Fire-Forged Friends

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Zamael
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Re: Fire-Forged Friends

Post by Zamael »

In other news, I have recently updated to version 1.7.5, when the version differences between Solsword and me finally began to cause pretty nasty problems. Been playing Delfador's Memoirs and checking out new musics recently. And you know what?

This campaign is going to take a swift and completely unexpected turn to north, just so that I could add Over the Northern Mountains somewhere in the campaign music. Because hot damn that song is awesome!
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Elvish_Hunter
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Re: Fire-Forged Friends

Post by Elvish_Hunter »

Zamael, I read your 7th scenario. What Xel does made me laugh (it seems to me just like Xel is slowly becoming the main character of this campaign. Anyway, there is nothing wrong in this: usually all the saurians that we encountered are of the kind "Humanssss invaderssss! Nassssty Elvessss! Sssstinking dwarvessss! Let'ssss kill'em!", that was starting to become boring).
But, when I read the ending of the scenario, I had some thinking about Xel's end, and I found three possible answers:
- he may be killed by elven and human rangers, maybe sacrificing himself for saving another unit (like Sir Gerrick in TSG, but I hope that this doesn't happen) :cry:
- he may be put in a cage and, in a next scenario, Cheska and all the other heroes come to rescue him (something like Cleodil in LoW)
- or maybe he rescues himself. Explaination: Xel manages to escape from the cage and, in doing this, he frees some other saurian prisoners. Until now, he (and generally saurians factions) was able to recruit only Skirmishers and Augurs. But, on the addon server, there are some eras (BEEM and Era of Strife), that include a Free Saurians faction, featuring a lot of interesting Saurian units.
There are some other cages in this scenario, and every cage contains a different new saurian unit taken from EoS. Obviously, there are also enemies wandering, so this may become a leveling opportunity for Xel and his just rescued saurians. If he manages to keep alive until the end of this scenario one new kind of saurian unit, this unit line will become available for recruiting in next scenarios. The cages may contain L2 loyal saurian units or, if you want to make things harder, L1 loyal (or even not loyal, so it will be even harder) saurian units. If such units survives until the scenario end, Xel may become able to recruit Saurian Knifethrowers, Lizard Riders, Saurian Magi, Saurian Sagi, Saurian Trainees (L0) and Swamp Saurians, and also Saurian Skirmishers may advance as Saurian Warriors.
Please tell me what do you think about this. Mine, as always, are only suggestions, feel free to do what do you want. :wink:
solsword wrote:What I'd like to see in this campaign is some interesting and *unique* magic items that give cool new abilities.
And I can't wait to see the new cool abilites! 8)
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Zamael
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Joined: September 9th, 2009, 9:16 am

Re: Fire-Forged Friends

Post by Zamael »

Your suggestions are all valid enough, but I've got the campaing pretty well in mind. At the very least there will be no extremely drastic changes.
Elvish_Hunter wrote:What Xel does made me laugh
Which part, or parts, exactly were so amusing?
(it seems to me just like Xel is slowly becoming the main character of this campaign. Anyway, there is nothing wrong in this: usually all the saurians that we encountered are of the kind "Humanssss invaderssss! Nassssty Elvessss! Sssstinking dwarvessss! Let'ssss kill'em!", that was starting to become boring).
Yeah, he was rapidly stealing spotlight from the other characters. This is why I had to kill him off. Tough luck, but that happens.

Also there will be new abilities and items. At least somewhat. Nothing drastic, probably.
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Elvish_Hunter
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Re: Fire-Forged Friends

Post by Elvish_Hunter »

Zamael wrote:Your suggestions are all valid enough, but I've got the campaing pretty well in mind.
I'm waiting to playtest it on a stable version of Wesnoth. :D
Zamael wrote:Which part, or parts, exactly were so amusing?
When Xel complains about snowy winters and then is picked up by Cheska, when he points his frozen nose agains Cheska's neck and when he goes on top of her head.
Zamael wrote:This is why I had to kill him off.
:cry: :cry: :cry: :cry: :cry:
I hope that my suggestions will be useful for a spin-off campaign where Xel mysteriously survived...
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Zamael
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Re: Fire-Forged Friends

Post by Zamael »

Protip: You shouldn't always take everything I say completely seriously.

...And that counts this post as well. Does your brain hurt yet?
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Kenpachi
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Re: Fire-Forged Friends

Post by Kenpachi »

Elvish_Hunter wrote:Zamael, I read your 7th scenario. What Xel does made me laugh (it seems to me just like Xel is slowly becoming the main character of this campaign. Anyway, there is nothing wrong in this: usually all the saurians that we encountered are of the kind "Humanssss invaderssss! Nassssty Elvessss! Sssstinking dwarvessss! Let'ssss kill'em!", that was starting to become boring).
But, when I read the ending of the scenario, I had some thinking about Xel's end, and I found three possible answers:
- he may be killed by elven and human rangers, maybe sacrificing himself for saving another unit (like Sir Gerrick in TSG, but I hope that this doesn't happen) :cry:
- he may be put in a cage and, in a next scenario, Cheska and all the other heroes come to rescue him (something like Cleodil in LoW)
- or maybe he rescues himself. Explaination: Xel manages to escape from the cage and, in doing this, he frees some other saurian prisoners. Until now, he (and generally saurians factions) was able to recruit only Skirmishers and Augurs. But, on the addon server, there are some eras (BEEM and Era of Strife), that include a Free Saurians faction, featuring a lot of interesting Saurian units.
There are some other cages in this scenario, and every cage contains a different new saurian unit taken from EoS. Obviously, there are also enemies wandering, so this may become a leveling opportunity for Xel and his just rescued saurians. If he manages to keep alive until the end of this scenario one new kind of saurian unit, this unit line will become available for recruiting in next scenarios. The cages may contain L2 loyal saurian units or, if you want to make things harder, L1 loyal (or even not loyal, so it will be even harder) saurian units. If such units survives until the scenario end, Xel may become able to recruit Saurian Knifethrowers, Lizard Riders, Saurian Magi, Saurian Sagi, Saurian Trainees (L0) and Swamp Saurians, and also Saurian Skirmishers may advance as Saurian Warriors.
I liked this idea... :|

Zamael
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Re: Fire-Forged Friends

Post by Zamael »

Moving on.

***********************************

Chapter Eight: Strikeback

The battle was over before it had even begun: surrounded from all sides by elves and men, countless arrows pointed at their ranks, there would have no hope for them should they choose to fight. Cheska requested a parley, hoping that they could perhaps all get out of there alive by means of diplomacy and negotiation, where brute force had already failed - but to her surprise and shock, the enemy would have none of it, and opened fire.

She recovered quickly, however, and ordered them to counterattack. But her own forces were scattered and disorganized, and although they managed to put up some desperate fight, a coordinated assault was absolutely impossible under these circumstances.

"We have to run!", someone shouted next to her. It was Silan. He and his undead were in the greatest focus of the enemy assault, for fairly obvious reasons: even as he spoke, an enemy went down under his freezing blast. "Yes," she responded, and gave another command.

Even as they were cut down under the merciless attack, what was left of her motley band broke into a flight. Thankfully, the western lines of the foe were relatively thin, allowing most of them to break through and head west to regroup. She heard Silan to give order to the undead to remain behind and cover the living ones, but the command was cut short by a thud and a low groan: she did not turn back to look for a long time, not until she was absolutely certain they had gotten away.

Cheska Kuhral examined her surroundings: Many of the men and saurians had gotten away and joined her. Judging from the lack of undead, Silan's final order was received and obeyed. Silan himself, unfortunately, was nowhere to be seen.

---
Spoiler:
(The top-right corner is occupied by humans: the one in charge is a mage of light, and there are two paladins next to him as well, named Clancy and Lukas. The forests around them contain several of both elven and human rangers. The bottom-right base is, as of now, empty. Cheska starts a bit northeast from the third base, along with a single random saurian, and what named characters the player still has alive: if any of them are dead, they're replaced by random mooks, who also get their dialogue.)

Cheska: "Silan? Silan!"
(Beat.)
Cheska: "Silan!"
Zeza: "He is... we can't find him. It is likely to assume the worst."
Cheska: "..."
Elric: "I... I understand how you must feel about him, milady. And about your saurian friend. But..."
Cheska: "I know."
Elric: "We have sustained severe casualties. Beside your friends, many others have fallen as well. The men are awaiting for your command, and you cannot dwell in-"
Cheska: "I know."
Saurian: "They're still coming after what's left of us. I don't want to join poor Xel just yet."
Elric: "Milady, what shall we do?"
(Beat.)
Cheska: "We will fight back."

She and her crew walk to the nearby unoccupied base.
Cheska: "Settling this matter peacefully was attempted, and is no longer an option. They have killed many of our ranks, including some of my close personal friends. Vengeance is among the worst motives for fighting one could ever have, but..."
(Beat.)
Elric: "Milady?"
Cheska: "All evidence points out that they will continue hounding us until we are all dead. This matter will be settled here, once and for all."
Cheska: "Who is with me?"

Mage of light: "How does it look like?"
(Beat.)
Lukas: "They have stopped. It seems like they intend to make a stand."
Mage of light: "...Prepare for battle, then. If they wish to end it here, we will grant their request."
Clancy: "..."
Mage of light: "Gentlemen? Is there something wrong?"
Clancy: "We disapprove of the way you ordered to fire at them without provocation, when they specifically requested a parley."
Lukas: "It was dishonourable, and wrong. No matter what their crimes might be, there was absolutely no excuse for us to sink to their level."
Mage of light: "Perhaps they intended to play on trickery and guile, attacking us the moment our guard was down?"
Lukas: "Perhaps that was their intention, perhaps not: they would have deserved the benefit of doubt, at the very least."
Clancy: "And it might have spared us the bloodshed."
Lukas: "Or if nothing else, spared us this moral quandary and let us unleash all the forces of justice and good at them."
Mage of light: "But, you can do that anyway, can you not?"
Clancy: "No. Not all of it."

(Beat.)
Cheska: "Could you at least tell us what we're accused of?"
Clancy: "You mean you do not know yet? You are accused of allying yourself with the forces of darkness and death!"
Mage of light: "You neglected on destroying a servant of evil, despite the numerous chances to do so!"
Clancy: "You never even tried to redeem him, turn him into a force of good. You just let him be and continue his twisted practices!"
Cheska: "We didn't need to convert him! He was already a force of good! ...somewhat."
Lukas: "Then why did he keep raising the dead, even under your watch?"
Cheska: "..."
Mage of light: "And that is not all. Not only have you harbored a necromancer among your ranks..."
Elven ranger: "...You also employ many of the saurian filth, and brought them to our forests!"
Cheska: "What?"
Saurian: "That doesn't count! We met some of you on elven border, and we had a permission to enter!"

Ranger: "Oh, yes. And how did you repay our hospitality?"
Ranger (another one): "You were thieves. You entered our homes at night. You stole our property: considered our gold and jewelry as your own!"
Cheska: "What? [Saurian's name], is this true?"
Saurian: "No! We'd never-"
Ranger: "You torched our forests. You carved messages in our sacred trees - blasphemous messages about elves!"
Ranger: "Killed us in our beds! Murdered even children!"
Saurian: "What?! That's... that's not true, we'd never- we have no reason to kill your young, to do any of what you accuse us of!"
Ranger: "What bodies we recovered contained clear evidence: marks of your claws, teeth, spears! We even surprised one of your kind, trying to snatch an infant from his crib!"
Mage of light: "They actually carried its body all the way here, would you believe that?"
Ranger: "Would you like to see it? There isn't much left, though, not after what the father of that child did to it."
Saurian: "Lies! All of them! We- we wouldn't... we'd never-"
Lukas: "..."
Ranger: "But enough talk. Our dead brethren and burnt trees demand blood."
Zeza: "They are coming."
Cheska: "So I gathered."
Cheska: "Men, this is going to be bloody. And we are not facing disorganized orcs or half-rotten corpses this time."
Dorothy: "We are facing humans. Veteran, battle-hardened, and most important of all, they genuinely believe they are right in their cause."

If Dorothy is still alive:
Cheska: "Miss Salminen, are you sure you wish to do this? I am greatly appreciative of your help, but... you are defending the honor of what would seem to be a deceased necromancer, as well as potential liars and murderers-"
Saurian: "We did nothing!"
Cheska: "-against paladins and forces of justice. If you're not entirely sure of what you are fighting for here, you should perhaps stand down."
Dorothy: "I am certain. I have many times witnessed that our cause is just. And if nothing else, then the very thing that you asked my opinion about this proves that you are worth fighting for."
Dorothy: "I may be getting too old and senile for this, but I believe that we are in the right here."

Lukas: "..."
Clancy: "Brother Lukas, is something wrong? You look pensive."

Cheska: "Let's go, then. Into glory ride!"

---
The enemy has several third level units already on the field, and the troops it recruits are of either first or second level, depending on the difficulty. They contain not only all of Loyalists - minus bowmen - but also poachers and elvish fighters and archers. Thankfully, they don't have all that much money to recruit them, especially at the easiest difficulty level. To further complicate matters, the player no longer has any undead: they have all passed away trying to defend the living.
Initially, the objective is to defeat the mage of light, and both of the paladins. However, the circumstances get a bit more complicated later.

For one thing, Brother Lukas leaves the base on the enemy's second turn, heading straight to the player's camp. The player can attack him, if they wish, which will result in a bit of dialogue:
Lukas: "Honourless scum! I see that we were right of you after all."
He then fights back, but will retreat if you hurt him too much.

However, if you instead allow him to come peacefully right next to you, there's a different kind of chat that follows:
Lukas: "Hold thy weapons! I am here requesting a parley with your commander."
(beat.)
Cheska: "What?"
am Lukas Vegeir, a paladin serving among those trying to hunt you down - all facts you have clearly guessed long since. Please try to act less hostile towards me: I have come in peace."
Cheska: "I... I'm sorry. I am a bit tense at the moment, as you may notice."
Cheska: "I am Cheska Kuhral, once stationed on a forward outpost at Estmark Hills, until I was overrun by orcs."
Lukas: "I see. Would you happen to be related to one Nichlas Kuhral?"
Cheska: "That would be my father. Do you know him?"
Lukas: "I know of him. He fought at the Turmoil of Asheviere... on the mad queen's side."
Cheska: "Yes, he's... not particularly proud of that."
(Beat.)
Cheska: "You are wondering whether I have chosen my present company as poorly as my father used to."
Lukas: "That is what I am here to find out."
Lukas: "Therefore, would you like to tell me about that necromancer friend of yours?"
(Beat. Frankly, I have no reason to explain once more what players already know. Don't you agree?)
Lukas: "...I see. He certainly does not seem like the other necromancers I have fought and killed."
Cheska: "I'm not all that fond of his methods, but he is quite moral, a good friend, and a literal one-man army. I'm sure he could speak better for himself, were he actually here."

Clancy: "Brother Lukas, you could not possibly think..."
Lukas: "The paladin's duty, Brother Clancy, is as much of protecting the innocent as it is of hunting down evil."
Clancy: "I do not disagree with our duties. What I am disagreeing with is whether these people truly are innocent or not."
Clancy: "In case of the saurians, evidence speaks for itself. They have betrayed the trust of elves."
Saurian: "..."
Lukas: "They plead innocent. At the very least, they deserve a fair court."
Clancy: "We are on the battlefield, Brother Lukas! Far away from any civilized human settlement. They are doing nothing but trying to prolong their just punishment."
Clancy: "As for the necromancer, I have no reason to believe that he is not plotting for the doom of us all. Playing with the dead, ripping them back from the lands of the dead and enslaving them, is in itself a purpose too twisted to be trusted, no matter what it is used for."
Lukas: "As far as we know, the necromancer was using his magic, inherently evil or not, to the benefit of us humans. Further, he was only raising the corpses and spirits of orcs who deliberately provoked him or threatened us: it could be seen as a form of a community serv-"
Clancy: "You cannot possibly believe what you are saying!"
(Beat.)
Clancy: "Lukas, my brother in arms, fellow paladin, I beg of you. Do not do this."
Lukas: "You are appealing upon our personal relationship. You know as well as I do that the duty of a paladin goes above that."
Lukas: "No. This is my duty, and I have to do this. I am sorry."
Clancy: "Then I am sorry, too."

Lukas: "Cheska Kuhral, on account of a plausible explanation offered for your crimes - enough to warrant further inspection to the matter, at least - along with the extremely dishonourable actions of some of my present companions, I have decided to join your cause."
Cheska: "It... sounds like your decision has brought a bit of animosity between you and your comrade, Brother Lukas."
Lukas: "Indeed... This does not happen very often. Usually we paladins can very well agree upon who is the enemy and who is not."

Brother Lukas no longer requires to be defeated for the mission to be considered a success (Duh), only Brother Clancy and the mage of light in charge of their bunch. Lukas is loyal, fearless, and resilient, and sticks with you until he dies or plot forces him to depart.

If Brother Clancy is the first of the paladins to die:
Clancy: "I... *Cough* but... what of my... duty...?"
Lukas: "Your duty is done, Brother Clancy. May you rest in peace."
(He dies.)
Cheska: "He... I'm sure he was a good man..."
Lukas: "He was. He was a honourable and just warrior, and a good personal friend. I will miss him."
(Beat.)
Lukas: "Is something wrong?"
Cheska: "Oh, it's just... it's just that some of that stuff he said... really got under my skin."
Cheska: "I can take a few loyalists of elves - barely - but If we are facing a paladin, how can we really be in the right?"
Lukas "..."
Lukas: "You seem to regard us as an infallible force of justice: able to work outside law, judge whoever we want, and be never wrong. But even we are only human, and even we make mistakes."
Cheska: "But I think you were both right."
Lukas: "In some way, perhaps. But one of us had to take the wrong side, or we would have been here until the end of times."
Cheska: "But for such a conflict to be born in the first place... I think I could do a bit better."
Lukas: "Perhaps a little, yes."

If Lukas perishes before Clancy:
Clancy: "I never wanted this."
Lukas: "It... it was inevitable..."
(He dies.)
(Beat.)
Cheska: "..."
Clancy: "It is not yet too late. Although you have aided evil, my girl, your personal crimes are not irredeemable."
Clancy: "Leave the saurians to us and come with me: we can work this out together."
Cheska: "I..."
Cheska: "I'm sorry... but I can't. I never wanted it to become this, and I really think some of what you said made sense... but I can't turn back now. And I will not hand over any of my soldiers: I know them infinitely better than you do. They have done nothing wrong."
Clancy: Then I am sorry for you, as well. I have my own justice to pursue."
Cheska: "I understand."

At the beginning of turn five, the situation is further stirred up with the arrival of a drake warden named Glenn and his minions. They immediately occupy the final camp and engage in some dialogue:
Elric: "Milady! Look over there."
(The camera pans over there to show the arrival of Glenn.)
Cheska: "Drakes."
Glenn: "Hrrm. It looks like there is some party going on here."
Mage of light: "And who in blazes are you? Do you have some business with us?"
Glenn: "My name is Glenn, and my trade is a bounty hunter. I am looking for a group of saurians, and unless you are the humans I've heard about, hiding them, or otherwise plan to hinder me, I have no business with you."
Clancy (if he's still alive, otherwise some loyalist mook): "Would these be the same band of saurians we seek to bring to justice for their heinous crimes?"
Glenn: "But I seek to capture them as well. Would this not be enough justice to you?"
Zeza: ("Should we interfere with this?")
Cheska: ("Not yet. Let them finish first.")
Mage of light: "...What does your 'justice' consist of?"
Glenn: "Well, I bring them in and then I get paid. Beyond that, I don't care: why should you?"
Mage of light: "This is not sufficient. They must be captured alive, if possible, and judged fairly by our laws."
Glenn: "And what happens to them after that?"
Clancy: "After that... chances are, they will be inprisoned by us, or more likely executed."
Glenn: "That is not good enough! They're worth less dead than alive, and even less if we can't bring them to our clients at all!"
Elric: ("What about now?")
Cheska: ("Hmm...")

This is for the player to decide, actually. If you choose to remain silent and see what happens:
Mage of light: "If that is what you wish... then I suppose we will have to eliminate you as well, unless you stand down and leave the criminals to us."
Glenn: "We will never back away from a bunch of weak humans! The saurians belong to us!"
Mage of light: "That is most unfortunate. We shall have to fight you, as well."
Zeza: "Maybe if we watched them to slug it out first?"
Lukas (or a random mook if he's already dead): "I doubt we will get away with it that easily. More likely would be that they both race for us to see who gets the saurians first."
Cheska: "...Wonderful. Just, wonderful."

If, however, the player chooses to intervene with their debate:
Cheska: "Hey, how about you talked with us about this too?! I don't care if you intend to judge them at Wesnoth and then drag them back with drakes as punishment, I'm not going to hand over any of my men without a fight!"
Mage of light: "..."
Glenn: "Hmm..."
Mage of light: "This... sounds like a good idea."
Glenn: "Yes! You get to punish them by your puny laws, and then we get to take them back home with us!"
Elric: "Um... milady, not to doubt your abilities or anything... I mean, I have always followed you without question and found your judgement generally flawless, but... did you just get them to join forces against us?"
Cheska: "Well... I guess I did..."
Cheska: "...Crud."

Then, depending on what happened, this either becomes a three-way slugfest, or a one-on-two handicap match! Whatever the case, Glenn doesn't have any high-level units with him like the Loyalists, but he can recruit second level units by default - although his money reserves still aren't limitless. He has the whole drake unit list, minus the saurians, at his disposal.

On the beginning of the second turn after his arrival, Glenn opens his mouth once more:
Glenn: "But our main target seems to be missing from your ranks... What happened to the one named Xel?"
Cheska: "Xel... he was..."
(Beat.)
Glenn: "...I see."
Glenn: "Were you close?"
Cheska: "...Yes. He was a good friend: one of the best I ever had. ...I miss him."
Glenn: "You would not happen to have a body?"
Cheska: "What...? No! It... it got swept away by river! And even if I did have his body..."
Glenn: "By river...? Augh, that means it will be a pain to recover it."
Cheska: "No, look. Even if I did have his body, I would not hand it over to you! And I will not let you find him and take him back!"
Glenn: "Why not? He is dead, isn't he? What does it matter?"
Cheska: "He risked his life, everything, to get out of that place. He never wanted to go back: he... didn't tell me exactly what for, what happened to him there and why, but I will honor his wishes. I will not let you take him back, even if he is dead!"
Cheska: "I will see that you will never leave this place alive. I will assure that you will never find Xel."
(Beat.)
Glenn: "..."
Glenn: "...Fine, then. If you so desire to throw your life away, if you wish to protect your friend lizard so much... then you can protect him all you want in the next world!"

Once Glenn goes down:
Cheska: "Stay away. From my friend."
Glenn: "B-but why...? How can a dead body be so import...ant...?"
(Dead.)
Cheska: "You would never have understood."

---
On victory:
Cheska: "..."
Dorothy: "What is wrong, child?"
Cheska: "...It's... it's nothing."
Dorothy: "The battle is over, for now. You have enough time to cry."
Cheska: "But... I'm not supposed to... I should be the one to never cry...!"
Dorothy: "Whoever said that?"
(Beat.)
Cheska: "I miss them... I really, really miss them both."
Dorothy: "It's all right. I understand. Sshh..."

(A bit longer beat.)
Elric: "I have... I have spoken with the saurians about the matter. They all swear on the names of their mothers that they never killed any elves or desecrated their sacred woods. As for the items claimed to be stolen from them..."
Cheska: "Well...?"
Elric: "We found no items of elvish origins, so I suppose they were telling the truth in that matter."
Elric: "However, we recovered several coin pouches and other assorted small items belonging to men and drakes."
Cheska: "My signet ring! I thought I had dropped it!"
Cheska: "..."
Cheska: "I trust you have punished those responsible?"
Elric: "For a long time no human ever needs to clean up toilets or wash dishes, I can assure you of that."

Zeza: "But who did it, then? If we were not responsible..."
Dorothy: "...somebody wished us to appear as such. We were framed."
Elric: "We are really inconvenciening someone now."
Cheska: "Indeed. Clearly we are on the right track, and should proceed as we have so far."
Elric: "Speaking of track... where shall we head on next?"
(Beat.)
Cheska: "..."
Cheska: "I want to find their bodies..."
Zeza: "I understand, but..."
Cheska: "Please. I want to... I would like to seek some closure. Bury them. It would make me feel better about this... perhaps."
Cheska: "Or... I know this is ridiculous, but maybe they're still..."
Elric: "...Please, do not cherish false hope, milady. Silan was... left behind, at the route of a fanatical battleforce that had chosen him as one of their primary targets."
Zeza: "And you saw what happened to Xel: he was shot, and plunged into the freezing river, two certain reasons to die when one would have been en-"
Cheska: "I know, all right?! I told you it was ridiculous! I just..."
(Beat.)
Cheska: "I'm sorry..."
Elric: "It was understandable. Think nothing of it."
Cheska: "Just... give me some time. I want to go search for them."

If Lukas is still alive:
Cheska: "Brother Lukas?"
Lukas: "Yes, commander?"
Cheska: "What do you intend to do now? You have been convinced that we are innocent. There is nothing left for you here."
Lukas: "Quite the contrary, really. Most of Wesnoth is in a time of peace: in most places I am not needed."
Lukas: "This is where I can truly exact justice and work for the good of the world and mankind."
Cheska: "I would be glad to have you accompany me on this journey."
Lukas: "I am sure the feeling will be mutual."

***********************************

- It's like I keep coming up with crazy plot twists in every mission now!
- It really doesn't make all that much of a difference whether you have your enemies to team up against you, or to fight each other: by the time drakes show up you should have your other enemy in pretty good choke hold anyway, and get rid of them before the other one gets to hinder you in any way. But it brings some illusion of choice to the players, which I guess is good.
- I tried to get some ambiguity to the whole paladin subplot, make it really look like they'd both be right and you could really root for either one (unless you count the fact that only one of them is with the protagonists). I'm not sure how well I succeeded in this: what do you think? With which one would you agree, assuming you wouldn't know anything of any circumstances beyond what is revealed in this mission?
- Also, when Cheska inadvertently helped her enemies join forces against her, I originally intended for her to say something... a *bit* stronger than "Crud". I'm one of those people who think swearing is vulgar, unnecessary, and ugly: however, I also believe that there's nothing like a single, very occasional F-word, put in a surgical precision to the exact place where it does the greatest impact. If you have read Good Omens, then you know what I'm talking about. But in the end I chickened out, because I assume most people would disagree with me, and this game is supposed to be suitable for all ages.
- This is the mission where I began to spread the longer character dialogue in several lines, to make it easier to read and look better. It really doesn't look nice if someone says a massive wall of text and it all appears in a single dialogue box, now does it? You may want to do similar splits in the earlier scenarios as well.
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Zamael
Posts: 95
Joined: September 9th, 2009, 9:16 am

Re: Fire-Forged Friends

Post by Zamael »

Man, I'm bored. There's no word from solsword - school started for him yesterday so he's got even less time for coding - and I've sent him like ten scenarios ahead. I could, y'know, keep doing more in order to see this thing to the end, but for some reason I can't bother myself to. Maybe it's because chapter 11 is going to be the most boring of them all. And I have to somehow soldier through it before I get to the really awesome parts that follow immediately afterwards.

But the least I can do is to provide you with some more reading. Not much in the way of awesome plot twists (Xel's apparent death seemed to top them all) or anything else interesting, but eh, it'll get the topic bumped from the second page.

***********************************

Interlude

The battle was well over, but it did not feel like victory. They had all lost too much. Friends, brothers, family...

Spirits were low as Cheska ordered them to return to the spot they were ambushed in, to search for any concrete evidence of the demise of her friend Silan. Many bodies were discovered, recognized; many had fallen under the dishonourable hail of arrows - but Silan Abner, live or dead (or undead), was nowhere to be seen. Secretly, Cheska was relieved about this: she had come here so that she could end this, find peace, but she knew in her heart that she was truly afraid of finding the body of her friend, afraid of confirming that he indeed perished here.

She intended to go look for Xel as well, but was stopped by her subordinates:
Elric: "Please, milady. His body has drifted to the Great River long since. I feel sorry for your loss, but there is nothing that can be done to recover him."
Dorothy: "It is likely that he will end up all the way into the Great Ocean. Remember what he always told you, how he wanted to-"
Cheska: "-see the ocean. Yes, I remember, although I believe he would have preferred to be still alive when he saw it."
Cheska: "But perhaps... perhaps, for him, this will be the best he can hope. I will let him be."
(Beat.)
Elric: "Then... what will we do next, milady? What are your orders?"

She had been in a regular contact with Wesnoth these past weeks, and learned much of the important details about the conflict: the orcs were still mounting regular assaults, but the brunt of their offensive was repelled and were no longer a great problem. However, there was no sightings of any drakes - even bounty hunters - although Cheska always kept telling them to keep looking, arguing how she thought that one of them was of great importance in ending this war, as it apparently had been in starting it.

Meanwhile, the fact remained that her own forces had marched for months without proper rest, from one battle to another, in untamed wilderness, and at the time of winter. They were all tired, hungry, and cold: morale had been dangerously low even before this decisive battle that had threatened to wipe them from existence entirely. Acknowledging the importance of keeping their spirits high, and admitting that they each deserved some rest after what they had been through, Cheska renewed her earlier suggestion of seeking help from the dwarves.

The two-day march straight north, towards the halls of the dwarves, was walked with a great deal more enthusiasm than anything else had for the entire month. Although the loss of so many of their comrades was still weighing their minds, the prospect of some actual rest that was not interrupted by battles every other day was an attracting one indeed. Aside from a single roving band of orcs, which quickly learned the lesson of not trying to delay a band of tired men and women from their well-deserved rest the hard way, the journey was largely uneventful, and they reached the dwarven doors without much trouble.

---
Dwarvish stalwart: "What's this I see? There's an entire army knocking on our doorstep?! Ya, kid!"
Dwarvish guardsman: "Aye, cap'n?"
Stalwart: "Go tell Ollin about this, would ya?"
Guardsman: "Aye aye, sir!"

Cheska: "Please, lower your weapon, good dwarf! We come in peace."
Cheska: "My name is Cheska Kuhral, and-"
Stalwart: "I dinnae care who ya are or what ya want, lass! Is good enough for me that ya dinnae want to cut me up with that big sword of ya! But ya hafta talk to chief about stuff."

(Beat.)
Dwarvish lord Ollin: "So... ya wish to barge in like ya owned the place, take advantage of our hospitality an' beer, just because ya weak humans cannae stand a pleasant jogging of few weeks?!"
Cheska: "Please, my good sir, we are no dwarv-"
Ollin: "Well ah hope ya dinnae expect to stay in here just like that without paying us back for our services!"
Cheska: "We have gold, and are willi-"
Ollin: "Gold?! Ha! We've got enough gold already! Nay, lass, what we need ya for is to do us a favour."
Cheska: "Tell us what you need, then, and we-"
Ollin: "There's a tunnel underground that leads to other dwarf halls all across the mountains. 'Xcept we cannae use it since there's a buncha trolls who've taken refuge nearby, an' they dare to ask for payment to let us pass!"
Cheska: "I see, and you want us to-"
Ollin: "Ya can rest for a few days first, if ya hafta, but after that we expect ya to do some work or we'll kick ya all out!"
Cheska: "I am thankful of your hospitali-"
Ollin: "Also did ya mention something about drakes?"
Cheska: "Drakes? Do you know someth-"
Ollin: "We got a messenger through the tunnels a few days back - trolls smelled something on him and figured out it was an important message, and squeezed fifty gold out of him to let him pass!"
Ollin: "But I digress. He said there's been an entire dwarven city gotten kicked out of their halls far west! All the other cities've gotten a lot of refugees from there!"
Cheska: "And he said drakes did th-"
Ollin: "Aye! So if ya want to go looking for big lizards, that mighta be a good enough place to start!"

These news rejuvenated Cheska's spirits to the fullest, and she was eager to continue her search now that they had once again picked up the track - albeit that it was in a drastically different direction from the last one, which worried her. Unfortunately, although the spirit was willing, the flesh was weak, and she had to spend several days recovering, along with her men, before they could even think about continuing. But the taste of their delicious food and mead, and finally the chance to surrender herself to their soft, warm beds, quickly changed her mind.

Although they all greatly enjoyed the following days of rest, such luxury compared to what they had endured for a long time until now, Cheska did much more than just eat and sleep. She bombarded the dwarves with many questions, about these tunnels, the city that had been taken over by drakes, of the drakes themselves and why they would wish to do this, and food recipes. And she learned much:

Ollin: "Aye, 'twas the Earthflame clan, who used to mine some of the most hi-quality ore on this side of the Heart Mountains!"
Cheska: "So they were after-"
Ollin: "The ore? Oh my, thanks for the information, lass, ya humans sure are a smart bunch! Of course they're after the bloody ore! We've had to buy some of lower quality from other clans- oh wait, we can't do that either, since there's a bloody troll gang in front of our doors asking for toll!"
Cheska: "So, if this place is of such importance to you, why won't the dwarves just take the place ba-"
Ollin: "Because it's a damn fortress, that's why! I dinnae know how drakes got in, it'd take ten thousand dwarves to breach through!"
Cheska: "Hmm..."
(Beat.)
Cheska: "Very well then, I would like to ask you about something else. What do you know about dwarvish activity in the hills short way northeast of Bitter Swa-"
Ollin: "Bitter swamp? There hasnae been dwarves there for centuries!"
Cheska: "We... visited there some time ago, and discovered some abandoned dwarven fortr-"
Ollin: "Aye, that happens all the time when we run out of stuff to dig. That place dinnae have much good ore or gems."
Cheska: "I believe there was another reason. You see, we discovered some undead mining something... something that radiated great cold all over the pla-"
Ollin: "What? Something that brings winter? I dinnae know about anything like that."
Cheska: "Well, that's too bad. It was rather interesting phenome-"
Ollin: "Ya should try asking around other dwarf cities when ya head west after dealing with them trolls!"
Cheska: "Yes, I intended to-"
Ollin: "Anything else ya wanna ask?"
Cheska: "No, that would be all I ha-"
Ollin: "Then bugger off my home!"

***********************************

Chapter Nine: Tunnels and Trolls

As refreshing as this detour had been, they all knew that they could not stay forever, and on the fourth day, Cheska and her party bid farewell to dwarves and headed northwest to carry out their part of the bargain. The plan was to deal with the trolls, and then continue straight forward through the tunnels, to find out more about what happened to Earthflame.

---
Spoiler:
(The player starts from the very southeastern camp, with all named characters and a saurian chosen randomly from the veteran list - likely a different one from the last mission, unless you have exactly one of them. The camp directly north from the starting point has a troll, the one in the west a troll rocklobber, and the two others are led by troll shamans. The very final camp in the northwest has a great troll. In addition to them, there are some trolls and troll whelps all around the map. And the whole thing is covered in darkness.)

Lukas: "Whoa! It is going to be so slow for me to move."
Saurian: "Well that's your own damn fault for dragging a horse all the way down here!"
Cheska: "It's all right, Lukas. There are some dwarven roads here you can use. They would seem to look smooth enough for a horse."
Elric: "Even so, milady, this is going to be a difficult battle: from what I've heard, this tunnel is absolutely swarming with trolls, who are infinitely more well-suited and experienced in underground combat than anything we can throw at them."
Cheska: "Quite the contrary, Elric. We have a secret weapon."
Elric: "We do?"
Cheska: "Oh, yes."
Cheska: "Now then, boys, can I trust this battle to your hands?"
Saurian: "You can count on us, commander! We have been rather useless in the last few battles, but now we will repay that with interest!"
Saurian: "These trolls are smalltime!"
Lukas: "Saurians?"
Cheska: "Rather deadly underground. Didn't you know that?"

---
The mission objective is, simply enough, to deal with every troll camp on the area, or their leaders at the very least, one way or another, and then move through the northwest tunnel to the next mission. The first two camps recruit only troll whelps, and they don't have much money anyway, so they should be easy enough to deal with. The second two have trolls and troll rocklobbers, and the final one, which starts out as neutral, recruits troll heroes and shamans. The three villages in the immediate vicinity belong to the player by default.

Once you encounter the first troll, of any type or rank, on the area:
Troll: "Wow, dere is whole army coming up. No good trying to get money from them, methinks."

When a saurian engages in combat with an enemy:
Saurian: "Ha! No more snow, or cold, or wet! Just the firm rock ground under my toes and deep darkness around me!"
Saurian: "This was totally worth waiting for!"

There's some hidden gold under every troll keep. The first two give twenty pieces each, the the second two fifty. The final castle has no money, though.
Unit stepping on the keep: "Hey, I found the troll's gold cache! I can count [amount] pieces of gold!
(If the unit picking them up is a saurian, then there's three gold pieces less. Thieving buggers.)

It's also possible for Cheska to enter the exit before all trolls on the area have been dealt with. If the player tries this, dialogue happens:
Cheska: "We cannot leave yet. We have a pact with dwarves, and breaking it would be extremely poor form."

Aside from that, there isn't much dialogue for most of the mission, until you reach the final troll camp:
Great troll: "Who goes dere?"
Cheska: "I am Cheska, and I seek to pass through here. Eventually."
Troll: "Not without paying a toll you won't! I take five gold from each of you!"
Cheska: "Oh, I'm sorry, but I don't think this will work that way. Like I said, you see, "eventually". But we are also under contract by dwarves."
Troll: "Dorfs? Did dorfs send you?"
Cheska: "We could pay you and be on our way, but then you would just keep charging from dwarves to use their own tunnels."
Cheska: "That won't do. We will have to remove you from here."
Troll: "You gonna remove us?"
Cheska: "Yes."
(Beat.)
Troll: "You got an army. This gonna get ugly. For both of us."
Cheska: "Possibly. Do you have something in mind?"
Troll: "Pay two hundred gold. We leave. Go bully orcs, maybe."
Cheska: "Two hundred?"

That's the price for normal difficulty. On easy, it's just one hundred; on hard, three hundred. The player has two options, each of which branches on some additional outcomes depending on if you actually have the money, and whether Lukas is still alive or not.

If you have enough money and decide to pay them:
Cheska: "Your price is sufficient. I will pay, and then you will leave."
Troll: "Great! Pleasure doing business with you!"
And after a short fade-to-black, all trolls are gone: not only this particular, but also any other troll you may have left alive before this.

If you refuse to pay, or don't have the money:
Cheska: "I am sorry, but your price is too high for me."
Troll: "Den we have to deal with this old-fashioned way! Come get me!"
And of course, if there are still any other trolls left on the area, you will have to finish them off too after this battle.

When the great troll engages in combat, he says one more thing:
Troll: "You better surrender! My magic amulet protects me: you can't win!"
Cheska: "A magic amulet, you say?"

But actually, the troll falls quite a bit easier than he normally should have:
Elric: "He seemed rather weak to me, really."
Elric: "And he dropped something."
There is now an amulet on the place of the great troll, which you can pick up. More on it later.

If you refuse to pay, even though you have enough money, and Lukas is in your party:
Cheska: "I am sorry, but your price is too-"
Lukas: "Excuse me for a moment."
Cheska: "(What are you doing?)"
Lukas: "(I take issue with how you would seem to regard money more important than the lives of these trolls, or even the lives of your own men.)"
(Beat.)
Cheska: "(...You are right. I don't know what came over me.)"
What follows, is the exact same dialogue than the above, where you pay the trolls.

Finally, if Lukas is in the party, and you manage to resolve the conflict peacefully with the trolls, he opens his mouth just when they're about to leave:
Lukas: "Hold it."
Troll: "What? Human has a problem with us?"
Lukas: "Not as such... I simply took notice on that thing hanging over your neck."
Troll: "What, this?"
Troll: "This my lucky amulet! Makes me strong! What you want about it?"
Lukas: "Actually, I rather doubt that sentiment. I have reason to believe it might make you weaker."
Troll: "What? Are you out of mind? I was told it's magical! I feel it's magical!"
Lukas: "Oh yes, it is most certainly magical. I am merely saying it might have a negative effect upon you."
Lukas: "Think to the past. Think about how it came to your possession, how it felt."
(Beat.)
Troll: "I remember I felt... weird. When I took it. I thought it was good thing."
Troll: "You think I might become... stronger, if I leave my lucky amulet behind?"
Lukas: "I believe so."
Troll: "...I try for moment. I leave amulet here for a while. Nobody touch it!"
(Beat.)
Troll: "You are right! I feel stronger now! Bad amulet!"
Troll: "We go now. We leave amulet behind, take it if you want to."
After a fade-to-black, they are gone.
Cheska: "Um. What's with that amulet, exactly?"
Lukas: "It has an unknown power in it. I cannot exactly say what it does, but it seems I was correct in my assumption that a troll is a wrong creature to wear it."
Cheska: "Do you... do you think I should try?"
Lukas: "Perhaps. I do not know what happens, though: attempt at your own risk."

Regardless of what happens, there should now be a magic amulet lying nearby - unless you paid for the trolls and didn't have Lukas with you. When an unit tries to pick it up:
Unit: "This is the amulet that made the troll leader weaker. I wonder what effect it would have over me...?"
You get one final chance to not take it. If you choose to pick it up with any unit:
If the unit is lawful: "It feels... I feel weird. But stronger, somehow! Fearless!"
If the unit is neutral (I don't think you have any): "Hmm. There is no effect. I think I will keep this with me, to see whether it will affect in time."
If the unit is chaotic (likely a saurian): "Ohh... I feel rather dizzy. It's really strange."

The amulet is, in fact, called Pendant of Radiance, and it grants its wearer the permanent ability to fight as if it was always day. So it's obviously the most effective when it's used by a lawful unit who fights a chaotic, while being worn by a chaotic creature is actually detrimental. The game tells you about this immediately after someone has picked it up.

---
On victory:
Elric: "We have dealt with the troll problem. Aren't we going to head back?"
Cheska: "There is neither time nor reason to do so."
Cheska: "I have a direction. We will be heading straight west, through a few dwarven cities, into the Earthflame clan. If all goes well, we will find out something important about drakes and their plans."
Dorothy: "You are enthusiastic about this."
Cheska: "This entire quest has lost me two of my best friends. I will not have them have died in vain."
Saurian: "It sounds a lot like gambling to me: you lose some money while playing, so instead of quitting right there, you keep going so that you could get that money back, but only end up losing more."
Cheska: "...You did not just compare the deaths of Silan and Xel with a game of knucklebones?"
Saurian: "The principle is the same. Especially with what we know about Earthflame and how well it's defended."
Cheska: "But you wish to avenge Xel as well?"
Saurian: "Of course! All I'm saying is-"
Lukas: "Please stop talking. Each word your mouth spills out only makes you look more stupid."

***********************************

- I can't actually make dwarf talk very well. Also Ollin is an impolite nimrod.
- So I was looking the unit stats for this mission, and how well they can handle caves, and I was actually pretty surprised how saurians can fight really well underground. They're faster than either dwarves or trolls, with some more defense and skirmisher ability to back it up - although their resistance, damage, and durability are somewhat worse. Why haven't they ever had any underground maps with saurians? They should have.
- The choice of paying for trolls is another one of those where you really don't have much choice at all: If you have Lukas with you, you will end up paying no matter what (unless you're really poor), and if he's dead already, it'll be better for you to not pay because of experience and the amulet - and it's Cheska who ends up looking like a greedy jerk, not you! But it once again gives players some of that wonderful illusion of choice, at least on the very first playthrough.
- It probably crossed the troll's mind that you must have dealt with many other trolls on your way there. That it still asks for money shows it's pretty heartless.
- Lukas is willing to negotiate with terrorists and agree to their unfair terms. Such a coward, hmph.
- I bet you had forgotten all about the weird freezing thing in the mission four, hadn't you?
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Lendrick
Posts: 35
Joined: December 14th, 2005, 8:11 pm
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Re: Fire-Forged Friends

Post by Lendrick »

Very nice work! :)

I don't have time to do a critique at the moment, but I like what I see here. Definitely keep it up.

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Zamael
Posts: 95
Joined: September 9th, 2009, 9:16 am

Re: Fire-Forged Friends

Post by Zamael »

Thanks.

I've managed to get through the boring bits, by the way, which means that the plot is picking up again. Also solsword's been doing those custom characters.

We've been a bit silent lately, but that doesn't mean we haven't done anything.
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Zamael
Posts: 95
Joined: September 9th, 2009, 9:16 am

Re: Fire-Forged Friends

Post by Zamael »

Important announcement: the very first, earliest, alpha version of Fire-Forged Friends has now been uploaded to the campaign server and is downloadable for your pleasure! It contains but a single mission, but it's got loads of stuff you can't see from my very first post!

Solsword is busy and I'm just plain lazy, though, so it's likely there won't be any new missions coming up for a while. As far as I understand, however, those are relatively easy to code, so once my dear coder does find time, it shouldn't take too much of an effort for his part.

Anyway, feedback would be awesome. So would artwork and sprites, but I won't hold my breath for those just yet.
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Shawer
Posts: 48
Joined: April 8th, 2009, 10:21 am

Re: Fire-Forged Friends

Post by Shawer »

Starting to play now. SOSOSOSOSOSOSOSO sorry for being away, ive been on hoidays and its taken me ages to catch up on school work and do assesmants AND i have exams next week. Ive been swamped. Im playing the mision now, so excited. SORRY!

Zamael
Posts: 95
Joined: September 9th, 2009, 9:16 am

Re: Fire-Forged Friends

Post by Zamael »

Shawer wrote:Starting to play now. SOSOSOSOSOSOSOSO sorry for being away, ive been on hoidays and its taken me ages to catch up on school work and do assesmants AND i have exams next week. Ive been swamped. Im playing the mision now, so excited. SORRY!
So, are those comments ever gonna come up?
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Kenpachi
Posts: 66
Joined: July 28th, 2009, 1:40 pm

Re: Fire-Forged Friends

Post by Kenpachi »

still looking forward to chapter 11 +

I can't bring myself to start it till all the chapters are playable :?

Zamael
Posts: 95
Joined: September 9th, 2009, 9:16 am

Re: Fire-Forged Friends

Post by Zamael »

You'll have to wait a while then, I think.
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