Daedric Princes

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Infragris
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Daedric Princes

Postby Infragris » 01 Aug 2014, 12:25

This topic serves to discuss the implementation of Daedra worship and quests for the Daedric Princes in Cyrodiil. According to lore, Daedra worship is at least somewhat accepted in Cyrodiil, which opens up a lot of opportunities in terms of connecting these factions and quests with overall Imperial society (as opposed to the way they were implemented in Oblivion and Skyrim, where these quests seemed wholly external to normal society). In practical terms, this means we can implement Daedric cults in terms of certain groups, guilds or factions they are associated with, which increases the sense of a vibrant, living culture, and lessens our actual workload.

A proposal:
Daedra Worship in Cyrodiil:
Spoiler: show
The Imperials have, through conquest and trade, come into contact with all the Daedric Princes, and assimilated many of them into their overarching religious habits and culture. Opinions on Daedra worship are divided: while many condemn the practice, it is not actually forbidden by Imperial Law, and many Princes are worshiped openly in the cities of Cyrodiil. Religious authorities like Marukh or the Nine Divines warn against the influence of the Daedra, but do so in veiled terms: the Daedra are considered cousins to the Divines, and as such have to be respected in the way of distant relatives. Marukh, meanwhile, is so difficult to understand that he might just as well be talking about Elves.

Unlike the Dunmer, who believe the Daedra are representations of challenges or elements, the Imperials consider the Princes individual, capricious spirits, that can be coerced to aid you, grant wishes, or harm your enemies. Unlike the Divines or the Niben totem spirits, they are considered external powers, kept at bay by the Divine barriers between Nirn and Oblivion. As such, Imperials tend to underestimate the true power and importance of the Daedra.

Daedra worship is most prevalent in the Nibenay, but occurs in Colovia as well. The practice is common even among the high-ranking officials - the Empire maintains semi-official lines of communication with some Princes, as a matter of diplomacy. Not every Prince is equally important in Cyrodiil: some are obscure, foreign spirits, only known to a handful of zealots, while others are popular and commonly accepted parts of Imperial culture. Still others are prohibited: the Empire is permissive when it comes to deviant worship practices, but will not allow cults that publicly call for illegal activities, like murder or treason. One the whole, the Daedra are not a major part of daily life in the Empire, and most normal citizens will be hard-pressed to name all Princes.

Tolerated Princes:
Spoiler: show
Worship of these Princes is deeply entwined with Imperial culture, either due to their aspect or due to a history of involvement in Imperial life - some of them were known to the Nedes since before the Ayleid Hegemony. It is not uncommon for people to publicly declare their faith in these Princes, and often their place in society is regulated by large, public displays of religiosity, festivals and shrines. They are uncontroversial.

CLAVICUS VILE
Popular throughout Cyrodiil. Vile is the patron spirit of commerce, and the embodiment of pragmatic, amoral and realistic methods in business and politics – as such, he is often connected to Zenithar. Markets and commercial places are often indicated by the Mark of the Dog, and small (purely decorative) shrines to Vile can be found along major trade roads. Vile encourages trade, and it is believed that he protects the pious merchant from bandits and natural disasters. Vile's "official" cult overlaps heavily with the various trade organizations of Cyrodiil, like the various merchant cooperatives, or the East Empire Company.

A large, prosperous shrine to Vile can be found west of the village Weye, along the great Yellow Road - this shrine is publicly known, indicated on all the maps, and not in any way persecuted. Here, the east-west and north-south trade intersect, and a large, semi-permanent tent city and market have arisen. The market's self-governance is an ancient tradition, bought each year with lavish tribute to the government. It is policed by the Claviculaes, a commercial sect.

Clavicus is also worshiped by Cyrodiil's native vampires, though he shares their allegiance with Molag Bal.

HERMAEUS MORA
Very popular among the Empire's intelligentsia. In the Arcane University, clubs, fraternities and other social pastimes are traditionally under the auspices of Mora (whereas the more scholarly activities are dedicated to Magnus). Mora also has a more serious cult dedicated to him, based in an old library-fortress in the northern Colovian Highlands, above the snow-line. This cult employs a secret network of spies and agents within all the large institutions of knowledge in Cyrodiil and only recruits its members from these institutions.

In practice, the PC can only become a member of this cult by first joining the Mages Guild or a similar knowledge-based organization (Order of Julianos?)

NAMIRA
The lackluster efforts of the Imperial Cult when it comes to the poor have driven many to seek the favor of Namira instead: while she does not offer a way out of despondency, she offers respect and acceptance for their lot and their person. While the Empire's upstanding citizens (especially the middle class of merchants and artisans) often object to the legality of this cult, it is tolerated, as it is believed to pacify the lower classes.

The actual cultists of Namira are strange, ascetic figures, wrapped in threadbare black robes, wearing strange hoods that cover their faces entirely (a Namirite has no use for his eyes). They live in slums, sewers, lightness caves and ruins, the margins. They practice a lethargic, nihilistic, but non-violent philosophy, which claims that all of life and existence is a random mutation, come forth from the primordial darkness of Namira, in which it all will one day dissolve again. The best thing one can do is try to rejoin the Scuttling Void ahead of this time, by meditating in the darkness. Namirite ascetics usually avoid the cities, though one or two can reliably be found in the slums and sewers.

NOCTURNAL
Patron spirit of thieves and instrument makers. Worship of Nocturnal is in the hands of a subset of priest-thieves in the Thieves Guild, and should be discussed in relation to them. One exception is the makers of musical and magical instruments, who believe that their creations are inspired by visions of Nocturnal's sphere.

Quests concerning Nocturnal are only available to members of the Thieves' Guild.

PERYITE
The False-Worm. As king of the Low Order, Peryite has a dedicated following in the many accountants, lawyers and administrators of Cyrodiil. His main cult doubles as the Guild of Barristers in the Imperial City. Peryite plays an important role in the non-magical education of the Imperial people, and is credited with teaching primeval men of the number zero, as well as several other mathematical concepts. The Order of Akatosh dislikes him.

SANGUINE
One of the Empire's most popular Princes. Sanguine is the patron of debauchery and hedonism, and his visage can be seen on the signs of gambling dens and lower-class whorehouses across Cyrodiil (that is to say, those that are not claimed by Dibella).

The inhabitants of the Imperial City feel a special bond with this jovial Prince: it is said that Sanguine once lodged in the Emperor's Palace, and that his influence can still be felt across the city, manifesting in the lustrous red roses that the city is known for. The city's citizens celebrate him as the "Rubicund King" in an annual festival, during which normal laws of decorum are suspended: citizens take to the streets in cheap paper goat-masks, drinking, partaking in illicit substances, and visiting the city's arena, which organizes a blatantly illegal tournament around this time (arena fighters are known as Sanguinistas for this reason). The doors of the Emperor's Palace are locked for the duration of this festival, allowing no-one in or out.

Quests concerning Sanguine are bound to the Imperial Arena.

VAERNIMA
Very popular in Nibenay. The Vaernimite Cult has a stranglehold on the trade in legal narcotics: shops, boats and market stalls run by Vaernimites can be found in every Nibenese city, selling any kind of drug imaginable: ground-up mangrove roots, nerve-poisoning make-up, masks coated with drugs, marsh-honey extract, river newt glands, hallucinogenic pictures, etc. The only thing forbidden to them is Moon Sugar and its derivatives, though Imperial opposition to these is more a matter of custom and a suppression of the Khajiit - there are things a thousand times worse on the Nibenese market.

The main shrine of Vaernima lies along the Niben. Any gondolier can bring you there. The shrine has become a popular pilgrimage site for those plagued by nightmares to beg for a cure, or for thrill-seekers to try the most expensive and intricate mixtures of the Vaernimite masters. A small village has grown around the shrine, catering to the desires of these people.

MEHRUNES DAGON
A distinctly unpopular Prince. Several decades ago, Dagon had several cults to his name, usually dedicated to his aspects of ambition and energy. Even high-ranking Imperial functionaries were part of these cults. After the Imperial Simulacra, however, it became apparent that Dagon had conspired with Jagar Tharn, supplying him with the means to bring the Empire down. In the aftermath of this scandal, Dagonites were targeted indiscriminately, their shrines were destroyed, and most cultists were executed or sent to the prisons in Black Marsh.

Recently, a new Dagonite cult has grown popular: the enigmatic Mythic Dawn society under the leadership of the charismatic Mankar Camoran. This cult has gained followers in cities across the Empire. The cult is tolerated by the Empire: Blades spies have infiltrated it, and found nothing amiss.

Illegal Princes:
Spoiler: show
Worship of these princes is illegal, usually because they incite rebellion, murder or otherwise move people to break the law. In practice, some cults are tolerated, as long as they don't make too much trouble. You can't actually be arrested just for worshiping a Daedra, only for what you do in it's name.

BOETHIAH
Worship was once prevalent in the Empire, but the Boethite creed of "the overthrow of legitimate authority" has made the cult an enemy of the Empire. There was once a fashion for fledgling Imperial rulers to declare crusades against "Boethite agitators" as a means of bolstering their own credibility. Organized worship has mostly been eliminated, and Boethiah remains as an ill-known sailor's god, given tribute to ward off the influence of his rival Molag Bal.

Today, there is only a single monastery dedicated to Boethiah left, tucked away in the foothills of the Valus Mountains. These monks teach a blend of Dunmeri and Nibenese doctrines, with the goal of producing a single one of Boethiah's Chosen. This is accomplished by a kind of gradual mutual elimination: a constant game of murder between the cultists, bound by strict rules, involving duels, voluntary poisoning, assassination, betrayal, self-mutilation, etc.

A newer Boethite cult has arisen in the bowels of the Imperial City, worshiping a Nordic-inspired, feminine aspect of the god. This elusive sect is part of a network of anti-Imperial revolutionaries, responsible for encouraging the recent revolts and public unrest in the City.

MEPHALA
Mephala is associated with Dunmer worship practices, and as such is distrusted by most. Her servants, the Morag Tong, have killed several Emperors in her name, and as such the cult is forbidden across Cyrodiil, and all Mephalites are without exception considered guilty of regicide.

MERIDIA
Despite being a more benevolent spirit, associated with light and life, the cult of Meridia is persecuted like none other. Meridia is the ancient enemy of the Empire, the patron spirit of the Ayleid – her worshp has been forbidden in Cyrodiil since the days of Alessia.

Still, Meridian cultists are numerous: the cult has several strongholds in northern Valenwood, and periodically sends its agents to infiltrate Cyrodiil – usually to plunder knowledge and artifacts from Ayleid ruins. The cult is associated with the Ayleid Restoration movement, a controversial political faction who claim the Ayleid civilization was misunderstood, and that it's true qualities have been erased by Imperial propaganda. Currently, the Legion has begun a new wave of repression, orchestrated by the Ancestor Moth cult (the Meridians' hated enemy) due to certain disquieting prophecies in the Elder scrolls.

Obscure Princes:
Spoiler: show
These Princes are less well known to the Imperials, either due to a lack of contact, or because their spheres do not really align with Imperial interests.

AZURA
In Cyrodiil, Azura's cult is a kind of "eastern mystery religion", associated with the Dunmer, and appeals to an eclectic mix of artists, mystics, decadents, and idle aristocrats looking for an exotic thrill. Azura is also popular among Dunmeri religious exiles in the Cheydinhal county, who have recently built a makeshift shrine in the region.

Azurah (with the extra h) is an important goddess of the Niben's indigenous Khajiiti population. The recent trans-Niben acquisition has thrown the political and religious life of these Khajiit in turmoil, and worship has gone underground together with the Renrija Krin mercenaries and the Clan-mothers. Small Azurah shrines can be found in the Khajiiti ghettos of Lleyawiin and Bravil, and in abandoned Kahjiiti fortresses and villas on the border.

HIRCINE
To the Empire's urban and diplomatic society, this spirit of the wild is completely unknown. Morian Zenas, the most famous Imperial Daedra researcher, was completely unfamiliar with him. The woodsmen and hunters of Colovia know him as Hircine or Heircen, a spirit of the hunt and the hunted, sometimes referred to as the god of the little lights: referring to magical lights or far-off fires that lead the hunter astray in the night, or to the light in the eyes of nocturnal predators. They also attribute sudden madness in domestic animals to him, or creatures of prey that turn around and become predators. It is said that there is one shrine to Hircine, somewhere deep in the wilderness, where hunters can go at night to demand a worthy prey.

The Forester-Knights of Kynareth also know the name Hircine from their old histories: some hundred years ago, they hunted and destroyed the last werewolves and wereboars in Cyrodiil. This is remembered in their liturgy as the War of Teeth.

Southern Nibenay, it is said, was once plagued by its own brand of animistic horror: the were-crocodile. These creatures were said to be some kind of failure on Hircine's part: their bite was so caustic that none could survive to carry the infection. As a result, the strain never carries on past the first generation, and they were all hunted down and destroyed.

MALACATH
As patron spirit of exiles and pariahs, Malacath was never popular in the Empire. Malacath is primarily associated with the Orcish nomads and wandering war-tribes that occasionally crossed the Alik'r to terrorize the northern perimeters. Today, the Orcs have been granted citizenship, and many have come to Cyrodiil specifically because they are allowed to worship the Daedra there.

Several militant Orcish warbands have been wandering the Colovan west, seeking an ancient shrine to Malacath that was lost to them when the Colovians first settled the region. Malacath's main quest consists of helping these Orcs find their shrine, and does not start with at the shrine itself.

MOLAG BAL
Today, Molag Bal is only worshiped by Cyrodiil's native vampires, the Cyrodiil Vampyrum Order. '

Quests concerning this Daedra can only be pursued by Vampires.

SHEOGORATH
...

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Re: Daedric Princes

Postby Praedator » 01 Aug 2014, 12:29

ty for the write up Infragris...do you have something like that on the Nine Divines?

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Infragris
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Re: Daedric Princes

Postby Infragris » 01 Aug 2014, 12:44

A couple of things over here. I'm working on a more complete overview, will probably post something on Dibella tomorrow.

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Re: Daedric Princes

Postby TerrifyingDaedricFoe » 01 Aug 2014, 13:19

There's quest ideas for Sanguine, Sheogorath, Malacath, Meridia, Clavicus Vile, Molag Bal and Hircine in this forum. They'll probably require at least some modification, but I hope the basic ideas are useful.

Edit: Oh, and good write up Infragris. Lots of good ideas. :)
SamirA wrote:
Tarius wrote:This is entirely a matter of the Bethstapo that will burst in, yell STOP RIGHT THERE, CRIMINAL SCUM, and C&D us to death if we violate copyright.
Haha, bethstapo.

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Re: Daedric Princes

Postby Praedator » 01 Aug 2014, 13:34

Infragris wrote:A couple of things over here. I'm working on a more complete overview, will probably post something on Dibella tomorrow.


greatly appreciated :)

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Re: Daedric Princes

Postby Praedator » 01 Aug 2014, 15:07

TerrifyingDaedricFoe wrote:There's quest ideas for Sanguine, Sheogorath, Malacath, Meridia, Clavicus Vile, Molag Bal and Hircine in this forum. They'll probably require at least some modification, but I hope the basic ideas are useful.

Edit: Oh, and good write up Infragris. Lots of good ideas. :)


Do we even have daedra in Anvil? Shall I make an underwater entrance to a grand daedric realm? :D

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Re: Daedric Princes

Postby Worsas » 01 Aug 2014, 16:00

According to Infragris' texts a face of Sanguine could be seen on the signboards of the brothels.

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Re: Daedric Princes

Postby MoonAndStar » 01 Aug 2014, 16:24

Great read as usual, Infragris.

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Infragris
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Re: Daedric Princes

Postby Infragris » 01 Aug 2014, 16:45

Worsas wrote:According to Infragris' texts a face of Sanguine could be seen on the signboards of the brothels.


Metaphorically - his leering face doesn't have to be on the sign, though it would be nice. We could also use a symbol that refers to Sanguine, like a rose or a goat-skull. Actually, I was just thinking about something like a little statue near the door or something, a mini-shrine where you can toss one or two gold pieces to for a small, negligible boost to luck or endurance - something like it could also feature in the casino, another building the Imperials would associate with Sanguine.

For Anvil, we can go with a couple of references to Sanguine in the brothels and gambling houses, Saint_Jiub's idea for a Boehtiah cult among sailors (who sacrifice stuff to him/her as protection against Molag Bal), references to Nocturnal for the Thieves Guild, and maybe an ascetic of Namira hanging around in the poor district. That would give us the presence of four Daedra in the city, more than enough to showcase the Imperial attitude towards the Princes. Most of this would be dialogue and NPC work.

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Re: Daedric Princes

Postby Praedator » 01 Aug 2014, 17:01

I believe Anvil easily can hold 200 NPCs, so you can make a good backstory of anything, like all the guilds, trading companies, Imperial Navy, gambling, prostitution, but also Dibella (of Love) and Kynareth (of Healing) and Zenithar (of Trade), and famous Anvilic apples :)

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Re: Daedric Princes

Postby roerich » 13 Aug 2014, 21:59

Perhaps include a small, anonymous dog relief on a wall overlooking the main market? Like this, or just the head. A gift for those who looks for it.

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Re: Daedric Princes

Postby Saint_Jiub » 16 Aug 2014, 03:13

Some other proposed notes on Daedric princes as worshipped in the totemic pantheon of the East.

Sang de Rey: One of the principle pleasure deities of the Nibenay Basin. Depicted as a nude, red-skinned man with the head of a ram, festooned in garlands of roses. Marriage rites in Nibenay include invocations to this god to improve the male's fertility and prowess in the bedroom. Capricious and usually drunk on rice wine in most myths.

Harcane: Bastard of Kynareth, manifests as a wolf-headed hunter with huge antlers dripping viscera. According to legend, born when the aspect of the huntress was stripped from Kynareth in the formation of the Eight Divines. Popular in the eastern Jeralls among those who still hold to the days before Alessia's pantheon. Though honorable after a sense, he is all-consumed by the hunt and knows no peace or balance.

Marrius Dagnu: Vassal-spirit of Zenithar and patron of blacksmiths, depicted as a boar-headed juggernaut with four arms. Attributed in early myths with the invention of fire and bestowing this magic upon a small Nedic tribe who, so armed, became the first Battlemages and conquered much of the lower Niben in fire and blood before they were put down by the Ayleids. Later bound to the great forge of Zenithar, where in penance he crafts weapons of warfare for the gods and Empire.


I can do more if there's an interest.


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