Velothi Tower Guidelines
Velothi Towers are often called "wizard's tower"s in dialogue. That could simply refer to the Telvanni who typically inhabit them on Vvardenfell. Who built them? Proto-Telvanni? Perhaps Psijics? In Before the Ages of Man, a line reads:
During the Middle Merethic Era, Aldmeri explorers mapped the coasts of Vvardenfel, building the First Era High Elven wizard towers at Ald Redaynia, Bal Fell, Tel Aruhn, and Tel Mora in Morrowind.
Similarly, there is a throwaway line in the Pocket Guide to the Empire, 3rd edition that reads:
[...] the Dwemer were the remnants of the early Aldmer who had settled the coasts, and developed a highly sophisticated and technological culture.
Needless to say, though, Velothi towers look Velothi in style, so it is more likely that – if anything – they were (sometimes) built on top of those really ancient towers/settlements.
Whatever they are, Velothi towers do not appear to have been built for defense, nor do they appear to have served as full-on settlements.
In the past, Tamriel Rebuilt tried to settle on the proto-Telvanni explanation for the origin of the Telvanni Towers. Ideally, this would be hinted at even in interiors not currently used by Telvanni; there might be repurposed summoning rooms, repurposed prisons, etc.
However, keep in mind that the Telvanni inhabiting Velothi towers have not been doing so since ancient times. The towers were unused for a long time, and only with House Telvanni's recent expansionist policies have upstart Telvanni made their homes there. As such, even in Telvannis, it should be rare for a Telvanni to inhabit a tower, except perhaps along the House border.
As abandoned structures, a certain amount of variation in modern use is to be expected. The uses should lean towards peaceful:
- Unaffiliated wizards could perhaps inhabit a few towers, but these should be relatively rare.
- Young Telvanni In Telvannis, who refuse to stay in the shadows of their masters could have set up shop in some towers as well. They need not necessarily be aggressive, though their summoned guards would be.
- Lone Temple theologians prefer to inhabit the normally secluded Velothi towers.
- Schools that teach novitiate priests and sometimes even Indoril Temple theology and – especially in Indoril lands – the laws determined and the laws ordained have set up shop in some Velothi towers.
- Roadside inns in out-of-the-way places can be made out of repurposed Velothi Towers.
- Dissident priests and other underground or otherwise undesirable or secretive groups or tongs prefer the seclusion.
- Daedric cultists may in a few cases occupy a tower to make use of its summoning room.
- Western necromancers could occupy a tower or two further in the west; they may or may not attack on sight.
Unless there's a really good concept, the towers should not be shrines, or otherwise holy places. These are pre-Tribunal structures, and their inhabitants probably wouldn't have been the sort to do saintly things anyway. Nor should they contain tombs.
The Velothi Towers on Vvardenfell are typically inhabited by upstart Telvanni mages. Twelve towers are spread over all but southwestern Vvardenfell and Red Mountain Region (unless you count Ghostgate and the Telvanni Tower in Vivec). They tend to be somewhat clumped together.
On the mainland, the only real pattern to the tower's distribution should be seclusion. They should be located away from traditional population centers, generally in hilly or mountainous terrain.
Older, pre-2018 parts of the mainland (Telvannis, Antediluvian Secrets, and Sacred East expansions) contain only six interiors that can be considered Velothi towers. Roughly half are inhabited by Telvanni and the rest have a Temple association or are inhabited by some other form of squatter. There are also a lot of interiors using Velothi tower architecture that cannot be categorized as Velothi towers (in the vein of Ghostgate).
Not one interior in that set follows vanilla standards in constructing Velothi Towers and will need to be redone wholesale.
The exterior typically consists of three statics: a doorway, a door and a tower. The tower is typically disconnected from the entrance in the exterior (the latter is followed strictly in Tamriel Rebuilt).
Most Velothi tower interiors have a very simple layout: a bunch of rooms connected to hallways, or often one occasionally branching hallway. They are often very linear. They are also often very sparsely cluttered, although Tamriel Rebuilt should strive to be slightly more detailed than vanilla.
Shishara provides a good example of a typical layout for a smaller tower.
The entrance opens into a small 3x2 room with two pillars. A door on the opposite wall leads to a hallway which is often but by no means always very short and connects the entranceway with the tower itself.
in_velothismall_hall_01 pieces are very common, and larger interiors tend to have curving hallways with some branching paths and several side rooms.
The tower itself is at the other end of the interior and is typically two storeys high. The lower storey is often fairly empty – just one big room – while the upper storey is generally where the resident mage sleeps.
In larger interiors, bedrooms and jails are fairly common. Roughly half of the towers have two-storey summoning rooms that do not have domes.
Exceptions on Vvardenfell
- Hanud, Odirniran and Vas are notable for having two interior cells each, as opposed to the typical single cell. The second cells of Hanud and Odirniran, as well as – to a slightly lesser extent – the interior of Shara have extremely similar layouts.
- Without counting the Telvanni Tower in Vivec and Ghostgate, there are only two clear exceptions to the rough layout described above: