House Dres Brainstorming

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i’m going to post a questline concept too eventually so we’re going to be spoiled for questlines to choose from and to be honest will probably just end up mixing them all up

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I don’t think it was defined. If I’m remembering right, the Sload are necromancers, so they could probably do all sorts of powerful spells fueled by the wise women’s souls. The way I imagined it as far as the player was concerned is that this might put an entire clanstead under the thrall of the Sload and the player has to help free it (or steal the power over them so they’re the ones in charge), but what “in thrall” means is up to interpretation. Makiing the slave-masters suddenly become slaves might be an interesting trope to play with in any direction, and ,ay help lead to the change of Dres heart that allowed slavery to be abolished in the Oblivion timelime.

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Relevant. N’Gasta in the game Redguard used souls as bargaining chips with Clavicus Vile.

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Ok I have finally finished my questline, at long last.  I do apolgize for my delay.

A few things to note before you read the questline

1: The names of my clansteads (with the exception of the player house, Dres Yengrith) do not match up with the names established by the team (e.g. Dres Sul).  This was intentional, and was so the team would have some flexibility in deciding which of my clansteads correlates with the clansteads established by the team.  Except for the player strongold, the location of my clansteads is not particularly important.  

2: The dialogue I have written is mostly utilitatrian at this point.  What I mean by that is the dialogue is not in a final state.  The dialogue is to show the personalities of the characters and to move the questline along.  It will need to be polished and expanded upon should any of my quests be used.  Also, most of the time I did not account for multiple dialogue options.  I used only the choice which will move the questline forward.  Other, optional choices for further information also need to be added.

3: I haven’t come up with quest 24.  I ran into writer’s block.  My bad, I would appreciate some help.

4:  The quest descriptions are not up to extensive detail of a quest claim.  The point of this is to serve as an outline, to show the direction of the narrative, the themes, the locations, and the characters.  However, it is fairly extensive as far as outlines go, though, so you should have a very good indication of what happens in the questline and the personalities of the most important characters.

5: Sometimes I make the mistake of writing expecting people to have some insight into my mind, thereby leaving important things unsaid.  If anything is unclear, please ask and I will clarify. 

6: This questline is a narrative first and foremost.  If the questline needs to be expanded (which I personally think is unnecessary), padding quests can be added.  However, I personally feel that a weakness of vanilla Morrowind’s questlines was a lack of a story until the very end.   My questline has a story very early on which is carried through until the end.

Alright those are the biggest points.  Thanks for reading, and I am happy to clarify anything.

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Microsoft Office document icon DRES QUEST OUTLINE.doc222 KB2016-07-31 20:11
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47 pages is quite the outline! Do you think you can summarize it in 2-6? Just so we can get a better idea of what direction you’re taking the House in.

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Absolutely, my questline outline is an outline of each individual quest.  Basically as is it could be put into the cs and make a full questline. 

However so you have a summary of what the questline is, I will lay it out here.

Intro: 
Player meets an independant Chap-thil in Tear and becomes involved in a deal which involves getting even by doing three minor tasks for this Chap-thil. [The player is introduced to the idea of the Dres making pacts and deals]  Over the course of these tasks the player is introduced to a few of the important places of the Deshaan. Culture is explored a bit.  At the end, the Chap-thil thinks the player is a good servant and induts him/her into his service. 

The questline then breaks up into several, simultaneous questlines
1:Troubles with the Argonians.  Once peaceful slaves are becoming increasingly violent and killing masters.  
2: Trouble with the Sload.  The player is drawn into fulfilling a Dres obligation to the Sload.  
3: Trouble at the Chap-thils estate.  Everything seems to be going wrong after the player saves a Dunmer from frenzied skyrenders.
4: Dealings with the Hlaalu.  The player’s Chap-thil has a wife with a Hlaalu father.  Though it is not known at the beginning, this man is working for Helseth to expand his influence in the Deshaan and strike out against his enemies (the Indoril, the Temple, the Hlaalu Company).
The player winds up working for the Satchem-ithil.  On a routine task for the Satchem-ithil the player meets an extinct family through its ancestoaggregate.  After completing a task for it the player becomes adopted by the family. A clanstead is constructed.

Eventually it is revealed that the strange Dunmer is actually a Hist homunculi, sabotaging the Chap-thil.  Due to this collapse, the Chap-thil winds up in debt to the player.  The player gets adopted by a major clan. 
As a result, the player winds up working personally for the Matriarch.  
The Satchem-ithil winds up being killed.  A major clanstead (not the one the player is allied to) is attacked by a horde of Argonian slaves.  The Nomarch of said clanstead is revealed to be a homunculi.  The Matriarch winds up killed.  Due the player’s actions, they become the Suzerain. 
The remaining Matriarchs reveal that they know they can no longer rule the Dres, due to their pacts.  They want the player to become a strong Satchem-ithil to lead the Dres into the future.
The player winds up allied to the Hlaalu, and more specifically to Helseth.  
The player winds up removing Sload influence from the Deshaan.
The player becomes the military dominant power in the Deshaan.
The player becomes the Satchem-ithil.  
Allusions are dropped that slavery will be abolished in the coming years.  

Again thats a breakneck pace, and stripped down version of my questline.  But thats the general direction.  The player becomes a strong Satchem-ithil, the Matriarchs no longer rule, Hlaalu becomes an ally, and the pacts of the Dres catch up to them.
 

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The most major criticism I’d have of that is that I don’t see any reason why the Hist would make any moves against Morrowind until the Red Year. It really was the perfect time to strike. I think the Hist’s machinations should give the impression that it’s all just a preparation for their big attack, and while the slave riots damaged House Dres, I think giving away the fact that the Hist have a bone to pick with the Dres and that they have homunculi infiltrators only makes Morrowind better prepared in the long run.

Another thing: I initially thought that the whole “Return to the Cave of Trials” was going to be an awesome reveal where it turns out the six trials you completed are actually representations of the nasty shit the Dres Matriarchs had done in order to secure their power.  I think you should extend that bit, because otherwise it seems like a bit of filler in between the meetings with the Matriachs.

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Your second point I agree with.  The orginal six trials are meant to be a test of Dres leaders, and give a hint into the beginnngs of House Dres.  The second of the trials were to be perversions of the six trials, which is to say the truth behind them.  So the killing of the Saltkhan is an embodiment of Boethiah’s strength, Mephala’s cunning and murder, and Azura’s  magic (which admittdly I didn’t include), all used in a way the Dunmer would consider dishonorable.  The second part would show the Matriarchs making either the pact with the Sload, or with the Daedra.  This part would show a perversion of Almalexia’s mercy, Sotha Sil’s wisdom, and Vivec’s violence with love.  I hit a writer’s block on the quest, and put it aside.  I wrote it yesterday, and never went back to it.  I absolutely agree with you it needs to be augmented.  

My ideas
Firstly, make it more obvious that some sort of perversion of Azura’s gifted magic is used in the usurpation of power from the Saltkhan.  (At the same time, split up the usurpation into several smaller tasks.)  Maybe a murder of a loyal gulakhan (Mephala) followed by a killing strike (Boethiah).  Some foul Wise Woman magic is then used to hide the murder (Azura).
Secondly, add a part at the temple where the player effectvely takes the role of the Matriarch who is dead.  She (by which i mean the player) uses foul knowledge, contained in a tome,  to contact the Sload (Sotha Sil). In the aftermath of the pact with the Daedra, the player chooses not to drink of Dunmer, but at the cost of killing Argonian slaves.  This is a kind of sick sense of mercy (Almalexia).  The potion in the first trial equates with blood in the second.  Finally, in the pact with the Hist, the player agrees to send several Dunmer to be toyed with by the Hist.  This violence towards the Dunmer is out of love for the Dunmer, as the slaves become the source of Dres wealth.   This violence out of love is a perversion of Vivec’s trial. 
What do you think?

As to your bigger criticism, regarding the Hist.  Firstly, I think that the Hist would not know of the Red Year.  They are exo-kalpic beings, but even they cannot forsee the cataclysms at the end of the Third Era.  At least one Dragon Break occurs, and no being can see past that.  If we DO want to say they have that power, we are essentially making the Hist all-knowing, nigh all-powerful beings, which makes for a very dull villain.   Remember, almost no one knows why the Argonians are acting so violently, and almost no one knows that the homunculi serve the Hist.  Did the Hist miscalculate?  Probably, the killing stroke turned out to not be so deadly.  But the Dres do something over the course of the questline which they haven’t done in ages.  They CHANGE DRAMATICALLY.  The Hist did not foresee that.  This isn’t the first time the Hist has done this either. Remeber, the Arnesian War happened before the Red Year as well.  The events of this questline are much like the leadup to another Arnesian War.  Much like that War, they fail again.  But its only a minor setback.  Unlike the Sload, the Hist aren’t beaten, not really.  Sure its a minor setback, but it is by no means the end of the Hist’s plans.
Also, if the player never interacts with the Hist in any interesting way, the questline loses a lot of interest, and I think that would be shame.
Oh, and thank you for reading it! I know it takes awhile.  I hope you liked it overall.
 

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High, I am new and I have a question.

Does each city has their own specific “culture” set already, for the lack of a better term. Example being Dres Tyr is more likely to be tolerate of foreigners because of trade routes, while Dres Yengrith is more likely to more military like and have slave hunters in the local bars because of proximity to Black Marsh.  The reason I ask because I was looking into creating cultures, demographics, what sort of buildings would be major land marks of each city, creating trade routes from each Dres to another, and possible areas where villages, tombs, and the like would show up.

Finally left academia.

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As far as I know, the various clansteads do not have their exact cultures set.
One thing to keep in mind is that Dres Yengrith does not exist until the player builds it, so it's culture would be whatever the player wants it to be (or however the quest writers write it). I myself wrote it to be more militarily focused in my quest line (seen above).
Also, just so you're clear, Tear (or Dres Tyr) is not like the clansteads of the interior. Tear is a trading city, while the clansteads are more like fortresses. They are the homes of the larger Houses, but they are not actual cities.

Oh, and if anyone has any suggestions or critiques of my quest line, I'm happy to listen.

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Dres Yengrith does not exist? Ah okay. 

And yeah I imagine Dres Tyr being the only major city that is not a military like fortress. And what about Dres Horak? Is it like Tear (Dres Tyr) in that it is a major trading city or something else entirely?

Yeah I imagine Dres Yengrith being more like a fortress because of closeness to Black Marsh. 

So I guess can I pull up possible proposals of each Dres clansteads “culture” and prosperity, and put up a proposal I guess?

Finally left academia.

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My tablet here is having issues downloading the document, so I’m going off the summary you posted for the questline.

I think my criticism is the same, I don’t really like the idea of a Hist homunculi. Sload homunculi, maybe. But I think making it Hist too clearly defines what the mysterious Hist are, and also doesn’t fit in with the other lore tidbits we’ve been given about them. If we’re going the alien-tree route, they seem more the sort to act through spiritual or metaphysical means beyond mortal understanding, rather than playing the spy game. If you go the route of them being the physical manifestations of the Dreamsleeve, I think that leads to interesting implications in other directions, such as playing a part in the Dres-councilors-becoming-immortal story arc.

While I do think there should be a story arc dealing with the slaves, I also don’t think it should be the main focus for Dres, and a major slave uprising would be better handled through the Twin Lamps faction instead. Slavery is only one part of the Dres culture, and while a big one, we run into the danger of labeling them as the evil slavers to the South, which seems cliche and two-dimensional to me. Morrowind as a game is a story told through the eyes of the Dunmer; to them, slavery is just another way of life. They would be more concerned with other actors like the Sload, the Temple, the Great Houses, and so I think their questline should be focused on these things, with again the slavery issue being handled more through the Twin Lamps.

Cities—if you have ideas for them, go ahead and make a proposal! We’re going to need to get together a region planning document together for this eventually, and characterizing the cities is a part of that.

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I am very sorry you cannot download the document.  Is there anything I can do to help you get it working.  My summary tries to condense 20,000 words into 200, and I think it is fair to say that some details are lost.  As a result I will try to address your concerns one by one.

I was always under the impression that the Hist demanded Dunmer as part of their pact with the Matriarchs precisely for the reason to make infiltrators.  The idea of Hist homunculi is not mine, I read it in the previous planning document (or perhaps it was this one?)  Regardless, we know the Hist have the ability to create life, and alter its form. The Saxhleel are proof of that.  I have also not seen any other justification for the Hists’ demand of Dunmer as part of their pact.  Logically the Hist would be able to take the forms of the Dunmer they have been given and use them to create their own like-Dunmer homunculi.  
I have never seen the Hist argued as the manifestations of the Dreamsleeve, but it is an interesting theory.  I myself have always ascribed to the theory that they are another form of being in Anu’s Dream wholly separate from the et’ada.  Definitely exo-kalpic.  Their goal is to achieve a state like Amaranth, though different.  Through the accumulation of Water-As-Memory they seek to create a new Dream of themselves, within their hivemind.  
The Hist almost certainly  act in a very practical sense every now and then.  Their use of Saxhleel shock troops during the Oblivion Crisis speaks to this.  Their invasion after the eruption of Red Mountain also testifies to this.  

As to your argument “slavery is just another way of life” to the Dunmer, I agree wholeheartedly.  My questline never depicts the Dres as evil slavemansters.  They do, at times, mistreat their slaves, but to the player this seems normal and absolutely business-as-usual.  Slavery is never played as a problem (until some dialogue at the end which is added only to justify the abolition during the Oblivion Crisis).  The slave crisis depicted during the questline is entirely due to the Hist.  The slaves are not rioting because their masters are evil, rather it is due to the Hist inducing them into action.   
Again, I agree that “they would be more concerned with other actors like the Sload, the Temple, the Great Houses, and so I think their questline should be focused on these things.”  My questline deals with the Sload, the Temple, the Great House Hlaalu, and also the Hist.  
Really, I do not think my summary does a great job of showing the details of my questline, which is my fault, but also it was incredibly difficult to summarize 47 pages into one, as I am sure you can imagine!
I have some thoughts about the Twin Lamps, but I will adress those in the appropriate section.

As per the team meeting today, I am uploading an updated draft (though it is still very rough) .  I suspect most references to the Hist will be gutted by the end.  Hopefully other parts prove to be useful.

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Kevaar

My tablet here is having issues downloading the document, so I’m going off the summary you posted for the questline.

I think my criticism is the same, I don’t really like the idea of a Hist homunculi. Sload homunculi, maybe. But I think making it Hist too clearly defines what the mysterious Hist are, and also doesn’t fit in with the other lore tidbits we’ve been given about them. If we’re going the alien-tree route, they seem more the sort to act through spiritual or metaphysical means beyond mortal understanding, rather than playing the spy game. If you go the route of them being the physical manifestations of the Dreamsleeve, I think that leads to interesting implications in other directions, such as playing a part in the Dres-councilors-becoming-immortal story arc.

While I do think there should be a story arc dealing with the slaves, I also don’t think it should be the main focus for Dres, and a major slave uprising would be better handled through the Twin Lamps faction instead. Slavery is only one part of the Dres culture, and while a big one, we run into the danger of labeling them as the evil slavers to the South, which seems cliche and two-dimensional to me. Morrowind as a game is a story told through the eyes of the Dunmer; to them, slavery is just another way of life. They would be more concerned with other actors like the Sload, the Temple, the Great Houses, and so I think their questline should be focused on these things, with again the slavery issue being handled more through the Twin Lamps.

Cities—if you have ideas for them, go ahead and make a proposal! We’re going to need to get together a region planning document together for this eventually, and characterizing the cities is a part of that.

i… don’t think there’s any avoiding the dres being the “evil slave owner house”. you can present them as tidy and moral to themselves all you want, or “oh they do these nice things too”, but the fact is, it’s going to be obvious and clear to every player that their slavery system is basically, an institutionalized, careless mass murder of argonians because they can’t survive without them – their economic power is predicated entirely on slavery after all. in this respect, the dres are the american south pre-civil war. i mean. they’re even called “the confederacy” in some docs. there’s really no avoiding this. i don’t think there’s enough redeeming qualities you can tack onto the dres, especially our version of the dres, to make up for this. they’re not even amoral geniuses with strong comedy bits like the telvanni. they’re the evil slavers of the south.

this doesn’t mean that we characterize them cartoonishly (and i don’t feel like apo’s questline did, though i have other differences with it in some other ways) or cliche-ly, but, there’s no avoiding the fact at all that the dres are the Evil Slavers Of The South. the vanilla sources portray them as this (see akrash, which equates dres nobles and slavers very casually – don’t be surprised if eso expansions in morrowind use house dres as the villain house either),  but… they really aren’t the good guys by any view. there’s no need to act like we can just ignore or cover away essential parts of a houses’ culture or economy or perception by the player as always being “actually it’s kind of gray”. there’s really no avoiding this with the dres.

i have other thoughts about the twin lamps (they shouldn’t be active in the deshaan, it should be a different faction more adapted specifcally to the deshaan and there’s no questlines for opposing them other than the house dres one really, unless temple ones will deal with this in the deshaan), but like. the slavery abolitionists are hard to see as anything other than the good guys, even if they’re the “oh sometimes we kill people or suck somewhat” good guys like, say, the bajoran rebels in deep space nine. and just like in deep space nine, despite the many humanizing qualities and moments you get with cardassians, in the end, they’re the cardassians despite their deep respect for extended generations of family, redemption arcs, or self made rebellions. the dres are the cardassians of morrowind

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Here’s a brief breakdown of my idea of the Dres questline. It’s still a WIP.
 

Quest Arch:

 

  1. Introduction - The Dres quest line is about absolutes – the deals that the council has made are long over-due for payment, however unlike the Hlaalu who makes dealings with gold, the Dres have made dealings with souls. They have first made a deal with the Sload for advanced technology that would allow them to till the Deshaan's salt-encrusted earth to make it into the breadbasket it is today. In exchange, whenever the first member of the Council dies, the Sload get to take their soul and the soul of every blood relative alive at that time. To counter-act this, the council made a pact with a Daedra to give them immortality – though with the side effect that they appear as twisted vampire-like kin to everyone; though not technically vampires, more like abominations. The Sload want their first soul, and as they've surely known they've been had for eras now, they're getting impatient. Secondly, they made a deal with the Hist where they would offer the Hist a few live Dunmer every few centuries in exchange for a very large amount of Argonians as slaves. What the Hist use these Dunmer for are unknown, however at one time one of them did escape and ran back across the border to Morrowind, where an elite secret ops tracked him down and killed him before he could talk to anyone, however it was still discovered that he had been killed. The Dres blamed the death on the Argonians having martyred the Dunmer in the name of hate of slavery. This enraged the Dunmer and triggered the Arnesian war, although only a handful of Dunmer know that as the true reason for the start of the war. The Argon Jungle was acquired as a result of the war, and the Hist were slightly offended by this.

     

    The Hist are again getting angry for a few possible reasons, as the Dres have been lax on their payment for many years now and also possibly because the Dres are going into Argonia to capture slaves at a more frantic pace than was agreed upon originally. This does not play a giant narrative in the overall story of House Dres during TR's time line, however it is important to know that this is a due that will still need to eventually be paid.

 

Also Important to note is that since the Dres council has lived for so long the bloodline for each councilor is fairly large. At the time of the player joining the House, there is also a issue with how the House is being ran internally. The Skyrenders have honey in their hives that can be cultivated in such a way that, once ingested, it produces a type of trance-like stasis. The honey can also be cultivated in such a way to produce an intense mental high. The mental high form is given to Dres warriors who then go on a 'spiritual journey' and come out the other side smarter, stronger, more adept in mind. The trance-like form is ingested by the Council, who then are actually able to communicate with the ancestors in a very special way, a very deep way. It gives them almost a clairvoyance. This could perhaps involve them entering the Dreamsleeve. The important thing to remember is that ANY and ALL input is from the ancestors only. The Council themselves are simply the vessels in which the answers come through. These exact answers are what are put on the paper and signed.

 

In the past this has worked in favor of the House and for Morrowind as a whole. The insight was clear and untainted by personal agenda. However, in the past few years, when the Council has tried to contact the ancestors they are getting less guidance about how to lead the House or what actions to take. It is harder to take a message away, and so the purity of their ancestral clairvoyance is being slowly tainted with individual councilor's own thoughts/interpretations of the messages. This has lead to a slow downfall of the House, with not-so-wise decisions being made that have adverse effects.

 

  1. Quest Line- The following is an outline of the Dres quest line. Much is yet to be completed and much of it is still open for discussion. The ranks of House Dres are yet to be established, so these will be placeholder names.

 

As House Dres is the most Xenophobic of the Houses, there must be some type of catalyst for the player joining the house. My idea is that the player will come across a desperate lesser seer of one of the smaller Dres clans who can use the player in a pinch. This NPC will be named Sogaulsu Dres for the time being. Sogaulsu is a 'fallen member' of society amongst the Dres nobility for having given strife to a higher up noble for kidnapping an Indoril noble's wife. This will not be known to the player, however, and the circumstances surrounding his “fall from grace” would be hidden by the agenda of Sogaulsu saying he's the son of a wealthy “entrepreneur” and is on the come-up, but needs some help making a namesake in the hard-to-fit-in Deshaan District. Since no House Dres want to associate with him in particular, he has the player act as a person to basically run some task that has a danger of killing the player in it. The main difference in House Dres from any other House is how you join; you don't simply click the dialogue choice and agree to serve the House. There is a buildup of proving your interest to the House, as you must earn trust as an Outlander. The next few quests deal with helping this seer restore his former namesake in Dres society. However the way I want to have these quests handled is from a more religious aspect, not being involved in any direct politics of the House. Since the religion of the Dres is much different than anything the player will have seen before, giving them a slight dip into the inner-workings of the 'Old Ways' worship of the Dres is a good gateway into the House. It won't be anything too overbearing, mind you, but it will give a small insight into how the religion operates and how it effects daily on-goings in the House.

 

Quest 1: The player is to help Sogaulsu find a contact in Tear who can supposedly help get him “investors in his Saltrice plantation”. The player is to go to a certain house and when they get there, while speaking to the target NPC (NPC should play rather dumb-founded 'Investors in what, you idiot outlander?'), 2 Dres enforcers (low-ish level) will interrupt and begin attacking both the player and the contact. Contact is scripted to die, while the player kills the 2 enforcers and reports back to Sogaulsu. Mentions it's odd that they were attacked but asks the player to meet him back at the house the contact was living in in Tear.

 

Quest 2: The player is to help Sogaulsu try to find a new contact for land acquisition. There is a Dres in Tear with an affinity towards older literature who can be bribed with a rare copy of a book about the older ways of Dres Cremation ceremonies. The player is told they can either try to track down a copy of the book themselves and can try around Tear to see if there are any shops with it in their possession, or they can ask the new contact to see if he has any idea. There is 1 copy of the book somewhere in Tear that can be stolen in an upstairs room at a shop. Going to the contact he will say he is dying for a copy of the book and heard a copy was recently stolen from a caravan that got raided and the bandits are thought to be holed up in a near-by cave. The player can go kill the few bandits and get the book. Upon giving the book to the contact he will agree to meet with Sogaulsu to negotiate this land acquisition.

 

Quest 3: Sog needs help while he is meeting with the previous contact. The Tear guards are fiercely loyal to a local Molag-Thil who is rumored to be the next Nomarch. While Sog doesn't really care about who may or may not be getting promoted, the guards are not allowing a friend of his to enter Tear as he was heard slandering the Molag-Thil years ago in Bashipal. Sog gives the player a robe and a bonemold helmet and asks them to meet their friend in whatever city is nearby that can be reached via boat and give them the disguise so they can be escorted to the house. Meet the friend and bring them back; if the player speaks to any guards or is accosted the quest will fail as the friend will immediately flee. Also if the player has a bounty on them the friend will refuse to even go on the boat with them. The friend is escorted to the house and will later disappear after a few hours once Sog gets back.

 

Quest 4: Sog will either begin to really trust you or really hate you depending on how the last quest played out. If the former; he will excitedly ask the player to meet him in a few days at X location. If the latter; he will tell the player to make up for it by going to X burial chamber and obtaining am enchanted dagger in a certain chamber, as well as a (heavy!) idol of Peryite and returning back to the house. Upon arriving Sog will be both surprised and happy, and will tell the player to meet him in a few days at X location.

 

Quest 5: Sog will be at X location in a typical Dres paddy-farmer yurt. Inside the yurt will be the Idol if Pyrete and a small altar. He explains to the player that he was not really looking for land for farming, but was looking for a new place to study his rumination of the Old Ways. There can be a bit of dialogue here about how Dres seers and Ember-Acumen view the world. He will ask the player to interview an old wise woman about channeling the spirits. Much like the ashlanders, the smaller clans of the Deshaan view gifts and bribes of thoughtful nature in a positive light; and Sog knows the clan this wise woman serves is more about war than peace, so the players best bet would be to find an heirloom weapon in the abandoned Daedric ruin near where the clan lives. This can be a lower-level ruin with 2 or 3 scamps or some such in it, with a silver dagger on the altar in the middle. The player presents this dagger to a khan guarding the door to the wise woman's yurt and he will accept the offer, but tell the player they must do something more worthy before they can see the wise woman.

 

Quest 6: The clan has been plagued by chlorine storms recently and figure they must have upset Vaermina. One hunter of the clan swears that he left an offering to the shrine of Vaermina during the last full moon during Frost Fall. The hunter asks the player to check the altar and see if the hides and skull he left are still there. The shrine itself will initially be empty, but there will be nothing on the altar. The player informs the tribe and they will consult with the wise woman. After a brief moment they will tell the player that the wise woman told them they must track down who stole the offering and kill them, and leave a new offering of Nobel Sedge, muck, and a personal item of the one who stole the offering, such as a journal, family heirloom, or prized weapon. To track down who stole the offering, the clan suggests the player leave a bow at the entrance of the shrine and hide further within to see if someone comes inside and steals the bow.

 

The player obliges and sure enough a few hours after the bow is placed right inside the shrine, someone comes in. It turns out to be a pilfering outlaw and he attacks the player. After he is killed there are two items on him; a named axe he attacked the player with, and an amulet inscribed with his family name on it. The player can report back to the clan who will ask the player which item they will leave on the shrine; the axe or the amulet. The player chooses and is given the muck and Noble Sedge and is asked to leave the offering on the altar. If the player chooses the axe, the shrine will spawn a few lower-ranked Dremora the player must either kill or escape from. If the player chooses the amulet, nothing happens. Both ways complete the quest and when the player gets back to the clan, the khan will agree to let the player speak to the wise woman.

 

Quest 7: The wise woman will agree to speak with the player but they cannot write anything down, as written word is forbidden. The player will go through the dialogue topics and report back to Sog, who will ask the player what the wise woman said. Choosing (and remembering) the right choices nets a better reward. Sog will thank the player and ask them to give him some time to absorb and meditate on the knowledge.

 

Quest 8: Sog will ask the player to meet with Orihumia in Tear who's been having a bit of a land battle with a Hlaalu taxman who won't stop trying to force him off of his land by making bogus land tariff claims. Apparently the Hlaalu and the Dres have been in the beginning stages of a land battle for a few years now. Ori will suggest the player goes to Narsis and either bribes or sneaks their way into the Offices of the Albatross to place a forged document showing large tax disproportion and illegal garnishment from the taxman. The player returns to Ori and then returns to Sog, who will now have a few lanterns strewn about the yurt and will thank the player for their help and ask that they stop by some time later on.

 

Eventually some nobles will catch wind of how you're helping 'old Clan Sogothun' gain some worth in the world, and a Dres slaver will contact you on behalf of a Molag-thil noble in Dres Hairab. To this extent, the player is offered to finally join the House as an Oath-kin and is taken to the Argon Jungle to help the slaver and a small party bring slaves over. On the convoy back the party is attacked by Argonians and the player is given a chance to see what life on the fringes of Morrowind is like. After reporting to the noble in Dres Hairab the player is then given a few more quests that show more insight to the society of the Dres; this Molag-thil; named Hairsubi; is somewhat disbarred of the status he once had within the social-political-economic landscape of the Dres, much like Sogaulsu was. He figures perhaps the player can help give him an upper hand to finally allow him to be promoted to Nomarch.

 

Quest 9: Hairsubi needs help mediating on land quarrels some smaller clans are having. The player is asked to travel through the salt washes and retrieve a few shipments of saltrice that were stolen from one of the clans he does business with by another clan they are fighting with currently. Once the player gets the portions of saltrice back they will then be asked to deliver it to a nearby Indoril settlement, get the payment, and return. Upon delivery to the target NPC, the player will be accused of stealing the shipment, the NPC stating that the player being an outlander could never be doing deliveries on behalf of the Dres. A bounty will be placed on the player and they can either run from the guards or pay the fine (it should be a rather large sum). Either option lends the player to returning to Hairsubi who will clear the issue up if you ran (remove bounty), but either way will question your use as an outlander and demand you get the payment for the saltrice by either going back to the target NPC with a bill of delivery signed by himself, or paying out of your own pocket.

 

Returning to the target NPC will result in a needed disposition check to have them even believe the player is holding a real bill of delivery. On a passed checked the NPC will comment on how they are in utter disbelief that the Dres would ever trust you and assume Hairsubi is up to something ridiculous. Either way ends out the quest.

 

Quest 9: Hairsubi is in need of the player to go back across the border of Argonia with another team of slavers, only this time the player is to act as bait to draw out some tribal Argonians. They will arrive at a destination and be told to remove any weapons and armor and put on some damaged fur armor and stand amongst a wrecked cart, acting as a merchant in distress. Eventually Argonians will appear and start attacking the player; it should be noted that the player is instructed to not fight back but simply wait for the salvers to do their thing. It should be possible to fail this quest by not following the instructions and either scaring off the Argonians or fighting back and hurting any of them. Upon a failure the slavers will abandon the player, who then reports the failue to Hairsubi who will be furious with them. Successful capture of the slaves will have the player escorting the slavers back to Hairab, along the way there can be some dialogue with the Argonains begging for freedom and the Dres silently ignoring their pleas.

 

Quest 10: Hairsubi will do one of two quests here; first quest will be if the player fails the previous quest. He will tell the player to check on a den of slaves who have caught some sort of illness and then the player will need to cure them. The slaves are ill with some sort of disease that causes them to get delirious; when the player gets into the slave den the doors will lock or the only means out will get blocked/removed and the slavers will leave the player there amongst the delirious slaves who will turn aggressive and attack en mass. The player can slaughter them or use a spell to cure disease of all of them (they will turn non-hostile after being cured). Either way after they are all cured or dead the door will unlock or the way to get out will be unblocked, and the player reports back to Hairsubi.

 

Killing them will have him somewhat admire the players fighting skills, admitting that he was trying to get the player killed for their failure in the previous quest, but now they may just prove useful. Healing them will have him be somewhat thankful, admitting that he was trying to get the player killed for their failure in the previous quest, but they saved him money by healing the sick slaves.

 

On success of the previous quest, Hairsubi will confide that he sees potential in the player and wants them to go to his ancestral burial and cleanse the tombs, as he has been having disturbing dreams as of late. The cleansing is done by some sort of ritual involving some ingredients. The tombs should be large and infested with ghosts, at the very end there should be a named ghost who is a bit harder. The player kills the ghost and performs the ritual, then reports back to Hairsubi.

 

After this, the player is summoned to Dres Tyr to investigate some shady dealings the Molag-thil in Dres Hairab thinks are going down between the Saltkhan and a rival of his who was recently promoted to a Nomarch, when it was seen as a bad move to do so by not only him but a few other ranking members around the Deshaan.

 

Upon arriving and checking out the promotion, it turns out to be a legitimate promotion. Retuning to the Molag-thil will have the player be asked to seek council directly with Itebidasha Untaghrun, the Molag-thil's most trusted ally in Tyr. Reporting to him will have the player learn more about the actual workings of the slave trade and the exporting of goods all across Morrowind, by having the player oversee the loading of Riverstriders and boats and such. During these quests the player will be acquainted with the fact that the Sload that visit the Tyr docks have a certain disgruntled demeanor about them towards the Dres. After transporting numerous slaves and running shipments, the player will be brought more into the political landscape of House Dres. Itedibasha will ask the player to extort Imperialized establishments in Tear and there should be a few quests dealing with pressure from the Temple on the Old Ways worship of the Dres.

The player will be used as an almost martyr-like figure and will be asked to go on some suicide run into a dangerous Old Mournhold ruin as a champion of Azura, to perhaps clear it of vampires or even make it safe as a useable outpost for Dres merchants on their way along the Heartlands. This will show proof to the Temple that the Old Ways breeds warriors of Just. I also think a few quests helping Itedibasha maximize harvest yeilds by finding peices of dwemer scrap metal to ‘enhance’ some salt water pumps and then going to buy some slaves and escorting them back to the paddy would be good. The player should be seen as some miracilous means to an end fo rthe Dres to help further their powerhouse and their own personal agendas. One good quest idea I have is to have the player sent to Almalexia as a patron of Itedibasha for a contest of prowess of sorts; it could include seeing who can kill the most monsters in a 60 second period, who can withstand standing on fire the longest, and finally a duel. Winning the contest in first place, second place, and third place would have different outcomes but really help the player seat themselves into the society of the Dres.

One other idea I have is to have the player defend a Skyrender hive from some Telvanni who are trying to grow a Telvanni tower inside of it, or prove their worth by harvesting and ingesting some Render honey.

They are eventually recognized by the Saltkhan and are also attacked numerous times by other clan heads for being a 'filthy outlander' and such. Also the Molag-thil in Dres Hairab should be executed at some point for having allowed the player to join the House. The Saltkhan's congregation will send the player on a few quests to prove their actual dedication to the House, including going on a religious pilgrimage that would perhaps take the player all over the mainland and doing other combative stuff as well. Perhaps towards the end of these quests the player is asked to escort a Dres slaver to Argonia with a Dunmer in disguise (maybe the player is told the Dunmer is a sympathizer of the Argonians and is being exiled to Argonia?). This will be a payment towards the Hist (notice how it is one single Dunmer, to show how lax they have been in holding up their end of the deal), though that is unbeknownst to the player at the time. Eventually a member of the Dres Council requests a hearing with the player.

 

Once a few quests are done, the player is told the secret dealings of the Dres and is told that the Council believes the player is the one who can truly help the House in these troubling times. They will explain how they cannot connect with the Great Ancestors very well anymore and all that. The player has the choice to work for them from the outside, working their way up to the status of Saltkhan, or can kill them and claim authority on the Council as the sole Murther-sil, or threaten to oust their secret (though it simply isn't a good idea to do that.)

 

Depending on what action the player takes, the quest line divides from there, and after a few more end-line quests that deal with the up-comming consequences of the council’s actions, the final quest should be different for each action the player takes upon the council.

Saltkhan Ending: The player has to conduct a political shakedown of sorts? Maybe root out some of the more greedy individuals and replace them with with more ‘oldschool’ people.

Murther-sil Ending: Maybe the player has to go to a Sload lair and kill a Sload chieftan or whatever they have to get revenge on the ages-old pact the council made. Or perhaps the player had to kill the Sload to keep them from repossessing the pumps on the Deshaan?

Oust Them Ending: Expelled from the House, attacked on site by any and all Dres?

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Kevaar
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nwo_viper

i… don’t think there’s any avoiding the dres being the “evil slave owner house”. you can present them as tidy and moral to themselves all you want, or “oh they do these nice things too”, but the fact is, it’s going to be obvious and clear to every player that their slavery system is basically, an institutionalized, careless mass murder of argonians because they can’t survive without them – their economic power is predicated entirely on slavery after all. in this respect, the dres are the american south pre-civil war. i mean. they’re even called “the confederacy” in some docs. there’s really no avoiding this. i don’t think there’s enough redeeming qualities you can tack onto the dres, especially our version of the dres, to make up for this. they’re not even amoral geniuses with strong comedy bits like the telvanni. they’re the evil slavers of the south.

this doesn’t mean that we characterize them cartoonishly (and i don’t feel like apo’s questline did, though i have other differences with it in some other ways) or cliche-ly, but, there’s no avoiding the fact at all that the dres are the Evil Slavers Of The South. the vanilla sources portray them as this (see akrash, which equates dres nobles and slavers very casually – don’t be surprised if eso expansions in morrowind use house dres as the villain house either),  but… they really aren’t the good guys by any view. there’s no need to act like we can just ignore or cover away essential parts of a houses’ culture or economy or perception by the player as always being “actually it’s kind of gray”. there’s really no avoiding this with the dres.

i have other thoughts about the twin lamps (they shouldn’t be active in the deshaan, it should be a different faction more adapted specifcally to the deshaan and there’s no questlines for opposing them other than the house dres one really, unless temple ones will deal with this in the deshaan), but like. the slavery abolitionists are hard to see as anything other than the good guys, even if they’re the “oh sometimes we kill people or suck somewhat” good guys like, say, the bajoran rebels in deep space nine. and just like in deep space nine, despite the many humanizing qualities and moments you get with cardassians, in the end, they’re the cardassians despite their deep respect for extended generations of family, redemption arcs, or self made rebellions. the dres are the cardassians of morrowind

 I think I disagree wholly on the basic argument here, in that I don’t think any faction should be constructed to make them bonafide evil (OR bonafide good, when it comes to that). Morrowind is a world of moral greys, as the real world is. Even House Dagoth had their points where you could sympathize with them. That’s good writing, and adds depth to a world that I think is more interesting than thoroughly evil evil, any day.

Using the American South as being evil slavers isn’t the best example, as they also had a much broader take on it than most people give credence to. They didn’t believe they were fighting for slavery, but instead for states rights. They were wanting to secede from the nation so they could preserve their own laws against a system they thought had gone mad with power (slavery was not the only issue stated, if I recall right), though they skirted the slavery issue whenever it came up. Then, too, is the fact that slavery has been a human way of life until just recently (at least, in civilized society. It still goes on underground), and though there were masters that were horrible to their slaves, there were also ones that were relatively decent. Some slaves could work their way out of bondage, some had more material goods than did people living in poverty in the same time period. Slaves were also not always captured by people seeking to make money off of them--it’s been stated over and over that slaves actually lose you money in the long run, compared to paid workers. Just as often they were war captives or criminals working out their dues to society. The American South was an anomaly to some of this, caused by a variety of factors, most of them not having to do with race or evil Southerners. Economic pressures, the conflicts with the Native Americans, malaria, the incredibly high death toll for Amercian colonists, Darwin’s theories of evolution—all of these contributed to the South using slaves instead of paid workers, which then passed on and became tradition by the time the Underground Railroad and Martin Luther King Jr. became a thing.

I would like House Dres to show a similar reasonable way of having come to slavery, rather than just “they’re dark elves, they hate outlanders just because” That doesn’t preclude them for being horrible people from time to time, sure, just like Dagoth was horrible, slavers of the South were horrible, Telvanni are horrible. Just that this isn’t the only facet we explore with them.

I also think the trope of them being evil slavers is better played out through the Twin Lamps faction, as it allows the player to be on the side of good, which is what most players choose in my experience. It is incredibly difficult to write questlines from the point of view of the evil side and have them feel right, especially if there isn’t much basis set for why the characters or society are evil to begin with. It also doesn’t seem right to me that the player would join the House noted for being the upholders of tradition only to flout that tradition. (As one of the options, yes, because that’s good rolepalying, but not the only one, or the easy one.)

My experience of the Morrowind as a game was coming to know a strange twisted people and coming to love them despite their idiosyncasies. TL;DR, I think that’s the atmosphere we should be shooting for expanding Bethesda’s work.

Apologies I haven’t looked into the other quest proposals deeply, though I did finally get a chance to look at your document. Will give that some more thought on a later date.

 

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i’m not apo, that was apo’s quest document. i haven’t posted mine yet.

“I don’t think any faction should be constructed to make them bonafide evil (OR bonafide good, when it comes to that).”

no, we agree on this. there’s no need to go out of our way to make anyone pure evil or the like. but… the dres, as they stand now, are pretty much The Bad House. they are, to me, the american south. 

  • they’re literally in the south
  • they’re culturally quite isolated from the rest of morrowind, and have held onto more traditional beliefs in spite of the rest of morrowind’s progress. they even still worship the original tribunal.
  • they own slaves, and slaves are the backbone of their economy and their society. they took slaves in wars, through trades with locals (the hist deal being equivalent to the oft-cited “african nations sold slaves to the europeans” factoid in my mind), of races they believe are inherently inferior. the note about khajiit bringing thieves and crime said by a dres noble in port telvannis stuck out to me as particularly analogous to real world racism.
  • since the slave point is so crucial – they literally have slaves to work on plantations which are focused on being family owned, and most importantly in comparison to the trans atlantic slave trade, they trade slaves as a commodity, as a major economic practice. they supply slaves to the telvanni and the hlaalu.
  • they are not cartoonishly evil, and from some perspectives might just be doing a consciously rational economic act, or whatever you like. they’re humanized, they have plenty of other traits. but their economic production is entirely predicated on slavery as a major, major part of their culture that can’t really be avoided. and that slavery is also predicated on racism, deceptions and wars (see the arnesian war deception), and the like. 
  • the sheer carelessness the dres show to their slaves – the planning doc still has that quote about the common sight of an argonian slave putrefying in a vat of chlorine. what’s particularly abhorrent about the dres is that they choose the slaves to do explicitly life threatening work that they know will kill them, and they don’t really care about this one way or the other. they’re not taking cartoonishly sadistic pleasure in it. this, combined with the economic dependence in terms of slave trading and the need for slaves, is what particularly distinguishes the dres and american south style of slave ownership from other forms of slavery in the past. also, scale.

given that they are literally racist slave owners, it’s hard, i think, to see them as anything other than evil based on that alone. but the actual conditions that the argonian slaves live in… this is hard to avoid. there’s no sanitizing their image, and i think it’s really weird to see the dres as “grey” given this context. their slavery really is institutionalized racist mass murder, done via deception of the rest of morrowind. 

in morrowind, despite the moral greyness, there are clearly some factions that are more good than others. the redoran, for example, are all honorable and the rest of it. sure, they’re not perfect, but they’re clearly more moral than the hlaalu and vastly more moral than the telvanni. the indoril talk a big moral game, it’s just that it’s a questionable moral game. but they sure are committed to it. the indoril are particularly sort of avoidant of cliche game morality in my eyes. but the dres are pretty much at the bottom of the morality totem pole. this isn’t a matter of *how* we should portray them, or making them look like this to the player. i think it’s just a very hard conclusion to avoid when you just look at what they do, and how we’ve already decided that they are.

even more along the comparison with the american south, however, would be defenses of the dres, both in game and out. the states right thing is a common myth – the particular states right they were concerned about was the right to own slaves. i feel like this, and every other historical source is pretty conclusive. the history of the american south is regularly targeted by revisionists for sanitization. i feel like the dres would do the same for themselves. meanwhile, in the american south, you had people going about their lives, having children, getting married, slaves being treated well in secondary circumstances,  and life went on and slavery was simply there. it wasn’t a cartoonishly evil place – but i think it’s clear to any historical observer, looking back, that the confederacy was capital b Bad, and it was all about their slavery, and their unique economic dependence on it. you citing things like the death toll of colonists, and the need to therefore turn to slaves, really only increases the similarities between the dres and the south. as for the suggestions that there were parts of the american south that weren’t so bad to their slaves, that’s not even worth engaging with, to be completely honest. it’s obviously true, but does nothing to take away from the atrocity. gunmen giving their hostages nice breakfasts doesn’t make them any better.

the way we currently have the dres coming to slavery is simply that they’re dark elves, so naturally, they own slaves. this is a dunmer practice that i think is as old as the velothi days, probably. and i think they didn’t abolish it simply because dunmer culture is a little more naturally ruthless, and developed a little more economically dependent. i think – though can’t be certain off the top of my head – that apocryphal sources say the nords and the like also took slaves, and there was nothing remarkable about the dunmer owning slaves at the time. but in the third era, the dunmer are the only ones who own slaves in morrowind, and they’re particularly defensive of this tradition, and of the notion of nosy outlanders doing something about it.

they also come to slavery because, economically speaking, they have to, if they want to stay a politically independent power in the deshaan, without using their own workers to do the completely fatal work. these aren’t “racist dunmer strike again” things, but it is worth noting that dunmer really only take slaves from races they consider inferior in terms of raiding, not that they have any opposition to slaves from man races. but taking argonian slaves is an easy ask because of the close borders. the only reason they’d go for khajiit slaves as much as they have, however, is really due to dunmer racism. it might be though that from they’re point of view, they’re being benevolent about which races they choose to have slaves from. they choose beast races because they think they’re lesser, and because they don’t want to put perceived higher races through slavery. but there’s enough vanilla dialogue to indicate clearly how low the dunmer opinion – particularly the traditionalist dunmer opinion – is of betmer.

i don’t think *any* of this conflicts with the dres being the Evil Slavers Of The South, if anything, it enforces it to me. their decision isn’t cartoonishly sadistic or evil, it’s done with seemingly reasonable premises and pursued by people in a more dispassionate manner than anything else. the fact that they aren’t cartoonishly evil about this, in presentation or design, only makes them worse in my eyes, because it makes them more like actual, real world evil people. it’s a sort of banality of evil thing – it’s worse because it *isn’t* shoved in your face and isn’t done “oh, it’s so bad”, anvil’d on you. they’re doing it as a casual, seemingly rational decision that’s never made Oh So Terrible. like i said – that’s worse, to me. that’s how the dres will appear in game regardless of what we do unless we make them more cartoonishly evil (which we won’t), because that’s how they are.

“It is incredibly difficult to write questlines from the point of view of the evil side and have them feel right, especially if there isn’t much basis set for why the characters or society are evil to begin with.”

another thing is – some players *will* want to be evil. some of them will want to be dark brotherhood style evil. now, i think dark brotherhood style evil is frankly stupid to have in game, especially in morrowind, but banal, everyday evil from carelessness or wrong belief is 100% in line with morrowind. 

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I tried to depict Dres culture as being backwards and rotten through dialogue where people talk casually about truly horrific things. However, I treated the characters themselves (or some of them) as being essentially honorable people raised in a society which encourages the systematic brutalization of a race of sentient beings.
I tried to use interactions with the Sload to contrast their evil with the evil of the Dres. The Sload are, I think it fair to say, even more unconcerned with morality than the Dres are. In the Dres quest line, I do not think we should preach to the player about how Dres society as evil. Should the player join, we can assume they already know who they are joining and simply do not care. They are making the role playing choice to ally with a group of slavers, to whom slavery is just the way of things. Besides, I have always thought the House quest lines should be framed largely from the perspective of the House. Slavery is nothing more than a backdrop to the Dres and I think it should be treated as such.

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Alright, straight to addressing the proposals today!

Looking through them, I’m seeing a lot of common themes, which is good, as we may be able to combine them more easily. Each of the proposals has their share of weak points too, so I’m looking at shoring them up with pieces taken from the others. This leads me to the below outline. I tried to retain each of the major points of the proposals, though I shifted some in order or importantance:

1) Player is turned away from joining House Dres, being an outlander.

2) Player is offered special deal to become part of House Dres, by an undercover agent of one of Dres’ enemies. Disagreement on whether this should be Hist/slaves or Hlaalu or even not defined at all. (At this early point of the quest, I would suggest the most mundane option of Hlaalu; save the super twisted conspiracies for later.) Player does not currently know the acting entity is an agent.

3) Player is tasked with various manual labor chores, brushes shoulders with some higher-ups as part of the process. Some of these jobs go wrong or seem fishy, which leads to revealing the agent in Part 2. The agent flees, and the player hunts them down to prove they were not a willing accomplice of their plot.

4) An ancestor conglomerate takes a liking to the player, and brings them into House Dres under their sponsorship—a highly spiritual and ritualistic matter, involving a pilgrimmage-trial. This sponsorship saves the player from any suspicion remaining from Part 3, and sets them up as officially being part of the House. Problem to address: how did the player originally meet the conglomerate, and why did the conglomerate choose the player of all people?

5) Player is tasked with building up their powerbase, partly through making allies with other clans or leaders of House Dres. The slavery issue is addressed here, including the player going on an expedition to hunt slaves, and a slave uprising in one clanstead. If they haven’t been already, the player is introduced to the Hist’s involvement and the deals behind the Arnesian War via the slavery quests. Player also gains their stronghold during this step.

6) The slave uprising in Part 5 has destablized the region, and the clanstead is dependent on the player to pull it through (multiple quests). As a measure of their trust, the player is called in and it is revealed to them the true nature of the Dres councilors and their vampirism. Because of the slave uprising and resulting problems, one or more of the councilors are unable to maintain their vampirism any longer (they die? or are revealed to the commoners?). Which leads to…

7) The Sload come a-calling, saying it’s time to fulfill their end of the bargain. The player gets to choose whether to help the councilors continue to evade the deal (perhaps by becoming one of them), or fulfill the deal and change the nature of House Dres forever (likely outcome: councilors are slain, and player becomes the only leader left). The Hist and their slavery deal may also make a (re)appearance, as either a saving grace or an additional antagonist to the player’s dealings with the Sload. (IMO, this appearance should be minor and not detract from the Sload’s arc.)

So there’s a lot of details that could be tweaked in there. I didn’t go through all the quests individually, but I think a lot of them could be preserved and arranged under these steps. We may need to look at combining quests though, as it is I think we have over 40 proposed, and faction questlines are more like 20? (Double check me on that)

Anyhow, if everyone feels this is viable and I am not missing anything major, I propose we make this our working outline and start filling in the details. On a project like this we could debate forever on faction questlines, and I’d like to get this one moving forward into the next stage.

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I hate the idea of the player only being drawn into House Dres because of an agent of some other party.  If we truly want the player to feel like they have agency, then the player should be the one to defy the odds and join the Dres through the sweat on their brow, not because another party deems it acceptable.  
Most of the other points I agree with and included in my own proposal, though I do think the House questlines should be around 25-30 quests long, as 20 seems a bit too short.  

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I’d prefer the deal with the Hist to take the back-seat to the Matriarchs’ deferred debt to the Sload; the Hist should be playing for a very distant end-game and presumably got what they wanted out of their trades with the Dres since they’re now producing near-perfect Dunmer homunculi, whereas the Sload are a good foil for the Dres and the consequence of their deal is limited. The mysterious stranger is a nice way of introducing the homunculi plot, but I think the Hist deal is more interesting if it’s not revealed to the player. Maybe something incriminating the trafficking of Dunmer to Black Marsh could be found during excavations for Dres Yengrith, and it would be nice to allude to the ‘unusual’ Argonians running around during the Simulacrum, but revealing it directly through the quest line kills the appeal. 

In general, I’d really rather not have a slave-uprising plot in Dres territory; it completely precludes the involvement of the Twin Lamps in a narrative they really ought to be involved in, since we can’t reasonably have a slave rebellion be a major quest in the Dres faction questline, and then another motivated by the TL in Hlaalu territory. It also seems a bit counterproductive for either the Sload or the Hist to try to jeopardize the Dres economy, since the Hist’s motivation seems to have been to infiltrate the Dres leadership, and the Sload benefit enormously from Dres Tyr as an unfettered port of trade to the rest of Tamriel.

I also hope we don’t overplay the Dres as ‘evil’, the other houses also make prolific use of slaves, and are generally just as bigoted towards them; the distinction of the Dres is their total economic dependance on slaves. Other than the hostile condition of the Deshaan (which Argonians are probably less inhibited by than the Dres themselves), I can’t really imagine life as a Dres slave as being significantly worse than one of the other Houses; in fact, the Dres probably view slaves as an extension of their own material wealth, which would generally discourage widespread mistreatment. I could even imagine the Dres as holding a kind of religious reverence towards slave-ownership as a sort of ‘natural’ expression of destiny.

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While I don’t have a particular opinion on this subject, I would like to point out that an overabundance of moral (or topical) ambiguity can be just as harmful as a lack of it. Consider this early piece of Dagoth Ur concept art. Dagoth is a remarkably subtle and nuanced character, but I don’t think there is a better way of summarizing him than those three words. The word “evil” is ungainly and loaded with unwanted associations, but I don’t think there is an inherent problem with describing the Dres in terms like that – Brutal, Traditionalist, Slavery – and building their character around that.

The most important thing is presentation. The Dres can objectively be seen as one of the most “evil” of the Houses, but they are not amoral: their actions make sense from their own perspective. Similar to the Telvanni case, who justify their arguably horrific nature through the belief that the powerful define the nature of virtue, the basic character of the Dres can be both objectively terrible, and perfectly justified in-game. After all, if the player character was not convinced of the validity of this perspective, they would have no reason to join the faction.

Speaking of, it might be worthwhile to extrapolate why the player wants to join the Dres. The three vanilla factions all have clear motivators: money, honor, and (arcane) power, along with the general promise of political influence. Currently, I don’t see the appeal of the Dres for an outsider.

If I can make a humble suggestion, I would say that the best way of introducing the player to the faction would be through the slave hunting parties. While the Dres would never hire an outsider as a political agent, it makes a lot more sense for them to take on foreign hirelings to do their dirty work (given that half of them probably die in the poisonous swamps anyway). From there, the player can build up trust and influence fro man associate position.
 

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The only thing, Infragris, is that the Slave hunting part should be considered somewhat sanctimonous to the Dres; it’s not something they would want to have an outlander partake in. They take it as a personal duty to propell Morrowind’s economy further, and that is the depth of which a lot of these other quest lines are missing. To  engross the player, they need to EARN their way into the cultural norms of Morrowind. Another reason why I had stated before that I believe there are too many NPCs who are too nice to the player in TR. Too willing to give out information on people or places that not just any outlander should get to know about. :)

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Does that really make sense, though? Slavery is an essential part of Morrowind’s economy, but without the pressure of the Empire and the abolitionists, it seems unlikely that the Dunmer would place special significance on it. Throughout Vvardenfell, the keeping and selling of slaves is treated as an unremarkable affair. Slavery is important to the Dunmer identity, but it is not their single defining aspect (at least, not in their own eyes). For the Dres to place ritual importance in the hunting of slaves does not quite square with the ease in which they are worked to death on the plantations. If a slave is not considered a valuable commodity in their daily use, then their acquisition should also not be a very significant affair.

Couple this to the likely working conditions of Dres slave hunters: tromping though the toxic marshes, exposed to all kinds of dangers and diseases, violent tribals, having to affiliate with local collaborators, … All of this is lackey work, quite unworthy for a noble Dres. Give the high chance of death or disfigurement, why not let some foreign hirelings do the job for you? Let the beasts hunt for beasts, they have an affinity for one another. Besides, the Dres hunters would have to interact with foreign middlemen anyway, unless if they want to go all the way to Elsweyr themselves. So the idea is not strange to them.

Lastly, if the Dres place special importance on their key role in Morrowind’s economy, they would not do so through the institution of slavery but through their management of land: the Deshaan’s role as “breadbasket of Morrowind” and their ability to extract wealth from a difficult land. The Dres are, in essence, an agricultural society: you can allow a day laborer to handle the plough for a day, but you would never give them control over your estate. The sanctimonious focus of the Dres should be on the ownership and management of land, not on the tools (slaves) with which they work it. Dres exclusionary practices should not focus on keeping the PC away from the slave business, but on preventing them from having access to the management of the estates (which also squares better with the Sload/Hist deals, in which land is the key asset).

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@4) Problem: I was thinking having the player becoming a slaver catcher or hunter. Investigating where different slaves went, tracking them, and possible knocking them out. Reason for this would be the player is a foreigner, as Infragris noted, therefore would be best suited hunting down slaves as oppose to Dres noble themselves.

As for why this ancestor conglomerate would be interested in him/her? After a while they see him a particularly useful asset to have around and he/she has proven their loyalty. Because of these they are given a Dres clanstead (aka Dres Yengrith) close to the border of Black Marsh, allowing this Dres Royal Hunter to do his work quickly and efficiently and close enough to the major port Dres Tyr (Tear) for exportation of said slaves.

Finally left academia.

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All the focus on the slavery part of Dres is kind of making me sick.  The Telvanni was the magical-mystical-mad-wizard-mushroom house who happened to own slaves, that was a great house- fun, crazy, ridiculous but still serious and didn’t buzz-kill me with anti-slavery prop throughout the quests.

And instead of doing something crazy ridiculous (the **** happened to secret civil vampires?) you’re all making the Dres a copy of the secceding U.S. Confederacy, drawing a lot of inspiration from those crazy asshats in the height of their divine violent uppityness.  They aren’t the Confederacy; most slaves throughout history have been used for farming or building, so that’s really a poor comparison.  Most slave-owners have also believed in a religion fervently, another poor comparison.  Also, most people are south of other people, so another poor comparision.  The Dres is not the Confederacy, kill that stupid and boring idea in your minds right now and come up with something a lot more interesting to focus on because slavery shouldn’t even be in the Dres Main Quest at all because IT’S BORING AND LAZY.  They can be a lot more interesting than that.

Just because you’re making the Dres, finally, doesn’t mean you owe the world to make an artistic observation on the badness of slavery.  The world knows slavery sucks and slavery is evil.  The only evil thing the Dres need to do is to own them.  They don’t even necessarily need to be dicks to their slaves or other local Dunmer (dicks to outlanders yes, because they don’t trust them).  Owning them will be enough to show the audience that these people are not from 21st Earth, they’re obviously rough and haven’t figured out civil liberties yet, but you don’t have to teach the people downloading TR that slavery is wrong!  OF COURSE WE/THEY KNOW THAT! We’re all in our 20-40s by now and most of us don’t need a lesson in morality.  And if it makes any one of you itchy to present an artistic work to the world that doesn’t condemn slavery throughout the plot of this part of the game, then you shouldn’t be making this part of the game because it’s not a subtle or suitable message and it paints the entire house the color of vomit and blood.  You’re trying to sell the house, not condemn it.  If you want to condemn house Dres while making it, what’s the f-ing point of making it?

You need to focus on finding the magical-mystical-mad-wizard-mushroom-house side of the Dres in order to make it a wonderfully crazy fun house to be apart of, instead of making me feel like I’m going to have to make a moral saving throw deciding whether to even join them, which as some remaining members here may recall, I’ve been waiting for since TR began.

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Good to see you on the new forums, Greendogo.

The secret vampires are in; the current Matriarchs of Dres are the Wise Women who lead the tribes of the Dres during the Second Era and entered into a pact with one of the Daedra to prolong their lives (to escape a previous pact with the Sload). TR’s most contemporary vision for the Dres is the planning document here: http://tamriel-rebuilt.org/content/state-house-dres

Slavery is unavoidably central to the Dres plotline, because the Dres economy is driven by the trade and use of slaves, but we definitely shouldn’t go overboard with it, and the player’s path to joining the house is an important first impression. Maybe the player could be initially employed by a minor Dres noble in Tyr as a liason to the foreign district to deal with undesirable outlander traders in their stead? I think it’s a more appealing direction for the player to start in the urban areas of the Dres and then progressively move into the backwaters (until meeting the ancestor-conglomerate, at least), introducing the Dres as severe, xenophobic merchants in scary, neon Tyr and then slowly revealing they’re just bugherders with cities.

I kind of imagine an outlander running around the Deshaan would be a rather extraordinary sight for the locals, so I think the initial quests should be constrained to Tyr or Horak (or even have the player running errands outside of Dres territory). The Dres regions are all intended as high-level areas, but there’s nothing to stop the player from catching a ship to Tyr and trying to start the questline at level 1, so it might be better to ease the player into it rather than sending them straight out to the Deshaan.

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Some ideas I had about tying the House Yengrith subplot into the sinister deals plot:

House Yengrith was formerly one of the houses that sat on the Clan Council. However, its matriach died of old age, and the Sload, having claimed her soul, were able to use a foul magical ritual to reap the souls of her descendants. As the deal with the Sload was a secret, the resulting mysterious deaths that decimated House Yengrith were deemed the result of some strange plague. Seeing that they had not just damned themselves, but their families too, the Matriarchs did their deal for immortality. This was exactly according to the plans of the Sload: the longer the Matriarchs extended their lifespans, the more generations came and the more souls gathered when it inevitably came time to collect.

The ancestors of House Yengrith are aware that those who died from the plague were not able to join them. As such, part of the reason they adopt the Nerevarine is because they believe that they would be able to find out the truth behind what happened.

Come to think of it, the general assumption is that the deal with the Sload would have bad consequences not just for the Matriarchs, but the rest of the Dres as well. Wouldn’t that mean there has to be some changes to the world coded in if the player decides to murder them all himself?

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This is probably a good compromise between dealing with slavery issue and haviing player appeal. Have them first work as a runner or enforcer for a charismatic Dres noble in Tyr, then after earning that nobleman’s trust working his way up the ladder, learnign about the more backwater areas of Dres.

Finally left academia.

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You can't avoid slavery with house Dres-- their entire economy and existence and way of living depends on it. On the other hand, House Dres wouldn’t consider slavery and slaves to be particularly noteworthy; the slaves are tools to them. It wouldn’t be that big a deal to them. If other people started objecting they'd probably be confused and annoyned like if someone came up to you while you were digging in your garden and said you couldn’t use a shovel. (Or like Team Plasma from Pokemon.) So House Dres’ storyline can't avoid slavery, but slavery is a backdrop to the story, not the story itself.

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.

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