Forums » Elder Scrolls

The c0da Code: The Question of Lore Interpretation

    • 74 posts
    April 9, 2014 5:41 PM EDT

    There's more an issue, when it comes to Kirbride, than just 'open source' lore.

    To start with, I love the ambiguity in the lore for Elder Scrolls. It really does fit a world that hasn't had an Enlightenment and which has been plagued by wars and the fall of dynasties and so on. It's jumbled, almost every source is working a propaganda angle, and there are differing cosmologies at play. It fits the milieu and even as confusing as it is, it is decided less confusing that trying to pierce together the history of, say, late classical and early medieval Europe.

    So, suffice to say that I'm all for ambiguity and differing and even personal interpretations of Tamrielic history and cosmology.

    Where I get my knickers in a twist is when Kirkbride starts introducing elements from a distant future into the game past or present. It ruins the essential experience of interactive story-building that makes RPGs immersive in the first place. Consider: Alduin is trying to destroy the world and the player character has to stop him. That's the point of Skyrim... that creates the stakes and motivation (at least on a first or second play-though). But then along comes Kirkbride talking about a robot sentience from the 9th Era, where, clearly the world wasn't eaten by Alduin. If I take that 'lore' to heart, what happens to my urgency as a player and story-maker? It predetermines the outcome of MY story and robs me of a sense of agency.

    If he were just an average Joe, I'd say it wouldn't matter, but he's MK. Quite a few people seem to take his ramblings as establishment fact, and then go and make themselves a difficult-to-ignore nuisance with constant talk about Towers and how the Thalmor want to destroy physical reality and how Queen Ayrenn is a digital consciousness from the future and Pelinor was a robot and so many people treat these things as fact on public forums that I find it negatively impacts my ability to feel invested in the main quests of the game if I want to engage with a community of fellow players.

    Thankfully, that doesn't seem to be the case (for the most part) here at The Skyrim Blog, and may it never be so.

    • 1217 posts
    April 9, 2014 6:12 PM EDT

    I don't see what you mean in your example; that would seem to be how a normal sequence of stories would unfold. When you play Skyrim, Tamriel has clearly survived the Oblivion Crisis. Does it then become impossible to experience urgency in Oblivion?

    • 74 posts
    April 9, 2014 6:24 PM EDT

    For me, yes. Maybe I'm weird. But then I don't, and probably won't, play Oblivion, because it's done. Skyrim is current. If I did go back to Oblivion or Morrowind, it wouldn't be the same... it'd be like a subsequent play-through of Skyrim... time to fiddle with mechanics, enjoy the scenery, focus on creating a character rather than the plot. It can still be enjoyable, but it's not the same.

    Do you deny that there's something special about the first time through a game? Kirkbride's nonsense damages that specialness for me.

    • 1217 posts
    April 9, 2014 6:43 PM EDT

    No, to be honest I feel the same. I'm very loathe to play an earlier entry in a franchise if my first experience is with a later game. I don't like the back track in quality, gameplay or graphics. My roommate had to hassle me for months before I would play Mass Effect after I had started with ME2. So I do appreciate what your saying and see how Kirkbride's writing effectively craps on that. I think what I've come to is that I won't reject his writing for it's content, but for it's implementation. Some of it's certainly too far fetched to take seriously at all, but I don't think I'm to say what will or won't happen in 9E. I do think that should be reserved for when 9E has been built up to and arrived at, rather than dumped out before Tamriel has experienced almost anything in the way of real advancement.

  • April 9, 2014 8:34 PM EDT

    I've never really understand post modernism. 

    • 74 posts
    April 9, 2014 8:42 PM EDT

    Quite. That's the point I'm getting at. I don't like future lore in my games. Past lore can be as ambiguous as it wants, that's the nature of history and record keeping. Doesn't bother me.

  • April 9, 2014 8:45 PM EDT

    it doesn't matter because nothing stands out as significant? 

    • 74 posts
    April 9, 2014 9:00 PM EDT

    The foundation idea of post-modernism is that because we are trapped within the thing being studied (be that anthropology or sociology or history or what have you) we are entirely unable to form an objective perception of things. It is impossible to be impartial, even if we feel we are being so.

    I would say more, but I would end up on a soapbox writing a book. And probably sparking a headache-inducing argument with any post-modern scholars around here.

  • April 9, 2014 9:03 PM EDT

    Ah, ok. 

    • 74 posts
    April 10, 2014 5:51 PM EDT

    Maybe, once it hit the discount bins.

    Actually, we don't know much about the Merethic Era, so it would be interesting to see some of the existing ambiguities in the lore from that time cleared up. That's a different experience, though.

    • 140 posts
    April 23, 2014 5:10 PM EDT

    You made me laugh Thiago by saying that you "simply might not grasp c0da," as I am probably in the same boat then!

    Could the controversy simply be about perspective?   Are we talking about a meta-gaming perspective, where the lore you established in your game through the actions of your characters is different from the lore that I have established in my games?  For example, is this a way for an individual to explain multiple dragonborns, again from a gaming perspective as a person acting outside of the game?  From that perspective, open source makes total sense.  It seems to bring the TES gaming experience which is traditionally single player into a collaborative experience.  Kind of like the concept of social media brought to TES.  Should it be canon?  Not in my opinion.  

    Yet I still think that it is necessary to have a framework, canon lore if you will.  Certainly we can interpret the ambiguities the way that we wish (and we may do it differently for different playthroughs and characters) but in order to "read between the lines" and have "wiggle room," the lines have to be there in the first place.

    I have created my own head canon in that all of my characters actions create a larger narrative.  Not just in Skyrim, but over all of the ES games.  Some characters are related by blood, others by other events or relationships.  So I only have one Dragonborn or one Champion of Cyrodiil or one Archmage, etc.  I do not expect anyone to understand it or consider it canon lore.  It is my personal gaming and story experience that I have created for myself.  If I blog about it, then I have shared it.  But it is simply an interpretation that I formulated through the dynamic experience of gaming (and a slightly obsessive interest in lore!)    It is essentially a novel in my head, and not something that I consider other people to be responsible for in their interpretations.  For example, my Dragonborn is a Shezzaraine, and I look forward to exploring those implications in the next installment of the single player TES game, wherever it may be.

    Canon is easy.  In game books and events and dialogue.  Simple.  Interpretations can vary, and I am totally fine with that.  Everyone has a right to create their own lore in their gameplay experience.  Gaming is a creative process in the Elder Scrolls.  But when discussing lore, we have to have a common language somewhere.  Canon should be that, in my opinion.

    I guess that is all I have to say about that.

    • 1217 posts
    April 23, 2014 5:33 PM EDT

    I have created my own head canon in that all of my characters actions create a larger narrative.  Not just in Skyrim, but over all of the ES games.  Some characters are related by blood, others by other events or relationships.  So I only have one Dragonborn or one Champion of Cyrodiil or one Archmage, etc.  I do not expect anyone to understand it or consider it canon lore.

    Exactly; I think that's what I was going for by calling it "validating fanfiction." My understanding of Kirkbride's principle is just that, that everyone's lore (yes, even Shor's) is canon.

    • 1441 posts
    April 24, 2014 8:18 PM EDT
    Oddly enough, the whole Hist battle ship,thing reminds me of one Skyrim mod, Aethernaughts. Basically, a Dwemer starship crashed to Mundus in the past. The DB discoveries it, and goes inside. He finds bodies in there, along with the note. It seemed people from the seventh era cake back to launch the ship, so it could be in a battle in their time. You are tasked with launching said ship. And become it's captain.
    • 4 posts
    April 25, 2014 5:32 PM EDT

    C0DA's "philosophy" isn't anything new. It's a new way of saying something that has been around at least since TES: Redguard. 

    TES is supposed to be like the myths of old, where everyone added onto it and people came up with their own interpretations.

    Just look at the lore forums much older than these, like the Bethsoft Lore Forums. The entire point is for you to create your own concept of the lore. No one can tell you that you are "wrong". It's a fictional story. It can't be wrong, because it isn't real.

    Canon is more for authors than it is for fans. It helps us keep things straight in the story, but it isn't an absolute rule. The canon police aren't going to come arrest you if you believe something that isn't canon. With this knowledge, TES series makes the wise choice to just say there isn't a canon at all. The only "canon" that really matters is the one you believe in.

    Why beat yourself up over something you don't like it? It's a story. Change it. You don't have to believe Alduin is the "Firstborn of Akatosh" if you don't want to. The purpose of a story is to entertain, and if it fails to do that, fix it. You could just walk away, but where is the fun in that? 

    I don't advocate copyright infringement, but that and canon are two very different things. Just pick the "canon", or C0DA if you will, you want. Leave the rest behind.

    • 4 posts
    April 25, 2014 5:36 PM EDT

    Then ignore it. No one is putting a knife to your throat and making you believe in things like Towers and C0DA. However, that games is played both ways. You don't get to tell us what we want to believe either.

  • April 25, 2014 8:14 PM EDT
    "The purpose of a story is to entertain..." I disagree with this notion. While many writers obviously focus on entertainment, but I would argue just as many writers use storytelling as a form of expression more than a way to provide entertainment. Obviously this differs between writers but I just thought I'd throw that out there.

    "Canon is more for authors than it is for fans. It helps us keep things straight in the story..." Oh, are you a writer, perchance?
    • 1441 posts
    April 25, 2014 8:28 PM EDT
    I agree with this. I myself write fanfic. Yeah, while I do it go entertain, I sometimes use it to convey my ideas, thoughts, etc.
    • 4 posts
    April 25, 2014 8:46 PM EDT

    Yes. I haven't published any original fiction, but I've had a mildly successful run as a fanfic writer and I have one published nonfiction article with another pending. Thanks be to God for that.

    And if you want to express your opinion on something, there are much easier and more efficient ways to go about it than writing a full novel. Wouldn't a persuasive essay do a better job of persuading people than a fictional book? Wouldn't an essay be a better way of expressing your feelings than a short story?

    Every work, no matter its genre, will reflect some of the author in it. But if you are using fictional stories for the purpose of expressing a nonfictional opinion, I think you're using a hammer when you should be using a screwdriver. 

    This isn't to say that writings can't serve more than one purpose. A persuasive essay can be entertaining, and a fictional work can convey an opinion. However, those shouldn't be their main purpose. A persuasive essay first and foremost must persuade. A fictional story must first and foremost entertain.

    • 1217 posts
    April 25, 2014 9:13 PM EDT
    Do you participate in things like NaNoWriMo, Tal(OS)?
    • 4 posts
    April 25, 2014 9:33 PM EDT

    I'm actually going to do it this year. Last year I thought about it, but I decided I wasn't ready for it. This year I think I can do it.

    • 1217 posts
    April 25, 2014 10:15 PM EDT
    It's an extremely fun challenge, well worth the investment.
    • 1441 posts
    April 25, 2014 10:37 PM EDT
    What is that?
    • 1217 posts
    April 25, 2014 11:44 PM EDT
    National Novel Writing Month, an annual challenge in November to write the first 50,000 words of a story in 30 days. They also have smaller events in April and July.
    • 12 posts
    September 23, 2015 4:31 PM EDT

    Yeah Trainwiz tends to base a lot of his mods off of Kirkbride stuff.

    That's why they're always so loony.