Mages Guild Planning

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Charger24's picture
Charger24
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Writing down some of my Mages Guild notes so they don't get lost on discord.

First off, here's a WIP map of Mages Guilds throughout Tamriel.

Map:

 

 

Key

  • MG Eye - Provincial HQ
    • These are the largest, most important guildhalls in the Provinces. They have multiple interior cells and a guildmaster of high rank, and host pan-provincial Guild quests in addition to their local questlines. (Almalexia)
  • I - Large guildhall
    • These large guildhalls have multiple interior cells, full questlines, and a guildmaster of high rank. Outside of Cyrodiil and Summerset, they are somewhat uncommon. (Old Ebonheart)
  • II - "Standard" guildhall
    • These are the most common guildhalls, with a single interior cell, a full questline, and a guildmaster of mid-to-high rank. (Vivec)
  • III - Small guildhall
    • These guildhalls are smaller than average, with a single interior cell and a guildmaster of mid-to-high rank, but only misc quests or single faction quests. (Caldera)
  • O - Research outpost
    • These locations are not true guildhalls (and as such don't have guildmasters), but are rather small facilities located in places of academic interest to the Guild. They may offer some quests relating to the subject of their research. (Idathren)
  • R - Relays
    • These locations do not have dedicated buildings. Relays are tucked away into Imperial Forts or other host buildings, and generally consist only of a teleport pad, 1-2 NPCs, and some magic miscellania.

 

  • The color of a marker indicates its primary network (Ald-Ruhn/Balmora/Caldera/Sadrith Mora/Vivec). Anyone can use these networks.
  • The outer ring color (if present) indicates the presence of another guild guide who provides teleportation along a secondary "hub" network (Almalexia/Baan Malur/Firewatch/Narsis/Vivec). Only guild members can use these networks.
  • All Provincial hub guildhalls (Almalexia, Emperor's Run, Firsthold, Haafingar, Lilmoth, Taneth, Torval, Wayrest) have a third guild guide providing teleportation to one of eight dedicated pads at the Arcane University in the Imperial City. These guild guides do not provide teleportation directly between Provincial hubs. Only high-ranking members of the Mages Guild can use this service, due to the immense strain and rare ability required for guild guides to facilitate safe teleportation at such long distances.
  • The Arcane University in the Imperial City is the headquarters of the Mages Guild. It hosts twelve guild guides: one each for the two Heartlands primary networks, one each for Colovia and Nibenay's respective secondary networks, and eight master guild guides providing service to each of the Guild hubs in the Provinces.

Notes

The issue of distance and the expenditure of magic is not difficult to explain. When transporting someone, the magicka and level of concentration required rise sharply beyond a certain threshold in the Lucevarius Curve.

This means that, while teleportation in a range of several miles is fairly simple, the same spell across large distances requires exponentially more magicka. To teleport from Daggerfall to Wayrest is somewhat draining for a standard practitioner. But to teleport from High Rock to Yokuda would require more magicka than a thousand mages in concert could harness.

  • The guild guide networks are drawn with the hardcoded limitations of the game in mind (four destinations per guide). They can consist of no more than five nodes.
  • Relays are used only in places where the Guild has either a limited presence (Telvannis, Black Marsh) or many locations of interest in a dense area (Nibennium, Moridunon).
  • Bosmora will not have MG presence in post-redo TR. I gave Merveyan (Lan Murha) a small standalone guildhall rather than a relay like Bosmora because the concept art for the former looks like a more substantial city. Also, as the most developed of the six districts in Morrowind, Mournhold District should have a full roster of five guildhalls, in my opinion.
  • The Tear guildhall is operated by the Morrowind Guild, but it is connected to the northern Black Marsh network. This is both because of the node limitations mentioned above and to emphasize the Tear guildhall's physical and narrative isolation from the rest of Morrowind.
  • The Dragonstar West guildhall is operated by the Hammerfell Guild, and attached to no guild guide network at the beginning of the game. As part of the Karthwasten Guild of Mages questline, the player can strong-arm the DSW guildmaster into connecting her guildhall to the Skyrim guild guide network.
  • Before the War of the Bend'r Makh, Hammerfell's northern network included Dragonstar and Karthwasten as hubs, and Skyrim's networks were arrayed differently.
  • The Falkreath and Gideon guildhalls sit on Cyrodiilic primary networks for historical, cultural, and political reasons. They are connected to other guildhalls in their respective provinces by secondary networks.
  • The Padomaic Ocean network is not connected to any Tamrielic networks or to the Arcane University because of the vast distances involved.
  • Because the Guild of Mages was founded in Firsthold, Summerset has a rather dense concentration of Guild presence, and many old, proud Tier I guildhalls. The Firsthold<->Imperial City connection is the longest in Tamriel, and is likely maintained by the most skilled guild guides in the Empire.
  • Bruma, as a city astride Colovia and Nibenay, sits on the north Colovia primary network, but the Nibenese cities' secondary network.
  • Unlike in Cyrodiil and Summerset, where the Guild grew around large central guildhalls, small guildhalls in High Rock sprung up in a more dispersed fashion due to the fragmented political state of the province until the Warp and the widespread appeal of magic in Breton society. Consequently, there is a very high density of MG halls in High Rock, but no Tier I halls outside of Wayrest and Daggerfall. By 3E427, the larger guildhalls are likely grappling with the challenge of affirming their leadership in such a fractious environment.
  • Hammerfell's northern Crown territories, by contrast, have only a handful of MG halls due to the Redguards' traditional distaste for magic.
  • "Temaris" (maybe not named that) is a speculative Imperial fort-island discussed in #cathnoquey on discord; it would be a forward merchant port and Navy staging harbor for the Padomaic Islands.
  • There is not much worldbuilding done on Yneslea at this time, but assuming it is still a part of the Empire, it likely has a MG hall. Per MD and Lucevar's lore, Esroniet is no longer a part of the Empire, and therefore has no MG presence.

Archmagisters and Arch-Mages

To the esteemed Arch-Mage Trebonius Artorius, Guildmaster of Vvardenfell,

Upon receiving this letter, you will step down from your post and grant the title of Arch-Mage to %PCName. From this day forward, %PCName will handle all Guild matters in Vvardenfell. You may keep the title of Arch-Mage, but you will retire from active participation in the affairs of the Guild.

In the Emperor's Name,

Ocato

"Well, I'm glad that mystery is solved at last. Next time the Arch-Mage of Almalexia visits, I'll really have something to brag about."

Arch-Mages are not Archmagisters.

Origin of the Mages Guild states that the Guild is governed by a "supreme council" of six Archmagisters. The highest rank in the vanilla Mages Guild is Arch-Mage, but given what we know of the position based on the in-game lines quoted above, if the positions were coterminous, three of Tamriel's six Archmagisters would be based in Morrowind once the PC attains that title. This is obviously silly.

Rather than try to find some way to divide up six Archmagisters throughout nine provinces, I think the better plan is to have six all at the Arcane University, and to firmly distinguish these Archmagisters from the "Arch-Mage" role held by Trebonius, his unnamed counterpart in Almalexia, and the player.

Arch-Mage appears to be a position responsible for a designated set of guildhalls. In Trebonius' case, this is explicitly stated by Ocato to be the five guildhalls of Vvardenfell District. It follows that Morrowind's other districts - aside from perhaps Telvannis and Deshaan - have their own Arch-Mages, also appointed by the Archmagisters of the supreme council. In other provinces, I think the division is largely practical above all, and probably corresponds more or less with the guild guide networks and geography, except in cases of cross-province networks, or where it seems practical to combine them for historical or modern reasons.

This is how I'd suggest arraying them, with a couple of potential plot hooks. I think it would be nice for the player to be able to attain the rank of Arch-Mage in several provinces in different ways. I've marked the ones I think could be player-earned in blue.
 

  • Arch-Mage of Almalexia
    • Responsible for Heartlands, Telvannis, and Deshaan District guildhalls (3 2 networks)
    • Wants to hand over responsibility for the mess that is Telvannis to someone else, but no one will take it. Maybe the player could agree to take on the responsibility in their capacity as the Vivec Arch-Mage?
  • Arch-Mage of Baan Malur
    • Responsible for Velothis District guildhalls (1 network)
  • Arch-Mage of Firewatch
    • Responsible for Telvannis District guildhalls (1 very limited network)
    • Backed up against a metaphorical wall, would be interesting as an unconvential "leader" mage (a nightblade, perhaps)
  • Arch-Mage of Narsis
    • Responsible for Narsis District guildhalls (1 network)
  • Arch-Mage of Vivec
    • Responsible for Vvardenfell District guildhalls (1 network)
    • The player's eventual rank in the vanilla questline.
  • Arch-Mage of Lilmoth
    • Responsible for all Black Marsh Province guildhalls (2 networks)
    • Very expansion-minded, interested in using the Guild to push further into Argonia and study its peculiarities (thus the relays and research outposts). Might get in over their head, opening up the job to the player.
  • Arch-Mage of Skingrad (or Anvil?)
    • Responsible for all County Anvil, County Kvatch, and County Skingrad guildhalls (1 network)
  • Arch-Mage of Bruma
    • Responsible for all County Bruma and County Chorrol guildhalls (1 network, minus Falkreath)
    • Nibenese and Colovian attitudes towards magic are probably colliding in Bruma, and its Arch-Mage is probably a controversial figure.
  • Arch-Mage of Cheydinhal
    • Responsible for all County Cheydinhal guildhalls (1 network)
  • Arch-Mage of Bravil
    • Responsible for all County Bravil and County Leyawiin guildhalls (1 network, minus Gideon)
  • Arch-Mage of Nibennium
    • Responsible for all Heartlands guildhalls (2 networks)
  • Arch-Mage of Winterhold
    • Responsible for all guildhalls in the Old Holds (1 network, plus Danstrar)
  • Arch-Mage of Haafingar
    • Responsible for all guildhalls in western Skyrim (2 networks, plus Falkreath, minus Danstrar and Dragonstar West)
    • Could be a stooge of Thian. Either way, probably the one sponsoring the research outpost on Roscrea.
  • Arch-Mage of Whiterun
    • Position abolished when the city fell into chaos. Rolled into the Haafingar Archmage's responsibilities.
    • If the player rises high enough in the Skyrim MG, the position could be restored and awarded to the player.
  • Arch-Mage of Evermore
    • Responsible for all guildhalls in the Kingdoms of Evermore-Farrun and Jehanna
    • Got a lot to deal with. Evermore's wizard-rulers despise the Guild, and the Jehanna guildhall has to deal with Thian's occupation.
  • Arch-Mage of Shornhelm
    • Responsible for all guildhalls in the Kingdoms of Shornhelm, Northpoint, and Camlorn.
    • Might be targeted by Wayrest and/or Daggerfall Arch-Mages to carve up into their domains. Position might be attainable by a player willing to play politics.
  • Arch-Mage of Wayrest
    • Responsible for all guildhalls in the Kingdoms of Wayrest, Orsinium (1 network, plus Portdun Creek)
  • Arch-Mage of Daggerfall
    • Responsible for all guildhalls in the Kingdoms of Daggerfall, Camlorn, Shornhelm, and Northpoint (2 networks)
  • Arch-Mage of Taneth
    • Responsible for all Hammerfell Province guildhalls (3 networks)
    • Abruptly handed all this responsibility when their counterpart in Sentinel perished in the Warp. Things are coming apart at the seams.
  • Arch-Mage of Firsthold
    • Responsible for all guildhalls in Summerset Isles Province (3 networks)
    • The Summerset MG's governance being the oldest - and most consolidated - of all the provincial Guilds, this person is likely the most politically powerful individual Arch-Mage.
  • Arch-Mage of Emperor's Run
    • Responsible for all guildhalls in Valenwood Province
    • Oversight of Valenwood's MG halls was consolidated following the War of the Usurper, during which the Guild was paraylzed by infighting and inaction. This centralization allowed the MG to survive the Simulacrum in Valenwood while the Fighters Guild did not.
  • Arch-Mage of Rimmen
    • Responsible for all guildhalls in Anequina (1 network)
  • Arch-Mage of Torval
    • Responsible for all guildhalls in Pelletine (1 network)
  • Arch-Mage of Port Mare
    • Responsible for all guildhalls in Cathnoquey and Yneslea (1 network)
    • Almost certainly the weakest Arch-Mage, politically speaking. Probably wants a powerful guild guide for an Imperial City hub connection, but is very unlikely to get one. Might compromise on a link to Almalexia or Thorn instead.
 

Gnomey's picture
Gnomey
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Very good write-up. So good I can keep my notes nice and short for once:
-St. Llothis anon Lan Murha anon Merveyan was indeed (and as far as I'm concerned still is) intended to have a proper Mages Guild hall.
-I think Telvannis should probably have an Arch-Mage who is trying to expand Mages Guild presence in Telvannis. But it's too early to say as with all things Telvannis.
-I actually think Tear should be treated entirely as part of the Black Marsh network and should not be under the jurisdiction of the Arch-Mage of Almalexia.
-I agree with Archmagister and Arch-Mages being separate, but don't see why the Archmagisters need to all be in Imperial City. I think they're more interesting if spread out, but not assigned particular territories. I could see more of them being in or near Summerset Isles, actually.
-As a general note, I increasingly take the whole 'Redguards distrust magic' thing with a hefty grain of salt. Aside from the one NPC in Oblivion, it has no basis as far as I'm aware, the Mages Guild having a prominent and apparantly not really negative role in Hammerfell in TESA: Redguard. TR Hammerfell's rationalisation of the new Oblivion lore was that Redguards distrust eastern/Tamrielic magic, but really, unless there is some Morowind-era lore supporting the distrust, I am skeptical as to whether we should even acknowledge it. This is naturally a Hammerfell project question, though.

Charger24's picture
Charger24
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Thanks for responding!

  • A Telvannis Arch-Mage would be interesting, I agree.
  • The reason I put Tear under Almalexia's Arch-Mage is because its members would be a part of the Morrowind Guild, and I've tried to keep the Provincial distinctions tight. (There is a similar situation in Dragonstar, where SHOTN has the DSW guildhall NPCs in the Hammerfell MG faction.) But it could be a unique exception, I suppose.
  • Spreading out the Archmagisters could be a good call, and your point on putting several in Summerset is good. Would make it more clear that the two pillars of the Guild are Cyrodiil and Summerset.
  • The "Redguards distrust magic" notion is based on quotes from Redguard:

Lakene: You wait! You just wait! Those Dwarves made up for their lack of magic in other ways. Magic is the crutch of the world! Why build a better bridge when a mage can teleport you to the other side? Things have been the same for thousands of years, and it's going to end soon.

Charger24's picture
Charger24
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"Amiel is in Firsthold, meeting with the Archmagister of the Mages Guild."

Quote I stumbled across in The Wolf Queen. Gnomey, it looks like you have the right idea about Archmagister(s) being in Summerset. I like this setup a lot the more I think about it, because of the way it highlights the internal struggle between the tradionalist Summerset roots of the Guild and its more modern Cyrodiil-based outlook.

"She had never been caught. Not when she broke into the archmage's study and stole his oldest spellbook."

Also interesting (from the same book); canon confirmation of an Arch-Mage in the Imperial City. So no direct supervision by the supreme council after all.

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The fact that Cathnoquey is included in this map make me smile.

Only thing I wonder is the relay on “Temaris”

Since it's closest to the mainland would that entail that a there's a Guild Guide that can bring you to/from the mainland there? Or would you think the Isles should be geographically isolated from the guild guide network of the mainland?

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Charger24
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Made some updates to this.

  • Per The Black Arts on Trial, there is Guild of Mages in Orsinium. Added a guildhall there on the Wayrest network, replacing Alcaire.
  • Upgraded the Upvale research outpost on Balfiera to a proper hall, since it's an somewhat major town and not some backwater.
  • Downgraded Kambria to Tier III for content density reasons.
  • Upgraded Glenpoint to Tier II, ditto.
  • Temporarily underlaid Thomas' newest draft of southern HR (with Iliac Daggerfall and no Rhalta).
  • With Rhalta not existing, its MG node is now on Betony (Whitefort).
  • Upgraded Kvatch to a Tier I hall since per Infragris it is the seat for an Arch-Mage (rather than Anvil or Skingrad). While that's not a requirement - see Vivec, a Tier II hall and headquarters of Arch-Mage Trebonius - in cosmopolitan Cyrodiil it seems appropriate. Also keeps with the theme of Cyrodiil Guild activity being centered around a few old, large guildhalls.
  • Telvannis gets its own Arch-Mage now, per Gnomey's preference.
  • Added a Heartlands Arch-Mage (see earlier comment re The Wolf Queen)

Also spoke with Phenoix on discord about the Padomaic network being isolated from the rest.