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If you could remake the Three Banners War...

  • Supreme_Atromancer
    Supreme_Atromancer
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    Just for argument's sake: The first game in the series was called "Arena" because Tamriel was so riven by warfare that the land was essentially though of as one massive fighting pit. For every horrible, traumatic injustice the lore has spotlighted so far (the sacking of Orsinium, slavery of Argonians), there could be dozens of others not encountered yet which would make *any* conceivable combination of races into a faction equally is implausible. The Khajiit and Bosmer clashes driven by border disputes and deep-seated cultural clashing is one that comes to mind, but the Bosmer have had bloody wars with the Bretons in the past, too, and the whole (stated) impetus for the creation of the Trans-Niben was Imperial desire to keep Argonians and Khajiit from constantly killing each other (according to Oblivion, anyway). In the North, the Nords have often been considered super-aggressive, with an innate drive for heroism and bloodshed which they have imposed on the Dunmer in their quest for The First Empire, and the Bretons and Redguards in their quest to bring back the old dream of such an empire. There's conflict with the Reachmen, and with the Orcs, both of which have their own interests and natural aggressive dispositions. Why should we imagine that two super-aggressive races are probably "more friendly" than other imagined alliances just because we haven't yet seen their conflict in a game?

    To be fair, I think that sometimes (moreso early on) ESO misses some of the TES story-telling nuance: its harder to swallow the idea that most Dunmer were so removed from the nords that they legitimately believed nords were wind-demons when all they needed all along was Rigurt the Brash to bumble along and spout some nonsense about mead, but the major point is that given the tone of Tamriel, if there are two races/provinces that haven't been at war yet or seem like natural friends, who haven't committed atrocities against each other, its only because they haven't gotten around to telling that story yet.

    As for alliances, I think that its already played-out very well in this discussion, everyone has good points, and based strictly on the OP's question it could be hard to justify. Though if I had creative freedom to re-envision the war, what I'd love to do is bring it more in line with what the lore says about this period of time: specifically that the Interregnum, a period of several hundred years, was characterised by rapidly shifting alliances. Its interesting to see people talking about which of these 3 factions will win in the end, when none of them seem likely to last any significant period of time, and will probably be rather insignificant in the grand scheme of the period.

    What I think would be an interesting alternative is for something like what they did with Ravnica in MtG- where each colour was represented by multiple factions, each of which would be defined by their alliance with another colour. In this case, colour could be replaced by race, or province. Instead of having it that most Bretons- who's defining characteristic is their fractiousness and factionalism- simply get behind Emeric, I'd have two possibilities: The traditional Daggerfall Covenant, and, say, The Colovian Compact with Nords, Imperials and Bretons who can't swallow bedding up with two factions they have fought against for thousands of years. By lore, there's this interesting friction between Daggerfall and Wayrest, and this could be proxy for the alliance alternatives you could choose. Alternatively, "high medieval" Illiac Daggerfall and Wayrest might have very differing alliance preferences to "dark ages" Evermore and Jehanna.

    I think in such a way, you could come up with interesting factions and alternatives for alliances you find hard to believe, and it would put more of a lore spotlight on this incorrect notion that each of the factions are monolithic and perfectly aligned, despite their pasts.

    Mechanically, it would fly in the face of what we've had for the past 8 or so years, but arguably the innate equilibrium that 3 factions were supposed to bring to objective-based gameplay in Cyrodiil doesn't really reflect the reality anyway. But also, in the spirit of the instability of the period, perhaps allowing people to re-choose their faction after every (1-month) campaign could be a soft counter towards being locked into some fringe faction that no-one's playing.

    But for me, I think the 3BW has kind of played out its tale. It was a great story 8 years ago, but when the tone of the rest of the story can be reassessed with every new chapter to meet the needs of changing times and an evolving audience, it feels like its being left behind as a stale relic. I like questions like this, and hope that they can inspire more thought about what could be.


    Edited by Supreme_Atromancer on March 28, 2022 12:56AM
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  • Supreme_Atromancer
    Supreme_Atromancer
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    ealdwin wrote: »
    Personally, I would have set it up as a conflict between different 3 factions from the outer edges of Cyrodiill, with each faction claiming to be the true heirs to the Empire. The individual zones would have largely ignored the conflict in Cyrodiil, and focused more on the provinces themselves, highlighting the turbulent time period this is. Where no province can focus entirely on unity because every one has their own problems, and the heart of the Empire is currently being fought over by various factions.

    Speaking of those factions, here would be my proposed ones using the current map of Cyrodiil:

    Chorrol & Bruma (Colovia?) | Bravil & Vlastarus (Nibenay?) | Cheydinhal & Cropsford (???)

    I love this idea, and as it stands I think it would be awesome.

    By some shifting around what you have there, we could then have Colovia (Chorrol), The Heartlands (Bravil) and Nibenay (Cheydinhal) as natural divisions, each with one major seat of power. Each also implies a unique personality (by lore), as well as likely allied provinces (if the idea isn't just done away with out-of-hand). If they were ever to update the Cyrodiil map a bit, the alliance bases could be done away with altogether, each to be replaced by one of these seats of power.
    I hope a rewrite would feature Orcish land more prominently. The basegame DC zones barely mention orc politics or culture, and none would take place in Orc zones if it weren't for Betnikh (which was a good idea for some Orcish inclusion).

    I agree that Orcs needed their own homeland. I was just sad the solution obliterated two-thirds of the geography and cherished lore of an already small province to do so. I think limit to the actual Wrothgarian Mountains, but with additional subterranean realms beneath would have been a nice alternative, because its free space in an otherwise limited world, and a nice nod to their subterranean roots.
    That the EP makes no sense, I can get that. I find it heroically inspiring, though: the argonians allied because the Hist said to--and by allying, they themselves were able to force an end to the slavery of their people...they did this, and not some third-party force.

    Ofc, when they got up and left after a while, the Dunmer went right back to old habits--but for a while, it was a cause worth fighting for. It's the sort of "get up and take a stance" that's eye-catching in a heroic tale, though the Pact itself is ... well, it was never going to last. The Dunmer don't seem to respect anyone else, which to be fair to them, seems to be a general elven trait with perhaps all but the wood elves.

    The Dominion...oh goodness. The writer in me just flails at this alliance. The khajiit come across has having little motivation other than being victims. They were forced into their situation, to ally with the high elves who would eventually like to see and end to all mortality. They have no fault and are set up for a player's sympathy, which bothers me. In fiction, we see this all the time--a hero to whom bad things happen, but it is never their fault.

    Where is the fun in that?

    There's a wince-worthy quest where the player is taken slowly through Rimmen, to point out how much the khajiit are victims and are suffering. This is despite that they're some of the strongest mages, thieves, swordsfolk, martial artists, fine artists, and so on in the game. They have the power to influence heavenly bodies; there is very little they are not capable of. They are a race capable of everything, and yet...

    Characters need flaws, and the khajiit don't seem to have them other than being unfairly mistrusted.

    The queen of the Dominion--I wish she was a little less taking a stand against everything her people stand for, in order to make her appealing. She needed to be inspiring as a leader, just. ...

    I suppose the way she was constructed made it a little too obvious? She has some wonderful storylines, but as a character, these traits stand out and risk defining her, instead of her standing on her own.

    I suppose if I had a wish, it would be: to bring back some of the older concept lore for the high elves. Have their leadership represent more of their culture instead of being inspiring because she stands against it. ...then from there, give the khajiit ...some flaws, both as a race, and as for their reasons for joining their alliance.

    Great post, I agree with a lot of what you say. I did enjoy that particular scene you mentioned, though- with Tharn walking you through Rimmen. It felt like a realistic situation and kind of touches on some of the more negative aspects of Imperial Imperialism (#notallimperials, I know, I know). It also worked within the context of story told in base-game Arenthia, where similar things were happening. I think that there's opportunity to explore the differences in cultural values between the imperials in Rimmen and the Khajiit though if you talk to some of the NPCs- you can see it drives some of the conflict. The Imperials see the Khajiit as lazy and unorganised, which has a ring of truth in it, especially compared to the industrious Imperials. I also get the impression that while they have a spiritual leader and a war leader, they still feel like there's a sense of the 16 tribes, with little really significant centralisation. The greatest impetus for it seems to be the inclusion into the Aldmeri Dominion. This makes sense if qualities like individuality, freedom and egalitariansim are important to the Khajiit, though it also highlights the reason they were perhaps so easily usurped. I think that its realistic that poorly-centralised, dispersive peoples are ripe targets for this sort of colonialism.

    Perhaps its all moot because the Imperials are unquestionably in Rimmen illegitimately, I don't know. In Orsinium, it felt like there were no holds barred exposure to the negative aspects of a quarellous, pariah race, and it didn't take from the quality of the Orcish story, so perhaps you're right and they could have gone further with it.
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