A vampiric army rises from the holds of Castle Thorn, one of the two new dungeons arriving with the Stonethorn DLC. Learn about this new Dark Heart of Skyrim adventure in this latest preview.
A Forgotten Fortress
Nestled within the barren mountains of Western Skyrim, the formidable Castle Thorn has stood for centuries, with its mysterious inhabitants preferring to remain isolated behind its heavy walls. However, with a dark shadow now rising over Solitude, something evil is stirring within the keep.
“Castle Thorn is the home of the reclusive Lady Thorn,” explains Mike Finnigan, ESO’s Encounters Lead. “She has quietly been building an army for years in the anticipation of the events of Greymoor, and now she has finally thrown off the cowl of secrecy.”
The imposing Castle Thorn
Once again, the local populace from the surrounding regions have begun to disappear, and all signs point to Lady Thorn’s great fortress. However, as this new threat emerges, so do those willing to stand in its way, including House Ravenwatch.
“House Ravenwatch is a Vampire house from Rivenspire that has dedicated itself to undoing the evils of Vampirism in the world,” explains Finnigan. “They are vampires themselves, but they believe they can coexist with humans.”
In particular, Gwendis (returning from the ESO base game) will join you to storm the fortress of the undead, uncover what the Thorn scion is planning, and put a stop to it before her new army can march on Skyrim.
“Gwendis is ever the optimist, and she takes the teachings of House Ravenwatch very seriously, so when she captured one of Lady Thorn’s scouts, she knew she had to act and had the scout lead her to Castle Thorn. That first part was easy, but what comes next is the hard part, and she needs your help.”
Attack on the Castle
While certainly bold, a frontal assault on this gigantic castle is no small task, since an army of vampiric beasts guards the citadel, including members of the Thorn Legion, skeletal monsters, bloodfiends, and worse still.
“Lady Thorn has been building her forces for centuries, and she has utilized any and all means to create a powerful Vampire army. From traveling to Elsweyr and infecting Senche-rahts, to binding a servant of the Daedric Prince Nocturnal to augment her soldiers further, she seeks to enhance her followers, no matter the cost.”
An army of the undead awaits
As you battle your way through the castle’s gates and ramparts, you and your allies must face a dark army unlike anything else in Tamriel. In addition to this horde of the undead, you also need to fight your way through five challenging boss battles, including a giant death hound, deadly vampires, and even daedric monstrosities, such as the menacing Vaduroth.
“Vaduroth, a bound Wraith of Crows, should offer some interesting challenges for you and your party,” says Finnigan. “A servant of Nocturnal now bound to the will of Lady Thorn, Vaduroth’s job is to empower and ‘resurrect’ Vampires that have fallen in battle.”
When you confront Vaduroth, you will witness its grim collection of impaled beasts and terrible, unfinished experiments. However, don’t let these grisly sights distract you from the battle, since using Vaduroth’s abilities and future experiments against it are key to success, and you must still face Lady Thorn herself!
Castle Thorn holds many secrets, including age-old treasures from before the Second Era. As you storm the citadel’s defenses, you can claim these riches for yourself, including three unique gear sets, a new monster mask, collectibles, and Achievements.
This includes the powerful Talfyg’s Treachery set:
“Talfyg’s Treachery gives you a taste of a vampire’s power,” explains Nadav Pechthold, the Combat Designer in charge of item sets. “This light armor set provides a boost to your spell power, but it also gives you an unnatural weakness to damage from Flame and Fighter’s Guild abilities.”
In addition to the regular gear, if you defeat the final boss on Veteran difficulty, you’ll also loot the Lady Thorn monster mask, which can be very powerful if you use abilities that cost health to activate.
“The Lady Thorn monster mask is an exceptional set for damaging and weakening your foes while providing a new synergy that you or your party can use. Casting a spell that costs health summons a blood ball that provides the Sanguine Burst synergy, which when activated, damages nearby enemies and applies the Major Maim debuff.”
Finally, Castle Thorn’s rewards also include the Reanimated Vampiric Thrall skin (giving your vampire or undead monstrosity its own, fearsome look), unique titles (including a particularly concerning one called “the Inedible”), home furnishings, and a dye.
You can earn all these rewards by completing Castle Thorn on various difficulties, including Normal, Veteran, and Hard Mode—the greater the difficulty, the greater the rewards!
Face Lady Thorn
With a new army of vampiric monsters unlike anything you’ve faced before, Lady Thorn prepares to march on Western Skyrim. You and your allies must infiltrate the fortress, uncover the truth behind this new army of the undead, and stop the Vampire Lord before her darkness can threaten Tamriel. Are you ready to assault Castle Thorn? Let us know via @TESOnline, Instagram, and Facebook.
Part of the Dark Heart of Skyrim year-long adventure, the Stonethorn DLC game pack is coming August 24 for PC/Mac and September 1 for Xbox One and PlayStation®4. This new DLC game pack arrives in tandem with Update 27, a free base-game update for all ESO players.