For beginners the vast world of TES lore can be a daunting place. Thankfully there are numerous resources we can use to ease us on our path to enlightenment. Below are a list of sites which can help you find the information you are looking for. Also, don't be afraid to use our Ask your lore questions here thread if you want that one-to-one interaction.
UESP.Net Is an incredibly useful and reliable site for both gameplay and lore aspects of TES. For newcomers, I'd recommend UESP as the place to start thanks to it's links by category.
The Imperial Library is a huge library dealing with primary sources, community-accepted theories and developer interviews. The librarians there have been given exclusive permission to reproduce the special ESO collectors books. For more advanced scholars who know their sources, you really can't do better than TIL.
The New Whirling School is a guide to interpreting the rich, deep and challenging series of books, The 36 Lessons of Vivec. It is a work in progress but well worth your time if you wish to learn Vivec's mysteries.
The Loremaster's Archive is ESO's biweekly article on a TES lore subject. Specifically dealing with 2E lore, it nevertheless can give great insight into established lore. Of particular note are the questions submitted by fans and the in-universe/unreliable narrator style answers.
Who is MK and why is he so controversial?
Michael Kirkbride worked for Bethesda as a writer on TES III Morrowind and some parts of TES IV Oblivion as a freelance writer. Despite this, he frequently continues to write and discuss TES lore on various forums and sites which has led a lot of people to question the canonicity of his work. The reason fans tend to hold his work in such high esteem is due in no small part to the massive impact he has had on lore, as evidenced by the in-game books he has authored:
A lot of those books form the foundations of TES lore and are essential reading in order to understand the metaphysics of The Elder Scrolls Universe. A lot of his oog works expand on these concepts.
We all try not to take it to heart that only MK can save Skyrim from the trash heap - but I can say that even without directly writing any books, I'd say there's more of his influence on Skyrim than Oblivion. Probably a lot more - if you look at the chapter from the PGE on Skyrim, (pretty sure that was one of his - I can't remember any more who wrote which one, it's Bilbo and Strider all over again), and that chapter is the foundation for the whole setting. And if you look really hard, you might even find a painted cow. (No comment on flying whales.) Kurt Kuhlmann
Who is Talos and is he actually a god?
Talo is an amalgamation of Hjalti Early-Beard, Zurin Arctus and Wulfharth of Atmora. All three of these beings took part in an enantiomorphic event which allowed Hjalti to mantle Lorkhan and become the god known as Tiber Septim in the Empire or Talos in Skyrim. The question of his divinity wasn't too much a problem until the events of TES V Skyrim as, up until then, his godhood was presented in the same way as the other Divines and presented as fact. Consequently proving his divinity from texts is hard and delving into oog sources is needed. Proving his divinity in-game is much easier thanks to the Blood of the Divines quest in TES IV Oblivion or the blessings bestowed upon the player from statues.
What is the life expectancy of the races?
Elves live two to three times as long as humans and the “beast-races” (Orcs, Khajiiti, Argonians). A 200-year-old Elf is old; a 300-year-old Elf is very, very old indeed. Anyone older than that has prolonged his or her lifespan through powerful magic.
I think that relatively brief, simple answers are generally best suited to a FAQ list, since these are most often either a quick reference or a basic introduction to a topic.
It shouldn't detract from the Ask Your Lore Questions topic; in fact, it may even improve it. It could then be somewhat smaller and less of a conglomeration of jumbled questions and answers, by removing the need for fairly simple answers to basic questions. As a result, it could then concentrate more on less basic, more complex questions, or those more open to interpretation and discussion. That's just my opinion, of course.
I agree with Kiralla, short answers will be the best. If the answer is in the Lore Questions thread comments, perhaps you can link to that comment?
Now, for what questions...
Breton age, mixed parentage, Talos's godhood seem quite popular
Ok, agree with you both on the answers being short.
How about a more out-of-game FAQ? It's hard to describe but instead of risking any cross-over at all with the Questions thread maybe a quick overview like an index page, resource links or glossary? Such as:
"Where can I learn more about X?" Followed by links to all pertinent books and articles from this site.
"How long do High Elves live?" Simple answer.
"What does X mean?" Followed by a glossary of unfamiliar terms we take for granted, like enantiomorph, mantling, kalpa etc..
I think it'd be nice to have a reference page for cross-site lore sources to make it easier to direct people. Links to UESP and Imperial Library, and maybe Shoddycast Lore Series or /teslore with appropriate descriptions and warnings about what they contain in terms of canon or not.
I think links to other parts of this site and to other relevant sites are both good ideas. Give the simple, brief answer (if there is one, lol), and then link useful or relevant sources where the information was gained, or that discuss the question or give further detail, and so on.
Oh, and perhaps you might consider the FAQ as the result of or response to the Lore Questions topic, rather than something in competition with it. If questions keep recurring in Lore Questions - they get an entry in the FAQ. If a question is asked in Lore Questions and greeted with enthusiastic and interested discussion - the answer gets an entry in the FAQ. And so on. You could even mine the Lore Questions topic for past questions of interest or recurring questions.
Indeed, if you look at it that way, and the answers in the FAQ are kept brief and simple (and hopefully clear), then if someone reads something there that they find interesting and want to know more about, then the Lore Questions topic gives them the perfect place to ask for more detail, or to discuss it with those interested.
Ok then guys, I'm starting to compile a list and get a resources and faqs page up. If anybody has got an idea about something they'd like to see feel free to comment.
So we now have a rudimentary resource list and the beginnings of an FAQ list
Please comment if there is something you'd like to see added.
Apologies if this has been posted somewhere and I simply haven't found it yet (newbie here!), but would there by chance be a pronunciation guide anywhere? Some of the names and locations are a little tough for me to say, so I'd love to hear how they're actually supposed to sound.
Great idea! There isn't one here as far as I know, although I vaguely recall seeing an interview with Lawrence Schick (the main ESO loreguy) in which the subject was addressed.
How about you start one in this group? We can add to it once consensus (consensi?) is reached on each word. It's always amusing to see how badly I've been pronouncing things (don't get me started on Tsaesci ) and it's something anyone can take part in.
Fawn, you have my 100% support
Oh gosh, I can certainly give it a try! I have never played Morrowind, so there's a great deal of Dunmer-specific words I haven't a clue how to pronounce, but I'll do my best to get something started. :) [s]Tsaesci. That word is a TOUGH one.[/s]
I think it would be a good discussion to get going. You needn't be intimidated, just tell us what words you're having difficulty with and we'll see how the community responds - hopefully by chiming in with their favorite words.
Funny story: Sometime after Vaz posted his Trebbite Monk there was a discussion on how to pronounce it You'd think that would be an easy one but I was surprised at the variety of interpretations.
I will get the discussion going, then. :) I think I found somewhere that only one discussion/blog/build could be posted per day? If this is true then I should start the discussion tomorrow sometime?
Ah! This build might be exactly what I was looking for. I have an Altmer character that would have a focus in Alteration magic, and with a powerful dislike of Daedra. So that was lucky! Thanks!