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Li'sar's Characterization in HttT (Spoilers)

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Re: Li'sar's Characterization in HttT (Spoilers)

Post by Paulomat4 »

I basically agree with the general idea. But I think it would be interesting if Li'sar met Konrad at a time when he still has his original, lighter, more youthful personality mostly intact. It opens things up for some interesting dialogue. Like him joking around with her and asking some disarming questions at odd times when she is in pragmatism mode (as could be usual for her at the early stages).
While I do like a lot of your ideas there is a problem with your premise: When they first meet Li'sar, Konrad has already seen a lot and the campaign is about halfway through. When Li'sar joins them there has yet again happened a lot of stuff and their campaign is already nearing its end. Having Konrad still be wideeyed when meeting Li'sar and developing the relationship for a couple scenarios before starting down the dark path and finally getting brought back by her (I´m exaggerating a bit here) just doesn´t fit in either timeline or number of scenarios to be credible IMO. You´d practically have the time between finding the sceptre and Lintanir to develope the relationship, one scenario where Konrad goes crazy against a poor Wesnothian defender, the episode with the horselords and the final battle to tie it up. You would have to brute force develope that relationship.
Here's my concrete suggestion then:

Scenarios 1-11 (the ford of abez): Konrad is still "pure". he is being mentored by Delphador and the weight of being a commander is not too much for him. He meets Li'sar twice until this point, so that leaves place for some "light" conversations with her.
Scenarios 11-15 (the lost general): Here's when it gets Harder for Konrad. They are in the Northlands surrounded by orcs, winter is coming and every decision could be decisive for their survival. He has his disagreements with Delphador and Kalenz (see scenario 12 northern winter) and wants to start taking own decisions.
Also in later scenarios 14 and 15 the omnipresent darkness that surrounds them is not helping his mood.
Scenario 16 and 17 (the sceptre of fire): Konrads bad mood and aggressiveness peaks. Players might even think that Konrad is not fit for taking the sceptre, because why would a player who doesn't know the campaign and story even consider giving the sceptre to li'sar the enemy?
Scenarios 18-21 (elven council): Li'sar is slowly accepted in the group and talks about being a commander with Konrad and shares her experience with him.
Scenarios 22+: Konrad Is finally back in his old form. He comes back stronger than before and is ready to become King of Wesnoth.

A lot of these things could be handled in the story parts as well as in small dialogues. I've been thinking of an attack event in scenario 17 or 18 for example where Konrad is really aggressive against the first Orc that he meets:

Konrad: "Die you Monster! This is for all my loyal soldiers that have died to your kin!"
Li'sar: "Don't let the death of your Soldiers obstruct your mind Konrad. A good commander knows that some losses are inevitable. You will have time to mourn for them when we find a safe place."

Opinions?
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Re: Li'sar's Characterization in HttT (Spoilers)

Post by Whiskeyjack »

I have to take some of my suggestions back: I am against making Defaldor a grey character or strongly involve him in some schemes. Having him lie about Konrad is already pretty bad.

For everyone wondering about this statement, please read the scenario dialogue of LoW scenario 12: Revelations. The person that gets granted the book is Defaldor himself because he is an archetypical champion of light. While many years since DM have passed, I feel quite uneasy to let this character fall as deep as to lie about saving Konrad, any further would hurt the legacy of LoW and DM IMO.
If we want character depth for him, lets do it over qualms about said lie, self-reproach about letting king Garard die and Asheviere take the crown, etc. Except perhaps for Chantal, any other character of the campaign fits a lot better for a dark shading of character. (Konrad, as we allready are discussing, perhaps Kalenz through some late effects of the lich-potion (e.g. make his involvement in the lie and the campaign against the queen more questionable), Li'sar, any side character) We should reach whatever level of variety we want through those characters.

Edit: It might be usefull for anyone discussing Asheviere to take a look at the last scenarios of DM starting from scenario 20: Prince of Wesnoth. Those give some important information especially about the corruption of Asheviere (yes, she actually is quite evil, at minimum through the corruption of the Book of Crelanu). And she had many people in the court of Wesnoth (especially the military commanders) under her thumb even before the murder of Garard II.
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Re: Campaign idea: Li'sar's adventures

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Turuk wrote:
Cold Steel wrote:This would mean a lot of toiling in WML hell though.
I'm down.
In that case, you should read the dialogue of Scenario 8: The Princess Of Wesnoth in which two things happen:

1) Li'sar is established as a childish clown by the things she says, the silly tactics she employs and ultimately being so easily and thoroughly beaten by a fleeing rebel force.

2) Li'sar is captured by the rebels... and then immediately released. If instead she was taken prisoner as a bargaining chip, there would be time for her and Konrad to have some early interaction and character building. Perhaps in a later scenario, another loyalist force corners the rebels and they exchange her for safe passage. This way, she could reasonably rationalize (and be partly correct in assuming) that they only spared her life to further their own ends. And her mother will be extremely displeased with her, for instead of stopping the rebel escape as ordered, she became a tool for it. So she has no reason to cease pursuing them (they were not genuinely merciful) and a strong reason to continue to do so (you don't want to make her mother displeased for too long). This also helps set up Asheviere declaring Li'sar a traitor in the distant future.
Turuk wrote: So that will need to be adjusted then, if it is not as convincing as the original writer/designers intended. We do want here to be a strong female character who is a highly competent commander.
Actually, reading over the Li'sar's dialogue in HttT in general (it is all on the wiki for convenient access by the way) I would say the intention was for her to be brash and sheltered. Which seems contradictory with her supposedly being the greatest commander in the kingdom (unless this is Asheviere's propaganda to promote her house and bloodline). A quick fix would be to change the wording from "Wesnoth's greatest commander" to "Asheviere's most loyal commander".

Probably the reason of her original writers for making her this way, was so that the Player would give her a pass for being a minion of the dark queen, killing however many decent people in the process, and then trying to kill the protagonists for half the campaign. Because after all, "she is just a dumb kid and didn't know any better."

This is an important thing to remember if attempting to rewrite her to be more realistic and respectable. She has done bad or terrible things and she needs to be seriously flawed but then repaired in equally realistic and believable ways for the Player to accept her as a later protagonist.
Turuk wrote:
Cold Steel wrote: Making her start out as a dutiful but hollowed out person is a suggestion I am putting forward for how she could be in future versions.
Any and all suggestions are welcome. The time for discussion and actual instituted change would be now, so might as well debate and hammer out a character concept for her instead of making it up on the fly later (and be subject to the same fallacies as existing Li'sar).
Well this is Li'sar's "character story" as per the wiki:
Most of what little royal blood remains in Weldyn now flows in the veins of one of two people: Asheviere the queen and her daughter Li'sar, princess and heir-apparent. Li'sar has grown up in the palace, but her headstrong and indomitable spirit have assured her frequent escape from the cushioned pavilions and courts of royalty.

She entered the military academy of Weldyn where she graduated swiftly with honors, and as Heir to the Throne begins she has begun leading a division of her mother's loyalist army in the field. Li'sar was born for the battlefield; leading troops with uncanny skill and poise. She is a budding master of misdirection and tactics.

Like her mother, princess Li'sar is prideful and quick-witted, but to the queen's vexation she has also inherited much of her father's nobility and sense of honor. Now, her forays taking her further from the capital and into the larger countryside, the princess is slowly becoming aware of the true impact her mother's reign has had on the realm.
So if we take that as a pretty good depiction of her current character concept, then here is my proposed replacement Li'sar concept:

Most of what little royal blood remains in Weldyn now flows in the veins of two people- Asheviere the queen and her daughter Li'sar, princess and heir-apparent. Very early in life, Li'sar lost most of her family, including her beloved father Garard, in a violent power struggle supposedly lead by an adviser to the throne, Delfador. After this event, Asheviere began to take extreme measures to raise Li'sar as the replacement in every capacity of her late brother Eldred.

At the tender age of seven, Li'sar was sent by her mother into the military academy of Weldyn to begin a firm, decade long training and disciplining program. Close to graduation, Li'sar met a fellow cadet by the name of Vonryn and the two began to grow close. But Asheviere, who had monitored her daughter closely through reports by the academy staff, was not pleased with the young romance. She had Vonryn called into battle on the Orchish frontier and Li'sar summoned back to take her first command.

During the first year of service, the princess accomplished several difficult victories with unusually minor casualties given the circumstances. Yet as she was sent further from the capital into the larger countryside, Li'sar slowly became aware of the true impact her mother's reign has had on the realm and began to question her own role of helping maintain it. On a mission to push back an Orcish raid in the north, Li'sar learned from a soldier stationed on the front that over a year earlier her Vonryn was deployed to an undermanned outpost far beyond the line of defense, where he died defending against a large Orcish warband. His deployment order came directly from Weldyn and bore the royal seal.

Despondent, Li'sar continued in her duties but made few and narrow victories through increasingly rash and costly tactics. Eventually, Asheviere's recalled her back to Weldyn for what she assumed would be some form of disciplinary action. Instead, the queen gave her a new mission of utmost importance and secrecy- the hunting of a band of rebels lead by the "murderer" of her father and most of her family, Delfador.
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Re: Li'sar's Characterization in HttT (Spoilers)

Post by Whiskeyjack »

I´d cut the line about the two people with royal blood completely, because it´s just untrue. Asheviere has no royal blood. She is the upstart daughter of the ex-court-mage Sagus.

I don´t like the inclusion of the background love-story in a wiki entry. That feels exactly like brute-force character building to me. (No less in a wiki entry most people probably will never read.)

Edit: A question: Given Ashevieres character and her aim to make Li'sar into her heir - why would she ever send her to a military academy? As displayed in DM/HttT intro she is not exactly a military genius but a scheming manipulator and politician. You´d think she would want to keep her successor close to control her more thoroughly and teach her the (in her opinion) important things (the ways of the court). Private teachers would be viewed as more important than military knowledge.
I think Li'sar joining the military would fit more as an attempt to rebel against her mother and escape the court and because it´s a genuine interest of hers.
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Re: Li'sar's Characterization in HttT (Spoilers)

Post by Turuk »

Cold Steel wrote:1) Li'sar is established as a childish clown by the things she says, the silly tactics she employs and ultimately being so easily and thoroughly beaten by a fleeing rebel force.
That is easy enough to just be rewritten entirely, both the dialogue and the gameplay.
Cold Steel wrote:2) Li'sar is captured by the rebels... and then immediately released. If instead she was taken prisoner as a bargaining chip, there would be time for her and Konrad to have some early interaction and character building. Perhaps in a later scenario, another loyalist force corners the rebels and they exchange her for safe passage. This way, she could reasonably rationalize (and be partly correct in assuming) that they only spared her life to further their own ends. And her mother will be extremely displeased with her, for instead of stopping the rebel escape as ordered, she became a tool for it. So she has no reason to cease pursuing them (they were not genuinely merciful) and a strong reason to continue to do so (you don't want to make her mother displeased for too long). This also helps set up Asheviere declaring Li'sar a traitor in the distant future.
Feasible, but what scenario would she escape in? Could it be when they are distracted with something else, and she manages to break her bonds/cage and make her way back to her forces? It makes the player first thing that Li'sar as a threat is dealt with once captured, but then once she escapes, you're not sure if she will show up again.
Cold Steel wrote:This is an important thing to remember if attempting to rewrite her to be more realistic and respectable. She has done bad or terrible things and she needs to be seriously flawed but then repaired in equally realistic and believable ways for the Player to accept her as a later protagonist.
An excellent point, it needs to be a believable redemption. I have always struggled with the greatest commander bit myself; extremely skilled, talented, one of the best is all plausible, but there's no commander in all of Wesnoth better than a teenager?
Cold Steel wrote:So if we take that as a pretty good depiction of her current character concept, then here is my proposed replacement Li'sar concept:
I like her background on http://wiki.wesnoth.org/Wesnothfigures#Li.27sar. :doh:

Reworded a bit:

Code: Select all

Li'sar is the daughter and heir-apparent of Queen Asheviere. Very early in life, most of Li'sar's family was killed in a violent power struggle for the throne, believed to have been orchestrated by her father's advisor, the mage Delfador. With their deaths and upon her coronation, Asheviere began to take extreme measures to raise Li'sar as the replacement to crown prince Eldred.

Aware of her own limitations over control of the army, Asheviere had Li'sar enrolled in Weldyn's military academy for her childhood. Forced to trade toys for tactics and dresses for armor, Li'sar nonetheless excelled and quickly impressed her instructors with her intuitive understanding of warfare. Upon graduation, Li'sar was given command of a border patrol unit, and set out from Weldyn.

During the first year of service, the princess distinguished herself repeatedly, often defeating enemy forces with minimal casualties. Known for her blunt manner, her troops loved her for she treated them with value and not as replaceable resources. As she spent more and more time out in the kingdom, Li'sar started to become aware of the true impact her mother's reign had on the realm. 

Slowly growing disillusioned, Li'sar began to wonder about her role as heir-apparent. When Asheviere recalled her back to Weldyn, Li'sar meant to confront her mother. Rebellious thoughts were silenced by a wave of anger when her mother told her mercenaries had found the rebels who had murdered her father and family. Li'sar eagerly accepted the task to hunt them down.
Whiskeyjack wrote:Edit: A question: Given Ashevieres character and her aim to make Li'sar into her heir - why would she ever send her to a military academy? As displayed in DM/HttT intro she is not exactly a military genius but a scheming manipulator and politician. You´d think she would want to keep her successor close to control her more thoroughly and teach her the (in her opinion) important things (the ways of the court). Private teachers would be viewed as more important than military knowledge.
I think Li'sar joining the military would fit more as an attempt to rebel against her mother and escape the court and because it´s a genuine interest of hers.
Perhaps, unless Asheviere knows it is an area in which she is lacking, so she's using Li'sar to ensure she has influence/control over all aspects of the kingdom.
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Re: Li'sar's Characterization in HttT (Spoilers)

Post by Whiskeyjack »

Turuk wrote:Perhaps, unless Asheviere knows it is an area in which she is lacking, so she's using Li'sar to ensure she has influence/control over all aspects of the kingdom.
That might work, although the military commanders are at the heart of Asheviere´s web even before the betrayal, as told in DM. Perhaps if you reword
Aware of her own limitations over control of the army,
to something like
Distrusting the loyalty of commanders she once bribed herself to betray their king,
?
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Re: Li'sar's Characterization in HttT (Spoilers)

Post by Turuk »

Whiskeyjack wrote:That might work, although the military commanders are at the heart of Asheviere´s web even before the betrayal, as told in DM. Perhaps if you reword
Ah, excellent point. This is why you shouldn't work in a vacuum, brain power multiples. :P
Whiskeyjack wrote:?
Done.

Code: Select all

Li'sar is the daughter and heir-apparent of Queen Asheviere. Very early in life, most of Li'sar's family was killed in a violent power struggle for the throne, believed to have been orchestrated by her father's advisor, the mage Delfador. With their deaths and upon her coronation, Asheviere began to take extreme measures to raise Li'sar as the replacement to crown prince Eldred.

Distrusting commanders she once bribed to betray their king, Asheviere had Li'sar enrolled in Weldyn's military academy at a young age. Forced to trade toys for tactics and dresses for armor, Li'sar nonetheless excelled and quickly impressed her instructors with her intuitive understanding of warfare. Upon graduation, Li'sar was given command of a border patrol unit, and set out from Weldyn.

During the first year of service, the princess distinguished herself repeatedly, often defeating enemy forces with minimal casualties. Known for her blunt manner, her troops loved her for she treated them with value and not as replaceable resources. As she spent more and more time out in the kingdom, Li'sar started to become aware of the true impact her mother's reign had on the realm.

Slowly growing disillusioned, Li'sar began to wonder about her role as heir-apparent. When Asheviere recalled her back to Weldyn, Li'sar meant to confront her mother. Rebellious thoughts were silenced by a wave of anger when her mother told her mercenaries had found the rebels who had murdered her father and family. Li'sar eagerly accepted the task to hunt them down.
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Re: Li'sar's Characterization in HttT (Spoilers)

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Whiskeyjack wrote: While many years since DM have passed, I feel quite uneasy to let this character fall as deep as to lie about saving Konrad, any further would hurt the legacy of LoW and DM IMO.
Well I think we need to keep in mind the bigger picture here, that is if we are totally rewriting and changing the style of the characters in HttT (essentially the progenitor of mainline campaigns that influenced the style of those that followed) then we are starting the process of eventually rewriting most or all campaigns' characters in a similar style.

So a plot device that said so-and-so has a heart of pure light or such-and-such has taken lich poison, are small things to change relatively. Basically all writing, whether new or old, should be considered / reconsidered purely on its merits to create engaging, interesting, surprising and ultimately entertaining storytelling to the largely adult population that actually plays and especially develops and maintains this game project.

You shouldn't have to pretend you are your ~8 year old self to potentially enjoy the characters and events.
Whiskeyjack wrote:I´d cut the line about the two people with royal blood completely, because it´s just untrue. Asheviere has no royal blood. She is the upstart daughter of the ex-court-mage Sagus.
That's fine with me of course; I only included it because it was already there and it was not in the way of the changes I was making.
Whiskeyjack wrote:I don´t like the inclusion of the background love-story in a wiki entry. That feels exactly like brute-force character building to me. (No less in a wiki entry most people probably will never read.)
This isn't for the wiki at all. I just got the starting material from the wiki for comparison. As detailed somewhere in an earlier post, the background love story would not be fully revealed until somewhere in the last quarter of the campaign maybe. Perhaps Li'sar would only reveal it to Konrad at some dramatic point where he is close to falling apart completely. Like he is getting ready to launch himself into an everything-or-nothing but clearly hopeless charge against the enemy, because he would rather, one way or another, see his responsibility lifted here and now than see it go on for even another month. So she tells him her story about who she lost and that she can/will never go through that again, so that if he does this so does she and thus they will, along with the kingdom as a whole, all share the same fate.
Whiskeyjack wrote:Edit: A question: Given Ashevieres character and her aim to make Li'sar into her heir - why would she ever send her to a military academy?
...
I think Li'sar joining the military would fit more as an attempt to rebel against her mother and escape the court and because it´s a genuine interest of hers.
That is more or less how it is currently written. This brings us back to the dilemma, that either she is an inexperienced commander with limited developed ability ignorant to the harsh truths of the world, at the point where she enters the campaign... or she knows about and has probably participated directly or indirectly in, Asheviere's cruel reign over the realm.

As for how this change might make sense... Eldred was an aggressive, ambitious military type, who could go out on missions and get them done to maintain order. But he was killed. So to keep the kingdom together for long Asheviere needed a "strong man" she could trust, and young Li'sar was her only remaining offspring, so Li'sar had to become and fill that role. But Li'sar was closer to her father and thus did not absorb all that ruthless ambitiousness of her mother that Eldred had. So while Asheviere sent her into an intense Eldred-ification military training program, Li'sar failed to become the new Eldred.

Also, I toy with the idea that maybe the little loving and human part of Asheviere that there was did have a soft spot for Eldred, so when he was killed, carrying out her plans no less, that part got driven all the way to the back of her mind. So she, from that point on, never showed Li'sar any of the warmth she had raised Eldred with. So Li'sar never developed the same loyalty to her that Eldred had. More reason why Li'sar never became his replacement.
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Re: Li'sar's Characterization in HttT (Spoilers)

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Turuk wrote: Reworded a bit:
Thanks, I felt guilty about not copying the style of writing, and you did a better job than I could hope to.

I noticed you cut out the Vonryn sub-story, is that to make it wiki friendly as Whiskyjack suggested or because you feel it is over-complicating or out of place in the story? I actually don't have a strong sense of the idea's value myself yet, I am just curious about your thoughts on it.
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Re: Li'sar's Characterization in HttT (Spoilers)

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Cold Steel wrote:Thanks, I felt guilty about not copying the style of writing, and you did a better job than I could hope to.
Thank you sir.
Cold Steel wrote:I noticed you cut out the Vonryn sub-story, is that to make it wiki friendly as Whiskyjack suggested or because you feel it is over-complicating or out of place in the story? I actually don't have a strong sense of the idea's value myself yet, I am just curious about your thoughts on it.
At this point, only to leave it at a point that there seems to be consensus around, it can certainly be added back in easily.

My personal take on the sub-story is mixed - it adds a bit of angst from Li'sar towards her mother that could help push her towards turning, but that could at easily come from Li'sar's impressions from the state of the kingdom. What if Li'sar is under the belief that her beloved Vonryn was sent as part of the patrol that found Delfador, and he is killed by Delfador and the rebels? Asheviere could obviously just have had him eliminated to avoid any other influence on her daughter, but now it also propels Li'sar even more towards wanting to track down Konrad and Delfador.
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Re: Li'sar's Characterization in HttT (Spoilers)

Post by Whiskeyjack »

Cold Steel wrote:This isn't for the wiki at all.
Ah, it seems I misunderstood you there.
Cold Steel wrote:Well I think we need to keep in mind the bigger picture here, that is if we are totally rewriting and changing the style of the characters in HttT (essentially the progenitor of mainline campaigns that influenced the style of those that followed) then we are starting the process of eventually rewriting most or all campaigns' characters in a similar style.

So a plot device that said so-and-so has a heart of pure light or such-and-such has taken lich poison, are small things to change relatively. Basically all writing, whether new or old, should be considered / reconsidered purely on its merits to create engaging, interesting, surprising and ultimately entertaining storytelling to the largely adult population that actually plays and especially develops and maintains this game project.
Yes, but I don´t think giving a character darkness in his heart makes him interesting in and of itself. On the other hand a genuinely good character that struggles with doing the right things (and/or former mistakes) can be quite interesting.
And I think Defaldor as pretty much the greatest mage to ever be does not need to lose that epic flair to become an interesting character. And I see no need to destroy central plot devices of LoW and DM (Book of Crelanu and the Lich Potion) just to make Defaldor a darker character. Another point to start with deepening his character could be the fact that he takes a great part of the fault for Asheviere´s rise to power. He didn´t realise the threat she posed, let it happen that she killed/replaced/turned important persons at the court to make them her followers instead of the king and ultimately he let the Book fall into her hands which has yet again great impacts on the stories (for example scenario 4 of Liberty). Those elements are strongly interwoven with all of said campaigns (less strongly with HttT itself) and not wrongly placed in an epic fantasy world.
Cold Steel wrote:You shouldn't have to pretend you are your ~8 year old self to potentially enjoy the characters and events.
I think you´re exaggerating quite a bit on this. The stories of those campaigns are not bad (and still need to give a good frame for the actual part: the gameplay and scenarios). And while the characters and dialogues are sometimes lacking there is no need to throw the (good) stories completely out of the window just to fit the desires for a certain way of character developement.
Cold Steel wrote:As for how this change might make sense... Eldred was an aggressive, ambitious military type, who could go out on missions and get them done to maintain order. But he was killed. So to keep the kingdom together for long Asheviere needed a "strong man" she could trust, and young Li'sar was her only remaining offspring, so Li'sar had to become and fill that role. But Li'sar was closer to her father and thus did not absorb all that ruthless ambitiousness of her mother that Eldred had. So while Asheviere sent her into an intense Eldred-ification military training program, Li'sar failed to become the new Eldred.

Also, I toy with the idea that maybe the little loving and human part of Asheviere that there was did have a soft spot for Eldred, so when he was killed, carrying out her plans no less, that part got driven all the way to the back of her mind. So she, from that point on, never showed Li'sar any of the warmth she had raised Eldred with. So Li'sar never developed the same loyalty to her that Eldred had. More reason why Li'sar never became his replacement.
I have to confess that I like the current version better: Asheviere supported Eldred in murdering two of her own sons and later on sent him to his own death (knowingly). Having some kind of human feelings for Li'sar (after the coldhearted dismissal of her sons) and playing that out in the campaign IMO does more work for the story than a cold detachement from Li'sar, because it adds further tension to her defection.
Turuk wrote:What if Li'sar is under the belief that her beloved Vonryn was sent as part of the patrol that found Delfador, and he is killed by Delfador and the rebels?
That might work to make an alliance between her and the rebels completely impossible or at least a pure act of pragmatism. If it is revealed as a lie later on that might be possible, but if it is the truth, it would be hard to pull off a cohesive ending because it would mean that the elves would not support her (all that allied ruler stuff).
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Re: Li'sar's Characterization in HttT (Spoilers)

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Whiskeyjack wrote:That might work to make an alliance between her and the rebels completely impossible or at least a pure act of pragmatism. If it is revealed as a lie later on that might be possible, but if it is the truth, it would be hard to pull off a cohesive ending because it would mean that the elves would not support her (all that allied ruler stuff).
Sorry, I meant to indicate that it was always supposed to be a lie. It is only when she confronts Konrad with the killing of the patrol and his genuine confusion/denial that the light bulb goes off. She wildly then understand why she was never able to find survivors of this "patrol" who brought the message back.

The resulting confusion/disbelief/realization could play out to make Li'sar review everything her mother has ever said through a different lenses.
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Re: Li'sar's Characterization in HttT (Spoilers)

Post by Whiskeyjack »

Turuk wrote:Sorry, I meant to indicate that it was always supposed to be a lie. It is only when she confronts Konrad with the killing of the patrol and his genuine confusion/denial that the light bulb goes off. She wildly then understand why she was never able to find survivors of this "patrol" who brought the message back.

The resulting confusion/disbelief/realization could play out to make Li'sar review everything her mother has ever said through a different lenses.
If we go with a Li'sar that is (because of to little exposure or denial) not really aware of her mothers crimes instead of being involved, that scenario fits perfectly. Otherwise I think it would have to be played differently for her to suspect the elves and have no doubts about her mothers part in that.
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Re: Li'sar's Characterization in HttT (Spoilers)

Post by Sire »

Might as well throw some more ideas in the bucket...

From what I understand and gleamed from this ongoing discussion, here are several points that I have noticed.

1: Li'sar needs to be a strong female lead.
2: Li'sar needs to demonstrate her commanding abilities
3: Li'sar needs a more developed reason on why she switches to Konrad's side.
4: Li'sar's relationship with her mother, Queen Asheviere, needs to be expanded.

The first point will likely require rewritten dialogue for Li'sar. Currently, her normal dialogue sounds similar to that of tsundere's, which likely runs against transforming Li'sar into a stronger female character. While such tropes have a time and a place, it may not be needed for the revised character of Li'sar.

However, there is one point where Li'sar may show off her qualities, in Scenario 19 (variant a or b), she drops that she has become aware of what her mother Asheviere is doing and has become somewhat tormented by it. By Scenario 21 she has resolved to defeat her mother if that is what it takes to rebuild Wesnoth. However, the problem with these in the current implementation is that there seems to be no hints beforehand.

Essentially, in addition to Li'sar's initial vengeance against Konrad (in Turuk's Li'sar Background), she may also be trying to find answers of her own as well. Whether she believes the truth or not is another matter entirely.

* * * * *

As for the second point, Li'sar already demonstrates some of this in her debut scenario, Scenario 8, The Princess of Wesnoth. Compared to most Wesnoth scenarios, Li'sar calls in reinforcements and even lays a trap for Konrad and company with her loyal Duelist. This can be further expanded in Scenario 18, despite her relentless pursuit of Konrad and Delfador, she does make a temporary alliance with them to fend off the orcs, possibly reflecting her skills as a commander.

Li'sar also shows off her commanding skills in gameplay by her unique aura, Initiative, which allows nearby allies to always strike first in battle.

If we wish to push her commanding skills further, additional things can be added. I know this has been discussed before, but having Li'sar as a second leader that can recruit units sounds like a nice way to emphasize her skills. When Li'sar joins the party, it is relatively late into the campaign and even "beginner" players will start understanding some of the gameplay mechanics by then.

* * * * *

The third point seems to be quickly rushed by a hasty alliance and a monologue in a later scenario. While the hasty alliance is one way to get both factions working together, it would help to leave hints that Li'sar is not as bad as she may have initially been seen. Comments from her soldiers is one way to further develop her character and why she switches sides.

There have also been some debate on what to do with Li'sar's soldiers (as they are no doubt around when makes the temporarily alliance and eventually join the party). One simple way to deal with them is perhaps have the party be pursued and her soldiers offer their lives for she and Konrad (and Delfador, and Kalenz, and the Recall List...) could escape. This method deals with her soldiers while not really impacting gameplay balance of later scenarios.

* * * * *

The last point seems to be just contained to Li'sar's dialogue in scenarios 19a and 19b in where Li'sar hides in the throne room eavesdropping on her mother's conversation with the generals. She now knows what exactly her mother is doing (no doubt based off her own experiences in the field, possibly crushing rebellions before she sent off to hunt Konrad), but otherwise their relationship isn't really stated.

One way to add more story is to include interludes between chapters. Perhaps there can be a flashback one that expands on Asheviere's and Li'sar's relationship, or interludes that basically say "Meanwhile in Weldyn", showcasing the machinations of Queen Asheviere as she tries to deal with the rebels.

* * * * *

I would also talk about other characters, Delfador in particular, but I will have to save that for another post. Hopefully these ideas prove to be useful.
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Re: Li'sar's Characterization in HttT (Spoilers)

Post by name »

Turuk wrote: My personal take on the sub-story is mixed - it adds a bit of angst from Li'sar towards her mother that could help push her towards turning, but that could at easily come from Li'sar's impressions from the state of the kingdom.Delfador.
Okay, I agree and am good throwing Vonryn back in the random ideas bin.
Whiskeyjack wrote: Yes, but I don´t think giving a character darkness in his heart makes him interesting in and of itself.
I agree, which is part of what I wanted to communicate. I wouldn't want and don't personally see value in, the concepts of good and evil with regards to characters.

For one, it is not even close to reality and that makes it hard to relate to or believe characters are actual people.

For two, it means you have only one or at least one dominant dimension for all characters to fit into, which makes for forgettable, easily confused characters. Playing the campaigns, it feels like every hero is one character and every villain is the other character.

The solution I believe is to always think of the characters as real life adult people that would be credible in the real world, but are born into the world of Irdya instead. They are not driven by "good and evil" but by their hopes and fears, past experiences and ideas about the future, etc. Then you let the circumstances of their place and time put them together so they can interact in surprising but ultimately understandable and relatable ways. Even a character like Asheviere or a Licht should be relatable to in some small way.
Whiskeyjack wrote: I think you´re exaggerating quite a bit on this. The stories of those campaigns are not bad (and still need to give a good frame for the actual part: the gameplay and scenarios).
I do not think the broad strokes of these stories are necessarily bad at all, but more like canvases with the details not yet painted in (from a story perspective, not game play). You have a history, a setting, a course of events, but the people are largely absent from the story. And that makes them feel pretty empty.

Now I know I can come across quite harsh on the campaigns, but I do realize how much toiling went into making them, and I don't want to sound critical of their creators for leaving details like character development vague. Because if they had aimed for perfection they probably would never have released anything due to the enormous workload and the diverse bases they would have to cover by themselves. But if tBfW is an iterative, collaborative work, then I think it is a very good idea for future contributors to come in and fill in the blanks and improve what couldn't be perfected in the first pass.
Whiskeyjack wrote: I have to confess that I like the current version better: Asheviere supported Eldred in murdering two of her own sons and later on sent him to his own death (knowingly).
Woah, what? She knowingly sent Eldred to die? I do not remember any indication of that at all. In HttT's opening slideshow, it shows a bereaved Asheviere holding Eldred's bloody body. Do I misremember?
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