It’s not a city (that we know of). It’s not a plane of existence. It’s not a country, certainly not one in Tamriel to say the least. So what the hell is Redfall, and why did Bethesda trademark (opens in new tab) it? Well, the good people of Reddit (opens in new tab) think they have an answer thanks to a user named NamelessFaraam. In a huge thread speculating about what Redfall could possibly mean, one idea jumped out - that Redfall isn’t a place, but perhaps the name of a devastating plague sweeping Tamriel in Elder Scrolls 6 (opens in new tab).
It all comes down to one Daedric quest in the not-so-little but definitely old Skyrim. When you’re wandering through the wilds after you’ve hit level 10, you’ll either find an Afflicted Breton refugee walking through the landscape or stumble upon the Shrine to Peryite (the Daedric Prince of pestilence) in The Reach. Long story short, you’ll be sent on a quest called The Only Cure to kill the leader of a band of Peryite’s voluntarily-diseased worshippers, during which time you’ll come face-to-blotchy-face with them. As the Daedric Prince of disease, he bestows sicknesses onto his followers as a blessing (ew), but this particular group have defected and you’re sent to hunt them down and cure them by, you know, killing them. What’s important here is that this disease is characterised by the ability to spit poison and - here’s the kicker - bright red skin.
Hold on, hold on, I know: on its own, even with the red skin, that’s not enough of a reason for this disease to be linked to Bethesda’s recent Redfall trademark. However, according to the Afflicted that you run into in the wilderness, he’s “returning to High Rock”, hinting that the sickness begun there, and then claims that he’d “have been dead from this plague a year ago if not for Peryite's protection”. Whether Peryite started the outbreak himself or ‘saved’ the infected by preventing them from being killed by the disease is up for debate, but either way the Afflicted refugee suggests that this illness is a pandemic in High Rock, hence why he and the larger group of Afflicted fled to Skyrim. There’s no shortage of pre-existing diseases in Skyrim that include the word ‘red’, either: Red Rage, Red Death, Red Fever, Red Plague...yeah, red’s an ominous colour. Because of blood and everything, right?
With some (ok, me) suspecting that Elder Scrolls 6 could be set in High Rock (opens in new tab) thanks to the coastline and craters in the brief 30-second teaser for the game we saw at E3 (opens in new tab), the mention of a terrible sickness beginning in High Rock could be setting up the pandemic that’s going to be featured in Elder Scrolls 6. This next bit might be stretching slightly, but I’m going to go ahead with it anyway. Remember Daggerfall, the second game in the Elder Scrolls franchise that took place in High Rock? It could be the next piece of the puzzle when it comes to working out what that enigmatic term Redfall means. Including ‘-fall’ in the title seems like too much of a coincidence if you ask me, but it would make sense if Redfall became the name Bretons gave the red-skinned disease precisely because it started in one of Elder Scrolls 6’s locations, Daggerfall.
Would a plague actually work, though?
Think about it: years after the signing of the White-Gold Concordat between the elven Aldmeri Dominion and the Empire, tensions are fraught. An uneasy peace is in place. Frickin’ Alduin, destroyer of worlds, has been defeated in Skyrim years before, and now a plague has broken loose in High Rock and has weakened all sides. Reddit user Redseve (opens in new tab) made a particularly compelling argument for it, saying that “the Empire and Thalmor would still be involved, people wanting the tensions to cease so Tamriel can focus on the plague, actors on both sides exploiting the chaos, would the Argonians be immune? Would they be rising in power? Dang this is a great idea”. They’re not wrong.
The Argonians’ natural resistance to disease would put them in a formidably strong position if there were a plague, as they’d be able to walk among the infected without any danger of falling ill themselves. Just think of the amount of gold you could charge for delivering supplies to the sick, fetching things for those who are quarantined...our scaley-skinned friends would be rich (and powerful) in no time at all. Likewise, the Altmer are sneaky enough to almost certainly take advantage of any widespread unrest, and with their impressive affinity to magic there’s a good chance they’d be semi-resistant to the plague themselves, perfectly placing them to exploit the weakened Imperials and their Empire.
What do you think? A plague definitely opens up a wild host of options for Elder Scrolls 6, but knowing Bethesda, Redfall could very well be the name of a quaint little village in Hammerfell or something similarly innocuous. Guess we’ll have to wait until we get more details about Elder Scrolls 6, including, hopefully, a new Elder Scrolls 6 engine (opens in new tab), to find out.