The Final Exam, version 3

Discussion and development of scenarios and campaigns for the game.

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denispir
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The Final Exam, version 3

Post by denispir » October 27th, 2019, 10:05 am

Hello all,

This thread is dedicated to the rewriting of the nice, small, initiation campaign The Final Exam, whose original author is Elven; see historical development thread: https://forums.wesnoth.org/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=23398 . I wish this project to be a collective work, publicly carried out here. Elven agrees with all that and will take part to it (see also below post). You are warmly welcome to participate as well, the way you like: in bringing your own ideas, talking about others' ideas (I have tons, see below as well), comments about their realisation, playing new versions to test them, etc... There will also be concrete work about story-writing, speech & dialogs, map changes, coding (WML, maybe Lua), maybe image drawing; and indeed rewriting everything into real english: both Elven and myself are foreigners.

If all works fine as a group work, even with few people, then there may be be complicated "cross talks" on the thread: for clarity, think at quoting the words to which you reply. Also do your best to be pleasant & constructive, especially in critics, which we need very much; yes, it is difficult. And please read your own posts before publishing.

Each idea on which we agree would be implemented in turn and the result annouced here. The new files would be posted here as well and/or on the server, under another campaign name for the original one to remain available to players. These versions will have numbers of the form 3.0.n until we reach a satisfying 3.1 version to officially publish as a result of the project. A special goal may be to make the campaign so good ;-) that it becomes part of the mailine game (actually I find most mailine games pretty poor, especially in story), as an initiation campaign recommended for beginners to play, right after the tutorial: it is already better in that, in my view and that of others, than the present novice-level campaigns (too complicated).

Thank you for reading.

denispir
Posts: 184
Joined: March 14th, 2013, 12:26 am

Who is Erika?

Post by denispir » October 27th, 2019, 12:39 pm

Elven talked to me about his view of Erika, the heroin:
I also have an idea, but i am not sure, if you like it. in short, Erika will become a little bit evil. Ancient magic book that does not have a powerful spell or two, can be considered as dark magic?
Not evil as Malin Keshar from Descent into darkness, but make her little bit more like "arrogant boss" and little bit less like "naive little girl" :) All of this starting at scenario 5.

Then I answered:
Your idea fits my views very well. Because of her past life history, her meeting(s) with death and crualty at a (very) young age, she actually became pretty hard and tough herself: nothing like a "naive little girl", less so a "nice little girl" ;-)... More interesting and appealing than a typical (alledged) good heroin. This will manifest in her words and acts. On the other hand, just as you mean if I understand you rightly, she is not at all a typical bad boss, comparable to a future lich, an imperialist orcish big chief (or Wesnoth kings, especially the first one, in my interpretation of history). This should also be clear, for instance in her relation to Johnny (or Xohanu, read Shohanoo), who she mocks but also tries to preserve: she understands his feelings, but cannot share them; and doesn't want to.

denispir
Posts: 184
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Ideas, many

Post by denispir » October 27th, 2019, 12:41 pm

I took the opportunity of elven asking about my ideas, to start and write them down. About proposals here (and later ideas proposed by anyone), please tell us which ones you really support and which ones you really oppose. And tell us why: reasons may be actual facts, common sense, personal taste, whatever, but we need reasons!
list of ideas::
[1] Quoting a comment by Turin:
"Overall: A turn limit imposed on all scenarios to notionally give the player some motivation. I have never been a huge fan of open-ended scenarios unless the gold will not be saved."

And farther:
"...the design is not fully committing to either course. If there is going to be a turn limit then there should be more villages for the player to build up gold before scenario end or if no turn limit then perhaps each scenario has a fixed starting amount of gold to allow a player to build up experience but not a ridiculous amount of gold."

I would choose the latter option: gold is not saved and scenarios have a fixed gold amount.
Last edited by denispir on October 29th, 2019, 12:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

denispir
Posts: 184
Joined: March 14th, 2013, 12:26 am

Where?

Post by denispir » October 27th, 2019, 7:52 pm

The campaign may happen in the region south of Lintanir Forest: see map from Eastern Invasion in attached file. In the original campaign by Elven, there are 2 battle scenarios which, according to the story, should happen aroung Jessi's home:
* In the 1st scenario "Village", the battle happens on both sides of a little river that flows east-west.
* In the 3rd scenario "Village", the battle happens on both sides of a bigger river that flows north-south.

I figure that all this is placed on the map along River Listra (the bigger river), where a mountain torrent (the smaller one) joins it. There would be a village nearby, to the life of which Jessin at times participate; and which inhabtants may take part to the battle. The 1st scenario happens rather north-east of this area, the 3rd one rather west.

A prelude scenario where the 3 heroes come back home from a travel to Erika's birth village (on the bank of the Great River) may figure little fights happening south-east of Jessin's home.

What do you think?
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denispir
Posts: 184
Joined: March 14th, 2013, 12:26 am

storyline:

Post by denispir » December 3rd, 2019, 8:24 pm

A sketch of a possible storyline, sliced into scenarios and their [story] parts, introduced by a prologue. Scenario names may changes, as well as most details. i changed hero names to make them more "fantasy". See also below post about the prologue, for info on the dialect spoken there.
  • prologue (not a scenario): Explains the situation, namely in KurLan, the hilly and mountainous region south of Lintanir and east of Wesnoth, on both sides of Great River; and during the reign of old Lisar and Konrad. Wesnoth kingdom's warry and power politics badly affects folks around, especially orks and goblins. This in turn is cause of troubles and violence in KurLan, that receives traumatised orkish bands fleeing the Northlands.
    We first meet Ellaku the heroin, through a few words expressing her thoughts.
    (see prototype prologue text below)
  • Sweet Home Trail (new scenario): A sort of prelude, prefiguring several story elements, firstly the main characters. Ellaku, the old mage Jesuni, and the guard Xohami, have travelled to Ellaku's childhood village, on the other side of the mountain massif: a pilgrimage for her.
    On the way back, during a "wet foggy automn evening along mountain trails", they have several encounters, good or bad. They first (except for Jesuni) hear of "a book", at least twice, along with words about "search" and "magic". 1, 2, 3 persons met on the way become new companions for the time of the story (until they die at least ;-)). They then reach Jesuni's home tower, where a bad surprise welcomes them...
  • Welcome Home! (was scenario #1): Battle! They find an orkish band, mostly of foreign, Northland orks, occupying the tower and assailing or besieging the village. There is yet again question of "the book" so that Jesuni (not that smart!) endly starts to make the connexion, or at least to wonder. They battle first to regain the tower and, from there and the village (still reachable) take part to the combat.
    Villagers tell them more about the reason for this assault, namely a quest for "a book"; which should thus lay hidden around there. Jesuni decides to go & search a friend versed in ancient language who may read the book. This is also when he assigns Ellaku her mission, for her to become a "true" mage, namely to find and bring back the book. Also, to do so, Jesuni reminds and tells about events 33 years ago...
  • The last of the Dawarves (new scenario): A flashback episode one generation ago. The famous book first appeared then, during a battle that takes place in the landscape where are Jesuni's tower and the neighbour human village. The battle opposed wesnothian invaders, among which mages, to a force of mixed autochtones races, firstly orks, which chief had the book and made use of the (magic) knowledge it holds. Jesuni was there and fought along with local villagers. A reason for the invasion is old, "dawarf" silver mines in Kurlan (Wesnoth has spies).
    The last dawarf of Kurlan, an old woman, died then and there: a sculpture stands in her memory. The ork chief tells about where the Wesans came from and requires people to go and see what may have happened there: they will find destruction and massacre... He happened to be a twin; like Ellaku; we learn that; we also see him entering a cave, disappear there with the book, and then a strong, deep, noise.
  • Secrets Under (was scenario #2): Instead of fighting trolls, for no reason and contrary to the story: Ellaku's troop in search for the book will have to find an entrance (was crumbled by the event 33 years ago), step onto a few "monsters", be attacked by bats or ghosts (difficulty level), which only precede the real ennemy, here in the cave, undead skeletons lead by a death night boss. Trolls leaving around, annoyed by undeads, instead may help.
    Behind the boss's keep lies the book... The boss himself is or may be the undead form of the orkish chief who died here, suiciding himself by crumbling the cave, with the book now hidden. Under trollish advice, the heroes do not kill him, sio that he will tells to Ellaku's troop what happened to him.
    (see comments below)
  • Deadly Poison (was scenario #3): Jesuni's friend was a troll shaman! They come back but Jesuni has been badly wounded and poisoned when they met a roaming Wesan (Wesnoth) mercenary band. It is evil and alien poison, that noone can cure here. (Also, ellaku cannot advance to white mage: this was a bug in the gameplay, since Ellaku could already have advanced, to white or red, or be close to.) Fortunately (!) one of the bands of "eleves" (elves) who enjoy here a nomadic life style also heard of the book (from orks?!) and arrived at the village.
    Unfortunately (!) a mixed troop of wesan (wesnothian) soldiers, with mages again, and orkish mercenaries, then also arrives: Battle! Ellaku needs to reach and bring back a eleven druid to Jesuni, who can barely walk. I plan to maybe make him die just after having been cured: Drama! Tragedy!! ;-)
    Finally, if I manage to arrange the battle, at all difficulties, so that Ellaku can reach & bring the druid without the ennemy first being all crushed, then the crushing comes afterwards (and then Jesuni dies!). I also wonder how to keep the wose(s) in the story. (see comments below)
  • Lakes (was scenario #4): I don't really know what to do about that scenario. Again, like with trolls in the cave, we are fighting "ennemies" for no reason... Maybe keep the map/landscape, as well as the battle tactics as is, since they are good, and find a way to insert another confrontation, this time far from the village and the tower. A possibilty: the heroes and the troll shaman, joined by a group of elves, could be tracking the band of mercenaries who attacked and poisoned Jesuni. What do you think?
  • Final: Final Battle! I thought, and it fits above option, that an elven or orkish messenger, or why not a villager may come at the end of previous scenario, and talk about a big wesan (wesnothian) army spotted beyond River Listra. As they seem to follow a similar path as 33 years ago, decision is taken to gather autochtone forces and catch them at dead town Xyz, precisely where they then perpetrated the slaughter. The spot may be good for defence, if reached early enough to build some fortifications from the remains of the destruction.
    And so it happens... I battle, allied forces from all races arrive one after the other; including a band of "briganti" (bandits) lead by another heroin of mine, a young troll woman; first encounter with Ellaku, see below. And you know what: they will win!
    Xohani will probably die then & there. Ellaku regrets, verbally, not to have lived sex with him (and she may well die without having lived that). Thereafter, she leaves to better sense inside alone all those events; and just live her own life; the short rest of it...
Further comments (not proofread, I'm tired and have more to do):
In search for a good story:
* Why is Ellaku a twin sister? (see also prologue below, where she thinks at her lost twin brother) It just popped so in my mind, when thinking at enriching the characters,

* What is the mystic "twin magic"? I thought so, along those lines: mystic is about connexion and participation with a greater whole. Ultimately, to the big whole we call nature, life, or the world. Twins literally live since, not birth, but indeed conception... They thus have access, if bearing any magical talent, to a deeper and/yet natural form of magic.

* What link with "arcane", if any? Hum.. First, note that only white mages have it. I'm thinking at making Ellaku's magic range weapon arcane, instead of fire. (She may start as an ordinary mage apart from that and a "swift" trait giving one more melee strike with little reduced damage. Then become a "wander mage", then a "rover mage" at level 3, both still swift and with arcane magic.) The link with arcane, somehow evoked, would be that only a few folks acces it, and people of the good kind, healers, who indeed connect and participate to the world around them.

* What link with undeads? Well, maybe when the orkish dies he is full of anger and even hate. this makes him turn "evil", at that death moment when he is also full of the mystic, twin magic. The dark side of the force --> he turns undead, or rather is born again so. Thus, he is there is the cave to "welcome" our heroes. I rather like that, it binds together several elements or threads of the story, and also is common fantasy element.

* Death & Ankuw: A constant in Ellaku's life, is that her companions all die. It all started with her twin brother. And goes on here in the story, probably with both Jesuni and Xohami, maybe more (new companions)... Ellaky has dream or visions of Ankuw (see prologue), a mythic characters persinifying death. Thus a possible title "Death is her Mate". Ankouw is inspired from Ankou (see wikipedia), this mythic character precisely in breton and brittonic-celtic mythology (see Brittonic Languages). From wikipedia:
wikipedia wrote:Ankou ... is a personification of death in Breton mythology as well as in Cornish ..., Welsh ..., and Norman French folklore.
* What about woses? Or is it a wose that can cure Jesuni, instead of an "elevish" druid? In Kurlan, contrary to Wesnoth where only the big, elven forests remain, autochtone people have not destroyed vegetation and nature globally; well, apart from dawarf mines!

* Ellaku (Erika is her "first name") will not live long; from the original last scenario:
"Erika's life was very short after she helped both her master and the elves. One night, she was poisoned with an orcish throwing knife and while Erika was able to harm her enemy, poison killed her."
I like that very much, for any reason. She's that kind of person who preferes 20 years of intense, even burning life, than 80 years of mild, teasteless survival. I even first planned that she may die at the end of the last battle. But I changed my mind, first because it seems better, as originally done, to let the players imagine. And second because that she has met my other heroin, the young troll woman, it would be cool if ever she also figures in her story for one or two episodes.
I don't know, however, whether she should also die of poison (repetitive?). In any case, I may again choose to not show her death, thus letting the reader/player imagination run free :-).

* And... what about love? I did not mention it in the storyline above, but Xohami feels love for Ellaku. This should pop up now & then in the story, along with Ellaku's not-always-so-kind reactions.

denispir
Posts: 184
Joined: March 14th, 2013, 12:26 am

prelude

Post by denispir » December 3rd, 2019, 8:26 pm

Below present form of the prelude, plus [story] part of the first scenario:
(note: there may be a kind of very short poem, like haikus, at every scenario start)

~~~~~~~
prelude
~~~~~~~

Narrator:
Where this story happens, is deep in heart of our continent, you view? Not in Wesa; not outside Wesa reach; unfortunately. Here, or over there, people, people of all races, people think their own ways, live their own ways, talk their own ways; talk their own ways.
[As you will learn later, Wesa is what you know as Wesnoth, and Wesans are Wesa dwellers, especially powerful humanas.]

If you know not KuruLan, then you know not KuruLan. KuruLan is region south of wonder Forest Linitanir. KorLaan is that lovely area, hilly valley mountainous, on both sides of Great River, also bordered by River Listra, into which those many jolly torrents flow from flanks mountain.

KuruLan means: heart land: indeed KuruLan is core of our continent. Still one more name of toroll origin: KürLaan. Foreign humanas call it KirLan. They cannot say "ü"; orocs can; eleves can say it; dawarves can; we can.

~~~~~~~

Ellaku:
I was then young. I mean, I was very young. I was happy. I was free. I was nature, I was nature. I mean, /we/ were both nature, free, happy. My brother is Zorrumi. My twin brother is Zorrumi. I mean, my twin brother /was/ Zorrumi.
Zorrumi lives in me. Zorrumi lives with me. Zorrumi lives for me. I think of him all time. I think of him every night.
hhhmm

hhhmm
Then... then I met death: Ankuw, near the river. We, I mean Zorrumi and I, we were seven springs old. I think of Zorrumi so fine so well so true.

~~~~~~~

Narrator:
In ancient times that torols or eleves still tell, lived many torols here in KuruLan. Some dawarves in their caves; wandering eleves from Linitanir; few humanas, dwelling around valleys and river banks; also orks & goblin who are everywhere. Yes; whatever the official Wesnan history says; there were humanas, and orocs & gobilins on the continent before, everywhere in fact. You view? Wesa lords are invaders and destroyers: they view not what they invade and destroy. What they want view, they view.

Today, things have changed; in this year 555 for Wesan humanas, under the reign of old Lisar and Konrad, folks are different. Thousands and thousands of orocs & gobilins arrived in whole troops; they not are like our own oroc clans: they are aggressive, arrogant, and warlike. Torols, our dear rover torols, not are many nowadays; some have died, some have left toward volcano mountains Vulka; Vulukaa as torols say.

Dawarves disappeared: this is another story, just wait. Humanas, joined by refugees from Wesa, are still there...


~~~~~~~~~~~~
scenario 1
~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ellaku is terrible beauty of combat of grace
when a combat with death
along with death

Narrator:
On that day, like on many other days, they are three: Ellaku, who you will know better. Jesuni the old mage who met her, welcomed her, loved her; Jesuni who helped her find her own magic. Xohami the young servant and guard; Xohami who feels things for her Ellaku.

A wet foggy automn evening along mountain trails: they had travelled all across KuruLan. They are coming back from Fijenow, the village where Ellaku was born, on bank of Great River: a sort of pilgrimage for her. They speak not. Ellaku, full of feel, full of sense. They march back home to Jesuni's tower on bank of River Listra. Late it is, they wish to reach a shelter before night. A wet foggy automn evening along mountain paths...

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Elven
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Re: The Final Exam, version 3

Post by Elven » December 3rd, 2019, 8:57 pm

wow, you took it really seriously :) well... why that name changes?
Creator of Greenie knižnica and Greenie Linux and Wesnoth unofficial LiveCD; Slovak/Czech translator and creator of The Three Elves, The Final Exam and Unite the Clans.

denispir
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Re: The Final Exam, version 3

Post by denispir » December 4th, 2019, 9:55 am

Elven wrote:
December 3rd, 2019, 8:57 pm
why that name changes?
They sound too ordinary and "earthly" to me. In a fantasy context, I don't like to be brought back to boring (so-called) "reality" and less so to a specific real folk & culture as with "Johnny". Said otherwise, for me (maybe it's only me), names like "Erika" or "Johnny" have no place in the Wesnoth world or in any other fantasy world. All names should be unknown, invented; although some can refer to other fantasy works, eg we could reuse "Jessene" from TRoW. Tolkien did all that well, for instance, IIRC.

What do you think of the story draft? Some comments, critics, or suggestions? And what about other aspect of the design?

PS: I will post a map the region KurLan as soon as I manage to have an image inserted in a message (for any reason, phpBB deletes it when I preview or submit, maybe an untold max size?).

denispir
Posts: 184
Joined: March 14th, 2013, 12:26 am

map of region KurLan

Post by denispir » December 4th, 2019, 10:10 am

This is a map of the region where the story takes place, as well as my other game earler evoked, made as a Wesnoth game map! It is a kind of bigger reproduction of the area as we see it on the map of Eastern Invasion posted above. I chose this solution since I am very very bad at platic arts...
KurLan.png
Comments:
  • Not shown here (it's an uncomplete screeenshot) is the Lintanir forest on the North, and the Wesnoth border south-west, with N and S outposts.
  • Up there on the west are Jesuni's (Jesson's) tower and the neighbour village.
  • At the opposite, also near a bridge, is Ellaku's (Erika's) childhood village, from where they come from in the new prelude / first scenario.
  • It is all temporary.
  • Chasms in particular are highly hypothetical.
  • I would like to place names, in a nice form, on the maps (could not a way, must think at asking on the forum).

BTIsaac
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Re: The Final Exam, version 3

Post by BTIsaac » December 6th, 2019, 1:32 pm

This feels like a project of it's own rather than an expansion of the original.

denispir
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Re: The Final Exam, version 3

Post by denispir » December 8th, 2019, 6:27 pm

BTIsaac wrote:
December 6th, 2019, 1:32 pm
This feels like a project of it's own rather than an expansion of the original.
Hum, I've the same feeling at a moment. May become a "version 3" or a new campaign. Elven lets his campaign in free use.

BTIsaac
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Joined: December 7th, 2017, 7:30 am

Re: The Final Exam, version 3

Post by BTIsaac » Yesterday, 12:49 pm

Another thing I would like to point out about the names. Aside from Johnny, you have no real reason to change them, at least for the time being. Even if you do, you cannot just come up with random noises and call them "fantasy names". Names need to have logic behind them. Furthermore, "Ellaku" sounds distinctly male, and has a slight turkic ring to it. Very much out of place for a female character from a medieval europe inspired setting, especially if she's a main character, so we'll be hearing her name a lot.

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