Elder Scrolls Online lore is a vast and voluminous thing, encompassing hundreds of in-game books and hours upon hours of spoken words from the previous games in the series. Each race has its own unique history – some of it bloody, some of it humorous, and some of it just plain weird.
We’ve dug up some interesting tidbits for each of the nine playable races in The Elder Scrolls Online. Maybe you’ll find a bit of information that makes you want to play a particular race or explore its homeland – or to steer clear.
Warning: Potential spoilers for those who haven’t played the previous Elder Scrolls games ahead.
All Redguards are natural warriors, but the best of the best are the sword-singers. The best of those were the Ansei, or “Saints of the Sword,” who “wandered the country side engaging in battle, writing wrongs, and seeking to end the strife.”
In addition to being masters of the blade, the greatest of the Ansei could form a sword from the essence of their own spirit: the Shehai, or “spirit-sword.”
If that doesn’t sound like a special racial ability, I don’t know what does!
Throughout much of its history, including TESO‘s Second Era, the Breton home province of High Rock isn’t a unified kingdom. Rather, it’s home to several smaller domains and city-states, as exemplified by the autobiography of King Emeric.
High Rock is home to the Adamantine Tower, the oldest known structure in all of Tamriel, supposedly created by the godlike aedra to discuss small matters like how to make the world.
For my money, “Ancient Tower of the Gods” sounds like a fantastic setting for a dungeon.
Technically, Orcs are elves. Crazy, huh?
The proper name of the Orcish race is “Orsimer.” “Mer” is the suffix for elvish races – or maybe just races with pointy ears – like the Dunmer (Dark Elves), Altmer (High Elves), and Bosmer (Wood Elves).
Then there are the Dwemer, who were the Dwarves, but they’re not around any more. Well, one of them is. Well, half of one of them is…
In any case, if you like playing elves but are tired of the traditional beautiful wizard/archer stereotype, try an Orc. Just don’t call one “Legolas.”
If you don’t hate these guys enough for being asshats in Skyrim, one account from a diplomat in the First Era contains this delightful tidbit:
Great guys, those High Elves…
The weirdest thing about Wood Elves? They practice cannibalism. The weirdest thing about where they live? Their capital city walks around.
Described as the “walking city of trees,” Falinesti had, at the end of the Third Era “rooted itself for the first time in recorded history.” So, in theory, it should still be mobile in the time of The Elder Scrolls Online.
Whether and how ZeniMax will attempt to implement it remains to be seen. It would sure beat having to run back to a city to sell vendor trash or turn in quests… “In Soviet Valenwood, city runs to you.”
Just as there are dozens of breeds of cats in our world, there are 17 breeds of Khajiit, determined by the phases of Tamriel’s two moons when they are born. 16 of them are fairly common, though we’ve only seen a few breeds represented in Elder Scrolls games so far.
The 17th, the Mane, comes about only when both moons are in alignment with each other and, supposedly, a third moon appears.
Not surprisingly, the Khajiit revere the moons, and the potent drug moon sugar – and its refined form, skooma – is like catnip on steroids, driving Khajiit wild with ecstasy. It’s also good in coffee.
The Nords’ distrust of elves – which can be seen in the open racism in Windhelm – dates all the way back to the First Era, when the Nordic city of Sarthaal was the victim of a surprise attack by the elven peoples who had predated the Nords’ arrival.
These events are detailed in the Mages’ Guild quest line in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, but the repercussions should be very evident in TESO, where the Dark Elves and Nords are united under the Ebonheart Pact.
In other words, the Ebonheart Pact should be the most fractious of factions – and it’s not like the Nords have any love for the Argonians, either.
Slavery is a hot-button topic in America, so will we see it in the Dark Elves’ home province of Morrowind?
Slaves were a frequent sight in TES III, though the practice was apparently abolished shortly after the events of that game. The Dark Elves saw slavery as their right, and it was guaranteed by the Armistice with Tiber Septim in 2E 896 – which means it should be in full bloom during the events of TESO, three hundred years earlier.
At most, I think slavery will be relegated to the background of the game, and that we won’t be likely to see the slave pens or hear of the uncommon brutality that was evident in Morrowind. But if they’re going to remain true to the game’s history, ZeniMax can’t eliminate it entirely.
As if being an inhospitable swampland isn’t enough of a deterrent to visiting the Black Marsh, the homeland of the Argonians, there’s also a virulent plague running through it.
One of the very few sets of firm dates we have for the time of The Elder Scrolls Online involves the Knahaten Flu, which is said to have run its course from the years 560 to 603 of the Second Era. TESO starts in the year 582.
The disease killed nearly all non-Argonian peoples in the Black Marsh, and one wonders if this will have an effect on characters traveling to the region. It’s even reported to have spread past Black Marsh, into other regions of Tamriel, so it could be a major storyline for all factions in the game.