A Fool In Morrowind, Day 8 – Domestic Bliss

By Alec Meer on July 7th, 2009 at 12:06 am.

Find the story so far here.

It’s an unfortunate reality of Vvardenfell that very few traders can afford to pay anywhere near the worth of the kind of loot that seasoned adventurers bring to them. Stands to reason, really – after all, if they did have several hundred thousand gold to spare, they probably wouldn’t spend their days running grotty shops on a cursed island. It is, however, a source of great annoyance to me. Here I am, pockets laden with brutally effective Daedric weaponry from a hell dimension and lavish Indoril armour worth tens of thousands apiece, but I can only get a couple of thousand gold maximum for anything, if I’m lucky. The traders quickly grew to love me, much as I suspect they were all talking behind my back about how gullible I was. I suppose I’m helping to support local businesses, but frankly I’d never intended to be a philanthropic master thief.

Still, that’s largely what I end up doing, as five lots of 2k is still more than enough to fund a few skill upgrades or a whopping great enchant – but sometimes, I just can’t bear to part with something fancy-lookin’ for small change. Sometimes too, I just want to hoard stuff – whether it’s because it looks rare and interesting, even if it isn’t matched to one of my combat disciplines, or because it’s a now-inferior weapon or armour piece that served me well, and I want to keep it as a memento.

The trouble is where to put all this stuff. My strength is growing all the time, but unless I want to spend every other second casting Feather spells on myself, I just can’t carry that much stuff. I need a base. I need a home.

It isn’t possible to buy a house in Vvardenfell. Perhaps the market’s too unstable due to the looming threat of the dark god Dagoth Ur – a nasty piece of work currently imprisoned inside a volcano and who, rather worryingly, has begun visiting me in my dreams, and sending religious looneys to tell me he wants a chat with me – and so mortgage lenders are avoiding making any deals at the moment. Maybe the five ruling houses passed a law forbidding anyone from ever moving house. Maybe the entire continent just plum doesn’t like me.

Whatever the cause, it’s annoying me. I am, growing rumour now has it, potentially of divine origin. If the prophecies that the topless drug addict who’s been giving me orders on behalf of the Emperor’s spy clique, the Blades, hold any truth, I might even be a god incarnate. Whatever. Sounds like so much poppycock to me – hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a hat that makes me turn invisible. But if they must persist in this nonsense, can’t they at least let me own a bed of my own? Just one cupboard? Maybe a barrel to keep all my hats in? I’m a god, you idiots claim: well, gods shouldn’t have to sleep rough on the streets, dammit.

The only way, it seems, to obtain a house of my own is to murder its owner and simply take up residency. Now, I might be a dirty little thief and an occasional vagrant, but I’m no murderer. Not unless they started it, anyway. How could I make this work? Was there some way to teleport a hapless home owner to the other side of the world? To lock ‘em in a cupboard? Alas not – magic has its limits.

Then I remembered Ralen Hlaalo. Raiding his mansion in Balmora was one of my earliest jobs for the Thieves Guild (which I was, by now, fairly high ranking in), and while wandering around its hallways and startling his poor, frightened lady servant, I’d been surprised to find the man’s corpse lying on the floor of his dining room. What if…

Using my newly-acquired Recall spell, one of many magical fruits of my shameless larceny, I zapped back to Balmora, the little town I still considered home, despite my many adventures in far-flung lands. I crept through the darkness, back to Hlaalo Manor. Surely, by now, someone else would have moved in, or there would be investigating guards swarming around it. In fact, the lock remained picked from my previous visit. The upstairs bedroom was still a state, presumably trashed by whoever had killed Hlaalo.

And downstairs, there he was. Ralen Hlaalo’s body hadn’t moved an inch, nor did it seem to be decomposing. This was deeply sinister – but promising. I returned upstairs, to that devastated bedroom, and took the ultimate risk – a nice little sleep in a stranger’s bed.

When I awoke, there was no bounty on my head, no stern Hlaalu guard threatening me with arrest or a fine for illegal sleeping. Granted, there was yet another one of those bloody Dark Brotherhood chaps trying to stab me in the heart, but that was pretty much par for the course whenever I had a kip. Assassins? More like ineffectual mosquitoes. He was no match for the mighty blade Optimus Slice. Oh, and hey, his swift demised yielded another set of Dark Brotherhood armour to flog for a pretty penny. Unfortunately, taking it did leave me with a naked dead man on the floor of what, it increasingly seemed, might be my very own bedroom, but it should disappear soon enough. Which reminded me…

Downstairs again, and there’s Ralen Hlaalo still. Huh. Whatever killed him did something odd – his body seemed mystically resistant to rot. An idea struck me. If I couldn’t get rid of him, I could at least turn him into a display piece in my lovely new mansion. Seconds later, the corpse was dressed in all manner of finery – some of my most lavish loot clad around his cold flesh.

Yes, very nice. Not only he was now a talking point at dinner parties, but I could change his outfit whenever I wished: corpse-decoration to suit my mood. This was so much better than a bearskin rug or a nice bunch of seasonal flowers. Even better, it seemed I could pile as many items as I wanted into poor Ralen’s pockets. Well, it’s not as if he needed to walk anywhere these days, so the weight of all my looted trinkets was scarcely an issue. I vaguely remembered someone asking me to look into the poor chap’s murderer, but elected to let that one drop – I don’t want to risk ruining a good thing.

I had a home at last. Mine, all mine! Except, as I went to leave from the upstairs door – hop, skips and jumps across Balmora’s rooftops was my preferred means of navigating the town – I saw something move in the second bedroom. Uh-oh. Powerhat was promptly donned, and I peered around the corner. I looked right into the unaware eyes of… Ralen Hlaalo’s female servant.

She’d been here all this time, hiding from either Hlaalo’s murderer, Hlaalo’s corpse or Hlaalo’s wrath should she dare to leave. I removed Powerhat. She stared at me. She didn’t do anything else. Didn’t speak, didn’t run, didn’t attack. I circled her nervously, wondering if this spelled the end of my tenure in this mansion. Still nothing. I backed out slowly, paused a moment, then closed the bedroom door on her. Still nothing. Well, if she was happy in there, I guess I was happy too. Sure, my idea of an ideal home wouldn’t include a creepy silent girl locked in the guest bedroom, but at least I also had a corpse to store infinite swords in.

All these Dark Brotherhood attacks were getting tiresome, mind. The loot they left sure was good, but what to do with all these naked blokes piling up on my floor?

Next: about that god business…

, .

78 Comments »

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  1. EGTF says:

    Sounds like a party at Michael Barrymore’s.

  2. Antlia says:

    Nice series, definitely worth looking after. It’s a pity that you can’t buy a house in Morrowind, one does always have to capture one. It never feels really like your own… Anyways keep these coming and I’ll be happy.

  3. Nill says:

    I love these!

    Off to make some midnight-tea and then read.

  4. TheApologist says:

    Now I have to go to sleep with that creepy servant at the front of my mind.

    Bring on the nightmares…

  5. Serondal says:

    You /can/ get a house in morrowind you just have to buy it with hard work for one of the three houses. any how this was very funny. Corpse decor is pretty disturbing and yet also amusing

  6. moss says:

    I always used a house mod in morrowind, this is my favorite out of the ones I’ve tried. ( http://www.elricm.com/nuke/html/modules.php?op=modload&name=Downloads&file=index&req=viewdownloaddetails&lid=3640 ) Nice and small, but with enough storage. Right outside of Balmora.

    Of course, taking a dead man’s house is much more interesting.

  7. Serondal says:

    Or you could be a real man and build your own house in the Construction Set .

  8. Vinraith says:

    What Serondal said.

    House mods are for people who are too lazy to earn a house (or steal one, as the case may be).

  9. Grey_Ghost says:

    Ew. naked eunuchs.

    @Serondal
    Oooh! Them’s fightin words!

  10. malkav11 says:

    Yeah, I went the murder route. It was much more convenient. Knocked off one of the more useless shopkeepers in Balmora, piled their shelves high with artifacts and rare books.

    For what it’s worth, you can get them to start it. Just drop all your stolen goods, steal something in plain sight of them, preferably worth as little as possible, then kill them when they charge you and attempt to beat you to death for the crime of blatantly stealing a plate. Or perhaps a fork. The guard will treat the murder as self defense, but will of course fine you the value of the stolen item – hence why you want to go as cheap as possible. (And make off with any stolen goods you have in your inventory because they are psychic.)

  11. feighnt says:

    a relatively easier way to get a house (and a bit more in your line, since it involves a lot of thieving) is to romance that Khajiit in Pelagiad – the series of quests she gives you ends with her letting you move in to her house :)

  12. Thiefsie says:

    haha awesome… this is a good one (some of the previous ones have been lacking)

    funny and still kind of taking advantage of the ai for a good yarn!

  13. Scott says:

    One of the riverfront houses on the ritzy half of Balmora is permanently empty, you just need to pick the lock. It’s what I always use.

  14. Devin says:

    @feighnt

    Yeah, but then you have a house in Pelagiad, which is the single hardest permanent settlement to reach in the whole game, and isn’t a quest hub for anyone (at least that I know of… No Temple or Cult shrine, Legion has no quests, no Guild or House presence…)

  15. LactoseTheIntolerant says:

    My favourite so far!

  16. Schadenfreude says:

    I usually do that quest for the Imperial in the fort near Balmora quite early, the guy who asks you to kill everyone in the Council Club. Then promptly move in. Loads of beds and containers and plenty of table space for trophies and alchemical experiments. At least until I get my house from the Great House questline.

    Just started playing this again myself. Dark Elf female with thieving skills as minors and magic as majors. Gonna try and do a pilgrimage to all the Daedric Shrines and figure out what all the “X”s are on the map that came with the game (are they the shrines? I shall find out).

  17. Tom says:

    lol – very funny.

  18. Antistar says:

    Nice: I liked this entry a lot too.

    Seems like the obvious thing to do with the naked blokes piling up on the floor would be to also use them to display clothes and armour – since you’re (weirdly) already doing that. Or you could, y’know, use the handy-dandy ‘dispose of corpse’ button on them. ;-) (Incidentally, I think the assassins stop coming for you when you go speak to that guy in the fort in Ebonheart about it.)

    Because I can’t help but take this sort of thing too seriously: mannequin mods (like ‘House of Mannequins’) would be another solution to how to store and show off your stuff.

    People have already mentioned the player strongholds you can get in the game; gained by performing a number of quests for one of the Great House factions. I always used the ‘Wolfen Castle’ mod myself: partially because it features a ring that teleports you back to the castle when you put it on, and a pillar in the castle that teleports you to the Balmora Mages Guild when you touch it. Combined with all the other teleportation magic in the game (Mark and Recall, Divine and Almsivi Intervention, Guild Guides, and the Propylon Indices), it makes it easy to get around the island.

  19. Seth says:

    Doing the very first quest or two of Tribunal will end the bd attacks.

  20. Jazmeister says:

    EGTF. Oh yes he’ll fucking go there.

  21. MC says:

    The good thing is, you won’t have to explain to innkeepers why your room is always full of dead naked men whenever you vacate it.

  22. MC says:

    Oh, yeah, I remember I chucked all my excess loot on the floor of the Caldera Mage’s Guild. I’m suprised it didn’t disappear, but it didn’t and pretty soon you couldn’t seen the floor in parts for stacks of razor sharp dadric, ebony and glass weapons. Walking around through that mess must have been quite perilous.

  23. Dcybele says:

    @MC Yeah I used the Ald’Ruhn Mages guild for my storage area and it hasn’t disappeared either. Which is odd considering the obnoxious Breton at the door is constantly saying “Share the wealth…” but then doesn’t realize he could just grab a few items from my stash…

  24. Antistar says:

    Ah yes, here we go:

    UESPWiki (Cached Google page since the UESPWiki seems to be having problems at the moment.)

    “The attacks will stop once Apelles Matius tells you to speak to Asciene Rane, though the quest will stay active in your journal until you talk to a Mournhold guard.”

  25. Lord Coinage says:

    Man, I want to reinstall Morrowind now. Unfortunately, I realise how abosutely shitty my laptop is for gaming. Maybe when I get a decent gaming computer.

  26. Kinsley says:

    Go and raid their cave. That’s how you stop those dark brotherhood dudes.

  27. Aftershock says:

    Heh, i’m a hoarder too. Thank god for lunchboxes that can hold infinite amounts of ammo and assault rifles.

  28. TOOTR says:

    Mr Meer – I am loving this series and have got hold of the GOTY edition to check it all out for myself.

    Struggling to get the Morrowind Graphics Extender to play nice with Vista though.

    You mentioned you went back a couple of versions – could you clarify? Anyone else have some ‘running on Vista’ tips?

  29. Jacques says:

    TOOTR, had zero problems with the Graphics Extender on my laptop running Vista 64. I downloaded the one Alex linked to in an earlier post, did you use that one or another?

    How exactly is it not running properly?

  30. Tei says:

    Hilarious one, great serie! :-)

  31. MarkN says:

    I murdered some guy to get my house in Morrowind. He later turned up in one of the house quests I was doing, which required me kill him. So I ended up finding out how to use the console to resurrect him, brought him back to life, and then killed him again. Felt a little bad about that one, tbh.

  32. Roberto says:

    @Scott
    I am currently using that house in Balmora at the moment, the chest in there holds over 60000 gold worth of loot from stealing the soul gems in the Mage’s Guild. It’s easy enough to pick the locks and gives you a place to crash, but now I am thinking I should be using the mansion… hmmm.

  33. AK says:

    Best day yet. I did exactly this in Oblivion, although the ‘container reset’ glitch lost me many a ludicrous hat.

  34. Lacero says:

    You can build your own house in game. Just join the telvanni and you can own your very own mushroom mage tower. In the middle of nowhere.

    Or you can join another house and get something a bit closer to civilisation.

  35. MrBejeebus says:

    I’m playing through Oblivion at the mo, and last week I played through Morrowind, despite being in the same “universe” they have completely different feels, in Oblivion I’ve never once been afraid of dieing or anything like that, none of the missions are challenging and it all seems like a bit of a walk over. Morrowind however unlike Oblivion doesn’t hold your hand and tell you everything is going to be fine, you’re just dropped off in this world with a hint of what to do for the main quest, but mostly you’re just left to your own devices.

    Despite Oblivion’s more detailed world, it feels fake compared to Morrowind…

  36. Redford says:

    Everyone makes that house their home base. EVERYONE.

  37. TOOTR says:

    Jacques – thanks , well its Vista Ultimate (32); its directx10 and it simply won’t run. I’ve tried three versions , the most most recent three on Sourceforge, i’ve set compatability to windows xp SP2 and run them as administrator but they don’t want to dance. They’re not even interested in going for a coffee.

  38. Garg says:

    “It’s an unfortunate reality of Vvardenfell that very few traders can afford to pay anywhere near the worth of the kind of loot that seasoned adventurers bring to them.”

    I seem to remember there being a talking mudcrab merchant that I stumbled across when I played Morrowind years ago.

    TOOTR, it took me a while to coax it into running on windows 7 64; first you need to make sure you have installed the direct x 9 files (even if you have direct x 10), and also the C++ runtime files and

    Finally you need to go to the properties screens of Morrowind.exe, Morrowind Launcher.exe and MGEgui.exe and make sure you have checked “Disable visual themes” “Disable desktop composition” and “Disable display scaling on high DPI settings” as well as “Run this program as an administrator”. I didn’t need to set to compatibility mode.
    When I did this the MGEgui would finally load, however there are some problems getting it to take effect if you bought Morrowind through Steam,
    .

  39. CakeAddict says:

    Why don’t you just dispose of the corpses if you loot them anyway? (it’s a small button when your looting the corpse)
    I tend to get a nice house mod where I can dump my mountains of herbs enchants and other loot in, Preferably in balmora.

    But I can remember my first house back when there weren’t such mods out yet I killed the clothier near the entrance of balmora to get a house.
    Although I found out after a few days that the house was to small contain everything I had so I moved to something bigger, I hadn’t been in vivecs palace yet so I though THAT would be big enough when I finnally got myself in I found out it was rather empty.. and there was a very weird bloke in it to. (which I couldn’t kill… yet hehe..)
    I eventually killed everybody in the hlaalu council house, they didn’t want me to join anyway so they were of no use to me.

  40. Alec Meer says:

    “Why don’t you just dispose of the corpses if you loot them anyway?”

    Because that wouldn’t be very funny.

  41. dan says:

    There’s a free apartment in Vivec, St. Delyn I think, the upper waist. May have a ghostie in it, but once that’s wiped out you have a nice apartment in the capital, rent-free.

  42. Clovis says:

    I’ve been playing Fallout 3. Does Oblivion and/or Morrowind have the “pickup” button (z in F3)? I don’t remember it in Oblivion, so when I was “decorating” my shack with skulls I had to stand in the right place, drop the item, and hope. In F3 I can arrange all my damaged garden gnomes however I want! Fun!

  43. Torsten says:

    The Dark Brotherhood attacks stopped for me as soon as I got to Ebonheart and talked to some guy in shiny golden armor. I think it’s suggested in the scribblings of your journal, if you can still find it. Also, there’s a button “Dispose of body” on the lower left corner of the loot dialog (although that might only be there due to my magical combination of mod).

  44. Freudian Slip says:

    EGTF won the comments a long time ago guys. You can stop trying now.

  45. Jacques says:

    I wasn’t aware one could “win” a comment, but whatever ;)

    Don’t the assassin attacks stop after you’ve killed a few?

  46. Richard Beer says:

    Ah, genius Alec, this series is really starting to go somewhere now. I thought you were wandering a little aimlessly to start with, but exploiting a game’s flaws for po-faced diary entries, dripping with dramatic irony, is a bit of a gold mine. I look forward to future installments!

  47. Gutter says:

    So whats the fun in this game? Alec had never played it, and he is a walking God now, and from the 2nd day he played too.

    Why would anyone play this game for anything else than just wanting to ‘play the system’ and be a god like entity?

  48. ilves says:

    As for merchants not having enough gold..

    *cough* talking mudcrab *cough*

    I actually just re-installed this game yesterday after reading these. Just added the Graphics Extender, Better Bodies, Beauty Pack, Better Heads (I think that’s the name), Combat Enhanced (trying it out, not sure if its worth it), and unofficial Morrowind Patch. All working together nicely so far, water reflection is pretty dang sweet from when I played it last a few years ago. Is there any point to adding any other world beautification mods (textures, etc) with the graphics extender or is the extender basically best you can get anyway?

  49. ilves says:

    @gutter

    he’s also got some mods going making the game a little easier. He also hasn’t described much actual combat/dangerous locations, just the assassins that aren’t that bad and mostly social events.