The Origin of (Wesnoth) Species, or: Half-Breeds in Wesnoth?

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Mefisto
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Re: The Origin of (Wesnoth) Species, or: Half-Breeds in Wesn

Post by Mefisto »

I coludn't see any hints about biogeography in this thread so far.

We only know part of one big continent, where lived Elves and Dwarves before Humans and Orcs appeared. I think that it should be at least one more continent where Humans and Orcs evolved. I suppose that there were periods glacials and interglacials when continent were joined and splitted by changes in sea level and because ot that populations could migrate from on landmass to the other and again were isolated. I think it's possible that there were many more hominids in this world but only four species survived: two on one continent and the other two on the other continent. And then Humans learned how to sail overseas.

I find it strange that only one human kingdom was established no the new continent. Probably the environment wasn't too good for them. It looks like Orcs adapted to it much better: they can dwell not only in wesnoth but also in the hostile north and in the east. (The eastern regions of continent aren't shown on maps but they are probably arid, like our world Central Asia.)

Maybe Humans in this world are better suited for warmer and more humid climate?

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Re: The Origin of (Wesnoth) Species, or: Half-Breeds in Wesn

Post by A-Red »

That's true. The geographical placement of races would suggest that either elves or dwarves crossed to another continent to evolve into the other races, and that humans and orcs are actually the most closely related, having branched after the crossing.

But hey, who knows? In all other regards, esr's comments that humans and elves are the last branching seem entirely logical.

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Re: The Origin of (Wesnoth) Species, or: Half-Breeds in Wesn

Post by Reepurr »

Mefisto wrote:(The eastern regions of continent aren't shown on maps but they are probably arid, like our world Central Asia.)
I hope so...
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Re: The Origin of (Wesnoth) Species, or: Half-Breeds in Wesn

Post by Dixie »

For the records, I kinda liked johndh's take on it, with his graph. I thought it made sense and was kinda consistent.

About humans adapting worse: Well, they were basically only one nation to start with, so they likely made only one nation again on the other continent (arguably, Elensefar and some other regions are not quite a part of the kingdom, but still). Basically, they took the best land and kept the orcs away, orcs who just had to adapt to other lands. Doesn't mean humans couldn't have adapted, I guess, they just have little interest in the poorer surrounding lands, and leave it be.
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Re: The Origin of (Wesnoth) Species, or: Half-Breeds in Wesn

Post by Midnight_Carnival »

Ok, great, now what about the Trolls?
...apparenly we can't go with it or something.

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Re: The Origin of (Wesnoth) Species, or: Half-Breeds in Wesn

Post by StDrake »

Trolls are as unchangable as the rocks around them, ask the ancient mages (reference from Delfadors Memoirs in the level with the land of ghosts) what they screwed up that they came into being :)
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Re: The Origin of (Wesnoth) Species, or: Half-Breeds in Wesn

Post by johndh »

When it comes to the origins of meaningful races, especially ones as interesting as Irdya's trolls, I will never accept "a wizard did it" to be a valid background.
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Re: The Origin of (Wesnoth) Species, or: Half-Breeds in Wesn

Post by Reepurr »

I think the whole "the butler wizard did it" thing probably came around when someone thought of Pratchett's trolls, which are made of stone and presumably animated by a wizard.

Personally, I would think that Irdya's trolls simply became known as stone creatures, and thus the myth of animation arises, from their incredibly strong grey skin. Here's my troll theory:

Trolls started out, like everything, as bacteria, only this bacteria was deep underground. As the bacteria got more complex, it decided to mimic the stone it lived in. Eventually, this mimicking stone species being saw elves, and decided to make itself mimic elves and stone all at once (thus the pointy ears). The trolls that hadn't seen the elves were weaker and were wiped out by the other trolls. Eventually we end up with the trolls we know today.
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Re: The Origin of (Wesnoth) Species, or: Half-Breeds in Wesn

Post by StDrake »

Bacteria mimicing stone...err how about we try something more about creatures based on silicon instead of coal?..or was that silicon instead of iron in the bloods red cell? well either way real science knows that one of the common elements in animal bodies could be replaced by silicon and still perform it's function well enough
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Re: The Origin of (Wesnoth) Species, or: Half-Breeds in Wesn

Post by Kanapka »

Bacteria doesn't decide to mimic some material, that's not how evolution works. And I don't like the idea that trolls are humanoid even though not related to other races/species. As Reepurr said, trolls are not stone creatures, and they were in Wesnoth when humans arrived, so I think they could be degenerated dwarves or elves. Dwarves are more similar to trolls in terms of strength and resilience, but I see no way how they could degenerate in such a way. Maybe some elves living in far north, having less connection with forest and more with mountains, lost their high culture and became more savage.

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Re: The Origin of (Wesnoth) Species, or: Half-Breeds in Wesn

Post by pauxlo »

Kanapka wrote:And I don't like the idea that trolls are humanoid even though not related to other races/species. As Reepurr said, trolls are not stone creatures, and they were in Wesnoth when humans arrived, so I think they could be degenerated dwarves or elves. Dwarves are more similar to trolls in terms of strength and resilience, but I see no way how they could degenerate in such a way. Maybe some elves living in far north, having less connection with forest and more with mountains, lost their high culture and became more savage.
Ah, always this "degeneration" talk :-(

There is nothing inherent "better" or "worse" comparing dwarves/elves and trolls, and it is not clear which of them was there before. I would assume the partition began before any of them had a »high culture« which would be to lose.
(Compare with earthly humans: the partition from the apes occurred some millions of years ago, and the first signs of »high culture« (with was only some thousands of years ago.)

If they had a common ancestor, then Trolls and Dwarves (or elves) simply developed in different directions, like rabbits (Oryctolagus) and hares (Lepus) - no one is a degenerated form of the other.

But I think the similarities between dwarves and trolls come more from convergent evolution (like sharks and dolphins), since they live in a similar environment. (This is not to say they can't have a common ancestor, but this common ancestor then would be the common ancestor of like every mammal on Irdya.) And pointed ears are quite common in the animal world, nothing special about elves and trolls.

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Re: The Origin of (Wesnoth) Species, or: Half-Breeds in Wesn

Post by johndh »

Kanapka wrote:And I don't like the idea that trolls are humanoid even though not related to other races/species.
I'm a bit divided about this. While their physiology is completely different from other humanoids, which would suggest that they're from different origins, the physical resemblance is too strong to be a coincidence. If they developed entirely independently from the other races, it can't have been through entirely biological means... but I don't like the "crazy wizard experiment" excuse either -- maybe because it's the excuse for about 90% of the monsters in D&D and frankly I'm sick of it. If they split off from the other races, it would have to be very early on.

What I'm thinking now is that maybe my chart ought to go one level higher, starting with the denizens of the faerie realm entering the Prime Material and taking physical form, giving rise to all (intelligent) life on Irdya. As beings of magic, they'd bind with the natural elements/aspects of the world and take on their properties. Those bound with Earth became trolls, with Water became sea serpents, with Life gave rise to woses, with Fire became dragons. Those who didn't find a home immediately wandered Irdya for a while, gradually losing much of their magical nature. Pre-elves and pre-dwarves split off while they still had some left, and bound with the same Life and Earth as the woses and trolls. They took to their respective elements a little, gaining the longevity of the forests and the heartiness of stone, but not nearly so much as the ones who bound earlier. This is probably about the same time that the pre-mer/pre-nagas split off by binding to the Water element and pre-drakes joined with Fire (I know this is contradictory to the current drake lore, but I'm just brainstorming here). By the time humans, ogres, and orcs came about, there is no more "binding" to aspects of the world, so much as unconscious gravitation toward them. In the pre-human line, some gradually drifted toward Fate, becoming humans, while others drift toward Flesh and Blood, becoming orcs and ogres. In the pre-mer/pre-naga line, some drift toward Life, becoming mer, while others drift toward [I'll think of something], becoming nagas.

So I'm thinking something like this:
dscf1050.jpg
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Re: The Origin of (Wesnoth) Species, or: Half-Breeds in Wesn

Post by thespaceinvader »

Except that there's not really any major suggestion of a four-elements system in Wesnoth.
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Re: The Origin of (Wesnoth) Species, or: Half-Breeds in Wesn

Post by Midnight_Carnival »

I like the concept, but work on it.

Spirits coming from Faerie and taking on bodies suited to their elemental alignment is good, but I somehow don't see Humans and Orcs fitting into that picture. When it comes to that I actually prefere whoever's idea that the Elves were almost human but had contact with, or lived for a while in Faerie.

I had an idea for species arising due to spirits finding afinity with different elements at different times, but not neceserilly for Wesnoth: eg: Dwarves are deceded from earth spirits who come through during dusk, Goblins were also decended from eath spirits, but they came through late at night. Elves were decended from air spirits who came through at dusk as well, etc...
The idea would need some refinement before it worked with Wesnoth.

Also, the problem with "a wizard" doing it is that take if far enough and the wizards become indistinguishable from gods, which would mean we are discussing the religions in Wesnoth. I personally favor the species origin theory "nobody knows": ask your average Wesnoth peasant where Orcs come from and he'll probably tell you "from the mountains milord, them be narrstie boggers!"
...apparenly we can't go with it or something.

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Re: The Origin of (Wesnoth) Species, or: Half-Breeds in Wesn

Post by Reepurr »

My excuse for the bacteria theory is WINR and I know nothing about evolution. :augh:

Anyway, this new faerie thing.
I personally have a major argument with humans descending from faeries near the same time as orcs, for the simple reason that humans have a strongish resistance to arcane; if humans are resistant to arcane and orcs are not there must be a heck of a difference around.

And yeah, I really don't like this element infusion thing. There is, as someone else said, no evidence of elements in Wesnoth. Sure, there's fire, but you need fire for goblin pillagers and stuff. Water has to be impact or cold, earth has to be blade, pierce or impact and there is no damage element for life at all. (Unless you count Arcane, which is more of a mystical, demystifying element)

Okay. Disproving element thingy with, er, elements. Not working. Okay. But if all things descended from Faerie beings, how can you explain that elves can become Faerie beings once again? Evolution doesn't work that way...

I also never really thought the Dwarves as having any link with Faerie at all, since their lack of magic drives them to use thundersticks, etc. Even trolls can connect with Faerie and cast magic (troll shamans) and, as you know from SotBE, so can orcs, but Dwarves and Humans can't.
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