Forums » Elder Scrolls

Rewriting Skyrim's Main Quest: Part 2.5, The Thalmor

  • November 19, 2017 3:22 AM EST

    The Thalmor

    Heh, again, I'd like to apologize for the cliffhanger in the last section. If you haven't read it, I recommend heading off and reading the following entries in this series before coming back here and catching up on my new stuff.

    Part 1 - Rewriting Helgen

    Part 2 - Joining the War

    This entry is mostly based off of Joining the War and there will be some information in there that is crucial here, rather than just plot relevant. The basic summary is that the Thalmor now operates as a third, more secretive side to the Civil War. Naturally, each of the factions has their own subterfuge and counter-intelligence, assassins and who knows what else to supplement the basic fighting army, but the Thalmor are only really going to be operating as spies, or saboteurs. They can't be discovered (at least not as Thalmor operatives) and the entire idea is that it's formed from people that don't want the Civil War to end, most of them are Thalmor Operatives for the most part, but there are a few merchants and politicians who are profiteering from the state of the war. I think the Thalmor are heavily underused in Skyrim, mostly because Bethesda really wanted to focus on how evil they are, when I just can't see any faction being entirely made up of evil people who want to destroy the known world, especially when they have to interact with other Races and Cultures. No, the Thalmor will be a little bit more, composed and moderate than they are in-game, obviously the higher ranked members will probably be 'evil' but it won't be their only personality trait and of course, the lower ranks will be comprised of all sorts of people. There will be some who are just downright psychotic and will be stereotypical villains, but others will be relatively decent people.

    But, they're still an agency that's main involvement with The Civil War is that of spies, assassins and everything else I've already mentioned. So your early quests are going to be a bit more questionable than what the Stormcloaks and Imperials do. I doubt there would be as much freedom either, rather than choosing out of a selection of tasks or doing them in different ways, a Thalmor Operative is going to have strict orders that s/he will have to follow at all times. Of course, there might be different paths to your goal, but the way you do it (stealing versus assassination) will be strict.

    I think the final topic to really discuss is going to be Elenwen. As I mentioned in the previous two articles, she's going to be one of the main characters of the war, and is going to be the equivalent of Rikke or Ulfric (not Tullius, because he's the bigwig General) and thus will need to be fleshed out a lot more so that she can work as both a Villain and a Friend depending on what side of the war you choose. Now I'm not going to fully write up a character for her or anything, but there are a few important things to note.

    Couldn't help myself after finding this image :P This is just, it's Elenwen in this version and I cannot be told otherwise.

    • She's a relatively young, successful but moderate member of the Thalmor who is mostly joining because she has issues with the Empire. She doesn't hate everyone who isn't an Altmer and she's not your stereotypical, super racist, murdering Thalmor.
    • She was born in Valenwood rather than the Summerset Isles. You might remember that Blades Agents were particularly active in Valenwood and Summerset and this provides her link to the hatred of the Empire. Essentially, at least in my version, Valenwood was the natural main target for the Empire during the Great War so large portions of the border have essentially been erased, destroyed by massive fires, towns have been completely destroyed, etc.

    o   Side Note: Yes, I do know that canonically, the Empire was kind of on the back leg for most of the War, I mean there's a reason that the Imperial City was taken, but we can change that with the power of being Deebs. Even if some of the provinces didn't/couldn't help, the Empire still had one of the largest militaries in the entire world with troops stationed in every province. Now, Valenwood and Elsweyr were rather harshly effected by the war, and are more reliant on the Altmer than ever before because they've lost natural resources, people, crops, etc.

    • She isn't a mage or fighter. Rather, Elenwen is famous (Amongst the Thalmor) for her stealth, cunning and leadership and was one of the operatives who helped take down the Blades in Valenwood. Remember, that at least in Morrowind, the Blades were more of a stealth force than anything else, and other than the Elite members that protect the Emperor, most of them were probably oriented more towards stealth and that sort of thing than combat. So Elenwen didn't kill them in battle or anything, just outsmarted them, led them in circles and tore their spy-ring down.

    o   Side Note 2: The Blades being destroyed was not the starting point of the Great War anymore. Rather, they were used as the final hammer in the coffin and the destruction of the Blades in the Dominion reduced the power of the Empire and they were basically used to force the White-Gold Concordant

    It's not everything, but this is the general history of Elenwen in a few short bites, and explains some of what's changed her character, inspired her to join the Thalmor and so on. The most important part is probably just that her motives have changed, and that she's aimed against the Empire (with the Stormcloaks thing more being an order than her passion).

    What I've Changed:

    1. The Thalmor aren't evil assholes (at least not all of them.)
    2. Elenwen is now one of the main characters, and hot...I mean, uh, and more likable and has a backstory.
    3. The Thalmor are a major part of the Civil War, just from behind the scenes.
    4. The History of the Great War has been slightly edited to be more interesting (to me at least) and incorporate new ideas/characters that will play into the Civil war.

    Huh, looks like I only really change three/four things a chapter, at least only that many main things. This was a lot quicker than I thought because I was talking to Zonn about Joining the War and really wanted to finish it off. That and I had some ideas about Elenwen and really wanted to write them down. The next section is going to cover the first quest for one of the sides in more detail before uhh...not entirely sure where to go, I think I'll just go through a bit of a quest breakdown for a little bit (cover three of the smaller quests for each faction, then move on to the next story-shaping quest). I think this establishes most of the important changes to the world, well except for the things that will pop up later or be more relevent later on.

    Part 1 - Rewriting Helgen

    Part 2 - Joining the War


    This post was edited by Mega-Dragonborn-of-Doom (1921) at November 19, 2017 4:05 AM EST
    • 68 posts
    November 19, 2017 8:18 AM EST
    Y’know, it would almost be interesting to see what the Thalmor would look like if they weren’t all Altmer. That natural arrogance is extremely off-puttIng in every interaction you have with them. Just about the only truly friendly Altmer in Skyrim is Farelda at the College, and even then she seems extremely aloof and a bit condescending.

    Deep down, whether they admit it or not, the Thalmor are a rival empire. Worship of Talos would definitely stick in the craw of a race that believes in its inherent superiority, but right now in Skyrim they’re using The White-Gold Concordant to as a prod to drive the locals into a fury. At the same time, they’re using the Imperial Legion, their enemies in the long game they’re playing, to weaken the Nords most likely to lead rebellions once they send in a proper invasion force in a generation or two.
    This post was edited by Mercurias at November 19, 2017 8:18 AM EST
    • 503 posts
    November 19, 2017 12:56 PM EST

    It gets better and better MDOD, and I really like the fact that Elenwen isn't the typical 'evil elf sorceress; type thingimajig she was in Skyrim. Although magic is a big part of Altmer society, even the high ranking officials can't have that good a grasp of it compared to say a professional mage, but in Vanilla a politician can sling spells with the best of them.

    How is the newfound modesty going to be reflected from a quest perspective? They won't be sending you off to set heretics on fire or anything (at least not at first...) but given the hostile environment they're in I can't imagine them being actually good. So while the Imperials and Cloaks can alsways do some favours for the locals to look better, that's out of the question for the Thalmors. Would they ever be helpful subtely, ie in a mysterious thrid party sense, or is it that not all of their missions are definitely evil?

    Mercurias said: Y’know, it would almost be interesting to see what the Thalmor would look like if they weren’t all Altmer. That natural arrogance is extremely off-puttIng in every interaction you have with them. Just about the only truly friendly Altmer in Skyrim is Farelda at the College, and even then she seems extremely aloof and a bit condescending.

    I think this is what Deebs was going for when he said

    but others will be relatively decent people.
    As with any army some will just be people looking for a job or a sense of belonging, some will be politicaly zealous and some won't give a shit. But I agree that seeing a bit more diversty would be nice, although I still reckon they shouldn't have that much compared to say the Imperials, Altmer, Bosmer and Khajiit should still make up the majority of their ranks.

     

    • 45 posts
    November 19, 2017 5:15 PM EST

    So this isn't necesarily just inclusive to the Thalmor but as a whole for the 2nd part in this series. (the whole Joining the War section as well) I noticed that they are meant to be subterfuge/ behind the scenes in regards to their war efforts (which i'm totally in for) speaking about the Thalmor specifically. The fact that you've made them more moderate and not so extremely arrogant could possibly mean that they too would possibly hire mercenaries for specific jobs that they themselves can't carry out without chance of getting caught, and if so is this part of the reason you are implimented into their Faction? (to begin with)

    Now to mention the other two factions... You said that the Stormcloaks had Ulfric for their main source of power, and the Legion has a few Select Battlmages (among other specialty forces: thinking the valuable Orc Legionnaries) that will occassionaly show themselves on the battlefield. I agree with this idea, but is it going to be a case of doing certain side quests that aren't necessarily "out there" for your information to begin with (think Fallout: New Vegas or Dragon Age: Origins where you can go around and gather/bolster these different factions for a final showdown) where you have to actively search for the respective people to give you these quests so that you can get maybe a singular "specialty" unit for various marked quests (for both sides of course: maybe Stormcloak beserkers or something, maybe an artillery support?) or as a side quest you can infiltrate and weaken supplies going to an enemy hold to easier conquer said fort or hold?

    Just some thoughts I carried over from the 2.0 section...

  • November 19, 2017 5:57 PM EST
     
    Y’know, it would almost be interesting to see what the Thalmor would look like if they weren’t all Altmer. That natural arrogance is extremely off-puttIng in every interaction you have with them. Just about the only truly friendly Altmer in Skyrim is Farelda at the College, and even then she seems extremely aloof and a bit condescending.

    Deep down, whether they admit it or not, the Thalmor are a rival empire. Worship of Talos would definitely stick in the craw of a race that believes in its inherent superiority, but right now in Skyrim they’re using The White-Gold Concordant to as a prod to drive the locals into a fury. At the same time, they’re using the Imperial Legion, their enemies in the long game they’re playing, to weaken the Nords most likely to lead rebellions once they send in a proper invasion force in a generation or two. 

    You know, it almost felt to me like Bethesda forgot that the Thalmor and Aldmeri Dominion for that matter weren't just a bunch of Altmer. I mean, sure they were definitely the main force behind the Great War and really the Bosmer didn't have much of a choice, but I don't see that being knowledge that everyone has. So it's just kind of strange to me that you never really see Nords hating Bosmer or really Khajiit beyond the whole smuggler/thief thing.

    But you're still probably going to be mainly looking at Altmer for the Thalmor, there will be some Bosmer and Khajiit, maybe a few Imperials/Nords who are associated with them but not actual members. I think that, to a certain extent, I still want to focus on the Altmer as the driving force behind the Altmer and most of them (especially in the higher ranks) are going to be Altmer, but there will be a bit more diversity.

     

  • November 19, 2017 6:09 PM EST

    It gets better and better MDOD, and I really like the fact that Elenwen isn't the typical 'evil elf sorceress; type thingimajig she was in Skyrim. Although magic is a big part of Altmer society, even the high ranking officials can't have that good a grasp of it compared to say a professional mage, but in Vanilla a politician can sling spells with the best of them.

    I think it depends, since some of them can live for hundreds of years (most of them really), it isn't that extreme for most of them to have studied enough magic that they are highly competent mages, dunno that's the assumption that most of the older Thalmor members are...well old for an Altmer (or middle-aged, you know, hitting 100). Otherwise, I definitely think there has to be a bit more balance, and I'm just trying to think about any Thalmor you see in-game that aren't at the very least magically skilled. Maybe some of the grunt warriors are pure warriors but definitely not any of the big-wigs. 

    How is the newfound modesty going to be reflected from a quest perspective? They won't be sending you off to set heretics on fire or anything (at least not at first...) but given the hostile environment they're in I can't imagine them being actually good. So while the Imperials and Cloaks can alsways do some favours for the locals to look better, that's out of the question for the Thalmors. Would they ever be helpful subtely, ie in a mysterious thrid party sense, or is it that not all of their missions are definitely evil?

    I haven't fully planned it out, but one difference is going to be that the Thalmor are going to use the Imperials as their weapon a little more. Rather than going off to torture a Talos Worshipper, light him on fire and kill his family, you'll use the Imperials to arrest him instead. Maybe it's because there's an Officer that's on the Thalmor payroll, or is just straight up a secret Thalmor operative, but instead of doing anything yourself, your task would be to get the Legion to imprison someone 'legally'. Maybe after the first stage or two of quests, you'll start causing 'prison accidents' where the people your having arrested die, but overall the idea is that the Thalmor would rather direct hate towards the Legion and just sit around reaping the benefits. 

    They will get involved in some of the more extreme Talos Worshippers where they can also prove (or close enough :P) another crime, even something like being a Stormcloak supporter, or theft, murder, anything really. And that's where you'll see a bit more of the Vanilla Thalmor, maybe a little less obviously evil, but similar tasks.

    But, I think I mentioned in the former thread, you're mostly going to be dealing with the Legion and Cloaks directly rather than going around being an evil Thalmor. Later on there might be some other changes but I haven't planned them out quite yet :)

  • November 19, 2017 11:14 PM EST

    So this isn't necesarily just inclusive to the Thalmor but as a whole for the 2nd part in this series. (the whole Joining the War section as well) I noticed that they are meant to be subterfuge/ behind the scenes in regards to their war efforts (which i'm totally in for) speaking about the Thalmor specifically. The fact that you've made them more moderate and not so extremely arrogant could possibly mean that they too would possibly hire mercenaries for specific jobs that they themselves can't carry out without chance of getting caught, and if so is this part of the reason you are implimented into their Faction? (to begin with)

    It's definitely something that will come up, ah, I think the PC would probably act as a bit more of an expendable mercenary earlier on really.

    Now to mention the other two factions... You said that the Stormcloaks had Ulfric for their main source of power, and the Legion has a few Select Battlmages (among other specialty forces: thinking the valuable Orc Legionnaries) that will occassionaly show themselves on the battlefield. I agree with this idea, but is it going to be a case of doing certain side quests that aren't necessarily "out there" for your information to begin with (think Fallout: New Vegas or Dragon Age: Origins where you can go around and gather/bolster these different factions for a final showdown) where you have to actively search for the respective people to give you these quests so that you can get maybe a singular "specialty" unit for various marked quests (for both sides of course: maybe Stormcloak beserkers or something, maybe an artillery support?) or as a side quest you can infiltrate and weaken supplies going to an enemy hold to easier conquer said fort or hold?

    Just some thoughts I carried over from the 2.0 section...

    Right, I get you. To an extent, there will be that sort of thing, but it probably won't be with any of the more elite units. There will be side-quests that aren't readily apparent that involve you talking to people in each hold and getting them to join, or even going to the Orc Strongholds or raiding Dwemer Ruins for allies there. Say, I end up going to Dushnikh Yal (the Reach Stronghold) and doing some of the quests there, well that'd give me the opportunity to recruit some of the Orcs, or gain the loyalty of the Chieftain (and thus the entire Stronghold) and they would bolster the Legion's army. Or you could always anger them enough that they join the Stormcloaks, all that sort of thing would definitely be in the game to an extent, but outside of, maybe a few exceptional people, you'd only be adding more 'everyday soldiers' to your ranks.

    • 503 posts
    November 21, 2017 12:49 PM EST

    Mega-Dragonborn-of-Doom (1921) said:

    I think it depends, since some of them can live for hundreds of years (most of them really), it isn't that extreme for most of them to have studied enough magic that they are highly competent mages, dunno that's the assumption that most of the older Thalmor members are...well old for an Altmer (or middle-aged, you know, hitting 100). Otherwise, I definitely think there has to be a bit more balance, and I'm just trying to think about any Thalmor you see in-game that aren't at the very least magically skilled. Maybe some of the grunt warriors are pure warriors but definitely not any of the big-wigs.

    I haven't fully planned it out, but one difference is going to be that the Thalmor are going to use the Imperials as their weapon a little more. Rather than going off to torture a Talos Worshipper, light him on fire and kill his family, you'll use the Imperials to arrest him instead. Maybe it's because there's an Officer that's on the Thalmor payroll, or is just straight up a secret Thalmor operative, but instead of doing anything yourself, your task would be to get the Legion to imprison someone 'legally'. Maybe after the first stage or two of quests, you'll start causing 'prison accidents' where the people your having arrested die, but overall the idea is that the Thalmor would rather direct hate towards the Legion and just sit around reaping the benefits. 

    They will get involved in some of the more extreme Talos Worshippers where they can also prove (or close enough :P) another crime, even something like being a Stormcloak supporter, or theft, murder, anything really. And that's where you'll see a bit more of the Vanilla Thalmor, maybe a little less obviously evil, but similar tasks.

    But, I think I mentioned in the former thread, you're mostly going to be dealing with the Legion and Cloaks directly rather than going around being an evil Thalmor. Later on there might be some other changes but I haven't planned them out quite yet :)

    Dont have anything to really apart from that it all looks good! I really like the direction you're going in, especially the Thalmor trying to make the population hate the two sides instead of just beating them into the ground - subtelty isn't used enough. Looking forward to the next parts Deebs, this series is quickly becoming a favourite of mine.

  • November 23, 2017 5:14 PM EST

    Thought I should mention that the series is going to be on hold while I finish off the Workshop Event. Got more than one build going at the moment (luckily they're only mini-builds otherwise I probably wouldn't have made it :P) and it just means my focus is over there at the moment. I'm making notes of things happening in the Civil War at the moment (since one of my characters is going through it) and damn, it's just...I mean, there's a reason that I'm  re-writing it and it only grows more apparent that I must have remembered it a lot more fondly in the past, could've sworn there was more stuff to do but you can easily knock it down in 10 hours of play (if it's the only thing your doing) which is just sad. So have some change spoilers

    1. There will be multiple forts and outposts for you to capture. Outposts will generally be about 6 men (plus Scouts) while Forts will be closer to 30 (inside and out, would be more but I don't know if Skyrim could properly handle it, what with the shitty AI pathfinding and all).
    2. Every hold needs to be captured properly. It will require a minimum of 6 hours to do everything required for each hold, which will include the normal 'clear out the surrounding area' and add in city-capturing, people-skills (or solving the problems of the masses) and maybe even taxes, because a game isn't complete if you don't have to do taxes :P (don't worry, no taxes).
    3. Galmar really won't be everywhere. Each camp has a leader, they know the area, they'll tell you what to do.
    4. Stormcloak/Imperial camps will be much larger, because...6 people per hold does not make an army.
    5. Fuck getting weapons as rewards...just no, it's not happening. I got an Orcish Sword as one of my rewards, and in this game, your going to get better rewards. Maybe there will be a Unique Armour Set + Weapon, but that's the closest we'll go towards the shitty Vanilla rewards.

    Most of them are obvious, I might've mentioned them earlier. But I've doubled down on my opinions here.