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Guilds play a massive role in the identity of the Elder Scrolls series. They help tie the games together, illustrate the impact of passing time in the setting, and boast some of the most diverse and exciting quest lines throughout the series. Each guild also has its history, tone, and unique cast of characters for players to explore and learn about while interacting with them.
The guilds are one of my favorite parts of Elder Scrolls because of how much they contribute to each game they are in.
They expand the universe’s scope and connect each release, allow the developers to implement longer storylines that aren’t connected to the main questline, and give the player something to identify and define their character with to help ground them.
Key Info Up Front
- Games: Daggerfall, Morrowind, Oblivion, Elder Scrolls Online
- Description: The Fighters Guild is a legalized mercenary guild that operates throughout most of the continent of Tamriel and can be hired by any citizen for various jobs.
- Headquarters Location: Chorrol, Cyrodiil
Fighters Guild History
Founding of the Guild
The Fighters Guild’s origins begin with the story of Potentate Versidue-Shaie. Many players don’t know anything about Versideu-Shaie because his story took place before any of the games, but his story is one of the most interesting I have found in the series’ lore.
The story of Versidue-Shaie begins with the continent of Akavir, which is distant from Tamriel and home to various races of beast people.
Versidue-Shaie himself was a serpent-man that entered the service of Cyrodiilian emperors after Akavir’s invasion of Tamriel was repelled. He was still serving the empire when Emperor Reman died in the year 1E 2920, leaving him to assume control of the empire as a potentate temporarily.
However, the princes of the empire proved to be unaccepting of his reach for power. This made a lot of sense from their perspective, as he was effectively trying to remove them from the procession of power and was a foreigner from a nation that had just tried to invade them. But, Versidue-Shaie was no stranger to the art of war and proved himself capable of quelling their rebellions.
Doing so secured his claim to power but wholly depleted the resources of his military and treasury, allowing crime to flourish. This is where an ultimately unimportant Akaviri warrior named Dinieras-Ves entered the picture.
He suggested solving the crime issue by putting the responsibility on the empire’s citizens themselves. To do so, he convinced Versidue Share to allow the creation of the Fighters Guild, a legalized group of mercenaries that anyone could hire for martial services.
Changing of the Guard
When the Fighters Guild was initially founded, it was done so using Akaviri veterans and soldiers. This was due, in part, to their availability but also to ensure that there were no issues with obedience between them and the then-Akaviri leadership of the empire.
However, this approach led to difficulties. Chiefly among them was the lack of local knowledge that Akaviri members of the guild had regarding where they were stationed and operating. This severely interfered with the guild’s ability to operate effectively.
The guild’s attempt to only employ Akaviri was also strained by the sheer volume of work they were acquiring. There was a limited number of Akaviri available in Tamriel to be hired by the guild, and bringing in fresh recruits from their home continent was prohibitively expensive. Both of these struggles led to the guild slowly expanding their pool of recruits to include those native to Tamriel.
But then, the Akaviri saw a more significant threat to their presence on the continent when Versidue-Shaie was assassinated. The legalized cult guild, the Morag Tong, carried out the assassination. This allowed an Imperial to regain control of the empire while also leading to the illegalization of the Morag Tong everywhere in Tamriel other than the province of Morrowind.
With the potentate removed from power, the Akaviri in Tamriel found themselves increasingly vulnerable. They were on the wrong side of ever-increasing racial tensions with little to no recourse for attacks against them. The Akaviri were eventually forced out of Tamriel, resulting in the Fighters Guild being entirely taken over by the races of Tamriel.
Fighters Guild in Elder Scrolls Online
While Elder Scrolls Online is technically the most recent game in the series going by its release date, it is chronologically set much earlier than previous releases. For that reason, I want to look at it first, despite the faction working differently in the MMO than its single-player peers.
At the core of Elder Scrolls Online is a three-way civil war for control over Tamriel. However, the Fighters Guild took an official position of remaining uninvolved in the conflict.
Instead, they are involved in the MMO’s main questline, which is concerned with the Daedric Prince Molag Bal attempting to merge the mortal realm of Nirn with his realm of Oblivion, Coldharbour. This introduces the exciting component of the guild that sees the player being able to increase their relation with the guild by working against Molag Bal’s plans through public events.
Right before the game starts, the guild master is killed through mysterious circumstances. This leaves it in the control of the developing guild master Sees-All-Colors.
This is a fun position for the guild to be in while allowing players to join it regardless of their allegiance to the war. This means that the events of its questline can be played out regardless of which capital province players start it in, with the story playing the same but in different locations.
Fighters Guild Questline
The Fighters Guild quests in ESO are acceptable but not as interesting as other quest lines in the MMO. They see the player working to counteract Molag Bal’s efforts to invade the realm of Nirn while also figuring out the events surrounding the death of the previous guild master.
Solving the murder is a decent storyline in itself, and the guild’s adjacency to the main questline is interesting, but it does introduce some problems. Mainly, it makes the questline play awkwardly after finishing the main quest. It also makes some of its elements feel derivative because of how close it treads to the main quest.
Fighters Guild Skill Line
One of my favorite things about guilds in ESO is that joining them gives players access to a unique skill line. This helps flesh out and differentiate their character while encouraging players with appropriate playstyles to join the guild.
Each skill line includes an ultimate ability along with some passive and active abilities. The Fighters Guild’s passive abilities are primarily focused on facing enemies that are undead, Daedric, or werewolves. Some abilities let the player intimidate NPCs during conversations and accept bounty quests from the Fighters Guild.
Its active abilities include a ranged physical attack, a protective area-of-effect ability, and a trap. Its ultimate ability is a massive strike directly in front of the player and deals extra damage to undead and Daedric foes.
The guild’s skill line is particularly effective for tank and DPS melee classes. However, it is highly situational because of its focus on certain enemy types. This makes it a decent skill line to pick up after your build is finished so that it will increase your character’s performance in some situations. However, I don’t recommend picking it up early since it won’t apply to most of your activities in the game.
Fighters Guild in Daggerfall
By the time Daggerfall occurs in the series’ timeline, the Fighters Guild is in a stable position, allowing it to operate efficiently throughout all of Tamriel. This allows this version of the guild to support one of the most grounded quest lines in the series.
This is great. It allows players to see how the Fighters Guild usually operates when they aren’t concerned with universe-threatening events or massive catastrophes. It features quests that task players with hunting down powerful creatures, clearing basements of rodents, and protecting people. However, it also includes a short questline regarding the story of Lord K’avar.
The Story of Lord K’avar
K’avar is an accomplished knight that suffered a disfiguring injury from a fireball spell. The story sees K’avar attempting to overthrow the queen of the city of Sentinel to make himself king.
During the quest, the player slowly unravels the plot and has to make various decisions. This includes whether or not K’avar’s coup attempt is successful and how severely punished he is in the case of his failure.
This questline is great, especially when part of the more grounded quests that make up the majority of the Fighters Guild. It does an excellent job of illustrating the impact the Fighters Guild has on the world by having them solve a critical situation without it being on too large of a scale. It provides a window to the world that is only possible through its point of view.
Fighters Guild in Morrowind
Morrowind begins 22 years after the conclusion of Daggerfall’s story. In the province of Morrowind, the Fighters Guild has built a prevalent presence that sees it having guild halls in all of the major cities. and working on a steady supply of contracts.
This has allowed each guild hall to act largely independently of one another and completely support themselves with their contracts and funds.
This allows the guild to give players four quest lines from three guild halls. I like this approach because it allows the guild to feel much larger than the size of Morrowind’s map would typically allow. It allows the guild to feel like a sprawling presence throughout the province, constantly dealing with multiple issues and taking on as many contracts as the lore says they are.
Joining the Fighters Guild provides numerous valuable services to players running martial-based builds as well. Acquiring good gear at higher levels in Morrowind requires players to have established connections, which the Fighters Guild helps with immensely. It also gives players a spot where they can rest in most towns, which can help save them a lot of time and money.
Balmora Quest Line
At the Balmora Fighters Guild, players are given quests by Eydis Fire-Eye. There are nine quests in the line, and they are the ones that I recommend starting with because they are the most mundane.
They are a fantastic introduction to the guild by getting players involved in the land surrounding Balmora and helping the people nearby. It also culminates in players facing a unique monster known as a hunger after numerous quests facing smugglers and Orcs.
This also makes it a good introduction quest line because it slowly pulls back the curtain on the strange horrors players can expect to face during their adventures.
Ald’ruhn Quest Line
At the Ald’ruhn guild hall, players are given contracts by Percius Mercius, an Imperial with a wonderfully ridiculous name. I highly recommend tackling this quest line last, as its initial mission is the most difficult, and its culmination is more impactful when players have more experience with the guild.
This is because what starts as hunting down dangerous citizens leads to uncovering a conspiracy within the Fighters Guild that goes all the way to the top. It does a great job of delivering real stakes for the player to get involved in that are insular within the guild without taking things too far.
Vivec Quest Line
The base questline for the guild hall in Vivec has only six quests, but two more are given to the player when they reach a high enough rank in the guild by leveling up and developing their character. The quests from this hall mostly deal with collecting money from people and claiming bounties.
However, the second quest given by the Vivec hall is called Silence Tongue-Toad and sees the player dealing with a member of the Thieves Guild.
Having the guild quest lines interact with one another is one of my favorite parts of Morrowind’s handling of guilds. It helps make them feel more realistic while restricting players to one guild and making them more unique.
Once players get to a higher rank in the guild, they unlock the quest titled Remove the Heads of the Thieves Guild and Kill the Master Thief. These obviously see the player making huge moves against the Thieves Guild. This is a fantastic capstone to the quest line and is a great addition to have the player’s decision to align with the Fighters Guild have real consequences. It also is an exciting way for the player to have a measurable impact on the world.
Sadrith Mora Quest Line
The quest line given by the Fighters Guild in Sadrith Mora makes an excellent one to do second. There are eight quests in the line, with the final one marking a moderate rise in stakes that helps it feel like a culmination without going too far. It also has a lot of fun variation in its quests that thoroughly take players around the region and give them a tour of its locales.
Fighters Guild in Oblivion
The Fighters Guild in Oblivion is gripping because it employs a non-linear quest structure to its story. This allows players to experience the story of the Fighters Guild’s battle with the mercenary group known as the Blackwood Company in different ways. This helps make the story feel much more natural and realistic, but it does eliminate the curated pacing and payoffs of other quest lines in the game.
Unfortunately, Oblivion does mark the end of Elder Scrolls games, restricting players from joining every guild available with a single character. This means that it doesn’t have any implications for other guilds in its questline and instead introduces the Blackwood Company as an antagonistic presence.
Suspension and Punishment
One exciting part of Oblivion’s implementation of the Fighters Guild is that players can be suspended or expelled from it. When players join the guild, they agree to rules that state they are not allowed to attack, steal from, or murder other guild members.
On the occasion of the first rule break, the player is required to go and gather 20 Bear Pelts to end their suspension. If they break the rules again, they need to collect 20 Minotaur Horns instead. On the third occurrence, the player is expelled from the guild permanently.
This feature adds a lot to adding the guild, as it forces the player to play a sure way to preserve their membership. Giving real consequences to players that repeatedly break the rules is also a fantastic way of showing that they are playing in a realistic world where their actions have consequences, and they can lose their membership for good.
The Oblivion Crisis
The events of the main questline in Oblivion are known as the Oblivion Crisis. The event led to citizens losing faith in the systems and institutions that were supposed to protect them, like the Imperial Empire and Fighters Guild. This led to the civil war at the center of Skyrim and weakened the Fighters Guild and Mages Guild.
Just how weakened the Fighters Guild was by the event remains to be seen since the guild isn’t present in Skyrim. However, it is confirmed that the guild is still in existence at the time of Skyrim, unlike the Mages Guild, through loading screens. So, it is undeniable that the Oblivion Crisis weakened the Fighters guild, but how it adapted and has grown since remains to be seen.
Question: Why is the Fighters Guild not in Skyrim?
Answer: The Fighters Guild is absent in Skyrim because they were replaced many years before the start of the game by a similar organization known as the Companions.
Question: How do you join the Fighters Guild in Elder Scrolls Online?
Answer: The Fighters Guild has a guild hall in each of the three starter zones where players can travel to and join.
Question: Can you get expelled from the Fighters Guild in Oblivion?
Answer: Like the other guilds in Oblivion, you can get expelled from the Fighters Guild if you break their rules by attacking other guild members or stealing from them.
Elder Scrolls Fighters Guild: Conclusion
On the surface, the Fighters Guild may seem banaler than other guilds like the Dark Brotherhood or Mages Guild. However, its more grounded nature allows it to show players a better everyday side of Tamriel than its peers. This makes it a pivotal part of the games it is in and makes it shine in a unique way that the other guilds don’t manage to.