Elder Scrolls Online: Lore Answers

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These questions and answers are compiled from Elder Scrolls Online’s official knowledge base (help.elderscrollsonline.com), and their Ask Us Anything article series.

What role will the Tribunal play on the Ebonheart side and in general?

At the time of the Alliance War in The Elder Scrolls Online, Almalexia is handling most of the daily affairs of the Tribunal. Vivec and Sotha Sil are occupied with “other matters” – but rest assured, what those matters are will eventually be revealed.

The Aldmeri Dominion foundation doesn’t match established lore.

Over time, there have been several federations in southwestern Tamriel known as the Aldmeri Dominion. None lasted very long, and due to the insular nature of the High Elves, their histories are poorly understood in Cyrodiil and the other provinces. The Aldmeri Dominion founded by Queen Ayrenn in 2E 582 is the First Dominion; the federation founded in 2E 830 is the Second Dominion; while the Elven empire of the Fourth Era (as seen in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim) is the Third Dominion – or possibly the Fourth. (It’s a matter of some debate among historians of Elven affairs.)

What is the motivation for the orcs and the orsinium kingdom in joining the Daggerfall Covenant? What connects these three races of unlikely allies to band together as they have?

As a race, the Orcs have what we would call an inferiority complex. They’ve been kicked around Tamriel and looked down upon by the other races since the beginning of time, and they crave respect. It was a big deal for the Orcs when, in relatively recent history, Orsinium was finally admitted into the Second Empire as a full province. The clans that have joined the Daggerfall Covenant remember that period of recognition, and seek to revive it. The Bretons promised the Orcs could revive Orsinium unmolested, and that once the Covenant re-established the Empire, Orsinium would once again be an Imperial province.

What effect will the Green Pact have on gathering ingredients and hunting animals in Valenwood?

The Green Pact affects the behavior of Wood Elf NPCs who are devout regarding it, limiting what they can do to living plants. How the Green Pact affects player character behavior is entirely up to the player. (This is an Elder Scrolls game, after all!)

Is Cyrodiil a jungle?

Based on current Tamriel lore, Cyrodiil is not a jungle in The Elder Scrolls Online. To quote the scholar Phrastus of Elinhir: “The use of the phrase ‘endless jungle’ to describe Cyrodiil appears to be an error in transcription. Close study of the original, badly faded manuscript reveals that the phrase was miscopied, and should be more accurately rendered as ‘extensive uplands.’ The adjectives ‘an equatorial rain’ as applied to the Nibenay forest do not appear in the original manuscript at all, and I would posit were added by the scribe in support of his previous erroneous use of ‘jungle.’ Lady Cinnabar of Taneth, of course, takes issue with this exegesis, but the flaws in her methods of scholarship have been well-documented elsewhere.”

Some people are worried that The Elder Scrolls Online’s Alderi Dominion isn’t as extreme as they were described in the “Pocket Guide to the Empire.” Is this Dominion a less extreme precursor?

Yes – and remember, the “Pocket Guide to the Empire” was written by enemies of the Dominion – every Elder Scrolls lore book reflects the point of view of its author(s), even the PGE. The Aldmeri think their cause is just and actions taken in its name are righteous. Their opponents, on the other hand, regard them as racist authoritarians out to return the humans of Tamriel to a condition little better than slavery.

How do you intend to portray the jungle, culture, and cannibalism of the Bosmer? Any Ayleid enclaves deep in the jungles?

For the Wood Elves, cannibalism is a matter of ritual significance, and typically quite private within a family or tight-knit group. There’s actually a lot of background on Valenwood and the Bosmer in Elder Scrolls lore, though you may have to dig a little to find it.  After Empress Alessia’s “slave army” drove the Ayleids from Cyrodiil, many of them took refuge in Valenwood, so Ayleid ruins are actually rather common in the southern jungles.

Will the Khajiit players in The Elder Scrolls Online also get a choice in sub-species, or will the default still be Suthay-raht?

Among the Khajiit, the race of feline humanoids who originate from Elsweyr, the Suthay-raht are indeed the most common breed, and at launch, all player-character and non-player-character Khajiit in The Elder Scrolls Online will be Suthay-raht. Now, will you glimpse more Khajiit sub-species in ESO in the future? Only time will tell!

How did the Aldmeri Dominion come to be formed in the first place?

It was really the brainchild of Queen Ayrenn after she assumed the throne of Alinor. Having traveled Tamriel extensively before returning to Summerset, she was aware of the dire threats menacing the world and saw it as the proper duty of the Elves to put things right. At the same time, the Wood Elves and Khajiit were facing troubles of their own and in need of allies, so they came together to form the Dominion.

What is the social and legal opinion of slavery in Tamriel during this time period?

It varies by jurisdiction. The Clans of the Reach, for example, certainly keep captured enemies as slaves – but they’re barbarians. In most civilized realms, slavery is illegal, with the obvious exception being Morrowind. Under the terms of the Ebonheart Pact, the Dark Elves have had to liberate their Argonian slaves, but they still have slaves of other races, the most common of which are Khajiit.

Will Elsweyr be in The Elder Scrolls Online?

Yes. At launch, you will be able to explore two corners of Elsweyr: an island off the south coast, and the far northwest corner of Anequina, around the city of Dune and Fort Sphinxmoth. Most of Elsweyr is still in the grip of the Knahaten Flu, and isn’t a place you really want to go until the epidemic has run its course.

You’ve mentioned the playable areas of Elsweyr and Summerset; what will the playable areas of Valenwood be?

A great deal of Valenwood will be playable, from Haven on the Elsweyr border, west past Southpoint, Greenheart, Woodhearth, and north all the way up the Strid Estuary to the border with Colovia. That includes the entire interior between those points, so prepare for lots of Wood Elven goodness.

Who rules Elsweyr? Do they have nobles, ruling families, or something similar? Will the Mane make an appearance in game?

In the northern deserts of Elsweyr, the nomadic tribes are ruled by tribal chiefs while southern Elsweyr with its merchants, farms, and arts has a long-established Khajiiti nobility. The Mane, who is the Khajiiti spiritual leader and combines these two ways of life into one culture, will definitely be making an appearance in The Elder Scrolls Online.

Elsweyr is infamous for its Moon Sugar production. What do Altmer and Bosmer think about this?

Most of the uses of moon-sugar are benign, and just satisfy the Catfolk’s insatiable craving for sweets. It’s only when moon-sugar is refined into the dangerous narcotic skooma that it becomes a problem. No government approves of skooma.

I’d like to know more about the Knahaten Flu. How did it come to be and how was it treated?

There are many theories as to the origin of the Knahaten Flu – some believe in natural causes, while others blame the Argonians since they are immune to it. There are also many, er, entrepreneurs who claim they have effective cures. As a player, you’ll have to decide for yourself what to believe.

Are we only going to see Ayleid ruins in Cyrodiil, or will they be found in other provinces like High Rock and Valenwood?

The Ayleids were considerably more widespread than in just the province of Cyrodiil – at the height of their civilization, they were spread across Tamriel from High Rock to Black Marsh, and though their ruins are most frequently encountered in Cyrodiil, you might find one in any province but Skyrim, Morrowind, and Summerset. Outside Cyrodiil they are most common in Valenwood, because after the Slave Revolt of St. Alessia, the Ayleids who fled Cyrodiil largely took refuge among the Wood Elves of the south.

How much has the influence of the Eight Divines grown, and will we see an involvement in ESO?

The Imperial Eight Divines are devoutly worshiped in Cyrodiil and much of the Daggerfall Covenant. In other regions reverence for the Eight varies—even which divinities make up the Eight varies from culture to culture.

Are we going to encounter Dragonborns in ESO or learn shouts ourselves?

The line of Reman Cyrodiil of the Second Empire was certainly Dragonborn, but they died out at the end of the First Era, and between then and the date of The Elder Scrolls Online, no “legitimate” Dragonborn has been confirmed by being able to light the Dragonfires in the Imperial City.

As for shouts (i.e., thu’ums), at the time of ESO, they are considered a legend out of the distant past.

Are many changes being made to the province of Skyrim to make it differ or stand out from the Skyrim of TESV?

The Elder Scrolls Online is set 1,000 years earlier than The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, so you may notice that some of the ancient Nord ruins are a little less worn and weathered than in Skyrim’s time. You’ll also find towns, like Nimalten in the Rift, that are gone and nearly forgotten by the Fourth Era but still alive and thriving in the Second Era.

What are the meanings of these Ebonheart Pact insignia you used for the facebook and twitter icons?

The Nord dragon insignia honors the Dragonborn and the history of their people’s struggle against the power of the dragons. The three spikes of the Morrowind insignia refer to the three living gods of the Tribunal honored by most Dark Elves–Almalexia, Sotha Sil, and Vivec. The insignia for Black Marsh is a stylized rendering of an Argonian’s face—but whether it depicts some ancient hero or ruler of Black Marsh history, or just represents the race as a whole, only the Argonians know. And they’re not telling.

Are the nations in the Ebonheart Pact entirely happy with the alliance?

The foundation on which the Ebonheart Pact was built—a mutual desire for survival—makes for a deeply complex and ever-shifting political atmosphere. The Argonians, Nords, and Dark Elves have set aside their differences, for now, to unite under one banner against their shared enemies, but it would be a far cry from the truth to say that everyone is happy or even content with the Alliance. A certain level of distrust and resentment smolders just beneath the surface for many members of the Pact.

While some are openly accepting or critical of the Alliance, most Pact members you’ll encounter fall somewhere in between, and hold their true feelings about the arrangement close to their chest. It really depends on each individual character’s perspective and life experiences. Most of those you’ll encounter are not willing to reveal their personal feelings to a stranger, but you will meet some who are very open with their praise or disdain for the choices their leaders have made.

Will we learn anything more about the race, history, or culture of the Falmer (Snow Elves) in ESO?

In the Second Era, the Snow Elves are a near-forgotten legend, and the fact that they’ve degenerated underground into the feral Falmer of Skyrim is a deep secret. But secrets can be discovered, and the Falmer may make a future appearance in The Elder Scrolls Online.

Where is the main base of the Ebonheart Pact?

The throne of Eastern Skyrim is in Windhelm, but the great city of Mournhold is the capital of the Ebonheart Pact, and it is there that Jorunn presides over the Great Moot.

Will the Forsworn faction be implemented in The Elder Scrolls Online?

The Forsworn are a faction of the Reachmen that exists in the Fourth Era during the time of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. While the Reachmen are mainly of Breton stock, they have their own culture and society and don’t consider themselves Bretons – and the Bretons agree. The Reachmen definitely appear in The Elder Scrolls Online, as they’ve allied themselves with dark Daedric forces that have sacked the Imperial City. Reachmen clans have been giving trouble both to the Bretons of the Daggerfall Covenant and the Nords of the Ebonheart Pact.

How are the Breton and Redguard peoples reacting to the alliance with the Orcs?

It’s definitely an alliance of convenience, much as when the Nords and Orcs marched to the aid of the Dwarves at the Battle of Red Mountain. Individual Bretons and Redguards may not be happy about it, but the residents of their border towns say it’s better to have the Orcs marching against their enemies than raiding their flocks and their farms. The Redguards and Orcs have always respected each other as honorable opponents – and while the Orcs may not trust the Bretons, as a general thing, they do trust King Emeric, who’s proven reliable. And serving side-by-side is building trust between the races.

Will we have an opportunity to join the Great Houses of Morrowind?

The rivalries between the Great Houses of the Dark Elves have deep roots, and they are all important players in the politics of Morrowind. In fact, House Telvanni—the people of the mushroom towers—are estranged from the other Houses at the time of The Elder Scrolls Online, and they refused to join the Ebonheart Pact. (We’ll share more about them in the future, you can be sure.) Your characters will have opportunities to help (or hinder) the other Great Houses of Morrowind, though formal adoption into their ranks won’t be part of the game at launch.

To what extent will the Tribunal and the pretender to the Tribunal feature in the Ebonheart Pact storyline?

As the spiritual and political rulers of Morrowind, the Tribunal members are quite prominent in the Ebonheart Pact—especially Almalexia, who’s been handling temporal affairs since the recent Akaviri invasion. But a pretender to the Tribunal? Mother Morrowind would dismiss the idea as absurd. Clearly impossible.

Will we be able to travel through Black Marsh?

All members of the Ebonheart Pact will have an opportunity to visit Shadowfen, the northwestern region of Black Marsh that borders on Morrowind and includes the ancient city of Stormhold.

Are Bretons considered half-elves?

Though the Bretons have some Elven blood in them, both the Bretons and the Elves consider them to be humans.

How long ago was it that the High Elves were pushed back out of Hammerfell and High Rock? Are there any lingering effects of the invasion still felt during ESO?

The Direnni Hegemony, in which High Elves ruled most of what is now the Daggerfall Covenant, was in decline by 1E 500, so it’s a good 3,000 years since the Bretons began home rule in High Rock. When the Redguards arrived in Hammerfell a few centuries later, Clan Direnni had already retreated to Balfiera Island in the Iliac Bay, where they still reside.

Why did the Aldmeri Dominion change Valenwood’s capital city? And why is a Bosmer city the capital of the Dominion, despite the fact that the Altmer are the true leaders?

The High Elves proposed Elden Root in Valenwood as the capital of the Aldmeri Dominion for strategic reasons – it helps bind the continental races to the Elves of Summerset to have the capital on Tamriel – and for mystical reasons, about which we can say no more!

Will we see the buildings of Alinor that look like they are “made from glass or insect wings?” And will we see the Crystal Tower for that matter?

When The Elder Scrolls Online launches, the playable part of the Summerset Isles will be Auridon, the big island between Summerset and the continent that includes the cities of Firsthold and Skywatch. The architecture of the High Elves is fanciful, certainly, but it’s also practical, constructed of real-world materials. Architects can’t make buildings out of poetry!

Will the Camoran Dynasty be somehow involved in the Dominion’s politics?

The Camoran dynasty ruled (or at least influenced) Valenwood ever since it was founded back in 1E 1. With the end of the second Empire the Camoran dynasty is trying to return to its former glory. At the time of The Elder Scrolls Online, Camoran Aeradan is King of the Wood Elves – so, yes, the Camorans play a definite role. The politics of those in and around the Camoran dynasty continue to inform everything that happens in Valenwood.

What made the Bosmer decide to join the Dominion?

After the recent civil war between the Camorans, Valenwood was in disarray and vulnerable to external threats. The Cabal who ran the Imperial City took advantage of this by sending Colovian troops to seize some of the Wood Elves’ northern territory. Seeking an ally to help drive back the Colovians, the Bosmer King Aeradan turned to Queen Ayrenn and her new Dominion.

Will leaders like Queen Ayrenn get involved in the actual fighting between alliances, or does she prefer to pull strings from the safe capitol?

The three alliance leaders have distinct personalities and will make different choices. Queen Ayrenn is less tradition-bound than most Elves, and she wants to see the situation for herself rather than rely on reports. She prefers to be where the action is.

What do the Aldmeri Dominion symbols represent? (note: this answer appears to have been removed from the site)

The Aldmeri Dominion has adopted as its symbol the eagle sigil of the High Elves of Summerset. For the Altmer, the high-soaring eagle represents their ancestors the Aedra, who came from the heavens and were trapped in physical form by the creation of Nirn. The Khajiiti symbol depicts Nirn’s two moons—Masser and Secunda—and the Cat-folks’ claws, while the Bosmeri symbol represents the Green Pact with Y’ffre the Forest Deity.

What is the significance of a lion adorning the crests of both the Bretons and the Daggerfall Covenant as a whole?

When the Breton Lion Guard became High King Emeric’s elite knightly order, he adopted the lion as his personal crest, and thereafter it became the martial symbol of the Daggerfall Covenant.

Will we see any level of enmity towards Orsimer NPCs and players contained in quest-giver dialog or general NPC chatter?

A political treaty like the Daggerfall Covenant doesn’t necessarily change the attitudes of the people whose leaders signed the treaty. Some people, tired of conflict between the races, have embraced the alliance, while others still regard their old antagonists with suspicion or even open hostility.

What is the relationship between the mercantile pursuits and politics in High Rock, and how does it definite the Daggerfall Covenant’s motives for seeking the Ruby Throne?

Certainly “Free Trade in Tamriel” is one of the stated goals of the Daggerfall Covenant, which to the Pact and Dominion just means “Let merchants from Wayrest and Sentinel dominate all trade.

Why is the alliance called the Daggerfall Covenant?

It’s an accident of history. The First, or Breton, Daggerfall Covenant was a treaty of mutual defense signed by the Breton Kings after the defeat of Durcorach’s Reachmen Horde – which took place at Daggerfall. That battle before the gates of Daggerfall was also the first major victory of the young Emeric of Cumberland.

Will the religious differences within the three races, particularly those of the Orcs and Redguards, be emphasized? Will there be Daedra-worshipping cults?

Political alliances and enmities can either mitigate or exaggerate religious differences. The leaders of the Covenant are eager to suppress religious conflicts between Bretons, Redguards, and Orcs in the interest of solidarity. And Orcish leaders, such as King Kurog, emphasize that the Orcs of Orsinium worship Mauloch, who absolutely isn’t a Daedric Prince at all, honest. It’s those other Orcs who worship the Daedra Lord Malacath.

What are the plans for including “The Way of the Sword,” the Ansei, and the Shehai as part of Redguard history and combat mastery?

Many, if not most, Redguards admire and revere skill with swordplay, and they visit schools like the one at Leki’s Blade to hone their mastery. Alas, it seems the Ansei’s ability to summon the Shehai, or “spirit sword,” was lost when the Ansei died out in the long First Era. Lost forever? Who can say?

Will there be quests for the gods of Yokuda like there were in previous games for the Divines?

The old Yokudan gods are definitely worshiped by the Redguards of Hammerfell, particularly the Crowns, who try to maintain the traditions of Yokuda in their new homeland. You’ll find that the priests of Redguard Divines such as Tu’whacca, Zeht, and Ruptga have an active presence in Hammerfell.

Will we be visiting a city of Crown nature, such as Hegathe, in ESO?

We won’t be getting as far south as Hegathe until sometime after launch, but you’ll definitely be seeing Crown-dominated towns such as Bergama and Lainlyn in the northern reaches of the Alik’r.

What kind of prominent Argonian figures will we meet?

You will meet the Archcanons, such as Heita-Meen, who administer Argonian affairs above the tribal level (at least in northern Black Marsh), as well as the Keeper of the Hatching Pool in Shadowfen.

Will we be able to meet the leaders of the Ebonheart Pact?

Yes, if you create an Ebonheart Pact character in The Elder Scrolls Online and make certain choices as you play, you will have the opportunity to meet Jorunn the Skald-King and members of the Tribunal.  As for Argonia’s royalty, Black Marsh (“Argonia”) isn’t ruled by a monarchy at this point in Elder Scrolls history—but there are certainly plenty of other prominent Argonians to meet in the game.

Can you tell us the life expectancy of the Elven races?

Elves live two to three times as long as humans and the “beast-races” (Orcs, Khajiiti, Argonians). A 200-year-old Elf is old; a 300-year-old Elf is very, very old indeed. Anyone older than that has prolonged his or her lifespan through powerful magic.

Will I be able to build on crafting knowledge from previous Elder Scrolls games in ESO?

Yes, many of the plants and crafting ingredients that you’ll be able to find in The Elder Scrolls Online will be very familiar if you’ve played other Elder Scrollsgames. Nirnroot, Mountain Flowers, and Vampire Dust are just a few of the familiar items you’ll find, and we aim to give them similar alchemic properties as the ones they have in previous Elder Scrolls games. However, ESO’s crafting system is expansive by nature and has required us to make a few changes. There won’t be a perfect one-to-one match with item properties between past games and The Elder Scrolls Online, but discovering what something does 1,000 years before the return of the Dragon King is half the fun of crafting.

I read in your last article about the Daggerfall Covenant that the city of Lainlyn would be featured in the game. Does that mean we’ll learn more about the origin and the culture of the harpies?  Will we be allowed to attend Riglametha?  Will the Dragonsword of Lainlyn be featured in the game?

There will be adventures set in the Alik’r Desert port town of Tava’s Blessing, which is the precursor of Lainlyn. You will meet members of the Lainlyn family, for whom the town will later be renamed, and there are adventures in the desert with harpies, but that’s all we’ll reveal at present!

In the time the game takes place does Orsinium exist as a major city? Or as a kingdom?

Thanks to the treaty with the Daggerfall Covenant, Orsinium has been restored to the Orcs of Wrothgar, and they are rebuilding and reoccupying it. Southern Wrothgar is under the control of King Kurog of Orsinium, but north of the city the region is still a patchwork of strongholds.

I am a huge fan of The Elder Scrolls games and I have played a Breton since Morrowind, so I’m definitely joining the Daggerfall Covenant. My question has to deal with the Forsworn faction. Will they be implemented in the game, either as a faction or through quests? I always thought that their story was very interesting and wanted to know if it will be explored in ESO, since they have been around at least since the First Era, well within the time the game takes place.

Though the Reachmen are related to the Bretons, they consider themselves a separate race (and so do the Bretons). The Reachmen are not a playable race, as they’re basically enemies to everyone (and like it that way), but you will see them causing trouble in High Rock, Hammerfell, Skyrim, and even Cyrodiil. The Forsworn are a Fourth-Era faction of the Reachmen that actually hearkens back to the Reach culture of ESO’s era, so they don’t appear as such, but the Reachmen of our time resemble them.

The oldest structure in Tamriel, the Adamantine Tower (or Direnni Tower) is in High Rock. Are we going to be able to visit this building, and if so, how are you going to represent it to us?

From the shores of the Iliac Bay you can see the Adamantine Tower rising from the heights of Balfiera Island. Can you visit it? Time will tell.

In The Elder Scrolls V, players found that a number of Orcish Strongholds dotted the Skyrim landscape. What’s their history? Now that the Orcs and Nords are on opposite sides, how will they play a role in the storyline?

Orcs live in strongholds in the mountains throughout northern Tamriel. Most of them keep to themselves, staying out of the wars of Men and Elves. The Orcs of Wrothgar, who are signatories to the Daggerfall Covenant, are the exception, having long had ambitions of nationhood.

Based on known lore and from previous Elder Scrolls titles, the Orcs traditionally seem to keep to themselves and to their strongholds, with the odd exception. What is the motivation for the Orcs and the Orsinium Kingdom in joining the Daggerfall Covenant? What connects these three races of unlikely allies to band together as they have?

As mentioned above, the Orcs of Wrothgar have long been ambitious to have their own state, and these ambitions have been repeatedly crushed over the millennia. Their membership in the Covenant is one more attempt at organization and recognition.

I was wondering, besides the title Mane, is there a prefix that is attached to his name? Tied into this question is the absence of Manes. Who rules between Manes? Roughly ten to fifteen years would pass before one could be found or properly trained to take over. In days of old, they transitioned power between the many states based on the phases of the moons, but with only two states remaining, Pellitine and Anequina, it would seem more likely that they would transition with every ruler with the exception of Manes.

The selection and accession of a new Mane is, in fact, one of the key events in which players can get involved in northern Valenwood and western Elsweyr. How is a new Mane chosen and accepted? You’ll get to see for yourself.

Will we find cookies in dungeons?

As you are probably aware, in this time period there are no cookies. No one is certain why there are no cookies. Some believe it was due to the Knahaten Flu outbreak being directly linked to circular baked goods, which explains the oblong bread shapes prevalent at this time. Still others believe that Sheogorath made it so sugar became salt when used for baking cookies. It is rumored he did this over what he believed was an inappropriate bout of familiarity when his servant used a certain term of endearment. There is probably little truth to either of those theories. It is far more likely that a very bad batch of Bosmer Meat Cookies, meant as a sincere gift, soured the old emperor’s stomach and he ordered an edict to kill all bakers who even had cookies on their menu. So, no. No cookie for you.

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