The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind might have come out 17 years ago, but it is still lauded as one of PC gaming’s greats. Set on the island of Vvardenfell, players were able to create their own character and could choose whether to take on the mantle of the Nerevarine, saving the island from deadly blight storms and false gods. Or just spend hours exploring the world and visiting the numerous factions, guilds, houses, towns and clans, talking to the hundreds of NPCs going about their daily lives, waiting for you to help them with their troubles.
These NPCs are remembered fondly even today, but I feel that some of them were just not done justice in the original game. Here, then, is a list of nine characters from Morrowind (and its two expansions) that deserve their own spin-off games.
Ahh, Jiub. The first character you meet, a gruff-but-gentle-voiced Dunmer (a dark elf race) who wakes you up from your fevered dreams and tells you the ship has reached its destination. For such a short interaction, Jiub remains a beloved NPC and in later lore we discover that he went on to become canonised for his feat of driving all of the cliff-racers (those flying, squawking menaces) from the isle of Vvardenfell. An Elder Scrolls Pied Piper, if you will.
Saint Jiub’s story deserves to be told, and his own action adventure game would be the perfect way to tell it. Players can take the role of Jiub himself as he cleanses the island from the blight of the cliff-racers. Who wouldn't want to spend countless glorious hours fighting cliff-racers... oh, wait. Never mind.
We know little of Tarhiel except his death, but what a glorious death it was, falling from the sky with a thin scream of terror, almost landing on you and taking you out with him. Most players find him while exploring the Bitter Coast region fresh from the prison ship and taking ten minutes to kill a mudcrab because your weapon keeps missing it.
After he’s fallen to his inevitable death, Tarhiel’s poor, broken body can be looted. His journal and magical Scrolls of Icarian Flight give us an insight into his desire to eradicate the need for long-distance transport and become a mountain-leaping lord of his own destiny. It seems Tahriel should have paid more attention when making his scrolls, however, and maybe not given them such a foreboding name.
Tarhiel was not given enough air-time (sorry) in Morrowind, but I’m sure we all agree that a platformer is the only type of game this jump-lover could star in.
We know many Umbras in the Elder Scrolls world, but Morrowind’s Umbra was the first. The name originally came from the enchanted black sword, rather than the Orc who wields it, but so much time has passed that both now share the same title. Umbra the Orc waits for a noble death on a lonely hillside, so that Umbra the sword can be wielded by a worthy warrior once again. Many have come before and tried to give Umbra the death he desires, but so far none have succeeded.
For the warrior hell-bent on a death in battle with a worthy foe, surely a Dark Souls-esque game is where Umbra – both sword and Orc – would be most happy, finding death after glorious death at the hands of several worthy enemies.
This enigmatic Khajiit (the feline race of Morrowind) spends most of her time watching and waiting at the Halfway Tavern in the quiet town of Pelagiad. If you played Morrowind as a female character, you’d be forgiven for having dismissed Ahnassi as a slightly boring, nondescript NPC with not much to say. If, however, you played as a male character you might be familiar with Ahnassi and her desire for a special friend, someone with smooth moves and graceful eyes and a flowing body...
I wonder how long Ahnassi waited in that pub, lonely and surrounded by clumsy fools, before her dream man walked through the door. Maybe she should take matters into her own claws. I feel Ahnassi is deserving of her own dating sim, so she can admire lots of men’s smooth moves before deciding on someone truly worthy of her affections and insider knowledge.
A scamp? Living with Orcs? Just wants to bang on his drum, and buy and sell items from well-travelled adventurers? Needs the money even though he’s one of the richest merchants in the game? Surely everyone remembers encountering Creeper in Ghorak Manor and wondering why the scamp doesn’t attack you and why he’s such good friends with the Orcs. You might even have taken pity on him and his desperate need for money before realising how rich he was.
This poor creature clearly needs to be the star of his very own inventory management game (Diablo, Torchlight, we’re looking at you). Just imagine the hours of enjoyment Creeper would get from buying, selling, and sorting through all of that wonderful loot, as well as the piles of golden coins he’ll get in return. Scamp heaven.
A poor farmer, living out near the Fields of Kummu, Sterdecan spends his time growing saltrice on his modest farmstead. He also leads a secret life as an undercover abolitionist, helping the cause by sheltering escaped slaves on their way to freedom.
I envisage Sterdecan starring as the farmer in his own Stardew Valley-inspired farming sim, where his neighbours are emancipated slaves he has helped, starting new lives in the safety of their own Pelican Town. Nothing for Sterdecan but growing saltrice, conversing with the freed peoples of Morrowind and the occasional mining foray into the dark caverns when he needs to find a diamond for someone’s birthday.
Hentus and Hainab
Okay, okay, so this is a bit of a cheat since it’s two NPCs. You’ll know these two from a visit to the mining town of Gnisis, far to the north. Miner Hentus Yansurnummu is stranded in the water near the town, minus his trousers, and farmer Hainab Lasamsi is the trouser thief. The two Dunmer seem to be at odds with one another, and Hainab stole the trousers while Hentus was bathing. When you help Hentus out by getting Hainab to give the clothing back, the latter claims it was all just a stupid joke anyway.
Look, fellas, there are other ways to carry out a petty rivalry in the gaming world. Why not try a fighting game. Hentus vs Hainab, in a 1v1 battle until one is K.O.d. Surely better than sneaking around stealing a poor Dunmer’s trousers while he’s just having a bath in the river. Not cool, Hainab. Not cool.
Forstaag the Sweltering
This nearly-naked Nord, found in the Mournhold plaza in Morrowind’s first expansion, is an indignant fellow. It appears that people assume a witch has stolen his clothes (a common complaint among the gruff, rough northern warriors of Skyrim when they visit Vvardenfell). Nonsense, Forstaag claims. He is just too hot and insists he’s taken his clothes off to cool down.
Poor sweltering Forstaag might be at home in an exploration survival game set in a snowy environment – think the Long Dark or Kona – where he can cool down, put some clothes back on and almost definitely not encounter any witches.
Basks-In-The-Sun has one job. He waits at the freezing docks of Fort Frostmouth on the snowy island of Solstheim and transport the player back to Vvardenfell whenever they desire. The cold-blooded Argonian lizardman is forlorn and only asks for one thing: a warm pair of boots. As anyone who has played as an Argonian or a Khajiit in Morrowind understands, beast races cannot wear boots. Looks like Basks-In-The-Sun needs to find another way to keep his toes warm.
Well, do I have the game for Basks-In-The-Sun. It has to be a MOBA, like League of Legends, where literally everything except the snake woman can buy and equip as many pairs of boots as they desire. Yes, even the tentacle monster and the mermaid. Basks-In-The-Sun will be in good company, and he will never have cold toes again.