Heir to the Throne rant/idea suggestion

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Orcish Shyde
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Heir to the Throne rant/idea suggestion

Post by Orcish Shyde »

I can't help but think that Heir to the Throne is told by a completely unreliable narrator... though mainly because I hate Konrad's dialogue and think Asheviere needs more character development. Running by the crimes that Asheviere is said to have committed...

1. Convinced Eldred to turn coat and murder King Garard II, resulting in a peace deal with the orcs. Well, he only needed to kill Garard, but he went and butchered his uncle and all his brothers and sisters (except Li'sar) too, the little [censored].

2. Convinced Eldred to suicidally seek battle with Delfador, thereby getting rid of her son.

3. Had her nephews murdered.

4. Declared war on the elves, an act with which I completely sympathise, the grumpy, ne'er-forgiving, self-centred, xenophobic, treacherous bastards. Especially given they were hosting the traitor Delfador and a pretender to the throne.

5. Hired orcish mercenaries.

6. Enslaved mermen to dive for pearls, using orcs and nagas to enforce them.

7. Tried to take the western coast back under the Crown's control.

8. Er... We are informed that she reigned with terror and evil, but we never actually see any evidence of this. So the above 7 are the crimes Asheviere has committed in her reign.

Number 1 was because she was ambitious. Fair enough, I'm not saying Asheviere is perfect. However, I think she only planned to get rid of Garard - he must have been a pretty bad husband for her to consider offing him in the hopes of better influencing her son, and he was the only one standing between Eldred and the throne. Thus, the deaths of Konrad's father, and Asheviere's other children, fall squarely on Eldred's head, not his mum's. It's also possible that Eldred settled for less than Asheviere had wanted from the peace deal, so keen was he to take the throne.

Number 2 was a result of Number 1. Ash couldn't be seen having her own son murdered, and Delfador had betrayed the Crown anyway, so she used her old enemy to get revenge on Eldred for the deaths of her other family.

Number 3 was because the line of succession for the crown of Wesnoth unfairly ranked having a [censored] over having the King's blood. Seriously, given that explicit sexism isn't an issue in most of the Wesnoth campaigns, you'd think Li'sar would be next to the throne, but no.

Numbers 4, 5, and 7 aren't crimes, as evidenced by the mainline scenarios linked to in the text. Yes, OK, I forgot to mention that Asheviere took military control of Alduin, but the archmage there who says he's to "stand trial for treason for training magi" is clearly not telling the whole truth, because Li'sar is able to recruit magi while still loyal to the throne.

Number 6... I'm not going to try to justify slavery.

So, when you remove any rationalisations, Asheviere only has the death of Garard, the deaths of her nephews, and the Bay of Pearls to pay for. This set of crimes is surely not worth sending Wesnoth into civil war over, yet that's exactly what the elves did.

I'd write a campaign dealing with the subject, but I've already got Shameless Crossover Excuse to complete first, and that isn't even working yet.
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Re: Heir to the Throne rant/idea suggestion

Post by The Great Rings »

Doesn't Lisar talk about crimes that Ashevier ordered her to commit?

Regardless slavery, murdering your husband, and treason are all very serious crimes, and quite reason enough to remove Ashevier by force. Though as far as killing one's family is concerned, Konrad and Lisar have their hands dirty on that score as well (yes I know Konrad's not actually related to Ashevier, but he thought he was for most of the time he was waging war on her). Ashevier's worse though, since she started it.

Also, we do know a bit about her reign outside of HTTT. Their's also the campaign about the villagers who rebel against Ashevier early in her reign, which shows that she ruled with a heavy hand to say the least.

To be fair however I'll give Ashevier this: going by her observed crimes she was not really worse than most other medieval leaders. Slavery, and plotting against/killing one's own family is sadly par for the course with such individuals.
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Re: Heir to the Throne rant/idea suggestion

Post by Orcish Shyde »

I've played Liberty and I enjoyed it, but if I recall correctly the trigger for the rebellion is just that a flunkie of the Crown comes and orders Baldras to swear fealty to the new lawful Queen. For all I know those wolf riders you kill in the first mission could've just been out on a similar errand; I doubt Asheviere's orcish mercenaries were dumb enough to risk her armies turning on them and (more importantly) their pay being suspended.

IIRC Li'sar talks about overhearing, as a little girl, Asheviere ordering her lieutenants to kill people. For all we know this could have been purging a necromancer cult, and if that was interrupted by Konrad murdering Asheviere, it would certainly explain the mysterious magical occurences building up to Mal-Ravanal's attack on Wesnoth.

(Yes, I know there's a dark sorcerer in The Siege of Elensefar. There's no explicit story justification for this and the gameplay suffers for it so as far as I'm concerned he was just a fictional embellishment from the people telling Konrad's story.)
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Re: Heir to the Throne rant/idea suggestion

Post by turin »

What evidence do we actually have that Asheviere orchestrated or even supported the death of her husband, except for the claim in the HttT intro that " The rule of her son would surely satisfy her lust for power far better than her husband's had"? Since that's not evidence at all - it's baselessly attributing an evil motive to the innocent action of observing the results of a battle - we have no reason to say she tried to bring about her husband's death, or even wanted it to happen.

And as for what Eldred did afterwards - well, if Asheviere didn't even want her husband murdered, why would you think she wanted her nieces and nephews murdered? That was just Eldred acting on his own and then, before Delfador killed him, blaming Asheviere for it. Asheviere may have been trying to advise Eldred in order to make him a better ruler, but that is not the same as condoning all his actions.

The mermen slaves? That was just the orcish and naga mercenaries Asheviere hired acting on their own. They were supposed to hire the mermen to collect pearls, but the mermen got unruly and the orcs decided to enslave them without Asheviere's knowledge.

So, I really don't see anything wrong Asheviere did... all the evil actions attributed to her were actually done by other people. ;)

As more evidence - note that when Konrad&co finally confront Asheviere, she does not take credit for the evils attributed to her, as many villains will do in the "final showdown". She just repeats, in various ways, that they are attacking their lawful queen and are thus traitors.
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Re: Heir to the Throne rant/idea suggestion

Post by Turuk »

Turin makes some very good points, and you know what they say. History is written by the victors.

Asheviere could be evil or good, she could be behind everything that happened and have been the driving force in the murder of innocents, or a ambitious queen whose son gets out of hands and whose mercenaries take matters into their own hands.

The problem is that there are no facts to prove it either way, other than trying to draw inferences from the dialogue between the characters. Given most people's reliance on rationalization while pursuing a course of action that may be questionable, Konrad could be convincing himself what he does is right and good against the lawful Queen, or the power-hungry Queen is convinced that she is innocent and just defending herself from all that she sees as threats to her "rightful" power.
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Re: Heir to the Throne rant/idea suggestion

Post by thespaceinvader »

From a completely objective perspective, I think there are a couple of important points here:

Firstly, that events in other campaigns (Northern Rebirth in particular) support at least some of the criticisms of Asheviere - whether they were acting on her orders or not, she did hire the Orcs who are the villains of the piece to do her dirty work, and Konrad was the spur to the former slaves breaking free.

Secondly, the dialogue of HttT really, REALLY needs completely rewriting. It's kinda trite at the moment... It's been in the back of my mind to have a go at it at some point, but I'm really stuck for time at present.
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Re: Heir to the Throne rant/idea suggestion

Post by Orcish Shyde »

Wow. Turin did an even better job of defending Ash than I did.

It says explicitly in the story that Asheviere ordered her nephews murdered (not her nieces) after the death of Eldred, and the fact that baby Konrad apparently came before the King's own daughter in the line of succession may well explain this. Or it could have been a fiction made up by Delfador, who after all did lie to Konrad for most of the campaign about his ancestry. You have a point about the blame for Garard's death, too - if Ash only wanted her husband dead, she could have poisoned him rather than count on her son to do the job in the middle of battle.

As I said, I'd make a campaign from Asheviere's point of view intentionally contradicting the points made against her in HTTT if I wasn't still fumbling with Shameless Crossover Excuse.

The following is conjecture about Asheviere's life, given her defining troops are orcs just as Konrad's are elves despite the two of them being humans, and revised according to turin's defence of her:

1. The heir to a northern noble, Asheviere's family had always been on friendly terms with a nearby orc tribe who would rather get some gold without any dead orcs than all the gold with lots of dead orcs. She grew up seeing evidence to contradict the usual "orcs r bad" view, and even spent a lot of time with the mercenaries, seeing and liking a society where gender was no barrier to advancement. ((Well, either orc females are just as big and strong and capable as orc males, or one of the two sexes is the shamans - no other explanations for an army that has no female sprites))

2. In an attempt to stop her hanging around such riff-raff, Asheviere's mum/dad/legal guardian (take your pick) suggests she go to Alduin to learn magic. She agrees, and becomes a fairly powerful ice mage - then on graduating and returning to Wesnoth, she uses her powers and leadership skill to help orc mercenaries repel northern raiders (probably other orcs or outlaw humans; I wouldn't put undead in unless we want to give Asheviere a lightbeam attack to supplement her cold magic).

3. Garard II takes a fancy to Asheviere, in spite of (or because of) her army-leading tendencies. They end up married for political reasons despite Asheviere's objections. Even this fails to completely curtail her independent personality, although she does get a taste for girlier, less practical clothes than she favoured in her earlier years. I mean, no warrior would regularly wear that purple dress on the Dark Queen sprite.

4. Since Garard pretty much leaves the raising work to Ash, she gets them all to agree with her radical views, and Eldred in particular ends up fanatically loyal to her over his father. Pity he also ends up ambitious enough to murder his own father and most of his family in the hopes of taking the throne. Watching the battle Asheviere resolves to take revenge on Eldred, and sees her opportunity when she learns Delfador has betrayed the crown. As specified in the history she advises Eldred to make sure he gets Delfador's head, knowing full well that he'll die in the attempt.

5. Returning to Weldyn, Asheviere automatically becomes regent of the kingdom because none of her nephews are old enough for the throne. Seeking some consolation for the deaths of her husband and all her children bar baby Li'sar, she gives the order to "get Arand's sons out of the way", which is taken as a specific order to kill them. Alternately, bribed by the elves, Delfador sneaks in and kills them, then manages to plant the blame squarely on Asheviere's orders with a charm spell and a few convincing rumours.

6. Declaring herself the rightful Queen of Wesnoth, Asheviere's troubles begin almost immediately as odd peasants start refusing to swear fealty to a ruler without a [censored] (á la Liberty). She personally leads a few loyalist task forces to nip such rebellions in the bud, and in the majority of cases finds that elves have been supplying the rebels with weapons. In the same period, the necromancy cult that would eventually become led by Mal-Ravanal starts to spread through Wesnoth, causing Asheviere to hire orcs again as she lacks the human forces to halt the corruption. She also receives news that Alduin has deserted her as well, refusing to be subject to a female monarch - prompting her to send orcs to invade it. Requiring more riches to pay for her mercenaries and remilitarise her kingdom, Ash hires a bunch of mermen to dive for pearls.

7. Influenced again by the elves, nobles start to rebel against the falsely accused "Dark Queen", some angered that a woman should dare exercise so much control over her rightful realm, others simply in it for the gold. The merman foremen are similarly induced to rebel, convincing nearby orcs and nagas to crush the revolt and enslave the perpetrators without waiting for the Queen's consent. However, the majority of Ashevieres' generals ignore the elves' silver tongues and coin. The peasants, too, begin to rally in droves to her as she sorts out women's rights in her spare time...

8... but the same peasants switch to supporting Li'sar when she returns to Wesnoth with the Sceptre of Fire. At first Asheviere plans to give her daughter the throne, but when she realises Delfador has corrupted her, she fights to the last to prevent the (to her) evil Great Mage from gaining control of the throne. She fails, and the troops who followed her as the lawful Queen switch quickly to following Li'sar as the lawful Queen rather than be implicated in treason for fighting the new Queen.

9. Li'sar has nothing like as much trouble as her mother, first because she isn't as radical anyway, second because it's well known that she has Delfador, and later Konrad, to manipulate her. Thankfully, the damage to sexist views in Wesnoth is done; Queen Ana'sar never gets anything like the amount of turmoil her grandmother did, although unfortunately, this is in part due to Ravanal's future cult becoming more subtle and secretive as a reaction to Asheviere's purge.

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Re: Heir to the Throne rant/idea suggestion

Post by thespaceinvader »

I never said it did. i hate that kind of black-and-white attitude. I simply said that Asheviere was instrumental in raising those particular evil orcs to power, and that konrad was instrumental in breaking that power.

And that the campaign could use a major dialogue rewrite, although i think the basic storyline works...
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Re: Heir to the Throne rant/idea suggestion

Post by Orcish Shyde »

I apologise for that misinterpretation; I must've got the wrong idea, since I don't remember anything that specifically connected Asheviere's orcish mercenaries with Rakshas' rise to power. Yes, Konrad is claimed to have been inspiration for the rebellion at Dwarven Doors, but my gut feeling is that it would've happened anyway given the opportunity - they'd have had demonstration enough that the orcs could be fought simply from orcish infighting.
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Re: Heir to the Throne rant/idea suggestion

Post by LemonTea »

Meh.

I'm all for reading against the text and stuffz, but

1. Most of the invited reading of the storyline is pure speculation from what is explicitly mentioned (let's assume the narrator isn't telling pure lies).
2. Most of the resistant reading here is also pure speculation. Dun dun DUN!!!!1one

From this, I conclude the storyline of HttT is alright, since i like open-ended interpretations. (If you like close-ended interpretations of stories, go read Snow White or something)

I don't feel like posting at length here. I've had too much of character debates in a starcraft forum a long time ago >.<
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Re: Heir to the Throne rant/idea suggestion

Post by Zachron »

LemonTea wrote:Meh.

I'm all for reading against the text and stuffz, but

1. Most of the invited reading of the storyline is pure speculation from what is explicitly mentioned (let's assume the narrator isn't telling pure lies).
2. Most of the resistant reading here is also pure speculation. Dun dun DUN!!!!1one

From this, I conclude the storyline of HttT is alright, since i like open-ended interpretations. (If you like close-ended interpretations of stories, go read Snow White or something)

I don't feel like posting at length here. I've had too much of character debates in a starcraft forum a long time ago >.<
Actually, they don't seem to be assuming that what the narrator is saying is lies, they are simply reintepreting the narrators words from a different point of view. Another way to put it is not to doubt the narrative, but to doubt that everything everyone says is truthful.
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Re: Heir to the Throne rant/idea suggestion

Post by Orcish Shyde »

Debugged my way through the Cliffs of Whatever secret route from Choice Must Be Made, leading to further ranting:

1. Since when are Drakes xenophobic enough not to understand a civil war is going on?
2. Getting to the Elven Council, the whole "us tree shaggers are better than you arrogant humans" feel to the dialogue makes me wonder why Konrad - no, not Li'sar, KONRAD - doesn't fry the elven council with the Sceptre of Fire, or at least threaten to. If they're so above human affairs, what are they doing installing a puppet ruler to usurp the throne from Asheviere? If you ask me Wesnoth's old alliances fell apart not due to human arrogance or faults, but because Knalga fell through no fault of a southerner human, and the elves decided, just like in TRoW, that feeding the humans to whatever threatened them was more important than maintaining honour or alliances.
3. Never, anywhere else in mainline, even in AOI or UtbS, have I seen elves aggrandised and humans insulted so badly. I'd like to think that's the result of people other than me looking at the descriptions of elves in help files and HTTT and thinking "WRONG!" and I hope it stays in.
4. More importantly than any of that, the Cliffs of Whatever need to be rebalanced badly. Make that Armageddon Drake recruit from a keep like anyone else, not spawn troops for free; add an Ice Trident or similar, because fire vs drakes doesn't help; and add more suspicious fords (or reefs, if it takes until 1.5 is mainline to pull this off) if we're expected to march a walker unit that far through shallow water.
5. Yes, I hate seeing elves portrayed as unquestionably superior to humans when both are major players. Up until the Victorians, nobody ever said elves were nice, never mind 'just better'. Even in LOTR, they are seriously considering abandoning humans to Sauron's conquest.

Acerbic rant over.
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Re: Heir to the Throne rant/idea suggestion

Post by TL »

Hey, this could be a pretty cool story arc; Asheviere attempts to stamp out necromancy and ends up promoting some brutal things in order to make sure it's wiped out once and for all, but Delfador gets the idea he knows what's best for the kingdom (maybe carrying around Crelanu's Book went to his head a bit?) and conspires to remove Ash from the throne, thereby setting in motion a series of events that leads up to the undead uprising in Eastern Invasion. I'm not a big campaign player, but I might try slogging through them again if there were more cool arcs like this :wink:

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Re: Heir to the Throne rant/idea suggestion

Post by mcv »

Sorry to drop in so late, but I didn't play Wesnoth back in December. To me, as a newbie, it's already quite obvious that what's presented as rightful heir versus evil usurper is anything but that. If anything, it reminds me of the Wars of the Roses, the English civil war in the 15th century, which wasn't so much between several heirs to the throne, but really between several noble factions who wanted an heir they could control.

In THttT, the Elves behave exactly like that. For political reasons they can't rule all of Wesnoth themselves (becuase everybody knows they're a bunch of treacherous liars), so they need a puppet. Enter Konrad, too young to know any better, carefully handled by and old wizard who sympathizes with the Elvish cause. I haven't reached the Cliffs of Whatever yet, but if the elves are arrogant, it's obviously because they believe they should be the real power. It's painful enough that they need to prop up their human puppet for the throne. They certainly don't intend to treat humans as equals in their own home. Not when it's their puppet controlled by their own lackey.

This is also why Kalenz comes with them on the journey: to keep an eye on their investment. To keep Delfador on the right (Elvish) path.

The main opposing faction is Asheviere and the Orcs, although here it seems Asheviere is the one who's in control. Li'sar is clearly supposed to be their puppet, with which they'll sollidify their control over Wesnoth.

The only really odd thing to me is that Li'sar is commanding her own army and doesn't come with a handler, like Konrad. She's clearly not the best general that she's presented as -- she's just the most stupidly stubborn general. And she's as much a whiny kid as Konrad is, so why she doesn't have a handler with her is a mystery to me. Very sloppy of her faction to let her slip from their grasp like that. I don't know how the story continues yet, but I expect the Elves will be really glad to control a new heir with a more direct line to the throne (and she also has the Scepter in my case). If they manage to control her, cut her ties to her mother, and asign her a competent babysitter, Konrad's chances for the throne are gone.

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Re: Heir to the Throne rant/idea suggestion

Post by Velensk »

I still don't see how it matters, and I still don't see why it's worth looking beyound the text to make a case out of it. If you want to convince yourself that you're evil in HttT or any other Wesnoth campaign that's your problem.
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