What would you like to see in a longer Dunefolk campaign?

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MathBrush
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What would you like to see in a longer Dunefolk campaign?

Post by MathBrush »

I've had a lot of fun writing campaigns for under-represented factions, and I've previously written a Dunefolk campaign (Sand in the Wind).

The Dunefolk rework changed a lot about the Dunefolk, especially the new description, the addition of nagas to the MP faction and the Roc, Jinn, and Wyverns overall, and some of the 'flavor' changes like removing marksman from lvl 1 swordfighters and merging the two horse units.

So I'd like to write a longer Dunefolk campaign sometime in the next year or two. But, what would you like to see in it?

1. What time period do you envisage the Dunefolk being active in?

Are you interested in stories about the Dunefolk coming to the great continent? Are they already there before the Wesnothians, but secret?

Or would you prefer to see stories about a vast and wealthy Dunefolk empire struggling with the undead of An Eastern Invasion?

Or the time period leading up to Under the Burning Sun?

2. What kind of units do you want to see?

Would you be more interested in just seeing how the multiplayer faction behaves in combat?

Or would you like to see the Roc, the Jinn, and the Wyverns included?

Are you a fan of custom units?

3. What kind of culture and attitude do you see in the Dunefolk?

Do you see the Dunefolk as stoic warriors like the Aiel in A Wheel of Time/Fremen in Dune?

Are the Dunefolk decadent imperialists like the Romans?

Or do you love the Summoner culture in inferno8's To Lands Unknown, with a strong magical Arabian feel?




And this isn't just for me, I'm sure a lot of people are interested in writing Dunefolk campaigns now that the changes are done with and everything's settled down. I personally would love to see them incorporated in one-off scenarios in older campaigns, even!

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skeptical_troll
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Re: What would you like to see in a longer Dunefolk campaign?

Post by skeptical_troll »

Hi MathBrush, I'm glad seeing the dunefolk getting more love. Sand in the Wind was a short and really enjoyable campaign, I look forward to see what you come up with for this one!

I'm gonna give you my personal opinion, strongly biased by my headcanon and by the characterization I gave them in Return from the Abyss.
MathBrush wrote:
January 29th, 2020, 6:55 pm
Are you interested in stories about the Dunefolk coming to the great continent? Are they already there before the Wesnothians, but secret?
Actually, I personally like that part to remain shrouded in mystery. It may be a story referred to in the dialog but I'm not sure I want a campaign to tell me exactly what happened. Besides, it may be hard to come up with something original in a searching-a-new-home-for-my-people story and there's already 'the Rise of Wesnoth' in mainline which would be along the same line.
MathBrush wrote:
January 29th, 2020, 6:55 pm
Or would you prefer to see stories about a vast and wealthy Dunefolk empire struggling with the undead of An Eastern Invasion?
Oh no please, no more invasions, especially not from the East and especially not by undeads. :lol:
MathBrush wrote:
January 29th, 2020, 6:55 pm
Or the time period leading up to Under the Burning Sun?
Yeah, this I think would be interesting. Assuming DF arrived late in the Continent, they may have played an important role in the events around the Fall. A campaign that expands on that obscure period can add a lot to the lore, me think. Also their first interaction with one of the main nations of the Great Continent would be a good event to describe.
MathBrush wrote:
January 29th, 2020, 6:55 pm
2. What kind of units do you want to see?
I think this is better if the unit roster is story driven, I wouldn't sneak the naga in just because they are in the MP faction (although the story could touch the aspect of their relation with nagas). I'm personally fan of the wyvern, but I'd go with whatever feels right for the story. Same goes for custom units.
MathBrush wrote:
January 29th, 2020, 6:55 pm
3. What kind of culture and attitude do you see in the Dunefolk?
I picture them as a civilization of traders, explorers and definitely more into art, history and science rather than magic and military. Much more Athens than Sparta. In this sense they might be a bit like decadent romans, basking in their wealth a bit too much. I think an interesting theme to use in a story could be the social tension between rich city-dwellers and the nomadic component living in oases (it's mentioned in the description). It could be an original generator of conflict for the plot. Perhaps external enemies are trying to foment this division to weaken the dunefolk and a leader should come who could unite the two parts.

Good luck with your project! ^_^

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Re: What would you like to see in a longer Dunefolk campaign?

Post by Whiskeyjack »

1. I think the Dunefolk are currently in the discussion of becoming another After the Fall faction for an eventual second set of multiplayer factions (together with Quenoth Elves). Should this come to pass, any time during mainline Wesnoth except for UtBS is risky business. However, if they are far enough away from the central cataclysm a story set in the period of the Fall itself could be pretty cool. (Imagine the world going into apocalypse mode and you have no idea what is going on)

2. skeptical_troll gives good advice here.

3. To quote something from an old thread (because that was, to me, the most interesting vision I've seen):
Spoiler:
Didn't follow the Dunefolk lore discussions much lately, so no idea how well that still fits (the unit names are certainly long gone, lol), but it would certainly be a culture that is very interesting to me!

Of the examples you name, the Aiel probably sound the most interesting to me, but I already know those, so none of the three really excites me as a one-line pitch :P

Edit: presupposed I keep my word and rework EI in the comming months, poor Mal Ravanal will really have his mouth full and certainly won't start yet another invasion of a desert state somewhere. And after TRoW and EI/DW we have enough undead invasions IMO...
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BTIsaac
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Re: What would you like to see in a longer Dunefolk campaign?

Post by BTIsaac »

Whiskeyjack wrote:
January 30th, 2020, 12:45 am
I think the Dunefolk are currently in the discussion of becoming another After the Fall faction for an eventual second set of multiplayer factions (together with Quenoth Elves). Should this come to pass, any time during mainline Wesnoth except for UtBS is risky business.
I see no reason why they shouldn't be present before the fall. There are three UMC's putting them in the southern half of the Great Continent, and there's a semi canonical map of the region that pins down three major cities that can serve as fixed settlements. If something already exists and isn't conflicting with established canon, I see no reason to just throw it out the window for no reason.

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Re: What would you like to see in a longer Dunefolk campaign?

Post by The_Gnat »

Hi MathBrush! Firstly, Sand in the Wind was great! :D

1.

In regards to future campaigns IMO it would be nice to try to fit in a DF campaign along the times that many of the other campaigns were happening. What were the DF doing during HttT, LoW, or Hammer of Thursagen?

2.

I think the current units of the DF are good! I would like to see their heritage and identity explained more. I also would not be opposed to a few Dust Devils, Jinns, or Rocs along the way 8) 8)

3.

As long as it is well explained I think any/all of the suggestions could work very well! I look forward to seeing what you come up with. Potentially I would get in touch with Hejnewar and ask him what culture/timeframe he is writing into his DF campaign and maybe there could be some consistency! :) And of course don't limit yourself to our ideas!
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MathBrush
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Re: What would you like to see in a longer Dunefolk campaign?

Post by MathBrush »

Thanks, this is very helpful everyone. I've been in awe of the other long Dunefolk campaigns I've tried, and I'm glad to participate in an open project like this with such great feedback. I'll keep all of this in mind!

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MathBrush
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Re: What would you like to see in a longer Dunefolk campaign?

Post by MathBrush »

I've been sketching out some ideas, but I had two questions:

-I'd really prefer to develop this for 1.15. Am I allowed to use the 1.15 Dunefolk files in my 1.14 add-on? (so that players in 1.14 would see the new artwork and stats?)
-Are the wyvern and wyvern riders going to stick around? They seem pretty cool!

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Re: What would you like to see in a longer Dunefolk campaign?

Post by Pentarctagon »

You can definitely use the units from 1.15 in 1.14, though you'd need to include them yourself in your add-on (and make sure to avoid unit ID conflicts).

I don't think the wyvern/wyvern rider units are going to be removed, or at least I don't remember hearing any mention of that happening.
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BTIsaac
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Re: What would you like to see in a longer Dunefolk campaign?

Post by BTIsaac »

I'd also recomend you consider looking at other dunefolk related campaigns, to see if they can be useful for reference. Oath of Allegiance plays a bit liberally with Dunefolk lore and I don't think it was ever meant to line up with established canon, but it has a map that can be used, with three cities called Th'arwya, Serrul and Kesh. Dunefolk also invade Wesnoth in Soldier of Wesnoth, and there are groups of them wandering around the Akladian kingdoms in A New Order.

I had a campaign outline planned out, where the Dunefolk play a major role (among other factions). In the backstory for that campaign, Ras'Tabahn from SotA flees to the south after his attempt to conquer Elensefar fails. He crosses the Sleepless Sea and later establishes the Sand Empire in an area marked as the Ashland Desert on the Oath of Allegiance map.

A campaign could be theoretically based around this idea. If that's the case, the time period would be in the early periods of Wesnoth, at most 10 years after SotA, with the Dunefolk fighting an undead incursion, and forcing Ras'Tabahn and his disciples further south.

Regarding the units, Dunefolk use dust devils at one point in Soldier of Wesnoth and are recruited by two healer units acting as leaders (they're called "Desert Efreet in that scenario, but they're pretty much just dust devils), which gave me the idea that dunefolk alchemists can capture them in bottles and just release them in battle.

Dunefolk appear as warriors and mercenaries and it's generally established that they dislike magic. Last I checked, lore had it that they're a hyper-rational and down to earth culture. In Soldier of Wesnoth on the other hand, a faction of them at last appear to be superstitious, or at least wary of undead and other magical creatures or magic users. In oath of Allegiance, this aversion to magic is explained as a cultural taboo imposed on them by the the Athvari (a race of magic users). However, also in Oath of Allegiance, the people of Th'arwya specifically are depicted as very similar to the summoners in TLU, as they share their city with Jinns.

It is my personal interpretation that Dunefolk are more Persian than Arabic. This matches a line in Soldier of wesnoth, where a Dunefolk leader makes a reference to a Shahanshah (persian for "King of Kings), while at the end of Oath of Allegiance (which is dated around the same time period), one of the characters is declared "king".

I don't know if any of this information is useful.

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Re: What would you like to see in a longer Dunefolk campaign?

Post by name »

MathBrush wrote:
January 29th, 2020, 6:55 pm
Are you interested in stories about the Dunefolk coming to the great continent? Are they already there before the Wesnothians, but secret?
Absolutely no to both.

I see an interesting twist that could be used here though. After finding sparse ruins of Wesnothian colonies and outposts, that tell of the great green land of Wesnoth to the west beyond the desert, some adventurous dunefolk set out to find it and make contact with its people. They push further and further west, following a trail of tantalizing clues, bigger settlements that show signs they were only much more recently abandoned. Evidence of much greater works of magic. This beautiful and magical land of Wesnoth is getting very close and they can feel it... until they hit the great ocean. There is nowhere further west to travel.

That is where they discover, in the ruins of Elensefar, that the place they seek does not exist somewhere but somewhen. Wesnoth existed tens of thousands of years ago, if not longer, and its great kings and mages they were hoping to meet are, in fact, the dunefolk's own ancestors. And despite their mightiness, these ancestors of theirs lacked greatness, for they took the wide green world and made it a desert. With their love of the power magic gave them, they ultimately scorched the face of the world to desert. Their reckless use of magic in its most advanced form is what caused the cataclysm.
MathBrush wrote:
January 29th, 2020, 6:55 pm
1. What time period do you envisage the Dunefolk being active in?
Definitely the After the Fall Era.

Possibly sometime before UtBS as you suggested. I imagine the Dunefolk are the human equivalent of the Quenoth elves; their culture and such having evolved for survival on a harsh desertified world after the great cataclysm. By the end of the campaign, with the dunefolk discovering it was the perfected use of magic by the ancients of Wesnoth that caused the tremendous desertification of the once green world of Irdya, they swear off use of magic altogether. And some even go so far as to prevent others from using it, at any cost.
MathBrush wrote:
January 29th, 2020, 6:55 pm
Or would you like to see the Roc, the Jinn, and the Wyverns included?
I would like to see the first two of those.

Perhaps an entire playable jinn-focused faction balanced for After The Fall era. As well as, Quenoth elves or a sister settlement, an early industrialized dwarven civilization that lives largely in the cool underground and utilizes steam power for various things (including fighting units), plus a now vast and thriving civilization of drakes and saurians.

Unfortunately, the orcs went extinct. Their hyper-aggressive exploitation of natural resources did not at all combine well with a world that offered very few.
MathBrush wrote:
January 29th, 2020, 6:55 pm
Are you a fan of custom units?
If they fall into a balanced After The Fall era faction, then yes. Otherwise no; one-off units are a gimmick, IMHO.
MathBrush wrote:
January 29th, 2020, 6:55 pm
3. What kind of culture and attitude do you see in the Dunefolk?
Sumerian and Elamese.

The dunefolk are the first human civilization to reemerge after the cataclysm. And in the beginning of the campaign, they believe they are first to have ever existed.

AlexanderRM
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Re: What would you like to see in a longer Dunefolk campaign?

Post by AlexanderRM »

1. I'd prefer that the origin of the Dunefolk be left unclear, because on the one hand a central element of Wesnoth history is that Elves, Trolls, and Dwarves lived on the Great Continent before the fast-breeding Humans and Orcs arrived and adding another group of humans just hanging out there before that time doesn't make sense (certainly an entire race of people remaining "hidden" is very unlikely, especially humans), but on the other hand if they're offshoots of the Green Isle migration they've only had 3-4 centuries to diverge from those and not only adapt to desert combat but abandon the use of magic and develop superior alchemy.
Probably the most logical situation is if they migrated from the Western Continent independently around a century or two before or after TRoW- a very small group of Dunefolk arriving a few centuries before might have taken long enough to multiply that they wouldn't have traveled north of the southern forests by then.
As skeptical_troll noted we already have a campaign about humans from the west fleeing to the Great Continent, and Wings of Victory is like that for Drakes, so a campaign set during the current Wesnoth era in a period where there are several established Dunefolk city-states would probably be best.

Definitely don't depict them as first arriving in the After the Fall era or even late in the current era; if your campaign got mainlined (which I assume we're hoping for someday) that would conflict with every other potential appearance by Dunefolk in campaigns.

2. Seeing how the multiplayer Dunefolk faction by itself plays out would be cool, maybe with a couple Loyal units but I don't see any particular niches missing the way Dwarf or Saurian-less Drake campaigns need healers. I'd say no Nagas but then I also wasn't aware those had been added (is that in the 1.15 beta or something? I just pulled up 1.14.9 and they're not on the MP recruits list) and don't see why the Dunefolk faction needs them, as they already have Falcons; plus fluffwise there shouldn't be that many Nagas around Dunefolk homelands.

3. I don't have particular opinions on this but putting some mention of trade and of science rather than just a warrior culture would certainly be more interesting. Basically a "science arabian" feel (mostly focused around alchemy) rather than a magical Arabian feel seems pretty cool.
Incidentally, it occurs to me that having some female Dunefolk warriors would make for some interesting variety in culture; currently the Dunefolk warriors are also exclusively male in the MP faction but changing that would I think make them feel more interesting, especially since it subverts stereotypes one might get from the "medieval Arabs but in Wesnoth" vibe.

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