What the heck happens to hold troops when it is seized by the other side? like when The Rift is occupied by imperials what happens to the Rift guards?
Many of the Hold's Guard are likely killed fighting the Stormcloaks/Imperials, and the survivors are either disbanded, integrated into the Imperial/Stormcloak troops who have taken over the Hold, or scatter, either becoming bandits or joining the Imperial/Stormcloak guerrillas.
If the hold guards are more like police, they probably aren't treated like PoWs. Chances are, the guard is disbanded and an occupation force comes in. Some reaffirm that they are loyal to the city and not the cause and just get a uniform change, others just return to their families and find a new job, while some of the most devoted members likely pack, say their goodbyes, and "go on a vacation" to the nearest Stormcloak/Imperial encampment's recruiter.
Pretty much the exact same thing that would have happened historically: once the city surrenders, the guard changes their uniform and continues to protect the city, only now under the new management. The vast majority of the guards are just that: soldiers loyal to that Hold. The hardliners will likely pack up and join the armies of whoever previously held the Hold, but the majority of the guardsmen will be allowed to keep their arms and continue to serve their homes and families as the Hold's security force. Guards who are more strongly aligned with the Empire or the Stormcloaks would likely have already turned in their uniforms and arms and went off to join either side.
People Acknowledging the Daedra
Are the people of Skyrim even acknowledging the Daedra and what they're doing? I play this game all the time and I think to myself "How does no one seem to care that the Daedric Lords can kill everyone that exist in a matter of minutes if they wanted too?"
They can't. It was like, the entire plot of the last game. There's a contract with Akatosh, Aedra of Time that prevents Daedra from breaking willy nilly into Nirn. Sotha Sil also made a law that prevents the Princes from manifesting for more than a set period of time. You can still summon them, and they do have some limited influence over Nirn, mostly focusing on their aspects, but they aren't omnipotent within the Arena.
Remember that there's only one Daedric Prince who wants to destroy the world, and that is Mehrunes Dagon, and he's got lots of issues with getting into the mortal world these days.
The Shivering Isles made it clear that, while still great, the power of the Princes is incredibly reduced in the mortal realm.
Even if they did acknowledge it, exactly what do you expect them to do about it? The Daedra are completely immortal and next to impossible to do more than inconvenience without divine intervention. The average person may be scared of what could happen, but they have little choice but to accept it and try to live their lives without giving in to nebulous dread. The Daedra aren't anything new for the people of Nirn. They've always existed and always will. If they aren't planning large-scale invasions or the like, it's basically business as usual for the populace so there's no reason to waste time and effort concocting futile efforts to oppose them that might incite their wrath. It's not too different from any setting with Jerkass Gods or other assorted supernatural nuisances. Besides, the Daedra aren't united (the most vicious hate each others' guts) or even evil, justdifferent.
"It's almost like they knew we were coming."
If you side with Ralof at the beginning of the game, and follow him to his home, he mentions how the ambush that caught him and Ulfric was suspicious. "It's almost like they knew we were coming." Is it ever made clear how exactly the Imperials knew where Ulfric was going to be? Or are we left to assume it was probably just some spy?
That or the Imperials are just that good.
Tullius apparently set up the entire ambush. He's explicitly described as a military genius.
You sort of do have to know the enemy is coming in order to ambush them...
Armies have these things called "Scouts" and "Spies" whose job is to figure out such things.
Indeed, I wonder if these "scouts" or "spies" could have discovered Ulfric's forces' movements and told Tullius so he could prepare an ambush... Almost as though he knew they were coming...
A more pressing question, we are told the ambush took place in Pale Pass, which, if you remember Oblivion, is a Pass that links Cyrodill to Skyrim. Why was Ulfric heading to Cyrodiil?
Ulfric may have been trying to block the pass to prevent reinforcements from Cyrodiil from reaching Falkreath and working their way west to Markarth or north past Whiterun.
With the pass in Falkreath hold, he'd be stuck fighting on both sides if that was the plan. Hardly a winning move to go do a blockade, in person, with a tiny token force.
Even with a small token force he could effectively block off the Pass to marching troops, perhaps launching an ambush of his own.
Where was the Ambush?
It's stated that the Imperial caught you crossing the border into skyrim and you get caught up in a fight between the Stormcloaks and Imperials, but it's stated by Ralof that they were ambushed near dark water crossing which is no where near the border to any other province. How then do they think you were crossing the border? Unless there was another skirmish somewhere else closer to the border that is not mentioned this makes for a serious case of Fridge Logic
The closest area to the border would be toward the southwest of Darkwater Crossing. We don't really know the actual details of the ambush; it is entirely possible that the ambush occurred near Darkwater Crossing but the Imperials had to chase down Ulfric for a bit, and he fled toward the border and the player was snatched up then.
Very possibly Ulfric and company were fleeing to the Rift Stormcloak camp, but took a wrong turn (fleeing doesn't really give you an opportunity to get your bearings after all) and went further south, as the player enters Skyrim heading northward from the Autumnwatch Tower area (note the Rift Imperial camp is close to there). Still, it doesn't make much sense, because Darkwater Crossing is IN EASTMARCH and nowhere near the border. The ambush occurring somewhere like Treva's Watch would have made more sense - maybe Ulfric had gone down to check the security of their position in the Rift or something, though it's never made clear why Ulfric left Windhelm in the first place.
Come to think of it, we were approaching Helgen from the south - if we were coming from anywhere in the vicinity of Darkwater Crossing the we should be coming from the east. You can't even get on the south road without first going past Helgen!
Hadvar mentions that they were originally taking Ulfric to Cyrodiil to face trial in the Imperial City before turning around and heading back to Helgen. Even he seems confused as to why, though.
This bugged me so much that i loaded up and explored the region. The pass to Cyrodil was all manner of messed up. Snow mounds and boulders clutter the road making cart travel all but impossible. The pass itself seems to be in a state of perpetual blizzard, so marching the prisoners through it on foot would be suicide for them and the guards.
Wrong. There's a archway into Morrowind with an invisible wall preventing you from going through it, and terrain over on the other side. Perhaps a cut DLC would have made use of it, though.
Lokir surprised to see Ulfric
On the topic of the opening scene: why is Lokir the horse-thief so startled to discover that he's riding in a cart with Ulfric Stormcloak? Ralof mentions that the ambush was two days ago. Ulfric may be gagged, but no one else is, and the capture of such a key figure is the sort of thing that tends to come up in conversation. You'd think Lokir would have overheard someone mention it by now - whether one of the Stormcloaks, or simply the Imperial soldiers celebrating that they've caught the leader of the rebellion.
The capture would have prompted a break out attempt, so the guards would have been given very strict orders to not discuss anything in case a spy were around, with very severe consequences were they to break this order, especially around the prisoners. As for why none of the prisoners talked about it would be that they would have been kept quiet too, likely not even allowed to talk, just in case they were trying to get a message out to a spy, the reason that you were allowed to talk by the time the game starts is because the guard figures they're too close to Helgen for it to matter anymore. A captured rebellion leader does not prompt celebrating, it prompts exceptionally tight security and secrecy for everyone from the generals to the cooks until he's dead, unless he's cold and buried, he's still a threat and any information about his capture is too.
All draconic names consist of three syllables: each syllable a single word. "Odahviig" is "Snow Hunter Wing," Alduin is "Destroyer Devour Master," and so forth. What is "Akatosh?"
Not necessarily a draconic name. Auriel doesn't seem to be, after all, and there is always Alkosh to consider.
Alduin is not Akatosh. Akatosh is not a draconic name.
What about Dovahkiin? That's three syllables and it's draconic. Also, does that mean he could in theory be summoned by someone?
Yeah, the Greybeards. They're pretty loud about it, too.
Dovahkiin is A) a term, not a name, and B) a mortal, not a dragon, so s/he cannot be simply summoned. The Dragonborn is perfectly able to respond to a summons by anyone with the Thu'um with a fart and a raised middle finger. Odhaviing can't.
Oddaviing can - he doesn't have to follow your summon, he chooses to.
Dovahkiin is also not three words, it's two. "Dovah" = "dragon"; "kiin" = "born". Not all draconic words are only one syllable.
Actually, Dovahkiin has TWO meanings in Draconic. There's the above, there's also "Dov" = Wyrm, "Ah" = Hunter, "Kiin" = Born, ie: Born hunter of Wyrms. Note that both definitions match what a Dovahkiin really is.
Similarly, there's a Dragon Priest in Dragonborn named Zahkriisos, which can either be translated to "Zahkrii Sos"(Sword Blood) or "Zah Krii Sos" (Finite Kill Blood). Zahkrii might come from Zah Krii because a sword is a mundane, or "finite" way of killing things, as opposed to a magical or divine way of killing things, which is linked to the infinite.
Odahviing, if spoken to, makes it clear that he doesn't have to come when you call. He initially comes because he wants to see if you're all that, and afterwards because he respects you. Parthunax and Esbern both say the same thing, shouting a Dragon's name out means they will hear it, but they can ignore it. Esbern says Odahviing will come the first time because your defeat of Alduin is bound to make him curious, and your calling his name in the wake of such a victory is a clear challenge.
A related question would be what Naafilargus means - that fellow was a Tamriel-based dragon, so he doesn't have Akatosh's excuse of being a god with twin-mirrors in many cultures (Alkosh, Auri-El, before this game Alduin, and quite possibly still Alduin, if some of the Lore Forum theorizing on what firstborn of Akatosh means is correctnote Firstborn, for instance, could be indicative of Alduin being the first aspect of Akatosh to spin off as its own again).
Nafaalilargus is believed to be a corruption of the "Nahfahlaar" mentioned in the Atlas Of Dragons. Now with the words we know we can't perform a complete traslation, but the closest would be: "Fury For ?". That does not mesh well with the naming conventions of dragons, "for" not being at all descriptive. If we consider that his name be "Nahfahliil" we come out with "Fury Elf" which is not much better, being only two words long where all other names are three. Around about then I lost track of all the possible syllabic combinations and get confused.
"Nahfahlaar" could be "Nah-fahl-aar", which would be "Fury ? Slave", but that's still suboptimal.
Who gets the souls of people who serve multiple beings?
It's heavily implied that all Dark Brotherhood members serve Sithis after death. The Thieves Guild questline involves Nocturnal getting claim to your soul as well. Additionally, Hircine gets the souls of deceased werewolves. So... what happens when the lycanthropic Listener and Agent of Nocturnal kicks the bucket?
Obviously, they settle things in the manner of all supernatural beings-at-odds: they play poker.
The player is the Shezzarine. He can only exist in Mundus because that's where his heart is.
The player is not Shezzarine, his soul it that of a Dragon - thus comes from Akatosh, not Shezzar/Lorkhan.
Except for you can clearly enter Sovngarde, and depending on where Sanguine's party was, may have entered Oblivion. So much about only existing in Mundus
Taking a field trip to Sovngarde may not be all that difficult for a Shezzarine, depending on Sovngarde's exact nature and "location" (especially if it was really established by Shor).
Sorry for this (what i assume is stupid) question, but where is it stated that he is Shazzarine? After researching, it seems that a Shezzarine is sent whenever humanity needs a champion, so does that mean that all player characters, by default, are Shezzarine?
Not quite: there wouldn't be a need if someone is already on the job (which 'Azura's Pawn', the Nerevarine would be for Morrowind), and Arena and Daggerfall didn't really have threats of such a great scope (Redguard certainly didn't). That, plus it seems the humanity in a Shezzarine's job isn't humanity in the sense of the sapient races, or even of the playable races - it is Mankind, as separate from the Mer and the Beast Races (the Dovahkiin's Shezzarine-long term job may actually not be Alduin, but rather the Thalmor).
That and "Serve Sithis" basically means "stop existing in the mortal realm". Sithis is pretty much just a metaphysical representation of nothingness.
Since you have the soul of a dragon, I would say that Akatosh gets dibs.
Assuming Sithis doesn't immediately annihilate your soul upon death, Nocturnal would probably barter her stake to Hircine for something or other.
Maybe the Dovahkiin gets off scott free by paying them off with the many, many dragon souls that were absorbed during life?
Personally I like to think you just pulled off a Did You Just Scam Cthulhu? variant that I like to call the Constantine Loophole. By selling your soul to multiple entities, you ensure they have to fight over it, allowing you to walk away free and clear.
It's likely that the Dovahkiin will pull something similar to Talos and ascend to godhood after the events of the game. A similar stunt was pulled with the Champion of Cyrodiil becoming Sheogorath, and becoming an Aedra would likely clear you of afterlife debts.
There's also the possibility of never dying, due to vampirism. You could very likely cheat all 15 Daedras, 9 Divines and Sithis out of a soul by simply never dying.
How come people don't realize that Alduin has returned sooner? When you fight him on the throat of the world, he opens with "My belly is full of the souls of Your fellow Mortal, Dovakhiin" and I assume that either: the nords can tell the difference between their own god of destruction and an ordinary dragon, or that Alduin would tell everyone as he swooped in, to instill fear, because he doesn't believe anyone can stop him
How is anyone going to tell the difference between Alduin and any other dragon? He doesn't look that different compared with other dragons, especially when everyone who he's attacking is going to have their hands full simply fighting back or fleeing, and won't have time to notice the minute differences between him and other dragons and compare them to the limited legendary lore. The only ones who could tell the difference between Alduin and any other dragon would be learned sages or wizards.
True, he doesn't really look all that different from other dragons I'll give you that, but as I said, Alduin knows that the only people who have a snowball's chance in hell of stopping him already knows who he is, so what's to stop him from invoking his identity to instill fear. IDK maybe "Foolish mortal, you face Alduin World Eater. Look upon me and tremble for your end is nigh" or some Badass Boast like that. Being chased by an unstoppable mythic killing machine is scary. Being chased by the most powerful and evil king of unstoppable mythic killing machines is about ten times worse.
Anyone who he did reveal his identity to likely isn't going to be alive long enough to spread word of his presence, and if someone did survive, they've really got no proof that it really is Alduin beyond their own word.
Alduin has no reason to instill fear in anyone. He's there to revive the dragons, and will move onto step two of whatever his intentions are once he's got the dragons moving again.
Alduin means souls literally. As in the people from Sovngarde he's been eating. Not people in Skyrim.
In his first appearance in the game he just went about destroying whatever he saw. At that point you didn't even know dragons were sentient, let alone immortal beings. Alduin likely just never boasted about anything and was hunting the Dragonborn. When Mirmulnir died at your hands, Alduin realized his mistake and now knew exactly who he was after, so he can boast to you as much as he wants now.
Not true. Alduin is constantly spewing Boss Banter at the Imperials in Draconic during the Helgen sequence, including his own name. He's just rarely close enough for you to hear it, or for subtitles to kick in.
Whie we're on the subject of Alduin,What exactly is his goal? To elababorate, they pretty much set out two paths a: he will kill devour souls, and go to sovngarde, devour souls of the dead to gain incredible power, and use it to bring about the apocalypse, destroying Tamriel to make way for the next world. or b: I think they said that the first dragon war was a dragon crusade similar in nature to the (tamerilic) modern Thalmor, i.e. dragons are the superior race, and deserve to be kings of the world, with everyone else as slaves. So which is it? destroy world or enslave it? Also, the Elder Scrolls Wiki claims that when alduin returns in skyrim, he summons with him the souls of dead nords and cloaked said souls in the flesh forms of dragons. where in the name of Talos did they get that idea? I would think that even if you cloaked the soul of a mortal human in the flesh of a dragon, it would radically different from an actual dragon, since a mortal soul probably wouldn't have innate knowledge of dragon shout language.
Yeah, that wiki entry should probably be changed(removed). There's no sources linked in it and I don't recall seeing even the slightest hint in the game that would suggest human souls in dragon bodies. It's probably just a misinterpretation of what he does with the souls he eats in Sovngarde.
As for Alduin's goal, it could be either one of those. A definitive answer is never given. Paarthurnax seems to suggest that, should Alduin win, the current world will indeed come to an end and a new one will begin. Whether or not he is speaking metaphorically(as in world=civilisation) we don't know for sure.
It is entirely possible that Alduin maintains standards for when he starts the world-munching. The kalpa was fairly young in the Merethic Era (which is probably when the Dragon War occured... it certainly did not occur after), so he might simply have been running a world-enslaving gig while waiting for the world to be sufficiently juicy.
Most likely he's just trying to reestablish his old draconic imperial dictatorship. Remember that Alduin was sent forward in time from a period where he ruled over Skyrim, so his motivations likely haven't changed in the slightest. Alduin's presence is likely to herald the end times if he's allowed to run amok, as a psychotic dragon-Hitler who wages war in an effort to take over the world for his endless dragon empire is probably going to inflict all manner of apocalyptic hilarity on the world no matter what he does.
As I understand it, Alduin's original purpose is to eat the world, to clear it out for the next kalpa. However, he got a bit arrogant in his power and strayed from that purpose. He's kinda like Davey Jones in Pirates of the Carribean. He got cast adrift in time before Akatosh could get a Dragonborn on the scene (IE: beyond the Time God's reach), but by the time Alduin came back, there was a Dragonborn available.
I thought they managed to give Alduin a time-out until such a time that a Dragonborn was available to 'definitively' put an end to his reign? That's what they used the Elder Scroll for. Granted, it's been a while since I saw this part of the storyline, so I may be a bit fuzzy on the details.
The Dragonborn being the only one to kill dragons
Why does everyone say that only the PC can really kill a dragon? I understand that while Alduin is alive during the storyline absorbing the dragon's soul is the only way to keep alduin from resurecting the dragon again, but a fatal wound would still force Alduin to have to ressurect it again. And after he's dead, they can't be ressurected anymore.
Because just because he/she/it/schme can't resurrect the dragon doesn't mean something else can't? You're the only one who can ensure they stay gone, and don't wound up being raised by some other force like a sorcerer or something.
The issue isn't that the dragon can be dealt a fatal wound. The issue is that a Dragonborn is the only one who can permanently kill a dragon. Otherwise Alduin's just going to show up and bring the downed dragon back to life. Without a Dragonborn, you're pretty much going to be stuck fighting an endless wave of reinforcements as Alduin keeps ressurecting all the dragons you kill.
Anyone powerful enough can ruin a dragon's body. But to permanently separate a dragon's soul from the remnants of its body requires another dragon... regardless of what kind of body this other dragon is in. Hence, the Dragonborn's dragonsoul snackin'.
Because the dragons will actually come back to life shortly after death if not permanently killed by the removal of their soul. In simpler terms: Dovahkiin snacks their soul which destroys their flesh and disconnects them from their physical world anchor as well as turning their knowledge into the Dovahkiin's.
Why can only the Dragonborn kill Alduin?
Do they actually explain how it is that Dovahkiin is able to kill alduin? I know the wall says its his destiny to slay the world eater, but it is very clearly stated that he is immortal. three of the most awesome heroes in nordic history, warriors who, as shown in the time wound, killed dragons about as easily as Dovahkiin does, and are capable of dragonshouts (though only through training the mortal way) couldn't even touch him, and thus needed to cast him adrift in time with the scroll. Dovahkiin is badass, but is there any real reason that we have the ability to slay a previously immortal creature other than, "because it was carved into an ancient piece of akaviri wall art"
The ancients didn't really know how to destroy Alduin. They knew that it'd take somebody with a Dragonborn's abilities, but they couldn't figure out the steps inbetween "find Dragonborn" and "kill immortal dragon god". The best they could do was set down a warning for future generations in hopes that after a few millennia of preparation they'd have something more substantial ready. If they actually knew what to do, they'd have left detailed instructions instead.
There's no guarantee that Alduin is permanently gone. After all, you don't absorb his soul. Furthermore, he's not a regular dragon, as he's Akatosh's son. More likely is that you've effectively put off the end of the world for a while, much like the heroes of old did before, but this time without the use of an Elder Scroll to rape the space-time continuum. Now he just has to wait until he can reform, somewhat like Barbas will if you kill him in Clavicus Vile's quest.
Odds are that Akatosh will have a few strong words with his wayward son about straying from his duties and going on a power trip with the mortals.
It probably has to do with where you kill him. The descriptions about him are to the effect of "Alduin cannot be slain in Mundus" or something similier. But you're not in Mundus when you kill him, you're in Sovngarde (presumably somewhere in Aeithrius or Oblivion). Notice Paarthanax and others encouraging you to go after him before he gets back.
Actually he's not Akatosh's son. He's Akatosh. And not Akatosh. Alduin is kinda like a split personality of Akatosh that has it's own body and limitations (when you're a god things like this become somewhat trivial) and duties (which it abandoned). So when you kill it, you kill that aspect of Akatosh. The God of Time is kinda completely insane.
Depends onwhere you stand, really. We can fill in the nature of various entities from the lore, but for simplicity's sake, it's usually better to go with what we get told directly instead of extrapolating from in-universe documents.
In universe there is a lot of confusion about what Alduin is in Relation to Akatosh, however Alduin himself claims to be Akatosh's first born son (in his fight with the PC) so he's kind of like one of the Ancient Monsters/Heroes in Greek/Titan mythology, born from (and to a degree a representation of said) god, and liable to abuse misunderstandings about their birthright to their advantage (such as some of the old monsters claiming to be more important than they really are. Alternatively he could be like the Hindi gods and heroes (all the gods are parts of the big god Brahma and all the heroes are incarnations of the gods). It's not really made clear because it isn't clear in universe
Going with the "Believe what you're told directly over the background document" rule of thumb, it's safe to say that, for all intents and purposes, Alduin and Akatosh are separate beings, as Paarthurnax (who would know better than anyone) states his reason for aiding in Alduin's defeat was Alduin's attempt to "usurp the place of our father, Akatosh."
Contradictions with the Burning of Olaf Festival
Self contraction here. during your introduction to the bard's college, you have to reinstate a festival celebrating the brutal execution of an ancient nord tyrant. That story is backed up by the cave with the Bard ghost where you find Olafs lost verse. according to said passage, the guy was ten different kinds of douchebag. BUT the loading screen calls olaf a hero, since he is the guy from castle dragonreach's name origin. and to top it all off, You meet him in the hall of Valor in Sovengarde! (Nord Heaven) what gives?
You don't have to be nice to go to Sovengarde, just die in combat or some kind which is implied to include execution (die by another's weapon). And remember this isn't a Black and White game, characters can be both good and bad, just like a lot of real life historical figures. He was a hero who saved people from a dragon, and a dick tyrant. Being the former does not prevent one from being the latter.
Let me get this straight. As long as you die in honorable battle, you go to heaven? What if you had the battle ethic of a nord, and spent your spare time as a mass murdering, child molesting, universally hated villain? Would you still go to sovengarde when you died just to provide one for the good nordic heroes with an enemy to play at war with and keep their skills sharp?
Yes. In case you didn't notice, Skyrim is built around real-life Nordic mythology, which pretty much allowed exactly that.
You don't go to heaven, you go to Sovngarde. There's a difference. Sovngarde is where Nord warriors who bravely die in battle go.
That, or the book was a lie. Considering the type of things that were filled into the crossed out parts, it seems that Olaf's legend has been somewhat twisted by the ages. People apparently love to hear how Olaf never really caught the dragon, even though Paarthurnax confirmed that he did.
One of the books (Olaf and the Dragon) that calls Olaf a fraud is actually wrong. It posits that Numinex was old and dying and that's how Olaf caught him (essentially capturing a crippled, almost senile Dragon). Yet Paarthurnax confirms Dragons do not age (in fact, the very existence of Dragonrend confirms this). Also, only Solitude remembers Olaf as a villain. It may be a case of him being an "enemy" (since he conquered them) and being demonized by the locals.
If you read Kodlak's journal after completing the Companion's questline, you'll read about a dream he had where he met Ysgramor at the Hall of Valor, and asked the great founder of the Companions what he should do in war because he felt fear. Ysgramor's answer?
Remember this. You are judged not by how you live, but by how you die.
Also, remember that this is the TES lore. MANY things are intentionally contradictory. 'Tis the nature of history.
Note that the book Olaf and the Dragon is a scholary discussion of the legend, and the author mentions the Solitude bard's version, that Olaf captured a crippled, senile dragon. The author also mentions that there are many variations on the legend, though almost all versions agree on the main points: Olaf and Numinex fight, Olaf wins, Olaf and his Badass Crew transport Numinex somehow to Whiterun and Dragonsreach is built to imprison him. The author lampshades the fact that legends are influenced by their writers, and cheerfully ends by saying that the best way to find out is to experience it for yourself, draw your own conclusions, and have fun.
It should be noted that Ragnar the Red is called a hero in a song that portrays him as a douche and treats his being decapitated as a happy ending. "Hero" clearly means a powerful warrior in Skyrim, with no connotation of being good or bad.
Or ya know, the song is being sarcastic.
Buring of King Olaf is not the recreation of his execution but simply a demonstration of displeasure. King Olaf has been entombed in the lavish crypt as many other respected kings and jarls, so one can assume that he died of natural causes (including death on a battlefield that pretty natural for Nords). Furthermore, it is perfectly possible that there was some bad blood between Olaf (jarl of Whiterun) and Solitude that inspired Svaknir to defame unpopular king.
During the quest for the college you have to fight Olaf in Draugr form. Aren't Draugrs all dragon worshippers, who cling to the mortal plane throguh ancient magics? If that is that case how can there both be a Draugr Olaf and a Sovengarde Olaf?
It is very likely that being a dragon worshipper is not only one way to become a Draugr. After all, the Solstheim Draugr had an entirely different origin story given, and one Skaal mage managed to become a Draugr (a somewhat lich-like one, in that he kept his mind) through powerful magic for a purpose wholly separate from dragons. As to how there can be both a Draugr Olaf and a Sovngarde Olaf... perhaps the general Draugr doesn't have the spirit of the body it rose from, merely an echo of it? Most Draugr, including Draugr-Olaf, doesn't seem to be fully sapient beings...
Excuse my question - but I do not remember fighting a Draugr Olaf during the College quest line, less so one who is implied to be King Olaf. Nor do the two Elder Scrolls wikis mention an Olaf in any of the quests.
Bit of a minor thing, but did anyone else notice how incredibly different the spirit of Ysgramor seems in sovengarde from the ridiculously Badass statue from the loading screens. Why?
One is a statue. One is the real person.
To underline the above: Ysgramor lived in the late Merethic Era. Skyrim takes place nearly four and a half millenia since the Merethic Era. Since Sovngarde isn't a place living people generally get to visit, why would the Nords have a good idea about how Ysgramor looked?
One of the in-game books illustrates it. Basically, a battle commander visited Sovgngarde, and the visit instilled him with the words to rally his troops. So, add the two together.
All things considered they looked fairly similar to me.
And history and historical figures don't always look like famous statues or images portray them. Just for a real-life analogy, compare the famous painting of Washington Crossing the Delaware with the actual facts. The painting and the real event only vaguely resemble each other. Time made the event more legendary than it really was.
All gold coins still bear the face of Tiber Septim on the coin, even though the Septim dynasty is over with. Even the coins found laying about in ancient nordic ruins that haven't been occupied since before Tiber's time have his face on them.
The game probably just uses the Septim design because it's the standard currency of the realm. Inventory would probably get a bit clunky if one's gold was seperated into "Imperial Septims", "Draconic currency", and lord knows what else. It would also beg the question of the legitimacy of the currency, exchange rates, the "collector's value" both in-universe and out... better to just use the most common design as the default image. It's not like every piece of iron armour across the land is perfectly identical either.
On the same note, the Falmer that you loot almost always carry Septims. Why? If their goal is to destroy the surface culture, then they certainly wouldn't want to trade with it. What use could they possibly have for surface currency?
Maybe they're going by the logic of "If we keep their money, they can't use it against us"? Not the most likely tactic for Falmer, I know, but hurting the economy is one way to destroy the surface world.
Normally I'd guess that they like shiny objects, but falmer are blind. Maybe they like the sound of coins jingling.
I'd guess the Falmer like them because they're made of gold. It's not their face value, but their material value that makes Imperial Septims so appealing to them.
The Falmer are blind monster people, the only things they know the feel of is Dwemer metal and Chaurus chitin. They probably loot septims because it's something new and they like the feel of them.
In Blackreach, you can find Falmer servants who are members of other races that appear to have been captured and brainwashed into serving them. It's plausible that the Falmer give them the gold so that they can go up to the surface to get supplies and such. Of course, this raises the question of why the Falmer don't have their servants buy them some weaponry and armor.
I figured they were supposed to be Dwarven coins that the Falmer had looted from the ruins they live in/around (this goes with the theory that there are many kinds of gold coins, and they're just displayed as Septims for convenience). As for why, the Falmer are just mutant Elves, still intelligent enough to craft tools and build a social structure. They could have an economy within their communities, or could see the coins as potentially useful scrap metal.
Though worship of Talos is outlawed, Tiber Septim is still held in high regard; the Mede dynasty rules by saying that it's still the same empire that he built and that his family ruled. Replacing the coin would probably be a very unpopular move.
It's been over 200 years since George Washington was president, but we still have his face on the $1 bill. It can be both in the memory of the Septims (they did help close the Oblivion gates after all) and not wanting to mint a ton of fresh coins every time an emperor croaks (which seems to happen quite a bit)
Granted, that's pretty much what the Romans did.
Look at British coinage, it still has latin inscriptions, over 1600 years after the Romans left in 410 AD. Until the 1970's the British penny was still labelled with the letter d that stood for denarii. The continuation of the Septim being minted is likely done for the same reasons, the Empire are sticklers for tradition and thats the way their coins have always been.
Everyone has lockpicks!
Why does everyone have lockpicks? From feeble old ladies to captains of industry, virtually everyone has a lockpick on their person, in their chests or cupboards, or somewhere else in their house. Is everyone that afraid of locking themselves out of things?
Well, loss of items through pickpocketing certainly isn't uncommon, especially when that mysterious traveller guy decked in armour makes his rounds in town. Realistically though, it's possible that the frequency of finding lockpicks was increased in order to help avoiding a situation where the player runs out of them early on. It was a totally possible occurrence to first-time players of Oblivion who hadn't yet become acquainted with the Thieves Guild.
It could also be that the things the player character identifies as "lockpicks" are in reality a tonne of different things (hair clips, pins, scrap metal, etc.) which are simply all represented as proper-looking lockpicks in the inventory for the sake of convenience, much like the gold septims mentioned above. This would also explain why the damn things break so easily if half of them are really just pointy bits of metal you found.
Further supported by the in-game book, "Advances in Lockpicking". The author notes carrying several different things, like pre-bent lockpicks and malleable copper for picks.
That, good sir (or madam) is pure Brilliance de Fridgé. I vote for Main Page.
This is supported by The Wolf Queene, Vol.1, where raises your lockpicking skill. In that book, Potema is depicted picking a lock using the pin of a ruby brooch. And again, it's perception... the common man sees a hair clip... a thief sees a lockpick.
They're fairly simple long, flat tools. They probably have a dozen uses to someone who isn't a thief or adventurer, and any smith would have a pile of them lying around their workshop.
And why is it that as a Master Smith, you are incapable of forging lockpicks yourself?
This has no answer beyond gameplay reasons.
"He's wearing that armor...."
When the Silver Hand ambush you and Farkas in Dustman's Cairn one of them asks which one of the Circle Farkas is. Another shuts him up by saying that he's wearing the Companion's armour and so he dies, despite Farkas being the only member of the Circle who doesn't wear companion armour.
It's likely this was an oversight by the developers, but it's also possible that the Silver Hands recognize Farkas' armor as being Skyforge steel. Euorlund Grey-Mane is a famous smith, after all, and it's common knowledge that he supplies the Companions with weapons and armor.
Minor aside; Farkas isn't the only member of the Circle who doesn't wear wolf armor; Aela wears ancient nordic armor.
Why is none of the drugs in game have harmful side effects in this version. In fact, shooting up all three drugs in potion form gives a nice buff to all 3 stats (health, stamina and magicka). Kind of counteracts the whole Drugs Are Bad that is with Skooma.
With the removal of old attributes, there is nothing that drugs could logically drain (except maybe magicka). Still, they could've implemented some sort of addiction or "comedown" from drugs.
Simple, draining certain skills for a period of time and if you are unlucky, permanent skill damage
Or you know in the Misc. Obj. Helping Hand in Riften? You give a healing potion to the Argonian to help cure her addiction to skooma, and the PC quaffs those things like no tomorrow, ergo no addictions/crippling comedowns for you.
This troper always thought that the lack of negative effects made the player treat it in a more addictive fashion. Admit it, you've pickpocketed/stolen/killed for those lovely health potions, and now you'll want to do it for Skooma, too.
Not everyone gets addicted. Contrary to popular belief, there are people who can smoke for years and stop all at once, literally without even noticing they've done it (I did it a few times in college). There are certainly addictive personalities and body chemistries, so there are obviously non-addictive versions of the same, you just don't hear about them much. Also, some drugs have higher addiction rates than others, so maybe the drugs we meet don't have super high addiction rates (and even if they do, to use the cigarette example, nicotine is one of THE most addictive things, and a lucky few still feel no ill effects). QED: maybe the Dragonborn doesn't have the addictive body chemistry, or maybe the addicts we meet are at a particularly low addiction threshold.
The game that introduced Skooma made clear that it is quite addictive. Of course, it is also indicated that a simple potion wouldn't help beating the addiction, so all that might have been retconned away.
Either that or better healing potions have been invented since then.
This. A sidequest in Oblivion had you get ingredients for a Khajiit mage who was searching for a cure for skooma addiction. Maybe he succeeded in the intervening years and the cure became common knowledge. Note that an Argonian you meet in Riften can be cured of skooma addiction with a basic healing potion.
That having been said, it would appear that this treatment isn't 100% effective. On the way to Blackreach, you run across a Khajiit whose brother was trying to wean him off his skooma addiction, but he went mad with withdrawal after they were trapped in a cave by a storm, and ended up killing several people. They had several healing potions on them, so if that was an instant cure, it seems like that wouldn't have been an issue.
It could be that the health potion you give her doesn't help in beating the actual addiction at all, but rather simply eases the withdrawal symptoms.
it could be that it's addictive in a meta way. Since you receive (as a player) no negative effects, you'll continue using a substance that is thought of as bad.
Esbern and Paarthurnax
So, let me get this straight...What is Esbern's problem with Paarthunax? He hears Paarthunax's name and immediately tells Dovahkiin to kill him. This, despite Paarthunax telling Dovahkiin that he's spent thousands of years redeeming himself and actively helps you in defeating his former master!
He's a dragon. Dragons = evil. Its ingrained in their nature. The notion of a dragon not being evil is like a tiger being a vegetarian.
Paarthurnax himself says that Esbern is wise not to trust him, and that he himself would not trust another dragon. The "will to power" is part of their very nature. They have something akin to a physical urge to dominate others. Paarthurnax overcame his urge through millennia of meditation, but he understands why Esbern doesn't believe it. Besides, Esbern apparently has a very rigid and uncompromising view of justice. He believes that if you commit a crime you must recieve adequate punishment, no matter what, and Paarthurnax has committed countless unspeakable crimes in his time.
On the contrary: Parthurnax didn't overcome the urge in the slightest. He states that, even now, he has to will it into submission on a daily basis. He isn't trying to break a habit from his upbringing: he's continually willing himself to act in spite of what his entire nature screams for him to do.
He wills himself not to do what he primally wants to do. Sounds like overcoming to me.
Only problem is that adequate punishment and justice are all in Esbern's perspective.
It's most likely a mistake to assume that Paarthurnax is completely trustworthy. Yes, he does prove to be a valuable ally until Alduin has been defeated and does act in a grandfatherly manner, but that doesn't mean that he doesn't have his own agenda. The time he invested in tending to the Greybeards and that he claims to have been meditating do lend credence to his claims, until you remember that he's an immortal entity and fully capable of investing that amount of time into a plan if necessary. He may want Alduin gone as much as anyone, but what comes after that is what should concern you. After all, all those remaining dragons are going to need a leader...
As long as he can teach some of them the way of the voice then thats good for everyone, otherwise you'll be implementing the Final Solution just in case. (He isn't any more powerful than other dragons vs. Alduin who can feed off the dead)
The problem I had with the whole Paarthurnax must die thing from the Blades is a certain level of hypocrisy I detected from them. Paarthurnax should die, but, like, Odahviing gets away scott-free? Odahviing only gives you the ability to summon him via Shouts after you a) trap him in Whiterun, leaving him at your mercy (and he gets out of that by claiming he has doubts in Alduin's leadership and agrees to take you to Skuldafn), and then b) kill his current boss. I mean, sure, he gets you to Skuldafn, but then his attitude appears to be one of waiting and seeing who ends up on top, and throwing in with whoever that is. Pretty much everything he does is to save his own skin, yet Delphine and Esbern never take any notice of this, apart from Delphine remarking on the Dragonborn leaving Whiterun on his back, so they know he's around. Odahviing MUST have some crimes under his belt too, especially since he takes over as Alduin's lieutenant after Paarthurnax left, so by Esbern's logic, shouldn't he be killed too? Once that apparent hypocrisy became apparent to me (and Paarthurnax posing that question to me about the nature of good), I really felt I couldn't go through with killing him.
I imagine that Odahaviing is tolerated both because of his relatively minor role in the dragon hierarchy (at least compared to Alduin's former second-in-command) and pure utility. Simply put, you need him to continue. Paarthurnax, valuable ally he may be, is not strictly necessary by the point the Blades find out about him. I'm not saying that the Blades are right about Paarthurnax, but they're not entirely wrong about distrusting him. Ultimately, I put supporting either side on the same moral level as supporting either side in the civil war.
I would imaging Odahaviing not having a very clean record either, if he was high enough ranked to become the new right hand guy and by his own admission he isn't the passive type. Also only the Rule of Cool is protecting Odahaviing after the main quest technically he probably recently killed a lot of people in unspeakable ways. I would put this as a case of do you want to kill The Atoner just in case? Also the Blades must then be omniscient as to know that he already gave you all you need to save the world.
My problem with the quest is that you can't lay down the law with the blades. They aren't there to kill dragons, they're there to protect/serve the Dragonborn. They didn't stop serving every emperor from Tiber to Uriel for not killing Paarthurnax, the hell I'm just gonna standby and let them ditch me. I'm the one giving the orders in this outfit, and until Paarthurnax gives me a reason to kill him, I'm not going to kill him. Now, mind you, I don't expect this course of action to cow them into submission and acceptance, hell, I'd half expect them to draw steel on me then and there. But it would be nice to have the option to put them in their place instead of just ignoring the request and leaving the quest open in the log.
For what it's worth, there's a mod for the PC version that lets you do just that.
Heck, it wasn't as if Paarthurnax was the only dragon they let the old Septim emperors get away with not slaying - Tiber Septim and successors even had dragons serving them in their campaigns (you get to meet - and kill, what with being a Redguard rebel - one in Redguard). Granted, fitting the pre-Skyrim lore dragons to the dragons of Skyrim is... somewhat confusing.
I think you're confusing Skyrim's dragons (Jill), who are essentially lesser aedra, with the Akaviri dragons, who were a mortal beast race, albeit dragons. Still, TES lore is confusing at best so it's hard to attribute what to which.
Jills are Akatosh's female draconic servants. They meddle around with Time for him. The message Martin Septim leaves for you at the end of Oblivion was 'written back into time by the Jills' afterwards, not delivered directly.
That actually raises an important question; would the Blades know or care about the difference between Jills and Akaviri dragons?
Akaviri "Dragons" are actually Vampiric Serpents called Tsaesci (there's also a breed of Tiger Dragons in Akavir called Ka Po' Tun). The Akaviri potentates of Tamriel were Tsaesci. They also founded the Dragonguard that became the Blades under the Reman Emperor. So yes. Since the Tsaesci had their own Dragon hunting force, it seems logical that Akavir had Jills there too.
The Akaviri Dragons are not Vampiric Serpents. Every source that references the Tsaesci (2920, Mysterious Akavir, Report: Disaster at Ionith, the Champion of Cyrodiil's encounters with the Akaviri invasion force at Pale Pass) indicate that they are more-or-less human sized. The sources are inconsistent about human they are, but that is about things like legs and scales, rather than being, y'know, giant flying lizards (as for Ka Po' Tun, it is not a breed of dragons, but, insofar as it exists [Mysterious Akavir is... not really all that reliable a source], a state of cat-folk ruled by one of them that became a dragon).
The way the dragons in Skyrim work is that they're the long-dead bones of Akaviri dragons(who'd migrated to Tamriel after being driven out by the Tsaesci) that were slain long ago and buried given new life by Alduin infusing their bones with the soul of a Jill. So they're Jills, and at the same time NOT Jills.
Why would the Akaviri dragons NOT be Jills? Why would the dragonguard come all the way to Tamriel, desperately seeking a Dragonborn they can mysteriously surrender to (As seen on Alduin's Wall, mentioned by Esbern), if their dragons were not Jills (therefore did not have souls a Dragonborn could suck out)? If the Akaviri had no concept of Jills, they would be rather nonplussed by the Dragonborn Reman Emperors. Plus Akavir is on Mundus, so its not like having Aedric spirits there too is out of the ordinary.
What evidence is there that says the dragons in Skyrim are Aedra possessing Akaviri dragons? I've played through the main quest and found nothing to indicate it.
The fact that the Akaviri dragons migrated to Tamriel after most of them were killed off by the Tscaesi, who were then, in turn, steadily hunted to extinction by the Blades and the Dragonborn. The dragons in this game are explicitly described as darker versions of Akatosh's "Jill" servants. However, they're not summoned to the world; their souls are simply put into preexisting bones, as seen when you find Alduin reviving dragons at the various Dragon Mounds throughout Skyrim.
Explicitly described where? I have seen no mention of jills in-game. Searching it on uesp.net does not give any results. Googling for jill skyrim doesn't give any answers either.
Except that the theory of these being spirits possessing Akaviri dragons who were hunted down is shot down by stuff found in game: Several books mention the Dragon Cults originate from Atmora, having come to Skyrim when the humans migrated over. Since its where the Dragon cults and priests come from, it also seems logical that the Dragons must have also come from Atmora, not Akavir. So unless the Akaviri killed all their dragons and made a habit of dumping their corpses on another continent entirely, this theory seems rather far-fetched.
Well the Dragons encountered serving the Empire are 1. Smaller. 2. Likely too young to have participated in the enslavement of humanity. 3. Lived a long time ago. The Blades could easily have hardened their stance since then (especially since Esbern, while not as Axe Crazy as he could be given the shit he's been through, isn't too stable).
Delphine's really the one who's hardlined about it, going so far as to tell the dragonborn that they're either with the Blades or against them on the matter. Again, though, I'm not asking for an option to force the Blades into going along with letting Paarthurnax live. I'm asking for an option to answer Delphine's ultimatum with "against you" instead of just leaving the quest open and ignoring it. I'd like to give the Blades a What the Hell, Hero?; sure Paarthurnax did some bad shit back in the day. He's also the only reason why mortal kind isn't still living as dragon slaves. Far as I'm concerned that balances it out, and I want the option to tell the Blades that, and to tell them they can either accept that and stay with me, or march their asses up the seven thousand steps and explain to the Greybeards why their master has to die, and if they convince them, they're welcome to try and kill him their damn selves. Is that too much to ask?
Paarthunax is a dragon, and dragons have an inborn nature that drives them to dominate. He's spent millennia atop the highest mountain in Tamriel, watching the world and thinking about things. He's the leader of the Greybeards, masters of the Thu'um and one of Skyrim's most respected organizations. He knew that Alduin was not truly defeated, as well as where Alduin would eventually reappear. Odahviing says dragons don't lie, but that doesn't necessarily mean they always tell the whole truth. It's not a huge leap of logic to conclude that Paarthunax might have hidden agendas, the game just didn't do a very good job of setting it up.
Suspusion is not proof. Sure being a tad weary of Paarthurnax is wise but killing the one guy who offers help without making you jump through hoops and who flat out admits that he sees why you might want to kill him based on his past and nature is rather ungrateful. While he might be an evil mastermind every shred of evidence available in game supports the view that he is a genuine Atoner.
The annoying thing is that there was a far better motivation for killing paarthurnax that could have been used. Paarthurnax's way of the voice practices pacifism. With the defeat of Paarthurnax, either the dovahkin or Ohdavig, who serves the dovahkin, becomes the new leader. And, thanks to the aldmeri dominion, the empire is in sore need of an army of dragons. This is a lot better motivation than the one that was used instead.
Except Esbern's hatred seems to come more from Paarthurnax as he is and not because of his name, what with Paarthy being the former right-hand to Alduin himself. Plus, yes, his name means essentially everything he claims to be against, but remember that, at one point, Paarthurnax DID fit in with his name but later overcame this through meditation after his Heel-Face Turn.
The stupidest thing about the whole situation is that Paarthurnax is just one dragon. One dragon, who has spent his time teaching Skyrim's heroes for millenia about self-restraint, who has never tried to intercede directly in mortal affairs, whose sins were inflicted on people long dead at this point. One dragon, who could be slain bodily by a team of Blades if he decided to stir shit up even without a Dragonborn at their backs. The Blades have been reduced to two people hiding in a ruin, the Thalmor are still hunting them down, and the only reason they're even getting back on their feet is because of the efforts of one person, and Delphine still puts down a hardline position to that one person (who doesn't even need them at all after Alduin is slain), even though the Blades had already been ignoring Paarthurnax's existence for the duration of the entire Septim dynasty, because of direct, never rescinded orders from Tiber Septim himself. Getting a little success after all that time hiding under their beds has apparently done a number on their brains.
Of course, the question now is; if immortal magic Adolf Hitler changed his mind about the whole evil thing about halfway through the Holocaust, helped the Allies stop Ultra-Mega-Hitler from destroying the world, then decided to spend the next two thousand years on a mountain teaching people how not to be Nazis, and then helped the descendants of the Jews to defeat the returned Neo-Ultra-Mega-Hitler... would you still kill him for the whole Holocaust thing? Would that be justice?
I think the point is, as Arngeir says, the Blades do not serve the Dragonborn despite what they claim, never have. They may claim to be an altruistic group who wants to save Tamriel from evils like the Dragons but really at this point it's just about them having a grudge against all dragons. If they were as good as they want to believe they are, wouldn't they bat an eyelid that the Dragonborn (depending on your progress of the game), the best hope against the World Eater Alduin......may also be the Listener and de-facto leader of an Assassin's group who has killed a LOT of innocent people, the top Guildmaster of a group of thieves and may have also performed some heinous deeds for the Daedric Princes including Mehrunes friggin Dagon?! Wouldn't that have been an interesting thing to bring up in the truce meeting. Ulfric Stormcloak yelling at the unfairness of the Imperials and the weakness of the Emperor and then:
Dragonborn: "Oh the Emperor? I've met him. He seemed a decent and lively man, till I shoved this Mehrunes Razor through his throat. He's serving Sithis now."
Crossing the border
So you start the game waiting to be beheaded because you tried to cross the border? Has anyone actually approached the border? The gate is wide open and the only thing that's stopping you is the game engine. No guards patrolling to ask you what you're up to. No one to even see that you even went near it.
You are not being executed simply for trying to cross the border, but because you were trying to cross the border in the wrong place at the wrong time. It's stated in the game's intro that you were caught in the crossfire between the Imperials and Stormcloaks as the former ambushed the latter. You being unknown to the Imperials, they naturally assume you're with their foes, and take you in. If you really need to point fingers, though, you can blame that one Imperial captain for seemingly ordering your death out of spite.
What Ralof is essentially saying in the introductory lines of the game is basically "you (the player) weren't with us, you just walked in on us and got mistaken for the enemy, just like the horse thief," which is confirmed by Lokir the horse thief saying "You and me, we shouldn't be here - it's these Stormcloaks the Empire wants." Why Lokir is on the list and you're not is never made clear; it's probably that Lokir has committed more crimes than that single horse theft.
It's worth noting that IRL horse theft was in fact a capital crime before automobiles were invented (at least in the United States, dunno about other countries).
There's more than one way to cross the border in Skyrim. And regardless, the crime wasn't "you crossed the border, NOW DIE!" You were simply in the wrong place and got lumped in with the Stormcloaks, just like the horse thief, and they were rushing the execution because the Empire wanted Ulfric dead quickly in a public venue.
In Skyrim, there is no correlation at all between the lunar phase of the two moons and their position relative to the sun in the sky. It's possible to see one moon as a sickle, but with the sun at the wrong side! This isn't just a simple plot hole, it's a physical impossibility.
There is a book in the game explaining celestial oddities, like stars being visible through the moons' rims at times. I can't remember what the explanation was, but I expect that the moons are actual immaterial magical reflections, or something to that effect.
The moons are the remains of Lorkhan's body. They probably emit their own light.
The moons are rotting remains of Lorkhan's body. You can see stars through them and the sun doesn't match the dark bits because the dark bits are where his body is rotted away.
Yes, this does mean his body periodically rots and regrows. 'tis how gods roll.
The Sun and stars are holes punched into the fabric of space, not actual celestial bodies. They don't have to make sense in context of the moon, especially with the above.
Mortal and dragon attacks
So almost everyone I know who plays this game reports numerous dragon attacks in Morthal. Is there some sort of priority list for where a dragon would attack, and Morthal is high up on it?
You'll have to wait until January for an answer to that question, what with the delayed release of the Creation Kit.
Morthal, Falkreath, and Riverwood all suffer a lot of dragon attacks, I think because they sit in overlapping random encounter zones; Morthal is one of the few towns I've noted where guards regularly fight frostbite spiders because they randomly appear so close to the town that they aggro at townsfolk, especially the people at the mill. With that in mind, and remembering that dragon spawn rate shoots up as you progress through both the main quest and go up in levels, it shouldn't be any surprise that Morthal gets hit by a higher-than-average number of dragon attacks.
The three settlements are part of the main map, whereas Whiterun, Riften, Markath and Windhelm are all new areas, since a loading screen is needed before you go from the main map into them. Random Encounter Rates also go up the longer you spend in the world map instead of in settlements or houses, and since Morthal and the others are not their own "maps" it could result in higher dragon spawn rates.
I always figured it was because a) likelihood of a dragon attack increases the further you get from the last one; and b) there's not really any reason to go to Morthal unless the game sends you there. Since you're probably fast traveling from the capitol city of another hold (immune to dragon attack, at least before you complete the main quest) to a spot that's a day or two's journey away in an open map cell, dragons seem to attack there more than other places. If there were any reason to go to Falkreath after you complete the two Daedric quests, I imagine you'd see a lot of attacks there, too.
Whiterun's meager response to a dragon attack
Why does a dragon attack on Whiterun, the first in dozens of years, only elicit a response of a few men, a stranger, and Irileth?
I thought the others were too afraid to act because, well, it's a dragon.
If you paid attention during the dialogue, you would have heard that they were being dispatched to investigate the dragon report, not sally forth to slay a beast that they had confirmed was present. Besides, sending the entire garrison out to the watchtower will leave the rest of the city unprotected, which is just begging for a creature with greater mobility and the ability to fly to swoop in and start snacking on the citizenry. Better to send a detachment to investigate and confirm the dragon's presence and leave the rest to protect the city. Besides, Balgruuf is sending Irileth, the most capable warrior in Whiterun and his personal housecarl, to investigate, which is a hefty investment of personal resources.
It's also simply a case of gameplay and story segregation. This is the game where about 20 guys constitutes a city sacking army because of engine limitations. 5 guys is a significant investigation force.
Also makes you wonder why the Companions weren't called upon to help fight the dragon, or at least to ready themselves in case they needed to defend the city. Irileth ordering a soldier to inform them would be sufficient.
The Companions do not answer to Balgruuf or indeed any authority but their own. Notice during the battle of Whiterun they lock their door and stay inside. They are entirely independant and usually require payment. While I'm sure they'd be happy to go fight a dragon free of charge, for the epic-saga factor if nothing else, as noted above it's only a dragon sighting, not a confirmed dragon. Would you go hire an expensive mercenary force to go look at what might be some guard's overactive imagination?
Balgruuf probably didn't send out more men for the same reason why he won't let you trap a dragon in his keep later on in the main questline until the civil war is over or the ceasefire is signed- he doesn't want to do anything that would leave the most strategically and economically advantageous hold wide open for an attack. Plus, it happens at a point in the story where most people are skeptical about dragons even existing unless they saw Alduin themselves. Balgruuf believes the threat could be very real so he sends Irileth, the most capable warrior in Whiterun and his personal housecarl, but sending a large detachment to investigate what at that point is essentially the in-universe equivalent of a Bigfoot sighting while the city's under constant threat of invasion would be a bad idea.
"It is wise not to trust a Dovah...."
Parthurnax says that it's "wise not to trust a Dovah", so is there any reason why I should accept the word of Odahviig that I won't be dropped for the height of seven thousand metres en route to Skuldafn? Now he says that there's absolutley no alternative, but why not ask Parthurnax to take you? Sure, they might spot him on the way in, but is that any worse than risking a potential skydiving accident?
Paarthurnax would be recognized by the dragons and Draugr defending Skuldafn, and him having to defend himself with you on his back would guarantee you a skydiving incident. Furthermore, even if Odahviig is not on the level, its still in his interest to help you, so that hopefully you and Alduin may kill one another. Lastly, you are sitting on Odahviig's neck with a sword/axe/hammer/spell at your fingertips. If he decided to betray you... while there's no guarantee you couldn't behead him before he managed to throw you off.
When he was talking about 'trust,' it was in the context of a discussion over a dragon's nature: an inherent drive to dominate. Odahviig had already acknowledged you as possibly superior to Alduin, and the fact that dragon hierarchy is based on the strength of their Thu'um, that meant you might be his next boss, but Alduin had run away before it could be confirmed. Dragons cannot (by Paarthurnax's words) be trusted to resist their Lawful Evil nature, but if they say that they're going to do something, they're going to do it. Odahviig even says that dragons may not always tell the whole truth, but they do not lie.
The Dragon War timeline
Having trouble figuring the timeline of original Dragon Wars. So first we have Ysgramor and the Nedic people (ancestors to the Nords and other Men except Redguards) fleeing Atmora to Skyrim - the first men in Tamriel. He was also a survivor of Sarthraal's destruction. Ysgramor's history never mentions him being enslaved by dragons. Quite the opposite, as his tales mention him fighting Mer, especially the Falmer. So then, why is Sarthaal filled with Draugr, who were servants of the Dragons? Frontier, Conquest mentions that there were Nedic immigrants from Atmora long before Ysgramor. Did the Dragon Wars predate Ysgramor, or did it all happen after, since his history makes no mention of Dragons? Skorm Storm-Strider's Journal, written in 1E139 (During King Harald's reign, who was 13th in Ysgramor's line), shows that people were still well aware of the Dragon Cults and the Dragon Wars, though they thought the former extinct. If the Dragon enslavement of men and the Dragon Wars happened after Ysgramor, wtf were dragons doing while men were spreading as far south as Solsteim? Why did they take so long to decide to go "ooh, slaves!"
In-game sources are often intentionally contradictory (see also-the 4 or 5 possible origins of the Night Mother). They call it the First Era for a reason-everything before then happened so long ago that nobody has a clear idea of what happened, just several key points (Alduin's fall, Ysgramor's stand) and several millenia's worth of embellishment and distortion. It's unlikely that Ysgramor was actually in the first wave of immigrants.
Also Draugr are not always the result of being dragon's servants, that's just the most widespread one. The Gaulder sons are Draugr and they were from long after the Dragons were not in charge. Ditto Olaf One-Eye.
Alduin's wall was carved by Akaviri. The Akaviri war took place in 1E 2703 and ended when they bumped into Reman Cyrodiil. Weren't the dragons long since extinct by then? And if that is the case why build the wall at that point? And how did they even know the details of something that happened so long ago? The wall seems like something that would have been carved as soon as Alduin was killed.
The Wall was only carved later, after the Akaviri caught a glimpse of the future through reading an Elder Scroll. The Akaviri Dragonguard knew what had happened because people wrote things down, and the Master who oversaw the construction of the Wall was "unmatched" in draconic lore. According to the Annals of the Dragonguard, the dragons were not extinct by that point either, as the Dragonguard were still hunting some of them down. Atlas of Dragons confirms that at least four dragons had survived into the Second Era.
And The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard confirms that at least one dragon survived to the very end of the Second Era (and apparently not being hunted, given that he was working for the then-employer of the Blades).
Mirmulnir, much like Paarthurnax, would have easily just kept out of sight from humans. And the Nords didn't think the dragons were "fake" they just thought that the dragons were extinct thanks to the Akaviri dragon-hunters finishing off the last of their kind.
According to the book The Dragon War, there were Dragon Cults in Atmora at the time of Ysgramor. The Dragons and Dragon Priests probably rose up along with human settlement in Skyrim. The Dragon Cults didn't enslave all the humans, and not all the dragons were interested in enslaving humans.
Paralysis and magical schools
Why were Paralysis spells moved from the magic school of Illusion to the school of Alteration? They were Illusion spells in both Morrowind and Oblivion, and the old assignment made more sense. It's even contradicted by in-universe books.
Probably because they didn't fit with Illusion's theme of only changing your perception of reality.
And? Paralysis alters your perception of control over your body.
Paralysis spells don't dupe you into thinking you can't move. They render you incapable of movement, in the same sense that the Stoneskin and other such spells don't just trick your opponent into thinking that your skin has become armored.
Just like how fireball makes people think they are on fire by the time honored method of actually setting them on fire, Paralysis makes them think they can't move beacuse they actually can't move.
According to one of the books the OP references with "contradicted by in-universe books", the ideas that, to quote Incident in Necrom, "Nothing changed in the vampire's fom, except its ability to move". Of course, technically the same could be said of Water Breathing... except paralysis is easier to explain why it would be in Illusion: if you think you can't move, you might not be able to move, whereas thinking that you can breathe water is less liable to make you actually capable of breathing water.
Actually, one of the in-universe books contradicts this, saying that believing you can breathe water actually makes the spell more powerful.
What on earth implies that paralysis just makes them think they cant move? All that book is saying is that they don't turn to stone or get frozen.
Nothing, since there is no explanation for why it works, beyond 'inhibits the ability to move'. It is, however, a possible explanation for how it works, and therefore why it would be in Illusion as the previous games and some books still in Skyrim has, whereas it would not work for Water Breathing.
Simple - in the 200 years between Oblivion and Skyrim, spells have changed, so instead of stopping your conscious mind from controlling your body, paralysis now physically grips you in place. This is better in combat because even if your mind cannot control you, flinch reflexes still can.
"The 'Schools' of magicka are, as we know, artificial constructs, originally formulated by Vanus Galerion to divide and thereby simplify study. They have changed many times throughout the years, but at their heart, every Master knows, they are all linked together."
Shopkeepers and stolen items
How do shopkeepers know whether the item you're trying to sell them is stolen? And why do they care?
Simply put, it's not that the shopkeepers know and care, it's that you know they're stolen, and that you should care a great deal. If you're carrying some "hot" merchandise, the last thing you want to do is try and pass it off to a reputable business. After all, once word gets out that somebody's house was robbed, people are going to be looking for whatever was stolen, and trying to sell said item in a regular store is going to leave an obvious trail for people to follow. Interacting with a shopkeeper means they have a description of you and what you sold, and if the guards show up a while later asking about the jarl's stolen necklace which the shopkeeper just happened to come into possession of recently... well, you can see how that would get messy for you real quick. Selling your stolen goods through a trusted fence ensures you remain anonymous to the authorities, and it's assumed the fence passes the goods through their various connections until they're sold in some far away place where no one cares about where they came from. Granted, none of this actually comes into play in the game, but that's precisely why the "stolen item" mechanic is there: so that the player doesn't have to deal with all the minutiae of professional thievery.
And, of course, if they did know many of the shopkeepers would care, either because they genuinely think thievery is a bad thing (they are, after all, shopkeepers) or because they want to keep up a reputation as reputable businesspeople, which is easier to do if it doesn't come out that you've been dealing in stolen goods.
Related to the above- you know the item is stolen and you'll likely be caught if the shopkeeper figures it out, so you're nervous about trying to get rid of it because you're afraid of getting caught. The shopkeepers can tell you're nervous, and somebody who's nervous about trying to sell you something usually isn't a good sign, so they turn it down. They don't know for sure, but if they get caught with stolen goods in their shop they'll be in serious trouble, so they're making an assumption to reduce their risk. (How much this explanation works depends on what your character's history is and how good of a thief they are.)
That explanation actually works pretty well with how you get the Fence perk. You'll need to advance speech by quite a bit to get the perk, which indicates that you've spent a long time working on being convincing. Once you've learned enough smooth-talking, you can convince the shopkeeper to take the item without suspecting it is stolen.
The result of this is actually a plot point in Sadri's personal quest. He bought a ring that turns out was sold to him by a thief, having stolen it from a prominent Nord Noblewoman in Windhelm. Note that you never tell him this, he puts two and two together after you accuse him, by remembering the rumors he heard around town and looking at said object. Given that Hired Thugs can be sent after you, it's possible that the original owners of stolen goods will report it and rumors will spread, so your character himself is afraid to actually show shop owners these items.
Draugr and Dragon Cults
If Draugrs were created by the Dragon Cults (or from those involved with them), then why are there many Draugr originating from after that period, or of people who opposed the Dragon Cults? (Olaf One-Eye, who fought a dragon, Gauldur's sons, who lived in the first Era, long after the Dragon Wars when the cults were thought extinct according to a journal dating from the same era.)
Mikrul and Geirmund retreated to pre-existing crypts that were ancient at the time of Gauldur's death, so they had draugr to start with (and presumably were draugr-ified by a different process). It's also implied that in Ansilvund that (non-dragon priest) draugr can be raised by modern-day casters from mummified corpses, suggesting that the distinction from draugr and skeletons has as much to do with material as it does anything else.
Also Draugr featured in Morrowind's expansion Bloodmoon without being anything to do with dragons. Basically they are just a type of undead dragons made extensive use of, not something that only happens as a result of Dragon Cults.
Draugrs can also result from people who practice cannibalism, and one of the crypts imply that the Draugr themselves were creating more draugr with fresh corpses. There may be a non-Dragon Cult related method or maybe Skyrim people just call whatever shrivelled corpse that moves a Draugr, regardless of it's origins. While Dragon Cult Draugr are the most common, they're by no means the only ones.
Bandits and fur
Why do Bandits who reside in forts nowhere near snow wear fur gear?
Because they're bandits. They have to venture out of their fort to earn their livelihoods, and hoping that particularly stupid trade caravans wander into your dilapidated bandit-fortress isn't a recipe for success.
Just because it's not snowing doesn't mean it's not cold.
Coz hides is one of the more plentiful resource and it also allows you to get food?
In addition to those reasons, most bandits appear to be light skirmisher types; they rush in, use hit and run tactics. They'd prefer lighter armor that would allow them to carry more on their way back and outrun any pursuers. They also likely don't have many skilled smiths in their ranks to make them superior armors than hide and fur.
Sulla and Umana
What were Sulla and Umana doing before you showed up in the Alftand Cathedral? Were they just slumped, unconscious, behind those pillars? They must've been in pretty deep comas to not hear and react to your battle with the centurion, or to not have resolved their differences before that moment. It just seems weird to have these characters show up, literally from the stonework, and have them suddenly duel to the death in front of you.
Farengar and dragon remains
If Farengar Secret-Fire is so interested in studying dragons, to the point of trying to take scales and blood from Odahviing, then why does he refuse to buy Dragon Bones and Dragon Scales from you?
I guess it just never crossed the Dragonborn's mind to give him the stuff, and he/she likely assumed Farengar wouldn't accept them. Plus, the Dragonborn might want some for him/herself to make Dragon Armor.
If you've got the right perks, he will buy them.
Torygg trapped in the mists
Why is High King Torygg stuck in the mists of Sorvngarde? He died some time before Alduin returned, so he should've reached the Hall of Valor unimpeded.
You have to best Tsun to get into the Hall of Valor. Tsun may be a pushover for the Dragonborn, but that's because you're the goddamn Dragonborn.
If that's the case, why aren't the field of Sorvngarde not filled with the ghosts of the dead from the past several thousand years who have failed to beat Tsun? The halls of valor have about only two dozen people in them, so Sorvngarde should have millions of defeated ghosts wandering with Torygg. Only people there are the freshly dead since Alduin's return. That seems to indicate that the souls who don't beat Tsun are destroyed, not left to wander about. If Torygg is there, it means he's not faced Tsun at all, so again, why is he there.
Tsun only says you need to prove your valor in a warrior's trial. He never specifies you need to win. Presumably he can let pass people who give a good fight even if they lose (not like they can die again either, unlike the Dragonborn).
Nords who fail to best Tsun aren't necessarily destroyed. They could just be shunted back into the dreamsleeve and given another go-around until they meet Shor's standards of a mighty warrior.
Maybe Alduin's been back for a little longer than we've realized, few months, maybe a year, but he only reveals himself at the Dragonborn's execution. As for what he's been doing; recovering from being bitchslapped through time by an elder scroll, maybe. Tracking down the dragon graves. Looking for you.
Note that Alduin has been devouring the souls of nords in Sovngarde to recharge his strength. It's amazing that Torygg is still there and the areas outside Sovngarde were possibly filled with a ton of people, just that they got snatched up by Alduin long before you arrived. The soul of the guard you meet there clearly is scared of being taken by Alduin.
The Stones of Barenziah
When you show your first stone of Barenziah to Vex, she mentions that she won't buy it because (paraphrased) "They're only of worth if one has the complete set." If people aren't buying them because they're not worth much on their own, then no-one's actively collecting the whole set which is known (at the very least by scholars) to be valuable. Vex's whole evaluation of the gems doesn't seem to make sense.
Well, they're glowing pink gems that hover in their own custom-made boxes, but otherwise have no obvious magical benefit or mineral value. Maybe they do fetch a decent-ish price, but some people just think they're cool paperweights while others have them just for the cred. No one has tried to collect them all because it would be really really really hard. Vex might be nudging you into finding the rest because she's a thief, you're a thief and it'd be a pretty awesome thing for the Thieves Guild to have. And it's not that unusual for a complete artifact to be worth a lot more than the sum of its component materials.
The Artifact at the end is special to the thieves Guild. Vex is egging you on to collect the gems instead of selling them so they can get the artifact.
All that still doesn't explain from a story standpoint why no one else is collecting the stones. Vex can't be the only person in Skyrim that knows what they are, and logically you should run into the other collectors whilst collecting them yourself. You don't. The only logical conclusion is that Vex is the only person in the world that knows about the stones of Barenziah.
Vex implies that very few people know what they are and fewer still know there's more than one out there. Perhaps it does fetch a high price to people other than the thieves guild, but most don't know more than one exists, hence no collectors. Vex herself will reveal that she wanted you to collect the stones, not sell them off at the first chance to some random peddler, which explains why she gives you such a low evaluation at first.
It would be nice if she at least offered to take them off your hands when you find them. I'm tired of all these stones clogging up my inventory.
In the Thieves Guild quest, Karliah claims she couldn't get a clear shot on Frey and shot you instead. How the hell could she NOT have a clear shot? It was a huge ass chamber with a large entry point, and Frey was hardly holding you in front of him like a human shield.
Wasn't he? I'm pretty sure he takes his sweet time about entering the chamber. I thought she chose to shoot you because she figured the very moment Mercer suspected you could be a witness, he would have run you through, and she needed someone alive who knows Mercer's a traitor.
Karliah's downfall was that shooting you lost any element of surprise or stealth attacks she was riding on. The fact that she makes a HUGE deal about being concerned that the player can't defeat Frey alone later in the quest implies that she couldn't beat Frey one on one herself without that advantage. She also mentioned that the act of saving your life directly ruined her chances, so that also would've played a huge part in the failure.
Why couldn't she wait? The Dragonborn is barely through the door when she shoots. She didn't give Mercer any time to see if he would enter. Again, its a huge chamber and she's in a pretty safe position. And she's such an awesome shot that she can hit the Dragonborn even if he's invisible, ethereal, whirlwind sprinting, and-or slow-timed. She can hit him mid-sprint. If she's that good, she can hit Mercer. And it would be easy enough to write around this. She shoots, misses. You go back. She sends you a note, you meet her at her camp, the quest goes normal from there.
Why can't the Dragonborn do anything useful with the Thalmor dossier on Ulfric? Like confront him with it, or make it public? If you supported him, surely you'd want him to have it, and if not, surely it would be useful in discrediting the Stormcloak rebellion (weakening the Empire is just what the Thalmor want, and all that).
Presumably it's not firm proof. Could easily just have been faked so it is of no use to anyone because there's nothing marking it as genuine.
Still, would have been an interesting conversation when he was confronted with it.
The dossier doesn't really say anything to discredit him. The Thalmor have tried talking to him about ... something before and then they tried to arrest him so he won't ever talk to them again. That's pretty much it. Everyone with common sense realises that the civil war continuing is in the Thalmor's favor but they think it's worth fighting anyway and it only drives both sides to try to achieve victory as soon as possible.
The Dossier implied that they tricked Ulfric into thinking that he was partly responsible for giving away valuable information to them, and on one occasion they tried to contact him with...less than stellar results. It's implied that Ulfric is more of a pawn than an actual agent of the Thalmor. Confronting him with the info would do little than to anger him, since the Dossier directly says they need to prolong the war for Thalmor interests, and Ulfric certainly wants the war to end. There would have been little plotline difference, since Windhelm guards and Ulfric himself doesn't exactly welcome Thalmors with open arms to begin with.
Remember that the term 'asset' doesn't mean 'ally' when it comes to intelligence work. Ulfric started an uprising in Skyrim which they viewed as advantageous. But one must take the dossier in its entirety, and that document clearly and unambiguously states that victory by Ulfric Stormcloak in the civil war is to be avoided. That neatly blows away any theory that siding with Ulfric somehow helps the Dominion; it clearly does not.
Jyggalag's lack of Daedric quests
Jyggalag was free of Sheogorath ages ago, but for some reason he doesn't have his own shrine/daedric quest (unlike all the other Princes), despite the fact that we know he has no problem with worshippers (like the knights/priests of Order). Why no love for Jyggalag?
Jyggalag has no daedric realm left to him (with Shivering Isles passing back to Sheogorath 2.0), so he might still be busy rebuilding his forces and powerbases after several ages of absence.
My personal theory, as related on the elder scrolls wmg page, is that Jyggalag's speech is utter bunk and that he and Sheogorath are simply split personalities of each other, both relating different faces of madness as a whole(Jyggalag is obsessive compulsion, Sheogorath is manic depression). So there'll be another greymarch in a couple thousand years.
Unlikely. Word of God confirms Sheogorath and Jyggalag are distinct (see Bethesda's 4th wall breaking interview with both lords' chamberlains).
They're probably just saving him for DLC.
Another thought: Does Skyrim seem like the sort of place to worship the incarnation of law and order to you?
Skyrim doesn't seem like the sort of place to worship Peryite, Boethiah, or Molag Bal. Yet they all have shrines and worshippers there.
To be fair all three of those Daedric Princes have rather sensible placement and presence in Skyrim: on the geographical and societal fringe of the province. Peryite's Shrine is located near the border with High Rock and the majority of his present followers seemed to have been Bretons (the Afflicted) with the rest being non-Nords. Boethiah has his/her Sacellum located near the border with Morrowind from where many Dunmer (who tended to be her traditional devotees) emigrated from after the Oblivion Crisis as well as also being near the city of Windhelm (largest concentration of Dunmer in Skyrim). Finally in the vanilla game Molag Bal only had a comparably tiny shrine deep inside some abandoned house in Markarth, a city known to be co-inhabited by Reachmen whose Forsworn counterparts worship the "Old Gods" (implied to be the Daedric Princes though they could just be the old Breton Pantheon), while Dawnguard introduced his only other existing Skyrim followers as Volkihar Vampires, whose main settlement is an isolated island-fortress far to the northwest on the border with High Rock.
Because most people don't even know Jyggalag exists. It's only been two hundred years, which in the grand scheme of things is not that long, and Jyggalag doesn't seem like the type to go out and announce his return. So, few have found out of his existence and even fewer are interested in actually worshipping him.
Technically, it has been more than two hundred years, in that it has been known since before Daggerfall that a Daedric Prince named Jyggalag existed (On Oblivion mentions a number of Daedric Princes as being mentioned by name over and over in ancient records — the ones that showed up in Daggerfall, plus Jyggalag). Of course, by the time of Daggerfall knowledge of Jyggalag seems to have been limited to experts on Daedric matters being aware of his name...
Slightly off-topic, but the Knights of Order are NOT worshippers. They are not people in funny armor. They aren't even daedric, just mindless automatons that Jyggalag prefers to use. Both Shivering Isles and the Bethesda interview with Dyus and Haskill make this clear, especially the interview.
Draugr language versus Ancient Nord language
Why can you understand the ancient heroes both when reading the Elder Scroll and when talking to them in Sovngarde, but draugr from that time are incomprehensible?
The first time you are using an artefact of timeless knowledge, the second you are in Nordic heaven. It's likely that the ancient heroes aren't speaking a language you recognise, but you understand them anyway thanks to your unique circumstances.
Also, and I could be wrong about this, but aren't the draugr speaking draconic?
Yes, the draugr speak Draconic.
That touchy Imperial captain
Why the hell did that Imperial Captain in the beginning order your death?
Given what little is seen of her, it may be because she is a bloodthirsty Knight Templar. People like that do, sadly, sometimes get into positions of power.
Alternatively, she just wanted to get through the executions as quickly as possible. They had Ulfric, and thus could end the war in a matter of minutes. She didn't have the time or patience to bother trying to clear your name. You were caught with the Stormcloaks, thus she assumes you're a Stormcloak as well.
Though if that was the case, you'd expect her/them to execute Ulfric first, instead of going for a random Stormcloak and then the main character - who is only a suspected Stormcloak, not a confirmed one.
Executing Ulfric's entire army in front of him while he's unable to do anything but watch and wait for his turn is the most dramatic way possible to rub his defeat in his face. And it'd make a better story. Also, she wasn't planning to start with the random Stormcloak, he knelt down in front of the block in the middle of the last rites, yelled "get on with it," and she obliged. Most likely she was planning to start with you and Lokir, since neither were Stormcloaks, both to build the drama (likely blaming their deaths on Ulfric, further rubbing the situation in his face) and to get rid of people that, from her viewpoint, would more likely than not make the Empire's job harder if something happened and the prisoners escaped, whether by joining the Stormcloaks or just spreading the word about the Empire executing prisoners of war without a trial.
I always thought that every single loyal Stormcloak would have jumped the line to be executed before Ulfric like the first one did. If, at any point, the Captain specifically ordered Ulfric's execution at any point, one of the other Stormcloaks would have said something along the lines of "eh, screw this. I've got places to be right now" and walked up to the chopping block on their own volition, one-by-one. And perhaps the Imperials figured this would happen anyway and decided to just execute the prisoners in a haphazard fashion rather than inciting what would pretty much amount to be a crossover between Spartacus and Sweeney Todd among the prisoners.
Bandit forts and the Empire/Stormcloaks
Why don't Stormcloaks and Imperials try harder to retake fortresses from bandits and other groups? It seems they just give up on really powerful fortresses in strategic locations (I'm looking at you Valtheim Towers!)
Could be they don't want to spread their forces too thin.
Or perhaps they're simply waiting for someone to do the job for them. This troper once cleared Fort Greymoor on his own initiative, and was surprised to find that the Legion had moved in when he visited the fort again.
Ulfric and the Thu'um
Where did Ulfric learn the Thu'um?
At one point Ulfric says that he studied with the Greybeards before the great war.
Madnadach's escape plan
What the hell is wrong with Madanach, and for that matter, all the guards and Forsworn in Markarth? Madanach has a passage out of the prison literally ten feet from where he sits. It's not concealed. It's not defended by any guards. He has the key to open the gate. I don't know who's stupider; The guards for letting the passage exist, or the Forsworn for not using it until you come along.
Madanach's just been biding his time. By the time you come along, Thonar Silver-Blood is on the verge of having Madanach executed just to be safe because he knows the guy is testing the boundaries of his control, and Madanach's prepared for that eventuality. The escape tunnel's not concealed because it's a Dwemer ruin; those are all over the place in Markarth, no one looks at them, and it would be insane trying to explore and block off every single one, particularly because Dwemer ruins tend to be incredibly dangerous. It's possible Madanach or one of his pals broke through into it while mining for silver or he knew it was there from when the Forsworn still occupied the Reach and Markarth. (Also, it is guarded, just not with city guards; a couple of Dwarven Spheres try to murder you halfway down it.) Once you tell Madanach Thonar's on to him and you're loyal-ish to the Forsworn, Madanach figures it's worth gambling everything on an escape and taking out Thonar Silver-Blood, but not before then.
If the Dragons have no concept for Mortal, Finite & Temporary (As Paarthunax implies), then why do they have words for all three concepts? Especially if the concepts are such complete brown notes, why have words for them if said words will be harmful to them? In fact, how can dragons not have a concept of finite and temporary? They are finite in size and power, and they experience many temporary things (like being set on fire when they use their thu'ums on one another to greet each other, the fire is temporary). Why would the concept bother them at all?
It's not so much that they don't understand those concepts (since they can definitely grasp the idea of mortal beings and temporary things) as they don't understand how those concepts could ever apply to them, specifically. A dragon is a being outside of time that doesn't get born, live or die so much as exist indefinitely; they're at least partially divine or primordial. They're naturally immortal, infinite and eternal. With that in mind, remember that Shouts literally create whatever word it is that you speak. When you Shout Dragonrend at a dragon, you are telling it to be Mortal, Finite and Temporary when by the laws of the universe it can't and still exist; it faceplants from confusion and despair in much the way you would if something successfully, completely convinced you that you don't exist. It's corrected when you take a moment to recall all evidence that you do indeed exist, but during that moment you're vulnerable. And the same goes for dragons convinced that they're mortal. It's a sort of existential horror that only applies to them.
Remember that the very first dragon you fight and kill will scream "Dovahkiin nii!" when you slay it. The mere notion of actually dying and no longer being immortal utterly terrifies dragons.
Being afraid of dying is unique to dragons? Since when? Pretty sure if I were about to kill you, you might feel the urge to scream a Big "NO!" too. Kind of flimsy evidence.
The difference is that for mortals, death is part of the natural order. For dragons, it's not. It shouldn't even be physically possible for them to die.
The dragons don't have words for those concepts. The Thu'um involving those words was created by humans. Those words were human words that were empowered by the Thu'um. Paarthunax says as much.
Dragonrend IS in Draconic. It's WRITTEN IN THEIR OWN LANGUAGE. Open the menu and look at it. If it were in a mortal language, it would not use their writing. Furhermore, Paarthurnax actually call you a "joor" (mortal, one of the words of Dragonrend) when you greet him with Fire Breath the first time.
"So you have made your way here, to me. No easy task for a Joor... Mortal."
"Your kind, Joorre, Mortals, created it as weapons against the Dov... The Dragons."
Ah, thanks for correcting me.
Yeah. Those words already existed in the Draconic tongue, and the humans had the idea to turn them against the dragons by empowering them into a Thu'um. A dragon could never even conceive of doing something like that, because they can't grasp the idea of being mortal themselves or that mortality could hold some sort of power. Which is probably why a dragon also can't use the Dragonrend Shout themselves - a mortal would have to give them the knowledge, not another a dragon, and even the idea could potentially cripple them.
It's deeper than that. When you ask the Greybeards to teach you Dragonrend, they tell you they can't, because "to learn a Thu'um is to take it in to your being" or something along those lines, and they won't be a part of the "hatred". If a dragon managed to learn the shout, they would become mortal, finite, and temporary. It's suicide.
The dragons have words for such concepts like mortals have "infinity" and "eternity". Like mortals cannot comprehend infinity, the dragons cannot comprehend death. The Shout works by forcing the dragon's mind to comprehend death, which is so alien that it basically causes its brain to short-circuit and shut down.
Mortals can't comprehend infinity? Legions of Mathematicians, Physicians and others beg to differ.
"Intellectually understand" =/= "comprehend".
In what dictionary?
River Tam's. "She understands. She doesn't comprehend." They do have different meanings.
Reading the Kama Sutra isn't the same thing as getting laid. Knowledge and experience aren't the same thing. Dragons can intellectually understand mortality - figuratively reading the book - but can't experience it - figuratively do the deed.
Except Dragons are not Infinite. For one, they have one form of finite dimensions and abilities. Their intelligence, and pretty much everything about them is finite. Even their ability to see in time is finite (as told by Paarthunax). Except for their lifespan (which itself is finite. It has a beginning and extends into the present, which is a finite length of time), they are no more infinite than humans. So the idea that they can't "experience" the concept of Finite is bull.
They are definitely "infinite", compared to mortals. They are literally unable to die unless divine intervention reaches through the clouds and hands draconic power to a mortal specifically to allow them to do so. The dragons are themselves partially divine - creatures of Akatosh, who embodies time itself, yes? Their language itself shakes the heavens and earth when spoken. Compared to mortal beings, who can be smeared like insects, whose souls are coins to be bartered among the daedra or fuel to power enchantments, whose language is "guttural" and frail... We don't know what having the perception of a dragon is like, but obviously being forced to grasp the mindset of a mortal is painful for a dragon, and that's what Dragonrend does when it strikes them. Besides, trying to apply the mathematical/physics concept of infinity to a fantasy universe with dragons who are sort of angels is a bit of a bad fit, isn't it? Maybe "finite" is just a rough translation of the original draconic word when a purer translation would be "succumbs to limits imposed by time" or something equally grandiose and long-winded.
Bigger =/= Infinite. Being stronger doesn't make you infinite. Dragons have limits. Which makes them Finite. Their lifespan, even if you did not kill them, is a finite length of time, measured from their creation, to the time where you met them. If you measured Paarthunax' age, it would be a finite number. A big one yes. But even the biggest of number is not even close to infinity. Even Alduin is finite. His lifespan extends from his creation by Akatosh, to the point where he was killed. Which is a finite length of time. Having the potential to live forever doesn't make them infinite, because none of them have lived an infinite amount of time.
Just because their lifetimes as physical beings are finite doesn't mean their souls are. Anyway, as aforementioned, they're partially divine. They're more than just the flying lizard you can see and the bones and skin they leave behind. Think of the daedra, and how they relate to the world, and the Divines, and how they relate to the world. The dragons are of similar stock.
Remember that when you're looking at a dragon, you're looking at more than just a sack of meat and fluids sloshing around inside armored scales that can speak and spit fire. There is a physical body, and that physical body can be killed, but the mind behind it is something much more. The mind of a dragon is something vastly greater and superior to a human's, and said mind is what you're attacking with Dragonrend. You're slapping the dragon in the brain with concepts that run counter to how its mind is fundamentally designed. The dragon has no idea what the fuck and smashes into the ground as a result because it is so confused.
I assumed that dragons having words for things like mortal and finite was the result of them interacting with/observing mortals. They needed those words to describe mortals even though, by their nature, they could not truly understand what things like finite and temporary mean. As for ‘Dragons cannot comprehend mortality’ I think it’s a little deeper than just understanding the mechanics of how those things works. To borrow a quote from Mass Effect, imagine trying to describe the color red to a creature without eyes. You might be able to convey the idea, maybe even a working understanding of how light and color works but there’s no way to truly convey what the word means without experiencing it because it’s completely and utterly foreign to them. Dragons can probably understand mortality but only as it relates to mortals, they simply lack the frame of reference needed to truly comprehend the concept. Since dragons are, for all intends and purposes, timeless they don’t understand what it is to be mortal because the only way for them to truly die is to have their soul devoured by a Dovakiin.
This very wiki has a page dedicated to Fridge Horrors of real life, including the comprehension of the universe, your soul and various other things. For most people, first time reading through all those and understanding what it means to exist in this universe is utterly terrifying. Like Dragonrend, those are conveyed in our own words with their own meanings that we understand, but to actually comprehend the concept it is what's terrifying. The dragons are feeling something similar, except each time you use Dragonrend, it's like they're experiencing it for the first time again.
Exactly. The way I would analogize it is that dragons understand mortality in the same way that someone who's always been wealthy understand poverty. They know poor people exist; they may have even met some. They may have gone "slumming" or pretended to be homeless for a time - but there's a significant difference between doing that, knowing you can end the simulation of poverty at any time, and actually being poor.
Except the dragons understand mortality better than humans do, since all of them, except Alduin and Parthunax, have experienced dying. They are being raised from the dead after all. And before someone says "Their spirit wasn't destroyed, only their bodies so they didn't die" I'd point out the same applies to humans who die - their spirit lives on in the afterlife (Sovngarde or whatever form it takes depending on culture). So the analogy above about rich and poor is like a Billionaire born in a rich family who's never experienced running out of money telling hobos what being poor is all about.
They know more about death than mortals, but still, not finality/mortality. A dragon corpse still contains the dragon's soul, so it can always be resurrected. 'Normal' death is no more terrifying or incomprehensible than sleep for a dragon. Once a mortal dies, their soul leaves their body. Mortal death is final, there's no coming back to Nirn and reclaiming your body. If a mortal is resurrected, only their body is raised, but their spirit is still in the afterlife. So for a dragon, being mortal (or being about to lose your soul) is about as terrifying as death to humans, except they have never even thought about the possibility until they are confronted with the inevitable. And in Skyrim, people even have a rather accurate idea of what is after death, while dragons definitely don't.
I was under the impression that each word of a shout represents the true perfect definition of that thing, every single quality. By learning the voice, the Grey Beards are learning the very concepts of reality in the most exact way, allowing them to use the shouts. By absorbing souls, the Dragonborn skips the learning by using the knowledge and understanding of the dragon soul. All of this is why your shouts get more powerful when you contemplate on what the words mean. Dragons can think of finite, age, mortality, etc. But to be forced to truly understand the words. It is incomprehensible. "Mortality" means thousands of things, and you're forcing a creature that nearly can't ever understand mortality to have the true existance of that concept into their very minds. No wonder the Greybeards are against it; you're effectively launching an eldritch abomination at dragons.
High Rock's politics
What's the political environment in High Rock like? Since the Oblivion crisis every other province has seceded from the empire except there and Skyrim. If Skyrim does break free from the empire, is High Rock likely to follow suit, deciding the Empire has no power left and has no reason to remain aligned with it?
Morrowind is still a part of the Empire (oh, reduced, of course, but what is left of it is a part of the Empire). As for the political enviroment of High Rock... I am not certain I understand the headscratcher about it? The Civil War is still undecided when the game starts, and a Stormcloak victory would not instantly cause High Rock's kingdoms to decide on a course, so why would it play a part in Skyrim? A High Rock secession is rather likely if the Stormcloaks win, for the very simple reason that Cyrodiil doesn't have a border to High Rock.
According to the Lore, Morrowind is not part of the Empire anymore. Part of Morrowind was wiped out by a volcanic eruption; the rest of it was conquered by the Argonians (who are also not part of the Empire at this point). At the beginning of the game, the Empire consists only of High Rock, Skyrim, and Cyrodiil.
Inaccurate: there are multiple indications of parts of Morrowind being inhabited by Dunmer and not under Argonian control.
New lore from the Dragonborn DLC shows that the Dunmer do in fact still hold Morrowind (they have a new capital at Blacklight and House Redoran fought and held northern and western Morrowind against the Argonians) but is hazy about the extent of territorial exchange between Morrowind and Black Marsh following the Argonian invasion. Mournhold however is being rebuilt after having been sacked by the Argonians and House Dres (the House most well-known for Argonian slavery and has most of its holdings in southern Morrowind) is still active and retains its Great House status. So it could be assumed that the Argonians just ransacked much of Morrowind then retreated to Black Marsh after their revenge was done and stiff resistance put up against them. However, the new Redoran-led Morrowind is definitely unfriendly to the Empire (seceded in spirit if not in word), as they're still bummed about being abandoned during and after the Oblivion Crisis by Cyrodill and have taken their anger out on Imperial-affiliated House Hlaalu.
"Disrespect the law and you disrespect me."
Shouldn't that be the other way around? I mean, wouldn't it be a bigger deal to disrespect the law in general than to just disrespect one guard?
If you disrespect the law, you disrespect the guard in his position as a lawman. Disrespecting the guard as a person does not necessarily indicate disrespecting his position as a lawman, however, so why should it be the other way around? It is a bigger deal to disrespect the law than one guard, but that doesn't change which of the two better indicates the other.
Also: the law — as an abstract force — doesn't have a weapon. The guard does. The implication — especially in an honor-bound culture like Skyrim where such personal disrespect is taken seriously — is "disrespect the law, and I will hurt you."
I just assumed that the guards were trying to sprout a smart line and got it wrong.
Simply put, the guard is saying that if you disrespect the law: It's Personal.
Why don't more Nords go to train with the Greybeards?
Shouts seem like a pretty useful power to have.
High Hrothgar is way the hell on top of the highest mountain in the world and it takes years and years to learn just one Shout living an extremely monastic, meditative life with few distractions (poke around the Greybeards' living quarters; there's not much there. Beds, books and food, that's about it). In addition, they're held very sacred and perhaps even a little feared. The Dovahkiin's a special case, and Ulfric had a very specific motive. It's a big expenditure of effort for a very small gain outside of game terms.
Ulfric had no 'specific motive' - he was a boy when he was taken to High Hrothgar.
Among the restrictions of being a Greybeard, it seems you must leave behind your family and, if you wish to study more than just one harmless word, make a vow of silence. Talk to any greybeard other than Arngir, they will utter the word "dovahkiin" in a hushed voice, but even the smallest of squeaks out of one of them causes the entire temple to shake. Imagine spending years of your life learning the craft, only to be told you can never leave nor speak another word in your life lest you want to destroy the world you originally came up here to protect when you accidentally mutter a curse because you stubbed your toe. Arngir is implied to have received even more training in the arts, so that he may control his voice so that the Greybeards would have at least some form of a liaison with the outside world.
Shouts are useful if you can just snack on dragon souls to gain their power. They're much less useful when you literally have to spend decades learning how to do the basics. Ulfric spent a substantial amount of time learning how to Shout and all he got was part of Unrelenting Force. Most of the upper-end draugr you fight only learned parts of Unrelenting Force and Disarm, and those were apparently the most skilled and powerful of the old humans under the dragons. Its a skill that takes a vast amount of time and experience and study and practice to use at all, let alone effectively enough to be useful in battle.
Also, keep in mind that the Greybeards do not train everyone who makes the pilgrimage to High Hrothgar. Very few who get up there are accepted by the Greybeards as students of the Way of the Voice, and the Greybeards are apparently very exacting in the training and usage of the Voice. Ulfric was among the last they accepted.
Why does the Legion assume you're a Stormcloak?
So... why did those Imperial Legionaries assume the PC was a Stormcloak? He was hobbling across the border alone, unarmed, barefoot and in clothes that were fashioned from potato sacks. The actual Stormcloaks are always armed and always wearing easily recognizable Stormcloak armor. The PC had neither weapons nor anything that even remotely resembles the Stormcloak tunics. How do the Legionaries fail to see that indiscriminately killing innocent people in cold blood is only giving others a huge incentive to join the rebels? And why would anyone who is not a Nord be with the Stormcloacks anyway?! Especially an Imperial, High Elf, Dark Elf, Orc, Argonian or Khajiit - anyone of those races being involved with the Stormcloak, uhhh that just wouldn't happen. The rebels want all of them dead. If they so badly wanted Ulfric dead ASAP, why did they not kill him first? Why put the random unknown hobo ahead of the most important and potentially dangerous prisoner present? (since he can very skillfully use the Thu'm, the fact that he's gagged doesn't mean they are completely safe..) That doesn't make sense either.
As my answer to this Headscratcher is rather long, I've divided it into three paragraphs:
The actual circumstances surrounding your capture are deliberately vague, but it is reasonable to assume your capture was a matter of military pragmatism. In the heat of battle, a soldier must treat everyone but his own fellows as a threat or a potential threat, else he stands to get himself or his friends killed. Restraining you was a means of eliminating you as a threat—and the fact that you're still alive shows that that the soldiers weren't necessarily out to spill blood if they could help it. After the ambush is over, the Legionnaires, not recognizing you as one of their own, naturally assume you're one of the rebels they've been sent to capture. It's only later, once you arrive at Helgen, that it becomes clear that you're "not on the list."
After that point, all blame rests solely on the shoulders of that one Imperial captain, who clearly exhibits some Blood Knight tendencies. As for her reasons for ordering your death, there are a number of possibilities. It could be simple racism, especially in the case of High Elves, Orcs, and beast races. It could be she wants to eliminate any unfriendly witnesses: she doesn't know your political leanings, and could rightly assume that you will spread word of the Empire executing prisoners of war without proper trial. Or, she might assume that you're a dangerous agent of some unseen force—possibly the Thalmor—in which case she would want you eliminated quickly to prevent you from passing on intel.
And finally, for why the captain orders you to the chopping block before Ulfric. In terms of game design, it's so you can get a good, scripted look at Alduin descending from the clouds and ruining Helgen's day. In terms of in-universe logic, she really has no reason to rush things along. No one had any reason whatsoever to assume a dragon, or anything else for that matter, was going to prevent them from executing every one of the prisoners in due time. Ulfric is obviously restrained quite handily, both body and voice, else he most likely would've killed his rival, General Tullius, when the man was standing right in front of him. The captain could be ordering you up first due to any of the reasons noted in the previous paragraph (racism, suspicion, etc.). Regardless, she was probably planning on saving Ulfric for last, just for the sake of theatrics—it'd have much more gravity to execute the traitor king after all of his followers have fallen, after all.
Welll IMHO it's more likely, given that the PC was dressed in rags, that they suffered some other misfortune, maybe got robbed and left for dead, and were picked up with the rest of the trash by the Imperial guards doing a sweep of the towns. Wasn't the guy who panicked and ran off only to get shot down by the archers only a thief and not a Stormcloak as well? Ending up on death row in the intro was largely down the Imperial officer of the day having a bad case of PMS. I don't think they could have honestly believed the PC was a Stormcloak, especially if they're an Imperial, and elf or a beast race; the Stormcloacks hate all of those races and would absolutely never accept them into their own ranks (the fact that they accept the player character regardless of race later on is simply gameplay and story segregation; I'm pretty sure there aren't any non-Nord Stormcloack NPCs in the game. Plus it's unlikely players who are not playing as a Nord would want to join the rebels anyway..)
No. The fact that they're willing to accept a non-Nord PC as a Stormcloak indicates that at the least they're willing to use non-Nord mercenaries. The Empire most likely assumes that you're a mercenary. Not wearing a Stormcloak uniform or gear could be explained by them as you ditching your gear to seem like you're not associated with them. This is an extremely common tactic. If anything, the Imperials arresting everyone in the area of the ambush makes sense, because that's what every competent military and police force in the world does when detaining suspects or HVI targets inside a specific area, specifically because the badguys like to ditch their gear if they think it will help them escape. They sort things out after the situation has been put under control. Of course, the Imperials didn't do that second part, but Hadvar was notably protesting what was happening.
As for why they didn't kill Ulfric first, the biggest reason was probably to exploit the drama of the situation (killing the army in front of him while he's bound and gagged certainly rubs it in his face and makes a better story). But there's also practical reasons- if something were to happen and the prisoners were to escape after the executions started, any that weren't scared into submission would be incredibly pissed off and would have Ulfric's execution without a trial as new motivation and a recruiting tool ("This is how the Empire treats us. Is that what you want?"), plus Galmar Stone-Fist is still alive back in Windhelm and able to take the reins of the rebellion. If Ulfric were to survive, the movement wouldn't have his trial-less execution as motivation, plus he'd now have to contend with a reputation for having led his men into an ambush and to their deaths, which would not make recruiting new followers any easier.
But why drag the PC up to the block first when it's pretty clear they're not a Stormcloak and the others have no clue who they are?
It's pretty clear they're not a Stormcloak? Based on what information? That you're not wearing a Stormcloak uniform? You could've taken it off at some point to try and escape (as the troper above stated). The Stormcloaks are shown to be willing to hire non-Nords as shown by the fact that non-Nord players can join the Rebellion, and the Stormcloaks not knowing who you are could simply be chalked up to them feigning ignorance. You not being on their lists could simply be chalked up to them being slightly off-count with their numbers. When the Imperials caught you with the Stormcloaks, they made the rather astounding logical leap that, maybe, you were a Stormcloak as well, and apprehended you accordingly.
Most likely they were planning on executing you and the horse thief first. If you weren't a Stormcloak (which you weren't but they don't have a way of knowing that) and they let you live, you'd be more likely to join the Stormcloaks since they were the side that didn't arrest you without a chance to explain yourself, and even if you didn't take sides you were still a witness to the Empire performing a mass execution of enemy combatants without a trial. Either way, you'd be more likely to cause them trouble in the future than not. Plus, if they started with the two non-Stormcloaks, the deaths of two people unrelated to the conflict would be on Ulfric's hands, further rubbing the situation in his face and upping the drama. The only reason why they started with that random Stormcloak soldier instead of you was because he knelt down in front of the chopping block and yelled "get on with it!" in the middle of the last rites.
It's pretty clear they're not a Stromclock it's utterly absurd to think a non-Nord would be a Stromclock, especially an Elf which these guys clearly only want to exterminate, and the fact that the player had no Stromcork armor and was sitting around mostly naked, and the fact that it's obvious none of the actual Stromclocks has a slightest clue who the hell the player is. Why execute the goddamn player first, again, because if they're trying to be idiots and not just get killing Ulfric over with and want to make it as traumatic as possible, why drag the unknown sucker that nobody else knows instead of lopping the heads off all his top lieutenants first in front of him? It still doesn't make any sense. The player's just an out of place piece of crap loser who very clearly is out of place.
especially an Elf which these guys clearly only want to exterminate Incorrect. Only the most extremist of the Nords actually want to exterminate the Elves as a whole. Most others (Ulfric included) simply want the Thalmor and the refugees from Morrowind out of Skyrim, and even if they were trying to exterminate them it isn't absurd to imagine Elves fighting for the Stormcloaks. There are plenty of instances of Slavs and Jews aiding the Nazis in World War II even though Nazi ideology declared them to be inferior. and the fact that the player had no Stromcork armor and was sitting around mostly naked As stated twice before, Soldiers taking off their uniforms to avoid detection is a common tactic in war. What's the first thing that you'd want to ditch in order to not get caught by enemy soldiers? and the fact that it's obvious none of the actual Stromclocks has a slightest clue who the hell the player is. Please point me to the part in the execution scene where one of the Stormcloaks jumps up and says "WAIT, WE DON'T KNOW WHO HE IS!", because I've watched it and I seem to be missing that part. They acknowledge that they don't know him on the ride there, but the only Imperial who could've heard that was the lowly Legionnaire driving their cart, and he probably didn't care an awful lot. why drag the unknown sucker that nobody else knows instead of lopping the heads off all his top lieutenants first in front of him?. Because all his top lieutenants are in Windhelm, all of Ulfric's party at the time was made of low-ranked soldiers. He wasn't exactly expecting to get captured, you know.
It's possible to be anti-Stormcloak without being pro-Legion (or anti-Legion without being pro-Stormcloak) - think Balgruuf before you force him to pick a side in the civil war quest. Even if the PC is of a race the Stormcloaks explicitly discriminate against, that doesn't necessarily mean the PC is pro-Empire - consider the Forsworn of the Reach, who have motivation to dislike both factions (not to mention will attack the player even if they're a neutral Breton). Also, it's questionable as to whether the Imperial who orders your execution would know or care about the Stormcloaks' racism, and it's entirely possible she's racist herself.
Actually yes, those were his top lieutenants that got caught with him, Hadvar says so if you escape Helgen with him and speak to him about it later. But still, if they want to lop the heads off everyone else first just to make Ulfy suffer, why not kill the people they know to be his favourite pets first? Then he would certainly die with a lot of psychological pain. Why the random oddball weirdo? And if ditching the uniform is a popular tactic in the TES world, not a single other person appeared to think of it... (and about the Elves thing, it seems more than a few Nords are pretty extreme, given how town guards in pretty much every city will adress and elven PC.)
I'll admit to being incorrect about the Lieutenants. Perhaps they simply didn't think too far ahead on the matter and refused to get any more elaborate than 'kill his whole party in front of him'? For all we know the entire thing was just thought up on the go by Tulius. I did not say it was a 'popular' tactic in TES, I said it was a common tactic in war when you wanted to evade an enemy, just because nobody else in Ulfric's party did it doesn't mean you weren't capable of it. And Nords harassing elves in the cities =/= Actively wanting to exterminate their population in Skyrim. Saying mean things to you is alot different to, say, organizing lynch mobs to get you and trashing your house every time you're gone.
Note also that in the Stormcloak questline, at one point you have to impersonate an Empire courier and if you wear anything other than the Imperial ensemble, you are questioned for being "out of uniform" and have the option of explaining that you "ditched it for this - easier to sneak past the enemy this way." So it's clearly possible; it's just that the "victory or Sovngarde" mentality may mean it doesn't happen very often except possibly in covert operations.
Well still, the likelihood of anyone who isn't a Nord being interested or in any way involved in the Stormcloacks intrigues is close to zero, elves and beasts especially since they do clearly dislike them a lot, given how the dark elves in Windhelm are treated, and the Argonians, who aren't even allowed in the city (stuff like that doesn't give a person any motivation to join them). They're only fighting for Skyrim, so anyone who is not from there, would not likely care about the war at all, they'd have no motive. But I still don't believe they actually thought the PC was with them. I think they thought, "Well, this person's here, we don't know who they are but if they're here they must be a bandit or an outlaw of some kind, might as well just kill them anyway." When you talk to Balgruuf or Ulfric about it, they seem to believe that this was the case, like it was with Lokir (Ulfric specifically orders you to keep your "criminal past" in the past).
That's also a perfectly fair assumption. After all, the only other guy who was caught in rags was a self-admitted horse thief. At the very least they could have just assumed that you were in cahoots with him or something.
There's nothing to state that a non-Nord would be unwilling to work for the Stormcloaks. What if you were a believer in Talos and sympathetic to the Stormcloak cause? The Stormcloaks are perfectly willing to let non-Nords join them, so long as said non-Nord is willing to prove their loyalty to the cause. In fact, if you're not a Nord and working with the Stormcloaks, then that would actually say a lot about your loyalty to them and, by association, your guilt.
The PC is entirely innocent, just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and Hadvar says as such. It's just some Ax-Crazy commander who wants to kill you for going on a walk. Her soldiers clearly don't like it, but there's nothing they can do.
Note that the Empire Captain, while a Blood Knight, does have a point. Either you are a Stormcloak or sympathizer who happened to ditch his armor so he can lie his way out of the execution, a local bandit who probably killed people before and can't be counted upon to hold his word, a hired Mercenary that evidently wasn't on your side but somehow was in the combat area (and hence, must have had some motives to be in an active warzone) or a random merchant at the wrong place at the wrong time. Note that all of this is possible from the Captain's point of view, since you could be lying 4 times out of 5, especially since your life is on the line. For her choice, worst case scenario, Skyrim looses a random merchant, best case scenario she kills one of Ulfric's Lieutenants. Given that Merchants die left and right in Skyrim anyhow, she can afford to make one little mistake to make sure no Stormcloak escapes and makes a Martyr of Ulfric.
Also this whole headscratcher seems to start with the assumption that there needs to be a reason. First of all, we're in a medieval like society, law and justice was quite different then, while certainly not nonexistant you could be punished at a whim already by law. Secondly, we are in a civil war situation, where usage of law and general rights tends to diminish even today (not giving too many examples - rule of cautious editing - but let's just say that lawgivers tend to be more leaning towards the practical solution instead of having a headache about standard procedures and letting potential troublemakers go scot free), even in more enlightened societies. More, this can trickle down with rank and file soldiers or officers, who are under severe stress, going berserk some way or the others. While it may not be logically justified to assume the PC as a Stormcloak, I can easily see it happen, even today, even from a democratic army.
Hadvar abandoning people in Helgen
Why did Hadvar just abandon that old guy and small child in Helgen?
Because he kind of has to help deal with the dragon. It isn't until he gets to the keep that he realizes just how screwed Helgen is an tells you to run for the keep.
Plus, the old man seemed capable of taking care of himself, otherwise Hadvar wouldn't have placed the boy under his charge. It's likely they both got out of Helgen...at least I like to think they did.
The boy, at least, did survive. His name is Haming and you can find him in a hut on the mountainside of the range in the Rift, living with his grandfather because his parents were killed during Alduin's attack.
The "Old Gods"
Who are the "Old Gods" the Forsworn worship and name their armour after?
The pantheon of Breton gods who are not the Nine Divines, even though there are some similarities. Basically, the list goes; Akatosh, Magnus, Y'ffre, Dibella, Arkay, Zenithar, Mara, Stendarr, Kynareth • Julianos, Sheor, Phynaster. If you see some members of the Divines, it's because that pantheon is basically Nordic Gods + Elven Gods. And every human pantheon aside from the Redguard one is basically derived from the Nordic one, as the Nords were basically the First Race of Men.
It's also tossed in at one point that they worship Daedra, but that could just be an attempt to smear what's viewed as a terrorist group. (Though there are some Daedra-worshipping Bretons living in the Reach, like the leader of the Cult of Namira. There's also the shrine to Molag Bal in the basement of the abandoned house in Markarth, but it's never made clear when it was put there or by whom.)
Well, they obviously revere Hagravens and the Hagravens worship the Daedric Princes. (Witches of Glenmorl)
Technically, that the remnants of the Glenmoril Witches still have ties to Hircine (not the Princes in general, mind. Just summoning Hircine was kind of the Glenmoril Wyrd's thing in Daggerfall) all these centuries after Daggerfall is not proof that Hagravens in general worship Daedric Princes.
Eh, all the same, they seem to have a monopoly on human sacrifices and other practices closely related to Daedra worship (well, at least the nastier princes such as Mehrunes Daegon or Boethia).
The Lighthouse quest
When you do the quest to put out the Solitude Lighthouse fire to help the pirates, they invite you to the crashed ship to get your share of the loot. They tell you to go down to the bottom where the pirates 2nd in command attempts to kill you. Why did the pirates do this instead of just mass attacking you the moment you entered the ship? 10 vs 1 is a lot more favorable than 1 v 1
Aside from standard-issue Suicidal Overconfidence, the pirates had no reason to believe that you were anything but some random mercenary schmo that they could pin the whole thing on. The Argonians are confident that the sister can kill you and leave your corpse to the Imperial investigators. (yes, its entirely possible that you're waltzing around in daedric armor and wielding a flaming greatsword, followed by a companion with same, but that's standard dumbass for everyone in Skyrim)
Note that a thief on the road will still attempt to rob you even if you're named the champion of all 9 divines, 15 Daedric princes, Harbinger of the Companions, Guildmaster of the Thieves Guild, Listener for the Dark Brotherhood, Archmage of Winterhold, Thane of all Holds, wearing the armor of Dragons, known slayer of Alduin, named Dragonborn, leader of the Blades and liberated Skyrim for one of the two Civil War factions. Similarly Bandits will also attack you despite all that. Apparently only civil people read up on current events and everyone else is just Too Dumb to Live.
Words in the main theme
There are some words in the main theme that I've been puzzling over for some time now. Specifically, the chants in the beginning and end. Just after the first few measures of drum beats, the "barbarian choir" begins chanting a three-syllable phrase that continues until the main chorus (''Dovakiin, Dovakiin, etc.). Likewise, after the second iteration of the chorus, they chant something else until the soprano comes in at the end. Anyone have any ideas as to what they're saying?
You mean "Huh, whoah, huh!" and "Hyah!" that keeps coming up? I'm fairly certain those aren't actual words, but just kind of... I don't know what to call it. Using your voice as an instrument? Singing along without words? Kind of anologuous to what Edwin Starr did. "War! Huah! What is it good for?"
Not exactly. This is the translated version of the ending chorus, as well as the original Draconic and a slightly different english version.
Um, but we're not discussing the chorus. It's pretty easy to figure out the lyrics for that. What I'm referring to are the parts immediately before the first chorus, and the part immediately after the second chorus. You can hear the raw vocals of the second part at about 2:43 of this video. With regards to the second poster, it certainly sounds like they're using actual words of the dragon language, but I can't figure out exactly which.
Hmm, perhaps some clarification is needed. I'm not concerned with a translation of the lyrics (though that would help in discerning the draconic wording), I'm trying to understand exactly what words comprise those chanted segments of the main theme. I'm afraid "huah" and "heh" are not words in either draconic or English, so that video is of little help, sorry to say. The closest I've been able to find for the chanted bit at the end of the song would be "Huzrah nu," which would translate as "Hearken now!" But again, I'm not sure if this is really what's being said, and I haven't a clue as to what they're chanting at the beginning.
Hmm? Well, if your talking about the chanting from the start of the song to 0:35 and from 2:45 to 2:53, then no. Those aren't words. The second poster pretty much pegged it then.
The correct term would be "vocalising." Happens a lot in most singing traditions when you've no words to go here but you want to keep the flow going. How many pop songs do you know that have "oh" in them a lot? Same idea.
Are giants intelligent
So, i'm a little confused. Giants. Are they intelligent? i would think so, because i apparently sold a goat to one. And i remember seeing a post outside of a giants camp that pretty much said "The Giant has permission to be here. do not fuck with giant. thanks." or something along those lines. it seems like they have the ability to speak, and yet, speaking to them isn't an option, as i was made painfully aware of. See, in my case, i was trying to talk to this giant, who was a named character and everything, so i could buy a goat back from him. but i couldn't talk to him. i had to kill what might have been an innocent giant to get a goat back. So, what i'm asking is, are they intelligent; if they are, are they intelligent enough to speak and hold a conversation with?
Yes, they are intelligent. Theoretically, you can communicate with them. Its just that giants most commonly communicate with their clubs.
If you want to take the goat without hurting the giant, interact with the goat, and then when the giant objects (but before he clubs you into orbit), "yield" by lowering your weapon/hands/whatever and "talking" to him. If you haven't harmed him too much he'll more or less shrug and decide it's not worth arguing over. You may then lead the goat back to the farm without him bothering you.
Fans of Daggerfall will remember Giants have their own tongue: Giantish. Yes, they are intelligent. You just don't speak their language.
In that Case, it really bothers me that none of the Giants have speaking roles (as in, speaking in english, or at the very least, speaking Giantish with it then being translated by someone). hopefully DLC's correct this.
There is at least one case (probably randomly occuring) where a giant can be found starring at a recently decensed mammoth that appears to have died crossing one of those sulfur lakes. You can walk right up and touch him and he'll just leave you alone, apparently too sad to bother with you unless you attack him.
It's probably less of a matter of Giants not being able to speak as Giants not having anything they feel the need to say. They're the strong silent type.
The Dark Brotherhood setup
So, the Dark Brotherhood goes to all the trouble of hunting you down, subduing you, and spiriting you away to a secluded location for your "recruitment." And this after possibly having made several attempts on your life via hired thrugs you encounter in the game world. Why don't they take the next logical step and strip you of your armour and all but one weak weapon to perform the killing? Otherwise, it's just laughably easy to bump off the DB member who's supervising the procedings. Worse yet, she registers no surprise or apprehension when you approach her with a warhammer readied. Granted, magica-based players would still be a threat, but still...
Stripping you of your equipment would railroad you into one particular method of killing. Astrid isn't just seeing if you have the will to murder someone under orders (though that is her main objective), she also wants to observe exactly how you operate, and therefore what she can expect to put up with once you're integrated into the "family." While it would've been cool if she did react more to the player attacking her (boss fight, anyone?), her final words seem to indicate that, for whatever reason, she accepts her death just as well. Perhaps it's the will of Sithis?
Fair point about Astrid's last words. It's just that, under the circumstances, it was like Al Quaeda capturing the crew of a main battle tank and then allowing them to keep their tank while in captivity. Moreover, the game has shown us both a hand-binding mechanic and a Thu`um muffling mechanic (Ulfric being gagged in the opening scene), not to mention NPC behaviour being influenced by drawn weapons. The sequence easily could have been made to feel more dangerous, with the choice to attack the Dark Bortherhood rather than obeying them feeling more consequential and satisfying as a result.
Astrid was likely being optimistic and willing to give you the benefit of the doubt, because you pretty much outright said that you wanted to become a member of the Dark Brotherhood when you accepted Aretino's contract. Most people, when confronted with a child who wants to have an assassin murder an old lady would just back out, but you actively sought the kid out, listened to his request, and killed Grelod. Astrid's got a decent reason to think you're interested in joining the Brotherhood and has good reason to let you keep your gear.
Well, if that's the case, they must have been pretty desperate to acquire new talent. Enough so, in fact, to set aside concerns about infiltration that plague every clandestine organization at odds with authority. Infiltrating the DB is a valid motivation for a notionally "good" character to bump off Grelod. On the other hand, I guess it could be considered counter-intuitive for the Dragonborn to kill her in a bid to join the Brotherhood, unless of course the player is meta-gaming...
Um, yes, they are pretty desperate, seeing as they all but ceased to exist and cannot work normally anymore, are short a listener, don't have new recruits at all and so on...
Given that it is entirely possible for the Dragonborn to hear of Grelod's cruelty before going to Aretino, it doesn't seem all that strange that a Dragonborn could be roleplayed as sufficiently ruthless and bloodthirsty to kill Grelod for Aretino while also being too moral to work for the Dark Brotherhood (seeing murder as a solution doesn't necessarily mean you are a cruel, murderous bastard, after all).
Also on the Dark Brotherhood ending, why did Astrid think that Maro would be totally cool with her as long as she just handed you to him? There doesn't seem to be a good reason for him to really stick to the deal since he'd probably know that she was the one who ordered you to kill his son.
It was a pretty stupid move on her part. But the other reason she made the deal was that she wanted you dead and gone too. During her confession, she admitted that she just wanted things to go back to the way they were before Cicero, the Night Mother, and you showed up. She was probably thinking "two birds with one stone".
Maro may have already found the sanctuary and was about to strike, and Astrid learned about it. In an attempt to avoid it, she offered to let Maro take revenge on the player (who killed his son) and, probably, to give up on Motierre's contract in exchange for sparing the others. It was still stupid of her to not anticipate getting crossed (indeed, combined with her letting the player keep their gear makes me think that she's way too trusting for a leader of the DB), but I guess it's something.
Maro had, indeed, found out about the sanctuary. If you kill Astrid rather than be recruited by her, he tells you where the sanctuary is right on the spot.
Maro apparently didn't have much reason to pursue the Dark Brotherhood until you killed Astrid or starting the contract with Motierre. In the former he just learned you killed their leader, leaving the DB disorganized and easy for an assault, while in the latter you killed his son and framed him for treason. The man obviously had his berserk button smashed at that point.
Pelagius III's deathbed laws
So, Emperor Pelagius III outlawed dying while on his deathbed. Did anyone ever get around to repealing that? Can people still be charged for dying? Does this mean Draugrs and Liches are breaking the law?
Pelagius III, on his deathbed, was not in power. Empress Katariah (his wife) was given regency during his life . He died the same year, and she became Empress Katariah I (See Brief History of the Empire Vol 2). Even before that, The Madness of Pelagius point out that Pelagius almost never "ruled", the Elder Council and Katariah ruled in his stead even before she became regent.
That's too bad. I was hoping to run through the tombs screaming "STOP RIGHT THERE, CRIMINAL SCUM!" at the undead.
Thalmor "escape route"
In the cave under the Thalmor Embassy there is a frickin troll! Do people not check their escape caves often to see if anything dangerous got in? What would happen if the Embassy got attacked and the people had to flee and they met the troll in the escape route!
The Troll keeps people from using it to break "into" the embassy. And anyone that "matters" to the Thalmor who might have to break out (Read: Ambassador, Inquisitor, etc...) is a hardened soldier or battlemage.
That's not an escape tunnel. The Thalmor use it to dump the bodies of those they've finished interrogating. The troll just takes advantage of the free food.
How many people believe the Thalmor's claims?
The Thalmor go around taking credit for solving the Oblivion crisis. Obviously the elves want to take credit for this even if they had nothing to do with it, but how many people really believe this? Anyone in the Imperial city would have seen the dragon Martin beat up Dagon.
The Imperial City is very far from Summerset Isle — anybody there talking about Martin's defeat of Dagon in Summerset would have been dealt with by the Thalmor, as described in Rising Threat. Add some isolationism, accuse any witnesses you can't remove of spreading foreign propaganda, and soon, you've got the populace eating your lies.
Add that even when they were a part of the Empire, Summerset was rather isolationist. Even then humans were not allowed inside Alinor past the habor.
Also the Imperial City and Summerset being very far apart goes both ways. Martin Septim and the Champion never set foot in Summerset, because as that same book chronicles, the seas were far too stormy and dangerous to sail. Which means that no help came to the Isles, leaving the elves alone to deal with the fact that they are trapped fish in a barrel and their islands are turning into a slaughterhouse. Sure, in far-off Cyrodiil Martin was eventually responsible for the stopping of gates, but what's going to have more emotional pull for people in Summerset is what is said by the elves who fought the Daedra at home. So, assuming that the Thalmor included elves who fought Daedra in the Crisis (which is not an unreasonable assumption), there is a grain of truth to them "solving" the Oblivion Crisis, because if they hadn't resisted the Daedra until Martin did his dragon thing, Summerset would be a graveyard. Mind, this doesn't excuse them or absolve them and it is still disgusting that they are trying to erase Martin from history, but there's more to the Summerset elves' acceptance of the Thalmor party line than "Cartoonishly evil, isolatedly ignorant, and/or absolutely terrified of the ones who are cartoonishly evil."
It's not surprising that the people of the Dominion are "encouraged" to beleive what the Thalmor tell them, but what about the people of Skyrim? Morrowind? Hammerfell?
It's pretty easy to see that the various races have reached a general consensus on all things Thalmor-related.
Also if you were under the impression that those outside the Dominion buy the Thalmor line on the Oblivion Crisis, they don't. The book "The Oblivion Crisis" is pretty common around Skyrim and more or less tells the true story, albeit missing some parts.
Delphine and Ustengrav
How did Delphine manage to get through Ustengrav without setting off the traps/Draugr? Especially curious is the fact that one of the traps require the Dragonborn to have a Shout (granted, one that the Greybeards have already given them) to get by. Was there a secret passage that I missed that somehow only she could get through since it seems like there's only one main way through.
Delphine is just that damn good. More seriously, that trap could actually very easily be bypassed with a hireling; just have the hireling activate the lights while she stands next to the portcullis, and she runs through.
There is a secret passage - the one behind the tomb that you use to exit. Delphine just knew how to open it from the other side.
How is the Dominion so damn powerful?
They've subjugated the Empire, and are basically winning or tieing with all the other realms. What gives it such military strength?
With the Septim dynasty gone and the Medes struggling to both assert their power and gain the approval of the Elder Council, the empire was in near-complete disarray following the Oblivion Crisis, which was only exacerbated by the destruction of Morrowind and secession of Black Marsh, among other things. The Mede dynasty probably had trouble consolidating enough of its power to have much chance of standing against the Dominion.
The Dominion isn't really that powerful. They fostered a coup in Valenwood that ended with them controlling it, and also seized Elswyer, but their actual power doesn't extend much farther. The Great War cost them a lot of manpower and the Empire actually gave them as good as they got; once the Empire rallied they essentially punted the Dominion armies out of Cyrodiil. Mede signed the White-Gold Concordat to give the Empire some breathing room, but he just didn't factor in the fact that Skyrim would take the ban on Talos worship so violently. It doesn't help that all of Hammerfell was "released" from Imperial control with the southern half ceded to the Dominion (and who subsequently kicked the Dominion out). The Empire is still roughly on a par with the Dominion in territory and power, though Ulfric's rebellion is sapping their resources (exactly as the Dominion prefers). The real area where the Dominion is most effective in is espionage and intelligence operations and operating from the shadows - again, note the coup they fostered in Valenwood and the Stormcloak rebellion. Militarily, they're not actually that powerful, since they couldn't maintain control over Hammerfell and the Empire drove them out of Cyrodiil.
They did factor in Skyrim. If you plumb into the backstory, the Talos clause was not really being enforced at first. The Empire turned a blind eye as long as they were quiet. What they didn't anticipate was how strictly the Thalmor would try to enforce that clause themselves.
Indications are they fought the (Cyrodiil+Skyrim+Hammerfell) Empire to the point where the Emperor believed they were losing, and agreed to the White-Gold Concordat. This was likely premature - Hammerfell fought the Thalmor off in a guerrilla war on their own terrain. The Thalmor need the Nords to kill each other because the terrain in Skyrim is just as, if not more, suited for a guerrilla war as Hammerfell's, hence the fomenting of the civil war and the Thalmor's need for it to keep going. If the Empire wins, then the Imperial Army has no further distractions from the Thalmor. If the Stormcloaks win, then the Imperial Army also has no further distractions from the Thalmor (after Solitude is taken, it would be a waste of time for Cyrodiil to try to regain Skyrim), and you now have to face a Skyrim Nord army, a warrior race fighting on treacherous home turf - the same situation as with the Redguards. Either way, the Empire need no longer send large numbers of troops northward to Skyrim, and can instead send them southward toward Valenwood and Elsweyr.
It is also worth noting that just because Skyrim might be independent, it doesn't mean that Skyrim is permanently going to be severed from the Empire. Negotiations could result in Skyrim allying with the Empire against the Thalmor, or eventually even rejoining the Empire, with certain adjustments to their laws. Sure, the Empire wants to avoid war with the Thalmor, but keep in mind that the Dominion ended up getting even more badly mauled by the Great War than the Empire did, and the Hammefell resistance did them no favors. Even as fractured as the Empire is, all of those nations - Hammerfell, the Empire, and Skyrim - do have the single unifying element of being enemies of the Thalmor and would cooperate against their greater foe.
The games notes that High King Torygg would have agreed to go with Ulfric had the man just asked. It's likely that Torygg knew that Skyrim was just a diversion for the Dominion and that they needed to cooperate to push out the Thalmor to solve the whole Talos-worship problem. Unfortunately Ulfric screwed the pooch on that one (which is unsurprising considering all signs points to him being manipulated by the Thalmor).
Actually no, there is precious little to say that Torygg would have agreed. He did admire Ulfric on a personal level and was willing to listen to him, but Ulfric saw was a weak little boy on the Imperial teat with no true stomach for warfare.
Eldergleam and Nettlebane
The pilgrims in the Eldergleam Sanctuary don't want you to use Nettlebane on the Eldergleam, as the tree is sacred to Kynareth, right? So, why would a priestess of Kynareth ask you to go get the knife and use it on the tree? You obviously have to use it on the tree to get the sap. Even Maurice Jondrelle objects, and he was present when you were asked to do it by the priestess! It isn't like Clavicus Vile asked you to go carve an obscene drawing into it or something...and it isn't like getting some sap drawn or a small cut is going to seriously hurt a tree.
Maurice mentions he didn't catch the part about using nettlebane on the Eldergleam, and as he points out, an alternative without harming the Eldergleam was available (He probably figured you were going for something like that - if not exactly whe he decided to do). Maurice also points his way of doing things is closer to Kynareth's teaching. It's likely the princess didn't fully think it through.
Present the alternative to the priestess and she will admit that she was more concerned with keeping Kynareth worshippers in the city happy than she was about actually following Kynareth's teachings. That's why she sent you to collect sap from a sacred tree with an evil blade like Nettlebane — she was desperate to restore the Gildergreen.
Dragonrend and Daedra
So "Dragonrend" disorients Dragons because they are immortal beings that can't comprehend mortality. Shouldn't it have a similar effect on the Daedra, who are just as immortal?
Indeed. Most likely the dev team just didn't think of it.
Alternatively, Dragonrend is purely a metaphysical concept. Other shouts have tangible, physical effects, while Dragonrend has no actual effect beyond your voice carrying over a long range - all that happens is you yell words. It works on dragons because it's in their language, they understand what you're saying but can't comprehend it, but Daedra presumably don't speak the dragon language, so to them you're just shouting gibberish really loudly (which, considering the kinds of things daedra usually deal with, probably isn't an uncommon occurrence).
The shout is called Dragonrend, not Daedrarend. It was created to be used against dragons, as Arngeir describes it as basically being fueled by the pure hatred of dragons. I suppose it's possible that a shout that weakens daedra could be devised, but it would have to be designed to counter them, and not just be a shout against another immortal species that shares a few similarities with the daedra but are mostly different.
The English name of shouts means nothing. Case and point "Fire Breath" and "Ice Breath" aren't breath weapons & "Elemental Fury" involves no element. Also note that Arngeir doesn't know Dragonrend, he's basing this off nothing other than his liking and respect for Paarthunax.
Daedra aren't built the same way Dragons are, they're similar, but lets make a comparison between dragonrend and a virus. Some viruses can transfer between species, but one that's managed to tailor itself to the specific biology of a dog won't have any affect if a human caught it, and dragonrend likewise is tailored to affect dragons but won't affect a daedra or a more powerful aedra (though the second one's just a guess since dragon's are part aedra and the aedra themselves are mortal enough to be murdered).
Ralof/Hadvar escaping Helgen
I can't believe I didn't notice this earlier, but how does Ralof (if you follow Hadvar) or Hadvar (if you follow Ralof) escape from Helgen on their own? Or more to the point, why don't you encounter them on the way through the keep? If you follow Hadvar, you soon enter the room where Ralof went - in which both doors are locked - yet neither of the two stormcloaks in there is Ralof. Similarly, if you follow Ralof, two legionnaires come from the same room Hadvar went to, yet Hadvar's not with them. And before you ask, no, neither of them dies if you go with the other; if you switch sides during the civil war questline, they still show up. So, why don't you encounter them? And how did they escape?
The room Ralof went in is locked from the inside. He presumably went in, past the other stormcloaks (who locked it behind him) and snuck out through the tunnel, past the bear, spiders and torturers, ahead of Hadvar and the player (if you went for Hadvar, since you had one more room to search). If you went with Ralof, Hadvar presumably just waited things out in the first room, before leaving, not like the keep got destroyed.
Okay, you answer for Hadvar's absence makes sense. However, your explanation for Ralof doesn't; he clearly couldn't open either gate (which is why you or him have to loot the key off of the captain). And even if he could open it, there'd be no reason for the other stormcloaks to lock it behind him, unless they went with him. And even if that was what happened, why wouldn't he help his comrades down in the torture room?
Ralof likely took a different route to escape than the one you would have taken. He probably didn't even go into the keep at all, or if he did he found he was stuck and turned around to go back outside and find another way out of Helgen.
Agreed. If you follow Hadvar, there's no need for Ralof to save you, so he likely goes off to find Ulfric and escapes directly to Windhelm with him, likely going the "back way" through the Rift and never approaching Riverwood. The "Hadvar room" opens into the "Ralof room," and Ralof isn't in the keep when you do that with no possible way of having gone further into the keep; the only logical conclusion is that he must not be in the keep. If you follow Ralof, it's possible Hadvar stays behind in the "Hadvar room" as rear guard, and only emerges well after Ralof and the Dovahkiin have gone onward.
The NPC you didn't assist was instead accompanied by Erwin Schrödinger.
So if using Dragonrend is basically a mindscrew by showing the dragon the concept of mortality, why can't a dragon do a similar thing By shouting something along the lines of "Immortal Infinite Eternal"?
They kind of don't need to. You need Dragonrend because the dragons are massive, many-tonned flying forces of mayhem and mortal-chomping, whereas you are a small, crunchy mortal. Dragonrend is needed to stun these massive beasts and force them to land, whereas you don't need to fly and can get tossed around by a single Fus. There's no reason for them to bother.
There's no guarantee that kind of shout would work on the Dragonborn either. The Dragonborn is mortal and immortal at the same time, being a Dragon in a mortal's body.
That and being tossed across the room by a Fus Ro Dah accomplishes the same thing against meatbag mortal. The Dragons likely just never bothered since they don't use Unrelenting Force on you either.
It's also possible (thought it would be a slight stretch) to assume that a dragon implanting the concept of immorality on a mortal, while disorienting them, would actually end up empowering the mortal. The concept of mortality distresses the dragons enough to make them face plant onto the ground, but doing the reverse might cause the Dragonborn to get more hyped-up mid-battle, which probably isn't what an attacking dragon wants. This might be why the Dragonborn is a mortal; so something like Dragonrend couldn't work on them.
Amren vs bandits
Really Amren? The dude couldn't get his sword back from like 5 bandits?
I'd like to see you beat five well-armed men single handedly.
The Dovahkiin can take on five or more bandits, but the Dovahkiin is a certified magic-wielding, Thu'um shouting, sword swinging badass. Amren is a lone man with studded armor, an iron sword, and a family to think about. Most of the average NPCs in the game would honestly be hard-pressed to take on that many bandits and win; what makes you think Amren is special? Five bandits are, in fact, a serious threat to the individual NPC.
It has nothing to do with whether or not he can take them. He's his family's sole breadwinner, and has given up fighting to take care of them. It isn't worth risking his life (and, since they rely on him, his family's lives) to get the sword, but it is worth offering a reward to any passing mercenary who might be able to deliver it.
Amren is apparently good enough that the Thieves' Guild put a mark outside his house basically saying "don't mess with this guy." So yeah, it's not so much a case of that he can't do it, but rather he has to think about his family and can't just go running off into danger to retrieve a sword whose value is purely sentimental. This is pretty explicitly stated in the argument between him and his wife that plays when you meet him during your first visit to Whiterun.
His wife explicitly states that if he tries to leave Whiterun for the sword, she'll leave him.
Sven/Faendal trusting random strangers
Why would Sven trust a random stranger to deliver a fake letter to the girl he likes? Its just asking for trouble.
Meta reason? It's a standard RPG cliche. In-game reason? Riverwood's population is at most, what, sixteen people? Maybe there really wasn't anyone else in Riverwood that he could trust to do it for him. The PC has no real reason not to deliver the letter, seeing as they're gonna get paid to do it.
And even if you assume Riverwood's population has been scaled down for gameplay purposes, the village probably would have no more than a few hundred people at most - and that's still "everybody knows everybody" level in the real world.
Why wouldn't he? Its not like he's one of those idiot thieves who hands you a powerfully enchanted item and then runs off and says he'll be back for it. He's asking you to take a letter and hand it to the girl next door and will pay you money for it. Realistically, you know what just about anyone would do? Go "Whoo, easy money!" hand the letter over, and get paid.
Whiterun's poor walls
What's with the poor state of the walls of whiterun? I've seen medieval ruins in a better state than them. There are almost no places where the wall is at it's full height, even near the entrance of the city(giving any attackers an easy way to enter). The structure above the gate has completely fallen apart. And judging by the moss, it has been like this for several years, so it probably wasn't due to the stormcloak rebellion.
The simplest explanation is that Balgruuf just didn't put money into repairing the walls. Ulfric mentions that the Empire has been taxing Skyrim heavily after the Great War, too, and many of the fortresses throughout Skyrim have also fallen into disrepair or been taken by bandits. Balgruuf may just not have the money to fix the walls properly.
if skyrim is heavily taxed, then why don't you get any taxes on the house(s) you own?
If you have finished the Civil War, the taxes may be waived in view of your actions and the fact that you don't actually get a salary for your government position. If you haven't, on the other hand...
Being a Thane probably also exempts you from taxation, coupled with all the good work you've likely been doing for the Holds, on top of being the Dragonborn and eventually in deep with whoever is ruling Skyrim. Couple that with the fact that taxation will likely only apply to someone making regular income like a farmer or blacksmith, and the sheer amount of gold/goods you're injecting into everyone's economy eveerytime you sell a pile of enchanted superweapons/armor into the local economy. The Dragonborn is likely supporting a substantial part of the entire Skyrim economy through simply supplying so much high-value material, and this goes even further with a high Speech and the Investment perk. Coupled with the guilds you'll end up owning, your political, economic, military, spiritual, and personal influence would likely be so high that no one would dare tax you.
But this isn't just simply worn a bit. The damage is absolutely massive. An entire building is missing two of its walls and a roof. The walls before the gate have massive holes. That doesn't just hapen after a few years of disrepair.
As noted in the OP, the moss indicates that this damage was done a long time ago. Perhaps... 200 years ago? It's not a stretch to imagine that the major settlements of Skyrim came under siege during the Oblivion Crisis, and with the entire province in disarray after that, Whiterun's funds were probably appropriated for Skyrim as a whole. Factor in the Great War breaking out, and as the above poster noted, the high taxation that came of it, and it seems plausible that Whiterun simply never had the time or resources to fix its outer defenses.
I got the impression that Balgruuf and his forebearers were just being lazy about it. Whiterun has enjoyed a long period of peace and there simply wasn't the need to have the walls repaired.
Lazy or not, Balgruuf complains about the sorry state of the walls when the Stormcloaks are at his gates (on the Imperial side of the civil war). In addition, the walls are merely really bad, as opposed to completely ineffective (they do require the invaders to charge through a winding path), so maybe his priorities weren't completely off... still, the sort of invasion that justifies having walls happened, and having bad walls made him nervous.
Should be noted, Balgruuf and Avenicci have a discussion on Whiterun's economics randomly. Basically, the Civil War keeps racking up prices for supplies to the point that Whiterun is so economically depressed that they're on the verge of choosing to keep the City Guards or feed their people. Considering that Whiterun is one of the three economic centers of Skyrim, this has probably been going since long before the Civil War, and its implied the entire Empire hit a depression during and following the Great War. Add in that the first several decades of the 4th Era were filled with strife and power struggles to gain leadership of the Empire, its likely any damage caused by the Oblivion Crisis was never corrected unless it was deemed absolutely necessary (which would also explain how easily the Thalmor took over the Imperial City). By now, its necessary for Whiterun, but they're just so talos-damned poor from all the economic shennanigans they can't repair it.
Also there's several Giant Camps around Whiterun and some of the Jarl's court express concerns about the Giants moving near the city implying that the Giants occasionally raid Whiterun randomly. Those walls probably barely do the job when in good condition anyways.
Altmer in the intro
If you pick High Elf as your race in the beginning, wouldn't the Imperials be really scared of executing a possible important member of the Thalmor? I mean they're already scared of the Thalmor as is, how would they feel if it turns out they killed an important person of theirs?
Don't make any record of your execution, toss your body in a river, and hope the Thalmor think you were killed by bandits. Not the best solution, but they weren't exactly acting logically.
Don't forget that there are Thalmor with General Tulius as you're carted into Helgen. If they knew who you were or objected to your execution, they would've let him know.
High Elf != Thalmor.
For that matter, Altmer != Citizen of the Aldmeri Dominion. More than a few Altmer live outside the borders of the Dominion, so it is entirely possible - indeed, fairly likely - that the Dovahkiin is an Altmer citizen of the Empire.
Also, many high-ranking Imperials (General Tullius, Legate Rilke, Hadvar, to name a few) despise Thalmor and the Aldmeri Dominion (and cooperate with them only because they are bound to by the Emperor's will), so they wouldn't pass an occasion to execute potential Thalmor spy. Especially the one thought to cooperate with dangerous rebel. If you listen closely, you'll find that there are even Imperials who think it were Thalmor who orchestrated the Stormcloak rebellion. And they are not far from the truth.
Battle-born and Gray-Mane's wealth
So the battle-born clan is rich while the gray-mane clan is poor. The battle-born clan has a farm. The gray-mane clan has one of the best smiths in the world, working a legendary forge. How in oblivion are the gray-mane clan any poorer than the battle-born?
Eorlund seems to be in the smithing less for the money and more for the experience. That, and from what we see most of his commissions are doing free repair jobs/giving free starter equipment to the Companions. By the looks of things although he's a better smith, he's being beaten in business by the Warmaiden (They own a store, he has a single stand in the middle of the square). And finally, it's also basically outright stated that Eorlund's been spending a very long time reforging Wuuthrad from dozens and dozens of shards, something that probably would've cost him alot of very rewarding commissions over his lifetime.
Aside from Eorlund mainly Doing It for the Art, keep in mind, Space Compression. The Battleborn farmlands probably cover dozens of acres and feed hundreds, if not thousands of people. They apparently export all the way to Cyrodiill, after all. Eorlund is just one guy, and while he could probably do commission pieces for a hell of a lot of money, it still wouldn't equal the steady stream of income that mass food production would.
The Battle-Borns own land and also seem to be high ranking members of the Imperial Army, to the point that they can call upon Whiterun's Blacksmith for large orders of weapons and armor. In addition, Eorland and his wife are likely the only source of income for their family, as Eorland's elder son was taken by the Thalmor, and his younger one is terrified of a similar fate and refuses to leave the house (alternatively, after their quest is complete, the Grey-Manes now have lost both sons entirely, so they're just an elderly couple). The Grey-Manes are likely kept afloat by the Companions out of gratitude, and may be considered poor otherwise.
The Civil War questline seems to imply that Vignar, not Eorland, is the head of Clan Grey-Mane, and that they have some men under their command(Balgruuf will state that Vignar's men weren't on the wall if the Stormcloaks win the Battle of Whiterun). While Vignar seems to be mostly retired from his Companion days, he seems to still have some pull.
Also: No one is buying his stuff. The Skyforge is out of the way, and his only market presence is a tiny wooden stall run by a little old lady. Warmaidens is RIGHT at the entrance, and you can SEE the wares being made. Her sales pitch is also screwing him over, as she is essentially implying that her wares are not good as good, sure, but they still ARE good, and without that artisan price! Combine that with the companions monopolizing his time and aforementioned point that he may be the sole provider for the clan... yeah. "Gods be praised" indeed
How did the shadowscales die out? From what oblivion told us, every argonian born under the sign of the shadow is a shadowscale. How did argonians stop being born under a starsign?
They didn't (though it should perhaps be noted that Morrowind implied that not everyone is born under a starsign). Remember, the Shadowscales consisted of Argonians born in Black Marsh under the Shadow and both trained and working with the Dark Brotherhood. The Dark Brotherhood that effectively collapsed outside Skyrim before the start of the game. No Dark Brotherhood in or near Black Marsh=The traditional treatment of a Shadow-born Argonian in Black Marsh is impossible=no Shadowscales... at least, not from the perspective of a traditional Shadowscale.
Shadowscales are still being born, but instead of being trained by the Dark Brotherhood they are raised as assassins for the An-Xileel and the Hist, the ruling party in Black Marsh.
Two questions regarding the Greybeards
Why are they unable to speak? Shouts only work in draconic, so you'd assume they'd still be capable of speaking other languages.
The Greybeards are still fully capable of human speech, it's just that their voices are so powerful, they'd kill anyone they tried to have a conversation with. Arngeir flat-out tells you this is the case if you ask him why he's the only one who'll talk with you. If you do try to interact with any of the other Greybeards, they'll whisper an acknowledgement to you that causes the whole room to quake.
But why would their human speech hold any power at all? Even the shouts created by humans (like dragonrend, and possibly that weird target thingie the greybeards summon) are spoken in draconic. But all the greybeards speak in the game is draconic.
Hmmm.... You're right. In fact, I just realized that Arngeir is the only one to ever use human tongue. Even when one of the other Greybeards speaks to him during part of the main quest, it's in draconic. Perhaps it's simply that the other Greybeards have spent so long speaking with the Voice that they've forgotten all other languages.
Or maybe that's just their means of discipline. Maybe they believe that using human speech interferes with their ability to use Thu'um?
We meet their founder in sovngarde, and he still speaks non-draconic. Paarthurnax, who created the teachings for the greybeards apparently also follows them himself, and he speaks as well, so it apparently isn't part of the way of the voice. And its not just length, since Arngeir wouldn't be able to speak human either in that case.
Because the power of the Thu'um is not based on the dragon language; the dragon language focuses the Thu'um. Its the difference between a controlled gunpowder reaction in a firearm to direct a bullet, and an uncontrolled gunpowder cookoff. If you spend enough time studying it and understanding it, the Thu'um itself becomes an unconscious part of you. You project power through your voice, and Borri, Wulfgar, and Einarth have simply reached a point where anything they say unconsciously carries the power of the Thu'um. Speaking int he dragon language keeps the Thu'um from going out of control and leveling the entire building, and even then, simply speaking causes the building to shake.
Why are there no students? All of the greybeards are fairly advanced in age and it takes a long, long time for someone to learn even the most basic shouts (and paarthunax can hardly go looking for students himself), so with any bad luck, all of 4 of them could die before being able to teach someone the clear weather shout (which would allow him/her to visit paarthunax).
Two things: One, their selection methods are extremely strict, and not everyone is willing to live the extremely secluded and meditative life of a Greybeard. Two, they did have one known student (ya'know, Ulfric), but he not only left, but also used his shout to kill the King of Skyrim. Maybe they're not exactly willing to teach many more people after that.
The Greybeards were masters of the Voice over six hundred years ago when Tiber Septim lived. I think it's safe to say that old age isn't an issue for them. And it is extremely unlikely that they would die a violent death, as they are some of the most powerful NPCs in the game in addition to having a brace of Dragon Shouts to use. Just lure a troll into High Hrothgar and see just how much "bad luck" it'll take for a Greybeard to actually go down. Even if they did, it wouldn't cut Paarthurnax off from the rest of the world, since he could easily fly down from the mountain and teach Clear Skies to someone else.
Those weren't the same Greybeards. If they are immortal then how did Jurgen Windcaller die... There's no indication they live older than any older mortal.
What shout did Ulfric use to kill the High King?
He's got Unrelenting Force and the Disarm shout. Elisif, and everyone else in her court aside from Falk, screech endlessly on how Ulfric 'blasted him apart with the Thu'um', but as we all know Disarm is Exactly What It Says on the Tin and Unrelenting is Wreaking Havok, neither of them can blast a man apart. Even so, it's clear he did at least use a Thu'um, so it was likely Unrelenting. Mostly because Ulfric says he knocked Toryyg down and then stabbed him.
Also, Unrelenting Force sends people flying and is obviously kinetic in nature, so, judging by the effect, this Shout is a rough equivalent of hitting the target with battering ram or a speeding car. It maybe does not "rip people apart" but is definitely capable of breaking bones and rupturing organs.
If you ask Ulfric about it, he'll explain that he used Unrelenting Force to knock the High King down and then stabbed him in the chest. (Which is how most players use it, too.) The tale grew in the telling.
How come that thieves you meet in the wild accost you with traditional "your money or your life" (and they always mean it), even if Thieves Guild is pretty adamant that killing on the job is bad for business? They are members of the Guild because when you are also a member, you can go free by pointing it out. And your assailants still decide to let you go even if it means that you can expose their questionable methods to the Guild leaders.
They're robbing people on the road in the first place, in bloody Skyrim. They have to be prepared to kill. The Thieves' Guild frowns on killing on the job, but if you've got to put steel in someone's gut, its better to have a murder than be empty-handed.
You could also argue that this is a case of Schrödinger's Gun. If you never bring up the fact that you're in the Guild, then this so-called "Thief" was just some jerk who accosted and tried to kill you. However, if you do bring up the fact that you're in the Guild, then it turns out that he's a member as well, and it could very well be that the whole "Your money or your life" line is just a threat designed to loosen peoples' purse strings as quickly as possible. In short, the player's choice determines which of two mutually exclusive realities manifests itself.
Brynolf only discourages killing actual clients, which include people they regularly extort money from, people who hire them for robbery jobs and those important to them, and people who not only have objects of value, but also means to get them. Some random bum traveling Skyrim likely isn't a frequent client of the guild, and probably carries everything of value on his persons. Between dying to the Thief and dying to some random bear attack in the wild only has one difference: both are likely and only one will end up with the thief running off with the loot.
Or they're not actually in the Guild, but don't want to cross them. Perhaps most shady types have heard that the Guild has contacts in the Dark Brotherhood (and even if not, getting on their bad side would still be a bad idea; hell, the fact that they have plenty of guards in their pockets means that someone trying to mug a member of the Guild could wind up being framed for enough crimes to draw a massive bounty in all of the holds at once). Acting like they're in with the Guild could mean the two of you sharing a laugh over a little misunderstanding instead of them being robbed of everything they own, thrown in a dungeon, and killed in their sleep.
Brynolf also specifies the reason for their discouraging killing as a purely business matter; it means having to pay off guards, dispose of bodies, and other hassles that cost time and money. Killing a traveler out on the road, however, makes that easy. Your body can be dragged off the beaten path twenty paces, hidden in some bushes, and animals will take care of the rest within a week. Guard patrols along the roads are thin and searches for missing people don't seem to be done by law enforcement, but rather by private parties hired by their family. Also, no witnesses.
Also remember that the Thieves' Guild does engage in brigandage. Sapphire's crew hit Shadr's shipment, for example, and Delvin's "numbers jobs" are explicitly preparation so that Guild crews can hit shipments to said business without anyone noticing that their stock has actually gone missing or a shipment is overdue. So the Guild does do some robbery on the side in addition to extortion, pickpocketing, smuggling, and break-ins.
Nords and magic regulations (or the lack thereof)
Considering how Nords are so anti-magic how come there aren't stronger attempts to regulate magicians that are outside of the college? Seems like they just let random mages walk around skyrim and set up twisted experiments in abandoned places.
Are you going to pick a fight with somebody who can turn you into a newt? They hate mages because they're afraid of what they can do, whether purposefully or by accident.
"Doesn't like magic" != "anti-magic regulations." Not to mention most of the Jarls like having a court mage or three around to provide services. Also keep in mind that while a lot of Nords don't like magic, they feel that physical strength and fighting capability are superior to using magic. Banning a form of combat that is inferior to physical martial prowess is just silly from their perspective.
The concept 'If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns' applies. It would be unthinkably foolish to instate anti-magic regulations, as it would mean that those who wish to continue using magic wouldn't have an easy time in society and would remove themselves from Skyrim society at best, or turn to banditry at worst. Making the College the one 'safe' place to practice magic freely would make for a pretty severe power imbalance in the long run and would probably lead to even more political shenanigans. After all, look at Necromancy in Cyrodiil circa Oblivion. Just one aspect of magic was declared forbidden, and so those practitioners mustered their resources to try to destroy the Mages Guild. Now, consider if all of magic was treated similarly throughout Skyrim.
Note that the general Nord opinion on magic is that it is inferior to fighting physically, but not many Nords are opposed to magic itself. Even the most virulent mage-haters like the Jarl of Winterhold is more against the unrestrained use of magic by the College itself than magic as a whole. In fact, quite a few Nords are appreciative of magic, going by guard commentary. "Destruction magic's fine, just don't go burning down any villages." "So you're the one who casts those illusions, huh? Impressive." "Hail summoner. Conjure me up a warm bed, would you?" "Hey, could you enchant my sword? Dull old blade can barely cut butter," and most importantly of all, "I have a lot of respect for the Restoration school. Skyrim could use more healers." If anything, the Nords seem to have a more negative opinion on thievery, going by how they're openly distrusting and derisive if you have higher level thieving skills.
I think a better comparison is being technically adept, like knowing coding or how to build a computer. People who are technically inept will call those skilled in electronics "nerds" and mock their perceived weakness, because they aren't big and strong and have a manly job like "real men." The extremes are similar to people who hate new technology and are suspicious of the "evil science stuff" that these scientists are doing in their laboratories. However, even those who insult nerds will give some grudging respect when they ask if one could fix their iPod or set up their Netflix for them.
It's not about regulating it or fearing it'll end up in the wrong hands - the Nords just think magic is for sissies. It's not even a thing to be despised, those who use magic and heckled and ridiculed. It should also be noted that this actually has some grounding in actual Norse society - seidr was a form of magic used amongst them, practiced mainly by women. Men who practiced seidr were rare, primarily due to the fact that doing so brought a taboo upon them called "ergi". Seidr (that is magic) was considered unmanly because it relied on trickery and was opposite to the open, honest manner in which men were to conduct themselves. This same principle applies here. Notice that women NPC who use magic aren't nearly subject to the same anti-magic stigma in Skyrim.
It seems to me the reason Nords don't bother regulating magic is because they have pretty strong defenses against it. If ever a mage decides to go rogue the guards can stop by the nearest alchemist and load up on Potions of Resist [blank]. And they can always have the court wizard make them a whole mess of magic-resistant armor and weapons that drain magicka if they really need it. So mages aren't any more threatening to the people of Skyrim than your average bandit gang.
Werewolves in Jorrvaskr
Didn't people start asking questions around the fourth time a werewolf came from Jorrvasker and rampaged throughout Whiterun?
They don't know exactly where the werewolves keep coming from. The Companions do their thing in the middle of the night when most people are asleep and the guys on guard duty are walking around with torches which limit their vision and make it really hard to tell where something came from. All the guards really know is "Suddenly, a werewolf!"
Also, note that there is another passage leading out from under the Skyforge and into the plains surrounding Whiterun. It could be that previous initiates into the circle were herded out this particular tunnel. You just happened to go so wild that the Companions couldn't keep you from running amok through the city.
In addition, it doesn't happen that often. There's only five other memebers of the circle, so that's only a half-dozen times in recent memory. Plus from what the other Companions say of yours and Farkas's transformations, the transformation isn't normally so violent; people don't always go beserk on their first transformation.
And that's also assuming that you did terrorize the town, instead of just avoiding people until you changed back.
Thing is, it's mentioned that the Companions have had a few werewolves in their ranks for a few hundred years now. While it doesn't happen too often, it's been going on for centuries. I'd be surprised if the Jarl of Whiterun wasn't in on it. Vignar is almost certainly aware of it, at least.
Riverwood left unguarded
How come Riverwood doesn't have troops stationed there in the first place, considering how there is a civil war going on?
Mainly because it's a backwater area with no real strategic importance to either side. Attacking it would essentially be a waste of time for both sides. A Dragon won't care about it's strategic importance, however.
Also, the fortress at Helgen was a relatively short distance away, with a substantial Imperial presence. Since Riverwood is pretty much sitting between Whiterun and Helgen, it is within a relatively short distance of two large and well-equipped garrisons. Fellows of ill intent are unlikely to bother with it.
Balgruuf's steward Proventius Avenicci mentions that deploying troops to Riverwood would be seen as a threat by the Jarl of Falkreath. Given that Whiterun is trying to stay neutral for as long as possible that would be a very bad thing.
The Emperor and the Brotherhood
Why is the Emperor so... accepting of death, anyway? Is he remorseful over the banning of Talos worship, is he really just that tired of the world, or does he simply realize that it's impossible to stop you and decides to go along with it peacefully?
It is probably a combination of factors - remorse over having had to sign the White-Gold Concordat (not just the banning of Talos parts), realizing that it is impossible to stop you, realizing that whoever got you to do it may simply find another way if you die, being a bit tired of the world from the stresses of running the Empire in a time of extreme crisis...
That, and he realizes that with him gone, a more competent heir may take the throne; so you may have actually done him and the Empire a huge favor, and not even realize it.
He indicated that he didn't think the Brotherhood would be so easily stopped even before you reached him. He'd probably done his best to get things in order and reach acceptance of what was happening as soon as the first hint of the plot appeared. Once you get to him, you've already dealt with a number of people who are would have had a better chance of stopping you than him. Regardless of any other reason he might have accepted it, there was little reason for him to think he had a way out of it at that point.
Ralof accusing the Thalmor of helping capture Ulfric
In the beginning Rolof says the Thalmor helped the Imperials capture Ulfric. Why? Isn't it best for the Thalmor to have the war keep on going?
Ralof says nothing about the Thalmor directly helping with the capture of Ulfric. He says that they might have been involved at some point, but he is not really a knowledgable source regarding how they were captured.
Ralof guesses that the Thalmor had a hand in their capture. That doesn't necessarily mean they did. Assuming they did, the dossier on Ulfric mentions his rebellion is doing just a little bit too well for their liking. They could have decided that it was better to nip it at they bud and come up with another plot to weaken the empire.
The dossier on Ulfric does mention that him winning the war and becoming High King of Skyrim is a very bad thing for the Dominion, so it's likely the Thalmor decided that Ulfric had done enough to weaken the Empire and decided to get rid of him by giving off some intel they had of him to the Empire.
The Dossier says only a Stormcloak victory should be avoided.
The Thalmor had nothing to do with Ulfric's capture, in fact, in the Thalmor dossier on Ulfric, they explicitly say that Ulfric's death would have dramatically increased the chances of an Imperial victory and thus harmed the Thalmor's position in Skyrim. Ralof was just pissed off about having been captured and when he saw Elenwen talking with Tullius decided that the Thalmor would make a good scapegoat.
Actually, the entire opposite is true. The same dossier says that him winning the war (which he was very close to doing before Tulius came along) is even worse than an Imperial victory because it means that they have to deal with a revitalized, wild-card nation that absolutely hates them and which provides two fronts for them to content with. And that such an outcome must be implicitly avoided. It's perfectly logical to assume that they thought that Ulfric had done enough to destabilize the Empire and decided to cut him off at that point. Which also makes sense regarding their presence at the execution. And why she was even talking with Tulius anyway.
Hrrm no. The Dossier says no such thing. Seriously, go read it rather than making up huge statements it never says. It only says a Stormcloak victory should be avoided and they must therefore be careful about any help they give the Stormcloak. It never implies a Stormcloak victory is worst than an Imperial one. It never gives a reason why it'd be bad. For all we know it's to be avoided coz its less preferable than the conflict never ending. On top of that, the two front thing makes no sense. Skyrim is north of Cyrodill, and the Dominion is south of Cyrodill. If a war broke out, it'd be still just one front. Independant Skyrim or not.
If Ulfric and his lot win, it would basically lead to the Empire fracturing, considering Skyrim bridges the Northern Imperial states to the Southern ones. So the idea that the Thalmor would like to avoid a Stormcloak victory because they want both sides to keep fighting when one's victory means the annihilation of one of their foes carries no weight. Them dreading a Skyrim under Ulfric's leadership is the only reason why they would be wary of a Stormcloak victory; in spite of the many advantages it would provide them. Secondly, fronts = foes. The Dominion has shown it can barely conduct itself when fighting one enemy at a time. Now consider the sort of logistical burden it would be on them to fight the northwestern Redguards as well as the northeastern Nords.
That doesn't make any sense either. The Stormcloaks are at a stalemate with the Fourth Legion. Lore has mentioned there being up to 18 Legions, and even if you assume that there are fewer now that the Empire is in decline, there still has to be a minimum of three other Legions. The idea that the Thalmor are somehow scared of a group that can barely hold their own (the dossier mentions indirect aid to the Stormcloaks while not even hinting at aid for the Imperials) against an absolute minimum estimate of 1/4 of the Empire's total forces is silly. The fact that they tried to save him at Helgen (again, see dossier, they mention an exception to their hands-off policy specifically because Ulfric dying would increase the chances of an Imperial victory, there's no other way to interpret that) is also indicative that they aren't exactly quaking in their boots at Ulfric. Also, an independent Skyrim would have no border with any territory the Dominion controls, so they wouldn't even be able to fight them unless Cyrodiil or Hammerfell falls, ergo there's no second front for the Thalmor to worry about. The Thalmor want the conflict to remain indecisive, not because they're afraid of either side, but because they want both sides to waste as many soldiers and resources as possible.
There aren't eighteen legions. There aren't even FOUR legions. Besides, if the Imperials were as dangerous as you say, one of their legions would be competent enough to deal with a ragtag rebellion while headed by one of the most brilliant military minds in Tamriel, don't you think? The Thalmor wouldn't want either side winning, because then they're facing a fully prepared army led by a Physical God who can bend time, call storms, breath fire/ice/thunder, and rip your soul from your body without having to get anywhere near you, without even considering any other skills the Dragonborn might have, such as the ability to slaughter his way through a full army with a huge sword, sneak into a fortress and slit someone's gullet, burn an entire unit of soldiers to ashes, or put an arrow through the general's helmet from across the battlefield. A Skyrim led by Ulfric would be bad for the Thalmor, but they never considered the Dragonborn's appearance. Given the Thalmor's track record of incompetence and backstabbing, they probably would have issues holding their own against Skyrim's army even if it was just Ulfric and Galmor. If the Dragonborn was also there to boot the Thalmor in their saggy Elven testicles, they'd get their shit wrecked completely if they tried anything. Look at what happens whenever the Legion/Stormcloaks go up against a unit of Stormcloaks/Legionnaires during the game. Now replace the enemy soldiers with Thalmor peons and you have a fairly decent idea of what would happen.
The idea that the Stormcloaks and the Legion are at a stalemate isn't entirely accurate, either. While the rebellion's been going on for a couple of years now, before the Battle of Whiterun it was only small scale raids and skirmishes, nothing with enough impact to say one side was really winning. Whiterun is where the war starts in earnest, and once that's decided, whichever side wins proceeds to steamroll the other side. And for all this talk of wasting soldiers and resources, generally speaking a battle-tested and battle-hardened army is going to perform better than a green one. The Thalmor couldn't hold Independent Hammerfell on their own. They won't stand a chance of holding Skyrim under Stormcloak rule.
First of all, prove that there aren't at least four legions. Even ignoring that if there were fewer they likely would have renamed it, there is only one legion that is explicitly stated to have been destroyed in the Great War, and that was the 8th. Furthermore, as mentioned before, there are 18 legions mentioned in lore. The burden of proof is on you to say that the lore is inaccurate. Second, I've seen squads of Thalmor and Stormcloaks fighting, and the Thalmor won. "Kicking the Thalmor in their soggy testicles" is far easier said than done. As for a battle-hardened army being better, maybe, but numbers do play a role. Finally, you're comparing Skyrim to Hammerfell? A situation where the Thalmor were working off the ragged remains of their strength against a nation that had its army bolstered by large numbers of released legionnaires to a fully rested and rebuilt Thalmor machine against a nation that's just been devastated by civil war? The second treaty of Stros M'kai that ended the Hammerfell/Dominion war was signed in 4E 180. If you think that the Thalmor are still as weak as they were right after the Great War, then there's clearly an irreconcilable gap in our views.
One of the advantages men have over mer is that they reproduce considerably faster. So the empire and the provinces have recouped their losses considerably better than the Dominion. And while the civil war may have cost some casualties, remember, the Dominion carries out eugenic purges on it's on population, so they aren't exactly helping themselves, either. The Dominion isn't nearly as powerful as it wants everyone to think it is. It's projecting the illusion of power to bluff the world into fearing it. Ulfric's grown tired of the Mede policy of buying into the lie, bending over, and letting the Thalmor go in dry for thirty years while giving the wink-wink nudge-nudge to the provinces "don't worry guys, we're totally going to take it to these elves eventually". What's more, the empire's happy enough to shout the thalmor propaganda to keep the provinces in line. They probably could have taken the fight to them by now if they didn't want to keep them around as a scare tactic to maintain their own weakening grasp on power. Meanwhile, Ulfric's got a battle-tested army, willing allies on all sides- he's very clear that he has no intention of fighting this war alone, he wants to ally with the surrounding provinces, he just wants independent rule, and more importantly, leadership that isn't afraid to act- and more importantly than anything, he's got the dragonborn on his side(this is, of course, assuming a stormcloak aligned playthrough, otherwise the argument is moot). If I was the dominion I'd be shitting myself at the thought.
First of all, if you're going to try to claim that that the Empire is trying to use the threat of the Thalmor to maintain power, some evidence would be nice. As for willing allies, what willing allies are you talking about? Morrowind, who's people he confines to a slum? The Argonians, who he won't even let into his city? Cyrodiil, who he's just severed all ties with? High Rock, who he's already FAILED at making an alliance with? Which leaves...Hammerfell. That's it. Hardly "willing allies on all sides". And him allying with them isn't a sure thing, given that his general's response to being asked how to join them is "If you aren't a true son of Skyrim, you'd better walk away right now or things are gonna get ugly", hardly a diplomatic masterpiece. Eugenics purges are not confirmed to be real, and even if they are, that only affects the Altmer, the Bosmer and the Khajiit can still breed like rabbits. As for the Dominion not being powerful, remember that the last time this group showed up, Tiber Septim, the beloved Talos himself, needed freaking Numidium to bring them to their knees. The combined forces of four nations being able to hold them off doesn't mean that an invasion is at all likely to succeed. The dragonborn is a plus for either side, so that's not a huge issue. Anyway, to bring this back to the original question, in the Dossier, the Thalmor explicitly state that an Imperial victory harms their position in Skyrim, and that they had to make an exception to their hands-off policy to save Ulfric. So no, the Thalmor had nothing to do with Ulfric's capture. Given that the dossier states they tried to save Ulfric, regardless of whether you'd be shitting yourself at the thought, the Thalmor are obviously not afraid enough of him that they're willing to let him die. That says more about Ulfric's threat level than any amount of bluster. On a final note, we have gotten very far from the original question, and the headscratchers page is probably not the best place for page-spanning debates. So if it's amenable to you, I believe we should take this to the forums.
And I've seen outnumbered Stormcloaks hand Imperials their asses on a silver plate. What the hell's your point? And yes the Imperials are using the threat of the Thalmor to maintain power in Skyrim, primarily due to the fact that it's been 30 fucking years since the war and they've done nothing to improve their position. Hell, the entire pretense for them maintaining their hold on Skyrim is the Thalmor threat, regardless of the fact that when Ulfric wins, the Thalmor are thrown out of the country. There may not be an outright admission of them using it, but it's obvious they use fear of them to an extent. As for ties, Hammerfell is likely the second strongest human kingdom after Skyrim, so its a big bonus. And the others would simply join with him out of convenience. There has never been a political and military alliance broken off simply because one of the nations didn't like the other. Hell, look the Allies in WWII. Russia was in on there, weren't they? Also, THIS DOMINION IS NOT THAT DOMINION. And there is nothing to say they maintain a similar level of power. Finally, the dossier also states that a Stormcloak victory harms their interest also. So that's probably the reason why they're willing to let Ulfric die in the prologue - he already dealt a great deal of pain for the Empire, but him getting too strong is something they'd rather avoid. After all, it's not like the Stormcloak rebellion would die with Ulfric. Hell, it's not even the case when Windhelm is stormed and their powerbase is undone.
Alright, this is obviously going way off-topic, so instead of rehashing everything, I'll quote the damned Dossier directly. "As long as the civil war proceeds in its current indecisive fashion, we should remain hands-off. The incident at Helgen is an example where an exception had to be made - obviously Ulfric's death would have dramatically increased the chance of an Imperial victory and thus harmed our overall position in Skyrim." Right there. The Thalmor had nothing to do with Ulfric's capture, and any intervention was done to prevent his death. Now, for the rest of it, why don't we do like I suggested earlier, and take it to the forums, which are much more conducive to a back and forth debate.
The Al'kir and Whiterun
How come those two Alkir weren't allowed into Whiterun? Is Whiterun anti-Alkir or something?
My guess is that the guards thought they were troublemakers.
Basically this; the Al'akir are a group of foreign police who are storming into Whiterun without any foreword from the men who sent them, and refusing to tell the authorities who they were looking for. The guards had every right to refuse them entry into the city.
This is part of the guards' jobs. You don't run into it regularly, but the most important job of the gate guards in any city is to checkout anyone suspicious. The Al'kir definitely count, especially as one of their number was already arrested and thrown in jail for getting caught doing something illegal. The Whiterun guards are doing their jobs by questioning the Al'kir as to what they're up to and throwing them out if they think they're going to cause trouble, which they really are.
For the same reason the guards stopped you when you first came to Whiterun: No non-citizens of Whiterun are allowed into the wall with the Dragons about. And considering the two Alik'r show up at the same time as a dragon has been spotted near the western watchtower, the guards are ever more keen to enforce the Jarl's orders.
Thalmor and the College
Why is there a thalmor ambassador in the college of winterhold? At the start of the game, the city is stormcloak-aligned, so it is unlikely the government forced the mages. The thalmor has disdain for the magic of the college, so he isn't there to study. All we know is that he is an advisor to the arch-mage, but it is never made clear what he advises on (considering his opinion on the studies at the college, it is unlikely to be related to that.)
The College maintains independent ties with Cyrodiil and the Summerset Isles.
Furthermore, although they look down upon the magic practiced there, the college is pretty much the only Magical hub in the whole of Skyrim, and they could stumble upon something of interest to the Thalmor (which you do). Not having an ambassador there would just be silly.
It does make sense from the perspective of the Thalmor, yes, but why did the college want him there? If you're trying to not piss off the native populace, inviting their worst enemy to live with you is not a very good idea.
The College doesn't want him. It's made pretty clear that none of the College's professors trust him at all, but it's more than likely they didn't have a choice in the matter. When a representative of the world's most insidious and ruthless secret police force shows up and says, "I'm going to hang out and... observe things," you don't refuse him if you have anything remotely akin to self-preservation instincts.
Why are the Thalmor so hated?
They aren't very nice and they are very Nazi-like, but I mean the Stormcloaks are massives racists and the Imperials are kinda excessive in their methods. Why are the Thalmor made out to be such bad guys?
The Stormcloaks just want non-humans out of Skyrim, but don't care if they go on about their lives elsewhere. The Thalmor want to erase all non-Altmer races and cultures, especially humans (and even the more cosmopolitan, "imperialized" Altmer), from existence.
Are you questioning why people in universe dislike the Thalmor, Or the fanbase? People in-universe hate them because they've banned the worship of Talos (the Jesus-figure in Skyrim), are actively waging a bloody and horrific war against pretty much everyone who isn't Thalmor, and are storming around Imperial-controlled Skyrim as a Gestapo-esque police force unperson-ing people they don't like.. Being a racist and/or 'a bit' excessive is preferable to wanting to exterminate everyone in Tamriel who isn't Thalmor.
There's a different between being racists and wanting to commit wholesale genocide. The Nords may hate the non-Nords, but they aren't going to actively kill them all. The Thalmors are doing just that with every non-Thalmor they meet, and that's why the Thalmors are hated.
Are you fricking serious? The worst the Stormcloaks do is have a relatively small but vocal minority of racist members and a leader who favors Nords over non-Nords and committed one massacre against a hostile enemy force in Markarth. They don't actively try to purge people they don't like, and some are even quite reasonable. The Thalmor routinely committed mass purges in Valenwood, practice a eugenics program where they kill nine out every ten newborns, launched a war of aggression against the Empire, maintains an active secret police force that hunts down, captures, tortures, and murders anyone worshipping a god they dislike, has made it clear that they're preparing for another war witht he Empire, covertly supported the entire Stormcloak Rebellion to weaken the Empire to that end, is actively attempting to destroy the very idea of humanity in order to lead to the total destruction of the world, and they have silly helmets. Why do you think they get so intensely hated on?
If you play as a non-nord looking to join up with the stormcloaks, you can ask Ulfric and Galmar why they're alright with you joining. They explain, more or less, that their issue isn't so much with race(that's a part of it, but by no means the main part) as it is with loyalty. The reason Ulfric's so apathetic towards the plight of the dark elves in his city is because they're not doing anything to help his cause, not simply that they're elves. On the other hand, the Thalmor are hardcore mer supremacist. With the stormcloaks, you get a few racial slurs, sweeping generalizations, but on the whole so long as you prove your worth, they'll treat you with respect. With Thalmor, if you aren't pure bred altmer, you're a tool that will one day outlive its usefulness and be put down.
The Thalmor are only allowed within Skyrim because of the Imperial presence, whom they don't exactly have a good relationship with either. The Emperor certainly does not like them, since the first time the whole mess started, it ended with the rolling of 100 of the Emperor's finest guards' heads. The Empire also lost the war with them and had to sign a humiliating decree. The difference between the Stormcloaks and the Imperials is really that the Stormcloaks isn't shy about saying it.
In Markarth, you can meet the local Thalmor Commander Ondolemar. You can recieve a quest to prove that a local citizen is worshipping Talos in secret. There's nothing too unusual about this... besides the fact that there's a shrine to Talos in the middle of the city, in rather good maintenence to boot. Is Ondolemar being hypocritical or is he just that blind?
Well, "root out Talos worship" seems to be code for "Pace around the keep all day and hire strangers who just happen to walk in and are plainly wearing amulets of Talos to do my job for me." So, yea, probably that blind. Or lazy.
Seeing as the city already has heavy Stormcloak support, shutting down the altar may lead to a revolution (backed by the Silver-Bloods, who are Stormcloak supporters and have their own army). He probably just doesn't want to get torn apart by the angry masses, but still wants to pretend he did something to appease his superiors.
Ondolemar strikes me as the Wally of the Thalmor. He chills in the keep, chats up the Jarl, eats good food, drinks good booze, writes up a report to Elenwen and periodically hires amoral mercenaries to poke around and find Talos worshippers and pass that off as his quota for the month.
Even if you do his quest, nothing happens to the secret Talos worshiper you gather evidence about. Seems possible that he's just pretending to do his job. There's a point where, if you did help him, he'll provide a distraction at the Thalmor embassy just because you ask him to cause a scene without giving him much of a reason. I got the impression that he was with the Thalmor just because pretending to do the job was easier and let him live better than anything else he might have done instead.
Another possibility is that he knows about the shrine, but leaves it alone as bait. That way, assuming he has somebody watch it from a distance, he can quickly get the names of everybody visiting it - IE (most likely) Talos-worshippers.
Ondolemar even shows up at your wedding if you helped him. He's probably not such a bad dude and more of a Punch Clock Villain.
There is one difference between the Nazis and the Thalmor: the Nazis' core idea doesn't have that looming possibility of being partially right. Of course, that doesn't excuse the Thalmor's Altmeri supremacy ideals, and it seems most members of the Thalmor aren't even aware of the whole 'actively attempting to destroy the very idea of humanity in order to lead to the total destruction of the world' thing (for those that don't get why that isn't an unambigiously bad thing, the point of destroying the world for the Thalmor isn't to destroy the world, as Mehrunes Dagon has it, but rather for spirits - all spirits, including those that were Mannish before the idea of Man was destroyed - to get back to how things were before Mundus was created, when they were eternal)
Planets and the Divines
The most commonly presented theory regarding the cosmology of Mundus is that the eight planets represent the original eight divines. But how would that work? The eight divines are not a universal constant. Their members used to be part of two completely different, larger pantheons. And, they probably aren't the most widely worshipped either, with valenwood, elseweyr and summerset now revering the elven pantheon, and the akaviri probably having different gods. Why don't Syrabane, Phynaster,Y'ffre, Diagna and others have their own planets? Did the cosmology of the universe suddenly change when the eight divines were founded? But if so, why didn't it change again when they became the nine divines? (and again when they rebecame the eight divines).
Long answer coming up, so I've divided it into separate paragraphs:
First, a bit of clarification on what exactly the eight planets are. They are the planes of those Aedra who had the most impact in the creation of Nirn, and who continue to exert the most influence over it. According to the series' accepted creation myth, there were actually many more Aedra in the beginning, who were tricked by Lorkhan into giving up their divine power to give birth to the mortal plane. Some fled the creation when they felt their divinity slipping away,note Such as Magnus, whose exit punched the hole in Aetherius otherwise known as the sun while others remained and gave some or all of themselves in fashioning the rest of the world. Those who retained a part of their divinity occupy their own planes of existence in Aetherius, which the mortal mind registers as the eight planets.
The identity of which eight Aedra occupy these planes is a subject of in-universe debate. That's exactly why the different pantheons exist. The "Eight Divines" was merely the name St. Alessia came up with for her new religion, which coincidentally coincided with the number of planets around Nirn. Regardless of what names they're given, it's a fact that there are eight Aedra influencing Nirn from above, and they have remained constant, which is why Nirn has always had the elements that is has, such as time,note Akatosh rain,note Kynareth life and death,note Arkay etc. Those planets have always been there, and have always remained there.
The various races each have different philosophical outlooks on the world, and thus ascribe different gods to these elements. Some gods might be redundant, some might be false, and some may even exist within Nirn itself.note Talos, perhaps? The key point to take out of all this is that there are eight constant divine forces in Mundus, it's just that people have seen them differently throughout history, sort of like how real-world polytheistic religions attribute different natural occurrences to multiple gods, while a monotheistic religion attributes them to one god. The problem, in short, is simply semantics.
According to Varieties of faith, most of the religions have more than eight gods, ranging between 10 and 12.
Did Hadvar get promoted for no reason?
The first time you see him he wears regular armor, the next time you see him hes wearing Officer's armor. What did he do to get promoted? Escape Helgen and hide out in his uncle's house?
IIRC, he didn't change armor. And usually by the time the Dragonborn meets him again in the Legion questline, enough time has passed for him to logically be promoted.
Most likely, the reason Hadvar and Ralof get promoted following Helgen is that they managed to get out at all. It's also vaguely implied that they would have been up for promotion sooner or later, anyway.
The Imperial Officer's Helmet has a crest on top, the standard Imperial heavy armor helmet doesn't, and Hadvar's helmet doesn't have a crest. He didn't get promoted, he just switched his light armor out for heavy armor.
Hadvar outright SAYS he was promoted when you meet him in a mission after the battle for Whiterun, and he's now in a command position for the first time. Hadvar still wears the studded leather armor during "The Jagged Crown". So most likely he was promoted after completing this.
Tullius knows Hadvar by name in the intro, and surviving Helgen is considered impressive by both sides of the civil war. Presumably some Legion officer bit it in Helgen (like that captain) and Hadvar got their job.
Why is Keening still on Tamriel?
Unlike most artifacts, keening doesn't have an innate owner-switching ability and it is one of the most legendary artifacts associated with the nerevarine. So why didn't he/she take it with her/him to Akavir?
Maybe The Nerevarine took Sunder and Wraithguard instead and just didn't like shortswords. Or maybe the Nerevarine didn't take any of them and the temple took the tools, which were lost during the Argonian invasion.
Keening is easily carried, as well as being incredibly powerful, so it seems incredibly short-sighted to not bring it along anyway.
Maybe the Nerevarine came back at some point in the last 200 years and didn't tell anyone. Alternatively, given that their actions lead to Morrowind ending up as a smoldering crater, the short sighted explanation works well enough.
Why WOULDN'T it still be there? Powerful weapons though they may be, the last guy who used them blew his whole race up. If I were in the Nerevarine's position, I'd dump the blasted things in the lava as I flew away. It's entirely reasonable to think he left them where they wouldn't be easily obtained in case some damned fool decided to try making himself a god (poor arniel. I will summon you, and laugh)
Dagoth and the Heart of Lorkhan
If the heart of Lorkhan survived the end of morrowind, how did Dagoth lose his powers so quickly? It took the almsivi several hundred years to really start losing notable amounts of power.
His connection to the heart was cut off, he lost all the power he was getting from it immediately. The Tribunal also lost whatever remained of their connection at the same time.
How is there a telvanni heir? Or, more to the point; do the telvanni even have heirs? In morrowind, they didn't really seem like they had any form of organized government, being just a collection of uber-mages, each with their own tower. In that game, becoming the telvanni leader meant challenging the old one. So, there doesn't really seem to be any room for nobles with inherited titles.
Think of it as a family tradition: there is great pressure on the family's daughters and sons to join House Telvanni and excel, as their parents did, and thus they are 'heirs' in an informal if not formal manner.
That's supported by House Telvanni not existing anymore. The argonians destroyed it. The descendants of whoever was left would consider themselves heirs to the tradition and legacy.
Except it isn't actually proven that House Telvanni was destroyed by the Argonians (they certainly didn't sweep over and kill everyone). The Tenvanni journal was written during Red Year, by someone that obviously did not know all that he was talking about, as Brelyna Maryon is living proof that at least one more heir to House Telvanni survived.
Which was in part what confused me. I thought that meant we were to assume that Brelyna was just a member of low rank, while Brandyl was of higher rank ( a descendent of the arch-mage or a(n arch)magister)
Dragonborn (re)introduced Neloth. While I'm pretty sure he has a few personality complexes of his own, he does imply Telvanni (As well as the other two houses) are very much around. Though he admits being part of the house doesn't amount to much, he claims one could be considered royalty. Though he's not an altogether reliable source, especially since most of Raven Rock just can't stand him.
What is the deal with the midden in college of winterhold? It seems to be the same size of the rest of the college, is decorated with skulls, heavily damaged, infested with the undead and the location of several powerful daedric artifacts(the hand and the atronach forge) to boot. It evidently wasn't destroyed by the flood, as everyone says that the college was practically untouched. It also seems unlikely that it was the augur, as he doesn't seem all that aggressive, and it is doubtful a college of researching mages would just up and abandon something like the atroach forge without good reason.
It's a sewer. Like many sewers in video games, it's inhabited entirely by people who don't want to be seen. All the projects down there were secret, probably unapproved by the College. They're still down there because it'd take too much effort to dismantle them.
Except that a) it is fairly explicitly a former part of the college and b) the atronach forge was not constructed by the mages of winterhold.
Of course it's a former part of the College. It's the College's sewer, likely built when the structure's foundations were first laid. As for the origins of the Atronach Forge, it appears to have some Dwarven components (the doors on the offering box, for example), so make of that what you will.
The prisoner carts coming from Ivaarstead
So Ulfric is captured by the Imperials, and is taken to Helgen. In the beginning when you are in the cart, it seems you are coming from Ivarstead. Isn't that entire area Stormcloak territory? How did they manage to sneak Ulfric through such a hostile place? Theres a Stormcloak camp literally a mile away.
Said camp has only a few people in it. And look around Skyrim while you're wandering around. 90% of the time, there's no one in sight. And this isn't an age of cellphones and text messaging. Even if someone did witness a the ambush, they'd have to run all the way to the nearest Stormcloak camp, the Stormcloaks would have to organize a rescue force, and the rescue force would have to run all the way out there to where the ambush happened. That would take time, and by then the Imperials would be long gone.
What's going in in Morrowind?
In Windhelm you find a bunch of Dunmer living in poverty. After hearing about what happened to Morrowind and seeing this, I thought that the Argonian invasion and the fall of the Ministry of Truth had happened pretty recently... but I looked it up on the UESP and it turns out both events happened almost two hundred years ago. I imagine the ecosystem is stuffed because the eruption wouldn't have let the wildlife survive, but surely 200 years is more than enough time for Vvardenfell's flora to reclaim the land? And while it's understandable enough that Morrowind was so devastated by Red Mountain's eruption that it had no army to fight the Argonians with, that doesn't tell us what's going on with Morrowind two hundred years later. When you talk to one of the Dunmer in Windhelm, he implies that moving back to Morrowind IS an option, and he doesn't make any reference to an Argonian occupation making that impossible. So why are there still so many Dunmer refugees in Windhelm and Skyrim two hundred years after the event? What are the Argonians doing, is Morrowind just their territory and they've left the natives otherwise alone or are they keeping Dunmer as slaves, or what?
From what I gathered, the argonians basically swept over the land, destroying all major cities, killing the entire population of the house Telvanni, before retreating to the territory of house Dres. They could go back, yes, but they would need to rebuild pretty much everything, as well as being defenseless if the argonians chose to attack again.
what happened, and this is now CONFIRMED by Dragonborn, is this. about forty years AFTER the Oblivion Crisis, the Baar Dau crashed into Vvardenfell, causing Red Mountain to erupt and ruin most of the island, and blighting much of solstheim and the mainland. Following this, the argonians attacked the weakened province, and conquered some of Morrowind's territory. Red Mountain remains highly active (more so than in the Nevevarine's time) and as such, Vvardenfell is sparsely settled, but SOMEWHAT habitable. Solstheim and Morrowind proper are livable, but with some ash storms that used to just be Vvardenfell's problem. and house telvanni still exists
People being where they shouldn't
Can someone please explain to me why there are two Thalmor guards still living in Understone Keep in Markarth after I take the city for the Stormcloak. In the same room with a STORMCLOAK OFFICER? Outside of bugs, anyway. What, are they Prisoners of War or something? On that same note, why is the Emperor's cousin still living in Solitude despite the city being taken for Ulfric? Especially if I've killed of the Dark Brotherhood, and she has no in game reason for being there? She should be kept as a hostage or should be sent back to the Empire! And also, why is Maro still in Dragon's Bridge? The Emperor's personal bodyguard should be dead if the Stormcloaks have won!
I'm pretty sure the Thalmor being in Understone is a bug; they were gone when I captured the Reach. As for Maro, you could say him and his group are one of the groups of hold outs Galmar and Ulfric told you about along with the camps dotting the map and that the Stormcloaks are just waiting them out. The real reason, of course, is that he's vital to the Dark Brotherhood questline, which really doesn't make a whole lot of sense the way it's played out if you complete it after winning the Civil War for the Stormcloaks.
Okay, that's fine. But if Maro's a hold out, then why didn't they just make it so that he switches position from Dragon's Bridge to the Haafingar Imperial camp or something if the Civil War ends in Stormcloak territory? There are several Stormcloak guards pacing just outside his outpost. Or is he supposed to be a Po W by this point?
As the above responder noted, the Dark Brotherhood quest as a whole doesn't make much narrative sense if played out after a Stormcloak victory. You might as well ask why the Emperor deigns to travel right into the heart of a hostile separatist nation, into the very capital which has recently suffered a massively destructive attack by said separatists, seemingly just to have a dinner prepared by a good chef. As for why this is, it's because it would take considerable effort to restructure the quest to accommodate all these different factors. It's far simpler to just leave things as is. That way, there are no discrepancies between quest triggers, you don't need to program new NPC travel paths, record new dialogue, or spend countless hours debugging what is now essentially a wholly different quest.
No one saw Alduin appraching
How the hell did NO ONE see Alduin coming? Dude is huge and Helgen is a pretty large town, someone HAD to have seen him.
He flew over a mountaintop into the valley where Helgen was located. Anyone on the other side of the ridge wouldn't have been wouldn't be able to outpace a rapidly flying dragon to warn others, so of course he'd surprise everyone there.
Alduin my be huge but humans aren't hardwired to look up for threats. He's also fast, and by the time anyone would hve seen him and started to issue a warning, he would have already attacked Helgen. Not to mention everyone is going to either be watching the execution or watching the roads or woods for Stormcloak rescue parties. No one's going to be looking up for a dragon.
To underline the above: remember that before Alduin shows up, everyone knows that dragons are long extinct. No one has any reason whatsoever to expect an attack from the skies.
Alvor says that he saw something fly by, and even says it looked like a dragon, but didn't believe it until you confirmed it, as Dragons were thought to have been a myth until now.
Could Alduin attack Oblivion?
Alduin was obviously a threat to Mundus, and his rampage in Sovngarde made it clear Aetherius was also under threat by him. But would he have chowed on the Planes of Oblivion as well, or would those have been relatively safe refuges from his wrath?
Presumably he doesn't want to pick a fight with a divine enemy. He likely picks Sovngarde because it was Shor/Lorkan's realm, and Shor/Lorkan is dead/in no shape to fight a demigod. Each realm of Oblivion, however, is ruled by a very much alive daedric prince who's all too willing to get their hands dirty in direct combat. Mehrunes Dagon put up a damn good fight against the Avatar of Akatosh at the end of the Oblivion Crisis, and in the Isles, Sheogorath demonstrated the ability to throw the planet at people (that's what he's doing when he teleports you, you're not falling). Alduin wants no part of a fight with these guys.
This is completely off topic, but... throwing a friggin' planet at you? That's got to be the most badass trick this troper has ever seen, and he's seen quite a few.
He tried to throw a moon at Vivec (god and city); it didn't work. (Until Vivec ran out of power for his "pause" spell, and then it suddenly did.)
Alduin is also related to Akatosh, an Aedric spirit. Presumably it is easier for him to access Sorvngarde (In Aetherius) than any plane of Oblivion.
Alduin is a derivative of Akatosh just as Talos is the derivative of Shor who is in turn the derivative of Lorkhan. It's probably far easier for him to enter a plane ultimately Aedric in nature (insofar as Lorkhan status as the demiurge who created Mundus would make him such, given the fact he is literally the embodiment of what remains of Padomay) than one of Oblivion. All the same, I highly doubt that any of the Daedric princes could fight him, as one of Akatosh's avatars managed to defeat Mehrunes Dagon in his full form and Alduin is likely even stronger than that. Add to that also that his destiny states that only a Dragonborn can touch him.
Why don't dragons use a greater variety of shouts?
For the most part, it's fire breath, frost breath, and I'm decently sure I've seen animal aliegance once, not counting Alduin's mist and meteor shouts. Why no storm call, elemental fury, marked for death, slow time, or everybody's favorite, unrelenting force?
It's most likely just gameplay balancing. Fighting dragons that can call bolts of electric death down upon you, attack you faster than you can react, negate your armor and health bonuses, or effortlessly blast you off the side of a mountain for a one-hit kill would be a bitch. In-universe, its sort of implied that the more powerful shouts require a more powerful dragon to perform, hence why only Alduin can call down meteoric destruction or resurrect his fallen kin. This also ties in with why dragons such as Odahviing respect the Dragonborn—being able to call upon a lightning storm isn't just impressive to mortals, it's impressive to dragons themselves. Of course, if you really want to tangle with Shout-wielding dragons, there are probably numerous mods that allow for this.
OP here. I play on the console so mods are unfortunately out of my reach. And while I get the reasoning and figured that was probably part of it, my mileage is going to vary. One of the most common complaints about the game is that dragons are too easy to take down. Adding a greater variety of shouts would make for a more interesting challenge, show a greater level of intelligence, and do more to show that their dragons aren't just big fire and frost breathing lizards, they're reality warpers who alter existence by yelling at it very loudly.
Brelas and infiltrating the Embassy
Wait....so if you cause a distraction at the Thalmor party using Brelas (The Servant) and the merchant Nord, she is taken down to the dungeon. But when you get down there shes there BEFORE you. Did the guards drag her down there while ignoring the cries of me slaughtering the other guards?
GREAT explanation, I applaud you for your hard work.
The prison is located in Elenwen's Solar, which is a separate building. You get taken into the kitchen and recover your gear, likely take a few minutes to get it loaded and sorted out, and then move into the back areas of the main embassy building. The guards would have taken her outside and into the second building during that time.
Where did all the Tsaesci go and why are there no clear records on their appearance? Back in the first era, there were enough survivors to have a massive cultural influence, to the point where the tsaesci were the heads of the empire for four hundred years. Even if a war was waged to kill all the tsaesci, there should still be plenty of physical descriptions, as well as statues, paintings, coins and various trinkets in their form(concidering there were tsaesci heads of the empire). Hell, the symbol of the empire is still a dragon, the blades were still around in oblivion and their blades were widely found in morrowind, so any attempt to destroy their culture was clearly unsuccesful.
What seems to be the current in-vogue theory on Bethesda's forums is that the Akaviri invasion had only a small contingent of Tsaesci in terms of the race, and a fair number of humans that may have been culturally Tsaesci (IE, insofar as Mysterious Akavir can be trusted, the Tsaesci 'ate' the humans of Akavir in a metaphorical sense: they assimilated them into their culture). That doesn't explain all of it, but it does explain how there could be a massive cultural influence without there being all that many proper Tsaesci.
How did Numinex die?
In all versions of the story of Olaf, he brings the dragon back to whiterun while it was still alive. Dragons cannot die of old age, and it seems unlikely that the people killed it after spending so much time and trouble building a prison for the thing.
Or, you know, he could have just committed suicide.
Someone probably eventually stabbed Numinex in the face and its corporeal body died.
Paarthunax mentions that Numinex eventually started going crazy from years in captivity. Presumably a batshit insane dragon is a little more of a pain in the ass to deal with than a regular dragon, so either Olaf or one of his descendants decided to put him out of their misery.
You need to get the attunement sphere from Septimus Signus before you can get to the Blackreach. In there you find a field laboratory of alchemist called Sinderion. How did Sinderion get there without an attunement sphere?
There's more than one attunement sphere, and Sinderion had one.
This, right here. There's an attunement sphere right on the table in his lab, next to his bag.
I always figured he got in using nirnroot. The atunement sphere apparently produces a noise that makes the stairs appear, and concidering the blackreach has a unique kind of nirnroot, it would make thematic sense for it to be the same noise. Or something like that.
There are a number of perfectly functional lifts from the surface to Blackreach. Granted they're all locked from the inside when you find them but maybe one wasn't when poor Sinderion showed up and the Falmer locked it after they killed him.
Speaking of Septimus, another quest he sends you on has you collecting the blood of all known elven races so he can mix it together to create a loose equivalent of dwemer blood to fool a dwemer security system. So he sends you out to get some high elf, dark elf, wood elf, snow elf, and orc blood. All well and good, those are the only elves that appear in the game. However, there is another race of elves in TES lore that is still very much alive, just rather reclusive; maormer, or sea elves. Now I'm not saying they should have included maormer in the game just for this little quest, but if you're going to have it specifically say "a sample from each elven race" then include an item in an alchemy lab at the college of winterhold or something labeled "sea elf blood".
Or better yet, if you are an Orc, or a high/dark/wood elf yourself, why aren't you allowed to draw your own blood for the apparatus?
Easy. You're the Dragonborn. During the Main Quest, you have to cut your hand to open a door (only the Dragonborn's blood can open it). Therefore, your Dragonblood would not be the same as a normal orc/high/dark/wood elf's blood would be and the security system would 'see' it.
Perhaps the Dovakiin isafraid of needles? Also, judging by the size of the Extractor, it sucks up a lot of blood when it takes a "sample." It'd probably be a bad idea to just up and lose that amount of blood when there are other options available. Plus, Septimus pulls the thing out of his pants. Would YOU use such an unsanitary needle?
As to the sea elves, they aren't the only still living elven race that he misses.Several books confirm that a handful of Aleyds are still about, now known as wild elves and hiding away from everyone. However presumably what Septimus is doing is extracting whatever elements in those elves blood is similer to Dwarven blood. With five races of elven blood available he's probably got enough of those elements without needing Maormer or Aleyd blood as well.
Except that the seperation of the maormer is absolutely ancient, probably dating back to before the first elves even settled on summerset. If any elven race is distinct, it should be them.
Also, they're from another continent. It would make sense for them to be removed far enough from the other elves to not require their blood.
Septimus specifically said that it was a "close approximate". He likely didn't know there were other elves in existence and was just trying to get as close as possible with those that are nearby. It also kind of helped that he wasn't entirely in his gourd, so to speak.
Why is Alduin necessary?
So if dragons are immortal in this game and can only really be killed by another dragon, why is Alduin required to bring them back to life?
Their bodies can be destroyed by non-dragons, and they can't just jump to another or rebuild them on their own, they need Alduin for that.
Ok, fair enough. But then what is the deal with Skeletal Dragons? The one in Labyrinthian acts just like regular dragon, but has no soul to absorb.
That one wasn't a real dragon, per se, but a reanimated skeleton along the same lines as the... well, skeletons you often encounter in dungeons. It was probably brought back to life by Morokei to guard his resting place.
Talos shrines in Imperial cities
Why are the shrines of Talos still intact if the Imperials take over a city? Wouldn't they be torn down or replaced with a shrine for another divine?
Only if the Thalmor get around to doing it. There are many hints that the Imperials despise the outlawing of Talos worship just as much as the Stormcloaks.note Jarl Elisif asks you to bring a horn to a Talos Shrine, Legate Rikke quietly says "Talos be with you" to Ulfric when you kill him, etc. They just have no choice in the matter, as going against the White-Gold Concordat would mean resuming hostilities with the Aldermi Dominion, which would be suicide both politically and militarily for everyone in Cyrodiil. There's also the matter of the really really loud and annoying Talos preacher in Whiterun who seems to be beneath the notice of the Empire aligned authorities.
"House of Horrors"
During the "House of Horrors" quest, how come Tyranus was so unprepared for the situation that arose? Does the Vigil not train their members on what to do if you encounter a Daedric Lord?
I may be wrong, but I believe that Tyranus believed that he was dealing with a few Daedric worshipers. Against a full Daedric Prince especially Molag Bal, whose sphere is the domination and enslavement of mortals, there is not much that can be done.
He was expecting a few Daedric worshippers who might have summoned a few lesser Daedra. He didn't expect to meet one of the most powerful Daedra in existence.
I'm not sure. Daedric lords are powerful, yes, but this wasn't a daedric lord. This was a daedric lord talking through a shrine. I'm going to assume that most daedra cults have a shrine (where else are they going to worship?). So, shouldn't the knights really have some degree of training? And it isn't like it was an overwhelming degree of force. It was flying pans and a locked door.
It was more than just a bit of poltergeist-style fun. Tyranus basically has his mind dominated and subsequently overthrown by Molag Bal. Even through shrines, Daedric Princes are extremely powerful.
It did not appear like Molag Bal was actually controlling his mind. Molag Bal still had to convince Tyranus, right?
He wasn't controlling his mind, per se. He was twisting it and contorting it to the point where Tyranus was convinced that the only solution was to kill the only other person with him, Molag Bal is the Daedric Lord of corruption, remember?
The Companions' size relative to Whiterun
Does anyone notice that the Companions are like half the population of Whiterun? Doesn't the Jarl ever get scared that they might just one day overthrow him and take the city for themselves?
Inconsistent scaling. Whiterun's population is probably several hundred thousand people (Skyrim was mentioned as having very populous cities), while the companions are a relatively small group, probably no more than a few hundred.
Plus, very much not their style. The Companions are an honourable warrior band, rising up and taking over cities would be utterly against their nature.
It's not this group of companion's style. Vilkas mentions that over the years(and the companions have been around for nearly five thousand years) the companions have gone through periods of being conquering armies and marauding bandits. There's a book in Kodlak's den that details some of the more notable harbingers of the past, and mentions that they went through at least one period of several dishonorable, corrupt harbingers in a row. It likely comes down to the fact that the companions have always been sellswords; conquering one of your best potential clients isn't exactly good business.
Maven Black-Briar and Riften
Jarl Maven, Riften and the Thieves Guild collectively bug me. They set up a corrupt town run by thieves and corrupt business people with an incompetent Jarl on the throne. I understand that the Thieves Guild is there for people who like playing thieves but some of us want to root out the corruption. Worse, one of the first people you meet is a struggling young heroine looking to do just that and her companion, a young man who managed to turn out idealistic in spite of knowing nothing but Riften. This is the set up for a quest to save Riften from itself but that quest doesn't exist. Your only options with regards to both Maven and the Thieves Guild are to help them become even more powerful. Were they saving this for the DLC?
It's probably so Riften for that matter) wouldn't lose its characteristics, meaning they can reference it in later games. Same really goes for Markarth(forsworn vs silverblood) and winterhold(hatred against mages).
The Elder Scrolls games tend to lean more toward the cynical side on the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism. Riften is presented as a city so interwoven with crime and corruption that what benefits the corrupt ultimately benefits the city as a whole. Trying to remove the corruption from the city would actually make things worse for everyone in the short term (violence in the streets over filling the power vacuum, etc.), and probably wouldn't benefit anyone in the long run either (whoever eventually takes control is liable to be even worse than those who came before).
Part of it also comes down to maintaining the grey and grey morality of the civil war questline; Some of the replacement Jarl's are better than the Jarl's they replace, some are worse, and some are on more or less equal moral footing. One of the things that shows that the empire doesn't necessarily have Skyrim's best interest at hard is that they put Maven Black-Brier in charge of one of their cities.
If you chose to support the Legion, but yet initiate the peace conference during the Main Quest, and assuming you chose to give Riften instead of Dawnstar to the Imperials, Tullius makes a remark about Maven being put in charge, something about that arrangement providing the Legion with a nice port and a lot of mead, seeing that she *does* own the best, largest, and most famous meadery in Skyrim.....
Ironically, the best way to help Riften? Don't join the Thieves' Guild. Let 'em rot. Do whatever else you can to help everyone out and clean up other troubles in town, but keep the Guild from recovering in power if you want to clean the place up.
The Thieves Guild only able to exist because of Maven needing them at the time since they no longer have Nocturnal's blessing thanks to Mercer, you undo the curse and they will be the one pulling the strings on Maven and thus cause less trouble in the long run then now. And it's a case of prosperity vs honor in terms of the conflict, would you live a life of honorable poverty (Stormcloak) or live well at the price of your own personal morality? (Legion)
The Vigilants and the Companions
How the hell has the Vigil of Stendarr not noticed that a large group of one of their worst enemies lives in one place in the Companions Hall in Whiterun?
Its not a large group, just five people
These five people are going out of their way not to alert anyone, unlike most werewolves, daedra and witches.
Detection spells in the elder scrolls lore suck. Since werewolves are not undead, they are pretty much undetectable.
You can also take into account that accusing the oldest and most sacred society of warriors of being werewolves may not be the best idea in the world. Most won't believe you and, at the very worst, you could start a war with the rest of Skyrim.
Considering it's possible for you to summon a pair of Dremora Lords in front of, or possibly inside of the Hall of the Vigilant, and they won't do anything about it, it could be assumed that the Vigil aren't as learned in the ways of Daedra as they'd like to think.
Vigilant of Stendarr: Wherever the Daedra hide, the Vigil of Stendarr will cast them into the light.
Dremora Lord, standing just behind her: YOU ARE WEAK, MORTAL.
Summoning Daedra and worshipping Daedra are two very different things. The Vigilant probably would prefer you didn't do that but the Dremora is totally under your control and no threat to anyone unless you are.
The Vigilants aren't blind, nor are they stupid. They probably have some awareness of the Circle's true nature, but they're also well aware that the Companions aren't really a threat to anyone except whoever they get hired to deal with. The Vigilants' primary purpose is to fight those that prey upon the innocent: werewolves that attack innocents, daedra worshippers whose rites and activities hurt innocents, and so on. The Companions are likely very, very low on their priority list compared to everything else in Skyrim.
The Argonians during the Oblivion Crisis
How the hell did the Argonians manage to kick the Daedras ass so badly? They beat them so badly the Daedra had to close the gates because THEY were being invaded
The argonians knew the daedric invasion was coming thanks to their alliance with/worship of the hist, who are the oldest beings on the planet. This gave them the chance to properly prepare for the invasion, as well as having the best intelligence on anything ever at their disposal.
Plus, the lore establishes that Black Marsh is pretty much the deadliest environment Tamriel has to offer. Even to a race of immortal demonic super-soldiers fresh from their own version of hell, fighting the Argonians on their home turf must've been close to impossible.
Note that Argonia has a much larger population than you'd suspect. Many of the tribes that usually don't travel out of black marsh also bring great tactical advantages, with 'an argonian account'(which is in-universe fiction, so not entirely reliable, though one of the other tribes got mentioned in a historical source as well) suggesting at least one winged breed. Black March actually was powerful enough to hold off the empire, with 'pocket guide to the empire' suggesting large parts of it were never annexed and that the empire has no real say over any of the decisions (like black marsh deciding to take back small bits of territory lost in a war with morrowind during Oblivion) over the territories that they do claim to control. In short, the argonians probably already were one of the greatest military powers on the planet, with the main drawback of not being unified. When the Hist warned them, they finally unified.
If you read the "The Infernal City" one of the argonian characters mentions that they pretty much sent wave after wave of troops through the portal and through brute force and lack of caring about survival forced the daedra to close the gates.
Having not read the ingame book or the novel, my guess would be that Dagon himself either underestimated how much resistance Blackmarsh would offer or didn't consider it to be a high value target. Either way, this would result in him devoting a considerably smaller portion of his forces to the attack than he devoted to Cyrodiil. Also, Oblivion implied that opening oblivion gates, even without the dragon fires burning, required some form of action from Nirn to work, and that Mythic Dawn cultist had to trigger them in some way, at least initially. The Mythic Dawn likely had either a very, very small presence in Blackmarsh, or none at all, thus limiting the support Dagon would have recieved.
In short, it was in Black Marsh that the daedra met their perfect match. One hell-realm full of endless hordes of suicidal warriors trying to invade another.
Astrid and the dark Brotherhood
One of the conflicts in the Dark Brotherhood questline involves Astrid evidently abandoning the Five Tenets for a more standard rule of "Respect the family". The thing is, isn't that what the Five Tenets was all about? Don't do anything to mess with the Brotherhood and be a good little killer who follows Sithis/The Night Mother. Exactly what did Astrid do that was considered heretical?
Making a deal with the enemy of the Dark Brotherhood in an effort to kill you comes to mind...
The problem is, that wasn't just heretical, it was against the new rule too: you're not respecting your family if you are arranging for a member's death because his joining happened to coincide with a lot of change. Plus, she was supposed to be doing heretical things before that.
Astrid had basically declared herself Night Mother. "Respect the family" meant "Respect, obey, and never question my commands because I am the head of this family.' The first'' of the Tenets is Never Dishonor the Night Mother. The second is Never Betray the Dark Brotherhood or it secrets. Astrid broke the two big ones. And likely the rest as well, but off screen.
My question is... How did she get burnt? Did she do that herself or...did someone else do it?
The black sacrament, the ritual used to invoke the dark brotherhood, involves taking part of the target's body (like nails or fingerclippings) and burning it. In this case, she used her whole body instead.
You're also suppose to stab the effigy with a nightshade-coated dagger and chant. Given that she was still very much alive and Nazir and Babette didn't hear her at all, the Night Mother probably took pity on her halfassed black sacrament, and she just got burnt in the sanctuary fire.
Also, as the contract giver, she needed to be still alive in order for her to tell the Dark Brotherhood assassin who to kill. Of course, the victim was herself, but I'm not sure the Night Mother cared that much in this case.
Speaking of Astrid's betrayal: Did she go to Maro asking him to kill you? Or did he come to her saying, "I know where your hideout is. Tell me how you plan to kill the emperor or I'll burn it down with you inside it." And if Astrid did contact Maro, how did he learn of the location of the Sanctuary?
Going along with Molag Bal
In the House of Horrors you are asked by a Vigilant of Stendarr to help investigate a potential daedra worshiper site. Things go bad fast, when it turns out that a daedric prince is directly manifesting his power in the house and corrupts the Vigilant into attacking you, then forces you to agree to help kill someone for him before setting you free. My problem - why do you have to go along with this? The Vigilantes of Stendarr have an HQ in Skyrim, you can visit it and chat with their leader. Why can't you warn them about the possessed house and wash your hands of the quest, or even recruit some Vigilantes as backup and go destroy the shrine? It just drives me nuts that the quest starts with what seems like a noble, good request and then railroads you into doing something evil. My good roleplayed character is stuck with this stupid quest in his journal and can't get rid of it.
One could call it complaining, but the headscratcher can be formulated thusly: why is House of Horrors the *only* Daedric quest to neither make clear that it is an evil Daedric quest (before moving from the Minor Quests tab) nor to have a good course of action beyond ignoring it? One can compare with Boethiah's and Mehrunes Dagon's quests: for Boethiah's quest, you have to actually go talk to the people at the Shrine of Boethiah to start it, while Mehrunes Dagon's quest allows you to tell Mehrunes Dagon off and spare the one he tells you to kill.
While this might be a stretch, perhaps this is the whole point. By doing nothing to further advance the quest, you're actually doing a greater insult to Molag Bal than could possibly be done via any other course of action. Molag Bal is the Daedric Prince of Domination and Slavery (and Rape, but that's neither here nor there) and what greater defiance is there than for a slave to ignore the edicts of its master? You are not being dominated by anyone, and in turn, you're not exerting your own dominating force over the Prince. By ignoring Bal's direct order and forging your own path, you're defying the very concept he embodies.
How come sights like the Thalmor agents in Markarth aren't seen all around Skyrim? Why are there no Thalmor in Whiterun, Solitude, etc? Wouldn't the Thalmor want to keep an eye on all of Skyrim?
Remember Shavari in Riften? Wouldn't be too much of a stretch to assume the Thalmor have agents just like her all over the major towns in Skyrim to keep tabs on everything.
There are Thalmor Patrols you can meet on the road who do not have prisoners with them. Likely these Thalmor are there to make their rounds and check up on their holds once in a while. Markath probably just has the permanent visitors because of the aforementioned Markath Incident.
In addition, they likely send out agents to the hold capitols on occasion to check up and do monthly reports. Solitude, at least, is a relatively short distance from the embassy. Markarth likely gets a permanent appointment because of the Markarth incident; the city openly and officially ignored the treated and allowed open worship of Talos, even if for a short time. That likely put it at the top of the Dominion's shit list, at least for Skyrim. As for why there isn't one in Whiterun specifically because Whiterun was the only hold not to declare for one side or the other and the Thalmor wanted to keep it like that; the war is won or lost at Whiterun. Whoever controls the center controls the outcome. And until Ulfric forced the issue, no one was really sure which side Balgruuf would come down on. Putting Thalmor agents in Whiterun might have pushed him to joining the Stormcloaks outright; such an action without conflict would have spared Ulfric time and men that would have ended the war even sooner.
Note that the harder the Thalmor bear down on Talos worshippers, the faster they'll drive resentful Nords and other Talos-worshippers to back up the Stormcloaks, which will give Ulfric an edge. The ones operating in Markarth are also only there specifically because the Jarl is desperately trying to avoid pissing off the Aldmerri; they specifically gave him an ultimatum to either purge the Talos-worshipping presence in the city or they'd send troops to take the city by force. The Thalmor likely can't get away with having an active, armed presence in other holds without severely pissing off the other Jarls. Falkreath and Morthal are too small to bother with, and Elisef's husband was a Talos worshipper and she herself is also, so if the Thalmor came into Solitude, it might push her to action, whether covert or overt. Whiterun hasn't declared, but the giant Talos statue an the screaming priest in front of said statue indicates where Balgruuf stands and how he'd react to any Thalmor presence.
Alduin's wall. Wouldn't you want your records that detail the events of the destruction of the world to be a little more clear than some vague pictures? I mean, we know what most of it means, but only because we played the previous elder scrolls games, so we know what to look for. Most people in-universe don't really seem all that educated and don't know exactly what time period every scene is supposed to portray. The oblivion sign is not exactly rare, volcanoes aren't unique and there is more than 1 legendary staff, so the whole time indication is vague too. I get that carving something into a wall lasts longer than paper, but couldn't they also have carved
Hey, is the world being attacked by dragons? Did the staff of chaos get reassembled, has numidium warped the space-time continuum, has red mountain blown up and has Mehrunes Dagon invaded? In that case, you should look for a dragonborn. He can eat dragon souls and gain cool shouting powers. He is the only one who can kill Alduin, who has travelled through time to destroy the world (or enslave it. We're not that sure. Sorry about that.) Tell the dragonborn to go to sovngarde (and not by dying, plz) and team up with the guys who defeated Alduin before, into the wall? That would have made everything a lot clearer.
Images mean there's no language barrier. It all happened so long ago that even the same language may have become unrecognizable by now.
Except that all the entry puzzels depend on language. You can't even enter the temple without knowing the akaviri symbol for dragonborn, which, even at the time, would be fairly obscure. In addition, we know that beings who live for hundreds of years aren't exactly uncommon in the elder scrolls universe, so language likely doesn't change as quickly. Furthermore, it wouldn't have to replace the wall, just a small extra. They apparently spend years working on the wall, and carving some words shouldn't be that hard.
For all we know, there were written records of the prophecy. Esbern was able to piece together the mural's meaning using other knowledge he had assembled during his studies, after all. Most likely, the records as a whole were lost long ago, and the mural is simply an artistic rendering of the prophecy.
To put it bluntly, no, the Akaviri wouldn't do something that simple. Its a cultural thing. Esbern himself says this straight out when you reach Alduin's wall.
Esbern: The Akaviri were not a straightforward people. Everything is couched in allegory and mythic symbolism.
So, no. The Akaviri wouldn't put down simple text to explain how to stop Alduin in simple terms. Their entire cultural mindset was against doing that.
Markarth's value in negotiations
During the negotiations between the stormcloaks and the imperials in the main quest, Ulfric demands the city of Markarth. First of all, its rather silly that he thought he'd get an entire hold just for a temporary cease-fire. Second, why markarth? If no quests in the war storyline have been completed, its surrounded on all sides by imperial territory, with solitude to the north, whiterun to the northeast, falkreath to the east, cyrodiil to the south and high rock to the west. So that means he has no way to resupply the city or get the silver from the city to him. And for markarth, sending extra supplies is absolutely neccesary, as it is under constant threat of the forsworn. Wouldn't asking for falkreath make a lot more sense?
Falkreath Hold isn't very strategically important. It's pretty much just a huge tract of alpine forest. That means it'd be difficult to defend, and the holder would gain little war materiel in doing so. By taking Markarth out of Imperial hands, Ulfric is denying them a key resource—the silver mines—and is putting pressure on their right flank. It matters little that Ulfric can't really make use of the silver; as long as he puts troops in and around Markarth, the Imperials have to respond by diverting forces to address him. That inevitably means gaps will open in their lines elsewhere, and that's what Ulfric really wants—to weaken Imperial forces overall so that he can begin his offensive campaign. General Tullius, of course, realizes this and attempts to balance the scales by demanding Riften; by basically pulling the same ploy.
Except he has no way to send troops there to put pressure on the imperials. Any re-enforcements he would send would need to pass through imperial territory. So first of all, he couldn't send any troops at all during the temporary truce. And after that has ended he can't reenforce for the same reason he couldn't take markarth earlier: Whiterun and falkreath are in the way.
And yet, Stormcloak troops get into the Hold somehow—you can see as much after the truce is made. That's the other thing: the two sides did agree to a cessation of hostilities for a short time. It's entirely possible that Ulfric sent a train of soldiers and supplies to the city during that period. In fact, that was likely one of the provisions the two sides hashed out—agree to let each other occupy their new territory without harassment. Regardless, both Ulfric and Tullius are gambling on their gains in the short term; each simply wants to keep the pressure on the other, not use their new Holds for any real economic advantage.
I assumed those soldiers were from the reach stormcloak camp.
What I don't understand is why both sides demand new territory at all? We're there to get both sides to agree to a ceasefire because the flippin' world is about to end. The even weirder thing is that both sides will still agree to trade territories even if the trade you suggest is massively unfair to one side. Why doesn't the faction getting cheated just say "the deal's off, let's just stop fighting for a bit without trading territory?"
You have to remember that these are sworn enemies. Both Ulfric and Tullius are bringing the war into the peace conference, as it were. The territory demands are essentially military skirmishes, except in diplomatic form: by prodding each other in this manner, they learn just how far the other is willing to bend while still in pursuit of their own gains. Said gains are also the motivation behind the demands even when faced with apocalypse.note "Well, hey, if the world ends, none of this matters, but if the world doesn't end, then I get to reap the benefits of this deal." It's also an exchange of mutual trust. By allowing the other side to occupy new territory unmolested, it shows each is willing to respect the terms of the agreement and to exercise the necessary discipline over their troops to ensure that the ceasefire is upheld.
For what it's worth, Whiterun/Balgruuf isn't technically Imperial-aligned if you haven't done any of the civil war quests - it's listed as "Imperial" on the battle map because that's the side it would take, but it's technically neutral until Ulfric forces his hand.
It's Personal. The Markarth Incident, which Ulfric spearheaded, was the first major event that led to the Stormcloak Rebellion.
How are the Stormcloaks a threat?
So how are the Stormcloaks a threat? Their rebellion seems to made up of a bunch of farmers with pretty low quality equipment and the Imperials are veterans. What do the Stormcloaks have? The fact that they're Nords?
They have half of Skyrim and a lot of defected Legionnaires. They can't really take on the Legion's forces head on, but there are other tactics they can use.
Galmar mentions that the bulk of Stormcloak forces are former Legion. Meanwhile, various Legion commanders posted at different holds will mention that a lack of resources forces them to recruit locally, so the bulk of the Legion's forces in Skyrim are from the same stock as the Stormcloaks; those who weren't legion already were farmers, merchants, craftsmen, and the like.
Their equipment is of comparable quality to the Legion's, and these are Nords. Nord troops have been a major part of the Legion's armies throughout the Empire's history (it was Nord-composed Legions that arrived to drive the Almerri from Cyrodiil in the Great war) and Skyrim is one of the nastiest and most dangerous parts of Tamriel. Nords by nature have to be tough and competent warriors, and they have a strong martial tradition. And they were kicking the Legion's ass until Tullis arrived and turned things around.
The Nord troops are veterans too. Many fought in the Great War, and a number fought at Markarth. Even the ones that didn't have been guarding holds, which means patrolling roads populated by bandits and other sundry dangers, and periodically taking the fight to whatever threatens the hold. Plus, the average farmer in Skyrim frequently has to deal with trolls, bears, bandits, and other sundry dangers. Remember, this is the land where the average response to a dragon descending on your city is grab whatever weapon you're carrying and go after that scaly bastard.
The Stormcloaks are really analogous to the Germanic and Celtic tribes that the historical Roman Empire fought a lot. One of the defining elements of those Gauls and Picts was their aggression and the ferocity of their attacks; a common, paraphrased saying among the Romans was that the Gauls would break within five minutes of fighting against a disciplined Roman shield line - but the Roman shield line had to survive fight minutes of fighting a Gaul horde. The Stormcloaks wield light armor and assault with heavy two-handed weapons and can, very quickly, kill Legionaries, but if the Legionaries survive the first few swings they can usually kill the lighter-armored and shieldless Stormcloaks. The Gauls were also deadly ambushers and many Roman Legions were destroyed by Gaul armies due to surprise attacks or being outnumbered and flanked. The Stormcloaks fight in a similar fashion, using terrain and surprise attacks to defeat better-equipped Imperial Legionaries. There's also the added point that the Romans were so successful because they were able to mass-produce professional armies with standardized gear, so they could easily replace expended Legions, which is something the Empire of Tamriel can't do so readily. Therefore, the Empire has to be more cautious and conservative, which gives the Stormcloaks an edge.
Also, if you ask him how the war is going, General Tullius will complain that he's not getting the reinforcements he's requested and how he's having to try to fight the war with "a bare handful of legions". Keep in mind, the Empire knows that the Thalmor will break the "peace" that exists the moment they see an opening, so the Emperor likely isn't willing to pull too many troops off the border. If the Empire didn't have to worry about the Thalmor and were free to bring all of their power to bear on the Stormcloaks, the forces of all of Cyrodiil plus half of Skyrim would likely be more than sufficient to overwhelm the other half of Skyrim.
Hmm...an army of mostly farmers taking on an army many, many times their size and strength and actually winning? No, I've never heard of something like this before.
That would be because it usually didn't happen very often. Farmers with impromptu weaponry rising up to fight off a larger and better equipped force of professional soldiers almost always results in the farmers getting a terminal case of sword. Successful rebellions like that were extremely rare. The Stormcloaks are professional soldiers who are well-equipped and well-led, and it shows.
It's worth noting, that as Nords, they are uniformly stronger and more powerfully built than Imperials, and more skilled at battle. The Imperials are mostly in Skyrim because it's their job, the Stormcloaks are fighting with the belief that if they fail, their culture and heritage is forfeit, which makes them more driven. Also, many Stormcloaks are former Imperial Legionnaires that defected. It's also worth noting that Stormcloaks and Imperials actually wear armour of similar toughness on average; the armour rating for Stormcloak armour and typical light Imperial armour is very close. Also, for those under the impression that Germanic warriors were a bunch of undisciplined rabble - the whole 'shieldwall' thing that many of you believe the Imperials use is actually more of a Germanic thing than a Roman one, and Ancient Germanic fighting tactics even hinged on things like wedge formations. Also, I'd hazard that seeing as how the Empire was basically built by Nords, most of their military tactics descend from Nordic ones, rather than the other way around. Finally, the shield-line technique seems to be a fairly ubiquitous one in Nordic culture - hence why men call eachother 'shield-brother'.
Plate armor vs. Roman armor
How is it that in 200 years the Empire has regressed from town guards in full plate to soldiers dressed as romans? Has the need for plate armour just magically disappeared?
Not enough metal to go around?
The imperial legions were dressed like romans at the time of Elder Scrolls IV(or at least, they were in III, which takes place only 3 years earlier). The difference, however, is that the town guards seen in Oblivion are not legionaries. The actual legions don't show up in that game for some reason. I will however note that its kind of weird that the emperors guards are also wearing roman uniforms. Plate armour requires a lot of maintenance and slows down marches considerably (especially considering horses seem to be a bit rarer in the elder scrolls universe), so its not really all that handy for the legions (One of the greatest advantages of the original romans was that their armies could move very quickly).
Which kind of leads to the question of why the guards from Oblivion used plate really.
The guards didn't need to march massive distances, just patrol around the cities a bit, and there are blacksmiths with good forge to repair and maintain the armor. The guards were, well, guards, not armies.
Remember that the Empire is in decline and a massive war was raging thirty years ago that ravaged the Empire. Is entirely possible that the Empire switched to a type of armor that is easier to mass-produce because of the need to quickly mobilize and outfit more soldiers with gear that is easier to maintain. Plate armor had to be custom-fitted and designed for each wearer, after all, while lorica and other Roman armors were made to be easily-fitted to large numbers of soldiers. Therefore, plate is more suitable for when you've got the discretionary funds to outfit your troops with the best of the best gear, while the Roman armor is more suitable for when you've got to outfit an army swiftly and on a budget.
Another thing to remember is terrain. In Skyrim, where there isn't mud there's forest, where there isn't forest there's snow, and where there isn't snow there's marshes, and where there isn't any of that there's giant fuckall huge mountains. This is not terrain suitable for large numbers of soldiers walking around in heavy plate. Dovahkiin and follower get around it by being just one person, but when you've got an army on the move, you don't want a thousand men in plate armor churning up the roads, let alone fighting.
The Solitude Smith comments that the first set of armor is free, but subsequent sets will be out of your own pocket. Likely Imperial Legionnaires are not given large allowances, and armor gets broken all the time. It might just be more practical to go with light leather armor, given both the terrain and cheap costs.
Mass-production is a hell of a lot easier with lorica-style armor than plate, which has to be individually-fitted. One of the biggest advantages the historical Roman Empire had was that all of their gear was standardized. Lorica was armor that could be easily fitted to any legionary, so they could readily manufacture large numbers of that armor without the expense of fitting it to individuals. That made it very, very useful for an army on the move; damaged components could be easily repaired and new suits could be added to stockpiles to replace damaged ones. In a similar vein, Imperial armor is cheaper and easier to manufacture, uses less expensive materials, and is lighter and easier to move in. Compare a suit of plate to a suit of Imperial heavy armor and note the difference in cost (Plate armor costs 647 septims base, while Imperial heavy armor costs only 100 base), skill level needed to build it (50 for plate with three perks, while steel is only requires one perk and no additional skill points), and ease of manufacturing (plate requiring corundum as well as a lot of steel, with Imperial armor only requiring four steel bars and some leather). Plate is better overall, but the Romanesque Imperial armor is a lot easier to supply to large numbers of infantry.
I would like to point out that the majority of guards in Oblivon wore chainmail. Imperial city guardsmen wore pretty sucky iron plate.
Helgen's strategic value
How come more isn't made of Helgen's destruction? It was a large Imperial stronghold, now completely gone. The Stormcloaks have free reign from Falkreath to Whiterun. But no panic in Solitude?
The stormcloaks didn't want to antagonize whiterun and falkreath isn't exactly a top priority on anyone's lists.
They didn't want to antagonize Whiterun? Sorry, but that's exactly what Ulfric is planning when you first meet him back in Windhelm. The only reason Whiterun doesn't do anything about it is Story Versus Gameplay Segregation.
Ulfric is planning yes, but the civil war makes it clear that Ulfric is still somewhat hopeful that whiterun will join the rebellion. He's going to take whiterun, but he isn't going to do anything against them before his final assault.
Any movement by the Stormcloaks into the area around Whiterun will potentially scare Balgruuf right into the Imperial camp, which will result in an Imperial garrison bolstering the Whiterun army. Ulfric has everything to gain by keeping Balgruuf neutral; if he can convince Balgruuf to surrender he gets a critical strategic resource. If he can't, then he'll have an easier time taking Whiterun when it doesn't have Legion troops supporting it.
I'm not really talking about attacking Whiterun, I'm talking about the fact that with Helgen gone the Stormcloaks basically gain control of a large portion of the river valley. They can sack Falkreath, and then keep heading west and hit the cities there.
Again, doing so would likely scare Whiterun into the Imperial camp. Falkreath is not a major strategic resource, and if Balgruuf feels threatened by a push right next door to his city, he'll throw in with the Empire, and then the Legion will be able to cut off any force sent into Falkreath. As long as Balgruuf remains neutral, Ulfric can't risk antagonizing him until Whiterun is seized. Once again, the war hinges on Whiterun.
Why would taking Falkreath, a rival of Whiterun, then heading west AWAY from Whiterun make Balgruuf turn to the Imperials?
Because in doing so, Ulfric would both gain a stronger strategic position and a better position from whence to strike at Whiterun. If Ulfric controls Falkreath he can hit Whiterun from multiple directions and cut off trade with Cyrodiil - especially important because of Falkreath's otherwise limited strategic value. The only reason to take Falkreath would be to either strike at Whiterun or Markarth, and Markarth is a fair distance away from Ulfric's other strongholds. Were I in Balgruuf's shoes, if Ulfric took Falkreath I'd throw in with the Imperials because taking Falkreath would give the Stormcloaks a direct line to my unprotected backdoor.
Ulfric can't get at Falkreath without taking Whiterun first. Falkreath and the Rift are separated by rough, treacherous mountains that are difficult and dangerous to march an army through. The best way to get at Falkreath would be going through Whiterun hold which he can't do without either Balgruuf openly joining the rebellion(which is what Ulfric was hoping for) or taking Whiterun by force.
Also, if you look at the map as it stands, and consider Ulfric's forces, holding where he in in the Rift offers him a better position. As it stands, he can block any major Imperial movement into the Rift by blocking the mountain pass, and with Helgen gone it greatly extends enemy lines of supply if they move south into the Rift. Meanwhile, moving into Falkreath would demand that he dispatch significant forces through rough terrain. He'd have to deploy sufficient numbers of troops to cover both the roads running from Whiterun and the ones coming from Markarth. Holding Falkreath would offer further complications due to terrain, as it has the thickest forests in Skyrim and comparatively hilly terrain, perfect for geurilla operations, forcing the Stormcloaks to employ more men to protect the holdings around Falkreath. There's also an Imperial camp close to the mountain pass south of the Throat of the World which would spot any mobilization almost instantly and get runners out well before the Stormcloaks could get anyone through the pass, resulting in a likely Imperial counter-march. Without control of Whiterun to guard his northern flank, Ulfric can't expect to take and hold Falkreath.
Because Falkreath Hold in Stormcloak hands would effectively split the Empire into two pieces, taking Falkreath is a strategic imperative - which is why it's the first thing they do after they take Whiterun. But they have to take Whiterun first, because as previous posters have stated, without Whiterun Hold in Stormcloak hands, Falkreath is indefensible - taking it would almost certainly make Balgruuf overtly side Imperial, the Stormcloaks would have to march through that narrow pass in the Rift (and it's not unreasonable to assume an attempt to do just that to take Falkreath was what resulted in the Imperial ambush the player character gets caught up in at the beginning of the game), and the Stormcloaks would be squeezed on both sides. In fact, if Ulfric did this, Legionnaires from Cyrodiil could march northward to retake Falkreath, while Legionnaires from Skyrim march eastward through Whiterun and threaten Eastmarch itself. Controlling Whiterun eliminates this very significant risk, not to mention that because Whiterun is a major economic center and road hub, to control it would severely curtail the Empire's ability to move troops between Cyrodiil and Solitude and make it much easier for the Stormcloaks to take Falkreath. The war really is won or lost at Whiterun; that's not simply an expedient of the game.
How is it that Giants have a Greater Soul size while their pet Mammoths have Grand Souls? It's true that in real life elephants are very intelligent animals, but the Giants have their own language, they make their own tools and clothing, they're a possible offshoot of elves, and they domesticated mammoths.
The power of a soul isn't just based on how intelligent a being is. A related question would be why the clearly Ehlnofey-related giants haven't got Black souls, but then, neither do the modern Falmer...
Just blatant gameplay and story segregation. The mammoths have higher stats, so the designers thought they would be harder to kill, and thus gave them more powerful souls. In morrowind, some very powerful creatures give very small or no souls at all, as it wouldn't make sense for them to have large souls. They simply have it this way in Skyrim for game reasons.
The Lusty Argonian Maid
So The Lusty Argonian Maid is, essentially, a pornographic playnote albeit one that, when read, is non-graphic through Double Entendre and Sexy Discretion Shot.. How exactly would that work? Would the actors have sex in front of the audience every time it was performed? Would it not be performed and merely sold as the script? Either way, when there's no means of storing or transmitting images in-universe, the area of porn seems distinctly limited.
It is actually supposed to be performed, as the writer in Morrowind was looking for a group of actors to do so. Maybe they perform behind a paper back-lit screen, so only the shadows are visible? That would allow for many of the double entendres to also work visually.
Maybe the humor was that it was all to be literally taken and Crassius Curio was a massive troll.
It's all about unsubtle innuendo and double entendres, which is pretty much exactly what Roman comedies were. See also Plautus—or A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, which was directly inspired by Plautus.
Also, every medium has pornography, which predates the internet. And even now, with shots of ladies' vaginas in HD, "erotic novels" are selling. Fan fics are written about this like there is no tomorrow. Apparently some people prefer using their fantasies instead of only looking at graphic images (which of course existed as well). I think restricting "porn" to graphic displays is in itself severely limited.
Perhaps the play in its entirety isn't actually pornographic, but rather a raunchy comedy relying heavily on double entendres for the majority of its humour.
Or, maybe it's porn, and the actors have sex on stage, and the audience enjoys themselves.
I know you never get to reproduce in the game, but what would happen if the Dragonborn were to have kids? Is being Dragonborn hereditary like it was for the Septims? Would the DB's kids be Dragonborn/have "dragonblood" as well?
If the player has the soul of a Dragon in a mortal body, does this mean that they were a Dragon once? And does it also mean that somewhere out there is a pile of Dragon Bones that Alduin would be unable to resurrect as the soul has already been resurrected as you?
It's not made clear if dragons can reproduce, but I'd guess that every time a dragon is born/created it gets a fresh, never-been-used soul. Same would go for the Dragonborn.
Dragons do not reproduce. Dragons simply are. The first Dragonborn were gifted with the souls of dragons by the gods, and while the Septim line were consistently Dragonborn due to divine blessing, most Dragonborn throughout time simply were gifted the dragonblood by the gods. In other words, the Dovahkiin was gifted his/her abilities by Akatosh himself.
Daedric Prince manifestation
How are 2-3 Daedric Princes (Nocturnal, Sanguine and maybe Sheogorath) apparently physically on Nirn after "Oblivion"? I'll admit I never played Oblivion, but didn't Martin's sacrifice permanently bar Daedric entry, or is that just Mehrunes Dagon?
(Other than that, best I can figure is the Skeleton Key unlocks even Martin's seal, Sanguine is considered just a nuisance, and good ol' Sheo was already in Nirn when the seal went up).
If Nocturnal's key opens all doors, it would presumably open gates to Oblivion that could be sealed (And the quest outright states it opens a passage to her realm allmowing luck to flow into Nirn). Sheogorath is not in Nirn, he's in the mind of a dead, non-undead, human. And dead humans don't remain in Nirn except when turned to undeads (See: Sovngarde). On top of that, Sheogorath comes from Nirn to begin with, since he was human, he may not even be bound to those rules. Sanguine could be using various loopholes, such as adopting a weaker form than his true self (Hence appearing as A human and a Dremora rather than a stomping monstrosity like Mehrunes Dagon. He might also be a mere avatar, as it has been shown before that even with the Dragon Fires lit up, Daedric Princes can project themselves to the material plane to some mortals (As Azura did to the Nerevarine during Morrowind) or cross completely when certain conditions are met (As Hircine does during his wild hunts in Bloodmoon)
The barrier does not prevent the High Daedra from manifesting in Nirn. It prevents them from THREATENING Nirn. Mehrunes Dagon wanted to come in and wreck up the place, the others are just hangin' out. Incidentally, you forgot hircine. The Skeleton Key can't unlock Akatosh's barrier because the Daedra cannot affect Mundus. they can only affect people in it.
Except that they've affected the world itself a few times without affecting the people. Take during Tribunal, where the Dragonfires are active, and Azura clears the Ash storms around Mournhold when Almalexia is killed. Weather Manipulation is a pretty big effect.
Talos holding the world together
Since when is Talos keeping the world together? I know it's referenced a lot in the page, but can someone explain it to me? I can't find anything on his wiki page on UESP nor the Elder Scrolls wiki.
You also won't find anything in the games about it, because it's not lore. The UESP wiki especially has canon and non-canon material mixed in its articles, and isn't a reliable source of information.
Talos is the embodiment/representative/derivative of Lorkhan. Lorkhan is the foundation of the world itself. To destroy Nirn and return to the chaos before creation, Talos must be destroyed, since he fortifies the Earth Bones, and the Earth Bones must be unravelled.
So remember, kids: every time you save a Talos worshipper from the Thalmor, you're doing your part to save the world from metaphysical annihilation!
Throw Voice. So, you need to absorb the powers of dragons and master an ancient art...to taunt people? I could understand if the effect was just a normal incantation in dragon language like any other shout, but no - it causes you to spout weird insults. How is that special?
It causes you to spout insults from a different direction than the one you are at. Rather, I causes something ELSE to spout an insult without you being near it.
Throw Voice actually involves accurately generating a voice from a completely different location with sufficient volume to actually draw someone's attention and pull them away. The voice itself is magically generated.
The anonymous "friend"
Do we have any idea who the mysterious "friend" who keeps sending you letters is? I keep feeling like I'm supposed to know.
There's some theories. One theory is that it could be the Blades. Another is that it could be the Psijic Order or another group of mysterious agents watching over the Dragonborn. Another theory is that it is Talos himself, covertly acting to support you. And there's the really, really out there idea that its just a few random people in the towns that noticed you Shouting and knew enough about the local landscape and legends to direct you to a Word Wall.
When Cicero's wagon wheel is broken, your only two options are to either convince Loreius to help him (not knowing if the jester is smuggling war contraband or drugs or whatever), or to lie to the guard and make up a story about how Cicero was breaking the law. Why couldn't you just tell the guard "Hey, this guy's acting weird, I have a feeling there's something illegal in that box but I'm not sure, could you check it out?"
Coz even in Skyrim, acting weird (while being a Jester no less) is not gonna convince any guard to do anything? A total stranger who walks up to a guard saying "That Jester over there is acting kinda weird... Like a Jester or fool or something" is far less convincing than "I've seen that Jester there, he's breaking the law!" even if the latter is a lie.
Hell, just look at what you do. The guards put up with a person parading around in armor made of dragon parts, demonic-enhanced ebony, or malacite, or even stranger things, who barges into Dragonsreach at all hours of the day, wakes the Jarl up in the middle of the night to ask him vague questions about his son, constantly shoving people off grindstones, alchemy tables, and enchanting tables, stalking Nazeem around town constantly, periodically standing in place for several hours at a time doing nothing, and selling all manner of goods which couldn't possibly be acquired legitimately. If the guards put up with the Dragonborn's behavior, they're going to let a jester acting a bit odd slide.
That and even if they do try and check it out/ask some questions, Cicero would just stab the hell out of the guards (remember, this is a guy that can take down a werewolf with just a knife) and kill the farmer and his wife just for good measure. So there.
Original poster here, now that I've played the game and know who he really is. From what I've read, if you tell the guard that Cicero's smuggling weapons, when you meet Cicero again, he'll remember you and say that the guard made him open the coffin. So I guess there's no problem with the guard actually checking - sounds like Cicero didn't attack him, and the guard must've let him go, only seeing a dead body - but admittedly you still would need a stronger reason to send him over there in the first place.
Funny mass and weight
How can a Wolf Pelt (weight rating 1) or a Fox Pelt (weight rating 0.5) be crafted into a piece of Leather with a weight rating of 2? Shouldn't it work in the exact opposite direction, getting lighter as all the fur, fat, and unusable hide are cut away? Or does this actually happen in real-life leather tanning?
Most crafted items weigh several times more than the sum of their components. Look at Daedric Armor: Weights 50, composed of 5 Ebony Ingots (Weight 1 each) 3 leather strips (Weight 0.1 each) and a Daedra Heart (Weights 0.5) for a total of 5.8. Meaning Daedric Armor weights 8.6 times more than the stuff its made out from. Even the Iron Dagger as weight 2, weights double what its components weight (One Iron Ingot weighting 1 and a leather strip weighting 0.1). IRL, Tanned leather is lighter than fresh pelts due to the removing of the fur , fat and lots of moisture.
Heck, when one thinks about it, smiting can be really odd. So using a single gold ingot, one can't make more than 2 golden rings? The ingot alone, if their relative game sizes are any indication, should be able to give us several dozens of rings. And those gold ring weight exactly a quarter each the weight of the ingot? These must be some very dense rings then! And yet Madesi in Riften says a single chunk of gold ore (You need 2 to make an ingot) should provide him with enough gold for several rings. Maybe the Dovahkiin, even with maxed out Smiting, is a terrible jewelry maker and incapable of re-melting leftover gold to make more stuff.
Is it just me, or do the hitboxes of distant targets simply not register arrows? Because I had one assassination target who I decided to try and snipe from the top of a cliff. I fired at least 10 arrows at him and never got a hit in, then crept a bit closer, aimed at the exact spot I had previously been aiming, and killed him. When I went up to loot the corpse, I found my 10 "missed" arrows stuck into a wall right where he had been standing. Was I just missing, or is this an actual thing? If hitboxes really don't register arrows, then why is this?
The same thing has happened to me a few times. I think its a glitch, but (For me at least) it doesn't happen often. Of course, i can't be 100% sure that i didn't just miss, but i think the hit boxes just don't work properly at certain distances.
It's actually because arrows will only register to a certain distance. For example, say 300 is the limit. 300 = dead enemy, 301 = arrow traveling through them with no damage. It isn't known exactly why this is, but the most common theory is to prevent archers from dead zoning the AI. In previous games, Mages and Archers would stand still and trry to shoot you, in Skyrim they are programmed to dodge and rush you. At the limit for arrows, you will more than likely alert any nearby enemies when you fire. Much further past it and you won't, they will run to the body and stare at it.
Greybeard teaching methods
If the Dragonborn needs only to see a word (And use a Dragon Soul) to learn a Thu'um, why don't the Greybeards - or Esbern for that matter, just write down every word of Draconic they know on a piece of paper and make you read it? While it's possible Esbern doesn't know Draconic writing, and the Greybeards wouldn't do it because of some religious bullcrap, there's other people with a grasp of the Draconic language, like Farengar Secret-Fire. Why make the Dragonborn go spelunking to find those word walls? Translating what is on the word walls shows there's nothing really special written on them. It's not like the walls tie into the shout they teach you, or give a particular emphasis to the associated word. Take for example the word wall for "Statue" (Nus) of Ice Form:
Sigruuf raised (this) stone for his sister's memory, Lanal, whose beautiful face was as sharp and white as a statue carved from living ivory.
Apparently simply being able to read the words is not enough. You have to fundamentally know the word to summon it as a Thu'um. So apparently it's not so simple as merely writing it on a piece of paper for someone to look at. Also, the game seems to imply that not all of the Draconic language is known, even to the Greybeards. The Word Walls you find in ancient ruins and things were lost when the Dragon Cults fell out of power.
The knowledge of a word to turn said word into a thu'um is gained by spending Dragon Souls - as explained by the Greybeards. This has nothing to do with where you read the word from.
Except only the Dovahkiin can absorb a dragon's soul as it dies, so obviously that isn't the key factor. Spending dragon souls seems to be more of a shortcut to unlocking a part of a Thu'um that only the Dragonborn can take. For everyone else it takes years and years of careful, diligent study of Draconic before a Thu'um can be used.
Actually Arngeir says Dragons can also suck another Dragon's soul upon death. So that's not unique to the Dragonborn.
It's been pointed out elsewhere, but there is a fundamental difference between knowing something and comprehending it, and Skyrim acknowledges this. The Word bestows knowledge; the dragon soul bestows comprehension. This is reflected in the way that the Greybeards can create the word for you to read, and then the Greybeard passes on his understanding of that word.
There's more to the Word Walls than just having an etching of the Word in question. The Word of Power contains, well, power that you can use to learn that Word. You can't just write it down and bam, instant knowledge. In addition, the Greybeards make it clear that they could likely easily teach you a whole bunch of Words; they do as much when they teach you Roh and Dah, for example. They're not going to do that, though, because they feel that the journey involving finding the Words is the training needed to temper you into using the Words properly.
There's nothing in game saying that word walls are special the way you imply. Quite the opposite actually, if you bother to read them as most are at best glorified dedication plaques. And if the Greybeards won't do it, that's fine, but there's other people who can read Draconic, like Farengar and Esbern.
There's nothing in the game saying the word walls are special, but the fact that they pulse with obvious magical power that can be absorbed by the Dragonborn strongly suggests there is something special about them.
So according to you some artisan built the wall, then decided to enchant one word carved into the wall. Often the least relevant word in whatever is written in the wall with a magic dohicky so if a Dragonborn ever happened to look at his wall (Baring an inscription that has nothing to do with Dragons or Dragonborns) they'd get a magic word out of it? And this isn't a one time thing either, apparantly dozens of artists through history came upon the same idea? How does this make more sense than "Dragonborn can just learn words for Thu'um via reading them once from any source and spending a dragon soul on them, and the words just glow coz all Thu'um worthy words glow to a Dragonborn upon first seeing them" ? Why would people enchant random monuments to teach Dragonborns Thu'ums when those monuments are clearly meant to serve other purposes?
Hi there, welcome to The Elder Scrolls. Weird, seemingly nonsensical shit like this happens in Nirn. Compared with some of the stuff happening elsewhere, a single word on a wall being empowered to grant dragons knowledge of a part of the Thu'um is perfectly normal. Remember, this is a setting where causality taking a smoke break is so common that they have a recognized in-universe term for large-scale violation of causality (dragonbreaks). This is a setting where a mountain-sized giant mecha is laying siege to the Summerset Isles across hundreds of multiple timelines and dates at the same time. Hell, this is a setting where, if Vivec is to be believed, you can literally develop the ability to use console commands. Not as in altering reality with magic, but as in in-universe ability to use the console. Random words in the dragon tongue bestowing knowledge to dragons is not terribly strange considering all the other funky mojo.
Actually, if you pay close attention while you're being trained by the Greybeards, you can see exactly how a Word of Power is formed: someone with sufficient power in the Thu'um can etch the word directly into the stone by speaking it. Since most of the Word Walls seem to have been built before the First Era by Nords using the dragon language, it stands to reason that someone strong in the Thu'um could have left a Word of Power there in the dedication, either as a sign of respect or to serve as a means of allowing Dragonborn throughout the ages to access that power. Or Akatosh could have done it, as he did possess enough foresight to make sure a Dragonborn would pass through Skyrim at exactly the right moment to defeat Alduin when he returned.
This Troper thought the absorbed souls were allowing the Dragonborn to read and comprehend words in an entirely new way (call it Dragonknowledge). The word "Statue" might not mean much beyond mortal reckoning of its definition normally, but suck down some of that draconic soul juju and suddenly you realize that word is a WEAPON. One of those souls probably just whispered the fact in your ear.
Then it would not explain how you first learn "Fus" since you do not have any absorbed dragon souls by this point.
Incorrect. You always have at least one dragon soul by the time you learn "Fus": Your own.
The words have power because they have power, some tiny clingy bit of magic decided that a random word in the oldest, most powerful language in existence etched into stone would be a cool place to reside for the rest of eternity. The Greybeards tell you when you ask them to locate a word that they "feel a whisper of a word", its not someone enchanting it, its not because the wall holds significances. Its because somehow, someway, likely unique for each wall, a tiny bit of power became trapped, either through the years, or the etching process, or the because the carver felt particularly strongly about the word or subject matter. Maybe its Akatosh himself reaching out to his chosen to grant them access to what they need in order to live up to their father's plans and goals and become the Dovahkiin.
Honestly, that's the most sensical answer I've seen so far.
Elder Scrolls in Dawnguard
So why does the Dawnguard Quest Line make you look for the Dragon Elder Scroll? (The one from the Skyrim Main Quests). You never get to read it, it has no bearing on the prophecy of the Tyranny of the Sun, despite what the Moth Priest says. Only the "Blood" Elder Scroll is really needed, yet the game has you search for both.
Check again when you read the Elder Scrolls where Dexion sends you. What makes sense more, picking up and reading a single Elder Scroll multiple times? Or reading the ones you have brought with you? You read the scrolls.
As for bearing on the Tyranny prophecy-information on the Dragonborn is probably in the Dragon Scroll, yes? The Dragonborn is one of the most important, if not the most important, figures in the prophecy. He's the one who retrieves the bow and either uses it to blacken the sun or slay the elder vampire.
Vampire eyes in Dawnguard
Dawnguard gives all vampires glowing eyes, yet people no longer recognize vampires on sight unless you morph into a Vampire Lord. Yet Serana's conversations when freed (That the fact she's a vampire should be obvious to the eye) makes it clear that people should recognize vampires on sight... So the glowing eyes aren't a case of Gameplay and Story Segregation. So this begs the question then: Why are people so cool with Vampires suddenly? Doesn't seem like the kind of thing Nords (Who barely tolerate mages) would be very receptive towards.
It is possible that the glowing eyes are not something that ordinary people can see. Being Dragonborn, you kind of have an Aedric soul that lets you see things that ordinary people can't, which is why I believe no one ever reacts to the Dragonborn when s/he's at a Word Wall; you're seeing the light streaming off the wall and hearing the Nord choir, but no one else sees it. The vampire glowey-eye thing might be similar; perhaps the power of Molag Bal in their blood comes out as something you can readily identify, but that the average person can't see, just like how the dragons can tell just by looking at you that you're Dragonborn while ordinary mortals don't know what you are.
Check out some of the crazy eye colors you have available in the standard character creation layout. Human characters can have red eyes, perpetually bloodshot eyes, blank white eyes, silver eyes, and black-on-black eyes. No NPC ever comments on these decidedly bizarre eye colors, so why would glowing yellow eyes put anyone off?
Isran's anti-vampire attitude
Isran's rabidly anti-vampire attitude doesn't make much sense if he knows that vampirism can be cured. It's pretty clear he would prefer to wipe them all out indiscriminately. Now obviously there are a lot of vampires who embrace their curse and will happily maim and kill and so on just because they can. But statistically some of the people with vampirism would probably love to be cured. I don't expect Isran to stand outside a vampire fortress and shout "Come on out! We can cure you!" or anything like that, but his extremely hard-line stance just seems odd if he knows there is a cure.
A quote from Vampires of Vvardenfell, Volume II may explain part of the logic: "Since the disease is infallibly cured if treated within three days, failure to treat oneself after an encounter with a vampire would be considered a deliberate attempt to contract the disease, and a mark of monstrous depravity". In other words, Isran may be of the opinion that the vampiric populace that'd love to be cured would be statistically negligible (as those that would lack the opportunity to be cured during the incubation phase would tend to be those cut off from civilization - in other words, liable to become feral and therefore not seek out the cure either). One may argue about the logic of this, especially given vampiric powers of entrancement, but there is precedent for his stance from anti-vampiric groups.
While there are cures, they are extremely difficult to obtain once you've actually progressed to true vampirism. One group of vampires went to Clavicus Vile for a cure (bad idea, really, but they apparently had no other choice) and the only surefire cure that doesn't involve drinking werewolf blood (which is a Companions secret) is an obscure mage in Morthal, who doesn't openly advertise his particular services in that department. So while Isran's aware that there is a cure, it is very difficult to acquire, if at all, which makes his hardline stance against vampires who allow their disease to progress past the point that it can be easily cured more reasonable. If you're infected, and you don't want to become a vampire, you've got to get cured quickly, and the ease of curing the disease (essentially just find a shrine to any deity and pray to them) would further support the idea that anyone who doesn't cure it wants to be a vampire. Also, Isran's an extremist vampire-hater, and by definition extremists hold....extreme views.
(OP here) "the only surefire cure...is an obscure mage in Morthal, who doesn't openly advertise his particular services in that department" That's just it. If you have vampirism when you enter the Dawnguard HQ Isran tells you to go see that mage to get a cure. This is what I meant when I said his attitude doesn't make sense. Most of the time he acts like he would happily massacre every vampire in the world, whether they embrace evil or not. But if you walk into his home with glowing yellow vampire eyes he's like "No biggie. I know a guy in Morthal who can take care of that."
Isran offers an alternative because you've shown, by peacefully contacting the Danwguard, that you are willing to seek a cure (or die trying). Most Vsmpires don't look for a cure, most are outright predatorial. One can assume that, whenever Isran gets an inkling that a Vampire may seek a cure or be opened to it, he'll rather point them towards it like he did you.
That and the vampirism you're most likely to contract during the Dawnguard questline is immediate onset and is only one of two options available to you to enter the Soul Cairn which is a good extinuating circumstance (the other option weakens you making you less likely to accomplish what you need to while you're in there.) Regarding the "only surefire cure", it requires a black soul gem, which requires the sacrifice and imprisonment of a humanoid soul, something Isran probably thinks is morally abhorrent to do for the redemption of a vampire given that most vampires choose vampirism. Probably the only workaround in his eyes would be to charge the soul gem with an unrepentant vampire's soul (if that even works). Then there's the fact that every single vampire aside from Serana is a nakedly evil blood-sucking monster. That can tend to color one's perspective.
By the way: many intense anti-whatever crusades do not make much sense logically, since the respective problems could be solved in a maybe a tad more complicated but decidedly more happy way, yet they happen all the time around you.
According to the Prima strategy guide, vampires killed his family, and his actions are more driven by his Roaring Rampage of Revenge than the desire to protect people. It also notes that pretty much the same thing happened to Gunmar, whose reaction was the opposite of Isran's - Gunmar devoted his life to protecting others so that they wouldn't suffer what he went through.
Nurelion in Windhelm is sick, so sick, he dies of his illness. So... Why didn't he just walk to the closest altar and touch it? They cure all diseases. and it's outright said he's sick, not dying of old age. The only diseases not curable by them ever seen are all supernatural in nature: Lycanthropy (Via Hircine), Vampirism (Via Molag Bal, and even then, curable during its incubation), Blight and & Corprus (By Dagoth Ur through the Heart of Lorkhan). What kind of disease does he have that's so virulent the gods can't cure it? What Daedric power did he piss off for this to happen? The same can be asked of the sick guy inside the temple of Kynareth, what did he contract that requires him to stay so bedridden despite being within spitting distance of an altar to Kynareth?.
I think a priestess in Solitude says something about blessings being granted to those who pray to the shrines, but is it ever stated outright that non-Dragonborn can have their ailments magically cured through prayer?
From what I've been able to gather, it really depends on the illness. Once an illness progresses far enough, like vampirism, you're pretty much not going to be able to stop it by simply using a cure-all potion or a prayer at a shrine. The shrines keep away debilitating but nonfatal diseases like what you'd pick up from getting bitten by wolves, but if the disease and damage to your body has progressed enough, the shrine by itself won't cure you. Also keep in mind that Nurelion is old and reaching the end of his lifespan, and he's a master alchemist. If Nurelion can't brew up a potion to cure himself, he's pretty much unable to stop it.
It was also suggested in Oblivion that the shrines only worked for the faithful, as demonstrated by the fact that if you were an out and out bastard, they'd just plain stop working(which is why the shrine of sithis had to be modded in). Skyrim lacks a karma meter so this aspect was dropped, but it can be assumed that shrines to gods don't grant blessings to people the gods don't like, and Nurelion expresses open disdain for the gods.
Plus, I'm pretty sure Nurelion was so much sick as he was dying of old age.
Dawnguard seems to infer the gods don't grant that blessing to everyone. Vyrthur, as a high ranking priest of Auri-El, could have presumably been cured of Vampirism before it became irreversible by simply touching his shrine, and if his rage at Auri-El is any indication, that did not happen.
He's not the only person in this condition. The temple of Kynareth in Whiterun has ordinary people being tended to for seemingly ordinary illnesses. If these people could simply touch the shrines and be cured, they obviously wouldn't be on those beds.
Perhaps praying at the shrines simply doesn't work for everyone. And it's not just about being generally good, it's about being divinely favoured. The Dragonborn can be cured at the shrines because the gods acknowledge his/her importance concerning the fate of the world. Some random townsfolk may be good people, but they're nothing really special in the grand scheme of things.
The Tyranny of the Sun prophecy
So in Dawnguard, Vyrthur says he created the prophecy of the Tyranny of the Sun. Yet the Prophecy was written inside two Elder Scrolls. How the heck did he manage to put his prophecy there? Considering the things are so powerful they can counter the curse of a Daedric Prince? It'd be one thing if he said he had found about it and put the word out so Harkon would know about it, but he instead says he created it. How? And while at it, why even bother? All he needed was the blood of a daughter of Coldharbour... So in the several ages he's been waiting, why didn't he just try and make one? Convince some poor girl to give herself to Molag Bal so he can take her blood and use the bow that is literally right on his front porch to finish his own prophecy.
The bow isn't always right on his front porch. The Eternal Champion, the Agent and the Nerevarine all potentially could have found Auriel's Bow, and only one of them might have done so in Skyrim.
And all three of them account for less than 34 years of time, so what about the rest of the several millenias? What about the recent years, Vyrthur's brother makes it clear the bow's been in his possession for a long time when he meets the Dovahkiin, as there's been several before who came to him to claim it and failed. Gelebor outright says he's had the bow for thousands of yearsQuote "For the thousands of years I've served as the Chantry's sentinel, there hasn't been a single visitor here for any other reason. They request Auriel's Bow, and I request their assistance. It's been repeated so many times, I can't imagine it any other way.": it's the only reason anyone visits. Seems pretty clear that when the bow isn't moving to end in the hands of champions, it seems to default back to Gelebor's hands.
"It's all true. Even the false hoods. Especially the falsehoods." The Tyranny of the Sun appears on the Elder Scrolls because they predict Vyrthur creating the prophecy. But they're fragments, so all you see is the prophecy that he created, not that he created it. Would be my guess, at any rate. Also, trying to use Molag Bal to create a vampire specifically for your own agenda would probably piss Molag Bal off royally. He *hates* doing anything to satisfy the will of anyone but himself.
Considering his plan is to piss off Auri-El on purpose, I doubt Vyrthur gives much more of a damn about Molag Bal's feelings, especially when Molag Bal's ability to interfere in Mundus is more limited (thanks to the events of Oblivion) than that of Auri-El.
Assuming the method of creating a pureblood vampire is to be taken literally, i.e., being raped by Molag Bal, then making one pre-oblivion would have required summoning Molag to the mortal plane(or traveling to Oblivion to do it), and post-Oblivion, may be impossible or at least obscenely difficult. And, either way, puts you in direct contact with Molag Bal, which is bad. One can't very well spite Auri-El if one is being tortured by the King of Rape.
Blocking the sun to piss off Auri-El
Why would blocking out the sun be an insult to Auri-El? According to lore, the sun was created when Magnus tried to withdraw from creation. That's why the sun is itself sometimes called Magnus. And it's not an elven thing, according to the Monomyth, the elves do believe in Magnus.
The sun may have been made by Magnus, and the magicka that flows through it from Aetherius is sort of Magnus' sphere (unknown how important that is, because we don't know how badly fleeing Mundus weakened Magnus), but he sun itself, and its influence on Nirn, is Auri-El's sphere.
How long was Serana trapped?
Do we have any idea how long Serana has been sealed away in that underground container?
There's a few clues dropped: She doesn't know of an empire out of Cyrodill, she mentions fighting Draugr when she was younger, she shows no familiarity with the term "Dawnguard". We know the original Dawnguard was formed in the 2nd era, though not exactly when, so her sealing must either predate them, or have occurred long after the order was disbanded. Her lack of familiarity with an empire in Cyrodill means she either predates the first empire out of there (The Alessian Empire) or she lived during the 300 or so years between the end of the Akaviri Potentate and the rise of the Septim Empire in the 2nd era. The fact that she shows no surprise at seeing Dark Elves (The Chimer became Dunmer after the rise of St Alessia) makes it more likely she comes from the 2nd era, between 2E 430 (Death of the last potentate) and 2E 897 (Unification of Tamriel and beginning of the Third Era by Tiber Septim's decree).
We know Serana's mother took one of the Elder Scrolls and hid in the Soul Cairn. Durnehviir mentions coming to the Soul Cairn looking for power to overthrow other dragons. This has to have happened after Serana's mom was there because of the deal that was struck. "You work for us until that woman dies." This suggests that all this stuff happened back when the dragons were the ones ruling the planet.
Though Dragons still existed by the time of Tiber Septim (See Nafaalilargus, featured in Redguard and mentioned by Sven in Skyrim), it is possible that Durnehviir entered the soul cairn in the 2nd era while dragons were still not quite near extinct. As several dragons beside Paarthunax survived into the modern era (like Mirmulnir, who according to the Blades' own records was "known to be alive" by them, therefore most likely has survived till you kill him), it's possible Durnehviir's conflict and reason for going to the Soul Cairn was not to overthrow Alduin and his ilk, but wrestling for power amongst the dragons who survived the rebellion and the later Blades' onslaught. Which can fit both time frames.
There is also the possibility that Durnehviir's coming to the Soul Cairn far predates Valerica's arrival and his deal with the Ideal Masters. He mentions he can't risk leaving it now for too long because he's been there for so long, and the Soul Cairn is a part of him. Valerica, on the other hand, has no such limitations as she can be convinced to leave. And since she says that the Dragonborn has also taken a small part of the Soul Cairn in themselves, clearly humanoids are not immune to the effects of the Soul Cairn (ie: It's not a Dragon-only thing).
Valerica mentions several books having been written on Durnehviir's soul cairn-based immortality (His ability to rebuild himself), showing that his arrival there does predate hers. Furthermore, with Valerica is a copy of Immortal Blood. Since she can't leave, and no one can reach her to give her the book, it stands to reason she brought it with her. This gives us another clue for time since Immortal Blood mentions the Fighters Guild, which was founded in in 2E 320 by Akaviri potentate Versidue-Shaie. With the above, that seems to further cement Serana's date of emprisonment being the late 2nd era.
Alright, so if Durnehviir came to the Soul Cairn before Valerica then what did he do there? He can't have made the deal with the Ideal Masters before Valerica arrived. Why would he stay if he could leave of his free will? Did he make another deal that didn't blow up in his face?
Maybe the Ideal Masters have some prophetic ability? They told him at some point a woman would come and he'd have to remain in the soul cairn till she died? And before then he was free to come and go? It's also possible they did have prior deals they did not welsh on, only to gain his trust.
How is Gelebor still alive?
I don't mean having survived the fall of the Falmer, that's explained. But how is he not dead of old age? The fall of the Falmer was caused by Ysgramor, in the Merethic Era, and Gelebor was alive then. So how the hell is he not only still alive, but youthful? Elves aren't immortal. The Telvanni are young compared to this, and had to use magic to stay alive. Barenziah is considered old by the events of Morrowind, and she's not even 500 years old. Nurelion in Windhelm is apparently dying of old age, and he doesn't seem like he's from the Merethic era, or even the 2nd era. The Ayleid Tjurhane Fyrre lived 1E 2790 - 2E 227, again, not even half a millennium. And yet Gelebor is still kicking at over 4 thousand years of age. Is Auri-El keeping him alive? Coz Auri-El didn't seem to feel like extending that courtesy to the rest of his fellows guarding way shrines.
Well, Divayth Fyr did seem set to continue to live on despite being over four thousand years old, but he was, as you mention, using magic to do that, so not exactly comparable. Now, one of the few pieces we have on how long the races tends to live make clear that there is variance amongst the Mer races, but it seems odd that the Snow Elves would be such extreme outliers...
Keep in mind saying Gelebor is over 4500 years old is bare minimum. We don't have a date for the fall of the Falmer beside "Late Merethic Era"Math Assuming it took place in the last century of the Merethic Era, He's 30 Centuries (first era) + 9 (Second Era) + 4 (Third Era) + 2 (Fourth Era) = 45 centuries. Odds are it took place slightly earlier however as King Harald in 1E 113 was 13th of Ysgramor's Line, which using 22 year as an average for a generation leads us to say Ysgramor must have been around roughly 300 years prior., and we don't even know how old he was when that happened. It's quite possible he makes Divayth Fyr look like a toddler in comparison. And Fyr is acknowledged to be ancient by Telvanni standard.
This troper is banking on him being a devoted faithful to Auri-El. Auri-El sustains him so that any who wish to prove themselves can prove themselves. And also because he is very likely the only living memory of the true Snow Elves, not the Falmer shadows. (Yes, this troper knows that Falmer means 'Snow Elves'. But I'm referring to pre-Dwemer) He is also the only guardian left of Auri-El's shrines and cathedral, even if the Falmer drove him out of it...He still is the only one who can even try to defend it from forces unwelcome all the time.
This theory makes sense, but only if you accept that the other Snow Elves that were guarding the shrines did not die of old age, since they were also faithful to Auri-El and all that. This being Skyrim though there are dozens of other ways for them to die.
Especially considering Auriel/Akatosh is the God of Time (if not Time itself). In other words, halting aging: little trouble. Halting a Falmer sword to the face...that's a different story. (And I'll admit it's been a while, but didn't they explicitly state they were killed in the Falmer's attack?)
Giants basically look like giant humans, while trolls and frost trolls are wild animals. So where do frost giants◊ come from? They look like the unholy offspring of a giant and a frost troll. They have horns and I think they may have four eyes. Are they supposed to be related to normal giants or what?
I don't think so. There was one of them back in TES III: Bloodmoon, though.
According to The Seven Fights of the Aldudagga, humans (or at least, Nords) evolved from giants, meaning that giants are descended from the Elhofney. In theory so are Frost Giants, they just went down a slightly different evolutionary path.
Justicar execution order
Something that happened while I was playing: I was doing the Missing in Action quest, and had elected to save Thorald on my own. I was on my way to Northwatch Keep, when I was attacked by some Thalmor Justicars. I killed them and found a Justicar Execution Order on one of their bodies. So, the Dominion considered me a big enough threat to have me killed. The odd thing was, I hadn't interacted with the Thalmor before. Sure, I was on the Missing in Action quest, but I hadn't actually done anything yet other than talk to the Gray-Manes and trespass in the Battle-Borns' house. I hadn't so much as made a snarky comment to a Thalmor agent yet. Am I missing something, or do the Thalmor have really good spies?
The Thalmor Justiciars random encounters are, well random. There's no trigger for them, not even your level. They can just occur whenever the game selects a random encounter. If you want to be generous, one could assume that escaping Helgen (Where their emissary was with General Tullius) made the Thalmor assume you were an enemy since the Dragon conveniently saved your neck and almost killed their emissary.
Ah, okay. Thanks.
Technically, the encounter with Thalmor Justicars who are specifically targeting you comes about when you perform any action flagged as opposing the Thalmor. Starting Missing In Action is one such trigger; assume that the Thalmor have spies that reported you speaking with the Gray-Manes, and they preemptively targeted you to prevent you from interfering with their plans. Other triggers include killing anyone who is part of the several "Thalmor" factions, or completing Diplomatic Immunity.
It's possible this is answered in an in-game book that I haven't read, but if I understand correctly, Tiber Septim was Dragonborn and, while being Dragonborn isn't normally hereditary, a special exception was made for the Septim line, which is why it's such a major plot point in Oblivion that Martin be found and assume the throne: he was the only one left with the "dragonblood." Does that mean that the Dovahkiin now could go assume the Imperial throne if (s)he wished? Since (s)he possesses the same type of soul that Tiber Septim did, could (s)he go down to the Imperial City, wear the Amulet of Kings, and light the dragon fires? Politically there may be obstacles, but just by being Dragonborn (s)he has as much right to rule the Empire as Martin did (being an illegitimate child brought up to be a priest). Plus, (s)he's already got the Blades' protection. On a related note, does possessing "dragonblood" as the Septim line did mean that they could also learn Shouts and absorb dragon souls (assuming there were any dragons around, that is)?
The Amulet of Kings is shattered (It broke when Martin used it to become an avatar of Akatosh), so that part is a no. Outside of Tiber Septim himself, if the Septims were "Dragonborn" or only he was is really a matter of debate. For one, If you pay attention to the history of the Empire, you'll find most of the Septims aren't even Tiber's direct descendants (See the family tree). While certain books, like The Book of the Dragonborn, which is the first book you are likely to meet in game declares all Septims to be Dragonborn. Also, the events of Oblivion have also made the Dragonfire obsolete. Point is, the Player has no stronger claim to the throne than anyone else really.
In the sense of rule by divine right, that's true. In the sense that the Dovahkiin is perhaps the most powerful creature on Nirn, the Dovahkiin has the same right to rule that Tiber Septim and Titus Mede I had: the right of conquest.
Even in that sense, the Dovahkiin might be a bit behind compared to them. Titus Mede was a Warlord and leader. Tiber Septim was the chosen pupil of King Cuhlecain and his heir. Both were already men of power and authority long before becoming Emperors. The Dovahkiin can achieve some of that - or not at all, due to the nature of the game. Plus launching an empire-wide civil war to become Emperor is kind of like giving the Thalmor every single one of their dreams at once.
Khajiit in Nord cities
Is there any explanation given why a Khajiit player character can enter the Nord cities when it was established early on that they are normally barred entry?
For Whiterun: Because you bring news of the Dragon Attacks. Winterhold presumably doesn't block access to Khajiit (As they let J'zargo in). The other cities... No.
Riften has at least once Khajiit citizen living there(ironically, the one they should have kicked out), so it would seem that the cities of Skyrim don't so much ban Khajiit from coming in as they ban Khajiit caravans from coming inside and setting up shop. Caravans are believed to be fronts for skooma trafficking(a belief that may not be too far from the mark), but a lone Khajiit adventurer would be ok.
Which Khajiit citizen? the only Khajiit seen in Riften (Shavari) is a Thalmor assassin and nothing says she's a citizen there (The opposite in fact, as the letter she carries seem to make her look more like she travels wherever to do covert assassinations. She also owns no house in Riften). Historically, Riften DID have Khajiit residents as one in mentioned in the original, uncensored version of "The Real Barenziah" (He takes part in the book's rather infamous sex scene and is a member of Riften's Thieves Guild).
It is entirely possible that the Khajiit caravaners just say that Nords are insensitive racist pricks who bar them from the cities to drum up sympathy and make more sales. Keep in mind that the caravans all carry skooma and moon sugar, which the Nords severely frown upon. It may be less of a case that all Khajiit are barred entry and more of case that those specific Khajiit were barred entry because they're carrying illegal drugs.
To be fair, except for M'aiq, Kesh and the Khajiit hunters in Hircine's quest, every Khajiit in Skyrim is involved in some sort of criminal activity (And as seen above, except for one, those that don't are Daedra worshipers). The caravans do smuggling, fencing, and deal in illegal substances. J'zargo openly tells you he steals stuff. Vasha openly tells you he's a murderer and terrible person, Shavari and J'datharr are Thalmor assassins. Even Ma'zaka, keeper of the Solitude Lighthouse, used to be a pirate. Generic nameless Khajiit appear as bandits and Dark Brotherhood Assassins. So blocking access to Khajiit can hardly be considered a bad move.
Balgruuf not siding with the Stormcloaks
When presenting Balgruuf with Ulfric's axe, why isn't there an option to try and convince Balgruuf to side with Ulfric? I'm not saying that it should work, wouldn't it make sense for a thane of whiterun who's also a stormcloak to try and convince his Jarl to join(what he believes) to be the right side?
Balgruuf's opinion of Ulfric and his motives seem very low if you talk to him as he gives you his axe. He makes it pretty damn clear he doesn't buy Ulfric's more noble motive and shows little more than disdain for the man. Presumably even someone as schizophrenic as the Dovahkiin can realize the odds of Balgruuf doing a 180 on that are nearly non-existent.
Why doesn't anyone think to repair the fortresses in Skyrim? Their state of disrepair is laughable. The only damned cities that have walls that look at all strong are Windhelm and Solitude.
Just about all the fortresses are old places occupied by bandits, vampires, wizards, or wizard vampire bandits. Their personal resources are limited and they don't have the stone, workers, or quarries to rebuild the forts. The best they can manage is something like Fort Greymoor, where they put up a palisade along one collapsed wall. Once the Stormcloaks/Legion retake control, they too have to worry about enemy attack but lack the immediate resources to repair the damaged forts. Of the cities, most of them are either too poor to build a wall (all the villages) the terrain makes it pointless (Morthal) or is a natural defense (Winterhold, Dawnstar). Falkreath, Riverwood, and Riften have decent walls, though with the former two they are mostly just wooden walls to keep bandits out. Markarth's walls are actually pretty massive and solid, and coupled with the terrain makes it very defensible. Whiterun's outer defenses need to be repaired, but the city's primary wall is in excellent shape. You can also find a few actual forts that are in good shape overall; i.e. the fort south of Helgen, which was a Legion fort right before Helgen was attacked and then overrun by bandits.
Hadvar and Ralof taking their time
Why is it that no matter how long you take to get around to joining either the imperials or the stormcloaks, neither Hadvar or Ralof ever manage to get to Solitude or Windhelm before you?
Take Your Time. For an in-story answer, the dragon invasion has left the war at a complete stalemate.
What does it mean to have the "soul" of a Dragon?
So can someone explain to me what Dragonborn, "soul of the dragon" actually means? Is Dovakiin half dragon half human? A dragon in his former life who is now taking the form of a human? I mean the only parallel I can really attach myself to is Jesus, who was half God half Man according to the Bible. What is the player character supposed to be?
Human/Elf/Whatever body with a Dragon Soul in it rather than a human/elf/whatever soul.
Sorry about not including other races, I was just assuming canonically the Dragonborn was human (Nord specifically) because the advertisements show him that way. Anyway how is that possible? How can you be human but have the soul of something you are not? How can the Dragonborn anymore have the soul of a dragon than you or I can have the soul of a dog or a cat? At least the half Dragon half Human hypothesis explains why he is human as well as a dragon, you know just like Jesus WAS human but he WAS also God (according to the Bible at least). Magic is just weird?
Coz Akatosh made it so, literally. Akatosh just created a dude with a dragon soul to kill Dragons. Akatosh is a god to really it's no more complex than that. The Dragonborn isn't "Half Dragon". It's just that his soul is that of a dragon.
It's a similar parallel to the whole Jesus myth. The Dragonborn has the soul of a dragon, but the body of a man. It doesn't get any more complex than that.
The Jesus mythology is slightly more complex than just the soul of God in a human body. Christian thinking teaches that Jesus was both human and God, that there was a duality in his spirit that while he was God with all the appropriate powers, personality and will, he also had human tendencies and temptations that he was faced with. Effectively speaking Jesus had two souls, that of a man and of God. So the Dragonborn has the soul of a dragon in a human body with no duality? I don't know, it's not like we know what it's like to have a complex and higher power inhabiting a weaker form so it's not like we can comment on it personally, but it just seems like it should be more complex than that. I'll just go with what the story tells me, maybe I'm just over-thinking this.
It's all kind of complicated, and when you get down to the specifics it kind of ties into the creation myth behind the setting (the "Monomyth" as it is referred to in-universe). I'm not going to go into the real details, but the short version is that there are "Aedric" entities, which are the sort-of immortal, divine entities that were involved in the creation of Nirn/Mundus. The dragons are such beings, possessing immortal, Aedric souls, created by Akatosh to serve him, etc. They don't go to the Aetherium when they die, they just get revived. Mortal souls travel to the Aetherium when they die (unless they're soultrapped, then you're going to the Soul Cairn, but that's only vaguely relevant). Mortals are essentially the descendants of Aedra who were getting weak through their association with Nirn and began procreating and creating mortals to continue their existence (which is where the whole thing with the Thalmor and their beliefs in ascension to godhood etc. by destroying Nirn come from). Dragons are Aedra, powerful, divine, immortal, yadda yadda, created by Akatosh. The important thing here is that dragon souls have their own particular, uh, I guess composition, or structure, or whatever the fuck it is that defines the difference between "dragon" soul and "goes good with ketchup" soul. Your soul is not a "goes good with ketchup" soul. You look like a mortal, had mortal parents, etc. but the metaphysical part of you that lives on after death is an Aedra soul. So the closest real analogue I would define it as, if we're going to go with Christian metaphysical hierarchy, is that you're basically an angel with a mortal body. You've got the powers of an angel, but they're crammed down into the tiny fleshsack body which nonetheless has the freedom to roam around Nirn doing what needs to be done, by Akatosh's will, etc, etc, etc. Of course, this is just a very rough analgue, because Mundus/Nirn is different from the real world (see above re: how console commands are a power you can use in-universe. Crazy guy, that Vivec).
Simple answer: Dragons can devour the souls of their enemies, which prevents them from being resurrected (the fact that dragons can be resurrected infinitely is a major plot point). Thus, the Dragonborn is the only person capable of permanently killing dragons.
What's Sheogorath been up to?
What has the Sheogorath been doing since Oblivion? Word of Dante from his voice actor Wes Johnson and the character's own words of having been there for that affair 200 years ago heavily imply that he is Champion of Cyrodiil having taken up the mantle of Daedric Prince of Madness. Why did he let the Empire he helped save 200 years ago fall into decline? Were there circumstances outside of his power to control?
A) He IS the prince of Madness, nothing says he has to help. And since the events of the Dark Brotherhood and Thieves Guild quest happened, he most likely wasn't exactly the nicest, most selfless of guys even before then. B) He's a Daedric Prince now. It's likely that the fate of the Empire is small fries to him now, on a cosmic scale. Heck, compared to Mehrunes Dagon trying annex Mundus, the war between the Dominion and the Empire is like watching kids fight over marbles. C) Being a Daedric Prince may not be a job one learns in a few days. D) Interfering directly in the war could invite other Daedric Princes to do the same. E) Who says he didn't help the empire in subtle ways? If Titus Medes II apparantly wielded Goldbrand, who says Sheogorath didn't involve himself too?
Remember the plot of the last game? Thanks to the pact with Mundus and Martin's sacrifice, there's nothing much Champion!Sheo could do even if he wanted to help, so gathering an army of Golden Saints and Dark Seducers to invade Aldmeri Dominion with him at the lead is out of the question. (And really, why would he do the very thing he and Martin struggled so hard to prevent Dagon from doing 200 years prior?) Plus, his mind isn't 100% there anymore, being a Daedric Prince of Madness and all that. He probably revels in the fact that everything in Tamriel is now so insane. I mean, he called you puny mortal despite being one himself not that long ago when you think of it in cosmic scale. It's clear he may have long forgotten who he once was, and no longer cares about the fate of the Empire.
I wasn't talking about being so extravagant as to rain down the divine judgement of an angry God like Armageddon out of the Bible (though given how over the top the Sheogorath is I wouldn't put it past him to do something like that if he could), I was thinking more along the lines of checking in on the Empire periodically to see how everything is doing. Apparently his mind isn't too far gone because he still remembers having witnessed the events of Oblivion first hand and says in a very deadpan manner how Martin ascending to the status of a dragon god didn't do much for his social skills, so it didn't seem to me like Tamriel was completely out of his interest. The whole Prince of Madness persona could very well just be a Obfuscating Insanity thing he has going on just to mess around with people; I mean who is going to think a guy who acts like that is a god that could destroy you with a blink of his eyes? To be fair the puny mortal quip is slightly justified, even if it is Hypocritical Humor on his part since he was once mortal too, I mean the Champion of Cyrodiil did earn his status as Sheogorath after all. Though if he does think of mortals as puny the Empire must be an amusing show for him to watch, must be like watching ants fight.
Just remembered something very important from the ending of Oblivion I should have brought up earlier. Martin tells the Champion of Cyrodiil that when the next Elder Scroll is written that he (the player character) will be its scribe and that he will be extremely important in the fate of the Empire. Is the Sheogorath supposed to ignore what the Avatar of Akatosh himself said his destiny would be just because he has become a Daedric Prince? I think that the 9 Divines have a little bit more say in the matter than Sheogorath does.
True. Maybe he's like Bumi from The Last Airbender? He acts insane, but he's really not and is somewhat aware of what's happening to the Empire and, in subtle ways, is doing things to protect it while not directly violating any compacts that would threaten Mundus? Hell, it could be that both he and Martin Dragon God are working together behind the scenes (assuming Daedras and Aedras can interact) to stop the Thalmor?
What happened to Stalhrim?
In Bloodmoon, it's mentioned as figuring heavily in Nord Culture, being used, among other things, in ancient Nord burials and making arms and armors. It's nowhere to be seen in Skyrim. And it's not just a Solsteim thing - Books mention Nord followers of Ysgramor using the stuff to entomb their dead as a sign of respect.
It's been over 200 years, they probably just don't use the stuff anymore.
So why do none of the many ancient burials have any?
Would anyone bury their dead with raw smithing material?
According to bloodmoon, it's what the Nords did. And even then, we don't see non-raw Stalhrim either.
Dragonborn brings it back and its lack in the main game could go under Fridge Brilliance. (1) It's just that rare and (2) the only tool capable of removing it are ancient nord pickaxes, which were explicitly made with lost arts and very rare to boot (this troper is aware of only one the player can get). What makes it Fridge Brilliance is that it's been 200 years since even Morrowind, which included the devastation of Morrowind province and the Great War (recall the artwork lost IRL WW 2). Put simply, the world only had a limited supply of the tools to work stalhrim and it wasn't doing a very good job of taking care of them.
It still doesn't explain why its found only inside Solsteim barrows, when it was supposed to be used by all the ancient Nords.
Stalhrim is "enchanted ice that's hard as stone". Saarthal, the only Nord ruin to feature magical locks and the site of an artifact of extreme power, was razed by elves in the Merethic era. It's possible that the vast majority of the magical talent/knowledge of ancient Nord society was wiped out at Saarthal in one fell swoop, leaving them unable to enchant more Stalhrim or create more tools capable of gathering it.
The Dragonborn's iconic outfit
What is the obsession with the iron armor and helmet on the Dragonborn in advertisements? I mean it looks cool and all but it isn't even that durable in the in-game stats. I mean I can understand that being his beginning armor but near the end of the game it would be mostly inadequate.
Not really, with Smithing you can make any armor reach max damage resistance. Eitherway, if you wonder why the character in publicity wears this armor, you answered your own question: it looks cool. That's all that matters for a publicity.
Also, it's studded armor and an iron helmet, boot and gauntlets, not all iron armor.
To be perfectly fair I never really got into Smithing, took too much time to level up. Well I guess I have a reason to level it up now. I guess Dragonborn doesn't have much need for sophisticated armor because of his magical and physical ability?
It's just an advertisement. They chose that armor specifically because it looks cool and is fitting for the setting. Same reason its always a male Nord in the ads. It's not like marketing departments usually take the time to learn what would be best in terms of in-game stats to slap on a poster. We're lucky they didn't just make up some cool-looking, unobtainable equipment like so many other series.
The "face" of Oblivion was some guy in (iron) Imperial Legion armor. Low-level armor is both more likely to be seen by starting characters, and less bizarre-looking (put someone in full Daedric plate on the cover of either game, and you'd probably figure they were the bad guy).
Technically, any armor is capable of being "end game" armor thanks to the Smithing skill. Get your Smithing and respective armor skills up, and your collective armor rating will exceed 567 total, which is the game's "cap" on damage reduction. Once you're past that point, any additional armor rating is just to make you feel warmer and fuzzier. So yeah, the Dragonborn's armor in the promotional materials can be some ultra-smithed, legendary-rated, hyper-enchanted suit of armor worn by a superbly experienced Dragonborn master at that particular armor type.
So if dragons are immortal would the Dragonborn be revived if he died? Would he need a higher power to help bring him back?
He probably would, seeing as normal Dragons need Alduin to do it.
Maybe? We don't really know if a dragon's body has any special properties to match its soul. Even if it doesn't, it'd still take something of Alduin's power to shout a dragonborn back to life.
Gelebor and Gallus' journal
Aside from the fact that it would make the quest too easy, why couldn't Gelebor be able to translate Gallus's journal? It's evident from speaking to him that he understands modern Tamrielic. What Could Have Been....
For the same reason you can't tell Maven Black-Briar "Oh, you'll call the Dark Brotherhood? You mean that Dark Brotherhood that I single-handedly slaughtered? Yea, good luck with that." when she mouths off to you. A lot of quests simply don't interconnect, even though really, they probably should.
More souls questions
So are souls eternal as most monotheistic, and some polytheistic, religions believe? I ask this because the Dragonborn is able to absorb the souls of dragons that are apparently supposed to be immortal creatures. Not to mention there are spiritual entities that claim they have dibs on your soul. What does this mean? Does your soul cease to exist when it has been claimed by someone else? Do they hold on to it for eternity or does it get released eventually?
They hold on to it eternally. See the souls in the soul cairn, some that have been there for eras. Souls are eternal unless something destroys them (IE: a Dragonborn absorbing a Dragon's soul). There's variance in that depending on religions in the world and what not.
So beings that are eternal like the Daedric Princes or the 9 Divines, just as an example, don't get bored of holding on to your soul forever? They wouldn't go like, "Dragonborn, I know I've held on to your soul for 200 million years (or some other extremely long period of time), based on a contract you made during a mortal life span not truly comprehending the scale of the cost it would have, but I'm going to continue punishing you forever and ever.", correct?
Who says it's punishment? Most of those are afterlives that are supposed to be interesting for the parties involved (Hunting alongside Hircine for Werewolves, Influencing luck and helping thieves unseen for Nightingales, etc...) Some are boring, like the Soul Cairn, which is why being soul trapped is shown as a bad fate to wind up at.
That assumes that an immortal entity would give the slightest damn about time or an individual, vastly inferior, entity such as yourself. A soul, having been taken, is essentially a piece of property for X divine being and hardly the only one they possess. They may be willing to give it up at some point, but they're going to hold on to their contracts out of principle if nothing else. Besides, 200 million years is no different than a second compared to eternity.
Daedric Princes care about souls the same way you or I would care about pennies. With the exception of certain types of souls, like, say, the Dragonborn, a soul is a soul and they don't care beyond that.
How many gods are there?
So I read some where that the reason why the Thalmor resent Talos so much is because he was a mortal ascending to the status of a god, whereas they believe they are a race of gods who were descended into mortals. OK assuming this is true that raises the number of gods from a few dozen to thousands (possibly even millions). Just how many gods exist in this universe?
Depends how you define "God". Daedras & the Divines, according to myths related to the Monomyth, are ostensibly the same kind of creatures - spirits. Who come in various level of powers. The main difference between a Daedra and Aedra is the role the played (or not) in Mundus' creation. Weaker versions of these spirits are common Daedras like scamps, Dremoras, Dragons etc... While higher order ones are the Daedric Princes, the Divines, Lorkhan, Magnus, etc... There's a LOT of such spirits, with the implication that there may be many, many Daedric Princes that do not interact with Mundus at all and are therefore unknown to us mortals. And then there's stuff like semi divine beings who roam(ed) the mortal plane like Pelinal Whitedrake. And then there's the variance between religions... And that's not even counting creature of a higher order than those spirits, like Sithis (aka Padomay), the the Primordial state of Chaos, Anuiel, his opposite. Anu, the everything, primordial stasis.
I'm fairly new to the Elder Scrolls lore. I'm heard of these games for years but I didn't actually get involved in it until my friend loaned Oblivion to me last year, and then I started playing Skyrim recently (very fun by the way). My friend was explaining to me that there are many powerful spirits who claim that they are immortal beings, or "gods", but only the Daedric Princes and the Nine Divines are true gods and deserve that superstitious awe that we invoke that word with. That is why I said a few dozen. Was my friend wrong, or are there other beings on the same power level as the ones I just mentioned?
Depending on how you define "Being", there's even higher than them. Anu, Anuiel and Padomay are primordial forces who created the Daedras and Aedras, making them even higher order of beings than the princes and the Divines. There's also major Aedric spirits who are not counted amongst the nine. Magnus, the god of Magic to the elves, withdrew from creation at the last moment, leaving a hole we call the sun in Mundus. By most account, he was of the same order of strength as the Divines. And then there's forces we just don't know much about, like the Daedras who never interact with Nirn.
So there are so many spirits/gods out there that the mythology of who started it all is kinda blurred? Is there a Supreme God? Or are such creator beings so advanced beyond mortal and even divine comprehension that we can't even conceive of them? If I may make a religious parallel The Bible says that humans can't even look at the face of God or hear his voice or it would destroy them, I would imagine if the Dragonborn's voice can send people flying through the air with its sheer force alone than a true primordial God would destroy reality itself with its voice. Is that why we don't see divine beings very often, they are too powerful for the physics of our world to contain them?
It's a bit complicated. I'll try to give the short, simple version: In the beginning, there were two spirits: Anu, stasis, and Padomay (or Sithis), change. From these two beings were born the Et'ada, a race of great spirits. There were spirits of both padomaic and anuic descent. One of the padomaic spirits, Lorkhan, convinced the anuic spirits to join him into creating Nirn, the world. The other padomaic spirits refuse to join in this endeavor, creating spheres of their own. These are the daedric princes. Meanwhile (or something. Time didn't fully exist yet), the anuic spirits and Lorkhan (known as the aedra) continued their creation of Nirn. However, the creation of Nirn turned out to be a trap, creating lower and lower levels of reality, killing and trapping the anuic spirits that had worked on it. It was only when Akatosh became the adamantine tower that this process of descending had stopped. The killed anuic spirits had become shadows of their former selves, forming the ehlnofey in Aldmeris, on a higher level of reality, before turning into man, mer and beast. The creatures that are referred to as gods are the original two spirits (anu and padomay), the most powerful daedric leaders (most of the daedric princes), the aedra whose identity survived the creation of nirn (the eight divines, magnus, possibly the old aldmer and yokudan gods, like phynaster, ebonarm and tu'whacca), mortals who ascended to a higher plane of reality through apotheosis, becoming aedra or daedra (talos, the champion of cyrodiil) and mortals who achieved apotheosis but didn't become aedra or daedra (the tribunal, the god of worms). The idea that there is a clear dichotomy between gods and non-gods is false. Dragons and lesser daedra are a very clear example of this, as they are much closer to gods than to mortals, but are rarely considered such.
How was the Dragonborn raised?
He just grew up never realizing once that he was special? No Divine Entity or mortal that knew of the prophecy found him and told his parents? It just seems strange that he lived what I would imagine was a fairly normal life (he doesn't seem to have any difficulty fighting Imperial Soldiers/Stormcloaks in the very beginning of the game so he obviously has fighting skill and has a basic knowledge of magic) before all of this and then all of a sudden he takes up the mantle of Dragonborn and kicks serious ass.
No, the Dragonborn never knew about their unique nature. The only way anybody would know is if he's going dragonsoul snackin', and there were no dragons prior to the game beginning. Only Akatosh would know before then, and the divines aren't known to be particularly chatty (except in Morrowind, but even then Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane). As it stands, the PC was just a slightly-above-average fighter/mage/thief guy of indeterminate background until he met Mirmulnir.
Why exactly is the area called Skyrim?
Is it because the Throat of the World touches the sky or because of the presence of dragons in that area's ancient history?
Someone important enough in history named it that, and the name stuck. Like 99% of all named places in the world.
And who was that important person? This is never brought up in the lore?
Good question. You'd think people would make sure to keep the name of the person (or people) who named your country in the records. That's like not knowing who gave Canada, Mexico, the US, France or the UK to name a few...their names! Kinda dumb. My bet is on Ysgramor, who led the 500 people into Tamriel.
No one DOES know who named France "France". It draws its name from the Frank tribe, but no one knows who is the first to call it France. Ditto for Mexico who was named after the Mexica tribe. There's no recorded individual who "invented" the modern name for the place.
Ysgramor named the land "Mereth" after his people's word for elves. So he did not name it "Skyrim" (See the First Edition of the Pocket Guide to the Empire).
So if Tiber Septim ascended to godhood to become Talos; why hasn't he laid the smackdown on his former Empire and the Stormcloaks and tell them to stop fighting? As a mortal he was Tiber Septim a Nord Dragonborn who conquered all of Tamriel, establishing a continent spanning Empire, so you would think he would care a little bit about the Civil War that is tearing his beloved Empire apart. Are the other Divines telling him to stay out of mortal affairs?
Officially Tiber came from Atmora, which would make him a Nede. According to the Arcturian Heresy, he came from an Island in High Rock (Alcaire), making him Breton (Though he had a Nord name, Hjalti Early-Beard). On the question itself, it's most likely that on a grand cosmic scale, the empire, the Stormcloaks and even the Thalmor don't really matter.
Gods don't actively interfere with the events on Nirn for the same reason that Daedra cannot. Their ability to directly influence the world is limited by their nature. Also keep in mind that Talos is kind of busy holding the world together. And, in a way, Talos is stepping in to stop the war, with some help from Akatosh, in sending the Dragonborn to Nirn.
Holding the world together? So what he became the Elder Scrolls' planet's equivalent of Atlas or something? What is causing the world to be in danger, and why can't some other deity do it or better yet help him fix it?
Short version: Talos is an aspect/embodiment of Lorkhan, who created Nirn and is holding it together. The other gods don't have "hold the world together" as their particular responsibility or idiom, as that's Lorkhan's job. Its a complicated matter. Note also that Akatosh is actively helping to keep the world held together in his own way: he sent you to Dragonborn the shit out of the things threatening Nirn's cohesion, first with Alduin and also with the Thalmor.
Where the does it say Talos is an embodiment of Lorkhan?
Developer Michael Kirkbride said that Talos is one of the Shezarrine, who are by nature aspects or incarnations of Shezarr aka Lorkhan.
Why does Karliah's paralysis poison affect a vampire, who has total poison immunity? One could argue that one of the benefits of this unique recipe was the ability to affect vampires, but she developed the formula for the express purpose of taking down the very-much-alive Mercer. Going out of her way and delaying her revenge even longer in order to affect an entirely different group with a poison of which she only makes one dose anyway would not make much sense.
Immunity is your body's ability to resist a foreign agent, your body learns from experience with being exposed to harmful biological agents, like poison, multiple times and then develops a natural resistance to it. However there is no such thing as total immunity, it doesn't matter if you have the ability to resist a dosage that would kill one person if you are exposed to a dosage that would make a dozen men shit their organs out of their bodies and turn their flesh into mush. Perhaps Karliah put such an incredible dosage of poison in that potion that even a vampire's natural immunity can't do much to stop it.
Except that Vampire's aren't immune due to biological resistance. They are immune because they are already dead. Because they don't have biological processes for the poison to affect. That's why they don't show on Detect Life but do on Detect Dead.
Once again, necessary Railroading. The questline would go too off the rails if you'd never been able to experience Mercer's deception or if you would have killed Karliah then.
Anyone know about the Champion?
So is anyone in Tamriel even aware of what became of the player character from the last game or any of his exploits? The Shivering Isles had the Champion of Cyrodiil ascend to the status of a god when he became Sheogorath, and the ending in the main storyline had him assist Martin in stopping Dagon and being heralded as a hero by the Empire, and yet the game is devoid of references to him. It seems odd that Skyrim wouldn't honor a guy like him, a mortal hero saving the world and ascending to godhood sounds an awful lot like their hero Talos. Hell the Dragonborn can't even muster up an answer as to who the Sheogorath even is! I guess only certain gods are in their "biblical canon"?
The Thalmor happened. Since their invasion, they've been working on revising history texts both to make themselves seem superior and to slowly undermine human cultures. They've done their damndest to eliminate Talos worship. They'd never allow the story of another (most likely, non-Altmer) mortal obtaining godhood to get out. Compared to taking down Talos worship, eliminating the information of a new Daedra (which is pretty rare to begin with) would be child's play.
The player is remembered. He's mentioned in The Oblivion Crisis. Heck, he's the most mentioned character of the book. As for the ascention to godhood... Who can tell the tale? It happened in the Shivering Isle. Anyone who comes from there are madmen. Not exactly the best witness. Plus Nords aren't exactly fans of Daedras in general. So why would they celebrate someone who became one? Furthermore his actions are referenced through the entire game (DB storyline, Theft of an Elder Scroll, etc...). What do you mean "He's never mentioned"?
Asking the Nords of Skyrim to remember your Oblivion character two hundred years later would be like asking a Scandinavian to remember some Roman hero two hundred years after the Roman Empire fell. It just isn't on the top of their to-do list, especially since they all just endured a Great War with the Thalmor, been stabbed in the back metaphorically by the Empire, and that's not to mention the nasty conflicts that happened during that length of time. In addition, the mere fact that your Oblivion character fought for the Empire would definitely encourage the Stormcloak Nords to not bother trying to remember you. As for the Empire Nords? Well, they don't have the time to remember you, or, as previously stated, the Thalmor did an excellent job and almost erased you completely from history. While some Nords do remember your Oblivion character, it's clear that most have long since forgotten about him/her. Plus, considering what happened to the Empire, they may not think your character was a hero after all, since Martin died and then all that happened.
I was simply pointing out that a guy who saved the world, or at least aided Martin in doing so, and ascended to the status of a god should be a pretty notable figure. In our own world entire religions have been based off of people who claimed to be gods throughout human history; a human ascending to the status of a god — something very much in line with Talos a guy who the Nords respect and honor — just goes completely unnoticed? I can understand contentions with his mortal identity (even though as a mortal he did a lot of good), but he's a god now!
And again, who knows it happened? It took place in the Shivering Isle. A place filled with Madmen. Who don't make the most credible witnesses. Especially when the Hero of Kvatch (According to Word of Dante) used Wabajack to change his appearance to more closely match (and sound like) the original Sheogorath. There's literally no evidence, and almost no way for the general population to learn of what happened.
More Tyranny of the Sun questions
So the Dawnguard DLC establishes that Vampires are affected by the sun because the Elder Scrolls placed some sort of "Tyranny of the Sun" curse on them. Why? Did the gods have something against vampires? I mean vampires can't be anymore "evil" or dangerous on the scale of things than dragons or giants are. Why single them out to be affected by the sun?
I'm pretty sure the "Tyranny of the Sun" is just Harkon's way of referring to how vampires in the Elder Scrolls verse are severely weakened in sunlight.
Vampirism was created by Molag Bal raping a mortal to death to create a giant "fuck you" to Arkay. Gee, I can't imagine what the gods would have against vampirism!
"Tyranny of the Sun" is just the name of the prophecy that Arch-Curate Vyrthur created to bring a Daughter of Coldharbour to him so he could use Auriel's Bow to blot out the sun. The name is pretty much a summation of his spite toward Auriel/Akatosh's perceived apathy toward his plight as a vampire.
Crossbows vs. vampires
I've been wondering this for a while, and this has been a long time coming anyway, but since Skyrim shows the most recent example of it that I've seen: Why are crossbows said to be the most effective weapons against vampires? I haven't been able to ever find anything on it other than the FVZA page on it and I don't want to use just that source. Why crossbows? Several prominent works of fiction depict vampire hunters favoring crossbows (Van Helsing, Buffy, etc.) It could make sense I'm sure, bolts are similar to stakes and stakes kill vampires when shot into their hearts. Not everyone can hit the heart consistently when under pressure (when fighting a group of vampires), nor are they very fast when it comes to attacking (Yes they can save at least one bolt loaded and drawn back but that would only provide an advantage with the first shot and you'll end up with very slow reloads afterwards). Can anyone explain this to me? And I swear if it all ends up being just one big joke about vampires being weak against crosses I'm just going to feel silly.
Crossbows (the enhanced versions) can bypass armor, making them more devastating on the first strike, ostensibly allowing Dawnguard soldiers to take out a vampire in the first shot before they can use their powers? Crossbows are also (Historically) easier to use with minimal training unlike bows. So it allows one to attack vampires easily and fairly devastatingly while being out of range of their vampiric drain (which can infect one with vampirism).
Historically, crossbows were the go-to ranged weapon if you wanted to kill someone who was tough or armored. The bolts most crossbows and their ilk fired were also heavy; even if shield or armor stopped the bolt, the bolt was so heavy that it would impair movement if lodged in a shield or plating. They can also be fired very quickly once the bolt was cocked, which would be very useful when the traditionally ssuperhumanly-fast vampires suddenly appeared; it is much quicker to depress a trigger than to draw an arrow all the way back and release. As for Dawnguard and the crossbows in TES lore, the aforementioned point about their power is very relevant. The crossbow's raw power can kill a vampire before it even knows you're there, which is essential when dealing with beings that powerful and durable. The common theme with monster hunters across most fiction is "kill it first before it can kill you." The fact that TES vampires don't need to have stakes driven into their hearts or other such specific weaknesses helps too.
Faolan, or the Red Eagle as he is called, is supposed to be a quasi-Celtic Breton King Arthur type figure and the paramount national hero of the Reachmen. Why is he buried in old Nordic fashion as a Draugr in an Ancient Nord structure, and why is his legendary sword forged in Nordic manner? And why is he a magic using Lich at level 80 when he's supposed to be a warrior?
That's assuming that only the Nords ever used that particular style and corpse preservation. It's more likely that everyone used them both, and it was more closely associated with Nords because it was more widespread and they built more often. Same with the swords, as everyone was using them at the time, and the sword got its name from being commonly found in Nord graves. Think about current times, where you can find armies wielding iron and steel weapons fighting other armies wielding iron and steel weapons. As for becoming a Lich, he's an automatically leveled Draugr. Typically, he's a strong Draugr warrior, but if you wait until you're past level 56, he'll spawn as the strongest Draugr opponent, a Dragon Priest.
Maybe he was a Spellsword?
Uhm, I don't know about you, but two entirely different cultures who hated each other would tend to have differing burial customs (Hjalti Early-Beard, Talos as he is known, had led the Nords to destroying the Witch Men of the Reach all the way to during the first era). Especially when they have different religious beliefs and afterlives. For instance, to the Bretons; Shor is regarded as a harmful deity and the 'source of all strife', where as to Nords, he's a Top God. I find it hard to believe that they had the exact same burial methods.
Bretons in general are the results of nords and elves interbreeding for several generations, and the Reachmen specifically are the result of Bretons and Nords interbreeding for multiple generations after that. It's likely that for all the Forsworn's talk about the old ways and the old gods, many of the ancient Reachmen were well integrated into Nordic society. The presence of so many Nordic ruins in the area are decent evidence of that.
That's not how culture works. Cultural contact would have happened anyway, and much of these burials are from the 1st era, 2nd at most, which is long before the reach was conquered by the Nords. Even then, it's probably mostly developer laziness; Solstheim in Dragonborn has Draugr in imperial uniform.
Fairness of Ulfric and Torygg's duel
How was Ulfric's battle with High King Torygg fair? Not only was Torygg hopelessly outmatched by the Dragon Shout, an ability very few mortals actually possess, even fewer who aren't Dovahkiin, but said shout was taught to Ulfric by the Greybeards as a means of enlightenment, and he openly admits he misused the power. If this were truly a fair match, it would have been a battle between swords and/or magic. Using an ability very rare and nearly impossible for non-Dovahkiin to learn is a huge handicap.
Anybody could, theoretically, use the Thu'um. It just takes a great deal of training to use even simple, single-word Shouts for most people. Ulfric trained under the Greybeards and used his skill in the battle. Considering the fight you have with him in the Imperial campaign, Ulfric only knows part of the Unrelenting Force shout. An advantage, but hardly the game changer that the full shout is for the Dragonborn. As for the potential "fairness" of using the Thu'um in a duel, that's actually debated in-game: Torygg's supporters consider it cowardly cheating while Ulfric's see it as a sign of his right to rule.
If its part of his personal skill-set, he can use it and it's still a fair fight. The only way this could be disputed if we actually had some measure of insight into how a duel fought according to "the Old Way" was actually conducted. Especially as it dates to ancient times among the Nords, where the Voice was more widely known.
A perfectly "fair" fight is otherwise known as a "draw". There are advantages and disadvantages in any fight that makes them inherently unfair. A "fair" fight in the Nord sense is one where both combatants bring their abilities to the table and there's no outside interference; if Ulfric brings his skill with the Thu'um to the arena, a skill he earned, then he is perfectly in his rights to use it.
If this video means anything, Torygg can beat Ulfric if they use only swords and Ulfric does not use the Thu'um. Just an interesting thought.
Personally I don't put a lot of stock in that. The way the game's level scaling works, Ulfric's locked at level ten for the whole game as he's there at the start, where as Torygg is locked at whatever level you are when you meet him in Sovengarde, presumably much, much higher. The game generally implies that thu'um or no, Ulfric is the most formidable of the jarls in terms of armed combat.
All but directly stated in fact. Galmar pretty much says that if Ulfric wanted to he could take all the Jarls out easily in single-combat, and his abilities as a fighter and a master of the Thu'um are kept separate and both hyped up as being incredible.
Galmar is hardly an unbiased source, though.
Okay, how about the fact that members of Dead-King Torygg's own court state that his martial skill was nothing compared to Ulfric's? How about him being hyped up as a fearsome fighter in the Imperial campaign itself?
Even if Ulfric could win fairly, can you still say that he did? It's like the best boxer in the world, who could easily become champion without any aid, using steroids for the fight just because. Can you call that fair?
Two men with weapons fought, no one outside interfered, and the Thu'um is respected among the Nords. By Nord standards, yes, it was entirely fair.
So... by that logic, if Torygg was using legendary enchanted Daedric gear, and one-shotted Ulfric with it, that would be fair?
And yet if I Fus Ro Dah my fistfightee, it becomes unfair and is considered assault. How can you justify that?
Because it is a fistfight. With '''fists'''. You're breaking the rules there, which permit only the use of fists and nothing else.
My point exactly.
Apparently, according to the rules of a Nordic duel, the opponents bring what skills and equipment they have to the table, and no outside interference is permitted. If you have it, your BFS is allowed. If you're wearing it, your fancy armor is allowed. If you know a fireball spell, you can use it. If you know a Thu'um, you can use it. Would it be fair to us? Hell no. But in Nordic tradition, if you have something, chances are you've earned it, so it is your right to use it. (But no, I'm not pro-Stormcloak. I've been Imperial on every playthrough.)
That... kinda makes sense. Sure explains why nobody's complaining about my usage of dragonscale armor while they only have hide or leather.
I think this Headscratcher, in-universe, was another reason why the Civil War occurred in the first place.
It depends on what you mean by "fair". If you look at the cold, hard facts of the matter, Ulfric technically followed the Old Laws. There was no outside interference, both Ulfric and Torygg brought only their own natural skills to the fight, and apparently Torygg did not insist on a "no Thu'ums" condition before the fight (that's the difference between this fight and the brawls; when you challenge someone to a fistfight the NPC always insists on a "no magic, no weapons, only fists" rule). Thus, Ulfric and his followers feel that he did nothing wrong. After all it's hardly Ulfric's fault that Torygg was a wimp. As the High King of Skyrim, Torygg had a responsibility to toughen himself up and learn how to fight. If he couldn't be bothered to even brush up on his swordplay then, in their view, he doesn't deserve the position he has. But there's a difference between the letter of the law and the spirit of the law, and it could be argued that Ulfric violated the spirit of the Old Laws. In cultures where honor duels are allowed (if not always condoned) it's expected that both participants must behave, well, honorably. This implies a set of unwritten rules. For instance, in an honorable duel it's generally assumed that while one person might have an advantage over the other, both combatants must have a decent chance of winning. So a tall man challenging a short man to a fistfight wouldn't necessarily be unfair because the short man can use speed and clever tactics to overcome the tall man's height and weight advantage. But challenging someone to a Duel to the Death when you KNOW they don't have a snowball's chance in Hell of beating you is dishonorable. For those who disapprove of Ulfric's actions the problem is not his superior skill or the fact that he used the Thu'um to defeat Torygg. The problem is that Ulfric went into the duel knowing that Torygg had no chance of beating him. The fact that Ulfric apparently went into the duel intending to use the Thu'um, knowing that Torygg couldn't possibly defend against it, makes it even worse.
Perhaps, but Ulfric didn't just denounce Torygg and then attack. It was a formal challenge, and Torygg had every right to refuse the duel. He accepted it, knowing perfectly well that Ulfric was, at the very least, a battle-hardened veteran who is considered to be one of the most formidable combatants in Skyrim. If Torygg went into that fight honestly believing that there would be any outcome other than his own untimely death, then he's a bigger fool than people already claim him to be. At no point does anyone on either side of the war claim that Ulfric was anything but upfront about his abilities. Torygg either set no restrictions on the duel, or decided to agree to the duel while knowing full well that anything goes in a challenge to the throne. As soon as Torygg answered the challenge, he accepted that Ulfric had the right to use any and all means at his disposal to win. Tradition says that the duel was therefore fair. Whether or not the tradition itself is fair is an entirely separate matter from whether or not the actual duel was, by Nord standards, "fair".
"Kid, if I were lying, I'd tell you I owned the company, not that I wrote the song" — Charlie Harper, from Two And a Half Men.
In Dawnguard, two vampire characters Valerica and Harkon snidely refer to a Dovahkiin vampire lord as a "half-breed vampire". Considering that the only way to become a vampire lord is through either Serana or Harkon, how exactly is that insult supposed to work?
Serana, Valerica and Harkon all became vampire lords because of something Molag Bal did. The Dovahkiin vampire lord became a vampire lord because one of the vampire lords made him or her one. In other words, it is about how you became a vampire lord.
How did Harkon becomes a vampire lord? Did Molag Bal raped him too? Serana only mentions her and her mother undergoing the ritual. If Harkon is indeed raped by Molag Bal, why can't he use his own blood?
It specifically states in-game that Harkon feared death, so he made a pact with Molag Bal, sacrificing a thousand innocents to the Daedric Prince in exchange for becoming a vampire lord.
If taking quests into account, it seems that the second-hand power the Dragonborn has as a vampire lord is less potent than that of a full-blooded one. The people turned by the Dragonborn all note feelings of sickness, but can go off on their own power. Whereas the bite from Harkon instantly knocked out and nearly killed someone as powerful as the player character. Even moreso, Harkon's bite is so potent that it can even overpower a werewolf's curse. Something that the Dragonborn can't replicate.
Vingalmo says that the alignment of the stars determine if one can be turned or not. So blood might have nothing to do with it than a sub-optimal stellar arrangement.
How old is Rorik?
He says he's the founder (and namesake) of Rorikstead. Rorikstead has existed (and had his name) since the later merethic/first era and has had that name since then according to Holdings of Jarl Gjalund (The book dates from back when Bromjunaar, the sanctuary of the Dragon Priest Mask, was still a settlement and not Labyrinthian).
If it's like actual town, it has likely been abandoned and rebuilt multiple times. Alternately, Rorik is lying.
Other people back up his story, like Jouane Manette. Being destroyed and rebuilt still would not explain why there's always been a town there named after a dude called Rorik at roughly the same location. Is this some History Repeats scenario where there's always a new dude called Rorik who goes back there to build a town on the same spot every era and names it after himself? It gets even weirder as "Ragnar The Red" is an old, traditional song according to "Songs of Skyrim". Rorikstead's current incarnation is less than 20 years old (Since Rorik founded it after the Great War and it was an unbuilt stretch of land when he bought it) yet the song mentions "Ole Rorikstead".
It could be like this: there's always been a town there. There's periodic times where, during stretches of bad harvests or war, the town has been completely abandoned, only picked up years or centuries later when conditions improved enough to move back in. Presumably, the town there was struggling when Rorik came in, and used his money to finance the reconstruction, turning it from a house and a tavern into... several houses and a tavern. Still, it completely revamped the town (somehow), so either the locals renamed it in honor of him, or he just named the renovated town after himself. Most books just refer to Rorikstead as its current name.
That wouldn't explain why ancient books written millenias ago also call the place "Rorik's steading".
Or, he just happens to share the name with the person who founded it, and being all elderly he's decided to play a little with this young'un asking him about Rorikstead. Think someone named James living in Jamestown, VA, telling his grandson that the city was named after him.
Why did Ulfric even bother with the Thu'um?
The narrative makes it very clear that Torryg's token martial training was nothing compared to him, a veteran in his prime, and that he could have beaten him easily by force of arms alone. Was it to give the impression he was chosen by Talos, or something? Was it to emphasize his adherence to the Old Ways in the fact he knew the ancient power of the Dragon tongue? Was it to showcase his spiritual and mental qualities that he was able to learn so much from the Greybeards?
Ulfric's entire cause is based around "The old ways" and what not. What better way than to shout down is enemies like Jurgen Windcaller did, and to show his right to rule by demonstrating his shout like that of the great heroes of old? In his own words: "It'll make for a better song". Ulfric is all about his self image.
There is the minor problem that he went against what Jurgen Windcaller (and the Greybeards that followed him) stood for when he did it, but then again the Stormcloaks' Old Ways seems a hodge-podge of the old and the relatively new anyway, so doing it like the Nord Heroes of Really Old rather than what's been the tradition for millenia is in character (and the whole 'it'll make a better song' thing makes it even more in character).
Uhm, the Nord heroes using the shouts to defeat tyranny (like Ulfric) actually predates Jurgen Windcaller.
Yes, my point exactly (consider that Jurgen Windcaller had a reason for his formation of the Greybeards, and that there would seem to be a reason why the Greybeards have a near-monopoly on the thu'um amongst mortals. Further consider that other parts of what Ulfric and his Stormcloaks cite as the traditional Nord way that is much, much younger than the Greybeards).
Hm, I see worshiping Talos. Which by extension is worshiping Shor anyway. Revering Ysgramor (Saarthal and the Great War are directly compared in similarities in one Stormcloak propaganda book and Ulfric is called a hero of similar magnitude as him) both of which would predate Jurgen's kneejerk reaction to using the voice for anything other than pray. It is odd that he would have thought that the way they used the Voice was in contrary to the will of the gods. Considering that Shor himself led them at that battle. If you're talking about referring to the Gods as the Divines, only Galmar makes any explicit reference to that sort of thing. Worshiping Talos does not necessarily mean worshiping the rest of the Nine Divines. Anymore so than worshiping Mehrunes Daegon means to worship Boethiah, I think. That said though, some or even a lot of them probably do worship the Nine anyway. For centuries its been more or less the default religion of the Empire, it being younger than something else does not mean it doesn't constitute tradition. Kind of like how you could argue that Celtic Paganism and Anglo-Saxon paganism is the ancestral faith of the British but traditionally, they are more likely to be some denomination of Christian.
From the Imperial viewpoint, Ulfric used the Thu'um because he was a coward who felt he needed an unnecessary edge when the fight was blatantly one-sided anyway. It's all part of the intentional Values Dissonance that the civil war is wrapped in.
For the same reason he wants the Dragonborn to be the one to kill him (if you take the Imperial's side) "It will make a better story." Ulfric is a romanticist.
Erandur in "Waking Nightmare"
During the quest Waking Nightmare, how did Erandur/Casimir get out? The moment he pulled the chain, the barrier went up, which should have trapped him inside. You see this happening when you dreamwalk as him. And he himself calls the barrier unbreachable. So how did he get out?
He dreamwalked himself out. You know, the same way you got around a locked door. He just did it to one of the invaders. Or, there was another exit we don't know about, which he used (but was inaccessible from the outside).
He can't have dreamwalked since he said he never saw or did it himself (If he did, he wouldn't need to tell you he can't guarantee what will happen or how it'll go down). And looking around fails to reveal a secondary exit.
IIRC, the gate type that blocks you takes a moment to close, and don't you get sent back to the real world once you've pulled it? As soon as he pulled the chain, the Erandur ran very quickly, or daresay, dived over the rising gate. Even if he missed the first time, he could have just tried again until he got out.
Miraak and dragon priest outfits
So why is the First Dragonborn so out of Dragon Priest uniform?
Since it hasn't been released yet I can only speculate, but something tells me that he does not particularly like serving Dragons any more.
If that's the only reason, he shouldn't be wearing his old mask either.
But the masks have power, and that's presumably something he does like.
So do the robes.
Considering that you can't loot any robes from the other priests, let alone anything powered, that's doubtful.
Considering that even run-of-the-mill training clothes given to apprentices is powered, I'd say that it is. Also notice that they're awesome shape in spite of being buried with their now decayed wearers for untold centuries. Also, there are lots of things in the game that are magical that you cant loot.
Draugr armor is in fantastic shape too, but anyway, you're missing the point: that's not even dragon priest apparel.
No it isn't. It's rusted and falling apart in various places.
For armor that's been sitting around, unmaintained, for thousands of years, that is being in fantastic shape.
Also, who's to say it's his old mask; it's very different from all the others. Rumours abound that there is more to this villain than a Dragonborn/Priest combo.
His new outfit is also specifically designed for fighting dragons, with the exception of his mask.
I think it's safe to assume that when the other dragon priests found out Miraak was murdering dragons and eating their souls, they had him defrocked and took away his holy vestments. Also, Miraak's mask probably isn't the same mask he would have worn as a dragon priest (if he even had a mask back then; not all the dragon priests got one apparently). If you look close you can see that his mask shares the same "tentacle" theme as his sword and staff. So Hermaeus Mora probably gave him all three.
Are the Daedric Princes gods?
I've played all five of the main Elder Scrolls games and I still can't figure this out. Are the Daedric Princes gods? Or are They simply god-like? They call Themselves gods, and so do the people who worship Them, but people who are against Daedra worship say that the Princes are nothing more than very powerful Daedra. The lesser Daedra look to Them as masters, but not as gods. Of course the Aedra say they aren't gods, but that's mostly out of spite due to the Daedra still being at full power while the Aedra are in a weakened state. When Haskill spoke of Sheogorath in the Shivering Isles, the pronouns were capitalized in the subtitles, suggesting divinity. Finally, remember what the Thalmor said: "You can worship whatever gods you like, but Talos is not a god." The Thalmor have nothing against Daedra worship, which suggests they believe the Daedric Princes are gods. The first three games had me thinking the Princes were simply god-like, but Oblivion and Skyrim made me start to wonder if They're actual gods. So which is it?
You ask that as if there's a difference; to quote another game: "If you have the arrogance of a god and can kill like a god, who’s to say you are not a god?". To expand, there is no definitive definition of who or what qualifies as a god. Is Akatosh a god? Is Alduin? Talos? Ebonarm? Almalexia? Morihaus? Mannimarco? All of them are worshipped as gods by somebody on Tamriel, but few of them have a common origin or nature. Some Tamrielic cultures consider the Daedra gods, some consider them demons, some consider them "Greater Spirits", some consider them "Not our Ancestors". There is no universal qualifier for godhood - it all depends on who you ask.
Confusion around Torygg's death
Somebody please explain to me the bizarre confusion surrounding King Torygg's death. Ulfric claims he used the Thu'um to stun Torygg and then killed him with his sword while other characters claim Ulfric "shouted him to pieces" or "ripped him asunder" with the Thu'um. Now, I can understand random NPCs claiming Ulfric "shouted [Torygg] apart" because they weren't there and only have rumors to go on. Rumors that were probably twisted seven different ways by the time those NPCs heard them. But some of the NPCs who witnessed Torygg's death claim Ulfric killed him with the Thu'um and not with a sword. So who's telling the truth?
Therein lies the problem. Everyone has their own idea of how Ulfric killed Torygg, but I think its safe to just assume Ulfric's claim was the right one, as Ulfric did it himself, and he has nothing to gain from just lying to the player. It would be out of character for him to not say exactly how he offed Torygg.
In addition, it is in the interest of Elisif's court to slander Ulfric by making Torygg's death at his hands seem as brutal and one-sided as possible, casting Ulfric in the role of a malicious murderer. It's also notable that eye-witness testimony is notoriously unreliable as people tend to view things through serious lenses of perception. It's possible that Ulfric's FUS RO DAH did cause Torygg significant injury when it slammed him into something, and that the witnesses couldn't bear to watch as Ulfric ended it with the stabbing- the shout is what stood out in their memory.
I don't believe Ulfric knows the full Unrelenting Force Shout, not enough to create the full-force launch that the player can create. It seems most likely that he used FUS to stagger Torygg, who fell on his butt like an idiot, and then Ulfric stabbed him. The tale grew in the telling by those looking to slander him, and you get people saying he murdered Torygg with his voice alone.
Oh, I think Ulfric knows the full shout. Ever pissed him off and had him attack? He'll do the Shout and send you flying across the throne room.
Just join the Imperials and try to attack him head on, Ulfric knows the full "FUS RO DAH" shout. With that in mind, he could have shouted him off of the edge of the balcony in the Blue palace.
Because eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable, even when all parties don't have good reason to lie (and in this case, they do). That said, I tend to take Ulfric at his word on this one. Shouting someone apart with the Thu'um is distinctly more badass than knocking them down and stabbing them while they're disoriented, and given Ulfric's concern with what "will make for a better song," if he was going to lie, I would expect him to try to play up the epicness of the confrontation rather than play it down.
Solitude is further north than Windhelm, and may even be the northernmost city in Skyrim. Yet it apparently has a temperate climate with no snow, while Windhelm, Dawnstar, and Winterhold are perpetually covered in snow. What gives?
A number of factors. It's right over sea water, which could bring in a warm current. Plus, with the way the mountains are shaped, it's likely that the prevalent wind blows in from the hjaalmarch, which is relatively warm.
This, pretty much. Latitude is far from the only thing influencing climate. Look at a globe of Earth, and you can see that the British Isles sit at roughly the same latitude as Moscow and much of Canada, but have a far different climate than either of those. It boils down to a number of factors, including warm water currents and surface geography, especially considering the location of High Rock and its climate. There's almost certainly a warm water current running around the northwest coast of Skyrim, with cold water currents running along the northeastern coast. The mountains of Haafingar likely shield Solitude as well; note how the western parts of the hold are relatively snowbound, while the eastern parts of Haafingar are temperate. Most likely, the weather patterns are caused by warm water currents on the northwestern coast, coupled with a warm wind from the southern regions of Skyrim, channeled around the central mountain ranges separating Whiterun and Hjaalmarch. The weather patterns around Dawnstar, Winterhold, and Eastmarch are caused by cold water currents and frigid southbound winds caught by the mountains. Riften's warmer climate is almost certainly a result of both its southern location and the presence of the constant heat from the caldera to the north, carried south on the winds.
Whiterun fast travel
More of a development/programming question I guess: Why isn't there a fast-travel icon for the Companions headquarters in Whiterun? There's an icon for the Thieves Guild hideout and the College of Winterhold, but not one for Jorrvaskr. Considering how often you have to come and go from that place if you're following the Companions questline, this seems like an odd thing to leave out.
There's only one fast-travel location inside any city, and that's to the Jarl's palace in question. Those locations are centrally-located enough that you only need to run for a few moments to reach whatever area of the city is relevant.
Incorrect. Riften has a fast travel location to the Thieve's Guild entrance in the graveyard, which is closer to Mistvale Keep than Jorvasker is to Dragon's Reach.
It also might be to fix any bugs that might happen if you fast-traveled to Jorrvaskr during, say, the Battle for Whiterun.
Another development/programming question: Why isn't there an option to filter which icons appear on the world map? Once you've discovered a lot of locations the map starts to get a bit crowded and it makes it hard to find the quest arrow sometimes. It would be nice if I could make some of those icons disappear temporarily.
Dragon Priest questions
So I have a few questions about Dragon Priests:
To begin with, why does Rahgot have a statue in the Bromjunaar Sanctuary? Rahgot and his followers were around in 1E 140, long after the fall of the Dragon Cult and Bromjunaar's abandonment. Yet, when you go back in time to the Sanctuary, he still has a bust on the shrine that was abandoned long before he was even born.
Remember that the Bromjunaar shrine is specific to the masks, not the priests themselves. Rahgot almost certainly recovered the mask that gave him his name at some point after the fall of the Cult.
I never thought about it that way. It would certainly explain a lot of things – it actually makes me think, maybe Konahrik was never an actual person. Maybe it was just a mask that could be accessed in times of need, and returned when it had been used.
Krosis. What's up with this guy? What's he doing on Shearpoint? His coffin is just sitting on top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere, in a relatively easily accessed site. It just looks like some people dragged the coffin up to Shearpoint and then said "well, let's just leave it here" and left. Volsung is in a similar situation, but the only path to his mountaintop is through a giant barrow clearly dedicated to him. All the other Priests are buried deep inside massive tomb complexes, with lots of shrines, ornaments, traps, and draugr. Did the Dragon Cult go over budget and have to forgo making his tomb? Did he offend them in some way? The guy doesn't even get a monumental wall carving.
Bit of a WMG, but maybe he DID have a temple complex at one point, but now all that's left of it is his coffin.
Dragon priests are clearly established as intelligent lichs whose souls are fully bound to their mortal bodies, unlike the husk-like draugr. Morokei and Hevnoraak both speak to you in dragon and English before you fight them. They are obviously both exceptionally clever and deeply bound to the way of the dragons. Why, then, don't they have shouts? Even mid-level draugr can use Unrelenting Force, and the Deathlords get Disarm, Frost Breath, and others. Yet these Dragon Priests, high lords of the Dragon Cult, rely wholly on magic and don't even get a simple FUS to their name.
This one is actually quite simple. Magic takes extensive training. The Thu'um takes even more extensive training. Mortals only really have time to devote to studying one or the other; Felldir the Old is the exception, it would seem. To wield tremendous magical power, one has to devote time to studying that magic, time that wouldn't allow for the Dragon Priests to also study the Thu'um in any meaningful way.
That actually makes a lot of sense. Thanks!
[[comicallymissingthepoint Dragon priests are wearing masks, so you can't see their faces. QED.]]
Why are all the Dragon Priests male, while Draugr are relatively even in gender?
Some undocumented rule of the Dragon Cult, most likely.
Are there dragon attacks all over Tamriel?
They don't mention attacks in Cyrodiil or Morrowind, yet Alduin is called The World Eater, so shouldn't be dragons be attacking across Nirn?
There's no indications that dragons are attacking elsewhere. Remember that you pretty much interrupt Alduin during the initial phases of his plan (i.e. build a huge dragon army by resurrecting them) so the later stages of the plan, which would include chomping down on the whole of Nirn, would come later. Dragons might have crossed borders into other parts of Tamriel, but most of them seem to keep to Skyrim itself, either because they prefer Skyrim, or because Alduin is keeping his soldiers in Skyrim to consolidate his power before moving further afield.
Dragon corpses are also much more common in skyrim then in the rest of Tamriel. Plus, wizards are much more common outside Skyrim and Alduin is based out of Skyrim. The lesser amount of dragons in other regions would be taken down much quicker, and resurrection would take quite a while, since Alduin would have to fly all the way to another region, which would take several days, even at the speed of a dragon. He may as well not have bothered at all. Other dragons are unlikely to leave skyrim as well for that reason, as it would mean flying away from mister resurrection. They just spent a few thousand years in the ground, I doubt they want to go back, even if its only temporary. On the other hand, following the defeat of Alduin by the dragonborn, it's pretty possible that the dragons fled skyrim en masse. After all, staying in the same region as a hungry dragonborn is not a good idea.
Well, Solstheim is officially part of Morrowind and the Dragonborn can get attacked by Dragons there, though it was historically Skyrim's before Red Year. It also seems to have a geographically-distinct type of Dragon (the Serpentine) as well which respawns at Solstheim's only dragon lair of Saering's Watch. So it appears that there are indeed Dragon incursions into the other provinces, if only by their proximity to and historical association with Skyrim.
Fridge Brilliance, actually. Alduin gains power by feeding on souls, but apparently limits that to souls from Shor's realm, Sovngarde. (Probably due to his connection to Akatosh, he can't/won't challenge him in Aetherius, where most souls go, but that doesn't extend to Akatosh's enemy, Shor). So who goes to Sovngarde? Nords. Where are you going to be able to kill the most Nords and thus get the most souls in Sovngarde to recharge your power? Skyrim.
What is Adrianne?
Her dad is a Nord (though If I remember right, race is inherited by the mother) and Mikael's book states her as such, but she's dark-skinned and explains that the Stormcloak-aligned guards don't buy from her. Is she a dark-skinned Nord?
Imperial. Her dad is also an Imperial. Their last name is Avenicci....
Adiranne is an Imperial (who run between caucasian to middle-eastern in ethnicity), and so is her father, Proventus Avenicci. Hence, why Stormcloak guards don't buy from her, since she is considered part of the Empire they just rebelled against. Her husband is Nord, though. Why Mikael wrote that she was an Imperial; well, development happens in different stages accross a whole team of people. Perhaps, at one point, she was a Nord, and a writer wrote Mikael's journal as if she were. When her race changed later in development, that single journal out of the thousands was overlooked.
He also calls Carlotta Valentia a Nord lass (Again Imperial), so maybe he's just really accepting and calls everyone who lives in Skyrim "Nord".
It's also possible he just can't tell the difference. Mikael's not the sharpest tool in the shed.
The Vigiliants and Orcs
What's the Vigilant of Stendarr's position on Orcs and the Orc-strongholds considering they are openly worshiping Malacath the daedric prince?
Malacath is one of the "Not really that bad" Daedric Princes that is considered a gray area, like Meridia and Azura. So they're not going to do much than give them stern glares while more serious threats abound. The Vigilants only target immediate threats to innocent life, like vampires, werewolves, and the aggressive, violent cultists of Daedric Princes like Mehunres Dagon, Boethiah, Molag Bal, etc. A bunch of Orcs keeping to their own strongholds who worship Malacath are extremely low on their priority list.
Malacath also isn't always counted among the Daedric Princes- the other princes even don't consider him one, and most orcs seem to think of him simply as their god, outside the context of the aedra/daedra divide.
Plus, apparently Vigilant-aligned NPCs are programmed to have a negative disposition towards Orc characters, just not to the point where they're outright hostile.
I would imagine their opinion of the Orcs is not good. But at the moment there's not much the Vigilants can do about it without putting the Strongholds under siege, and that would be quite a challenge for them.
Serana and feeding
How is it that Serana went so long without feeding with no adverse affects? Oblivion showed that just a few weeks without feeding was enough to drive vampires to madness with hunger- Serana went without blood for centuries.
Serana was kept in a magically-sealed container with the intent to keep her locked away for an extended period. She's essentially been in the vampire equivalent of suspended animation.
Serana's vampirism came directly from Molag Bal, which makes her inherently superior to all other vampires. Perhaps one of the additional blessings includes not requiring constant feeding to remain sane, which seems very likely considering her mother was just fine after centuries of isolation. Presumably, Serana could start feeding to gain some additional powers, but chooses not to either because she thinks the Dragonborn wouldn't approve (if Dawnguard) or because she isn't evil.
Why did the Greybeards train Ulfric?
Did he possess some quality which differentiated him from the others who made the trip to their abode, like Balgruuf? The Elder Scrolls wiki on his page says Ulfric began his training as a boy. Was it because a boy climbed the 7,000 steps that the Greybeards took him in?
They presumably test everyone who asks to be trained for worthiness via some unknown method and Ulfric passed. Note that by most accounts at that time Ulfric really wasn't that interested in taking his father's place as Jarl. It's possible Ulfric really did want to become a Greybeard, only leaving later when he found out it wasn't for him because he couldn't let go and ignore the stuff going on outside High Hrothgar. Lastly, Ulfric himself notes: "Any Nord can learn the Way of the Voice by studying with the Greybeards, given enough ambition and dedication." So maybe he just convinced them?
Also, I don't think Balgruuf ever implied he had any intention of actually training with the Grey Beards, just that he made the pilgrimage up the Seven Thousand Steps. It's completely possible that Balgruuf did it just to do it, for the spiritual experience.
Lazy Whiterun guards
After the player goes on a revenge mission against the Silver Hand for Aela, what were the Whiterun guards doing when the group attacked Jorrvaskr in retaliation? How did they manage to make it that far within the city gates?
They presumably walked in peaceably until they reached Jorrvaskr, then drew weapons and attacked. They may have used disguises, or simply passed themselves off as sellswords or traders or something else to bypass the guards.
Except Sellswords & Traders aren't currently allowed to enter Whiterun (Remember how you were only allowed in because you had to talk to the Jarl about dragons?). Same reason for the Alik'r whom you see being denied entry.
No they're not. If they were, Whiterun wouldn't be getting any new products in and the shopkeepers wouldn't be able to restock. Whiterun only temporarily barred traders and other travelers entry because of the dragon threat, and once you've finished "Dragon Rising" that ends. They can't be permanently barring people entry because Whiterun is the primary trading hub of all of Skyrim. And, worst comes to worst, the Silver Hand could just bribe their way past the guards just like you can.
Maybe they found the secret entrance in the underforge.
Another possibility is the Silver Hand told the Whiterun guards that they are werewolf hunters (which is true) and were investigating werewolves in the area. The guards may have let them in due to the Dragonborn's transformation. Even if the player chose not to kill anyone or even move around too much, a good deal of noise was made during the change into a werewolf if the regular transformation sequence is any indication. After all, a low level Speech option about Dragons gave the Dragonborn access to the city. Maybe the Silver Hand did the same thing but with werewolves.
So if Talos holds the world together...
...how did Nirn survive all these millenias before he came about? All things considered, his ascension to godhood is recent. Furthermore, this "Talos as the protector of the world" deal kinda seems to clash on the accounts of him we find in Daggerfall, especially from Zurin Arctus, the Underking, who personally knew the man, and was betrayed by him. Heck, even in Skyrim we meet this one ghost who has been waiting forever for Talos (At the time, called Hjalti Early-Beard) to fulfill an oath he made, which Talos seems to have not felt the need to complete. Heck, by these accounts, Talos really was kind of a dick, maybe the Thalmor do have a point in eliminating worship of him.
Talos is a thing that holds the world together (and it has nothing to do with him being a good man, except for that Man bit - seeing the world as a Good Thing being a rather Mannish thing). At the time of Talos' ascension, there were several more Towers (like Red Mountain) operating, and those too are things that hold the world together. In short, Talos holds the world together, but he's not alone in that — and he was even less alone when he became a god (one can also make guesses about Lorkhan, just how dead he is and was, and what it means that Talos took his place in the pantheon).
Again, where do these claims that Talos holds the world togheter/is an aspect of Lorkhan come from? I am curious coz I've yet to see any book claiming that, so I'd like to know which one I'm missing. And none of the TES wikis contain those claims either.
Just a quick note while I look for more citing: the claim of Talos-as-Lorkhan-aspect can be found on UESP (which does have its flaws, but is generally more reliable than the other TES wiki)'s page on Shezzarine.
As mentioned above, Talos is an aspect of Shor, which is an aspect of Lorkhan. Godhood is....weird, and kind of fluid.
Shor and Lorkhan are different people? Shor isn't just another name for Lorkhan?
Like I said: godhood is weird.
And to be fair to Talos/Hjalti, I think the implication is that he and the ghost planned to take the oath after the battle, but then he was killed in action. The guy can probably be forgiven for not waiting around to see if one of his dead friends would come back as a ghost just to take the oath.(Especially since I think that battle was the one he learned he was a dovahkiin, so he probably had other stuff on his mind.)
Long-Term survival for Stormcloak Skyrim
Long-term survival for a successfully seceded, Stormcloak Skyrim. How does that even work? First, succession. Allowing that Ulfric is a competent, effective leader of an entire province and will live out his natural span (by which I mean no untimely assassinations, illnesses, or injury etc.)—he's got to be at least in his 50s and has no apparent heir. Military power and charisma is how he would become ruler of Skyrim, and those administrations in the real world built on that tend not to be lasting regimes even when there's some idea of how succession will work out. Second, infrastructure. Ralof refers to "Imperial walls", and IIRC the roads at the least are built and maintained by the Empire, possibly also other infrastructure elements we don't see much of in the game but probably would still exist, like water management. It seems to me that an autonomous Skyrim would not have the resources, money, or civil administrative structuring in place to effectively maintain the infrastructure and subsequently the lifestyle built during their time under imperial rule. Third, the Dominion. Ulfric expects to successfully resist a power that forced the entire empire to do as it wished, and do it on his own? *How*? And he *would* be alone, Skyrim's prospects for outside alliances are not exceptionally fruitful: In-game dialogue establishes that High Rock wants little to do with Stormcloak Skyrim. Cyrodiil is obviously not an option. While Valenwood and Elsweyr share Skyrim's hatred of the Thalmor and desire to hurt them, their ability to provide meaningful aid is unimpressive because one, neither of them are resource-rich or centralized/urbanized enough to effectively and efficiently direct the resources they do have to Skyrim, two, they're severely handicapped getting aid *to* Skyrim—their choices are marching overland through a Cyrodiil that is at peace (technically) with the Dominion and at loggerheads with Skyrim, or attempting to sail through Thalmor-controlled waters and past Thalmor-controlled ports—and three, once they *got* there I can't imagine that "we hate elves"/"khajiit are not allowed inside our cities" would endear them to these allies. And Black Marsh and Morrowind might be willing to ally with an independent Skyrim, but not a Stormcloak Skyrim, headed by a man who has dunmer live in ghettoes and argonians live on the docks. Hammerfell would be the best bet for an ally, and even then they have very different views on Talos and are already at war with the Dominion—who knows how much help they can spare. In essence while I can see the moral and ideological reasons for an autonomous Skyrim to exist, I just don't understand how it could be a stable entity.
a) Ulfric is not so old as to not be a father, and even if he doesn't the position High King isn't strictly hereditary: the King is selected from the current Jarls, almost all of whom would favour an independent Skyrim by that point. b) What precisely makes you think Skyrim doesn't have the resources to manage itself? Or that the Empire does? Those roads, those cities and villages, existed long before the Empire and will likely exist long after, it's not beyond the Jarl's abilities to maintain them - they aren't exactly Roman highways. As for the "Imperial walls", given the state we find most forts, even the occupied ones, I doubt the empire put much effort into maintaining them. c) Ulfric does not count on friendship to get allies. Everybody hates Alinor right now, and the enemy of my enemy is a potential ally (and not much more).
Succession: Succession in Skyrim is dependent on who the Jarls elect as High King during the Moot, not hereditary. Jarl positions are traditionally heriditary, though as we see in-game, they can easily be forced by whoever has military supremacy. Since every Jarl at that point backs Ulfric, they'll elect a successor who will likely share his views. Probably a Silver-Blood.
Infrastucture: All infrastructure we see in Skyrim is supplied and maintained by the Jarls of each Hold. Very little of it is Imperial; in fact, Imperial control is relatively hands off in most of its provinces as a whole. The Empire mostly provides military might and a central governing body that keeps the provinces unified. The fortresses are referred to as "Imperial" because they're manned by Imperial troops.
The Dominion is a mutual enemy of every single nation on Tamriel (save Valenwood and Elsweyr, which are actually part of the Dominion). They can't move into Skyrim overland because every overland approach is occupied by either Imperial or hostile independent forces like Hammerfell or Black Marsh. They won't have an easy time approaching by sea because the Empire will still have naval forces operating around the western, eastern, and southern seas thanks to High Rock and Morrowind. Attempting any hostile action against Skyrim will result in passing through hostile Imperial land or sea holdings. Just because the Empire is technically at peace with the Dominion doesn't mean they're going to allow military access; they're chafing enough as it is with mere justiciar presence. And note that while the Empire did sign a peace treaty with the Dominion, this was only after the Dominion's armies were annihilated at the Battle of the Red Ring and driven from the Empire.
Allies: The Dominion is hostile to everyone on Tamriel save their client states. If the Dominion attacks Skyrim, they'll have to pass through hostile territory to reach it, which will result in a second Great War, which would likely result in an alliance of necessity between the various nations against Dominion aggression.
High Rock is ambivalent towards anything to do with Cyrodiil if they're willing entertain emissaries of a rebellion. After the Stormcloaks win the war, there's no reason to assume they wouldn't throw their lot in with what would be essentially the most powerful human kingdom on the face of the earth. Hammerfell may have religious differences with Skyrim, but that doesn't mean there can't be an alliance. If anything, the similarities they have in political views will be enough to make one. Hell, you can find a book in game written by a Redguard diplomat visiting Skyrim and his opinion of the Nords is very positive. Nevermind the multitudes of Redguard throughout Skyrim who have integrated themselves into Nordic society. As for infrastructure? Very little of Skyrim's infrastructure is maintained by the Empire. The majority of it is overseen by the Jarls and Thanes and freefolk of the holds. Skyrim is not a feudal society - chieftains derive power from their people, like the medieval Norse the Nords are inspired by, and each hold pretty much looks to itself to get by.
Whether or not Cyrodiil is a viable option as an ally boils down to one question; how pragmatic is Titus Mede II(or his heir, should you complete the dark brotherhood questline)? Whatever resentment may exist after the rebellion, it's ultimately in the Empire's interests to support Skyrim's independence once it's won.
At that point, however, the Empire will have lost at least one Legion(If not more) to the Stormcloaks as well as their top military mind in Tullius, who would have been more than useful if hostilities were to resume in the near-future(which it's implied that they will when you speak with Tullius). Whether Titus is assassinated or not(which is probably a yes, considering that Bethesda generally Word Of Gods that someone, not necessarily the player character, performed a guild's questionline), the Empire is going to be completely destroyed by the end of the Stormcloaks gaining Skyrim's independence. High Rock will be entirely separated from Cyrodiil without Skyrim and Morrowind, while rebuilding, is still pretty much a smoking ruin as a result of the Argonian Invasion and at the mercy of a now-volatile volcano. And that's not mentioning the fact that Cyrodiil was still recovering from the devastation of the Great War by the time of Skyrim, having had every city in the province sans Chorrol, Bruma, and Cheydinhal completely sacked by the Dominion(which also reportedly committed huge atrocities on the Cyrodiilic populace in the process) while Skyrim was relatively untouched by the carnage wrought by the Thalmor. So how is the Empire going to replace the legions they lost to the Thalmor as well as against the Stormcloaks when their only remaining provinces consist of a sparsely-populated province that's still rebuilding after being utterly destroyed and their home province which still hasn't recovered from the Great War, especially when I bet Mede was really counting on Skyrim's untouched and unscathed populace(as well as High Rock, who is now severed from the Empire as a result of Skyrim's independence) to help replenish the Legions in time for the second war. So what good will Cyrodiil be able to do other than offer sparse, pathetic resistance to the inevitable Dominion conquest, having lost their best commanders, a large chunk of what remained of their forces from the Great War, and their Emperor to boot? And whose to say that Cyrodiil would help even if they could, considering how much blood and treasure they'd lost to Ulfric's pettiness?
Let us discuss "Retaking Thirsk". You do everything right. You drive out the Rieklings, you spare Bulja, you ultimately win the day...and yet Kuva still hates you if you tell him the truth about Hrothmund's judgement, despite the deceit being entirely on Bulja's head, not yours. Ungrateful Bastard much?
His reasons for disliking you are spelled out plainly; you killed his woman. Regardless of whether or not you were justified, anyone would be angry over that.
Except that even if you spare Bulja and later tell Kuva the truth of Hrothmund's judgement, he still blames you entirely and hates you for it, despite the fact that the only guilty party in all of this was Bulja. (Well, her and the Rieklings, but they were already dead at this point)
In that instance, he's angry at you for being a dishonourable liar and backing the unworthy chieftain.
A lot of people do shoot the messenger. Keep in mind, Bulja was his wife. She was the love of the life. His principles ultimately led him to banish her but there's still no doubt a part of him that wishes he didn't do it and he hates you not for your actions specifically but for giving him a dilemma in which there was no way to win. Let her stay and he knowingly allows a bad leader to govern their clan but still gets to remain with the love of his life. Banish her and he loses the person he cares about most but follows tradition and keeps his clan strong. He takes out his frustration on you and it's something that happens often in real life.
Ulfric and the Thalmor
Is Ulfric seriously secretly aligned with the Thalmor?
Frig no. If you're referring to the dossier, they were specifically saying that they were manipulating him into starting the Civil War to waste the resources of Skyrim and the Empire during the struggle. They also point out either side winning would be bad for them, and if that's the case Ulfric would not be trying to actually win. The fact that the Thalmor are driven out of Stormcloak territory and Ulfric tells Elenwen to shut up to her face and call her "that Thalmor bitch" should make it clear that he hates them. What made you think otherwise, if you don't mind me asking?
Soultrapping the Dragonborn
So Dragonborns have Dragon Souls. It's the whole point and the entire story revolves around this. And Dragons are immune to Soultrap from both regular soul gems, Black Soulgems, and even from Azura's Star / The Black Star. Yet Serana, with seemingly no difficulty, can partially soultrap the player in a black soulgem. She doesn't even mention it being harder than usual. Just bam, same special effect as when you soultrap anything (It doesn't even cause your soul to fly out of you like when one sucks out a dragon soul or Miraak's soul). So how does she do that? And furthermore, if one can just casually soul trap part of a dragon's soul in a black soul gem, then why is the Dragonborn needed at all? The Blades could just have used the process repeatedly on every dragon they met (Soultrapping their souls bit by bit till none's left). Alduin's shout ain't going to do anything if the Souls are stuck in soul gems. Why look for Reman and pledge undying loyalty to one dude?
Several reasons why that would be a bad idea. 1: We don't even know if it would work. The Dragonborn may have the soul of a dragon, but they still have the body of a mortal, and that may or may not influence the outcome.
2: Both times the Dragonborn has been soul-trapped, they did it willingly. A dragon is certainly not going to just stand there while you repeatedly cast soul-trap on it.
3: Both times, the Dragonborn was soul-trapped while they were still alive, again because they did it willingly. Under normal circumstances, the victim must be dead.
4: Even if, hypothetically, a dragon could be soul-trapped, the only thing that could possibly carry even a fragment of the soul would be a black soul gem. Or maybe even a colossal black soul gem (from Oblivion) could carry the entire soul. Several problems there.
A: Black soul gems are extremely illegal, and to carry one is to be branded a necromancer.
B: They're ridiculously rare, and there are thousands of dragons. Add in the fact that even the weakest dragon might need multiple soul gems, and there lies the problem.
C: Following up on the rarity, there are only two known ways to create black soul gems. The first is to take a grand soul gem (also ludicrously rare) to a shrine in Cyrodiil, wait for some celestial event that only happens every ten days, and cast soul trap on the shrine with the soul gem in it, which would take way too long and use up resources. The other is to offer a grand or greater soul gem at a shrine in the Soul Cairn. It should be obvious what's wrong with that scenario.
Cooking with Salt
Why do you need salt to make just about anything? I mean, sure, makes sense for the soups, but do you really need salt to heat up a chunk of meat?
Read the Salt-cured meat entry. Given the tech level of TES, salting meat was the only method of preserving it, and considering you might literally go years between cooking a venison chop and eating it, salt-curing would be a handy explanation to why it's still safe to eat. The game just considers curing the meat to be a part of the cooking process.
I dare you to pick a cooking book and find a recipe that doesn't ask salt, mandatory or facultative, even just a bit. Heck, even sweets require a tiny bit of salt, just to make sure it doesn't turn up oversugar-y! It's not videogame logic, it's common sense.
But I can also have the raw meat lying around in my pocket/on the floor for years with no trouble.
Hi there. Welcome to videogames.
About the Transmute spell. Wouldn't turning iron into silver and silver into gold horrifically reduce the value of all gold on Nirn?
It would if it were widespread, but there are precisely two copies of the Transmute spell in the whole game. Evidently the power to transmute base metals into gold is nearly as rare in Skyrim as it is in real life.
I've seen mage bandits talk about how wizards "have that secret magic. Turn wood into gold." So it would seem to be something of a rumor even among mages- though bandits in general aren't a particularly educated lot. It's also likely that it's something that would be tempered, at least on the "iron into silver" front, being that while iron may not be worth nearly as much, in practical terms, it' considerably more useful.
Why are Volundrung and Spell-Breaker considered Daedric artifacts when they weren't made by Malacath and Peryite respectively? They were made by the dwemer. The Oghma Infinium and Mysterium Xarxes at least make sense because Xarxes specifically wrote those books for Hermaeus Mora and Mehrunes Dagon respectively.
Not all of the daedric artifacts were crafted by the daedric prince they're associated with(Hercine's Savior's Hide, for instance, is said to have been crafted by Malacath). It could be that Malacath and Peryite assisted the dwemer in crafting the hammer and shield, or that they took them from dwemer they defeated as trophies.
As can be seen in dragon skulls (especially in the loading screens), dragons' teeth (mostly in their mandible) curve forward, instead of backward or straight up like other predators. Is there any biological or aedric reason for this to make sense?
Maybe their teeth can flex in and out like a great white shark.
Not being normal, biological animals means they may not have any need for "food" as we know it. The teeth, instead of being for practical eating purposes, are there simply to look terrifying.
Maybe they make for a better biting attack? Or, like it was said above, maybe even timeless beasts from beyond the void are bound by Rule of Cool
It sucks that I can't harvest "mammoth" tusks from the mammoths/mastodons that are already dead. It's understandable when it's a trophy in the Pelagius wing (they probably replaced the tusks with artificial ones), and maybe when I come across a mammoth that was dragged into a fort and butchered by bandits (two or three of the tusks were missing; maybe they could tell that the tusk[s] they left were mystically unusable, but they should have still been worth their weight in ivory). However, a mammoth skull that still has all its tusks just lying around on its own or with the rest of a mammoth should be harvestable. The same arguably goes for Small Antlers from deer skulls (although not all bucks and elk carry Small Antlers even when they totally have antlers). Is there a reason given in-game for this, or is it the same reason the developers didn't bother making all mer skulls that can be found obtainable and instead made some of them immobile and others movable, unobtainable scenery?
Doylist explanation: There are so many other sources for mammoth tusks (Halted Stream Camp alone has eight tusks lying around) that it just wasn't worth it. Making all those mammoth skeletons interact-able would use up processing power (probably not a lot, but a significant amount) for no good reason. Watsonian explanation: Aside from the Ivory Dragon Claw we never see anything made of ivory in Skyrim, so presumably the only use the people of Skyrim have for mammoth tusks is potion/spell ingredients. Maybe the tusks from those exposed mammoth skeletons have "gone bad" and can't be used anymore. They are visibly brown.
(For the record, Drifa is the wife of Bersi Honey-Hand, owner of the Pawned Prawn in Riften.)
In a random conversation, Bersi will sometimes ask Drifa why there is an entry for "spices" in the accounting books of their shop. Drifa acts like she doesn't know what he's talking about, even though it was in her handwriting, and then suddenly "remembers" that it was a special order for Whiterun. Naturally this struck me as very suspicious (my immediate thought was skooma smuggling) but there are no quests associated with this comment and it never comes up again. What was this all about?
Was Ysgramor also Dragonborn?
I ask only because the The Seven Fights of The Aldudagga seems to imply as much - "These were the days of Ysgrim... [whose] breath was weighted with power sounds". Later lines of the text then confirm that Ysgrim is indeed Ysgramor. Now, the Nords only learned the Thu'um from Paarthurnax and other defectors (according to Nordic legends, anyway), Ysgramor was around long before the Dragons enslaved mankind so he couldn't have learned the Dragon Shouts that way, right?
Could you give a link to that piece of Lore? I've never seen that book in the game and the Elder Scrolls wiki doesn't mention any text with that title.
Very difficult to say for sure. Much of the Merethic Era is still unknown. In fact no piece of Lore can nail down a specific date for the Dragon War or Ysgramor's original arrival in Tamriel. Miraak is canonically the First Dragonborn so if Ysgramor was also Dragonborn he must have come after Miraak. (Perhaps there is a lost chapter of Ysgramor's life where he trained to be a Dragon Priest?) However Ysgramor wouldn't have to be Dragonborn to use the Thu'um. It's possible that Paarthurnax was mistaken and other mortals (other than Dragon Priests, obviously) learned to use the Thu'um before he turned against Alduin. We know that Tsun can use the Thu'um and he seems to have been a very pro-human deity. He may have passed along some knowledge of the Thu'um to the ancient Nords (maybe even to Ysgramor himself) at some point. Of course that's all assuming that Ysgramor could use the Thu'um at all and that one line from The Seven Fights of The Aldudagga isn't just a metaphor or a blending of one myth into another.
Why does the All-Maker Stone of the Beast give you the ability to conjure Werebears when they are an unnatural Daedric creation not of the All-Maker?
I think the title spells it out.
Werewolfism is stated to be a creation of Hircine. I don't recall it ever being established that Werebearism also comes from Hircine.
According to Wulf when you ask him about it, werebears are "twisted beasts of Hircine".
I imagine it's something like Solomon's summoning demons to help build the temple.
Depending on which version of Christianity you ascribe to, or which of the three Abrahamic Religions, 'demons' may not be entirely evil.
If Serana wears the hood to protect herself from the sun, even though the sun doesn't kill vampires outright (just weakens them), then logically she'd want to protect ALL of her skin. So what's up with the Cleavage Window? I want to say it's just because it's supposed to be sexy, but given her personality and also the fact that it's not even a big one, I don't think that's the case.
Clothing can't protect vampires from the sunlight. If you are a vampire you'll be weak to sunlight no matter what clothes you wear. Serana's hood is most likely to protect her eyes from the bright light. She has been locked up in a cave for a few thousand years, after all. They're bound to be a little sensitive.
It's there because she doesn't like the sun. She continues to wear the hood even after becoming human. She just doesn't like the light in her eyes.
This has been bugging me since the first ES game I ever played. Why are there so many utterly useless items in the game? Embalming tools, linen wraps, various bits of dwemer junk (I know some of these can be smelted into ingots, but most of them can't), musical instruments, and my GOD all the buckets, baskets, and miscellaneous tableware and kitchen items (tankards, bowls, etc.). They're only worth a tiny amount of gold so there's no use collecting and selling them. Why do these things exist as "grabbable" items? Why aren't they just part of the scenery? I can't possibly count the number of wooden plates I've accidentally stolen while trying to scoop up a bunch of loose gold or alchemy ingredients off someone's dinner table, and it frustrates me every time. Is that what these items are for? Are the developers just trolling me?
Because there's more stuff in the world than just things that are explicitly useful to player characters.
Verisimilitude and role-playing (and an Unpleasable Fanbase which would complain if the items couldn't be picked up) are why most items can be obtained. I, for one, carry around a cup and wooden bowl (the same cup and wooden bowl, assuming a first-in, last-out system) even though I don't actually need them to eat. I see a lot of complaints about "why didn't the game's makers code the game precisely to my own preferences?" (such as, in a forum, a very capitalized "Why do they even put money in burial urns? I never look in burial urns because there's never more than a couple of gold in them! It's just a waste!"), although I'm sure everyone's had a complaint like this even if they didn't voice it (for example, I posted [paraphrased] "What's the deal with leaving unobtainable mammoth tusks all over the place?" higher up on this page). I think it was pruent of them to make so many things obtainable- not just "I like it" but "the people who complain about it have less of a point than if people complained about only the super-important things being obtainable" (and I'm quite glad that they didn't make it necessary to have an empty wooden bowl for every bowl of soup you make, and a spoon to eat soup. Just because I like roleplaying minor things like that doesn't mean I like the game forcing me to roleplay minor things like that).
The problem I have with the verisimilitude argument is that by making some of these items obtainable it only calls attention to many other items which are not obtainable. Why can I pick up a small table fork, but not a large iron fork? Why can I pick up a jug, but not a candlestick? Why can I pick up a skull, but not a rib cage?
Shellbug Helmet: Why?
So the Dawnguard plug-in adds the Shellbug Helmet as a craftable armor piece. But why just a helmet and not an entire set of Shellbug Armor? It seems odd that they would throw in this one helmet with nothing else to go with it.
Harkon just lets Serana go?
So, if you reject Harkon's offer of vampirism, he lets you go, you head back to Castle Dawnguard, and Serana shows up, elder scroll in hand. Harkon's been waiting/searching for hundreds/thousands of years for her and that scroll, and he just lets her waltz right out the door with it and walk right into the lair of his sworn enemies?
Aside from Serana being familiar enough with the castle to slip out of the grounds - she's apparently very familiar with the layout of the tunnels and cisterns - she's also hostile to Harkon's vampires, and his vamps will attack her as well. That alone is a pretty strong indicator that Serana probably whacked a few guys on the way out.
In that sort of time period shoes were quite valuable compared to other articles of clothing.
My best guess is that a programmer was bored of having to fill the seven-hundredth room full of stereotypical medieval furnishings, and decided to screw around a little bit, both to amuse him/herself and whatever player stumbles upon it. Also, may be a Call Back to Fallout 3's Toilet Plunger Room, which had a similar odd abundance of worthless items.
Player Built Houses
Why are the player built houses so unsafe? All of them are located near something hostile, like bandits or a Nordic Barrow. Windstad is the worse, since it has two pirate ships nearby, two Nordic Barrows, and a hideout for the Dark Brotherhood nearby. Lakeview has necromancers and bandits for neighbors, with the bandits only a few feet from you. Heljarchen Hall is the least worst, but it still puts you next to two giant camps, a Nordic Barrow, and a Dwarven Ruin. Are these spots the only ones left because everyone knew they were unsafe to live, or are the jarls just messing with you?
You're in Skyrim. There's really nowhere safe that doesn't have a wall around it. All the truly safe areas have already been settled and secured by large numbers of people, or at least a decent-sized village. Anywhere else is wilderness.
Perhaps they know you're no normal adventurer. Those pirates, draugr, and giants might pose a threat to other people, but you? You kill dragons and eat their souls for breakfast. In fact that's probably why they make the offer specifically to you, even to the point of hiring a courier to literally track you across the country to let you know about it. Hell, they might even be using you as a kind of informal security measure. Sell you a plot out in a nearby dangerous area and all those nasty things will throw themselves at you instead of the town.
To buy and own property, you need to become a noble. At that point, I suspect that you're expected to be able to protect you and yours.
But even before you can buy a property the Jarls of the smaller holds will still send out letters specifically offering you the property. And those letters will find you even if you're hundreds of miles away or smack in the middle of nowhere. They want YOU living on their land.
Only the Jarl of Falkreath does that, and you can only buy the land after you clear a whole bandit base. Something that you presumably routinely do at that point in the game. Likely as motivation for you to stay and kill more bandits in his hold, or at least the ones refusing to pay him money.
Fair point, I was wrong about that. However the point still stands. Once you reach a certain level (the Elder Scrolls wiki says it's level 9) the Jarl of Falkreath will track you from one side of Skyrim to the other just to let you know the property is available. Now obviously he still requires you to pass a test, pay the fee, and become ennobled, but those are just formalities. At the end of the day, HE was the one who tracked YOU down. The other Jarls may not go to the trouble of tracking you across the country, but consider what you have to do to gain their favor. Wiping out a vampire lair and clearing out a temple of Vaermina worshippers can't possibly be the standard tests to become a minor noble in Skyrim. That's like making someone win a wrestling match with a grizzly bear before they can become an alderman. Nobody would bother applying. I submit that the Jarls can tell at a glance that you're not just some schmuck with a sword. So they tailor the test to fit your obvious Badassitude, and they offer you those plots of land in dangerous locations (where bandits, giants, and saber cats are known to wander freely) because they know you can handle it. You might even solve their bandit/giant/saber cat problem while you're out there.
Hell, in order to get the Morthal and Dawnstar properties, you have to wipe out a vampire lair and clear an entire temple of Orcs/Vaerminia worshippers, respectively, which proves to the Jarls that you're pretty damned badass to begin with.
There's a reason the land for each respective house was unowned until you came along. Most normal citizens wouldn't either couldn't afford the price or didn't want the trouble and risk. You, being the Dragonborn, see this plot of the land, surrounded by dangers, and think it would be a perfect place to build a house.
Thalmor in the Ratway
This really only applies when Riften's under Stormcloak control, but how did whole squads of Thalmor Justiciars manage to make it into the Ratway? The only way one can enter Riften's sewers requires entering the city proper and all the entrances have guards stationed close enough by so that the alarm could be raised. Whilst I understand that the Riften guards are indeed corrupt, I doubt any amount of bribe money could get past the Stormcloaks' sheer hatred of the Thalmor and whilst they could've gone in disguised, wouldn't large numbers of Altmer attempting to enter the city cause someone in the guard to get suspicious, considering the current political climate?
There are undoubtedly other ways into the city that aren't being watched by the guards, they just aren't accessible to the player. Indeed, it would be rather silly if the Thieves' Guild didn't have one or more secret entrances. Why bribe the guards at the front gate to ignore your stolen goods when you can sneak in and save yourself the cash? In this case I'm guessing the Thalmor probably came in through a sewer outflow pipe or something.
There's also the fact that they'd already slipped one spy into the city even before you got there, and that they had an informant and were able to grab another member of the Thieves' Guild in secret. There's likely a few guards on the Thalmor's payroll who would easily be able to look the other way to let them in.
On that note, when it comes to the Thalmor there's something that I don't think the game ever explores but would make sense here: Collaborators. Realistically there is no way the Thalmor could even begin to stamp out Talos worship in a province as large as Skyrim with only the token forces we see in the game. Unless, of course, they've managed to scare/brainwash a few non-Altmer into collaborating with them.
Mjoll and Riften
We all know Mjoll's hatred of Riften's corruption, so why Maven haven't gotten rid of her yet? I mean if she is Jarl she can literally order the town guard to capture her and execute her and Aerin at the square. Hell she could pull a favor and ask the Dragonborn to kill them both for her.
Because she's obviously not able to do anything about the corruption. If Mjoll was actually having any real effect on the Guild and Maven's profits, she would do something, but Mjoll's own frustrations with her inability to clean up the city indicate that she's ineffective and thus no threat to Maven.
Still, murdering her for amusement would be something that would exemplify the hopelessness of the situation and remind people of their place.
Maven doesn't give a fuck about that. She cares about her profits and nothing more. She's not some mustache-twirling evil-for-the-sake-of-evil supervillain. She won't kill someone just for her amusement.
She doesn't want to make a martyr; more of the oppressed citizens might band together and resist, and even if they don't succeed, they'd jeopardize her business, something she wants even less. Having someone continuously proving her ineffectiveness is better than acknowledging her as a threat and eliminating her. Besides, Maven isn't For the Evulz, and doesn't do things "for her amusement." It would change if Mjoll actually starts making progress in threatening her operations, but that's not happening now or anytime soon.
And she executes a shill who failed to shill, the only reason she is kept alive is for her to witness how hopeless it is. A better way would be to simply make Aerin disappear.
Again, it goes entirely against her characterization for her to be killing people in the streets. She's not going to execute people in the streets, when she can have the Guild ruin them without bloodshed or, if worst comes to worst, send the brotherhood against them. Maven doesn't care about making people "witness how hopeless it is." She's not a mustache-twirling villain. And making Aerin disappear would be the last thing she'd want to do, as that would quickly provoke Mjoll into a furious and expensive rampage against the entire Guild and Maven's empire.
In short, Maven is Genre Savvy enough to not do anything that'll risk the destruction of her empire. Plus, if she's been keeping tabs on you, she probably doesn't want to risk Mjoll recruiting you in helping to bring her down.