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So why is it that when you're fleeing for your life during Alduin's attack, you're are completely incapable of picking up a weapon, looting the dead guards for armor, or doing anything terribly useful or productive? It could be that the sequence is incredibly scripted from start to finish, and any deviation from the rails set before you could shatter it like spun glass... or it might have something to do with the fact your hands are still tied up.
Boots, which can be enchanted to boost one and two handed weapon damage. At first this seems odd, but once one learns of Kinetic Linking (a technique used by almost all martial arts in real life. See this video for more details.) it makes perfect sense.
The mudcrabs from Morrowind look different from the ones in Skyrim because the scenery is different, so the mudcrabs have to change how they look to fit their environment for camouflage.
Why are there no mer children? As in, why do we not see Orc, Khajiit, Argonian, Bosmer, Dunmer, and Altmer children?
Argonians are presumably cold-blooded, thus why we see few adult Argonians in Skyrim. Argonian parents may not want to bring their kids to such a harsh environment.
There are at least as many Argonians as there are Khajiits, and none of them seem to complain about the weather. It's not impossible to say they could be endothermic (ie warm-blooded).
Khajiits aren't even welcomed into Skyrim's cities, so why would Khajiit parents subject their child to this treatment?
Elves live a long time, anywhere from a few centuries to a few millenniums, so the younger-looking elves may very well be 'children' in elven years even though they're adults in our eyes.
Orcs? Probably the same as the Khajiits.
Orcs have their own strongholds in Skyrim, which are basically family units, so its odd we don't see kids in them. On the other hand, orcs are a type of elf, so maybe that applies.
Orcs live shorter lives than Men, iirc.
Orc chieftains are the only ones permitted in strongholds to have wives or children.
And each orc chieftain has at least two wives, if not three. They should have a few kids running around.
I think I've figured out why some guards seem to follow Sithis after you've completed the Dark Brotherhood, yet still attack you when you attack them: They do not follow Sithis at all. They're only saying "Hail Sithis" because they're likely thinking, "Okay, if we just tell him/her what he/she wants to hear, he/she won't try to kill us."
The rightmost skill in each of the Fighter, Mage, Thief categories in the skill perk constellation screen is a skill in one category, but may be highly useful in the archetype purview directly to the right; Alchemy is in the Thief purview but is often also a Mage discipline, Enchanting is useful for Warrior types who want magic effects but not spells, and Archery gives warriors range power otherwise available only to Mage ranged casts, but is also useful for the Thief purview since you can strike hidden from afar.
It actually goes both ways - the leftmost of each branch is highly useful to the left one as well: smithing is great for mages who want to make their own equipment instead of buying it, same as enchantment; light armor is a perfectly legitimate substitute for heavy armor that warriors can wear; and illusion would be highly useful for sneaking.
After playing this for a while, you may notice that you can't fast travel to any of the Hold capitals, even though you know where they are, but in Oblivion, you not only knew, but you could fast travel to the main cities. I wondered this for awhile, until I realized: You're coming across the border into Skyrim. Who knows how long you have been in Cyrodill for, perhaps never once going into Skyrim. That only accentuates the fact that this is an unknown land to the player. Kudos, Bethesda.
That, and there's the other, teensytiny bit that the entire province would be under *martial law*, and asides from the regular troubles regular overland travel of that scope likely broke down, what with the fighting and the searches the two sides would logically have to search for and stop any unwanted guests. Which by extension forces the player to actually get in the hard way. After all, if fast travel was enabled for the Hold capitals and the like, what'd prevent a card-carrying and *well known* member of the Legion from walking up to Ulfric's doorstep for whatever reason (ditto with a Stormclock in the areas under Imperial control). Even at the hight of the Oblivion Crisis, it was always characterized as an external invasion with the help of a handful of quislings from the Mythic Dawn, and by and large anybody with a pulse was welcome. The Civil war in Skyrim's a good old fashion war in Mundas, and so there's far more incentive to take security precautions against infiltrators.
One thing that's raised a few eyebrows is the way the Smithing perk tree works. Dragon Armor requires a Smithing skill of 100 to forge, even though it's statistically inferior to Daedric armor, which only requires 90. Turns out there's probably a good reason for this: because dragons are so rare in Tamriel and have only recently begun to appear in mass numbers, hardly any smith has any experience working with dragon bones and scales! The most recently known case of such an armor was the Dragonbone Cuirass forged near the beginning of the Third Era, about 600 years before the events of Skyrim. Your character needs to effectively invent the technique himself, and to do that, he needs to be a master smith!
Though on a more technical viewpoint, there are only a handful of Ebony veins and much fewer Daedra for hearts, while you can get from four to six pieces of dragon spoils per dragon, and they are very plentiful.
If you're having trouble finding enough ebony the Gloombound Mine in Narzulbur (orc stronghold SE of Windhelm) has about 20 ebony veins and yields enough ore to craft and fully upgrade a suit of ebony armour with ingots to spare.
For heavy armor, yes, Daedric armor is superior. However, Dragon Scale armor, the light armor version, is superior to Glass armor, the greatest light armor before the aformentioned Scale armor.
It may seem silly when you learn to shout that your character would yell "*insert shout here*!" to unleash the attack, but once you meet the Greybeards this all makes sense. Your character gains a dragon voice but lacks the dragon language to use it. You are exactly like a young baby discovering his voice and babbling incoherently while trying to mimic the adults. Your voice gains power and precision as you learn to speak properly.
It's similar to how a parrot can mimic the voices and language of humans, but have no concept of what it means.
It's rather confusing at first, in both Skyrim and Oblivion to find that Skooma has no negative effects on the player when used. That is, until you meet an Argonian fisher in Riften who needs a healing potion to break the crippling habit the drug causes. No wonder PCs never get addicted to Skooma — they drink healing potions like mead.
Rather oddly, Morrowind established that a) skooma is a very old drug, b) it is widely known that there is no cure for skooma addiction, c) the cure that is presented emphasises that there is no miracle cure or potion to take. Presumably, someone in those 200 years found that both Confessions of a Skooma-Eater and the Khajiit were wrong, and it is as simple as taking a (healing) potion.
Or possibly, somewhere in the intervening years, a cure for Skooma addiction was discovered/developed, and standardized as an additive to healing potions to keep Nirn from becoming overrun by Skooma-fiends.
Skooma is a Khajiit drug. Khajiit are rare in Skyrim. Note how often drugs in Real Life get mixed with all manner of crap, when there is little of the pure stuff around, and it's prohibited. Simply, skooma in Skyrim is very low quality, mixed with stamina potions or anything else, and this is why its effect is much weaker than in earlier games.
Listen to the bards in different cities and you might notice that the pro-Stormcloak song, The Age of Opression, is completely identical to the pro-Imperial song, The Age of Aggression, just with the operative words changed to support one side or the other. Somewhere in Skyrim, a bard is a master troll.
Further fridge brilliance, when you go to the Bards' College in Solitude you learn that they are essentially the historians of Skyrim, passing on that history through song. The leader of the college says he doesn't find the war very interesting, because political leadership changes all the time and in a few centuries nobody will remember Ulfric or anyone else, and that the return of the dragons is the real big deal. Basically, the bards half-assed the songs about the war because they don't care about it, while the Dragonborn got his own original song because he's more historically significant.
Mercer Frey gets through doors that need keys despite not having the keys himself - he even picks open an ancient Nord puzzle door that would normally require a special sculpted dragon claw. Well, he's the Guild Master of Thieves, and so it's just plot-related NPC superpowers, right? Wrong. He's using the Skeleton Key, and ensures you don't find out by tossing off remarks about the locks just "having a trick" to them that you're too inexperienced to know.
Karliah (a Nightingale) turns invisible when she's cornered by Mercer Frey (also a Nightingale). Brynjolf finds himself unable to resist attacking Karliah when the three of your confront Mercer Frey. Then later as a Nightingale, you are given the choice of three powers. Two of those match the ones you've seen the surviving Nightingales use: Agent of Stealth was used by Karliah, while Agent of Subterfuge was used by Mercer Frey. Presumably Gallus was the Agent of Strife.
Mercer has all three. He casts the absorb health on you during the battle, and will constantly go invisible. It makes sense when you realize the Key unlocks potential.
The battles in the Civil War questline are disorganized melees involving a few dozen participants that don't much resemble the massed-formation fights of real medieval warfare. This is, of course, due to engine limitations... But then you remember that this is a setting in which battlemages and Voice users can kill dozens of men at once with area-of-effect attacks and god-like champions could wipe out an entire army if too many troops were committed to a single attack. It might very well be that this is just how war is conducted in Tamriel.
Dark Ages warfare was actually quite similar to that of Tamriel. If one considers that civilization probably took a setback from the Oblivion Crisis and all of the other events that took place, one can assume that this change in warfare style is due to regression to barbarism.
Or Skyrim is just like that in the first place.
According to a book in-game on the Elder Scrolls, there are four kinds of Elder Scroll readers: The first, completely uninitiated, who just see a weird chart with formations that resemble stellar constellations. The second, which knows just enough about reading the Scrolls to know what they mean but lack the training to receive it, are struck blind immediately, and might have received some fragment of past, present, or future insight from the Scroll. The third are the properly learned readers, usually Moth Priests, and have their eyesight decay over time while they take in a much more controlled form of the knowledge within the Scroll. The fourth are those who have had their Penultimate Reading, where they divine that their next reading will be their last and they'll be permanently blind. So... what category does the Dragonborn go in? At first, it seems that it'd be a combination of Category 1 and 3: the Dragonborn does not receive any special knowledge, but nonetheless temporarily loses his/her vision. Why this strange effect? Simple: the book only takes mortal readers into account. The Dragonborn is a mortal that has the soul of a creature that exists outside of time.
Actually, it's quite simple how the Dovahkiin is able to read the Scroll without major side effects. According to The Other Wiki individuals whom are cosmically-important or those who are part of the Scroll's prophesies are able to read it without permanent damage.
The version of the Ebony Blade found in the game is a mess compared to the version found in Oblivion. It is classified as a two-handed weapon and increases the Two-Handed skill, yet it is governed by the One-Handed skill and perks. Killing your friends is supposed to restore the Blade, yet the only thing that changes after hitting the requirement is that it the Drain Health enchantment is stronger. The weapon's overall damage for being made from Ebony is crap. Even after maxing One-Handed to 100 and taking the increased damage perks from said skill tree still makes it crap compared to some of your other equipment. You can't reinforce or sharpen it period, even with the Arcane Smithing perk. Some fans are either confused or in a minor uproar due to this. Mephala hirself tells you after enough kills that the blade has reached it's former glory, but not that it has reached it's full potential. The damning thing? Said Daedric Prince is the God of Lying and Deceit. The Ebony Blade is supposed to be this shitty and convoluted to the player in the meta. In the lore, its wielders are ultimately deceived into driving themselves insane by massacring their closest friends and relatives in a bogus attempt to make the weapon reach its "full potential".
Many have called the Khajiiti hypocrites for conforming to the exact negative stereotypes they're complaining about. But who's to say that the ambient atmosphere of racism and distrust didn't actually chase off all of the honest Khajiit to begin with?
Alternatively, the conditions forced on them are so awful that their lives actually improve by embracing their stereotypes.
The same goes, arguably more so, for the argonians, know mostly as thieves and bandits as well.
Cicero being able to fight the rest of the Dark Brotherhood may come off as a basic Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass moment, but his journal reveals that he's an exceptionally skilled assassin to begin with, and lore states that being appointed Keeper is a process overseen by the Black Hand. The Keeper is also supposed to protect the Night Mother's body, so it stands to reason that the Black Hand would appoint one of their most skilled assassins for the job.
Why does the Dark Brotherhood never show up to answer Aventus Aretino's Black Sacrament? Simple, no listener to learn of it from the Night Mother. Adults would know well enough to try contact the assassins in a more personal manner, but Aventus is a child so he'd be more inclined to believe the old tales on how to summon the Brotherhood.
But the notes you find on assassins' corpses say "someone has performed the black sacrament."
Though this can be explained by the assassins simply picking up rumors of someone performing the sacrament. Aventus' attempts to contact the Brotherhood hit the rumor mill pretty early in the game. Presumably this is also how Astrid finds you after you steal the Brotherhood's kill.
Yep. Maven Black-Briar performed the black sacrament in secret behind a locked door in her basement. Thus no one knew she had done it. You can find a note in the room complaining that she'd performed the sacrament weeks earlier, and it was unprofessional that no one had yet shown up.
Apparently, Astrid will tell you this after Cicero arrives, if you talk to her about it.
That's how I understood it as well. Astrid basically tells you that they get their hits through word-of-mouth and second hand contact but keep people believing that it was their magical ceremony that summoned them. Then Cicero shows up with the real Night Mother, Astrid gets all bent out of shape, and things go all wonky from here.
Why doesn't Emperor Titus Mede II fear the Dark Brotherhood and takes his own inevitable assassination in stride? He's Lucien Lachance.
When creating your character, scars mostly go on the left side of the face. Most people in Skyrim are right-handed, and so any blow struck by them would inflict wounds which then leave scars on the left side of their opponent.
The reason the Khajiit traders aren't allowed in the city, but a Khajiit player is, is because the player isn't offering people skooma or moon sugar. (And if they are, no one's caught them yet.)
Having a bounty equal to assault placed on you just for killing a chicken seems like Disproportionate Retribution but it makes sense when you consider Skyrim's setting. In our own world stealing or killing someone else's livestock used to be a pretty serious crime, to the point where as little as a century ago it could be punishable by death.
It also makes sense if you consider the fact that livestock was often thought of as family in Ancient Rome.
The possible reason why so many things have changed between Oblivion and Skyrim: Mehrunes Dagon is the Daedric prince of, among other things, Change. So his plans to take over Tamriel heralded a time of change. He was the cause of the Septim Bloodline's destruction, causing the Thalmor to rise and revolt against the now weakened Empire. Some even say that Vivec is taken by the Daedra during the Oblivion crisis, making Mehrunes Dagon the cause of Vvardenfells destruction.
You're charged for assault if you directly attack Thalmor, but the guards won't charge you for murder if you kill Thalmor. That's because everyone in Skyrim hates the Thalmor, but they have to charge you for something for attacking them. The guards also won't raise a finger if the Thalmor attack you first (unless you're Thane, in which case they help you) again, because the guards really hate the Thalmor.
Moreover you're only charged with assault in Imperial-controlled holds, whereas the Stormcloaks won't give you a bounty at all because they are outright hostile toward the Thalmor and will kill them on-sight.
Notice that after you deliver Klimmek's supplies to the chest outside High Hrothgar, they never seem to be removed by the Greybeards? Well, maybe because the Greybeards are using the chest (which is outside in the snow) as a fridge.
Paarthurnax's name translates as "Ambition Tyranny Cruelty". Common belief is that this is either A) evidence that Paarthurnax poses a far greater threat to mortals than he seems, or B) evidence that he's fighting his inherent nature far more strongly and nobly than it first seemed, since a dragon's personality is apparently inherently tied to their names. The truth is neither: If Paarthurnax's name reflects his true nature in a language only dragons were supposed to understand, why would his nature, which to the minds of dragons is dominance over mortals, be considered tyrannical or cruel? The answer: His name reflects tyranny and cruelty as the aspiring leader of the dragons, which is further reinforced by Odahviing's comment once you defeat Alduin and return from Sovngarde - "Not all dragons will follow his tyrannical Way of the Voice". This means that despite his efforts, Paarthurnax may not even be defying his nature at all: His nature is to betray and oppress dragonkind.
It also comes with a bit of Blue and Orange Morality. Paarthurnax himself says that it's in a dragon's nature to control and dominate other races by violence. To them, what would be more cruel or tyrannical than imposing a philosophy that utterly rejects that nature?
Paarthurnax states that he has overcome his natural Dragon urge to Dominate. But he is actually Dominating himself.
Other than the Dark Brotherhood, the werewolf Sinding is the only one who doesn't attack you on sight at stage 4 vampirism. This is probably just a gameplay thing. However, considering the story behind his quest is about him not being about to control his bestial nature, it makes sense for him to accept this in the Dragonborn.
Why does Ulfric make a demand for Markarth during the Greybeard's peace council? It's cut off from the rest of his forces, meaning that, while it is near Solitude, it will instantly be recaptured after the truce wears off, so the tactical advantage is negated. He was the one who chose to have the Forsworn executed when he first came across them, and he wants to personally make sure they are crushed by putting Thanos Silver-Blood, the one throwing them into Cidnha mine, in charge, so he has the power to execute them.
Why do you have immediate access to the Dragonrend Shout? Why don't you need to absorb a dragon's soul for it? Because dragon souls work by allowing you to tap into their knowledge of a word! The words for Dragonrend (Mortal Finite Temporary) are words that the immortal dragons are completely incapable of comprehending, while you as a mortal understand these words perfectly, thus, instant access!
The reason Skyrim has a strong bardic tradition despite otherwise being a textbook Proud Warrior Race culture? It all comes back to when the Thu'um was still being used as a weapon. Back then, talking wasn't that much different than fighting, and the warrior who could control and project their voice the most would be more valuable on the battlefield than the one with the strongest sword-arm. In ancient Skyrim, even the bards were Badass!
It propably helped that we have real-world (where, obviously, words couldn't literally set something on fire) examples of Proud Warrior Race cultures maintaining fairly strong poetic traditions - like, say, the skalds of the Norse.
It seems odd that the Imperials, a race known for being "shrewd diplomats and traders" get a whopping 0 free points to their Speech skill, but think about it; the Aldmeri Dominion just gave the Empire a major beating and forced them to trade away the worship of their own patron god, and about half of Skyrim sees your people as little more than Thalmor patsies. The Voice of the Emperor just doesn't go as far as it did back when the Septims still reigned.
The reason Ulfric is the only Stormcloak with a gag in the opening? It's not just to keep him from speaking; it's to keep him from shouting.
While understandable for balance reasons, I never really understood how, in-universe, the cooldown between shouts could be justified. Why can't you just keep shouting and shouting until everything's dead, like the Dragons can? Then it hit me: The "cooldowns" are just you trying to catch your breath after releasing such powerful shouts. The more powerful the shout, the more winded you are, and the more time you need to catch your breath so you can shout again. Dragons can get away with shouting over and over because they have powerful lungs so they can recover their breaths more quickly. You're just a mere mortal man/elf/beast-thingy, your lungs weren't built to withstand the power of the dragon shout... Still, it's fun using console commands to reduce the cooldown timer to zero for each shout. :P
Paarthurnax mentions that all dragons have the urge to dominate, even the dragonborn, yourself. Now, the first thing that may come to mind is tendencies of the player to get their hands on as much power as possible. But then you remember that the previous Dragonborn anointed by the Graybeards was non other than the man that would conquer the entire continent of Tamriel, Emperor Tiber Septem. No wonder you can so quickly bring an end to the civil war. Conquest is literally part of who you are.
The Greybeards make it pretty clear that in order to learn a shout you must have a deep conceptual understanding of the words involved. In that case lets take a look at Ulfiric, his two shouts of choice are Unrelenting Force and Disarm. This troper believes that if anyone in Skyrim has deep knowledge of Force (or Fus) and Defeat (Viik) it would certainly be Ulfric Stormcloak.
On the main page, under Acceptable Breaks From Reality, the fact that a few one-pound ingots (among other things) being used to make a thirty-five pound suit of armor is mentioned. In reality, since there's no definite mass/weight unit specified for the weight category of the items, it's possible that the "weight" actually represents the item's relative encumberance: a single ingot can be tucked somewhere convenient, whereas a suit of armor cannot be stored away in the same manner.
One small detail I noticed during the 'Mind of Madness' quest, when you go to fix Pelagius's paranoia, you get hit with an unknown cold spell. One could attribute it to something hiding in the shadows, until you realize, it's a path of PARANOIA. It's designed to to that to make you THINK someone is attacking you.
Ever wondered why when the Stormcloaks take over a city, the guards are replaced by their soldiers, but in the holds they have at the beginning of the game, their guards have unique uniforms that don't look like the ones on other Stormcloaks? That's because the soldiers that replace the guards aren't a police force - they're soldiers occupying conquered territory.
Why has the theme music become more clear and defined over the last three games? Because The Dragonborn is coming and its their fanfare.
In "Laid to Rest", if you find out that Alva is a vampire without killing her, she will show up later in Movarth's lair later on as a friendly NPC, and even help you in combat. This is because she was never evil, she was Movarth'sthrall, and killing him ended it.
Why can't you complete the civil war questline for either side without going through "Dragon Rising"? Because that's when the player (and Skyrim in general) finds out they're Dragonborn, and the ending sequences on both sides talk about how the Dragonborn should be the one to kill Tullius/Ulfric as it would make for a better story. Not to mention if you side Stormcloak, Ulfric mentions the player explicitly as Dragonborn in his victory speech.
If you end the civil war questline before beginning the main plot, you can.
The Dragon Priest Krosis is located on a dragon-inhabited mountain, and it's possible to wake him up while fighting the dragon. Doing so ends up raising the difficulty greatly, seeing as he's hard to hit and shoots deadly explosive fireballs, and it's even worse if you go up just expecting to deal with a relatively simple-to-fight dragon. Now, his name, Krosis, means "sorrow" in the dragon language - but it can also be used as "sorry". Is naming the Priest "Sorry" their way of apologising for such a nasty surprise?
Dwemer ruins have a very two-tone colour aesthetic- flat silvery white surfaces, with burnished gold and dark trimming. You'll notice all the burnished and dark trimming is on all those pipes, surfaces, and other grates that could emit steam, be very hot, are moving parts, or otherwise an OSHA issue. All the really big moving parts that aren't part of a trap are behind solid grates. Even the trap pressure plates are clearly marked in gold and dark trimming! Seems OSHA Compliance (at least with warning labels and colours) is alive and well in Tamriel.
Paarthurnax, unlike any other dragon in the game, has a beardlike set of series of spikes on the underside of his chin. The most obvious reason would be to distinguish him from the other dragons, but it could also be to make him look more like an Asian dragon, who, like Paarthurnax, often appeared as wise and just mentor figures in myths. Or it could be because he's a Greybeard.
The Dragonrend shout is such a Brown Note for dragons because dragons have no concept of transience; however, the Thu'um is based on the Dragon Language. How could the dragons have words for Mortal, Finite, and Temporary if they have no concept of such things?
Probably used for the mortals back when the Dragons ruled all of Skyrim, which would explain Mortal. It was also made by the mortals, so they probably just found words close enough to them to start, which would explain Finite and how Mortal is used in this context. Temporary, on the other hand...
A lot of things don't last forever. For instance, their fire doesn't burn forever, so it is temporary, hence dragons having a word for temporary in the Draconic Language.
Paarthunax explicitly says that the Thu'um was created by mortals using words that the dragons cannot truly comprehend. Remember, we humans have words for things like "infinite" and "eternity," yet it is literally impossible for a human mind to truly comprehend such concepts. Dragons literally cannot comprehend mortality, and using the words for those concepts forces them to experience that. Such a thing is so mind-bogglingly incomprehensible to their minds that it knocks them out of the sky.
This. Any non-Dragonborn human could yell "fus ro dah", but it wouldn't be an Unrelenting Force Shout unless they spent many years meditating on each word. Likewise, a dragon could say the words of the Dragonrend shout, but they could not comprehend the true meaning of the words in a way that makes it a shout.
Alduin does know at least the first word of Dragonrend, even if he doesn't use it as a shout; he calls you a "joor" when he revives and sics Salohknir on you. Though it makes you wonder why he didn't use it later against Paarthurnax... Even World-Eaters Have Standards, perhaps?
As stated above, it's because Dragons cannot truly comprehend the concept of mortality. You cannot use a Thu'um if you don't truly understand its meaning.
A minor case, but the Dovahkiin is a dragon with a mortal's body, right? Technically shouldn't you have been a dragon when you entered Azura's star? I know gameplay-wise this couldn be done, but story-wise...
The Dovahkiin probably appears in a mortal shape because that's what s/he think of him/herself, kind of how s/he appears in Sovngarde.
Going by that logic, armor and weaponry, outside of the bound variants, shouldn't be present inside either. I think that, in that instance, his body was inside the star, in order to purge it.
Why did Madanach never use the convenient escape route in his cell?
Let's see... walk out and get back to raiding and killing and pillaging... or stay where he is working behind the scenes, carefully wearing his enemies down from the inside before stabbing them in the back? I'd stay where I was.
How can you pick up dragon scales off a dead dragon after its skin burns off?
Pay close attention when smithing dragonscale armor. You generally need three or four "scales" to forge even the boots and gauntlets. Now look at the size of the dragons you have to kill. They're about the size of an average school bus. You need the scales left behind by maybe two entire dragons to forge a single suit of armor for a tiny human, and this armor is backed with iron, leather, and dragonbone. It seems pretty clear that the "scales" you recover from the dragon are from the bits and pieces of the dragon's body that you've been blasting, shooting, or hacking off as the battle progresses.
Take a look on the eastern part of Skyrim. Even go there and explore, south of Windhelm. Lots of beautiful landscapes down there. Until you notice you're standing inside the caldera of a supervolcano that puts Red Mountain to shame.
At least, Red Mountain at the time of any of the games. Red Mountain is rumoured (rumoured in the games, that is) to have been four times the size before the second-to-last major eruption (which would explain why Caldera is called, well, Caldera: it'd put it in old Red Mountain's caldera).
Supported by all the geothermal activity in southern Eastmarch- the area has lots of hot springs, geysers, and steam vents. Also supported by how fertile the Rift is.
One of the random effects of the Wabbajack staff includes turning people/creatures into different things, of which include a pile of gold, as well as a sweet roll. You can then eat said sweet roll.
Somewhat related, the Wabbajack can turn people into rabbits. At some point Skyrim's resident mentally ill are described as people talking to rabbits.
In order to discover the effects of alchemy ingredients, you have to sample, i.e. eat, them. Munching things like wheat and juniper berries may seem mundane, and eating a giant's toe or troll fat might incur a little nausea, but things get a little freaky when you find (and consume) such delightful ingredients as a human heart.
Truth in Television, Shennong did the exact same thing to know which ones are dangerous to eat and which ones are completely safe. As an Alchemist, you have to personally learn the unpleasant effects yourself to understand the alchemy process.
By the same virtue, consider what you just made your potions out of. Combine Beehive Husk and Nightshade for Fortify Destruction; that's all well and good, but you're still drinking nightshade extract.
Then again, there's an alcoholic beverage sold in Riften that contains nightshade extract called the Velvet Lachance(perfectly safe, I assure you). So drinking nightshade extract apparently isn't that unheard of in-setting.
Also, we already have curiously metallic "ebony" and curiously durable "glass". Curiously unpoisonous "nightshade" would fit.
In the College of Winterhold, one of the shadier members gives you a quest to return a staff to him. Upon entering the indicated cave, you find some vampires and a Staff of Charm. The fridge horror kicks in when you notice that this staff has the "Calm" effect, meaning victims of it stop fighting. Now think about what a vampire could use that spell for...
The dungeon you get sent to is randomly selected, but that doesn't detract from the Fridge Horror-ness of it any, when you think about what bandits or warlocks could do with that spell.
In all honesty? Bandits would probably just use it to make people hand over their money. No point risking their lives when they can just get it for free, and it leaves no physical evidence of their crimes.
During the quest "The Taste of Death", Eola mistakes you for a fellow cannibal and tells you that she understands and that you are not alone. Normally, she'd be wrong...that is, unless you're a werewolf in which case, yes, you have been eating other people all along in order to extend your time in wolf form.
If you're an alchemist, you've probably eaten all sorts of crap in your quest to find the effects of ingredients. Thing is, human flesh/human hearts are ingredients, so you may very well have snacked on people parts before.
This troper would like to point out, in a flash of Fridge Brilliance, that technically, being an Argonian, Khajit, or any form of elf wouldn't make you a cannibal. The elves might be a bit iffy, but Khajit or Argonian? Not really a cannibal (unless you consider the consumption of another sentient species to be a form of cannibalism).
And Bosmer have a reputation for cannibalism, of course, so it makes sense for Eola to believe a Bosmer Dragonborn (especially if she realises you're foreign) is a Humanitarian.
Another bit of Fridge Brilliance! You, the Dragonborn, upon killing a dragon, consume its soul. The Dragonborn has been said to have the SOUL of a dragon. So yeah, you've been learning your Shouts via consuming your fellow Dova's souls, i.e. cannibalism.
WHY does every guard claim to have taken an arrow to the knee? Obviously they don't get hired unless they took arrows to the knees.
Or in places like Windhelm, a sword to the chest…
Or the Thalmor, who hate humans, shoot arrows at various human adventurers until they have crippling knee injuries.
"Arrow to the knee" may actually be a metaphor for being oppressed by elves.
Or because greaves (leg armor) were removed as an armor slot in Skyrim.
Or because those shields they carry around don't protect the knee, and archers do tend to shoot underneath shields.
This troper saw a comic suggesting that only one guard has actually taken an arrow to the knee, but as a result of continually using it as an excuse for not having done things, "I used to be an (x) like you, but then I took an arrow to the knee" has become an in joke for all the guards.
That would make sense, could also explain why they sound so damn sarcastic when they say it, if they're just mocking the one guy lazy/sneaky enough to have this happen and milk it for all it's worth and then some...
In Norway (one of the countries Skyrim is based on), "taking an arrow in the knee" is slang for "getting married" (because you get down on one knee to propose). So that can put paid to the excuse theory, especially if the Dragonborn gets hitched: you've taken an arrow in the knee, but you're still an adventurer.
The Thalmor Dossier on Ulfric Stormcloak says that he was made to believe that the information he eventually forfeited was crucial to the fall of the Imperial City - in fact, it wasn't. However, given the Thalmor's way of obtaining information, it's safe to assume that this plays a huge part in why Ulfric won't help the Dunmer, or the Khajit, or the Argonians.
Draugr. Basically mummified zombies made to walk again, the originals served part of the Dragon Cult. Why are there so many in even newer dungeons? Simple. Embalming tools and linen are common items in these dungeons, in fact it's rare to not see some. Nearby, you may also have a draugr that's wrapped in those linens. They're actually created by either those who made the place to guard it, or made by the draugr themselves from recently-dead corpses. More than likely, these are 'in-production' draugr. Ones that aren't ready to pick up the ol' axe and defend the place from treasure hunters and adventurers.
The fact that King Olaf's tomb in Dead Men's Respite is crawling with draugr (including himself) seems to indicate one of two things: Either that made-up story about him making a pact with Numinex isn't that far off, or the ancient dragons have ways of turning nord corpses into draugr despite the victim having never served them in life. And then there's the revelation that Alduin has been consuming the souls of the newly dead in Sovngarde. Perhaps this allows him some degree of control over the bodies originally belonging to those souls?
Or, third option, not every draugr has anything to do with dragons, ancient or not. Skyrim wasn't the first game in the series to feature draugr, and Bloodmoon never hinted at a dragon-connection (the Skaal instead had an entirely different origin-story), but it did feature a mage that had deliberately turned himself into a draugr (while keeping his mind) to keep Daedra from overrunning the place, so it seems that while the Dragon Cult is one vector for draugrs to arise, it isn't the only one. And, after all, we know Olaf's spirit wasn't consumed when we confronted the Draugr-Olaf in Dead Men's Respite...
The Forsworn armor is almost certainly made of human skin and bone, except the helmet made from a deer skull. As you enter Lost Valley Redoubt you'll find a find a Forsworn working a grindstone with a dead Nord lying on it. If you're stealthy you can hear him comment on the merits of Nord bone over other kinds.
Narfi may be mad, but he appears to be harmless, and can even be considered a Woobie since he's lost both his parents and his sister, the latter of whom he doesn't even know has died. However, upon completing his quest where you find his sister's remains, he'll give you some alchemical ingredients...that can include human flesh and organs. Needless to say, there's probably a very good reason the Dark Brotherhood have a contract on him.
Have you ever enchanted a weapon or stumbled into a dwemer mine and nabbed some soul gems from the machines? When you fill a soul gem using soul trap or conjured weapons you are essentially TRAPPING someone into your fancy new armor or weapon. Whats worse is that many machines such as the ones in dwemer mines run on soul gems, meaning that either the dwarves actively murdered and stole the souls of others to power their machines,or that the machines actively kill and steal the souls of people who enter the mines.
It gets even worse. The Dwemer are related to the Snow Elves, the same ones who would become the Falmer. The Dwemer actively did this to their own kin.
The Dragonborn if they become a vampire near the beginning of the game. To wit: This person, Dragonborn, is potentially the Arch-Mage, Listener, Guild Master, Harbinger, a Nightingale, a Bard, Thane of all nine Holds, Champion of all the fifteen Daedric Princes, as well as three of the Aedra, owner of most of the artifacts that exist in Skyrim, jack-and-master of all trades, and whatever other bits of fame the player feels like earning. They are a hero to every living being in Skyrim, both Man and Mer. Their reputation is golden and unimpeachable throughout the land. Et cetera, et cetera. If you know where to get Sanguinare Vampiris, you can become a Vampire within the first hour of gameplay. Thus, your character would have earned all those titles and accolades while being a being that everything else in Nirn tries to kill on sight. Why do you - an inhuman beast whose driving force is the blood of other beings - do all these things to benefit what are essentially your prey? Camouflage. No matter how many people show up with holes in their neck and a craving for blood, they'll never connect it to their Hero. You can feed for the rest of eternity with no repercussions. Having been to Sovngarde and back, you even have an excuse for your immortality - travelling to the Land of the Dead is a one-time event, and having already been there you can never return. It's probably not true, but they don't know that.
Killing a random assassin that has been contracted to kill you is really the only way to deal with them. That said, since they are part of the Dark Brotherhood that means that they probably shared the same close family-like bond with the other members that you have the opportunity to meet, if things had been different you and your would be murderer could have been good friends. What you have done is killed someone and usurped their family.
Although that one only works if you have the slightest sympathy for the Dark Brotherhood. Some us followed up on these random fight by tracking down his freaky little family and putting each and every one of them down like the mad dogs they are.
Let's think ahead to the next game for a minute. With the multiple possible resolutions to the civil war, how will history look in Elder Scrolls VI? A "Warp in the North" would be an Ass Pull. There's only one event that can possibly result from all three possible choices; The Thalmor attack and win. And since the Thalmor are trying to outlaw worship of Talos, the plot of the next game will probably involve the consequences of Talos no longer being worshipped. This is a big deal because the Divines are responsible for how physics work. What happens when one loses power?
Or, much like Fallout, Bethesda will simply choose a canon path(namely that the Eastern Brotherhood of Steel won the war with the Enclave in FO 3 and are now, with Liberty Prime, more powerful than the original) and run with that for future installments, especially of new DLC deals with the Thalmor and their ilk in some manner or another.
Something of a personal and/or meta example, but: if you hang around Whiterun for long enough, you'll eventually hear the townspeople mention how the Jarl's children are acting oddly, of late. This is a segue into the Daedric quest "The Whispering Door", wherein you discover that the Ebony Blade, a token of Mephala's favor, is sitting underneath Dragonsreach. Mephala is the Prince of secrets, corruption, and deceit. You can, of course, refuse to do her (his?) bidding. He (she?) will only laugh, and tell you that while you think you're strong enough to resist, nothing could be further from the truth: sooner or later, you'll dance to its tune, whether you realize it or not. You are given a hint as to how to complete the quest, to which Mephala adds that "the Jarl (Balgruuf) trusts very few people. It will be his undoing". Now, at that point my character was the Thane of Whiterun, had fulfilled going on a dozen bounties for Whiterun, had half the town greeting her cheerfully on the street, and the Jarl addressed her as a personal friend. I did the quest, stashed the reward in a chest somewhere in Breezehome, and promptly forgot about it. Some three months later, game-time, I joined the Stormcloaks. A month after that, I sacked Whiterun, unseating Balgruuf from power and driving him from the city in the process. Only then, surveying the wreckage of my home city and feeling as if I'd just eaten a kitten, did I remember what the Prince had said. I spent the next few minutes staring blankly at the screen in a real-life version of an Heroic BSOD. In short: holy shit. She was right all along.
Many of the quests can invoke this simply by the placement of corpses. In Blood on Ice you find the lair of the butcher with several cut up bodies. However if you talk with the townsfolk, only 3 women are known to have been killed so far, with one of their bodies recovered since the killer fled before collecting his quarry. Where did the other 6 or so skulls come from? In Frostflow Lighthouse, the books detail how the father came home and found his family captured and his wife and son dead. We never find the Son's body, while the father's remains are found within the stomach of a giant bug. The books also detail how he gave his daughter a knife so that she "would not have to suffer". It takes a while to realize that he probably found out what the attackers intended to do with them after his son was taken away.
Those were done by the Falmer, as you discover once you uncover the tunnel full of them under the lighthouse... as well as the remains of the missing family members.
An unmarked Altar south of Greenspring Hallow contains several skeleton enemies (one of which is a mage) and the corpse of a novice conjurer. At first glance it seems that the novice got a bit carried away and was killed by his own summons. Then you see the bloodied bones near him. The Skeleton Mage was killing people and raising them as skeletons.
This troper recently discovered a book called the Red Kitchen Reader. It talks about how the writer, as a boy, once wandered into an abandoned house in Cheydinhal. Hearing a sound and thinking some bullies had followed him in, he ran outside and escaped into a well right beside the house. At the bottom of the well he found an entire sub basement with a "red painted kitchen", where he discovered some unknown meat and ate it. He considered staying to ask the owners of the subbasement what the delicious meat was and what their secret was, but decided to leave.
People who have only played Skyrim and read the book probably thought nothing of it, but Oblivion players will no doubt cringe upon realising that the boy had stumbled into a Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary, that the "red paint" was probably blood and that he might have just eaten human flesh. The author has no idea how lucky he was...
The reason for Wyndelius' insanity. While its possible that his own concoction of invisibility potion was responsible for his insanity, another more terrifying possibility might be the cause. He spent a year in Shroud Hearth Barrow, slowly forgetting his motivations for being there, (the Dragonclaw), but finding himself unable to leave, before eventually becoming consumed with protecting the Barrow against all intruders. Sound familiar? Its also the same behaviour as the Draugr display! While the assumption is that they are cursed for being allied with Dragon-Priests, the game states that this is only a theory and its not fully understood how they became what they are. The possibility that they might be capable of slowly brainwashing anyone who enters suddenly makes barrows incredibly more creepier to visit.
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