Morrowind:Starting Out< Morrowind
This is a list of hints to help you start your adventures in Vvardenfell on a good note. For more tips, see any of the following:
- Cheats - Various cheats to modify and manipulate the game.
- Glitches - A list of known glitches that appear in Morrowind.
- Hints - A list of Morrowind hints.
- Houses - Places to call home in Vvardenfell.
- Level - Managing skill increases and leveling are important in this game.
- Making Money - Tips on how to earn extra money.
- Quest Timing - Suggestions on what quests to do early, and which to save for later.
Make good use of the difficulty slider; for a first-time player, it is a good idea to start out low and increase it every few levels, maxing out at +100 around level 35. You can find your own comfort zone where the game is still challenging, but not frustrating. The slider affects how much damage is dealt to enemies along with how much damage is received from their attacks.
It is more than possible, however, to start out with the default difficulty settings and make good. The most important thing is to realize that many challenges do not scale to player level. Initially, there are some places it is dangerous to go, and some foes that it is best to run from.
In Seyda NeenEdit
Census and Excise OfficeEdit
After you finish talking to Socucius Ergalla, there are a few opportunities to make extra money before you begin your adventure. For starters, the next room is unguarded; feel free to take all the items inside.
There's a trick that allows you to steal items, even in guarded areas, but you can only do this before you give your release papers to Sellus Gravius; once you talk to him, you can no longer use this trick. First, pick up an item then drop it on the floor immediately, before a guard accosts you. If you are too slow, the guard will confiscate all stolen items in your hand or in your inventory. Otherwise, they will let you off with a warning; you can safely pick up what you have dropped afterwards.
There's a more reliable way to do this: open your inventory, pick up an item through the menu (you may need to hide, move or resize menus) then drop it on the floor. Time is frozen while your menus are open so you can take your time picking up and dropping all visible items before closing the menus. Try to steal the limeware platter in the first room and the warehouse key behind Sellus Gravius.
When you exit the office of Sellus Gravius, guards will no longer be as lenient. Doing the same trick will lead to your arrest; you'll need to pay a fine or spend time in jail. Either way, all stolen items will still be confiscated. To learn more about the consequences of theft, see the Crime page.
Census and Excise Office WarehouseEdit
After exiting the Census and Excise Office, you'll find the door to its warehouse in front of you. If you have stolen the warehouse key, you can use it to safely (aka. legally) enter the warehouse.
Otherwise, if you have taken the lockpick, you can try to unlock the door but you'll need to be decently skilled in Security to succeed. Note that this counts as trespassing and, if witnessed, may lead to your arrest. If you want, though, you can safely practice on both gates that lead to the dock; you will not be arrested for this, even if someone sees you. For further details on this and other skills, check out the Skills page.
The warehouse itself contains stashes of weapons, armor and ingredients. Be aware of the guard who patrols the area. Upstairs, you'll find someone who can train your skills (for a fee). You'll find other people who offer similar services in the list of trainers.
Around and Inside the LighthouseEdit
There are several items around the lighthouse of Seyda Neen that are also free for the taking.
Two rotting tree trunks around the lighthouse contain some items. These are not containers; you need to stand on top of them to reach the items inside. If you jump off the wooden walkway leading to the entrance, you'll find one containing 25 gold pieces and a silverware cup. A second one lies in a nearby swamp; climb the stones beside the door and jump off towards the trunk, which contains an Iron Shardaxe.
Inside the lighthouse, at the top of the stairs, you can take the book, loot the sacks and steal the lanterns. Note that you can also steal the other outdoor lanterns around town.
In Seyda Neen, there are three side quests, which can reward you with a little extra cash for your early-game needs.
You might remember picking up an enchanted ring from a barrel. If you return the ring to its owner, you'll be able to bargain with the local trader (albeit the only trader in town) much more favorably.
The third quest is a bit more involved but is also more rewarding. Look for Processus Vitellius, just north-west of town. He's not very talkative but you might learn more from the items he's carrying. Depending on the people you talk to and the decisions you make, you could end up with a good amount of gold, a couple of healing potions, a very exquisite ring, perhaps even a house! However, you might also find yourself attacked by a low-level opponent so better be prepared. If you have done the first quest, you'll be able to buy basic armor and weapons from the trader for much cheaper prices.
If you ask around town, Arrille and Eldafire might have a "little advice" for you: take care of the smugglers over at Addamasartus. After exiting Seyda Neen, turn right and pass by the silt strider port. Continue down the path going left and downhill, leading you to the cave entrance. This cave is a good beginner-level dungeon; the smugglers here aren't especially tough. Still, a new character fresh off the boat will face quite a challenge, especially with the battlemage further in. Try to sidestep the fireballs he throws at you.
This could very well be where you first encounter slaves in the game. You can free the slaves if you find the key that opens their bracers; one of the smugglers has it. To learn more about slavery in Morrowind, see the page on Slaves.
The cave has a modest amount of loot. Depending on how thorough you search, you might find an enchanted ring, an iron saber and/or a magic potion. If you're interested in looting other caves, see the list of caves page.
The Road to BalmoraEdit
If you plan on continuing with the Main Quest immediately, your first destination after leaving Seyda Neen will be Balmora. There are several ways to get there, the easiest of which is to take the Silt Strider. After crossing the bridge, head east along the water until you come across the silt strider port to your right. Speak to Darvame Hleran and pay for your passage to Balmora.
You can also get there by walking. Indeed, you'll be walking a lot for the rest of the game as most of your destinations cannot be reached by conventional transport methods. After exiting Seyda Neen, follow the road east. Road markers will take you to Balmora through the Ascadian Isles region, passing by Pelagiad and Moonmoth Legion Fort along the way.
The Long Way 'roundEdit
There is still another path to Balmora, which might be longer and less straightforward but may also prove to be more rewarding for new adventurers.
As you exit Seyda Neen, follow the road north and pass over a little bridge. On the second swamp-like pond on your right, there is a rotting tree trunk with three stumps, one of which contains two piles of 25 gold pieces and a Firebite dagger.
A Falling WizardEdit
Continue following the path and you will see a book lying in the middle of the road. As you approach it, an unfortunate wizard will fall out of the sky. His corpse can be looted for three Scrolls of Icarian Flight and an Iron Sparksword. For more details about this unusual encounter, see its quest page.
This may very well be the first quest you'll encounter on the road. There are plenty of other similar quests that take place in the middle of nowhere. For a complete list, see the page on miscellaneous quests.
Get off the road and head to the coastline on your left. Follow the shore north-west and you'll pass by Samarys Ancestral Tomb. Like most tombs all over Vvardenfell, this one is guarded by undead creatures. Skeletons can be defeated by normal combat but Ancestor Ghosts are immune to normal weapons; they can be damaged only by enchanted weapons and spells. For more info on other such foes, see the page on undead creatures. If you're interested in looting other tombs, however, see the list of ancestral tombs.
In the deepest part of the tomb, you'll find a very special ring. Unlike other enchanted rings, this ring's enchantment does not expire as long as you're wearing it. Items like these, which provide a constant effect, tend to be rare but, fortunately, you can create similar enchantments yourself. For further details on enchantments, see the page for the Enchant skill.
Continue walking north-west along the shore and you'll pass by a tree stump. Hidden inside is a cloth sack, which contains some gold.
As you walk (or wade) further along the coastline, you'll also come across the Unexplored Shipwreck. Since the ship is just aground, you can easily recover its contents, which are mostly smuggled goods. Not all shipwrecks will be as safe to navigate as this one, though; others may be more flooded, if not completely sunken. Find out more from the complete list of shipwrecks.
The Unexplored Shipwreck lies near the mouth of the Odai River, where it flows into the sea. You'll need to cross to the other bank as the one you're currently on will be too steep and rocky for you to continue; it's just a short swim, anyway.
Follow the river inland and you will soon come upon a rope bridge. To your left, the path leads to the Shulk Egg Mine, which is guarded by hostile creatures. You might be sent here on later quests so you don't need to enter the mine for now. For more info on the mine's residents, see the page on Kwama creatures. If you're interested in looting other mines, however, see the list of mines.
To your right, if you cross the bridge and walk straight ahead, you'll reach the Vassir-Didanat Cave where you can start a very rewarding quest, which can be done even by new players. For more recommendations on quests for new characters, check out the list of quests to do early.
Continue following the river north-west and it should eventually take you to the city of Balmora.
Completing Report to Caius CosadesEdit
In Balmora, you can finally report to Caius Cosades, deliver the package and join the Blades. He will strongly recommend that you meet the Blades Trainers. Go pay them a visit and, if you talk to them while you're level 5 or lower, they will provide you with either free advice or free items.
Skooma, Moon Sugar and "Daedric" WeaponsEdit
If you have met Nine-Toes, he might have given you some moon sugar. Not too many merchants will trade with you while you're carrying either moon sugar or, the drug refined from it, Skooma. In fact, Nine-Toes will refer you to the only merchants in Balmora still willing to do so: Ajira and Ra'Virr. Both are Khajiit merchants and, in general, only Khajiiti and creature merchants trade with the stuff; the list of drug merchants is a very short one. For more information on contraband items, see the corresponding section on the Crime page.
When you visit Ra'Virr, he'll boast of his stock of Daedric weapons, which are arguably the highest quality of weapons available in the game. If you ask him about it, though, he will admit that they're just steels items with a Bound Weapon enchantment. Bound Items are nearly just as good as their Daedric counterparts. However, these enchantments have a limited duration. "The magic lasts a short time, but long enough to punch through the toughest armor." You can learn more about such weapons in the page on Bound Items.
Sell Ra'Virr your moon sugar samples, along with your stash of other stolen items, and you might be able to purchase one of his "Daedric" weapons. They are a helpful boost to a budding adventurer.
Early-game Guild QuestsEdit
If you asked Caius Cosades for "Orders" while you're level 3 or lower, he will give you some money to help you establish a cover identity, possibly as a freelance adventurer. The safest way to do this is to sign up with a guild. Caius recommends four, of which two have guild halls in Balmora: the Fighters Guild and the Mages Guild.
Like most guilds, these will start you off on easier quests then progress to more difficult ones as you rise in ranking within the guild. Unlike most guilds, however, these two also provide supply chests in most of their guild halls, from which you may take items that can help you with your quests. Take everything out of these chests; they restock every game month.
To see which other groups you can join, check out the list of factions.
Early-game Armor SetsEdit
If you have the Tribunal expansion enabled, when you rest (not wait) anywhere except the bedroll in the Seyda Neen Census and Excise Office, there is a chance that you will be attacked in your sleep. Your attacker will be wearing Dark Brotherhood Armor, which is very strong for low-level characters. They can be difficult to kill but if you rest at a special bed somewhere in Balmora, you can kill them without risking your life. For more details on this exploit, see the notes on the quest page.
Hlaalu- and Redoran-held cities often have guard towers stocked with Bonemold armor. Looting one or two of these can easily net you a full set of armor. Check out the guard towers in the cities of Ald'ruhn, Balmora, Maar Gan and Suran. Be aware of the guard/s who may be patrolling the area.
If you have talked to Rithleen, she might have given you a steel cuirass and helm. The Imperial cities of Caldera and Ebonheart also have guard towers, which contain other steel armor pieces. Imperial forts like Pelagiad and Wolverine Hall tend to have crates of the stuff. You can get to most of these places using Divine Intervention. Again, be aware of the guard/s who may be patrolling the area.
Other Early-game ItemsEdit
Items that restore your healthEdit
These items usually help keep you alive a little bit longer. Most enchanters sell scrolls of healing, restoration and/or vitality. They also often sell enchanted healing items such as an Amulet of Health or a Life Ring.
Items that restore your fatigueEdit
Fatigue plays a part in many actions, both combat and non-combat, so it is important to have maximum fatigue before undertaking any actions that carry a risk of failure. While your fatigue generally replenishes on its own, there are items that can shorten the wait. For example, an Amulet of Stamina is a low-cost enchanted item that is randomly available from vendors who sell magic items. Galbedir from the Mages Guild in Balmora definitely has one for sale.
Items that fortify your strengthEdit
In melee combat, having high strength increases your survivability by ending fights quicker. An Amulet of Mighty Blows is an affordable option to boost your strength. Verick Gemain in Caldera has one for sale.
You can also drink Sujamma, which is sold in almost all inns and taverns. It boosts your strength by 50 pts for 60 secs.
Items that transport you elsewhereEdit
There are items that can remove you from danger and take you to a, hopefully, safer place. Most enchanters restock scrolls of Almsivi and Divine Intervention. The former will take you to the nearest Tribunal temple while the latter will take you to the nearest Imperial Cult shrine. Both places typically have altars, healers and/or shrines to help you.
You can also use a Mark to designate a safe place you can Recall to. In Caldera, Verick Gemain has an Amulet of Recall for sale. Further south, in Balmora, Nalcarya of White Haven restocks potions of marking and recall. Unlike enchanted items, potions are consumable (aka. single-use) and not rechargeable. However, they can be drunk even while paralyzed.