Dunefolk Lore - Consolidation

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Dunefolk Lore - Consolidation

Post by ghype »



note: this thread is part of the project for developing a dunefolk campaign for mainline. Here is the thread that introduces you to whole project while here is the thread that tries to expand the Great Continent to give the Dunefolk the space they deserve. enjoy"



note: this thread is not complete and will be completed as the development process of the dunefolk campaign takes place



As the note says, this thread only collects and publicly states all the lore we have so far, which then will be the foundation for the wiki page. Note all of them are finished , while others are more elaborated. This thread should also go along with the stories that are being developed for the Dunefolk Campaign.

There are some fundamental questions that need to be answered and consolidated. Here are some:


Dunefolk Origin


At the current stage, the Dunefolk are establsihed in the south part of the Great Continent. In one way or another, the dunefolk humans have had to have the same origin as the haldrics people. This how ever could have been many millenia before their golden age. Hence the dunefolk, as much as they know, were ever existing on the great continent and there maybe are legends on how they initially crossed the sea from the east or on foot from the east. Their origin story might go so far back, that it might not be relevant. This explanation would work no matter if the Old Continent remains or not.

Wether a more detailed origin story is needed in light of the fact that the Old Continent will remain or not, there are some elaborated ideas on that as well, but I will post them if it ever will get so far.

Why Dunefolk Have Not Yet Appeared In Other Mainline Campaigns?

The relationship between the dunefolk and the north was mainly commercial, it's no suprise that they aren't mentioned. This might change, but if than their interferences will take place after the mainline events.

Dunefolk & Other Factions/Races

Magic:
...extended contact with other races would tend to weaken dunefolk views on the danger of magic… so their relations with the more magic-using races (particularly elves and the humans of Wesnoth, as well as possibly merfolk) shouldn't be more than basic trading relations. If they're just trading, they probably won't meet any magic-using individuals (particularly since the other nations surely know of the dunefolk ban on magic), and there's a low chance of the topic of magic coming up. They can have closer relations to races or nations that don't use magic, like nagas, drakes, trolls, or dwarves. (I omitted saurians and orcs because I'm not quite sure where they stand on magic, but I suspect the oracles and shamans would barely qualify as mages.)

The Golden Age

„... the Dunefolk proved it was skilled in the ways of peace as well as war. They built a splendid capital, ... and formed a thriving economy based on trade and agriculture. in time, their conquered subjects came to appreciate the peace and prosperity the Dunefolk had created. Science, literature and architecture became as highly valued as war, and literacy and a love of culture began to permeate the rough desert-dwellers of the Dunefolk. The golden age of the Dunefolk provides a reason for why they had not showed up in mainline yet, they simply were prosperous and had no need to venture forth.“

This was once written by a forum user in an older thread for developing a story for the Dunefolk. The explanation provided here is undoubtably good on why the dunefolk have not yet appeared in mainline.

Why Do The Dunefolk Hate Magic?

This is one explanation, there might be others that could either add up to this or replace it, but this the best we got so far:


2000 y ago - or more - (when they were only tribes) they had periodic conflict with another faction (the athvari - who used runic crystal to cast spells - similar to dwarves runic magic). They had a couple of wars against them, with the final war uniting all tribes to defeat the athvari once and for all - and hence forming the dunefolk empire (which - as established consisted of a captical with a main leader and bigger cities, surrounded by tribes). The Athvari were the reasons why they always had trouble and became completely strict about magic.


It is at its shortest form and would be have to be much more elaborated, but it is as simple explained as it could be. A small hint could be that reason for the emerging and ever growing of the Great Desert were those devastating Wars between the Dunefolk and Athvari. After these wars, the Luminary had time to reflect on the happenings and developed philosophies are still thought and discussed until to this day . It sounds like this:


Four elemental forces that each bleed through into the 'material plane'.

_____________The Sun_____________
________The Seas -- The Winds______
____________The Deeps____________

The Sun bleeds through and creates the scorched deserts.
The Seas bleed through and create the fertile coasts and river valleys.
The Winds bleed through and create the windswept highlands.
The Deeps bleed through and create the mineral-rich underground.

The Aether has been suggested by some Dunefolk scholars as a fifth 'elemental force' that bleeds through into the 'material plane'. Rather than bleeding through into one environment, the Aether bleeds through throughout the world, granting the sentient species of Irdya the power to harness magic; however, it also leads to the creation of unnatural abominations - most particularly, ghosts.

This is not a widely-accepted theory. Rather, magic is seen as an unnatural force outside of the 'great circle', and is therefore generally feared and even hated.

Cultists would subscribe to the theory that Aether is an 'elemental force', and so would want to bring it into their conception of the 'great circle' and harness its power, much as the Dunefolk are willing to harness fertile lands and valuable metals.

The Luminaries would subscribe to the theory that Aether is a corruption, and so would want to keep it outlawed.



How Dunefolk Politics Work

There are two councils, "The Ruling Council" and "The Luminary Council" and the Kalai.

The Ruling Council's members are the leader of each City. Depending on how many we create this number could rank between 10 and 20 members. The leader of each city is chosen in some manner depending on the city. They might be elected, they might be the leader of an elected political party, or they might inherit the position.

The Luminary Council's members are either all Luminaries from every city (if we assume that there are not many). In order to become a Luminary, you have to have contributed in one way or another to the Sciences of the Dunes (might that be medicine, alchemy, philosophy, astrology?, geography ?, mathematics?). The contribution has to be witnessed in front of the Luminary Council so it con have an entrance in the universal compendium of wisdom.

The Khalai are few, specially trained youths that develop brilliant combat and military expertise over the course of several years training program. Potentially talented youth are scouted by recruiters that were trusted by the former Paragon and the Luminary Council and brought to the City where they will spent their time preparing to become a Khal together with the other ones. Once they are considered to ready for the final test, a duels take place between them which are held publicly in arenas. This battles are held every year and are structured almost like a tournament. The emerging survivors of the battles are then granted the title Khal, collectively Khalai, which raises them into nobility. Among the Dunefolk, while great leaders are required to have mastered the blade, the ruling caste must know far more than mere swordplay. Gruelling drilling is usually followed by either several years of roving through the deserts or dedication of the mind to the sciences. The purpose of this is to find a self-motivated path toward enlightenment.

Once the remaining Khalai return and demonstrate their knowledge to "The Luminary Council" and they choose who are worthy candidates to become the next Paragon. It's possible that years pass till one if found to be worthy. Every 10 years, a new Paragon has to be elected. The candidates pool during that time has grown to a certain number of Khalai chosen by the "The Luminary Council" which then are presented to "The Ruling Council". Only then, the "Ruling Council" votes the next Paragon for the 10 years. The old Paragon then returns into nobility and enjoys a wealthy life.

The current Paragon becomes part of "The Ruling Council" and together with the other leaders of the cities, they decide about emerging problems and situations, based on what we know as democracy. The only difference is that, when it comes to deciding about something, the Paragon's vote has a lot more merit the the ones from remaining council members. That means as long as not all (or most leaders aside of the Paragon) disagree with Paragon opinion, there is no way he can be overruled. This way it is ensured that neither the Paragon can seek total dominance nor individual members or allied party cannot push personal (or selfish) interests. If the Council has equally split opinions about a matter, delegates of "The Luminary Council" advise together the Paragon what would be the best to decide.


Tribes:
  • Leader of tribes are individually voted
  • the Tribes do not pay taxes in any form but respond in time of need with loyalty and service
  • Tribes are protected and supported in times of dry periods
  • There is a always captain that oversees a certain region and makes sure that nothing "bad" goes on there
  • Tribes that do not want or need the protection and help are free to wander off and live in isolation
  • more conflicted situation with tension between the tribes and cities or between tribes themselves are possible
  • cooperation is forced by necessity at times however

Social

note:The followings are just notes and have to be completed or elaborated. If anyone has ideas, feel free to comment them


Dunefolk live either in Cities/Villages or in Tribes

Tribes :
  • some prefer the Tribes, which is the a way of living which has a long tradition (it goes back way before the empire)
  • every dunefolk spents a certain amount time in a tribe at an young age, its essential for developing special set of skills and learning about the drylands, its a tribute to their nomadic ancestors
  • Skirmishers spend most of their times there unless hired for political assignments or escorting missions
  • Rovers and herbalists or also seen in tribes, joining them for a night or two during their expeditions
  • a small Tribe can consists of around 15 dunefolks while bigger ones can have up to 40
  • the bigger Tribes are located around bigger cities and seem bigger as they are as many pass through
  • the smaller ones are scattered around in desert and drylands, some of them are wandering between known locations
  • there are very few renegade tribes, even less known to be consisting only of riders, which raid either merchant caravans, political escorts or other smaller friendly tribes from time to time

Cities/Vilallages:
  • some prefer the larger Cities or Villages, which are empowered by economic and/or military themes
  • ... need something connected to Economy and Politics ...

Economy


Import/Export:
  • many merchants arose during the golden Age, some reached even the southern regions of wesnoth, some reached northern coast lines with their ships
  • merchants have their own guild, which is influential to some degree on the political life of the cities and most likely of the whole federation
  • export of spices, herbs, cloth and unique alloys became part a sustainable part of the empires economic
  • every merchant was accompanied either by soldiers or mercenaries if they were traveling by sea
  • or rovers and skirmishers if they were on foot in smaller caravan
  • there are some smaller trading outpost which act like a neutral ground. these places however are rare and mostly in the Great Desert
  • Apothecaries and especially Alchemists profit from the import and export as well as they wither ship out some their meds and potions to gain some extra income or get their hands on supplies they do not easily find in their surroundings

Nagas:
  • the nagas are playing a key role as well, they control key way points on shipping route
  • keeping a good relation with the nagas is good for business

Black Market:
  • with the large import and export, it is inevitable that certain kinds of black markets happen
  • dunefolk known for having a skill in taming animal, some of them end in the hand of greedy ones. falcons, wyvern eggs and other creatures
  • an alchemist doesn't make his poisons publicly available, so if you see any to be sold, then you know those were stolen or some alchemists are not faithful to their ethics
  • the growing of the sanbaar trees are highly controlled. If one can smuggle out some of their sap out of the plantations, then they can get a lot of money of it
  • needless to say that a corrupt Firetrooper will gain a lot more of his naphta then the sanbaar sap can get him
...

Military
  • the ancient wars imprinted the dunefolk with a military awareness
  • while they do not seek political conflicts anyone, they make sure their army is at it's best of the performance
  • if they have to engage, they want to do that on their terms, the reason they always prepared for the worst. even with no imminent threat
  • the empire has his steady army while other fighters are subscribed as part of guilds. The most renown one is the Mercenary Guild
  • rich merchants will prefer to hire from the Mercenary Guild as from the government as they can negotiate better deals and terms
  • armies are local and in case of war each city is asked to provide men according to agreement made in "The Ruling Council"
  • this is ideal for mercenaries, since many smaller cities won't be able to efficiently train and deploy soldiers


Food & Animals

Foods of Dunefolk:
Dunefolk diet is heavily dependant on where they live, in hills their diet is mostly composed of azymes, mushrooms, eggs and meat of various animals (including fishes). Vegetables usually are used as complement of their diet. Goats and sheeps provide milk and also meat.
There are two type of mushrooms, poisonous and edible, poisonous mushrooms are as important as edible reason for this is simple poisonous mushrooms grow in different places than edible ones and still can provide nourishment for some animals. Edible mushrooms are usually eaten with herbs that allow their good digestions and prevent humans from experiencing liver death.
One of the most important mushroom eaters of this region is bug like creature, while not at all similar in appearance to other bugs it still can be seen in larval, worker and warrior state. Their meat is brittle and can be eaten raw without any danger. Their eggs lack shell however they have quite sturdy membrane around them that cannot be easily broken without usage of tools. These aren’t delicacy but after coocking they can taste good.
One of other mushroom eaters is deer.
Vegetables of that region mostly are poppy greens, fennel, radish, mustard, chicory, slim amaranth, garlic and purslane and these are not all. Variety of plants is big three and many herbs and plants are still unknown.
Delicacies from hill region are spices made out of many different plants and eggs of wyvern and roc.

Dunefolk living on deserts have different diet mostly focused on cactuses, bugs and animal products.
Giant scorpions are one of main sources of meat for them, but other smaller animals ranking from frogs, lizards, fishes but also bigger animals such as Dustboks and Taurochs. Different species of cactuses provide both water and some varied diet, yet real reason for living on desert are only there found delicacies.
Speaking of delicacies, some species of scorpions and their scorpionlings can be quite expensive, especially scorpionlings of smaller species, usually eaten raw without any preparation can reach very high prices. Other than scorpions some bugs can also be desired.
Chia Sage seeds and Agave seeds and flowers can also reach high prices on market. Leaves of aloes while might seem common also are one of delicacies.
Out in the dryer Grasslands, there are also various fruits that can be found and the soil there is more suited to grow different kind of grains.
Diet of dunesfolk living near sea is mostly based around fishes and azymes, ground there is more fertile and thus can produce more wheat, climate there is also better allowing production of olives and cinnamon. Sea is also providing with white gold, that is salt.
We cannot forget that these two groups often trade making their diets much more balanced (especially when it comes to folk from desert).



Scorpions:
Scorpions usually try to avoid fighting with prey bigger than them and prefer ambushing thier potential food. Different species prefer to rely on other methods of killing. For some poison is their main weapon for others thier tail is tool that is dealing killing blow yet some use thier tails just to hold thier prey using pincers to dismember them.
Armours of scorpions are usually in colour most common in thier environment (yellow, brown).
In dunefolk culture scorpions are portraited as dangerous but usefull animals. They provide meat, delicacies, alchemical ingreadients and bigger species tend to be smart enough to be tamed by talented tamers. Some tribes focus thier lives abount hunting these animals other try to get rid of them as potentially dangrous, and some even replaced thier usual mounts with them.



Tauroch:
This idea is simple they were tamed by dunefolk but are not used for warfere. Quenoth breeded them in order to have mounts for war, dunefolk does that for field work and other already mentioned things (although it's much easier to have 2 horses pull something than to have 2 bulls do that) in the end we end up with 2 different species of tauroch that look very similar to each other but have different intend uses. With having already specialised horse breeders, the Tauroch are used were speed is not needed. The horses are far more valuable as they are used for situations where a combination of strength and speed it needed (politics, warfare, escorts, etc ...)



Rocs:

-Are smart enough to comunicate.

-They might work together depending on type of prey present.

-Smallest prey would be around size of small deer.

-They even hunt wyverns if they are in smaller groups and target is isolated.

-Their favorite nesting terrain are mountains, they appear a lot in hilly regions.
-They hunt on the desert fringes too, but are rarely be spotted in the depths of the desert

-They can even threaten not well protected caravans.



Wyvern:

  • Wyverns are omnivorous, eating primarily meat but with a generous helping of fruits and the like
  • Male wyverns are highly territorial, staking out a large area as their personal hunting ground and attacking any other male wyverns who stray into their territory. Most likely they drive out their own sons once they reach maturity.
  • Female wyverns are about 20% smaller than male wyverns and less fierce than the males… unless guarding their eggs or young, in which case they're just as dangerous, if not more so. They might well wander without regard to the males' territorial boundaries, though the wyvern governing a territory surely factors into their movements.
  • Male wyverns, being territorial, are prone to attacking humans passing through their territory, especially smaller groups. This doesn't necessarily mean that a wyvern's territory is a dangerous place for humans to live; it depends on various factors like the wyvern's disposition, the humans' reaction to his presence, who was there first, and such. Thus there are very likely some humans who live in wyvern territory and enjoy its protection from other monsters.
  • Female wyverns are more likely to hide than attack, unless the humans pose a clear threat to them or their offspring. That doesn't make them any less dangerous, only easier to reason with.
  • Wyverns are fairly intelligent, though they don't speak human speech (whether they can understand it is a mystery of the ages). They have good memories; if done a favour (for example, medical treatment when heavily injured, or being given food when starving), they'll remember for a long time and may treat the human who helped them favourably. On the other hand, if someone hurts them and lives to tell the tale, they won't hold back if ever they meet again.
  • it should be essentially impossible to tame a wild wyvern. Any exceptions are tales of legend, not something that would happen every day. Tame wyverns then are those raised by humans from the egg. The wyvern and rider forms a close bond over the course of training. I wouldn't say a wyvern will never carry anyone other than their own rider, but it would be an unusual occurrence, and done only with the blessing of their normal rider. Both male and female wyverns can be ridden; there's no particular benefit of one over the other, unless fighting other wyvern riders.
  • Wyverlings, sure, we could add such a thing (very low priority, I'd say - after all, we have nothing similar for gryphons or most other monster types). They could be runtish wyverns who didn't get enough food and thus had stunted development, or they could just be immature (young) wyverns, or I suppose they could even be infertile offspring who develop differently from both male and female wyverns, kinda like a third "gender".


Dune Worms:


... yet to be filled ...



If you have read through all of this, it means you know almost as much about Dunefolk as I do. Yumi certainly has another handfull of ideas concerning all these topics which I am sure she will share with us as well.

I'd like to put clarify few last things, where we can start working on:

  • We need a name for the Dunefolk Empire - similarly how Wesnoth got it's name.
  • We need a title for the leading Paragon of the Dunefolk Empire.


More concrete questions like these will follow out of the discussion,
Thanks for your time!

Last edited by ghype on April 25th, 2020, 3:16 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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Celtic_Minstrel
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Re: Dunefolk Lore - Consolidation

Post by Celtic_Minstrel »

Some general notes…
  • I mentioned this in the other theead too, but why is it an empire? That's kinda boring (plus it gives a vague implication that they're superior to Wesnoth). Why not choose a more interesting and varied form of governance? They could be a federation/confederacy, for example, with the various tribes and city-states having a lot of autonomy. Or they could be a democratic republic akin to ancient Rome or Athens. There are probably other options too.
  • I may have missed it, but what's this sanbaar tree?
  • When talking about taming, don't forget about more mundane animals such as horses, dogs, and (if they exist here) maybe even camels… and of course the dustboks and taurochs.
  • I think just the nagas aren't enough for trading partners. Why not add some dwarves and trolls in the eastern mountains? These could even serve the role of the "athvari" you mentioned, if you want. (Perhaps "athvari" is not an ethnic name but rather the name of a dead dwarvish nation? Though I'm not sure how dwarvish it is as a name.) They could also trade occasionally with the southern elves.
  • I think you would find that there are quite a few alchemists who'd share their poisons unscrupulously. Also, consider that alchemists most likely invented naphtha, so there's a bit of overlap between the alchemists and the firetroopers.
  • I want to point out that, functionally, a "Mercenary Guild" is essentially identical to an "Adventurer's Guild". If this is the intention, fine; if not, you may wish to change how this works. Note that normally mercenaries would be a travelling group of fighters that sell their services and do their own negotiation.
  • Someone who oversees a region wouldn't be called a captain. They'd be called a governor, or maybe even a sultan.
  • I think you're overlooking two things about the desert-dwellers' diet. First, some species of snakes and lizards could live out in the sands and may well be a food source. Secondly, desert-dwellers mostly don't live in the middle of nowhere on the sands – if they're not nomads, they're probably living in or near an oasis, which means you've overlooked a major source of food for them. For example, date palms could grow in the oases, giving them a source of fruit. There could be frogs or fish in the oasis as well, and perhaps animals such as, I dunno, rabbits or dustboks or taurochs. And of course there'll be a lot of other plants that could serve as a food source, including grains.
  • I'm not sure how much you incorporated the GitHub discussion into that view of wyverns, but I don't think it's logical to refer to the female wyverns as less fierce. Given the right conditions, they'll certainly be as fierce as a male, if not more so.
Now, I'll also add an initial thought as a possible name (or at least name seed) for the dunefolk nation: The Burning Sands Confederacy.
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Re: Dunefolk Lore - Consolidation

Post by ghype »


Celtic_Minstrel wrote: April 15th, 2020, 1:44 am I mentioned this in the other theead too, but why is it an empire? That's kinda boring (plus it gives a vague implication that they're superior to Wesnoth). Why not choose a more interesting and varied form of governance? They could be a federation/confederacy, for example, with the various tribes and city-states having a lot of autonomy. Or they could be a democratic republic akin to ancient Rome or Athens. There are probably other options too.
That is true. I just used the term to describe what ever it was but it shouldn't have given it a definitive meaning. After hearing your proposal i think something that goes into the direction of a "weighted" democracy makes sense. In a "weighted" Democracy I understand that the votes in the governing bodies are unequal. For example, every City has its own Paragon (which is part of the governing group) while there is one "supreme" Paragon. The "supreme Paragon" (would need a better title), his votes would value more then the other Paragons - lets say 1/3 maybe?. Maybe even 1/2 if there are not many paragons (that would depend on how many cities we establish). This way it is ensured that the governing paragons can prevail of the "supreme" Paragon make bad decisions. In the Paragons descriptions it is said that "there is one Paragon that leads the next generation". That could be the "supreme" Paragon...
No matter the case, at the end of the second training period, the remaining Kalai return and demonstrate their knowledge to the elders of the current ruling caste. Those who are found worthy are then called Paragon, warriors of great strength and acuity who may then be considered as candidates to lead the next generation of Dunefolk.
It is just an idea but other than that, the description suggests that there is only one ruler (which is something you said you want to avoid). This way would be one way to avoid it. For that we should find a better name as just "weighted democracy".

To further build upon this idea, the tribes are either located around bigger cities or not. The tribes around cities are supported by the cities if needed as the tribes provide goods (other things) and tribes general is a big part of dunefolks tradition. If the tribes need something, then the leader of the tribe which usually is not a paragon talks to the paragon of the city he is supported by and make agreements internally. That Paragon then can redirect the requests to the "council" of paraongs so to say. The tribes that decide to live outside of usual social structure and prefer the dunes, live on their own and are self sustaining and do not need support of cities. They however also have no right to request political things, but usually do no need to do so - as they are self sufficient.




Celtic_Minstrel wrote: April 15th, 2020, 1:44 am I may have missed it, but what's this sanbaar tree?
This is from the burner descriptions.
An oft forgotten hazard of traversing the desert is the freezing cold that descends upon the sands during the night. To combat this, the Dunefolk typically make use of the highly flammable sap of the Sanbaar tree, which burns slowly and gently in small quantities, providing a modest amount of heat and light. In larger amounts, however, Sanbaar sap is very nearly combustible and burns extremely violently. The Dunefolk quickly realized the applicability of such a substance to warfare and regularly employ fire spouting weapons to sow chaos among their enemies.



Celtic_Minstrel wrote: April 15th, 2020, 1:44 am When talking about taming, don't forget about more mundane animals such as horses, dogs, and (if they exist here) maybe even camels… and of course the dustboks and taurochs.
I was thinking to make an extra tab just for the Taming aspect. I didn't knew where to categorize it. Then I ended up to mention it briefly in the other texts. For the Wiki, there probably should be one for the taming. Might recompile the text for that at a later moment. I do think that there should be a strict difference between hunting and taming. And if we talk about taming then just because they gain a use out of it and not just because they can.
For example, I don't think it makes sense to talk about taming dogs unless they use it in warfare or other ways. Similar thing with dustboks. Taurochs are mentioned already about their use as tamed animals and horses as well. About camels ... do we need camels in wesnoth? it just a honest question. While it would make sense, the question is wether we need to talk about them. Either it is assumed, or they don't exist because we taurochs, dustboks and dunefolks especially have horses. A camel couldn't run of various dangers in the desert, a horse could though.






Celtic_Minstrel wrote: April 15th, 2020, 1:44 am I think just the nagas aren't enough for trading partners. Why not add some dwarves and trolls in the eastern mountains? These could even serve the role of the "athvari" you mentioned, if you want. (Perhaps "athvari" is not an ethnic name but rather the name of a dead dwarvish nation? Though I'm not sure how dwarvish it is as a name.) They could also trade occasionally with the southern elves.
The naga tab under economy was not to express that nagas are dunefolks only trade partners, but to just emphasize that they are an ever existing factor when it comes to trading via ships. If the cloud of bay is used by the dunefolk for import/export that they surely woudl trade with dwarves from the Mountains of Peril, Elves from Black Forest and South Wood and the east coast up north to other races.




Celtic_Minstrel wrote: April 15th, 2020, 1:44 am I think you would find that there are quite a few alchemists who'd share their poisons unscrupulously. Also, consider that alchemists most likely invented naphtha, so there's a bit of overlap between the alchemists and the firetroopers.
Currently, the firetroopers are making the naphta themselves using a distillation process. Now ... it could be possible that the procedure was developed by the alchemist, but for it being to "dangerous" it the firetroopers who execute them. For the alchemists not selling willingly sell the poisons, you might be raid. Bur they can be stolen eitherway, as shown in one of the stories.
By refining Sanbaar sap through a very specific distillation process, it becomes possible to produce exceedingly flammable naphtha, which burns even more violently than the sap it was derived from.



Celtic_Minstrel wrote: April 15th, 2020, 1:44 am I want to point out that, functionally, a "Mercenary Guild" is essentially identical to an "Adventurer's Guild". If this is the intention, fine; if not, you may wish to change how this works. Note that normally mercenaries would be a travelling group of fighters that sell their services and do their own negotiation.
Yes, thats pretty much it what it should be. But "Mercenary Guild" just sounds proper in comparison to "Adventurer's Guild". While Mercenaries indeed would travel around, the capital provides a hot spot for such mercenaries where at some point a mercenary guild has been formed. High profile offers/missions can be found there.




Celtic_Minstrel wrote: April 15th, 2020, 1:44 am Someone who oversees a region wouldn't be called a captain. They'd be called a governor, or maybe even a sultan.
That is right but I was not talking from a legislative perspective but more from a executive one. As in you have patrols int he city - like modern day police - but you also have officers that control the patrols of the entire city and surroundings (in that near by tribes - if there are conflicts between habitants of the city and tribes).




Celtic_Minstrel wrote: April 15th, 2020, 1:44 am I think you're overlooking two things about the desert-dwellers' diet...
I leave that for hejnewar to answer as he wrote that.




Celtic_Minstrel wrote: April 15th, 2020, 1:44 am I'm not sure how much you incorporated the GitHub discussion into that view of wyverns, but I don't think it's logical to refer to the female wyverns as less fierce. Given the right conditions, they'll certainly be as fierce as a male, if not more so.
I pretty much copied out your suggestion from the git talk. I can update that part anyway if you think it should be changed.




Celtic_Minstrel wrote: April 15th, 2020, 1:44 am Now, I'll also add an initial thought as a possible name (or at least name seed) for the dunefolk nation: The Burning Sands Confederacy.
I don't have much of an opinion about that, but I will udpate it into the query of questions so it can be further discussed.

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Re: Dunefolk Lore - Consolidation

Post by MoonyDragon »

Hi,
since the 'official' lore of the dunefolk is still being worked on, I'd like to offer some some ideas/inspiration from their portrayal in my campaign 'Palms amid Blue Dunes', which are somewhat distinct from what is currently agreed upon. Feel free to accept/reject/discuss any aspect of the following description.
Origins + Hatred of Magic
In my campaign, the dunefolk themselves don't know where they came from, despite their effords to uncover their history. They wonder about their origins/identity because of it, but it also causes a sense of 'live the day'/'we live in the present, not past' in their culture.

But there is a darker side to it. They have an uneasy feeling about this prompt lack of history. Their only sources of it are orally transmitted origin myths, which do not differ much in form from ordinary fairytales, and are thus discarded by the scholars of the academies. But the chilling aspect comes with the single common moral that is present in all of them, no matter which of the several hundred tales one picks: That a magical evil inflicted terrible harm on their people and that their ancestors fled far to escape it. The uniformity of them all is enough to convince even open-minded scholars that lifting the taboo on magic may be an invitation for disaster. They don't know what happened or when, but that something was horrific enough to burn itself so heavily into their collective memory.

When Raszul told his tribe's origin myth in scenario 06, he described their ancestor's enslavement by undead and how a dragon rescued and showed them their two highest values: 1.(scientific thought) and 2.(upholding natural laws ('magic is unnatural')). I hinted at the campaign 'The Library of Kratemaqht' and implied an ending in which the learned dragon Kratemaqht (raised in an library) eventually liberates the humans on the old continent from their lich-lords, and leads them to their current residence. This liberation is precisely the war that caused the lich lords to flee to the Green Isle, and would mean that the dunefolk arrived not long (100-200 years?) before Haldric did.
Social Organisation
As is shown in scenario 01 of 'PaBD', the dunefolk can be culturally divided into city-dwellers who settled in the cities and caravan tribesmen who kept their ancient way of living.

In the cities, culture, trade and science flourishes and all sorts of goods and riches are available through trade with distant outposts and other cities. The cities keep standing armies and are independent city-states (e.g.: ancient Mesopotamia/Etruscans/Greece/Yucatan peninsula) ruled by a Paragon, but demo-(all citizens) aristo-(a council of nobles) theo-(luminaries, academics or priests) and pluto-(the richest merchants) --cracies could exist aswell. Though trade and good relations are ostensibly proclaimed by all, shifting alliances, geopolitics and power struggles are the day-to-day reality.

The caravan tribesmen are nomadic pastoralists that live in the deserts and plains adjacent and between the city-states. Their culture is more backwards and harsh than of the city-dwellers, mainly because of the extreme environment they inhabit. They form the transportation networks between the cities and lend their navigation expertise/armed strength in exchange for valuable goods (textiles, salt, metalwork) from the cities. Opportunistic and always looking for the highest bidder, the tribes switch their allegiance between the cities, which in their turn hire the cheapest caravans. But most of the time, both forces are in equilibrium, and each tribe is allied to their adjacent city.
Economy
My campaign features only the workings of Serrul, but they should illustrate the dependency (since they are literally built on sand) of cities on trade. Serrul itself does not have a reliable source of drinkable water, and thus requires caravans of tribesmen to transport water from the Cloud River near the Ruins of K'thar (undead/'cursed ones' dwell there, explained in 'Soldier of Wesnoth' and 'Palms amid Blue Dunes'). Serrul pays them with metal tools which were traded from dwarves, with which the dunefolk have ancient pacts of commerce. These dwarves in turn are paid with textiles and other overworldly goods which were traded from other city-states for the spices which Serrul imports from its trade outposts and colonies. phew.
Relations with other races
Dunefolk seek friendly relations and trade agreements with all sentinent species, but hate users of magic unconditionally. They have especially good relations with dwarves, who equally dislike magic, love a good trade deal, and with whom they have ancient treaties that possibly hint at a common past (Some myths say the dunefolk came by underground tunnels). My campaign described how the dunefolk first came in contact with the naga (on the island Palmiya), so I haven't written much about their working relationship. But in the epilogue, the Dune Paragon of Serrul makes an agreement with the naga representative that employs them as mercenaries and protectors of Serrul's trade routes. It is expected that as soon as the other city-states bid higher amounts of gold, the nagas will switch into their service aswell.
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Re: Dunefolk Lore - Consolidation

Post by ghype »

Hello Moony, as I told you in pm, i really much enjoyed your campaign. good job on that. I am still trying to figure out how your campaign would fit the best in the world/lore we are trying to create/consolidate. Because most of this was already established, but not consolidated. I will answer you in pm more to that.


MoonyDragon wrote: April 15th, 2020, 1:16 pm In my campaign, the dunefolk themselves don't know where they came from, despite their effords to uncover their history. They wonder about their origins/identity because of it, but it also causes a sense of 'live the day'/'we live in the present, not past' in their culture.

But there is a darker side to it. They have an uneasy feeling about this prompt lack of history. Their only sources of it are orally transmitted origin myths, which do not differ much in form from ordinary fairytales, and are thus discarded by the scholars of the academies. But the chilling aspect comes with the single common moral that is present in all of them, no matter which of the several hundred tales one picks: That a magical evil inflicted terrible harm on their people and that their ancestors fled far to escape it. The uniformity of them all is enough to convince even open-minded scholars that lifting the taboo on magic may be an invitation for disaster. They don't know what happened or when, but that something was horrific enough to burn itself so heavily into their collective memory.
As you can read, I initially suggested a similar approach that the DF might have simply known where they come from, that it got lost int he past for whatever reasons. But now that I think more about it, it seems a bit strange because while wesnothians focused a lot more on magic, the dunefolk spent on sciences. The luminaries as wise as they are should be able to trace back their ancestry to some degree - I think. But we do not have to agree on that.




MoonyDragon wrote: April 15th, 2020, 1:16 pm When Raszul told his tribe's origin myth in scenario 06, he described their ancestor's enslavement by undead and how a dragon rescued and showed them their two highest values: 1.(scientific thought) and 2.(upholding natural laws ('magic is unnatural')). I hinted at the campaign 'The Library of Kratemaqht' and implied an ending in which the learned dragon Kratemaqht (raised in an library) eventually liberates the humans on the old continent from their lich-lords, and leads them to their current residence. This liberation is precisely the war that caused the lich lords to flee to the Green Isle, and would mean that the dunefolk arrived not long (100-200 years?) before Haldric did.
With this I do not what to tell you, because the whole haldric story is currently be rewritten. There might not be the Old Continent, and the Green Isle might look different. And Undead Lore also was consolidated as I do not think they would take slaves. I will send you via pm more to that as well. Generally I did not went too deep into that topic because as said, I am not sure how that might end up looking like




MoonyDragon wrote: April 15th, 2020, 1:16 pm In the cities, culture, trade and science flourishes and all sorts of goods and riches are available through trade with distant outposts and other cities. The cities keep standing armies and are independent city-states (e.g.: ancient Mesopotamia/Etruscans/Greece/Yucatan peninsula) ruled by a Paragon, but demo-(all citizens) aristo-(a council of nobles) theo-(luminaries, academics or priests) and pluto-(the richest merchants) --cracies could exist aswell. Though trade and good relations are ostensibly proclaimed by all, shifting alliances, geopolitics and power struggles are the day-to-day reality.
If there is are independent city states that are ruled by paragons , then I don't know if it works with current DF lore regarding the Paragon unit.
No matter the case, at the end of the second training period, the remaining Kalai return and demonstrate their knowledge to the elders of the current ruling caste. Those who are found worthy are then called Paragon, warriors of great strength and acuity who may then be considered as candidates to lead the next generation of Dunefolk.



MoonyDragon wrote: April 15th, 2020, 1:16 pm The caravan tribesmen are nomadic pastoralists that live in the deserts and plains adjacent and between the city-states. Their culture is more backwards and harsh than of the city-dwellers, mainly because of the extreme environment they inhabit. They form the transportation networks between the cities and lend their navigation expertise/armed strength in exchange for valuable goods (textiles, salt, metalwork) from the cities. Opportunistic and always looking for the highest bidder, the tribes switch their allegiance between the cities, which in their turn hire the cheapest caravans. But most of the time, both forces are in equilibrium, and each tribe is allied to their adjacent city.
So the tribes basically are caravans? that can be hired? if they were traveling all the time, it would be hard for them to have an established habitat and they might encounter other tribes and they wouldn't also be big then. I dont know. it sounds a bit weird to me.




MoonyDragon wrote: April 15th, 2020, 1:16 pm My campaign features only the workings of Serrul, but they should illustrate the dependency (since they are literally built on sand) of cities on trade. Serrul itself does not have a reliable source of drinkable water, and thus requires caravans of tribesmen to transport water from the Cloud River near the Ruins of K'thar (undead/'cursed ones' dwell there, explained in 'Soldier of Wesnoth' and 'Palms amid Blue Dunes'). Serrul pays them with metal tools which were traded from dwarves, with which the dunefolk have ancient pacts of commerce. These dwarves in turn are paid with textiles and other overworldly goods which were traded from other city-states for the spices which Serrul imports from its trade outposts and colonies. phew.[/section]
I don't know what world map you use but in the one form OoA , the one I work with, Serrul lays exactly at the water. So it sounds weird to me that they have no stable source of water.




MoonyDragon wrote: April 15th, 2020, 1:16 pm Dunefolk seek friendly relations and trade agreements with all sentinent species, but hate users of magic unconditionally. They have especially good relations with dwarves, who equally dislike magic, love a good trade deal, and with whom they have ancient treaties that possibly hint at a common past (Some myths say the dunefolk came by underground tunnels).
I am not competent enough to say wether dwarfs disliked magic, but didn't they had magical runes? Those would be considered magic, wouldn't they?




MoonyDragon wrote: April 15th, 2020, 1:16 pm agreement with the naga representative that employs them as mercenaries and protectors of Serrul's trade routes. It is expected that as soon as the other city-states bid higher amounts of gold, the nagas will switch into their service aswell.
This is pretty much the same we got in our lore as well so far

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Re: Dunefolk Lore - Consolidation

Post by MoonyDragon »

As I said, my post was more of an idea pool, rather than an attempt to directly influence the new dunefolk lore. I did not originally intend to write more than that in this topic, but I will answer your questions concerning my lore.
ghype wrote: April 15th, 2020, 4:17 pm So the tribes basically are caravans? that can be hired? if they were traveling all the time, it would be hard for them to have an established habitat and they might encounter other tribes and they wouldn't also be big then. I dont know. it sounds a bit weird to me.
Pastoral populations do have an established habitat as much as the Mongols have Mongolia. It is just that they frequently change their oases/grazing land in order to not deplete it. Because of their nomadic lifestyle, they cannot manufacture advanced goods, and thus have to trade them at the cities in exchange for something else. This something else may be assistance in the transport of goods from one city to the other.
ghype wrote: April 15th, 2020, 4:17 pm I don't know what world map you use but in the one form OoA , the one I work with, Serrul lays exactly at the water. So it sounds weird to me that they have no stable source of water.
For the sake of the plot, I imagined that the Bay of Clouds is contaminated by salty water from Great Ocean, and that only the Cloud River itself has drinkable water. Specialized trees and crops will still grow, but humans need an intake of normal water from somewhere else.
ghype wrote: April 15th, 2020, 4:17 pm I am not competent enough to say wether dwarfs disliked magic, but didn't they had magical runes? Those would be considered magic, wouldn't they?
I always thought that dwarves has an aversion to applied magic (via staff/hands/rituals) and that runic magic was more or less a workaround. But again, I am not an expert either and whereever I read it might be long outdated. But this may be a legitimate plothole / contradiction.
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Re: Dunefolk Lore - Consolidation

Post by Celtic_Minstrel »

ghype wrote: April 15th, 2020, 12:41 pm That is true. I just used the term to describe what ever it was but it shouldn't have given it a definitive meaning. After hearing your proposal i think something that goes into the direction of a "weighted" democracy makes sense. In a "weighted" Democracy I understand that the votes in the governing bodies are unequal. For example, every City has its own Paragon (which is part of the governing group) while there is one "supreme" Paragon. The "supreme Paragon" (would need a better title), his votes would value more then the other Paragons - lets say 1/3 maybe?. Maybe even 1/2 if there are not many paragons (that would depend on how many cities we establish). This way it is ensured that the governing paragons can prevail of the "supreme" Paragon make bad decisions. In the Paragons descriptions it is said that "there is one Paragon that leads the next generation". That could be the "supreme" Paragon...
Sounds like you've combined both up my ideas and come up with a democratic federation… which is also fine. I'll also note that (as MoonyDragon also said) this can open the door to having different cities with totally different forms of government. One city might be ruled by a sultan (dictatorship), another might have a city council (either elected or nobility), but they all send one representative to the governing council of the federation which then democratically elects the Paragon.
ghype wrote: April 15th, 2020, 12:41 pm To further build upon this idea, the tribes are either located around bigger cities or not. The tribes around cities are supported by the cities if needed as the tribes provide goods (other things) and tribes general is a big part of dunefolks tradition. If the tribes need something, then the leader of the tribe which usually is not a paragon talks to the paragon of the city he is supported by and make agreements internally. That Paragon then can redirect the requests to the "council" of paraongs so to say. The tribes that decide to live outside of usual social structure and prefer the dunes, live on their own and are self sustaining and do not need support of cities. They however also have no right to request political things, but usually do no need to do so - as they are self sufficient.
I think one thing you've missed is that some tribes may be nomadic and supported by multiple cities. For example, there could be a tribe that spends its summers near one city but winters near a different one, or there could be a tribe that periodically travels between three cities.
ghype wrote: April 15th, 2020, 12:41 pm This is from the burner descriptions.
An oft forgotten hazard of traversing the desert is the freezing cold that descends upon the sands during the night. To combat this, the Dunefolk typically make use of the highly flammable sap of the Sanbaar tree, which burns slowly and gently in small quantities, providing a modest amount of heat and light. In larger amounts, however, Sanbaar sap is very nearly combustible and burns extremely violently. The Dunefolk quickly realized the applicability of such a substance to warfare and regularly employ fire spouting weapons to sow chaos among their enemies.
Hmm. Well, I guess it's not dissimilar to a rubber tree in a way, so I guess it can work, but I always thought of the firetroopers as using actual crude from open tar ponds.
ghype wrote: April 15th, 2020, 12:41 pm About camels ... do we need camels in wesnoth? it just a honest question. While it would make sense, the question is wether we need to talk about them. Either it is assumed, or they don't exist because we taurochs, dustboks and dunefolks especially have horses. A camel couldn't run of various dangers in the desert, a horse could though.
Yeah, we don't need camels. I only mentioned them because they are an iconic desert animal.
ghype wrote: April 15th, 2020, 12:41 pm
Celtic_Minstrel wrote: April 15th, 2020, 1:44 am I want to point out that, functionally, a "Mercenary Guild" is essentially identical to an "Adventurer's Guild". If this is the intention, fine; if not, you may wish to change how this works. Note that normally mercenaries would be a travelling group of fighters that sell their services and do their own negotiation.
Yes, thats pretty much it what it should be. But "Mercenary Guild" just sounds proper in comparison to "Adventurer's Guild". While Mercenaries indeed would travel around, the capital provides a hot spot for such mercenaries where at some point a mercenary guild has been formed. High profile offers/missions can be found there.
Okay, as long as that was the intention, it's fine (and definitely true that "Mercenary Guild" sounds more like a real guild that might exist in a real world).


MoonyDragon wrote: April 15th, 2020, 1:16 pm The caravan tribesmen are nomadic pastoralists that live in the deserts and plains adjacent and between the city-states. Their culture is more backwards and harsh than of the city-dwellers, mainly because of the extreme environment they inhabit.
I don't like claims that one culture is "backwards". That has a clear negative connotation that paints the city-dwellers as superior.

MoonyDragon wrote: April 15th, 2020, 1:16 pmOpportunistic and always looking for the highest bidder, the tribes switch their allegiance between the cities, which in their turn hire the cheapest caravans. But most of the time, both forces are in equilibrium, and each tribe is allied to their adjacent city.
Not sure if this makes sense. Maybe we need to really pin down what we mean by "tribes". In fact, maybe we should avoid referring to them as "tribes" since I feel like perhaps that name is a bit ambiguous.

Are we talking about:
  • Small villages? Perhaps farming villages, for example.
  • Seasonal nomads? These would either have a (semi-)permanent village, but leave it vacant for the large part of the year as they go on a long journey; or have two (semi-)permanent villages that they alternate between depending on the time of year.
  • Itinerant travellers like the real-life Romany people? Such people don't have any permanent settlement and just go wherever they please.
It's not necessary that all tribes fit in the same category above, either.
MoonyDragon wrote: April 15th, 2020, 1:16 pmthey should illustrate the dependency (since they are literally built on sand) of cities on trade.
Why are the cities built on sand? Unless there's a very good reason, a city isn't going to spring up out in the middle of the dunes.
MoonyDragon wrote: April 15th, 2020, 1:16 pmSerrul itself does not have a reliable source of drinkable water,
Again, why? If we have a city that doesn't have a reliable source of drinking water, there needs to be some other very good reasons for it to exist.

Most desert dunefolk cities would be built either on an oasis or on a river. There can be exceptions, of course; but they need to have a very good reason, like some important resource or something.
MoonyDragon wrote: April 15th, 2020, 1:16 pmThey have especially good relations with dwarves, who equally dislike magic
I don't feel that this is accurate. To be clear, while the dwarves may dislike magic, I don't feel that they hate it as much as the dunefolk seem to. After all… the dwarves did have runesmiths in the past, which is a form of magic. Were dwarvish runesmiths treated in the same way that the kingdom of Wesnoth treats dark adepts? I suspect not; but that's probably how the dunefolk would treat any magic-users (maybe even worse).
ghype wrote: April 15th, 2020, 4:17 pmwhile wesnothians focused a lot more on magic, the dunefolk spent on sciences. The luminaries as wise as they are should be able to trace back their ancestry to some degree - I think.
I wouldn't say that sciences are inherently better at tracking history and ancestry than magical pursuits are (in fact, the wizards and necromancers of Wesnoth are probably fairly scientific themselves). If there was some major conflict in their past, with a loss of records or a great exodus, than regardless of their magical and scientific inclinations, it's possible that they might have forgotten many details of their origin.
ghype wrote: April 15th, 2020, 4:17 pm So the tribes basically are caravans? that can be hired? if they were traveling all the time, it would be hard for them to have an established habitat and they might encounter other tribes and they wouldn't also be big then. I dont know. it sounds a bit weird to me.
See my comment a little earlier in this post, but I'll add that itinerant people (with no permanent settlement, just always travelling) are a real thing that exists and it would be cool to have some in the Wesnoth world. They wouldn't even need to be dunefolk-exclusive, we could place some itinerants in the Wesnoth kingdom too.
ghype wrote: April 15th, 2020, 4:17 pmI am not competent enough to say wether dwarfs disliked magic, but didn't they had magical runes? Those would be considered magic, wouldn't they?
I think the dwarvish runes would indeed be considered magic, but they also may be a lost art.
MoonyDragon wrote: April 15th, 2020, 5:30 pm Pastoral populations do have an established habitat as much as the Mongols have Mongolia. It is just that they frequently change their oases/grazing land in order to not deplete it. Because of their nomadic lifestyle, they cannot manufacture advanced goods, and thus have to trade them at the cities in exchange for something else. This something else may be assistance in the transport of goods from one city to the other.
This sounds more like seasonal nomads rather than itinerants, which is still cool. There could be some of both, too.
MoonyDragon wrote: April 15th, 2020, 5:30 pmI imagined that the Bay of Clouds is contaminated by salty water from Great Ocean, and that only the Cloud River itself has drinkable water.
Yeah, the Bay of Clouds is clearly part of the ocean, so its water is not drinkable without treatment. It's possible the dunefolk may have developed a way to remove the salt from the water so it can be drunk, but I doubt they'd have that on a large enough scale to supply an entire city.

Honestly, the solution is to place Serrul right at the mouth of Cloud River.
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Re: Dunefolk Lore - Consolidation

Post by Xalzar »

My 2 cents...
Celtic_Minstrel wrote: April 15th, 2020, 6:16 pm
ghype wrote: April 15th, 2020, 12:41 pm In a "weighted" Democracy I understand that the votes in the governing bodies are unequal. For example, every City has its own Paragon (which is part of the governing group) while there is one "supreme" Paragon. The "supreme Paragon" (would need a better title), his votes would value more then the other Paragons
Sounds like you've combined both up my ideas and come up with a democratic federation… which is also fine. I'll also note that (as MoonyDragon also said) this can open the door to having different cities with totally different forms of government. One city might be ruled by a sultan (dictatorship), another might have a city council (either elected or nobility), but they all send one representative to the governing council of the federation which then democratically elects the Paragon.
I quite like this idea since it differentiates the Dunefolk government system from all the sameness of the other nations, it is interesting, it gives space to political intrigue, it is UMC-friendly (I can imagine periods of Dunefolk history during which the "Council of Paragons" is under the heel of a strong Paragon from a prominent city - becoming essentially a dictactorship -, and others where the Supreme Paragon is weak and the Council fractured - more like an unstable republic with shifting alliances)
ghype wrote: April 15th, 2020, 12:41 pm the tribes...
I can see tribes of all types: some fiercely independent and more outlawish, some nomadic with extablished routes (caravans), some stationed in strategic points of interest (stable villages too small to become a city, at least for the moment), tribes loyal to one city (maybe even place right outside the city walls, they provide services for the city but they mantain their desert lifestyle) or mercenaries. The less monolithic it is, the better.
ghype wrote: April 15th, 2020, 12:41 pm Sanbaar tree,
I like this options since I imagine tar ponds to be too rare to be used reliably to fuel flamethrowers (they would be used more to fuel domestic lanterns and other such things). If the oil comes from trees I can see it used more extensively, even if the distillation would not be so easy.
Celtic_Minstrel wrote: April 15th, 2020, 6:16 pmI don't like claims that one culture is "backwards". That has a clear negative connotation that paints the city-dwellers as superior.
Agreed. It is simply a different way of life, and someone could prefer that to the more comfortable, but maybe stricter, city-life.

Celtic_Minstrel wrote: April 15th, 2020, 6:16 pm Opportunistic and always looking for the highest bidder, the tribes switch their allegiance between the cities, which in their turn hire the cheapest caravans. But most of the time, both forces are in equilibrium, and each tribe is allied to their adjacent city.
This. Also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tribe#Classification
Celtic_Minstrel wrote: April 15th, 2020, 6:16 pm Why are the cities built on sand? Unless there's a very good reason, a city isn't going to spring up out in the middle of the dunes.
Surely to grow they would have the means to obtain sufficient food and water at least, some other minor necessities can be compensated by neighbouring tribes. Then as the cities grow, food could be also imported, but large amounts of water are not easily transported for miles in the desert. Aqueducts anyone?
Celtic_Minstrel wrote: April 15th, 2020, 6:16 pm
ghype wrote: April 15th, 2020, 4:17 pmI am not competent enough to say wether dwarfs disliked magic, but didn't they had magical runes? Those would be considered magic, wouldn't they?
I think the dwarvish runes would indeed be considered magic, but they also may be a lost art.
As per canon (unless is being retconned right now with the changes of mainline campaigns), rune magic has indeed been a lost art at least for northern dwarves, until they rediscovered (it has been missing between 40 YW - 550 YW). That said, everything could change for the southern dwarves, since I believe the are not many contacts with their nordic brothers. I think it's plausible they lost runesmithing too and they never reacquired it (possibly for a lack of interest or other reasons).
ghype wrote: April 15th, 2020, 4:17 pm If there was some major conflict in their past, with a loss of records or a great exodus, than regardless of their magical and scientific inclinations, it's possible that they might have forgotten many details of their origin.
If the Dunefolk origins are traumatic and the aftermath a fight for survival, there could be reasons to try to forgot the dark times (or the impossibility to record historical facts during the duress), and history could have been morphed into more epic mythos (with a warning against magic) or handed down orally with ever-growing inaccuracies.
Celtic_Minstrel wrote: April 15th, 2020, 6:16 pmYeah, the Bay of Clouds is clearly part of the ocean, so its water is not drinkable without treatment. It's possible the dunefolk may have developed a way to remove the salt from the water so it can be drunk, but I doubt they'd have that on a large enough scale to supply an entire city.
I can see Alchemists do that, but only on a tribe-scale.
Naga...
I'd like to see them more represented in the lore of the Dunefolk, since Nagas are already quite excluded from the lore. Also it would give a solid reason to see them together in MP, unlike Drakes and Saurians.
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Re: Dunefolk Lore - Consolidation

Post by Celtic_Minstrel »

Xalzar wrote: April 15th, 2020, 8:54 pm I quite like this idea since it differentiates the Dunefolk government system from all the sameness of the other nations, it is interesting, it gives space to political intrigue, it is UMC-friendly (I can imagine periods of Dunefolk history during which the "Council of Paragons" is under the heel of a strong Paragon from a prominent city - becoming essentially a dictactorship -, and others where the Supreme Paragon is weak and the Council fractured - more like an unstable republic with shifting alliances)
To be clear, a federation is a little different from a republic. Think less United States and more Russia. The United States does have some aspects of a federation, mind you, but my understanding is that the level of autonomy is greater under a federation.
Xalzar wrote: April 15th, 2020, 8:54 pm
Celtic_Minstrel wrote: April 15th, 2020, 6:16 pm Opportunistic and always looking for the highest bidder, the tribes switch their allegiance between the cities, which in their turn hire the cheapest caravans. But most of the time, both forces are in equilibrium, and each tribe is allied to their adjacent city.
This. Also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tribe#Classification
Just noting that this appears to be a misquote - those are not my words.
Xalzar wrote: April 15th, 2020, 8:54 pmAqueducts anyone?
Aqueducts in the Roman sense (as far as I'm aware) would be a very inefficient way to transport water in the desert, but just building a roof over them would at least partly fix that, so sure.
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Re: Dunefolk Lore - Consolidation

Post by lhybrideur »

Celtic_Minstrel wrote: April 15th, 2020, 11:28 pm
Xalzar wrote: April 15th, 2020, 8:54 pmAqueducts anyone?
Aqueducts in the Roman sense (as far as I'm aware) would be a very inefficient way to transport water in the desert, but just building a roof over them would at least partly fix that, so sure.
Well actually, most of the time, aqueducts are at least partially underground. So you could imagine a huge underground aqueduct (maybe carved in the underground or build and covered so that the dunes pass over it).
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Re: Dunefolk Lore - Consolidation

Post by ghype »

OK so here is my attempt to summarise the more important things into text:
Cities
So as it seems we get to a point where we can agree on a political system which can be described more or less by a democratic federation, meaning that every city is independent to some degree, rules by a Paragon. There is a council of Paragons where there is a supreme Paragon which does not hold the absolute power, but his suggestions value some more then the others. A Paragon is usually elected the locally established political system which could vary from City to city.

We still need a title for the „supreme“ Paragon, unless we decide to stick with that.
Furthermore, we have to decided how that „supreme“ Paragon is chosen.
(1) Initially I thought that the Paragons vote between themselves but a Paragon cannot suggest him self. If we go that route, then we have to decide wether this happens periodically every 10 to 20 years or if that happens upon death. I would opt for periodically because if it is upon lifetime that this only promotes assassination.
(2) The second way of going is that the the council of the Paragon vote the next „supreme“ Paragon together with the council of Luminaries of each city. This would be in accordance with the current Description of the Paragon unit as is 1.15 …

I would be fine with both, but if we go with (1) then we would have to revise the Paragons descriptions.

Maybe we also drop that there is ONE capital as the capital could be considered where the currently "supreme" Paragon is ruling. We initially said that Th'arwya could be the capital. But instead I would just say that its the biggest and most popularised of the Cities. Now certainly, we can have the campaigns take place where Th'arwya currently is the captial, then it makes sense, but have to at least make it clear in the wiki that there is not such thing as the one and only capital, but rather the governing city.

Tribes
While I would maintain the word Tribes, I would treat them more like communities. While some of these communities have tribes-like features other have more „small village“-like features. I would yet still go on and use the word Tribe (while community too could work).

There are localised tribes which are usually the bigger ones who settled around the cities while there are smaller-wandering tribes. The localised tribes would be those that would be similar to a very small village with not a lot of habitants. They would living in a nomadic lifestyle but not as extreme as some of the wandering tribes. Those tribes, which move a lot, do frequently change their oases/grazing land in order to not deplete it and their social structures can be very different from one to another - similar to the Cities. Some tribes are Hunterer-gatherer bands that generally are egalitarian while others focus on desert protection/transportation. Others might be having a chieftain while others have social rankings to some degree. some fiercely independent and more outlawish, some nomadic with extablished routes (caravans), some stationed in strategic points of interest (stable villages too small to become a city, at least for the moment), tribes loyal to one city (maybe even place right outside the city walls, they provide services for the city but they mantain their desert lifestyle) or mercenaries. Some of these tribes might not even ben Dunefolk exclusive. 

I think all I said about the tribes in my initialy post can remain:

  • some prefer the Tribes, which is the a way of living which has a long tradition (it goes back way before the development of the capital and the bigger cities)
  • every dunefolk spents a certain amount time in a tribe at an young age, its essential for developing special set of skills and learning about the drylands, its a tribute to their nomadic ancestors
  • Skirmishers spend most of their times there unless hired for political assignments or escorting missions
  • Rovers and herbalists or also seen in tribes, joining them for a night or two during their expeditions
  • a small Tribe can consists of around 15 dunefolks while bigger ones can have up to 40
  • the bigger Tribes are located around bigger cities and seem bigger as they are as many pass through
  • the smaller ones are scattered around in desert and drylands, some of them are wandering between known locations
  • there are very few renegade tribes, even less known to be consisting only of riders, which raid either merchant caravans, political escorts or other smaller friendly tribes from time to time
  • Leader of tribes are individually voted depending on what kind of tribe it is
  • the Tribes do not pay taxes in any form but respond in time of need with loyalty and service
  • Tribes are protected and supported in times of dry periods
  • There is a always captain/officer that controls a certain region (which a tribe might be part of) and makes sure that nothing unethical is happeningn there. This is so no Raider or Outlawish Tribes nest near cities
  • Tribes that do not want or need the protection and help are free to wander off and live in isolation


A question now arises, does it even make sense that to mark tribes on the world map? I would mark the localised on the map which would be either located on the cloud bay (as alchemists could have enough capacities to purify water of the salt for a small tribe) and around bigger cities or rivers. Wandering tribes would either remain unmarked or marked but unnamed. If we leave them unmarked then they could be good for "random encoutners" in campaign it would be a thing. If we do not mark them, then we might loose perspective on how big the dunefolks actually are.





Xalzar wrote: April 15th, 2020, 8:54 pm I'd like to see them more represented in the lore of the Dunefolk, since Nagas are already quite excluded from the lore. Also it would give a solid reason to see them together in MP, unlike Drakes and Saurians.

Well currently, we have just what you see. If either you or Moony would like to expand on the Naga thing, to develope a vivid dynamic , that would be cool.


Celtic_Minstrel wrote: April 15th, 2020, 6:16 pm MoonyDragon wrote: ↑Yesterday, 1:16 pm
Serrul itself does not have a reliable source of drinkable water,
Again, why? If we have a city that doesn't have a reliable source of drinking water, there needs to be some other very good reasons for it to exist.
While it is an question to consider, I don't think we have to go into the nitty gritty as there are cities build on the ocean side with no river and others that are build in mainland and we do no question their source of water. We just assume it.

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Re: Dunefolk Lore - Consolidation

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Celtic_Minstrel wrote: April 15th, 2020, 1:44 am First, some species of snakes and lizards could live out in the sands and may well be a food source.
Sure.
Secondly, desert-dwellers mostly don't live in the middle of nowhere on the sands – if they're not nomads, they're probably living in or near an oasis, which means you've overlooked a major source of food for them. For example, date palms could grow in the oases, giving them a source of fruit. There could be frogs or fish in the oasis as well, and perhaps animals such as, I dunno, rabbits or dustboks or taurochs. And of course there'll be a lot of other plants that could serve as a food source, including grains.
Fruits - sure but I don't think that that would be major source of food.
Frogs and fish - only frogs, fish would live only in massive lakes and dune oasis aren't big enogh I think and they need to get there somehow.
Animals - here I would add bugs, big and small ones. Why big? Because Quenoth have armour and weapons made of of big bugs.
Grains - no. If you want to live near one oasis for a long time I wouldn't recommend grains at all, they are ok if you have big river somewhere close, not small oasis.
Other plants - sure, creating some fictional plants for them that are well prepared for desert condition could be interesting.

Worth noting is that dunefolk live not only on desert but also near / on hills and mountains.
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Re: Dunefolk Lore - Consolidation

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lhybrideur wrote: April 16th, 2020, 9:07 am Well actually, most of the time, aqueducts are at least partially underground. So you could imagine a huge underground aqueduct (maybe carved in the underground or build and covered so that the dunes pass over it).
Well, okay. It might work, if you dig deep enough for more solid ground.
ghype wrote: April 16th, 2020, 9:39 am We still need a title for the „supreme“ Paragon, unless we decide to stick with that.
I have two ideas here.

The need for a separate title stems from using the word Paragon to describe the leader of each city. If cities were ruled by a prince, sultan, president, or prime minister (the title could vary depending on the city), then the "supreme" Paragon could simply be the Paragon.

Alternatively, a nice way to make a title more impressive is to prefix arch-, so the "supreme" Paragon could be called the Arch-Paragon.

Note that either way we could use the Dune Paragon unit to represent leaders of specific cities; the person's actual title does not need to perfectly match their unit type.
ghype wrote: April 16th, 2020, 9:39 am Furthermore, we have to decided how that „supreme“ Paragon is chosen.
(1) Initially I thought that the Paragons vote between themselves but a Paragon cannot suggest him self. If we go that route, then we have to decide wether this happens periodically every 10 to 20 years or if that happens upon death. I would opt for periodically because if it is upon lifetime that this only promotes assassination.
(2) The second way of going is that the the council of the Paragon vote the next „supreme“ Paragon together with the council of Luminaries of each city. This would be in accordance with the current Description of the Paragon unit as is 1.15 …

I would be fine with both, but if we go with (1) then we would have to revise the Paragons descriptions.
I think the Paragon description should be revised in either case, as the idea of choosing your leader from people who were selected through duels to the death does not sit right for me, especially for a civilization that's supposedly scientifically-inclined. However, the description specifically of how the next leader is chosen seems to be vague enough to cover either (1) or (2).
Paragon Description wrote:From adolescence, ten years of intense training paves the path to the final test, a series of duels to the death between pairs of these fighters. When the dust settles and the process is ended, eight are left remaining. These men are granted the title Kal, or collectively, Kalai.
This is the part that I think should be changed if the Dune Paragon is to represent the ruling class. It might be barely an acceptable way to select a military general, but it is probably a terrible way to select a good leader. Using military training (without the death matches) is acceptable for potential leaders mind you; it just shouldn't be the only thing they study.
Paragon Description wrote:No matter the case, at the end of the second training period, the remaining Kalai return and demonstrate their knowledge to the elders of the current ruling caste. Those who are found worthy are then called Paragon, warriors of great strength and acuity who may then be considered as candidates to lead the next generation of Dunefolk.
This technically says nothing about how the Paragon is actually chosen, but the general implication of this description is that the Paragon is chosen from the general populace, by merit. If we want to stick closer to the current Paragon description, I think we'd have to conclude that neither (1) nor (2) is the way of choosing the Paragon. So here's method (3), based on my extrapolation of the description combined with what we decided about the overall governance system.

The leader of each city is chosen in some manner depending on the city. They might be elected, they might be the leader of an elected council, or they might inherit the position. Whatever the case, these leaders form a council that I'll call the Ruling Council. It is up to the Ruling Council to choose the Paragon, who is also a member of the Ruling Council. However, the candidates for the Paragon are nominated by an entirely separate council of luminaries, and in particular, the candidates for Paragon are not drawn from the Ruling Council. In other words, the Paragon is not the leader of one of the cities. The luminary council selects candidates (the Kalai of the description), probably via examinations (ie, they have to take a test), and then the Ruling Council (minus the Paragon obviously) votes on the candidates. The chosen candidate then joins the Ruling Council as the Paragon.
ghype wrote: April 16th, 2020, 9:39 am Maybe we also drop that there is ONE capital as the capital could be considered where the currently "supreme" Paragon is ruling. We initially said that Th'arwya could be the capital. But instead I would just say that its the biggest and most popularised of the Cities. Now certainly, we can have the campaigns take place where Th'arwya currently is the captial, then it makes sense, but have to at least make it clear in the wiki that there is not such thing as the one and only capital, but rather the governing city.
Well, I'll say it's totally possible for a federation to have a capital – Russia is a federation and still has a capital! How exactly that works when most members of the federation are city-states, I'm not quite sure, but I think something can definitely be worked out. If you want Th'arwya to be the capital, we can make it the capital. Perhaps all the federal governance machinery (like buildings where the council meet and such) is in Th'arwya.
ghype wrote: April 16th, 2020, 9:39 am A question now arises, does it even make sense that to mark tribes on the world map? I would mark the localised on the map which would be either located on the cloud bay (as alchemists could have enough capacities to purify water of the salt for a small tribe) and around bigger cities or rivers. Wandering tribes would either remain unmarked or marked but unnamed. If we leave them unmarked then they could be good for "random encoutners" in campaign it would be a thing. If we do not mark them, then we might loose perspective on how big the dunefolks actually are.
Whether to mark a "tribe" on the map would depend on the map, I'd say. If it's a world map, intended for general use by navigation, then itinerant peoples would have no marking on the map, but seasonal nomads that migrate between fixed locations could be marked, and in fact would be marked in multiple places. On the other hand, on a campaign map, you might want to mark an encampment of itinerants if they are important to the story, keeping in mind that the marking may move as the campaign progresses (so it wouldn't be on the base map but would instead be an overlay).

Generally speaking, I would say any permanent settlement should be marked. Some nomads may have permanent settlements that are abandoned for part of the year, so those would be marked. Other nomads may live their entire lives in tents that can be easily taken down for travel, so they wouldn't be marked on the map.
ghype wrote: April 16th, 2020, 9:39 am as alchemists could have enough capacities to purify water of the salt for a small tribe
Don't forget rainfall and groundwater are also potential sources of water. Especially if they're near the edge of the desert, they may be able to dig wells or build cisterns that capture rainwater, so the purification of saltwater would then be more of a supplement than a primary source of water.
ghype wrote: April 16th, 2020, 9:39 am While it is an question to consider, I don't think we have to go into the nitty gritty as there are cities build on the ocean side with no river and others that are build in mainland and we do no question their source of water. We just assume it.
I would say a coastal city probably has a reliable water source. It's not the sea, sure; but there probably is one.
Hejnewar wrote: April 16th, 2020, 12:44 pm Fruits - sure but I don't think that that would be major source of food.
I think there'd be quite a bit of fruit. It wouldn't be a primary source of food, but it would be significant. Note that some types of cactus also produce fruit.
Hejnewar wrote: April 16th, 2020, 12:44 pm Frogs and fish - only frogs, fish would live only in massive lakes and dune oasis aren't big enogh I think and they need to get there somehow.
Pretty sure fish can live in small lakes too, and I have a feeling you're underestimating the size of an oasis. Okay, so there could be an oasis that's little more than a puddle in the ground (or indeed so small that there isn't a lake at all, just a patch of greenery in the middle of the desert). But I think a more typical oasis would have a decent-sized lake, deep enough that you can't just walk across the middle. And you're wrong that the fish need to get there somehow. If fish ended up in the lake one way or another (perhaps an ancient flood?), they would reproduce in the lake.
Hejnewar wrote: April 16th, 2020, 12:44 pm Animals - here I would add bugs, big and small ones. Why big? Because Quenoth have armour and weapons made of of big bugs.
Bugs, sure.
Hejnewar wrote: April 16th, 2020, 12:44 pm Grains - no. If you want to live near one oasis for a long time I wouldn't recommend grains at all, they are ok if you have big river somewhere close, not small oasis.
I think you're forgetting that they do have a river. There would definitely be grain grown near the Cloud River. I don't know whether it would be wheat or something else, but there would be some sort of grain. That said, I think you could still grow grain on an oasis, even a small one, though on a small one it may not be the most efficient use of space.
Hejnewar wrote: April 16th, 2020, 12:44 pm Other plants - sure, creating some fictional plants for them that are well prepared for desert condition could be interesting.
Fictional plants sure, but don't neglect real plants either. But I was thinking more of oasis or riverside plants rather than desert-adapted plants. Most desert-dwellers don't spend their entire life on the sands. They don't need to get all their sustenance from the sands. If you fail to consider oases and rivers, you'll come up with a skewed view of their diets.
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Re: Dunefolk Lore - Consolidation

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Also we could have giant duneworms tunneling underneath the deserts. They could pose as a great danger and food source, which makes it essentials for some tribes that don't have other food sources to roam the deserts on the search for the worms. Those tribes could be in need for salt to pickle the worm flesh, which would open up some interactions for general trade.

I like celticminstrels idea about the choosing of the paragons. That would allow us to have a city as a military oriented one, where the paragon is chosen by battle or to have a more trade oriented one.
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Re: Dunefolk Lore - Consolidation

Post by Hejnewar »

Celtic_Minstrel wrote: April 16th, 2020, 1:30 pm
Hejnewar wrote: April 16th, 2020, 12:44 pm Fruits - sure but I don't think that that would be major source of food.
I think there'd be quite a bit of fruit. It wouldn't be a primary source of food, but it would be significant. Note that some types of cactus also produce fruit.

Pretty sure fish can live in small lakes too, and I have a feeling you're underestimating the size of an oasis. Okay, so there could be an oasis that's little more than a puddle in the ground (or indeed so small that there isn't a lake at all, just a patch of greenery in the middle of the desert). But I think a more typical oasis would have a decent-sized lake, deep enough that you can't just walk across the middle. And you're wrong that the fish need to get there somehow. If fish ended up in the lake one way or another (perhaps an ancient flood?), they would reproduce in the lake.

I think you're forgetting that they do have a river. There would definitely be grain grown near the Cloud River. I don't know whether it would be wheat or something else, but there would be some sort of grain. That said, I think you could still grow grain on an oasis, even a small one, though on a small one it may not be the most efficient use of space.

Fictional plants sure, but don't neglect real plants either. But I was thinking more of oasis or riverside plants rather than desert-adapted plants. Most desert-dwellers don't spend their entire life on the sands. They don't need to get all their sustenance from the sands. If you fail to consider oases and rivers, you'll come up with a skewed view of their diets.
Well I was talking about nomadic and only nomadic dunefolk.

I don't exactly know how much of fruit would they eat. I just know that that wouldn't be big part of their diet.

I'm against grains because they will lead to degradation of soil, and serious at that as proven by modern day egypt (few years is enough really). Not only you need to water them with something that shouldn't be wasted (even if you have oasis of 1ha size) it will also lead to extreme soil salinity and because of desert conditions you pretty much can't do anything about it. With river and constant irrigation it just isn't as bad - I mean you just have way more water to deal with that. Fictional plant that absorbs a lot of salt form ground can not only deal with that but would also fetch nice price as spice.

Afaik, on deserts on earth there is only one oasis with fish in it - Fish springs in USA and it's big, about 7 times bigger than average oasis. I'm doubtful about this giant ancient flood in the middle of desert. It's much more likely that they came thru underground connection or humans just introduced them.

Sure, trade exists, in fact nomadic dunefolk will probably eat things similar to non-nomadic dunefolk just in different proportions. They might even have more diversified diet than city dunefolk.
Kwandulin wrote: April 16th, 2020, 1:58 pm Also we could have giant duneworms tunneling underneath the deserts. They could pose as a great danger and food source, which makes it essentials for some tribes that don't have other food sources to roam the deserts on the search for the worms. Those tribes could be in need for salt to pickle the worm flesh, which would open up some interactions for general trade.
Reminds me about "Dune". That could be fun something for campaign.
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