The Walls of Dondril?





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The walled defense of this "village of hardworking mer", "humble common folk" under the protection of Indoril struck me a little odd. I visited the place after leaving Old Ebonheart to travel the eastern Thirr territories. I think this is supposed to be a rather peaceful area, a starter region similar to the Ascadias on Vvardenfell? 

In light of this, the defining palisade of Dondril (made out of hundreds of Ex_De_Docks_Piling_01s!) might prove a little too much. Does a mere shack village in Aanthirin really need such a defense? 

Vhul, the next hamlet in the south, is a small, compact Velothi village without anything like this. You would expect this in the western mountain settlements, always under attack by Nord and Orc raiders, or at some remote communities in Boethiah's Spine. But this is in the heartland of Morrowind, an Indoril-controlled settlement. There might be another House Wars between Hlaalu and Indoril at the Thirr, but I doubt that this game affects the common Velothi nearly enough to require a palisade for this special place. And in vanilla, not even a disputed place such as Caldera had full and proper walls. 

So I was surprised to find a highly protected settlement in one of the most peaceful regions of Morrowind. Is there some reason or explanation to it that I have overlooked? 

If not, you might consider to remove or at least reduce the palisade. The resulting space could be used for minor additions (a small garden behind the shack? or similar things). Since a lot of work was put into this and the gates were built with Dunmer shack planks in a unique and quite interesting way, this construction could be kept in mind for other places that really need fortification. Or perhaps the gates and the palisades around the Velothi main building could remain as they are (for control of traders of travellers to Ebonheart?), with the rest of the village opened here and there? 

P.S.: I noted this when travelling the Preview, then searched and found that you already discussed this with various arguments pro and contra the palisade back in the day. 

Screen from CS: 


A quick edit of the southern entrance which keeps the gate construction (for tolls, Indoril registry who travels on the road to Ebonheart or whatnot), but removes the palisade around the village. Dondril keeps an unique aspect, but losts this "frontier settlement" character. Some banners, Dunmeri overhangs and a little more clutter might do the rest. 



I personally have always

Aeven's picture

I personally have always rather liked the pallisade. It was a leftover from a time before when the region was a fugly mess of WG crap. But I feel it still holds up well. The town tries to have some semblance of being the main town in a region of farming hamlets, and it stores a lot of the 'riches' collected around it. Almost as a silo.

Common rural Dunmer / Velothi

Tyermali's picture

Common rural Dunmer / Velothi are really about their closed communities, be it clan, family or hamlet and might have a good deal of shared "riches" (crops etc) to safeguard from outsiders, but for me, this feels more like some refuge fort from the Dark Ages, a strange sight in such a peaceful territory. But even if you want to keep it, the palisade could be minimized not to stick out that much compared to other places (vanilla & TR). A few rocks, a steeper hill or some Velothi structures could form more natural barricades if there is need for any. I think the way how the palisade was modded with hundreds of Ex_De_Docks_Piling_01's does not really hold up to what I've seen in some your more recent places. But that's just a technical aspect. 
Personally, as a traveller and observer, the palisade confuses me because it suggests a disputed frontier territory whereas the region is a peaceful starter region under Indoril control. And speaking about Indoril,I think the canonized wardens in Roa Dyr would see it as definite Law that this place IS naturally under their protection, and because THAT IS SO, the lower class Velothi would not need their own improvised defenses in lands kept in peace by anointed Indoril ever since. A palisade seems way too adaptive and pragmatical for a area controlled by Indoril. That's part of why I would suggest a removal (except for the gate things, perhaps) or some rework of this wall. 

I like the pallisade,

Kevaar's picture

I like the pallisade, personally, just on an aesthetic basis.

In the NPCs dialogue, it's mentioned the town has been raided before by witches/Daedric cultists, and one of the quests will be touching on that as well. Why this town gets raided and the others in the area don't, I don't know, but seems reason enough for them to want a pallisade.

There is also the Thirr RIver conflict to consider, so it might have some use towards that, too.

A raid by a daedra cult is

Tyermali's picture

A raid by a daedra cult is course a better explanation than none. But if something like this happened in Indoril territory, would common people or their Indoril lords already be distrustful and alarmed enough to come up with a palisade? And still - neither Vhul (much closer to Malacath's Hadrumnibibi) nor other shack villages of fortifications like this. The area from Dondril to Almas Thirr seems rather peaceful. A few miles to the south, not far from Saveri plantation, I found a peaceful Indoril pavilion with a tent to rest outside (see below). Vos on Vvardenfell has quite a similar background as Velothi farming village and was often raided by Ashlanders before Aryon took over (according to dialogue), but they do not have such a defense either. You couldn't keep a guar out of these places. Personally, I also think that House Wars would not affect the common farmers terribly much - the Great Game is for agents, assassins, mercenaries, small war parties or "commandos", not really broad conquests on the back of the common people (the convention to have formalized House Wars, as I understand it, is exactly there to prevent this). All in all, I'm sceptical for aesthetic (uniqueness is a good thing, but this sticks out in an odd way for me), technical (each part of this long palisade is just a single static) and conceptual aspects (a Thirr region that might be torn and disputed, but is peaceful on the surface and not in need of western forts). In my eyes, walls are more fitting places for like Mandul in borderlands where the reason for fortification is obvious:

But then, this rather idyllic scene might be more typical for Indoril Aanthirin (Indoril Thols Drothil)

In any case, thanks for your answers and discussion. Just wanted to throw in my impressions, but it's finally up to you. cool

There was a longer discussion

Gnomey's picture

There was a longer discussion about it, probably an old meeting or just in a chat room. Long story short, people wanted to keep it as it's a defining feature of Dondril, and some folks like its aesthetic, though I personally wanted to be rid of it and feel Dondril has enough other stuff to define it. (The lights hanging over the streets, the Velothi watchtower it now has, in general its layout with a central market and the Nest). There have been aborted attempts to make simplified replacement models of the piling to look less cobbled-together and to spare performance.

The explanation for the pallisade we ended up with is pretty much the opposite of what you speculated; as you said, the pallisade is impractical for Dondril's location, and the Velothi would not have built it if left to their own devices. The Indoril Lord Ilvi, however, is somewhat paranoid and xenophobic, preparing for a war with Hlaalu. He had the Velothi build it by way of fortifying his domain.

Sounds more like what a

Tyermali's picture

I think this might be what a breton Baron would do in such a situation, but if this has been decided, it should be this way. Thank you for the info! smiley

All in all, even if the palisade remains, there is still room for improvement towards a less cobbled-together look. Perhaps a better integration of the velothi building into the defense (they are like fortresses on their own), some rocks to break the monotonous line, or even a few decent Velothi elements at the corners or gates, plus some pious banners at the wall to ward off enemies spiritually, not just by pure force of a palisade as some Imperial legion camp would do? Or the palisade could still be under construction here and there, suggesting that Indoril anxiety for eastern Thirr is more of a recent thiing. I'm not sure what to do exactly, but I think a bit of "dunmerization" and some small varieties could already help very much. 

I'd tend to think more

Gnomey's picture

I'd tend to think more Velothi defenses would visually overwhelm the shack village and make it look too fortified. Beyond that, I'm personally open for ideas, but as we're mostly keeping it the way it is for those who like the aesthetic, I'd want to hear what they think first before changing anything. Because if we decide to go ahead and change the aesthetics, no walls would still be my favourite option.cheeky

Not really more Velothi

Tyermali's picture

Not really more Velothi defenses, I agree with you, this might just improve for the worse, result in the opposite effect of even more fortification and would distract from the one Velothi "tower" in the settlement. I was just thinking aloud, searching for ways to improve this. You said that there were former attempts at a palisade replacement to reduce the cobbled look (and by that the static count)? And yeah, I would also not miss the whole palisade for the reasons above, but be that as it may if people actually like this construction.

Edit: a quick idea for a palisade variation at a segment near the western gate (that is, if there is need for one at all ;) ) - basically the same principle, just even more cobbled together and with more than one static. The rock on the left is incorporated, skins, banner and green bettle shell added because Morrowind. My fav would still be no palisade at all, but if ... 

Actually I found that the

Rot's picture

Actually I found that the pilings had no effect on frame rate, which is why I gave up on changing the palisade. The hit seems to come from the center of the town and from NPCs. You can easily get +15 fps there from using cleaned vanilla flora meshes though.