Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Celtic_Minstrel » March 8th, 2018, 3:54 am

Cold Steel wrote:
March 7th, 2018, 7:11 am
Humans quickly expand over any unclaimed land they can reach and in any direction. The only areas that would remain unknown/inaccessible to them on their home landmass would be those places already occupied by a group of similar strength and territoriality.
Even assuming your premise (that they'll expand anywhere they can reach) is correct, that's assuming there isn't someone already in the place they'd want to expand into. The orcs in particular would be a good obstacle to expansion. Monsters such as dragons could be another.

Apart from that, I think your premise is also flawed. Sure, humans have quite a history of expansion, but humans can also become settled down in one place and not leave for long periods of time.
Cold Steel wrote:
March 7th, 2018, 7:11 am
Furthermore, people who have sea travel, explore much faster and more aggressively along the coast than they do over open ocean for many apparent reasons. A seafaring civilization as advanced as the islefolk and their parent civilization before the time of the lich lords, before colonizing the green isle and later the great continent across who knows how much open ocean in both cases, would easily have been able to circumnavigate their home landmass and set up colonies or city states wherever viable.
You're assuming the continent is circumnavigable. Plus, you're again assuming all humans are expansionists.
Cold Steel wrote:
March 7th, 2018, 7:11 am
When have you ever seen more than one or maybe two dragons in one place? Or seen any evidence of reproducing and maturing to their great size at even a moderate rate? Because without both massing in the hundreds and being able to competitively replace their numbers, they will be worn away through attrition by the organized, populous and fast reproducing races over some period of time or another. They are rare creatures that seemingly avoid their own kind, each fall to half a dozen average warriors working in concert, are never seen replacing themselves and are extirpated by the arrival of civilization.
Sure, we've never seen more than one or maybe two dragons in one place. But no-one knows where they breed or generally live, and there's a large area of the Great Continent that is still unknown. I don't think it's a stretch to say there might be a hundred or more dragons out there. Of course, that's not enough to explain an expedition actually encountering a bunch of these dragons all at once, but I can think of one reason why dragons might gather - for mating flights. It's probably even a regular occurrence (eg, every ten years), and they may well tend to choose the same locations every time. If dragons are primarily from the south, either the Great Continent or that hypothetical third continent (or even just a bunch of islands) between the other two, then perhaps it would make sense for migrating dunefolk to encounter them and barely survive to tell the tale.
skeptical_troll wrote:
March 7th, 2018, 10:08 am
Mongols, Persians, Arabs, Byzantines etc.. lived across all kinds of environment, not just deserts. And obviously their major settlements were in fertile areas. So it should be for the dunefolk: there could be small villages in oasis and deserts, sure, but the main cities should be in fertile valleys. It's not that hard to imagine reasons for them living close to a desert: presence of mineral resources, defensive advantage, strategical position to control trade routes etc.. Besides, if centuries have passed since tRoW, certainly orcs and humans had spread to other favorable regions in the continent, which may have forced the dunefolk to choose an unoccupied, defendable niche.
Well, it has already been suggested that the core of dunefolk civilization lies on the river that divides the two areas of desert. That suggests they might be a little like the Egyptians in some ways, or perhaps the Babylonians.

And yeah I could believe that some of the Wesfolk migrated further east and are still living there separate from Wesnoth.
Cold Steel wrote:
March 7th, 2018, 5:12 pm
their arrival from someplace beyond irdya.
Which is actually quite an interesting idea in its own right, though I doubt we'll be going that way for Wesnoth lore.
Cold Steel wrote:
March 7th, 2018, 5:12 pm
That explanation only becomes the same kind of problem. Any race that could and would block technologically advanced humans with advanced seafaring from expanding across the access path to the great continent completely, would themselves expand into and take over the vast unoccupied swathes of that land.
Again, you're assuming people can't possibly not expand unchecked. That aside, I don't see this making the problem worse. The two races would be an obstacle to each others' expansion.
Cold Steel wrote:
March 7th, 2018, 5:12 pm
Dragons blocking the movement of stone age peoples would be like humans blocking the movement of mice and rats in any way. We certainly have tried, and we certainly have failed, due to their much higher reproduction, much lower food requirements and ability to spread out and hide well beyond our abilities to sense and pursue them.
Okay, you have a point here about the ability of large species to keep small ones in check.
Cold Steel wrote:
March 7th, 2018, 5:12 pm
I too find it funny that such strict adherence to human history is required for this one faction in a fantasy setting, such that it must be made up of ordinary humans with no magic practice, that none the less show up out of nowhere from the other side of the world on cue but then cease expanding or roaming beyond a small desert.
I find it funny that you're saying this when you're one of the ones arguing for strict adherence to human history.
Cold Steel wrote:
March 7th, 2018, 5:12 pm
Islefolk, their parent civilization on the old continent and in some ways even wesfolk, have seafaring technology well beyond polynesians. So even if the dunefolk are a backwards people there are other human civilization(s) that are more than capable.
Civilization is not a strict ordering. The dunefolk can be worse at seafaring but better at other things.
Caladbolg wrote:
March 7th, 2018, 7:34 pm
Most of your other objections boil down to you claiming that if something were possible, it'd already be done. If there were no barriers everyone would've crossed long ago, etc. But there's a myriad of reasons why someone might not do something he can do. Being able to do something does not necessitate doing that thing.
This seems like a good summary of the core issues with Cold Steel's arguments.
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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by name » March 8th, 2018, 6:09 am

Pentarctagon wrote:
March 8th, 2018, 1:21 am
If anyone feels really strongly that they should be removed, then that's fine, but you should start your own thread.
At this point, it would make sense to wait for some months after the next stable release to see how much of an improvement there is in the relative number of online games played with the dunefolk era and where this improvement plateaus. Since if most players play stable, this can be used to objectively assess the effect of all the renames within a reasonable time frame.
Pentarctagon wrote:
March 8th, 2018, 1:21 am
As far as "fundamental features" and such of the faction, the only thing that I really consider to be fundamental is that they keep their focus on being near east/middle eastern in design and inspiration.
That is my feeling as well.

Celtic_Minstrel wrote:
March 8th, 2018, 3:54 am
I think your premise is also flawed. Sure, humans have quite a history of expansion, but humans can also become settled down in one place and not leave for long periods of time.
Only if all behavior in that society is uniform and population remains flat or declines. In reality you would have hunters and outlaws that would wander out to escape the settled lands. Then as population pressure mounts, nearby wild land is converted into agricultural land.

The only times when some peoples appear static, is when surrounding population pressures or obstacles block expansion or remove its advantages. And even then you have migration, it is just not as obvious that it is occurring because one people is subtly diffusing into another.

Wesnoth's humanity is certainly no different, it has waves of expansion in every cardinal direction that is not ocean, even including pushes far into the north land that was dominated by orcish tribes, starting around ~600 YW. And who knows how far the furthest flung unrecorded offshoots of the civilization might have traveled eastward into the heart of the continent, by that time. Orcs might steal the show when it comes to aggressive expansionism, but canonical human expansionism is quite fierce in its own right.
Celtic_Minstrel wrote:
March 8th, 2018, 3:54 am
You're assuming the continent is circumnavigable.
Not really, semi-circumnavigable accomplishes the same thing. Or having more than one seafaring people in all of humanity.
Celtic_Minstrel wrote:
March 8th, 2018, 3:54 am
Again, you're assuming people can't possibly not expand unchecked. That aside, I don't see this making the problem worse. The two races would be an obstacle to each others' expansion.
Only along whatever border they share with each other. Whoever blocks the way of the other can themselves expand along that same way. And no border stretches in both directions forever, so you can always go around a stubborn people.
Celtic_Minstrel wrote:
March 8th, 2018, 3:54 am
Okay, you have a point here about the ability of large species to keep small ones in check.
For what it is worth, I really like the idea of dragons populating the more equatorial landmasses in greater numbers. I have had the same thought myself and even like to think of it being the truth. It is only the concept of an impermeable dragon barrier that is hard to subscribe to.
Celtic_Minstrel wrote:
March 8th, 2018, 3:54 am
I find it funny that you're saying this when you're one of the ones arguing for strict adherence to human history.
At the very least one should expect internal consistency from a concept. I much prefer historical settings being historically accurate and fantasy settings being imaginative.

So if the dunefolk are still being sold as a puritanically mundane, history based multiplayer faction, then they should at least live by their own standards in their back story. That is, if they are ordinary humans with ordinary abilities, then they should not be able to do things ordinary humans cannot.
Celtic_Minstrel wrote:
March 8th, 2018, 3:54 am
Civilization is not a strict ordering. The dunefolk can be worse at seafaring but better at other things.
The argument you quoted is referring to the seafaring islefolk and the necessarily seafaring old continent civilization they are an offshoot of, plus any similar seafaring cultures in that part of the world we have not explicitly heard of.

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by skeptical_troll » March 8th, 2018, 8:39 am

Cold Steel wrote:
March 8th, 2018, 6:09 am
I much prefer historical settings being historically accurate and fantasy settings being imaginative.
about this, I'd like to specify that while I wouldn't like them to be magic-based, that doesn't mean that they shouldn't be a fantasy faction. In particular
  • they live in a fantasy world with different rules than Earth and they may interact, in their history, with other people and beasts which are magical.
  • they could be fantasy in a 'medieval sci-fi' sense. They already have unrealistic flamethrowers, they could have developed other fancy technologies to do other things, like melting ice (with a flame thrower is easy!), digging mines, burning enemy ships from a distance like Archimedes...
  • Above (too many words ago :D ) I suggested that they may use tamed fantastic animals. IIRC you suggested some prehistorical Rhino, which sounded cool, or it could be rocs (although too similar to gryphons). I suggested to insert the wyvern rider as there are already awesome sprites and it could be added straight away. Such animals would also be suggestive of their origin from a far-away land, and maybe taming them was the 'technology' that triggered their expansion.
  • In a fantasy setting both barriers (natural or not) and routes can be very different from the real world. There could be lands which are full of volcanoes continuously erupting, tunnels under the sea or under the pole, swathes of sea with constant storms/whirlpools/waterspouts etc.
I just don't like the idea of making them sort of sand-based spirits that lives in the desert because that's what sand spirits do, to me it feels like giving up in building a background story and a lost opportunity to expand Wesnoth's lore.
Cold Steel wrote:
March 8th, 2018, 6:09 am
Pentarctagon wrote: ↑Today, 1:21 am
If anyone feels really strongly that they should be removed, then that's fine, but you should start your own thread.
At this point, it would make sense to wait for some months after the next stable release to see how much of an improvement there is in the relative number of online games played with the dunefolk era and where this improvement plateaus. Since if most players play stable, this can be used to objectively assess the effect of all the renames within a reasonable time frame.
About this usage problem, I think that as long as they are separate from default, especially with a note about the era not being balanced, people will keep being suspicious about them, regardless of the names. What's top MP players' stance on the matter at the moment? How far are they from balance? That looks like the priority to me. Once they are considered balanced, there could be a 'default' which includes dunefolk, and a 'default without dunefolk' for those who don't like them. If then people will keep avoiding them, that will be telling.

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by name » March 8th, 2018, 5:10 pm

skeptical_troll wrote:
March 8th, 2018, 8:39 am
I'd like to specify that while I wouldn't like them to be magic-based, that doesn't mean that they shouldn't be a fantasy faction.
Well, they really are not a fantasy faction though (as I have been repeatedly told as much). Will to change this aspect of them among the, I guess, half dozen or so people who are really passionate about dunefolk is highly limited. Like maybe one or two token units worth of change, if pushed into it. Anything more is considered swapping out the whole faction for an ugly changeling with the same name.

And they are a multiplayer faction, not a campaign with a story line and cast of characters, so their units and the encompassing theme of these units are what makes them themselves. Their back story should support what they are. And what they are is a group of long time desert dwellers pulled from history.
skeptical_troll wrote:
March 8th, 2018, 8:39 am
I just don't like the idea of making them sort of sand-based spirits that lives in the desert because that's what sand spirits do, to me it feels like giving up in building a background story and a lost opportunity to expand Wesnoth's lore.
Well by rough headcount, maybe 4 of us like or potentially like the sand spirit idea, against maybe 6 who similarly dislike it. So right now, there does not appear to be enough political consensus for it to happen anyway.

But I will say that it is unfair to claim such an idea could not or would not have the same depth or more depth as dragging a second group of humans with limited means across the whole world again, to interact with the first group of humans in the same vicinity and time period. Instead of bending over backwards to make it look like we are not repeating ourselves, when we basically are, and damaging the plausibility of canon to do so, the lore could be focused expanding on what actually is in the vast and unexplored great continent via an actually native race (rather than a familiar loaner from the old continent).

A race with a history all its own, reaching far into the past of this great continent which the land of wesnoth is only a small part of. Perhaps coming from the vast unexplored interior lands, with a culture and history no younger than that of the elves. Maybe with atypical motivations stemming from their unique culture, history and needs.

That has way more potential to expand wesnoth's lore, than plot devices to explain how more humans got here to this specific time and place and why they are so specifically adapted to the desert when that isn't even how you would get here. (And then the elaborate plot devices used to get them here are left behind or destroyed in a cataclysm, having no further impact on the story anyway.)
skeptical_troll wrote:
March 8th, 2018, 8:39 am
About this usage problem, I think that as long as they are separate from default, especially with a note about the era not being balanced, people will keep being suspicious about them, regardless of the names.
Well, there are quite a lot of people out there playing UMC eras, so the online community is far from suspicious by nature. Shoving the faction in everyone's face using default era affects the image of the wider wesnoth project, since that era is what the team is putting forward as its best work.

You can always fall back to an argument of "but maybe if X then kalifa/khalifate/dunefolk would become popular". At some point you have to draw the line and say okay, enough chances, enough unfair advantages, it just does not work.
skeptical_troll wrote:
March 8th, 2018, 8:39 am
What's top MP players' stance on the matter at the moment? How far are they from balance? That looks like the priority to me.
As far as I have seen, there is no usage of khalifate era in ladder matches. I do not think balance can be quantified like "63% balanced"; each change meant to improve one aspect readily makes unintended consequence that lead to emergent player strategies the balance adjuster never imagined. It also takes some time for the skilled player base to develop these emergent strategies, which is inversely proportional to the size of said player base, so you have delayed responses to balance changes measured in months. When I ask the best players about what balance problems and corresponding solutions they see, I get some consensus on the problems but not the solutions.

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Xalzar » March 8th, 2018, 6:37 pm

A polite advice: I think the more talkative people in this thread should leave some space for others to express their opinion instead of replying to each other constantly, or at least, slow down the rate of their comments. It could make this thread more readable, too. As an example I wanted to highlight some points expressed in a post but now I have to dig pages of discussion in search of it. :doh: (the post which I cannot find right now is the one where dialogue snippets of the TRoW campaign were reported, I think it was one of MatBrush's posts?)

Let's calm down and if possibly, let's collect all the ideas on which the majority seems to converge, else we risk dispersing and losing them.
After we've done this and we all are on the same page, let's focus on finally find a compromise on the most controversial topics and not reiterate on ideas which has been already discarded or lengthy diatribes about historicity of human migrations.

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by MathBrush » March 8th, 2018, 8:57 pm

Xalzar: I started a spreadsheet trying to track people's positions on different concepts: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... sp=sharing

I lost track on around page 5, where a small number of individuals entered into a lengthy conversation and many of the early participants dropped out.

But, after skimming the other 19 pages, it looks like the topics with the most consensus are:

-Dunefolk 'currently' (whatever the timeframe of the description is) live south of the standard Wesnoth map, in the desert or desert-adjacent regions. No one has contradicted this even once.

-Dunefolk like science (magic is up in the air).

-Dunefolk are human (why is this a consensus? Because there was already a poll on it). So I believe the non-human ideas should be officially declared closed (actually, they have officially been declared closed once, through the poll).

-Rocs should be an acceptable addition to the game, whether the multiplayer faction or in campaigns or in race description. Given that a sprite exists and no one has really voiced any objections (I think I did once, but I retract it), this seems to be one that majority of people accept.

-Dunefolk come from the old continent. I'd say it's about 70% support.

-The current sprites should not undergo a total redesign or more than superficial alterations. I'd say about 80% support on this.

-mythological elements are okay (by pentarctagon poll). So arguments based on opposition to mythological elements are no longer valid.

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Xalzar » March 8th, 2018, 9:28 pm

MathBrush wrote:
March 8th, 2018, 8:57 pm
Xalzar: I started a spreadsheet trying to track people's positions on different concepts:
Thanks! :)
A few observations for my part:
You can add me to:
-Underground route: "against"
-Bridge: "mixed"
-City-states: "for"
-Ocean voyage: "for"
You can move me:
-from Wyvern Rider: "for" (I don't remember ever saying anything about this unit in particular) to "against" (here I say something: IMO it doesn't fit the faction at all)
Finally you could add:
-Jinn (new unit): with me on "for" (I am favourable to their inclusion but only if we agree the faction needs it and if it makes sense, obviously)

Other concepts not reported there have emerged but I'd wait a bit while they consolidate.

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by MathBrush » March 8th, 2018, 9:39 pm

I’ve made the spreadsheet editable. This is a task beyond me!

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Deciton_Reven » March 8th, 2018, 10:44 pm

Notably, I think sprites can change, but only if someone will actually do it, which there isn't really anyone doing that. It's a shame to 'waste' sprites but as long as quality replacements actually get made as part of the argument that's 'fine'. Some of the units, like Wyvern Rider are things I think people like but probably shouldn't be in the MP faction where it would change balance in all sorts of ways. As a campaign unit it's pretty cool though. Quite a few ideas for brand new units fall into that case.

As for what/who/where dunefolk are as humans that just lived a different life and can act as a what if scenario for all kinds of races and culture to be explored. Changing their race is a poor shortcut for trying to make a culture interesting, a good diverse world can be made with only 1 race, as long as the groups are interesting in their own rights. A world can also be incredibly dry if instead of making the cultures diverse an interesting the differences are only superficial. I'd argue a Wesnoth Human would be more intrigued by Dunefolk Human than a sand spirit race because they discover new races all the time and they can easily write off why they are so weird and justify them as nonhuman if they need to. Human introspection of "what are we and what could we have been" is so much stronger when viewed through other humans. A human is much less likely to contemplate if they could have or should have been more like the Elves because Elves are not humans, but if you have a new human race that acts so much different you can actually realistically have human introspection of their path. As for how they got there, I like any way that's not already been covered but existing races, which is native and boats. As for why they aren't crazy expansionists that want to grab up any bit of land they see, what if, and this is crazy, that was just part of their culture and world view. What if we portrayed them with an ideology that was different from others? That of being content and thankful for the bounties you have instead of being greedy.

Note we don't need every detail of the faction and culture from their genesis to now, just the important parts. Very specific details can be added in campaigns like _literally every other race_. Except Drakes. Poor Drakes.

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by skeptical_troll » March 8th, 2018, 11:48 pm

MathBrush wrote:
March 8th, 2018, 9:39 pm
I’ve made the spreadsheet editable. This is a task beyond me!
wow, thanks for doing this! :D I inserted my personal preferences. Another recurrent theme was their relation with other races, in particular nagas and drakes were mentioned quite often.

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by name » March 9th, 2018, 1:34 am

Xalzar wrote:
March 8th, 2018, 6:37 pm
A polite advice: I think the more talkative people in this thread should leave some space for others to express their opinion instead of replying to each other constantly, or at least, slow down the rate of their comments.
After the land bridge topic was brought up, I should have grouped quotes with similar arguments by different users together and responded all at once. Not doing that ended up spawning the same conversation with maybe three separate individuals, and thus many more posts and headaches.
MathBrush wrote:
March 8th, 2018, 8:57 pm
-Dunefolk are human (why is this a consensus? Because there was already a poll on it).
That is actually not the case, there was only a poll for the name of the race. Dunefolk (human) narrowly won over Dunefolk, but for technical reasons the latter became the name.
Deciton_Reven wrote:
March 8th, 2018, 10:44 pm
Changing their race is a poor shortcut for trying to make a culture interesting,
But no one has argued that a race change should be used to supplement a lack of culture?

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Celtic_Minstrel » March 9th, 2018, 3:25 am

Deciton_Reven wrote:
March 8th, 2018, 10:44 pm
As for why they aren't crazy expansionists that want to grab up any bit of land they see, what if, and this is crazy, that was just part of their culture and world view. What if we portrayed them with an ideology that was different from others? That of being content and thankful for the bounties you have instead of being greedy.
Yeah, a check on expansion could exist simply in the form of their ideology and cultural norms.
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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Pentarctagon » March 9th, 2018, 5:36 am

Cold Steel wrote:
March 9th, 2018, 1:34 am
MathBrush wrote:
March 8th, 2018, 8:57 pm
-Dunefolk are human (why is this a consensus? Because there was already a poll on it).
That is actually not the case, there was only a poll for the name of the race. Dunefolk (human) narrowly won over Dunefolk, but for technical reasons the latter became the name.
Also worth noting is that "Human (Dunefolk)" won over just "Dunefolk" by a single vote (15 to 14), however I at the time voted for the "Human (Dunefolk)" option. So if the same poll were to be held and everyone else voted the same way again, just plain "Dunefolk" would win by a single vote this time around.

As such, it probably isn't correct to say there is a consensus that they're human based solely on that poll. Nor do I think there was much consideration given to the possibility that they even could not be human - I didn't really think about it as a possibility until MathBrush suggested otherwise in this thread.

In any case, to me, the Dunefolk being natives to the Great Continent has two main advantages:
1) It avoids there being another group of humans that've made some arduous journey from another land, and instead gives them some uniqueness in their origin.
2) Simplicity. Why are they here/when did they get here? Well they've always been here. Why haven't they expanded beyond the desert? Because they have a deep connection to it, and as such have no desire to. That, compared to the myriad ways that have been suggested for them to have traveled here from another land and explanations why nobody else of their people has done so before or since, along with more reasons for them to have not expanded beyond the desert after arriving, seems much cleaner to me.
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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Caladbolg » March 9th, 2018, 5:13 pm

I added my name to the spreadsheet on a few options and placed another option (from the third continent) as it was not covered by the already existing ones.

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Celtic_Minstrel » March 10th, 2018, 2:43 am

I still think it's silly to rule out the possibility that they are humans who are essentially native to the Great Continent. People always cite TRoW on this, which I haven't played, but regardless of what it says, you have to remember that it's through the lens of the Wesfolk and the elves they first contact on the Great Continent. There are multiple possibilities to explain how the elves had never met humans before the Wesfolk.
  • They had met them (the dunefolk) but had not realized that the dunefolk and Wesfolk were of the same race.
  • Since the dunefolk tend to stay to the desert and the elves tend to stay to the forests, they simply hadn't encountered one other.
  • The elven speaker is referring to his personal experience when he says he has not met humans before, rather than a racial experience. Other elves, perhaps even some of those in the same forest, may have met the dunefolk before.
  • Maybe the elves do occasionally meet the dunefolk but none of these meetings are remembered (or are remembered only by people who aren't present at the first meeting of Wesfolk and elves).
  • I think someone (MathBrush?) also posted a quote that suggests the interpretation of not having seen humans before is itself questionable.
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