We all know in ESO, you have a chance to rise up and become Emperor.  As I thought back to my amazing time in Oblivion and Skyrim, I couldn’t help but wonder what I would do if I had that sort of power.  Now, I don’t mean “what would I, the player, do”, but rather, “what would I, the Emperor, a citizen of Tamriel, do”.  Still confused?  Ok, how about this.  Let’s forget that The Elder Scrolls franchise is a series of games.  Let’s forget that we must turn on a machine in order to play them.  Let’s instead assume that Tamriel is in fact, real.  Now, with that defined, what would I do if I were Emperor of Tamriel?

high_resolution_tamriel_map__elder_scrolls_series__by_belhene-d581jpg.pngSource: DeviantArt

To be honest, this question calls for some serious thought.  I not only have to consider my own well-being, but the well-being of nine provinces.  That’s nine different provinces, each with its own culture, people, races, political leanings, history, etc.  Yeah, it’s a lot, so forgive me while I approach this in my usual manner.

Political Structure

In order for my Tamriel to succeed, it’s imperative that I understand these nine provinces.  Well, I am only one man from Cyrodiil, therefore any conclusions I draw regarding the other provinces would be incomplete at best.  Therefore, some sort of system of delegation must be set in place.  Essentially, I’d need a representative from each of the provinces to speak on that province’s behalf.  These representatives would be my eyes and ears of that province.  Now, clearly, each of these provinces has its own political structure.  If I want to establish credibility and respect with them, it’s critical that I’d leave their governing bodies intact.  Think of this as the “state-level” of government.

Solitude_Side_ViewSkyrim’s Seat of Power (source: Elder Scrolls Wikia)

I’d set up a council to meet on a regular basis to understand the needs of each province.  Remember, these provinces have their own cultures, their own people, their own set way of doing things.  Causing any sort of disruption to this routine would be detrimental to my claim to the throne.  Therefore, while I would ultimately call the shots as the monarch, understanding you, the people, is absolutely necessary in order to create a strong empire.


Obviously, the economy plays a vital role in any civilization.  It would be no different in my Tamriel.  What I propose is quite simply a free-market capitalist system, wherein competition thrives and the people dictate the ebb and flow of the market.  Now, I may be a little bias here, but I strongly believe this system will naturally lead to unimaginable innovation and progress.  Think about it.  If I oversaw every little detail on the economy and set prices on certain goods, or withheld production and shipment of goods, what good would it do? Sure, I would have absolute control, but this only serves to provide a short-term solution.  Ultimately, this system is flawed because it quite simply halts progress.

anvil-vanilla-xboxAnvil: Port to Colovia (Source Alquier.org)

By implementing a free-market economy, supply, demand, price, and volume will be dictated by the market, and ultimately, people.  Now, unlike my political structure, which has a clear hierarchy from the state to realm, the economy system would be universal.  My Tamriel would be a capitalist state.  If you work hard, yes, you will succeed.  If you are intelligent, you will succeed.  This free-market Tamriel would naturally lead to new inventions, amazing products, and at the end of the day, everyone is richer.  What could be more important than that?

Oh, did I mention that there would be a Tamriel Stock Exhange?  Yeah, that’s right.  Bring on the I-Bankers!

Foreign Policy

Obviously, Tamriel isn’t the only continent on our planet, Nirn.  We constantly face threats from Akavir, the continent to our East.  They have attacked us in the past, and we have paid for it dearly.  We managed to drive them out, but at what cost?  We cannot afford to rest on our laurels – but neither should we be the aggressor.

Akavir0yyI really want to visit this place (Source Elder Scrolls Wikia)

Some of you may be calling for us to raise arms and amass a large army and navy.  No doubt, maintaining a strong military is absolutely necessary, but remember, I do not speak on my behalf alone – I represent nine different provinces.  Skyrim may call to raise arms and attack our enemies, while Valenwood threatens to secede should any pre-emptive action be taken.  So, what do we do?

We remain diplomatic.  We leave all options on the table without instigating an attack from Akavir.  We must remain ever at the ready, yet promote peace.  Does this sound easy?  Well, it shouldn’t.  This is a delicate matter which must be handled with utmost care.  But know this, dear citizens, your Emperor will protect you.

. . .

I have to admit, my mind really does wander when thinking about commanding that much power.  Keep in mind, this is just a short-list.  No doubt you all have your own ideas on what you would do if presented with such opportunity.  And so, I leave you with this.  What would you do if you were Emperor of Tamriel?

Shadow hide you.

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Avatar of Shank
Editor for Quest Gaming Network and Co-Host of Elder Scrolls off the Record and Totally Heroes. Shank loves massive open-world Western RPG's. He is known to wander aimlessly for hours and generally ignores quests. While he also likes First Person Shooters, he sucks pretty bad at them. His first priority in any game he plays is graphics - an importance which he will argue to the death. Follow him on Twitter @ShankThTank

15 Responses to “If I Were Emperor” Subscribe

  1. Ryaffio May 8, 2013 at 12:00 pm #
    Avatar of Ryaffio

    I’d retire and take the library with me. I’d prefer to be the advisor to the emperor than to be the emperor myself. And even more I’d like to be an advisor to the Arch-mage of the College of Winterhold… not even the Arch-mage himself… too much responsibilty, too much paper-work, too much ruling and deciding and so on… Thats why I’m planing on working for universities in real life :) I don’t want to be a politician or a banker or to run a company… I want to do research, and maybe teach, but mainly research: astronomy, physics, astrophysics, astrobiology, planetary vulcanology etc. I’m a scientist more than anything else :D

    • Ryaffio May 8, 2013 at 12:02 pm #
      Avatar of Ryaffio

      “Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.” Douglas Adams

    • OlafGruntsvig May 10, 2013 at 2:50 am #

      If I were emperor, I would do away with Empires period.
      Aside from which economy would be best is best to leave the choice up to everybody. Why does there have to be one right or wrong system….they have been many forms of rule and economies in RL history.

      To allow the options to create new forms of economy via barter-ing or co-op with or without profits motives is a choice that people need to discuss in any form they desire…but realistically right now we don’t really have a democracy whether it is via elections or via corp, or business structures.

      Regarding the game and things I would like to see are thus:
      Books have to actually be read to gain the full power of the skills in the book. Not just opening the book up to get the skill. If you just open a book you only get 1/20 of the skill…If you read the whole book you get 20/20 depending on the pages.
      I hope there will be a Auction house and trading otherwise
      there is no real economy.
      Prices via selling items to vendors should be closer to the actual value, than what is the going rate in ES-5. I want abundance not austerity when I sell items for gold.

      A good resource regarding fairness in “the” modern world we live in now and not online would be:

      http://www.webofdebt.com which is a book title by Ellen Brown.
      We need more real fairness in game and in RL.

  2. Daniel May 8, 2013 at 7:25 pm #
    Avatar of Daniel C

    I actually agree with most of your thoughts in each of these short-listed topics. Government needs to start in the local area. Trade and market should be depicted by what is necessary to drive innovation and individuality and realistic prices. And promote peace and diplomatic foreign policies, but have a strong defensive military.
    Every race is created equal and have equal rights.

    And don’t micro manage health care.

  3. Eric May 9, 2013 at 1:19 pm #

    I like your ideas shank but I was waiting to read “Also, I would exterminate the Argonians.” Lol

  4. StevenMcKupkake May 9, 2013 at 6:03 pm #
    Avatar of StevenMcKupkake

    Shank if you there is ever an election for emperor of Tamriel you definitly have my vote.

  5. jw May 14, 2013 at 1:38 pm #

    You lost me at “free market capitalism.” Capitalism only works (and I use the term “works” loosely) in industrial economies. Capitalism and the Free Market are not synonymous after all, the defining characteristic of Capitalism is state-chartered privately owned corporations in which the public can buy and sell shares. In a setting like Tamriel with a primarily agrarian economy your markets will be local and small scale. No or very few corporations. Aka – pre-capitalist. Probably much closer to feudalism.

    As for your blithe preference for a completely un-regulated market, please do yourself a favor and go read some actual history. Try to find an example of where that’s been tried and not turned out to be a complete disaster. I’ll give you a hint – you won’t find any. There’s a reason why every government on the planet regulates the market. Because without regulation big companies buy small companies and very soon you have an oligopoly where a very few people own everything, the vast majority is reduced to extreme poverty, and any political structure becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of the oligarchs.

    Unregulated free markets destroy themselves and the nations that depend on them, always and everywhere. It’s one of the few iron clad rules of economics.

    None of which has much bearing on TES, but you brought it up. It’s pretty sad that the state of political education has degenerated to the point where people can’t imagine anything other then the (real world oligarch-sponsored) rhetoric of an unregulated free market, even in a fantasy world.

    • Shank May 14, 2013 at 1:51 pm #
      Avatar of Shank

      I’m sorry if my opinion on a game, ie something that is pure fantasy and not real, offended you somehow. I myself find it wearisome to bring politics into a cheerful discussion about wistful thinking in games.

  6. Nick May 15, 2013 at 12:31 pm #

    Sorry, but this seems to me simply a recap of the United States government system only using terms from Elder Scrolls. I think an Emperor of a Tamrielic Empire would have a very different scope and responsibility on things. As we have seen in Morrowind and Skyrim, much of the Empire’s actions have to include force if you wish to unite all nine provinces.

  7. ben May 15, 2013 at 4:03 pm #

    I hope in full version of online they have a stock exchange i am deciding which alliance ebonheart pact as it has my favourite race or daggerfall covenant as i am a skilled merchant

  8. Riley May 15, 2013 at 8:40 pm #

    Of course I would assassinate all people who oppose me and Regulate the economy, and use politics to make enemies trust me then attack them while they don’t expect it. This is an Empire we are talking about

  9. Ljoker May 17, 2013 at 1:33 am #

    Stock Exchange = make room for Bot’s, Gold farmers and real world game money trades.

  10. Justin Stormblade VI May 24, 2013 at 9:04 pm #

    If you were the Emperor, I would support you.
    If you were running for Emperor, I would support you.
    If I had to be the Emperor, I’d hand the throne to you.

  11. Kyle May 26, 2013 at 12:01 pm #

    Indeed this sounds just like a copy and paste of the US Government, which quite frankly is completely broken. An Emperor must be strong but fair. An Emperor must show his Empire that HE is the final voice, that he is the ultimate decision maker. But he also must show that he is not an uncareing lout who cares nothing for his people. I would use a Hybrid Feudalist-Free Market Economy. I would allow people to manage and start their own companies and businesses. I would however personally Charter Imperial sponsored industries (East Empire Company for example) to provide fair but challenging competition so that I always I have a hand in how the Economy unfolds. I would also lay out a set of rules and regulations by which all companies, including the ones I sponsored must abide by, anyone who breaks and defies these rules would be swiftly reminded that I am Emperor, and I am the Judge, Jury and possibly Executioner. I would make it clear to my Empire that no one, not the High King of Skyrim, not the members of the Elder Council, not even myself is above reproach or above the law. If you do something considered unlawful punishment would be swift and sure, regardless of your Station or personal wealth. You might ask “Since you make the laws how could people hold you accountable if you make tyrannical laws.” This is quite simple, I would establish a system in which I would gather the opinion of the Empire’s citizens (weather it be Letters, Votes or whatever else.) and would take the results to the Elder Council to get their opinions of both me as well as the results of the data. Based upon both results I would then -consider- revisions to policies that I have enacted. If the people feel I have done something -morally- wrong or abhorrent,( like butchering towns and villages with little or no reason. shutting down a Shipping company just because it does better than my East Empire Company etc) I would place my life in the hands of the people, and ask what punishment I should receive for my actions.

    I would of course attempt to maintain a powerful military presence, both to ensure law and order, and to ensure security from foreign invasions. This would include a healthy budget for the Imperial Navy to ensure numerous patrols and well trained sailors capable of fast but intelligent responses. Likewise I would ensure the Imperial Legions always have access to the best equipment and training possible. They would be trained in as many different combat styles as possible, and hire masters of each style to ensure perfection. For example, hire Argonian warrors to train them for Swamp and Marsh-like Climates, Nords and Orcs for harsh, cold climates and heavy infantry instruction. Breton and Elven Master Wizards to train the Imperial Mages and Battlemages in the secrets of magic combat. The Kajiet and Wood Elves would ensure their prepared for desert and tropical climates. Lastly I would obviously get as many Redguard Battle Masters as possible, as they are the finest warriors in the known world.

    My military would be ready to handle any threat, internal or external. Always a state of high alert and maintaining War Readiness, which includes having massive stockpiles of food and armaments at hand. I would make it clear to the Empire that Rebellions would not be tolerated, as they only serve to create more chaos and risk destroying more infrastructure. My imperial government would maintain Public Homes and food programs for orphans and homeless alike, no one is ignored within my Empire, as I realize sometimes things are beyond your control. These programs might be canceled when chaos erupts, but would in time be restored once the economy re-stabilized. I would attempt to open Trade Agreements with the powers in Akavir and beyond, but would do so with heavy military escorts to dissuade shady behavior. All foreign trade vessels would be monitored under heavy guard and all crewmen watched closely. If they took offense to these measures then they are free to take their business elsewhere.

    Lastly I would not completely ignore the local customs of each Province, and would take advisors from each to get their thoughts. I would however make it clear the final decision is mine. I might make separate Imperial Edicts for each Province if it involves a unique custom of a province. (for example tax rates during a festival in Hammerfell.) and would attempt to respect as much of their cultural differences as possible. But would come down on customs and practices that I would consider morally wrong, (Slavery for example.) However if a Province like Morrowind fell on hard times, and needed large numbers of laborers to help recover, I would approve of temporary conscriptions of civilians provided they were paid decent wages for their work after the economy recovered.

  12. Murk July 27, 2013 at 2:48 pm #

    If I were emperor I would
    Invade the summer set isles and have troops murder every weak high elf all elves left who are somewhat strong would be made
    Slaves. Next I would do the same to morrowind and valenwood. I want to see the races of mere wipped of the face of nirn. Also I would see through it that the dark brotherhood and morag tong assassins are oppressed.

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