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Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

There are a lot of ideas in Swiftoak's map which are the result of long IRC conversations between Swiftoak and myself. For a while, Swiftoak was reluctant to having his map posted on the forums because he didn't want all of the myriad of changes to be discussed at once. I also think it is better to discuss the ideas as they become relevant, and as I both have a good memory of the conversations as well as the IRC logs, I don't think there will be any difficulty in my presenting the ideas when the time seems right.
As Aeven has expressed interest in doing some exterior work; the North Andothren-Thirr file has been gathering dust for a while due to slow progress on the Andothren front; small settlements are quick to make; new interior claims are more of a boon than a disadvantage at the moment; and we have recently established that the North AT file is of a lower priority than the other files being worked on, I feel this is a reasonable time to discuss one blip on the map, namely the town Swiftoak labelled as 'Gnas Mor'.

I advocated the addition of the town then, as I will now, for a number of reasons:
-the Thirr River Valley is supposed to be one of the most heavily populated regions of Morrowind, but is virtually devoid of settlements, in favour of plantations and the occasional fortifications. The problem was somewhat worse then than it is now, (I advocated for the inclusion of Vol/Vhul and Hlan Oek on Swiftoak's map for the same reason), but I think the problem persists. Adding a settlement at the border of the region, while not as ideal as placing it in the region, will still affect the player's perception of the region's population for the better.
-similarly, Andothren is rather isolated as Hlaalu settlements go, Arvud and Indal-ruhn being far away.
-when designing the prospective siltstrider network, everything north of the Armun Ashlands was basically a straight line. This may seem unimportant, but I think it is detrimental to the gameplay experience. It makes travel a mindless affair of shuttling through locations and loading screens. By providing the player with choices, the player is given agency; he has to make a conscious decision on how best to reach the desired destination, and each stop on the route gains more significance.
-the distance between individual travel nodes would also be larger without Gnas Mor. Distance between nodes also has a very direct effect in-game, in that it affects the player's sense of scale when using fast-travel. If the player only passes through one stop when crossing a region, that region will seem small. If he needs to go through three stops, the region seems much larger. If the region is skipped over entirely, some players might fail to note its existence entirely, and at any rate it will marginalize the region in the player's mind. (Arvud incidentally got a siltstrider port on that map to avoid that problem for the Armun Ashlands).
I think distance between travel nodes should be a conscious decision we make on a case-by-case basis; it depends on what impression we want the player to have of a region. In this case, as the area is fairly well settled by Hlaalu, and as I don't want Roth Roryn to shrink in the player's mind as it would if the player could travel straight between Arvud and Andothren, I think we should aim for shorter distances.

I think the cell [-3, -20] or one of the cells to the south or west would be a good location for the town. That would put the town out of South Andothren-Thirr, which is of higher priority and has much more extensive work being done on it at the moment. As far as size goes, I don't think it needs to be any larger than Arvud.



---

Beyond its broader gameplay purpose, I don't think it's too hard to think of a unique context to set the town apart from other Hlaalu towns. By which I mean that I already have one possible concept in mind: given that the town would be tucked away between Hlaalu plantations, and eastern Roth Roryn is currently planned to be effectively controlled by the Camonna Tong, and in general showcase some shadier sides of House Hlaalu, I think this town could be a good opportunity to expand on those themes:



The town would be controlled by a governor (or whatever Hlaalu call small-town mayors) who is a member of the Camonna Tong, and half of its citizens would either be Camonna Tong or affiliated with the Camonna Tong. They live inside the walls, in fairly nice -- if not large -- houses, and are in their element.
Outside of the walls, there would be a few houses largely owned by very poor outlanders, perhaps including a Khajiit (perhaps a former slave). Unlike the wealthy outlanders in Andothren, there would be no wool before the eyes of these outlanders or, for that matter, the player when visiting, as to the bad side of House Hlaalu. Aside from frequent visits by the Camonna Tong, they would often be left to fend off creature and bandit attacks on their own, while the Hlaalu sit behind their walls and watch.

As far as services go, I think there should be minimal services, and probably no general trader; I'd suggest a blacksmith and maybe one other service provider, all geared more to locals than travellers. It could or could not have an inn; perhaps one of the NPCs living outside of the walls could act as an informal publician, letting the player sleep in his house for a night for a low price. Some of the locals would have jobs in the plantations, some would be smugglers, some of them could be living in retirement, (in some cases perhaps due to having gotten away with embezzlement or blackmail or the like), and some might be retainers of House Hlaalu who are either often away or are given tasks that do not require their presence in the major cities, or parents of retainers of House Hlaalu, etc. Generally a bad and backwards lot.
Post Mon Jan 26, 2015 5:55 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Yeti
Lead Developer
15 Feb 2009

Location: Minnesota: The Land of 11,842 Lakes

Great plan, Gnomey. You've sold the place to me, at least. Smile
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Post Mon Jan 26, 2015 9:22 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Rats
Lead Developer
03 Jul 2012



+1 for the creation of this settlement.

Two minor things, though:

- the Silt Strider port should be moved a little so the landing area is within the cell borders (for Travel markers; lest the town take up two cells in size)

- I like the "Mor" suffix in the name, but I don't know how I feel about the "Gnas" part. To me it resembles Gol Mok; in an unwanted, tautological way [/nitpick]

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Post Mon Jan 26, 2015 10:17 am Send private message       Send e-mail       Reply with quote                   up  
Aeven
Lead Developer
17 Aug 2008

Location: Groningen

Seems good.
Post Mon Jan 26, 2015 3:06 pm Send private message       Send e-mail       Reply with quote                   up  
Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

Yeah, both of your points are good, Rats; I noticed the problem with the siltstrider port as I was writing the post, and Gnas Mor and Gol Mok do look rather similar. (Gnas Mor also makes me think of Glasnost for some reason).
Post Mon Jan 26, 2015 6:55 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Rats
Lead Developer
03 Jul 2012



Gnomey wrote:
(Gnas Mor also makes me think of Glasnost for some reason).


Ha ha, well I don't know how well that connotation would work with the Hlaalu. How about Taahn Mur, the name that was once suggested for the Grey Meadows Region?

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Hemitheon
Reviewer
11 Aug 2006

Location: Necrom, Ra'athim Manor

How about Sadras or Sadrasi. Could be the home of the people who would replace House Hlaalu.
Post Mon Jan 26, 2015 8:07 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

Not sure about calling it Sadras; that would be a pretty extreme case of 'from humble beginnings' if they started out as a town of about a dozen shady xenophobes. Granted, I'm not familiar with the Dragonborn dialogue. I'd rather expect Sadras to be a family name, so the name of a clan or minor House, rather than a location. I'm not sure about using Tahn Mur here, either; it doesn't really sound like the name of a Hlaalu town to me.
Post Mon Jan 26, 2015 10:14 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
arvisrend
Lead Developer
04 Oct 2010

Location: substitutional world

+1 too. This is nice, but...

- Can we do this without opening up new int claims?

- Will the Hlaalu hillbillies accept a Khajiit living among them? I like the idea but it needs to be played well. The natives should have a rationalization why they kind-of tolerate this particular Khajiit, and the Khajiit should have a rationalization why he doesn't mind living among slavers. Also, the Khajiit will obviously be the go-to guy for the player to explain everything about this town. Dialogue writers needed!

- I like the suggestion with the informal publican -- we don't have it yet, and it fits the idea of MW very nicely.

About the name: Sadrathis? Would be less in-your-face than Sadras, and more open to other interpretations.
Post Mon Jan 26, 2015 11:33 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

arvisrend wrote:
- Can we do this without opening up new int claims?


No; we could perhaps use a few showcase interiors, but I think they would work better in Andothren, which will need more interiors anyway. However, I think this is currently a plus, as we only have two interior claims available for claiming, one being for Map 5, with nothing to replace them with. As a matter of fact, I'd advocate whoever is willing starting work immediately, name and NPCing concerns be demned. (Though not, naturally, other concerns, such as the one in the quote above; I naturally think they need to be discussed first).

arvisrend wrote:
- Will the Hlaalu hillbillies accept a Khajiit living among them? I like the idea but it needs to be played well.


I agree with everything you write here.

As for the obligatory name suggestion, Nabas Mor?

Edit: hot off the press, Swiftoak changed the name to Emayn Mor, though he's not that enthusiastic about that name either.
Post Fri Jan 30, 2015 5:00 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Rats
Lead Developer
03 Jul 2012



arvisrend wrote:
- Will the Hlaalu hillbillies accept a Khajiit living among them? I like the idea but it needs to be played well.


Actually, just got an idea for OE fighters guild quest involving the Khajiit. The Khajiit has a settler status and a land deed which he got from the Imperial govt in OE. In that sense he's under Imperial protection and they Hlaalu folks can't just outright kill or enslave him.

Gnomey wrote:

As for the obligatory name suggestion, Nabas Mor?

Edit: hot off the press, Swiftoak changed the name to Emayn Mor, though he's not that enthusiastic about that name either.


Maybe this discussion should be contained within the Name Dedefecation thread Very Happy I'mma flipping the script with Mennaan and Sathran.

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