General:Council of Wisdom
The Council of Wisdom were a group of beta testers for Arena, Daggerfall, and Battlespire. They were fans of the games that organized on a private bulletin board system, and Bethesda would send them copies of the latest builds to test and give feedback. Thanks to their contributions on the original games of the franchise, they have often had a hand in laying the groundwork that makes up the core foundations for the entire series.
At the time of the games' development, Bethesda didn't have the resources to pay them for their services, so in return for their help, the developers immortalized the testers' names and characters in the canon of the setting, and encouraged them to write their own stories about the setting, which the developers edited together and then included in the final game as readable novels.
Besides the various books written by the Council that were added to Daggerfall, the names of some of the testers were used for the names of the Eight Divines. Six of the Eight Divines were named after beta testers (The exception, Kynareth, had previously appeared in Arena. Julianos was also named in Daggerfall, but he was named after Julian Lefay, the project leader for the game).
- Akatosh was named after beta tester Lawrence Szydlowski, who liked to sign "also known as the old Smaug himself" (the first letter of each word forming the letters "Akatosh").
- Arkay was named after one of the original beta testers, R.K. Deutsch.
- Dibella was named after beta tester Mary Jo DiBella.
- Mara was named after beta tester Marilyn Wasserman.
- Stendarr was named after beta tester Daniel Starr.
- Zenithar was named after Stephen Zepp, an Arena beta tester.
Other minor deities and characters also have names derived from testers:
- Aliera from King Edward was named for Anne Jindra's screenname.
- Ebonarm is the alter ego of beta tester Raymond Whit Crowley, who wrote The Ebon Arm.
- Ephen or Phen or S'ephen were possibly named after beta testers Stephen Korejwo or Stephen Wilkinson.
- Gyron Vardengroet was named after beta tester Gary Vandegrift.
- Jephre or Jeh Free was named after beta tester Jeff Greulich.
- Jhim Sei was named after a beta tester's screenname.
- Q'Olwen was named after beta tester Larry W. Olson.
- Jone and Jode, the moons on Tamriel, are named for testers Judy Weller and Joan McKeown. Joan and Judy = Jone and Jode.
This list is non-exhaustive and includes only texts of which the Council are known to be a primary author. Note that all of the books written by them were also edited by Bethesda writers before appearing in game.
- The Council of Wisdom is also the name of the community discord for OnceLost Games' upcoming spiritual successor game to Daggerfall, made with involvement by some of the original Daggerfall developers, Julian Lefay, Ted Peterson and Vijay Lakshman.
- The book Ius, Animal God was written by Ted Peterson for the Council of Wisdom a joke to explain why there was a statue blocking the entrance into a certain town in Arena.