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arvisrend
Lead Developer
04 Oct 2010

Location: substitutional world

I know, it's a bit early. But I have got two ideas already and would like to know how much people think of them.

As I said in the early-game thread, I expect people to wind up in Almalexia at very low levels with barely the skills to fend off an assassin. So there should be entry-level quests here. I believe a good way to handle newbs is to gently push them towards the West (from Almalexia to Othrensis, from there to Roa Dyr, from there to Almas Thirr, from there to OE, from there to Teyn and Andothren): there shouldn't be very obvious hand-holding, but the quests that sound easy and doable should involve some moving west (e. g., deliver a message to someone in Roa Dyr), and dialogue should suggest the player that there is some work for him over there.

I originally thought the Mages Guild in Almalexia shouldn't have anything to do for a newb at all, instead just giving him some stuff and sending him to OE. Now I assume this can be improved:

First MG quest: A local has misplaced/broken the keys to a chest in his house, and he is asking the MG to open the lock with magic. (Possibly he has broken the lock in such a way that he thinks it can't even be picked anymore. Like, parts of the key are stuck in the lock. Could be doable with scripting.) The MG steward gives you an open-15-on-touch scroll, and some good(!) path description to the customer's house. (The path might be chosen in such a way that the player passes through some other points of interest, like the Fighters Guild, but it should be described well enough and precisely. Getting lost in Almalexia isn't fun.) Once the player has opened the thing, the journal tells to report to the customer directly (not to the MG). The customer reveals that he, too, is in the Mages Guild, and that quest was a test of reliability. If the player stole something from the container, he gets kicked out of the MG; otherwise, he is said to go back and receives some small reward and is taught an open-20-on-touch spell(!).

If the player already has a nontrivial rank in the Mainland MG, this first quest is skipped.

Second MG quest: Now that the player has proven that he is not scum, he is asked to recruit a new guild guide for the MG. The MG has no guild guide (a good way to somewhat restrict the travel options of the low-level player; of course, there are still many other ways to go around Morrowind), as the last one (Effe-Tei, whom the player should definitely know: it's the Tribunal NPC that sends him back to Ebonheart) is now on duty in the Royal Palace. You are told to look in certain quarters or ask Effe-Tei directly about possible replacements. Effe-Tei gives you a list of NPCs he considers worth asking; anyway, one of them (that should also live in one of the quarters you have been sent to) takes up the job. BUT he is not yet ready; being a guild guide requires a lot of training. (He should become available as soon as you have a certain rank in the Mainland MG.)

Now the steward tells you that he has no more jobs for your rank (unless you have a much higher rank than a newb could have after just finishing Ajira's Balmora quests and these two above). You are sent to OE. This particular steward (the Almalexia one, not the OE one) might be more helpful than your average questgiver, and (1) describe the path to OE (the easy one, through the mountain pass) in detail, (2) tell you at which point you can shorten your walk by casting Divine Intervention (I figure mages love this trick), and (3) give you some mildly useful items for your way (healing potions, a ring of fireball-1-pt-for-6-sec?). Your next quests you get in OE.
Post Wed Jun 27, 2012 12:24 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Nemon
Developer Emeritus
18 Oct 2003

Location: Bergen

This is very good. Concerning giving directions, I suggest using visual keys as well, as I do give certain houses distinct features. I.e ivy at the doorframe, different lantern colors and other stuff.

You mention Old Ebonheart and Andothren, I guess this is a more long term thing then since that these are in the release after alma?

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Post Wed Jun 27, 2012 3:55 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
arvisrend
Lead Developer
04 Oct 2010

Location: substitutional world

An update based on IRC discussions. Nothing is final, nothing is decided, nothing is done, but I think this makes more sense than my first post (which doesn't mean much).
I'm copying my first post, with updates and changes marked in blue.

------

As I said in the early-game thread, I expect people to wind up in Almalexia at very low levels with barely the skills to fend off an assassin. So there should be entry-level quests here. I believe a good way to handle newbs is to gently push them towards the West (from Almalexia to Othrensis, from there to Roa Dyr, from there to Almas Thirr, from there to OE, from there to Teyn and Andothren): there shouldn't be very obvious hand-holding, but the quests that sound easy and doable should involve some moving west (e. g., deliver a message to someone in Roa Dyr), and dialogue should suggest to the player that there is some work for him over there.

I originally thought the Mages Guild in Almalexia shouldn't have anything to do for a newb at all, instead just giving him some stuff and sending him to OE. Now I assume this can be improved:

First MG quest: A local has misplaced/broken the keys to a chest in his house, and he is asking the MG to open the lock with magic. (Possibly he has broken the lock in such a way that he thinks it can't even be picked anymore. Like, parts of the key are stuck in the lock. Could be doable with scripting.) The MG steward gives you an open-15-on-touch scroll, and some good(!) path description to the customer's house. (The path might be chosen in such a way that the player passes through some other points of interest, like the Fighters Guild, but it should be described well enough and precisely. Getting lost in Almalexia isn't fun.) Once the player has opened the thing, the journal tells to report to the customer directly (not to the MG). The customer reveals that he, too, is in the Mages Guild, and that quest was a test of reliability. This is important because a number of thugs and agent provocateurs have joined the MG lately and have damaged its reputation beyond easy repair. In particular, this is why they're getting barely any tasks anymore and thus the player gets so few quests. But it's probably too early to unload this info on the player. If the player stole something from the container, he gets kicked out of the MG; otherwise, he is said to go back and receives some small reward and a spell book with low intelligence requirements: let's say TR_bk_SeekingHome (teaches night-eye). He is told how spellbooks work, and that he can raise his int temporarily by a fortify-intelligence potion (I've put one into the mainland Mages guild supply chest). Note that this is a kind of tutorial quest, demonstrating both the use of spellbooks and of the supply chest.

If the player already has a nontrivial rank in the Mainland MG, this first quest is skipped.

Second MG quest: Now that the player has proven that he is not scum, he is asked to recruit a new guild guide for the MG. The MG has no guild guide (a good way to somewhat restrict the travel options of the low-level player; of course, there are still many other ways to go around Morrowind), as the last one (Effe-Tei, whom the player should definitely know: it's the Tribunal NPC that sends him back to Ebonheart) is now on duty in the Royal Palace. You get a shortlist of people who might be fit for the job. You can also ask Effe-Tei and get another shortlist. Only one person (in the intersection of these two lists) is generally willing/able. But he says that he's not going to work with the MG given the current state of affairs. Tensions are rising between the MG and authorities in the city (Temple or House Indoril, dunno), and there might even be a crackdown on the MG for which he doesn't want to be the fall guy. You return to the guild with this disheartening information.

Now the steward has to explain you that, yes, there are some... troubles. I have not yet decided which kind of troubles, but Why suggested that they be related to the Alma Rula's problems. Not that the Indoril and the ordinators would otherwise be very friendly to the MG...

The steward tells you that he/she has no more jobs for your rank (unless you have a much higher rank than a newb could have after just finishing Ajira's Balmora quests and these two above - she should tell you which rank she wants). You are sent to OE and Andothren, since Indoril lands could become a dangerous ground for mages in the future (of course, in reality, they won't until you progress in the Almalexia questline; but I don't want low-level players to be railroaded into Akamora, since I think Akamora MG should have tougher quests)
. This particular steward (the Almalexia one, not the OE one) might be more helpful than your average questgiver, and (1) describe the path to OE (the easy one, through the mountain pass) in detail, (2) tell you at which point you can shorten your walk by casting Divine Intervention (I figure mages love this trick), and (3) give you some mildly useful items for your way (healing potions, a ring of fireball-1-pt-for-6-sec?). Your next quests you get in OE and Andothren.

Once you have a sufficiently high rank (Magician?), you can again get quests from the Almalexia guild guide. These are all about defusing the conflict with the Indoril/Temple/ordinators/whomever.

One of the quests might have you join or help a group of inquisitors dealing with a Daedra summoner. The purpose is to show goodwill. The inquisitors end up asking you why you help them eliminate a conjurer while your guild teaches people to summon Daedra. You have to choose between some more and less reasonable replies along these lines:
- The summoner attacked us first. (Inquisitors are OK with this, but not very happy.)
- The knowledge itself is not good or evil; the question is whether it is used in accordance with religion. (Inquisitors are happy with this if you're in the Temple; otherwise they consider it arse kissing.)
- Only the strong should summon Daedra. (Not a good idea.)
- The summoner broke Imperial law. (Not a good idea either.)
- The summoner broke the law of Morrowind. (OK.)
There are no direct consequences to the choice (the inquisitors won't attack you no matter what you say), but it might play a role later on.

Other quests can involve seeking out some guild members that disappeared. The guild steward is fearing that they might be doing something bad and it will again hurt the guild's reputation.
Post Sun Jul 08, 2012 2:27 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Haplo
Lead Developer
30 Aug 2003

Location: Celibacy

Really good stuff, arvisrend.

arvisrend wrote:
Once you have a sufficiently high rank (Magician?), you can again get quests from the Almalexia guild guide. These are all about defusing the conflict with the Indoril/Temple/ordinators/whomever.


This raises a concern of mine: if we take this approach (which may end up being fine), it means the Mages Guild quests in Almalexia are going to be all reactionary, defensive, and weak-spined. What I mean by weak-spined is that they are aimed at appeasing someone else, without any motive other than self-preservation (which is a motive anyone can have, thus it is kind of lame).

What I would like to see is if it is possible to have an alternative as well. We can do this one of two ways:

1. While including the quests you mentioned in that quote, also include an alternative quest line which is more aggressive and somewhat of a gambit; the Imperial Mages Guild is not the most ambitious of organizations on Tamriel, but they do have grand designs, I'm sure, and would be especially alert to the one province in Tamriel which has a serious magical threat: the Telvanni. Add in the location of this guild, Almalexia, the ancient capital city of Morrowind, and I'm sure you can see a mage's desire for knowledge, power, or artifacts exclusive to this region. This alternative quest line could start a branch in the quests; you can choose to go the appeasing route, or you can choose to go the aggressive, dangerous and combat-laden route.

Obviously I haven't thought of specifics for the dangerous route, but they shouldn't be difficult to decipher; the end result is the same as the pacifying line: get the Temple/House Indoril off your back. The only difference is the means to the ends; appeasement versus stiff-arming.

2. A compromise between changing nothing and choosing option #1. Option #2 would be similar to number 1 by simply including Option #1-type alternatives to the normal appeasement quest line at various points, such as quest #4, #7, and #9 along the line (just for example).

Basically my concern is that there are mages who love anything to do with magic, and there are mages who like one specific style of play, such as conservative and defensive (arvisrend's outline) or offensive and destructive (my suggestion #1), and I think it would be great if we could find a way to offer options for both.

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Post Sun Jul 08, 2012 7:16 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
arvisrend
Lead Developer
04 Oct 2010

Location: substitutional world

MG quest between first and second: A noble or merchant somewhere in Almalexia has asked the MG via some kind of emissary to help him restore his speechcraft skill. It is gravely damaged (down to 5 maybe, by some poison from an enemy) and he hesitates to even go outside lest his reputation of a good speaker becomes shattered. So he isn't going to the guild; you have to come to him. The guild steward teaches you a restore speechcraft spell (on self, 2 pts for 5 sec), and tells you to create a custom on-touch version of this spell at a spellmaker's (this allows you to fine-tune the spell to your skills). ALTERNATIVELY, if the guild steward him/herself is a spellmaker, you get an on-touch version immediately (why complicate things), but you still are told to use spellmaking if you can't cast that spell yet.

Once you're done helping the noble, you get some minor reward from the MG; let's say a Telvanni cephalopod helm (that's a weak light helm whose main advantage is good enchantability) enchanted with constant effect weakness to magicka 10 pts on self (oops). The steward explains you that the less-than-useful enchantment (a waste of a perfectly good helm and soul gem) is the handiwork of some of their new novices they suspect to be planted by some adversary of the MG. (This continues the "agent provocateur" theme from the first quest.) He/she hopes you'll still find some use for it, even if as vendor trash, and that he/she will be able to give you better rewards once the MG is no longer under fire anymore.
Post Sat Aug 11, 2012 2:41 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
arvisrend
Lead Developer
04 Oct 2010

Location: substitutional world

PLEASE take a look at this before granting Jule i3-90-Ind and figure out whether this entails any requirements on the interior. I don't directly see any, but I'm not really awake right now.

Nevertheless, Jule should get a copy of this, of course.

Updated Almalexia questline concept

Still far from polished.
I am not color-coding changes anymore, as that didn't really help readability...

I think the lower and the upper questline should be numbered differently (like TR_m3_MG_Alma1_* and TR_m3_MG_Alma2_* where 1 is for lower and 2 for upper), as they really don't have much to do with each other and it will take most players a long time to get from the former to the latter.

------

The lower questline

Due to Tribunal, I expect people to wind up in Almalexia at very low levels with barely the skills to fend off an assassin. So there should be entry-level quests here. I believe a good way to handle newbs is to gently push them towards the West (from Almalexia to Othrensis, from there to Roa Dyr, from there to Almas Thirr, from there to OE, from there to Teyn and Andothren): there shouldn't be very obvious hand-holding, but the quests that sound easy and doable should involve some moving west (e. g., deliver a message to someone in Roa Dyr), and dialogue should suggest to the player that there is some work for him over there.

There are two political scandals involving the MG happening when the player arrives in Morrowind. Each of them warrants a dialogue topic, I think.

Almalexia: First, an Imperial envoy visited the Almalexia MG and held a lecture about necromancy (of all things). Opinions differ whether this was a targeted provocation or just Imperial stupidity, but it had a surprisingly strong effect. The envoy and the archmagister were arrested by the ordinators. The envoy has been executed, the archmagister still in jail (it is not easy to find something against him to allow execution, but the ordinators aren't giving up that easily). Different NPCs with different allegiances should give different views on this story.

Old Ebonheart: The vaults of the OE MG (must still be int-ed) have been broken into, and lots of powerful and dangerous artefacts stolen. Some of these (LadyN suggested passwall scrolls; I also think of paralysis weapons and magical fire bombs) have already been used by unknowns to wreak havoc, so people are concerned and the whole thing is blamed on the MG by those with anti-Imperial positions. Again, what you get told depends on whom you ask.

The upper questline will be all about solving the first of these scandals. The OE questline (which will be a prerequisite to the former) will be about solving the second of them. Either way, it is clear that the MG has become unpopular among the locals, and you're to fix this mess.

TR_m3_MG_Alma1_Lock: Jammed Trust (any better title?)

First MG quest: A local has misplaced/broken the keys to a chest in his house, and he is asking the MG to open the lock with magic. (Possibly he has broken the lock in such a way that he thinks it can't even be picked anymore. Like, parts of the key are stuck in the lock. Should be doable with scripting.) The MG steward gives you an open-15-on-touch scroll, and some good(!) path description to the customer's house. (The path can be chosen in such a way that the player passes through some other points of interest, like the Fighters Guild, but it should be described well enough and precisely. Getting lost in Almalexia isn't fun, and we should use path descriptions to give players a guided tour of this metropolis.) Once the player has opened the thing, the journal tells to report to the customer directly (not to the MG). The customer reveals that he, too, is in the Mages Guild, and that quest was a test of reliability. This is important because a number of thugs and agent provocateurs have joined the MG lately and have damaged its reputation beyond easy repair. In particular, this is why they're getting barely any contracts anymore and thus the player gets so few quests. But it's probably too early to unload this info on the player. If the player stole something from the container, he gets kicked out of the MG; otherwise, he is said to go back and receives some small reward and a spell book with low intelligence requirements: let's say TR_bk_SeekingHome (teaches night-eye). He is told how spellbooks work, and that he can raise his int temporarily by a fortify-intelligence potion (I've put one into the mainland Mages guild supply chest). Note that this is a kind of tutorial quest, demonstrating both the use of spellbooks and of the supply chest.

If the player already has a nontrivial rank in the Mainland MG, this first quest is skipped.

TR_m3_MG_Alma2_Lock: At a loss for words

A real contract now. A noble or merchant somewhere in Almalexia has asked the MG via some kind of emissary to help him restore his speechcraft skill. It is gravely damaged (down to 5 maybe, by some poison from an enemy) and he hesitates to even go outside lest his reputation of a good speaker becomes shattered. So he isn't going to the guild; you have to come to him. The guild steward teaches you a restore speechcraft spell (on self, 2 pts for 5 sec), and tells you to create a custom on-touch version of this spell at a spellmaker's (this allows you to fine-tune the spell to your skills). ALTERNATIVELY, if the guild steward him/herself is a spellmaker, you get an on-touch version immediately (why complicate things), but you still are told to use spellmaking if you can't cast that spell yet.

Once you're done helping the noble, you get some minor reward from the MG; let's say a Telvanni cephalopod helm (that's a weak light helm whose main advantage is good enchantability) enchanted with constant effect weakness to magicka 10 pts on self (oops). The steward explains you that the less-than-useful enchantment (a waste of a perfectly good helm and soul gem) is the handiwork of some of their new novices they suspect to be planted by some adversary of the MG. (This continues the "agent provocateur" theme from the first quest.) He/she hopes you'll still find some use for it, even if as vendor trash, and that he/she will be able to give you better rewards once the MG is no longer under fire anymore.

TR_m3_MG_Alma3_Lock: Bleak prospects

By now you (= the player) have proven the ability to execute simple tasks without using them as an occasion to rob people blind. The guild steward asks you to recruit a new guild guide for the MG. The MG has no guild guide (a good way to somewhat restrict the travel options of the low-level player; of course, there are still many other ways to go around Morrowind), as the last one (Effe-Tei, whom the player should definitely know: it's the Tribunal NPC that sends him back to Ebonheart) is now on duty in the Royal Palace.

You get a shortlist of people who might be fit for the job. You can also ask Effe-Tei and get another shortlist. Only one person (in the intersection of these two lists) is (generally) willing/able at all. But this person is not willing to work with the MG given the current state of affairs. Tensions are rising between the MG and authorities in the city (particularly ordinators and House Indoril, to be explained later), and there might even be a crackdown on the MG for which he doesn't want to be the fall guy. He tells you all this briefly and is surprised that you didn't already know of that. You return to the guild with this disheartening information.

Now the steward has to explain you that, yes, there are some... troubles. There's this Almalexia scandal involving the envoy necromancer, and the ordinators are zealously collecting compromising material against the MG. But he doesn't believe it's all about necromancy and heresy; he rather thinks somebody is behind these accusations, trying to push Imperials out of Almalexia. He tells you that, at the current sorry state of affairs, he cannot give you any further work, and indeed it might be safer if you leave the Indoril lands for the west, since Indoril lands could become a dangerous ground for mages in the future. Particularly he tells you to go to Andothren and OE for important work. He might drop you a hint about the OE break-in, and that your help at there will be very useful, since it will free up resources to work on the Almalexia political battle.

This particular steward (the Almalexia one, not the OE one) might be more helpful than your average questgiver, and (1) describe the path to OE (the easy one, through the mountain pass) in detail, (2) tell you at which point you can shorten your walk by casting Divine Intervention (I figure mages love this trick), and (3) give you some mildly useful items for your way (healing potions, a ring of fireball-1-pt-for-6-sec?). Your next quests you get in OE and Andothren.

The lower questline is now done. In gameplay terms, of course, the Indoril lands are safe, but this guild steward WANTS you to help out Andothren and OE before going (say) to Akamora, because the former are more important.

The higher questline NOT FINAL IN ANY WAY!!!

You don't get any further quests from this steward until you have (1) figured out who was behind the break-in at the Old Ebonheart guild (this should be near the end of the OE MG questline, which is not really thought over yet) and (2) helped the Andothren Mages Guild rally support among the Hlaalu (this is about the middle of the Andothren MG questline).

Once these requirements are satisfied, you can again get quests in the Almalexia MG. These are all about defusing the conflict with the Indoril.

Yes, Indoril. As the OE quests have shown, it wasn't simple thieves who broke into the MG. Or actually it was, but they had a mission from Indoril nobility.

Now I'm thinking of an Indoril noble family who had the most self-sacrifices during the Imperial conquest of Morrowind, and as a consequence of it, rather than rising in regard and influence, it only lost power and land (because more or less everybody who had any strength of character took part in that suicide pact). It is now centered in Almalexia, with little to no real estate elsewhere, and the current generation are trying to get back the influence they (think they) deserve.

How do you rise in influence if you are an Indoril? Exactly, you prove yourself able to withstand an Imperial provocation. Particularly if you are an epigone of one of the most anti-Imperial families in the history of Indoril. Some of the family's members have joined the Ordinators and are the driving force against the MG in Almalexia, whereas others are stirring up the public opinion against the MG. The former part of the family is well-respected among the Ordinators (due to their zeal and, of course, their forefathers' heroism), while the latter are not very successful yet, so they are trying more and more desperate means. One of these involved this Grand Theft in OE. Whether it actually works (in the sense of making people hate the MG) should be left to the claimer to decide. Anyway, now that the thieves have been found, you know who commanded them, although you don't know all the gory details yet.

Before I go into details, here is how I imagine the main actors on the Guild side:

- Guild steward in Almalexia: diplomatic, calm, prefers to err on the side of inaction rather than take some risks too serious. Not surprisingly, since he would be the first to suffer from any Indoril action now that the archmagister is jailed.

- Ethalvora, guild steward in Andothren: an enthusiastic researcher (with a professional interest in Daedric shrines, which alas doesn't make her very popular in Almalexia), bellicose (as in: doesn't turn down a challenge) and, to some extent, arrogant (although not from a racial viewpoint like many Altmer). At some point you will have to convince her to move to Almalexia to help out solving the conflict. She will be the antipole to the Almalexia guild steward, offering you the more ballsy and risky options to some of the quests.

- Guild steward in Old Ebonheart: I'm unsure of the role he(/she?) will play. He will probably have his hands full with the problems the MG is facing in OE since the robbery.

Most of the following are (in no particular order) the quest ideas brainstormed on #tamriel by Why and me within the last three months or so. The others have never seen any kind of feedback or reality check, so expect the worst.

- You are to help a group of inquisitors fighting a Daedra summoner in a cave somewhere not too far away. It's not like you have been invited, but for some reason the MG got wind of the planned action, and wants to help in order to show goodwill to the Ordinators (i. e. show that the MG, too, is on the side of the Law etc.).
So you go into the cave and fight along with the inquisitors (who are somewhat surprised about your presence). Once the summoner is dead, one of the inquisitors sardonically asks you why you just helped them eliminate a conjurer while your guild teaches people to summon Daedra on a regular basis. You have to choose between some more and less reasonable replies along these lines:
(A) The summoner attacked us first. (Inquisitors are OK with this, but not very happy.)
(B) Knowledge itself is not good or evil; the question is whether it is used in accordance with the teachings of Almsivi. (Inquisitors are happy with this if you're in the Temple; otherwise they see it as the hypocrisy which it probably is.)
(C) Only the strong should be allowed to summon Daedra. (Not a good idea.)
(D) The summoner broke Imperial law. (Not a good idea either.)
(E) The summoner broke the law of Morrowind. (OK. This is the answer that they don't want to hear, because it doesn't give them any attack surface, but they can't do anything about it.)
The choice has no direct consequences (the inquisitors won't attack you no matter what you say), but it plays a role later on.

- You are to go to Fort Lutemoth and possibly also Shadowmoth and Septim's Gate, to inform the Imperial Legion of what's brewing up in Almalexia. You should convince the Legion that this is important not only for the MG.

- Inform the guild stewards of the other chapters about what's going on. Ethalvora of Andothren decides to heed the call and goes to Almalexia to help along with the diplomacy, fearing that the Almalexia guild members would behave too defensively if left to their own devices. Other stewards give some opinions and offer or promise some help. I don't know what this help would be, though.

- This is merely a skeleton of a quest: A former MG member has left the guild and joined House Indoril, where he rose to some influence (nothing extraordinary, though). He has a manor somewhere (M3A8?). You are to find out whether he is part of the ongoing action against the Guild. You can talk to his servants or to the locals or just to himself. The servants and the locals describe him as a quite friendly and helpful landlord ("tolerant" is probably not something Indoril would say, at least not meaning it in a positive way), thus directing you to him. So you ask him directly. He tells you that he has abandoned the Imperial ways because he found them foolish and disintegrating, although he doesn't blame the outlanders for their naivete (he isn't the kind of Indoril who sees it as a conspiracy to destroy Morrowind!), and in particular, he has nothing against the Guilds, and is certainly not taking part in any provocations or inappropriate actions against them. He might give you the first insights into the anti-Imperial cabal, but (1) he himself doesn't know too much, and (2) he wants to stay neutral, so he isn't going to help much.

Note: In my understanding of House Indoril, this is a very moderate version of the Indoril position. I hope it is not too moderate. He might be a useful contact person if the player himself decides to join House Indoril. He might be slightly condescending but he shouldn't be aggressive at all, unless the player himself mucks up.

- Just an idea: An MG scholar has been imprisoned, on false accusations, somewhere outside of Almalexia. (Do Almas Thirr, Roa Dyr or any of the M3A8 towns have something like jails? Needs not be anything with a prisonmarker, but just a guard tower with jail cells should be enough. It should only be under some kind of Indoril control.) The Alma guild steward orders you to pay a visit to him, pledging him support and telling him not to give in. (The fear is that he might be strong-armed into false confessions that can harm the MG in Almalexia.) Ethalvora, however, has a simpler idea: just free the guy. How exactly this all works depends on what jail we use.

Note: As I said, we need a jail (can be some holding cells in a guard tower, or in somebody's manor) operated by some Indoril. It should be outside of Almalexia in order for the flight option to realistically make sense. The NPCs operating/guarding the jail better be non-relevant, since most players are likely to kill them.

- The Guild has been warned that their offices are soon to be searched by ordinators. The guild steward fears that they will find some hidden anti-Temple/anti-Dunmeri agitprop in the room of some particular guild member (who is already known to have a pronounced pro-Imperial position) and use it as evidence. You are to search his room beforehand and extract and destroy everything you find to be able to cause such a problem. You find either some hilarious plans to take over the city of Almalexia, or some pro-necromancy leaflets, or some caricatures of Almalexia in an appropriate inappropriate position, or something similar hidden in his room. Rather than finding the hideout yourself, you might also convince him to tell you about that hideout. Jule, please make sure there are such hideouts in the guildhall. The guild member later turns out to be either an agent provocateur or just a convenient idiot.

After this build-up, the decisive quest begins: The Trial. The archmage is going to be tried (we do have a court for this in Almalexia, I hope?), and with him the Guild as such. You are invited to the courthouse, as are some other guild members (think Season Unending). Since just inviting a stupid Imperial scholar isn't enough to justify an execution of the archmage, the prosecutors have prepared some more severe accusations. You (and others) fend them off. If you do it right and didn't mess up the previous quests, you are able to convince him/her on most counts. (Doing the inquisition quest right -- e. g., answer (B) or (E) -- makes an ordinator witness speak in your favor. Helping the imprisoned guild scholar retain his steadfastness thwarts the Indoril plan to use him as a crown witness, while helping him flee provides the accusers with a new line of attack. Getting rid of the compromising material in the Almalexia guild hall weakens the accusations. Presenting proofs of the relation of the Indoril with the thieves who robbed the OE MG opens a new front.) At the end, however, the archmage is sentenced to death either way, although the grounds on which he is sentenced depend on your actions, and if you did it right then they are particularly duplicitous and ridiculous.

The (public) execution, however, is interrupted by the archmage breaking the anti-magic bonds that have been put on him to prevent him from doing anything stupid. He casts a spell which creates a cylindrical protective ward around him, which absorbs any magic cast at it and blocks any force directed at it. (Think of Skyrim's wards without the suck.) With the gathered crowd as an audience, he delivers a short and flaming speech about the blindness and hypocrisy of the Indoril, the cowardice and servility of the populace (what is the MW equivalent of sheep? guars?), and the stupidity of the ordinators (whose fanaticism only serves others in their very mundane goals). He might drop some concrete accusations, names, hints, prognoses. At the end of his speech, he ridicules the ordinators for reinforcing his spellcraft with their hate (i. e., by casting spells against his ward they actually charged it to a huge amount of magicka), casts a Windwalker (=invisibility + levitation) spell (teleportation is disabled on executions) and sets off into the sky. Ordinators start throwing spells at him but don't succeed at hitting him.

Alternatively, we could have him dispel the anti-teleportation barrier and just cast divine-intervention.

Or he turns into a bird and flies away. (Easily scripted if we get a nice model for a bird. A flock of seagulls? The other question is whether lore allows this. TES5 had the player getting turned into a goat, but TES5 is not authoritative on lore.)

Once the ordinators have given up hope to get him, one of the following happens:

1) The leaders of the Indoril cabal (who are present at the execution) commit suicide on the spot, honoring the tradition their ancestors started.

2) The leaders of the Indoril cabal attack the player and the other MG members at the ceremony. Not clear how the ordinators react to this; they might even get split, since not all of them belong to the one family who wants to individuate on this crisis). The distribution of forces (who joins which side) depends on how good the player defended the MG at the trial. The fight ends with the cabal (or its leaders) dead.

If we decide for the fight option, the most relevant MG NPCs (guild stewards, quest givers, trainers) should be kept alive by script.

This doesn't solve the crisis yet, but with the cabal's leaders dead, people's tongues are generally loosened, and we might hear the judge (who was formerly blackmailed in some way) revoking his verdict, at least if the player did the previous quests right. Alternatively, a division of the Imperial Legion could muster in front of the Almalexia gates. Depending on the player's choices in the previous quests, the MG chapter in Almalexia is fully rehabilitated and compensated, or remains at more or less its current status, or even loses some of its privileges (which ones?).

Later quests could deal with the aftermath: If the guild was rehabilitated, the guild guide will finally take up his job. One can also try locating the agent provocateurs from the previous quests. Or improve some customer relations broken by the crisis.

As I said, nothing in this higher questline should even have the air of finished work. I have dropped an unsanitized load of ideas, some of which haven't even been shared with anyone until today. I won't be surprised if many of them turn out bad and useless.
Post Thu Dec 13, 2012 3:51 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
arvisrend
Lead Developer
04 Oct 2010

Location: substitutional world

The previous post has been updated.
Post Tue Dec 18, 2012 3:35 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Haplo
Lead Developer
30 Aug 2003

Location: Celibacy

So it's important that we have a court in Almalexia, an Indoril-controlled jail cell(s) somewhere outside of Almalexia but somewhat nearby, an ex-MG Indoril guy in a manor somewhere in the Almalexia release, and a hiding spot in i3-90. I would greatly prefer it if the aftermath did include the new guild guide becoming active (it helps continuity and immersion, and also, it's a great way to travel when you complete this quest line 20 game days into your save file and are still playing it and visiting Almalexia at 100 game days into your save file and need to fast travel somewhere).

I have one major concern: the arrest of the arch mage is not something we should take lightly. I think we should commit some effort to creating a believable story for how he was able to be arrested/captured (the Ordinators certainly spent a long time and a lot of effort planning it), since even with great probably cause, the arch mage of the MG is not an easily-subdued target. How did he break the bonds during the execution? Was he strong enough to do so all along, meaning he just went quietly when the Ordinators attacked? If so, why? Was it specifically to avoid any backlash on the MG from locals after the fact? Or was it forced into submission and then somehow got strong again/found a weak link in the chain and used it to escape? These could lead to dialogue lines that explain the situation (something I think is kind of necessary for the player to appreciate fully the situation and the context of his or her actions).

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Post Tue Dec 18, 2012 6:39 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Yeti
Lead Developer
15 Feb 2009

Location: Minnesota: The Land of 11,842 Lakes

Roa Dyr has a jail with two cells, one of which is currently occupied but the other one can remain available for this questline.
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Post Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:23 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
arvisrend
Lead Developer
04 Oct 2010

Location: substitutional world

Hmm -- I always thought of that jail as imperial (which is not good for this quest), plus a Roa Dyr quest I designed would lead to someone filling it. (Or alternatively, he could be deported to the Empire along with the one NPC who currently inhabits the other cell. If this makes sense from the viewpoint of lore.)

IIRC some tower/mansion in Almas Thirr has a "private" jail in it. Am I getting this right? Could we use that?
Post Wed Dec 19, 2012 1:06 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Why
Lead Developer
04 Jul 2009

Location: Utrecht

Okay, some concerns of mine. The early quests seem stellar. However,

1) I don't want to turn the whole MG questline into a Grand Conspiracy of one Indoril Family versus the Mages Guild. I believe I mentioned this earlier, but it really should be based on a clash of Traditional Dunmer Values versus Pushing The Boundaries Of Magical Research. Not a vengeful family wanting to get some glory for destroying some random Imperial organisation, but a bunch of people plainly offended by what the Guild does and what it stands for. Hence:
    - I don't think one family should be actively conspiring to destroy the MG. There can be a family orchestrating public outcry though.
    - The OE break-in, if that all holds up, can help feed the anti-MG sentiment, but shouldn't be part of this conspiracy. There should be enough valuables in it to justify a break-in anyway.
    - I don't agree that the legion, or the Imperial administration, should be involved at all.
2) From a storytelling point of view, it sucks to be told the interesting stuff has already happened. I want the envoy from Cyrodiil to go down during the player's stay in Almalexia. Preferably with the player as a witness, but if we can't pull that off (I maintain it should be possible) while the player is away on a quest. Involve the player, make them get to know the characters, make them care.

3) I like the idea of setting up a trial, but it should be stressed that the MG is not to take any offensive action against the Indoril, the Temple, or the Ordinators. They need to stay within the boundaries of the law. Just mentioning this to remind everyone I suppose, it isn't really a problem in the above plans per se, but it was earlier, and it's important. I'm still not sure where such a trial would lead us and if the Archmage should (try to) escape at all, but it's interesting to think about I suppose.

More maybe to follow later. Remember actual Alma interior planning is priority right now.
Post Wed Dec 19, 2012 3:45 pm Send private message       Send e-mail       Reply with quote                   up  
arvisrend
Lead Developer
04 Oct 2010

Location: substitutional world

Why: Thanks for reading this!

Replying in order of increasing difficulty:

Why wrote:
3) I like the idea of setting up a trial, but it should be stressed that the MG is not to take any offensive action against the Indoril, the Temple, or the Ordinators. They need to stay within the boundaries of the law. Just mentioning this to remind everyone I suppose, it isn't really a problem in the above plans per se, but it was earlier, and it's important. I'm still not sure where such a trial would lead us and if the Archmage should (try to) escape at all, but it's interesting to think about I suppose.


I think this is a point that should figure strongly in the thinking of the Almalexia guild chapter, but Ethalvora -- the only NPC who suggests the player to do anything against the law (apart from the archmage, who escapes when he already is sure he has nothing to lose) -- is from Andothren (which is probably not too friendly with the Indoril) and could also move to Cyrodiil if necessary. This kind of fleeing from responsibility fits the chaotic-good (with focus on "chaotic") character that I want Ethalvora to have. The Almalexia MG people won't be amused if you follow her recommendation (at least if you are caught).

Why wrote:
2) From a storytelling point of view, it sucks to be told the interesting stuff has already happened. I want the envoy from Cyrodiil to go down during the player's stay in Almalexia. Preferably with the player as a witness, but if we can't pull that off (I maintain it should be possible) while the player is away on a quest. Involve the player, make them get to know the characters, make them care.


Yes, if we can pull this off it will be great, and even if not, having news arrive once the player has returned from a quest is still better than if it just happened before the game. I don't know why I proposed the latter. Imitating the un-dynamicness of vanilla MW, I guess.

Why wrote:
1) I don't want to turn the whole MG questline into a Grand Conspiracy of one Indoril Family versus the Mages Guild. I believe I mentioned this earlier, but it really should be based on a clash of Traditional Dunmer Values versus Pushing The Boundaries Of Magical Research. Not a vengeful family wanting to get some glory for destroying some random Imperial organisation, but a bunch of people plainly offended by what the Guild does and what it stands for. Hence:
    - I don't think one family should be actively conspiring to destroy the MG. There can be a family orchestrating public outcry though.
    - The OE break-in, if that all holds up, can help feed the anti-MG sentiment, but shouldn't be part of this conspiracy. There should be enough valuables in it to justify a break-in anyway.
    - I don't agree that the legion, or the Imperial administration, should be involved at all.


This is the thing that clashes most with the storyline, and I'll be happy to see some solutions. The main problems are:

- If the OE break-in is completely unrelated to the Almalexia crisis, then the OE and Almalexia questlines lose their connection; we can't even reasonably explain why the former should be a prerequisite to the latter. And the OE questline loses some of its gratification. I mean, at the end, you'll know that it just was a band of thieves. Great result for a questline of considerable (I hope) length, no?

- What I wanted to happen after the flight of the archmage is that (1) the main leaders behind the accusation die and (2) the judgment is declared invalid. Why did I want this? Because without (2), the conflict wouldn't be resolved, and probably would lead into a political escalation with Blades and Legionnaires involved (which I think isn't where we want to go), and without (1), we'd need to reasonably dialogue these opponents. Notice that the process was rigged (at least if the player did the quests right and had the better evidence as the result) and this hardly will go unnoticed by the Empire. Thinking about this again, I guess (1) is not much of a problem, but (2) remains. What are other ways how a process can be overturned?

- If it's not just one faction inside the Indoril fomenting this scandal, but rather the whole Indoril populace is homogeneously anti-MG, then even a judgment overturned is probably not enough to stifle the public outrage. And it makes the judgment less likely to be overturned, in the first place. What do we do about that?

A direction I totally don't want to go is a closing of the Almalexia MG chapter, as it's not as simple as locking a door and disabling a bunch of NPCs. We'd have to add a lot of MG dialogue (most other MG members should be blaming the player), there should be changes in the reaction of the Indoril and the Temple as well, the local populace will probably not have its hunger satisfied but rather will go for more, and most importantly, the Empire will hardly let this matter rest (and also will blame the player!). And I don't particularly like things which remove gameplay elements from the game. (I'm the guy who never finished the Oblivion mainquest because it closed the Oblivion gates. Even though I got bored of them by the 3rd one I cleared.)

Any ideas?

Oh, and the quest IDs I proposed in the questline summary were nonsense. Sorry!
Post Wed Dec 19, 2012 5:05 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Haplo
Lead Developer
30 Aug 2003

Location: Celibacy

I think what Why was intending was possibly that, if we re-tool the upper quests for Almalexia, then the OE break-in would no longer be a prerequisite for it and would stand on its own during the OE mages guild quests. Personally, I think the OE break-in is a great idea with quite some potential, and I think we should save it for the OE Mages Guild quest lines (but I understand that OE comes after the Almalexia release).


Edited.

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Post Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:24 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Why
Lead Developer
04 Jul 2009

Location: Utrecht

What I meant was that we should focus on who the Indoril are rather than make up a subsection of Indoril who differ from the other Indoril. Indoril is supremely pious, and can be compared to fundamentalists in our world. Necromancy in the city is enough to enrage the average Indoril commoner, so rather than distract the player from who the Indoril are by making up some sort of sect that wants to destroy the Mages Guild, we can expand their understanding of Indoril by simply presenting them with the average Indoril reaction to profane magics.

The OE break-in can be altered to be the work of another group. Actually, I think there isn't quite enough Camonna Tong in TR yet, and they're exactly the kind of group that could use dangerous materials to antagonize outlanders.

The Dunmer trial the Archmage as the person responsible for the actions of his subordinates (the supposed necromancer Envoy guy). The Ordinators deemed the envoy a Necromancer, after which they executed him on the spot, but the Archmage should have prevented him from entering the city/holding his demonstration/whatever, and as such needs to be punished. I imagine that after the trial, either the Archmage escapes, after which the court brands him a criminal and the guild at large is absolved, he is executed, which resolves the matter, or he is exonerated, which means he was exonerated under Dunmer law, so those angry over the whole ordeal should put it to rest, too. Any judgement should result in a form of closure, after all, this is a tribunate ruling validated by the Temple and by extension Almsivi. If the gods are okay with it, the Indoril will drop the issue.

Also note that the Indoril are not homogeneously anti-MG. They're fine with the MG as long as the mages don't do crazy things. The MG is quite useful, really. The Indoril and Temple themselves have many expert magic users, often times using techniques indistinguishable from Western mages especially in schools like Alteration, Destruction and Illusion. There is just a fine line between what is acceptable in Dunmer perspective and what is from an outlander perspective. The Ordinators will be keeping a close eye on our Envoy, since he is a rumored student of necromancy (the guy himself will have a fancier explanation, he studies the creation of golems through the animation of unmoving objects, or something) and once he does perform magic that is suspect in their eyes, they accuse him of Necromancy and enact judgement on the spot. The experiment/demonstration itself should be fairly trivial in the eyes of the Mages Guild, but off-limits in the eyes of the Ordinators. Then, all that is needed is the fact that the Ordinators killed a necromancer within the building of the Mages Guild for a large public outrage to start.
Post Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:25 pm Send private message       Send e-mail       Reply with quote                   up  
Not
Lead Developer
01 Mar 2012

Location: Elsewhere

I have a few things I'd just like to say concerning the thread. For starters, the quest about fixing someone's speechcraft needs to be reworded. I don't care if we say someone cast some spell and now all he can do is slur his words or something and is unable to speak properly, but saying that you need to go fix someone's speechcraft (imo) takes away from immersion. The quest itself is fine, just needs to be worded better.

Next up is the (potential) flight of the Archmage. I'm undecided as to whether or not he should just escape or whatnot, I'll leave that to the experts. However, as far as him changing into a bird and flying away is concerned, all I can say is; this is Morrowind, not Harry Potter.

Also, I just want to say that I like the story thats been developed so far, I think its coming along great. I also agree with Why in that it shouldn't be focused on one particular Indoril family. However, I do have a few concerns; a lot of this story conflicts with House Indoril, so by playing through this quest line, do you risk expulsion from Indoril if you're already a member of that house? Also, could this (potentially) screw up the House Indoril quest line like the way the vanilla FG could screw up the TG questline if done in a certain order? Im not saying it does or will, but these are things we need to watch out for.

Finally, I'd just like to add that while the story side is good, a lot of it centers on our future releases (admittedly I have no idea where Andothren is at the time of this post) which leads me to ask, what exactly do we have planned for this specific release, as a lot of this depends on future content?

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Post Thu Dec 20, 2012 6:23 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
arvisrend
Lead Developer
04 Oct 2010

Location: substitutional world

Not wrote:
I have a few things I'd just like to say concerning the thread. For starters, the quest about fixing someone's speechcraft needs to be reworded. I don't care if we say someone cast some spell and now all he can do is slur his words or something and is unable to speak properly, but saying that you need to go fix someone's speechcraft (imo) takes away from immersion. The quest itself is fine, just needs to be worded better.


Yes. Most of the things I've formulated in gameplay terms will have to be reworded at the questmaking stage.

Not wrote:
Next up is the (potential) flight of the Archmage. I'm undecided as to whether or not he should just escape or whatnot, I'll leave that to the experts. However, as far as him changing into a bird and flying away is concerned, all I can say is; this is Morrowind, not Harry Potter.


TBH I've never read or watched Harry Potter so I'm not the one to comment. I don't know where I have the bird idea from; it might be from the Metamorphoses. Why did I bring this up here? I just thought that the guy would deliberately choose the most over-the-top course of action, since he is fed up with the Indoril and wants to bring a point across (and due to the magicka-absorbing forcefield he has a great pool of magicka to use). Other than this, there is no necessity for it to happen this way.

Not wrote:
Also, I just want to say that I like the story thats been developed so far, I think its coming along great. I also agree with Why in that it shouldn't be focused on one particular Indoril family. However, I do have a few concerns; a lot of this story conflicts with House Indoril, so by playing through this quest line, do you risk expulsion from Indoril if you're already a member of that house? Also, could this (potentially) screw up the House Indoril quest line like the way the vanilla FG could screw up the TG questline if done in a certain order? Im not saying it does or will, but these are things we need to watch out for.


Thanks for the kind words... and yes, this definitely will have some impact on the Indoril storyline, but as long as the player doesn't do things the Ethalvora way (or at least isn't seen freeing slaves) this shouldn't cause any real conflict. It's not the player who has been lecturing on necromancy, and he isn't the archmage either. Indoril dialogue, of course, will have to reflect various stages of the questline.

Not wrote:
Finally, I'd just like to add that while the story side is good, a lot of it centers on our future releases (admittedly I have no idea where Andothren is at the time of this post) which leads me to ask, what exactly do we have planned for this specific release, as a lot of this depends on future content?


Andothren is Heartland, and I'm planning the higher questline for the Heartland release (see how I've been carefully avoiding any mention of the map 5 MG chapters). That's unless we muck it up royally and get Heartland out before Old Ebonheart is done, in which case this will have to wait for Old Ebonheart as well.

For the lower questline, though, my plan is to make it ASAP once Almalexia is inted. We probably shouldn't even wait for complete NPCing.
Post Thu Dec 20, 2012 6:44 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Haplo
Lead Developer
30 Aug 2003

Location: Celibacy

Since Old Ebonheart is part of Heartland, I doubt sincerely that we would release Heartland without Old Ebonheart.
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Post Thu Dec 20, 2012 7:21 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Yeti
Lead Developer
15 Feb 2009

Location: Minnesota: The Land of 11,842 Lakes

Is it alright if we moved this to the Almalexia section? Even if we put the city's work on hiatus, having this in mod development might be useful for Master Planning work.
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Post Fri Feb 07, 2014 6:35 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
arvisrend
Lead Developer
04 Oct 2010

Location: substitutional world

This is alright, but I don't remember any more whether the version of the plans in this thread or in the i3-90 thread is the up-to-date one.
Post Fri Feb 07, 2014 7:25 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Haplo
Lead Developer
30 Aug 2003

Location: Celibacy

Moved to Almalexia section.
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Post Fri Feb 07, 2014 5:33 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
DestinedToDie
Developer
22 Feb 2014



As a completionist type of a player, I'd like the opportunity to do the low level mages guild quests even if I am high rank, so be sure to keep it an option.
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