Heir to the Throne rant/idea suggestion

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Jozrael
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Re: Heir to the Throne rant/idea suggestion

Post by Jozrael »

From my point of view, Konrad begins as a naive child told Delfadors version of events, and throughout the story matures into a capable leader. He's not perfect, but he's kind-hearted and generally the 'hero' of the story. I would like this to stay that way. Whatever dialogue revisions are made, I'd like him to -not- become aware that he's a 'pretender' until the current point, plus I would not like him to be cast maliciously. If that's what you interpret, Orcish Shyde, fine. But I'd prefer that you rewrite the dialogue not to support your current view, but to satisfy yourself that there is no longer ambiguity that he is worthy to be the 'hero' of the story. Adding more support for Asheviere's villainy is a fine start to this.
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Re: Heir to the Throne rant/idea suggestion

Post by Joram »

Jozrael wrote:From my point of view, Konrad begins as a naive child told Delfadors version of events, and throughout the story matures into a capable leader. He's not perfect, but he's kind-hearted and generally the 'hero' of the story. I would like this to stay that way. Whatever dialogue revisions are made, I'd like him to -not- become aware that he's a 'pretender' until the current point, plus I would not like him to be cast maliciously. If that's what you interpret, Orcish Shyde, fine. But I'd prefer that you rewrite the dialogue not to support your current view, but to satisfy yourself that there is no longer ambiguity that he is worthy to be the 'hero' of the story. Adding more support for Asheviere's villainy is a fine start to this.
Well, even if someone were to do all that, I think I'm safe in saying that it wouldn't get accepted for mainline. :wink:

And I totally agree with all of it (well, except for the fact that I would like to see a bit more of the maturity aspect of things).
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Re: Heir to the Throne rant/idea suggestion

Post by Jozrael »

I agree, if someone radically reinterprets the original intent of the elves, it won't be added to mainline. None of this making elvish fighters less 'foppish' :P. However, if someone were to make the dialogue of HttT/elsewhere -clearer- in its intent, or point out actual plotholes, I'm sure they would be happily implemented, if only to stop this type of discussion from reocurring.
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Re: Heir to the Throne rant/idea suggestion

Post by Zachron »

Turuk wrote:
Orcish Shyde wrote:As turin pointed out, HTTT is told by an unreliable narrator - it states at the beginning that Delfador saved the real Konrad, then directly contradicts itself on this point at the end. One outright, indisputable falsehood is enough to put everything he says into dispute
If the narrator is merely an outside voice telling the past events (in the beginning) and then the other events that are happening as they occur, wouldn't the narrator find out that Konrad was a fake at the exact same time? It seems to be told from one of the characters or someone who was close to the events as they happen. The narrator does not appear to be omniscient given that the story is told on one side.

Anyways, why not actually draft up the changes to the dialogue as you see fit that you think would clear the issue one way or another, or even both ways, and then submit it here?
I always figured that the narration was written from the point of view of Kalenz. He seemed sufficiently knowledgeable of the events at hand, and he was also ignorant of Delfador's deception. (Only Delfador and the elvish lady seemed to be aware.)
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Re: Heir to the Throne rant/idea suggestion

Post by Joram »

I hadn't ever thought about it in that way before.

But now that I do, I believe it would be very interesting to have the narrator of the initial points be an actual character.
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Re: Heir to the Throne rant/idea suggestion

Post by Orcish Shyde »

@Jozrael Eh, I never saw Konrad as evil - he was just a pawn of the elves, and properly rewarded as such. I think the suggestion Joram made about not making it 100% clear from the beginning that the narrator thinks Konrad is the real thing would work, but this will of course need an actual storyboard. EDIT: If you're on about the whole "Konrad joins the evil side for the opportunity to backstab" idea, well, first that still has him retaining his supposedly good objectives, second there's plenty of room for someone on the "evil" side to actually be quite a nice guy. General Leo of the Gestahl Empire, for example.

As for the elvish fighters I wasn't thinking "less foppish" so much as shifting emphasis from "OMG he's so sexy & artful wiv wepponz! Squee!" to "He's a warrior. He hits things with his sword and shoots things with his bow. He happens to do so more swiftly and precisely than most humans or orcs."
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Re: Heir to the Throne rant/idea suggestion

Post by turin »

Turuk wrote:
Orcish Shyde wrote:As turin pointed out, HTTT is told by an unreliable narrator - it states at the beginning that Delfador saved the real Konrad, then directly contradicts itself on this point at the end. One outright, indisputable falsehood is enough to put everything he says into dispute
If the narrator is merely an outside voice telling the past events (in the beginning) and then the other events that are happening as they occur, wouldn't the narrator find out that Konrad was a fake at the exact same time? It seems to be told from one of the characters or someone who was close to the events as they happen. The narrator does not appear to be omniscient given that the story is told on one side.

Anyways, why not actually draft up the changes to the dialogue as you see fit that you think would clear the issue one way or another, or even both ways, and then submit it here?
A few points:

1) There's no reason to assume the story is being told "in real time". A lot of campaigns have the conceit of being a story told by someone several years, perhaps even decades or centuries, after the events of the campaign. SoF and UtBS are the two mainline examples that spring to mind, but I'm pretty sure there's more. And IMO it's a well established enough conceit that it almost makes more sense to assume it's being told by someone in the future than someone narrating the events as they happen.

2) Besides, there's evidence that the storyteller is in fact either omniscient or telling the events from far enough in the future that he'd know events on both sides of the story (both of which raise the question of why he doesn't tell us that Konrad's a fake). Look at the storyboard text for scenario 8 - The Princess of Wesnoth: "...but one of the orcs survived long enough to send the news to the queen... ...and she sent her most able commander." And tellingly, the story images for those two panels are of Li'sar talking to the queen. A narrator who was part of Konrad's party (say, Kalenz) wouldn't know how Li'sar ended up coming after them; he would just suddenly see Li'sar in their path saying "The Queen has sent me to stop you, impostor!" So, yes, there is evidence the narration is not merely close-third-person following Konrad. It's either at least somewhat omniscient or first-person (in which case it is just as plausibly unreliable as reliable).

3) And please don't try to argue that unreliable narrators aren't common techniques in fiction. Ever read any Gene Wolfe? ;)

---

But as to "what to do about it"? I suppose we could go back and edit the text to make Asheviere more clearly evil (though she does seem pretty evil already), but honestly, I don't see the point. I actually like the ambiguity. If we do anything, I'd vote for something like the following:
* Make it "official" that the narrator of the story was Kalenz - i.e. change the storyboard sequences to actually talk in the first person from Kalenz's POV - telling the story from a few years after the events of the campaign.
* Change the introductory story from straight "this is what happened" (after all, that's not what happened) to "my friend Delfador said this is what happened". And perhaps hint that Kalenz no longer believes that part of the story to be true, but isn't telling us why yet.
* The part from "The Princess of Wesnoth" I quoted above can be left in, since a few years after the fact Kalenz would have had time to talk to Li'sar and find out why she ended up coming after them on the road to the northlands. This wouldn't have to be made explicit, the player can figure it out.
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Re: Heir to the Throne rant/idea suggestion

Post by Turuk »

A few points:

1) You will note that the sentence is phrased as a question and then I said "it seems" and "does not appear". So I would appreciate it if you did not make assumptions that this is me stating solid fact, I was merely posing more thoughts for discussion. If it your opinion that is is a well-enough established conceit, and as I stated previously, everyone is welcome to their own opinion.

2) A valid point, and again, I was merely stating such questions or thoughts in my post so that people could make points such as this.

3) I made no such argument about an unreliable narrator not being a common technique in fiction, so please do not act so condescending about it.


There was really no need to pick apart my post when I am making an effort to provide food for thought and not ammunition for you to fire back at me.
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mcv
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Re: Heir to the Throne rant/idea suggestion

Post by mcv »

Joram wrote:However, is Ashaviere even a legitimate ruler? I don't pretend to know much on the subject, but I don't believe it was customary in medieval times when a ruler died for his/her spouse or mother to ascend to the throne.
A queen consort (as opposed to a queen regnant) would probably not take the throne herself, but it has definitely happened that a queen consort ruled as regent while the rightful king was underage.

A particularly good example was Isabella, the wife of English king Edward II. She and her lover, Roger Mortimer, staged an invasion of England and forced Edward (her own husband) to abdicate in favour of his heir, their son, Edward III. Then she ruled as his regent with Mortimer at her side, and quite probably had her husband killed.

Later, when he was old enough, Edward III took a band of friends and snuck into his mother's castle, killed Mortimer and locked up Isabella. This true story is probably the mother of all evil queen stories. It truly doesn't get much better than that.
Of course, the effect is rather ruined by the fact that Konrad is rather a baby at the start, and there isn't anything later on that gives the message of significant improvement (I agree with you that he doesn't seem very suitable for leadership). This is one of those aspects I think that should be changed in the campaign. Konrad needs to display some assertiveness and leadership.
Definitely. IMHO, Konrad and Li'sar both come across as whiney kids, completely unsuitable to rule a country. Li'sar seems a bit more competent, though. Or maybe she's just stubborn.
You say that people support Konrad because they don't like Ashaviere. Well, that in my book, is reason enough, and I don't need to make a big production of it. I don't see the need to go any farther than: 1) The current government is harsh and tryannical, and 2) that Konrad is the closest heir that will amend the current state of the government. It is my belief that tyranny must be opposed, and any tyrants forfeit their right to the crown. This means that if you are going to stick with the kings line, then Konrad is heir.
Who really was the rightful heir has often been the topic of civil wars. While I agree in principle that bad government needs to go, no matter how rightful it is, it is a lot harder if it really is the rightful government, and you're not. Then you'll have to do some legwork to make you appear as more rightful in some way. By being the hero of the people, by being a male heir rather than a female one, or by owning some special sceptre or something.

I'm not saying it's wrong, I'm just saying that Konrad's mentors are definitely focusing on creating that appearance of Konrad being a legitimate heir.
I personally think that the story should be improved as well. However, I would do it by making more character development in Konrad, and by fixing all of the inconsistent and conflicting dialogue that Li'sar gets, rather than changing the focus of the story.
I agree. Make Li'sar sound like a real commander of an army, and make Konrad perhaps start out as a kid, but quickly learn during the first couple of scenarios, instead of sounding like a helpless baby every time Delfador leaves his side.
When you say you'd like more emphasis on the political maneuvering aspects of things, what did you have in mind? I'm not sure where you would go with that sort of line.
Make it more explicit in the dialogue that he needs the support from the people, and to do that, it'd help if he freed slaves, found the sceptre, brokered an alliance with the dwarves, etcetera.
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Re: Heir to the Throne rant/idea suggestion

Post by Jyuukenbu »

mcv wrote:I agree. Make Li'sar sound like a real commander of an army, and make Konrad perhaps start out as a kid, but quickly learn during the first couple of scenarios, instead of sounding like a helpless baby every time Delfador leaves his side.
MUST MUST MUST agree with that also. Dialogue can be stepped up a few notches to help further Konrad's character development in future additions. I have to say, I was purely disappointed in my gold-starred protagonist when he was saying that he couldn't conquer Elensefar without Delfador's help. He should have been all, "Ima drive all of Asheviere's orcs outta that city, don't you worry about your homeboy K-Man, Delfador, I got this under my belt." Or something along similar lines.
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Re: Heir to the Throne rant/idea suggestion

Post by mcv »

Perhaps a bit less gangster-speak, but yes, a bit more confidence might be nice. I'd suggest the scenarios upto this point have Delfador instill some good military advice in the boy, and the last few he might show some real talent (particular the island of the dead, where he's also without Delfador), so once he reaches Elensefar he's ready to prove himself as a commander. I don't think Delfador would let a crybaby lead that battle.
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Re: Heir to the Throne rant/idea suggestion

Post by Jyuukenbu »

mcv wrote:Perhaps a bit less gangster-speak, but yes, a bit more confidence might be nice. I'd suggest the scenarios upto this point have Delfador instill some good military advice in the boy, and the last few he might show some real talent (particular the island of the dead, where he's also without Delfador), so once he reaches Elensefar he's ready to prove himself as a commander. I don't think Delfador would let a crybaby lead that battle.
That's pretty good advice to have Konrad become battle-experienced through the scenario between the Bay of Pearls and the Siege of Elensefar. I wouldn't mind Konrad being a hawkish leader who commands his troops in a fierce manner, just to let the player go, "oh god, this is one hawkish leader who knows what he's doing here."

I don't like to compare mainline campaigns but Tallin in Northern Rebirth was more of a commander in the first scenario than Konrad ever was in Heir to the Throne. Tallin was a peasant who never even fought before and yet he gave perfect advice: Divide and conquer the orcs one-by-one, overpower them through sheer numbers, don't fight on open land, and let the orcs duke most of the battle out with themselves. When did Konrad ever suggest such sound advice to his troops? Dialogue revamp, perhaps the easiest and yet most visible change that can be done in a campaign, will improve the campaign quality in HttT.
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Re: Heir to the Throne rant/idea suggestion

Post by ancestral »

I for one, welcome some rewritten dialogue with HttT. It could indeed use some help.
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Re: Heir to the Throne rant/idea suggestion

Post by The Great Rings »

mcv wrote:That's pretty good advice to have Konrad become battle-experienced through the scenario between the Bay of Pearls and the Siege of Elensefar. I wouldn't mind Konrad being a hawkish leader who commands his troops in a fierce manner, just to let the player go, "oh god, this is one hawkish leader who knows what he's doing here."
First of all, I agree that Heir to the Throne needs a major dialog revamping, and would personally volunteer to do it if I thought for a second that I would get the job. This goes for pretty much every Wesnoth campaign out their in fact, but Heir to the Throne is supposed to be the main Wesnoth campaign, and in other areas (playabillity, graphics, music) its top notch. The dialog really needs fixing.

However, I don't nessissarily agree that Konrad should be a hawk. Certainly not to an irrational degree. Think about it: he's a 16 year old who's lived his life in hiding with the elves, a race that is supposed to be, at least nominally, peaceful. Now, no doubt he's grown up hearing how evil the queen is, so maybe it makes sense for him to be hawkish towards her, but I would keep some of the hesitancy and inexperience early on. Just tone down the childishness. I feel like flinching at some of the dialog in the first scenario.

I might have him start out sounding more mature, but definitely young, less aggressive, etc. If you want him to be more prepared, and for it to seem believable, perhaps drop some lines early on about how Delfador's been training him to prepare for this time, and so on.

Around the Isle of Alduin, start having him take a more proactive stance. This is the point where it becomes clear that wherever he goes, he's not going to be safe. Have him realize that at this point, he has two choices: die, or go on the attack. You don't nessissarily need to state this explicitely, but have it reflected in the next scenario, as Konrad retakes the Bay of Pearls, and is witness to another of Ashvier's atrocities: slavery. This should be the first turning point for the character; he's tasted battle, lead his first couple victorious battles, and has seen just how ruthless the enemy is. He also knows that from now on, he has no choice but to fight it out.

From here on out, Konrad should be portrayed as increasingly confident, competant, and perhaps ruthless. I mean, he's a good guy, but he essentially enslaves the griffons, and his conversation later in the game where he tells Li'sar, rather agressively, that he's going to kill the queen (her mother) seem a little out of character. Even one line early on that forshadowed Konrad's willingness to do whatever he has to in order to win might be good.

Alternatively, one could portray Konrad as less of a military commander, but more of a figure of inspiration to his troops, a hero and symbol for them to rally around. Perhaps have one of the other characters take the role of military advisor (though Konrad should still be more effective as the campaign progresses). This could be used to portray Li'sar as more of an equal partner, who brings something to the table besides agreeing not to kill Konrad. :D Or perhaps Kalenz. There's a campaign around him, you know, which portrays him as quite the great military commander, with an elf's lifetime of experience.

Granted, a lot of these ideas may suck, either because I'm projecting my own opinions, values, and wishes rather than what fits the characters, or because the changes in tone would be too radical. Heir to the Throne has a certain atmosphere and style, and I don't know that it would be appropriate to include any dialoge changes that greatly altered that. Rather, I would want to see dialog that took the existing bits of characterization (Konrad's youth and inexpereince, Li'sar's competancy as a commander, etc) and give them a little more depth and realisim, or which try to make the character's established motives and actions more clear and understandable without changing their basic personalities or the overall tone and plot of the campaign.
I don't like to compare mainline campaigns but Tallin in Northern Rebirth was more of a commander in the first scenario than Konrad ever was in Heir to the Throne. Tallin was a peasant who never even fought before and yet he gave perfect advice: Divide and conquer the orcs one-by-one, overpower them through sheer numbers, don't fight on open land, and let the orcs duke most of the battle out with themselves. When did Konrad ever suggest such sound advice to his troops? Dialogue revamp, perhaps the easiest and yet most visible change that can be done in a campaign, will improve the campaign quality in HttT.
To be fair, that could come off as somewhat wankish. He's a peasent who's heard a few stories, has no experience in leading an army, and suddenly seems to be one of the best commanders in Wesnoth history? That has Marry Sue written all over it. :D

But I do admit that he kind of has to be a brilliant leader in a campaign that hard (though if someone still needs the advice he gives, they won't be beating Northern Rebirth anyways. :wink: )
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Re: Heir to the Throne rant/idea suggestion

Post by Jyuukenbu »

Heh, I dunno, I guess I got a fetish for campaigns where the protagonist is a walking Al Capone. I do like the character development outline you got there though.

Side note: I agree that the moment in HttT where Konrad suddenly bursts into a dialogue between two other characters just to say that he wants to behead the Queen or something like that(which would have been really cool if it wasn't totally unexpected of Konrad to say that) was really...out-of-place. It was like having a microwave inexplicably explode into a million fragments while it was warming up a bagel or something.

Yarrr, Tallin is definitely the coolest kid in the hood. I haven't even finished Northern Rebirth yet but he just has an awesome charisma surrounding him.
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