Heir to the Throne rant/idea suggestion

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The Great Rings
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Re: Heir to the Throne rant/idea suggestion

Post by The Great Rings »

Jyuukenbu wrote: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.
He also has a much better portrait than poor Konrad. Its like he radiates badass. :D
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Re: Heir to the Throne rant/idea suggestion

Post by Joram »

The Great Rings wrote: 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...
When HttT was written, the Gryphons were animals. You might just as well accuse Konrad of enslaving the Horses that his knights ride. :?

Not that I'm disagreeing with your overall point; I just wanted to point that out.


As far as the Talin vs Konrad thing...

Konrad is a (very) young man who is forced into a bad situation.

Talin is a grown man who is already in a bad situation.

Talin has the advantage of having a lot more drive and motivation. There is still the theoretical possibility that Konrad could just leave it all behind him. Talin doesn't have that luxury. Talin is hard and tough because he has to be. He has had to be the whole time. If he weren't, things never would have started. Konrad's situation is just going along on its own steam; all he has to do is just exist, and events happen. Talin has had to force his situation, and carry it on his own; without Talin driving it, events would die.

That's the reason for the rather... extreme starting differences between them.
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Re: Heir to the Throne rant/idea suggestion

Post by The Great Rings »

Joram wrote:
The Great Rings wrote: 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...
When HttT was written, the Gryphons were animals. You might just as well accuse Konrad of enslaving the Horses that his knights ride. :?

Not that I'm disagreeing with your overall point; I just wanted to point that out.
But, unless I've been greatly missinformed, they have since been declared intelligent. Thus, Konrad is, indeed a slaver.
As far as the Talin vs Konrad thing...

Konrad is a (very) young man who is forced into a bad situation.

Talin is a grown man who is already in a bad situation.

Talin has the advantage of having a lot more drive and motivation. There is still the theoretical possibility that Konrad could just leave it all behind him. Talin doesn't have that luxury. Talin is hard and tough because he has to be. He has had to be the whole time. If he weren't, things never would have started. Konrad's situation is just going along on its own steam; all he has to do is just exist, and events happen. Talin has had to force his situation, and carry it on his own; without Talin driving it, events would die.

That's the reason for the rather... extreme starting differences between them.
I don't have a problem with Talin being tough. Its the fact that he seems to be a tactical genius with almost no experience or training. But, I suppose their are times when that's happened before.
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Re: Heir to the Throne rant/idea suggestion

Post by mcv »

The Great Rings wrote:
mcv wrote: I wouldn't mind Konrad being a hawkish leader...
Please watch your attributions. While I proposed Konrad should be a bit more credible as commander, the bit about him being hawkish isn't mine.
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 agree completely. I don't think he should be a hawk, but with a whole army fighting for him and with Delfador as a mentor, I'd expect him to grow a bit more confident. Or at least give him more credible doubts. Or at the very least, less tacky dialogue.

In any case, at the Bay of Pearls, Delfador leaves him in charge of an army, which I doubt he'd do if Konrad was completely incapable of leading an army (which is how he sounds right now), and in the Isle of the Dead he manages to rally an army on his own. He's definitely showing his talent there, and it would be nice to see that reflected in the dialogue.

I just had an interesting idea: would it be possible to give him more mature dialogue as he levels up? More work, I admit, but it would be kinda cool.
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.
Interesting twist: have Delfador tell Konrad to wait until he's back before attacking, but when Konrad discovers that the mermen have been enslaved, he decides to mount the attack on his own. Maybe have him discuss this with the most experienced unit in his army, forming a plan to free the mermen and mobilise them against their captors.
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.
A bit like Joan of Arc, or basically any young and inexperienced heir that's simply needed for a cause. But in that case he shouldn't be treated as the commander in the dialogue. Have Delfador talk like he's the military commander, and when Delfador isn't around, some other unit takes his place. Only in the Isle of the Dead this won't really work. Or maybe an experienced merman can take the role of military commander there.
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.
As the campaign progresses, they certainly end up with a surplus of commanders. At the moment, Li'sar comes across as stubborn and headstrong rather than competent, though. But Kalenz could definitely show some of his combat experience. He should be great (except in the caves, where I doubt he'll ever be anything but useless).
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.
I think the atmosphere and style could use some changing. At the moment it's "any idiot can conquer a nation if you just make him the protagonist". I'd prefer a more likable protagonist, but also a bit more depth to the story. It has enormous potential (just look at the many ideas for improvement it's inspiring -- that wouldn't happen if there was nothing there), but I don't think the current dialogue does that potential justice. At the moment, it's okay, but not great. The more I read and think about it, the more I think this story has the potential to be awesome.
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.
Yes. I wholeheartedly agree on every point, except maybe one: I don't mind if the tone of the campaign would change a bit. The story does present itself a bit as if it's aimed mostly at children, and I wouldn't mind if it started out a bit more mature than that. It does have layers of complexity that show up later in the campaign. It is made clear at the end that the only reason they need Konrad is that they need someone who appears to be the legitimate heir, and Li'sar is not considered a suitable candidate. Currently these revelations drop out of thin air, and are then kind of ignored. Would be nice to play up the legitimacy of Li'sar's claim a bit more (and make her slightly less stupid please), as well as the point that Delfador and the Elvish Council only really need Konrad to overthrow Asheviere, and it's not so much about him personally.

(Now that I'm further in the campaign, my initial guesses turned out to be completely correct. I'd like it if they got a bit more attention, because right now these revelations appear a bit inconsequential. The horse clans don't get an answer about who they're really serving either.)
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.
I haven't played Northern Rebirth, but it sounds to me like Tallin is the protagonist there exactly because he just happens to be a natural born strategic genius. They do exist, but they're only discovered when there's an absolute need for them. You lose unless somebody steps up and takes charge right now. But Konrad didn't rise to the top because of any particular talent, he was simply the only availlable candidate for a role that was mostly fabricated. He doesn't really need any inborn talent or Destiny or whatever. He just needs Delfador and the elves to manipulate events so that they appear that way. But if the story goes that way, I'd like to see him have a handler at all times who does the actual commanding of the army as well as the manipulation of Konrad's appearance.
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Re: Heir to the Throne rant/idea suggestion

Post by Orcish Shyde »

While going through the dialogue with intent to mess around with it, I noted that - bizarrely - Konrad actually sounds MORE confident in Bay of Pearls if you fail to beat both leaders, when surely he'd be bolstered by the steamroller victory. Currently reversing that, among other minor changes which I ought really to list as I go along in a changelog file or something.

EDIT: Attached Orcish Shyde's Partial Rewrite of HTTT's Dialogue, Iteration 1, Done Up To "The Valley of Death".
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Re: Heir to the Throne rant/idea suggestion

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For the benefit of an incompetent computer user, could you give a brief explanation of what you do to read the file?

If it is too complex, you can just skip it,
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Re: Heir to the Throne rant/idea suggestion

Post by Zachron »

I actually like the dialogue where he seems less confident and/or less competent than he really is. It gives the sense that his leadership abilities are growing faster than he understands them to be. And he's only 16, he's going to be childish and have self-doubt, no matter how mature or confident he is. It comes with the territory.
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Re: Heir to the Throne rant/idea suggestion

Post by Orcish Shyde »

I recall he's more like 17, 18 by the end of the campaign - maybe not completely gotten over himself, but certainly old enough to stop whining and get on with the job. Particularly after Alduin, when he realises he can't run any longer and is first to say "Strike back".
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Re: Heir to the Throne rant/idea suggestion

Post by Zachron »

True, but even after epiphanies, people take a little while to change. Even after someone matures the angst takes a little while to wear off. Changing or adding dialogue towards the end of the campaign would be a good idea. Mild changes towards the middle and early dynamic portions would be okay too.
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Re: Heir to the Throne rant/idea suggestion

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Orcish Shyde wrote:While going through the dialogue with intent to mess around with it, I noted that - bizarrely - Konrad actually sounds MORE confident in Bay of Pearls if you fail to beat both leaders, when surely he'd be bolstered by the steamroller victory. Currently reversing that, among other minor changes which I ought really to list as I go along in a changelog file or something.

EDIT: Attached Orcish Shyde's Partial Rewrite of HTTT's Dialogue, Iteration 1, Done Up To "The Valley of Death".
I got a missing closing tag error when I tried to start up HTTT after pasting the attached files in the Scenario folder.
Zachron wrote:I actually like the dialogue where he seems less confident and/or less competent than he really is. It gives the sense that his leadership abilities are growing faster than he understands them to be. And he's only 16, he's going to be childish and have self-doubt, no matter how mature or confident he is. It comes with the territory.
A 16-year-old he may have been, but he wasn't living in a pampered state throughout his childhood. He was taught how to use weaponry and also had to live with the knowledge that his brothers and uncle were all slaughtered mercilessly, without having a chance to defend themselves most likely. He grew up surrounded by strong role models, like Delfador and supposedly those two Elves who defended him in the first scenario. A guy like that is supposed to be strong-minded, albeit having the potential to make a few mistakes here and there.
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Re: Heir to the Throne rant/idea suggestion

Post by Jozrael »

Jyuukenbu wrote:A guy like that is supposed to be strong-minded, albeit having the potential to make a few mistakes here and there.
I patently disagree with the logic behind this claim. Because everyone always grows up to be exactly like the role models presented to them.
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Re: Heir to the Throne rant/idea suggestion

Post by Dave »

Well as the guy who originally wrote HttT I suppose I should give my 2 cents on all of this:

The intent of the storyline was for Asheviere to be ambitious and evil and want to be married to a powerful, aggressive ruler. Failing this, she convinced her son to kill her husband. She was the queen consort, and had no right to the throne. After the death of her son, she was filled with rage and decided to try to take the throne for herself, by making her daughter the only possible heir. She had all of her nephews murdered.

The intent of the narrative at the beginning speaking as if Konrad is the true heir is to facilitate a plot twist later in the campaign. It is not meant to suggest the narrative is generally untrue or unreliable or a piece of propaganda. I think the plot twist is very interesting and adds intrigue to the storyline, a lot more so than simply revealing everything up-front.

I feel that most players are reasonable enough to understand this and won't get to the Elvish Council and then throw their arms up and say "so the entire narrative we have been told is all a LIE!!!!" However if people feel strongly about it I'm sure that we could re-work the narrative at the start of the campaign to leave the impression that Konrad is the true heir without the narrative being untrue. For instance, "Asheviere ordered her nephews all killed, but once again the Mage Delfador attempted to thwart her. He arrived safely in the land of the Elves with a child who he proclaimed to be Konrad, the youngest nephew of the late King, who he had saved from the clutches of Asheviere's soldiers."

I'm also happy with some re-work of the dialog of the campaign: I think it'd be nice to make Konrad and Li'sar's characters a little stronger, and I'm happy with demonstrating more of Asheviere's tyranny if people think that is necessary. Really though, the campaign was designed to have a very simple good vs evil storyline, was not meant to be taken too seriously, and was meant to be of a reading level appropriate for children.

Some later campaigns probably seem to contradict Heir to the Throne -- especially those that portray Orcs as good and Elves as evil, etc. It was my intent to make Wesnoth a very simple world of good and evil, but of course all that has changed long ago.

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Re: Heir to the Throne rant/idea suggestion

Post by Jyuukenbu »

Jozrael wrote:
Jyuukenbu wrote:A guy like that is supposed to be strong-minded, albeit having the potential to make a few mistakes here and there.
I patently disagree with the logic behind this claim. Because everyone always grows up to be exactly like the role models presented to them.
Well, when you got a Great Mage as your guardian throughout your entire life who can fire off friggin' lightning bolts from his hands or rod or the goddam sky or wherever, along with a bunch of Level 3 and 2 Elves helping you as you grow up, it tends to make you a bit more brave.

"What's this, a bunch of Orcs toting around these poorly-made swords are coming to invade us? Is that all? Okay, whatever, I'm not afraid. I know a couple of people who can goddam slice and dice an Orc like a pig in a few seconds. Then there's this one guy who can barbecue an Orc in a flash of lightning and that guy happens to be my goddam mentor. Not impressed at all."
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Re: Heir to the Throne rant/idea suggestion

Post by Orcish Shyde »

Jyuukenbu wrote:
Orcish Shyde wrote:While going through the dialogue with intent to mess around with it, I noted that - bizarrely - Konrad actually sounds MORE confident in Bay of Pearls if you fail to beat both leaders, when surely he'd be bolstered by the steamroller victory. Currently reversing that, among other minor changes which I ought really to list as I go along in a changelog file or something.

EDIT: Attached Orcish Shyde's Partial Rewrite of HTTT's Dialogue, Iteration 1, Done Up To "The Valley of Death".
I got a missing closing tag error when I tried to start up HTTT after pasting the attached files in the Scenario folder.
OK, I'll playtest and see what has to be fixed where. Right after replying to this thread.
Jyuukenbu wrote:
Zachron wrote:I actually like the dialogue where he seems less confident and/or less competent than he really is. It gives the sense that his leadership abilities are growing faster than he understands them to be. And he's only 16, he's going to be childish and have self-doubt, no matter how mature or confident he is. It comes with the territory.
A 16-year-old he may have been, but he wasn't living in a pampered state throughout his childhood. He was taught how to use weaponry and also had to live with the knowledge that his brothers and uncle were all slaughtered mercilessly, without having a chance to defend themselves most likely. He grew up surrounded by strong role models, like Delfador and supposedly those two Elves who defended him in the first scenario. A guy like that is supposed to be strong-minded, albeit having the potential to make a few mistakes here and there.
Yeah, I pretty much took this view. Sure he isn't entirely self-reliant, but he's like 16, you don't expect him to have fully realised what he's capable of. Hence the emphasis on all his training really kicking into gear when he reaches the Isle of Alduin and realises he has no choice but to fight.
Jyuukenbu wrote:
Jozrael wrote: I patently disagree with the logic behind this claim. Because everyone always grows up to be exactly like the role models presented to them.
Well, when you got a Great Mage as your guardian throughout your entire life who can fire off friggin' lightning bolts from his hands or rod or the goddam sky or wherever, along with a bunch of Level 3 and 2 Elves helping you as you grow up, it tends to make you a bit more brave.

"What's this, a bunch of Orcs toting around these poorly-made swords are coming to invade us? Is that all? Okay, whatever, I'm not afraid. I know a couple of people who can goddam slice and dice an Orc like a pig in a few seconds. Then there's this one guy who can barbecue an Orc in a flash of lightning and that guy happens to be my goddam mentor. Not impressed at all."
It also tends to make you a bit more reliant on your mentors rather than yourself, which even in my redub Konrad still is up until Elensefar. However I agree there's no reason why he shouldn't be trained well enough to cope without protectors, even if he doesn't realise it until they're gone.

Since Dave wrote the campaign, I'll add him to the credits of the rewrite when I add them and use his variant of "Ambiguous wording that makes it seem like it's Prince Konrad without making the narrator a liar at the end". However, I have to say, unless we all want sexism to become a major issue in the dialogue, I'd have to rule that Li'sar would be the rightful heir as King Garard's last living daughter, overriding Konrad's claim as the King's nephew - which still means Asheviere is not the lawful queen, and should have given up the throne as soon as Li'sar was ready for it, but she's the villain, what do you expect?
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Re: Heir to the Throne rant/idea suggestion

Post by The Great Rings »

Dave wrote:Well as the guy who originally wrote HttT I suppose I should give my 2 cents on all of this:

The intent of the storyline was for Asheviere to be ambitious and evil and want to be married to a powerful, aggressive ruler. Failing this, she convinced her son to kill her husband. She was the queen consort, and had no right to the throne. After the death of her son, she was filled with rage and decided to try to take the throne for herself, by making her daughter the only possible heir. She had all of her nephews murdered.

The intent of the narrative at the beginning speaking as if Konrad is the true heir is to facilitate a plot twist later in the campaign. It is not meant to suggest the narrative is generally untrue or unreliable or a piece of propaganda. I think the plot twist is very interesting and adds intrigue to the storyline, a lot more so than simply revealing everything up-front.
It potentially does, though in my personal opinion it could be better implimented. For one thing, the revellation happens at the very end of the campaign. We find out that Konrad is not really the heir. Ok, but what of it? I understand that the focus is on gameplay, and that this is not a novel, but basically we find out that everything that's happened has been based on a lie, and then... nothing.

Take the example of the Vader revelation in Star Wars. Luke finds out Vader is his father 2/3s of the way through the trilogy. This gives an entire film to deal with the characters adapting to this new knowledge, and the shift in priorities from "kill Vader" to "redeam Vader." In short, while I am hesitant to suggest such a drastic change, it might be better to have Li'sar revealed as the true Heir a few scenarios earlier, and throw in a couple lines later to show Li'sar taking on more authority and Konrad adjusting to the idea of sharing power. I'm particularly interested in what the reactions of Konrad's army would be: do they ever find out that Konrad's not the real Heir? That they've been risking their lives for a lie? How do they feel about serving Li'sar as queen? (alternatively, this could function as an entirely sepperate campaign.)

On the other hand, if only for nostalgic and historical reasons, I wouldn't want to see the original campaign suddenly dissapear. Changes like these would be drastic, and I'm not sure weather they'd be a good idea. The campaign has a certain lighthearted atmosphere to it, and I don't think that basic style should nessissarily change, nor should the basic personalities of the characters. Its just that, in its current form, the campaign is merely an adequate if fairly simple story with a few awkward moments. That's ok, but... it could be so much more.
I feel that most players are reasonable enough to understand this and won't get to the Elvish Council and then throw their arms up and say "so the entire narrative we have been told is all a LIE!!!!" However if people feel strongly about it I'm sure that we could re-work the narrative at the start of the campaign to leave the impression that Konrad is the true heir without the narrative being untrue. For instance, "Asheviere ordered her nephews all killed, but once again the Mage Delfador attempted to thwart her. He arrived safely in the land of the Elves with a child who he proclaimed to be Konrad, the youngest nephew of the late King, who he had saved from the clutches of Asheviere's soldiers."
Personally, I don't feel that this is a problem. I accept that most of the narrative we hear was true, and that Ashevier was a villain. The latter conclusion, at least, can be reached simply by observing the atrocities committed by her forces throughout the campaign.
I'm also happy with some re-work of the dialog of the campaign: I think it'd be nice to make Konrad and Li'sar's characters a little stronger, and I'm happy with demonstrating more of Asheviere's tyranny if people think that is necessary. Really though, the campaign was designed to have a very simple good vs evil storyline, was not meant to be taken too seriously, and was meant to be of a reading level appropriate for children.
Which is fine, though if that is the case, the whole Griffon Mt scene becomes a bit awkward, since griffons are supposed to be intelligent (or so I've been told). Basically, Konrad commits the same crimes as Ashevier at the Bay of Pearls (besides attempting to kill the monarch who also happens to be a blood relative). Now, you can write a brilliant story around the difficult choices that people make during war, the atrocities they attempt to justify, weather the ends justify the means, etc. But that's a much darker kind of story, and if you're going for a children's tale with simple, black and white morality, its rather awkward, at least to me. Though I suppose it has a certain iriony to it. :wink:

As far as dialog, it would be nice to see a slightly more mature Konrad, and a bit more character development over the course of the campaign (what development their is seems to happen very quickly, with little forshadow in little follow-up). Perhaps have Konrad show a little more doubt over what action to take at times, even if he ultimately decides that the ends justify the means (especially if you keep the Griffon Mt scene). Also, if you do keep the immature Konrad, consider making that more of a plot point, as opposed to just hanging their.

I don't feel, however, that Heir to the Throne requires truely drastic changes. Change it too much and it would no longer be the same story, and unlike a lot of people, I'm fine with simple morality. I just like the characters and plot to make sense. I see the story in its current form as being written with good intentions, but without the implications of the dialog and plot points being fully thought out.
Some later campaigns probably seem to contradict Heir to the Throne -- especially those that portray Orcs as good and Elves as evil, etc. It was my intent to make Wesnoth a very simple world of good and evil, but of course all that has changed long ago.

David
I really like the idea of their being some good orcs and evil elves, and I don't feel it detracts from a world of simple good and evil. Good and evil can be clear cut without being racially alligned.

Actually, I've been meaning to ask: are their any good orcs in mainline campaigns? The only one I've ever encountered was in a user-made add-on, but since as far as I am aware Wesnoth orcs are just another species (as opposed to dark magic beings like undead), it doesn't make sense for them to be uniformly evil.
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