Melinath's Descriptions: Drakes

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melinath
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Melinath's Descriptions: Drakes

Post by melinath » July 7th, 2009, 2:53 pm

Kitty and TSI are making various wonderful new portraits, and it seems like a good opportunity to make new descriptions, as well. I'm going to follow TSI's progress and make new Drake descriptions. Yes, I'm lazy. I'm picking the one with fewer portraits done and with more to base my descriptions on: rat4000's apparently abandoned description project.

If I'm feeling like Wesnoth isn't taking up enough of my time, or if I somehow otherwise get around to it, I might try following Kitty as well, but I think it would be better if someone else did that. Jhanlon, perhaps? The1exile? You both did some work on the highwayman desc, and her current portraits are in that line. (Go back a few pages in that thread for even more outlaw-type units!)

So. Starting with the Clasher.
Current Description wrote:A Drake Clasher is incapable of either flight and fire-breathing, and most assume their relegation to melee combat is because of disability - an attempt to garner use from what otherwise would be a liability. It is possible that they have some mild deficiency in those skills, but those who support this theory have failed to consider how uniquely well-suited they are to combat a fellow drake.

They are, in fact, the Judicators of the Drake Hierarchy, and though their armament is now largely ceremonial, it is none the less effective. In their encounters with lesser races, they discovered that their natural size and strength were themselves powerful weapons, and when combined with the armament worn by this caste, the resulting warriors lack some of the typical weaknesses of their kind, such as the strong vulnerability to spears and arrows.
Proposed New Description wrote:The Clashers are members of a unique caste among the Drakes. Their thick armor, while compensating for the Drakes' natural weakness against spears and arrows, is so heavy that they can't fly while wearing it. The Clashers have embraced this handicap, forming armor that wraps around their wings to emphasize the fact that they don't need them to triumph in battle. Their code also compels them to forswear the use of their natural inner fire, and to rely instead on their natural strength and their self-crafted weapons.

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Re: Melinath's Descriptions: Drakes

Post by Skrim » July 7th, 2009, 3:52 pm

I always thought the Clashers couldn't fly or breath fire, not that they were consciously refraining from doing so. If they had the potential to use the 3-3 fire breath attack their fellow Drakes possess, they would have to be the following ultimate in strict honor codes to refrain from using it, which just seems ridiculous.

I'll have a go at a Clasher description too while I'm around:
The Drake Clasher is a most peculiar type of combatant, as it is the only Drake incapable of flying or breathing fire. Instead, the Clashers have their wings enrobed with armor as if in defiance to their flying brethren, and fight with self-crafted long spears and wrist-mounted blades which give them staggering melee combat power. Many think that these are the Drakes with the weakest connection to their Dragon ancestors because of this, who have specialized in heavy melee combat and weapon smithing simply to make up for their shortcomings.

However, the supporters of this notion fail to note how uniquely effective the Clashers are in combat against fellow Drakes, and forget that gaining position and rank in Drake society is a matter of defeating one's superiors in combat. Hence, the Clashers are unrivaled as the Judicators of the Drake Hierarchy, and their heavy armor and armament is used both for ornamental and practical purposes. In encounters with the lesser races, the Clashers use their imposing size and great strength as their key advantage, coupled with armor strong enough to stop the arrows and spears that are the bane of other Drakes.

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Re: Melinath's Descriptions: Drakes

Post by melinath » July 7th, 2009, 4:00 pm

I can't take your suggestions into account right now, Skrim. I should mention that I am purposely trying to characterize the clasher as a proud unit that can't fly because of armor. As far as I am aware, there is nothing outside the description of the clasher that gives any hint as to why they can't fly; the little there is implies it's the armor.

More importantly, I'd like to take this moment to state that this is not a thread to write drake descriptions by committee. I would like critique, criticism, I don't even mind suggestions, but I'd like to have the chance to do the actual writing myself. This is due to the discussion which can be found at the end of the general descriptions thread.

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Re: Melinath's Descriptions: Drakes

Post by Turuk » July 7th, 2009, 4:02 pm

Changes to the fire wrote:The Clashers are members of a unique caste among the Drakes. Their thick armor, while compensating for the Drakes' natural weakness against spears and arrows, is so heavy that they cannot fly while wearing it. The Clashers have embraced this handicap, forming armor that wraps around their wings to emphasize the fact that they don't need them to triumph in battle. The Clasher shares the least heritage with their Dragon ancestors, and so their inner fire is only strong enough to sustain their existence, unable to be used in combat.
Skrim, your description can be shortened and say the same thing just as effectively.
The Drake Clasher is the only Drake incapable of breathing fire, as it shares the least in common with its Dragon ancestors. Instead of feeling ashamed, the Clashers embrace this difference and even have their wings enrobed with armor as if in defiance to their flying brethren. They fight with self-crafted long spears and wrist-mounted blades, giving them staggering power in melee combat.

The Clashers are unrivaled as the Judicators of the Drake Hierarchy, and their heavy armor and armament is used both for ornamental and practical purposes. In encounters with the lesser races, the Clashers use their imposing size and great strength as their key advantage, coupled with armor strong enough to stop the arrows and spears that are the bane of other Drakes.


In accordance with melinath's comments, I would state that you could work with him to help integrate the two descriptions or help edit bits of his, but we are trying to avoid having another description free-for-all.
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Re: Melinath's Descriptions: Drakes

Post by Simons Mith » July 7th, 2009, 4:10 pm

May I suggest considering the entire drake clasher line as a single entity rather than doing them one at a time? Gives more flexibility and would help give a consistent feel to the unit.
 

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Re: Melinath's Descriptions: Drakes

Post by Skrim » July 7th, 2009, 4:11 pm

Turuk wrote: In accordance melinath's comments, I would state that you could work with him to help integrate the two descriptions or help edit bits of his, but we are trying to avoid having another description free-for-all.
Sorry. I guess I should've read the thread title twice. :|

So the Clasher's inability to breath fire is because it is the least closely related to the Dragons? That sounds a lot more logical than having them refuse consciously. As for the lack of flight, both the weight of the armor and inherent incapability are valid reasons.

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Re: Melinath's Descriptions: Drakes

Post by thespaceinvader » July 7th, 2009, 4:11 pm

I was talking to Jetryl last night, and he's suggested that he's going to rewrite the Drake descriptions (which he wrote when they were first accepted) himself during the course of my WSAS project. I'll point him to this thread for ideas...

He also categorically stated that the clashers are not necessarily incapable of breathing fire or flying - some of them may be worse at it than most, but it's their equipment which limited their abilities more than anything - out of it, they might be pretty good at those two things. The line, particularly the Slasher/Warden branch, was intended as the 'Drake Police' for want of a better word.
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Re: Melinath's Descriptions: Drakes

Post by Turuk » July 7th, 2009, 4:19 pm

The Clashers are members of a unique caste among the Drakes. Their thick armor, while compensating for the Drakes' natural weakness against spears and arrows, is so heavy that they cannot fly while wearing it. The Clashers have embraced this handicap, forming armor that wraps around their wings to emphasize the fact that they don't need them to triumph in battle. The Clasher shares the least heritage with their Dragon ancestors, and so their inner fire is only strong enough to sustain their existence, unable to be used in combat.

The Clashers are unrivaled as the Judicators of the Drake Hierarchy, and their heavy armor and armament is used both for ornamental and practical purposes. In encounters with the lesser races, the Clashers use their imposing size and great strength as their key advantage, coupled with armor strong enough to stop the arrows and spears that are the bane of other Drakes.


What about the above?
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Re: Melinath's Descriptions: Drakes

Post by melinath » July 7th, 2009, 10:40 pm

thespaceinvader wrote:I was talking to Jetryl last night, and he's suggested that he's going to rewrite the Drake descriptions (which he wrote when they were first accepted) himself during the course of my WSAS project. I'll point him to this thread for ideas...

He also categorically stated that the clashers are not necessarily incapable of breathing fire or flying - some of them may be worse at it than most, but it's their equipment which limited their abilities more than anything - out of it, they might be pretty good at those two things. The line, particularly the Slasher/Warden branch, was intended as the 'Drake Police' for want of a better word.
If he wants to write them, he can, but then this thread is useless. That sounds almost exactly like my understanding of them. Are there other descriptions that he or other people are already planning on doing that I should avoid if I want to be able to contribute something?

EDIT:: Or more to the point, if he wrote the Drake descriptions in the first place, perhaps he shouldn't give it another go. They frankly aren't that great. There's a reason that the Writer's Forum exists: for writers to contribute to the game. I'll give Jetryl the benefit of the doubt: perhaps he was planning on posting his new descriptions here for critique.

I don't have the authority to force Jetryl to do anything, but this is a project that I would really like to do and a project that I have the appropriate skill set for. If he lets me take this project, I would appreciate his input and feedback, since he knows what's actually going on in the mysterious depths of Wesnoth development, but if he doesn't, I don't see how I could possibly be helpful on the subject.

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Re: Melinath's Descriptions: Drakes

Post by Jetrel » July 8th, 2009, 12:00 am

melinath wrote:EDIT:: Or more to the point, if he wrote the Drake descriptions in the first place, perhaps he shouldn't give it another go. They frankly aren't that great. There's a reason that the Writer's Forum exists: for writers to contribute to the game. I'll give Jetryl the benefit of the doubt: perhaps he was planning on posting his new descriptions here for critique.
Yes, some of them could use some improvement - the full description overhaul was one of my first big writing projects, ever, and I've improved over the past 3 years. More history on this below.* Because of the nature of the project, and the (extreme) variability in what styles of writing people find tasteful, I'm not afraid to be an authoritarian jerk and simply dictate some things. A complete free-for-all on writing is as bad as a free-for-all on art; committees might be great for helping make decisions, but they're terrible as the "ultimate authority". We're totally open to submissions, and I'd love to have them, but I am going to be a jerk here and act as a gatekeeper on writing style and lore issues (Turuk is policing excellently on writing quality, which I'm grateful for).


Melinath: I would welcome submissions from you to replace any other descriptions for the race which you think could be improved. If you're willing to work on this, I'll (mostly) refrain from doing so myself. I've personally rewritten the clasher description. The only reason I wanted to do that one in particular was that I simply wanted to enforce that bit of lore (them being able to fly and breath fire, but equipping themselves in a way that prevents it).

This is what I've rewritten the clasher description to. Feel free to crit this, and please do submit replacements for any of the drake descriptions which you think could be replaced.
Because of its heavy, binding armor, a Drake Clasher is rendered incapable of flight, and is unable to muster enough breath to use their inner fire as a weapon. Contrary to the suspicions of other races, these drakes are at least respectably capable at these characteristic abilities of their kin, but have willingly foregone their use to fulfill a unique military role.

Though foregoing flight and fire might seem absurd to other races, by arming themselves with plate and spear, a drake clasher is particularly effective against other drakes. Traditionally, this is precisely their role in Drake society; they are the arbiters of the law, and the punishers of those who break it.

In their encounters with lesser races, they discovered that their natural size and strength were themselves powerful weapons, and when combined with the armament worn by this caste, the resulting warriors lack some of the typical weaknesses of their kind, such as the strong vulnerability to spears and arrows. It is not unheard of for drakes outside of this caste to wield similar equipment, especially when fighting against cavalry; although there are taboos against doing so, they are often ignored in favor of its practical benefits in combat.


Background:
* I spearheaded a project, pre-wesnoth-1.0, where I personally (with some editing help from Ott), rewrote about every single description in the game. It wasn't just the drakes; it was everything; I rewrote it from scratch because what we had before was terrible.

The clasher description wasn't too bad, save for the ludicrous fantasy-ism of emerald weapons:
These Drakes lack the ability to use their great internal fire as a weapon. To compensate they have become great craftsmen that can fabricate weapons with emerald edges. The Clashers' weapons of choice are the sword and spear, which they use to great effect. In addition, they also wear more armour than most Drakes. The greatest Clashers can become Drake Gladiators or Slashers.
But we had a bunch of real [censored]-sandwiches like these: :augh:
The Armageddon Drakes truely are amongst the toughest of all drakes, they are so incredibly used to living near fire that they've grown to be practically immume to any fire based weapon to the point where a pillow is a more effecient weapon to use than a torch; Their armour is alot like a status symbol just like the armour of his weaker cousin the Inferno Drake, it is made out off extremely tough minerals and rocks at the bottom of magma rivers and gives them a slightly better defence against cold attacks than most other drakes.
Drake Flares aspire to be leaders of their kind. While their mastery of their internal fire is not as great as some of their kin these Drakes have broader asperations. They are skilled with swords, and they aspire to be the greatest of their kind.
We wanted to remove all "direct verbal artifacts of being a videogame", such as direct descriptions of stats, or any styles of speech that sounded like a player speaking about a game unit. Loosely, we wanted to frame the descriptions as though they were coming from a human narrator from within the world of wesnoth. We also wanted to remove anything that was redundant with stats already displayed; for example, there's no need to directly describe the upgrade path because that's a visible stat, and it also sounds 'videogamish' if the positions they're graduating to aren't actual 'named offices or ranks', but just happen to be the names of in-game units.

I'm not sure where we stand on brevity. Oddball trivia/facts about a unit (like how we state that clashers are basically cops) are both a blessing and a curse - they give you additional hooks for storywriting, but they limit what you can do with a unit in storywriting without violating these "stated facts".
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Re: Melinath's Descriptions: Drakes

Post by Turuk » July 8th, 2009, 2:53 am

Jetryl wrote:We're totally open to submissions, and I'd love to have them, but I am going to be a jerk here and act as a gatekeeper on writing style and lore issues (Turuk is policing excellently on writing quality, which I'm grateful for).
Thanks for the vote of confidence. As you stated, I am trying to keep this as open as possible to user submissions and ideas, but I am trying to work towards developing high standards for writing, just as we have done in other areas such as your own, with both portrait and sprite style.

As for the writing by committee thing, melinath has spoken with me extensively on IRC and started this thread in hopes to avoid all that, writing it by himself with just critique from the community. If you are okay with him working on the drakes with input from yourself, I am certain he is up to the task given that he can draw on yourself, myself, and a few others as well.

Side note, if you are happy with the above description Jet, I can commit it as well.
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Re: Melinath's Descriptions: Drakes

Post by melinath » July 8th, 2009, 8:02 am

Jetryl: Thank you for your long and very informative post. Here's a list of a few things that I don't feel like trying to connect with sentences.

1. The present descriptions are certainly much better than the ones that you replaced.

2. I would like to keep doing this, and I want you to correct me on lore points. I want you to be authoritarian about it. I try to find out the lore, but the information is so spread out and is sometimes only in the heads of people working intimately with development (or maybe in IRC logs... somewhere). My preferred method would be to talk with you on IRC before writing a description, if that's possible.

3. As Turuk mentioned, the whole point of this thread is to avoid 'writing by committee'. It will hopefully become an example of how a thread like this should work. However, even Turuk can't seem to help posting alternate versions. :P

As an example of how I would like to be critiqued (and the kind of critique I would like to get), here's a critique of your description.
(First, a note: although I want my lore to be corrected, I don't consider lore to be part of a critique. A critique should focus on style and technique.)
Because of its {heavy, binding armor}, a Drake Clasher is rendered incapable of flight, and is unable to muster enough breath to use their inner fire as a weapon. (Contrary to the suspicions of other races, these drakes are at least respectably capable at these characteristic abilities of their kin, but have willingly foregone their use to fulfill a unique military role.)

(Though foregoing flight and fire might seem absurd to other races, by arming themselves with plate and spear, a drake clasher is particularly effective against other drakes.) Traditionally, this is precisely their role in Drake society:; they are the arbiters of the law, and the punishers of those who break it.

In their encounters with lesser races, they discovered that their natural size and strength were themselves powerful weapons, and when combined with {the armament worn by this caste, the resulting warriors lack some of the typical weaknesses of their kind, such as the strong vulnerability to spears and arrows}. ==It is not unheard of for drakes outside of this caste to wield similar equipment, especially when fighting against cavalry; although there are taboos against doing so, they are often ignored in favor of its practical benefits in combat.==
The parts in curly brackets {} have to do with the armor. They can be combined. The parts in parentheses () both have to do with the way other races see the drakes. They are therefore somewhat redundant and can be combined.
"Contrary to the suspicions of other races..." is also redundant with the first sentence. The Clashers' inherent ability to do such drakey things as breathe fire and fly is implied when you say that the only reason they can't do it is the armor they're wearing.

I've marked some unnecessary wordage with strikethroughs. In some cases, this is irrelevant, since the sentence should be moved around and recombined anyway.
and when combined with the armament worn by this caste
This sentence doesn't work. Armament is weaponry, not armor. Wearing armor would account for the Clashers lacking typical weaknesses; however, just changing the word isn't enough. As it's written now, what gives them this resistance is the combination of armor and 'natural size and strength'. 'Size and strength' have no relation to the drakes' weaknesses.

"In their encounters with lesser races" doesn't seem to add much. It could also be "In the course of their history", "In their conflicts with other drakes", or this entire sentence could be merged with the comments in the first paragraph about how Clashers fight.

The part in equals signs == is interesting, but unnecessary. Esp. because I can't find any drake units outside the clasher line that use spears... or is this a reference to later advancements?
----
This description is an improvement on the present one, but you can do better. Right now, you're still clinging to some of the weaknesses that the old one had, too: specifically, that line with armament. You also have a tendency to use more words than are necessary, or to qualify statements where a stronger phrasing would also be better.

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Re: Melinath's Descriptions: Drakes

Post by Skrim » July 8th, 2009, 11:38 am

melinath wrote:This sentence doesn't work. Armament is weaponry, not armor. Wearing armor would account for the Clashers lacking typical weaknesses; however, just changing the word isn't enough. As it's written now, what gives them this resistance is the combination of armor and 'natural size and strength'. 'Size and strength' have no relation to the drakes' weaknesses.

"In their encounters with lesser races" doesn't seem to add much. It could also be "In the course of their history", "In their conflicts with other drakes", or this entire sentence could be merged with the comments in the first paragraph about how Clashers fight.

The part in equals signs == is interesting, but unnecessary. Esp. because I can't find any drake units outside the clasher line that use spears... or is this a reference to later advancements?
----
This description is an improvement on the present one, but you can do better. Right now, you're still clinging to some of the weaknesses that the old one had, too: specifically, that line with armament. You also have a tendency to use more words than are necessary, or to qualify statements where a stronger phrasing would also be better.
I think "in their encounters with lesser races" is more apt a phrase IMO than "in the course of their history" or "in their conflicts with other Drakes". Their natural size and strength are an advantage over other, naturally smaller and weaker non-Drake races like humans, elves, dwarves and orcs, not against other Drakes who have similar size and strength.

I agree about the "==" bit, though. Only three Drakes use spears: the Clasher, and it's own advancements, the L2 Gladiator and L3 Enforcer. No non-Clasher-caste Drakes wield them in-game at least.

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Re: Melinath's Descriptions: Drakes

Post by melinath » July 8th, 2009, 12:20 pm

Skrim wrote:I think "in their encounters with lesser races" is more apt a phrase IMO than "in the course of their history" or "in their conflicts with other Drakes". Their natural size and strength are an advantage over other, naturally smaller and weaker non-Drake races like humans, elves, dwarves and orcs, not against other Drakes who have similar size and strength.
Yes, their size and strength are (theoretically) an advantage compared to smaller races. But the phrase "in their encounters with lesser races" implies that until they met humans in TRoW, they didn't realize they could fight. In other words, if you say that natural strength is a weapon for the drakes (which to me sounds a bit odd - claws can be weapons, but how do I hit someone with strength? It's abstract...) then it's a weapon they would have been using for their entire history as a militaristic society.
If this line is supposed to say that the drakes didn't realize that they were so strong until they had a comparison, or if it's supposed to say that the drakes realized that their comparative size and strength alone were enough to defeat the humans and other, more fragile species, great. The line would need to be rewritten, because right now it's not clear. Then of course there's the whole armament issue. But I already went into detail about that.

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Re: Melinath's Descriptions: Drakes

Post by Skrim » July 8th, 2009, 1:08 pm

The Drakes had met humans at least once before TRoW(when Lady Jessica and the Crown Prince of Southbay landed on their island), and presumably several times before that given that there had been several earlier unsuccessful attempts to voyage to the east.

The fact that Drakes happened to evolve from Dragons on a chain of slowly-sinking volcanic islands in the ocean between the Green Isle and the Great Continent means they would've been relatively isolated from humans until the sailors came along, but even then, the Nagas and Mermen live in the waters near their islands and would have encountered Drakes at some point.

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