Video Game: The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind aka: Morrowind
"They have taken you from the Imperial City's prison, first by carriage and now by boat, to the east; to Morrowind. Fear not, for I am watchful. You have been chosen."
Azura, from the introduction
The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind is the fifth videogame in The Elder Scrolls series by Bethesda Softworks, released in 2002. Like the other games in the "core" series (i.e. the ones with numbers in their names), it is a massive, free-formRPG.This was the first Elder Scrolls game to be released on a console (the Xbox) as well as for the PC. As such, it also marked a major shift in gameplay and design philosophy. Gone were Arena and Daggerfall's nigh-infinite, procedurally generated worlds, replaced with carefully hand-crafted environments that, while smaller than their predecessors, were designed to invoke awe and still be far larger than most video games.Also, the combat system is radically different from the rest of the series, being closer to more traditional RPGs. It is still real-time, but character stats play a far larger role than player skill compared to the rest of the series. This is generally seen as a downgrade (let's face it, non-magical fights are downright boring, and enemies burn through their spells very quickly), perhaps due to Bethesda's inexperience with designing console games.However, this does not stop Morrowind from being a classic that a large fanbase still plays to this day. Morrowind marked the point where Tamriel ceased to be a standard Medieval European Fantasy setting and became a truly unique Constructed World with highly memorable cultures, history, creatures, landscapes, mythopoea, and characters. Gushing fans will tell you that yes, Morrowind imitates the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, but in a much different way than most fantasy worlds do—by putting the same amount of thought and detail into its universe, rather than just borrowing ideas from The Lord of the Rings.Also, it puts a huge emphasis on the numerous side quests, to the degree where they are pretty much the most important aspect of the game, and are neatly tied into the main story.The plot is set some years after the events of Daggerfall, on the far eastern frontier of the Tamrielic Empire. The player character is a convict and an orphan in the Imperial City Dungeons. For unknown reasons, The Emperor Uriel Septim VII personally orders that you be released early on the condition that you be shipped to the backwater province of Morrowind (more specifically, the even more backwater district of Vvardenfell) and meet with an agent of his named Caius Cosades. However, upon being released, you are perfectly free to say "screw that" and explore Vvardenfell at your own pace. If you choose to accept the mission given to you, however, you are launched into a labyrinthine plot involving an Ancient Conspiracy, prophecies, lost prophecies, false prophecies, reincarnation, gods, backroom politics, gang wars, The Corruption, and lots and lots of walking. Seriously, you spend a good half of the game just walking around. Not that it isn't worth it.Two expansion packs were later released for PC: Tribunal has you visit Morrowind Province's capital city of Mournhold to investigate an assassination plot against you. It's a fair bit more challenging than the original game, and intended for mid-to-high level characters. Unfortunately, it is not a Wide-Open Sandbox like the rest of the game, as you are restricted to only one part of the stated-to-be massive city and the sewers/ruins beneath it. The new antagonist also turns out to have set up a very petty excuse for their Evil Plan, while the protagonist gets generally strung along for the ride, with some strange lapses in judgement.The second expansion, Bloodmoon, is generally considered far better. Set in a frozen tundra with a refreshingly different atmosphere than the main game, it returns to the Wide-Open Sandbox formula. There are effectively two main quests to follow in Bloodmoon. The first begins when the player signs on to help an Imperial Legion captain with some odd jobs around his fort, which expands into a simple-but-dramatic plot about rescuing him from the Most Dangerous Game — by taking part in it yourself. Also, werewolves are involved. The second involves helping the new Imperial mining colony of Raven Rock grow from absolutely nothing into a flourishing frontier settlement, with plenty of somewhat interesting moral dilemmas along the way.
This video game provides examples of:
Affably Evil - One of Dagoth Ur's highest-ranking goons will exchange a pleasant conversation with you and offer you some fine vintage brandy before offering to let you strike first. Also, Dagoth Ur is rather polite right up until you try to kill him.
The Ageless: Those suffering from the corprus disease effectively stop aging and are immune to all other diseases. They do slowly turn into a deformed humanoid monstrosity, however. Thanks to Divayth Fyr's "cure" for the disease, the Nerevarine retains these positive effects while only the negative effects are removed, leaving him/her as this.
Alien Sky: Two moons with (technically) impossible phases that are actually the rotting remains of the creator god? Check. "Stars" that are actually holes punctured in reality by escaping spirits of the creation era through which magic flows? Check.
All Myths Are True - But there are many different variations of them, so good luck figuring out exactly what parts are true.
Always Chaotic Evil - Vampires. Justified in that it is easy to tell when you are becoming one and the condition is very easily cured within the first three days of the transformation. As such, the only people who allow themselves to become night-stalking parasites are people who are already Chaotic Evil (and, of course, player characters.)
Always Check Behind the Chair - Easily the best gauntlets in the whole game were only attainable by searching behind a few giant coffins. They were easy to miss if you weren't a compulsive klepto, as there's nothing of note by the coffins themselves.
Lesser examples include a tanto behind the bed in an inn, a magic sword on top of a bunk-bed in a watch-tower, and a magic ring underneath a mushroom in a cave.
And pretty much ALL the Propylon Indices.
Oh, and a magic axe in a tree stump right in the freaking starting village. Sure, you probably can't effectively use it at that point and when you can it's not that good, but it's worth a lot.
There are actually quite a few tree stump stashes scattered around the island. Most contain a few gold, a potion, and/or some other trinket with low value.
There is also an abandoned shack in the game which, at first glance, seems devoid of any valuables. Thorough searching however will reveal a few hidden pearls and stacks of gold.
Anti-Hero - Larrius Varro of the Imperial Legion used to be a straight up law abiding legionnaire. Unfortunately, since the long arm of the law doesn't seem to reach certain criminals, he spends his days praying for a little bloodbath to wash away the bad people.
In a more general sense, many missions given the player by certain guilds or extensions of joinable organization (like the Office of the Watch in Vivec) will hire the player to do a little vigilante justice, and in almost all cases they admit they'd like to have the actual authorities do the job, but since that isn't working (usually because the target has friends in high places), you'll be serving as their indirect extension of authority.
Anyone Can Die - Because you can kill them if you want to and are strong/clever enough. Okay, so Daedra can't die, but they can get the crap beaten out of them and be sent back to their plane of Oblivion.
A number of the special weapons you can garner though temple, imperial cult, imperial legion and daedric prince quests also count considering we're often talking weapons created by the hands of gods to sow destruction across the lands or something cliched like that.
Artifact Title - The Elder Scrolls are only mentioned once (not counting lore), as the impetus for the Emperor sending you to serve as the Nerevarine.
Artificial Atmospheric Actions: People appear to be programmed to say certain things depending on a couple conditions. If you're sick, they'll say "eeeew get away from me" or tell you to go to a healer. This sometimes is funny when the healer tells you this. But if you talk to them, they'll ignore that you happen to have some kind of ailment. Civilians don't stand in one place, thankfully, but instead they just aimlessly wander around the towns 24/7, sometimes getting stuck trying to walk through each other. They also sometimes don't react to monsters - which can be quite funny when they just stand there as an Ash Zombie had crawled into your house.
And sometimes, the "greetings" will cause them to break character. Such as the stuck-up-holier-than-thou Mage's Guild leader not talking down to you. Or Caius saying "Pleasure to meet you" after he's given you at least four quests.
This can even be useful: there are a couple of situations where you want to kill someone, but their standard greeting drops you out of the conversation with a goodbye, keeping you from taunting them to attack you first. The thing is, the 'naked-greeting' usually supercedes that greeting...
Really, it tends to be just funny moreso. Especially when guards get stuck trying to walk over unconscious bodies, tell you to move along when a dark elf is trying to punch your lights out, but then shout "YOU N'WAH!" if you fight back. (and sometimes they just watch the ensuing brawl).
Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence - This is apparently what most of the dwarven race tried to do. It's never revealed if they were successful, because if they were, they are all on said higher plane of existence, and if not, they're all dead. Whatever happened, it even affected Dwemer colonies on the other side of Tamriel with absolutely no connection to the project though it did leave one dwarf alive and in a position to return to Nirn.
Careful reading of the various in-game sources on the matter, and conversing with the experts in the field (including Vivec, one of the three deities of the Tribunal), will likely lead to the hypothesis that they tried to unmake themselves down to basic elements and then become reforged into new, ascended beings. Unfortunately, they didn't get the reforging process right, and so they were instead deleted from existence. Of course, whether even this theory is true or not is entirely unknown...
Later in Skyrim, one mage tries to reproduce the Dwarven experiment in a smaller scale, substituting a modified soul gem for the Heart of Lorkhan and using the original, but severely depowered Keening. He vanishes, but can be summoned from somewhere as a ghost. Can this count as ascension to a higher plane? Your mileage may vary, but many people would think it's a pretty rotten existence.
Some dwarves also came back as ghosts and can be fought as high-level mooks.
Awesome, but Impractical - The Hammer of Stendarr in the Tribunal expansion is a MASSIVE warhammer that does insanely high damage, but breaks on the first swing and weighs half a ton, rendering it nigh-unusable.
Vampirism. It gives you some extra powers and some massive stat boosts that can break the stat caps...but sunlight will kill you, you can no longer use any shops or services in Vvardenfell, and you can only complete quests for House Telvanni, the Mages' Guild, and one of three well-hidden vampire clans.
Lycanthropy. You turn into a werewolf and get massive boosts to your killing power, and can murder anyone without acquiring a bounty. Unfortunately, you can't use any equipment, cast any spells, or pick up any items while you're a beast. And if an NPC sees you transform, then you're marked as "bkill on sight" by everyone.
Badass Army - The Imperial Legion is legitimately tough. However, the Imperial Legion (collectively) says in-game that House Redoran is this, for their emphasis on being able to fight and defend Morrowind.
Later on, House Redoran gets destroyed. They animate a Giant Mudcrab with necromancy and fight HELL ITSELF to a standstill. It took a freaking Tunguska-like explosion to finally break them and wipe them out.
Buoyant Armiger: Elite stealth fighters, half of them decked in the ludicrously expensive glass armor, operating deep within red mountain and Molag Amur.
Beam Spam: Enchant an item with a damaging spell "On Target." Set the item to "Cast on Use." Equip the newly enchanted item and select it from the magic menu. Congrats! You now have what some fans refer to as a "magic machine gun." Unlike casting a regular spell which costs magicka and requires time for a casting animation, you can launch your enchanted attack as fast as you can click the mouse/button. Just be careful of using it on enemies with reflect...
Beat Still, My Heart: The heart of the dead creator god, Lorkhan, is still beating away deep beneath Red Mountain. In order to defeat Dagoth Ur, you will need to destroy it.
Beneficial Disease: The Corpus disease grants the victims immunity to all other diseases and even prevents them from aging. Too bad it also comes with a big serving of Body Horror and a bad case of crazy, and is completely incurable, but... as the Nerevarine you undertake an experimental treatment that suppresses the negative symptoms of Corprus only, rendering you immortal barring violent death and immune to all other diseases.
BFS - While most weapons have fairly realistic sizes (making them look tiny compared to other games) the atypically huge Chrysamere ("The Paladin's Blade") looks like someone took a good length of railroad track and attached a handle. It fells most opponents with a single blow.
Big Bad - Dagoth Ur in the main game. Almalexia in Tribunal. Hircine in Bloodmoon.
But it doesn't stop there. The House Redoran seat in Ald'Ruhn is situated in Under-Skar, the hollowed-out exoskeleton of a humongous sentient crab known as Skar. The wizards of House Telvanni don't care much for actually building structures. Instead, they grow them out of giant mushrooms whose growth is facilitated by the trapped souls of powerful Daedra. And then there's the Ministry of Truth, which is literally a hollowed-out giant rock that a Daedric prince threw down from Oblivion onto the city of Vivec, stopped in its tracks several hundred feet over the largest and holiest temple in Vvardenfell.
Body Horror - Corprus disease turns most people into mindless zombies and Sixth House descendants into "Sleepers", which evolve through several stages to eventually become Ascended Sleepers. Neither path is pretty.
Bonus Boss - The Anyone Can Die nature of the games means you could naturally fight and kill anyone you wish. But a special mention goes out to Vivec. You are by no means required to fight him, and doing so before completing the main quest will make the normal method of beating the game impossible, but if you choose to do so, you'll have quite the fight on your hands. Bonus irony points if you soul trap him in Azura's Star.
The Ash Vampires as well. You are only required to fight one in order to get an item (Sunder) off of him, but there are 6 others you can hunt down and kill. Killing them is supposed to weaken Dagoth Ur in the final confrontation, but due to a scripting glitch, this does not happen. Still, they each possess unique enchanted items that are Lost Forever if you don't fight them, and you should kill them if you're going for 100% Completion.
Care Bear Stare - The Charm and Fortify Personality spells can make nearly every NPC in the game smitten with you.
Challenging the Chief - Several factions require you to defeat the current leader in order to take their place, including the Fighters' Guild, the Mages' Guild, and Houses Redoran and Telvanni. (In the case of the Telvanni, it's more of a Klingon Promotion.)
There is a peaceful way to become head of of the Mages' Guild, but it is both harder to find out and leaves you *co*-head of the Guild along with an idiot, rather than sole head.
Cherry Tapping - Actually encouraged due to the game's skill increase system in order to level up your weapon skills. Every successful hit, regardless of how much damage it does, counts the same towards increasing that skill. Stabbing something 100 times with the Fork of Horripilation will lead to a greater increase of your short blade skill than one-shotting that same foe with a Daedric dagger. Inversely, this works on you to level up your armor skills. Simply deck yourself out in a full suit of armor, find a rat, and allow said rat to cherry tap YOU. Each hit will count towards increasing the armor skill for the type of armor you are wearing.
The Chessmaster - Azura might be this. If she is, the fact that we are not sure of it is surely testament to her skill.
The Chosen One - The Nerevarine (you) is the chosen one by nature of being the reincarnation of Nerevar. There is strong evidence that the player is not Lord Nerevar reborn, but merely a convenient pawn Azura is using in her revenge plot; even Vivec admits such is possible. When Dagoth Ur asks whether you're the Nerevarine, you have the options, among others, of saying "Yes" or "I don't know". He accepts either and praises you for saying "no, but I'm still going to kick your ass".
Church Militant: Ordinators and High Ordinators are the main militant force for the Tribunal Temple. Buoyant Armigers are the Temple's elite special forces who operate primarily within the Ghostfence.
City Guards: Naturally. Hlaalu, Redoran, and Telvanni guards each patrol the towns and villages under their faction's authority. Ordinators patrol Tribunal Temple holdings. Imperial Guards patrol the Imperial settlements. Mournhold is patrolled by High Ordinators and Royal Guards. The Skaal village has Skaal Honor Guards.
City of Adventure - Mournhold, city of light, city of magic! Vivec applies as well, to a lesser extent.
City of Canals - Vivec. Even comes complete with gondoliers to ferry you around.
Corrupt Church - The Tribunal Temple, despite its dubious origins, used to be an undeniable force for good. These days? Not so much.
Curiously, in the early days when the Tribunal gods consistently lived and worked among their people, it was much better. Since they retreated into their own seclusion thanks to no longer being able to replenish their divine power with the Heart of Lorkhan and instead having to conserve their power (by the time of the player's arrival, Vivec has been maintaining the entire Ghostfence on his own for centuries) to protect Tamriel from Dagoth Ur. It was only after mortals took over the running of things that everything started to go to hell.
Corrupt Corporate Executive: Several members of House Hlaalu in the main game, and Carnius Magius of the East Empire Company in Bloodmoon.
Dead Character Walking: There is a glitch where if you execute it correctly, the opponent, 99% of the time, will become immortal. That is, they have only one Hit Point left no matter what you do. This is done by going up to the person, then drawing your weapon. Hold down the right trigger, and DO NOT RELEASE IT. Open your menu, without attacking. Unequip your weapon and equip something like a lockpick or a torch. Then close the menu and release the trigger. your character will attack with the lockpick, and your opponent will be nigh-immortal! ...that other 1% of the time, they will die instantly.
Deadpan Snarker: In The Horror of Castle Xyr, which you actually have a chance to perform in the Tribunal expansion:
Anara:Please, serjo, go wherever you want. We got nothing to hide. We're loyal Imperial subjects.
Disc One Final Dungeon - Ilunibi has shades of this. It's a vast, sprawling underground dungeon where you will likely face the strongest enemies you have encountered to that point (if you've stuck to the main quest.) It even has its own Disc One Final Boss who gives you the corprus disease and sets the next part of the main quest in motion.
Not a "nuke", exactly, but the Tribunal expansion adds Dark Brotherhood assassins, who may show up and try to kill you any time you sleep. If you defeat one (just barely possible for a starting character), you can loot the corpse for a set of the second-best light armor in the game.
It was a design decision to let buyers of the expansion set start the new content immediately, even with a new character; despite the expansion being geared towards high-level characters. Also, even though many mods logically fix this to make the assassins come after when you are important enough Helseth has had a chance to hear about you, it's implied he was privy to information that the Emperor sent a certain prisoner to Morrowind for a mysterious purpose, and being paranoid, figured it had something to do with him, so he hired some assassins to take out said prisoner just in case they were sent to do him harm, like look into just how exactly the last king kicked the bucket.
With only a couple of levels and a good Security skill, it takes only a minute or so of lockpick brute-forcing to open up a Level 80 door in a certain Fighter's Guild building, with a half-full set of glass armor in an unlocked chest on the other side. This armor is excellent for light armor centered characters, but the real Nuke property is its value. The entire set is worth about 25000 gold. (Now if you can just find someone to sell it to...)
A Sword of White Woe (an enchanted ebony broadsword) can be stolen relatively easily from a guard tower in Balmora. (Likely the 2nd city the player will visit.) It is on top of a closet in the tower, with only one patrolling guard nearby. Just wait until the guard is out of your line of sight, jump up, and grab the sword. It is only a tier or two below the best swords in the game and, if you don't wish to use it, can be sold for high value.
If long blades aren't your thing, you can buy an almost completely broken glass dagger in Suran. Since it is nearly broken, it doesn't cost much, and the cost to repair it is far less than the value of the blade in perfect condition. Either buy it, fix it, and use it (it's an excellent early game short blade) or buy it, fix it, and sell it for several thousand gold in profit (also very useful early in the game.)
Two other of the most powerful items in the game are easily available by starting characters: The Amulet of Shadows gives you 80% Chameleon (effectively invisible) for a decent amount of time and is found in the custody of an easy to kill archer in the middle of the wilderness. The Masque of Clavicus Vile is a very strong helmet that boosts your personality by 30 points (making everybody like you) and is owned by a relatively low-level wizard.
Thorough players may notice that the three houses in Vivec (Hlaalu, Redoran and Telvani) each have their own vaults. The lower Redoran vault is easily openable when you have the key, which is located in dresser on the top floor of the manor across the street. Stealing it doesn't get you a bounty, even if you're seen, and the items you can get there are made of Ebony and Glass, making it highly profitable if one repairs them and takes them to the mudcrab merchant.
A character straight off the boat can acquire a Daedric weapon with relatively little risk and effort. Simply search southeast of Balmora to find a "lost" ebony mine (merely step inside) and then report its location to reclusive Hlaalu councilor Dram Bero in Vivec. He will reward you with your choice in Daedric weapon (the best non-exclusive class of weapons in the game, if a bit on the heavy side.) The hardest part is the locked Lv. 50 door to get to Bero, and even that can be picked by a character of low security skill with a little patience and lot of lockpicks. (Or an inexpensive scroll of unlocking.)
Downer Ending - As Oblivion and tie-in novels reveal, as a result of the player's actions the Tribunal are missing, the Ministry of Truth lost its power source and resumed its interrupted crash onto Vivec City, and that impact caused Red Mountain to erupt, destroying most of Vvardenfell. Then the Argonians came in and what few Dunmer couldn't flee were slain.
Although given that Vivec had achieved CHIM, whether he is actually, permanently dead or not remains up for debate.
Dummied Out: Naturally, there are a few things that had to be left out with a game this large.
The Blight was originally going to be an expanding threat over time, but had to be left out due to technological limitations
Dagoth Ur and the Sixth House were originally joinable by the player. This had to be left out due to time restrictions.
Exploration of the Construction Set files reveals several quests that were cut from the game with no real explanation.
Hrundi of the Fighter's Guild had a quest for the player to eliminate a lesser Dagoth that didn't make it into the final game.
An early Imperial Legion quest has the player rescuing an Orc tax collector from a reclusive Telvanni mage. Another quest was going to have the player actually collect the taxes.
Another Legion quest has you searching for a specific set of Dwemer blueprints, but was removed.
Two quests, one for House Telvanni and one for the Morag Tong, sent the player to "forcefully retire" Master Neloth. Perhaps they already knew that Neloth would be appearing in a later game in the series?
One Thieves Guild quest had the player stealing a mission report from the Ordinators, but was removed.
Early-Bird Cameo: Solstheim in the Bloodmoon expansion is essentially a cameo for Skyrim two games in the future. It's snowy, full of Nords, werewolves, spriggans and mead, all things that show up in Skyrim prominently.
Early Game Hell: Character progression is largely lopsided, with little middle ground between "shmuck" and "god".
Easing Into The Adventure: Probably the best example out of the series, since it is the only one without a true starter/tutorial dungeon you must escape. You simply get off a boat, pick your name, race, class, and birthsign, then get released into a very easy going starting village. Even the quests you can pick up there and the nearby enemies are extremely easy.
Easily Forgiven: In the rare event that you are expelled from House Telvanni, rejoining is as simple as talking to a Mouth and asking to be reinstated. Given that the Telvanni have practically no rules to break, even getting expelled in the first place is a challenge.
Epic Fail: The mage who tried to create a flight spell (and falls from the sky right in front of you) comes to mind. He made scrolls of "Fortify Acrobatics 10000 points for 3 seconds" or something in that area. Means, you can jump tens of thousands meters high, but unless you use another scroll before landing, you are pudding. He carries three scrolls when you find him. You have enough for two jumps and one landing....
Everyone Is Bi: When using the Admire option in conversation, your part of the dialogue is never seen, but the NPC's responses are, and more often than not they seem to be a response to a pick-up line or a suggestion.
Evil Counterpart: The Camonna Tong to the Thieves Guild. The Dark Brotherhood to the Morag Tong. House Telvanni is regarded as this in comparison to the Mages Guild by most Imperial factions.
Eviler than Thou: The Dark Brotherhood versus the Morag Tong. Both are Murder, Inc., but the Morag Tong is government contracted and has a strict code of ethics, while the Dark Brotherhood is comprised of Ax Crazy criminals who practice a Religion of Evil. Ditto, to a lesser degree, for the Thieves Guild and the Camonna Tong: the former has a strict code of ethics as well and favors clean, stealthy burglary and smooth talking, while the latter is made of xenophobic thugs who just kill and plunder.
Extreme Omnivore: The player can eat things such as leprous meat, diamonds, poisonous mushrooms, raw hearts, human flesh, ashes of burned vampires, skins and scrap metal, with varying effects. If you aren't going to carry it with you, you might as well, since partaking makes you better at alchemy on the premise that experiencing their alchemical properties will increase your knowledge on their effects.
Face Death with Dignity: A House Redoran quest has you convincing another member of the house to do this via a duel to the death in the arena. He will almost certainly die (unless you aid him from a distance.)
Fantastic Honorifics: A slight variation on the gender-neutral "ser" version: The Dunmer use "sera", "muthsera" and "serjo", in increasing order of politeness.
Fantastic Racism: Being an Outlander in Morrowind is a bad thing, there are multiple words for it, N'wah and Swit are just two slurs used. You will also occasionally be insulted for your race in a fashion befitting what form of human, lizard, cat, elf you are. Even if you're a Dark Elf you won't be liked because you're not a native.
Fantasy Counterpart Culture - Imperials are the Romans, Nords are Vikings, and the Dark Elves bear an extremely strong resemblance to the biblical Israelites/Jews, starting with the Abraham/Moses hybrid Veloth and all the way down to the Nerevarine/Messiah prophecies producing lots of wannabes during an occupation by a powerful foreign empire.
Fast-Forward Mechanic: The wait and rest features. Waiting can be done anywhere that enemies are not present, but does not restore your health or magicka, nor allow you to level up. Resting must be done in a bed or in the wilderness, but will restore your health/magicka and must be done in order to level up.
Faux Symbolism: invokedThe 36 Lessons of Vivec. They are a series of 36 books, supposedly penned by the man-god himself, which are written by Michael Kirkbride. In them, he uses oodles of biblical imagery to make sure that, if you take it seriously, there is NO WAY a person could see Vivec as anything less than the absolute god of The Elder Scrolls universe (which, of course, isn't necessarily true). Doubles with Anvilicious, Tropes Are Not Bad and Getting Crap Past the Radar with a sprinkling of In-Joke.
Fetch Quest: About half the quests in the game it would seem. Some are easy ("Go down the street and purchase a ceramic bowl") while others are a bit more challenging ("Acquire the Infinity–1 Sword from a hostile, high-level mage.")The game will even invert this on occasion by having you deliver an item or supplies to a remote location instead.
Fighter, Mage, Thief: The Fighters' Guild, Mages' Guild, and Thieves' Guild are Exactly What They Say On The Tin; the three Great Houses each represent a different archetype: Redoran (Fighter), Telvanni (Mage) and Hlaalu (Thief), and even the three vampire clans represent a different archetype: Quarra (Fighter), Aundae (Mage) and Berne (Thief).
Causes a degree of Gameplay and Story Segregation, especially for magic-oriented characters: from a gameplay perspective, it makes sense to join the Guild/House/Clan that match your character's skills, but in-story many of the factions are opposed to each other (House Telvanni and the Mages' Guild have something of a cold war situation going on, even though you can become head of both at the same time).
First Town: Seyda Neen is the town where the player starts, gets initial quests, and acquires his/her first set of equipment. However, Balmora (the second town visited if following the main quest) fits the "central location" part of the trope as there is far more to do there and many reasons to keep coming back to it.
Five-Man Band - During the war between the Chimer and the Dwemer, we had this on the Chimer side:
Flat Character: Most of the hundreds of NPCs don't do much but walk back-and-forth (and some not even that) all day and dispense already-known exposition and rumors when spoken to. Fans call them "walking information kiosks."
Foreshadowing: "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." By the end of the game, you are still ignorant of the role you were to play, i.e. that you've indirectly caused Morrowind's destruction.
Fungus Humongous: Tree-sized mushrooms are a common sight in Vvardenfell. Telvanni settlements consist almost exclusively of mushroom houses, and many homes (there and elsewhere) have potted mushrooms as decoration.
Game-Breaking Bug: the "Sunder/Keening Bug" which if you have an item that adds attributes to you while wielding and rapidly switch it with another item and back to that item, at enough switching speed the attributes are not removed when unwielding it but instead stacked. You could get insane amounts of attributes. That's how speed runs of less than 5 minutes are possible. The bug was removed in later version though.
Moon Sugar and Skooma are highly addictive drugs, but the player can consume them will no negative long term consequences.
Averted when the player talks to an Ordinator while wearing their sacred Indoril armor. Don't do it unless you want to have them attacking you on sight for the rest of the game.
There are a lot of interactions between the various guilds and factions of the game which can lead to some annoying situations. One example, the player may be the Mages Guild Archmage, but if he or she joins House Telvanni, they will have to do a quest to get the Mages Guild's monopoly on magical training dropped.
Game Mod: Thanks to a strong cult fandom, a simple but extraordinarily flexible level editor, and over a decade in which they could be developed, there are tens of thousands of Morrowind mods available on the internet.
Gender Is No Object: Other than some slight differences in starting attributes, there is no real difference when playing as either gender. One slight aversion is that there is a set of minor sidequests available only to a male player from a female Khajiit in Pelagiad.
Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Karstaag feels like this. Unlike the other participants in Hircine's hunt, you don't get to meet him until you have to fight him in in the glacier. He has a unique model: a giant, four-eyed yeti monster with horns, which is unlike anything else in the game. Where he came from or what he actually is never gets discussed in-game. (A popular fan theory states that he may be a Kamal, one of the Akiviri "snow demons" who staged a failed invasion of Morrowind in the distant past.)
Also, all three of the Almsivi in the backstory, plus Dagoth Ur to some extent.
Dagoth Ur: "I'm a god! How can you kill a god?"
God Emperor: Not entirely played straight as they don't legally count themselves as the emperors, but the Dark Elves worship the Tribunal, a trio of living, flesh and blood gods. They exert great influence, but aren't officially the government - there's a separate King of Morrowind, who reports to the Emperor.
Tiber Septim, founder of the current empire, is a more literal example. The player even has the chance to meet an avatar of his.
God Is Dead: The creator god anyway. There are other gods who are still alive and kicking, some of which die in this game.
The entirety of the Elder Scrolls multiverse is also, in theory, nothing more than the dream of a sleeping godhead (which works out to be the player and developers in the end, coupled with oblique references to the inventory, command console and construction set in-universe). In-universe, understanding this fact without losing one's mind and "falling asleep" again is key to attaining the ability to alter reality to suit your whim.
The Good Duke: Duke Vedam Dren seems genuinely interested in protecting the people of Vvardenfell, he even says as much when asking him for a construction contract for your stronghold. If the player is in House Hlaalu, the two quests he gives involve getting some overzealous Ordinators to back down and getting his crime boss brother, Orvas, to grant the player control over the Camonna Tong.
Great Offscreen War: The "War of the First Council" and "Battle of Red Mountain" thousands of years ago set the stage for the plot of the game. The devout, Daedra-worshipping Chimer and atheistic, scientific Dwemer came into conflict in the land now known as Morrowind. After years of fighting, they were forced to team up to drive out the invading Nords. Their alliance remained under the leadership of Chimeri Lord Indoril Nerevar and Dwemer Dumac Dwarfking, known as the "first council." It was a time of great peace and prosperity for both races. However, the Dwemer Dug Too Deep beneath Red Mountain and unearthed the Heart of Lorkhan, the creator god. Chief Tonal Architect, Lord Kagrenec, crafted tools to tap into the power of the heart, hoping to allow the Dwemer to transcend mortality. The Chimer, seeing this as a blasphemy against the real gods in the Daedra, attempted to stop the Dwemer, reigniting their war. Forces led by Nerevar and Lord Voryn Dagoth infiltrated the Dwemer Red Mountain stronghold. Exactly what happened next is up for intense debate, but the Dwemer disappeared from existence, Nerevar was slain, Dagoth Ur and the Tribunal used the tools on the heart to achieve godhood, and Azura cursed the Chimer with dark skin and red eyes, transforming them into the modern Dunmer.
Green Hill Zone: The area directly around the starting town of Seyda Neen. It's relatively peaceful, one of the "greener" areas in Vvardenfell in terms of vegetation, and the toughest enemies you will face at that point are likely mudcrabs and kwama foragers. Subverted with the Grasslands region, which appears green and peaceful, but is full of rogue ashlanders, blighted critters, and the occasional wandering Daedra.
Grey and Grey Morality: The only truly evil people in the game are vampires, the Camonna Tong, the Dark Brotherhood, and Almalexia.
Arguably even the Cammona Tong are not utterly, irredeemably evil; Orvas Dren seems to genuinely care for the fate of his country, even if this sentiment manifests itself mainly in racism and bigotry.
Guide Dang It: The Threads of the Webspinner quest requires you to track down 26 items (each boosting one of the games skills). 17 of them are either on NPCs you are assigned to kill / their guards (or in 1 case, given to you) by the same quest giver, but a few require you to kill random peaceful NPCs that have no indication that they have them or NPCs in shrines that have no quest at all related to them.
Another is acquiring Eltonbrand. Let's just say you have better odds of being struck by lightning and winning the lottery on the same day than you do of acquiring this blade without help.
Really; it's part of being The Elder Scrolls, but this game is the start of where it stops being abstract. There are a couple parts where they in-game directions are vague or abstract but it's an improvement.
Heel Face Turn: You can convince one of Hard-Heart's minions to defect by giving her a certain artifact. However, this minion will try to kill you when you become master of the guild.
A Home Owner Is You: You get the opportunity to build your own stronghold as you advance through any of the Great House factions. You can also just take over one of the game's many abandoned homes or ruins.
Hub City: Vivec is the largest and most populous city in the main game, as well as the center of Dunmer politics and culture. (Ebonheart would be the center of Imperial culture and influence on the island.)
100% Heroism Rating: After you complete the main quest, many people will stammer and ask you to forgive them because they don't know how to speak to such an important person. Others will thank you for your heroic deeds.
Interface Spoiler: If you find an NPC with unusual dialogue options, even if they don't cause anything to happen at that time, odds are they will be involved with a quest at some point in the future. The same is also true if the NPC simply lacks the usual dialogue options (latest rumors, little advice, little secret, etc.)
Irony: If the lost prophecies are to be believed, the Nerevarine is an outlander, one of the same group of people the Ashlanders are trying to remove from Morrowind.
Jerkass: Most of both House Telvanni and the Tribunal Church.
Kleptomaniac Hero: Pretty much encouraged by the game itself. Especially true for those in the actual Thieves Guild. A few of the prime examples:
The Census and Excise office where you start the game. There is a built-in area out of sight where the player will acquire their first weapon, lockpicks, food, beverages, light source, and book. Even better, until you are officially released by the Captain and given your orders, you will not get a bounty for anything you steal in plain sight of the guards. Simply pick up anything you wish to steal and then set it on the ground before the guard gets to you. He'll reprimand you for stealing it, but there are no other consequences. Simply pick the stolen item back up when you're done and it's yours! You can acquire a key to the Seyda Neen warehouse with this method. The warehouse contains even more stuff to steal.
An early Balmora Mages Guild quest will have Ajira call the resident enchanter Galbedeir down to the bottom floor so you can switch out one of her soul gems with a fake. This leaves every other soul gem (including one filled grand soul gem worth 60,000 gold) completely unguarded. The only draw back to stealing them is that Galbedeir will recognize ALL soul gems as stolen after that point, so you will no longer be able to use her enchanting service.
The very first Ald-Ruhn Thieves Guild quest will have you stealing an item from the neighboring Mages Guild. All of the mages inside will clear out, leaving only one inept guard who is easily killed by even the lowest leveled players. The mages will stay gone until you complete the quest, so feel free to loot the entire place from top to bottom, making several trips if you have to.
Klingon Promotion: Morrowind is rather tolerant of this. House Telvanni practice this as a rule, but many factions indulge in it. For bonus points, Tamrielic law even allows for it (within sanctioned limits), citing such matters as duels of honorable combat.
Last of His Kind: There's only one dwarf left. And he's not all there anyway (physically or mentally).
Lethal Joke Character: The Mudcrab Merchant. He is identical in appearance to other Mudcrabs, he's hidden on a specific island in the Azura's Coast region and is difficult to find, he speaks with a drunken dialect... and he has more available gold for bartering then any other merchant in the game.
Level Grinding: Expect to do it if you want to be come proficient in any skill, particularly the weapon skills. Made easier with unlimited training per level (unlike the later games in the series,) but only if you can afford it.
Level Scaling: Limited to creatures outside of caves. The items in many containers are also pulled from "leveled lists," give you a better chance at finding good items at higher levels. All of the loot outside of containers is hand placed and never changes, however.
Living Gasbag: The Netch are basically giant, flying, gas-filled jellyfish.
Loads and Loads of Loading: Boy howdy, the Xbox release. Any time you want to start or continue a game, you have to wait at least three minutes for the overworld to load. And that's not even counting what happens when you run too fast...
Of course, the PC version was the same too. Like in the xbox release, if you ran too fast, the game would grind to a halt to load. Unfortunately, your character moves so ridiculously slow (Especially if you don't have a bunch of athletics skill!) you'll want to speed it up somehow. Meaning that yes, you will experience this.
Lock and Key Puzzle: In the dungeons of Tel Fyr, there is a series of chests each with a key and some minor treasure in them. Each key unlocks the next chest in the series. Near the end, you can walk away with a few legendary ancient weapons.
Lovable Sex Maniac: Oooh, Crassius Curio is an example, dumpling, but it is soo nice to hear you say it. It is lovely when you list tropes like that, honey. Now give Uncle Curio a kiss.
It should be noted that, in our world, much of what Curio does would be sexual harassment punishable by law. Requiring you to strip for him so he will promote you, anyone? Also, how did ESRB not notice?
He has also written a play called The Lusty Argonian Maid. "Polish my spear!" indeed.
And between all this, he is one of the few "good" character in his House.
Low Level Advantage: Generally averted in the game, but there is one Imperial Cult quest where you will get a better reward if a certain skill is below level 40. (Specifically, your blunt weapon skill.)
Mad Wizard: So many. Kagrenac in the Backstory who figures out who to tap into the Heart of Lorkhan originally. Dagoth Ur and Sotha Sil then figure out how to do it as well. Pretty much all of the Telvanni, even the faction's lone Reasonable Authority Figure, conduct experiments which extend their lifespans and enjoy summoning Daedra as guards and test subjects. Even Divayth Fyr's cure for corprus fails on every test subject other than the player.
Magic Is Mental: All of the magical skills are tied to either the Intelligence or Willpower attributes. The Mages Guild also essentially doubles as the guild for scholars.
Magitek: Dwemer technology seems to be about half Steampunk and half magical enchantments.
"Clutter Warehouse - Everything Must Go!" It's an area only accessible via console commands. It was used by the developers to speed up world creation. Since certain arrangements of furniture and items (such as plates on tables and bottles on shelves) are very common in the world, but take a long time to put together, they have been assembled in this area where they can be copied and pasted to where they are needed.
"Character Stuff Wonderland" A secret room used by the developers for testing which is accessible only through the console. It contains almost all of the armor and weapons in the game and is guarded by some high level monsters.
"Todd Test" A debug room used by the developers and accssible only through the console. When the player enters the room, a large light brown bowl is seen. This bowl, when activated, will make the player super strong and give him/her necessary items and spells to test various parts of the game. It will also infect the player with Porphyric Hemophilia (Berne variety). There are five leveled beasts, a Steam Centurion and six NPCs, three of whom are Ordinators. There are also multiple treasure chests containing one piece of nearly every item found in the game (Artifacts not included). The room is a copy of the Puzzle Canal underneath Vivec's palace, without the water. Installing Bloodmoon will also add three chests for items only found in that expansion. Several quest items may be found here- there is a chest containing all the books in the game, which can be used to complete quests such as the Telvanni Stronghold quest where you are ordered to find the 'unique' book Secrets of Dwemer Animunculi. You can also find the Bittercup and Azura's Star containing the soul of an Ogrim on a table near the back of the room.
"Mark's Vampire Test Cell" Another room used by the developers and only accessible via console. It contains two vampires and a bed, presumably for testing the Vampire process and dreams.
The Mole: Sjoring Hard-Heart, leader of the Fighters Guild, is actually a Camonna Tong agent, and two of the sub-leaders are his assistants.
One Mages Guild quest requires you to root out a potential Telvanni spy: It's Tiram Gadar, Archmage Trebonius's personal assistant. A quest for House Hlaalu has you delivering new orders to their spy watching the Redoran: Bivale Teneran, the high-class tailor in Ald'ruhn. And even though one doesn't formally come up in the Thieves Guild questline, you can find a few Thieves Guild members deep undercover at the Camonna Tong HQ, the Dren Plantation.
Money for Nothing: It really isn't all that difficult to obtain more gold than you could ever reasonably need. A few prime examples:
Even before leaving the character generation area, it is possible to steal several valuable items with no repercussions. You can also acquire a key to another area with stuff to steal with this method. It's entirely possible that the only merchant in the starting village won't have enough gold to buy it all from you. (Especially if you return Fargoth's ring in order to get a disposition boost before selling.)
If you report to Caius Cosades before you reach level 4, he will give 200 free gold.
Most outdoor crates and urns in cities can be looted without issue. Most contain low end vendor trash, but considering many towns have dozens of these containers (including the 2nd town you are likely to visit, Balmora,) it can really add up for a new player.
Mordor: Central Vvardenfell Island. First there's the Ashlands and Molag Amur, which are covered in cursed infertile ash all the time and populated by killer dinosaurs and cliff racers. Even there, though, the Ashlanders manage to get by thanks to their sheer badassitude. Then there's the Great Scathes within Molag Amur, which are full of cliff racers and nearly impassable thanks to the jagged terrain and open rivers of lava. But at the center of it all is the Mordor to end all Mordors, Red Mountain. It is covered in treacherous ruins populated by psychopathic mutants, cliff racers, and demons. The air is constantly thickened by the Blight, a cloud of red dust that causes horrific diseases and impedes movement. Oh, and it is an active volcano. Naturally, this is where the Big Bad lives. It's such a nasty place that the Dark Elves had to put up a giant magical fence around it (powered by burning the souls of their own dead) to keep all the evil from spilling out and ruining the whole world.
Naked People Are Funny: There are several side quests in the game where you can chance upon a Nord wearing no clothing in the wilderness. All of them claim a witch was at fault. Lampshaded in Tribunal, where a naked Nord denies any involvement with a witch and that he was "just hot". The player can strip, with varying reactions by NPCs (Dunmer are "not amused", Imperials will laugh and note how you are a first).
The "PC is naked" dialogue doesn't differentiate between genders, however, and appears to have been recorded with males in mind. To wit, walking around naked as a female will eventually elicit the phrase "put that away!" from a disgusted NPC.
The player will be fine though, as long as they wear at least one piece of clothing. That means if you wear nothing but a belt people will treat you just normally. (Even more hilarious if you just wear a ring and run around naked.)
Name Order Confusion: Indoril Nerevar and Dagoth Ur of House Indoril and House Dagoth respectively, also the Ash Vampires are introduced with their last name first. Modern NPCs are generally presented in a Western style Firstname Lastname format.
Nay Theist: The entire Dwarven/Dwemer race. The aknowledged the existence of Aedra and Daedra but didn't worship them.
Nice Job Breaking It Player: Since Anyone Can Die if you kill them, should you decide to slay an NPC that would in the future become important to the main quest, the game will give you a message telling you that you essentially fucked up the strings of destiny and now must either return to a previous savegame or carry out the remainder of your shameful existence in a doomed universe. A nice aversion of But Thou Must there.
No Bulk Discounts: Played with. While it is played straight for individual transactions, constantly buying from and selling to the same merchant will increase that merchant's disposition towards the player, while also increasing the player's Mercantile skill. Over time, this leads to lower buying prices and higher selling prices.
No Fourth Wall: Although the language used to explain it is overflowing with metaphor, the player's character actually IS informed through the Sermons of Vivec and partially by the actions of Vivec himself that he/she is a video game character being controlled by a person outside the world they are acting in.
This pretty much what the in universe notion of CHIM is. Understanding that you are a dream of the godhead. Once you shatter the metaphysical fourth wall (and if you manage to keep yourself from basically blinking out of existence when you do), you become a god.
Nonindicative Name: The most obvious examples are Glass (a very strong mineral as opposed to a brittle substance made by melting quartz; it's a bit like obsidian but harder to shatter) and Ebony (another very strong mineral, as opposed to a tropical tree with black wood). That said, glass does look a fair bit glass-y, translucence and all (and ebony is rather dark in colour).
The "Ministry of Truth" is where the Temple suppresses dissent of any kind. Its resemblance to the Ministry of Truth in 1984 probably isn't a coincidence, though its actual function resembles the Ministry of Love more closely. Orwell's Ministry of Truth was devoted to spreading lies and propaganda, not supressing dissent.
"Ash vampires" are not vampires. In fact, they are not even undead.
Noob Cave: Addamasartus, though it doesn't include a tutorial, is found right across a bridge from the starting village. (One NPC even points you towards it if you ask for a "Little Secret.") It has some low level bandits, some slaves to free, and some low end loot. If you're especially thorough in searching the place, you can come away with a decent quality sword for that point in the game an enchanted ring that is helpful to sneaky characters.
Arkngthand also fits the bill, as it is the first "dungeon" the player is required to visit as part of the main quest, and isn't particularly difficult.
Not Completely Useless: The scrolls of Icarian Flight (scrolls that allow the player to jump incredible distances, but will kill the player on impact unless they land in deep water, use a 2nd scroll before landing, or cast a slowfall/levitate spell) can actually get you out of an annoying death trap in Sotha Sil. The player has to climb up a spiral staircase in a room while outrunning a spinning blade that moves faster than the player. The usual high-level character approach to this puzzle would be to levitate to the exit; but levitation is not allowed in Sotha Sil, and no practical jump spell that the player would have is capable of getting them all the way to the door. However the scroll of Icarian Flight will allow you to leap all the way to the top of the chamber, crash into the ceiling, and land on the platform right in front of the exit.
Another good use for the scrolls is when fast travel is unavailable for whatever reason, such as a Tribunal Temple quest where the player is forced to take an oath of silence before traveling to the complete opposite side of the island. (A trip of several in-game days on foot.) Instead of that hassle, the player can simply use one of the scrolls to leap across the island, crash down in the ocean beyond the shrine (or cast levitate when just above it,) and complete the quest in a fraction of the time.
Older Is Better: Ancient Dwemer gear is better than most modern armors. Justified throughout the series, as you find out the Dwemer were fanatics about building stuff to last for a VERY long time.
Organ Drops: Plenty. Beyond the standard critter parts (rat meat, hound meat, various hides, racer plumes slaugherfish scales) we have parts from more humanoid creatures (Daedra hearts, dreugh wax, scamp skin, corprus meat...)
Pause Scumming: You can enter the game menu, which pauses the game, at any time. In this menu, you can drink an unlimited number of potions or change armor in the nick of time, even in the middle of combat.
Phlebotinum Handling Requirements: You must be wearing Wraithguard in order to handle Keening and Sunder without dying instantly. And in order to even wear Wraithguard, you must sacrifice a large portion of your health, permanently. If acquired the "standard" way, through Vivec, he will take you "outside of time and space" so that it doesn't harm you.
Portmanteau: "Almsivi" is one of the names for the Tribunal, which is made up of Almalexia, Sotha Sil, and Vivec.
Physical God: Loads of them. Special props to the Tribunal and Dagoth Ur, who used to be mortal.
Power Glows: Enchanted items glow with a magical sheen.
Pragmatic Villainy: Aryon is introduced as the factions Reasonable Authority Figure and the most open minded of the Telvanni/least hostile to The Empire, but a little code breaking makes it clear his position is because the stubbornness is allowing the other houses and The Empire to gain power.
Propaganda Machine: The Ministry of Truth, naturally. It is notable for being headquartered in a floating rock which is also known as "Lie Rock."
Puppet King: What the position "King of Morrowind" had been for centuries. The Tribunal Temple, Great Houses, and the Empire held any and all real power. Then KingHelseth came along...
Ratstomp: The first Balmora Fighter's Guild quest plays this 100% straight.
Really 700 Years Old: As usual with fantasy world elves, the Mer races have natually longer lifespans than the races of Men or the beast races. Special mention for the Tribunal and Dagoth Ur, who are somewhere in the ballpark of 4000 years old, having used the Heart of Lorkhan to ascend to godhood. The Telvanni councilors are also said to be quite old, having prolonged their lives through sorcery. Divayth Fyr in particular is said to be one of the oldest non-divine beings in Tamriel, according to one of his daughters.
Reasonable Authority Figure: Most of the guilds and Great Houses have at least one such leader. In factions where the majority of the leaders are corrupt (such as the Fighters' Guild and House Telvanni), they are that much more important. Subverted by the ultimate leader of any faction that requires or even allows Challenging the Chief; the Chief in question is never reasonable.
For House Hlaalu, we have Crassius Curio. Duke Vedam Dren and Dram Bero also count as the only other high ranking members above the general corruption of the Commona Tong.
For House Redoran, it would be Athyn Sarethi. Most everyone except for Archmaster Bolvyn Venim is actually fairly reasonable, at least by the standards of the other guilds and factions in the game.
For House Telvanni, it's Master Aryon. His reason for being reasonable is still pretty selfish. Still, for a faction of powerful sorcerers, it's a much lighter shade of gray.
The Fighter's Guild has Percius Mercius and his former lieutenant, Hrundi.
The Mages Guild leadership is a pretty reasonable group for the most part, with the glaring exception of incompetent Archmage Trebonius.
The Thieves Guild is another with mostly reasonable leadership, especially considering their main occupation. Special props go to Master Thief "Gentleman" Jim Stacy, who a Robinhood-like figure.
Royals Who Actually Do Something: Though they generally don't refer to themselves as "royalty," the Tribunal embodied this trope in past ages. They led the defense of Morrowind from multiple takeover attempts by the Reman and Septim empires over the course of several millenia, thwarted at least two takeover attempts by Akiviri races, and banished Mehrunes Dagon at least once. They also established and maintained the Ghostfence, which is the only thing keeping Dagoth Ur and the Blight at bay. By the time the game takes place, they've gone several centuries without being able to recharge their divinity, so they've been forced to withdraw from the day to day affairs of mortals in order to conserve energy.
King Helseth is another example. He's actively working to turn his position as "King of Morrowind" from a Puppet King/figurehead position into one with some real power, first by having his predecessor killed and then by trying to weaken the power of the Tribunal Temple.
Royal "We": King Hlaalu Helseth speaks like this in the Tribunal expansion.
Running Gag: The various naked Nords scattered around the countryside.
One that many fans find annoying: if Bloodmoon is installed, most (if not all) Vvardenfell NPCs will have a dialogue option of "Solstheim". If asked about it, they will all give the same response: "Solstheim? A terrible place, I've heard. There's a boat from Khuul, if you have any reason to go".
Ruthless Foreign Gangsters: Inverted in the conflict between the native Camonna Tong and the foreign Thieves' Guild; the Camonna Tong is far more ruthless. Played straight with the Dark Brotherhood.
Sanity Slippage: The Sleepers start out babbling about Dagoth Ur's return and the rise of the Sixth House. After a certain point in the main quest, they turn hostile and start rioting in the cities.
Satan: The Tribunal Temple treats Dagoth Ur as this. The truth is a bit more complex.
Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: You can go on a murderous rampage, then just walk away by paying a fine. Then go on another murderous rampage, pay the fine, then take a nap in the streets, pay the fine....
Self-Made Man: One of the options to tell Dagoth Ur at the end of the main quest when he asks if you think you are really the Nerevarine, is no you aren't, but you will still kick his ass. Dagoth Ur reacts most positively to this option, complementing you on your choice.
As Vivec would say of gods and heroes of legends: "walk like them until they walk like you". Meaning it doesn't matter whether you really are the Chosen One. If you manage to do what the Chosen One was supposed to do, then you were it. And if you behave like a god convincingly enough, you become that god. Though you have to wait until the expansion set for the next game of the series to try that one.
Shining City: Mournhold. Expressly called "city of light" by its denizens. Doubles as capital city of the province of Morrowind.
Shoplift and Die: All I did was pick up a napkin off the floor! I didn't realize it was yours! Wait, no, don't kill me— * dies*
You accidentally bump the mouse or the analog stick while in a shop trying to talk to the shopkeeper and now you're wanted for theft.
At least one of the developers seems to have really liked Pokemon. Weepingbell Hall, Marowak's Spine, Peke Utchoo, et cetera.
One of the developers went to Duke, so he being a big fan of Duke basketball, there is an easter egg sword Eltonbrand that you get by retrieving Shashev's Key (among other requirements). Elsewhere in the game, you come across a (likely dead) enchanter who believed he could fly named "Tarhiel".
The very name "Morrowind" could be a reference to The Elf Queen Of Shannara, which featured the island of Morrowindl, which also had an active volcano being held in check by magic.
In Omalen Ancestral tomb, the corpse of an adventurer can be found crushed under a rock due to a cave in. There's a scroll that records his last thoughts, signed "Indie". It also mentions that his father made jokes about his childhood pet.
The Bjorn ice cave on Solstheim has a skeletal corpse with his feet stuck to the ceiling and a sword just out of his reach down below. He apparently didn't use the force.
The Singularity - The Game Breaker described under YMMV, in which you use the boosts from the intelligence-enhancing potions you make in order to create better and better intelligence-enhancing potions, until you become intelligent enough to craft items that will make you invulnerable and let you kill anything in the game in one hit, essentially turns the player character into a one-man Singularity.
Sole Entertainment Option: There is one strip club in all of Vvardenfall. Other forms of entertainment seem to be nonexistent, aside from the Arena in Vivec.
Sorting Algorithm Of Threatening Geography: You start on an ordinary-looking seashore, and travel to your first city through unthreatening countryside. During the course of your adventure, you visit deserts of volcanic ash, jagged rocky shores, labyrinthine lava scathes and reach the climax of the story in flat our Mordor.
The Spymaster: Caius Cosades. It's even his official title within the Blades organization.
Teleport Interdiction: Dagoth Ur uses teleport jamming to stop you from teleporting away from his hall. Azura will also prevent you from teleporting out after destroying the heart until you have a conversation with her. She will use it again after defeating Almalexia, forcing you back to Mournhold if you try to use the Mazed Band to go anywhere else.
Too Awesome to Use: The Ebony Arrows of Slaying. You can find exactly 5 in a tree stump on Solstheim. They hit for about 5000 damage a pop, enough to kill any opponent in the game (not protected by a reflect spell) many times over.
The Skeleton Key is a lockpick that will never fail, but only has 50 "uses" before it will be gone. And by the time you get it, your security skill is likely high enough that you don't really need it anyway.
Since weapons are breakable and enchantment can run out, players will often find themselves saving their best weapons for only the toughest foes.
Timmy in a Well: In Bloodmoon, Lassnr will give you a quest to rescue Tymvaul, who fell down a well.
Unique Enemy: Several. Old Blue Fin (a unique, named Slaughterfish,) a Giant Bull Netch, The White Guar (and several named pack guars,) The Dreugh Warlord, several named Daedra, several named skeletons and ghosts.
Unwitting Pawn: Dagoth Ur. You too, depending on your interpretation of Azura's intentions. You again in Tribunal, but the king is asking for you to go along with it.
Useless Useful Spell: Spells that cure paralysis on self. Sounds like it might come in handy, right? Too bad you can't cast spells when you're paralyzed.
Buying any spell allows you to use it an enchant effect, thus allowing you to create clothing that cures paralysis on equip.
Utility Magic: Many of the Alteration class of spells. Levitation, opening locks, increasing the amount of weight you can carry, etc. The teleportation spells offered by the school of Mysticism also have some extremely utilitarian uses. (Zapping out of danger, allowing you to move while over-encumbered, etc.)
The Virus: Corprus Disease (which will either turn you into an Eldritch Abomination or a zombie depending on your personality), the Blight (which kills plants, drives animals insane, causes health problems in humanoids, and can carry corprus), as well as some more mundane illnesses ("Swamp Fever," "Jitters," et cetera).
Wake Up Call Boss: Snowy Granius isn't a boss per se, but he is a battlemage who hangs out on the bridge to Arkngthand. He's wearing a heavy armor cuirass, wielding a mace, and will likely summon a skeleton when he sees you. For a player who has stuck to the main quest, this will likely be his or her first real challenge, and may even be the first non-critter the player has fought.
Warmup Boss: Boss Crito in Arkngthand. He is found at the end of the dungeon for the first quest given as part of the main quest line and is a bit stronger than his Mooks throughout the rest of the dungeon. He even has "Boss" in his name.
Well-Intentioned Extremist: Dagoth Ur just wants to make Morrowind independent from the Empire. The fact that his method of achieving that independence involves spreading a disease that either drives the victim to homicidal madness or horrifically mutates them throughout the entire world is acceptable in his mind.
Although if he had succeeded with his ultimate goal, he would have turned the entirety of the universe/multiverse into nothing more than an extension of his own mind. The collective inhabitants of reality dodged a bullet there.
What Could Have Been: The blight was to originally be an expanding threat, and Dagoth Ur was originally to be joinable. Technical limitations axed the former, and time limitations axed the latter.
When It All Began: Nerevar's death following the Battle of Red Mount some 4000 years prior to the events of the game. All of the events of the game's main quest (and the Tribunal main quest) can be traced back to that time.
Whispering Ghosts: These can be heard around the ash pits in Tribunal temples and ancestral tombs.
With This Herring: Sheogarath's Quest. If you manage to find the shrine of the slightly-mad demigod, he gives you a quest to kill a giant bull-netch (a stingless flying jellyfish the natives use for livestock) with "The Fork Of Horripilation." Okay, you might think to yourself, there's tridents and pitchforks in the game, no big deal. But no, after schlepping all the way to the other side of the island, you find that the Fork is really... a serving fork that does 1-2 damage. So you end up chasing a big, harmless, living zeppelin. With a fork.
Word of Dante / Word of Saint Paul: Some of the game developers have posted "obscure texts" on the official forums regarding a number of in-game topics and characters. They are generally regarded by the fandom as canon. Michael Kirkbride, in particular, wrote a number of them which fill in gaps around The Tribunal, Vivec, and the Dwemer.
World Domination: Dagoth Ur seeks it. Almalexia seeks merely Nation Domination, at least for the moment.