Too many campaingns have you fighting orcs/undead.

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A Guy
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Too many campaingns have you fighting orcs/undead.

Post by A Guy » April 16th, 2012, 11:27 pm

I think we need to work on having more campaigns with variety.
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Re: Too many campaingns have you fighting orcs/undead.

Post by Dugi » April 16th, 2012, 11:42 pm

You are fighting those two factions because they are evil, and the universal enemy.

Well, actually I am making a campaign where you will fight some half-robotic human hybrids (undead, orcs, loyalists, drakes and elves were already fought in previous chapters of that campaign).

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Re: Too many campaingns have you fighting orcs/undead.

Post by Crushmaster » April 16th, 2012, 11:48 pm

My campaign was guilty of fighting the undead. However, I also threw in some bandits.

I actually wrote a script for one campaign in which all of the enemies are elves (I think there may have been some humans, too...). Now I just have to code it (and my other ideas). :P Which hopefully I'll get to doing when my health cooperates...
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Re: Too many campaingns have you fighting orcs/undead.

Post by Pewskeepski » April 17th, 2012, 1:00 am

As for mainline: Son of the Black-Eye, Scepter of Fire, and Under the Burning Suns have good selection of enemies for you to fight.

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Re: Too many campaingns have you fighting orcs/undead.

Post by The_Other » April 17th, 2012, 8:16 am

dugi wrote:You are fighting those two factions because they are evil, and the universal enemy.
Tha seems a bit stereotypical...
I thnk it's more the case that campaign writers assume orcs and undead are evil (probably by reference to other fantasy games/literature), so they portray them in that way and thus further reinforce the stereotype. But nobody is evil from their own perspective - see Descent into Darkness, Son of the Black Eye and Invasion from the Underworld for examples of this.
Orcs apparently have a more warlike society than most humans, but that doesn't make them evil - it probably seems quite normal to them. Were the Vikings or Genghis Khan 'evil'?
And as for undead - we automatically think of them as being against nature and therefore automatically 'bad guys' - but (for example) driving cars, wearing cosmetics and writing ethical commentaries on internet forums are all 'unnatural' too. Malin Keshar (for instance) just used the only tool available to him, and was vilified for it.

I'm currently working on plot for a campaign where the Undead are, quite unequivocally, the 'good guys' (nothing posted yet as I haven't done enough work on it!). My take is that they didn't choose to be raised from the dead - they're just ordinary people forced into a horrific situation, but they have to contend with the anti-necromanctic predjudices of the rest of the world (it will probably get a bit philosophical at times). So yes, there will be a showdown with a 'stereotypical' necromancer, but more often they're simply defending themselves from people who jump to conclusions about them.

Back on-topic, I do agree that orcs and undead ted to be overused as antagonists, I suspect because 'everybody knows they are evil', so their hostility can be presumed without the need for much explanation. Speaking as an author, this is very lazy writing - it's fine if there's a sensible reason for orcs to attack the village (or whatever), and you can get away with the occasional psychopathic-megalomaniac necromancer, but if it's overused or not sensibly explained, I personally find it quite boring and cliched.
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Re: Too many campaingns have you fighting orcs/undead.

Post by direfish » April 17th, 2012, 10:37 am

Speaking as an author, this is very lazy writing
You are not fair, mate. The main protagonists in most mainline campaigns are wesnothians, elves and dwarves. From their point of view orcs are apparently evil, because they have a history of war and mutual hatred going way back.. But no one implies orcs are absolutely and unredeemably evil. Undeads, on the other hand, are. Because they are mindless carcasses bent only on destroying all living things. If you have a different idea on how the undead should be (which is not really unique either, you know), it doesn't mean current undead lore is a half-arsed cliche.

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Re: Too many campaingns have you fighting orcs/undead.

Post by Caphriel » April 17th, 2012, 12:55 pm

Chaotic in Wesnoth just means "fights better at night than during the day." And lawful is the opposite. Players are human, and therefore will sympathize with the most human-like factions, in general, so it's easiest to write with the protagonist a member of the Loyalists or Rebels or even Outlaws, and the antagonists members of the Northerners or Undead. Furthermore, the fact (if I recall correctly) the Rebels were originally designed as the player's faction, and the Northerners and Undead were designed as enemy factions probably doesn't help much.

I think Descent into Darkness demonstrates that the Undead are not "mindless carcasses bent only on destroying all living things" quite effectively.

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Re: Too many campaingns have you fighting orcs/undead.

Post by Boldek » April 17th, 2012, 7:02 pm

Caphriel wrote:I think Descent into Darkness demonstrates that the Undead are not "mindless carcasses bent only on destroying all living things" quite effectively.
Malin may have not been, but there wasn't very much character structure for his minions. He saw himself as a hero in a tight corner, and what came out of it? His village ruined, his sister dead, a list of wrongs on his name, and him as a heap of bones hiding in the dark like a rat until some random hero knocks his skull off. Malin wanted to be a hero, but by the last chapters he acting very desperate and crazy. Undead generally are, or end up as, the villains. If you want to redeem the misunderstood zombie chasing a bunch of peasants, good luck, I'm sure it'll be cool, but in fantasy, generally creatures are based on face value. Not very deep, but easy for games.
The_Other wrote: Tha seems a bit stereotypical...
I thnk it's more the case that campaign writers assume orcs and undead are evil (probably by reference to other fantasy games/literature), so they portray them in that way and thus further reinforce the stereotype. But nobody is evil from their own perspective - see Descent into Darkness, Son of the Black Eye and Invasion from the Underworld for examples of this.
Orcs apparently have a more warlike society than most humans, but that doesn't make them evil - it probably seems quite normal to them. Were the Vikings or Genghis Khan 'evil'?
And as for undead - we automatically think of them as being against nature and therefore automatically 'bad guys' - but (for example) driving cars, wearing cosmetics and writing ethical commentaries on internet forums are all 'unnatural' too. Malin Keshar (for instance) just used the only tool available to him, and was vilified for it.
Well in a sense, Gengis and the vikings were very evil. Would modern societies accept people that charged through small villages, murdering everyone in sight looting helpless people? Let's hope not. For some reason, the 'defending his homeland' trope is very popular, and not without reason. I think it's pretty overused myself, but if you had your home burned, your friends axed, and your sisters dragged off as slaves while you were out shopping, you might find it very easy to antagonize your opponents.
And well, people were riding wagons, wearing makeup and writing (a few) ethical commentaries on real forums, but there wasn't any undeath involved. If you raised a zombie in your backyard, I'm sure people even today haven't gotten over necromantic prejudices.

Yeh, I agree the 'evil wicked orc/undead coming to burn your village down' has been used way too many times, I think that drakes and dwarves could have a little more evil time on the air.
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Re: Too many campaingns have you fighting orcs/undead.

Post by Korben » April 17th, 2012, 8:38 pm

As always, the winners write the history.. even today guys like Caesar, Alexander the Great or even Napeoleon are seen as shining heros altough they slaughtered hundreds. In real life, there are no Heros or Villains, but The Battle for Wesnoth is mainly told by Humans and Elves, and of course they portrait their enemys as evil.

As for the undead -they are mindless tools (in Wesnoth at least) and thus are just as evil as their master.

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Re: Too many campaingns have you fighting orcs/undead.

Post by Boldek » April 17th, 2012, 11:13 pm

Korben wrote:As always, the winners write the history.. even today guys like Caesar, Alexander the Great or even Napeoleon are seen as shining heros altough they slaughtered hundreds. In real life, there are no Heros or Villains, but The Battle for Wesnoth is mainly told by Humans and Elves, and of course they portrait their enemys as evil.
Err, I wouldn't say that necessarily.. The Ceaser, Alexander, and Napeoleon all died because of their greed for power for world domination, they aren't really shining heroes. I admire things they acomplished, but they were brutal conquerers nontheless. Humans are all the same race, so we have to judge according to a person's soul, not his unit description, team side, etc.. But the point of BfW was you get to be a hero fighting bad guys, so naturally you are the baby faced dude with blonde hair and pointy ears, while your opponent is a swarthy looking sword swinging invader. It's pretty cliche, but the aim isn't really to be too analistic of the innocence of orcs. In SotBe, the orc atitude is 'hey, that's how the world works. I stab you, you stab me, we're one violent bunch o' fighters.' Because to the orcs, it is perfectly natural to attack and kill harmless peasants because it's fun. The mainline campaigns try to create very basic battlefields, and so you end up with a lot of blonde boys with flowing capes on side, and snarling sword swinging baddies on the other.
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Re: Too many campaingns have you fighting orcs/undead.

Post by Sapient » April 18th, 2012, 1:07 am

A Guy wrote:I think we need to work on having more campaigns with variety.
I agree. Why don't we have a campaign yet for fighting the sea orcs?
Or better yet, how about sea orc pirates and their robotic undead ninja allies? Now that would be an original campaign.

Also, instead of elves the heroes will be Castle Elves.
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Re: Too many campaingns have you fighting orcs/undead.

Post by Creativity » April 18th, 2012, 3:20 am

I'm currently working on story for a campaign which has you fighting evil expansionist elves(with saurians, outlaws, and some loyalists and magi). Can't make any promises though :(

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Re: Too many campaingns have you fighting orcs/undead.

Post by The_Other » April 18th, 2012, 9:08 am

Evil is an entirely subjective term. It's no good saying 'xxxx is evil - just look at it and what it does, of course it is!'
It's both difficult and dangerous to try to establish objective absolutes concerning morality - it's in the eye of the beholder. I too would be both unnerved and repulsed by a Walking Corpse in real life. But my own distaste for it, doesn't make it evil because neither I nor any other human are qualified to define evil
Korben wrote:As for the undead -they are mindless tools (in Wesnoth at least) and thus are just as evil as their master.
Your logic is flawed.
If I take a knife from my kitchen and stab the first person I see (don't worry, I'm not going to!), then according to your reasoning the knife would be just as guilty as me. In fact, given that it was the knife that inflicted the killing wound, while I merely conveyed it to its murderous destination, I could mount a superficially-logical defense that the knife was the sole murderer, and I was merely an accomplice who played no direct part in the killing itself.
In reality, of course, I'd be laughed out of court and all the way to the Secure Wing...
Off-topic elaboration on moral responsibility
A 'mindless tool' as you put it, is not and cannot be an active agent - as it has no mind, it makes no decisions and hence cannot be considered responsible for anything that it does. If Wesnoth undead are mere puppets of a necromancer, then they are equivalent to remote-controlled robots (or pre-programmed ones, if they obey orders given in advance). As such, they are morally-neutral and lack any responsibility.
If, on the other hand, they are capable of independent thought, then that means they are accountable for their actions - but their behavior (I would expect) would/should be derived from their actions and personality when they were alive. In which case, unless they were 'evil' (=homicidal psychopaths?) in life, there is no reason why they should be now.
Finally, maybe death and reanimation drove them mad or somehow twisted their minds, causing previously-normal people to become 'evil'. But in this case, if their minds are clearly altered from how they should be, surely they are 'not guilty by reason of insanity'? It's difficult to convincingly argue that somebody's actions are wrong or evil, when the person themself considers them totally reasonable and appropriate. Irrational and dangerously insane, perhaps - but 'evil' does not apply.
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Re: Too many campaingns have you fighting orcs/undead.

Post by Boldek » April 18th, 2012, 1:08 pm

The_Other wrote:neither I nor any other human are qualified to define evil
Than how do you determine if someone is good, if there is not an opposite? How is the Paladin qualified to battle undead if we cannot trust his integrity? Would if the person you send out to slay undead is really a necromancer himself? How can you determine light, when you don't even have darkness? To call someone evil, one must have good, and to call someone good, than there is also evil somewhere.
The_Other wrote:A 'mindless tool' as you put it, is not and cannot be an active agent - as it has no mind, it makes no decisions and hence cannot be considered responsible for anything that it does. If Wesnoth undead are mere puppets of a necromancer, then they are equivalent to remote-controlled robots (or pre-programmed ones, if they obey orders given in advance). As such, they are morally-neutral and lack any responsibility.
If, on the other hand, they are capable of independent thought, then that means they are accountable for their actions - but their behavior (I would expect) would/should be derived from their actions and personality when they were alive. In which case, unless they were 'evil' (=homicidal psychopaths?) in life, there is no reason why they should be now.
Finally, maybe death and reanimation drove them mad or somehow twisted their minds, causing previously-normal people to become 'evil'. But in this case, if their minds are clearly altered from how they should be, surely they are 'not guilty by reason of insanity'? It's difficult to convincingly argue that somebody's actions are wrong or evil, when the person themself considers them totally reasonable and appropriate. Irrational and dangerously insane, perhaps - but 'evil' does not apply.
Well think about this: Undead seem to have sentience, but this varies on the necromancer and his powers. Some skeletons can hold conversations, others are robots. What happens when you raise a soldier who died fighting the undead? Does he become evil, or can he not help it? We know death knights are evil, but what about Bob the draug, should we call him evil, or simply used? This reminds me of the death scene of Darth Vader in Star Wars as he lies dying, he tell Luke to remove his helmet, because even though it will speed his death, he wants to see Luke with his own eyes. This doesn't help with the topic on morality, but I suspect that most minions see through a dim, twisted window that the necromancer creates for them, where they cannot do anything else than feel the hate and hunger of their master. So in a sense, they are innocent, but they are also unclean and evil.
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Re: Too many campaingns have you fighting orcs/undead.

Post by Gambit » April 18th, 2012, 2:34 pm

Korben wrote:I could mount a superficially-logical defense that the knife was the sole murderer, and I was merely an accomplice who played no direct part in the killing itself.
"I was standing my ground! He had skittles!" :P topical off-topic humor


I don't care so much about enemy variety, but some variety in the objectives beyond Kill Everything Wearing A Different Colored Shirt would be most welcome.

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