Morrowind,  Tembriel Playthrough

In Which Tembriel Investigates a Murder and Acquires a Code Book

In this session, I managed to advance enough to get official orders from my Blades handler! But apparently I have not advanced enough to actually make it through the next stage of what I need to do for the main plot. So most of this session’s action was all about initial side quests, investigating a murder in Seyda Neen, and getting that code book for the Fighters Guild.


  • Play date: 8/20/2022
  • Session number in this run: 7
  • Picked up at Mages Guild in Balmora
  • Went over to talk to House Hlaalu contact and got a new quest from her to appropriate an alchemical formula; however, for now decided to go investigate that shipwreck near Seyda Neen
  • Took the silt strider over, and started exploring the shore and found dead body of Processus Vitellius
  • Took the guy’s gold and went to go report the death; guard directed me to the census house
  • Wound up having to talk to the same NPC who oversaw my character creation, Socucius Ergalla
  • He said I’d need to bring him proof, so i went back to the body and got his clothes and the tax records still on him; brought them back to Socucius, who directed me to find the murderer
  • Went out to ask around; Fargoth directed me to the lighthouse to talk to the dead guy’s former girlfriend, Thavere Vedrano
  • Thavere pointed me at Foryn Gilnith, and also asked me to bring her back Processus’ ring
  • Went to go face Foryn and discovered he’d killed the guy because he was totally skimming off the top out of their tax money
  • Got the option to either buy Foryn’s story, or else tell him he murdered the guy and had to face the consequences; went for the consequences option, which provoked him into attacking me
  • Took the guy out and went back to report my findings, which got me 500 septims
  • Next decided to try to go find that shipwreck; killed a few critters on the way, and did find the shipwreck
  • Except that the lower level was underwater and I could not find a way to get out of there before i drowned, oops >_<
  • Lesson learned: no fucking around in shipwrecks until i have a method of breathing underwater!
  • Thrown back to the point where I was tasked with investigating the murder
  • So I re-investigated, up to the point where I killed Foryn in his shack
  • Went over to sell his stuff to Arrille the trader
  • Got the quest about Hrisskar Flat-Foot, who Fargoth owed money to; agreed to find Fargoth’s hiding space
  • Tromped around a little while investigating where the tree trunk might be
  • Killed a couple more critters and got the alert to rest to think on what I’d learned (woo! level 4!)
  • Finally had to resort to the wiki though, because I was up on the lighthouse too late to see him go to his stash, and it was hard for me to tell which character was which as they moved around
  • Looted the tree trunk which was still pretty much right in town, I was overthinking it
  • Went back to Foryn’s shack to sleep since I can now actually sleep in there unchallenged
  • Leveled up! Took boosts to Strength, Willpower, and Personality
  • (Note: will need to be sure and drop more on Endurance and Intelligence soon, I think)
  • Got woken up by a Dark Brotherhood assassin, goddamn you guys are persistent, and I’M TRYING TO SLEEP HERE, ASSHOLE <stab>
  • Took all his stuff, tried to sleep again to finish healing up, and got another assassin
  • That one killed me, however; thrown back to just after first assassin
  • Decided to go back out and sell the first assassin’s stuff to Arrille
  • Also checked in with Hrisskar Flat-Foot about Fargoth’s stash; got 100 gold out of the exchange
  • Sold Arrille a bunch of stuff, and bought several spells from him
  • And came out ahead on this exchange I think since I wound up with a lot of my gold back after selling him that assassin’s gear, ha!
  • I think it was somewhere in here where I passed Vodunius Nuccius, who recommended I mention him to the silt strider operator
  • Returned to the shack to rest up; this time no assassin! Yay!
  • Went to take the silt strider back to Balmora, and the operator mused that Vodunius was not happy in Seyda Neen
  • In Balmora, bought the book I needed for the Mages Guild quest at the bookseller there
  • Went back into the Mages Guild just to see who was selling what spells; nobody had Chameleon
  • Bought a couple more spells though, and used the guild guide to boing to Ald’ruhn’s Guild; handed off the book to the steward there, and got her to give me another quest to bring her a particular potion
  • Took the silt strider back to Balmora, and then straight to Seyda Neen
  • Talked to Vodunius, and wound up buying a cursed ring off of him for 100 gold
  • Hoofed it back to Balmora from there; killed a few critters en route
  • Spotted some netches! Did not engage with those
  • Made it back to Balmora
  • Got a round of Restoration training and a round of Long Blade training from Blades trainers
  • Went to go talk to Caius since I’m level 4 now
  • Got official Blades orders! Yay! More plot!
  • Ordered to find out about the Nerevarine cult and the Sixth House cult from a guy in the Fighters Guild after I do a favor for him
  • But first: let’s see if I can find out about that code book
  • Got Caius to train me up five times in Speechcraft to get it out of single digits 😛
  • Found Sottilde, the woman in the South Wall Cornerclub who had the book
  • Sold her a couple of expendable items, then went out to try for that Fighters Guild favor
  • Did some resting up at the Guild, then went to talk to Hasphat about the favor; he told me to go get him a dwemer puzzle cube out of Arkngthand
  • Tried this four times, and the damn bandit on the dwemer bridge kept attacking and killing me with either lightning, his summoned skeleton, or both
  • Last time through, still got the favor quest, but instead sold some of the scrolls I’d acquired to the bookseller to try to build up some more gold
  • Went back to the cornerclub and bribed Sottilde twice and did a couple of Admires on her, to get her Disposition up enough to just give me the book so I wouldn’t have to fight her for it
  • Took the book back to Eydis at the Fighters Guild; got her to give me a debt collection quest
  • Went next door to the Mages Guild; got zapped over to the Guild in Suran to find that potion I needed to pick up, then paid to be zapped back to Ald’ruhn to drop off that potion
  • Peeked outside and yikes, ash storm, yeah howsabout I just get zapped back the way I came?
  • Zapped back to Balmora
  • Got a rumor from a passerby that the Imperial Champion at Fort Moonmoth wanted a word with me
  • Went over there to check it out
  • Officer dropped me a big stone hint about how it sure would be nice if somebody took out the Cammona Tong, and if they did they might even get a nice present from the Emperor
  • I agreed that sure was a nice story! however, not going for that quest quite yet, those bastards are level 9, they’ll hand me my ass
  • Tried to go to Vivec to find out about stealing that alchemy recipe, but yeah that didn’t go well even with trying to use one of my potions of Shadow; retreated from that after the alchemist killed me and I rolled back to prior autosave
  • Tried once to return to Seyda Neen and hoof it north to Balmora to treasure hunt, but got killed in Ulummusa
  • Thrown back to Vivec; took silt strider this time straight to Balmora
  • Sold Ra’virr the cursed ring and the remaining extra bit of Dark Brotherhood gear I got off the last assassin
  • Saved for the night

Death of a Taxman quest

I think I’d seen passing reference to this quest on the pages about Morrowind and Seyda Neen on the wiki? But I hadn’t actively planned to run this plot until I ran across the dead body of Processus Vitellius near the town. Once that happened, though, I went ahead with it.

And this was another decent little plot. I liked two main things about it:

  1. It actually gives a reason to go back and talk to the NPC who walked you through character setup, which is nice
  2. It’s another plot where the outcome depends on your choices, which I enjoy

I was a little surprised, though, that Socucius didn’t actually take the tax records I brought back as proof that I’d found the body. He totally took the 200 septims, though.

And so far this is the second plot I’ve run into where I feel like I could legit go with either choice presented to the player, really. Foryn comes across as being legit pissed off that Processus was skimming off their taxes for his own profit. On the other hand, it was also suspicious that Foryn was the one who owed the most! Ultimately, I decided to go ahead and tell Foryn he’d have to face consequences for murder, which of course pissed him off and provoked him into attacking me.

I defended myself. But wound up having to do it twice–because after the first time, I managed to drown myself investigating that shipwreck I’d wanted to find! Lesson learned here: no investigating flooded shipwrecks without a means of breathing underwater.

So second time through, I re-investigated, up to the point where Foryn attacked me. And at that point, I changed course, returned the ring to Thavere, and sold the guy’s stuff to Arrille the trader. And got the pointer for the guy upstairs in the trader building who was owed money by Fargoth. (See below.)

And now I can basically use this guy’s shack as a free place to sleep in Seyda Neen. Which I did take advantage of to level up! And which also provoked a couple of Dark Brotherhood assassin attacks, too. I say two because I tried to sleep twice, and the second assassin killed me again!

Fargoth’s Hiding Place quest

I felt slightly guilty about proceeding with this plot, partly because Fargoth is a fellow Bosmer. But on the other hand, the dude comes across as a bit too fulsome. And if he was in fact stiffing Hrisskar Flat-Foot, that kind of diminishes my sympathy for the guy.

Plus, honestly? I wanted that ring back. 😉 Now that I know that Morrowind has a very hard limit on how much you can carry, one ring of healing that can recharge itself seems like it’ll be less weight to carry around than several healing potions! And it’s a thing I can invoke when I don’t have magicka to cast spells.

Vodunius Nuccius quest

This was really more of an interaction than a quest, since it mostly just involved talking to this guy and confirming that yeah, he hated being in Seyda Neen, and would I be willing to buy a cursed ring off of him?

I was willing to throw 100 gold at him, and I was vaguely curious about how a cursed item works in Morrowind. I was also vaguely surprised that I was in fact able to sell the ring to Ra’virr in Balmora later.

Antabolis Informant quest

Finally, I got to move the main plot along a little! Reaching level 4 meant I was able to go back to Caius and get orders from him, which basically amounted to “Go do a favor for this guy in the Fighters Guild, and get him to tell you info about the Nerevarine and Sixth House cults.”

My contact at the Fighters Guild was Hasphat Antabolis, who turned out to be one of the two NPCs down on the lower level of the Balmora Guild HQ. So I got the guy to tell me he wanted me to bring him a Dwemer puzzle box from a nearby ruin, Arkngthand. (Not to be confused with Irkngthand, in Skyrim!)

I tried four times to get to that ruin. But there’s a bridge that leads to it I could not make it past. There was a bandit on that bridge who kept slaughtering me, either via summoned skeletons, his lightning attacks, or both.

I even tried using the potion I had for lightning protection, as well as trying to hit the guy from afar with my bow. That only slightly slowed him down. So clearly I’m going to have to come back later when I’ve had a chance to level up some more, improve my gear, or both.

The Code Book quest

This quest, however, I was able to successfully resolve. And I didn’t even have to kill Sottilde or rob her to do it. What I did have to do was get her Disposition to me up high enough that she was willing to turn over the book. And that required a couple of bribes that totaled 200 gold, as well as a couple of Admires thrown at her.

I liked this option better than either killing her or pickpocketing her. In no small part because there were three or four other NPCs in the cornerclub, all of whom probably would have come running if I’d picked a fight with her. Plus, since I’m trying not to play a thief in this run, I’d prefer to avoid pickpocketing if possible! Or getting a bounty for assault or murder.

And it probably didn’t hurt that I got Caius to train me up five rounds of Speechcraft, which at least got that stat out of the single digits.

Larrius Varro Tells a Little Story quest

Oh, I liked this one, or at least its start. 😉 Got a passerby in Balmora to tell me about a rumor that the Imperial Champion at Fort Moonmoth wanted to talk to me. So I went over there to check it out.

Larrius turned out to need help getting at a corrupt magistrate, but as an officer of the Imperial legion, he was constrained from going at this guy openly. So he basically told me a little story about how a bad magistrate kept getting away with corruption no matter how much a good officer wanted to take him out, and the good officer thought, well gosh, wouldn’t it be delightful if somebody took out the bad people who were bribing the magistrate? Why, if that were to happen, maybe somebody could get a really nice present from the Emperor!

I agreed that that sure seemed like a nice idea! Though I am not yet going to pursue that plot, because apparently the bad people Larrius wants me to take out are level 9, and I’m still only level 4. So going after them now seems ill-advised!

Hold that thought, Larrius. I’ll get back to you.

Alchemical Formulas quest

This is the quest for House Hlaalu where you’re supposed to go to this alchemist’s shop in Vivec, and swipe a formula from her–because this woman is apparently taking business away from other alchemists who are more friendly to House Hlaalu.

The one main interesting thing to me about this quest was that I actually got to see Vivec for the first time, which was legit cool. And I got in there at night, which meant I finally got to see the actual moons out. So yeah, Masser and Secunda do exist in the Morrowind night skies!

I did not, however, catch a glimpse of the Ministry of Truth. Darn.

Anyway, getting there at night actually confused me a bit, because it took me a while to figure out that all the shop accesses were inside the various large structures. And because it was dark, I didn’t easily find the ramps that led into them. I finally pulled it off by waiting until sunup and then realizing what the ramps were.

However, once I actually found the target shop, I quickly realized that stealing that formula off the table was going to be a problem. I tried to use a Shadow potion, but the shopkeeper spotted me and promptly fried me as I tried to escape. Oops.

And it only just occurred to me as I was working on this post that I do have a means of invisibility: the Moonshadow power. But whether that will help is dubious. That effect would dispel as soon as I tried to interact with the object on the table.

Discord folks are advising me though that it would help if I could get the shopkeeper to look someplace else, that would help my chances of swiping the formula off the table. But the shop isn’t very big, so there’s not much room for error in where I can be to make sure she’s looking somewhere else. This will require careful experimentation!

(And reminding myself that I am not the Dragonborn here, I cannot utilize the Throw Voice Shout!)

Next time

Skywind Discord folks say I should in theory be able to get past the bridge bandit if I let him use up all his magicka first–which will require me just dodging the effects. I don’t even necessarily have to attack him with my bow, I just need to dodge.

So I’ll head back to try that out. And if that doesn’t work, I want to investigate one of the ancestral tombs near Balmora. I see wiki rumors I should be able to get the Mentor’s Ring in there! Which seems like a useful thing to acquire!


Editing to add

  • 11/23/2023: Restored missing gallery.

As Angela Highland, Angela is the writer of the Rebels of Adalonia epic fantasy series with Carina Press. As Angela Korra'ti, she writes the Free Court of Seattle urban fantasy series. She's also an amateur musician and devoted fan of Newfoundland and Quebecois traditional music.