Headscratchers / The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

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     Gaius Maro's Patrol 
  • In the Dark Brotherhood quest line, you're tasked with killing Gaius Maro, a high-ranking member of the Emperor's personal bodyguard, as he makes his rounds inspecting the security of all of Skyrim's holds in preparation for the Emperor's visit. All of Skyrim's holds. Including the ones that are in open rebellion against the Empire. Including Windhelm, the capitol of the rebellion. Including The Palace of Kings, the headquarters of the rebellion. He walks right in, in full Imperial regalia. To check security. For the Emperor's visit. The Emperor that they are at war with. And nobody thinks this is weird.
    • It's not really that strange. Negotiations and diplomatic actions have to happen, and those can and often were carried out by kings, even in wartime. The were rules and customs to how war was fought, and if you want to negotiate in any reasonable manner you'd need to make accomodations for security for visiting dignitaries, even the ones you're at war with - especially if the visitor is a king. In that context, it's not really surprising that the Stormcloaks would allow a very small unit of Imperial officers into Windhelm to check to make sure things are safe for the Emperor should he come to negotiate. They'll be extremely unhappy to see them, but they'd be allowed into the city ahead of any negotiations to make sure that the Emperor might be safe.
    • This is backed up if you're at a certain point in the Dark Brotherhood questline. If the Emperor's ship is outside of Solitude when you're getting ready to attack Solitude as the Stormcloaks, Ulfric will refuse to attack Solitude while he's there for risk of harming him, as he doesn't want to risk all-out war. This would explain why the Stormcloaks would tolerate a Penitus Oculatus agent in Skyrim inspecting the defenses and security for the Emperor's visit. Ulfric may be a rebel, but he's a king who respects his fellow rulers.
    • Memetic as it's become, there's a reason the "This is madness!" "THIS IS SPARTA!" scene is such a big deal. Killing a duly-appointed messenger on a diplomatic mission has been a war crime pretty much since humanity developed the concept of war crimes.

     Lack of pre-existing lore about Miraak 
The dragonborn dlc which revisited Solstheim suddenly revealed existence of Miraak, yet in the Morrowind DLC Bloodmoon there was virtually nothing that alluded to the existence of a Dragonborn priest who once ruled Solstheim in the ancient past.
  • And? There wasn't a lot of lore about Alduin or the Dragonborn before Skyrim either, and Miraak existed back in the Mythic Era, where the records of entire wars and civilizations were lost. Its not surprising that there wouldn't be a lot of information on him, at least not information that was relevant in Bloodmoon.
  • Lore works differently in the Elder Scrolls universe than it does in most works. In most, lore is Word of God. It's unchanging, never rearranging, and static, until a retcon is needed. Elder Scrolls lore is more like real life "lore", aka history. For example, in an in-game book from several games, you can find mention of "Alduin" simply being the Nordic name of Akatosh. However, this is incorrect, as shown in game. However, this is not a retcon by any means. The book still is in Skyrim. The reason? The scholar was wrong. That's it. Although we don't see it, one must infer a language barrier that exists in-universe, as well as various racial egos and the fact that their myths often overlap, but also often conflict. Assuming one way or another can lead to that. So, a scholar hears about a Nordic dragon of time whose name is similar to Akatosh and they assume it's the same thing as the Khajiit cat-dragon of time whose name is similar to Akatosh, being different culture's interpretations of Akatosh. However, were they to hunt down really old stuff on the dragon cults and prophecies, they'd realize that Alduin is and is not Akatosh. This sort of issue pops up all over the Elder Scrolls universe, much like how our own understandings of our myths and history are sometimes fragmented or garbage. Remember, there's two backstories for Talos/Tiber Septim/Hyjal Early-Beard, and some scholars aren't actually certain he even had the Thu'um, just the help of the Underking to make it look like it. Furthermore, some scholars think "Talos" is an amalgamation of the souls of Talos, the Underking, and Talos' Imperial battlemage. Canon offers no answer, just in-universe debates. Likewise, Bloodmoon and Skyrim are centuries apart. In real life, the pyramids went from glorious monuments to being buried under tons of sand in only a few centuries, forgotten about for even longer and only dug back up fairly recently. Likewise, it's quite possible that nobody knew about Miraak, other than maybe a few Nordic legends of a cruel ancient ruler, if that. Remember, the era of the Dragon Priests and Alduin's reign are so far back that almost nobody knew that Alduin was a separate entity from Akatosh, and, as one of the loading screens reminds you, most people believed the dragons were but a myth. The issue with myths in the Elder Scrolls, as is show in in-game texts all the time, is that nobody really has any way of separating the myths from reality, because they live in a fantasy universe. In real life, nobody is going to believe that Zeus turned into a swan, fucked a woman and got her pregnant with his kid, because it's extremely fantastical. In the Elder Scrolls universe? The Aedra and Daedra, the "gods" and "demons" of their world, are a fact. Magic is a science like any other, although one viewed with suspicion by many, kinda like stem cell research in real life. Magic has rules and guidelines they've worked to discover for centuries. The Dwemer used magic to make basically underground steampunk a reality, complete with steam-powered airships. Basically, the lore is only as useful as a history textbook is for telling you the entire knowledge of Earth. Since so much is lost or hasn't been found yet, it might be good for the last several centuries, but that's it.

The Dragon Priests are stated to be waking up due to Alduin, but Morokei was awake well before that due to Savos Aren's backstory. Labyrinthian probably wasn't his burial spot, there is no tomb in the room he is found in, either. He also managed to get a hold of the Staff of Magnus, which was last seen in Morrowind. Why was he awake before the others? How did he get the staff?
  • Perhaps he was placed in a different burial spot near the Draugr because maybe his rank wasn't very high within the Dragon Cult and he was seen as equal to the Draugr, not really sure how else. There's plenty of ways to resolve the Staff of Magnus part, first of all not everything is accurately recorded in the Elder Scrolls Universe, many things appear out of no where. For me, I just imagine an adventurer fleeing from Morrowind with his prize, and he want to test it on certain creatures and he (unfortunately) tries to do it in Labyrinthian.
    • Also, about the waking up part, he may not have been a high rank within the Dragon Cult, but perhaps when he knew Alduin would fall, he used Necromancy to remain in a lich form.
    • Or as established by the college storyline, he survived so long due to the staff of magnus, which was a powerful enough artifact to hold the power of magnus who was an Aedra, who are the opposites of daedric princes.

     Solitude's climate 
  • 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.
    • Additionally, even with the fast travel point, entering the thieves' guild is a bit of a pain if you want to get new radiant quests (because you get them in the bar, which requires passing through two loading zones.) It would have been even worse without the fast-travel icon; possibly, that icon was added because testers complained.

     Icon filters 
  • 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.
    • You'd need to write a script that interfaces with the map and filters out those icons. From what I'm aware of, those icons are fundamentally built into the Skyrim engine as part of it's quest generation functions and location identification. Adjusting the interface to filter them out would likely be very difficult to implement without mucking about with the engine's underlying code. I know that when modding, you can choose to assign a location marker and fast-travel location to each location you create, but I'm not so sure about removing them from the map interface mid-game. The few mods I've seen that offer both locations with markers and without markers do so with separate .esp files that have to be enabled before launch, so I believe that in order to change from having a visible marker and no marker is something that has to be loaded into the game at launch as part of a plugin file. It can't be changed mid-game.

     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.
      • The simple and obvious answer: Dragon priests and draugr can survive for thousands of years, so the ones you meet are the originals. The dragon priests are referred to as being individual people in history. It's never stated or implied otherwise. The priests have dragon names, since they try to emulate dragons and because that was a language used by the dragon cult. Their names reflect their personalities and abilities, and the masks were given to them specifically to increase their power. That's why the priests and masks have similar traits.
    • 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!
      • 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.
      • How do you know they are? They're dead, and the robes are shaped so as to hide their forms.
    • Also I noticed one thing, note that when you get the masks they aren't named for example "Krosos' Mask", the are named again for example "Korsis" maybe the dragon priests (barring miraak for obviosu reasons) don't have names maybe the dragon priests ARE the masks.

     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.
      • Shor isn't Akatosh's enemy, he was Auri-El's. While Akatosh and Auri-El, along with Alduin, are part of the same oversoul (known as "Aka-Tusk" to the Nords, and "Borhamu" to the dragons), they are very distinct personalities from one another. Akatosh thought that Lorkhan's idea to create Mundus was pretty much the greatest idea ever, while Auri-El was the one who was duped and deceived by him and took his revenge. Basically, Akatosh is an aspect of the time god that was spliced with aspects of Shor when he was split from Auri-El (hence why he actually liked Lorkhan's plan and why he went insane when Auri-El and Trinimac killed Lorkhan).
    • It is possible that dragons may start showing up elsewhere, even after Alduin was defeated. If another dragon knows the Shout to resurrect a dragon, then they could also bring back their comrades. Parthurnaax might be willing to resurrect dragons that he thinks would be receptive to the Way of the Voice.

     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.
      • He also calls himself an Imperial, despite being a Nord.
      • Race is largely inherited through the mother. It's possible that the rather fair-skinned Carlotta is Nordic, but inherited her Imperial father's surname and identifies more as an Imperial than a Nord. However, in Adrianne's case, she's also married to a Nord, so maybe the more accepting residents of Whiterun consider her a "Nord-by-marriage." It makes sense if she's immersed in Nordic culture and has lived in Skyrim her whole life. She might look like an Imperial and answer to a very Imperial-sounding name, but otherwise she's pretty Nordic.

     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.
    • Another factor to consider is that what is true for one line of vampires is not necessarily true for another. There are literally hundreds of vampire lines, with each one having their own particular and unique characteristics. Some vampire lines don't even need to feed like other vampire lines do, they simply feed because it makes them stronger. The true, Molag Bal-created Vohlikar line is likely one of the latter types.

     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.
    • Ulfric did no convincing and, it would seem, had no choice in the matter. The Greybeards came to Windhelm, recognized his potential and asked if they could take him when he was a child. His father enthusiastically accepted, as the title of Greybeard is a tremendous honour. The strange thing is, though, why Ulfric's father would have so easily given him up, as Ulfric states that he's an only child...
      • Ulfric is a hidebound conservative Nord traditionalist from a city of hidebound conservative Nord traditionalists; its not a stretch of the imagination to think that Ulfric's father was the same way. So he enthusiastically hands his child over to the Greybeards because Nord traditions are that you respect the Greybeards, end of sentence. And hey, you can always have more kids.
    • Have my boy be merely heir to my throne, to take over upon my death? Or have my boy be among the Greybeards, who live atop the Throat of the World, one of our most spirtualist places in Skyrim, if not all of Tamriel? He probably thought Ulfric the Greybeard had more honor and glory in it than Ulfric the Jarl apparent.
      • Not to mention, the position of Jarl isn't necessarily hereditary. Many Jarls are succeeded by their children in times of peace, out of respect for the former Jarl, but it is hardly considered a position of nobility, as any Nord can become a Jarl through Authority Equals Asskicking.
  • For non-Dragonborn, the Voice is rather Awesome, but Impractical; it takes years of intense study to master even a single Shout, and most Shout effects can be effectively replicated by buying a spell tome from the local court mage. The Greybeards don't really use them for any practical purpose either, studying them for spiritual purposes more than anything. They probably don't have all that many people asking to train with them; they'd probably train anyone who asked and seemed sincere.

     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.
      • They clearly still are baring the entry after "Dragon Rising" as the Alik'r are denied entry, and their presence only triggers once "Dragon Rising" is finished.
      • The Alik'r are only being denied entry because one of them did something dumb/aggressive enough to land him in jail.
      • The Alik'r are the only example, and that's because they got the guards' attention; even Saadia points out that the Alik'r will likely be able to get in later on and may just bribe the guards to get them past. Regardless, Whiterun does continue to get new stock regularly, so traders are clearly passing through, and there's traffic passing through the gate regularly from the various farmers. Couriers also regularly pass through the gates. A few Silver Hand could likely get through without any immediate trouble.
    • 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.
      • It seems logical, especially since the players will have rampaged across town during his first transformation. "We're here to ferret out the werewolf that terrified everyone!" "Oh please come in!"

     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 and Hjalti are also not one in the same. Hjalti/Tiber Septim was certainly a dick, but Talos is a distinct being. Talos came into being and essentially did a huge Cosmic Retcon that made Hjalti Early-Beard, Zurin Arctus, and Ysmir Wulfharth essentially cease to exist and replaced them in history with a single entity known as "Talos", who was a mortal that ascended to godhood.
    • 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?
      • Shor is the Nordic aspect of Lorkhan. There's multiple aspects of Lorkhan, much like how there's multiple aspects of Akatosh and other gods. 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.)
    • The world is held together by Towers, not by Talos. Talos was not a Divine until the Warp in the West, i.e. the ending of Daggerfall - because Numidium did weird things to reality. Even then, Talos does not actually need statues or worship to continue existing. Talos only needs people to try to be like him and follow his way of life in order to continue existing.
      • Talos is strongly indicated to have taken Lorkhan's "place" in the cosmology of the Mundus after Auri-El "killed" him (though in the Elder Scrolls cosmology, "killing" a god is not really possible, you just end up separating him from aspects of his powers or making him go to sleep). Since Lorkhan was the one to help design and create the world and his divine spark fell to Nirn after his sundering by Auri-El, when Talos ascended and took his mantle up, he effectively became part of Lorkhan, and thus part of the construction of Nirn.
  • OR Talos and the Towers don't hold the world together, since the world did fine without them. In fact, Talos is just one religious view of many in the game, and the Towers are not mentioned in the games at all except in the completely different context of Alduin's Wall.
    • No, the Towers are mentioned in the games, and the world literally didn't exist in anything like it's current form before Direnni Tower was constructed by the Aedra. There's an entire article discussing the Towers on the UESP and how they appear in game canon.
    • Direnni Tower is an essential part of the structure of Nirn. Other Towers built after it were made in the image of that Tower, and like Direnni Tower, they help stabilize their parts of Nirn by shaping it with their own versions of the Law of the original Tower. In effect, Direnni Tower is the central support beam, while the other Towers are secondary support beams that help hold together the entire structure. They're important but not essential, unless you're trying to unmake the world, in which case you need to tear them down too to unmake the Mundus.
  • The bit about Talos being what holds the world together is mostly from Michael Kirkbride's statements on various Elder Scrolls lore communities.
  • Talos' importance to the structure of Nirn stems from at least part of the oversoul that formed him being from a Shezzarine, which is an aspect of Lorkhan. For all intents and purposes, Talos is assuming Lorkhan's position and power, and Lorkhan is deeply connected to Nirn and its structure. Keep in mind that two of the known Towers, Red Mountain and White-Gold, were formed from parts of Lorkhan's body (heart and blood, respectively).

     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.
    • Finally, there is one single, massive advantage that a Stormcloak-controlled Skyrim will have: the Dragonborn whose actions led to Ulfric taking command of it. Not to mention that said Dragonborn will have also journeyed to Solstheim and established relations with House Redoran, potentially reviving a second-era alliance between Nord and Dark Elf. That alliance would come just in time to enfranchise the large Dark Elf population that moved to Skyrim after the Red Year, bolstering their ranks even further. If Ulfric isn't as racist as his city seems to be, anyway...
      • 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?
      • If its taking them 25 years to even begin to stand up on their feet after a 4 year long war where they basically sacrificed one of their constituents and have since been beggaring the remainder with high taxation, they deserve to crash and burn in my opinion. And if Tullius was their last excellent military mind, they were never going to be much help in the inevitable second act, since Tullius honestly, despite the game's saying so (and bearing in mind that a lot of in-universe information in the Elder Scrolls is subject to bias and propaganda) is really not that good of a military leader. He has arguably the strongest military force at his disposal, and yet is locked in a perpetual stalemate with a guerrilla resistance movement, splitting the entire country down the middle, perfectly. Even if he did manage to kill Ulfric, that wouldn't have taken out the Stormcloaks, because their command structure would still be intact, the Jarls, Galmar and the other named officers leading the camps. Not that capturing Ulfric was an inspired stroke of military genius anyway, as he seemed to have done everything in his power to make it easy for him, exploring the extreme south of the country leading into Cyrodiil, and all. But given what they'd have left after the Stormcloaks win —
      • Okay, one legion may be destroyed, but then not even completely, the remainder will likely pick up and go home and be absorbed into the others (the Imperials have more than ten, IIRC). There would still be at least nine legions making up the Imperial army, all under likely competent generals. Tullius even states that he's continuously petitioning for reinforcements to meet the Imperials in battle, but is denied because his bosses want as many spare men as possible guarding the borders, watching for Dominion raids. So, no, they're passable militarily. Even if they do lose their absolute best infantry with the Nordic independence.
      • Titus's death has the possibility of actually turning out to be better for the Empire than bad, as it will likely allow someone more competent to take up the position of Emperor, the person ordering the assassination says as much, and cites the example of Pelagius Septim's assassination in the Temple of the One in 3E 41, eventually leading into the ascension of Kintyra Septim, whose rule was marked with much economic prosperity. Anyway, I wouldn't bet on the Empire falling into ruin because Skyrim secedes, worse things have happened to it, and it still endures.
      • Titus was the guy who was able to marshal his forces for the counterattack that drove the Thalmor out of Cyrodiil prior to the signing of the White-Gold Concordat. So I'm not entirely keen on saying his assassination will only be a good thing, as the sole black mark on his record is the Concordat, which was obviously made as a stalling action so he could recover his armies in time for the inevitable resuming of hostilities. In the case of Kintyra, she'd basically been running the Empire for years prior to Pelagius' assassination, and she didn't have a fractured, hanging-on-by-a-thread Empire to deal with, either.
      • Hyperbole. 25 years is a long time for anywhere to recover from a disaster. It may be that as a result of tax revenue from Skyrim and High Rock, provinces that have remained affluent and stable, that the Empire has managed to scrounge together enough finance to restore the main components of its damaged infrastructure. Also, Cyrodiil was never 'sparsely populated', it was ever the highly developed, cosmopolitan centre of oh so great Empire. So much so that its economic model was put in place in other provinces during the Third Era. Even if you want to argue that the destruction of southerly towns in Cyrodiil means that Cyrodiil is a smoking crater, it's still been 25 years for those cities to be rebuilt and refugees to come back, a new generation to be born, and life to spring anew.
      • The Thalmor don't have the man-power to avail the power the Empire gave to them. Even Tullius admits that the Thalmor can't do much in the provinces without the tacit approval of Imperial authorities. Particularly in Skyrim. They're the only thing keeping the Thalmor in it in the first instance.
    • And, even if Cyrodiil is a smoking ruin by the time of its independence, it would still ultimately be in the best interest of Cyrodiil to maintain good (or civil at least) relations with what essentially be the single most powerful human kingdom on the planet and their only connector with High Rock and what little remains of their failed Empire.
  • On a different note regarding Ulfric's competency as a leader of Skyrim - he is basically what all Nords would love in a king, which is to say a competent war-leader who is favoured by the gods and someone who could air out disputes between clans in an efficient way. Skyrim as a whole is... seemingly based off Scandinavian countries in the Early Middle Ages (to the extent to give it a stereotypical Viking flavour - the parts that aren't directly lifted from ancient Norse culture or Norse mythology are fairly standard medieval fantasy fair) where the ideas of what constituted a good king were battle-skill, fairness and generosity. Indeed, the very "institutions" you seem to be disparaging have only not worked out in the modern world due to being inorganically forced upon places that they were never intended for. In the mediaeval ages, particularly amongst Germanics, Might Makes Right wasn't just the norm, it was an enshrined, venerated and revered institution. Viking Age Scandinavia had dozens of kings spread out amongst the various territories that eventually became Norway, Sweden and Denmark, so decentralisation doesn't really hamper the formation of badass or effective armies. See the sons of Ragnar Lothbrokr. Even when people like Sveyn Forkbeard, Harald Fairhair or Harald Hardrada became kings of their respective countries, it was mainly through measures similar to what Ulfric does in the game. Especially in Hardrada's case, as he had no legitimate claim to Norway's throne whatsoever unlike Ulfric who has a perfectly valid claim to Torygg's throne after beating him in what was basically a holmgang. Ulfric wouldn't have to do any of the subtle economical micromanagement that we believe kings do, the other holds would basically look to their own with him just generally not caring so long as they honour their oaths to fight alongside him when they call. All Ulfric, or anyone else, would have to do as king would be a) keep the Jarls in line and make sure they don't get at their throats perpetually in feuding and b) lead the Nords to victory in battle. He would have already demonstrated his ability to do so with winning the civil war, and seeing as he has his warriors garrisoning the holds after he conquers them, I doubt he'll have any trouble with that. Even after he basically helps them rebuild their armies with Galmar as their trainer, Ulfric most likely would still have an army capable of taking on the rest of Skyrim and beating them bloody. So, he would likely have no trouble maintaining his legitimacy as king.

     Retaking Thirsk 
  • 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.
  • Better question is, why can't we be the Chief of Thirsk? Hrothmund must have really narrow vision if he can't see anybody worthy there. It's not a case of not allowing outsiders either, as it worked just fine in Bloodmoon. Admittedly, encouraging a bunch of losers to stop being losers isn't in the same league as slaying the Uderfrykte, we still kill dragons for a living, that's got to count for something.

     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?
    • It's more ambiguous than that. He indisputably worked with them in the past, and the Thalmor (according to the dosser) still consider him to be an asset, but an unreliable and potentially uncooperative one. In other words, he is aligned with them to the extent that he believes it will advance his own agenda (Nord independence, and his own personal desire to rule — which of these you feel is more important to him is, again, a matter of interpretation.) They're definitely not on the same side, and ultimately want opposing things, but their goals do align to a certain point. His public hostility to them may or may not be feigned (depending on how cynical you believe he is), but regardless it is necessary for anyone who wants to unite Skyrim under his control to at least feign offense at the Thalimor, given Thalimor unpopularity there. His backstory does make clear that he doesn't actually care about the core issue of Talos-worship and the white-gold concordiat — he only started to talk it up after events in the Reach (and, possibly, his Thalmor handlers explicitly telling him that the White-Gold Concordiat was intended to divide Skyrim from the rest of the empire) made him realize it was a good way to unite Skyrim under his control. From the Thalmor perspective, basically, he's like a tinpot dictator they're backing as part of an ongoing cold war with the Empire; and nothing in the game particularly contradicts this interpretation.
      • If by "worked with them in the past" you mean "broke under torture", then yeah, sure.
      • I'm sorry, but where is it "made clear" in his backstory that he doesn't care about Talos? I've played through the Stormcloak questline several times now, and I see no indication that Ulfric is nothing if not sincere about his beliefs, what given his tendency to rant emotionally to his obedient second-in-command about how much he loves his people. The bloody Markath Uprising doesn't mean anything - it's merely the first time he popped up on the Empire's wretched radar. He was most likely talking about Talos long before then. Hell, the town priest of Windhelm specifically mentions his piety when presented an off-hand question about the general religiosity of Windhelm's populace, so what the hell are you on about?
    • A bigger question is why haven't the Imperials publicized the fact that Ulfric was, at one point, a Thalmor agent? The dosser is indisputable evidence of that, and even if people would dismiss it the Imperials lose nothing by making the accusation. One possibility is that they don't want to offend the Thalmor while they have the civil war as a distraction, but it's odd that the game never remotely addresses it — you would expect to be able to at least run it past them if on the Imperial side, or to ask Ulfric about it if on the Stormcloak side.
      • Unfortunately, the dossier actually isn't "indisputable" evidence of that; the pro-Imperial Jarls are going to believe it, and the pro-Stormcloak Jarls are going to go "That's an Imperial forgery!", and there's no way to prove it either way to a skeptic because its not like forensic handwriting analysis exists in Skyrim. So it actually will be disputed, to hell and back.

    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.
    • Serana trapped a little bit of your soul - even less than the whole of a regular mortal's soul - and fed it to the Soul Cairn immediately. She never actually put it in a gem - Soul Trap has limited duration; if she hadn't given it to the Soul Cairn, your soul would have stayed put. Perhaps you can't put fractions of souls into a soul gem, or perhaps dragon soul fragments are powerful enough to escape soul gems.

    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.

     Gold Inflation 
  • 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.
    • Well, I personally think that inflation did happen. As I recall, horse is a thousand coins worth, and houses cost from 5 to 25 thousand coins. If we suppose that coins are made of gold, it is pretty high, and a coin, gold coin worth around a dollar or so. And you give several coins to beggars, while IRL many people, even not that poor, saw a gold coin once or twice in their lifetime, if they did at all. The value of coins shouldn't be totally reduced, as you need some iron ore and mana to convert it.
    • It's likely that the wizards who devised the Transmute spell only used it very sparingly. They were probably very aware of how dangerous it would be to flood the market with too much gold. Creating the Transmute spell in the first place was probably just a test to see if it could be done and wasn't intended as a way to actually make money.
    • Also take note that a gold bar in game is worth 100 gold, you specifically have to make it into something to actually make it worth something, maybe in the Elder scrolls universe, gold is super common, take our world for example, take note out of your wallet/purse/pocket, look at it, that small rectangle of fibre/polymer is apparently worth more than anything else, why? not because its particularly useful for anything, but because of what it can get you, gold is the same in the ES world (and here too unntil we realised it is a great conductor for electricity and heat)

     Daedric Artifacts 
  • 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.

     Dragon Teeth 
  • 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
    • Inward-curving teeth are mostly intended to hook and pull in prey to keep them from escaping, and work by crushing and tearing. While the dragons' forward-pointing teeth look that way when the jaw is open, when they come together while the jaw is closing, the teeth appear to have a very close contact point that is nearly exactly in line with each other. When a dragon snaps it's maw shut, instead of you being trapped between the teeth and crushed and cut by tearing action, you're instead being caught between two spikes slamming together on the same rough point.

     Mammoth Tusks 
  • 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.
    • The Hunterborn mod fixes this, at least. You can harvest tusks from mammoth corpses with that mod.

     Drifa's "spices" 
(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?
  • Maybe it actually was a special order.
    • Drifa and her husband have an ongoing argument over how much money she spends on herself, and he's always threatening to cut her off. Its entirely possible that 'spices: special order' is the entry she makes in the account books to cover up her skimming from the till, and she was caught off guard by his questioning and took a moment to recover.

     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.

     Serana's Outfit 
  • 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.

     Useless Items 
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?
      • Simply put: some items are background props that can't be interacted with to save memory. An interactable object eats up a lot more space than a static one, as the interactable object uses more physics code and thus eats more memory, even when it's not moving. If Bethesda could have made those objects interactable while still coming in under the space constraints that had been set by their project leads, they would have.

    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.
  • Because there's a serious shortage of shellbugs.

     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.

     The Shoes of Shriekwind 
  • If you go to Shriekwind Bastion, there's a strange room filled with shoes. Is it ever explained why or mentioned again?
    • 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.
    • Shriekwind Bastion is also filled with vampires and human remains. Guess what happened to the owners of those shoes.
    • You've found yet another of Imelda Marcos' hideaways.

     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.
    • Even if the Dragonborn is easily capable of taking care of himself when living in the wilderness things can not be said for the Dragonborn's family as most player's Dragonborn would spend most of their time adventuring rather than staying at homesteads and in a position to protect the family. Having the bedroom wing is now pretty much pointless if you are not going to have your family living with you. Why can't you build a palisade or hire guards?
      • Its actually kind of consistent with the rest of the homesteads outside the hold walls that there's no wall surrounding the player homes. If you look at just about every other farm, home, and hamlet in the game, none of them have any kind of defensive walls, and what guards there are tend to be hold soldiers. The obvious answer is that people in Skyrim are tough, expected to be tough, and can take care of themselves.
      • You received a housecarl, if they are not out following you they will patrol the area. You also can have another follower as steward and they will hang around outside a couple of hours every day.
      • In theory, you could have at least five defenders at your homestead at once (this troper is currently unsure if Barbas the talking dog stays at your homestead if you decide to keep him): the spouse (if they're also a capable fighter, such as Lydia), the housecarl assigned to you who will stay at the homestead if they're not following you, your steward, a follower who can't stay at the homestead permanently due to not being available for marriage or stewardship, and of course the Dragonborn themselves. And that's not counting familiars, wild beasts recruited with the Animal Allegiance shout, and Odahviing. The only ones who can't conceivably defend your homestead are adopted children. Considering that just you can your one follower can practically rip through a dragon like paper by the time you can even get a homestead, at least five defenders with proper equipment will make short work of simple bandits.
    • After I handed them better gear, my housecarl and steward became perfectly capable of murdering giants without my help. Your houses are fine.

    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.
    • Riften is a place where Every Man Has His Price, and the Thalmor aren't hurting for cash (or gold coins or whatever) by any means...
    • How'd the khajiit spy get in the city? Same way you did. She paid the "visitor's tax" or persuaded the guards. How'd the Thalmor get into the city? Maven Blackbriar. She likes the Thalmor, remember? And she controls Riften. So she either let the Thalmor in by her criminal influence, or directly as the Jarl if you joined the Imperials.
      • Whilst Maven may respect the Thalmor she never explicitly said that she outright likes them, and in Stormcloak Riften it seems highly unlikely that even she would aid and abet them in such an incursion. As for Imperial Riften, the Thalmor could just simply cite the White Gold Concordat to the guards and stroll on in. The alternate unplayable secret entrances explanation seems more likely anyway.
    • Can you tell a Thalmor from any other Altmer if they're not wearing their uniform? Come into Riften as elven traders or something. Unpack their armor and weapons after they're already inside the gates. Head down into the Ratway. If necessary, use an invisibility spell or potion to sneak past guards. Done.
    • Riften's walls aren't patrolled and there's only a few guards patrolling at night. Sneak a squad over the top of the walls with rope or ladders, and have your Khajiit spy or Thieves' Guild plant discreetly pay the patrols to look the other way, and then go down into the Ratway to go your business.

    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.
    • For all we know, she has. Mjoll is too badass(not to mention she's permanently essential), so it wouldn't surprise me to learn she'd killed a assassin or two from the Dark Brotherhood.
    • 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 avoids 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.

     Rorikstead's location 
  • So Rorikstead is famous for its crops. Erik states they've never had a poor harvest and that the fertile soil may be a factor. But... Rorikstead is right in the middle of a freaking tundra! Tundras are known for having infertile soil due to the bad weather, and having very little if any plant life. Some literally go on for miles without even a single weed sprouting. So how was Rorik able to make a thriving farm village in the middle of such a barren area? It would make lot more sense if they were in Falkreath Hold.
    • That's because its not in tundra. You know how you can tell? There's trees there. Trees can't grow in tundra because of permafrost. Its one of the defining elements of tundra. Whiterun's climate and biome is more of a plains environment rather than tundra. The only places in the game where you see an actual tundra environment is the extreme north around Dawnstar and Winterhold.
      • Strange. The UESP describes it as a tundra. Someone has to fix that.
      • Yeah, whoever made that edit made the mistake of thinking "plains + cold = tundra" and pretty much failed basic geography. Whiterun is more of a steppe or grassland environment, though obviously much rougher than most steppes or grasslands.

     The Empire being viewed as not Nordic 
The Empire was founded by Nords, and was the main instrument by which the Nords spread into the rest of Tamriel. Furthermore, all Imperials have the Voice of the Emperor in their blood, which descends from Talos' own Thu'um. So why is it that Stormcloaks think that the Empire is not Nordic?
  • The Empire was founded millenia ago. Civilizations always changed over time, and the Stormcloaks view them as changing for the worse. The Empire when Talos founded it was not the Empire "filled with milkdrinkers" that it is today. A combination of age, the fact that the capitol is in Cyrodiil and not in Skyrim, and the fact that many Nordic traditions are being oppressed by the current administration is seen as proof of serious Motive Decay, so in effect, restoring the traditions is restoring the "true" Empire that was founded by Talos. Whether or not this belief is justified is obviously up to the player.
  • Its actually more complex than just "the Empire was founded by Nords." Especially as there are three acknowledged "Empires" in Tamrielic history. The first was the Alessian Empire (which itself is the source of the Dragonfires and the Amulet of Kings which was passed through subsequent Empires) which was founded by Cyrodiilic natives. The second Empire was the Reman Empire. The third Empire was the one founded by Tiber Septim, who may have been Atmoran by birth or born in High Rock, depending on which story you follow. He originally led an army from Colovia (western Cyrodiil) and overcame a combined Nord and Breton army at Sancre Tor, who then joined him, and he then took over Cryodiil from King Cuhlecain. So, the Third Empire is only partially Nordic, and this is before cultural shift over the Third and Fourth Eras that turned the Empire into something that is very culturally different from Skyrim.
    • The idea of the Empire being entirely Nordic in origin is essentially in-game Creator Provincialism, similar to how any artistic renditions of Jesus tend to be the same race as the creator of the artwork in question. Sure, there was a Nordic influence, but it wasn't entirely Nordic. The fact that Nords are the only ones who call him by the name Talos (everyone else that cares tends to use his Imperial name Tiber Septim) is telling of how they inflate their own input on the matter.
      • Actually not at all. During during the Third Era, EVERYONE referred to Tiber Septim as Talos if they were talking about him in religious matters. It's not the guy's Nordic birth name, that would 'Hjalti' (confirmed by Skyrim as well, as a ghost of Tiber Septim's past refers to him by that name). Talos is a just a Nordic (or perhaps Draconic) word for 'Storm-Crown'.
      • Honestly? Go back and play the beginning of Oblivion. Even Redguards referred to Tiber Septim as Talos in religious contexts, hell even fucking Cyrodiils like Martin Septim called him Talos. Talos isn't even the bloody Nordic aspect of Tiber Septim - that would Ysmir. The fact that most Nords in Skyrim seem to refer to Tiber Septim as Talos instead of Ysmir shows that they aren't inflating their own input into the Empire at all. In fact, it shows only that they're underrating said input.
    • Does the Empire have Jarls? Are there Moots in Cyrodiil? Do they drink lots mead down there? Do they distrust mages? How about their architecture, does it match Nordic designs? Do they worship Talos anymore or are they following the Eight? Do the people of Cyrodiil sings songs of Ysgramor, do they speak of the Dragonborn heroes and the sagas of the great raiders? Do they have Alduin as part of their pantheon? The answer to all of these questions is "No." The Empire isn't Nordic at this point because surprisingly, the culture and environment of Cyrodiil isn't a Nord culture at all. it doesn't matter who founded it, if it doesn't have a Nord culture then it's not Nord.

     Why doesn't Ulfric propose an alliance? 
  • Okay, I know that it obviously couldn't happen for gameplay reasons, but it seems odd that Ulfric never even consideres the possibility of allying with Hammerfell. So far the Redguards of Hammerfell are the only ones who have actually been able to drive back the Aldmeri Dominion. Keep in mind that this was after Titus Mede renounced them from the empire. So right now, both the Stormcloaks and the Redguards have resentment towards both the empire and the dominion, and don't seem to have any bad blood between each other. You would think that Ulfric would at least mention the idea in passing after liberating Skyrim.
    • He may well have been planning to, but such an alliance would be outside instant, immediate scope. He might consider it later on but like most people in-game, the post-event dialogue just lacks that kind of nuance.
    • If you listen closely to radiant dialogue, Ulfric actually is making efforts towards creating alliances with various factions.
    • Hey, the game starts with Ulfric and you having been nabbed at a border crossing. Which border? Given where you are and where you end up its either Cyrodiil's or Hammerfell's. Maybe Ulfric was trying for an alliance with them, but Tullius headed him off at the pass.
  • A more likely alliance would be with Morrowind. There's a significant Dunmer population in Skyrim after the Red Year, and an alliance would benefit both nations. With new information from ESO, it is learned that Skyrim and Resdayn/Morrowind previously had shared an alliance during the late Second Era against a fallen Empire held under Molag Bal's influence and an earlier incarnation of the Aldmeri Dominion. An alliance between the two states allows the Dunmer extra land to settle in and bolsters Skyrim's military presence with Dunmer soldiers.
    • A 'more likely alliance' except for the fact that Ulfric hates the Dunmer and the Dunmer hate Ulfric. If Ulfric wanted an alliance with Morrowind, you'd think the man would ease up on the Grey Quarter a bit but nope, every day is racism day in Windhelm.
    • You two know that there is no Morrowind any more, right? It was taken over by Argonians who were rightfully angry over the whole "enslavement by Dunmer and getting our heads cut off to make decorations" thing.
      • Morrowind still exists, and the Houses are still intact. House Redoran was able to drive out the Argonian invaders and retake Mournhold, though they had to move the capital to Blacklight instead because of how badly Mournhold got sacked. Their strength is scattered but there is still a Morrowind, however diminished it is.

     Bedrooms Layout 
  • Okay, I don't mean to sound perverted, but in Hearthfire, one of the wings you can build is the Bedrooms. This includes a full-sized bed for the Dragonborn and their spouse, as well as two beds for their children. But it's all one big room. The master bedroom and childrens' room aren't seperated. This is kind of impractical, because what if the Dragonborn and their spouse wanted to... um... have some alone time?
    • That... honestly sounds like a horrible idea. I suppose it might make sense historically, because there literally were houses that only had one room. Granted, those tended to be hovels, and nothing like the mansion you designed yourself. Either it might be to share body heat when it's really cold. Or additionally, the Dragonborn is being genre-savvy; kidnappers taking the children at night while he/she sleeps (as relatives of famous figures like the dragonborn tend to be) would be far less successful if the kids were in the same room. As for the... alone time, the Dragonborn could make up some chore or arrange a playdate to keep the kids out of the house for long enough, or that the bed is strictly for sleeping and other rooms/furniture are used for intimate actions at night.
    • If they want to have alone time they can just kick the kids out for a bit. Not to mention that a lot of houses in the game are one or two-room homes where the kids sleep in sight of the parents, so its obviously not that much of a problem for other people around the continent.
    • Easy.
    Dovahkiin: Hey kids, Mommy/Daddy and I thought you two wanted to get out of the house for a bit, so we arranged for Housecarl Lydia to take you to [nearby town] to look at the sweetrolls and other stuff they may have for sale. Here's 100 gold each. Spend wisely!
    • At the risk of invoking the Squick, I distinctly recall from my college days a professor telling me that families in the past would often sleep in the same room, or even the same bed, and the children would witness their parents making love to one another at night. So...yeah.
    • While it takes some artistic license with history, Vikings tackles this with the "kick the kids out of the room" option; when the main character's brother comes over for a visit, he finds his nephew sitting outside his house. When he asks his nephew where his parents are, the boy responds, rather awkwardly, "They're having sex." But yea, not an insurmountable problem, is the point here.
    • Also in the player build houses, regardless of what you build there is always another double bed, upstairs on the right side, maybe the bedrooms one is like it was said, on the colder nights to keep more bodies in one room, and the upstairs one is the regular marital bed.
    So phase 2 of Harkon plan is? 
  • So let's say Harkon succeeds in his plan to permanently block out the sun and can stay outside as long as he wants. This will make him more powerful when attempting to overthrow all humans and turn them into good yes but.....assuming there was no Dragonborn to stop him, how's he gonna deal with Alduin? Or any of the dragons of which just one would be enough to level entire towns? It's pretty doubtful perpetual darkness would help that much against an immortal creature that's as big as a building and knows all sorts of destructive abilities.
    • Its not even clear if he even knew that dragons were really a thing to begin with. Also keep in mind that Harkon is powerful enough that he could kill most dragons by himself - even more so with a vampire army backing him. Plus he has no idea that Alduin's returning (not even the Thalmor know what's going on in that regard) nor does he know that a dragonborn is required to defeat Alduin.
    • That would've made for one hell of a Did Not Think This Through and Oh, Crap! moment, though. Accomplish your dreams, then watch as Alduin and his dragons burn it all down.
  • Valerica actually provides some insight into the fact that Harkon isn't thinking everything through. She clearly states that Harkon's plan is doomed to failure: Even if he succeeds in blotting out the sun, it wouldn't be the "glorious age" of vampirism that he thinks would happen. Instead, it would turn a worried but otherwise apathetic populace against Harkon en masse, and he would be overwhelmed by sheer numbers. Also, Harkon would have to somehow imprison Serana and/or Valerica alive, as the effect only lasts one day and would have to be repeated every day.
    • Yeah, his goals quickly went from 'make us stronger' to 'power at all costs'. He went off the deep end pretty quickly and despite a relatively charming demeanor has zero foresight beyond his lust for domination over others. Him and Bal are a perfect fit.
      • About his having to imprison Valerica or Serana to bleed on arrows all day, I was under the impression that the only reason the "block out the sun" effect only lasts for a day is because Serana is bleeding on the arrows and not the bow itself. Also pretty sure Harkon was set on killing her to taint the bow. That part of the plan might have worked.
    • Also note that this is consistent with how the other vampires behave. They're fine with you taking over as Lord of the Clan after killing Harkon. If Harkon was a rational leader capable of coming up with well thought out plans, you'd think there would be more concern about this upstart vampire killing him and taking his place. But no, that's business as usual.

     The Origin of the Bretons 
  • According to the Notes on Racial Phylogeny [NRP], hybrid races generally inherit the race of their mother with a few traits from the father yet a group of the human/Altmer (Manmer) ancestors of the Bretons were indistinguishable from full blooded Altmer, according to the Nords who discovered them. Elven features, particularly magical proficiency, eyebrows, and slight points in their ears were even passed down to the Manmer-Nedic offspring known as the Bretons. Based on the logic of NRP, the Bretons shouldn't exist. Explanation: human female + elven male = human. If that "human" is a female who breeds with another hybrid, or elf, she is most likely to produce a "human". It is possible the "rules" change when hybrids are procreating or that NRP was convenient for game design.
    • More likely is that the NRP text is only relevant to single instances of cross-species breeding. The Bretons came about as a longer-term process of interbreeding with humans and elves. Presumably, a continuous process of interbreeding between the two species, and further interbreeding within their offspring, produced the Bretons over several generations.

     Delphine, Horn Thief 
  • Why does Delphine steal the Horn of Jurgen Windcaller? When you ask her this, she says that she needs to "make sure you're not a Thalmor spy." Umm... what? Because a Thalmor spy couldn't POSSIBLY go after the Horn in order to get in good with the Greybeards, or assume that because the Greybeards / Dragonborn are going after it, it must be worth something and try to snatch it for themselves? Why wouldn't she present her findings to you at Dragonsreach (where she appears if you didn't grab the Dragonstone before Farengar asks for it) or any of the times you stayed at her inn? Methinks all those years living in hiding have affected the lady's mind.
    • Because Delphine is exceedingly paranoid.
    • Yeah, uh, you might want to read into the Blades' history a bit. The organisation is basically dead because the Thalmor decapitated every single Blades operative in Dominion territory just to prove a point. If Delphine was to take any chances then she'd be quite likely killed in very short order - her mind has been effected.
    • The question isn't "why does Delphine suspect the Dragonborn might be a Thalmor spy". It's "why on Nirn does she believe that stealing the Horn and leaving a note proves that he's not a spy"?
      • She explains it if you ask her. She needed to be sure that the person running around calling themselves the Dragonborn was the real deal, and the Greybeards would only send the actual Dragonborn to recover the Horn. Therefore, whoever went after the Horn would be the Dragonborn and not a Thalmor spy.
      • Except that she found out the location of the Horn and she got past the traps and undead. What's stopping a Thalmor spy from doing the same?
      • Delphine is a Blade. She's part of an organization intimately familiar with the Dragonborn and the Greybeards, and is one of their most experienced and capable members even before the Great War. Of course she would have knowledge about how the Greybeards operate that the Thalmor wouldn't. Hell, the Blades likely had plans to contact and verify a Dragonborn ready to go for centuries.
      • The Thalmor have proven that they're more than a match for the Blades when it comes to spy work, and they captured a lot of intel during the Great War when they sacked Cloud Ruler Temple. For someone who's supposed to be crazy paranoid, she certainly seems confident that the Thalmor have not discovered the location of the Horn.
      • Most of the Blades' dragon-lore was intentionally destroyed. When Cloud-Ruler Temple fell, the Blades burned everything. Esbern barely got out with a handful of texts and his own memorized knowledge. Delphine would know that the Thalmor would have no information, and the Thalmor's own dossiers confirm that even decades after the Temple was burned down and efforts to reconstruct the Blades' lore, they have virtually no intact information about Dragons, let alone the Blades. The Thalmor are utterly clueless about dragons or anything relating to the Dragonborn.
      • She is paranoid. What more could she have done without relying on meta-knowledge available to the player?
      • The Thalmor got very little from Cloud Ruler Temple, and in particular nothing regarding dragons. The archives and documentation were almost completely destroyed during the siege. There's a reason why they've got such a priority on Esbern. It is extremely unlikely they would know anything about the Dragonborn; the Thalmor dossier even outright says that what little they have on the dragons in general is theoretical at best.
      • We know that, because we're privy to the Thalmor's dossiers after the embassy infiltration mission. She doesn't even know Esbern's alive until you get those dossiers. She thinks they know so much about dragons that they can bring them back to life until she's shown otherwise. So again: knowing what she knows and believing what she believes (however wrong it might be to the omniscient player), why does she think that the player going after the Horn of Jurgen Windcaller proves anything about anything?
      • Delphine is willing to take the risk and put herself in potential danger. After all, dragons are back, which changes things, and she knows she'll need to do something about them. Delphine knows that she cannot stay in hiding forever, since she's no longer fighting a shadow war against a bunch of elves. The dragons are her real enemy, not the Thalmor, and getting a Dragonborn is her top priority. So she's willing to take an extreme risk by trying to contact a Dragonborn because that's her job.
      • Look at it this way. The Blades have been enemies with the Greybeards ever since they were founded. They've only been at ends with the Thalmor for a few hundred years. They've had plenty of time to learn exactly how the Greybeards think. The Thalmor, however, don't know anything about the Dragonborn legend, much less the Greybeards. They probably don't even know who Jurgen Windcaller was, much less where his tomb is or why the horn is of any significance. Delphine knows this. That's why she took the horn, because she knows that the Thalmor aren't even aware of its existence
      • Nope, still doesn't make sense. Again, she thinks the Thalmor are behind the dragon reappearance. If they know enough to do THAT, it's MORE than within the realm of possibility that they might have come across some record of the Greybeards and the Horn and know their significance. She's both over- and underestimating the Thalmor simultaneously in such a way that her conclusions do not logically follow from her assumptions.
      • What more could she have done without relying on meta-knowledge available to the player?
      • The question isn't "what more could she have done," the question is, "What was the point of doing what she did?" Stealing the Horn didn't prove anything about anything, she could just as easily have pulled the Dovahkiin aside at Dragonsreach. "Hey, thanks for tracking down the Dragonstone, I think it's a burial map. Says here Kynesgrove is next, let's go check that out once you're done at the western watchtower."
      • And if there's a Thalmor spy inside Dragonsreach, she just tipped her hand. She was already taking a huge risk by just talking to Farengar. Pulling aside the mercenary Farengar sent to retrieve the Dragonstone to chat might draw extra attention that she'd likely want to avoid. Pulling the "Dragonborn" into the Sleeping Giant Inn not only lets her first get a measure of you upon arriving but also lets her go and check to make sure there's no Thalmor kill-squads roaming around outside of Riverwood. If you prove to be an enemy, she can put a knife in your neck and run into the woods and relocate. She can't control the meeting and location if she pulls you aside in Dragonsreach. In addition, she likely didn't pull you aside in Dragonsreach because, aside from the public spectacle, she would have needed time to plan and arrange the whole meeting.
      • The player is confirmed as Dragonborn after the events at the Western Watchtower.
      • The point was to *confirm for herself* that the player is the Dragonborn. Lots of other things could go wrong even then, it's even feasible the Dragonborn could actually *be* a Thalmor (a branch of her decision tree that probably ends 'Well, if so we're *** anyway'), but to start with the concept of actually verifying a two step process of can the prospect (without the specialized information of the Blades) access the horn, and then to actually see him absorb the soul of a Dragon. Worry about the rest later, but lets make sure that he hasn't managed to magically fake it at the watchtower. She only has rumor that the Greybeards actually recognized you as a Dragonborn at all - One nice thing about forcing you to come to see her for the horn is ... she knows you were actually sent for the horn, an indication that the Greybeards have actually acknowledged you as (a potential) Dragonborn. Prior to that all she *knows* is that some people that aren't qualified to have an opinion saw some fancy special effects at the watchtower, and a loud 'Dovakhin' reverberated across the valley, both reasonably fake-able by the Thalmor.
      • An important thing to remember is that, well, this is a medieval society. Communication involves guys on horses riding around delivering letters, unless you've got magic. Delphine's not much of a mage ad tremendously paranoid, so she's got to confirm things directly, with her own eyes. And the Dragonborn is a big enough deal that her paranoia is justified. If the "Dragonborn" really is a Thalmor plant, he's going to be inviting an agent of the Blades' enemies into her confidence where they could easily put a knife in her back. She has to confirm you are really Dragonborn, and if that is an annoyance or inconvenience to you, too bad, in her eyes.
      • These are good points but what hasn't been considered is the timing. She heard about the dragon attack at Helgen because of either Ralof or Hadvar spreading word in Riverwood where she works. She then met you when you retrieved the Dragonstone for her and Farengar. You were called away in the middle of that encounter to help deal with the dragon, while she was still there. From there you immediately head to the field to fight the dragon and immediately back to collect your reward when the Greybeards summon the Dovahkiin. She would have been probably half way back to Riverwood. She must have known that if she could get to the Horn and replace it with the note that the Dragonborn would see that note within days. The don't know the Greybeards like she does. And the guy who shows up at her doorstep with the note is that merc Farengar hired. Well, he could be a Thalmor agent so lets test it. Oh look, he can absorb a dragon's soul. A Thalmor agent wouldn't be running errands for Farengar. They might be there to spy on Balgruuf but if they felt the need to run an errand for Farengar to maintain cover and they found a relic like the Dragonstone when there have been reported sightings of Dragons, they would have taken the stone to their wizards who they would surely feel are superior for the task of deciphering it. And for that guy to be the guy that found the Horn, that makes it that much more likely that he's the genuine Dragonborn but even then, Delphine (who is knowingly taking a risk) asks for further proof by getting the Dragonborn to kill a dragon. How many Thalmor spies are able to kill a dragon and absorb it's soul? You take all this into account and Delphine is being properly paranoid.

     Falmer archers 
  • If the Falmer are all blind, how are their archers able to know where to aim their arrows?
    • Practice and very good hearing.
    • Well, yeah. If the Falmer have detected you and are shooting their toothpicks at you, chances are you rushing at them with a sword or trying desperately to summon a little fireball, undoubtedly with your armor going clank, clank, clank, the entire time. You make a lot of noise in the heat of battle. Sure, you can crouch and silently move around a bit and they'll keep shooting, but I don't think you can explain that with in-game logic.
    • Your silent movement is not their silent movement. They're blind and live in an extremely quit environment. What sounds silent to you would likely be blaringly obvious to the Falmer.

     Why was Dragonrend lost? 
  • So the ancient Akaviri who were present during Alduin's first defeat carved all their knowledge of him onto Alduin's Wall, knowing that it would come in handy someday when he returned. But they conveniently left out the one piece of information that would actually be useful: the Dragonrend Shout. So let me get this straight: the ancient heroes could carve the Words of Power for things like Shouting forth a puff of fire spell all over Skyrim, but when it came time to carve THE SECRET WEAPON THAT IS THE KEY TO DEFEATING THE IMMORTAL DRAGON-GOD THAT WANTS TO EAT THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE, what? Their arms were tired?
    • First: the Akaviri were not present during the Dragon War for when Dragonrend was created and Alduin was Shouted out of time. The Akaviri didn't even enter Tamriel until 1E 2703, which was thousands of years at least after the Dragon War ended (the Dragon War took place during the Methereic Era, which predated the First Era). They literally could not have carved the Words of Power, let alone have any knowledge of Dragonrend, as it quite literally predated their invasion of Tamriel by nearly three thousand years, if not more. Second, Esbern himself notes while you're studying the wall that the Akaviri were not a straightforward people and that everything they wrote was wrapped up in mythological symbolism; for them the obtuse way in which the Dragonborn prophecy was recorded made sense in their culture. Not to mention that the entire Dragonborn prophecy was brought about by an Elder Scroll, which is not terribly clear and would result in the Akaviri only knowing that there was a Shout that could defeat Alduin, not the specifics of said Shout.
    • Okay, so the Akaviri didn't know Dragonrend. The point is, somebody knew it, and somebody was going around carving all kinds of useless minor shouts all over the place. So why would they fail to carve the most important Shout of all, the key to defeating Alduin, who they knew full well had not been killed but only temporarily banished? Doesn't that seem like something that's kind of important to write down?
      • Dragonrend itself was known only to a few. Not only that, but Dragonrend was consciously abandoned by the only ones who knew it, the followers of the Way of the Voice, as it was a terrible weapon born of pure hatred and malice. Perhaps they did record it somewhere, but either that recorded information was lost, deliberately abandoned by Jurgen Windcaller, or outright destroyed by Windcaller and his disciples once they established the Way of the Voice. By the time of Skyrim, the Greybeards, who would be the only ones who would know of the Words of Power, have completely abandoned Dragonrend and any knowledge regarding it.
      • No one carved shouts anywhere. The stones with shouts actually contain mundane text (Headstones, epitaphs, poems, etc...) and often the word you learn from them is barely related to the topic. The stones aren't made to keep shout, It's the Dragonborn's power that makes him see relevant words in mundane text written in draconic and realise "Oh shit, Shout!" For example, here is the Word Wall for the 2nd word of Slow Time:
      Here fell mighty Warlord Aaban Child of (the) sands of Alik'r; rest now in (the) soil (of) Skyrim.
      • You're missing a key element of the Thu'um here. It's entirely possible that someone did carve out the specific Words of the Shout. The individual words are not difficult or strange in and of themselves. However, keep in mind that just having the words for Mortal, Finite, Temporary is not enough for a Shout. You also need the comprehension of the concepts embodied in the Shout, and a key element of Dragonrend is pure, relenting hatred for dragonkind. Since the Way of the Voice has no place for that sort of hatred, as well as the fact that dragons have steadily been dying out due to the Akaviri Dragonguard's reavings, the hatred for dragons needed to actually speak Dragonrend has vanished. The Greybeards may know the Words, but they cannot teach you Dragonrend because they don't have the emotions and comprehension of absolute hatred of dragons to pass the knowledge on to you. Without being able to go back to a time where someone hated the dragons enough to make the Shout, and absorb that directly from those who created it, you can't hope to relearn it.
    • Short answer: You cannot teach Dragonrend, nor can Dragonrend be learned via simply reading it, so writing it down will be useless without the emotion and comprehension that comes with it, and the Greybeards intentionally forgot both.
    • Long answer: Consider what Dragonrend is: it's not simply words carved into stone, it's hatred and malice toward Dragonkind formed into the words of a Shout. The words alone don't mean anything without that terrible malice, and as such there's no reason to preserve Dragonrend, by the perspective of Jugen Windcaller of the Greybeards. They didn't maintain knowledge of it because it was an anathema to their beliefs regarding the Way of the Voice. The only reason why anyone even knew of the Shout was because the Akaviri came along and carved it into Alduin's Wall, and the only reason why they knew the Shout even existed was because the knowledge of the Prophecy of the Last Dragonborn was acquired via study of an Elder Scroll - a process that is handled by the Cult of the Ancestor Moth, an Imperial institution. The Akaviri were dragon hunters who hated dragons so much they sailed across the planet to keep hunting and killing them, and there is no reason at all that the Greybeards would consider communicating with them, let alone giving them information or knowledge regarding a Shout intended to kill dragons, since there's no doubt that the Akaviri Dragonguard would take pains to preserve that sort of information, even if they had to form their own Thu'um-practicing monks who lived in total, festering hatred of dragons so they could keep passing the nature of Dragonrend down. Indeed, it is entirely reasonable to suspect that no one in the modern world would be able to pass on Dragonrend, because no one in modern Tamriel both hates dragons enough and possesses the knowledge of the Thu'um to pass it on. Note that the only way the player can even learn Dragonrend is to literally go back in time and observe the heroes of Skyrim, who lived in an age of immense oppression and fear of dragons, and watch them use the Shout. That is the only way to not only get the words, but also the hatred inherent to the Shout.

     Regarding Soul Gems 
Where do they come from? Are they mined somewhere, or manufactured? And how? And why, with the exception of black soul gems, are the people of Tamriel totally okay with the idea of fueling magical gear with the living souls of other creatures? And what happens to their souls? We know human and mer souls get sent to the Soul Cairn for eternity, but what about the souls of, say, foxes? Do they just get broken down into raw energy, or do they go to some kind of foxy version of the Soul Cairn?
  • Soul gems are mined. They can be recovered from Geode Veins in Blackreach, and presumably through regular mines elsewhere. They can also be created directly in the Soul Cairn, presumably for use by necromancers. As for people being okay with it, they clearly are, considering how blase everyone is about enchanting equipment with souls; Deliberate Values Dissonance and all that. Serana notes that usually only black soul gem souls go to the Soul Cairn; white souls just become energy, unless its some weird circumstance like Arvak.
  • Is it confirmed that 'normal' people are aware of how soul gems work? I was under the impression only Necromancers and other people who really delved into it weren't aware of the exact mechanics behind things.
  • The idea that animals can be considered people, is a extremely new concept.

     Escorting Serana home 
  • Apologies if this has already been asked elsewhere (if it is, I couldn't find it). In the Dawnguard expansion, you join an order of vampire hunters, walk into a crypt killing vampires left and right, open up an ancient casket to reveal another vampire, and... escort her home after some polite conversation. What?
    • Sounds like you're forgetting the whole reason why you're in the crypt in the first place. Isran sent you to find out what the vampires wanted with Serana. Serana's being quiet on why she's carrying an Elder Scroll and why the vampires want her, but she's also presenting you with an opportunity to find out more by effectively taking you into her clan's lair. The best possible way to get further information at this point is to go with her, not kill an otherwise quite friendly and non-hostile vampire outright.
      • Mission: Find out what the vampires want in Dimhollow Crypt. Hey, it looks like they want this chick with an Elder Scroll! Mission accomplished! I will now proceed to give them exactly what they want. Yeah, that makes sense.
      • Except, no, you didn't find what the vampires were after. All you found were more questions. You found a chick with an Elder Scroll but nothing more than that. Its not even clear when you meet Serana that she's even with the vampires that attacked the crypt or the Hall of the Vigilant. The only way to really find out the vampire's reasons for going after Serana are to follow her home and gather more information.
      • You can go back to Isran with Serana in tow and he tells you to take her to where she wants to go. He's extremely reluctant, but mentions that for all he knows she's just a part of it rather than the key.
      • Isran will actually explicitly order you to take her back to her home, even if you tell him she's a vampire, because they don't know what's going on and this is the quickest way to figure out what they're up to.

     Restoration Spells and Wounded Soldiers 
  • Why is it that you can't use them on the wounded soldiers and ill people you find? For example, those in the Temple of Kynoreth. I sat there and used my whole Magicka bar on healing the soldier, and there was no effect.
    • Gameplay and Story Segregation. This is actually a common problem in games with healing spells/potions/whatever.
    • It could be that the healing spells aren't designed for healing those ways. When you apply healing spells or potions to your self, you're typically using it on fresh or superficial wounds, like burns, slashes or bruises, and the fact that you have Critical Existence Failure means you don't yet have any life-threatening afflictions. In pretty much all cases of wounds that aren't Death of a Thousand Cuts, like the impalement finishers, no amount of healing magic can fix that. In the cases of the wounded soldiers, they're superficially fine, but have major internal injuries like shattered legs, internal bleeding, and other deep stuff that only time has the possibility of healing. Finally, it obviously won't work on the ill; since when does casting a healing spell remove a disease? You need to just wait out that disease or give them the right potion, though Gameplay and Story Segregation means you can't give them a Cure Disease potion unless the narrative asks for it.
    • It's probable that many of the wounded aren't simply injured, but they're suffering from diseases and infections, which restoration spells will not heal on their own. If they were wounded in battle and the injury was dirty or it took time for a healer to get to them to seal the wound closed, an infection could have set in and that is vastly harder for a mage to heal, especially with the sort of stuff Peryite likes to throw around. Remember that your healing spells are always being applied to very fresh wounds, not ones that have been festering for days with only a filthy, blood-soaked bandage to keep them closed.
      • This is backed up by some lore books discussing healing magics. For example, Ashlander Wise Women indicates that a hunter who was badly gored by a wild beast was expected to die, and that a significant ritual by one of the aforementioned Wise Women was needed to heal him, something that the author thought was "miraculous." This implies magics outside of the typical rapid mid-battle healing spells are needed to tend to extreme, likely-fatal wounds. Most likely, when the player or an opponent is "killed" in combat and thus cannot be healed by magic, they're often suffering a severely incapacitating wound that will result in their death soon and no amount of normal healing magic can properly address an injury of that magnitude without immediate surgery and followed up by long-term care. Likely many of the wounded soldiers in the temples were hastily stabilized in the field or have badly=infected wounds that require long-term care, and conventional healing isn't going to patch them up.

  • Why are there so few Thanes in Skyrim? There are only 4, not counting the Dragonborn, and two of them in the same hold (Erikur and Bryling). The Last two Thanes are related to their respective Jarls (Dengeir of Stuhn who is also an ex-Jarl and Hrongar). And why do none of the NPC Thanes employ a Housecarl beside the Dragonborn? Even if counting the fact that the war killed a lot of people, that doesn't account for so few Thanes remaining, as Thanes need not necessarily be warriors, as evidenced by Bryling and Erikur.
    • There probably are many more Thanes, its just they're either not mentioned, are out fighting the war, or are just out and about. There's a lot of conservation of detail involved. Just as the "actual" Whiterun would have more than thirty people living in there, there would likely be a lot more Thanes if it weren't for the compressed nature of the game.
    • There are also several individuals in the game who are heavily implied to be Thanes despite not being explicitly named as such. Granted, it's been over a year since I've played the game so I'd have to do some digging to ferret out who is and isn't.
    • Technically Melaran is Erikur's Housecarl (If you ask him what he does around the Blue Palace, he says it's "making sure Erikur keeps breathing") and I think Mjoll is actually Thane of Riften.

     Why depend on Delphine? 
  • I saw no reason to trust Delphine. From the start, she was secretive and manipulative. Also, not that bright. As far as she knows, she's one of the last Blades, she's told no one about what she knows, and if she or the Dragonborn died, the whole plan is ruined. She then goes to face a dragon with me in tow, and even comments on the way that neither of us may survive. I also agree with the White-Gold Concordant, which makes Delphine a criminal. I would've turned her in right away if I could. Such distrust was justified when she wanted to break into the Thalmor embassy. On a hunch. I should've been able to research dragons on my own, or ask Farengar, the College, or the Greybeards about them. The Greybeards would've let me talk to Paarthurnax had I described Alduin. They seemed to already know about his return. Then Paarthurnax would've told me about Alduin, Dragonrend, and the Elder Scroll. No need to go to Sky Haven Temple, no need to have the Blades betray their oath to me, no need to go against the Aldmeri Dominion, and I just saved myself a lot of crucial time. Why did I need to depend on her?
    • Because at that moment, the Last Dragonborn doesn't know who Alduin is. All they no is that the dragon who revived Sahloknir is the same one who tried to kill them in Helgen. They don't learn about Alduin or his purpose until meeting Esbern.
    • The Greybeards would not have let you meet Paarthunax by mentioning Alduin - case and point: they don't do it even when you mention it in the regular story. It's the mention of Dragonrend that gets Einarth to convince Arngeir to stop blocking you. And the only one who can interpret Alduin's Wall to realize Dragonrend is needed is Esbern. Yes, Delphine's a jerk, but a necessary jerk nonetheless.
    • You don't have to trust her. You can always go do some faction quests instead.
    • Who was Delphine going to tell that would believe her and that she can trust not to betray her to the Thalmor? She doesn't even really know what's going on until you're reunited with Esbern. Yeah, her and the Dragonborn getting killed would ruin everything, but its not like she has other options or even has any idea what's going on. And sure, while your character might agree with the White-Gold Concordat, the game assumes that either your character doesn't agree with it for countless reasons or just doesn't care about it. Delphine, being familiar with the Thalmor, would have good reason to believe they would have information, especially because up until this point the Thalmor are the best suspects for the dragon return. Not to mention that there is zero evidence that the Greybeards would allow access to Paarthurnax just because you mentioned Alduin. (plus, there's this weird contradiction in the argument; they'd let you up there if you described Alduin, implying that warning them of Alduin would be reason to let you up there, yet you then mention that they seem to know about Alduin's return already?) Why would Farengar or the College know anything about the dragon return, either? Hell, Delphine is the one who has to supply Farengar (who is actively researching the dragons) with information on the dragon return, indicating that she's the most knowledgeable about the situation in Skyrim (short of Esbern himself).

     Miraak and the Greybeards 
  • During the battle At the Summit of Apocrypha, Miraak says this little line. "I know things the Greybeards will never teach you!" Only... how does he even know who the Greybeards are? Miraak was defeated by Vahlok and banished to Apocrypha during the Dragon War, before Alduin was sent into the future. Jurgen Windcaller founded the Greybeards much later.
    • He was imprisoned in a place filled with all knowledge and made entirely out of books, new ones arriving as they were written. It's not like he couldn't keep up with current events or Tamriel's history. And he had modern day cultists at his employ who could fill him in. Lastly he's been clearly keeping tabs on you (After all, how does he know you exist otherwise?) so he likely knows the Greybeards trained you, ergo he had to learn who the Greybeards were.

     Female Briarhearts? 
  • Yes I know that by default, the game doesn't have a female briarheart model. But is there any in-universe explanation for this? Are they supposed to be male counterparts for hagravens or something?
    • There are no female Briarhearts. Women who advance up the Forsworn ranks are instead trained as witches and turned into hagravens.

     Why did Hermaeus Mora need you in the first place? 
  • If he can extract knowledge on his own, why not do that to the Skaal and Miraak directly and cut out the middleman?
    • Because then he would have no Dragonborn servant to call his own. By involving the player, he gets a claim on their soul, ensuring that he gets a replacement for Miraak (unless one of the many other Daedric claims on the player's soul end up taking precedence).
    • Actually, Hermaeus Mora can't extract knowledge on his own. The major plot of Oblivion and its DLC's is that the Daedric Princes and the Nine Divines are only omnipotent gods within their own realms. A barrier protects Mundus from the forces of Oblivion, and therefore Hermaeus Mora cannot just enter Mundus whenever he wants. He can only send an avatar through his gates of Oblivion, the Black Books. This is why the Daedra need champions to do their bidding, because they are unable to do anything directly outside of their own realms.
    • Also on that note, the info the Skaal were keeping from Mora, how to commune with the spirits, was a trivial, and what did the elder get for keeping such a petty secret? tentacle brain rape what was the point? its not like mora actually intended to USE the knowlage, he wanted it for the sake of having it, if i was them i'd be like "yo Mora, this s how you speak to spirit (explains how)" Mora: "awesome, ill go away and focus on getting my new pawn to deal with Miraak no brain tentacle rape for you! job done, mora goes away, IMO they kept it from him to be petty, as everyone knows, you dont mess with the daedric princes, they can get to you eventually, even the dragonborn knows this.

     Attending the Thalmor party 
  • By this point in playing the main quest, you've always been automatically made Thane of Whiterun (there is no way to opt out of it). So why can't you legitimately attend the Thalmor party? Or at least introduce yourself as Thane to all of the other Thanes and Jarls in attendance?
    • You'll draw a lot more attention than just another guest at the party. If you're standing out like that, they'll miss you very quickly once you disappear. The last thing you want is to draw more attention than is strictly necessary by that point.
    • Concur. The whole point is that no one is supposed to know you from anyone else in the party. If you make yourself stand out, the Thamor will find out and stop you. Like they did once you started hacking your way out of the Thalmor Embassy once you procured the dossiers.
    • Also note that if you get caught or hack your way through the Thalmor, it would seriously bounce back on the Jarl of Whiterun. He'd almost certainly end up suffering in some way for your crimes.

     Why is Ancano alive? 
Winterhold is, barring action by the Dragonborn in the Civil War quests, smack-dab in the middle of Stormcloak territory. Ancano is a Thalmor operative. And it doesn't seem to me like the faculty at the college would cross the street to help him, much less stand up to Jarl Korir. Why hasn't he been ripped to shreds by a Torches and Pitchforks-wielding mob — or at least arrested by Ulfric's men — before the Dragonborn even shows up?
  • Because he's an ambassador, so the Stormcloaks would - however grudgingly - let him be. (ambassadors get special treatment for a reason; without them diplomacy goes nowhere) Also, he's in the middle of the College of Winterhold, which itself is an independent entity and which is the best-equipped place in the entirety of Skyrim to deal with a mob. The staff of the College might not like Ancano, but they would like it even less if the ambassador for one of the most powerful nations in the world was killed while being their guest, and they absolutely would not let a mob of angry Nords break into the College on general principle.
  • Do they even know if he's there? The locals seem to go out of their way to ignore the college and not get involved with them. Plus even if they know he's here, they don't know how the college will react (They have no way to know he's not liked). The college has a sizeable (by Skyrim Standard) elven population. For all they know, going in there to get him is inviting being turned into a toad. Not like Winterhold has enough guards to really try anything.
  • It isn't entirely clear, but the Winterhold College seems to be outside the Hold's jurisdiction. The Jarl probably does have the power to get involved in their politics, if he wanted to do so, but given Nords' distrust for magic, they all seem to just stay away and allow the College to govern itself.
  • It's not at all clear that the faculty would let him be killed by an angry mob. Yes, they don't like him; but I'd wager they also dislike the idea of fellow practitioners getting turned over to angry mobs baying for blood, especially since everyone else at the College of Winterhold is barely more liked than the Thalmor — if they hand over Ancano, who is the angry mob going to demand next? They'd likely stand up for him both as a matter of principle and because it sets a bad precedent to allow wizards to get executed by angry mobs.
  • Additionally, given that Nords generally distrust magic, it's likely that relations between the College and the Stormcloaks are not good. The College generally seems to stay out of politics; from the perspective of the Stormcloaks, this is for the best — the last thing they want is for an intemperate demand for Ancano's head to result in the College concluding that the Stormcloaks cannot be trusted to let the college to continue to operate after the war, resulting in them putting their full magical might behind the Imperials. Everyone is tiptoeing carefully around the College, in other words, to avoid Awakening the Sleeping Giant.

     Miraak's Question 
  • There is a point where Miraak calls out the Last Dragonborn, by asking if dragons feel pain when you absorb their souls. What I want to know is, what's the message Miraak's trying to send? Is it supposed to be a taunt to demoralize the Last Dragonborn? Or is he honestly questioning the morality of hunting them down for power?
    • I saw it more as morbid curiosity and a taunt - Since he ultimately wants to suck out your soul, do you think it'll hurt? He's obviously not questioning the morality of doing it.

     Nobles to Barbarians 
  • I'm very confused by this very sudden and drastic deviation from all of the previously established lore about Bretons. Seriously... what the hell is up with the Forsworn? In all of the previous games, Breton culture was very courtly, polished, and aristocratic. Now suddenly they're almost exactly like Orcs, except absolutely and completely batshit - barbarians who live in tribes, camp outdoors or squat in ruins, run around in only a few tiny scraps of fur, and indiscriminately slaughter people with improvised weapons. I'm so bewildered by this it's unreal. This really doesn't make any sense. What the hell happened? What is the deal here?
    • The Forsworn / Reachmen are not the same as the Bretons of High Rock. The later are what was presented in the other game (And the kind of Breton you most likely play if you make a PC). The Reachmen are Bretons in that they are the same species, yes, but an entirely different culture, one that has, for centuries (If not millenias), existed as second class citizens to the local Nords. The Forsworn did not embrace the Nine Divines the way the Bretons did (Most likely because this was seen as adopting the culture of the invader) and instead worship their (ill defined) Old Gods. Meanwhile, the Bretons of High Rock have been the masters of their own land for a long time - baring the occasional Orc uprising and the infighting between their various nations and the neighbouring Redguard Kingdoms in Hammerfell, their culture developed more closely along the lines of the rest of Empire as they were a part of both the Alessian Empire, the Reman Empire, and the Septim Empire, helped by the fact that (According to some Rumors) Tiber Septim either was a Breton, or at least had spent time in High Rock (A ghost you mean calls him Hjalti Early-Beard, and mentions they trained In Alcaire, which is in High Rock).
    • Also note that SOME High Rock Bretons were at one time like the Reachmen. A time as recent as when Talos was around. His first victory (Again, backed up by the Ghost you meet in Skyrim who knew the guy) was against the "Witchmen of the Rock". This conflict is mentioned in "The Acturian Heresy", a book that was in Morrowind.
    • It is also important to note that the highly cultured, civilized Bretons are in High Rock. It is also very important to note that at no point in all of this particular game are we ever in High Rock. There's a reason why the game is called Skyrim. The Reachmen are indeed savages because they aren't High Rock Bretons. It is also important to note that for the most part, the Forsworn have become the savage barbarians they are specifically because they were driven out of Markarth by Ulfric decades before and have fallen into worshipping daedra and the hagravens for the magical power they need to carry out their insurgent campaign. It is equally important that a great many of the Reachmen, particularly the Bretons you meet in Markarth, are quite civilized; even many of the Forsworn are actually pretty civilized, but can turn brutal and vicious at the drop of a hat if they need to. A lot of the Forsworn are otherwise ordinary Bretons who don those "savage" outfits as - effectively - a uniform and a sign of the creatures they serve to further their ends.
    • The Daedra / Hagraven worshipping predates the Markath Incident by several millenias. See "The Legend of Red Eagle" which mentions Hagravens involvement with the Reachmen in a manner very similar to what we see today, during the times of the Alessian Empire. Daedra Worship and the Hagravens have been a part of the men of the Reach's society for ages. While there's no doubt they are more civilized when not forced to survive in ruins on the run from Nords who want to kill or enslave them, even the Civilized Reachmen are very different from High Rock Bretons. The civilized Reachmen are more those who have modernized and moved on from their people's old ways, while the Forsworn and their ilks follow the "Old Ways", and it's a tradition that goes back long ago.

     Could Karliah be Dragonborn? 
  • It seems pretty clear that Karliah does have a human ancestor somewhere, though the details aren't specific. It appears to be a relatively popular theory that Karliah is a descendant of Tiber Septim through his illegitimate child with Queen Barenziah, which would have to mean that the official story about the pregnancy having been forcibly aborted by his healer was just a cover up, and in fact not true. Dralsi Indoril seems to be singled out as a strong candidate for this theory, the idea being that she was passed off as Drayven Indoril's child to avoid a potentially dangerous conflict with the Empire. If this could be true, would this not make Karliah also a Dragonborn? And possibly a claimant to the Septim throne? Thoughts?
    • Seeing as the game (And the Elder Scrolls themselves who record both past and future history (including possible) all seem to agree that you are the Last Dragonborn, I'd say the answer is very much a no. Furthermore, Dragonborn (As in the Shout-having types) isn't something that's passed on genetically. The Dragonborn Emperors were such because of St-Alessia's compact with Akatosh (And if they counted as actual Dragonborn or merely worked because they were descended from Talos is a matter of debate).
    • Miraak was the first supposedly, but survived into the fourth era due to being trapped in Apocrypha... which was just a fluke really, but just because you're the last Dragonborn whose birth has been prophesied doesn't necessarily mean there are no others who were born before you that are still alive. It is unclear if Tiber Septim's line is the same sort of Dragonborn that you are; if it's not, then it's easily possible that Karliah could have the "dragon blood" and not be aware of it (may have been able to wear the Amulet of Kings and such, but not absorb dragon souls and Shout).
      • Except the player's race and age are flexible. There's no guarantee Karliah is older than you, when the player can make a wrinkled elderly high elf as a character.
    • Karliah cannot be Dragonborn unless Akatosh specifically chooses to make her such. The Septim bloodline only possessed the dragon "blood" due to the covenant with Akatosh, which ended when the Amulet of Kings was broken in Oblivion.

    Where are the Oblivion gates? 
  • Shouldn't there be a ton of Oblivion gate remnants scarring the landscape? Anyone who's played Oblivion knows that closing a gate still leaves behind a permanent change to the environment.
    • They've had two hundred years to clean up the damage, both physically and metaphysically.
    • The gates themselves were also almost certainly torn down by the various mortal races for various reasons. Vigilants of Stendarr and other priests and orders militant of the Divines likely tore them apart on principle and suppress daedra worship, while mages would have taken them apart for research and power, and daedra worshippers likely pillaged them for their own reasons. After the remains of the Gates were cleared out, nature then would have erased the signs of the sites over the next two hundred years.

    How did anyone get into Blackreach previously? 
  • This applies to Sinderion, the Falmer servants, and Drokt (the skeleton in the Tower of Mzark). Before inserting the attunement sphere into any of the three dwarven mechanisms leading to Blackreach, the entire cavern was completely off-limits. All three Great Lifts, as well as the Tower of Mzark, were locked from inside. Blackreach was all but unheard of by scholars of the Dwemer. So how did anyone get down there before the Dragonborn? Is there some secret route we don't know about?
    • There's an attunement sphere in Sinderion's field laboratory, so we know how he got in. As to how the Falmer got in, they were originally Dwemer slaves. They were always there, from back before the Dwemer vanished from Mundus. And being already on the inside they and their descendants they can use one of the Great Lifts to let anybody else in whenever they want to.
    • That does answer the question of Sinderion, thank you. The Falmer were there to begin with, they've lived there for many generations, for sure — I'm not so certain about their servants. The hostile men and mer in rags who are around the Silent City. There's never any indication that the Falmer know how to operate Dwemer machinery, or else they'd be able to direct it against you whenever they have the opportunity. Also, Drokt. No idea about Drokt.
    • Errr, you can operate the Great Lifts just fine, so why can't the Falmer? Simply pulling a lever is not exactly the most intellectually challenging of tasks.

    Why is Lokir on the list? 
  • At the start of the game, Lokir insists that he's not a rebel, and Ralof treats him like he's just some random mildly-annoying thief. But Lokir's name and birthplace are already written down on Hadvar's list. Since the Dragonborn isn't on that list, it can't just be the names of everybody who was captured. In fact, it looks more like the Empire wrote up a list of people they want dead — and Lokir is on it. Is he more than just a horse thief after all?
    • More likely he just got arrested and told them his name. (and generally, "of [location]" serves as a stand-in for a last name in medieval cultures, if someone hasn't done anything to earn a family name or title) The Dragonborn probably didn't tell the Imperials his/her name when s/he was arrested, so you're not on the list when Hadvar starts going down it. Everyone the Imperials arrested was going to get killed, the Dragonborn was just the only one whose name wasn't written down.
      • The Dragonborn didn't give his name because he was passed out. Remember, the game opens with you coming to.
      • If the list was simply a list of everyone in the carts, then no one would have thought anything of him not being written down. It'd be a simple matter of, oh, whoops, we miscounted, off to the block you go. But Hadvar hesitates, like someone not being on the list means they don't belong there. It's more than just a list of everyone they rounded up. It's a list of people the Empire wants executed. And apparently, the Empire wants Lokir executed. (Also, the Dragonborn could have easily been noted on the list simply as some individual who didn't divulge their name. But they weren't noted at all, which, again, doesn't make sense if the list was written after the capture.)
      • Hadvar's just asking for clarification when he notes the Dragonborn isn't on the list. When there's a gap in the records you go to a higher up for clarification. And you know what? The Captain says the Dragonborn's supposed to die. So yes, everyone in the cart was marked for death regardless; Hadvar just noted a clerical error. You're reading way too much into this.
      • The question that I probably should have asked originally is whether the list was written before or after the capture. If the list were written after the capture, the Dragonborn should have been on the list in some form (and I'm surprised that anyone would care that he's not on it, since it's no more than a formality). It seems improbable that they'd just forget to note one of their eight-ish prisoners, especially one who isn't talking. But if it were written before the capture, as a sort of warrant for arrest and execution, then Lokir shouldn't have been on the list either. Thus, headscratcher.
      • It obviously wasn't written before the capture, because they wouldn't know who was actually there until the operation took place. After the operation was completed, the Imperials would have made their list, but someone goofed and didn't add the Dragonborn. Again, you're making too much out of what is obviously a clerical error. The most likely explanation is the Dragonborn was unconscious during the point where they were writing the list, and the Imperial clerk responsible figured they were all dead anyway and didn't bother.
      • The hesitation was just Hadvar looking for your name on the list, then asking the captain (his superior) what to do once he realizes you're not on the list. The captain says to basically not worry about it and on with the execution. As to why you and Lokir had to die? It's been discussed a number of times before and the general answer seems to be that the captain didn't want you two running around saying they were executing Ulfric Stormcloak and his men without a trial. If that happens, it'll incite more support for Ulfric's cause. Best to nip that potential headache in the bud.
    • In the Middle Ages, horse theft was a very serious crime, up their with murder, and was usually punishable by death. So, yeah, Lokir's sentence makes sense for the time. The real question is, why isn't the Dragonborn punished more severely when s/he steals a horse?
      • Because you're the *freaking* Dragonborn? Either that, or Lokir is a repeat offender.

    Why does Delphine want to kill Paarthurnax? 
Esbern (who was mentioned in a previous headscratcher) has at least some reason to want to kill dragons; he's an ancient scholar who believed in them long after everyone else forgot them and has devoted his life to interpreting prophecies so he can fight them. But Delphine didn't even know dragons existed until a few weeks ago; she was fixated on fighting the Thalmor and preserving the Blades, not on the dragons, to the point where she initially assumed the dragons were just some sort of Thalmor plot. When did she suddenly become an anti-dragon fanatic? From her perspective, rebuilding the Blades as she knew them — which requires keeping a good relationship with the Dragonborn, and which, until a few weeks ago, had nothing to do with dragons — should be vastly, unfathomably more important than Esbern's obsession with ancient forgotten books and legends. If Esbern says something about killing Paarthurnax, and the player refuses, shouldn't Delphine instantly side with the Dragonborn? She has no reason to feel this strongly about Paarthurnax, and overwhelming reasons to feel strongly about keeping the Dragonborn on their side (without that, after all, it's meaningless to call yourself the Blades; and without the Dragonborn, it's unsafe to use Sky Haven Temple as a base, since only the Dragonborn can open and close its entrance.) Why is Delphine suddenly willing to throw away her dreams of reviving the Blades and fighting the Thalmor over a disagreement about dragons, something she couldn't possibly have had an opinion on until very very recently?
  • Who said she didn't have a strong opinion on the dragons? Keep in mind that the entire reason the Blades existed in the first place, long before they became the Emperor's bodyguards, was to hunt and kill dragons. The entire reason why they serve to protect the Dragonborn is because the Dragonborn are the ultimate dragon slayers. The entire reason the Akaviri traveled to Tamriel in the first place was to hunt and kill dragons. Every single Blade is a traditional descendant of the original Akaviri Dragonguard who hated dragons so much that they crossed and ocean and invaded an entire continent just to keep killing dragons. Hunting and killing dragons is an essential part of the Blades' entire existence. Delphine would have had this doctrine instilled into her when she joined them and it clearly comes out when she orders you to go kill Paarthurnax.
  • And Paarthunax was Alduin's right hand man, and was guilty of a lot of atrocities on his own, so as far as she was concerned, he had a lot to answer for, even if his crimes occurred 2,000 years ago. My problem is that you, the Dragonborn, are unable to use your own station to remind her that she follows you, and whatever you say goes, not the other way around.
  • In a weird way, it does make sense that she will refuse to help you if you refuse to kill Paarthurnax. The Dragonborn is the ultimate dragonslayer, which is why the Dragonguard/Blades followed Tiber Septim and protected the Septim dynasty. By not slaying every dragon you encounter, you're effectively abandoning your role, as far as they see it. If you're not helping them slay every dragon, then they owe you nothing. Its a fanatical mindset, but the Blades can be that way. They invaded an entire continent to kill dragons, after all, and as far as they're concerned, that's your entire role.
  • And, your entire being exists to kill dragons and absorb their souls, so in some way, they're wondering why you're suddenly acting hesitant toward this one dragon. You've killed countless other dragons before, so why are you suddenly acting all high and mighty about leaving this one dragon alive and not just any dragon, but Alduin's second-in-command!. From their perspective, not only are you abandoning your role, but you're basically siding up with what they think is the second most evil being in the world (excluding the Thalmor.) No wonder they do't want to have anything to do with you after this.

     Aludin and You 
  • OK, I may be getting this mixed up, but if Alduin is destined to devour the world and usher in a new Kalpa, then why are you, the Dragonborn, there to prevent him from doing what might very well be his job? Was the Dragonborn thing just so the non-dragon people could have a fighting chance against him?
    • The problem is that Alduin is neglecting his duties. Alduin's sole purpose is to destroy the world at the proper time. However, Alduin became arrogant with his power and, back in the Merethic Era, became an oppressive dictator. Now in the Fourth Era, Alduin's trying to destroy the world like he's supposed to, except now the problem is that it's not even the proper time for the world to end. The Dragonborn is basically Akatosh's way of telling his unruly son to stop goofing around and do his chores.
    • Some of the Kirkbride commentary suggests that Akatosh and the other Divines also, well, kinda like how this particular kalpa turned out and want to keep it around for a while. So they're arranging for Alduin to go on a diet until they get tired of it, or the Thalmor finish tearing down the Towers, whichever comes first.

     Aella's Bloodlust 
  • Okay, is their an in universe reason for why we can't try to talk Aela out of wiping out the Silver Hand? Yes, they killed Skjior, but we really didn't know him all that well, and we might not want to pick unnecessary fights. I could see where the quest was going from the moment knew Skjior went off alone.
    • Aela's pissed? I mean, she's really fucking angry that they killed Skjor. He was her lover, after all. She's not just flipping out because a friend died.
    • Is there an in universe reason why you'd want to? You've joined a Band of Brothers mercenary organisation and learned that their nemeses are a group of bigoted amoral brigands. Is there any particular reason why you'd not want to kill them?
    • In short, she's on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge. You'd be pretty pissed too if a group of bigoted mercenaries captured and tortured your loved one to the point of death just because he was a werewolf. And dozens of others as well from the looks of it.
    • OP here: wow, before anyone else bites my head off, I should clarify: from my understanding Skjior was one of the head honchos of the Companions, we aren't given much chance to get to know him, and hell the first quest I got from them was to go beat up Ysolda, my point is, why does Aela automatically enlist YOU to run her revenge campaign and not say Vilkas and Farkass, who actually knew him well.
      • Because she's running interference for you to run the campaign, and Aela knows Kodlak won't approve of the quest for revenge. Its easier for her to use a relative newcomer to carry out the campaign of vengeance than someone who is more likely to report what's happening to Kodlak.
      • There's also that with Skjor down, the only other members of the Circle available to help Aela out are Kodlak, Vilkas, Farkas, and you. Kodlak is the guy Aela is trying to keep it from. Vilkas won't do vengeance murder for Skjor (it takes killing Kodlak himself to make Vilkas even temporarily go into vengeance mode, and afterward he calms down he says that he should never have done it), and Farkas not only can't keep a secret but does whatever his brother tells him to. That leaves you.
     Dragonpriests and Liches 
  • Is there a particular or notable distinction between Dragon Priests and the liches seen in earlier installments of the series? I ask because it was a fairly specific plot point that Manimarco was the first lich in the Elder Scrolls universe, but as far as I'm aware, the dragon priests predate him by a significant margin.
    • Dragon Priests are unique liches that worshipped the dragons during the Merethic Era, and were rewarded with incredible power. Liches are necromancers who placed their souls into philacteries. Also, considering Miraak's condition when you meet him, and the lore about draugr transferring their life energy into the Dragon Priests, it's possible that the Dragon Priests did not become liches until long after their deaths.

     Miraak's Race 
  • Well in game he's designated as Nord as a placeholder, but lore wise, that couldn't possibly be his actual race, as he long predates the existence of any of the modern races. So... what IS he? Is he elven? Or is he human? Is he an Aldmer, possibly? A Nede? Or something else entirely?
    • Atmoran, most likely. The Atmorans were the proto-Nords who migrated from Atmora to Tamriel at from the Late Merethic Era. Given that he was a dragon priest and the cult was an exclusively Atmoran/Nordic religion it is a fair assumption. Atmorans may be Nedic, depending on how much faith you put into the "Out of Atmora" theory. This theory puts forth the idea that all humans migrated from Atmora, mostly in the middle-to-late Merethic Era. However, detractors of this theory (including myself) state that this theory was a fiction perpetrated by the early Septim Empire to improve relations with the recently integrated Kingdom of Skyrim, and that the Nedic peoples had always lived in the Niben Valley.
  • In game, the Greybeards and Parthunaxx stress repeatedly that you must fundamentally know a Word of Power in order to use it. For example, you have to know what Balance -Ro- truly means in order to utilize it in the iconic shout, what I want to know is, would you be able to use it in other shouts? Or would you have to re-learn the Word of Power in order to use it in another shout?
    • I would think that once the Dovahkiin understood what 'Ro' meant, he/she could simply apply it to another shout if he/she knew it could work. But no, I don't think he/she would have to relearn the word.
    • The Dragonborn's Thu'um is powerful but simple when compared to what a true master of the Thu'um can do. You probably can use Words of Power in other contexts, and you certainly can use them as part of a general sentence or recombine them into other Shouts. We see as much when the Greybeards speak. The Dragonborn is using a very brutal and primal application of the Thu'um, with each Word being a sudden shock of insight and understanding that is then transformed into total comprehension when a dragon's soul is used to comprehend the Word - in effect, you use the dragon's soul to hijack it's basic understanding of the Shout to absorb the meaning and fundamentals of the concept contained in that Word. But if s/he were to spend decades training and studying with the Greybeards, then the Dragonborn could likely learn to recombine those individual words into sentences and new Shouts, much like the ancient Nords created Dragonrend.

     Idgrod's visions 
  • In a world where people can live across the street from actual fireball hurling wizards, why is the idea of an old seeress so difficult to believe? Shouldn't people like Idgrod be a dime-a-dozen in Tamriel? Hell, in actual history, medieval Scandinavians would readily believe in all manner of seers and volvas with a lot less evidence to go on than the people of Skyrim.
    • Nowhere is it said that no one believes she sees visions. The closest there gets to that is one of Nords outside the town hall complaining that she relies more on her visions than on the opinions of her townsfolk, and that they need a leader instead of a mystic.
    • It's not that they don't believe her, it's that they don't trust her. Fourth-Era Nords have developed a cultural prejudice against any kind of magic (Thu'um and alchemy notwithstanding). While practitioners of magic aren't actively persecuted and are even tolerated in certain roles like court wizard, the general populace tends to get at least a bit leery whenever the subject comes up. The citizens of Morthal, being commoners of likely limited education, would naturally lump Idgrod's visions in with magic. Combine that with all the problems the town is facing, and you have a recipe for unrest.

    Did Rochelle forget what the plan was? 
  • So Rochelle the Red gets the idea to kidnap the last dragonborn's spouse and hold them for ransom. I can think of a thousand reasons why that's a bad idea, but I've already accepted that the bandit leader is monumentally stupid. What really strikes me as odd is that she just attacks the last dragonborn on sight, not even attempting to make the trade. Is she just so stupid that she can't even remember her own idiotic plan?
    • Well, what may have happened was that she simply had no idea who she was pissing off, so when the Dragonborn walked into her lair, she saw him/her, had an Oh, Crap! moment and relied on her survival instincts. If you're a bandit and you see a man/woman walking into your lair armed with enchanted dragon/daedric armor, you're not going to think they're here to barter with you or reason with you. You are going to (rightfully so) think they're here to kill you. Granted she probably could've done better had she at least tried to reason with the Dragonborn first, but can we really fault her for assuming the worst?
    • Another possibility is that sometime between kidnapping the Dragonborn's spouse and your arrival, she's come to the horrible realization of just what she's done and knows that right now, a walking apocalypse is headed her way. So she panics and starts swinging when you step through.

    Why is the Dawnguard so small? 
  • Alright so when first get the mission to recruit old associates of Isran for the Dawnguard, he mentions that they have to keep their numbers down so the vampires can't track them down. Fair enough. But literally as you get there after leaving Harkon's Castle, vampires are attacking them, meaning that the vampires already know they're there. Not only that, but they also have a way to tell who is and isn't a vampire (the bright light thing in the entry of the fort). So why doesn't he just mass recruit an army instead of three extra guys? Isn't it a little late for stealth?
    • For one, let's be fair. The whole "Dawnguard" thing sounds a bit mental. He's sending you to recruit people he knows are aware of the vampire threat. Mass recruiting would most likely be met with a large number of semi-derisive snorts and comments.
      • Hey, now, the guards in the hold cities might consider joining up themselves. Many of the guards. Repeatedly. A lot.
    • By the end of the Dawnguard questline, you have 17 people hanging out there (including Gunmar, Sorine and Florentius). By Skyrim standards, that is an army.

    At the end of the Cidhna Mine quest... 
  • Why do I return to the mine via the ruins, to find that literally every prisoner is dead after I assassinate Madanach, even though the worst I inflicted to everyone else was superficial wounds?
    • Either the game assumes you killed them, or the guards came in afterward and made sure everything was taken care of.

    Stormcloak initiation 
  • As very badass as swimming out into the Sea of Ghosts, fighting Snow Bears, Ice Trolls and fending off hypothermia to reach Serpent Stone Isle is, isn't it a bit odd that the test to join the Stormcloaks is to kill an Ice Wraith when that's what all Nords in the Old Holds do to basically earn their citizenship in a Strength Equals Worthiness coming of age ritual? I mean, Ice-Wraiths are easily a mid to high-level enemy in-game and there's of course all the other stuff I've just mentioned, but it seems odd how Galmar plays it up as a big thing when Ice Wraiths are basically something he's probably killed as a kid.
    • It makes more sense if you're not playing as a Nord. You need to prove yourself as being able to take part in the culture of the Nords and survive their initiation trials. Non-Nords within the Stormcloaks are likely rare and Galmar's taking care to make sure you can be a component of the culture you seem to be wanting to fight for.
    • Totally makes sense for non-Nords, but I primarily meant in the case the player is a Nord. I mean, if he's a Nord, Skyrim is the player's home and birthplace right?
    • Do recall that even if you're playing a Nord, you were out of Skyrim for some time and were explicitly caught crossing the border. For all they know, you were born outside of Skyrim and never knew your homeland, or became soft by living somewhere else. If you're a worthy Nord, then it's no challenge for you. if you're not, then you can become worthy by going through the rite of passage.

    I hope that dragon takes you all to Sovngarde! 
  • Uhhh, Nords being what and who they are, wouldn't this be construed among them as a nice thing to say? Sovngarde after all is the location of the Hall of Valour, the Aedric equivalent of Valhalla within the world of Elder Scrolls. Reaching there is an indication of badassery and an implication of an ecstatic afterlife of fighting and feasting. It's like a Muslim or a Jew saying to someone they don't like "I hope you go to Heaven!". Surely Hadvar, as a Nord himself, would know how this sounds, right?
    • Something to remember is that a LOT of the Imperials and Stormcloaks don't exactly bear ill will towards each other. They're on opposite sides of the war, yes, but some of them (Rikke/Galmar and Ulfric being a prime example) were close friends and allies before. Perhaps Hadvar is essentially wishing them a good death because, while Ralof is a stormcloak, they may be at the least familiar with each other. After all, Hadvar's uncle and Ralof's family both come from the same village.
    • You have to remember there are approximately five tons of death and destruction incarnate flying above their heads at the moment, Hadvar doesn't really have the time or the mentality to calmly consider his words, so he just blurted out the very first thing that came to his head. Besides, where else would Alduin take them? If the Stormcloaks died fighting a bigass dragon who was destined to end the world, they would definitely qualify for Sovngarde. Lastly, Hadvar and Ralof may hate each other, but they're still nords. Olaf and Svaknir were bitter enemies, but the former still hoped to see the latter in the Great Hall.
    • You're acting like they're sitting in a debate hall discussing carefully-considered arguments. They're not. They're in the middle of a giant battle with a rampaging monster straight out of myth killing everyone nearby. Hadvar is just shouting a phrase meaning "I hope that thing kills you!"in the heat of the moment, and it's not like similar statements aren't used in real life. "May God have mercy on you" or "Make your peace with God" are recognized taunts toward people about to die.
    • Yes, but the implication of "May God have mercy on you" is usually that God will not in fact have mercy on you by virtue of your actions being unforgivable. It's basically another way of saying you're going to hell. "I hope that Dragon takes you all to Sovngarde" doesn't have that same connotation to me. Hadvar is basically wishing on Ralof every Nord's dream - to die fighting a mighty foe and go to Shor. In any case, factoring in this worldview isn't something that Hadvar should need to consciously consider anyway as it's not an advanced, complex piece of information - the concept of glory in death would be a fairly simple and fundamental religious and cultural concept that most Nords are inculcated with at a young age. Of course, Hadvar is Imperial-leaning, and doubtless has likely had his worldview corrupted by soft Cyrodiilic nonsense...
    • True, but there's a giant, five ton, flying, fire-breathing monster ripped straight out of mythology currently burning everything down around them and picking them off one by one. He's panicking so he's going to say whatever's on his mind. Given the context, he was basically wishing for Ralof and the other Stormcloaks to die a horrible death to Alduin. He probably didn't care how it sounded; he just wanted to get out of Helgen alive.

    Talos is both Dovahkiin and Shezzarine 
  • Okay, in the game itself we find confirmation that the Greybeards named Talos Dovahkiin, thus meaning that Akatosh gave him a dragon soul and empowered him the ability to use the thu'um. On the other hand, Michael Kirkbride also confirmed at one point that Talos was Shezzarine, meaning he was one of Lorkhan's avatars. Just... how does that work? If he's Shezzarine, doesn't that mean he can't exist anywhere but on Nirn? And aren't Akatosh and Lorkhan opposed to each other?
    • Welcome to the Elder Scrolls universe; where godhod is weird and a space-time clusterfuck made all the endings of the second game happend at the same time.
    • Interesting fact: we know of one other being who actually was aspects of Akatosh and Lorkhan at the same time: Pelinal Whitestrake. Think on that the next time you quick-save and go on a rampage through Whiterun....
    • Akatosh and Lorkhan are opposed to one another, but at the same time they have things that they agree on, such as defending Nirn. Pelinal Whitestrake was an example of where their interests intersected: Lorkhan incarnating a Shezzarine to protect humans, and Akatosh using his Divine gifts as blessings to ensure his Covenant with Alessia. Talos would be another example of this: General Talos leading an army for the benefit of mankind, and Akatosh blessing the same individual with a dragon's soul so he could take the Ruby Throne and renew the Covenant. The Fourth Era Dragonborn is another possible example, if the player is indeed a Shezzarine: Lorkhan doesn't want humans to be subjugated by the dragons and Akatosh wants to bring Alduin to heel and delay the next round of wolrd-eating, so they both work together on the Dovahkiin.

    Pantheon names 
  • How come the Nords don't refer to their dieties by their Nordic names?
    • This is actually discussed by a few characters in-game. Its one of the examples of how Nords are actually adopting a lot of Imperial cultural elements.
    • The oddest thing is how the Greybeards call Kyne Kynareth, you'd think that being the exemplars of Nordic beliefs who've been isolated from most of the going-ons in Tamriel for centuries, they'd at least use the old name for the goddess. Then again, they apparently became Talos worshipers. On another note, I wish that there were more Nords like Froki Whetted-Blade in Skyrim. Preferably they should have been in the Stormcloaks.
      • Well, Ulfric trained with them, and he's pretty big on Talos. The Greybeards aren't totally isolated from everything and everyone, they're just not very chatty.
  • Mind you however, the Nine Divines aren't exactly an "Imperial Pantheon" (the actual Imperial pantheon upholds the worship of mortals-turned-gods Morihaus and Reman, who are rarely mentioned even within Cyrodiil); they're a simplified Pan-Human pantheon that consists of reinterpreted Nordic gods that had the most impact on the creation of the world. Such as it is, over time, the names of the Divines and the Nordic pantheon aspects have most likely become interchangeable, see Stormcloaks who call Talos "Ysmir". Shor is obviously still worshiped by all Nords too, despite not being a member of the Divines (even though he is probably the one being that had the most part in the creation of Nirn).
    • Also, it's not like the Nordic pantheon itself hasn't changed in recent years. Talos was added to it after his ascension, so it may be that the names were also co-opted at some point.

    The lack of Dwarven specters 
  • What's Bethesda's reason for not including them in Dwemer ruins like in Morrowind? Seems like a strange thing to exclude even if they were on a time crunch because they made a reference to it in the Winterhold quest where Arniel turned into a specter, hinting at what may have happened to the Dwemer.
    • Either the conditions that led to Dwemer spectres didn't occur in the Skyrim ruins, or the Falmer occupying those ruins destroyed or drove them out.

    Joining the Circle 
  • Why isn't there an option when you Join the Circle to simply refuse Skjor's offer of beastblood. He makes it clear that neither he nor Aela will force it upon you, and the Dragonborn has by this point already heard the specifics of beastblood from Kodlak, including of how it binds your soul to Hircine and, if you're a Nord, bars you from the Hall of Valour, so there's enough reason for a Dragonborn who agrees with Kodlak's beliefs or is a Nord to decline the offer. Hell, even before that quest you're made an official member of the Circle, with the meeting in the Underforge basically Skjor being a pusher-man and trying to pressurise you into taking some of that "sweet Wolf's blood." Surely the Dragonborn is well within his right to tell Skjor and Aela to go to the Deadlands, right?
    • You can just refuse. It doesn't advance the Companions questline any further, but the option is open there.
    • Why doesn't it advance the questline?
    • Not choosing to become a werewolf doesn't advance the werewolf-centric questline. Shocking, I know. And yes, before you repeat what's been said a million times across the internet, yes, there are any number of possible ways that they could have continued that particular plotline without you becoming a werewolf, etc.

    Why haven't the Thalmor officially banned the worship of Morihaus and Reman? 
  • Okay, we know the real reason the Thalmor banned the worship of Talos is because they want to destroy linear time and return the Merish races to godhood. Of course, the rest of the world and possibly much of their mid to low levels don't know that. They portray their reason for banning Talos as being due to a theological dispute that holds that men cannot become gods. So, why doesn't the White Gold Concordat also ban Imperial man-gods like Reman, the founder of Cyrodiil, and Morihaus, the mortal son of Kynareth? Surely these two being unmentioned would have raised some eyebrows, as their continued worship would clearly be a glaring heresy to Aldmeri beliefs?
    • Because Talos/Tiber helped found the Septim Empire (an Empire of Man) which included Summerset Isle, the home of the Altmer so banning him first was like a giant middle finger to him and the Septim Empire as a whole. It's possible that the others are banned as well, but because the troubles are over Talos, that's what the Thalmor are focusing on right now.
    • Okay. On that note, how do the Thalmor feel about the continued worship of Shor in Skyrim and possibly other places (Shezzar in Cyrodiil for instance, even though he's almost forgotten there)? Lorkhan is by far the most despised entity in their mythologies, and he's probably twice as offensive to them as Talos ever was. Does the Concordat ban his worship too? I doubt it, since if it did the Nords would probably make at least a big deal out of it as they do for Talos, given that he's basically Elder Scrolls Odin.
    • Because they honestly don't give a shit about Reman and Morihaus. Which probably also fuels the anger of Talos worshipers, as their particular god is being specifically targeted.
    • Assuming the apocryphal story about returning to divine status is false, the Thalmor hate Talos the most for historical reasons: Tiber Septim lead a conquest against Sommerset Isle.
    • It's important to note that Reman and Morihaus are venerated, but they aren't venerated to the same level as the Divines. The Divines are beings associated with the elements of Nirn and the Mundus as a whole, things that everyone reveres. Both mer and men venerate Akatosh/Auri-El, for example. But Talos isn't one of those Divines that the elves venerate, and what's worse still, he's an aspect of the filthy, vile, evil monster Lorkhan who's responsible for damning all of elvenkind to this shithole of a planet Nirn. They're already kind of pissed that humans hold Lorkhan in a positive light, but that's just something that humans do. Mer hate Lorkhan, men love him, it's been the cause of the wars between them for milennia, that thing happens. But oh, here goes this Empire, who not only venerate that shitstain Lorkhan, but elevated an aspect of him to the ranks of the Divines. Nope, nope, nooooope, not putting up with that shit. Or at least, that's the official story, and from their perspective, the elves are pretty justified in their hatred of the heresy putting Talos up there with the likes of Auri-El.
    • They've also got a personal beef with Talos/Tiber Septim because not only did he conquer the Summerset Isles for the first time in history, but Numidium, being the time-fucking mecha-god it is, is still attacking the Isles across multiple timelines and periods. They're rather peeved about the kilometer-tall brass Gundam that Tiber Septim unleashed on them which is still randomly showing up and stomping their shit, which rather justifies some of their particular hatred toward Talos.

     Jyggalag or Hermaeus' library? 
  • So, Hermaeus Mora has a Great Big Library of Everything, right? But wasn't Jyggalag transformed into Sheogorath because he had one that had so much into it that the other Daedra were afraid of him? So, who has it?
    • The Daedric Princes feared Jyggalag because of how powerful he was and for how great his plane of Oblivion had become. Jyggalag's library, Knifepoint Hollow, contained great knowledge, not all knowledge, and Sheogorath destroyed it himself because it was too orderly. However, he kept Dyus alive because the servant of Jyggalag had knowledge too great to let it go to waste.
    • So they both had a Great Big Library of Everything? But isn't knowledge Hermaeus Mora's domain?
      • There may be some overlap in domain, much like the Greco-Roman pantheon had. Jyggalag is the Keeper of Order, which may include knowledge of the order of things. Hermaeus Mora is the Keeper of Knowledge, both forbidden and not
    • Once again, Jyggalag's library contained great knowledge, not all knowledge. Just because Mehrunes Dagon is the Prince of Destruction, doesn't mean the other Princes can't destroy anything.
    • Also, note the essential difference between the two libraries. Jyggalag's library was filled with his logical predictions of the result of every action, except when an individual defies their fate. (In other words, a Great Big Library of Destiny/Causality.) Mora's library is his attempt to acquire all knowledge that already exists, from "how to skin a horker" to the words of the most powerful Thu'ums. Both became very powerful because of their great knowledge, but they got and used it in very different ways that reflects their natures.
      • In short, Mora has the library of everything this is or was. Jyggalag has the library of everything that will be.

     Thalmor and Imperials in Stormcloak-controlled Skyrim 
  • Even if you complete the Civil War in favour of the Stormcloaks, the Thalmor Embassy remains untouched. Why would Ulfric allow the Thalmor's greatest stronghold in Skyrim to remain intact, especially when it's in proximity to the capital? In addition, the Penitus Occulatus continue to operate in the region if it's Stormcloak-controlled — they even allow the Emperor to enter the harbour outside Solitude. Why would they allow him and his bodyguards that kind of autonomy?
    • As I understand it, they just fought a war to free themselves from the Empire, so their resources are depleted. If they attack the Emperor or the Thalmor now, they'll be risking an all-out war against the full brunt of the Empire + the Thalmor, which is something they can't afford. Not sure why they don't wipe out the Thalmor embassy, but I can imagine they let the Emperor stay, though they gritted their teeth the whole time.
      • There's also the Doylist answer: that you can potentially complete the entire civil war quest before doing "Diplomatic Immunity", the part of the main plot that requires you to make small talk at Elenwen's party. After that, well...
    • The Thalmor Embassy is still an embassy, and Stormcloak Skyrim can't quite afford to fight the Thalmor at the moment. Shutting down the Embassy would be an act of war and the Thalmor would immediately invade. They can't afford to shut it down just yet.
    • Remember that war isn't exactly a binary state, especially when it comes to medieval-style warfare. Just because you're engaged in hostilities with another nation, it doesn't mean that you can't maintain an embassy or diplomatic relations. The Emperor may well have been allowed entry to the harbor near Solitude simply because Ulfric doesn't want to further escalate things. It's one thing to drive Imperial presence out of Skyrim, but another thing altogether to engage in open frontline land warfare with all of Cyrodiil, and presumably immediately after Solitude fell Ulfric started diplomatic talks with the Empire. Also, while the Penitus Oculatus are an Imperial agency, they're specifically the bodyguards of the Emperor and a security agency tracking down the Dark Brotherhood, who are a mutual enemy of both the Imperials and the Stormcloaks. Ulfric would have reason to leave them be if they're defending a foreign ruler he's in talks with and trying to eliminate a legitmate threat to his new kingdom.

    Potema's soul 
  • Isn't Potema a Dragonborn? The lore was pretty clear that all members of the Septim bloodline were Dragonborn, from Talos all the way down to Martin. It doesn't make much since that her soul isn't absorbed when she's defeated in the catacombs.
    • Potema was not directly part of Tiber Septim's line. She was the descendant of his brother, Agnorith. Since she wasn't a direct descendant of Tiber Septim, she didn't inherit the Dragonborn bloodline. She was technically part of the succession and did have royal blood as a descendant of the Septim family, but not being directly descended from Tiber Septim himself, she doesn't benefit from the covenant with Akatosh. In addition, the dragon blood is generally passed down to the legitimate rulers who possess the Amulet of Kings. Since Potema never had the Amulet, she wouldn't have gained the covenant with Akatosh either.
    • Okay, let's go over this one more time. The emperors (Alessian, Reman or Septim) being dragonborn has nothing to do with genealogy, and even less to do with genetics. You get to be dragonborn through providence, that is "because Akatosh says so". Alessia formed the covenant that made her dragonborn. Only those who renewed the covenant, either by relighting the dragonfires or turning into a golden dragon god, were dragonborn emperors. Potema was never empress, thus never dragonborn.
    • Related question but if her ressurrection was successful, would she still have a legitimate claim to the throne?
      • As the only legitimate living Septim, she would. Would the current Emperor or his council let her take over without a hell of a fight? Absolutely not.

    Eltrys' plan 
  • So does Eltrys just hang out in front of the Silver-Blood Inn all day every day with a note asking someone to meet him in front of the Shrine of Talos, just hoping that some random outsider coincidentally shows up at the exact same time as a Forsworn attack happens, then proceed to just force that outsider to take said note, regardless of how they look or what they're wearing? Seriously, Eltrys, if that was your big plan, you got unbelievably lucky. Or maybe not, seeing as you're dead now. (Seriously though, I hated that quest.)
    • Or he was aware that the attack was about to happen and was watching the crowd during the attack, noticed a mercenary-looking outsider nearby who might be able to help, hastily scribbled a note, and handed it to you.

    The White Gold Concordat 
  • So... That damn treaty prevents the Empire from worshiping Talos as a god, because according to Altmer folklore, they are all half-ascended gods and the notion of a human getting there before they is obscene...Okay, well elf egos aside, why not simply worship Talos as an ancestor? Simply not calling him a god would solve all this. Just tear down all the temples and build "shrines" to Talos instead, no divinity no problem. It is a major loop-hole the empire could use to A. stick it to the Thalmor and B. take the wind out of Ulfric's supposed main grievance C. allow them to honor their founder again. If Ulfric still tried to fight it would be nakedly obvious he only wanted to be king; Best case scenario, no civil-war, worst case scenario, there would be far less Nords to sign up as Stormcloaks. If the Thalmor decided even worshiping an ancestor was illegal, first off then everyone would know they can't be trusted to honor their own treaties, good luck keeping your other territories in-line, and second, well the folks in Morrowind would probably have a few things to say about inquisitorial campaigns against ancestor worship; Hello massive new ally.
    • That's probably already in the White-Gold Concordat. The Thalmor want no worship of Talos at all, and ancestor worship still grants him a degree of power. Also, worshiping Talos as an ancestor would probably not sit well with his worshippers in the first place; you can't just substitute traditions from an entirely different religion like Lego blocks. Using a Morrowind tradition to venerate Talos would likely enrage Talos worshippers even more than enforcing covert Talos worship, simply because that's not how the Divines are venerated and it would be viewed as an insult to the gods.
    • Also, suggesting to a Nord that they worship Talos in the same way that a filthy Dunmer worships his ancestors will likely end with said Nord driving a fist through your face for the insult to him, his traditions, and his gods.
    • Funny bit of a meta(kinda) example here, there is a mod for skyrim that allows you to revisit the Bruma region of cyrodiil, and when you arrive infront of the temple a priest is arguing with two thalmor, because the temple worships martin septim as st.martin, the priest manages to get one over on them by mentioning that the WGC makes no mention of being unable to worship other "holy" things, I know its modded but i like to think the WGC is still in its "constructive legislation" phase, so they are still ironing out the kinks, if they secure their hold then yes the worship of anything related to Talos or anything tangentally like that will be barred.
    • Worshipping a Divine does not simply involve praying to them. Fervent prayer does please them, but ultimately, what makes a Divine become stronger is living and acting in a manner that they approve of. You can pray all you want and in whatever way you want to a shrine of Zenithar, but if you're a lazy fop who steals and lets others do their work for them, he's not going to gain anything from your worship. Worshipping Talos means you must emulate Talos and his life: you must be strong, you must fight against threats to your home and self, you must protect your fellows, and so on. Abusing a loophole in a treaty's precise wording will not please Talos or strengthen him. Living as Talos did will strengthen him, and none of the aspects of Talos in life ever bowed down to a foreign power.

     Does the Dragonborn (player character) canonically only worship the Eight Divines? 
  • Freedom to worship Talos and his inclusion among the ranks of the Divines is one of the big conflicts in Skyrim, so it's rather surprising that when you go to the Temple of Mara in Riften, you're given the option to ask priestess Dinya Balu which of the Eight she serves. Is the use of "Eight" rather than "Nine" dependent on anything about the player character (race or factions you joined)? It just seemed weird that in Stormcloak-controlled Riften, your character would feel the need to exclude Talos (this would have made sense in, say, Solitude, though). It seems to suggest that the Dragonborn doesn't worship Talos. Imperials like Lucan Valerius reference the Eight while Nords like Onmund will use "By the Nine!" Is this an oversight by Bethesda? It seems odd given that the issue can be solved by just having the player character generically ask which of the Divines a priest/priestess serves.
    • This is probably an oversight, or at least included to keep it compatible with an Imperial victory. In other situations, such as confronting Thalmor for example, you can tell them that you worship Talos.
      • Don't forget that your Dragonborn could potentially be a Dunmer, a Khajiit, a Redguard, a Bosmer, an Argonian... "Which of the Eight do you serve?" is likely just playing it as safe as possible.
    • And, if your Dragonborn character is young enough, he/she probably has lived his/her entire life up to this point worshipping only the Eight Divines what with Talos being outlawed and all. It'll take time for him/her to come to terms with the fact that in an Independant!Skyrim, he/she is now free to include Talos with the Eight Divines.

     Think of the Children! 
  • Why are the only children seen in Skyrim young humans (here meaning Imperials, Redgaurds, Nords and Bretons)? It seems strange that they're the only population to successfully reproduce often enough that you actually see one of their kids, especially given some other in-game details: There are no fewer than four Orc villages in Skyrim, populations comparable to Riverwood (which has two kids running around) or possibly one of the hold capitals; the Khajit form caravans wandering Skyrim, and tend to be a little fast-and-loose in that department (there's even a Khajit book that suggests the reader get laid as soon as possible, with basically anybody eligible); the Mer have an active presence in Skyrim (even discounting the Thalmor) and tend to congregate whenever possible; and the Argonians in places other than Windhelm are doing fairly well, with one side quest even having the player gather jewels for a prospective couple's wedding bands... yet none of the above appear to have any kids running around.
    • There's two sets of answers for this one. First, the story reason: Conservation of Detail and low populations. Argonians don't have children like humans and mer and khajiit. Argonian children are lizards who grow into Argonian adults in Blackmarsh by eating Hist sap. There's no reason for Argonian children to be in Skyrim. For the khajiit, the only khajiit presence is caravans, bandits, and a small number of individuals scattered around the province. The number of khajiit children in Skyrim would be painfully low at best as a result. There's also very few Bosmer and Altmer for similar reasons, so there would be few couples with children. For Dunmer and Orcs, that's a different matter, but even then their populations are very low compared to human populations in Skyrim. This, coupled with the next answer, is why they don't have children shown in-game.
    • The second answer is from a development perspective: it's not worth it to create children for those races in terms of resources and development time. With a proportionally low number of NPCs and the fact that children would require custom skeletons and facial meshes like adults, it's not worth it to make a custom skeleton and mesh for children for Khajiit, Orcs, Dunmer, or Argonians because very few NPCs would actually use those special meshes and skeletons. On top of that, you'd likely need to hire an additional voice actor for each race's child because of the vast difference in the vocalizations of those races, and it's not worth the expense to only voice one or two children for each race, unless that child was a major NPC on the level of Tullius, Ulfric, or Serana. It's just not worth the time and expense to create them for the mer and beast races because there won't be very many of them in the game to begin with. On the other hand, it's much easier to create children for Nords, Bretons, Redguards, and Imperials: just change the skin tone a bit on the base child race and skeleton and you're done. With Bethesda's development resources being limited, and with how much stuff is already in Skyrim, it just was not worth the time to make children for such small populations.

     Misery loves company, and Dunmer apparently love misery 
  • So, It's a well known fact in Skyrim that the Dunmer of Windhelm are treated absolutely horribly, and are basically shoved into a corner of the city that equates to slums. And the Nords clearly don't want them there and Ulfric doesn't much care about the Dunmer either way, what i want to know is why are they staying there? Wouldn't it be more realistic that there would be little pockets of Dunmer dotted across the Province?
    • If you're an oppressed minority in a place where there are hardline elements dedicated to making your life miserable and the rest of the majority seems content to look the other way, would you rather, A.) band together with others of your same racial / cultural background and form a small community which may be poor and oppressed, but is at least yours, or B.) go live by yourself somewhere where you're not welcome and all it would take would be a relatively small number of malcontents to do something like burn your home down in the dead of night or drag you out and lynch you, and you would have no one to turn to for help?
    • Skyrim is very dangerous to travel in, and most of them are poor refugees who cannot afford to travel, let alone afford to buy a house or set up a farm anywhere in most hospitable or safer climes. Windhelm is the first large, civilized place on the way west from Morrowind, with people of the same culture living there, so they're going to form an enclave if they can't afford to move on. They're especially unlikely to spread out across Skyrim, since doing so isolates groups of Dunmer and likely leaves them vulnerable to banditry or Nords who harbor harsher grudges from the frequent Nord/Dunmer wars of the past. While Windhelm isn't ideal, the walls keep them safe, the stone keeps out the snow and keeps in the heat, the markets have food, the businesses have work, and there's other Dunmer around for protection. None of these are guaranteed if they move west or south. What the Dunmer did is historically what tends to happen to displaced populations in apathetic/hostile lands; you just need to look at how population trends with migrants settling in new lands tend to work. The vast majority of the time, the displaced population builds a safe enclave at the first place willing to accept them.

     Re-opening the Mine 
  • How exactly does exploring Bloodskal Barrow cause Raven Rock Mine to re-open? I just played thorugh that mission again at the time of writing this, and all you find is a ton of undead and not a single ore-vein.
    • You killed the undead in the lower parts of the mine, allowing more exploration, as well as opening up a lot of pre-cut tunnels the miners can use for vein exploration. That's a big deal for mining concerns, as cutting that much stone takes a long time and securing those tunnels opens up a huge amount of surface area that can be explored.