Following up on last week's trailer, Bethesda has released a dozen images of TES V: Skyrim's upcoming Dragonborn DLC. The add-on is regarded by some enthusiasts as being the game's first "real" expansion, as it goes a step beyond previous content packs by introducing a new large piece of territory to explore.

Players will be able to leave Skyrim and embark upon the island of Solstheim, which is located to the northwest of Vvardenfell and was previously featured in Bloodmoon, the second expansion of 2002's TES III: Morrowind. If you're not up to speed on the history of TES or the geography of Tamreil, this map should help.

Solstheim's terrain is described as "ash wastes and glacial valleys," and while on the island, Bethesda says you'll "encounter the Dark Elven Settlers of Raven Rock and the native Skaal as you unravel the mystery of a Dragonborn's return." Your journey will include the discovery of new towns, dungeons and quests, and it will culminate with what is said to be your deadliest adversary to date -- the first Dragonborn.



To accomplish that, you'll learn new shouts and spells including one called "Dragon Aspect," which will let you "summon the inner power of a dragon to deliver colossal blows and strengthen other shouts."  You'll also discover new dark powers through books of forbidden knowledge located in a Daedric realm, and you'll be able to pick from new gear including Bonemold and Chitin armors as well as Stalhrim weapons.



Some gamers are convinced that Dragonborn will also introduce the ability to ride dragons. This feature isn't confirmed, but it is shown briefly at 1:09 in last week's trailer, and Bethesda has expressed an interest in dragon mounts. We'll find out for sure on December 4 when the DLC hit Xbox 360 for $20. PC and PS3 availability are unknown, but assuming Microsoft has a 30-day exclusivity deal, early January seems plausible.