Revisiting Wesnoth unit descriptions

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Re: Revisiting Wesnoth unit descriptions

Post by Pentarctagon » May 14th, 2018, 5:23 am

Changed to "smaller and weaker", since that is a good point:
In any race, there are always those rare individuals who, by stroke of bad luck, are born much smaller and weaker than the rest of their kind. For Orcs, however, such occurrences are extraordinarily common, with there usually being several runts born in each litter. Known as ‘Goblins’, these unfortunate creatures nearly always live short, brutal lives, most used merely as fodder against an enemy of their larger siblings' choosing while equipped with only the crudest of spears.
Otherwise, I still think the above description reads better, so I suppose we can see what others think of the two. "equipment" seems overly broad to me though, since they have 0% resistance across the board as well as the Goblin Spearman's portrait having little besides a spear worth mentioning, especially compared to either of the level 1 advancements.
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Re: Revisiting Wesnoth unit descriptions

Post by Owlblocks » May 14th, 2018, 11:17 pm

Hi everybody! I'm new to Wesnoth, but I'm really enjoying it and I'm hoping to find the time to interact with the community and give feedback. I had a few things to say with regard to this thread.

Aside from my mild annoyance that people are confusing poorly developed high-fantasy with Tolkien himself (the whole point of some elves being haughty was that those that were get crushed by their self-overestimation. Read the Silmarillion. Also, Orcs were literally created to be evil in LoTR by a dark lord, like the undead in Wesnoth), I feel like detracting from the differences between races takes away from the flavor. But at the same time the units should be descriptive in terms of advantages and disadvantages. For the goblin wolf rider, for instance, maybe
After years of subservience and condescension, one of the brighter goblins stumbled upon the idea of taming wolves. Those goblins that manage this feat command a level of grudging acceptance from their orcish brethren, due to the horde's need for faster soldiers capable of scouting and tactical strikes. While not as combat-worthy as their enemies' mounted forces, their abundancy makes them cheap to employ without much pain to their chieftain's coin pouch. Besides, no matter how hard the hordes try, they can't find anything else that matches the riders' maneuverability.
It focuses on the units' strengths and purpose while still addressing its weaknesses.
Last edited by Owlblocks on May 14th, 2018, 11:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Revisiting Wesnoth unit descriptions

Post by Pentarctagon » May 14th, 2018, 11:35 pm

On the other hand, Orcs arrived in Wesnoth through a gate/portal, which is more akin to WoW, so I wouldn't read too much into them being evil by nature. They certainly aren't the descendent of broken and corrupted elves, at least.
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Re: Revisiting Wesnoth unit descriptions

Post by Celtic_Minstrel » May 15th, 2018, 2:37 am

Overall I think Pentarctagon's version is still better than ColdSteel's proposed revision, but on the other hand some of the phrasing in the original might be a little less awkward... in particular the "In battle ..." part. How about something like this?
In any race, there are always those rare individuals who, by stroke of bad luck, are born much smaller, weaker, or dumber than the rest of their kind. For Orcs, however, such occurrences are extraordinarily common, with there usually being several runts born in each litter. In battle, they are given the most meager of equipment and deployed as fodder to give their larger siblings time to prepare the real assault. As a result, these 'Goblins' typically live short, brutal lives."
Regarding "smaller and weaker" versus "smaller, weaker, or dumber", I mildly prefer the latter but wouldn't mind the former.

Owlblocks's wolf rider description seems pretty decent as well. I think I might substitute "orcish brethren" with something else, since technically goblins are orcs too, but it's not that big a deal.
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Re: Revisiting Wesnoth unit descriptions

Post by Owlblocks » May 15th, 2018, 5:02 am

I used brethren because it showed their relation to the other orcs. I guess I figured orc would be more typically used for the others (literal brethren) but if it stands out then it would make sense to change it.

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Re: Revisiting Wesnoth unit descriptions

Post by Pentarctagon » May 15th, 2018, 5:28 am

@Celtic_Minstrel: I still prefer mine, honestly, since I feel it flows more naturally from talking about runts being common -> they're called goblins -> they're used as fodder. I would be fine with either, though.
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Re: Revisiting Wesnoth unit descriptions

Post by Caladbolg » May 15th, 2018, 10:02 am

I slightly prefer Pentarctagon's version. Owlblocks's description for wolf rider is also good.

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Re: Revisiting Wesnoth unit descriptions

Post by name » May 15th, 2018, 2:58 pm

Pentarctagon wrote:
May 14th, 2018, 5:23 am
Changed to "smaller and weaker", since that is a good point:

Otherwise, I still think the above description reads better, so I suppose we can see what others think of the two.
With this change I think I might prefer your version now. The phrase from the original "deployed as fodder to give their larger siblings time to prepare the real assault." implies recruiting a wave of goblin spearman early on is a good tactic, which in general, it is not. And If I strike it out the original flavor text is then very brief.
Pentarctagon wrote:
May 14th, 2018, 5:23 am
"equipment" seems overly broad to me though, since they have 0% resistance across the board as well as the Goblin Spearman's portrait having little besides a spear worth mentioning, especially compared to either of the level 1 advancements.
I guess I am a bit on the fence on this. Some generally stronger level 1 units like the footpad, fencer and thief have fairly severe negative resistances to "common" weaponry types. So it might be that the meager armor does bring such a small creature as a goblin with similarly negative natural resistances, up to zero resistances.
Celtic_Minstrel wrote:
May 15th, 2018, 2:37 am
Regarding "smaller and weaker" versus "smaller, weaker, or dumber", I mildly prefer the latter but wouldn't mind the former.
They are actually both true. The goblin spearman is a level 0 unit (smaller and weaker) and on top of that receives only one trait which is a negative trait (dim, slow or weak).

Maybe another line should be added which reflects/explains that this units gets a single negative trait. That is a fairly unique attribute.

It might also be fun to have a new explanation for why goblin runts are so common in orcish litters; the intense rivalry and food competition between siblings makes for highly variable degrees of nutrition between individuals. This leads to both general weaknesses in addition to acute mental and physical deformities (id est, the negative traits) in goblins. Or the malnutrition could lead to the stunted growth (level 0 general weakness) while workplace injuries incurred from having to do the majority of labor lead to the random negative traits.
Owlblocks wrote:
May 14th, 2018, 11:17 pm
For the goblin wolf rider, for instance, maybe
[...]
It focuses on the units' strengths and purpose while still addressing its weaknesses.
The existing version is better. In fact, the existing version is quite well done.

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Re: Revisiting Wesnoth unit descriptions

Post by Celtic_Minstrel » May 16th, 2018, 12:54 am

Pentarctagon wrote:
May 15th, 2018, 5:28 am
@Celtic_Minstrel: I still prefer mine, honestly, since I feel it flows more naturally from talking about runts being common -> they're called goblins -> they're used as fodder. I would be fine with either, though.
I think I'm not fully satisfied with either, but... I guess they both work.
Owlblocks wrote:
May 15th, 2018, 5:02 am
I used brethren because it showed their relation to the other orcs. I guess I figured orc would be more typically used for the others (literal brethren) but if it stands out then it would make sense to change it.
Hmm, good point. I guess we can leave it then.
Cold Steel wrote:
May 15th, 2018, 2:58 pm
It might also be fun to have a new explanation for why goblin runts are so common in orcish litters; the intense rivalry and food competition between siblings makes for highly variable degrees of nutrition between individuals. This leads to both general weaknesses in addition to acute mental and physical deformities (id est, the negative traits) in goblins. Or the malnutrition could lead to the stunted growth (level 0 general weakness) while workplace injuries incurred from having to do the majority of labor lead to the random negative traits.
I think I'd really prefer not to speculate on the exact reason for the runty goblins.
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Re: Revisiting Wesnoth unit descriptions

Post by Pentarctagon » May 18th, 2018, 7:57 am

Unless there are any more specific objections/suggestions, I'll be submitting a PR for my Goblin Spearman description.
Owlblocks wrote:
May 15th, 2018, 5:02 am
After years of subservience and condescension, one of the brighter goblins stumbled upon the idea of taming wolves. Those goblins that manage this feat command a level of grudging acceptance from their orcish brethren, due to the horde's need for faster soldiers capable of scouting and tactical strikes. While not as combat-worthy as their enemies' mounted forces, their abundancy makes them cheap to employ without much pain to their chieftain's coin pouch. Besides, no matter how hard the hordes try, they can't find anything else that matches the riders' maneuverability.
Likewise about objections/suggestions, and I can submit yours at the same time, if you don't want to mess around with git/Github(at least this time around).
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Re: Revisiting Wesnoth unit descriptions

Post by name » May 18th, 2018, 2:52 pm

Okay, one more specific idea for the spearman; swap "unfortunate" with "sickly". This maybe vaguely hints at their negative trait inducing ailments:
Goblin Spearman Revised wrote: In any race, there are always those rare individuals who, by stroke of bad luck, are born much smaller and weaker than the rest of their kind. For Orcs, however, such occurrences are extraordinarily common, with there usually being several runts born in each litter. Known as ‘Goblins’, these sickly creatures nearly always live short, brutal lives, most used merely as fodder against an enemy of their larger siblings' choosing while equipped with only the crudest of spears.
For the wolf rider, does not the revised version need to be better than the original in some way? Specifically, I think each line of the original flavor text does an excellent and better job:
Wolf Rider Original wrote:No one is quite sure how the practice of taming and riding wolves came into being, but the advantages of it for a goblin are obvious.
This leaves room for some mystery as to how this strange pairing took place. It is a good thing for the flavor text to leave some room for mystery.
Wolf Rider Original wrote:Goblins are smaller and much weaker than their orcish kin, and are often tasked to the most dangerous and unwanted parts of a fight. Any who can manage to win themselves a mount have a much safer, and daresay, more amusing role in combat.
Flavorful writing. Finding or taming a wolf mount means escape from a goblin's typical fate. Mentioning that goblins are much smaller and weaker subtly hints at why the riders are unarmed themselves and rely on the mount itself to be the weaponry. "Amusing role" hints that maybe this isn't the most fearsome unit for actual combat, so players should not go overboard with recruiting them for such a purpose.
Wolf Rider Original wrote:Wolves, likely, could never support the weight of a man in plate, but a goblin in leather armor is a simple load to bear.
A flavorful hint that this is a light scout; do not expect too much survivability from it.
Wolf Rider Original wrote:Quite unlike horses, these mounts have a rather easy time traversing the mountains, though water and woods will still slow them down.
This maybe could be toned down from "quite unlike" to simply "unlike" since the horse mounted elvish scout is equally fast on mountains and hills due to an extra movement point. Unless there are any plans to ever change the mount of the elvish scout to a stag or other forest creature or such.

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Re: Revisiting Wesnoth unit descriptions

Post by Celtic_Minstrel » May 19th, 2018, 1:04 am

I can't decide which is better for the wolf rider descriptions... I don't see any major problems with either of them, at least.

The only possible problem I can see with the proposed description is the focus on wolf riders as the most manoeuvrable of the orcish horde. Is that actually a reasonable statement in light of actual unit stats? I'm not sure.

The original seems to have a few more problems though. On the other hand it has some possibly-nicer things too. Unlike Cold Steel, I'm not fond of the suggestion that their role in combat is amusing; I'd just remove that bit. I'm also ambivalent about the "no-one is sure" statement. It's not a bad thing but I don't think it's enough to qualify that line as better than its equivalent in the proposed revision.

The other problem I see with the original is the note about bearing loads. I can agree with Cold Steel's analysis of it but still don't like the specific phrasing. I'd suggest something more like this:
Though even the largest wolves could never support the weight of a man, a goblin is quite within their ability to bear.
I'd also be fine with adding back the references to armour, though I feel like it subtly implies that maybe a man not in plate might be able to ride a wolf, or even that a goblin in plate wouldn't be able to (that one might be true though).
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Re: Revisiting Wesnoth unit descriptions

Post by Pentarctagon » May 19th, 2018, 4:01 pm

Cold Steel wrote:
May 18th, 2018, 2:52 pm
Okay, one more specific idea for the spearman; swap "unfortunate" with "sickly". This maybe vaguely hints at their negative trait inducing ailments:
Goblin Spearman Revised wrote: In any race, there are always those rare individuals who, by stroke of bad luck, are born much smaller and weaker than the rest of their kind. For Orcs, however, such occurrences are extraordinarily common, with there usually being several runts born in each litter. Known as ‘Goblins’, these sickly creatures nearly always live short, brutal lives, most used merely as fodder against an enemy of their larger siblings' choosing while equipped with only the crudest of spears.
Sickly has a rather different meaning than I intended, and to me at least, doesn't really have much connection to the negative traits Goblins can get.
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Re: Revisiting Wesnoth unit descriptions

Post by name » May 20th, 2018, 1:19 am

Pentarctagon wrote:
May 19th, 2018, 4:01 pm
Sickly has a rather different meaning than I intended, and to me at least, doesn't really have much connection to the negative traits Goblins can get.
Is there a lore explanation for them having only negative traits you would prefer?

Celtic_Minstrel wrote:
May 19th, 2018, 1:04 am
The only possible problem I can see with the proposed description is the focus on wolf riders as the most manoeuvrable of the orcish horde. Is that actually a reasonable statement in light of actual unit stats? I'm not sure.
Calling the wolf rider "most maneuverable" somewhat downplays the role and abilities of the naga fighter. The naga fighter has 7 movement versus the wolf rider's 8 movement, but the really big difference is that they handle most terrains with opposite competency. Where one is weak the other is strong, along with some overlap where they are equally mobile. So in practice, which one is fastest really depends on the map or the relevant region thereof and players should recruit these units accordingly.

Another misleading statement though is "their abundancy makes them cheap to employ without much pain to their chieftain's coin pouch", as the wolf rider ties with the assassin for most expensive recruit the northerners possess at 17 gold. That is not even cheap by the standards of other factions' scouts or cheap for what it delivers.
Celtic_Minstrel wrote:
May 19th, 2018, 1:04 am
Unlike Cold Steel, I'm not fond of the suggestion that their role in combat is amusing; I'd just remove that bit.
Okay, it all works well enough without it.
Celtic_Minstrel wrote:
May 19th, 2018, 1:04 am
I'm also ambivalent about the "no-one is sure" statement. It's not a bad thing but I don't think it's enough to qualify that line as better than its equivalent in the proposed revision.
The proposed revision only offers the obvious answer we would have already guessed for ourselves, which makes it mostly pointless to bring up in the first place. The original hints that something more interesting may be the case.
Celtic_Minstrel wrote:
May 19th, 2018, 1:04 am
The other problem I see with the original is the note about bearing loads. I can agree with Cold Steel's analysis of it but still don't like the specific phrasing. I'd suggest something more like this:
Though even the largest wolves could never support the weight of a man, a goblin is quite within their ability to bear.
Fair enough. The wolf rider does have neutral resistances so not mentioning armor seems alright. But maybe replacing "bear" with "carry swiftly" works better since the rider is as quick as the unburdened wild wolf.


So here is the original with all undisputed changes:
Wolf Rider Modified wrote:No one is quite sure how the practice of taming and riding wolves came into being, but the advantages of it for a goblin are obvious. Goblins are smaller and much weaker than their orcish kin, and are often tasked to the most dangerous and unwanted parts of a fight. Any who can manage to win themselves a mount have a much safer role in combat.

Though even the largest wolves could never support the weight of a man, a goblin is quite within their ability to carry swiftly. Unlike horses, these mounts have a rather easy time traversing the mountains, though water and woods will still slow them down.

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Re: Revisiting Wesnoth unit descriptions

Post by Celtic_Minstrel » May 20th, 2018, 4:23 am

Cold Steel wrote:
May 20th, 2018, 1:19 am
Calling the wolf rider "most maneuverable" somewhat downplays the role and abilities of the naga fighter. The naga fighter has 7 movement versus the wolf rider's 8 movement, but the really big difference is that they handle most terrains with opposite competency. Where one is weak the other is strong, along with some overlap where they are equally mobile. So in practice, which one is fastest really depends on the map or the relevant region thereof and players should recruit these units accordingly.
Sure, but the naga fighter is not part of the orcish hordes, so I think it's fair to ignore it in the goblin description.
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