Please read this first.

Welcome! This blog is devoted to considerations of morality in the The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim by Bethesda. Rather than a fansite, review, or walkthrough, it is a serious attempt to examine the game through a moral lens. Please note that the purpose of this blog is to discuss morality within the context of the game, not to determine whether playing the game is immoral in and of itself; the latter type of "discussion" tends toward tedium and inhibits, rather than promotes, a meaningful conversation.

If you have not visited this blog before, it might be helpful to read the posts labeled "Orientation," most of which are the first few entries in the blog archive (see right). These posts include a short introduction to this project, a content-specific author bio, and a few other pieces that explain key concepts relevant to this study. These posts are of particular use to those readers less familiar with Skyrim (or video games in general).


If you have visited this blog before, thanks and welcome back!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Boethiah's Calling

Not long after The Taste of Death, I was randomly attacked by a Boethiah cultist while in the midst of another quest.  On his body, I found a copy of Boethiah's Proving, a Daedric fable that expounds the qualities that Boethiah (Daedric Prince of deceit, conspiracy, secret plots of murder, assassination, treason, and unlawful overthrow of authority) prizes most in a worshipper:
Camus meets Conan the Barbarian
The book instructed me to find the Shrine of Boethiah; I complied because I wanted to know more about this cult whose devotee just tried to kill me. 

Not knowing what to expect, I asked Uthgerd to come with me.  To be perfectly frank, I was concerned not only about the physical dangers but also, after my experiences with the cult of Namira, about my own actions.  Uthgerd, while certainly not squeamish about bloodshed, has a very strong moral sense.  For example, during a random encounter, we assisted a Stormcloak in his fight with a group of Thalmor.  I accidentally hit the Stormcloak during the battle, so after we defeated the Thamlor Justiciars, he turned on me.  In defending myself, I killed him.  Uthgerd said nothing at the time, but apparently reported me to the Guards, because I ended up with a bounty from that encounter.  I appreciate both her willingness to follow me into deadly battle and her refusal to let me get away with anything.  Therefore, I wanted her with me on this one.

When we arrived at the Shrine, we met the Priestess, who explained the tenets of Boethiah worship while two other cultists fought to the death in the ring.  In their own, strange way, these were friendly people -- cult members kept asking in a firm but polite manner if I wanted to challenge them.  The Priestess then brought me to the Pillar of Sacrifice and instructed me to lead a follower to the site and kill him or her; apparently, this would get Boethiah's attention:
As it was with the cult of Namira, so it was with the cult of Boethiah.  If they were just killing each other for sport, I could have walked away, but the random attack and the Priestess's words left no doubt about the cult's proclivities concerning innocent people.  And, again, there was no way for me to have them arrested.  The only viable option left was for me to draw my weapon and purposely fail the quest by wiping out the cult as I had done before.

This time, it wasn't that simple.  After Uthgerd (who did nothing to stop me this time -- I read this as approval) and I defeated everyone at the Shrine, Boethiah him/herself spoke through one of the dead bodies and reiterated the need for me sacrifice a follower.  Apparently, my slaughter of the cultists pleased the Daedric Prince (I really should have seen this coming), and I was now poised to take the next step.

The next step for me, however, was to get out of there.  I have neither the desire nor the justification to kill a trusting follower.  While it is true that acquiring more powerful artifacts might help me save Skyrim from disaster, I cannot justify that kind of utilitarian thinking in these Daedric quests.  The legacy of Boethiah's Calling for me so far is an open quest in my journal that I will not resolve.  My only option is to find a follower whom I would likely kill anyway, but I don't know if that kind of NPC exists.  Even if it did, would I be willing to purposely lead that person to his or her death under false pretenses?

As it turned out, the next quest answered that question for me a lot more quickly than I anticipated.


  1. Spoiler!

    There's a real dick of a guy in a quest in Solstheim, and you can spare him at the end of the quest, and get him to follow you to Boethia's Shrine ;-)

    1. Thanks for the heads up! Actually, my blogging is way behind my playing, and I've already exploited Ralis Sedarys. My next post, in fact, was going to be about that quest. I can't tell you how happy I was when I got him as a follower. It's almost as though Bethesda included him for players who wanted to complete Boethiah's Calling in a defensible way. Aside from being a callous sociopath, his quest was infuriating and expensive -- they really stacked the deck against him!

  2. I've got a plan for my own character regarding the first part of this quest. Y'know, the "kill them all" part...

    They're always saying "You wish to test yourself against me?" Well, I'll just consider that a friendly invitation to brawl. Heck, it happens all the time in Skyrim. I'm still not sure I should kill all these cultists without direct provocation, but they seem to like sparring, and a simple fist fight will... hey, why is everybody attacking!? He invited me to fight him, I thought it was for fun!

    And that's one part of the quest done, anyway. Maybe I'll look up Ralis after drinking some Skooma.

    1. Very clever. One of my misgivings about my own approach is the slippery slope from vigilantism to religious persecution. While I tend to agree with the Vigilants of Stendarr in spirit, I don't want to start hunting down Daedra worshipers just for their beliefs. As I said in the original post, killing cultic murderers fits my character's ethos, but acting as a theocratic enforcer does not. Your plan neatly avoids that danger by relying on a type of Nordic naïveté -- well done!

    2. Thanks. Actually, though, it turned out to be a bit more complicated... it had to be, if I wanted the quest to complete. I still had to sacrifice a follower, and that was another matter. So I took a cue from you and met myself halfway.

      Per your suggestions, I went and got Ralis Sedarys. My (character's) reasoning was that she was still on the fence regarding this cult of murderers, and decided to bring along someone who might be like-minded to offer perspective.

      Once there, however, Ralis seemed to be in some danger, himself. The cultists were threatening. Scary cultists, right? Not being overly fond of the guy, and taking the cultists' hostility as a sign (along with the burnt corpses), she decided to go ahead and kill them off. After the invitation was made to fight, of course. I still tried to keep vaguely within the excuse of mistaken brawling.

      My approach to completing the quest in a more "innocent" fashion was that, in order to keep Ralis "safe" during the fight, she glued him to the magic pillar anyway. After all, he's not trustworthy... he might've sided with the cultists. And if not, well, he might've been killed. He was no great warrior. And the fact that they were willing to see him sacrificed right up to the last moment certainly sealed the deal for me. Besides, sticking him to that post would be a nice little scare, a bit of revenge after that horrible mess at Kolbjorn. So, after she slaughtered the lot of them (using her powers as a vampire lord for leveling purposes), she went to get him down from there. I didn't know how, I was playing it by ear. But I, or rather, my character, was a little concerned that he might have been hurt, so first she cast a healing spell on him in hopes of freeing him. And this was a "happy" accident.

      As it turns out... and I didn't see this coming... any form of magic is considered an attack when the pillar is active. The poor bastard fell down dead from a healing spell! My poor heroine had just haplessly taken another life, in spite of truly innocent intentions, because of a quirk of magic. But it was a stroke of luck from my perspective, as then the quest could continue and she could (reluctantly) retrieve the Ebony Mail.

      What a game, right?

    3. Very clever solution, indeed. Your character's almost Forrest Gump-like progress is probably the most entertaining playstyle I've come across. Killing a follower with a healing spell? Classic!

  3. I happened to run into these Boethiahn cultists at the shrine, and being my character of a good nature, kindly refused their challenge. Then, I killed them all, because, well, they were evil beings who served a demon god that asks for human sacrifices. After the slaughter, Boethiah appeared before me, asking me to deliver a follower. As I refused in the most defying way possible, Boethiah grew mad at me and cursed me, and sent a lot of dremora lords to attack me. I had to kill them all, which was hard, and then was prompted by quest to "find a Stendarr shrine". I found one, activated it, and that was the end of it. It gave me Stendarr's blessing, purified me from Boethiah's curse, and Stendarr awarded me with some guantlets of the crusader for refusing Boethiah's wishes. So, that's the good way to complete that quest. If you don't mind killing the demon cultists. Stendarr seemed to approve!

    1. I must admit, I have never heard of the "find a Stendarr shrine" objective, nor have I read of Boethiah summoning Dremora lords as a response to the player. Do you have some type of mod installed?

    2. I have never heard of that quest and it never came up when I searched it on google. Either you're lying or this quest is only available on your copy of skyrim.

    3. Actually, in Srta. N.'s defense, I received the same miscellaneous quest much later, but it was in connection to Dawnguard, and the Shrine had already been trashed by vampires. Someday, on another playthough, I plan to visit it before the vampires do, just out of curiosity.

    4. What Srta is describing matches the events of a mod for the PC version where it is possible to refuse the demands of the daedra in question. While my memory is far from sharp, there's one such mod for Boethia, and another for Molag Bal. The details of each are very, very similar.

  4. I beg your pardon, sir, but I have to disagree with almost everything about morality posted on Boethiah´s calling quest. It can be understood that deception of an "innocent" (if you played the Dark Brotherhood questile, you know that innocence is the life´s greates illusion :P) random citizen seems immoral to you. I don´t judge you for this. However, what´s so "moral" about slaying a group of people, who obviously don´t share your moral perspective? Morality, especially in TES setting, is closely tied to religious and cultural practises, and tolerating them means to tolerate also different views on things related. No, the Cultists of Boethiah didn´t do anything bad in this context. They just followed the rite that they believed in.
    You did something immoral, as you probably consider death of "innocent" to be bad. And, dear sir, you´ve just taken lives of several "innocent" people. Your deeds contradict to the moral principles you are talking about, and that´s a treason of your very self.
    Even if analysed the way I don´t really agree with, eg., by objectivistic standards, you still chose the worst option. If life of a man is valuable to you, then you should try to spare the most of lives you can. Which means either leaving the shrine alone (best possibility) or sacrificing one in order to save the others form your own rage (the ingame character doesn´t know that they will slaughter themselves afterwards). You just ran in, killed everybody and then, satisfied of your gruesome job, whistling walked away to have another beer down at Candleheart Hall. Bravo.
    I´m trying to imply, that if you reject killing, you shouldn´t kill. This kind of justice is similar to banging for virginity.

    1. While I certainly appreciate your passionate critique, I take issue with several of your points. You've cast my actions as a grotesque form of religious intolerance, but in order to do so, you ignore several important considerations:

      1.) I don't see how you can ignore the fact that the cultists are actively ambushing passersby in order to fulfill their religious beliefs. As I pointed out in the original post, I would have simply left them alone if they had restricted themselves to killing each other. Attacking random people and demanding the sacrifice of a trusting follower is pretty damning, regardless of the fact that they aren't doing "anything bad in this context" when I arrive. When your religious rites demand murder, we are clearly beyond "tolerating different views."

      2.) Now look at the flip side; analyze my actions through the cultists' worldview for a moment and you'll see that all I did was demonstrate my fitness to be a champion of Boethiah. Far from slaughtering innocents, I proved my worth by killing all of the cultists (read the in-game book: "I am alive because this one is dead." If anything, and perhaps in spite of my own moral stance, I epitomized their faith.

      3.) Your final, "objectivistic" critique is the most on-target. If mortal life is valuable and should be protected, all killing should be avoided, regardless of the reason. I have often considered the feasibility of such a pacifist Dovahkiin, but have yet to try it. That would probably be the most consistent moral profile to run, but also the most difficult to execute in a combat-oriented game. However, for Lothar's moral profile, battling a cult that advocates murder as a religious rite seems justified.

    2. Ah, some nice points. Anyway, I still can give some more.
      The first point is, well, shaky in its core. You demand them to be empathic with the world. But you still lack empathy for them - in your view, it´s bad to kill people. In their, it´s just good. Now, whose perspective is true? Let the gods judge...
      Now, you are right, that by killing them, you got honorable in their eyes. However, to accept Boethiah´s manners, you have to accept them as whole. You would have right to be proud of yourself, if you were a Boethiah cultist, who understands both that killing innocent passerbies and slaying your brothers-in-arms is a thing to be celebrated. In one moment, you state that it´s bad to kill people, in the next one, you suddenly become empathic with the guys who state the opposite. I find it hypocritic a bit. Choose either one way or another, but don´t mix them - it smells of fear of closed decisions. And I consider fear to be the greatest evil of all.
      That thing about Lothar´s moral profile is probably the best thing said here. I guess Lothar follows some kind of warrior code or something similar, so he also advocates murder, only in different way (I think of war as of murder). However, I agree, there is nothing wrong with murder itself, at least for Boethiah cultist and Lothar. Cultists are glad, when Lothar fights them to death, and Lothar loves to kill cultists. This is how sithistic universe works. But again - this applies to Lothar, who has obviously different moral standards than you or me.
      If you murder a man, you do it only because you want to. If you don´t want, nothing can force you.
      Pacifist Dovahkiin is an idea I probably couldn´t handle. I´m not a pacifist myself, I just understand pacifism.

    3. Just to clarify, at no point did I say that it is inherently "bad to kill people" (in Skyrim). My stance, as far as Lothar is concerned, has always been that it is acceptable to kill certain kinds of people:

      1.) those who attack innocent people
      2.) enemies in war (such as the Civil War)
      3.) those who attack me first

      Boethian cultists belong to that first group, which is why I feel justified in killing them. We can talk about whether the Boethian cultists' justification for killing ("Boethiah demands it") has any merit, but, as I laid out in the post entitled "The Rules of Engagement," I consider killing justified (and, at times, virtuous) in a number of circumstances.

    4. This is getting interesting. Just love a thoughtful debate.

      What is so different between killing people in Skyrim and reality? I know it´s a dumb question to first behold, but let´s accept the premise of Skyrim´s moral equality to real world (won´t mind the question of "real" world being real this time). So, would Lothar kill "bad people" also here? How is he able to judge innocence of "innocent" people? Who are his enemies, in what war? What is the definition of "attacking first"? All these are pretty tricky in their simplicity.
      For example, take the "attacked first" dilemma. What do you consider "attacked"? Being insulted? Being punched? Or having a gun aimed at your head? Would you point out the definite borderline between hostility and direct violence? Or maybe even simple antipathy and hatred could be considered so (according to the New Testament). And again, is violent defence a moral option, or a gross disgrace of your own standards? I take the opinion, that each conflict needs at least two sides. And if anybody is willing to fight, he becomes equal to his opponent in all moral and spiritual matters, Blakian direct opposite. War is not absolutely immoral, but it can make you lose your moral highness, for it´s a great source of fear.
      This brings me to the matter of "enemies in war". Of course, war is about prevailing over them. War has its rules, and the foremost of them all is victory. Giving up is a cowardice, for heaven is only for victors. However, this does not neccesarily mean killing. Only fighting to the end. Killing is a way to insure your victory, but it´s not a way to win the war. Once you gain honor by defeating your enemy, slaying him doesn´t change a thing. And if you kill a man that defeated you, you become a dishonored assassin, the most miserable of all universe´s creatures. Accepting losses and keeping above is matter of one´s dignity. Being afeared of them shows the vanity and rot of mind.
      If you are a Catholic, as is written on your profile, you know that there are no innocent people. If you are not (like myself), the reason is much more complicated, but the point remains the same. We can talk about it later.
      We, population of this small planet had enough of self proclaimed saints and saviors. Each of them found filth all around. So it is, light usually produces shadows and in attempt to clean, you destroy the mess. Fortunately, nobody ever cleaned mankind up. I don´t mind chaos, I do mind museal, dead order. If you believe in the free will, you have to agree - Creator couldn´t give us better gift, than doubts and evil. Only if we choose ourselves to be good in the way we believe in, we´ll remain human beings. To be good, you need the possibility of becoming bad. And so, we should have respect for the things we consider evil - they are making us good. We need each another. And destruction only brings us either to the subjective evil spectrum, with no respect for ourselves, or worse - to the state of total death, where everything is static, in order and nothing unpredictable can happen. Where is no place for free will. And neither for any gods.

    5. Please forgive my delay in responding to your thought-provoking post.

      I hesitate to apply my moral calculations within Skyrim directly to circumstances in the real world; rather, I prefer to use Skyrim as a kind of moral laboratory in which I can examine certain moral issues in a controlled environment. I use the term "laboratory" very pointedly here. There is a profound difference between what works in the lab and what works in real life. Researchers in a lab can control the number and severity of variables in an experiment in a way that they cannot in the field -- so it is with Skyrim and morality.

      When confronted with evil in the real world, we have a number of options, particularly in nations with functional governments. In Skyrim, on the other hand, our options are limited in a way that forces us to pit one set of values against another. Take, for example, "The Taste of Death." If I were to uncover a cult of cannibals in my neighborhood, I would go to the police and allow them to handle the situation. Skyrim, however, does not offer such an option: one can join them, kill them, or perhaps walk away from them -- but at no point can you can turn them in to the authorities.

      In short, killing people in Skyrim becomes justified only because the game provides few other options for dealing with evil. When I first started playing, I would fight an enemy until he knelt down and begged for mercy, then watch him recover, get up, and start attacking me all over again! The question in Skyrim is usually not "should I kill?" but rather "whom should I kill?"

      Another of Bethesda's titles, Dishonored, provides a different kind of moral experience, albeit in a less robust setting. In Dishonored, all of the missions have both lethal and non-lethal options; in fact, it is possible to complete the entire game without killing anyone at all. A typical moral dilemma in that game would be something like: "Is it more just to assassinate the High Overseer or to brand him (literally) as a heretic and force him into exile?" Whereas Skyrim often asks the player to decide who is right and who is wrong, Dishonored asks the player to decide how to deal with those who are wrong; in each case, the game limits the variables faced by the player so that these questions become more fraught than they might be in the real world.

      I am therefore very chary of applying my moral arguments within the context of video games (in which the variables are controlled, my decisions are reversible, and the stakes are low) too directly to the real world. I will probably (God willing!) never be in a position to kill anyone because I live in a society in which there is a functional justice system to handle evil-doers. Were I suddenly transported to Skyrim, I would mostly likely have to kill several people in the absence of more civilized options.

    6. Plenty of time, there is nowhere to hurry while thinking.
      Interesting. The question is, if there is some difference between telling the cops and handling the situation (for example, cannibals in neighborhood) yourself. Is the police and authorities in general bearing higher moral power that justifies their violence against anybody?
      My personal opinion is, that if one is able to decide between these, he is capable to do the right thing no matter what his choice really was. So, if one calls the police, it´s basically the same as striking by own hand. And vice-versa, if he (or she) deals with them without consultation, the deed was definitely moral: this is accepting the match on the challenger´s level. That brings us to another dilemma - what is essentially immoral about being a cannibal?
      Probably nothing. But we must continue fighting what we consider evil, for it´s the only way to get closer to our personal ideal of godlike perfection. As I said before, victory is not depending on the enemy and his state, but on you. One must get to his victory alone. And neither any authorities ever will do that for ourselves.
      So I think that setting can form your moral views, but not force to bend the already existing ones before. Only a man can force himself into becoming an animal.

    7. Actually, before we proceed to the stage of morality you correspond with the task of reporting crimes to the authorities, I would like to point out that there are some flaws on your opinion. For instance, in the real world, it is an irrefutable fact that humans are under the protection of law and order. In this context, it is safe to say that we, the common individuals, are in a lower state of power in the interaction against certain actions because we are under the jurisdiction of the law itself. Meaning, depending on our actions, we are entitled to respond with the law accordingly due to the fact that law oversees the rest of humanity and that it is respected as the right thing to respond to. What you said before about reporting the the authorities is similar as striking with one's hand is a rather peculiar way of thinking seeing as how being in a different kind of diversity brings us to the truth that we are on a certain side of morality as well.

      Take this one for example, a man encounters a cannibal on his way eating a fellow man. The man for example, can comply by dealing with the cannibal because "it is the right thing to do" or leave him be because the cannibal probably has a belief of his own and it might also probably be "the right thing to do". Now here we are presented with a conflict in morality. Depending on the man's actions he can be considered as a murderer because he dealt with someone who understands differently of the world ( if he went with the latter choice ) or a cold and cruel individual who ignored a murder of his fellow man. Now before you say anything think for a moment; before the man was murdered there is possibly no way that there wouldn't be a struggle. Meaning the man did not concede to the act of being eating alive ( well of course lol ). In this case, would it not be the right thing to assume that the man is a victim and he deserves justice as a fellow man. Dealing with the cannibal itself is a way to compliment this option...or not. But, having to report it to the authorities would make it better since in the humanitarian method it puts into practice human rights and have justice carried out in the most humane way as possible.

      Another point that I would like to point out is that, we humans don't necessarily aim for godlike perfection.Instead, as humans/living beings, we are entitled to carry out the morality that is expressed in the humane way that we perceive and practice in society. The reason we do so is because we acknowledge such acts and beliefs to be in the cause of the greater good. I am not pointing out that there is the greater good in numbers, however; do understand that even in a game such as skyrim, the way you plan to act your life as a human or someone who has the mindset of a cannibal alleviates you to the moral conflict that you propose. Cannibal or human in sense, we are not animals and it is undeniable that we have greater awareness in morality and our instincts for humanity are the greatest for we are above animals ourselves and that, that would prove that justice in itself, is incorporated the human being at heart and therefore it is not wrong in itself to carry it out as presented before him

    8. Thank you for your comments. To be honest, though, I had a little trouble following you. You mentioned the flaws in my argument (which, I'm sure, exist), but your ensuing explanation seems to support my argument, or at least the segment in which I argue that reporting cannibalism to the authorities is preferable to vigilantism, but that this quest does not offer the player an opportunity to report the cultists, so one must choose between joining them and killing them.

  5. I love reading the many ways there are to approach these encounters. I had a different take on this quest, so I'll share it as well.

    My character was also put off by the notion of having to dispatch a follower, since I had traveled with wide variety and was grateful to them all (some of whom had even paid for our friendship with their lives). It wouldn't be the first time I had turned down a Daedric artifact on principle because my PC (a Dunmer) tries to avoid murder- even though, much later on, he would complete Namira's hideous quest just because he thought it would be funny to introduce his wife (Camilla) to his new follower; a chesty one-eyed cannibal! Ha ha! She didn't say anything about it, but I imagine she did NOT approve!

    Anyhow, when at Boethiah's shrine, I remembered an odd encounter I'd recently had in Jorrvaskr. I ran into Ria, which was very shocking because I had seen her die with my own two eyes! She had perished in a skirmish against the Falmer three levels deep into a Dwarven ruin on the way to Blackreach. I was quite upset at the time; and yet, here she was, walking around like it was no big deal. This caused me to reason that the Companions must be "special" in some sort of a way that forces them to resurrect if killed. Influence of the Nine Divines? Werewolf magic? Who knows... Point is, most of those Companions had been sitting on their rear since I finished their quest line; the least one of them could do is allow to temporarily kill them so I could get me some sick armor.

    After sending my current follower home (Mjoll, who I probably teamed up with longer and more often than anyone else), I chose Vilkas, because I was pretty confident about his ultimate safety and also because he probably had the worst path-finding of any follower in the game so, if he did die permanently, I wouldn't THAT troubled over the loss.

    So, I brought him to the shrine, trussed him up and assured him that everything was going to be fine despite his very reasonable misgivings. After gently killing him, I turned to the task of retrieving the ebony armor.

    In the end, my faith was rewarded and Vilkas DID in fact turn up again at Jorrvaskr, shortly thereafter, with no hard feelings over what had occurred (and perhaps no memory of it as well), though I still had to pay off a bounty for having assaulted him- such a petty amount that I could comfortably afford to assault every man, woman and child in Skyrim on daily basis. And I got the ebony armor of course, which I would wear for all the rest of my adventures. Not only was it the toughest armor I ever encountered, its power to dish out poison damage to any close-range opponent saved my PC's life on innumerable occasions.

    So I exploited a glitch to find an option which better suited my PC's moral taste. Had that not been available to me, what would I have done? It can be a very difficult question (which is why I love this blog). How bad do I want that armor? Enough to fabricate an excuse to murder a follower? Can one of them be surly or unpleasant enough to justify such treatment? I want to say "yes", but my conscience knows the answer is "no".

    1. I appreciate your detailed quest summaries, but I am confounded by your moral profile. On the one hand, you're concerned about the moral justification for your actions, yet you rather blithely risk Vilkas's life because his pathfinding sucks. Similarly, you try to avoid murder, but engage in cannibalism in order to irritate your wife.

      I'm not criticizing, mind you -- I just want to know more about the moral core of what sounds like a chaotic neutral Dovahkiin.

    2. You're quite right. It would help to understand my choices if I mention the primarily element of my character's background and it is this- an awareness of his/her own destiny. For my initial playthrough, I prefer to imagine that my PC is the SAME PC from the prior two games (Morrrowind, Oblivion) and beyond, only transferred to a brand new (and unskilled) body.

      There is a potential acknowledgement of this possibility mentioned in an in-game book somewhere. It talks of how Tamriel, always in its time of greatest need, is provided with a great hero whose name and exact deeds are forgotten. From my PC's perspective, I am this entity; cursed to cure a troubled province of all its ills, great and small, disappearing when my work is complete; only to reemerge when once again needed to face innumerable trials.

      As a result of this condition, the PC has adopted a form of solipsism as their philosophy. Although the people and environments become more well defined with each visit, the PC still feels rather alone in world that appears to be "programmed" for their intervention. Nobody he or she meets appears to have the same level of power or agency as them. The PC feels almost as though everything they meet belongs to them in pursuit of their goals- even if that goal is snatching just a little bit of selfish pleasure to cheer their spirits. If that involves someone's death at the hands of a cult, it matters little in the long run compared to the sacrifices the PC feels they have had to make for all Tamriel.

      "Chaotic neutral" is a fairly apt description. For, although the PC generally tries to care for everyone, their perspective that everyone is somehow less human, alive and important and this is what leads to such "moral lapses".

    3. Fascinating! So, your PC is aware of his own status as an avatar of something larger than himself. That's a real mind bender. Essentially, recognizing his special status and following his solipsistic destiny, he can never really wrong -- everything he does is, by definition, what is supposed to be done.

      Not sure I could play this character, but I'm glad someone is!

  6. This has all been a very interesting read, I searched for "How can I defy Boethiah?" And this came up first. I wanted to know how to do so because my character has basically said "screw you" to every Dadrea she has met so far, some fights have been hard, but we've managed.
    So one can bring a "sacrifice" but not kill them I'm the end, and therefore go against Boethiah's will?

    1. Thanks for the reading, and thanks for the compliment!

      I suppose you could refuse to kill the sacrifice, but then that person would be stuck at the pillar indefinitely. I'm not sure if that's better or worse than killing them.

  7. If you kill your companion while in werewolf form it does not count as murder.