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Temples and Chapels of Tamriel - Magical institutions?

PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 6:42 am
by Alexandra Louise Taylor

In Morrowind, it is rather obvious that the Tribunal Temple and Imperial Cult are, at least, partially based on magical instruction, given that both have several skills among their favored. This is also rather blatant in Oblivion, where the Great Chapels have at least one spellmerchant each.

When we come to Skyrim, however, it seems less obvious. There are no spellmerchants in the temples, nor are there any favored skills we can look to for an indication. On top of this, there has been a change between Oblivion and Skyrim, with magic falling out of favor after the Oblivion Crisis. The extent of this is hard to pin down, but with the fall of the Mages Guild, the only known institution with the goal of making magic accessible to the masses, I doubt magic is anywhere near as common as it was in the 3rd Era.

However, I think the temples in Skyrim, and likely beyond, are still practicing magic. Two of the Master Trainers in magic in Skyrim, Danica Pure-Springs (Restoration) and Hamal (Enchanting), are the leading priestesses of their temples (Kynareth and Dibella, respectively). Keeper Carcette, the Keeper of the Vigil (leader of the Vigilants of Stendarr in Skyrim) is an Expert Trainer in Restoration. Runil, the Priest of Arkay in Falkreath, is a Common Trainer in Conjuration. And Aphia Velothi (in Dragonborn) used to be a Priest of the Tribunal/Reclaimations and is a Common Trainer in Restoration.

It seems to me that magic remains an integral part of what it means to be a priest in Tamriel in the 4th Era, even in Skyrim.

Does anyone have more info on this than I could find?

Temples and Chapels of Tamriel - Magical institutions?

PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 5:41 pm
by JeSsy ArEllano

I do not really have more information...

But please keep in mind that most of the jarls do also have their court-mage, who do sell spells.

My personal assumption is, that Bethesda did just wanted to make Skyrim

1. encouraging for warrior-builds

2. let the live-style of the Nords be more different from the ones in Cyrodiil than just the level or worshiping Talos.

That means, in Skyrim are the people proud of being warriors of true steel! Magic-skill is nothing to impress others.

Not to forget: The group around Marlin V. with Azuras Star, the group around the Caller, the Butcher of Windhelm, Hamelyn (the mad-man in Honningbrew), and most of the necromancer you will med, they all where at the Collage of Winterhold.

Then we can of course discuss, if Alchemists are mages or not. Speaking with Farengar about that topic, he sees Arcadia as a magic-user.


There is the book 'A Minor Maze'. In it, it's said that Shalindor, the founder of the Collage, was against the use of magic by 'the common castes'.

While for the player, it is relative cheap to join the Collage, there seems to be a movement since the first era, that the people outside of the Collage should not use magic.

Temples and Chapels of Tamriel - Magical institutions?

PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 4:16 am
by Claire Jackson

Which, unless it's the sort of "You really should join us because the Nords really don't like magic or those who use it", is not really reflected in-game. Mages are expelled from the college on a semi-regular basis, but unless the expel-ees try to take revenge on it, the College doesn't seem to care about the necromancers and black mages wandering around Skyrim. If the College was truly against non-college people using magic, I'd think they would be a bit more proactive about taking care of those groups.

Temples and Chapels of Tamriel - Magical institutions?

PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 6:39 pm
by sexy zara

I believe the College′s concern is safety, as they would try to show through the unfinished quests with apprentices blowing themselves up and such. It′s lack of safety a priori that leads to the backlash from the community. It′s basically the advice from the Conjuration′s master - they′ve never even frowned upon Necromancy, despite the Mage′s Guild, as long as whatever experiments were conducted safely within the College. It′s safe to assume that was what led Falion to leave and tell you that the College doesn′t "allow" necromancy. Aren must have been particularly concerned about the subject given his own actions in Labyrinthian.

Regarding the thread in general, I′m not sure what′s the initial observation. In Skyrim we see Temples act mainly as Restoration centers, which goes in line the guards′ mention of how they admire the restoration school. Other than that, it′s pretty clear the majority of people doesn′t like magic, you can hear many say they don′t like the fact that the jarl keeps a Court Wizard, Morthal loathes Falion. It′s not unusual, to me, that magic is less widespread and institutionalized, with certain entities focused on a certain school. All of that is concentrated in Winterhold kind of in a cyclic motion - most people don′t like magic, so the mages go to the college, the college becomes a diverse place with specialists in all schools and attract more mages, which are unwelcome in Skyrim and concentrate in Winterhold and so on. The fews exceptions are "undercover" mages who don′t flaunt it, official court members, or rogues.

It certainly makes you question the label "rogue". Once you marginalize a great portion of the population based on a trait that has nothing to do with their morals, you tend to create a bunch of "innocent criminals". Feels like real life.

Temples and Chapels of Tamriel - Magical institutions?

PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 8:27 pm
by elliot mudd

You think so? I'd say Skyrim is the first major TES game in which temples aren't restoration centres. The temple of Kynareth is and they all have shrines that cure diseases. But I don't remember any indication that the other temples had healers and they certainly don't teach restoration.

The Tribunal Temple and the Imperial Cult clearly considered magical tuition to be one of their functions. I don't know if the clergy in TESIV were part of such a centralised body. but maybe they did too. Whereas the priests of Talos, the Temple of Mara and the Temple of the Divines don't offer any magical services whatsoever.

Temples and Chapels of Tamriel - Magical institutions?

PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 1:13 am
by Mrs shelly Sugarplum

Are we talking about game mechanics, or lore? We also don′t heal our wounds in the Temple of Kynareth, but we know that′s a service provided there. Would Collete Marence not heal a citizen of Winterhold just because we don′t have that option and we don′t see it happening? Just because we don′t see some sick people in Solitude′s temple of the divines, or in Markath′s temple of Dibella, or in Riften′s temple of Mara, I don′t think it′s enough reason to assume that Priests don′t know and don′t perform Restoration services for the populace. We see no other sort of healer except for the occasional potion makers.

They′re certainly not researching anything, they′re not scholars, they′re just the Basic Health Unit of Skyrim.

Temples and Chapels of Tamriel - Magical institutions?

PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 8:06 pm
by Amy Gibson

It's in their stories of the gods that magic is for only a select few. Not just that only a few people are capable of it, but that only a few people should use magic. That's a deep cultural assumption; too much logic gets you out of fighting with your hands. Too much magic gets you out of fighting with your hands.

It makes sense that the priestly class follows suit. Yeah, in Cyrodiil, where the battlemages rule and the priests are from the same families, magic is par for the course. In Skyrim, they don't have that background, and they don't have that expectation. Even the Greybeards use the thu'um for their magic. The other kind is literally Elven.

Temples and Chapels of Tamriel - Magical institutions?

PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 4:25 pm
by Lyndsey Bird

Yes, the movement started from mages of the first era.

That means, at no time any soldier did have a problem with a healer casting healing-hands on him. Just the mages get envy if the soldiers where doing so on their companions.

With Aren and the College, it is not so obvious like with the Thieves-Guild. But in the end, every guild in Skyrim has a problem, caused by bad management. The player then takes over and can roleplay how things are going better.

For Aren, he seems traumatized from Labyrinthion. Because of that, he shows absolutely no intention to teach mages what they need to become good adventurers. Therefore, the Collage has no members who could work pro-active against magic-abusers.

At least not until the dragonborn joins. :)

Temples and Chapels of Tamriel - Magical institutions?

PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2017 6:30 am
by Jessica White

The question here is, how mobile are the people of Skyrim?

Do they travel to the Temple of Kynareth like we go to the hospital? If so, the Temple of Kynareth is the only needed place for getting healed.

Otherwise, every town must have some healers, or the people would not complain the death of the civil-war, because the day is over after they did complain about the death from illness...