What are all those hobo signs in Skyrim about?
Skyrim is filled with many tiny details, right down to the butterfly you can pluck straight out of the air. Its these little details that often keep me coming back for more. One thing I noticed early on, but didn’t pay much heed to was the crazy hobo signs on houses (called “shadowmarks” in this game) and now there is an easy graphic to understand them with!
Hobo signs are actually a thing in real life. They exist to tell other drifters when a house is dangerous, welcoming, has warm food, a place to sleep, etc. Its an unofficial system that has existed in the United States since at least the 19th century. Its probably not very widely used these days, but obviously a great way to communicate possibly life-saving information to fellow hobos.
Skyrim really takes their immersion to the next level by incorporating their own hobo sign system (as pictured above) with information that may even be valuable to the player. The meanings of these symbols is listed in a handy graphic below: