The Reach - Main Questline Discussion

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roerich
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The Reach - Main Questline Discussion

Post by roerich » Tue Jul 19, 2016 12:59 am

In preparation for the main questline of the Reach, we should strive to draw up the major conflicts of our story, in order to see possible directions and conclusions for the main quest.

In this thread we will list and discuss these conflicts. I will start with the question of who will sit the throne after Barda:

King Barda's successor:

On the surface level, there's no real succession crisis at play. Prince Alrod is officially set to inherit his father's throne, when the old King passes on. But the Prince's perceived weak nature and lavish lifestyle has caused a number of influential individuals to plot for and against him.

A number of Thanes, Jarls, Clan-fathers and landholders are plotting on declaring a kingsmoot upon the death of King Barda. They do not necessarily agree upon what candidate should take the throne instead, but none of them view Arald as a worthy King. Some of them see themselves as the obvious choice, but their commonly proposed candidates include:
  • Jarla Jona the Ansei-Slayer, for her battle prowess and willingness to act harshly against insurgent groups. Aging veterans of the Bend'r Mahk often feel like the Empire has robbed them of their rightful reconquest of all of High Rock with their intervention at the end of the war. The Nords' retelling of the battles past, has grown wilder and more favorable to their own wartime exploits during the years, leaving them with a mental picture that they were on the brink of capturing all of the Old Kingdom.
  • Prince Oringar, Prince Alrod's younger brother, is viewed as another acceptable candidate, as he has already made a name for himself as an respected warrior and cunning strategist. Choosing him over others would also be diplomatically wise, as the Nordic citizens of the Reach (especially of Markarth Side) are very fond of the current royal family, King Barda's late father almost holding a mythical status as being the wise and strong father that gave them back their lands. Choosing another member of the family is perceived to be more acceptabe to the general populace, than bringing in someone completely new.
  • The aging Jarl Horir of Beorinhal is a distant cousin to King Barda, but nonetheless, the Nordic inhabitants of the Sundered Hills and surroundings would like to see him on the throne. This not only because it would increase the relative power of the Jarldom, but also because Horir is just as eager as his subjects to massacre any Reachmen dwelling within and near his borders, especially the growing encampment at Old Hrol'dan, who have long been a thorn in the eye to the citizens of Beorinhal.
The Jarls of Falkirstad and Karthwasten, as well as the majority of Thanes of Karthgad, Dragonstar, Markarth Side and Karthwasten, are loyal to their king and royal house. And although not all of them are pleased to see Arald as the heir, they are not plotting against him.

Across the western border, both Crown and Breton figures have their own views on the succession. The vengeful Crowns (and especially the insurgent factions such as the Sorgat Dur-Gada) are looking to stir up trouble in the Reach and get revenge upon the Nords for driving them out. There has already been several failed assassination attempts upon both the Prince and his younger brother.

To the north, King Thian is somewhat unhappy with the strengthened Reach that King Barda will leave behind. He prefers to keep his southern neighbor as being effectively a vassal state, eventually to be included in his grand vision of a restored First Empire. Because of this, he has a lot of interest in seeing Alrod on the throne, the foppish, luxury-addicted prince an easy prey for the puppet master. His agents are waging a shadow war against western assassins to keep him alive at all costs. All of this of course unbeknownst to King Barda's spymasters. Likewise, he is plotting to remove the younger Prince Oringar from the game, as he would be much harder to control than Alrod. This either by setting up a fatal accident, or by having Legion-contacts (Hörme/Potema sympathizers, such as the Talos Cult) pull strings to have the enlisted brother permanently assigned to a post in a faraway province.


The Absent Ruler of Karthwasten

Jarla Jona was awarded with the Jarldom of Karthwasten and Dragonstar in the aftermath of the war. But while Karthwasten is the official seat of the Jarldom throne, she has spent almost the entirety of the past twenty years in the chaotic Dragonstar, leaving the governance of the hold in the hands of Thane Formir of Karthwasten and the relatively anonymous Breton bureauchrat named Brilwald.

Jona is an extremely gifted warrior, who proved herself during the War of Bend'r Mahk, when she made her name of herself in numerous battles. Eventually the then young woman of only 22 winters famously slew a renowned Redguard Ansei during the First Siege of Dragonstar, thereby earning the status as Hero of Bend'r Mahk. The Treaty of Chorrol dictated that the reclaimed city of Karthwasten and associated lands would be governed by a hero of the war, and the title was given to Jona. But Jona never returned from the war, and felt cheated when Legion forces intervened during the three year long Second Siege of Dragonstar, whereafter the city was divided in two, and the Nordic conquest came to a halt.

For twenty years the war has continued in the shadows, and Jona has stamped down on Redguard insurgents with harsh actions, often targeting innocents or inflicting draconic punishments for minor crimes. A few years back, she led a warband through the Reach, massacring Redguard rebels and villagers alike in response to the poisoning of three of her most trusted Huscarls (one of which was her Tent-Husband) by the hands of the Sorgat Dur-Gada. The raging Jona eventually arrived at the gates of Karthwasten to imprison or behead any Redguard in the city, but the Thane closed the gates as he would not permit such a massacre to take place. Jona then put her own throne-city under siege. The walls were about to be breached, when King Barda and the armies of Markarth and Falkirstad miraculously arrived in time to intervene. Barda initially wanted to imprison Jona, but she was saved both by her reputation but more importantly the loyalty of her soldiers, who vowed to turn Elfstone Keep to dust if their leader was taken. While the armies under King Barda's command would most likely have defeated them, Barda wouldn't want such internal strife in his Kingdom, which would also weaken them to external enemies. The situation then reversed to how it was before the Siege of Karthwasten, in a sort of awkward peace between the different Nord factions involved. Jona returned to Dragonstar to continue fighting Crown rebels, and the Thanes returned to ruling Karthwasten in her absence. The situation can't last though, and Thane Formir want to split the Jarldom into the seperate entities of Karthwasten and Dragonstar, with him now taking the title as Jarl of Karthwasten, if Barda wills it. Of course Jona won't accept this, and bloodshed and warfare will likely ensue again. The situation is tense, with no good solutions in sight.

Dragonstar: A Disaster Waiting to Happen

The divided city of Dragonstar has been on the brink (with varying degree) of a violent collapse since the end of the war. The city has two governments, two markets, and so on, but a shared population with family members and friends separated by the wall. The population is mainly Redguard, Breton and Reachman, but of course also a significant number of Nords. The Nords have mostly settled there since the conquest, but there has always been a Nordic population in the old city. There are Redguards living in the Nord section and Nords living in the Redguard section, both facing harassment from rulers and commoners alike. Violence is a weekly and sometimes daily occurance, and varies from general hostility like tavern brawls, nighttime robberies, Crown- or Nord-only districts or taverns and so on, to more organized and sinister acts of terror and assassinations from insurgent factions. It even shows as the occasional formation of angry mobs, in response to a particularly heinous act of racial violence from either side. Both the Crown and Nord authorities secretly support their own insurgent factions, while playing peacekeepers to the Imperial Legion force stationed on the dividing wall.

With the rising tensions in White-Gold, legionaires are being recalled from all over Tamriel. This too is underway in Dragonstar, and many fear that this will lead to outright war in the streets.

[To be continued]


Beorinhal/The Old Hrol'dan Crisis

The fortress of Beorinhal dates back before the First Empire, and is the oldest Nordic settlement in the entire Reach. It is built on a strategic location overlooking a narrow pass through the mountain ridge that separates the Sundered Hills from the Lorchwuir Heath. In those days, the Sundered Hills were a much more fertile and prosperous land, mostly home to Reachmen tribes and lording Nordic settlers. Infighting and land feuds were common among these populations, but the building of the fortification cemented Nord rule over the land, and the Reachmen were ruled with a stern hand.

The city grew up around the fortress, as it was an important trade route stop between both Colovia and southern central Skyrim to the growing city-states of the west. But the local mining industry and stone quarries also served their part in the city's growth. Over the centuries, the city was an important medium sized settlement, and a strong Nordic military power center in the often shifting borders of the Reachlands.

After the War of the Red Diamond, the fortress was now located directly on the border of a diminished and humiliated Skyrim. The fortifications were improved upon, but the population dwindled as a result of trade blockades and the generally uneasy relationship between the Nordic kingdoms and the new Crown rulers of the Reach and Karthwasten in particular. The military aspect of the city was strengthened, and came to play a large part of the local identity.

The city has seen constant decline since the loss of the Reach, even after the reconquests of the War of Bend'r Mahk. The Sundered Hills have degenerated into a drought-plagued badlands where lawlessness and banditry run wild, and the caravaners have found other routes as a result, further damaging the economy of Beorinhal.

The resettlement of large amounts of Reachmen in the region (and the ruins of Old Hrol'dan) haven't helped, and the area now sits as an uncomfortable unruled buffer zone between The Reach, Falkreath and White Hold, who each have claims to different parts within the region. With the new border, Beorinhal has even lost its identity as a strong border fortress against the Crowns, now serving more as a defense from the marauders of Sundered Hills.

Jarl Horir and the Nords of Beorinhal still cling to their role as border guardians, and are preparing a campaign against the Reachmen tribes - much to the disagreement of King Barda, as the Reachmen have settled on land that lawfully belongs to the throne of Falkreath. These actions could very well end up in an outright war between the two kingdoms, as the attack on Old Hrol'dan will rightly be seen as an invasion of Falkreath.

Possible storylines to be included:

The Sorgat Dur-Gada

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worsas
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Re: The Reach - Main Questline Discussion

Post by worsas » Tue Jul 19, 2016 1:34 pm

I love the story layout for the succession. It sounds like it would have a big amount of potential. I can't wait to read what you will put forth for the other scenarios.

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Yeti
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Re: The Reach - Main Questline Discussion

Post by Yeti » Tue Jul 19, 2016 4:39 pm

I have ideas to share for this, but not the time to compile them at the moment.

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roerich
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Re: The Reach - Main Questline Discussion

Post by roerich » Wed Jul 20, 2016 6:51 am

I'm excited to hear what you have in store, Yeti. Also feel free to add comments to my writeup.

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Re: The Reach - Main Questline Discussion

Post by roerich » Mon Jul 25, 2016 10:31 am

Updated the post with the chapter "The Absent Ruler of Karthwasten" and the first lines of "Dragonstar: A disaster waiting to happen".

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berry
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Re: The Reach - Main Questline Discussion

Post by berry » Tue Jul 26, 2016 4:51 pm

That's fantastic, not only in terms of a substance, but it is great written as well. Fantastic lecture, simply put, I'm looking forward for more. :)

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Re: The Reach - Main Questline Discussion

Post by roerich » Mon Dec 12, 2016 12:42 pm

Copied the Beorinhal background stories here, to have the main storylines gathered in one place.

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