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Who Are The Deep Ones?

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Gentleman Jim Stacey's picture
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Joined: 10/22/2017

In Oblivion, the quest "A Shadow Over Hackdirt" is one of my favorites. The entire town has been worshipping these underground "Deep Ones" for generations. If you venture deep enough down, you can even hear them. Supposedly they taught the residents if Hackdirt Daedric as well. The question remains, who or what are they? I've heard theories that they are Sload based on the fact that their "Bible" is identical to N'Gasta Kvata Kvakis, which was written by a Sload. However, I'm not convinced. Why would Sload be in Cryodiil, living underground and controlling some backwoods village? What are your thoughts? I'd love to hear them.

If this has been discussed before I apologize, feel free to link me to it and delete this thread.

Tailin Sero's picture
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Joined: 01/25/2014

There are a few theories about the Deep Ones. The most likely is that they are just an Easter Egg making reference to some book. That idea is boring though. I have my own theory that they are the Dwemer, but that's just wishful thinking. Camalworks did a video about them a little while back. You should check it out. I'd share links but I'm too lazy for that at the moment. If you're interested my theory is on the forums here somewhere. If you're not interested then oh well.

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Joined: 01/18/2018

I've always understood it to be a nod to H P Lovecraft and his Cthulhu mythos. The name of the quest "A Shadow over Hackdirt" is a direct reference to his 1931 novella "A Shadow over Innsmouth", which is the book in which the Deep Ones are first introduced. They also worship an entity known as "Dagon" - sound familiar?

Stygies VIII's picture
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Didn't know that! Actually, I'm not surprised with someone being named Dagon, because The Elder Scrolls are inspired by many universes and Dagon is not such an original name, right? But what got me interested is the cult described in the book. Fish-like creatures could be like the Sloads...

Od
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Just like Deraloth was a nod to August Derleth, author of several Mythos books. Lovecraft references and borrowed ideas are all over BGS games. He's one of their few "classic" influences outside Tolkien and some Robert E Howard.

Tailin Sero's picture
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The Lusty Dovahkiin wrote:

But what got me interested, is the cult described in the book. Fish-like creatures could be like the Sloads...

Well, as you know, the Sloads are slug-folk. "Fish-like creatures" would be more like the Dreugh, imo.

Od
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Fish-like describes the Deep Ones. Again, a Lovecraft reference, as was that Oblivion quest for the prior. There's nothing more to it.

Stygies VIII's picture
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Dreugh don't look like fish at all. Sloads are slugs, yes, but they are closer to what Lovecraft described in their looks.

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Joined: 01/18/2018

Indeed. Dreugh in Oblivion are more like insects.

The_White_Guar's picture
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Joined: 01/26/2018

I wrote a thing a bit ago trying to explain the Deep Ones. Considering the copy/paste job of "N'Gasta! Kvata! Kvakis!" into the Bible of the Deep Ones, this is how I reconciled the mystery.
It's one man's opinion, so feel free to take it or leave it.

EDIT: Spelling

Tailin Sero's picture
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geraintwd wrote:

Indeed. Dreugh in Oblivion are more like insects.

I was referring to Sea Dreugh. I should have been clearer. They're more like crab/squid people, though.

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Joined: 01/27/2018

Greetings to all librarians!

I am new here, and this is my first post, so dont go to hard on me [please]

Not knowing too much about the deep ones, my view is that they are a result of necromancy experiment gone wrong, and maybe ldeal masters have something to do with them.

Seals-Her-Lips's picture
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Joined: 09/21/2018

Someone above has already mentioned Camelworks' video, but I'll bring it back, as it has some nice pieces of info on the different theories about the Deep Ones. Most probably the quest itself was just an H.P. Lovecraft easter egg through and through. However, Camel found a funny thing about it, which I tried as well. If you do the quest normally, as soon as you get to Hackdirt everyone will hate you, their social disposition being 5 or below. But if you do the quest as a vampire, suddenly people somehow like you more, some dispositions being even 100. So bearing these in mind, as well as the Bible of the Deep ones being written in Daedric runes, Camel came up with the theory that the Deep ones are Molag Bal's minions.

Proweler's picture
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They are monsters, as are vampires. So they might like you because you are a monster too - rather then a regular human being. And all Monsters are Molag Balls creatures.

Seals-Her-Lips's picture
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Yes, that is right. In H.P Lovecraft's "A shadow over Innsmouth" the villagers are slowly being morphed into Deep Ones themselves. As we know, Molag Bal's sphere of influence is the domination and enslavement of mortals, as well as the harvest of mortal souls, which he achieves by spreading seeds of strife and discord, and it is said that the Imperial Legion had to burn Hackdirt down and kill its inhabitants due to recent disappearances and murders. It makes perfect sense that the Deep Ones are some of Molag Bal's lesser daedra messing with some isolated villagers.

Tailin Sero's picture
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Correct me if I'm wrong but don't the villagers in A Shadow Over Innsmouth worship a being called "Dagon". If so, I think that would be too good of Bethesda to pass up on and have the Hackdirt people be associated with Molag Bal instead.

Also, don't you get a Speechcraft buff as a vampire? Also, if anyone has the means could they check out the Hackdirt villagers in the Construction Set and see what factions they have listed (specifically the undead faction)? That may also affect their dispositions towards vampires.

Seals-Her-Lips's picture
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Well, as I have stated above, the quest may just be an easter egg itself. You are right about Bethesda not passing up on the fact that the villagers' deity is called Dagon. The quest does take place during the Oblivion Crisis, when Mehrunes Dagon was spreading gates and daedra all over Tamriel, so the historical context suits the quest as an easter egg. However, when trying to come up with a theory based on the game's lore, we have to point out that Dagon's minions are, of course, Daedra. If what you say is true and the Brethren are listed as undead, it would make perfect sense that their social disposition is better towards vampires. They are both undead, and undead are monsters. Molag Bal is the Prince of the enslavement of mortals, the Father of vampires and maybe the patron of the undead (which enslavement could be worse than serving in death?).
As to the speechcraft buff, I've been doing some research and found nothing about it. You do get some sort of charm spell once you reach a certain phase of vampirism, but apart from that I feel like normal people actually hate you as a vampire.
I'm open to corrections, of course, this is just my theory on the matter.

Tailin Sero's picture
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I may have already linked this here before, but here's my own theory about the Deep Ones.

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For my part, Hackdirt is just an "I understood that reference!" moment without serious tamrielic substance on itself (much like a predecessor to ESOMW's horrible Scarlet Judge quest). But then Hackdirt does not try to grasp HPL's writing either and is mostly just a typical lovecraftianism, a pattern and known staffage, obviously not a meditation on what his stories really aim for ... It's something in between and kind of unsatisfying at both ends. 

Tamriel's HPL elements are sometimes nicely implemented into an overall aesthetic (the weirdness of TESIII Morrowind with a dead god dreaming and the strange statuettes of his cultists, the tentacled Dagoth creatures and the "non-euclidean architecture" of daedric shrines), sometimes quite hidden (R'leyh in the Dragon Break book), sometimes all-too obvious (Hermaeus Mora's TES II appearance, a copy-paste of the Great Race of Yith until they changed it in TESV) - and sometimes quite random and interchangeable (Hackdirt). 

Let's also not forget Call of Cthulhu, which is great and fun on itself, but suggests (in the vein of Derleth) a certain taming of the original writings in favor of mythology-building, ordered systems and known set pieces. It's a fate that many classics share (and in this case maybe not nearly bad as the uncountable Tolkien epigonisms, but still). Long story short, I think that some quest writer just came up with a small lovecraftian Call of Cthulhu tribute (Pen&Paper or PC), named it Hackdirt and placed it near Chorrol for no better or worse reason at all.

(Ok, if we really want to lore this, my vote goes to some sloadish thing ...)

Seals-Her-Lips's picture
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Joined: 09/21/2018

But loring it is so much more fun!

Bibliophael's picture
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Dagon has very little to do with our Mehrunes Dagon.

Od
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I like that vampire easter egg. Actually, I was thinking about playing this game vanilla, and combing over it for everything one last time.

Cursegrind's picture
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Well, if the lore holds true to what it is trying to be than the Deep Ones are the fish men we encounter in Solstheim. Deep ones are from Lovecraft, and the direct translation of those monsters in Tamriel are the fish-man servants of Hermeas Mora you encounter at when cleansing the shrines or visiting Apocrypha.