Tamriel is a land that can rarely claim it has peace, and when it can, it's usually uneasy, at best. With the High Elven Aldmeri Dominion of Sumerset Isle still in power, never has this ever been more true. Their quest for political and magical domination has scarred the landscape of several countries and dissolved its fair share of factions and political parties. They had made some uneasy alliances out of the Khajiit of Elswyer and the Wood Elves of Valenwood in the past, but those certainly didn't last for long. All nations feel that they must defend themselves from the Aldmeri Dominion, while the Aldmeri Dominion feels they need to put all nations back in their place.
Only one faction seems to thrive off the chaos that this has caused, and that faction is the Dark Brotherhood. Having found itself back to its old glory with its even older traditions, the Guild of Murder hasn't seen a day go by without several contracts being brought to them. Travel has been perilous with the mistrust and suspicions from the governments of the various provinces, though, so several murderers within the guild have found themselves doubled, tripled, even quadrupled up for protection. Despite this, though, the Brotherhood has continued to keep their eyes everywhere...but whose eyes are upon them?
This game is set 50 years after the events of Skyrim, focused on the going ons in the Dark Brotherhood. The Brotherhood has risen back to power, with its traditions back to the way they were in Oblivion, with the Black Hand, the Five Tenets, and of course, the Night Mother. Ranks certainly have grown in 50 years, with several sanctuaries being made and rebuilt all over Tamriel, but they are still small, with only veteran members in them. New recruits are sent to the Dawnstar Sanctuary in Skyrim, it being the most populated and most hospitable. While it is in Skyrim, most members in that sanctuary are still sent to other provinces of Tamriel, as there are just too many contracts for the other sanctuaries to keep up with.
This is going to be a freeform game, so no need to learn a whole new system, but keep stealth and secrecy in mind when PCs are fulfilling contracts. Common sense prevails here: don't advertize ties with the Dark Brotherhood, don't kill in the middle of a crowd when unnecessary, don't brag about a kill in the middle of an inn, so on, so forth. Investigations will also be held when the murders are discovered, and while not nearly as sophisticated by today's standards, their methods will prove efficient enough to determine the basic idea of how the murder took place. Such an investigation can produce evidence as to the murderer's identity, should such evidence be left behind. If a PC has acted suspicious before the murder took place (asking too many questions about the victim, being seen waiting outside the place of murder, etc.), guards may approach and bring them in for questioning. As this will only affect things at a local level, it will rarely affect characters that may never go to that city again, but it is still something to keep in mind.
Characters may be from any of the ten core races of the Elder Scrolls universe: Argonian, Breton, Dark Elf, High Elf, Imperial, Khajiit, Orc, Nord, Redguard, and Wood Elf. Each character may have two adept skills, three apprentice skills, and four novice skills. There won't be any checks or need to roll dice for skills, but I will use them as a determining factor as to whether or not a character is able to succeed at a certain goal. Adept skills will be what a character is most known for and will most likely succeed at, apprentice skills are what a character will have a knack at doing naturally to relative success, and novice skills are what a character will have at least a rudimentary grasp on, more like a hobby sort of thing. Skills can be trained in-character to make them more effective, but the process will be slow if not used in practice.
The following will be the list of skills available and a brief description of them for this game in three categories: Combat, Magic, and Stealth. Stealth skills are a high priority for this game, but by no means are they required if you feel they won't fit the character.
One-handed: weapons meant to be wielded with one hand. Typically light, yet can be difficult to conceal. Includes longswords, maces, and war axes.
Two-handed: heavy weapons meant to rend through flesh and bone that can only be swung using both hands. Nigh-impossible to conceal. Includes greatswords, battle axes, and warhammers.
Heavy Armor: bulky, clunky shells of metal that are hard to penetrate. Includes iron, steel, dwemer, orcish, ebony, and daedric.
Martial Arts: the disciplines of fighting without weapons, using fists and feet to deal lethal blows. With many distinct styles, each martial artist can be more effective in certain situations than they are in others.
Smithing: the ability to smelt weapons and armor, and enhance them to make them even stronger. Being better in this skill means one can craft better equipment. Ores and materials must be gathered to make certain things, and better ores and materials are harder to find, but worth it in the end.
Destruction: the school that utilizes magicka to harm foes. This comes in the form of fire, frost, or shock.
Fire: magic that sets foes ablaze, furthering the damage caused. Higher-level spells tend to burst in an area, lighting several foes ablaze at once. Despite the flames, it is much less effective as mundane fire at igniting objects for very long.
Frost: magic that chills foes to the bone, exhausting them and making them move slower. Higher-level spells can freeze opponents in place, though they are never fully encased in ice.
Shock: magic that electrifies enemies. It is rather effective against foes in metal armor or drenched in water, as well as against other spellcasters, as the electricity disrupts concentration and innate magicka. Higher-level spells can arc from one target to another and cause foes' muscles to spasm and seize up.
Conjuration: the school that can open the gates of Oblivion to summon daedra to the mortal realm, serving the bidding of their conjurer for a short time, or summoning the spirits of the dead to corpses, reanimating them until they fall to ash.
Daedric summoning: summons from the planes of Oblivion, though only for a short time. Most use this for aid in combat, distracting and attacking foes with a scamp, atronach, or dremora, though it can have other practical uses, such as sending a messenger or distracting a person. The higher the level of knowledge if this practice, the more powerful the daedra that can be summoned, and the duration of the summon becomes longer.
Necromancy: typically frowned upon in most societies, though few countries have outright banned its practice. Reanimating the dead has its uses, such as having another body in combat or making a helper in magical experiments, but the process is hard on the host corpse, and when the body takes too much abuse or the spirit remains in it for too long, the body crumbles to ash, rendering it unable to be used again. The higher the level of knowledge in this field of conjuration, the longer the reanimation can last, and the more abuse the corpse can take before reducing to ash.
Illusion: the school which meddles with the minds of self, friends, and foes alike. Perhaps the most versatile school, there are spells which range from influencing emotions to leaving the caster invisible to the naked eye.
Charm: magic that changes the disposition of a person more favorably towards the caster. Useful for prying out information that one would typically keep hidden from strangers, or convincing a person to follow their new “friend” to a secluded location.
Calm: changes hostile creatures into a more docile state, making them lose the urge to attack. If they're attacked while calmed, however, they will still feel the need to defend themselves.
Fear: causes creatures to run away from the caster, fleeing from them at all costs without causing harm to themselves in the process. If backed in a corner, they will do all they can to get themselves away, even if that means attacking the caster.
Frenzy: sends the target into an uncontrollable rage, making them attack anyone in sight, be they friend or foe alike. They will pick up any weapon they can find if they don't already have a weapon, otherwise they will use their fists. They will always use the best weapon they have.
Rally: causes a fleeing creature to become brave and face the peril that they were originally afraid of.
Night-Eye: allows the user to see in pitch-black darkness without the aid of light by turning their vision to a bluish hue, light and shadow alike.
Invisibility: renders the caster unseeable to the naked eye, but not silent, for a duration. Attempting to do anything other than moving (picking up an object, attacking a target, opening a door, etc.) breaks the spell prematurely.
Chameleon: partially blends the caster into their surroundings, making stealth easier, for a duration. Not a true form of invisibility, the caster can still be seen by alert observers. This spell is not disrupted if the caster does anything other than move, so it is more practical in a crowd at higher levels.
Silence: causes the target to be unable to produce sounds, making spellcasting impossible, for a duration.
Alteration: the school which manipulates the world around the caster. From making light to rendering a person immobile, there are many ways this school can be used to benefit a master of it.
Burden: causes the target's equipment to become heavier by a certain degree, causing it to encumber the target to staggering amounts, for a duration. This may possibly render the target immobile if they cannot handle the sudden weight.
Feather: causes the caster's equipment to become lighter to a certain degree, allowing them to carry much more than usual, for a duration.
Light: causes a small amount of light to be formed, either on a distant object, or in the form of a ball around the head of the caster. Makes the darkness hardly a threat, but the caster can be easily spotted if attempting to sneak around.
Mage Armor: shields the caster in a barrier that deflects damage from blows. Becomes stronger as the caster gets more skilled, and can eventually be formed in a way that deflects fire, frost, or shock damage, as well.
Paralyze: completely immobilizes the target for a brief duration, causing them to tip over to the ground. Only a great knowledge of the Alteration school allows a caster to this kind of magic.
Water Breathing: allows the caster to breathe water as if it were air for a duration. This spell does not stop the caster from being able to breathe above water.
Water Walking: makes water seem as if it were a solid surface to the caster, making them able to walk upon it without falling in for a duration. When the duration expires, the caster will fall into the water as normal.
Detect Life: grants the caster an unnatural ability to detect living creatures through solid surfaces and from a distance. This comes in the form of purple outlines around the living creatures, though with enough concentration, the caster can distinguish friend from foe by changing the outlines to blue for friend and red for foe. Doing so drain magicka at a rapid rate, however.
Restoration: the school for those that wish to keep themselves from harm and heal from wounds they cannot avoid. Healing magic closes wounds that would otherwise prove fatal, warding magic reflects spells for as long as the caster can concentrate, and turning magic makes undead flee for a period of time.
Healing: restores vitality to the caster or the target, closing wounds and rejuvenating the metabolic processes of the body. While unable to restore true life to the deceased, it can save the life of those still clinging to their last breaths.
Warding: a shield of force emanates from the caster's hand, deflecting and diverting spells cast at them for as long as they can hold it up. Each spell deflected drains magicka from the caster, so it can only be effective for so long.
Turning: targeted undead flee from the caster for a duration, as if feared. They will not fight back against the caster if cornered, making them easy targets.
Enchanting: while not a school of magic, it is a useful skill which imbues weapons, armor, clothing, jewelry, and other items with magic. Swords may set foes ablaze, armor may be more resistant to shock, rings may grant the wearer better success with their skills, and so on. The use of such a skill requires three things: something to be enchanted, knowledge of the magic with which the item will be enchanted with, and a soul gem filled with the soul of a slain creature.
Alchemy: not quite a school of magic, but a useful skill that allows one with sufficient knowledge to mix ingredients together in such a way their innate magical properties can make them form into helpful potions or deadly poisons. The better the knowledge of various ingredients, the more likely a potion or poison will be successful. Most tend to either focus on curative potions or deadly poisons, but there are those who split their studies into both.
Sneak: the core skill of the stealthy, those adept in sneaking know how not to be seen or detected. Clinging to shadows, taking light steps, avoiding the branches that will snap under their feet, and so on. Most who sneak up on an unwary foe know the best places to strike for a certain, sudden death.
Archery: attacking with bows from afar, sharp, pointed arrows to pierce the flesh of enemies. While favored by assassins and hunters alike, most tend to launch their arrows when the unfortunate target least expects it.
Lockpicking: the skill that lets thieves and other ne'er-do-wells get into places they aren't meant to. The better the the person is at this, the more likely they can crack through even the toughest of locks.
Pickpocket: taking valuables off a person without them noticing. The more experienced a pickpocket, the more likely they are to get away with the goods undetected.
Light Armor: non-encumbering armor that provides moderate protection to the wearer, but leaves them agile and mobile. Armors of this type include leather, hide, elven, and glass.
Light Weapons: mostly daggers, these weapons have negligible weight, tend to be small, and are rather easy to conceal. Perfect for back-up weapons or smuggling in a shiv when posing as a harmless commoner. Masters of these weapons can make them seem more deadly than a hefty axe, even when the element of surprise is lost.
The following is a guideline for character sheets:
Birthsign: (The Apprentice, The Atronach, The Lady, The Lord, The Lover, The Mage, The Ritual, The Serpent, The Shadow, The Steed, The Thief, The Tower, The Warrior. These function as they did in Oblivion. Signifies the PC is a Child of Destiny.)
Adept Skills: Pick 2
Apprentice Skills: Pick 3
Novice Skills: Pick 4
Physical Description: Can include a photo, but a full paragraph will be more than acceptable.
Personality: A couple sentences should suffice, but no longer than a paragraph.
Backstory: Topics should include province of birth, brief mention of upbringing, first kill, and why they decided to join the Dark Brotherhood.
Equipment: Can include basic weapon of choice, basic armor, a couple potions/poisons, simple tools of the trade, and one unique item, but doesn't need to if it doesn't fit the character, and no special/named enchanted items.