Interview with Ted Peterson (2019)

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Benefactor reached out to Ted Peterson to bring us this interview about Daggerfall and beyond in celebration Daggerfall Unity hitting Alpha. It was published September 27th, 2019.


  • Benefactor:
  • How do you feel about the Daggerfall Renaissance that has been going on as of late with Daggerfall Unity reaching Alpha? Are there any features you hope to see modders implement that you originally intended or wished to include?

  • Ted Peterson:
  • Of course I love it. I’ve had the chance to talk to Gavin Clayton about it and express my admiration for this labor of love. The mods are incredible and add so much to the experience. I’m not familiar with all of them, but what would be great is something which would really show you the results of your choice at the end of the game. Show the devastation that Numidium wrought against the enemies of whoever you gave the totem to. Make Orsinium double in size if you gave it to Gortwog. Have quests that deal with the aftermath. I know there some results of your choices, but not enough.

  • Benefactor:
  • What can you tell us about the Dnd game that led to rise of Tamriel as a setting? Was The story of the Camoran Usurper the only campaign run or where there more?

  • Ted Peterson:
  • Julian ran that campaign, and we didn’t finish it, but the idea was we were in High Rock and heard that the Usurper and his army were marching north through Hammerfell. Most of the game was based around Dwynnen, but we traveled a lot to try to get a coalition of kingdoms to band together to resist the invaders. That was the only campaign of that type, and then we got into Vampire the Masquerade, but that was just for fun. We might not have included vampirism in Daggerfall if not for that.

  • Benefactor:
  • At one point Daggerfall would have been known as Mournhold and Morrowind would have been known as Tribunal. Is there anything you can tell us about the story that would have been for both these iterations that never came to be?

  • Ted Peterson:
  • We switched locations for TES2 early on, so there wasn’t a lot of design done for Mournhold. Tribunal was supposed to be set in Summerset Isle and follow the story of Princess Morgiah of Wayrest who thanks to the quests of the Daggerfall hero was now queen of Firsthold. Obviously, there was not going to have anything to do with Vivec, Almalexia, and Sotha Sil being the Tribunal as it evolved into Morrowind. It was all very preliminary because we were still finishing Daggerfall and just brainstorming the sequel

  • Benefactor:
  • In Daggerfall there are references to King Edward who’s story ended on a cliffhanger. He was referenced in Barenziah’s books as having had possession of an artifact called the Horn of Summoning. Is there anything you can tell us about this Horn or about Edward?

  • Ted Peterson:
  • I’m afraid I don’t know anything about that. It was written by one of our Council of Wisdom / testers, and I have to admit I don’t even remember his name.

  • Benefactor:
  • While it is well known many of the gods where named after people who helped develop the game. When it came to naming other characters how did you end up with names like Barenziah or Peyrite? Are there any character names with interesting backstories that you would like to share?

  • Ted Peterson:
  • Some of them were named after characters in our RPGs and some are literally references. The court sorceress of Daggerfall Medora Direnni was a combination of a noble family the Dirennis that Julian played and Medora, the daughter of the poet Lord Byron. I had previously played a witch named Naga Nulf who became the mad witch / dowager queen Nulfaga. Most of the other names just came out because we thought they sounded cool.

  • Benefactor:
  • Morgiah promised Mannimarco her “first” during Daggerfall. What was this first she promised him as the guide book specifically stated it isn’t her first born. How would this have tied into Tribunal as it was originally supposed to?

  • Ted Peterson:
  • Well, I wanted it to be clearly implied that her “first” was her first-born, and people whispering about it when she becomes pregnant.There would be rumors that the child heir of Firsthold was a changeling, but the truth which the player would uncover was that wasn’t the deal Morgiah had worked out with Mannimarco. I’m not sure I had ever settled what the real “first” was going to be before I left Bethesda and the design for TES 3 went in another direction. I did want to tie it with corrupting the Psijic Order though. They would have been a big part of the game.

  • Benefactor:
  • At one point it was an intended feature to be able to port your Arena character into Daggerfall. In your opinion would you consider the Arena and Daggerfall character the same character?

  • Ted Peterson:
  • Yeah, that didn’t happen because we switched how character generation and advancement worked between TES I and II, so doing a straight port became very difficult. If we had allowed it though it would have been clear that you were playing the same character who was the hero of Arena, but since it didn’t happen, I think it’s pretty clear they’re two different people.

  • Benefactor:
  • There is a dragon called Skakmat located in the game files and mentioned in the guide book as causing the fog during the battle of Betony under the command of Nufulga. Unfortunately he doesn’t appear in game. How would he have tied into the story? Was he involved in any way with the shipwreck our character was in, as the storm was caused in some way by Nufulga according to a side quest?

  • Ted Peterson:
  • Yeah, Skakmat was also going to be your “in” with Nulfaga. You befriend him and he shows you the way to Shedungent, her home.

  • Benefactor:
  • After the release of Daggerfall how did the idea of making every ending canon come about? Where there other options that where considered?

  • Ted Peterson:
  • I was not in the room when it happened, so I’m not sure. I was hired to do some work remotely, so I didn’t really meet face to face with anyone. I do recall asking  what happened at the end of TES 2 so the new lore I was writing would match, and everyone hemmed and hawed about it, not sure. I feel like it was a Michael Kirkbride pitch, but obviously Ken Rolston thought it was a good solution to an admittedly tricky problem.

  • Benefactor:
  • I believe this was after Julian left but is there anything you can tell us about the story of The Eye of Argonia, the sequel to Redguard? Was it in any way influenced by the Eye of Argon short story?

  • Ted Peterson:
  • Yeah, sorry, it was after my time too, so I know nothing about The Eye of Argonia.

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