NPC and Creature Guidelines

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A guide to adding NPCs and creatures in the Construction Set.

While this page is most useful to NPCers and quest developers, interior and exterior developers can also add creatures and NPC markers to their claims, should they wish to.

NPCing Claim Workflow

Getting Started

  1. Review the plan. Make note of any important NPCs, locations, or plotlines that are going on in the claim's location. These will factor into your claim in various ways. Usually these will be linked on the claim pages, but you may also want to ask on Discord or check the Forums, for example for information regarding the factions involved in your claim.
  2. Set the loading order. As with all other claims, you want to use:
    1. Tamriel_Data.ESM,
    2. the latest Tamriel_Data addon .ESP file,
      • Note: Tamriel Data is currently trialling merging all upates directly to the Tamriel_Data.ESM file. If this is (still) the case, you don't need the addon file.
    3. TR_Mainland.ESM,
    4. TR_Update.ESP,
    5. the appropriate section file for your claim.
    6. Your claim's own .esp file, where your new NPCs and dialogue will go.

Adding NPCs and Creatures

While ideally much of this the work is done for you already by exterior and interior developers, you will need to replace NPC placeholder marks with actual NPCs and place more NPCs and creatures where ever needed. Make sure you also familiarize yourself with the chapters below; the following is just an overview.

  1. Ensure that pathgrids exist: All cells should come with pathgrids included, but some may have been missed, especially when dealing with older interiors. NPCers should check and ensure every interior has one, and that every exterior with lots of obstacles or hills in their area have one. A tutorial on pathgrids can be found here:
  2. Replace T_Aid_NPC markers with real NPCs. Check the book text of the markers to see the design that the exterior or interior developer gave them. However, note that you are not obliged to stick 100% to these designs. Instead, you should use your judgment to make sure all NPCs fit in the context of your larger claim and TES III itself. Still, it's polite to discuss any deviations from original designs on Discord or the respective Claim Browser page.
  3. Add extra NPCs where needed. Note that unusual or counter-culture people are usually put into the game via quests; your job is to instead make the background actors, and so present an ordinary variety of slice-of-life, everyday average Joe's. They may have a little flavor to differentiate them from each other, but no more than one or two per claim should really stick out in the player's mind.
  4. Add extra creatures where needed. Exterior and interior makers should have added creatures already, but you should make sure they fit together in the area as a whole and add more when needed.
  5. Ensure you have all the service providers you need. Often this will be dictated based on the types of interiors and exteriors in the area you are working on. However, an NPCer should also make sure that magical services and enough trainers are around.
    • For important service providers, make sure you don't check Auto Calculate and do check Blocked, after you have finalized their inventory and stats.
  6. Ensure all NPCs have beds. It's good immersion to make sure there's a bed in town for every NPC you add. It's also good immersion to let some of your NPCs walk the streets instead of sitting around in their house all day. (Just be sure to tell the file merger to lock their front doors in the Merge Notes then.)

Adding Dialogue

Besides placing creatures and NPCs, you will also be responsible for fleshing out the local greetings and generic topics for your NPCs. The purpose of most of these topics is to give an overview of the local area: its landmarks, its people, its politics, its overarching plotlines, and a few things that the player may find of interest, such as shops, dungeons, or miscellaneous points of interest.

The following is just an overview; see the Writing and Dialogue Guidelines for more detailed info.

  1. Write your dialogue:
    • Create a separate text or spreadsheet file. While not strictly necessary, this makes the proofreader's job much easier when it comes to catching grammar or lore mistakes. For example, Google Docs and Google Sheets are easily shareable and free to use.
    • Write all needed topics. The claim description will usually list all of the topics you need to cover. Make sure you read the generic topics section of the Writing and Dialogue Guidelines. Briefly, the topics can be roughly categorized into two:
      • Static topics. You don't necessarily have to write more dialogue for these, unless explicitly instructed to in the claim description. That said, it is often a good idea to add some new lines here. In any case, always test that the in-gaming filtering produces fitting results for these!
        • little secret
        • little advice
        • Morrowind/Skyrim/Cyrodiil lore (Typically needs no additions.)
        • my trade (Typically needs no additions.)
        • Note: you don't need to add a Solstheim or Almalexia topic!
      • Location-specific topics. These will require new entries in your claim:
        • services
        • someone in particular
        • specific place
        • latest rumors (Keep in mind quest claims will add more entries here, so you only need to add a couple.)
        • Background
        • [Location topics] (Different topic name for each location, obviously.)
          • This will need different responses for scouts, savants, and in-location NPCs.
          • Consider making scout and savant dialogue for non-settlement locations off the beaten path, too.
        • [Important NPC topics] (Different topic name for each NPC, obviously.)
        • Note: Don't add the topics local area and local economy. TR used to add these, but they are now deprecated. Instead, the info contained in them should go into specific place or the Location topic.
    • Write needed greetings. See the dialogue guide for more information on what each greeting does. In an NPC claim, you will usually only deal in Greetings 7 and 9, as these categories handle NPC class Greetings (for instance, slaves and publicans, the latter of which may need to be specially worded for a new inn location) and location-based Greetings, respectively. In most cases, what is given to us by Vanilla in these categories is sufficient and you don't need to add any more.
  2. Proofread your dialogue. Use your separate files, or if you have already created text directly in the Construction Set, you can also create a text dump from the dropdown menus. Alternatively, TES3cmd will generate a text file of dialogue with the command tes3cmd dump “Data Files\MyPlugin.esp” -type info > blah.txt – this will create a file named blah.txt with a dump of your dialogue. It is often helpful to have a proofreader check your work before you start putting the dialogue into the game – ask for help on Discord.
  3. Implement your text in the Construction Set:
    • Use dialogue placeholders. Tamriel Rebuilt adds placeholders to common dialogue topics to better organize the massive amounts of dialogue in our mod, as well as to keep things from breaking upon merging claim files. Check that placeholders have been created for your claim’s area, and if not, ask a Senior or Lead Developer to add them to the appropriate section file. Do not ever place dialogue outside of these placeholders! Things will break.
    • Set dialogue filters. The main filters that will be used on most of your claim’s dialogue are:
      • Location-based variables (e.g., map numbers in Tamriel Rebuilt): All NPCs must include one of these. No exceptions.
      • NoLore: Generic dialogue needs to be filtered for Not Local NoLore == 0 (if meant for vanilla NPCs) or Not Local T_Local_NoLore == 0.
      • Disposition: Almost all generic NPC dialogue should carry the Disposition filter of 30.
      • Race, class, unique ID: Special care must be paid to NPCs like Khajiits, Argonians, Ashlanders, or mute characters, who have unique grammar and speaking patterns.

Merge Notes

If the section file you are adding NPCs to is an .ESP file, you will not be able to make any changes to any pre-existing objects (whether NPCs, locks on doors, object placements or stats, or interior cell names). Such changes will disappear upon your claim being merged or may even cause difficult-to-solve issues. Instead, you will have to leave Merge Notes, detailing the changes needed to be made to existing objects, upon merging your NPCs and dialogue (there will be several). These tasks will be left to senior developers who merge your claims (alternatively, you can request that senior developers do these changes preemptively, to make your development process easier). Such changes can involve:

  • Making doors locked,
  • Adding scripts to existing items,
  • Adding ownership to existing items,
  • Removing or replacing existing items,
  • Changing interior cell names.

Note: Tamriel Rebuilt and Project Tamriel are currently trialling making their sections files .ESM files instead. In that case, you will be able to make needed changes yourself, without fear of the changes getting lost; hence, merge notes will not be needed. Make sure whether your section file is an .ESM or .ESP, and act accordingly.

Placing Creatures and NPCs

You can place a creature at a little height from the ground. The game will place them on the ground for you.
  • Identify the creature you want to place. Make sure this is the base version and not one made for a quest (these will have IDs with map numbers).
  • Drag the creature from the object window into the cell. Place the creature slightly floating above the ground. Do not bother trying to align them with the ground – gravity will pull them down automatically in the game.
  • Make sure that there is enough room around the creature for them to move. Larger creatures will need more room to move, or else they will get stuck. It is always suggested to check creature/NPC placements in game to avoid this situation.
  • For leveled creatures: Keep in mind that any of the creatures could spawn. Dwemer leveled lists could spawn Dwemer spiders or Dwemer centurions – make sure there is enough room for either one.


The T_Aid_NPC marker that can only be seen in the Construction Set. This is used to note where an NPC should eventually be added.


Well thought-out NPCs are among the most impactful ways portraying the world to the player, but it can be easy to overdo.

Keep in mind that we are creating a living world, so do not get too "special snowflake-y" with your NPCs. Unusual or counter-culture people often feature in quests, but most NPCs should be background actors, presenting an ordinary variety of slice-of-life. Non-quest NPCs may have a little flavor to differentiate them from each other, but few should really stick out in the player's mind.

When in doubt, ask what a town needs to sustain itself, and what your NPCs will be doing on any given day. What is their job? What faction do they belong to and how does that color their worldview? Who are their friends, their family, their bosses, their underlings? What might they think of the player coming into their town or home?

Most importantly, ask yourself: What do they offer to your world space? In Morrowind's representative game design, one house may be the equivalent of five to ten actual houses if the world was truly to scale, so consider what kind of ratio you are imparting to your claim as a whole when picking races and personalities.

Finally, though your claim design will frequently make suggestions here, you can discuss modifications to the plans on Discord. Also, be aware that interiors and questlines are often planned around these NPCs, so take care in not making your changes too extreme.

Race and Gender

While on vanilla's Vvardenfell the ratio of Dunmer to outlanders is around 50:50, on the mainland outlanders are much less populous. In TR's towns the ratio will be more like 75:25. Obviously, this will change a bit depending on the location.

Some races are more common amongst slaves in particular. In general, Indoril prefer men and mer races for house servants but beast races for field servants. Hlaalu keep mostly beast races, Dres keep almost exclusively Argonians, and Telvanni and wealthy Velothi generally keep a mix of all the races. (It should be noted that Redoran very rarely keep slaves, though they are not against the practice itself.) Sometimes Dunmer are also enslaved, though this is usually implied to be a less harsh sentence than it is for the other races of Tamriel.

For gender, males and females are about equal in population, profession, and general politics. (Children, outside of older teenagers, are by the choice of the original game's developers not represented in-game, and so any mention to them in dialogue should be used sparingly, if at all.) Ashlanders are the exception and have strict gender roles, where men are warriors and both types of 'khans, while women are wise women, healers and soothsayers. (Both may be hunters.) Witches, too, are always females – try Warlock for guys.

Adding NPC Markers (Interior and Exterior Developers)

Interior and exterior developers are expected to mark in their claims where and which NPCs they envision being added in their claims. This eases a gruelling job for the NPCers and helps the vision of the interior/exterior maker come to life more accurately.

The NPCs themselves should be placed by questers/NPCers after the interior/exterior is merged. What interior/exterior developers can do is place temporary NPC models to make their job easier. For example, if the interior developer knows this is a high level dungeon, they should place NPC markers with with a description that will ensure a high level NPC is placed there. 

Once you change the name of T_Aid_NPC and save, you will be presented with this prompt. Click Yes.

To place these NPC markers:

  1. Click the Book tab in the Object Window and rename T_Aid_NPC to TR_m#_YourIntOrExtName_npc1 (of course, replacing the latter with information pertinent to your interior/exterior). When it asks if you want to create a new object, click Yes.
  2. An example on what to add under the book text of a custom NPC marker.
    In the book text, input optional details about the NPC:
    • Race
    • Class
    • Hostile / Non-hostile
    • Level
    • Equipment
    • Services
    • You are also welcome to suggest a name (see instructions below).
    • Ideas for or role in a quest, if that is coordinated on Discord beforehand.
  3. Place the NPC marker in its intended position, and continue with the interior work as needed.

Note: Questers and NPCers have the prerogative to change your ideas, although it is polite of them to provide reasoning for that. If you wish to make sure you vision for NPCs gets in, become a quest developer and do the NPC claim yourself.

Adding NPCs (Quest and NPC developers)

Questers and NPCers who add NPCs themselves will need to fill in the below fields in the Construction Set.


Every project has its own guidelines on how to ID objects in the Construction Set. Your NPC's ID should start with PC_, Sky_, or TR_ if you are working on Cyrodiil, Skyrim, or Morrowind, respectively. NPCs added to Tamriel Data for use across multiple provinces should have an ID starting with T_. Refer to the links in the ID Guidelines section in the Modding category for more information.

Note: For NPCs added specifically for quests, it is good to add the _q_ moniker into the ID after the map/location identifier.


All NPCs added are required to have a script for dialogue purposes. Without an appropriate script, NPCs will talk as if they are on Vvardenfell. Most NPCs should be given one of the scripts from Tamriel Data starting with T_ScNpc_.

If you need to write a custom script for a quest, it is best to start with one of the Tamriel Data T_ScNpc_ scripts as a base, and to keep the following in mind:

  • Your script must always include short NoLore to filter out most vanilla dialogue.
  • Your script must always include short T_Local_NPC so your NPC will have generic, cross provincial dialogue. This includes voice lines.
  • Your script must always include the province specific variable that marks the NPC as living in a specific place. You should make sure it is set to the appropriate (project specific) value as well. Check the relevant ID guidelines to see which variable you need for your NPC.
  • If you script is to be attached to a Khajiit (either the vanilla race or one of the races added by Tamriel Data), your script must include short T_Local_Khajiit. This variable must be set to 1 if the NPC is a Khajiit. If you wish to use the same script for multiple NPCs, not all of whom are Khajiit, copy the appropriate lines from one of the Tamriel Data scripts so the variable gets set to -1 for non-Khajiit and 1 for Khajiit. This variable exists to make it possible to share dialogue between the various Khajiit races (or exclude them from it) without needing to duplicate the same line for every subspecies.
  • If you do not want your NPC to have generic dialogue, include short T_Local_NoLore. This variable is analogous to the vanilla NoLore variable and is shared between the different projects.
  • All faction questgivers, most miscellaneous questgivers, as well as most NPCs moving between cells should have T_Local_NoLore.
  • If you want your NPC to have or not have generic dialogue only in certain conditions, add short T_Local_NoLore and set it to 1 or 0 respectively when necessary.

As slaves and vampires have some further scripting attached to them, for your convenience we include variations of the map script to use for these types of NPCs, for example T_ScNpc_Mw_Map2VampAundae, T_ScNpc_Mw_Map2Slave, T_ScNpc_Mw_Map2Nolore. See also the Vampirism guidelines.


Khajiit NPCs using one of the non-beast Khajiit races with a tail need to use the upright Khajiit animations. epos_kha_upr_anim_f.nif for women and epos_kha_upr_anim_m.nif for men. Currently this applies to the T_Els_Ohmes-raht and T_Els_Suthay races.


NPCs should only use global classes or classes specific to the province they appear in. Global classes are either vanilla classes, or classes whose ID starts with T_Glb_. Provincial classes start with T_ followed by that province's abbreviation. An overview of all classes can be found here.

We use vanilla classes to ease the sharing of dialogue between vanilla, provinces, and third party mods. If your NPC is not located in Morrowind and a Tamriel Data version of the class (starting with T_Glb_) exists, the Tamriel Data version of the class must be used to exclude poorly filtered vanilla dialogue.

Classes determine much of the services your NPCs will be giving and their corresponding voice lines. With those voice lines being the primary reason not to disable certain services for your custom NPC. Instead, use a non-service providing class and enable the services you want. (See also the below section on services and the one on auto calculate stats.) Some other classes have their own very specific roles to play in the game world; see the following sections.


Vendors will sell everything they "own", but that is not currently equipped, including stuff in their inventory and stuff lying about their shop (including inside containers).

Note that Pawnbrokers and Trader Service are the only classes that sell (almost) everything. Pawnbrokers are usually used for cheap and sometimes illegal goods while Trader Service is more applicable to a general store.

Below are vendor classes and what they sell by default:

  • Alchemist Service (Potions, Ingredients, Alchemy Apparatus)
  • Apothecary Service (Potions, Ingredients, Alchemy Apparatus)
  • Assassin Service (Thief Tools)
  • Book Seller (Books)*
  • Clothier (Clothing)**
  • Enchanter Service (Weapons, Armor, Clothing, Books*, Magic Items, Miscellaneous)
  • Healer Service (Ingredients, Potions)
  • Pawnbroker (everything)
  • Priest Service (Books, Ingredients, Potions)
  • Publican (Ingredients, Potions)
  • Savant Service (Books)
  • Smith (Weapons, Armor, Repair Tools)
  • Thief Service (Thieves Tools)
  • Trader Service (everything but Thieves Tools and Alchemy Apparatus)
  • Wise Woman (Ingredients, Potions)

*Books include Magic Scrolls and Papers.

**Clothing includes Jewelery and Shoes (not boots).

Note: Despite their names, Merchants and Traders do not sell anything at all and are instead to be used for the non-service version of these classes where needed for dialogue and questing purposes.


A trainer offers training in their three highest skills (it’s not clear how tie-breakers are managed). The below classes offer training by default. Note that specific races get high bonuses to certain skills and attributes, which may change what is taught. As you can see by the short list here, most trainers need to be manually set:

  • Agent (usually Acrobatics, Light Armor, Short Blade, Sneak, or Speechcraft)
  • Assassin Service (usually Acrobatics, Light Armor, Marksman, Short Blade, or Sneak)
  • Drillmaster Service (usually Acrobatics, Athletics, Block, Hand-to-Hand, or Unarmored)
  • Master-at-Arms (usually Axe, Blunt Weapon, Long Blade, Short Blade, or Spear)
  • Monk Service (usually Acrobatics, Athletics, Hand-to-Hand, Sneak, or Unarmored)
  • Savant Service (usually Alchemy, Athletics, Mercantile, Speechcraft, or Unarmored)
  • Scout (usually Athletics, Block, Long Blade, Medium Armor, or Sneak)
  • Thief Service (usually Acrobatics, Light Armor, Security, Short Blade, or Sneak)

Publican is the class that owns taverns and rents out beds. To offer beds to the player, special dialogue, scripts and a new global variable are needed, as detailed below. Note that the publican NPC must be placed in the same cell as the bed for these scripts to work. By default, Publicans also are vendors for Ingredients and Potions.

To add the bed renting mechanism, you will need to write out the appropriate dialogue in the topic beds. The game’s basic dialogue already has Responses for everything but the acceptance dialogue (when the player agrees to take the bed), which you will need to add yourself. Your acceptance dialogue should include directions to where the bed is located in the inn, as well as the following code block in Results. (Obviously, change out “BALMORA, South Wall” for the actual name of your claim’s inn.)

set rent to 1 ;this does everything in the publican's script BALMORA, South Wall
AddItem gold_001 10
player->RemoveItem gold_001 10
ModDisposition 2

Your acceptance dialogue will also need the following Conditions if you are using the defaults for the rest of the beds dialogue:

ID (the ID of your publican NPC)
Function Choice = 1
Item Gold_001 >= 10

Next, you’ll need to create a global variable (also called the “flag” in the Publican script). This controls whether the player has successfully rented the room and so is allowed to sleep in the bed and open any doors that lead to it. Name this global TR_m#_Rent_InnName (where # is the appropriate map and InnName is a shortened version of the inn in question; obviously, use a different ID schema if you aren't doing this for Tamriel Rebuilt). Set its default value to “0” and its type to “Short”.

For this to work properly, the global variable will need to be applied to the bed and the locked door of the bedroom (if applicable). Since changing the stats of existing objects will break upon merging your claim, make a note to your Merger to add this global variable to the bed and any doors under the “Global Variable/Rank”  field in these objects’ Reference Data. Note: while the bed’s ID can be generic, any locked doors MUST have a unique ID so that the renting script knows which one to unlock. (The merger will have to replace the door to do this, as well as edit the Publican’s attached script.)

Finally, you’ll need to create a new script and attach it to your Publican NPC. Below is a template. You’ll need to change the names and IDs throughout this script to match your claim. Name the script as TR_m#_Pub_InnName (where # is the name of the appropriate map and InnName is a shortened version of the inn in question; obviously, use a different ID schema if you aren't doing this for Tamriel Rebuilt). Although this template includes this, always be sure to add your location variables at the end of any scripts for PT and TR NPCs.

begin TR_m3_Pub_Aimrah_Inn

short T_Local_NPC
;short T_Local_Khajiit (uncomment as necessary)
short TR_Map
short control
short controlQ

;Cell: Aimrah, The Sailors' Inn
;Publican: Dilvene Gilmanil (TR_m3_Dilvene Gilmanil)
;Flag: TR_m3_Rent_Aimrah_Inn

;all rooms get rented for one day
;This guy must be in the map where the room is if you use the locked door cell loading cleanup
;rename the script for the guy and make a specific door to unlock or flag to set
;NO actual key is given to player, a global flag is set that removes the ownership on the beds.

;this script fires off when RENT is set true. Rent is set true through the BEDS topic in dialogue, which all Publicans have.
;Each publican will also have a separate response to buying the bed, so they can give simple directions. There is also a default one.

short rent ;if room is rented, set through dialogue on this NPC
short rentDay ;the day of the rental
short rentMonth ;the month of the rental
short setup ;if setup has been done
short cleanup ;true if you want to cleanup all the flags, rental is over and can be reset
;this script also uses a global variable (TR_m3_Rent_Aimrah_Inn). Make a new one for each rental. You can have as many
;beds as you want use that variable, it is used through the ownership data on the object reference

if ( rent == 1 )
    if ( setup == 0 )
        set rentDay to Day
        set rentMonth to Month
        set setup to 1
        set TR_m3_Rent_Aimrah_Inn to 1 ;this is the flag for the ownership on the bed
        "TR_m3_rd_AimrahInn"->unlock ;also needed if you have locked the room, use a specific objectRef
    else ;setup is done so check to see if the day is over
        if ( Day != rentDay )
             set cleanup to 1
        elseif ( Month != rentMonth )
             set cleanup to 1
    if ( CellChanged == 1 ) ;this is only needed if you've done a locked door. If so, you only want to do this on cell change so you don't lock them in the room
        if ( cleanup == 1 ) ;this gets called when the rental is over and everything can be cleaned up
            set rent to 0
            set TR_m3_Rent_Aimrah_Inn to 0
            "TR_m3_rd_AimrahInn"->lock 30
            set setup to 0
            set rentDay to 0
            set rentMonth to 0
            set cleanup to 0

if ( TR_Map == 3 )
set TR_Map to 3
;set T_Local_Khajiit to 1

Travel Services

Travel services must be set manually through the AI window of your NPC. Dialogue will also need to be added to the destination topic that details what places this particular NPC offers travel services to. It is a good idea to add a comment in the Results field of your destination topic that says which town your NPC is in as well, for easier reference.

The following NPC classes pair with the listed types of travel services:

  • Caravaner (silt strider, river strider)
  • Gondolier (gondolas in Vivec)
  • Guild Guide (mage portals)
  • Shipmaster (boats)
Misc. Services

NPCs may also be set to sell spells, repair items, and give spellmaking and enchanting services. Just as with trainers, these can be restricted based on the player’s faction and rank. Be sure to check an NPC’s spells list if you intend them to sell spells, as they are able to sell every spell they know.

  • Battlemage Service (sells spells)
  • Enchanter (enchanting services)
  • Healer Service (sells spells)
  • Mage Service (sells and makes spells)
  • Nightblade Service (sells spells)
  • Priest Service (sells and makes spells)
  • Smith (repairs items)
  • Sorcerer Service (sells and makes spells)
  • Trader Service (repairs items)
  • Wise Woman Service (makes spells)
Savants and Scouts

Savants and Scouts carry the role of being the game’s loremasters. Savants have something to say about almost every topic, while Scouts have information about locations, regions, and some monsters. As the game's loremasters, marking them NoLore should be considered an anti-pattern and a sign that another class should be used instead. When developing for Tamriel Rebuilt and thus using the vanilla Savant and Scout classes, be aware that even a NoLore NPC might still have things to say about certain topics.


Slaves are all given the “Slave” class. For (almost) all slaves, you should ensure that:

  • they wear at least one slave bracer, either Slave_Bracer_Left or Slave_Bracer_Right,
  • they are able to be freed – meaning they need special dialogue, scripts, and a key item placed in the world somewhere.

Some slaves may also be able to be sold.

For your convenience, Tamriel_Data includes generic location-based NPC slave scripts enabling the above mechanics. These are named something like T_ScNpc_[Province]_[location]Slave (replacing the brackets with respective province mod and location abbreviations; see our ID guides). Be sure to use these generic scripts as a base when creating a custom slave script.

Buying slaves, ordering them around, and freeing them is then handled through dialogue and the setting of the variable slaveStatus. There are many ways you can do this in quests, but most slave-related interactions should follow the Vanilla way of using the dialogue topic go free and require a key.

There are four different statuses to Slave NPCs, as follows. These can be set in dialogue Results or in scripts with the command set slaveStatus to #, where # is replaced with the desired status:

slaveStatus Explanation
0 Owned (default state; does not indicate who they are owned by)
1 For Sale (someone in the game can "sell" this slave via dialogue)
2 Owned By the Player (the player has purchased this slave and the slave follows the player)
3 Freed (the player has freed this slave, the slave eventually disables himself)

The behaviour of Guards is hardcoded to the vanilla Guard class, so any NPC you want functioning in this capacity has to have that class. You should generally not need to create custom guard NPCs as location specific ones exist for each faction.

Other Special Use Classes
  • Miner is used only for egg miner. All (ore) miners should use the T_Glb version instead.
  • Dreamer is a servant of Dagoth Ur.
  • Champion is an Ashlander-only class, often used for ashkhans and gulakhans and are (almost) always males. Mabrigash and Wise Woman are also Ashlander-only classes and are always females.
  • Battlemages, by lore, are usually Imperial or Breton, or at least connected to the Imperial Legion.
  • Witches are always females; try Warlock for males.


Unlike later games, in TES III, all being essential does is tell the player they broke the main quest if they kill this NPC. It does not make them immune to death. Hence, it should not be used, unless working on a separate mod to overhaul the Morrowind main quest.


Unlike the player, NPCs can only belong to one faction at a time. This classification typically effects an NPC’s disposition to the player, some generic dialogue, and some universal questlines.

Some factions have province specific versions defined in Tamriel Data. The Fighters Guild, for example, exists as the vanilla Fighters Guild faction (for use in Morrowind) and T_Cyr_FightersGuild for use in Cyrodiil. Make sure to use the right version of the faction.

Head & Hair

Tamriel Data adds a lot of new heads and hairstyles. Some of these are meant to be used by specific NPCs (such as kings.) These are marked with "UNI" and you should not use them for other NPCs. Additionally some heads and hairs are tied to specific cultural groups (such as Ashlanders, Temple faithful, or Colo-Redguards) and should only be used by NPCs belonging to those groups. Unfortunately their IDs do not necessarily reflect this. On the flip side, even if the ID of a face or a hairstyle ends in "PC" it can still be used in "TR" areas and vice versa.

Some NPC faces have beards which should match their hair color; NPCers should be mindful not to give fair-haired NPCs black beards, for example.

Corpses Persist

If killed, this governs if the NPC’s body sticks around. This is useful for quests where you need to loot a unique item from the body, as it keeps the body from disappearing if the player inadvertently leaves the area before obtaining the quest item.

If your NPC is actually a corpse instead of a character, this should also be checked. Not doing so will cause a death sound to be played when the NPC is first encountered.

Note: To make the NPC appear and act like a corpse (including being able to be looted), you will also need to set their base Health to 0 in their statistics menu.

Auto Calculate Stats

While this checkbox can be used to recalculate your NPC's stats after a change in level or class, it should not remain checked for NPCs outside Morrowind. This is because auto calculated NPCs also automatically receive vanilla spells – which are often culturally inappropriate for use outside of Morrowind. Tamriel Data adds more appropriate versions of these spells (they have different names) for use in other provinces. Note that this checkbox needs to be unchecked to add custom services.

Furthermore, make sure important NPCs that offer spells or training do not have Auto Calculate checked.


The Blocked flag is useful in preventing you from accidentally checking Auto Calculate, thereby overwriting edits to NPC inventories, spells, stats, and services. Therefore, make sure you check Blocked after finalising these for important service providers.

If you need to edit NPCs that are Blocked, you will need to uncheck it during editing and reset it when the NPC edits are finished. Make sure you do not check Auto Calculate at any point during such editing.


Here are a few items most NPCs should carry:

  • All NPCs should wear at least a robe or shirt and pants/skirt, even wearing armor. A good rule of thumb is to clothe your NPCs based on their implied wealth. Most commoners wear common clothing, merchants wear expensive, while nobles wear expensive and extravagant clothing. Usually, only unique NPCs like faction leaders wear anything exquisite.
    • Be aware that clothing and armor are often tied to specific factions and should not be used by NPCs unrelated to that faction. Some vanilla clothing is not marked in the Construction Set as belonging to a faction, despite that faction's emblem being visible on the model. Some common offenders are expensive_robe_01 which is a robe exclusive to Ashlanders, common_robe_03_b which is meant for Morag Tong agents, and expensive_robe_02 which is worn by Temple priests. Often, extravagant shirts and robes also have  _h, _r, or _t as suffixes, to indicate they are used for Great House Hlaalu, Great House Redoran, and Great House Telvanni, respectively. Please consult this table when dressing your NPC.
  • All NPCs should carry at least a small amount of gold, unless there's a specific reason why not. However, the do not carry around their life's savings. Some (but not all) of the gold amount can also be carried in jewellery instead. If you can't figure out how much gold to give based on "vibe," you can take the cost of the ring that has the same wealth level as the NPC's clothes (common, expensive, extravagant, exquisite), and then give them three times that number in gold.
  • All NPCs who own a locked door should either carry a key to that door or have it placed near them.
  • Most passive NPCs should carry a personal weapon, even if just a dagger. If not, there should be somebody with a weapon nearby or the NPC should be skilled at hand-to-hand.

While choosing items, note that NPCs automatically put on equipment that is best for them, based on the item's quality and their own skills. An equipped item also cannot be pickpocketed or sold.

Except for the following exceptions, most NPCs in vanilla also do not carry around random items outside their own clothing, and for the most part we follow this convention in Tamriel Rebuilt and Project Tamriel. However, sometimes it is nice to reward an enterprising pickpocketing player, so items outside of clothes and basic equipment can be added sparingly to NPC inventories (no more than 1-4 per claim).

Some exceptions:

  • Though shop-keepers sell everything they have ownership to, re-stockable items are best put in their inventory. These will be things like common potions, arrows, or lockpicks and probes.
  • Bandits, mercenaries, and Ashlanders will have one weapon and up to four pieces of armor, typically. The level of their equipment should be roughly based on the average level of your claim's location. Some powerful encounters will carry better, of course.
  • Guards have standard uniforms depending on their faction, though their commanders may go a little upscale with special helmets, skirts, or shields. When placing ordinary guards you should use the vanilla version of these; do not mess with their stats or inventory at all! Guard captains and Quest NPC guards, on the other hand, will need unique faces, IDs, and equipment.
  • Miners may carry pickaxes and some of the appropriate ore (or eggs, if they're that kind of miner).
  • Thieves may have lockpicks and probes.  
  • Mages and priests might carry a magic item, which includes scrolls and potions. (Note that scrolls and potions are automatically used all at once should the player engage any of your NPCs in combat, so don't overstock them.)
  • Slaves always have at least one slave bracer and rarely have shirts.


An NPC's name should match the culture they belong to (see the following sub-sections). For NPCs far away from their ancestral homes, culture usually dilutes to race or province.

You should check TR_Mainland to make sure the name you want to give isn't already in use.

For inspiration in creating a new name, you can check out our Dictionary of Names, Imperial Family Names table, or use the in-house name generator.

Note: While the above to resources are a good starting point if you are not great at coming up with TES III character names yourself, you should not use name generator outputs as is. These tend to have a same-y sound that is immediately noticeable to the trained ear. Instead, make sure to modify the names by at least a syllable or a couple characters.


Usually they only have a first name. Sometimes "of [Summerset Isle location]" as a title. (e.g., Nalcarya of Alinor).

The first names in Morrowind seem to be inspired by Tolkien’s Quenya names, but will occasionally have long vowels (Fiiriel, Taarie). Typical female suffixes are -nwe, -nya and -a; typical male suffixes are -rg and -o, but otherwise names are quite unisex.


There are two types of Argonian names. Some have pure Argonian names from their native language, while others have the translated Imperial versions of these. (e.g., Jeelus-Tei, Skink-in-Tree's-Shade) See also The Drunken Bounty Hunter.

Argonian native names tend to be more or less entirely unisex, perhaps unsurprisingly, with only a small handful of prefixes appearing to be gender-specific. With the vanilla sample size being very small, that might just be a coincidence.

Note that in TES I: Arena, Argonians had distinctly Hellenic names. Currently in Eye of Argonia planning, only a single Argonian tribe is slated to pay homage to that.


Bosmer generally do not have surnames. Instead, they have tribe names. Due to many Bosmer not carrying over traditions when they move out of the province, or being born tribeless, you're less likely to see Bosmer with tribe names outside of Valenwood.

Vanilla Bosmer names seem to be inspired by Tolkien’s Sindarin names. Unlike Altmer names, Bosmer names typically do not end in a vowel (male names never do in vanilla Morrowind). They can also be shorter than Altmer names. Typical female suffixes are -eth, -wen, -e and -a ; typical male suffixes are -oth, orn, -or, and -os. The -in suffix is unisex. Suffixes -el and -iel are also unisex but much more common in female names.


Most Bretons have a first name and a family name, often French-sounding.

As a general note for Bretons, and to a lesser extent Redguards and Nords too, remember that they might be Imperial citizens with Imperial fathers – and thus have an Imperial name rather than a Nordic/Redguard/Breton one.


Dunmer culture is largely divided into Great House culture and Ashlander culture. Ashlander and ex-Ashlander names are very different from the names used by house Dunmer, more closely resembling the names of Daedric ruins (i.e., resemble Akkadian/Sumerian).

House Dunmer names are strange because they are not based on real world names in any way that would be obvious. Despite some suggestions that House Dunmer names would also be based on ancient Middle Eastern languages or Welsh or Khmer, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Thankfully, there are very many vanilla names to reference

Generally, the naming scheme for House Dunmer is Housename Firstname Surname, where Housename and/or Surname may be omitted although omitting both is rare.

Typically, upon marriage, a Dunmer of either gender will take the name of the more powerful family or House in their union (such as Nerevar taking the name “Indoril” when he married Almalexia).

There are also hard-to-detect subtleties between Great Houses as well. More work needs to be done to solidify naming conventions within different houses.

For Dunmer, just using vanilla names may also be okay – there are so many of them that you can easily avoid overlapping other names, if you check in the Construction Set. For family names, especially, it might make sense to use an existing one, in which case one should check the House allegiances of the existing family members. Large families might have different branches belong to different Houses.

Note on Arena’s and Daggerfall’s Dunmer names: These are very different from Morrowind’s and should be disregarded entirely. They seem to emulate the old DnD-esque “evil-sounding” Dark Elves names, e.g. Azarath R’zamul, Lilithah Avalon, etc. These names don’t belong in Morrowind, although Barenziah and Helseth are exceptions to this rule.


Most Imperials have a first name and a family name. These are often Latin sounding, with men frequently ending in -us and women ending in -a. Don't overdo this, but do note it as a means of maintaining stylistic consistency.


The Interview with three Booksellers provides information on Khajiit names. Don't be too bound by it. Many names are prefixed by one or two letters, followed by an apostrophe (hyphens are occasionally used).


Nords only require a first name, but they often have kennings (e.g., Eydis Fire-Eye). These should not be mistaken for surnames, although it is possible for a kenning to be adopted as a surname by the original bearer's descendants.

If you want to get 'real worldy', Nordic names sound Scandinavian and Germanic, more so than Slavic or Russian. (e.g. Beowulf rather than Vladimir). So, if you want to look for inspiration, go to the Viking Sagas or Saxon England.


Orcs generally have a first name followed by a patronymic/matronymic. For men this takes the form Firstname gro-Parentname, and for women it's Firstname gra-Parentname.

Much like Argonian names, Orc first names seem to be almost unisex. There are some suffixes which seem to be gender-specific (for example -rob and -fim  for female Orcs; ag and -arz for male Orcs). The vanilla name pool is so small, however, that this just might be a coincidence.


Usually only a first name – vanilla gives Redguards surnames exceedingly rarely. Occasionally, Redguards have 'modern' names that we would recognize in the real world (e.g. Gary, Katie). Don't overdo this, and don't use really obvious names – consider using a twist in the spelling.



Fight controls how likely it is that the NPC will attack the player when the player comes close, has a low disposition rating, or commits a crime. For most NPC claims, this should be under 30, as 30 is the rating that the NPC will only attack if the player commits a crime. 0 is also a good number, as NPCs with 0 Fight will only attack if attacked first.

Should you want NPCs or creatures are to attack the player on sight, 100 means they will attack immediately, while 80-95 they will attack depending on how close the player gets to them.


Flee controls how likely an NPC will run from combat. Note that even a rating of 100 may not cause the NPC to flee immediately, depending on other factors.


Alarm controls how likely an NPC will take action when another nearby NPC sees the player committing a crime. The higher Alarm is, the more likely the NPC will assign the player a bounty and possibly attack (as based on their Fight rating).


Hello governs how likely the NPC is to turn around and give the player a voiced greeting when the player comes near them. A value of “0” should be used for any NPCs you want to stand still and never acknowledge the player.

AI Packages

By default, an NPC is given the AI package "Wander": that is, they will move around in random directions at random times. For many interior locations, shop keepers, and some quest NPCs, this is set to 0 so an NPC doesn’t move and start climbing on tables, getting lost, or providing obstacles to the player in tight doorways.

In the AI Package are also listed idle animations. These are a subtle way of adding character to NPCs. The following table lists the descriptions of the various idle animations as described in the Construction Set's help file.

Idle animations
Idle Default Action Variation
Idle 2 Looking around
Idle 3 Looking behind
Idle 4 Scratching head
Idle 5 Shifting clothing or armor on shoulder Hand on hip (human female)
Idle 6 Rubbing hands together and showing wares
Idle 7 Looking at fingers and looking around furtively
Idle 8 Deep thought
Idle 9 Reaching for weapon Scratching and shaking head (Khajiit female)

Services is everything (beyond dialogue) that an NPC can offer to the player.

An NPC's services are determined by their class if the NPC has Auto-Calculate checked. If you want your NPC to offer services, rathen than checking them manually on a different class, prefer assigning a class that enables the services by deafult. Such classes will typically have "Service" in the name. These will often enable certain voice line and dialogue that you would miss out on by manually adding services to an unrelated class. Because of this it is also inadvisable to manually uncheck specific services on an NPC assigned a service class.

Always remember to add barter gold to NPCs with services that enable the barter menu. Also be aware that checking "Magic Items" does not enable the barter menu by itself; at least one other barter option must be selected.


Vampire NPCs should be assigned the appropriate Vampire script, this will take care of adding the requisite abilities and disease. For more details see Vampirism.


Any cell that does not mostly consist of a town or farms should have creatures placed in it.

Which Ones?

Vanilla Morrowind is lazy and unsystematic about where it places its Hostile Creatures. We should do better.

We still use leveled creatures, but these don't fully depend on the player's level; instead, the critters in our leveled lists are usually of roughly the same difficulty, and we then place them based on regions. Thus, if you stroll through Tamriel at Level 50, you won't be walking through regions devoid of life... but you won't be finding random Daedra in non-Daedric zones, either. Similarly, Level 1 characters will encounter creatures wherever they go, and many of them will be over their level.

There are essentially three ways to place a creature:

  • Place the creature itself (from the Creature tab). This is best used for quests in which you want a specific creature spawning, but should not be used for most other purposes. Keep in mind that most creatures placed this way won’t respawn unless the "Respawn" checkbox is checked in the creature's settings--and this usually isn’t.
  • Place a deterministic leveled creature (from the Leveled Creature tab), which all start with the ID T_[Province]_Cr_.  A deterministic leveled creature consists of a single creature, appearing with 100% chance in the given location. This is essentially just a way to place a respawning critter of the specific type of your choice.
  • Place a random leveled creature (from the Leveled Creature tab). See also the section below. This is a leveled list whose ID starts with T_[Province]_RStat_. The creature type is randomized in these lists, but they are generally around the same level as each other, as specified in the ID. The syntax for these is T_[Province]_RStat_[RegionName]D[DifficultyLevel](orp). The "orp" means "or peaceful", which may and may not be present; when present, it means that the list includes peaceful critters (so don't use it for gatekeepers). The "DifficultyLevel" is a rough approximation of how challenging the creature is; for example, 01 means "like a kwama forager", 05 means "like a nix-hound", 09 means "like a kagouti".

Our random leveled creatures are sorted by region, so that regions don’t feel all the same. Don’t make potpourris like the vanilla Grazelands! As always, the rule allows for exceptions, and it makes sense to mix near region borders.

How Many?

Vanilla cells range from 2 to 8 hostile creatures (and Bloodmoon's cells have 12 or more at higher levels, but this is best not imitated). There’s a lot of wiggle room here to use your creativity and judgment. It makes sense to place more creatures in wilder, junglier and more dangerous places, and fewer creatures in places that are more inhabited or more likely to be patrolled by guards in-world. 3 to 4 hostile creatures per cell is adequate in most cases for Tamriel Rebuilt.

Friendlies (e.g., netch and scribs) can count for 1/2 or ⅓ of a hostile creature; no one will mind too many of them (in good measure). Moreover, friendly creatures can be placed near towns and farms, whereas hostile creatures must be a good distance away (otherwise, guards will go crazy).

Bodies of water that are sufficiently large and not isolated should also have water creatures (slaughterfish, dreugh, tullies). Keep in mind that the hostile fish have huge "attack radii", so it's easy to overfill the ocean. When in doubt, playtest your creature placements in-game.

Other Creature Placement Do’s and Don’ts

When placing packs, consider mixing deterministic leveled creatures with non-respawning creatures, so that only part of the pack will respawn. This ensures that the spot won't ever become fully lifeless but also doesn't become a too-convenient hunting ground.

Hostile “gatekeeper” creatures are needed around places that offer really good loot, particularly if these places are too close to low-level zones. These should preferably be a deterministic leveled creature (see the section above): look for IDs that start with T_[Province]_RStat_ and that do not have the (orp) tag at the end.

As usual, context matters. Mudcrabs should live in swamps and on shores, daedra in Daedric shrines or in places that have been abandoned to Daedric influence, cliff racers near mountains, etc.

Leveled Creatures

The Construction Set marker for a leveled creature instance.

Leveled Creatures are how TES3 introduces random spawns throughout the world. These are the infamous ninja monkeys you see in the CS. Placing one of these indicates that you want a creature there, but which creature it is specifically isn’t important.


The Construction Set interface for adding leveled creatures.

The image to the side shows the Construction Set interface for adding leveled creatures.

  • PC Level indicates the minimum level for those creatures to be a viable spawn.
  • The Calculate from all levels <= PC’s level checkbox indicates that all creatures in the list at or below the player’s level are possible choices for the spawn. This value determines whether you want the leveled creature to always become stronger with the player, or simply introduce more variability as the player levels. E.g.:
    • With the box checked, a level 7 player could have a skeleton, skeleton archer, or skeleton warrior spawn.
    • With the box unchecked, a level 7 player would only have the skeleton warrior spawn.
  • Chance None indicates the percent chance that nothing spawns at all. This should generally be set to 0 for most leveled lists.

When to Use Leveled Creatures?

Use leveled creatures if you want to provide variable challenge in areas where difficulty is not important. Leveled creatures exist to create an appropriate challenge for players of all levels, and to add a bit of randomization to an otherwise static world.

Always look at the leveled creatures used, and think of every possibility:

  • If the Calculate from all levels <= PC’s level checkbox is checked, there is no guarantee that the leveled creature will provide consistent difficulty. It simply adds more possibilities when the player levels up. Ask yourself, “Would it be OK if any one of these creatures spawned?”
  • If the Chance None is greater than zero, ask yourself, “Would it be OK if nothing spawned at all?”

Both options could make the area too easy.

If a high value item is guarded by a single creature, and you want to prevent low level players from obtaining it – use regular creatures.

Interior-Specific Advice

This section helps you choose which NPCs and creatures to add to your interiors.

Town Buildings

Add non-hostile NPCs generally between levels 1-15.

Never add hostile creatures to town interiors (outside of quests).

Determine whether the NPC is inside their home or outside. If they are inside, place an NPC template with their description.

Bandit Caves

Varies depending on bandit level range. Bandit caves close to towns should generally be lower level compared to caves far from town. This is not a firm rule, simply a suggestion. Most caves follow a similar format:

  • The first NPC inside the entrance is a scout,
  • There are 1-3 more bandits in the middle,
  • The NPC at the back of the cave is higher leveled – i.e., the ‘boss’.

Adding multi-NPC encounters is a good way to introduce more difficulty to bandit caves without raising their level.

Creature Caves

Highly variable, but generally low level. Avoid mixing too many creature types. Rat caves should have mostly rats with the occasional nix hound. Nix hound caves can have the occasional rat. Many creatures (Kagouti, Alit) do not work well in interiors due to their large size. Daedra caves are rare, but can feature a mix of many different kinds of Daedra.

Kwama Eggmines

Wild eggmines should have many Kwama warriors. Active eggmines should have fewer to no Kwama warriors. There should be at least a few workers and foragers in every eggmine. Avoid placing too many workers – they love to block paths.

Daedric Ruins

Often a mix of NPC cultists and Daedric creatures. Generally place at least one Daedric creature (static or leveled list) per shrine interior. Some shrines can be entirely creatures.

Dwemer Ruins

Only three main enemy types: spiders, archer balls, and steam centurions. Higher level versions of archers and centurions exist, but pay attention to their level and avoid making the dungeon more difficult than expected.

Wizard Towers

These often start very easy, and become very difficult as you approach the wizard. Some basic skeletons are expected for necromantic wizard towers. Daedra could also be used throughout. The only NPC besides prisoners and dead adventurers in the cell is usually the wizard him/herself.

Ancestral Tombs

Generally low level. Beware of placing too many Greater Bonewalkers – their damage strength spell is brutal in unmodded games. Ancestral ghosts are the basic enemy in every tomb. Skeletons and bonewalkers are one step up. Bonelords should be relatively rare – an average tomb should never contain more than 1 or 2 at the maximum.


Old Tamriel Rebuilt map showing propsed difficulty levels with green being easiest and red hardest. This map is likely outdated in several aspects; ask on Discord if you need to know the actual expected difficulty of a certain area.

Unfortunately, there is no simple equation to calculate encounter difficulty. Making a level-appropriate dungeon relies on best-guesses, playtesting, and player feedback. However, here are some guidelines to help you:

Level Ranges For Enemies

These are not absolutes; there are certainly exceptions to the rule. When placing NPCs, these are the level ranges you will generally use:

  • 1-5: basic enemies, suitable for extreme beginners, many non-hostile NPCs, slaves.
  • 5-10: Average bandit level (still early game), most non-hostile NPCs.
  • 10-20: Mid-game bandits, CT thugs, “off the path” hostile NPCs/creatures.
  • 20-30: Strong necromancers, elite bandits, town guards, rogue wizards, vampires.
  • 30-50: Late game enemies. Elite guards, powerful wizards, strong vampires.
  • 50-60: Endgame bosses, Vampire ancients, Telvanni Grandmasters. Should almost always hold extremely valuable loot / artifacts.
  • 60+: Rarely ever used. Reserved for entities like Vivec.

Tuning Encounters

There are many different ways besides NPC level to alter encounter difficulty.

Number of Enemies

Generally only one enemy is encountered at a time. In open areas where the enemies are not constricted by a tunnel, additional enemies can effectively double the encounter’s difficulty.

Morrowind's creatures and NPCs have no "team AI". You can place several wolves near each other (and it's generally encouraged to do so), but don't expect them to aid each other in combat; a player can pull them one by one with destruction spells and finish them one by one without the others realizing what is going on.

Spells and Skills

Mages can be made more difficult than other enemies by manually adjusting their known spells. Removing useless spells like 5 point sanctuary buffs and keeping damaging spells is a good way to make mages feel more dangerous.

Melee enemies can have their weapon skill manually adjusted higher to make them more accurate, and their armor skill raised to make them more difficult to damage.


Weapons and armor should generally fit the level of the NPC wearing them. A low level NPC should not be wielding a glass dagger. However, higher level NPCs can be wearing lower leveled armor. Weapons and armors are also the loot obtained from the encounter, so which ones are appropriate often depends on how rich the dungeon should be.

More specific notes for late-game equipment:

  • Ebony, Glass, and Adamantium armor should only rarely appear on NPCs.
  • Ebony, Glass, and Adamantium weapons are more common than their related armors, and often appear on high level enemies.
  • Daedric items should be used extremely sparingly, reserved for high level enemies or static dungeon placements.

The most common player race in Morrowind is Dunmer, who have a built in 75% fire resistance. This means that enemy weapons with fire be statistically less powerful against the player.

The most powerful enchants a weapon can have are generally paralyze on strike, and absorb health. Both of these could be considered encounter difficulty multipliers. Often times, a single strike from a paralysis weapon means instant death in an encounter. Depending on the magnitude of absorb health, some players may be unable to fight back through absorb health, which acts like flat added damage for the player and health regenation for the NPC.