Version 1.22 (Oct. 16, 2009)
Mythic Mods >> Gluby's Comprehensive Guides >> CharGen Mods
The beginning of the Morrowind is by no means a bad one. Well, at least not the first three or four times. But pretty soon that tutorial, with its scripted pauses and having to follow that guard as he just ambles along in the ship's corridor, taking his sweet time as he blocks you from passing him (where does he have to go, after all?), kinda makes you wish you could skip it.
The mods in this guide offer alternative ways of going about CharGen, the process of starting a new game and creating a new character. In addition to allowing you to skip the tutorial, several provide a variety of alternative options, including the ability to start in different locations and situations (say, fighting in the Vivec arena or beginning as the disgraced illegitimate heir to the throne of Morrowind), to reallocate your character's initial stat and skill points, to start with equipment and gold, and even to start as a werewolf or vampire.
Though they only affect a relatively small portion of the game, the beginning, many prefer to use CharGen mods to eliminate the tedium of the beginning character generation and tutorial. For those who do, there is a good variety to choose from, ranging from minimalist mods that simply streamline the beginning, to mods that completely overhaul the beginning, replete with subplots and drama.
Because they are closely tied to character generation, this guide also covers major race and birthsign mods, which will be found in the last two sections.
CharGen Revamped v2.3 [gman21, updated by Pwin and Eisenfaust]: One of the most full-featured of the alternative CharGen mods, CharGen Revamped combines the functionality of two previously-incompatible mods: BlueBit's Alternate Beginnings 2, which allows the player to choose from 18 alternate locations and situations in which to begin the game, and Zerocyde's Character Maker, which gives the player control over starting stats, skills and equipment via a character editor dialogue. The mod also provides an option for the player to go through the standard CharGen process, with or without the tutorial. [Oct. 2009. The latest version has been reworked for compatibility, including the incorporation of Eisenfaust's compatibility patch for a number of other commonly-used mods, and therefore is free of many of the compatibility issues formerly associated with it. It now requires no patches for use with such mods as Galsiah's Character Development (GCD).]
Comprehensive Chargen v1.75 [Shade the Bandit]: A full-featured expansion upon Bink's Quick Char v1.2 and Evermoon's original Alternate Beginnings that allows the player to begin the game in any of five alternative start locations and situations, with the additional option of of choosing to start as a werewolf or vampire of any of the three bloodlines. It further adds two major additional options: (1) the ability to choose to start as a werewolf or a vampire of any of the three bloodlines, and (2) the choice from among five social classes (slave, peasant, citizen, noble or royalty) with a commensurate amount of starting gold and equipment. [Mar. 2008. Incompatible with Necessities of Morrowind (NoM). Author reports possible conflicts with Galsiah's Character Development (GCD), though several have reported that they work fine together. Reports of incompatibility with Fliggerty's Handy Equipping and Yacoby's Pursuit Enhanced.]
This category of alternative CharGen mods covers those that add their own content to the beginning in some way, whether it be as simple as spicing up the Seyda Neen prison ship beginning, or involved as a starting the player out in an entirely new location involving a new subplot or storyline.
Royal CharGen v1.2 [Princess Stomper]: A detailed alternative beginning storyline placing the character at the Mournhold Royal Palace as the banished heir to the Morrowind throne, the illegitimate child of King Helseth. Once the Tribunal quest is complete, the character is restored to her birthright and gains access to the Royal Palace, remodeled and expanded in this mod, as a home, complete with servants, guards, a merchant and pets. Adds new NPCS and dialogue and modifies some existing dialogue. [Jul. 2007.]
Immersive Chargen v1.24 [Qebehsenuf]: Completely redesigns the beginning of the game to make it much more prison-like and atmospheric. Leaving the prison boat becomes an oppressive, claustrophobic affair with jeering prisoners heckling the player as she passes through (using existing sound files from the game) to a stormy release with guards clothed for the weather, culminating in a prison riot. Includes major changes to the Seyda Neen Census and Excise Building, the use of 80+ NPC, and scripted events. [Sep. 2008.]
Privateer's Hold [Jman0warS and ManaUser]: An alternate beginning mod that begins the game in a dungeon modeled on the starter dungeon from The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall. On emerging from the dungeon, the player character passes out and finds herself in the Seyda Neen Census and Excise Office. [Mar. 2006. Note: A slight oversight in the mod is that it runs through the CharGen dialogues a second time if the player speaks to Ergalla about training or Vittellius's murder, but it causes no further problems.]
Solstheim Alternate Beginning v2.0 [Midgetalien]: An alternate beginning mod that begins the player as an amnesiac shipwreck survivor in a tomb in Solstheim, where she has been brought and nursed to health by a hermit who lives there. The hermit performs the main quest-activating functions normally done by Sellus Gravius (handing the player the a note and the package for Caius Cosades, which she had been carrying when washed shore). [Aug. 2009.]
Bloodmoon Start v1.0 [iamnone]: An alternate beginning mod that begins the player at the docks of Fort Frostmoth in Solstheim, having been delivered there by the prison ship, with instructions to complete the journey to Seyda Neen and speak to Sellus Gravius. The player begins fully-equipped with decent starting equipment, including tools and clothing, to aid in starting out in the higher-level Solstheim area. [Sep. 2009.]
This section covers mods that offer more minor or subtle adjustments to the beginning CharGen process, often aiming for a purist or minimalist approach. It also includes mods that are older or effectively obsolete (usually by virtue of incorporation into newer mods that fix bugs or problems in the original mods); these obsolete mods are listed last.
SkipTutorial v1.0 [WA] [CDCooley]: One of the most streamlined and no-nonsense of the minimalist mods, CCooley's mod allows the player to quickly go through the character generation dialogues, then begin at the final exit door from the Census and Excise Office. The mod then automates the process of giving Sellus Gravius the papers and giving the character Fargoth's ring, allowing the player the chance to ask Sellus Gravius about "duties." Finally, it gives the player 300 gold, roughly the amount an average character can get for looting the office and selling everything to Arrille. The mod also offers a more limited tutorial-skipping option that still runs the player through the prison ship scene, but speeds up the process (including those ambling guards) and allows her to interact with NPCs while the spoken dialogue takes place. Finally, it allows the player the option to simply go through the entire default CharGen and tutorial process. [Dec. 2004.].
Quick Char v1.2 [Bink, upd. MaXiMiUS]: One of the earliest CharGen mods, giving the player the option to skip the prison ship tutorial, go through the CharGen dialogues quickly, and start in front of Sellus Gravius with authorization papers in inventory. [Jun. 2002, upd. Apr. 2005. Eclipsed by more recent mods, but remains a minimalist option.]
No CharGen MessageBoxes [GlassBoy]: Simply eliminates the tutorial messages from CharGen. [Aug. 2002. Eclipsed by more recent mods, but remains a minimalist option.]
Alternate Beginnings [Evermoon]: Disables the beginning tutorial, allowing the player to simply click through the usual CharGen dialogues in sequence, after which she can choose from five alternate beginning locations and situations (for example, drinking at a tavern in Dagon Fel or drowning in a shipwreck on the east coast). However, it contains a bug in that it fails to activate certain aspects of the main quest and certain general dialogue options. [Jun. 2003. Obsolete and superseded by BlueBit's upgrade, Alternate Beginnings 2, which fixes the bugs and expands upon the original, and which has, in turn, been integrated into gman21's CharGen Revamped and Evermoon's own Comprehensive CharGen v1.75. Note that The Great Simonski's Alternate Beginnings - Simon's Fix, a limited update to this mod designed to fix the aforementioned bug, is nonfunctional and should not be used until it is fixed.]
Alternate Beginnings 2 [Evermoon, upd. BlueBit]: An update of Evermoon's mod by BlueBit that fixes some bugs, alters some default-beginning-specific dialogue with Seyda Neen NPCs, and expands the location/situation choices to 18. [Apr. 2008. Integrated into gman21's CharGen Revamped.].
Character Maker v1.1 [Zerocyde]: An alternate CharGen mod that, after the standard CharGen dialogues, presents the player with a stats editor that allows the distribution of 330 points among the character's stats and 45 points in skill bonuses. These amounts are consistent with Bethesda's point distributions, but the player can distribute them as seen fit. [May 2004. Integrated into gman21's CharGen Revamped.].
Silent CharGen [Jason Robinson]: Similar to Bink's Quick Char v1.2 with some minor changes. Eliminates tutorial messageboxes, spoken dialogue, and scripted pauses from the CharGen process. [May 2002. Eclipsed by more recent mods, but remains a minimalist alternative. Kir released a modified version, Silent CharGen v1.001, that eliminates a few more scripted pauses and modifies Sellus Gravius's greeting to further streamline CharGen, and which may be preferable.]
No Thieving Start [Tarnsman]: A mod designed to eliminate the thieving nature of starting out in Morrowind by placing ownership on all items and containers in the Census and Excise Office (along with guards to enforce it), and on all outside crates, barrels and other containers throughout the various towns and cities. To balance this, the player is started off with 100 gold and some starting items given by Socucius Ergalla, and later given 250 gold and some more starting items upon joining the Blades.
The mod incorporates JTE's Tutorial Disable mod, removing all tutorial messages from the CharGen sequence. [Dec. 2004.]
Alternate Start: Delayed Orders v1.0 [Zerocyde]: Adds a shack in Seyda Neen owned by the player, and starts the player in that shack, where it runs through the CharGen options one after another. The player is given the choice to begin with a starting set of low-end weapons and armor. [Feb. 2005. Not recommended for use because it contains quest-breaking bugs that were never fixed. See comments on the PES download site.]
Tutorial Disable [JTE]: Another simple alternative CharGen mod that removes tutorial messages from the CharGen sequence. [Apr. 2004.]
CharGen Diseases [Marbred]: An update and combination of Marbred's previous CharGen vampire and werewolf mods that allows the player to choose during character generation whether to become a werewolf or a vampire of any of the three bloodlines during CharGen. [Aug. 2007.]
Meaner CharGen [Lochnarus]: A minor change to the beginning Imperial prison ship scene designed to enliven it and make it more atmospheric, making it so the other prisoners and guards berate the player as she leaves. It makes no other changes. [Sep. 2005.]
This section covers mods that broadly and systemically rebalance or modify the races of Morrowind, which are, after all, a significant part of character generation.
I only cover major race mods here; I do not include the large number of mods that add new races or make minor tweaks to existing ones, as such mods are beyond the scope of this guide. The mods listed here are mods that set the overall scheme and, again, are pervasive and systemic in their approach.
When a racial rebalancing mod, as always, be sure to watch for conflicts with other mods that make changes to existing races or racial abilities. And note that many mods listed herein make changes to both birthsigns and races, so read keep this in mind as you select which ones you choose to add to your game.
Races Are More Fun RAMF v0.5 [Alaisiagae]: A meticulous retooling of all in-game races with the goal of making them more fun, interesting to play, and more true to lore. The mod specifically seeks to make races more unique, and to make racial powers and abilities useful throughout the entire game, without unbalancing them. Consider using with Alaisiagae's companion mod, Birthsigns Are More Fun BAMF, above. [Jan. 2009. This mod should come after your Merged_Objects file in mod load order, as TESTool's objects merge results in both Alaisiagae's new powers and Bethesda's old powers being combined in some instances.]
Om'Nartus' Racial and Birthsign Realism Mod v1.0 [Om'Nartus]: A mod that modestly rebalances racial and birthsign powers and abilities with the goal of making them more useful and balanced, and to "better match the unique history and evolution of each race." In addition to balancing over- or under-powered power/abilities, the mod adds or changes powers/abilities for roleplay value, uniqueness and "spice." [Jul. 2003.]
Race/Birthsign Remix [paulkdad]: Changes and rebalances the attributes, abilities and powers of all races and birthsigns with the goal of providing real choices to players who prefer roleplaying to powergaming. Replaces powers with bonus spells (spells with no chance of failure, and a reduced magicka cost), to eliminate the awkardness (and virtual uselessness) of once-per-day use powers like the Khajiits' night vision. Birthsigns are toned down in importance, translating into minor talents. [Feb. 2004. Read the readme before considering using the mod's birthsign modifications without the racial modifications.]
Wakim's Game Improvements (WGI) v9 [Wakim]: A comprehensive game balance and tweaking mod that includes, among many other changes, a set of changes to races and birthsigns intended to better balance them. Specifically, for races, it improves the abilities of the beast races to compensate for their inability to wear boots or helmets, including making Argonians' water-breathing power into a constant-effect ability (see the FAQ) and Khajiits' nighteye power into a low-cost, always successful spell (constant-effect nighteye was tried but abandoned because it results in color washout on some compuers). For others, it improves various powers that were effectively of marginal or no use, and gives dark elves a 0.5x Magicka bonus. It makes similar changes to birthsigns as well, seeking to improve the appeal of the more rarely-used birthsigns.
Generally, many players use WGI, and it is completely safe to use another race- and birthsign-rebalancing mod on top of it, as it will simply override WGI's changes (as long as the overriding mod comes later in load order, of course). [Nov. 2002. Note that there are at least four versions available. The most flexible and generally-preferable version is Autumnfox's modular version linked above, though some may prefer BTB's further modified and tweaked version, available here. PES still hosts the older and obsolete version 5, which should be avoided. Grumblepunk's released a consolidated version which includes Cu's No-Glo in it, but this version is not recommended because No-Glo uses a now-obsolete and undesirable method that should be avoided (see the guide on Magic Item Visual Effects Mods for why).]
Races Update v3.1 [Levercham]: A mod that alters all races and many birthsigns to give them all more Magicka, to make their existing powers more useful, and to add new powers and abilities to many of them. In the main, it increases the overall power level of all, though many of the powers are lore-appropriate and reasonable (such as khajiits' jumping ability). The mod also also adds a couple of new classes, Shadow Knights and Blood Knights, and a new birthsign, the Scion of Balance. [Feb. 2006. Power and ability names contain a couple of syntactical gaffes. Mod author left his test NPCs in the mod; they should be removed before use.]
Race Rebuild Pack v1.41 [Mythos]: A compilation of balance changes and tweaks mostly to races, but also to one birthsign, some creatures, and other things. [Sep. 2003. Not recommended for use in its current state. The mod is highly problematic, and contains a large amount of dirty refs from the official Bethesda mods that the mod author likely had installed, but which have no business being in this mod.]
Birthsigns [Bot]: A modest and conservative rebalancing of races and birthsigns that makes relatively minor changes. It adds one new birthsign, The Three Coins, and does not introduces any new birthsign art. As an issue of side relevance, it makes Argonian water-breathing a constant-effect ability (see the FAQ). The mod also includes a tweak that increases the chance of recovering projectiles from slain enemies. [Sep. 2002. Does not include a readme or any other documentation of its actual changes.]
This section covers mods that broadly and systemically expand upon, rebalance, modify or add new birthsigns, which are, like races, a significant part of character generation.
I only cover the major birthsign mods here, and specifically exclude mods that just add or tweak specific birthsigns because they are beyond the scope of this guide. As with those listed in the section on races above, the mods listed here are mods that set the overall scheme and, again, are pervasive and systemic in their approach.
When using them, as always, be sure to watch for conflicts with other mods that incidentally tweak birthsigns, such as the Better Balanced Birthsigns portion of the much-used Wakim's Game Improvements, or Galsiah's Character Development. If you are using such a mod, just be sure that your preferred birthsign mod comes later in the load order so that it "wins the conflict" and its changes do not get overwritten.
The Definitive Birthsigns Pack v1.1 [Doy and IceNine0, ed. Eisenfaust]: A definitive and creative birthsign revision noteworthy not only for being the most expansive of the birthsign mods, but for its having expanded features not seen in most others. It adds thirty new birthsigns, some of which grant unique items and new powers, and modifies the existing birthsigns. The mod adds new artwork for the additional birthsigns that is stylistically consistent with Bethesda's original artwork, and thus meshes well with it. It also completely overhauls "The Firmament," expanding it to 40+ pages. It should be used with Eisenfaust's Definitive Birthsigns Unofficial Patch v1.1a, which fixes some problems in the mod and rebalances it, toning down some of the more overpowered signs, and includes an optional plugin that makes it fully-compatible with Galsiah's Character Development
[Jun. 2002, ed. Jul. 2008. The unofficial v1.1a patch should be run alongside v1.1, as it is a patch, not a replacement. Note that this mod does not take kindly to the use of the enableracemenu command in-game to change character race or birthsign, as it uses scripts that run after CharGen to accomplish many of its goals, and will not update it.]
Expanded Birthsigns for Purists v1.0 [Tyrthyllanos]: Meticulously rebalances and expands upon the original birthsigns while remaining lore-correct, drawing upon the text of the in-game book "The Firmament" and the birthsigns available in TES IV: Oblivion to broaden the selection available from thirteen to twenty-six (the additional thirteen being the opposing lunar aspects of the each birthsign). The mod complements Galsiah's Character Development well, as it is balanced similarly. [Jul. 2007.]
Birthsigns Are More Fun BAMF [Alaisiagae]: A meticulous retooling of all birthsigns with the goal of making them more fun, interesting to play, and more true to lore. The mod specifically seeks to make birthsign powers and abilities useful throughout the entire game, without unbalancing them. Draws partially upon Tyrthyllanos's Expanded Birthsigns for Purists, Doy and IceNine0's Definitive Birthsigns Pack, and TES IV: Oblivion. Consider using with Alaisiagae's companion mod, Races Are More Fun RAMF, below. [Jun. 2008. This mod should come after your Merged_Objects file in mod load order, as TESTool's objects merge results in both Alaisiagae's new powers and Bethesda's old powers being combined in some instances.]
Unique Birthsigns v1.2 [GlassBoy]: Adds 15 new birthsigns with unique abilities, though it adds no new artwork. Examples given include The Diamond, which gives Reflect 70, but Weakness 60 to all elements; The Tank, which gives an ability that fortifies all armor skills temporarily by 10 (except unarmored), gives a burden of 30 points, and gives bullet travel, which gives Levitates 1000 for two seconds; and the Channeler, which allows the character to exchange mana for health (and vice-versa) fortifies mysticism. [Aug. 2002.]
Galsiah's Character Development (GCD) v1.08 [Galsiah]: Primarily a character development mod, but listed here because it contains an optional (but strongly recommended by the author) plugin called Better Balanced Birthsigns that rebalances the existing birthsigns to mesh well with GCD's character development system. It mainly reduces attribute bonuses that, under GCD, are now imbalanced due to their greater impact. It is not a birthsign mod one would want to use if one is not using GCD, but one should take its rationale for rebalancing birthsigns into effect when considering the use of other major birthsign with GCD. See the Guide to Character Development Mods for more information on GCD.
CN's Chinese Birthsigns [DaggerCN]: Adds twelve new birthsigns based on Chinese astrology, such as The Rooster, The Goat, The Monkey and The Dragon. The birthsigns include new artwork that is creative and thematic, though not completely thematically-consistent with Bethesda's base birthsigns artwork. The mod does not change any existing races or birthsigns. [Nov. 2002. The birthsign descriptions, and one of the birthsign power names, contain a few noticeable syntactical and grammatical gaffes.]
LadyC Birthsigns [LadyCallipyge]: Rebalances the existing birthsigns with the goal of making all birthsigns attractive and viable choices. It changes some of the powers (usable once per day) into spells, and improves many other birthsign abilities and spells. So, for example, it changes the Mara's Gift self-heal power into a spell, and substantially increases the duration and power of The Lord birthsign's Blood of the North spell to 5 Health per second for 45 seconds (as opposed to the default of 2 for 30 seconds). [Nov. 2004.]
Attribute Bonus Birthsigns [Dragatus]: A relatively simple birthsign-rebalancing mod that changes all the stock birthsigns to grant attribute bonuses totaling 20 points, and nothing else; each birthsign has no other powers, abilities or spells. So, under the mod, The Atronach no longer confers the Wombburn ability; instead, it confers a +20 bonus to Willpower. The Lord birthsign is converted to give a simple +20 bonus to Strength, while The Mage grants +10 to Intelligence and +10 to Willpower. Since the mod effectively eliminates birthsign Magicka multipliers, it includes an optional plugin that doubles the player character's base Magicka multiplier. [Dec. 2006.]
The following mods are covered fully in the Major Race Mods section, above, but also contain major birthsign modifications:
Here I include relevant major mods that would otherwise be excluded (the main example being mods that affect Morrowind professions, which are normally of little particular interest given the nature of Morrowind's RPG system), but are noteworthy in having broader, more pervasive effects and wider appeal.
Class Abilities v3.1 [Balathustrius]: A mod that alters Morrowind's classes to be more specialized, giving them distinct bonuses, abilities, powers and equipment, including the choice of a perks every ten-level milestone (10, 20, 30, and so on).
Section to be expanded later. Likely question to be covered is how CharGen mods interact with other mods, in particular character development, CharGen mods and others that run heavy scripts during or directly after the CharGen process.
What is the problem with changing the Argonian water-breathing spell to make it a constant-effect ability?
In itself, nothing. In fact, few disagree that having the player activate the Argonians' water-breathing ability via the game's spellcasting mechanic is awkward and makes little sense.
The problem actually has nothing to do with Argonians, but rather with the fact that a certain part of the main quest requires the player character to take damage to the point of reducing Health to 1 while drowning. If the character has permanent, constant-effect waterbreathing, it effectively breaks this quest.
There are other solutions, of course, to work around this problem. Some use the spellmaker to actually make a small spell that inflicts damage on the playe herself, which apparently triggers the quest's condition. Jack's Argonian Watter Breathing Toggle [sic] addresses it by making Argonian water-breathing constant, but making the associated spell toggle the power on and off.
Expand on this later...
Can I add a race or birthsign mod to an ongoing game?
It is generally not recommended. Some mods (Definitive Birthsigns Pack) use special scripting that takes place upon leaving the Census and Excise Office, and therefore definitely should not be added to an ongoing game. Other mods have some changes take effect, and others not. If you really wish to do so, make a backup of your saved game and try it out, checking to see that all changes have taken effect. But note it will likely play a little havoc with Galsiah's Character Development, just as using the enableracemenu command does. Get this straight and expand upon it later...
Is this or that CharGen mod compatible with Galsiah's Character Development (GCD)?
There is some concern about conflicts between mods that perform configuration menus or initialization during or upon conclusion of CharGen. GCD has been known to have problems with a couple in the past, but from my own experience playing I know for sure that it is compatible with SkipTutorial and Privateer's Hold. Further testing information regarding other mods would be appreciated, and will be added into this section.
Version 1.22 (Oct. 16, 2009)
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Version 1.2 (Sep. 14, 2009)
Version 1.1 (Sep. 9, 2009)
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As with my other guides, I have drawn heavily for inspiration and research on the work of the Morrowind Mythic Mods team, and these guides are largely built upon their efforts.
Thanks to the ES Forums community for information provided and questions answered, with particular thanks to the following: Forthcoming...
And, of course, thanks to those whose who have shared their time, energy and talent with the community in making and releasing these mods.
I welcome feedback. Corrections, suggestions, things I've missed, broken links, additional information that would be useful, better technical explanations, hey-that's-kinda-obtuse-writing and all other kinds of feedback help me to make these guides better, so don't hold back. I'm not touchy.
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Mythic Mods >> Gluby's Comprehensive Guides >> CharGen Mods