Tel Uvirith Staff

Tel Uvirith (the Telvanni Stronghold) is notorious for feeling cold, bare, and inhospitable. There are many mods that rectify this, and I’ll say most of them are very good. However, the mods that add staff and retainers also tend to (in my opinion) overreach in terms of lore and characters. Many people love the extra quests and writing because it creates a richer experience, and I do like the idea of being inundated with administrative duties as soon as you ascend to Archmagister/Archmagistress.

Unfortunately (for me) I’m super picky, and I usually need my mods to be as close to vanilla lore/characterizations/tone as possible. And here, I feel that all Tel Uvirith mods which add staff fail to keep the tone and lore consistent with how I perceive Vanilla Morrowind to be.

Therefore, I have stuck to the (mainly) architectural improvements for Tel Uvirith, and am incredibly pleased with these. The two I currently favor are “Building Up Uvirith’s Grave” (to make a town grow up incrementally around Tel Uvirith) and “Uvirith’s Manor.” But these still leave the tower feeling cold and lifeless. All other Telvanni towers and manors are bustling with staff, servants, retainers, courtiers, and guards. Heck, even Redoran and Hlaalu manors are teeming with staff. Why not Tel Uvirith? I honestly have no idea.

So, I have made a mod for myself that adds staff to Tel Uvirith. I wanted it to be compatible with Vanilla Morrowind, as well as the two other Uvirith mods I use, so currently it only adds staff to the areas built in Vanilla Morrowind. I’m going to make a separate mod that adds staff to the “Uvirith’s Manor” expansion very soon, but of course it is lower priority for me due to the dependencies.

Already, Tel Uvirith feels more alive and bustling to me. Now it feels more similar to all the other councilors’ towers, and finally contains a retinue worthy of the Archmagister of House Telvanni.

Note 1: while this is entirely compatible whether you want to just play Vanilla Morrowind, Uvirith’s Manor, or Building Up Uvirith’s Grave, if you do not have “Uvirith’s Manor,” then Cyrellon (Altmer Nightblade) will be in the Master Bedroom which may or may not be something you want. I gave him the old Master Bedroom because I took the one in “Uvirith’s Manor” for myself, but obviously if you don’t use the mod then there is only the one master bedroom, and Cyrellon will be in it ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

You can either ignore him and sleep in there anyway (as you still own the bed because it is in your tower and he is a staffer living on your property), or you can go in and delete Cyrellon manually. Should be easy enough with Enchanted Editor or ought.

Note 2: if you are not House Telvanni, then this mod will make killing Reynel Uvirith much more difficult, as she will spawn in the same room as Bernadette Greenhouse (Breton Agent) and Vaynth Indrano (unique Dunmer guard) where you would usually expect to find her unaccompanied.

Bernadette Greenhouse, agent. I imagine her as my fixer that I keep on staff. I have troubles that need fixing, or dark deeds that need doing, Bernadette will take care of everything. She’s my “woman of business” ala Childermass.
Cyrellon the Quick, Nightblade. Another “Man of Business” I keep on staff for tasks which require sensitivity and espionage. That is to say, politics.
The lower floor guard. Just a regular old guard.
Erebil Virith, Commoner. A plucky servant that fixes things that break down and does the washing.
Iveri Llaram, Mage. She’s a high ranking Telvanni wizard on my staff, and a diligent researcher.
Lolith Avalis, Sorcerer. Another high ranking Telvanni staffer. Sells spells and spell making services.
Riavan, Commoner. Another servant and House Telvanni Hireling who takes care of household chores and tasks.
The upstairs guard. Just a regular guard.
Vaynth Indrano, a unique guard. She does not respawn like the other guards, and is a battlemage, but will still patrol and otherwise act like a regular guard.

I also made a few more guards that I didn’t bother to screencap. One in the dungeon and an archer guard on the top of the tower, etc. The slippery slope into mod making, I guess. First I start using mods, then I find that none of them do *exactly* what I want, and then I start making mods. I realize this is everybody’s “modder’s journey” in a nutshell.

Horror Puzzlers

For whatever reason, I’ve been playing a lot of horror puzzlers lately. Of note have been “Conarium” and “Little Nightmares.”

“Conarium” is a Lovecraftian-inspired follow-up to “At the Mountains of Madness” where you are on the expedition to Antarctica to investigate the findings from the famously doomed first one. They got the tone and setting pitch perfect for “Mountains.” Very spooky cosmic horror.

Little Nightmares” is a horror puzzler much in the same vein as “Limbo” and “Inside,” but the whole game is absolutely lush and gorgeous. Every second of game play looks like it came straight from a claymation movie. It is an especially moody, creepy, and dark.

Both are pretty short games that you can beat in a weekend, but absolutely worth it and I’m glad I played them. I don’t want to say too much more because I don’t want to spoil them, just that they are amazing and moody and immersive and scary 🙂

Oblivion: Try #2

As you may recall, I never got into Oblivion the same way I did Morrowind and Skyrim. I had assumed this was because all the characters look like weird squishy lumps that are all closely related to each other – regardless of what their race is (every race is squishy lump race). So, I installed Oblivion Character Overhaul to address this issue, and I am pretty happy with how everybody is looking now.

However, this has highlighted what is perhaps the real reason I didn’t get into Oblivion: the tutorial is a million hours long and it is super boring, which is actually foreshadowing for the game that I have yet to play. It seems obvious now, but I suppose when everybody is a horrifying uncanny valley clay monster, that can tend to obscure some lesser issues.

I don’t feel at all engaged or motivated in the whole run around the sewers while the Emperor is being attacked. The call to action is too blunt and faux-grandiose, the setting is uninteresting, and you are forced to spend hours running around on rails against your will.

Morrowind had an interesting setting and a mysterious slow build with a pacing that really drew you into the world and you started to feel like you lived there, and almost no tutorial to speak of. Skyrim had a rails-y tutorial much like Oblivion, but it was (thankfully) much shorter and it at least felt exciting.

So, I don’t know, we’ll see if I ever get around to playing Oblivion in earnest. The character overhaul was an improvement, and people *say* they love Oblivion and its quests, so maybe it just starts out rough and I’ll feel engaged eventually.