Known Gameplay Issues

This is not a finger-pointing page. What I am trying to do is to simply alert players to issues that I have discovered and reported to Bethesda, but which have not been addressed by an official fix at this point. This is not an exhaustive list, so if you're running into a problem and don't see it listed, it just means that I have not encountered that particular problem. There may be unofficial fixes out there somewhere and, as a last resort, you might get a helpful answer from Bethesda's tech support people (they use a lot of form emails, so don't expect anything too helpful), but my first recommendation would be to post your problem on the Hardware/Software Issues forum at the Bethesda website because someone else has undoubtedly run into the same problem.

Repairing Damaged Attributes

It is inevitable. At some point during the game, you're going to get blasted, spelled, or cursed by something that lowers your attributes. The good folks at Bethesda provided several ways of restoring these damaged attributes through strategically placed shrines and temples, and a variety of spells and spell effects. Unfortunately, if you have managed to acquire a constant-effect, attribute-enhancing item (such as the Mask of Clavicus Vile), you will not be able to repair that attribute if/when it is lowered unless you unequip the item before applying the cure.

If you suspect that an attibute has been damaged and as soon as it is safe for you to do so, unequip all magic items and then look at your character sheet. Damaged attributes will show up in red. Unless you are intimately acquainted with your character's attributes (frankly, I kind of lose track of mine after something like 3rd or 4th level), you're not going to know how badly they have been damaged, but probably only that they are lower than they should be. At that point, you can go fix the attribute. My tactic is to just create small-effect spells (heal 1 point per casting, for example) and then cast them on myself repeatedly until the attribute is back to normal (it's good practice for the ol' Restoration skill). But in any event, make sure that you have unequipped anything affecting that attribute until after you have been cured.

Belonging to More Than One Great House

There is a scripting error in one of the Hlaalu/Hortator scripts. Under the right conditions, it allows you to belong to Redoran or Telvanni and also be a member of Hlaalu. The short version of the sequence runs like this: if you kill or blackmail Orvas Dren and then talk to Duke Dren in Ebonheart, he names you "Grandmaster" of House Hlaalu. You don't actually become Grandmaster, but you are promoted one rank in House Hlaalu (which adds it to your faction list if it is not already there).

The blackmail sequence is not available with Orvas Dren unless you are either trying to gain your last rank or two in Hlaalu or trying to become the Hlaalu Hortator. The sequence where you kill Dren is available any time.

The problem is that the Duke's script only checks for a couple of journal entries and does not check your faction memberships. The second patch fixed the script so that it now checks your faction memberships before promoting you in House Hlaalu.

Those running without a patch or under the first patch would be well advised to not try to join both houses until after you have become a Councilor or the Grandmaster of your original House as it will undoubtedly mess up some of the stronghold-related quests. (Back to top)

Sadrith Mora, Gateway Inn

Angaradhel, the fellow in charge of the inn, has a quest for you to get rid of a ghost. Upon completion of the quest, you are presented with three dialogue options.

The first option allows you to tell him about the haunting without naming any names. This is a good thing if you are a non-Telvanni because the person responsible is rather well liked around town and people's dispositions will go up about 10 points when you talk to them about it after finishing the quest. If you are Telvanni, people in Sadrith Mora will like you on general principles as long as you haven't done anything to honk them off.

 The second option allows you to tell him about the haunting and who is responsible. The third option allows you to present some papers to him which allow him to deduce who is responsible. All three options count as successful completion of the quest and will get you a reward. However, there is a script flag set incorrectly in the dialogue which results in an endless dialogue loop if you try to take the first option.

If you have the PC version of the game with the Construction Set, you can create your own plug-in to fix this. Select the "work" dialogue option and the "Well. I'm extremely displeased..." thread. Change the Choice dropdown so that Choice=1 (not 2), save your plug-in and load it with your data files.

Note that this will not change anything if you have already completed the quest with one of the other dialogue options. (Back to top)

Merchants Taking Items That You Didn't Steal From Them

Many items in Morrowind have owners and owners always recognize their property. Bethesda implemented this little feature to prevent players from stealing merchants blind and then trying to sell back their own wares (a major loophole in Daggerfall). So if you try to sell a merchant an item that you stole from him, he will just take it back. If there is a guard handy (and there is in a lot of shops), your theft gets reported and the guard comes to bust your chops. However, Bethesda did not assign each owned item a unique identifier and the game can only differentiate between an "ingred_diamond" owned by an alchemist from a "ingred_diamond" diamond that you picked up elsewhere by the ownership attribute. Unfortunately, items in Morrowind are stackable and every item in the stack acquires the ownership attribute of every other item in the stack.

In and of itself, this is no great shakes. However, that ownership attribute remains and gets attached to every other item of that type that you pick up for the rest of the game. So if you steal an Iron Arrow from someone, every other Iron Arrow that you pick up will acquire that ownership attribute. And if you steal an Iron Arrow from someone else, then every Iron Arrow that you pick up will have both owners as the attribute.

Let me give you a worst-case scenario. You are House Hlaalu and finish your stronghold. You have to go kill the owners of the opposing Telvanni and Redoran strongholds as quests for Hlaalu. At the Redoran stronghold there is a very nice Ebony Longsword just laying on the shelf and no one around to see you snatch it, so you do. You decide to sell it to a smith who happens to belong to the Redoran faction. He takes the sword and, as a goodly number of merchants have guards handy, he calls the guard to report your theft. You get the sword taken away from you and get slapped with a 20,000 gold fine (the value of the item you stole). Let's suppose that by some wild stretch of the imagination you happen to have 20,000 gold on you to pay the fine (otherwise you spend a very long time in jail).

But it doesn't stop there. Dremora and Dremora Lords are pretty good sources for Ebony Weapons, so you go knock off a few and try to sell the spiffy Longsword that you took off of one. That Longsword, too, is owned by the Redoran faction and you'll get your chops busted again if you try to sell it to a Redoran merchant (with the commensurate 20,000 gold fine).

Let's go one step farther. You have a chunk of change available and decide to buy an Ebony Longsword. That Longsword, too, is owned by the Redoran faction and you'll get your chops busted again if you try to sell it. Only this time you might not have the gold to pay the fine because you just spent it to buy that Longsword.

The only solution that I can think of for this problem is to either not steal anything (which makes role-playing a Thief a bit difficult), to run around with full help turned on (open the console and type "TFH") so you can see who owns something before you steal it, or to save the game before you try to sell anything to a merchant with a guard in the shop. (Back to top)

NPCs Blocking You or Just Disappearing

Certain NPCs, especially those in interior cells, wander around. Their wander scripts are set to keep them within a certain area, but over the course of the game they get out of whack. I suspect that this is due to an accumulation of minor errors over time or certain scripts that did not terminate properly. For example, if you talk to Galbedir in the Balmora Mages Guild while her movement script is running as part of the "Bet With Galbedir" quest, Galbedir will stay at the point where you spoke to her and will not return to her starting position upstairs. Other NPCs just accumulate minor position adjustments over time as a frequently used area is loaded/reloaded. This is particularly annoying in the case of Silt Strider guides as they can sometimes fall off of the platform.

I do not know of anything that will permanently fix this problem, but as a temporary fix, open the console window (press the tilde key) and type "ra" (without quotes) and press <enter>. This will reset the NPCs to their original starting positions.

I encountered one instance with the Guild Guide in Ald'ruhn disappearing completely (I think she fell through a wall or the floor). I was unable to reset her or respawn her with the console (probably due to lack of familiarity with it) and had to finish the game without her. However, this was very soon after the game's release and I have not encountered this problem after patching, so it may have been fixed. (Back to top)

I'm Stuck - Literally

As an unrelated issue, you might become stuck and unable to move. This can sometimes happen when you try to squeeze into certain small areas or maneuver in places where the designers did not leave enough room to do it. An in-game solution is to use a Recall, Almsivi Intervention or Divine Intervention to teleport out of the area and come back, but there is a simpler method. Open the console and type "fixme" (again, without quotes) and press <enter>. This should move you slightly away from your current position and allow you to move again. In a couple of instances I have had to do this two or three times in order to get completely unstuck, but once is usually enough to do the job. (Back to top)