Content Gaps in Mainline (Writing)

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Re: Content Gaps in Mainline (Writing)

Postby johndh » July 26th, 2014, 9:55 pm

iceiceice wrote:FWIW: My understanding of the lore is that, things that are magical in nature are supposed to be weak to arcane damage, so I often interpret "magical in nature" as a hint of this weakness when I read unit descriptions. Gryphons aren't weak to arcane damage, so that's at least one way we could resolve whether they are "magical in nature"... even if it's a bit backwards.

Yeah, it even occurred to me to check their resistances, but this is one of those times when physics conflict with game mechanics. It has to be magical, but at the same time it can't be magical, at least not in the way that most beings in Wesnoth are. I think the description will just have to leave the issue unresolved or unmentioned, and leave it up to the player to decide (or not decide, as the case may be).

Head-canon-wise, I figure they may have been formed by some god-like elemental being, but they are mostly non-magical in nature now, in the same way that you might form a clay pot using magic but that doesn't make the pot itself magical. However, this doesn't preclude them from using magic, and magic-users don't necessarily have a worse arcane resistance than non-magic-using members of the same race. Human mages still have 20% resistance to arcane. So they just have ways of harnessing the magic around them, without they themselves being made of magic or connected to faerie. So, being magically made but not made of magic or connected to it in the same way as a wose or sustained by it like a ghost, they get a slightly worse arcane resistance than humans. If true, this would be more of a "secret lore" or behind-the-scenes thing rather than anything included in the race description.

How does everyone like this version?:
Gryphons are large and powerful beasts who share traits of both terrestrial predators and birds of prey. They are territorial and aggressive, particularly regarding their nests, but can be tamed and ridden by the daring. Their ability to fly in spite of their great weight has been an area of debate for scholars throughout the years, but remains as mysterious as their unknown origins.
It's spelled "definitely", not "definately". "Defiantly" is a different word entirely.
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Re: Content Gaps in Mainline (Writing)

Postby Turuk » July 26th, 2014, 10:53 pm

johndh wrote:I think the description will just have to leave the issue unresolved or unmentioned, and leave it up to the player to decide (or not decide, as the case may be).


Ding ding ding. :P

johndh wrote:How does everyone like this version?:


I made minor edits (below) in order to limit conjunctions.

Gryphons are broad, powerful beasts with traits shared from both terrestrial predators and birds of prey. While occasionally tamed and ridden by the daring, gryphons are very territorial and aggressive, particularly regarding their nests. Their ability to fly has been the source of great debate for centuries, yet still remains as mysterious as their origins.
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Re: Content Gaps in Mainline (Writing)

Postby johndh » July 27th, 2014, 8:52 am

Turuk wrote:I made minor edits (below) in order to limit conjunctions.
Gryphons are broad, powerful beasts with traits shared from both terrestrial predators and birds of prey. While occasionally tamed and ridden by the daring, gryphons are very territorial and aggressive, particularly regarding their nests. Their ability to fly has been the source of great debate for centuries, yet still remains as mysterious as their origins.

I know my sentence structure tends to be really repetitive. This looks like an improvement to me.

First draft for wolves:
With strength, speed, and stealth, wolves are typically the apex predator wherever they occur. They combine powerful bodies with cunning group tactics to take down prey many times their own size. Their adaptability allows them to occupy almost any land and hunt even the largest prey. Ever since the invention of fire and spears, they rarely prey on intelligent races of their own volition, but humanity in particular retains their ancestral fear of wolves and their nighttime howls. Their natural pack behavior leads them to form strong bonds and they can be fiercely loyal to those they consider part of the pack.
It's spelled "definitely", not "definately". "Defiantly" is a different word entirely.
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Re: Content Gaps in Mainline (Writing)

Postby Andrettin » July 27th, 2014, 12:53 pm

Turuk wrote:
johndh wrote:Gryphons are broad, powerful beasts with traits shared from both terrestrial predators and birds of prey. While occasionally tamed and ridden by the daring, gryphons are very territorial and aggressive, particularly regarding their nests. Their ability to fly has been the source of great debate for centuries, yet still remains as mysterious as their origins.


Looks quite good.

I would only write "Their ability to fly despite their great weight has been [...]" instead. The removal of the "despite their great weight" will in my opinion make the sentence confusing for many players, who may for example think the following:

- What? "Their ability to fly has been the source of great debates"? But they have wings, it's obvious that they can fly, what's to be debated!
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Re: Content Gaps in Mainline (Writing)

Postby johndh » July 27th, 2014, 5:30 pm

Andrettin wrote:Looks quite good.

I would only write "Their ability to fly despite their great weight has been [...]" instead. The removal of the "despite their great weight" will in my opinion make the sentence confusing for many players, who may for example think the following:

- What? "Their ability to fly has been the source of great debates"? But they have wings, it's obvious that they can fly, what's to be debated!

Oh, I didn't even notice that it had been removed. I guess when I look at something long enough, it all blurs together. :) But I agree that the weight is a pretty essential part, as that is what causes people like me to doubt their ability to fly through natural means. Perhaps it was removed because the phrasing breaks the flow of the sentence.

Is this better?
Gryphons are broad, powerful beasts with traits shared from both terrestrial predators and birds of prey. While occasionally tamed and ridden by the daring, gryphons are very territorial and aggressive, particularly regarding their nests. Their ability to fly with their own great weight has been the source of debate for centuries, yet still remains as mysterious as their origins.
It's spelled "definitely", not "definately". "Defiantly" is a different word entirely.
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Re: Content Gaps in Mainline (Writing)

Postby Turuk » July 27th, 2014, 6:08 pm

johndh wrote:Gryphons are broad, powerful beasts with traits shared from both terrestrial predators and birds of prey. While occasionally tamed and ridden by the daring, gryphons are very territorial and aggressive, particularly regarding their nests. Their ability to fly with their own great weight has been the source of debate for centuries, yet still remains as mysterious as their origins.


I can see the value of the weight, but I might put it as:

Given their sheer size, how gryphons manage to fly has been the source of debate for centuries, yet still remains as mysterious as their origin.

EDIT:

I just saw the one for wolves. Minor edits:

Equally balanced in strength, speed and stealth, wolves often find themselves as apex predators wherever they roam. Dangerous on their own, wolves often use cunning pack tactics to run down prey many times their own size. A wolf's adaptability allows them to occupy almost any land and hunt even the largest prey. The advent of fire and spears marked the end of an era of wolf packs preying on humans, but humanity retains their ancestral fear of wolf howls in the night. Their natural pack behavior leads them to form strong bonds and they can be fiercely loyal to those they consider part of the pack.


I am not against the bolded line, but it doesn't seem to flow. We mention where they roam, talk about pack tactics, and then go back to where they live. The first part may need to be reorganized/reworded for flow.

The italicized line might be better served at the beginning as well, perhaps after the second sentence or integrated into it.
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Re: Content Gaps in Mainline (Writing)

Postby Swiss_Army_Cheese » August 23rd, 2014, 3:10 pm

johndh wrote:= As a side note: I know the human race description includes the Clansmen, but I can't for the life of me think of where they appear in mainline.

The Clansmen appear in the penultimate mission of the Heir To The Throne Campaign, where Conrad must impress them into his forces by slaying a great many of them on the battlefield or by assassinating their leaders :eng:
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Re: Content Gaps in Mainline (Writing)

Postby iceiceice » August 28th, 2014, 8:50 pm

Hi, just some comments:

Turuk wrote:Given their sheer size, how gryphons manage to fly has been the source of debate for centuries, yet still remains as mysterious as their origin.


You know, given that wesnoth takes place in a pre-scientific (alternate timeline and therefore nonscientific?) time period, this sentence seems slightly out of place. It's not like there is a Wright brothers analogy somewhere in wesnoth, or even hot air balloons so far as I know, so I'd imagine that this "debate" might take place within the parameters of say 17th-century Europe, where as I understand, it was believed that birds can fly because

1.) god wills it
2.) its magic
3.) they have wings, silly

I guess instead of scientists, wesnoth has mages. So maybe it should be something along the line "Given their sheer size, how exactly gryphons manage to fly has baffled wisemen and archmages for centuries."

In retrospect a very minor nitpick...

Now about the wolves:

Turuk wrote:
Equally balanced in strength, speed and stealth, wolves often find themselves as apex predators wherever they roam. Dangerous on their own, wolves often use cunning pack tactics to run down prey many times their own size. A wolf's adaptability allows them to occupy almost any land and hunt even the largest prey. The advent of fire and spears marked the end of an era of wolf packs preying on humans, but humanity retains their ancestral fear of wolf howls in the night. Their natural pack behavior leads them to form strong bonds and they can be fiercely loyal to those they consider part of the pack.


I am not against the bolded line, but it doesn't seem to flow. We mention where they roam, talk about pack tactics, and then go back to where they live. The first part may need to be reorganized/reworded for flow.

The italicized line might be better served at the beginning as well, perhaps after the second sentence or integrated into it.


I guess this stuff about the end of an era brings up a canon question at least to my mind, does wesnoth properly have a creation myth that addresses animals? Are wolves "older" than dwarves, or trolls, or humans? (maybe a silly question)

Here's an attempt at some tweaks:
Equally balanced in strength, speed and stealth, wolves are often the apex predators where they may roam. Wolves are intelligent, hardy and adaptable creatures that may occupy almost any land and hunt even the largest prey, at day or night. They have a penchant, however, for pack behavior, which is what makes them so dangerous. Wolves are known to opportunistically attack small groups of almost any species and systematically pick off the weak. They are generally outclassed, however, by professional soldiers.

Wolves naturally form strong bonds and they can be fiercely loyal to those they consider part of the pack. In some cases, they have been known to be tamed by orcs -- the most civilized species in wesnoth which still might be considered kindred spirits -- and even to permit goblins to ride them into battle.


The bit about "day or night" is supposed to reflect their neutral alignment, I'm not sure if it's effective. Also, I'm not sure I guess if wolves are properly "tamed" or if they are simply the allies of the orcs.
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Re: Content Gaps in Mainline (Writing)

Postby Andrettin » August 29th, 2014, 12:32 am

iceiceice wrote:Here's an attempt at some tweaks:
Equally balanced in strength, speed and stealth, wolves are often the apex predators where they may roam. Wolves are intelligent, hardy and adaptable creatures that may occupy almost any land and hunt even the largest prey, at day or night. They have a penchant, however, for pack behavior, which is what makes them so dangerous. Wolves are known to opportunistically attack small groups of almost any species and systematically pick off the weak. They are generally outclassed, however, by professional soldiers.

Wolves naturally form strong bonds and they can be fiercely loyal to those they consider part of the pack. In some cases, they have been known to be tamed by orcs -- the most civilized species in wesnoth which still might be considered kindred spirits -- and even to permit goblins to ride them into battle.


I think "wherever" as it was previously would be better than "where" in this context. Furthermore, I would change "land" to "terrain", and "at day or night" to "be it at day or at night". I would replace "professional soldiers" with "skilled hunters and warriors"; this is because out of Wesnoth's myriad societies, not all (and likely not even most) would have a professional army. I would replace "orcs" with "goblins", since it is the latter that actually ride the wolves. I would also replace "the most civilized species", with "one of the few civilized races", as "race" fits better with a fantasy setting than "species", and because the sentence was a bit confusing. Since this is supposed to be from an in-universe perspective, I would replace "wesnoth" with "the Great Continent" or "Irdya". As per my previous suggestion of replacing "orcs" with "goblins", I would then suggest that "permit goblins to ride them" be replaced with "permit to be ridden".
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Re: Content Gaps in Mainline (Writing)

Postby Chewan » August 29th, 2014, 1:09 am

Huh? I don't even get this "species" thing...
ORCS -- the most civilized species in Wesnoth?
Wolves and orcs are kindred spirits? So, orcs are fiercely loyal?
No one would ally with the orcs without specific need,
intelligent wolves are no exception, adaptable as they may be.
And I really can't imagine that some orc took the time to tame a wolf.
Wolf taming and riding is the 'mission' of the Goblins
and I am fond of the idea that it were those who realized the advantage of wolves...
let's say out of need, due to the poor equipment that orcs "permit goblins" to use.
This "philosophy" is based on a unit description of the UMC 'Swamplings' –
a campaign about the origin of Goblins and the first Wolf Riders:

»No human is quite sure how the practice of taming and riding wolves came into being,
but the advantages of it for a goblin are obvious.
Goblins are smaller and much weaker than their orcish kin,
and are often tasked to the most dangerous and unwanted parts of a fight.
Any who can manage to win themselves a mount have a much safer,
and daresay, more amusing role in combat.
Wolves, likely, could never support the weight of a man in plate,
but a goblin in leather armor is a simple load to bear...«

… an explanation which also concerns orcs.
At best they "ordered" their Goblins to to ride wolves into battle
since these poor beasts would, at the most, crawl at a snail's pace
with some big, fat orc on their back.
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Re: Content Gaps in Mainline (Writing)

Postby iceiceice » August 29th, 2014, 4:47 pm

Andrettin:

Whereever is indeed better than where as you point out, I think that was actually just an error on my part, I didn't intend to change that. Thanks for catching it.
Also land -> terrain, and "be it at day or night" sound good too.

Maybe replace "professional soldiers" with "organized soldiers or militia" ? Actually, that whole sentence might not really be necessary? It's more of a comment on the strengths of the units than the actual race so maybe it doesn't belong here... I think I like what it does to the flow though, since it provides a counterpoint to the "pick off the weak" sentence.

Regarding the "tamed" sentence:

Given the reaction, I guess the comment is a bit awkward.
I'm trying to give some account of why the northerners have wolf riders.
1. Are the wolves "tamed", are they simply "captured" and forced into battle? Do they instinctively side with the orcs? This might make sense -- as I recall, in the wesnoth universe orcs are essentially "bestial men". So it seems reasonable that the wolves would instinctively befriend them.
2. If wolves are "tamed" then why can't other races tame them?
3. As pointed out by andrettin, in that sentence, species -> race might be better here. However, regarding the final remarks, I want to also point out that at least in the wesnoth universe, orcs and goblins are born of the same mother, so there's not as much a fine distinction, whether it's the orcs or the goblins "taming" them. At least to my mind.
4. Regarding UMC swamplings: I also love this campaign, I'm trying not to write anything that conflicts with it directly. But I also don't feel I can take the liberty of making it's ample backstory canonical. I do hope that campaign is mainlined someday though. I also want to say, though, that it rather provides an epic backstory to "how the first wolf riders appeared", and sets up a sort of civil war between orcs and goblins? So presumably it vastly predates the "HttT, default era" time setting, since in that time period the orcs and goblins are allied. The question I'm asking for the purposes of the help is, at the time of HttT how do wolf riders come to exist. Is it essentially the same way that a human horseman exists, that the humans have tamed wild horses and trained them for war? Or is it a bit different from this.

I don't know if there is some way to fix this sentence, or if it should be removed...

Edit:
help for Orcs wrote:In appearance, orcs are half men and half beasts. They are taller, sturdier and stronger than humans. They are warlike, savage, and cruel by nature. Their blood is darker and thicker than that of normal humans and they have little care for personal hygiene or their personal appearance. Although Orcs are violent even among themselves creatures, they are pack-oriented; an orc never travels long or lives alone in groups smaller than half a dozen.


Okay, so they might not be "essentially bestial men", but at least they appear this way? I didn't remember this part about orcs being pack-oriented, like a wolf.

Also, I guess "... are violent even among themselves creatures, ..." is a typo... :hmm:
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Re: Content Gaps in Mainline (Writing)

Postby johndh » August 29th, 2014, 7:30 pm

iceiceice wrote:1. Are the wolves "tamed", are they simply "captured" and forced into battle? Do they instinctively side with the orcs? This might make sense -- as I recall, in the wesnoth universe orcs are essentially "bestial men". So it seems reasonable that the wolves would instinctively befriend them.

This fits with the orc description pretty well, and their "pack-oriented" nature. Maybe they're not so much tamed as they are part of the family. I don't think there's necessarily any coercion involved, as wolves don't respond well to it anyway. They just know that if they cooperate with the orcs, there's an ample supply of fresh, tasty long pork. This is pretty close to the self-domestication hypothesis for how wolves became dogs IRL.

2. If wolves are "tamed" then why can't other races tame them?

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but to the best of my knowledge there are no dogs ever mentioned in Wesnoth, which is really interesting to me from an anthropological perspective, but that's an exposition for another time. Maybe wolves are not native to the areas where humanity originated (or they didn't bring them along to the Green Isle), so orcs had a head start. By the time humans made it to the Great Continent and discovered wild wolves, they already knew them as the vicious attack beasts of the orcish hordes and would probably have no desire to be near them. Another possibility is that the wolves of the Great Continent are just not as easily tamed as the Eurasian wolf. We already know that they're much more aggressive, frequently attacking humanoids.

iceiceice wrote:So presumably it vastly predates the "HttT, default era" time setting, since in that time period the orcs and goblins are allied. The question I'm asking for the purposes of the help is, at the time of HttT how do wolf riders come to exist. Is it essentially the same way that a human horseman exists, that the humans have tamed wild horses and trained them for war? Or is it a bit different from this.

The orcs brought wolves with them from their home when they invaded the Green Isle, as they have them in the early scenarios of TRoW, so that predates HttT by quite a while. That leads me to another reason why other races don't use them -- eastern wolves are a different subspecies (Canis lupus wesnothi? :D ) with different behaviors and they're just too aggressive, cautious, and/or free-spirited. The western wolves that the orcs brought with them have been conditioned for a long time to be cooperative with humanoids and they may have been predisposed to it anyway.

I'll try to work on this stuff some more in a couple weeks. I'm a bit nomadic at the moment. :)
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Re: Content Gaps in Mainline (Writing)

Postby Chewan » August 30th, 2014, 12:14 am

Off topic
Spoiler:

@ iceiceice: there's not as much a fine distinction, whether it's the orcs or the goblins "taming" them
C´mon, let's give the goblins the merit of wolf taming, they deserve a moment of glory, too.
@ iceiceice: If wolves are "tamed" then why can't other races tame them?
… because they don't need them? They have horses or gryphons or wings or teleportation for speed.
IMO, orcs/goblins tamed them primarily to get a mount rather than some kind of "combat dog".
@ johndh:
eastern wolves are a different ... they're just too aggressive, cautious, and/or free-spirited
western wolves have been conditioned ... to be cooperative with humanoids

Now, such a distinction would, of course, explain a lot (e.g. clarify the existence of dire wolves), maybe
Canis lupus wesnothi should even get its own sprite. Nevertheless, looking at the fine portraits of orcs
and thinking of all my human fighters affected by the violence of wolves and wolf riders, I'd prefer
the term "cooperative with orkoids". ;)
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Re: Content Gaps in Mainline (Writing)

Postby johndh » August 30th, 2014, 4:23 pm

Chewan wrote:@ iceiceice: I guess "... are violent even among themselves creatures, ..." is a typo
Why? Because orcs are assumed to be pack-oriented and loyal?
"Pack orientation" refers IMO only to the way of hunting down a prey or an enemy

I think "... are violent even among themselves" works, but "... are violent even among themselves creatures" does not. :)
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Re: Content Gaps in Mainline (Writing)

Postby iceiceice » October 9th, 2014, 1:01 am

Hi,

I made a minor tweak to the passage on wolves, it seems that we are converging on that one so I decided to commit it.

https://github.com/wesnoth/wesnoth/comm ... 2410dc6bae

help for gryphons wrote:Gryphons are broad, powerful beasts with traits shared from both terrestrial predators and birds of prey. While occasionally tamed and ridden by the daring, gryphons are very territorial and aggressive, particularly regarding their nests.

The means by which gryphons are able to fly despite their great weight has been a source of debate for centuries, but it remains as mysterious as their origins.


If anyone wants to suggest further edits feel free and I will update, I only wanted to commit what we had to make sure we end up with something before we all wander off again :P .
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