I've gathered together ideas posted throughout the forums, along with adding my own suggestions. But I'd really like to see other team members take the lead here. Seeing as how Roerich has spent the most time working on the city, his feedback should probably take priority. Dialogue submissions are welcome.
A few ground rules for coming up with characters:
1. We should include them only when they fill vital functions (political and guild leaders), have clear quest potential, or add interesting flavor to the world.
2. They shouldn't make up more than 25 percent of any settlement's NPC population.
3. Male and female characters should be represented in equal numbers, for the sake of variety and realistic demographics.
Nords - 60%
Imperials (Colovians) - 20%
Reachmen - 10%
Other - 10%
Roerich wrote:Actually I don't want to be nitpicky about exactly what districts appeared when, but the Imperial quarter and the college are somewhat recent additions in the city's history (400-500 years old), and the oldest part of the city is actually the market. When the Direnni were still farmers on Sumerset Isle and the Atmorans hadn't set sails yet, aboriginal natives gathered yearly for the summer market on the island. Here, the Falmer traded wares with the Nedes and proto-Reachmen that dwelled in the highlands and down the Karth which gave the city its name. The proto-Reachmen and Nedes called the "city" or market Mercath (The Elves-on-Karth could be a translation), due to the elves they met here and traded with. The name developed into the word market, which was adopted by the Nords and blended into the Aldmeri-Nordic hybrid that is modern Tamrielic. When the Falmer were driven back (or maybe before), the Direnni took control of the island which proved a valuable defensive spot against Atmoran attacks, as well as to control the trade taking place there. Eventually it was lost to the Nords, who took the keep and built (and expanded) the city that had been growing there, and after this a long history of Nordic kings ruled from here, and the city grew large. The college of the voice was built at the beginning of the third era, and the next centuries saw an influx of Imperial citizens to the city.
King Barda - King of The Reach
Orjolich the Watchful - Steward and Shield-Thane to King Barda - The King's highest-ranking advisor, charged with protecting Markarth as captain of the guards, and overseeing day-to-day administration.
Kajaar-Jo - Spymaster of The Reach in charge of gathering information on the Hold's enemies, such as the Redguards and Reachmen - One funny idea I have is to make him a secret double agent of King Thain, who will try to convince the player to help weaken The Reach during an important quest line.
The Imperial Consul
An Imperial official who represents the Empire in The Reach. Resides in a manor in the Imperial Quarter.
Roerich wrote:As you can see I've added a significant Imperial Quarter. It's existance is a consequence of the past of the CotV (as outlined in the CotV-thread), where Markarth saw a large number of Imperial visitors, some of whom decided to stay as citizens, opening up shops and taverns to accomodate the Imperial population. The Imperial Quarter deteriorated in tact with the college, but has recently seen an influx of Imperials from Haafinheim; displaced Imperial citizens and officials from fiefs annexed by King Thian, welcomed by King Barda. The Imperial Quarter is currently more about Imperial guilds like the FG and MG as well as trade between The Reach and Cyrodiil, as well as the general Imperial population that has been present for many centuries.
The College of the Voice
The Imperial College of the Voice is arguably the most notable landmark in Markarth, besides Elfstone Keep. It attracts students from across Skyrim, and its decline provides plenty of interesting storytelling possibiltiies. For that reason, it should recieve a lot of dialogue-writing attention.
A character sketch I wrote for the current Grand Master:
Octus Voro - A Colo-Nordic Imperial who belongs to a somewhat influential Colovian noble family. At first, he appreciated his appointment as the Grand Master of the Imperial College of the Voice for the perceived status it granted him, but in the years since he has become more and more aware of the institution's declining prestige. Although he has a vague appreciation for the traditions of the Voice, and learned it in his youth, he is not immersed in its study nowadays and focuses more on administrating the College and attracting prestigious sponsors and students. Due in part to his diluted Nordic blood, he is also not particularly gifted at using Thu'um. Some of the College's students have even begun calling him "Octus Weak-Voice" and "Octus Mute-Mouth" behind his back.
10 students with backstories and unique dialogue.
Imperial Archaeological Society
Its leader should be a unique character who can explain the Society's activities in The Reach, along with its relationship with the College of the Voice, where it is renting space.
Fighters Guild, Mages Guild, Theives Guild, Imperial Cult
The faction leaders should be unique characters. This might be a good place to put a Mages Guild quest-giver who is interested in researching Reach-magic and the Reachmen.
A meadhall frequented by Companions and adventurers.
Ramund Troll-Bane - old male Nord Warrior Medium-high rank in the Companions.
Greetings, %PCClass. I'm Ramund Troll-Bane. I'm a real, live troll hunter. Have a seat with me, and we'll share some stories.
I'm a troll hunter, I already told you. Why is every %PCRace I run into around here so half-witted? Well, if you care to know, I'm also one of those fabled brave Companions, of which I'm sure you've already heard wide and far about. But look around you, I could sweep the floor with any of these lice-infested weaklings. Old Ysgramor himself would swim back to Atmora, if he saw who they lets in nowadays.
I wouldn't know, I don't care much for gossip.
Ever had cooked troll flesh? It's terrible, I'll tell you that. Even goblin is better. Yuck!
Do you think I'm sharing my tricks and hard-won knowledge with any %PCRace that walks in the door? Get lost. Or buy me another mug of mead. Or both. That would make a happy Ramund. Hah!
Well, since it's you, %PCName, I will tell you a secret about killing trolls. Ready? It's called fire. That's how you kill a bunch of trolls, as quickly and deathly as possible. The beasts have a thick layer of tar-like fat in their skin, and even their fur is covered in the stuff. Put a torch to them, and see them light up like an Orcish drink on a campfire. Myself, I had my sword enchanted with magic flames. Cost me a fair bit, but you should see the beasts when I cut fiery holes in them!
Now, my thick-headed fellow warriors would mock me for cheating by using magic. But while they are sitting drunk in their rotten mead halls, yapping about my work methods, I'm out there cutting down trolls by the dozen. Hah! But beware, my friend. A troll is dangerous in itself. A troll on fire, manic and desperate, will gnaw your face into bloody bits in seconds, unless you know what you're doing.
I'm a warrior. I fight for a living, as any warrior does, but I specialized in hunting and killing trolls. See, someone has a troll problem, they send for me. I show up, relieve them of their problem. They fill my purse, and everyone is happy. Except the trolls, I guess.
Savage beasts, but a worthy foe. Ever met one? Black fur, taller than the tallest man you've ever met, and smells worse than any Elf. Can't miss them. Add the strength of an ox, the ferociousness of a rabid wolf, and the brain of your average tree stump. That about sums it up. They're usually found in dark, stinky caves, and in great, stinky numbers. I once cut down seven of the bastards with a single swing of my sword. I think someone wrote a song about that.
Other Character Ideas:
Manors and meadhalls are home to various thanes and clans - some can have unique characters.
A Bear Clan hunter selling pelts in the market.
A barkeep at the Imperial tavern, "The Moth And The Flame"
An incompetent scholar/archaeologist who thinks the Direnni ruins are actually Dwemer ruins. Just a fun jab at TES V.