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Tamriel Conquest: Geography and Strategy

    • 55 posts
    October 27, 2013 8:23 PM EDT

    Interesting. Well, I see what you are saying about the secrecy that would be necesarry with negotiations and all. What got me is why they would not send emissaries. At this point in time, as far as i remember, the empire and the dominion is official allies. So it would be only natural for the dominion to have (official) representatives wherever the empire is present. If nothing else, then to "advice" the empire representative.

    I'm not totally sure what you mean by "state of empire" btw.

    • 1483 posts
    October 27, 2013 8:31 PM EDT
    I meant a part of the Empire :) They will have representatives like Elenwen but officially their only role is to hunt down Talos worshipers and follow that White-Gold Concordat is kept. If the word gets out that this representative negotiates with nobles it can be viewed as a violation of the truce. Also, the Dominion and the Empire are not allies. The truce is one-sided and the Dominion is not obligated to provide any help to the Empire - something that is required of allies.
  • March 18, 2014 11:01 AM EDT

    Obviously, they won't be able to do anything political unless the other provinces let them. The Dominion doesn't have the resources or the man power to wage another war. They might could instigate something between the provinces, but it doesn't take a wise man to see who benefits from it. Any good leader could see that. 

    The Dominion is on the way out.  

    • 1483 posts
    March 18, 2014 11:06 AM EDT

    Generations of good leaders didn't see them planning a war. Just saying 

  • March 18, 2014 11:12 AM EDT

    They weren't good leaders. Ocato might have been, but they eliminated him. The Empire at that time wasn't a Powerhaus. It was struggling, and they leaped on it like wolves. Now, the Empire is rebounding, and the Dominion takes longer to rebound. The Aldmeri's next move is hundreds of years away. They don't have that time with the Empire gearing up for world war. 

    • 1483 posts
    March 18, 2014 11:32 AM EDT

    They'll make sure so the Empire won't recover. You can already see the beginning - Stormcloak rebellion. There will be fractures in all Imperial provinces next, High Rock returning to power struggles between local lords... The Altmer may require more time to recover but they sure as hell won't let the Empire recover at it's normal rate.

  • March 18, 2014 6:40 PM EDT

    I think what's been proven is that the only way to beat the Aldmeri Dominion (In open combat) is to fight them on a turf of your choosing that you are familiar with. Think about it, if Hammerfell's geography was like Cyrodiil's, do you really think the Redguards would have beaten them? The only way to beat them would be to lure them into Black Marsh (which is kind of impossible because the Argonia have cut ties with the empire), or Hammerfell, but I think the Elves will be more than hesitant to go back there. Also, good luck getting the Redguards to cooperate after the Great War.

    That being said, the Thalmor aren't unbeatable. The best ways to beat them would be to:

    a) Take the initiative. Don't wait for them to attack Cyrodiil; attack the Isles directly! They'd be forced to return troops there, and perhaps other lands could be taken back. Think about it, the land area of the Aldmeri Dominion is tiny compared to the Empires' (counting Skyrim). We've never seen Empire vs. Dominion where the Empire was ready, per se, for the war. The next war would be of the Empires' choosing, not a hurried defense against a prepared, ruthless enemy. Granted, the empire is much weaker now and may not be able to win, which brings me to the next option.

    b) The most interesting option - Stage a coup in Valenwood/Elsweyr. Give the Thalmor a taste of their own medicine. The Bosmer hate the Thalmor, through lore we can see they're treated as second class slaves. Instigate the race, and you could gain a VERY powerful ally in the Bosmer. Elsweyr would be harder, but the entire alliance is based on the Thalmor "returning the moons", which was a ruse anyway. Get rid of that, and the Cats don't really have a reason to stay allies. Besides, Cats like shiny things, let's bribe them ;)

    That's my 2 cents. Sorry about the "HOLY WALL OF TEXT".

    • 74 posts
    March 18, 2014 6:44 PM EDT

    From a strategic standpoint there is only ONE possible avenue of serious invasion, and that is to do what was done in the Great War - strike into Cyrodiil from Valenwood and/or strike through Cyrodiil to Hammerfell.

    Attacking anywhere else would require sea-borne invasion, sea-borne resupply, and sea-borne reinforcement, all of which are expensive in terms of cost and manpower, and inherently high risk (see Disaster at Ionith for an example).

    There is absolutely no possible justification for invasion from sea when Valenwood and Elsweyr are available as staging grounds. Cyrodiil and Hammerfell are also the only reasonable targets for initial conquest, because they are the only regions that could be taken without significantly increasing lines of interior communication for the Dominion. Anywhere else would be overstretching and very difficult and very expensive to hold on to being at the end of long lines of communication and resupply.

    If I were to lay money down, I'd say the Dominion wouldn't make the same mistake of striking for both targets at once again. They'll move to occupy Colovia and the Imperial City, and then strike into Hammerfell if Skyrim is independent or in chaos, thereby isolating High Rock from Imperial reinforcement and resupply. The Empire would be reduced to Nibenay and High Rock, neither able to communicate with or reinforce each other, and both likely to fall in subsequent leisurely campaigns.

    The real question is, given the very low birthrate amongst mer, especially Altmer, is there any real chance that the Dominion will be able to attack again before the Empire recovers its strength? Remember, their troop losses were near total in the Great War.

  • March 18, 2014 6:46 PM EDT
    This is awesome!!!
    • 1483 posts
    March 18, 2014 6:53 PM EDT

    I doubt that striking both targets was a mistake from their part. Empire had superior manpower and would've managed to regroup and retaliate if only one province was attacked. Attack on both provinces forced them to stretch their forces and nearly brought the victory to the Dominion. If only one province was attacked the Dominion would've been forced to defend Alinor in a short time.

    Regarding birthrate, what people tend to forget is that the war was not being waged on the territory of the Dominion. Empire would have to rebuild infrastructure, manufacture, and it all will take a lot of time. And the Dominion will not sit idly by while the Empire rebuilds itself. There will be fractures, assassinations, plots and all sorts of chaos and mischief they can cause to destabilize the Empire. Stormcloak rebellion is the first step.

    • 1483 posts
    March 18, 2014 6:55 PM EDT

    Regarding naval assault, the Imperial City basically sits on a lake where Altmer ships can get. They did it during the Great War, it was the reason for a relatively swift capture of the Imperial City 

    • 74 posts
    March 18, 2014 7:26 PM EDT

    That isn't a naval assault... I mean, it is, but it's a riverine assault, where the operations are protected from severe weather and supply depots can be established on the shore and it's near to Elsweyr. And hadn't the Dominion already seized the western bank?

    It's not at all the same as trying invade High Rock from the sea, or even Hammerfell, for example.

    • 1483 posts
    March 18, 2014 7:32 PM EDT

    Agreed, although they did manage it during the Great War. The initial assault on Hammerfell was a combined attack by forces from Valenwood and those landed along the shoreline. In the next war I expect the same pattern, since the Dominion has the strongest navy in Tamriel it'll be a shame not to use it. The bulk of the army comes from Bosmer and Khajiit, I think, so the land invasion would be more massive

    • 74 posts
    March 18, 2014 7:47 PM EDT

    The Dominion over-estimated their own strength, or underestimated that of the Empire. They split their forces on enemy territory, in the face of an equal or stronger foe. That's breaking Rule #1 of strategy. Now, I think it's clear that the main thrust was supposed to be Hammerfell, and the Cyrodiil invasion was meant to be a diversion... that worked better than expected and ended up becoming the main thrust, but that was a mistake. They should have stuck to their original strategy and not given the northern Imperial forces and Hammerfell militias time to regroup.

    I doubt very much they would have had to defend Alinor. Their navy proved itself quite able to handle opposition. The Empire clearly had no capacity to project sufficient power away from the coast. Alinor is quite safe. Valenwood would have been the province at risk.

    Re: birthrates. The Altmer/Bosmer aren't the Dwemer, they still need soldiers. And the rule of thumb for pre-industrial societies is absolutely no more than 10% of the population can be taken from the fields for military service on an emergency basis, more like 5% in normal operations. The farther afield that force needs to go, the smaller that percentage gets due to the problems of logistics, rear area security, and supply.

    I think it's fair to presume they threw most of their best troops into the war and lost them. To replace them will take time, and will necessitate a draw-down in their productive capacity as well, since it means pulling men and women from the workshops and fields. I mean, what happened to them was equivalent to what happened to Valens and the Western Roman Empire at Adrianople - the Empire didn't fall, but it never really recovered, either.

    People buy into the idea that the Aldmeri Dominion somehow won, since they got the concessions they wanted in the White-Gold Concordat, but from a strategic perspective, the Empire won and won BIG. The Aldmeri lost their offensive military capacity and, in the end (after losing in Hammerfell), gained nothing of economic or military value.

    • 74 posts
    March 18, 2014 7:54 PM EDT

    Well the medieval English could tell you all about how much easier it is to take and/or hold a port city than it is to then use that port city as a base to then conquer the rest of the country (*cough* Calais *cough*). For that matter, the Crusaders could, too.

    I've always assumed that the purpose of the port seizures was to close Hammerfell off to trade, and to provide supply depots for the land army, which would, in time, link up with each of the port garrisons. The proper invasion still came from Valenwood via Cyrodiil.

    • 1483 posts
    March 18, 2014 7:59 PM EDT

    Imagine them concentrating on Hammerfell only. The element of surprise works only on Redguards who resort to a guerrilla warfare striking and weakening Dominion forces from the desert (and they fought quite capably against the half of the army). In the meantime, the full strength of the Imperial Legion is safely formed in Cyrodiil and meets the Dominion forces head-on destroying them if only due to sheer numbers. And after that, getting to severely weak Summerset Isles would just be a matter of time with small amount of forces left defending Valenwood and Elseweyr. Combined navy of Cyrodiil, Hammerfell and High Rock should be more than a match for the remains of Dominion's.


    I'm not saying the Dominion will replenish their numbers quickly. But expecting the Empire to recover in a matter of years is also wrong. The war was waged on their territory, they lost more than just manpower. To rebuild all that they need time and stability. And a few pinpoint strikes in the time of such chaos can completely destroy their Empire. 

    • 74 posts
    March 18, 2014 8:09 PM EDT

    Well, the diversionary attack into Cyrodiil wasn't stupid. Changing their strategy mid-war to try to outright conquer both Hammerfell and Cyrodiil was. More to the point, they certainly don't have and won't have the manpower to repeat that attempt in the future. The next war, assuming it happens will probably have to be a one-front war due to the reduced capacity of both participants.

    I see the developers setting up a Byzantine-Persian Wars parallel. Which means...


    • 1483 posts
    March 18, 2014 8:20 PM EDT

    I don't agree with attack on Cyrodiil being a diversion. I'd say it's the other way around. The Dominion declared war on all the Empire, they couldn't focus on only one province and hope that they can hold up to it. Capturing the Hammerfell would not give them anything, they'd be forced to defend it from the combined forces of three provinces which they can't do for long. 

    As for Akaviri, I'm more worried about the Argonians. They are suspiciously quiet, if Hist becomes more aggressive...

    • 89 posts
    March 19, 2014 1:33 AM EDT

    First move should be a hard hitting Altmer assault in the West centered on Anvil, as well as taking Stros M'Kai as a forward naval base to allow them to act unimpeded. Led by Aldmeri battlemages and assisted with a flanking strike by forces in Valenwood, they should be able to take Kvatch before a major Cyrodilic Legion is able to intervene, though they will eventually take post in the between Chorrol and Skingrad in highly defensible positions. It is at this point that the main Aldmeri fleet would strike from the south right at the Imperial city, with forces from Elsweyr striking east to take Bravil and Leyawiin to ensure swift and safe passage north towards a capital garrisoned by the leavings of the Cyrodilic main army. This will force a retreat by the main Legion lest their position become untenable, surrounded on three sides by the enemy, into the Colovian Highlands, centering their defense on Bruma. This will be a strong position, and would likely be reinforced by an army from Skyrim, regardless of the victors of the Civil War (the Stormcloaks don't want to destroy the Empire, just gain independence, and the Thalmor are the greater threat). Using Khajiit auxiliaries to hold their flanks in Cheydinhal and block any force coming from the garrisons on the outskirts of Black Marsh or those in Morrowind, the Dominion would be wise to use their ranged skill to their advantage. With a far greater number of mages and the best natural archers in Tamriel, they can afford to stand off and deal damage, forcing their foe to take the offensive and fight on ground of the Dominion's choosing. A victory here finishes Cyrodiil and cripples Skyrim, ending the possiblity of alliance with the Bretons as the Altmer fleet next turns its attention to taking the various High Rock kingdoms piecemeal, and eliminating a major thorn in their side, the only race with enough magical talent to reliably stand toe-to-toe with the Altmer. The fleet is then freed to raid and engage southern Hammerfell, distracting them while the army pushes east into Skyrim, perhaps granting the Forsworn their land in exchange for an easy conquest of the Reach, Hjaalmarch, and Solitude itself. Sweeping down through the open plains of Whiterun would be child's play, southern Skyrim is home to forests that would suit Bosmer auxiliaries perfectly as well as being vulnerable to pincer movements from the north and south, Winterhold is a shell, and the Pale will fall to an attack from its vulnerable western border. Boom.

  • Tom
    • 624 posts
    March 19, 2014 1:58 AM EDT

    I'm sticking with my strategy from earlier in this thread for an Dominion assault, but...

    Could/Would it be possible or probable for the Thalmor to send emissaries to Akavir and prompt a new invasion of Tamriel, especially if they strike Morrowind/Skyrim in the aftermath of the Argonian Invasion and Skyrim Civil War?

    • 74 posts
    March 19, 2014 2:14 AM EDT

    Why should the powers in Akavir treat with either of the bled-white combatants on Tamriel instead of letting them weaken each other further. If I were watching from Akavir, I wouldn't want to aid either side as long as they were more or less evenly matched - and I do think they are roughly evenly matched at this point - because an even fight is a fight that's more costly for all involved, and I want everyone as weak as possible before I invade.

    • 8 posts
    March 19, 2014 5:03 PM EDT

    Yeah assuming any power in Akavir is in a position to send an army to Tamriel(Akavir is a divided landmass with warring factions) why wouldn't they wait until they could just march over a weak enemy and maybe take all or most of Tamriel. 

  • March 19, 2014 11:29 PM EDT

    Why not send a plague? Summerset certainly has powerful magics. Pull a Sload and send a plague. It's simple. It's easy. It's right up their alley of being vile reprobates. 

    • 89 posts
    March 20, 2014 1:22 AM EDT

    The Thalmor don't want genocide; they want a prosperous Dominion that they rule over. A plague would decimate the land. Sure conquest would be easy, but what would be the point.

    • 1217 posts
    March 20, 2014 1:38 AM EDT

    I thought the Thalmor wanted to eliminate the very memory of mankind. Or is that just a rumor?