is the fifth game in the Elder Scrolls series, but it doesn’t tell you much
about its backstory. Not in obvious ways, anyway. After all, how would you
rather start a game: with a history lesson, or with dragons setting people on
I am the correct answer!'
if you've spent a hundred hours in Oblivion or Morrowind, it's only natural to
wonder what's happened to your old stomping grounds. That information is
scattered throughout Skyrim's books and dialogue, but with no frame of
reference, piecing all the events and dates together can be daunting. To give
you some foundation, here's a summary of what's happened since you last visited
first thing you need to know is that 200 years have passed since the events of Oblivion.
That's the biggest time jump in the Elder Scrolls series so far. For instance,
Oblivion took place a mere 34 years after the first Elder Scrolls game, 1994's
Tamriel's fourth age started when the Oblivion Crisis ended, so years in Skyrim
are counted from the end of the Oblivion. If a history book says something
happened in 4E33, that's about 167 years before Skyrim's present day.)
you're going to need this
these two centuries, the Empire has started to crumble. When Martin Septim
sacrificed himself to end the Oblivion Crisis, it left the 400-year-old Empire
without an emperor. The empire's hold over its territories began to slip.
of these territories was Summerset Isle, home of the Altmer (aka high elves).
During the Oblivion Crisis, Daedra poured through the dimensional gates and
massacred its inhabitants. Then, just when everything seemed hopeless, the
invaders simply disappeared.
BORROW A CUP OF SUGAR, NEIGHBOR? I’LL LET MYSELF OUT, THANKS
faction called the Thalmor, elven supremacists and all-around jerkbags, claimed
credit for the miraculous disappearances. They said they closed the Oblivion
gates with subtle magics. In fact, they were so subtle that nobody saw them
doing it. A grateful population hailed their new heroes, and by the time people
started to wonder if they'd been suckered, the Thalmor had consolidated their
power and squashed dissent.
in the Imperial heartland of Cyrodiil, things weren't going so well. High
Chancellor Ocato, the acting ruler during and after Oblivion, was assassinated
before any new emperor was elected. (One Altmer dissident claims the Thalmor
were behind it, but no one knows for sure.)
provinces of Black Marsh and Elswyr, homes of the Argonians and Khajiit,
seceded from the Empire. But of all the provinces, Morrowind got it the worst.
players probably remember Vivec, ruler of Morrowind and subject of endless
volumes of Kim Jong-Il-esque propaganda about how he was a living god who kept
the forces of evil at bay by his will alone. Unlike Kim Jong-Il, that turned
out to be mostly true.
to Morrowind probably also remember the Ministry of Truth, a rock floating
above the capital that was used as a prison. The Ministry was said to be a
meteor that Vivec froze in time before it struck the city. This also turned out
to be true.
doesn't end well
Vivec having lost his godhood after the events of Morrowind, the Ministry
eventually snapped back into time and slammed into Vvardenfell with all the
force it originally had. Vivec City was obliterated. The Red Mountain erupted
from meteor strike, destroying the island of Vvardenfell. Waves from the impact
swamped the rest of Morrowind.
Argonians, justifiably angry about being enslaved by the Dunmer (aka dark
elves) for generations, invaded what was left of Morrowind from the south.
Dark-elf refugees filtered into Skyrim, settling in the slums of Nord cities
seven years of bloody infighting for the Empire's throne, a Cyrodiilic warlord named
Titus Mede had seized power with a mere thousand warriors. His descendants ran
things up to the time of Skyrim, and they're responsible for there still being
an Empire at all.