Morrowind:Starting Out

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This is a list of hints to help you start your adventures in Vvardenfell on a good note. For more tips, see any of the following:

  • Cheats - Various cheats to modify and manipulate the game.
  • Glitches - A list of known glitches that appear in Morrowind.
  • Hints - A list of Morrowind hints.
  • Houses - Places to call home in Vvardenfell.
  • Level - Managing skill increases and leveling are important in this game.
  • Making Money - Tips on how to earn extra money.
  • Quest Timing - Suggestions on what quests to do early, and which to save for later.


Make good use of the difficulty slider; for a first-time player, it is a good idea to start out low and increase it every few levels, maxing out at +100 around level 35. You can find your own comfort zone where the game is still challenging, but not frustrating. The slider affects how much damage is dealt to enemies along with how much damage is received from their attacks.

It is more than possible, however, to start out with the default difficulty settings and make good. The most important thing is to realize that many challenges do not scale to player level. Initially, there are some places it is dangerous to go, and some foes that it is best to run from.

Easily Obtainable Items[edit]

Census and Excise Office[edit]

After you finish talking to Socucius Ergalla at the start of the game, but before you give your release papers to Sellus Gravius, there are a few opportunities to make extra money before you officially begin. While you can always safely steal anything you wish from unguarded rooms, it is also possible to steal items in the guarded areas, but only before you leave the Census and Excise building, between talking to these two NPCs. To accomplish this, simply open your inventory, pick up an item through the menus, and drop the item through the menus onto the floor. The high-value Limeware Platter on the shelf next to Socucius Ergalla is recommended. If you open the menu first, then manipulate objects on the shelf through the menus (pick an inventory item and "wave" it at a menu to make it translucent, if necessary), this freezes time, and you can move all visible items from the shelf to the floor, before closing your menu and being accosted. Regardless of method, the Guard will rush over and reprimand you, but will not issue you a bounty, nor will you do jail time or pay a fine. After closing the Guard's dialogue, simply pick the item(s) back up. This technique is also useful for the warehouse key in the room with Sellus Gravius.

In the rest of the rooms, there are various low-value items, but you can sell the lot for up to around 1,000 gold. When you do this quick-drop trick and get caught, all previously stolen items (silverware, etc.) other than gold coins will be confiscated, even though you are not arrested. To avoid this, either take the limeware and the key before taking the items in the unguarded rooms, or drop all of this loot (including the dagger or lockpick, if you've equipped one of them) when you grab either of these two items, and pick them all up after being scolded. If you are caught stealing too many of the items within the guarded area of the Census and Excise Office using the quick-drop method, the game displays a warning message and forbids you from stealing items again, which may force a reload of a previous save, or more likely a restart of the game. It is thus best to use the through-the-menus trick, and to not try to get all the low-value items in guarded rooms.

After you leave the Census and Excise Office for Seyda Neen proper, returning to try this quick-drop trick will result in arrest; if you do not have the gold to pay the fine, you'll do jail time, which will harm your stats. If you got the platter but not the key, or vice versa, sell your initial loot at Arrille's Tradehouse first so you can pay the fine.

Census and Excise Office Warehouse[edit]

Outside the Census and Excise Office is a door that leads to its warehouse; there is another door to the warehouse on the second floor balcony, facing the sea. Use the warehouse key to open either door. The warehouse contains a stash of weapons, armor, and alchemical ingredients. Be aware that an Imperial guard patrols the entire indoor area. An NPC trainer can be found upstairs. If you did not steal the key, you'll get in safer picking the upstairs lock than the one on the street (fewer potential observers). Getting to the balcony will require Levitate or strong Jump magic.

While you're at it, it is safe to practice lockpicking both of the locks on the gate from the street to the Census and Warehouse dock; you will not be arrested for this even if seen.

Around and Inside the Lighthouse[edit]

Scattered in and around the lighthouse of Seyda Neen are numerous items that can be taken and sold to increase the amount of money your character has early on in the game. For example, the Unarmored skill book The Wraith's Wedding Dowry can be found in the top level of the lighthouse. You are also able to loot the sacks and steal the lanterns and sell them to Arrille at his tradehouse for a small profit. Other outdoor lanterns around town can also be taken with impunity.

There are two rotting tree trunks around the lighthouse. These tree stumps are not containers, so you will have to be standing on top of them to reach the items inside. The one closest to the lighthouse entryway can be reached by jumping down from the wooden walkway leading up to the entrance; it contains 25 gold pieces and a silverware cup worth 13 gold. The second trunk can be reached by climbing the stones beside the Lighthouse entryway and jumping off towards the trunk, which contains an Iron Shardaxe worth 100 gold.

Restocking Guild Supplies[edit]

If you are a member of the Fighters Guild or Mages Guild, you gain access to supply chests in each guild hall. For example, the Balmora Fighters Guild equipment chest contains 100 iron arrows, 100 Iron Bolts, 10 Cheap Restore Health potions, 10 Standard Restore Fatigue and 5 (very useful) Standard Restore Health Potions, and 10 Journeyman's Armorer's Hammers. These restock every game month. Take everything out of the chest, and leave it on the floor if you don't want it right now; you can come back for it later.

Bonemold Armor[edit]

If you are looking for full sets of Medium-class armor, you can find crates full of the stuff in the top levels of Redoran guard towers in Ald'ruhn. Each tower only has one guard, and he patrols up and down the stairs. You'll have a moment or two to loot the crates each time he disappears to the lower floor.

Steel Armor[edit]

Go to Hla Oad, to Fatleg's Drop Off and take the trap door to the Camonna Tong underground hideout. If you swim down into the sunken tunnel and climb up on the wooden platforms, you will find three crates with a partial set of steel armor (helm, cuirass, boots, shield, right pauldron and right gauntlet), along with several random pieces of steel weapons and armor.

Light Armor[edit]

If you have the Tribunal expansion enabled, a Dark Brotherhood assassin will attack you when you use Rest (not Wait) anywhere but the bedroll in the Seyda Neen Census and Excise Office. (See the quest page for details, including a trapping trick.) He will be wearing Dark Brotherhood Armor, which is very strong for low-level characters. The assassin can be difficult to kill, however, so try not to use Rest outside the Census building until you are strong enough to make the attempt.

Sword of White Woe[edit]

In Balmora's Eastern Guard Tower, you can find a Sword of White Woe on top of a closet, on the top floor. You don't have to fight the guard there to get this and a few other items, as there is a blind spot: If you are by the foot of the bunk beds or on top of the jars beside the closet, you can take the sword and not be noticed, although you might need to jump or levitate to see the sword. This is a heavy but powerful and valuable enchanted Ebony weapon.

A Sword of White Woe can also be found beneath a bed in Suran Guard Tower.

Glass Frostsword and Jinkblade, Plus Long-term Light Source[edit]

As long as you can beat a few fish and rats, you can pick up a Glass Frostsword – a light-weight but very potent long blade for a low-level character – from a ledge in the cave hideout of Furius Acilius, to which you can swim easily from just outside Ebonheart. (But don't talk to the well-armored Acilius until you're higher level, as he will attack you immediately, is level 15, and is very well-armored – the last fact hinting as to why you should return at some point, though Imperial Legion players should wait until a quest sends them to do so.) You will need either 1) a means to Levitate both up to and down from the ledge, or 2) a means to Levitate or Jump up, and Slowfall down; these can be provided by any combination of spells, potions, scrolls, or other items. Probably the fastest route is to buy the Strong Levitate spell from either Nebia Amphia or Fanildil right there in Ebonheart's own Hawkmoth Legion Garrison.

You'll also find a Pilgrim's Lantern (unlimited-duration light source as long as you remember not to take it into water) on the ledge with the sword. Back on the ground level, you'll also find a very useful Glass Jinkblade, among some mushrooms in a side passage. If you don't want to use these weapons, they have a high sale value. This jinkblade (Paralyze-casting weapon to strike first with, then switch to a higher-damage attack) is a better option than buying one from Wayn in the Balmora Guild of Fighters, since it's free, paralyzes just as well, and is lighter. You'll probably use this throughout the entire game.

Master's Alchemy Set[edit]

You can get a free set of Master's Alchemy Apparatus in the Caldera Mages Guild without getting caught or expelled. You can also steal some ingredients. Use a guild guide to teleport to Caldera. Head downstairs and look for a wooden door leading to a spiral staircase. Make sure you shut the door or someone might come in. Go up the spiral staircase, steal what you want and you're done.

If you're a member of the Mages Guild, then most items will not be marked as stolen if you take them, but not all.

An additional set can be stolen from Nalcarya of White Haven if you hide next to the pillar near the entrance and access the crate in the corner. If you've already stolen the set from Caldera then you should sell this to her first.

Other Easily Found, Useful Items[edit]

  • Enchanted healing items such as a Life Ring and a Velothian Helm – Many Enchanters, e.g. at Mages Guild branches, often have affordable items with healing enchantments for sale. These are low-end, but are useful for new characters.
  • Amulet of Mighty Blows – Provides a strong thirty-second Strength boost. You can most easily get one from the trader Verick Gemain in Caldera.
  • Dwemer Jinksword – Use as a paralyzing, first-strike weapon. Buy from Wayn in the Fighters Guild in Balmora, if you didn't go get the free Glass Jinkblade detailed above (or sold it already).
  • Mentor's Ring – This Intelligence and Willpower booster is found in an urn in Samarys Ancestral Tomb, located northwest of Seyda Neen. Some fighting required.
  • Amulet of Stamina – Very low cost, from many vendors that sell enchanted items (like other such items, its appearance in a merchant's inventory is randomized), it can be used to lessen waiting for Fatigue to refill. Using the item 3 or 4 times in a row can get you back to max fatigue quickly. Recharging it with filled soul gems will increase your Enchant skill quickly.
  • Glass Netch Dagger – If you go to Gnaar Mok and look into one of the hollow tree trunks southwest of Arenim Manor, you will find it stuck in a skull. This item is best sold, as it is a weak weapon, even with the Poison enchantment, but is valuable.

Early Adventuring[edit]

Exploiting the Early Quests[edit]

Three quests starting in Seyda Neen can all be exploited for a little extra cash early in the game.

First and most obvious is the Fargoth's Ring quest. You could keep the ring, but it's much more profitable to return it to him, and you can get it back in a later quest (see below). Also, returning the ring rewards you with an instant Disposition boost with Arrille, the only trader in town, making this perfect for selling the items you stole from the Census and Excise office above.

Another quest you can exploit is the Death of a Taxman quest. Find Processus Vitellius' corpse just outside the town; he will have 200 gold on him. If you report his murder to Socucius Ergalla, he will ask if there was any cash on the body. If you turn in the money you will be promised a higher reward for executing the murderer. However, if you find the murderer and kill him before reporting to Socucius Ergalla, then you will get the reward for him and still get to keep the tax money, effectively earning 700 gold from this quest instead of 500. When you find Processus Vitellius' Ring during this quest, you may enchant it as it is an Exquisite Ring, the highest quality ring for enchantment. You may also sell it for profit, since it is worth far more than the healing potions you'll receive if you return it. A roguish option is to return the ring to Thavere Vedrano, take the healing potions, then kill her and take the ring off of her corpse. Your crime will not be reported and you get both the ring and the potions. Both the killer's home and the lighthouse may also be used as player houses, aside from containers (they remain owned by the former occupants, and anything you put into and remove from them will be flagged by the game as stolen).

The third exploitable quest is Fargoth's Hiding Place. Not only do you get back his ring during this quest, but you get a nice pile of gold. While you were told to return two thirds of this gold to Hrisskar Flat-Foot, there are no negative consequences if you just keep it. You can always give it to him later when you're not desperate for money, if you want to close the Journal entry for this starter quest.

The Road to Balmora[edit]

If you plan on continuing the Main Quest immediately, your first destination after leaving Seyda Neen will be Balmora. There are several ways to get there. The easiest way is certainly to take the Silt Strider. A more lucrative way is to walk. There is one path in particular on which the new adventurer can find many stashes of loot along the way.

As you exit Seyda Neen, you will see a road ahead that splits—you can go to the right and follow the path up to the Silt Strider, or you can go straight ahead and pass over a little bridge. The second swamp-like pond on your right-hand side contains a rotting tree trunk with three stumps—one of them contains two piles of 25 gold pieces and a Firebite dagger worth 7 gold.

Continue following the path and an unfortunate Bosmer will fall out of the sky to land just in front of you. The corpse can be looted for three Scrolls of Icarian Flight worth 119 gold each; for details and safety tips, see this page.

If you walk along the coast, you will find some tombs and a shipwreck with plenty of desirable loot in them.

Also, under some trees right on the coast half-way between Seyda Neen and Hla Oad, right away from Samarys Ancestral Tomb and Unexplored Shipwreck, search for a tree stump with a Cloth Sack within. There is 100 gold inside.

As you near Balmora, the Vassir-Didanat Cave (a forgotten Ebony mine sought by Great House Hlaalu; see below) will be off the road to your right (east),about half way up the Odai River from the coast. When you encounter the rope bridge to the Shulk Egg Mine (over on the west side of the river), go instead east-southeast toward the hills on the east side of the Odai to find the cave. There are powerful atronachs inside you cannot beat yet; all you need do is enter and walk back out again to trigger a reward which you can go claim a few minutes later for the cost of just a few coins for Guild Guide travel from Balmora (your next stop) to Vivec. See the Vassir-Didanat Mine quest page for additional information on possible rewards.

Completing Report to Caius Cosades[edit]

Try to deliver the package to Caius Cosades before you reach level 4. He will hand you 200 gold if you've come to him while below that level. He will also give you directions to the other members of The Blades, who will give you information and items that you can sell for gold or keep.


A good beginner dungeon foray involves clearing out a nearby cave of smugglers. From Seyda Neen, turn right and approach the Silt Strider. As you get closer, there will be a path going left and downhill. Take that path to the door covering the Addamasartus entrance.

The smugglers here aren't especially tough, but a new character fresh off the boat will face quite a challenge, especially from the fireball-throwing mage in the second area; potions and other items that provide Resist Fire and Fire Shield effects are helpful, as is a Paralyze on Target spell, and missile weapons used while he is still running toward you. Free the slaves to get a quest later on. You can also pick up their slave bracers and sell them to a merchant. Don't forget to loot the smugglers' bodies and all the containers. There is a Thief Ring in a somewhat hidden passage (though it has two entrances), in a corner full of coins, bones, mushrooms and a piece of armor; it may be hard to see due to its size, and using Light and Night Eye magic helps. There are also a few pieces of light armor lying around, and there is an Iron Saber and a chest with random loot next to a skeleton, in a pool of water near where the mage was standing.

 There is also a small pond you can jump in, swim underwater until you see an opening overhead, surface, and there is a small room with a chest.

Spears to Improve Your Endurance[edit]

Since Heavy Armor is, well, heavy, and Medium Armor has limited uses in later levels, Spears are the best way to increase your character's Endurance. Also, it might be a good idea to make Endurance one of your favored attributes so you can max it out as quickly as possible, for maximum Health. Also, a spear has a longer reach, helping you to keep critters at bay. Arrille has two Iron Spears for sale. The Conjuration spell Bound Spear is helpful, cheap, and weightless. The trader Ra'Virr in Balmora also has a cheap Devil Spear for sale, if you don't want to solely rely on spells. Also, the first quest Caius Cosades gives you leads to Arkngthand, where a Dwarven Spear is located in the first room, near the door to the boss room.

Save Skooma and Moon Sugar to get Fiend Weapons[edit]

Ra'Virr in Balmora sells both the Fiend Katana and Fiend Tanto. Being a Khajiit merchant, he's also one of the few places to sell off contraband substances, commonly found on and near ships and in smuggler caves. Directly in front of Ra'virr, you can stockpile this stuff (which is more of a hassle to keep carrying around than it's worth, because other merchants object to it, and it may even drop their Disposition toward you), then use it to get good weapons for only a temporary cash expenditure. After you have a bit of a nest egg of both contraband and gold, you can buy these expensive weapons (try to get a good price by raising his Disposition to 100 temporarily with a strong but maybe 3 second Fortify Personality or Charm spell or effect), then recoup all the money by selling him your stash. You can keep using this method to fence the narcotics and turn them into saleable, high-value weapons, since Ra'virr restocks both blades.

Deal with the Right Merchants[edit]

Different merchants give different prices depending on their Mercantile skill and their disposition towards you. Try offering the same items for sale to various different merchants and make note of the initial prices they offer to get an idea of who will give you the best bargains. Merchants who like you will typically give better prices. Merchants you have done quests for, and/or are part of the same faction as you, will naturally tend to have a higher disposition towards you. You can temporarily increase a merchant's disposition simply by buying or selling items; their disposition will increase slightly with each successful transaction (but will also decrease each time you make them an offer they refuse). These disposition changes will only last as long as you do not exit the current conversation; once you do, their disposition will return to its pre-barter level. If you wish to permanently increase a merchant's disposition, you can try using Speechcraft, but be aware that most merchants have a high Speechcraft skill of their own, making success more difficult (Smiths are a notable exception).

Early Quests with Great Rewards[edit]

This is a section of quests that have fantastic rewards, and can be done by any player.

Vassir-Didanat Ebony Mine – Only requires you to discover the mine, and turning it in rewards 2000 gold or (much better) a choice of Daedric weapon. Can be completed at any level at any time. This is also one of the few Ebony mines from which you are free to plunder the heavy but valuable Raw Ebony with impunity, but you need to be able to contend with the lost mine's current atronach residents to get it. If you plan to join the Thieves Guild, you can make a later quest less tedious by setting aside four pieces of this first find of Raw Ebony to use as a bribe in that quest, without having to buy any, steal it from guarded mines, or await its rare appearances in loot containers.

Boots of Blinding Speed – Pemenie can be killed at early level, though just completing her escort quest is easy, as long as you know where to go (Gnaar Mok). The boots give a 200-point Speed bonus when worn and are great for traveling, though inconvenient otherwise. Read the quest page's Wearing the Boots section for tips on how to counter the 100% Blindness side effect. Note that Argonians and Khajiit cannot wear boots of any kind.

Boethiah's Quest - No combat is required in this quest, except against Slaughterfish while diving. The reward, Goldbrand, is an excellent sword.

Pilgrimages of the Seven Graces – The "Grace of Valor" pilgrimage to Koal Cave yields a fairly easily obtainable Dreugh Cuirass from the Shrine of Valor in the cave; you just need to be able to beat the Dreugh Warlord in the cave, and have at least one sample of Dreugh Wax (from him or elsewhere) when activating the shrine. This is best attempted around level 5 or higher.

Useful Spells[edit]

Starting out, a super-powered spell isn't necessarily what you need. Going to a Spellmaker and making a custom, short-term, low-Magicka-cost version of a spell (you must already have a stock one of the same type) is often a better choice, as you're more likely to succeed casting it, will not run of out Magicka so fast, making repetitive casts will help raise the respective skill, and many of the stock spells last for longer than is typically useful. Also, several effects have better actual utility with a short-duration version. For example, if you're exploring along a coast using a long-duration Water Walking spell and you spot an underwater wreck you'd like to explore, or a cluster of Kollops that may hold valuable Pearls, then you will have to wait for the effect to wear off or spend more Magicka casting Dispel; a 1-Magicka-point, 11 second spell wouldn't have held you up so long. Similarly, a long-duration Levitation spell can keep you from being able to use Sneak to avoid enemies, or to use Rest to regain Health and Magicka, while also being frustratingly slow compared to walking. A 10 second Levitate is usually enough, except when exploring a tall area that requires a lot of flying.

  • Absorb Health – Tops off your health while damaging your foe.
  • Restore Strength – Recovers from the long-term negative effects of Greater Bonewalkers, without having to go to a healing shrine.
  • Turn Undead – Helps temporarily keep undead at bay, while tomb raiding. Driven back, they can be assaulted with ranged attacks.
  • Almsivi Intervention and Divine Intervention, as well as Recall (after a Mark) – Use as a spell, item, or scroll, these provide a quick retreat when you're out-matched. The intervention spells are also good for getting around: you are teleported to the closest Tribunal or Imperial Cult center, which may be quite some distance. It helps to learn and remember where they are.
  • Light and/or Night Eye – These help you see in the dark. They work best together, the first by creating a temporary light source radiating out from you (or the target), and the latter by raising the ambient light level in the whole area.
  • Water Breathing – Many caves contain treasure or passages underwater, and this will also help you dive for pearls off the coast.
  • Water Walking – Allows you to cross water much faster (at your land walking/running speed, which can be boosted in the normal ways), than by swimming or levitating. Standing on water is also safer, as creatures of both the land and sea cannot reach you; only Cliffracers can.
  • Levitation – There are many hills in Vvardenfell which are unscaleable without a high Acrobatics skill. Levitating over them will save you the time and effort of having to go around them, and it is safer and less costly that a powerful Jump spell followed by Slowfall. Be prepared to re-cast it (and factor in manual-spellcasting animation time) if you aren't certain you'll be back on the ground before the effect wears off. Levitation is also needed for getting into various places.
  • Summon – Generate a temporary ally to distract your foe and help you fight. Many summoned allies are immune to normal weapons, which makes them immune to the attacks of most creatures and many NPCs. You can even attack your own summon after the fight is over and Soultrap it, if you kill it before the summoning expires.
  • Bound Weapon and Armor spells – These provide temporary, weightless Daedric-quality gear, to help with fighting hard foes. Can also be used unarmed and unarmored, if you need to drop your usual gear to go back for a loot pile.