UPDATE: Evolving Mod List and Load Order for this series can be viewed here: docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/15jrU8BWoKLOhN0LdwdzKGwmPJ8arjPDNR188HwAVdxY/pubhtml
The following is a proposed backstory for the upcoming Skyrim Democracy Live Series here at HotTips! in which viewers will have a say in all of the decisions made during the live streams for which the episodes are built upon. This backstory is meant to cover a broad-range of topics, and to introduce you to a character that can be molded and shaped from any race or gender within the Skyrim universe. When reading through this story, attempt to picture the character you are seeing. Man or Woman? Wealthy-born, or poor? What race is the character you see? Read it over multiple times if you’d like, to get a feeling for how the story would play out in different scenarios and with different races even. Which do you like the best? Use this idea to formulate your initial votes for the start of our Skyrim Democracy Series, the first stream’s date for which has not yet been announced.
Please note the following though: I have about 80 hours into Skyrim total, and haven’t touched it in nearly 2 years. Skyrim is also the only Elder Scrolls I’ve been introduced to and played, and I have a very limited knowledge of the lore as is, so if nothing else, this will be a constant learning experience for me as well as many of you. I’m captivated and driven by stories and narratives that resonate. That’s going to be the goal of this series… what sort of story is formed and what sort of character is created when potentially hundreds of different people dip their hands into the box and manipulate it. The stream will take place at RANDOM and DIVERSE times and days to as allow for everyone to have some opportunity and equal change around the world. This isn’t going to be a scheduled ahead of time type series or something that’s on a set schedule – because that isolates parts of the world that may want to participate. EVERY EPISODE will be available on YouTube the day after the stream is live. My goal is to edit the stream down to a more concise video for YouTube later, so that “after the fact” viewers don’t need to sit through the entire 2-3 hour stream (unless unedited is, again, democratically preferred). I hope to make the best possible series I can, despite the full acknowledgement that being “unique” or “original” with this title is near impossible to do.
Feel free to leave your comments below as well if you have input on how this story can be improved, or if you have input as to how I could evolve it to cover all possible play-through styles.
( This is a developing narrative based on feedback – Last update: 04 – 10/7/2016 )
Changes are detailed in the changelog below the story as they develop.
Growing up on a small village farm is tough, especially when your father’s track record as a hardened criminal eventually catches up with him. After being jailed, tried, and executed for years of crimes, your father leaves you behind with only your mother, and your younger sister. You’re 8 years old at the time, barely old enough to get by with the chores demanded of you, but old enough to begin understanding how the world works. Through the years, you do what you can to ensure that you’re able to eat every day, and sleep in a warm bed every night, and that your family is well cared for. You listen to your mother, and learn from her guidance, embracing her as your teacher for both the respect of your community and yourself. Unfortunately, it isn’t enough. Fevers set in, doctors are called, and a wave of sickness sweeps through your village. Half of all the people you’ve ever met are dead, including your mother. It’s just you and your sister now, and she’s also fading fast.
Doctors begin to feel ill as well, and eventually, they disband entirely. A great mage, an Altmer in bright green robes, arrives at your village after receiving word of this strange illness, eager to learn more and to see about a cure. He tries a variety of spells – all new to you – with flashing lights of all colors. Words spoken aloud, rushes of heat and cold. The sensation of being around a mage almost makes you forget the turmoils of this world. The mage notices you care for your sister, and questions your immunity to this unknown plague. You’re without an answer. You hadn’t thought about it before, but now that you had, you’re troubled even more by the mystery this point brings.
For three days, the Altmer and some late-arriving collegues study the village, noting a strange aura about the place. Sadly, and with great apology, they are unable to dissolve the cause of this situation, and leave your village to fend for itself, your new friend in green looking back at you once more as his horse trots with haste to a safe distance. If magic wouldn’t help… what would?
In quick thinking, you recall your teachings from your mother long ago, a tailor by trade, but an amateur alchemist in her spare time, she was able to share small bits of her knowledge with you before. You can’t help but to think that if this plague hadn’t taken her so quickly, she surely could have helped save lives here today. Your memories of you mother fade swiftly, replaced with recipes once practiced with her, made possible with the combinations of naturally growing flowers and other materials found close to your house. After several days, through some experimentation, you manage to work up a mixture that you believe will help your sister survive. Administering your potion is emotionally devastating. You’re overcome with guilt, and sadness. You ask yourself, now in your teens, “why couldn’t it have been me? Why was I immune to this sickness? Will I be left alone?”
Weeks pass, and your sister’s condition improves, until she’s able to once again walk among the citizens of your small corner of the world. With terrible memories of the past events haunting you every day in this familiar place, you set out together for a new life; a journey of discovery made possible by your long-love of the wild and nature, as well as a keen sense of direction and tracking learned from your late father. From bed to bed, inn to inn, and town to town, you meet townsfolk of all shapes and sizes. You meet soldiers on patrols, sailors fishing off the nearby coasts, and even some drunk mages in a tavern, who are more than eager to tell you everything you question them about. They even give you a book as they leave one night, for which you proceed to read cover to cover over time. Learning of Magic from a book is daunting, but with practice, you manage to heat a small twig and start a fire. A party trick, you’re hoping others may pay to see.
When the carnival tricks prove less interesting than expected, you seek work, hoping that in these desperate times, somebody must need help bad enough to pay for it, even if with food. Despite heartfelt attempts and even begging, there is rarely a stranger kind enough to offer you work. The roads are dangerous, and so is all the world outside the city walls. Trust is hard to come-by, and as an outsider, few enjoy your company. To survive, you rely on your unique skills of persuasion and charm, but also your inhereted criminal family history. What was once thought of as a terrible taboo from your mother was now a requirement for your very survival. You hate being a thief; you don’t like the lifestyle or the ethics – but you’re good at it. You find that which is usually learned over time to come almost instictually to you, light on your feet, swift with your hands, you’re able to sustain a comfortable stomach for both your sister and yourself for months before being caught; forced to flee to the next town and start anew once more.
— It’s now been 10 years since you’ve fled your home. Further and further you’ve pressed on, until you’ve now arrived in Skyrim, a place once fabled with stories of Dragons long ago. Your father used to share these stories with you, and with great fascination and wonder your eagerness to learn of Skyrim firsthand begins to overwhelm the hunger and thirst you’ve had for days. This is going to be different, you say to yourself. Before you could even get an idea of what a future in Skyrim could be like, a battle breaks out beside you. Two small armies, both sides screaming and waving steel. You grab your sister’s hand, rushing to hide within the only cover available. Arrows begin to fly by the dozens, and the wind begins to blow hard enough to lean even the largest of men. Without breath remaining, you manage to reach a cliff-side, kneeling low behind a large bolder propped up against the land. You stare out at the chaos with an odd familiarity. Never before have you been this close to real life battle, yet you are not afraid. Not once in your life have you witnessed a man kill another before, but yet you are not bothered by it in the slightest. With eyes focused on the dangers ahead of you, you begin to instruct your sister on the next steps – You’re going to move west, away from the battle across a nearby river, where you believe it to be safe. It will require swift movements to make it there unharmed, but you’re confident. Having given instructions, you ask if she’s heard you, and if she’s ready to go, but there is no response. Silence beside you, you turn to find your sister sitting upright against the hard stone, eyes open but lifeless. There is a small tear caught on her cheek still, and three long wooden arrows buried into her side and back. She’s been hit.
Your heart drops. While the sight of bloodshed within the screams of battle do not stir you, the hopeless realization in the silence of your own family crushes your very soul. You’ve dealt with death before, but never like this. This was different. This was pain. True pain, as if it had been you there lifeless on that rock. You wish it had been. You’re angry. Angry that the world hadn’t taken you in as it had the nobles. Angry that the innkeeper a month back hadn’t let you cook for him. Angry at the river for being so far away, and Angry at the men on that battlefield. Which side shot that arrow? Which one of them was responsible for the injustice of your final loss?
Consumed. Irrational. Tunneled within the vision of revenge and without a thought, you leap out from behind the rock, and sprint towards the field. There are few men left, but those who remain shall feel your wrath. They mustn’t leave this place without knowing the same pain you have now. Without their wives and daughters understanding what they’ve done. You will —
— Before you fully understand what’s happened, you’re thrown into the air, knocked down hard into the mud by a horse as reinforcing troops charge forward from the woods. You’re partially disabled, unable to breathe with the hit. Your vision isn’t clear, but you’ve landed on a fallen soldier, and his armor isn’t typical of the soldiers you’ve encountered before. They seem almost militia in nature; as if their efforts were without financing or proper nobility. Covered in furs, the soldier’s sword becomes briefly in focus as light reflects off the newly sharpened steel. With your composure gathered one more, you grab the sword and stand to face your fate, knowing yours likely isn’t far off from the man whose sword had been donated unwillingly to your cause.
Battle is not what you are greeted with. What may have been difficult at first is now impossible. A circle of horses surround you and a few men wearing similar garments and sigils to the fallen beneath you. The battle has concluded, and you stand among those finding themselves at the losing end of it. Hopelessness replaces hate, and you drop the blade. What will become of you now?
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- 04 – Added additional details on your mother, disclosing that she made her living as a tailor. This implies a skill set centered around crafting clothing.
- 03 – Modified details regarding alchemy knowledge to include additional details of your mother and Alchemy, disclosing that she dabbled in this as a hobby before and shared information with you as you grew older with interest.
- 02 – Fixed various spelling and grammar problems
- 01 – Initial story published