Skip navigation

Happy 20th Anniversary, Elder Scrolls!

Two decades ago, a little game named Arena came out for MS DOS, launching a universe now beloved by millions. Todd Howard had this to say in his retrospective

As the years went by the technologies changed, we changed, you changed. But the goal remained the same – to create a game that transported you to another place. A game that fueled you with the ideal of endless possibilities. A world you could make your own.

And make it our own we did. In the twenty years since its creation, Elder Scrolls has changed hundreds (if not thousands, or hundreds of thousands) of lives - one of them my own. 

Happy Birthday, Elder Scrolls! Here's to another twenty wonderful years. 

ESO Book Highlights: Redguards & Hammerfell

Although the Redguards had featured in two earlier games - Daggerfall and the eponymous Redguard - ESO managed to walk the line between reinforcing previously established lore and introduce some of their own. Here are a few of my favorites from our growing collection:

A Betrayal of Our Heritage - Highlighting the strength of the division between Crown and Forbear
The Book of Circles - this famous series, mentioned back in Daggerfall, is a series of battle maxims.
The Lost Islands of Old Yokuda - A poem reflecting on the islands of Yokuda.
Correct Ways of Slaying Ra-Netu - How to lay the undead to rest in a proper manner.
Sentinel, Jewel of the Alik'r - a history of the city. This overwrought, flowery style seems to be the hallmark of this writer (and several Anonymous ones)
Reverence for the Dead - a bit about Redguard funerary culture

This week, I'd like to give a very special thanks to Pilaf the Defiler, our newest Assistant. He's done a great job adding many, many books to the database, and deserves a big round of applause.

For those of you who are more art minded, The Guardian has posted an excellent collection of never-before-seen concept art. 

ESO Book Highlights: Argonians & Black Marsh

The Argonians got a whole lot of new and expanded lore in ESO. Here are a few highlights from our always-growing collection.

The Strange Case of Ja-Reet - how an Argonian is affected by not being connected to the Hist
The Lost Communion - Reawakening one's connection to the Hist using their sap.
Myths and Legends of the Hist - details on Argonian religion and life-cycle
Stormhold, City of Shadowfen - a brief history of Stormhold
A Mother's Nursery Rhyme - A nursery rhyme about losing ones nursery
Argonian Mating Ritual - thankfully PG.

The first two are particularly interesting given the recent revelation on the Hist's motives and the Argonian's many forms - namely, that one can be an "Argonian" without looking like the modern lizard man depiction, as long as one is made by the Hist.

Thanks go out to IceFireWarden for pointing out many of these great books, and to our invaluable Assistants for helping with this enormous task. 

Hero's Guides to 2nd Era Tamriel

Bethesda announced this very cool book bundle for all us lore fans today. Included are three books of all-new, in-world story and art, totaling 274 pages in all.  Here are the books included, along with some very nice PDF preview to get you started:

Kyne's Challenge: A Hunter's Companion Hardcover: bestiary bound in faux-leather, with full emboss/deboss and spot foil on cover and spine. 168 gold gilded pages with a ribbon marker and 156 original illustrations by Brynn Metheney, Roberto Gomes, and David Keen. 

Gathering Force: Arms and Armor of Tamriel: Soft touch fighter's guide with rounded spine, embossed cover, and silver foil on front and back cover. 56 deckled pages with a ribbon marker and 96 original illustrations by Caio Cacau. 

Agents and Reagents: The Bounty of Mundus: Envelope-wrapped alchemical notebook with cord closure and embossed cover. 48 deckled pages with 47 original illustrations by Brynn Metheney. 

You can read more about the collection, or preorder your copy, at the Bethesda Store.

ESO Book Highlights: Maormer & Pyandonea

This week, I'd like to showcase a race that has never before appeared in the Elder Scrolls games: the Maormer of Pyandonea. They play a significant part in Khenarthi's Roost, the starting area of the Aldmeri Dominion. 

Fang of the Sea Vipers - A report on the Maormeri navy threatening Auridon. 
The Chosen People of Aldmeris - the Maormeri's view of their split from the Aldmer.
Treaty of Khenarthi's Roost - a harsh treaty between the island and the Maormeri navy.

In other news, Lady Nerevar (me) was invited as a guest on the ESO Alliance podcast, hosted by Evarwyn of Elder Scrolls Off The Record, Kyle and Josh of Shoddycast, and Andrew of the Tamriel Foundry. We talked at length about the NDA, our predictions for ESO post-launch, and the impact/importance of add-ons. You can check it out right here on youtube.

ESO Book Highlights: Dunmer & Morrowind

Although the province of Morrowind was thoroughly explored in the eponymous game, there are several new books expanding its story. 

Legend of the Ghost Snake - redefines the Magribash, and intriduces a mythical, perhaps Lorkhanic, figure.
Mottos of the Great Dunmeri Houses - Mottos and patron saints, exactly as promised.
The Great Houses and Their Uses - Dealing with the Great Houses, from an outsider's perspective.
A Pocket Guide to Mournhold - a tourist's guide to the city, translating much of what we saw in TES3:Tribunal and will see in ESO into lore terms.
Kwama Mining for Fun and Profit - fleshes out the industry behind these little critters.

As always, make sure to check out the actual Online Books section to see works that we've added thus far. One of my favorite things about these books is the emphasis placed on author bias - if you sort the books By Author, you can see what subject each favors, and what their agenda is. The bickering between Lady Cinnabar of Taneth and Phrastus of Elinhir is particularly amusing. 

ESO Book Highlights: Bosmer & Valenwood

As we continue to add books from ESO, I'd like take a little time highlight some interesting titles the game introduces. This week's feature is all about Valenwood and the Bosmer:

Last of the Old Bones - an interesting myth (referencing the Earthbones?) and Bosmeri burrial customs.
Wood Elf Etiquette - dealing with Bosmer, and a fart joke. 
War Customs of the Tribal Bosmer - just like the title describes, this book deals with warfare among Bosmeri tribes.
Ladies of the Green - brief overview of the "Green Lady," a Bosmeri leader. 
Humor of the Wood Elves - jokes. Awful, awful jokes.

I would also like to thank RottenDeadite and our wonderful new assistants, Jeroic and Myrrlyn, for helping me to sort through and enter all these books. Give them a big round of applause!

Elder Scrolls Online NDA Lifted

The non-disclosure agreement for ESO has been lifted today, meaning that everyone in Beta can now talk about and post screenshots of their experiences with the game. 

It also means that all the books are finally available! For now, you can see them all on the ESOHead wiki - we will be adding them to the library in the coming days.

Head over to the Storyboard if you'd like to discuss the lore or gameplay of ESO, now that we finally can :)

Cartography Update

Over twenty new maps have been added to the Library's Cartography section. Most are regional maps pulled from ESO's interactive map feature. You should totally check that out, by the way - it includes many anecdotes and texts about life in the 2nd era. The other two maps are pulled from the Elder Scrolls Anthology. They are a new map of Tamriel and an updated map of the Iliac Bay. The former features two potentially interesting misspellings: Elinhir as Blinhir, and Jehanna as Jelhana. Both these maps were scanned and given to us by Sage of Ice, so big thanks to him. 

When you're done studying all those, you should take a look at this fascinating thesis by forum user Emily. She writes expertly about the impact of real-world cultures and outlooks on them within Skyrim and RPGs in general. 


New Articles

Two new articles have been added to the Library.

One, titled Genesis because "Monomyth" was already claimed, takes the various creation myths and arranges each part of them side by side to facilitate easy study. We still recommend reading the individual stories, but this format should make it easier to see how they are all different versions of one big story. You can find Genesis in the Religion & Mythology section of the sidebar.

The other article is a compilation of questions and answers pulled from the Elder Scrolls Online knowledgebase. While some of it concerns the game itself, there are several interesting details about the second era in general. You can find it under the Interviews section of the Developer heading in the sidebar. 

Our timeline has also been extensively (though rather subtly) updated, with numerous edits, rewrites, and additions to make it more accurate, better sourced, and easier to read.

If you have comments about these articles or suggestions about anything else, we encourage you to post them.