Li'sar's Characterization in HttT (Spoilers)

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Li'sar's Characterization in HttT (Spoilers)

Post by lonebeast » June 4th, 2015, 4:14 pm

(Okay, this is my first post here, and I hope I'm posting it to right forum...)

So, where to begin... It seemed like princess Li'sar was intended to be one of the HttT's main characters, but in the original campaign she, in my opinion, looked a bit... underdeveloped and one-dimensional. You may disagree, but her change from "trusts her mother's every word" to "agrees that her mother is a tyrant and goes on to overthrow her" looked too sudden and too unexplained, and her feelings for Konrad (they married in the end, didn't they?)... I'm not really sure that she had any feelings for him at all. I think Li'sar may need some more attenton...

So I would like to ask: does the Wesnoth team have any intention to write a campaign centered on Li'sar, her adventures before the events of HttT, and how she became her mother's "most able commander"? Or maybe someone is already working on such campaign or even had already made it? (I searched through the UMC but didn't find anything that looked like what I wanted...)

(Actually, I searched through this forum and found a few ideas like "Let's portray Asheviere as strict, but benevolent ruler", "Let's portray elvish rebels as villains who intend to use Konrad as their puppet", "Let's portray Delfador as the leader of the evil conspiracy and the true mastermind behind king Garard's death". Personally, I would like to avoid such tropes: I would like the heroes to remain the heroes and the villains to remain the villains).
Last edited by Turuk on September 16th, 2015, 7:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: Edited title to reflect changing nature of discussion

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Re: Campaign idea: Li'sar's adventures

Post by Raijer » June 4th, 2015, 4:29 pm

This topic might need to be moved to "Writers' forum", as it isn't a campaign, just an idea.

Anyway, I agree that Li'sar's change in HttT is quite fast and might seem strange, but from what I remember, she didn't know about Asheviere's alliance with the orcs, or about the issues like the one shown in "Liberty", where peasants are oppressed by Asheviere's rule. Once she learns about it, it's not that strange that she changed sides. More than that, remember that the author isn't exactly here to give you everything. Konrad and Li'sar lived together for something like 3 months while fighting, and I think that's quite enough for her to change her opinion, and even fall in love with Konrad.

But I agree that making a campaign about her rise to the top could be good, if you're motivated sufficiently to finish it.
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Re: Campaign idea: Li'sar's adventures

Post by lonebeast » June 4th, 2015, 6:47 pm

Funny, I thought this topic could be suitable for the "Ideas" forum. :) Well, I hope when moderators come they'll point me in the right direction...

Well, if Li'sar really had any feelings for Konrad, she wasn't eager to show them in game... Unless she was the Tsundere girl type. :D I mean, we're not shown how she changes her mind - we're left to imagine how this happened... But maybe the dialogue writers didn't want to turn a story of rebellion into a love story. :)

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Re: Campaign idea: Li'sar's adventures

Post by Ravana » June 4th, 2015, 6:54 pm

I was actually waiting for your response about whether you intend to create this campaign yourself, or just discuss story. But currently it seems that yes, better be in writers forum.

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Re: Campaign idea: Li'sar's adventures

Post by lonebeast » June 4th, 2015, 7:17 pm

Oh, sorry!

Actually, I even tried to mind-map the possible plot of a possible campaign but when I started to recall the events of HttT I quickly realised that my plot contradicts what Li'sar said in HttT (what she knew and what she didn't know). So... I could try to participate in the creation of the campaign (though I've never done anything like this before), but maybe someone else could avoid contradictions to existing plot...

(Or maybe someone is already working on something like this?)

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Re: Campaign idea: Li'sar's adventures

Post by The Great Rings » June 5th, 2015, 12:54 am

lonebeast wrote:(Okay, this is my first post here, and I hope I'm posting it to right forum...)
Well, I'd say it probably is, but I'm hardly the person to say.
So, where to begin... It seemed like princess Li'sar was intended to be one of the HttT's main characters, but in the original campaign she, in my opinion, looked a bit... underdeveloped and one-dimensional. You may disagree, but her change from "trusts her mother's every word" to "agrees that her mother is a tyrant and goes on to overthrow her" looked too sudden and too unexplained, and her feelings for Konrad (they married in the end, didn't they?)... I'm not really sure that she had any feelings for him at all. I think Li'sar may need some more attenton...
Its been a while since I played Heir to the Throne, but from what I recall, Li'sar is somewhat interesting. She's unusual in that she's a female military commander for Wesnoth (and apparently a skilled one rather than someone who simply got the job by having noble blood). She also has a preference for sneaky and underhanded tactics. And she has divided loyalties (to her mother, who she clearly knows is a monster, on the one hand and to her imposter cousin/eventual love interest Konrad on the other). As with a lot of the writing in Wesnoth, there are the foundations of something interesting their, but its not that well-developed. I agree that Li'sar's change in loyalties is rather sudden and not well-justified. Prior to her alliance with Konrad being forced by common enemies, she seems to be loyal to her mother.

I can see at least a couple ways to handle the loyalty issue- 1. Make Li'sar be against the Queen from the start but fight Konrad until they're forced into an alliance because she believes she has no choice- turn against the queen and she'll be killed, and the rebels would probably be skeptical of a defection. The second, and perhaps more intriguing option is to have Li'sar's alliance with Konrad initially be a temporary one of convenience, with her prepared to stab him in the back (perhaps once they have the Sceptre of Fire and are out of Knalga). However, circumstances prevent her from doing so for a some time, and Konrad's leadership/possibly romantic feelings gradually win her over to choosing him as a better alternative to her mother's rule (a decision possibly cemented by the fact that her mother now believes her to be a traitor so there is no going back).
So I would like to ask: does the Wesnoth team have any intention to write a campaign centered on Li'sar, her adventures before the events of HttT, and how she became her mother's "most able commander"? Or maybe someone is already working on such campaign or even had already made it? (I searched through the UMC but didn't find anything that looked like what I wanted...)
It would be interesting to see the war from the other side. And every other major supporting character from Heir to the Throne has gotten their own origin story campaign (Legend of Wesmere for Kalenz and Delfadore's Memoirs for Delfadore), so its only fitting.
(Actually, I searched through this forum and found a few ideas like "Let's portray Asheviere as strict, but benevolent ruler", "Let's portray elvish rebels as villains who intend to use Konrad as their puppet", "Let's portray Delfador as the leader of the evil conspiracy and the true mastermind behind king Garard's death". Personally, I would like to avoid such tropes: I would like the heroes to remain the heroes and the villains to remain the villains).
Thank you.

Some people seem to think that "the bad guys are really the good guys" is such a clever twist that makes for a brilliant story. Personally, I'd find it hackneyed and in this case, disrespectful to the source material.
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Re: Campaign idea: Li'sar's adventures

Post by lonebeast » June 5th, 2015, 7:43 am

Wow, thank you for your detailed response!

Actually, about Li'sar's loyalty to her mother... I thought: could Li'sar really love her mother who presented herself as a loving and caring parent? Well, maybe not because Asheviere really loved her daughter (or did she?) but because she was a manipulative villain who sees other people, her own daughter included, either as tools to be used or as obstacles to be removed. (It suits well the Dark Queen's image since she orchestrated the death of her husband and, possibly, even her own son). On one hand, Li'sar could see that her mother is a monster, but on the other hand, she still loved her mother, her only blood relative.

As I can guess, Li'sar didn't want to actually kill her mother until the very last moment: she expected that she will return into Weldyn with the Sceptre of Fire in hand and then her mother will willingly surrender her throne to her daughter, according to the Edict of the Sceptre. It was only when Asheviere accused her of treason and ordered her troops to capture the princess, Li'sar realised that there is no easy way.

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Re: Campaign idea: Li'sar's adventures

Post by The Great Rings » June 5th, 2015, 9:38 am

lonebeast wrote:Wow, thank you for your detailed response!

Actually, about Li'sar's loyalty to her mother... I thought: could Li'sar really love her mother who presented herself as a loving and caring parent?
I think its very possible Li'sar loves her mother. Asheveire's her mother. And they are the only relatives each of them has left, right? And Li'sar's actions support this conclusion somewhat.
Well, maybe not because Asheviere really loved her daughter (or did she?) but because she was a manipulative villain who sees other people, her own daughter included, either as tools to be used or as obstacles to be removed. (It suits well the Dark Queen's image since she orchestrated the death of her husband and, possibly, even her own son). On one hand, Li'sar could see that her mother is a monster, but on the other hand, she still loved her mother, her only blood relative.
I don't know if Asheviere loves her daughter, but she almost certainly would value her unless she's completely nuts. Li'sar is one of her top commanders and also presumably her heir. Unless Asheviere knows how to make herself immortal, she's going to need an heir to continue her dynasty/legacy.
As I can guess, Li'sar didn't want to actually kill her mother until the very last moment: she expected that she will return into Weldyn with the Sceptre of Fire in hand and then her mother will willingly surrender her throne to her daughter, according to the Edict of the Sceptre. It was only when Asheviere accused her of treason and ordered her troops to capture the princess, Li'sar realised that there is no easy way.
I don't know that that was the plan, though it might fit. Although that would take a great deal of denial or indoctrination/ignorance about the queen.
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Re: Campaign idea: Li'sar's adventures

Post by lonebeast » June 6th, 2015, 10:01 am

I don't know if Asheviere loves her daughter, but she almost certainly would value her unless she's completely nuts.
Of course she values her daughter but I meant that maybe Asheviere deliberately manipulated Li'sar to make her daughter view her as more loving parent than Asheviere actually was...
Unless Asheviere knows how to make herself immortal, she's going to need an heir to continue her dynasty/legacy.
Damn, now I can't get the thought of Asheviere becoming a Lich Queen out of my head. :shock: I mean, she definetly has no prejudice against dealing with the undead and maybe she could really try to become a lich... But maybe even her lust for power had its limits.
Okay, that was only a joke. :)

Okay, to stimulate the discussion maybe I should show that plan for the possible campaign I've mind-mapping for several days. However, it's very possible to look too melodramatic, too contadictory to HttT, not well-explained enough or something like that. But since it looks like no one is told to be already working in this direction... well, I'll post this on my own risk...
Spoiler:
How does this all explain Li'sar's sudden change in Heir to the Throne? Well, it MAY explain it so: Li'sar knew since the very beginning that Konrad is an "imposter", but she was absolutely unable to say how does she know that ("My mother ordered the real prince Konrad to be killed"). When she had to travel side by side to Konrad, this ignited an internal conflict in her, she could've started to feel mixed feelings for him... which, eventually, lead her to falling in love with Konrad.

...Damn, I think that I AM making Li'sar a Tsundere! :doh:

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Re: Campaign idea: Li'sar's adventures

Post by Raijer » June 6th, 2015, 8:00 pm

..Damn, I think that I AM making Li'sar a Tsundere!
You definitely are, but, now that you speak about it, it definitely fits her.
I like your ideas. Though what you're writing is hard to put in a campaign. The problem with the campaign format is that dialogs that do not relate to a battle are often unwanted. It's often the reason why you're supposed to imagine what happens between battles. I'm all for it, but I hope you're not going to make it too heavily story-oriented, we're still supposed to play BfW.
Anyway, I hope you're going to go through with that (and how about a completely crazy campaign where Asheviere comes back as a lich ?)
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Re: Campaign idea: Li'sar's adventures

Post by The Great Rings » June 7th, 2015, 3:42 am

lonebeast wrote:Of course she values her daughter but I meant that maybe Asheviere deliberately manipulated Li'sar to make her daughter view her as more loving parent than Asheviere actually was...
It would make sense politically for her to do so, presuming she did not genuinely love Li'sar.
Damn, now I can't get the thought of Asheviere becoming a Lich Queen out of my head. :shock: I mean, she definetly has no prejudice against dealing with the undead and maybe she could really try to become a lich... But maybe even her lust for power had its limits.
Okay, that was only a joke. :)
Its been a long time since I played Delfadore's Memoirs, but didn't her father go the Lich route in that?
Okay, to stimulate the discussion maybe I should show that plan for the possible campaign I've mind-mapping for several days. However, it's very possible to look too melodramatic, too contadictory to HttT, not well-explained enough or something like that. But since it looks like no one is told to be already working in this direction... well, I'll post this on my own risk...
Spoiler:
Spoiler:
How does this all explain Li'sar's sudden change in Heir to the Throne? Well, it MAY explain it so: Li'sar knew since the very beginning that Konrad is an "imposter", but she was absolutely unable to say how does she know that ("My mother ordered the real prince Konrad to be killed"). When she had to travel side by side to Konrad, this ignited an internal conflict in her, she could've started to feel mixed feelings for him... which, eventually, lead her to falling in love with Konrad.
Why couldn't she say so?

Also, why would knowing Konrad wasn't the original Konrad and having doubts about telling him make her fall in love with him? It removes the issue of him being a close relative and might make her feel some sympathy for him, but that's not much to fall in love over.

Of course, their marriage makes sense as a political move to unite the two sides of the civil war. But for a genuine romance, here's an idea: maybe Li'sar identifies with Konrad because they're both young leaders being manipulated by someone close to them (the queen in her case and Delfadore in his case). Also, he may well be the first equal her own age that she's ever met. Most everyone she'd meet would be her subordinate/follower.
...Damn, I think that I AM making Li'sar a Tsundere! :doh:
Don't try to make your characters fit a particular type. In fact, I'd actively avoid it for the sake of subtlety/complexity/originality. At best, coming up with a basic category is only the first step of characterization.

Made a couple of edits.
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Re: Campaign idea: Li'sar's adventures

Post by The Great Rings » June 7th, 2015, 8:24 am

I'd like to see is Li'sar really screw up early on and learn from the disaster. She is really young in Heir to the Throne. Still a teenager or barely past her teens, right? She'd be relatively inexperienced.

Maybe on one of her early missions, Li'sar overconfidently leads a force to defeat and gets captured and/or loses most of her men.

And perhaps Ashevier retaliates by massacring the rebel forces. This would establish Asheviere as ruthless to Li'sar, maybe even evil, in keeping with dialog from Heir to the Throne. But maybe because of the circumstances (guilt/shame over her failure plus the fact that she has reason to hate these rebels), she goes along with it. However, it could also drive her to be more effective to prevent such disasters later, so on her next mission she is determined to please her mother, prevent her disgrace, and defeat the rebels with fewer casualties.

This could also partly explain her determination to pursue Konrad, even out of Wesnoth and into Knalga. She might see him as a fool who's leading the rebels to defeat and slaughter, and every time he gets away from her he makes it worse and embarrass her again.

It would also avoid making a main character who never loses, which is a big problem with Wesnoth campaigns. Most of the time, if you lose one battle you lose the game. Sure, sometimes the objective is to retreat, but it doesn't end the pattern of having to succeed every time. But how often, in a real war, is it over after one defeat?

Northern Rebirth is the only campaign I can think of that actually has the protagonist lose a major battle where the objective wasn't to run away and keep fighting. For that matter, Talin makes at least two massive blunders during the campaign that could have cost him everything and still keeps fighting. That's one of the reasons I have such high regard for Northern Rebirth.

But these are just suggestions, of course. Feel free to ignore them.
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Re: Campaign idea: Li'sar's adventures

Post by Whiskeyjack » June 7th, 2015, 5:41 pm

Spoiler:
Spoiler:
The Great Rings wrote:I'd like to see is Li'sar really screw up early on and learn from the disaster. She is really young in Heir to the Throne. Still a teenager or barely past her teens, right? She'd be relatively inexperienced.

Maybe on one of her early missions, Li'sar overconfidently leads a force to defeat and gets captured and/or loses most of her men.

[...]

It would also avoid making a main character who never loses, which is a big problem with Wesnoth campaigns. Most of the time, if you lose one battle you lose the game. Sure, sometimes the objective is to retreat, but it doesn't end the pattern of having to succeed every time. But how often, in a real war, is it over after one defeat?
This idea sounds really interesting and exciting. I think Li'sar´s first missions have more potential for character developement than initiatory events for HttT and deserve far more than the generic "kill a bandit leader", "stop that small town necromancer", "stop this orc raid" stuff.

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Re: Campaign idea: Li'sar's adventures

Post by The Great Rings » June 7th, 2015, 10:36 pm

There's a lot of ways you could do it, but yes, I think it would be great to develop Li'sar into a more interesting character.

I was planning to play through all the mainline campaigns in chronological order starting with Rise of Wesnoth, but because of this thread, I'm thinking of putting that on hold for now and replaying Heir to the Throne immediately. I'd like to see what the current status of the dialog/characterization is and what would fit with Heir to the Throne's plot.

Edits: Okay, at the start of Heir to the Throne, it mentions that Asheviere told Eldred to fight Delfadore specifically. Did she think that her son could beat the wizard? Or did she set up Eldred to die so that she could rule alone? That question has a lot of bearing on the question of how much of a loving parent Asheviere is and how she might relate to Li'sar. In the latter case, she likely kept Li'sar alive because she was less of a threat to Asheviere's reign due to age and perhaps gender (medieval societies tended to favour men over women, of course, though I don't know how much that's the case for Wesnoth). Perhaps she really did think she'd become immortal and Li'sar could never inherit the throne. In this case, Li'sar would basically be an expendable tool, kept alive only as long as she's not a threat to her mother, who would willingly set up her own child to die so she could rule.

The big question is how much of this does Li'sar realize? I doubt she's fully aware of it.

Also, I just checked the start of the first scenario and I don't think it says anything about the orcs being sent after Konrad, just to attack the elves.

One last random thing: I love the current Delfadore portrait (I haven't played this campaign for a while). :)
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Re: Campaign idea: Li'sar's adventures

Post by lonebeast » June 11th, 2015, 10:18 am

Sorry for my long silence. :roll: Okay, here we go...

2Raijer
Though what you're writing is hard to put in a campaign. The problem with the campaign format is that dialogs that do not relate to a battle are often unwanted. It's often the reason why you're supposed to imagine what happens between battles.
Thanks, it's a valid point! I really should take this into account.

2The Great Rings
Also, I don't think that Li'sar would march her entire army towards the elves just so she could meet her long lost cousin. Endangering an entire army for personal reasons is not something a competent commander would do, and its not something she could do without her mother finding out and presumably stopping her.
You do have a point but I think that if Li'sar went to possibly hostile territory without any guardians, it would be equally unwise... Perhaps she shold take at least a small number of soldiers?
(I also had an idea where Li'sar, while approaching Aethenwood, meets some royal soldiers sent to besiege the elves but suffered heavy losses, and then Li'sar has to rally these troops and lead them into battle - and those soldiers fight for her in Aethenwood).
I figure a lot of people must know something happened to the heirs, and at least suspect Ashevier, unless she came up with a great cover story.
I suspect Asheviere blamed Delfador for all her crimes and maybe even that it was he who murdered the heirs. :) But that's a big question: what is Asheviere's cover story? I mean, some people who remember the battle at Ford of Abez are still living... and some of them took part in prince Eldred's betrayal. Maybe the population of Wesnoth actually knows the truth but is too scared by the Dark Queen to speak it aloud?
Also, when you brought up a fencer friend of Li'sar, I thought he might turn out to be the assassin she sends after Konrad (a level two version of a fencer as I recall) the first time they fight. That would add more depth to someone in Heir to the Throne.
I was thinking that thought too, but if that assassin was her long-time friend, Li'sar's dialogue lines in HttT should be completely different. :D

2Whiskeyjack
I really like this idea, but its a very long time since I played HttT and I´m not sure about one point: Are the orcs sent to hunt down Konrad? If not, at which point does the fight against rebels turn into the hunt for the "traitor"? I say that, because I can´t imagine that Asheviere would not sent a big army to Aethenwood directly with the clear goal to kill Defaldor and Konrad. Depending on how the story is told in HttT I do not think Asheviere should learn of Konrads and Defaldors whereabouts.
That's a difficult question... Actually, in HttT Konrad and his followers fight orcs far more often than Loyalists - did something happen to Queen's army if she has to rely so heavily on orcish mercenaries? Did wesnothian royal army suffer some heavy losses in some military campaign? (and against whom?)
But as I can understand, the orcs attacking Aethenwood knew about Konrad and were likely to be looking specifically for him. However, on their way south they captured the entire western coast: Elensefar, Alduin and so on.

2The Great Rings again
Well, I have some objections to your ideas as well as you have to mine. :) But I think that Li'sar's first missions could really be an interesting story... However, if the official timeline is correct, Li'sar is only two years older than Konrad and is only 19 years old at the beginning of HttT. (Other source mentions Konrad as 22 years old, so Li'sar is about 24 years old...) I mean, she did not have much time to go through too many adventures.

I, however, was thinking that Li'sar could face the problem of not being taken seriously: she was a woman, a young girl, a "cloistered child" and so on. But I'm not sure how to develop this theme...


Okay, I see that some of us have different visions of how Li'sar's early adventures should be. And I'm in doubt: is it worth the effort to make a campaign aimed to better show Li'sar if someone, somewhere will definetly be unsatisfied with what he'll see? On one hand, unlike Kalenz or Delfador, Li'sar is young and it would be difficult to write a campaign about events unrelated to HttT, and on the other hand, a campaign about event preceding HttT is likely to contradict the main campaign...

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