Your top 3 plot holes in Daggerfall

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Kab the Bird Ranger
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Your top 3 plot holes in Daggerfall

Post by Kab the Bird Ranger »

Hello agents,

I know many of you have spent quite some time in the Iliac Bay, doing errands here and there, and eventually completing the quest Uriel VII sent you on. Daggerfall had quite the ambitious story, which allegedly had to be wrapped up in a rush before release. Surely, many of you have gone through its story and have been left with many questions, or at least have been puzzled on a few details.

In this thread, I'd like to know your top 3 plot holes, or loose threads, in the story of Daggerfall. Doesn't necessarily have to be the main quest - any lore or writing found in TES2 itself will do.

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Kab the Bird Ranger
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Re: Your top 3 plot holes in Daggerfall

Post by Kab the Bird Ranger »

I'll start: The Blades.

In TES1: Arena, the Blades were one of the factions that could oppose the Eternal Champion on their side quests. The Blades were "a secret society comprised of the best warriors of the Empire", whose master is unknown. They have been seen "on both sides of the law", both fighting for and against good.

In TES2, one of the first characters involved in the main quest is Lady Brisienna Magnessen, who introduces herself as an agent of the Emperor, and is later revealed to be involved with the Blades. If you give the Totem of Septim to her and recover the Mantella, the Emperor will use the Numidium and the Blades the crush all rebellion in the Empire.

The only other information we have is in the quest "The Ancient Watcher", where an agent of the Underking sends you to Castle Llugwych, the headquarters of the Blades. The agent mentions that "the Blades were once the honor guard for Tiber Septim. Today they are loyal to the empire and Tiber's code, but not always to the current emperor."

Reaching the castle, we don't actually get any more information than this: the castle is empty. Lord Magnessen is nowhere to be found, and no notes have been left behind to explain their absence. We know they're still around the Bay, as they raid Lord Woodborne's mansion by the end of the main quest.

So it seems like there's a gap to fill from the transition between "free mercenaries" and "the Emperor's personal army".

Falci
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Re: Your top 3 plot holes in Daggerfall

Post by Falci »

I'm no specialist in the series, but most of what became standard Elder Scrolls lore over the years was first defined by Daggerfall, some of it even being retconned outright in later games, like Azura going from the vain white skinned blue haired girl to the dark elf overly concerned with the well being of her people.

So, the majority of the stuff in Arena was still in a rudimentary form and ended up reworked in later games. This includes the Blades switching from mercenaries to the Emperor Spies and Protectors.

All that said, it's been a while since my playthrough, I don't think I remember much in terms of story details and/or plot holes.

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MrFlibble
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Re: Your top 3 plot holes in Daggerfall

Post by MrFlibble »

Not exactly a plot hole, but I've always found it a bit odd that the Emperor says in the intro: "Rest well this night, for tomorrow, you sail for the kingdom of Daggerfall". The meeting takes place in the Imperial Palaces in Cyrodiil, and judging by the map of Tamriel from both Arena and Daggerfall there is no waterway that would conveniently take a boat from the Imperial City to the Iliac Bay. I just checked the manual and it expounds a bit on the subject by mentioning two rivers, Yrinthi and Bjoulsae, which allegedly allow such travel to Iliac Bay. The UESP article states that the latter serves as a border between High Rock and Hammerfell, which means the player circumnavigated the entire of eastern and northern parts of Hammerfell and at some point moved up north related to the Iliac Bay.

But I still suspect that maybe the devs first came up with the storm event and the Privateer's Hold starting dungeon and then had to invent a good reason for the player character travelling by sea. It's not clear whether taking this route would be safer or faster than by land in the winter, but we have to assume that neither river did freeze in the winter and a relatively small boat (as it is described in the manual) could safely navigate both rivers and cross the Iliac Bay in these conditions.

hfc2x
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Re: Your top 3 plot holes in Daggerfall

Post by hfc2x »

MrFlibble wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 7:24 pm But I still suspect that maybe the devs first came up with the storm event and the Privateer's Hold starting dungeon and then had to invent a good reason for the player character travelling by sea.
I think this is basically the explanation for everything that's inconsistent within Daggerfall. I'm pretty convinced the reason why Barenziah and her family aren't Dark Elves in-game, but they are in-universe is because the character designs and flats were done way before any backstory was created for any of them, and I don't think Barenziah was related to Morgiah or Helseth originally. You know, Dark Elves were an established race since Arena, so making a mistake this huge could not have been possible. I don't think Morgiah, Helseth or Karethys were meant to be Dark Elves either.

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MrFlibble
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Re: Your top 3 plot holes in Daggerfall

Post by MrFlibble »

hfc2x wrote: Fri May 14, 2021 6:23 pm the character designs and flats were done way before any backstory was created for any of them
That is not only true, but even without knowledge of any behind-the scenes details of Daggerfall's development it's obvious that the art style went through several different stages, with the end result being a hodgepodge of low-res Arena-style hand-drawn flats, high-res detailed flats and finally pre-rendered characters -- even though some from each of these groups are known to be accurate representations of character concept art (you can easily recognize many sprites in the sketches shown here).

Mark Jones (pity his main site is down) mentions that the art for Daggerfall was produced on a very tight schedule so I guess they just did not have the time to go back and significantly update the older assets (Arena-style small flats are known from very early preview screenshots, dating back even to 1994). I suppose that if there was more time, perhaps all characters would be pre-rendered like in Battlespire.

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