Friday, June 12, 2009

Day 22: More NPCs, Less Generic

I installed both Morrowind Comes Alive and several of the Less Generic NPC packs for various regions. Morrowind Comes Alive (MCA) adds a lot of new NPCs to the world, making it feel more occupied. These new NPCs are mainly not named, but classed, so for instance you'll find several NPCs called "Mage" in a Mages' Guild hall or a library, while you'll find a few Bards, Rogues, or Courtesans in taverns. This lack of names helps determine which NPCs may or may not have quests or important information. It also adds recruitable NPCs in all sorts of unexpected locations, who you may convince to become your travelling companion, or even lover. Or, if you don't want to have to talk your companion into it, you can sleep with one of the aforementioned Courtesans. Both male and female are available in each tavern.

It also adds some new kinds of enemy NPCs in caves and dungeons, wearing new armour and clothes! I've gotten face scarves, bandanas, ninja masks, quivers, and great-looking Sixth House armour from these new enemies. (See screenshot for the Sixth House armour.) Ah yes, and notice the colour scheme: red and black, which does match the colours for the 6th House -- not House Telvanni.

Less Generic NPCs is a collection of a number of mods that affect specific towns. They add extra flavour to all the otherwise identical responses to common questions you'll get from most NPCs in a town, giving each NPC his or her own story. The reason I waited so long before installing any of them is that I was concerned all the new dialogue might interfere with some vanilla quests, and I thought it might be difficult to tell which information was actually useful for the game, and which was flavour text. I had reason to be concerned about this due to the Callenwald issue I spoke of before, and also something that happened in Balmora Expansion. I do not recommend speaking to any of the people in the brewery about their local liquor "graija", because once you do, every NPC in Balmora will have this useless "graija" topic in their list, and have nothing new to say about it.

But with LGNPC, I've found this to be an unnecessary concern. Though I thought I might not be able to tell when an NPC's special responses had something to do with a quest or not, in fact the mod adds many new quests to them! And I like quests! It makes it really worthwhile to speak to every NPC and see what they have to say. I think I've found 4 new quests in Ald'ruhn added by LGNPC. One where I helped a creative weapons master get his first novel published, one where I investigated what happened to cause some strange lights in the sky over town a few nights ago, and other interesting and unusual quests like that.

Peaceful item exchange

I mentioned before about how it would be nice to be able to negotiate to buy certain items from some NPCs who will not offer them for sale, as a preferred alternative to killing them for those items, and I suggested the use of mods to add Companion Share to any NPC, so you can just swap the item for a fair amount of gold, to roleplay as if you purchased it from them. Well, I never found a single mod that adds Companion Share to just anyone, but I have found that a combination of two mods does the trick. I would have expected that mods like NPC Functionality or NPC Commands would allow Companion Share, but they do not. Perhaps because it would be too easily exploited? Well, I have enough self-control not to cheat myself, so I'm doing it anyway, and here's how:

With either NPC Functionality or NPC Commands, you gain the ability to recruit any NPC in the game to be a companion, if you get their disposition high enough. This alone doesn't give them companion share, but another mod, Fliggerty's Universal Companion Share, adds companion share functionality to any NPC that is currently in "follow" mode, and that applies to any NPC that you recruit using those other mods. It's an extra step to have to first recruit someone to follow me, then make my item exchange, then tell them to stop following me, just to make such an exchange, but it's still better than killing them. If I thought the game would benefit from having fewer NPCs alive in it, I wouldn't have wanted to install Morrowind Comes Alive in the first place.

My first use of this exchange setup was in the case of a quest which I'll describe without naming names, where I had the choice between peacefully taking over this NPCs rank, and getting nothing, or duelling that NPC to the death, and getting several powerful items, one of which I really wanted (a constant-effect amulet with resist normal weapons 25%, spell absorbtion 25%, fortify intellect 25 points, and restore health 1 point constantly). So, I chose to peacefully take over his rank, and then purchase the amulet from him for 3x its worth. It's not like I don't have enough gold to spare at this point. (I took screenshots to illustrate this exchange, but it was before I decided it might be too spoileriffic to show the NPC I'm talking about.)

Extra note about the Qwert dungeons

Knowing the importance of screenshots in deciding whether or not to download a mod, I went and added some screenshots to the pages for Qwert's House of Madness and Qwert's Dwemer Graveyard on TES Nexus, and provided some more detailed description for them in the comments section (the original description for Dwemer Graveyard especially is extremely terse, and not adequate for a 1000-level dungeon).


  1. Amazing how much patience you have to look for different mods! I just pray to find the few I need, hehe. I actually like the number of NPCs around in town... to me, Morrowind is a desolate, lonelly place. I played Oblivion just a but (wont run good on my PC), and there is this dark elf in Imperial City who is really happy about beign *away* from Morrowind, it was funny to hear him! Anyway, Im busy right now, but should go back to play Morrowind sometime soon. You have been doing a great work talking about everything without spoilers, thank you!

    Since you so love to do quests, I was wondering if you found a better Quest Log or some addon to help manage things. I know this is not the first time I asked... but I had tried one that alowed me to take notes on paper inside the game, which sounded perfect, I could make lists and follow instructions on quests nearby, etc... in theory, of couse, I never made it work. Please let me know if you are using anything like that.

  2. Heh, I remember a different dark elf, Falanu, I think, the alchemist in Skingrad, who complains that her status in House Hlaalu means nothing there in the heart of the Empire.

    Last time you mentioned the quest journal, I said I was trying out Morrowind Journal Helper, and that does let you export and browse through your quests as a spreadsheet or database, but it doesn't seem to remember which ones I said I've completed, so every time I update it, I have to re-mark all these quests as complete, which makes it too much of a bother.

    I think I've just gotten better at reading and using the quest journal. The list of "Quests" in it shows all quests that are open and not completed (though a couple in my list should have been marked complete), and clicking on the hyperlinks usually shows me the information I wanted to know, or at least enough of it that I can find the rest elsewhere. It's still rather clunky and disorganised, but I can work with it. I think the only thing to do aside from that is to just make notes on real paper, or keep a document open that you can alt-tab switch to from the game. :)

  3. Haha, yeah, I keep notes on paper... all mixed up with WoW stuff I take notes. Now I remember what you mentioned, and I didn't try it because I really wanted something in game. Once I got back to it, I might search again. If I find one that works, I let you know.