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Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

This is where any Blades-related discussions should go.

There are a few things I think should be kept in mind with the Blades:
-in vanilla Morrowind, the Blades were very strategically placed. Each agent had a clear purpose.
-the purpose of each agent in the game was inextricably tied to the mainquest. They were all put in place to counteract Dagoth Ur's machinations and prepare the way for the Imperial Legion to come in and clean things up if need be. I'll go through the roles of the individual agents later on, as I think they provide a good mold for how we should plan our agents, and because I think our network should be made to supplement the Vvardenfell network.
-in Morrowind, the Blades are spies. There are no outward indicators that someone is a Blades agent; they do not have secret rooms, do not have Akaviri armour or weapons, do not have a headquarters, whether secret or not. They are not tied to any Imperial officials.

As a result of the above points, and as I have already mentioned once or twice elsewhere, for the time being I think we should hold off on the Blades, and basically ignore their existance. As the only indicator that an NPC is a Blades operative is dialogue, I think the best approach is to figure out where Blades operatives should go, (which involves figuring out what, if anything, we will do with the mainquest, which we're far off from being able to do), find an NPC in that location who is not being used for any other notable purpose, and then turn that NPC into an operative. For most factions, such an approach would be slapdash. For the Blades, I think it's the best approach.
That being said, I'm not against discussing the faction. It's not especially useful, as too much can and probably will change before we're ready to do anything with it, but, as long as none of the discussion finds its way into the game before we're ready for it, it won't do any harm.

---
Nine-Toes wrote:
I'm trying to update our maps of the Bitter Coast. There are no goods maps of this area. Period. Islands, mountains, swamps, lakes, rivers. It's impossible. I'm getting to know the swamps and waterways here, maybe as well as the natives. But I can't blend with the natives, and I'm useless in the West Gash or the Ashlands. And I don't see why the maps are so important. Smuggling, maybe. But I'm wondering if they're thinking about landing and moving the Legions through here. In case of trouble.

It's quite likely that both of his guesses are right: the Blades are -- or more specifically Sjorvar Horse-Mouth is -- trying to get a handle on the smugglers of the Bitter Coast, for which task maps would be helpful, but more generally the Bitter Coast is a treacherous region, though still the best of the many bad choices Vvardenfell has to offer for landing an army, so good maps are indispenable. (West Gash is too cliffy, the eastern half of Vvardenfell too distant, not to mention all those rocks jutting out of the water, while the Ascadian Isles is dominated by Vivec, whose ordinators would probably not take kindly to an attempted landing of Imperial forces).
Elone wrote:
Part of the time I keep an eye on who comes and goes here in Seyda Neen. But most of my job is learning the land. Morrowind has been a province for centuries, but we really haven't had access to Vvardenfell until the last decade or so. It's a wild place, and even the natives get lost once they get off the roads.

Her mission appears to be broader than Nine-Toes'; she provides a general picture of Vvardenfell's terrain, and Nine-Toes maps out the useful bits.
Sjorvar Horse-Mouth wrote:
I monitor smuggling along the Bitter Coast. And the job's too big for me. They move moon sugar, skooma, raw ebony, Dwemer artifacts, you name it, through Hla Oad and Gnaar Mok. With the coast honeycombed with smuggler caves, and Camonna Tong locals carrying tiny packages overland by night, I'll never catch them. But maybe you'll have better luck.

His task is important on several levels. On the one hand, knowing the movements of the smugglers is another part of knowing the lay of the land. On the other, leaving a variable as unpredictable as smugglers unchecked can cause significant problems in the long-run. Indeed, the smugglers off the Bitter Coast end up playing a large if largely background role in the unfolding of events in Morrowind. It would not surprise me if Sjorvar Horse-Mouth's information spurred Caius Cosades to send the player to Addhiranirr to learn about the Sixth House's smuggling operations, and a Legion patrol sent to Gnaar Mok to hunt down smugglers with Sixth House connections was likely moving based on his information, leading to the discovery of the Sixth House base the player would later clear out.
Gildan wrote:
I keep tabs on Redoran's conflicts with Hlaalu and Telvanni. It's fairly easy. The Redoran Council is public and above-board, and they openly fund and support strikes against the rogue Telvanni bases. The dispute over Caldera with Hlaalu is more subtle. Redoran feels it should jurisdiction over the ebony mines, but Hlaalu and the Caldera Mining Company out-maneuvered them. Either one of those conflicts could flare into open war. Little we can do about it, but keep the Legion informed.

Having Hlaalu and Redoran at each others' throats would work to the advantage of Dagoth Ur. It would be rather hard to drum up a unified resistance against him if the Houses were too busy killing each other, not to mention that it would be rather hard to move the Legion through land in which Dunmer are busy slaughtering each other. A political and logistical nightmare. More broadly, as Gildan points out, House Redoran is the easiest of the three Houses on Vvardenfell to monitor, and as such provides the safest vantage point from which to observe House politics. Sending an agent to monitor the Telvanni magisters, who are dangerous, paranoid, and often crazy, or the Hlaalu, whose House has thousands of years of experience in plotting under its belt, some of its members having over a century of experience in plotting themselves, would no doubt be suicidal.
Surane Leoriane wrote:
I'm keeping an eye on the Caldera Mining Company. We all think something fishy is going on -- probably several somethings -- but we haven't penetrated their operation. They're probably skimming cash, or raw ebony, or both. But we're not quite sure who 'they' are. The Company has tight security. Worried about the Redoran -- who think THEY should own Caldera -- and the Twin Lamps, who want to embarrass the Company or help slaves escape.

The activities of the Caldera Mining Company have thrown a fresh bone of contention between the already contentious Houses. As such, Surane Leoriane's mission is basically the same as Gildan's, just with the focus on an Imperial company rather than House Redoran. Notably, the Empire would no doubt have considerably more leverage over the Caldera Mining Company than they have over Morrowind's Houses, and as such would probably be able to curtail its activities if things got out of hand.

Balmora is roughly in the middle of the various above operations, and as such forms a natural center of operations. It is also a large, fairly crowded city, which makes the activities of the Blades members within the city harder to monitor. As such Caius Cosades operates from Balmora, with the help of Rithleen, the courier. Tyermaillin provides support, whatever that means. (My guesses would be that he either helps out with various operations, for instance through specialist knowledge, that he's essentially counter-intelligence keeping an eye out for any suspicious activity, or that he's a spare agent kept around in case a new operation needs to be opened up or an agent who suffers some mishap like a blown cover needs to be replaced).
There are several holes in the above network. One that emerged during the mainquest was the Ashlanders, who turned out to be more important than anticipated. Hence the mission in which the player is asked to secure Hassour Zainsubani as an Ashlander informant, after getting scattered bits of information from other informants.

---

So the questions that face us are whether there are any other holes in the Vvardenfell network that need filling, and whether any new niches have opened up for operatives with the addition of the mainland.
And for the time being, as I've said, I think we can't really judge that. However, as I have too much time on my hands, and the fancy struck me, here's an example of how a Blades network could look:

First, if the Legion is planning to land in the Bitter Coast, the natural next step is to take that idea and work backwards. How is the Legion going to get to the Bitter Coast? Amassing a fleet of transports in either Ebonheart would draw too much attention, not to mention that they'd need to sail the fleet past Vivec and Andothren to reach the Bitter Coast. Not very subtle. Sailing a fleet all the way from Skyrim down the Inner Sea past Baan Malur would make for a very long and equally visible voyage. It could work, but is hardly ideal.
A more likely plan would be to gather the Imperial Coastguard vessels and use them as transports, but I can't imagine the Imperial Coastguard controlling a large enough fleet in the Inner Sea to be able to rely on it alone.
My suggestion would be that, rather than gathering up a fleet in a specific location, the Imperial Legion would board ships scattered along the coast and converge on the Inner Sea.
Where would they keep the ships? Most of the ports on the west bank of the Inner Sea are controlled by House Redoran. That being said, it's not as though only Redoran ships can dock at those ports. The Redoran would not like it if a bunch of Imperial ships were in all of their ports, but as long as the ships did not overtly belong to the Empire that would not be a problem. The natural cover would be to pretend that they are ordinary merchant vessels. Or better yet, have the ships actually be ordinary merchant vessels.
As the ships would draw too much attention if they just sat around in harbour, one would expect them to move around, but at the same time their movements would need to be coordinated so that at the slightest notice the ships could lie ready at the pre-designated loading locations to receive their load. People who would be able to pull that off would be successful Imperial entrepreneurs or important members in an Imperial trading company. Which brings us to our first operative:

1. The largest trading company, which would command the largest fleet, and as such be best suited for the job, is the East Empire Company. As such, I suggest that a higher-up of the company is a Blades agent, who has worked out specific patterns for the naval routes in the western Inner Sea in such a way that each ship is always close to a loading location, and can be redirected there at a moment's notice. I'd imagine he would be based in one of the Ebonhearts.

In executing such a large-scale operation, it would be very important to keep a close eye on House Redoran, to make sure it doesn't get wind of it. To this end I suggest two more operatives:

2. One operative located in one of the small Redoran ports -- or better yet a shipmaster or sailor who travels between the Redoran ports -- whose task is to keep an eye on the local Redoran and their movements, listen in on the local gossip, etc. A Dunmer would naturally be ideal, but the Blades didn't have that luxury on Vvardenfell and may not here either.
3. Another operative located in Baan Malur, basically the mainland version of Gildan, but with less of a focus on politics between Houses and more of a focus on developments within House Redoran. Keeps an eye on the political landscape of Velothis and reports any developments which could affect the Legion's movements, whether for good or for ill.

So that explains how the Legion would be able to cross the Inner Sea, but how would they end up in Redoran lands in the first place?
Trekking all the way down from Dunmereth Pass would be brutal in and of itself, even without factoring in the difficulty of not being spotted by House Redoran. Rift Pass is controlled by House Redoran, and the pass right next to Kogotél is a no-go for obvious reasons. Shadowgate Pass is too far south, and would require crossing the Armun An and Roth Roryn.
Again, the obvious solution is to have the Legion trickle in from various scattered locations. The problem in this case being that there are not a lot of locations from which the Legion can trickle out of within Redoran borders, after ruling out the passes. If Cormar stays Imperial it would be one candidate, but otherwise all of the local Imperial forts are ruined.

This is where I get to more fanciful suggestions, which illustrate the difficulties in trying to plan out the Blades this early on, (though I just realized they also make a fair argument for having to plan things out ahead of time after all...).
There are three ruined Imperial forts in Velothis, as shown in RyanS' excellent Ruin Distribution map. I'd also consider placing one or two operating Legion Forts in the region as well, though I'm not sure about the idea myself. Working Legion Forts, if there will be any, are straightforward enough, but the Imperials need to have a good reason for returning ruined forts to operating order and filling them with troops.
The first reason that comes to mind is to quell some sort of unrest or try and clamp down on a conflict, which brings two possibilities to mind: a war between House Redoran and House Hlaalu, which is highly unlikely and would cause the Imperials a lot of trouble, and a conflict between the Redorans and the Nords, for which there could already be signs, (they never got along especially well), and which will in fact occur during the House Redoran questline. (And could be made to occur anyway once the player reaches a certain point in the questlines of other Houses).
Note that the Legion Forts would not have to become operable within the timeframe of the game, just like the Imperial Legion never does land in the Bitter Coast. The most that might happen in-game is new rumours popping up, to the effect of 'Commander so-and-so of the Legion has been trying to reestablish garrisons in Velothis. The Redoran aren't happy about it, but they're not in any position to go against the Legion. They weren't before, and they certainly aren't now.'

As a side note, while the Blades may not have been keeping an eye on the Nords within Morrowind, who at the start of the game are secluded and nigh-forgotten, it is quite possible they had someone way off in Solitude which, at least according to TESIV, was strongly expansionist at around this time, and likely was behind later Nord raids on Morrowind. For the most part, the Blades were probably just keeping an eye out to see if any opportunity presented itself. Hlaalu eating up Redoran -- at least for all intents and purposes -- might have been another viable scenario the Blades could have been eying.

A possible supplimentary idea would be to send some of the army through the Imperial-controlled passes disguised as ordinary trade caravans, but that would be a fairly risky move. Troops could also trickle in through Frostmoth.
That more-or-less sorts out how the Legion could be able to pass through Morrowind and over the Inner Sea to Vvardenfell. Note that the above scenario focuses Blade operations on Velothis and Redoran lands, making everything south of Roth Roryn relatively inconsequential. The Spymaster would probably be in Baan Malur, with perhaps one or two further members. Operative 2. could probably double as courier. Some other possible operatives:

4. An operative possibly based in Indal-ruhn who tries to keep tabs on the Camonna Tong as well as the Thirr River Conflict. As the Camonna Tong is the largest smuggler network operating in the Bitter Coast, I figure they require special attention. (Indeed, Orvas Dren ends up making a deal with Dagoth Ur). The reason I suggest Indal-ruhn as a location is because a lot of Hlaalu and Camonna Tong trade would pass through it, and trying to keep up with the intrigues that unfold within Hlaalu cities would probably prove too dangerous and difficult. As this location has been NPC'd, I'd even get as specific as to name candidates: Garvs Anrayn, who acts as steward and possibly brains of the one technically in charge of Indal-ruhn, (this does not preclude him being a loyal steward, as dialogue suggests), or Pjerulf or Fafni or both, who are Nord outlanders living in Indal-ruhn.
5. An operative based at Fort Frostmoth to keep an eye on local developments and probe Solstheim's potential as an alternate location through which to shuttle the Legion.
6. If Cormar is owned by an Imperial trade company, an operative there to keep an eye on it, similarly to Surane Leoriane in Caldera.

So the full network:
0. Spymaster located in Baan Malur
1. High-ranking member of the EEC located in one of the Ebonhearts
2. Shipmaster and courier travelling back and forth along the western Inner Sea
3. Agent based in Baan Malur keeping tabs on the Redoran council
4. Operative based in Indal-ruhn keeping tabs on the Camonna Tong and Thirr River Conflict
5. Operative based in Fort Frostmoth, keeping an eye on developments there
6. Operative based in Cormar keeping an eye on the local trade company
7. Possible further operative/operatives in Baan Malur

_________________
"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 Jan 13, 2015 5:28 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Ironed Maidens
Developer
23 Feb 2008



Will comment later on specific things; but one thing to keep in mind I believe is, as you said, the Blades were small, discrete, non-consequential (as in, without playing the MQ someone could literally go the entire game without even interacting with one of them), and at one point they figured out THEY WERE IN OVER THEIR HEADS. I still believe that even on the Mainland, it is important to portray Morrowind as a very ALIEN and UNKNOWN province. The Blades ended up not knowing the extend of the Nerevarine Prophecies and Cosades himself was probably freaking the fuck out beneath the surface about just how deep the feud runs between the Tribunal, the Dissident Priests, and the Sixth House.

This would all have to be taken into account, as well as some other Mainland Morrowind factors, such as any new Ashlander customs/beliefs we decide to come up with, House Dres and just how xenophobic/weird they are, how hostile the Telvanni are, how cut-throat the Hlaalu are, etc etc.

I think that the Blades on the Mainland should be in the same boat of the S.S. Holy-Shit-The-Dunmer-Are-All-Nuts-And-This-Province-Is-Crazy as the Vvardenfell operatives are. Subtlety is of course going to be one of the strongest cards the Empire can ever play in Morrowind, and I think given how much of a non-stealth game TES really is deep down, it translated into the game pretty well. Perhaps not ever operative has to be stationed in a city.

Maybe one or two of them can just be undercover as fishermen, or a farmer, or ala Cosades, an addict or drunk. Maybe even as a servant to a local Redoran lord or Hlaalu fatcat. Integration into the higher-ups of society is important too, I guess, but these are spies who are "the eyes and ears of the Emperor", and as such I believe that low-profile situations would suit them best. They are not above cleaning toilets or herding Guar to do what they need to do, is what I'm saying. Subtlety. Be so mundane that no one will notice you learning. Like the TV trope of the stupid janitor knowing the deep dark science lab secrets because no one cares enough about his existence to hide anything around him because he's "just a dim-witted janitor", but really he's a genius or whatever.

To also ramble more on the topic, I would even go so far as to suggest that maybe some of the operative have the job of just trying to decipher the local lore. I.E. how crazy is it down in Dres lands, or how do the currents of the Inner Sea change throughout the year, what's the weather like in specific regions, etc etc.
Post Tue Jan 13, 2015 8:46 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
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 Blades to keep things organised.

Post Tue Jan 13, 2015 10:53 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
6plus
Developer
24 Apr 2011



Gnomey wrote:
snip

I don't really like that invasion strategy; sounds like treating a whole army like commando units. Let me suggest a different one.

This strategy is a combined approach by:
    -ground forces
    -naval forces
    -diplomatic negotiations


The ground attack would be very small - I think half a legion would be sufficient. The plan would be to move the forces into Morrowind via Septim's Gate Pass, and take defensive positions right at the foot of the mountains.

The idea is to cut off the majority of Redoran territory from the rest of Morrowind. In order to do this the invasion force would secure the eastern bank of the river that runs from the foot of the mountains to the north. If you take a look at the river ingame, you'll see that it is ideal for a defensive position: cliffs or very steep banks. Securing that area to the south would be more difficult, but there are enough rock formations to form natural chokepoints which would be used to erect defensible blockades. The largest contingent would be needed north of Kartur to prevent relief efforts.

Supplying this invasion force should imo not become a problem, because a) it's a small force and b) it takes position very close to Septim's Gate. Since the force won't undertake large offensive operations (it could try to take over Kartur if possibly done with minimal losses), the supply lines are kept short and, more importantly, abundant supplies can be stored on site. Only extended periods of bad weather could threaten the supply lines; in that case supplies need to be brought in by ship.

The naval forces would consist of small, fast and agile ships that are capable of sinking or boarding other vessels (coast guard vessels seem to be ideal). Their directive would be to patrol the waters between Fort Frostmoth and Fort Firemoth and cut off Mainland Redoran territory from Vvardenfell.

The largest naval force would be needed at Fort Frostmoth blockading Baan Malur (Some of these vessels could be brought in from Skyrim). Further forward naval bases could be set up at Hla Oad and Gnaar Mok. Those are small shack villages with minimal armed personnel and they are hard to arrive by land being on the Bitter Coast. Ideally I'd like to have a second larger naval base at Fort Firemoth. Not only would that grant a strong position against the rest of the inner sea, but it would also threaten Kartur and make it easier for the ground forces to hold that territory. In case Fort Firemoth is not an option then another forward base should be positioned at Zaelbalmiran (north of Kartur).

The goals of these operations are as follows:
    -divide Redoran and the rest of Morrowind
    -buy enough time to bring up reinforcements (by ship from Skyrim most likely)
    -threaten to land the reinforcements on the Bitter Coast and
    -directly attack the Redoran council in Ald'ruhn
    -use these threats to negotiate a surrender of Morrowind


Diplomatic efforts are a key in this strategy, therefore aggressive negotiations would be necessary. House Redoran are most inclined to resist the Empire. By dividing Morrowind in Redoran territory and other territory, the other great houses will hesitate to support House Redoran (which will in return diminish House Redoran's will to fight). By attacking (or threatening to attack) House Redoran first, the first and best defense of Morrowind would be gone. Attacking (or threatening) to attack the council of House Redoran in Ald'ruhn first would deal a major blow to House Redoran making them vulnerable.

Here some important points for the diplomatic "attack": first, except for some small Redoran territory south of Kartur, the nearest territory would belong to House Hlaalu which are - conveniently - LEAST inclined to fight the empire. That means House Redoran can't expect much help from the south. Secondly, House Dres and Telvanni will have no territory in the west, they won't feel threatened by the empire; in conjunction with some "concessions" (e.g. not abolishing the right for slavery or house autonomy). That means that neither House Dres nor House Telvanni will be eager to help House Redoran (also they are pretty far away from the invasion area - logistically difficult). Only House Indoril are an element of uncertainty.

I can think of two ways House Indoril would react:
Either they realize that House Hlaalu will not interfere in the conflict. They will fear that, if House Indoril does interfere in the invasion, their political position be weakened (by fighting or by siding with the losers). And, that House Hlaalu will use Indoril's weakness to even more gain the upper hand in the Hlaalu-Indoril conflict.
Or, House Indoril will see that House Hlaalu hesitates. By siding with House Redoran immediately and pushing back the invaders House Indoril would drastically improve its political position. And, they could use that to regain ground lost to House Hlaalu previously.

Both of these reactions are feasible (although I personally think that the first one is more likely), therefore it's important that diplomats and spies make it clear to all great houses how they (and especially THEY) would lose compared to other houses in a war.


The role of the blades

Of course the blades will need to have access to decision makers in all great houses making sure they understand that a surrender would be beneficial for their house (or at least the smallest evil).

The agents on Vvardenfell would need to:
    -find a route through the Bitter Coast (if an attack on Ald'ruhn becomes necessary)
    -monitor smuggling operations (because smugglers know how to weasel through blockades and that could be a problem)
    -observe "Redoran's conflicts with Hlaalu and Telvanni" -Gildan (come on...)
    -monitor smuggling operations (because wtf is going on with the Sixth House here)


The only agent(s) vanilla is lacking is the one with contacts to the Redoran council.
[Then again, this could be a testament to how the blades as an imperial organization struggle in an land as alien as Morrwind. Like for example Caius Cosades spent a lot of time and effort to plant his agent in Baan Malur as janitor or better armorsmith specialized in ornamental armor. And just when it's done Bolvyn Venim moves the council to Ald'ruhn. Bummer! And you just can't move that janitor/smith as well, because that'd be suspicious to the power of two! Which means that Caius now has one highly trained agent janitoring/smithing in Baan Malur, and he also has to train and plant another agent in Ald'ruhn now as well.]

On the Mainland you'd have an agent in Baan Malur to observe the naval operations of House Redoran. If Baan Malur is blockaded, information from inside the harbor could become crucial. Perhaps that agent could even sabotage seagoing vessels.

About two agents on the west coast monitoring smuggling operations on that side of the inner sea.

One agent in Kartur (a fisherman?) who would observe Fort Firemoth. Freeing Fort Firemoth from the undead would be a major thing for a potential invasion.

Another agent in/near Kartur (a guar herder?) who would provide local information for the ground invasion.

Agents in conflict areas (Thirr River of course) who would gather intel about inter-house relations and politics. That intel is fed to the agents who are in contact with the decision makers.

Operation map for ground and naval operation:
http://imgur.com/lEbuPTP
Post Wed Jan 28, 2015 7:34 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Yeti
Lead Developer
15 Feb 2009

Location: Minnesota: The Land of 11,842 Lakes

6plus wrote:
[Then again, this could be a testament to how the blades as an imperial organization struggle in an land as alien as Morrwind. Like for example Caius Cosades spent a lot of time and effort to plant his agent in Baan Malur as janitor or better armorsmith specialized in ornamental armor. And just when it's done Bolvyn Venim moves the council to Ald'ruhn. Bummer! And you just can't move that janitor/smith as well, because that'd be suspicious to the power of two! Which means that Caius now has one highly trained agent janitoring/smithing in Baan Malur, and he also has to train and plant another agent in Ald'ruhn now as well.]
Or it could be a testament of this little tidbit:
Caius Cosades wrote:
"That makes you the ranking Blades agent here in Vvardenfell district. As far as I know. There may be other Blades agents here I don't know about. It wouldn't surprise me.
Should Caius Cosades have any authority over (or knowledge of) Blades agents on the mainland?
_________________
-Head of NPCs: Skyrim: Home of the Nords
Post Wed Jan 28, 2015 9:49 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

6plus wrote:
The plan would be to move the forces into Morrowind via Septim's Gate Pass, and take defensive positions right at the foot of the mountains.


You misunderstand; the plan would be to march against Dagoth Ur, not invade Morrowind. The convoluted plan I set up was for bringing troops through Redoran lands while causing the least offense to the Redoran possible, so that they would not have to waste time and resources fighting the Redoran.
That being said, plans for invading Morrowind would be worth discussing; I might think something up in that direction, after I check to see if we already have something on that topic. I just don't think the Blades should have anything to do with those plans at the moment; Dagoth Ur is an emerging threat, Morrowind seeking independence is a dormant threat.

You have, however, drawn my attention to the fact that Swiftoak moved Septim's Gate way off to the south in his map. I'll have to mull on that... (I assume he made the decision to limit the amount of passes out of Morrowind, as six is a bit much, though Septim's Gate is still on his map; it's just not marked as a location).

@Yeti: I don't think he should, no.

_________________
"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 Fri Jan 30, 2015 2:17 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
6plus
Developer
24 Apr 2011



Gnomey wrote:
You misunderstand; the plan would be to march against Dagoth Ur, not invade Morrowind. The convoluted plan I set up was for bringing troops through Redoran lands while causing the least offense to the Redoran possible, so that they would not have to waste time and resources fighting the Redoran.

TBH in that case it's even worse!

Invading enemy territory to fight a different enemy - with large forces of the first enemy on the back. I think that can only end in a catastrophe.

I can see two ways the empire can fight Dagoth Ur:

1) In an alliance with the Dunmer (or actually with House Redoran) which is unlikely.
2) So perhaps the empire has to fight the Dunmer (again mostly House Redoran) first; and if they want to have a chance against Dagoth Ur afterwards, they'll need to defeat House Redoran very quickly. Basically the empire has to force the great houses into surrender by a swift and determined action, possibly abusing the differences of the great houses against them.

So I'd say my proposed strategy is viable for both a war against the Dunmer and a war against Dagoth Ur on Dunmer territory (without the Dunmer interfering).
Post Wed Feb 04, 2015 7:54 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

The idea isn't perfect, certainly, but I can't think of anything better. A potential second war with Morrowind would not be better; even if the other Houses were not to join -- and Indoril and Dres, at least, probably would -- and even though House Redoran is the weakest House, it is still the warrior House, and they would not go down easy. Or rather they did not go down easy when Dagon invaded.
More to the point, House Redoran, even in its weakened state, acts as defender of Morrowind against such threats as Dagoth Ur. Even if they would not be willing to fight alongside the Empire, they still constitute an important line of defense -- no less because they guard the lands adjacent to Skyrim and Cyrodiil. At the very least they are valuable as a buffer, and by fighting them the Empire would be opening a path into Cyrodiil for Dagoth Ur.

While the Empire might be able to convince House Redoran to allow the Imperial army to march through their lands, I find that rather unlikely as well. House Redoran would probably only consider it after Dagoth Ur gains too much ground to be properly contained in Vvardenfell anyway, making the whole issue moot. I suppose this is debatable though; House Redoran's finest warriors and leaders are all in Ald-ruhn, and would be the first to receive the brunt of Dagoth Ur's invasion. The Redoran on the mainland might go so far as to accept Imperial aid to extract their best forces from such a predicament. Maybe.

The distance between Morrowind's western border and the Inner Sea is relatively short, and the area sparsely populated (relatively speaking); I think a properly planned forced march over land, and avoiding major Redoran centers, could be pulled off without drawing too much attention to itself. Especially if done in small stages well ahead of time. More to the point, the forces would probably be able to reach their destination before House Redoran could properly check their advance, so even if House Redoran were to observe the movement of Imperial troops it would be more likely to become a particularly thorny diplomatic situation to be dealt with afterwards, as opposed to a direct and violent confrontation.

An alternative route which may or may not be more viable would be up the western bank of the Thirr -- I do not see crossing the Armun Ashlands and Roth Roryn as a realistic proposition. However, this route would be a lot longer, and it would be difficult to avoid the attention of House Indoril, who would see the presence of a significant Imperial force in the area as a very significant threat. Still, this might actually be a more viable approach, if the Empire can get the Temple to cooperate, which may or may not be possible. It's certainly worth exploring as an alternative.

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klep
Lead Developer
23 Nov 2014

Location: Europe

If the Empire wants its troops to get to Vvardenfell so badly, why go through all the Redoran trouble if there's plenty of Hlaaly territory to move through?
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Marandahir
Member
09 Dec 2008



Hlaalu may or may not support Imperial troops moving through their territory: last I heard, Othreleth Woods were controlled by the Cammona Tong, who REALLY don't like the Empire. In addition, the main route would either be through Narsis and the Shipal-Shin by way of Septim's Gate, or through Shadowgate Fortress near Kragenmoor if that's still possible an entrance. Either way, you wouldn't go overland – it's too long and too difficult to pierce through the deserts, badlands, and ashlands. Instead, they'd take the rivers and lakes, and those would take them way too close to Indoril and Temple holdings. They'd have to pass through Almas-Thirr, and that would get them into the same issue as Redoran. It's probably easier to march from Riften or Windhelm through the Rift or Dunmereth Passes and cross the very small amount of Redoran land to the Inner Sea.
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Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

Yeah, Hlaalu territory is fine, or at least the Imperials probably think it's fine, but to get from Hlaalu territory to the Inner Sea you either have to cross two of Morrowind's most arid -- and especially in the case of Roth Roryn confusing -- regions, or you have to go up the Thirr River Valley, which would draw the unwanted attention of House Indoril and the Temple.
While House Indoril would no doubt get angry at the news of an Imperial army marching through Redoran lands, that doesn't really compare to the Imperial army appearing in a place as economically and politically important as the Thirr River Valley, especially considering House Indoril's paranoia and resentment over losing territory there, largely due to the blow dealt them by Tiber Septim's invasion. Edit: and especially because Tiber Septim's invasion probably used the same route up the Thirr.

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Marandahir
Member
09 Dec 2008



Especially if we've decided that Septim's Gate is by Narsis, that would make sense.

I expect, however, that there would be a complex Blades network in Hlaalu lands too. The purpose would be quite different than dealing with the potential invasion; it might instead be focused on managing Hlaalu. I know that Caius Cosades says stay the hell away from the Cammona Tong, but perhaps a branch focused on Hlaalu lands between Narsis, Kragenmoor, and Andothren would be more willing to try to get someone on the inside, get some influence, or at least try to figure out what they're trying to accomplish. Considering that Orvas Dren was plotting with Dagoth Ur to kill the Duke of Vvardenfell, the potential fallout of Cammona Tong plots could be really damaging to Ebonheart's influence on the mainland.
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6plus
Developer
24 Apr 2011



Gnomey wrote:
The idea isn't perfect, certainly, but I can't think of anything better. A potential second war with Morrowind would not be better; even if the other Houses were not to join -- and Indoril and Dres, at least, probably would -- and even though House Redoran is the weakest House, it is still the warrior House, and they would not go down easy.

That is exactly my point: if the Empire sends troops to Vvardenfell, a war with Morrowind/Redoran is almost inevitable.

Gnomey wrote:
More to the point, House Redoran, even in its weakened state, acts as defender of Morrowind against such threats as Dagoth Ur. Even if they would not be willing to fight alongside the Empire, they still constitute an important line of defense -- no less because they guard the lands adjacent to Skyrim and Cyrodiil. At the very least they are valuable as a buffer, and by fighting them the Empire would be opening a path into Cyrodiil for Dagoth Ur.

I thought about that as well, but I think the Empire needs to deal with Dagoth Ur and the Sixth House proactively. From a strategic POV they have no idea how strong the Sixth House might become - it's better to act before they grow to strong (think Camoran Usurper). And, from a political POV it might be bad to let the Sixth House conquer large parts of Vvardenfell, that could lead to some bad blood among the people (again think Camoran Usurper).
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Yeti
Lead Developer
15 Feb 2009

Location: Minnesota: The Land of 11,842 Lakes

Wouldn't the Empire have the recognized right to march its army through Morrowind? They have dual sovereignty over the province and already station a sizable number of legion troops there. I imagine some Great Houses would want to take advantage of any opportunity to regain their nation's freedom, but wouldn't the Redoran and Indoril have to wait for explicit approval from the Tribunal to rebel and break the armistice?
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