A grand design for singleplayer mainline lore

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nemaara
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A grand design for singleplayer mainline lore

Post by nemaara »

Okay so the title is kind of facetious, but a little bit serious too. :roll: :lol:

There are spoilers to follow. If you have not played much mainline singleplayer yet, or would like to find out about this new lore later on, please disregard this post.

Basically, along the lines of the previous discussion here http://forums.wesnoth.org/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=51139, our mainline currently does not have much of a direction with regard to its campaign lore (i.e. it's a bunch of separate stories with little to do with each other). What I'm detailing here is a suggestion for an overarching storyline that outlines three major story arcs that fit in the context of an even larger one. I think this would significantly strengthen our mainline singleplayer lore.

Let's start with the biggest change to get this outline to work: I would like to introduce demons as an element in mainline and use the Ruby of Fire as the most important artifact that is capable of creating portals to summon them (note that there are other ways as well). The major "behind the scenes" plot would be that throughout Wesnoth's history, various beings (Jevyan/Asheviere being two examples) with this knowledge aim to use the Ruby to contact said demons with the goal of gaining power (maybe mistaken in some instances). Essentially the Ruby is a tool to create paths to other, potentially more powerful or more advanced worlds.

The major wars in Wesnoth would therefore mostly involve these "mysterious demons" and their relation with the Ruby of Fire, with each major event arc tied together with this motif.

Next, the specific story arcs:

A Rise of Wesnoth (2 campaigns) arc consisting of The Rise of Wesnoth and The Sceptre of Fire. These two are very easy to work with in the above context: the Ruby of Fire is already of central importance for both, though not much of a concrete reason is shown why in said campaigns. I would propose careful introduction of demons into TRoW (in very select areas) and reworking some of SoF's dialogue (to include more lore regarding the Ruby and hinting at said demons/their goddess). This would be a relatively small amount of work, keeping most campaigns mostly the same.

A Terror of Asheviere (4 campaigns) arc (thanks octalot! :lol: ) consisting of Delfador's Memoirs, a campaign depicting Asheviere's rise to power, Descent into Darkness, and Heir to the Throne. I would like to introduce Delfador and Asheviere as friends in DM, with Asheviere as a more or less oppressed daughter of a noble without agency in her life (a second daughter who isn't cared for by her neglectful family). Delfador meets her near the start and takes interest once he finds that she has a touch for magic. For simplicity, we can keep the plot of DM relatively the same as it is now, and Delfador and Asheviere fight off Iliah-Malal (who by the way, has learned how to make contact with demons), ending his terror on Weldyn. However, Asheviere's interest is piqued and she secretly starts learning about what Iliah-Malal was trying to do.

The second subarc would be Asheviere's rise to power, where she works behind the scenes with a rising, soon-to-be orcish sovereign to consolidate power and further her studies on demons. This would culminate in her betraying her husband, the king using her newfound powers and the help of her orcish allies (i.e. the orcs the king fights at the river are under the command of her orc allies, while she convinces her son to betray his father at the same time). Simultaneously, DiD occurs, where Mal Keshar stumbles upon the Sceptre of Fire during his descent into darkness, along with a secret lair detailing lore regarding demons (say, written in SoF). He loses track of the Sceptre upon being interrupted, but is now one of the select few with knowledge about the demons.

The third subarc would be HttT, kept mostly as is, with Asheviere continuing to use orcs to maintain power while searching for the Sceptre of Fire to strengthen her connection with the demons. Delfador, Konrad, Li'sar, and Kalenz, in their journey north, happen across Mal Keshar, who less than kindly points them in the direction of the Sceptre after learning about what Asheviere is trying to do. They obtain the sceptre and defeat Asheviere.

Finally, a Fall of Wesnoth (2-3 campaigns) arc consisting of a Fall of Wesnoth campaign (I am proposing this to be a Dunefolk campaign), Under the Burning Suns, and potentially, the UMC Invasion from the Unknown. The Fall of Wesnoth would be a Dunefolk campaign using the underground Luminary (or Eminent) secret society, who are actually cultists. The main character would be an antihero who is drawn into their secret lore and becomes enamored with it, eventually working to spur the fall of Wesnoth after using his demon allies to manipulate the rise of the third sun into failing. A major part of this would potentially be infiltrating Weldyn and gaining access to the Sceptre of Fire, with which the main character uses to contact said demons. Afterwards, UtBS and IftU occur mostly as is, since their lore is already in line with this overarching storyline.

In summary: there would be three specific sets of campaign story arcs all relevant to the Ruby of Fire and its connection to the demon goddess trying to take control of Irdya. This would comprise 8-9 campaigns, 2 of which would need to be written from scratch, while the currently existing mainline campaigns (6) would require relatively small amounts of work (i.e. adding another character and replacing a couple scenarios in each). I think it would be okay to leave a couple campaigns that are reasonably relevant to each time period, even if they do not fit strictly into this storyline; however, we should not have more than just 1-2 "extra" campaigns for each arc (otherwise that would distract from the main storyline). These include Wings of Victory (in the Rise of Wesnoth arc), and Liberty and The South Guard (in the Terror of Asheviere arc). This would bring the total to about 11-12.

Considering the number of campaigns relevant to each faction:
Loyalists: TRoW, HttT, DM, (potentially TSG, Liberty - outlaws)
Elves: DM, HttT
Dwarves: SoF
Undead: DiD
Orcs: Asheviere's rise
Drakes: potentially WoV
Dunefolk: The Fall of Wesnoth

This way, all 7 factions would be covered. Note that certain campaigns like DM, HttT, or TSG could be modified to put more of an emphasis on Elves.

I'm open to discussing more details about this setup and how we might go about actually implementing it. There's also writing details about special locations (Wesmere, Weldyn) and motifs that I've left out here, but would be happy to explain too.

Edit: after some feedback, removed the demon goddess and just use demons/Ruby as recurring elements.

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Re: A grand design for singleplayer mainline lore

Post by Elvish_Hunter »

nemaara wrote:
November 20th, 2019, 10:24 pm
Let's start with the biggest change to get this outline to work: I would like to introduce demons as an element in mainline and use the Ruby of Fire as the most important artifact that is capable of creating portals to summon them (note that there are other ways as well).
I can see a problem with this. Demons are a major element in most real world religions as well, so I don't know how it'll end. For UMCs they're certainly fine, but in mainline they might be at least controversial. I mean, in past someone even suggested replacing Undead with Rockmen... :lol:
nemaara wrote:
November 20th, 2019, 10:24 pm
This would bring the total to about 11-12.
So, would this mean removing several current mainline campaigns, or is it just the amount of campaigns involved with this modification?
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Re: A grand design for singleplayer mainline lore

Post by nemaara »

We could simply rename the demons if that would be an issue (which I don't think it is, there are plenty of other non controversial games that use demon-like factions, e.g. Warcraft, Elder Scrolls, Doom, Diablo, etc.).

Yes, it would involve incrementally removing mainline campaigns for the reasons I've stated in the other thread.

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Re: A grand design for singleplayer mainline lore

Post by Pentarctagon »

Demons/Daemons are so widely used in various mediums (religious and not) that I don't think there's any problem, so long as they aren't warded off by a rosary or something :P
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Re: A grand design for singleplayer mainline lore

Post by Tad_Carlucci »

The name doesn't really matter to me but I can see how some might attach meaning which isn't what was intended.

I was thinking something along these lines, myself. Not demons. But about what the story arc could be.

If we look at stories we often find a comentary upon society. The Lord of the Rings, for instance, is about the Second World War. So, I asked myself, is there a story line we could craft around something meamingful to today.

What occurred to me was global climate change.

So, I think of a story about the rise of Man and the spread of Magic. We start with the idlyic past where magic is mainly an inate ability. Elves move unseen through the Forest. Sprites twinkle about. But no great powers. Just a low-level hum. Then Men appear. And Men learn to concentrate and direct Magic. Things start small, but build over time. This height of this power appears around the time of Delfador where we have magic openning rifts between worlds.
Sometime after the passing of Delfador, people begin to realize the world has, indeed, changed. Some blame magic. Some say it's all normal and any ill effects are temporary. Nothing is done and magic continues to grow more powerful. Magical conflicts grow more destructive until, one day, a rift opens which rips open the sky and shatters the Sun. The world reels from the forces released. Mountains rise and fall, oceans shift and, when things finally settle, we're left with a destroyed world populated by roving bands of survivors.

It seems to me this allows room for all current campaigns. We might want to re-align them a but.

The story of Asheviere could be the story of a grasping leader who did not care about the effects of magic, only what it could gain her, and the (ultimately doomed) struggle to resist her and others like her. HttT might defeat her, but it turns out to only be a temporary victory.

AOI is not just raiding Orcs; they're forced out of their homeland because of destruction caused by wayward magic. AToTB is not just about the rescue of one brother, it's an early indicator of how magic is going awry. TSG is another.

UtBS is the story of survivors trying to survive.

My thinking is that, once we have an arc, we can adjust the existing campaigns to fit along that arc, either on the main line or as subsidiary lines describing other aspects. That way, we're not tossing out a lot and, hopefully with just a few modifications, bring everything together into a single line. More likely, I think, what we'll identify is not that we need to drop or massively re-write existing campaigns, but that we need more campaigns to tell more of the story we ultimately decide upon.
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Re: A grand design for singleplayer mainline lore

Post by nemaara »

Something like that initially occurred to me, but there is a bit of a problem with it in that with a more abstract concept as a storyline (i.e. climate change induced by magic in this case) it requires a lot more rewriting and skill to accomplish properly instead of more concrete enemies (i.e. demons and the ones who would make use of their powers). This is further complicated by the need to visually represent such a change as well. We would need to redraw many maps and inject (possibly forcibly) commentary on the effects of magic into each campaign.

I'm not saying this isn't accomplishable, but I proposed what's in the first post as a way to include many campaigns without the need for extensive rewriting, if at all. :hmm:

By the way,
Spoiler:

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Re: A grand design for singleplayer mainline lore

Post by Aldarisvet »

I can only greet such ideas because many mainline campaigns are weak in many aspects, including plotlines. Eastern Invasion is probably an example of worst. AOI do not have a storyline but is better to not having any storyline that having bad ones.
In the end all depends of skill of plotline writer (playwriter).

If you hire professional painters to do work for Wesnoth, because you understand the need of quality for it, why would you think that anyone can create a good scenario for the campaign? And most of mainline stuff was mainlined before 2007, these campaigns were mainlined mostly because they were first.

Just imagine that some young software student would be a scenario writer for Game of Thrones, what would be a result? Well, Dave is a programmer but he created not a bad storyline for HtTT, but this is kinda some exception.
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Re: A grand design for singleplayer mainline lore

Post by nemaara »

Passing along a message from Whiskeyjack
since I can't post in the developers discussion section, I'd like to add my two cents here - if you deem them worthy of consideration, I'd be happy if you posted them there for me...

I have some very strong reservations about your proposal, despite the following: I'm very much on board with your idea to remove unnecessary campaigns and 'unclutter' the campaign section. I'm also quite convinced by your arguments about AOI and wouldn't cry a tear if it were gone.

I will try to explain why I'm on the fence about this 'grand design', although my gut feeling is hard to put into words and it might become more verbose than intended. Advance apologies for that.

First, I'd like to open the discussion what Wesnoth as a project actually is (because from this follows, what the Wesnoth lore and campaigns and story should be). As far as I can tell, the game is not just another strategy game like the Heroes of Might and Magic franchise, where you get one (supposedly) finished game with a world as a backdrop and one campaign for every faction, playing mostly parallel to each other and telling a more or less interconnected story. (And then a couple DLCs with another campaign set building on this setup).

What makes Wesnoth different in my eyes is the fact that Wesnoth is an evolving, continuously developed game with an explicit agenda for open source, user participation and, especially, UMC. And here is the point I take issue with your approach: you look at mainline with the eyes of a story teller, trying to build a great, overarching story to more strongly connect the campaigns, to tighten up the lore, and basically create a product that can be compared to other games as mentioned above.

And I'm not saying that this shouldn't be done or that it wouldn't maybe be worth it. I want, however, to point out a couple things that will be lost in the process and are a central part of what Wesnoth is in my subjective opinion:
In my mind, an important aspect of the lore of Wesnoth is to create a backdrop, a playground, an inspiration for UMC.
This goal is strongly supported by the random tidbits put into campaigns (e.g., The Rod of Justice) and by the disconnected nature of mainline campaigns - because the user is then challenged to fill the gaps with their own imagination and maybe even tell a story of their own.
The timeline of Wesnoth is a great tool supporting this goal, without fixing too many details that might get into the way of story telling.
On the other hand, while a strongly connected and less conflicting lore gives an easier foundation to build upon, it also leaves a lot less of these empty spaces that can be filled by the UMC minds.
IMO, your proposal would improve Wesnoth as a game but lose some of the projects identity in the process (as hopefully explained above).

Now to my second big point: The current lore of this game also reflects 15 real-time years of people playing and loving this game, of people working on this game (although most of mainline was added a long time ago, UMC building on it certainly doesn't all fit into this category). And you are not just suggesting improving and extending it, but also to remove significant parts of it! Point in case, all the following campaigns are missing from your list:
Northern Rebirth
The Hammer of Thursagan
Eastern Invasion
Dead Water
Now, I'm not intending to defend the clusterf*ck that is EI (in fact, I once heralded a project very similar to your own, although way smaller on scale, to rework its story; which, admittedly, didn't get futher than a relatively clear plan of action because I didn't have the time to put the work in myself), or NRs gameplay, but (!) the story of the Northern Alliance and of Mal Ravanals invasion are (for me as a Wesnoth player of more than 10 years) central (and loved!) elements of the lore and world of Wesnoth. Losing this in an effort to tighten up storytelling would be a heavy sacrifice indeed.

And then we didn't even talk about the fact yet that you would drop the recently added Secrets of the Ancients, and that SotA and DW are some of the better campaigns mainline currently has to offer...

Now, there is another detail of your design that I'm somewhat uncomfortable with (although not nearly on the scale as the two topics discussed above): The fact that your background story revolves around demons, the ruby of fire, and its role as a portal-device to other worlds, apparent emphasis on the last part. Interstellar story-lines, multiverses, asf. are a particular bland of fantasy/scifi, that to date have nothing (or at least very little) to do with mainline cannon (if one doesn't count DMs land of the dead). That's mostly part of the IftUniverse. I can totally get behind this part, if IftU should be mainlined (as you cautiously seem to suggest) and it, therefore, is a useful expansion of the current lore. Otherwise (meaning IftU/AtS stay as UMC), however, I'd be very reluctant because it shoehorns the lore heavily into the direction of shadowm's and your projects without a necessity for this (note that I am a fan of both your works and this is nothing personal!). Also, see my arguments above about Wesnoth lore as a framework for the playground of UMC creation and why it should be considered a core aspect of the project (which, in contrast to the long dried up mainline expansion you want to fix, will probably remain such for a long time)!

I wouldn't complain if the devs simply decided that there are too many campaigns to maintain and the NA / Mal Ravanal stories get the axe, but since your declared aim is to improve Wesnoth lore, I'd be loathe to lose these particular parts.

And, finally, to give a small example of the content creation playground I am talking about: I once developed a story based on the few lines dropped regarding a flaming sword you can get in one of the HttT branches and its history, combined with the (lore-wise) strange fact, that you fight elves before the gates of Kal Kartha in THoT (how come there are elves here!?). Especially the latter is a detail you could usually criticize as bad/lazy writing and/or bad integration with mainline lore. But those are the small things that make the line fuzzy, that force you to think about untold stories if you want to bring the various story tidbits together, that open room for creation inside the Wesnoth framework. Those are the opportunities I fear would be sacrificed for a shinier, more streamlined game (and, at last, let me reiterate that I'm not arguing that said sacrifice might not be worth it).

All that said, I'm strongly against dropping the stories of the Northern Alliance and Mal Ravanal from campaign cannon - irregardless of what happens to the various campaigns in question!

Cheers!
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Re: A grand design for singleplayer mainline lore

Post by Elvish_Hunter »

Pentarctagon wrote:
November 21st, 2019, 1:32 am
Demons/Daemons are so widely used in various mediums (religious and not) that I don't think there's any problem, so long as they aren't warded off by a rosary or something :P
Well, we already have holy water in mainline, so we're close to that anyway :P By the way, do you know how do White Mages make holy water?
Spoiler:
Whiskeyjack wrote: the story of the Northern Alliance and of Mal Ravanals invasion are (for me as a Wesnoth player of more than 10 years) central (and loved!) elements of the lore and world of Wesnoth. Losing this in an effort to tighten up storytelling would be a heavy sacrifice indeed.

And then we didn't even talk about the fact yet that you would drop the recently added Secrets of the Ancients, and that SotA and DW are some of the better campaigns mainline currently has to offer...
Not to mention that Dead Water itself is based on what happened in Eastern Invasion. I'm just going to quote a message from the epilogue:
Spoiler:
Whiskeyjack wrote: In my mind, an important aspect of the lore of Wesnoth is to create a backdrop, a playground, an inspiration for UMC.
Except HttT for obvious reasons, every mainline campaign has been a UMC at some point.
Whiskeyjack wrote: Now, there is another detail of your design that I'm somewhat uncomfortable with (although not nearly on the scale as the two topics discussed above): The fact that your background story revolves around demons, the ruby of fire, and its role as a portal-device to other worlds, apparent emphasis on the last part.
There's a risk with this approach that I haven't thought of before. Of course the result will depend on the final implementation, but giving demons too much importance and putting even more emphasis on the Ruby of Fire might give our players the false impression that everything bad that's happened on Irdya is the demons' fault. Not the fault of some power-hungry rulers or liches, but only the fault of the demons.
And besides, if the Sceptre is in fact a portal to Hell (both literally and figuratively, by this point), why didn't our heroes destroy it after getting it in HttT?
My impression is that this heavy change can either be the best thing ever happened to Wesnoth or a complete and utter fail, and we don't have any way to know that beforehand. So, my suggestion is, instead of making the change happen incrementally in mainline, put all the mainline campaigns in a working repository and work there, so all the changes can be merged in a single pass. At that point, it'll be possible to ask our users "What do you prefer? Our former mainline or the renewed one that we just added in 1.17.xyz?".
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Re: A grand design for singleplayer mainline lore

Post by Aldarisvet »

I am also oppose of removing SoTA from mainline simply because it is a best mainline campaign for now.
Even if we take this as main point - "Mal Keshar stumbles upon the Sceptre of Fire during his descent into darkness" - that does not mean the we have to exchange the book of Ardonna to that Sceptre in the plotline. He could find both things, the book and some info about the Sceptre. Surely there is no problem to think something out to let SoTA to be attached to the main storyline.
From the other side, for now I totally see no value in South Guard, this campaign should be really reworked greatly to have some sense.
Dead Water is good from a tactical part but has quite a simple storyline. The Hammer of Thursagan is a trash for me from both storyline and tactical view. Northern Rebirth has a good storyline in the beginning but in later stages it is a total fault. I would really prefer that instead of current branch a hidden one would be put into the light where the main hero got under control of the lich and became a lich himself but was able to reborn back.
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Re: A grand design for singleplayer mainline lore

Post by doofus-01 »

Elvish_Hunter wrote:
November 22nd, 2019, 10:23 am
Well, we already have holy water in mainline, so we're close to that anyway :P
I think that's a holdover from earlier times, when "arcane" was "holy".
And tangentially related to you question about how to prepare holy water:
I agree with a lot of what Whiskeyjack, Elvish_Hunter, and Aldarisvet point out. Let's not be too hasty to throw out the current canon, flawed as it is, in favor of the IftUverse just yet.
Elvish_Hunter wrote:
November 22nd, 2019, 10:23 am
There's a risk with this approach that I haven't thought of before. Of course the result will depend on the final implementation, but giving demons too much importance and putting even more emphasis on the Ruby of Fire might give our players the false impression that everything bad that's happened on Irdya is the demons' fault. Not the fault of some power-hungry rulers or liches, but only the fault of the demons.
Would it change the arc much to have the Ruby's power simply be something that bleeds over to other worlds, rather than a tool for creating portals? Wesnoth denizens spend hundreds of years mucking about with things they don't fully understand, but it's only after the fall that daemons become an issue. That's a new adventure for players who have gotten through the Elves/Humans-vs-Orcs/Undead era, and there is a whole new set of heroes and enemies to explore (possibly while a few familiar unit types are still available).
----
5-minute pitch: Don't change current mainline too much, dialogue needs some work but loose plot with gaps is important for UMC. Focus more on expanding the UtBS epoch, a new world connected to the old, but very loosely. This has a couple of advantages:
1. For MP - Dunefolk, Daemons, Quenoth, some-other-yet-to-be-defined-faction could be a new "After the Fall" Default Era, instead of trying to balance Dunefolk against the current Default.
2. For Terrain Graphics - A base tile is really easy to draw, the hard work is all in the transitions. Some clear boundary on what terrains don't necessarily have to play nice with each other would really open up possibilities for "After the Fall" epoch.
3. For UMC - any gaps are a new opportunity, and there are fewer chains tying down those who strive to be consistent with mainline.
In any case, a better lore would be cool, but gaps in the story are important, it's what spurs UMC as potential authors wonder "what if..."
It's our responsibility to provide a consistent environment as much as a story.
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Re: A grand design for singleplayer mainline lore

Post by nemaara »

I should've posted this earlier, but didn't get to doing it. We've been tossing around an idea on discord for splitting after the fall stuff to 2.0 (Haldric), in essence making it thematically different than 1.x. Considering this, my initial proposal definitely won't work, so I'll need to rethink it a bit. I'll post something new here if I come up with something, but in the mean time, we can definitely consider other ideas too. I made this thread also to get everyone to think about our overall world lore and overarching campaign storyline, not just to make my own proposals.

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Re: A grand design for singleplayer mainline lore

Post by Celtic_Minstrel »

nemaara wrote:
November 20th, 2019, 10:24 pm
I would like to introduce demons as an element in mainline and use the Ruby of Fire as the most important artifact that is capable of creating portals to summon them (note that there are other ways as well). The major "behind the scenes" plot would be that throughout Wesnoth's history, various beings (Jevyan/Asheviere being two examples) with this knowledge aim to use the Ruby to contact said demons with the goal of gaining power (maybe mistaken in some instances). Essentially the Ruby is a tool to create paths to other, potentially more powerful or more advanced worlds.
I like the idea of canonicizing demons in the Wesnoth lore, though I'm not as sure about painting them as an evil force constantly working to invade. As for the Ruby of Fire being a world-linking device, perhaps there are other nearby worlds that it can connect to besides that of the demons. There could be a land of fairies, or a land of jinn, and the land of the dead may also be one such world.
nemaara wrote:
November 20th, 2019, 10:24 pm
A Rise of Wesnoth (2 campaigns) arc consisting of The Rise of Wesnoth and The Sceptre of Fire. These two are very easy to work with in the above context: the Ruby of Fire is already of central importance for both, though not much of a concrete reason is shown why in said campaigns. I would propose careful introduction of demons into TRoW (in very select areas) and reworking some of SoF's dialogue (to include more lore regarding the Ruby and hinting at said demons/their goddess). This would be a relatively small amount of work, keeping most campaigns mostly the same.
This sounds good, and (as you mentioned a bit later) I'd add Wings of Victory to this as well. Perhaps also Secrets of the Ancients?
nemaara wrote:
November 20th, 2019, 10:24 pm
A Terror of Asheviere (4 campaigns) arc (thanks octalot! :lol: ) consisting of Delfador's Memoirs, a campaign depicting Asheviere's rise to power, Descent into Darkness, and Heir to the Throne. I would like to introduce Delfador and Asheviere as friends in DM, with Asheviere as a more or less oppressed daughter of a noble without agency in her life (a second daughter who isn't cared for by her neglectful family). Delfador meets her near the start and takes interest once he finds that she has a touch for magic. For simplicity, we can keep the plot of DM relatively the same as it is now, and Delfador and Asheviere fight off Iliah-Malal (who by the way, has learned how to make contact with demons), ending his terror on Weldyn. However, Asheviere's interest is piqued and she secretly starts learning about what Iliah-Malal was trying to do.

The second subarc would be Asheviere's rise to power, where she works behind the scenes with a rising, soon-to-be orcish sovereign to consolidate power and further her studies on demons. This would culminate in her betraying her husband, the king using her newfound powers and the help of her orcish allies (i.e. the orcs the king fights at the river are under the command of her orc allies, while she convinces her son to betray his father at the same time). Simultaneously, DiD occurs, where Mal Keshar stumbles upon the Sceptre of Fire during his descent into darkness, along with a secret lair detailing lore regarding demons (say, written in SoF). He loses track of the Sceptre upon being interrupted, but is now one of the select few with knowledge about the demons.
Again this sounds good to me. However, you said 4 campaigns but only mentioned 3, so what would be the 4th? Legend of Wesmere, perhaps? Also, Secrets of the Ancients could fit here too. I notice you also mentioned Liberty and The South Guard as fitting here (though according to the timeline TSG actually happens quite a bit later), and we could throw in A Tale of Two Brothers for good measure.
nemaara wrote:
November 20th, 2019, 10:24 pm
Finally, a Fall of Wesnoth (2-3 campaigns) arc consisting of a Fall of Wesnoth campaign (I am proposing this to be a Dunefolk campaign), Under the Burning Suns, and potentially, the UMC Invasion from the Unknown. The Fall of Wesnoth would be a Dunefolk campaign using the underground Luminary (or Eminent) secret society, who are actually cultists. The main character would be an antihero who is drawn into their secret lore and becomes enamored with it, eventually working to spur the fall of Wesnoth after using his demon allies to manipulate the rise of the third sun into failing. A major part of this would potentially be infiltrating Weldyn and gaining access to the Sceptre of Fire, with which the main character uses to contact said demons. Afterwards, UtBS and IftU occur mostly as is, since their lore is already in line with this overarching storyline.
This also sounds good, and the addition of a dunefolk-focused campaign would be pretty great.
nemaara wrote:
November 20th, 2019, 10:24 pm
Delfador, Konrad, Li'sar, and Kalenz, in their journey north, happen across Mal Keshar, who less than kindly points them in the direction of the Sceptre after learning about what Asheviere is trying to do.
This strikes me as slightly iffy, given the general attitude towards necromancy in Wesnoth. Would they really just let Mal Keshar go after that? I suppose he could just flee on his own, but maybe it'd be better for them to only find some writings or something?

But I'm particularly noticing here that there are a bunch of campaigns that don't fit into your grand scheme. Unfortunately I don't know much about them but… I wonder if they could fit into a fourth arc? Someone else in the thread mentioned the relation between DW and EI (I haven't played the latter tho), and NR and SotBE also seem related to each other, so if some further links can be drawn connecting them all together… along with THoT… maybe there's enough material for a fourth arc? They also all seem to fit neatly between the Asheviere and Fall arcs. I understand that some of these are considered to be the least polished of the Wesnoth campaigns, so perhaps it would be a lot more work to improve them to the point of being a fourth arc. However, personally I would hate to see SotBE or DW removed, and I also feel that a campaign about the Knalgan Alliance is important (a niche that NR currently fills). I haven't played ThoT or EI, so I don't have much to say about them, although I'll note that I find some of the lore of ThoT to be interesting.
nemaara wrote:
November 20th, 2019, 10:24 pm
Considering the number of campaigns relevant to each faction:
...
Dwarves: SoF
...
I want to note that dwarves are not a faction, so in order to justify the faction, NR is needed.
Whiskeyjack wrote:
November 22nd, 2019, 2:11 am
Now to my second big point: The current lore of this game also reflects 15 real-time years of people playing and loving this game, of people working on this game (although most of mainline was added a long time ago, UMC building on it certainly doesn't all fit into this category). And you are not just suggesting improving and extending it, but also to remove significant parts of it! Point in case, all the following campaigns are missing from your list:
Northern Rebirth
The Hammer of Thursagan
Eastern Invasion
Dead Water
Now, I'm not intending to defend the clusterf*ck that is EI (in fact, I once heralded a project very similar to your own, although way smaller on scale, to rework its story; which, admittedly, didn't get futher than a relatively clear plan of action because I didn't have the time to put the work in myself), or NRs gameplay, but (!) the story of the Northern Alliance and of Mal Ravanals invasion are (for me as a Wesnoth player of more than 10 years) central (and loved!) elements of the lore and world of Wesnoth. Losing this in an effort to tighten up storytelling would be a heavy sacrifice indeed.
EI notwithstanding, I broadly agree with this statement. Don't forget that the Knalgan Alliance is one of the multiplayer factions. Removing it from the campaign lore leads to the question of where did that name come from.
Whiskeyjack wrote:
November 22nd, 2019, 2:11 am
Now, there is another detail of your design that I'm somewhat uncomfortable with (although not nearly on the scale as the two topics discussed above): The fact that your background story revolves around demons, the ruby of fire, and its role as a portal-device to other worlds, apparent emphasis on the last part. Interstellar story-lines, multiverses, asf. are a particular bland of fantasy/scifi, that to date have nothing (or at least very little) to do with mainline cannon (if one doesn't count DMs land of the dead).
As a counterpoint, you can actually take DM's land of the dead as a link to justify this change. If the land of the dead is accessible through magic, why couldn't there be other worlds that you can visit too?
Elvish_Hunter wrote:
November 22nd, 2019, 10:23 am
There's a risk with this approach that I haven't thought of before. Of course the result will depend on the final implementation, but giving demons too much importance and putting even more emphasis on the Ruby of Fire might give our players the false impression that everything bad that's happened on Irdya is the demons' fault. Not the fault of some power-hungry rulers or liches, but only the fault of the demons.
I second this. It's fine to paint demons as an overarching antagonist, but I'd want to be careful not to blame everything on them while also allowing demons the nuance to be occasionally good. Maybe not to the point of a demonic SotBE, but who says the demonic plan to invade Irdya has universal support in hell?
Elvish_Hunter wrote:
November 22nd, 2019, 10:23 am
And besides, if the Sceptre is in fact a portal to Hell (both literally and figuratively, by this point), why didn't our heroes destroy it after getting it in HttT?
I think that's justifiable if the Ruby is not a portal itself but rather a tool that can aid in creating a portal. It also has other, less dangerous uses.
Elvish_Hunter wrote:
November 22nd, 2019, 10:23 am
My impression is that this heavy change can either be the best thing ever happened to Wesnoth or a complete and utter fail, and we don't have any way to know that beforehand. So, my suggestion is, instead of making the change happen incrementally in mainline, put all the mainline campaigns in a working repository and work there, so all the changes can be merged in a single pass. At that point, it'll be possible to ask our users "What do you prefer? Our former mainline or the renewed one that we just added in 1.17.xyz?".
This is certainly kind of tricky… it's a change that would take quite some time, after all. Could it be done in one development cycle? I don't really know. However, as long as people are willing to put a lot of work into it, I think I'd rather see it being done on master throughout the 1.17 development cycle. That would still leave the door open to revert it wholesale for 1.18 if necessary, though that would cause a few problems, I'm sure, but it could be done after 1.18 is branched off by basically deleting the campaigns folder, replacing it with the 1.16 version, and making any extra tweaks required.
Aldarisvet wrote:
November 23rd, 2019, 11:26 pm
Even if we take this as main point - "Mal Keshar stumbles upon the Sceptre of Fire during his descent into darkness" - that does not mean the we have to exchange the book of Ardonna to that Sceptre in the plotline. He could find both things, the book and some info about the Sceptre. Surely there is no problem to think something out to let SoTA to be attached to the main storyline.
I agree with this, there's no reason there can't be multiple forbidden secrets in the lore.
Aldarisvet wrote:
November 23rd, 2019, 11:26 pm
From the other side, for now I totally see no value in South Guard, this campaign should be really reworked greatly to have some sense.
Well, currently its value is supposed to be chiefly as a beginner's scenario, so I do think it needs to be kept regardless of whether it gets any reworking.
Aldarisvet wrote:
November 23rd, 2019, 11:26 pm
The Hammer of Thursagan is a trash for me from both storyline and tactical view.
It may not be great in terms of plot and tactics (and I haven't played it, so I don't know if this is the case), but it has some cool lore. Perhaps that lore could be filed into another campaign though, such as Sceptre of Fire.
Aldarisvet wrote:
November 23rd, 2019, 11:26 pm
Northern Rebirth has a good storyline in the beginning but in later stages it is a total fault. I would really prefer that instead of current branch a hidden one would be put into the light where the main hero got under control of the lich and became a lich himself but was able to reborn back.
Um… what the hell?

Honestly, I feel like NR doesn't even need a lich? I don't know much about the storyline, but it's about the Knalgan Alliance, maybe the formation of it, not sure, so there's plenty of conflict opportunity there without throwing in a lich. There's outlaw-loyalist conflict, for example. The wiki timeline also suggests that not all the orcs are on board with the alliance. (I do seem to recall hearing that orcs are part of the Knalgan Alliance, so I feel it might be a good chance to showcase the orcish shamans again.) Also reading the wiki timeline, the inclusion of an elvish princess seems kinda way out there… perhaps that aspect could also be cut? Drop the undead, drop the elves, just make it a political scenario of consolidating a brand-new alliance in the face of resistance.
doofus-01 wrote:
November 24th, 2019, 4:50 am
For MP - Dunefolk, Daemons, Quenoth, some-other-yet-to-be-defined-faction could be a new "After the Fall" Default Era, instead of trying to balance Dunefolk against the current Default.
I definitely agree with adding an After the Fall era to mainline, with at least a Quenoth faction.
nemaara wrote:
November 24th, 2019, 5:04 am
I should've posted this earlier, but didn't get to doing it. We've been tossing around an idea on discord for splitting after the fall stuff to 2.0 (Haldric), in essence making it thematically different than 1.x. Considering this, my initial proposal definitely won't work, so I'll need to rethink it a bit. I'll post something new here if I come up with something, but in the mean time, we can definitely consider other ideas too. I made this thread also to get everyone to think about our overall world lore and overarching campaign storyline, not just to make my own proposals.
I disagree with anything that involves leaving work until 2.0, so I'd prefer something closer to your original proposal rather than removing UtBS and making it the flagship campaign for 2.0 (as I think you're implying?).
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Aldarisvet
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Re: A grand design for singleplayer mainline lore

Post by Aldarisvet »

Celtic_Minstrel wrote:
November 24th, 2019, 5:10 am
Aldarisvet wrote:
November 23rd, 2019, 11:26 pm
Northern Rebirth has a good storyline in the beginning but in later stages it is a total fault. I would really prefer that instead of current branch a hidden one would be put into the light where the main hero got under control of the lich and became a lich himself but was able to reborn back.
Um… what the hell?

Honestly, I feel like NR doesn't even need a lich? I don't know much about the storyline, but it's about the Knalgan Alliance, maybe the formation of it, not sure, so there's plenty of conflict opportunity there without throwing in a lich. T
If you want to save your time and do not afraid of spoilers you can read dealogue transcripts of NR here -
https://wiki.wesnoth.org/CampaignDialog ... the_Chains
There was a lich in underground catacombs of Heart Mountains with whom Tallin had to fight a lot. The other (inactive), more interesting branch for me is that Tallin was overwhelmed by that lich and became his servant for some time.

The problem with most of Wesnoth campaigns that they are quite repetitive in terms of storyline.
There is always some big_evil that always want to invade Wesnoth and the role of heroes almost all the time is no less than to save the world.

In most cases the evil is some mad (I would say mindless) lich that for some unknown reason want to convert all living into undead. Contrary to Frogotten Realms liches who almost do not care about mortals and just sits in their vaults and study magic. Really, if you are immortal why would you be interested in ruling some pathetic mortals.

In other cases as in DiD, the evil is the orcs, and sometimes orcs and undead as an evil side are going together against the Good (obviously because undead and orcs are bad). Invasion by these variations of evil is a main theme of most Wesnoth campaigns. This all looks quite childish for me.
The reason I like Liberty for is that in this campaign at least the evil is not orcs or undead, but Asheviere humans, but still the campaign starts with the invasion.The reason I like beginning of NR is that it is not about some invasion, it is about a rebellion against slaveholders.

So yes, there are too many evil liches in Wesnoth for sure. Every good Wesnoth hero must defeat at least one lich! :augh:
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Re: A grand design for singleplayer mainline lore

Post by octalot »

Would the backstory of these demons be part of the player-visible lore? What plot-points would come from them being demons, instead of being liches so ancient that their race no longer walks Iryda?

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