This is an old, pre-release interview about Bloodmoon, conducted by a fan named Wythershin and featuring the developer Mark Nelson. While it is mostly in-character, it does try to probe into the mechanics and features of Bloodmoon more so than the lore. The original was posted on April 4th, 2003. The post was archived by The Imperial Library.
"Elder Scrolls fans and werewolf aficionados eagerly await Bloodmoon, the latest Morrowind expansion from Bethesda Softworks, due for release this May, 2003. Full-time Bloodmoon Guru and part-time werewolf Mark Nelson joins me for a two-part, in-character interview on the expansion. My Telvanni witch Withershyn (as always, only marginally in-character, and dreaming of Ordinators and jacuzzis) journeys to the remote, frozen island of Solstheim, where the new story takes place. She chats with the Bloodmoon designer: first as an Imperial soldier on his way to Solstheim, then as a werewolf lurking among the snow-freighted trees outside the Imperial fort of Frostmoth. Other interviews and information on the upcoming expansion are available at the Elder Scrolls Official Site. And now, to Withershyn's account..."
I've been kicking around in Mournhold for a while, lately exchanging my glass boots for a pair of fuzzy house slippers. These Sweetbarrels need more watering than you'd think. I'm sitting and reading the morning paper when a glossy brochure drops through my mail slot. I get up and shuffle over.
Solstheim! it reads. Island of white, island of magic. A tourist's brochure. I'm sceptical, but I look closely... and the photos show me pale, mothy-looking stuff falling from the sky. I've never seen that in Mournhold or Vvardenfell, have you? It is magic. So are snowballs and ski lodges. And hot cocoa. Mmm.
The front cover hosts snapshots of a frozen lake and rustic cottages; but inside a different caption catches my eye: Nords and Rieklings and Bears, oh my! Below it is an image of a little man on a boar. He looks like a Bosmer in fur armor -- a mean Bosmer, or at least, a sober Bosmer. I'm hooked.
I kick the slippers and don my investigative gear, snatching the camera collecting dust on my shelf. That morning paper I was reading wants a new story. I follow the brochure to Khuul, and hop a ship bound for Solstheim, northwest over the rocking sea.
This is not the pleasure cruise I once took from Sadrith Mora to Dagon Fel. No juicy scrib jelly or tender guar filets await me here; I take a seat on a bench, gnawing tough bear jerky with the rest of the passengers. My tablemate is a staring, blinking Imperial. He looks a bit like Hugh Grant, like many of his Imperial fellows. It's creepy, but what can you do? He consents to an interview (I consent to buy him a Flin), and then my quill and parchpad are ready.
- So tell me about yourself. Who are you, and where do you come from? What do you mean to do in Solstheim?
- "My name is Ligur Pontius, recently of Cyrodiil. I'm a Spearman in our Emperor's Legions. Gotta report to Fort Frostmoth tomorrow for my new assignment. Joy."
- What do you know of the island's climate? How do you think it will affect your work, and what will you do to cope with it?
- "From what I hear, it's cold. Colder than a Dunmer dead three days. If I knew what my work was at this place, I'd know how I'd be affected. All I know is I had a few Flin, a bit of a scuffle, and now I'm on a boat to the frozen north. It's all politics, I tell you. All in who you know."
- Does Solstheim experience a changing of seasons?
- "It goes from cold to very cold. Snowing to blizzard. Those are the seasons."
- Will we have to bundle up to ward off the freeze, or face adverse effects? Can I look for a fall line of stylish cloaks in the shops?
- "Cloaks? Pfaah! What kind of fool wears a cloak? If a man can't survive in his own armor, he shouldn't call himself a soldier. Not that I don't think a cloak might look fine wrapped around your frame, but you're not gonna find one on this island."
- Will I find any new cold-based attacks or defenses to adopt?
- "A mage are you? Can't say I know much about that. More of a wood and steel man myself. I've heard rumors, though. Natives on the island who control the animals, can summon them to their sides. Probably just rumors, though."
- ...Can I throw snowballs at Imperials?
- "Can you outrun an arrow?"
- Hmm. Ahm... What kind of settlement will you live in on the island? Tell me what you know about the local amenities and culture.
- "I'll be living in scenic Fort Frostmoth, last stop in the career of the common soldier. Can't say I know too much about the area around it. I know the Emperor has granted the East Empire Company a mining charter on the island. Figure they'll need to set up some sort of a colony to support that. And there are supposed to be some native Nords on the island as well. Pretty much keep to themselves, though."
- What will the locals be like, and where would they meet to gossip and knock 'em back?
- "Like I said, there's these Nords that live up north, but from what I hear, they keep to themselves. I know I'll be having a few at the fort. Just wouldn't be an Imperial fort without a good watering hole. Soldiers get a bit grumpy without a bit of the Flin, you know."
- Does this watering hole hire bards? Shady shell dealers? Male barbarian dancers?
- "Not at any Imperial fort I know of. Bards... now there's a profession worthy of absolutely nothing."
- What happens to a Nord when he or she dies? Do Nordic families inter their dead as the Dunmer do?
- "From what I've seen, they scream, bleed, and fall over. At least that's been my experience. I don't know about the Nords on Solstheim. I hear they're not... normal. Gone native or something."
- Huh. Do Nordic children build snowmen?
- "Never have seen a Nord brat. Probably keep 'em on ice until they're old enough to grow a beard, paint their face, and get robbed blind by a Dunmer witch. Not the smartest bunch, Nords."
- If I go for a moonlight walk in the woods, whom or what am I likely to meet?
- "You looking for something to do when we get to the island? Hey, look me up at the fort. I can meet you in the woods, if that's the way you prefer it. Don't worry, sweets, I'll keep the wolves and the bears away from you. And anything else that might drop by. Rumor has it the trees themselves will reach out and grab you."
- My favorite critters are Dreughs. Do they inhabit northern waters?
- "Nasty things, dreughs. I figure the water up this way is likely too cold for 'em. Not that I'm about to jump in and find out. Maybe the horkers scared 'em off. Funny looking things, those horkers. Not aggressive as far as I've heard, but pack a wallop if you start something with one."
- I'd like to know something about the politics of where we're headed. What is the ruling power of Solstheim, and what are they up to?
- "The ruling power? The cold, as far as I can tell. Kinda the most dominant force on the island. The commander at the fort is Captain Carius. Real do-gooder, that one. Strictly by the book. I hear he's not bad, though. Tough guy, but fair. And he actually volunteered for this post! Volunteered! Must have some sort of a death wish. Maybe he lost a bet."
- What competing factions might I find there?
- "Factions? Can't say I'm interested in politics. I did some time down at Moonmoth. After the Dunmer, I've had my fill of politics. I suppose if you're interested, you could check out that colony, though. They're looking to hire -- and any time there's big business, you can be sure there's politics. Talk to Carnius Magius -- I think he runs things there."
- If I choose to help the East Empire Company build a colony, how much do you think I could affect the physical makeup of its layout? Do you think they would give me a home there, and if so, might I have a chance to choose its features?
- "Your guess is as good as mine. I don't think they've done anything there yet, so if you were to get yourself in good with them, maybe you'd get to make the decisions. You know, I like a powerful woman..."
- Powerful... Will I need to be really skilled to complete the colony? Do you think the average, careless chump like me could do it?
- "Beats me, lady. Figure you've gotta have some sort of smarts to get things done, and enough muscle to back up your words. Of course, you can always come find me if you need a helping hand. I think we might need to spend some more time together."
- Mm-hm. Okay... other than through colony building, do you think I may find, earn, or buy a snazzy new place on the island to hang my hat? Perhaps with, ah, an alchemical study and a jacuzzi? I don't get to many jacuzzi parties, you know...
- "Jacuzzi? Redguard fella, right? Think I met him once in Hammerfell. I don't know if you'll get your own place. Seems like something you'll have to figure out for yourself. You can always come over to the barracks, though."
- Oh well... Speaking of alchemy, will I find new ingredients in the wilds and shops of Solstheim to maintain a witch's lifestyle?
- "I've heard there are some different plants on the island. What they do, I'm not sure. I'm not about to go around eating strange plants. Wait... did you say "witch"? I don't need any trouble from a witch..."
- Will I find new books to collect? Will the literature enlighten me on the local history, or play a role in any tasks that might be asked of me?
- "Not much of a reader, lady. Just not my thing. I'm sure there'll be something for you to read, if that's what you're into."
- Let's talk about faith in Solstheim. What gods hold sway in a realm of winter?
- "Suppose it depends on the individual. I'm not much of a church-goer, though I've spent my share of time in the Shrines. Couldn't tell you what those Nords worship -- trees? Bears? Their feet? Your guess is as good as mine. Why don't you ask them yourself? I hear Nords just love witches. Ha!"
- (coughing) How do you, personally, feel about the Tribunal?
- "Like I said, I'm not the religious type. I heard one of them got offed, anyway. Or was it two? Beats me. Long as they don't bother me, I got no problem with them."
- What about this prophecy I hear of, and the rumors of werewolves? What does the word "Bloodmoon" mean to you?
- "Werewolves? Nah...don't believe it. I think we got those things pretty much wiped out years ago. Folks are probably just seeing your everyday, ordinary wolves and letting their imaginations get the better of 'em. "Bloodmoon"? Hmmm... I knew an Argonian worked out of Desele's by the name of Full-Moon. Oh, the things she could do with her tail..."
- I've heard of a Castle Karstaag, a reputedly impenetrable ice fortress. Who lives there, and what are they defending?
- "Ice fortress? The only fortress I know about is good old Fort Frostmoth. And I don't even know what we're defending up there! I mean, can't this colony take care of itself? As for any ice fortress, it's probably just a local legend."
- I've looked in the past for a happy home among Ashlanders. Does Solstheim host any tribal cultures, and if so, do you think they might welcome me to their campfires?
- "Like I said, I know there's these Nords on the island. What were they called? Skaal! That's it -- Skaal. Don't know if they're anything like the Ashlanders. Boy, they're a weird bunch. Got drunk one night and woke up in an Ashlander village. Some old woman started yapping at me about following a guar. I hightailed it out of there, I tell you."
- I've read about little ice warriors called Rieklings who ride snow pigs. Would those warriors ever welcome a stranger, do you think?
- "Yeah, I've heard of these things. Sound like goblins, to me. As for riding snow pigs... I suppose they might. Hey, if it's easier than walking, I can't blame them."
- Do you think they're related to Bosmer?
- "I think the closest relation to a Bosmer is the stuff on the bottom of my boot."
- Well, this is a long trip to a frozen land. What do you hope to gain by going to live in Solstheim? How will you be better off than you were before?
- "I hope to gain the opportunity to leave Solstheim. Look, I don't want to go to this place. I'd much rather be spending some time in Cyrodiil. And I don't know why you'd want to go there either, lady. This place isn't for the weak. Personally, I plan on serving out my time here as quietly and quickly as possible, then hopping the fastest boat back to anyplace warmer."
- What is the single greatest danger you anticipate facing there?
- "Boredom? Cold? My superior officers? Like I said, I'm not going looking for trouble."
- So, what do you think? Will I meet the Ordinator of my dreams in Solstheim? Or should I look for a strapping, woad-faced Nord?
- "Ordinators and Nords... pfahh! Open your eyes, sweetheart. You know, Spearman isn't just my rank..."
...and I move away from the Imperial at the table. No offense to him, or anything. He's awful nice, as Imperials go, and it was good of him to chat. But I think I saw him in About a Boy, and that's been gnawing at me. You know? I give some courteous thank you's to Ligur Pontius (and the price of another Flin), and debark when we reach the frozen wasteland. The ship empties quickly behind me.
I step off into the icy air of Fort Frostmoth. The sight of frosty breath and frostier keep is forboding, but I have a belly of Flin and a few fire spells to warm me, if I need them. I dip my hand in the snow -- yup, it's cold. Ligur seems to be watching me, so I decide it might be best to lose myself in the woods for a bit, until he gets busy with those assignments. It's just one of those things.
Snow crunching under my boots, I head off into the blue shadows of the trees.