Welcome to another development diary for Tamriel Rebuilt -- the massive mod for The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind that has for the last two decades been working on adding the mainland of the Morrowind province to the game world, in accordance with the lore and vision of TES III. Currently, rought half of the mainland area, along with roughly 360 quests, is fully completed and released to players, offering many dozens of hours of gameplay. Here we offer a short overview of our upcoming content expansions.
Earlier this year, we dived deep into two of our next upcoming major content expansions, the Dominions of Dust and the Embers of Empire. These are, however, only the most complete of the areas currently in development -- there is much more in progress.
The reason is that work on Tamriel Rebuilt is, by necessity, cumulative. We always aim to have a “rolling front” of new areas conceptualized for 3D modelers, further-along areas for exterior developers who need finalized 3D assets, even more ready regions for interior makers who can fill in exterior locations, and nearly complete worldspaces for NPCers and questers. It doesn’t always work out this neatly in reality, but it’s what we are aiming for.
This month, we will acquaint you with the full breadth of our current work in a development roadmap that lists the next projected expansion areas in the order we intend to release them. No release dates though! It’s a volunteer project, after all, and dates are difficult to predict (as we know from multiple past mistakes).
Currently in progress areas for future Tamriel Rebuilt expansions, numbered according to expected order of release.
1a. Dominions of Dust
The hamlet of Teyn is situated in the relatively lush part of Roth Roryn against the Inner Sea.
As covered in September, our next regular content expansion will bring to you three regions -- the Roth Roryn badlands, the eerie and desolate Armun Ashlands, and the heights of the Velothi Mountains, framing Morrowind’s western border. These regions are quite sparsely settled and suitable for more higher-level characters than our previous releases. The release area also contains our first major Hlaalu city -- Andothren -- which will be the main focus point for the more than 140 quests currently on track to being included in this release.
A hapless Temple acolyte in the town of Omaynis is seeking your help. Quest by Nats482 and Sultan of Rum.
Since our previous update, much more work has been done to bring the exteriors up to modern standards, but even more remains to be done. Quests, too, have seen some progress -- 47% of the release-critical ones are either completed or in testing, though all of our longer questlines remain in development.
1b. Embers of Empire
New Helnim by Taniquetil; concept by Gnomey.
Covered extensively in October news post, the Embers of Empire is a massive overhaul of some of our earliest released content -- the Imperial presence in Telvannis. Firewatch, the embattled Imperial capital of the district, has been doubled in size, filled with unique buildings, and has had all of its interiors reworked. Many quests will also be added to fill in the improved locations. Helnim has, instead, been cut down to size to better fit its role as a small Imperial trade post in this most distant, unruly and xenophobic of Imperial districts. Many of its prior quests and interiors have been repurposed to bolster Firewatch, but the remaining content will be polished and more quests added. Bal Oyra has seen similar work -- its Imperial buildings have been moved to the new Imperial Navy outpost of Icebreaker Keep on the isle of Balvvarden, leaving behind a poor Dunmer village more fitting for the northwestern tip of Telvannis proper.
East Empire Company warehouse in Firewatch by Denis418.
The end goal is to bring some of our earliest content up to modern Tamriel Rebuilt design standards and to get players excited to revisit these eastern lands. Currently, exterior work has been completed and less than ten interiors remain to be overhauled. Quest reworking/refitting has already begun.
2a. Thirr Valley
The town of Sadrathim sits on the eastern bank of Lake Coronati, just where the cliffs of Shipal-Shin rise out of the Thirr Valley. Exterior by Cicero and Chef.
The next proper landmass expansion will continue southeast of the Dominions of Dust. The Thirr Valley region hugs its namesake river as it gently meanders towards the southern part of Lake Andaram. This area is home to a multitude of small to medium-sized Hlaalu trade towns and tanna plantations, all nestled between thick mushroom mangroves. The Redoran Waters March, almost entirely pushed out of the region by Hlaalu expansion, holds on to a precarious existence in the twin river fortress of Ald Iuval and Ald Marak. Overtly, the region is peaceful, but players may soon find themselves entangled in webs of vicious underworld rivalry.
New textures for Thirr Valley mushroom mangroves by Kynesifnar, Mwgek, Leyawnn and 10Kaziem.
This is the first area to be developed entirely anew by the current iteration of the Tamriel Rebuilt development team (be on the lookout soon for a revamped project history page) and makes heavy use of a unique colour palette and new assets. Currently, much of the exterior work is completed (though it will still receive another round of touch-ups) and users of our Preview plugin may already be familiar with the general look of the area. The town of Ud Hleryn and its whereabouts will still need to be finalized, as does a strip of the Othreleth Woods (see below), recently added to bolster the region's western border. Most of the interiors in Thirr Valley are already done, and the bulk of the rest, including those in Ud Hleryn, were just opened for interior developers. Discussions on NPCing the region will begin very shortly.
Skylamps from Morrowind lore by Joanasc and Rats. These creatures are used as mounts by Hlaalu patrols along the Thirr River.
2b: Sundered Scar
The Sundered Scar region as it stands -- an odd clone of the Bitter Coast.
As a bonus, the Tamriel Rebuilt team is contemplating another limited redo of our released content, of the type seen in Embers of Empire. This time, the focus is on the Sundered Scar region, just east of Old Ebonheart. Despite being the only bridge between the bulk of our released landmass in eastern Morrowind and the post-2018 Old Ebonheart and Aanthirin expansions, it is routinely considered by the current development team to be the most technically troubled of our "finished" regions. The area was originally known as the 'Inlet Bog' and in the present implementation, it lacks a unique character -- it is simply a flatter, yet more performance-hungry version of Vvardenfell's Bitter Coast. It, furthermore, suffers from an almost complete lack of quests. Many in the team are, therefore, itching to rework it and make it attractive for quest developers.
Gnomey's (above) and Nirvayn's (below) sketches exploring Sundered Scar flora.
Our current concept instead views the Sundered Scar as a “failed garden” of the Indoril. Due to as-of-yet unspecified natural disasters and/or ecological mismanagement, these lands, once a prosperous Indoril breadbasket, have decayed into a poisonous volcanic morass. It will be possible for us to develop this area in parallel to our normal content releases due to its relatively light requirements for unique 3D assets -- in many ways, the area will mirror the Molag Amur region across the sea and will be able to use many of its assets. But to set it apart, there will be a focus on unique, twisted flora adapted to the region, as well as sulfurine pools and lakes, echoing the cancelled Great Scathes region from TES III: Morrowind’s development concepts. Velothi villagers still eke out a living in the region, largely neglected by their erstwhile Indoril overlords, and on the lookout for strapping adventurers to solve their many problems.
Cicero's test area for a new conception of Sundered Scar.
Though many developers are raring to go, work on this regional redo will not begin before both the Embers of Empire and the Dominons of Dust are released, so as to not to push back our regular release schedule.
Shipal-Sharai by Phenoix12 -- a caravan town straddling a particularly narrow part of the Purple Road from the Imperial City to Narsis. The custom buildings are made possible by Wolli's modular Hlaalu architecture set.
Representing the wild (south-)west of the Morrowind Province, the Shipal-Shin region follows just south of the Thirr Valley. This deep red desert highland, criss-crossed by steep canyons, separates Morrowind from Black Marsh and Eastern Cyrodiil. The land is sparsely populated with Hlaalu netch ranches and drumpear farms. Instead, bandits, smugglers, and nomads of the Red Swarm Militia (placeholder name) roam unmolested, threatening the Imperial Purple Road connecting to Mir Corrup in Cyrodiil.
The Stormgate Pass border post by Phenoix12.
The Purple road terminates at Narsis, the giant Hlaalu capital nestled in the bend of the Thirr River valley. The city has grown fat and opulent from southern Cyrodiil trade -- here, overland goods headed to Morrowind are loaded on river barges, whereas Imperial aid to the embattled penal colony of Stormhold in northwestern Black Marsh passes through Narsis’ southern gate. The merchants pour their wealth into the tall towers that the city is famous for.
Work-in-progress Sharai Hoppers by Joanasc. These are the trusty steeds of Shipal-Shin nomads.
Exterior work on Shipal-Shin is progressing nicely -- more than half of the exteriors have been finalized and all other areas are progressing well. Our interior developers have blasted through the few dozen claims we have put up so far and are waiting on fixes for the Shipal-Shin cave 3D assets prior to doing the next batch. Narsis, which is currently being rebuilt using our new Hlaalu modular 3D assets, will be the highlight of the release. This city will require quite a few quests -- always the most time-consuming item on the list -- so consider becoming a quest developer to help us along!
4. Othreleth Woods
Othreleth Woods concept art by Myzel.
Filling in the remaining part of Morrowind’s Narsis district will be the massive Othreleth Woods. Bordered by Shipal-Shin towards the south and west, and by the Velothi Mountains to the northwest, this part of the map has a twin character, partly as the main Hlaalu breadbasket and partly as a thick and alien mushroom forest. Another one of the ancient Redoran lands from which House Hlaalu pushed them out, it is now filled with prosperous Hlaalu trade and industry towns, as well as innumerable plantations. Temple pilgrims flock to walk Veloth’s path from Shadowgate pass, through the city of Kragenmoor, and on across the Thirr river towards Necrom. Further from the roads, however, the woods are filled with dangerous flora and fauna, harassed by goblin tribes, and pocked with crumbling Redoran ruins.
Chef trying out some Othreleth Woods assets in a test area. The palette will stay the same, but these tall mushroom trees still need an overhaul.
The bustling Hlaalu city of Kragenmoor, built on ruins left by the Kragen Dwemer, has seen slow but steady exterior progress over the last few years. The woods themselves are next. Long a worrisome lead item, nearly all of the flora 3D assets required to bring this biome to life have recently materialized thanks to the valiant efforts of our 3D model and texture artists. Collaborative planning for the exterior work claims has also been finished and model exteriors are currently being built. We are all excited to see this region, one of the more unique in Morrowind, come to life!
Collage of Othreleth Woods flora by S'Wit, Hemaris, MwGek, Cicero, Wolli, and Leyawynn.
Future: Velothis district and House Redoran
Once Othreleth Woods completes the southwestern quadrant of Morrowind, we intend to shift our focus towards other districts of the province. As this will be quite some time from now, the specific direction is not yet decided upon. Essentially, there are two options: the Velothis district in northwest Morrowind or the Deshaan district in the southeast. Option one will bring the player to the frigid and hardscrabble Redoran heartland. This will be a large area requiring several releases, all with their own specific themes. Though exteriors for northwestern Morrowind, dating from 2010 to 2014, are present in our Preview plugin and are often beautiful, some parts of them remain incomplete, whereas others need to be redone wholesale to conform to our current quality standards.
Grey Meadows in Northwestern Morrowind by Scamp.
The first potential release in this district lies directly northwest of Dominions of Dust. It includes the Redoran city of Kartur on the edge of the Roth Roryn region, and beyond it the Clambering Moor region. The region requires new exteriors, as the current iteration in Preview was created retroactively from a mishmash of exterior work and lacks of a unified design. Kartur, too, while charming in its own way, suffers from major QA and conceptual issues, such the being dependent on the interior Redoran tileset for its exterior.
Concept for the Clambering Moor by Squash -- a Redoran war party about to ambush a goblin tribe.
Instead, Kartur will be shifted to a more lore-accurate location west of its current site (if you are partial to the TES I: Arena map) and rebuilt as a major questing centre for House Redoran and the Imperial guilds. The Clambering Moor region will be redesigned as a dark reddish highland moor sloping down from the Velothi Mountains towards the Inner Sea. A poor grassland pocked with sinewy trees and mushrooms, it is good only for grazing, but is still contested by scattered Redoran villages, ashlanders, Malahk orcs and goblins. The glory days of the region are far in the past, when it was one of the heartlands of the Dwemer. Their ruins will feature heavily in the region and a still-functioning vertical garden of theirs will be a hotspot for contemporary conflict. Happily, the region design is already mature and many of the required flora and fauna assets are done or in progress.
A selection of fauna and flora for the Velothis district -- Bug Elk (placeholder name) by Sirrah, Gremlin and Kobold by Joanasc, Redoran War Hound (placeholder name) by Lamb Shark, Horker variants and Malahk orcs by Rats, dead trees by Hemaris, Clambering Moor fern by Cicero and red mushroom trees by Leyawynn.
Future: Deshaan district and House Dres
Plainstriders, Dres matriarch masks and building concepts by Feivelyn.
Option two for Tamriel Rebuilt's future will involve the Deshaan district in southeastern Morrowind. House Dres, which occupies the area, has long been a holy grail of Tamriel Rebuilt, being the only Great House not featured in TES III: Morrowind or its official expansions. It is not a secret that for a long time, we have intended Deshaan to be developed sooner rather than later. A great deal of lore, world design and concept art has been created for this purpose. However, for equally as long, we have been stymied in this goal by the lack of 3D assets. While many assets already exist, more are needed -- cliffs, rocks, salt crystal formations, extremophile flora, ground textures, building and interior tilesets, and the like. If you are interested in seeing this area in particular come to life, and you know or are willing to learn 3D modelling and/or texture painting, you could make a big impact by helping us.
Skyrenders by Worsas, Skyrender hives by Sirrah and a work-in-progress modular Dres canton set by MwGek.
This is it for our current roadmap; come back next month for more development news and plans; in the meanwhile, we will focus on putting the finishing touches on the Embers of Empire and Dominions of Dust. But to stay in the loop, you can join our Discord server where you can see our development progress in real time. And if you wish to help this work come to fruition more quickly, consider joining us! It doesn’t take any special skills to help with interior building or playtesting -- yet both of these are tasks sorely in need for any release. Likewise, anyone interested in learning quest, exterior, and 3D asset development, as well as aspiring concept, texture and sound artists, are always welcome to join our team.
Thanks for sharing your impressive roadmap with us (and to your Twitter account for reminding me to read it). I am really excited to find out more about Thirr Valley and Sundered Scar. Thank you for your time and dedication. I wish you all the best in this new year.