Main reference thread: http://tamriel-rebuilt.org/old_forum/viewtopic.php?t=24851
Plotline Structure #1: Based on the Daedra
Plotline ideas could involve the Daedra of Morrowind messing with the Aedra worshippers of the Empire. Note that cultist is my short hand for members of the Imperial Cult, not the Daedric worshippers:
*Cultist going cuckoo and killing off Temple members for misleading the Dunmer (Sheogorath)
*Cultists demonstrate/riot up front of a Temple leads to violent consequences (Mehrunes Dagon influence)
*Cultists are so shunned they close off (Malacath influence)
*scandal over high-ranking cultist using inappropriate measures to maintain control over their followers (Molag Bal influence)
*Temple faithful challenges a cultist to a duel and the cultist rashly accepts (Boethiah)
*cultist is drawn into political schemes with multiple factions they can’t afford to offend (Mephala influence) Possible location for this: Thirr river conflict
*Cultists being swayed over to the Temple through peaceful or introspective means, undermining cult from the inside (Azura)
*Cultist finds oracle dying and nurses them back to health, only to find they are faithful to Azura and on a mission for her (alternate Azura)
The player may then serve as the strengthening force aginst these plots, and unintentionally that contributes to the collapse and loss of faith in the Tribunal Temple.
Plotline Structure #2: Based on the Aedra
In which we create a shrine dedicated to each Divine, and tailor quests from that shrine to characterize that Divine’s virtue(s). Each of the shrines should have a fundamentaly different look and feel, as regards to architecture, lifestyles of the NPCs, even races of the NPCs.
Criticisms to this method: Morrowind represents the alien, and as such, familiarity as it may be presented in the Imperial Cult should be discouraged. Instead, this faction should showcase how the strange ways of the Dunmer clash with those of the Imperials. Stories and characterizations that showcase merely the nature of the Aedra should be regulated to Imperial provinces like Cyrodiil.
Alternatives to this method: The player must eventually choose one of the Nine to champion.
Akatosh: something to with fate or divines guiding the playout of history
Arkay: Player fights necromancers, deals with ghosts, participates in funerals
Kynareth: Based in Hlaalu district, fights back against industrilization (or the Morrowind equivalent). Other possibility: based near the sea, has to do with sailing, freedom.
Zenithar: Pacifying conflicts between different factions
Mara: helping the misunderstood or the less fortunate (beggars, etc)
Stendarr: Punishing those who manage to worm their way around law enforcement, such as corrupted aristocrats
Julianos: See Marcus Antellius showcase
Dibella: dealing with amour between two cultists? worship more intuitive, snesual, and less based on scripture
Talos: A knightly order, going off to slay dragons/monsters. Criticisms: The Imperial Cult is not well established in Morrowind and an order of this nature may not have had the time to develop in Morrowind’s atmosphere.
To reflect the nature of the Cult as being one trying to get established in a strange new land, some shrines may be shared by more than one Divine, and questlines could highlight the disaparity of the two beliefs. Example given: Mara and Zenithar, where Mara wants to give money to the poor and Zenitharr wants to buy shiny useful new thiings for the shrine. The player in this case would play diplomat, deciding which side to back or finding a compromise between them. Criticism to this method: the outposts of the Cult may not be large enough to have fostered complicated political structures yet.
Plotline Structure #3: Based on Styles of Religion
Subplots can be divided into four categories: the godlead, the radical, the liberal, and the puritan. The player can choose any one of these groups/philosophies to “champion” and rise in the ranks of.
Godlead: The current leader of the Imperial Cult belongs to this subgroup. Greater trust in logic and personal convictions, “moderates” as far as religious worship goes.
Radical: Wish to impose their viewpoints on others and has black and white vision of what is good faith and what is bad.
Liberal: Which god someone worships is not as important as doing good deeds. Encourages more of a polytheistic vision and adopting other customs, in favor of charitable works to benefit communities.
Puritan: Seek pure (cloistered) lifestyles and shows little interest in politics.
The highest ranking priest for Morrowind resides in Old Ebonheart, serving a similar role to the Cult as Saryoni did for the Temple (endgame questgiver)
The Imperial Cult is an Imperial institution chartered by the Empire to spread the faith, rather than being a grassroots organization. One plotline might involve finding more grassroots organizations and absorbing them into the cult. The Imperial Cult should come across as very structured and hierarchal. Think structure of the Catholic Church, though be wary of drawing other conclusions from this metaphor.
The Imperial Cult are missionaries and not well established. While the Divines may have knightly orders back in places such as Cyrodiil and High Rock, in Morrowind such orders probably don’t exist. Their aims are to convert natives and provide support to the faithful living in Morrowind.
Oracles are thought to receive their guidance from Moth Priests or Imperial religious leaders back at home through the Dreamsleeve, rather than hear directly from the gods. Such may mean they get embroiled in political plots, but care should be taken exploring this theme so they maintain their spiritual air.
Original thread: http://tamriel-rebuilt.org/old_forum/viewtopic.php?t=24207
Nature of the Divines and Mortal Viewpoints
Though more invested in doings of Tamriel, Aedra paradoxically have less influence on Nirn than do the Daedra, for they are essentially dead with their essences having been absorbed into the creation of the world. Contact with the true Divines is therefore elusive and their strongest manifestation are in the form of oracles. the Daedra, in contrast, are able to more directly manipulate Nirn, though tend to not be bothered to in most circumstances; they also made the deal with Sotha Sil not to invade Nirn.
To an Imperial mindset, Aedra represent all that is good with the world and therefore the world is basically good. The Daedra are corrupting influences which must be staved off. (To a Dunmer, Daedra are not so much allies as testers and teachers, and bear the key to achieving “what comes next” after the pain that is the mortal world is endured/conquered.)