Gluby's Comprehensive Guide
to Dark Brotherhood Mods

A guide to Morrowind mods affecting
the Tribunal Dark Brotherhood assassins and subplot

Version 1.1 (Oct. 15, 2009)

Mythic Mods >> Gluby's Comprehensive Guides >> Dark Brotherhood Mods

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The Tribunal expansion adds, as part of its plotline, a chance of being attacked by leveled Dark Brotherhood (DB) assassins every time the player attempts to rest from the beginning of the game onward. However, the DB assassinations were poorly implemented by Bethesda.

While the assassins can be annoying in themselves (particularly to weak characters), the bigger problem is that the Dark Brotherhood armor they carry is quite valuable and effective, and, in the unmodded game, it is quite routine to find oneself with several sets within a very short time of starting a new game. It ruins the economy and scaling of the early game, and it does not appear that the Bethesda developers tested its overall game impact much.

As a result, some kind of fix for this problem is virtually necessary for any kind of balanced game. There are two practical solutions: either (1) postpone DB attacks until some point later in the game, or (2) change the nature of DB assassins and their equipment so as not to unbalance the game. Both methodologies may be safely used together (and are recommended), though both solve the problem effectively on their own.

As a side note, I also address in this guide other mods that touch upon DB attacks and equipment, in case there are conflicts of which to be aware.


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Major Dark Brotherhood Mods

Delayed Dark Brotherhood Attack Add-On v2 [Avenger, ed. Hellwolve]: Avenger's original Postponed Dark Brotherhood Attack mod made it so that DB assassins will not begin attacking the player until she has achieved one of four accomplishments: (1) becomes hortator of at least one Great House, (2) becomes leader of at least one Great House, or (3) is named Nerevarine by at least one Ashlander Camp. Version 2.0 added a fourth condition: (4) the player has killed Dagoth Ur (doing the main quest the "backdoor way"), and version 3.0 tweaked the levels at which DB assassins appear, adjusts what kind do so, and boosts their health.

Hellwolve's edition of Avenger's mod simply takes v3.0 and adds a fifth condition: DB attacks also will begin when (5) the player becomes Guildmaster of the Fighters, Mages or Thieves guild. [Sep. 2004.]

Delayed DB Attack v2.1 [Avenger, ed. Kir]: Likewise based on Avenger's Postponed Dark Brotherhood Attack mod, Kir's edition also interposes the requirement that one of the four required conditions be fulfilled before the DB attacks begin. However, Kir's version is based upon v2.0, and thus does not include the v3.0 changes enumerated above.

What Kir's edition does further is optimize the scripts so that they do not run except when the check is to be made (i.e. resting), and it makes it so that the DB attack script stops running altogether once the Tribunal quest is completed. [May 2004.]

Dark Brotherhood Delay - Murderous Dreams v1.2 [Avelon]: A fairly recent addition that delays DB attacks until one of three conditions are met: (1) player reputation equals or exceeds 7 and player level equals or exceeds 5, (2) player reputation equals or exceeds 10, or (3) Dagoth Ur is dead. Also adds several new messages upon waking up to a DB assassin attack, to add some variety and realism ("not EVERY assassin out there is a klutz who can't avoid knocking over your nightstand"), and includes an optional version that gives a slight possibility of waking up wounded or even dead. [Mar. 2009.]

Dark Brotherhood Attacks Fixed v1.0 [Xiran]: Another recent addition, and arguably the simplest, this mod simply makes it so the DB attacks subplot will not begin until the player has completed the Morrowind main quest. The Tribunal subplot, and consequently start of the attempted assassinations by the DB, is triggered by the player's arrival in Mounrhold.

The author includes an optional compatibility plugin for mods, like Kateri's Julan, Ashlander Companion, which require the player to travel to Mournhold before completing the main quest, that allows the player to travel to Mournhold without triggering the DB attacks. [Jul. 2009.]

Increased DB Attacks v1.1 [Jac]: For those players who are wondering why all those shrinking violets who want to tone down the DB attacks aren't just playing Myst or one of those pony-raising games for pubescent teenage girls, this mod increases the frequency of them, progressively increases the number of assassins involved (up to 5 will attack at level 40), and makes it so the player must kill Dandras Vules for them to stop. The mod delays the attacks until the player's character has reached level 5, and also replaces the awakening message with, "You are awakened by a cold feeling." Also provides a patch for Kir's Dark Brotherhood Assassins Fix that enables the mods to be used together. [Mar. 2008.]

Dark Brotherhood Assassins Fix [Fetus X]: Changes the armor possessed by DB assassins to appropriate armor adjusted for their level, rather than the same DB armor no matter what the level. With this mod installed, their armor will range from netch leather at lower levels to chitin armor at level 10, and on up to full DB armor at level 20. It also gives each DB assassin a writ identifying him as such. [Mar. 2004.]

DB Armor Replacer v1.1 [Dimitri Mazieres]: This mod completely replaces the 3D models and textures for all Dark Brotherhood armor with Mantodea's J- Ninja armor, in both male and female variants, as well as switching the awkward goggle-eyed DB helm with a hood and facemask. It includes alternate textures for variant color schemes. It does not change the actual armor statistics. [Mar. 2006. Does not modify the DB attack script and therefore requires no load-order management to ensure compatibility with other DB mods.]

DB Armor Replacer - Expanded v1.0 [Dimitri Mazieres]: This is a more substantial expansion upon Mazieres's DB Armor Replacer that, in addition to armor visual changes, gives DB assassins a whole new arsenal of weapons unique to the Dark Brotherhood, all reflecting a distinctly Asian style and using high-quality work modeling and texturing work by the modding community.

It also assigns a new face to Dandras Vules, the head of the DB, gives him a new armor and cape, and changes the message when a DB assassin attacks the player.

Finally, it includes an optional ESP that incorporates the Delayed Dark Brotherhood Attack functionality, though it is unclear which DDBA version it is based upon. [Mar. 2006. Though the non-DBBA variant plugin does not include the DBBA scripting, it does nevertheless make changes to the DB attack script, and will therefore conflict benignly with other DB mods (and thus by default will override their changes if they come earlier in your load order). If you wish to use another DB mod on top of this mod, it is quite safe and compatible; just be sure to make it so the other mod loads later in your load order.]

Dark Brotherhood Armor Replacer - Expanded With Ranks v2.0 [Dimitri Mazieres]: This is the final and most complete version of Mazeires's mod. This one, in addition to the changes described above in the original and expanded versions, also makes it so the armor found on DB assassins is colored according to their rank. The author also put out a Dark Brotherhood Replacer Splash Pack, which contains two new high-quality splash screens featuring the Dark Brotherhood changes. [Apr. 2006. Though the non-DBBA variant plugin does not include the DBBA scripting, it does nevertheless make changes to the DB attack script, and will therefore conflict benignly with other DB mods (and thus by default will override their changes if they come earlier in your load order). If you wish to use another DB mod on top of this mod, it is quite safe and compatible; just be sure to make it so the other mod loads later in your load order.]

To Serve Sithis v1.5 [Emyn]: A guild/faction and quest mod that allows the player to join the a new group of the Dark Brotherhood family and engage in assassination contracts and several new quests. It draws upon Oblivion's presentation of the Dark Brotherhood, attempting to bring the feeling of the Oblivion Brotherhood into Morrowind. It does not affect the Tribunal DB questline. [Aug. 2008. Conflicts in a non-mergeable way with LGNPC Tel Uvirith — specifically, it breaks one of LGNPC Tel Uvirith's quests, as it requires the player to assassinate a key NPC in the quest.]

Dark Brotherhood Assassin Animation Replacer [Wildman/Trey Leavens]: Replaces the NPC animations for all Dark Brotherhood assassins with Oshiel's animations, giving them a distinct ninja style, as can be seen in the two videos below. Includes compatibility versions for all three of Dimitri Mazieres's Dark Brotherhood Armor Replacer mods and for HelioS's Assassin's Armory. [Jan. 2007. Requires Oshiel's Animation Replacer Beta v1.]

Author's Video 1: "Dark Lair"
Author's Video 2: "morrowind assassins"

Assassin's Armory v7.6 [Michael "HelioS" Bennett]: A well-regarded early mod that adds a considerable number of weapons to the game (to new vendors, to existing vendors, to some NPCs and in leveled lists) including left-handed defensive variants of existing and new weapons for dual-wielding, and a variety of exotic weapons like kamas, kris blades, wrist-scythes, Dwarven bolt rifles and more variants of stock Asian-style weapons, like glass katanas. It is listed here because, among other things, it also modifies DB assassins to equip them with some of these weapons, and adds a special "Dark Brotherhood Marksman Helm" to the game. It will, obviously, benignly conflict with mods that alter the DB assassins, though the conflict can be resolved with an objects merge. [Jul. 2004. An authorized unofficial patch to v7.7 by The Mad God that corrects a couple of bugs is available here. The scripted off-hand weapons in the base version cause problems with Galsiah's Character Development (GCD), but a non-scripted alternate version is included for GCD compatibility.]

Tribunal Integration v0.5 [The Other Felix]: A mod that seeks to integrate the new content from Tribunal into the rest of pre-Tribunal Vvardenfell, listed here because it affects DB assassins. The mod modifies several pre-Tribunal NPCs to have Tribunal weapons and armor, integrates new Dwemer constructs into old leveled lists, and makes changes to Dark Brotherhood dialogues (including the addition of new dialogue) and journal entries. It changes lower-level (1-5) Dark Brotherhood assassins to have netch leather armor and black clothing instead of the high-end Dark Brotherhood Armor all assassins come with by default.

It also adds two bugfixes, now obsoleted by the Morrowind Patch Project (MPP) one of which (the mod's Sjoring Hard-Heart fix) may undo further changes made by the MPP and potentially cause further problems. [Nov. 2002. Problematic and partially obsolete, though its valid content could be salvaged, or problematic content removed, with some basic CS skills. Read further in the cautionary note below for more information.]

CAUTION: Though it contains a number of valid content additions, this mod is now partially obsolete and cannot be run in unmodified form without causing problems. Beyond the conflicting and potentially-problem-causing Sjoring Hard-Heart bugfix, the mod uses the problematic AddToLevCreate script command in its TribIntegInit script, which is now considered a bad practice because it can render later changes to the affected leveled lists ineffective, even if this mod is removed. If you feel comfortable editing it with the CS or one of the other editors out there, you could retain the valid content and eliminate the problems by removing the offending scripts (including the superseded Float script fix) and the obsolete Sjoring Hard-Heart entry. Optionally, you could manually add the new Dwemer constructs (added in the scripts) to the appropriate lists. But it is highly recommended that use of this mod be avoided unless these problems are fixed.



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Minor Mods, Upgrades and Tweaks Involving the Dark Brotherhood

This category includes minor tweaks and changes to Dark Brotherhood-related elements of the game, in roughly the same thematic order as that used in the section for major mods..


CM Assassins Mod [Cutthroat Mods]: A minor mod that simply reduces the probability of Dark Brotherhood attacks to 0% at low levels and 30% at high levels. Also includes variant ESPs that reduce the high level probability to 10% or 5%. [Nov. 2003.]

Oblivion Inspired Dark Brotherhood Armour Replacer for Better Bodies v1.1 [Westly]: Replaces the meshes and textures for the DB armor with new ones designed by the author, based on the style seen in TES IV: Oblivion. Incompatible with other replacers. [Jul. 2007.]

Elite Dark Brotherhod Helm v1.0 [Lochnarus]: Adds an improved elite DB helm, retextured from a Morag Tong helm, worn by DB assassins of level 30 and up, and purchasable from the Armory in Mournhold. [Jun. 2004.]

Morag Tong and Dark Brotherhood Armor Fix [Killgore]: An earlier mod that updates several pre-Tribunal DB NPCs to have DB armor, and creates a Morag Tong equivalent. [Nov. 2002.]

Dark Brotherhood Armor Upgrades v1.0 [Midgetalien]: Adds an NPC in the basement of the Caldera smith who can upgrade the hood of the Dark Brotherhood armor, giving it a 25% increase in item health (durability), value and enchantment points. [Aug. 2008.]

Dark Brotherhood Goggles v1.0 [Wildman]: A mod that adds DB goggles and a cap with goggles that are made to fit dark elf males, but will not fit most other races. It is mostly intended as a modders' resource, but it will give DB assassins a random chance of wearing the added items. [Feb. 2007.]



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Section to be expanded later. Think a question or an important bit of info should be on here? Let me know!




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Version History

Version 1.1 (Oct. 15, 2009)

Version 1.0 (Sep. 5, 2009)


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Credits and References

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: angrysquirrel, ElvisX3K, Midgetalien, tp1337Dude and Trey Leavens.

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.

I can be contacted at the Bethesda ES Forums, or by e-mail using the Contact Us links on these pages.

For licensing and permissions information, please see the Permissions section of my main guide.

Screenshots and images on this page were taken by me, unless otherwise indicated.


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Mythic Mods >> Gluby's Comprehensive Guides >> Dark Brotherhood Mods

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