House Dres Brainstorming

137 posts / 0 new
Last post
Kevaar's picture
Kevaar
Developer EmeritusQuest Developer
Joined:
2016-01-19 19:35
Last seen:
1 month 4 days ago

Hm. So I’m thinking.

It may make sense for Hlaalu and Dres to ally at some point, as they’re the two Houses most interested in making deals. Weak connection IMO, but meh.

The slavery thing….it occurs to me that perhaps the secret deals with the Sload and/or the old deals between Black Marsh factions and the Dres imploded. With the result the clan leaders got killed off, and/or the Dres decided the best thing to do was free the slaves and do a 180 after all the dust cleared.

What that means for our questline is the last few quests in the faction questline should be all about that implosion.

But I’m not sure of the logic behind it. Still a weird decision to make.

****

I also like the other ideas posed! Bath salts seems a little too upscale for the Dres, except perhaps an obscure gods-worship thing? Though I love the idea of them taking salt and making it into these...perhaps mixing it with Skyrender spit or other such oddnesses for the special scents.

Atrayonis's picture
Atrayonis
Lead DeveloperDeveloperInterior DeveloperQuest Developer
Joined:
2015-09-28 20:13
Last seen:
4 hours 18 min ago

Kevaar

Random thought I need to look into further—

In Oblivion dialogue, it’s stated that House Hlaalu and House Dres banded together to pick apart Indoril, but most importantly, freed all their slaves and abolished slavery.

Which is a WTF, because Dres economy is dependant on slavery.

I’d like to have each Great House faction questline support what was said in Oblivion, but I’m stumped on this one. I need to think about more how this would logically pan out, but have to run to work now, so...leaving this as an note-to-self.

You won’t like what you will find.
This is based on the last big gasp of Bethsoft’s lore forum, Loranna’s RP. Basically, Helseth shacks it up with a Dres, they ally their houses, abolish slavery, and see Morrowind through a civil war.

It doesn’t mesh with the work TR is doing on the Dres and it was pretty poorly received at the time too (I brought it up on the Reddit Discord the other day and people were WTFing about it even now).

Kevaar's picture
Kevaar
Developer EmeritusQuest Developer
Joined:
2016-01-19 19:35
Last seen:
1 month 4 days ago

Atrayonis

Kevaar

Random thought I need to look into further—

In Oblivion dialogue, it’s stated that House Hlaalu and House Dres banded together to pick apart Indoril, but most importantly, freed all their slaves and abolished slavery.

Which is a WTF, because Dres economy is dependant on slavery.

I’d like to have each Great House faction questline support what was said in Oblivion, but I’m stumped on this one. I need to think about more how this would logically pan out, but have to run to work now, so...leaving this as an note-to-self.

You won’t like what you will find.
This is based on the last big gasp of Bethsoft’s lore forum, Loranna’s RP. Basically, Helseth shacks it up with a Dres, they ally their houses, abolish slavery, and see Morrowind through a civil war.

It doesn’t mesh with the work TR is doing on the Dres and it was pretty poorly received at the time too (I brought it up on the Reddit Discord the other day and people were WTFing about it even now).

0.o Yeeeah, that might just be something we have to retcon then.

Though actually, I’m getting an idea now...

I think another way this could go is the deals implode, and House Dres takes a nosedive because of the havoc this causes among their leadership. Hlaalu sees this and opportunistically moves in. Due to their ties with the Imperials (and fine, Helseth can play a role too...), the Hlaalu blackmail the Dres into accepting a deal that abolishes slavery (among other things) in return for saving the Dres from utter collapse.

This is because the Hlaalu recognize what a economic powerhouse Dres has become, so they don’t want them to just go kaput. But they realize that keeping slaves costs money in the long run, plus ruins their own relationships with the Imperials. Forcing the Dres Dunmer to become the plantation workers also gives them a measure of power over Dres directly: Dres can’t exactly fight back against Hlaalu “occupation” when their citizens are busting their butts in the fields to keep food on the table. Hlaalu then also have a monopoly on Morrowind’s biggest industry and exploit it: think first world businesses exploiting third world sweat-shops.

Dunmer abolishing slavery by making each other “slaves”. I kind of like the poetry of that. :P

Anyway, Dres being the tricksy dealers they are, they probably had a catch to the Hlaalu deal planned all along. For all we know, maybe they were provoking the Indoril and Redoran to raise hell, causing the civil war, for reasons of their own. Whatever it was probably will never come to light, due to the Oblivion Crisis throwing everything topsy-turvy.

The Hlaalu-Dres amalgation is then the most powerful of the Great Houses, with Indoril crippled from the loss of the Tribunal, Redoran caught between wars, and Telvanni not giving a bleep. So they win the civil war through sheer access to resources. The fact that Morrowind became more open to outlanders is an unintended byproduct, and may not be expected to last that long. Hlaalu-Dres would probably fracture into more Great Houses or clans over the years, all of which are wiped out by the events in Skyrim lore.

Terrifying Daedric Foe's picture
Terrifying Daed...
DeveloperInterior DeveloperQuest Developer
Joined:
2016-04-10 14:00
Last seen:
1 year 2 months ago

I think I remember back on the old forums this topic was touched on and someone came up with the theory that although the slaves were technically “freed” in name; in reality they were still bound to their old masters by poverty wages and other barriers to returning home. So basically nothing changed at all.

10Kaziem's picture
10Kaziem
Lead DeveloperDeveloperInterior Developer
Joined:
2015-12-12 23:47
Last seen:
6 months 2 weeks ago

If the slaves being freed was a thing, I’d like to think that the Dres would definitely go the “Oh, yes, they’re tooooootally free, definitely, look at them all voluntarily being here, yes” route.

Does: concepts, textures, youtube vids, admin stuff e.g. PR, handbook, assets, small website things. Activity level: wildly unpredictable. Still active. Find me on Discord.

Gnomey's picture
Gnomey
Lead DeveloperDeveloperExterior DeveloperInterior Developer
Joined:
2015-08-10 20:50
Last seen:
36 min 11 sec ago

Swiftoak dropped by on IRC and linked a document Adanorcil wrote up on House Dres identity and faction quests. While there are natually some divergences from our conceptualization of House Dres I think there are a lot of ideas worth using. I particularly like the idea of Hearthless Houses and the ancestaggregate.

Templar Tribe's picture
Templar Tribe
Joined:
2016-01-17 16:36
Last seen:
1 year 10 months ago

Gnomey

Swiftoak dropped by on IRC and linked a document Adanorcil wrote up on House Dres identity and faction quests. While there are natually some divergences from our conceptualization of House Dres I think there are a lot of ideas worth using. I particularly like the idea of Hearthless Houses and the ancestaggregate.

You know, his specification of the house as a whole is good, however i must admit; that purposed quest line is pretty bad.

Rats's picture
Rats
Lead DeveloperDeveloperExterior DeveloperInterior DeveloperQuest DeveloperReviewer
Joined:
2014-01-08 21:55
Last seen:
3 days 4 hours ago

That document is one of the best TR planning documents I’ve read. This is more or less exactly what I had hoped TR’s take on House Dres would be.

The questline is, in my opinion, the very opposite of bad – I think it’s marvelous.  The various stages are well explained and they will give the player a sense of true progress. There are many elements here that I like really, really much. For example, being adopted into a House by a swarm of ancestral bones is both humorous and tragic at the same time. It’s sort of sweet, too – the orphan player finally has a family (albeit a dead one). I also really like the mystery of the “Hand of the Hist” character and how it slowly unfolds.

The Dres vampirism (Molag Bal’s involvement) and the dealings with the Sload are not mentioned in this version of the questline, but thankfully the plan is vague enough that there’s plenty of room for both to be explored. For example, the klaanath creature that the player needs (being descriped as a coral, tentacle monster that provides the farms with water) for their new clanstead just screams Sload. Maybe the player would be forced to strike a deal (possibly a really bad one) with a Sload to get a klaanath polyp.

On names, though: I’m not the biggest fan of every Dres clanstead having the ‘Dres’ suffix, e.g. ‘Dres Horak’. I am afraid that it will be jarring and/or just the tiniest bit confusing. For the smaller clansteads it might be fine, but the larger clansteads that also serve other functions (trading ports) IMO should have just the name without the ‘Dres’ bit. I will also, once again, voice my dislike of calling ‘Tear’ something like ‘Dres Tyr’, ‘Dres’ or ‘Tyr’. It should be Tear – I don’t know if people have had issues with the name other than it means something in English, but I for one am fond of it. It is already in the Lore, it’s actually one of the few things we already knew about Dres in vanilla Morrowind; the name looks good, it doesn’t stand out from other Dunmer cities (unlike Blacklight and Stonefalls did); and if anything the meanings the name carries in English (a teardrop/to rip, to rend) only work to its advantage (I mean, saltwater and tearing stuff apart – Dres much?). The idea that the Dres names should be more like Ashlander (ie. variations of Assyrian, Sumerian, Akkadian, & co.) names is a great little detail and we should definitely do it. There are great many resources online for ancient names, I’ve personally used this for all my naming needs: https://tekeli.li/onomastikon/ 

Kevaar's picture
Kevaar
Developer EmeritusQuest Developer
Joined:
2016-01-19 19:35
Last seen:
1 month 4 days ago

Hm. I think the questline itself is a bit weak tbh (why is a Dunmer giving you permission to ransack an ancestral tomb?? even a forgotten one is sacrilege), but I like some of the elements in it. Having the ancestors speak for the player so they can join the faction is similar to the Ashlander questline I was kicking around, and I think reflects well how Dunmer revere and respect their ancestors, even if it means accepting an outlander. It also foreshadows the main quest, in which the player’s soul IS special, and how the ancestors would probably be able to recognize that, being dead themselves.

I’m unsure of the logic of how accepting an outlander would reinvigorate the ancestors, though. You can’t really get around the fact the player is an outlander and likely not a Dunmer at all. Having the ancestors “disappear” out of not being worshipped is too much like DnD gods to me, and the ancestors aren’t gods, they’re just dead Dunmer: they would exist regardless. Perhaps instead the player is tasked with finding the last living relative and raising them out of poverty/addiction/crime/etc? Enter in more themes of this last living relative treating you like dirt because you’re an outlander, but slowly gaining some grudging respect and eventually coming to see the player as a family member, hence the player becomes part of House Dres.

I also like the effect of spreading the ashes on the wind and following them to the site of a new clanstead. I want to keep that for our Dres stronghold questline.

Also side note on the Hist, this lore gets fleshed out a little more and is diferent in TESO from what’s put down in this document. It’s still murky on what the Hist are, but the Argonians are a part of them in a much more intimate way than callous creators. There’s a theme of the Argonian spirits going to “rejoin” their Hist tree on their death (and if anything happens to the tree, poof spirits), and an Argonian being born away from their Hist tree severely limits their spiritual development, making them come across as somewhat autistic (to use a modern term) until they can be rejoined to the tree. This may suggest the tre is nothing more than a conglomerate of Argonian spirits? Or the Hist tree created their souls right along with their bodies, and can take them back.

Another random fact is that races eating the Hist sap go crazy and die (like a huge drug overdose), but Argonians seem to have some resistance to this effect, and will use the sap to the effect of a mind-altering spiritual drug. A quest or two playing with that might be interesting.

EDIT:
Just to move the discussion along, it seems like we so far have three different  proposals of how one can join House Dres:

1) The player becomes a slave and works their way out of bondage.

2) The player gets in through the approval of a Hlaalu infiltrator. The Hlaalu infiltrator is later found out, but the player retains their status.

3) The ancestors approve the player’s entry and set them to work for their own murky purposes before the player becomes involved in the politics of the rest of the House.

We might be able to knit these together, like the Shady Dunmer from Swiftoak’s plotline being the Hlaalu infiltrator of mine. Personally, I think option #1 should be the entry quest for the Twin Lamps instead, though.

Rats's picture
Rats
Lead DeveloperDeveloperExterior DeveloperInterior DeveloperQuest DeveloperReviewer
Joined:
2014-01-08 21:55
Last seen:
3 days 4 hours ago

The shady Dunmer isn't a Dunmer, though, it's the Hist-made homonculus.

Kevaar's picture
Kevaar
Developer EmeritusQuest Developer
Joined:
2016-01-19 19:35
Last seen:
1 month 4 days ago

Oh, I must have missed that. Hm. Honestly, still weak, as it doesn’t follow the lore put forth in TESO, which is the closest thing we have to canon beyond player-lore that grasps at the straws left in TES3 and prior games.

At some point I think we need to define the Hist deal in more detail: while it can be left murky to the player, to be able to properly reference it in plots we need a firmer idea of why the Hist would let their creations be used by the Dres in such a way, as it simply doesn’t make sense from what we know of them.

If Hist trees are actually Argonian spirits or have a very close connection with them, about the only reason they would have to letting their kin be treated so terribly would have to do with averting some kind of world/spiritual disaster. Or possibly getting the rug pulled out from under them after making a sinister deal, but we would have to couch it carefully so it doesn’t look like Argonians are just plain stupid.

IRL, some of the African slave trade was due to the various African factions stabbing each other in the back. Something similar could be done with Argonian tribes, where one Hist tree/Argonian conglomerate made a deal to trade OTHER Argonian tribes to the Dres. And it’s spiraled out of control since then.

I’m currently reworking some of my own join Dres questline, see if I can incorporate some of these ideas.

Kevaar's picture
Kevaar
Developer EmeritusQuest Developer
Joined:
2016-01-19 19:35
Last seen:
1 month 4 days ago

Oh, oh, idea. Maybe it knits the seam together? Sorry for double-post, I didn’t want this to get lost.

So Hist trees are conglomerates of Argonian spirits or break off pieces of themselves to put into Argonians or otherwise create Argonian souls. It doesn’t really matter HOW, the point is, from the view of the Hist trees, how many Argonians souls serve it is a measure of their power. Hist trees being sentient, are just like any other sentient being, in that they don’t necessarily get along with each other.

The Dres deals are a case of Hist tree politics that ended up affecting more than just themselves. One (or more) Hist tree got the idea that if it manuevered it’s opponent’s Argonians into being chained, that other Hist tree’s power would become severely limited. So it made the deal with the Dres that the Dres could capture the rival tree’s Argonians to use them as slaves, and also as cattle for the Dres vampiric rituals.

These rituals in essence destroy the Argonian souls. The Hist tree tied to them is practically toast by now. The Dres, still hungry for economic slavepower and needing to keep up a supply of souls for their own rituals, expanded their operations to include Argonians from more Hist trees that were originally not part of the first deal. This resulted in the Arnesian War.

Fast forward a few more generations and the problem still isn’t solved. The Dres still need slaves and still need cattle. The House Sabael ancestral spirits have recognized this is a downward spiral, and reaches out to the player to put a stop to it. This removes the need for the player to be blood kin in some way, and gives them a very good reason for working in close connection to upper politics within Dres.

It still doesn’t make sense for the Shady Dunmer to be a Hist homonculous, though. Instead, perhaps it is an ancestral spirit, who gave the player the location of the tomb in hopes they would come by and help House Sabael. Only caveat here—why did the spirit choose the player and not the ten thousand other likely mercenaries in the province?

Kevaar's picture
Kevaar
Developer EmeritusQuest Developer
Joined:
2016-01-19 19:35
Last seen:
1 month 4 days ago

Alright, finished with uploading my proposed joining. This incoporates the House Sabael plot arc in Part 4 and Part 5, though the details need more fully fleshing out:

Part 1: http://tamriel-rebuilt.org/asset/i-belong-here-no-really
Part 2: http://tamriel-rebuilt.org/asset/going-down-river
Part 3: http://tamriel-rebuilt.org/asset/skyrender-eggs
Part 4: http://tamriel-rebuilt.org/asset/rumor-plot
Part 5: http://tamriel-rebuilt.org/asset/finding-sponsor

After this, the player is within the faction officially, and the plotline continues at the point of becoming a Hearthless House as put forth in the planning document. The quests offered after this focus on building the player’s clan, and the plotline ends with the Dres deals coming to light and imploding rather than the slave uprising (though that could be a part of it, too).

What do you guys think of that?

Gnomey's picture
Gnomey
Lead DeveloperDeveloperExterior DeveloperInterior Developer
Joined:
2015-08-10 20:50
Last seen:
36 min 11 sec ago

Unfortunately I still haven’t properly gone through your proposals let alone formulated a full reply to them, so for the time being I’ll reply only to the above, to which I’ve apparantly already got far too much to say:
1. I do not think it is a good idea to rely on TESO lore to fill gaps in Morrowind and pre-Morrowind lore. I would really only turn to TESO lore if it can stand on its own merit in the context of TR, or especially if it’s better than anything we can come up with. I don’t think this only applies to TESO either, but don’t want to make this post even longer than it already is.
I will be the first to admit that I’m pretty ignorant on TESO lore, but from the little I glean from your post I think this is one case where we would be best served to forge a different path. The main reason for that is quite fundamental: each game carries with it a certain perspective or set of perspectives on the world it is trying to portray. TESO seems to be trying to make the Hist sympathetic figures, or at least understandable figures on some level. You are encouraged to see things from their – or at least the Argonians’ – viewpoint. TR is creating the world of Morrowind, and in Morrowind the Hist are sinister alien organisms constantly weaving their schemes in the shadows. They are utterly beyond empathy, as they are beyond understanding. They are monsters. For the Dres in particular, they are one of the devils who are offering deals, and who the Dres eternally strive to outwit. They are fundamentally evil, and a particular form of evil the Dunmer find strange and terrifying. They are Eldrich abominations.
So they do not appear to value anything, least of all their Argonian creations. The Argonians are thralls of the Hist; dumb lizards the Hist engineered to serve them. The Hist appear to be a hive mind, again very much from the outside perspective through which they will be viewed in TR. I think internal squabbles among the Hist would undermine their characterization and the threat I think they should present to the Dres.
2. So that I’m not always disagreeing with you (sorry about that), I do fully agree that effectively being given permission to ransack a tomb by a Dunmer came off as very weak to me, even – perhaps especially – with the revelation that he was a Hist-made homonculus. I feel it rather lacks in subtlety, and most people interested enough in the world of Morrowind to try out TR would feel slapped upside the head by the shear incognruity of it. It’s like having an alien infiltrator on earth go up to someone and say ‘here’s a baby, feel free to dig in’. It just makes the infiltrator look like an ignoramus.
3. I think it’s a fairly important point that the player gets personally adopted into the House, and doesn’t become matchmaker for some random Dunmer. RPGs in which players define their own player characters already have a common problem with relatability; developers are so afraid of stepping on the player’s characterization of the player character that they never have anything directly affect the player, but instead always have the player be some altruistic figure helping other people who have stuff happen to them. There are two problems with that: having the player be some altruistic busybody is itself quite the characterization and tends to be very stifling, and it’s much harder to invest the player in the story if it doesn’t have any ultimate significance to their player character. They just do their altruistic deed and move on, forgetting that questgiver#137 ever existed.
Also, as another point, I personally think we should go out of our way in the Dres questline to give the player a feeling of agency. Not in the sense of being able to do whatever he wants, as the world of Morrowind isn’t so forgiving, but in the sense of ‘if you want something done right, do it yourself’. The other Dres will ignore the player unless they think of a way to exploit him. It’s up to the player to seize the initiative and convince the Dres it will be worth their while to do business with him. Should we write ourselves into a corner and need someone to give the player a push in the right direction, I think the ancestaggregate is an excellent device for that purpose: on the one hand, its agency and ability to act is clearly limited, and as such shouldn’t impose on the player’s agency. On the other, consulting with ones ancestors is precisely what Dres would do when they’re uncertain, and in doing so they would not be risking their agency as they would by asking another Dres and possibly becoming indebted in the process. Gameplay would march hand in hand with story.
4. Minor point: I’m not a particular fan on the klanaath creature, at least not with the current characterization of the Dres. I feel that such a blatantly convenient creature would work better in Telvannis. I rather prefer the idea that the Sload traded merely in knowledge, and that even though the Dres have struck very convenient deals (though at a great cost) they’ve really had to work for them. Despite their population of slaves, I very much see the Dres as hard workers. Even if they do not till their fields, they put effort into making sure their slaves do. They are not interested in mitigating their work, not at all. At the root of it they constantly seek validation for their hard labour by seeing it rewarded.
5. I really want to avoid playing the vampiric rituals card for the Dres. This is really me being pedantic again and focusing on semantics, because I think the Dres would care about these particular semantics. I think it’s very important that the Dres wisewomen find their vampirism utterly repulsive. If their deal requires they do something fancy with souls or blood or whatever, they’re merely paying up for their end of the deal by abiding by some needlessly complicated stipulations. Nothing spiritual or ritualistic about it at all, no siree. Rituals should be reserved for things that have a value. To use the term ‘ritual’ in connection with their vampirism would be to legitimize it, and make it appear like something worthwhile on some level, when to them it is only shame and taboo.

Rats's picture
Rats
Lead DeveloperDeveloperExterior DeveloperInterior DeveloperQuest DeveloperReviewer
Joined:
2014-01-08 21:55
Last seen:
3 days 4 hours ago

permission to ransack a tomb by a Dunmer came off as very weak to me, even – perhaps especially – with the revelation that he was a Hist-made homonculus.

I really don’t think this will be an issue. The homonculus can phrase this subtlety; they can “reveal the location of a hidden treasure” instead of speaking of raiding tombs. 

Klaanath could very well be replaced with knowledge that the player obtains (steals/buys/tricks) from the Sload. This could actually work better with the Dres. Before the salt can be tilled one must know the right words of power. The player is like Prometheus stealing fire from Zeus.

 

Kevaar's picture
Kevaar
Developer EmeritusQuest Developer
Joined:
2016-01-19 19:35
Last seen:
1 month 4 days ago

Even if they couch it in terms of a hidden treasure, the player still shows up at the tomb and wonders why a Dunmer sent them there to ransack it. The blow to the canon comes later maybe, but still comes.

The reasoning for the Hist sending them there doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, either. Are they doing it to thumb their nose at the Dres by ransacking a tomb? Do they want the player to meet with House Sabael? It seems like if the key is that the player gets to the tomb regardless, there would be much better reasons for sending them over there. A local complaining of a haunting, protecting it from bandits, even a Mage’s Guild associate wanting to study how Dunmer ancestral worship differs from necromancy..etc,etc.

Rats's picture
Rats
Lead DeveloperDeveloperExterior DeveloperInterior DeveloperQuest DeveloperReviewer
Joined:
2014-01-08 21:55
Last seen:
3 days 4 hours ago

The reason was in the document. The Hist need the player to become a member of a Dres clan so the player can rise the ranks of Dres hierarchy and finally overthrow the leading clan, which is indebted to the Hist. The Hist are using the player as a debt collector and once House Ulabat has been taken care of, the Hist aim to make a new deal with the player (and by extension all Dres).

I really like Adanorcil’s plans for House Dres’ questline. There’s a great story there.

Gnomey's picture
Gnomey
Lead DeveloperDeveloperExterior DeveloperInterior Developer
Joined:
2015-08-10 20:50
Last seen:
36 min 11 sec ago

I think perhaps we can be more direct then. At the base of every Dres quest I think there should be a deal or business transaction. In this case, the homunculus is offering the player a possibility to increase his standing in relation to the Dres – by possessing a clan and ancestry the Dres will feel obliged to take the player more seriously (if only by proxy) and maybe even not try to rip him off quite as much as before – in return for taking care of some task. I think care needs to be taken into what the task is, as it needs to equal or exceed the value of the reward; at this point in the questline a fair deal should come off as a great, vaguely suspicious sign of generosity whereas getting ripped off should be the norm. If the player gets a pay-off for joining House Dres, I think it should come late and that the player will have to suffer a while before it comes.
So let’s say for example the player needs to recover an Argonian who is hiding out in some dingy Imperial checkpoint on the border. The Dres slavehunters cannot complete this task efficiently as the Imperials would not allow them access, but the player, as an outlander, shouldn’t have any trouble convincing them to give him access to the checkpoint. Of course, the player will need to figure out how to haul the slave out and bring him back through the jungle, and all sorts of things could potentially go wrong. The player would specifically be told to bring the slave back alive so that an example can be made of him, which would not at all be an unusual request from the Dres. They would probably see simply killing an escaped slave as wasteful. It’s a very difficult task which carries great personal risk for the player, and the reward – at least as presented to the player – is directions to a tomb with ancestors who might still persist, who might not attack the player and, on the very slimmest of chances, might be open to reaching some agreement with the player. I think that would be a pretty good amount of unfair. (Unbeknownst to the player, the homunculus would probably already have investigated the tomb and gained the necessary assurances that the ancestors would play ball on their end, as otherwise his plot would rely on too many variables to be viable. I think the player should be the main variable in the homonculus’ plans and the rest should be pretty well thought out, but so as not to awake the player’s suspicion the homunculus would want to come off as another Dres ripping the player off, not as a benefactor).
(Incidentally, disappearance and change through lack of belief is established in TES. Belief shapes reality. That being said, in the case of ancestor ghosts I rather think that, without care and maintenance, their connection to the mortal world and with it their identity would erode and they would be recycled in the Dreamsleeve).

Kevaar's picture
Kevaar
Developer EmeritusQuest Developer
Joined:
2016-01-19 19:35
Last seen:
1 month 4 days ago

Counter arguments in no particular order:

The Dreamsleeve doesn't work like that, though, as far as I can recall of the lore. It recycles the "energy" of the soul (the piece that gets used as part of enchantments too), but not the memories/identity. The memories get detached from the energy piece and are stored within the Dreamsleeve itself somewhere. Speaking to ancestors is probably better understood as talking to that person's collection of memories. They don't disappear, though they may become harder to access for a variety of reasons, including the loss of any living relatives.

I'm unsure too if the spirits of the dead are even fully aware of this process. Some of the lore points to them experiencing the Dreamsleeve as a dream, or a kind of afterlife. Again, beliefs shaping reality, where the Nords experience Sovngarde, a place similar to what they knew in their mortal life. Dunmer would probably experience something similarly familiar and so not something they would necessarily care to avoid.

It's also put forth in a lore book that remaining in touch with the mortal world is cold and unpleasant and can drives a spirit mad. (Perhaps another reason for the Dres clanleaders detest and go crazy from their prolonged lives.) If anything, this would be a reason for House Sabael to WANT to capitulate and sever all ties with the mortal world. http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Morrowind:Ancestors_and_the_Dunmer

The thing with the Hist and the Argonians is that it's pretty clearly stated in the TESO that it works this way: the Hist have an intimate spiritual connection with the Argonians. During one quest, you literally come upon a Hist tree that is dying, then an Argonian spirit pops out of it and tells you if the tree dies, all the Argonian spirits attached to it will also disappear, so save us please.

In other sources, the hist sap is the source of these souls, and Argonians are given their souls by drinking it upon hatching. (I am guessing it is identity--AE--component from the Dreamsleeve, which is why other races get such a bad reaction to drinking it, as they are basically trying to absorb another soul. The Argonians, who were probably dumb lizards at one point, have no such conflict between soul matter.)

You could say the Dunmer simply don't understand this and have that as the front face of the quest, casting the Hist as unfathomable beings, but on the backend, it's inconsistent with the lore. Why would one of these trees willingly sacrifice its people, which are pieces of itself? Whether or not it cares for the Argonians in a compassionate way, it's still a clear sacrifice of its power for little to no reward.

The Hist also appear to be the physical manifestation of the Dreamsleeve, which is an amalgation of soul energy and memories. Are they even capable of thinking in the sense of making plots and schemes? Would they care enough about what's going on in Morrowidd politics to create a free-acting agent to do their dirty work? At best, they would be concerned about the Dres bartering their souls away, for they may actually be suffering as a direct result from this too, if Hist are the literal manifestation of the Dreamsleeve, and the Dres are destroying the souls residing in the Dreamsleeve through their life-prolonging rituals.

But wouldn't the Hist then use much less mundane methods to correct this, being spiritual beings themselves? More over, sending a homonculous (I can't spell that, I'm sorry) and hoping it finds a likely candidate for its information and hoping the player finds the tomb and hoping they go in and hoping they make the deal with the Sabael and hoping they can then rise to power enough to topple the profane Dres is a lot of ifs. Unless this is like the Nerevarine where the Hist have been trying to get this to work for centuries, a more compact direct plan would serve them better.

So I don't know. I just don't like it. There's too many places the logic behind the storyline is weak or unwieldy, and it's relying on some key points that don't line up the lore. I think the general gist of it can be maintained with some careful thinking and rearranging of the logic, but as is, it doesn't hold water. :/

Rats's picture
Rats
Lead DeveloperDeveloperExterior DeveloperInterior DeveloperQuest DeveloperReviewer
Joined:
2014-01-08 21:55
Last seen:
3 days 4 hours ago

We shouldn’t pay attention to TESO lore – unless it’s something that is interesting and doesn’t go against TR’s plans. To put it bluntly, I like TR’s version of the Hist (which, I hear, has a MK seal of approval for what it’s worth) better than Zenimax’s version.

This will sound like the worst counter argument ever, but being exokalpic beings out of space the I’d imagine that the Hist do not hope that their plan works, they know it will. And even if the player fails it matters not. The Hist have got time and patience for aeons. And it’s not like there aren’t a whole bunch of questlines everywhere in video games that don’t come with a legion of ifs – Morrowind’s main quest comes to mind.

Gnomey's picture
Gnomey
Lead DeveloperDeveloperExterior DeveloperInterior Developer
Joined:
2015-08-10 20:50
Last seen:
36 min 11 sec ago

Kevaar
More over, sending a homonculous (I can't spell that, I'm sorry) and hoping it finds a likely candidate for its information and hoping the player finds the tomb and hoping they go in and hoping they make the deal with the Sabael and hoping they can then rise to power enough to topple the profane Dres is a lot of ifs. Unless this is like the Nerevarine where the Hist have been trying to get this to work for centuries, a more compact direct plan would serve them better.

While I wasn’t quite clear, my point was that, while it would at first appear to the player that the plot is based on a series of coincidences, that would just be the result of the player being left in the dark. If the player pays attention, the coincidences will start to disappear, leaving the player as the only ‘if’ in the plan:
The homunculus was looking for an actor for its plan, and discovers the player who is in many ways exceptional, but at the very least will probably be established at that point as being interested in joining House Dres despite being an outlander, which would be unusual enough.
The inital quest will effectively serve to cement the player as the central actor of the homunculus’ plot, how well that goes really depending on the player. (You will probably be able to straight-up kill the homunculus and break the questline, for instance, in which case obviously the plan will have failed, or at least have been delayed).
The other ifs are not really ifs: the homunculus had already located the tomb and gives the player specific directions to it and has, whether personally or through less direct means, assessed that the Sabael would be open to making a deal. (Essentially that they are desparate enough and generally non-hostile). In other words, the homunculus will have been doing a lot of groundwork behind the scenes, either personally or indirectly, to ensure the plot would unfold as desired. The homunculus would specifically be aiding the player’s rise to power along, perhaps not acting alone, though again the speed and extent of the rise would largely be dependent on the player, and assuming the player finishes the questline will have well exceeded the homunculus’ expectations.

However, and this is a big however, I forgot to bring up a very important point when I posted earlier: while I think Ada’s plot could be made to work, and is certainly interesting, I’m not really enthusiastic about focusing too much on the Hist for our Dres questline. I think they should fundamentally remain in the background, whereas the deal with the Sload and, by extension and to a lesser extent, the vampirism deal should be the focus. I think the role the Hist have to play lies far in the past and in the future; that the hammer they will drop is far off and will lose impact by being dropped too early and too weakly. (As is arguably what happens in the novels, but ah well). They are much bigger than the Dres, the antagonists of another story. I rather like the idea of a Hist agent working behind the scenes manipulating stuff, but I don’t think his activities should have a clear start or end point. I think he should mainly be there to add complexity and depth to the already complex canvas of Deshaan politics.
On a less abstract level, I’m not a great fan of plotlines in which the player is being manipulated, as without excessive branching this will tend to pigeonhole players into going along with it even if they pick up on the hints that not all is right, or worse, if there are no hints, will result in players being sprung with a conclusion they could neither foresee nor avert. I basically think this sort of questline is very hard to write and implement suitably for an RPG. This is really my main criticism of the Tribunal questline, though to be fair I do acknowledge that the Morrowind main quest pulled it off quite well, largely through heavy doses of ambiguity.

Templar Tribe's picture
Templar Tribe
Joined:
2016-01-17 16:36
Last seen:
1 year 10 months ago

Well now i feel compelled to finish writing up my quest idea outline because the more i think about it, the less i like the purposed idea. If anything there should be only 1 or 2 people designated to writing the quest line and thats it, no other ifs ands or buts 

Atrayonis's picture
Atrayonis
Lead DeveloperDeveloperInterior DeveloperQuest Developer
Joined:
2015-09-28 20:13
Last seen:
4 hours 18 min ago

I haven’t actually read the Dres questline yet, but I’m incredibly queasy in general about using the Hist as anything but prop pieces. They shouldn’t be personalized, as these questlines (and most of ESO, although there are some really really good uses of the Hist there as well) inevitably do.
Rule of thumb: if you write a something and can replace “the Hist” with “a cabal of really big Dryads”, don’t use the Hist.

Kevaar's picture
Kevaar
Developer EmeritusQuest Developer
Joined:
2016-01-19 19:35
Last seen:
1 month 4 days ago

Got sidetracked by work and some other hobbies. Coming back to this to give it a thunk. So here’s my suggestions for cleaning up the logic of the proposed planning document, and also incoporating some other mischief from House Hlaalu and the Sload/vampiric stuff.

First the joining/being adopted quest arc:

Part 1:
Player wants to join House Dres. They ask House Dres if they can, House Dres says NO, you’re a freakin’ outlander, gtfo.

Part 2:
Hlaalu infiltrator posing as a House Dres Overseer comes forward, making the deal with the player that they can get them into House Dres if the player does some work for them. The player is made to do various hard labor jobs and makes trade contact with various other House Dres.

The player does not know this Overseer is from House Hlaalu, however. House Hlaalu is trying to get an informant inside House Dres because they want access to Dres’ agricultural secrets.

Part 3:
Some other official in House Dres comes to the player saying they have gotten wind of the possible Hlaalu infiltration. They send the player to investigate a runaway Argonian slave who they believe had connections to the Hlaalu, working as a spy and passing on information to the other Great House. The player finds the Argonian at the House Sabael tomb. They are dead: the tomb’s guardians got them.

On the body of the Argonian is a journal detailing their recent life. The Argonian is a Shadowscale (trained assassin from Black Marsh). They were captured by a slave expedition to become a House Dres slave (perhaps unintentionally, perhaps as part of the scheme). Once in Morrowind, the Argonian worked with a shady group trying to taking House Dres down from the inside.  This shady group isn’t described or named. The journal then makes references to various plans going awry, and the Argonian fell into depression and took to skooma. After a night of heavy binging, the Shadowscale says an agent of the shady group came to the Argonian and asked them to investigate the House Sabael tomb. The ramblings should also make clear that this Shadowscale highly reveres the Hist.

My reasoning for this change: you can now make any inferences you want on whether the Argonian was acting on behalf of the Hlaalu, the Hist, the Twin Lamps, or a skooma high. It also makes more sense for the Hist to make use of an Argonian operant rather than trying to convince a random stranger in the form of the player to do their dirty work. The reasons for the Argonian going out to this tomb are also never revealed, and are up to player interpretation. Maybe it was the Hlaalu still seeking information on House Dres. Maybe it was the Hist trying to get a legup on the spiritual battleground by destroying the seat of House Sabael’s ancestral power. Maybe it was actually House Sabael contacting the Argonian for help, as spirits of the dead will do. Or maybe it was all just one really bad skooma trip!

Part 4:
Before the player can return the journal to House Dres, the player meets the House Sabael ancestor conglomerate. At first House Sabael is angry that they have been trespassed on not once, but twice by outlanders. They teleport the player into the depths of their tomb in attempts to imprison them and torment them. The player must bypass a variety of puzzle traps and mob encounters; each one gives clues to House Sabael’s greater predicament:

The living relatives of House Sabael are all dead. In life, they were a clan that went back as far as the First Era. They were present when the Indoril pushed the Dres out of the good farming lands and into the salt flats. For whatever reason, they were unable to make the same bargains the other clanleaders of Dres made, and slowly but surely capitulated to the obvious disadvantage this put them at. (In actuality, they were unaware such deals were even taking place.) Now that they are in the afterlife, they have another worrying perspective: the ebb and flow of Dres souls into the afterlife is out of whack. House Sabael has come back to figure out why this is and put a stop to it, for the sake of purifying House Dres and because this unbalance may have greater implications to them in the spiritual afterlife.

So, over the course of the trials, the player gleans this. Upon emerging from the tomb, House Sabael is now seeing the player as someone of power and worth, and the player may see them with more sympathy. The deal is offered: the player becomes the living heir of House Sabael, and serves as House Sabael’s living agent in the politics of House Dres.

Part 5:
The player returns to House Dres to turn in the Argonian’s journal to satisfy the quest in Part 3. They come back to find that Hlaalu Overseer is now being accused of the espionage. The player gets caught up in it and accused, but is spared due to the Dres clanleaders finding out House Sabael has inexplicably decided to back the player. The player is also tasked with rooting out the last bit of the Hlaalu infiltration, proving their loyalty.

Intermediary stuff:
Various miscellaeneous tasks for House Dres that involve proving their worth and building their House. I haven’t fully fleshed this out, though I have some quest ideas that I’ll be putting into the Asset Browser at some point. These are all very miscellanaeous, do not really advance the story so much as give the story its backdrop and setting. Some ideas:
*Player tracks down runaway slaves who say they ran away because they noticed slaves were getting taken out of the slave pens at night and never returning.
*Helping to maintain or repair some of the agricultural infastructure. This could be that klanaath creature, or something more mundane such as getting the parts to repair a water pumping machine.
*Gaining the player a stronghold, also some new members for the House. These should be Dunmer, though a quest dealing with trying to get another outlander accepted into the House might be interesting.
*Various quests to do with farming and bugherding.

Endgame stuff:
House Dres then starts falling apart at the seams due to their past dealings, and the player gets to clean up the mess. A couple quest arcs come together:

*The slave uprising as mentioned in the planning document, or else a modified version of the Pillow-Mace quest with the player as the investigator rather than the co-conspirator. The Shadowscale from the joining quests should also somehow be mentioned or involved here, to nicely tie it together and hint more heavily that the Hist and/or Hlaalu are behind the Dres slave issues. The Hlaalu and/or Hist involvement then tie into what happens in Oblivion (Hlaalu and Dres allying, slavery abolished) and Skyrim (massive Argonian invasion). Though the player should be able to choose the side of the slaves and abolish slavery, I also think there should be a lot of incentive implied to maintaining the House Dres tradition of slave-keeping. After all, the player is an agent of HOUSE DRES, not the Twin Lamps.

*The vampirism thing. The player stumbles on this by first being tasked to clean out a den of normal vampires, who have been accused of taking the slaves and (more recently) Dunmer citizens. There’s hints in this quest that the actual villain is one or more House Dres clanleaders, who have implicated the common vampires to cover their own butt. This muddies the line a little between how vampiric the House Dres clanleaders can be considered, which I think is a good thing. The problem with vampires is when they’re not characterized well, and this perhaps counteracts that by more fully fleshing it out.

*Finally, one of the House Dres clanleaders actually dies and fulfills their end of the Sload bargain. (Reason TBD: Did they go too far in draining slave/Dunmeri souls and were assassinated by their fellow clanleaders, as in the quest above? Or did they just get tired of living and gave in? Or did some other force, such as a slave uprising, cut them off from their cattle and they capitulated unwillingly?) This clanleader’s entire clanstead is now under the thrall of the Sload (transported into an alternate magical realm even?), and the player must free it. This can be accomplished through a straightforward kill-everything-in-sight, but the Sload also offer the player a deal:

If the player takes the deal, they are in essence continuing this practice as a tradition among House Dres at large, and also choosing the route of self-sacrifice for the Dres to continue living the good life. The player becomes like one of the clan-leaders, with all that entails.

If the player doesn’t accept the deal, they are abolishing the vampiric practice and purifying the Dres of their prior contracts with the Sload forevers. This would hurt Dres a lot, as the Sload demand they take the lives of the other clanleaders to seal the deal. However, the player could profit majorly from this, as they are now the only living “clan leader” left. This could then be understood as the more selfish choice.

There is one other route the player could take to free the clanstead, which involves the Hist. The Hist offer their own deal to the player. The Hist ask the player to work to abolish slavery of Argonians, and the Hist will help the player save this clanstead and perhaps get rid of the Sload altogether. This deal would have significant cost to the player (Hist claiming their soul? Need more brainstorming on that), UNLESS the player took the side of the slaves during the aforementoned uprising. So this choice could endup as being as bad as the Sload deals, or the player’s saving grace, depending on what they chose in previous quests.

 

Kevaar's picture
Kevaar
Developer EmeritusQuest Developer
Joined:
2016-01-19 19:35
Last seen:
1 month 4 days ago

Editted the suggestion for the escaped slave and House Sabael’s background into the Rumor of a Plot proposal on the asset browser. I’m going to leave the other stuff alone for now until we get some more discussion going.

Primarily: Is this a better direction for characterizing the Hist and giving the Sload bargains more facetime? What kind of characterization do we want for the Sload period?

Discussion, go!

Apotheosis's picture
Apotheosis
Developer
Joined:
2016-07-17 23:24
Last seen:
11 months 3 days ago

Hello all, I’m a long time lurker.  
I’ve written up a decently thorough questline (nearly finished) for House Dres.  I’ve tried to incorporate much of what infuses Dres with its character, while fitting in neatly with the lore the team has decided upon while also fitting in with the direction Dres takes during the events in Oblivion.  I know there is a meeting today about House Dres today.  Should I upload my currently incomplete questline, or wait until its finished (which will be in the next few days)?   

Atrayonis's picture
Atrayonis
Lead DeveloperDeveloperInterior DeveloperQuest Developer
Joined:
2015-09-28 20:13
Last seen:
4 hours 18 min ago

Hi. I think we have enough time to wait for you to finish.
I’m eagerly interested to see how you’re going to develop Loranna’s RP’s storyline into TR. They don’t really fit together.

Apotheosis's picture
Apotheosis
Developer
Joined:
2016-07-17 23:24
Last seen:
11 months 3 days ago

Loranna’s RP storyline?  I may be familar with that and simply do not know it by name.  I based my storyline nearly completely on the planning document, the debate on the forum, and of course on the lore on uesp (which is of course not very extensive).

Atrayonis's picture
Atrayonis
Lead DeveloperDeveloperInterior DeveloperQuest Developer
Joined:
2015-09-28 20:13
Last seen:
4 hours 18 min ago

http://lorannarp.pbworks.com/
Most links are broken, but the navigator on the right side still works. This is what was canon up until Morrowind got mooned. I tought that’s what you referred to when you wrote “.. while also fitting in with the direction Dres takes during the events in Oblivion. “

Apotheosis's picture
Apotheosis
Developer
Joined:
2016-07-17 23:24
Last seen:
11 months 3 days ago

A few things came up and so my questline was put on hold for a few days.  However I am back to work and nearly finished.  I have only about 2-3 quests left to hammer out and I will post it.  
A bit of clarification would be appreciated regarding the pact made with the Sload.  I understand that the Sload showed the Dres how to till the salt plains, but what did the Sload get out of the pact?  Clearly they get the souls of the Wise Women, but is that all?  Did the Sload have some other incentive?  
Thanks, and I will truly try to post this in the next 2 or 3 days.

Pages