General: ESO Live Lawrence Schick Wrothgar Interview

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ESO Live held an interview with Lawrence Schick during their 29th episode in November 2015. This interview was originally archived by The Imperial Library.


Kai Schober: And we’re back…

Lawrence Schick: Hey players.

Kai: ...With The Loremaster Lawrence Schick. Welcome to the show.

Lawrence: Thank you.

Kai: Good to have you here again.

Lawrence: Happy to be here.

Gina: Welcome. Everyone has been very excited to have you on the show, everyone keeps asking “where’s Lawrence?”

Lawrence: Me too, I’m excited too. Let’s get going!

Gina: Good, let’s do it!

Lawrence: Um, ok. So we’re going to talk about stuff related to Wrothgar and Orsinium because, err, that’s what we only just shipped and we’re all still excited about it.

Gina: Because it just happened.

Lawrence: Yeah. So I am going to talk a little bit about, err, there’s a - without any spoilers - there’s a culture clash in Wrothgar between the worshippers of two different but related deities, Malacath and Trinimac. Malacath, of course, is the traditional Orc Father worshipped by most of the Orcs of Tamriel. But King Kurog, who is trying to establish Orsinium and get the orcs up and running, he is trying to tolerate… or… an alternative to Malacath which is the worship of Trinimac.

Now, Trinimac is an alternative Orc Father to Malacath and there are a bunch of stories related to how the two are, in fact, interrelated with each other.

Kai: And this is where it gets really interesting.

Lawrence: ...And this is where it gets really interesting and, you know, good old Elder Scrolls weird.

[Gina and Kai laugh]

Lawrence Schick: Trinimac, of course, was an early… one of the Aedra, one of the Divines and an early warrior good of the elves, closely associated with Auriel and very a popular god among the early elves back in the Dawn Era and into the Merethic. Now back in that time there was a schism happening between the elves. There were… certain of the elves were turning away from the Aedra and turning towards some of the Daedra. Most particularly Boethiah was persuading the prophet Veloth that there were different ways to do things, more active ways to do things, than what the worship of the Aadra involved and that there were secrets and powers that he could teach them. This was regarded as heresy by a lot of the people, by a lot of the elves, and in particular Trinimac took exception to this and began bad mouthing Veloth and the Velothi followers and Boethiah. And Boethiah didn’t like that at all. Boethiah’s one of the greater Daedric Princes and very, very clever and naughty, very naughty.

[Gina and Kai laugh]

Lawrence: Boethiah tricked Trinimac - there are various stories on this, various ways of looking at it. Some… the Trinimac people say, you know, some of them say he was tricked by Boethiah and some of them say well actually he was tricking Boethiah all the time. But the way the Boethiah story goes is that he and or she tricked Trinimac into looking into Boethiah’s mouth and Boethiah swallowed Trinimac - the way gods do that sort of thing - and,er…

Gina: Sure, that’s normal.

Lawrence: ...Yep, and then began speaking in Trinimac’s voice and bad mouthing Trinimac and all Trinimac’s followers and basically causing a ruckus and then Boethiah revealed herself as being Boethiah and then excreted Trinimac.

Gina: What?

Lawrence: And Trinimac had been badly changed and deformed by the experience as you might think…

[Gina Bruno and Kai Schober laugh along with the crew]

Lawrence: As you might think. So Trinimac and all of Trinimac’s followers who were elves - they were changed as well and they became the Orsimer, the Orcs. So that’s one story of the origin of the Orcs is that it involved Trinimac being transformed and in fact Trinimac transformed became Malacath who was then a pariah and sort of the avatar of anger, revenge, pride - you know, several of the seven deadly sins. And thereafter became the leading deity for the orcs of Tamriel. However, not a very inspiring deity at least not in the way somebody like Kurog is looking for. Malacath is all about, you know, revenge and blood price and stuff like that which makes for great stories but isn’t really a very positive role model if you are trying to found a culture and society. So, certain of the orcs in Wrothgar - they think of themselves as forward thinking and progressive orcs - they are reviving the worship of Trinimac who they say was not necessarily changed into Malacath but like the other Aedra was simply had his power absorbed into Nirn as a whole and therefore can be still be worshiped. Profitably, reasonably and is a much more positive and evocative of virtues deity than grumpy old Malacath. So that’s where the Malacath and Trinimac dichotomy comes from and why they’re fighting over that. So...

Gina: Everyone in chat is like, “there’s no way this is true!” This is real!

Lawrence: This is…

[Laughter from crew and hosts]

Lawrence Schick: Totally lore. Totally lore. Like I said, there are a lot of variations on this, right, but the leading one is the whole “swallowed/excreted” story so you know…

(More laughter from hosts and crew)

Lawrence: So you know, that’s why we love Elder Scrolls because it’s got that deep mythical resonance. That stuff really strikes home, “yeah I believe that story, that’s great!”

Gina: I don’t even know what to say to all this.

Lawrence: So that’s kind of the great overarching mythological and ideological and religious background to some of the stuff going on in Orsinium.

Kai: Can we leave the Aedra and Daedra alone for a little while and get a little more down to earth?

Lawrence: Yes we can because I actually love that stuff. A lot of the, actually 95% of my job is the little details of culture and the world and the people in it and the plants and the animals. So a lot of things like… for example when we started work on a new zone, as we said we started work on Orsinium and Wrothgar literally several years ago that’s how long it takes to do these things. Several years ago they started talking, “okay so we’re going to start making this zone, it’s a new biome it’s different environments - what lives there?” And so, you know, they said “okay so in lore what lives there Lawrence?” And of course I consulted the lore and it didn’t say very much so I made stuff up and then said that’s what the lore said.

[Laughter from crew and hosts]

Lawrence: Because that’s what they pay me for, you know?

Gina: What an awesome job! “I just made it up” and suddenly there it is, history made.

Lawrence: Now, at the time - I mean this was pre-launch, we didn’t have a Crown Store or anything like that yet. But looking at other MMOs it was clear at some point we were going to be selling pets to players because players love pets! Pets are cool! Yay for pets. So one of the things that I always look at when we are coming up with a new zone is, “hmm, what should we put in this zone as critters that would later make fine pets? What are people going to like?” So naturally I told everyone that in Wrothgar they have these really small mammoths, because really small mammoths are… I mean come on, they’re really cool, they’re pocket mammoths.

Gina: They can fit in your pocket.

Lawrence: Yeah! And then I thought we’d want some… you know, this is the northern reaches and what do we know about the arctic and antarctic? Cute birds. That’s right. So to go along with things like puffins and penguins and things like that we came up with the Chub Loon, waddling around, you know, eating fish and being adorable. So, but not all the critters originate from that sort of holistic overview. Sometimes they come from serendipity so that is why I am going to tell you about the Echalette. That’s the little Echatere. You know the echatere are the big, weird livestock that live in Wrothgar and...

Gina: I have heard those called so many different things from eclairs, enchiladas…

[Laughter from crew and hosts]

Lawrence: Well, you know, the Orcs aren’t necessarily the most scholarly people so they can make up all kinds of names - and that's fair, players do that too. It works right in the balance of the lore. So the echatere…

Gina: Enchiladas confirmed!

Lawrence: The echatere… This is one of the early concept drawings of the echatere, was done by one of the - a fine concept artist - and we didn’t ask for it but the concept artist added that drawing you see on the right hand side of the screen of the Nord warrior running away from the angry mother echatere with a baby echatere in his arms. And everybody who looked at that said “Aww man, we gotta have those baby echateres and what are we going to call them?” That’s when the name echalette came up and that’s what stuck.

And so they’re weird and adorable and that’s where it came from. It came by serendipity because an artist had this cool idea, “well I was drawing up this echatere, it’s mad about something, what’s it mad about? Well it’s mad about this bumbling Nord stealing its child.” So that gives you a little glimpse into the creative process here. Some of it is deliberate and some of it just kinda happens.

So, and as I said, all these little details, those are the things that we really have the most fun with because that’s what makes the world feel alive.

Kai: Yep.

Lawrence: And walking around in the biome of Wrothgar, I think it’s really superb in that it’s not too crowded but there’s stuff moving around everywhere and it all looks plausible and it just feels alive, it feels like a real place.

Kai: Yes. Just yesterday I went through Wrothgar. Seen the bear rubbing his back against the tree already and saw the horkers rolling around, but what I’ve never seen before until yesterday was a deer hitting its antlers against a tree to shave them off. I was blown away, so…

Gina: So cute.

Lawrence: Yep. And the echatere, the big rutting male echatere will bump heads. That’s pretty cool and has got a nice solid sound to it, sounds very convincing.

There’s also - we had the opportunity for the first time to really go into the background and lore of the orcs and their settlements and their culture and stuff like that and that was a whole lot of fun but we didn’t confine ourselves just to that so I wanted to bring up one of the little gems of the Orsinium area, of the Wrothgar zone, which actually isn’t orc lore. There’s - and it’s a little bit out of the way so you might overlook it - but if you go up on the northern coast there’s an orc settlement of the Morgal Clan and just on the south side of that settlement you’ll find an orc who’s keeping an eye uphill because nasty things are coming down the hill. And what’s been coming down the hill but draugr, because what’s up there, surprisingly enough, but a Nord barrow? And what the devil is it doing that far west of Skyrim? So that’s what the story there’s about and what your investigations there have to discover and learn the reasons for and there’s some pretty spiffy lore reasons as for why that’s up there. No spoilers as usual, but you don’t wanna miss this. Partly because it has one of the - I mean there’s a wealth of really strong characters in this zone - but this is one of many people’s favorites. It’s a dark elf archaeologist named Narsis Dren who, let’s just say, his abilities don’t match up to his confidence in them but that doesn’t mean to say he doesn’t have a really high opinion of himself and he wants you to get to know him better because he knows you’re gonna really enjoy hanging out with him. Which may have another opinion after a while but it’s a fun little adventure. It’s called Exile’s barrow and is right up there in the north part of the zone, don’t miss it it’s a fun little place.

Gina: You know everything. Is there anything you don’t know?

Lawrence: I like - If there’s something I don’t know I just make it up.

Gina: Love it!

Lawrence: You know, because you speak in a resonant voice and ya make some appropriate gestures and it’s very plausible and convincing and, you know, the next thing you know they’re paying you to do it so...

Kai: So one question I have is, did I understand that right that the weird procedure they had on Sorrow actually sacrificed orcs to bring the corpses of the chieftains up to the mountain?

Lawrence Schick: Well, you know, once again that is stuff that happened way in the past and there’s - that’s one story which is - he’s talking about the burial sites of ancient orc chiefs up on the Mountain of Sorrow, the tallest mountain in Wrothgar, well names, ever blowing with snow, a wonderful cold expanse up there and there’s - it’s a glimpse into the orcish funerary traditions and how they vary over time and from clan to clan. So yeah, that’s one of the real set-pieces of the zone. You definitely don’t want to miss out on Sorrow. It’s up in the corner but don’t miss it, go find that place.

Kai: And it’s quite a climb, it’s a long way up. Another question I came across playing through Wrothgar with the orc society is that you have this, let’s say, loud king who beats up, wants your help, does all the things...

Lawrence Schick: Right, well he wouldn’t be respected if he wasn’t a blowhard.

[All laugh]

Kai: Yeah! But if you get a little bit behind the scenes you actually see his wife - his wives plural - and his mother running the show. Is that something which is typical for orcs?

Lawrence Schick: Yes, it is typical for orcs. Now, it does vary from clan to clan, but orcish society is on the face of it apparently a patriarchy because you’ve got these big, bossy orcs, at the top are the warchiefs and the kings telling everybody what to do and, “go here and, you know, bring me my turkey leg, I’m hungry!” And it looks like they’re in charge but really it’s the Forge-Wives, the Shield-Wives, the Hearth-Wives, the Hunt-Wives who are married to this guy, are associated with the bosses, they actually are the ones who run everything. They’re in charge of all the administrative details of the clan, or at Kurog’s level, the kingdom. And really he’s endorsing their decisions and taking the credit for it but really they’re in charge, and so it’s an apparent patriarchy. But really there are very strong positions for both genders throughout the different orcish societies and strongholds and cultures and, you know, it’s way different than other places in Tamriel but it works for the orcs.

Kai: It does and now we have to argue who is smarter, is it the guy who is letting the ladies do all the work or the ladies who let him think he’s in charge while they…

Lawrence Schick: I’m not going there.

[All Laugh]

Gina Bruno: Probably for the best.

[All Laugh]

Kai: Ok, let's not go there.

Gina: There are a couple of questions that have been popping up in chat…

Lawrence Schick: Sure.

Gina: ....you wanna take a question break? Elloa was asking what happens to his wives when Chief Orc (?) dies and do they visit a brothel or do they just stay forever alone…?

Lawrence Schick: Visit a brothel............

[Everyone laughs]

Lawrence Schick: So the question is what happens to the wives when the chief or the king…

Gina: I guess when the chief dies, yeah.

Lawrence Schick: Well you know, there are - like I said, they are the experienced administrators, they are the ones that are running things - they're often gonna have a hand in figuring out who their going to - who's going to be the successor because it's not necessarily all about who wields the heaviest bludgeon. It's, you know, it’s politics like with every mortal race, and so the widows of the dead clan chief or king, if they're any good at what they have been doing, they have built up their own constituencies and they're gonna find a solid place for themselves in whatever administration comes next, maybe even heavily involved in determining who that's going to be, who the leader’s gonna be.

Gina: Right on. Lone Pirate was asking, if you had anything to do with investigator Vale?

Lawrence Schick: No, I can't take credit for investigator Vale.That's a hilarious series of detective stories that you run across in Wrothgar. No, that was the writers on the Wrothgar team, on the Orsinium team. I think that was Bill Slavicsek’s character, I could be wrong, I hope I'm not omitting the credit from where credit is due, but I believe that's who came up with Inspector Vale.

Gina: He was just on the reddit AMA yesterday too.

Lawrence Schick: He was.

Kai: And if you don't know Inspector Vale, next time you find one of those books stop, take your time, read it, it's really, really worth it.

Gina: Okay, last question for now and you can get back to everything... whoops that's not for you! It went back to the champion points question…

Lawrence Schick: Yup! Nope! Not going there. No champion points.

Gina: Somebody - there are a lot of requests that you do some sort of little website series like Lore Books by Lawrence or reading a quest or something to watch on YouTube or on our website or something because everyone thinks that would be pretty amazing so ...maybe that's something we could work out?

Lawrence Schick: Call my agent!

[Everyone laughs]

Lawrence Schick: We'll talk..

Gina: You know what we could that would be really fun, have a contest prize or maybe even a giveaway on ESO Live where the winner gets you to record their voicemail or something.

Lawrence Schick: Yeah, I could do that. I'm experienced, I've recorded my own voicemail in fact.

[All laugh]

Gina: That's awesome! Moving on...now they're all asking when are champion points gonna be increased?

Kai: Ah, let’s get back to topic.

Gina: Sorry.

Kai: So, awesome zone...So what next?

Lawrence Schick: So what's that cool book you've got there Kai?

Kai: Do we really want to go there already?

Gina: Sure.

Kai: Because actually I'm not going to hold onto this for too long since it's our next giveaway but there you go.

[Hands book over to Lawrence]

Lawrence Schick: Here we go, Tales of Tamriel Book 2 , The Looooooooooooore.

Kai: What a coincidence.

Lawrence Schick: So this, just published by Titan books, one of our friendly third party affiliates, what it contains is a whole bunch of lore books that have appeared in the Elder Scrolls Online and in fact in the Elder Scrolls series prior to ESO but that are featured and important as far as the lore of our game is concerned. I might have written a few of these - Titan books did a really great job and it's unfortunate that this is shrink-wrapped, it's a prize so we're not going to open it up. It's a really beautiful book inside, it's got lots of illustrations and stuff and yeah, I highly recommend this and the previous one Tales of Tamriel Book 1 , The Land. So look for these wherever books are sold, like online.

[All Laugh]

Gina: Are we giving it away now or..?

Kai: We can give it away now, sure why not.

Gina: lemme get ready…

Kai: Which...

Gina: Okay, I'm ready.

Kai: Shall we stick with the obvious password?

Gina: That's what I typed in so yes we should.

Kai: If you want to win this one now type LORE into the channel , not LAW like LAWRENCE but LORE what we are talking about.

Gina Bruno: Like what it says on the book.

Kai Schober: Yes.

Gina Bruno: L.O.R.E.

Kai: Correct.

Gina: They haven't gotten there yet. There they go! You know what we could do if the winner really wants it signed, we could take the shrink-wrap off and have Lawrence sign it. Or if you would like it shrink-wrapped we can do that too, either way. Maybe Lawrence could just sign like a post-it or something.

Kai: Sign the shrink-wrap.

Gina: Sign the shrink-wrap, get out!

Lawrence Schick: Yeah, whatever they'd like. Oh! Another cool thing to keep your eye out for in the zone, the artists went to...there was already a depiction of Malacath, a fairly standard statue *raises arms in pose* you know..getting ready to do the vengeance thing with his giant sword in a sort of Chippendales pose without a shirt on...

Gina: I mean I wasn't gonna say it but it was what I thought.

[Laughs]

Lawrence Schick: They've also done, they've done a really good job of interpreting an alternative statue for Trinimac , sort of an Orcish version of Trinimac, it really conveys what the Trinimac cult is trying to get across in a sort of physical statuary form. Yeah so keep an eye out for that, compare contrast collect em all, see all the statues.

Gina: Lawrence, do you wanna read the winner? Read their name?

Lawrence Schick: Yeah, I can do that.

Gina: This is a hard one too so you can definitely do that.

Lawrence Schick: Yeah, you know what. Wait here a second. I can peer myopically at it but I can't actually read it with that small.

Gina: You want me to bring it closer. Or farther?

Lawrence Schick: In 3D! Umm oh is this it here?

Gina: Yes, the big word.

Lawrence Schick: It's Chorasuarus.

Gina: Chorasuarus, congratulations!

Lawrence Schick: Which is Latin for the Sausage Lizard.

[All laugh]

Gina: Whaaaaaaaaaaaaat?

Lawrence Schick: So well done Chauraurus, you have won a fine book and we will be happy to inscribe it or whatever...

Gina: As long as it's not, like, sign every page which somebody did recommend in chat. I'm sending you a message right now so be on the lookout, check your other tab just in case it got dropped in there for some reason but uh yeah carry on and I'll do this.

Lawrence Schick: So I wanna say, this is the first time I've been in the new studio and it's pretty fabulous but it has not yet really appropriately been broken in in the Elder Scrolls Lore fashion.

Gina: Oh God, I know where this is going.

Lawrence Schick: So yeah

Kai: So take that away...

Lawrence Schick: No no no no...

Gina: Should I Leave, so we just back up?

Lawrence Schick: What we're looking for , we're not looking for any blood sacrifices , not until in the evening..

Gina: Cuz that's never happened before on the show.

Lawrence Schick: Right. So. These premises do need to have a divine blessing. the Divine who rules over art, culture, entertainment is, of course, the goddess Dibella. So we are going to invoke the goddess Dibella and get her to bless this studio so that we will have only divinely blessed Twitching coming.

[All laugh and Dibellan ritual is performed.]