Dragonborn DLC Playability and the Skaal Religion

Statue of Talos in Whiterun, with Shrine in front, Dragonsreach to left, giant Eagle in middle, and old Companion's home to right.
Statue of Talos in Whiterun, with Shrine in front, Dragonsreach to left, giant Eagle in middle, and old Companion’s home to right.

I wrote about this dlc already (at dragonborn dlc wordpress)  but wanted to convey some more information about the Skaal’s religious views, and generally about the playability of the new dlc content.  So basically this is an addendum to the linked article; please see it if you would like more coverage of the Dragonborn dlc.

Dragonborn DLC playability.  First. when we got the DLC I was playing a game where I had a high level character, over 60, and I was getting close to wrapping all the quests up.  Playing at this level in Solstheim is relatively easy.  Only Karstaag was a difficult opponent (surprising battle, that was!).  But, beginning a new game and going through it so far – I’m now level 11 and had gone back to Solstheim after first going there at level 6 – I can say Solstheim is not a place you’ll get through easily for a while.  Of course, the game level setting can be adjusted to its lowest level, but I’m going to bet that fighting off random lurkers will prove pretty impossible for a low level character.  I wanted very much to make it to Neloth and so I swam there.  The only real problem I had was when my companion, Lydia, wouldn’t just swim along and ignore a Lurker.  *People ask when “the quest” starts with the DLC.  There are various quests, but the main quest with Miraak will activate after you go and see the Greybeards for the first time.  A couple of his cultists will meet you somewhere and attack you.

The Skaal and their religions views.  The Skaal are most interesting, as their visiting researcher (like an anthropologist amongst a far away and dying tribe) frequently points out.  Unlike the majority of Nords, they believe in an All-Maker god and not in the pantheon of deities.  If you never read the book, Children of the All-Maker, or don’t talk to Frea after the main quest is over, you would very much think that the Skaal believe in a Judaic type of God.  They talk or write of going to be with the All-Maker after they die, and seeing others that have passed on there too. They also allude to spirtual consequences that are Western, not Eastern (there is the call of the All-Maker, and ignoring it has consequences).

YET, oddly, the two sources I mentioned say they believe in reincarnation, even for humans.  So, it doesn’t make much sense (you can’t be with the All-Maker visiting relatives while also being another person on earth).  Interestingly, there are real-world people groups in Asia that, when found by missionaries in the past, have shown that they believe in God and even had premonitions of Christ.  But this is not what is happening with the Skaal.  I would give Bethesda some credit for actually taking apparent early Norse belief in reincarnation and adding it into the game (as evidenced in the real-world Norse Poetic Edda).  However, having the religious leader (“shaman”) pray in an Eastern religious fashion takes away from this seeming historical reference.

* Added to post on December 29, 2012,

 

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4 thoughts on “Dragonborn DLC Playability and the Skaal Religion”

  1. Very true, but it should also be noted that nearly all in game history books are fairly resent, in plot, and composition and they do not necessarily reflect older texts.

    The All-Maker stands as an attempt by a “superstitious” people to reference the “UNKNOWN GOD” who they ignorantly worship, but the subject can be a great launchpad for declaring the Truth, to those who spend most of their time in fantasy.

    “22 Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I
    perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.
    23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this
    inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly
    worship, him declare I unto you.
    24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of
    heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
    25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing,
    seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
    26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face
    of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the
    bounds of their habitation;
    27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find
    him, though he be not far from every one of us:
    28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your
    own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
    29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that
    the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s
    device.
    30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all
    men every where to repent:
    31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in
    righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given
    assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
    32 ¶ And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and
    others said, We will hear thee again of this matter.
    33 So Paul departed from among them.
    34 Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was
    Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with
    them.” -Acts 17:22-34

    Like

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