Friday, November 25, 2011

Skyrim: How to get married, buy a house and make a fortune


There's more to Skyrim than slaying dragons and looting ancient ruins. In this guide we'll tell you how to line your pockets without setting foot in a single dungeon, where to find the love of your life, and how to get on the property ladder.

How to get married

The key to marriage in Skyrim is the Amulet of Mara. This pendant is a way of showing that you're 'available', and wearing it will give you the option to propose to an NPC.
But before the option becomes available, you'll have to complete the following steps...
  • First, find an Amulet of Mara. These drop as loot occasionally, but the easiest way to get one is to visit the Temple of Mara in Riften and talk to the priest, Maramal.
  • Buy the amulet for 200 gold, then talk to Maramal about Skyrim's marriage traditions. You'll have to complete this dialogue tree to be able to proposition someone.
  • Now find someone you want to marry You'll need to be friendly with them first - by completing certain quests, or favours they ask of you. Here are a few suggestions...
  • Aela the Huntress

    • Location: Whiterun
    • Sex: Female (Nord)
    • Marriage conditions: Complete the Companions questline

  • Camilla Valerius

    • Location: Riverwood
    • Sex: Female (Imperial)
    • Marriage conditions: Complete 'The Golden Claw'

  • Erik the Slayer

    • Location: Rorikstead
    • Sex: Male (Nord)
    • Marriage conditions: Complete his favour then hire him

  • Lydia

    • Location: Dragonsreach/Breezehome
    • Sex: Female (Nord)
    • Marriage conditions: Become Thane of Whiterun

  • Uthgerd the Unbroken

    • Location: Whiterun (Bannered Mare)
    • Sex: Female (Nord)
    • Marriage conditions: Challenge her to a brawl and win

  • Angrenor Once-Honored

    • Location: Windhelm (Candlehearth Hall)
    • Sex: Male (Nord)
    • Marriage conditions: Give him a gold piece
  • There are many more NPCs you can marry, of all sexes, races and ages. You'll know they're available for marriage if there's a dialogue option along the lines of: "Are you interested in me?"
  • When the NPC accepts, travel to the Temple of Mara and talk to Maramal again. Wait 24 hours, then meet your spouse-to-be at the altar. You can back out at the last minute, ruining your chances with them forever, or go through with it. When the ceremony is complete you'll receive an enchanted wedding ring.
  • Talk to your spouse. If you own a house, you can make that your marital home. If not, you'll use their house instead. Your wife/husband will then make their own way back to your/their house and will be waiting for you next time you visit.

The benefits of married life

As well as earning an achievement/trophy, getting married in Skyrim has a few nice perks.
  • Your spouse will become a merchant of sorts. Talk to them once a day and ask "Has the store made any money?" and they'll give you 100 gold. This accumulates, so leave it for a few in-game weeks and you'll get a nice amount of coin.
  • Sleeping next to your spouse (your bed will also be 'owned' by them), gives you a bonus called 'Lover's Comfort'. This increases the speed of all ability upgrades by 15% for eight hours. This is the same effect as the Lover Stone.
  • Once a day, your spouse will cook you a meal. Talk to them and ask "Could you cook something for me?" This will appear in your inventory as 'home cooked meal' and will give you a health, magicka and stamina boost for a limited time.

How to buy a house

Chances are you don't own your own house in Skyrim yet. They're pretty expensive, and cost even more to fully upgrade. To be able to buy a house, you'll need to curry the favour of the local Jarl. This can be done by completing any quests they offer you, and often by becoming their Thane.

When you've become friendly with them, talk to their steward and he'll sell you a home. Talk to him again to order upgrades. Houses you buy are empty to begin with, but upgrading them fills them with furniture, decorations etc.
Below is a list of all the properties you can buy...
  • Breezehome

    • Location: Whiterun
    • Base price: 5,000
    • Upgraded price: 6,800
    A small two-story house near the city gates. Either help Jarl Balgruuf until he says you can buy property, or buy it from Brill if you've completed The Battle For Whiterun.

  • Vlindrel Hall

    • Location: Markarth
    • Base price: 8,000
    • Upgraded price: 12,200
    Help out Jarl Igmund and you'll be able to buy this old Dwemer house from Raerek. Upgrade it and you'll get an armour display mannequin and alchemy and enchantment tables.

  • Honeyside

    • Location: Riften
    • Base price: 8,000
    • Upgraded price: 12,300
    To be able to buy this home you'll have to complete a certain amount of quests in Riften and become Thane. You get a basement, garden and large kitchen when you upgrade

  • Hjerim

    • Location: Windhelm
    • Base price: 12,000
    • Upgraded price: 21,000
    You may remember this house from the Blood on the Ice quest. You can buy it when you become Thane of Eastmarch. It has an armory with display cases for your weapons and armour.

  • Proudspire Manor

    • Location: Solitude
    • Base price: 25,000
    • Upgraded price: 36,000
    The most expensive house in all of Skyrim. Complete The Man Who Cried Wolf and one other task for the Jarl to be able to buy it. It has three floors and six palatial rooms.
Notes about houses
  • If your spouse is in another house and you want them to move to your new one, just talk to them and ask them to move.
  • Becoming Thane grants you a Housecarl. One of the first you'll get is Lydia after defeating the dragon in an early part of the main quest. If you have a Housecarl, a guest bedroom will appear in your house for them to live in. If they're following you and you ditch them, they'll be found here.

How to make money

Now that you've settled down with your new wife in your new house, you'll need to get a job. Sure, you could go adventuring, but there are other ways to fill your purse without straining your sword arm or getting lost in a dingy trap-filled cave.

Chopping wood Locate a woodcutters axe (buy it from a store, or find one lying around) then look for a woodcutting block. There's one in Riverwood by the mill if you're struggling. Activate the block and your character will start chopping.
Each 'chop' earns you 2 pieces of firewood, which you can then sell for 5 gold each. This is a decent way of making money, as 18 blocks of wood - that's three chopping sessions - will get you 90 gold in total. It's dull, but hey, that's work for you.

All that food you find lying around isn't just for eating. If you find a cooking pot and activate it, you'll see a large list of pre-made recipes. By combining ingredients you can cook meat and create entire meals, then sell them on to general goods merchants (or keep for eating yourself).

If you get the Investor perk from the speechcraft skill tree, you'll be able to invest in certain stores and take a cut of their profits whenever you visit them.

If you're after something a little more lucrative, try mining. There are nine types of ore in Skyrim - gold, iron, ebony, silver, corundum, malachite, moonstone, orichalcum and quicksilver. Of these, ebony is the most expensive.

First, get a pickaxe. If you've been to the Throat of the World, travel there and climb to the peak and you can get a special tool called the 'Notched Pickaxe' that raises your smithing stats. Then it's simply a matter of finding an ore vein and activating it. As you mine, you'll get a mixture of ore and precious gems.
To mine faster, dual-wield pickaxes like weapons and 'attack' the ore veins rather than activating them. When a vein depletes, move on to the next one. It won't regenerate for several weeks.
When you have a pile of ore, look for a smelter. There's usually one outside mines, or you can find one directly to the right of the main fast travel point in Whiterun. The smelter lets you turn ore into ingots, which sell for more, and can be used to craft and upgrade armour and weapons. Blacksmiths will buy ore from you, and sometimes the foreman of the mine.

Here are some locations that are perfect for mining...
  • Ebony - Gloombound Mine (16 veins), Throat of the World (2 veins), Redbelly Mine (3 veins)
  • Corundum - Darkwater Crossing (5 veins), Blackreach (3 veins), Snowpoint Beacon (2 veins)
  • Iron - Embershard Mine (8 veins), Halted Stream Camp (16 veins), Stonehills (4 veins)
  • Quicksilver - The Tower Stone (2 veins)
  • Moonstone - Mzulft (7 veins), Soljund's Sinkhole (5 veins)
  • Orichalcum - Bilegulch Mine (9 veins), Dushnikh Mine (9 veins), Shrine of Mehrunes Dagon (3 veins)
  • Gold - Kolskeggr Mine (24 veins)
  • Malachite - Steamscorch Mine (7 veins)
Smithing If you'd rather use all those ingots you've mined rather than sell them, get involved in smithing. By crafting weapons and armour you can not only create some awesome kit for yourself, but a load to sell on to other blacksmiths. See our detailed step-by-step guide to becoming an expert in smithing.

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