[brainstorm] New Wesnoth Species/Cultures?

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A-Red
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Re: [brainstorm] New Wesnoth Species?

Post by A-Red » July 29th, 2010, 10:24 pm

thespaceinvader wrote:The problem I have with the Undead is that they're somewhat cliche. The only time I've seen them really treated interestingly is in DiD, and the Spectre and lich brothers in NR. We're better then most on undead, but not nearly as good as some.
That's true--I wish people would come up with better stories for their campaigns than "oh no undead we must destroy them"--but it's all in how they're used; their presence in the world isn't a bad thing, and as DiD shows, they have a lot of potential to be interesting.

(I suppose I could take one more chance to plug my novel, which features a necromancer as one of the main protagonists :))

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Re: [brainstorm] New Wesnoth Species?

Post by Gwynnedrion » July 29th, 2010, 10:46 pm

johndh wrote:There was a faction from a user-made era that I played a long time ago (can't remember the name) called the Sidhe. Although an offshoot of the Elves, they had a much different flavor and were quite a lot of fun.
That would be the Wild Era made by Turin.
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Re: [brainstorm] New Wesnoth Species?

Post by johndh » July 30th, 2010, 2:31 am

Hmm... I couldn't find anything called the "Wild Era" in the add-ons, but I found them in the Imperial Era. Since it's also by Turin, I'd assume they're the same Sidhe in each case. I didn't find the other factions as interesting, but the Sidhe (or Wild Elves) seem to have some potential. Although an offshoot of the Elves, they have their own flavor without being gimmicky.

Bottom of the page here: http://www.wesnoth.org/units/1.6/C/era_imper.html
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Re: [brainstorm] New Wesnoth Species?

Post by Skizzaltix » July 30th, 2010, 4:09 am

I guess it's all down to the fact that new sentient species in modern fantasy are, in most cases, euphemisms for different human cultures…even if the creator doesn't realize.
Take Tolkien--he did it, fully aware and within his intentions, and then everyone else followed suite. I think some number of (humanoid) mythical beasts were probably based on different cultures on some level to begin with, anyway.*
That said, I agree with TSI that different cultures within races are more interesting. Whichever way you go, though, the trick is to find something that's new without being freakish, or ridiculous, or coming off as having tried too hard.
For instance, I rather like Syn_Err's radish…things.

*Although, many others are based on natural phenomena: take Icelandic elves. People who live under rocks and pull humans who stray off the path down to their subterranean kingdom, never to be seen again, are a very good metaphor for the fact that walking around alone on what basically consists of a gigantic stale popover made of volcanic rock and the most freakish moss in the world is a really bad idea.

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Re: [brainstorm] New Wesnoth Species?

Post by batoonike » July 30th, 2010, 6:12 am

If a fictional race or culture wasnt a clone of something that allready exists, it would be extremely boring. No way to relate to it. Like a race of triangles. They do nothing all day long. Actually they do something but it cant be described in any meaningful way.
Now if one triangel would be especially interested in a good-looking circle, it would already sound familiar and fun. And would also be cheap and predictable, kind of.

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Re: [brainstorm] New Wesnoth Species?

Post by johndh » July 31st, 2010, 4:25 am

batoonike wrote:If a fictional race or culture wasnt a clone of something that allready exists, it would be extremely boring. No way to relate to it.
Who says that something is boring because you can't relate to it? I can't relate very well to sharks, but I find them fascinating. Orcas are similar in a lot of ways to sharks, being large aquatic predators, but their capacity to breathe air and their mammalian intelligence makes them much easier for me to relate to, which makes them a lot less impressive. "Okay, so it's like a multi-ton swimming tiger." That gives me something to work with. On the other hand, with sharks it's more like "terrifying monster from another planet." Its environment has nothing in common with ours, its brain has nothing in common with ours, and its skin is basically made of teeth! How do you deal with that? :augh:

In fact, I think the things that are less familiar are generally more interesting than the ordinary things I see all the time. The clichés are more accessible, sure, but that doesn't make them better. You can pick up a book about elves and goblins and jump right into the story, because you already know the backgrounds, appearances, and motivations of each of the groups because you've read them in every other generic post-Tolkien high fantasy[1], but you're essentially reading the same book over and over. Some of us like to see new things, explore new settings with new characters and cultures, to seek out new life and new civilizations :geek: , to be bewildered by aquatic beasts that hunt by sensing the electricity of your nerves[2], and just experience something different for a change.

Sorry if that seems like a convoluted non sequitur. There's a point in there, really.

[1] - Precisely what Wesnoth is trying not to become.
[2] - Still talking about sharks.
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Re: [brainstorm] New Wesnoth Species?

Post by Moribund » July 31st, 2010, 6:52 am

IMO, wen making a new race, being unique in gameplay should be the first consideration, not uniqueness in visuals. Sorry if someone said this already, it's almost midnight so I just kinda tl;dr'd. I'll read it all tomorrow.

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Re: [brainstorm] New Wesnoth Species?

Post by xbriannova » August 1st, 2010, 10:54 am

Hmm... I hope its not too late to add something I created a loooooonnnggg time ago when I was still in grade school...

Note that this is not my original Ravens. I had to adapt them for Wesnoth, and so alot went from there. There used to be a very beautiful drawing for it done by a talented artist, but it's gone. Nothing lasts for very long in the internet.

I hope this is not too shabby. Alot was in my head, and I couldn't put everything down at once, so I could only offer you a glimpse of what was in my mind. If anyone likes my idea, I don't mind writing more down though...

The Raevyns

(Was Ravens, but I edited the name to included Wesnothian language conventions. May need help with this one)

These guys are essentially highly evolved birds that share many characteristics to the actual Ravens themselves, as in, the birds in real life. They are about 1.8 metres in height on average, with a great pair of black-feathered wings just beyond 3 metres in length to allow them flight over many leagues at a time Despite their size, they are light when compared to a human of the same stature as Ravens are naturally lean with hollow bones again to allow any meaningful flight.

However, while they may be lean, as a sidenote, it doesn't mean they cannot be muscular or strong. As a comparison, there can be slim people who also have well-defined muscles. Raevyns are fully bipedal unlike Gryphons and has legs with bird anatomy. Despite being descended from birds or are similar to birds, the Raevyns are almost humanoid and has arms similar to that of humans- it is a mystery how their arms came to be.

Living true to their names, they have raven-colored feathers that are silky and slightly reflective, and their head/face bore numerous resemblance to the bird itself, except that Raevyns are more capable of facial expressions and communication. Evolved facial muscles allowed them to show amusement, anger, sadness and other emotions.

Raevyn society is very unique indeed, but can be considered dark and deviant when compared to human society, namely general accepted Wesnothian society. Raevyns are nocturnal, and hence considered chaotic. Their diet had been very flexible and could consist of vegetables, meat (omnivorous), and they are also carrion eaters, and in many cases, blood drinkers. This diet had allowed their ancestors to succeed, and remained the same as such. They drink blood to satisfy their high iron needs. Hence, many festivals would always include blood drinking as part of its events. This would no doubt be shunned by humans.

Despite their 'barbarian' ways, Raevyn society is not what one would associate with barbarism. Raevyns are highly evolved, and in the realms of intellect they are better evolved than humans, and they rival the Elves in intelligence. Their chief achievements would include the realms of philosophy, many if not all art forms and dark magic (but not black magic, the kind which is immoral such as those involving the disturbance of the dead and sacrifices). They are well practised in the art of war from conflicts with other races that doesn't understand them as well. The sciences does not evade their massive minds either.

Raevyns, despite their overtly dark outlook, are actually highly moral individuals who are very devoted to their individual families. Military conflicts between the states of Raevyns are far and few in between as most grievances are easily solved by pure thinking and executing alone. They do not kill unless absolutely, absolutely necessary. They understood that actions are taken for the good of all and usually not just for the individual. They are even more gentle than the highest nobles of Wesnoth. Hence, the typical Raevyn would be a mild, timid intellectual with a devotion to the appreciation of the arts and sciences (and magic).

Raevyns are highly adaptable, and has built cities on the canopy of dense forests, on mountains and hills, and should those options be impossible, anywhere else but on water and swamps. They live in cities as large as human cities, with their largest metropolises built on plains and their population less concentrated in forests and mountains due to the impossibility of building infrastructures on those terrains. They are governed as republics with a central senate making decisions- all clans had representatives in the senate.

Raevyns are normally dressed in light fabric of silk and other fine cloth that aren't too loose and aren't too tight so that their clothes do not get in the way of flight. They do not have much in the way of shoes, only 'boots' that consist of leather strips wound around their long toes.

In terms of magic, the Raevyns practice what Wesnothians would call dark magic. Raevyns specialise in several branches of magic, with every student starting with ice and water magic. Should they be provoked, Raevyn mages would be able to launch bolts of cold, or raw, chaotic magic and if they could, jets of water. Blood magic came later- it allows its students the ability to manipulate blood. Blood mages could heal and cure by magically cleansing the blood of their patients or by transfusing blood from their own body (not by real modern means mind you! :D). In the latter ritual, the Raevyn would chant the required spells and meditate. Magical, glowing blood would then ooze through its nostrils and float into his patient's like smoke.

Blood magic could be used for violent means as well. Raevyn Blood mages are able to magically drain his enemy slowly of blood and if he needs to, transfer it to himself for healing, or others. This is no easy feat however, hence the reason why it is the 'next level' of Raevyn wizardry. This is also the reason why Ice and water magic came first- many Raevyns found ease of use with them, and even Blood Mages keep to them in combat as well.

Another sphere of magic that Raevyns practice would be lightning magic. It includes the summoning of lightnings to wound, as well as light up a dark area, or to empower Raevyn devices and even the mage's comrades. It is also the practice of immunizing one from lightnings. The humans learnt to control fire because they feared it, and in some cases, some humans would do the same to death itself because they feared it even more. The same logic applies to Raevyns- Ice and water are what hinders their flight and thus freedom where fire would just be grounded and could not follow wherever they go. Lightning are the bane of many a Raevyns on their trips to and from their homes- it strikes suddenly and unexpectedly. The case is different for blood however, but the reason for its practise is no different from why humans practice healing magic. It is just a different way towards the same enlightened end.

Raevyns are wholly different in the area of warfare with the use of might. While Raevyns are peaceful and highly enlightened, they still recognise the need for a military, and as such, are better prepared than the elves. Most of their military culture however, came from warfares with other races that do not understand them. As Raevyns are highly adaptable with their cities built everywhere except for the wetlands and oceans, their tactics enable them to fight on many terrains.

The Raevyn military comprises almost exclusively of an airforce that is easily convertable to a ground force. Their style of warfare is different- they prefer speed, agility and technique over brute strength and wars of attrition. They would prefer the skilful execution of tactics rather than just throwing everything into the fray. As such, the rank-and-file of the Raevyn military would consist of the Raevyn Impalers- Raevyns carrying what is essentially a pike. These soldiers are however, lightly armored as they would otherwise not be able to fly over long distances. Normal military training is only enough to allow them light armor in addition to their weapon and several day's supplies. These soldiers fight by flying speedily and launching themselves at the enemy like missiles in formation, impaling several soldiers at once, before retreating, regrouping and repeating the same technique. As they are flyers, they could easily do it in any formation, fashion, and time it to surprise their enemies.

Another common type of soldier in the Raevyn military would be the appropriately named Raevyn Guillotines- they are armored similarly, but instead of a pike, they would use a short-shafted glaive. Instead of launching themselves at enemies, they would instead fly close to them and, by using the momentum and speed of their flight, decapitate and slice them- the damage is beyond anything a human could do despite the Raevyn's lack of physical strength.

To complement the Raevyn Impalers, Raevyn Guillotines are Raevyn Harriers that carry Javelins for throwing or simply dropping them at their foes. Bows and Arrows are not used as it severely limits the speed of a Raevyn. The Harriers would normally harry the enemy as the Impalers are regrouping. Some Harriers however, carries the crossbow, which is more effective at range and does not hinder a Raevyn's flight. The Raevyn military is however, not limited to just these three forms of fighting systems.

There is a Raevyn martial arts that is dedicated to close combat fighting, closely and intimately connected to the ancient fighting system that exclusively uses the Raevyn's talons on both its feet and hands. This is enhanced with steel talons worn by the fighter. These soldiers are some of the most well-trained, commonly called the Raevyn Talonwarriors. They fight with frenzied assaults using their claws, but unlike Dwarvish Berserkers, they are not frenzied in the mind- everything is controlled and intended, which also makes them dangerous. Veteran Talonwarriors would include in their arsenal twin shortswords and others, even twin bucklers strapped to their arms.

With the mages' assistance, the Raevyn military is a well-rounded army, one that could even deter Wesnoth's forces. At the head of every Raevyn army would be a war council consisting of the most experienced and intelligent. Highly mobile and adaptable, the Raevyn military could easily strike anywhere yet go to places they are needed, becoming instant garrisons for any cities under siege. A Raevyn soldier could be both an aerial warrior and foot soldier one time or the other, but serves better as the former as most other races could not soar into the sky like them, and it is in their nature to fly than to remain grounded. This same adaptibility also allows them to make the most of most terrains when most other races would struggle in many of them. They could occupy and use the mountains and forests, the plains and deserts with equal ease.

Despite their victory-winning tactics, the Raevyns would always avoid military conflict whenever possible due to their peaceful nature. Diplomacy and reason is also within their arsenal, but is unfortunately not always successful as the world around them is not always as enlightened or understanding.
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Re: [brainstorm] New Wesnoth Species?

Post by Velensk » August 1st, 2010, 11:51 am

It feels a bit ironic to me that you attach that particular culture on a bird that is usually associated with death.
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Re: [brainstorm] New Wesnoth Species?

Post by Feufochmar » August 1st, 2010, 1:30 pm

Ken_Oh wrote:I had an idea for a fantasy world a while back where every sentient being is based off of an animal (which, unfortunately, would run the risk of being a furry fest). Anyway, this would include humans. Just as a wolfman would be a wolf+man, a human would be a hu+man. The hu in question would probably be either a hairless monkey or lemur-ish creature.
Unfortunately, "hu+man" only works in English. The concept is not translatable into other languages, as you can't use this play on words. For exemple, in French, "human" is translated by "humain" and "main" means "hand" ; "man" is translated by "homme" (note : you have exactly the same remark in Spanish : "human" is "humano", "mano" means "hand" ; "man" is "hombre").

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Re: [brainstorm] New Wesnoth Species?

Post by Drakefriend » August 1st, 2010, 2:04 pm

Actually, "human" has nothing to do wizh "man", the ladder is a Germanic word that named the mystical ancestor of humanity(compare German "Mensch"(human)and "Mann"(man)), while the first is from the Latin word for human, HOMO.
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Re: [brainstorm] New Wesnoth Species?

Post by xbriannova » August 3rd, 2010, 10:46 am

Velensk wrote:It feels a bit ironic to me that you attach that particular culture on a bird that is usually associated with death.
Hmm... How is it ironic? My idea is to take what the Ravens, as in the actual bird, and what they stood for, and amplify their distinctive characteristics. Ravens are said to be intelligent, so I amplified that and made them the Raevyns, a race of great thinkers, philosophers, artists, mages and secondarily scientists.

I kind of understood that Ravens are associated with bad, evil omen in traditional culture, but it got me thinking- these birds in nature are just... birds. It's those crazy minds of our ancestors that decided that they are the messengers of doom or something, so I decided to amplify this cultural identity of the Ravens.

Thus, the Raevyns are instead misunderstood, in the same way that the Ravens are bashed for their feather color and carrion diet. Typical Wesnothians would say the same thing you said, and that's the beauty of it :). Alot of ideas came out from this- I wanted them misunderstood more, so I added their blood-drinking nature, noctural nature.

Another characteristic of the Ravens I amplified would be their adaptability. I've made them very capable of nesting just about anywhere, except for wet environments, and really, really wet environments.

What came out from them being misunderstood is that theirs is a culture that is forlorn, depressed, lonely- Quite Gothic, but also very moral, intellectual.
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Re: [brainstorm] New Wesnoth Species?

Post by Velensk » August 3rd, 2010, 11:52 am

It is not the evil thing, it is the way you say their society is organised. Ravens are a very social creature however I cannot imagine larger more intelegent ones forming a society the way you describe.

I think I've heard enough to not feel inclined to elaborate though. Feel free to ignore.
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Re: [brainstorm] New Wesnoth Species?

Post by batoonike » August 4th, 2010, 4:50 pm

johndh wrote:
batoonike wrote:If a fictional race or culture wasnt a clone of something that allready exists, it would be extremely boring. No way to relate to it.
Who says that something is boring because you can't relate to it? I can't relate very well to sharks, but I find them fascinating.[...]
If its any spiece of animals its alreay rather easy to relate to, you kind of know what it is. I was thinking about more extreme case about something that would be complitely out of this world. Like triangles, that do nothing. Or some other thingy, that does something which we have never seen before. So theres no word for what theyre doing. In the last case, you have something thats 100% original but is rather boring cause we have no contact with it of what so ever.
I mean a cool race of hipos or sharks or flying spagetty monsters might be very interesting but Id still have this naggying feeling at the back of my head that this is just a new version of something ive seen 2000 times. Playing like them wouldnt feel like learning to walk or getting "it" for the first time. The feeling that one has seen it already is a problem of perception though.

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Re: [brainstorm] New Wesnoth Species?

Post by Jetrel » August 6th, 2010, 5:03 am

The tallo(sp?) from Star Control were a neat idea. Sentient rocks that ambulate via rolling. A related neat idea from the game was sentient crystals that manipulate their environment via telekinesis.
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