Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Celtic_Minstrel » February 12th, 2018, 6:20 am

I don't like to claim that some races are less civilized than others, especially when there isn't really a clear line. It does depend a little on the races in question, but drakes in particular I don't see as any less civilized than humans. Trolls, maybe, but it's really hard to say with them. And if the dunefolk have contact with dwarves, well then... definitely not less civilized.

I'm open to being a little vaguer, perhaps not explicitly mentioning jinn and sandworms for example, and the same for trolls and dwarves. However, in the case of drakes and nagas, who are underdeveloped to begin with, I think it's good to namedrop them and establish some relations.
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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Pentarctagon » February 12th, 2018, 8:34 am

I'm fine with it as-is as well, though I've given it another read through and tweaked the wording a bit:
The Dunefolk are a nomadic human culture inhabiting the dry deserts southeast of the known region of the continent. Tribes of the Dunefolk constantly roam the desert, leading their herds from one watering hole to another, as large, permanent water sources are scarce in the desert. The largest of these fortunate areas have given rise to a number of bustling Dunefolk cities, each of which enjoys a degree of independence unheard of in the more centralized nations to the north. Under the protection of warriors from friendly nomadic tribes, caravans carry trade across the harsh desert between the cities.

As a result of living in the harsh desert for unknown ages past, the Dunefolk have developed rational methods of enquiry, through which they continue to improve their knowledge of the world. The desert taught them to use its every gift carefully and efficiently, saving their knowledge and passing it on through the generations. The desert is an unforgiving mistress, requiring them to be no less then excellent at their activities. As a result, the Dunefolk are composed of cultured scholars, talented healers, and ferocious warriors who have mastered tactics to decimate their enemies in combat. Their skill in herbal medicine allows them to keep their warriors and workers always fresh and healthy, and in addition to steel and arrows, the Dunefolk have brought deadly fire and ferocious beasts into warfare.

It is known that the Dunefolk are involved in frequent skirmishes with Drakes and Trolls at the inland borders of the desert, in part over control of those more fertile territories as well as for rights over the desert herds. These arable highlands and deserts are an attractive region for the enterprising Dunefolk, and many would like to take those lands for themselves. On the other hand, they have more cordial relations with the neighboring naga tribes, but due to dangerous sand worms and capricious jinn, they rarely venture as far west as the elven forests.

Distaste for undead and dark magic is even stronger among the Dunefolk. The people of the desert see it as a curse — uncontrollable, unpredictable and unnatural. They look at unlucky individuals, creatures, and races who have been touched by black magic with a mixture of fear and pity.
1.13.11 has now also be (re)schedule for Feb 13th, 00:01 UTC, at least according to the #development Discord header, so unless there's any other last minute tweaks, I believe this is good to go.
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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by zepko » February 12th, 2018, 9:40 am

I'd like to restate my previously posted comments. Even more so now that we are again talking of adding the description immediately.
zepko wrote: Southeast of the known region of the continent -> I would argue that the region where they live is actually known to them, and the so-called known region is probably sort of unknown for them. So do we agree on writing the description from a Wesnoth-centric perspective?
No other race is described from a Wesnoth-centric perspective. We should stick to this principle. Hence, remove the reference to the 'known region of the contintent' and possibly replace it with 'southeast of the southern Elves' forests', or something similar.
zepko wrote: Ferocious beasts into warfare -> Are you talking about the falcon? IMO, the falcon is all but ferocious. Or maybe you are thinking about wyvern and other strange beasts which may or may not be added to the faction? This part of the description actually makes sense only if we decide to add more beasts, so this decision should probably come first.
In the absence of other beasts added to the faction, I would simply remove this sentence.
zepko wrote:Reference to jinn. I don't like it. I think that adding jinn introduces supernatural elements that are not needed in their background.
My opinion: no need for this. A vague reference to the 'dangers of the unknown desert wastes' is more than enough at this point. I mean, some days/week of travel in a harsh desert without water sources, maybe in a region with frequent sandstorms, are enough to discourage a stable connection and nobody is saying that no Dunefolk has ever crossed the desert. And this applies also to sand worms (although I don't dislike the idea).

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Eagle_11 » February 12th, 2018, 3:25 pm

Naming their relationship with other species may, potentially create the expectation that an portrayal of this relationship is required as an criteria for an succesful campaign narrative.
If we really want to settle the Drakes into the desert that would be better get done within their own racial description, we probably do not want the description of one race dictating the required presence of another.

edit: Also, we are trying to describe the Dunefolk themselves here, not their allies or opponents. If they have an allied race that bit is better left into the faction description(which would then be featuring this allied race).

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Cold Steel » February 12th, 2018, 4:33 pm

Pentarctagon wrote:I'm fine with it as-is as well, though I've given it another read through and tweaked the wording a bit
Is it just me, or does it repeat itself a lot?

Here is a quick fix:
Race Description wrote:The Dunefolk are a nomadic human culture inhabiting the southern desert. Tribes of Dunefolk lead herds and trade caravans from one impermanent watering hole to another and between a number of bustling Dunefolk city states that have risen up along the life giving rivers and coast.

The desert is an unforgiving place, requiring nothing less than excellence at all activities of nomadic survival. The Dunefolk field talented healers to keep their people alive on the move and skillful warriors that have mastered the tactics of maneuver. In their travels, they have discovered a fiery humour of the sands and tamed monstrous beasts that dumbfound enemies who have not before met the Dunefolk in battle.

Dunefolk are involved in frequent skirmishes with Drakes and Trolls at the semiarid inland borders of the desert but enjoy more cordial relations with the local naga tribes along the seacoast. Due to dangerous sand worms and capricious jinn, they only rarely venture far northwards and encounter the many other races dwelling there.

Distaste for necromancy is even stronger amongst the Dunefolk. They look at unlucky individuals, creatures, and races touched by this dark art with a mixture of fear and pity.

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Celtic_Minstrel » February 13th, 2018, 1:18 am

Unfortunately I believe you were caught out by the fact that the release dates are given in some arcane timezone which, relative to North America, is a day ahead. In other words, if you live in North America, a release scheduled for February 13th in fact takes place on February 12th... this means you've missed the deadline for the description after all.

EDIT: I got some of the specific reasoning as to why this happens wrong, but the general result remains sound: at least in North America, the release date should be treated as being one day earlier than the scheduled day. It probably applies in Europe, too.

That said, feel free to open a pull request anyway, and it'll be merged sometime after 1.14 is released.

-----

Pentarctagon's tweaks sound quite decent, but I can see some of the repetition that presumably is bugging Cold Steel. On the other hand, I'm not really happy with how drastically his tweaked version cuts down the length. I think some compromise between the two would be better; my description definitely is a bit wordy, and Pentarctagon's tweaks didn't really do anything to address that.

I'm going to consider all this and post a new version of the description... soonish.
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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Pentarctagon » February 13th, 2018, 2:22 am

Celtic_Minstrel wrote:Unfortunately I believe you were caught out by the fact that the release dates are given in some arcane timezone which, relative to North America, is a day ahead. In other words, if you live in North America, a release scheduled for February 13th in fact takes place on February 12th... this means you've missed the deadline for the description after all.
Ah. Whoops :oops:

I never was very good with keeping timezones straight.
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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Celtic_Minstrel » February 13th, 2018, 4:24 am

(For the record, the thing about an "arcane time zone" was because, if I recall correctly, they were in some timezone of the far east for one or two releases, and people complained. Now they're actually in UTC, but that coupled with the midnight release time still creates the same issue to some extent, at least for Americans.)

Anyway, as promised, an updated description. In the end I decided I liked a number of Cold Steel's phrasings, so this is kinda a mish-mash.
Celtic Minstrel's proposal wrote:The Dunefolk are a nomadic human culture inhabiting the southern deserts. Tribes of Dunefolk nomads lead herds from one watering hole to another and protect the trade caravans carrying trade between the few bustling Dunefolk cities that have risen up along the fertile rivers and coast. Each Dunefolk city enjoys a degree of independence almost unheard of in the more centralized northern nations.

The desert is a harsh mistress, requiring excellence in many fields in order to survive. As a result, the Dunefolk have developed rational methods of enquiry with which to more efficiently understand the world around them. The Dunefolk field talented healers to keep their people alive while on the move, and skillful warriors who have mastered a variety of tactics to decimate their enemies in battle. In addition to steel and arrows, the Dunefolk have developed deadly flaming weapons and tamed monstrous beasts that dumbfound those who have not met them before.

Dunefolk are involved in frequent skirmishes with Drakes and Trolls along the inland borders of the desert, but enjoy more cordial relations with the local naga tribes along the coast. Due to dangerous sandworms and capricious jinn occupying the northernmost regions of the desert, they only rarely venture far to the north towards Wesnoth and the neighboring regions.

Distaste for undead and dark magic is even stronger among the Dunefolk. The people of the desert see it as a curse — uncontrollable, unpredictable and unnatural. They look at unlucky individuals, creatures, and races who have been touched by black magic with a mixture of fear and pity.
Notes:
  • The independence of the cities is "almost unheard of" rather than just "unheard of" because of Elensefar, which probably has a similar degree of independence to the Dunefolk cities.
  • I'm still not entirely sure of the directions here. My previous description referred to southeast and northwest; Cold Steel simplified this to just south and north. Both are technically accurate, but I'm not sure which I should use.
  • The bit about beasts seems a little weird somehow...
  • I'd be okay with removing the reference to jinn, but I'd prefer to retain the reference to sandworms (which could be based on the olgho-khorkhoi as I mentioned earlier).
  • Should I add a reference to dwarves? I think I'd prefer not to, but I seem to recall some people bringing it up.
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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Airatgaljamov » February 13th, 2018, 8:26 am

At this point I am not happy with current description.

Firstly, it doesn’t sound like an encyclopedia entry, whereas all other descriptions do. Current proposal uses many epithets which are odd for a race description. Most of the description goes like cause -> result, while other descriptions rely on stating facts. Also emphasizing on cities' independence is not right - already mentioned Elensefar, Orcs' "cities" are also rather independent. And this independence can change throughout history.

Secondly, existing descriptions include and depict several main topics - biology of the race, organization of their culture/government, interaction with other races their current geographical position and features and pre-history. Current proposal really lacks latter 2 points.

I suggest making the Dunefolk descendants of the people who fled the Old Continent at the same time and because of the same reason as the Wesfolk, who fled to the Green Island. So they would have time to adapt to the desert and build society with cities at the time of HttT/Default. Thus their "biology" can be described as "The Dunefolk is the one of the human cultures, which adapted to live in the desert territories".

In general I would suggest not to rush with the description, which uses many arbitrary assumptions and creates borders for faction development. It is better to wait for some campaign to be developed, possibly small for beginners, to establish some facts about the Dunefolk.

I am also ok with introducing jinns. Maybe in form of fairy creatures like whose who are relative to elves but living and adapted to desert lands. And we can name jinns differently so they would not be mistaken with almost all-powerful mythological jinns.

Also do we make Falcons' descriptions. Something like - Falcons are strong and clever birds of prey, which inhabit warm and open lands. Some cultures tamed and trained Falcons for hunting and special purposes during war.


P.S. off-topic. Saurians have no description in game but do have in wiki page. How did this happen?

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Celtic_Minstrel » February 14th, 2018, 1:05 am

Airatgaljamov wrote:Secondly, existing descriptions include and depict several main topics - biology of the race, organization of their culture/government, interaction with other races their current geographical position and features and pre-history. Current proposal really lacks latter 2 points.
With respects to their history, I'd prefer not to try to fill it in until there are actual mainline campaigns featuring them, even if only in a supporting role. There's no need to talk about their biology since they're human; while I suppose more could be said of their culture, again it seems like something that should wait until they are featured in mainline campaigns. I already covered their geographical position and some interactions with other races.
Airatgaljamov wrote:I am also ok with introducing jinns. Maybe in form of fairy creatures like whose who are relative to elves but living and adapted to desert lands. And we can name jinns differently so they would not be mistaken with almost all-powerful mythological jinns.
I'm confused, you're saying we can introduce jinn but shouldn't call them jinn? What else would we call them? Is there some problem with associating them with mythological jinn?
Airatgaljamov wrote:Also do we make Falcons' descriptions. Something like - Falcons are strong and clever birds of prey, which inhabit warm and open lands. Some cultures tamed and trained Falcons for hunting and special purposes during war.
The falcon description was recently changed to omit mention of the khalifate, if that's what you're referring to.
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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by nemaara » February 14th, 2018, 3:01 am

I was a bit bored in class today so I jotted down a quick (part of a) dunefolk narrative (that only just got typed up since I was eating my face off :lol: ). It might not be entirely consistent with what the current description is, but I thought I might share it anyway. See below:

*******************************************

When I was six, my mother died while giving birth to my little sister. I was told that because she was a very small woman, bearing my elder brother and me had already taken a heavy toll on her body. The third child had evidently sapped the rest of the life from her. Although I was deeply saddened by her loss, I found consolation in my younger sister, whom I cherished as a fond memory of my late mother. However, my father, in a great act of insolence to the gods, decided that my sister was not enough of a replacement for his wife. Over the years, in secret, he studied the foulest of sorceries, necromancy, in an attempt to resurrect my mother. Alas, we never found out about his terrible ambition until it was too late.

I remember the day well. It was my fourteenth birthday, and my father had planned a great celebration for our tribe. It was a ruse, a masque to sow chaos for him to execute his plan. He committed horrible deeds that night, unspeakable acts of vile magic and loathsome treachery. When I awoke in the morning, my elder brother was dead, and my mother's soul returned to the living world, ripped from the afterlife by the touch of black magic. Her wails still ring in my ears as the guards speared my father where he stood and left his carcass to rot in the sands. However, the damage was done. As an act of punishment from Shet, the God of the Sands, our homeland began to sink beneath the sea. The sands disappeared beneath the brine of the sea, consuming our once golden home and casting it into darkness.

It was then that I saw it. Near the waters, even the salt scoured away the sun-baked sands, trees began to grow before our very eyes. They grew in an incredible abundance, more in one place than I had seen collectively in my entire life. I knew it was a sign - although my father had been the blasphemer, if we could prove our worth, we would not have to suffer for his wrong doings. Thus, I led our people across the ocean to the New Land.

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Airatgaljamov » February 14th, 2018, 11:16 am

Celtic_Minstrel wrote: With respects to their history, I'd prefer not to try to fill it in until there are actual mainline campaigns featuring them, even if only in a supporting role. There's no need to talk about their biology since they're human; while I suppose more could be said of their culture, again it seems like something that should wait until they are featured in mainline campaigns. I already covered their geographical position and some interactions with other races.
That is exactly my point; we should wait until some mainline quality campaign appears before creating final description. For example this one could be promising.

Celtic_Minstrel wrote:I'm confused, you're saying we can introduce jinn but shouldn't call them jinn? What else would we call them? Is there some problem with associating them with mythological jinn?
My thoughts were following: if we introduce brand new magical creature species it would be nice if they are consistent with current magical kin of Wesnoth. For example this new species can be faeries of deserts as Woses (and somewhat Elves) are faeries of forests. And if this species look like these: Image Image then it would be good to make them unique and standing out from EoMa, EoM or Disney's jinns. This can be achieved for example be having unique name for their kin. I unfortunately cannot come up with some name which satisfies possible descriptiveness, recognition or translation problems.
Celtic_Minstrel wrote: The falcon description was recently changed to omit mention of the khalifate, if that's what you're referring to.
I meant the race description, not the unit description. But I guess race description is totally unimportant for two-unit race. But Bats nonetheless have one.

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Pentarctagon » February 14th, 2018, 2:24 pm

Airatgaljamov wrote:
Celtic_Minstrel wrote: With respects to their history, I'd prefer not to try to fill it in until there are actual mainline campaigns featuring them, even if only in a supporting role. There's no need to talk about their biology since they're human; while I suppose more could be said of their culture, again it seems like something that should wait until they are featured in mainline campaigns. I already covered their geographical position and some interactions with other races.
That is exactly my point; we should wait until some mainline quality campaign appears before creating final description. For example this one could be promising.
So you'd prefer to leave the current description in until a campaign gets mainlined? I'd agree that the description can be modified if/when a Dunefolk campaign gets mainlined, but I'd also rather not wait until one is added to have something more concrete for their description. Unless there's someone who is interested in having their Dunefolk campaign mainlined already, it could easily be another couple years at least until that happens.
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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Airatgaljamov » February 14th, 2018, 2:49 pm

Pentarctagon wrote: So you'd prefer to leave the current description in until a campaign gets mainlined? I'd agree that the description can be modified if/when a Dunefolk campaign gets mainlined, but I'd also rather not wait until one is added to have something more concrete for their description. Unless there's someone who is interested in having their Dunefolk campaign mainlined already, it could easily be another couple years at least until that happens.
Yes, leaving that basic description is a reasonable idea. It gives little but the most important information: the Dunefolk are human, they live in a desert on the Great Continent. Humans' description has already stated that human cultures can be diverse, so no inconsistency on that side. And mention of desert gives basic idea of how Dunefolk can look and live.
Moreover even at this point of discussion on forum we have seen broad possibilities for the Dunefolk's history and culture. So any concrete statement is debatable.
Maybe it would be better to start discussing here not the total description, but ideas of how the Dunefolk and their cultural features can be shown in a campaign.

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Xalzar » February 14th, 2018, 4:33 pm

Pentarctagon wrote: So you'd prefer to leave the current description in until a campaign gets mainlined? I'd agree that the description can be modified if/when a Dunefolk campaign gets mainlined, but I'd also rather not wait until one is added to have something more concrete for their description. Unless there's someone who is interested in having their Dunefolk campaign mainlined already, it could easily be another couple years at least until that happens.
I'd say, let's use the description we wrote in this topic and then we will eventually revisit it whenever new campaigns suggest that modifications are necessary.
A sort of advanced, albeit temporary, blueprint for the "Dunefolk flavour".
The risk in not doing this is to forget completely about the ideas in this topic.
I'd say we finalise the description here and even if it's not perfect we commit it. It's not a gameplay change afterall.

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