[Q1-1-Main] Stirk Main Questline [Unclaimed]

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Infragris
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[Q1-1-Main] Stirk Main Questline [Unclaimed]

Post by Infragris » Fri Oct 09, 2015 12:15 pm

General draft for the Stirk main questline. Important for Stirk dialogue, obvs.

This storyline confines itself to the island of Stirk. It serves to set the Pirate-y, pseudo-tropical island tone of the Gold Coast, and introduces the player to some of the themes of Cyrodiil: political strife, failing figures of authority, the importance of trade, that sort of thing.

Piracy is on the rise in the Abecean Sea due to slackening naval patrols and a general decrease of Imperial control over the borders. The three notables of Stirk (a wealthy and influential plutocrat, an ambitious administrator, and a discredited noble family) each seek to defeat the local pirates to bolster their reputations.

The player can ingratiate themselves with each of these, then choose to support one of them in taking down the pirate threat, thus influencing who will become the dominant power on the island. Though the pirates are undeniably bad news, none of the three local powers is the clear "good" choice, and each will showcase his own brand of morally dubious activity.

This proposal is a lot different from the old forums version. The old proposal was intertwined with a lot of stuff like the province-wide Tharn questline and Blades membership, which are things we won't be implementing any time soon. I'm also not a big fan of the “join the pirates” option, which seems at odds with the way outlaws and smugglers are portrayed in the game.

---

The Abecean Sea has a long history with piracy, but the last major pirate crews were defeated by the Empire some decades ago. With the recent political unrests, however, new pirates have taken to the sea to harass trade ships and villages. One of these is Captain Jarol, who has established himself somewhere on the islands north of Stirk, using his position to terrorize the shipping lanes and the town itself.

Three local notables are Cocious Hassel (the local Prefect and representative of the Empire), Victus Pilious (an influential merchant with connections in the Nibenay) and Vilina Helvor (sister of the island's Baron, both Colo-Nordic nobility). The player is introduced to them at the start of the questline, and is given some reason to support them (money, honor or influence) through a series of smaller jobs and freeform quests. Each finished quest results in a point of favor for this person: garner enough favor to access their personal solution to the problem. Quests can also be resolved otherwise: in conflicting affairs you can decide to sell out to the competition, and curry favor with them. This results in three different end quests, which leave the island with a different person in charge.

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Re: [QUEST] Stirk Main Questline

Post by worsas » Fri Oct 09, 2015 3:44 pm

Idea: How about giving the traders on the island a low stock of trade goods and a small money stock at beginning, adding dialogue entries for them explaining the lack of wares due to the pirates hindering supply from the continent. When the pirates are defeated, adding goods to their unique containers and stocking up their money. This would create some sense of consequence in the gameworld.

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Re: [QUEST] Stirk Main Questline

Post by Infragris » Sat Oct 10, 2015 3:25 pm

Ideally, each quest path would have a substantial effect on the island somehow: so supporting the merchant would increase people's available goods, supporting the Prefect leads to some infrastructural work or something like that, and supporting the Baron leads to ... a big statue of the Baron in the center of town? idk

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Re: [Q1-1-Main] Stirk Main Questline [Unclaimed]

Post by TerrifyingDaedricFoe » Thu Apr 21, 2016 2:52 pm

It'd be good to tie in some of the misc quests that already involve any of the three factions. For example, if you tell Victus about the amulet one of his fishermen found then that affects how people on the island see him. It increases your personal favour with him but it might in fact actually reduce his popularity and influence because people see it as him being exploitative.

Of course, we don't want every single quest on Stirk to revolve around the power struggle.

------------------------------------------------------------------

Some brainstorming about possible quest ideas:
  • Escort merchant ship to Anvil and fight off pirate attack
  • Call in a favour from someone in the Navy to increase patrols
  • Root out the mole in the Census and Excise office who lets the pirates know when ships leave port and what they're carrying
  • Persuade shop owners to join one of a number of different guilds or merchant organisations (the plutocrat has his own personal one, the bureaucrat prefers the official Imperial guilds, the nobles (although minor) are linked to some Colovian nobility institution similar to the Royal Warrant of Appointment
  • Persuade the dock workers to throw their support behind one faction
  • The plutocrat wants the status associated with nobility and asks you to help him find a suitable marriage partner.
I feel there's more potential for linking Stirk in to the rest of Cyrodiil if we hold off implementing the full extent of the Stirk MQ until Anvil is finished and NPCed. You would expect the Countess and the Imperial Navy command there to have some sort of stake (or at least ability to do something) in Stirk's pirate problem. I don't think we want Stirk to be an isolated bubble out in the Abecean with only tenuous links to the rest of P:C's content.

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Re: [Q1-1-Main] Stirk Main Questline [Unclaimed]

Post by Leon » Wed May 18, 2016 12:15 pm

Infragris, can you flesh it out a bit by providing a basic layout for this quest? I will inevitably claim this soon.
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Re: [Q1-1-Main] Stirk Main Questline [Unclaimed]

Post by Infragris » Thu May 19, 2016 9:41 pm

I've been thinking about this again lately,and I do have some fresh ideas now that both the town and the concepts for Colovia are clearer. I'll see if I can whip up a layout. At the moment, I'm thinking about simplifying the progression a little bit so that the player would be "recruited" by the Prefect no matter what, and get the choice of switching allegiance at key points later down the line.

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Re: [Q1-1-Main] Stirk Main Questline [Unclaimed]

Post by Infragris » Mon May 23, 2016 2:13 pm

PRELUDE
Stirk's piracy problem started several years ago. Piracy has always been a problem on the Abecean - Anvil itself was once a pirate port - but since the defeat of Torradan ap Dugal in 286 the Imperial Navy has kept a close eye on the western sea. Now, budget cuts and unrest in the Iliac Bay have drawn Legion attention away from the homefront, giving rise to a new wave of miscreants.

The most dreaded of these new pirates is Captain Iarnu, who has established his hideout to the north of Stirk, terrorizing the shipping lanes and the town itself. In the absence of regular patrols, Iarnu is growing ever bolder. Also, it is rumored that he has support from elements within the town. Many fear that, if Stirk does not become capable of defending itself, Iarnu will sack the harbor.

A solution is expected from the town's notables: Prefect Cocious Hassel, the merchant-prince Victus Pilious, or Baron Gracchus Helvor. Sadly, none of them are willing to cooperate, and the situation has turned into a stalemate in which each faction has reasons to sabotage the other.

CHARACTERS Cocious Hassel
An ambitious Heartlands bureaucrat, Hassel was “promoted” to Stirk as punishment for political indiscretions. He is a career politician, educated in the Imperial City and deeply familiar with the machinery of the Imperial Curia. He craves the prestige of the capital, and spends most of his time pleading for a better assignment with his capital connections. Hassel is self-serving, egotistic, and underhanded: all qualities highly valued in an Imperial bureaucrat. Despite this, he is truly loyal to the Empire's ideals - his greatest flaw is perhaps that he cannot see how others could value their own goals over that of the Empire as a whole. He governs Stirk as best he can, hoping to bolster his reputation as an administrator. He is frustrated with the Colovian locals, who resist his reforms, and by Victus Pilious, who flaunts his authority.

Hassel is the official governor of the town of Stirk (though not the entire island). Both the town Watch and the Census & Excise Office answer to him. He is tolerated by the population, especially the middle class and the artisans, though his reforms are not very popular. He has little grip on the harbor, which is dominated by Pilious' interests. Hassel knows of the Pilious family from back in the Heartlands. He sees Victus as a typical greedy, self-serving merchant plutocrat. He is not very familiar with the politics of the Colo-Nords, and estimates the Helvors an irrelevant relics of times pas.

Hassel is motivated to score a major military victory over the pirates, which could lead to his rehabilitation. He wishes to mobilize the Watch, and has hired scouts to track the pirate's movements in the northern isles. His attempts are sabotaged by Pilious and the Helvors, who try to undermine his authority among the commoners. As a result, Hassel has to rely on an outside expert – the player.

Victus Pilious
Son of an influential merchant Nibenese family, Pilious struck out for Stirk to follow in the footsteps of his father, a manager of colonial plantations in the eastern provinces. He has transformed the sleepy island into a mercantile hub for oceanic trade, and has promoted the local Abecean Longfin as a luxurious delicacy on the mainland. Pilious displays the classical self-centered, materialistic worldview of the Nibenese merchant caste: his abilities elect him above lesser men, and it is his duty – and privilege – to provide for the grateful workers under his control (a dynamic that goes back to the old eastern caste system). Pilious does not always realize how different things are in Colovia: his grasp on the town is not as strong as it appears. Despite his boasting, his success is at least partially due to his influential family and privileged upbringing.

While Hassel has asserted his authority over the town, Pilious dominates through bribery, blackmail, and the support of his employees among dockworkers and fishermen. He is considered an outsider and an upstart by the city's middle and upper class. Pilious dislikes Hassel, seeing him as a spineless clerk with delusions of power. While Pilious makes it a point to act respectful towards the Helvors, he, like most of his caste, disparages them and their unearned noble title.

Officially, Pilious supports the campaign against the pirates, who prey on his business and commercial interests. In secret he has sabotaged to exterminate the pirates.
SpoilerShow
Pilious has a personal history with Captain Iarnu: they were once business partners, but Pilious double-crossed Iarnu and framed him for corruption. He is now torn between fear of Iarnu and fear that Hassel will bring to light incriminating evidence.


The Helvors
Gracchus Helvor is the Baron of Stirk, but his sister, Vilina Helvor, is the brain behind the family. The Helvors are descendants of the first Nordic conquerors, and have been the rulers of Stirk for generations. Previous generations gambled their wealth and good name away in the pleasure-houses of Anvil. Gracchus' father sold most of their noble privileges to the Imperial Curia, leaving the family as impoverished nobility. Gracchus is a simple, down-to-earth man, but his situation has driven him to idleness: he now spends most of his time reminiscing about the old days of the Free Estates. His sister, Vilina, is a sharp, intelligent, and ruthless woman, who still holds sway among some of the town's older elements.

The Helvors still command respect among the common people and the city's wealthy and noble citizens. Gracchus is well-liked among the dockworkers and fishermen, and it would not take much to flip their allegiance. The Helvors detest both Pilious an Hassel, considering them but two faces of the same foreign influence that seek to usurp their native land.

Like Pilious, the Helvors have given public support to Hassel's anti-piracy campaign, while secretly opposing it. The reason for this goes deeper:
SpoilerShow
Vilina herself orcherstrates the pirate attacks, supplying Captain Iarnu through a secret passage in the family crypt and sabotaged Navy patrols through connections in the Navy. He end-goal is to ruin Pilious' commercial affairs and undermine Hassel's authority through a pirate attack on the harbor, which her brave (and oblivious) brother can repel with the aid of the loyal townsfolk. This plot thread will only be revealed if the player chooses to help Vilina take control over the town.
STAGE 01: the Journey to Stirk The quest begins as soon as the player travels to Stirk, signing on as a guard on an ebony shipment for the East Empire Company, departing from Ebonheart. If the player arrives on Stirk through any other way, the quest will not trigger. Arriving on the ebony transport is a prerequisite to avoid needles complications. Naturally, the following quest steps only occur once. If the player later returns to Ebonheart and takes the ship again, they will simply fast-travel to Stirk's docks.

On the journey, the ship is attacked by a small group of pirates.The player starts in the upper deck, next to their sleeping place. Upon exiting the room, the encounter a pirate (forcegreeting), who accosts them, asking where the ebony and giving some general idea of the situation. Regardless of how the conversation goes, they turn hostile at the end and the player has to dispatch them. The player then fights their past 2 other pirates to the upper decks (lower deck access is locked with not lockpick option).

On the deck is a scripted fight scene between the crew and the pirates (about 5 men each). Some evidence of violence (broken crates, fire, dead bodies, etc.). Alongside the ship is a sloop or a longship belonging to the pirates. The ship itself is somewhere on the sea east of Stirk, but out of sight from any shore: just open ocean. Maybe put some invisible walls around the ship, we don't want the player to fall off or levitate away or some nonsense like that. Disable teleportation too, maybe.

The player takes part in the fighting, and ends up killing the pirate leader, Mad Felene. On the pirate's body is a note from Captain Iarnu (Quest does not progress until the note is picked up).
Felene,
My contact in Stirk tells me there's a shipment of ebony passing by in the next couple of days. Mighty valuable stuff, that. Make it mine, and you and your boys are assured of action and profits when we sack the town. Just don't get any funny ideas as regards to who lives on that hill. I don't care for how much he swindled you, the merchant will be mine to deal with as I see fit.

Iarnu
After the pirates have been dealt with, the player has to find the captain and report on what happened. The captain is in the ship's locked lower deck. The player has to find the key to the lower deck on the body of the first mate, somewhere on the upper deck.

The lower deck of the ship is partially flooded, and water is streaming in through a hole in the side (rig something up with planks and waterspouts). The player encounters the captain (forcegreeting), who says that the pirates rammed the ship and that they are now sinking. Once the conversation is over, the waterlevel in the cell rises (scripted objects to sink? maybe drop this is too difficult/unreliable) and a messagebox appears.
While trying to escape from the sinking ship, you knock your head on something heavy. Your last conscious sensation is of sinking into the cold depths.

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Re: [Q1-1-Main] Stirk Main Questline [Unclaimed]

Post by worsas » Mon May 23, 2016 6:25 pm

Victus Pilious and The Helvors already have introductory misc quests for them. So maybe it would make sense to have one misc quest for Cocious Hassel aswell just so the player gets aware of him as a meaningful third party?

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Re: [Q1-1-Main] Stirk Main Questline [Unclaimed]

Post by Infragris » Mon May 23, 2016 7:32 pm

Maybe. The way it's set up now, Hassel will be the initial questgiver for the main quest: the player should be directed to him shortly after coming off the boat, and their involvement with the piracy thing starts of as a kind of hired agent/mercenary for the prefecture. So most people would meet him before anyone else.

That being said, it would make sense to have a Hassel-centric misc quest to mirror those of the others. Maybe something to do with those letters he sends to his political friends.

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Re: [Q1-1-Main] Stirk Main Questline [Unclaimed]

Post by berry » Wed May 25, 2016 1:43 pm

The way you fleshed out this isle is outstanding, I can't wait to properly experience it. :)

Maybe the pirates would attack the ship that PC is on his/her way to Stirk? Player would then be told to report about the event, and from that point it would be possible to dive in the MQ if he/she feels like. Or is it too cliche and, you know, Redguard-ish?

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Re: [Q1-1-Main] Stirk Main Questline [Unclaimed]

Post by Infragris » Wed May 25, 2016 6:21 pm

That would be very cool, and it would be a great way of introducing the player to the questline. On the other hand, it sounds quite difficult to script properly.

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Re: [Q1-1-Main] Stirk Main Questline [Unclaimed]

Post by Leon » Wed May 25, 2016 7:26 pm

Infragris wrote:On the other hand, it sounds quite difficult to script properly.
Nah, letting ships sink through scripting is my specialty, this could be fun. :P
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Re: [Q1-1-Main] Stirk Main Questline [Unclaimed]

Post by Moritius » Wed May 25, 2016 10:28 pm

I was thinking about pirates and got some idea - what if we include small pirate base somewhere on Abacean Sea? I mean old ships anchored somewhere, connected by some sort of plank bridges. Maybe quest or tfo for player willing to some dirty job?
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Re: [Q1-1-Main] Stirk Main Questline [Unclaimed]

Post by Infragris » Thu May 26, 2016 8:22 pm

Well, there already is a semi-secret pirate base in the Abecean: the one from the main quest. As for pirate quests, the main quest originally had an option to join the pirates, but I took it out as it did not really mesh well with the rest of the quest or showcased the basic nature of Cyrodiil. I don't much like the idea of token "evil" quests, in part because it doesn't work well with the general role of bandits in these games (why can I befriend these outlaws, but not every other cave full of assholes in the land), in part because I think that moral ambiguity should be a feature of normal quests and factions, not relegated to a discrete section.

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Re: [Q1-1-Main] Stirk Main Questline [Unclaimed]

Post by berry » Fri May 27, 2016 7:32 pm

Leon wrote:
Infragris wrote:On the other hand, it sounds quite difficult to script properly.
Nah, letting ships sink through scripting is my specialty, this could be fun. :P
I was rather thinking towards toe-to-toe deck fighting, between the pirates and the crew/passangers, but what you're proposing sounds awesome too. What about using this for one of later MQ quests? An idea I had: PC is to swim under pirates flotilla, that is preparing to lay waste to the port, and sneaky plant water mines (alchemical, constructed by Dandre Aurilie) at the ships' hulls. When he/she swims back to the isle... well. :P As a little bonus reward, after this event Aurilie will be much more respected in the community. I felt a little sorry for the old man myself.

What I had in mind should be easily doable too. I think it would be enough to have two set "token combatants" from each site in each cell involved, and then a local script making them fight each other. Everyone else could just have their AI set to follow these guys, pretty much what I did in my Vorngdad claim. Unless I'm mistaken, all these non-token combatants could be placed using leveled lists, so it would be possible to add some randomisation and level scaling here.

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Re: [Q1-1-Main] Stirk Main Questline [Unclaimed]

Post by Leon » Sun Jun 05, 2016 9:14 am

My idea was to finish every quest claim before the month July begins, so that we can release Stirk as soon as possible.
I'm going on holiday in July for a full month without having internet access, so no progress will be made in that month.

If more time is needed to make a more detailed description of this quest, maybe I can claim this in August, but that would extend the release with one more month.
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Re: [Q1-1-Main] Stirk Main Questline [Unclaimed]

Post by Infragris » Sun Jun 05, 2016 9:02 pm

That should probably be our goal, but in that case someone else will have to take over the Stirk NPC file. I'm having a lot of IRL work the coming months, and between writing, meshes and all the rest I probably won't make a lot of progress on the main file.

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Re: [Q1-1-Main] Stirk Main Questline [Unclaimed]

Post by Infragris » Wed Jun 15, 2016 4:19 pm

Small update, rough draft for the first stage of the questline.

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Re: [Q1-1-Main] Stirk Main Questline [Unclaimed]

Post by Infragris » Mon Jul 18, 2016 8:33 pm

Okay, votes. There are two ways we can handle the main questline, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.
  • Freelance questing: the player is introduced to the three main factions on the island, and can do a couple of quests for each of them, without having to pick a side until the very end. Advantages: does not lock the player out of quests except at the very last point, more bang for your buck. Disadvantages: difficult to get a solid story down, not very logical.
  • Choose sides immediately: the player is introduced to the three main factions on the island, and prompted to support one of them at the beginning of the questline. They then stick with them until the end, when they have one chance to betray them. Less freeform, but more solid storybuiling.

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Re: [Q1-1-Main] Stirk Main Questline [Unclaimed]

Post by worsas » Mon Jul 18, 2016 9:14 pm

Choosing sides immediately would have the advantage that one who played the mod would have a reason to visit Stirk again with a second character to play one of the other quest lines this time.

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Re: [Q1-1-Main] Stirk Main Questline [Unclaimed]

Post by Leon » Mon Jul 18, 2016 9:36 pm

worsas wrote:Choosing sides immediately would have the advantage that one who played the mod would have a reason to visit Stirk again with a second character to play one of the other quest lines this time.
That's also how vanilla Morrowind handles factions in that when you join a certain faction that you therefore can't join the other faction.
I also agree with Worsas, with the second option.
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Re: [Q1-1-Main] Stirk Main Questline [Unclaimed]

Post by Scamp » Sat Jul 23, 2016 11:51 pm

Choosing sides immediately seems like the way to go for me, mostly because of replay value.

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Re: [Q1-1-Main] Stirk Main Questline [Unclaimed]

Post by Infragris » Sun Jul 24, 2016 12:43 am

Yeah, three clear quest paths seems like the way to go.

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Re: [Q1-1-Main] Stirk Main Questline [Unclaimed]

Post by Infragris » Sun Jul 24, 2016 12:04 pm

ENTRY QUESTS

Stage 1: The Other Side of the World

In Ebonheart, the NPC Titus Corilex (member of the EEC) offers the player a job as a guard on an ebony shipment heading to Cyrodiil, avoiding the absurdly high prices and border tariffs, as well as any investigations into the player's past [Corilex should also offer “normal” fast travel services to Stirk after this event concludes]. Along the journey, the ship [the Star-Marked] is attacked by pirates. The player uncovers a note on a pirate's corpse from their leader, Captain Iarnu, who planned the attack with information from an inside source in the town of Stirk. He also mentions a personal grudge against a merchant on this island.
Felene,
My contact in Stirk tells me there's a shipment of ebony passing by your cove the next couple of days. Valuable stuff, that. Make it mine, and you and your boys are assured action and profits when we sack the town. Just don't get any funny ideas. I don't care for how much he swindled you, the merchant will be mine to deal with as I see fit.
Iarnu
Once he pirates are defeated, the player descends into the lower decks to find the captain. The ships starts sinking and the player receives a blow on the head, knocking them out [messagebox].

The player wakes up in Sharli's Clinic, Stirk, after washing ashore [if the player has dropped the pirate note, it should be re-added to inventory]. They are interrogated by Lysandro Draco, a Census & Excise officer. Draco asks the player some questions based on the tutorial/character creation [name, race, class], and gives identification papers to present to Syro Neminus in Town Hall.
The holder of this document is hereby identified as %PCName, %PCRace, %PCClass, passenger on the Star-Marked, shipwrecked and cast ashore on the isle of Stirk, questioned and confirmed of identity by the Census & Excise Office of the Prefecture of Stirk, province of Cyrodiil

signed,
Lysandro Draco
Agent at the Stirk Imperial Census & Excise
Neminus informs the player that the town's Prefect, Cocious Hassell, wants to speak to them about the pirate attack. Hassell is trying to stop the pirates, and wants information about their methods. In talking to Hassell, the player can hand over the pirate note. Hassell doesn't trust the locals to act in his behalf, and offers the player a temp job as an investigate agent on his behalf.


Stage 2: the Westernmost Shore
Hassell needs two things:
  • The pirate note mentions a merchant in Stirk. This can only be Victus Pilious, wealthiest man on the island and a personal enemy of Hassel. The player has to interview Victus, ask try to figure out what his connection is.
  • The note also mentions a secret contact in town. Hassell wants the player to ask around in lower class establishments, to gauge the loyalty and attitude of the locals. It would be bad news if people started sympathizing with the pirates.
Before the player can visit Pilious, they must get past his secretary, Estarria, who demands a letter of introduction. The player can get one from Hassell, but this causes Estarria to delay the meeting for two days. They can try and bribe Estarria, but he will reject their boorish, provincial methods. Alternatively, the player can persuade/question the servants in Pilious' manor (or listen to Aenais Geraneus' rumors), who know that Estarria has a weakness for Aliyew. Bribing him with a bottle allows instant access to Pilious [hints at the complexity of Heartlands social and political relations – both Estarria and Pilious should reflect Heartlands values].

Pilious denies any connection to the pirates, but also immediately offers the player a higher-paying job (“government service is no way to get ahead in life”) if they investigate the matter on his behalf, claiming that Hassell is too incompetent and tangled in bureaucracy to be of use. He will urge the player to return to him once they have finished this job for Hassell.

To investigate the pirate contact, the player must talk to the locals in the Old Seawater and Sload's Tale Inn. The locals consider Hassell and Pilious untrustworthy Nibenese outsiders. The workers support Hassell because he pays their wages, nothing more. Mention is made of the old Helvor family: many older inhabitants still come to Vilina Helvor with information, and she has a good insight into the local population. The player is encouraged to visit the Helvors. According to Vilina, the island's political situation is to blame: people don't trust outsiders, and need the steadfast rule of a Colo-Nordic family. Hassell and Pilious are only out for their own interests, and cannot be trusted to act in the town's interest. Like Pilious, she asks the player's help.

After this, the player returns to Hassell to report their findings and receive a small payment. If the player mentions the counter-offers from Victus and Vilina, Hassell will increase the proposed payment for your services and restate his own case, claiming to be be the only one authorized by the Empire to deal with this crisis.

This ends the quest. All three NPCs now have a unique greeting, asking the player if they are willing to work exclusively for them. If the player agrees with any of them, they are locked into that character's questline. [It should be clear to the player that this leads to mutually exclusive quests, Great House style].
  • Hassell: rightful rule, law, and the ideals of he Empire. This questline is the most straightforward and least morally conflicted.
  • Pilious: money and influence. Players should take this questline out of self-interest and notions of realpolitik. Pilious offer power for those who don't mind getting their hands dirty.
  • Helvor: might makes right, authoritarianism, the rule of unchecked power. This is the most morally dubious questline, since the player will end up working with the pirates. It should be implied from the start that Vilina has a “the end justifies the means” attitude, and that here interest lies not so much with stopping the pirates as with restoring the rule of the Helvors.
HASSELL's QUESTLINE

Stage 1
Hassel does not trust Pilious' denial, and tasks the player to find out more about his past. One person who might help them is Geval Ugenring, the former Prefect of Stirk, who has a personal vendetta against Pilious. Problem is, Ugenring is demented and paranoid, a nervous wreck after the burdens of his office became too much for him. Ugenring readily admits that he has a file on Pilious, collected from agents-for-hire and old friends on the mainland. However, he has hidden it somewhere in a fit of paranoia, and cannot in his current state say where it is. The player must find a way to clear Ugenring's insanity.

There are several healers on the island who offer cures:
  • Tynellion, the priest in the Temple, offers a blessing of Kynareth.
  • Sharli, the local healer/apothecary, sells a normal potion of restore intelligence (restocking in case the player drinks it himself).
  • Dandre Aurilie, the weird alchemist, has an experimental salve.
Each of these cures has to be found and applied to Ugenring. Ugenring himself gives suggestions where cures can be found, and his condition improves after each one. After the three cures, Ugenring still does not remember where he left the papers: he suggests looking around in the harbor for some sailor or trader who might sell cures.

The player is referred to Haron the Peddler, a sailor who hawks badly enchanted trinkets. He offers a Ring of the Derelict Mysteries, an artifact of the Nibenese Sheogorath cult [the legality of Daedric cults in Cyrodil can be pointed out here]. Giving this to Ugenring drives him completely insane again, but does make him remember where he hid his files: in the grain storage opposite of Town Hall. The files are written in an old Imperial cypher.

Player brings the files back to Hassell, who sets about decoding them.

Stage 2
Ugenring's files suggest that Pilious and Iarnu were once business partners, before Iarnu was convicted. They also show that Pilious has secretly been sabotaging Hassell's efforts to defend the city. The proof, however, is too scant and anecdotal, so the player has to find additional incriminating evidence.

For a while now, Pilious has flaunted Hassell's authority by refused the guards from inspecting his ships. Recently, a Khajiiti-crewed ship, the Snarleyowhl, has arrived in the harbor on an assignment for Pilious, and Hassell has reason to believe there is something illegal going on there. He tasks the player to infiltrate the ship and look around.

On board, the player can find some evidence of fraud in the logbooks, or, if they look carefully, a stash of moon sugar and skooma in a hidden compartment. Finding the second secret gives a better reward. Hassell can use this as blackmail material to keep Pilious at bay for a while – though not forever, as Pilious will probably shift the blame to his subordinates.

Stage 3
One of Hassell's scouts, Valanyra [Altmer woman near a camp on the island] has sent a message: she spotted a small pirate sloop entering the cove beneath Wormusoel. The player has to go to her camp for more information. Valanyra believes the pirates have a secret passage in the cove, perhaps used by their town contacts for provisions. The player has to enter the cove through the seaside entrance, and fight several pirates there. Using a key found on one of the pirates, they can enter the secret passage.

The player follows the passage to the end, dealing with the pirates inside, until they exit at the Helvor Crypt in the graveyard [the secret passage here should be locked from the other side, to prevent sequence breaking]. The player then reports the existence of this tunnel to Hassell.

Stage 4
The fact that the pirate supply tunnel goes through the Helvor crypt incriminates the Helvors, who have the only keys to this place. Go to the Helvor family house and interrogate those that live there. A bit of dialogue detective work reveals that the Quillians, an old pair of servants to the family, were responsible. Their son is a member of the pirate gang, and they supplies them without the Helvors knowing [in the Helvor questline, it turns out that they were working under orders from Vilina, but this should only be hinted at here].

Stage 5
Hassell's scouts have reported that the pirate ship has docked at their camp on the northern islands [pirate ship and pirates there should initially be disabled]. Hassell congratulates the player for their help, and offers them to lead the assault on the pirate camp. Playe can accept, or ask time to prepare.

Once the player accepts, they are teleported to the southern beach near the pirate camp [pirates and ship are now enabled – do not enable before then]. They are accompanied by 4 or 5 Gold Coast Guards [same principle as the Ward of Akavir assault]. The player attacks the pirate camp, works their way across the hill, and enters the pirate ship, where they can fight with Iarnu.

After the fight, the player can use Iarnu's key to unlock the lower deck with the pirate treasure. Hidden somewhere on board is also Iarnu's secret diary, which contains more incriminating information about Pilious: it turns out that Iarnu was once an honest merchant, but was framed for fraud by Pilious and forced to become a pirate. Iarnu wanted to sack Stirk, destroy everything that Pilious had built there, and murder him. The player can give this book to Hassell, or use it to blackmail Pilious. [Finding the book should be hard, an optional bonus].

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Leon
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Re: [Q1-1-Main] Stirk Main Questline [Unclaimed]

Post by Leon » Sun Jul 24, 2016 1:00 pm

Infragris wrote:The player uncovers a note on a pirate's corpse from their leader, Captain Iarnu, who planned the attack with information from an inside source in the town of Stirk. He also mentions a personal grudge against a merchant on this island. Once he pirates are defeated, the player descends into the lower decks to find the captain. The ships starts sinking and the player receives a blow on the head, knocking them out [messagebox].

The player wakes up in Sharli's Clinic, Stirk, after washing ashore [if the player has dropped the pirate note, it should be re-added to inventory]. They are interrogated by Lysandro Draco, a Census & Excise officer. Draco asks the player some questions based on the tutorial/character creation [name, race, class], and gives identification papers to present to Syro Neminus in Town Hall.
Nah, this is way too linear.
If the player wants to drop the note, for whatever reason, then the player must face the consequences.
The same with the blow on the head thing, if the player decide to swim to the surface (or even run though the ship up to the surface when the player is faster than the rising water), then maybe put a rowboat/lifeboat there (acts like a loaddoor), for the player to row to the docks of Stirk where Lysandro Draco appears when the player choose to do this option, instead of the clinic. This way we let the player decide/choose how to handle this situation.
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Re: [Q1-1-Main] Stirk Main Questline [Unclaimed]

Post by worsas » Sun Jul 24, 2016 4:01 pm

I think it would more fitting, if the player actually had to escape from the sinking ship and take the rowboat to Stirk. It's a bit strange, if the player wears an Ebony Full helmet but is still beaten unconscious in a single blow by someone, why don't regular baddies ever manage to do this? We have had similar plans with the Skyrim questline in the past and it already felt awkward to me back then.

But overall this is an impressive questplan, regardless. Good work on this all.

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Re: [Q1-1-Main] Stirk Main Questline [Unclaimed]

Post by Infragris » Sun Jul 24, 2016 5:14 pm

It's true that the beginning is contrived. The ship interior would be one of those spaces that you can never return to, which necessitates some maneuvering (say the player stashes the note somewhere, thinking they can get it back later). I went with a knock on the head because the alternative, drowning, makes even less sense. I feel like these suggestions only add to the contrivance: adding a rowboat in the off-chance that the player stays ahead of the rising water, them knowing where Stirk is, and Draco just being on the right place to intercept them...

Alternate idea: the first quest plays out the same way, but there's no shipwreck. The player defeats the pirates and goes to talk to the captain, who decides to dock in Stirk for repairs. Once the player leaves the ship there, the captain asks them to report the pirate attack at the harbor office, and hands them the pirate note which they found on one of the pirate's bodies ("Hey, can you report this for me? I got enough on my mind without dealing with the bureaucracy"). From there on, the player is free to wander the island, or go to the census office immediately.

In fact, we can use the interior for the Magnificent, which is a ship that otherwise plays no role. That way, there's no chance of the player accidentally losing items in the int. We would just have to exchange the loaddoor for one that leads to a temporary ship exterior somewhere out on the sea. Less work, too.

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Re: [Q1-1-Main] Stirk Main Questline [Unclaimed]

Post by worsas » Sun Jul 24, 2016 5:43 pm

I agree. That's probably far better than than both of the previous solutions.

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Re: [Q1-1-Main] Stirk Main Questline [Unclaimed]

Post by Leon » Wed Sep 21, 2016 9:25 am

Infragris, can you post the final version of the Main Quest in your first post? I will claim this when the other quests are implemented.
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Re: [Q1-1-Main] Stirk Main Questline [Unclaimed]

Post by Infragris » Wed Sep 21, 2016 1:16 pm

I hit a bit of a roadblock, but here's what I have:
Pilious Questline

Stage 1
First, Pilious wants to discredit his opposition. According to his agents, Prefect Hassell is petitioning his friends and superiors on the mainland to get a better assignment. The player must break into Hassell's manor (which is patrolled by guards), and exchange a scrollcase with letters to be sent to the mainland with an identical one that Pilious had falsified. This quest also serves as a test of the player's loyalty.

Stage 2
Hassell receives his information about the pirates from a scout out on the island, an Altmer adventurer called Valanyra. The player has to persuade her to work for Pilious instead, and feed Hassell false information. This can be done through persuasion, intimidation, or trickery (dialogue skill checks).

Stage 3
One of the fishermen informed Pilious that Caspus Quillian, a servant of the Helvors, has been acting suspicious. They saw him signaling with a lamp towards the sea, and walking around late at night. The player has to lie in wait near Helvor Manor (Fargoth's Hiding Place-style) and secretly follow him. Quillian enters the crypt in the graveyard, and stays there for about two hours. If the player follows him inside, this leads to a confrontation near the entrance (forcegreeting?). Quillian admits that his son is a member of the pirates, and that he is supplying them (the same lie he tells in the Hassell questline). He also tells the player that they are mistaken to trust Victus Pilious, as he has betrayed many of his business partners in the past. The player can threaten him (personality check) or simply kill him to get a key to the door at the other end of the crypt, which leads to the secret pirate supply route (This is the same tunnel the player follows in the Hassell questline, but from the other side). Along this way, they encounter a small pirate camp.

Stage 4
Once the player has followed the supply route to the cove beneath Wormusoel, the quest updates and they can return to Pilious to report the existence of this path. The player has the option to mention what Caspus Quillian said, and inquire after the connection between Pilious and Iarnu. Pilious decides to entrust the player with the whole story: he and Iarnu were once business partners in a plantation in one of the beastmen provinces. Pilious, overcome by greed, indulged in fraud and corruption, framing Iarnu for his misdeeds and running off with the profits, which he used to set up his business on Stirk. However, Pilious now claims to be a reformed man, trying to repent for his past crimes by providing for the people of Stirk. Iarnu has become a murderer and a pirate, and must be stopped at all costs. Alternatively, the player can neglect to ask this of Pilious, in which future dialogue interactions should reflect that they do not really know (or care?) what is going on.

Regardless of what is discussed, Pilious sends the player away for a day or two. With the pirate's supply line disrupted, it will only be a matter of time before they have to dock at their northern base. Then, Pilious promises, the player will lead his mercenaries into battle.

Stage 5
After a day or two, the player receives a panicked message (messagebox pop-up in any exterior cell called "Stirk", or perhaps a scripted mercenary who runs up to the player to inform them - whatever works best) asking that they join him in his manor immediately. Pilious admits that he had received notice that the pirates had docked, but, in his impatience and distrust, did not wait for the player before launching his assault. Now, a group of the pirates has escaped and are hiding somewhere in the island. The player is tasked to travel to the pirate camp, and find any clues that could tell where the pirates are hidden.

In this instance, the pirate camp is a burned-out ruin, infested with scavenging animals (rats, etc.). Inside a pile of refuse, the player discovers a scrap of Iranu's burned logbook, which mentions the name and adress of his lover, who lives in a Stirk apartment. The player must return to Stirk and kill the surviving pirates and their leader, who are holed up in this apartment.
Helvor Questline
Note: as mentioned elsewhere, the Helvor questline features a twist: it is in fact Vilina Helvor who supplies and directs the pirates, tryin to cause a crisis in which the Helvor family can regain control over the island. While this fact should remain a surprise (and be completely unknown to player following the other two questlines, it should be clear to player starting this quest that it is the most morally dubious of the three options (without being reduced to be the outright "evil" option). The Helvor's appeal to nobility of blood and power should not be portrayed in a romantic light.

Stage 1
Above all else, Vilina wishes to discredit Victus Pilious. While Pilious, a Nibenese merchant, is known to be dismissive of nobility, he secretly covets a title of his own and the respect that it brings. To this end, he is courting Ledaia Pelladia, a noblewoman who lives in seclusion on the island. Vilina asks the player to sabotage their courtship. High-persuasion players can convince Pelladia to help Vilina by spying on Pilious (by appealing to their shared nobility over a 'lesser' merchant), or trick her by presenting themselves as a representative of a rich Hammerfell prince (requiring, among other things, a fine set of clothing and an expensive gift). Less refined players can simply threaten or kill her. Killing her will not actually lose favor with Vilina, who approves of your pragmatism.

Stage 2
To further discredit Pilious, Vilina wants you to break the bonds of trust between Pilious and the dockworkers and fishermen. Most laborers on the island work for Pilious' firm, and they are loyal to him (and their paycheck). Gaius Tragia, the unofficial leader of the dockside people, even has a granddaughter who works as a servant girl in Pilious manor. Vilina wants you to frame Tragia's granddaughter for theft, which will get her fired from the manor. Afterwards, the player has to approach Tragia and offer for the girl to come work in Helvor manor, as an act of charity and goodwill. This will cause public opinion to sway in favor of the Helvors.

Stage 3
Vilina is pleased with your performance and, judging you to be suitably loyal, she explains part of her master plan: it is she who hired and supplies the pirates, all the while making sure that the Navy patrols never reached Stirk. Her plan is to disrupt the affairs of Hassell and Pilious, out them as self-werving and powerless fools, and then regain control over the island by having her (unknowing) brother lead the citizens of the town against a pirate attack on the harbor, killing them all, and restoring the rule of Helvor on the island.

The player has a number of options: they can keep it professional (don't care about politics, just want to get paid), affirm Vilina's actions and her noble right to rule, reluctantly admit that this is probably what's best for the island, or refuse to cooperate. If the player chooses the latter, Vilina will offer to double the reward, while explaining that, due to their outsider status and recent involvement, nobody on the island would believe them or trust them in this matter. It would also be better for a capable person like the player to handle this intrigue, since otherwise the (now inevitable) pirate attack could make a lot more victims. If the player continues to refuse, the quest simply ends here.

If the player agrees to continue aiding Vilina, she will send them out to the graveyard at night, to exchange some supplies for several pouches of gold with a representative of the pirates. This will seal their involvement in the matter.

Stage 4
Prefect Hassell is becoming suspicious about the pirate supply line and Pilious' recent misfortunes. In order to distract him from the affairs of the Helvors, Vilina asks the player to lay a false trail of documents and gold in the archives and warehouses of the Census Office, incriminating the clerk Octavio Capillius. Afterwards, the player has to approach Lyasandro Draco, the leader of the Office, and convince her to investigate Capillius. This will lead to Capillious being arrested, or, if the player mishandles the investigation and confrontation, to Capillius attacking them and getting killed.

Stage 5
According to Vilina, the pirates are still too reluctant to risk an open assault on the harbor (justified, since they would not survive this). She asks the player to go talk to them directly, giving them the coordinates of the pirate camp. Before you leave, Marin Quillian, one of the Helvor servants, comes up to you and asks that you deliver a message to their son, who is part of the pirate crew. She asks that the player warns him not to take part in the pirate attack, to save his life.

The pirates know you from the contact before, and are warned of your arrival: as such, they do not attack. The player has to convince captain Iarnu (through persuasion and/or trickery) that the town is weak and ripe for plundering. Additionally, a number of pirates require your help: one of them wants a better sword, another wants some potions of restore health, etc. Additionally, this is the only chance for the player to deliver a message to the Quillian son. If all demands are met, captain Iarnu will agree to attack.

Stage 6
Once the player returns, Vilina says she will send out her brother, Gracchus, to gather the able warriors among the dockworkers. She invites the player to stay with her in the mansion and wait for the attack. After a couple of hours waiting/sleeping, the player can exit the house: in front of the building is Gracchus Helvor, accompanied by six or seven armed dockworkers (however many the engine can handle). They are all scripted to walk to the harbor. In the harbor, a couple of sloops, some damage (burning trash?) and pirates have appeared (all the pirates encountered in the northern pirate camp, including Iarnu). A fight breaks loose between the dockworkers and the pirates. The quest updates when all the pirates are dead. The player can return to Vilina for their reward.

Additionally, if Gracchus Helvor dies during the attack (something that should be made a likely occurrence through level/equipment) Vilina will still be pleased and give the player their reward. If the player confronts her about this, Vilina will admit that she believed it likely that Gracchus would die, and that she knowingly sent him to his death. Stirk will be in more capable hands with her in charge, instead of her simple-minded brother. As an extra reward, she offers the player her brother's old sword (or something like that).

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