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rot
Lead Developer
21 Oct 2012



I don't have enough to open this with a doc, so what you get is a flash recap and lots of questions. This concerns both the role of the Morag Tong in the world and the potential playable faction.

The Morag Tong (foresters' guild) is the legal guild of assassins in Morrowind. Their guild halls are open and public. They kill "in the name of Mephala", impartially carrying out executions they're paid for, following a strict set of rules. They play a peacekeeping role in the grand scheme of things, avoiding large, bloody conflicts (House Wars) through targeted "secret murder".
(Not so secret in the game: assassins get a writ that lets them get away clean when presented to the guards.)
(Dialogue goes to great lengths to ensure you understand they are NOT the Dark Brotherhood murderous splinter group. There is no need to further mention the Dark Brotherhood.)


background lore:

1- Morag Tong members are supposed to be straight Mephala worshippers.
- How does that work with the Temple? Do they formally have to stress the Vivec aspect of Mephala (or the reverse)?
- Mephala's sphere is secrets. Where does that aspect come in? Their activities seem largely public.

2- The legality of the MT would be more or less directly guaranteed by the Armistice, under conditions that only native Dunmer can be executed by the guild [citation needed]? Note that Imperial guards comply with writs.

3-
How do Tong handlers select contracts? Who decides which ones to take in case there is a conflict? Would they send assassins after both parties? How does impartiality work here - is Eno *Hlaalu* kept as their grandmaster? If so, why?


getting into gameplay:

4- Does a contract still stand if the contractor is dead? Do they keep sending assassins if one fails? Under which conditions can a writ be cancelled? (all of this relevant if the player is targeted)

5- I think we can all agree the vanilla questline, which consists in killing NPCs and that's about it, isn't very engaging. I see two ways of mixing things up:
- make fun, well thought-out assassination quests involving tricks, stealth, spectacle, ... this requiring planning even from the interiors stage
- have the later questline not be about assassinations, but rather exploring political or mystical aspects of the Tong. (ie making decisions as to who has to die to maintain the peace...)


This is obviously very early discussion, surely more questions than answers will crop up.
Post Sat Mar 08, 2014 3:00 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
EJRS
Developer
14 Aug 2013



1 - I envision the Morag Tong to be regarded as sort of a mystery cult, and something of a necessary evil. The whole existance of a sanctioned assassins guild, if I remember correctly, is portrayed in the original dialogue as being unsettling to people, yet is is deemed necessary on the higher level. I'd say something similar would apply to their faith.
Personally, I like the idea of gnarling things up by stressing the Vivec-Mephala connection in their worship. It gives another complicating angle to the already ambiguous Vivec-character, and makes the Morag Tong faith a bit more characterful.

3/4 - I would say that once a writ is issued, the target would be seen as offered up to mephala and practically being a dead man walking, no matter what. Thus there would be no conflict in two persons issuing a writ on eachother.
I'd say the keyword here would be "impersonal" - the Morag Tong assassin does not kill out of personal vendetta, but rather as a tool of Mephala. Their accepted function stems from them operating outside of the loyalties of the great houses. This also effectively eliminates partiality.
In turn, this could form the basis of some interesting side-quests. Of course, there is always the larger scale corruption track to go down, but more interestingly I think it could reveal complexity and character on the more personal level. What if someone has been issued a writ on a close relative, and also, because they are acquainted with the target, would understand the reasons behind the issuing of the writ, which they would personally see as ethically unsound, but in the role of MT-assassin would be honour-bound to carry out anyway?
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gro-Dhal
Lead Developer
05 Nov 2006

Location: A charter'd street

rot wrote:
3- [/b]How do Tong handlers select contracts? Who decides which ones to take in case there is a conflict? Would they send assassins after both parties? How does impartiality work here - is Eno *Hlaalu* kept as their grandmaster? If so, why?


This is a key question and connects with your earlier point:

Quote:
- Mephala's sphere is secrets. Where does that aspect come in? Their activities seem largely public.


The Morag Tong is *not* impartial. They're not a for-profit business that accepts any job from anyone who can pay. They selectively accept and refuse contracts according to the desire of Mephala the webspinner, whose agenda they serve. It's impossible for anyone, even the MT, to see what outcome Mephala intends from killing one person here and another there, but as she's one of the patrons of the Dunmer it is assumed that all of kills she allows are for the ultimate good of Morrowind.

I would assume that they have some sort of oracle figure who is in contact with Mephala and is a conduit for her will. They decide which contracts to accept. If it's someone Mephala wants removed, the contract will be cheap. If it's someone she doesn't care about, the contract will be more expensive. If it's someone she wants to survive, the contract will be refused (but may be taken up again once the individual has served their purpose).

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immortal_pigs
Developer
15 May 2008

Location: Utrecht

Quote:
5- I think we can all agree the vanilla questline, which consists in killing NPCs and that's about it, isn't very engaging. I see two ways of mixing things up:
- make fun, well thought-out assassination quests involving tricks, stealth, spectacle, ... this requiring planning even from the interiors stage
- have the later questline not be about assassinations, but rather exploring political or mystical aspects of the Tong. (ie making decisions as to who has to die to maintain the peace...)


I don't actually agree with this point. I actually think the Vanilla Morag Tong is great the way it is, and we should just aim to emulate that.

1) We don't need every questline or faction to be engaging. Having some more "mundane" factions isn't actually a bad thing. This helps accentuate the uniqueness of the more special questlines.

2) We have limited manpower and there's no need to make something that works more complicated.

3) The Morag Tong quests are easy to implement, while still offering a lot of gameplay value. They facilitate exploration of the gamespace, and it's their lack of pooha that makes them open to the interpretation of the player.

***

The way I'd like to see the Morag Tong would be more of the same. So you have around 8 guild halls spread across Morrowind. One thing I would change is having all quests be given from the Vivec base, players should be able to get quests from the local heads as well. So each of the 8 guild halls would offer a couple of writs of execution.

One addition I would like to see though, is while still remaining essentially find & kill quests, we add some subtle elements of backstory so that the player can use their own interpretation to create the story of the particular assassination.

The important point is that the underlying story behind an assassination request is not made explicit by the morag tong; it's none of your business. But the player may find sparse clues along the tract of the assassination revealing the what and why of the assassination. I should probably give an example but I can't think of one yet.

Setting the easy to make writ quests aside, sure, the Morag Tong could get some unifying theme story quest once the player reaches a high enough rank, but it doesn't need to be epic or even on par with the Mages Guild or the Fighters Guild.

The Vanilla Morag Tong was a basic but functioning faction, and it should stay that way.

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Post Sat Mar 08, 2014 10:06 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
rot
Lead Developer
21 Oct 2012



"Impartial" of course meant wrt the Houses. (if anything meaningful is done with a playable MT endgame, it'll likely have to conflict with Great Houses) The jab at more gameplay-oriented discussion was on the assumptions that there'd be time to make a questline in the future and that we'd want to plan the bare minimum (guild halls, interiors, marks) for it not to be shitty - but let's not talk about exactly how good an idea it is to make faction questlines as boring as possible just now...

Figuring out some basic 'rules' for how the Morag Tong can be used would be plenty useful enough. + brainstorming any random ideas on how to make a legal assassination guild 'work' narratively ie why aren't all conflicts solved through it since it's considered to be perfectly honorable in MW. Making their fees prohibitively expensive is the basic way to make their existence not absurd, but an idea I find more interesting is,

resorting to the Morag Tong is (implicitly) dangerous: your part of the web is acting up, comes under the eye. If your contract is accepted, your enemy dies, hooray. If not, you've been noticed by Mephala for nothing. (or worse, made a suggestion they didn't like)


Re: secrets : so they're entirely in Mephala's reasons for chosing contracts. (and also who contacted the assassinations, which I assume is never revealed even if the execution is spectacular and publicly declared)

gro-Dhal wrote:

I would assume that they have some sort of oracle figure who is in contact with Mephala and is a conduit for her will.


I was hoping for something less direct and more mysterious, but perhaps it can be spun to be less obvious.
Post Sat Mar 08, 2014 4:16 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
sasquatch
Developer
31 Dec 2013



I agree with rot's point 5 on MT gameplay. Not all the assassinations need to be complex but I'd love to see a handful of more interesting assignments that require more creative work to complete.
Some ideas:

Gathering info or clues at several location to track target
Making assassination look like an accident
-causing a rockfall or workplace accident
Framing someone else for murder
Remaining anonymous through assassination by stealth
-poisoning food
-setting traps
Assassinations at precise times for purpose of:
-public intimidation
-preventing unwanted chain of events

Maybe an official must be assassinated during a speech with the condition of it being a natural death so a slow working poison must be administered shortly before the appearance.
Etc

I'm not the best on issues of lore but these are some examples. I'd love to have more depth in assassination missions esp if someone is already willing to do the work/planning to make it happen.

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Rats
Lead Developer
03 Jul 2012



The problem with Morag Tong is that the murders are legal. There's no need for secrecy, no need for stealthy assassin action. In the vanilla the quests are more or less about walking into a crowded bar, bashing some poor devil's head in with a hammer and then show your papers to the nearest officer of the law. It's completely normal and therefore all the shady gimmicks and masked assassinations that were used in say, Oblivion's Dark Brotherhood questline aren't needed.

However...
rot wrote:
only native Dunmer can be executed by the guild [citation needed]

I'm inclined to believe this. The more interesting, sneaky assassination missions (the kind sasquatch mentioned, for example) could have non-natives as targets.

---

Other Morag Tong stuff to think about:

_Vounoura; a Morag Tong equivalent of Avalon, an island where the assassins that've become 'too famous' go to 'retire'. It's mentioned in several lore books -- the descriptions being rather vague and boring -- but we could take it and twist it into Morrowind-interesting.

_some archaic remnant version of a Morag Tong Night Mother (obviously called something else) acting as the oracle of Mephala would be interesting if done right. Ha, I'd even want to bring back some of the aspects of the Sisterhood of the Spider that you guys want to forget so badly Very Happy (as in: have some priestesses attend the shrines to Mephala, and why not call some sanctuary a "Threadstead"?)

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Andres Indoril
Senior Developer
13 Jan 2006

Location: Lost.... Somewhere?

immortal_pigs wrote:
The way I'd like to see the Morag Tong would be more of the same. So you have around 8 guild halls spread across Morrowind. One thing I would change is having all quests be given from the Vivec base, players should be able to get quests from the local heads as well. So each of the 8 guild halls would offer a couple of writs of execution.


Maybe, to emulate the way Vvardenfell worked, we could have smaller Morag Tong halls in some lesser cities, who get their writs from the larger, quest-giving halls, all of which have a shrine to Mephala and people who communicate with the Prince. Similarly to the room with Taros Dral and Senul Dathren in Vivec.

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Post Mon Mar 10, 2014 8:28 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Not
Lead Developer
01 Mar 2012

Location: Elsewhere

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought that you could get Writ quests from any Morag Tong guild hall, but you could only hand them in to Eno Hlaalu in Vivec. Now if that's true, then I feel we should do the same thing for the mainland, except have one more place where one could hand in quests. I like the idea of an Oracle, someone similar to the Listener of the Dark Brotherhood, though obviously NOT the same thing. I think that while the player can pick up quests from any guildhall, (whether mainland or on Vvardenfell) they can only hand them in to Eno Hlaalu, or the Oracle, who resides somewhere on the mainland.

While it may seem a pain to have to backtrack to the ends of Morrowind to hand in some writs, there's also fast travel, and so it that shouldn't be too much of an issue. Plus, I feel it really would be sticking to lore.

As far as the quests go as a whole; I feel as though we should keep it the same feel, but expand the number of writs, to encompass targets on the mainland as well. Again, the player can pick up the writs from any guildhall, but can only hand them in to one of two people (i.e. Eno Hlaalu or the Oracle.)

I understand that people would want to expand upon the quests to make them more interesting, but the way I see it, it's the Morag Tong, you go out, you kill, you come back. As far as making things interesting, like framing people or making it look like an accident, that's not the Morag Tong, that's the Dark Brotherhood. MT is honorable, they have the writs, so why go through all that trouble to frame someone else or make it look like an accident when what they're doing is perfectly legal?

On the other hand, as far as expanding quests go, I feel as though we should expand the Threads of the Webspinner questline, such as moving certain threads to the mainland, as it seems really weird to simply have them scattered across Vvardenfell and not the rest of Morrowind. On that same note, we could possibly add more Grandmaster Writs to the table, instead of just those four, and we could come up with another chain of quests, similar to the Threads, but something different altogether. Basically, the assassinations (imo) should be kept the same; go out, hunt, kill, come back. But that doesn't mean we can't add more additional quests that go outside of killing.

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sasquatch
Developer
31 Dec 2013



Reading further comments on Morag Tong its obvious the majority of the ideas I threw out will not work. I have since read everything I could find on them. While they are an honorable and legalized organization with writs of execution, I don't think its simple straight forward legalized murder. Most contracts should be part of a calculated plan that will dramatically alter the course of political affairs. It is important to consider the conditions purpose and after effects of each contract. Hopefully some of the targets will have their own story to tell and try to bargain their way out of their demise. Doing this at least would add an element of moral uncertainty and make the player weigh several options including whether some contracts should even be completed.

Next, in response to well made comments by Andres and Not, I think regional and central Morag Tong locations would be great. Perhaps satellite locations could be mostly concerned with local politicial affairs and contracts and only receive infrequent important writs by messenger from whatever the central location is. The most important contracts that must be most carefully handled and could effect inter-regional relations. These could be handled directly from the central location regardless of where the target is.

I think what is needed for these missions is some intrigue and sleuth work. Not every assassination should be simple. Many should involve forces that are directly opposed to the Morag Tong and may not even have a specified target.

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rot
Lead Developer
21 Oct 2012



Was trying to avoid the Oracle because it's very difficult to make it at all different from the Dark Brotherhood. Maybe if it's a nondescript person in a shack in the middle of nowhere (person changes every time?). Or a dridea, which just acts like a dumb dridea 99% of the time and only ever does anything special when Mephala REALLY does/doesn't want something done?
A ritual which can be practiced at any altar would be more practical and make more sense because guildhalls, but coolness should > practicality here


re:quests,
Yes, the assassinations are legal and that makes it harder to make things interesting, but that doesn't mean go out of your way to keep things boring. As Rats pointed out, the interesting, sneaky stuff can come from the 'grey writs' (which can be against non-Dunmer). That's probably near the end of a questline; mid can have roles requiring more trust that let you discover a few things about the Tong, like how contracts are judged (yes, it can keep some mysteries, but either you're not left completely in the dark or you don't become grandmaster of the faction. please.)
Early missions will likely be fairly straight, but
Quote:
sleuth work

can be sprinkled with more interesting requirements:
- you have to track down the target in an uncooperative town
- Spartacus scenario (figure out which one)
- questgiver suggests you try not to cause a bloodbath = optional sneaking/...


sasquatch wrote:

Assassinations at precise times for purpose of:
-public intimidation
-preventing unwanted chain of events


this can work, just the other way around: the contractor's intention is ^ , but you're given specific instructions so as to provoke the reverse results, through timing or otherwise. Making a martyr out of a target instead of intimidating the crowd...


Rats wrote:

_Vounoura; a Morag Tong equivalent of Avalon, an island where the assassins that've become 'too famous' go to 'retire'. It's mentioned in several lore books -- the descriptions being rather vague and boring -- but we could take it and twist it into Morrowind-interesting.


A small offshore shrine, hidden room with dozens of dreaming assassins wrapped along a giant web? Mephala's favourite pawns in stasis, in the eventuality they'd be needed again in the far future


Not wrote:
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought that you could get Writ quests from any Morag Tong guild hall, but you could only hand them in to Eno Hlaalu in Vivec.


That's not the case, and I don't see why we'd need to do the same if it was (nor not do the same because it isn't, if there's an actual story reason for it)
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klep
Lead Developer
23 Nov 2014

Location: Europe

Concerning faction relationships, or NPC reactions towards members of other factions.

In another thread I started drawing a table to determine faction relationships with other factions, which has changed a few times since the first sketch. The table shows NPC reactions towards members of different factions. The table should be read by finding the source faction on the left hand column, and matching it with a faction from the top row. See the table in the spoiler below.
Gnomey wrote:
First of all, in those graphs, I think the vertical columns are really the most important. They show how the opinions of members of factions change upon the player joining a certain faction.
Always remember that faction relations are inherently player-centric. The player will probably never join Her Hands, for instance, so figuring out what other factions would think of Her Hands would mostly be a waste of time. Figuring out what Her Hands thinks (if anything) of other factions is, however, very important.
Truth be told, I think it might be more reasonable to just figure out the vertical columns in the individual faction threads. This would split the task into bite-sized portions, allowing for proper discussion, and it would be rather easy to then go through the faction threads and gather the results.


Per Gnomey’s advice I am now splitting this up through the faction threads. Please discuss in this thread the reactions of other factions towards Morag Tong to keep things organised.



There has been some discussion about MT relationships before. I will quote the relevant posts below. Behold a wall of text.

Theminimanx wrote:
If we're going to ignore gameplay concerns in our faction balance, I might be worth considering re-balancing the Morag Tong as well. In vanilla, Bethesda made sure the Morag Tong wasn't disliked so they could let you commit some consequence free murders. But realistically, the Empire wouldn't approve of assassins running around freely. At least of one their targets (Larrius Varro) is a member of the Legion, yet simply by showing a piece of paper, his murderer gets to walk away without punishment.


Dreadnautilus wrote:
I think the Imperial Cult wouldn't really approve of the Morag Tong due to their Mephala worship and the fact that murder is presumably a grave sin.


klep wrote:
In my opinion the Morag Tong is perfectly balanced as is. Though it basically is a legalised band of murderers, they do contribute to keeping Morrowind a relatively quite place without too much dispute. The Imperials must appreciate this fact as well. And concerning the Imperial Cult, I imagine that initially they wouldn't approve of MT, but all things considered any faction would allow some hypocritical corruption "for the greater good".


Terrifying Daedric Foe wrote:
Regarding the Imperial Cult's opinion on the Morag Tong,
For my Gods and Emperor wrote:
The Imperial cults have the greatest respect for the high moral principles of House Redoran and the Morag Tong, and honors their different but noble conceptions of Divine Inspiration.


Theminimanx wrote:

Oh yeah, I forgot about the whole Morag-Tong-instead-of-House-armies thing the Imperials did. Still, the fact they also get to target non-Dunmer makes me think it would be more of a bitter acceptance (-1), rather than them actually being okay with it(0).

Nice find on the Cult btw, Daedric.

On a completely unrelated note: would it be possible to change to quote formatting? The massive text makes conversations hard to read compared to the textboxes I see on other forums.


Ironed Maidens wrote:
Here's my only issue with the Morag Tong in general in Morrowind.

They are supposed to be a secret cult, involved with the Webspinner and Plots. But every NPC seems to know they exist. So then what, exactly, is the point? I thought it was supposed to be more of a contract to kill a political figure by means of a Writ because NO ONE KNOWS WHO KILLED THEM.

If everyone knows the Morag Tong exists then as soon as a political figurehead dies, it's just another obvious finger-pointing at the Tong and it does no good. I get it that the Writs are still secret, so no one knows exactly WHICH House or person called for the Writ, but with the way politics is set up in MW it's not hard to tell which guild or House hates one another. So it kind of removes the whole point of the Tong. Like, ok, the House Dres leader was killed. We know someone from House Hlallu just contracted the Tong to kill them.

I think that the best course of action to take is to have the Morag Tong be waaaaaay lesser known, like...only the people in the position of being able to contract a Writ and MAYBE some veeeery specific NPC's would know they exist. This problem appears in vanilla MW as well though, where any random NPC can tell you how the House politics goes down.

I don't think this is a very good way of handling the secrecy of the Tong. But that may just be me being difficult. However the execution of the game play mechanics of the Morag Tong is a little too 'out in the open' for my liking.


Gnomey wrote:
A few quick points:

First of all, in those graphs, I think the vertical columns are really the most important. They show how the opinions of members of factions change upon the player joining a certain faction.
Always remember that faction relations are inherently player-centric. The player will probably never join Her Hands, for instance, so figuring out what other factions would think of Her Hands would mostly be a waste of time. Figuring out what Her Hands thinks (if anything) of other factions is, however, very important.
Truth be told, I think it might be more reasonable to just figure out the vertical columns in the individual faction threads. This would split the task into bite-sized portions, allowing for proper discussion, and it would be rather easy to then go through the faction threads and gather the results.
That being said, I'm not saying there's a problem with continuing in this thread.

Secondly, keep in mind that the earlier posts in this thread were written before we came up with the current identity for House Indoril, and as such take them with a pinch of salt.

As far as the Morag Tong is concerned, first of all the players' membership is supposed to be secret, as with the Twin Lamps and Blades. I personally think none of them should be represented in other factions' relations; instead, if you reveal your affiliation to certain faction members, for example when presenting a writ to a guard, there could be a specific disposition change for that NPC and only that NPC.
That being said, in theory it would not surprise me if Imperial factions had a slightly favourable opinion of the Morag Tong, though a slightly negative impression would work just as well. I thought I remembered a source stating that writs on outlanders are, in fact, illegal as a term of the Armistice, but the Morag Tong does them secretly. However, I assume that's a holdover from older planning that made it into the final product, like a lot of dialogue in Morrowind. (Read the entries for Dunmer architecture).
Finally, the Morag Tong is not a secret organization, and never was a secret organization. Their members are secret, (sure the player reveals himself when showing a writ to a guard, but technically Morag Tong members are probably supposed to/tend to wear masks), their headquarters are secret, how to join them is secret, but do keep in mind that they have very visible guildhalls in all major cities. They are not inherently secretive, they just keep a lot of secrets. Occasionally they like to take very visible action, whenever that pleases Mephala more, though that was probably more common pre-Tribunal.

Edit: post-Tribunal, the main purpose of the Morag Tong is to do all of the 'fighting' in House Wars, aside from duels. It is probably generally not a big secret who hired the Morag Tong for a hit, as most families would have only so many deadly fueds going at any one time. However, there are specific rules in place to avoid those fueds being drawn out. That's pretty much the point in using the Morag Tong.
For the times in which the contractor is not known, however, it's even less of a deal. Sure, the target's family might know that the Morag Tong killed the victim, but the Morag Tong is a tool, not an actor, and for the most part the victims' family would not take any action against the Tong. And would be stupid if they tried. If a House were to take action, they'd be attacking an important pillar of Tribunal politics and, to a lesser extent, society, which would create far more enemies than it's worth. The Morag Tong is useful, so it is tolerated, or even appreciated.


Ironed Maidens wrote:
I can see your points, and I agree with them, and they make sense in both a logistical and political way; however just HOW known the workings of House wars should be is something I am kind of worried about. There are various texts in-game that allude and even outright expose the dirty workings of higher-up House politics, but is it a concept that someone in a backwater shack village would understand? Like you said, the Tong is kind of in a position to make outright murders to please Mephala; so is it that they are truly just pawns to Mephala? Or do they operate on a profit-end margin as well?

The reason I ask is because I am wanting to heed caution of what is going to be done with Almalexia in the future, as well as any major Temples in Indoral lands; is there some type of anti-Temple hierarchy that goes along with the Morag Tong? It's something that isn't really touched upon in Vvardenfell but there are a few different ways to interpret one of the Anticipations and 'Good Daedra' operating in the economy and within the political parties the way they do. Just something to keep in mind I suppose.
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Theminimanx
Lead Developer
26 Jan 2014

Location: GMT +1

Paulus Hlaalu, Sub-Vizier of the Theoretical Dignity Club, Narsis wrote:

And of course non-Dunmer are forbidden to hire or to be marked; some say that Tiber Septim himself negotiated this arrangement with the Morag Tong at the time of the Armistice.

From Skeleton Man's interview.

Figured I'd post this here. Though this does make the writ on Larrius Varro extremely strange.
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Telvayn
Member
28 Jan 2014



Theminimanx wrote:
Figured I'd post this here. Though this does make the writ on Larrius Varro extremely strange.


It could have been a "grey writ". All the lore we have on those is:

Quote:
Morag Tong only accepts legally approved contracts called 'writs,' but rumor hints at the execution of secret extralegal 'grey writs.'
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Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

Hm. It would not surprise me if the information from the Skeleton Man's interview were outdated, as it was posted before Morrowind's release. That being said, the writ on Larrius Varo appears to be the only writ on an outlander, and may have been an oversight on Bethesda's part. Either that or, given that it's a grandmaster writ taking place after the mainquest, the Morag Tong figured it could use the opportunity to get away with some stuff that's not strictly legal, especially if it's the Nerevarine doing it.

As the Morag Tong effectively assassinated the Second Empire, I think it makes sense that Tiber Septim would try to add a stipulation to the Armistice to avoid that happening to his empire; after all, after his invading Morrowind, the usual clientele of the Morag Tong weren't really enamoured to him or his subjects.
I would consider turning the writ to Larrius Varo into a grey writ, or simply ignoring its existence.

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Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

A few points I wanted to make after looking at Andothren:

First of all, while I am already quoted as saying this above, I'll repeat it here for visibility, and as my wording then was non-committal:

No faction should have a faction reaction to Morag Tong except the Morag Tong. Membership is secret; members of other factions should not be able to intuit that the player is a member of the Morag Tong, which is the only purpose of faction reactions.
If we want to have an NPC discover that the player is a member of the Morag Tong and react to it -- for example a guard when handed a writ, or a relative of a target of a writ -- that should be done via a manual disposition modification. If we want to implement crazy ideas such as the player being outed as a member to either one faction, several or publicly, we'll have to find other ways to do so. Not via faction reactions.
Whether the Morag Tong should have faction reactions with other factions -- in other words, if Morag Tong NPCs should have a different disposition to the player depending on what factions the player is a member of -- is another question, but they don't have this in the base game either for whatever reason, so my tendency would be to leave off it entirely.

Secondly -- and this applies to most factions that accept contracts, but especially the covert ones, and is hopefully fairly obvious -- the identity of Morag Tong contractors should not be revealed, unless that contractor is the Morag Tong or its grandmaster or Mephala. Or the Tribunal, I guess; as if they'd rely on the Morag Tong. In other words, either specifically or broadly, the faction and those who have authority over the faction who are fine with their names being known.
Now, after that flat statement comes a lot of disclaimers. Having contractors revealed to the player isn't actually out of the question. I'm pretty sure it wasn't done in vanilla Morrowind at all, but it has been a while. Victims might drop hints as to who they assume was the one after their blood, or the player could figure it out through side investigation. However, most vanilla Morag Tong quests were very dull, straightforward affairs: this person has been legally targeted for assassination, kill this person, no questions asked, no answers given. And they were like that for a reason: the player is a hitman, not a hero there to hear out everyone's problems and save the day.
We naturally would want to spice up the quests, but I think adding overt stories behind the contracts or -- on different note -- having a there-is-a-traitor-among-us questline would probably be bad directions to go.
My first suggestion as far as spicing up the Morag Tong questline is concerned is just to have more interesting assassinations; make the player have to work to get to his target, and get away again.

Thirdly, and this is a general note, but I don't know where else to put it yet: the 'M' in Furn_De_Tapestry_M_01 stands for Mephala. It is -- at least in vanilla Morrowind -- a Morag Tong tapestry. Hence the large black Rorschachian design (66, the one with the four hands) splotched all over it. That's Mephala. It is not a normal decorative banner, and should not be included in -- say -- random Andothren interiors, such as the first interior claim I made for TR, which is a clothier. That would be stupid.

Fourthly, I think there should be a Morag Tong guildhall in every Tier II and Tier I city belonging to a Great House. So not Nordic, Imperial or (at least I'd think) Velothi settlements. Possibly in smaller settlements as well, if there's a really good reason, (such as in every Dres clanstead), and certainly in Andothren, which currently lacks one.

And fifthly, I'll add a note here: a lot of Houses will probably end up with more councilors than we know what to do with, especially smaller councilors, and there may also be some House conflicts we are unable to properly explore, such as -- perhaps, I may be wrong -- mainland Hlaalu-Redoran and Telvanni-Indoril. Now -- and this is very beside the point -- one way I would consider handling this is to have short side questlines which the player would not necessarily need to complete while rising up in a House, but that would round out the full experience. This could be what happens to the vanilla House questlines, in fact, to varying degrees.
But moving past that digression, I think another very viable option would be to note any councilors we are not currently using and reserve them for high-level Morag Tong writs. I think it would be interesting to portray a -- basically -- House War from the perspective of a Morag Tong assassin; targets that go into hiding, writs that are cancelled as the contractor or perhaps his whole family is killed off before he can take care of his end of the contract; Morag Tong assassins stumbling over corpses and each other; etc.
I would also consider, if we don't get rid of the vanilla Grandmaster writs, spicing those up accordingly. Assuming that writs against outlander targets are indeed technically illegal, it may be interesting to extend the Larrius Varo hit in particular and, perhaps, show some of the repercussions or reactions.

_________________
"The "drunks" are hopefully leading the "sober" in the right direction. They're just not heading there in a straight line...." - Kovacius

"I have nothing to declare except my genius." - Oscar Wilde, border
Post Thu Feb 26, 2015 1:18 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
otaku4242
Member
29 Apr 2014



just wondering where any/all guildhalls will be located. some of them public, like they are in gnisis, balmora, and others be secretive, like the one in vivec
Post Mon May 18, 2015 7:02 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

It hasn't been discussed. I assume we'd follow the same general guidelines as vanilla Morrowind; public halls probably located exclusively in Great House tier I and II settlements as well as secret headquarters with important guild members probably doubling as temporary hideouts for guild members whose safety is in some way compromised, as well as housing a shrine of Mephala, beds, etc. I'd assume we keep Eno Hlaalu as overall guildmaster, though, so I'm not sure if they'd necessarily have another secret headquarters.

2920 makes a reference to an island where retirees go to to spend the rest of their days, or something, and similar ideas for secret training locations and such have been discussed, but at the moment my tendency would be to avoid that sort of stuff, as it seems prone to get moddy, sort of like the retired Ordinator cliché. The Morag Tong is a legal organization, so I'd generally avoid making them seem too secretive and shady, unless we specifically want to explore that as a theme and possible source of conflict with Temple/Indoril/who-knows-what hierarchy.

I would also consider giving the Morag Tong subtly different roles and flavours in different House territories; I considered the idea of Indoril having a resident Morag Tong contact in their castle estates, and traditionally employing the services of the Morag Tong to resolve House Wars and major internal conflicts rather than relying on duels, the other legitimate method for resolving House Wars under Tribunal orthodoxy.
I could imagine a similar role for the Morag Tong in Telvannis, if the Telvanni make much use of the Morag Tong at all. In that case they'd just be another tool in a wizard's toolshed, and a rather situational one given their odd quirks and restrictions. Another, possibly parallel direction would be for more secretive headquarters-y Morag Tong locations to be located in Telvannis, as generally nobody would bother them there.
In Dres lands, also, it seems likely for there to be Morag Tong chapters in the clansteads, but more directly I'd imagine that the Morag Tong would be a lot more cultish and wild and, in short, as it used to be there. It would be an interesting question to explore.
Redoran would probably have guildhalls in their major cities as above, but otherwise would typically prefer duels to the Morag Tong as a way of settling disputes.
Hlaalu might be a mixed bag; some might have Morag Tong contacts like the Indoril lords, or perhaps even personal assassins or some other relatively shady (in the context of Morag Tong) dealings with the Morag Tong, if we want to explore that whole corrupting-influence-of-House-Hlaalu angle. The base-line would probably be the standard guildhall in major cities, and a lot of Hlaalu would probably prefer their own methods or goons to an independent organization like the Morag Tong.
But, again, those would just by my spontaneous thoughts on the matter.

_________________
"The "drunks" are hopefully leading the "sober" in the right direction. They're just not heading there in a straight line...." - Kovacius

"I have nothing to declare except my genius." - Oscar Wilde, border
Post Mon May 18, 2015 10:32 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
otaku4242
Member
29 Apr 2014



Gnomey wrote:
It hasn't been discussed. I assume we'd follow the same general guidelines as vanilla Morrowind; public halls probably located exclusively in Great House tier I and II settlements as well as secret headquarters with important guild members probably doubling as temporary hideouts for guild members whose safety is in some way compromised, as well as housing a shrine of Mephala, beds, etc. I'd assume we keep Eno Hlaalu as overall guildmaster, though, so I'm not sure if they'd necessarily have another secret headquarters.

2920 makes a reference to an island where retirees go to to spend the rest of their days, or something, and similar ideas for secret training locations and such have been discussed, but at the moment my tendency would be to avoid that sort of stuff, as it seems prone to get moddy, sort of like the retired Ordinator cliché. The Morag Tong is a legal organization, so I'd generally avoid making them seem too secretive and shady, unless we specifically want to explore that as a theme and possible source of conflict with Temple/Indoril/who-knows-what hierarchy.

I would also consider giving the Morag Tong subtly different roles and flavours in different House territories; I considered the idea of Indoril having a resident Morag Tong contact in their castle estates, and traditionally employing the services of the Morag Tong to resolve House Wars and major internal conflicts rather than relying on duels, the other legitimate method for resolving House Wars under Tribunal orthodoxy.
I could imagine a similar role for the Morag Tong in Telvannis, if the Telvanni make much use of the Morag Tong at all. In that case they'd just be another tool in a wizard's toolshed, and a rather situational one given their odd quirks and restrictions. Another, possibly parallel direction would be for more secretive headquarters-y Morag Tong locations to be located in Telvannis, as generally nobody would bother them there.
In Dres lands, also, it seems likely for there to be Morag Tong chapters in the clansteads, but more directly I'd imagine that the Morag Tong would be a lot more cultish and wild and, in short, as it used to be there. It would be an interesting question to explore.
Redoran would probably have guildhalls in their major cities as above, but otherwise would typically prefer duels to the Morag Tong as a way of settling disputes.
Hlaalu might be a mixed bag; some might have Morag Tong contacts like the Indoril lords, or perhaps even personal assassins or some other relatively shady (in the context of Morag Tong) dealings with the Morag Tong, if we want to explore that whole corrupting-influence-of-House-Hlaalu angle. The base-line would probably be the standard guildhall in major cities, and a lot of Hlaalu would probably prefer their own methods or goons to an independent organization like the Morag Tong.
But, again, those would just by my spontaneous thoughts on the matter.


actually, it turns out Eno might not be the only grandmaster. There might be 1 more.

You see, if you go here: http://uesp.net/wiki/Morrowind:Tribunal_Temple
There are 2 Patriarchs, or 2 "grandmasters" of the temple. The Patriarch on Vvardenfell is Tholer Saryoni and the Patriarch in Mournhold is Gavas Drin.

So perhaps a Grand Master of the Morag Tong in, not only Vvardenfell, but also on the mainland?
Post Tue May 19, 2015 12:13 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

They're completely separate organizations, so I wouldn't draw that link. I'd consider the possibility of each tribune having a patriarch, though I'm not sure who Sotha Sil's would be, if there is one, or what he'd do, or where he'd live. Maybe just stick one in Necrom, perhaps associated with the machine powering Ghostfence? That'll be something to discuss about the Temple, anyway.
_________________
"The "drunks" are hopefully leading the "sober" in the right direction. They're just not heading there in a straight line...." - Kovacius

"I have nothing to declare except my genius." - Oscar Wilde, border
Post Tue May 19, 2015 12:29 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
otaku4242
Member
29 Apr 2014



Gnomey wrote:
They're completely separate organizations, so I wouldn't draw that link. I'd consider the possibility of each tribune having a patriarch, though I'm not sure who Sotha Sil's would be, if there is one, or what he'd do, or where he'd live. Maybe just stick one in Necrom, perhaps associated with the machine powering Ghostfence? That'll be something to discuss about the Temple, anyway.

yah makes sense. vivec's patriarch is in his city, as is almalexia's, so sotha sil's should be somewhere nearby his clockwork city.
Post Tue May 19, 2015 1:21 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
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