Hoarfrost Castle is a castle that can be gained and later fully staffed through quests given to you by the steward of Hoarfrost Castle. There are a total of seven quests to complete to bring the castle to its full glory. However, this castle seems to mess with the Sidri-Ashak rune stone near to its site. When I fast-traveled to the rune stone, I ended up being inside of the castle, like literally inside the castle keep. Seeing through walls and all that. So avoid fast traveling to the rune stone, I am not sure if it does anything to the Underpall cave since that is also awfully close to its location. Just keep that in mind, when playing this mod and considering fast-travel. A safe bet would be to fast travel to Bruma or one of the caves nearby and go from there.
I really love the back-story for the castle and the various staff members who come to live in your castle. I think the story surrounding how the castle became ‘cursed’ and the mage assistant’s history to be the best stories in this mod. For me personally, the best part about this mod was the quests and the stories surround the staff members that you recruit to help run your castle smoothly. Just reiterating that once more.
The quest begins in a rather standard manner; you heard rumors of a castle besieged by evil forces and the castle’s former steward is offering the castle to anyone, who can free the castle from the malevolent force holding the castle in its grip. Convince him that you have cleared the castle from its unwanted inhabitants and he will grant you ownership of the castle, then send you on various tasks to help get the castle back to its former glory and running smoothly.
The whole tithe collection idea was pretty good, giving the players a steady income (weekly). Especially if they need the money to fund their shopping expeditions to get supplies and gear for their next dungeon delving adventure or on their quest to save Cyrodiil. It makes sense in the world of Cyrodiil, you would expect the major cities would get some form of tithe from the surrounding areas in return for protection.
The castle exterior was rather disappointing due to the large empty spaces in the courtyard. If you happen to have the imperial furniture store, you can fix the large spaces with decorations from the store (or any other furniture store that adds fountains and statues). Otherwise, the courtyard is rather bland. I would preferred if Antistar (creator of the mod) tried to make the place seem more lively, since the exterior seems to bland. There are no horses in the horse stables (that belong to the npcs), broken walls surround the flowers and the small vegetable farm seems to be in a state of disrepair. Even having a couple of trees or statues to decorate the courtyard would be nice. Guards are spread out thinly throughout the area. The guards are understandable since you hired on a small group of mercenaries to be the guardsmen of your castle, but I would rather if they had a heavier presence outside of the castle keep. Just to give the illusion that the castle is well-defended.
The interior is a different story, since it feels more lived in by the various npcs scattered throughout the castle. Or at least the grand hall made me feel like the castle keep had more life within its walls than outside. I like the idea of the large fire pit being in the middle of the castle, being the castle’s main source of warmth. It does look out-of-place at times but it does suit the castle rather well. Loved the design for the secret caverns with that spiral staircase, and that bed in the crypt area which is perfect for evil characters to have their rest. I wish that something could be done to the crypts while the castle was repaired or to repurposed when the last quest of the castle’s dark past has reached its conclusion. It seems a shame to see it left alone, since you do not have much reason to return there after the quests are done.
There is not particularly much to do once you completed the quests and own the castle. Other than enjoying the perks of Hoarfrost Castle; whether it be collecting your percentage of tithes, employing the services of your mage assistant or going to the castle smithy. Great quests though, loved it and I really thought it was well-written with excellent pacing and buildup to the finale. The interior layout is lovely as well, loved the thermal hot springs since it suits the castle being in a snowy climate. Got to stay warm somehow in the cold climate. My main disappointment is how empty the castle courtyard felt, it really could be a beautiful courtyard with the right amount of decoration. As well, give it bit more life such as having horses for the guards or visiting pilgrims to use the chapel’s services.