Haafinheim - Characterization

Post Reply
User avatar
worsas
Project Administrator
Posts: 1919
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2014 1:23 am

Haafinheim - Characterization

Post by worsas » Mon Apr 18, 2016 5:14 pm

Though, it's not top-priority at this point, let's use this thread to collect our general thoughts on Haafinheim.

We have already had some discussion on the city of Haafingar here:
viewtopic.php?f=29&t=359" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

To recollect what's been said in the past:
- Hold governed by King Thian. Political tension between him and the Empire.
- Haafingar being one of the largest port towns on Tamriel with a considerable wealth. Houses should reflect this by elegance and ornateness.
- Haafinheim obviously being densely forested and of gloomy character.
- Undeads and vampires still remain from the War of the Diamond.
- Fortress ruins as leftover from the War of the Diamond. Obviously inhabited by undead. Would the impruins be sufficient for these? They have that nice broken-down look I'd love to see for them.
- Connection to the Horme?
- Animals: Raki. Black bears and wolves? Skeevers? Sorry, if that's overly cliche. Surely up for discussion.
- Cultural impact of Bretons and Imperials.
- Bard College.
- Western haafinheim (Reachmen, Direnni?)
- Imperial fiefdoms

This is all very rough still and it all should be explored more indepth, yet. We should aim to let the overall storytelling have first priority and model towns and other places after their purpose in it.

User avatar
berry
PT Modder
Posts: 666
Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2015 4:16 pm

Re: Haafinheim - Characterization

Post by berry » Fri May 13, 2016 8:35 am

A small random idea, that sprung up when I was reading Dostoyevsky's "The House of the Dead": there could be a woodcutting work camp for the Crown prisoners of war, "gifted" to the king by Jona. Basically a slavery, under the cheeky guise of a penal system. There is a large clearing in Lestat's forests we could employ for that concept. It would open some possibilites for Twin Lamps-like quests - the player could be able to defeat the Nords guarding the prisoners himself, or spread a word about these Redgurads' misery to the Imperial bureaucracy.

I know this is rather heavy motif, and we would have to be very delicate in implementing it, of course, given how our world history treated vast millions of people with the labour camp experience, but I think it's worth considering.

--

As for the atmosphere of this region, I would love to see some distant wolf howls, more definitive than those heard on Solstheim, in the sounds of this region. There are plenty resources available of such sounds, for example these two.

User avatar
roerich
Project Administrator
Posts: 1490
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2015 3:10 pm
Location: Denmark

Re: Haafinheim - Characterization

Post by roerich » Fri May 13, 2016 12:10 pm

I like both of those ideas. I don't think I ever managed to finish "The House of the Dead", but I remember the general gist of it. That being said, the war happened 20-30 years ago, and I suspect many of those POW's would have since died, from hard work in a harsh climate. It could be a group of insurgents instead, mixed with a few veterans from the war.

arrianas
Forumite
Posts: 69
Joined: Sat Aug 01, 2015 5:45 am

Re: Haafinheim - Characterization

Post by arrianas » Sat May 14, 2016 9:15 am

[quote="berry"]I know this is rather heavy motif, and we would have to be very delicate in implementing it, of course, given how our world history treated vast millions of people with the labour camp experience, but I think it's worth considering. /quote]

A representation of evil, as evil is never offensive or to be shown in a light that portrays it as otherwise. The only way to show something such as this as offensive is to lighten the impact of what it is.

User avatar
berry
PT Modder
Posts: 666
Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2015 4:16 pm

Re: Haafinheim - Characterization

Post by berry » Sat May 14, 2016 12:07 pm

roerich wrote:That being said, the war happened 20-30 years ago, and I suspect many of those POW's would have since died, from hard work in a harsh climate. It could be a group of insurgents instead, mixed with a few veterans from the war.
That's a good point. Most of them should probably be dead by now, indeed, unless they have longer than a human's life span (at least that's the vibe I'm getting about the lizards? I can't recall any lore source talking about how long they can live). That would be actually extremely cool to have this Porliss fellow here I think, an Argonian Chuck Norris-like figure who endured 3 decades of a work camp in the coldest area of Tamriel.
arrianas wrote:A representation of evil, as evil is never offensive or to be shown in a light that portrays it as otherwise. The only way to show something such as this as offensive is to lighten the impact of what it is.
Well, yes and no, I'd say. We have to remember it's a video game we are talking about here, not exactly the most ambitious or artistic medium per definition. Sometimes just the fact we are portraying one concept might be an insult to someone. Take the Redguard Resistance for example, they are known to commit act of terrors, but I don't think with all the shit currently happening worldwide we should include a quest about it in our mod, even if it would be about stopping the terrorists, especially given how morally ambivalent both sides of this conflict can be. But slavery is another thing, plus it's played major role in vanilla Morrowind already. I agree with you it's mostly about how each concept is illustrated. For instance I thought Bethesda crossed the line way too far with Namira's quest in TES V (never ever tried to force myself to complete it... ugh), but on the other hand I'm eager to see how roerich's missing legion will turn out. By the way, this county might be a fitting place for this concept. It would further underline the tragedy of Imperials up here in the North.

Ok, some lighter thoughts for a change: :P
worsas wrote:- Animals: Raki. Black bears and wolves? Skeevers? Sorry, if that's overly cliche. Surely up for discussion.
Are we keeping those gray bears? They would be cool here too. And all kinds of wolves. Bristlebacks as well? Horkers along the river, of course, and I'd really like to see MD's narwhals, even as far south as in Markarth's gulf. Their textures are of higher quality than those of standard Cait's creatures, and as far as I can remember they look really neat in-game.

Would it be possible to have some of Lestat's snowy pines replaced with last year's Vurt's pines, to break the colour routine? Edit: some quick proof of concept screens:
[hsimg=]http://i.imgur.com/7ocMW63.png[/hsimg] [hsimg=]http://i.imgur.com/FnSNB6e.png[/hsimg]

User avatar
R-Zero
PT Modder
Posts: 299
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2015 8:50 pm

Re: Haafinheim - Characterization

Post by R-Zero » Sat May 14, 2016 1:38 pm

arrianas wrote:A representation of evil, as evil is never offensive or to be shown in a light that portrays it as otherwise. The only way to show something such as this as offensive is to lighten the impact of what it is.
Presenting anything as unambiguous evil is a bad practice, IMO. I say, show it as it is and then let the player decide for themselves if it's bad or good.

User avatar
worsas
Project Administrator
Posts: 1919
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2014 1:23 am

Re: Haafinheim - Characterization

Post by worsas » Sat May 14, 2016 4:05 pm

I say, show it as it is and then let the player decide for themselves if it's bad or good.
Sounds like a very fitting approach for this game. Vanilla often shows cruel things without artificially pulling the player into a certain mood about it. Just think about the 6th house and its mutants. You only realize what awkward creatures they are when you really examine them.
That's a good point. Most of them should probably be dead by now, indeed, unless they have longer than a human's life span (at least that's the vibe I'm getting about the lizards? I can't recall any lore source talking about how long they can live). That would be actually extremely cool to have this Porliss fellow here I think, an Argonian Chuck Norris-like figure who endured 3 decades of a work camp in the coldest area of Tamriel.
Enslaved veterans from the War of Bendr Mahk doesn't feel like a good idea to me at all. Also, it's really overdoing this whole topic by large. I mean, what do you hear of the Arnesian War in vanilla ever? I think that we should focus on the current conflicts and treat the War of Bendr Mahk as history.
Would it be possible to have some of Lestat's snowy pines replaced with last year's Vurt's pines, to break the colour routine? Edit: some quick proof of concept screens:
They don't play well together, in my opinion. Vurts trees are too fresh in look. Keep in mind that there is a certain theme about these dark trees here. Of course, there should be some visual exchange yet, but not of that kind. If we want to introduce further trees, they should match our better.
Are we keeping those gray bears? They would be cool here too. And all kinds of wolves. Bristlebacks as well? Horkers along the river, of course, and I'd really like to see MD's narwhals, even as far south as in Markarth's gulf.
Yes, yes and yes. I didn't know about that whale resource. We need whales for sure.

User avatar
Scamp
P:C Council Member
Posts: 362
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2015 2:51 pm
Location: Falkheim
Contact:

Re: Haafinheim - Characterization

Post by Scamp » Sat May 14, 2016 6:09 pm

berry wrote:Would it be possible to have some of Lestat's snowy pines replaced with last year's Vurt's pines, to break the colour routine?
Meh, I don't fancy those trees in this context. I agree with Worsas they don't match the overall color scheme. I don't even think we should change the overall color style of this region much at all.
worsas wrote:
I say, show it as it is and then let the player decide for themselves if it's bad or good.
Sounds like a very fitting approach for this game. Vanilla often shows cruel things without artificially pulling the player into a certain mood about it. Just think about the 6th house and its mutants. You only realize what awkward creatures they are when you really examine them.
Ah yes. Something I like about Morrowind that is somehow absent in many other games in the genre. Another example... somehow it always struck me as fascinating how killing Vivec wasn't part of the main quest in any way, but knowing the background story I've always felt like it was the right thing to do, even though it had no actual impact on anything in the gameworld other than your own imagination. Not forcing such kind of judgment on the player was one of the things I most appreciated.

User avatar
Luxray
Cat Herder
Posts: 464
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2015 7:11 pm
Location: South-West England

Re: Haafinheim - Characterization

Post by Luxray » Fri May 20, 2016 12:28 am

Must agree I don't like those vurt pines at all. They look almost blue-ish with dense snow, where the HF forest should be considered so dense that the trees only get lightly covered each.
<roerich> woah it's hot in here
<Lord Berandas> it must be Summer.
<Infragris> #hell is meant as a spam and off topic channel. Doing a great job already

User avatar
Yeti
SHotN Jarl
Posts: 468
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2015 11:38 pm

Re: Haafinheim - Characterization

Post by Yeti » Thu Jun 02, 2016 4:16 am

I think one way to give Haafinheim an interesting characterization is to make Haafingar the only sizable settlement in the Hold. With an Imperial name like Solitude, I expect it to feel like a lonely city, clinging to and somehow flourishing in an otherwise sparsely populated stretch of northern coastline. Other settlements in the Hold would be limited to small mining villages, fortress towns, and trading posts/ports. This would enhance the eerie atmosphere of the Hold's forested wilderness, and represent the depopulation inflicted on the area by the War of the Red Diamond.

Thankfully, it seems our current maps and discussion of Haafinheim already support this approach. Truthfully, I think it would help us to have a Hold with a lighter interior workload. The Reach ended up being a huge time sink in that regard.

User avatar
roerich
Project Administrator
Posts: 1490
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2015 3:10 pm
Location: Denmark

Re: Haafinheim - Characterization

Post by roerich » Thu Jun 02, 2016 11:04 pm

Indeed, I think these are great plans. It is also a fun contrast to have the densily packed and urban port town existing solely within the city walls, with frozen and foreboding woods surrounding it like a besieging army just as you step outside the city gates. The atmosphere of Haafingar itself should reflect this situation, dense and narrow streets in the middle of an expansive wasteland. Isolation and claustrophia, feelings of paranoia and mistrust - especially considering the current political climate for citizens of the Empire. Rich and exotic merchants from the ports all over Tamriel sharing silent mugs of ale with grim and hardened Nord sailors. It is supposed to be the northernmost city of Tamriel.

The status as capitol of Skyrim in both law and commerce is another thing that should define it, along with it being the birthplace of whole lineages of emperors. The city should feel important, strong, filled to the brim with history. The Bards College, the Blue Palace. Machievellian political intrigue, Potemas old Vampiric Thanes plotting in the shadows, biding their time or serving King Thian in secret.

Haafingar as the main Skyrim trading hub should hold some significance. Whiterun has been the main trading competitor in the past, just like Winterhold and Kynholm has been competitors in might and capitol-status. Wares and people from all over Skyrim should be found here.

Also, in general I think undead should play a large part in the character of the Solitude Forest, although we'd have to find a way to avoid clichés. A suitable inspiration could be the Haunted Forest north of the Wall in ASOIAF. http://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Haunted_forest" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; As you can see in the Dunbarrow thread and the first steps along conceptualizing Mount Draukar, this is something I've already worked towards. Remnants of Potemas undead armies is the obvious explanation for this, but I think these forests have always been home to eerie beings.

User avatar
roerich
Project Administrator
Posts: 1490
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2015 3:10 pm
Location: Denmark

Re: Haafinheim - Characterization

Post by roerich » Sat Jun 04, 2016 9:06 am

[hsimg=]http://i.imgur.com/LdDyKiO.png[/hsimg]

Here's a quick sketch of Haafingar and surroundings. The Blue Palace and Solitude Castle probably shouldn't be right next to each other.

User avatar
Ted
Forumite
Posts: 96
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2016 4:25 pm

Re: Haafinheim - Characterization

Post by Ted » Sat Jun 04, 2016 11:09 am

Nice sketch!
I made some changes to this, how I see the city.
[hsimg=]http://i.imgur.com/sx6BlHq.png[/hsimg]
At first, city divided into three parts.
First part is Solitude - imperial part. Here a docks, imp fort and all imperial citizens.
Second part - Haafingar is nordic city.
Third part - high city, there a palace and noble manors. All district on top of big cliff like in tes5.

If Worsas want to add something like oprichnina, this is the best way, I think: oprichniks (with other title, of course, maybe they can be Firstborn because all firstborn childrens in the city must serve 25 years in royal guard) can patrol high city, Haafingar patrol regular guards, Solitude patrol Imperial legioners.

And this sity need cliffs because of Daggerfall! :D

User avatar
roerich
Project Administrator
Posts: 1490
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2015 3:10 pm
Location: Denmark

Re: Haafinheim - Characterization

Post by roerich » Sat Jun 04, 2016 11:39 am

Haafingar won't have an Imperial district or an Imperial fort. Especially a fort would be obsolete, as the only time in history that would be appropriate would be after the death of Potema and the end of the siege. And they would just use the ruins of Castle Solitude as their power base. Currently Haafingar is in the hands of Thian's mighty Haafinheim Kingdom with thoughts of complete independence from the Empire. The Imperial history of Solitude as the birthplace of several emperors shouldn't be missing from the city, but the Nordic identity should be the strongest by far. Especially considering the current situation and story. Most Imperial nobility holdings in the city have long since been taken over, and the only Imperial powerbase in the whole Haafinheim Hold is Fort Northwatch, a long distance from Haafingar. The Empire doesn't have the manpower or time to deal with King Thian right now, not with unrest in the Imperial City and the general aftermath of the Tamriel-wide unrest during the Simulacrum, and later the War of Betony.

I also don't care much for the rock arch of TES V, but it will have cliffs like in my original sketch, though the cliffs could probably extend a bit into the water. I'd like to see some elevation in the city itself too, with a gradual slope towards north and southwest. I want the largest cliffs be the northen ones - the one with Castle Solitude on top, and the one on the island, creating a sort of grand entrance strait or sound. Like this:

[hsimg=]http://planbackpacking.com/wp-content/u ... Fjord2.jpg[/hsimg][hsimg=]http://fjordit.com/wp-content/uploads/2 ... jord-2.png[/hsimg][hsimg=]http://img02.deviantart.net/d7d6/i/2012 ... 5mp206.jpg[/hsimg]

I like the concept of the Firstborn as a traditional honor guard, though 25 years of servitude is overkill. Also, I wouldn't have them recruit every firstborn of the city, but rather sons of noble Nord houses. Five years sound more reasonable, and would help strengthen the discipline of the noble heirs, preparing them for their roles as figures of authority. The Firstborn would be another faction than the "Oprichniks" though, as the latter are more of a secret police and elite mercenary force, with ties to Volkihar vampires and remnants of Potema's undead Thanes.

User avatar
Ted
Forumite
Posts: 96
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2016 4:25 pm

Re: Haafinheim - Characterization

Post by Ted » Sat Jun 04, 2016 12:04 pm

25 years because in RL Russian Empire army :D
Firsborn because Warhammer 40000, Russian-like planet Vostroya
Oprichniki royal guard because that word means "special guard" and they was guards of the Tsar, not feudal army

But ok I get it thanks :)

User avatar
worsas
Project Administrator
Posts: 1919
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2014 1:23 am

Re: Haafinheim - Characterization

Post by worsas » Sat Jun 04, 2016 1:06 pm

Haafingar won't have an Imperial district or an Imperial fort.
In that case we'll have to edit our version of Ordo Legionis, which currently still mentions a garrison in Castle Solitude.

On your overview drawing the houses seem fairly spaced out from each other and didn't you mention narrow streets within your characterization of the city? I haven't checked yet, but Haafingar or Solitude would be covering really many cells, according to your drawing. But it's a good start on a concrete planning process, though.

User avatar
roerich
Project Administrator
Posts: 1490
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2015 3:10 pm
Location: Denmark

Re: Haafinheim - Characterization

Post by roerich » Sat Jun 04, 2016 1:16 pm

worsas wrote: In that case we'll have to edit our version of Ordo Legionis, which currently still mentions a garrison in Castle Solitude.
It's my opinion at least, that Haafingar shouldn't have a legion garrison, much like Markarth doesn't have one either. Haafingar might've had one earlier on.
worsas wrote:On your overview drawing the houses seem fairly spaced out from each other and didn't you mention narrow streets within your characterization of the city? I haven't checked yet, but Haafingar or Solitude would be covering really many cells, according to your drawing. But it's a good start on a concrete planning process, though.
Indeed, the houses were only placed to roughly show where the city would be, and some initial concepts of streets and marketplace etc. but not final in any way. The walls can easily be moved a bit inwards, I think the city should cover 6-7 cells tops. Narrow streets and three-story houses is the way to go.

User avatar
Scamp
P:C Council Member
Posts: 362
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2015 2:51 pm
Location: Falkheim
Contact:

Re: Haafinheim - Characterization

Post by Scamp » Sat Jun 04, 2016 2:52 pm

roerich wrote:
Indeed, the houses were only placed to roughly show where the city would be, and some initial concepts of streets and marketplace etc. but not final in any way. The walls can easily be moved a bit inwards, I think the city should cover 6-7 cells tops. Narrow streets and three-story houses is the way to go.
Right, in your overview houses seem to be quite clustered (which to me seems to be the opposite of actual streets, though there's no need to categorize city layouts in such a binary manner). I do think we should go for more actual streets in the end. This could add that little bit of Imperial influence that we want without overextending it as much as TES:V.

Btw, I did love the portrayal of lake-town in the Hobbit films (arghn don't get all anti-hobbity on me now, I know the rest was pretty bad). Could serve as some inspiration (although houses are clustered there...). The atmosphere seems to be going into a direction similar to what you guys have described.

[hsimg=]http://vignette1.wikia.nocookie.net/lot ... 0308165514[/hsimg]

User avatar
Ted
Forumite
Posts: 96
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2016 4:25 pm

Re: Haafinheim - Characterization

Post by Ted » Sat Jun 04, 2016 3:15 pm

City tipe like Scamp show is awesome, I always like cities like this: Gilneas from WoW, City from 2014 Thief. TR do Old Ebonheart to something like that and this looks realy cool, but this will work with Nordic theme? I think this type of city is more Imperial or Breton, not Nordic. And I think roerich's plan will work if add different levels of the streets: a lot of cliffs, rocks etc.

Anyway roerich's concept reminds me arena and daggerfall city maps :D

User avatar
roerich
Project Administrator
Posts: 1490
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2015 3:10 pm
Location: Denmark

Re: Haafinheim - Characterization

Post by roerich » Sat Jun 04, 2016 3:41 pm

Please don't take the city overview too literal, something like OE is a good reference though taller and with more elevation.

User avatar
Scamp
P:C Council Member
Posts: 362
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2015 2:51 pm
Location: Falkheim
Contact:

Re: Haafinheim - Characterization

Post by Scamp » Sun Jun 05, 2016 12:01 pm

Ted wrote:[...]his will work with Nordic theme? I think this type of city is more Imperial or Breton, not Nordic. [...]
I don't think the architecture is that far from what we've had in mind previously. If you mean the layout, I don't know. Doesn't strike me as being specifically Imperial. Still, keep in mind I was mostly referring to the atmosphere created by density, weather and architecture, not so much by layout. Lake-town is not built on solid ground, hence its environment doesn't fit our current vision.

Anyway, my favourite part of OE was the narrow streets. Definitely need some of that (sort of repeating myself here, I'll stop now).

Post Reply

Return to “Haafingar”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests