So I know this probably isn’t going anywhere but I just wanna write up my ideas for TES5.
I was thinking of some good locations for the game, I remember rumors in Oblivion about Summerset Isles, Eleswyr and Skyrim, and about internal struggle in the empire since the emperor is dead. There were also rumours about morrowind, which would be a decent place to explore, since the actual game morrowind was set on the island of varddenfall, off the coast of the mainland a.k.a the province of morrowind. But I was thinking a cool place to visit would be black marsh. My friends favourite playable race is argonian, and I think the terrain there, as well as the possibility to make a cool back-story, would make it an awesome experience. So with that in mind, I’m gonna run off my ideas on a possible game set in the black marsh for tes5 or 6.
I will just use black marsh for now, I may write down more ideas for others later.
So, the one problem I have with the main quest in TES games is the limited possibilities. You go down a linear path, and achieve the same goal every time. Hardly any quests have a choice between multiple objectives, and they, quite frankly, get boring quickly.
My idea for TES5 would be a main quest, maybe not change the linear style, but make more then one path you can take.
In Oblivion, since my favourite daedric god is Mehrunes Dagon, I thought that maybe I could be his follower. Unfortunately, joining the mythic dawn is just another way to kill them. You haven’t actually joined. This royally pissed me off. So I was thinking, that for the next game, when you get into a situation like that, you can choose to fight for the bad guys. This would make the game more interesting, playable with 2 characters, and make the game more fun for everyone.
I’m gonna storyboard my campaign for a little while here, pay attention, there could be good ideas.
So, the story is set in black marsh. The two clashers are the imperial legion, and some kind of argonian liberation movement, which I will tentatively name the Argonian Freedom Unit, or AFU for short.
The beginning has a revealing story, it looks back 2 years in the past, how a hero saved Cyrodiil from Dagon, but the emperor and his last heir died. That hero took on the mantle of protector of the empire, and travels through the provinces, promoting the elder councils will. In many provinces, the legion is dealing with increasing movement toward separation, and open war is just one fatal misstep away.
Skip ahead to you. You wake up in an imperial prison compound. You are in your cell, a guard will come and tell you to wake up, you are going outside to work (forced labour). You do not know why you are a prisoner, only that you are. You get outside, and see other prisoners working, most of them argonian. One shouts out freedom, and is attacked and knocked unconscious by the guards. Suddenly, a great noise is heard, and the compound walls collapse. A bunch of argonians pour through the breach, and battle the guards. Immediately, prisoners flee to freedom, and you must do the same. As you flee, you piece together directions to a city, which can help you locate yourself and where you are.
You flee through wilderness for about 5 minutes, before seeing the walls of the city in the distance. You arrive in Gideon, the bastion of Imperial strength in the southwest. Inside, the city seems normal, however, from rumours you will hear as you search for what you can do, you find out that you are in black marsh, in the city of Gideon, one of two imperial strongpoints, the other being stormhold. The imperials have literraly been pushed back to the border of Cyrodiil, and control only a small swath of land between the two cities. You also find out the Imperial Legion has only been in Black Marsh for 5 years, since the rebel movement began to popularize with the natives, and they began to try and secede from the empire.
This is where the story could take many directions. Perhaps the dunmer invaded from Morrowind, and took the city of Thorn. Mayhap the Khajiit invaded from Eleswyr, and took the city of Soulrest. My story line will still follow the rebel movement, those are just other ideas. Moving on. Your travel through the city will eventually lead you to talk to a man named something, who will tell you a lot about history, and what is happening now. From this, you will be attracted to talk to the imperial legion. Unfortunately, they cannot accept your application or questions at his moment, and will tell you that you could work for them, but not be employed by them. With no choice but to accept, your first missions will begun.
Perhaps three-four missions in, you will have to infiltrate the AFU. At this point, the main quest will branch, whether you choose to stay with the imperials, or help the argonians drive them out. The endings will be very different.
Tutorial: In morrowind, the tutorial was simpler than simple, it was easy, fast and comprehensive, immersed you in the game world right away, and was too fast to be boring. All that changed in Oblivion. The tutorial is so long and boring, that after having replayed it like 50 times, I have to cheat every time, because it takes way to long.
So the TES5 tutorial will be rather simple. When the guard comes and takes you outside, you will learn the mechanics of the game, walking etc.
You will have nothing when you escape, that means no money, and will have to figure out some way to make a living in the city, before you join the imperials at the beginning. This will teach you all the basics of play.
First missions: The first missions will be simply an introduction to life on your own. You are not a member of a faction yet, yours will simply be freelance hero. Your work for the imperial legion at the start will not take you far. There will be no dungeons at the beginning. Nice and easy. Your first mission is to visit the weaponry shop and purchase a weapon. Your quest giver will lend you 100 septims to pay for it, if you don’t have over 100.
Your second mission could be to go in the wilderness outside the city, kill a number of small animals and return their hides, thus integration you into the combat system. Finally, your third mission would be to spy on a certain argonian in the city, bringing stealth mode to you. After these missions, you would decide your class (that’s just an idea, probably wouldn’t be very effective, there is probably a way to implement those in the tutorial).
Mission four: This is the big mission, the time when you decide which way your character is going. You will have to infiltrate the AFU, and discover things about them, or, after infiltrating, join them.
From here, it will branch off. Although I don’t have very many ideas on these stages of the main quest, I have some ending ideas.
- The shattered AFU collapses and the imperials gradually reassert control over the land. – At this point, you will be allowed to join the imperial legion.
- The imperial’s decide to invade with even more soldiers, and wipe out the AFU, and enslave many argonians to be sold north – morrowind.
- Peace reigns, and everyone is happy.
- The imperial legion is driven from the cities, argonians are free, any imperials, any at all, are now hunted and killed mercilessly. – You can now join the imperial killers, who hunt and kill imperials to sell their ears.
- Uprisings of argonians everywhere, and an influx of escaped slaves from Morrowind, causes the disintegration of the empire’s hold on black marsh, and the eventual freedom of the argonians, as the imperials retreat to Stormhold and Gideon.
- Peace – happiness
So that is my main quest idea(s). I hope it was worth something, showing through the eyes of someone who was not entirely satisfied with previous ones.
Since that is the case, I will also tell you about my many other ideas, for misc. Quests, faction quests, systems, AI, and terrain. I will start with AI.
The AI in Oblivion used radiant AI, which really did nothing. They were as boring as the morrowind people, albeit with a new move pattern, now they could do things. –not enough. There were not enough AI’s, they did not go anywhere, they did not discuss new things, they were really no different from the other games’ AI. In the world, I felt really lonely, no one traveled the roads except for the odd imperial legion forester, no one went shopping, left their district etc. There were few, and made cities that were supposed to be large feel tiny and quaint. Discussion topics were few, and the speech craft game sucked. I hear the fallout 3 AI engine makes them much more realistic, upgrading that to be even better than before would make it so much better.
The storybook fantasy land of cyrodiil was so pussy it was unbelievable. It is described as more jungly, instead, it was bright landscaped, rolling hills, and boreal type forests. So the terrain in black marsh has to resemble more swamp hell. There is usually a thick fog in the air, the sky is perpetually dark, and the colouring is almost a dark green everywhere you go. There will be plenty of swamp, and swamp grass and trees. The swamp can make you walk slower, and it will tough to walk then, since it will be everywhere not roaded or protected against it. The atmosphere has to be dark, spooky, and terrifying. The player has to believe he has immersed himself in a world where man kind should not be encroaching. An argonaian player should feel right at home.
New skills - not combat related, other than bringing back axe, spear, and crossbow weapons. The new skills I’m talking about are more money oriented. These include mining, farming, and others, which would be briefly explained in the tutorial. Put in the ability to own a plantation, join the nobility, have slaves and workers, and hire guards.
First of all, I want to introduce a concept most TES players will not recognize. Being poor. Being poor is when you don’t have a lot of money, and what meagre amounts you do have you spend on sustaining yourself. Now I’m not saying food should be an integral part of the game, just a role-playing option. However, at the beginning, there is no way to come into a lot of money per se. You see, during the tutorial, you are in jail! There is nothing you can steal, nothing of use. You flee with the clothes on your back. Wrist irons are not on, being able to take them on and off without a key is dumb. When you reach Gideon, you will have no money, and a difficult time stealing, since the imperial guard is well mobilised now.
Now, I will introduce you to my idea for a poor player.
DELIVERY: Within town, there will be shopkeepers, some of them may have need of a “delivery person”. That is you. They will ask you to go collect various shipments, and take them to them. Your strength level will determine how much you can carry in one go. This will be a way to earn extra money, carrying things across town.
On to factions: One thing that annoys me about factions is becoming leader. Sometimes, being leader is dumb. Most of the time actually. This time, a faction should consider its older and more valued member for candidacy, and you can vote on who you want in position of power. You catch my drift.
In this world, there is no room for the mages / fighters/ thieves guild. There will be a few organizations you can join at the start, and some unlockable ones. The dark brotherhood will have small chapterhouses in Gideon and Stormhold. You can join the imperial legion as an unlockable guild if you complete the main quest for them, in the first alternate ending. The same for the imperial killers and the AFU quests. Another guild should be the merchants guild. Located in the independent city of Holstrom, it will cater to all needs, let you run your own shop, import goods, and basically be an entrepreneur. You should be able to join. You could also join syndicates of miners or farmers, make money with them. You could purchases your own house and order its construction from some custom build models. I don’t have ideas for their quests, most of these would not have the same kind of quests, but quests that were more do what you want in the rules, e.g. the miners mine, the farmers farm. Also, add an underground gladiators type thing, like the arena.
Combat: give it a revamp, hack and slash isn’t working. Either make it limb-based combat, or make it so that certain strikes can knock off limbs, make wounds etc.
Make healing a longer process, leave mana regen, but slow it down a whole lot, and base the regen of the amount of fatigue.
Like the magic and combat at the same time system, but make enchantments on weapons do something.
Let people customize their armour, like different colouring, engravement, etc...
More enchanted armour, new kinds of armour and weapons.
Things I haven't said yet but that I’ll say now
Skills: add in skills like backflips and somersaults, which can be bought from trainers.
The map: Something I haven’t talked about yet. As a prisoner, you would not start off with one, therefore, you will need to buy one. It is expensive. To get it marked, you cannot do it yourself, but need the map marker shopkeeper to mark it for you. He has all locations, the more dangerous, remote, or isolated, the more expensive the cost of the marking.
Add like transport caravans and convoys, like silt striders.
Boats: Well, there is an island in between black marsh and eleswyr. Maybe there are things there to do. Make boats. Make many boats, coming and going, though less if the province were imperial. Make the ability to be a pirate.
Criminal: If you are a criminal, especially a big name one, make the ability to hide in the wilderness, pick up followers r join a group, and become bandits. When you become a criminal in one city, actually make it take some time to show up in another city, like 3-4 days. This way, it is more realistic.
Inventory: No one can carry 5 swords, armour, shield, ingredients, a map, journal, and misc items. Please change it. Shrink the inventory, so that looting is more difficult to do, and your character is more realistic.
Extra space: With a shrunk inventory, you are gonna need extra space. This can come at a small price, to purchase a storage area. There can be a place in some cities that lets you pay money to store things. And add banks to store money.
Salary: Goddamn quest items are fairly unrealistic too. When you join, say the imperial legion, get paid a salary, instead of items...
Backstory: Put your most creative people onto creating even more books. I like the rare books, like in morrowind, where there were series of books difficult to find. Leave many of the old books in, but revamp, add new ones, create compelling back stories so that players are drawn in. Maybe add a reading level skill, which can let you read bigger books, different languages etc. Oblivion was sadly lacking in the interesting storylines part.
Gold: Since the argonians are revolutionary, give them their own currency. Now, you need two types of coins, or you can exchange them at some banks.
I know the black marsh may be one of the smaller provinces, however, this leaves plenty of room for development, and character development. Make the face more realistic looking, add hair styles, hair growth, haircuts.
Bring in riots if they seem useful.
Destructible buildings, environment, as well as real construction going on in the game.
No more fast travel, walk morrowing style.
If there is a journal, make it a toggle able feature.
Cut back on the armour bandits wear, at level 25, you don’t want the player having 16 suits of daedric armour. Poorness. Make sure this province looks poor. Cities look poor, bandits look poor. Thin pickings, and civil war are causing the poorness level to drop.
Mysteries: Put some mysterious statues or something all over. Make an expansion about them.
Special money/nobility class: As you gain money and fame, it will reflect your social status. Eventually, you could buy yourself a noble title.
However, make sure money is tough to earn.
Make sure the cities do not exist on separate cells, but integrated with the terrain.
Posters about wanted criminals, etc.
Upcoming events that actually happen, like a circus or something.
If horses, mounted combat. But I wouldn’t suggest horses.
Less dangerous animals. Most animals are scared of people, and wouldn’t attack them. Look into it.
Cooking: make your character have the ability to make things with fire. Then, make eating/drinking realistic.
Many small settlements. The world is empty without them.
Swamp disease: turns you into something, kinda like vampires or werewolves, but in swamp form.
Travellers on the roads, that you can attack if you are bandit guy.
Street gangs, in some of the cities, that you can join, and fight other street gangs.
Throw the Hist in somehow.
All the cities are dangerous, as it says in the stuff.
Imperial cities: Gideon, Stormhold
Gideon: Large, poor, more or less stone, inner city for rich people, barracks, many legion soldiers, near great prison camp from tutorial, large marketplace, other shops.
Stormhold: Large, slightly richer, less dangerous area, fortlike, no inner city, no prison camps, mobilised armies, barracks, much smaller marketplace, other shops.
Neutral Cities: Holstrom, Thorn.
Holstrom: Second largest city, many alleys, but lots of shops, merchant’s guild, posting of mercenary guards.
Thorn: Smaller, but still sizeable, beautiful, but extremely dangerous, regular place for dunmer smugglers and cutthroats.
AFU cities: Archon, Lilmoth, Blackrose, Soulrest.
Archon: Idyllic, on a plateau, separated, fairly small, a few shops and houses, not many people, not very dangerous.
Lilmoth: The place where it all happens, the capital city of the AFU, some shops, many houses, fear scented, dark and foreboding, many alleys, dangerous, pirates, cutthroats, thieves, whores. You can’t enter unless invited in or you sneak in.
Blackrose: The forttown of the AFU. Fortlike, stones, built on a swamp on stilts, beside a lake, sprawling, not built up but out, alleys, many shops, middleclass city, many AFU troops, near the great forest of murkwood, scary.
Soulrest: Idyllic, not so poor, not terrifying, barely held by the AFU, proximity to sea=pirates, cargo, merchants=many shops, marketplace.