Dunefolk Rework - Unit Descriptions

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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Unit Descriptions

Post by Tom_Of_Wesnoth » July 27th, 2019, 4:18 pm

Celtic_Minstrel wrote:
July 27th, 2019, 2:55 pm
I don't think the Dunefolk would be known for being wealthy. That's not to say they don't have wealth, just that it's not something they're known for, and probably not something notable when compared to (for example) Wesnoth or the elves.
The race description does portray the Dunefolk as famous for the wealth. The Dunefolk's inclination towards trade and exploration has allowed their cities to amass immense fortunes, a fact regarded both with admiration and envy by other races.
Celtic_Minstrel wrote:
July 27th, 2019, 2:55 pm

This takes a problematic aspect of the original description and amplifies it. The original description only said many soldiers are from the nobility, which was already slightly weird. Now you're implying most soldiers are from the nobility, which is just nonsensical. The majority of soldiers in a feudal army would be (possibly-conscripted) conscripted commoners, with nobility only filling the role of officers. The phrase "Traditionally hailing from respected families - of noble blood or of long military service" might work for the Captain, but it doesn't fit at all for the Soldier.
I was sort of looking at the Classical Greek city-states for inspiration here, with a core of city-dwelling citizen-soldiers, supported by lighter-armed auxiliaries from outside of the cities, or from slave classes. I believe that's even what the original intent was, with the Lawful units being city dwellers, and the Liminal units drawn from the desert nomads.

According to Herodotus, the Spartans took 10,000 hoplites and 35,000 helot slaves to the Battle of Plataea. Now obviously these numbers are probably not all that accurate, but the rough ratio should at least be plausible. In my mind, the Dune Soldier is the hoplite, and the Dune Rover and Skirmisher are the helots - minus the slavery aspect.

Is that a direction worth going in, or should I rewrite that section to show that Soldiers are drawn from the peasantry as well?
Celtic_Minstrel wrote:
July 27th, 2019, 2:55 pm
I kinda like the pirate focus, but... I'm not sure how suitable it is. Certainly the nautical side of a piracy is good here, I'm just not sure about the other side of piracy - the raiding and looting. After all, the southern nagas are supposed to be allies?

The only specific phrase I didn't like is the suggestion that a slasher's blades are typically of poor craftsmanship.
The race description for the Dunefolk says that: Mutual interests have fostered cordial relations with neighboring Naga tribes. That does make piracy perhaps somewhat unsuitable, but it doesn't entirely rule it out. The Naga pirates could operate outside of the settled tribes, for example, or we could just tweak that section of the description to say something like "fostered cordial relations with many of the neighboring Naga tribes".

If piracy is what we want, we can definitely make it work.

As for the poor craftmanship, I was mostly basing that on the attack icon, which shows a very rough and jagged blade.
Celtic_Minstrel wrote:
July 27th, 2019, 2:55 pm
The chakrams are 10,000× cooler if the nagas crafted them themselves. Making them gifts from the Dunefolk ruins the concept.
Yeah, you're probably right about that.
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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Unit Descriptions

Post by Pentarctagon » July 27th, 2019, 5:10 pm

Piracy I think would work better as a campaign element - maybe have a scenario where the Dunefolk + Naga allies are having to deal with Naga pirates, for example. It doesn't seem unrealistic that there would be Naga pirates, but having that as a core aspect of their units seems out of place to me.
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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Unit Descriptions

Post by Celtic_Minstrel » July 27th, 2019, 5:23 pm

Tom_Of_Wesnoth wrote:
July 27th, 2019, 4:18 pm
The race description does portray the Dunefolk as famous for the wealth. The Dunefolk's inclination towards trade and exploration has allowed their cities to amass immense fortunes, a fact regarded both with admiration and envy by other races.
Hmm, okay, maybe that's alright then
Tom_Of_Wesnoth wrote:
July 27th, 2019, 4:18 pm
I was sort of looking at the Classical Greek city-states for inspiration here, with a core of city-dwelling citizen-soldiers, supported by lighter-armed auxiliaries from outside of the cities, or from slave classes. I believe that's even what the original intent was, with the Lawful units being city dwellers, and the Liminal units drawn from the desert nomads.

According to Herodotus, the Spartans took 10,000 hoplites and 35,000 helot slaves to the Battle of Plataea. Now obviously these numbers are probably not all that accurate, but the rough ratio should at least be plausible. In my mind, the Dune Soldier is the hoplite, and the Dune Rover and Skirmisher are the helots - minus the slavery aspect.

Is that a direction worth going in, or should I rewrite that section to show that Soldiers are drawn from the peasantry as well?
Well, Greek city-states doesn't seem like a bad angle to be honest. But soldier is the most basic unit of an army, so in your Spartan example, without additional context, I would assume the word applies to one of the 35,000 rather than the 10,000. Mind you, technically it works for both though.

Your example also doesn't actually support the idea of soldiers drawn from noble families, as the hoplites mostly consisted of farmers and artisans according to Wikipedia.

I don't remember what level of support it had amongst the community, but there was talk at one point of the lawful units being part of an organized army while the liminal or chaotic units are members of nomadic tribes that roam the desert, so this might be an additional angle to consider for the rover or skirmisher descriptions.
Tom_Of_Wesnoth wrote:
July 27th, 2019, 4:18 pm
As for the poor craftmanship, I was mostly basing that on the attack icon, which shows a very rough and jagged blade.
A rough and jagged blade has no relation to quality of craftsmanship. If the blade is jagged or serrated, it was made that way on purpose for a reason.

As for the piracy aspect, I think I agree with Pentarctagon that it probably shouldn't be a core aspect of the units, but a nautical (sailor-ish) could perhaps work to a degree, maybe...
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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Unit Descriptions

Post by Tom_Of_Wesnoth » July 27th, 2019, 5:54 pm

Celtic_Minstrel wrote:
July 27th, 2019, 5:23 pm
Well, Greek city-states doesn't seem like a bad angle to be honest. But soldier is the most basic unit of an army, so in your Spartan example, without additional context, I would assume the word applies to one of the 35,000 rather than the 10,000. Mind you, technically it works for both though.

Your example also doesn't actually support the idea of soldiers drawn from noble families, as the hoplites mostly consisted of farmers and artisans according to Wikipedia.

I don't remember what level of support it had amongst the community, but there was talk at one point of the lawful units being part of an organized army while the liminal or chaotic units are members of nomadic tribes that roam the desert, so this might be an additional angle to consider for the rover or skirmisher descriptions.
Ah, with my description I was more trying to imply that Soldiers were drawn from the nobility and from the urban/landowning citizens - 'families of long military service' or however I phrased it - though you're right that as I wrote it, it definitely implies nobles more than it should.

And the 'farmers' who became hoplites weren't peasants, so much as they were rural landowners.

The Soldier forms the core of any Dunefolk formation. Traditionally hailing from the bustling cities of the Dunefolk, or from land-owning families on the fertile riverbanks, most Soldiers are practised in swordplay even before their enrolment and formal training. This training, along with their high-quality arms and armour, gives rise to potent warriors.
Celtic_Minstrel wrote:
July 27th, 2019, 5:23 pm
A rough and jagged blade has no relation to quality of craftsmanship. If the blade is jagged or serrated, it was made that way on purpose for a reason.

As for the piracy aspect, I think I agree with Pentarctagon that it probably shouldn't be a core aspect of the units, but a nautical (sailor-ish) could perhaps work to a degree, maybe...
Pentarctagon wrote: Piracy I think would work better as a campaign element - maybe have a scenario where the Dunefolk + Naga allies are having to deal with Naga pirates, for example. It doesn't seem unrealistic that there would be Naga pirates, but having that as a core aspect of their units seems out of place to me.
I'll rewrite these to remove the piracy aspect.
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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Unit Descriptions

Post by Hejnewar » July 27th, 2019, 7:23 pm

Tom_Of_Wesnoth wrote:
July 27th, 2019, 5:54 pm
Pentarctagon wrote: Piracy I think would work better as a campaign element - maybe have a scenario where the Dunefolk + Naga allies are having to deal with Naga pirates, for example. It doesn't seem unrealistic that there would be Naga pirates, but having that as a core aspect of their units seems out of place to me.
I'll rewrite these to remove the piracy aspect.
I don't think you have to, it's up to nemmara (Yumi) how descriptions will look in the end anyway. The more ideas the better.

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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Unit Descriptions

Post by Tom_Of_Wesnoth » July 28th, 2019, 6:26 pm

Hejnewar wrote:
July 27th, 2019, 7:23 pm
I don't think you have to, it's up to nemmara (Yumi) how descriptions will look in the end anyway. The more ideas the better.
Of course I don't have to, but I enjoy doing it, so why would I not? ;)

---

Here's the revised descriptions for the Naga. I've almost entirely removed the piracy aspect - although I have included a small reference to privateering - and tried to leave the descriptions open enough to be applied to both tribal warriors, and to mercenary sellswords.

Naga Slasher

For young Naga of the southern tribes, proving oneself in combat is the ritual by which one enters adulthood. In times of war, this provides the Naga tribes with large numbers of Slashers - warriors who lack in experience, but make up for that with enthusiasm, agility, and agression. During times of peace, many Slashers become sellswords, selling their services to Dunefolk, and serving as merchant escorts or privateers.

Slashers are most known for the two daggers that they traditionally carry, short and wickedly jagged blades that are deadly in the hands of an agile Naga. However, Slashers are equally comfortable operating as archers, using their mobility to keep their distance as they pepper their foes with arrows.

Naga Bladewhirler

Naga Bladewhirlers are easy to identify among a host of Naga, if one knows what to look for. The most distinctive tell is the wickedly-curved blades that they carry, but subtler signs abound - be it the scars that tend to riddle their arms, the cunning that glimmers in their eyes, or the muscle that ripples under their scales. Naga lacking in these traits seldom thrive admist the competition of tribal life.

Bladewhirlers are every bit as dangerous as their name would suggest, bringing their twin blades to bear with a deadly blend of grace and aggression. Their natural agility, honed by experience, allows them to twist and turn through chaotic melees, and they strike with power when presented with an opening. Bladewhirlers typically also carry bows, though they are not nearly so skilled as archers as they are as duelists.

Naga Dervish

The life of a Naga warrior is often short and brutal, but for those blessed with skill and luck, can be lucrative indeed. Those who master their art come to be known as Naga Dervish, and are spoken of in reverent tones by young Naga throughout the southern waterways. Dervish are often found leading tribes, or else fetching small fortunes for their services as sellswords. Adorned in gold and heavily bejewelled, to see a Dervish is to behold the fruits of a lifetime of martial excellence.

In combat, a Dervish dances from foe to foe, twin blades whirling around him with the ferocity of a cyclone. Each move in this dance is utterly unpredictable, yet perfectly fluid as the Dervish transitions from one strike to another. Those who manage to open the distance are far from safe, as the Dervish wields a bow with which to pick off those who flee.

---

And I had a stab at the Ringcaster and Zephyr - describing the use of chakrams is difficult, and these could probably use some polishing.

Naga Ringcaster

The blade ring - or chakram, as it is known to the Naga - is the signature weapon of the southern Naga, and of their renowned Ringcasters. The blade ring carries some cultural significance for the Naga - to be granted blade rings is a great honour, reserved for experienced warriors who have demonstrated their worth to their tribe.

The blade ring is a deadly weapon when in the right hands, though few outside of the ranks of the Ringcasters can claim to have any mastery of the weapon. In a melee, the blade ring an be used as a cutting weapon, however it is a distance that that weapon is used to its full potential - a practicsed Ringcaster knows to spin the ring around his index finger, before launching it through the air with a deft flick of the wrist.

Naga Zephyr

Those Naga who master the use of their ancestral weapon, the blade ring, are known among their people as Zephyr, and are held in the greatest of respect as warriors. Amongst the neighbouring Dunefolk, the Zephyr are coveted as mercenaries, with their mastery of a foreign and ill-understood weapon providing them with a significant advantage in combat.

Zephyr wield their blade rings with confidence and familiarity, whirling the wicked blades around their fingers as fast as the naked eye can behold, and throwing them faster still. Zephyr give their foes no respite, using both hands to unleash an unending storm of blade rings upon them.



EDIT: Fixed a typo.
Last edited by Tom_Of_Wesnoth on July 29th, 2019, 9:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Unit Descriptions

Post by Celtic_Minstrel » July 29th, 2019, 12:54 am

Typo in the second ringcaster paragraph - I believe "those few" should've been "though few".
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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Unit Descriptions

Post by Tom_Of_Wesnoth » July 29th, 2019, 9:03 pm

Celtic_Minstrel wrote:
July 29th, 2019, 12:54 am
Typo in the second ringcaster paragraph - I believe "those few" should've been "though few".
Good spot, thanks.
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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Unit Descriptions

Post by Aldarisvet » October 10th, 2019, 10:36 pm

Hi, guys.

I have no way than to enter into the discussion because after 1.15.1 release I cannot help but to state that new changes in the faction made it a total failure in terms of unit names and their descriptions. I was thinking for weeks since new unit trees appereard in units.wesnoth.org but found that it cannot be helped. I cannot translate what is wrong from the beginning. Sorry for saying so straight, but that is.

The first failure. A simple and obvious one.
Swiftrider line against Raider line. There is no way you can explain why you name a line with so colourful and lucid names as Swiftrider and Windrider and you give more movement points to some maradeurs which also are armoured heavier. Also white color of horses of Swiftrider line says that they are more noble horses. These all were inherited from 1.14 where Swiftrider were really fastest ones. There are still mentions in the descriptions that Swiftrider are used as scouts but obviously you would use fastest units you have as scouts. Why some stupid Maradeurs are fastests unit in the faction - there is no rational explanation for it.

The second failure.
Skirmisher line against Rover line.
Kinda the same contradiction, though less acute in the first glance. Obviously skirmishers which have more movement points are more suitable for scouting compared to rovers. And still descriptions of heavy armored and armed but only 5MP Rover line are accented on scouting! Especially new Ranger's description is quite demostrative (the description from 1.14 obviously fits better to this unit). To begin with, if you have Horse Archers, no one would use unmounted units as scouts. But if you have to choose between Skirmishers and Rovers, obviously Skirmishers would take a scout role as a light infanty.
Looking into descriptions, both skirmishers and rovers have the same background, something that I would call beduins. What I would do, I really would give names of Rovers line to Skirmisher line, and create totally new names and descriptions to Rovers line (this line is not about exploring and scouting, it is about universal fighting unit). Also I found especially unbelievable this passage in the description of Harrier: "their name is actually derived from the harrier falcons they employ to maintain contact with the bulk of a Dunefolk army". Seriously? If you see a master of a falcon, you call him 'Harrier'? Or, after all, you would call him a falconer?

The third failure.
I cannot help but cry because of pity about a humiliating description that is created for Dune Spearmaster. It is the biggest and most menacing looking unit in the faction and what I read: "Nevertheless, after a minor scolding, the warrior is accepted back and carries his hard won experience into the next battle"!!! Just no words. I do not like a description to Swordmaster either, it just not do suit for so fat unit. Old description was short but more suitable. Same about Paragon (former Warmaster). Old Warmaster desription was really good. Putting much details does not always mean doing better. And, from my point of view, these Zerovirus's style sprites for Paragon and Warmaster looks quite bad too.

The fourth failure.
This is about new Nagas. In old nothern line there was a special accent on two-sword fighting in descriptions. Yet nagas from new southern line wield two swords without any allusion that this is something special. So descriptions in a whole appear illogical and chaotical. Probably desriptions or even names of old northen nagas should be reconsidered so there would be one system for all nagas. Possibly to symmetrically reflect in the description of northern nagas that they are northern and are different from southern.

At the end, I want to add that a big positive work was done with a faction (especially old Dune Soldier was unsiutable to other sprites and Dune Rover transforming to Dune Skirmisher in 1.14 was also quite illogical), but it is not a justification for creating new faults.
Last edited by Aldarisvet on October 11th, 2019, 9:34 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Unit Descriptions

Post by Celtic_Minstrel » October 11th, 2019, 4:59 am

Aldarisvet wrote:
October 10th, 2019, 10:36 pm
There is no way you can explain why you name a line with so colourful and lucid names as Swiftrider and Windrider and you give more movement points to some maradeurs which also are armoured heavier.
I can see the point about it being weird if swiftrider is not the fastest horseman. In that case I'd say the movement points should be changed to reflect the lore – so either increase swiftrider MP or decrease marauder MP.
Aldarisvet wrote:
October 10th, 2019, 10:36 pm
Also I found especially unbelievable this passage in the description of Harrier: "their name is actually derived from the harrier falcons they employ to maintain contact with the bulk of a Dunefolk army". Seriously? If you see a master of a falcon, you call him 'Harrier'? Or, after all, you would call him a falconer?
Harrier is an actual type of bird, so I think it's not so strange as you imply (though harrier are hawks, not falcons, but they're both similar birds of prey so I could understand people confusing them). At most I'd suggest this line be changed to say "harrier hawks" instead of "harrier falcons". Mind you, it's not strictly necessary to use the bird as an etymology here, as the word itself also has an appropriate meaning.
Aldarisvet wrote:
October 10th, 2019, 10:36 pm
Probably desriptions or even names of old northen nagas should be reconsidered so there would be one system for all nagas.
I don't see why there needs to be one system for all nagas? It's actually stranger if all nagas ascribe to the same culture than it is if there are multiple distinct naga cultures.
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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Unit Descriptions

Post by Aldarisvet » October 11th, 2019, 8:12 am

Celtic_Minstrel wrote:
October 11th, 2019, 4:59 am
I can see the point about it being weird if swiftrider is not the fastest horseman. In that case I'd say the movement points should be changed to reflect the lore – so either increase swiftrider MP or decrease marauder MP.
I can only suggest that there was a really strong tactical/balancing reason to give 9MP to Marauders line and left only 8 for Swiftriders. If so, Swiftrider line must be renamed. Because now in Russian we have Windrider translated with a word that means "Fast as wind". And some Marauders faster than a wind without any explanations? Impossible! Still even with rename the problem with sprites I mentioned above would remain.

About a Rover line, I can suggest new names for them something like that:
Axeman - Cutthroat - Merciless
Old description for lvl3 unit in this line was (except the first sentence) quite good to reflect the essence of these tough looking guys.
In any case units of this line have nothing with scouting, exploring or hunting looking at sprites and unit's parameters. 5MP are clearly not enough to call them scouts in descriptions.

And a new Skirmisher line after that can easily take these scouting names - Rover, Explorer, Ranger. Abandoning current Skirmisher - Strider - Harrier construction which I have absolutely no idea how to translate because this construction is a fault from the beginning.

Of course as a translator I have some freedom and can translate lines with names of units with different logic, the only condition I find important is accordance to descriptions. For example, I translated Naga Myrmidon with a word that means 'Master of Swordplay' because the whole line's logic is about advancing in two-sword style. I found 'Myrmidon' word translations to Russian simply senseless in the logic of line. Ok, no problem, but then we have new southern line, in which lvl1 unit immediately wields two daggers, but to your surprise there is nothing that explains why southern nagas are even more advanced in the dual sword style. Nope, the description tells about archery whenever in the base frame of the unit you even cannot see that this naga has a bow equipped! I found these all quite unsystematic and disharmonious (the first time during all years I do translations, earlier I almost always saw a sound logic in unit's sprites, names and descriptions). If even original descriptions are disharmonious, how can you can do a good translation?
Celtic_Minstrel wrote:
October 11th, 2019, 4:59 am
Harrier is an actual type of bird, so I think it's not so strange as you imply (though harrier are hawks, not falcons, but they're both similar birds of prey so I could understand people confusing them).
I know that. But that additional passage is as stupid as if someone would name an owner of a rooster as Gobbler. Just because cocks and gobblers are from close species. Harriers could be ok name, for example, actual Syrian army has a division called "Desert Hawks". There is no need to add falcon meaning here, moreover, this attempt looks as flashy stretch. The problem is that new Harriers totally do not "look" as Hawks as it was in 1.14 with old sprites, and also new descriptions made it even worse. In 1.14 Harriers were described as sword dancers ("swords ripping and tearing at those around them"), and that was really suitable. Actually, looking now on new Harriers I think that this unit is a nonsense. You cannot bear both a middle shield and a glaive at the same time. A glaive demands using two hands and you cannot run fast with a middle shield. I know about WINR principle, but new Harriers even have 7 MP... However, sprites of this line looks cool, that is for sure.
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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Unit Descriptions

Post by Hejnewar » October 11th, 2019, 4:42 pm

I will comment on Rover and Skirmisher line only.
Aldarisvet wrote:
October 11th, 2019, 8:12 am
In any case units of this line have nothing with scouting, exploring or hunting looking at sprites and unit's parameters. 5MP are clearly not enough to call them scouts in descriptions.

And a new Skirmisher line after that can easily take these scouting names - Rover, Explorer, Ranger. Abandoning current Skirmisher - Strider - Harrier construction which I have absolutely no idea how to translate because this construction is a fault from the beginning.
What does 5MP has to do with souting? You can not even move and be called scout. They clearly are suited for scouting places that are far away like jungles or places that are dangerous like dunes, so you will move slower because you will need more equipment.

If anything I would just change Ranger because I think that Strider fits them better.
Rover - Exploer - Strider

As for Skirmisher line I think it will sound good in polish except Strider, Strider is just a bit to peaceful (still not bad).
Skirmisher - ??? - Harrier (There is another word in polish that Harrier can be translated to, it has nothing to do with bird and fits this line very well.)

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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Unit Descriptions

Post by Aldarisvet » October 11th, 2019, 9:14 pm

Hejnewar wrote:
October 11th, 2019, 4:42 pm
You can not even move and be called scout.
Even putting aside a common sense, this is not true for Wesnoth. A unit with 0 moves would be able to see only units on closest tiles only. That because the vision length depends on number of moves. Also Elvish and Dwarvish scouts in Wesnoth have maximum MP among their races.
Actually I noticed that lvl2 explorer has 6 mp, as lvl2 strider. Still for me Rover line is obviously too heavy armored and armed to be real scouts. An escort for caravans - that is ok. But not rangers and explorers. Just look on human and elvish rangers, how they look like. A ranger wearing a helm and a chainmail (or whatever armor he has), really?
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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Unit Descriptions

Post by Pentarctagon » October 11th, 2019, 11:03 pm

Especially given the effort that's already gone into rebalancing the Dunefolk, I think that changing unit names and-or descriptions would be the preferable way to fix any sort of ingame description problems. Unit names for the Dunefolk have also already changed quite a bit, so I'd prefer not to keep altering them, if possible.
Aldarisvet wrote:
October 11th, 2019, 9:14 pm
Hejnewar wrote:
October 11th, 2019, 4:42 pm
You can not even move and be called scout.
Even putting aside a common sense, this is not true for Wesnoth. A unit with 0 moves would be able to see only units on closest tiles only. That because the vision length depends on number of moves. Also Elvish and Dwarvish scouts in Wesnoth have maximum MP among their races.
Actually I noticed that lvl2 explorer has 6 mp, as lvl2 strider. Still for me Rover line is obviously too heavy armored and armed to be real scouts. An escort for caravans - that is ok. But not rangers and explorers. Just look on human and elvish rangers, how they look like. A ranger wearing a helm and a chainmail (or whatever armor he has), really?
There is the vision unit type attribute, which would allow a unit to have a different line of sight than their movement. Also, while it might not be consistent with other factions, it doesn't seem untrue that a scout who operates on open plains would have a different amount of movement compared to a scout that operates in more unforgiving terrain.
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Re: Dunefolk Rework - Unit Descriptions

Post by josteph » October 12th, 2019, 12:18 am

Please note that string freeze for 1.16 is scheduled to start mid December. https://forums.wesnoth.org/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=50982

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