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Topics - Jubal

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1
Adonibal Barca Threads / > ADONIBAL: Read for a bit
« on: August 22, 2017, 11:26:21 PM »
You head under a nearby PALM TREE, and READ part of Exilian: A History. You read about the great religions of Exilian's past, including PRE-SCHISM BUNNYISM, REFORMED BUNNYISM, ORTHODOX BUNNYISM, and of course SUPREME LORD KRISHNA whose robotic acolytes claimed to supersede all the BUNNYISMS and offer SUPREME PEACE. Whilst SUPREME PEACE sounds good, you're not sure to what extent it was really a replacement for Lord Bunneh's offerings of CARROTS or LETTUCE. You consider offering up a prayer for your current predicament, lost on a strange and deserted SHORE, but it's hard to decide which deity or deity-variant to worship, and so you may as well go do something more practical for now at least.

What will that be?

> ADONIBAL: Head for the beach
> ADONIBAL: Be Captainly


INVENTORY
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

2
Adonibal Barca Threads / > ADONIBAL: Read for a bit
« on: August 22, 2017, 11:24:47 PM »
You head under a nearby PALM TREE, and READ part of Exilian: A History. You discover the ancient tales of the EARLY REPUBLIC and its EXILE, and the foundation of the DEMOCRACY OF EXILIAN. As a pangolin, you approve of DEMOCRACY, as long as it isn't too noisy and you still have somewhere to CURL UP IN A BALL afterwards. You find that the next chapter is on the CONSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT of Exilian, and realise that as you are not a specialist in CONSTITUTIONAL LAW or ROMAN LAW you may need to do something else for a bit.

Will you...

> ADONIBAL: Head for the beach
> ADONIBAL: Be Captainly


INVENTORY
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

3
Adonibal Barca Threads / > ADONIBAL: Read for a bit
« on: August 22, 2017, 11:24:40 PM »
You head under a nearby PALM TREE, and READ part of Exilian: A History. You come across the early ancient tales of Wibulnubniblia, and the Wibulnib peoples who came down from the HILLS with their tools of CHEAP CIDER and DUBIOUSLY WRITTEN SIGNPOSTS in order to wage WAR. You wonder how things in the world could have been different had the WIBULNIBS prevailed. You suspect it might have involved more cider and less prescriptive grammar rules, but you're not actually sure.

> ADONIBAL: Head for the beach
> ADONIBAL: Be Captainly


INVENTORY
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

4
Adonibal Barca Threads / > MOONSHINE: Go east
« on: August 21, 2017, 11:47:53 PM »
You and your sailors head EAST, where the ground rises on either side into a rock-sided VALLEY. The slope to the north is a little less steep and you may be able to scramble OVER it, whereas that to the south is a flat, tall cliff face.

Where will you and your brave SAILORS go next, O Great Leader?

> MOONSHINE: Go north up the rocks


INVENTORY
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

5
Adonibal Barca Threads / > MOONSHINE: Go north up the rocks
« on: August 21, 2017, 11:47:28 PM »
You and your PORTUGESE SAILORS scramble northwards over the rocks and out of the valley; on the other side, the hill slopes down to the sea, and continues along a ridge to a headland some way west. West - yes, that west where your ship is. You could RETURN TO CAMP from here. What will you do?

What now?

> MOONSHINE: Return to camp


INVENTORY
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

6
Adonibal Barca Threads / > MOONSHINE: Return to camp
« on: August 21, 2017, 11:45:13 PM »
You return to the headland, with all your SAILORS still with you and still alive but having ultimately made little real progress at all. You could report back to ADONIBAL now so he can reconsider plans, or you could SET OFF again back into the interior.

What now?

> ADONIBAL: Reconsider plans
> MOONSHINE: Set off



INVENTORY
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

7
Adonibal Barca Threads / > ADONIBAL: Reconsider Plans
« on: August 21, 2017, 11:30:33 PM »
You sit on the headland overlooking your SHIP, and rack your brains, your previous ideas having not come to fruition in any way. How on earth will you manage to scout the island's interior successfully? What treasure or danger might lie within? Will it blend? These questions may keep you up for days to come, but you may not have days - it is time to reconsider your PLANS, dear PANGOLIN. Or possibly that should be... PLANGOLIN.

*Editor's note: at this point the fictitious interlocutive narrator of this story threw down her script in disgust and threatened to quit at the poor quality of puns on offer. We told her we punderstood her issues and have increased her job benefits to include FREE MINT TEABAGS and a PERSONAL ECHIDNA.*

Anyway, where were we? Planning! There's planning to do! Reconsider your plans, ADONIBAL BARCA, and do it fast!

> ADONIBAL: Send MOONSHINE ARGENT
> ADONIBAL: Head to the beach


INVENTORY
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

8
Adonibal Barca Threads / > ADONIBAL: Send MOONSHINE ARGENT
« on: August 21, 2017, 11:24:15 PM »
You consider sending MOONSHINE ARGENT with a group of sailors. The dog-like creature has been a loyal companion to you for some years, not too bright but good at finding a scent and always loyal to a fault. You can send six of your PORTUGESE SAILORS with him. He is carrying a small PICKAROON as a weapon, and also has some MINT TEABAGS and a KETTLE in his inventory.

> MOONSHINE: Set off
> ADONIBAL: Reconsider Plans



INVENTORY
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

9
Adonibal Barca Threads / > MOONSHINE: Set off
« on: August 21, 2017, 11:22:52 PM »
You are MOONSHINE ARGENT, a WEREWOLF and loyal crewmember of ADONIBAL BARCA. You bid farewell to your CAPTAIN and fellow CREW MEMBERS, and lead your team of six PORTUGESE SAILORS away from the BEACH and into the INTERIOR of this strange land.

You come to a large BOULDER, with animal-trodden trackways heading in various directions. Which path will you go down?

> MOONSHINE: Go south
> MOONSHINE: Go east


INVENTORY
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

10
Adonibal Barca Threads / > MOONSHINE: Go south***
« on: August 21, 2017, 11:21:52 PM »
You head SOUTH, and come across a large sleeping beast. It appears to be a rare GREATER JERBOA such as are sometimes found in these strange parts. It is blocking the entrance to a CAVE. How will you deal with this menace?


INVENTORY
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

11
Adonibal Barca Threads / > ADONIBAL: Make Plans
« on: August 21, 2017, 11:17:03 PM »
You head up to a nearby headland overlooking your moored ship, and start to MAKE PLANS with your 18 crew members. You realise that you will need to SCOUT the island. You could go yourself, or send one of your subordinates MEOWMOTH GOLDEN and MOONSHINE ARGENT, a werecat boatswain and werewolf first mate respectively.

> ADONIBAL: Send MOONSHINE ARGENT
> ADONIBAL: Head for the beach


INVENTORY
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

12
Narnia Total War / Developers' Notes: Surval
« on: August 20, 2017, 11:56:34 PM »
Surval: Dev Notes

Surval was the faction I was least happy with in the original Narnia: Total War, and that unease grew if anything over time - indeed it's one of the things that motivated me to go back and make some tweaks to the mod. The problem, put simply, is that Surval didn't feel coherent as a culture. It was a very 19th century adventure story style idea of a "tribal culture" - literally, the original description for it used the word tribal about four times in three sentences. The body-painted, fierce jungle warriors that were conjured up for it felt strangely shallow compared to what I'd done with the other cultures. Erin's mercantile tribal confederacy on the fringes of a great empire, or Munesh's strangely constitutional religious townships, seemed to have a logic that fitted in with the world around them, whereas Surval felt two-dimensional by contrast, a strange blurred mishmash of the pop-culture highlights of west Africa, southern Africa, and the Caribbean world. As such, it was time to change it.

I didn't want to ditch Surval altogether: indeed I wanted it to mirror Narnia itself rather more, in the sense of showing a culture in harmony with its natural environment and living alongside the landscape, rather than either shifting too sharply to a "naturalist" approach that failed to distinguish between people and landscape or shifting on the other hand to imposing the more city-centric cultures of Calormen or Munesh onto the region. As such, I made the decision to drag Surval down toward a single real-world culture to help build some coherence. The obvious choice, in line with the equipment style of Surval's troops (which would've been almost impossible to change), was the culture of the Zulu people. I'd already rather ignorantly used the term "impi" for some of the Surval warriors - but now it felt like time to do the research and make something that felt considerably more coherent. I'm not sure that what I've ended up with is anywhere near good let alone perfect, but it certainly feels like a much more coherent cultural representation than it used to. It's of course not meant to be entirely "accurate" - it's still very explicitly a fantasy, but with a more specific and hopefully more effective invocation of place involved. Hopefully rather than, as I increasingly felt was previously the case, just concocting a shambling parody of a culture as contrast to its neighbours, it feels like introducing an actual new culture to the (of course flawed) magic of Narnia.

The Background

Rather than "tribes" or defaulting to the eurocentric king/kingdom model, Surval now uses the Zulu term "umbuso" for its existence as a political unit and "inkosi" for its leaders. Inkosi seems to be normally translated as "king" into English, and of course the modern Zulu culture and terminologies are heavily influenced by colonial-era British and Dutch settlement and tensions (the word "chief" is according to some things I've read deprecated in modern Zulu culture as a result of its heavy and regularised use by colonial authorities). It's worth remembering that the Zulu culture reflected in Surval is that formed and welded together from the end of the eighteenth century onwards (making it arguably anachronistic, as I discuss a bit regarding troop types). I've basically purged "tribal" as an adjective, and renamed several units to better reflect more specific organisational principles: an Impi, for example, is properly speaking literally any body of armed men, and the groups of C19th Zulu warriors often referred to as an Impi may have been better referred to as a formal regiment or "Ibutho". I've reflected this distinction such that the basic levied troops are referred to as an impi, with "Ibutho" referring to the tougher, more disciplined regularised units.

In terms of mythology, the idea of ancestor spirits is strong within Zulu society to this day, with communication being shared between a Sangoma (diviner) who makes the contact, and an Inyanga (herbalist) whose creations can cause the spirits to do certain things for good or ill. This core two-part principle is now written into Surval's attitudes to magic; the unit formerly called "Zloranti" are now reinvented as "Cursed Ones" who have been influenced by particular herbal potions and are controlled by a Sangoma on the battlefield. I've been toying with the idea of adding centaurs to Surval, and I may yet do so, though I'm not sure they'd add much and I don't want to balance the forces too far towards cavalry-type units. Unfortunately I've been able to find relatively little about actual Zulu mythical beasts, though there are gremlin-type beings called "Tikoloshe" which might provide a possible unit type.

Of course, the other major area to change was names: the Surval characters all now have Zulu names rather than proto-Armenian ones as was the case in the old version!

The Landscape

Surval, despite the rhetoric of it being "deep jungle" was a very flat plains region on the old campaign map with occasional trees. The new landscape is considerably more rugged: the core starting province centres around a long river valley that cuts through the surrounding hills and westward to the sea. Rather than Surval simply being some strange infested forest, it is now more clearly somewhat geographically isolated, giving a much more natural gap of hills and badlands between it and Munesh to the north, and with each of its provinces varying between river valleys and higher hill country. I haven't renamed the cities on the assumption that everywhere in Narnia probably has Narnicised (aka Anglicised) name versions anyway and I'd need to do a lot of rethinking to sort that out for the whole map.

Troops & Visuals

In some ways the visuals for Surval haven't changed too much - but I think the ways they have done are important. One unit is gone from the roster - the head hurlers, who can still be found as a rebel unit in one mountain region but I felt didn't fit with the more realistic, communitarian culture I was building for Surval. The white "tribal paint" was the other main thing to go since I wanted to move away from the "horde of tribal warriors" awkwardness. Differences between units are now being marked out more by their equipment and the choice of eg furs worn around the belt. The basic spear-armed, large shielded troops are still the backbone of the army, with spear-throwing hunters, light cavalry on tamed zebras, and elephant riders as flanking and support units. There's also the unusual "cursed ones" unit which is more my own invention (and which I'm not sure fits the new developments for the army that well, but I'm keeping it for now).

One decision I did make was to give the Impi and Ibutho a sort of basic woven armour across the torso - this is as far as I know inaccurate for modern era Zulu warriors, but of course it would have made no sense to develop a potentially cumbersome defence against slashing/stabbing attacks when one's main enemies were using guns. This phenomenon is documented in North America, where the classic half-naked image we have of native American warriors was actually in part an adaptation to facing firearms, ditching cumbersome traditional armours and focusing on being able to move more easily and drop to the ground fast if necessary. As such, in the firearm-free world of Narnia I think it's reasonable that our basic troops may have developed some light armour to use.

Of course there was also the question of what to keep. I decided that the zebra-based cavalry and elephants were too iconic to lose, though both units were renamed - the zebra riders, with the same light armour as the impi infantry, now simply have the word for "zebra" appended to become "idube-impi", whereas the elephant is likewise given the language appropriate name of indlovu. The elite riders are now guards, or "onogada". I am very aware that I've probably been super inconsistent with singulars and plurals, especially since Zulu does its plurals by amending the front of the word (the plural of inkosi is amakhosi for example, and that of ibutho is amabutho), but hopefully the meanings and feeling of the terms is clear enough. The elephant has also had a graphical update - the throw on its back has been given a colourful Zulu textile pattern, which I'd like to think links the communities of village and township from which these people have come a bit more closely with the troops we see on the battlefield. I think the mounted units do help bring some diversity into the army tactically and I hope their redesign brings them more into theme with the army as a while.

13
Quote


A planetary takeover by ocean-dwelling algae 650 million years ago was the kick that transformed life on Earth.

That's what geochemists argue in Nature this week, on the basis of invisibly small traces of biomolecules dug up from beneath the Australian desert.

The molecules mark an explosion in the quantity of algae in the oceans. This in turn fuelled a change in the food web that allowed the first microscopic animals to evolve, the authors suggest.

"This is one the most profound ecological and evolutionary transitions in Earth's history," lead researcher Jochen Brocks told the BBC's Science in Action programme.
http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-40948972

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15
Adonibal Barca Threads / > ADONIBAL: Head for the beach
« on: August 18, 2017, 11:32:15 PM »
You are on a shore, somewhere SOUTH of your initial position. There are NUTRITIOUS BEETLES in the water here, and PALM TREES nearby. It is very tranquil and peaceful.

> ADONIBAL: Eat Beetles
> ADONIBAL: Be Captainly
> ADONIBAL: Read for a bit


INVENTORY
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

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