Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by skeptical_troll » March 3rd, 2018, 9:32 pm

Cold Steel wrote:
March 3rd, 2018, 9:03 pm
It is not the underground; it is the under-ocean-under-ground. Any ventilation shafts would flood with sea water and a cave complex spanning the floor of an ocean would be far more vast than any mine, so breathable air flow from the surface would not exist. Food only occurs where biologically useful energy input exists. Fresh water flows into the ocean, not underneath it. Carrying all the food and water needed for an on foot trek across the span of an ocean would not be an option. Foxfire fungi are extremely dim and can only exist where there is food and water.
For me it is just an aesthetic choice wheteher giving Irdya a rich underground world or not. If the idea is found appealing, then it's not hard to find solutions to similar problems, of course in the context of a fictional world different than our Earth. There is energy in the underground in form of thermal energy, so there could be organisms evolved in order to process it, and maybe capable of forming a balanced ecosystem which produces oxygen, or even water, who knows. Fresh water under the sea is not unheard of in our own world so why not on Irdya? There are fishes and organisms producing light in the deep oceans, it's legit to imagine an extreme version of those in a giant underworld or just assume that people use torches. Plus, there might be islands and old volcanoes in the middle of the ocean where this cave system communicates with the surface, which can be used for taking a break during the crossing. Of course, it's certainly a tough deed to undertake such a travel for a surface dweller, but so were the transoceanic trips when America was discovered (you also needed fresh water and food provisions when sailing). And if there are evolved races down there with whom the dunefolk have good relations (I thought about dwarves cause it's the most obvious choice among the present races, see Burin and their description, but could be something else), that would be made easier, because there would be some infrastructure to exploit.

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Celtic_Minstrel » March 3rd, 2018, 10:18 pm

Cold Steel wrote:
March 3rd, 2018, 9:03 pm
If they are an after the fall era faction, the problem of their origin is solved by them being the distant descendants of wesnoth, whose culture radically shifted over the indefinite thousands of years since the climate radically shifted into desert. Just as the quenoth elves may be similarly descended from the wood elves.
Even if they were an after the fall faction I would not support them being the distant descendants of Wesnoth.
Cold Steel wrote:
March 3rd, 2018, 9:03 pm
How would you feel if the dunefolk were a culture of desert dwelling saurians with an advanced culture, distinct from the typical swamp dwelling saurians with their tribal culture? A separate culture of an existing race, native to the great continent. Would you find that satisfactory?
I don't mind the idea of a faction of desert-dwelling saurian-likes, but I see that as something very different from the dunefolk.
Cold Steel wrote:
March 3rd, 2018, 9:03 pm
Any ventilation shafts would flood with sea water
Unless there are islands. Which we already know there are, in the form of the Green Isle, and if there's one, I think it's quite likely there's more. In fact, ventilation shafts on islands could also solve the freshwater problem.

As for the rest, I still think you're underestimating the possibilities even in such an environment. Life occurs in more extreme environments than under-the-seabed caves.
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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by max_torch » March 4th, 2018, 1:37 am

about the "underground" issue:
this is fantasy. things can be "fantastic. underground can be fantastic e.g. Jules Verne's journey to the center of the earth.
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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by MathBrush » March 4th, 2018, 1:57 am

I don’t think anyone will ever agree on a perfect definition. Why not just say that their origins are shrouded in legend?

“It is unknown when the mysterious and enigmatic Dunefolk first appeared on the great continent. Legends speak of perilous journeys by sea or by land, of flights by flying carpets or deep passageways beneath the oceans.

All that is known for certain is that the Dunefolk are denizens of the sandy wastes found south of the kingdom of wesnoth. They are renowned for their horsemanship and blah blah blah

While many of their foes view them as demons of the desert, descendants from the jinn, or born if the sand itself, the scholarly consensus is that the Dunefolk are a branch of the humans.”

Etc.

Having an enigmatic faction is way cooler, and all the origin story campaigns can be different versions of the legends.

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by zookeeper » March 4th, 2018, 9:40 am

MathBrush wrote:
March 4th, 2018, 1:57 am
I don’t think anyone will ever agree on a perfect definition. Why not just say that their origins are shrouded in legend?
I'd say mostly because it'd be a too transparent attempt at avoiding having a backstory. You can insert some things into an established world and say their origins are unknown, let's say for example some new monster units or minor races, but less so when inserting a major element that immediately raises questions about how it can make sense at all, such as a new major human civilization popping up.

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by name » March 4th, 2018, 6:24 pm

So let's say you put together a lot of explanations for how amazing life and civilization exists in oxygen and potable water abundant caverns crisscrossing underneath the ocean floor (and by necessity it will have to be very elaborate and fantastical and likely require some magic here and there.)

That is a backstory for an underground themed race, like trolls or dwarves.

It in no way fits a desert dwelling group of otherwise mundane humans who use dark age technology (and potentially shirk magic). It does not work as a backstory that explains why those people are stuck in a desert or are wholly devoted to desert living. Massive undersea cave complex versus parched desert under the blazing sun.
Celtic_Minstrel wrote:
March 3rd, 2018, 10:18 pm
I don't mind the idea of a faction of desert-dwelling saurian-likes, but I see that as something very different from the dunefolk.
How so?

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by MathBrush » March 4th, 2018, 6:48 pm

New idea, then:

Volcanic activity creates a new massive archipelago allowing the dunefolk to cross from the old continent, especially as they're adapted to hot, rocky environments (after all, the burners have asbestos robes).

The dangers of the old continent (undead, orcs, and worse) try to cross after them. The dunefolk manage to submerge the archipelago after they travel to the center of the largest volcano and stop the beings behind the new tectonic activity. This stops their pursuers, but only after heavy losses. The dunefolk settle in the sandy wastes and slowly rebuild their strength, sheltered by the nagas and occasionally skirmishing with drakes and a nearby settlement of dwarves.

This would allow the multiplayer faction to stay the same or to have new units which correspond to the allies they met on the trip. It combines the ocean trip and landbridge and under-the-ocean scenarios. It would allow us to move on to multiplayer balancing and adding new units (including fantastical ones) or not.

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Pentarctagon » March 4th, 2018, 6:56 pm

The undersea caves explanation doesn't really sound that great, honestly. It seems like:
a) A group of people decided to enter in a huge, underground cave network in an effort to go... somewhere? If they didn't know where it went, then entering would be suicidal. If they did already know where it went, then how did they know that, since these caves would span an ocean?
b) Adding other friendly races that inhabit the caves as a way to explain how they were able to make and even survive such a journey seems like it's using hydraulics to hammer a nail, since now instead of just establishing their method of arrival you've also established that there's an entire, continent sized network of undersea caves that's also inhabited with intelligent life.

Conceptually I don't really mind the idea - it sounds a lot like the Underdark - but like I said above, it also seems to me like it's overkill as far as solutions go.
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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by skeptical_troll » March 4th, 2018, 8:02 pm

Cold Steel wrote:
March 4th, 2018, 6:24 pm
That is a backstory for an underground themed race, like trolls or dwarves.

It in no way fits a desert dwelling group of otherwise mundane humans who use dark age technology (and potentially shirk magic). It does not work as a backstory that explains why those people are stuck in a desert or are wholly devoted to desert living.
No, it's not a theory for everything, just for how they established a route to the Great Continent, and yes, it adds backstory to the dwarves as well. I don't think everything in the dunefolk's lore should be monothematically flattened to desert and sand. Like other races, they travel and explore different environments and get in touch with different people (otherwise their history would be pretty boring). The real-world civilizations this factions draws inspiration from were not limited to desertic areas, although for various reasons they had to learn how to travel and live in the deserts. So could be for the dunefolk. Actually, it's not written in stone that they've always lived in a desert, maybe back in the old continent they lived in a fertile and green land, but in the Great Continent they arrived late in the game and had to occupy the few river valleys and oasis in the South.
Pentarctagon wrote:
March 4th, 2018, 6:56 pm
The undersea caves explanation doesn't really sound that great, honestly. It seems like:
a) A group of people decided to enter in a huge, underground cave network in an effort to go... somewhere? If they didn't know where it went, then entering would be suicidal. If they did already know where it went, then how did they know that, since these caves would span an ocean?
b) Adding other friendly races that inhabit the caves as a way to explain how they were able to make and even survive such a journey seems like it's using hydraulics to hammer a nail, since now instead of just establishing their method of arrival you've also established that there's an entire, continent sized network of undersea caves that's also inhabited with intelligent life.
It all boils down to personal taste, of course, but just to clarify my original concept:
b) No new race is involved, for me it is dwarves who have large kingdoms in the underground. They could be slightly different dwarves from the one we already know, possibly better adapted to to the deep.
Also, It doesn't have to be a continent-sized undersea cave system, it just have to be a passage, possibly going through islands/archipelagos in the middle. Maybe one the dwarves speculated about or knew from indirect or old sources and which was sought for long, hard to find like the northwest passage in the real world. Such passages exist in Irdya, as Burin the lost knows.
a) Obviously it gets an explorer to find it, in the effort of exploring. This however is true also for ships or whatever other path is used. In my idea it is a particular dunefolk traveler who has worked his whole life at the court of a dwarvish king, knows how to travel down there and has many dwarves to assist him. He probably heard a lot of legends about this 'passage' to another land and endeavored to find it. Once the passage was found, it was obviously exploited as a route both by dwarves (who could have built some good infrastructure to use it) and dunefolk, until it eventually collapsed. And, I imagine, maybe after that happened many dunefolk tried to find another passage, or to sail back to their homeland.

You are right that it introduces new elements to Wesnoth that are probably not necessary to just explain a migration, I believe that's why you say it's an overkill, but IMO that's not necessarily a bad thing, as long as those elements expand but don't contradict the current lore.

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Caladbolg » March 4th, 2018, 8:20 pm

I have to agree that the underground explanation doesn't seem like a good solution. Whichever way the Dunefolk reach the Great Continent (provided they aren't native there), it would be an event of huge cultural and historical significance for them. Traveling along a desert land bridge or through the parting waters would fit the theme of Dunefolk, while traveling through the caves under the sea would not. Not only that, but if those caves are connected to the surface sufficiently well to explain how a large amount of people can survive in them, then there are sufficiently many islands above that route to make the island hopping explanation plausible as well. Pentarctagon's objections to it seal the deal for me- I don't think this is the way to go.

To return briefly to the land bridge, island hopping and parting waters explanations:
Cold Steel wrote:
Caladbolg wrote:Come to think of it, even the talks about the land bridge idea have them going through the south pole. Is there any particular reason for it?
The first reason would be that humans (and orcs and other races from the old continent and its surroundings) would already have wandered onto the great continent thousands or tens of thousands of years earlier, if the way was easy.

The second reason is the distance involved. The two continents are generally represented as being very separated by ocean. Land bridges only make sense where there is close proximity of landmasses. Haldric crossing so much open ocean was kind of absurd then, if he could have hugged the shore of a land bridge and arrived at the great continent in reasonable time but greatly reduced risk.
All of that can be easily explained by the two continents being close at some point but the path being extremely dangerous. You can put all sorts of dangerous beasts there if need be. If nothing else, it'd be a perfect place for dragons- a position allowing easy access to both continents, wide sea to the north and south, maybe volcanic activity. A plausible explanation for why no one used this path before. All that needs to happen to allow Dunefolk crossing is that that danger is lessened, even if temporarily. Maybe they trick the dragons with the help of the Jinn, maybe they use magic to control dragons, maybe they make some kind of arrangement with them,... If the Dunefolk found themselves between a rock and a hard place, they could even beat the dragons and pass, losing most of their people in the conflict but escaping the even worse fate that would have befallen them had they stayed. Also a good place to add some interaction with the Drakes (volcanic areas) the Naga (coastal areas).

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Celtic_Minstrel » March 5th, 2018, 6:03 am

Cold Steel wrote:
March 4th, 2018, 6:24 pm
So let's say you put together a lot of explanations for how amazing life and civilization exists in oxygen and potable water abundant caverns crisscrossing underneath the ocean floor (and by necessity it will have to be very elaborate and fantastical and likely require some magic here and there.)

That is a backstory for an underground themed race, like trolls or dwarves.
Uh, yes, that was the point. It would be a setting for an underground race - possibly dwarves or trolls, sure, but more likely a brand-new race. Gnomes, for example (of the Paracelsian variety). Maybe demons - there are a bunch of those in user-made content, and they would in my opinion make sense as an underground race.

Then, contact between that race and the dunefolk's ancestors would be the catalyst that allows the dunefolk to reach the new continent.
Cold Steel wrote:
March 4th, 2018, 6:24 pm
It in no way fits a desert dwelling group of otherwise mundane humans who use dark age technology (and potentially shirk magic). It does not work as a backstory that explains why those people are stuck in a desert or are wholly devoted to desert living. Massive undersea cave complex versus parched desert under the blazing sun.
I'm not proposing they live underground. They just used it as a conduit to get to the other side. A single expedition would probably only take a month or two, I would think; and it definitely wouldn't take more than a year. It would be longer than sailing across the sea, mind you. Still, the point is, even if there isn't a lot of food down there that humans can eat (perhaps the subterranean race has a very different diet), they wouldn't need to take huge quantities of food along.
Cold Steel wrote:
March 4th, 2018, 6:24 pm
Celtic_Minstrel wrote:
March 3rd, 2018, 10:18 pm
I don't mind the idea of a faction of desert-dwelling saurian-likes, but I see that as something very different from the dunefolk.
How so?
Well, desert-dwelling humans vs desert-dwelling lizards. That's a pretty big difference. Sure they're both desert-dwellers, but that's where the similarity ends, I would think.
MathBrush wrote:
March 4th, 2018, 6:48 pm
New idea, then:

Volcanic activity creates a new massive archipelago allowing the dunefolk to cross from the old continent, especially as they're adapted to hot, rocky environments (after all, the burners have asbestos robes).

The dangers of the old continent (undead, orcs, and worse) try to cross after them. The dunefolk manage to submerge the archipelago after they travel to the center of the largest volcano and stop the beings behind the new tectonic activity. This stops their pursuers, but only after heavy losses. The dunefolk settle in the sandy wastes and slowly rebuild their strength, sheltered by the nagas and occasionally skirmishing with drakes and a nearby settlement of dwarves.

This would allow the multiplayer faction to stay the same or to have new units which correspond to the allies they met on the trip. It combines the ocean trip and landbridge and under-the-ocean scenarios. It would allow us to move on to multiplayer balancing and adding new units (including fantastical ones) or not.
I think submerging a volcanic archipelago would take either powerful magic or advanced technology. You're basically proposing they can blow the top off a mountain. It doesn't strike me as something the dunefolk would be capable of. If we were talking about coral atolls or something, they might stand a chance, but even then, it seems questionable.
skeptical_troll wrote:
March 4th, 2018, 8:02 pm
Actually, it's not written in stone that they've always lived in a desert, maybe back in the old continent they lived in a fertile and green land, but in the Great Continent they arrived late in the game and had to occupy the few river valleys and oasis in the South.
My proposal even included something like that - on the old continent they lived not in a desert but in more of a savannah / dry grassland type area. Or something like Mongolia.

Regarding your clarification, I was the one who suggested a new race. I think it's actually a slight stretch that dwarves not only live beneath the sea but also had contact with the old continent. But the idea can still work with dwarves. It doesn't need to be a new race; I'd prefer it, but it's not required. If it's dwarves, it could lead to a new "deep dwarf" type faction.
Caladbolg wrote:
March 4th, 2018, 8:20 pm
I have to agree that the underground explanation doesn't seem like a good solution. Whichever way the Dunefolk reach the Great Continent (provided they aren't native there), it would be an event of huge cultural and historical significance for them. Traveling along a desert land bridge or through the parting waters would fit the theme of Dunefolk, while traveling through the caves under the sea would not.
Uh, hold on a second, I think you have a fundamental misunderstanding here. The land bridge idea wouldn't be a desert. In fact, it would probably be relatively fertile land, though likely cold (possibly tundra).
Caladbolg wrote:
March 4th, 2018, 8:20 pm
Not only that, but if those caves are connected to the surface sufficiently well to explain how a large amount of people can survive in them, then there are sufficiently many islands above that route to make the island hopping explanation plausible as well.
Note that "survive in them" doesn't mean they're living there. They're only passing through. Of course, the island hopping method could also be plausible... provided they have ships!

My opinion of the land bridge method is that it can only really work if they take a south polar route and arrive on the new continent long before the Wesfolk, though they may only have reached that desert around the time the Wesfolk landed. In other words, a land bridge approach is more long-term in my view.
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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Xalzar » March 5th, 2018, 11:27 am

Celtic_Minstrel wrote:
March 5th, 2018, 6:03 am
I'm not proposing they live underground. They just used it as a conduit to get to the other side. A single expedition would probably only take a month or two, I would think; and it definitely wouldn't take more than a year. It would be longer than sailing across the sea, mind you. Still, the point is, even if there isn't a lot of food down there that humans can eat (perhaps the subterranean race has a very different diet), they wouldn't need to take huge quantities of food along.
I think it is underestimated how a year in undersea tunnels affect health:
-Scarce variety of food (I can't imagine many plants and animals thrive in such environment, Dwarves and Trolls have probably adapted, but humans surely haven't);
-Extreme humidity (we are under the sea afterall), and probable lack of sufficiently clear, drinkable water;
-Lack of sunlight, which notoriously weakens the bones.

And then two more problems remain:
-why would Dwarves/other underground civilization let a sizeable part of Dunefolk population pass through their lands for months/years consuming their resources (a new land is not settled by a dozen people);
-why even take such a route, it seems like the last resort. Another exodus? It seemed this wasn't wanted as motivation, since it is seen as too similar to the Islefolk/Wesfolk story.

No, I can't buy into this at all. I prefer the story to be less outlandish, and more realistic - more appropriate for the Dunefolk IMO.

Thinking about this, I'm more inclined to propose the "colony that has lost the motherland" story.
Basically, the Dunefolk main civilization is set in the Old Continent, and for various reasons they came to colonize (by boat or land bridge) the southern lands of the Great Continent. After decades or centuries contacts with the mainland were lost, the reason being either changed conditions of the path (new dangers in the ocean, land bridge destroyed...) or the original kingdom being destroyed by enemies (or magic! another reason to ban it) in the Old Continent, without hope to recover.
Reasons to colonize: simple land expansion, lust for exploration, search for a particular resource (depleted in the mainland or simply exotic: I'm thinking about the oil used for flamethrowers for example).

Bonus: where did Mal Ravanal gather all the corpses for his undead armies? Partly from the Eastmarks, but if there were so many people disappeared and graveyards desecrated maybe the kingdom would have suspected the danger quite earlier than it did. But if the Dunefolk were already settled in the Great Continent for a while... I'm thinking the large part of the initial wave of undead were composed of Dunefolk, makes sense! :eng:
Last edited by Xalzar on March 5th, 2018, 11:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Coffee » March 5th, 2018, 11:35 am

Underground migration for Dunefolk seems a bit weird to me.

Just my 2 cents, but I like the idea of Dunefolk going across archipelagos and/or a narrow land bridge. You could also introduce drakes/nagas, which haven't had much campaign time before and you get a place for the drakes to live as a bonus with this approach.

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by skeptical_troll » March 5th, 2018, 2:15 pm

Xalzar wrote:
March 5th, 2018, 11:27 am
Thinking about this, I'm more inclined to propose the "colony that has lost the motherland" story.
Basically, the Dunefolk main civilization is set in the Old Continent, and for various reasons they came to colonize (by boat or land bridge) the southern lands of the Great Continent. After decades or centuries contacts with the mainland were lost, the reason being either changed conditions of the path (new dangers in the ocean, land bridge destroyed...) or the original kingdom being destroyed by enemies (or magic! another reason to ban it) in the Old Continent, without hope to recover.
Reasons to colonize: simple land expansion, lust for exploration, search for a particular resource (depleted in the mainland or simply exotic: I'm thinking about the oil used for flamethrowers for example).
As I already wrote above, I am very much in favor of this. The 'lost-motherland' thing gives also a nice flavor to the faction, I think. As others said, the problem with land bridges/ships is to explain why the route was eventually lost, and why it wasn't used by other folks before. The cave scenario has a convincing way of explaining it: a cave collapse is much more natural than a continental bridge disappearing entirely, and less contrived than invoking dangers before and after the colonization just to allow the right temporal window to justify this story. On the other hand, it raises lot of skepticism for other reasons, which I understand. So, why not try to combine the two versions to keep the pros of both? The route between the two continent is a generically arduous and hidden one, previously unknown, first found by some dunefolk explorer and then used for colonization and trade. A part of it involves a relatively short but significant transit in the underground, either under the sea or some other impassable area, like a volcanic one, which may or may not be discovered with the help of some friendly race. Other parts or the route might go through shallow water or land masses between the two continents, which may also be colonized if found hospitable. As the underground part collapses, the dunefolk are not able to reopen it or to find an alternate route to connect the two parts, hence they are stuck in the Great Continent.

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Re: Dunefolk(previously Khalifate) race description

Post by Xalzar » March 5th, 2018, 3:57 pm

skeptical_troll wrote:
March 5th, 2018, 2:15 pm
As I already wrote above, I am very much in favor of this. The 'lost-motherland' thing gives also a nice flavor to the faction, I think. As others said, the problem with land bridges/ships is to explain why the route was eventually lost, and why it wasn't used by other folks before.
Glad to hear that you like it! :D
Oh, and about that "problem", maybe it could magically disappear! :shock:
Xalzar wrote:
March 5th, 2018, 11:27 am
After decades or centuries contacts with the mainland were lost, the reason being either changed conditions of the path (new dangers in the ocean, land bridge destroyed...) or the original kingdom being destroyed by enemies (or magic! another reason to ban it) in the Old Continent, without hope to recover.
I think you could fancy that... No new monsters, no crumbling landmasses, simply there's no reason to return there. :twisted:

For the tunnellers-fans, a compromise could be to integrate a cavern in the Dunefolk mythos, something akin the Cave of Wonders, which could be either magical in nature or simply a place used by Dwarves to store their riches (if you want the Dwarves). Diplomatic issues surely should arise between them if the Dunefolk were to enter the cave...

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