The plot involves traveling to the island of Solstheim and the return of a mysterious former dragon priest called Miraak, one-time ruler of the island. Unlike the ancient dragon priests of Skyrim, Miraak was Dragonborn, supposedly the first person to be gifted with the dragon blood, and he possesses the ability to absorb dragon souls, much like the Last Dragonborn.
The main quest-line also features traveling to Apocrypha, realm of Hermaeus Mora, Daedric Prince of forbidden knowledge. Here the Dragonborn must recover the mysterious Black Books in order to learn new powers and stop Miraak.
Encounter new towns, dungeons, and quests, as you traverse the ash wastes and glacial valleys of this new land. Become more powerful with shouts that bend the will of your enemies and even tame dragons. Your fate, and the fate of Solstheim, hangs in the balance as you face off against your deadliest adversary – the first Dragonborn.
Dragonborn takes place on the island of Solstheim, located north east of Skyrim. The geography of the island bears similar traits to both Vvardenfell and Skyrim and ranges from ash wastes to glacial valleys.
Following the eruption of Red Mountain in 4E 5, thousands of Dunmer were forced to flee Morrowind. Many crossed over the border into Skyrim seeking refuge, and whilst they were accommodated, the Nords graciously offered them the island of Solstheim as their new home.
The mining town of Raven Rock, located on the southern coast, is a far cry from its former days. After the mass Dunmer migration it has taken on a heavy Dunmer influence in its architecture and culture. House Redoran is an established presence as seen by their banners adorning the walls outside the settlement.
The primary antagonist in Dragonborn is Miraak, the mysterious former dragon priest who is revealed to be the first individual gifted with the dragon blood.
He ruled over Solstheim thousands of years ago at the behest of Dragons, much like his counterparts in Skyrim, however at some point this changed and he rebelled against the winged overlords.
In addition to the island of Solstheim, Dragonborn also involves venturing into the plane of Oblivion known as Apocrypha, domain of the Daedric Prince of forbidden knowledge, Hermaeus Mora. The realm appears as a large citadel-type building with twisted columns and is home to dangerous creatures, such as Seekers and Lurkers.
During the course of the add-on, new abilities and powers can be learnt in the realm from mysterious Black Books.
A preview trailer was released by Bethesda on 5th November 2012 that showed various aspects of the add-on.
He was once one of them, the Dragon Priest.
He ruled here in their name, ruled over Solstheim.
But he did not serve the Dragons, he devoured them.
And like them, he seeks to return.
You didn't think that you were the only one?
He was the first.
The trailer begins by showing a ship approaching an island later revealed to be Solstheim. Banners can be seen bearing the crest of House Redoran while the buildings in the background are distinctly Dunmer in origin. This is followed by some imagery relating to dragon priests, such as the Dragon Priest Shrine. Next the narrator is revealed as an elderly Nordic man sitting outside a Skaal village.
A few scenes of Solstheim are shown next, including its unique landscape, the Telvanni Tower and a mysterious cave inhabited by netchs. A Dunmer settlement displaying Redoran architecture and a Nordic tomb decorated with dragon skeletons, are also shown.
Next an amphitheatre-type structure is shown followed by a smaller structure and upright pillar emitting a green glow. The Dragonborn is then shown reading a book, after which a tentacle ensnares him. The next shot reveals a large citadel-type building with twisted columns as pages of books flutter in the wind.
The Dragonborn is then shown inside the Telvanni tower, using some type of levitation device to ascend into a laboratory of sorts, littered with Dwemer scraps. This is followed by a shot of two new armor types, one of which appears to be made of bone with a semi-translucent layer on top.
The trailer then shows the Dragonborn climbing on to the back of a new breed of dragon whilst in the citadel realm, followed by various scenes of combat pitting the Dragonborn against a variety of creatures, including spear wielding rieklings, some of whom are riding tusked bristleback war mounts. Several new types of armor and weapons are shown again. Finally the Dragonborn is seen riding a roaring dragon with High Hrothgar in the background.
The trailer concludes with a shot of three dragon souls being absorbed by the unnamed former dragon priest, who is purportedly the first Dragonborn.
Dragonborn was released on December 4th 2012 on Xbox 360, priced at 1600 Microsoft Points. It was later released on PC on February 5th 2013 and on PS3 in North America and Europe on February 12th and 13th 2013.