01:09, 27 May 2014 (GMT): I'm back playing Skyrim once again. I am not in ESO, so please don't ask.
My interest in TES Genealogy
As you may have seen from my Cartography page, I enjoy using FLOSS applications to create interesting infographics about the games that I play. For me, this is a way to practice and polish my skills with different FLOSS apps using data that isn't mission critical.
One application that I have been learning about recently is the GRAMPS project, which is a genealogy program. I want to be able to use it successfully to help me with my fan-fic writing. Trying to keep lineages of my own created characters is difficult, being that The Gaersmith Legacy is going to be about a single family of Bretons dating back through the history of Tamriel. Not to mention that my characters will be interacting with canonical characters from TES lore, and that I will often have to create additional characters to "fill in the gaps" in some of the existing canonical lineages.
For instance, I have been looking recently at the controversy surrounding Sage Montalius' discovery of a "disenfranchised branch of the Septim family" that may have been involved in the death of Empress Katariah. Who were these distant and long-forgotten relatives of the Imperial line? Established TES lore doesn't tell us. It is one of the many open-ended opportunities that TES lore provides to a speculative fan fiction writer such as myself. And speculate I will. To do so effectively, requires adding my own characters to the Septim Dynasty. This is a highly controversial activity of itself, as the Septims are commonly treasured by fans of the Elder Scrolls, so willy-nilly additions to their family, particularly the royal line, would be like stepping into the path of an oncoming flame spell. I intend to steer well clear of the royal line, and only add characters such as those suggested by the Montalius discovery, that don't add or detract too much from established lore.
Dates and Eras
The first problem I have encountered documenting TES families is with the entering of dates into GRAMPS. By default, GRAMPS uses the Gregorian calendar, which is completely inappropriate for representing years and eras in Tamrielic history. At first, I tried entering dates into GRAMPS using the Gregorian millennium as a placeholder for the Elder Scrolls' era, (eg. 4E 201 becomes the year 4201). This worked fine at first, with GRAMPS not balking at the idea of a date of birth being some 2,000 years after the current Gregorian date. However, this doesn't work with dates that span two TES eras. For instance, someone born in the Third Era and dying in the Fourth Era would be many centuries older by Gregorian reckoning than they should be, as there are only 433 years in the Third Era.
To get proper TES dates, and perform accurate calculations with them, I will need to make a custom date handler for GRAMPS. This is going to be interesting as my Python programming skills are all but non-existent. I'll be asking for help from both the GRAMPS user community and the TES fan community to develop this.