The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind is the third chapter in The Elder Scrolls series of role-playing games (RPG) developed and published by Bethesda Softworks. It is set in and around the province of Morrowind, in particular the island of Vvardenfell. It has two expansion packs, Tribunal (2002) and Bloodmoon (2003).
The game was released for PC on May 1, 2002, in North America and May 2, 2002, in Europe. The Xbox version was released on June 6, 2002, in North America and November 22 in Europe. It is available for the PC and Xbox. It is backward compatible on the Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
"In the waning years of the Third Era of Tamriel, a prisoner born on a certain day to uncertain parents was sent under guard, without explanation, to Morrowind, ignorant of the role he was to play in that nation's history..."
In the opening cinematic scene Azura explains to the dreaming Nerevarine that they have been taken from the Imperial City's prison to Morrowind. Azura gives only a reassurance, with no explanation as to why you have been chosen or even for what exactly you've been chosen. As this scene is playing out there are runes scrolling faintly in the background and as Azura finishes speaking one line becomes readable."Many fall, but one remains."
The next voice heard is that of a concerned Dunmer prisoner named Jiub who wakes you from the dream and asks for your name. This is where the character creation begins and the game opens up. Once freed, the game world becomes an incredibly interactive environment filled with opportunities for fun and adventure. Even though the main quest centers on the player being the Nerevarine of prophecy, it is an open-play style role-playing game, meaning you can do what you want and be who you wish. Prowl the streets as a nimble thief picking pockets and fencing ill-gotten treasure, join the Mages Guild and rise to the rank of Arch-Mage, be an assassin stalking targets in the shadows, become a noble member of one of the Great Houses, and even explore "life" as a vampire or a werewolf.
There are thirteen birthsigns to choose from in Morrowind to have the hero be born under, each with its own special abilities and sometimes spells.
They are divided into three categories: Charges, Guardians, and the Serpent, which stands alone.
- The Serpent: Grants the spell Star-Curse. Poison 3 points for 30 seconds on touch, damage health 1 point for 30 seconds.
- The Apprentice: The Apprentice ability gives the character 50% Weakness to Magicka. Base Magicka is also increased by 150%.
- The Atronach (also known as the Golem): With the Atronach ability, Magicka doesn't recharge over time. Instead, a 50% Spell Absorption ability recharges Magicka. Base Magicka is also increased by 200%.
- The Lady: The Lady's Blessing confers bonuses of 25 points to the Personality and Endurance attributes.
- The Steed: Speed is increased by 25 points.
- The Lover: The Lover's ability, Mooncalf, fortifies the users speed by 25, also grants the power Lover's Kiss - Paralyze 60 seconds on touch, damage fatigue 200 points on self.
- The Shadow: Grants spell, Moonshadow-Invisibility 60 seconds on self.
- The Tower: Grants the hero the spell Beggar's Nose- detect key/enchantment/animal 60ft 200 seconds on self and the power Tower Key-open 50pts on touch.
- The Ritual: Grants the spells Blessed Word- Turn undead 100 points 30 seconds on target, Blessed Touch- Turn undead 100 points 30 seconds on touch, and the power Mara's Gift- heal 100 points on self.
- The Lord: The character is inflicted with a 25% Weakness to Fire, but receives access to a powerful Restore Health spell.
- The Thief: Grants the character Sanctuary by 10 points as a Constant Effect.
- The Warrior: Fortifies Attack by 10 points, increasing the odds of successfully hitting a target with a weapon.
- The Mage: Increases Magicka reserves by an additional fifty percent of the character's Intelligence score.
There are ten distinct races that you can choose for your character to be born as. These races are broken up into three different categories: Men, Mer, and Beast Races.
- Nords: The Nords are the children of the sky, a race of tall and fair-haired humans from Skyrim who are known for their incredible resistance to cold and magical frost. They are fierce, strong and enthusiastic warriors, and many become renowned warriors, soldiers and mercenaries all over Tamriel. Eager to augment their martial skills beyond the traditional methods of Skyrim, they excel in all manner of warfare, and are known as a militant people by their neighbors. Nords are also natural seamen, and have benefited from nautical trade since their first migrations from Atmora. They captain and crew many merchant fleets, and may be found all along the coasts of Tamriel.The Nords are excellent warriors proficient in the use of Heavy and Medium Armor and Axes, as well as Long Blades and Spears. They also have a great resistance to frost.
- Imperials: Natives of the civilized, cosmopolitan province of Cyrodiil. The Imperials are well-educated and well-spoken. Imperials are also known for the discipline and training of their citizen armies. Imperials have proved to be shrewd diplomats and traders, and these traits, along with their remarkable skill and training as light infantry, have enabled them to subdue all the other nations and races and to have erected the monument to peace and prosperity that comprises the Glorious Empire. Their hegemony has waxed and waned throughout the eras, and most historians refer to three distinct Empires, the ends of which each mark a new epoch in Tamrielic history.
- Bretons: Bretons are the human descendants of the Aldmeri-Nedic Manmer of the Merethic Era and are now the inhabitants of the province of High Rock. They are united in culture and language, even though they are divided politically, for High Rock is a fractious region. Bretons make up the peasantry, soldiery, and magical elite of the feudal kingdoms that compete for power. Many are capable mages with innate resistance to magicka. They are known for a proficiency in abstract thinking and unique customs. Bretons appear, by and large, much like other pale-skinned humans. They are usually slight of build and not as muscular as Nords or Redguards. The great diversity in their appearance is to be expected from their politically fractured society, though their clothes, accents, customs and names are fairly uniform.
- Redguards: Redguards are the most naturally talented warriors in Tamriel. The dark-skinned, wiry-haired people of Hammerfell seem born to battle, though their pride and fierce independence of spirit makes them more suitable as scouts or skirmishers, or as free-ranging heroes and adventurers, than as rank-and-file soldiers. In addition to their cultural affinities for many armor styles and weapons (particularly swords), Redguards are also physically blessed with hardy constitutions, resistance to poison, and quickness of foot. Unlike most other human races, they are not believed to have any connection with the ancestral Nordic homeland of Atmora.
- Altmer: The Altmer, or self-titled "Cultured People", are a tall, golden-skinned race, hailing from Summerset Isle. They are also known as High Elves by the denizens of Tamriel. In the Empire, "High" is often understood to mean proud or snobbish, and as the Altmer generally personify these characteristics, the "lesser races" generally resent them. Altmer live two to three times as long as humans; with a 200-year-old Altmer being old and a 300-year-old Altmer being very, very old. Altmer consider themselves to be the most civilized culture of Tamriel; the common tongue of the continent is based on Altmer speech and writing, and most of the Empire's arts, crafts, laws, and sciences are derived from Altmer traditions. The Altmer are the most strongly gifted in the arcane arts of all the races, and they are very resistant to diseases. However, they are also somewhat vulnerable to magicka, fire, frost, and shock, which makes them very weak against their strongest point - magic. They are among the longest living and most intelligent races of Tamriel, and they often become powerful magic users due to both their magical affinity and the many years they may devote to their studies
- Bosmer: The Bosmer are the Elven clan-folk of Valenwood, a forested province in southwestern Tamriel. In the Empire, they are often referred to as Wood Elves, but Bosmer, Boiche, or the Tree-Sap people is what they call themselves. Bosmer rejected the stiff, formal traditions of Aldmeri high culture, preferring a more romantic, simple existence in harmony with the land and its wild beauty and creatures. They are relatively nimble and quick in body compared to their more "civilized" Altmeri cousins (who often look down upon the Bosmer as unruly and naive). Their agility makes them well-suited as scouts and thieves. However, they are also a quick-witted folk, and many pursue successful careers in scholarly pursuits or trading. Bosmer live two to three times as long as humans; with a 200-year-old Bosmer being old and a 300-year-old Bosmer being very, very old. Though they are considered less influential than some of their Elven brethren, the Bosmer are also relatively prone to producing offspring. As a result, they outnumber all other mer on Tamriel. The best archers in all of Tamriel, the Bosmer snatch and fire arrows in one continuous motion; they are even rumored to have invented the bow. They have many natural and unique abilities; notably, they can command simple-minded creatures and have a nearly chameleon-like ability to hide in forested areas. Many in the forests of Valenwood follow the tenets of the Green Pact. These "Green Pact Bosmer" are religiously carnivorous and cannibalistic, and do not harm the vegetation of Valenwood, though they are not averse to using wooden or plant-derived products created by others
- Dunmer: The Dunmer, also known as Dark Elves, are the ash-skinned, typically red-eyed elven peoples of Morrowind. "Dark" is commonly understood as meaning such characteristics as "dark-skinned", "gloomy", "ill-favored by fate" and so on. The Dunmer and their national identity, however, embrace these various connotations with enthusiasm. In the Empire, "Dark Elf" is the common usage, but among their Aldmeri brethren they are called "Dunmer". Their combination of powerful intellects with strong and agile physiques produce superior warriors and sorcerers. On the battlefield, Dunmer are noted for their skill with a balanced integration of the sword, the bow and destruction magic. Dunmer live two to three times as long as humans; with a 200-year-old Dunmer being old and a 300-year-old Dunmer being very, very old. In character, they are grim, aloof, and reserved, as well as distrusting and disdainful of other races. Dunmer distrust and are treated distrustfully by other races. They are often proud, clannish, ruthless, and cruel, from an outsider's point of view, but greatly value loyalty and family. Young female Dunmer have a reputation for promiscuity in some circles. Despite their powerful skills and strengths, the Dunmer's vengeful nature, age-old conflicts, betrayals, and ill-reputation prevent them from gaining more influence. Those born in their homeland of Morrowind are known to be considerably less friendly than those who grew up in the Imperial tradition
- Orcs: Also called Orsimer or "Pariah Folk" in ancient times, are sophisticated, brutish elves of the Wrothgarian Mountains, Dragontail Mountains, Valenwood, and Orsinium (literally translated as "Orc-Town"). They are noted for their unshakable courage in war and their unflinching endurance of hardships. Orcs have elven blood, but are usually considered to be both beastfolk and goblin-ken. In the past, Orcs were widely feared and hated by the other nations and races of Tamriel. However, they have slowly won acceptance in the Empire, in particular for their distinguished service in the Emperor's Legions. Orc armorers are prized for their craftsmanship, and Orc warriors in heavy armor are among the finest front-line troops in the Empire, and are fearsome when using their berserker rage. Orcs have a lifespan similar to that of humans. Most Imperial citizens regard Orc society as rough and cruel. The Orcs of the Iliac Bay region have developed their own language, known as Orcish, and have often had their own kingdom, Orsinium.
Beast Races cannot wear shoes, boots or full helmets; specializing in Heavy Armor is not for them.
- Khajiit: Khajiit are cat-like people who come from Elsweyr, known for high intelligence and agility. These traits make them very good thieves and acrobats, but Khajiit are also fearsome warriors. However, they are rarely known to be mages. Khajiit mostly stay on land, but piracy and Skooma trade does draw some to work as sailors. Khajiit anatomy differs greatly from both men and elves, not only because of their fur, tail, and sometimes toe-walking stance, but also their digestive system and metabolism. Khajiit, Argonians, and Imga are the so-called "beast races" of Tamriel because of these large differences. Khajiit have a lifespan similar to that of humans. There are no well-documented cases of cross-breeding between Khajiit and other races, though there are rumors of such a thing. The foreign appearance and behavior of Khajiit make them common targets of racial discrimination.
- Argonians: Reptilian denizens of Black Marsh that call themselves the Saxheel (People of the Root), known as Argonians in the Empire. Little is known and less is understood about the Argonians. Both male and female Argonians, like the Khajiit, make skilled assassins due to their proficiency with blades, sneaking, lockpicking, and alchemy. More intelligent than their male counterparts, female Argonians can also be adequate mages.
When building a character, skills are assigned as being major, miscellaneous, and minor. Raising major skills and minor skills, by doing the activity, levels up the character. Ten points increase in major skills levels one up by one level.
- Morrowind was first teased during the opening cinematic in The Elder Scrolls Adventures: Redguard in 1998. Several books on a shelf can be seen in the background: The Elder Scrolls: Arena, The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, and finally The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.