ESO Lore Overhaul: Stonefalls, Part Two

Well, after playing only frm Davon's Watch to Senie in Part One and finding a lore issue in almost every quest, I'm a little leery about jumping back into this, but here I am again! Let's play some ESO! This post covers the quests from Othrenis to Ash Mountain. (I may edit this to include more of the zone at a later date, but my real work calls me.)

For the reasons and rules for this series, see my first blog:

For other posts in this series, see the below link(s):

Fire Beetles, Morrowind Style

The Issue: Shalk in ESO are orange. Shalk in TES3 are black. Shalk in ESO appear to be wild and quite literally "fire beetles", while in TES3, they were one of the main agricultural staples of the Dunmer, along with kwama and guar, and their fiery spit was probably more along the lines of the caustic solution some IRL beetles will spit when upset, rather than actual fire. As a whole, ESO's interpretation makes Elder Scrolls lore feel a little smaller, a little less unique, and more like every other D&D knockoff RPG out there.

The Proposal: The coloring would take a quick texture job to fix, and I'd be intrigued in what ESO's artists could do to spruce up plain black shalk shells. (Perhaps a dark brown patterning, or painted on "brands" from their Dunmer owners?) As for the shalk being domesticated and NOT a generic fire beetle, this would also be relatively simple to fix. Place some shalk in the stables instead of horses (the latter of which are not common in Morrowind and should probably be removed anyway). Also, like in TES3 make some furniture items that are converted shalk shells, such as bowls, trays, or wall hangings. I know I would collect them for my house!

You Say Necropolis, I Say Ancestral Tomb

The Issue: Garyn Indoril calls Othrenis a "necropolis", which is Greek for city of the dead. Though technically correct, I feel this is either a missed opportunity to explore how Dunmer venerate their ancestors or a misuse of the word: it's a little strange to call a fantasy place with a Greek term.

The Proposal: In TES3, the term for structures like Othrenis was "ancestral tomb", and I feel this is what Garyn Indoril should be calling the place instead. Alternatively or perhaps in conjunction to this change, Garyn should have some dialogue options to expand on how Dunmer worship the dead. Things like "Aren't you worried about disturbing the dead?" might be met with an answer explaining how Dunmer ancestors typically accept visitors peacably and how their living kin will often make pilgrimmages to get advice from them: bonus if Garyn grumps or defends how Tanval disturbed their ancestors under Davon's Watch. "Do you have ancestors buried there?" could have Garyn explaining that Dunmer worship their ancestors and the Daedra as well as the Tribunal, and "But isn't summoning the dead necromancy?" could lead to Galryn explaining how Dunmer graveyards are quite literally guarded by the undead, and how Dunmer don't view this as necromancy. "You worship Daedra?" could also clarify how Daedra in the Dunmer religion are not straight-up moustache-twisting demons, a distinction badly needed after all the ESO storylines of Daedra trying to take over the world.

Argonians Everywhere

The Issue: The NPC who helps the player summon ancestral spirits in Othrenis is an Argonian. This strikes me as ESO trying to characterize Arognians as shamanistic sorts, and while on the surface I have no problem with that, it's again ignoring the fact that Argonian souls work differently from all other humanoids. Argonians may be highly curious about how Dunmer worship their ancestors, for instance, and may want to study how their souls move on since they don't have Hist trees to go back to, but I do not think they would understand it out the door like Onuja seems to. This arrangement is also a little peculiar in that Othrenis is quite a holy place to Dunmer; I doubt Garyn would be sending a "slave race" to the ancestors no matter how enlightened Garyn may be--for one, it would carry the very real risk of offending the ancestors, especially if Mavos is as snooty as Onuja indicates he is.

The Proposal: Replace Onuja with an Indoril or Temple priest. Alternatively, if keeping racial diversity in Stonefalls is important (and I'd argue that it's not, Dunmer being the isolationists they are), add in dialogue of Onuja explaining how he has been studying the Temple's edicts as they are so different from his own race's religion, and have him mention his nervousness is partly because the ancestors may be offended by his presence, as he is "not the traditional pilgrim" and the ancestors "may not understand" the racial alliances of the Pact.

Honorable Mentions

  • Completing the quest at Othrenis requires chanting at the Shrine of Reverence and the Shrine of Veneration. These are synonyms of the same thing...instead, maybe name these shrines after powerful Dunmer families, or two Dunmer tenets.
  • Bala in Othrenis identifies herself as an Ashlander merchant. Trader or just plain herder may be more appropriate, as "merchant" I tend to associate with societies that have a rich middle class, and the Ashlanders don't.
  • Bala is certain that she'll see her deceased House Dunmer lover again in death. Does the Provincial House, a creation of the Tribunal, also accept Ashlander spirits though? I really don't know. Probably not important, as Bala is already fooling herself in other ways...
  • Blaze seems like such a generic name. Maybe rename this atronach to "Angereater" or similar, to better match Ragebinder's name?
  • Atronachs are thought to be nonsentient, yet the fire atronachs on Ash Mountain talk. ...their voices and what they say are spot on though, so I'm not too fussed about it. REDACTED. Atronachs are shown to be sentient in Battlespire.



Vukaxin's picture

I know this is a nitpick, but considering it's in the spirit of this blogpost series:

Necropolis is not a Latin word, but Greek, from νεκρόπολις, which does indeed literally mean "city of the dead". I've barely played ESO so I could be wrong, but at least from what I read online it seems to be a complex of a few tombs, which would justify distinguishing it from a singular ancestral tomb (it does still have a whiff of genericising ES lore though).

I think necropolis is

Gnomey's picture

I think necropolis is justified as it is an English word, despite its origins. Necrom is described as a necropolis in some sources. I'd also agree that it indicates a complex of tombs, or perhaps a large tomb shared by several clans or families, like Necrom. Ancestral tombs and Ashlander burials conversely contain a single family or clan.

Battlespire established that Atronachs and most other Daedra are sentient, and though almost all Daedra want to kill you rather than have a nice chat in Morrowind, there are instances of talking atronachs such as at Mt. Kand. TR introduces one in OE, who does not however have a grasp (or doesn't choose to display it) of the common tongue.