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Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

This is basically a bit of a proof of concept as to how our planning document threads should look and function, and also preparation for today's Skype meeting. More to come.

Relevant documents (almost all are placeholders, ignore the weirdness):
Master Plan - Thread
Empire [Faction] Document - Thread
House Hlaalu [Faction] Document - Thread
House Indoril [Faction] Document - Thread
Tribunal Temple [Faction] Document - Thread

Thirr River Valley [Region] Document
Post Sat Nov 14, 2015 1:57 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

My concept for the Thirr River Valley region:

To the best of my knowledge, I only really elaborated on these ideas on IRC before, specifically this conversation:

<Gnomey> Vhul mostly came into being because I wanted to populate the TRV actually,
<Gnomey> as I felt that -- for what was planned as the most densely populated region of Morrowind by a dair margin --
<Gnomey> it looked like a bunch of fields and forests with few people inbetween
<Theminimanx> Behold the lack of planning Smile
<Gnomey> Yup.
<Gnomey> At this point, though, I'm more inclined to look at what TRV currently is, and see how that could fit into our concept.
<Theminimanx> But...but...We could redo even MORE stuff
<Gnomey> It's not an alluvial plain, it's not especially densely populated...
<Gnomey> Or we could redo more stuff. Razz
<Theminimanx> I think an easy way to add more life is just to add small fishing hamlets
<Gnomey> THat would be good.
<Theminimanx> But that´s my off-the-cuff (and therefore probably bad) idea
<Theminimanx> Since players are likely to travel along the shore, as long as we populate that, it gives the feeling of a populated land
<Theminimanx> Same with roads
<Gnomey> But let's say the region was depopulated when the Indoril lords committed suicide following the Armistice, and a series of civil conflicts broke out between House Hlaalu and House Indoril,
<Theminimanx> That would impact the noble population
<Gnomey> quickly tearing down the infrastructure and prosperity the Indoril had established in the region.
<Theminimanx> Not so much the commoners
<Gnomey> THat's why I mentioned the civil conflicts.
<Theminimanx> I thought those weren´t allowed
<Theminimanx> Unless you mean riots
<Gnomey> Indeed.
<Gnomey> Wild times.
<Gnomey> THe conflicts are actually mentioned in an in-game text, one moment...
<klep> I'm listening
<klep> I want something
<klep> I want it bad
<klep> Can we pleeeease have a Deckard Cain easter egg?? Very Happy
<Theminimanx> Sure
<klep> Stay a while and listen
<Theminimanx> Make an environment and add it
<Gnomey> http://www.imperial-library.info/content/morrowind-imperial-province
<Theminimanx> done
<Gnomey> The Lord High Councilor of the Grand Council, an Indoril, refused to accept the treaty, and refused to step down. He was assassinated, and replaced by a Hlaalu. House Hlaalu took the opportunity to settle some old scores with House Indoril, and a number of local councils changed hands in bloody coups. More blood was shed in these inter-house struggles than against the Imperial Legions during Morrowind's transition from an independent n
<Gnomey> ation to a province of the Empire.
<Gnomey> So there were bloody coups, but not a mention of open fighting.
<Theminimanx> Interesting
<Gnomey> But I think it's something we can work with.
<Theminimanx> Not sure what those local councils refer to
<klep> It's quite a while ago
<Gnomey> Scorched earth tactics, riots...
<Gnomey> Yeah, but as I say the infrastructure that had been established over the past millennia was in shambles,
<Gnomey> and then the two Houses ended up with the two halves of the region, and started to build up again.
<Gnomey> The Velothi population, largely unsettled, either settled in large cities on the periphery,
<Theminimanx> And with Hlaalu and Indoril constantly fighting over territory, neither side had the resources to rebuild stuff.
<Gnomey> or established small shack villages and the like.
<klep> They still need food
<klep> fish
<Gnomey> Well, I wouldn't go so far; I'd rather say there was a short period of open fighting and then things mostly settled down again.
<Gnomey> Yeah, fishing villages.
<Theminimanx> ¨fighting¨
<klep> I like this
<Gnomey> But either way, the locations were depopulated,
<Theminimanx> It could also be on the political field
<Theminimanx> The point is that they´re not paying attention to the locals
<Gnomey> and the Hlaalu, and likely the Indoril as well, didn't have much of an interest in repopulating them, though the Indoril had some interest.
<Gnomey> Questionable real-world parallel: the Indoril are trying to get loyal Velothi to establish settlements on the west bank of the Thirr.
<Gnomey> Otherwise, the Velothi are mostly spaced out on the east bank in small settlements, covering the territory and cementing it in Indoril control, at least from the Indoril viewpoint.
<Gnomey> THe Hlaalu may be trying to cause some sort of schism between the Indoril and Velothi; I thought up a storyline where they were trying to flood Velothi settlements with narcotics,
<Gnomey> more or less with the intention of undermining Velothi productivity.
<Gnomey> And to establish a dependence on their goods, of course.
<Gnomey> Another questionable real-world parallel...
<Gnomey> So western TRV is mostly plantations, as the Hlaalu are making the most of the fertile landscape,
<Gnomey> while eastern TRV is covered with a sparse network of Velothi hamlets.
<Gnomey> The infrastructure in eastern TRV is otherwise mostly neglected, as the Indoril are more focused on holding on to and trying to regain their land than taking care of it,
<Gnomey> hence the forests.

Geography

The Thirr River Valley has historically been one of the least fertile regions along the Thirr, next only to Shipal-Shin from which the river flows. It is through the relatively soft rock of the Thirr River Valley that the Thirr eventually managed to penetrate past its original territory -- flowing along the eastern border of the more fertile Othreleth Woods region to Lake Andaram -- into and through the vast plains that now form the western seabed of the Inner Sea.
The alluvial plains that the Thirr River Valley supposedly contains no longer exist, as such, and never existed at the current location of the TRV; as far as modern Morrowind is concerned, the vast plains of the Orethan and Deshaan come closer to fitting the bill. Instead, the Thirr River Valley is something closer to a karst landscape.
This would require no changes to the landscape, which making the Thirr River Valley an alluvial plain -- or any kind of plain for that matter -- certainly would. Quite the opposite: I think the TRV's status as a fertile plain is a strange bit of fantasy that has only ever existed on the forums and has in no way been implemented in the CS. The reality of the matter is that the TRV was a fairly anonymous stretch of TR land that was given a fertile paint job (excuse the hyperbole). I'm still not entirely sure how a thread with a lot of pictures of flat alluvial plains in the fifth post resulted in a region with as much vertical elevation as the TRV. Through reading the thread, the explanations I could come up with are: 1. a strange obsession with cliffs and elevation, 2. a series of compromises and corner-cutting, and 3. the weird bit in the middle of the first page of the thread is where aliens/MIB mind-wiped and reprogrammed the project leadership. I'll go with the last one.

History

So the TRV was a backwater, with limited population and as a result little in the way of Daedric Ruins (few worshipers), Dwemer Ruins (barely any volcanic activity to speak of), Dunmer strongholds (which are designed to be placed in plains), but a few Velothi towers (pseudo-Telvanni thriving in places nobody else really had a reason to be).

That all changed considerably with the creation of the Inner Sea. Suddenly, the Thirr's fertile plains no longer existed and most of Morrowind was covered in ash. As a result of the transformation of Morrowind, the TRV was now one of the more fertile regions of the nation in relative terms. While it still could not hold a candle to the Orethan, for the Indoril, who were flourishing then and looking to expand beyond the Orethan, it was very desirable land. Through the general shrinking of the Thirr, it also gained more importance in trade as a bottle-neck where the Thirr opens up into the Inner Sea.
The TRV, then, is a region that flourished when the Indoril flourished, and perhaps better represents House Indoril than even the Orethan, which has flourished before House Indoril came to power and -- always relative to the rest of Morrowind -- will no doubt continue to flourish long after the Tribunal and House Indoril are no more.

So under the Indoril chapels appeared like sentinels at the edges of the TRV, Velothi towns were established, broad swathes of the region were deforested and replaced by farmland. This is the golden age of the region and of Morrowind.

Then came the Armistice, which could still use some fleshing out. Many of the Indoril who controlled the region -- most notably from the chapel at the site of Old Ebonheart -- committed suicide, perhaps some settlements -- or at least Old Ebonheart -- burned down, perhaps inter-House struggles locally boiled over into skirmishes and riots. The population became unstable; most of the Thirr's prosperity came through its political and economic importance, and now that importance was only hurting it. While Morrowind as a whole -- by design -- came out of the Armistice relatively unscathed, the TRV was the big exception. (Except for maybe Redoran lands, but I imagine that transition as being relatively bloodless, though I ought to expand on that in another thread).

And the Indoril never bothered to try and fix the TRV; they are too obsessed with restoring the region as it was, without Hlaalu and Imperials trampling it under foot, to try and do something about the region as it is. Instead, they tried to settle displaced Velothi in aggressively-placed shack villages to attempt to regain control over lost territory, they erected fortifications -- most notably around Dondril -- to form lines of defense against their enemies, (though if the Dondril fortification originated from the time of inter-house conflict the fortification may have been justified; I'd also use that conflict to explain the walls around Old Ebonheart, which otherwise seem out of place in such a safe region), and they've been trying to bend and lobby the Temple, in its newly-erected stronghold of Almas Thirr, to take their side in the political conflict.
Perhaps they even specifically further dismantled infrastructure on their side of the Thirr, withdrawing it to the safety of the Orethan, out of (very justified) concern of losing that productivity to House Hlaalu as well, and out of a general isolationist reflex which is the antithesis of what the House represented at its zenith.
In other words, the Indoril are as incapable of making the best out of the modern TRV as they are making the best out of modern Morrowind. The Temple is as incapable of keeping the factions in the TRV in check, only wearing itself out in the process, as it is keeping the factions of Morrowind as a whole in check. House Hlaalu is flourishing and expanding in the TRV as it is in Morrowind as a whole. The Imperials are trying to establish a foothold and not be dragged into local conflicts in the Thirr as they are in Morrowind as a whole.

TRV and Morrowind have already fallen far from their former prosperity, but continue to have an economic and political importance far greater than their rather inhospitable appearance would suggest.

Changes

As a whole, most of the changes this concept would require would be changes to -- mostly expansion of -- dialogue and quests.
I do think the TRV should look weirder, with a general palette-swap to a mixed orange/green look both to better represent the apparent fertility of its landscape and to act as a transition between the Ascadian Isles and Othreleth Woods, and switching out the tree models for the corkbulbish trees, but that isn't really specifically tied to the above concept of the region.
Ideally, perhaps represented by dialogue and maybe region sounds, I think ashy wind should occasionally blow south from Vvardenfell, being funneled down the TRV, which would further contribute to its somewhat harsher appearance.
Post Sat Nov 14, 2015 4:33 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Yeti
Lead Developer
15 Feb 2009

Location: Minnesota: The Land of 11,842 Lakes

I love practically every line of your post, Gnomey. I don't really have much to add at the moment, only that we might need to be creative about how we present the region's history in dialogue. The local Velothi population would likely have a foggy cultural memory of the events that led to the region's decline, while the Indoril would by-and-large present a very biased, oversimple explanation for how the current situation came to be.
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Post Sat Nov 14, 2015 7:32 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
klep
Lead Developer
23 Nov 2014

Location: Europe

I read in the Skype meeting summary of December 13 that Thirr River Valley got a new name: Middle Thirr. I wonder where this came from and what is the reason for this name change. I can't seem to find anything else about it. Frankly I'm not very fond of the name Middle Thirr for the TRV.
Post Tue Jan 05, 2016 3:26 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Anonytroll
Website Administrator
12 Aug 2005



The reason is that "Thirr River Valley" is a comparatively artificial and modern descriptive term. "Thirr Valley" sounds way more natural, but there's more Thirr than just in this region, so something else had to be found.

"Middle Thirr" is taken from comparative rivers - in this case the Rhine was my example in the meeting. The "Upper Thirr" would be everything south to Narsis and the "Lower Thirr" has been the western Inner Sea ever since Vvardenfell became an island.

I personally would prefer it to be "Middle Thirr Valley" for the region and "Middle Thirr" just for the riverbed and the river itself, but eh.
Post Tue Jan 05, 2016 4:52 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Yeti
Lead Developer
15 Feb 2009

Location: Minnesota: The Land of 11,842 Lakes

In general, we should keep region names to two words at most, to fit with the original game's concise and artful English ones - Bitter Coast, Azura's Coast, ect. I prefer Middle Thirr for that reason. Thirr River Valley sounded too bland and technical to fit alongside the other region names.
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Post Thu Jan 07, 2016 7:13 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Marandahir
Member
09 Dec 2008



Thirr Vale?

Thirr Valley?

Thirr Heartlands?

Thirr Basin?

Middle Thirr is fine too, just want to throw out other options.
Post Thu Jan 07, 2016 8:13 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Rats
Lead Developer
03 Jul 2012



Thirr River Region or Almas Thirr Region.

Morrowind's naming scheme dictates that there's a 'Region' at the end of the name. (I'm fine with Thirr River Valley Region getting axed. Middle Thirr Region would seem odd to the player, IMO: nobody's going to think about the times before the Inner Sea.)

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Post Thu Jan 07, 2016 9:09 pm Send private message       Send e-mail       Reply with quote                   up  
RyanS
Lead Developer
19 Aug 2013

Location: California

Why not simply 'Thirr Valley'?

Thirr River Region also sounds good to me.

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Post Thu Jan 07, 2016 9:28 pm Send private message       Send e-mail       Reply with quote                   up  
Kevaar
Member
25 Sep 2003

Location: Colorado, USA

I like Thirr Basin. Pershaps also: Thirr Inlet, Thirr Delta.

None of them really pair well with "Region" though. Thirr River Region I'd expect to include the entire river though. Almas Thirr Region would make more sense if it's not the whole river region we're naming.
Post Thu Jan 07, 2016 10:44 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
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