Deadlands Preview—Characters, Stories, & Settings


Get an inside look at how the writing team approached crafting the Deadlands DLC’s characters, stories, and settings.

Stories From Another Realm

In The Elder Scrolls Online: Deadlands, you can explore Mehrunes Dagon’s own realm and discover its perils firsthand. While the planes of Oblivion can be dangerous (and the Deadlands especially so), they’re also home for a host of unique mortal and Daedric characters (some you can already learn about), each with their own stories to tell.

“The Deadlands DLC provided us with an opportunity to really explore the nature of Daedra and tell stories from a perspective that’s very different from how mortals see and understand the world,” explains Bill Slavicsek, ESO’s Lead Writer. “We’re able to not only dig deep into the lore and nature of Mehrunes Dagon, but also see how mortals and a few independent Daedra survive in this harsh and unforgiving landscape.”

Although you could travel to different realms of Oblivion in the past, this is the first time you can truly see Dremora and Daedra thriving in their home environments, allowing the writing team to delve into their lives and culture. That said, it goes without saying that you shouldn’t necessarily expect a warm welcome from the Prince of Destruction’s followers while exploring his unstable realm.

“The Dremora who live in the Deadlands are almost all followers of Dagon,” explains Leamon Tuttle, ESO’s Loremaster. “They wage an eternal war with other realms of Oblivion, the occupants of Nirn, and even with each other to glorify Dagon and elevate themselves in the Dremora hierarchy.”

Mortal and Daedric followers of Dagon

While you’ll encounter no small number of foes when traveling the Deadlands, you might also come across some more neutral characters, too. As you explore in your own search for treasure, secrets, and glory, you might uncover stories of independent Dremora or even small enclaves of mortal survivors.

“The Wretched Spire settlement is a place where mortals and Daedra who wish to live their lives outside the influence of the Prince of Destruction can survive more or less in peace,” says Slavicsek. “So we get to see how mortals and Daedra attempt to find common ground and work together.”

A Strict(ure) Harmony

The city of Fargrave is a brand-new addition to the Elder Scrolls universe, a bustling melting pot of Daedra and mortals in a part of Oblivion very different from those controlled by any one specific Daedric Prince, making it an ideal setting for new stories.

“Fargrave is unlike any city the players have seen before, and as soon as you arrive, you can tell something is very, very different,” says Tuttle. “Huge, mysterious skeletons loom overhead, Daedra hawk their bizarre wares on the street, and mortals stand shoulder-to-shoulder with creatures that we’ve known only as enemies up to this point.”

The outskirts of Fargrave

You might be surprised to see Daedra living and working together in (relative) harmony in Fargrave—not as soldiers or invaders, but as citizens of a bizarre, colorful metropolis. For the writing team, one of their goals was to showcase a range of opinions and personalities and make each Daedra you encounter a unique individual. 

“The fun thing about creating the Oblivion realm of Fargrave was that we established a neutral place where, despite their underlying nature, the Daedra must attempt to get along with everyone in the realm—mortal and other Daedra alike,” says Slavicsek. “From the flamboyant Madam Whim to the honor-bound Rynkyus, we get to meet and interact with all kinds of Daedra. And they react to mortals in different and surprising ways. For many of them, they’re just as curious about mortals as mortals are about them.”

Of note, this unusual harmony wasn’t created by chance but is in fact enforced by a mysterious power that looms over the city and half-way realm. 

“This is all due to the Stricture—an arcane set of rules and governing principles that are baked into the fabric of Fargrave,” explains Tuttle. “The Stricture forces Daedra who would otherwise want to kill each other to play nice. This causes a lot of frustration, but it allows all Daedra to profit from interplanar trade and negotiation.”

The bustling Fargrave market

As you might expect, Daedra have some difficulty acting against their natures, and in your adventures, you might find that they still try to scheme and plot their way around the rules whenever possible.

“I think players will love getting to know Daedra as people rather than just enemies,” says Tuttle. “Fargrave gives us a chance to really dig into the Daedric mind and all the weird, contradictory impulses that make them different from mortals. After visiting Fargrave, players will have a much better understanding of the alien nature of Oblivion.”

In addition to the Daedra, you’ll meet mortals who’ve discovered ways to profit from the goods and services available in the city. All manner of Imperial marketeers, Dark Elf spies, and plane-hopping treasure hunters call Fargrave a home away from Nirn—and they each have their stories to tell.

“Some of these mortals are merchants who have discovered a lucrative trade between Nirn and the other planes. Some are mages and adventurers using the realm as a staging area for their explorations. And others are those who have somehow lost their way and found themselves stranded in this place,” says Slavicsek. “Rich or poor, they’re all trying to survive in this strange and wondrous realm. All of the stories allow us to touch on these themes from the mortal point of view.”

Tales of Oblivion

As you venture into the volatile realm of Mehrunes Dagon and navigate the bustling alleys of Fargrave, you’ll discover no shortage of new characters, stories, and adventures not found anywhere else on Nirn. The new Deadlands DLC brings a wealth of new tales for you to uncover and experience, but it also provides you with an opportunity to create your own stories in one of the most dangerous and chaotic realms of Oblivion—good luck! Tell us if you’re ready to begin your own tale of Oblivion via TwitterInstagram, and Facebook.

The Elder Scrolls Online: Deadlands DLC game pack arrives November 1 for PC/Mac and Stadia, and November 16 for Xbox and PlayStation consoles.

Keep reading