The Elder Scrolls Traveler: Issue 1
A new issue will come out every Sunday (or Saturday, for those in the US).

  • Latest News
    Shivering Isles
    previews, interviews, screenshots and other tid bits.
  • Welcome To The Isles
    What we know so far about Oblivion's first expansion: Shivering Isles. Not excited yet? You will be.
  • Game Guides
    All guides and walkthroughs previously offered at Beyond Oblivion.
  • Traveler Talk
    An interview with Freddo, long-time official forums member and moderator.
  • Bug Fixer
    Please submit a bug - I will try and find a fix for you.
  • Mera's Maps
    All maps previously offered at Beyond Oblivion.


LATEST NEWS

Rumored for release on the 26th of March, 2007, the Shivering Isles expansion pack is currently doing the rounds of various gaming sites and leaving a trail of impressed previewers in its wake. Here is a selection of the latest previews: Voodoo Extreme, IGN: PC, 1UP.com, Shacknews, Pro-G, GameSpy, GameSpot: XBOX360, GameSpot: PC, GamePro, ComputerAndVideoGames, TeamXBOX, Game Informer, GameDaily, GameHelper.

The boys at Bethesda have also been hard at work fielding questions from the gaming community. Mark Nelson has been chatting to FiringSquad.com and Action Trip, Pete Hines has given the 411 to GameSpot, IGN, EuroGamer and ShackNews, and Todd Howard has put Game Informer and GameSpot up to speed.

The developers are also releasing a steady stream of Shivering Isles screenshots: a comprehensive selection of which can be viewed over at IGN.


Screenshot of the Week -- Dementia

Various sources have reported that the expansion is expected to sell at around thirty US dollars. While the PC version will be available to buy over-the-counter, the XBOX360 incarnation of the game will have to be purchased with MS points over XBOX Live.

In other news this week: Oblivion has received one more accolade to add to its already impressive list of awards, picking up Computer Game of the Year and Role-Playing Game of the Year at the 10th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards. Also, two new previews of the PS3 version of the game have been posted: one at Gaming Target and another at Playstation Universe.



WELCOME TO THE ISLES

The wheels of Bethesda's PR machine have started to turn. With the game rumored to be on shelves in little over a month Pete Hines and co. have started to give members of the gaming media a sneak peak at Oblivion's first expansion. If you don't have time to sift through all the interviews and previews surfacing on the net there's no need to fret: you're about to get the low-down on what we know so far about Shivering Isles.

Those of us who were immersed in Morrowind's alien environments and mourned the loss of that exotic feel in Cyrodiil will find themselves at home in the Shivering Isles: according to Todd Howard the surrounds, like Morrowind, have a "high-fantasy" feel to them. Those who miss Sadrith Mora's giant mushrooms will be pleased to find them again in the realm of 'Mania', for example. 'Mania', to the north, and 'Dementia', to the south, are the Shivering Isles' two halves. Mania's environs are bright, colourful and more than a little wierd -- just like its inhabitants: this region reflects the 'sunny' side of madness and eccentricity. Dementia, to the north, is dark and twisted, embodying the horror of insanity.


The Milky Way-Out.

These distinctions, between mania and madness, hold more traction in the Isles than any polarities of good and evil, law and chaos. After all, it's the realm of the Daedric Prince of Madness, Sheogorath, and the two sides of the Isles reflect the two sides of his personality: one that is disturbing, and another that is ultimately funny. Just as Mania and Dementia exist in one place, Sheogorath often disturbs and amuses at the same time.

Now that we know a little bit about the setting, let's move on to some numbers. First, the number thirty. That's how many hours of your time the developers estimate the game is going to take from you. That's thirty hours doing quests in the main storyline, side quests, and poking around the Isles.

Another couple of numbers: sixty or seventy. That's the percentage of quests that make up part of Shivering Isles' main storyline. More numbers: thirty or forty. That's the percentage of quests which are 'side quests'. You think I'm out of numbers now? Not nearly. Point two-five, or one-quarter: that's the size of the Isles when compared to Oblivion's Cyrodiil. Don't fret though, because the developers assure us that there's a lot of stuff packed into that space, and previewers have so far seconded that opinion.

You have the numbers, now a little about the hook. After all, the Realm of Madness would not be my number one pick for a peaceful holiday destination after all the chaos of Oblivion's main quest. This is Bethesda's bite-size summary of the story:

Within the Realm of Sheogorath, players can explore the two extreme sides of the god's madness—the sublimely creative and the completely psychotic. Something is happening to the Shivering Isles and Sheogorath himself looks to you to be his champion and defend his realm and its inhabitants from destruction. Do you have the strength to survive his trials, tame a realm fraught with paranoia and despair, and wear the mantle of a God?

Well, at least it sounds like there could be loot involved. According to developer Mark Nelson you will enter the Shivering Isles through a Daedric portal, similar in function to the Oblivion Gates we are all too familiar with, but different in every other aspect.


Eat Me.

In fact, that's the very same portal you'll use to enter the Shivering Isles. You quickly learn that the essence of the main storyline is this: "Sheogorath is in search of a champion—there is an impending threat to his realm, and (because of the nature of the threat) he needs a mortal's help. The player will need to rise in the ranks of the Court of Madness in order to earn the respect of the citizens of the Shivering Isles and eventually repel the threat."

In order to do that you'll need to curry favor with the Isles' inhabitants -- how? By completing quests, of course. Several previews of the game detail a few of the quests in explicit detail. If you're hungry for all the information you can get then I suggest you read them. Here, however, I'm not going to spoil anything, but all I can say is that the quests sound more detailed and multi-faceted than those offered in any previous TES title. Further, as those who give you the quests are all a little crazy, you can expect to find your character in a number of unusual situations!

Dozens of meaty quests and a formidable storyline are not the expansion's only selling points, however. While some things from Oblivion have been done away with (horses, Oblivion gates, and NPCs with nothing to say), a whole lot of stuff has been added and expanded.


What happens when you make Grummites grum-py.

Monsters -- Dementia is home to a number of abominations: Flesh Atronachs, Skeleton-like Shambles, skinless Zombie hounds, and other nightmarish creatures. Also making the Isles their home are the amphibious Grummites; creatures that draw power from moisture (now you've got more to worry about than getting your armor wet when it starts to rain). They share the island with Gnarls: tree-like monsters that become immune to certain spells as you use them. Throughout your time in the Isles you'll encounter more than a dozen new creatures and creature sub-types.

Create your own weapons and armor -- with the help of smiths in Bliss (Mania's capital) and Crucible (Dementia's capital) you can create two new sets of armor; one made of amber collected around Mania, and another constructed from Madness Ore found in Dementia. 'Matrices', a plant-like substance, can be found scattered throughout the Isles and used to imbue your armor and weapons with additional enchantments.

Unique weapons -- such as Dawnfang, a weapon which changes appearance at dawn and sun-set. Get twelve kills in twelve hours (before the sword changes appearance) and you'll unlock the blade's hidden power.

Detailed NPCs -- the Shivering Isles is smaller than Cyrodiil and thus home to fewer NPCs. This allowed the developers to make them more detailed than we've seen in TESIV.

250 achievement points to earn -- making Oblivion the first game to exceed the 1000 point achievement point cap on XBOX Live.

Golden Saints are back -- remember Morrowind's deadly golden vixens? They make their return in the lands of Mania as law-enforcers. The Dark Seducers are their shadowy mirror-image, enforcing brutal justice in the lands of Dementia.

Another reason not to bend over in prison -- you might get caught unawares by a horrible monster. Instead of being thrown into a cell when you're arrested you'll find yourself stripped of everything in your inventory and forced to fight your way out of a dungeon with just your bare hands. Alternately, you can wait out your sentence (but where's the fun, and mortal danger, in that?).

Transfer your characters over from Oblivion -- you don't need to start a new character in order to explore the Shivering Isles. In fact, Todd Howard suggests that while the expansion can be completed by characters at any level it is tailored to provide a particularly rewarding experience to higher level characters.

New armor, weapon and clothing types -- good news for us collectors!

And that's all the information, barring spoilers, that we ordinary folk have access to. If you're hungry for more information then read some of the above previews: they're bound to get you even more excited than you already are.



MOD REVIEW:
Maboroshi Daikon's Saddlebags

This mod adds 'saddlebags' to your horse, so that you can use it to store items.

The feature is something that really should have shipped with the vanilla version of Oblivion, but didn't: one amongst several glaring omissions that prompted Bethesda not to include horses in the Shivering Isles expansion pack.

The mod comes in two versions, Lite and Normal. Normal gives saddlebags to all horses in the game, whether they are wild, stolen, or your own. Lite gives saddlebags only to horses you own. I prefer the Lite version as I found it to be more realistic - I also wasn't too keen on strapping my valuable loot to a horse determined to return to its owner at the first available opportunity.

The mod installed without any hiccups. To access your horse's saddle bags you need to Activate it in Sneak mode. The saddle bag interface is identical to that of any other container in the game, and it allows you store up to six-hundred pounds of loot on your horse.

This brings up my first two minor criticisms: that the mod does not add visible saddle bags to your horse (though this might have been impossible to do) and secondly, that I feel the amount of storage allowed is too much. That's just personal preference though, as I like to believe my mods could 'work' in the world without being too unbelievable. Halving that figure of six-hundred pounds would have been a perfect amount for me, though I'm sure others would have complained it was too little an amount. It simply depends whether you are a stickler for semi-realism or simply hoping for something that will make it easier to amass and transport a significant amount of loot. Perhaps future versions will give us the power to set the storage capacity of all saddle bags?

Despite the two minor criticisms I have (and the second is not really a criticism, merely a matter of personal preference) the mod is a real time-saver. It's surprising Bethesda didn't include something like it in Oblivion. I'm sure all of us have at some point cleared out a dungeon full of high level NPCs and found themselves in a sea of valuable armor and weapons -- too much to carry on one trip. I'm sure all of us have also painstakingly filled our inventory with items, fast-traveled to the nearest town, unloaded the items, and fast-traveled back to repeat the process. Now you can shorten that process down to a single trip -- and that's why this small but very useful mod is well worth the download.



GAME GUIDES

OBLIVION Game Guides

Quest Guides
Main Quest Walkthrough
Dark Brotherhood Walkthrough
Fighters Guild Walkthrough
Mages Guild Walkthrough
The Arena: Battle Guide
Thieves Guild Walkthrough
Side Quest Walkthroughs

Gameplay Guides
Cheats & Tweaks
Complete Bestiary
Custom Classes Collection
Spell Vendors
Houses Guide
General Hints & Tips
Spell List

Construction Set Guides
Creating a Quest: Click by Click

Other Guides
How To: Become A Lore Buff

Next issue will contain all new guides.



TRAVELER TALK
An interview with Freddo.



Could you introduce yourself?
Greetings, I'm Freddo, moderator on the official TES forum. A 29 year old gaming geek who spends way too much time infront of the screen.

How and when did you discover The Elder Scrolls games?
Back in 1994 I was reading a magazine review of TES: Arena and felt it was a game I really wanted to play. At the time I was somewhat addicted to Frontier: Elite II, which is kinda like TES but in space. Its got this huge game world and is free to explore and go wherever one pleases. Sandbox games have always been quite attractive to me.

After that I got another review of the game, and then finally I got my hands on the game. For some reason, I never really got into it, though, but rather spent my time playing UFO: Enemy Unknown instead.

Then it would take until 1996 when I read a review of Daggerfall, and once again became highly intrigued by the game concept. On the magazine CD they also included a demo of Daggerfall that I spent many hours with, despite the fact it was only the character generation and a separate dungeon one had to play with a pre-defined character. I was hooked, and bought it as soon as I saw it in a local store. After that, Daggerfall was pretty much the only game i played for 3 years and I became a TES fan.

Which is your favorite TES game and why?
Daggerfall, as it's easily the one I've played the most. Although I reckon it's possible I'm now seeing Daggerfall in a light dazed by nostalgia. But I still enjoy it so all is good. That said, I've enjoyed all the other TES games so far too.

What attracted you to becoming a mod at the official forums?
Back in early 2003 when I was asked to become a moderator, I was very active helping people in the Morrowind hardware/software issues forum. I felt this was another way I could help.

What is your favorite forum thread of all time (if you have one)?
Back before Morrowind was released, the forums were very different from what they are today. There was this small tightknit little community of 3000 members with no need for moderators or anything like that. During this period a lot of fun threads appeared. Two early threads that come to my mind are "Here comes Bobbele !" and "If you could get a rough sweaty spanking from any one dev, who would it be?". They were just pure fun, but I reckon they wouldn't last for very long on the forums today.

What is your favourite aspect of being part of the Elder Scrolls community?
Sounds cliché, I suppose, but it's the people. I've made some very good contacts over the years and spent many hours chatting with various people I've never even met!

Thanks, Freddo.



BUG FIXER

All current bug fixes can be viewed on this page. The link also contains details for submitting bugs or bug fixes.



MERA'S MAPS

Hello there, my name is Mera, and I'm a cartographer.

Sounds pretty boring, huh? Actually, it isn't: not when you map places which have never been mapped before -- some of which have never even been explored before.

Yeah, I do the usual stuff: towns and cities, the kind of maps that come in useful to everyone. The maps I love making the most, however, are maps of Tamriel's hidden places. They're the kind of maps that can be a real life-saver to a certain type of person: adventurers and explorers. If you're one of those people, you might like what I have to offer. Take a look at the sections below: I'll let you browse for free.

Oh yeah, and as an added bonus, I've marked the location of all loot, traps and levers I found on each map: just in case you need a helping hand.


CYRODIIL


GamePressure.com's Oblivion Atlas - the Cyrodiil map is divided into 12 segments containing named markers.

Interactive Cyrodiil Map v1.5 (3.2mb): click on the name of a location to see where it is situated on the map. Useful if you know the name of where you want to explore.

Prowlinger's Cyrodiil Map: Location markers are not named, but colour-coded by type.

OblivionMap.com: a high-quality scan of the Collector's Edition map which allows you to pan the view in all directions. Terrain only.


CITIES

Imperial City: Arboretum
Imperial City: The Arcane University
Imperial City: The Arena
Imperial City: Elven Gardens District
Imperial City: Green Emperor Way
Imperial City: Market District
Imperial City: Prison
Imperial City: Talos Plaza District
Imperial City: Temple District
Imperial City: Waterfront
Anvil
Anvil: Docks
Bravil
Bruma
Cheydinhal
Chorrol
Leyawiin
Skingrad

CASTLES

SETTLEMENTS

AYLEID RUINS

CAVES

Breakneck Cave
Breakneck Cave: Lower
Breakneck Cave: Inner Chamber
Felgageldt Cave
Felgageldt Cave: Wishbone Vault
Leafrot Cave
Leafrot Cave: Leafrot Hollow)
Mingo Cave
Muck Valley Cavern
Yellow Tick Cave
Yellow Tick Cave: Hollows

FORTS

Fort Coldcorn
Fort Empire
Fort Empire: Barracks Block
Fort Nikel
Fort Sutch
Fort Roebeck
Fort Roebeck: Winter Station

MINES

Crumbling Mine
Flooded Mines

OBLIVION GATES

QUEST-ONLY AREAS

Next week's issue will contain all new maps.



THE LOREMASTER
This week's Loremaster is Proweler.


A short study on Ayleidic symbolism

By Marcus Kafadi

Our understanding and knowledge of the Ayleid is scarce, even more so the understanding of their culture and myths. However, the fragmented knowledge that we do have can be cross referenced to the more familiar Altmer. From this we can then seek to understand how the Ayleids would differentiate from their Island kind. Hopefully these new insights will shed more light on the Ayleids and lead to new discoveries as to their nature.

I would like to extend my gratitude to Sha'Ziir and Adanorcil for providing several charcoal sketches and insight on the Aldmeri culture respectively.

- Marcus

Overview

The Ayleids have left us little but ruined cities and trap ridden ancestral burials. What remains however projects an image of splendor, rising up into the sky and has had a many explorer meditate upon the past. Not always without the dire consequences.

Did they ever did incur any symbolism to their graceful flying buttress other then their admiration of the sky? This is a question that will quite possibly remain unanswered for eternity.The high ceilings and decorate iron work appear to be made for aesthetic reasons, equally devoid of a deeper symbolic meaning. Of greater interest would be the one statue that takes up such a prominent place in many ruins that most explorers would overlook it.

The Statue of Silorn

Anybody who has seen this statue with his own eyes can testify that it is a complex composition. Contrary to Cyrodiils modern displays, the statue is rotating around its own central axis and can only be observed properly by slowly walking around it. In my own admission, the soldier and the bird appear to be still quite alive and I can only admire the Ayleids for the ability to create such living stone.

The depicted scene it selves is not as complex. An Ayleid soldier is standing on a pillar decorated with Daedric faces and has a bird leaping from its perch on the shoulders of the soldier. To the initiated this clearly shows the Altmeri ordering of existence, which I’ll now explain in detail for the uninitiated.

The Lower - Oblivion

The front and side view on the base of the statue.

The supporting section of the statue is detailed with demonic faces and chaotic line patterns that would suggest a background of fire. As such, it can be assumed that this section represents Oblivion. The bottom position on the statue would imply that the Ayleids found this is the lowest of the low and the most despicable aspect of existence.

The Middle - Mundus


The middle half of the statue depicting Mundus.

The transition from Oblivion to the higher sections is blocked by a solid slab of stone, which forms a stark contrast with its polished corners and strict line carvings. As this is clearly a barrier between Oblivion and the ground the soldier is standing on, this represents the Liminal Barrier.

Even though the Liminal Barrier is in place and keeps Oblivion out, the ground is broken and corrupted. Filled with fungi and wild roots that have a certain Meridian quality to them. This idea is consistent with the Altmeri view in which Nirn is nothing but a corruption of everything that is good.

The Middle and Higher - Auriel: the Soldier and Bird

From the grounds of Mundus the soldier rises up. Although dressed like a divine bird, his feet are still stuck in the soil; he can not escape from it. This is consistent with the Altmeri myth, the gods were unable to escape Mundus.

According to the same mythology, Anuiel gave Auriel a bow and shield to fight of the invading man. As the soldier is holding these, we can assume that he is indeed Auriel.

While it may seem illogical to depict the same being twice, this is no different from the double headed representation of Akatosh by Imperial sculptors.


The upper part of the Statue.

The Bird takes up the highest and thus most important position of the statue. Leaping from the soldiers shoulders it can be easily associated with Auriel’s ascension, from Mundus. This event was widely witnessed and similar images can be found among the Altmer, Dwemer and even the Mysterious Akavir.

Conclusion

The statue depicts the entrapment of Auriel in Mundus and his escape. As well as the Altmeri desire to leave Mundus behind for Aetherius.The Bird form of Auriel is analogous with Dragon form of Akatosh and as such the Ayleid dress in armor made to his image.

* * *

Reproduced with permission from the author.


 
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