

The castle is unlikely to be compatible with other mods that alter the same cells next to Heartwood Mill. Let me know if you encounter conflicts, or indeed if other nearby mods work fine, and I'll list the findings here.

  • Likely incompatible with Blackthorn as both mods edit the same cells.
  • Partially compatible with Dragonfall Castle as both mods edit the same cells. Some users have reported that both mods will function well enough if you ensure that Heartwood Castle comes after Dragonfall Castle in your load order.
  • Appears compatible with Arden House. The two homes are close, but not close enough to be an issue.

Please note as well that the images were captured on a save where the brilliant S.T.E.P. Guide has been followed, so some of the textures may be different in your game. Further detail about the guide here.


Install in the usual way: I recommend using Mod Organizer 2 or Vortex (preferably the former) for ease and transparency. Be very wary of uninstalling mods mid-game - even lightweight player home mods like this one - as unintended behaviours can result. My advice if you're unsure would be to hold onto a save from before you installed a given mod, and revert to it if you change your mind.


Please let me know in the comments if you encounter any bugs or have any other feedback.


  • I could never have made a single mod without the tutorials provided by the fantastic DarkFox127
  • Thanks to Bigbuttbringus for their advice on interior lighting