Elder Scrolls Lore » Discussions

(The lack of) Orsimer Government

  • Member
    September 20, 2017

    My question is simple -- why do the Orcs have tribes when a united government (i.e., mega-tribe) would make their race stronger? 

  • Member
    September 20, 2017

    But the answers are complicated. It isn't as though they haven't tried, indeed the whole Orsinium dlc in ESO explores that subject on many levels. I don't wanna deprive the Lorc of his fun so won't delve too deeply into it, but one of the biggest questions to ask is why has Orsinium risen up again and again throughout the eras only to always, always end in ruins? What is it about The Pariah folk that makes it so that they are ever striving for that civilisation yet never quite manage it? 

    This is a rabbit hole, Liege. Fair warning :D 

  • September 21, 2017

    Simple question, not so simple answer :D

    I´ll try to break it into several points, one comment for each point otherwise I would spend pretty much whole day writing this lol

    1. I´ll get this right off my chest, because I probably know what´s Phil hitting at. I remember that me and him theorized about it. 

    Alright. Malacath. He and Orcs are tied together, linked, and we suspect they were changed when he was changed. But the thing is that the link is capable of working both ways. What does that mean? That if enough Orcs forget the traditions, worship Trinimac instead of Malacath and other things like that, there could be a big change, both in Orcs and Malacath. So that Daedric Prince of shit isn´t really looking forward to that. The Code...yes, it makes the Orcs physicaly strong, keeps their culture rather simple without the corruption of civilization but it also makes them very succeptible to Malacath´s influence. So everytime Orcs try to rise, Malacath always finds a way how to throw twigs under their feet, until Bretons and Redguards show up to bring them on their knees.

    Also could be because they don´t have their own Tower. Or maybe they do, but they beat it too hard... tudududum. :D

  • September 21, 2017


    Traditionalism. The Code of Malacath is definitely one of the biggest obstacles for the possible future of Orsimer society.

    Only the strongest can lead. Let´s try to apply that to several tribes joined. How would it work? You´ll have several chieftains at one place, and they´re all the strongest for their tribes, so who would lead? So either they would have to fight each other and the winner becomes a war chief of all the joined tribes or there will be an Orc shrewd enough to unite them all under his rule either as king or war chief - someone like Gortwog or Kurog.

    Only the chief can take wives. Now, I don´t know how about you, but this seems like a big problem for me when it comes to progress of a nation. Let´s just say you get a nation of 4 tribes, 4 chiefs. They already have wives and all that, and only these four alpha males are responsible for all the reproduction. Now, they start trading daughters between themselves, so that they could have new wives and stuff. The chiefs are all defeated by their sons eventually and these sons will be trading their sisters to each other. This keeps going and going and eventually you actually get one tribe with all the interbreeding. Probably just one chief remains. And once you get back to one tribe...you´re back at the beginning.

    Blood Price. This could be a problem too, I mean, if everyone can take the law into their own hands that certainly can breed whole lot of new problems. What´s the thing Kurog said?

    sooner or later someone reaches for something heavy or sharp to use to punctuate their particular point of view

    The traditions are deep in Orsimer´s roots and it´s kinda keeping them down. This is why you don´t see Orsinium uniting all tribes, but only few, with the rest either ignoring them or outright defying them. There are very few open minded Orcs like Gortwog and we can "thank" Malacath for that. So even if they unite, they get lot of internal problems and by the time they solve them, they get ganged up by Bretons and Redguards.

    What they would have to do is somehow redo their Code - which they tried with Trinimac´s Cult -, their society and laws. They would have to get civilized, but that´s somewhat a problem since civilisation is quite often seen as a bad thing for Orcs. It breeds corruption, poverty, gluttony. Weakness.

    So yes, traditions are one big problem.

  • September 21, 2017

    If I 'm not mistaken Gortwog changed or at least tried to change the Orc's belief from Malacath to Trinimac but it seems he wasn't able to secceed entirely in the end; It was mentioned in a pocket guide book I think? not sure... I 'd really like to see a change in the Orcs and Malacath/Trinimac in the future of elder scrolls history. Even though I like the Orcs I 've never been fond of Malacath. Waiting for the rest of the comments!

  • Member
    September 21, 2017

    I do feel like I want to rif on what Karves was talking about above about towers and mythology. Just to make things more metaphysical because it's fun. So, one of the things I like to talk about is the Song, or the Music of the Aurbis. We notice that in each of the modern games that there are repeating themes common to each race and culture. TES V Skyrim taught us a lot about Nords and their history, and in many ways we can see the patterns of that culture repeat to the point where the events of that game are so close to the events of the mythic era that it's almost as if it's Merethic 2.0. Dragons trying to dominate man, elves at war with man, dragon priests on the loose, a return of the Voice, and so forth. 

    This mirrors the events and Song of Cyrodiil which is about the rise of Empire, the thwarting of daedric schemes, and a Dragonborn sitting on the throne wearing the Red Diamond. Over the course of their history we can see daedric invasion and the Amulet of Kings are central to their music, motifs that just repeat.

    We can then look at the Orsimer and their history and identify the chorus of their Song. It's all tied up with the moment they took up the veneration of Malacath as opposed to Trinimac. Whether Trinimac turned into Malacath or what that story actually looks like is a different topic, but from then on they are like extensions of Malacath's sphere. 

    I'm pretty old school in how I view the Princes. To me they are as important to the Wheel, to Mundus, as the Earthbones. That is to say, if Kyne is the wind, then Dagon is an earthquake. If Dibella is passion, Sheogorath is madness - they are concepts, forces, and/or emotions given form. Malacath is the ostracised. He is the spurned outcast, and he is bitterness. 

    The thing is, the Aedra like Trinimac are protean, mouldable, vulnerable to change and mythopoeic forces. The Daedra aren't so susceptible to this stuff. That's sort of where the Towers come in. If we imagine that they are like trees which take in CO2 and pump out O2, Towers breathe in the beliefs and pump them out again. We think it's possible to change cultures and landscapes over time when a culture changes - as Cinnabar of Taneth puts forth in her Tower theory and why Cyrod is now fertile when it was once jungle. 

    I digress. For the Orcs it's hard to change their Song. They don't have a Tower. They are the followers of bitter ostracisim. As Duvain says above, there have been attempts after attempts to build Orsinium and replace Malacath with Trinimac, but each time they are met with their own resistance and the Redguard/Breton enemy. Often it isn't clear cut. Like Gortwog, Kurog wanted a united Orsinium under one government and to move away from Malacath. In that story it is Malacath who wins but not because the other way was worse. In the attempt to do just that, Kurog's story seems to become more like that of Boethiah's and Malacath's with each part of the tale. 

    There are betrayals as he defeats each opponent to his rule, there are tests of strength and codes, and in the end the whole story seems like that of any single clan's chief's power struggle to rise to the top. In short, the story of trying to become a centralised governement mirrors that of the story of the opposite when Orcs first came to be. It's all very cleverly written. 

    It's like, we can look at the famous Siege of Orsinium and the famed Gaiden Shinji. That battle was fought because the Orcs under a single government formed by King Turog felt they had the right to ask for what was owed them but denied. They felt they had no choice but to take it, they are not pussies and felt credit due when it is due. That Siege of Orsinium wasn't fought and won because the Orcs were bad people. It was down to a betrayal: They weren't given what was theirs.

    "No duel should last longer than eight seconds" Both heroes were pulled into a war neither wanted. They duelled to stop an endless siege, both died betrayed by the plots of a Breton King. "Honor wears the face of your next opponent", Shinji believed. That is why both he and Baloth Bloodtusk were buried together in a place called Honor's Rest.

    Both Shinji and the Orsimer champion, Baloth Bloodtusk, fought a duel of honour but were betrayed (again) by the King of Daggerfall when his army and his Reachmen allies fired upon the two combatants. The end result mirrors the tale of Boethiah and Trinimac, and the Orsimer people are left feeling bitter, wronged, and resentful. It is their Song, who they are. 

    Karver is fond of their exprssion that "an Orc can never be defeated, only delayed." ^ That's pretty much why. The story and Song of the Orsimer is that of Trinimac and Malacath, and like that tale, the end result will always be the same.

  • September 21, 2017

    Paws said:

    "an Orc can never be defeated, only delayed." ^ That's pretty much why. The story and Song of the Orsimer is that of Trinimac and Malacath, and like that tale, the end result will always be the same.

    OrcS can never be defeated, only delayed. Refers to the race, to the nation. But otherwise precisely what you said, matey. One can count on you to draw out the metaphysics. :)

  • Member
    September 21, 2017

    It felt like aa poetic ending :D The details of a culture, their traditions and politics, ways and means are not my area in this instance. As you said in your point number two, these things all have a bearing and so to say one is more important than another or doesn't factor in is reductionism. So I left out those bits as you already covered 'em. I do like a good story, though, and TES is one big one. Boethiah betraying Trinimac and using his voice and words to spew lies is something that left the Orsimer feeling bitter, and for that betrayal they were the outcasts forever after. That sort of tuskery is compelling to me, and so I will see it anywhere I possibly can.

    I feel bad for them. They're like leopards trying to change their spots but can't possibly do it. The times it looks like they will, something happens. That same something which seems to be the reason this prison, the Arena, was created for. Manky C had it right, man. This I swears :D Be you Orc, Dunmer or carrion eating tree troll, we've got to get out of this place if it's the last thing we ever do.

  • September 21, 2017


    Outcasts. This is sort of another issue preventing the Orcs from unity. Up until Gortwog, Orcs were nothing but Gobliken, beasts. And what do you do when goblins band up together? You get an army and kill them all. So it wasn´t so different with Orcs, until Gortwog came up with the fancy story of Malacath being transformed into Trinimac, and that Orcs were Aldmer once. He gained land through clever maneuvering of High Rock´s politics, and he changed how the world viewed Orcs when he came up with Trinimac´s cult. Which on the other hand got the other Orcs, the ones following Malacath, angry. Gortwog was destroying the pillar of their traditions.

    But back to the topic. Outcasts. Even after Gortwog, Orcs were still viewed as beasts, and it was basicaly only the Empire´s backing that was allowing Nova Orsinium to keep standing. And what happened after Septim Empire fell? Bretons and Redguards came. Again. They chased Orcs to Dragontail Mountains and to Skyrim and it was actually Empire that protected the refugees.

    What´s the point? The only chance for Orcs to have a firm ground under their feet is Empire. Empire of tolerance, and they certainly haven´t seen much of that since Septim´s Empire fell.

    Now...if we are meant to talk about ESO here too... I´ll repeat what I said: Orcs were Gobliken up until Gortwog. But then Warp in the West happened and my only explanation for ESO is that the Dragonbreak fucked/fixed that up. It broke time and made Orcs a part of society (of sorts) since time memoriam. It´s crazy, I know.

    But why I´m talking about that? City Orcs. They are the integral part of Orsimer united nation, because once that thing happens, it is them who come pouring in, hoping for better future among their own people. But there were no city Orcs before Gortwog...it´s a bloody circle if you follow me.

    Also, once city Orcs start pouring in you get a whole new set of trouble between traditionalists, Trinimac´s cult and these progressive Orcs. It´s really difficult mix to steer somewhere, especially with their "combustible" nature.


  • September 21, 2017

    Many cool stuff Paws and Lorc! :D