Bourn in Wood Chapter 1 - A New Daggerfall Book by Ted Peterson

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Interkarma
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Bourn in Wood Chapter 1 - A New Daggerfall Book by Ted Peterson

Post by Interkarma »

For anyone unfamiliar, Ted Peterson is one of the original developers of The Elder Scrolls series. Ted was the lead designer of Daggerfall and author of several of that game's books. His early creative influence is still present in the series to this day.

Ted has been very supportive of Daggerfall Unity and offered many encouraging words since discovering us a few years ago. Today, he offers some more words in the form of a whole new Daggerfall book to be included as part of Daggerfall Unity.

This book is set after Lord Woodborne's death in the main story of Daggerfall. Ted has asked that I share these with you before the books are included in game as he "would like some criticism before they’re sent out. Basically anything I got wrong on lore etc."

It is with great pleasure that I can share with you the first new Daggerfall book for a new era of the game, written by none other than Ted Peterson himself.
Bourn in Wood

Chapter 1


If you’re reading this, I am probably dead. At quite a young age, I became aware of the concept of mortality, which to me is intriguing, that we all come to dust. Some very intelligent friends of mine found this idea repellent and sought immortality, but from my later conversations with them as vampires or liches, there are things worse than death. If you’ve ever spent an evening reading “A Brief History of the Empire” or "The 36 Lessons of Vivec," you know exactly what I’m talking about.

So, I’ve never had a particular fear of death. To me, it’s what comes at the end of a meal, hopefully a long twelve courses with lots of exotic delights, but perhaps suddenly, unexpectedly, in the middle of the second cheese course. I’m dead, and if you’ve heard of me, you’ve probably heard terrible things. Let me set the record straight. They’re probably all true.

Like I said, I became aware of death at quite an early age, quite inauspiciously, by causing and witnessing the death of my older brother. I was actually responsible for the death of my eldest brother as well, but that came years later, and didn’t affect me as much. I was ten years of age, and my brother (my first victim, not my second) was sixteen. One evening at Woodborne Hall, we were in the library, discussing the family dynasty such as it is – more about that later – when the subject of primogeniture came up. Now, if you’re a peasant unfamiliar with the concept, it’s simply that wealthy landed gentry leave it all to their eldest.

“So the third eldest gets nothing?” I asked, being the third eldest.

“Not unless the eldest agrees to some light inheritance,” my brother, whose name by the way was Goriph, replied casually. “That’s why it’s a good idea to get along well with your brothers.”

Of course, that’s the idea behind the practice, but the loophole was right there. If you had no older brothers, you become the eldest. Honestly, I know it’s monstrous, but has any third-born not thought this? It was what was on my mind when I asked Goriph for another book on the twentieth shelf of the library and pulled the ladder from beneath him when he reached it. He fell, broke his back, but didn’t die right away. I came back to visit him several times over the next six hours while he lay paralyzed and bleeding, his face turning paler and paler, the blood on his lips going from scarlet to black. Until he turned cold. Then I called for our knights, pretending I had just discovered him.

What I discovered from this was that killing someone I loved, and I loved Goriph as much as someone like me can love, did not affect me at all. Though I am a liar by nature, I won’t lie about this. It bothers me a little that I don’t have feelings of remorse. I feel more guilt over my lack of guilt than my actual guilt. Oh well.

Ah, and I mentioned Woodborne Hall. Yes, I am Lord Woodborne. The hopefully infamous Lord Woodborne, the key behind the Daggerfall plot.

As I said, I am a liar, but if I am indeed dead when you read this, this is the unvarnished truth. I don’t come off particularly well in this narrative, but neither will some of those who no doubt will live on and pretend they never knew me and yet are ruling the Iliac Bay. There are of course a few decent people I’ve met in my life, and I tried to take advantage of them when I could. They were either the lowest of the low who had nothing and could give nothing, or the highest, who could give nearly everything and lose almost nothing. Everyone else I’ve met … well, I’ll get into the particulars in a moment.
You’re probably wondering about me killing my eldest brother and inheriting the title and wealth, how and why I orchestrated the death of King Lysandus of Daggerfall for the benefit of his son Gothryd, and my plot to marry Elysana, Princess of Wayrest, to become king.

Gather around, children, and listen.

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emmathepony
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Re: Bourn in Wood Chapter 1 - A New Daggerfall Book by Ted Peterson

Post by emmathepony »

WOW this is great!!! :mrgreen: I'm definitely going to go explore the world and find all the books once they're included!

Literally my only "criticism" is to put the very last line
Gather around, children, and listen.
at the very top.

TESbenefactor
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Re: Bourn in Wood Chapter 1 - A New Daggerfall Book by Ted Peterson

Post by TESbenefactor »

It looks great. I have been really looking forward to this series and am excited to see it come to fruition. The only feedback I have about this first part is that "the key behind the Daggerfall plot" wording seems a bit off. Maybe saying something more along the lines of "the key behind the recent events of the Illiac Bay." Might be more accurate as it's not just Daggerfall that was the subject of the plot.

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pango
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Re: Bourn in Wood Chapter 1 - A New Daggerfall Book by Ted Peterson

Post by pango »

Thanks for this draft, that helps better characterize W.
Definitely a sociopath among the shady nobles now ;)

Onto criticims...
... "The 36 Lessons of Vivec," ...
That'd be (if I'm not mistaken) the first mention of Vivec in Daggerfall, I'm not sure how I feel about that. They're probably other elements just mentioned in Daggerfall and only expanded in Morrowind (that I've yet to play any significantly), so I suppose that's fine.
Ah, and I mentioned Woodborne Hall. Yes, I am Lord Woodborne. The hopefully infamous Lord Woodborne, the key behind the Daggerfall plot.
What I wonder is how could this book be incorporated into the game.
Part of it can be seen as spoilers (you only learn about Lord Woodborne along the main quest), so it should only appear after the main quest, or at least after meeting Lysandus.
And then, where should it be? It was not meant to be found during Woodborne lifetime. In Woodborne Hall it should only appear after the notes do (to avoid confusion), but then you'd need a quest to go back there, and finally find the book (after the place has been ransacked by the Blades even); It could be entrusted to somebody, but that seems unlikely. Or hidden in some other place, but it will require some quest, with low stakes at that point of the story... Or "somebody" finds it and it becomes a standard book...
Maybe that's something for the community to solve, but it doesn't look simple.
When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.
-- Charles Goodhart

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Kab the Bird Ranger
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Re: Bourn in Wood Chapter 1 - A New Daggerfall Book by Ted Peterson

Post by Kab the Bird Ranger »

I actually take issue with the mention of Vivec and his Lessons. Daggerfall has a narrative that's pretty different from every game after it, as the new staff on Redguard decided to redo a lot of the foundations. For modders, it can be interesting to explore a new direction for the setting, either by expanding on the unexplored material of Daggerfall itself, or by simply adding story elements that don't contradict anything in-game, but contradict the TES universe at large (ex: making vampires weak to garlic). By adding a mention to the official canon in the main quest, it creates a dissonance for modders who'd rather pretend dark elves have a normal feudal system of kings and queens, like all other Daggerfall sources mention.

The mention of the lessons seems unimportant otherwise. It could be replaced by something fitting the setting like "the fate of the Underking"(which would add a mystery as to what he knows and how he knows about it).

Otherwise, I have no issues with the book. It expands on the antagonist, or at least, the character with the most antagonistic elements, in a way the original game fails to do.

Tedders
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Re: Bourn in Wood Chapter 1 - A New Daggerfall Book by Ted Peterson

Post by Tedders »

Hey guys, thanks for the comments. Yes, the books should only be released after Woodborne’s death. That’s why it begins by saying if you’re reading it, he’s dead. It is explained a bit more later in the series, but he’s made arrangements to circulate the books after his death.

The 36 Lessons Of Vivec is a bit of a joke, but if it’s not landing, I can rework it. I know that explaining a joke rarely makes it funny, but it’s supposed to suggest that reading a long, dry book series like A Brief History Of The Empire is worse than death. Of course, I wrote ABHOTE so the joke’s on me.

I can also fiddle with the reference to the Daggerfall, though I don’t think referencing the whole situation in the Iliac Bay is the answer. Woodborne’s plot has nothing to do with Numidium which becomes the main plot after Lysandus’s death, and if the player finds the books after that story begins, they’ll think that’s what Woodborne is referencing. He’s really mainly talking about Lysandus haunting Daggerfall.

I’ll send Gavin an edited version of the first book and then the second for any of the community’s notes.

Tedders
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Re: Bourn in Wood Chapter 1 - A New Daggerfall Book by Ted Peterson

Post by Tedders »

As far as the comment about putting the “gather around” at the top rather than at the bottom, remember this is the first book of the series and the proper story hasn’t begun. So it’s more of a prologue/introduction.

kiskoller
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Re: Bourn in Wood Chapter 1 - A New Daggerfall Book by Ted Peterson

Post by kiskoller »

I agree with the above:

I adore the lore of the later chapters in the series, but they retcon so many things that adding references to those lore elements creates a too big of a dissonance while playing the game.

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jefetienne
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Re: Bourn in Wood Chapter 1 - A New Daggerfall Book by Ted Peterson

Post by jefetienne »

This is great! I really appreciate this, Ted, for giving this lore contribution to the Daggerfall fan community.

Regarding the Vivec reference, I've always had fascination with the idea of having Daggerfall Unity be integrated with mods that point to lore of the later games and other material. However, I can also see value in not doing so.

For example, two famous Morrowind mods called Tamriel Rebuilt and Project Tamriel, seek to expand the Morrowind province and other provinces, while essentially "freezing" the lore in the state that it was in 2002. That creates huge implications such as keeping Cyrodiil as jungle instead of the Western Europe forest that we see in Oblivion.

It would definitely be interesting to see new lore contributions to the Daggerfall game based off of what the TES universe was in 1996.
El jefe, Etienne
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Tedders
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Re: Bourn in Wood Chapter 1 - A New Daggerfall Book by Ted Peterson

Post by Tedders »

I guess this is as good a time to mention that Bourn In Wood should not be considered official canon, as I’m not employed by Bethesda at this time. I’m trying my hardest to make it canon-friendly but if an official game comes out from Bethesda contradicting something in BIW, that’s canon, not what I wrote.

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