Eye of Argonia - Black Marsh Province Mod

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Atrayonis's picture
Atrayonis
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Statement of Intention

Eye of Argonia is a dummy province mod, intended to coordinate assets within Tamriel_Data, maps and lore between Tamriel Rebuilt, Province Cyrodiil, and Beyond Skyrim (where feasible) and serve as a platform to plug a hole in the Morrowind Kalpa that needs to be filled.
It is not going to be in "active" development until such a time that its development would no longer negatively affect the small manpower pools in the other province mods. For now, the initial heightmap ESP exists to fill in mapping space, and no further CS activity is planned.

There is not, to the best of my knowledge, an actual Black Marsh mod being developed right now. If there is, this project is going to take second seat to it, of course.

Overview

Black Marsh is the province least under the control of the Empire. Although "The Argonian Account" is entertainment literature, its portrayal holds a strong kernel of truth.
The Septim Empire controls several "first wave" settlements, these either subverted preexisting Argonian settlements through violent effort, or built on top of older, ruined ones. These are the cities near the ocean, or major waterways, and generally the district centers and major trade hubs. As Black Marsh is a net drain on the Empire, their population number has been artificially inflated and they cannot exist at their current size without outside trade and subsidies.
Many more "second wave" settlements exist to support trade routes and supply legion bases and prison complexes. Most of these are colonial villages in the style of Raven Rock. All but a few of them exist because the Empire desires it, and without subsidies they would be abandoned and fall into ruin.
More of Black Marsh is in native hands, ruled by Argonians who have no desire to deal with the Empire or are in abstract opposition to it. While the secular Argonians have adopted or at least understand Imperial customs and are recognizeable as "normal", the An-Xileel are political mystics who have little love for the Empire, while the Taj Eel Xa'nith are a violent resistant movement, originally centered around the Arnesian Jungle region but spreading along the Cyrodiilic border as well.
More of Black Marsh is wilderness. Here, Hist cultists, feral bandits, and arch-heretics hole up in sunken ziggurats or well-defended caves while the Empire's prisoner-soldiers are trying to make a living and instill civilisation in the worst place on Tamriel.

Faction Design Notes

Secular Argonians

The average Sahxleel has accepted or is at least aware of the Septim's rule of Black Marsh. They live in cities or villages which woule be recognizeable to a foreigner, and while they may worship the Hist (some few are also go "cult shopping" as lay members of the Nine Divines' Imperial Cult), they are nice enough to get along with. The peasants are ignorant, the nobility corrupt, the few members of the Imperial Guilds are sort of weird, but other than their private nature, these are the Argonians you could encounter everyhwere in the Empire. Murderous bandits included.

An-Xileel

The first Argonian political movement, the urban An-Xileel are staunch supporters of a modern (theobureocratic) Black Marsh state. Relatively anti-Imperial, they believe that Black Marsh has been politically stunted by misrule and corruption at least since the priest-kingom was supplanted by a western monarchy. Extremists in the An-Xileel believe the misrule to be deliberate and take a dim view on foreign ideas in Argonian heads, while the mainstream moderates merely believe that the Cyrodiils simply cannot understand Black Marsh properly, as they have no connection to its roots and the Hist god-trees.
Since their resolute loss of a peasant uprising near Soulrest, the extremists are however on the decline.

Taj Eel Xa'nith

Originally a resistance movement against the encroaching Dunmer slavers, the aftermath of the Arnesian war and the annexation of most of the Arnesian Jungle saw an upsurge in membership and radicalisation of the movement. Now racially and violently opposed to non-Argonians, the Taj Eel Xa'nith have spread their influence to most small villages in the northern and western parts of Black Marsh, where they conduct bloody raids against smoothskins and foreign-born Argonians.
Design Note: in the future, the Taj Eel Xa'nith will fuse with and take over the An-Xileel, turning them into the kind of radical anti-Argonian nationalists that would invade and kill their way across a different province the first chance they get.

Hist Cultists

Tribal societies, clustered around hamlets and Hist mangroves. Hippies and cultists. No overarching government.

Syncretic Cult of Seth

The Brotherhood of Seath has been the dominant cult in the city of Gideon since they left the Remanite Cyrodiil.
Decades later, a group of cultists wandered off into Murkwood to find enlightenment and ran across Hist Cultists. What emerged out of the jungle resembles one third Nibenese Cult, one third Hist Cult, and one third something else.
Worst of all, Seth or whatever is posing as it, is responding to their prayers in a fashion untraceable by outsiders, and it has changed the cult profoundly.

Today, they dominate the city of Helstrom (where the Empire cannot reach them), several outlying villages in the swampy interior of the province, and seek to spread their influence. Many cities in Black Marsh have one or two cells of Sethites, and they are trying to reach northwards to Narsis.
Design Note: an Arena religion, the Brotherhood of Seth is scaled down to local levels and takes over some of the Lore behind the Dark Brotherhood, including the Shadowscales, as the Dark Brotherhood is in line with its vanilla Morrowind portrayal: a worldly guild of professional assassins in opposition to the cooky death cultists of the Morag Tong.

The Empire

The Empire is struggling to regain control after the recent uprising around Soulrest.
The capital of Lilmoth is under continued political threat by the An-Xileel, the Taj Eel Xa'nith are creating trouble, Helstrom continues to be a unreachable festering wound that oozes assassinations and cultists, and threats of aggressive pirates from the east are causing unrest in the fortress-harbor of Thorn.

The only booming enterprises in Black Marsh are the notorious prison complexes in Blackrose and Stormhold, and they are always receiving guests.

Mages Guild and Imperial Archeological Society

Both guilds are interested in Black Marsh for its murky history.

The Mages Guild tends to send its most hopeful alchemist apprentices to train in Black Marsh as well as its malcontents, which turns a lot of young, ambitious people loose on an underfunded bureocracy, making the guild halls no less lethal than the swamps.

Design Note: the main quest of Eye of Argonia, the search for the relic in question (which ultimately would not be found) would be sponsored by the IAS.

East Empire Company

Tasked with sustaining trade across the eastern provinces, a lot of "second wave" settlements are ruled over by mercantile nobility sponsored and at the mercy of the EEC.
Turning a profit in Black Marsh is often like wringing blood from a stone, and with the peasant uprising around Soulrest, the EEC's focus has turned away from the big plantation and logging and back to the little rest-stop hamlets. Suddenly forced to turn a profit, local magnates and nobles are scrabbling for whatever riches they can get their hands on and mercenaries and adventurers are in high demand.

Notable Settlements

Lilmoth

Capital of Black Marsh and seat of the Imperial King.

Gideon

A city which for all intents and purposes is a Nibenese city, with the Brotherhood of Seth (the original one) as the ruling cult and political power.

Stormhold

Nearly a border pass to Morrowind, trade that fuels lesser settlements passes through Stormhold from Narsis.

Thorn

A massively fortified city and harbour located in the Thornmarsh coast, Thorn is the major seat of Imperial power on the eastern coast and one of the few harbours which is capable of servicing the massive Imperial warships.
Set to protect the entire east of Tamriel from smugglers, pirates, and an invasion from Akavir, the legionnaries were forced to sit by idly as Dunmer and Argonians slaughtered each other during the Arnesian War and many have taken to various vices.

Misc. Things

Kothringi

The silver-skinned human race continues to be extinct.

Lilmothiil

The vulpine beast race, thought to be related to the Khajiit, continues to be extinct.

Cantemiric Velothi

The Cantemiric Velothi inhabited what is now the Arnesian Jungle before it was flooded during the last first era. Most of their strongholds remain at the bottom, underneath the massive root network.

The Cantemiric Velothi themselves migrated north and joined mainstream Dres society.

Ayleids

Ayleid ruins are centered around the border to Cyrodiil. Lore developed for Province: Cyrodiil takes precedence.

Terrifying Daedric Foe's picture
Terrifying Daed...
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A modder known as zackg was working on an Argonia mod some years ago. I seem to remember him making some models, with some screenshots shown on some other forum somewhere on the internet, but nothing substantial was made and the project, such as it, is now dead.

This is a good idea to collate everything in one place so province mods can offer a consistent vision of Tamriel.

Cookiemonster16's picture
Cookiemonster16
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His laptop actually got stolen and he had no backup for it.

Atrayonis's picture
Atrayonis
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There is supposedly some TESIII Black Marsh mod project stealthily ongoing, but they are very secretive (if it's even real).

For other mods, Silgrad Tower attempted to make one for Oblivion, there's this thing and of course Beyond Skyrim has one in the making as well.