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18 Apr 2015

Location: Switzerland, the land of chocolate and cheese

10Kaziem wrote:

(Personally, I'm really tired of the default assumption about made-up cultures being that men are manly men and run the country and women stay in the kitchen and also that we should expect a clear divide between men and women and what they do.)

Also there was this Telvanni-town, I forgot the name, which was controlled only by women, I found that quite interesting the first time I realized it, and i wanted to find out why. This is the way you should handle it in Morrowind. Is something more interesting if it's a women or a man, or a hermaphrodite ore else? Diversity is the key word, putting unexpected genders in different unexpected roles where it is necessary to create an interesting situation. How will the player react to this, and does he have to adapt?

So yeah I agree with you, and vanilla MW already proved that it can even provide some very interesting gameplay value.
Post Tue Nov 03, 2015 10:34 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Website Administrator
12 Aug 2005

This is actually one of the very few gender roles given out in Morrowind. The Ashlanders do not distinguish otherwise between male and female.

The division between temporal and spiritual power is a thing that happened in real life history too (and it led to the Interregnum, among others), and the Ashlanders express it by dividing their leadership structure into martial leadership Ashkan (the father, with the rowdy older brother Gulakans) and Wise Woman (the mother), with the Mabrigash as explicitely the (potential) Wise Women who didn't want to submit to this division in power and role. It is the only instance in game where such a gender divide is actually portrayed, and it has implications spelled out in the game.

Taking that away with the argument that some tribes and societies knew and know opposite-gender-roled individuals still seems like a pointless gimmick to me.
It also takes away an entire questline where the Mabrigash can be portrayed in a more sympathetic view than in the quests that involved them in vanilla (where they basically lure in and rape male Ashlanders or Outlanders).
Post Tue Nov 03, 2015 7:33 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

Ah, I find it easier to work with that argument; rather than asking why Ashlanders should have an 'unusual' concept of gender, saying that the male/female distinction in this case is essentially the 'unusual' concept of gender.

The thing is, while I do agree that Ashlanders -- and I'd argue Dunmer in general -- distinguish between male and female roles, what I don't see them doing, and what strikes me as out of character, is enforcing those roles on a purely biological basis. It just strikes me as impractical, whereas the Dunmer -- especially the traditionalist Ashlanders who learned all their tricks from the Daedra -- seem very practical.
As you say, a division of temporal and spiritual power is natural, and I agree that that is at the root of the Ashlander system. But again, I just see the Dunmer as focusing more on results than irrelevant details like sex. If a woman happens to be the strongest and most competent person in a camp, which I hardly think would be unheard of, especially in the world of TES, I don't see why the Ashlanders wouldn't accept her as Ashkhan. She would be the best 'father figure' in the camp.

As a matter of fact, to me it rather seems like the Mabrigash rebelling against the gender role enforced on them due to their biology seems far more like putting modern gender politics into Dunmer culture. If anything, I'd rather see them rebelling against the spiritual role; perhaps they object to being required to act as guides for a tribe, though I suppose that sounds more selfish than sympathetic, or perhaps there are other traditional restrictions placed on Wise Women.
The way the Mabrigash are portrayed in-game, it doesn't seem like they wanted to become Ashkhans and Gulakhans but were barred from it, at any rate, so I don't see how the concepts of 'men can be Wise Women if they can fill the role properly' and 'Mabrigash refused to fill the role placed on them as Wise Women' are incompatible.
Post Tue Nov 03, 2015 10:34 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
14 Aug 2013

Gnomey wrote:

Really good post, Gnomey.

I think the project as a whole could benefit from having some of that stuff included in one of the general planning documents, as a reminder to writers, questers and all the other little human cogs that make up the body of this whole mess we call TR.
Post Wed Nov 04, 2015 1:56 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
25 Sep 2003

Location: Colorado, USA

Gnomey wrote:
To your first point, while it's true that Urshilaku is pretty much the only tribe that believes in that stuff, there's specifically a set of quests where you convince the Ashkhans of the other tribes -- who seem not to share the beliefs of the Urshilaku -- to support you as Nerevarine anyway. For me, the question of whether you'll need to get the support of the other tribes and Houses is really a question of pacing by this point; having the player visit something like ten tribes and five Houses might be too large of an interruption of the plotflow, so we may need to get a little creative if we want the Nerevarine to really drum up universal support.

Good point. And I'm not sure. I think in order for the pacing to work, we'd have to put in more plot points during the time the player is running around getting Nerevarine and Hortator votes, or it'd just feel like one epic fetch quest. Things like...a city is overrun by Sixth House cultists. Or one of the guys that was really gung ho about you being the Nerevarine is exposed to be a Sixth House cultist. Or Holamayon (spelling) is discovered. Or you get captured and interrogated by the Temple. Or even something involving a conversation with Dagoth Ur himself, explaining that side of the story more. Stuff like that.

Aaaaand while that all could be really dang cool to include, it's probably a bit far out of the scope of TR to alter the main questline that much.

On slaves: I thought the Ashlanders always say that they used to own slaves, but realized they were more trouble than they were worth, or something to that effect. The reality of the matter is probably that the Ashlanders have become so dirt-poor that supporting slaves would cost them more than they would be able to get back through slave-labour. In fact, as hunting, gathering and herding don't really seem like ideal tasks for slaves, any slaves they used to have probably either did stuff around the camp, which anyone too old or young to forage or herd could do, or essentially act as household slaves, who in hard times would make for rather expensive and irritating ornaments.

Ah, that makes sense. Perhaps for use in one of the Ashlander tribes that managed to maintain its wealth through trade. Do we have themes for the new Ashlander tribes yet?

Ashlander in-fighting: in western Morrowind, the camps are too far apart to fight with each other, though my concept for one of the camps is that it's basically formed from the remnants of defunct tribes which were probably often on bad terms, and that consequently there would be a lot of tension within the camp. If we do have more Ashlanders in Telvannis, the idea does seem like it could work there. Conflicts with outcasts always work, of course.

Imperial encroachment: not sure how big a deal this would actually be on the mainland, where the Imperials have less room to encroach on than on Vvardenfell. Those themes could work just as well for House Hlaalu, though, which has been eating up and settling a lot of land.

Both good points. I think the Hlaalu idea would work well, particularly if we're in need of more content for Hlaalu, too.
Post Tue Nov 10, 2015 9:54 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
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