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Writer's Discussion:- Enchanting

Tags: #T.S.C. 
  • Member
    July 22, 2018


    Throughout our stories concerning Skyrim, and the world of TES, we often come across scenarios where the writer uses enchants of one form or another. To some readers, this breaks the world created by the writer by enabling characters to become too superior while others struggle with the ‘get out of trouble’ card when enchanted items are given to those characters who seem to be in trouble. They can be all too easily faced with a life or death situation were it not for the fact that they have a ring which, up to now, they had no clue as to its use.
    “”Oh… it kills dragons… Handy to know!”


    I thought it would be rather interesting to hear everyone’s views on enchants and stories here in T.S.C. So, without howling or any reference to Hircine at all, here are some questions for you all to think about regarding enchants.


    It’s easy to use enchants and create an OP character or even for the enchants to destroy the world we, as writers, try to portray to our readers. As a writer, are there certain enchants which you stay away from in order to prevent this? What makes these enchants so dangerous to your world?


    Some enchants are less destructive in breaking the imagery we try to convey. Water Walking may be one of them. How do these enchants and enchanted objects fit within your stories? What enables them to snugly slip onto a hero’s finger or an Anti-hero’s boots?


    As a reader, are there enchants which cause you to scrunch up your nose and scream at the pages? Turning the wolf the other way around, are there enchants which you do like to read about and the clever ways in which the writer uses them. (for instance, a ring of drain stamina slipped into someone’s pocket. They find the ring and then an hour later they are found unconscious on the floor).


    In your stories, how do you convey to the reader how the enchants actualy work? Are they just some poor spirit’s life force used as a mana pool or is it more complex?


    Big thanks to Shadow Host for the image.

  • Member
    July 22, 2018

    I tend to hit the “I believe” button with enchantments and potions and the like as long as they’re used consistently. And the reactions are realistic and practical. Like, if someone really did find a weird ring in her pocket and put it on not knowing what enchantment it could contain? I’d probably frown a bit, unless that character had a history of letting curiosity overpower her good sense. And I think I’d have a problem with enchantments if people used them regardless of the cost. They’re expensive! And not easily come by. 

    And I suppose the other thing that might make me go “hm” is if it seems like the protagonist or the antagonist is the only one in the world with cool weapons or gear. 

    As for my experience? None! I’ve never tackled it in my own writing. 

  • Member
    July 22, 2018
    For me, enchanting is one of those rare things that few can only master. There are enchanters, but they generally use their skills for mundane use like enchanting stones with fire enchantments so they can be used to heat up bath tubs, or enchanting a cup with fire resist so the drink inside would stay hot. Yeah... very mundane, I know.
  • Member
    July 22, 2018
    I think I might like that type of enchanting best, Pocky. But in a place like Skyrim, can we really consider a hot bath a mundane thing? :)
  • July 22, 2018

    To start, got no experience whatsoever so :P 

    But in the hypothetical scenario that I ever wrote a story that got into Enchanting, I'd probably restrict it as a dying art to be honest, something that used to be incredibly powerful but modern mages have no ability to casually enchant anything to an real degree. Sure like Pocky's suggestion they can use, a 'Fire Enchantment' to heat up something, maybe even consistantly make water warm, but normal people (or even skilled Mages) would barely be able to make a weapon that can burn you, and certainly not something that can literally set a person on fire. The enchantments would be incredibly weak, and if, if you could figure out how to craft an enchanted weapon, it'd still be pretty minor. Paralysis would be more of a numbing effect, Fire Damage would at best cause minor burns, Stamina Damage would...I dunno, not be useful to any extreme degree. Course that's just in combat, you could use the Paralysis Dagger fairly well in healing to numb areas before surgery or something...

    That said, there would still be 'old-age' weapons that are closer to what we see in-game. Weapons that are enchanted, ancient but created by people who knew what they were doing. They'd be pretty rare, and always held by the big-bad guys who wield them and can kill you pretty damn easily. They'd exist, but be insanely expensive, rare and powerful. 

  • Member
    July 24, 2018


    For me, enchanting is one of those rare things that few can only master. There are enchanters, but they generally use their skills for mundane use like enchanting stones with fire enchantments so they can be used to heat up bath tubs, or enchanting a cup with fire resist so the drink inside would stay hot. Yeah... very mundane, I know.


    Oh wow... Visions of Terry Pratchett's College of Magic anyone?


    I never thought about it being a dying art to be honest.

    Before I continue I would remind everyone that my own story takes place in TES III, TES IV, and TES V (Even TES VI if a certain company gets on with it!)

    The approach I have is that the old Morrowind had the ghost gate which could, with a stretch of the mind, empower or help fuel enchants. Thus making them more plyable and aid in the fusing of more than one on an item.

    At this point the Lore Enforcers, (you know who you are) are screaming the law of Firsts).

    Skyrim however doesn't have the Ghost Gate so things tend to go wrong. Over time weapons crack and fail, items slowly disintergrate with use as the forces slowly tear them apart. (Aela's bow for one although Sotek doesn't realise it yet).


    Another factor I consider, is HOW the enchants work.

    To help explain, I'm going to compare two enchants as I see them.

    Fortify Strength  and Fortify Archery

    If we use a Fortify Strength enchant for our Marksman then we can presume certain things will occure.

    The character can carry more due to the increase in strength.

    He/she can pull back the draw string on the bow, allowing for a harder hitting shot.

    The arrow would travel faster.

    The arrow would travel further.


    So why use Marksman?

    Well, Marksman does the same thing although not to a greater effect. (At least I don't think it should).


    Marksman also focuses on a variety of attributes and abilities all allowing for a better shot.

    If we really simlify it, what is archery? Eye-hand coordination, with an ounce of strength needed to draw the bow maybe? (Others really in the know could list a load of factors. If you know of more then please feel free to add them). Plus other factors. depth perception ect. So if we go with that, you can have Agility and Perception making you a better archer. This one enchant is in fact an 'umbrella', fortifying all the attributes needed and relied upon for taking a better shot. Even aiding in the arm control. (less shaking, steadier ect). With actual atributes, (Say strength) they increase the ability to hold a sword but one handed swordsmanship is dependant on more than just strength. Hand eye co-ordination being one.
    Shadow Host came up with this when we discussed enchants. This is, correct me if I am wrong, his understanding of my explination. (I'm not saying he agrees though).

    Marksman enchant. 'An artificial construct that is the amalganation of several Fortify Attributes tightly wrapped into one deal package'.

    Basicly a skill enchant directly affects those attributes which that particular skill is dependant on.


    Here's Sotek's attempt at explaining it to Aela...

    "What I believe is that the enchants affects all the different attributes which a marksman, Huntress, depends on. Imagine you are about to shoot a deer. What skills and abilities are you using?”

    “Well…” Aela said as she rolled on her back, so she could look straight up at the sky. She lifted her arms and pretended to shoot a cloud to aid in her imagery. “Strength to pull back the drawstring. Hand eye co-ordination so I know where my arrow is actually aiming. Eyes… Depth perception, vision. You need to be calm. You can’t rush a shot. Patience and a steady aim”.

    “Wow, that many huh?” Sotek said as he raised an eyebrow.

    “To name a few”. Aela replied.

    “Now, it’s my belief that if I increased my strength using an enchant then I would be able to pull back the drawstring further, increasing power to my shot”.

    “Ahh!” Aela said as she nodded in understanding. “But then you would still be unsteady, your eyes won’t be any better, or your nerves. Hand to eye co-ordination would still be the same too”.

    “Exactly. Now a marksman enchant would fortify all these various skills and abilities, enabling me to shoot better. We both know it isn’t just a case of extra strength”.


    So to me, this is why I wouldn't use an Atribute ability to fortify a skill. You only increase one part of all those skills you rely upon for that skill.

    This even goes for Alchemy. The enchant enabling the user to know when something is on the perfect boil temp. (Think of a soft boiled egg. Now think of a perfect soft boiled egg). The enchant would help with the taste of bitterness and sweet. Increase the users understanding of how much ingredients to use. Yes, two blue flower pettles will do but a REAL alchemist master knows its 1 and 7/8ths (depending on petal size and how fresh the petal is from collecting as well as how long the flower has been in ermm flower).


    I would love to hear from some lore bearers here...

  • July 27, 2018

    You know, I thought an thought about this topic for a while, stewed it in my brain, tried to think of something really impactful or smart to say, but... 

    I am not really knowledgeable about the specifics of lore  with regard to enchanting, so I cannot contribute much to that aspect of the discussion.

    But there is one thing I do know.  

    The more we see of something the less of an impact it has.

    That's not a rule for enchanting, per se, but it's a nice little guideline for story-writing. 

    So that's the guideline I like to follow when I write on enchanting and enchantments. As a result, I tend to save enchanted things for major artifacts or that special something you may find once in a while and you really have to earn it or have the coin to buy it. The stuff of master mages, enchanters, Daedra, and the Aedra. That way, when you see Auri-El's bow in Straag, your jaw drops, you know, because it once belonged to a god-king and there is nothing like it.  When you see Galar Rothan from Chasing Aetherius with his many amulets and rings, some that can probably even wipe his ass when he shits, you know he is probably the best Telvanni enchanter  (though Neloth would disagree). But it's what makes Galar so cool. If everyone had that, then Galar is suddenly not so cool, am I right? 

    This ties to the possibility that my characters also simply go on less "quests". Less gameplay dungeons and more story narratives, which means, they have a much lower chance of finding anything and once they find it, it pretty much doesn't change. There are no upgrades at level 45, because there is no level 45. Lol, I think Aelberon has the very same fire resist amulet he had from part 1 that he found at Bleak Falls Barrow or perhaps Dustman's cairn, I don't remember. Now, he's taken it and attached it to a chain with multiple amulets that have other reistances, so, lol, screw only being able to wear one piece of jewelry on your neck, but it's the same one he had from a while ago and I doubt he'll find one again, because the chances are very, very slim. 

    I guess this also limits what things can be enchanted with. I tend to stick with resistances or fortifications. I can see where you are coming from with the "Marksman" enchantment, Sotek, though I still don't quite agree.

    I also think there is the matter of the ethics of soul gem usage, which, to me, tie directly into enchanting. In Straag, black soul gems are a black market item, your law-abiding vendors will not even sell them. At least that is what I think our stance on them is, Karver? Teineeva?

    I do think that Tamriel is in what I think of as a Dark Age, so there will be even less of this kind of stuff. 

    But that's just me.