I intend to, for the most part, use the blog format to note down various ideas I have for the project that usually have no bearing on current discussions, so that once it's time to address those topics in earnest I won't have to start from scratch. As such, quite a few of my blog posts will actually probably be works-in-progress that I may revisit and expand on at a later date.
To get the ball rolling, I wanted to note down my general idea on how to handle player strongholds. Specifically, how to handle the situation of the vanilla Houses already having player strongholds on Vvardenfell.
In the interests of consolidating Vvardenfell and the Mainland, and so that the vanilla Houses don't have an advantage over Indoril and Dres by having two strongholds, the general attitude seems to be to limit the player to a single stronghold. At the moment, the likely situation is that the only Hlaalu stronghold would be Nav Andaram; Telvanni and Redoran keep Tel Uvirith and Bal Isra; and Indoril and Dres get Id Vano and Dres Yengrith respectively.
My idea is quite simply to give each player two 'strongholds':
- Indoril players will 'restore' (build anew) the lost Chapel of the Garden Id Vano, the ruins of which lie in the Inner Sea, as effectively their personal palace, and will additionally get a small Velothi settlement (or build up Ildrim?) to support the Chapel. In doing so, the player will be provided with both core elements of Indoril society: the lord's Chapel, and the Velothi serfs that support the lord and Indoril economy as a whole. Additionally, I'd like to try out the idea of limited terraforming (mostly just flora, probably, and perhaps a subtle weather change) within Sundered Scar; the idea is that the region is in its shabby state due to neglect, having lost its Chapel, and that once it has a new lord the region can begin to recover.
- Dres players will build up Dres Yengrith as a new clanstead, and I'm not quite decided on the secondary stronghold, which could either be a Skyrender hive/Dres burial, a Chap-thil camp, a slave hunter camp or perhaps a saltrice plantation, though the latter would not be a standard Dres plantation as it would not link to the Salt Washes. My current thinking is to have the saltrice fields next to the clanstead rather than as a separate plantation, and probably go with the Chap-thil camp as the secondary stronghold for storyline reasons.
- Hlaalu players will have Nav Andaram as a primary stronghold, gaining a foothold in eastern Aanthirin and thereby being heavily involved in politics and trade, but will have Reynasa Rethan as a stooge as well, gaining a foothold into the Vvardenfell land-grab, and thereby having fingers in the two most delectable and volatile pies available to House Hlaalu.
- Telvanni players will have the tower of Tel Uvirith, but will additionally gain their own pocket realm; perhaps they can even retreat to there at any time (as long as they have enough magicka to teleport) to cheat death, which I think some Telvanni lord NPCs should be able to do as well (though the player should probably be able to hunt them down, or just cut them down before they can finish casting).
- Redoran players I'm actually not sure about, because I'm not entirely convinced of the purpose of Bal Isra, especially what importance it will have in the context of TR's Redoran questline, which focuses on the Nord uprising on the mainland. It seems to be a fortified location for protecting a caravan route; basically, fortifying the Redoran holdings in Vvardenfell against the hazards of blight and Dagoth Ur. But in the context of Morrowind as a whole that still seems really dull and unimportant. And then there's the problem that the natural choice for a mainland stronghold would also be a fortified location in connection with the Nord uprising, and both Redoran strongholds having essentially the same function seems dull. There's some work to be done here still.
Either way, the basic model would be the primary stronghold, which would offer some services and function as a player home, and would be built up for a significant part of the faction questline, and a secondary location that would generally provide special gameplay benefits/services, and would generally provide deeper insight into the given House's economy and lifestyle. As to what those benefits are, there I'm a lot less sure, and aside from providing interesting benefits the benefits between Houses should be roughly balanced. To make a rough start:
- The Velothi village would manufacture goods of some description for the player, and offer other goods via its tradehouse, and probably have some form of shrine or temple; perhaps even an Almsivi marker? Not sure if that's interesting enough... Chapels also would have some form of rickshaw travel that links to the other Chapels and Almalexia.
- The Chap-thil camp would have a herd of plainstriders, but I'm not sure what sort of special service could be provided, aside from perhaps a special travel network? Dare I suggest a player mount? And a mounted retainer companion or two? Maybe slaves brought fresh from the Arnesian jungle?
- The Rethan Manor has an egg-mine at any rate. Perhaps Reynasa Rethan would also be able to provide some kind of boon to the player, in the vein of Fast Eddie?
- Aside from being a place to retreat to, I'd assume the Telvanni player's pocket realm would provide some sort of arcane benefits...
- And no idea on Bal Isra.