Velothi Mountains Region Template Meeting - Part I
1 First, quickly go over the current implementation of the region. This stage is about taking stock of what we have to work with.
1.1 What does it currently look like?
RM rocks and textures, generally scaled up but spaced more sensibly than other regions. The westernmost edge being snowy, but otherwise the region is mostly free of snow (on the ground anyway). Vegetated patches are relatively few and variable, generally either being barren with little vegetation or greener with a lot of BM trees, WG flora, and some other stuff like scathecraw.
It is very narrow in places, especially considering that the westernmost parts are designed to be unscalable by normal means. Especially in the south, it has some really deep crevices, usually cone-shaped, usually with a pool at the bottom (at ocean level).
The region has a few landmass seams, a few places where the topography is perhaps somewhat square (especially due to the seams northeast of Knocker's Neck and southwest of Verarchen), and the cell transition just south of Kogotel is especially badly matched, though it shouldn't be too hard to iron out. On the whole though, the landscaping is really good. There are a few texture inconsistencies like MA cliffs that could be ironed out.
1.2 What is in it? (Settlements? Whose?)
The three biggest “settlements” are the border passes: Shadowgate Pass in the south, Knocker’s Neck Pass (a Redoran stronghold) in the middle and Rift Pass in the North.
Kragen Mar is in the south and Kogotél in the north, both are just a few cells outside of the regions.
There are a few scattered Redoran hamlets (unnamed) and a few camps (possibly Nordic?) Aside from the active passes, there's a notable Imperial fort ruin north of Rift Pass and a Reman-era tower built during the Four Score War at Knocker’s Neck Pass.
Two Goblin tribes live here as well.
2 What is the general purpose of the region? Why does it/should it exist?
2.1 What is its narrative role?
The Velothi Mountain region plays the role of “borderland” and “end of the world” for players. Far from the civilised parts of the province, this is where people go to get challenged (and not choke on ash).
2.2 What is going on there? (ie. is it challenging wilderness, or does it play an important role in commerce, pilgrimage, etc.?)
Trade routes cut through the region from east to west and vice versa, but they are isolated pockets of travel in a challenging, inaccessible wilderness area. Merchant caravans hurry from settlement to settlement en route to more civilised lands.
Adding to the danger are the inhabitants: aside from the Redoran and Imperials there are Velothi Orcs, Goblin tribes, Nords, outlaws, Nord outlaws, and other folks that do not react kindly to being found.
Of interest for pilgrims is Shadowgate Pass, where Veloth’s Path begins. But they too, hurry east, never spending much time here.
3 What is the identity of the region? This stage is about establishing the general appearance of the region.
3.1 Who inhabits the region?
Imperials, Redoran, Orcs, Nords, Goblins, probably a few Ashlanders, a few Baluath vampires, and some individuals who were turned into Orlukh vampires reside in the Suldun eggmine.
3.2 What are they doing there?
The Imperials are maintaining the border forts.
The Redoran live here, generally subsisting by hunting/gathering and a few kwama mines that live in steam-warmed caves. They perform their duty of keeping Morrowind’s borders (relatively) safe, especially at Knocker’s Neck.
Outlaws generally live by banditry, scavenging, and rations. Orc and Goblins generally do as well.
Vampires can walk around half the day, while the sun is hidden west of the Velothi Mountains. They feed on Redoran, Nords, and Orcs alike.
3.3 Who used to inhabit the region (especially before the War of the First Council)?
The Dwemer. Orcs have been here since Veloth’s time, Goblins maybe longer. The Nords once held a border pass where Rift Pass is now.
Chimer and Dunmer have always been here in small numbers as well.
During the Four Score War, Knocker’s Neck Pass held a sizeable garrison of Remanite troops. After one of their invasions failed when their army was drowned around Bodrem, they fortified the place and lived there until the peace treaty and end of the Reman dynasty, essentially the better of a year.
3.4 What did they do there?
Orcs and Goblins have been doing what they keep on doing in modern times: hunting and gathering.
The Dwemer considered this their core territory for much of their history and held Knocker’s Neck Pass under the name of “Chinzinch Pass”.
The Chimer/Dunmer tribes that lived here were pushed out of nicer, more hospitable places and hunted and gathered.
3.5 How densely populated (and where) is the region?
Most inhabitants cluster around or in the border passes and their little hamlets and camps.
4 What is the layout of the region? This stage is about discussing the implementation of the region in broad strokes.
4.1 How would the things within the region (dungeons, settlements) be arranged?
This is a rather thin region, it is defined by the border forts and their roads, with hamlets and their basic dirt paths parallel them winding along its length in and out of neighbouring regions.
The camps are off-road, generally in green and hospitable valleys. Orc and Goblin camps are however in the more mountainous parts.
The dungeons can be distributed evenly. The Dwemer ruins clutter around the Velothi Mountains themself, and are already placed.
4.2 How do we want the player to experience the region in-game?
Aside from the passes, which would mostly be safe as long as players don’t wander off the road, the Velothi Mountains Region would be a challenging area players might be sent to on high-level missions or might seek out if looking for a challenge or rewarding exploration. Narrow, hidden paths could take the player to such locations. The exploration-minded player of sufficiently high level should find this kind of excursion rewarding.
A player who is crossing the border or has crossed the border should feel the sting of bureaucracy and the idea that they are stepping into a new region. Merchants making stops at the forts might help with that. Travel between provinces should, however, not be made tedious, as the player never leaves the “country” they are in.