Ashlander Culture, Quests

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Kevaar
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Big long post of DOOOOOOOOOOM.

So! The Ashlander culture wasn’t all that fleshed out in vanilla Morrowind. They were tribal, they didn’t like anyone, and that was about it. If we expect we’re going to put a lot of content in TR concerning the Ashlanders, this will have to change!

So, this is a compilation of my thoughts on their culture, and what this might mean for how we protray them ingame, particularly in questlines. There’s a lot of stuff here, and I’m not expecting us to get to it anytime soon, either. Food for thought and planning and all that!

General Ashlander Culture in Vanilla

First, some of the basics that we know about Ashlanders.

--the Ashlanders are typically nomadic. They herd guar and shalk for their foodstuffs,and probably add to this with hunting and gathering (gathering for certain, there’s an instance in vanilla where you gather trauma root for an Ashlander to eat).

--they’re often pretty hostile to outsiders, and it’s not uncommon for wandering Ashlanders to attack travelers on sight. However, this doesn’t stop some tribes from forming trade relations with outsiders, such as the Zainab tribe.

--For the most part, the hostility doesn’t seem to go the other way around. Meaning, House Dunmer don’t typically atttack Ashlanders unless provoked. (Though they may be convinced to shove a bunch off their land, a’la Trail of Tears) There are several Ashlander NPCs in vanilla that have chosen to forsake the tribal life and live with the House Dunmer, and they don’t seem to be harassed about this beyond the usual culture shock.

--they used to keep slaves, but don’t anymore, finding it hard to maintain them now that they’ve been pushed into the worst lands

--they are led by a female wise woman and a male ashkhan. The ashkhan deals with all matters of war and also seems to be the head PR person for his tribe. The wise woman is more of a tribal shaman figure, dealing with internal affairs like the physical and spirutal health of the rest of the tribe.

What this means for our gameplay

--we could probably adopt pieces of cultures like the Native Americans and not have it look too out of place. My suggestions would be some sort of adulthood rite via a hunt (quest: guy decides to hunt an outlander rather than an animal, onoes!), a Trail of Tears-like storyline for one of the tribes, as well as animal totems and spirit guides.

--if the game engine allows, we might consider having the Ashlander camps move around depending on the season, and also adding in herds of guar and shalk in the vicinity of the camps.

--like in vanilla, there will be “monster Ashlanders” that attack on sight and are pretty much werewolf food. Quests would be then be concentrated in the tribes and the occasional Ashlander living among the House Dunmer.

--the great gender debate. I think this got covered pretty thoroughly in a discussion on the old forums, so I’ll just say this: possible quest of one of the traditional leaders getting killed and what this means for the governance of the tribe. Instead of going for the cliche “women can’t be warleaders”, we could do a “men can’t be dream-readers”. And yeah, we could have a quest with a woman wanting to be a warrior theme, but it’s such a cliche I’m a little leery about it, unless we can put our own cool twist on it.

Daedra Worship

It’s mentioned in a few places that, with the possible exception of House Dres, Ashlander culture is the closest thing in Morrowind today that resembles old Chimer traditions, particularly as it relates to Daedra worship. So, this is one of our biggest opportunities of exploring Daedric worship itself, and how a whole culture could be built around it (and not tear itself to pieces in the process...)

First, Dunmer worship Daedra because Boethiah introduced to them the concept of the mortal life being a test to endure, rather than a curse or being cast out from some sort of paradise, like other mer tend to think. Daedra are then both the testers and the teachers—the ones who inflict the trials upon mortal beings, or, in the case of the Good Daedra, the ones who teach Dunmer the tools they need to pass these trials.

Assumably the Ashlanders mostly keep to the same Good Daedra and Bad Daedra delineations as the Tribunal Temple, as the Good Daedra are the ones who helped the Chimer become Chimer, and the Bad Daedra are, well...your typical conniving, destructive Daedra.

Boethiah

Realms: deceit, violence. Enjoys making mortals suffer (uses followers for blood sport, etc), the one mainly responsible for making Chimer out of Altmer. Boethiah may then be one of the most important Daedra to the Ashlanders, and the strongest influence in their culture.

Azura

Dusk and Dawn, mystery (not to the same extent as Nocturnal, of course) purportedly the only Daedra who seems to care about its followers, strongly tied to prophecy (including all the Nerevarine stuff), the one who cursed Dunmer with gray skin and red eyes.

Mephala

Realms: lies, secrets, sex, murder, plots and intrigue. When the Chimer were first being formed, Mephala was instrumental in teaching them techniques to put down their enemies and keep themselves safe from political rivals.

Mehrunes Dagon

This is the only non-Good Daedra I’m going to mention. And I mention him because he is the Daedra associated with natural disasters and the inhosipitable land of Morrowind. The Ashlanders live in close contact with this land, and so natural disasters are probably much more important to them than to other cultures. Mehrunes Dagon may then be the main antagonist out of all Daedra through an Ashlander perspective.

What can we get from this?

--as a people, they are probably pretty blood-thirsty. This is kept in check somewhat that Dunmer are proud of their heritage and typically very loyal to their kin (in other words, they attack outsiders more than each other, and we see this already with Ashlanders being so hostile to outlanders). Another way it might manifest ingame is they might be caught saying some things that would sound a bit over the top to us, like wanting someone’s death for a minor slight.

--if attacked, the Ashlanders would probably resort to sabotage rather than outright warfare. They just don’t have the manpower, and plus, covert violence is what they’ve been taught by Mephala. Frontier forces like Imperial outposts might then see some quests involved in rooting out Ashlander thefts and poisonings.

--They put a lot of stock in prophecy and dreams to guide their actions. Since prophecies can wind up being really cliche and contrived if not done right, I’d be careful about writing storylines around this one, though. Also especially since the whole main questline is based around a prophecy—we might not really need anything more than that!

--The Ashlanders may make blood sacrifices to Boethiah. It’s likely these blood sacrifices would be slaves and prisoners of war rather than their own kin. They might also have some rites related to offering up the blood of the animals they hunt, but this would probably be less important to the Daedra, as in Tamrielic lore, animals don’t have as strong souls as mortal beings. Quest ideas: save an outlander from being sacrificed, not become sacrificed yourself, or join an Ashlander hunt which involves the blood hunt rite in some way.

--In the past, the tribes probably warred with each other in ways very similar to the Great Houses. Back before the Tribunal, Nerevar’s fame in part came from being a great uniter, after all. This inter-tribal tension has probably lessened in current times, as they have to put more energy towards survival, and the tribes may also be cut off from one another as they get pushed into the Ashlands. However, there could still be a quest involving a skirmish or abduction between tribes.

--Sex is a funny thing. On the one hand, it could be somewhat accepted culturally to use seduction to get what you want from an enemy, and being sensual might be seen a virtue (versus chastity or Puritan-like aversion to the notion). On the other hand, lots of sex means lots of babies which are very difficult to support in a nomadic tribe setting, so it could be frowned on for THAT reason. (Contrasted to the Great Houses, which are agricultural in nature. For them, lots of babies is actually a big help, because it means more little farmhands.) So I’m not sure where to go with this. 

--If the Tribunal were the reason Azura cursed the Dunmer with their appearance, and the Ashlanders remained loyal to Nerevar, why then were the Ashlanders included in the curse? I don’t think there’s enough lore available to definitvely answer this, but we might still have an Ashlander having a “crisis of faith” over this as a bit of lore or a small quest.

--we may be able to drop hints about the Oblivion Crisis, using the special relationship Ashlanders have with Mehrunes Dagon as mentioned above.

--some dialogue about Mehrunes and teh Good Daedra in general, under the topic Morrowind lore.

Ancestors and Ancestor Worship

This seems to be something that House Dunmer and Ashlanders still share. The spirits of the dead don’t really like hanging around the mortal world—it’s cold and unpleasant to them. But, among Dunmer, some do so out of duty and loyalty. They guard the houses and other important treasures of their living kin, they give advice, they keep knowledge of ancient rituals and history. Because of this veneration, Dunmer see necromancy as a capital offense if done on another Dunmer. (They don’t care so much about non-Dunmer, and I believe it’s mentioned that they don’t really have any laws or mores regarding this, compared to the rest of the Empire where ALL forms of necromancy is bad.)

It’s a little unclear if some ancestors serve through use of coercion, though. Some reportedly are bound improperly or not attended to frequently enough, and so go a little mad. Also, ingame there’s tons of burial tombs, but no one seems to care if you ransack them. Why is that…?

What this means:

--There may be some old tribal burial grounds on land that Ashlanders can no longer access due to Imperial or Great House encroachment. This would make both Ashlanders and the spirits very upset, with the spirits going a little crazy and causing problems, and the Ashlanders doing everything they can to get back to them. quest idea: the player investigates a strange curse laid on a farm field or new house built nearby a burial ground. Think poltergeist stuff. Another quest idea: the player helps escort an Ashlander to make his/her pilgrimmage to the burial site of an ancestor, which is difficult to reach due to distance and whoever now is occupying the land.

--There may be special rites for times of great upheaval (wars, natural disasters, etc), where the Ashlanders ask their ancestors for help. The player might be witness to or play a part in one of these rites. (I could even see the Ashlanders needing, oh, a blood sacrifice for the rite, and trying to trick the player into being it.)

--In Tamriel lore, interbreeding between men and mer is possible. This probably hasn’t happened in Morrowind for centuries because they’ve been so cut off, but about now that they’re part of the Empire? What would this mean for people who are then descendants of two different races? Would a half-Dunmer only venerate their Dunmer ancestors, would they try to persuade or coerce their non-Dunmer ancestors to serve? It seems like interracial breeding would be a huge scandal whether you’re talking either Ashlander or the House Dunmer, so I’m not sure we’d ever see it being portrayed in the game, but food for thought.

Flora, Fauna, and the Land

This is starting to breach the realm of pure conjecture. I discuss this in light of Ashlanders because tribal cultures tend to have a strong tie to the land, so exploring these creatures and themes would probably be best served through Ashlanders. However, there is almost no mention in vanilla that Ashlanders work this way.

Whether or not they venerate nature, nature is still a very important part of their life. They live in the worst parts of Morrowind, and have to struggle to get basic necessities from it and not die from exposure.

What this means:

--quest idea: the Ashlanders are cut off from an important water hole, and need the player’s help getting access to it, or another one just as good. Complications: the player must find a water hole that is not poisoned by volcanic chemicals, and doesn’t taste of sulphur, please! That, and, an Imperial outpost has set up camp around the old water hole, and they’re not interested in letting a bunch of filthy natives cloud it up with their guar dung, thanks much.

--quest idea: mysterious illness. The player tries to help a wise woman cure an illness that has been plaguing her tribe ever since they moved hunting grounds. She’s thinking along the lines of unhappy spirits or a curse from the House Dunmer, and sends the player out to investigate these possibilities. One of the investigation steps involves making good to the ancestors. The ancestors are a little baffled by the appeasement rite, and then tell the player the correct story: The illness is because the Ashlanders moved too close to a geothermal vent, and the Dunmer are growing ill from the poisonous gases being released from it.

--quest idea (minor): some of the guar in the tribe’s herd have contracted the blight. They need to be put down.

-quest idea: the tribe’s warriors got themselves lost in an ash storm and you get to go find them. May be too similar to certain quests found in vanilla, though a twist may be that the ash storm happened in the middle of a raid on nearby outlanders, leading to the warriors to having to shelter with the outlanders in chagrin. This leads to all sorts of problems the player gets to deal with on arriving, but it may also be an opportunity for peace and trade agreements if the PC plays it right.

--quest idea: gathering blessings of the animal spirits. This one’s kind of iffy, as again, I’m not sure the Ashlanders would venerate the land in this way. I’m also not sure if a quest is the right way of getting this lore across, or if it should be more along the lines of chat topics. But anyway, a quest could be along the lines of the Solstheim quest, pilgrimmaging to holy landmarks that have some spirutal connection to the land itself. Or it could involve the hunting of the creatures for their blessings. Such as: guar = stamina, nix-hound = cunning, cliff racer = speed, kagouti = strength, kwama = fertility, alit = um...aggresion? Probably some virtue to do with Boethiah or Mephala’s teaching, being they’re a nasty, poisonous creature.

--similar to above, a quest that exists as an excuse to learn more about the ecology of Morrowind. An Ashlander wants you to hunt various animals and gather certain herbs, and tells you interesting tidbits about them as you go along.

--Ashlanders may see outlanders as even less than animals, if animals are revered while (obviously) outlander races are not. This might take the form of NPCs, where an Ashlander is seen treating his guar better than an Argonian slave. No real quest, just flavor.

How to differentiate from House Dres?

House Dres being our other faction that has stayed loyal to the ancient ways of the Chimer. Some of the bits about Daedra worship may then be shared between Ashlander and House Dres culture. The biggest difference I see is that the Ashlanders are nomadic tribes, and this introduces stresses and customs that just wouldn’t work in that of a settled agricultural House. Ex: Mehrunes Dagon being less important to Dres, more sensuality and sexual themes among Dres, just as much interest in dreams and portents, the Dres may also do blood sacrifices (using slaves).

 

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Good piece. A few things:

  • Before deciding a lot of these things, I think it’s more important to figure out where will these ashlander camps be, how many of them will there be, will they be an extension of Vvardenfell’s Ashlander culture and most importantly what gameplay purpose will they serve.
  • I don’t think blood sacrifices are very fitting for Boethiah, who’s all about violent struggle and glory. I don’t believe there’s any precent for them in Ashlander culture or Dunmeri culture, either. EDIT: Yeah, you do sacrifice people in Boethiah’s quest in Skyrim. I suppose you do so through deceit rather than force, however.
  • Animal worship strikes me as too similar to the Atmoran totemic religion and Native American animism in general. While Indian influence on Beth’s Ashlanders is obvious and undeniable, I think other religious influences shoeld be explored more. As all Ashlander names and most Daedric shrine names are either modeled on or straight-up taken from Assyrian I think some similarities between Ashlander beliefs and those of the ancient Middle East would be useful, in particular the presence of highly specific and specialized aspects of deities and the presence patron deities for each settlement. Vanilla sort of implied great religious diversity by stating that the Nerevarine cult was one among many, and a very minor and relatively unimportant one at that. You could get some nice character and quest ideas from this, like a group of mabrigash cast out for claiming that the primary sphere of Mephala is sex or a gulakhan asking the player advice on which aspect of Boethiah to sacrifice to before a big duel.
  • The other half of Ashlander religion, ancestor worship, is just as if not more important than Daedra worship. As very strong similarities between it and House Dres religion should exist I won’t say much more than reiterate some vanilla stuff: Ashlanders are very proud of their heritage and ancestors. Ashu-Ahhe knows by heart who inherited which artifact of the war-loving Erabenimsun and from whom, and this probably extends to the whole tribe. Genealogical disputes could provide a good source of quests, potentially even inter-tribe ones, something vanilla seriously lacked. Hero worship, especially of legendary figures like Alandro Sul, should come into this quite heavily.
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I have a fairly long-winded post as well to go on top of the Ashlander culture that I’ve been devising for some time now. Interestingly enough, I do think one thing that is important to note about the central theme of Morrowind is it’s the home of the DUNMER; Dunmer meaning ‘Changed Ones’, therefor we have a central theme of change and the battling of constants. The House Dunmer don’t necessarily embrace change, but they facilitate it. The Ashlanders are a people who so opposed change that they refused to merge with any other House; they instead believed that the ways of ancestry and dream-weaving are the right ways of living. I do not think they need to have a Native American or even a Bablonian feel to them. Instead, I would liken them to people who believe in astral projection; they believe in traversing the unknown realms of prophecy and fate in a dream-universe and pulling information ‘through’ to the waking world. Kind of like hippies but on more of a metaphysical level. So you have these people who are very set-in-their-ways who suddenly change from Chimer to Dunmer and they simply can’t cope. Then you have the Dres who knew they had to conform it a House lifestyle to thrive and survive. While they still tired to retain their identity they still ended up changing a bit. So any real themes of the Ashlanders should show a side of the culture that is in an eternal struggle of not wanting change yet being a constant stasis of it.

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I’m pretty sure there is some dialogue where their complaints about House Dunmer imply that they think the fact that living in cities at all is corrupting. I can’t remember the exact lines, though. They probably think civillization inevitably leads to the path of decadence and weakness that overtook the Altmer. Could build upon that. 

EDIT: In the notes of Sharn Gra-Muzgob, it says “The Ashlanders say the Great Houses and the Temple have abandoned the pure teachings of the Prophet Veloth, forsaking ancestor worship for the false gods of the Tribunal, and embracing the comforts of civilization that corrupted the High Elves.”

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Sparts

Good piece. A few things:

  • Before deciding a lot of these things, I think it’s more important to figure out where will these ashlander camps be, how many of them will there be, will they be an extension of Vvardenfell’s Ashlander culture and most importantly what gameplay purpose will they serve.

Definitely. I think I remember someone mentioning there will be 6-8 tribes in the mainland, some already with general locations planned out? I don't know where the information ran off to though, if it's in the planning documents.

  • I don’t think blood sacrifices are very fitting for Boethiah, who’s all about violent struggle and glory. I don’t believe there’s any precent for them in Ashlander culture or Dunmeri culture, either. EDIT: Yeah, you do sacrifice people in Boethiah’s quest in Skyrim. I suppose you do so through deceit rather than force, however.

Maybe something more along the lines of a bloodsport and duels then? Though probably not between Ashlanders so much as between Ashlanders and outsiders--they're too few Ashlanders to go about killing themselves, even if their deity likes it.

I was thinking of the Skyrim quest as an example of how blood sacrifice might play out in a culture. The problem with a lot of this and looking for precedents is that a Daedric worshipping culture hasn't seen a lot of attention in any of the TES games. We have the Daedric artifact quests and the werewolf line in Bloodmoon, but not much else, not how an entire "culture" would be based around them. The House Dunmer are primarily concerned with their Tribunal, and the Ashlanders are there mainly for the Nerevarine questlines in vanilla.

More on Ashlander deceit and sacrifice: One interpretation I've seen is of that Nerevarine quest where you go to retrieve a bow from the Ashlander's burial cave. Though not explicitly stated in the quest text, some players wonder if the ashkhan is not actually trying to get rid of you. He sends you to the burial ground versus some other dangerous locale with the thought that being killed inside the tomb makes their ancestors and the wards on the burial tomb that much more powerful--a sort of unwilling version of a Ghostfence or other spirit-y magic at work. Some tribal cultures have that piece of their religion too--that consuming an animal, or killing someone from a rival tribe, adds to your own strength in some way.

That explanation might be playing too hard and fast with the lore as far as that quest goes, but it does give the Ashlanders an edge that I think is fitting. We could do a similar quest where this interpretation is made more obvious to the player.

  • Animal worship strikes me as too similar to the Atmoran totemic religion and Native American animism in general. While Indian influence on Beth’s Ashlanders is obvious and undeniable, I think other religious influences shoeld be explored more. As all Ashlander names and most Daedric shrine names are either modeled on or straight-up taken from Assyrian I think some similarities between Ashlander beliefs and those of the ancient Middle East would be useful, in particular the presence of highly specific and specialized aspects of deities and the presence patron deities for each settlement. Vanilla sort of implied great religious diversity by stating that the Nerevarine cult was one among many, and a very minor and relatively unimportant one at that. You could get some nice character and quest ideas from this, like a group of mabrigash cast out for claiming that the primary sphere of Mephala is sex or a gulakhan asking the player advice on which aspect of Boethiah to sacrifice to before a big duel.

Yes, that was my problem with it, too. I don't think it would be useful for more than one or two quests: I'd rather focus on Daedra or ancestor worship. I do like your ideas here.

  • The other half of Ashlander religion, ancestor worship, is just as if not more important than Daedra worship. As very strong similarities between it and House Dres religion should exist I won’t say much more than reiterate some vanilla stuff: Ashlanders are very proud of their heritage and ancestors. Ashu-Ahhe knows by heart who inherited which artifact of the war-loving Erabenimsun and from whom, and this probably extends to the whole tribe. Genealogical disputes could provide a good source of quests, potentially even inter-tribe ones, something vanilla seriously lacked. Hero worship, especially of legendary figures like Alandro Sul, should come into this quite heavily.

Yes, I like these, too! We might be able to use Alandro Sul as a "talking about the main questline without talking about it" thing. I don't think there's any plans to extend the main questline into, say, getting Hortator or Nerevarine from the mainland factions, but something that huge also doesn't happen without it trickling into mainland rumors, either.

Templar Tribe

I have a fairly long-winded post as well to go on top of the Ashlander culture that I’ve been devising for some time now. Interestingly enough, I do think one thing that is important to note about the central theme of Morrowind is it’s the home of the DUNMER; Dunmer meaning ‘Changed Ones’, therefor we have a central theme of change and the battling of constants. The House Dunmer don’t necessarily embrace change, but they facilitate it. The Ashlanders are a people who so opposed change that they refused to merge with any other House; they instead believed that the ways of ancestry and dream-weaving are the right ways of living. I do not think they need to have a Native American or even a Bablonian feel to them. Instead, I would liken them to people who believe in astral projection; they believe in traversing the unknown realms of prophecy and fate in a dream-universe and pulling information ‘through’ to the waking world. Kind of like hippies but on more of a metaphysical level. So you have these people who are very set-in-their-ways who suddenly change from Chimer to Dunmer and they simply can’t cope. Then you have the Dres who knew they had to conform it a House lifestyle to thrive and survive. While they still tired to retain their identity they still ended up changing a bit. So any real themes of the Ashlanders should show a side of the culture that is in an eternal struggle of not wanting change yet being a constant stasis of it.

What kind of quests would go along with dream-walking and prophecy though? Am not disagreeing with your interpretation, I’m just not sure how it ould play out in a game setting. To me it’s very easy to have plotlines centered around these things seem forced and contrived. Vanilla succeeded to me, because you could go with the interpretation that the prophecies were not made to be predictions of the future, so much as guides to anyone who wanted to deal with the Dagoth Ur threat. That the Nerevarine could’ve been anyone (though perhaps being an outlander would have best succeeded, being something alien and unexpected to their foes, and who didn’t have preconceived notions on which to judge the Tribunal).

Though there is a lot of obscure text written on the metaphysics of the TES world that we could play with. I can see something along the lines of an Ashlander Vivec, who writes (or preaches, as Ashlanders probably don’t write much) about Ashlander beliefs in a wacky way like the 36 Sermons are written in.

I’d love to see your long-winded post, when you get around to it. :)

 

TheDVI

I’m pretty sure there is some dialogue where their complaints about House Dunmer imply that they think the fact that living in cities at all is corrupting. I can’t remember the exact lines, though. They probably think civillization inevitably leads to the path of decadence and weakness that overtook the Altmer. Could build upon that. 

EDIT: In the notes of Sharn Gra-Muzgob, it says “The Ashlanders say the Great Houses and the Temple have abandoned the pure teachings of the Prophet Veloth, forsaking ancestor worship for the false gods of the Tribunal, and embracing the comforts of civilization that corrupted the High Elves.”

A folk story or two about the evils of settled life and changing too much from ancient Dunmer tradition might fit in well, too, as a book or dialogue option. I do see Dres and the Ashlanders as being very similar, just choosing to take two different roads.

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I intend to reply to these posts in full, but given the volume it may take some time, and my reply or replies will probably also end up rather long. So long story short, replying to the first post:

Your image of the Ashlanders seems to be skewed by a rather large misconception: all of the outright hostile Ashlanders are Ashlander outcasts; they were specifically tossed out of their tribe, quite possibly for being aggressive or hard to control or any number of reasons. Often, their hostility may not be (primarily) because the player is an outlander, but rather because they are bandits and want the player’s stuff. Beyond that, you have the major camps and the single yurts; the single yurts sometimes engage in kidnapping and the like, but I think they are generally not outright aggressive and can generally be negotiated with. (I’d need to check up the precise ration of hostile to non-hostile). The camps are almost never aggressive; Erabenimsun is far and away the most aggressive, and even they didn’t kill the Breton priest who came to preach to them. So they do hate outlanders, but are generally not stupid enough to actually act on that hatred and incur Imperial retaliation, except for the outcasts who have nothing left to lose.

As for preexisting ideas for Ashlanders, the first page of the Ashlanders [Faction] thread pre-gender debate has most of the information. Unfortunately, the Ashlander meeting was one pre-recording meeting which never got a summary; you can find the draft I never finished at the bottom of the first post here.

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If you analyze Lorkhan as Lor-Khan, you get that ‘khan’ means Drum in Aldmeris. Considering how in TES linguistic change from Aldmeris to Dunmeris/Ayleid/Falmeris/etc is very unrealistically small, I think associating Ashkhans and Gulakhans or some other aspect of Ashlander culture with drums would be a clever detail. First thing that comes to mind are drums being involved in accession rituals to the -khan posts.

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Gnomey

I intend to reply to these posts in full, but given the volume it may take some time, and my reply or replies will probably also end up rather long. So long story short, replying to the first post:

Your image of the Ashlanders seems to be skewed by a rather large misconception: all of the outright hostile Ashlanders are Ashlander outcasts; they were specifically tossed out of their tribe, quite possibly for being aggressive or hard to control or any number of reasons. Often, their hostility may not be (primarily) because the player is an outlander, but rather because they are bandits and want the player’s stuff. Beyond that, you have the major camps and the single yurts; the single yurts sometimes engage in kidnapping and the like, but I think they are generally not outright aggressive and can generally be negotiated with. (I’d need to check up the precise ration of hostile to non-hostile). The camps are almost never aggressive; Erabenimsun is far and away the most aggressive, and even they didn’t kill the Breton priest who came to preach to them. So they do hate outlanders, but are generally not stupid enough to actually act on that hatred and incur Imperial retaliation, except for the outcasts who have nothing left to lose.

As for preexisting ideas for Ashlanders, the first page of the Ashlanders [Faction] thread pre-gender debate has most of the information. Unfortunately, the Ashlander meeting was one pre-recording meeting which never got a summary; you can find the draft I never finished at the bottom of the first post here.

My thoughts on this are a bit haphazard; I think the general gist of what I’m saying is I’m not sure where you’re drawing the impression that they’re more peaceable from. Can you point me to some examples so I can have a better idea of the feel you’re going for?

And this here is my wall-of-text reasoning for them being on the more aggressive side, heh-- 
 

 

And you know, no rush on any of this. I’m also looking at the other documentation we’ve got for Ashlanders. How much of a consensus and fleshing out do we even need to reach at this point for them?  I spew ideas because it’s what I’m good at laugh but I’m also coming into this late. Is there projected to be any Ashlander settlements in our next map release, for instance?

 

Sparts

If you analyze Lorkhan as Lor-Khan, you get that ‘khan’ means Drum in Aldmeris. Considering how in TES linguistic change from Aldmeris to Dunmeris/Ayleid/Falmeris/etc is very unrealistically small, I think associating Ashkhans and Gulakhans or some other aspect of Ashlander culture with drums would be a clever detail. First thing that comes to mind are

I think of bells in the Sixth House dungeons and wonder if they’re connected...

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I found another reference to bloodsport among Boethiah worshippers. This comes from the ingame book, Invocation of Azura.

 Besides, I liked it that Boethiah was a Daedra of the Dark Elves. Our cult would summon her on the day we called the Gauntlet, the 2nd of Sun's Dusk. Bloody competitions would be held in her honor, and the duels and battles would continue until nine cultists were killed at the hands of other cultists. Boethiah cared little for her cultists-she only cared for our blood. I do think I saw her smile when I accidentally slew my brother in a sparring session. My horror, I think, greatly pleased her.

 Again, perhaps Ashlanders only hold this as a kind of war ritual with prisoners or outsiders, since there’s not enough of them to go about killing each other.

***

And more quest brainstorming and walls of texting. I’m giving the prophecies and dreams thing another go. I’m leery of these because plotlines including them are hard to do well, so I’m looking back at other stories and worlds that made good use of it.
 

 

Whew, okay, enough idea-ing for now, so other have a chance to reply. Brain gets going and does not stop. cheeky

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Compiling some ideas of my down to a more implementable (is that a word?) form.

We’ve got an unspecified number of tribes in the mainland. I think we can condense a few of my ideas down to a storyline per tribe, and go from there in establishing themes and character of each of the tribes.

Available Storylines. For the most part, copy-pasta-ed.

 

So, I divided these up with other questlines that seemed to go well with them. I’m pretty happy with the results, but let me know what you think!

Tribe A: Hyperaggressive Tribe

This tribe is in essence a villain tribe, similar to the Camona Tong where the PC will never be able to make good with them, and will probably end up killing a fair deal of them over the course of the game.They may also end up allying themselves with the Sixth House once the main quest takes off.

Ideally, the PC first hears of this tribe through the Imperial Fort Poisoning quest, then when they go out to investigate the tribe itself more closely, they go through the Blood Sacrifice storyline. This in turn has the PC meet Tribe B, which may be a good time to let the player join the Ashlanders as a faction.

Questlines: Imperial Fort Poisoning, Blood Sacrifice (antagonist)

*Involved in the Faction Storyline (Step 1: Intro)

Tribe B: Trail of Tears Tribe

These are the neighbors to Tribe A. Both tribes have been pushed out of their ancestral homes unfairly, but both tribes have responded differently. Tribe B has chosen to taken a more peaceful approach, and focus on rebuilding themselves after this tragedy instead of seeking vengeance.

Questlines: Blood Sacrifice (protagonist bystanders), Finding a New Watering Hole, Escort to Burial Grounds

*Involved in the Faction Storyline (Step 2: Joining the Ashlanders)

Tribe C: Life is Tough in the Ashlands

This is a tribe that is found deep within the Ashlands. As they have no neighbors (who in their right minds who live out there?) they’re primarily focused on their own survival. As part of the Ashlander factions quest, the PC is sent to this tribe for quests after finishing what Tribe B has to offer. The reasoning: the Ashlanders want the PC to see a tribe that exemplifies their way of life.

Questlines: Gathering Herbs, Hunting Animals, A Mysterious Illness

*Involved in the Faction Storyline (Step 3: Filler and Earning Your Rank)

Tribe D: Uneasy Neighbors I

This is a tribe that lives close by an outlander (Empire) settlement. Relations between the two are mostly cordial, but there’s been some mishaps. This tribes deals with the Foretold Lovers quest dovetailed with the Mixing of Bloodlines. A tribe member wants to marry an outlander. Not only do they love each other, but there’s been omens that this will come to pass, that this tribe and the outlanders will slowly merge over time. The Breton Who Is A Boor has added his two cents about this preposterous notion. Of course both of these events will make the tribe upset, which may have spurred the Rite of Manhood Outlander Hunt by one of the hotheaded young males.

Questlines: Breton Being a Boor, Mixing of Bloodlines dovetailed with Foretold Lovers, Rite of Manhood and Hunting Outlanders

*Miscellaneous and Flavor Quests

Tribe E: Uneasy Neighbors II

This is a tribe that lives close by a House Dunmer settlement: either Temple, Redoran, or Indoril. Again, relations are mostly cordial. This could use one more quest to flesh things out.

Questlines: Poltergeist Ancestors, Crisis of Faith

*Miscellaneous and Flavor Quests

Tribe F: The Dreamwalkers

Similar to the Urshilaku, this is the tribe mostly heavily involved in prophecies and dreamlore. This tribe is likely involved in the player obtaining the last few ranks in the Ashlander faction, and ends in the player becoming either Ashkhan or Wise Woman (depending on their gender) after completing their quests. This tribe have a werewolf problem, which first comes to the player’s attention through the Romance and a Werewolf quest, and reaches a climax in the Ancestors, We Have a Problem quest.

Questlines: Nightmares of a Murdered Child, Romance and a Werewolf , Cliche P. Hero dovetailed with Ancestors We Have a Problem

*Involved in the Faction Storyline (Step 5: Faction Climax)

Tribe G: No One Can Get Along

This is a tribe characterized by massive infighting. Their wise woman (see Great Gender Debate) has been killed off, and the resulting ruckus of trying to replace her has thrown the entire tribe into chaos. Full-of-It P. Hero thinks he can stop all the infighting, but everyone doubts him because he is, well, full-of-it, and is trying to take on a role that is typically reserved for women of the tribe. The PC can help the p. hero bring peace to the tribe.

Questlines: The Great Gender Debate, Daedric Dreams, Full-of-It P. Hero

*Side Questline

Tribe H: How to Make Nice with Outsiders

This seems a fairly typical and healthy Ashlander tribe when the PC first meets them. They aren’t near any major settlements, and so don’t have much experience with outsiders beyond other Ashlanders. Most of their quests involve smalltime things that sets the stage for later quests: i.e. Dream Interpretation, Culling Blighted Guar. Once the player joins the Ashlander faction, Tribe H takes another turn. They hear the news from Tribe A and Tribe B, and temporarily become pretty aggressive to outsiders in disgust (the PC is merely tolerated, having already been accepted into the faction). This tension finally comes to a head when an outlander group tries to settle nearby and the Ashlanders move to repel them as demonstrated in the Caught in an Ashstorm quest. 

This animosty attracts the interest of the Sixth House, first by Dagoth sending dreams in attempts to fuel the Ashlanders’ xenophobia, and then with sickness when the Ashlanders make nice with the outlanders. (If the PC chooses any other option besides making the two sides become allies, the tribe will be replaced with coprus stalkers and eventually Sixth House cultists.) A particularly bad outbreak of the Blight happens after Caught in an Ashstorm is resolved (thanks to the ashstorm itself!). The Ashlanders put forth a champion to find the cure, and the outlanders, also being stricken by Blight, offer to help. This quest now enters the realm of prophecy (as put forward in Dream Interpretation), and the Ashlanders fully expect their own gulakhan to be the p. hero. The PC does a dungeon delve with members of both factions. At the end, the gulakhan sacrifices himself to save a mage from the outlander group, who goes on to produce the cure and chase out the Sixth House cultists. Though unexpected and a little wounding to the pride, this seals the deal between Tribe H and the outlanders being forever friends. Huzzah.

Questlines: Dream Interpretation,Culling Blighted Guar, Caught in an Ashstorm, Come-from-Behind P. Hero

*Involved in the Faction Storyline (Step 4: Things Start to Get Real)

 

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I’ll just give some of my criticisms for this:

In general, I don’t think a joinable Ashlander faction beyond the MQ ranks is a really good idea. You have some good quest ideas here and a lot of them would serve pretty well as miscellaneous quests.

 There aren’t any tangible gameplay benefits for actually ascending up the ladder and Ashlanders aren’t a set of political organizations but a society – becoming an Ashkhan would be like becoming a mayor of some city. The player doesn’t know the Ashlander language, dances, dress customs, poetry, hearth tales etc. and he most certainly wouldn’t reside in an Ashlander camp. If you want to go through with this anyway, I’d suggest making the quests about immersing the player in Ashlander culture and about rituals in general.

A: I don’t think a tribe should ever just be generic badguys or poison an Imperial fort all of a sudden and almost certainly experiency Imperial retribution. Remember, Mephala and Boethiah are integral to Ashlander religion – if the Ashlanders did harm the Imperials directly they would never know.

B: Similar as above, a bit more depth to Tribe B. The Ahemmusa are obligate pacifists – they just can’t risk raiding and retribution. Ashlanders should have a form of martial culture regardless of tribe, with this being interpreted by Westerners as “warlike savageness”. 

C: Good setup. Just make the quests less fetch/kill shit. I’d suggest herding shalk or capturing and training a wild large animal (a strider?). On the questline conclusion it’s ritually killed and butchered, with the hide/carapace used to make the player’s own tent.

D,E: I don’t think relations between the Ashlanders and House Dunmer/Imperials (especially the latter!) should be viewed as cordial on both sides. The Zainab justify their trade with the Imperials as them exploiting the dumb Westerners to grow rich and powerful. The “Ashlander falls in love with an outlander” idea could work, it’d just need some fleshing out and development. Perhaps make the player responsible for the event.

F: Werewolves outside Solstheim are a no-no. Lore-breaking and in my opinion stupid. Involve Nix-Hounds and Alandro Sul in the dreamwalking and you’re good.

G: A lot of potential here. The questline idea as a whole is really solid.

H: I think this questline’s pretty superfluous. I wouldn’t touch the Sixth House at all unless you’d tie it into the MQ, unless you leave it vague and implied. 

Overall, I think your questline as a whole bears reducing the number of tribes on the mainland to like three, maybe four. There’s only so many on Vvardenfell because until recently the only other settlements on it were the Temple’s. If you’re gonna give the mainland Ashlanders uniqueness I’d do it concurrently with the Dres so you can show parallels.

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Sparts

<snip>

Thanks for the critique!

This all is assuming the Ashlanders would be their own faction, otherwise this would probably be cut back in a lot of places to just be about their culture, as you said. I have this many tribes as I think I remember it being mentioned that we were going to implement more like 7 or 8 of them on the mainland?

Tribes A and B— They’re different from the norm on purpose, as they’ve both been the victims of a Trail of Tears episode. (Trail of Tears is when America forceably moved a ton of Native Americans off their land and across the continent.A lot of Native Americans died in the process, hence the name “Trail of Tears”.)  Tribe A responded by becoming obsessed with revenge and delving deep into Daedric worship. Tribe B, like the Ahemmusa, lost a lot of their warriors in the fight, and responded by becoming more pacifistic out of necessity.

Imperials not picking up on a sabotage attempt--that would be making the Imperials out to be stupid, which imo is just as bad. I was thinking the attacks are obvious because Tribe A is on their last legs. The player will only see the sorry vagabonds they’ve become, not how they were in their full glory.

Werewolves—the lore is that they’re rare, not nonexistent outside of Solstheim. Still, I get the reluctance. I was looking for something more dangerous than ordinary animals, which most players can one-hit. The Ashlanders would have no reason to turn to the ancestors for something that minor.  Another Big Bad would work just as well. Daedra?

Alandro Sul—It’d be nice to include him somewhere, but I don’t think randomly coming to the player to warn of an animal attack would quite hit the mark. Perhaps he’s the reason the player can join the faction or reach the upper ranks at all--he speaks for the player in the Ashlander ritual joining ceremony.

 D and E—I’ve now heard that Ashlanders should be more aggressive and that they should be less aggressive to outsiders, so I’m a bit confused, haha! In this case, I meant cordial as: no one’s actively attacking the other, there might even be some trade going on. The scene is still ripe for things to get heated.

I’d also like to add more content about Ashlander culture, definitely; the problem I see is that those quests tend to be boring, not a lot of story. Having the NPCs talk about it through dialogue topics might work better. In particular, the quests I’ve put here are pretty heavy in dreamlore, and might benefit from more references to the Daedra or other aspects of tribe life. I like your ideas for fleshing out Tribe C, though I don’t think they would tame a strider just to ritually kill it off. It would explain why Ashlander camps have those silt strider husks in the middle of them, though. I imagine the Ashlanders use those as a beast of burden for the tribe, so perhaps Tribe C’s strider has died/sickened and they need a new one. The old one will be sacrificed ritually.

My reasoning behind Tribe H, spoilered since it’s a little long:

 

 

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Decided to give Tribe H another pass, and also get in more Daedric worship lore in the process.

So, here we go again. Tribe H:

This tribe is characterized as being very loyal to the worship of Daedra. They have lately been plagued by a series of hauntings and strange attacks that they believe is the work of a powerful necromancer. They believe a nearby group of outlanders are the culprit, but are wary of challenging them outright.

Note that the outlanders in question deny practicing necromacy, and are friendly to the PC. They are part of the Mage’s Guild faction and say they have come to study the magic of spirits and chose the Ashlanders for their close connection to their ancestor worship. This and a few strange instruments lying about their camp cast doubt on their intentions, but there is no concrete evidence for the PC to find.

The Three Trials

The quest series starts when the player meets an Ashlander and his best buddy investigating the scene of the latest necromancer attack. The Ashlander explains the situation to the PC, and his belief that the Three Trials would be powerful enough to stop this necromancer. The Three Trials are related to the Good Daedra, are heavily ritualistic, an ancient rite designed to test and hone would-be gulakhans and ashkhans before going off to war. This Ashlander is eager to prove his worth, and seems to have the skills and courage to see it through. If the PC agrees, they will aid the Ashlander in convincing the wise woman to tell them of the Three Trials and set the Ashlander on his path to becoming the champion.

Trial of Blood

Boethiah’s trial. An arena-like series of duels the Ashlander has to win. He’s pitted against several other champions of the tribe (gulakhans and an outstanding wizard-woman): last one standing wins. The PC first works together with the best buddy to help prepare the Ashlander champion wannabe. This is a series of optional steps the PC can complete before the duels:

  1. Find the Champion good armor and weapons. He asks for a certain set of armor (bonemold perhaps?). Conveniently, a nearby ruin has a full set. The outlanders also sell a full suit, for irony. Or the PC can pick it up wherever.
  2. Train the Ashlander champion (aka defeat him in a duel)
  3. Poison or otherwise sabotage some of the other competitors

The day of the trial then arrives, and the PC has a choice: watch the Ashlander and his best buddy enter the competition, or choose to be the Ashlander’s wingman instead of the best buddy. A series of duels takes place. On winning them all, the Ashlander is announced the Champion, and must then face the Trial of Fate.

Trial of Fate

Azura’s trial. The Trial of Fate is a vigil rite, wherein the Champion travels to the burial ground of the ancestors. There he prays or otherwise makes contact with his ancestors for their guidance.

But as they gather for the ritual, the tribe’s hand is forced. One of the gulakhans returns from a hunt, angrily telling of how the outlanders attacked them and killed many of their tribe members for their bones. He can show the corpse of one of the afflicted Ashlanders to prove it. He impresses on the ashkhan to launch the attack before the Trials are completed. There is arguing (the PC can help to spur the ashkhan on or to counsel adherence to the trials). The scene ends by the ashkhan chasing everyone from his tent so he can think. He asks for the whole evening and the Champion and his best buddy head to bed.

The PC wakes to find that the angry gulakhan took the tribe’s warriors to go attack the outlanders during the middle of the night. The ashkhan is understandably pissed and tells the Champion and the PC to go after them. The PC and the Champion find the warriors and the outlanders got Caught in an Ashstorm, as per the quest described above. They must either convince the two sides to make up, or to support the Ashlanders in killing off the others. (Making up involves proving that the outlanders are not the necromancer.)

Unbeknowest to the PC and the Champion, the best buddy travels to the burial ground during this time. This comes in later.

Trial of Shadow

Mephala’s trial. When the party returns, the ashkhan chews out the hot-headed gulakhan for disobeying and disrupting the Trials. The gulakhan deserts the tribe in fury, taking some of the best warriors with him. (His fury is increased if the PC went for the peaceful route in the Trial of Fate.) The PC and the Champion are tasked with bringing him back; the ashkhan mentions that despite their differences, the gulakhan is a good man and he doesn’t want to lose him from the tribe. On finding him, the gulakhan demands a duel of honor with the Champion, to take place the next day.

The best buddy now returns from the burial ground, saying the ancestors gave him the knowledge that the gulakhan has poisoned his blade for the upcoming duel. The PC can choose whether to confront the gulakhan on his blade, switch the blades so the Champion gets the poisoned one, or get a resist poison potion from the wise woman. If the PC confronts the gulakhan, they learn this is actually an accepted practice, thank Mephala, and so fail in removing the poisoned blade from the gulakhan’s arsenal.

At a high enough disposition, the best buddy also admits Azura told him something else, but refuses to say what. 

During the duel, the Champion beats the gulakhan and demands he yield. Instead, the gulakhan summons the bones of the dead Ashlanders (who died before the Trial of Fate) to fight for him, so revealing himself as the necromancer, and not the accused outlanders. After the PC takes care of these mobs, the gulakhan begins to cast an even bigger doomsday spell. The best buddy leaps in and stops him, but dies in the process. And so it’s revealed the best buddy was the true Champion of the Three Trials. The gulakhan’s betrayal and subsequent come-from-behind saving-the-day of the best buddy is the essence of Mephala’s trial here. The other Ashlander takes the gulakhan’s place as the new gulakhan to recognize his courage and loyalty, but there is also a funeral held for the best buddy.

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I would be very wary of inducting the PC too far into Ashlander culture. Making them an Ashkhan or anything would be right out, in my opinion. After all, the Ashlanders in the MQ only very reluctantly accept them as the Nerevarine after seeing some evidence of it, and IMO being the Nerevarine is super super exceptional and being able to rank up to an Ashkhan is something you should only be able to accomplish within the MQ. Additionally, the Ashlanders would need a really good reason for asking the help of an outsider for something as intimate as ancient trials and rites. The PC needs to earn their trust before anything else, and that could take quite a while without being the Nerevarine. This is just my opinion, but it’s something I felt very strongly when I played the MQ. The gist of the quest for H could be there, but maybe toned down some.

Personally, I’d love to see a focus on individual Ashlander character development and society, maybe culminating in playing a bit of match-maker or gaining the friendship of someone who could become a companion. Trading quests would be cool, with the PC fulfilling Ashlander requests and/or acting as the middle-man between Ashlanders and Imperials to either make a good deal on both sides or swindle one or the other. Maybe the PC could sit in on some of the more common rituals, to be given a glimpse into the deeper aspects of Ashlander culture.

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I’ve been including Ashkhan and Wise Woman in the ranks as both are currently part of the ingame Ashlander faction rank.  As all the other factions (including House factions, which can be just as xenophobic) allow you to become the highest ranking, I figured an Ashlander faction would allow the same. The faction questline as a whole would need to see a progression in levels of trust. Tribe H would probably be one of the last questlines encountered, not available to those outside the faction and not before a certain rank while in it.

Ashkhan and Wise Woman might be a little iffy, but I could see an outlander comfortably becoming a gulakhan, as they’re more of a council body, made up of the best and wisest warriors. I’m not sure how much their position is gained through favor of the particular ashkhan, so similar to the Telvanni, the PC may only be able to achieve rank through the referral of one particular ashkhan NPC. Like Gothran, he could have the reputation of being too open to outlander ways.

I’d also like to bring in Alandro Sul giving the PC his personal recommendation through some sort of ancestral joining rite, which would also go a long way to breaking the ice. We could very carefully stick in a reference to Alandro Sul choosing the PC beause he recognizied them as the Nerevarine, but it’d have to be subtle, since I know some people play through Morrowind pretending the MQ doesn’t exist. I.E: “Your soul is one the Ashlanders could consider kindred, %PCname. I speak for you, and the ancestors of my line speak for you. May ash and dragon hear this, may three false tongues tremble and fall silent. By Boethiah, Mephala and Azura, we see you, and mark you as Resdayn’s own.”

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I’m afraid I still haven’t gotten around to reading this thread in full, but I would tend to say that the Ashlander faction should only be playable as part of the mainquest, and should not function as a standard playable faction. If we do decide to make it a full playable faction, I think the player should reach the highest ranks not by rising up in a tribe but by forming one, likely mostly from outcasts.

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I could see turning some of these quests in quasi-recruiting quests. Recruiting the gulakhan/Champion from the Three Trials to be your own gulakhan, for instance. That could work, too.

Another alternative is making the faction Dunmer only, but that would be a lot of work to put into something that a fraction of the playerbase would see. (Which we have a precedent for with all the Great Houses, since you can only join one per playthrough...but yeah. Still a lot of work.)

Or posibly making it so you can only join the faction after the Main Quest is completed?

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Looking at getting this monster transferred into the Asset Browser next. May take a bit as I plan on looking at what Ashlander camps we actually have ingame at present and which quests can be assigned to them.

Some discussion is still needed on whether to include Ashlanders as an actual faction or not, however.

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I think transferring this into the asset browser is completely premature. The whole point of the master plan was that we wouldn’t have “throw shit at the wall, see what sticks, rework it again and again and again afterwards” anymore. It nearly killed TR once – it’s still killing it – and you want more of that?

I for one don’t think it has a place in TR at all, and would be better served as a seperate mod if anything. It’s too big, places emphacisis on people Morrowind marginalizes, is extremely intrusive in questline and in-game impact, and we didn’t even put it up to a vote or anything if we want to have it at all.

Belay the asset browser part at least. The asset browser is supposed to be about practical implementation, this one is still in need of conceptual brainstorming.

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I’d appreciate you not biting my head off.

I’ve been working on getting quests put up into the asset browser from forum postings, with all discussion on those quests then taking place in the asset browser as well. There has been a lot of backlog in that regard, and I had so far only gotten done the ones that were written up in individual threads. As I said in one of the other threads (Asset Browser Cleanup?), there were a lot more that were proposed to be a part of specific factions or story arcs and so grouped together in the same thread. That is what I was working on today. Further discussion can be directed to the browser for the mechanics of individual quests, or here for the coherence of the storyline overall.

Not all postings in the asset browser are expected to go on to be claims necessarily. Soomething of note, so take my doing this as further opening up of discussion, not saying these things WILL be implemented.

What I did of the House Dres quests were miscellaneous ones that could be fit in most anywhere, not part of the overarching storyline. They’re built so they can be judged on their individual merit. There is also the beginning of the faction questline that I stuck up to be reviewed as part of that discussion.

As far as the Ashlander quests, I was planning again on only putting up the ones that are miscellaenous, that can stand alone, and leaving discussion on the story arc and the faction as a whole here in this thread.
 

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I’m not trying to bite your head off, I’m terrified that this will be another repeat of TR’s recursive undevelopment which is quite literally killing the project. Surely you’ve seen the complete clusterfuck and TR’s self-decapitation of 2014/2015? I want to avoid a rerun of that at all costs.
I’ve been sitting in monotonous meetings for months while a top-down development process was hammered out that I at first disgreed with, and I’m really really afraid that it will just be tossed out in favor of Akamora-style development again.

Akamora, for the record, and according to the Indoril master plan, doesn’t exist anymore, instead it will be split up among several chapels. None of the other Indoril cities, plantations, quests, really anything in-game is aligned with the plan anymore, and it is slated to be axed and reworked. And that’s not even talking about Telvannis, where the entire shape of the continent is in dispute again.

TR lost pretty much all of the lead developers who were involved in that decision. If the Dres or Ashlanders are when TR loses all the other lead developers if we go ahead and build up elaborate questlines, start implementing things, and then scrap them all because in the end it doesn’t align with consensus, TR is dead.

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I haven’t actually...I was part of TR waaaay back when it was first getting started, but I was a teen and got quickly sidetracked into high school and then college. It’s only been in the last year or two I came back. (But hey, take that as a positive thing? If I can come back after such a huge gap, then maybe others...)

Me personally, I just like to make shit up. If it gets used or doesn’t is all part of the creative process, and goodness knows I’ve got more than my share of two cents to put in when it comes to debating whatever the current interpretation is.

Because we’re drawing volunteers from a HUGE base of fans, there’s going to be all kinds of different takes on what’s best. New ideas become the vogue then disappear before they can be implemented. And IMO, that’s just kind of the nature of it. Guy 1 gets great idea, does some work, gets sidetracked...Guy2 comes along, has no idea what Guy 1 has done or doesn’t like it...process starts all over again. Happens even in projects that are not volunteer-based: check out Zootopia and some of the iterations that storyline went through before we got what we got.

From what I can tell, the best way of keeping all that in check is making sure Guy 1’s work is posted in a place it can be easily referenced, and perhaps written in such a way it can go through a few permutations without losing its shape entirely. But otherwise you just have to keep production moving and let the beast do what it’s going to do. I’m of the theory that if an idea doesn’t survive that mutating process, it probably wasn’t such a good idea after all.

I work on what’s put in front of me. Summarizing stuff from the old forums is next on my list: I was finishing getting stuff transferred into the asset browser.

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I agree with Atrayonis that this Ashlander proposal goes beyond the scope of our mod. Personally, I have my doubts we’ll ever get around to actually implementing full questlines for even the Great Houses, which should obviously receive priority over a faction like the Ashlanders. I feel Ashlander culture was already covered fairly well in Morrowind’s main quest anyway.

For the moment, I think it would be best to be more selective when adding quests to the Asset Browser, when there are so many in there that haven’t been discussed fully yet. We unfortunately lack the manpower to process a large volume of proposals, and at the current rate many will end up buried and forgotten. Not because they lack merit, but because having a massive list of assets to sort through can be quite daunting and discouraging. Rather, I think fleshing out and refining the current quests ideas we’ve come up with would be a better use of time.

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