Books: Daggerfall User's Guide
|Release Date||31 August, 1996|
|Time Period||3E 405|
The Daggerfall User's Guide is the manual included with The Elder Scrolls Chapter II: Daggerfall. In addition to the usual technical gameplay information, it contains short sections on "History", "Lineage", and "The World of Tamriel", including a substantial "Bestiary".
There are more than fifty varieties of adversaries that you may face in the course of your adventures.
It is important to note that while all of the creatures listed below are, by nature, antagonistic to human beings and elves, many are intelligent, and several are capable of more than just frenzied combat.
Studies of several creatures of the Iliac Bay region have shown individual languages and cultures, some rivalling our own sophistication. Learning their languages may be the first step towards understanding these wild beings. Who knows what secrets unknown to civilised Tamrielans these creatures have privy to?
Diplomacy is seldom possible with these "Monsters," perhaps due to barriers other than language. In such cases, a ready blade is the only tongue, and talk is blood.
Listed below are some of the creatures you will be seeing. These are not necessarily the least nor most powerful - merely a healthy sampling of variety.
Regular urban pests are not worth mentioning. They are usually more frightened of adventures than vice versa. There exist, however, giant varieties that are the sharks of their swamps and sewers. Their strength lies in their ferocity, the size of their packs, and the virulence of the disease transmitted by their bites. A seasoned, well-armoured adventurer can pass through swarms of the little beasts in relative safety, but underestimating their brute cunning can be the last mistake that the less experienced will ever make.
The winged Imps have mysterious origins. Some say that they are little fiends from Oblivion, servants of the great Daedra that have been sent to Tamriel as nuisances or in some darker mission. Others say that they are like the Atronachs or golems, creatures created from magicka as familiars or companions to powerful sorcerers. The truth may be that both theories are correct, or that Imps are something else entirely. Whatever their history, Imps are mischievous creatures, capable of casting minor but painful spells of pure magicka. They are certainly intelligent and speak their own language, and they are crafty enough that they know when to fight and when to flee.
Luckily for adventures, these strange woodland fairykin are shy and reclusive, for they make very dangerous enemies. The old Nordic tales tell of the immortal Spriggan, who grow larger and mightier every time they fall. While in actuality Spriggans are not immortal, they are virtually impossible to kill.
Even if they are struck down, they will regenerate and arise to fight again. And the legends of the Spriggan growing larger and more powerful each incarnation is indeed true.
These cursed creatures are men by day, completely indistinguishable from "normal" men, and savage half-beast predators when the moon is full. At least two lycanthropes are common in the Illiac Bay environs: the werewolf and the wereboar. The werewolf is only found in the woodlands of High Rock and rarely in the jungles of Hammerfell, but the wereboar is found everywhere, and is the most fearsome opponent. Neither seems to be capable of a thought beyond bloodlust, and both are impervious to common weaponry. Their claws are as razors and are somehow capable of transmitting the dreaded lycanthropy to those it strikes. While lycanthropy is a relative simple disease for most temples to treat, few who survive a wereboar attack are likely to do a more than be thankful and rest for several days. 'Tis ironic to count your blessings when you have just been cursed.
From a distance, an orc may resemble a large, squat, muscular man - before the tusks become evident, and the green skin and the piggish eyes are seen. Usually, when a viewer is that close to an orc, he or she is not taking notes about the details. Orcs are among the most common encounters around the Iliac Bay, particularly around the southern half of the Wrothgarian Mountains. They are a consistently savage group, ready for a fight no matter the odds. Some rather eccentric researchers have suggested that the Orcs have a culture as ancient and sophisticated as ours, and that their seeming mindless barbarity is somehow related to rites of passage or tests of courage. It is highly likely that these researchers have never felt the sting of an orc captain's barbed axe.
One of nature's most adaptable predators is the Slaughterfish of the Iliac Bay. Averaging six feet in length, with thousands of poisonous needlethin teeth, the Slaughterfish have infested practically every large body of water in the region. Unlucky swimmers have found that even deep inland lakes and underground rivers hide deadly schools. Slaughterfish are attracted to the taste of bloody water, so injured adventurers are advised to bathe only in small ponds of water.
Centaurs are ancient and mysterious creatures, alternatively worshipped and despised. Legends of their exploits range from the epic to the pornopgraphic, perhaps for no better reason that they varied personalities. The Council of Artaeum have called the Centaurs "true followers of the Old Ways" of Tamriel, referring to the complex system of ancestor worship that Artaeum itself espouses. All that one can certainly say about Centaurs is that in battle, there are few who are equal.
One of the great tragic stories told in northern Hammerfell is of the group of cruel and beautiful witches who where transformed (or transformed themselves, the legend is somewhat murky) into hideous, deranged half-breed Harpies. Whatever the truth is behind the legend, the Harpies are a true threat to life and commerce along the Iliac Bay. They nest in abandoned ruins, mating with and then destroying unfortunate human males they capture. While their maniacal nature makes them somewhat less-than-brilliant tacticians, their sharp talons and frenzied behaviour often force kingdoms to abandon lands to their use. Still, some say that the Harpies have knowledge passed on to them from their human fore-mothers: knowledge they may give, but not freely.
Another of the so-called cursed races of Tamriel, the Dreughs are said to be the remnants of a once-great civilisation that flourished in the Iliac Bay long before the 1st Era. Though they have some humanoid characteristics, it is hard to give them credence to the legend when one views the tentacles and claws of the misshapen beasts. There is certain evidence that the Dreughs may have amphibian qualities, for they can be found in waterways far inland from their bayside origins. It is unlikely that the creatures themselves will offer insight to their origins, for Dreughs are violently hostile to all who invade their watery domain.
The peasants have colourful terms for Daedra: fiends, unclean spirits, the evil ones, the Dark Princes, the gods of torment, the infernal ones, and, most commonly, demons. Those who wish to understand or battle these nightmarish beings, rather than live in fear, prefer the more circumspect term, Daedra. it is nearly impossible to say anything definitive about Daedra., despite thousands of years of scholarship devoted to their nature. Their reputation as cruel, amoral geniuses of destruction seems to be mostly deserved, but if they are true evil, our definition of evil may need revision to include the complexity of their natures. Daedra appear to have a well-organized hierarchy, and the ones found in our world are doubtless the weakest of the lot. Of course, the Fire Daedra, the Frost Daedra, the Seducer, or the Daedra Lord are among the most dangerous creatures in Tamriel, but there is certainly something greater out there in there world they call Oblivion. Perhaps we are already doomed to fall beneath their fire.
Cruel, cunning, and immortal predators, vampires hunt the night, sometimes singly, sometimes in packs. their powers and strength are certainly the stuff of legends - and there are said to be creatures called Vampire Ancients who are the Vampires as Vampires are to common man. Vampires are virtually immune to physical harm and are capable of casting a variety of powerful spells, not the least of which curses the victim with the dread disease vampirism. Like lycanthropy, vampirism can be easily cured in its early stages, but there is no known cure for the undeath besides death itself. Probably, the most horrifying thing about Vampires is their normalcy: you can never tell if someone is a Vampire until you feel the fangs at your neck. To what degree they have taken advantage of this and infiltrated human society is best left unimagined.
The fairly common dragonling is a worthy opponent for any adventurer. It is capable of casting a number of powerful spells and healing itself in combat. Those who speak their language tell us that beneath a veneer of maddening riddles and non sequiturs are minds of great wisdom. Despite all their merits, dragonlings are less than grand than their lineage would suggest. Explorers, sages, and archivists have argued for centuries over whether the great dragons of legends still live, if in fact they ever existed. The people of the Alik'r Desert insist that their vast plain of sand is home to a multitude of Great Wyrms. Granting the nomads their propensity for tall tales, if there were a forsaken land where the great Dragons still fly undisturbed, it would indeed be the Alik'r Desert.
- A downloadable pdf version of the manual can be found here.