Lore inconsistency with Mal naming convention

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Merklynn
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Lore inconsistency with Mal naming convention

Post by Merklynn »

The lich Mal Ravanal (Eastern Invasion) is stated as having been the progenitor of the dynasty of "Mal-Suchandsuch" names for Wesnoth's subsequent undead lords. See extract from the SecretLore page below.
The "Mal-" that appears as a prefix in the names of many necromancers signifies membership in a lineage or tradition of necromancy founded by Mal-Ravanal, the lich who nearly destroyed Wesnoth in the wars of 625-627YW,

(Source: Turin)
:eng:
http://wiki.wesnoth.org/SecretLore (scroll down to undead)

However, in Descent into Darkness Malin Keshar dies and becomes the lich Mal-Keshar after using the necromancer Darken Volk's book (stolen back from the mage and lord of Tath, Karres in that campaign). The problem with this is that Eastern Invasion is set in 625-627YW, while Descent into Darkness was placed much earlier at 389YW well before even HttT.

Given that Malin's own name is quite clearly the origin of the Mal naming convention, the problem is that it is not acknowledged correctly in the http://wiki.wesnoth.org/SecretLore page. Do others agree that it is Mal Keshar who should be correctly acknowledged here?

Here's a suggested replacement.
The "Mal-" that appears as a prefix in the names of many necromancers dates back as early as 389YW when Malin Keshar, exiled baron of Parthyn, forfeited his life and became the lich lord Mal Keshar. Among those that followed, it is perhaps the powerful lich Mal-Ravanal, infamous for having nearly destroyed Wesnoth in the Eastern Invasion of 625-627YW, that did the most to establish this naming convention as a necromantic tradition.
I'm new here and new to wiki's and open source projects, and I don't know how to change this on the page myself. However, I imagine there is someone who has some sort of final say here on the subject of lore. If not, can we get a consensus that this somewhat minor detail be appended? :)

I'm not sure if an earlier version of Descent into Darkness was intended to follow the Eastern Invasion chronologically, or if Mal Keshar was retconned, but it appears to be built into the story and the character itself by originating from his very name.
Last edited by Merklynn on July 21st, 2010, 5:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Lore inconsistency with Mal naming convention

Post by Anonymissimus »

Afaik it is agreed that Mal Ravanal named himself in reference to Mal Keshar.
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Re: Lore inconsistency with Mal naming convention

Post by Deusite »

To quote AI:
AI wrote:About the Mal prefix, it is *not* a generical 'malicious' prefix or the like. Malin has the somewhat unique excuse of it being a shorthand for his original name.
It has also been conjectured that Ravanal knew Malin and named his cult in honor of his teacher or the like. (but this is mostly off-hand speculation)

It may at some point be a good idea to stop Malin from renaming himself.
There's also a certain 'Keremal' in AOI, which may just be a coincidence. Then there's Mal M'Brin, Mal Tera and Mal A'kai from TSG (18 years before EI). Mal A'kai isn't even a Lich, but a Dark Adept /Dark Sorcerer/ Necromancer and Mal M'Brin is an elf. If this Mal business is really supposed to be in reference to Mal Keshar, then he sure got around.

On the whole the naming convention doesn't really make much sense, unless they belong to some 'cult' influenced by Mal Keshar, or they're just paying him lip service.
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Re: Lore inconsistency with Mal naming convention

Post by Merklynn »

If you read the campaign, it's through the book that Darken Volk and Malin Keshar recovered from the mage's library in Tath that Malin is able to complete his turn to the dark side and become a lich. The book may hold the key to a retcon to explain the Mal naming convention when it comes to necromancy. Perhaps the book is a sort of 101 guide on necromancy that dates back to the Green Isle.

I'm working on a campaign dealing with stuff along these lines and set in the Silver Age. The back story makes reference to these matters which is one reason why I felt it worth noting that the SecretLore page lists Mal-Ravanal as the founder of that name, when in fact others such as Mal Keshar (circa 389 YW) and Mal Tera and Mal A'kai (circa 607 YW) were also using the convention. If, of course, it really is a convention.. but then I assumed things written on the SecretLore page were written for a good reason so I was trying to work with it in mind.
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Re: Lore inconsistency with Mal naming convention

Post by Simons Mith »

It might be more prudent to assume that Mal was a minority title, widely known but not widely used, until popularised by Malin, after which it became a fashion. Nowadays, every up-to-the millennium lich likes to follow the trend. [I suspect fashion moves very slowly among the undead, but I suspect it does move...]
 
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Re: Lore inconsistency with Mal naming convention

Post by thespaceinvader »

It's worth bearing in mind that, whilst we know Mal Keshar went on for ages and killed tonnes of foolish heroes, he basically hid in a cave for the rest of his life existence - his title/lich name would not have been widely known, if at all. He only emerged again in the (currently non-official-canon) Invasion from the Unknown.

Hes probably not an issue - he may have been the first to use the name, but he probably wasn't the first to popularise it.

There's also the difficulty of knowning when the wiki page was written - it's probably the case that Mal Ravanal was the first, chronologically, to use the name, but other authors came along and used it for their liches (and necromancers) cos they liked the sound of it, and ignored the premise that Ravanal was the first to use the name and popularise it with his followers.

At least we've gotten away from that horrible Muff prefix. Ugh.
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Re: Lore inconsistency with Mal naming convention

Post by Merklynn »

Yeah, I get the feeling that is what happened. But I do think the reference source should be updated to reflect the newer information. While Mal Keshar did control his forces from his cave, I wouldn't say that he didn't earn a name for himself at least within the region he was active. He did harass the Orc tribes north of Parthyn for "years". This is what the campaign story says following his conversion to lich-hood.
Years pass. Every summer when the mountain passes become clear, the lich sends his soldiers to attack the orcs, removing any human, elven, or dwarvish patrols that get in the way. Every year the undead inflict some damage before being repelled and retreating to the caves.

Rumors circulate of a lich that preys on scouting patrols. A hero, gathering his loyal troops to him, decides to put an end to the evil.

Excerpted from Descent into Darkness - Scenario 12 - Endless Night
Years is a very vague statement, but I take it to be anything from 4 years and up. Possibly nearly a decade. In any case, his activity became such a problem for the local races that they launched a combined assault upon his fortress and finally put him to rest. Stories of this necromancer would certainly have spread both before his defeat and certainly after the various races involved returned to their people singing songs about their heroism. Aspiring and existing necromancers elsewhere would likely be high among those to know of him or learn of him. So, as the earliest known example of the Mal name chronologically, and the prefix seeming to stem from his own human name Malin, I would be inclined to see Malin as the precursor or originator of that title.

That or perhaps the following idea.
'To become a lich, one must first die.'

So reads the book that Malin has reclaimed. 'The spells of necromancy bind the spirit, but only once it has been unbound from the body. To become a lich, the mage must make the necessary incantations with his dying breaths. He thus binds his own spirit in much the same way necromancers bind the spirits of others. Because he retains his own will, however, the lich can call upon the awesome powers of the spirit world.'

The words, and the idea, stick in the back of his mind.
Excerpted from Scenario 11 - Descent into Darkness
As Malin relied upon the book (the obtaining of which was the goal of scenarios 8, 9 and 10) to learn of the final step... becoming a lich himself, he may also have taken the traditional necromantic title from the book Mal. However, this is too coincidental for my liking, given the similarity in his name, which I think was obviously intended to be an adaptation of his human name. Caesar became the title for the subsequent Roman emperors after Julius Caesar first stamped his name in Roman history. Mal Keshar clearly was not in the league of historical figures like Julius Caesar, but up until Mal Ravanal, he may have been among the most significant within Undead circles.

Anyway, bottom line, the SecretLore page could do with updating.
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Re: Lore inconsistency with Mal naming convention

Post by Iris »

thespaceinvader wrote:It's worth bearing in mind that, whilst we know Mal Keshar went on for ages and killed tonnes of foolish heroes, he basically hid in a cave for the rest of his life existence - his title/lich name would not have been widely known, if at all. He only emerged again in the (currently non-official-canon) Invasion from the Unknown.
Actually, from Future History:
Wiki wrote:1537 YW
  • An ancient Lich by the name of Mal Keshar terrorizes lands of the Northern Alliance.
  • Elynia is sent by Empreror Vikren VIII to destroy Mal Keshar.
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Re: Lore inconsistency with Mal naming convention

Post by Zarel »

thespaceinvader wrote:It's worth bearing in mind that, whilst we know Mal Keshar went on for ages and killed tonnes of foolish heroes, he basically hid in a cave for the rest of his life existence - his title/lich name would not have been widely known, if at all. He only emerged again in the (currently non-official-canon) Invasion from the Unknown.
As Merklynn mentions, Mal Keshar got himself quite a name terrorizing the Orcish countryside. He was so renowned there were tons of foolish heroes attacking him.

Hes probably not an issue - he may have been the first to use the name, but he probably wasn't the first to popularise it.
Simons Mith wrote:It might be more prudent to assume that Mal was a minority title, widely known but not widely used, until popularised by Malin, after which it became a fashion. Nowadays, every up-to-the millennium lich likes to follow the trend. [I suspect fashion moves very slowly among the undead, but I suspect it does move...]
Note clearly that liches are immortal. We can rearrange history to some extent.
shadowmaster wrote:Actually, from Future History:
Wiki wrote:1537 YW
  • An ancient Lich by the name of Mal Keshar terrorizes lands of the Northern Alliance.
  • Elynia is sent by Empreror Vikren VIII to destroy Mal Keshar.
Also from Future History:
"none of this is considered canonical and any of it may change as continuity for future mainline campaigns requires."

Personally, I think the fact that Mal Keshar is defeated in the mainline campaign DiD makes it clear what canon is. We'd at the very least have to rewrite the ending if we wanted to change that.
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Re: Lore inconsistency with Mal naming convention

Post by Iris »

Zarel wrote:Personally, I think the fact that Mal Keshar is defeated in the mainline campaign DiD makes it clear what canon is. We'd at the very least have to rewrite the ending if we wanted to change that.
Personally, I think the fact that the ending is pretty vague and complicated in general makes it fairly open to interpretation, and that's mine, and esr approves of it.
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Re: Lore inconsistency with Mal naming convention

Post by thespaceinvader »

Not to mention the fact that a competent player will usually get bored long before losing the final scenario of DiD, which lends credence to the idea that he was never defeated.
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Re: Lore inconsistency with Mal naming convention

Post by johndh »

Indeed, after a few of these invaders come in, Mal usually has a sizable army of level-3 undead, and he himself is nigh unstoppable. The impression I got from the ending was that Mal stays in his cave, locked in an ongoing battle with the outside world. He doesn't age, he's tough as nails, and he causes an obscene amount of damage to anybody dumb enough to come near him. I took the ending to be a kind of moral about how eternal "life" isn't really that great, because he becomes a shut-in, holed up in his cave studying the dark arts for all eternity while the rest of the world passes him by, and their only acknowledgment of his existence is the occasional invasion force they send to die by his hand.

Anyway, if the outside world kept sending armies to kill Mal, he clearly must have kept a reputation, which probably just got more and more fearsome as the huge pile of dead paladins and orcish skeletons accumulated at his cave entrance. It seems reasonable that other dark mages would have heard of him and wanted to model themselves after the oldest and most powerful lich around. Also, maybe "Mal" has some meaning in Wesnothian (or whatever the language is called) and Malin used it as a sort of play on words, or something that fit his new role a little better, like Abram -> Abraham or Saul -> Paul.
It's spelled "definitely", not "definately". "Defiantly" is a different word entirely.
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Re: Lore inconsistency with Mal naming convention

Post by Dixie »

shadowmaster wrote: Actually, from Future History:
Wiki wrote:1537 YW
  • An ancient Lich by the name of Mal Keshar terrorizes lands of the Northern Alliance.
  • Elynia is sent by Empreror Vikren VIII to destroy Mal Keshar.
I actually thought of that too when I read some posts in the thread and went on the wiki to verify, but there's something that made me hesisate: it says "An ancient Lich...". I don,t know if it's just a measure of power or how long you have to wait to be considered an ancient lich, but as far as I'm concerned, it could as well mean Mal Keshar has been holed up in his cave for a few dozen centuries before Elynia is sent to destroy him...
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Re: Lore inconsistency with Mal naming convention

Post by Drakefriend »

And IftU proves that Elynia fails to destroy Malin (well, if the "Mal Keshar" encoutered there is not just someone pretending to be him or there are two powerful liches of the same name...)
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Re: Lore inconsistency with Mal naming convention

Post by A-Red »

Dixie wrote:I actually thought of that too when I read some posts in the thread and went on the wiki to verify, but there's something that made me hesisate: it says "An ancient Lich...". I don,t know if it's just a measure of power or how long you have to wait to be considered an ancient lich, but as far as I'm concerned, it could as well mean Mal Keshar has been holed up in his cave for a few dozen centuries before Elynia is sent to destroy him...
That's another thing that slightly irks me about liches in canon--"ancient" doesn't necessarily mean anything, as neither Mal M'Brin nor Mal Ravanal is more than a few years dead.
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