Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by SigurdFireDragon » February 22nd, 2018, 6:40 pm

Something that has been overlooked is that a unit can also be added.
Convention for factions in default era has a max of 8 units for recruiting (Loyalists, Knalgan Alliance)
And the Dunefolk currently have 7 units.

Example: The falcon could be replaced by a roc, and the mermaid initiate could be added.

Xalzar wrote: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.
Cold Steel wrote: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.
I'll have some stuff to add about liminal as well when such a discussion occurs.

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Sur_191 » February 22nd, 2018, 7:43 pm

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...
I mean nagas race description mention that they are xenophobic so it would be a bit bizarre if they would have positive relation with other races.
race description wrote:The serpentine nagas are one of the least understood races of the Great Continent. Part of this is due to their xenophobic nature and part is due to their alien environment...
I would prefer mermaids because they have portraits and two leveling paths, but I understand that it would be a bit boring that three factions would have mermen units. If we would go with mainline nagas' units, then we would need to choose between guards and hunters (because fighter is already used by Northerners). The problem here is, that if we would choose hunter someone would need to make stats and sprites for 2nd and 3rd level, and if we would choose guards... well in my personal opinion that unit-line is a bit boring (they are basically slower fighters with impact damage instead of pierce, and a bit higher resistances to physical attacks).
Airatgaljamov wrote: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.
If we would go that way, then Mechanical posted nice desert nagas sprites here.
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Desert nagas by Mechanical.
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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by nemaara » February 22nd, 2018, 8:13 pm

Can someone explain to me how mermaids would function in a nomadic, desert based race that wanders around areas with very little water? Or do the Dunefolk also have settlements/travel around areas near bodies of water too?

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Sur_191 » February 22nd, 2018, 9:11 pm

nemaara wrote:Can someone explain to me how mermaids would function in a nomadic, desert based race that wanders around areas with very little water? Or do the Dunefolk also have settlements/travel around areas near bodies of water too?
ooa_bigmap.png
Assuming that their territory will be similar to that one in OoA, then there is plenty of coastal areas where Dunefolk could settle and interact with mermen/nagas.

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Deciton_Reven » February 23rd, 2018, 4:17 am

Cold Steel wrote:
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.
"This thing isn't unique because it's bad." No I dislike liminal as much as the next guy, but is not ununique, or conceptually uninteresting. You can't dismiss it because it's bad.
Cold Steel wrote:
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.
And the unique armors/clothing, varied weapons and stances, even their actual movements will be very different because of those things, and they have varied colors that make them pop. Have you seen the Dunefolk? Because it seems like you think they will be same-y because they are people, but we have people in Wesnoth right now that all have different and dramatic stylistic flair. You can't really judge animation on animations that don't exist when the animations that do exist do a great job of making things with similar or same body types behave in unique ways.

Cold Steel wrote:
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.
I don't think you repeating yourself over and over counts as waves. I've mostly seen people state they could use a bit more fantasy or more unique mounts, not literally change every unit. You should really be trying to start small and fix outstanding problems first, and hint: if every unit is the problem to you then probably none are the problem, and you are just trying to design a new faction, not fix this one.


As for naga/merfolk stuff in general. Note balance doesn't always equal literal army comp. The forest dwelling elves probably don't actually use many merfolk hunters given those guys are traditionally not from the forest. Dunefolk having a water unit in MP even though they are mostly desert culture doesn't have to be a deep lore reason but a balance reason. I'm not really advocating those units but it wouldn't be that odd for them to have something like that. I actually thought the falcon or roc having that "fisher" ability was a pretty cool suggestion as far as flavor goes. I used to have a naga unit in a scrapped faction that had "drowns" that lowered adjacent enemy's dodge to 0% and prevented them from moving as long as that naga and that enemy were both in water tiles, so I might be a little biased with cool terrain based abilities though.

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by name » February 23rd, 2018, 6:24 am

Caladbolg wrote:It would count as a fantasy element. Actually, something like a paraglider is not a bad idea at all :)
Well at least we almost agree on something. ^_^
Caladbolg wrote:I simply think that the overhaul you are proposing is too drastic a change to be considered a same faction.
Consider it a new faction then if you wish. One that might attract popular support rather than controversy.
Caladbolg wrote:And considering the Burner line looks far cooler than any jinn I've seen in UMC,
A new jinn sprite would be needed, something exotic and impressive, likely representing a high end level one unit that is worth between 20 and 25 gold (inclusive).
Deciton_Reven wrote:"This thing isn't unique because it's bad." No I dislike liminal as much as the next guy, but is not ununique, or conceptually uninteresting. You can't dismiss it because it's bad.
I do not mean it is a problem because it is a malus for the units that have it. I mean it is a poor concept, one that makes the dunefolk less interesting to play with and against and its presence makes balancing and understanding of the balancing much worse. Having it in the game, makes the game worse. Which in turn makes it harder to accept the dunefolk as a part of the game worth integrating.
Deciton_Reven wrote:And the unique armors/clothing, varied weapons and stances, even their actual movements will be very different because of those things, and they have varied colors that make them pop.
As exciting as these subtle things are to you, the fact is they have not attracted the animators that are required to make them a reality, after all these years of being mainlined (plus all the UMC years before that.) Volunteers do not work for money, but they do work for something. That something is interest. The dunefolk have proven they do not generate much interest (of the positive sort).
Deciton_Reven wrote:I don't think you repeating yourself over and over counts as waves.
Waves... Like... These...

They usually get locked pretty fast. But censoring criticism does not generate a lot of volunteer support for a faction apparently.

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Pentarctagon » February 23rd, 2018, 7:28 am

I think saying that there's no interest in the Dunefolk, when for years their previous name was a source of conflict and a reason for people to avoid the faction, is being rather premature. And in any case, if you're going to argue for a change, it should be because of how it would be a positive change for the faction, not whether or not the faction is currently unpopular without it.
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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by MathBrush » February 23rd, 2018, 2:21 pm

I realized last night that there was a way to satisfy a much larger group of people than before:

The default unit set for mainline includes a few units per group that are not in multiplayer factions (Armageddon Drake, Runemaster, Death Knight, Chocobone, Elvish Lady, etc.).

Some of these units are pretty ridiculous, to be honest, but it's okay and even fun because they're not forced on anyone. Only campaigns where they make sense use them.

The point of this whole thread is about what to write in the description, and the major sticking point seems to be how much fantasy to put in. By allowing lots of fantasy elements in the 'side-units' section of the Dunefolk, but not completely revising multiplayer, it would allow the authors to put cool stuff in the description/campaigns without requiring a ton of multiplayer rebalancing beyond the falcon/water unit issue.

I said in an earlier post that a magic carpet rider would look ridiculous. Upon suggestion, I looked at the era with carpet riders, and it was exactly as silly as I thought thematically, but well-drawn. I don't think it would be a great multiplayer unit, but as a side unit, it's got to be better than chocobone, so why not allow it?

Finally, for the level of fantasy in campaigns, it is to be expected that the Dunefolk themselves have gone up and down in their interaction with magical races over time and with their science/magic balance. We already have this with dwarves and trolls: their multiplayer units are distinctly non-magical, but they both have magical side-lines (shaman and arcanister). Why not do the same with Dunefolk?

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by name » February 23rd, 2018, 4:39 pm

Pentarctagon wrote:I think saying that there's no interest in the Dunefolk, when for years their previous name was a source of conflict and a reason for people to avoid the faction, is being rather premature.
It is possible.

But if no further effort is made beyond renames and a small description, it will take a number of years further to wait and see if the problem was as simple as that. Just as it took years to wait and see if the balance would organically mature on its own... Just as it took years to see if upgraded sprite base frames would attract players and animators... Just as it took years to see if mainlining would fast track the faction's development in general...

And there is a pretty big distance between no longer disliking / feeling uneasy about something and loving it enough to spend many weekends working on it with skills already mastered over many previous hours of practice. Crossing such a distance an inch at a time, with years of patient waiting for results in between, might make for a long journey indeed.

Still, I see your (and Sigurd's) point; I may very well be a few years too early to the party here.
Pentarctagon wrote:And in any case, if you're going to argue for a change, it should be because of how it would be a positive change for the faction, not whether or not the faction is currently unpopular without it.
I did, in the original proposals and quite a lot before then over these threads.

But a good number of the counter arguments boiled down to change being a bad thing in itself (for example, because the cost of sprite base frames) or that the faction is already perfect. So before I could even argue for a solution, it seemed like I had to demonstrate the problem it solves actually exists?

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Deciton_Reven » February 23rd, 2018, 6:36 pm

Cold Steel wrote:
Deciton_Reven wrote:I don't think you repeating yourself over and over counts as waves.
Waves... Like... These...

They usually get locked pretty fast. But censoring criticism does not generate a lot of volunteer support for a faction apparently.
Oh man all those waves of "pls change name". Yo, done. There is about two post per thread you linked in which someone said "jinn and/or and elephant would be cool" and some one else said, "yeah that would be okay", to which a bunch of people replied "they don't really need to do that since they already have interesting unit designs" and no further discussion was had. I think the last one explored it just a little, but changing the faction to be super fantasy was in the minority everytime, so I think you're in the minority this time too, and if we're going to try and please as many players as possible, the minority is not the group to side with unconditionally. Listen, I'm not against maybe changing them up, but I fail to see how replacing a single sprite with another is going to draw in so much interest that the whole faction gets animated. I don't even see people being interested in spriting these new ideas right now. So I can't really agree drastic changes to unit appearances are going to drawn in the artists when they clearly aren't right now. If you can get a mainline quality base frame, either provided from you or someone else inspired by you for any unit, current or new, then any art argument you have starts holding weight for that new art, and by extension, unit.

No one's been clamoring for a big overhaul of unit sprites, stats, or playstyle of the now Dunefolk. So I'm not seeing it be a problem for people. They complained about the name and themes it held, that's done. The Dunefolk are obviously still rough around the edges still but that's where refinement, not replacement comes in.
MathBrush wrote:I realized last night that there was a way to satisfy a much larger group of people than before:

The default unit set for mainline includes a few units per group that are not in multiplayer factions (Armageddon Drake, Runemaster, Death Knight, Chocobone, Elvish Lady, etc.).

Some of these units are pretty ridiculous, to be honest, but it's okay and even fun because they're not forced on anyone. Only campaigns where they make sense use them.

The point of this whole thread is about what to write in the description, and the major sticking point seems to be how much fantasy to put in. By allowing lots of fantasy elements in the 'side-units' section of the Dunefolk, but not completely revising multiplayer, it would allow the authors to put cool stuff in the description/campaigns without requiring a ton of multiplayer rebalancing beyond the falcon/water unit issue.
Yeah, a number of people voiced this kind of opinion in the thread. If it happens that the more normal units are the balanced ones and therefor make up the multiplayer faction, but there are cool unique units in campaigns that's fine, for most people. MP will have it's balance without Dunefolk proper losing all sources of crazy, weird, and unique units, both high fantasy and just really cool normal dudes. It's just some people don't understand that point or that we're concerned with making sure the MP faction is working and would let the other units come up as they needed to naturally for the campaigns.

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Pentarctagon » February 23rd, 2018, 6:49 pm

Alright, so, it's been established/agreed that:
1. There are no objections to referencing/using more than just Arabic culture as inspiration for the Dunefolk. (edit-by which I mean Middle Eastern cultures)
2. There are no objections to using parts of those culture's mythologies, as long as it doesn't start becoming a main focus of the faction.

Next set of questions:
3. How did the Dunefolk get here? When did they get here? And depending on when they got here, what sort of interactions or lack of interactions have taken place between them and the other races, and why? If they arrived recently, then it's self-explanatory why they don't show up much; but if they arrived a while ago, then there needs to either be some explanation for why they don't appear elsewhere or a list of what all already exists in mainline that would need to be updated to include them. Also, is this acceptable as far as general geography and their location?

---

Also, regarding units, I don't think that really belongs in this thread, seeing as it's supposed to be focused on the race description. However, holius has opened another thread already to discuss balancing, which seems like a much better place to discuss altering the faction's unit lineup.
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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by MathBrush » February 23rd, 2018, 7:27 pm

With the answers given to 1 and 2, Celtic Minstrel's description is great (I think people, including me, worried about jinn becoming the main focus of the faction, but that doesn't seem to be the plan now.).

3. Celtic Minstrel's explanation is actually great for why answering all of these questions, and it has the advantage of already having been discussed a lot and polished. The Dunefolk could just have been the indigenous humans of the continent, and never ran into the elves until after Rise of Wesnoth. With the horrible sand-worn/jinn desert as an impasse, they could be quite isolated, just like California was when the Spanish first found it:
The high and rugged Sierra Nevada mountains located behind the Great Basin Desert east of California, extensive forests and deserts on the north, the rugged and harsh Sonoran Desert and Mojave Desert in the south and the Pacific Ocean on the west effectively isolated California from any easy trade or tribal interactions with Indians on the rest of the continent. The Indians located in the core of California are much different in culture than any other Indian cultures in North America. Cabrillo and his men found that there was essentially nothing for the Spanish to easily exploit in California, and located at the extreme limits of exploration and trade from Spain it would be left essentially unexplored and unsettled for the next 234 years. (wikipedia page on California)
Presumably something happened after Rise of Wesnoth to allow one of the groups to cross the desert on occasion (Dunefolk invent flamethrowers/healers that defeat worms or intrepid band of elves cross through). But with such a horrible barrier, and nagas in the Bay of Clouds being the first thing seafarers would see, it makes sense that they would not be involved in the majority of campaigns.

Specific involvement:
-Eastern Invasion mentions "Cattle and beasts of burden were found dead in the fields, and men went missing from their houses, with no clues but a thin stream of black blood. At first the settlers suspected raiders from the great desert, but when they sent scouts east they found nothing but a small mountain range and miles of swamp." in about 625 YW. This would be an obvious reference to them knowing about the Dunefolk (even though these specific raiders were not Dunefolk in the end), and a good reference time to pinpoint the interaction between Dunefolk and Wesnoth proper.
-The two centuries between Eastern Invasion and Son of the Black Eye are ripe for interaction with the dunefolk. The Orcs in Son of the Black Eye are to the north of the main map, so they wouldn't necessarily be aware of or care if Wesnoth proper had had interactions with the Dunefolk. I think that the Dunefolk could replace the bandits in The Desert of Death in Son of the Black Eye.

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by name » February 23rd, 2018, 9:37 pm

@Deciton_Reven

I responded in the thread Pentarctagon suggested the unit discussion be moved to.
Pentarctagon wrote:3. How did the Dunefolk get here?
"Upon magic carpets and great carriages pulled aloft by teams of roc, with jinni leading the airborne caravan across the sky to the great continent."

So essentially, they flew. It was a relatively brief but arduous journey.
Pentarctagon wrote:When did they get here?
Months but not years after the Sceptor of Fire was brought up from the earthy depths in HttT.
Pentarctagon wrote:And depending on when they got here, what sort of interactions or lack of interactions have taken place between them and the other races, and why?
They are on a mission set by their jinni allies, to reclaim the Ruby of Fire and use it to destroy a fae shrine hidden away and guarded by the elves somewhere in their forest realms. Doing this fulfills an ancient prophecy and rights an ancient injustice done to the jinni by the fae (or so the jinni say).

Because their goals are very specific, they only tend to show up when doing so furthers them. Or when they are actively sought out in their remote temporary-settlement, secluded somewhere in the desert.

They can be antagonistic with the kingdom of wesnoth when it comes to regaining the ruby/sceptor of fire. And they are consistently antagonistic towards the elves. But in both cases, mostly through subterfuge, since they are an expeditionary force without the manpower to fight many pitched battles against local powers. They are happy to cooperate with drakes, saurians and naga to bolster their limited strength on the continent. Dwarves and trolls they will work with as well if it aids their mission on the great continent. They rarely encounter orcish clans, but when they do, they generally try to subjugate them into expendable auxiliary forces. They have a low opinion of orcs they carried over from the old continent, where orcish belligerence finally pushed them to subjugate the orcish homeland there.
Pentarctagon wrote:Also, is this acceptable as far as general geography and their location?
It depends on their history. The advantages to that location are its proximity to the west coast (in case they came by sea) and its moderate proximity to wesnoth (in case they are an offshoot of its people).

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Celtic_Minstrel » February 24th, 2018, 3:05 am

MathBrush wrote:Edit: Also, I wanted to suggest again that the level Desert of Death in Son of the Black Eye be changed from bandits in the desert to Dunefolk in the desert.
I'm still against this; Son of the Black Eye takes place in the far north, while the dunefolk dwell in the far south. That just doesn't work out.
Sur_191 wrote: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.
This is an interesting idea... I'm not exactly in favour of it, but it would be nice to see the mermaids in a multiplayer faction...
Pentarctagon wrote:1. Is there anyone who objects to using references to more than just Arabic culture?
I'd at least limit it to Middle-East culture, but not necessarily Arabian alone.
Pentarctagon wrote: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 think some aspects of the mythology should be used. So in other words... I have no objections.
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...
Yeah, I guess this basically sums up my feelings on adding the initiate?
Cold Steel wrote:I am not a fan of the aragwaithi faction(s) from UMC, but look at their popularity and proliferation despite getting no special treatment.
I'd personally like to see this faction mainlined, too.
MathBrush wrote:By allowing lots of fantasy elements in the 'side-units' section of the Dunefolk, but not completely revising multiplayer, it would allow the authors to put cool stuff in the description/campaigns without requiring a ton of multiplayer rebalancing beyond the falcon/water unit issue.
I think this would be a good way to add a wyvern rider line, for example. It might not fit well in the multiplayer faction due to balance reasons, but we can still add it as a "side-unit" as you call it.

Mind you, I suspect a lot of those "side-units" (excluding the monsters and the elvish lady) are actually units that were originally in the factions but were eventually removed due to balance reasons. Still... they exist. There's no reason why we can't just add more core units that aren't in any faction.
Pentarctagon wrote:3. How did the Dunefolk get here? When did they get here? And depending on when they got here, what sort of interactions or lack of interactions have taken place between them and the other races, and why? If they arrived recently, then it's self-explanatory why they don't show up much; but if they arrived a while ago, then there needs to either be some explanation for why they don't appear elsewhere or a list of what all already exists in mainline that would need to be updated to include them. Also, is this acceptable as far as general geography and their location?
I kinda like the idea that they arrived via a land bridge across the south pole, probably sometime around the Rise of Wesnoth. That said, we don't really know where the south pole is; I think it's likely the desert is closer to the equator than the pole, so that implies they travelled a great distance. Why would they have continued north for so long when there was most likely more fertile land further to the south?

As such, I think arriving by ship or undersea cave is better; and the latter has plenty of problems of its own, too, but could maybe work out if it were some kind of Moses-style exodus. In the case of the cave option, I'd suggest they emerged somewhere in or near the northwest mountain range on that map (the one closest to the sea). They would have departed the old continent around the same time as the Wesfolk but taken several years to work their way to the new land. On the other hand, if they came by sea, they probably settled there because of the river, and in that case they probably should leave a century or two after the Wesfolk (if that's possible), making the trip in a fairly short time (maybe a year?).

Possible interactions between dunefolk and other races:
  • Trolls, native to the surrounding mountains. I think they mostly just leave each other alone, though.
  • Dwarves, perhaps dwelling in the southeast mountains. Not sure what kinds of interactions could exist there, though.
  • Saurians in the northern marshes. They wouldn't have much contact with these, since the saurians don't much like the desert and the dunefolk don't much like the marsh, but they should at least know of each others' presence.
  • Drakes, in either the northeast or northwest mountains. There may be some dispute over land.
  • Nagas, in the bay. Mixed relations; the nagas aren't exactly a united front, so they're on good terms with some (possibly engaging in trade and hiring nagas as guards for cross-bay ships) but on bad terms with others (and I don't necessarily mean just bandits or pirates).
  • I think it's likely that they have encountered a dragon at least once in their history on the Great Continent. Possibly only once though. Most likely to the east.
  • No contact with orcs or woses.
  • No or very minimal contact with merfolk, as their bay is dominated by nagas who don't get along with the merfolk.
  • Occasional contact with elves, perhaps on one or three enterprising expeditions across the worm-infested northwest sands. There may also be even more elves south of the desert.
  • Semi-regular yet infrequent contact with jinn, who live mostly in the desert interior, far from the oases and the river.
  • Necromancy seems to be big amongst the Wesfolk, so I would suspect the dunefolk do not commonly encounter undead. When they do, they generally attack on sight. (Spirits possibly excepted.) It's quite possible that their ancestors fought lich lords back on the old continent and as a result have bad cultural memories of undead.
  • As for non-sentient races... elands for food, rukhs and wyverns for battle, sand worms as a danger in the northwest.
I think that pretty much covers every race in the game.
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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Airatgaljamov » February 24th, 2018, 8:43 am

my suggested map:
So I would like to present my view on the Dunefolk.

Firstly, I suggest not sticking to the OoA map because it is quite local, so it would limit the possible consistent explanations for the Dunefolk's arrival in time and place and no interaction with Wesnoth.

My idea is following: The Dunefolk are descendants of colonists from the Old Continent. The arrived on to the Great Continent about a thousand years BW, at times when the Green Island colonies were created. On my extremely rough sketch of my suggested geography the landing point may be on the southern or northern end of this western mountain range. I think they used ships for traveling, and interaction with mainland is absent because of perilous ocean, as it is explained in TRoW. Their starting point on the Old Continent may be in the southern part, so they never reach northern parts of the Great Continent.

Alternately we can expand the Great Continent even further to the east, and make the Dunefolk arrived to the eastern part of it.

After arriving they explored their new land. Region near the river and especially its mouth is very fertile, so the largest city quickly have grown there - the Capital. However this land is interesting not only for the Dunefolk. The Drakes occasionally come down from the northern mountains to hunt for the Dunefolk's livestock, because they consider this land as their hunting grounds. Northern mountains are also home for the Dwarves and Trolls, but they are rather secretive and are not interested in lower lands, they can get their resources and food in valleys in the mountains. Limited trade between the Dunefolk and the Dwarves is present, Dunefolk can offer healing, animal related goods, fabric, wood etc., Dwarves - metal, weapons, tools. A few Naga tribes can also be found near water sources.

As for economic system the Dunefolk live as pastoral nomads. Most of the people organized in tribes, some people live in cities. Tribes herd livestock, some tribes have agreements with city governor for protection and trade, with caravans' leader for protection during travel. Many tribes live on their own; many raid their neighbors, both tribes and occasionally cities, for resources.

Magic is unknown for the Dunefolk. Only in ancient texts have they encountered stories about magic. No individual is born among these people, who is capable of magic neither in old times on the Old Continent nor in present time. Their first encounter with Troll Shamans was shocking as they create fire out of literally nothing, which in unnatural, whereas Burners make fire from oils, and Drakes have a fire inside them.

As you can see I am against introducing any new mythological creature in Wesnoth. I think it would be incoherent with established world and its rules, and will be seen out of place and alien. As someone pointed out, Wesnoth is really based on tolkienesque fantasy not mythology, so you have to be careful.

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