The most outstanding feature of the island is Red Mountain, a volcano located at its heart that continuously shoots ash into the skies. This has led to the large stretches of barren Ashlands, and downright hostile Molag Amur, where lava flows and ashstorms are common. These storms are also a source of the Blight during the events of Morrowind.
In all directions around Red Mountain, however, are a variety of ecologies, home to a large number of unique plants and creatures, as well as numerous settlements. The political climate is just as varied, with the Great Houses, the Empire, and the Temple, among others, all coexisting and competing for influence. Major cities of Vvardenfell include Vivec City, home of the Temple of Vivec and the Ministry of Truth, Balmora, seat of House Hlaalu.
Regions of VvardenfellEdit
The island of Vvardenfell is divided into nine separate regions, each with its own distinct climate, geography and ecology.
The Ascadian Isles are the fertile, green lowlands on the south-southwestern corner of Vvardenfell. Settlements include Vivec, Ebonheart and Pelagiad. The large Daedric ruins of Ald Sotha lie to the east of Vivec. Most of Vvardenfell's farms and plantations are in this region. These typically include Netch herding and agriculture. Plants that commonly grow in this region include heather, willow flowers, stoneflowers, gold kanet flowers, black anther plants, comberry, corkbulbs, saltrice, ash yams and marshmerrow. Slavery is common in this area, especially on the plantations.
The Ashlands are the dry and inhospitable areas surrounding Red Mountain to the north and west. Various Dunmer tribes inhabit the region, and the Redoran seat of Ald'ruhn is near the western edge. The Ashlands are inhospitable to most life, but some creatures have managed to adapt to the harsh terrain and climate. These include mainly Guar, Nix hounds, Cliff racers, and Alit. Some plants, like the Trama Root, manage to flourish in this desolate area. Nomads known as Ashlanders also call this region home. Hazardous ashstorms are frequent due to Red Mountain's volcanic activity. Blight is common in this region.
Azura's Coast is the long, rugged and mostly uninhabited coastline and islands of Vvardenfell's east and southeast. It is a wet and rocky area devoid of trees, only low-lying and hardy vegetation is able to exist here. The area, historically uninhabited, has seen a drastic increase in population since the opening of Vvardenfell. Most of Azura's Coast fell within the jurisdiction of House Telvanni, and they have established several settlements including Tel Branora to the south; Tel Aruhn, Tel Fyr, and the house seat of Sadrith Mora, within Zafirbel Bay; and Tel Mora, near the junction of Azura's Coast and the greater Sheogorad archipelago.
The Bitter Coast, is the humid southwestern coast of Vvardenfell so-named because of the area's salt marshes and swamps. It is also known as the Smuggler's Coast, due to the rampant smuggling that goes on in this area. Seyda Neen, Hla Oad, and Gnaar Mok are the only settlements in the region. The area is lush with tall trees, rich plantlife, and rare fungus. Plants and fungi that grow here include violet coprinus, luminous russula, bungler's bane, hypa facia, slough fern, and occasionally hackle-lo. There are several shipwrecks in the area, caused by the coast's infamous fog and bad weather. Numerous small islands dot the coast and there several grottos.
The Grazelands are plains that cover the majority of the northeastern coast of the island and are so named because of the Ashlander herds that graze there. It is largely uninhabited, except for the settlement in Vos village, as well as the wizard tower of Tel Vos. The Ahemmusa and Zainab Ashlander tribes also have settlements in the region.
The region located between the Ashlands and Azura's Coast is Molag Amur. It is a desolate expanse of lava flows, ravines, and fields of ash. Travel is difficult, and ashstorms frequently strike the area. Parts of the region are considered impassable, even by the ashlanders. The stronghold of Molag Mar, Erabenimsun camp, and the pilgrimage sites at Mount Assarnibibi and Mount Kand are the only inhabited sites. Molag Amur consists almost entirely of a confusing maze of foyadas. The dangers of Molag Amur are considerable; it is one of the areas most likely to be stricken by ash storms, and is a prime habitat of such creatures as cliff racers, shalks, and other hardy creatures such as alit. Due to this, and its winding labyrinthine passages, travellers can easily get lost or come under attack.
The western highlands stretching from the Sea of Ghosts to the city of Balmora is called The West Gash. The Hlaalu district seat of Balmora is here, as is the Imperial town of Caldera, the mining village of Gnisis, and the fishing villages of Ald Velothi and Khuul. Vegetation in the region is sparse, but hardy. Common plants are kreshweed, roobrush and chokeweed.
The large island of Sheogorad is on the northern tip of Vvardenfell, and due to its rugged terrain and hostile creatures, it is largely uninhabited, except for the small villages of Dagon Fel and Ald Redaynia. The population is mostly composed of Nords, who claim to have settled here even before the Chimers claimed Morrowind. Numerous ruins dot the landscape, and there are several daedric and dwemer ruins in the area. The region is named after Sheogorath, the Daedric Prince of Madness.
Red Mountain is the central, defining feature of Vvardenfell. It is a giant volcano, steep and rugged, from which ash storms continually issue. Surrounding the mountain is the magical Ghostfence, which fences in the many demon of the region, and filters out the disease-laden "blight" which issues from the crater. The only official entrance is at the fortified outpost of Ghostgate, in which pilgrims, as well as the Buoyant Armigers, reside. In addition, an ebony mine burrows beneath the eastern portion of the Ghostfence and opens out onto the slopes of Red Mountain. Numerous Dwemer ruins dot its slopes, and Dagoth Ur resides inside a facility deep inside the mountain, and the majority of the inhabitants in the region are servants of Dagoth Ur. Other than that, it is uninhabited, though you can find the occasional mine on the Mountain's slopes, for it is rich in natural resources such as ebony ore and raw glass. Plants are extremely scarce and most of the trees are dead. Only trama shrubs, scathecraw and fire ferns have a chance of surviving here. Adventurers rarely venture past Ghostgate.
Politics of VvardenfellEdit
Vvardenfell politics is a dance between the three Great Houses of Hlaalu, Telvanni, and Redoran, as well as the Temple, both Imperial and Dunmer, and the Empire itself. The houses maintain an air of peace and fraternal loyalty, but constant incursions, especially by 'rogue Telvanni', keep tensions high. Adding to this political tension is the strong influence of the nativist Dunmer temple, which controls much of Vvardenfell, and the twin influences of the Empire and the Imperial Cult, which wish to maintain stability and control the island.
Morrowind was the only province where slavery was still legal, until sometime after the events of Morrowind but before the events of Oblivion. It is quite possible that the Nerevarine abolished slavery.
The Blight is a serious disease that infects people and animals. It is a major factor in the events of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind as one of the primary antagonisms of the game.
The Ashblight emanates from Red Mountain in the form of Ashstorms. These storms are reddish dust storms that carry the blight and have extremely high winds associated with them. Due to the danger of infection and belligerent creatures, residents of Vvardenfell often advise against travelling during an Ashstorm.
The Ashblight has several separate symptoms, depending on who it is contracted by. Characters who contract the disease are weakened by it: variants of the disease may reduce attributes such as strength and dexterity. The creatures of Morrowind are also affected by their infection. Creatures who have contracted the Ashblight often have higher Health and are stronger than their unaffected counterparts. The disease causes uncommon aggression in normally peaceful creatures, such as Kwama.
Origin and EliminationEdit
The Ashblight (along with Corprus) was created by Dagoth Ur, the main antagonist of the game. According to him, the Ashblight was used to help gain converts to the Sixth House cult. As Dagoth Ur resided in the ruins of the Dwemer stronghold in Red Mountain, the Ashblight spread through the Red Mountain Ashstorms. During the events of the third Elder Scrolls game, however, the Nerevarine, the reincarnation of an ancient warrior named Nerevar, killed Dagoth Ur and, therefore, cut the source of the Ashblight, effectively eliminating it. Afterwards, the ashstorms lose their red tint, and become simple ashstorms again; although the Blight is eliminated, a few "Blighted" creatures remain.
- Vvardenfell is visible from the Province of Skyrim in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. From the south-east of the map, in Eastmarch, an island can be seen to the east, outside of the explorable area. It has a large mountain on it, presumably Red Mountain, and is in the approximate direction in which Vvardenfell should lie. This island is accessible only by console commands.
- Vvardenfell and the Red Mountain can be seen from the island of Solstheim.