Mythic resonance and mechanical racism in Skyrim

1 Intro

1.1 Modding exploits

The Spiffing Brit calls Skyrim the most exploitable game of all time. Requiem fixes that somewhat, but balances for roleplay, not powergaming. The modlist Arkay's Commandment tries to remove all exploitability from Skyrim, but winds up removing the fun. If you want great combat mechanics, play Dark Souls. Adding roleplay restrictions is the proper way to enhance the Skyrim experience and eliminate cheese. Use the Serenity II modlist and your imagination to accomplish this.

Roleplaying needn't imply long backstories narrated with thespian pomp to tiny YouTube audiences. Unlike tabletop gaming, a cRPG allows mechanics-based roleplay. Are you tired of endlessly repeating the same few metagame strategies? How about something completely different? Let emergent gameplay write the story.

1.2 Restricted racial perks

For a new level of challenge and immersion, assign perks only to skills that receive a racial starting bonus.

More mathematically: use a ratio of 4:2:1 for primary, secondary and tertiary skills. So for your first three perks, two must be primary, one may be secondary, and zero tertiary. Once you have 4 primary perks, you may choose one tertiary perk.

For example, Argonians get +10 to Evasion and Lockpicking, and +5 to Restoration, Alteration, Sneak and PickPocket. Thus Argonians can't place perks in offensive skills. While there are some perks in their racial skills that can be considered offensive, none of their racial skills are overall offensive. This makes the Thief's Guild path imperative. Lack of offensive capability helps explain Argonians' oppressed status in Windhelm. The resulting resentment and poverty motivate theft. Dragons like shinies.

Voila, immersion. Instead of playing each race with the same metagaming strategy, each race is a completely different playstyle and experience.

Masochism and imagination are your only limits. For example, Orcs are conspicuously illiterate, so ignore books. A Nord wouldn't strip his friend's shelves bare just because it wouldn't be reported as a crime. An Altmer wouldn't run minor fetch quests. Bosmer are claustrophobic (taphophobic) treehuggers. Etc.

1.3 Stifling cheese

Perhaps you find it offensively stifling to restrict your roleplay by racial archetype. Fine, I don't care. I'm a powergamer who barely roleplays.

I looked at the racial starting bonuses, detected a pattern similar to that of an ecosystem, and elaborated on that pattern.

Evolutionary emergence happens when each set's members are trying to fill a distinct niche to survive over iterations: races, skills, weapons, standing stones, divines, alternative starts. Over time, an interlocking "ecosystem" evolves. I like discovering the vaguely-felt mechanical archetypes that result.

If you want to play Gronk the Orc Chef-Shaman, great. Knowing the archetypal Orc is 2H HA only enhances that oddball experience.

Archetypal builds capture the diversity inherent to game mechanics, regardless of whether the build is nerfed or OP, boring or fun. While archetypal builds are viable, they are often more convoluted than metagamer builds. This is a good thing, because it forces deeper engagement with Skyrim's world, instead of ignoring quests and just clearing random dungeons for metagame-prioritized loot.

Ease your way into archetypal builds by matching your favored playstyle to the closest race. Make some sacrifices and view it as a challenge run. Strategy and patience can compensate, if you don't insist on charging into the first bandit fort like an FPS.

Skyrim is not Dark Souls; it's poorly designed for combat. Why cheese the AI's terrain navigation for hours, when you can just play something better? If you want pure fantasy tactical roguelike combat, there's always DCSS.

Skyrim is not a roguelike; it's a 3D immersive RPG. Play it for the mythic truths you can't experience in any other game. Metagame less and live a second life, learning lessons applicable to your own!

You are the Dungeon Master. You control the console commands. If you walk into a bandit cave and find that you can't survive or retreat without ridiculous AI cheese, then rule your character dead of extreme recklessness. Reflecting on the nature of this permadeath may save you from a future car accident due to reckless driving.

1.4 Lore deprecated

Just as Bethesda was not competent to write a bug-free well-balanced game, it is not competent to write accurate lore. Books are commonly wrong in real life, let alone imaginary books in an imaginary extrapolation of a video game.

Therefore, lore from other games in the Elder Scrolls series, or from in-game books in Skyrim, is deprecated in favor of inferences drawn from Skyrim mechanics relevant to gameplay.

The challenge is to build a consistent headcanon. For immersion, the most important goal is consistency with gameplay observations.

If Mjoll the Lioness ruins your immersion with her historical incongruity, use the sexchange console command. Women have less upper body strength and cannot compete in men's MMA, much less armored medieval combat. Let them do magic instead, and get a mod with sexy robes!

2 Weapons and elemental focus

Races specialize in different weapon types. Some must rely on unperked (daggers) or (crossbow), until their first tertiary perk at level 5:

  1. Altmer: enchanted (poison) (dagger, crossbow)
  2. Argonian: (poison) (unarmed, marksmanship)
  3. Bosmer: poison, light bow
  4. Breton: poison (enchanted) (crossbow) bound weapon
  5. Dunmer: (enchanted) 1h sword
  6. Imperial: 1h axe
  7. Khajiit: poison, warbow, unarmed, 1h
  8. Nord: 2h sword and 1h mace
  9. Orc: 2h hammer and 1h axe
  10. Redguard: 1h swords

Weapon reasoning explained:

  • Argonian has 10 unarmed base damage, learns Telekinetic Muscles, and obtains Gloves of the Pugilist.
  • Light bow for mobility, warbow for sneak attacks.
  • Dunmer and Redguard spellswords need a quick swing-speed for Evasion and use Destruction to penetrate armor.
  • The Imperial paladin can't cast as much Destruction in his heavy armor, but is tanky enough to swing the slower 1h axe.
  • For a pure warrior, axes offer the best balance of penetration and damage, whereas swords aren't serious and maces are too slow.
  • Nord specializes in clearing slow Draugr with a silver 2h, and defeats non-undead armor with a 1h mace. Early stamina is scarce, so Nord uses lightweight Heavy Armor and 2h sword. Later he gets Wuuthrad and goes 2h axes.
  • Orc crushes armored foes with a berserked 2h hammer, and chops everything else with a 1h axe. Stamina is no problem with Strong Stomach.
  • Redguard dual wields during Adrenaline Rush power attacks

Elemental affinities:

  • Altmer: voltamancer, to counter his vulnerability to mages.
  • Dunmer: pyromancer so he can point-blank fireball.
  • Imperial: pyromancer for the flame DoT while patiently tanking. He has Resto Ward vs mages.
  • Redguard: cryomancer to slow for hit and run.

3 Standing stones

  1. Altmer: Mage stays mobile while capturing mana regen overflow.
  2. Argonian: Thief for a general boost, then Tower for industrial theft
  3. Bosmer: Shadow to escape in open wilderness
  4. Breton: Apprentice to exploit racial MR, then Ritual for necromancy
  5. Dunmer: Mage for Evasion movement, then Atronach since vampire can drain mana
  6. Imperial: Lover for speech powers
  7. Khajiit: Serpent for slitting VIP throats
  8. Nord: Lady replaces Strong Stomach for stamina regen
  9. Orc: Steed captures stamina regen overflow from Strong Stomach
  10. Redguard: Lord to mitigate robe armor

4 Divine blessings

  1. Altmer: Julianos for mana
  2. Argonian: Mara for Restoration
  3. Bosmer: Auriel for archery
  4. Breton: Arkay for hunting undead with Resto and Flame Atronach
  5. Dunmer: Stendarr for burning vampires and Daedra
  6. Imperial: Dibella for Speech
  7. Khajiit: Kynareth for archery stamina
  8. Nord: Akatosh for shouts
  9. Orc: Talos to hit even harder
  10. Redguard: Zenithar for smithing to haggling. Fires exotic projectiles. Caravaneer.

Murderers and thieves are excommunicated, leaving Nocturnal the only Aedra who will have them. Evil races are most likely to be excommunicated; see the alignment chart.

5 Daedric artifacts

5.1 Puzzle rules

There are 18 Daedric artifacts and 10 races. Count Barbas and the Rueful Axe as pseudo-artifacts, bringing the total to 20.

Each playable race gets two Daedric artifacts. No repeats. Use each artifact only once.

Find the best archetypal match, as dictated by game mechanics, not lore.

Archetypal builds are the opposite of generic: They emphasize unique playstyle niche rather than generic capability. If you're giving a "strong" artifact to a "weak" race, you've missed the point of the exercise. The goal is niche fit, not making every race play like a straightforward Orc.

Barbas is not an artifact; he's a dog-in-fact. However, he and the Rueful Axe are both powerful alternative quest rewards to the Vile Masque. The purpose of the exercise is to identify playstyle niche of each race, not to collect the Oblivion Walker achievement.

Barbas is annoying and underrated, but he is an indestructible extra follower. Contrary to popular misconception, he does not render stealth impossible. Hit him when he gets pushy.

5.2 Solution

  • ALTMER: Azura's Star, Oghma Infinium. Master enchanter seeks knowledge.
  • ARGONIAN: Vile Masque: Thief's Guild requires persuasion and fencing. Lack of Heavy Armor skill irrelevant, since not worn in combat. Skeleton Key: Steal everything.
  • BOSMER: Barbas, Hircine's Ring. Werewolf druid and pack. Robin Hood who pickpockets Briarhearts not burghers.
  • BRETON: Black Star, Sanguine Rose. Daedra-loving summoner necromancer parties like a Forsworn (naked and bloody).
  • DUNMER: Fire perks and Enchanting proficiency synergize with Mace of Molag Bal. Savior's Hide because Dunmer has Evasion but neither rPois nor Heavy Armor.
  • IMPERIAL: Dawnbreaker burns undead vulnerable to Restoration. Spellbreaker because paladin. Block that draugr Icewind and bullrush.
  • KHAJIIT: Wabbajack: Chaos nerfs VIP targets and fills soul tomatoes. Skull of Corruption provides AoE and armor penetration. Nightmare werecat.
  • NORD: 2H focus. Rueful Axe tires crowds. Volendrung crushes dragons and compensates for lack of Strong Stomach.
  • ORC: Ebony Mail: Muffle permits sneaking with a Thief or Mage follower who can lockpick. Poison DoT suits shield tanking. Murderous Ebony Blade suits Bandit start and Thief's Guild enforcer brawling.
  • REDGUARD: Ring of Namira regens for hit and run. Mehrune's Razor for dual wielding offhand, after cryomancy slows.

5.3 Objection: Shouldn't Ebony artifacts go to Dunmer?

> If, for example, you want to pick a race which would preferentially seek out the Ebony Blade and Mail it would be a Dunmer, not an Orc, since Dunmer worship Boethiah and Mephala while Orcs would hate Boethiah because of what happened to Malakath.

Never heard about that bit of lore. Doesn't sound relevant to playing Skyrim.

Mechanics-wise, the Orc uses those artifacts. Both require murders, and he doesn't mind Requiem's excommunication. Ebony Mail's Muffle opens the Thief's Guild and Dark Brotherhood. Tertiary Sneak suits his warbow archery.

Dunmer lack Two-Handed and Heavy Armor skills. They use One-Handed weapons and cast Destruction from the off-hand, like this.

Orc are masters of Heavy Armor thanks to stats and Strong Stomach.

In-game, one can observe Nords wielding greatswords often, for the same reason Stormcloaks wear lightweight Heavy Armor: stamina. Alcohol as stamina source is inferior to Strong Stomach.

5.4 Objection: Orcs and Nords are the same

Nords and Orcs are similar in that they are both Heavy Armor Warriors. However, their ethos drastically differs. Orcs follow Daedra Malacath's way of strength, berserker raging to devastate. Nords follow the way of Aedras Talos and Akatosh, reviving their ancestral art of dragon shouts. Eventually the Orc wields the Ebony Blade and Ebony Mail of evil Daedras Boethiah and Mephala.

Thus there is a vast difference between the chaotic evil Orc black knight and the neutral good Nord white knight. (The Imperial is the lawful good paladin.)

Since Orc culture is based on strength, it does not permit chiefs to grow old or allow women, who have much weaker upper bodies, to hold coveted male positions of authority.

6 Vampires and werewolves

Vampires:

  • Breton necromantic alignment synergizes with vampire. Conjuration gives a slow self-heal. Hide out in a creepy cave and molest corpses. Probably cures it eventually.
  • Dunmer's fire resistance is best vampire. Other races merely dabble. Daywalker! (almost)

Werewolves:

  • Bosmer seems a poor fit for Heavy Armor Nord mercenary Companions. However, Bosmer fits Hircine, cannibalism, werewolf and Aela the Huntress. Werewolf gives Bosmer a much-needed melee or escape option. He sleeps rough anyway. Shadow stone allows unobserved transformations.
  • Khajiit already do vampy nocturnal sneaking well, and need werewolf melee to counter Heavy Armor. Chase a robed assassin, catch a weretiger.
  • Nord flirts with werewolf before returning to respectable society once he grows into his Heavy Armor. Then gets hitched.
  • Orc werewolf stat bonus is initially helpful, but ultimately werewolf form is redundant with Orc's existing melee strength, so the rest bonus becomes increasingly attractive, especially once one wishes to power-level Smithing. He finds a thicc Orc gal and settles down to more respectable forms of mass murder.
  • Redguard's werewolf mitigates robes. It is the secret power he sought from the sands. He will return to found his own pack of desert wolves.

Both:

Argonian is a nocturnal thief with weak offense and light armor. Unarmed weapon focus transfers to forms via Telekinetic Muscles and Martial Arts perk. Argonian goes werewolf first, since Companions is easier than Dawnguard.

Argonian is a Volikhar agent, and only becomes a vampire noble after Alduin's defeat, when it is safer to contract fire vulnerability. Vampire night vision helps theft. Thief's Guild benefits bribes. Fire is a lore-friendly vulnerability for a regenerating amphibian, and Alteration mitigates somewhat, as does Histskin to run away. Should hide underwater from sunshine. (Sacrilege does this, but for all vampires, so only enable it when playing Argonian.) Stolen wealth purchases ample coffin-equipped lairs. For emergency shelter, lockpick a farmhouse and murder everyone inside.

7 Alternate Start

The mod Alternate Start — Live Another Life allows racial diversification of origin story. First select one's race, then randomize the starting location using the options below:

  1. Altmer: Thalmor; College of Winterhold; by ship
  2. Argonian: Windhelm dockworker (male); shipwrecked (male); Thief's Guild (female); Lord Harkon's Court (female)
  3. Bosmer: camping; inn; Erik the Slayer's childhood friend; Dawnguard
  4. Breton: Forsworn native; necromancer; Vlindrel Hall
  5. Dunmer: Morrowind refugee in Windhelm; vampire; Honeyside; Vigilant of Stendarr
  6. Imperial: Penitus Oculatus; Proudspire Manor; farmhouse
  7. Khajiit: caravan guard; Dark Brotherhood; escape cell
  8. Nord: Stormcloak; Breezehome; caught crossing border (vanilla Helgen)
  9. Orc: Orcish stronghold; Imperial soldier; outlaw in the wilds (bandit)
  10. Redguard: Alik'r; left for dead; Companions

Some explanatory notes:

  1. Altmer arrive by ship from the Summerset Isles.
  2. Argonians are more likely to be the sole survivor of a shipwreck. Castle Volikhar is an island. Dawnguard Volikhar side quests suit a thief. Egoism and resentment are lore-friendly reptilian motivations. From dock whore to vampire lord…
  3. Bosmer drink in inns because they're homeless nomads without evolved alcohol tolerance. Bosmer represent innkeep son Erik's ideal of nomadic adventure, and Erik tanks well. Dawnguard is crossbow-centric and finishes with Auriel's bow, suiting +15 Marksmanship and Bosmer nature alignment.
  4. Bretons are necromancers because +15 Conjuration raises the dead.
  5. Dunmer are vampires for the fire resistance and camouflaging red eyes and grey skin. Honeyside is in Riften, and the Rift borders Morrowind, home of Dunmer. Rich Dunmer flourish under Blackbriar rule.
  6. Imperials are Restoration paladins. The farmhouse was a land grant for legionary service. Imperials always have wealth to leverage Speech.
  7. Nord nobles start at Breezehome because Whiterun is quintessential Nordville. Vanilla Helgen is Nord because the dramatic choice between Imperial and Stormcloak is designed for Nords torn between cosmopolitan loyalty and ethnonationalist rebellion. Other races simply want to escape alive without fighting.
  8. Khajiit are assassins even naked, with their night vision and claws.
  9. Orcs earn acceptance as legionnaires but take equally to banditry — not to mention uncompensated acts of random combat.
  10. Redguard is left for dead in a raided caravan; nobody cares about finishing off a foreign mercenary. Another Redguard winds up in the Companions, looking for adventure far afield, learning Nord martial arts to take home.

Some players write backstories for their Skyrim characters. I think this is more appropriate for tabletop gaming. In a computer game as detailed as Skyrim, it's already difficult to make consistent in-character choices. A race and matching LAL origin allows a character to develop through his emergent in-game choices.

The ultimate goal of Skyrim is to transcend from roleplayer to LARPer. To start this final quest, read the in-game book "Children of the All-Maker". Then convert to Anastasianism and RETVRN to an eco-village to practice the lifeway taught by the (allegedly) psychic Nordic alien goddess. Playing different characters is like reincarnating repeatedly until your soul is at peace with hugging trees. Until then, enjoy killing bandits with a keyboard.

8 Alignment chart

8.1 The taboo whiteness of Skyrim

Here are a couple of cool alignment charts on r/Skyrim:

However, nobody has made a racial alignment chart, in over a decade of Skyrim. Why? Probably because Skyrim is so incredibly based that no one dares. One almost suspects that Todd Howard got fed up with the niggers and decided to make a story about Nordic heroism, brutal Orcs and slutty Argonian child-traffickers.

Think I jest? Someone made a lore-based alignment chart for the Elder Scrolls series, got ratioed, and the top response was literally "That's racist".

Cat people, lizardmen, just a question a skin tone really. We're all vertebrates. Sorry, no offense to the cuttlefish. What I'm trying to say is that we are all fundamentally assholes. So if someone calls you racist, just smile and call him an asshole! That is how he identifies, and good for him. Self-knowledge is the beginning of wisdom.

Of course, excessive racism unbased in reality can be hazardous, causing one to be expelled from up to 110 countries. Arrogant Thalmor ZOG's days are numbered. That's why it's best to keep your racism to reasonable Stormcloak levels. Skyrim is for the Nords!

8.2 Charting precedents

Surprised that I couldn't find the Skyrim racial alignment chart, I searched for something similar like DnD. I Googled… then DuckDuckGo'd… then Dogpiled. Closest I got was a Warcraft races chart, which I've never played. No charts of classic DnD races! In fact, six months ago Wizards of the Coast got rid of racial alignment entirely, because dat's rayciss.

I did find one Skyrim racial alignment article at GameRant. However the manlet author Ben Baker couldn't even pick a single category per race. Gamers owe Ben a great debt for his momentous discovery that an individual may differ from the racial average.

Ben categorizes Nords as not-Good, which is blatant anti-white racism. Nords are obviously Good people, living in their own homeland, being kind to neighbors and kin, making picturesque villages like Riverwood, even mildly discriminating against cannibal Bosmer sex tourists. There is no other race in the game that behaves more altruistically.

Perversely, Ben places half of the Orcs in the Good category. What are they doing, manufacturing weapons for charity? Pro-bono beatings? Obviously Ben has lobotomized himself in the name of political correctness. Orcs good, Nords bad, because kikes say so!

Ben is the sort of snooty fellow who would move to Whiterun for the "good schools" and then insist on importing a bunch of Orcs "to improve the boring lack of diversity". Well Ben, let's skip the middleman: We'll ship you straight to Haiti!

8.3 Grand reveal

Behold Skyrim's IMPLICIT playable race alignment chart. Rather than relying on Bethesda's mediocre lore, it's derived from the canonical Requiem roleplaying rebalance, which rectifies racial distinctness. Tada:

  LAWFUL NEUTRAL CHAOTIC
GOOD Imperial Nord Bosmer
NEUTRAL Altmer Redguard Khajiit
EVIL Dunmer Breton Argonian, Orc

6kl8kh.jpg

Figure 1: Systematically racist

8.4 Racial reasoning

Obviously the contrast between Imperial order and Nordic rebellion is central to Skyrim, as expressed through the Civil War plotline. Both races are devout worshippers of the 8.5ish divines. We define Aedra as good and Daedra as bad, roughly speaking. (inb4 Meridia)

The chaotic dimension measures criminality versus civilization. Elves tend to be more civilized, while bestial races are lawless. Bosmer are bestial elves, the exception.

> What does alignment have to do with racial traits?

Well, the most obvious example is a Thief skill such as pickpocket which has almost no legal application. Using it causes excommunication, forcing a major alignment shift in Requiem. This isn't the case in vanilla Skyrim, where it's much more ambiguous.

Khajiit may be career caravan drug dealers moonlighting as assassins, but they are ultimately in it for themselves, and not prone to any greater evil than lycanthropy. They do not wish their trade permits revoked, and hunt down their own troublemakers, as do the more civilized Redguards.

Dunmer are evil due to their penchant for vampirism; Bretons for their attraction to Daedra and necromancy.

Argonians manage swimmingly in their primitive swamp societies, but in frigid Skyrim prejudice and resentment ferment dark temptations which the Volikhar greedily guzzle, giving them free reign of Skyrim's sewers. Argonians' nimble fingers open locks guarding the sweetest boudoirs and nurseries. (When a noble tires of Grelod the Kind's orphan snacks.)

The Daedra Malacath is the only god who can somewhat keep the Orcs in line. The Imperial legions liberally apply floggings and executions, then dump the surviving veterans in Skyrim. There the Orcs amuse themselves with banditry and less-organized forms of violence — further straining relations between Nords and Empire.

Occasionally a local Thief's Guild or tavern employs an Orc enforcer, with payment primarily in alcohol. This is always hard on the furniture and whores, and often results in a lethal leadership challenge. Thus enforcers are kept drunk and unarmed. When his bounty reaches a certain level, he is politely offered a (possibly nonexistent) job for a sizable raise in another city.

Older orcesses can calm down enough to work as city blacksmiths, since Orcs do not suffer a female forgemaster.

Note that I judged these alignments primarily by game mechanics, not lore. I doubt it is possible to make a definitive lore-based alignment chart, and would like to see critics do so before arguing that my chart contradicts lore.

8.5 Feedback

8.5.1 Diversity, equality, freedom: Pick two.

Galean 5 points

Any racial alignment is a big no-no for the left, the idea that different cultures combine with biology would be very different in terms of morals and societal structure is impossible for them to accept.

Everyone is exactly the same but diversity is both skin deep and the most important thing about a person.

8.5.2 Khajiit vs Argonian treason

ailurus2> (Oh, and if you want to talk about betraying humanity for a crust of bread, Khajiit easily fit that too based on quests, as seen by the multiple occasions throughout the game where Khajiit NPCs turn out to be assassins working for the Thalmor).

Assassins are paid well in gold, not bread. However a hungry Argonian would probably trade a vampiric feeding for a few fish; he can just regenerate.

Khajiit are assassins, and assassins are useful to the powerful. That is why their caravans still pass. They take Thalmor contracts because the Thalmor rule the Empire. Nords would certainly argue this is a betrayal of humanity.

Vampires are a bit worse than Thalmor, being undead. However, in theory they don't want to slaughter all their sapient cattle, whereas some Thalmor do desire extermination of humanity.

Theory and practice sometimes diverge. I wonder how the Volikhar expect to obtain blood after blotting out the sun. Perhaps failure to eat his vegetables has left a gap in Lord Harkon's understanding of the food chain. Maybe his mind is twisted by Molag Bal, whose other pet projects include apocalyptic planemeld.

Perhaps Khajiit assassins do betray humanity, but Argonian drudges betray life itself. Hence the difference between chaotic neutral and chaotic evil.

9 Volikhar pizzagate

This theory is homebrew and completely original. The difference between conspiracy theorist and historian is about 50 years, and Skyrim just turned 10. Time to sift past the Official Narrative.

So far, I doubt I've convinced a single person of my theory, which doesn't surprise me. I played Skyrim for years, and it never occurred to me, until I decided to autistically analyze Requiem's racial balance.

When conspiracy theorists smugly assert that Epstein didn't kill himself, I roll my eyes. Real power isn't killing someone in a cell monitored by lazy niggers. Real power is making him do it himself. This is a conspiracy theory about real power.

9.1 Pointless Argonians

Argonians are notoriously a pointless race. My archetypal analysis assumes a priori that each race has a niche, so I reject this conclusion and dig deeper.

Volikhar infiltration gives significance to the metagamer-derided Argonian waterbreathing, allowing them to navigate rivers and coastlines with impunity. This sinister patron gives the Argonian player a powerful and satisfying Chaotic Evil narrative arc. Argonians are not merely ugly Khajiits. They matter.

Underestimated, reviled, abused and ignored, they quietly labor to blot out the sun above Skyrim. Not that any of them know that. A few fish is sufficient to secure their cooperation, no questions asked! Rotten is even better.

Fish rot slow; who can wait? Filthy thieves would sniff them out…

9.2 Corporate cowardice

Skyrim is obviously a metaphorical northern Europe. Bethesda can't politically afford to acknowledge the prominent historical role that non-white immigrants play in trafficking white children. I correct this corporate cowardice.

Child trafficking is too politically controversial for inclusion in a AAA game. We may assume the subject is omitted for this reason, going no further than Aventus Aretino's fervent prayer. Children cannot be killed. Abuse is implied.

If a critic disagrees, he must explain why Dunmer and Argonians wouldn't traffick kids to vampires — on the basis of in-game observation and realistic reasoning, not by appealing to the non-existent authority of Bethesda's underpaid English majors.

9.3 Why Windhelm?

The Windhelm Argonian refugee population always bothered me. Why are they there? It doesn't make any sense. Geographically, Skyrim is northmost Tamriel; the Black Marsh is the southeast corner. It's like Congolese in Canada.

Windhelm's arctic weather is miserable for the Argonians' heat-adapted scales. They certainly can't survive long in the freezing Arctic ocean, without a Horker's layer of blubbery mammal fat. They mostly seem to huddle miserably indoors and bemoan their poverty, not without cause.

Like Negroid slaves in North America, their presence is due to someone powerful importing them. But who, and why? The only answer is the Volikhar.

9.4 Scale and fang

Argonians' Restoration magic, disease resistance and Strong Stomach mean they have little fear of the dead. They are obviously carrion feeders.

Alteration is one of Argonians' few offense-capable skills. Alteration's Absorbtion spells are similar to Destruction's Vampiric Drain. Thus vampirism isn't considered taboo, just another form of predation.

While most sewersaurs are merely hapless pickpockets and petty thieves, Argonians are culturally predisposed to collaborate with vampires, who they see as fellow outsiders rather than an existential threat. Obviously there is no vampirism in the Black Marsh, due to disease resistance. Thus vampires can employ Argonians without enthralling them. Willing employers of Argonians are rare; opportunities for promotion are even rarer.

Argonian streetwalkers offer safe sucks to Dunmer vampires, thanks to disease resistance, which prevents them from turning. Restoration and Histskin replenishes the lost blood, and scales hide the bruising. There's nothing suspicious about a red-eyed Dunmer in the Windhelm Argonian quarter's whore alley. Snitches don't survive in the Argonian quarter, because everyone is a criminal.

Skilled Thief's Guild Argonians are employed by the Volikhar as infiltrators and enforcers, keeping the lesser vampires in check, and providing the finest beverages — boy, girl or baby — to bored nobles vacationing in Windhelm's Dunmer quarter.

9.5 Geopolitical infection

Windhelm as Volikhar infiltration point:

  • close to Morrowind the Dunmer homeland, which is full of old vampire families
  • refugee population of Dunmer supplies traditional vampire cohort

A major vampire blood-trafficking ring operating in Windhelm, on the border of Morrowind and the northern Volikhar-patrolled coastline, explains much about Skyrim's geopolitics. The same corruption infects Riften, due to its border with Morrowind's mountains, fluvial access from Windhelm, and large Argonian and Dunmer populations.

Why not something closer to Castle Volikhar off northwest Skyrim? Because Solitude is the last place the Volikhar would want to infiltrate: It's full of Imperial paladins. Winterhold is also inadvisable due to the pyromancers and Restoration mages. Dawnstar is an option, but haunted by Vaermina, who may be territorial with other Daedra. Also, the docks are rather shallow. Vampires haunt Morthal, but it is provincial and small. That leaves Windhelm, with its conveniently underutilized Argonian population and casual murder of streetwalkers. The streets flow with blood, and the orphanage is packed!

Vampire nobles play a long game. One suspects the Volikhar of fomenting the civil war to weaken Solitude, and engineering the decline of Winterhold by corrupting mages.

Comparing Windhelm to Riften, a pattern emerges. Dunmer are the bourgeois vampires. Argonians are their drudges, the perfect smugglers for a dock town. Argonian restoration magic allows them to keep restrained children healthy in transit. Why children? Why lamb?

Austin King> A vampire's servant is called a drudge. A drudge protects the vampire master during the daylight hours and runs small errands they will also act as waiters or waitresses and sometimes a source of food.

Otherwise, why would thieving Argonians be tolerated? They must have the support of some powerful faction. The Volikhar are the logical choice.

9.6 Grelod the Connected

Child-trafficking explains why the orphan was so determined to kill the half-Hagraven Grelod the Kind. How could such a cruel orphange be an open secret, with half of Skyrim openly discussing Aventus Aretino's desperate prayer to the Dark Brotherhood? Why did Grelod prevent adoptions? Why didn't any of those brave noble Nord warriors intervene?

Good question. Here's another: How could a pedophile be President? Guess what the child-sniffer does to those kids in a Delaware garage after the awards ceremony? Why does an armed America tolerate abortion clinics in every state, selling butchered baby parts?

Are you sure vampires are fictional? What if the iron circulating in the blood affects the body's electromagnetic field? What if biomagnetism isn't just brain waves, but the anchor that ties your soul to your body? Could a psychic predator "drink" someone's vital energy through the blood? Would it extend his lifespan?

Everyone knows it's murder but nobody dares act, because hidden masters pull the strings. Skyrim has less of a "vampire" problem than America does. At least Skyrim's vampires aren't funded by Imperial taxes.

9.7 The Windhelm ripper

Volikhar pizzagate is the only explanation for the bizarrely casual reaction of the Windhelm guards to the murdered women in the Blood on the Ice quest. Jack the Ripper had all London in an uproar, and he was merely killing ghetto whores. Windhelm's guards will arrest you for stealing a sweetroll, but they can't be bothered to investigate gruesome serial murder? Of the Nord tavern waitress they all flirt with? Bullshit. Murders of pretty young women are outrageously sensational.

The guard's excuse is that he's too busy with the civil war to investigate. That is not how wartime works. Martial law is declared, and brutal public murders are aggressively investigated as treason or terrorism. So the guard at the scene is obviously lying.

Only if the victims are Argonian and Dunmer whores does police indifference make sense. Racism would perfectly explain why an Argonian dock whore is the only person investigating. Especially if bribes have changed hands. So victim Susanna the Wicked's race should be changed to Dunmer, and her profession to prostitute.

The guards don't know whether this murder is vampire business. Judging by the mess, they figure it's probably some feral vampling who will be hunted down shortly. Or maybe a clueless serial killer is poaching on vampire turf. Either way, it's safer to stay out of it.

The vampires see this naive Argonian whore investigating, and realize that Calixto is the perfect patsy for a number of murders he didn't commit. Best if he doesn't survive the arrest. The (rather gullible) whore is fed clues to ensure she reaches the right conclusion. If she pins it on that troublesome mage Wuunferth, even for a few days, the vampires will have free run of the city. Who knew that drinking Calixto's delicious sister would pay off so handsomely?

Voila, immersion! Argonian is now an intriguing roleplaying opportunity, instead of an undeveloped afterthought.

9.8 Dunmer bourgeosie

Dunmer are mechanically the archetypal vampire due to racial fire resistance mitigating vampire's fire vulnerability. Other races of vampire tend to get roasted when they meet their first pyromancer, some Bretons excepted. Thus old vampires tend to be Dunmer. And with vampires, age is everything.

The primary threat to an old vampire is feral vamplings running amok, drawing competent vampire hunters into his territory. Progeny are therefore sent to the countryside to skulk in caves and learn self-control. Survival of the fittest.

The vampire elders would like to get rid of those pesky Imperial paladins, too. Skyrim is for the Nords: 10 out of 10 vampires agree. Thanks to the snooty Thalmor, the conflict barely needs stoking. There is no bloodbath like war!

9.9 Argonian enforcers

Being a Volikhar noble means enforcing one's rule by killing troublesome lesser vampires. Thief's Guild Argonians are well-suited to this task, able to assault lairs during daylight to prevent escape. They also assassinate Vigilants of Stendarr caught napping while the sun is up.

Mostly though, an Argonian drudge's job is to lockpick the doors of private homes and invite vampires across the threshold, allowing them to enter without forfeiting all magical abilities. (Optional roleplaying restriction!)

Traditionally, werewolves serve vampires. Skyrim apparently breaks this trope by having the Companions be independent. Volikhar pizzagate implies that elder vampires are guarded by Argonian were-raptors. Buffed by Alteration's Mage Armor and Telekinetic Muscles, these magical Jurassic killing machines are wicked!

9.10 Conclusion

Now when I look at a map of Skyrim I see the truth: Winterhelm and Riften are two vampire fangs plunged into the neck of Skyrim from Morrowind, injecting her arteries with venom and plague.

10 Mythic resonance

10.1 Based game

Nirn is imagined by humans to express mythic truths about Terran history.

My racial archetypes are guided by the logical consequences of the starting skill bonuses. If you see something racially demeaning in the results, blame the game designers.

10.2 Three human macro-races

Negroids, Mongoloids and Caucasoids exhibit reptilian, insectoid and avian traits, respectively. The Caucasoid nose is a beak, the Negroid maxilla is a snout, and the Mongoloid flat face with canted eyes suggests Mantis hybridization.

Since humans have forgotten our own history except the last 10,000 years, we express it through myth.

10.3 Who's subhuman?

Chimps are subhuman, not Negroids. Negroids have human souls.

Negroids are the most primitive except Australoids and Capoids. Negroids have long coexisted with nature, their fertility kept in check by African disease and megafauna, whereas Caucasian technological ingenuity is killing Earth's biome in an historical eyeblink.

Is that good or bad? You decide.

10.4 Who's Negroid?

Don't be fooled; Redguards are merely Arabs in we-wuz-kangs blackface. Khajiit are also Middle-Eastern, gypsie-like.

Skyrim divides Negroid female and male archetypes into Argonian and Orc respectively.

As Reptilians, Argonians are relatively cold towards their hatchlings. They are passive-aggressive, opportunistic and predatory.

Orcs can start with a bounty as bandit. They are aggressive, angry, impulsive and violent.

10.5 Solving Eurasia

Altmer are a priestly composite, borrowing from Jewish loxism, but also the melonheads whose skulls occupy certain museums, most non-public. In general, elves represent human hybridization. The Summerset Isles is Atlantis.

Bretons represent the Picts and prior conquered European peoples pushed to the periphery by Aryan expansion. High Rock is the British Isles.

Bosmer represent Amerindians, whose strong hunter gatherer bodies impressed European settlers diminished by the grain diet. They are also similar to the Fae and woodben.

Dunmer are Russo-Asians, as implied by Morrowind's location to the east of Skyrim. They are also associated with Daedra AKA demons. This demonization is doubtless influenced by racial memory of waves of Russo-Mongol conquest from the steppe.

Imperials are Romans.

Nords are northern Europeans.

10.6 Non-playable races

Skyrim's mythic resonance is not limited to the playable races.

Dwemer dwarves represent the mystery of lost human civilizations from prior ages, who build megalithic structures above ground and classified tunnel networks below.

Falmer are the echo of an even more ancient species: the burrowing insectoid Ant People, Earth's first terrestrial sapients, who were defeated and nearly genocided by their reptilian successors. The degraded state of the Falmer reflects inbreeding and near-total loss of individuality. Their caverns run deeper than the Dwemer, driven to the uttermost depths by reptilian conquest.

Dragons, it should be obvious, are ancient starfaring Draconian overlords, seeking to increase their control over Earth's surface souls.

11 Cinematic pozz

Elder Scrolls was once the pinnacle of AAA video game cinematics. The sound effects and narration were weak, but with the right edit and soundtrack, this trilogy remains unsurpassed. It is the foundation of my inspiration playlist.

I could write an essay about all the mythic truths the trilogy portrays. The main metaphor is chakras. Each hero represents a chakra: Red Viking is balls ego. Green sorceress is heart love. Blue rogue is mind intellect. The three fates judge wrath, mercy and hubris.

The original Elder Scrolls cinematic was released in 2013, for the launch of Elder Scrolls Online. An even-better follow-up was released in 2014. The awesome conclusion was released in 2015.

Since then, Bethesda has proven incapable of releasing a watchable cinematic. Pozz has ruined AAA video game cinematics in general. Let's examine a few examples:

11.1 Giant cunt | 2020

Some giantess cunt directly upstages the epic Viking warrior. Time to let these deluded feminists fend for themselves against the feral 'groids.

11.2 Gates of Oblivion | 2021

The Elder Scrolls Online - Gates of Oblivion Launch Cinematic | YouTube

What a gay cinematic. A Daedra who doesn't stab downed enemies? A prince with only one retainer? Repeated consequence-free knockouts? Diverse goodguys 3v1ing the white badguy? A poignant moment of lesbian eye contact before an unnecessary suicide that only kills the badguy?

Cornrow cunt, token Argonian and the noodle-armed dough-faced archeress had me rooting for the loyal Daedra retainer the whole time. There's obviously nothing worth preserving on the other side of Dagon's portal, or a man would've shown up to do the job right.

11.3 High Isle | 2022

If you didn't get the message that Bethesda is here and queer to smash the patriarchy, here's another hint they want you dead, white man:

The Elder Scrolls Online: High Isle Launch Cinematic | YouTube

I don't know how you root for this puny trio. They don't even flank properly, instead charging into a greatsword's reach simultaneously. One horizontal swipe would've ended the fight on the first swing.

Finish your enemies! Just one stomp before the knight foot-drags the Viking, and he wouldn't get up.

The critical reversal makes no sense. How does the ineffectual Viking suddenly stab a greatsword one-handed through torso plate at a glancing angle? And why? Doesn't he have a knife for stabbing joints?

Then, when the knight is already mortally wounded from having multiple ribs sheared and a lung collapsed, they pointlessly drop him through the floor with a dramatic team effort. Could've negotiated, exchanged last words, accepted surrender, anything. Nope, afraid he would get up and bleed on them.

Why did he even go upstairs in the first place? When you weigh that much, fight on the ground floor.

That said, I did love to see a superior European knight in plate go to work. He could've easily won if he'd half-sworded, or punched, or pulled a dagger. But the pommel blows were cool. End him rightly!

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