Tes3Mod:Tamriel Data/Glass in Morrowind
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This study has been written at the behest of the recently elevated Dilborn Maston, Imperial Controller and General Warhaft. It is imperative to investigate the glass market due to recent unrest in the province of Morrowind. Thus, a small survey group was sent to Morrowind with a heavy Imperial escort to make a tour of all known glass mines and deposits in the province, with the goal of ascertaining future output and security.
Uses of Glass:
Glass is an extremely rare and exceptionally valuable resource that comes only from the province of Morrowind, and primarily only from volcanic or formerly volcanic regions. Morrowind's glass is a truly unique product. Other volcanic regions in Tamriel produce hard, sharp obsidian, but only activity from Red Mountain has been known to produce Morrowind's glass. Unlike obsidian, it is hard but flexible. While it creates fine glassware and assorted luxury goods, its true distinction lies in the creation of glass armor and weapons. Very little is known about these fine Dunmer crafts, due to lack of Imperial military experience with glass armor, and the fact that most glass exported from Morrowind is either exported raw or shipped as luxury items. It is known that while glass blades are extremely sharp and enchantable, they tend to dull and break quickly. Dunmeri glass armor isn't entirely glass, but rather augmented with it. It breaks and wears rather quickly, but it is very protective and light. While no members of the expedition ever experienced combat in glass armor, it appears to work well in Morrowind's harsh and unforgiving climate.
As mentioned above, glass is only available from Morrowind, leading to dangers of Dunmer monopolization. The local tribesmen in the interior of the island are acutely hostile to both foreigners and most of the somewhat more civilized urban Dunmer. Due to the fact that the most of the glass deposits are located on the volcanic island of Vvardenfell, unrest from the locals could cause temporary or permanent loss of the mines to Imperial or East Empire Company control.
The vast majority of all glass can be found on Vvardenfell. Near the center of the island and high up the slopes of Red Mountain lies the Yassu Mine, possibly marking the most inhospitable conditions to which any Imperial troops are currently assigned. Considering the danger of the site, the rewards are more than sufficient. Currently, the EEC rates the mine as 'exceptionally profitable' even though they were not forthcoming with any actual statistics. Additionally, the EEC lacks any documentation on the classification of glass mines, which led the study group to believe that the mine possesses ample resources and has a large reserve. However, it is believed that the associated difficulties of operation in such a region and the hazardous route the glass must travel to reach the Imperial port of Seyda Neen increase the cost financially, physically and psychologically.
Two other Imperial chartered mines exist within Vvardenfell's northern Ashlands, the Dunirai and Halit mines. Both mines are in volcanically active regions and have vast reserves, but are not without a few issues. The Dunirai mine has an open magma chamber, which causes extreme heat in the cavern and air that is difficult to breathe. This mine has a great deal of trouble maintaining miners, as they tend to quickly sicken and leave the mine. The turnover of Imperial troops guarding the mine is also almost four times as high as even the dangerous Yassu Mine. The magma levels are also unstable, and could possibly render a highly profitable mine useless in a matter of hours should Red Mountain become increasingly active. The Dunirai Mine doesn't have such difficulties, but both share transportation problems. The excavated glass has to travel across Vvardenfell's northern Ashlands to reach the Sea of Ghosts. The route is made very difficult due to Daedra, assorted ash creatures, local tribesmen, and increasingly, the blight. A heavy escort is needed, which leaves both mines with only a minimal guard and isn't even sufficient to deter theft from the unscrupulous miners.
Several more sites exist on the eastern side of Vvardenfell on the edge of the Ashlands and Molag Amur regions. The Massama site is a developed Dunmer mine, but has been abandoned. The escort of the study group was only able to clear the first few rooms, but rich deposits were discovered. It is unknown why this site was abandoned by the Dunmer, but it appears that the mine may be used by the Telvanni periodically. Nonetheless, it is impossible to determine how deep or how extensive the reserves are. The Dissapla Mine is currently under Imperial control, but isn't nearly as extensive as the other Vvardenfell mines and doesn't have large estimated reserves. Nonetheless, the site is located near Zafirbel Bay where small boats are able to transport the glass to Wolverine Hall.
The glass mines on the mainland are far sparser and produce much less glass than those on Vvardenfell. The Molagreahd region possesses only a single working mine, Palinisbat, located outside of Ranyon-Ruhn. The mine itself isn't terribly profitable, but is located on a major waterway and the local Telvanni lord, a Master Mithras, has apparently been quite accommodating in the past. As expected, he takes a small portion of the profits, as the mine is located on his land.
An EEC prospector informed the study group of a large deposit off the cost of the mainland in the Sea of Ghosts, but further exploration was barred by the Telvanni in the region. He also mentioned that trace amounts of glass have been found near Zanammu, but the study group did not visit the region due to the danger.
The western coast of mainland Morrowind also has a few deposits, but is similar in paucity to those on the eastern mainland. A mine exists at the small town of Bodrem, an almost inaccessible Redoran backwater town. However, this mine is owned by a Redoran lord, and attempts to acquire the mine have failed. Some exploration has begun in the Shargon Hills region, but only small amounts of glass have been found.
Glass is an extremely valuable resource that must not slip beyond Imperial control. Should the Empire lose control of the mines in Morrowind, the limited glass markets in Tamriel would easily be manipulated by the Dunmer. Now, the Imperial hold on these mines is extremely tenuous. While Cyrodiil can certainly survive without the mines, they provide an important source of revenue. Glass will always remain subservient to ebony in accessibility and demand, but it is important the Imperial garrisons at the mines be tightened to reduce theft and deter attacks on the mines. While the study group was present in Morrowind, they observed pro-Dunmer rumblings and the indication of some unrest in the unlawful regions. As such, it would be prudent to defend the mines and means of transport to secure Imperial facilities.
General Warhaft asked the group to assess the feasibility of integrating a glass-armored unit into the Imperial army. While such a unit would be extremely flexible as it would be able to serve both heavy and light roles on the battlefield, the cost is prohibitive. The Dunmer manufacturing of the armor is a close-kept secret, with only a handful of unhelpful artisans in Vivec, Almalexia, and Molag Mar. No artisans were willing to travel to Cyrodiil, even with the extremely large sums offered to them. They did offer to create a large number of complete sets of glass armor; however, the lowest estimate was 154,800 septims per set, a clearly unreasonable sum for a military unit that would need a master glass smith and several hundred complete suits.