Sunday, May 3, 2009

Day 14: Balmora & Mage quests, more exploring


Well, after an interesting turn of events, it turns out I was correct in my suspicions about Ranis Athrys, and I can safely say that she won't be blocking that particular hallway anymore. But the tour of all the guilds of mages in the other cities has made me sort of anxious to start expanding my activities into other cities. Meanwhile, however, there are a number of unfinished quests in Balmora, one of which I completed today. It was that "murder of Ralen Hlaalo" quest. I had not joined House Hlaalu, as I'm still saving myself for House Telvanni, but I heard about Ralen's murder from a random NPC, and broke into his house to investigate. This house is one of the ones that I see listed in several places as a recommended home base in the vanilla game if you don't plan to install any house mods. Well, it's all right, but it doesn't feel any more like a "home" than the Mages' Guild does. More like someone else's place where you're temporarily dumping your stuff.

As it turns out, this quest has a common goal with Larrius Varro's little story (if Ralen's servant was telling the truth, of course). I like Larrius, and his very roundabout way of asking you to do something!

This was also the first place where I attempted to goad someone into attacking me first, so I wouldn't get in trouble for it later. I was going about it the wrong way at first. I thought that if you reduce someone's disposition to 0, they'll be likely to attack you, as happens in Oblivion. Here, though, it doesn't happen. Only by actively taunting them, and succeeding a certain number of times, will they attack you. And it also seems that a successful taunt requires their disposition to be high, strangely enough. I found that I got many more failures when I tried taunting him at disposition 0, than when I taunted him while I had him under the influence of a charm spell.

I have to say, though, that THE Morrowind NPC Makeover made an error in changing the appearance of one of the NPCs involved, as he no longer fits the description given by the servant.

And why is Ralen's last name "Hlaalo" instead of "Hlaalu"?


While I was still in Balmora, I stopped by the shop of a raver -- oops, I mean Ra'Virr -- who buys those illegal narcotics Moon Sugar and Skooma, but more importantly, has a nice selection of enchanted weapons.

Early on in the game, I bought a Devil Spear from him, on the recommendation of something I had read...probably UESP's getting started guide. It was useful for finishing fights if I ran out of mana, had a good reach for keeping a bit away from the enemy, and like all of the "devil", "demon", and "fiend" series of weapons, actually conjures a daedric weapon to replace itself whenever you activate it, which has higher stats, and a constant effect of fortifying your skill in that kind of weapon. Very nice! I hadn't been using the spear for a while, since making my custom spells, and it was a bit heavy to be carrying around for no reason (at 14 pounds), and my short blade skill is higher than my spear skill anyway, so I decided to get a lighter replacement.

I went with the Fiend Tanto, which is only 4 pounds, and when the bound weapon is conjured it has faster attacks than the spear, with better slash and chop damage (though lower thrust). Like the spear, it also comes with a 10 second shock shield, and though it isn't quite as powerful as the one on the spear, I think it's worth it for the lighter weight. The bound dagger lasts for 60 seconds, which should be more than enough for a typical fight. A dagger or a staff is probably more classically suitable for a mage than a spear, anyway.


I finally went back to Seyda Neen to check on some things. I think I was originally going there as a quicker trip to Pelegiad, but I got distracted. I went back to that ancestral tomb where I left that rotten log to see if it had finished drying yet. It had, but I was informed that it had been too rotten, and was not salvageable. I had the same results with the two rotten logs I'd left drying out in front of the Caldera guild of mages, which I couldn't pick up before because there was an unusually long rainy season there at the time. There really should be an option on those logs to abort the "drying" process and move them somewhere else.

I've also acquired more folded cloth, and have been attempting to sew some clothes. (There are some other cloth items that can be crafted aside from clothes as well, such as rugs, pillows, and usable bedrolls.) So far, my skill has been slow to rise in that area. I've been having a hard time finding cloth, as vendors don't usually sell it, so I have to resort to stealing it from various places. Not very ideal. I've read in the mod's readme that there's one vendor that has unlimited supplies, though. I'll have to look into that.

Over the course of my playing, I've found recipes for 3 of the mod's brewable poisons, for applying to weapons. These are found in books in different locations.

Additionally, I've figured out how to do a little metalworking, and made some probes at the guild in Ald'ruhn where there's a convenient hearth and anvil. I think I may have to add another room into the Magus Realm tower to accomodate some of my crafting. I need a hearth and anvil for smelting and forging, and a loom or two for sewing would be a nice alternative to the portable sewing machine, which has to be picked up to use it, whereas looms do not. I also need a larger kitchen, with more counterspace, I think. A hearth is also necessary for pottery and glassblowing. And perhaps I could also use a section for my carpentry crafts away from the library area. Carpentry is mainly for making furniture (beds are also usable), musical instruments, etc. Expansions and renovations to follow!

Seyda Neen and teleporting

While I was at the tomb where I left that log, I decided to swim out to a little island I saw a ways off the shore, to see if anything was there (also checking underwater to see if I could glimpse any of those fabled underwater palaces that Water Life is supposed to add, but no luck there). Indeed, there were two locations on the tiny island, right near each other, strangely enough. Seems hard to believe the tunnels of the cave and tomb wouldn't intersect each other, the way they're placed. And who in their right mind builds tombs right next to the ocean, anyway? Are they using magic force fields to keep the water out, or what? There are mountains right nearby, which would be a drier location for these things.

This cave was my first test of the Multiple Teleport Marking Mod, something I knew must exist, but couldn't be bothered to look for it until a reader here helpfully did the work for me (thanks, Dragatus!) This mod sort of eliminates the need for the pack guar, since I have 15 slots to mark for recall, so I can just mark my current location, and teleport back to Creeper to sell off my loot, or to my home to store some items, and then teleport back to the dungeon, tomb, etc. I don't mind the loss of the guar, anyway, since there was always that annoyance of him constantly getting in my way of doors or creatures to loot, etc.

I need to look into a way to reset Creeper's inventory, too, to get rid of the items I've sold him over the past few weeks that I don't plan on re-buying. Then again, I might regret that later, since I may want to buy some of those weapons back from him to melt down as scrap metal for crafting. Ah well.


  1. Have you visited the furniture market vendors from the Balmora Expansion? You can get an anvil, and ovens, and ways to have fire on them. The fire part I personally didnt try though. All I tried was a few small tables, and it was pretty easy to accomodate and remove them.

    Thank you very much for all those links btw! I am trying the "Herbalism for Purists", but I don't like it 100% (and well, it doesn't work 100% either, but that is typical around here). Thing is, I like how it automatically loot herbs, but I dislike how it removes the plant from the scenario. Yes, it is easier to know which I've looted before, but kills the environment looks a bit. I keep getting some errors regarding textures, but it loads anyway. I still need to seach on a solution to that.

    Love alchemy, maybe some WoW influence glued to my brain. I made the laboratory work, thank you. I placed the shelves with their backs turned to the inside of my tent, so it looks like some wooden boxes behind the other stuff of the tent, really not calling attention and keeping that cozy look =) Wierd is, sometimes the book and the lecture change places by themselves. Happens when I "exit" the game... I mean, I save the game and exit. When I come back to play, they are often moved a little, or a lot, but still there. Haven't checked on that either, yet.

    You got me in doubt, btw. How are you gonna join house Telvanii, beign in mage's guild at the same time? It's no secret that they are enemies... or is there something I haven't found out in the game yet?

  2. I hadn't tried the furniture shop yet, but I tried it after I read your comment. Unfortunately, the items they sell are not recognised by the crafting mod. The stoves, anvils, etc. have to have scripts on them that allow them to be used to cook or smith. I clicked on them, and they just gave the "pick up" or "nothing" option, instead of the cooking menu or smithing menu.

    I've been using the Herbalism for Purists, too, and I don't mind so much that they disappear when you harvest them, just like in WoW, because they grow back after a few days. :)

    For me, the book on the lectern does tend to go lopsided whenever I reload or enter again after a while. I'm guessing it wouldn't do that if I laid the book on the table instead, but I don't have the room. When it bothers me, I just click on it, pick "move book" and "place on lectern" and it rights it.

    Yeah, Telvanni and the guild are enemies, but I haven't harmed any Telvanni people, so it should be easy enough to persuade them to let me join. I just won't do any quests that involve acting against one or the other, and see how far I can get before I have to make a choice that might get me kicked out of one or the other.

  3. So, while clearing my inventory, I notice all these Restore (Atribute) potions. I never had to use the Luck, Agility, Strength, Personality ones... just Health, Magicka and Fatigue ones. So my doubt is if NPCs really do attack us to dmg our atributes. Has it happened to you already? While checking that on UESP Wiki, they say that once you have your stats dmged, only a restorative spell (or potion) can fix it. Is that still true? For now I try to carry one of each *just in case*.

    The mage regen mod made my life in the game much happier, along with the multiple Mark/Recall spell, thank you again =)

  4. So far, I've found things damaging my intellect, willpower, and strength, and I've caught a disease or two from animals. Usually I seem to find my intellect and willpower damaged after raiding a tomb. Something the undead there do, I believe. I made a spell to restore intellect and willpower at the same time, for those incidents, but for any other attributes I rely on alchemy. I have a well-stocked cupboard at home full of every non-useless potion I can think of, but I don't keep the restore attribute potions in my inventory, as most of the damage has been very rare aside from the intellect and willpower.

    It is true that when your stats are damaged, only a spell or potion can restore them, unlike when your stats are drained. Drained stats return on their own when the effect has worn off. I think, from seeing the way it's worked when I use it, that absorbed attributes would need to be restored via spell or potion as well, because when I absorb an enemy's health, they never get it back, and I don't lose it when the spell wears off.