Morrowind,  Tembriel Playthrough

In Which Tembriel Sees Some Men About a Stronghold

Hey, remember that Morrowind playthrough I still have in progress? It’s been a while! Let’s go see what Tembriel’s doing, shall we? Main action in this post: following up on getting the necessary paperwork to build myself a Hlaalu stronghold, and then heading off to Gnaar Mok to position myself for the next major plot point in the game’s main quest.

Play by play

  • Play date: 4/16/2023
  • Session number in this run: 34
  • Picked up at Balmora and took the silt strider to Vivec
  • Saw Baren Alen in the Hlaalu Treasury to get the land deed
  • Took silt strider to Seyda Neen
  • Hoofed it from there into Ebonheart, because i couldn’t remember how the hell to get to Ebonheart from Vivec
  • Once at Ebonheart, derped around until I found the Grand Council Chambers
  • Found Duke Vedam Dren who was all ‘I dunno, you look kinda dubious, are you going to help my people?’
  • Absolutely! I have been doing pretty much nothing but that since I got here!
  • Got the construction contract!
  • Returned to Vivec via boat (right, boat access right by the silt strider)
  • Took the silt strider back to Balmora
  • Reported to Dondos Driler at House Hlaalu and got the building underway for my stronghold, fuck yeah
  • Meanwhile, went back to the Mages Guild
  • Did some alchemy and made some potions; sold them to Sharn
  • Headed back out again and took the silt strider to Ald’ruhn
  • Hoofed it just a short ways south of there
  • Spotted an NPC, Viatrix Petilia; she was all YOU! BE MY ESCORT! And then blew me off when I asked about it…?
  • Checked her out on the wiki and apparently she’s a stingy bitch? So okay you can just stand here lady, I got things to do
  • Reached Fort Buckmoth, and got a blight off a cliff racer, FUCKING CLIFF RACERS ;P
  • But there was an apothecary just inside, Cocistian Quaspus, so I bought a cure blight potion off of him and solved that problem
  • Found the fort champion, Raesa Pullia, and questioned her about the scouting party sent after the Sixth House base
  • She directed me to find Gnaar Mok; hoofed it off to the southwest to find the place
  • Killed en route: assorted critters, including a round of kagouti + three cliff racers all at the same time
  • However, made it to Gnaar Mok without too much trouble
  • Questioned Hinald in Druegh-Jigger’s Rest (which is apparently a Thieves Guild hideout?) to get the goods on where the Sixth House base is; had to bribe him 100 gold to get his disposition high enough
  • He pointed me at Khartag Point just to the northwest of town, so headed over there
  • Killed a few more critters en route
  • Found the entrance to Ilunibi and saved there for the night


So there’s a reason I don’t play through Morrowind very quickly, I think, and that reason is: every time I come back to Morrowind, I keep finding that holy crap doing anything in this game is slow.

And I think it just vexes me more that trudging anywhere overland is just so dog slow. I can turn on running, sure, which helps a little. But that also burns through my Fatigue, so I have to be on top of that and stop running every so often if I don’t want to burn that out in case a pack of cliff racers shows up or something.

And when I compare my general movement speed to what I experience as walking speed in Skyrim or ESO, it just feels like I’m slogging through molasses. The very monochrome look of the Ashlands, as I’ve said before in prior Tembriel posts, doesn’t help this either. Not only am I having to trudge very slowly through the landscape, I’m doing it in a landscape that isn’t interesting to look at, and in which it is very, very easy to get lost.

All that said, I’m still interested enough in this game’s plot that I will eventually finish Tembriel’s playthrough. So I’m glad I came back to it, just to move her along a little further. I just have to factor this into my planning, and not expect to get too far in any given session.

In this one, anyway, the main action was just making the arrangements to get Tembriel’s personal stronghold underway. I’m not sure if I’m a fan of the bureaucracy involved, and having to go to two different places to get appropriate paperwork. It’s definitely more complicated than showing up at a Jarl’s keep in Skyrim and chucking gold at their steward, to be sure.

And there’s the aspect of the stronghold requiring three phases to be completed, too, and multiple checkpoints where you have to keep talking to Dondos Driler, and then go solve quests, and then talk to other NPCs. On the one hand, I kind of like that building a stronghold is kind of a big deal here. It feels like it should be. On the other hand, I’m all “but but I just want a house, it’s easier in Skyrim!” Heh.

Next bit I’ll note here is the brief encounter with the NPC Viatrix Petilia. Like other Morrowind NPCs I’ve seen outside of cities or settlements, she was just standing around in the middle of nowhere. When I got close enough to her, she threw off a line to the effect of “You! You’ll do! Be my escort!”

But when I walked up to her and tried to click on her “escort” conversational topic, she blew me off and told me to ask her about it again when we were better friends?

I gave that a hard side-eye, and looked her up on the wiki. Her character page was not promising, basically describing her as a stingy bitch. And yeah, no. In a game where I’m already impatient about trudging around in the open terrain as it is, I do not have time to babysit NPCs who are going to be shitty to me anyway! So sorry, lady, you can just stand around here and be bitchy at somebody else. I have things to do!

Her page doesn’t actually call out the behavior I saw, which was that she didn’t even want to talk to me about being her escort–suggesting I would have had to actually flatter or bribe her to get her to deign to accept me as an escort anyway. And again, yeah, no.

I shall assume for headcanon purposes that Tembriel probably told this woman to head over to Fort Buckmoth, since the fort was nearby, and hire herself a soldier or three there. If nothing else, somebody standing out in the open is just asking to get pecked to death by cliff racers.

When I made it to Fort Buckmoth, anyway, I got hit by one of those fucking cliff racers and took a blight off of it, too. Which meant it was a damn good thing that the fort had an apothecary available, because I was quickly able to buy a potion to fix the problem. Which is another example, I think, of anything in Morrowind just being slower and more complex than I’m accustomed to in Skyrim. At least in Skyrim, a potion of Cure Disease will cure anything, and there’s no distinction between Disease and Blight.

Last but not least, I headed over to Gnaar Mok to try to find the location of the Sixth House base. Gnaar Mok looked a lot like Hla Oad, which is to say, a teeny tiny ramshackle town, without much there. I had to be there just long enough to question a local about the place I wanted to find.

The first local I found was Hinald, a guy in a place called Druegh-jigger’s Rest. Two things to note about the place:

  1. Its name is misspelled, since the standard spelling in the lore is “dreugh”, and the wiki does call this out
  2. It is apparently a hangout of the Thieves Guild

And heh, wow, if this is a Thieves Guild hangout, the place is even more pitiful than the Ratway!

After a bit of a bribe, Hinald did fork over the information I wanted, though. So I made my way over onto Khartag Point and found the entrance to Ilunibi.

Connection to Oblivion

And now that I’ve decided that Ganniwer, my character in Oblivion, is Tembriel’s sister… that raises fun questions about what’s going on in Tembriel’s mind as she continues her journey as the Nerevarine. In particular, going to the trouble to try to found a stronghold suggests that Tembriel believes herself to be in for the long haul in Morrowind. Maybe she’s planning on trying to establish a presence first, and then, when all this Nerevarine business is done, trying to return to Cyrodiil to find her sister?

Next time

I make no promises as to when Tembriel’s next session actually will be, because my track record with her hasn’t been good lately! But that said: I am finally about to hit the next major plot point in the game’s main quest and that does make my interest perk back up again. Particularly knowing that getting past this hurdle will solve certain problems beginning Morrowind players have. Immunity to any further diseases and blights will be nice!

So next time I run Tembriel, it’ll be to make my way into Ilunibi. It’ll be interesting to see if that place takes me nearly as long as the burial caverns, given that it has multiple zones! But according to the wiki, most of the areas aren’t terribly interesting and all the interesting treasure is in the final bit. So we’ll see!


Editing to add

  • 11/25/2023: 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.