The Dark Brotherhood: A Deep Dive into One of the Most Memorable Gaming Cults

dark brotherhood

The Elder Scrolls series, developed by Bethesda Game Studios, has captivated gamers for decades with its rich lore, expansive worlds, and engaging gameplay. Among the many factions and organizations that populate the series, one stands out as particularly memorable and intriguing: the Dark Brotherhood. This shadowy group of assassins has become a fan favorite, offering thrilling quests, unforgettable characters, and moral dilemmas that challenge players’ perspectives. In this article, we’ll explore the Dark Brotherhood’s origins, impact on the game world, and why it remains one of the most iconic gaming cults and secret societies.

Origins of the Dark Brotherhood

The Dark Brotherhood first appeared in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, released in 2002, and has since featured in subsequent titles such as Oblivion and Skyrim. According to the game’s lore, the group traces its roots back to the Morag Tong, an ancient assassin’s guild that worshipped the Daedric Prince Mephala. Over time, the Dark Brotherhood splintered from the Morag Tong and began to venerate the mysterious deity known as Sithis, the embodiment of chaos and change. The group’s signature phrase, “We Know,” accompanied by a black handprint, has become synonymous with the Dark Brotherhood and can send chills down the spines of players and NPCs alike.

The name for the Dark Brotherhood is simply perfect. It immediately generates an image in your mind when said aloud. It is the perfect cult name that gives you a true sense of what to expect before you even join.

the dark brotherhood origins

Another theory, following Versidue-Shaie’s assassination, suggests that Sithis, the Dread Father, spoke to a former member of the Morag Tong and asked for a new guild of assassins to be formed. A guild that would worship him, not Mephala, and would “marry business with death” to satisfy the Void’s hunger for souls. And thus, according to this theory, the Dark Brotherhood was born.

There’s another story, a bit different from the rest, that suggests the Dark Brotherhood was actually an offshoot of the Thieves Guild, not the Morag Tong. Apparently, during the Second Era, some members of the Thieves Guild found it quite handy to strangle the occupants of a house while they were robbing it. One woman, who later became the Night Mother, thought this was a pretty good idea and that they should make it a regular part of their business. The leaders of the Thieves Guild disagreed, thinking it’d be bad for business, but she wasn’t deterred. So, she went ahead and founded her own murder syndicate, which eventually became the Dark Brotherhood.

Whichever theory you believe, they all agree on one thing: the Dark Brotherhood has had a fascinating and complex history that continues to influence the world of Elder Scrolls to this day.

Impact on the Game World

The Dark Brotherhood’s presence in the Elder Scrolls series adds a layer of intrigue and danger to the game world. Players who choose to join the organization must navigate a series of morally ambiguous quests, often involving the assassination of prominent figures. These actions can have far-reaching consequences, impacting the game’s narrative and the player’s standing within the world.

The Dark Brotherhood also offers a unique gameplay experience, as players must rely on stealth, cunning, and assassination skills to complete their missions. This playstyle can be a refreshing change of pace from the more traditional combat-focused gameplay found in other parts of the series. There are a mix of different races that make up the society but there are certainly some races such as the Khajiit that have natural stealth abilities making them a great fit for this society. For players digging into the world of Elder Scrolls, there is a large collection of elder scrolls name generators that can help you get the perfect dark name for your future dark brotherhood member.

Memorable Characters and Quests

One of the reasons the Dark Brotherhood has resonated with players is its cast of memorable characters. From the enigmatic and unnerving Astrid in Skyrim to the fan-favorite jester assassin Cicero, the Dark Brotherhood’s members are as diverse as they are deadly. These characters help bring the organization to life, offering players a glimpse into the inner workings of the group and the relationships between its members.

The Dark Brotherhood’s quests are also a highlight of the series. Players who join the organization are tasked with carrying out high-profile assassinations, often involving intricate planning and execution. These missions provide a sense of accomplishment and challenge, as players must use their wits and skills to eliminate their targets without drawing attention to themselves.

Diverse Perspectives on the Dark Brotherhood

The Dark Brotherhood’s morally ambiguous nature has led to diverse perspectives among players. Some view the organization as an evil force that must be eradicated, while others see it as a necessary part of the game world’s balance. This moral complexity adds depth to the Elder Scrolls series, encouraging players to question their actions and consider the consequences of their choices.


The Dark Brotherhood is a testament to the power of compelling storytelling and worldbuilding in video games. As one of the most memorable gaming cults and secret societies, the organization has left a lasting impact on the Elder Scrolls series and its players. With its unique gameplay, intriguing characters, and thought-provoking moral dilemmas, the Dark Brotherhood continues to captivate gamers and stand as a shining example of immersive game design. It is a clear example of how a cult-like organisation can really enhance the experience of an RPG.

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