I have spent quite a bit of time today pondering over the very first part of the tale of Daric Gaersmith. From an in-game perspective in Skyrim, he's a prisoner being carted off to his death in Helgen. That is how all good Skyrim stories start, isn't it? Maybe not. I was particularly interested in what Eric Snowmaneof the UESP Wiki had to say about his fan-fic characters.

Note: That in order to not break too much lore, because even with my own character that would bug me, Eric Snowmane is not assumed to be either the Nerevarine or the Champion of Cyrodiil.

If I say that my character was on that cart headed for Helgen, and start making reference to events in the Skyrim quest lines as being done by my character, I break lore. It is better to refer to events as perhaps witnessed or heard about, but not necessarily partaken in.

I have already had a close brush with this potential problem, by stating early on that Daric leaves Bruma in late 4E 200 to cross the Pale Pass into Skyrim. This, of course, refers to Skyrim in-game lore which tells of the Dragonborn being apprehended in an Imperial ambush as he/she came through the Pale Pass. This got me to thinking ... how long would the trip from Bruma to Helgen take?

Now, I'm not just talking of the distance, "as the crow flies" here, but also taking into consideration the climb up the Jerall Mountains; circuitous routes; allowing time to set and to break camp if it is more than, say, 8 hours of travel time per day. And how long can a cart pulled by a single horse travel without breaks, anyway, even if it were flat terrain all the way? There are so many variables to consider before I can confidently say something like "Daric left Bruma in late Frsotfall of 4E 200, and arrived in Helgen on the 17th of Last Seed of 4E 201."

That is, of course, assuming that I even want my character to be present in Helgen on the day that Alduin attacked. Maybe Daric was passed by on the road to Helgen by a cart load of prisoners and some brusque Imperial soldiers who ordered him to get "out of the way, Imperial business!"

Tonight I did quite a bit of research about the map of Tamriel and travelling distances, in the hope that I could create a vector map of my own in Quantum GIS, allowing me to better gauge distances from it. What I found was not very encouraging. For instance...

  1. There are discrepancies between the maps of the different TES games.
  2. The highest resolution map that I could find was this one by a DeviantArt user. It's a nice picture, but not something that I could rely on for distances.
  3. None of the existing available maps online are vector, they're all raster images.

I'm still very tempted to attempt my own vector map of Tamriel, at least, if not the whole of Nirn. What CRS would I need to use for it? What projection should I use? I assume that it would need to be an Equirectangular Projection, being that the latitude lines are equidistant in this map, which is the only official map that I know of from TES that includes latitude and longitude lines. That would mean that the further from Nirn's equator you go, the less accurate the distances would become.