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Corrupted Jarl


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#1
raatorotta

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I was wondering about Jarl Balgruuf's "gold chests". What are they? During quest line in Civil war on Stormcloaks side, when Ulfric tolds you to give his axe to Balgruuf, there is conversation with Balgruuf and his advisors. They mention white con congard (or however it's written), that banned Talos as god among nords. They also mention something that Jarl took gold from Imperials. So is Balgruuf corrupted taking money from Imperials not to fight against Talos banning? Is that Jarl really reliable? When I heard about that gold, I was sure I picked right side, that was the Stormcloaks. That corrupted Jarl belongs in jail for sure. What do you think?

#2
Lachdonin

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Technicly, ALL the Jarls have taken money from the Imperials. Paying the local leadership was part of the standard practice for maintaining politicl stability within IMperial provinces. Ulfric himself has probably takena paycheque from the Imperials from time to time. Not since he started his little rebellion, but then it wouldn't do for the Imperials to pay the enemy would it?

The gold Balgruf was given was likely a reminder of what the Empire offers Skyrim. Trade, security and wealth.

As for the whole Talos thing, thats really a minor issue when you consider the civil war as a whole.

#3
Khorak

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Balgruuf says that the Jarls weren't consulted about the treaty, they were told. Avenicci responds that the chests of gold didn't hurt either. He's making the obvious inference that the Jarls were bought off after a rubbish peace was thrust upon them. *shrug* It's only surprising if you're desperately clinging to the idea that the Empire is great or something. They knew this wasn't going to go down well, and it's standard practise even in real life for terms that will be contentious to be sweetened with a massive sack of bribe money to the influential underlings.

What's actually surprising is that the guy you end up thinking is a cowardly weasel, Avenicci, suddenly slams Balgruuf right in the face with it, and leaves the usually confident and assured Jarl with little real argument in response. Considering he says "Not this again!" it's clear that, against what you'd expect, Avenicci and Irileth have been on his case about it more than once, and clearly, he wasn't very much on the winning side of that argument. He's sick of them kicking him in the gut about it.

Balgruuf isn't 'corrupted', but certainly he's taken an Imperial payoff....I say he's still not corrupted because he's clearly not happy about it and it's very much, and very obviously his belief that the Empire is the best for everyone that drives him to stick with it, not the fact that the Empire ponied up some spending money after the Great War. They pack a hell of a lot of character into those few lines, and it's easy to spot the difficulties Balgruuf has faced. He wants the Empire to stay together but....well, obviously the situation isn't clear cut and certain things he's found necessary as ruler are grating on him. In his case, the Empire would probably have been better off not giving him that money, as it personally insults him and presumably has made him look bad. He may be a supporter of the Empire, but he's still a 'good Nord' and things like that don't sit well.

Edited by Khorak, 15 January 2012 - 03:21 PM.


#4
Lachdonin

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*sigh* I'm not getting into the whole "The Empire is evil" thing again. Paying off local leaders to maintain provincial stability is standard imperial practice. It was done with the Great Houses in Morrowind (Some more reluctantly than others) and was even done with the counts of Cyrodiil, expecting anything different in Skyrim is a fools errand. The context in which that money is given could varry radically, however, and this particular situation definately did not sit well with our friendly Jarl-whose-throne-sucks.

If you want a corrupt Jarl, however, look at Riften. Between the Stormcloak(Original) Jarl, or the Imperial replacement, that city is screwed.

#5
Khorak

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*sigh* I'm not getting into the whole "The Empire is evil" thing again. Paying off local leaders to maintain provincial stability is standard imperial practice. It was done with the Great Houses in Morrowind (Some more reluctantly than others) and was even done with the counts of Cyrodiil, expecting anything different in Skyrim is a fools errand. The context in which that money is given could varry radically, however, and this particular situation definately did not sit well with our friendly Jarl-whose-throne-sucks.

If you want a corrupt Jarl, however, look at Riften. Between the Stormcloak(Original) Jarl, or the Imperial replacement, that city is screwed.


It's standard practice for pretty much any institution that just did something it knows won't go down well. You do whatever is necessary to keep the required people from being annoying. Money, titles, hollow promises, women, sheep....who cares. The Empire just didn't have anyone in the room who knew enough about Skyrim and Nords (if they did, they could have gotten the Nords as worked up as Ulfric has right now, but in support of the Empire).

Riften is certainly a hellhole. Can't really disagree with Nordrick on The Elder Strolls chapter 6. Burn it down. Markarth is also garbage either way. The Imperials have an ineffectual goon captaining the worst ship at sea, and the Stormcloaks replace him with the guys who made it the worst ship at sea. Should burn Markarth down too. Dawnstar is better off under the Imperials, since Skald is a nutbar. Morthal....geez, who the heck could really make a place whose only export is waterbourne diseases, into something worth a damn?

#6
Feanoro

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I disagree with Layla Law-Giver being corrupt. Her flaw is that she's extremely naive and trusting in Maven Black-Briar. As such she keeps encountering problems in the city, she tells Maven about them, who goes on and reassures Layla that everything will be dealt with and nothing happens. This is why when you start helping around Riften she's surprised that things finally get done.

Igmund's role in Markarth is to keep the silver flowing mostly towards the Empire, something that bothers Ulfric, of course, who changes Igmund with Thonar in exchange for the silver flowing towards the Stormcloaks. Overall though, the Silver-Bloods make a ton of money either way.

Skald is indeed a bad Jarl from several points of view and I agree Dawnstar is better off without him, but the Empire has bad Jarls too: Siddgeir is a milk-drinker that only cares about having a good time and taking bribes, I think Falkreath is slightly better off without him.

Idgrod Ravencrone's a bit weird and harsh but fair Jarl (but then again so is her Stormcloak replacement).

Anyway, I think the way cities are set up suggest exactly where and how much money the Imperials contributed. Clearly they pump tons of money into Solitude and some into Whiterun (although the latter has the advantage of being the main trading hub for all of Skyrim what with its central location and proximity to the Empire) and Markarth's doing pretty ok as well. However, the Stormcloak cities such as Windhelm, Winterhold or Riften are doing pretty badly (it's hard to call Morthal, Dawnstar and Falkreath cities, they're more like extended villages).

I know you're gonna say it's because they're Stormcloak cities but that's not really true. Winterhold's like this because it was destroyed by the Sea of Ghosts, Riften's troubles step almost exclusively from Maven, an Imperial agent if there ever was one. Windhelm has racism issues and other problems (although, again, it looks like Altmer such as Niranye and Nurelion have done quite well for themselves there despite being members of the one race we KNOW Ulfric hates), but the way it looks is also partly due to its age (even the Palace of Kings looks cavernous and cramped compared to the Blue Palace or Dragonsreach).

Anyway, it doesn't look like the Empire did much to help the problem-ridden cities of Skyrim. In fact it looks like they only help when there's something to gain (Solitude as the administrative center, Whiterun as a trading center, Markarth for its silver). To my mind this is partially why the racist attitude and Stormcloak faction gained so many followers in Skyrim.




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