American Mythological Era (Development Stage: Theoretical)

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American Mythological Era (Development Stage: Theoretical)

Post by TheBladeRoden »

Since I always like starting ambitious projects that will probably never get completed, and I apparently can't work on a Zelda mod for legal reasons, I decided to quickly develop my own IP for a Wesnoth add-on.

I figured I'd make like Tolkien, who wanted to create a Mythology for Britain, only this would be for America.

This add-on and its factions would be developed largely around American folklore between the 18th-19th centuries.

I’m probably not creative enough to make totally new species out of it like Orcs and Elves, but hopefully each faction’s ethnic heritage and life philosophy will make for a diverse enough era.

So yeah, I only came up with this two days ago, so it’s really rough around the edges and the sides and the middle right now. And ideas are welcome.

Let’s get to the factions!


This side is based on the good ol’ colonial revolutionary New England, full of founding fathers, universities made of red brick buildings with bell towers in them, and lots of wigged dudes with muskets, horses, and cannons. The Columbians have lofty ideals about how a lawful society should function, and are willing to tar and feather anyone who doesn’t share their views on freedom and liberty.

Gameplay Ideas

Columbian units tend to get defense bonuses in cities and forts.
Minutemen units get a free move when they are recruited.

Word Brainstorm List
George Washington
Uncle Sam
Yankee Doodle
Rip Van Winkle
Johnny Appleseed
Molly Pitcher
Sleepy Hollow
Paul Revere
Crossing the Delaware
Skull & Bones


This faction is based on the good ol’ period of western exploration & expansion in the early 1800’s. These guys have set out to lands far away from the establishment in order to seek out action, adventure, or just opportunities to make a butt-load of gold. They may be unassuming in their military capability, but they are a hardy folk, with three-year-olds able to kill bears and giant lumberjacks that make lakes with their footprints.

Gameplay Ideas
Being all nature-accustomed and stuff like Wood Elves, Pioneers are swift of foot in foresty and mountainy terrains.

Word Brainstorm List
Paul Bunyan
Davy Crockett
Lewis & Clark
Daniel Boone
Oregon Trail
Fur Trapper


Being the aboriginal peoples of whatever land this mythological age takes place, the Natives are the natural enemy of the expansionist Pioneers and Wild Westerners. Though they lack the technology and resources of their rivals, they are steeped in shamanistic tradition and can use their magical abilities to call forth the animal spirits and fight back.

Word Brainstorm List
Crazy Horse
Sitting Bull
Horse Archers
Medicine Man
Animal Spirits
Paint with all the colors of the wind
You know the drill

Wild West

Having broken off from the Pioneers, the Wild Westerners are done exploring and have established their own frontier towns in the badlands. While city organizers try to reconstruct the familiar main streets and large store fronts reminiscent of old Columbia, the there are also those within the faction who take advantage of the city’s isolation and lawlessness to wreak havoc. Will the lawful sheriffs come to bring order to the faction, or will the chaotic outlaws and bandits become the dominant alignment? Who knows?

Gameplay Ideas
Okay I had a little trouble trying to find their gimmick, but I guess right now it’ll be a mishmash of lawful and chaotic units.

Word Brainstorm List
Butch Cassidy
Clint Eastwood
Wild Bill
Wyatt Earp
You also know the drill


This one is likely the most sensitive political correctness-wise, being all based on African-American slavery and stuff. It incorporates the mix of Christianity and West African spiritualism involved in the slave songs and folklore. But for a bit more flavor, I thought I might focus more on New Orleans and Caribbean Island inspired mysticism, particularly in regards to invoking the spirits of the afterlife.

Gameplay Ideas

So yeah, basically it’s this era’s version of the Undead faction.

Word Brainstorm List
African-American Folklore
Uncle Remus
Slave Songs & Spirituals
Ghost Stories
Gone with the Wind
I know why the Caged Bird Sings
Shadow Man


“We only give out loans to BIG business!” Okay, that should put you in the proper mindset. These are the captains of industry, the champions of coal, the rallyers of rail, the sultans of steel, the oligarchs of urbanization, the masters of monopolizing! They’re here to take your lunch money and ironically donate it towards building a school cafeteria.

Gameplay Ideas
But yeah, being all industrial-like, these guys will have a lot of mechanized and pollution-based units. Gothic steampunk walkers, that sort of thing.

Word Brainstorm List
Railroad, Steel, & Oil Monopolies
Gothic Steampunk?
J.P. Morgan
Andrew Carnegie
Robber Barons
Uncle Pennybags
Urban Immigrants


Our other technology-based faction is the Inventors. They were originally going to solely be based on the Wright Brothers, with a large fleet of open-framed flying machines. But then I decided to expand to the other inventors like Edison and Bell. Try thinking of the Vinci from Rise of Legends.

Gameplay Ideas
So what new units will that bring about? Electric weapons? Battery throwers? A filmographer/journalist unit that slows the enemy (for publicity reasons)?

Word Brainstorm List

Flight focused?
Open-frame flying machines.
Electric weapons?
Wright Brothers
Thomas Edison
Alexander Graham Bell
Samuel Morse

alright! Let's hope I actually get somewhere with this!
Last edited by TheBladeRoden on October 1st, 2007, 12:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by TheBladeRoden »

... or not :o
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Post by turin »

It sounds interesting. I'm not sure how well it would fit in Wesnoth, though; once you have stuff like guns and cannons the fact that ranged and melee weapons function the same starts to seem a lot stranger.

BTW, have you perchance read "Tales of Alvin Maker"?
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American Mythological Era (Development Stage: Coding)

Post by TheBladeRoden »

Alright, I think this thing would be best done one faction at a time, rather than trying to do them all at an equal rate.

So here is the working Columbian Unit Tree, some names are placeholders until I think of better names than "Big Ship"


Recruiting Table:

Unit line descriptions

Minuteman: These guys are the weaker version of the infantry. Peasant-like. Really they're only useful for stalling and delaying enemy troops. Even so, a big advantage of theirs is that they can start moving as soon as they are recruited (assuming I can figure out how to code it). Lines for advancement include a sniper-like unit, or a fife & drum band that's hardly able to fight, but still inspires nearby troops.

Infantry: A unit that specializes in ranged rifle attacks, and also have a few advancement options. The Rifleman line is pretty much a souped up Infantry. Marines are better at treading shallow water for amphibious attacks. The Officers naturally have the Leadership ability.

Freeman: The Freemen are a secret society (forgive the grammar) that influences the operations of the Columbian government from beyond the sight of the law and public scrutiny. Their strange rituals grant them magical powers on the battlefield, but they also can be promoted to a regular officer unit if their leadership is required.

Messenger: Yeah, you know how cavalry work. The Dragoon line is focused on ranged attacks, while the rest are melee focused.

Cannon: Siege weapons in this era will get a new type of attack in addition to Melee and Ranged, Bombard! If normal ranged attacks were akin to direct fire, Bombard is kind of a non-line-of-sight attack. This means cannons when using Bombard can attack non-siege units without fear of reprisal, though it is less accurate. Artillery is a souped up Cannon. Mortar has a higher rate of fire, but it has no direct ranged attack.

Boat: Everyone needs some sort of deep sea unit (or so I'm told), well this is it. Try to build them on shoreline keeps though, because moving full-size frigates over land is a challenge even in fantasy stories.

Supplier: This lady is basically this faction's Shaman or White Mage, unless I can think of more creative ideas.
Last edited by TheBladeRoden on March 17th, 2008, 6:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by thespaceinvader »

Boat > Cutter > Barque?
Boat > Ship > Galleon?

But using a boat as a water unit might as you've already mentioned cause problems. |
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Post by Kuolon Tanssi »

I really like this idea, and would happily help with any art work needed for it ^^. I have done spriting in the past and it shouldnt take long for me to get the hang of it again.

Might i add a few suggestions to the factions:

1. As this is set around the native American times(or around then) some form of Britsh army would be stationed in America (hence war of independance). i could imagine them either in the Columbian faction, or as an entirely diiferent one, though i think they would be too much like Columbia.

2. A bit of a silly idea for a faction, but what about the canadians? lol, though i dont think they were involved much those times.

I cant think of anything else lol but theres some of my ideas. :)
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Post by Qes »

I dont think that your ideas are out of the scope of wesnoth.

They're just a different age, sort of like Napolenonth.

My suggestions are two-fold.

One - stick to an era. You spread out between colonials and pioneers and guilded age industrialists.

There is a significant range of military prowess and hardware in there. I recomend you keep your era based within a cira 50 years of itself.

Therefor dont have musketmen and minutemen when other people could be hireing riflemen. The disparity at arms would be profound.

I like the idea that your factions are based on ideology instead of mere geographic location - reminds me of SMAC. Stick with that, but again, keep within one time period if you can.

Also, on the advancement of arms and the dealings with strange ranges.

When you make unit files, the "Range" can really be anything.

It'd not be impossible to have 3 ranges instead of two.


In this all you're doing is breaking out the differences between artillery and "ranged" combat.

This would allow for artillery peices to shoot unapposed at basic troops.

Some mixed companies could have "Mortars" and return fire at artillery ranges.

But with the three seperate ranges, You could have more opportunities for unanswered damage.

Many units, for example, could still lack range of any kind - some cavalry, perhaps native populations, or even antiquated weaponry like "halberdiers or pikemen" being vestiges of wars past.

Another thing you could do is include "Charge" in many of the standard infantry melee ranges - to represent exaclty that.

Really, the key would be to span the levels of the units (and therefore the realative technology represesnted) akin to fireing rate, which is easily translated in strike-counts.

The dwarves define it pretty well.
20-1 numbers represent one good shot.

You could make your numbers a bit higher, like 15-2 (keeping all balanced of course) for a level 1 at "rifle range"

This indicates two good shots.

Bayonet charges could be made into berzerks for your era, as they usually did destroy one side or the other. But perhaps that's over complicating things.

The idea you have is good, and wesnoth has all the tools to get your era right - just be creative.

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Post by TheBladeRoden »

Qes wrote: One - stick to an era. You spread out between colonials and pioneers and guilded age industrialists.

There is a significant range of military prowess and hardware in there. I recomend you keep your era based within a cira 50 years of itself.
I guess I figured if Rise of Legends can combine Industrial steampunk, Arabian Nights magic, and MesoAmericans with lasers semi-successfully, my ideas wouldn't be too much of a stretch.

Apparently the thought of successfully incorporating siege weapons will require more thinking, I think.
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Post by pauxlo »

TheBladeRoden wrote:Minuteman: These [...] Even so, a big advantage of theirs is that they can start moving as soon as they are recruited (assuming I can figure out how to code it). [...]
In some campaign I saw such a thing ... this was either "Story of Wesmere" (Kalenz) or "A New Order" (Gawen) in one story type scenario, where you had to recall (or recruit, which wouldn't be wise) 12 units to use in the next scenarios. Since the castle is too small for recalling 12 units in one turn, one can move them right after recall.

Hmm, I think Wesmere is more likely (I seem to remember them being elves). Sorry, no more information for now, I'm not at my Wesnoth computer.
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Post by Kuolon Tanssi »

For the artillery units, the bombard shot seems like an over powering idea. If they have this ability, might i suggest having no melee attack? This would be realistic in battle terms, as the crew would be reloading, leaving them prone to attack. Or if they have an attack, perhaps 1 very weak one suggesting that the crew through a cannon ball at the charging unit in panic?
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Common Themes

Post by goldenerasuburb »

The goal of this is to create an American Meta-mythology. But making a fantasy world with similarities to American History won't do this unless there are ideas behind it - common themes that resonate with people. Figure out what your underlying themes, your ethos, the stuff that permeate every aspect of your setting, stories, and characters will be first, and work it out from there.

While thinking about this, America isn't much of a nation anymore. A nation has some sort of common identity, something to unite it 's people. Where do you see that in America today? A House divided cannot stand someone once said. Of course, unity often means the loss of some forms of independence. You might become more secure, safer, but you do it at the expense of some freedoms. And as became evident with the Patriot Act, that increase in security can be taken too far. Too much security and it amounts to oppression. Too much independence and there is chaos. So that is the first part of the ethos
The second is this: With a bundle of sticks as with a people, if there are no common bonds and force is applied, they will break.
That is what I've got so far.
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Post by CarpeGuitarrem »

Ooh, American steampunk, more or less. Cool deal.
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Post by goldenerasuburb »

I was wrong in my last post. This could work, but not as a fantasy world with elements of the real world. It would work better taking place in our world 's history, with some fictional elements, possibly coming from
American Folklore, or they could constitute a secret history. As for time range, this first era in this project should deal with the Colonial Period, and future eras will continue until the 1900s, possibly 1910s.

As for factions, your ideas for Columbia fit the New England Colonies well enough, as well as some middle colonies. Bayou fits the pattern perfectly as well. But what you need is a Southern Agrarian faction, with you know
as well as an Appalachian faction - mountain folk. That includes trappers,
The issue when making a Native Faction is the fact that there the Native Americans varied a great deal, being bound to the land they lived on. Northeast NAs would be significantly different from Plains NAs. Native American factions would have to be based on the region they lived in. Then you have the British and the French, who were competing around this time.

One more thing I must emphasize: If this is to be a mythology, then what you need is a set of overarching themes. This particular one deals with American History, so you must decide how that narrative will be portrayed. The central threads I can come up with, that I suggest all other threads flow from, are as follows:
1. The formulation and progress of the American Experiment - Democracy, in a time when Democracy was not fashionable elsewhere, as well as it's conflict with other ideologies.
2. The tragic story of the Native Americans struggling against the European's expansion westward.

It is up to you to figure out how to integrate these into the first era. I have to go.
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Post by Dante_Mephisto »

I really the idea of making an era based on American History, even throwing in some mythological elements, I and I think it could go a long ways. Here’s my shot at fleshing it out, let me know what you think, and I hope I haven’t taken too many liberties.
Roughly, lvl 1 = king william’s war (colonial) era, lvl 2 = revolutionary era, lvl 3 = civil war era
I’ve tried to reflect the emphasis and psudo-superiority of cavalry early on, and the rise of firearms in relative unit strength.

Melee = short-ranged
Ranged = long-ranged
Let’s take minutemen, cannons, and cavalry as an example unit tree and balance
I haven’t given any thought to gold costs or HP… let me know what you think


Minuteman lvl 1 levels to Continental, Rifleman
Melee 7-2 impact (musket) lawful

Continental lvl 2 levels to Union Regular
Melee 10-2 impact (musket) lawful

Union Regular lvl 3
Melee 13-3 impact (breech-loader) lawful

Rifleman lvl 2 levels to sharpshooter
Melee 7-2 impact (rifle) lawful
Ranged 7-2 impact (rifle), marksman

Sharpshooter lvl 3 lawful
Melee 10-3 impact (rifle), marksman
Ranged 10-3 impact (rifle), marksman

Culverin lvl 1 levels to Cannon
Ranged 12-1 impact (cannon) lawful

Cannon lvl 2 levels to Artillery
Ranged 19-1 impact (cannon) lawful

Artillery lvl 3 lawful
Ranged 27-1 impact (cannon)

Light Horse lvl 1 levels to Cuirassier, Officer
Melee 4-4 blade scout-type cavalry, neutral

Lancer lvl 1 levels to Cuirassier, Officer
Melee 9-2 pierce lawful

Cuirassier lvl 2 levels to Dragoon
Melee 8-3 blade lawful

Officer lvl 2 lawful
Melee 7-3 blade leadership

Dragoon lvl 3 lawful
Melee 10-3 blade

Something like that for unit balance…? They’d probably need a kind of
Settler, neutral, levels to
Frontiersman, levels to
and any additional kind of units that would make sense =)

I like the feel of your factions and your descriptions, but I don’t see that there can be that much of a difference between Pioneers and Wild West. You could take it a couple routes… have a frontier unit line and then an atlantic line for the Columbians, which would preserve something of the feel. I feel like merging the Pioneers, Wild Westerners, and Columbians… but keeping at least the first two separate does make some historical sense (Whiskey Rebellion of 1794, the ‘Utah War’, Texas Republic, Bear Republic)

You could distinguish between the Northerners and Southerners with a Columbia and Dixie faction, giving the Dixie faction a more settled and less expansionist feel… but that introduces the same ideas of similarities that I was pointing out above. Splitting the Natives into two factions opens up more tactical possibilities.

Faction ideas:
Columbia + Dixie or + Western Settlers

Plains - (Sioux, Blackfeet, Dakota-styled line, etc… with an early Iroquois-styled line?)
With a culture focused on tribal allegiances and a nomadic lifestyle, the Plains Indians proved a challenge and strong regional rivals to the expansion of the early American Colonists. Their nomadic lifestyle gave rise to unparalleled skill on horseback.
They could have lots of melee horse units, differentiated by number of attacks, charge, skirmish, etc. An infantry eastern US line based on the Iroquois might round them out. Limiting non-Plains use of abilities like skirmish and charge could potential balance their lack of ranged cannon.

Western Natives (Shoshone-Ute mountain line, Comanche-Apache desert line (desert ambush ability?))
Focused on tactical use of stealth and non-standard terrain, like mountains, desert, snow, etc… chaotic anyone?

The historical blending of peoples and cultures gives a lot of options for faction development

Spanish - Mexicans California, Florida, Mexico
Culture centered around religion, ranchero/estate economy.

Someone said they liked the idea of a Canadian-based faction. As they had perhaps the most European involvement, you could take a Canadian-based faction that evolves from French-British base units to the Mounties…? They’re my best bet to represent European involvement in the American Mythological Era.

The list probably needs to be whittled-down and consolidated… the more I think about it, Dixie, Westerners, and Columbia could be consolidated into an era with lots of units and options, much like the Loyalists are right now in the default era. Other factions could occupy tactical niches, like fast-moving melee Plains indians, mountain+desert+snow (and a little forest) ambushing Mountain West indians. The Bayou faction, like you said, has the most undead-style.

Giving the Spanish or Mexicans a conquistador-missionary style of units would be interesting as well... take the undead's plague concept as an example... (but without the new-sprites headache)...
How's this concept?
Missionary --> Jesuit (I don't know if it's alright to use real names of groups... >_> I don't have anything against them I just think the idea's cool)... when you kill an enemy unit, you have a 50% chance of getting a lvl 1 version of that unit... kind of like the plague. Convert, would that be too difficult to code?
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Post by AI »

I believe you can use "short", "long" and "whatever" as ranges and they'll work just fine, meaning units only retaliate if they have a weapon with a range that matches, no matter what that range is.
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