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Foul Murder plotline

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Last updated 3-19-17

Quest 1) The Dissident Priests send a dream sending to the player, asking them to return to Holamayon (Use the same coding as the Dagoth Ur sendings). Once in Holamayon, the Priests say they are now turning their attention to building the New Temple Order, and ask the player to go to Simine of Necrom as a possible candidate to kick things into order, who they hear has been starting to question her faith.

Alternatively, Temple members receive a courier from Alvu Sareleth, the Matriarch of Necrom, who says she is worried Simine is losing her way, and wants the player to check in on her.

Either way, the player is then to speak to Simine. Simine says she is worried about a group of Ordinators in Mourning who went out to deal with some troublesome Ashlanders and never returned. She asks the player to check on them for her. At this point, the player can either return to Alvu, or go find the Ordinators. If the player returns to Alvu, she asks the player to go ahead and find the Ordinators anyway, "if it it will help put SImine's doubts to rest".

Quest 2) The player finds the Ordinators who have been holed up in Drakehold. They are reluctant to speak to the player and seem extremely jumpy, but after a little persuading, the following story comes out: The Ordinators were officially sent to deal with some Ashlanders who were part of the Nerevarine cult and becoming increasingly aggressive. Though the confrontation with them was meant to be peaceful, it got out of hand, with either the Ashlanders or the Ordinators picking a fight (it isn't clear which; different Ordinators will say different things), and the Ordinators ended up killing all the Ashlanders. The ancestor spirits are now angry and have been making their displeasure known to the Ordinators through whisperings and dreams.

The player can convince the Ordinators to return to Necrom to face justice, to flee, or to take justice into their own hands and kill them all (Mephala), or to convince them to renounce their faith in the Tribunal (Boethiah).

Quest 3) The player returns to either Simine or Alvu once they are done dealing with the Ordinators. Both questgivers are disturbed by this turn of events, and decide that something must be done about the waning faith in the Sacred Lands. They decide to summon Alandro Sul and try to get out of him for once and for all the story about what happened under Red Mountain.

Simine's perspective: For years Simine has assumed the Ashlander tradition was just a bunch of nonsense, but with the return of the Nerevarine, she is now starting to wonder otherwise. She wants to summon Alandro Sul to get the full story "from the mouth of the horse".

Alvu's perspective: Alvu has been getting increasingly angry with the questioning of the Tribunal. She wants to summon Alandro Sul to disprove the Tribunal's guilt in murdering Nerevar: it's intentionally unclear if she really wants to listen to what Alandro Sul would have to say, or just find a way of silencing or coercing him to say what she thinks the Temple needs to hear to maintain their faith.

To summon Alandro Sul, the player needs to find some ringlets of his legendary Wraithmail, which are traditionally held by Ashlanders. There will be four rings in all to obtain. The quests for these will symbolize the House of Troubles.

Summoning Peakstar) As the rings are known to be kept among the Ashlanders, the player needs spiritual guidance from an Ashlander ancestor. Peakstar is in a unique position because she is an Ashlander ancestor ghost and a Nerevarine, and as such conneted to both the player and Alandro Sul in a very special way. This quest would be doing the ritual to summon her (should be a somewhat grand and involved affair).

When summoned, Peakstar gives the player the location of one ringlet, while saying the other two Good Daedra know the location of two others. She tells the player they must please the Daedra through their actions. If the player fails, the Daedra themselves scolds the player when they try to call on them, and tells them they must go through an Imperial Oracle instead. The Imperial Oracle's questline will be harder/more tedious. (Ex: "You think," the voice of Boethiah rung out, "that you deserve help? I think not! I do not care for your quest, and you have done nothing to make you interest me, %PCName. Why don't you crawl on your belly to the Empire of Man and beg for their scraps of help?" And the player does just that. )

Malacath's Ringlet Quest) As the player may have already gotten this ring, this quest can be done at the same time as the Summoning Peakstar quest. Malacath's ring lies with the Ordinators of Mourning, who took it from the Ashkhan of the tribe they murdered. This Ashkhan has Sul as part of his name. How the player obtains this ring is up to how they dealt with the Ordinators. (If the Ordinators faced justice, then one will give the ring to the player in thanks for helping them retain/regain their honor. If they fled, _. If all slain, it is found on the leader's corpse. If they renounced their faith, _.)

Molag Bal's Ringlet Quest) Peakstar gives the player the location of this ring once she is summoned. This ringlet is in the hands of an Imperial Cultist, well known for both collecting historical artifacts and being a fairly corrupt individual (something to do with sexing up the local girls might be in order, considering Molag Bal's influence...). This Imperial Cultist is well established in their town, but now find their position being threatened by a newcomer, a firebrand coming from Cyrodiil who is doing their best to convert Dunmer to the Nine Divines in light of the Red Mountain crisis.

To get the ringlet, the player can do several things: kill the Imperial Cultist and taking the ring (Mephala and Boethiah), kill the firebrand and the Cultist gives them the ring as a reward (Boethiah), kill both (Mephala), or stealing the ring without bloodshed.

Sheogorath's Ringlet Quest) Mephala, who governs secrets and lies, shows the player to this ring. This one lies is in the hands of an eccentric traveling priest who supposedly doesn’t know the worth of what they’re carrying. When the player talks to him, the priest speaks in vague terms about his guilt over killing someone dear to him, and the player must help him absolve his guilt over this before he will give them the ring. This old priest is in actuality an avatar or echo of Seht/Sotha Sil talking about his guilt over Nerevar’s death, though this should be kept obscure.

Mehrunes Dagon's Ringlet Quest) This one is obtained by doing something with the Ghostfence machine. The player should get to see the Nerevar bonewalker uttering meaningless platitutes to the Tribunal as part of this.

Quest 9) The player obtains the final ringlet. Eagerly, the questgiver begins the ritual to summon Alandro Sul through them, using the ghostfence machine room as the site of the ritual. She is interrupted by Erendes Hlervan, who says they are committing a terrible heresy, and it is his duty to put a stop to it. This scene is to be voiceacted. Somewhere in here it should also be discovered that the Nerevar bonewalker has disappeared.

Erendes's perspective: Erendes serves as a counterpoint to Simine's doubt and Alvu's willingness to break the rules. Whereas the ordinary Ordinators have become afraid and uncertain, he remains resolute in his faith. Whereas Alvu and Simine want answers (if for different reasons), Erendes would confront them with the idea that they are better off not knowing.

 After Erendes is dealt with, the ritual to summon Alandro Sul is finished. Each ringlet speaks with fragments of Alandro Sul’s voice, giving clues to the location of the holy relic and how to get to it. As each ringlet is understood to be an influence of the House of Troubles, each clue has to do with the Bad Daedra.

Quest 10) The relic is a hidden antechamber in the Necrom catacombs. The chamber holds the Foul Murder mural, a painting created during the Red Moment, which cannot be destroyed and has been cropping up all over Morrowind over the centuries as the Tribunal try to get rid of it. The Tribunal finally managed to enchant it to lock it away under Necrom.

When the party enters the chamber, everyone stands goggling at the mural. There is a sound, and all turn around to see the Nerevar bonewalker floating on up to the Nerevarine. The bonewalker touches the Nerevarine. Cutscene happens--like the one that starts the game, it should be a bit jumbled and symbolistic rather than seeing any particular thing, to convey the feeling of the player receiving a lot of information all at once. Then the cutscene ends the player is forcegreeted by one of the NPCs, asking the player WTF just happened, that the player had lost consciousness, and the bonewalker turned to dust.

The player can then turn to Alvu or Simine (whoever is present), and recount what happened at the Battle of Red Mountain through a series of dialogue choices. This should serve as the player choosing which version of the canon they want to be true for their character, such as: that Nerevar was murdered for the Tribunal's personal gain; that Nerevar was murdered because the Tribunal truly thought that would be best for their country; that Nerevar was killed in battle and the Tribunal made the best of a bad situation; that the Nerevarine is not truly Nerevar and just happened to fulfill the prophecies; or my personal favorite, that perhaps Nerevar asked the Tribunal to do it, seeing glimpses of what would happen thanks to Azura. Other popular fanon versions could be added here as well.

Picking one of these stories (or offering all of them as food for thought) would finish the quest. The questgiver would react to these tellings as befits their personality, including stepping down from their post or going on a murderous rampage.  If we wanted to be ambitious, we could also change various pieces of the dialogue all over Morrowind to lend credence to whatever version of the story the player picked.

Old proposal:

 

Comments

All in all, I like this quite

Rats's picture

All in all, I like this quite a bit.

I have my nitpicks – like I always do – but involving bits of Alandro Sul, Nerevar Bonewalker, hell even the memory of Sotha Sil, I like.

The basement of Necrom’s temple (unfinished) has a door that needs three keys. I am uncertain which NPCs we are going to give these keys, but perhaps these could be involved in the Three Trials somehow? Or acquiring the keys could be a challenge of its own where the player has to use the skills they practiced in the Trials – i dunno, just making stuff up in a hurry.

The Three Keys thing fits in

Kevaar's picture

The Three Keys thing fits in perfectly. Alandro Sul’s whispers could serve as the clues to finding the keys, and each of them would be vaguely connected to one of the Triunes and their Anticipations. Perhaps they are hidden in a location dedicated to each Tribunal, and the player has to like...invert the Triune’s sphere back into their Anticipations’ sphere to obtain it, demonstrating the contrast between the Good Daedra and the Tribunal. Not sure if I explained this right.

 

The doubting priest would

Rot's picture

The doubting priest would express a sense of acceptance from seeing it, commenting on how he sees now that the Tribunal are inextricably tied up with the Nerevarine. The head priestess, on the other hand, would have her worldviews shattered.

The first part makes a lot of sense but would the head priestess really be so naive?
 

The player heads out to <someplace between Necrom and nearest Ashlander camp) and finds the Temple expedition.

Does that mean the player is supposed to find them “on the way between”…? Could be trouble technically speaking, I’d assume the closest ashlander camp is currently quite far from Necrom (or is that not so?). New camp then?
 

This should serve as the player choosing which version of the canon they want to be true for their character

How does the PC *know* it to be the truth? (when vanilla lets the player choose answers of the sort in the MQ it still remains ambiguous) I know that’s not the sort of detail that stops players but is this implied to have been whispered by Alandro Sul’s soul or something…?

Cool stuff in all,

(not liking the choice of terms in “ Azura is the moralistic/honorable “ but I’m sure that’s a nit others will pick)

RE: head priestess: I’m not

Kevaar's picture

RE: head priestess: I’m not sure, but I got the feeling that while people knew about the Ashlander accusations that the Tribunal were murderers, that it was taken as heretics being silly rather than anything the Temple accepts as possibly true. Hence having it “proven” in this way would be worldview-shattering. But I’m not sure. Certainly there’s interpretations that the Dunmer are accepting of the fact it was a murder.

Ashie camp: As I think about it more, I’m not sure it matters. It would be a new camp because I doubt any existing camps fit the aethetics, and as its tied to a quest, it probably wouldn’t exist before the player does the quest. I think the player should have to go out into the boonies a little to find them, but it should be relatively close to Necrom. (Else, why didn’t the Ordinators take the holy relic to some other Temple?)

And how or even whether the PC knows it to be the truth is up to their own roleplay. The main quest was written carefully so we don’t know “what” happened under Red Mountain, I think to allow the player some head-canon room for how they perceive Nerevar and what that means for being his Incarnate. This is in essence a chance to further that headcanon and roleplay.

Azura and moralistic/honorable: it’s based on this reddit post here (https://www.reddit.com/r/teslore/comments/5ep0cj/the_tribunal_did_nothing_wrong_or_did_they/), which I think is a great interpretation of how Dunmer Daedric worship actually works. In short, Mephala and Boethiah are pretty dang evil and destructive, and Azura is the one who balances these tendencies and keeps the culture from just killing itself off willy-nilly. All three Good Daedra are necessary to the Dunmer culture, and that’s what the trials are supposed to demonstrate: what pieces they bring to the table.

I like this quest. Most of my

Gnomey's picture

I like this quest. Most of my notes are more about characterization and details than the quest itself, which I think is solid.

-I'm not sure if having the location be an Ashlander camp or simply making it a dissident priest hideout from the start would work better.
-By and large, I'd assume Ordinators wouldn't have much trouble against Ashlanders (or in most cases dissident priests), unless significantly outnumbered or unprepared. I'm also not sure about them outright massacering Ashlanders, and even priests are iffy. I'd generally assume Ordinators would try to take them in for 'questioning'. I'd suggest that the Ordinators hadn't planned for the massacre, but that the Ashlanders/priests resisted arrest and things got out of hand, and the Ordinaotrs weren't prepared for the turn of events and were wounded as a result.
-I think an interesting aspect to explore would be if the massacre happened within the Sacred Lands region, within full view of the Ancestors. This might considerably increase the internal conflict of the Ordinators, and might add an additional reason aside from wounds why the Ordinators were slow to return.
-Also, in case this wasn't already intended to be the case, I'd certainly make the Ordinators Ordinators in Mourning. While this sort of matter would probably not strictly be in their purview, perhaps it was considered local enough to fall within their jurisdiction. Or perhaps the Ordinators of Mourning are tasked with recovering the wraithmail, but that seems more questionable to me.

3b-"The priest knows of a recently obtained one placed in Necrom’s vaults, and asks the player to get it. (difficult mission) After getting it, the priest says the next piece is with a group of Dissident Priests." If we have one piece of the wraithmail, we'll probably have several, though they should be hard to locate. I think it should be possible to bypass infiltrating the vaults if the player finds a ring elsewhere.
4-I'm not sure about requiring the PC to complete trials after completing the mainquest. I'd think Ashlanders/dissident priests would be pretty convinced by then. But then, they could just be very cautious, which is reasonable enough. That said, if there are trials, I think they should be tailored to the Nerevarine, which I don't think these really are.
4c-"[...] in which the player learns that Azura is the moralistic/honorable tempering force of the other two Daedra." I don't think she is, though. In some ways she is the most extreme, in that she is the most guided. Putting it non-charitably, Azura is the grudge/vendetta, Boethiah the act of vengeance and Mephala the catharsis.
5-Hm, not convinced on the avatar of Sotha Sil idea; I don't really see what purpose that would serve for this questline in particular. I suppose it would help tie up loose ends for the mainquest, but I think Sotha Sil might better be handled separately. It could maybe work if the NPC were intended to be a simulacrum, but so far this questline hasn't focused on the Tribunal directly, so to me pulling in Sotha Sil seems like a distraction. I actually think the more straightforward idea of the NPC freely communicating the whispers of Alandro Sul would work better. That would also be a perspective we haven't really heard.
6-I'm personally simply for putting the mural in a dissident priest hideout in Telvannis; or perhaps in the burial of an Ashlander camp that came to possess an unusual number of rings from the wraithmail and whose tribesmen are in a near-constant state of trance as a result? I think I like the latter. As before, I'm not for putting the mural in Necrom because I see no reason why anyone affiliated with the Temple would ever create such a mural in the first place.

In replying to other comments:
-I am for adding new Ashlander camps to TR_Mainland when we get around to it. If we go with a dissident priest hideout instead, a Velothi tower or cave, new or old, should work just fine.
-to me, the reddit post sort of falls apart at "[...] -definitely not good-. At least not in the conventional understanding." The Dunmer are not conventional, to start with, but I also suspect the term 'good Daedra' is a Temple invention, intended to whitewash the good Daedra to contribute to the narrative that the Tribunal had 'pacified' them and draw them into the Temple narrative.
I wrote a longer reply, but it got, well, long, so if I post it I'll probably do so in a more fitting thread. But keeping it short, I feel as though the reddit post is informed heavily by a bias that the Nerevarine - as executor of Azura - is in the right, and the Tribunal in the wrong. It’s a fair interpretation, but just one of many. All of the good Daedra (indeed all Daedra) have good and bad sides to their spheres, as described in Vivec and Mephala.

RE: Ordinators and massacre:

Kevaar's picture

RE: Ordinators and massacre: yes, I think something like that would be fitting, a “questioning” gotten out of hand. However, it is said that Nerevarine cults are highly persecuted, which this tribe was. So it might not take much for it to have gotten out of hand.

RE: Sotha Sil’s ghost. I put this in there because during the course of the Main Quest, you get to actually meet Vivec and Almalexia, sort of get to know them as people. You never get this for Sotha Sil. While I understand the thematic element of this, that he is the God of Mystery, I always wanted to know him more personally, not just by what he’s left behind. Without stomping on the fact that he’s dead, this is the next closest thing. My intention is it would never be said anywhere ingame that’s what he is, but a smart player could piece it together.

RE: trials. Same thing here. We know that Dunmer used to be Daedra worshippers and will be again, but we never get to see how that would actually work on a large scale across a culture—in Oblivion, Dunmer lore is bare touched, and in Skyrim, Morrowind is a massive smoking crater. In TES3, all the Daedra worshippers we run into are cultists; even the Ashlanders are more interested in their ancestors, and the Dissident Priests are focusing on the crisis of Red Mountain. This is my attempt to recreate what a society based on the Good Daedra would look like.

RE: Azura. Which leads to this. I’d be interested in other interpretations. I read somewhere she is also Balance, Beginnings and Endings, based on her spheres of Dusk and Dawn.

RE: Massacre and Sacred Lands: I’ll have to think about that one. It could serve as an encounter for the player/Ordinators on the road, whatever it turns into. I like the idea of it. It’d also make more sense for why it’s Ordinators in Mourning are taking care of this, as I don’t imagine they would often go on expeditions much.

 

First of all: It's good and I

Atrayonis's picture

First of all: It's good and I like how it progresses and ends.
I don't like how it - despite being set up as an epilogue - starts and is apparently going on during the main quest. It should be more political and should embrace its part as epilogue by requiring the player to be the Nerevarine and revisiting some of the people he left behind on the main quest.

The temple is now just starting its long and slow process of reforming into the ancestor-worshipping cult Vivec promised they would become (until Red Year at least), and we should continue with that theme. Not sure I like that Ashlander camp massacre either, but if they got militant after the Nerevarine returned, it seems believeable.

In general, I would drop ringlets every now and then and would require 10 for them to actually assemble the chainmail. It should be something a player going along with Ashlanders should have a few of (we can just place them in Vvardenfell or other Ashlander camps), otherwise he still has contacts with the four tribes on Vvardenfell who should point him to 2 each, maybe adding a few more quests for them.

I believe quest 1 should be scrapped entirely.
There should be multiple quest starts. Quest 2 works well on its own, for everyone else we can have this start with the player revisiting the Dissident Priests at Holmayan who have heard of the priest and want to contact him to have him join their ranks. Point would be to get the player talking to the priest.

Quest 3a would still work with that change, but the Ordinators should make it a point that not all kinds of heresy are acceptable, even with the Nerevarine around.

As soon as Quest 4 starts, Vivec should disappear from the game. It's canon that he went on to Cyrodiil to stand trial in Hogithum Hall and just getting him out of the game if he's not dead yet would help enforce the sense of progression and that there's no going back now.

Oh, that would be fun. Like

Kevaar's picture

Oh, that would be fun. Like seeing how that poor Telvanni princess-gone-Ashlander housewife is doing.laugh Though I’m not sure how then it would tie into the mainland, unless you do something like find Caius Cosades who points out a piece or two of the ringmail. And a lot of work coming up with those alternate questlines. Hmm.

The only issue about it happening after the main quest is I’m not sure how militant Ordinators would be by that time. I would think it’d take a very zealous group of Tribunal faithful to come together as an organized force so soon after the Nerevarine succeeded in ridding the province of their most dire threat. Though I suppose we could play on how IRL, messages about wars ending could sometimes take months to get to their intended recipients due to the travel time of couriers. Though even that seems a little weak.

Another thing I’d want an epilogue to touch on is how the Sixth House cult is doing. I mean, do you suddenly you have all these Ash Zombies with missing faces waking up and going “oh ffff--”? Though one easy way to tie it in is that some old Sleepers have some of the rings. Leading into that Dagoth Ur tried gathering them altogether at one point too? Could get complicated fast.

Something I wrote up before

Atrayonis's picture

Something I wrote up before at the most current revision. I do think it's still worthwhile.

I'll refer to two Nexus points here, A = the death of Dagoth Ur, B = the death of Almalexia.

Characters

Alvu Sareleth

The Archmatron is noted to be of bad health and been visited by/visiting the healers more than she used to. I assume this was to play into the general "everything is winding down and approaching a crisis" theme.

I assume the plotline has seen her reinvigorated due to the added level of stress - some old people need this or they stop functioning. As she is also noted as having held this position for a long time, her age should be emphasized.

Access to her is also reputation/faction rank blocked (for multiple factions plus post-Nexus A player identity), but a no-name character cannot meet her. Her adjutant, Athelyn Savil, handles the reception.

Suggestions:
1) After Nexus A, change the rumor to her looking better than she had for a while.
2) After Nexus B, block access to her completely "I'm sorry, the Archmatron is currently indisposed" until the questline starts.
3) Her "do you want to join the temple" lines (Greeting 5) are blocking her in-character greetings (Greeting 7). That should be changed.

Simine Turethi

Is currently wearing an Ordinator helmet.
Should have that removed and placed on the desk next to her after Nexus A.

Erendes Hlervar

Is noted to be a vetaran of the Arnesian War, fought in the jungle.
Maybe add some specific lines if the player is an Argonian, expressing his disbelief in the whole Nerevarine affair and distrust in the player.

Plot Coupons

Ancestor Ghost Summoning

There is a questline (TR_m2_q_38/TR_m2_Ak_Nameless) which deals with ancestral summonings. In this case, it's for an outlander Dunmer who wants to find out about his ancestors and his connection to the Dareleth family. Gilas Indalor makes a business out of contacting and summoning ancestral spirits, he is an Adept ranked member of the Temple.

For this questline, you are asked to collect some ingredients for the summoning - 3x bonemeal and 3x ectoplasm (do not use ash salts). I think in Foul Murder, it should be mentioned that someone will collect these items during a downtime (of 1 day for r&r?) and they just show up in some form in the summoning chamber.

Note that the player is not actually part of the ritual itself if you chose to sabotage it, but can optionally be so if it succeeds. The whole way this progresses should be noted (I haven't actually played through this quest). It apparently involves candles too and the spirit appears above an ashpit in the Akamora temple.

Interesting note: "Doing a summoning rite for one sundered from their family is difficult, but the problem is reaching the spirit at all[..]". We really do need the Temple's best and brightest here, but trekking back to the Caverns of the Incarnate to grab Peakstar's corpse or mulch it into bonemeal should not be necessary.

 

I think Erendes Hlervan

Rats's picture

I think Erendes Hlervan should be renamed something that begins with a V, so the Nerevarine gets to relive the whole Red Mountain moment (Hlervan as Vivec, and Alvu and Simine as stand ins for Almalexia and Sotha Sil) when the confrontation with the three and Alandro Sul's ghost happens.

General note: the

Kevaar's picture

General note: the opportunities to impress Mephala and Boethiah are still kind of slim right now, so I propose adding in the Daedra Artifact quests as also affecting the outcome. (Completing their associated quest gains you a point in their favor). Are there other quests that should be included? Should we lengthen this quest to include other opportunities? (And what would those be, that do not interrupt the flow of story? The main quest handled this pacing issue by the player needing to talk to various factions for instance: maybe a piece about the Ordinators' doubts starting to spread, in which we could play further with the various themes Alvu, Simine, and (V)erendes represent in the catastrophe. Maybe Dres and Indoril get involved as well, which could also be used to explain why they never got a Hortator quest!)