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King Ink

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kingink

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About this mod

Makes sensible changes to birthsigns and races to make each one unique and interesting while sticking to the original concept, staying reasonably lore-friendly, and made with the attitude, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Currently OpenMW-exclusive.

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Sensible Races & Birthsigns


by King Ink

OPENMW-exclusive mod: This mod works perfectly on OpenMW, but does not work as intended on the vanilla engine. It may be possible to create a vanilla engine version of this mod. If I release another version of this mod, it will either work on both or else I will have a separate vanilla-engine version. Full permission is granted to anyone else to do it if I take too long.

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Description
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There are many race and birthsign mods out there, but I couldn't find any to my satisfaction. I wanted a mod that made sensible changes to the birthsigns and races that made each one unique and interesting while sticking to the original concept of the race or birthsign, staying reasonably lore-friendly, and designed with the attitude, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." As a rule of thumb, I wanted to make each birthsign as interesting and useful as the Atronach and each race as interesting and useful as the Breton or the Redguard. This mod will possibly make the game a bit easier, and I recommend increasing the difficulty slider if that's a problem for you. I also use fortify skill, which may make that spell effect available to you earlier in the game (Previously it could be gotten in Tribunal). I recommend not abusing that effect if you want to avoid becoming overpowered.


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Race Details
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*No attribute stats have been changed for the races.*

Power: Use once a day
Ability: Always active
Toggle: Turn on and off whenever you like
Spell: Use multiple times a day with a magicka cost
* : Something that's been changed

-----Altmer-----

Alchemy 10
Alteration 5
Conjuration 5
Destruction 10
Enchant 10
Illusion 5

(Ability) Magicka Bonus: Fortify Maximum Magicka 1.5x INT
(Ability) Weakness to Magicka 50%
(Ability) Weakness to Fire 25% *
(Ability) Weakness to Frost 25%
(Ability) Weakness to Shock 25%
(Ability) Resist Common Disease 75%

The only thing changed about the Altmer is that weakness to fire has been reduced from 50 to 25. That matches Oblivion and I'm not aware of any lore that would explain any especially high weakness to fire. The Altmer was a well-designed race to begin with, but has enough weaknesses this way.

-----Argonian-----

Alchemy 5
Athletics 10 *
Illusion 5
Medium Armor 5
Mysticism 5
Spear 10 *
Unarmored 5

(Ability) Resist Common Disease 75%
(Ability) Immune to Poison 100%
(Toggle) Swampwise: Water Breathing, Swift Swim 50 pts *
(Ability) Natural Armor: Resist Normal Weapons 15% *

The Argonian is not a popular character. As a beast race, it can't wear boots, and can only wear certain helms. The aquatic abilities are very situational. I moved 5 pts from athletics to spear because athletics is an easy enough skill to raise, and in the early game more weapon skill wil be useful.  I made water breathing a toggle spell, and added 50 points of swift swim. Argonians should be better swimmers than other races. I added 15% resist normal weapons to help mitigate the lack of boots. Since the Argonian is covered in scales, it makes sense to me.

-----Bosmer-----

Acrobatics 5
Alchemy 5
Light Armor 10
Marksman 15
Sneak 10

(Toggle) Hunter's Stance: Fortify Skill Marksman 30 pts, Chameleon 10%, Drain Speed 50 pts on Self *
(Ability) Resist Disease 75%
(Power) Beast Tongue: Command Creature 25 levels for 600 sec on Target *

The Bosmer is most people's least favorite race. That's a shame, because I think the concept is a good one. They are described as "the best archers in all of Tamriel" with "a nearly chameleon-like ability to hide in forested areas," and they really should have a special ability to represent that. I made Hunter's Stance, which gives more accurate shots and some chameleon to hopefully let you snipe easier. The drawback is that while it's active, you move more slowly, but it can be toggled on and off. Beast Tongue is a good idea for a power, but originally the levels were too low for it to be useful. I raised the level to 25 so you can befriend some decent creatures.

-----Breton-----

Alchemy 5
Alteration 5
Conjuration 10
Illusion 5
Mysticism 10
Restoration 10

(Ability) Magicka Bonus: 0.5x INT
(Ability) Resist Magicka 50%
(Power) Shield 50 pts for 60 sec on Self

The Breton is great already, so I left it as is.

-----Dunmer-----

Athletics 5
Destruction 10
Light Armor 5
Long Blade 5
Marksman 5
Mysticism 5
Short Blade 10

(Power) Ancestor Guardian: Sanctuary 50 pts for 60 sec on Self
(Ability) Resist Fire 75%

The Dunmer is great already, so I left it as is.

-----Imperial-----

Blunt Weapon 5
Hand-to-Hand 5
Long Blade 10
Heavy Armor 5 *
Mercantile 10
Speechcraft 10

(Power) Star of the West: Absorb Fatigue 200 pts for 1 sec on Target
(Power) Voice of the Emperor: Charm 25 to 50 pts for 15 sec on Target
(Toggle) Military Training: Fortify Strength 30 pts, Fortify Endurance 30 pts, Drain Agility 30 pts, Drain Speed 30 pts on Self *

The Imperial is a well-rounded character apparently intended to be used as a fighter class or hybrid. They are described as being "known for the discipline and training of their citizen armies." The Imperial had no special ability to reflect that. I created a Military Training skill, which enables the Imperial to trade Agility and Speed for more Strength and Endurance. It's not as good as the Orc's Berserk or the Redguard's Adrenaline, but unlike those powers, it can be turned on and off when you need it. That should give the Imperial some versatility and make it a more attractive choice than before. The Imperial now has 5 points in Heavy Armor instead of Light Armor, because that's what they usually wear in-game.

-----Khajiit-----

Acrobatics 10
Athletics 5
Hand-to-Hand 10
Light Armor 5
Security 5
Short Blade 5
Sneak 5

(Toggle) Eye of Night: Night Eye 50 pts on Self *
(Power) Eye of Fear: Demoralize Humanoid 100 pts for 30 sec on Target
(Ability) Feline Grace: Fortify Acrobatics 25 pts *

Many people dislike Morrowind's Khajiit because of the beast race drawbacks. In truth, they probably make the best thieves in the game. I recommend using a mod like True Lights and Darkness to appreciate their Eye of Night skill. Anyway, it can now be toggled on and off. They are described as being great acrobats, and in Daggerfall, they had a special ability to climb. I therefore gave them a bonus to acrobatics, which never loses its usefulness late game. Perhaps one day, your Khajiit will be able to jump from tree to tree just like the ones in A Dance in Fire.

-----Nord-----

Axe 10
Blunt Weapon 10
Heavy Armor 5
Long Blade 5
Medium Armor 10
Spear 5

(Power) Nordic Frost: Frost Damage 5 pts for 10 sec on Target, Drain Strength 100 pts for 10 sec on Target *
(Ability) Immune to Frost 100%
* Removed Resist Shock 50% *
(Power) Woad: Shield 30 pts for 60 sec on Self

The Nords already had immunity to frost, and it really seemed out of place and overpowered to also give them resistance to shock. I took away their shock resistance, but to make up for that, I upgraded their old Thunder Fist power into Nordic Frost, which does twice the damage and freezes the opponent in place.

-----Orsimer-----

Armorer 10
Axe 5
Block 10
Heavy Armor 10
Medium Armor 10

(Ability) Resist Magicka 25%
(Power) Berserk: Fortify Health 20 pts for 60 secs on Self, Fortify Fatigue 200 pts for 60 secs on Self, Fortify Attack 100 pts for 60 secs on Self, Drain Agility 100 pts for 60 secs on Self

The Orsimer is fine already, so I didn't change anything.

-----Redguard-----

Athletics 5
Axe 5
Blunt Weapon 5
Heavy Armor 5
Long Blade 15
Medium Armor 5
Short Blade 5

(Power) Adrenaline Rush: Fortify Agility 50 pts for 60 secs on Self, Fortify Endurance 50 pts for 60 secs on Self, Fortify Speed 50 pts for 60 secs on Self, Fortify Strength 50 pts for 60 secs on Self, Fortify Health 25 pts for 60 secs on Self
(Ability) Resist Poison 75%
(Ability) Resist Common Disease 75%

The Redguard is great, so nothing is changed.

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Birthsign Details
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-----The Warrior-----

(Ability) Great Strength: Fortify Strength 25 pts *
(Ability) Warwyrd: Fortify Attack 10 pts

The Warrior was a decent birthsign already, but not quite as good as some of the others. I added Great Strength to even things up. Besides, the description says, "The Warrior's own season is Last Seed when his Strength is needed for the harvest."

-----The Mage-----

(Ability) Willful: Fortify Willpower 25 pts *
(Ability) Fay: Fortify Maximum Magicka 0.5x INT

Compared to the Atronach and the Apprentice, the Mage never seemed that appealing. I added Willful to make it more attractive. The description says the Mage has "more magicka and talent for all kinds of spellcasting ... but are often arrogant"

-----The Thief-----

(Ability) Lucky: Fortify Luck 25 pts *
(Ability) Akaviri Danger-sense: Sanctuary 10 pts

Akaviri Danger-sense is a decent ability, but I can't imagine this was a very popular birthsign choice based on that alone. According to the description, "they take risks more often and only rarely come to harm. They will run out of luck eventually, however." Now the Thief is Lucky.

-----The Serpent-----

(Ability) Serpent's Strike: Fortify Skill Hand-to-Hand 25 pts *
(Power) Cobra's Dance: Paralyze 5 sec on Touch, Poison 4 pts for 20 sec on Touch *

This was probably the worst of the birthsigns, previously. It granted a mediocre poison spell that damaged the player also. I replaced that with Cobra's Dance, which is taken verbatim from Oblivion's Serpent Stone power. As for Serpent Strike, the description says, "No characteristics are common to all who are born under the sign of the Serpent." I believe that leaves me room for creative license here. This birthsign will hopefully be appealing now for Monk characters, especially because having this ability means they will ultimately reach a higher damage potential naturally with Hand-to-Hand than characters born under other signs. I believe that unlike conventional weapons, stacking Hand-to-Hand can increase the damage indefinitely (weapon skills cap at 100 and only increase chance to hit).

-----The Lady-----

(Ability) Lady's Favor: Fortify Personality 25 pts
(Ability) Lady's Grace: Fortify Endurance 25 pts

The Lady remains unchanged. It's still a very powerful birthsign, and I used it as an example of how powerful to make the other birthsigns.

-----The Steed-----

(Ability) Charioteer: Fortify Speed 25 pts
(Ability) Strong Back: Feather 100 pts *

The Steed is often a favorite of Heavy Armor specialists that don't want to move at a snail's pace most of the game. Now it also reduces some of the weight from that heavy armor, which of course also affects speed.

-----The Lord-----

* Removed Blood of the North spell *
(Ability) Trollkin: Weakness to Fire 50%, Slow constant health regeneration. *

Previously the Lord wasn't a very good sign. It offered a cheap restore health spell which would only be of use to the most magically-challenged of warrior types, and had an extreme downside of taking double damage to fire. That seems very harsh. I reduced the weakness to 50%, which seems more reasonable to me. Instead of the spell, you now get constant health regeneration, just like a troll. It doesn't take any attributes into account, but instead operates on percentage, and will always take about 6 in-game hours to fill your health from totally empty to totally full. You can also wait to recharge health, if you like.

-----The Apprentice-----

(Ability) Elfborn: Fortify Maximum Magicka 1.5x INT, Weakness to Magicka 50%

I didn't change it because it was a good sign already.

-----The Atronach-----

(Ability) Wombburn: Spell Absorption 50%, Fortify Maximum Magicka 2.0x INT, Stunted Magicka

I didn't change anything; it's great already.

-----The Ritual-----

(Ability) Mara's Protection: Resist Blight Disease 25% *
(Power) Holy Word: Turn Undead 100 pts in 50 ft for 30 sec on Target, Fire Damage 5 pts in 50 ft for 30 sec on Target *
(Power) Death Ward: Protection from death for 600 sec, Drain Magicka 25 pts for 600 sec on Self *

Originally this was another bad sign. Blessed Word and Blessed Touch were no better than cheap spells you could buy or make yourself. Instead of those you now get Holy Word, which is very powerful against undead and now vampires as well. The fire damage gives it more general applicability. It can only be used once a day lest it be too overpowered, but it's fun to use. I recommend you try it out in the Siege of Firemoth official plugin.

Mara's Gift wasn't a great power, either. You only got a once a day chance to heal 100 pts. The Hearth Heal spell you can get at the very beginning of the game heals about half that, and almost anyone can cast it. Instead of that, you get Death Ward. Once a day, you can cast Death Ward, and for the next ten minutes you'll be protected from death. If your health is reduced to less than 10% during that time, it will be fully recharged once, and then the power is expended. During the time it is active, there will be a small, 25 pt drain on your magicka to maintain the ward.

Finally, Mara's Protection grants 25% Blight resistance, which can't be found on any other birthsign or racial ability. I believe that the Ritual is now an appealing choice for would-be Crusaders, Healers, and the like.

-----The Lover-----

(Ability) Mooncalf: Fortify Agility 25 pts
(Power) Lover's Kiss: Paralyze 30 secs on Target, Damage Fatigue 100 pts on Self *

The Lover was already a fairly powerful sign. However, Lover's Kiss was a bit overkill, really. 60 seconds is a long time in a fight. I think 30 seconds is plenty, and besides, I have also reduced the Fatigue Damage by half. At 100 pts, it should be more generally useful.

-----The Shadow-----

(Power) Elusive: Chameleon 15 pts for 60 sec on Self *
(Ability) Shadow Kin: Fortify Assassin skills by 10 pts during nighttime hours *

Originally, the Shadow gave 60 sec of invisibility once a day. That's not very useful when you consider that any action you do will break the invisibility. A 15 sec spell would be just as good, and such a spell is easy to come by. Instead, I changed it to Elusive, which grants 15 pts of Chameleon. Now your once a day power will last the full 60 seconds.

In addition, you now have the Shadow Kin ability. If you didn't know, Argonians born under the sign of the Shadow become Shadowscales, so the sign has a special connection with assassins. During nighttime hours (8pm - 6am), you will receive a 10 pt bonus to the following thief and assassin related skills: Sneak, Illusion, Marksman, Short Blade, Acrobatics.

-----The Tower-----

(Spell) Beggar's Nose: Detect Animal / Key / Enchantment for 60 secs in 200 ft
(Power) Warden's Hand: Fortify Security 50 pts for 30 sec on Self *

A lot of people say that Beggar's Nose isn't good, but personally I find a lot more treasure when I use it. The range, duration, and cost make it really easy to use all the time, whereas I seldom use those spell effects otherwise. If you try to buy those effects to make a similar spell, you'll find that you can't make one nearly as good. For this reason, I say Beggar's Nose is fine, and I'm not changing it.

Tower Key on the other hand was just poor. Once a day, you could unlock a 50 pt lock. Whoopee. You can get scrolls to do the same thing at the very beginning of the game. It's useless for thieves, because they will want to practice their security skill instead. I changed it to Warden's Hand, which should be much more useful for everyone.

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Install
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If you are using Vanilla Morrowind: put SensibleRaces.esp and SensibleBirthsigns.esp in \Morrowind\Data Files\ and be sure to activate them in the menu when you start Morrowind.

If you are using OpenMW, I recommend that you place them together in their own folder like for example /Mods/SRB/.  Then find your openmw.cfg file (On Linux it's at  ~/.config/openmw/) and add the path like data="/home/username/games/Mods/SRB" and activate the esp files like content=SensibleRaces.esp and content=SensibleBirthsigns.esp. Check the OpenMW website for clearer instructions and further details.

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Uninstall
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Just delete the .esp files. I don't recommend uninstalling this mid-game, but if you know what you're doing, you can deactivate any running scripts, which will all start with "KI_" and then save, delete the esps, then try to fix your character using the console. But, good luck with that.

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Incompatibility
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Incompatible with mods that change races, birthsigns, or add regenerating health. This mod uses unique names for all its custom spells and scripts.

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Known Bugs
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PM me if you find any. I have tested this mod myself, but only on OpenMW (because I have a Linux PC). It does not work as intended on the vanilla engine.

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Contact
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KingInk on TESNexus

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Credits
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Thanks to Alaisiagae for BAMF and RAMF, which I used until I made this as a replacement for myself. Some of the ideas in here came from his mods, and I used his readme file as a guide in writing this one.
Thanks to Remiros and Greatness7 for Purist-Friendly Magicka Regen. I studied the code in that to learn about Morrowind modding as this is my first mod ever.
Thanks to GhanBuriGhan for Morrowind Scripting for Dummies. I used this when I rewrote this mod to improve the scripting style and hopefully prevent bugs.

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Tools Used
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OpenMW-CS by the OpenMW team

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Licensing/Legal
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If you redistribute this mod, please include this file. Otherwise, this mod is free for any use to do with as you like.