Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

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Xalzar
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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Xalzar » January 16th, 2018, 10:44 am

Okay.
We should decide once and for all whether the Dunefolk are Human or Jinn or something else.
At this rate, with all this ambiguity, we risk to only derail the thread and disperse our efforts in too many directions. We need to close some doors and focus.

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by skeptical_troll » January 16th, 2018, 12:12 pm

I think they should be humans, first of all because making them something else would contradict almost everything was said/done about them so far, including the very recent poll about the race name; second because their current sprites are clearly representing humans and the need of new high-quality art would just indefinitely postpone any concrete progress; third because in my personal opinion a faction of semi-divine beings sounds a bit over the top.

That said, Jinns could certainly be part of their mythology, or could be rare entities with which they have sporadic interactions (IIRC they are mentioned in OoA as well).

I also agree with Pentarctagon, the race description should give enough elements to inspire campaigns, not to detail them. It's hard to find an author willing to build a campaign on someone else's idea, I reckon.

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by zepko » January 16th, 2018, 1:30 pm

I'll add my opinion on how I would like the Dunefolk to be characterized. The history of their origin is left not totally specified on purpose. The gaps are useful to leave design freedom to UMC and/or can be filled by future mainline content. Honestly, I do not like all this talk about Jinn, faeries, supernatural creatures, that has occurred in the last posts.

They are human (totally and only human), who share a common ancestor with what we call the Wesnoth humans, but this common ancestor is so far in time that it is not relevant anymore, as the two branches have followed different paths, adapting to different climates, environment and lifestyle (this could definitely have happened thousands or tens of thousands of years BW). Namely, we could have the Dunefolk originally thrive in a different part of the Old Continent (probably the southern part), rich of dunes, sand, and desert. They had one/some major cities with some form of loose central authority, but most people formed self organized (nomadic) groups of merchants, traders, explorers... They valued what today we can call "science" and "art", they were a refined civilization, proficient in the study of the nature (yes, I am talking also about natural healing elements). Some of their scholars specialized in the practice of magic, seen as the study of the natural powers rather than some form of supernatural manifestation. Here I am thinking to something related to the control of sand, earth and fire.

At some point, the desire for exploration intrinsic in the human nature lead them to the sea in front of their land, and to some islands they could see in the distance. Being not proficient in seafaring (they are a land, dunes, based civilization), they nonetheless decided to explore the first islands, then the islands a bit more far away, and so on. After some decades/centuries of island hopping, when they established colonies on most of the islands closer to their land, they decided to see what laid beyond the great ocean that extended in front of them. So a large expedition was organized, composed of people aware that their possible destination was far enough that they could possibly be unable to ever come back, if even they got there. Men and women alike left on the expedition, which, after months (years? how big is the world?), stopping on the sparse islands in the ocean, could finally reach the Great Continent (I can see a campaign telling the story of this epical journey). During the journey they had to face all kinds of dangers, and all those possessing magical knowledge among them lost their lives. Shortly after that, they were unable to figure the way back to their homeland (the island disappeared, the sea charts have been lost in a storm, they did not want to travel back for years, whatever).

Forced to an unknown land, they at first struggled to survive, then found lands similar to their homeland, where they started to establish cities and they slowly rebuilt their way of life. These facts can even have happened well before the arrival of Haldric and his group. I imagine this to be so far south in the Great Continent that the Elves or Dwarves they might have met here (if any at all), have no contact with those around Wesnoth.

After some centuries, the Dunefolk, now again a prosperous civilization, have finally crossed the desert south of Wesnoth and entered the story we know (here I can see a "first contact" campaign, where the Dunefolk and the Wesnothians meet for the first time).

BTW, this is just brainstorming. Also, I like the idea to replace the falcon with something more interesting, like a different animal, or a human mounting a different animal. Not a Jinn, this would add more supernatural stuff, which I think is not needed.

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Pentarctagon » January 16th, 2018, 2:03 pm

Cold Steel wrote:
Pentarctagon wrote:I also think that we need to be careful about introducing brand new cataclysmic events. Going through and describing/showing one, such as through UtBS, is one thing, but adding new world altering events has the potential to have a lot of side effects on existing canon. Enough room should also be left to allow UMC to explore aspects of the faction, and also ideally not break too greatly from what existing UMC has already used them for.
The faerie world "cooling and greening" irdya in primordial times is more along the lines of a creation myth (except in the sense it is truth). It is a back-back-back-history. It happens long before any in game events, so it does not change any world we ever see.
I think the Dunefolk having a creation myth is fine. The part I dislike is saying that theirs is the real or true creation story, since that then automatically makes every other creation story either wrong or conflict with canon.
Cold Steel wrote:
Pentarctagon wrote:Or to put it another way - the mainline race description and canon lore about the Dunefolk should be a baseline, not an all-encompassing description of everything.
I was trying to mimic the Drake's origin description. Describing where they came from and how they got to the great continent. But I can edit it down as need be for the wiki and help menu.

I just wanted to get enough of the wider concept out there for the purpose of discussion.
I wasn't responding to anything in particular that you had posted, it was just a general comment about what the goal should be for the description.
Xalzar wrote:Okay.
We should decide once and for all whether the Dunefolk are Human or Jinn or something else.
At this rate, with all this ambiguity, we risk to only derail the thread and disperse our efforts in too many directions. We need to close some doors and focus.
I also agree that they should be fully human. I know there have been more than a couple posts about how there are already too many humans(which is a fair point) and that making them not fully human would make them more interesting, but I think it's completely possible to make the Dunefolk interesting without having them be partially Jinn.
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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Xalzar » January 16th, 2018, 3:42 pm

We can give people more time to express their opinion, but I think I can already see some points in common among all the majority, and I think we could consider those points as more or less fixed by now.

Majority thinks Dunefolk:
-to be Human;
-to originate from the Old Continent;
-to have a decentralized form of authority;
-to be a refined culture expecially advanced in some science branches and arts.

Correct me if I'm wrong.
If the majority agrees, we can start build the rest from there foundations. The next major point of discussion should be how they arrived to the Great Continent for now IMO, which is a topic which saw various differents ideas from a few people.

I'll start giving my starting opinion on those what I remember, but I'm personally open to all of them really.
-Continental Bridge: it's a bit tricky, because I don't know how climate works in Irdya; if we reference the proposed map the continents are connected at the southern pole, and if the climate zones are Earth-like, it should be freezing there. We could also think of a different solution. In both cases, we should probably have an idea of the world map and I'm not sure if that is wanted. :hmm:
-Magical Bridge: it needs to have the Dunefolk ancestors as very capable magic users, since it's not easy feat. :hmm:
-Underground Tunnel: it need most probably a contact with Dwarves/Trolls to manage that. But at least there's a precedent in Burin the Lost. :eng:
-Portals: again, it requires magic users but at least there's the precedents of the Orcs. :eng:
-Isle-Hopping: probably the most realistic one. :eng:
-Oceanic Travel: in the past I have fantasized the Dunefolk to be also Saracin-like, able with navigation. In hindsight, then probably they would have explored sooner the coasts of Wesnoth so I don't know anymore. :hmm:

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by skeptical_troll » January 16th, 2018, 5:56 pm

Xalzar wrote:If the majority agrees, we can start build the rest from there foundations. The next major point of discussion should be how they arrived to the Great Continent for now IMO, which is a topic which saw various different ideas from a few people.
I agree, I think that with some creativity it would be possible to write a nice and brief description with those elements alone. Now I'm not 100% sure that specifying the means by which they moved to the GC is really necessary, after all. They could be described from a Wesnothian perspective, something along the lines of 'Dunefolk merchants first appeared in Weldyn in the XYZ YW, and soon thereafter it became clear that a new and sophisticated civilization was thriving south of the desert [...]' and keep some mystery on how they arrived there.

Anyway, if we want to iterate on the history of the migration, I think I can see two categories: the exodus vs the colonization, maybe we can start from choosing one of those? I'd tend to prefer the second for the sake of variety (we already have enough exodus stories, I reckon), but what do people think?

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Caladbolg » January 16th, 2018, 11:04 pm

My take on their backstory:
Dunefolk lived on the Old Continent with Wesfolk and the Djinn. Djinn are ethereal beings that can shroud themselves in flames, winds and sand. They can also make magical contracts (fulfilling wishes). Dunefolk interpret this as Djinn enchanting objects with their souls. By copying them, they develop a form of magic known as enchantments.

They capture the Djinn and use their souls to enchant metal objects (parallel to faeries supposedly being hurt by iron) like armors, swords, etc. (notable: keys that can open gates to other places). The greatest of these artefacts is the Lamp, which can imprison the Djinn and enchant other objects, basically bypassing the complex magical rituals usually needed for enchanting and streamlining the process. (Wesfolk copy these ideas and learn to enchant dead bodies with their original souls, anchoring them to the world- origins of necromancy.)

War between Dunefolk and Djinn breaks loose as Djinn don't want to be enslaved. Dunefolk see their sultan as a savior and bind their souls to his with a contract to make him immortal. Centuries later, the sultan is influenced by the voices of the Djinn in the Lamp and releases them. Hundreds of angry Djinn are released in the middle of the city which is subsequently destroyed. The Lamp is lost and the Djinn gain the upper hand.

The sultan tries to end the war by making a contract with the Djinn, giving up his immortality and magic. As his soul was bound to other Dunefolk, they lose magic as well. The remaining Dunefolk use a Sacred Key to open a gate to escape from the whole mess and end up in the south of the Great Continent slightly before Haldric's arrival (when he arrives, elves and dwarves think of his people as the first humans on the continent because they haven't encountered the Dunefolk yet- they haven't branched out of the desert yet).

The Dunefolk now don't have magic, but they still have some magical relics they use (e.g. mortars for grinding herbs enchanted to extract more healing juices than normally possible, maybe their flamethrowers have a bit of magic to help technology along, etc.). While there may be some Djinn in this desert as well, this particular group of Dunefolk doesn't hate the Djinn, but regards them with fear and respect. The Dunefolk also study magic but from a purely theoretical perspective, treating it much like they would mathematics.

Basically, this is a way to keep them a non-magical race while allowing for magical elements if needed (awesome healing, flamethrowers, etc.).

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Tad_Carlucci » January 17th, 2018, 2:04 am

In primary school, we all learned in school that Humans originated in the West, migrated to the Green Isle and, then, migrated to the Great Continent following its discovery by the Crown Prince of Southbay.

Imagine the surprise, however, when humans were found on the Great Continent who claimed to have been there far longer than the Wesfolk's arrivial in 12 BW!

The time has come to set aside prejudice and "common knowledge" and examine the facts.

First, we should ask did the Crown Prince actually discover the Great Continent? Set aside the argument that, obviously, he did not since the Dunefolk where already present. Recent research at the Mage College has uncovered ancient scrolls, apparently brought from the Green Isle, which appear to contradict this claim.

The main source of knowledge on the Green Isle was the Mage Council at the Green Tower. Not only did they strictly control all knowledge, they jealously guarded their position; claiming the Old Continent to the West had been utterly destroyed, leaving the Green Isle as the only dry land on the planet, surrounded entirely by water. Their teaching was that our planet, Irdya, is the center of the universe, the Green Isle is the center of Irdya, and the Green Tower is the center of the Green Isle.

According to these scrolls, about 30 BW, the Master Mage Leo gave a lecture claiming there was a great landmass to the East. He claimed that, as a Journeyman Mage, he had spent much of his time with mariners, learning their lore and ways. During this time, he claims, he learned of stories describing a magical land to the East filled with strange creatures. As he compared these legends, tall tales, and campfire stories, he because convinced there was a grain of truth to them. Shortly after attaining the rank of Master, Leo undertook a voyage to the East. Upon his return, he claimed to have verified the tales. Word of this, of course, soon came to the Mage Council at the Green Tower. Leo was arrested for his heretical statements and put to trial. According to the scrolls, he was given a choice of recant his claims or face imprisonment. After several years of solitary confinement, Leo finally relented stating "I have seen my errors and disavow my earlier claims and state, here and forever: there are no lands other than the Green Isle." This would have saved him had not one member of the Council heard him mutter, "Even though there are." Whereupon, Leo was immediately sentenced to death by hanging.

Now, some dispute the accuracy of these recently-discovered scrolls. But, in their defense, consider this: for centuries, mothers have admonished their children to "remember Gallowleo", or, more properly, as ancient histories put it "remember the Gallows, Leo." This, and other histories and traditions tend to favor the truth of these scrolls.

Remember also, as we all learned in primary school, The Master Mage Leo is renowned far and wide for his lectures on the nature and control of magic, but his later days and death has been shrouded in mystery. These new scrolls, however, dovetail nicely with the official story that he withdrew from public life, to live as a hermit high in the Green Tower, until his death.

One fact which has come down through the ages is that, as a child, the Crown Prince actually studied under Leo. Thus, if these scrolls can be believed, it seems highly likely the Crown Prince new precisely what he would find, how long the journey would take, and that he would be able to re-provision for his return. Quite simply, he heard and remembered his old mentor's teachings. What changed in those few years? Why would the Crown Prince be heralded, when Leo, just a few years earlier, was put to death for, basically, the same claim? The answer is simple: status. While the Council could easily put one of their own to trial, doing the same to a Royal, especially one so deeply involved in trade and finance, was beyond their power.

So, at least to some, the fact of the Great Continent was well known. How far back this knowledge might extend is unknown. But it appears that, contrary to the teachings of the Mage Council, some knew the Old Continent still existed in the West and that the Great Continent lied to the East of the Green Isle.

Let's turn now to the Dunefolk and study their legends. This is more problematic, since it appears that writing is a fairly new skill for them, dating back to sometime following the arrival of the Wesfolk. But many researchers (well, those who survived) have recorded a number of their oral traditions.

One recurring theme is the meeting of the "Red Haired Djinn". Djinn, of course, rarely have hair. As a result, many consider these nothing but tall tales. But consider the fact that sea trading captains from the Green Isle were generally from the Aer clan (Aer is believed to be an archipelago to the southern end of the Old Continent), red hair is common in those family lines, as is some magical ability. With the general lack of magical ability among the Dunefolk, one could easily see the red-haired human traders morphing over the years into the Red Haired Djinn. Of particular note is that some of these traditions make reference to events which have well-established dates. The oldest of these, the double-novae in the Sea Hag constellation is well dated to 2531 BW, long before the withdrawal of the Wesfolk from the Old Continent to the Green Isle, much less the journeys of the Crown Prince. These tales, therefore, tend to add credence to the belief that some Wesfolk, at least, had been visiting the southern areas of the Great Continent, and had been doing so for many, many years (perhaps several millennia) prior to its "discovery" by the Crown Prince.

When tracing the origin of the Dunefolk, we should consider their oral tradition. When we examine the reports of researchers, we find many tales vary from tribe to tribe; but their origin story remains remarkably unchanged. All Dunefolk, in fact, agree that they awoke far to the South, in a hostile land of giants and monsters, and walked for ages, through fire and ice, until they arrived in the desert lands they now inhabit. The question is: can we find any region of Irdya which meshes up with these tales? Of course we can. While archaeological evidence suggest that, at one time, the Southern Archipelago was a land bridge. But we don't need to go back that far. All we need to do is look back just 12000 years to the end of the last Ice Age to find a brief period of time where the open waters along the coastlines of both the Old Continent and the Great Continent, were frozen over. At that time, one could easily walk from one to the other through what would literally be a land of fire and ice. The reference to giants and monsters fits well with the Southern regions of the Old Continent. In addition, the location of the ancient Aer archipelago is widely held to be the chain of islands off the South-eastern coast of the Old Continent. Thus interaction between the red-haired Clan Aer and the Folk of the Dunes probably traces back several millennia.

From this analysis, we can see that the most likely sequence of events is that for some reason, most likely a surge in Orcish population, the Dunefolk split off from the rest of humankind in the Old Continent, migrating south, across the ice bridge, passing the southern chain of volcanoes, to find the desert lands of the Southern Great Continent.
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Re: Dunefolk (previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Can-ned_Food » January 17th, 2018, 4:30 am

Not too much nor too flowery.

Code: Select all

[race]
    
    description =  _"  Dunefolk.  It is said among their champions that sand, and not blood, flows in their arteries.  Those who are proven wrong are said to have lost their sand in the defeat, and that any liquid which issues is the repayment owed to the sands for their vanquished pride.
  Nevertheless, legs and skin acclimated through a lifetime living on the harsh dunes makes any warrior of the Dunefolk a formidable opponent when on their native terrain and in their native clime.  Forbidden the use of magic by their Djinn allies, they rely on swords, spears, and also on potent mixtures of substances which deliver either restorative or devastative results."

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Eagle_11 » January 17th, 2018, 10:02 am

The next major point of discussion should be how they arrived to the Great Continent for now IMO, which is a topic which saw various differents ideas from a few people.
I came to agree that we dont really need to define an origin for them actually, seeing as we dont really defined the origin of any species other than wesnothian humans, and that was only required because events are being told from their point of view. We dont know the exact origin of orcs either besides 'they are there in the north', the dunefolk can totally be discovered at chance by an wesnothian explorer whom set out to explore the sands. Seeing nobody arised concern regarding origin of orcs either we can went with 'they happent to be found are there in the south' with only little being known about them at all.
They could be described from a Wesnothian perspective, something along the lines of 'Dunefolk merchants first appeared in Weldyn in the XYZ YW, and soon thereafter it became clear that a new and sophisticated civilization was thriving south of the desert [...]' and keep some mystery on how they arrived there.
We should keep the wesnothian point of view that is consistent across all race descriptions, also to be applied to the dunefolk. Its probably best to leave the details like 'where are those guys really from ?' to Umc. It would be a shame to pick one and toast the rest seeing how there are multiple interesting ideas regarding their origins.

To make another contrib, here is what i had written for saracen caliphate faction description in one of my addons, there are probably some elements in there that can be recycled.
Spoiler:
edit: Most ideas we had sofar regarding an reason about their aversion to magic included the idea that they can grasp, understand the concept of magic, yet it was either forbidden to them or that themselves had forsaken the usage of it.
I would like to bring up another approach, what if they simply cant ? as in being incapable of using magic.
The reason could be a natural one like they cannot channel no matter how hard they try, or an artificial one like their society is based so much on materialistic views that the very thought is either alien or very hard to grasp for them.

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by name » January 17th, 2018, 4:34 pm

The orcs were lead to the great continent by the lich lord jevyan, through a combination of magical portals and ships likely captured from the islefolk. Their homeland (likely part of or near the old continent) is actually in the "distant west" from the green isle which itself is distantly west of the great continent.

The undead and necromancy knowledge were brought over to the great continent the same way by lich lords and possibly by wesfolk as well.

The drakes partially migrated to the great continent to escape the sinking of a few of the islands among their native tropical, volcanic archipelagos.

The mermish and naga are native to the ocean and go up and down the coasts and rivers of the great continent and other lands without difficulty.

The elves and trolls are some of the oldest natives of the great continent. Dwarves are native as well but likely appeared after them.

The saurian origin is not explicit but they do appear to be native to the great continent, never appearing anywhere else IIRC.
Last edited by name on January 18th, 2018, 2:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Celtic_Minstrel » January 18th, 2018, 2:10 am

Not particularly fond of the idea of dunefolk being forbidden magic through an alliance with jinn.
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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Tad_Carlucci » January 18th, 2018, 4:18 am

I agree. I'd prefer a previous bad experience, perhaps the same reason they migrated to the desert, lead to general prejudice against magic users which eventually bred the ability out of the gene pool (or, at least, greatly weakened magical abilities to a safe, acceptable level).
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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by skeptical_troll » January 18th, 2018, 2:12 pm

Tad_Carlucci wrote:Leo was arrested for his heretical statements and put to trial. According to the scrolls, he was given a choice of recant his claims or face imprisonment. After several years of solitary confinement, Leo finally relented stating "I have seen my errors and disavow my earlier claims and state, here and forever: there are no lands other than the Green Isle." This would have saved him had not one member of the Council heard him mutter, "Even though there are." Whereupon, Leo was immediately sentenced to death by hanging.

Now, some dispute the accuracy of these recently-discovered scrolls. But, in their defense, consider this: for centuries, mothers have admonished their children to "remember Gallowleo", or, more properly, as ancient histories put it "remember the Gallows, Leo." This, and other histories and traditions tend to favor the truth of these scrolls.
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: talking about avoiding historical references... Gave me a good laugh though!
Celtic_Minstrel wrote:Not particularly fond of the idea of dunefolk being forbidden magic through an alliance with jinn.
I don't think that all civilizations have to be proficient in magic, it's a discipline which requires efforts, knowledge and sometimes a natural predisposition. It's a tradition for Wesnothian, they have a magic academy in Alduin etc. but perhaps the dunefolk never pursued it and don't know much about it, having always focused on something else. They certainly know it exists but never managed to gain sufficient insight to master it, hence they preferred to deepen their knowledge in what was working best for them: medicine, alchemy/chemistry, astronomy ... Of course, this might change once they enter in contact with elves/Wesnoth in the Great Continent.

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Xalzar » January 18th, 2018, 3:07 pm

I like both options:
-the Dunefolk could be as prone to magic as the Wesnothian Humans, and repress and hide the few who have an affinity for it (for whatever reasons);
-they could indeed have a declining - or simply rarer - affinity for magic (for whatever reason).

We can even combine the two for maximum rarity! :lol:

Instead, I'd avoid saying that they can't do magic at all, since there are already units sprites and campaigns which show their magic capabilities.
Other than that, I think giving them no magic closes quite a few doors for "flavour development" and worsens the critiques of being a faction which has no place among the others. One thing is the MP faction (which can be magic-less, but we shall see when we discuss units), other is stripping them of magic by lore.

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