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Michael Kirkbride's Posts

Author: 
Michael Kirkbride
Librarian Comment: 

Many of these are in-character snippets taken from various forum posts.  A significant portion of them remains undated. If you know when and in what context they were written, please post in the thread. Michael Kirkbride is known as Merry Eyesore the Elk on the Bethesda forums, once went by the name of MK, Michael Kirkbride, and Vehk, and assumes roleplay accounts as needed. 

What are Nix-Hounds?

They are arthropods. In fact, they were created by Vivec to hunt Dreughs during a time-lost campaign against the Altmer of the sea.

Background on Guars and Tiber Septim's love of tigers

Lizards. Another little known fact is that the Imperials often refer to Guars as 'Tigers'. Here's why: during a tour of Morrowind in the earliest days of the Armistace, Tiber Septim became enamored of the beasts. On the mainland, and specifically the Deshaan Plains, Guars are striped. This, coupled with the fact that His Holiness was never able to pronounce 'Guar' correctly (his troubles with the provincial Chimeric tongue is legendary), led to Septim finally callings them 'Tigers', from a fabled recollection of a storybook beast he loved as a youth. The new name stuck. Even now, Dres slavers often refer to their cattle-Guar as Tigers.

On the different stages of Kwama

The Warrior is the combined version of Forager and Worker. The former jumps through the hole in the latter's mouth and its head pops out the other end; then the whole symbiote stands up. Voila: Warrior form.

Vehkship: in character fragment:

Belief-engines, properly called the “Auxiliary Semi-Shockpoint Nilgularity”, provide energy for short dream-sleeve jumps in case a Vehkship’s main ego is damaged, allowing the C0DA Paravant to potentially get to the safety of a voidyard orbital.

By creating the equivalent of an Nu-class Mnemolic, shrinking it instantaneously via a creatia tesseract array, and then projecting the resulting moth-talk well to a nil-point just outside the ego’s hull, an ASSN can slingshot the Paravant into era-streams without the needed energies of nearby aetheric bodies or shockpoint application.

The ASSN is strictly Last Ditch technology, however. It’s often deemed as too dangerous for its own good, because it works on the rarified principles of Phynaster’s Inversion, a set of mathematics that doesn’t exist in our own dimension. Vehkships have vanished in nil-space trying to make an ASSN jump—indeed, the celestial irregularity known as the M4bV Legerity, in which the C0DA Oblivion Vanquisher appears and implodes in perpetuity, is the belief system’s most famous cautionary tale.

What appears to be an Altmeri commentary on Talos:

To kill Man is to reach Heaven, from where we came before the Doom Drum's iniquity. When we accomplish this, we can escape the mockery and long shame of the Material Prison.

To achieve this goal, we must:

1) Erase the Upstart Talos from the mythic. His presence fortifies the Wheel of the Convention, and binds our souls to this plane.

2) Remove Man not just from the world, but from the Pattern of Possibility, so that the very idea of them can be forgotten and thereby never again repeated.

3) With Talos and the Sons of Talos removed, the Dragon will become ours to unbind. The world of mortals will be over. The Dragon will uncoil his hold on the stagnancy of linear time and move as Free Serpent again, moving through the Aether without measure or burden, spilling time along the innumerable roads we once travelled. And with that we will regain the mantle of the imperishable spirit.

On the Redguards:

No, I was actually referring to The Black Panthers and their radicalism.

As some people know I'm not really a fan of the United Colors of Beneton approach to Tamrielicreation, which smacks of white guilt and offensery rather than some holistic form of beautiful inclusion. Thus, it's my fault that the Asian analogues got eaten. Oops. Looks like others are bringing 'em back, though. But I promise my choice had nothing to do with Yellow Peril, it had to do with co-opting "coolness of color" without thinking about it intelligently and compassionately.

(Hunkers down for the flame.)

That said, when I started writing Redguard I really thought about how unique the black people of Tamriel were: they came in and kicked ass and slaughtered the indigenes while doing so. They invaded. It was the first time I had encountered the idea of "black imperialism"...and it struck me big time, as something 1) new, 2) potentially dangerous if taken as commentary, and 3) potentially rad if taken as commentary.

Who knows. AVault did say it had a story worthy of being on stage, and Michael Mack (Cyrus) once thanked me for giving him words that "Black folks don't get to say" (referring to Cyrus' speech and the reversal of Son to the Father)... which broke my heart and made me puff my chest all at the same time.

Which is a long way of saying: panther-love.

Numidium's siege of Alinor:

It's not the Brass God that wrecks everything so much as it is all the plane(t)s and timelines that orbit it, singing world-refusals.

The Surrender of Alinor happened in one hour, but Numidium's siege lasted from the Mythic Era until long into the Fifth. Some Mirror Logicians of the Altmer fight it still in chrysalis shells that phase in and out of Tamrielic Prime, and their brethren know nothing of their purpose unless they stare too long and break their own possipoints.

Monotheism in Tamriel:

The Skaal are animistic, not monotheistic. Huge difference there.

As for the lists of cultural pantheons, they are not exhaustive - Dagon, it seems, plays a larger role in Nordic myths than the author (me) of Varieties of Faith was aware of.

The Alessian Order was the most successful attempt at monotheism in Tamrielic history-- and even they knew better than refute other religions in their entirety, only co-opt and lessen them.

The Dwemer are special in their views. If one could misinterpret the name of their religion (they were said to be 'pious'), one might name it negalithic refusatronic world-navel-gazinism.

Historically, the magical nature Nirn frowns on monotheism. With a hammer this big. That kind of Maruhkati-talk gets you erased.

Mythic relationships:

As far as the Anuad:

Nirn (Female/Land/Freedom catalyst for birth-death of enantiomorph)/ Anu-Padomay (enantiomorph with requisite betrayal)/ ?* (Witnessing Shield-thane who goes blind or is maimed and thus solidifies the wave-form; blind/maimed = = final decision)

*Seek and you shall find. I hid it.

Bonus:

King Hrol (seeker/Healer of Kingdom), "from the lands beyond lost Twil". Twil as Twilight. Grey Maybe. Aurbis. His knights numbered "eighteen less one," the number of the Hurling Disk.

SPACE GODS BEGAT REMAN! NEWS AT ZERO-SUM, PACIFIC STANDARD GRADIENT!

On the plausibility of Mankar Camoran's claims:

Also in all fairness, there's enough evidence to support the Mankar's claims that I was happy that it went in. The idea really flips the idea of Tamriel on its head.

Imagine the Oblivion realm of Attribution's Share, for example, with eight powerful daedra (one of which is Boethiah) wielding divine power over their realm, and all their subjects bound to the whims of that power; now imagine it under an ur-theology and creation myth(s) as complicated as anything on Tamriel, where the myriad mortals of Nirn were, to the denizens of the Eight Divines of Attribution's Share, in fact, "daedra".

This realm would be surrounded by the Void, just like Tamriel, in turn surrounded by Aetherius, and who's to say that the big hole known as the Sun doesn't hit their shores, as well?

Lorkhan the Padomaic could be exactly what the Mankar says he is: the dead Lord of a lost daedric realm whose "gods" are powerful Liars.

On the different time-dragons:

Don't forget that gods can be shaped by the mythopoeic forces of the mantlers-- so Tosh Raka could be an Akaviri avatar of Akatosh with a grudge against his mirror-brother in Cyrodiil.

Just like Akatosh-as-we-usually-know-him could time-scheme against his mirror-brother of the Nords, Alduin, to keep the present kalpa-- perhaps his favorite-- from being eaten.

Notice all the coulds.

On Nerevar's face being the Indoril helm:

The Indoril masks were official, and they each depicted his true visage. There was also a special Daedric helmet version in the Morrowind Art Book, but its look depicted his more terrible aspect as Hortator and Padomaic champion.

I may say lots of things, but Lord Indoril Nerevar the Hortator was my beloved from the get go during my tenure as MW's Art Director.

Edit: to Lorus, that's his bonewalker version, lost to the annals of most Tribune histories. Nerevar, while betrayed or not, was still dear to ALMSIVI after death.

On the "most powerful" being:

Talos.

The HoonDing.

Trinimac.

Vivec.

Leki.

Reman.

Auri-El.

Wulfharth.

Morihaus.

Pelinal.

That's my list, and pretty much in that order. Though Vivec did kill Tiber Septim once...but I mentioned Talos, not the Emperor.

Another Altmeri in-character snippet:

"Or the number could be more Lorkhanic nonsense; that is, convenient for Man.

"The Ysmir line is dead and so is His stranglehold on the mythic.

"A single Wheel? More like a Telescope that stretches all the way back to the Eye of the Anui-El, with Padomaics innumerable along its infinite walls.

"We're coming for you in every one of your quarters, Sons of Talos. None shall survive."

"The Prophet of Landfall," a birthday gift for Kurt Kuhlmann:

He has come down from the mountains, the chitin of his belly segments freshly painted in Faith. The suns shine overhead, each uttering his name in their way. The barrens before him distort in the blur of their heat as he climbs the last hill, but his vision is clear. It always has been. His fifth and second arms encircle his staff as his mandibles click out a small prayer. Beyond the barrens lay the Crescent of the Eighty and One Thrones, and all the villages that hang from it like a jeweled belt. They do not know it yet, those millions that work, rule, and commit their countless sins out there in the cradle of all written history, but he will save them. In ones and twos, then in droves, and then their own priests and their own kings will throw down their false idols and take up the New Faith. He would permit himself some pride if that emotion occurred to him; instead, he tests his locust wings on the wind, permitting himself to glide into the first steps of Salvation.

Description of an Altmer ship:

Made of crystal and solidified sunlight, with wings though they do not fly, and prows that elongate into swirling Sun-Birds, and gem-encrusted mini-trebuchets fit for sailing which fire pure aetheric fire, and banners, banners, banners, listing their ancestors all the way back to the Dawn.

This is Old Mary at Water.

On the Mnemoli:

Mnemolic magic is related to the "Star Orphans", gods and heroes and demons that live between creations, which can include those reality-bending burps known as Dragon Breaks. Think of them as the all-stars between kalpas, if that helps. (That probably doesn't help at all, really.)

What's up with the Blue Star itself? That's a good little hidden bit that I don't want to ruin. Someone go find it.

On Vivec and Morrowind:

I can safely say that Vivec is the most realized character in videogame fiction. Period.

If a hermaphroditic, bug-armored, bipolar god-king existing in multiple universes who has his very own bible with *actual* magic strewn throughout it is your idea of a cliche, then I really would like to live in your world. It sounds fun and new.

But, wait, then I'd have to inexplicably make snarky and insulting comments in a forum where creators often tread. And that would quickly make me boorish and prone to cliched Angry Youngster Angst. That's the interwebs for you and good luck with it.

I can also say that Morrowind is the finest novel written in videogame fiction. A 40 hour narrative whose main character is only ever referenced is almost Nabokovian in aspiration, and prophecies whose truth is determined only by the player is akin to Borges if he only had been born with a USB port in the back of his beloved neck.

There is a fine line between celebrated tradition tuned to masterstrokes by its crafters and cliche'd demons underneath volcanos. Morrowind is the former, Selbeth, and nowhere near the latter. Except, again, when wrapped 'round electric peanuts tossed from the back row with bright'n'shiny underscores for effect.

On Ruma Camoran:

Ruma gave birth to herself, and her father was the father. She also gave birth to her brother, but he is not her son.

From Totemic Traditions in Atmoran Culture

....the accounts of the origins of Men differ from culture to culture. Note how the somewhat dubious scholarship of the 3rd Edition Pocket Guide to the Empire asserted that Nedics were the progenitors to the Nords, having come to Tamriel from the cold and bitter wastes of the Atmoran continent sometime during the Merethic (Mythic) Era, flying in the face of previous studies. The most famous of these, of course, is Gwylim Press’ own “Frontier, Conquest, and Accomodation,” which portrays the Nedics as a Mannish race indigenous to Tamriel, extant and flourishing long before the arrival of Ysgramor’s ancestors. In any case, the truth of prehistoric Man is most likely lost in the god-time impossibilities of the Dawn, where no absolute answers will ever come on any subject at all.

Part of the fabled Numinatus!

[First shape] was untranslatable, which was good to us, but difficult (which was also good to us). Best descriptions came from the edges, kaleidocules dancing myriadetada to the song of Nil. They spoke of [first shape] in side-language, mad by having to speak at all, for word is meat...[text lost]... and [they] told us that if we did not hurry and make up neganyms for our whole language then they would remove the Remover, for that is what we wanted to call [first shape]. So we did that. We went to the [Giants] and brought them painted cows, for they love them and it is tradition, and what better way to destroy that concept than by issuing its [death] with one? From the [Giants] we learned wind, and in wind we learned vacuum, and in vacuum we found the Not Talk of Ooghama, shield-wife of the Debris, [who had] written everything on her that will ever be and we took all the spaces between the words and talked that way in secret. It was difficult to do that.

ONTOLOGICA CHIMERA (a homage to Jorge Luis Borges' Argumentum Ornithologicum. In essence, it is simply Borges' text rewritten with Morrowind terms.)

“I stood on the Deshaan, leaning on my balance pole, my stilts covered in the muck that runs in love to Necrom, and stared at the sky. There I saw a number of cliff-racers soar by in haphazard fashion, and yet I failed to be able to count them. Perhaps I was mudcrab-tired. Then, for some reason, I was reminded of the apocryphal teachings I learned at Temple about the Tower. Well, that’s not true, I knew the reason this memory returned to me there in my leaning, but I was afraid to realize it into words until now.

“If the ultimate tower were to really exist, then that means that the exact number of cliff-racers that flew by has been recorded by the stars that support it. If it did not exist, then their number will forever be forgotten, as I forgot it; rather, as I ignored the bother to count. Now let us say that I saw a number of cliff-racers that was more than three but less than ten. Since I do not recall how many there were, I did not see four or five or six or seven or eight or nine cliff-racers. Instead, I saw not-four, not-five, not-six, not-seven, not-eight, and not-nine cliff-racers. Since not-five can never be a true integer, what I saw was impossible. And since I know what I saw was possible—what is more common in Veloth than a flock of cliff-racers?—I knew my answer: not-five exists, therefore so does CHIM.”

On Ebonarm (04/10/99)

Gamespeak: Ebonarm, as I recall, is a Yokudan deity, or group of deities that share the same designation. Legends say that he is (they are) just another manifestation of the HoonDing, the Make Way God. Many post-apocalypse manifestations of the HoonDing have individualized (like Diagna), and Ebonarm may be one (or many) of these. He is (they are) known to be adversaries of the Daedric powers.

Designerspeak: I am aware of the tremendous amount of fan fiction devoted to Ebonarm (Dreadlord and such). I don't know what to say about these right now...

The distinction between Gods and Daedra in Tamrielic cultures (04/10/99)

Most Human (Imperial) cultures regard the Daedra as separate from the Gods of the Eight Divines, true. Elven cultures, however, do not distinguish between "Gods" and "Very Strong Ancestors". Thus, "Daedra", in this sense, which means more-or-less "Not OUR Ancestors", are of the same level of power.

In anticipation of another argument, let me say that Oblivion is not regarded by any culture as necessarily an "evil" place; neither is Aetherius a "good" one.

On the First Era, and the Empire of Skyrim (04/12/99)

Remember that the ‘first era’ is a Human demarcation of time. The Elder Races have their own divisions (and diversions) of history. Furthermore, the human eras do not conveniently begin and end with a single empire each time. The Second Empire of Reman had its genesis in the first era, too, some 2000 years after the War of Succession, and it was far more significant than the tyranny of the early Nords.

The “First Empire of Skyrim” is somewhat of a fabrication. The heirs of King Harald, while they had many holdings in foreign lands, never regarded themselves as anything more than a strong and steady line of successful war-chieftains. During the foundation of the Septim regime, certain parties thought it necessary to retrofit Skyrim’s early history into something that might legitimize Talos’ ascension to a traditionally Nedic throne (the general’s Atmoran lineage was well known). The infamous “Coronation Edition of the Pocket Guide to the Empire” is the best example of this revisionism gone mad.

If the first era must “belong” to any one nation of Tamriel, then it is, of course, Cyrodiil. The Empire of Reman lasted for approx. 600 years (long into the next era); after its passing the world suffered through dark times. Before Reman, the world had been held in thrall by the Order, which, while technically not overseen by the (then) current Cyrodilic Emperor, was tied into the first Nibenese Empress, St. Alessia (the Manifold Manifest).

Who conquers Tamriel in the Second Era? (04/12/99)

The second era begins with the assassination of the last of Reman’s heirs. Cyrodiil (and Tamriel) is thereafter under the rule of the Akaviri Potentate, until the assassination of Savirien-Chorak. Chorak’s successors never make it to the throne. The assassins, in every case, are the Morag Tong.

I think you have eras confused with Empires, but that’s understandable. The Second Empire technically ‘begins’ with the coronation of Reman. The second era, however, technically ‘ends’ with the death of Reman III, 212 years later. Tiber Septim conquers Tamriel at the end of the second era, and begins the Third Empire (and the third era).

What is the Knahaten Flu? (04/12/99)

2E560—The Knahaten Flu, called the Crimson Plague, spreads through SE Tamriel, destroying several native tribes in Black Marsh. The reptilian Argonians alone among the tribes of Black Marsh are immune to the plague, leading to speculation, not entirely discredited by modern researchers, that a genocidal Argonian mage created the plague for his people.

What is the Wild Hunt? (04/12/99)

The Wild Hunt is a manifestation of the Elder powers, practiced only by the Bosmer. After the proper sacrifices and rituals, a mass of Bosmer may transform themselves into “a pack of shifting forest demons and animal-gods, thousands strong....”

Who are the Akaviri? (04/12/99)

Akaviri are people of the continent, Akavir, which is to the east of Tamriel. They and their dragon-kin have tried to invade Tamriel many times in the past.

On the Nedes (04/12/99)

The Nedic peoples are hardly mentioned in the PGE, which tried to hide the existence of Humans in Tamriel before the coming of the Nords. I could hardly offer a better contradiction to this notion than that of my friend-in-exile, Severus Reva:

[Text of Frontier, Conquest, and Accommodation follows]

"The Aedra aren't supposed to be able to change, but perhaps there is a loophole" (10/03/03)

Good, good.

And here you get delightfully close, in regards to your study, at least. Nought prececes authenticity... so, if this is true:

Which of the Aedra have done this?

What was the change?

What was the agent of change?

What mythical significance happened thereafter?

What destruction (and therefore creation) came of it?

I did and do mean Aedra, and therefore extract my question back into the timeframe we should have in mind. That is, after the first dawn and world's cooling.

I give you this as Vivec.

Lorkhan and his avatars, from a thread on the Six Walking Ways (02/14/04)

1. Wulfharth L
2. Hjalti O
3. Ysmir R
4. Talos K
5. Arctus H
6. Septim A
N

Are "Akatosh" and "Tosh Raka" etymologically related? (05/24/05)

Let us be clear that etymology in the TES lore is a risky venture. More than risky, it's asking for trouble when one considers Our Father Who Art in Oxford.

That said, there *is* an attempt at wordplay, consistency, and clues in the lore, so my brother above is right when he says Tosh-Raka is "Dragon Dragon." (So is Akatosh, for that matter.) But he is also missing the subtlety in the title; in Tamriel, "dragon" and "time" are synonymous, they are bones of the same body-concept. That they are combined in seeming redundance should suggest an intention.

On the "marriage" between Vivec and Molag Bal (06/14/05)

Two immortals had huge amounts of divine sex and so did all the onlookers-- priests and monsters and advocates and proletariats-- around them.

And the ground broke and gave birth to monsters.

Vivec's gift of "my head for an hour" wasn't an innuendo. It was literal: Vivec's damn head took off and flew away; it had stuff to do, yo. His body, however, full of divine grace, was more than able to accomodate the hellish appetites of a dark prince of the deep.

What does the name Bouyant Arminger mean? (07/29/05)

In this context, it means 'gay samurai'. No kidding. 

Extraterrestrials in Elder Scrolls. (08/07/05)

Read the Direnni Tower section in the PGE very carefully. There's been a rocketship in High Rock since we wrote the PGE. 

Musings on Redguard porcelain armor (circa January 2006)

Porcelain armor has exactly the exoticness that seems appropriate to the stone-worshipping people of the Hammerfell. Like glass armor, its name confounds expectations, which inherently pushes it into the fantastic (and look how glass armor is accepted nowadays). *Of course* raga porcelain is enchanted and blessed by the Gods through the hands of its craftsman, and thus a viable (and beneficial because of its lightness) form of protection. "And they mixed its powder with the milk of Morwha, the mother of all sands, and it stood firm, and sounded of small music as its porcelain scales shook with the wearer, and so did they sing along their ranks as they did in Old Yokuda among the saints." I would see these same scales painted each by hand as if in a mosaic, with ocean patterns that moved like the waves of the Eltheric, confusing the enemies of the sons and daughters of the orichalc isles. Warrior wave, indeed.

On writing Mankar Camoran's final speech (06/17/06)

Apropos of nothing, I wasn't paid for Mankor's diatribe. It was in an email I sent to the friendly folks at Bethsoft when I got the "Commentaries" gig. That whole speech came from a section of said email where I attempted to get inside MC's head so I could understand how he might think, and how that thought would translate to his writing.

Turns out, MC writes like me. Ah, well.

Then Todd up and had Terrance Stamp record it at the voiceover sessions. I was pretty surprised-- I wish I'd known or I would've *really* went nuts with it-- but who could ever be mad at something like that? Terrance Freakin Stamp.

Canon or not, my two cents is that MC is completely right, and Tamriel is just another, albeit very special, realm of Oblivion. But don't quote me...I didn't write this in-character.

What the Orichalc Tower in Yokuda, and did it help sink the continent? (06/24/06)

Orichalc Tower was indeed in Yokuda. Whether or not it contributed to the sinking of the land isn't for me to say, but the Yoku and the Left-Handed Elves certainly did fight a lot, so you can be sure the Tower had a part to play in their wargames.

Orichalc the name comes from Plato's description of Atlantis, the Most Famousest of Sinking Continents. It was therefore too fun not to add some orichalc into Yokuda's background.

Plus it's just a neat-looking, neat-sounding word.

On the de-jungling of Cyrodiil (06/24/06)

Being the lovely and gracious sort that I am, I retconned my own Cyrodiil in my own MC's Commentaries-- "Witness the Red King Once Jungled." Therein lies my take on the lamentable change in geograhical featuredom, as I always side on the magical Tamriel-as-malleable-landscape-by-the-will-of-heroes rather than real-world notions of glacial drift and unstable rainforests.

Oblivion = hell? (06/29/06)

Oblivion has been synoymous with Hell in the TES 'verse for nearly ten years now (see Redguard). Same with daedra/demons (see nearly any myth about daedra or evil gods-- more than likely, it'll be referred to as a 'demon').

They are not the same, but they are useful for context, and denizens of Tamriel freely use all of the terms all of the time. When, like, talking about hell or demons, which they usually don't do at night when Oblivion is staring right over their heads.

It has nothing to do with dumbing down anything. In fact, it has more to do with widening the scope of what those concepts and beings are to the people that live outside their realms.

Story behind Alandro-Sul (09/19/06)

Hey now, I even gave him a fair shake at the Trial, so you know I'm down.

There were nice plans for Sul that never made it in the game, like the "Thousand Ringlets of Alandro Sul," where his mind was blasted into his chainmail headpiece by either A) madness or B) Tribunal-Gun. Then the ashlanders got hold of it and Sul could possess their minds when they wore it, making them see what he did, or thought he did. And then, of course, this thing got scattered and spread among the tribes, so that eventually ashlander tribesmer would all be wearing earrings made out of the chainmail ringlets, each one hearing the profane whisper of Truth.

That's where the name Sul-Matuul came from. Hardest of the hardcore.

On the nature of Pelinal (09/23/07):

Re: Pelinal, his closest mythical model would be Gilgamesh, with a dash of a T-800 thrown in, and a full-serving of brain-fracture slaughterhouse antinomial (Kill)3 functions stuck in his hand or head. We tend to forgive those heroes.

And thousands of years of Good Coming From Bad, and/or whitewash, ignorance, shame, his Song being read by the Knights merely as fancy rather than right record, etc, might explain the Order's reluctance to villify or apologize for him. Plus, no one wants to gets smothered in their sleep by moths.

That said, I sure would like to read the story of Alkosh whooping Pelinal's ass back to Cyrod when the Whitestrake's pogroms strayed too far into the Dragon-Cat's land.

Regarding CHIM being pronounced Kim, like a girl's name (10/27/07)

They're all girls' names. Shor, CHIM, Aless, Perrif, Orlyan, Shonni-Et. Wait. Who?

On the sexual dimorphism between male and female bosmer (12/20/07)

Because Bosmer represent the idea that Women Are Always Beautiful and Men Are Always Short Ugly Trollish Creatures.

On Pelinal, again (04/01/08):

Pelinal was and is an insane collective swarmfoam war-fractal from the future, you betcha.

Why are the small female Betty Netches more powerful than the larger, male Bull netches? What's the origin of their name? (04/02/08)

Think lionesses. And, yeah, they were named after "Skate Betties" -- girls who would hang out near the half-pipes.

On the above, "But lions aren't weaker than lionesses; they're just much lazier." (04/02/08)

“Sure. And bull netch are really, really lazy.”

On Ken Rolston writing Vivec in game (06/03/08)

Ken was responsible for the MQ in MW, so that's part of it. The larger part is that Vivec's voice is Legion, and it was only fitting that he had more than one author.

Editing the 36 Lessons of Vivec (06/03/08)

Kurt edited the Sermons extensively, as did Douglas Goodall. Quadratic.

Out of Atmora (07/10/08):

And for the last time (uh huh), Nedes != Atmorans. That's just shoddy scholarship from a bygone regime.

On the Oblivion rumors of Argonians being called back to Black Marsh (09/07/08)

It refers to the Hist's response to the Crisis, and is one of Kurt's coolest ideas of the last year or so.

I added the "Giant Feathered Flu Tyrants" bit, which, like of course... but you'll see. Daedra -2, Argonians +278. Fuck off, Dagon, don't ever mess with the Trees.

The age of Nirn (10/01/08)

Nirn as we know it is only about 6000 years old, give or take. It's made of myth, not continental drift and the march of penguins.

That said, the God Time (whose very name is contradictory) before it cannot accurately be measured by mortal perception.

On hyperbole in lore (10/22/08):

"It's difficult to accuse someone of being wrong for asking the theoretical question "Is it possible, as is the case throughout this game, that some of the writings we find are exaggerated"?"

I prefer, "It is very possible, as is the case throughout this magical world, that some of the exaggerated claims made about some subjects pale in comparison to the Monkey Truth. ZOMGWTFGIANTFEATHEREDFLUTYRANTS."

What is the Dreamsleeve (08/20/09)

Ken made up the word. I then took it and went all Al Gore and turned it into the internet.

Though, really, if you read through the Intercept stuff, I really predicted Mind Twitter.

On "Tam! RUGH!" (09/09/09):

It's the True name of the world.

Imagine an ape (Marukh) struggling to say "Tamriel" and you get "Tam! RUGH!"

On the Dunmer going to Solstheim after the destruction of Morrowind (12/06/09):

The largesse of the Nords towards their ancient enemies is one of my favorite ideas coming out of Red Year.

Are all the guar dead after the Red Year? (12/25/09)

Hell naw, they're just too damn pretty to die.

The Dwemer's religion (01/13/10)

Reducing the Dwemeri belief system to technofetish or atheism is missing the point by a kalpa.

Hell, even calling them nihilists would be wrong.

That said, reducing them to endless wrongs is perfectly right, but they would have no doubt called that assertion wrong, too.

Clarifying the nature of CHIM (01/15/10):

2) M'Aiq, don't forget the hypnogogic part spun along the nature of Tamriel with an admixture of the love of parenthood that would follow. Not the "power"-- the cherishing.

3) To the close dreamers, don't forget the Amaranth. There *is* one step beyond CHIM, but you're right in that it is not godhood. It's the flowering of a statehood where the images you give birth to in your dream-- stolen (?) from first dreamer-- wakes up. Wails knowing free will. And begins to dream in the same way. Children of liberty without end, and then the music lives forever as a pirate radio tuned against the rules of Heaven and the vulgarities of Hell.

Yeah, like that, but, crap, it just shattered and now I need my morning coffee because I have to work.

Still, no wonder some called Him the Doom Drum.

Is there something beyond CHIM? (01/16/10)

There is one step beyond CHIM, but you're right in that it is not godhood. It's the flowering of a statehood where the images you give birth to in your dream-- stolen (?) from first dreamer-- wakes up. Wails knowing free will. And begins to dream in the same way. Children of liberty without end, and then the music lives forever as a pirate radio tuned against the rules of Heaven and the vulgarities of Hell.

The Sunbirds of Alinor (02/14/10):

They're not ships, they're actual birds.

Well, okay, really big birds made out of the sun.

On Cyrus (06/27/10):

The weirdest thing-- and this is no joke-- I inexplicably pulled out the PGE Thursday night to read it. FOR NO REASON. I got all nostalgic and went, Hmm, the reason Cyrus is so fun is that he actually inhabits this world as the common man with an uncommon profession, i.e. adventuring. He doesn't question the world's weirdness, as that notion would never occur to him. It's just his world and he works with it. And not in the Doctor Who fashion, where of course he works with it, no matter how crazy, because Doctor Who is a Chaotic Fun crazy junkie who actively seeks out such situations (and God bless him for it). Cyrus "just" lives in Tamriel and, while he can get confused, baffled, angry at, or one-upped by its magical nature, he's not adventuring to test those boundaries or, hell, even find them. Where's the money in that?

Yes, Cyrus' level-headedness is a useful cypher, but I was there when he was created, and his character wasn't consciously infused with that literary device in mind. (At least not towards the magical hijinx; he was definitely used that way for the political stuff.) So then I went, Hmm, all future stories told about Cyrus need to be careful not to use him solely for that utility, or risk him becoming a gimmick.

So, of course, the next thought was: "Screw that, what if Cyrus just fought everyone in Tamrielic history?" which completely ran contrary to all my analysis. Cuz it just works like that.

The Direnni Tower (07/11/10)

Start here:

"A recent archaelogical study [of Direnni Tower], using the latest techniques of divination and sorcery, has pushed the Tower's construction date back to around ME2500, making it by far the oldest known structure in Tamriel. Although it has been much modified and added on to over the years, its core is a smooth cylinder of shining metal; the Tower is believed to extend at least as far beneath the surface as is now visible above, although its deepest bowels have never been systematically explored."

Sounds like a scroll case. A big one, mind you, but maybe that's because a spaceship, too.

How does the Ministry of Truth maintain its velocity all this time? (08/20/10)

Everyone here does know that the Ministry of Truth was Lord Vivec's biggest turd ever, right? Hard to place real-world physics on that. And just plain wrong to even try.

Writing the Elder Scrolls (08/27/10)

You misinterpret the meaning of what Elder Scrolls are in the colloquial Tamrielic. When taken in this context, to "write an Elder Scroll" is "to make history".

A deeper meaning is meant, too, but not very many laymen bother with that. Until a prophecy is fulfilled, the true contents of an Elder Scoll are malleable, hazy, uncertain. Only by the Hero's action does it become True. The Hero is literally the scribe of the next Elder Scroll, the one in which the prophecy has been fulfilled into a fixed point, negating its precursor.

Also, Martin mantled Akatosh and dragon-[censored] Dagon silly, so his outlook on time in quite unlike our own. In fact, he said those words during the dragon-[censored] fight and you only remembered them later, a comforting memory that the Jills mended back into your timeline.

Yes.

How does one eat the world? (01/18/11)

When you consider a place like Tamriel, sometimes it's best to take titles literally. Alduin is the World-Eater. It's not going to be "the end of all *life* as we know it," leaving a barren wasteland of Earthbone dirt... it's going to be the whole of Nirn inside his mighty gullet.

"None shall survive" has been a calling card for awhile, but that was only a hint to the more extensive "Nothing will survive."

Unless, of course, there's a loophole. Say, something like the someone called the Dovakhiin happening to show up..."born under uncertain stars to uncertain parents." (An aside for extra credit: what in the Aurbis makes the Prisoner such a powerful mythic figure?)

The Eight Limbs (and their Missing Ninth) have always, always made sure there was a loophole. Sometimes to their detriment, sure, but more often a hedged bet to ensure the survival of the current kalpa.

Then again:

Alduin's shadow was cast like carpetflame on east, west, south, and north...[he was] epoch eater. For as far as any man's eyes, only High Hrothgar remained above the churning coils of dragon stop.

And Alduin said, "Ho ha ho."

It's obviously happened before, so sabers sharp, and may your varliance shine bright.

On CHIM making Tamriel boring because it makes it "all a dream" (01/18/11)

Just wanna say because I never think I did, the whole "it was all just a dream" avenue is completely missing the point. Consider your lucid dreams, if you've been lucky enough to have ever had one. Then think again before you dismiss the the idea of Divine Hypnagogia. If you get it (or care to) then mull it over until it punches the back of your eyeballs.

No wonder it's hard to retain CHIM. Such... violence.

Landfall and the Infernal City (01/25/11)

The Landfall != the associated events of The Infernal City.

Totally different thing. When Landfall happens, you guys will do a spit-take like Bail Organa did when the Death Star showed up above Alderaan.

On the disappearance of the Dwemer (02/01/11)

The Dwarven Disappearance, for all I know and hope, will never be explained fully. To do so would be antithetical to their very existence. And the very idea of them.

If it did, by the way, the Dwemer would just refuse to believe it anyhow. They sit forever on the Bartleby Chair.

How Tiber mantled Lorkhan (02/09/11)

Think of the mystical power of Reenactment.

What did Lorkhan do to solidify the plans for the Mundus? Oh, I dunno, he tricked, promised, betrayed, and made concessions to the various "rulers" of the etada, right? Sounds like the summary, only a few existence lenses down.

And, just like the varying accounts of how that Convention and its consequences have become murky with Time and myth, so too is Tiber's ascension to the first true Emperor of all of Tamriel. Accident? No way.

As above, so below, and that's how you do it. Especially when there's a hole just ready to fill.

"Is there only one way to transcend the Aurbis?" (02/12/11)

To transcend it? No, there are other ways to surpass it.

But to make a better existence? No existence becomes better without love.

Amaranth (02/16/11)

We haven't seen a fleshed-out alternative to CHIM to support something more preferable, but I promised a long while back to provide one. We'll see.

I will say that, CHIM or not, there is no evidence that either Talos nor Vehk achieved Amaranth. If they did, Tamriel would be in their rearview mirror. The Amaranth deserves its own topic, really. Its core concept is the most divisive among the mystics, in my opinion. 

A Yoku god (04/28/11)

N'awyadin-It - Yokudan God of Expression Alarm. Revered in word frequently among the funnier-masked castes.

Is Tall Papa Magnus? - nope (04/28/11)

Tall Papa as Magnus?

Syrsly?

Think raga. Then think of the various ways the Sun would affect the Weather/Eyeball/BodyClock/Agriculture/TheShineOfASingleDewdropBeforeAnImportantDuel.

Just how many gods would you have to govern acknowledge those?

The origin of Minotaurs (02/26/12)

Minotaurs are the issue of Alessia and Mor Breath-of-Kyne.

What were the Void Nights? (03/02/12)

Eugenics experiment. With a side dish of "don't [censored] with us."

Exploration of a cut idea about the Red Diamond after the Great War (02/23/14)

I talked with Kurt about a whole mental anguish thing that happened to the world of TES after Talos was shot out of heaven by the Thalmor.

Short version: any attempt to draw the old red diamond would invariably end up failing.

Ex: A painter would paint it. The paint would set. The paint would crack and move. The final painting would be a 2D explosion. More Talos despair would set in.

Ex: Blacksmiths would forge the symbol. The metal would cool, be applied to an Imperial helmet. A brave legate would wear it. The diamond stayed on long enough to meet with a Dominion ambassador. Imperials would be all "See? Our faith in Talos is--" Legate's helmet would crack from the symbol, legate's head crushes in. More Talos despair. Dominion ambassador would smile and accept the surrender of whole legions.

Ex: A bard, knowing the "cracking diamond effect", attempts to describe the symbol in verse, to avoid the physical danger. He performs the verse to a crowd of secret Talos worshipers. They begin to see the diamond in their minds and are overjoyed. Then the screaming starts. Two hours later, a throng of headless corpses are found, strewn diamond-pattern in a courtyard. Other worshipers arrive to look on them, seeing a sign of their god in the bodies of his martyrs. Crowds gather at this holy site. Dominion lets the hope set in, declares small doubt in the finality of Talos' erasure. People go "whoa" and flock to the site. Thalmor button is pressed. The new settlement blows up as anything around the diamond shape regards it in a chain-reaction explosion of viscera, language, spellfire. Half a province surrenders to the Thalmor.

Parts of Game: Skyrim would show all of this in mechanical terms. The LDB would have to learn how to successfully craft the diamond shape without danger. They would have to avoid certain "latent diamond traps", etc.

Was awesome idea. Was also... technically difficult. Was also radical. Is saved for a future game or DLC.

Explorations on objects (rather than people) mantling and being matled (03/19/14)

Lots of things are objects. We need some restrictions to define our explorations before we go buck wild. At its root, you might be on to a very cool idea. And something pretty close to the famous theft of a famous thing.

Are we:

Limiting the term "object" to a normally non-sentient physical item or tool normally considered mundane? Ex. a rake that has not been enchanted/cursed/used by a famous magic user nor host to a demon, god, or hero?

Let's say YES

Is this rake observed in any way by "regular" mortals? Ex. the farmer that uses the rake.

OR

Is this rake observed only by other normal farmer tools? Ex. tools sitting in the farmer's shed, forgotten.

OR

Is this rake observed by no one except the interior of the shed? Ex. Self-explanatory.

OR

Is this rake observed by no one since there is no light showing in the interior of the shed? Ex. the farmstead and shed are either buried underground or under the shadow of a month-long eclipse? For these examples, let's remove any mythical forces associated with the Underworld, nature, Oblivion, the Moons, Magnus, etc.

Pick one or more

Is the normal use of the rake required but there is no one to use the rake? Ex. the autumn leaves are piling too high.

And so on. Start with this rake within these limits. Try to make the rake do something so special at being another tool that it supplants that tool so much that no one remembers when the rake wasn't just that tool all along.

How do Hist-worshiping Argonians and Green-Pact-following Bosmer get along? (03/20/14)

Any culture that reveres or lives around trees and that had enough knowledge to know that the Hist were crazy Trees? Yes, they would probably fight over what a "tree" really was. Violently.

Can men build Towers? (03/22/14)

In general, I find that the not-Men should build the Towers, if even the notion of "built" does not necessarily a physical brick-and-mortar approach.

On a "mer" name for the Left Hand Elves (03/22/14)

I'm also not a fan of the word 'Sinismer' because it's a little too... latinized-clever? Dunno. The stilted and/or plain sound of The Left-Handed Elves or The Left-Handers strikes me as far for Yokudan.

What would happen to Almalexia and Sotha Sil's bodies after their deaths? (04/04/14)

Vivec would have stolen their remains, I would think.

They're his family. He would inter them in the proper Velothi fashion. And then mourn.

Are Redguards human? (04/23/14)

Yokudan humans are humans.

To put a stake in the sand: the men and women of Yokuda and their descendants, most popularly the Redguards, are human. No ifs, ands, or buts.

On the stylistic difference between in-game MK works and Obscure Texts (07/14/14)

None of my in-game books were ever edited with the exception of a few lines in The Song of Pelinal (one removing Morihaus' erection, another stating that Pelinal was homosexual).

It really boils down to being able to work within the confines of the team's current project. That was (and is) easy enough to do if you have the experience and discipline to do it.

Why was Pelinal's homosexuality edited out of the Adabal-a? (07/14/14)

The line changed from something like "a hoplite who Pelinal often shared a tent with at night" to "a hoplite who Pelinal loved well". That same hoplite gets killed, causing Pelinal to go on one of his crazed destruction sprees. You can go to the source text and figure out which part I'm talking about.

The reason it was changed was a simple matter of keeping his sexuality ambiguous. Since the player was donning Pelinal's armor, completing a mission that he could not, in a sense becoming him, being so blunt about Pelinal's sexuality was too... definitive (?) in relation to the PC's own. Given the open nature of TES PCs, I felt that it was fine to keep it open to interpretation.

But it's still there. If you look at Pelinal, that hoplite is the only one he gives non-familial affection to, and his retaliation against not just the Elves but the whole world after his lover's death is enough, I think, to infer the original intent.

On mithril (07/18/14)

I really hate that mithril is in TES.

Which is why I had it removed from Morrowind.

How the name "Mundus" originated (07/18/14)

It was called the Mundus because of the word mundane.

On the idea of Dragons being more a state of allegiance than a biological definition (07/24/14)

You've got me to back you up. And Kurt, too, insofar as breath weapons being a form of philosophical debate. And that they, you know, feed off time.

K&K's shorthand for dragons very early on were 'biological time machines powered by ideologies'.

On the Elder Scroll that the Grey Fox altered in TESIV: Oblivion (08/01/14)

That wasn't a real Elder Scroll.

That was a copy of copy of a copy of one of three giant cylinders (the real Elder Scrolls).

The copies are powerful artifacts, to be sure. The three cylinders are kept in the vaults beneath White-Gold Tower. Mortals have interacted with them.

What does "GHARTOK" mean? (08/11/14)

"Hand" + "weapon"

A GHARTOK is your weapon hand, or a hand that's made for weapons, or a hand that IS a weapon.

On the Redguards use of magic (08/24/14)

Archmage Voa and Saban were both mighty sorcerers, crucial to both battles at Hunding Bay. The idea that the raga are afraid of magic is just wrong.

Why did Azura not change the Dunmerback into Chimer after they stopped worshiping the Tribunal? (08/26/14)

'Velothi, your skin has become the pregnant darkness. My brooding has brought this on. Remember that Boethiah asked you to become the color of bruise. How else to show yourselves people of the exodus into the vital: pain?'

There are different versions of that story.

Was Duadeen half-Akaviri, as asserted by the Five Hundred Companions? (09/05/14)

Bingo.

Why was Summerset Isles and other provinces renamed? (09/07/14)

OOG, I hated Summerset Isles and Elsweyr as place names, so they were changed after TESIV: Oblivion.

Tried to get Valenwood and Hammerfell changed, as well, since it's a rip from Dragonlance and Marion Zimmer Bradley respectively. That shit is embarrassing.

During the Oblivion Crisis, the Bosmer were going to call a Wild Hunt to end all Wild Hunts, with every single mer in Valenwood going full monster. Afterwards, it would've become a haunted forest nation, closed off by both the Dominion and the Empire. I forget the exact name, but it was something like Ada-mor, the "spirit forest".

The suggestion for Hammerfell was something African-based, but I can't recall.

On the planned sequels to Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard (09/08/14)

I had a plan for a TEA game set in Elsweyr. We planned three of them.

TEA2: Eye of Argonia

TEA3: Paradise Sugar (which was totally meant to sound like a JRPG title; the idea was that every third installment was extra alien)

What is the wine-knife referenced in Shor Son of Shor? (09/23/14)

A wine-knife is a weapon that you only pull when drunk. It can detect sobriety, blunting its edge the more clear-headed you are.

In the Dragonborn DLC, Neloth calls the Nerevarine a "he." Is the Nerevarine canonically male? (01/25/15)

That line was a mistake a designer made in haste. Consider it a glitch.

Is Leki the Yokudan version of Meridia? (02/09/15)

Nope.

Who were the Red Dome Templars of Talos? (02/14/15)

The Red Dome Templars were psycho-crusaders who drank the blood of Talos to get short-term martial shouting powers. The rest of the Army hated them (and much of the Elder Council wanted them dispersed), which is mainly why they were shoved off to places like Morrowind.

Sadly, the Red Templars only made it into some onsite Runequest games I ran for the dev team in the earliest days.

What is the Snow Whale's Joy Snow? (02/23/15)

Joy Snow is cocaine.

What's up with Seyda Neen's lighthouse? (03/18/15)

Early concept art shows House Hlaalu with gems in their foreheads. These gems were purportedly part of the glass in the construction of the Seyda Neen.

The Seyda Neen was the flagship of a fleet that Hlaalu sent to sea at the behest of a Saint, "to see the face of Veloth". The mariners on this voyage would send back for the rest of their House when they had found whatever this "face" was.

But an unnatural storm destroyed the fleet, the jetsam and flotsam coming back to the shore. The Hlaalu used this to construct the Lighthouse, so that any of their countrymer that may have survived the storm could find their way back. House nobles embedded their flagship's glass in their foreheads, because Morrowind.

Does Paarthurnax have any knowledge of Durnehviir? Followup: how do you know? (03/27/15)

They didn't know each other. I just asked the creator of the two dragons in question and got the answer.