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Lead Developer
05 Nov 2006

Location: A charter'd street

This is a thread for brainstorming the broad concepts and themes of Old Ebonheart. Specific discussion about individual NPCs and structural alterations to the city are for other threads.

I've had a few ideas, but all alternative suggestions are welcome (please suggest things!).

Basic Concept (or, The Last Days of Old Ebonheart)

Old Ebonheart, or just Ebonheart to its inhabitants, is a haven of Cyrodiilic civilisation in the alien land of Morrowind. While the land outside is riven with House warfare, ash storms and the machinations of strange gods, within the walls is a home from home for the Imperial settlers. Here the Imperial Cult reigns supreme. Here the only law is the law of the Emperor. Stepping across the threshold of the city is like crossing from one nation to another. This has been the case for centuries.

Old Ebonheart is rich and cosmopolitan. Rich because it is a magnet for Imperial investment, and because it is a major trade port in its own right. Rich also because it controls the main route between two of the province’s greatest cities, Almalexia and Vivec. Cosmopolitan because most foreign settlers pass through the OE docks as they arrive in Morrowind.

However, Old Ebonheart is a city with problems. The situation in the city reflects the circumstances of the Empire in Morowind as a whole, which are that of a grand project in decline. If the Legion defending the city is recalled to Cyrodiil then the remaining population will find themselves subjects of the Indoril- not an appealing prospect. Even if the worst doesn’t come to pass and the Empire remains in control of the province there are increasing calls for the provincial administration to be moved to Narsis. The Hlaalu are offering to share the extensive upkeep costs of the local imperial bureaucracy, but if the administration leaves then OE just becomes one trade port among many, losing the privileged position it has depended upon.

So Old Ebonheart is doomed. The artificially prosperous, imperialised way of life enjoyed by its inhabitants is unlikely to last much longer. The ways different local individuals and factions react to this doom (by adapting, resisting, or ignoring it) should be one of the key dynamics of the city.

Key Themes
-Isolation (from the surrounding Dunmer lands)
-Looming decline
-The Empire embodied in a city

Rats edit: stickied

Post Mon Jan 20, 2014 5:46 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Silvone Elestahr
06 Oct 2003

Location: Pelagiad

I would think that in this isolated pocket of declining Imperial prosperity would be numerous factions that are eager to gain control of it for themselves. Dunmer related, criminal related, etc. With no where to turn, and no hope in sight, any isolated group is likely to turn on itself. I think this would work well for quests, as well as establish a rich group of characters. Walking into Old Ebonheart should feel like walking into another province, yet it will be infected by the House politics of Morrowind in its own way, an entire province of House politics crammed into a single city.

The atmosphere of the city should be a large part distrust, a large part hopelessness, and a small part of those with the most to lose pretending on the outside that nothing is happening at all, all the while playing the most vicious game of eliminating potential opposition.

37: Rejoice as TeeAr rebuilds these lands that have been ravaged by war and famine. May those who STand in his way be smited by his many hands in an unrelenting torment.
Post Mon Jan 20, 2014 7:29 pm Send private message       Send e-mail       Reply with quote                   up  
Terrifying Daedric Foe
26 Aug 2010

Location: England

Hlaalu could be worming their way into the city so they can wrest it from Indoril when the Empire pulls out. Getting people into positions of power, making deals with merchants, having the Camonna Tong steal territory from the Thieves Guild, etc.
'The strange thing about TR is that I think it is by and large accepted that we will finish. We are all the sort of crazy people that would do such a thing. We are inevitable.' ~ Thrignar Fraxix
Post Mon Jan 20, 2014 7:43 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Lead Developer
17 Aug 2008

Location: Groningen

I'd imagine the city's facade crumbling should be a subtle thing. To a visitor who hardly ever has heard firsthand accounts, the city should be a beacon of civilization in a harsh, foreign land.
Post Mon Jan 20, 2014 8:13 pm Send private message       Send e-mail       Reply with quote                   up  
Lead Developer
05 Nov 2006

Location: A charter'd street

I really envisioned OE as not being in decline as such, but rather being at it's peak, with nowhere to go but down.
Post Mon Jan 20, 2014 8:27 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Lead Developer
03 Jul 2012

Some thoughts, will post some other things later when i get my brain around it (about the 'war tax' maybe and the IC).

Here goes:

* Abolitionists are louder and bolder here than anywhere else in Morrowind, and freed slaves don't hide in basements: they walk the streets as citizens of the Empire. Tensions rise and erupt especially when Dunmer slavers come to look for and try to re-capture the escaped slaves in the city.

* The Imperial Guilds have a well-established presence in the city, though only a few of them operate in a building identified as a guild hall (lest it become repetitive). The publican behind the bar is a member of the Guild of Vintners, and the bard performing in an inn is of the Minstrels' Guild. The Guild of Healers own an infirmary / apothecary. The Guild of Barristers have an office where they offer legal advice for escaped slaves and entrepreneurs new to Morrowind. A few members of the Empire-sanctioned Guild of Ratcatchers patrol the streets for vermins.

* The provincial ban on necromancy is not actively enforced in Old Ebonheart. This draws some of the more shady magic-users to the city, and its Guild of Mages. The Mages' Guild in OE of course do not admit having necromancers among their ranks --that would be very bad press--, but there's an age old urban legend of an offshoot secret society known as the 'Reavers' who gather somewhere unseen to practice the undead arts. Just a rumor though, cough.

* Those (non-Dunmer) born and raised in Old Ebonheart are likely to be very unfamiliar with the alien land that surrounds their western haven. They'll have only vague ideas about the Dunmer customs and religion. The most uneducated (or the most privileged) lot won't be able to tell apart the Tribunal and the Saints from the Daedra. Think what you could make of the world of Morrowind when you were playing it as a 13-year-old kid and you get the idea.

* You'll never hear anyone calling you an "outlander" in Old Ebonheart; it's either "fellow citizen" or something like that. We should use some of the voiced Imperial greetings from the Tribunal expansion (eg "Honor the Emperor and the Emperor's law") for the local guards.

* for regional ambient sound: a distant bell from the tower

stars are out tonight.
Post Tue Jan 21, 2014 5:20 pm Send private message       Send e-mail       Reply with quote                   up  
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