Content Gaps in Mainline (Writing)

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Re: Content Gaps in Mainline (Writing)

Postby iceiceice » July 24th, 2014, 10:58 pm

Turuk wrote:If not, or not easily developed,


I guess it could be done, but its a bit strange from a functional point of view. From the point of view of the engine, the purpose of a race is to say how names are generated, and to provide some extra traits when defining unit types. We could have races that don't do that, and make Khalifate have humans as the primary (or secondary?) race, and make a second race (perhaps hidden?) for them. But it seems similar to the thing suggested earlier for gryphon riders, knights, etc.

I don't see any reason in particular why we can't have multiple races of humans. Some races in the help are indeed species, but in some cases its less clear, for instance it seems to be canon that goblins are just the smaller offspring of orcs?

Edit: It's also perhaps worth noting that humans are practically the only race with multiple possible alignments.
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Re: Content Gaps in Mainline (Writing)

Postby Turuk » July 25th, 2014, 1:01 am

iceiceice wrote:
Turuk wrote:If not, or not easily developed,


I don't see any reason in particular why we can't have multiple races of humans. Some races in the help are indeed species, but in some cases its less clear, for instance it seems to be canon that goblins are just the smaller offspring of orcs?


From a biological perspective, there's no reason not to as the idea of race is more a societal concept to easily capture various geographic/cultural differences. You hi the nail on the head though in that how the "races" tab is handled in Wesnoth is somewhat inconsistent, and that's way seems to muddle things.

If there was a way to include them as par to the humans, it seems logical based on how the races are currently laid out, but as noted, the whole section is a bit off.

The aspect of humans being the only species with multiple alignments is a whole other argument, as I why X or Y race is always of a certain alignment/behavior set. But don't worry, the Drizzt Do'Urden's of the world are working to fix that...
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Re: Content Gaps in Mainline (Writing)

Postby johndh » July 25th, 2014, 1:15 am

Turuk wrote:From a biological perspective, there's no reason not to as the idea of race is more a societal concept to easily capture various geographic/cultural differences.

From an anthropological perspective, I agree. :)

iceiceice wrote:Rather than try to squeeze Khalifate in under the Human race, (which won't work because they have separate naming conventions), or trying to make multiple subcategories under a race (Human > Khalifate, Humans > Outlaws, Humans > Loyalists?) (which would require multiple changes at the C++ level), it might be better just to have two races "Western Humans" and "Eastern Humans", and leave the outlaws where they are? It does seems sensible make a distinction between the Khalifate race and the Khalifate faction. :hmm:

To me, having multiple human races in Wesnoth seems like the best solution so far. Currently, I see five distinct groups: Wesnothian, Islefolk, Wesfolk, Clansmen, and Khalifate. 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. It doesn't seem like it would be terribly hard to assign the Outlaw units in TRoW to Wesfolk and the Loyalist units to Islefolk, where all of the other mainline humans so far are just Wesnothians (after the two races intermingle). I'm not sure if post-fall humans would warrant their own race or not.

So for example, if you selected a Loyalist Spearman in HttT, his race would be Wesnothian, and clicking on it would get you:
The race of men is an extremely diverse one. Although they originally came from the Old Continent, men have spread all over the world and split into many different cultures and races. Although they are not imbued with magic like other creatures, humans can learn to wield it and able to learn more types than most others. They have no extra special abilities or aptitudes except their versatility and drive. While often at odds with other races, they can occasionally form alliances with the less aggressive races such as elves and dwarves. The less scrupulous among them do not shrink back from hiring orcish mercenaries, either. They have no natural enemies, although the majority of men, like most people of all races, have an instinctive dislike of the undead. Men are shorter than the elves, but taller still than dwarves. Their skin color can vary, from almost white to dark brown.

'Subjects of the Crown'
Many different groups of men exist, but the majority of them on the Great Continent live under the rule of the Crown of Wesnoth. The humans first appeared on the Great Continent from a land far across the ocean to the West, the Green Isle, and soon established their capital at the inland city of Weldyn. Over the following centuries they have built up a number cities across the continent. The soldiers from the Crown of Wesnoth protect the country, forming the most organized military force in the known world. Its warriors come from the main provinces, where all men are conscripted at an early age.


... while selecting Haldric I in TRoW might get you:
The race of men is an extremely diverse one. Although they originally came from the Old Continent, men have spread all over the world and split into many different cultures and races. Although they are not imbued with magic like other creatures, humans can learn to wield it and able to learn more types than most others. They have no extra special abilities or aptitudes except their versatility and drive. While often at odds with other races, they can occasionally form alliances with the less aggressive races such as elves and dwarves. The less scrupulous among them do not shrink back from hiring orcish mercenaries, either. They have no natural enemies, although the majority of men, like most people of all races, have an instinctive dislike of the undead. Men are shorter than the elves, but taller still than dwarves. Their skin color can vary, from almost white to dark brown.

'Islefolk'
Humans made landfall on the Green Isle in a time before recorded history, settling into a prosperous conglomeration of small kingdoms and city-states. For centuries they flourished on this lush island to the west of the Great Continent, until the arrival of the Wesfolk and the subsequent invasion of the orcs.


... and a Wesfolk unit might be described thusly:
The race of men is an extremely diverse one. Although they originally came from the Old Continent, men have spread all over the world and split into many different cultures and races. Although they are not imbued with magic like other creatures, humans can learn to wield it and able to learn more types than most others. They have no extra special abilities or aptitudes except their versatility and drive. While often at odds with other races, they can occasionally form alliances with the less aggressive races such as elves and dwarves. The less scrupulous among them do not shrink back from hiring orcish mercenaries, either. They have no natural enemies, although the majority of men, like most people of all races, have an instinctive dislike of the undead. Men are shorter than the elves, but taller still than dwarves. Their skin color can vary, from almost white to dark brown.

'Wesfolk'
The Wesfolk were the last migration of humans from the Old Continent before it fell to the orcs. The first meeting with the natives of the Green Isle was not a pleasant one, and many perished in the resulting war, which pushed the Wesfolk into an unfavorable position on the island. Their underhanded tactics and use of undead spirits gave them a vile reputation, but it was they who first introduced magic to the rest of mankind.
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Re: Content Gaps in Mainline (Writing)

Postby Turuk » July 25th, 2014, 1:28 am

johndh wrote:Currently, I see five distinct groups: Wesnothian, Islefolk, Wesfolk, Clansmen, and Khalifate.


That might be a better solution as it would further iceiceice's idea of a split, but allowing for more diversity than just east vs west. I like the initial descriptions that you wrote out.
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Re: Content Gaps in Mainline (Writing)

Postby Andrettin » July 25th, 2014, 12:07 pm

If I may make a suggestion, how about adding "cultures"/"subraces"? Races would determine the available traits and names, as well as the unit's category. If a culture isn't specified, no change from how it already is. But if a culture is specified, then names (but not traits, since these seem largely biological) are taken from the culture's name selection instead. Cultures would then become subcategories in the encyclopedia, with units showing up more or less like this, for instance:

-> Human
-----> Wesnothian
----------> Spearman
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Re: Content Gaps in Mainline (Writing)

Postby johndh » July 25th, 2014, 2:52 pm

Andrettin wrote:If I may make a suggestion, how about adding "cultures"/"subraces"? Races would determine the available traits and names, as well as the unit's category. If a culture isn't specified, no change from how it already is. But if a culture is specified, then names (but not traits, since these seem largely biological) are taken from the culture's name selection instead. Cultures would then become subcategories in the encyclopedia, with units showing up more or less like this, for instance:

-> Human
-----> Wesnothian
----------> Spearman

Personally, I favor a solution that wouldn't require any new C++, and I suspect that this solution would.

Anyway, I don't know how much has been established canonically about gryphons, but I recall that they get peeved when you steal their eggs, so here's my initial attempt at their race description:
Gryphons are large and powerful beasts who share traits of both terrestrial predators and birds of prey. They are territorial and aggressive, but can be tamed and ridden by the daring. Their ability to fly in spite of their great weight has led some scholars to suspect a magical nature.


As always, bring on the critiques. If somebody is more familiar with the subject matter as it appears in BfW, feel free to take a swing at it yourself. :)
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Re: Content Gaps in Mainline (Writing)

Postby Xalzar » July 25th, 2014, 6:13 pm

I don't agree on the proposal of splitting the human race description into various "cultures". It is not consistent. The other races are generical ("elf", "dwarf", "orc"), sure they are definitely not descriptions of a single "culture" (then it should be e.g. "northern elf", "knalgan dwarf", "old continent orc"...).

If we split humans and then the rest there would be an explosion in the races' number, in which everyone is a clone of other 3-4 ones. IMHO I prefer the generical sense of "race".

I suggest to better examinate the possibility to add "name macros". Do they really not work?

johndh wrote:Their ability to fly in spite of their great weight has led some scholars to suspect a magical nature.


This could be said more for Drakes (which have absolutely no aerodinamics in their bodies)... From the bird-like Gryphons we could expect at least hollow bones (which explains also their weakness to impact); a "magical nature" conjecture would be quite silly for a scholar to suggest, since it can easily be proved wrong by the 10% resistance to arcane which those creatures benefit.
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Re: Content Gaps in Mainline (Writing)

Postby Paulomat4 » July 25th, 2014, 6:54 pm

At least for elves you can always split them into forest elves and desert elves (utbs). Personally splitting races into subcategories would be my favorite, but if this involves too much coding it would probably be too much work.
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Re: Content Gaps in Mainline (Writing)

Postby johndh » July 26th, 2014, 3:10 am

Xalzar wrote:This could be said more for Drakes (which have absolutely no aerodinamics in their bodies)...

That's already part of the Drake description, as I recall. :)

From the bird-like Gryphons we could expect at least hollow bones (which explains also their weakness to impact); a "magical nature" conjecture would be quite silly for a scholar to suggest, since it can easily be proved wrong by the 10% resistance to arcane which those creatures benefit.

I think a non-magical nature can easily be proved by wrong by... well, everything else about the animal. Gryphons make no biological sense. The talons are not built for running (the opposable digit would get in the way) and they absolutely would not be able to fly with that huge body behind them, so they work as neither a lion nor a bird. The lion features make the bird features useless and vice versa. Hollow bones would make very little difference overall. When you look at a bird that spends much of its time in flight (e.g. a hawk, not a turkey), you see that just about every feature is streamlined to be aerodynamic and as lightweight as possible. Birds have beaks because jawbones are just too darn heavy. That's how severe the weight-saving adaptations are.

The best I could see a gryphon doing is a sort of gliding pounce, but even then the turbulence on that huge, poorly-aerodynamic body would put a tremendous strain on the wings. As a bird, having to lug around an extra several hundred pounds is a huge disadvantage and I don't see it conferring any benefit to the animal at all. A large lion can weigh about 500 lbs. The largest flying bird know to science is the extinct magnificient Argentine bird (MAB), which weighed about 160 lbs and had a wingspan of 23 feet. If a gryphon weighs as much as a lion (and its proportion to a dwarven rider makes it seem bigger than a lion), then it's three times the weight of the largest flying bird ever, and its wings would need to be considerably bigger than that. A quick bit of research gives me a value of 5lb/ft2 as the maximum ratio of weight to wing surface area for a bird to be able to fly at all, and larger birds tend to have higher ratios. A 500-lb weight would need a 100-square-foot wing area just to take off. I don't know what the MAB's wing loading ratio was, so let's use the swan instead as its not a great flier and spends most of its time in the water, so if it can't fly as well as a swan than it just sucks at flying. Swans apparently have about 4 lbs/ft2 wing load, which is pretty close to the maximum for flight. Their wingspan is about 10 feet. To have the same ratio of 4 lbs/ft2, a (gryphon-sized) 500-lb swan would need a wing area of 125 ft2, because algebra. Since 500 lbs is about 15 times the weight of a 33-lb swan, it would need 15 times the surface area to achieve the same wing load. Let's round this to 16 for easy math, since that's four times as long by four times as wide. For a swan to weigh 500 lbs, that would be a wingspan of about 40 feet, which may be larger than the largest flying animals of all time. Using the same math for the MAB, a 500 lb lion is roughly triple the size of a 160-lb bird, so the square root of three is about 1.7, so a MAB that weighed 500 lbs would need to have wings 1.7 times as long and 1.7 times as wide, for a wingspan of... 23 ft * 1.7 is about 40 feet, so that confirms the earlier assessment. It would actually be larger than that because those wings add extra weight, which means it needs more area, which adds more weight, which needs more area... and I've forgotten all of the calculus I'd need for that. It would also need accompanying pectoral muscles to flap those wings, and the wings themselves would need to be unusually sturdy to not crumple under their own air resistance. If 40 feet would be the wingspan of a 500-lb swan or MAB, imagine how much bigger it would have to be for something that is covered in fur (not very aerodynamic), with no tail feathers to provide lift, and dragging two bulky, extraneous legs behind it. I don't have a lion or a wind tunnel for testing that, so let's just suffice it to say that 40 feet is a low-ball estimate.

So unless the gryphon is full of hydrogen or Irdya has a lot more atmospheric pressure than Earth (relative to gravity) I'm left with magic as the explanation... or some elemental connection, faerie, whatever we want to call it. Frankly, I just think the idea of gryphons is really dumb and doesn't work and I don't like it, and if I write their description it's going to be passive-aggressive. :P If someone else wants to take a swing at it, be my guest.

Paulomat4 wrote:At least for elves you can always split them into forest elves and desert elves (utbs). Personally splitting races into subcategories would be my favorite, but if this involves too much coding it would probably be too much work.

I would have no problem with that. They're the only other race that really shows any division that I know about.
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Re: Content Gaps in Mainline (Writing)

Postby Xalzar » July 26th, 2014, 8:35 am

I'm sorry for all your scientific research but WINR (interesting to read nontheless). Also, we don't know the exact physical rules in the Irdya universe.

A few objections:
-I'm not sure if the front "arms" are talons or paws, but it seems they have not an opposable digit (but three frontal ones);
-a large lions weighs 500 lb, but how much with hollow bones instead of normal ones?

Do not misunderstand, in general I admit you have a solid point on the absurdity of gryphons. But I shouldn't say they are strictly magical.
I could imagine a third way, a sort of compromise: Gryphons have been created in the past by magics as a chimaera from two different animals. This would explain the 10% resistance to arcane (which is less than humans and saurians, equal to dwarves and slighlty better than orcs, nagas and mermen).
But it's better to not explain everything and leave something to imagination.

My proposal is to change the "magical nature hypotesis" to something more neutral along the lines of "has led scholars to discuss the matter for <long time>, but this still represent an unsolved mystery".

Or something like the "bumblebee saying" ("Bumblebees should not be able to fly, but they do not know that"). :lol:

johndh wrote:Frankly, I just think the idea of gryphons is really dumb and doesn't work and I don't like it, and if I write their description it's going to be passive-aggressive. :P If someone else wants to take a swing at it, be my guest.


You are in charge, and I don't think it is right to steal a nearly-finished job from your hands (but free tip: you should not convey your doubts and hate in the unit description :P ). That said, if no one else have objections you can easily ignore me, as I have no right to veto anything. :eng:
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Re: Content Gaps in Mainline (Writing)

Postby Elvish_Hunter » July 26th, 2014, 10:35 am

johndh wrote:Anyway, I don't know how much has been established canonically about gryphons, but I recall that they get peeved when you steal their eggs, so here's my initial attempt at their race description:
Even in UMCs, I'm not aware of much estabilished content about Gryphons (if we exclude the old A Gryphon's Tale campaign). However, in past, I created the Young Gryphon unit when I found out that there wasn't any level 1 Gryphon available, and this is the desciption that I'm using:
Gryphons, when young, are covered with white and gray feathers. As soon as they can fly, they become able to defend their nests and to attack intruders. Though not yet powerful as adult Gryphons, underestimate them is a dangerous thing to do, a foolish move that led many poachers to death, either by facing their claws or falling down from a mountain while trying to escape a Gryphon's rage.

Xalzar wrote:From the bird-like Gryphons we could expect at least hollow bones (which explains also their weakness to impact); a "magical nature" conjecture would be quite silly for a scholar to suggest, since it can easily be proved wrong by the 10% resistance to arcane which those creatures benefit.
johndh wrote:I think a non-magical nature can easily be proved by wrong by... well, everything else about the animal.
In that case, maybe a description like that could work. My insertions are underlined:
Gryphons are large and powerful beasts who share traits of both terrestrial predators and birds of prey. Although most people regard them as dangerous and overgrown birds, they're smart and capable of speaking, albeit with some difficulties due to their beaks. They are territorial and aggressive, but can be tamed and ridden by the daring - usually Dwarves, but it's not unheard of Elves, Humans and even Trolls occasionally riding them. Their ability to fly in spite of their great weight has led many scholars to suspect a magical nature; a few of them even attempted some forbidden experiments, in order to create them with magic. Such experiments always failed spectacularly, to the point that it is rumoured that from one of them Ghouls were originated.
The speaking part is a direct reference to Krawg from SoF; the part about the various races of riders is a reference to some old campaigns (I remember Of Memories Past for the 1.5 series, where indeed a Gryphon is ridden by two Humans). And the final part about the failed experiments is a reference to them being part lion and part eagle, possibly being held together by magic: indeed, this recalls the Ghouls in some ways (different parts held together with magic).
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Re: Content Gaps in Mainline (Writing)

Postby Xalzar » July 26th, 2014, 12:02 pm

Elvish_Hunter wrote:And the final part about the failed experiments is a reference to them being part lion and part eagle, possibly being held together by magic: indeed, this recalls the Ghouls in some ways (different parts held together with magic).


I was thinking more about Cockatrices and Chimaeras (which are not mainline units, though), I don't think someone would think necromancy could make Gryphons... I imagine a different branch of magic, perhaps a particular magic of Life, not of Death.
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Re: Content Gaps in Mainline (Writing)

Postby johndh » July 26th, 2014, 5:40 pm

Xalzar wrote:A few objections:
-I'm not sure if the front "arms" are talons or paws, but it seems they have not an opposable digit (but three frontal ones);

They look like talons. Paws would make more sense, but the artwork seems to show talons.
http://svn.gna.org/viewcvs/wesnoth/trun ... iew=markup
http://svn.gna.org/viewcvs/wesnoth/trun ... iew=markup
I can't find any sprites or portraits that show the back part of the foot, but without an opposable digit they wouldn't be useful for grabbing prey. To the best of my knowledge, all raptors except some owls have three toes in front and one in back, so I'm fairly confident that a gryphon would too.
2014-07-22 11.31.27-cropped.jpg
Adult bald eagle, taken at the Rocky Gap State Park aviary


-a large lions weighs 500 lb, but how much with hollow bones instead of normal ones?

It would subtract a little, but then you'd have to add the weight of the (gigantic) wings, so it's hard to be precise when working with so many unknown quantities.

I could imagine a third way, a sort of compromise: Gryphons have been created in the past by magics as a chimaera from two different animals. This would explain the 10% resistance to arcane (which is less than humans and saurians, equal to dwarves and slighlty better than orcs, nagas and mermen).
But it's better to not explain everything and leave something to imagination.

My point isn't that they couldn't exist without magic, but rather that they couldn't fly without it. They would need tremendous wings and tremendous muscles that they just don't have. Regardless of how they came into existence, something supernatural has to be keeping them aloft.

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Nope, not even a little bit. :) I have no illusions of authority here.

and I don't think it is right to steal a nearly-finished job from your hands (but free tip: you should not convey your doubts and hate in the unit description :P ). That said, if no one else have objections you can easily ignore me, as I have no right to veto anything. :eng:

It's not stealing; I'm giving it away. I just hastily threw something together in a few minutes, so if somebody modifies it or redoes it entirely, I'll not be upset in the least. I understand that gryphons are established within Wesnoth and that established conventions rely on their existence, and I'm not trying to do away with them, but I'm not sure how much I can write without inserting some variation of "this animal is bull crap!" :lol:

Elvish_Hunter wrote:The speaking part is a direct reference to Krawg from SoF

I don't think anything in SoF is meant to be taken at face value. It's told as an old legend, and has surely seen some exaggeration over time. I consider it a Dwarven tall tale.

the part about the various races of riders is a reference to some old campaigns (I remember Of Memories Past for the 1.5 series, where indeed a Gryphon is ridden by two Humans).

I don't mind leaving it vague. I'm sure most people would be capable of riding a gryphon if they're strapped in tightly enough, but they need to be at least a little crazy.

And the final part about the failed experiments is a reference to them being part lion and part eagle, possibly being held together by magic: indeed, this recalls the Ghouls in some ways (different parts held together with magic).

I don't know of a precedent in mainline for wizards to be able to do something like this. They can animate the dead and they can mutate people into ghouls, but outright combining two creatures or creating one from whole cloth isn't something I've seen them do. Correct me if I'm wrong. :)
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Re: Content Gaps in Mainline (Writing)

Postby Turuk » July 26th, 2014, 6:48 pm

For the gryphon flight discussion, it has been a point of contention for years as to how they do it. I was able to find some of the older threads that show both sides presented here, I guess everything does always come full circle.
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Re: Content Gaps in Mainline (Writing)

Postby iceiceice » July 26th, 2014, 8:03 pm

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.
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