People of the Green Isle

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revansurik
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People of the Green Isle

Post by revansurik »

Well, I'm not sure whether there is any interest on this subject anymore, but the PoC topic was locked, so I had to start a new one...
On the subject of non-white characters in Wesnoth, there may be a way to include them without making it look like they're just some random non-white characters that were thrown in for the sake of political correctness.
What if the Islefolk (Haldric's people) were the descendants of people who migrated, on boats, from a southern/south-western continent? These are the reasons for which I think it makes sense:

1-The humans of the Green Isle must have come from somewhere, because humankind wasn't originated there. If they had come from the west, they would have already known the Wesfolk, and TRoW's story seems (to me at least) to suggest that the Islefolk didn't know them before their arrival at the island; and they couldn't have come from the east (the Gret Continent) either, or the Prince of Southbay's arrival there wouldn't have been a surprise. And, considering that the Green Isle is frozen during wintertime, to the north there should only exist inhospitable, perenially frozen regions. The south, on the other hand, is a very fitting homeland for the Islefolk's ancestors: it could have been a hot and arid land which they left in search of a greener, more plentiful land (hence "the Green Isle"); and, that being a land closer to the equator line, it would be natural for them to have darker skin tone.

2-There could even be more than one ethnocultural group migrating to the Green Isle. This could explain why there are so many different kingdoms there; if they are all the same people and culture, why so many different kings? The different ethnocultural origins amongst the Islefolk, on the other hand, would perfecly explain these frontiers between them.

3-This may be a silly argument, but the ethnic diversity amongst the Islefolk would explain why there are dark-skinned guys in the story images of TRoW. :-P

4-It could be the Wesfolk to be a non-white people, but for the aforesaid reasons I think the Islefolk would be more fitting. Besides, the "dirty, wicked, brutal lot" part could hurt more sensitive people. Furthermore, Jessene's red hair is such a 'trademark' of hers, so let's not change it. ;-)

5-With the Islefolk being dark-skinned, their mingling with light-skinned Wesfolk would originate an ethnically diverse people which has white, brown and black individuals - and there we have our non-white characters as well as the white ones.


PS: Giving a look at TRoW's intro story, I found a paragraph where information about the Islefolk's hypothetical southern homeland could be added:

"You must recall that the route from both the western and the southern continents - from which our oldest forefathers are said to have come - to our Green Isle was perilous at the best of times — so perilous that a stable trading relationship between mainland and the Isle could never be maintained." [Purposefully removed the 'the' before 'mainland', since it's referring to 2 landmasses]


Well, sorry if I wrote too much, or if I'm insisting on a dead subject, but I thought I should offer my thoughts on the subject - thoughts which I couldn't properly present in the PoC topic because it ended up becoming a political debate instead of an exchange of ideas on whether dark-skinned characters could actually fit in the story without distorting it... :roll:
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Re: People of the Green Isle

Post by Elfarion »

I like the idea of making the Green Isle a melting pot. If the Islefolk were descendants of a southern black people and having them mixed with the light-skinned Wesfolk, this would be a simple and plausible explanation for a broad variety of skintones.

Edit: I do hope, that we can set this up without the "political-correctness-and-racism-in-tolkinesque-fantasy"-discussion that made Gambit lock the other thread.
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Re: People of the Green Isle

Post by Turuk »

revansurik wrote:...but the PoC topic was locked, so I had to start a new one...
Posting Guidelines wrote: g.No meta-threads (#)
If something has been recently discussed or is still being discussed in another thread on this forum, every new thread about the same topic may be locked on sight. Revived locked threads will also be locked.
Please be aware of the forum guidelines regarding meta-threads. While I understand that you are bringing it back up in the interest of a valid discussion and avoiding any "political debate", that was the intent last time and it failed.

This is the one warning to make this a thread about possible lore and origin stories. Any debate that starts going over the previously identified points or down the same path will cause this topic to be locked.
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Re: People of the Green Isle

Post by revansurik »

This is the one warning to make this a thread about possible lore and origin stories. Any debate that starts going over the previously identified points or down the same path will cause this topic to be locked.
But that's exactly m intention: to discuss the possibility of an origin story for the Islefolk. I had meant to say that the PoC topic only inspired me to do this one, but I really don't wish it to end like that one ;-)

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Re: People of the Green Isle

Post by Turuk »

And that's why it's been allowed to stand for the time being at discretion, but you still took it upon yourself to ignore the Posting Guidelines.
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Re: People of the Green Isle

Post by Gambit »

I also hope that this thread can be more productive than the last. :)
"You must recall that the route from both the western and the southern continents - from which our oldest forefathers are said to have come - to our Green Isle was perilous at the best of times — so perilous that a stable trading relationship between mainland and the Isle could never be maintained."
Well that kind of hampers things.

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Re: People of the Green Isle

Post by Elfarion »

It only sais that no permanent exchange could take place. But it's still possible that arrivals from the motherland occurred unregularly.
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Re: People of the Green Isle

Post by revansurik »

Well that kind of hampers things.
Didn't get it, how does it 'hamper' things? :hmm:
It only sais that no permanent exchange could take place. But it's still possible that arrivals from the motherland occurred unregularly.
The way I imagined it, the southern continent is (or became) a very arid land, the kind of which the Islefolk would never return to. It's just occurred to me that a reason may be needed in the dialogs for the refugees' flight to the Great Continent instead of the southern one, but it should be simple enough.
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Re: People of the Green Isle

Post by Elfarion »

There are various reasons:
1. The Islefolk were driven away buy monsters/dragons/evil necromancers etc.
2. Their former ome sunk into the sea (->Atlantis)
3. It has become a hostile place because of some natural disaster
4. They simply don't know the way back any more.
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Re: People of the Green Isle

Post by johndh »

It could be that the dominant nation of the southern continent is rather isolationist (think feudal Japan) or xenophobic, so you get occasional smugglers who slip through the blockades to trade their exotic goods with the outside world and sneak back with bags of phat loot. If the continent is (or was at one time) war-torn or ruled by an oppressive government, we could see a lot of refugees, which would explain their presence on the Green Isle and subsequently the Great Continent. It's been ages since I've touched TRoW, so I have no idea how consistent this post is with current canon.
Elfarion wrote:There are various reasons:
1. The Islefolk were driven away buy monsters/dragons/evil necromancers etc.
2. Their former ome sunk into the sea (->Atlantis)
3. It has become a hostile place because of some natural disaster
4. They simply don't know the way back any more.
I would prefer to avoid these because having the continent still inhabited leaves more possibilities open for the future, such as campaigns set on the southern continent or involving the relationship between the two (trade, diplomacy, war, etc.).

Possibilities I've just thought of: The nation of Washraha, on the southern continent, was formed when the Tarva dynasty came to power and united several squabbling tribes and city-states to drive out the Deshra. The Deshra (literally "high-kneed") were a race of giants that lived alongside the other inhabitants of this part of the continent, and the people lived in fear of them and their appetites. The ruler of the city-state of Shray Tahl, a warlord known as Tarva Pah, formed a coalition of allies to drive out the Deshra. His army became known as the Washrajan, or knee cutters, and they lent their name to the resulting empire. When he became their first emperor, Tarva Pah became a fearful and paranoid man. He instituted a paradigm of isolationism and xenophobia, building a wall along their land borders as his mighty navy held a blockade around their maritime coast, swiftly putting a violent end to anyone who came exploring or seeking trade or refuge. These policies were carried out by his successors for generations and for a time the only contact with the outside world came through daring merchant smugglers who would slip past the blockades to trade valuable Washrahan spices with the outside world, discovering the fledgling peoples of the Green Isle and the Great Continent, and using the Green Isle as a launching point for farther travels. As their routes and maps became more refined, it became possible for refugees to flee the iron boot heel of the dynasty by sea, paying these merchants and explorers for passage, and many of the merchants themselves never went back.

This retroactively explains why dark-skinned people show up in TRoW, while leaving open the possibility of further adventures relating to the southern continent.
Tangential lore
Washraha had flourished under empress Sa-Tarva Tet, nicknamed the widow queen because she was the wife of the emperor and took power when he died, leaving her as the last remaining member of the dynasty. She repealed many of the brutal policies and practices, and the people enjoyed more freedom and prosperity than they had ever known as a unified nation. In her fifth year of rule, she became pregnant and bore twin sons. There was already growing dissent over the empress' right to rule, as she was not born into the Tarva dynasty but rather married into it, and this dissent grew when she bore these [censored] sons. Many in the empress' court refused to accept them as legitimate heirs to the Tarva throne, as they were born of non-royal blood. Tet was only royal through marriage, and the father was believed to be either her grand marshal or her chief advisor, and both men would use this to stake their own claims for the throne. When Sa-Tarva Tet grew ill and died years later, the power vacuum was filled with contenders. The nation of Washraha found itself divided into factions, one led by the grand marshal, one loyal to the twin princes, and several smaller groups, all staking claims to the throne or carving out pieces of the empire for themselves. The navy's grand admiral took control of the port city of Shray Tahl and used his fleet to conduct raids on every wealthy target within range. Meanwhile, surrounding opportunists encroached into Washraha from all sides.
So here we have additional background and possibilities for campaigns taking place inside Washraha or any coastal area in the known world.
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Re: People of the Green Isle

Post by revansurik »

I would prefer to avoid these because having the continent still inhabited leaves more possibilities open for the future, such as campaigns set on the southern continent or involving the relationship between the two (trade, diplomacy, war, etc.).
I agree; this southern continent could expand our little world's frontiers even more :-D
As for the Washraha... I really liked the ideas you presented, but there's just one problem: the Islefolk are said (or suggested) to have been a primitive people before the Wesfolk arrived there. Of course, they must have been strong enough to have defeated the Wesfolk's undead armies, but still, maybe the Washraha should be less advanced - not to the point of dominating the seas and colonizing other lands, that is. Maybe the Islefolk are people who, fleeing Washraha tyranny, daringly ventured into the seas, colonizing the Green Isle in many small migratory waves. Keep in mind that the southern continent must be such a hostile place for the Islefolk that they choose to go to the Great Continent rather than their original homeland.
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Re: People of the Green Isle

Post by Elfarion »

revansurik wrote:
I would prefer to avoid these because having the continent still inhabited leaves more possibilities open for the future, such as campaigns set on the southern continent or involving the relationship between the two (trade, diplomacy, war, etc.).
I agree; this southern continent could expand our little world's frontiers even more :-D
As for the Washraha... I really liked the ideas you presented, but there's just one problem: the Islefolk are said (or suggested) to have been a primitive people before the Wesfolk arrived there
How about this:
The people of [enter name] lived in small settlements along the northern coast of the southern continent as fishermen and farmers (-> fishermen: explains why they are primitive but can handle ships though). Each settlement was ruled by its own leader, who was head of the most influential family in the settlement (-> explains the existence of various little kingdoms on the Green Isle).
When Tarva Pa rose to power and began to build his empire, the need for soldiers and workforce increased. This led to recurring raids by slave traders who abducted young [name] men. These captives were sold as slaves or forced to serve in the Emperor's army. The people of [name] tried to fight against the raiders, but their small number, the fact that they did not manage to unite under one leader as well as their lack of iron weapons left them without any chance against this threat.
In this time old stories were told again - stories of fishermen who had travelled farther from the shore than anyone before. They claimed that they had sighted land in the north. (Or maybe the merfolk told them?) One after another the leaders of the settlement decided to take the chance and travel north to find a new home for their people.
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Re: People of the Green Isle

Post by revansurik »

How about this:
The people of [enter name] lived in small settlements along the northern coast of the southern continent as fishermen and farmers (-> fishermen: explains why they are primitive but can handle ships though). Each settlement was ruled by its own leader, who was head of the most influential family in the settlement (-> explains the existence of various little kingdoms on the Green Isle).
When Tarva Pa rose to power and began to build his empire, the need for soldiers and workforce increased. This led to recurring raids by slave traders who abducted young [name] men. These captives were sold as slaves or forced to serve in the Emperor's army. The people of [name] tried to fight against the raiders, but their small number, the fact that they did not manage to unite under one leader as well as their lack of iron weapons left them without any chance against this threat.
In this time old stories were told again - stories of fishermen who had travelled farther from the shore than anyone before. They claimed that they had sighted land in the north. (Or maybe the merfolk told them?) One after another the leaders of the settlement decided to take the chance and travel north to find a new home for their people.
This could work too; additionally, these people of the northern coast (let's call them Vanyar for now) could have learned how to craft iron weapons during these ill-fated encounters with the Washraha - it's necessary, since the Islefolk fights with iron weapons. As for the mermen, it may be possible, though Haldric seems to have never heard of them before meeting Typhon...
An idea that has just occurred to me: a mermaid falls in love with the son of a Vanyar chieftain, and, at his request, shows him a safe land for his people. :-)
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Re: People of the Green Isle

Post by Elfarion »

I introduced the issue with the iron wepaons because I thought a people that lives to the shore would unlikely have access to iron ore on their own. They would need to trade it, so metal artifacts would be rare and valuable but not totally unknown.
The merfolk thing: When the Vanyar only used ships for fishing, they would likely stay close to the shore and be reluctant to go for longer trips. Because of that they would'nt be familiar with high-sea-travelling and maybe not develope the idea to search for a new home overseas. The merfolk guiding would make it more plausible, imo. It's not unlikely that after the Vanyar settled on the Green Isle, existence of the merfolk and their role in the emigration became a mere legend as generations passed. (Depending on how many time passed between the Vanyar's arrival and the beginning of TRoW - which brings me to the question if there's a history of the Green Isle: Does anyone know?)
The idea idea with the man-merfolk couple might bring up the question of half-breeds in Wesnoth again or at least the question of relationships between members of different races. Imo this requires further discussion, although it seems to me as you already have an idea for campaign :wink:
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Re: People of the Green Isle

Post by revansurik »

(Depending on how many time passed between the Vanyar's arrival and the beginning of TRoW - which brings me to the question if there's a history of the Green Isle: Does anyone know?)
Actually, there isn't; all that the Timeline of Wesnoth says about it is that it was colonised by humans from a continent further to the west - still, afaik there's no mainline campaign stating that they came from the west...
The idea idea with the man-merfolk couple might bring up the question of half-breeds in Wesnoth again or at least the question of relationships between members of different races.
However, doesn't Dead Water tell of a mermaid who fell in love with a mage, even giving him a magical sword as gift?
although it seems to me as you already have an idea for campaign :wink:
I'm really having ideas for a campaign telling of the Green Isle's colonization, but I have 2 other campaigns in the queue and lots of RL duties, so I'm not doing it - unless someone does the coding and the art, then I could provide the story ;-)
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