Okay, so the first matter up for debate is the fanfic. I know it’s progressing slowly, but I’ve run into a bit of a snag in regards to the followers I want to feature. I’m still awaiting answers on history of two of the followers, and yes, they’re custom, and yep, I’m totally giving the links on the fanfic when I introduce them. I’m also listening about the chatter about new resources to place into the mod I’m editing for personal tastes and will be featured in the fanfic, however the changes will not be for download as the original mod author is still brainstorming on placing these things into the mod, and I’ve been keeping tabs with that. These are the modders in which still has me going to the Nexus. If they weren’t there, I certainly would be where they are. They’re very kind, grateful for downloads, and very humble people. I love them and their creations dearly as it’s not just playability or availability of troubleshooting with them, it’s also that they push the envelope in regards to things vanilla. (Other than DLC of course which sometimes is needed). To them, half of this fanfic wouldn’t be possible. I ❤ yew gaiz and thank you for putting up with my incessant barrage of emails of ideas, questions, concerns, and mindless chatter. To me, you are the reincarnation of the modders that existed on Planet Elderscrolls. I hope to see your work by you on there someday. 😀
And now to the blog. I was surfing WordPress blogs about Skyrim. I came across one called “withchristianeyes”. Now, before I start off picking this apart, let me just warn people who may be heavily religious, to not take this personally. I’m a Pagan, I respect your beliefs, but some of these things I have to address and I’ll address them as amicably as possible without going into tangents. For my readers, here’s the blog post in which I’m replying to: http://withchristianeyes.wordpress.com/2013/01/21/on-skyrim-a-vent-from-a-christian-parent-a-mom-who-plays/
So the first post talks about the game, the lore, which WithChristianEyes, you got most right, however to explain how Talos became to be a god and the worship of Talos was not banned by the Imperials or the High Elves themselves, rather it was the Aldmeri Dominion. Talos was a man ordained into a god by reverence. Not by divinity. Talos is called a ‘mortal god’. Talos (his birthname and deity name) was born in Atmora (mainly Nordic) and then traveled to Skyrim when old enough where he learned the ancient art of the as well as the strategies of war from the chieftains there. He led the invasion of Old Hrol’dan, taking it back from the High Rock Witchmen and was his earliest military victory. Soon after storms grew, foreshadowing about the Greybeards about to speak. He traveled up their mountain that they called home and met with them as nearby villages were evacuated. The Greybeards took off their gags and spoke his name, causing the world to shake. They also predicted that he would one day rule, but he would have to go south to do so. (Paraphrasing the wiki by the way.)
He later became a general of the Colovian Estates under King Cuhlecain. He later met with the combined army of Skyrim and High Rock who were against the King and after a demonstration of his Thu’um, Skyrim’s army had allied with him because they knew him to be the son of Skyrim. The Bretons from High Rock however, didn’t and Talos was nearly killed by a High Rock Nightblade who slit his throat and managed to kill the King. Talos could no longer use the Voice, however continued to command Tamriel with a whisper. He took the Cyrodilic name Tiber Septim, as well as “Ysmir, the Dragon of the North”, the Nordic Name of Kings. So the Nords worship him as the Son of Skyrim, the man who brought Cyrodiil and finally all of Tamriel together. Hence why they revere him as one of the Nine Divines. A mortal god. A man revered so much, that they made him one of the Divines. The Aldmeri wanted him removed because they think 1) they shouldn’t revere a man as a deity and 2) because they wanted to damage the morale and control the Imperials. Hopefully this clears up the question of lore in regards to Talos and how he became to be a mortal god.
Now for the second thing. In regards to ‘bad characters’. I’ve been playing RPGs since I could talk. I’ve played DnD tabletops since I was a wee little boy (started at 6), and when Neverwinter came out, I was on their roleplaying servers playing both good and evil characters alike. The thing with this is one has to remember; it’s a game. Just because someone plays an evil character doesn’t make them inclined to be a bad person. It’s teaching kids from right and wrong is where this comes into play. Right now with my fanfic, I’m playing a darker character, but he’s not really all that evil. He’s cocky, he’s brazen, he’s witty, and he’s decisive. He thinks on his feet and plays speed chess constantly in his head. But what would be deemed evil is how he experiments with Necromancy. Now I’m not going to spoil things yet as there’s a reason why he experiments with both Necromancy and Alchemy, and granted it probably couldn’t happen canonically. But what I hope to accomplish is how it drives him. He has a goal. But he won’t hesitate to off someone who stands in his way, he won’t hesitate to steal to survive. But with characters that I’m introducing into Skyrim are put in to potentially sway him from doing these things. This is why it’s an RPG.
I’ll give another example about some of the evil characters I’ve played. I used to play on Neverwinter Nights multiplayer servers a lot. Especially the RPGs. I was playing in a modern horror survival mod, with zombies, and I was catching up on a lot of the soap operas I loved watching with my mom as a kid. One character in particular, was Sheila Carter. I loved her story so much. I loved how scary she was. So, I brainstormed and made someone similar. A reason for her being bad, though, was key. See, it’s one thing to do bad things in a game in with roleplay. It’s another to show WHY they’re bad. It often drives for a thicker storyline and possibly even rehabilitation in a sense of the matter down the line. But rehabilitation only goes so far in regards to triggers, giving them emotion, giving them that life they need to run through the pages of a book or in the cyberworld, run around your screen. I played this villain, and I enjoyed playing her. Not because I was doing bad things, but because I could see the reactions of other players. She would make them think twice, but she’d also help them when the undead were about to devour them. Which was a big thing for my character. It was all about the roleplay. It encouraged me to make her do things in such a way it scared other characters, but their players behind them were wanting more. Playing bad isn’t bad. Sometimes it’s compelling to see what effect it has on the story. Just like physics, each and every action has an equally opposite reaction. Sometimes it just takes longer for those actions to catch up.
Now the third thing, I’m going to quote you on this:
The problem with Skyrim is that it is made by a corporation seeking the largest possible market (the Elder Scrolls series did not start out this way, and previous games were more specifically moral).
Now I’ve played all the games, their spinoffs, to me they were about the same. Not in regards to gore or any of that, but for instance Morrowind, to literally advance in a quest you had to undress your character down to your skivvies. What’s worse, is the guy that makes you do that, is INCREDIBLY flamboyant. As a gay man, he scares the rainbows out of me. In Oblivion, in the Shivering Isles, you had Sheogorath, the Daedric Prince of Madness. I don’t mean this to be vulgar in any way, but with seeing how eccentric (for the lack of a better term) he was, I could see him eating a baby while reciting nursery rhymes. That’s not beyond him. If you attacked him, he’d teleport you high in the sky, where you freefall to your death on his altar. That to me isn’t very moral. Daggerfall had the image of a naked woman in it. Arena, was probably the tamest of them all, but mostly irritating because the game kept getting harder and people complained of not being able to leave the first area. But they were not specifically moral. Not in regards to consumerism and the developing engines throughout the years. Thus showing that not only am I a gay pagan, but I’m a nerd as well. Or a geek. I’m not so sure anymore. Anyways! Moving on!
This next part I’m going to quote you as well on:
While the Dovahkiin – your character, the Dragonborn – is SUPPOSED to be a good SAVIOR type of figure, the player can choose to do all kinds of evil things.
This is where many will correct you. Just because in the main quest of the game, you’re playing a hero, doesn’t mean that you’re perfectly good and just. Prime example? Darth Vader. He saved his son from being killed by Emperor Palpatine in the last installment of the Star Wars films in regards with the Skywalker Saga. Just because you’re defeating an evil make you good, just as defeating a good doesn’t make you evil. It’s about the balance of applicability of both parts respectively. The lyrics of The Dragonborn, they’re talking about the Dragonborn freeing them from the destruction of The World-Eater. They can still be evil and still have that honor.
Then you talk about the Thieves Guild and compare it to Robin Hood, while you’re semi-correct, there are contradictions with that statement. In previous installments of the series, you didn’t take from the rich and give to the poor. You just stole things in hope that you wouldn’t get caught. Skyrim brings a more interesting feature, which you can potentially usurp Blackbriar’s ties if you CHOOSE to, however she doesn’t control the Thieves Guild itself. Rather it’s the Nightingales.
Then you go on about the Dark Brotherhood. Playing Morrowind and it’s expansion Tribunal, the Dark Brotherhood has always been about assassins, as well as the Morag Tong and then you had the crime syndicate, The Camonna Tong. Each involved with assassination, stealing, and what not. Completely different than the Thieves Guild. Despite Blackbriar’s involvement with both factions, they can’t be compared.
Now we go into vampires, which have existed in the game since it’s first installment Arena, however they make the player contract vampire diseases. I don’t think it’s possible (as I’ve not played it extensively to even try as the game even frustrates avid gamers like myself), however I may be wrong. I know this for sure, vampires have always existed in The Elder Scrolls series. If people want to play as the creatures of the Night, they can. I know in Daggerfall, you could become a vampire. Did I? Nah. It was almost equally as frustrating to play as the first game, but I digress. The point is, vampires, some people play them, some people even cure themselves of vamprism, but one thing is for certain, it’s pretty much a role playing element. Not a core one. Now in regards with Dawnguard? You can go on either side, and even be cured. I understand why you’re icky about it, but I hate to quote the incredibly awful movie, but as the meme itself is; What do they eat? Or rather drink? Blood. Humanoid blood in that of the mythos to The Elder Scrolls.
Now I’m moving on to your post about Lycanthropy and I need to quote you on this so my readers can understand why I’m bringing this up.
Werewolves and the Companions. Being a werewolf in Skyrim can be only a matter of being stronger once a day, but there is the option to feed off of a human (cannibalism) in order to maintain the form a bit longer.
One of the things that has been massively studied throughout most of the series is this. For one is when Morrowind brought it in through Bloodmoon. In regards to Hircine, in which in the Companions quest of Skyrim, Hircine hunts Lycanthropes and those in which are to participate in something called The Great Hunt. Lycanthropes aren’t considered as cannibals. In order to gain perks (I’ve played the quest extensively with Dawnguard installed) you have to eat the hearts while in Beastform and adds 50 health points plus an additional 30 seconds of howling around as a werewolf. This really doesn’t make it cannibalism as you’re a werewolf. Etymology and culturally speaking, when a person is to supposedly transform into a wolf (werewolf), they take on it’s mind and body. This isn’t cannibalism, it’s just how the design of it works. Even various ancient cultures who believed in werewolves or something similar, that when it would devour the heart, it would take on the victim’s strengths. Only IN human form would it BE cannibalism, which I’m not going to deny that there IS cannibalism in the game (Namira’s quest), however it has major ramifications and most only complete the quest to have the artifact to stash somewhere in their home. I’ve done it, I know many on the Nexus that does that. Doesn’t mean you have to agree with it and it doesn’t mean you have to do the quest, but a lot of the grievances I seen in this wordpost, is things that are deemed taboo in modern day culture, and I can understand why, but when you really get down to it, while The Elder Scrolls has many similarities in regards to culture, it’s not just modern culture. Rather they’re taking both historic and modern cultures, and making it interesting enough that if it entices people to learn about our real world cultures, that they have a background of handling the culture in the sense of what is modern culture, and what is historical culture.
Then you go on with this:
A problem with this, however, as with the evil groups and quests in Skyrim generally, is that the player must choose not to do a lot of available game play. As an adult I’m not very tempted to join the evil groups and do evil things, but for a lot of young people these might be tempting (especially in the presence of peer pressure). I do think Skyrim has A LOT going for it compared to other games: visual and musical beauty, complexity (good luck trying to decipher all the purposefully conflicting books and dialogue regarding the history and religion of not only Skyrim, but that of the continent it’s on, Tamriel), historical and mythological aspects, etc. As a Christian parent, I think it’s OK for older kids to play as long as the parent(s) knows about the game and is at least somewhat involved with their kid’s gameplay.
I have to strongly disagree with you here. Much of the game is randomized, not to mention the fact that many quests have different outcomes on what you chose. Going back to the earlier point of evil and good; Who saved Luke Skywalker from Palpatine? Vader. He was as bad as they get. Just because someone plays the bad side of quests doesn’t mean that they’re going to be pressured into doing these things in real life. If I were to do some of the things that my character will be doing in my fanfic… Only way I could do it in real life is through LARPing, which… I hate LARPing. For those who don’t know what that is, it’s Live Action Role Play. For an example of LARPing, here’s a video.
If I were to do this on the street in real life, that would get me horrendously laughed at, I used to do LARPing, though in Dagorhir, which got me exercise as well as training with some of the mundane weapons used in many medieval/fantasy games. That part was fun, but being in character? Nah. Not my style.
You also say this earlier in your post:
I think the Gildergreen quest is actually a good lesson in deciphering information and choosing to do the better thing. Skyrim is full of mental and moral exercises such as the Gildergreen quest
Well, yes and no. I won’t hint at any spoilers in the main quest, however when it comes time to kill a certain NPC and you don’t want to, you begrudge a leader of a faction. There are fixes for it for the PC version, but this is what The Elder Scrolls is, decisions and how your character evolves through those decisions. This is what a RPG does, or rather supposed to do. But it doesn’t mean that if a person decides to play a character that does bad things in the game, that it encourages it. That’s the social stigma of much of the media today. People who listen to Marylin Manson or Cradle of Filth get called Satan Worshipers. As a Pagan, I listen to these bands, but I also listen to Enya, Sarah Brightman, Epica mashes symphonics (classical and choir) in with metal, I listen to Il Divo, and I can’t get ENOUGH of soundtracks of movies and games. But in the town I live in, if I show one hint of liking to groups like Cradle of Filth, I must be a devil worshiper. There’s no devil in my path, nor is there any deity either. It’s why it’s my path. It’s a personal movement. When I was a Christian, that’s what it also taught me, is that no two (no matter how similar they may think) people believe alike. It’s why religion is a personal movement and why there’s so much trouble in today’s society. We haven’t learned that lesson yet. Games like The Elder Scrolls helps us identify these problems subconsciously and recognize how to rectify them in the sense of right and wrong. Some people see my practice as wrong, others don’t mind. Now that’s not talking about the acts of violence. Every thing has a violent side, but the point I’m trying to make here is that, it’s a game. A game that has similarities to our reality. While one could try and argue that it has sway over reality, I can argue that it’s a socially stigmatized element created by people who are ignorant (not saying that you are, but this is our world as a whole of MANY religions) on what is taboo and applying morality to the taboo.
In closing.. When I first started playing The Elder Scrolls games, it was the first time I actually was enticed by a video game to learn about the cultures of our world, the society we live in, and how things have changed. That to me, says a lot about the game in regards the market. Hardly any others come up to par with the interactions, the story, and the feel that compelled me to go out and learn about the world we live in. I’ve seen some of your other posts (which I’ll have replies to a few) and I see you making comparisons, which I think is a good thing despite if they’re correct or not. That’s exactly what The Elder Scrolls has been trying to do. I highly recommend playing through the other games and watching these similarities. Especially Morrowind. It goes into GREAT detail and the story is phenomenally well put together in regards to religion and how modern religions (not singling any religion out because A HECK OF A LOT do this) will demonize an act or a path. Religious paths should be solitary as well as be walking in unison in a friendly manner rather than all these different religions fighting for who’s right or wrong. That’s what I get from these games. The lesson behind them all, playing them from the first and to now.