General:Ted Peterson's Posts

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Ted Peterson's Posts
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These are a few notable comments from Ted Peterson on The Elder Scrolls setting. Peterson was known as Tedders, Sheogorath, and S'reddit on the forums, and currently is @CharlesPeterson on twitter. Some of these comments were originally archived by The Imperial Library.

Undated[edit]

On Language/Naming Conventions[edit]

I was going to say I'd deny [borrowing from Quenya] expect perhaps subconsciously, but then I did a quick google search & remembered that I married Morgiah of Wayrest to King Reman Karoodil of Firsthold. When I was young, my friends and I used the appendix in the Silmarillion to create Elvish names for ourselves. As I even then wanted to be a writer, I got "Karoodil" which means something like "Storyteller" or "Creator of Lore"

Another friend wanted to be an astronaut so we created the name "Kelkemmen" for him, which means "Walks In The Stars." He's an astrophysicist now. I probably used his name at some point too.

Happy to help. When I was the primary writer, there were some naming rules I lay down (dunmer female names tend to end in -iah, like Morgiah or Barenziah) but not sure if they carried that forward 100%.

On the Xal-Gosleigh Letters[edit]

Actually, the original plan was for us to do a short story series together as people writing letters back and forth -- that was the concept behind the in-game book The Charwich-Koniinge Letters, but we never got organized enough to pull it off.

1996[edit]

On Porting Characters from Arena to Daggerfall (1996-03-01)[edit]

My name is Ted Peterson, and I'm the chief designer on the forthcoming computer role-playing game Daggerfall, the sequel to The Elder Scrolls: Arena. We are deeply entangled in the endlessly entertaining process of digging up and squashing bugs in the gadzillions of lines of code, and we're moving more forward than backward (always a good sign) in this traditional rite. There exists, however, one issue we've been arguing about in-house since the beginning of the project. Only one feature needs to be fully implemented: Arena Character Import.

We intend to make it possible for players who own Arena and have a saved game to "port" their Arena character over to Daggerfall. Because Daggerfall handles characters differently (it is a skills-based system instead of a class-based system, for example), the port will not be perfect. Obviously, we will try to make the port as perfect as possible, but our contention lies with characters of enormous power who are ported over.

The problem is game balance. While Daggerfall has over fifty monsters and other combatants of varying strengths, and though in Daggerfall reputation and affiliation matters as much or more than raw power, there is a point when either challenge level or game credibility takes a nose dive. Sure, a 300th level spellsword might have the dickens of a time fighting an army of ancient vampires, but, as a regular random encounter, they do seem rather unlikely.

At what point, if at all, should a ceiling be placed to limit the power of characters ported to Daggerfall from Arena?

Bethesda Softworks is a divided country over this. We have basically two camps -- "We Told You So" and "Father Knows Best." Most of our opinions fall somewhere in between these extremes. "We Told You So" advocates no ceiling at all to characters ported from Arena. There would be a simple message in the game, "Your character might be so powerful that this game may be too easy," and if the player still wanted to port Bloodstroke The Demi-God over, fine. "Father Knows Best," on the other hand, advocates a strict ceiling. Any character over 18th level would be ported at 18th level (or 17th, 19th, 20th, therebouts), gold would be limited to 10,000 gps (or therebouts), and other means would be taken to ensure that any character ported to Daggerfall would have some challenge level at the beginning.

The reason for this lengthy disertation is that we want your opinions on this. So, let me know. What can we do to keep you from feeling "ripped off" (or "neutered," as one desciptive letter-writter called it) while still maintaining a challenge level for all players?

Thank you in advance for your commentary,

Ted

2001[edit]

Who is Jyggalag from On Oblivion supposed to be? (circa 2001-02)[edit]

Jyggalag was thrown into "On Oblivion" to add an additional daedra prince in case we needed one down the road for -- I don't know -- the daedra of poisons or unattractive hairdos.

Who is the odd child in Castle Wayrest that just makes monster noises when you try to speak to him? (2001-02-06)[edit]

I'm afraid that the Wayrest Kid was simply a random figure thrown into the court to make the place look busy. I think he's supposed to be someone's squire. His affiliation may be set so he'll never like the PC enough to speak to him. If he has some greater significance, I've forgotten it.

Who were the actors in the Daggerfall intro video? (2001-02-06)[edit]

The guy who played the Emperor was a character actor out of Washington state, but I can't remember his name. The battlemage with the torch was the same guy who did our video compression.

I can almost remember the name of our video compression guy. But it's not coming to me. I'm sure he's listed somewhere in some credits under programming or video somethingorother in SkyNET or Future Shock if not Daggerfall.

On naming the gods of The Elder Scrolls (2001-02-06)[edit]

Julianos is indeed Julian LeFay; Mara is Marilyn Wasserman, another of our beta testers; Arkay came from R.K. Deutsch.

The weirdest name derivation was from one of our beta-testers named Lawrence Szydlowski, which is obviously not a good "fantasy" name. His name on-line was Smaug -- which we couldn't use, obviously, being one of the most famous dragons of all time. His sign-off, though, was Larry, "also known as the Old Smaug himself." That spells out A.K.A.T.O.S.H., so Akatosh became the name of our dragon god of time.

Zenithar is, if I remember correctly, based on a tester named Stephen Zepp.

Potential Causes for the Dwemer Disappearance (2001-04-20)[edit]

I like the exodus idea.

Also, one thing I was thinking about the volcano eruption as the cause for the Dwemer disappearance is that if something were released into the atmosphere, something that specifically the Dwemer were "allergic" to (like the Argonians were immune to the Knahaten Flu -- see http://m0use.net/~uesp/tamriel/history/this_2e.shtml If only a small amount of this allergen were needed to kill a Dwemer, the eruption of Dagoth Ur could have killed the dwarves as far away as Hammerfell, like fallout from Chernobyl spreading in some small amount across Europe.

Re: A "Dwemer exodus" still wouldn't explain why there was no trace of any bodies anywhere... (2001-04-20)[edit]

It depends on the nature of the disease, perhaps a bone-dissolving thing.

Or, if the Blight was involved, maybe the Dwemer were transformed into something else that didn't have the ability to keep technology -- trolls or something.

Still, I like the exodus idea the best of all the ones I've heard. Probably I like it, because it suggests a path for future games. :)

On Lifespan of Elves mentioned in Daggerfall books (2001-06-08)[edit]

Which book?

On the subject, it probably makes sense that noble elves like Barenziah live a lot longer than grunt soldiers, miners, and the common folk, due to selective "breeding," luxurious lifestyle, etc.

On TES3 books being posted to Elderscrolls.com (2001-06-20)[edit]

Thanks. Glad you like 'em. ‘Course, the translation process is always difficult from Tamrielic to English. Mymophonus, as you probably know, also wrote “Ark’ay the God” (available in Xanathar’s Library), which was published in Daggerfall, but he isn’t the most reliable of lore writers. He tends to take real characters and situations, but distort them in such a way for them to lose all meaning. Ark’ay is a classic example of this, which Qwerty correctly identifies as “invalidated.” But still I have a soft spot for the old retrobate.

Anthil Morvir is a playwright of the loquacious school. In translation, I took the liberty of shortening some of his dialogue, which in the original Tamrielic can go and on. I’m glad you enjoyed it, though like most plays, it is more dynamic seen than read. Directors enjoy interpreting the magickal battles, using all the best stagecraft to make it quite a spectacle. On more than one occasion, actual spells were cast by the actors and there have been a few mishaps by persons who are fine actors, but very amateur mages.

On Bias in TES Books (2001-06-20)[edit]

The level of bias of the writer varies quite a bit from book to book, but it always exists. Qwerty has done a good job pointing out the most egregiously bigoted books (the overly patriotic history of Wayrest, the descriptions of the War of Betony written by representatives of the rival powers, the “official” biography of Queen Barenziah), but even the most cautious, objective authors are only as good as their source material. I do find refutations of classical works from time to time, but only if the critic has something interesting to add do I generally go to the trouble of translating. Life is short. There are, of course, other translators. I limit my work to a few languages, eras, personalities, and subject matters that interest me enough for the laborious process.

I get lore info from Qwerty, Ken, Todd, Michael, Royal, and a bunch of others. Also Nocturnal gave me the Skeleton’s Key, so I have free reign [sic] to hang out in the Imperial Library. :)

Comments on influences for the ES series (2001-09-04)[edit]

There are definite influences that are pretty easy to spot, most of which you've named. Julian and Vijay (the lead designer of Arena) were into the eastern martial arts, thus the inclusion of some of the weaponry like katanas.

Some of the influences are more obscure, and some things have obviously evolved. "Daedra" frinstance replaced the "demon" references, since we didn't want them to be instantly perceived as evil in the traditional sense. In the same way, "Dunmer" replaces "Dark Elf." All make the universe less generic, though a certain amount of "generic-ness" is purposefully set. After all, the TES games are supposed to be about the player telling his or her own stories, and if the culture is too rigidly defined and limited, the player's choices would be too. It's a fine line to be drawn when giving a universe character.

Designing Under The Influence is a felony in several states.

2003[edit]

On the illegitimate son of Jagar Tharn and Barenziah mentioned in The Real Barenziah (2003-03-18)[edit]

No idea. There was another thread about this awhile ago, but I guess it got lost in the recompilation? Anyhow, I don't remember any strong theories about what became of him/her.

On the disappearance of Artaeum (2003-05-10)[edit]

Some have suggested that Sotha Sil's bargain with the daedra is what caused Artaeum to vanish for several hundred years. I think it's much more because of Vanus Galerion's "democratization" (and capitalization) of magic, bringing some of the secrets of the Psijics off the island. They were suddenly threatened, and they withdrew. When they came back, the older master Iachesis was gone, and they were in a different world. In "The Wolf Queen," Potema mocks the Psijics, saying that their off-spring the Mages Guild is now much more powerful. Perhaps they feel their contradictory philosophy lends them some of their old glamour. Perhaps they are onto something they learned in their time away from Mundus.

After all, a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.

Why is the name "Atmora" derived from the Aldmeri language if it was populated by men? (2003-11-18)[edit]

The common name for a place is not necessarily the name given to it by its original inhabitants. America comes from Italian, Britain comes from Latin, Japan comes Chinese (though invented by Japanese scholars from the Middle Chinese phrase nzyet-pwun-kwuk, "land of the rising sun," which became Nippon or Nihon, and the English used the Chinese word "Japan"), et cetera.

It may be surmised that where Aldmeris was spoken, the land of the Nedic people was called Atmora, and the name has stuck, and the original name of the land by its inhabitants has vanished.

As to its current inhabitants, who knows?

[...]

Good luck in finding info on Atmora. Even compared to the sketchy information about Yokuda, Pyandonea, and Akavir, there ain't a lot. Maybe more lore is warranted down the road...

On literary reference material and lore changes (2003-12-10)[edit]

Hi Q! You know me. I don't object. The only reason I raised my hand before was because you didn't get the literary reference in Castellian's letters to his sister, not because you suggested that Bethesda was -- or is -- run by naughty people. There are numerous other literary references throughout the series. Read T.S. Eliot's "The Wasteland" and the second to the last chapter of "A Dance In Fire," and you will see literary allusions out the wazoo.

That said, has the Dunmer personality changed in the years since Barenziah sat on the throne? Oh, certainly.

2004[edit]

On the appearance of the Tsaesci, and the "truths" in fictional Tamrielic writings (2004-05-07)[edit]

I never saw a Tsaesci
I never hope to see one,
But I can tell you this right now:
I'd rather see than be one.

Carlovac Townway, the author of 2920, though quite a scholar, never saw a Tsaeci or any other Akavari (of which there are many, as has been noted) either. He attempted to write a historically accurate piece of fiction. I'd compare him and Waughin Jarth and a few other Tamrielic authors to writers like Sharon Kay Penman, who write meticulously researched historical fiction. Everything is true, but there's plenty of dramatic license, and, in this case, he hedged his bets with his description of the Potentates.

To the people of Tamriel during the interregnum, the Potentates were snakes. But, it must be reasoned, they knew how to use their native weaponry, katanas and wakizashis and so on. Does that mean they must have had at least arms to use them? Townway reasoned yes.

Are Akavari Asians? Certainly not. Nirn is not earth, so there is no Tamriel = Europe, Akavir = Asia, Yokuda = Africa, Pyandonea = Australia, or any other direct comparisons.

That said, we, the developers and ex-developers, who translate Tamrielic culture into a thing understandable by Earth dwellers, often use familiar words and concepts which carry with them some additional baggage. There are, for example, in Tamriel, slightly curved, single edged swords which are considered among the finest blades in existence. The easiest word to use to describe this is "katana." As in all translations, it conveys the essential meaning of the thing, but one shouldn't confuse the makers of the katana with the Japanese any more than one should assume that the origins of the Tamrielic claymore are Scottish.

Of course, none of this is to say that mod-makers shouldn't include Asian characters who are said to be from Akavir. Is it "true" to the lore? No. Is it contradictory to the lore? No again.

Are there any Tsaesci on Tamriel in the 3rd era? (2004-05-14)[edit]

Is it reasonable to assume there might be a few Tsaesci slithering around Tamriel hither and yon? There are certainly stranger things ...

Poem about Dragon Breaks (2004-09-01)[edit]

...thats just impossible...Aedra and Daedra are two different things, and switching a Daedra into an Aedra would be the mother of all Dragon Breaks...

Impossibility, probability, likelihood, and odds
When one is considering the killing of gods
As the recipe says, firstly, when making a pie
Create a new world, the old one must die
When fourteen have come, then comes the Insider
To stoke the hearth’s flame, and thou, deicider,
Can slaughter us all, cut our throats like mere swine,
And drink deep of the blood of that which was divine.

On Ria Silmane's final message from Arena not playing (2004-09-04)[edit]

Ria's final message didn't play in Arena? Really? Oh, dear. How did one know what to do next?

Are you Gaiden Shinji? (2004-09-22)[edit]

I'm not, actually. That was one of Julian's [characters]. I was, however, Baron Othrok of Dwynnen, and you'll notice that for a backwater, nothing going on kinda place, [Dwynnen] does crop up in several stories -- 2920 and the Charwich-Koniinge Letters, for example.

On the death of Aedra, as Sheogorath (2004-11-09)[edit]

It makes a long, tiresome speech, all the while staggering about histrionically, before collapsing with the words “Thus, I die.” A bit amusing the first time it happens, but eventually the tears and applause die down, and, let me tell you, when Aedra begin to decompose, what a stink. Fortunately, there isn’t much of that anymore. I believe only two of them still live: Fick, The God Of Hairdos, and Mrs Edgar Barrows, the Goddess of Sound Tips On Housekeeping. No one much desires their deaths. All the others – Julianos, Mara, Stendarr, Akatosh, the whole lot – long dead. Sorry if that messes up your weekend plans.

chaos.gif

Could you please tell me how you got the notion that the Aedra do not exist anymore, so that I can follow your thoughts?

If a man cannot be found, cannot be summoned, cannot show his will, what other conclusion can there be but that he is dead?

There can be no argument that we Daedra have vitality, but the Aedra have mouldered past putrescence, and will shortly be forgotten.

On Vivecian "Wheel" Ideations, as Sheogorath (2004-11-10)[edit]

The theory is a bastardization of one concocted by Yeoziphil Thunk, one of my early disciples, that the world is a wheel, the aedra are fish, oblivion is a knee, and aetherius is a half-peeled banana, and none of them have anything to do with one another. Of course, someone mistranslated it and fouled it up, and took credit. But Thunk was a little closer to the truth.

Where is Barysimayn from Poison Song? (2004-11-22)[edit]

Well, it's certainly not on the mainland if you look at the events following the attempted assassination, when Tython rode from the fortress to Red Mountain itself.

As for the name, I have to admit that when I was translating it I was relying on an old map, and picked a fortress that was close in the vicinity of the mountain, since the original text did not specify the fortress. A bit of translator's license there, which happens more often than one might think. I don't know if Barysimayn was destroyed or renamed after the map was made ... but it has been an awfully long time since the events of Poison Song, and a lot could've happened ...

On atheism in Tamriel (2004-11-30)[edit]

Like many have said here, it depends on what you think any atheist is. Could someone believe the Daedra don't exist? Unlikely: too much evidence to the contrary. Could someone believe that the Daedra are simply powerful spirits, and not Gods. Very easily -- most of Tamriel believes that very thing. Outside of Morrowind, Daedra worship is mostly confined to witches' covens.

Most of Tamriel worship the Aedra, which in their way more closely resemble RL religion, where God or the Gods are less obviously manifested. You don't see Mara and Zenithar being summoned at regular times. Belief in them is more of a matter of faith.

Rebuttal to shrines and blessings disproving atheism in Tamriel (2004-11-30)[edit]

It may not work because of the reasons given to you by the Temple of the Tribunal, the Benevolence of Mara, the witches of Glenmoril, or any of the other organized and disorganized religions of the land. That is not evidence, that is explanation, which is very, very different.

Rebuttal to "given the above, even Sheogorath might not be real", as Sheogorath (2004-11-30)[edit]

True, but I am.

I may, however, be less or more than I or you think I am. There are those who say that there is but one God with a split personality. Who could they be thinking of?

RE: What's wrong with Vivec? Identity crisis? As Sheogorath (2004-12-17)[edit]

Have you thought about what's wrong with you? A creature stuck in one gender, unable to identify with half the people you meet, unable to transform into a bird and fly, or into a fish and explore the deepest oceans ... Your life must be one of endless frustration and limitations, but we Gods respect you too much to pity you. We hope you make the most of what you are and what you can be.

On the appearance and sphere of deities (2004-12-17)[edit]

A God’s preferred appearance (which is how I’d characterize the archetypes most associated with each Daedra and Tribunal member – the Aedra do not have physical appearances associated with them), a God’s personality (which is a strange word to use for an entity which is not a person, but it’s hard to find a better term), and a God’s sphere each should considered on its own.

Sometimes their appearance does convey their intent and sphere.

Example: Mehrunes Dagon. His sphere is destruction. His personality is simple straightforwardness. He does not attempt to obfuscate, but appears as one might expect – demonic and savage.

Sometimes their appearance does not.

Example: Sheogorath. His sphere is madness. His personality alternates between the jester and the homicidal maniac. He does not appear frightening, because he wants to seduce people down the Golden Road.

That is what is tricky about the Daedra, especially those whose sphere is obscured to mortals. You cannot look at the innocent looking Meridia or the fearsome looking Mephala, and surmise the nature of their power. They may be trying to mislead.

On the direct influences of TES (2004-12-30)[edit]

Well, the obvious answer is that TES games are most influenced by the TES game that preceded it. Daggerfall and Battlespire were most influenced by Arena; Redguard and Morrowind were most influenced by Daggerfall. Oblivion’s lore will be built upon Morrowind.

A lot of people wonder why Arena, the first, seemed so generic. This was a conscious decision based on the assumption at the time that players couldn’t tell their own stories if the lore of the world was too rigid. It was meant to be a sketch where your imagination fills in the details. Lore and gameplay after all are not separate, but support one another. Over the course of the next five TES games (plus, the cel phone games and the Morrowind expansions), more lore was added as it was realized that these details fuel the players’ imaginations, not dampen them.

So, the major influence on the TES games is undoubtedly Dungeons and Dragons, and the major influence on that was Tolkien. But it’s moved quite a bit beyond that now, thanks to a dozen or so major contributors to the lore. If you look for specific literary influences, I don’t think you’ll find one single author towering over them all. In the books, you can find references to Geoffrey of Monmouth, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Marlowe, Robert Herrick, Lao Tzu, and many, many contemporary jokes.

2005[edit]

RE: Mehrunes Dagon destroyed old Mournhold and slaughtered almost every inhabitant. What could Vaernima do, give the whole city a restless night? As Sheogorath (2005-01-05)[edit]

If She were feeling sweet-tempered, otherwise how about a city where ever inhabitant is tortured by the most hideous, soul-destroying nightmare after nightmare, doomed never to awaken? A quick death by Dagon might be preferable to an eternity of torment, wouldn't you say? chaos.gif

On place name suggestions (2005-01-09)[edit]

Yes, as others have pointed out, it does depend on the mood you want this location to elicit. Dravenhal, for example, feels like a different place than, say, Bjonnium ...

Nu-Mantia Intercept: "What could mantia stem from? Mantle?" (2005-09-26)[edit]

You're quite a clever fellow
You never bluster nor bellow
Fortune's flux
Hangs in a crux
Of mantling a mantella

2006[edit]

On the divines definitely being real (2006-06-05)[edit]

Well ... amazing magical things in a highly magical world are not necessarily proof, even though the priests say they are.

Don't worry, MK will agree with you that there is conclusive proof of the Aedra in TES. I just wouldn't be doing my duty as Sheogorath without pointing out that just because a million people believe a foolish thing does not make it less of a foolish thing.

On the Trial of Vivec and future roleplays in the series influencing lore (2006-06-05)[edit]

I have never said [the Trial of Vivec is canon]. It might turn out to be, but I actually subscribe to the spirit of the much maligned phrase of Pete's that it's not canon unless it's in the games. The trial and the RP that sprung from it, which continues on in the "From The Ashes" thread, have definitely influenced some lore that subsequently appeared in Oblivion and in the PGE.

On canon and noncanon sources (2006-06-05)[edit]

I would like to propose that instead of there being a black-and-white distinction between canon and non-canon, loreists refer to Primary and Secondary Sources. A Secondary Source, such as a comment from MK or a reference in the Trial or RP, may be 100% accurate and become a Primary Source when it is later published in a game; it may remain a useful reference, such as a scholar's commentary on Shakespeare, which is informed and likely true, though not actually part of a play or sonnet; or, it may be disproved on later Primary Source evidence.

How do you pronounce Psijic? (2006-06-19)[edit]

Sidgick. But that ain't gospel.

Oblivion = hell? (2006-06-29)[edit]

[Oblivion has been synonymous with hell for] exactly 10 years, since Daggerfall.

In fact, in Arena, there were no Daedra, only Demons (or maybe we spelled it Daimons? I don't remember). The first book "On Oblivion," calls Daimons a mispelling of Daedra ... our very first retcon ...

What's even worse, the first time the phrase "the marble jaws of Oblivion" is used was in the Emperor's intro to Daggerfall, talking of King Lysandus:

He was as great and loyal a subject, ally, and friend to me as you are. I did grieve for him ... but I now hear his spirit will not rest. It haunts his former kingdom crying for revenge. I do not know why such a good and loyal man would be so cursed, but perhaps you could find the reason. You could close the marble jaws of Oblivion and put his soul to peace.

Now, I'm not sayin' that Oblivion is the afterlife in TES. But Uriel here, unlike in the beginning of Oblivion where he uses the exact same phrase (well, which of us don't have our favorite catch phrases?) clearly means "the marble jaws of Oblivion" to mean "the grave." It's the simplest sort of a metaphor. Why are the jaws marble? Not just because it's hard -- it's because that's what graves are made out of.

All that said, Oblivion is not fire and brimstone and pitchforks. At least, it's not only that.

2008[edit]

On voice acting in Oblivion (2008-03-23)[edit]

Believe it or not, this was discussed. If my schedule had been better, Sheo's voice would have been mine. Whether that would have been good or not, well, maybe one day we will know ...

On the Sload, as High Chancellor Ocato (2008-06-28)[edit]

You might be surprised indeed! While I find necromancers as a whole to be somewhat single minded, the Sload themselves could tell some remarkably bawdy tales. The stories themselves were not the draw, mind you, but the Sload had no shame about who and where they spoke of these things. Even today, in certain high so society gatherings, you can tell a dirty or shocking story by the preface "A Sload once told me..."

Did Ted write the Eslaf Erol series? (2008-07-15)[edit]

Yup, but I was given the name Eslaf Erol from Todd (or maybe Bruce Nesmith).

Why is the Tamriel of the Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd Edition so "boring" compared to the 1st edition? (2008-07-15)[edit]

I certainly didn't intend the book to be boring, but I did want it to show a contrast to the world once the doors of Oblivion were opened.

Waughin Jarth and authorial bias. (2008-07-15)[edit]

You thinking writing to entertain an audience isn't a bias? I assure you Waughin Jarth is not above exaggeration and outright lying in order to sell copies of his books. His tone may be subtle, but if you read his stuff again, I think you'll detect an air of irony and contempt that runs through all his work.

That said, you certainly can't talk someone into having a taste for any writer. Jarth is a popular writer, but he's not for everyone. I wouldn't have every book in Tamriel written by him even if I could.

Loranna's RP and its relationship to future lore. (2008-07-15)[edit]

I hadn't realized that this was a common understanding, that the events of the Loranna RP influenced developing lore. The truth was actually the opposite. I got wind of things like Helseth marrying and slavery being abolished, and we turned the events of the RP in that direction. Some stuff from the RP may have made it into the PGE and other books, but definitely not "half of it," either the "execrable" parts or the fantastically fabulous stuff.

Who wrote the PGE3 and the events of Morrowind after TES3. (2008-07-15)[edit]

68.3% of the PGE was reworded this-is-the-story-so-far summaries of Tamriel history and cosmology written both for new Elder Scrolls players and to the lowest common denominator denizen of the Empire. I can certainly understand hardcore lore buffs finding it remedial and dull: it’s not for you.

5.6% was actually written by Michael Kirkbride.

27.5% of the PGE was completely new stuff which I thought was cool. I liked the idea of a cultural revolution in Summerset marrying the Chinese revolution and the French revolution, and hints something happening with the Psijics at long last. I liked the idea of giving the orcs some nuance to their theology beyond all-orcs-believe-X. The Crowns and the Forebears hadn’t been discussed since Redguard, so I wanted to update how things had progressed in Hammerfell, keeping in mind Sentinel’s enormous power shift after the Warp in the West. I like witches, so I let them have a go of things in Skyrim. I’d write something up, pass it over to the designers at Bethesda, if they had different, better ideas, we compromised. Often there was a germ of a concept to be discussed, say about the Renrijra Krin in Elsweyr and Leyawiin, and they were kind enough to let me run with it.

18.4% of the PGE is stuff I was told to put in by the designers at Bethesda. That includes absolutely everything in the Current Events for Morrowind and Cyrodiil since I haven’t had any serious ownership of any of that for over ten years. I certainly wasn’t going to tell the people who made Morrowind how the events in their province played out, and I wanted to make sure the stuff I was saying about Cyrodiil was what the people who were making TES IV wanted.

That said, now that I’ve completely shrugged off responsibility, I’d like to know why you thought it was so terrible what happened in Morrowind after the game was over. Even though it wasn’t my idea, it made perfect sense to me. Two of the three Gods of a theocracy were killed: wouldn’t you expect something to change? An imperialized Dunmer king took the throne, wouldn’t you expect him to change things? Or are you fine with the idea of change, but you expected something different to happen?

The tone of the book was all mine after discussions with the designers at Bethesda. The thought was that the extremely obvious bias of the first PGE would have given way to a much more subtle type of bias appropriate for a 400 year old Empire.

I thought by including a history and then a current events section it would be clear what led to what. There's only so much detail a Pocketguide which is describing an entire empire and the history of the universe can go into though.

More comments on the PGE3 and the events in Morrowind (2008-07-15)[edit]

Most important thing is, remember, the book is about where things stand in 3E 432. Not where things stand evermore. I guarantee you that the Oblivion gates opening in Morrowind will not keep the status quo, and even if they had never happened, history would not stop just at the moment the Pocketguide was written. Even if I can't talk you into liking what happened in Morrowind, the situation there at the time TES V begins is going to be completely different than what was in the Pocketguide.

I hear you on the revelation of Almalexia and Sotha Sil's deaths being a secret revealed. It would have been better to at least make reference to the Temple trying to cover it up, but the truth eventually coming out (how did it come out? Would the Emperor have had a hand in that?)

I disagree that a bloody civil war following the abolition of slavery is "boring." I think a struggle between a traditional House structure and an autocratic if "liberal" king is interesting.

Bias in the PGE3 and what can be read as a move towards "bland modern sensibilities." (2008-07-15)[edit]

I can understand why after the ranting nature of the PGE 1st Edition where everything that wasn't Imperial was disparaged, the subtlety of the bias in the PGE 3rd Edition would seem bland. I won't apologize for that. I think if the PGEs were always rah-rah-rah-we-love-Cyrodiil-we-hate-everyone-else they wouldn't work in a united Empire.

Here's a hint: the narrator is pleased about Helseth abolishing slavery. But like a historian writing in the early 60s during the civil rights movement, he's trying to be circumspect.

The situation in Hammerfell is far from boring, it's extremely volatile. Read the section again and see if it really suggests that the Lhotunics are moderating things at all. The only things they're doing is pissing everyone off.

The situation in Orsinium is far from boring. Now instead of all orcs believing the exact same thing (really, that's interesting?), you've got the city orcs believe in a hero god, and the country orcs believing in a shit god, and one of them is right, and one is wrong, and there's going to be hell to pay on earth and in heaven.

Trust me, it would have been easier to write from the point of view of someone completely biased and transparently untrustworthy. I've done that before. It didn't seem appropriate this time around.

If you are writing without a strong Imperial bias, then you are writing with your own bias.

I disagree with the notion that if you don't do X, it's automatically Y. There are always more possibilities than that.

I disagree that the tone of the Empire, the "strong Imperial bias" wouldn't have changed in 400 years. I think the tone of the PGE was that of a diplomatic bureaucrat trying to sound objective, but raised in the cosmopolitan (multicultural to use a 20th century earth buzzword) society. There are some similarities between American culture and Imperial culture, which may be why you've confused my point of view with the bureaucrat's.

What was Ted's involvement with the creation of the Dark Brotherhood, Morag Tong, and Mannimarco? (2008-07-15)[edit]

Well, I was a designer on TES I and TES II when the names Dark Brotherhood, Morag Tong, and Mannimarco were invented, and then I wrote a couple books about them later on, like the Night Mother in Oblivion. I've written a far amount about death and death cults in Tamriel.

Responding to a Tamriel Rebuilt plotting thread, Ria Silmane, Jagar Tharn and his illegitimate son mentioned in The Real Barenziah, as High Chancellor Ocato (2008-07-16)[edit]

If I may, it seems you are trying to rewrite history here for the sake of a sensationalist plot. Allow me to shed some light on what happened, and go from there as to what could happen, and what cannot.

First and foremost, Ria was someone with love of the Empire, and a strong sense of loyalty and morality. Tharn had no recourse but to kill her. Even in death she was relentless foe. Had she lived, she would have worn him down even faster.

Next, Tharn is dead. He is actually worse off, but I will not discuss those details. Forget him.

Now his son, that is another matter entirely, "Miscarried" is indeed a term used to make sure the subject is not brought up again. Often children of questionable blood, or with physical imperfections are "miscarried" then spirited away to be raised elsewhere. Tharn's son being around is indeed entirely plausible. Equally so, having him raised in the Blades. He is, after all, a Nobleman by blood. But also by blood, he would likely have some of the same weaknesses of his father. And as you wish to turn your eye upon Morrowind, remember the physiological rules of inter-breeding. Tharn's son, by virtue of also being Barenziah's son, would be a Dunmer. Quite likely an extraordinarily magickally gifted Dunmer.

If you wish to have foreshadowing, as well as keep this in line with the Oblivion Crisis, it is entirely plausible that despite Tham's son being raised by the Blades, he also hears the call of Dagon, as did his father. And that lineage would be quite clear to Dagon as well. When most think of Dagon and destruction, you think of things like the Battlespire incident, and the Oblivion Crisis. As the foremost expert on Destruction, let me remind you that Dagon's influence can be far more subtle, should he so choose. A weakening of morals, a bit of callousness towards those once cherished, and a slow lack of empathy and care for values and ideals once held dear are all forms of destruction. But these are on a personal scale, a destruction of ones' self or soul if you will, and thus can be far more terrifying for that.

If you wish to return to Ria here, the only role she should take, the only part she can take, is that which she held before, as an advisor and voice of righteousness. To do anything else would cheapen her and the sacrifices she made. Do not go down that path.

~Ocato

Summerset society as described in PGE3, in response to getting rid of the weird. (2008-07-18)[edit]

I certainly didn't intend to get rid of that, if it sounds like I did. If anything, society in Summerset has been more complicated in the last one hundred years, not less.

2009[edit]

Another comment on Loranna's RP and the development of TES4 lore. (2009-01-03)[edit]

The way it worked is that while playing the RP, I asked the people at Bethesda what would be happening in Morrowind in the years after the events of TES III, and after getting that information, we played them out. You may not like what we did, but I'd appreciate it if you stopped spreading the rumor that the RP determined the events that happened in Morrowind.

2010[edit]

On Ius, Animal God (2010-06-14)[edit]

I actually wrote it for the amusement of the patch testers for Arena, one of whom noticed that in the town of Rockcreek, there was a shop placed directly in front of the town entrance. You could still get in and out of the town, since you didn't have to be right at the door to click on it, but they wanted to know how it came to be there. The right answer is that the towns were randomly generated, and this one just came up screwy. But I felt a legend needed to be created just for that. There are goofy little statues in Arena of a guy with scales, so I elected him to be the fella behind the myth.

I don't know why we decided to put it in the game to be honest, except that I thought it was kinda funny and I thought you couldn't have too many books in the game, and here was a story already written. You can't go to Rockcreek from the environs of Daggerfall which made the book not only peculiar but totally worthless.

On the races of certain Daggerfall characters (2010-08-19)[edit]

I've always thought Nulfaga, her son Lysandus, and her grandson Gothryd were all Bretons. Of course, Gothryd married Aubk-i, a Redguard, so their children were Redguards.

syronj: Sorry for the misinterpretation, Ted. It's good to see your post.

No worries, Shaka. It may have been my mistake in the RP, but I certainly always meant for Nulfaga to be a Breton.

Shades: Just because she's queen doesn't mean he's screwing her. Remember Lysandus and Medora? Gothryd is a young man, he can Henry VIII on us and go murdering wives.

No, that's true, but in the 3rd edition of the Pocketguide, you'll notice that the name of Gothryd and Aubk-i's heir is Camaron, named after her father the Redguard King Camaron of Sentinel, who was killed the War of Betony. That's not proof positive of his actual or assumed ethnicity, but a pretty good clue.

2014[edit]

Why does the box art of Arena look so ill fitting for the game? (2014-02-13)[edit]

Well, the artwork with what was supposed to be your gladiatorial team - the wizard with the glowing eyes, the big barbarian, the thief, and the voluptuous amazon - had been done but the box with all the text hadn't been done. We had been speaking of the game as Arena to press for a while though, and it would have hurt whatever marketing momentum we had by changing the name completely to just "The Elder Scrolls" or "Tales of Tamriel" or whatever. It didn't really switch from being an action game to a pure RPG all at once. I think we were probably halfway through development when we saw where the game was heading.

How did Arena evolve into a roleplaying game? (2014-02-13)[edit]

It evolved over time. It was originally designed to be a multiplayer action game about gladiatorial combat - thus, the name "Arena." We created a number of these fighting zones, and then added some side quests you could do to get the equipment needed to survive. The side quests got more involved and as often happens in development, one feature which is proving itself to be fun is given more emphasis over a feature, like multiplayer arena combat, which was proving to be problematic. So, the dungeons were repurposed to be the pieces of the broken Staff of Chaos which you have to gather to defeat the big bad wizard, Jagar Tharn. We slapped on a pretty basic Dungeons & Dragons style leveling system and decided that we would let players play for as long as they wanted, even if they finished the main story quest.

How did the design of TES2: Mournhold become TES2: Daggerfall? (2014-02-13)[edit]

There wasn't any design document that I recall. There were a couple problems with focusing on Mournhold/Morrowind for the second TES game. One was technical: we just couldn't create great mountains yet, and the geography of that area demanded it. The other was that it seemed the two major races would be the Dark Elves (Dunmer in later games) and the Argonians. The series was young enough that we didn't think we could get that weird and feature dark-skinned red-eyed elves and lizard men as the characters on our stage. Far safer to have European-looking Bretons and African-looking Redguards as our characters for players to identify with. Plus, early on, I felt an affinity for the name Daggerfall.

How did in-game books come about for Daggerfall? (2014-02-13)[edit]

It started out because artists were creating Mages Guilds and libraries with bookcases, and it seemed like a shame that you could look at shelves full of books which no doubt gave additional information about the world, but you couldn't read them. In the meantime, some of our Council of Wisdom had been creating essentially fanfic. I would tell them about, for example, Queen Barenziah, and they would create a series of stories about her past. It was very cool, a dialogue between developers and players, creating a world together. Some of the early books I wrote - like the Brief History of the Empire - were attempts to create some quick context to the world of Tamriel, since Arena had very little. Others really were jokes and Easter Eggs, like Ius Animal God, which I wrote for the Council of Wisdom as a joke to explain why there was a statue blocking the entrance into a certain town in Skyrim in Arena. Obviously, the real explanation was that it is a bug, but sometimes it's a designer's job to write fiction to explain bugs.

What features were cut from Daggerfall? Prostitution seems to have been removed. (2014-02-13)[edit]

I had forgotten about prostitution and sex in general being an abandoned feature in Daggerfall. We even created a couple of art pieces showing a man and woman in bed. They had to be very silhouetted, not only not avoid showing anything too naughty, but because we wanted to use the same art to show every possible racial couple, so we could show skin tone. I think the biggest feature that got dropped and I was very worried about was the ability to import your Arena character into Daggerfall. The last Wizardry games had allowed you to do that, and it was a feature that I thought was key, so you didn't have to abandon your character after every TES game. There were a lot of issues with it that came out, especially after we decided to change the system to be a skills-based leveling model. My 18th level Spellsword in Arena wouldn't be exactly the same as a 18th level Spellsword in Daggerfall. There was also, of course, game balance considerations, because there was no level cap on Arena characters.

The problem was that we had promised fans that you could do that, and it led to a lot of people buying Arena in anticipation of Daggerfall. I thought there was going to be a riot when we announced that we had to drop that feature.

Why were Imperials not playable in Arena & Daggerfall? (2014-02-13)[edit]

Imperials didn't exist in the fiction. I don't know what race Uriel Septim was supposed to be, but I kind of figured that the Imperial family were all mixes of different races due to various political marriages across the provinces. In Arena, you couldn't unlock the Imperial Province at all until after you had gone through all of the dungeons in the storyline. There weren't any other cities in the Imperial Province except the Imperial City. I don't think there was any lore written on this, but in the back of my mind, I thought the Empire thought it was safest to be central without any potential rival capitols around. Almost like having miles and miles of moat.

What were the intended sequels to Daggerfall? (2014-02-13)[edit]

I definitely remember three concepts and titles that we were kicking around for the sequels around the time we were finishing Daggerfall. There was Oblivion, Morrowind/Mournhold, and Tribunal. Oblivion we figured was years and years ahead, when we'd have the technology to do it justice. I don't think there was a secret timeline so much as a couple brainstorming documents, which may or may not have influenced subsequent development.

2019[edit]

On Creatures from Arena (2019-08-16)[edit]

Actually I think all the creatures that appear in Arena but no other Elder Scrolls games were transported by Jagar Tharn. Daemons, homonculus, hell hounds, etc

On The Elder Scrolls Subtitle (2019-08-24)[edit]

When we were working on Arena, we decided on giving it the title The Elder Scrolls, Chapter 1: Arena because we thought players would want to know it was first of a series. I’m curious if that was right, and people wanted to play it with anticipation of sequels to come.

Arena, Arena 2: Daggerfall, Arena 3: Morrowind, etc sounds strange, but maybe it would have worked. Calling the first one “Chapter 1” was some blind optimism on our part that it was going to sell well enough to warrant a sequel, let alone a well-regarded series.

On the "Council of Wisdom" (2019-09-01)[edit]

In 1994, while we were beta testing the Elder Scrolls, Chapter 1: Arena, we formed the first Council of Wisdom. They were fans of the game set up on a private BBS, and we would send them copies of the latest build for them to test and give us feedback. While they were doing that, I was working on the design for Arena’s sequel, called Daggerfall. They were naturally curious about our planned changes, and we began discussing everything from the new skills-based character generation and advancement system to the new lore of the world which players would be able to read in virtual in-game books, something we didn’t have in Arena.

The Council contributed ideas and gave feedback. The writers among them began creating what began as fan fiction, but with some editing, appeared in the game and its sequels. These include multi-volume series like “The Real Barenziah,” “King Edward,” “Fool’s Ebony,” and perhaps a dozen others.

We honored the Council by immortalizing them as gods and goddesses. Mara, Dibella, Arkay, Akatosh, and Stendarr among those named after Council members.

On Sheogorath (2019-09-01)[edit]

When I made up Sheogorath [for Daggerfall], he was a combo of the Joker and the Maestro from Cabaret

On the Bethsoft Staff RP campaigns (2019-09-02)[edit]

You wanted to know about our D&D campaigns? Well, Julian ran one which turned into the story of the Camoran Usurper. I mostly ran Vampire the Masquerade campaigns

I played Othrok. We spent most of the campaign trying to put together an alliance with the other rulers of the Iliac Bay to stop the Usurper, but we stopped before the final battle, switching over to Vampire: The Masquerade. I decided that we had been successful and wrote the history as such.

The Direnni family were from Julian’s campaigns also

On the Daedra and the Aedra (2019-09-04)[edit]

Her;es what I thought when I first conceived of the daedra: They represented the extemes. For example, theres the Aedra Dibella who is beauty and good sex, and there's Sanguine who is debauchery and bad sex.

On the origins of Jone and Jode. (2019-09-04)[edit]

The moons were Jone and Jode, named after some our original Council of Wisdom members.

On the original TES3 set on Summurset Isle (2019-09-04)[edit]

I didn’t go in too deep, but I recall Tribunal was the Council of kings on Summerset, advised by the Psijics. And Morgiah was going to stir things up.

On his contract work for Oblivion (2019-09-04)[edit]

Ah, my involvement in Oblivion was very tertiary. The weirdest part for me was that the books I wrote had to be by and large "skill books," which gave you bonuses to certain skills. They couldn't just be entertaining or teach you about the world, they had to inform your character about how to lockpick, or defend youself with a shield, or undertand Mysticism. So there had to be an artificial part where a great deal of attention was sepnt on how a character performed a certain action in the book. It was quite a challenge, but I like that.

Was Uriel Septim based on someone from the team? (2019-09-05)[edit]

No, but Jagar Tharn was based on our lead producer Vijay Lakshman. Uriel really changed his appearance from game to game, didn't he? :)

Any idea who the Arena voice actors were? (2019-09-07)[edit]

No, I don’t know their names. Did they not get credits? Given our budget, I’m sure they were acting students around either DC (where Bethesda is based) or Washington state (the studio that did our FMV like the Daggerfall intro)

Julian did a lot of VO in our early games. All of us devs had to step up and put on multiple hats. Jennifer Pratt was great as Ria Silmane.

Cyndassa saying King Lysandus was not too fond of Emperor Uriel (2019-09-07)[edit]

Cyndassa’s words are interesting. The Emperor may have a different feeling about their relationship than the King does. But Uriel is a user. He uses you. Not maybe more than one would expect of an Emperor, but there’s no relationship between equals for Uriel and anyone else.

Origin of the Psijics (2019-09-12)[edit]

I invented in TES the idea of the Psjics. Obviously the name came from Psionics

On Player Convienience and Survival Mechanics (2019-09-15)[edit]

when we first were designing TES 1:Arena, I had a long call with Scorpia, who was then the biggest RPG reviewer for Computer Gaming World. Since she had played more RPGs than anyone I wanted her advice. She recommended not forcing players to eat & drink which was common gameplay at the time. Let them concentrate on the adventure, not on mundane things like nutrition. She also btw got us to have automaps. Before then, it was typical that players would have to draw out maps on graph paper while they played.

On PGE1 and PGE3 (2019-09-16)[edit]

[PGE1 is] definitely canon and definitely (purposefully and nakedly) biased

So was the third one though the tone was meant to be different

On Oblivion (2019-09-20)[edit]

Do you guys all know why we called the realm of the Daedra Oblivion? It’s from Merlin’s speech to Morgan Le Fay in Exclalibur. “I consign your soul to oblivion,” etc

Is Mehrunes Dagon a rip off of Goro from Mortal Kombat? (2019-09-21)[edit]

Hard to deny the similarity, but multi-armed demonic looking creatures are much older as a concept than Mortal Kombat. Basically with daedra designs, we proudly took inspiration by a variety of different depictions of gods and monsters and things in between. Probably the closest rip off, if that's the word, is Hermeus Mora who is as Lovecraftian as one can get.

On the Oghma Infiunium (2019-09-21)[edit]

I don’t remember how we came up with Hermaeus Mora but I know how we came up with his book the Oghma Infinium

Well, when I was playing D&D, I created a quest to find a great tome authored by the demon Orcus. The Orcus Infinium. We couldn’t use Orcus cause that’s (tm) TSR but Oghma was a Celtic deity of wisdom

The globe in Daggerfall and the landmasses it depicts (2019-09-27)[edit]

I think the cartographer who put it together was conjecturing because expeditions from Tamriel to other lands were few and far between. Even the descriptions of Yokuda and Atmora are sketchy

Writing 2920 (2019-09-28)[edit]

Glad you liked 2920. It was the only thing I wrote that was complex enough that I had to outline it first.

Who invented the Tsaesci? (2019-09-28)[edit]

I don’t remember tbh. I thought I invented Tsaesci also because it’s one of those words that looks cool but you don’t know how to pronounce like Psijic

On Arena and the Simulacrum plot (2019-10-08)[edit]

[The Simulacrum is] one of the few things that survived the earliest design for the game When it was a gladiatorial action game called Arena

You ALWAYS were supposed to fight your way up to the biggest arena, which was in the Imperial City, in order to assassinate the big bad wizard who was impersonating the emperor

That was the plan even before I joined Bethesda. Julian and VJ had me write a short story about it. They hired me even though they thought the monster I had the heroes fight was the most ridiculous idea ever. It was a huge albino walrus

Did "Goblin Gates" originate in any of the D&D campaigns? (2019-11-01)[edit]

I don’t think so. I don’t recall a Goblin Gate in our campaigns.

Does Nirn have an equator? (2019-12-10)[edit]

We never drew up Nirn just Tamriel. Originally east and west were reverse

2020[edit]

Is the Temple of Sethiete in Mystery of Talara supposed to be a reference to the Brotherhood of Seth from Arena? (2020-02-23)[edit]

Yup, that was the reference. A bit of dropped lore picked up & repurposed

On Nulfaga (2020-02-26)[edit]

In Daggerfall, Nulfaga was based on Baba Yaga

On Names (2020-02-26)[edit]

Yeah each culture has its rules. In Daggerfall, elvish female names ended with -ah (Morgiah, Barenziah etc) and Breton female names had Ys instead of Is (Carolyna, Elysana)

On a TES TV Show (2020-04-04)[edit]

Lucy Lawless I met at the BAFTA awards in LA. I talked to her about an Elder Scrolls TV series that didn’t happen

It’s crazy but we could have been Game Of Thrones. I think Todd was more into Fallout then

On Passwall (2020-08-24)[edit]

Lesser known: in 3E 399, the anti-Passwall Act was passed, so that spell you could use to burrow through dungeons a few years earlier stopped being a thing. [A GIF of a woman eating with the text "IT'S TRUE THO"]

@EldritchNexus: I thought it was because everyone forgot the spell? That's what "The Ruins of Kemel-Ze" suggested.

Isn’t that convenient? [The Church Lady Shame On You GIF]

2021[edit]

On The Madness of Pelagius (Utheilla Direnni) and The Wolf Queen (Hellena, the Queen of Lilmoth) contradicting each other on the identity of Pelagius III's mother (2021-04-29)[edit]

Oh dear, and I think I wrote them both. Whoopsy.

The Blades in Arena (2021-05-17)[edit]

There wasn’t a ton of lore in Arena. The Blades, the Underking, and others were mentioned but their background and motivations weren’t touched on until Daggerfall. Basically you were given a quest to deliver item X to location Z, and that the Blades might try to stop you, so you’d expect random attacks by warrior types

On the Blades (2021-05-19)[edit]

I imagine there were multiple schisms in the secret history of the Blades. During the War of the Red Diamond for example when the legitimacy of the throne was in dispute.

Re: Bourn in Wood Chapter 1 - A New Daggerfall Book by Ted Peterson (2021-08-03)[edit]

Hey guys, thanks for the comments. Yes, the books should only be released after Woodborne’s death. That’s why it begins by saying if you’re reading it, he’s dead. It is explained a bit more later in the series, but he’s made arrangements to circulate the books after his death.

The 36 Lessons Of Vivec is a bit of a joke, but if it’s not landing, I can rework it. I know that explaining a joke rarely makes it funny, but it’s supposed to suggest that reading a long, dry book series like A Brief History Of The Empire is worse than death. Of course, I wrote ABHOTE so the joke’s on me.

I can also fiddle with the reference to the Daggerfall, though I don’t think referencing the whole situation in the Iliac Bay is the answer. Woodborne’s plot has nothing to do with Numidium which becomes the main plot after Lysandus’s death, and if the player finds the books after that story begins, they’ll think that’s what Woodborne is referencing. He’s really mainly talking about Lysandus haunting Daggerfall.

I’ll send Gavin an edited version of the first book and then the second for any of the community’s notes.

As far as the comment about putting the “gather around” at the top rather than at the bottom, remember this is the first book of the series and the proper story hasn’t begun. So it’s more of a prologue/introduction.

I guess this is as good a time to mention that Bourn In Wood should not be considered official canon, as I’m not employed by Bethesda at this time. I’m trying my hardest to make it canon-friendly but if an official game comes out from Bethesda contradicting something in BIW, that’s canon, not what I wrote.

Zebendal: You should probably replace the mention of the Lessons of Vivec with Fools Ebony. Terrible book, has the dwarves coming back from the unknown craving booze and women, sex jokes, and a whole lot of other things that makes me regret even reading it.
TESbenefactor: I actually have to disagree with a lot of people here and think the 36 lessons reference should stay. It's quite a humorous reference and would make sense Woodborne would have studied it considering he has to deal with Barenziah in Wayrest's court.

That’s a pretty good replacement. And that one, I didn’t write though I think I wrote the intro by the editor apologizing for the quality of the work.

Re: Bourn in Wood, Volume 2 (2021-08-06)[edit]

Kab the Bird Ranger: But don't you think it's about time Lord Woodborne is given a first name, Ted?

Lol, I’ll give him a name when begins romancing Elysana, though I wasn’t sure if a first name had already been established. He’s not on a first name basis with many people.

The series will dive into spy networks in the Iliac Bay during this era, because it has to. Lord Woodborne became a very effective spymaster, which he explicitly states in his ingame (thus canonical) diary where he says his network is rivaling that of the Blades and the Underking. Those two groups are rivals, both aware of and searching for the same thing: the Totem Of Tiber Septim. It’s the CIA versus the KGB. That means there are double and triple agents in both groups. Somehow, this kid - not an immortal Underking or an Emperor - ends up with that very thing.

There are other threads I’m laying out, like the assassination of Lysandus and the aim to become king of Wayrest, but the formation and eventual success of Woodborne’s spy network from nothing to ultimate success is a driving force of his tale.

Kab the Bird Ranger: Also, I'm starting to get doubts as to whether Woodborne (and Gothryd) is really 14 years old in this scene. Conspiring with Tharn, forming your own spy network, even having sex with his brother's girlfriend?
Is there some canonical age you have to work with somewhere, or did you deliberately choose to make them this precocious? I get people become "adult" younger in a medieval setting, and that we're dealing with the heirs of powerful people, but where did they get the life experience?

I don’t know if there’s anything canonical, but a) it was *meant* to be a bit shocking, and b) yes, kids grew up faster in a medieval world. I’m not inclined towards changing this, but I’m certainly interested in people’s reactions. Woodborne and Gothryd are far from role models.

Lysandus saying Vengeance! (2021-08-31)[edit]

That is of course Julian with his Danish accent saying “Vengeance!”

On Bourn in Wood, Volume 3 (2021-11-01)[edit]

The third volume has taken a while, delving into the romance with Elysana and what went on in Cryngaine Field. To the subject, as a writer, one wants to surprise but still support what’s established. Tightrope.

Which one (Orcs, Goblins, and Ogres) do you guys find the most intriguing, whether in looks, lore, or playstyle? (2021-11-19)[edit]

I always choose goblin

2022[edit]

On Sheogorath teaching people his Manipulate Weather spell, causing the weather in an entire region to be altered based on Sheogorath's current whim, effectively making the spell function entirely randomly (2022-01-04)[edit]

Of course ever since Sheogorath’s debut, he’s been partial to unexpected storms

Ted Peterson, Ken Rolston, and Todd Howard/Emil Pagliarulo all have radically different goals and visions for what their product wants to accomplish. So when you critique an Elder Scrolls game, are you judging the product in a bubble or by standards of previous titles? (2022-01-05)[edit]

A very interesting point. In terms of direction, the philosophy was often as you say radically different. On one hand, it’s a series so it should be about stepping stones, not ignoring the past. Otoh each can be judged in a bubble as well. Each was extraordinary in its own time.

Who played Uriel in Daggerfall? (2022-03-20)[edit]

We believe it was probably this character actor [John Gilbert], who died several years ago: https://www.seattlepi.com/ae/article/John-Gilbert-1939-2006-Actor-played-legendary-1219650.php

More on Bourn in Wood, Volume 3 (2022-03-28)[edit]

The next chapter is hard to construct & I have other things on my plate obviously but it’s begun. Evil protagonist, romance, and a big ole conspiracy. I’m afraid I must … outline.

Who wrote the Decumus Scotti [1][2] stories? (2022-12-12)[edit]

For years I was coy about what I wrote IRL because in the world of Tamriel, Waughin Jarth *is* the author of those. They are books I wrote though I think there’s an additional chapter in ESO from a difference writer.

2023[edit]

Is Barenziah's portrait in Daggerfall using Lynda Carter as a reference? Couldn't help but notice the similarities haha, especially since she voice acted for Morrowind (2023-01-16)[edit]

Pure coincidence, but I see it. The late Louise Sandoval did most of the portraits and may have been prophetic.

The title screen for Arena. It was brave enough to declare itself to be "Chapter One" of The Elder Scrolls. (2023-02-07)[edit]

Ah, hubris

Atronachs have no binding loyalty to any Daedric Lord, they shift between serving different powers based upon "seduction, compulsion, or opportunity". I kinda like that, makes em feel more Elemental? I don't know how to explain but i like it (2023-02-07)[edit]

Did actually come up with Atronach as an alternative to Elemental, same as Daedra for Demon (though Julian typically takes credit for the latter)

On the ending of Daggerfall (2023-02-12)[edit]

The canonical ending is obviously the Warp, problematic as it is, since that's now part of official lore. I probably would have preferred a more SirTech Wizardry approach where the beginning of your next game depends on your actions in the previous one.

On the canonicity of Loranna's RP (2023-02-24)[edit]

Loranna's RP is only partially canon

Did You Know: "The Sky Spirits" describes Magrus as being blinded before leaving for the heavens? Interestingly, when you travel to Aetherius in Daggerfall, you encounter "The Blind God", with Sheogorath standing in one of his eye sockets. (2023-04-04)[edit]

That's because I used to be his pupil.

Do you think Starfield will be delayed again? (2023-05-09)[edit]

Omg. Is this your first Bethesda product? Guess what we do … late, buggy, pretty good.

2024[edit]

Is the name "High Rock" based off anything? I know most of the province names originate from something, but I can't figure out what this one comes from, maybe High Rock Park in Staten Island? (2024-01-23)[edit]

Nothing special that I recall. I think it’s in the same category as Black Marsh, a name based on its principal geography.

Today is the 16th of Sun's Dawn, Heart's Day! Love is celebrated across all of Tamriel, and every inn offers free rooms on this day in honor of Polydor and Eloisa. It's also Sanguine's Summoning Day if you have business with him, or just want to grab a drink. (2024-02-16)[edit]

Coincidentally my birthday

In Brief History of the Empire its mentioned that Kintyra, daughter of Tiber's brother "Agnorith", succeeded Pelagius, and her descendants are somehow Dragonborn. Was Agnorith real? Or just a lie made up by the Empire to hide that Kintyra was an illegitimate heir? (2024-04-06)[edit]

To keep with Skyrim bullshit, assume the latter

How did you come up with the names of Vampire clans in Daggerfall? Anthotis, Haarvenu, Khulari, Diodata, Bonsamu, Volkihar, Yekef, all these name sound really cool and seem to follow some type of pattern. Do they have some etymological meaning? (2024-05-02)[edit]

Honestly out of my head. Just went with names that trickled off the tongue just right

Day 6,267 of very politely asking for the other thirteen of the Sixteen Accords of Madness to be released. (2024-05-23)[edit]

Try not being polite

Did You Know: The intro menu sequence for The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion begins with a zoom-in on the "IV" in "OBLIVION"? (2024-06-09)[edit]

Very cool. I forgot that. Arena and Oblivion share that they were “pre-named.” Arena was Arena before it was TES I, and once we decided that the Daedra were from Oblivion, we said 4 would be called Oblivion without having an idea how we were going there

Daggerfall could have also done this by zooming in on the "ll" in "Daggerfall". Although not roman numerals, Morrowind and Skyrim could have done something similar by zooming in on the "M" and "S" in their titles, respectively (although Morrowind would also need to rotate).

Arena couldn’t unless the font was odd and/or I became the vertical line in the capital R or N.