Premise: A Hlaalu plantation and the Ashlander Obainat Tribe are clashing over a shared river that they both use for water. Each blame the other for causing it to dry up. The player can choose to help a Hlaalu official by killing the Obainat Gulakhan, or help the Ashlanders by killing the Hlaalu official. The Wise Woman also offers a solution that is less violent.
Assets Needing Creation:
Ashlander NPCs (see these claims for existing personalities)
House Hlaalu official NPC
Amulet of Mephala (poison to caster enchantment)
Modified Amulet of Mephala (drain charisma, drain intelligence, constant effect)
Wise Woman’s Favor (drain intelligence, fortify charisma, constant effect)
Details on Plot:
Details: This quest starts in the House Hlaalu faction, where a House Hlaalu official sends the player to negotiate with the local Ashlanders. There’s a conflict over the river water, where the Hlaalu think the Ashlanders are using too much of it for their guar herds, while the Ashlanders think the Hlaalu are being greedy and using too much to irrigate their plantation downstream of the camp. (The Ashlanders are probably in the right.) A particularly vain House Hlaalu official isn’t listening to reason though, and just wants the Ashlanders off the land so they stop “stealing” the water. They give the player a bunch of ratty hides and various common herbs, telling the player the Ashlanders supposedly like that kind of thing, and send the player off to make a bargain with the Ashlanders using the “trade goods”.
When the player reaches the Ashlanders, they are ridiculed. The hides and herbs are not of good quality, and the Ashlanders say they’re quite able to hunt up better on their own, thank you kindly! The player can then either try to raise their reputation enough to speak to one of the gulakhans, or return to the House Hlaalu official to report their failure.
Getting in good with the Ashlanders requires the player make use of the thoughtful gift mechanic, similar to how the player raises the disposition of the Urshilaku tribe in the main quest. Once one of the Ashlanders in the camp has a disposition of 80, the player is sent to speak to a gulakhan. The gulakhan refuses to move the camp, calling the Hlaalu greedy, and stating that the Ashlanders had been living on the land for generations. They suggest a scheme to the player instead, telling them to give the House Hlaalu official a special Amulet of Mephala and tell the Hlaalu that it is “a sign of the Ashlanders’ good will”. The amulet should have an enchantment of damage health on it (preferrably constant effect, but if I recall right the game doesn’t register this correctly, so it might need to be on use.)
As a hidden step (aka, no one tells the player to do this; they only discover this on their own), the player may then take this amulet to the wise woman. The wise woman realizes the gulakhan’s plan would just escalate the conflict, so instead supplies the player with another amulet (one that looks the same to help the gulakhan save face, but with a Drain Charisma and Intelligence enchantment on it instead). She explains she knows how greedy and vain this particular Hlaalu official is, and how this is a downfall that she can exploit. She tells the player to gift the Hlaalu with the amulet and that the enchantment on it will take care of the rest.
The player then returns to the House Hlaalu official. Three possible endings:
The gulakhan’s amulet ending: The player can give the gulakhan’s amulet to the Hlaalu and claim it is a gift as the gulakhan suggested. The official puts it on and is killed by poison. The quest ends and the only reward for the player is what’s on the official’s body. If returned to, the gulakhan is pleased, but sees no reason to give the player a reward. He would give the excuse they don’t have anything to offer, being such a poor people. He is lying when he says this, and if intimdated, would give a small sum of gold and spit on the player (disposition drop). Latest Rumors then tell of how the Ashlanders have been getting more aggressive and harassing caravans and merchants in the area. The plantation is expected to fail in the chaos, though the rumor mongers also speculate that if the Hlaalu turn to their Imperial Legion allies, the Ashlanders are done for.
The wise woman’s amulet: The Hlaalu official accepts the amulet and puts it on. He exclaims over how fancy it is and how he will show it off to the other Hlaalu councilors. He thanks the player and tells them to tell the Ashlanders thanks and to propose starting a trade with them for more of the fancy amulets. In this way, the player gets the full reward from House Hlaalu. They can also return to the wise woman, who says they will certainly “keep the trade going” (she says this with a knowing smirk), and the player is rewarded with another amulet (same design) that Fortifies Charisma but Drains Intelligence (sneaky wise woman). Latest Rumors then tell of how the Hlaalu official lost face in a series of scandals and stupid decisions over the management of his plantation. The Ashlanders are still happily living on their land as the plantation begins to fail.
Neither amulet: Alternatively, if the player didn’t manage to speak with the gulakhan OR told the Hlaalu about the schemes against them, the Hlaalu official exasperatedly tells them to go back to the camp and just kill the Ashlanders. (For sake of simpler game mechanics, killing the Gulakhan and his best friend in Yurt #2 would be enough; the Hlaalu official can give the reason of “the savages will loose heart without their leader”.) The manner in which the official suggests this should make it clear they’re not fully comprehending the enormity of this, likening exterminating Ashlanders to exterminating common garden pests. The player can of course finish the quest this way, and gain the full reward from House Hlaalu.