Let’s Illustrate Morrowind Part 1: An Older Elder Scrolls

It’s time for another Let’s Illustrate, in which a programmer with no artistic talent (that’s me) tries to teach himself basic cartooning by keeping an illustrated diary of a videogame adventure and then embarrasses himself by posting it on the Internet.

Our target this time is the Elder Scrolls, but we aren’t going to be playing the mega-ultra-popular Skyrim. Instead we’re going to jump back a couple generations and give Morrowind a shot (available now on GOG). Because while Skyrim is the most successful Elder Scrolls game of all time series veterans often insist that Morrowind was actually the “best” game even if its graphics were extremely rough and its mechanics a bit choppy.

So let’s boot the game up and see what happens!

Morrowind begins with an ominous vision about prophecies and heroes at which point a dramatic remix of the epic Elder Scrolls main theme kicks in just in time for you to walk around the inside of a boat and fill out some paperwork. Now I suppose this is technically more fun than filling out paperwork while not listening to an epic fantasy orchestra but listening to demon fighting music whilst working your way through customs still makes me laugh.

Anyways, in classic Elder Scrolls tradition you begin the game as a prisoner. For some unknown reason the emperor himself has decided to have you transferred to Morrowind and then given your freedom on the condition that you deliver a handful of sealed docents to a certain man in the north.

Of course the guards aren’t going to hand over the emperor’s precious documents until they’re sure of who you are which means it’s character creation time!

If this game also turns out to have a tax auditing minigame I quit.

If this game also turns out to have a tax auditing minigame I quit.

I have no imagination so I’m just going to duplicate my Dark Souls 3 character by making our character a woman and calling her Fault.

For race we’ll be going with Nord because they have the best starting endurance which translates to more health throughout the game. In Morrowind health boosts are NOT retroactive so if you want high HP you have to focus on getting as much endurance as you can as early as you can.

Next up is class. We’ll be using the custom option so we can design our own interesting gimmick build. The custom build option is also necessary if you want to get the most out of Morrowind’s weird leveling system (but we can talk about that letter).

Today’s gimmick is: No equipment run. Fault will not use any weapons, armor, potions or scrolls. We may eventually use a few enchanted pieces of jewelry but that’s only because I’ve heard Morrowind’s enchanting system is ridiculous and I don’t want to lock myself out of that entirely.

To actually create our new class we have to choose two favored attributes, five major skills which control our leveling and five minor skills which I think just get some boosts. (Note from the future: WRONG! Major and minor both influence leveling which means I’m going to make a huge mistake in three more paragraphs.)

The attributes are easy: Endurance to help maximize long-term health and Luck because this is Fault we’re talking about.

For major skills I choose all the things Fault needs to survive without equipment. Conjuration to give her temporary weapons and warriors, Adbjuration for defense and utility spells, Restoration to keep her healthy and finally Unarmored and Unarmed fighting styles so in a pinch she can fall back on punching people.

For minor skills I grab most of the other magic talents along with accrobatics and athletics because they are thematically appropriate for a self-made sorceror-monk but also because I’m an impatient gamer who really wants to max out his speed as soon as feasible.

Class complete it’s time to choose Fault’s sign. I go with “The Lady” because it gives a 25 point boost to endurance and as mentioned we want as much of that early on as we can get. (All in all Fault totals out at 75 out of 100 endurance which is just about perfect).

And that’s it! Time to play the game.