Saturday, April 11, 2009

Day 2: Seyda Neen

About the too-dark MGE settings. I figured out how to use the shader chain in MGE, and downloaded a shader called "Dungeon HDR", which ended up giving exactly the contrast and brightness I wanted. That's what I'm using for my screenshots.

So, for the entire day, I explored the area around Seyda Neen, the tiny port village where you start the game. Note that I mean "tiny" in Morrowind terms, not Oblivion terms (where a "village" consists of 2 or 3 houses and an inn). I happened to meet a guy who was familiar with Morrowind earlier, when I had freshly installed it (before I put mods on it), and he walked me through the basic interface and showed me an interesting little exploit to get some extra money and gear at the very start. This might be common knowledge, but I didn't see it in the "Getting Started" guide on Before you exit the Census office, you will not be arrested or attacked for anything you do. So you can, for example, kill Sellus Gravius* and take his Imperial Legion armour and sword. Just be sure to talk to him, turn in your release papers, and obtain the first quest from him before you do. He won't even attack you as you hit him over and over with your basic fireball (though he will complain loudly each time). After killing him (but not looting him), you return to the first room with Socucius Ergalla in it, and wait for the guard to approach you and issue you a warning for your murderous misdemeanour, before clearing you of all charges. Don't make the same mistake that I did, leaving through the wrong door out into town, where the guards promptly arrested me. This room also has a key to the warehouse across the street, with much more loot for the stealing.

Of course, this is definitely a cheat and an exploit, so it doesn't even fall under the rubric of "role playing". It'll just take a few days to settle into my character for my usual kind and generous nature takes over. But for now, I'm fighting tooth and nail to earn enough money to purchase the spells I'll need to survive in this dangerous world!

* In retrospect, I regret having done this. I advise against it. There are other, much better ways of making money that I describe in detail in later posts. If nothing else, you want Sellus Gravius alive for one of the official free plugins, Siege at Firemoth.

Mana issue

Playing as a mage in this game is no fun at all with the vanilla settings. In Oblivion, mana slowly regenerated over time, as it does in WoW. Here in Morrowind, mana (well, "magicka", but I'm going to call it by the name everyone else uses) does not regenerate unless you sleep, which seems very silly. So naturally I installed a mod that allows my mana to regenerate over time. I tried several, and several didn't work at all, but Regional Mana worked, and adds a little variety to it. It's a very slow regeneration, but at least it's based on intelligence and willpower, and as a bonus, certain regions and weather patterns have a higher or lower rate of regeneration.

Even with regenerating mana, it's tough to survive as a pure mage, because the regen is so slow, I might as well rest between fights to get it all back, and health too. I can only survive 1 fight at a time this way, and my skill is apparently too low to cast the invisibility spell I bought yet.

I also installed Abot's Water Life, which adds lots of underwater stuff to the game, as well as shells and sea stars on the beaches, which are alchemical ingredients. It also gives you a fishing pole you can use to fish, as long as you have the appropriate bait. It also says there are some underwater palaces added, but I haven't found any of those yet.

I think I played all the quests available in Seyda Neen that day, though it was primarily occupied with running back and forth to my only available bed with its nearby containers to stash my meagre loot and rest. The tax collector quest took the longest (which is where I got that nice-looking robe you see on my Day 1 post), because with the MGE grass installed I couldn't find the body anywhere, after wandering the whole area several times, even after viewing a Youtube guide. I finally found him after turning off the grass temporarily. I was impressed by the twists and turns that quest took, assuming you're honest enough to return the gold to Socucius Ergalla. That quest alone has more difficult moral choices with shades of grey than the whole Mr Burke questline in Fallout 3.

So finally, after doing just about everything I could do in Seyda Neen (including a dungeon crawl in a smuggler's cave, but not including a couple of tombs with creatures too strong for me), I headed out to the town the delivery quest pointed me toward. The place where better money is to be made, and my new home for a while -- Balmora!

But that's for another post.


  1. In regard to the warehouse key, there is an alternative way to enter the warehouse and loot the stuff that is much more roleplay friedly. You can buy a scroll of Ondusi's Open from Arrille and use it to unlock the warehouse when nobody is looking.

    About mana, I use Galsiah's Character Development ( which includes mana regeneration. It works flawlessly and seems about right to me. To be honest, I wouldn't really recommend GCD to a new player because with it you largely determine your endgame stats already at character creation. But it's a great mod for us veterans and I would recommend giving it a try with with your second or third character.

    Finally, keep up the good work with the blog. :)


  2. Well, for the mana, today I was successful in creating the Life Tap spell I mentioned on the 27th, just had to do it in the CS instead of in-game. (I'll go into more detail in my next post.) I think this will be a good alternate playing style, but I'll check out the GDC you mention after I've played through the game at least once. Thanks!

  3. Oh, and good tip on the Open Door scroll for the warehouse! Assuming it's cheap enough to afford at that level. :)

  4. Accordig to UESP the base cost for the scroll is 73 gold. Exact cost depends on Arrille's disposition and your Mercantile skill, but for the typical character it's well below 100 drakes and thus affordable straight at level 1. You can probably purchase it already with the starting gold you get from Sellus Gravius and if not you will certainly be able to afford it after your encounter with the dead tax collector.

    I haven't managed to read your entire blog yet, right now I'm at Day 3: Balmora, so I don't quite know what the Life Tap spell is, but I'll get there eventually. ;)

    To elaborate on my GCD suggestion, there is another similair mod called Madd Leveler ( The difference is that GCD is a more extreme makeover while Madd Leveler is closer to the vanilla leveling system. I would suggest people to play their first character without either of these mods to experience vanilla leveling. Then I would suggest them to try Madd Leveler with their second character and if they think it's an improvement over vanilla they could then try GCD with their third. If however they liked vanilla better than Madd Leveler, they will like GCD even less and probably ought not bother with it. For further characters one can then pick whichever system one likes best.

    And while we're speaking of mods I would also recommend giving the most excellent LGNPC series a try ( LGNPC is a project to give each NPC a unique personality and adds lots of new miscellaneous quests. Pax Redoran is especially good because it makes the normally least popular great house much more fun. Though I would again suggest not to use the mod with your first character, at least not until you're familiar with vanilla MW.


  5. Yes, I think I've reached the point where I could appreciate LGNPCs, though I also want to try that mod that removes common topics that I've read a million times. Especially for Dunmer NPCs, which has a huge list of topics, so anything new gets lost in the volume.

    I also think I need a leveling mod to slow down my leveling. I gained 2 or 3 levels in the last play session alone.

  6. I found the leveling rate about right. You do have 10 class skills rather than 7 like in Oblivion and even without exploits your level can go up to around 75-78. Also note that your leveling will slow down once you max out your most commonly used class skills (usually this is Alchemy and your primary attack skill).


  7. On the original Xbox, we had cheats to make Magicka regenerate, and glitches that made those cheats more or less permanent. Things like that make me miss the good old days.

  8. Ah, I read about a glitch for refilling your whole mana bar when I was searching for solutions at that time. Something about a custom spell that did a small amount of damage to you and also did something else? Anyway, I followed the directions for it, but it didn't work, so I figured they had fixed it in one of the official or unofficial patches.