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Great Houses

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Ald'ruhn (Morrowind)

Ald'ruhn, capital of House Redoran on Vvardenfell.

For other uses, see Great Houses of Morrowind.

There are five organizations of Dunmer in the region of Vvardenfell that are known as houses. Together, they collectively ruled over the province or had ruled in the past.

Present HousesEdit

House RedoranEdit

House Redoran Banner
"House Redoran prizes the virtues of duty, gravity, and piety. Duty is to one's own honor and to one's family and clan. Gravity is the essential seriousness of life. Life is hard, and events must be judged, endured, and reflected upon with due care and earnestness. Piety is respect for the gods and the virtues they represent. A light, careless life is not worth living."
Main article: House Redoran

The Dunmer founded-and-dominated House Redoran is one of the six Great Houses of Morrowind. The house is made up of seasoned warriors who protect western Morrowind in the Velothi Mountains from Nord invaders from the province of Skyrim. Their holdings in the mainland of Morrowind include a large portion of the Western Mountains, the Northwestern Highlands, the Great Valley, and part of Solstheim.

In The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind the Council Seat of House Redoran in the district of Vvardenfell is situated in Ald'ruhn. Their main capital in the province of Morrowind is Blacklight.

The House Redoran prizes the three virtues of duty, gravity, and piety. Duty is to one's honor, and to one's family, and to one's clan. Gravity is the essential seriousness of life. Life is hard and events must be endured and reflected upon with care and earnest. This does not mean that life cannot be enjoyed; it simply means that it is important for one to recognize the fundamental value and import of the lives of oneself and others. Piety is respect to the gods and the virtues they represent. A light, careless life is not worth living. An act against these is treason and may result in expulsion from the house, depending greatly on the degree of the offense. Murder is an extremely dishonorable act but an honorable duel is acceptable and even common within the house.

Athyn Sarethi

Athyn Sarethi Councilor of the House Redoran.

The House Redoran is ruled by an Arch-master, who is supported by his Councillors. This house believes itself to be beyond most of the other houses due to their honor and martial prowess. They hate the Ashlanders, considering them to be heretics against the Tribunal. Some segments of House Redoran believe they should be removed as well as the blasphemous vampire clans. They hate the murderers and thieves of the Camonna Tong and the Thieves Guild. They are allied with the Tribunal Temple. Though not exactly friendly, House Redoran has a great amount of respect for those with martial prowess such as the Imperial Legion and Fighters Guild. While not priests or holy crusaders like House Indoril, the Redoran are nevertheless driven by firm religious convictions.

In-game books involving House Redoran include non-fiction informative books and fiction. The non-fiction includes the Red Book of 3E 426 (a directory to Redoran councilors and council affairs), The True Noble's Code (an informative recruiting book for House Redoran), and Redoran Cooking Secrets (a book on Redoran cooking). Redoran fiction includes the novel The Hope of the Redoran, a tale of irony of a seemingly impossible victory by a Redoran housemember against his cousin who seems to be chosen by fate.

After the events of Morrowind and during the disappearance of the Nerevarine, Ald'Ruhn is said to have been destroyed when a large Daedric force attacked the city. The councilmembers were forced to resurrect the dread emperor crab Ald'skar whose shell they had made their home in. Even this was apparently not enough and the city was destroyed while the Daedra prepared to assault the Ghostgate itself. It is believed that what remains of the Redoran leadership has since returned to the old capital at Blacklight on the provincial mainland.

House TelvanniEdit

"The wizard-lords of House Telvanni have traditionally isolated themselves, pursuing wisdom and mastery in solitude. But certain ambitious wizards-lords, their retainers, and clients have entered whole-heartedly into the competition to control and exploit Vvardenfell's land and resources, building towers and bases all along the eastern coast."Great Houses of Morrowind
House Telvanni Banner
Main article: House Telvanni

Traditionally isolationists, most House Telvanni Wizard-lords pursue wisdom and mastery in solitude. But certain ambitious Wizards, their retainers, and their clients have entered wholeheartedly into the competition to control and exploit Vvardenfell's resources, by building towers and bases all along the eastern coast. They believe that wisdom confers power and power confers right.

House Telvanni has two capitals: one is Sadrith Mora on Vvardenfel, and the second is Port Telvannis, situated in the northeastern reach of continental Morrowind, on a small island.

Telvanni have little respect for anyone other than themselves, including other members of House Telvanni. They prefer to build their towers without stairs, forcing visitors to bring some sort of levitation magic. This not only gives them more seclusion, but acts as a sort of test to see if their visitors are worthy.

They have worked with the other Houses on some rare occasions such as breaking the monopoly of the Mages Guild that House Hlaalu had the initiative to stand against. Many Telvanni are known to be necromancers, some driving themselves mad with the practice, and their retainers are often involved in illegal activities, making House Telvanni unpopular amongst other Houses, although this is likely the way they prefer it to be. House Telvanni is the main source of business for the Morrowind slavery, although their slaves are not truly necessary. Many if not most of the oldest Telvanni wizards living on the furthest eastern coasts of Morrowind are thought to be either Vampires or Liches.

Tel Aruhn Exterior View

Tel Aruhn.

House Telvanni is quite wealthy. Some accounts claim that as a whole, the House has a net worth rivaling the riches of the Imperial Treasury. In this way, it is very fortunate that Telvanni (as a rule) have very little regard for material prosperity. Much of this financial leverage is greatly mitigated by the fact that many Telvanni exhaust their resources with ceaseless bickering and infighting. Entire cities have been known to change hands repeatedly between two or more Telvan Wizard-lords over petty grievances and minor disputes that have, over the centuries, grown into major blood-wars. Often, the citizens of Telvanni controlled regions do not care much for or even especially notice the internal politics of the Great House, as abstract magickal vendettas between lofty, never-seen plutocrats and their legions of paid pawns rarely interrupt the lives of the common Dunmeri serf. A few notable exceptions have broken the silence of the ivory tower before, such as instances of Telvanni lords massacring each other's logistical assets, however the House has various ways of making such occurrences "disappear" when the net effect of bad PR becomes too high. Additionally, a great deal of Telvanni wealth is spent on purely hedonistic extravagance and many luxuries for which most Telvanni have no real use.

Mistress Dratha

Dratha of house Telvanni.

Unlike other organizations in Tamriel, Telvanni do not bond themselves to each other. They value their personal independence and privacy above anything else. Belonging to House Telvanni does not mean much for its members. They have just one rule: there are no rules. Telvanni describe it with the following words:

"If you steal from another Telvanni, but still live, then clearly you deserve whatever you stole. Murdering your opponents by magic or treachery is the traditional way of settling disputes. If you win, then clearly your argument has more merit. You may be expelled as in any other Great House, but most Telvanni will not care or even know about it." Telvanni have only a formal administrative system, and their House serves only to discuss common interests and share resources amongst the truly magickally gifted. Most Telvanni wizard-lords loathe the Mages Guild, considering it a pedestrian organization filled with no-talent hacks, impotent old blowhards, has-beens and other assorted conjurors of cheap parlor tricks.

House Telvanni has a plan to peacefully occupy all uninhabited parts of Vvardenfell in their own distinctive way. Any major construction projects in Vvardenfell require the consent of the Duke of Ebonheart, which is patently hard to obtain, and all other organizations suffer by this. The Telvanni, however, have no fear or respect towards Imperial law, and younger House Telvanni retainers are frequently sent, occasionally with a contingent of slaves, to build their towers across the remote unseen and un-looked for regions for Vvardenfell, not asking or informing anyone. According to the House's plan, as the towers grow to towns, most of Vvardenfell should de facto become theirs. Almost all Telvanni are powerful, wealthy wizards, and can protect themselves against the law, but such expansion is a danger for all other Great Houses, and they sometimes attack less protected Telvanni outposts.

In The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, this is reflected in a double-sided quest about Odirniran, just one of those outposts, run by a lone necromancer Milyn Faram. Hlaalu have sent a group to attack Odirniran, and the fight has come to a stalemate. If the player is with House Telvanni, he is sent to destroy the Hlaalu still besieging the tower, and if he is with the Hlaalu, he gets a mission to rescue one of Hlaalu taken hostage and kill the necromancer.

During the events of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, House Telvanni provided much of the protection of the province from the Daedra hordes of Mehrunes Dagon by actively seeking out and closing the Oblivion Gates. It is unknown based on rumors in Cyrodiil at the time whether any other Great Houses participated in this with the Telvanni.

During The Elder Scrolls V: Dragonborn the player has an opportunity to be made an honorary member of House Telvanni by Neloth.

House IndorilEdit

"House Indoril is openly hostile to Imperial culture and religion, and preserves many traditional Dunmer customs and practices in defiance of Imperial law." - Great Houses of Morrowind
Main article: House Indoril

House Indoril is one of the Great Houses of Vvardenfell. The great Chimer hero Nerevar was the head of this House during the early First Era. House Indoril is a staunch supporter of the Tribunal Temple, many of the Temple Ordinators and other Temple heroes are members of this House. This connection has given it a big influence on all political decisions in Morrowind.


An Ordinator.

Prior to Imperial conquest, House Indoril had been the dominant Great House throughout Morrowind's history. During the war with Tiber Septim's Empire, House Indoril was strongly against Imperial occupation. When Septim incorporated Morrowind into his Empire, Indoril refused to submit to Imperial rule. At the time the Lord High Councilor of the Grand Council, a council comprised of the heads of the Great Houses, was an Indoril and would not accept the treaty or step down, so he was assassinated and replaced with a member of House Hlaalu. More power struggles went on between the two Great Houses, with House Hlaalu, in support of Imperial accommodation, coming out the victor. Still unwilling to accept membership within the Empire, many Indoril nobles committed suicide, weakening the House.

In the game Oblivion, citizens of Cyrodiil speak of House Indoril being in ruins as the result of machinations of the new king, Hlaalu Helseth, and his House Hlaalu and House Dres allies.

In the Third Era, House Indoril had no territorial holdings on the island of Vvardenfell, all of its territory is located on mainland Morrowind. Its capital is Mournhold, also the capital of Morrowind itself.

House DresEdit

"House Dres is an agrarian agricultural society, and its large saltrice plantations rely completely on slave labor for their economic viability. Always firm Temple supporters, House Dres is hostile to Imperial law and culture, and in particular opposed to any attempts to limit the institution of slavery." - Great Houses of Morrowind
House Banner Dres
Main article: House Dres

House Dres is one of the Great Houses of Morrowind. The house concentrates on agriculture and the slave trade and is located in the south-eastern part of Morrowind. Its influence on Morrowind politics has weakened considerably since Morrowind's surrender to the Tamrielic Empire. As it uses slave labor to keep its farms going and is particularly opposed to Imperial power and other races of Tamriel, it is greatly at odds with the values of the Empire (which forbids slavery).

House Dres is the most conservative of Morrowind's Great Houses, to the extent that the Daedra worship of the Chimer is still commonly practiced by its members. During the war in which Morrowind became a province of the Empire of Tiber Septim, it was one of the Houses, along with House Indoril and House Redoran, to resist Imperial forces.

More recently, after the events of Morrowind, House Dres has apparently undergone some significant changes. Since then, King Hlaalu Helseth has outlawed slavery in Morrowind, but Dres has allied with Helseth and is apparently finally accepting Imperial rule. Currently, the reasons and motivations for this change, as well as the effect of the outlaw of slavery on House Dres, are unknown.

House Dres holds no territory on the island of Vvardenfell. Its territory is all located on mainland Morrowind, along the southern border with Black Marsh. The capital of House Dres is Tear.

House SadrasEdit

Main article: House Sadras

House Sadras is a great house that rose to prominence during the Fourth Era. They joined the ruling Council of Morrowind, along with House Telvanni, Dres, Indoril and Redoran.[1]

Disbanded/Revoked HousesEdit

House HlaaluEdit

"As a result of its close relationship with the Imperial administration, House Hlaalu has emerged as politically and economically dominant among the Great Houses of Vvardenfell and Morrowind. Hlaalu welcomes Imperial culture and law, Imperial Legions and bureaucracy, and Imperial freedom of trade and religion. Hlaalu still honors the old Dunmer ways -- the ancestors, the Temple, and the noble houses -- but has readily adapted to the rapid pace of change and progress in the Imperial provinces." - Great Houses of Morrowind
House Hlaau Sign
Main article: House Hlaalu

As House Hlaalu's territory borders that of Cyrodiil and they are not a warrior house, the Hlaalu quickly embraced the Empire soon after they arrived in Morrowind. House Hlaalu welcomes Imperial Law and the Legions, and the freedom of trade and religion. Consequently, members of the House tend to be well-regarded by members of Imperial factions. They show little respect for Dunmer traditions, Dunmer ancestors, the Dunmer Temple, and the Noble Houses.

As it is tradition for the King of Morrowind to be selected by an Imperial representative, Hlaalu's strong Imperial ties make their kin ideal for ruling. The current king is Hlaalu Helseth and although he satisfies his position as ruler of Morrowind, he feels unmotivated to represent his house officially, making his position as high king of Morrowind more of a sentimental position rather beneficial position for the house. This is most likely due to the fact his father was a miner, ranked low in the hierarchy of Hlaalu, making him disregard his house.

Duke Vedam Dren

Duke Vedam Dren of Ebonheart.

Because of their connections with the Empire, the House has made many friends and enemies. Ashlanders, and the three vampire clans of Berne, Quarra, and Aundae are all enemies of the house, due to the exile of the Ashlanders by the Hlaalu, and the antagonism of the undead by said Hlaalu. Due to political differences, the House is hostile with House Redoran and House Telvanni, but does not maintain open warfare. House Indoril bears much hatred towards the Hlaalu due to the constant assassinations and plots enacted against them after Vivec signed the armistice. The Camonna Tong, a crime syndicate with Hlaalu connections, has managed to put the House on uneasy terms with the Thieves Guild. It is said that much of the Great House is run by the Camonna Tong.

The Great House has bases on Vvardenfell in the cities of Balmora, Vivec, Suran, Gnaar Mok, and Hla Oad. The Duke of Vvardenfell, Vedam Dren, is a powerful ally of House Hlaalu due to his former grandmaster status. The true capital of Great House Hlaalu is Narsis, a city on the mainland of Morrowind, in the south, near the borders of both Cyrodiil and Black Marsh. In Vvardenfell, Balmora is the seat of their power, despite the fact that no councillors live there.

House Hlaalu saw its status of Great House revoked during the Fourth Era. This was due to Empire abandoning Morrowind during the Oblivion Crisis. Since the other Great Houses could not take their anger out on the Empire, they targeted House Hlaalu, who were staunch Imperial supporters. The House became an outcast and a pariah, losing almost all of its power.[2]

House DagothEdit

"Pity Dagoth Ur and the Sixth House. All they do, all they are is foul and evil, but they began in brightness and honor, and the cause of their fall was their loyal service to you, Lord Nerevar. You told Lord Dagoth to guard the profane tools beneath Red Mountain, and thus he was tempted. He did your bidding when he tried to keep these tools from the Tribunal, and so he hates you, who betrayed him, and the Tribunal, who mocked his honor, attacked him, and stole the profane tools for their own use." - Peakstar
House Dagoth Banner
Main article: House Dagoth

House Dagoth was one of the six Chimer Great Houses of Morrowind. The members of the House were known as brave warriors and powerful enchanters. Voryn Dagoth, the leader of the House, allied himself with the young Nerevar, offering his wisdom, strength, and friendship to the future ruler. Over time, he became Nerevar's senior and most-trusted advisor.

House Dagoth's fall occurred at the Battle of Red Mountain. Extremely loyal to his friend Nerevar, Voryn Dagoth (the future Dagoth Ur) fought beside him within the Dwemer fortress, and was ordered to defend the profane tools which caused the Dwemer people to vanish from reality. At the time, Voryn suggested that the tools be destroyed to prevent damage to the Chimer. Nerevar, wounded and forlorn due to the war, rejected the notion, and left to confer with his three councillors, Vivec, Almalexia, and Sotha Sil, ordering him to protect them until his return.

After some time, Nerevar decided along with his council to confiscate the tools and keep them safe from evil hands, but Dagoth Ur refused to give up the tools, insisting he was ordered by Nerevar not to give them up. The Almsivi, or the Tribunal Temple, states that he had been corrupted by the Heart of Lorkhan and Nerevar fought Dagoth Ur for possession of the tools and defeated him.

The House was not dead, however - Dagoth Ur and seven of his blood brothers fled deeper into Red Mountain, and the children of his House were adopted by others. Over three millennia, Dagoth Ur and his brothers lay in a state of near-death deep below the Mountain. During this time, Dagoth Ur's mind explored the enchantments of the Profane Tools and their links to the Heart of Lorkhan. When he awoke near the end of the Second Era, little remained of Nerevar's friend as he was, but a creature existed who believed himself to have been betrayed by Nerevar and the Tribunal. These feelings incubated over time, pulling him farther into madness.

Dagoth ur Akulakhan

Dagoth Ur.

Using rituals, Dagoth Ur bound himself and his brothers directly to the Heart of Lorkhan, drawing directly on the immense power it possessed. Dagoth Ur saw this power as the birthright of his people, a divine right stolen long ago. His goal was to spread this gift to the Dunmer and possibly other people of Tamriel. To do so, he created a carrier disease, Corprus. He sent out a call to the remains of House Dagoth, creating Sleepers from those Dunmer whose ancestors had been adopted into other Houses. They soon became Dreamers and joined the Sixth House Cult, where the ultimate glory was to partake of the "Divine Disease" and be changed by Corprus.

It might be safe to say that, with the Heart of Lorkhan being released and the death of Dagoth Ur, House Dagoth was effectively destroyed at the hands of the Nerevarine. With not only the loss of the Heart of Lorkhan, which provided Dagoth Ur and his lieutenants with most of their power, and with the death of its leader, its demise is highly plausible.

The in-game book series, Poison Song, concerns a lost heir of House Dagoth, and his descent into the madness of a killing frenzy. It is not clear if the book is considered fiction or fact within the game.

House SothaEdit

Main article: House Sotha

House Sotha was one of the minor Houses of Vvardenfell until its destruction by Mehrunes Dagon in the times of Indoril Nerevar. The only one who survived the destruction of the House by Dagon was Sotha Sil, who was rescued by Indoril Nerevar and later became one of his most trusted advisors.

House MoraEdit

House Mora was one of the minor houses of Morrowind.[3] Notable members were Queen Barenziah, King Moraelyn, and Empress Katariah. In time the house had disbanded, many of its members being adopted into House Hlaalu.[OOG 1]


Notice: The following are out-of-game references. They are not found in any in-game books, but can still be considered part of The Elder Scrolls lore and are included for completeness.
  1. Interview With Three Booksellers

Start a Discussion Discussions about Great Houses

  • Great Houses and other timeframe related pages

    16 messages
    • I would have to agree with Bluesonic here. Having tabs for each house would confuse people, and then we would still have the same issue as...
    • I'd not use a tabber for all the houses on the "great houses" page, I'd use it on the "House Redoran" page for House Redoran in Morrowind (fi...

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