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What Did the Legacy of the Bretons Do for Bretons?

BlissfulDeluge
BlissfulDeluge
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Introduction:
I played the content on the PTS before finishing it in the official release, but as most players have not yet played the content, I will avoid unreleased story spoilers. This thread is intended for discussing what the year did for the Bretons. I will source all of my own claims, and encourage everyone else to bring up their own thoughts as well. If I missed something, do let me know. :)

Following up on another thread I wrote, ‘High Isle - What Did it Do for the Bretons?’, I want to do a retrospective and full breakdown on what the Legacy of the Bretons did for the Bretons themselves. Mind that I am going to be thorough (like seven A4 pages), listing both what it accomplished and failed to do, including areas where I think it should have done more. Scroll down to the Closing Thoughts section if you just want the single-page TL;DR. As with the other thread, here is how the Bretons are described:

TES1’s Breton Description:
“Thy race is descended from the ancient Druids of Galen, quick witted and strong in the mystical arts. Thy folks are crafty and intelligent, a learned people who use their gifts to guide others to enlightenment…”

TES2’s Breton Description:
"Bretons hail from the province of High Rock. You are part of a tall, fair-skinned people, highly intelligent and willful. Magic seems to infuse the very being of the Breton people. As a race, they are more resistant to the effects of hostile magic than any other group, and thus are excellent in all arcane arts."

TES3’s Breton Description and In-Game Dialogue:
"Passionate and eccentric, poetic and flamboyant, intelligent and willful, Bretons feel an inborn, instinctive bond with the mercurial forces of magic and the supernatural. Many great sorcerers have come from their home province of High Rock, and in addition to their quick and perceptive grasp of spellcraft, enchantment, and alchemy, even the humblest of Bretons can boast a high resistance to destructive and dominating magical energies."

ESO’s pre-release Breton Description:
“The men and women of High Rock were once ruled by High Elf overlords. Some Elven blood still runs in their veins, giving Bretons an innate grasp of magic that distinguishes them from the other human races. Passionate and flamboyant, intelligent and resourceful, the Bretons are renowned and talented craftsmen, shrewd merchants, gallant cavaliers, and inventive wizards. They can also be proud and quarrelsome. Tales of warfare between the kingdoms of High Rock account for much of their history, but most revere the Eight Divines and value prosperity over glory.”

TES5’s Anton Virane:
“You think politics here are something? Well, we Bretons invented politics.”

Excerpt from ‘The Bretons: Mongrels or Paragons?’:
“The passionate race of Bretons embodies the strengths of both Men and Mer—as well as their flaws.”

Excerpt from ‘Orcs? Could Be Worse’:
“And if there's one thing Bretons know how to do, it's make money. Well, it's not the only thing we do, but you get the idea.”

ESO’s Breton Motif:
“How is this reflected in their arts and crafts? Let's look at Breton armor, for example. The gleaming heavy armor of a Breton knight is as tough and practical as that of a Nord housecarl, but its pleasing form exhibits a subtle sophistication that is reminiscent of Elven elegance. One sees the same influence in Breton weaponry, which is beautiful yet undeniably deadly.”

These descriptions speak of a race known to be intellectual, inventive, magically talented, mercantile, and resourceful. A politically savvy race that compromises the best of Elven and human influences to find a middle ground between both, or even make something entirely new and unique. Sounds pretty cool and interesting, right?

So what did Legacy of the Bretons (LotB) do for the Bretons?

What LotB Did for the Bretons:
LotB undid Greymoor’s Antiquities’ blunder claiming all Breton nobles reject their Elven heritage by giving us Count Damard Dufort, a Breton noble who openly embraces his ancestry.

LotB added explicit in-game statements that all Bretons have at least some magical talent.

LotB gave Bretons lorebooks arguing in favor of their Elven blood’s prominence, casting doubt on whether they are “just another human race.”

LotB justified the Bretons’ descriptions as flamboyant, passionate and eccentric by showing us individuals such as Sir Coliinean Maurard, Langley, Valentyn Dantaine, and Moric Guidroz.

LotB reaffirmed the base game’s Breton representation by showing that one can openly disparage the ruling class without legal consequence.

LotB reaffirmed the base game’s Breton representation by showing that criminal convictions in Breton lands require incriminating evidence, reinforcing that Bretons respect due process.

LotB finally gave Bretons their own unique dungeon tileset.

LotB gave Bretons multicultural influences with the Swedish key harp.

LotB made the Bretonic House Dufort the premier shipbuilders in Tamriel. Though it would have been neat to see the ships be outfitted with late medieval cannons, since cannons were mentioned in TES2 and because the Altmer got full-fledged clocks while the intelligent Bretons measure time with pitiful bucket sundials.

LotB gave Bretons Duchess Martine Guimard, whose shrewdness made the University of Gwylim describe her as the canniest ruler of her day.

LotB reaffirmed the base game’s lore that the Wyrd are Bretons, reemphasizing the distinction between Reachmen and Wyrd.

LotB revitalized the Bretonic moon names Mara’s Tear and Shandar’s Sorrow from TES2.

LotB reaffirmed the base game’s and PGE’s lore by showing that anyone can become nobility via upward mobility in Breton lands.

LotB reaffirmed the base game’s lore on the Bretons’ questing culture.

LotB covered unique knightly orders with different customs and de facto interpretations of chivalry that deviate from traditional depictions.

LotB showed us how squires can become knights at their knight masters’ whims, and explored knightly customs.

LotB introduced Lady Arabelle Davaux, and thankfully did not outright confirm or deny whether she actually was Investigator Vale.

LotB explored the Bretons' noble hierarchy.

LotB explored how ]the Breton nobility profiteer from circumstances.

LotB gave Bretons jousting.

LotB reaffirmed the base game’s Breton representation by showing that marriage between different classes in Breton society is taboo.

LotB reaffirmed the base game’s Breton representation by showing how prevalent scheming is in Breton society. Though in my opinion, none of the quests were on the same level as or better than swineherds accusing inn owners of pig theft in the base game.

LotB did a deep dive into the Breton subculture known as the Druids of Galen, and the Bretons’ cult worship of Y’ffre. That said, while historical druidism is great, I think they should have integrated contemporary druidism directly into the majority city Bretons’ culture instead of making druids a separate culture that rejects civilization as the Wyrd do, whom they are so similar to as to be arguably obsolete. More on that in the Closing Thoughts.

LotB gave the Bretons incest lore in the Q2 Loremaster Q&A, disregarding earlier mentions of a Law of Consanguinity. Now, maybe it is a little harsh to expect the loremaster to know every little obscure bit of lore, but at best, this was a ridiculous question to answer in an otherwise disappointing Q&A. At worst, it applied an IRL cultural stereotype to a fantasy race for laughs. Imagine if they had added IRL cultural stereotypes to the other races.

What LotB Failed to Do for the Bretons:
LotB failed to deliver the Bretons’ unique perspective on the conflict between Men and Mer that @ZOS_LeamonTuttle explicitly promised us in the 2022 global reveal. If Wyrd and Druid was supposed to be the Bretons’ unique perspective, then that is only the druids’ beliefs accounted for, since the writers decided to make the druids an entirely different culture that rejects civilization and does not speak for the majority of Bretons. LotB also failed to explore the Bretons’ creation myth of The Light and the Dark, and their worship of Phynaster, Sheor, and Magnus. The Deadlands DLC touched on the Bretons’ worship of Magnus, and the base game briefly touched on Sheor, but we still have no clue how he became the Bad Man in Bretonic theology beyond a throwaway line, whereas early Nedic sculptures show him embracing an Elven Mara.

LotB failed to explore the history of knighthood and the relationship between Breton knights and Altmeri knights, Dunmeri knights, Imperial knights, and Redguard knights. Instead of perhaps exploring how the Bretons inspired these races to make knightly orders of their own, it remains a shared concept that is not even Bretonic in origin. The Welkynars’ lore claims that their knightly order spans nearly all of Summerset’s history, while Sir Cadwell who lived in the Merethic Era calls himself a “knight of Cyrod”, implying that knighthood originated either in Cyrodiil or Summerset. This means knighthood and knightly orders are not the “Legacy of the Bretons,” but rather the legacy of the Altmer and Imperials. LotB could have had Cadwell originally be from High Rock and had him travel to Cyrodiil, becoming the “knight of Cyrod” by aiding the Nedes against the Ayleids prior to joining Khunzar-ri in Elsweyr, and then had every other knightly order be inspired by and formed after the First Era knightly orders of High Rock, but it did not.

LotB failed to explore the class divisions and inequalities of the Bretons’ feudalism below the nobility, ignoring the lore stating that their feudal system had heavy class distinctions below the aristocracy. Because both Altmer and Imperials practice serfdom and monarchism, not even generic feudalism is unique to the Bretons, nevermind that writing Breton society off as archetypical feudalism with upward mobility ignores previously established lore, such as how serfs in Breton lands are free to travel and quest, unlike historical serfs who were bound to their lords’ land, and the fact that we see private citizens owning property and land in High Rock. Even the supposedly unique upward mobility does not make the Bretons stand out, as upward mobility exists both in Morrowind with meritocratic great house ranks and in Skyrim with thanedoms. Beyond this there is virtually nothing separating the classes below the nobility in Breton society besides the obvious wealth measuring stick found everywhere else. LotB could have taken the lore saying the Bretons’ feudalism is nearly the same as the Direnni’s, and explored how they improved on that system’s rights and privileges by granting different rights to the different classes of society based on how much they contribute in taxation, thereby making serfs a social class without rights and adding unique stratification encouraging upward mobility, but it did not.

LotB failed to do the Bretons’ descriptions as intelligent justice. It included zero magical advancements made by the Bretons, and no influential or powerful Breton sorcerers comparable to Vanus Galerion, Iachesis, Shalidor, or Divayth Fyr. It is tragic that Bretons have zero legendary or famous mages when they are regarded as one of the most magically inclined races, and no contributions to the advancement of magic when they are described as inventive mages and intelligent. LotB could have reintroduced Gyron Vardengroet or made Azra Nightwielder a Breton, but it did not. LotB could have added lore on how the Bretons built the Battlespire or what different spells and enchantments they have created and popularized, but it did not. The Bretons also got no philosophy this year, whereas Orcs got Sayings of the Wise as well as sayings about shields, and Redguards got the Book of Circles. LotB could have explored how the Bretons justify their scheming by integrating their justifications as a philosophy, but it did not. There was not a single respected Breton academy, university, research institute, or school present in LotB, whereas Altmer have gotten the Illumination Academy and College of Sapiarchs, Imperials have gotten the Arcane University and University of Gwylim (with its Antiquarian Circle), Dunmer have gotten Shad Astula, and Nords have gotten the Coterie of Organized Scholars, Bards College, and College of Winterhold. LotB could have illustrated the Bretons’ intelligence by giving them the Rights Charter, which could serve to explain why serfs are free and why they respect due process and upward mobility, as well as why they tolerate disparagement of the ruling class and benign Daedric cults like the Spirit Wardens and Weylin’s cult, but it did not.

LotB failed to build on the Bretons’ claims that they “invented politics,” such as by exploring how they used politicking to resist the Alessians and the Direnni until they could overthrow them. LotB also failed to make the Bretons’ politics and scheming out to be any more complex than the house politics of Morrowind or the scheming of Imperials, who have a literal song about deception. Instead of exploring how the Bretons influenced the Empire politically, LotB reduced them to being Imperial lapdogs and laborers working for Colovian engineers. LotB could have added lore on foreign politicians like the Tharns having traveled to High Rock to learn how to use politics, which would have mirrored Third Era lore where Hlaalu Helseth was brought up with court intrigue in Wayrest before becoming the king of Mournhold, but it did not. LotB could have had Lord Bacaro Volorus be a Breton of the Empire-affiliated Motierres, but it did not.

LotB failed to make all Bretons regard themselves as Manmer, instead making it an exclusively druidic custom.

LotB failed to explore the Bretons’ modern relationship with the Direnni, and failed to provide the Direnni’s account on their own downfall and on the druids.

LotB failed to illustrate the Bretons’ magical resistance. At no point did we see any Bretons shrugging off powerful spells, or even see it referenced as in the base game. LotB also failed to explore Breton lifespans and their aging process, which should have been done to explain the quote, “Only half Elven, he aged like a Breton.” If it had said “aged like a human.” this would not matter. However it specifies the Breton race, indicating that Bretons and half-Elven offspring age differently from purely human races, whether for better or for worse.

LotB failed to have Tales of Tribute be made by any Bretons. I appreciate diversity in TESO, but it is ridiculous that a game made in a Breton land as part of a supposedly Breton-focused was actually made by an Altmer, a Bosmer, a Nord, an Orc, a Redguard, and not a single Breton,. Imagine if they had written a story called “The Redguard Heritage” where the renowned swordmasters rediscovering and teaching us the Yokudan Ansei traditions are an Altmer, an Imperial, an Argonian, and a Khajiit, and all the Redguards get painted as incompetent novices. The Q4 DLC included a Breton Tribute Master, but this comes across as tokenism when none of the game’s original creators are Bretons.

Closing Thoughts:
Do I think that the Legacy of the Bretons has redeemed the Bretons, or that it was better than the base game? No, and I cannot consider it a step in the right direction. I think it was good for reaffirming some of what we already know, but that the writers were more interested in exploring Imperials, Maormer, and contemporary druids than actually doing a deep dive into the Bretons as they claimed they would. While historical druidism is great and tells us about the Bretons’ past, contemporary druids are so similar to the Wyrd (and Bosmer) in terms of culture, religion, and overall theme as to be rendered obsolete. Even the druids’ architecture is stylistically similar to that of the Wyrd, which begs the question if the writers were only interested in rewriting Wyrd covens from the ground up. Furthermore, contemporary druidism was not made to have any bearing on the vast majority of Bretons in ESO’s time. This means contemporary druidism not only fails to give the Bretons anything unique and takes away resources which could be spent expanding on the city Breton majority, but also detracts from the uniqueness of the Bosmer and Wyrd’s culture (though Bosmer thankfully still retain some unique qualities).

So what could have been done better? I think the writers should have replaced the druids with Wyrd as "keepers of the old ways" and made druidism exclusively historical, then focused on exploring unique Breton customs, culture and religion influenced by both their druidic past and their time under Altmeri and Imperial colonialism. I think the idea of blending druidic and civilized Breton culture is incredibly cool (like giving them armor similar to Wayward Guardian and Black Fin Legion that mixes medieval/renaissance plate armor with natural ornaments), and that the writers should have integrated druidism directly into the city Breton majority’s culture, and given them their due with intellectualism, magical accomplishments, influential mages, a uniquely stratified feudal system as was described in the base game, and the political history and influence on the Empire that would give them grounds to brag that they “invented politics.”

We were promised a deep dive into Breton culture, but ZOS has seemingly decided to renege on that promise, as they barely expanded on the city Breton majority and wrongfully brushed their society off as regular feudalism with upward mobility so they could do a deep dive into a small Breton subculture that doesn’t even exist in High Rock. Will Druidism return to the mainland? There are implications it will, but again, contemporary druidism is irrelevant to the city Breton majority in ESO’s time, and it will apparently stay that way until some point in the late Third Era (TES1’s setting). Unless ZOS plans to make ESO 2 or BGS plans to explore the Iliac Bay in TES6, I can only consider its inclusion a redundant decision. Again, historical druidism is fine, but contemporary druids were made obsolete from the offset.

LotB has done nothing to make the Bretons stand out, as nearly all their cultural qualities are shared with other races. Their class divisions below the nobility were ignored, their intellectualism was cast aside, their religious lore was thrown in the trash, they were scarcely shown to be the political masterminds of Tamriel, contemporary druidism was made irrelevant to their mainstream culture, they were given zero historically influential or legendary mages to boast of, and they were given zero contributions to the advancement of magic. Their magical talent is inherited from the Altmer, Altmer also have due process, both Altmer and Imperials practice feudalism, upward mobility exists both in Morrowind and in Skyrim, Dunmer also have a subculture that rejects the mainstream civilization, knighthood is not a Breton concept, and other races are known for house politics and scheming. All of the Bretons’ unique qualities existed prior to this year, including their magical resistance (which is rarely acknowledged, never explained, and never shown), their questing culture (which feels inconsequential because a staple of TES is adventuring and questing), and their mixed human and Elven ancestry (but again, it doesn’t affect them beyond having the same magical foundation as other Elven races have, while also having no magical advancements, famous mages, or unique customs to show for it).

ZOS said they would prove that Bretons were interesting, claiming that those who wanted more Breton lore would not be disappointed. As someone who was hyped for this year and wanted to see the Bretons get some much-needed love, I am immensely disappointed, and think the only thing ZOS has proven is that their writers have no regard for the Bretons’ lore, and are either unwilling or unable to expand on them and make them interesting. They have frankly homogenized the Bretons with Imperials to the point where they might as well merge the two and make them into an Imperial subrace, like Colovians and Nibenese.

The irony revealed by the so-called "Legacy of the Bretons" is that the Bretons really have no legacy to call their own, as ZOS has applied nearly all their unique qualities to other races, ultimately making them feel as boring and generic as they are reputed to be. While the medieval aesthetic itself is thematically Breton and arguably unique in TES, the writers’ insistence on only relying on Medieval cultural influences this year was a disservice that not only ignored previously established lore, but also failed to make the Breton majority stand out, because as already noted those influences are also found in other parts of Tamriel. ZOS could potentially address the criticisms brought up here in future lorebooks or in the Western Reach’s Jehanna, but as they failed to expand on the Breton majority to make it stand out in a year they claimed would prove they were not boring, I have lost all confidence in the game’s writing team, and will cut my ESO expenditures accordingly until they take the time to give them a deep dive like they promised they would. This is not a quitting thread, as I will continue playing on the off-chance that they actually listen, but I have no confidence they will.

But what are other people’s thoughts on what this year has done for the Bretons? Am I alone in this sentiment?
Edited by BlissfulDeluge on November 6, 2022 4:40PM
Former completionist with all achievements unlocked up until Update 29 (Flames of Ambition). Avid RPer, writer, and former Breton lover. Then Legacy of the Bretons was released and I realized just how boring and uninspired the Bretons are according to the writers.
  • jtm1018
    jtm1018
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    So very very very very very very very insightful!

    Love the read. Love the lore. Love the race.
  • Panchaea
    Panchaea
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    Agreed on the above. Having played through Firesong, there is absolutely no inclusion of lore that makes Bretons nuanced, interesting, or expand on their culture. Druidry is treated as this ridiculous outlier which suffers because Zenimax does not want to commit to race exclusive factions (i.e anyone can become a Druid. How is this remotely Breton?). I would've been fine with the Druids of Galen if they weren't their own cultural and religious faction in a chapter that marketed itself as Breton.

    "Legacy of the Bretons" implied Direnni influence, and it would've been interesting to see this year's story if it tackled the contemporary, Direnni influence Breton culture and their relations with Breton druidry rather than stage the story for a "political" narrative that ultimately ends up with ANOTHER Imperial villain and a potential world ending threat with no conclusion to the premise Zenimax pushed forward (The Alliances negotiating peace).

    It would've been more interesting if the Ascendant Order was a coalition of Breton Houses intent on removing the Druids of Galen, with the Druids forming the magical elite of Breton society instead of being one note nature hippies who command nature (wow, haven't seen that before). Druidry should have been important in Breton society - imagine druids as lawmakers, doctors, judges, court magicians, essentially the "arcane" class of High Rock that is mentioned in Pocket Guide to the Empire.

    No idea what's going at ZoS, but the writing quality we saw in DLCs such as Clockwork City is gone and frankly whatever chapter comes next will suffer, especially if it is Telvanni. If the writing quality is dictated by fear of insult, then we will not receive the xenophobic, profane Telvanni magister that are established in lore. It'll probably just be an abolitionist story in a time period where slavery will not dissipate until the Third Era, all because of risk aversion.
  • CoolBlast3
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    Don't agree with everything but definitely with a majority here. Now, I am -not- disappointed in what we got. Far from it, I am quite happy with the depiction of Bretons and ZOS' efforts. But I can agree that ZOS seemed more interested in Imperials (a race which is an outright copy paste of TES2 Bretons but for some reason are considered cool and unique), Maormer (which i don't mind) and making Bretons somewhat fulfil the "haha bretons are bottoms" meme.
    I do wish they had gone into the Daggerfall gods, or showing Breton intelligence. An answer of their lifespans was a braindead easy thing to give but seems they forgor that. And again, despite having the Druid King as a powerful historical figure, it is a shame The Sage was never brought up.

    But- I am very happy with Firesong as a DLC and zone. ZOS really **NAILED** environmental storytelling, and the cast of characters was lovely.
    Edited by CoolBlast3 on November 4, 2022 1:52AM
  • BlissfulDeluge
    BlissfulDeluge
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    CoolBlast3 wrote: »
    Don't agree with everything but definitely with a majority here. Now, I am -not- disappointed in what we got. Far from it, I am quite happy with the depiction of Bretons and ZOS' efforts. But I can agree that ZOS seemed more interested in Imperials (a race which is an outright copy paste of TES2 Bretons but for some reason are considered cool and unique), Maormer (which i don't mind) and making Bretons somewhat fulfil the "haha bretons are bottoms" meme.
    I do wish they had gone into the Daggerfall gods, or showing Breton intelligence. An answer of their lifespans was a braindead easy thing to give but seems they forgor that. And again, despite having the Druid King as a powerful historical figure, it is a shame The Sage was never brought up.

    But- I am very happy with Firesong as a DLC and zone. ZOS really **NAILED** environmental storytelling, and the cast of characters was lovely.

    The zone design and environmental storytelling is always great, in my opinion. The characters were cool, too, I loved Stefan, especially his character development during the main quest events.

    I cannot say I was fond of the Maormer who kept repeating "lordling" like a broken record, but the rest were pretty cool.
    Former completionist with all achievements unlocked up until Update 29 (Flames of Ambition). Avid RPer, writer, and former Breton lover. Then Legacy of the Bretons was released and I realized just how boring and uninspired the Bretons are according to the writers.
  • Sallymen
    Sallymen
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    Legacy of the Druids.
    Current Undaunted Key Count: 4,902
  • Sallymen
    Sallymen
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    Legacy of a Few Disgruntled Bretons and Their Hatred of Societal Order.

    In all seriousness... it seems kind of odd to call this "Legacy of the Bretons" when the Alliance War plot is being dragged into the middle of the story. What's worse is that the attention of detail they gave to the druids should have been applied to the Bosmer.

    The High Isle expansion is advertise as a deep dive into the Bretons but we got none of that. We received more "blast-from-the-past" characters from old zone stories than anything new from the Bretons in their own island.
    Current Undaunted Key Count: 4,902
  • Hotdog_23
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    The writing in ESO has not been that great of late in my opinion. Feel like either they are afraid to take a chance and write something daring or more definitive, or are held back from doing it by others.

    Understand that the lore must be fairly consistent, and we are only getting a small-time frame in the whole expense of Elder Scrolls. That doesn’t mean everything must be some bland or remained to be mysterious or unexplored.

    ESO is getting in a rut routine and very predictable. Honestly, each new update is about the skills and gear changes and not the story or its engagement. How I have come to that conclusion is just look at what is left of the forums. It’s either bug or gear set changes.

    Stay safe :)
  • Morgaledh
    Morgaledh
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    Panchaea wrote: »
    especially if it is Telvanni. If the writing quality is dictated by fear of insult, then we will not receive the xenophobic, profane Telvanni magister that are established in lore. It'll probably just be an abolitionist story in a time period where slavery will not dissipate until the Third Era, all because of risk aversion.

    After what they did to the Telvanni and the Telvanni quests in the Vvardenfell expansion, I hope they never, ever, ever return to Telvanni lore. And I say this as someone who is a Telvanni devotee.

  • roqueforty
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    FIrst of all, great analysis.

    I think, the main reason behind LotB's lackluster performance, though, is the complete lack of creativity on ZOS writers' part.
  • KingArthasMenethil
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    I agree with alot and LotB has some odd decisions

    Like the Systres Knightly orders not really having a presence on the Systres outside of Isobel and the Spire of the Crimson Coin they are nowhere to be seen and even Firesong forgets about the Orders as the only Knights you encounter are Mornard ones with no Oaken Order presence where it would've made sense given their Druid connections.

    The decision to give the Society of the Steadfast a motif which imo they shouldn't have a motif and their motif should've either gone to the Druids so the High Isle Druids weren't in some mix of Argonain styles or the Systres Knights so one could've in theory used an armour type for one of the three Knightly Orders then having the Oaken Order member in Isobels quest in a Maormer style.

    Also I feel Ember should've been either a Druid companion or a Direnni companion so one could've used both companions to explore something with the Breton season as you have Isobel covering Knight stuff and could've used the other to explore Druid or Direnni history but I guess the stereotype of a Khajiit thief was too tempting for them.

    Personally I don't think ZoS likes to write Imperials or Bretons as both do have their major issues and they'd rather stick with the status quo which harms both because as others have said current Imperials are just a copy and paste of Bretons with a new name.
    EU 2000+ CP
    Characters
    Gaius Sulla 50 Cyrodiil DragonKnight.
    Livia Sulla 50 Cyrodiil Nightblade.
    Divayth-Fyr 50 Dunmer Sorcerer.
    Ragnar Shatter-Shield 50 Nord Dragonknight.
    Selvia Sulla 50 Cyrodiil Templar.
    Attrebus Mede 50 Cyrodiil Warden.
    Zirath Urivith 50 Dunmer Dragonknight.
    Dame Edwinna Gelas 50 Breton Dragonknight.
    Agrippina Tharn 50 Cyrodiil Necromancer.
    Bedal Dren 50 Dunmer Dragonknight.
  • Einar_Hrafnarsson
    Einar_Hrafnarsson
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    "What LotB Failed to Do for the Bretons:
    LotB failed to deliver the Bretons’ unique perspective on the conflict between Men and Mer that @ZOS_LeamonTuttle explicitly promised us in the 2022 global reveal. If Wyrd and Druid was supposed to be the Bretons’ unique perspective, then that is only the druids’ beliefs accounted for, since the writers decided to make the druids an entirely different culture that rejects civilization and does not speak for the majority of Bretons. LotB also failed to explore the Bretons’ creation myth of The Light and the Dark, and their worship of Phynaster, Sheor, and Magnus. The Deadlands DLC touched on the Bretons’ worship of Magnus, and the base game briefly touched on Sheor, but we still have no clue how he became the Bad Man in Bretonic theology beyond a throwaway line, whereas early Nedic sculptures show him embracing an Elven Mara."

    My biggest dissapointment. All of this felt just like a Chapter made for Druids without bringing in the class itself.
  • LesserCircle
    LesserCircle
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    "What LotB Failed to Do for the Bretons:
    LotB failed to deliver the Bretons’ unique perspective on the conflict between Men and Mer that @ZOS_LeamonTuttle explicitly promised us in the 2022 global reveal. If Wyrd and Druid was supposed to be the Bretons’ unique perspective, then that is only the druids’ beliefs accounted for, since the writers decided to make the druids an entirely different culture that rejects civilization and does not speak for the majority of Bretons. LotB also failed to explore the Bretons’ creation myth of The Light and the Dark, and their worship of Phynaster, Sheor, and Magnus. The Deadlands DLC touched on the Bretons’ worship of Magnus, and the base game briefly touched on Sheor, but we still have no clue how he became the Bad Man in Bretonic theology beyond a throwaway line, whereas early Nedic sculptures show him embracing an Elven Mara."

    My biggest dissapointment. All of this felt just like a Chapter made for Druids without bringing in the class itself.

    Exactly this. With Elsweyr everything was about necromancy and we did get the class itself, so it's very disappointing.
  • Suna_Ye_Sunnabe
    Suna_Ye_Sunnabe
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    I have no care at all for Bretons, but that was an interesting read, and I do sympathize with those of you who are devoted fans of the race. Eso's writing has been bland, boring, predictable, inconsistent, and oafish far too often of late. Where is the intrigue of previous lore? The game is in dire need of something fresh and unique.
    Edited by Suna_Ye_Sunnabe on November 4, 2022 1:02PM
    Angua Anyammis Ae Sunna
  • TaSheen
    TaSheen
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    I never did find Bretons dull and boring. They're my second favorite race, just a skosh behind Redguard. I'm not deeply involved in lore myself, and while your dissertation is interesting, I'm not at all upset about anything you're disturbed about.

    I'm having fun in this game. I don't live and breathe the game's lore, I play the game.
    ______________________________________________________

    But even in books, the heroes make mistakes, and there isn't always a happy ending.

    PC NA, PC EU (non steam)- three accounts, many alts....
  • Suna_Ye_Sunnabe
    Suna_Ye_Sunnabe
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    TaSheen wrote: »
    I never did find Bretons dull and boring. They're my second favorite race, just a skosh behind Redguard. I'm not deeply involved in lore myself, and while your dissertation is interesting, I'm not at all upset about anything you're disturbed about.

    I'm having fun in this game. I don't live and breathe the game's lore, I play the game.

    You make it sound as if those who find lore to be an important aspect of their enjoyment don't "play the game". If it doesn't bother you, wonderful. It does bother others.
    Angua Anyammis Ae Sunna
  • SilverIce58
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    Every time I read a post like this, I remember the post on Reddit titled "ZOS hates Bretons" and after this whole year with the writing and lack of interest in Bretons, it still feels true.
    PC - NA
    CP 1125
    Veric Blackwood - Breton Magsorc DC
    Xhiak-Qua'cthurus - Argonian Frost Warden EP
    Kujata-qa - Khajiit Magplar AD
    Suunleth-dar - Khajiit Stamblade AD
    Teldryn Antharys - Dunmer Flame DK EP
    Strikes-With-Venom - Argonian Poison DK EP
    Rur'san-ra - Khajiit WW Stamsorc AD
    Ilianos Solinar - Altmer Stamplar AD
    Iscah Silver-Heart - Reachman Magden DC
  • ZOS_Icy
    ZOS_Icy
    mod
    Greetings,

    After further review we have decided to move this thread to a category we think is more appropriate for this topic.

    Thank you for your understanding.
    Staff Post
  • kind_hero
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    Overall, I am dissapointed with LotB.

    It doesn't feel like a new chapter/expansion. It's like more quests in Daggerfall Covenant area, and even most of those are more memorable than what we got this year.

    For me, an expansion has to feel different, to have something that you did not have in the base game, to have some extra/optional difficulty, and so on. The card game was not something that could hold the weight of a whole year chapter.

    Writing, .. I don't know. It's so bland for several years, that I gave up on hoping. But at least we could have some combat mechanics or action stuff. Like we had the grappling hook in Elsweyr. I loved that. They even continued a bit with it in Markarth, using the void magic.

    In my opinion the largest miss is how they handled knights. So, you have a game set in some kind of medieval fantasy, with a race that is all about knights and feudal society, but you don't get anything more than the base game? No faction, no championing system, no duels/tourneys, no tabards, flags, banners, knightly horses dressed in heraldry, nothing, except for Isobel's quest. That is very poor, IMO.

    And the fact they switched the story towards druids... I'm not sure how many cared about that, since the chapter was announced as Legacy of the Bretons, featuring a big knight, not druids. It wasn't Legacy of the Druids!!! The druidic stuff should have been like some side quests. I'm annoyed to see a whole DLC about druids.

    Legacy of the Bretons, a missed opportunity!
    [PC/EU] Tamriel Hero, Stormproof, Grand Master Crafter
  • Vrienda
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    Having just finished Firesong I am so immensely disappointed. Both by the lore and the story which wound up just being a rehash of every main quest they've told for the past four years with a different coat of paint.

    I'd start ranting but honestly your post eloquently explains just about everything wrong with this 'year' of ESO content. Bretons feel like they're a blank slate race that's easy for someone with european heritage to self-insert into. And that's it. They're generic, standard fantasy humans with some Bosmer LARPer subculture over on the Isles and Witches that the Reachmen do better.
    Desperate for Roleplaying servers to bring open world non-organised RP to Elder Scrolls Online. Please ZOS.
  • colossalvoids
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    That's quite accurate record of a problem for a lot of us. I'd just flag this as a general lack of any possible depth that eso shows. It's disappointing but expected to come.
  • Aliyavana
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    I was happy with how they portrayed the Druids of Galen (as in the historical group from High Rock, not the modern druids from the isle of Galen) as we finally got a deep dive on the Nedic ancestors of the Bretons, and how they embraced civilization and seemed to find the ways of the Wyrd to be disgusting. They were first mentioned in the first Elder Scrolls game 25 years ago, and we finally got more information about them.

    I dislike modern Druids seem to have regressed to being more like the Wyrd, so they fill the same role as them and don't feel as unique. I agree that I woulda liked to see druidism blended significantly more into Systrenean culture. I think it was personally a mistake to go fully into Y'ffre being treated as the ONLY god. As a result, they feel a lot like a different shade of the Bosmer. To counteract this, I wished they were more polytheistic focused with spotlight on the obscure Daggerfall gods like Vigryl the God of the Sea, and Druagaa Goddess of Flowers. At least we did get mention of the moons as Mara's Tears and Shandar's Sorrow.

    To me, what saves this chapter is that druids are hinted to come back to Tamriel, but I feel like we coulda seen this in ESO itself with seeing druids slowly trickle into the mainland, but ZOS is too adamant on doing anything the order you want and refuses to pull the timeline foward.
    Edited by Aliyavana on November 4, 2022 8:54PM
  • BlissfulDeluge
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    Aliyavana wrote: »
    I was happy with how they portrayed the Druids of Galen (as in the historical group from High Rock, not the modern druids from the isle of Galen) as we finally got a deep dive on the Nedic ancestors of the Bretons, and how they embraced civilization and seemed to find the ways of the Wyrd to be disgusting. They were first mentioned in the first Elder Scrolls game 25 years ago, and we finally got more information about them.

    I dislike modern Druids seem to have regressed to being more like the Wyrd, so they fill the same role as them and don't feel as unique. I agree that I woulda liked to see druidism blended significantly more into Systrenean culture. I think it was personally a mistake to go fully into Y'ffre being treated as the ONLY god. As a result, they feel a lot like a different shade of the Bosmer. To counteract this, I wished they were more polytheistic focused with spotlight on the obscure Daggerfall gods like Vigryl the God of the Sea, and Druagaa Goddess of Flowers. At least we did get mention of the moons as Mara's Tears and Shandar's Sorrow.

    To me, what saves this chapter is that druids are hinted to come back to Tamriel, but I feel like we coulda seen this in ESO itself with seeing druids slowly trickle into the mainland, but ZOS is too adamant on doing anything the order you want and refuses to pull the timeline foward.

    IMO there's grounds for it already happening in ESO, as the cultural value of the Systres was allegedly discovered already back in 1E 2328. They could have showed a ton of druidic influences on the Bretons' society, or even had them be rejoined at this point.

    That druids will eventually return to High Rock at some point does not really feel all that redeeming to me, personally, because we'll never get to see it. All we get is an OOG interview with a TES2 artist saying "these are druids." We don't get to know in what capacity they rejoin society, whether they fully embrace civilization or continue living like Bosmer and Wyrd. There were grounds for having druidism become part of the mainstream again, but they decided not to, for some inconceivable reason.

    I cannot consider druids Bretons, in all fairness. If you made a DLC about Argonians living like Altmer in Hammerfell, that would not be an Argonian DLC, regardless of whatever historical significance it may have. I cannot imagine "druids" is what most people thought of when they said they were doing a deep-dive into Breton culture.


    Edited by BlissfulDeluge on November 5, 2022 2:27PM
    Former completionist with all achievements unlocked up until Update 29 (Flames of Ambition). Avid RPer, writer, and former Breton lover. Then Legacy of the Bretons was released and I realized just how boring and uninspired the Bretons are according to the writers.
  • Aliyavana
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    Aliyavana wrote: »
    I was happy with how they portrayed the Druids of Galen (as in the historical group from High Rock, not the modern druids from the isle of Galen) as we finally got a deep dive on the Nedic ancestors of the Bretons, and how they embraced civilization and seemed to find the ways of the Wyrd to be disgusting. They were first mentioned in the first Elder Scrolls game 25 years ago, and we finally got more information about them.

    I dislike modern Druids seem to have regressed to being more like the Wyrd, so they fill the same role as them and don't feel as unique. I agree that I woulda liked to see druidism blended significantly more into Systrenean culture. I think it was personally a mistake to go fully into Y'ffre being treated as the ONLY god. As a result, they feel a lot like a different shade of the Bosmer. To counteract this, I wished they were more polytheistic focused with spotlight on the obscure Daggerfall gods like Vigryl the God of the Sea, and Druagaa Goddess of Flowers. At least we did get mention of the moons as Mara's Tears and Shandar's Sorrow.

    To me, what saves this chapter is that druids are hinted to come back to Tamriel, but I feel like we coulda seen this in ESO itself with seeing druids slowly trickle into the mainland, but ZOS is too adamant on doing anything the order you want and refuses to pull the timeline foward.

    IMO there's grounds for it already happening in ESO, as the cultural value of the Systres was allegedly discovered already back in 1E 2328. They could have showed a ton of druidic influences on the Bretons' society, or even had them be rejoined at this point.

    That druids will eventually return to High Rock at some point does not really feel all that redeeming to me, personally, because we'll never get to see it. All we get is an OOG interview with a TES2 artist saying "these are druids." We don't get to know in what capacity they rejoin society, whether they fully embrace civilization or continue living like Bosmer and Wyrd. There were grounds for having druidism become part of the mainstream again, but they decided not to, for some inconceivable reason.

    I cannot consider druids Bretons, in all fairness. If you made a DLC about Argonians living like Altmer in Hammerfell, that would not be a Breton DLC, regardless of whatever the historical significance it may have. I cannot imagine "druids" is what most people thought of when they said they were doing a deep-dive into Breton culture.

    We are sadly not really told how Systres Volume 4 affected mainlanders, and are only left as to speculation. Is that when the triquetra was for example introduced into the mainlanders? Were any customs adopted? Did the Wyrd become more popular as a distant-relative?

    It pains me to know that we won't see druidism on the mainland during eso's life cycle because ZOS won't move the timeline foward. I want to see Sir Stefan's ideas of blending of Breton culture. They should have missionaries in High Rock teaching those willing. I don't necessarily care to see modern druidism's beliefs being embraced of "civilization bad, nature good" as that is not unique to the druids, but I would like to see druidic spells and the like being taught as tools, and being integrated into Breton spellcraft in general.
    Edited by Aliyavana on November 4, 2022 10:04PM
  • Supreme_Atromancer
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    I think that no one would have begrudged the "Legacy of the Druids" that this year was, but that it was sold as the BRETON DEEP DIVE, and implicitly promised to redress the shallow, lacklustre job the base game did on them.

    I think it was a fantastic idea to capitalise on "The Druids of Galen", but think that in the deep dive we've all been hoping would finally redeem our favourite race, it shouldn't have eclipsed practically everything else.

    Like Skyrim did for the Nords, and Morrowind did for the Dunmer, I really would have loved to have seen the different Breton regions have distinct character and architecture. I also agree with everyone else that the Nedic and Direnni heritage offers the best, and most obvious points of distinction, and am bemused that you can sell a deep dive without exploring these things at all. This heritage isn't reflected in their land. Its not explorable in the world.
  • DP99
    DP99
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    kind_hero wrote: »
    Overall, I am dissapointed with LotB.

    It doesn't feel like a new chapter/expansion. It's like more quests in Daggerfall Covenant area, and even most of those are more memorable than what we got this year.

    For me, an expansion has to feel different, to have something that you did not have in the base game, to have some extra/optional difficulty, and so on. The card game was not something that could hold the weight of a whole year chapter.

    Writing, .. I don't know. It's so bland for several years, that I gave up on hoping. But at least we could have some combat mechanics or action stuff. Like we had the grappling hook in Elsweyr. I loved that. They even continued a bit with it in Markarth, using the void magic.

    In my opinion the largest miss is how they handled knights. So, you have a game set in some kind of medieval fantasy, with a race that is all about knights and feudal society, but you don't get anything more than the base game? No faction, no championing system, no duels/tourneys, no tabards, flags, banners, knightly horses dressed in heraldry, nothing, except for Isobel's quest. That is very poor, IMO.

    And the fact they switched the story towards druids... I'm not sure how many cared about that, since the chapter was announced as Legacy of the Bretons, featuring a big knight, not druids. It wasn't Legacy of the Druids!!! The druidic stuff should have been like some side quests. I'm annoyed to see a whole DLC about druids.

    Legacy of the Bretons, a missed opportunity!

    Yes, absolutely! High Isle for me started off great, and I loved it. I thoroughly enjoyed the political intrigue and the mystery of the plot against the peace talks and everything that you had to do to save the alliance leaders. And, the zone was beautiful and fantastic.

    And, then we get Firesong, and the story takes a complete 180, and goes into all of this weird druid stuff that has no relevance whatsoever ... but of course it does, because of some last minute revelations that it does, just because it was written that way! It was so boring. I spent the majority of the DLC just wanting to get through it as quickly as possible just to finish it and be done with it, and not getting excited about it until the tacked on moments at the end that tried to tie it all together. Just really bad writing that mostly ruined what started out as a great story.

    All of the main characters were great and interesting though, and it was fun to see the returning ones. But, the side quests in Galen were also pointless and seemed to just be there just to be there, and there weren't enough of them either. Plus, none of the characters in them or the quests themselves had much of anything to do with the storyline either. In past chapters, the side quests at least had a minimal connection to the story as a whole as you went around helping people affected by the events of the story. This time, not so much.
  • Katheriah
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    I'm happy for the people that enjoyed it, but I personally see this year long adventure as a failure. It lacks depth, it doesn't surprise me, it doesn't excite me.

    There is nothing in Galen that makes me want to go back there.
  • Aliyavana
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    I really disliked that they used Jakarn and wished we could just tell him to go away. Jakarn is a very irritating character who you can't tell to stop his advances.

    I wish they had used Gabrielle Benele this year and developed her into an important Breton mage. Bretons lack powerful mages despite being known as inherently powerful spellcasters, and it coulda been her character arc to discover her cultural roots. She coulda been given an arc similar to the one that Stefan Monard was given.

    Druid Laurel and Druid Ryvanna I feel coulda been rolled into one character, and the two even look the same!
    Edited by Aliyavana on November 7, 2022 3:22AM
  • LADYKiLLER
    LADYKiLLER
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    Excellent breakdown. I've been struggling to put my feelings about this chapter into words lately and I feel like you nailed it. The environments were beautiful and I really liked some of the cast of characters (and Stefan's voice acting at the chapel was amazing), but overall the chapter has been disappointing. There's a real problem with Bretons being viewed as generic medieval-fantasy humans, and I was THRILLED when LotB was announced because it felt like we were going to get to see some of the things that really make them unique. Instead we got Wyrd 2.0: Bosmer Edition. In most games I can't get enough of druid lore, but in this context, as heavy-handed as it was and without it being nuanced and shown as a greater part of Breton culture as a whole, the druids feel superfluous. They don't add much to who we understand the Bretons to be on the whole, and when we leave the zone for the next chapter, I suspect they'll be largely forgotten about. Knowing that this is what we got in exchange for the missed opportunity to showcase Breton contributions to magic, politics, or any of the other excellent mentions in your list really just sours the whole experience.

    Thanks for taking the time to write up such a detailed, insightful post. You brought up a lot I didn't even consider (the Tales of Tribute thing blew my mind).

  • Faulgor
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    Some mixed feelings about this year's content.
    I enjoyed Firesong more than High Isle. The look into the Druidic past was at least more compelling to me than having to be the errand boy for noble lords and ladies, squashing a rebellion that they rightfully deserve (gods I'm so pissed off that monarchs and feudal lords are always supposed to be the good guys).

    I still think the Druids could have done better. Their worship of Y'ffre is just too similar to Bosmer. IMO they should have been either polytheistic or animists with no particular gods at all. They pretend to be more connected to the city folk, and that would have been a great distinction - urban hippies -, but we don't really see any of that, either.

    But while I enjoyed some parts of this look into the past, I agree that it never should have been advertised as a deep dive into Breton culture, because it did absolutely nothing for contemporary Bretons. We still see none of the magical qualities that Bretons have from their Elven (!) heritage, it's beyond irritating. It's as if Orcs, famed for being among the best smiths in Tamriel, were only ever shown weaving baskets. And when we finally meet an Orc smith, he says he's really just into making cutlery.

    I completely agree that it would have been much better to keep Druids in the past and Wyrds as the sole ones to "carry the torch". Then you could have still had your story of a Breton noble trying to claim his royal Druidic heritage by reviving the past, possibly with the help of the Wyrd. If Druidism predated Manmer, i.e. represented the original human culture before Direnni hegemony, that would have introduced that conflict as well. There could be several interesting shades of grey and ambiguity in this.

    Would the all-female Wyrd cult accept a Druid King? How do the Wyrd even maintain their culture without men (maybe a deep dive is in order)?
    Would the Breton people prefer the rule of a Druid King to their feudalistic society? What if our antagonist would actually make a great leader?
    How does our anti-Elven wannabe-King handle the irony of reclaiming human Druidism and Druid magic through the magical abilities afforded by his Elven heritage?

    Of course, while I think that would have made for a more fitting story, that alone wouldn't have shown Breton culture in a unique light. I doubt any single chapter can fix the failings of the base game like that, sadly. A huge part of the problem is that it's not just due to a lack of focus in Breton culture, but that most of their cultural traits have been doled out to other cultures, as has been so extensively laid out in the OP.
    Alandrol Sul: He's making another Numidium?!?
    Vivec: Worse, buddy. They're buying it.
  • Supreme_Atromancer
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    One thing I think that High Isle did for Bretons/High Rock is add this layer of Classical Greek feel, with the Fauns and Chimera, etc; and the whole limestone hills and Aegean aesthetic. Its something I feel like can really gel cohesively with the whole medieval french/british/celtic thing. While these two themes might seem quite disjunct at first, I feel like the whole Age of Heroes thing the Greeks had going on meshes well with the questing knights thing the Bretons do; meanwhile, the animal-themed beasts of greek mythology fit seemlessly into the enchanted, green celtic otherworld mythos.

    I also think Greek City States have plenty of conceptual overlap with the independent petty kingdoms of High Rock.

    I don't know to what degree this was intentional, but for argument's sake I think that this represents an excellent direction, and I think it would be absolutely amazing if they take this further in the future. I can imagine Iliac-side High Rock south of the Wrothgarians rendered in the aesthetic created for High Isle (north of the Wrothgarians are perfect as they are already!).

    Its also nice to think- in the context of discussion around how the Imperials stole all the Breton's identity- that the Bretons kind of pinched some stuff back.

    I should note that I don't think that this sort of aesthetic direction should eclipse some of the important things I think they have missed (or not delved into yet)- the western european/atlantic themes; the Direnni, the NEDES!, the Breton affinity for conjuration, etc. I just think it has contributed a really nice aesthetic layer, and makes them a little more distinct and unique.

    I'd love to know if other people picked up on this too. Do you agree it works well?
    Edited by Supreme_Atromancer on November 8, 2022 12:31AM
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