(Old) Reach Masterplan

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(Old) Reach Masterplan

Post by roerich »

Lifted from the old forums, a WIP draft of the Reach masterplan. Might be interesting for some:

Master Plan for the Reach

“Follow the Karth’s wide currents from its mouth, gulping the Sea of Ghosts, to its source, and you will enter the rim-lands of Old Mereth. Here the hosts of Atmora drove the last remaining Elves from Skyrim, and established the Reach as a realm ruled by men. To this day, our Jarls defend these oft-contested lands from those who would sever them from the Old Kingdom. For all their sniveling, such thieves can never undo our rightful claim to the Reach. The blessed winds of Kyne sweep over its steep mesas; rugged terrain that only sons of Skyrim could overcome. Nor do we shy away from the bloodshed needed to defend our domain. We happily earn our seats in Sovngarde serving the Hold-Throne of Markarth. Atmoran blood runs thinner in the Reach, where Elves, Elfmen and Orcs have long dwelled. But our manly spirits remain strong and resilient. With territory reclaimed in the Bend’r-mahk, we can rebuild after years of war and throw off the yoke of Haafingar’s power-hungry king. We stand as a gate to the friends of Skyrim –and an insurmountable barrier to its foes.”

-Orjolich the Watchful, High Steward and Shield-Thane to King Bvarda of the Reach, Markarth Side

“Our unconquerable warrior waves made the Reach-lands the guarding border of the Na-Totambu, and kept the goblin-kin and foreign nudri at bay. Then the disaster of Bend’r-mahk caught us like lesser spirits in the Worldskin’s maw. Only after the Hero of Azra’s Crossing left the raiding Northlanders slaughtered in heaps on the Dragonfields, did we repel the invasion. Now our honor calls for the return of our northern Tomba’s borderlands and vengeance on the infidels who defile the utei’s palace. Before the war, we tolerated the foreign peddlers and goat-herders that squatted on our lands. We paid no mind to the Reach’s mongrel witch-men and pig-monster tribes –so long as they kept to their wild places. But now we must once again ready our blades to expel the foreigner hordes. We, whose ancestors toppled Orichalc, tower of the Left-handers, and crossed from the lost shores of Yokuda, will not bear the shame of occupation any longer. May the HoonDing join us in our fight!”

-Ariyi-yi, Arch-Knight of the Order of the Tooth, Dragonstar

“We who know the mesa flats better, are the true Reach people. Our Bird-Hags and Bird-Spirits have known these skies since the beginning. And yet, we live like the unwelcomed guest –shunned on our own lands. Imperial-Folk spit on us. Call us savage. Call our hedge-magic evil. Tall-Men from the north raid our villages. Burn our homes. Kill our warriors. So we keep to the wild, scattered, divided, living alongside worm-beasts and Orc-Folk. We worship the Old Gods in our secret places, the stone-dwellings of our ancient Elf-Lords, and the caverns carved out by spirits. Always we must listen to our Bird-Hags' clever-cawing in these hard times. Better than dwelling like tribe-less outcasts in the towns of the Outside-Folk. There the Tall-Men reign over our stolen lands. Dishonor our spirits. Insult our bloodline. Always we wait for the time to take back what is ours. Already our south-dwelling tribe-cousins have begun reclaiming Old Hrol’dan, seat of the Reach-Kings of old. Until their ten thrones are filled once again, we -as always- will endure.”

-Lohthivara – Matriarch of the Dholchtacra (Crow-Dancing-Hag) Tribe, Druadach Highlands


The Reach is a rugged land of sprawling mesas, winding canyons and uneven flatlands. Its regions include the central temperate Vorndgad Forest, the barren wasteland of the Sundered Hills and the lofty Druadach Highlands along the border with Hammerfell. To the north, Mount Snowhawk, surrounded by the Falkar Foothills, towers as a beacon to the snowy realm of the north, and the Karth River that cuts through the forests of Haafingar to its mouth in the Sea Ghosts, finds its source in the mesas of the south.



The Nords of the Reach are rugged frontiersmen, battletested soldiers and cosmopolitan merchants and tradesmen. Their political system divides the Reach into four counties, each ruled by a Jarl. These Jarls swear allegiance to the King of the Reach, who rules from the fortress-city of Markarth Side. The chaotic political situation in the Reach, however, generally favors the rights of regional feudal rulers over the authority of the central monarch. As such, the Jarls act with considerable leeway. For instance, Jarla Jona can command reckless campaigns against Redguard sympathizers unchecked by King Bvarda’s desire to build stability.

Thanes compose the Hold’s next tier of nobility. They either serve their King directly or pledge themselves to a specific Jarl. As a New Hold, the Reach’s royal family follows a line of succession in which the oldest child of the last king typically inherits the throne. The Hold’s nobility only call a moot when the monarch dies without an heir.

The some ways, the Reach’s cultural diversity has bred Nords of a more tolerant character. Elves of any stripe generally live without fear of open oppression and Imperial Law and Customs have a strong hold along the Hold’s trade routes. Years of war, however, have bred distrust for certain races (namely Bretons and Redguards) among the Nords of the Reach. At the same time, the native Reachmen have long suffered under intolerant Nord overlords, who view the Witchmen of High Rock as unwashed mongrels.

-To Be Continued-


Partly adapted from Tamriel Rebuilt’s Hammerfell project planning threads:

Most Redguards in the Reach identify with the Crowns of northern Hammerfell, a conservative faction of Redguard society that traces its heritage to the Na-Totambu ruling class who governed the lost continent of Yokuda. Averse to foreign influence, they are hostile towards the cosmopolitan Forebears of Hammerfell’s coastal cities. The Redguards of the Reach are caught between isolationist feelings and the multicultural makeup of the region. As traditionalist Redguards, they don’t like foreign mages (they practice a more spiritual kind of magic) and worship the ancient Yoku Gods. Like all Redguards, they take their elaborate fighting styles very seriously.

The Crowns still organize their lands based on the tomba system. Each tomba has its own state and leader, who is called the utei. The members of a tomba are either ansei (respected members) or mansei (members). A mansei becomes an ansei by proving that he or she is a big enough badass.

The most basic unit of organization in a tomba is the sinos, basically a respected family clan that serves as the tomba’s peerage/nobility. Each sinos is headed by an itei. The main qualification for founding a Sinos is being a huge badass, and each sinos is named after its founder. Tomba-wide decisions are made by either the utei, the tombana ba (the Wide Council, made up of all the tomba’s ansei) or the tombana sun (the Narrow Council, made up of all the tomba’s itei).

Each tomba sends a representative to the litombana, or the Council of All Tombas, which elects the uei-utei (called the Yoku Emperor/High King by the Imperials). Ever since Tiber Septim’s annexation of Hammerfell, Yoku law has recognized A’Tor, an extremely powerful sword enchanted with the soul of Prince A’Tor, son of High King Thassad II, as the uei-utei of Hammerfell.

The former Redguard lands in the Reach were part of the _____ Tomba. The utei of the tomba lived in its capital, Karthwasten. Following the capture of the city by the Nords, the utei and the rest of the ruling family was killed, save for an infant son, who was smuggled out of the city and now lives in the Redguard-controlled part of Dragonstar. He seeks to reclaim the lands of his birthright, revenge his family’s honor and all of that good stuff.

Cult focused on seeking the HoonDing among dissident Redguards, believing it/he/she will help reclaim their lands.

Priests of Yoku Gods influential in Crown political and cultural life.


Long existing at the crossroads of opposing empires, the Reach is littered with the ruins of ancient civilizations, and has become known for its hodgepodge mixing of cultural groups and tribes.

-To Be Continued-

Current Events

“The War of Bend'r-Mahk increased the territory that is considered Skyrim considerably, allowing the Nordic counts to swallow up many miles of eastern High Rock and Hammerfell. Resistance by the Bretons and the Redguards is feeble in the cities of Jehenna and Elinhir, and more active in the border zones of the countryside. The city-state of Dragonstar continues to be divided into western and eastern sections, walled off from one another, each with its own government, and each with an atmosphere of mistrust and fear. There are few days without an act of terror from one resistance group or another, though, so far little territory has changed hands since the days of the Imperial Simulacrum.”

–A Pocket Guide to the Empire and its environs, Third Edition

After years of war and simmering ethnic tensions, King Bvarda has taken on the ambitious task of rebuilding the Reach. Unlike his conquering father, however, Bvarda has lacked the overpowering will to keep his unruly Jarls in line, and has slowed in his late age. He sent his eldest son and heir, Prince Alarod, south to Karthwasten to study under the three thanes who govern the city, each a loyal veteran of the Bend’r-mahk War. But the prince, always a foppish fellow, has only grown more irresponsible under the influence of the market city’s exotic wealth.

To the southwest, the Redguards, having never accepted in their hearts the loss of their former holdings, have stepped up their resistance against the Nords. While the Imperial Legion prevents open warfare from breaking out, smaller bands of Redguard agents and raiders have taken their toll on the region’s peace. Too small to poise much threat to Nords directly, they create a state of constant warfare that inflames passions and brings long-held animosity to a boil. In-fighting among the Nords has even broken out at times. Three years ago, riots in Karthwasten turned deadly and almost fanned out into a larger uprising before the guards suppressed them. When Jarla Jona attempted to enter the city to deliver a final blow to rebel sentiment in the city, however, the city’s thanes refused to let her in, fearing the hotheaded warrior would end up burning the Reach’s largest settlement to the ground. An enraged Jona besieged the city and would have sparked an open battle if King Bvarda hadn’t intervened. The Redguard problem continues to elude a solution, and is compounded by the dissatisfaction felt by the Hold’s native Reachmen tribesmen, who have long chaffed under Nord rule. An increase in banditry and raiding _____

Meanwhile, King Thain of Haafingar to the north serves as a two-edged sword for the Reach. His Hold has supported its historically weaker neighbor in the past, but now seeks to bind the frontier holding tighter to his side. With new lands and riches gained in the war 35 years ago, if the Reach finally recovered from the worst of its lingering wartime devastation, it could finally come out from under Haafingar’s shadow as a truly self-reliant realm.

Of course, Thain doesn’t want this to happen. Nostalgic for the mythic-era of The First Empire, when Skyrim ruled over all of Northern Tamriel, the ambitious king of Haafingar seeks autonomy from the Empire and greater authority across Skyrim. His marriage to the queen of Dawnstar effectively gave him control of much of Skyrim’s northern coast. He’d like nothing better than to make the Reach, in all but name, a vassal-state of his realm. To accomplish this, he has sent agents into the Hold to stir up trouble. Ideally, he wants the independent-minded Bvarda off the throne and replaced with his weak son. Hotheaded Jarls like Jarla Jona of County Karthwasten play to his advantage, weakening the Hold’s centralized monarchy.

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