This is a summary of the Skype meeting that took place on Saturday, March 21, 2015 based on my notes. The topic was House Indoril and its planning document. The next meeting will probably take place on Saturday, April 4, 2015 at 6:00 PM GMT/UTC. Its topic is to be determined.
I took over secretary duties for this meeting. Apologies if my summary is not up to the usual standards. Also, Swiftoak has been doing some name dedefecation in his map lately. I tried to include both the old and new names, but if there's a name you don't recognise, check the map. It might be a rename of a pre-existing settlement.
As the planning document was a collection of everything written about House Indoril so far, this meeting was used to go through it topic by topic and see what needed fixing/elaborating/etc.
No real conflict was found between Vanilla and TR lore. While there were a few minor discrepancies, most prominently whether the Great Houses existed before the Tribunal, all of these could be explained away by our sources for Vanilla history not being 100% accurate about things that happened thousands of years ago.
We decided that House Indoril did exist before Nerevar rose to greatness. Back then, it was an influential noble family, but not a Great House in the form it is today. Nerevar joined the family by marrying Almalexia (then Indoril Laesa).
A minor detail that we decided was best removed was the line "they weren't even able to participate in the opening of Vvardenfell". House Indoril was instead just not interested in colonising Vvardenfell.
We decided to skip worldspace implementation for now, until we have a better idea of what we want to do with it.
We did briefly discuss Bosmora, the Mournhold town in south-east Lan Orethan. We decided to move it closer to the sea, rebuild it in the Velothi tileset, rename it Lan Murha and use the concept for Saint Llothis.
Punishment within House Indoril was briefly discussed. The most important idea here is that House Indoril will never admit that another Indoril did anything wrong. Instead of being punished for their actions, an Indoril will have to justify their interpretation of the law. They can hire (Indoril) lawyers for this. They also need to show that they're still noble, through various noble actions, such as pilgrimages, acts of charity or other work. Of course, they can order their servants to perform these actions for them. For the truly grave offenses, the Morag Tong would be hired, instead of exposing the Indoril's misdeeds in court.
The decay was briefly discussed, and the main takeaway is that any groups from this section should be used to explore certain ideas, not as full-fledged factions. Because of that, they should not be planned out too much, and only be created when we have a need/good concept for them.
We also talked a bit about the hierarchy of House Indoril, and while the ranks are far from finished, important distinctions between the ranks were briefly discussed. Oathmen, while exclusively serving House Indoril, are not Indoril themselves. They are not part of the 'family'. That honour is reserved for kinsmen and up, who get Indoril attached to their name. Creedmen are the lowest nobles.
Much like the geography, we decided to hold off on discussing the Geopolitical Distribution, other than to point out that any information is this section is to be used as guidelines, rather than strict rules. Seyda Vano/Id Vano was also talked about. Id Vano was a castle-estate long before the player builds his stronghold there, but it was destroyed during the same event that created the Inlet Bog. However, House Indoril never acknowledged that Id Vano and the family living there were destroyed. Because of this, when the player becomes lord of the estate, no new title is created. Instead, the player takes over from the family that previously ruled there.
We decided to expand a bit on the relations between Indoril and the other major factions (Hlaalu excluded). Minor factions were not discussed. We did run into the problem of not having enough information on the other factions (Temple especially) to properly plan relations between them.
Redoran:Redoran is probably the closest ally Indoril has left. However, even this alliance was soured somewhat in the past. House Indoril holds House Redoran in very high regard, and while Redoran considers Indoril a friend, they don't trust them a lot. The reason for this is that, during Tiber Septim's invasion, House Redoran stood alone against the Empire. House Indoril decided to retreat into their own lands, and hold a stand there. While the Tribunal's intervention prevented this from ruining the relation between the Houses, it lower Redoran's regard for Indoril.
Dres: There are some theological differences between Dres and Indoril, but Indoril consider Dres too important an ally to let that form a rift between them. Indoril recognises that Dres is going to keep doing its own thing, regardless of what Indoril think, and they bend their canon to fit this. However, nothing that House Dres does is incompatible with the Indoril worldview, so they're good neighbours. Indoril has a better opinion of Dres than the other way around. Recently, there's been a bit of a tugging match between Hlaalu and Indoril over who has the most influence with Dres. Dres themselves are taking advantage of this contest of course.
Telvanni: The part of mainland Morrowind that's currently under Telvanni control was uninhabited for a long time. Nominally it was under Indoril control but in much the same way that they consider all of Morrowind under their control. They exerted no direct influence on the area, and they had no holdings there. The area only became inhabited during the Telvanni expanion, which was allowed by Indoril. These days, the border between Indoril and Telvanni is much closer, but there is no effort by either faction to take territory from the other. The Indoril don't care about the land, and any pushes by the Telvanni are the decisions of individual wizards, not the faction as a whole. Because of this, any conflict between the two factions is strictly local.
Temple: House Indoril derives their right to rule from the Temple, who derive their rights from the Tribunal, in a way similar to medieval kings. However, the Temple itself doesn't have a lot of power, because the Indoril can interpret Temple laws any way they like. Also, many of the high-ranking people in the Temple are part of House Indoril. This ruins any attempts at neutrality by the Temple.
Empire The Empire are seen as an intrustion into the Indoril system, symbolised by Old Ebonheart and Mournhold being in Indoril territory and Almalexia respectively. In the eyes of the Empire, the invasion of Morrowind is water under the bridge, but the Indoril still hold a major grudge. However, both because they refuse to acknowledge the Empire's rule, and because they simply can't, the Indoril take no direct action against the Empire. Instead, they're just very passive-aggressive.
We decided that kinsmen of House Indoril would have tutors, either private or for a group of Indoril. Inspiration for these tutors could be drawn from tutors in ancient Greece and/or Rome (Aristotle, Plato, etc.)
The general agreement was that we really shouldn't think too hard about how exactly the economy works, other than noting that common Velothi would mostly rely on the barter system.
The jobs people would have on various levels of the hierarchy were discussed in a bit more detail.
- Slaves: Working the fields and construction. Manual labour basically.
- Commoners: Overseers and craftsmen.
- 'Ordinary Indoril': Clerks, lawyers, etc. Responsible for keeping the huge Indoril bureaucracy running.
- Indoril Lords: Rulers.
The Indoril questline was discussed very briefly, though the general consensus was that we should wait a bit before planning it fully. Still, a few ideas were talked about. Firstly, that the House War should not be the sole focus of the questline. Secondly, the idea was raised that Hlaalu and Indoril would seek aid from their respective allies. Indoril would try to form a coalition with Dres and Redoran, which would be a good opportunity to explore some of the issues between Indoril and its allies. The Empire would try to subtly help Hlaalu in their own lands, but for the most part their hands are tied.
The tone of the House Questlines was also discussed. Much like in the Vanilla Main Quest, you'd be the savior of your faction by dealing with a certain crisis. While doing this, you uncover the underlying issues that lead to the current crisis, but by the end of the questline, they're still not resolved. At some point in the near future, those issues will need to be dealt with, and that's going to be messy and unpleasant for everyone involved.
We also had a very short look at Swiftoak's Indoril Document. It mainly contains name dedefecations, but the italic text under each important character could be used in the White Book.
After that, the discussion turned to Akamora, where I was so out of my depth, I left the discussion. Someone else took over summary duties for the last half-hour.
Two off-topic things also discussed:
The Legion and Temple shouldn't conflict with any of the Houses, and quests should be written to accomodate this.
The Velothi towers were proposed to have belonged to the proto-Telvanni. They abandoned them when they moved to the Telvanni Isles around the Battle of Red Mountain.
Very late as usual; my apologies.
After Theminimanx bowed out of the meeting, we only discussed a few topics:
First, Akamora. Specifically how to bring it in line with our current concept for House Indoril.
It is our intention to preserve the excellent quests that have already been made for the settlement. The following changes were decided on to limit the necessary adjustments to them required.
Akamora will essentially become four settlements. The town itself will be remade in the Velothi tileset further east by the town's eggmines, and will be renamed Umul. Its manors, however, will not be moved over, as Velothi do not have nobles or manors.
Instead, the manors of the most important nobles questwise will be transformed into castle-estates which will remain in the area, and any other nobles that need to be kept will probably be relocated to Almalexia along with as many of Akamora's MH interiors as can be crammed in.
Here's a map:
The largest of the castle-estates -- Dun Senim -- will be located where Akamora currently is and should preserve the overall aesthetic of the settlement. It will be home to Indoril Ienen Tomaril.
The Tomaril Manor to the south will be kept as a smaller castle-estate, but renamed Bis Indaryn. It will be home to Indoril Ivis Oryalen.
The last castle-estate will be a new one, also small, to the east of Dun Senim, which will be called Bet Ydhas. It will be home to Indoril Eras Andil.
The core of the conflict between the above nobles -- and perhaps others in Almalexia -- will essentially be over Dun Akafell, which will be renamed Dun Aamul. Dun Aamul was once a prestigious castle-estate which has long laid in ruin. Its domain has essentially been swallowed by Dun Senim, but now Dun Senim's lord Indoril Ienen Tomaril is old and heirless, and various claimants are angling to ensure that they will be the next to inherit the domain.
If we're going to keep the conflict over the egg mines, the reason for the conflict won't have anything to do with the profits of the mines, but instead the egg mines are simply part of Dun Aamul's garden, and the nobles attempt to show that they are lord of the area by tending it as they would any other part of the garden. Similarly, some of the lords might try and stop the southward spread of House Telvanni as a way of weeding 'their' garden and showing that they are in control.
The Imperial guilds will still be located in Umul. They basically took advantage of the confusion to establish themselves, and have been trying to ingratiate themselves with the locals, and especially the Indoril nobles, since.
Next, Mournhold. What does the name refer to, and where does it come from?
In Sload's Almalexia Proposal, it refers only to the king's palace. In Tribunal, it naturally referred to the inner city of Almalexia, which will not exist as such in our version. It has often also been used to refer to the whole city.
As far as the origin of the name is concerned, now that I come to think of it the obvious reason for the 'mourning', which didn't come up in the meeting, would be the destruction of Almalexia at the end of the first era. (Though the city is called Mournhold in the 2920 books right before the cataclysm, those books are written from an Imperial perspective long after the events took place, and as such are probably highly inaccurate).
The reason that was mentioned in the meeting, however, was the Armistice, and with it the loss of Morrowind's (full) independence, of Indoril's unchallenged preeminence, and the mass suicide of many of its members. Why Almalexia or the king's palace in particular would be singled out in particular as the 'mourning hold' instead of Indoril lands in general is another question.
With the signing of the Armistice came the establishment of Morrowind's royal family, and an area within Almalexia was set aside to house their palace. The local Dunmer -- especially the Indoril -- gravitated away from the foreign presence of the palace, while Imperials were given permission to set up shop. This naturally led to Kingsreach becoming a sort of foreign quarter.
We shortly discussed Roa Dyr, namely its overall appearance and how it matches our vision for castle-estates. The original plan was for Roa Dyr to be "made up of several keeps separated by canals". Instead, there is only one keep which takes up a fairly small amount of space, and the rest of the estate essentially consists of ground-level courtyards.
I do not think this should be a trend for the larger castle-estates, but nobody (myself included) expressed a desire for the castle-estate to be redone. (Again). Instead, Roa Dyr's appearance could represent its unusual situation, originally having been a small castle-estate, (its keep is roughly the right size for one), but with the Armistice having gained extensive territory.
We also shortly discussed the land around Old Ebonheart, specifically the idea of extending the Thirr River Delta eastwards. (The changes would be made around Old Ebonheart, and not to the settlement itself). While the mouth of the Thirr as currently planned does fall rather short of the typical fan-like deltas one associates with alluvial plains, that is largely because the land suddenly rises up to a fairly high elevation around the mouth of the Thirr, (I have no idea why that was done), and cutting a Nile-like river delta into what is essentially a plateau wouldn't make much sense or look very natural, while lowering the land would require rather extensive work.
As such, the general consensus appeared to be not to bother. As the current mouth of the Thirr only became a river mouth when the Inner Sea was created, it's not entirely unreasonable that no proper delta would have formed, anyway.