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21 May 2012

I'll Meet You at the Council Club

Mixing Drinks

For my fourth Morrowind mod, the second in the Traveller's Guide to Dining series, I decided to stay within the town of Ald'ruhn and give some personality to the Ald'ruhn Council Club, which is a small tavern with a bar and a few tables. The Council Club gives the impression of being a place for intimate meetings over drinks between friends or acquaintances, or conspirers (the proprietor is a member of the Thieves Guild). In the plain vanilla game, the club is populated with a few generic characters and there is nothing of interest to do. The player can't even buy a drink at the bar.

I decided that the Dunmer proprietor, Darvam Hlaren, should sell a variety of drinks, both local and imported, that he could provide because of his connections and distribution network. I spent a lot of time researching types of alcohol and designing various alcoholic beverages based on in-game ingredients and their effects. I took existing bottle models, recolored the textures using GIMP to make each bottle different, and even added images I found on the web to some of them to make them interesting. A few of the drink names already existed in The Elder Scrolls lore, the rest I made up based either on bits of Elven language from the Imperial Library dictionary, on the names of deities, or on the color or ingredients.

Drink bottle textures

Since this wasn't a food-oriented place, I didn't design a food-based menu, though I did create a few snacks that the player could buy, namely skuppers, which are like nachos; k'ekks, which are spiced kwama eggs; and ash yam pie, variations of which I decided to put in every dining mod. I did, however, create several drink menus: a beer list, a mead list, and a spirits list. I chose a typeface called AEnigma Scrawl 4 BRK because it looked like the kind of handwriting Darvam would have.

Beers list Meads list Spirits list

To make the club more interesting to visit, I wrote not only dialogue for Darvam to sell the drinks and snacks, but also dialogue for him to describe the various drinks, their ingredients and how they're made, what they look and taste like, and their effects. I also included conversations about rumors, comments about the weather, and secrets about other characters and things he's overheard. Since he's a well-connected local authority, I gave him dialogue to describe how to find any local person, place, or service. Also, if asked, he offers advice on what to drink.

Dialogue example 1 Dialogue example 2

I created some dialogue for a few other characters to support some of the things that Darvam says. I also created some papers to flesh out the place, such as an import receipt and a liquor license. The typefaces I used on the import receipt are Dumbledor 1, Anke Calligraphic FG, AEnigma Scrawl 4 BRK, and Lamebrain BRK. The typefaces on the liquor license are Augusta, Journal, DreamerOne, Dobkin, and Squares.

Import receipt Liquor license

After two months of work, I released TGD02 Ald'ruhn Council Club in July 2010. There remained one more dining establishment in Ald'ruhn, the Ald Skar Inn, and I had a plan to make it more of a fine dining place, but with an undercurrent of something nefarious that connected it to The Rat in the Pot and the Council Club with a story along the lines of The Big Sleep. At this point, though, I was tired of Ald'ruhn and not up to doing that large of a mod yet; so, for my next mod, I turned my attention to The Lizard's Head in Vivec.

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