Beyond Skyrim is a massive multi-team Game Mod project for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. It is being developed by several affiliated teams of volunteers who are working towards a truly breathtaking and ambitious goal, namely recreating most of the continent of Tamriel (and a few areas beyond) and integrating it more or less seamlessly with the base game, allowing the player to literally go beyond the border of Skyrim and experience both new takes on the settings of The Elder Scrolls games past as well as hereto little explored areas of the setting.
All the developement teams have stated that they aim to make the mods feel as close to official DLC as possible, to ensure that nothing will feel or seem out of place.
The project is planned to consist of seven different parts, and in addition four of the development teams are planning put out so-called "pre-releases"; essentially playable teasers meant to give prospective players an idea of how their mods will look and feel in action. As of this writing, one of the pre-releases, Beyond Skyrim: Bruma, is out, while the other three are still in development.
The different projects:
- Cyrodiil: The Seat of Sundered Kings — This portion of the mod will take the player back to the setting of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, allowing them to explore the heartland of the old and ailing Septim Empire almost 200 years after the Oblivion Crisis. While the Civil War rages in Skyrim, the province struggles with several problems of its own as the wounds and resentments of the Great War are still festering and as the high and mighty nobles of the Decadent Court of the Imperial City are all busy scheming to seize the Ruby Throne, seeing recent developments as a ripe opportunity to make a play for it. But meanwhile, an ancient evil awakens deep underground and poses a threat to all of Cyrodiil. Amidst the power struggle, who will rise to confront this threat — and at what cost?
The developers have put out a pre-release of their work in July 2017, named Beyond Skyrim: Bruma, which allows the player to explore the titular city and the surrounding area of the Jerall Mountains.
- Morrowind: The Star-Wounded East — Not content with "just" recreating the isle of Vvardenfell, the setting of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, this ambitious project aims to go one step further and allow the player to explore all of the region of Morrowind. The region will, of course, still be heavily effected by the eruption of Red Mountain which laid waste to most of Vvardenfell and some of the surrounding area. Not many details have been revealed about the storyline yet, but it will involve the politics of the different Great Houses of the Dunmer and their plotting against each other, and it has been hinted that the player will enjoy relatively great freedom in which House they choose to affiliate themselves with.
The developers have announced that they are working on putting out a pre-release named Beyond Skyrim: The New North. The pre-release will allow the player to visit the north-eastern islands of Morrowind, namely Bleakrock Isle and Sheogorad.
- Iliac Bay: Tower of Dawn — This portion of the mod aims to recreate the setting of The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall, letting the player visit both the Empire affiliated region of High Rock and the newly independent country of Hammerfell. The developers are also keeping the details of the story relatively close their chest when it comes to Hammerfell, but have revealed that the plot will involve the old hostilities between the Crowns and Forebears flaring up again. Meanwhile, more details have been shared about the High Rock storyline; namely that it will saddle the player with a new "reputation" mechanic and ask them to navigate the cut-throat politics of the Breton nobility, letting them either choose a side in the struggle or go independent and profit from the situation as they begin their own ascent up High Rock's feudal hierarchy.
Like with the Cyrodiil and Morrowind teams, the developers are working on a pre-release, named Beyond Skyrim: Three Kingdoms, which will allow the player to visit the Breton Kingdoms of Jehanna and Farrun across the western border of Skyrim, as well as the Abecean Isles off the western coast of Hammerfell.
- Elsweyr: Sugar and Blood — This part of the mod will allow the play to visit the little seen homeland of the Khajiit, which, much like Skyrim, is experiencing a schism of its own, after a Thalmor-backed coup destabilized the country several years ago, and allowed the Aldmeri Dominion to annex most of the area. The land is now split between the rough and harsh northern desert province, Anequina, which for the most part maintains a vehement resistance against the Thalmor-takeover, and the more cosmopolitan southern jungle province, Pellitine, which for the most part accepts the Thalmor's presence. Meanwhile, the independent city state of Rimmen to the east is angling to extend its political influence into Elseweyr proper. The player finds themselves embroiled in the conflict and must find a way resolve it, for better or for worse.
The Elsweyr team has also announced a pre-release of their own, named Beyond Skyrim: The Greater Rim. This pre-release, will, as the name suggest, be focusing on Rimmen, and North-Eastern Elsweyr in general, and will also include the Anequinan cities of Riverhold and Orcrest.
- Black Marsh: The Roots of the World — Much like the Elsweyr project, this part of the mod will also allow the player to visit a relatively unexplored part of the Elder Scrolls world, namely the marshy Argonian homeland in the south-east of Tamriel. The details of the story are again relatively sparse so far, but it will involve the player getting involved in the plight of the local natives, and they can either guide them to unity and power, or exploit their divisions for their own profit.
- Atmora: Expedition to the North — This part of the project takes the player to the far northern and frozen continent of Atmora, the mythic birthplace of the Nords in the Elder Scrolls setting. Not many details about the story have been revealed, but apparently it will focus on the player uncovering mysteries from the past and being asked to "right an ancient wrong".
- Roscrea: Voices of the Deep — This will take the player into the northern island of Roscrea, a windy land with a harsh climate, but also great beauty and hidden treasures. As the weakened Empire struggles to maintain a fragile peace between the locals and the exploitative East Empire Company, the mighty Bear Cult seeks to hold on to the power they seized so long ago before it slips from their own fingers.
The teams are planning to release the mods primarily for the PC version of Skyrim: Special Edition, but have also promised to port the mods for Skyrim: Legendary Edition and Xbox One to the extend that it is possible. However, due to the size limitations on Xbox One mods for Skyrim, and the limitations of the Legendary Edition's engine, the developers have predicted that while the pre-releases and smaller-scale projects like Roscrea and Atmora are very likely to be released on those platforms, the full versions of the mainland Tamriel regions will simply be too big in size and complexity to make the cut. PlayStation 4 ports, meanwhile, are entirely out of the question, due to Sony's rather restrictive policies on mods (i.e. no new textures and meshes).
The mods are still heavily in development, and have no set release dates yet. But the developers are always looking for volunteers and are very open about the process and frequently share updates on their progress, mostly through their official website, which can be found here, and their YouTube channel, which can be found here.
Compare Tamriel Rebuilt, a just as ambitious mod for Morrowind, which the project cites as one of its main inspirations (there has even been some asset sharing with Tamriel Rebuilt's sister-project Province: Cyrodiil).
- Added Alliterative Appeal: Invoked. When you're buying furnishings for White Pine Lodge, the player house in Bruma, and tell the shopkeeper of Ice-Wind Traders that you wish to "spruce up the stairs", he simply can't help himself:Cedus Perusius: Ah, you want to spruce up the old staircase? Scrumptious! ...Sorry, alliteration. I brought my flamboyant side out to play, heh. I, uh... Sorry.
- After the End: What has been seen from the Morrowind project so far, suggests that the region will by all means lean heavily into this trope, especially when it comes to Vvardenfell itself. But seeing how the Red Mountain's eruption was pretty much a regional apocalyptic event, it is rather justified.
- All Deserts Have Cacti: The Iliac Bay developers have stated that, unlike the original Daggerfall, they will deliberately avert this trope with their version of Hammerfell, as it will take even more direct visual inspiration from Africa.
- Apocalypse Cult: The Fourth Orsinium is haunted by the presence of a cult that preaches that the Orcs are living in the Last Days before Malacath casts his final judgment on their race.
- Arc Villain: As confirmed by the development teams, the villains and monsters you face in the different regions will be purely regional threats, instead of world threatening ones.
- Bad-Guy Bar: In Bruma there is The Restful Watchman; as opposed to the nice, spacious and friendly Jerall View Inn, it is a shady and dirty little place where the more suspicious citizens of Bruma like to hang out at night.
- Broad Strokes: The developers have indicated that this is their overall approach to lore from The Elder Scrolls Online. The writers will definitely take some inspiration from Online onboard, but if a story element in Online in some way or another contradicts one of the single player Elder Scrolls games, the writers are more inclined to side with the latter.
- Big-Bad Ensemble: The Thalmor are going to be a recurring adversary across the different planned Story Arcs, but the developers have also indicated that they won't be the only threat the player is going to come up against.
- Circus of Fear: High Rock/Iliac Bay's assassination faction has been mentioned to be the Quill Circus, which used to have ties to the Dark Brotherhoodnote and appears to have absorbed elements of it when the Dark Brotherhood hit on bad times. It may still operate as a non-fear circus quite often, but if you double as assassins for hire, you'd move closer to this trope for people in the know...
- City Noir: According to the Cyrodiil developers, Bravil is going to be a medieval fantasy take on the trope.
- Colon Cancer: The full title of each individual project will follow a pattern of: Beyond Skyrim: [Province Name]: The X of Y
- Cutting Off the Branches: The Cyrodiil writing team has revealed that "The Seat of Sundered Kings" quest line, the main story arc they have planned for the area, is going to rely on the Dark Brotherhood of Skyrim successfully pulling off their assassination of Emperor Titus Mede II. Normally this is a deed that is supposed to be performed by the player as part of an entirely optional quest line, but if the player has not completed the Dark Brotherhood quest line, they can now potentially have it blocked off it if they advance too far in the Cyrodiil quest line. The developers have however promised that the player will be warned well in advance before this cut-off point happens. On a related note, it also means that choosing to ally with Penitus Oculatus and destroy the Dark Brotherhood of Skyrim won't prevent the Emperor's assassination.
- Dark Reprise: What has been heard of the soundtrack for Cyrodiil so far, incorporates many of the themes used in Oblivion, but plays them in a more melancholic, sombre, and overall darker manner to reflect the current state of Cyrodiil.
- Decadent Court: From what the Cyrodiil, Morrowind, and Iliac Bay teams have revealed so far, these can be expected to play a large role in their stories.
- Enforced Cold War:
- Skyrim is technically at war with the Hammerfell kingdoms of Skaven and Elinhir due to how the War of Bend'r-Mahk ended without any signing of a peace treaty, so their territorial despite over parts of the Dragontail Mountains was never formally resolved, but the Empire has since enforced an official stalemate between the three parties. And of course, there is also the whole Civil War business in Skyrim, that effectively has tabled the issue for the time being.
- Both the people of Hammerfell and High Rock are very unhappy about the Orcs of the Dragontall Mountains having established the Fourth Orsinium, and their kings would like nothing more than to invade and raze the city to the ground again, like they have already done three times in the past, but as Orsinium is allied with the Empire, and therefore enjoys its official protection, none of them dare to make the move.
- Exact Words: In Bruma, two Thalmor agents are giving the local priest, Neremus, who runs the Cathedral of Saint Martin a hard time over the fact that he is worshipping and proselytizing about a descendant of Talos, believing that his behavior violates the ban the White-Gold Concordat has put on such activities. Neremus, in best Rules Lawyer style, spits back that the letter of the Concordat only forbids the worship of Tiber Septim, but Martin Septim is never mentioned at any point in said treatynote . The two Thalmor agents find themselves utterly unable to formulate a counter argument, and leave embarrassed, swearing to Neremus that he hasn't seen the last of them.
- Fan Sequel:
- The Iliac Bay, Morrowind, and Cyrodiil projects can be described as such to The Elder Scrolls II, III, and IV respectively, as they take place in the same areas, and will contain plenty of references to them.
- They will all also function as such to The Elder Scrolls Online, but to a markedly lesser degree.
- Fantastic Racism:
- Not that the Dunmer of Morrowind have ever had much affinity for Argonians and Khajiit, especially with how they have had a tradition of enslaving both for a long time, but following the Red Year and the Argonian invasion of southern Morrowind they have grown even more antipathic and hostile to beastmen. This will be reflected in the story, with regards to the Great Dumner Houses, where both Argonian or Khajiit Player Characters will be barred from joining House Dres, the most xenophobic of the Great Houses, and it will also be significantly harder for them to join other the other houses. The only exception will be House Sadras, which will be the most welcoming house to outsiders.
- The Akaviri-Nibenese rulers of Rimmen have a rather dim view of the Khajiit, viewing them more as lowly servants at best and objects at worst, rather than people.
- All the Kingdoms of High Rock will be generally hostile or at the very least suspicious towards Orcs.
- Grey and Gray Morality: The Illiac Bay team have stated that the High Rock plot line will see the player allying with one of the factions vying for control of the region (though it is possible to decide to remain independent and Playing Both Sides), and that there won't be "a clear cut 'right' side in this struggle".
- Grim Up North: The Roscrea mod seems to take a more balanced approach to the trope than most, aiming for something that appears to visually be a mix of the Scottish Hebrides Archipelago and Iceland. The Atmora mod, however, seems to be embracing the trope for all it is worth.
- Hollywood Tone-Deaf: The hilariously inept Nord bard, Renod Even-Toned of Bruma, who also suffers from a serious case of Small Name, Big Ego to boot.
- Identical Grandson: In Bruma, it is possible to meet Harald Burdsson, a descendant of Captain Burd from Oblivion, and he rather resembles his famous ancestor.
- Kingmaker Scenario: The Dragonborn can crown a new Emperor in Cyrodiil and a new High King in High Rock.
- Land of One City: The teams plans to include two city states in the full mod, namely the city state of Rimmen, home to the Akaviri-Nibenese who were exiled from Cyrodiil in the Second Era, and the city state of Thorn, a former holding of the mighty Dunmer House Dres, which has since been taken over by descendants of Argonian slaves who took over the city following a successful Slave Liberation during the Argonian invasion of Morrowind
- La Résistance:
- A Khajiit one against the Thalmor occupation is going to play a role in the Elsweyr storyline.
- The Cyrodiil devs have indicated that the more violent, assassination-centred stealth-gameplay joinable faction in Cyrodiil will be an anti-Thalmor organisation called quite simply "the Resistance", which targets Thalmor agents and collaborators for assassination.
- The Mafia:
- An Argonian one, know as "The Soulrest Fishery Association" (or just "the SFA"), is a major player in Black Marsh.
- The Durai Agni, which is the old Reguard mafia, will be the focus of the Thieves' Guild questline in Hammerfell, though they dabble in more than just theft.
- The Main Characters Do Everything: As described under Cutting Off the Branches, the Cyrodiil storyline can potentially subvert this, by having Emperor Titus Mede II die at the hands of a Dark Brotherhood assassin. The planned change will mean that said assassination does not necessarily have to be carried out by the player character any more and can even happen entirely off-screen.
- Monster Town: The Illiac Bay project will also include Fourth Orsinium, a town funded by and inhabited mainly by Orcs, though it will also be possible to meet friendly (or at least peaceful) goblins and ogres in said town.
- Monumental Damage: With Bruma, you get the chance to visit Cloud Ruler Temple again. Well, to be more accurate, what is left of Cloud Ruler Temple after the Thalmor laid siege to it during their large-scale purge against the Blades.
- Museum of Boredom: The so-called "Hall of the Champion", which is maintained by Harald Burdsson of Bruma, is a museum dedicated to the Champion of Cyrodiil, the Player Character of Oblivion. Said museum is nowhere as exciting as Burdsson tries to make it out to be. Amongst the things he has on display are the shackles from the Champion's cell in the Imperial Dungeon and a handkerchief the Champion once blew their nose in.
- Never Found the Body: Between Oblivion and Skyrim, Count Janus Hassildor of Skingrad has been disposed by the Kastav family and the secret that he was a vampire has been outed to the population of Skingrad. Although Davon Kastav, the leader of the coup, swore up and down that the vampire count had been vanquished and would not return, he was still unable to present a body to fully ensure anyone that it really was the case. As a result, hushed tales of Count Hassildor still haunting the streets of Skingrad at night or plotting his terrible revenge on the city in a dark lair somewhere out in the wilderness are still in frequent rotation amongst the city's inhabitants.
- Not Quite the Right Thing: At one point, it is possible to found a stray dog out in the wilds around Bruma. Upon inspecting the dog, it appears to be appears injured. You are then left with the choice to give the dog to Erlus Risula, the innkeeper at Snowstone Rest near the border to Skyrim, who is looking for a new dog to replace his old, deceased one. Alternatively, you can return the dog to its original owners, a local affulent family by the name of Jucani, but it appears to be a bad choice, as the injures on the dog strongly imply that they are abusive towards it. Actually investigating deeper into the rich family, you find out that the dog belongs to the young boy, Banus Jucani, and its injuries were the result of it an accident from an elderly family member. So if you did what appeared to be the obviously "good" choice, namely giving the dog to the innkeeper, then congratulations; you robbed a blameless child of his beloved pet and made an enemy of a rich and influential family.
- Oddball in the Series: Atmora: Expedition to the North is not this in relation to the Elder Scrolls, but it sticks out amongst the other Beyond Skyrim projects, acting more like a large-scale adventure mod — while it has been indicated there will be sidequests, the focus is still heavily on the main quest, and unlike the other projects, you can only travel to Atmora by starting its main quest, and you can only go back to Skyrim by completing it (and once you have, you can't return to Atmora)note . Atmora is also stated to have it as a hard requirement that the Greybeards have acknowledged the player character as the Dragonborn, whereas the other projects will be open to the player in any order and at any time they desire.
- Original Flavour: The project's declared goal is to try to follow the established lore, general writing style and overall look of the Elder Scrolls series as closely as possible.
- Order Reborn: Both criminal and more classic takes. The Cyrodiil team have announced that a Thieves' Guild questline is planned to be included with their full release, but since Skyrim established that the Thieves' Guild have no real presence in Cyrodiil any more, it will focus on re-establishing and rebuilding the local chapter of the guild. On the less criminal side, something is going on with the Knights of the Nine, and the Morrowind team has indicated that the questline for the closest Mages' Guild equivalent, the Shad Astula school, is about rebuilding Shad Astula.
- Our Zombies Are Different: Since the different projects will take you outside Skyrim, draugr won't be the only undead enemy you face. Expect to meet zombies in Cyrodiil and wights in High Rock.
- Our Werebeasts Are Different: The developers on the Iliac Bay project have stated that they are planning on reintroducing Wereboars in their area, which of course includes an option for the player to become one.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Bruma's Captain of the Guard, Adius Villius, is a patient, level-headed, polite, and overall friendly man, who assists the player on quite a few of the Bruma related quests, and covertly helps with hiding Bruma's Talos worshippers from the local detachment of Thalmor agents. Unfortunately, he is eventually found out by the Thalmor, who arrest himnote .
- Recursive Fanfiction: Due to their close relationship with Tamriel Rebuilt, the Morrowind Team has stated at least some bits of their project's in-house lore will be shared with Rebuilt.
- Renegade Splinter Faction: The sidequest as Fort Pale Pass deals with a small breakaway group of Stormcloaks called, naturally, the "Stormcloak Breakaways", who believe that the only way to ensure Skyrim's secession from the Empire is to attack Cyrodiil and the Imperial City directly.
- Rules Lawyer: The developers have indicated that this will be House Sadras' main hat as a fraction. They know their way around a very arcane legal system that they use to get things their way.
- Sincerest Form of Flattery: Feeling that many of the quests in Skyrim were a bit lacking in depth and complexity, the developers have stated that they looking more towards Fallout: New Vegas and Oblivion when it comes to their inspirations for quest design.
- Space Compression: The Morrowind team have stated that, in terms of size, their version of Vvardenfell won't a 1-1 replica of the one in Elder Scrolls III (there is another good reason for why Vvardenfell in the 4th Era will also be drastically different in look and feel), since they will be creating the entire region of Morrowind, and Vvardenfell will therefore have to be compressed at least a bit to fit in scale with the rest.
- Story Arc: The teams have stated that, due to engine limitationsnote , there is ultimately not going to be much interconnectivity in quests across the different regions of Tamriel. Instead of some big, overarching quest, each region will instead feature a main quest line of their own, but the different main quest lines might occasionally acknowledge the others with a reference here and there.
- Succession Crisis: The Cyrodiil team have revealed that one is going to play a big part in the main quest line they have planned. To more specific, said crisis is triggered by the assassination of Emperor Titus Mede II. The developers have additionally teased who the different parties in the crisis is, and what their values are.
- Terenetius from Bravil, who firmly believes in the rule of law and feels the Empire has faulted in it's upholding of the law, hence why it's currently in decline.
- Umbranox of Anvil, who believes in a strong military presence and is convinced that the Empire could have won the Great War if they had continued the fight instead of suing for peace with the Dominion. They are the most likely to take the fight to the Thalmor in the future.
- Carvain of Bruma, a young and idealistic candidate with dreams of restoring the Empire to the golden years of the Septim Empire.
- Tharn of Cheydinhal, who despite their history are doing well, and are, as always, operating out of their manor in Country Cheydinhal and their home in the Imperial City. They want to save the Empire and be prepared for the next war, using whatever that takes.
- The player can also choose to not get involved, in which case the Elder Council elects the current High Chancellor as Potentate to create a somewhat stable leadership to weather the next Great War.
- Vestigial Empire: A common theme through most the projects is going to be how the weakening of the Cyrodiil Empire is sowing division and discontent both across the provinces it controls as well as its neighboring countries.
- We ARE Struggling Together: As if the Fourth Orsinium didn't have enough problems by being surrounded by hostile Bretons and Redguards, the various leaders of the city have problems getting along and trusting each other. The fact that an Apocalypse Cult is taking root in the city is making things worse.