Imperial Leadership in Morrowind

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4/6/16
Regarding my proposition for next weeks agenda, I have found a thread at the old forum detailing the Imperial regimen in castle Ebonheart.
The topic on the old forum can be found here : http://tamriel-rebuilt.org/old_forum/viewtopic.php?t=24342 

This forum post is for discussing topics concerning The Imperial Leadership in Morrowind and possible ideas to bring up to the next meeting.

12/6/16

The topic has been moved to next week, I'll be making a summary of the aforementioned topic on the old forums.

19/6/16

The topic was discussed briefly, we've discussed and came up with a very rough outline and concepts, which can be found here http://www.tamriel-rebuilt.org/content/2016-06-18-meeting-summary , next week we will discuss the topic again.

I made a PDF file that is going to contain the information about the Imperial Questline(s) for Tamriel Rebuilt, it is in its early stages so there is little on there. I'll try to update it as frequently as possible.

21/6/16
I have opened the thread : Old Ebonheart and Ebon Tower Brainstorming http://www.tamriel-rebuilt.org/forum/old-ebonheart-and-ebon-tower-brainstorming, for people to post their ideas.

Atrayonis has dug up more information for Old Ebonheart from the Old Forums.

Have not updated the PDF, I am quite busy at the moment with school and stuff, maybe in the weekend I'll update it, we'll see.

30/6/16

Been very busy with school this week, haven't updated a thing. Gnomey has added extra information about Imperial Hierarchy.

11/7/16

I haven't updated this thread in roughly two weeks, here we go:

I am planning to add information about the Talos Cult to The Imperial Questline, this will probably be made in cooperation with Developers in the asset browser. In the asset browser the many sources will be formatted to essentially give the Talos Cult a clear summary and objective.

Information on the other Imperial Factions(Imperial navy, Imperial cult etc.), is also needed from the old forums, as well as new ideas and suggestions. Information from the old forums is best summarized and added to the asset browser, new idea's and suggestions can best be discussed on this topic.

I am still currently busy with my internship, but expect to have more time towards the end of the week. 

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Part one of the summary:

Summary                    OE castle topic Old Forum
 
The important NPC’s and organisations that should be in OE castle:

  • Mages Guild
  • Imperial VIP(s)
  • Duke of Deshaan
  • Tarhiel

 
Concerning Tarhiel:
We know Tarhiel falls down from the sky, just outside Seyda Neen.
When asked where he is: He's not here. "Off on one of his experiments, I'm sure he'll turn up sooner or later".
 
Concerning Imperial Influences within OE and beyond:
The Legion 
*Head of the Legion aka Lord Marshall/Lord General/General/Legate/whatever sounds the coolest 
*Head of the Navy aka Lord Admiral/Baron Admiral/whatever sounds the coolest 
*Knight of the Imperial Dragon every Duchy/District has one 
The Provincial Government 
*Provincial Governor leads the provincial government in Morrowind, acts as the superior for the Dukes (except the Duke of Mournhold, the King) and the Ministers in OE. 
*Minister of Provincial Affairs handles stuff related to the Great Houses and their Councils as well as the Imperial Guilds 
*Minister of House N Affairs x 5 (a designated one for each House) 
*Minister of Treasury and Trade handles the Imperial treasury and trade and stuff 
*Duke of Deshaan - in exile 
The Municipal Government 
*Mayor of OE - come up with a title, other than a Duke since there already is a Duke in Mournhold District 
*Lord Chamberlain - manages the castle 
*Captain of the Townsguard 
 
Gro-Dahl discusses if the governor and the proconsul (head of diplomats) should be the same person. The focus of Old Ebonheart should be a central command post.
 
Yeti – has the idea of stationing a blades diplomat.
 

Rats – proposes Imperial missions in other provinces:
THE MISSIONS & ENVOYS of OTHER PROVINCES 
a proposal 

High Rock Mission 
Ambassador Doniphan Messor 
Ambassador Esolde Vene 
+ 1 or 2 of their bodyguards/servants 
Orsinium Ambassador Ogrub gro-Nag 

Two ambassadors from the Imperial Province of High Rock with which the Royal family of Morrowind has close ties. The two ambassadors are personal friends of King Helseth and accompanied him when the then-Prince returned to Morrowind after failing to claim the throne of Wayrest. Their official job is to represent High Rock and the Breton people in Morrowind, but they also serve another purpose. Fiercely loyal to Helseth their main function is to provide the Monarch with spies' reports coming from the far-west and help him plot his revenge against his stepsister Elysana of Wayrest. The ambassadors are also close with the Barenziah, delivering messages between the Queen Mother and her contacts in High Rock. 

The High Rock Mission also houses an ambassador from Orsinium, Ogrub gro-Nag, who has been given a shamefully small office (more like a broom closet), which is symbolic of the status of the city-province. The Orsinium Ambassador is trying to represent all the Orcs in the province; namely aiding the orcs being persecuted over Malak worship (and failing massively in the task). 

Elsweyr Mission 
Ambassador-Prince Ji'Morashu-ri 
Ambassador Dro'jorr 
+ 1 or 2 of their bodyguards/servants; and a few escaped slaves 

Comprised of a last-of-the-litter-prince-made-ambassador and his old advisor the Elsweyr mission is trying to find a way to combat the enslavement of the Khajiiti people diplomatically. They do this mainly by discussing with the Dres and Hlaalu Ambassadors in OE as well as sending written appeal notices to high-ranking Great House members (which obviously go straight to the fireplace). 

Summerset Isle Mission 
Ambassador Elteryn of Firsthold 
+ 1 or 2 bodyguards/servants 

The sympathetic Elteryn of Firsthold is the ambassador from the far-away province of Summerset Isle, gladly delivering messages between Queen Hlaalu Morgiah of Firsthold and her royal family in Morrowind as well as doing general pre-Thalmor spying.

References to the Thalmor should be kept Easter Egg-ish
 
 

 
Rats also worked out NPC concept for OE:
 
THE CIVILIAN INHABITANTS in OLD EBONHEART CASTLE 

The Household 

Lord Chamberlain Caros Cocceius 
Captain of the Guard Erys Mundrethi 
Court Wizard Tarhiel 
Master of the Hunt Vattian Clanler 
Master of the Kitchen Hears-Through-Walls 
+ a handful of servants/sidekicks/apprentices for each 

The Household is the permanent staff at the Old Ebonheart castle; their main purpose is to keep the Castle's everyday things running and have everything in check in case the King or some other bigwig (eg. the Emperor) decides to pay a visit. The composition of the household with its fancy titles and ranks is modeled after that of a Cyrodiilic castle, which underlines Old Ebonheart's uniqueness within the province and on the Empire's desperate attempt to force it's way of bureaucracy on the alien land. Caros Cocceius is the acting Lord Chamberlain. Despite the seemingly noble title he's a commoner hired for the position. Erys Mundrethi is the captain of the small household guard, who don the Royal Guard Armor guarding the King's personal guest quarters. Since the King is not staying in Old Ebonheart the guard's and its captain's job mainly a symbolic one. Still, having a member of the Hlaalu-pledged Mundrethi family in such a position is valuable to the Great House. The Court Wizard Tarhiel has recently gone missing and his apprentice is starting to worry. Vattian Clanler is a glorified gamekeeper who's in charge of making sure the area surrounding OE has game to hunt, but with Morrowind's weird and hard-to-figure-out fauna and the King's absence his job is now reduced to keeping the rat population of OE's sewers at bay. Hears-Through-Walls is the Master of the Kitchen, an able Argonian cook; (from Haplo:) somewhat lesser version of Lord Varys (the Spider) from Game of Thrones; has his ears in every room and willing to trade in rumors and secrets for a price (or an exotic ingredient/recipe). 

The Provincial Cabinet 

Minister of the Treasury Parandil 
Minister of Justice Belisatha Mede 

Minister of House Hlaalu Affairs Glaucia Rumariil 
Minister of House Redoran Affairs Hjortyn Silver-Tongue 
Minister of House Indoril Affairs Aramius Marolus 
Minister of House Telvanni Affairs Menervius Venius 
Minister of House Dres Affairs Dels Sur-Enaren 

Minister of Temple Affairs Nerasa Veran 
+ a handful of servants/advisors/family members for each 

The Ministers are civil servants who are responsible of their respective fields, elected for life by the Proconsul. 

Parandil is the Minister of the Treasury. Nervous and pedant by nature, the Wood Elven calculator suffered a slight mental breakdown after the vaults of OE were recently broken into by forces unknown. (Note: this is a quest hook for the OE Mages Guild who are responsible for the castle vaults' magical defences; the perpetrators are an unnamed Tong, quite possibly Indoril-sworn Guild of Daggerlads) 

Belisatha Mede is the Minister of Justice whose job is to observe that the the Juris Imperator Tamrielicus is obeyed throughout the province in all matters. This impossible task has left her somewhat wry and cynical. She also acts as the supreme judge in the province to which all Imperial citizens can complain about the unfair treatment they've suffered in the hands of the local courts (another absurdly large task). 

The Ministers of House Affairs are not proper members of their respective house, rather they are Imperial bureaucrats charged with keeping the lines of communication open with each of the Houses. They meet and converse with the ambassadors occasionally sent by the Houses as well as keep tabs on what is going on in the far corners of the province by doing official visitations/inspections as the Proconsul's representative. The ministers that have been appointed each represent the Empire's fundamental failure to understand how the Great Houses really think and work. 

Glaucia Rumariil, an Imperial, is the young Minister of House Hlaalu Affairs chosen for the task for her extrovert and curious nature. Fascinated by what could be described as a form of 'Morrowindish orientalism' she's satisfied with her post thinking it's the easiest of the five which is true, but with a downside -- in fear of insulting and ruining the friendship she thinks she's gained with the Hlaalu she'll much rather turn a blind eye to the few issues the Empire's might have with them (slavery, for one). 

Hjortyn Silver-Tongue, a Nord, is the Minister of House Redoran Affairs; her appointment was thought to be a clever political move by the Imperial government due to the large Nord populace in the Redoran controlled territories and her deep understanding (by Imperial standards) of the Redoran culture. Unsurprisingly, neither her being a Nord or a bookwise scholar with little prowess in battle has won any favors from the Redoran Council, though only a handful of the meetings with the Great House have ended in bloodshed. 

Aramius Marolus is the Minister of House Indoril Affairs. The Minister is married to Llethe Marolus, a Dunmer belonging to a minor Indoril-sworn family, which was thought to ease his work with the Great House but did the exact opposite. His son, Potemus Marolus, is the young Admiral of the Imperial Navy. 

Menervius Venius is an elderly battlemage-turned-diplomat who's the Minister of House Telvanni Affairs. He was chosen for the job with the notion in mind that the Telvanni lords would rather listen to the words of their fellow mage, a notion which turned out to be false. Menervius hasn't had much contact with the Telvanni Council since he first tried to invite himself to one of their irregural meetings -- a meeting that was immediately magically relocated to a nasty pocket realm from which the battlemage barely made it out alive. 

Minister of House Dres Affairs is Dels Sur-Enaren, a native and a member of the Great House Dres. The plan to have the Dres warm to the Empire by having one of their own working with the Empire backfired since the reformist Dels Sur-Enaren has been branded a traitor by his kin and his entire existence is denied by the Dres. 

There's also a Minister of Tribunal Temple Affairs, Nerasa Veran, who is also a native and a former priest of the Temple. She is currently unable to perform her duties as normal because of an ongoing Ordinator investigation about her alleged connections to the Dissident Priests. 

The Ducal Council Room 

Duke Phyrios Mattimus 

The Ducal Council Room is a place reserved for the rare instance that the Dukes should feel like having a council session. Now the Council Room is empty all except for Phyrios Mattimus, the Duke of Deshaan, who has fled his 'unruly' Duchy. 

THE LEGION in OLD EBONHEART 
a proposal 

Legion Headquarters 

Lord General Caecalia Victrix 
Knight of the Imperial Dragon Olfvur Steel-Skin 
+ a handful of soldiers / servants
 
 
 

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Very well summarized! Good to have all that was discussed in the old forums on one post.

Few things:
- The Mages Guild is not present in the Ebon Tower (the tower formerly known as OE Castle): they have their guildhall in the Old Ebonheart town.
- Captain of the Townsguard is already an NPC in the town (stationed at the main gate towers).
- Admiral of the Navy is already an NPC in the town (at the Navy Command Post).

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The different providence missions could also spare to be named a little more colorfully. Summerset mission could be the Crystalline Mission, Highrock mission could be the Drakescale Mission, etc etc, just to give a little more flavor to each respective defining aspect of the provinces. I know this isn't the case in ebonheart in vanilla but it could be more useful in TR to have it be a little more obscure in the naming conventions.

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Codenames, basically wink

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Great ! checking those of the checklist laugh

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First off, thank you for taking the time to organize all of this, ThomasRuz. Overall, I don’t have many objections to the current concepts, other than the suggestions listed below:

*Provincial Governor leads the provincial government in Morrowind, acts as the superior for the Dukes (except the Duke of Mournhold, the King) and the Ministers in OE. 

I’m not entirely sure we should have the Dukes report to anyone other than the Emperor and his direct reprensentatives (the Pro-Consul and Lord General). Otherwise, they come across looking rather impotent if they have to report to a mere governor.  That said, I do like the idea of having a Provincial Governor who is in charge of the Ministers, and through them the province’s bureaucratic administration. Basically, I suggest we copy Province Cyrodiil’s division of authority between nobles and administrators:

Imperial Nobility
The blood nobility of the Empire, comparable to the function of the Great Houses in Morrowind. The Imperial Nobility has two subfactions: the Colo-Nordic nobility (Colovian rulers who descend from the Nords, and uphold Nordic ideas on duty, chivalry, and religion) and the Trebatine Hierophants(Nibenese Battlemage aristocracy, influential sorcerer-families with blood ties to the Akaviri). They make up most of Cyrodiil's rulers (Dukes, Counts, Barons). Aligned with the Emperor against the Elder Council.

The Curia or Imperial Administration
A nobility of merit: scribes, administrators, prefects, politicians and diplomats who keep the Empire running. The Census & Excise Office is a subsidiary branch, as are many other offices, councils, and authorities across Cyrodiil. Strong rivalry with the traditional nobility. Plagued by corruption. Aligned with the Elder Council against the sole authority of the Emperor.

Source

*Mayor of OE - come up with a title, other than a Duke since there already is a Duke in Mournhold District

Going off of Province Cyrodiil’s local leadership in Stirk (see the dialogue quoted below) Old Ebonheart could have a Prefect in charge of administrating the local government and/or a Baron who heads the local nobility. These two would likely conflict with each other over who has the most authority.

Cocious Hassell is the Prefect of Stirk, meaning that the Empire has entrusted him with the practical governance of Stirk. He has a manor close to the chapel, but spends most of his time in Town Hall. Hassell was an administrator in the Imperial City, but got this post after the last Prefect became unfit to rule.”

“​​​​​​​I am Gracchus Helvor, Baron of Stirk, heir to the Helvor line and protector of Stirk by virtue of the true Colo-Nordic blood. My ancestor, Skalgar Hellebore, conquered this island in the name of the Shore-King and Empress Alessia, who granted him the title of Baron, to be passed down to his rightful heirs forevermore, Akatosh willing.”

The modder formerly known as Yeti.
Head of NPCs - Skyrim: Home of the Nords

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Oh yes, the plans in the old forums were made before Project Cyrodiil’s plans which are obviously more well thought-out. I agree here that we should, at least somewhat, follow their model.

What Parker suggests for OE is good. Some things to solve, though: The Prefect would be at the Ebon Tower’s building B where all the ministers are. Where would the Baron be? In the Main Tower? Or in OE town, in a manor? How would the Duke of Deshaan and Baron get along? Wouldn’t the Duke outrank the Baron, his host? Could make for some interesting situations.

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Great to see you, Parker!

In the old forums there was already talk about, how or if the provincial governor's position should be merged or not with another position. If we would merge, the dukes most likely would answer to the pro-consul as it is a diplomatic matter. If we wouldn't merge the position I would suggest a bureaucratic figure who sends propositions(trade, laws etc.) directly to the Emperor and the senate, as a representative of the province of Morrowind. This could also tie in with the possible merchants guild as a higher spokesperson. I personally think a prefect is a bit unnecessary OE mustn't be to filled with too much political mumbo-jumbo and sublevels of politics.

However I do agree that a Baron is a great option, I also think he could function as a local spokesperson of a/the merchant guild(that was also discussed in the old forums) as well.

As for were the Baron should live, he shouldn't be confined to the castle, that he has a grand mansion is most probable, but it doesn't have to be in OE itself it could also be just outside the town.

As for the duke of deshaan and the baron, probably some kind of prank quest would be fun laugh

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Excellent summary so far!
I have been looking around, and there was quite a bit development of Old Ebonheart which might not have been in that topic – it’s in meeting summaries though. Some of those might be relevant to the discussion at hand.

http://tamriel-rebuilt.org/content/2015-01-24-meeting-summary

 

http://tamriel-rebuilt.org/content/2015-12-05-meeting-summary

 

http://tamriel-rebuilt.org/content/2016-06-04-meeting-summary (Oh hey, that was mine, tangentially relevant only)

 

I don’t think we reached consensus on this, but I like to link the existance of (New) Ebonheart on Varus Vanitius too – he carved himself out a kingdom with the Imperial virtues – cleverness, speechcraft, strength-of-arms, and contracts – and found out it was even more of a dead end. His attempt to start a quarantine to bolster his position made him more isolated from the mainland, this might have relevance to dialogue and inferrences. I like to think that the mainland administration keeps a blind eye on Vvardenfell because “let that upstart Varus deal with it” doesn’t cost money and prestige.

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Thanks Atrayonis! laugh

I'll look into it.

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TemplarTribe’s idea of different province missions having unique names is really cool. The Crystalline Mission is pure win. High Rock mission could have something with lions and/or roses, though, rather than dragons IMO.

On the Imperial Legion’s questline: in the olden forums there was talk of fleshing out the Talos Cult as an antagonist for the Legion in Morrowind.

I have some ideas written down for such a questline, which I’ll summarize. The Cult would have occupied the abandoned border fort Septim’s Gate Pass as well as infiltrated the Legion in Old Ebonheart. Originally their plan would be to proclaim one of their own as the New Talos and gain control over the Legion in Morrowind (in an effort to, in the end, overthrow the Emperor). However, as the player advanced the Legion questline, slowly undoing the Cult’s plots, the Talos Cult’s prophet – a manipulative IC priest in the Ebon Tower – would declare that the player was in fact the New Talos and invite them to lead them. The player would then either use this to their advantage and destroy the Cult (or not, if they’re feeling rebellious). [Behind the spoiler are my original – wall-of-texty – notes for the final quest(s) for the Legion questline for those who are interested.]

 

Rats’ notes

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A good idea for a final quest, Rats ! laugh
The quest gives the player a unique position of power and a unique reward/consequence, based on his her action.
This Talos cult are definetly fanatics, basically searching for a god-king to lead them.
I think it is best to discuss this at a meeting, further developing the cult's intentions.
Also, why would they be so fanatic in finding a Talos reborn, as the Septim line symbolizes the resurrection of Talos?

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Talos Cult do not care about bloodlines. Their view is that only the strongest can claim the mantle of Talos. The Emperor is weak and therefore he must be dethroned.

From How the Talos Cult Came To Be posted on the old forums:

 

Ye see, here's what we knows to be true. The Zeroes and Ones will appear in cycles, over and over again until the end of time. 'Tis only natural. And General Talos will march with us. A god of Men, of War, ain't gonna remain a-sky forever. Nay, he will come to us in flesh, clad in iron. He'll be chosen by camaraderie and proven by battle, a mortal as ever.

I tell ye, this Septim on the throne is just another Emperor Zero. Pelagius, Uriel, Cephorus, whatev'r they're called. A Zero which a One, a General Talos, must follow.

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Read the post, it is really good smiley
I will bring it up in the next meeting

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That’s a GREAT questline for the Legion in Old Ebonheart! Only question: Will some of it extend to other Imperial outposts in the mainland, or are we mainly focused on the areas right around Old Ebonheart for it?

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I think the focus should be on Old Ebonheart as it is the seat of power for the Imperial legion, the original vvardenfell questline also had Talos cult infiltrants in Fort Darius, so I guess there could be some “unmasking quests”?

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Still doing a bit of reading up on the Imperial power structure; unfortunately, the power structure was tidily summarized by a diagram on the old forums which is now a broken image link, so discussion around it appears to be lacking in detail as the diagram was quickly adopted with only one notable change: the removal of the position of governor.
As far as the title of governor is concerned, I just stumbled on a Ken Rolston post that explains it pretty well, along with some stuff I was unfamiliar with:

Ken Rolston
The Empire has revived an archaic titular "king" from early Chimer traditions of a "high chief of the clans," like the High Elven High King. This replaces the "military governor" of the early years of the occupation. The titular king is descended in line from Hlaalu Brevur, and he and his "court" are generally despised by natives. King Hlaalu Athyn Llethan resides in Castle Mournhold in the city of Narsis [on mainland Morrowind].

(That’s from before Morrowind was released, in case ‘Caste Mournhold in the city of Narsis didn’t clue you in).
Basically, Imperial Governors appear to be direct apointees of the Emperor (or perhaps Elder Council), and the Empire appears to have generally favoured replacing the governors in the long-term with Empire-friendly (or that’s the hope anyway) nobility, with the perception that the latter would be more easily accepted by the local populace. Not to be confused with Hlaalu governors, like Odral Helvi, who appear to be akin to mayors. More concretely, the position of King of Morrowind effectively replaced the position of Governor of Morrowind.

The gist of the diagram was that there are three branches to the Imperial power structure in Morrowind: the Legion, the Proconsul and the nobility. I do not think the Proconsul was ever intended to be a robust position; the Proconsul represents the Emperor in Morrowind, but so as not to be perceived as heavy-handed the Empire exercises most of its power on Morrowind through the nobility. The Proconsul is essentially a glorified liaison. Which also explains why he’s off in Narsis while most of Morrowind’s Imperial government is based in Old Ebonheart.

So at the top you have Emperor→Elder Council
Then you have three diverging branches:
→King→Dukes→…
→Proconsul
→Lord General→…
Additional branches are:
-the Imperial Navy, which may be associated with the Imperial Legion structure, though I’m not quite happy with the idea. I think the navy in Morrowind should be part of one of the Empire’s fleets; perhaps the remnants of the Far East Fleet created for the Akaviri invasion (though obviously none of the actual ships in the fleet would be that old). The fleet would be primarily based in Thorn in the Black Marsh or some other Black Marsh port, with the ships harboured in Old Ebonheart and probably Firewatch representing but a smallish part of it. As such, I think the navy commander in OE should have a title along the lines of Rear Admiral.
-the Imperial Coastguard is located in Seyda Neen in vanilla Morrowind, where it is linked with the Imperial Office of Census and Exise. I’m not completely sure who either should report to; possibly the individual dukes?
-the Blades. Important note: I do not think they should serve as the Emperor’s bodyguard. The Emperor’s personal guard are members of the aptly named Imperial Guard, which also defend his representatives in the provinces including the Dukes of Morrowind. The Blades are spies reporting directly to the Emperor. The Blades on Vvardenfell are all focused on preparing a route for the Imperial Legions to Red Mountain should things go very far south with Dagoth Ur, and at least some of the Blades on the mainland should probably be trying to ensure the Legions can get to Vvardenfell in the first place.
-the Imperial Guard, as above, is an elite unit of the Imperial Legion as per the Morrowind ‘Imperial Guard’ topic.
-the Imperial Cult is the ‘missionary arm of the great faiths’ as per Morrowind dialogue, and probably (as with the blades and others, I suppose) best discussed elsewhere. Its oracles (I think we agreed on this) receive one-way Dreamsleeve transmissions from the Elder Council. The oracle quests in vanilla Morrowind may represent attempts by the Elder Council to better equip their agent in his mission to become recognized as Nerevarine and defeat the threat that is Dagoth Ur.

I’ll probably leave my reply to the Talos Cult to a later post as this one is long enough, but to keep things short: while the Talos Cult is treated as a sinister organization from the persective of the Imperial Legion, I’m wondering whether that should really be the case. They are certainly trying to topple the status quo, (so as far as I’m concerned the general plot of the suggested questline would work), but perhaps toppling the status quo at that point might have averted the fall of the Empire six years later when the Mythic Dawn were ready for it.

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A couple of things from the Cyrodiil side:

Basically, Imperial Governors appear to be direct apointees of the Emperor (or perhaps Elder Council), and the Empire appears to have generally favoured replacing the governors in the long-term with Empire-friendly (or that’s the hope anyway) nobility, with the perception that the latter would be more easily accepted by the local populace.

Governors would definitely be Council-appointed. The instatement of “new” nobility was an Empire-wide thing: Tiber Septim tried to rationalize the different noble institutions of the provinces into a kind of Napoleonic system which placed supreme authority with the position of Emperor. In the same vein, the old kings of Colovia were ousted and replaced by the counties (deemed insufficiently loyal, of course).

I do not think the Proconsul was ever intended to be a robust position; the Proconsul represents the Emperor in Morrowind, but so as not to be perceived as heavy-handed the Empire exercises most of its power on Morrowind through the nobility. The Proconsul is essentially a glorified liaison.

This is generally something I agree with, though the relation between the Emperor and the Elder Council is more complex and volatile. In Cyrodiil, the Emperor acts through the nobility because they are most loyal to him, while the Elder Council influences affairs through the Curia, the courts of administration. The Proconsul, then, would represent the Elder Council – as Consul, he actually has a seat on the Council or in one of the sub-choirs.

the Blades. Important note: I do not think they should serve as the Emperor’s bodyguard.

I kind of disagree. It is true that there is an Imperial/Duke’s Guard, but their role in Imperial politics is closer to that of the Praetorian Guard. The advantage of the Blades is that they are fanatically loyal to the Emperor, and are not corrupted by the normal chain of command. Which is why the Emperor favors them for his own protection.

Its oracles (I think we agreed on this) receive one-way Dreamsleeve transmissions from the Elder Council.

That is … honestly not really something I can work with for Cyrodiil. In general, I think it is a bad idea to try and recontextualize vanilla quests in this way, especially if their nature is inherently ambiguous. It would be an interesting plot point for TR to feature an Oracle who is allied to the Elder Council or is unwittingly exploited in this way, but to say that all Oracles of the Nine Divines are shills for the Council is a bit much. Remember that the Divines are actual presences in the world, who do in fact send down manifestations and the like (the player even meets a couple of them). This idea also only works within the framework of Morrowind’s united, Empire-focused missionary cult, where every temple is inside of a Legion fortress. In toher provinces, the Imperial Cult is much more scattered and factionalized, and would not be an effective political tool (if it even is one in Morrowind). Not to mention that the Council itself is factionalized, and would not unanimously support the Emperor’s Blades-directed prophecy-scams (if they know of it).

From How the Talos Cult Came To Be posted on the old forums...

I like the basic concept you’ve hammered out for the Talos Cult as a lower-class, common troopers affair, tying into the mythology of Emp Zed and Tiber Septim. I am hoping to implement the cult in Cyrodiil’s Colovian Legions in line with TR’s Talos Cult. However, I can’t take this book serious as a physical object. It would just about work as a piece of dialogue, but never as a printed or written pamphlet. The weird vernacular dialect, the spitting and tongue-clicking sounds, the ending where he keeps on writing as they break down the door… My apologies if this comes across as rude, but this isn’t a book, it’s an audiolog. This would work much better if it was written as a clandestine pamphlet printed for and shared by troopers, aimed at spreading the faith in simple, easy to understand language and metaphors. The folksy dialect could be replaced with spelling errors and such.

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Thank you for chiming in, Infragris! I was actually hoping you’d comment this thread. The political system you’ve crafted for Province: Cyrodiil is excellent and you’ve clearly put a lot though into it.

The idea of making the Proconsul a voice for the Elder Council, rather than a “Voice of the Emperor” – which our plans were, makes perfect sense. Suddenfly Morrowind province’s Curia/Nobility dichotomy is much clearer: King leads the Nobility, Proconsul the Curia.

Your comments about How Talos Cult Came To Be are far from rude. It does read like transcription of speech; the inspiration for the dialect were old western preachers – the narrating voice is partly quoting from memory and partly improvising, and the scribe is writing down frantically every utterance, tsk, and exhale because every word is sacred. I understand that the effect may seem undesirably weird. A pamphlet might work better like you suggest.

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Governors [...]

This works as far as I’m concerned. I do get the impression Tiber Septim personally selected governers back in his day, but I doubt the Elder Council was much of a force back then and that’s ancient history as far as our projects are concerned anyway.
As a side note, I would assume that in the provinces locals would talk about ‘the Emperor’ a lot when meaning ‘the Elder Council’, effectively as shorthand, whereas in Cyrodiil people would tend to be more familiar with the workings of the Empire and differentiate between the two. This would probably especially be the case in Morrowind where the Empire often seems to be perceived less as a complex political body and more as a sort of abstract, foreign, often antagonistic force.

This is generally something I agree with, though the relation between the Emperor and the Elder Council is more complex and volatile. In Cyrodiil, the Emperor acts through the nobility because they are most loyal to him, while the Elder Council influences affairs through the Curia, the courts of administration. The Proconsul, then, would represent the Elder Council – as Consul, he actually has a seat on the Council or in one of the sub-choirs.

I think this is certainly one case where we can play on the complexity of Emperor-Elder Council relations. I think cutting the line too sharply between nobility and – essentially – civil servants would be a bit too simplistic; nobility always require a body of appointed servants to function anyway, and even assuming Morrowind’s nobility were loyal to the Emperor the Emperor would still need a channel of communication with said nobility.
Perhaps, similarly to governors, the Proconsul was originally intended as the Emperor’s liaison but, with the rise in power of the Elder Council, the position has often become coopted by them, and by now has effectively become a puppet of Empire internal politics, appointees either being loyal to the Emperor or the Elder Council depending on which one of them currently has the upper hand in their eternal power struggle.
Though as a matter of fact, I’d assume that the Hlaalu Council Company and consequently most of Morrowind’s nobility probably have historically had closer ties to the Elder Council – I’d imagine a small number of Hlaalu would sit on the Elder Council – than to the Emperor ever since Symmachus died. Which is a point largely rendered moot by Helseth, who I doubt is particularly close to either.

I kind of disagree. It is true that there is an Imperial/Duke’s Guard, but their role in Imperial politics is closer to that of the Praetorian Guard. The advantage of the Blades is that they are fanatically loyal to the Emperor, and are not corrupted by the normal chain of command. Which is why the Emperor favors them for his own protection.

This does seem to be a point of disagreement, certainly. I still think that the Blades should strictly be the Emperor’s spies, and that while, certainly, some Imperial Guards might serve as Blades and some Blades as Imperial Guards, (for instance to keep an eye on the other Imperial Guards and ensure that they remain loyal to the Emperor), being a Blade should not automatically make you a bodyguard to the Emperor.
I also think that any organization with a position of power and access to the Emperor would be at risk of corruption. While a rough comparison, to my understanding the Janissaries were established because the Ottoman rulers did not trust the tribal warriors at their command, who were often more loyal to their tribes. The Janissaries, as slave soldiers taken as children from Christian families and trained to be faithful to the sultan, were free of such ties. They ended up forming their own ties within the Janissary corps, though, and became a powerful faction in their own right, which came to challenge the power of the sultan as the tribes had done before.
I think providing the Blades with visible, recognizable positions, uniforms and especially a stronghold like Cloud Ruler Temple and such would be more of a liability than keeping them a looser clandestine organization specifically appointed by the Emperor. Certainly it would be harder to try and bribe Blades if you weren’t able to identify any of them, and it would be harder for Blades to become a faction in their own right if its members don’t know any members outside of their own cell.

[...] Oracles [...]

I should have linked the original discussion thread, really. As arvisrend said at the end, I think the ideas work together, and (a point I forgot), if the communication is specifically from the Moth Priests one could still argue the Oracles are ultimately receiving ‘transmissions’ from the gods. (Really, in a sense, the Moth Priests themselves serve as oracles in TES). I could well imagine that this use of Oracles would be more common in Morrowind, which through the Armistice maintains a greater degree of autonomy from and ambivalence towards the Empire, than in the other provinces where the Imperial Cult would, as you say, have become more scattered and factionalized. Not to mention that, with more people worshipping the Nine Divines in the other provinces, the chance of those provinces producing genuine Oracles is much higher than in Morrowind, where most of the Oracles were probably specifically sent there.
Also, just to be clear, I doubt we’d expand on the original Oracle quests and recontextualize them explicitly; this belongs to the category of planning that doesn’t necessarily make it into the game other than through implication. For TRs purposes, for instance, this might affect the sort of quests Oracles would give the player, and astute players might notice a pattern in the quests, but I doubt we’d have people explicitly acknowledge that the Oracles are receiving Dreamsleeve transmissions, not in the least because only very few people would even know that and most of them wouldn’t be in Morrowind.

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I don’t see the use of diluting the definition of a consul or proconsul by having his origin or loyalties divided between Emperor and Council. The Emperor has his own liaisons in the governors, the legion, and the nobility, who can fill any narrative purpose that a Consul could. Also, it would be more in line with the actual definition and origin of the title to tie it entirely to the Council: a proconsul, during the Roman Republic, was a magistrate appointed by the senate specifically to manage the administration of conquered territories: pretty much exactly what you have here. Even the word is derived from consulare, to take council.

Almost all official Morrowind representation in the capital is probably done by Hlaalu associates, save perhaps a confused Indoril or Redoran somewhere. A Hlaalu should definitely sit on the Council (not to mention their influence in Cheydinhal and along the Blue Road).

I agree that the line between nobility and administration should not be very obvious. However, they do not intersect in the way you suppose. The Emperor can communicate to his allies through personally appointed envoys, diplomats, Legion couriers, and the Blades. The plot of Daggerfall is a great example of the latter. Noblemen obviously need clerks, tax collectors, etc. to govern their territories, but these are part of local courts which derive their authority from the noble ruler, not part of the Curia (who are mainly active in the Heartlands). Membership of the Curia is its own form of nobility (in Cyrodiil, at least). This dynamic is comparable to the rivalry between the French Nobles of the Sword and the Nobles of the Robe: the former an old, knightly order whose rule is based on military strength and land ownership, the latter a modern form of nobility dependent on a judicial or administrative post.

I’ve flip-flopped a bit on the role of the Blades in Cyrodiil, but currently they fill the same role they had in Morrowind: spies, hidden among the population. Some (trusted) Blades are bodyguards or the Emperor (and otherwise dispersed in secret through the court), but this is not their natural role, and may be a recent development. I still think places like Cloud Ruler Temple are needed, but these can be disguised as monasteries for one of the many eclectic cults of the Nibenay.

Involving the Moth Cult does not solve anything, in fact it more problems for me. The Cult of the Ancestor Moth interprets the Elder Scrolls (which are explicitly not of a Divine nature), but are otherwise focused on the death rituals surrounding the moths and the production of ancestor silk. They are a completely different kind of faction from the official Imperial Cult and the Elder Council (in fact, they predate both of them). Trying to combine these three in some kind of illuminati conspiracy needlessly complicates things, and does not make a whole lot of sense. I understand that, for TR’s purposes, Imperial culture needs to conserve detail, but this is the wrong way to go about it.

I honestly do not see the need to change the nature of the Oracles from what they are: receivers of actual Divine visions. Obviously, we can weird them up a bit. Have them blitzed on Nibenese sacred narcotics, huffing sulfurous gases, insane, or catatonic when not in use. Maybe there’s an undead oracle somewhere because a Divine messed up and transmitted his wisdom on the wrong point of the timeline. Or two oracles giving contradictory tasks because they receive visions from conflicting fragments of Akatosh. Have the player sabotage Tribunal rituals because the Dunmer soul traffic is interfering with Divine transmissions. Use the Oracles to explore the nature of the cult and the inherent weirdness of the Divines, instead of as a vessel for other factions and storylines. As I said, I like the idea of an Oracle highjacked by some other power (Elder Council? Telvanni? Sload?) through dreamsleeve, and frankly it would be a waste not to use it for a quest. But it doesn’t fit as background for every Oracle.

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Infragris

I don’t see the use of diluting the definition of a consul or proconsul by having his origin or loyalties divided between Emperor and Council. The Emperor has his own liaisons in the governors, the legion, and the nobility, who can fill any narrative purpose that a Consul could. Also, it would be more in line with the actual definition and origin of the title to tie it entirely to the Council: a proconsul, during the Roman Republic, was a magistrate appointed by the senate specifically to manage the administration of conquered territories: pretty much exactly what you have here. Even the word is derived from consulare, to take council.

Hm, yeah, I do see how this could work. And also how the alternative could quickly toss the concept of conservation of detail to the wind. Though there may be potential in exploring the idea that the Emperor was formerly more autocratic before the Elder Council (re)established itself as a counterweight, and how that transition might have played merry hell on preexisting structures like the Proconsulate, Tiber Septim lived almost four centuries ago and the Elder Council has probably long settled into its current position.

Infragris
Almost all official Morrowind representation in the capital is probably done by Hlaalu associates, save perhaps a confused Indoril or Redoran somewhere. A Hlaalu should definitely sit on the Council (not to mention their influence in Cheydinhal and along the Blue Road).

We’re certainly on the same page here, down to the possible confused Indoril or Redoran.

Infragris
I’ve flip-flopped a bit on the role of the Blades in Cyrodiil, but currently they fill the same role they had in Morrowind: spies, hidden among the population. Some (trusted) Blades are bodyguards or the Emperor (and otherwise dispersed in secret through the court), but this is not their natural role, and may be a recent development. I still think places like Cloud Ruler Temple are needed, but these can be disguised as monasteries for one of the many eclectic cults of the Nibenay.

Ah yeah, I could certainly see the Cloud Ruler Temple being better disguised in P:C’s Cyrodiil than it was in Oblivion’s. We seem to be on the same page here as well. At least currently. cheeky

Infragris
Involving the Moth Cult does not solve anything, in fact it more problems for me. The Cult of the Ancestor Moth interprets the Elder Scrolls (which are explicitly not of a Divine nature), but are otherwise focused on the death rituals surrounding the moths and the production of ancestor silk. They are a completely different kind of faction from the official Imperial Cult and the Elder Council (in fact, they predate both of them). Trying to combine these three in some kind of illuminati conspiracy needlessly complicates things, and does not make a whole lot of sense. I understand that, for TR’s purposes, Imperial culture needs to conserve detail, but this is the wrong way to go about it.

I honestly do not see the need to change the nature of the Oracles from what they are: receivers of actual Divine visions. Obviously, we can weird them up a bit. Have them blitzed on Nibenese sacred narcotics, huffing sulfurous gases, insane, or catatonic when not in use. Maybe there’s an undead oracle somewhere because a Divine messed up and transmitted his wisdom on the wrong point of the timeline. Or two oracles giving contradictory tasks because they receive visions from conflicting fragments of Akatosh. Have the player sabotage Tribunal rituals because the Dunmer soul traffic is interfering with Divine transmissions. Use the Oracles to explore the nature of the cult and the inherent weirdness of the Divines, instead of as a vessel for other factions and storylines. As I said, I like the idea of an Oracle highjacked by some other power (Elder Council? Telvanni? Sload?) through dreamsleeve, and frankly it would be a waste not to use it for a quest. But it doesn’t fit as background for every Oracle.

Ah, I’d frankly not considered or looked deeply into P:C’s more in-depth treatment of the Cult of the Ancestor Moth. That naturally changes things. That the Elder Scrolls are explicitly not of divine nature is new to me, though; I’d thought they were given to man by a divine, probably Julianos, but admittedly can’t find the source at the moment. (Darn you Bethesta for naming your fanchise after an obscure set of artifacts you rarely mention, and darn you Zenimax Online in particular for calling your MMO The Elder Scrolls: Online and further muddling up the search results).
Anyway, one way or the other the basic concept is that some part of the Empire transmits messages to the oracles over the dreamsleeve. It would not be a grand conspiracy, it would merely be a classified practice, which is something massive countries tend to have in spades. The Blades themselves are a massive secret organization with members in all provinces hidden among the populace at all levels of society, something on a far larger scale than what is being suggested with the oracles, but I generally wouldn’t describe the Blades as a kind of illuminati conspiracy. They are simply a secret organization, whereas the transmissions to the oracles would merely be a clandestine form of government communication, both of which governments like to have.
I do agree this shouldn’t be the background of every oracle, and shouldn’t solely define the position of oracle either, but especially for an unruly province like Morrowind I think this idea has more potential, especially as the Empire is sometimes viewed as – and I think should sometimes act like – an oppressive, totalitarian state, and as it – in my opinion – should not only exert its powers by mundane means, whether military or diplomatic, but also (again, as illustrated by the Blades) through covert means and through more arcane means. Tiber Septim himself has occupied all of those roles, to a greater or lesser extent depending on which account you follow, and his shenanigans with the Numidium, association with dragons, the Thu’um and mantling are arguably those he is known best for.

 

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Oh, the power balance between Emperor and Elder Council flipped many times between Tiber and now. Check out the story of Uriel VI for a good example. There were times, not even that long ago, when the Emperor was little more than a figurehead.

The origins of the Elder Scrolls are disputed, but they are generally believed to be fragments from the creation of the world, existing outside of time itself. Some believe that the Aedra created them, others say that the scrolls predate them (which does seem logical in regards to Akatosh). Of course, this is all very heretical stuff in the eyes of everyone else on Tamriel. it’s not really known how they ended up in White-Gold Tower, but the Ayleid probably had something to do with it.

Your explanation of the oracle transmissions makes sense from the perspective of the Empire, but not from the perspective of the Imperial Cult itself, which arguably should take precedence in their own questline. Basically, it makes them look like a bunch of saps if their Divine visions turn out to come from some clerk in a basement beneath White-Gold Tower. I don’t think most player would appreciate it, either. Consider, too, that the oracle practice predates Tiber Septim and his wacky arcane antics. I suppose oracles specifically attuned to the revelations of Tiber Imperator could be Empire channels, since the Empire is the physical embodiment of that Divine on the physical plane. It would depend on implementation.

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Hm. Elder Scrolls = old design documents of Bethesda?

Perhaps you could do something toeing the middle of the line. Since Morrowind is about corruption and decay, the oracles are slowly being replaced by these puppet figures who speak from the mouth of the Empire and not the Divines. Through the course of the Imperial Cult quest, the player helps put the real oracles back in their place (orrr perhaps help the puppets slowly usurp them—without or without the player’s knowledge).

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In preperation for the upcoming Discord meeting, I believe the following still needs to be decided on the Ebon Tower's characters:

- Whether or not Old Ebonheart has a Baron, a Prefect/Praetor/Consul, or both. These positions would follow Province Cyrodiil's Imperial leadership structure for local governments.
- Flesh out the personalities of the Legion characters and the Dres Duke.
- Figure out what other characters we'd like in the Ebon Tower. Looking at the tower claims, these roles seem to be underdeveloped:

1. The Hammerfell ambassador doesn't have a personality, though perhaps he or she doen't need one.
2. There's also the person in charge of the Imperial Census Office.
3. Should the Court Physician have a personality?
4. Perhaps the Valenwood ambassador could follow this character description from the old forums:

* Valenwood Embassy Head: 
Creepy Wood elf, but not in the normal fargoth sense. Conversation should leave the player with the strange feeling that the wood elf would like to eat him. 

5. I once had the idea of stationing a Blades diplomat in the Ebon Tower, based off of the dialogue quoted below. He or she could be the public face of the Empire's efforts to combat the Blight and Corpus crisis on Vvardenfell. The diplomat hasn't made much headway organizing a response, since most Imperial officials are too preoccupied with their own affairs. He or she is in the dark when it comes to the Emperor's covert plan to deal with Dagoth Ur.

The Blades is an prestigious service order for citizens demonstrating the greatest loyalty to the Emperor. To be named to the Blades by the Emperor is a great honor, and publicly acknowledged members serve openly in noble courts and diplomatic posts. Privately, many Blades members act as the Empire's intelligence agency. Such agents conceal themselves with secret identities, operating in disguise as couriers, observers, and spies throughout the Empire.

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Just a thought. What about Nolus Atrius? You know, leader of Balmora that doesn't exist. He could be either added to actual Balmora (since there will changes to Vvardenfell right?) or he could just be in Old Ebonheart for some kind of meeting.

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Undertaker

Just a thought. What about Nolus Atrius? You know, leader of Balmora that doesn't exist. He could be either added to actual Balmora (since there will changes to Vvardenfell right?) or he could just be in Old Ebonheart for some kind of meeting.

Several mods add him back in. It would create unnecessary incompatibilities, unless you have a really really good idea about how he could be used.

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Atrayonis

Undertaker

Just a thought. What about Nolus Atrius? You know, leader of Balmora that doesn't exist. He could be either added to actual Balmora (since there will changes to Vvardenfell right?) or he could just be in Old Ebonheart for some kind of meeting.

Several mods add him back in. It would create unnecessary incompatibilities, unless you have a really really good idea about how he could be used

I found him mentioned in this summary discussing Hlaalu ("Nolus Atrius — a NPC mentioned in the original game who wasn’t actually present — is Balmora’s (corrupt) magistrate, and lives in Andothren.") Is this still up to date? Sounds like a good idea to bring Vvardenfell and mainland together, although this appears to be more Hlaalu than imperial business.
 

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Yes, the 'current' plan as far as I know/am concerned is still to add Nolus Atrius to Andothren. He is a Hlaalu member, not an Imperial bureaucrat.

Also, might as well link the latest TR meeting summary, as this topic was discussed at length.

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Feeling inspired, I decided to try my hand at updating the list with feedback and ideas from recent Discord meetings. The following should capture most of the important characters living in the castle who would need unique personlaities. Any new bios are just my own proposals.
 

 

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