Although next to nothing is confirmed about The Elder Scrolls 6, it seems the game’s locations have reached some sort of consensus among fan speculation. Thanks to a teaser in the Starfield trailer, it seems that the next game will take place both in Hammerfell and High Rock, and that’s bound to have a huge impact on how characters roleplay in this world.
For example, while beast races like Argonians and Khajiit will likely remain outsiders, the Nords will likely show more of their seafaring nature than seen in Skyrim. Bretons will likely take the center stage in High Rock, and all of this begs the question of other races. Of all of them, the Imperials may be the most changed in terms of roleplaying.
The Elder Scrolls: Imperial Abilities
Imperials are mostly the “default” human race of Tamriel, and this is reflected in its wide range of starting features. Not only do they get bonuses for magic, armor, and melee weapon skills, they have the Voice of the Emperor ability to calm nearby humanoids, and Imperial Luck to allow them to find more gold than other races.
In short, there is nothing intuitive to their racial abilities that will really change—unlike Skyrim’s Nords, whose resistance to cold is essentially nullified. However, the Imperials will have a much bigger change than the Nords when it comes to adventuring into High Rock and Hammerfell.
An Imperial in Hammerfell and High Rock
It’s well known that the Empire is in decline, though many debate to what degree and how badly. It is to the point, however, that the Nords believe the Empire serves as a puppet for the Aldmeri Dominion, a point of contention reflected in the Skyrim Civil War. Many also see evidence of this in the White-Gold Concordat as it bans the worship of Talos (and Imperials who worship Talos do so secretly now).
Either way, this strained the Empire’s relationship with several countries. Not only did it play a role in the civil war, but Hammerfell effectively seceded from the Empire altogether by refusing the Concordat. This result in a few extra years of fighting between Hammerfell and the Aldmeri Dominion, with the former holding the latter to a standstill and eventually signing its own contract. It’s known a few wars happened, but that Hammerfell—despite its hostile landscape—has achieved its own sort of independence.
Because of this, it’s unlikely that Hammerfell is very welcoming of High Elfs or Imperials or, at least, will be whenever The Elder Scrolls 6 takes place. Hammerfell is its own sovereign nation now, and for one, Imperials are likely to be shunned and treated as outsiders. They will likely face similar discrimination as the Argonians or Khajiit in Skyrim do. It’ll be a major change from a roleplaying perspective, as an Imperial could come to represent the cowardice of the Empire in what transpired in Hammerfell.
High Rock may be a different story, but it is a mysterious one indeed. Because it shares borders with the frozen lands of Skyrim and the deserts of Hammerfell, travel to and from High Rock is more difficult. Travel is more possible by sea, but because of the resources required, High Rock’s imperial presence has never been the strongest. Despite this, or perhaps in spite of this, High Rock has traditionally been considered one of the most stable and richest countries in the Empire. That said, this lack of imperial presence means that very little is known about High Rock in the Fourth Era.
What this means is that anything and everything could be happening in High Rock, and nobody would know especially the Empire. As a result, roleplaying an Imperial here could go a lot of ways. Because of travel by sea, perhaps they are normal; because of the various limitations of travel, perhaps they are few. It won’t likely be anywhere near as hostile as Hammerfell, but it will be different for an Imperial player nonetheless.
The Empire in High Rock and Hammerfell
The biggest difference will be how detached the two countries are from the Empire, so while there are still likely to be some story elements there about the declining Empire, it’s not likely to be as prominent as other questions or factions in The Elder Scrolls 6. At the same time, the same could likely be said of the Aldmeri Dominion.
Now, of course, the Empire and Aldmeri Dominion’s presence here may very well depend on where The Elder Scrolls 6’s story goes. To that end, everything is fair game, but the fact of the matter is Hammerfell and Redguards aren’t likely to roll out the welcome wagon for Imperials, nor is High Rock used to a heavy presence. Fans will just have to wait and see how this aspect of The Elder Scrolls 6 impacts roleplaying an Imperial character.
The Elder Scrolls 6 is in development.