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Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

The only thing I would consider fairly clear about Ashlanders on the mainland is that there won't be a lot of them. It is unclear whether -- but unlikely that -- the Ashlanders there are will play any role in the mainquest. While it may be harsh, I'd argue that the only reason the Ashlanders existed on Vvardenfell was to play a part in the mainquest, and I don't really see any purpose behind having Ashlanders beyond that.
Which is less to say we shouldn't bother with Ashlanders on the mainland, and more to say that I think we should give mainland Ashlanders a new and different role rather than making them more of the same. I'm not quite sure what that role could be, but the first summary here is a good place to start.

One idea would be to try and represent Ashlander culture more comprehensively and faithfully than Bethesda managed to do with limited resources (or, more likely, time) on Vvardenfell. Another would be to explore Ashlander mysticism and magic. Another would be to explore cults. There's a good deal of overlap between those themes, naturally.

A large idea would be to revive the character of Alandro Sul, who originally played a large role in the story of Red Mountain and Morrowind in general by witnessing the events at Red Mountain (I forgot precisely how much he saw, but he appears to have figured out who killed Nerevar either way) and passing them on to the Ashlanders.

Still another idea would be to more deeply explore Ashlander relations with other factions, like the Imperial Archaeological Society.

_________________
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"I have nothing to declare except my genius." - Oscar Wilde, border
Post Tue Jan 13, 2015 6:20 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 Ashlanders to keep things organised.


As the Ashlanders’ role in TR is yet to be determined, so is their relationship with other factions. I’d like to bring this up though so that we have something to think about. I must say I very much like the idea of reviving Alandro Sul, which could make the Ashlanders an interesting faction for the player.

Note, Gnomey, that the link in your post leads to a page inaccessible for members without specific usergroup rights.
Post Tue Jan 13, 2015 10:49 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.



I've put some more thought into this faction while working on the Thirr River Valley Buffer Zone camp.
Currently, there are three locations in the western mainland I would call Ashlander Tribal Camps (as opposed to random yurts): the Armun camp, a camp at the northern edge of the Grey Meadows, and the TRV Buffer Zone camp. I think this is a good number. I would suggest one or two more camps in Telvannis, and that should probably be the limit. (Though we could consider one in the Sundered Scar as well). I think most of them should be very small, even more so than the Ahemmusa. That is certainly already the case in the west.

Swiftoak and I messed around with some banner designs for the Armun, Meadows and Buffer Zone camps respectively:



The Meadows camp has four yurts; the wise woman's yurt and three under the large awning, which I would suggest belong to the Ashkhan, a gulakhan and a hunter.
My suggestion for the camp would be that all of the young Ashlanders have left to seek a better life in Redoran settlements, leaving their elders behind. (The hunter may or may not be an exception; perhaps he stayed behind out of a sense of duty to help the elders get by).
As such, things look rather bleak for the tribesmen, and they have trouble scraping by. They might all be willing to barter with the player, to illustrate how desperate their situation is.

resigning Age of Empires II AI wrote:
"My peasants' huts all faced different directions!"
The Buffer Zone camp has six yurts, including the wise woman's yurt and two that are under the large awning, which would belong to the Ashkhan and gulakhan.
My suggestion for this camp is that it represents the dregs of separate camps that were pushed out of their hunting grounds by the Hlaalu. Most of the tribesmen don't like each other, often coming from rival tribes; they don't like the Ashkhan, who is of another tribe from theirs; and they certainly don't like the Hlaalu. They will be very bitter and unfriendly with default low dispositions. Any members that didn't hate non-Ashlanders already left -- often to Andothren -- to assimilate into Great House culture. The ones who stayed behind are the ones too stubborn and spiteful to do so. Some might warm up to the player with higher dispositions, but others would remain spiteful, just not directing their spite at the player.

The Armun camp is the largest, with seven yurts including the wise woman's and the four under the large awning. They either relocated to the Armun Ashlands or, judging from their burial being right next to the camp, have always lived there, and have remained pretty undisturbed as a result, as even the Hlaalu aren't going to try to settle there.
As such, their customs and pride remain intact, and they'll probably be relatively relaxed but -- perhaps -- a little haughty when dealing with the player.

At the moment, I'm thinking that the player should not need to get their recognition as Nerevarine for the mainquest. They have their own problems quite far removed from Red Mountain. This is certainly a question that will continue to be discussed going forwards, though.

_________________
"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 Sun Apr 12, 2015 5:46 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Rats
Lead Developer
03 Jul 2012



Gnomey wrote:
At the moment, I'm thinking that the player should not need to get their recognition as Nerevarine for the mainquest.


I'm totally for this proposition. The Ashlanders of Vvardenfell are distinctly their own thing. With the mainland tribes we can explore other aspects of Dunmer tribalism.

Expanding the Mabrigash caste, having a woman performing as the Ashkhan (sort of like Egyptian female pharaohs), or indeed having a questline / new lore involving Alandro Sul. (A thought suddenly struck me; could Alandro Sul be involved in the creation of Armun Ashlands -- Sload once said that the Armun ashstorms were caused by a sentient ashstorm-being which IMO could be an incarnation of Alandro Sul's spirit)

With the Buffer Zone Camp I feel like there should be some connection between the Ashlanders there and the Old Mournhold tileset ghost city overlooking the Thirr River Valley Region (in 1,-24). Like it's their ancestral home built by their people's ancestors but now they can't for some reason return there.

The banners look really good. I particularly like the one with the bit with the net.

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Theminimanx
Lead Developer
26 Jan 2014

Location: GMT +1

I'm not a huge fan of the emphasis on a conflict between the Ashlanders and the Houses. The split between the two groups happen ages ago, an equilibrium would have been reached already.
In the case of the Grey Meadows camp for instance, I don't see why the youths would only now decide to move to Redoran settlements. The clan still exists, so evidently this wasn't a problem before. Why is it now?

As for the Nerevarine questline, I think it's important that the player needs to gain the approval of the Mainland tribes. The Nerevarine needs their support for legitimacy. Whether the Ashlanders need his help against Dagoth-Ur or not is irrelevant to this.
More importantly in my opinion, is the fact that the Ashlander approval quests serve a very important gameplay function. The fourth and fifth trials are designed to send the player all over Morrowind, including the areas that aren't very populated. Since the Redoran Hortator quests will mainly center around Ald-Ruhn, we need the Ashlanders to get the player to go to the western half of the mainland.

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The death of vanilla Morrowind will end this prophecy and unite all Morrowind fans again under one mod, one faith, one rule by our divine project. The puppet Morrowind overhaul mods will lay down their arms and bow to our will. Those who do not yield will be destroyed.
Post Tue Apr 14, 2015 8:25 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Wolfrad
Developer
28 Feb 2015



Using the ashlanders as exploration bait certainly has precedence, but it's a lot more game-y to have the player need to contact every minor 'faction' in the province than to have them only involve themselves with relevant parties. In addition, The Temple and house Dunmer on Vvardenfell barely care about the opinions of the immediately present tribes, and those tribes barely care about the opinions of one another. I don't know who among the players in the storyline would demand the approval of very far removed and comparatively tiny tribes in order for your claim to be legitimized.
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Post Tue Apr 14, 2015 8:57 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Theminimanx
Lead Developer
26 Jan 2014

Location: GMT +1

Vivec, apparently. He's the one you get to talk to as a reward for completing these Trials.

Besides, it's a prophesy, it doesn't need to make 100% practical sense. It's mostly symbolic. Notice how, despite you being the Redoran Hortator, you never lead their armies into battle.

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The death of vanilla Morrowind will end this prophecy and unite all Morrowind fans again under one mod, one faith, one rule by our divine project. The puppet Morrowind overhaul mods will lay down their arms and bow to our will. Those who do not yield will be destroyed.
Post Tue Apr 14, 2015 9:31 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Rats
Lead Developer
03 Jul 2012



I think the question whether or not the mainland tribes should be included in the prophecy is tied to a more fundamental discussion on the nature of these new "Ashlanders". That is: are they really Ashlanders, or are they "just" their own separate bunches of tribal Velothi. Are they Ashlanders or are they, what, Velothi Armunites, proto-Redoran Greywalkers, and Buffer-Zonian tribesmer.

Only if they are the same as the four tribes on Vvardenfell should we concern ourselves with the Nerevarine prophecy.

Though I initially said that we should exclude the three mainland tribes from the Nerevarine prophecy I'm now having second thoughts. Should we make any of the mainland tribes have anything to do with Alandro Sul (and I think we should), they should also have some significance to the Nerevarine prophecy. Also, I re-read all the prophecy texts and there's quite a substantial appeal in having the Nerevarine be recognized by Seven Tribes instead of just Four as there are also Seven Visions and Seven Curses (though admittedly one could also argue that the 3 Houses and 4 Tribes combined also do the magic trick).

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Theminimanx
Lead Developer
26 Jan 2014

Location: GMT +1

Rats wrote:
are they really Ashlanders, or are they "just" their own separate bunches of tribal Velothi.


An excellent question that I think deserves discussion.
My interpretation of the Ashlanders was that they were the Dunmer who, during the rise of the Tribunal (and possibly Great House culture), said: "No, we are not okay with this." (Whether that is because of Alandro Sul and his story of the betrayal, limits on Daedra worship, some other reason or combinations of the above is not important at the moment.) Because of this divide between them and the rest of Dunmer society, they went into (self-)exile.

As for whether this should apply to Mainland tribes as well, I see no reason why it shouldn't. Even if we decide to give Mainland tribes a new story for their current situation, making them part of the greater Ashlander culture would give us an easy explanation for why they came into being.

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The death of vanilla Morrowind will end this prophecy and unite all Morrowind fans again under one mod, one faith, one rule by our divine project. The puppet Morrowind overhaul mods will lay down their arms and bow to our will. Those who do not yield will be destroyed.
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Yeti
Lead Developer
15 Feb 2009

Location: Minnesota: The Land of 11,842 Lakes

I don't have much time to make substantive post right now, but in general I like what Gnomey has written. The Ashlander-Great House Dunmer conflict seems like an obvious theme to explore in greater detail with the mainland tribes. Even if the split between the two groups happened a long time ago, that wouldn't stop them from resenting each other today. Ashlanders in vanilla make it explicitly clear that they despise the House Dunmer for giving up the customs and sacred rites of the first Velothi nomads, worshiping False Gods and allowing foreigners to invade their homeland. The House Dunmer meanwhile just want these pesky nomads out of their way.

@Rats: The buffer zone ruin is meant to be a former Indoril castle estate. It represents historic Indoril control over the western side of the Thirr River Valley, before the Hlaalu took it over.

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Ironed Maidens
Developer
23 Feb 2008



I regards to the discussion of the Nerevarine getting approval from the Mainland tribes; I think it would be a very useful connotation to have, as this would also help give an identity to conflicts of faith further from Red Mountain and it could steer players into the more 'back-water' areas of the mainland. One thing I've noticed while exploring TR is that there is certainly no shortage of stuff to do and see, however it may not be apparent where things are, simply due to the large size of the landmass. I can see the mainland ashlanders being useful for having the player go to more off the grid places and also explore the schism between 'settled Dunmer' and 'nomadic Dunmer'. I think adding rich history about older Morrowind days is important to do so the players see a real sense of the mainland having always been there, not just something recently created by this mod.
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klep
Lead Developer
23 Nov 2014

Location: Europe

Very interesting discussion going on here. Though I dont have much to add to it atm, I must say that I very much agree with Iron Maidens.
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st.Veloth, The Repenting
Member
28 Feb 2015

Location: toronto

hmmm, well, for ashlanders, there must be ashlands.
also, will there be a large ashland in the mainland, or will we have to make due with that small coastal territory.
oh and could someone send me a geographical/topographical map of the different "ecosystems" in the mainland?

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- sotha sil
Post Thu Apr 16, 2015 6:43 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
klep
Lead Developer
23 Nov 2014

Location: Europe

Check out the maps thread. In Theminimanx' link to his source files you can see on some maps the differences in regions.
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Yeti
Lead Developer
15 Feb 2009

Location: Minnesota: The Land of 11,842 Lakes

st.Veloth, The Repenting wrote:
hmmm, well, for ashlanders, there must be ashlands.
The Zainab and Ahemmusa camps were both located in the Grazelands.
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Dormichigan64
Developer
26 Dec 2013

Location: Stop trying to see where I live, you creepy bastard! (Kingston, Ontario)

I don't think everything should be about story. I think, in a case like this, we should take the gameplay route and just say it'll make sense for the player to have to become Nerevarine for all Ashlander tribes. It's a prophecy. Like Theminimanx pointed: it's mostly symbolic. Same goes for the Great Houses.
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Post Fri Apr 17, 2015 1:43 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Ironed Maidens
Developer
23 Feb 2008



The Great Houses one is a little more tricky however, because the Prophecy explicitly states THREE GREAT HOUSES will name the Nerevarine Hortator. I think that the best route to take would be to recon the texts that say that and change them to save all 5 Great Houses, but there are still voice files in the game that say 3 Great Houses, and unless we can find someone to redo the voice acting for Azura......
Post Fri Apr 17, 2015 1:51 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Rats
Lead Developer
03 Jul 2012



(The prophecy also says Four Tribes. But prophecies can be rewritten.)
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Post Fri Apr 17, 2015 6:08 am Send private message       Send e-mail       Reply with quote                   up  
klep
Lead Developer
23 Nov 2014

Location: Europe

Ironed Maidens wrote:
and unless we can find someone to redo the voice acting for Azura......
I'm sure we will. We can't let a few seconds of voice repel us from making major gameplay decisions. That would be a shame and a waste of good ideas imo.
Post Fri Apr 17, 2015 6:15 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Theminimanx
Lead Developer
26 Jan 2014

Location: GMT +1

Editing Azura's dialogue is surprisingly easy. There's only a single voiced sentence which mentions the number of Tribes/Houses, and it could easily be cut, while still having the dialogue make sense.

"Nerevar reborn. Incarnate. Your first three trials are finished. Now, two new trials lie before you. Seek the Ashlander Ashkahns, and the Great House Councillors. Four Tribes must name you Nerevarine. Three Houses must name you Hortator. My servant, Nibani Maesa, shall be your guide. And when you are Hortator, and Nerevarine. When you have stood before the false gods and freed the heart from its prison. Heal my people and restore Morrowind. Do this for me, and with my blessing."

_________________
The death of vanilla Morrowind will end this prophecy and unite all Morrowind fans again under one mod, one faith, one rule by our divine project. The puppet Morrowind overhaul mods will lay down their arms and bow to our will. Those who do not yield will be destroyed.
Post Fri Apr 17, 2015 8:38 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Saltrice
Member
14 Feb 2015

Location: Aharasaplit Camp

Hello
I would really like to see some mainland ashlanders being involved in some sort of almost-forgotten cult, secret society or oral storytelling tradition about Alandro Sul. One or two tribes might even pass on knowledge of him to initiated members of the tribe, and this secret would characterize their identity in some way.
Player quest's could involve searching for a ring or two of the fabled Wraithmail of his, and rings might even whisper obscure things or profanities into player's ears, in form of text-boxes while sleeping or drinking sujamma.
No conclusive information about Alandro Sul or things happened at the Red Mountain should be given though, only contradictory remarks, as Sul should remain notoriously mysterious character and recurring name it is.
About ashlanders themselves: dangerous, nomadic pariah folk in the eyes of the House dunmer should be main definition of them, in my opinion, because it's a classic story, with lots of counterparts in real world. Groups like these could well form as a result of social change, schism of any sort or adaptation as well as being sort of indigenous people with some definite history.
Also, Ashlander tents look very pretty in coastal areas too, not only in volcanic wastelands.
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st.Veloth, The Repenting
Member
28 Feb 2015

Location: toronto

house redoran should own more territory, hlaalu has too much, for a rather non-influential hethan house.
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almsivi bless, to create one must first destroy, the nature of all, is in equilibrium
- sotha sil
Post Sat Apr 18, 2015 1:48 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

Rats wrote:
Expanding the Mabrigash caste, having a woman performing as the Ashkhan (sort of like Egyptian female pharaohs), or indeed having a questline / new lore involving Alandro Sul. (A thought suddenly struck me; could Alandro Sul be involved in the creation of Armun Ashlands -- Sload once said that the Armun ashstorms were caused by a sentient ashstorm-being which IMO could be an incarnation of Alandro Sul's spirit)


The first is an interesting idea. The second should also work. I'm not sure how important the gender roles are for Ashlanders; that a woman has to be the wise woman and a man the ashkhan. In general, Dunmer don't make a big deal of it, and I'd think that at most -- as you say with the Egyptian pharaohs -- (some) female Ashkhans might style themselves as men and, conversely, (some) male wise women as women.
As far as the Armun Ashlands are concerned, I'll probably continue to be dull and say that the mundane explanation is fully adequate, (while the ash was washed away or grown over in other parts of Morrowind, the Armun Ashlands were either always dry or dried up with the ashfall, so the ash persisted), and that the region doesn't really require its own creation story. Unless we come up with a really good one. Though if we do give it a creation story, going with Alandro Sul does seem like a promising route.

As Yeti pointed out, the OM ruins are Indoril in origin, not Ashlander.

Theminimanx wrote:
I'm not a huge fan of the emphasis on a conflict between the Ashlanders and the Houses. The split between the two groups happen ages ago, an equilibrium would have been reached already.


As far as basic circumstances are concerned, Ashlanders are, for all intents and purposes, Native Americans. As with Native Americans, their issues with the Houses (and the Empire, and the Temple...) persist to modern times. Though the Ashlanders are a good deal more belligerent in spirit.
That being said, of the three camps I described, only the Buffer Zone camp is really in conflict with a House (Hlaalu). The Meadows camp doesn't necessarily have a beef with House Redoran; the issue is that its clansmer want out, not that House Redoran is luring them away or anything. Basically a similar phenomenon to urbanization. It's quite possible that neither faction is happy with the situation, as House Redoran already has plenty of mouths to feed, and little to feed them. The Armun camp has found its niche and is relatively undisturbed.
All of the troubles between the camps and the establishment I have described are very much due to current conditions, rather than what the one or the other did or did not do in the distant past.
As far as the Meadows camp is concerned, the camp has probably been steadily dwindling for a long time.

The point you raise about getting the player to explore the mainland is a good one, but on the other hand it might be a little much to expect the player to visit five House capitals and something like seven Ashlander camps all at once; it would probably be better to pace out the exploration over the course of the questline, and use faction questlines and misc quests/questlines to fill in the gaps.
To a degree, I think pacing might dictate our final decision here; do we want the story of Dagoth Ur to be confined to Vvardenfell, or stretch it completely out to cover the whole province or -- as is most likely -- settle for something between those extremes? Partially as a result of such questions, which are very hard to answer conclusively at the moment, my own opinion on the matter is very much open.


As to whether these are really Ashlanders or tribal Velothi, it's an interesting question, but I'd certainly say that they are Ashlanders. There are several groups; the Chimer that followed Veloth out of Aldmeris, but split off of the exodus at some point, who apparently still exist as small communities in places; the Chimer that followed Veloth as he went east from Necrom, who nobody really talks about and may or may not exist -- these all apparently were not cursed by Azura and stayed Chimer -- then the Dunmer, who seem to be united in having settled Morrowind and joined the first council. The Telvanni did not join the second council, though the Ashlanders appear to have, as the latter took part in the war of the first council. The Ashlanders -- as, arguably, with the Telvanni -- did not embrace the Tribunal and the third council, though it is possible that they did not leave the council immediately after Nerevar's assassination, but instead heard the whispers of Alandro Sul at some point possibly very soon after the fact and decided to leave the council then.
The question is what, exactly, separates the Ashlanders from other potential dissident groups. Were they Ashlanders before the Red Moment? It seems to be implied that they did already have a separate culture from House Dunmer, so more or less. Did they all receive the whispers of Alandro Sul? Again, this does seem to be implied -- to an extent -- keeping in mind that the Nerevarine Cult is merely a cult, and does not necessarily reflect general Ashlander belief.

Another question is whether the Ashlanders choose to live in ashlands or whether they were forced to do so. From my memory, the latter is implied by the game; they are not Ashlanders due to their chosen way of life, they are Ashlanders because they can't live anywhere else, at least most of the time. However, as pointed out, both Ahemmusa and Zainab were not located in Ashlands in-game, and those are half the tribes on Vvardenfell, which is supposed to be the ashiest part of Morrowind.
(The likely explanation for this is, again, that Vvardenfell was originally intended to be almost all ashland, and that all of the tribes would have consequently been located in ashlands, but unless we change Vvardenfell radically to match its intended appearance the point still stands).

_________________
"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 Sat Apr 18, 2015 1:57 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Yeti
Lead Developer
15 Feb 2009

Location: Minnesota: The Land of 11,842 Lakes

st.Veloth, The Repenting wrote:
house redoran should own more territory, hlaalu has too much, for a rather non-influential hethan house.

Your observation has nothing to do with the topic of this thread, st.veloth. Please make a separate thread or find a more appropriate one in the future if you desire to start a new discussion. EDIT: Why did you post your question here, when you were just going to ask it in the Hlaalu Brainstorming thread a few minutes later?

In regards to the creation of the Armun Ashlands, I think it's good to keep the below principle in mind. If we go to the trouble of actually explaining a region's origin, it should have some sort of interesting twist to it, I think.

Sload wrote:
First Principle of Lore (Principle of Alienity) - What is boring and mundane is wrong; what is interesting and alien is right.
    Sub-Principle of the First Principle of Lore - Alien in excess is mundane.
Yokuda was either sank by tectonic activity or by the Hiradirj. Obviously, the second is true and the first is false, because the first would be totally uninteresting.

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Post Sat Apr 18, 2015 3:17 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

Yeah, the question is pretty much if the sub-principal applies in this case, which it may or may not.
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"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 Sat Apr 18, 2015 3:36 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
EJRS
Developer
14 Aug 2013



Gnomey wrote:
As far as basic circumstances are concerned, Ashlanders are, for all intents and purposes, Native Americans. As with Native Americans, their issues with the Houses (and the Empire, and the Temple...) persist to modern times. Though the Ashlanders are a good deal more belligerent in spirit.


Just a small addition to this: as far as real-life comparisons, I would argue that the relationships between ashlanders and house dunmer are more accurately compared to the relationship between nomadic and settled people of berber origin in the Sahara-area, as well as bedouins, largely due to the fact that these are cultures that share an ancestry, unlike the case of the native american cultures vs. european settlers. This comparison also better describes the adaptation of culture and lifestyle in relation to harsh ecological circumstances. It is also a source obviously drawn on a lot for the visual design of the dunmer cultures during the development of TES3, although it seems to have fallen out of favour slightly since (plausibly on grounds of it not beeing as easily recognized and thus related to by the average player), and I would suspect that this inspiration at different stages of development went beyond simply the visual.

As for the assignment of roles in accordance with gender, Gnomeys mention of nomadic native american cultures suggests an interesting option: non-binary gender assignment, i.e. an accepted third sex that transcends the general male/female-dichotomy.
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6plus
Developer
24 Apr 2011



The question is whether anyone actually CARES for the reason for the schism of house/ashlander Dunmer. Whatever happened it happened dozens of generations ago. Most likely there's no actual knowledge left (except for rare individuals e.g. Vivec, Dagoth Ur etc.) only hearsay and traditions.

In the end that means
    there'll be some who believe that Nerevar's murder caused the schism;
    there'll be some who believe that the house Dunmer forsake the 'true' Dunmer way long before that;
    there'll be some who believe that the ashlanders are simply oppressed by the house Dunmer;
    there'll be some who believe that the ashlanders are just stupid and stubborn savages;
    and there'll be many who simply don't give a damn.


And who can know which opinion is correct?
Post Sun Apr 26, 2015 7:34 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
EJRS
Developer
14 Aug 2013



6plus wrote:
The question is whether anyone actually CARES for the reason for the schism of house/ashlander Dunmer. Whatever happened it happened dozens of generations ago. Most likely there's no actual knowledge left (except for rare individuals e.g. Vivec, Dagoth Ur etc.) only hearsay and traditions.
And who can know which opinion is correct?

This is a very good point, and pinpoints one of the crucial elements that made TES3 so fascinating, at least for me, in the first place: several suggested interpretations, all equally correct, about almost every important part of lore, history and current events.

However, this doesn't cover the need tackle the current shape of relations between House-dunmer and Ashlanders.
Post Sun Apr 26, 2015 4:43 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
st.Veloth, The Repenting
Member
28 Feb 2015

Location: toronto

sorry about that last post, i thought i was on a different forum XD
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Post Mon Apr 27, 2015 9:20 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
sasquatch2o
Developer
15 Jul 2014



Im opposed to any third gender for ashlanders. I suppose shamans could eb given a third gender but why? Political correctness or the mere alien'nes of it? Third gender wasn't in vanilla it shouldn't be done retroactively.

Also seems like a big oversight to overlook kinship system or political system and how it might relate to Aslander religion. Kinship system could be very important! However there no children in morrowind. I might consider that an oversight as well, but it doesn't detract from gameplay in any meaningful way.

http://bedouininfo.wikispaces.com/Family+Structure+and+Kinship

I'd like to see recognition of who the player is after they complete the prophecy at each of the mainland tribes. The ones that are more remote may not know the prophecy has already been fulfilled, they may no longer even believe or care about the old prophecy. But through trials or some show of power the player should be able to prove themselves and access a mission to assist the tribe or further their own destiny and power. Similar to collecting shouts in skyrim, but these rewards should be powerful relics or unique abilities befitting the Ashlanders. Maybe some could have relics have been incorporated into religious ceremonies, pieces of another device that hold no immediate value and whose purpose may not even be known except by a few tribes. Each remaining tribe should have quest or valuable information for the player though it may not always be immediately accessible.

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Post Thu Apr 30, 2015 4:11 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Ironed Maidens
Developer
23 Feb 2008



Quote:
The ones that are more remote may not know the prophecy has already been fulfilled, they may no longer even believe or care about the old prophecy.



Well they HAVE to kind of care. That's what MAKES them Ashlanders; they care about the Prophecy and they know that the Tribunal are not true gods. I would like to see a reflection of more of the Velothian spirits in the Ashlander tribes if anything.[quote] The ones that are more remote may not know the prophecy has already been fulfilled, they may no longer even believe or care about the old prophecy.
Post Thu Apr 30, 2015 6:49 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Rats
Lead Developer
03 Jul 2012



The Daedra and Vivec certainly explored the subject of gender beyond the traditional male/female dichotomy in the vanilla. A representation of a gender other than the two would add variety which is always interesting.

The way I envision the Ashlander culture is largely based on this text on the teslore reddit, which paints a picture of a really rigid hierarchy among the tribe: http://www.reddit.com/r/teslore/comments/1aui1e/the_mabrigash/ Certainly, some way of transcending the two genders would be useful for an individual tribesmer to combat this hierarchy (eg. female Ashkhans acting like male Ashkhans; male Wise Women acting like female Wise Women).

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Post Fri May 01, 2015 8:14 am Send private message       Send e-mail       Reply with quote                   up  
TheTanner
Member
01 May 2015



Okay, third gender ideas do have some sort of basis in native American culture and possibly could have some place in ashlanders tribes, but I am not sure about it. I don't see any real reason for them to be there, except for it being a popular trend in modern western culture and that alone is not enough to make it an interesting topic to go into.

I think a little bit of queerness like Crassius Curio is okay, it's pure comedy. Just don't make a big thing out of it. I really don't like these trends with games nowadays going into sexuality/gender things like Bioware does. We all live in different places around the world and we all have different view on these things IRL, I am not sure how much of it should be in game. I guess I wouldn't mind it as long as it is more of an oddity in the game world.

I mean one of the coolest Russian quest mods for Oblivion had a gay club in it at one point and it was just hilarious, because of the characters and how well it was implemented. (That was an awesome mod by the way, it had pirats, tsaesci, illegal arena, full legion questline, necromancers questline, etc.) So I guess it will all depend on actual implementation.
Post Fri May 01, 2015 9:04 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Rats
Lead Developer
03 Jul 2012



Ignoring gender and sexuality would be ignoring a huge chunk of the Elder Scrolls lore. Sure, in the actual gameplay they go relatively unnoticed but the themes are there in the lore. Since the mainstream Dunmer culture seems to treat the genders relatively equally and indifferently the marginalized Ashlander culture offers an interesting chance for another kind of approach. If wanted.

Rest assured that nothing will be added to the game by TR on the basis of its assumed real life trendiness.

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Post Fri May 01, 2015 9:53 am Send private message       Send e-mail       Reply with quote                   up  
Anonytroll
Website Administrator
12 Aug 2005



Female Wise Women and Male Khans are pretty much the only gender-locked roles Ashlander society seems to have - a variation of the pretty common temporal and spiritual power divide.
Men and women equally fill the roles of scouts, herders, and hunters, so I'm not sure where the reddit writer gets the idea that they don't.

The enforcement of the Wise Woman/Khan divide on the other hand is so rigid that it created Mabrigash in the first place.
While not quite as visible, I'd speculate that renegade Khans who have taken up dabbling in magic are among those smaller "bandit" camps. This would be in general where you'd find people who split off from the larger tribes when they can't deal with social or political issues.
Adding a few more non-hostile one-yurt camps for chatting up more non-conformal Ashlanders would be interesting, but I don't see how you would insert something like a third gender into that. Or even why.
Post Fri May 01, 2015 10:14 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

Rats' original comparison for a woman performing as ashkhan was with female Egyptian pharaohs. As such, the way I understood his idea, the term 'additional genders' does not really apply, and it has little to nothing to do with modern gender politics and political correctness. It is rather unlikely that Hatshepsut was a trans man who the Egyptians recognized as such and, as such, was allowed to serve as pharaoh. She was clearly a woman and was often depicted as such especially early on, and women were allowed to serve as pharaohs anyway, though it was rare. The iconography of the pharaoh was male, and she merely adopted the iconography.
As noted above, Dunmer generally pay little attention to gender, though they do appear to default to patriarchy. Women are generally not locked out of any positions. That does not appear to be the case with wisewomen and ashkhans in the original game, however, which as a result seems rather uncharacteristic of the Dunmer.
However, genders do seem to carry symbolic significance to the Dunmer; for example Dunmer identify Azura as a woman, Boethiah as a man and Mephala as a hermaphrodite, and Sotha Sil is a man, 'Mother' Laesa is a woman and Vivec is a hermaphrodite. These gender identities seem to carry a significance, or at least Vivec and other Temple members like to assign significance to them. As such, it seem reasonable to me to assume something similar might be going on with Ashlanders and their ashkhans and wisewomen.
If the role is symbolically linked to a gender, it makes sense that one would, to more adequately fill the role, style oneself as that gender. That does not mean one has to identify as that gender, however; it's merely a matter of appearance and ones place in society. Think tomboy as opposed to trans man.

Note that at least three gender identities are familiar to Dunmer, (male, woman, hermaphrodite and possibly neither), and that in general I'd assume the Dunmer to be pretty laissez faire when it comes to gender identity. However, I personally don't see that as being characteristically Ashlander or non-Ashlander, which is why I'm just mentioning this as a footnote to the above rather than focusing on it.
Ironed Maidens wrote:
Well they HAVE to kind of care. That's what MAKES them Ashlanders; they care about the Prophecy and they know that the Tribunal are not true gods.
I actually disagree, to an extent. The Nerevarine Cult cares about the prophecy, but the Nerevarine Cult does not represent all Ashlanders, or it wouldn't exist as a distinct cult; it would just be 'Ashlander belief'. Most Ashlanders -- from what I remember from the game -- don't necessarily care about the prophecy or even remember it. What makes them distinct from Great House Dunmer is -- among other things -- that they heard Alandro Sul's account of what happened at Red Mountain and, as a result, rejected the Tribunal and their Morrowind. In other words, they split over what they believe happened in the past, not what they believe will happen in the future.
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Post Fri May 01, 2015 10:14 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Rats
Lead Developer
03 Jul 2012



Gnomey wrote:
what Gnomey said


+1

I used the term gender more as a performance--separate from the notion of the biological sex. So yeah, basically the idea goes that when performing as an Ashkhan one has to also perform a man.

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Post Sat May 02, 2015 9:24 am Send private message       Send e-mail       Reply with quote                   up  
Kevaar
Member
25 Sep 2003

Location: Colorado, USA

As far as the main quest debate, it's stated somewhere (I'd have to go dig it up) that the Nerevarine prophecies are thought to be baloney outside of a few tribes like the Urshilaku, so that could be a nice excuse for why the mainland Ashlanders have no involvement with the Nerevarine story arc. "You're the what now? Oh, that old wives' tale. You think we care? How do we know you're not just trying to manipulate your way into our good graces, like all that fat Imperial you call Emperor?"

For the gender debate, I think it would be better to stick to the gender roles vanilla gave us, with male ashkhans and wise women. That isn't to say there's no exceptions--the Ahemmusa don't have an ashkhan in vanilla for instance, so they're being led by the wise woman. We might also be able to adapt the "twin-spirited" concept from Native Americans for one tribe, but I think it should be relatively rare overall. We're not talking 21st century ethics after all--these people still keep slaves and there's rampant racism. The gender role and third gender debates might be a little over their heads politically speaking. Smile

Anywho, here's some of my ideas for Ashlander themes to dive into in the quests and dialogue. Thoughts on any of them?

--Something I'd like to see a bit of is how the Ashlanders and slaves interact. According to the lore given to us, Ashlanders are known to keep slaves like the House Dunmer, but you don't see any of this in vanilla. You go to the Ashlander camps and all you see are the Dunmer. This could lead to some quests dovetailed with the Twin Lamps, as well as some spats with the local Imperial Legion when the Ashlanders do a slave raid (or any raid in general).

--What ancestor and Good Daedra worship really entails. The Temple had such a big atmosphere in vanilla, and I felt let down that the Dunmer were moving on from these great myths surrounding their living gods to some Daedra we don't know a whole lot about. We get enough bits and pieces in other TES games about who the Daedra are and their realms, but not much on what a whole culture centered around them would be like. That's the piece I'd like to see more of.

--the unique wildlife of Morrowind. Not really an Ashlander theme, except that they would probably be the faction that'd be the most knowledgeable about, considering their lifestyle. Tribal cultures also tend to have a lot of magic and ritual based around the ecology of their area.

--similar to above, having to survive in the harsh environment of the Ashlands. One of the tribe members gets lost in a storm and you have to go find them. The guar herd is struck with a mysterious illness and everyone is worried because that's their main food source. The local House people are keeping them from an important waterhole. Etc.

--Ashlanders attacking one another? I can't imagine all the tribes get along, plus there's always the mabrigashs and independents you find in vanilla. In Native American history, the tribes fought each other almost as much as they fought the white invaders.

--Ashlanders and dealing with Imperial encroachment, whether through war or through peace negotiations (or both, depending on the tribes)
Post Mon Oct 26, 2015 9:54 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Gnomey
Lead Developer
19 May 2006

Location: In your garden.

To your first point, while it's true that Urshilaku is pretty much the only tribe that believes in that stuff, there's specifically a set of quests where you convince the Ashkhans of the other tribes -- who seem not to share the beliefs of the Urshilaku -- to support you as Nerevarine anyway. For me, the question of whether you'll need to get the support of the other tribes and Houses is really a question of pacing by this point; having the player visit something like ten tribes and five Houses might be too large of an interruption of the plotflow, so we may need to get a little creative if we want the Nerevarine to really drum up universal support.

For gender roles, something to keep in mind is that gender roles have never been set in stone and a strict male/female dichotomy has only ever existed in specific places at specific times. Different cultures viewed gender roles differently; it's not about political correctness, it's about representing alien cultures. Rats provided the example of ancient Egypt: a flourishing empire that eventually succumbed to foreign rule, kept slaves and was almost certainly racist, in an assumed cultural superiority sort of way. If every race in Tamriel were to have the association of, say, women=stay in the kitchen, that would be boring, and make them all seem similar. For me, the question is merely: would adding this nuance to Ashlander culture be interesting? If yes, it might be worth a try. If no, better not.

On slaves: I thought the Ashlanders always say that they used to own slaves, but realized they were more trouble than they were worth, or something to that effect. The reality of the matter is probably that the Ashlanders have become so dirt-poor that supporting slaves would cost them more than they would be able to get back through slave-labour. In fact, as hunting, gathering and herding don't really seem like ideal tasks for slaves, any slaves they used to have probably either did stuff around the camp, which anyone too old or young to forage or herd could do, or essentially act as household slaves, who in hard times would make for rather expensive and irritating ornaments.

Ancestor worship: very good point.

Wildlife: also a good point.

Quest ideas: I like all of these.

Ashlander in-fighting: in western Morrowind, the camps are too far apart to fight with each other, though my concept for one of the camps is that it's basically formed from the remnants of defunct tribes which were probably often on bad terms, and that consequently there would be a lot of tension within the camp. If we do have more Ashlanders in Telvannis, the idea does seem like it could work there. Conflicts with outcasts always work, of course.

Imperial encroachment: not sure how big a deal this would actually be on the mainland, where the Imperials have less room to encroach on than on Vvardenfell. Those themes could work just as well for House Hlaalu, though, which has been eating up and settling a lot of land.

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"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 Sun Nov 01, 2015 4:06 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
10Kaziem
Lead Developer
03 Apr 2015



My two cents on the ashlanders:

Other cultures, currently and throughout history, have had many different ideas about what was a gender and who was part of it, and what those people were supposed to do because of it.

We should not put certain gender roles in Morrowind because it's something that happens right now.

On the other hand, we should not veto certain gender roles in Morrowind because it's something that happens now.

That said, their pantheon clearly includes male, female, genderless, and hermaphroditic gods, with no apparent hierarchy based on gender. They seem to have wise women and male leaders, but they appear to perform different duties. My guess is that if a person wanted to be a wise woman they would essentially have to be able to fulfill the duties, that it would be rare for a male-appearing person to become a wise woman for that reason, but that it wouldn't be impossible. The other "jobs" around a camp don't seem to be gender-fixed one way or the other.

Like anything else in a foreign culture, the key is not to make GENDER IS A BIG DEAL but instead to simply have it underlie how things work.

(Personally, I'm really tired of the default assumption about made-up cultures being that men are manly men and run the country and women stay in the kitchen and also that we should expect a clear divide between men and women and what they do.)
Post Tue Nov 03, 2015 1:50 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
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