Major Themes of Cyrodiil

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Infragris
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Major Themes of Cyrodiil

Post by Infragris » Wed Sep 30, 2015 9:59 am

Some main themes that should shine through in our depiction of Cyrodiil, whether in gameplay, quests, or worldbuilding. Feel free to contribute to this list.
  • Duality: a theme that comes back again and again is the various ways in which the Imperials are internally divided. Some examples:
    - Colovians vs. Nibenese
    - Imperial government vs. local nobility
    - Emperor vs. Elder Council
    - Uniformity vs. diversity
    - ...
  • Imperialism: naturally. Cyrodiil is the heart of the Empire, and its citizens know this. They hold a patronizing attitude towards "provincials", and consider the supremacy of their laws and culture self-explanatory. This weighs heavily on their relations with outsider factions within Cyrodiil, such as the Kali Mes in Sutch, Dunmer diaspora in the east, or the presence of Khajiit and Argonian insurgents in the occupied areas to the south.
  • Civilization: the Imperial urban centers are some of the most sophisticated and peaceful places in Tamriel. This should reflect in the attitudes of their citizens: weapons and armor are rare, people go to guilds and lawyers with their problems instead of to random adventurers. The player, with their military equipment and combat expertise, should feel out of place.
  • The Wilderness: while the cities and farms of Cyrodiil are safe, they are surrounded on all sides with impenetrable jungles in the east, and empty wastelands in the west. The Legion is supposed to police these outskirts, but fails to do so consistently due to political instability. The jungle, full of monsters and outcasts, is an object of superstitious fear for most Imperials.
  • Speechcraft & Mercantile: the trademark skills of the Imperials should receive some extra attention in their home province. We should brainstorm about different ways in which they can be utilized.
  • Glass Ceilings: while the player is welcome to join the Imperial factions, they should feel a resistance when trying to reach the upper ranks of most factions: these are considered exclusive to (connected, upper-class) Imperials. The Empire happily allows outsiders to join in its culture, but only in so far as it can control them. This sense of being an outsider should be more subtle than Morrowind's aggressive tone, but also more pervasive.
  • End of an Era: as we all know, the Empire is coming to an end. The last fifty years have been a succession of disasters, averted only by luck and by the current Emperor's cunning. Many expect the Empire to collapse once Uriel VII dies. Colovian lords are gearing up to secede or to conquer, while the Heartlands culture is descending in decadent excess and religious mania. Many Imperials tend to deny this, as they are indoctrinated with Imperial propaganda which portrays the Empire as everlasting.

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Re: Major Themes of Cyrodiil

Post by worsas » Wed Sep 30, 2015 8:14 pm

Some ways to allow for application of speechcraft:
  • Social relations being the alpha and omega of success in factions and quests generally. People tendencially favouring those they are on good terms with, rather than objectively judging the skill of a person. The player having competitors in his attempt to rise to the higher ranks of a faction, needing to be more popular than them.
  • The player taking part in semi-criminal organisations, where he needs to put pressure on lower-ranked members that fail to pull their duty, by threatening them. I don't know the exact mechanics of that feature, though and when it will give a better effect than improving the relation to an npc.
  • NPCs tendencially only giving relevant information (for the fulfillment of quests) when their disposition with you has been raised sufficiently high.

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Re: Major Themes of Cyrodiil

Post by Ald-Ma' Cyrod » Wed Sep 30, 2015 9:11 pm

To encourage both the fear of the jungle and the importance of speechcraft maybe allow players the option to talk themselves out of combat with the tiger dragons riddle-style (like clavicus' section in redguard). otherwise have them be rare but terribly powerful opponents for players not skilled in speech
"Weird is relative." - S'Rathra

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Re: Major Themes of Cyrodiil

Post by Infragris » Wed Sep 30, 2015 11:11 pm

Ald-Ma' Cyrod wrote:To encourage both the fear of the jungle and the importance of speechcraft maybe allow players the option to talk themselves out of combat with the tiger dragons riddle-style (like clavicus' section in redguard). otherwise have them be rare but terribly powerful opponents for players not skilled in speech
This is something I would love to do with the Tigers. The Skyrim-style dragons are creatures who use their language as a weapon, literally shouting fire, ice etc. into being as part of their arguments, violence being part of their nature. Tigers have the same kind of relation with heir language, but it is informed by their own attributes: viciousness, trickery and subtlety as opposed to blind violence and supremacy in the case of the dragons. To a Tiger, a conversation would not be a fight or a conflict, but an attempt to devour one another with words.

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Re: Major Themes of Cyrodiil

Post by Ald-Ma' Cyrod » Thu Oct 01, 2015 8:56 am

Love it, would feel kinda like having a chance of running into Koh. Obviously not in the sense that the Tigers steal faces or feed off of emotion, but the same element of fearful Spirits lurking deep the Niben jungle. Maybe some more enemies like this to highlight the numinous nature of the East (which could be a theme in itself)?
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Re: Major Themes of Cyrodiil

Post by vrolok » Wed Apr 06, 2016 9:14 pm

I was thinking about writing here, since it's not really related to creatures and discussions about Cyrodiil theme were becoming very apparent there.

I think that I personally perceive Empire as a mix of traditional Roman Empire and modern day US (in Bethesda's games, I am not saying it should be like that). Partially, because of similarities between the two, but also because in Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim there is always something that reminds you of that.

In original Morrowind, you feel that Empire is colonizers, occupying Morrowind. That pushes two main associations with US: invasions of Middle East and colonization of America. Dunmer are seen as kinda both by me. I mean, it's only a metaphor, because the game is not just about that, but I can definitely feel the tones in game. The architecture of Hlaalu, the desert-like ashlands, bedouin like tribes - all these and more give Middle Eastern feeling to Morrowind. While just in general, it feels more like American colonization, where native culture struggles against the new comers. Some hair styles, customs and general style remind me of native Americans. Thus Imperials are seen as the US by me.

Oblivion did not emphasize it that much, but the vibe was still there. Maybe just because Bethesda is an American company. What really is important about Cyrodiil I think that in many ways the customs and some laws, for instance Imperial tolerance, are more similar to modern day West, rather than ancient Rome, which was a fascist state with huge intolerance.

Skyrim gives the same feeling, though here it might've been unintentional, I am not sure. Whole story in Skyrim feels like Hollywood film and especially Civil War with its poor execution. It's General Tulius I am talking about most of all, though not only him. If there was more stereotypical American general, I would be surprised. He is just complete cliche. Was it intentional or just poor design, I am not sure, but damn these Imperials are American in Skyrim. The armor is Roman though :D

-------
I obviously do not propose to make a jungle version of the US, that would be complete rubbish! :lol: I just wanted to show that there is clear similarity between Empire of Tamriel and United States of America. It could be taken in many directions.

I will not be touching politics here anymore than necessary to prove my point, just because it spoils the fun for everybody. But general idea I see, there it could be taken is:

Double standards and false appearance. Image of beautiful, strong, prosperous and tolerant Empire is to be shown false through quests, dialogues, exposition. That is why I kinda want to see it more or less normal in appearance to lure players in and not give it away too quickly, though some weirdness is still necessary in my opinion.

We all know that Empire is also getting weaker day by day, why not portray it as beautiful front with corrupt insides? Inside you find racism, exploitation, militarism, etc. Plus add to it some magic and mysticism, make an intricate story, where there is no true evil, just shades of gray (like in Morrowind). Overall, it should not be just a trivial discovery, but have several layers, where you think that maybe it's a good place, or maybe bad, or maybe good, or definitely bad! And all other again.

It probably is already partially or fully accepted as a concept for Empire since it is kinda obvious, but I just wanted to make a clear case here. And this idea is one of the main reasons I don't want it to scream "We are different!", because that would kinda ruin the exposition in my opinion. It should not be apparent, that there is something wrong, only vaguely hinted.

Best example for Infragris is Pathologic. I assume you know the game, because of the avatar. Maybe I just love the game too much so I kinda push it here, but I believe that the theme is kinda fitting. In the game you arrive in a weird town, but at the beginning nothing really shows you just how weird it is. There are a few strange creatures and structures, but overall it appears more or less normal. But later on you learn otherwise :shock:

That would be ideal for Cyrodiil as well, being the center and main province of the Empire. It plays well with character of Imperials and even has similarities with local vampires. I believe that theme of Appearance not matching the Reality can and maybe even should be central for Cyrodiil. But all this is just some of my thoughts (now back to writing the assignment, damn! :lol: )

P.S. Please don't take it too literary! I just think that there is a parallel, which could be explored. Doesn't mean that it should be boring, no! I am myself very curious at how exactly it's going to be shaped. But I want more ambiguity in factions and quests, lore and characters.

Design of the world itself I personally think should be sort of plausible to be on Earth, but with many many exceptions. No giant mushrooms, etc. But definitely yes to variety of new things. I personally think that you do have a good sense of balance overall, so I am not really worried about anything. Just remember, that even simple and familiar things from our world can be shown in a different light, like Tigers for instance. No need to invent a wheel every time.

Focus more on the ideas for quests, dialogues, factions, etc. That should give a good understanding of what things and what creatures are needed for the world. It seems more logical than other way around.

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Re: Major Themes of Cyrodiil

Post by worsas » Fri Apr 08, 2016 4:12 pm

There are three little things that recently came to my mind, one of them I brought up in the creature discussion without going much into detail about it.

1. Modernness. If you look at Imperials in Vanilla in comparison to the Cunmer, the Empire is modern and progressive (in today western view). One of the things showing this is the relaxed attitude the Imperial cult has towards the native Tribunal belief. Emancipation is apparent on the female characters in the game. Tendencially (at least from my memory) you see Imperial or imperialized females more often wearing trousers and having authoritative positions, while dunmer females wear skirts and show conservative behavior. Imperial institutions (guilds, the legion, cult) are usually very mixed in occupation, when it comes to races and gender, which is a sign of tolerance. Tendencially, the Empire features such values as basic human rights (anti-slavery), tolerance and emancipation. Today, western values. This plays together with some of the observations by Vrolok.

2. Diversity. Not necessarily a lack of themes, but a certain amount of diverging themes that are allowed to live side by side. The themes themselves should be strong enough to prevent the feeling of randomness and disconnection. The variety of themes is intended to give the province a vivid, urban character. This is more important for the Nibenay than Colovia, but essentially something in which Cyrodiil should generally diverge from other provinces. There are these old concept drawings for imperial armors by Kirkbride. They are rather heterogenous and account very well for the differences within a large province.

3. Familiarity. i don't agree about Cyrodiil not needing to evoke a feeling of familiarity or normalcy to the player. While the Imperial province is an entirely fictive place, it fulfills a certain function in this game. Though, the direction, I'm thinking about is not necessarily using real world designs or real world animals very much. I have the impression that people tendencially bring up real world designs that look and feel unusual. Opposedly I would favour entirely fictive designs that evoke the feeling of familiarity and normalcy, without (hopefully) being boring. Familiarity is often in neighborship of boringness, I agree. But I'm thinking about such designs as the four-legged predator-bird by Jiub, because it represents my thoughts on these designs very well. It is a completely made-up creature, that still invokes a certain feeling of familiarity. It reminds one of a griffin, while it isn't one. As a warm-blooded animal it works together with any real world mammals you might find in the province. And if you give it a somewhat interesting feather pattern, it won't be too boring and repetitive to the eye, I think.

Edit: To get back to the point of diversity: The elements of normalcy could and should be mixed with those that are perceived as exotic by us.

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Re: Major Themes of Cyrodiil

Post by vrolok » Thu Apr 14, 2016 5:52 pm

What I feel is very important to achieve in Cyrodiil, and it is something that was achieved in Oblivion to an extent, is the feeling of being a citizen of the Empire, not a lonely stranger. Morrowind has that sorta feeling, once you are no longer an outsider and you are integrated into system, being an active member of several factions. Skyrim doesn't have that feeling, you are always by yourself, a lonely adventurer, even if you join the guild: you are either unimportant or too special, there is no middle-ground. In Oblivion, from the very beginning you feel pretty welcome and at home. There is a strange connection, which makes cities really feel as parts of one civilization, while wilderness is not very hospitable (more like pretty boring).

Now, I am not praising Oblivion, even though I kinda love the game in its own way (especially some mods for it). It did a lot of things wrong, could've been much much better. But it was what it was and we should learn from it. We should definitely try to capture that feeling of being part of the Empire, this unitary machine. Hard to say on how exactly to make it there, but it's something we should strive forward.

And we could and should make it even better when Oblivion, because isn't that the reason we are doing Cyrodiil? So it would be a real version of what could've been, if done properly :) At least, that's what I think.

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Re: Major Themes of Cyrodiil

Post by LiquidHurlant » Sat Apr 23, 2016 8:42 am

Infragris, could one theme be Evolution? Cyrodiil has formed the crux of my and all our fantasies for years: what is Cyrod? What's it mean to be born from the World River? or to wear one's ancestors in mothweave? Our versions are all different, and evolving. They are all true, and among them some are better, but all as true and despising of TESIV.

The Cyrodilics are a people evolved for conquest, not unlike Dremora, yet balanced by accommodation, charity, and religious tolerance, even priding in numinous cults. The society itself is the cohabitation of thousands of socii, from across Tamriel, Oblivion, and time itself - all mingling like so many stones in ruddy Mother Niben. The Cyrodilics have heaped the dead to conquer a hill, while craftily romancing their enemies into allies.

I see them at the pinnacle of revolution, but they evolved to get there. Hope that makes sense, folks. I think, and it doesn't matter what I think, but I think change was the theme they meant to explore, going back to Wulf, Imago Storm, Odfrid, and the social war rumored in Morrowind. Change is coming... if only we knew :P

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Re: Major Themes of Cyrodiil

Post by Province_Username » Wed May 03, 2017 6:37 am

My first post, very rambling and maybe going against established lore a bit. Review it and I'll gladly discuss it further.
So, Colovians vs. Nibenese

Regarding the differences between the two, I feel like a big part of friction between the two factions can be seen in stereotypes each paint the other as. Colovians are organized, manufactured, high culture creatures. Nibenese are organic, low culture, decentralized freaks.

To stereotype a little, here's a talk:
Nibenese to Colovian: "That's no way to live"; Colovian to Nibenese: "And you're undeveloped";
"I live like a man should, you rootless materialist";
"A man should strive to civilize, himself and the others";
"There you go again with your empire, you forget the most essential in life";
"And what would that be? Starving because you have ten kids and your swamp flooded so there are no travelers and crops are dead?";
"No, it's the natural law, the spiritual. If I have to live off of ungrateful land for my soul to be taken by the Moth Ancestors, so be it";
"Heh, you're just jealous of our superiority, it's not like Divines won't care for me - look my civilization in their name!"

Of couse, this talk is a bit stereotypically modern, but you get the gist of it. If we absolutely have to compare the situation to anyone in real life, I'd compare it between western and eastern Europe, with a religious and highly right wing spin on it since we're in a highly brutal fantasy setting. Regarding this specific talk, think Dutch and Slavic.

I'm aware it's not a 1:1 comparison. The reason Nibenay hasn't been curbstomped and colonized is because they produce top tier theologials and have some very potent cults such as Julianus and Cult of Ancestor Moth. To do a short digression, regarding Ancest Moth cult, I remember reading somewhere, I think it may be a fan site, that during Ayleid times ancestor moths were used to take souls of dying men away from the reincarnation cycle back to the Godhead so the soul may suffer never again. If we take it as canon, it'd be a nice, obscure tidbit in a quest in a very isolated village - a sort of, long forgotten rite not practiced anymore due to much more comfortable life; I can imagine an NPC berating 3rd era as decadent and materialist - even among Nibenay people who are supposedly more naturally spiritual than Colovians.

If I had to give a different telos to both of the people, I'd say the will to conquer (Empire being its physical manifestation) is a spiritual inspiration that came from early interaction with Nords that manifested itself in Nedes when the whole world was given to Alessia to conquer by Akatosh (a popular imperial (re)interpretation). Colovians are men looking outwards and men of practical before spiritual - when they allow new cults, it's because they don't care as long as gold flows and civilization "marches forward". On the other hand, Nibenese are men looking inward - they are hesitant to change their way of life, slow to modernize and rarely utilize novelty for financial gain; they allow new cults because whole Truth never manifests and a process of revelation needs to happen naturally with every pact, be it daedric, ancestor or divine for a tidbit more to enrich their culture.

So Colovians are on average more adapted to urban life and for thinking big, geopolitical; cosmopolitan. Nibenese are in contrast a lot more narrowminded and local, but when a Nibenese raises up in the Empire ranks, he shakes up everything with expertese in subjects Colovians aren't that good at. For example, theological, mystical, completely new scientific and military fields. And while we could expect that this should breed resentment from Colovians, I'd say it's exactly this diversity - yin and yang between the two imperial peoples that built the Imperial city and the Empire - and Colovians begrudgingly but completely accept it. Which is also why the 9 divines aren't trying to genocide all eastern cults (some western cults are okay because the temple is bribed or considers them aspects of the divines; think of this as their version of religious tolerance between Catholics and Protestants that was established when it was obvious nobody would win and everyone would lose). 9 divines know Empire would be in deep trouble without Nibenese in the long term and gods would forsake it. Empire, after all, can't exist without Imperial unity, out of which city of Cyrodiilis is the metaphysical manifestation of.

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Re: Major Themes of Cyrodiil

Post by Infragris » Wed May 03, 2017 3:44 pm

Hmm. I would advise you to reread the Pocket Guide to the Empire:

First thing, you should know that it is the Nibenese who are highly civilized and urbane, and the Colovians who are rural, pious, and suspicious of change. This is a mistake I have seen others make at times, and I am not sure where this impression comes from. The Nibenay is described as the largest population hub of Tamriel, with large, thriving cities that serve as centers of culture, trade, and administration. Despite the prevalence of many minor cults, the Nibenese are much more materialist than their Colovian counterparts, as evidenced by their merchant nobility, extravagant modes of dress and behavior, and penchant for various drugs and other libertine indulgences. Cult activity in the Nibenay (and much of Cyrodiil) should be understood as an outcome of the tolerant attitude towards religion of the Empire and the role cults play in the high-stakes socio-political games of status and prestige most Nibenese are involved in.

By contrast, the Colovians are sober, austere, self-sufficient frontiersmen who live in the barren western highlands. Their cities are much smaller and further apart, and most Colovians live in isolated villages and farmstead, suspicious of foreigners, trade, and new ideas. Instead of the extravagant en decadent high culture of the Heartlands, they choose to mirror themselves on an idealized version of Nordic culture, diluted with native puritan ideas. They see themselves as defenders of the cultural center, and glorify military service in the Legions.

Moth worship is alive and well in the Nibenay, and their intimate bond with the souls of the dead are common knowledge, not obscure ritual. This and this text might be of use to you. In general, your interpretation of the religious sphere seems pretty far off the mark: while it's a bit much to get into here, let's just say that the Imperial Cult of the Nine Divines is emphatically not a carbon copy of traditional christian church dynamics, which is something we want to get as far away from as possible. The relationship between the different cults and philosophies of Cyrodiil is closer to the Hellenic, Roman, or Indian examples, with a strong henotheistic tradition in which different cults coexist in a stable frame of mind. I should also note that the Nibenese also worship the Nine Divines, which is another thing people always seem to be unaware of.

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Re: Major Themes of Cyrodiil

Post by Province_Username » Wed May 03, 2017 4:56 pm

Well, this is awkward because I'm familiar with both texts and my conclusion after rereading them just now stays the same. It's true that Nibenese are urbane, but in a different way than Colovians (cultured =/= civilized). My impression was always of garrish constumes, lavish parties and lively low culture, free of shackes of Colovian formality and centralized high culture. By high and low, I'm trying to describe codified and strict versus decentralized and lax - which I perciece from the PGE to be the way Colovia and Nibenay are. Of course Colovians are pious. Nibenay may hold more people, but that doesn't make it any less isolated or chaotic. What I mean by this is that the swamps and rainforests are hard to navigate - countless Nibenese earn their living by guiding merchants and travelers through their territory (which makes them seem very open and economically competitive, but is in fact the only thing besides ungrateful farming that they can do en masse; sure, there exists a higher class of merchants, I'm not arguing against it). Indeed, Nibenay seems like a harsh land to live in, but also a land that can someplace give plenty, thus sustaining a few big population centers and countless very isolated smaller settlements. More materialist is not synonymous with lively, as you imply. Go to Sweden and then to Iran, meet the people; the more lively one in this case is poorer and thinks less in materialist terms. In fact, when you add libertine indulgences and various drugs to the Nibenese mix, it's also a reason why a smaller Colovia can compete with a bigger region - because Nibenay is much less developed, in a civilizational sense. Of course merchants would be the ruling class in Nibenay - there's nothing else to make big money off of. I think cult activity in the Nibenay should be seen as uncontrolable and an essential part of Tradition and as integral to the origin myth of Cyrodiil, thus it's sacred and can't be acted against. I think this is a much more fundamental thing than current Empire's tolerant attitude.

Pocket Guide uses the word "frontier" only twice; first time to explain the spirit of conquering cyro-Nords; second time it's attributed to Colovians as something they inherited. So, it strengthens my argument that when the heated relations in Nibenay may prove difficult for the Empire, it's sober and austere (formal) culture of Colovia that keep the Empire - civilizational and colonial project - alive. This frontier spirit is the will to conquer to world. Self-sufficient is only mentioned once in PGE, in a context that shows again - when Empire falls appart - it's the cool, civilization preserving west that holds it together, while the anarchy prone east fights it out among themselves. Well, Colovian ideas of a puritan and nordic culture sounds very... western European, you know, the civilizational king of the last few centuries. Meanwhile southern Europeans are much more prone to feasts and free days. Sorry for another digression into real life, which I consider frustrating myself because we're trying to stay original and far away from real life politics. But I needed to do it to show a practical example that a lush culture doesn't equal a stronger civilizational force. I agree with the rest - that they glorify military and want to impose order on the world.

I'm going to concede that my religious interpretation might be off the mark. But I also would like to point out that without secret cults and secret rituals, Nibenay would lose some of its magic, which is why I advise such ideas are taken into account when designing the region. Cults, by their definition, are usually controversial and often harbor hidden knowledge. I never intimated that intimate bond of the soul with the dead is unknown - I was specifying a specific ritual which I think might be used to great effect in the lore. Of couse the cult of Nine Divines is not a carbon copy of the real Rome, but the conquering and religious exterminating element always existed in it. It was made specifically to replace indigenous beliefs and cults all over Empire and is definitely one of three strongest cults in the city of Cyrodiilis, along with Cult of Julianos and Moth Priest. For there to be no tensions and for the Temple to not want to diminish power of cults doesn't seem credible. Tolerant is just a word for no overt violence or vicious attemts to destroy - not that various cults and especially Nine Divines, don't want to take out its competitors in unstable regions. I never stated that Nibenese don't worship the Nine Divines, but it'll obviously be filled with more alien elements, due to their... liveliness.

Since the argument got too big, I'll sum up what I was trying to say very quickly. Colovians - Order, Civilization. Nibenese - Chaos, Culture. One is old and rigid. The other is young and fluid. One ages, the other renews.

In any case, I didn't have this in mind when I registered. I merely wanted to throw out some ideas, show off my lore knowledge and inquire about the project. Unfortunately, woe is me, and I ended up derailing the thread in two simple posts, the nuisance I am. Very sorry for that. I loved the Stirk release and I'm disheartened to see our interpretations differ. I fully understand if you have no interest in having a detailed discussion and reexamination of the lore with a random guy who came over when the project already has a consensus. If it is so, just let me know. Otherwise, shouldn't a talk like this warrant its own thread or another venue? I'll leave this up to you.

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Re: Major Themes of Cyrodiil

Post by TerrifyingDaedricFoe » Tue May 09, 2017 6:30 am

Would it be correct to say that it's the Nibenese who provide the drive for Empire and the Colovians who make it possible? Without the Nibenese the Colovians would stay in their cliff-fortresses with no motivation to leave, and without the Colovians the Nibenese lack the military power and organisation to impose their will on the provinces.

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Re: Major Themes of Cyrodiil

Post by Infragris » Tue May 09, 2017 10:08 am

In some cases, though the opposite is also true: without the Colovian warrior spirit, the Nibenese would spend their time getting high and fighting each other, and without the Nibenese administration and large agricultural base, the Colovians could never afford to field large standing armies. The key to each of the Empires is always their cooperation.

There is a clearly defined historical pattern to the rise and fall of the Empires: in times of trouble, when the Emperor is weak or there is no Emperor on the throne, the Colovians isolate themselves from foreign and eastern influences while the Nibenay falls apart. After a while, a strong warlord with a Colovian/Nordic bent rises (Talos, Reman, the Nordic mercs of the Rebellion, etc.) and restores order by force in the Heartlands. However, the warlord is always assimilated by the political culture of the Heartlands, beginning the cycle anew.

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Re: Major Themes of Cyrodiil

Post by Province_Username » Wed May 10, 2017 2:06 am

I agree, I think we can mostly agree on that dynamic, that the two prop up each other. I just hope a fair amount of friction between the two remains and it's only in the Heartlands that the two live together without it. I always imagined the center of the region as the place where 2 + 2 = 5, where two pretty much incompatible cultures create an unexpected harmony that transcends mere coexistence. So, the city of Cyrodiilis and Rumare's shore are hallowed ground (insert Starry Heart and other epithets here) that both easterners and westerners find strange or distasteful - but both agree that the ways of the heart of the Empire are sacred and shouldn't be protested (compare to a religious person visiting a holy city). That said, Heartlands need their own distinct challenges that shows off a different social dynamic than both west and (south)east.

These are just my own impressions. Not based on any particular lore document.

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