Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

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Deciton_Reven
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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Deciton_Reven » February 21st, 2018, 6:15 am

Cold Steel wrote:Wesnoth is a fantasy-mythology game that is light on realism. It is not unexpected that it attracts people who want what it offers. That a faction aiming to be the new standard low for the thing that helped attract people to this game in the first place, achieves only lackluster popularity is not a big surprise.
Is it though? You keep throwing mythology around but honestly which faction is rooted in mythology rather than typical fantasy? Not the loyalists, with only their merfolk that do not look, behave, or have the same powers of a mythological mermaid or merman from any mythology. The Elves? Beings of fey that are invisible to men unless they wish to make themselves known? That are associated with sicknesses and sexual assault? Nothing in Wesnoth is routed in the Mythological origins of said thing, but Tolkienesque fantasy plain and simple.
Cold Steel wrote:Because spriting isn't easy and because there is so much of it left to do, this is exactly the time to consider what serious changes could fix an ailing faction. You want to make changes before animating.
Only true if the sprites need changing. Obviously if a unit is overhauled you need a new base, but you shouldn't be so quick to throw away way has been done.
Cold Steel wrote:If the way they were meant to be was successful this thread wouldn't exist and we wouldn't be having this conversation. That it does and we are, means that way was wrong.
As far as I'm aware Dunefolk aren't unsuccessful because they're bad and everything is wrong with them, but because they haven't had the proper care given to them compared to the other factions. Something that feels and is incomplete is obviously going to get less praise and admiration.
Cold Steel wrote:That is already covered without a mundane dunefolk. There already are technologies and skilled horse riders and cool dudes. The material already exists to tell those kinds of stories and they have been told.
It doesn't if you change that about them. Turning the former Naffat into a Jinn removes flamethrowers and it literally becomes "because magic" Anything they've done with only skill that is replaced is replacing their ingenuity, which is something they really have going for them. I can see why you think they seem like other races in some regards but they do stand on their own merit, and flavor. I don't see you advocating a change in the Loyalist bowman or Undead skeleton archer because elves "already have bows and arrows covered". And it's because how each of them are framed make them interesting. That's why the Dwarves can make a blunderbuss and the Dunefolk can make a flamethrower and they are both interesting in different ways despite both having technology.
Cold Steel wrote:But a multiplayer faction doesn't have named characters or intricate story telling. So it will live or die based on its unique game play and visual flair. Defining the dunefolk as mundane only limits them in both these ways.
Does it? I don't agree at all. You can easily make them feel good and unique to play with exactly how they are. In fact they are unique in gameplay on a few fronts right now, with the major one being liminal units. And flair? Have you seen the dudes? They standout in a crowd, with whites, blues, and purples, as well as the silver-gray metal and browns that are every loyalist and outlaw and dwarf except for the poacher with his yellow or every elf that is green.

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by zookeeper » February 21st, 2018, 12:58 pm

Deciton_Reven wrote:
Cold Steel wrote:If the way they were meant to be was successful this thread wouldn't exist and we wouldn't be having this conversation. That it does and we are, means that way was wrong.
As far as I'm aware Dunefolk aren't unsuccessful because they're bad and everything is wrong with them, but because they haven't had the proper care given to them compared to the other factions. Something that feels and is incomplete is obviously going to get less praise and admiration.
Whether one likes or dislikes the original concept, it's precisely because of its controversial nature that there has never been enough people to give it the proper care compared to the other factions. Rare exceptions aside, no one can design, balance, sprite, write and then maintain a new quality faction entirely alone, and opinions were always too divided on what it should be like as well as whether it should be in mainline now, or when it's finished, or never. It's simply not a thing that enough people have had an interest in developing, or at the very least they couldn't agree on the direction.

It doesn't really matter whether the reason for why the right people haven't gotten interested in developing it is that it's bad and everything is wrong with them or because those people simply have bad taste. Whether the faction becomes properly integrated depends on whether there's enough volunteer interest (and cohesion) to figure out what needs to be done and then actually do it, and so far sticking with the original concept hasn't worked out that well in that regard.

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Xalzar
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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Xalzar » February 21st, 2018, 3:16 pm

MathBrush wrote: Dune Rover
Dune Soldier
Dune Piercer
Dune Herbalist
Falcon
I agree with most of what you've said. I've quoted the units which I have something to comment about.
My personal opinion about these units is:
Dune Rover: in my opinion the lv 2 and 3 skirmishers units have sprites which seems to suggest they're evolving from the Dune Soldier instead. Their armor and their swords are a natural step from that unit, while I cannot easily find an explanation to connect them to the Rover. Maybe a change of sprite is needed, or maybe the Rover could have only one levelling path and the Soldier three.
Dune Soldier: needs some adjustment in the sprite IMO, to connect it better to its level-ups; this in unnecessary if the Skirmisher line is added, since it has a similar armor and can be seen as its natural evolution (which currently the Soldier lacks).
Dune Piercer: I think this is fine as it is, though it maybe need little modifications to its stat for rebalance. The theme of two base units with a levelling line in common is a novelty in the base game and should stay.
Dune Herbalist: I like it but I can see how many could view it as a healbot. Basically its only utility is a strong heal, at least the Elvish Shaman has slow too.
Falcon: it's the only unit I think needs to go away. This is the perfect spot for the mythological unit people want so badly. A Roc (which could be seen as a duplicate of the Gryphon though) or, - better IMO - a Jinn are my proposed alternatives. The effect that removing a cheap scouting unit has on the faction remains to be seen, but since I find its utility to be extremely niche I don't think we'd miss it. The Falcon could then still be reused as a common monster and in campaigns.

Last thing I add: someday I'd want to have a topic discussing the liminal alignment. I have an open mind and I can be reasoned with, but right now I'm quite hostile to it.

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Paulomat4 » February 21st, 2018, 4:11 pm

I can agree with Xalzar in most points. Changing the faction extensively (including changing many if not all unit sprites) is far too much work.
Still there are a few changes that could be done to address all the issues that have been mentioned.

Xalzar makes valid points about them looking more like the dune soldier than the rover. Either redraw the sprites or change the unit lines.

The idea of changing the Dune Piercer's mount into a Rhinoceros has been brought up a few times and I have to say I can see that idea working out. Maybe only change it for the Dune Cataphract? That way the Spritework can be minimalised and the novelty of two unit lines fusing into one can be kept.

Changing the falcon into a more mystical unit could work if well done I think. I would be against changing the falcon into a jinn or carpet rider since that would alter the current theme too much. Instead adding the Roc or Rukh seems more natural to me. Especially having some kind of ability that distinguishes it from the gryphon. There was a proposal about some kind of "fisher" or "kingfisher" ability that would make it stronger against unit on water. I think that is a good proposal. It also adds the benefit of reducing the weakness of the dunefolk on water heavy maps.

The discussion has been going on for quite some time now, we should decide on our next course of events. How will we decide what changes need to be made? I propose making a poll for each unit line, and giving multiple suggestions that have been proposed as answer.
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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Sur_191 » February 21st, 2018, 4:53 pm

Talking about replacement of falcon: if I recall correctly, someone once proposed replacing him with mermaid initiate. What do you think about it? This would give Dunefolk buff in water heavy maps and we could see mermaids outside of campaigns.

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by MathBrush » February 21st, 2018, 11:11 pm

Someone mentioned the Dune Cataphract. Really cool fact about the Cataphract: it can kill every level 1 unit in the game except the Dwarvish Guardsman, the Heavy Infantryman, Wose , and Skeletons. Its mace can finish off the skeletons and heavy infantryman quite easily. It’s a really fun unit to play with!

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Pentarctagon » February 22nd, 2018, 1:11 am

As far as how to proceed, I think it's probably time to try a more structured approach to this. I'll also apologize in advance, since my guess is that various people have answered these already one or more times by now, but so we're all on the same page:

1. Is there anyone who objects to using references to more than just Arabic culture?

2. What are the objections to using aspects of one or more cultures' mythology? It seems to me that their mythos is just another aspect of their culture, and given that this is a fantasy game, not using that part of any cultures the Dunefolk end up drawing from seems like a lost opportunity.

I also think that making any decisions on altering/replacing units/unit lines depends on first coming to an agreement on more basic aspects of the faction.
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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by MathBrush » February 22nd, 2018, 2:51 am

1. No objection.

2. I think a unit on a flying carpet would look really silly while it’s not zooming around. Anything else sounds good.

Edit:Also, the interest in Dunefolk skyrocketed as soon as the names were translated to English. What if that's what was holding people back? Two different Dunefolk campaigns were released last week and this thread is seeing a lot of comments.
Last edited by MathBrush on February 22nd, 2018, 3:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Coffee » February 22nd, 2018, 5:14 am

I just want to mention that, as it is possible that people here don't know, that many of the unit types brought up (such as Rocs/elephants/snake charmers/flying carpets/djinns/etc.) have reasonable efforts in UMC already. This includes decent animations and, in one case at least, a high quality portrait. Personally I am against replacing any of the main units in Dunefolk, except maybe the falcon sprite could do with some TLC.

For example, a "Roc" type unit with a level progression can be found in my addon called "Arabian Nights" era (one day I might finish the campaign to go with this). I don't mean to plug my era, because I only modified art by others as a starting point listed in the CREDITS file, but it is animated and has a good portrait. I think that the falcon suits Dunefolk better, but you could use these already created sprites as a basis to quickly convert the falcon line to Rocs.

In the "Era of Magic" by Inferno8, there is a carpet rider with a level progression if you want to get a sense of what it would look like in-game as well as other units mentioned here. (I copied this higher up unit to my addon and added team colour and other things, but this is where it is from originally). IMO it is probably best that these type of units should stay in UMC rather than in Dunefolk as they don't fit with the rest of the faction.

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by holius » February 22nd, 2018, 10:46 am

The last posts don't concern "race description", but a mix of all concerns around Dunefolk. Sprites, faction/era balance, lore directions for campaigns, liminal alignment dislike, etc. Maybe it's time to move outside the Writer's Forum, and (re)start threads in Multiplayer (for balance) and Art Contributions (for requested enhancements to Dunefolk art).

As for lore, I wish writers will feel free to take elements from many related cultures. For campaigns, creators may (should ?) add unit variations even if those units are not in the "default" era recruitment lists. I like playing (with or against) Thugs, Dwarvish Scouts, Mermaid Initiates, Ogres, Rogue Mage, Mounted Fighter. Each one is good, none is meant to permanently replace a unit in Default era.

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Caladbolg » February 22nd, 2018, 12:45 pm

Cold Steel wrote:A basis that is so vague that each one of us seems to come away with a different interpretation of what it is as well as being the focus of waves of roiling controversy over as many years as it has been around. And with the work already done being a drop in the bucket compared with what will be needed to meet mainline standards.
It isn't that vague. We have units, which are the main part of a faction. What is needed is lore they fit in. Creating lore that requires most of the units to be drastically changed is not changing the faction, it is replacing it with another faction. I'm not entirely against it, but I'd like people supporting this move to be honest about it.
If your ideas are such a drastic change to what already exists, preface it with "I propose we scrap Dunefolk entirely; here's a good idea for another mainline faction- we can call them Dunefolk". Because that is pretty much what the proposal entails. Again, I might not be against such a proposal, but I'm not sure if that idea even has any future considering that the Dunefolk have been kept in this basic state despite the controversies. The developers should make it clear if they still want the Dunefolk (similar to existing ones) to remain in mainline, as they did until now, or the Dunefolk can be treated as a placeholder faction where we can change pretty much everything as long as the faction has some eastern element to it.
Cold Steel wrote:There are sprites with no animations, units with bland and familiar roles/appearance and balancing is a mess with the large majority of online matches avoiding the khalifate era. All this after over twelve years of development and benefiting from mainline status for seven of them. Something is very wrong here.
I think Dunefolk units have great design and are visually quite distinct from the other factions. I think it'd be good to give them access to some unique abilities, but I don't think the fact that units have 'familiar roles' is problematic. Most units in all factions share a role with units on other factions.
Cold Steel wrote:Wesnoth, especially mainline default era, is thoroughly mythology inspired. It has mythology elements front and center.

I disagree. Wesnoth is pretty light on mythology, and mythology elements are quite rare. I think we have a different view of what counts. You can count an elf as a fantasy element. Having 4 recruitable elves in a faction doesn't make the faction have 4 times as many fantasy elements. Elves as a race count as 1 fantasy element. You can count some special things like their faery form at high levels as an additional element. What makes a faction appear more fantastical is diversity in creatures and design. Drakes, while being the most fantasy creatures, are not that fantastical as a faction. The way I see it, they have only 4 fantastical things going for them- they are drakes, they breathe fire, they're allied with saurians, saurians can use magic. A faction with 2 fantastical beasts (rocs and those rhino things), sentient magical creatures (djinn) and flying carpets would definitely appear more fantastical than drakes. And the appearance is what matters when it comes to the fantastical feel.
Cold Steel wrote:The elves are half faery and the orcs are half beast. Then you have their factional allies that are strikingly different. And then all the other factions and races in mainline.

If orcs haven't been a staple in fantasy works for a while, they wouldn't be considered fantastical at all. They are basically strong, hairy, generally more ape-like humans. They are as fantastical as some freaky people in a circus. Elves are nature-loving humans with pointy ears and dwarves are short, stout people. That's not a very strong fantasy element. What makes elves fantastical is that their magic is explicit- they can recruit woses and mermen, they have mages and shamans, some can get fairy wing and mainline campaigns have fleshed out their inherent connection to magic (like mentioning their weakness to iron) to a sufficient extent that it can be considered a fantasy element in its own right. That's 6 fantasy elements by my count.
Pentarctagon wrote:1. Is there anyone who objects to using references to more than just Arabic culture?
2. What are the objections to using aspects of one or more cultures' mythology? It seems to me that their mythos is just another aspect of their culture, and given that this is a fantasy game, not using that part of any cultures the Dunefolk end up drawing from seems like a lost opportunity.
1. Nope
2.I'm fine with using mythology but it should be in measure.

I agree with many here that the Falcon should be replaced. I also recall the How to play: Khalifate on the strategies & tips subforum mentioning that the Piercer line is basically useless in the vast variety of matchups so that might also be worth looking into if we're thinking of replacing some units. A mermaid initiate might be a good idea to give them a water unit (they are mobile enough to cover other terrains).

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Xalzar » February 22nd, 2018, 4:25 pm

Caladbolg wrote: I agree with many here that the Falcon should be replaced. I also recall the How to play: Khalifate on the strategies & tips subforum mentioning that the Piercer line is basically useless in the vast variety of matchups so that might also be worth looking into if we're thinking of replacing some units. A mermaid initiate might be a good idea to give them a water unit (they are mobile enough to cover other terrains).
I think the major problem of the Piercer is his high cost coupled with a mediocre movement and a strong but hopelessly unreliable attack (the lance), which is pierce - a damage type already present in way more reliable unit attacks. The only other major thing he offers is his other attack (the mace), which is impact (a bit more rare in this faction).

Replacing the Falcon with a Mermaid seems to me a lazy idea: Merfolk are already scattered in two different factions (Loyalists and Rebels); also, Mermen are not quite Middle Eastern-themed; finally, we were talking about relationships with Nagas in here, everyone and their aunt has positive relationship with the Merfolk and Nagas have been only occasionally approached by Orcs and Saurians...

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by name » February 22nd, 2018, 5:06 pm

Pentarctagon wrote: 1. Is there anyone who objects to using references to more than just Arabic culture?
2. What are the objections to using aspects of one or more cultures' mythology? It seems to me that their mythos is just another aspect of their culture, and given that this is a fantasy game, not using that part of any cultures the Dunefolk end up drawing from seems like a lost opportunity.
No objections from me.

Deciton_Reven wrote:
Cold Steel wrote:Wesnoth is a fantasy-mythology game that is light on realism. It is not unexpected that it attracts people who want what it offers. That a faction aiming to be the new standard low for the thing that helped attract people to this game in the first place, achieves only lackluster popularity is not a big surprise.
Is it though? You keep throwing mythology around but honestly which faction is rooted in mythology rather than typical fantasy?
This is drilling down into semantics. As I said originally, wesnoth takes mythological inspiration and puts its own twist on it (i.e. fantasy). Note that even in the sentence you quoted I called wesnoth "fantasy-mythology" not just mythology.
Deciton_Reven wrote:As far as I'm aware Dunefolk aren't unsuccessful because they're bad and everything is wrong with them, but because they haven't had the proper care given to them compared to the other factions. Something that feels and is incomplete is obviously going to get less praise and admiration.
What zookeeper said.

The six successful mainline factions all started out as incomplete, but their concepts were apparently compelling and fun to work on (which includes being fun to draw and animate and being easily worked into stories). I gather there was even some conceptual resistance to the undead race by core developers initially, but their wide popularity lifted them into mainline anyway... which is the far opposite situation from dunefolk.

I am not a fan of the aragwaithi faction(s) from UMC, but look at their popularity and proliferation despite getting no special treatment. Dunefolk have had the advantage of being arbitrarily mainlined and any popular criticism of them censored by countless thread closures.
Deciton_Reven wrote:
Cold Steel wrote:That is already covered without a mundane dunefolk. There already are technologies and skilled horse riders and cool dudes. The material already exists to tell those kinds of stories and they have been told.
It doesn't if you change that about them.
I meant the loyalists and knalgans, which you said yourself are fairly normal dudes. If loyalists and knalgans did not exist in the game already, people might gravitate to the dunefolk as "the every man faction". But as things are, the dunefolk are a "me too" every man faction.
Deciton_Reven wrote:In fact they are unique in gameplay on a few fronts right now, with the major one being liminal units.
Actually, there are severe, fundamental problems with liminal. It is a curse upon the dunefolk. I will be happy to get into the details on this but it is another topic and would likely grow into a full discussion by itself. So it might need its own thread.
Deciton_Reven wrote:And flair? Have you seen the dudes? They standout in a crowd, with whites, blues, and purples, as well as the silver-gray metal and browns that are every loyalist and outlaw and dwarf except for the poacher with his yellow or every elf that is green.
If making a faction interesting to look at and fun to animate was as simple as using more varied colors, then the loyalists, outlaws and dwarves could easily, would probably already have and should honestly get the same treatment. And then there would still not be much special about the dunefolk, in terms of visual flair.

Caladbolg wrote:It isn't that vague. We have units, which are the main part of a faction. What is needed is lore they fit in. Creating lore that requires most of the units to be drastically changed is not changing the faction, it is replacing it with another faction. I'm not entirely against it, but I'd like people supporting this move to be honest about it.
If your ideas are such a drastic change to what already exists, preface it with "I propose we scrap Dunefolk entirely; here's a good idea for another mainline faction- we can call them Dunefolk".
If the goal was to only keep the name, then why keep any of the units? And if truly starting from scratch, why even keep the name and concept with all the potential baggage associated?

Because the proposal is not a scrap of the dunefolk but an overhaul. It is a compromise between what the unloved dunefolk currently are and what might make them successful based on the waves of feedback they have received. Jinni, magic carpets, rocs and war elephants are suggestions for this faction made by a number of critics over the many years this has been going on for.
Caladbolg wrote:Elves as a race count as 1 fantasy element. You can count some special things like their faery form at high levels as an additional element.
...
Drakes, while being the most fantasy creatures, are not that fantastical as a faction. The way I see it, they have only 4 fantastical things going for them- they are drakes, they breathe fire, they're allied with saurians, saurians can use magic.
...
A faction with 2 fantastical beasts (rocs and those rhino things), sentient magical creatures (djinn) and flying carpets would definitely appear more fantastical than drakes. And the appearance is what matters when it comes to the fantastical feel.
Rhinoceroses exist in reality, the elasmotherium rhinoceros existed along side people in prehistory (the likely source of the indrik myth). If a rhinoceros is too fantastical for you, a war elephant can fill the same role. I just thought a unit with one massive piercing attack fit nicely with a creature that had one massive horn. Would swapping the indrik for a historical war elephant satisfy your very arithmetic focused approach to keeping a fantasy game from having too much fantasy?

And what if the "magic" carpet actually looked and operated like a real life paraglider, would that no longer count as a fantasy element? If you would still call that fantasy, are you willing to admit having a man-portable greek fire flamethrower is a fantasy element? If it too is fantasy, then swapping out the flamethrower guy for a jinn would make the dunefolk faction no more fantastical under your system.

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Caladbolg » February 22nd, 2018, 6:01 pm

Cold Steel wrote:And what if the "magic" carpet actually looked and operated like a real life paraglider, would that no longer count as a fantasy element?
It would count as a fantasy element. Actually, something like a paraglider is not a bad idea at all :)
Cold Steel wrote:If you would still call that fantasy, are you willing to admit having a man-portable greek fire flamethrower is a fantasy element?
I am. I never said that I consider Dunefolk completely devoid of any fantastical element. I simply think that the overhaul you are proposing is too drastic a change to be considered a same faction. Replace the falcon with a Roc or a jinn or something but don't change over 70% of the faction on the basis that it needs to appear super diverse or magical in order to fit a fantasy game. It is possible to achieve the appearance of being fantastical without having a whole circus or a bunch of magic, and the Dunefolk as they are now appear fantastical enough to be in a fantasy game, in my opinion. I wouldn't oppose some minor additions to the lore with regards to magic or a more explicitly fantastical creature.
Cold Steel wrote:If it too is fantasy, then swapping out the flamethrower guy for a jinn would make the dunefolk faction no more fantastical under your system.
Sure. To me, that merely means that replacing him with a jinn wouldn't make much of a difference in terms of how fantastical the faction feels. And considering the Burner line looks far cooler than any jinn I've seen in UMC, to me, that is an argument for keeping that line as is.
Xalzar wrote:Replacing the Falcon with a Mermaid seems to me a lazy idea: Merfolk are already scattered in two different factions (Loyalists and Rebels); also, Mermen are not quite Middle Eastern-themed; finally, we were talking about relationships with Nagas in here, everyone and their aunt has positive relationship with the Merfolk and Nagas have been only occasionally approached by Orcs and Saurians...
True, the naga would be better, but are there any naga units that would fit there role-wise? I recall there being a naga sentinel (?) line with maces and a naga archer line. A mermaid initiate is a really good water unit and I'm not sure how the naga would play (never used them in mp). But sure, if they can competently fill the role of a water unit, they'd definitely be preferable to mermaids.

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Airatgaljamov » February 22nd, 2018, 6:34 pm

Regarding interaction between Naga and Dunefolk. What are you thinking about introducing desert dwelling naga subspecies? IRL rattlesnakes are well associated with desert, so desert Naga should be a nice addition. They would boost interaction between Dunefolk and existing faction either in friendly or hostile ways.

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