Drakes and Saurians

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Drakes and Saurians

Postby Whiskeyjack » September 16th, 2016, 4:22 pm

Hey there, folks. As is commonly accepted, there is some kind of alliance between Drakes and Saurians and while they are long established as allies in MP, mainline is still sorely lacking an explanation of their aquaintance. But as far as I know, both races are not connected as one body but rather scattered as different tribes/clans/??? across the land and sea.

1) What are your opinions on that alliance? Would it be mainly between two of those tribes/clans/??? or would there be some way that tied at least one of those races into the alliance on a bigger scale?

2) As we are in a high fantasy setting, we need a name for this. I´m inclined to simply call it The Pact, do you have other ideas/suggestions?

3) When and where would you place the story of that Pact in mainline history? What are your notions about the nature of this Pact?

I´m happy about every opinion, but I´m especially happy about any scrap of mainline info (race descriptions, unit descriptions, timeline, campaign dialogue) that is used to back those opinions :)
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Re: Drakes and Saurians

Postby ForestDragon » September 16th, 2016, 4:37 pm

hmmmm... the mainline is pretty vague on drakes/saurians themselves already, when it comes to culture, events, but about their relationship with saurians, i am not sure if mainline has EVER mentioned anything related to it at all. That's why UMC depicts drakes/saurians quite differently from eachother. But my favourites are: 1.saurians allying with drakes due to their discrimination by other races 2.them being mercenaries 3.some kind of distant genetic relationship (like saurians being much-less-direct descendants of dragons)
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Re: Drakes and Saurians

Postby Gyra_Solune » September 16th, 2016, 7:13 pm

I am personally slowly working on solidly establishing the nature of this!

I think it is unlikely the Drakes and Saurians are related too much, as it appears as though the Drakes migrated from far to the west, while Saurians seem to have been on the Great Continent for a very long time. They might be distant cousins of some kind, maybe, but inasmuch as humans are also distant cousins to orcs, dwarves, and elves. And actually, amusingly, I think that of all things, the magic of the Drakes is most closely related to elves, as it's somewhat more innate and connected into life energy, while the magic of saurians is more similar to what we see of orcish magic.

By the time the drakes actually start showing up on the Great Continent regularly (they're around once in Heir to the Throne but they have much more numerous and prominent showings around the cluster of campaigns around Eastern Invasion and Mal-Ravanal's rise), things are starting to look as we recognize them and all of the factions in mainline are in some way already explained. And basically the saurians are the only species around that aren't aligned with any specific group. All the other lesser races are called for - I'm pretty sure the naga alliance with the orcs is shown (and the trolls have long since been under their thumb), the outlaws being aligned with Knalga is shown to be established in Northern Rebirth, the ogres are even given a little bit in Eastern Invasion where the Loyalists capture some for their own purposes. Saurians are just kinda there! They're not very organized but in spite of the pressure and escalation of war, they're still doing alright. It makes sense that when the drakes show up and likely find themselves boxed in, the primary group to get allied to them is one that doesn't have existing engagements. And a drake-saurian alliance makes sense - saurians don't have to swear much in the way of fealty and probably get to keep any loot they find, all the drakes expect of them is to make sure the drakes will win. I doubt the saurians care if they don't get credit for their work, all they really want is plunder and their own freedom. And I don't think the drakes need the saurians to stay in line or anything since they know full well they'd ultimately mess the saurians up if it came down to a fight. So it's very likely a strictly military and strategic alliance!
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Re: Drakes and Saurians

Postby zookeeper » September 16th, 2016, 7:31 pm

The thing to keep in mind is that Default Era roughly represents factions around the years/decades surrounding HttT. So, the drake and saurian alliance doesn't really need to be a thing that has happened very often in history, or lasted very long; it could just be a historically significant one-off occurrence sometime during that period.

That said, I don't think there's any direct hooks in mainline based on which one could hypothesize details. I'm not really familiar with the few saurian-themed UMC there are, either, and I think the drake campaigns don't really explore the saurian alliance much if at all.

There's a certainly a gap of decent size to be filled there.
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Re: Drakes and Saurians

Postby Whiskeyjack » September 16th, 2016, 8:47 pm

Gyra_Solune wrote:(they're around once in Heir to the Throne but they have much more numerous and prominent showings around the cluster of campaigns around Eastern Invasion and Mal-Ravanal's rise)


That´s actually not really true. The drakes show up (kinda) big time in NR which is a few years after HttT.

zookeeper wrote:There's a certainly a gap of decent size to be filled there.


The big question to me is, how we want to fill that gap (if at all): With a one time alliance or with something of a longer history and if the latter, how big of an alliance (see question 1) ).

I´m mainly interested in opinions here, I didn´t expect much mainline info which I would have missed. Supposed we would take the latter option, what do you think for a name (see question 2) )?
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Re: Drakes and Saurians

Postby zookeeper » September 16th, 2016, 10:56 pm

Whiskeyjack wrote:The big question to me is, how we want to fill that gap (if at all): With a one time alliance or with something of a longer history and if the latter, how big of an alliance (see question 1) ).

Well, this is a bit circular but basically whichever works better. As said I don't really have any concrete ideas myself yet, so what I'd like to see is some brainstorming regarding different approaches.

I'll start with a wild theory: they have shared astrology, and their relations are partially determined by it. How the stars are aligned tells them whether it's time to go about their usual business separately, or whether it's time to join scaly hands in merry joint plunder and conquest of some non-lizard lands. Maybe they really don't even like each other (especially the drakes probably consider saurians inferior lizards), but generally dislike other races even more and feel like their astrology ties their fates together in some profound fashion.

So, vaguely similar to the orcish Great Horde; you don't always get along and might even fight each other, but on the rare occasion that the great manifest destiny of your people demands it, squabbling stops and (mostly) everyone falls in line. For saurians and drakes, these occasions would be determined by astrological events and cycles, and there could be various sorts of actions and traditions mandated by different events.
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Re: Drakes and Saurians

Postby skeptical_troll » September 17th, 2016, 9:26 pm

I'd like to think about it more as an one-off alliance during some historical events, or maybe a long alliance between two significant tribes of the two races. Saying that two races are allied regardless of the place and time sounds really simplistic to me. Any good story (and campaign) that could justify such alliance would work.

Random ideas:
An obvious/boring motivation could be a common enemy (even more obviously it can be Wesnoth).
They could share some sort of cult for dragons, ancient/rare beasts seen by both races as a more powerful and 'perfect' version of themselves and hence semidivine. In this case they may want to preserve/reconquer holy places (like graves of the mightiest dragons, or magic relics) from 'impious' invaders like human/elves/dwarves. Or they may undertake a joint effort to resurrect one of the legendary dragons to help them in their wars, with other races clearly freaking out at the idea and trying to stop them.

Another possible reason for the 'connection': saurians have something drakes totally lack, which is a line of 'knowledge/magic' units. Although magic in nature, drakes are all based on brute force, so I find it natural that they should respect and revere saurians' ability to heal, foresee the future and read the stars, even more so if they share some common cultural background. It could be that in time of trouble drakes consult saurian oracles for advice, or for curing sick tribe chiefs. Maybe saurians helped drakes in finding their way in migrations, thanks to their familiarity with stars and geography. If saurians were so important to drakes, they would clearly try to protect them when they can.
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Re: Drakes and Saurians

Postby Cold Steel » December 10th, 2016, 7:10 pm

Whiskeyjack wrote:I´m happy about every opinion, but I´m especially happy about any scrap of mainline info (race descriptions, unit descriptions, timeline, campaign dialogue) that is used to back those opinions


In tRoW, you slay a dragon living in a volcano that is very well supported by saurians.

You could build off of this to say these saurians are a cult of dragon worshipers or serfs to a dragon lord (and there could be many dragon lords / assumed living gods in the early great continent). Since HttT implies dragons are very rare or legendary in the wesnoth environs by its time period, we can assume races invading the great continent continue this processes of killing off dragons. IIRC, we also see more (living) dragons in campaigns set in earlier time periods than later ones.

Going back to tRoW, it also implies the drakes will soon be forced to invade the great continent as one of their islands sinks into the ocean.

So the campaigns imply that roughly around the same time the dragons are getting extirpated from the coastal region of the great continent, drakes are moving in. So the saurian tribes that had a close relationship with dragon(s) could easily switch over to following their collectively stronger and better equipped relatives, the drakes. These saurians either worship the drakes or serve as laborers in return for protection because of their respect for drake martial prowess and honor-based dependability.

Both are also oviparous, so they might cluster their vulnerably-stationary nesting sites for mutual protection. In LoW you see what happens to an actual city state of saurians that tries and fails to protect its nesting sites by themselves. The city state is whipped off the map in all future campaigns (this may have been an oversight though). According to the race description for drakes - "Drakes tend to make their homes in mountain caverns near volcanoes to protect their eggs, hatchings and forges."
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