Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Celtic_Minstrel » January 13th, 2018, 11:07 pm

Kasdel wrote:Roc is a great idea. I thought about falconeering in the "falconeering with not-quite-normal falcons" way, but this is better. Also, I think the falcon is in need of a slightly fresher sprite, so rocs are perfect.
Also note that Arabic word here is closer to "rukh", and if that's deemed too short you could probably make an argument for prefixing al- (alroc, alrukh) which is the Arabic definite article (ie meaning "the"). There's precedence for this sort of thing in the word "alcohol", after all.
Kasdel wrote:The Wyvern Rider was something I thought of as well. We have the sprite, we just need to lore to match it. I mean, are there supposed to be wyverns on the Great Continent if drakes already exist there? If they came from the Old Continent, that issue wouldn't arise.
Honestly, a wyvern rider seems like an oddity in the context of the faction, but I suppose it might be possible to slot it in. Wyverns that are ridden would not be much like the intelligent drakes. They'd likely be dumb lizards that are trained to bear weight. On the other hand, if they're intelligent, they'd need to have a symbiotic relationship with their riders (maybe similar to the dragons of Pern, for example)
Kasdel wrote:I did a quick search on plants in Arabian mythology and didn't really find anything, but it would be interesting if they had unique plants that they used in medicine and that were resistant to the dry weather of the desert, so they could replant them on their new home in the Great Continent. You're giving me many good ideas!
A desert will probably have some types of cacti (though they wouldn't be terribly common among the dunes), and some types of cacti and similar plants (such as aloe vera) do have medicinal qualities. (Aloe might actually be quite fitting here, since it originates on the Arab Peninsula and is reputed to be good for treating burns.)

I get the impression that a lot of people are also forgetting that desert-dwellers most likely wouldn't spend their entire lives out on the dunes. They'd gather around an oasis or (like the Egyptians) a river, where the sorts of plants found could be quite unlike what you'd expect in the dunes. For example, barley comes from the Arab peninsula, and was cultivated there in the Fertile Crescents. Papyrus was made from reeds that grew on the Nile. Flax too was cultivated in these areas. Basically, in considering what sorts of plants the dunefolk have access to, you can't limit yourself to hardy desert plants like cacti.
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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Pentarctagon » January 13th, 2018, 11:23 pm

Perhaps a simpler explanation could be that they left their previous home due to increasing desertification? The oasis disappeared, rivers dried up, and so they were forced to seek out a new home.

Alternatively, it could be that nobody knows anymore how they got to their current home - the records were either lost or destroyed, and they were only discovered relatively recently due to some explorer deciding to trek further into the desert than anyone had bothered/dared to before.
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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Xalzar » January 13th, 2018, 11:32 pm

Kasdel wrote: I didn't think of the Orcs... if they existed on the Old Continent, (I need to brush up on Wesnoth lore) then I can incorporate them in that origin, yeah.
It's never clearly stated in the lore, but given the Lich Lords' place of origin and their intentional creation of a portal to the Orcish homeland...
Kasdel wrote: Indeed, part of the Old Continent's origin should be shrouded in mystery, and the description can't encompass it all, but for people brainstorming the lore, it's pretty important that we know of certain details to be incorporated in the Dunefolk's story and clear up the unexplained stuff.
I think it's better to leave the Old Continent alone, since the game is called "Battle for Wesnoth" and events should be centered in the area of Wesnoth and in the Great Continent for the most part (UMCs can freely explore whatever they want, I know at least one is set on the Old Continent).
Most probably we'll mention the Old Continent as area of origin of the Dunefolk and maybe hint at why and how they traveled and settled on the Great Continent. After all, I expect the current Dunefolk to be quite distant - chronologically and culturally - from the events that led them to their new land.
Kasdel wrote: I think Irdya should be a globe, or part of one...? There are mentions to the sun (or suns) which is a star (spheric/globe-shaped), and it seems a world fairly similar to our own in terms of seasons and times of day.
The presence of the sun does not mean it works the same way our world works. I'm not saying because I want a flat world or something else, I'm just saying to not take for granted the rules of that universe.
Personally, my headcanon is that the world is spherical, with a little sun and a moon (which is rarely mentioned if at all, don't ask me why) orbiting around it. This theory is supported by the fact that people from the planet managed to put in orbit a second sun, and a third even - for a very short time.
Kasdel wrote: I meant east of the Old Continent, not east of the whole world.
According to this sketch by zookeeper for the explanation that served as basis to mine, there's land to the west and east of the Old Continent, and I assumed the Wesfolk lived on the west while the Dunefolk on the east.
But yeah, my geography is messed up. If it's in the direction of the south pole, then it's not really the north... and I'm not sure if that means the east was supposed to be west? Now I'm confused.
I was unclear, sorry. Scratch that. But know that that map is only an hypotesis, we don't really know how the continent are shaped. That's what I meant to say. If we need a continental bridge or a strait we could decide to use that map or a modified version of it.
Celtic_Minstrel wrote:A desert will probably have some types of cacti (though they wouldn't be terribly common among the dunes), and some types of cacti and similar plants (such as aloe vera) do have medicinal qualities. (Aloe might actually be quite fitting here, since it originates on the Arab Peninsula and is reputed to be good for treating burns.)
I get the impression that a lot of people are also forgetting that desert-dwellers most likely wouldn't spend their entire lives out on the dunes. They'd gather around an oasis or (like the Egyptians) a river, where the sorts of plants found could be quite unlike what you'd expect in the dunes. For example, barley comes from the Arab peninsula, and was cultivated there in the Fertile Crescents. Papyrus was made from reeds that grew on the Nile. Flax too was cultivated in these areas. Basically, in considering what sorts of plants the dunefolk have access to, you can't limit yourself to hardy desert plants like cacti.
I thought about aloe too!
The major point I was going to stress with this whole "plant" thing was to justify how Dunefolk physicians are more effective than Elvish Shamans when come to healing, when the Elves live in forest rich of medicinal herbs and plants and they use magic too.
Aloe could be an explanation, expecially if we "exaggerate" a bit its properties... :lol:

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Celtic_Minstrel » January 14th, 2018, 1:01 am

Xalzar wrote:The presence of the sun does not mean it works the same way our world works. I'm not saying because I want a flat world or something else, I'm just saying to not take for granted the rules of that universe.
Personally, my headcanon is that the world is spherical, with a little sun and a moon (which is rarely mentioned if at all, don't ask me why) orbiting around it. This theory is supported by the fact that people from the planet managed to put in orbit a second sun, and a third even - for a very short time.
The two suns era doesn't contradict a heliocentric theory, though — it's entirely possible that Irdya orbits its sun, even while the new sun orbits Irdya. In technical terms, the original sun is a true sun, while the new suns are more like super-bright moons. (And the failure is probably due to a lack of understanding of orbital mechanics. :P )
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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Cold Steel » January 14th, 2018, 5:55 am

Pentarctagon wrote:So, who are the Dunefolk? How did they get to the Great Continent? When did they get there? Do they use magic? Are there Jinn? The sky's the limit here :)
So would it be off topic to post a race description that explains the dunefolk are themselves jinn and are native to the great continent?

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Pentarctagon » January 14th, 2018, 7:31 am

Cold Steel wrote:
Pentarctagon wrote:So, who are the Dunefolk? How did they get to the Great Continent? When did they get there? Do they use magic? Are there Jinn? The sky's the limit here :)
So would it be off topic to post a race description that explains the dunefolk are themselves jinn and are native to the great continent?
If you have a race description in mind that you think fits the Dunefolk, then feel free to post it.
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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Cold Steel » January 14th, 2018, 8:39 pm

Okay, this is my proposal description (or a first draft thereof)--


The Dunefolk are all that is left of the primordial Jinn.

In the earliest time when much of the world was still searing from its inception, the Jinn, a race of fiery ethereal creatures thrived in the sky above with power and majesty rivaled only by that of Dragons. Then the influence of the Faerie cooled and greened the world, forcing the Jinn to retreat down to the hottest remaining land under the sun, the interior deserts of the Great Continent. Dwindling in this place for ages, they long studied the magics and nature of the world seeking a way to restore it to its original state so they might again thrive. Ultimately the Jinn expended most of their own remaining magical vitality in the attempt to so reshape the world, but it failed for a single mistake apparent only in hindsight.

To prolong survival, all but the youngest or strongest of Jinn must conjure insulating bodies from mud using their remarkable magic. From a distance these could be mistaken for a more mundane creature with an oddly hurried gait, until one glimpses the ceramic visage or faint sunny glow of the creature dwelling within pouring out through every crack and perforation of its crafted shell. They are mostly sighted crossing swiftly through open desert too fiercely hot and dry for most other races to follow, earning them their common name "Dunefolk".

The Jinn are driven to trade, form alliances and even conduct subterfuge with other races to acquire works of powerful magic, that they accumulate in the deep desert in preparation for their final attempt to return the world to its original form.
Last edited by Cold Steel on January 14th, 2018, 11:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Celtic_Minstrel » January 14th, 2018, 11:04 pm

You mean "gait", not "gate".

It sounds intriguing, and you have some interesting ideas in there. I'll go over them in some detail, but first, let me say this. Regarding the dunefolk, I still prefer them to be humans who associate with jinn to some degree, rather than jinn themselves. However, I like some of ideas as they pertain to a race of jinn, without the implication that the jinn and the dunefolk are one and the same.
Cold Steel wrote:In the earliest time when much of the world was still searing from its inception, the Jinn, a race of fiery ethereal creatures thrived in the sky above with power and majesty rivaled only by that of Dragons. Then the influence of the Faerie cooled and greened the world, forcing the Jinn to retreat down to the hottest remaining land under the sun, the interior deserts of the Great Continent. Dwindling in this place for ages, they long studied the magics and nature of the world seeking a way to restore it to its original state so they might again thrive. Ultimately the Jinn expended most of their own remaining magical vitality in the attempt to so reshape the world, but it failed for a single mistake apparent only in hindsight.
I dislike the whole "wants to reshape the world" angle. That effectively casts them as villains, making it difficult to imagine a sympathetic jinn. I'd prefer to suppose that the desert is plenty hot enough for them to survive. Sure, other areas of the planet may now be too cool, but they're content remaining in the heat of the desert.
Cold Steel wrote:To prolong survival, all but the youngest or strongest of Jinn must conjure insulating bodies from mud using their remarkable magic. From a distance these could be mistaken for a more mundane creature with an oddly hurried gate, until one glimpses the ceramic visage or faint sunny glow of the creature dwelling within pouring out through every crack and perforation of its crafted shell.
Again, I prefer that jinn have no difficulty surviving in the desert even without a protective shell. That said, this idea of a protective shell of ceramic is quite intriguing, and I could imagine particularly skilled jinn taking on such forms in order to live amongst humans. Of course, that would mean their artisanship in crafting the shell is greater than you were thinking, good enough that they can pass unnoticed to the casual eye. But it's still an interesting idea, and in my opinion could support either one unit line of the dunefolk being considered jinn rather than humans (presumably the naffat line) or a new dunefolk-specific trait that can be applied to any (or at least any lawful) dunefolk unit.

(As for the effect of the trait, the most obvious idea would be to give them heavy fire resistance and cold vulnerability. That might be a bit much, though, so light fire res / cold vuln might be better.)
Cold Steel wrote:The Jinn are driven to trade, form alliances and even conduct subterfuge with other races to acquire works of powerful magic, that they accumulate in the deep desert in preparation for their final attempt to return the world to its original form.
I imagine the jinn being rather more passive than you suggest. They may engage in trade, sure, but not on a large scale; they probably won't form alliances without good reason. Subterfuge on the other hand is something that I think they would conduct quite a lot.
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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Cold Steel » January 15th, 2018, 1:23 am

Celtic_Minstrel wrote:You mean "gait", not "gate".
Fixed.
Celtic_Minstrel wrote:Regarding the dunefolk, I still prefer them to be humans who associate with jinn to some degree, rather than jinn themselves.
Other factions that have units of different alignments, use different races to distinguish those alignments. Since "Dunefolk" is also a faction of multiple alignments, it could do the same by including more than one race besides Jinn.

Humans are over used in the game and getting a bit dull. However, I think replacing the falcon with a Flying Carpet unit ridden by a Human could still hit all the marks. The idea would be, the Jinn with their deep knowledge gave such flying devices (or the knowledge of how to make them) to a group of desert dwelling humans in exchange for them scouting for powerful artifacts (far beyond the warmth of the desert) which the Jinn need for their project.
Celtic_Minstrel wrote:I dislike the whole "wants to reshape the world" angle. That effectively casts them as villains, making it difficult to imagine a sympathetic jinn.
Not change the world but restore it. An accidental or willful interaction between the Faerie World and Irdya rendered the latter largely hostile to its native inhabitants. The Jinn have been trying ever since to restore the world to the way it was, before they are finally rendered extinct.

That other races, adapted to the new hostile environment, appeared in the mean time is an extra wrinkle that makes for some interesting story potential. Because the Jinn are quite justified in doing what they are doing and other races that might try to stop them are justified as well. It is a real moral dilemma rather than more "Good Vs Evil!" hyperbole.

The other reason for this Jinn backstory is to better tie into the wider wesnoth universe, the otherwise ridiculously bizarre "Under the Burning Suns" mainline campaign backstory:

With the knowledge of "world ways" the Jinn possess they could instruct the wesnoth magicians in how to conduct such enormous (geoengineering) projects that they accomplished in the UtBS backstory. Like raising two additional "suns" into the sky. Which required raw powers the Jinn themselves no longer possessed yet would know how to do. But then the Jinn tricked the magicians when they gave them their instructions for raising the third sun. It crashed back down to Irdya and the world became radically hotter and dryer. Thereby saving the Jinn species from extinction (completing their long story arc) and setting up the world state of the UtBS campaign.
Celtic_Minstrel wrote:I'd prefer to suppose that the desert is plenty hot enough for them to survive. Sure, other areas of the planet may now be too cool, but they're content remaining in the heat of the desert. Again, I prefer that jinn have no difficulty surviving in the desert even without a protective shell.
To creatures composed of "smokeless flame" desert heat might feel as warm as forty below zero.

But I agree there should be Jinn wandering around the desert fully exposed. That is why the description says only the old and weak Jinn need protection. Those in their prime can still zoom over the surface unclad and unhindered and throw fiery destruction down on their enemies, yet this is only a fraction of their ancestor's power in the primordial times (to put it in game play terms, this is a level 1 unit, while a Primordial Jinn would be level 4 or 5) so such a unit can still be a part of the faction recruit list.

Alternatively only the young (rather than the old) Jinn might need protective shells. Or those weakened from battle or that spent too long too far from the desert heat.
Celtic_Minstrel wrote:That said, this idea of a protective shell of ceramic is quite intriguing, and I could imagine particularly skilled jinn taking on such forms in order to live amongst humans. Of course, that would mean their artisanship in crafting the shell is greater than you were thinking, good enough that they can pass unnoticed to the casual eye.
Well whichever way the volunteer portrait artist finds most fun to draw or whichever way makes the best looking sprites, I guess.
Celtic_Minstrel wrote:I imagine the jinn being rather more passive than you suggest. They may engage in trade, sure, but not on a large scale; they probably won't form alliances without good reason. Subterfuge on the other hand is something that I think they would conduct quite a lot.
Passive is how I was imagining them as well. Most of the time, they hide or wander deep in the desert where only the occasional Drake or Dragon flying high above might ever catch a glimpse of what it is they are working on out there (which would be likely massive and striking in appearance but its purpose not remotely obvious). The only thing that draws them out is the promise of the magical treasures they require for the world remaking. Or the promise of an alliance with entities in command of powerful magic and other resources that can be helpful to the same end (as above for the UtBS back history).

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Celtic_Minstrel » January 15th, 2018, 4:48 am

Cold Steel wrote:Other factions that have units of different alignments, use different races to distinguish those alignments. Since "Dunefolk" is also a faction of multiple alignments, it could do the same by including more than one race besides Jinn.
It could, but that doesn't mean it should.
Cold Steel wrote:Humans are over used in the game and getting a bit dull. However, I think replacing the falcon with a Flying Carpet unit ridden by a Human could still hit all the marks. The idea would be, the Jinn with their deep knowledge gave such flying devices (or the knowledge of how to make them) to a group of desert dwelling humans in exchange for them scouting for powerful artifacts (far beyond the warmth of the desert) which the Jinn need for their project.
It's an intriguing idea. While I still prefer replacing the falcon with a roc, a flying carpet might be acceptable too.
Cold Steel wrote:Not change the world but restore it.
You're just playing with semantics here. It comes to the same thing in the end. Just because the world was a certain way, that does not mean it's okay to put it back to how it was then.
Cold Steel wrote:An accidental or willful interaction between the Faerie World and Irdya rendered the latter largely hostile to its native inhabitants. The Jinn have been trying ever since to restore the world to the way it was, before they are finally rendered extinct.
This is rubbish in my opinion. The jinn should be more focused on learning to survive in the new world while ensuring it doesn't get any worse. Change is inevitable, and if they can't adapt to a changing world, then that's a problem.
Cold Steel wrote:That other races, adapted to the new hostile environment, appeared in the mean time is an extra wrinkle that makes for some interesting story potential. Because the Jinn are quite justified in doing what they are doing and other races that might try to stop them are justified as well. It is a real moral dilemma rather than more "Good Vs Evil!" hyperbole.
As you might've already gathered, I disagree that such actions from the jinn are justified. It paints them as selfish and arrogant.
Cold Steel wrote:The other reason for this Jinn backstory is to better tie into the wider wesnoth universe, the otherwise ridiculously bizarre "Under the Burning Suns" mainline campaign backstory:

With the knowledge of "world ways" the Jinn possess they could instruct the wesnoth magicians in how to conduct such enormous (geoengineering) projects that they accomplished in the UtBS backstory. Like raising two additional "suns" into the sky. Which required raw powers the Jinn themselves no longer possessed yet would know how to do. But then the Jinn tricked the magicians when they gave them their instructions for raising the third sun. It crashed back down to Irdya and the world became radically hotter and dryer. Thereby saving the Jinn species from extinction (completing their long story arc) and setting up the world state of the UtBS campaign.
Okay, I admit you've come up with an interesting idea here with respect to tying the jinn into the origin of the Two Suns Era. But you don't need the jinn to be working as a race on a project to "restore the world" in order for this to work. It could be just one rogue jinn (or a few) who worked with Wesnoth, either tricking them or meddling with the plan to ensure it didn't go as the magicians planned.
Cold Steel wrote:To creatures composed of "smokeless flame" desert heat might feel as warm as forty below zero.
That sounds pretty exaggerated to me, though the general point is sound, I guess. Still, I'd be more inclined to think they find it just comfortable, at least during the summer months. Then, to the jinn, the cycle of seasons in the desert might feel much like the cycle of seasons up north feels to, say, the orcs - comfortable summers, desperately cold winters.
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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Cold Steel » January 15th, 2018, 7:47 am

Celtic_Minstrel wrote:This is rubbish in my opinion. The jinn should be more focused on learning to survive in the new world while ensuring it doesn't get any worse. Change is inevitable, and if they can't adapt to a changing world, then that's a problem.
After remaking the world, could not the jinn offer the same argument to those adversely affected? "We changed the world, so what? Change is inevitable, get used to it."

Anyway though, there are a lot of knobs and levers that can be adjusted on this situation to put it comfortably in the moral grey zone for most players. The justification for the jinn's goal is improved if:

1. The original changing of the world was made willfully by the faerie.
2. The UtBS world seems to adversely affect mostly only faerie creatures and humans besides the anyways borderline-evil orcs and undead.
3. The creatures of the faerie, woses and elves, long ago participated in the original remaking of the world and treat jinn as sub-faerie creatures.
4. Most humans assume the jinn to be undead or similar abominations and attack on site.
5. Humans in the UtBS back story time period are already conducting dangerous works of world shaping and refuse to desist.

Of course, you do not want to go so far that the jinn seem totally justified and the other races totally evil. The goal is to make the situation morally challenging for the player. Because jinn are neither good or evil and I do not think other races are meant to be too much of either extreme.

Yet, you do need points of major contention in a war game like The *Battle* for Wesnoth. If elves just water their trees in their forests, jinn just soak up some rays in their deserts and dwarves just get blasted in their subterranean mead halls... then you have no conflict and thus no game. Most campaigns rely on the orcs overpopulating and trashing their territory or lichts generally being skeletor-esk megalomaniacs to spark their main conflict. If another faction is to be added, it should have some incentive to initiate potential conflict beyond its borders. Orcs and/or undead as the driving force behind most every war and campaign gets old after a time.
Celtic_Minstrel wrote:Okay, I admit you've come up with an interesting idea here with respect to tying the jinn into the origin of the Two Suns Era. But you don't need the jinn to be working as a race on a project to "restore the world" in order for this to work. It could be just one rogue jinn (or a few) who worked with Wesnoth, either tricking them or meddling with the plan to ensure it didn't go as the magicians planned.
I suppose that is reasonable.

Although, it is such a major event in history, which largely wipes clean everything you did in all of the campaigns previous to UtBS, that it feels like there should be something important behind it. Not just some unnamed magician off screen saying "Oops, dropped a sun, my bad."

A primordial injustice that destroyed one world and created another, being suddenly reversed by the cleverness, effort, risk taking and sacrifice made over the course of enormous time by creatures of once mythical abilities reduced nearly to extinction... Okay, maybe that is a fairer trade for your 100 or so hours playing through all those campaigns whose events are otherwise rendered hollow by UtBS' mighty opening slide show.
Celtic_Minstrel wrote:
Cold Steel wrote:To creatures composed of "smokeless flame" desert heat might feel as warm as forty below zero.
That sounds pretty exaggerated to me, though the general point is sound, I guess. Still, I'd be more inclined to think they find it just comfortable, at least during the summer months. Then, to the jinn, the cycle of seasons in the desert might feel much like the cycle of seasons up north feels to, say, the orcs - comfortable summers, desperately cold winters.
Honestly, without knowing what exactly smokeless fire means it is hard to speculate as to what conditions would be tolerable or not.

But for there to be a reasonable motive for conflict(s), it would have to be more than just uncomfortable conditions. More along the lines of a slow extinction. Possibly the world could have been set on a path of becoming ever more "green and lush" to some but approaching "snowball earth" to jinn and perhaps eventually dragons, drakes and even saurians and naga. So even if they can tolerate things the way they are now, it will only get worse until a radical intervention is made.

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Celtic_Minstrel » January 16th, 2018, 2:12 am

Cold Steel wrote:After remaking the world, could not the jinn offer the same argument to those adversely affected? "We changed the world, so what? Change is inevitable, get used to it."
While technically true, the quote rings hollow if you're actively taking steps to enact drastic change.
Cold Steel wrote:Anyway though, there are a lot of knobs and levers that can be adjusted on this situation to put it comfortably in the moral grey zone for most players. The justification for the jinn's goal is improved if:

1. The original changing of the world was made willfully by the faerie.
2. The UtBS world seems to adversely affect mostly only faerie creatures and humans besides the anyways borderline-evil orcs and undead.
3. The creatures of the faerie, woses and elves, long ago participated in the original remaking of the world and treat jinn as sub-faerie creatures.
4. Most humans assume the jinn to be undead or similar abominations and attack on site.
5. Humans in the UtBS back story time period are already conducting dangerous works of world shaping and refuse to desist.

Of course, you do not want to go so far that the jinn seem totally justified and the other races totally evil. The goal is to make the situation morally challenging for the player. Because jinn are neither good or evil and I do not think other races are meant to be too much of either extreme.
1. But now that paints the faerie as villains, which doesn't seem any better to me.
2. Uhhh, first of all, even if it were to "adversely affect mostly only faerie creatures and humans", that doesn't make it okay. The fact that it adversely affects anyone makes it very much not okay. Secondly, the orcs are nowhere near evil. They're just trying to live life how they always have, but now all these pesky elves and humans keep getting in their way. And the undead aren't really evil either. They're merely a tool, commonly used for evil yet still usable for good.
3. Again, this paints the elves and woses as villains. Painting an entire race as villains is not acceptable in my opinion.
4. This is the only point that halfway makes sense, or at least the basic sentiment does (ie, that the jinn have some justification for "remaking the world" if they're commonly persecuted). However, I don't think the basic premise makes sense at all if the dunefolk are humans who have some form of relationship with the jinn.
5. Yeah, and to be honest I don't really like this any more than what you're suggesting; unfortunately it's already considered canon, so there's not much to be done about it now. (The world-shaping of the Wesnoth wizards leading to the two suns era raises so many unanswered questions. For starters, how did they do this without any other race catching on and putting a stop to it?)

I totally agree that the jinn should be neither good nor evil, though.
Cold Steel wrote:Yet, you do need points of major contention in a war game like The *Battle* for Wesnoth. If elves just water their trees in their forests, jinn just soak up some rays in their deserts and dwarves just get blasted in their subterranean mead halls... then you have no conflict and thus no game. Most campaigns rely on the orcs overpopulating and trashing their territory or lichts generally being skeletor-esk megalomaniacs to spark their main conflict. If another faction is to be added, it should have some incentive to initiate potential conflict beyond its borders. Orcs and/or undead as the driving force behind most every war and campaign gets old after a time.
Points of contention, sure. But they don't need to be world-shaking villainous plots. Maybe the elves and jinn both try, in their small ways, to get the planet to be more comfortable to them. Maybe they do occasionally come into conflict over this issue. But I'd rather see it as an ongoing skirmish over an irreconcilable difference rather than a secret plot on either side to overthrow the balance. You could even say in this case that the conflict itself is the balance.
Cold Steel wrote:Although, it is such a major event in history, which largely wipes clean everything you did in all of the campaigns previous to UtBS, that it feels like there should be something important behind it. Not just some unnamed magician off screen saying "Oops, dropped a sun, my bad."
Yeah, again, that's why I'm not a fan of the underlying two suns story. It's like a story of one idiotic magician deciding that they needed to banish the night to defeat the undead. In a normal game, that magician would be the final boss who you're trying to stop, but here in Wesnoth they actually succeeded. (Okay, so it might have been a group of people rather than one wizard, but still.) This is the impression that the two suns era gives off. It definitely does need a greatly improved backstory in my opinion, but I don't think your primordial injustice idea satisfies that. It merely pushes the ball. "Oh, that wizard was actually an unwitting pawn of the jinn all along. He wasn't the final boss, just the mid-boss." Admittedly it does improve on the motive, so there's some merit there ("we must banish the night!" is idiotic; "let's make the planet more comfortable for us!" is, if not reasonable, at least logical).
Cold Steel wrote:But for there to be a reasonable motive for conflict(s), it would have to be more than just uncomfortable conditions. More along the lines of a slow extinction. Possibly the world could have been set on a path of becoming ever more "green and lush" to some but approaching "snowball earth" to jinn and perhaps eventually dragons, drakes and even saurians and naga. So even if they can tolerate things the way they are now, it will only get worse until a radical intervention is made.
I just don't think they should need a radical intervention. Why can't they simply continue to intervene in smaller ways? The elves or faerie or whatever would do the same, and the planet would remain predominantly within the comfort range for both races.

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I think there are a lot of good ideas here. A rivalry between the jinn and the fairies (which haven't actually appeared in a mainline campaign, but I'm treating IftU units as semi-canonical, I guess) is a great idea in my opinion. Like you said, as a game about war, Wesnoth needs conflict, and a rivalry between two cultures provides it. But what I don't like is treating a race as villainous. You've suggested treating several races as villainous - not just the jinn, but also the fairies, elves. and woses.
Author of The Black Cross of Aleron campaign and Default++ era.
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Pentarctagon
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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Pentarctagon » January 16th, 2018, 6:51 am

I also think that we need to be careful about introducing brand new cataclysmic events. Going through and describing/showing one, such as through UtBS, is one thing, but adding new world altering events has the potential to have a lot of side effects on existing canon. Enough room should also be left to allow UMC to explore aspects of the faction, and also ideally not break too greatly from what existing UMC has already used them for. Or to put it another way - the mainline race description and canon lore about the Dunefolk should be a baseline, not an all-encompassing description of everything.
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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Cold Steel » January 16th, 2018, 8:11 am

Celtic_Minstrel wrote:But what I don't like is treating a race as villainous. You've suggested treating several races as villainous - not just the jinn, but also the fairies, elves. and woses.
Okay let my just clarify this to start off with since it seems to be a consistent sticking point.

Whenever I have referred to a race (species), this is shorthand for a large subset of said race working together. It goes without saying that among any large group, you will have dissenting opinions, neutrals and those unaware of or ineffectual against the actions of those vaguely related to them.

So when I refer to "the jinn" or "the faerie" I only mean "some powerful element among them" and not the totality.
Celtic_Minstrel wrote:Secondly, the orcs are nowhere near evil. They're just trying to live life how they always have, but now all these pesky elves and humans keep getting in their way. And the undead aren't really evil either. They're merely a tool, commonly used for evil yet still usable for good.
Well if "getting in their way" equals "peaceably hiding within their own borders or running to the other side of the planet to escape your genocidal invasion and being hunted the whole way" then I guess the orcs really are just misunderstood. Their depiction in the campaigns is unmistakably weapon's grade evil 90% of the time. Only in one campaign, SotBE are they no worse than ludicrously mindless and selfish. And only in one scenario of one campaign, tHoT, is one orc and his small band depicted as good or at least decent. So "borderline evil" seems a fitting description of orcs given the mainline campaign canon.

Undead could have been made something more interesting than almost flatly evil. After all, while some might use this method to achieve undeserved power through vicious means, what about those only trying to cheat death? At worst they are just hurting themselves. Unfortunately the mainline campaigns make it fairly clear undead are evil in all but one small exception in the early part of DitD.
Celtic_Minstrel wrote:5. Yeah, and to be honest I don't really like this any more than what you're suggesting; unfortunately it's already considered canon, so there's not much to be done about it now. (The world-shaping of the Wesnoth wizards leading to the two suns era raises so many unanswered questions. For starters, how did they do this without any other race catching on and putting a stop to it?)
{...]
Points of contention, sure. But they don't need to be world-shaking villainous plots. Maybe the elves and jinn both try, in their small ways, to get the planet to be more comfortable to them. Maybe they do occasionally come into conflict over this issue. But I'd rather see it as an ongoing skirmish over an irreconcilable difference rather than a secret plot on either side to overthrow the balance. You could even say in this case that the conflict itself is the balance.
Well so your latter point is answered by your former. The cataclysm preceding UtBS does happen, it is canon and we probably are not going to change that. So might as well do something really worthwhile with it:

A (splinter) group of jinn with knowledge vastly older and deeper than any other's, with motivation driven by a primordial conflict between opposite forces of nature, resolved to act as their people need them to yet burdened by the sense of guilt and shame for such an act's wider consequences...

Versus:

Hack mages ruin the world saved so many times before from much darker threats.
Celtic_Minstrel wrote:This is the impression that the two suns era gives off. It definitely does need a greatly improved backstory in my opinion, but I don't think your primordial injustice idea satisfies that. It merely pushes the ball. "Oh, that wizard was actually an unwitting pawn of the jinn all along. He wasn't the final boss, just the mid-boss." Admittedly it does improve on the motive, so there's some merit there ("we must banish the night!" is idiotic; "let's make the planet more comfortable for us!" is, if not reasonable, at least logical).
There is no boss to face in any case. The world is changed beyond any likely remaining ability to change it back in any reasonable time frame. If mages did it, they are long dead one way or another. If jinn did it, they are fully satisfied with the result and will take it no further, so the only reason to attack them is out of an empty desire for revenge, which would not go well now that they have every advantage.

And again, while "more comfortable" might not be reasonable, *avoiding extinction* certainly would be to our species. In real life, we humans inhabit a world with some animals that have brains larger than our own and, in the case of some cetaceans, brains no less sophisticated than our own as far as modern science can determine. And they represent no threat to our survival. But that hasn't stopped us from driving them to the brink of extinction in the past. It doesn't stop us from slaughtering them for the "Whale Bacon" industry today. That some group of jinn operating independently of other jinn, act to save their species through a process that could threaten other unrelated but intelligent species would not make them unreasonable by real life human standards.
Celtic_Minstrel wrote:I think there are a lot of good ideas here. A rivalry between the jinn and the fairies (which haven't actually appeared in a mainline campaign, but I'm treating IftU units as semi-canonical, I guess) is a great idea in my opinion.
The "Faerie" and the "Faerie World" are referenced in the descriptions for units of the wose and elvish shyde lines, so these are already mainline canonical things even without UMC concepts.

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Cold Steel » January 16th, 2018, 8:41 am

Pentarctagon wrote:I also think that we need to be careful about introducing brand new cataclysmic events. Going through and describing/showing one, such as through UtBS, is one thing, but adding new world altering events has the potential to have a lot of side effects on existing canon. Enough room should also be left to allow UMC to explore aspects of the faction, and also ideally not break too greatly from what existing UMC has already used them for.
The faerie world "cooling and greening" irdya in primordial times is more along the lines of a creation myth (except in the sense it is truth). It is a back-back-back-history. It happens long before any in game events, so it does not change any world we ever see.
Pentarctagon wrote:Or to put it another way - the mainline race description and canon lore about the Dunefolk should be a baseline, not an all-encompassing description of everything.
I was trying to mimic the Drake's origin description. Describing where they came from and how they got to the great continent. But I can edit it down as need be for the wiki and help menu.

I just wanted to get enough of the wider concept out there for the purpose of discussion.

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