[mainline] The North Remembers

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max_torch
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Re: [mainline] The North Remembers

Post by max_torch »

Well Ravanal seems to do cowardly things like entering a duel with Dacyn with him (Ravanal) having a means of escape whilst knowing that should his opponent fall his opponent wouldnt have teleport. And yes there is that incident in the Duel scenario. And also the twisted game that he is allowing his lieutenants to play in the Mal-Ravanal's Capital scenario.. it is like the sickness in the head of his subordinates are a reflection of their ultimate influence, Mal-Ravanal. And also like Loki the trickster God, in the scenario Weldyn Besieged he employs deception tactics such as having all the liches look exactly like him.. So he can have this evil, crafty, deceptive, detestable schemes and character. He is always using unorthodox or innovative tactics that unsettle his opponents.
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Re: [mainline] The North Remembers

Post by santi »

I remember discussing the EI maps very long time ago. However, HttT is irrelevant to this matter because EI happens LONG after HttT. This leaves room for additional exciting stories/campaigns to explain the new borders and faction locations
P.S. Given past experience, please try not to use terms from other, copyrighted, material in Wesnoth or other open source projects
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Re: [mainline] The North Remembers

Post by Whiskeyjack »

@santi: Never worry, I would never even consider something like that.

@Zookeeper and possible lurkers: Just wanted to drop a quick note that I am still working on this (since I am already a week late) but that I found way less time and working in English takes me even longer than expected. I can not say for sure, when I will be finished, probably when I next find a big chunk of time to get some work done...
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Re: [mainline] The North Remembers

Post by pyndragon »

Whiskeyjack wrote: Dead Water
Only a minor quibble on this one since the campaign itself is rather well written (and fits into canon far better than EI): Why are there necromancers and liches northwest of the Heart Mountains trying to raise undead minions while Mal Ravanal is playing all out war on Wesnoth? And how did they get there? The only good reason I came up with was that Mal Ravanal was not sending his people to specifically only the Mermen but that he was also attacking the whole north and that getting swimming undead was only part of the plan. The only problem this poses is that it would set Lintanir and the NA to fight Ravanal as well, furthering the problems with Gweddry & Co. travelling through the northlands without seeing anything of this, but at this point I´m almost willing to declare non-canon on EI because it does not fit in with the rest anyway.
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Re: [mainline] The North Remembers

Post by Whiskeyjack »

@pyndragon: Awesome! Seems I missed that part. This fits rather neatly, even if it could probably use a mention of the NA. :)

Finally, here comes my rewrite suggestion for EI:

General notes: There are quite a few points that are not set in stone or where I suggest more than one option. Because of this I have not formed dialogue lines for most new scenarios I suggest. The scrapes that I have included are not to be taken as my final versions. Once the story is set I would especially want to rewrite and –distribute the dialogue lines between Gweddry, Owaec and Dacyn to give their characters more depth and consistency (as especially Gweddrys and Owaecs meek following of Dacyns nebulous suggestions was met with criticism in the current version). Note for this the already included anger and thirst for retribution of Owaec upon discovering the fate of his homeland. I tried to insert enough foreshadowing that the story feels connected and not like a random string of events but I am happy about feedback if the amount is lacking/too heavy (from what can be seen at this point).

One additional part of dialogues would come through the NA companion/ally but since this matter is yet to be decided, I have left it open as of now.
I guess looking back at the things I put together over some weeks I suggested heavier reworking the further I got in the campaign and lost track of the storyteller-thingy so that’s something to track back for concrete writing changes.

I am not very good with naming, thus you will only find "Lieutnant" for our part-time antagonist and also no names for new leaders and units that are suggested.

Below are my suggestions for the individual scenarios. I mostly brought up suggested changes to existing scenarios or my concept(s) for replacements.

I suggested a big rewrite (including gameplay) on 4 scenarios so I guess this draft is somewhere in the middle between the small and the big rework...

Scenario 1: The Outpost
Spoiler:
Scenario 2: The Escape Tunnel
Spoiler:
Scenario 3: An Unexpected Appearance
Spoiler:
Scenario 4a: An Elven Alliance
Spoiler:
Scenario 4b.1: The Undead Border Patrol
Spoiler:
Scenario 4b.2: Mal-Ravanal's Capital
Spoiler:
Scenario 5: Northern Outpost
Spoiler:
Scenario 6: Two Paths
Spoiler:
Scenario 7a: The Crossing
Spoiler:
Scenario 7b: Undead Crossing -> Fort/Ford of Abez
Spoiler:
Scenario 8: Capturing the Ogres -> The Northern Alliance
Spoiler:
Scenario 9: Xenophobia -> Race Against Time/Ravanal's Lieutenant
Spoiler:
Scenario 10: Lake Vrug -> Haven of Sages (or anything else fitting the scenario, I am not really convinced by this title myself)
Spoiler:
Scenario 11: Captured
Spoiler:
Scenario 12: Evacuation
Spoiler:
Scenario 13: The Drowned Plains
Spoiler:
Scenario 14: Approaching Weldyn
Spoiler:
Scenario 15: The Council
Spoiler:
Scenario 16: Weldyn Under Attack
Spoiler:
Scenario 17a: The Duell
Spoiler:
Scenario 17b: Weldyn besieged
Spoiler:
Scenario 18: Epilogue
Spoiler:
Edit: After I posted this and shut down my PC I realized two mistakes I had made: First I noted down what came to mind for every scenario and thus this is probably not in a very good shape for getting an overview since the contents for the scenarios stem from different parts of the developement process. Sorry for that.
Second I only omitted to, but never clearly stated the following: I would like to give some more depth to the main characters and thus allow them some developement. For this I had in mind having Gweddry transition from the trustfull follower of Dacyn´s advice to a seasoned commander. Owaec as a dutifull soldier who goes north with them, but struggles with the fact that he could have stayed to defend his homeland (and the following vengeance quest upon their return). Dacyn is older and should not get such drastic changes over the course of the campaign but I´d like to embrace in the latter scenarios his doubt and self-reproach about not having stopped Ravan when he could.
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Re: [mainline] The North Remembers

Post by zookeeper »

I can't seem to manage to write the long-form reply I've been meaning to, so I'll be brief:

Sounds good in general. Unsurprisingly, the tricky part is scenarios 8-10. I wish we could get rid of the whole teleportation blocking subplot, but aside from the NA, it still seems like the only possible justification for the northern detour. Getting help from the NA can't alone explain them ending up at Lake Vrug, either. But assuming that Evacuation could be changed to happen somewhere a bit more south, I wonder if the plot could be re-arranged a bit like this:

1. Try to find the NA at Dwarven Doors (or similar location).
2. Get captured by orcs.
3. Escape orcs, blow up bridge.
4. Find NA, get help.
5. Head back to Wesnoth.

That way you could do away with the whole teleport subplot (which is a retcon and ultimately unnecessary) and avoid having to go as far as Lake Vrug. Of course, since finding the NA would be the whole point, there would need to be some kind of payoff for that in the form of getting them to actually help you. Breaking the siege of Weldyn or otherwise clearing the path would seem like logical choices.

Extra wild idea for point 3: rewrite Evacuation to happen underground and have the player escape through the Dwarven Doors, and instead of blowing up a bridge, have them close and bar the doors behind them so the orcs can't follow. Once outside, immediately run into some NA folks camped outside.

One thing I think wouldn't work that well is setting up Captured in the story screen only. Even if the current way of just spawning enemies in the end of the previous scenario is very awkward, it's still a kind of concrete setup where you can see what happened. It'd be very weird to have the capturing of everyone happen entirely off-screen, when you just finished the previous scenario in complete safety.
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Re: [mainline] The North Remembers

Post by Whiskeyjack »

Extra wild idea for point 3: rewrite Evacuation to happen underground and have the player escape through the Dwarven Doors, and instead of blowing up a bridge, have them close and bar the doors behind them so the orcs can't follow. Once outside, immediately run into some NA folks camped outside.

One thing I think wouldn't work that well is setting up Captured in the story screen only. Even if the current way of just spawning enemies in the end of the previous scenario is very awkward, it's still a kind of concrete setup where you can see what happened. It'd be very weird to have the capturing of everyone happen entirely off-screen, when you just finished the previous scenario in complete safety.
I like the idea for Evacuation, that could be a cool way to do this and the current scenario is kinda... lacking in a sense.

I saw the problem with Captured as well but couldn´t think of a good way to include a visual capturing. One could have the capturing take place in the Knalgan caves: An orc lord is actually allied with the necromancers and tried to overtake Knalga while most of the troops marched west. (But that would still need a reason why they are in the caves and not with the NA)

I see a couple problems with the rest of your ideas: First we need a reason that Mal-Ravanal can´t be killed in Scenario 4c. Teleport is easy and unproblematic here. That does not mean we have to take it for the northern plotline, but I don´t think we have a good way to get rid of it completely.

Second your setting for the NA search. From the story told in NR/THoT as well as the strength of the NA at the times of SotBE we have to assume that the whole lands north of Wesnoth are firmly in the hands of the NA. Everything specified in the timeline underlines this as well (building a tradenetwork, new cities, and so forth). The final nail in the coffin in my opinion is that the timelines specifies that a lot of people flee after the desaster and seek refuge with the NA. That would not have happened if the lands north of the Great River are under the control of hostile orcs.

My biggest problem with this rewrite (and the reason I sticked pretty close to the existing storyline) was that it is very hard to a) find non-undead enemies at this time and b) a location they can reasonably fought at.
With my version they travel too far (if not as far as Lake Vrug) north and are probably too long under way even if we assume that Mal-Ravanal is slowed heavily by the Wesnothian defences. But I just can not imagine a good setting how they should meet enough enemies south of the Heart Mountains for several scenarios storyline.

It should of corse be no problem to shorten the northern scenario line but honestly, except for Saurians in the Swamps of Dread and a couple undead trying to cut off Wesnoth from the NA I find it very unplausible to have strong enemy forces in the heartlands of the Alliance. And every travel farther north sets the clock of the invasion ticking again...

Completely changing the timeline so that the NA is smaller and less powerfull would be difficult as well because that would not sit well with SotBE.

Just throwing my thoughts on this around here, I will try to think up a better solution.
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Re: [mainline] The North Remembers

Post by zookeeper »

Whiskeyjack wrote:I see a couple problems with the rest of your ideas: First we need a reason that Mal-Ravanal can´t be killed in Scenario 4c. Teleport is easy and unproblematic here. That does not mean we have to take it for the northern plotline, but I don´t think we have a good way to get rid of it completely.
I don't think that's really a problem. He's on his own turf and can have pretty much any kind of special magical defenses which make him unkillable there. If attacked or damaged heavily, he can retreat a little bit and collapse the ground around him into chasms and make himself untouchable, or he can simply have too tough guards, or otherwise nullify attempts to hit him. After all, he's an exceptionally powerful lich in his own little castle which he might have been magically fortifying for decades, so he can conceivably be practically untouchable there without special methods the kind of which even Dacyn can't just come up with on the spot.

Whiskeyjack wrote:Second your setting for the NA search. From the story told in NR/THoT as well as the strength of the NA at the times of SotBE we have to assume that the whole lands north of Wesnoth are firmly in the hands of the NA. Everything specified in the timeline underlines this as well (building a tradenetwork, new cities, and so forth). The final nail in the coffin in my opinion is that the timelines specifies that a lot of people flee after the desaster and seek refuge with the NA. That would not have happened if the lands north of the Great River are under the control of hostile orcs.
Yeah, I'm not very versed in the timelines of that era or NR/THoT in general, so that might be a pretty big inconsistency. Still, the Northlands are really big, mostly mountainous and relatively sparsely populated, so I've always assumed NA to be more of a loose coalition of cities/factions/nations rather than a strongly interconnected entity which decisively controls all of the Northlands; wouldn't there always be room for even large rogue bands of orcs to pop up and cause trouble? It might be a stretch to say that such a group managed to take Knalga and fortify themselves inside (if it was situated at Dwarven Doors), but if it was some smaller dwarvish outpost? Doesn't sound that far-fetched that something like that would happen every now and then.
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Re: [mainline] The North Remembers

Post by Whiskeyjack »

Ah, you´re right on the defense part, I was stuck there on the teleporting.
zookeeper wrote:Yeah, I'm not very versed in the timelines of that era or NR/THoT in general, so that might be a pretty big inconsistency. Still, the Northlands are really big, mostly mountainous and relatively sparsely populated, so I've always assumed NA to be more of a loose coalition of cities/factions/nations rather than a strongly interconnected entity which decisively controls all of the Northlands; wouldn't there always be room for even large rogue bands of orcs to pop up and cause trouble? It might be a stretch to say that such a group managed to take Knalga and fortify themselves inside (if it was situated at Dwarven Doors), but if it was some smaller dwarvish outpost? Doesn't sound that far-fetched that something like that would happen every now and then.
The story as told at the end of NR has the NA beating all orcish tribes in the area into submission and subsequent joining of the Alliance. I think that the area between Knalga, Ford of Abez, Wesmere and the Swamps of Dread should really be secured after almost a hundred years of expanding their power. I think if raids are taking place they would take place northwest of Wesmere, north/east of the Swamp of Dread or north of Knalga. Orcish territory (except for tribes that are part of the Alliance) should be only west/north of the Heart Mountains (the lands shown in SotBE and the areas around Glamdrol).

I got the following idea: The lands where the Arkan-thoria flows into Lustra and the road south are probably not owned by anyone. That was the area I thought the Lintanir-elves and the NA would battle the necromancers.
Another problem is that we already have one unlikely orc raid (the orcs in scenarios 4a/6). If we connect those to a big orcish tribe, that tries to establish their own kingdom in the hills/mountains northeast of the Swamp of Dread, we could have what we want. Then we could include a messenger from Soradoc at the end of scenario 5 with the following message: The escape took too long and they were overtaken by the undead vanguard that destroyed Soradoc. Encircled by the undead on three sides, they are forced directly north (like in earlier versions). This way would take them across the battlefield-to-be and right into the hands of the orcs. Furthermore it would give yet another reason to reach the NA: They would have to find a safe place for the villagers (which would be the NA, or they send them off with some guards in the direction of Lintanir, if it´s deemed not suitable to have civilists as part of the capturing).
Since we probably need some more scenarios we could include a retaking of the Fort/Ford of Abez from the undead to reach Wesnoth again and/or problems with Saurians when they pass the swamps.

Another very intriguing but much harder to pull off scenario would be, to use NA orcs: They travel somewhat like the above scenario and meet bad informed orcish forces assembling to face an invasion from the east. The orcs meeting a foreign army decide to capture them but the prisoners decide that they don´t have the time to wait for a diplomatic solution (especially since the orcs are not very cooperative). The hard part would be to write it in a way that would still leave the possibility to convince the human/dwarvish NA troops to help them (this could include a mission for the NA, but that would be something that can be done in a short time.*)

The problem itself was not that it would be hard to find possible enemies in the northlands but to find enemies in the heartlands of the NA because if they travel much farther it becomes strange that they make it back to Weldyn in time (we could of course always include some explanation later, like that a big
collaboration of Alduin mages invoked a big spell that slowed the undead advances considerably, if we need more time but I do not really like this and if we find a solution that does not depend on this I would prefer it.)

*The only idea I have would be to send them up Highbrook Pass which is sealed by the NA, so that noone would disturb Ro'Arthian and Ro'Sothian. The two brothers said that in great need the NA may come to ask them for help (which they now want against the necromancers (for the battle in the east)), but the NA does not want to risk any troops by inciting the wrath of the two thus they send the Wesnothians to do their bidding.
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Re: [mainline] The North Remembers

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Whiskeyjack wrote: My biggest problem with this rewrite (and the reason I sticked pretty close to the existing storyline) was that it is very hard to a) find non-undead enemies at this time and b) a location they can reasonably fought at.
How about the location being Wesnoth itself? It's been a little while since a played EI, but my recollection is the Kingdom of Wesnoth is nearly crippled after this conflict. So towards the middle/end of the campaign half of Wesnoth's armies might be destroyed and the rest pulled away from almost everywhere to the eastern front. This leaves the land wide open to raids and looting by everyone from small criminal human and saurian bands to orcs and even drakes.

Might help illustrate the scale of the conflict to see the land in such an atypical state.
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Re: [mainline] The North Remembers

Post by Whiskeyjack »

Cold Steel wrote:How about the location being Wesnoth itself? It's been a little while since a played EI, but my recollection is the Kingdom of Wesnoth is nearly crippled after this conflict. So towards the middle/end of the campaign half of Wesnoth's armies might be destroyed and the rest pulled away from almost everywhere to the eastern front. This leaves the land wide open to raids and looting by everyone from small criminal human and saurian bands to orcs and even drakes.

Might help illustrate the scale of the conflict to see the land in such an atypical state.
I like this idea but I think raids from outside (orcs etc.) would again not be possible for the routes our heroes can take (remember, they need to be there for the final battle at Weldyn in time and the enemies would have to a) realize all the troops where gone, b) organized a big raid and c) made it to the battle ground) but I think including a scenario with outlaws/bandits looting a town (or attacking a treck of refugees) because all the soldiers where commanded to the front would be great.
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Re: [mainline] The North Remembers

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Whiskeyjack wrote: I like this idea but I think raids from outside (orcs etc.) would again not be possible for the routes our heroes can take (remember, they need to be there for the final battle at Weldyn in time and the enemies would have to a) realize all the troops where gone, b) organized a big raid and c) made it to the battle ground).
What if Mal-Ravanal tipped off all Wesnoth's enemies at once before or immediately after beginning his campaign, so as to sow additional chaos and bloodshed behind enemy lines?

Just another thought; could there be a between-scenarios event along the journey back to Wesnoth which pins down the heroes for a number of months, such that by the time they emerge, the war would be more advanced?
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Re: [mainline] The North Remembers

Post by Whiskeyjack »

Cold Steel wrote:What if Mal-Ravanal tipped off all Wesnoth's enemies at once before or immediately after beginning his campaign, so as to sow additional chaos and bloodshed behind enemy lines?
That is a great idea again, thanks! Shouldn´t be a problem to include an orcish raid that way.
Cold Steel wrote:Just another thought; could there be a between-scenarios event along the journey back to Wesnoth which pins down the heroes for a number of months, such that by the time they emerge, the war would be more advanced?
That would certainly be possible from a story point of view, but why? We already have the problem that travelling to the northlands takes long (perhaps too long) since Mal Ravanal starts at the same point as the heroes and advances in a direct line on Weldyn. Considering the way he´s overwhelming the Wesnothians, he shoulnd´t be stalled too much by this. Remember, this is medieval warfare, not WW1 trench warfare. If not for a deus ex like the above mentioned mighty collaboration of Alduin Mages (if they don´t all have the ability to teleport this is already unbelievable, with them being on the other end of the kingdom) that slows the undead armies down with some kind of spell, we are at our limit of time.
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Re: [mainline] The North Remembers

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Whiskeyjack wrote: That is a great idea again, thanks! Shouldn´t be a problem to include an orcish raid that way.
Cool! Bonus points if there can also be encounter(s) with saurians, drakes or even those dastardly elves.

One of the issues with mainline campaigns in general is they have you fighting either orcs or undead maybe 80% of the time, which makes for very repetitive game play. Story-wise, I can think of a few possible motivations for groups beyond these two staple adversaries to have entered Wesnoth:
Saurians: The saurians are naturally very violent and opportunistic. If they need further motivation, Haldric did commit a couple of unprovoked atrocities against them during The Rise of Wesnoth campaign, so maybe they have held a grudge for all these years and want to be there for the fall of wesnoth.

Elves: At this point in the timeline, the southern elves have just recently gone to blows with Deoran during The South Guard campaign. Because elves live hundreds of years, there could easily be greater bad blood lingering after a hundred years since Heir to the Throne, during which humans acted primarily as the villains and launched an unproved attack against the southern elves, annihilating at least a whole settlement (except for the escorts of Konrad). Some elves may feel after these events that it was a mistake for their people to gift the plains of Wesnoth to humans in the first place (during The Rise of Wesnoth) and see this as the opportunity to correct the mistake of their forebears.

Drakes: In general, drakes may not have any particular quarrel with the people of wesnoth, but the land of wesnoth is essentially a giant barrier between the wilderness of the north and the wilderness of the south. So some of the lesser tribes may see the emptying and disruption of the kingdom as a chance to migrate to the warmer southern wilderness(es). If you wanted to spice things up, perhaps the migrant drakes have females in tow stolen from a larger warband, with said warband giving chase. There could be a fight with one group of drakes in one scenario and a temporary alliance with another.
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Re: [mainline] The North Remembers

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Cold Steel wrote:One of the issues with mainline campaigns in general is they have you fighting either orcs or undead maybe 80% of the time, which makes for very repetitive game play. Story-wise, I can think of a few possible motivations for these groups to have entered Wesnoth:
I agree with you there. A special point of EI though is that you need (a lot of) units specialized against undead in the last scenarios and that does not include spearmen, bowmen and cavalry. HI and mages on the other hand are... not especially usefull in a lot of those matchups, at least not on the scale you need to build your army. Therefore one should not go overboard on those other encounters if the gameplay spirit of (restricted) Loyalists vs. Undead of the campaign is to be preserved.
Cold Steel wrote:Saurians: The saurians are naturally very violent and opportunistic. If they need further motivation, Haldric did commit a couple of unprovoked atrocities against them during The Rise of Wesnoth campaign, so maybe they have held a grudge for all these years and want to be there for the fall of wesnoth.
Including Saurians would be easy as - as I have already suggested - a scenario in/next to the Swamp of Dread on the way to the NA would easily be possible.
Cold Steel wrote:Elves: At this point in the timeline, the southern elves have just recently gone to blows with Deoran during The South Guard campaign. Because elves live hundreds of years, there could easily be greater bad blood lingering after a hundred years since Heir to the Throne, during which humans acted primarily as the villains launched an unproved attack against the southern elves, annihilating at least a whole settlement. Some elves may feel after these events that it was a mistake for their people to gift the plains of Wesnoth to humans in the first place (during The Rise of Wesnoth) and see this as the opportunity to correct the mistake of their forebears.
I have to confess that playing TSG is a long way back for me. I do have trouble with this because the northern elves (Wesmere, Lintanir etc.) are probably on pretty good terms with Wesnoth as well as the NA and are not suitable and the southern elves coming farther north than Weldyn seems strange as well. A band of human and dwarvish bandits on NA territory would be more probable IMO.
Cold Steel wrote:Drakes: In general, drakes may not have any particular quarrel with the people of wesnoth, but the land of wesnoth is essentially a giant barrier between the wilderness of the north and the wilderness of the south. So some of the lesser tribes may see the emptying and disruption of the kingdom as a chance to migrate to the warmer southern wilderness(es). If you wanted to spice things up, perhaps said migrant drakes have females in tow stolen from a larger warband, with said warband giving chase. There could be a fight with one group of drakes in one scenario and a temporary alliance with another (in a different scenario maybe).[/indent]
Not sure if this fits with the race description, but I can imagine this scenario. Might be easier to situate on the route than an orcish raid as well (and we already have one of those)!

@zookeeper:
I played this campaign pretty lazily and am thus not sure if my feeling on this is correct, but I made the following experience for Evacuation:

On easy I crushed the orcs no problem and could probably have taken the big battle in the last scenario but took the duell for above mentioned laziness reasons.
On medium I probably wouldn´t have had the troops for the last scenario anyway, but I had to choose between defeating the orcs (and taking some losses in the process) or losing most of my level 2 units because I did not recall and take them with me. I tried to start the last scenario and got the feeling that my army was too weak (small) to finish this (I again did not try my hardest to beat it).

I get that the design of the scenario serves to reduce my army strenght somewhat. If my above assessment is correct, I would favor including some more scenarios after this one before we reach Weldyn (all the stuff discussed here comes to mind: A quest for the NA, problems with saurians in the Swamp of Dread, raiding bandits/orcs in Wesnoth, migrating drakes in Wesnoth, retaking the Ford of Abez from some undead). If I just didn´t put enough effort into this and the last scenario is not as hard to beat as I thought, the inclusion of more scenarios of such a skirmishing design would result in breaking the balance of the last scenario (making it too easy). On the other hand cutting the Lake Vrug part would result in 3-4 less scenarios between the Northern Outpost and Captured, therefore I think including some more scenarios to compensate would be good. Not sure how to approach this.

My current suggestion would look roughly like this:

1) Scenarios till Northern Outpost remaining mostly unchanged
2) One or two scenarios leading to a crossing (almost) directly north
3) Capture by the orcs -> Captured and an underground version of Evacuation in the southeastern hills of the Heart Mountains
4) A story scenario with the NA and before/after some scenarios from the above mentioned possibilities (~3 companions or an allied computer player!?)
5) Scenarios from The Drowned Plains to finish mostly unchanged (gameplaywise)
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