Daedric Ruin Guidelines

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This is Tamriel Rebuilt’s style guide for any interior developer creating a Daedric Ruin. These are some of the most iconic ruins in Morrowind, and it’s important to keep a consistent style with vanilla, while adding just enough to make each dungeon interesting.

Shell and Layout

Small Daedric ruin example.

The first thing to figure out is the size and layout of the ruin. Usually the size (small, medium, or large) is given in the claim. A small ruin is normally one cell, consisting of one main room with the shrine. Assalkushalit (a ruin in the Red Mountain region) is a great example of the size of a small ruin.

Medium Daedric ruin example. The two cells were combined into one and some rocks were removed for better visibility.

A medium ruin is usually two cells, an outer shrine and an inner shrine. There are multiple rooms through the dungeon (3-4), and normally there is a significant cultist presence. Assurdirapal (a ruin in the Sheogorad region) is a great example for the size of a medium ruin.

Large ruin example. The three cells were combined into one and only the layout is shown for better visibility.

A large ruin is three or more cells, with many rooms and a significant cultist presence. There are multiple ways the cells can be approached. There can be an outer shrine, inner shrine, and antechamber; there can be an outer shrine, left and right wing, and inner shrine; there can be upper and lower levels, etc. Large ruins can include cave sections for variety, as long as the cave set is appropriate for the region. Great examples for large ruins are Ald Daedroth (on the border between Sheogorad and Azura’s Coast) and Ald Sotha (in the Ascadian Isles).

In Daedric ruins, it is imperative to stick to the interior set, which can be found under “statics” beginning with the ID in_dae or T_Dae_DngRuin_I. Normal rooms should be 2x3, 3x3, or 3x4 pieces, while shrine chambers in the more major dungeons can extend to be larger (such as in Ald Sotha, where the final room is 4x5 with the corners cut out). Connecting the rooms are hallways, which shouldn’t be too long before reaching a room.

It’s also important to make sure the interior fits inside the parameters of the exterior. If the exterior of the dungeon is on a hill or a cliffside, be aware of the limitations. When you make the shell, always copy it into the exterior and fit it with the door just to make sure it fits (if this creates a dirty reference in the exterior, you can clean it with TESAME).

As a rule of thumb, check out various other vanilla Daedric Ruins to get a good look at what shell decisions they make, and feel free to replicate the ideas here and there. It is much better to copy the structure of a vanilla room you like than to freehand it for the first time and end up with a vast, empty room.


Lighting Settings

A good standard/default lighting setting to use.

Starting with ambient and sunlight, vanilla usually has a really low ambient, a dark-gray or black color, between 0/0/0 and 20/20/20. To compensate, vanilla puts the sunlight value higher, at somewhere around 25/45/45, to bring out a blue-greenish color.

Tamriel Rebuilt’s standard is to keep sunlight really low (since sunlight is directional light), something like 10/10/10. To compensate for this darkening, the ambient is bumped up to take the purpose of adding that slight blue-green color. Something like 30/40/40 is suitable.

Fog is really important in Daedric Ruins, especially for those who use vanilla fog/view distance, as the big rooms of Daedric Ruins often show visible fog. The fog is typically a greenish-blue color. A normal value is 31/44/41, with a density of 1.0 so the color is visible.

Alternate lighting: while blue-green as described above is the standard lighting, and should be used in most Daedric Ruins, you might encounter situations in which it is better to use alternative lighting values. For example, Khalaan’s Daedric Ruins have reddish lighting due to their surroundings and presence in the daedric realm. Perhaps a ruin with lava in it might benefit from redder lighting, as well as a major Mehrunes Dagon shrine. Purplish is another option for such situations. These are possible options for lighting, but they should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, with blue-green being the default.

Light Sources

_pulse lights placed in the corners of rooms.

Hallways: Hallways should pretty much always be using Dunmer floor lamps. In the upper levels of a ruin, standard yellow/orange light should be primarily used (such as light_de_lamp_03_256). In the lower levels of a larger ruin, it is acceptable to use red lamps, which are good to visually indicate cultists (such as light_de_lamp_03_512_red).

Rooms: There are several more options for lighting larger rooms. First, you can use the same lamps that light the hallways. Second, there are multiple specific lights for Daedric Ruins. Light_dae_censer should be used in rooms, either as a centerpiece or an accompaniment for the larger rooms. Light_dae_brazier00 is another option for the larger rooms, and lights up a big area. Other dunmer candles, or even the common triple candle (light_com_candle_06) are good to use near shrines or cultist living areas.

Ambience: Consider using blue_256_pulse in the corners of rooms or hallways just to add a little bit of color and ambience to your dungeon. If you decide to make a ruin with more reddish or purplish lighting, red_256_pulse might be a better option.

Asset Usage and Cluttering

Knowing which assets to use and how they should be used is essential. It’s easy to go wild and do something with several assets that are not meant to happen. This section is by no means an exhaustive list, but it gives a few preliminary ideas of how to use the assets.

Daedric Assets

  • ex_dae and T_Dae_DngRuin_X: Do NOT use these assets in an interior, barring two big exceptions. They are meant for the exterior, and do not make sense in the interior in most cases, so it’s best to just avoid them entirely. The exceptions are (1) statues for shrines, and (2) detailing for cave portions of Daedric Ruins.
  • in_dae_: This is your go-to for filling Daedric Ruins. It has several sub-categories that are useful to know.
    • in_dae_room_: These are the pieces used to make rooms. Most versions are clean/normal, but some (labeled in_dae_room_ruin_) are more worn and ruined, good for adding variety.
    • in_dae_hall_: These are the pieces used to make hallways. Hallways do not have to be symmetrical; in fact, they’re meant not to be. Don’t be afraid to let all the stairs shoot to one side, asymmetry is part of the character of this set.
    • in_dae_rubble_: This is the rubble that will be spread around to indicate the “ruin” part of “Daedric Ruin”. Laying these pieces on the floor, or having them stick out of placed rocks and cave sections is a good way to use them.
    • in_dae_connect_lcave: this is for connecting a ruin to the lavacave set.
    • in_dae_doorjamb_01 and in_dae_door_01: these should be used for separating rooms in one cell. The first is under “statics” and the second is under “door”.
    • in_dae_doorjamb_load and in_dae_door_load_oval: these are used for connecting cells (to the exterior, or to another cell in the ruin). The first is under “statics” and the second is under “door”.
    • in_dae_mezzanine_edge, in_dae_pillar_tall.max, in_dae_platform_512_01, and in_dae_platform_stairs: The previous assets are the barebones of the Daedric Ruins, but the usage of these four is really how you make your interior shine.
  • T_Dae_DngRuin_I: The Tamriel_Data set has some more cave connect pieces that are useful, as well as some other shell pieces worth checking out.


  • Sound_Daedric_Chant00: found under “activators”, this sound is essential to include in your Daedric Ruin. As a rule of thumb, one should be used per daedric room. In very large rooms, multiple may be used. They should be placed above the player’s head, in statues, and in the censer lights.

Cave Assets

Rocks are used in the corners of rooms to make it feel like a ruin, and to fill up the rooms a bit.

Adding large rocks in the rooms of these ruins is a good way to reduce monotony, and a good way to include rubble assets (by bleeding them into the rock). Which cave set you use (lavacave, pycave, mudcave, moldcave, bonecave) depends on the region and the claim.

In larger ruins, it is also acceptable to have cave portions of the ruin, as long as it uses the proper set (as described above). Make sure the cave walls are the majority of the cave, and rocks are applied in a vanilla or slightly-higher-than-vanilla density. It is a common problem to include too many rocks, which makes the cave visually distracting and overcomplicated, and often impedes navigation.

How to Clutter

First of all, Daedric Ruins are sparser than some other interior types, and this is okay. Since they are often filled up with daedra and cultists, being emptier allows for better movement and leads to a better overall dungeon experience. Also, it allows for better visibility of the fog, which will color the dungeon and create ambience.

The most common way to fill an empty room is with the use of interior rubble (in_dae_rubble_). This should be the go-to unless you have some specific idea for a room.

Consider using these:

  • Bedrolls for cultists
  • Urns (both vanilla’s urns and Tamriel_Data’s, which are under T_MwDe_Furn_U in “containers”)
  • Food and drink (food ingredients, bottles, stoneware/wooden tableware) for cultists
  • De_P furniture on occasion (make sure to use the Tamriel_Data flattened versions of some of them, under T_De_FurnP in “statics”)
  • Vanilla carpets on occasion
  • Interior rubble
  • Books that are related to the daedra, or just standard books (any book worth over 200 gold is considered a rarity, and will be discussed in the Loot section)
  • Cursed items (many objects have Dae_cursed somewhere in their IDs, such as ingredients or some weapons, or gold. One of these items should be placed at each shrine, since it is scripted to summon a dremora.)
  • Skulls
  • Blood (T_Glb_Var_Blood_)


The loot you find in a dungeon is the most important part. It is the reward for the player’s exploration, both interior and exterior, so it should be suited to the challenge the player has to endure.

Generic Loot

  • Gold: either placed directly in the interior, or through use of a container such as com_chest_02_lev_gold or com_sack_02_gold_100
  • com_chest_Daed_ruin_01: contains generic loot catered to Daedric Ruins
  • Scrolls: either placed directly in the interior, or through use of a container such as T_MwDe_Furn_U1ScrollB
  • Alchemy apparatus
  • Alchemy ingredients: both daedric and suited to the region
  • Potions: either placed directly in the interior, or through use of a container such as chest_01_v_potion_al_01
  • Books: books over the value of 200 are considered rarities. Depending on the size, a Daedric Ruin could include 1-4 of these, 0-2 being skill/spell books
  • Enchanted/Non-enchanted weapons and armor: use anything below glass/ebony as generic loot.

High-End Loot

  • Ebony/Glass: weapons can be used more liberally than armor. While a small-medium ruin could have one feature piece of glass or ebony weapons, a large ruin might have several, including an armor piece.
  • Daedric: like glass/ebony, Daedric weapons can be used a bit more liberally, especially with arrows/throwing weapons. Armor, due to its extreme rarity, is either predetermined in the claim, added later, or used with permission.

Hopefully this has given you a better idea on how to construct your Daedric Ruins. It is by no means an exhaustive list of things to do, but should serve as a general guide until you have the hang of it. Happy modding!