[Home]MorrowindRolePlayingSystem

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Several people have commented on how nice the system used by the CRPG Morrowind is, and how - after removing one or two bits that could only work on a computer - how it might be suited to a PencilAndPaper? system.

To clarify, I like the Morrowind setting, and there are aspects of the system I like. I wouldn't mind riping the guts out of the main system and sticking something workable on a tabletop though. --Edith
So take the setting - I honestly see very little in the system that is deserving of retention. It ascribes very mush to the pathetic wimp becomes immortal hero by extreme hard work school. With a hole in so that if you are very rich you don't have to do any work at all. There are a few ways to make infinite cash, of which alchemy is the most obvious (once you discover one 'bug') --Gwyntar
I'm not sure this is entirely correct.  I've been playing Morrowind recently, and I've noticed that, yes, if you have enough money you can boost your skills by insane amounts... and that looking at expensive books helps.  However, while these two methods might give you good skills, they don't contribute to your level increase amount, and increasing levels is, as far as I can tell, the only way of boosting the main abilities (Strength, Intelligence etc).  --FR
Nah, I've leveled up through training. It does (or at least it did, I'm not sure if they fixed it with the update patch) the same as repeated sucesses. Of course you can overtrain a skill (ie: get too high a multiplier on an attribute) very easily this way, then you activate an annoying bug which wipes out any multipliers you might be getting for a few levels. --Edith

ChrisHowlett was using WorkAvoidanceKata^H^H^H^H^H idly wondering about this, and realised that a decent place to start would be to find out how the computer system transmutes the levels in each skill, and the value of each attribute into the character actually doing something. However, this information is not in the manual, and a (possibly naive) google search turned up no record of anyone ever having figured it out (or, for that matter, having tried to figure it out). Does anyone know of a repository of this knowledge?

The Morrowing systems seems to have nice character generation (though muds had the 20 question system first), but the stat level system sucks - I've just started playing an archer.  It started off with high marksmanship, and that's practically the only skill I use.  So I could waste money training some other skill from level 5 to level 15 if I wanted to level.  Meanwhile I wait for my marksmanship to raise from 50 to 60. (it is 53 after many hours playing). --Pallando

Trust me you will need a lot of other skills at high ratings to get good. After having played it to completion the thing that struck me was how you selected your minor skills as in the end you needed to use them all as nobody could train you to high levels. However i think i over played it a little at the end. -- Tony


A lot of the Morrowind system is described in the booklet. While the actual mechanic it uses for tests (eg: lockpicking) and a few other mechanics (eg: the effect of area on a spell's cost) are a still unknown I can confirm this:

There are eight primary attribute on Morrowind (Strength, Agility, etc.) and 27 skills. Each skill has a primary atribute related to it. There are secondry attributes like Health, Fatigue and Magica but I'll ignore them right now

A skill is improved everytime you suceed in a test against it, after a certain number of sucessful tests (the number itself depending on the level of the skill itself), the skill levels up. Leveling up a skill also increases the value of the multiplier on the skill's primary attribute when leveling up, but more on this later)

You pick 5 minor and 5 major skills. Every time you level one of these up, you gain 1/10th of a level. Once your level has improved by 10/10th, you level up.

To level up you must sleep, which is fairly trivial. Upon waking you are presented with the leveling up screen, and you have three points to spend on any of your primary attributes. There will also be a number of multipliers next to each primary attribute depending on which skills you leveled up between this and the last you increased your own level. The multipliers do not depend solely on your major or minor skills but on all your skills, thus if you're clever it's possible to max out the multipliers on several different attributes.

And that's leveling up. If you want to do this on pen and paper then go for it. Personally I'd rather swallow a D10. --Edith

Actually, in Morrowind it's less bad than other systems. Your skills level up with use, which I would proabbly translate to "you gain experience, your major skills are cheaper than your minor, are cheaper than your misc", and this makes sense. Either you're swinging your sword about and figuring out what works better; or you're devoting the time you'd spend working that out to trying to improve some other skill that you don't use so much. So it makes sense to decide as a player that your character has got better at swordplay, or magic use. But you can't choose to be stronger. You can't in real life decide "I'm not going to train in sword-fighting, but instead I'll spend time making myself stronger". Your attributes should increase according to what you do. If you practice swinging your broadsword around a lot, you're going to build muscle tone. If you practice running and swimming, you'll get faster. If you spend days reading tomes on Alchemy, you will become more intelligent. So to me, it makes sense to increase skills with EXP, and every so often grant increases in Attributes according to what skills were used. Here, some choice begins to make sense again. Maybe you spent 3 weeks sword-training. Either you did proper warming up and stretching down exercises, and took time to look after yourself, and increased your strength by 5. Or maybe you neglected to keep your new muscle tone, but applied your general findings about stuff to become more agile - but only by 1, because you weren't practicing skills that would give you direct and useful experience of Agility. Jut my two-pennorth. --ChrisHowlett
I don't know what you are smoking, but the MW system for skill-gain and levelling is appalling. Basically to get the optimum results you have to manipulate the system horribly (so you get maximum multipliers at each level up). Some skills cannot be raised without macroing. You can choose to be stronger - buy training in 'heavy armour' or 'repair'. Bingo you level up and can raise strength. My MW experience was basically to discover that playing the game as intended was hopeless and boring, so I turned to the dark side and exploited alchemy. I could then train myself up to decent levels, buy or steal some decent equipement, and then alternate between following the plot and hitting shrines and dungeons for cash -> training -> levels with 3 *5 multipliets.  Which was fun. But didn't seem to be the intended path. --Gwyntar
The feature of improving skills with use is certainly useful but I've yet to see a sensible implemementation that would be vaugely workable on pen and paper. --Edith
PenDragon?.  Stick a checkmark next to any skill you succeed with.  Stick another checkmark against those skills you failed at.  So each skill has a maximum of two checkmarks.  At end of session, roll each checked skill.  If it was a plus check, and you pass on this roll, it goes up.  If it was minus, and you fail again, it goes up.  Of course the rest of the PenDragon? system was complex as all getout.  --Vitenka
I wasn't suggesting that the "improve with use" is stuck to (although 'tenka's thought seems plausible) - I just think that gaining skills with EXP, which then govern how you increase your attributes is a reasonable idea. --CH
Well, the same thing can be used - just apply the checkmark next to the attribute that the skill relies upon, rather than the skill.  I have to say that this all seems rather tame to me - have you honsetly never encountered a skill based advancement system before?  I've not been buying games for ages, but when I was, about a quarter of systems preferred it.  The remainder were roughly evenly split between points buying and {ugh} levels.  --Vitenka
Admittedly I've not seen such a leveling-up system (they obviously belong to an older generation of games) but it's not inconcievable. I just can't see a way of making it sufficiently simple so as not to slow down play --Edith

The quality of equipment seems to be a multiplier effect for example with alchemy, the length of effect of a potion can be doubled by switching from an apprentice albeic to a Grand Master one. There are similar effects, lockpicks and journeymans' hammers being the best examples.

The alchemy system I like, the qualities is a kind of funky thing I'd like to see kept as the link between tools and effects are fairly well kept. --Edith.

Enchanting items requires a soul (kept in a soul gem) and an enchantable item. The Price of a soul Gem is calculated by the number of charges in the soul (fixed) * the base cost of the soul gem. The number of enchantment slots on an item is fixed, generally more expensive equipment has more slots. More powerful effects require more enchantment slots and more charges per use. I've no idea how the enchantment slots or the charge cost are worked out or the effect of combining multiple effects (it's not a simple add function). Charges on an item are spent with every use of the enchantment and regenerate at an unknown rate to the maximum of number of charges in the soulgem when you enchanted the item. The enchantment itself is a difficulty test which I suspect follows the same test criterea as casting a spell. NPC enchanters who enchant things for extortionate amounts of money cheat and automatically suceed. Any true power gamer in Morrowind will have enough cash and spare Golden Saint/Awakened? Sleeper souls to never have to worry about enchanting anything themselves.

You can enchant anything you want yourself by exploiting alchemy. Also if you can get your enchant skill over 100 using items starts to cost negative charges :) --Gwyntar

The ability to make your own enchantments is really quite cool. I'd like to see that kept. Certain obvious modifications would be necessary to ensure that really cool items are really rare and hard to make, but that's pretty obvious. --Edith
ArsMagica for the magic / enchantment system?  --Vitenka
Oh.  According to FAQs it's a much simpler system.  The type of potion possible is dependant upon your skill - that defines whether you manage or not.  Other than that, it's deterministic based upon what equipment you use.  So duration is based upon one thing, potency upon another etc.  So equivalently, to great healthpot1 you need greenleaves and to create healthpot2 you need redleaves.  --Vitenka (Not played this, just browsing FAQs)
Actually, Alchemy is a bit more interesting. Each ingredient has up to 4 (fixed) magical effects, which you can determine some number of (on mouseover) according to your Alchemy score. Eating said ingredient affects you with some number of these. When you make a potion, you need at least 2 ingredients, and up to 4. If some effect appears in at least 2 in your ingredients, it appears in the potion. Your equipment determines duration, potency of good effects and reduction of bad effects. --ChrisHowlett, rediscovering this page.
Actually your skill sets the base duration and potancy, the equipment simply adds multipliers onto it. --Edith

To comment on the enchant system, even with enchant of 105 (I think the highest possible? - there's a magic ring in game that gives you +5 points) you'll need massive numbers of fortify intelligence potions to make anything really big with any reliability (although, that said, you could make pretty much anything).  Due to magic resistance and charge cost effects, I found that the best type of enchantment for a magic weapon (admittedly given my own playing tastes) is one that heals the user of 100 fatigue and 40 hit points per hit on an enemy (cost: one point when Enchant=100), since you don't resist your own spells, but your enemy will often resist triggered effects (which also eat charge very much more quickly). I suspect that this is more of a rules bug than anything else, and this sort of loophole really ought to be closed since it tends to make you effectively invulnerable... oops  --Jumlian (powergamed Morrowind to death, oops.)
Personally, I've fopund that it is almost always better to find yourself a nice friendly mage to enchant stuff for you.  It might cost a lot, but I've found that your situation tends to fluxuate between having loads of money and having no money at all.  Of course, it helps if the enchanter in question likes you.  It's amazing how cheap things can be if you're dealing with a 'liking statistic' of 100.  --FR

I have some cheats.  You really shouldn't use them.  If you're desperate to, for example, find out what you look like in full daedric armour, or make yourself a stupidly insane weapon, ask me.  --FR
Or go to a site such as [Morrowind Summit] for example... --Edith


RPG, CategoryComputerGames
MaintainMe: move to Morrowind/RolePlayingSystem??
MaintainMe: Move to BadIdea/RoleplayingSystem? ;)  Seriously - what bits are people actually trying to retain, that aren't being deliberately abused by other players?  --Vitenka

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