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Traditionally isolationists, while most House Telvanni wizard-lords pursue wisdom and mastery in solitude, some ambitious members were actively involved in the colonization of Vvardenfell in the Third Era. They did so by building towers and bases all along the eastern coast of the island. The Telvanni believe that wisdom confers power, and power confers right.
They work with the other Houses on some rare occasions, such as the breaking of the monopoly of the Mages Guild that House Hlaalu had the initiative to stand against. Some Telvanni were known to be necromancers, many of whom drove themselves mad with the practice, and their retainers were often involved in illegal activities that made House Telvanni unpopular amongst other Houses.[source?] Given their distrustful and xenophobic nature, this is likely the way they preferred it to be. House Telvanni was the main source of business for the Morrowind slave trade, a fact which likely led to their brutal crippling by Argonian invaders in the Fourth Era.
As a general rule, House Telvanni was obscenely wealthy. Some accounts claim that as a whole, in the later years of the Third Era, the House had a net worth rivaling the riches of the Imperial Treasury.[source?] Much of this financial leverage was greatly mitigated by the fact that many Telvanni exhausted their resources with ceaseless bickering and infighting. Entire cities had been known to change hands repeatedly between two or more Telvanni wizard-lords over petty grievances and minor disputes that had, over the centuries, grown into major blood-wars.[source?] Often, the citizens of Telvanni controlled regions did not care much for, or even especially noticed, the internal politics of the Great House, as abstract magical vendettas between lofty, never-seen plutocrats and their legions of paid pawns rarely interrupted the life of the common Dunmeri serf. A few notable exceptions to this did occur when Telvanni lords massacred each other's logistical assets, but the House had various ways of making such occurrences "disappear" when the public outcry became too great.[source?] Additionally, a great deal of Telvanni wealth was spent on purely hedonistic extravagance and luxuries, which the vast majority of its members had no real use for.[source?]
Unlike other organizations in Tamriel, the Telvanni were not known to form bonds with each other. They valued their personal independence and privacy above all else. Belonging to House Telvanni did not mean much for its members. They had just one rule: there are no rules. Its members often described it with the following words: "If you steal from another Telvanni, but still live, then clearly you deserve whatever you stole. Murdering your opponents by magic or treachery is the traditional way of settling disputes. If you win, then clearly your argument has more merit. You may be expelled as in any other Great House, but most Telvanni will not care or even know about it." The Telvanni possessed a formal administrative system, which served only to discuss common interests and share resources amongst the truly magically gifted. Most Telvanni wizard-lords loathed the Mages Guild, which they considered to be a pedestrian organization filled with pathetic clowns.
Telvanni architecture is dominated by the wizards' tower, a fantastic organic form grown and sculpted from stems, caps, and root-like holdfasts of the giant native mushrooms. Telvanni villages are comprised of smaller mushroom pods hollowed out for craftsmen and commoners. Open-air markets often include the giant cages displaying the wares of the slave masters.
Telvanni prefer to build their towers without stairs, forcing visitors to bring some sort of levitation with them. This not only granted them more seclusion, but also acted as a sort of test to see if their visitors were worthy.
- Favored skills of the Telvanni are
- Ranks and requirements of the Great House Telvanni are
|Rank||Required Attributes||Required Skills|
|0. Hireling||Intelligence 30 Willpower 30||—|
|1. Retainer||Intelligence 30 Willpower 30||One favored skill at 10|
|2. Oathman||Intelligence 30 Willpower 30||One favored skill at 20|
|3. Lawman||Intelligence 30 Willpower 30||One favored skill at 30 and two at 5|
|4. Mouth||Intelligence 30 Willpower 30||One favored skill at 40 and two at 10|
|5. Spellwright||Intelligence 31 Willpower 31||One favored skill at 50 and two at 15|
|6. Wizard||Intelligence 32 Willpower 32||One favored skill at 60 and two at 20|
|7. Master||Intelligence 33 Willpower 33||One favored skill at 70 and two at 25|
|8. Magister||Intelligence 34 Willpower 34||One favored skill at 80 and two at 30|
|9. Archmagister||Intelligence 35 Willpower 35||One favored skill at 90 and two at 35|
Once a member of House Telvanni has reached the rank of Mouth, they must build their stronghold before becoming a Spellwright. The Nerevarine must kill Archmagister Gothren in order to ascend to the final rank.
In the Third Era, House Telvanni had a plan to peacefully occupy all uninhabited parts of Vvardenfell in their own distinctive way. Any major construction projects in Vvardenfell required the consent of the Duke of Ebonheart, which was patently hard to obtain, and all other organizations who were not particularly friendly to the Empire struggled to gain territory in that system. The Telvanni, however, had no fear or respect towards Imperial law, and younger House Telvanni retainers were frequently sent, occasionally with a contingent of slaves, to build their own towers across the remote regions of Vvardenfell, never asking or informing anyone. According to the House's plan, as the towers grew into towns, most of Vvardenfell would become theirs. Almost all Telvanni were powerful and wealthy wizards, who were able to protect themselves against lawful retribution. This type of expansion was very dangerous for all other Great Houses, however. As a result of this, the other Houses sometimes attacked weaker Telvanni outposts.
The eruption of Red Mountain in the Fourth Era likely destroyed much of the Telvanni holdings on Vvardenfell and some on the continent. According to Lymdrenn Telvanni, House Telvanni met its demise shortly after the end of the Red Year, when the Argonians invaded Morrowind in order to have revenge on the Dunmer, who had enslaved their people for hundreds of years. Being the greatest practitioners of slavery in Morrowind, the Telvanni received a great deal of the Argonians' fury, some of which is described in the journal of Lymdrenn Telvanni. According to his description, the Argonian invaders murdered the Telvanni without mercy.
In The Elder Scrolls V: Dragonborn, it is revealed that members of House Telvanni have settled on the island of Solstheim, led by Neloth from The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. He also states that the Telvanni still have some of their holdings in Morrowind. This contradicts the words of Lymdrenn Telvanni, who claimed that his House had been destroyed. It seems likely that Lymdrenn merely assumed the House was finished, and that due to their considerable magical and financial power the Telvanni may have been able to retain some measure of stability and control in their holdings.
- During the events of Skyrim, Brelyna Maryon, a student at the College of Winterhold, claims to be a member of House Telvanni. It is unknown whether or not Neloth is aware of this because of his House's contempt for non-Telvanni magical organizations. It also contradicts Lymdrenn Tenvanni's Journal entry that states that House Telvanni was completely destroyed during the Accession War.
- During the Second Era, "Oathman" ranked House Telvanni were able to purchase slaves.
- Unlike other Great Houses or factions, re-joining House Telvanni after being expelled is often a simple matter of paying a fine to a high-ranking member.
- The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
- The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (mentioned only)
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
- The Elder Scrolls Online
- ↑ A Short History of Morrowind
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 "House Telvanni" dialogue topic in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
- ↑ Events of "Mages Guild Monopoly"
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Lymdrenn Tenvanni's Journal
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Events of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
- ↑ Events of The Elder Scrolls V: Dragonborn
- ↑ Dialogue with Neloth
- ↑ Dialogue with Sun-in-Shadow
- ↑ On Morrowind