Drakes in Mainline Campaigns

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Re: Drakes in Mainline Campaigns

Postby Whiskeyjack » January 20th, 2016, 9:52 pm

Cold Steel wrote:That actually should be changed; Drakes and Saurians should have at least some implicit connection emerge at some point. The other multiplayer factions that are formed from more than one race, have this at least somewhat reflected in the campaigns; you often have loyalists + mermish, elves + woses, orcs + trolls, undead + bats, etc.
Especially NR is focused on the formation of the Knalgan Alliance between Dwarves and lowly Humans.


Well, I guess here our viewpoints differ significantly. The humans in NR are either only the loys or both sides and IIRC, there is no multiplayer faction that fits any campaign completely. MP factions are a ragtag bunch built for a) getting all standard units into MP games and b) be balanced, but have only weak connections to the game. And from my point of view the campaigns should be centered around the Wesnoth lore and not around somehow forging artificial links to make MP fit fully into cannon.

And: Loys + Mermen? :shock: I remember HttT which is Rebels+Knalga+Mermen and DW (I guess there is TRoW, but if you ignore timelines to this point, I don´t see on what an argument for an important connection between lore and MP could be based), which is pretty much only Mermen, which campaign features Loys+Mermen? Elves+woses is a natural, bats ARE part of the undead (which thus isn´t supporting your argument either) only leaving trolls+orcs...

Cold Steel wrote:Tastefully inserting the Drakes into a few scenarios would cost much less effort than completely reworking the entire HttT campaign though.


True, but still unnessecary if HttT needs to be reworked anyway and there are better candidate campaigns for this. If you take a look at HttT there are only two scenarios in which you could easily insert Drakes anyway (scenario 18: A Choice Must Be Made and scenario 19a Snowplains, if you replace the orcs with Drakes - though that would already result in some need for bigger reworks, as you´d have to change the timeframe of the campaign or reposition the battlefield as a battle with Drakes on wintery snow plains seems so forced as to be galling) - the Arkan Thoria route already has them and the scenarios before Knalga have to stay with (mainly) orcs, as this is not only a mayor plotpoint spanning multiple campaigns but also a red string continued from the early days of Haldric and TRoW. I fail to see where this would be worth the work, but if you have better ideas here, I´d be interested to hear them.

Cold Steel wrote:Almost certainly true. Yet it can save some wasted effort to get at least tepid approval first.


Fair enough.

Gyra_Solune wrote:What I'm proposing is that, while drakes are spotted here and there throughout the story, a little bit before the period of Mal-Ravanal's rise to power is where they migrated over en masse due to natural disasters in their home archipelago. The ones seen in Dead Water would actually make an appearance as a splinter group, but for the most part the reason they'd be so seldom seen is a combination of factors - they center in a somewhat inhospitable wild frontier area seldom visited, and they're a touch conservative in their expansion not only due to infighting having weakened their numbers, but also due to having fought with Mal-Ravanal's forces, and we all know the kind of havoc that ensues when drakes clash with undead.


Just a reminder: In NR which is a considerable time before EI Krash is able to fly away for a short time and muster a considerable force of Drakes to assist in overthrowing the orcish stranglehold on the north. This would probably mean at least one tribe of non-neglectable size in the Heart Mountains at this point in time.


I see another problem which easily justifies that the enemies are so often orcs and seldomly Drakes: Most campaigns play in the timeframe between the orcs´ regaining of strength after Haldrics times and the final end to the overbearing threat they pose: NR. On the other hand in that time Drakes seem to not have reached mainland on a scale felt by the other races (especially for versions as suggested by Gyra_Solune). There just aren´t enough campaigns from the early times of Wesnoth (where saurians could/would play a big role) and the latter years where Drakes might become a force to be reconed with. On a related note: Has anyone mentioned SotBE yet? Wouldn´t this - at least from a timeline and lore point of view - be by far the campaign most suited for involving Drakes on a larger scale, being situated so late and so far north?
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Re: Drakes in Mainline Campaigns

Postby zookeeper » January 20th, 2016, 11:52 pm

Cold Steel wrote:Well, the current lore already covers why they are not too common; their preference for unsettled land (they are usually far away), needing a wide hunting ground (they are spread out) and favoring inactive volcanoes as sites of hatcheries (they are relatively rare).

But I don't think their rarity is really a desirable or intentional thing. As zookeeper said, drakes were added as a race and faction too late to be a part of most now mainlined campaigns. As those campaigns are very slowly modernized and improved, this can be fixed and the lore on drakes rewritten to reflect their relative commonness, unless there is reason enough not to.

Actually, when the race descriptions for most races were being written (sometime during the 1.12-1.16 era), the drake description was specifically tailored to fit their rarity; they're relatively few in numbers and live in areas not commonly populated by humans and elves, because that worked as an explanation for why they're seen so rarely in mainline campaigns.

I don't think that's the kind of lore that needs to change anytime soon, even if we got a lot more drake appearances. No matter what happens, they're still going to be rare compared to almost anyone else.

Whiskeyjack wrote:On a related note: Has anyone mentioned SotBE yet? Wouldn´t this - at least from a timeline and lore point of view - be by far the campaign most suited for involving Drakes on a larger scale, being situated so late and so far north?

Certainly. There's several filler battles in the campaign where drakes could potentially be shoehorned in.

However, one should still remember that adding a race as an enemy in a filler scenario is a very light patch on the problem; it still won't really make them part of the actual plot or make them an actor in the larger events of the world. That's something that really requires a campaign that features them in a major role. Of course that's not to say light patches like that have no value at all.
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Re: Drakes in Mainline Campaigns

Postby Gyra_Solune » January 21st, 2016, 1:00 am

Okay, so looking a bit more carefully at the timeline, there's definitely a distinct window of time drakes become slighly more often seen and a pretty clear timeline - they first show up in Rise of Wesnoth, before the actual arrival at Wesnoth, a place closer to the far west than to the main continent. They aren't seen again for five hundred years, when they show up in HttT - but only once, in a very minor optional encounter, signifying this is a relatively small migration, given people are surprised they're even there. At this point all of their appearances happen during a very short era - they have a major role at the end of Northern Rebirth, show up during Hammer of Thursagan, and 100 years later appear somewhat briefly in Dead Water - their last showing. A great migration from the West could easily be explained by a major natural disaster around year 500 where their major appearances have them in the North. This is a ways off from the prominence of undead forces, but they are still present - Hammer of Thursagan has a fairly sizable force of them at the end, signifying there's likely something stirring among the orders of dark mages there.

So yeah, what I'm thinking: right around 530 they begin to establish their power base and are prominent around Knalga. At some point they establish hostility with mermen: I chose to explain this as a catastrophic encounter with the re-stabilized Wesnoth kingdom having made an alliance with the merfolk of Jotha (largely instituted due to Konrad's great aid in freeing them early in HttH). 580-ish, and the initial centralized united clans of drakes split up (a scenario I'd intended to be the very opening of the drake campaign - might hold it off for a little bit, it's characterized). Central events of the campaign and the son of that leader rising to power again, but this comes right around Mal-Ravanal's ascension and the drake clans take heavy casualties after confrontations in the east, made only worse by the much greater migration of humans to the North, and even further threatened come a century by the rise of orcish warlords and the reach of the Great Horde. So by 750 after their brief rise in prominence, the drakes are largely reduced to inhabiting the most inhospitable areas of the mid-north in very scarce numbers - a very small window, just 200 years.

Even though that's a very busy 200 years with roughly half the mainline campaigns occurring, it's understandable we don't see drakes much - all of the most 'iconic' campaigns take place before then. Their rarity is much less a weird quirk and more that their timeline naturally leads them to being in very small numbers. But yeah, thank you for pointing this out - I'm mapping out this campaign idea of mine with the intent of it being the official mainline one, with no frills and somewhat normal gameplay and only a tiny amount of new units (only three really, namely level 3 units for the two Saurian mages and the Great Ogre which is a very likely candidate to be mainlined anyway), so it is good to have help!

...A small detail does interest me though - it's likely drakes are somewhat more native to the mysterious western continent where humans came from, and of note is the design for drake villages, a slightly mesoamerican motif to them, with lots of stepped pyramids and the like. I'm intrigued by the idea of architecture and culture of the West being appropriately somewhat more like the early Americas, and people having migrated and creating a more typical medieval society from their exodus. If there ever is a sort of Aztecy Maya-ish faction conceived of, then drakes are very likely to figure extremely heavily into their history and that's where we'd see them in heavy proportions. Of particular interest is the possibility of how those humans could have maybe been the ones to begin the practices of black magic, things like the Aztec origin of the Day of the Dead and the generally more macabre nature of that region's folklore particularly inspire me. Sort of a more colorful and varied sort of thing, instead of the extremely utilitarian and laser-guided focus of the existing Undead faction we know and love. But I have gotten a bit sidetracked here ^^;
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Re: Drakes in Mainline Campaigns

Postby Cold Steel » January 21st, 2016, 2:01 am

zookeeper wrote:Actually, when the race descriptions for most races were being written (sometime during the 1.12-1.16 era), the drake description was specifically tailored to fit their rarity; they're relatively few in numbers and live in areas not commonly populated by humans and elves, because that worked as an explanation for why they're seen so rarely in mainline campaigns.


Isn't that exactly what makes it unintentional though?
If campaign writers had access to drakes way-back-when, they likely would have included them at about the same rate of occurrence as any other race/faction in their campaigns. If the drakes were well represented in the campaigns, the lore would have been written to give them more territory and influence on other factions. No?

zookeeper wrote:However, one should still remember that adding a race as an enemy in a filler scenario is a very light patch on the problem; it still won't really make them part of the actual plot or make them an actor in the larger events of the world.


Many mainline campaigns could use a good B story though. After (or long before honestly) about 10 or 15 scenarios, running away from enemy X, questing for artifact Y or seeking the answer to mystery Z becomes tiresome. Having a thoughtful B gives the player something else to think/worry about, something that seems unrelated to the main focus at first. But then in the end, the B story comes crashing into the A story line, in some surprising way.

HttT already provides us with an example how well this can work:
Spoiler:

Similarly, a drake warband could play a B in a campaign that lacks that kind of storytelling fun.
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Re: Drakes in Mainline Campaigns

Postby Cold Steel » January 21st, 2016, 3:23 am

Whiskeyjack wrote:And from my point of view the campaigns should be centered around the Wesnoth lore and not around somehow forging artificial links to make MP fit fully into cannon.


I think we should consider gameplay to be equal in importance to lore. While coherent, thoughtful, well executed lore connects scenarios and holds the player's long term interest, actually playing the scenarios is what the player will be spending the most time doing. If every campaign is mostly orc rush, orc rush, orc rush, orc rush, orc rush or undead, undead, undead... the player might as well just read the dialogue off the wiki.

Also I cannot see how the multiplayer factions are in anyway outlandish either. All pairings seem coherent with the story world and make practical sense since complementing each other's strengths and weaknesses in warfare would grant such allies a survival advantage.

Whiskeyjack wrote:I remember HttT which is Rebels+Knalga+Mermen and DW (I guess there is TRoW, but if you ignore timelines to this point, I don´t see on what an argument for an important connection between lore and MP could be based)


That actually seems like a good number of examples in favor of a connection. ;) Also, I do not recall if it was in TRoW or HttT, but either Haldric or Konrad granted generous riparian (or coastal?) land rights to the mermish in recognition of their assistance in battle. I don't think any other non-human race ever got land rights in the Kingdom of Wesnoth (albeit on the fringe).

Whiskeyjack wrote:Elves+woses is a natural, bats ARE part of the undead (which thus isn´t supporting your argument either) only leaving trolls+orcs...


I don't see how natural doesn't count. Bats are alive, they suffer from poison, plague and drain, just like necromancers and adepts (or are they now undead as well and not living humans?) Trolls and orcs we agree on then. I seem to recall orcs and naga more than once...

Whiskeyjack wrote:I fail to see where this would be worth the work, but if you have better ideas here, I´d be interested to hear them.


Possibilities:

3: Isle of Alduin
5B: Isle of the Damned
10: Gryphon Mountain
12: Northern Winter
16: Hasty Alliance
18: A Choice Must Be Made
19A: Snow Plains
19B: Swamp of Dread (saurians, not drakes)
20B: Underground Channels (drakes shifted to computer controlled allies with dialogue, possible drake recruits afterwards)

Note that different drake warbands can play enemies or allies in different scenarios and they could as often as not supplement rather than replace an existing orc or undead appearance.
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Re: Drakes in Mainline Campaigns

Postby Celtic_Minstrel » July 28th, 2016, 5:02 am

I think it's great that there's discussion of increasing the drakes' presence in mainline campaigns, but I think the best way would be to create (or mainline) a campaign in which they play a focal role - either you can recruit drakes (for a significant portion of the campaign, if not right from the start), or drakes are the primary enemy.

I also think that their association with saurians should have support from the lore. It doesn't need to be anything like a formal alliance; perhaps some drake warbands have been known to hire them as mercenaries, or maybe saurians control a resource which drakes consider precious and thus often engage in trade relations.
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Re: Drakes in Mainline Campaigns

Postby ForestDragon » July 28th, 2016, 6:34 pm

Celtic_Minstrel wrote:I also think that their association with saurians should have support from the lore. It doesn't need to be anything like a formal alliance; perhaps some drake warbands have been known to hire them as mercenaries, or maybe saurians control a resource which drakes consider precious and thus often engage in trade relations.

yeah, i also think they have a mercenary-ish relationship, if i am not mistaken, drakes value honor, and despise cowaridice, so, to not ashame themselves by using 'cowardly' (in their opinion) tactics, they probably hire saurians to do the sneaking/ambushing/flanking/ect. instead
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Re: Drakes in Mainline Campaigns

Postby Celtic_Minstrel » July 28th, 2016, 6:57 pm

That explanation doesn't sit right with me. If they despise cowardice that much, why would they hire people who engage in what they see as cowardly behaviour? I think it's more likely a question of ability - saurians are small and agile, more suitable for such things than the large and bulky drakes.
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Re: Drakes in Mainline Campaigns

Postby Eagle_11 » July 28th, 2016, 7:21 pm

Maybe some of the more morally flexible Drake Enclaves also enslave Saurians as an servant species, not necessarily hiring them.
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Re: Drakes in Mainline Campaigns

Postby FelixMage » July 29th, 2016, 12:23 am

I always viewed the Drakes as having relatively low fertility, which makes them value each soldier, and unable to risk their lives as much as other races would.
Hence they hire/enslave Saurians since they are on the exact opposite end of the spectrum, very numerous but not nearly as strong.
When the Drakes need some expendable and/or small and agile troops, they send Saurians. Doesn't matter if it is a dangerous mission, or they simply need someone to hold the enemy troops until the Drake reinforcements arrive.
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Re: Drakes in Mainline Campaigns

Postby Celtic_Minstrel » July 29th, 2016, 12:36 am

That's an interesting reason. I'm not entirely sure if I like it, but I do think it's better than the honour-based explanation.
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Re: Drakes in Mainline Campaigns

Postby ForestDragon » July 29th, 2016, 4:54 am

Celtic_Minstrel wrote:That's an interesting reason. I'm not entirely sure if I like it, but I do think it's better than the honour-based explanation.

yeah, i guess so too, plus, to back up that theory, remember the discussion a few posts before about how rare the drakes are? that actually provides a decent explantion too.
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Re: Drakes in Mainline Campaigns

Postby Cold Steel » August 22nd, 2016, 11:44 pm

Celtic_Minstrel wrote:I think it's great that there's discussion of increasing the drakes' presence in mainline campaigns, but I think the best way would be to create (or mainline) a campaign in which they play a focal role - either you can recruit drakes (for a significant portion of the campaign, if not right from the start), or drakes are the primary enemy.


I would say both are important. Drakes are long overdue for their own mainline campaign. At the same time, to seem like an actual part of the world, they need to be seen playing a part in it even when they are not the center of attention. Further, playing as a faction is not the same gameplay experience as playing against it. So there is a gameplay benefit to having drakes show up at least once as an opponent in each faction's campaign.

Celtic_Minstrel wrote:I also think that their association with saurians should have support from the lore. It doesn't need to be anything like a formal alliance; perhaps some drake warbands have been known to hire them as mercenaries, or maybe saurians control a resource which drakes consider precious and thus often engage in trade relations.


The clearest explanation is they both live so far into the wilderness. The drakes prefer isolated homes and need vast ranges for foraging, while saurians don't seem to be tolerated by anyone else and probably must nest beyond the borders of other civilizations. So geographic isolation means there is no one else for either to ally with.
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Re: Drakes in Mainline Campaigns

Postby skeptical_troll » August 25th, 2016, 12:06 pm

I must say that I really like the current mystery aura around drakes, the fact that they appear so rarely and we know so little about them make them a fascinating element of the BfW world. I personally hope that if a mainline campaign on drakes is ever made, it will try to preserve this feeling instead of explaining every possible detail about their history and nature.

Concerning the connection with saurians: from what we can guess of the current mainline material, both races tend to inhabit wilderness, as Cold Steel says, although in different kind of environments: mountains and hidden valleys for drakes, swamps for saurians. I think this is good, otherwise they would be more in competition than in collaboration. I don't think an explanation based on racial traits would be convincing though, alliances are formed to face common threats or for mutual protection, so I think a historical motivation should be given in this to-be mainline drake campaign.
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Re: Drakes in Mainline Campaigns

Postby ForestDragon » August 25th, 2016, 12:10 pm

skeptical_troll wrote:I must say that I really like the current mystery aura around drakes, the fact that they appear so rarely and we know so little about them make them a fascinating element of the BfW world. I personally hope that if a mainline campaign on drakes is ever made, it will try to preserve this feeling instead of explaining every possible detail about their history and nature.

i understand that, plus, it's pretty fun to look at the different ways UMC campaigns portray them as :)
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