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Leamon Tuttle on Loreseekers Podcast

Librarian Comment: 

This livestream took place on February 13th, 2020, on the LoreseekersPodcast Twitch channel. You can see a video record of it at this link. While Loremaster Leamon Tuttle was present for the entire podcast, only the lore relevant parts are transcribed below.

Approximate timestamps are provided for the excerpts. 


Kash: I want to hear what Leamon's been doing all week.

Leamon: You know, working. We're doing some work on Greymoor, trying to get the get everything ready, to record all the actors and stuff so yeah it's been it's been a busy time at the office for sure.

Jibbs: Busy busy busy.

Leamon: Good stuff man it's all coming together.

Kash: That has to be your favorite part - when it all kind of comes together like that.

Leamon: Yeah this part this part is okay, but what's really cool is when recording is over and the lines that we wrote come back. These like incredibly talented actors who took what we did and turned it into something way cooler than it was when we first wrote it. So that's coming soon, we're excited about that for sure.

Kash: I think the thing that's important to say here is, before we even start this thing, it's hard to realize that one of the major people in this world that writes this game that we love is right here in this room. It's absolutely nuts.

"Like, how was your week at work?" "Oh, it was perfect. I'm making your game."

[Everyone laughs]

"Literally at my desk."

Leamon: It's cool man, this why we do it right? So we can send it out and people like you guys can enjoy it. So that's exciting man, it's really cool.


Jibbs: This week my friends we got fan mail, ESO live Murkmire celebration event -- which I hear may be Leamon's favorite, I'm not sure, I can't confirm.

Leamon: I don't know, it's close man. Clockwork gives it a run for its money, but it's Argonians man, that's tough... they're my favorite. I love all of our children equally...


Jibbs: [Reading a viewer's question] "I have two questions, being a new player. First deals with the favored topic of Dragonbreaks." Well, you're in for a treat Mocha, you're gonna get an answer from Leamon. "From the explanation of it it sounds like during a Dragonbreak everyone experiences something different." Cough, mechanic, cough. "Even though it seems difficult to explain, I see it like a game of telephone where a message can get misconstrued depending on who hears it. At the end of the telephone game the intended message is revealed but the other players still think they heard what they heard. Kind of a fun thing to think about."

Leamon, is there any truth to this?

Leamon: I think he's selling dragon breaks a little short. Dragonbreaks are basically the complete dissolution and breakdown of linear time. [laughs]

It's not a great time. Well, it's not any time, it's a mishmash of, you know... you could wake up your own grandmother, and like it's bonkers.

You don't want to live through a Dragonbreak. Nobody's playing a game of telephone, they're all losing track of where they are...

We have the Augur of the Obscure, [he] talks about it for a second. You know imagine you're being born right after you died or whatever isn't that wild.

You don't wanna be in a Dragonbreak. It's bad bad news.

Jibbs: Bad juju.

Kash: I kinda see what he's getting at, but you really have to talk about how time is not a factor -- which Leamon made mention -- but time is really not a factor and there's several different parallels taking place at the same time.

So where one person may believe that his life is just going along and he's having all these experiences, somebody else could be going through the same exact trial or experiences and it could be a completely different outcome when time finally all comes back together, and you know there's not all those parallels anymore. And that's why freaking Dragonbreaks make me want to punch myself in the face repeatedly.

Leamon: Yeah, that's wacky, you don't want to get on the outs with Akatosh, that's basically the long story short.

Kash: Akatosh being the dragon god of time who is in control of it all.

Jibbs: There you go, all right.

Well there's the first part and then the second part. And by the way we're just doing Mocha today, Mocha you got the floor man. So this is all for you. Second part is, [...] "not sure how good how good a lore lesson this would be, but I would like to hear one on the songs the bards sing throughout Tamriel. Bards are in essence the end game lore master singing the tales of Tamriel. [...]"

Kash: I loved that one actually, and I have taken note at that because that would be a really cool lore lesson to take the songs that the bards sing in all the Elder Scrolls universe and describe what the hell they're talking about.

Leamon: Yeah there's a lot there and in Greymoor coming up you hang out in Solitude. Solitude is the home base of the Bard's College. So you guys got that to look forward to as well.

Jibbs: That's gonna be good stuff right there.

Leamon: Bards are cool, man. They're revered and feared because they can they can build somebody up or they can break somebody down, just with a song. So that's cool stuff.


Jibbs: Next up, we return to Tamriel's southern marshlands with the Murkmire Celebration. It's coming to us from again from, and I have a feeling like Leamon, I know we kind of teased a little bit earlier, but I kind of feel like this is this is a good event for you. You're at home here.

Leamon: What, the Murkmire Celebration event? Yeah, I am beyond amped. I loooove Murkmire. I loved working on it, everything that happens there, I love all the Argonian lore... that was a dream come true. When we finally got to do it man, cause it was a long time coming. You know, we'd started working on it, and kind of stepped away for a bit, and then came back, and it's really really cool.

Jibbs: Well everyone you all can celebrate it and enjoy it cause it's going on Thursday, February 20th. It starts at 10 a.m. EST ends Tuesday March 3rd. That's gonna give you plenty of time to enjoy the event, earn bonus rewards, event tickets, and more as you go.

Leamon: Stop by, listen to the vossa-satl. It's good stuff.

Jibbs: The what?

Leamon: The vossa-satl.

Kash: The instrument.

Jibbs: Oh yeah, yeah.

Leamon: Yeah, that amazing instrument.

Jibbs: That is it by far, still to this day, the most unique sounding instrument ever.

Leamon: I talked to Brad Derek, our composer and he's like, "can you explain this thing to me again." I'm like, "yeah, it's easy, it's just a thing that you put a bunch of frogs in and then it makes music what could be easier?" He's like, "ok, so..."

Kash: it sounds a little bit like a didgeridoo doesn't it?

Leamon: Yeah, a little bit.


Kash: You're really a guy who needs no introduction, but I do have a little story to tell about our trip to Vegas [for the Greymoor announcement].

Leamon: Oh man, it's ominous. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, Kash.

Kash: Except for this.

I was so freaking nervous to meet you. I honestly was like, I was flipping out, when Gina and the whole invite thing came out, and hey, we'd like to be on stage with us. And by the way, you're gonna be sitting right next to Leamon Tuttle. And I was like, excuse me what? I just about had a freakin kitten.

But I got to tell you that you made it so much easier for me to sit next to you and talk to you and have some really nice conversations that we did have about the game and life and all that stuff because you're so approachable. And I just I have to tell that story, how nervous I was but how very comfortable you made me feel just because your demeanor is awesome.

Leamon: Thank you. You I really appreciate that. No, it was cool, like, get to hang out with you and all the other fans. I wish we could bring the entire studio or something like that because you make something and you kind of throw it over the wall and you hope people dig it and you know, you get some feedback online and stuff, but to  look at folks in the face and have them tell you like all these amazing stories and get to hang out with you. It was absolutely one of the coolest experiences of my professional career. So thank you guys.

Kash: Oh, no problem. And we definitely saw it. You know, at least from our perspective as fans, we saw some success in that event. So we really hope events like that continue to happen.

Leamon: Me too, man.

Kash: That was really awesome. Well, like I was saying, you really don't need an introduction. I mean, you're sitting at the helm. You're the lore master of Elder Scrolls Online, but you had you've had a really cool career.

Leamon: Yeah, I think so.

Kash: So you started... You've been with Zenimax. For what, nine years?

Leamon: Yeah, it's gonna be 10 in September.

Kash: Wow.

Leamon: Give me this really nifty crystal cube. When you get to 10 years. Yeah, it's pretty rad.

Kash: It's cool to hear about a company like that, where you can you can start like... your origins at Zenmaix was as the lead QA tester, is that correct?

Leamon: Well, yeah, I didn't start as lead, I started as a QA tester. And yeah, it was awesome. You know, the studio was a lot smaller then. The QA department at that point, I think was like maybe 15 people or something like that. And it was so awesome. Come in at the ground floor. And then you know, I did get promoted to lead QA, and met all the people that you know. Rich Lambert was actually the dungeons lead when I started, so I got to hang out with him a lot because I was the dungeons QA guy. And then I made it into content. And I was an associate content designer for a while, and then I moved from content to writing. Then I became a senior writer. And then then they made me Loremaster, which is pretty cool.

Kash: That is like the ultimate from mailroom to CEO story. Really is like, "you're saying there's a chance!"

Leamon: When folks in QA get to move up, it's amazing. And we've been really tremendously fortunate. We've got a lot of really, really talented QA team. And, you know, we've had a bunch of people, producers, designers, all sorts of stuff come out of that department, including me. So yeah, it's really cool. They're all good folks.

Kash: I did a little lurking. We did a little bit of lurking. I was telling you how Jibbs and I were talking early this morning about this particular interview because we were excited about it so we did a little bit of lurking on you we actually took a look at your website and found that you were very well versed in all the things you do. Most particularly, your concept art is freaking awesome.

Leamon: Oh wow. Oh man, you are doing some digging. I forgot I even had that portfolio website.

Jibbs: It's really good!

Kash: That one picture of the of the dwarf that you have on there...

Leamon: Thank you, man.

Kash: That is amazing!

Leamon: That's a deep cut. Not many people see that stuff.

Kash: Sorry.

Leamon: No, I was lucky cuz when I was transitioning from content to writing, and Clockwork was spinning up, I got to do a bunch of concepts for the clockwork fabricants. Like, I did concepts for the fabricant scarab and like some other stuff. I got to kind of part time concept for a while, which was really, really cool. I missed it, actually. I wish I could do more of it, but, you know, obviously writing and loremastering takes a lot of time, so.

Kash: But like, to me, that's amazing that you can have this amazing brain to be able to write the stuff. At the same time you have visualization to be able to take those ideas in your head. That's not just writing, but to put them into actual pictures.

Leamon: Thanks man.

Kash: That's incredible.

Jibbs: Yeah.

Leamon: Thank you. I actually got into the game industry to try to get into art.

Kash: Really?

Leamon: Yeah, that was that was where I was where I was headed. But I like telling stories, I guess, you know?

Kash: I'm pretty sure either, anywhere that you would have landed, you've been successful, because you're pretty much pretty well versed guy. It's pretty awesome.

Leamon: Thanks man.

Kash: So, a couple questions here. Actually, we're just going to start right off the top and they're just general questions. We really just kind of want to get to know who you are.

Now, the first question that I have here is: what exactly does being the loremaster for Elder Scrolls Online entail? What are some of the things that you do?

Leamon: Yeah, there's a lot to it, man. Basically I do a lot of interfacing with just about every team. So talking to art about, you know, key art that's coming up, about assets that they're creating for the next release. Talking, obviously, to the writing team because that's the team that I'm a part of, so I'm talking to them all the time. Talking to the content designers, who are actually making requests. I get to talk to marketing and community folks, like Gina and those guys. I'm just all over the place, basically just kind of checking things and giving suggestions about things we could pursue or, you know, giving things about what would work and wouldn't work. And I've been doing a lot of doing a lot of writing recently as well. So I'm all over the place. It's cool. You just get to hang out with a bunch of different people. And always working on something, so.

Jibbs: Wow.

Kash: So how much stress did you have when you were offered the position and you knew that you were gonna have to fill the shoes of Lawrence [Schick]?

[Everyone laughs]

Leamon: Yeah, that's that was intimidating. I'm not gonna lie. Cause Lawrence is, you know, he's Lawrence. There's not a way to describe him other than to just use his name. He's like, this larger than life character. And I was really surprised that he was leaving. And Bill, my boss, took me into his office and he's like, "look, he's on his way out. I think you'd do a good job as loremaster."

And I had to like take a minute. I was like, "dude, let me take a walk."

I didn't respond to him immediately. I went home, and the wife and I were talking and I was like, "oh my god, man, what if I screw up like, I'm gonna, I don't want to I don't mess that up." You know, the lore community is really passionate about this stuff. If I'm like, the guy who comes in and breaks it, like that's terrible. But my wife, she was like, "you know your stuff. You're a strong writer. You know people like your ideas." She's like, go for it. I was like, "alright, well, if you think I should go for it then I'll go for it."

But it was it was incredibly intimidating. And that's the other thing. I mean one of the things about the community is like, I expected when they asked me to do it, I said, "yeah," I expect to get on and people just like completely flip out and be like, "oh, my god Schick is leaving, um, you know, burning my sub" and everything.

But people were so cool. They were so cool about it. They're like, "oh man, welcome, welcome to the community, and I can't wait to see what you do." It was really, really encouraging, which is absolutely what I needed at that point because I was smiling on the outside but on the inside I was just "aaaaaah!!!"

Jibbs: [Laughs]

Leamon: Yeah, it's good.

Kash: I can imagine. From what we've seen they obviously put you in that position for a reason. And we have a lot of faith in Zenimax and the decisions they make and everything. You're killing it, man.

Leamon: Thanks.

Kash: You're absolutely crushing it.

Leamon: It's not just me, there are a ton of reasons super talented content designers and writers. You know, leadership and stuff. Triple A game development is a team sport, and nobody does it alone. So yeah, they're awesome.

Jibbs: Now, do you have a team under you that works under you?

Leamon: Not really. I'm like... I don't know. That's a good question, actually. I don't know. I'm like, kind of in this like churning, you know... sort of management?

The leader of the writing team is Bill Slavicsek. He's my direct boss. And we have Jeremy Sera, who's the content lead, in charge of the the entire content department and above him, obviously, there's Rich. So yeah, I'm not really anybody's manager, per se. I just kind of help out Bill and when Bill's in Disney World, like he was recently I was like, hanging out and being Mini-Bill.

[Everyone laughs]

But it's cool. It's the writing team got some great new talent. We have Patrick Coursey who's new, Taylor Cyr going to be on ZOS Live, she's really great. So that's cool. It's good team for sure.

Jibbs: That's awesome.

Kash: Nice. So if you were to kind of describe what your own personal origin story is with Elder Scrolls with the whole series as a whole, where did you start with the series? When did you truly realize how much you loved it?

Leamon: Well, I think I told this story on the ESO Live thing.

I started playing in 94, when Arena came out. My buddy Ben-- my family didn't have a computer so we used to always go to my buddy Ben's house, and we played Arena there. We poured so many hours in the game is ridiculous. I mean, eventually his dad, he was like a big time gamer, he was always coming in, kick us off so he can play. So I played a ton of Arena with with Ben and then, you know played all the titles that came after that. I tried to play Daggerfall on my machine and it melted. And I was like, "alright, I guess I'm playing Daggerfall at Ben's house." So we ended up doing that. Sunk a ton of time in Skyrim. So yeah, we got to play all the titles and there's just so much there. So much there.

And I'm not even really... I'm not really that much of a fantasy guy. [He makes a shusshing motion] Like, I don't play a lot of fantasy games. But that's how strong Elder Scrolls is, man, is that even even as a fantasy title, it's so deep and so dense and there's so much that's crazy and unlike anything else in a fantasy game. It blew me away. And it continues to blow me away every day. So it's amazing that I get to contribute to it, because I never would have thought that I would do that when I was playing Arena in Ben's basement.

Jibbs: Right. That's awesome. So I mean, I know it'd be like probably picking your, you know, your favorite child at this point, and I kind of get the vibe... I kind of think I know where you're gonna go, so I'm not gonna say where I think you're gonna go. I'm gonna guess here. What what race and class are you rocking in Elder Scrolls Online?

Leamon: You'll be surprised to hear that I play an Argonian.

[Everyone laughs]

Kash: [Sarcastically] Super weird.

Jibbs: [Sarcastically] You don't say!

Leamon: Yeah, my buddies when we first we first launched, they all wanted to go Daggerfall. So I was an Orc for a good long while. And then I was like, "alright, well forget this, I'm gonna be an Argonian." Because that's the way.

Jibbs: All right. Well, gee, that was short and sweet. Cool. All right. Right on.

Kash: What class though?

Leamon: Nightblade.

Jibbs: Ooh, now, I would have taken you more of a Warden kind of guy. I don't know. Just... Nightblade. Right on.

Leamon: I don't know, I'm big on pets.

Jibbs: I guess it's a weird generalization. Like when I think of a warden, I'm like, oh, they're like the ancient. I don't know. Like, just nevermind.

Kash: Careful.

Jibbs: I'll be careful.

Kash: An Argonian Nightblade. That's very Dark Brotherhood-y.

Jibbs: That's Shadowscales right there.

Kash: Makes sense to me.

Jibbs: That's good stuff, that's good lore.

Leamon: [Unintelligible] into the RP. Yeah, Shadowscales are awesome.

Jibbs: Oh, yeah, they are. Good stuff. All right. So. All right, Loreseekers, you know, we've always kind of wondered in the back of our minds -- especially since last year since we've been trying to sync up and get you on here with us -- what's a regular day for you? Leamon Tuttle wakes up, clocks in. What is the day at ZOS for the Loremaster?

Leamon: That's one of the crazy questions because it is always, always different. A lot of it has to do with where we are cycle. So basically, when you carry out a chapter, for instance, like Greymoor, start to finish at every phase of development, the writing team is doing something different.

So, at first, I was talking about Greymoor, I was working with Bill and Rich and Jeremy to you know, come up with ideas and pitches for what we're going to do. And then once the rubber hits the road, you start working on actually writing like pitches, the content documents and stuff with the CDs -- the CD is a content designer. So you work with them to try to massage that out and make sure that the story is going to be cool, then you're actually writing different stories. And then after that you're fixing bugs and organizing your scripts and all throughout there you're writing flavor books.

So any day during that cycle, if it's time to organize, you know what's going on with flavor books, I'll be doing that all day. Or if it's time to write dialogue for the quests, I can be doing that. So yeah, it just varies day to day. And especially with the Loremaster thing, because then you're also getting pinged by different teams about, "hey, we're working on this now. What do you think of this? Or, hey, I've got a question about, you know, this new asset that we're working on, does it fit for this culture?" Yeah, it's cool. I mean, it's one of the things about it's always different.

Jibbs: Yeah, it's got it's gotta be refreshing, too.

Leamon: Oh, totally. Yeah. I mean, I've had jobs where you come in and you do the same thing every day and then you leave and that can be a bummer for sure. 

Jibbs: Yeah, absolutely. Now when it comes to managing all the lore, like how does that...? How does that archive? And you know, if you don't answer, that's fine. But how does that work?

Leamon: I mean, we have a ton of documentation in the studio on-- there's a repository called Confluence where there's tons and tons of information. And then there's kind of an internal wiki that we have. We have all the books, we have access to those through the tool. And then there's all sorts of cool stuff that you can look at online too, like the UESP and the Imperial library and stuff that those guys are doing because I mean they're really incredibly diligent. So yeah, there's no shortage of places to look and things to find.

Lawrence, before the game launched, he wrote this... I mean, I don't even know what to... it's like a Codex of like all the races in recent history, ancient history. It's crazy. So you can, yeah, you can get on there anytime and find stuff. And actually, that's another part of my job is trying to get back over that, and update it and stuff.

Jibbs: Really?

Leamon: Yeah. That can be a full time job, updating Confluence.

Kash: I need a copy of that.

[Everyone laughs]

Leamon: I'll let my people call your people.

Jibbs: Oh, that's good stuff. I always wondered though, how you would manage... you know, you're talking 20 plus years of Elder Scrolls, right.

Leamon: It's totally nuts. There's just so, so, so much. Yeah. So it's tough to wrangle sometimes. But yeah, like I said, lots of good internal and external documentation for sure.

Kash: So now talking about that, the information that you have in that repository of information that you have. In the creation of new stories with your team, how much freedom do you guys have? I know you might get like a general direction of where you're going to take a story, but how much freedom do you guys have to create new lore under the umbrella of Bethesda? I mean, do you have much contact with them? For some of the bigger lore pieces?

Leamon: So when we come up with a new pitch for... Well, should I just go through how that works?

Basically, when we're coming up with a new idea, a chapter or a DLC, we'll write up a big pitch document, and have all the major beats and the things that we'd like to do. And we bring that to BGS. And they take a look at it and they say, "hey, this, looks good. Maybe we should massage this or whatever." And then we take it back in house and we kind of noodle around with it a little bit and react to their feedback. They're really cool. They're tremendously receptive to the stuff that we're trying to do. We do a lot of new stuff, to be honest, especially in places like Murkmire and Clockwork, we really got a lot of flexibility there, which we all really appreciate. Because when you're doing something new, you want to be able to stretch a little bit.

Kash: It's very interesting. I've always wondered that with with Bethesda itself. It's like, you would have to work with those... because I would imagine that they have their own loremaster there.

Leamon: Um, I don't think they have that title, but they definitely have people like Kurt [Kuhlmann] and Bruce [Nesmith] and Emil [Pagliarulo], who are guys have been working on it for a long time. A hell of a lot longer than I have. That's one of the cool things about Zenimax generally is that people stick around, right? This isn't like a revolving door, people have been working on Elder Scrolls for this entire time. So you know, there's a lot of guys down there that know their shit really, really, really well and, you know, we'd be idiots not to listen to him.

Kash: Do you think those guys are pissed that your title is way cooler?

[Leamon and Jibbs laugh]

Kash: Just wondering.

Leamon: [Laughing] Are you trying to get me in trouble or something?

Kash: No, no, I'm stating facts sir. [Unintelligible] title I've ever heard in my life.

Leamon: I'm glad you like our game.

Jibbs: You know, theoretically, don't you ever say you're leaving, but you know, if you're ever leave ZOS, it's like, what's your next job? Like, "what were you previously?" "I was a loremaster."

Kash: "Excuse me, what?"

Leamon: My brother gives me a hard time sometimes. He's in web development and I updated my LinkedIn when I got promoted to loremaster. And he was like, "dude, you better hope you never get a job outside of the game industry because you go to an interview and say, "so, Mr. Tuttle, I see you're a loremaster in your previous job, can you tell us a little what that's about?" I think I'm in the game industry for the long haul, basically.

Jibbs: Oh, that's good stuff.

Kash: Alright, so got a little question here for you.

Leamon: Shoot.

Kash: This is kind of off the cuff. You happen to be stuck on a desert island. Hypothetical question. You happen to be stuck on a desert island with a gaming laptop, an endless supply of electricity and an internet connection --but you could only have one game. What game would it be?

Leamon: That's tough man. That's very tough. I would say it would have to be a game with basically infinite replayability, right? Because you want it to be something that you could play for a long time. So, I would say... I got a few. Tetris would be a good one, Terraria would be another good one. Maybe one of the Civ games?

Jibbs & Kash: Oooh!

Leamon: Civ Five? Civ Six? Do you get updates? Can you like get all the DLC as it comes out?

Jibbs: That's a really kickass island. One gig download speeds Leamon.

Leamon: Yeah, I don't know. I would it would probably be... I love Tetris, but it probably... I don't know. Terraria would be very cool. I love Terraria.

Kash: You sure it wouldn't be Sims with the decorating pack?

Leamon: Only only if my wife was on the island too, cause I'm not dealing with that by myself.

Jibbs: That's awesome. That's good stuff. All right, so again I think I know where you're gonna go but maybe I'll be surprised. What's your favorite story in Elder Scrolls lore? It doesn't have to be limited to ESO. Just, you know.

Leamon: Oh boy.

Jibbs: I know, picking your favorite child. I know.

Leamon: If you go outside of our game and stuff it's... is this just specific... this is not just ESO?

Jibbs: Yeah, it's over--

Leamon: 20 plus years of stories.

Jibbs: Yeah. The hard question.

Leamon: God, I honestly, I wouldn't know where to start. I love the Dark Brotherhood quest lines, which is weird cause I never played bad guy in any other game.

Kash: Ah! You're my people!

Leamon: Yeah, I'm always like a super nice guy. And then Dark Brotherhood stuff comes up. I'm like, "yeah, I'm gonna kill him!" That's always fun. I thought the Thieves Guild stuff's really great too.

And, I mean, if we're going to go to our game... I liked Wrothgar. That was a really cool one. Obviously, obviously, Clockwork and Murkmire were great.

Jibbs: Obviously!

Leamon: Self plug. There's too many to get at. Yeah.

Kash: Well, speaking of the actual content that you've written, do you play through it after you write it?

Leamon: I play through it so much when I'm doing it that it's tough sometimes to go back. Because when you're writing a quest, you're doing it over, and over, and over again because you're constantly tweaking, you're gonna change something that wasn't working, whatever. So I eventually get there, eventually kind of take a breath, step away and say, all right, I'm gonna play through it for real. But yeah, it is weird playing through your own stuff sometimes.

Kash: Yeah, I could imagine that would get incredibly critical on yourself just like, "dang it, I knew I shouldn't have put that in that part of that!"

Leamon: Yeah, that's that's something I just have to live with. Because it's like, anytime that you're making something you look back on it and there's gonna be something you hate about it. And that's just life, I think, in making stuff. And you got to kind of make peace with it. Most of the time, it's something that no one would ever see except for you. And nobody would ever notice it but it just pokes you in the eye every time you see it. Luckily we've got a lot of really awesome leadership and Bill is very diligent about reading over stuff. And if there's something that's bad they're gonna let you let you hear about it, so you can fix it before it gets out there into the wild.

Jibbs: All right, there you go. Well, now I want to get to the nitty gritty. There's a lot of people who are here for Greymoor chatter.

Now, I know we're not going to get into spoilers. We're not also not gonna be asking you anything that you already know is coming. So that being said, when it came to Greymoor, how did the brainstorm session regarding the focus of the next big chapter of ESO play out? Did you land on vampires and werewolves and dark undertones we're seeing in the teaser immediately or... just you know, like, how did that formulate?

Leamon: The process for developing stuff like this, it starts at Rich and Matt. So they they say, "what are what are the things that we'd like to explore? Where do we want to go? What are the themes that we'd like to mess around with?"

So they kind of have this mission statement like, "okay, we want to go to kind of a scary Skyrim." Right? And then they send that to Bill. And Bill writes up a bunch of pitches, and he asked for my help, I write a few pitches. We bounce ideas around. And then we show whatever we come up with, we have a few ideas. We show those to Jeremy, who's the content lead, we show them to Rich eventually. And they say, "all right, I like this. I don't like this. You know, can you mess around with it."

Then Bill takes it back. There's a lot of revisions, and then just go back and forth until everybody's happy internally, and then once everybody feels good about an idea, then we show it to BGS, and they take a look at it. It's another thing where they say, "hey, this looks really great. We're thinking maybe we can try something like this," and you have another round of revisions. And eventually you land on what you're actually going to do, like, you know, the main beats. And then we send that to the zone lead.

So, in the case of Greymoor the zone lead is Ed Stark, so we send, "hey, this is what we'd like to do. Here's some some broad beats on how we want to handle it." And then he takes it and again riffs off of it and says, "all right, well, let's try it this way or that way, or, you know, let's add some this or that."

So the document and the the idea goes through so many revisions and so many people are looking at it. It's cool. It's this collaborative thing where everybody kind of has a piece of it and it goes all the way, it keeps going. Like once the zone lead is done looking at it, like when Ed has an idea of how he wants things to go, he sends it to the content designers, and then they do their own thing where they're like, "okay, well, I like this, but you know, it could be taken in a slightly different direction with this character, that character," right? So it's always in flux, they're always coming up with with new and better ideas until, at the end, you got a full thing. So hopefully it's awesome.

Jibbs: What's the timeframe look like for something like that?

Leamon: Oh, man.

Kash: We talk long. Months? Six months?

Leamon: Yeah, talk to one of the producers. It's a while. Sometimes it feels like it goes by like this [he snaps]. And sometimes it feels like an eternity. But I don't remember exactly how many months. It's a while though. It's a while.

Jibbs: I bet.

Kash: Yeah, I can imagine something like that will take a long time from start to finish. I mean, you're taking basically an idea and talking about a new meeting and put it onto a storyboard then talking about that. And then it just evolves--

Leamon: Yeah.

Kash: --from there. It's pretty impressive to see how something could go from start to finish like that, and just go turn out the way it does. It's incredible.

Leamon: It's miraculous, really. I mean, that many people come together and create one thing is... you don't see that very often. Where everybody's work comes together makes a cohesive whole, it's this crazy kind of miraculous thing that happens. A lot of lot of credits producers, they... I don't know if there are any producers listening, but they have a thankless job. They're essential to getting this all to come together. So.

Kash: Oh, you're good. Make everybody happy, it's true.

Leamon: I'm not telling you anything [unintelligible]. Our content producer, Yvonne [Becker] is like force of nature. I don't know what we would do if she wasn't around, it would be a nightmare.

Jibbs: That's awesome.

Kash: That's awesome. That's a big compliment. So we're gonna shift gears here a little bit, but we're still talking Greymoor but specifically, I know there was a system that's coming out that you're definitely excited for. You know we're definitely excited for it. But we just we were wondering if we could hear about the Antiquities system from you and what it is and what exactly Phil's gonna bring to the game for us.

Leamon: Yeah, so, like we talked about it the reveal, it's a system with two mini games involved. So you have a mini game that's scrying where you're looking for some sort of antiquity and then you have one where you dig it all up. [Kash gets up and leaves the room] I scared Kash off. Just ran out of the room.

Jibbs: It's all good. He'll be back. Don't worry about it. He has a bladder of a five year old, trust me. He'll be right back.

[Leamon laughs. After a minute, Kash comes back]

Leamon: Anyway. And that's how it works, Kash.

[Everyone laughs]

Jibbs: Don't worry, man. Don't worry about it.

Kash: I was hoping nobody would notice my...

Leamon: I totally did.

Kash: I had a cat meowing at my door.

Jibbs: Gotcha. We thought it was your bladder crying out.

Kash: Meow!

Leamon: So yeah, antiquities, so there's the two mini games and you're looking for rare historical relics, which is really awesome, that's our bread and butter right? It should be really-- I've been kind of in there at the ground floor, watching the the actual system develop, it's pretty wild going from concept to actual implementation and stuff. It's really cool to watch.

Jibbs: That's cool.

Kash: Okay, so I want to talk a little bit more about the Antiquities system, and most particularly the stories that are surrounding the items.

Leamon: Sure.

Kash: So, these are designed to be... are they designed to be new stories, like new lore, or are we going to focus on lore that already exists within the Elder Scrolls world?

Leamon: So, it's a little bit of both. I mean, these are historic relics. We're going to be referencing a lot of existing lore, you know. So we're going to have, you know, Yokudan relics, Atmoran relics, and Imperial relics from a long time ago, the first Empire and way back, I mean, could go all the way back to, like Altmeri stuff, Ayleid stuff. So we're going to be trying to touch a lot of different parts of Tamrielic history, which is really neat.

But within within that framework there's room to explore new stuff. Like maybe some Khajiiti mythology stuff that nobody's seen before. Some weird Yokudan stuff that maybe nobody's seen before. It's neat. It's all firmly rooted in existing lore, but you get to you get to kind of have some jazz there too, kind of riff off things that may be documented, there's stuff written about it, but we've never actually seen it. So, yeah, I'm super psyched about it. A lot of the concepts are tremendous. And I think people are really gonna dig it, for sure.

Jibbs: Was that in the original design docs, when you were getting the whole concept together for what you wanted in this in this chapter, or did that just kind of come along later, the whole Antiquities system.

Leamon: Oh, gosh, that's that's question for Rich, man.

It's a big it's a big feature from the chapter for sure. And like I said, it's a cool opportunity to really, really dig down deep into the history of Tamriel. I think it offers a lot to a lot of different players.

Because I mean, for folks like me, I'm just in it for finding cool stuff. But if you're into housing, there's housing stuff. There's the one piece sets that you can get to actually wear around, all sorts of things you can pick up, and there's the new motifs. There's there's something for everybody. So I think I think it's gonna be really cool.

Jibbs: That's good stuff. I love how you know something's being added to the game. It doesn't necessarily revolve so much around combat, but it really is going to help rope in other styles of play for a lot of people who, you know, the whole Action combat may not be their thing, but they can still go out and absorb all kinds of good lore.

Leamon: Or maybe action combat is their thing and they just want to take a break there.

Jibbs: Exactly.

Leamon: Sometimes go on and just have kind of a zen activity, just turn on some music and just chill out.

Jibbs: Absolutely.

Leamon: Should be way cool.

Jibbs: Yeah, for sure. Alright, so I want to talk dungeons. So you're the lead writer of the new dungeons. Am I correct?

Leamon: Yeah. The ones that are upcoming?

Jibbs: Icereach and Unhallowed Grave. So talk to me. Can you give us an overview of the new stories we'll see?

Leamon: Uh... [he makes a face] I don't want to spoil stuff.

Jibbs: Without spoiling.

Leamon: Icereach. You're hanging out with.... [he stalls] you know... it's Lyris. [Everyone laughs] To fight off witches in Icereach. Yeah, working on some creepy stuff. And in Unhallowed delving deep into a ruin, to uncover a mystery of old bones and hash that are being hidden away there for reasons that nobody knows.

Jibbs: Ooh, ominous. I like it.

Okay, so, we're just gonna kind of go right off that as a writer of lore in ESO, do you have a favorite type of story to tell? So I'm talking like good versus evil, like an underdog story, or like overcoming some kind of life challenge, or like we saw in Summerset, the loss of a child that separated two lovers. So talk to me, what's your favorite story that you like to produce?

Leamon: I would say it's a tie. I like to write just really goofy stuff. I love writing just funny stuff. So things like the Augur [of the Obscure], and Revus Demnevanni and Heem-jas, like goofy characters who get in over their heads and, you know, suffer for it. I love that stuff.

And then the stuff is on the other side of the spectrum. I like reading, writing, really kind of, like deadly serious deep philosophy stuff, like Sotha Sil and stuff like that, where you can really dig into some really kind of deep ideas, not not just Elder Scrolls ideas, but just ideas generally... philosophers tend to make bad writers.

Jibbs: Gotcha.

Leamon: But it's cool to be able to goof around with ideas that you know, heady and weird.

Kash: This is an off the cuff question, but how much of the Augur of the Obscure did you write?

Leamon: All of it.

Kash: Oh. My. God.

Leamon: Wrote that whole thing.

Jibbs: Nice!

Leamon: Okay, well, I wrote his dialogue. [Content Designer Erik] Bakutis actually did the question implementation.

Jibbs: That's fantastic.

Kash: When you mentioned the Augur earlier I was like, "Oh my god, I wonder how much of that he had a hand in?" Because you're gonna watch chat frickin flip the EFF out right now because the Augur of the Obscure is like one of the most loved things in this game.

Leamon: Yeah. I'm glad to see that. He was super, super fun to write.

Jibbs: That's cool.

Kash: Look at chat. Chat is blowing the hell up. You're a freaking amazing. That was such good writing and so much fun. And everybody loves having that relic in their house and just hitting that thing over and just letting it talk. It's so freakin funny.

Leamon: Thanks man. I'm glad you guys dig it. He was a blast to write. Really funny character.

Jibbs: That's good stuff.

Kash: Okay, so we've kind of hit you with all the super important questions, and now we have something a little special that we normally do when we have a very special guest on the show.

Leamon: I'm psyched. Let's do it.

Kash: This is called our rapid fire round. So we're just gonna feed you questions and then the first thing that pops in your mind, you got to just kind of say what you think the answer is.

Leamon: Okay.

KashThere's only about 10 or 12 is usually the lightning round usually goes pretty darn quick. You up for it?

Leamon: Yup. Yeah, let's do it, man.

Kash: Okay, here we go. Some of them are yes or no some of them you got to answer. First question. Have you ever role played a character in a game?

Leamon: Absolutely. I play D&D. That's all I do.

Kash: [Kash makes a triumphant fist gesture] Oh my God. Could you imagine this guy is your frickin DM.

Leamon: Oh, I'm not the DM. My DM is a super talented guy named Jimmy Merritt. I do enough storytelling, I like to just play in a story when we're playing D&D.

Kash: Sounds like a freaking epic, epic D&D group.

Leamon: We just started an Underdark campaign.

Jibbs: Ooh, that's good stuff.

Kash: That's awesome. All right. Next question, sir. Favorite book of all time?

Leamon: Oh my god. Uh, geez. I like a lot of books.

Jibbs: Kash with all the hard questions tonight.

Leamon: I so, books that were formative for me, I guess, the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu. Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche.

Kash: Bless you.

Leamon: I love Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. Catcher in the Rye. Gosh, what else. Hey, having a brain fart got me on the spot.

Kash: You rattled off...

Jibbs: You nailed it. You're good man.

Leamon: That's it. That's all of them.

Kash: Catcher in the Rye is actually an excellent book. That one I did read.

Leamon: I love that book. Breaks my heart.

Kash: Okay, you may have already answered this one on Twitter today, but we're gonna have your answer just one more time because we love Elder Memes, and they want to know: how many Lean Cuisines can an Argonian fit in its mouth.

Leamon: I already answered this on Twitter! You didn't see it?

Kash: I did see it.

Leamon: I said 40. And then immediately, and then Lady N put it up on the Imperial Library that I said 40 Lean Cuisines and now it's there forever.

Jibbs: Way to go, you made an official lore.

Leamon: I was thinking about it, I just imediately [said] 40, I just did it and then like, thinking about it for a second. Like, that's a lot of Lean Cuisines. That's a lot. And yeah, I figured they like, you know, extend their jaw or whatever, but even then 40 is a lot. I might have to revise it.

Kash: How weighty is that though to know that just from a Twitter post, Imperial library has now made that lore because you said it.

Leamon: Yeah. Makes you makes you very careful.

Jibbs: Choose your words wisely.

Leamon: Yeah, it makes you think you should be more careful.

Kash: We were dying laughing when you answered that question by the way.

Leamon: That's good.

Kash: I love this guy. Okay, next question, sir. Favorite adult beverage?

Leamon: Favorite adult beverage: rum and coke. You watched me drink about 40 of them in Vegas.

Jibbs: It's good stuff.

Kash: Some of these questions may or may not require a quicker response. So if you have something that you have on your mind that you want to say then we're just going to have you say it. So next question, can you give us a Lat/Long location for Aldmeris?

Leamon: I'll have to go confer with my lawyer? Uh, Vulkhel Guard, what are we doing?

Jibbs: I'll take it.

Kash: Well, the Altmer wrote in and they were looking for Aldmeris, so we're trying to help them locate it now.

Leamon: All right.

Kash: Our next question, your favorite pastime aside from gaming?

Leamon: Uh, um, I like to hike. I like to do art. I like to read. I like to goof around with my kids. My son and I are on 1000 piece puzzle right now, which is pretty intense. That's how intense things get at the Tuttle household.

Jibbs: It's good stuff. Father-son time.

Leamon: Yeah, it's good stuff. And like I said, I play D&D with my buddies. Watch movies. Yeah.

Jibbs: I love it.

Kash: Speaking of movies. When you're searching for something to watch on TV, you're flipping around, every once in a while we come to that one movie that we go, "Oh, I pass on this one out." Usually a rerun. What movies that you?

Leamon: I've watched Empire Strikes Back about 50,000 times. I've watched Indiana Jones Raiders The Lost Ark about 50,000 times. Things that approach that, Big Trouble Little China, seen that a million times. Master and Commander Far Side of the World. I watched that way too often.

Kash: Great movie.

Leamon: But yeah, I think Princess Bride, that goes without saying. Well, I think Raiders is probably...

Jibbs: That's good. "Anybody want a peanut?"

Kash: "Anybody want a peanut?"

Ok, I probably know how you're going to answer this next question based off of your last one, but we're going to give it a go anyway. This is a very important question, Mr. Tuttle. All right. Star Trek or Star Wars. Take your time.

Leamon: Oh, Star Wars.

Jibbs: Yeah!

Leamon: I don't have to take my time.

Kash: Rich [Lambert] said Star Trek.

Jibbs: Yeah, that's why he's not on back on the show yet.

Kash: Dear god.

Leamon: No, it's hilarious because like, my friends growing up, we were all huge Star Wars fans and my buddy Jimmy and my buddy Ben, were like secret Star Trek fans and nobody knew. They were like having a secret Star Trek cabal or whatever because they thought we were gonna like kick them out of the group or something.

So later on, when we're in you know-- this is when we were in like Elementary School, then we got into like middle school and high school -- they're like, sharing with us that, "Oh, no, we actually really Star Trek" and I never got into it. And everyone's like, "Oh, you got to watch DS9!" And I watched like one episode and I was like, "I can't." I can't. Another buddy of mine was really into, you know, TNG when we were in college, and I tried. I watched like six episodes that I just, I don't know. I don't know. I'm probably I'm turning off a lot of people right now.

Jibbs: No, please continue. You're doing great.

Kash: This is an Elder Scrolls Online slash Star Wars community, so...

Leamon: Ok, alright, yeah. Long story short. Yes. TLDR I like Star Wars a lot more than Star Trek.

Kash: Awesome. All right, next question. This one's very serious. Do you make your wife call you the loremaster?

Leamon: [Laughing] No! I don't make my wife call me anything.

It's something that we... it's funny. She's a teacher, so she tells people at work that she's married to the loremaster and everyone's like, "what is-- what are you talking about." That doesn't does not compute."

Kash: We have one more question for you. And this one's not really that big of a deal, but we just figured, you know, rapid fire. Whatever rolls off your tongue.

Leamon: Let's do it man.

Kash: What happened to the Dwemer?

Leamon: Oh. [Laughs] And that's the end of the show, folks!

No, I am not at liberty to discuss anything related to that.

Kash: Dang it.

Leamon: Sorry.

Kash: Alright. Looks like we have to get God Howard on the show.

Jibbs: Dang it, Todd.

Leamon: I'll let him know you asked.


Leamon: Argonian history, you know, is the best. Everybody should read more of it.

Jibbs: Why is that? Why do you feel that way?

Leamon: Why do I love the Argonians so much?

Jibbs: Why do you feel there's... do you feel like they're misunderstood? Do you just feel like there's more to it?

Leamon: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I think that we have a lot of... when we were messing with them in Murkmire, I think that we have a lot of Western biases about what constitutes civilized life. We got this idea that, oh, you got to build a house that rocks or you have to build these things that last a long time. I think that's a fundamental misreading what civilization is supposed to be. Argonians, they live the way they do because they want to live. They're not afraid of a radical future where things disappear, things fall apart. And they face that with bravery and grace. And I think that they're super cool. They're absolutely the best.

I keep saying this. I love all of our children. I do. I love them all dearly.

Jibbs: Do you love the Dunmer any less because we enslave the Argonians?

Leamon: Well, you know, yeah, that's that's a bummer. I'm not gonna lie.