In recent years, there have been a number of speed runs of Morrowind (the original game only), with the current record standing at around seven and a half minutes.
We present a walkthrough of Morrowind and Tribunal that is somewhat more tailored to a munchkin style of play, up to the point where our character obtains an artifact so unbalanced that any further play becomes a waste of time, at least to a non-munchkin.
Note that unlike the aforementioned speed runs, we don’t rely on abuse of alchemy, or an assumption that our character knows exactly what to do. We also make no use of the console, even to save time. Our walkthrough is reasonably kosher, and is plausibly (if barely) consistent with a style of role-playing that we call “angry psycho munchkin warrior”.
2010 note: Doug the Eagle has a similar walkthough of Morrowind, titled The Adventures of Cat Dude. While I freely admit that this article was strongly influenced by his style of walkthrough, that's as far as it goes. I originally posted this a few months before his version (although given the timing, he was probably already working on it by then). In any case, his site is well worth reading as well.
Nothing too fancy is required. We use the North American (collector’s edition) version of Morrowind, with both European expansions. For practical purposes, it should be considered to be the European version. Both expansions are patched to the latest versions. Better Bodies 2.1 and Better Heads 2.0 are installed, but no other mods.
For reasons that may be obvious to anyone paying attention to the role-playing style (particularly the "angry psycho" bit), health is very important. In particular, we want to reach 100 endurance as fast as possible. In accordance with the "munchkin" part, strength is also important. We therefore start off with a male Redguard, with a focus on combat, strength, endurance, and every strength or endurance related skill. The remaining two skill slots are taken up with Enchant and Alchemy, both of which are quite handy. Certain magic items are going to be very significant. We choose to be born under the sign of the Lady, for the endurance bonus. The relevant starting attributes are 60 strength and 85 endurance.
A few trips to daedric shrines and other dungeons have been omitted – the reader is expected to be able to find his own armour if needed.
Telvanni is a ridiculous choice of Great House for a warrior class ("psycho", remember?), and even with Enchant as a minor skill we need to make fairly heavy use of trainers to advance far enough – 50 points is enough, as the Telvanni stop caring about attributes for advancement remarkably early. After a few quick errands around Sadrith Mora, our first proper quest is to deliver the coded message to Divayth Fyr.
While we’re in Tel Fyr, we take the opportunity to loot anything that looks good. The chests around the Corprusarium contain a whole load of valuable Dwemer items, and don’t forget the limeware in the upper tower. Our starting health should be high enough to survive in the Corprusarium, so we can get the daedric sanctuary amulet and Volendrung. We aren’t really powerful enough to use the former yet, but the latter is quite a decent hammer for a low-level character. It doesn’t seem to be possible to get Scourge or the Cuirass of the Saviour’s Hide without spells or lock picking.
Our next port of call is Gnisis, to visit Baladas (passing through Vivec and Balmora to pick up the books he needs). We receive the Amulet of Admonition, which is invaluable to a low-level character in Vvardenfell.
By this point, we are having problems training Enchant, due to lack of intellect. Rather than learning to cast spells, it’s easier to open up the Archmage and take his amulet. We stop by Ilunibi on the way and pick up the Fists of Randagulf. Ilunibi is rather quiet at level 1 – Dagoth Gares doesn’t seem to spawn until the relevant part of the main quest, and none of the other ash creatures are present either. There are still a few dreamers.
Trebonius is normally something of a challenge, but can be taunted and killed easily enough with the Amulet of Admonition (as a general rule, if a fight is too hard, this makes it easier). We can now advance far enough with the Telvanni to recruit Fast Eddie and get the Ring of Equity.
Getting into Vivec’s palace may seem problematic. The tin opener (described later) will work, but at the moment we don’t have the necessary items to get it. Instead, we use Ondusi’s Key to break into Saryoni’s office, Volendrung to break into Saryoni, and Saryoni’s key to break into the palace.
Sadly, Volendrung isn’t really powerful enough to kill Vivec in a reasonable time. The good old daedric daikatana is much better, and one is available at the Dren Plantation. There’s also a good deal of money and some heavy armour, which helps matters quite a bit.
There’s a glitch with Vivec’s combat that means he tends to stop casting spells within the first 15 seconds or so. It seems to be about a 50-50 chance. That means we can use the Ring of Equity to grant total immunity to his spells, after which he is unarmed. Some fatigue potions will ensure victory. By the time we did this, our character was level 8. It should certainly be possible at lower levels – we just happened to pick major skills we were going to use (you know, like Bethesda intended), and training Enchant 30 points contributed a fair bit as well.
(We said "angry psycho", we didn’t say he was illiterate.)
Red Mountain isn’t all that dangerous at low levels, even up to level 10 or so. We stop sleeping at this point, and instead let skill advancements pile up until later. We lose some attribute gains by doing this, but that’s acceptable. The Amulet of Admonition and Ring of Equity make life much easier when dealing with the ash vampires. There’s a golden saint running around one of the towers, and we ensure we take her soul. We also need to find a second one somewhere. There are only a few in the game (mostly they spawn from levelled lists, and we aren’t high enough level yet), but there’s another in Bal Ur.
We should now have Wraithguard (not yet activated), Sunder, Keening, both books, and two golden saint souls. We also need two pieces of exquisite jewellery (rings and amulets, available in Balmora) and around 200000 gold. This can be obtained by pawning random artifacts off to Creeper, but we got a substantial amount by farming the Dark Brotherhood in Mournhold.
At level 11, we have 150 health and 100 endurance. That’s well below the amount Wraithguard will take off. Generally speaking, the earlier we can equip Wraithguard, the better (but the more fortify health gear we need). Enchanting both pieces of jewellery gives two items that can fortify 0-47 points as a constant effect. It’s quite important that it’s constant effect. We repeatedly equip them until our fortified health is around 220, then equip Wraithguard.
Now, we’re still alive but our maximum health is 0. We use up those skill advances to gain two levels at once (nearly three, in fact) obtaining a maximum health of 20. However, if we try to remove any of our fortify equipment we’ll probably die. Instead, equip Keening for an extra 30 points, and remove one of the other items. Now heal up and re-equip the item until it gives between 10 and 20 points. Remove Keening, heal, remove the jewellery, heal again, and repeat for the second item.
Note that by taking the back door route to obtaining Wraithguard, it fits on the left hand, not the right. We can therefore equip Sunder and the right Fist of Randagulf at the same time, for up to 140 strength and extra munchkin goodness.
Arguably this method of surviving Wraithguard is an exploit. Fortify health always removes the full amount when the effect is removed, even if the character’s health is below its stated maximum. Some sources consider this a bug, but it prevents what would otherwise be a very real exploit with constant effect items (where a character can heal instantly and at no cost by removing and immediately re-requipping the item). However, Yagrum Bagarn specifically mentions fortifying health, so our opinion is that the current behaviour is a deliberate workaround for the healing exploit, but that this method of obtaining Wraithguard was written before the change and not tested to a significant degree afterwards. Players who are concerned about exploiting game mechanics may instead gain a few more levels until their base health is 220 or more.
The Amulet of Admonition works on Dagoth Ur, but he does have some level of spell reflection. Nowhere near as much as Vivec, though. The Ring of Equity (and Steel Blade of Heaven) keeps us safe in the heart chamber. We actually killed Marara at level 3.
First, though we pick up the construction contract from Dren, since we happen to be passing through Ebonheart.
There isn’t much to say about Mournhold. Sadly, we don’t have much choice but to follow the main quest line as intended. Sunder remains the weapon of choice, as many of the opponents reflect a lot of effects and otherwise more powerful weapons can be fatal (to us).
We need to be able to open a level 70 lock during the course of the Tribunal quests. Since we’re not really a high enough level to find scrolls of Ekash’s Locksplitter lying around, we get hold of an ebony staff and have it enchanted to open 100 points (with a soul stolen from one of the miscellaneous Dagoths). This is the Ebony Tin Opener, and while we only need to use it once, it’s useful to keep around in the unlikely event that we ever bother to play the character again. There are reasonable odds that one of the golden saints in Norenen-dur will have an ebony staff, but various other items will do. The enchantment only needs 30 points.
Despite being armed, Almalexia seems to prefer to attack with spells, and doesn’t glitch in the same way as Vivec. However, we can hit hard enough to kill her within the 30 seconds the Ring of Equity gives us, so there’s no problem there. The missing Hand is more of a problem, but can be dealt with by hitting as fast as possible (so he doesn’t get a chance to attack).
After receiving our armour from Helseth, a sudden plague strikes the royal guard. We can only assume this is some disturbing disease, because someone taunting and killing each of them in turn would surely be noticed (hint for the terminally stupid: it isn’t). However, if we try to taunt Helseth first, all the remaining guards will attack.
And the rest, as they say, is history. Perhaps a slightly more bloody history than the fine people at Bethesda intended, but you can’t have everything. The Royal Signet Ring is powerful enough to make us practically immortal (although our maximum health is still quite low and a lucky hit would kill instantly). While we could go on to Bloodmoon, it hardly seems worth the effort.
It would be amusing if the game allowed us to progress with the main quest, despite having already completed it by other means. Sadly, Sharn gra-Muzgob refuses to provide any information about the Nerevarine when she notices that he’s standing right in front of her (despite never having completed most of the trials, nor having heard of them). As such, it’s impossible to get beyond the first couple of steps of the normal quest.
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