Descriptions: Saurians

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Sapient
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Re: Descriptions: Saurians

Post by Sapient » October 18th, 2009, 9:38 pm

Darker_Dreams wrote:
Sapient wrote:Personally, I vote in favor of budding or a similar appearing form such as on-the-back incubation (as the midwife toad).
This is something to make them distinct from drakes, barbarians, etc... make them a distinctly non-human society.
I'm in favor of something like budding for a race like the Wose; it's a very plant-like thing to do.

I feel Saurians should do something more lizard-esque, however, like lay eggs and have a social structure based on guarding the nest and bringing food back for the young- which is what I (tried to) write. I can see how it can read as a(n abnormal) human social structure- but the variety of human tribal social structures, and the willingness of humans to adopt successful strategies from animals, makes it difficult to write something that involves dual-gender reproduction without being vulnerable to the "humans in strange clothing" critique.

On the other hand, I think linking the two (making a lizard like race that buds) runs the risk of becoming fodder for comments structured like; "X was a cool game- but Y? I just couldn't take it seriously after that." I'm sure a lot of people here can give examples of this sort of thing in commercial games/movies/franchises (midichlorians is the one that springs to my mind). There are precedents for the kind of thing we're talking about in literature- "bizarre" reproductive processes (example) -but it's something that has to be handled pretty carefully.

And then there's the gene-pool stagnation issue.
I really don't think people are going to worry about gene stagnation in a fictional race, afterall they are a slightly inferior race in gameplay terms, so it's not like they have to be THE champions of evolution. And even if parthenogenesis is allowed, it doesn't have to be the exclusive means of reproduction-- it can be just an option that is available to them. I also don't think that real-world lizards should be dictating their physiology... afterall, real world lizards are diurnal so we've already left that behind (good riddance because we don't want to simply copy what's already there and make them one-dimensional anthropomorphs).

As far as ""X was a cool game- but Y?" all I can say is I disagree with you. That's a question of taste and preference. My preference is to make them distinctly non-human and a bit alien while your priority seems be making them a believable lizard hybrid.

The emphasis on egg and brood guarding already has an important place in Naga society. I think it fits them better, and I don't want to see it rehashed in what seems to be pretty much the same form in Saurians. Wose Society has a lot of potential for differentiation so I don't think that's a concern. Even if a tree does bud, it won't look anything like a midwife toad... we're talking about two completely different processes.
I actually agree with most of this, it's details that can be added in. I did try to get a start (cannibalism not being taboo, using their own weaknesses against one another, leaving the tribe at the whim of the signs), but I agree that more should be done.
I think the main problem with a blanket "Cannabalism=OK" attitude is the danger of making them the pre-Columbian islander/aztec society. They already have a lot of that going, so that's something to be wary of. Maybe eating their young or siblings is enough. If baby saurians are essentially viewed as a delicacy+snack and survival to adulthood is the exception rather than the rule, it goes totally against the highly protective egg-guarding mentality.
I actually got the strict gender roles directly from the mating patterns of some lizards (and birds). While lizards don't (generally) incubate their eggs some species do guard them. Whether the guarding/hunting duties are split in an egalitarian manner or something more gender -decisive varies by race.
Again, this is an area where our priorities seem to differ and I just disagree with you. See my comments above about "alien" not "lizard".
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The1exile
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Re: Descriptions: Saurians

Post by The1exile » October 19th, 2009, 1:17 am

Is there any canonical precedent for the Saurians being alien?
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Re: Descriptions: Saurians

Post by Aethaeryn » October 19th, 2009, 3:20 am

Sapient wrote:Maybe eating their young or siblings is enough. If baby saurians are essentially viewed as a delicacy+snack and survival to adulthood is the exception rather than the rule, it goes totally against the highly protective egg-guarding mentality.
What if Saurians only eat young that is not their young? Eliminating the competition, after all.
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Re: Descriptions: Saurians

Post by Sapient » October 19th, 2009, 3:26 am

The1exile wrote:Is there any canonical precedent for the Saurians being alien?
First of all, there's not much "canoncial precedent" for Saurian society period, and what little exists can be changed if necessary once we decide upon it.

Second, I'm not sure if that's a serious question or not but please take a look at my sentence where the word alien was quoted from and see if you understood it correctly:
Sapient wrote: My preference is to make them distinctly non-human and a bit alien while your priority seems be making them a believable lizard hybrid.
If you think I'm talking about Spacenoth then I think you've missed my point.
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Re: Descriptions: Saurians

Post by Darker_Dreams » October 20th, 2009, 2:41 am

Aethaeryn wrote:
Sapient wrote:Maybe eating their young or siblings is enough. If baby saurians are essentially viewed as a delicacy+snack and survival to adulthood is the exception rather than the rule, it goes totally against the highly protective egg-guarding mentality.
What if Saurians only eat young that is not their young? Eliminating the competition, after all.
This is something I was trying to imply without actually stating (not sure about that whole PG-ness thing, I was hesitant to discuss cannibalism at all).

Sapient; I've been contemplating what you said- one thing that stuck out particularly, though, is that I don't want to rehash something that's being used elsewhere- however there's no text in either the unit files or the naga entry(/entries) to give me an idea how to differentiate somehow. Obviously there's a thought out idea there, so I don't feel I can just go in and write something that makes the Naga different from the Saurians (I mean, I could, but it seems impolite), but without something to compare to with the naga I can't address those concerns.

Regarding the "alienness"; I think I can get there in expanding on my current idea, I suspect that I haven't fully expressed the whole image yet.

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melinath
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Re: Descriptions: Saurians

Post by melinath » October 24th, 2009, 10:51 pm

Naga are more like sea serpents (I seem to recall something about this in the sea serpent unit desc) and Saurians are more like land/swamp lizards.

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Re: Descriptions: Saurians

Post by thespaceinvader » October 25th, 2009, 9:12 am

Both the sea and wateer serpent descs correlate with the existence of Nagas - and one of my long-term intentions is to introduce a whole clade of serpent-like creatures with one pair of limbs. I have a couple of things in the works already, although they're stagnant at present.

I've already suggested my own ideas for the saurians in this thread - the most important is that I think portraying them as a low-tech hunter-gatherer type society would be missing a trick in making them interesting and somewhat unusual.
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Re: Descriptions: Saurians

Post by Noskillz » November 1st, 2009, 11:25 am

The design of the saurians are probably influenced by jungle cultures, due to the lizard-like nature of the saurians. Place them with a primative tribal structure that originated in the swampy marshes where the humans in Wesnoth barely venture to, and you'll have a fairly isolated civilisation.


Then for taste, in some specific era they are more exposed to the other races and obtain weapons and knowledge. This leads to a population boom as the Saurians slowly move away from swamps to support their population.

This history is pretty much paralleled in real life as stated previously with the old-world/new-world connection.

Perhaps the destruction of the Saurian capital by the elves in LoW would lead to the Saurians being displaced and become scattered around Wesnoth. This then sets the basis for the Drake-Saurian alliance in a mutual defence pact?

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Re: Descriptions: Saurians

Post by AI » November 2nd, 2009, 3:10 pm

Except there is no Drake-Saurian mutual defence pact. Except for the multiplayer faction, they have nothing to do with each other.

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Re: Descriptions: Saurians

Post by Midnight_Carnival » November 12th, 2009, 10:07 am

My thoughts on this subject which is close to my icy heart:
If Saurians are intelligent and social they will form societies, if they can produce technology and use it, if they have some way of recording information, including abstract concepts and if they don't die out, they will form civilisations.

The modern country of Sudan in currently not on my top ten places to live list, not only is the economy in ruins, but there are many social problems like people with guns trying to kill people (sometimes with guns, sometimes not). These people are decended from the Nubian civilisation, one often conquered by ancient Egypt, technologically Nubia was an advanced civilisation, and in the period when Egypt went into decline, the Nubians invaded Egypt, (or liberated it, depending on which version of the story you read) and implemented vigorous social, political and economic reforms which made Egypt a golbal power again.
-What I'm trying to say is that because the Saurians in Wesnoth are perhaps a little savage and perhaps somewhat wild does not mean they were always so. I have the idea for a campaign in which Saurians living in what was once the remote outpost of their mighty empire (when Humans were just learning how to use metals) who have to find out what happened to their people. If anyone is interested, I can tell the story of The Phoenix Empire (the title is ironic) in full, but I doubt I have the ability to write the code for an entire campaign.

I also think that the females should dominate Saurian groups, they could use pheremones to cause all those beneath them to be sterile or even male. I remember a campaign in which the brood mom or whatever got killed ( :cry: I cried!). You could work that into the Saurian lore; with the dominant female gone, their social cohesion dissolved and a whole load of little queens popped up and began fighting for power. Thus they became a broken and scattered people, allying with Orcs, Drakes, Naga and just about anyone who didn't kill them in order to survive.

-just my two cents worth.

<slinking back to off topic>
...apparenly we can't go with it or something.

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Re: Descriptions: Saurians

Post by melinath » November 29th, 2009, 8:33 am

Midnight_Carnival wrote:What I'm trying to say is that because the Saurians in Wesnoth are perhaps a little savage and perhaps somewhat wild does not mean they were always so.
Although you're unlikely to find anyone with the time to help you code a campaign, this is a very good point. One of the weaknesses of Wesnoth history is that it's fairly static. Given a thousand years, there could be much more political expansion and fragmentation than is currently recorded: other human countries forming, etc. Or to put it another way: at least the style of clothing would change! But the amount of work that would be necessary to actually span a thousand years in detail is astronomical. (That's why we're spending energy on loosely covering even more thousands of years... wait...)

In the case of the Saurians: yes. They could have a rich and noble past. Seems like a great concept. I don't know that that necessarily has a bearing on this exact discussion, since this would be knowledge forgotten in history (unless discovered by Wesnothian archaeologists) and thus not really fair game for a description of Saurians within the first eight hundred or so YW.

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Re: Descriptions: Saurians

Post by tuahaa » January 23rd, 2010, 8:48 am

I agree with midnight carnival's idea. Maybe they had to adopt such harsh ways of living and superstitious beliefs

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