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

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

Postby Midnight_Carnival » November 3rd, 2010, 1:45 pm

Where were you when the 'spirits ginving form' discusion was going?

Your proposal is nice, but it leads to some disturbing possibilities.

Elves were originally able to alter their forms and those of races around them by magic, Humans also posess this magic, demonstrated by their ability to make Ghouls out of Humans (and presumably other humanoid races) This branch of magic is strongly discouraged. Humans got at least some of their magic from Elves (?) or at least learnt how to use it better (since elves have 'human' magi as well). Therefore, it seem the Elves try to hold the monopoly on form-altering magic.

That's nothing...
Your Elves helping Dwarves out by creating Trolls could work to explain the dislike the two races have of one another. But if Trolls and Dwarves shared common origins ti would suggest they could breed (!) and I franky find that suggestion slightly less palatable than some other direcetions this discussion was taking which were mercifully discontinued.

Magic making one race genetically incompatible with another also doesn't really work for me, I mean just because a species was altered by magic to some degree at some point it can't breed with other related species? Look, humans share 90 howevermuch percent of our dna with chimps, but we can't breed not speaking from personal experience here, it's just something I assume, please don't go try to prove me wrong! So sure, a small genetic difference can mean incompatibility, but your Merfolk being water-Elves may not be enough. Think of it as follows: you write something in WML, you want to frank a fat chunk of Java code into the middle, so you change the WML so it can handle this (I presume it wouldn't, but if Java is ok I mean a languate that isn't) What you have works in your Wesnoth. Now somebody else comes and takes parts of your code and tries to use it in their own UMC which is supposed to run on standard vanilla Wesnoth. You might assume that the presence of even one line of Java code might just give you an error, and the program won't run... actually, you don't know, it might end up doing something you didn't intend to happen. That's the problem with mixing genetics and magic, we don't understand either very well, and you really don't know what's going to happen.
...apparenly we can't go with it or something.
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Re: The Origin of (Wesnoth) Species, or: Half-Breeds in Wesn

Postby wesfreak » November 3rd, 2010, 9:12 pm

The elves changing their own form wasn't exactly form altering magic: It was magically-enhanced evolution. Assuming that some of the possessed fish and magically evolved into mermen then it would be safe to say that mermen and elves couldn't breed because they are technically different species.
Taking the other possibility, that elves used transformation magic to become mermen, we could safely assume that the magical changes are much too great to make cross-breeding possible: It would be closer to creating a new species using magic rather than magic alone making the species incompatible. Besides, the reproductive system of fish is completely different from that of land animals: That alone would mean they couldn't cross breed. The same goes fro trolls and dwarves: They're probably just a bit more genetically similar than humans and bananas are. (50% of our DNA is the same as banana DNA if you're wondering.)

As for elves monopolising transformation magic, I wouldn't think that's true: Dark magical transformations are only forbidden because they turn people into monsters. I would assume that humans just don't have the will or the knowledge to create a transformation spell. Also, it would be much easier to cast a transformation spell as an elf, since elf magic already has to do with nature. Just like dark magic: It's not limited to humans, but humans are naturally better at it.
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Re: The Origin of (Wesnoth) Species, or: Half-Breeds in Wesn

Postby Midnight_Carnival » November 4th, 2010, 6:33 am

What you say makes perfect sense to me, thanks for explaining.

I still call BS on Dwarves turning into Trolls, but...

That last bit you said for some reason makes me think of a campaign about a woman who tried to do cosmetic magic on herself and ended up turning into something that Ghouls run away from (and I don't mean a White Mage).

-maybe oneday.
...apparenly we can't go with it or something.
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Re: The Origin of (Wesnoth) Species, or: Half-Breeds in Wesn

Postby wesfreak » November 4th, 2010, 10:58 am

I don't much like my own troll story myself: The rest of it I had mostly figured out beforehand but when I actually refined the idea I realised I had no explanation for the origins of trolls, and this one seems best.
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Re: The Origin of (Wesnoth) Species, or: Half-Breeds in Wesn

Postby Midnight_Carnival » November 4th, 2010, 11:17 am

Trolls could be distantly related to Ogres, an ancient race, they have thick skin which contains a lot of silicon, but are not actually made of rocks.
Troll's amazing regenerative abilities come from the fact that almost any cell can revert to a sort of mobile embrionic cell which can then change into any type of cell, there are already several of these traveling throught the Troll's lymph system, but more can be generated at need. When a Troll is injured it 'borrows' tissue from anywhere it has spare and moves it to the damaged area. This does not mean that Trolls are indestructable, without oxygen or nutrition the cells will still die, also fire works well against them, becasue cooked cells can't revert to the mobile form, being dead and the damage can't easilly be repaired with a mass of imobile dead tissue in the way.

I think Trolls would have some intrinsic magic, but they would not recognise it as such and would seldom develop it, the fact that they can regenerate brain-tissue means that their memoreis work differently and they learn differently (imagine your toe got cut off so half your brain crawled down to grow you a new one... wouldn't really lend itself to the scholastic persuit of magic, or anything) -I would have them a fairy race, but that doesn't really matter.
...apparenly we can't go with it or something.
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Re: The Origin of (Wesnoth) Species, or: Half-Breeds in Wesn

Postby wesfreak » November 4th, 2010, 11:32 am

It works, but it doesn't really tie in with the rest of my world (and also implies that trolls can't heal fire damage.)

What if trolls are distantly related to ogres but were inslaved by dragons when they first arrived, to guard their lairs and so and such? Over thousands of years the dragon magic would have taken it's effect, and so would always living in a cave rather than outside. The combination would give them an arcane weakness and make them chaotic.
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Re: The Origin of (Wesnoth) Species, or: Half-Breeds in Wesn

Postby Midnight_Carnival » November 5th, 2010, 9:54 am

I'd be more inclined to make their chaotic nature based on the fact that sunlight damages embryonic cells, hence the silicon in their skin (although each crystal deposit is shiny, the overall effect is a dul matt look, a sort of grey-greenish colour). Also Trolls would be able to heal fire damage, it would just do more damage than other types, because damaged tissues can't be liquidised and reconstucted.

On Troll inteligence, I don't regard them as "stupid" and didn't want to suggest this in my previous post, but as I said, they learn and think differently. Humans' minds (I argue) work by relating things we percieve to abstract concepts or judgements, Trolls (becasue of the replacable memory thing) wouldn't do that, but relate things they experience to everything else they have experienced. For example, we percieve a weeping willow, we relate it to our concept "tree", then to "sad" perhaps if we are of a poetic disposition, or "Wose" if we have been playing Wesnoth too much. A Troll sees the same willow and his mind goes "tree-to leaf-to root-to ground-to rock-to earth-to soil-to plant-to animal-to hunger" or something. In terms of ram it would be very wasteful (if Troll's minds were silicon computers, which they're not) but the storing many backups in a huge pattern-web means that if memories are lost they can be "regrown" -ow, now I have a headache.

Anyway, the other advantage of my suggestion: if you could find a way to synthesise the "wound hormone" which tells Troll tissue to liquidise, you could injsect your 10 foot tall Troll bodyguard with it and pour him into a barrel. Then you smuggle him in somewhere and open the barrel in a dark place, once the hormone wears off the will gegrow, although this might take a few days and you might want to stay away from him for a while, he's unlikely to be in a good mood, and may not remember you... I was thinking of a way to condense Troll-juice so you could make and sell Troll-in-a-Bottle (TM)...
...apparenly we can't go with it or something.
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Re: The Origin of (Wesnoth) Species, or: Half-Breeds in Wesn

Postby wesfreak » November 5th, 2010, 11:02 am

The problem with all that is the troll's arcane weakness: If they evolved, then why do they have it?

It's possible to explain the lack of troll fire resistance in a much simpler way: They have thick skin, which is much better at resisting cutting or piercing than smashing or burning.
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Re: The Origin of (Wesnoth) Species, or: Half-Breeds in Wesn

Postby StDrake » November 5th, 2010, 9:11 pm

In case of trolls low resistance to any magic attack could be explained by their semi-elemental nature, and the arcane weakness especially connects with their preference to shady habitats.
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Re: The Origin of (Wesnoth) Species, or: Half-Breeds in Wesn

Postby johndh » November 6th, 2010, 2:30 am

Err... liquidizing flesh? You lost me there. Something more akin to hyperactive stem cells floating around in their blood stream would make more sense to me, or even symbiotic organisms that repair their bodies like nanites (hypothetically). Of course, these bionanites aggressively attack anything that isn't troll tissue. This gives them a quick recovery from poison (the bionanites simply metabolize it) and immunity to infectious disease (viruses and bacteria don't stand a chance). Also, getting a tranfusion from a troll is going to wreck your day in a hurry. Canon establishes that trolls don't need to eat much, which suggests a slow metabolism. However, rapid healing seems to contradict that. I would suggest that trolls do indeed eat a lot, but only after a fight. They can stay nearly dormant for long periods of time, eating very little, but they burn more energy in battle because they have to heal. After the battle, they've likely burned up all their fat reserves by regenerating so much. Two implications come to my mind when it comes to plot.

First, trolls like to be left alone. As we've seen, most encounters with them are not when the trolls are attacking, but rather just in the way (unless they're under the command of orcs). Trolls do some exploring when they're young, but once they've seen what they need to see, they'd rather sit in their caves and ponder the meaning of life, the universe, and everything. That's easy for them, but fighting is hard. They're good at fighting, but they would rather be left alone.

Second, dwarves hate trolls. We already knew that. However, we don't really know yet why they hate them so much. What I'm thinking is that whenever they fight, the trolls end up getting really hungry from healing all those bullet holes, and there's not much around but corpses. Hence, the surviving trolls eat the dead to replenish their own flesh, and when the dwarves later come upon the remains of the battle field, they find their brethren's empty armor and bones sucked dry of marrow. To the trolls, flesh is flesh. Whether it belonged to a goat, a rat, your enemy, or your brother, it's dead now, so why let it go to waste? Maybe they even see it as a way of honoring the dead by letting their bodies nourish the living, or maybe they believe that's the way to release the soul.

Regarding troll intelligence, I don't think they're stupid either, just misunderstood. They just different priorities and different knowledge than other races. They don't speak our languages very well, but maybe that's just because it's hard for them to learn it. Their language might have entirely different grammar from Wesnothian, and they leave out articles (a, an, the) and conjugate incorrectly because those are concepts that don't exist in Trollish. As far as technology goes, if you're eight feet tall, stronger than an ox, barely need to eat, and are nearly immune to death, what would you possibly need to invent? To me, trolls seem like philosophers, storytellers, and poets more than scientists and inventors. I'd imagine that even their fire magic is more a byproduct of spiritual exploration, rather than a goal in itself.
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Re: The Origin of (Wesnoth) Species, or: Half-Breeds in Wesn

Postby Midnight_Carnival » November 6th, 2010, 9:36 am

@ johndh :)

The liquidising flesh was simply that their stem cells are mobile amoeboid cells which can travel to where they're needed, and any body cell can revert to them. The superantibodies bit also works, why not combine the two?

@wesfreak:

The way I see arcane is as I said llke one of those unpicking stitch tools. Things held togeter by magic, or magical in nature suffer, while non-magical beings are ok. The way I see it, Trolls were/are magical by nature, but did not use their magic to alter their evolution. I know I use too many (often obscure) analogies, but the magic is a type of super-strong wood, and arcane is fire. Undead are a house made of this wood with only a few bits of stone floating in between, Trolls are a strong stone house with a wooden foundation. Also, I would think a thick skin would be quite resistant to impact? Perhaps if they had silicon in their skin the crystals would heat up and store heat... I'm not saying that as a way of converting you to my theory, I mean if you reject everything else then that might still work.

I think everyone is agreed that half-trolls are impossible :wink:

Also, with regard to thier eating: I think they have a high metabolic rate but can volentarilly go into hybernation in which case they barely metabolise at all. I like the part about Trolls eating everything after a battle.
...apparenly we can't go with it or something.
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Re: The Origin of (Wesnoth) Species, or: Half-Breeds in Wesn

Postby wesfreak » November 6th, 2010, 12:12 pm

Your explanation compatible with my origin of species: In my description, something can't be magical by nature without having been somehow influenced by magic. All units with arcane weakness either came from the spirit-world, or are animated by magic (undead). All units with an arcane resistance are either spellcasters that can defend against it with their own magic or beings that evolved in the natural world.

As for thick skin: Cutting and piercing attacks would have to go through the skin to get to the vitals. Against bludgeoning weapons it would just absorb a small amount of the impact (I think).
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Re: The Origin of (Wesnoth) Species, or: Half-Breeds in Wesn

Postby Myrien » November 6th, 2010, 7:26 pm

I think that impact damage cannot be deflected well by armour simply because impact does not need to penetrate through armour to deal damage. You can break your arm without damaging skin and flesh or at least without breaking skin and flesh; surely this must work with trolls again.

It's possible to explain the lack of troll fire resistance in a much simpler way: They have thick skin, which is much better at resisting cutting or piercing than smashing or burning.


Wouldn't a thick skin prevent any damage done to vital organs or tissue beneath the skin? The way I see it, fire will still have to burn away something to burn deeper.
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Re: The Origin of (Wesnoth) Species, or: Half-Breeds in Wesn

Postby tr0ll » November 6th, 2010, 8:33 pm

why would yall assume that trolls (or any species in Wesnoth) have the same anatomy as other species? maybe they have no bones - have we ever seen a troll skeleton or lich? for example, since trolls typically live in deep cave areas, maybe they evolved or were originally created out of mushrooms. thus instead of internal organs and blood maybe they are full of pith and vinegar :P the writeup on them says they turn to stone (petrify?) after death.

talk of genetics etc seems senseless to me when dealing with possibly magical origins of species. absent a framework and mechanism for magic in Wesnoth, i would assume god-like original creation magic simply does whatever the practitioner intended, which could be to create a new species that interbreeds (or not) with other species, or has particular conditions of existence imposed stemming from mythical heroic episodes.
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Re: The Origin of (Wesnoth) Species, or: Half-Breeds in Wesn

Postby Simons Mith » November 6th, 2010, 10:30 pm

Trolls and drakes and woses are sufficiently similar to other Wesnoth races that they can become zombies. I think that does place some broad limits on how alien they can be.

Questions one might ask include - do they have blood? do they have bones? do they have brains? do they have sexes? are they magical? can they cast spells? do they eat? etc. For most Wesnoth races, those questions give a string of yeses exept for the magical? question. For trolls, drakes, woses, more of these questions may switch to noes, and that's when things become interesting.
 
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