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Fan mod design project: the Hylar


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#1 Beren IV

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 05:43 AM

I suppose that this is the first of my "not TLA-related" discussions, although in this case I guess that it is. When TLA is ready, has its economic system in place, etc., I would like to mod a new civilization and add it to those that already exist in-game: the Hylar. The purpose of this thread is to draft ideas for the Hylarin economic system, their buildings and their units, technologies, and other attributes relevant to the game. I intend for this civilization to be able to easily fit in with the other TLA civilizations; thus, they will not have any wierd units or other traits that would make them 'feel' any different from those we already have.

All suggestions and comments are welcome; I hope we can start a lively and interesting discussion! ;)

Here is the story basis:

The Hylar are a culture of largely Sindarin heritage (with a small amount of Edain mixed in) that migrated east out of Beleriand before the end of the First Age, and eventually came to dwell far to the east of most of the civilizations we know of in Middle-Earth, hence their non-appearance in the books (technically, Rhûn means "east", but they live farther east even than what we think of as the "eastern" parts of Middle-Earth. If Middle-Earth were analgous to Europe and Harad to the Middle-East, the Hylar would live in India or even China). They were, however, among the civilizations touched by the Blue Wizards. Culturally, the Hylar are closely related to their Sindar ancestors, and their language, Hylarin, is very similar to Sindarin, almost to the point of being mutually intelligible, although there are a few noted differences.

The Hylar were a significant civilization throughout the Second and Third Ages, although they grew and faded in power and were nearly wiped out several times. The Hylar were vaguely aware of Sauron for much of their history, and they participated in the great wars of the Second and Third Ages, having been a significant part of the Last Alliance near the end of the Second Age. At the end of the Third Age, they were again at war with the Forces of Darkness in the service of and allied to Sauron, but the peoples of the West know little of them largely because of the multi-front nature of the War of the Ring; like the Woodland Realm, Esgaroth, Dale, and Erebor, they fought their wars close to and on their own lands, and did little to aid the Quest of Mount Doom or the Kingdoms of Men apart from providing yet another front to keep Sauron distracted and draw off his military strength that might otherwise have been sent west of Mordor instead of east. In the Fourth Age, the Hylar continued to exist in Arda and remained for a great period of time, but their culture was slowly united with people of Mannish kindred that lived in and around their lands.

Economically, the Hylar were more involved in trade and other forms of interaction with the local peoples with whom they shared the East, including a number of Mannish peoples, Durin's folk in the Iron Hills and other Dwarven houses farther east, Khand, Dorwinion, and occasionally the Haradrim and even Númenor at its height. They also were capable sailors, and occasionally traded with the Elves of Lindon up and down the coast, but their contact with Gondor, Umbar, and Dunland took place largely under the banner of Lindon and not their own. Like the Sindar, the Hylar only rarely felled trees and so required large tracts of forest in order to have enough timber to support their civilization. This need for land resulted in much of the conflicts that almost proved their destruction. They were fond of jewelry and precious stones, and were able miners of such items, but they did less with metals. Their food was grown most commonly in orchards or hunted. Their more permanant buildings they built out of stone, but their dwellings were most often wooden. They gathered wine, and were very curious and adept at natural history. Although, like all other cultures of Elves, the Hylar were long-lived and slow to multiply, they valued their population more than other Elven cultures in the Second and especially the Third Ages, and thus their birth rate never declined.

The Hylarin military, like their Sindarin forebears, depended heavily on infantry, but unlike the Sindar, they did use cavalry, especially for scouting and as mounted archers, but their cavalry almost never wore heavy armor, making them fairly easy prey for archers on foot when they did not have the element of surprise. They relied heavily on bows as their main weapons, and their common shock troops used spears, but they did posses an elite force of skirmishers armed with both sword and bow. Like other Elven cultures, they used music to strengthen their morale and raise their prowess against their enemies, and the weapons they used were of special make. The Hylar, especially their leaders, were less sexually segregated than most other cultures of Arda, even compared to other Elves, including in their militaries. Last, citizenry also were better armed than those of most other civilizations, and their societies usually needed little of a basic guarding force.

For the most part, the Hylar did not develop sophistocated crafts like the Noldor, although they did have special arts, that gifted their lords and ladies with military and other equipment of surpassing quality even compared to the Noldor, although their crafts were more like their ancestors among the Sindar of their more common people. However, they exceled in their knowledge of animals and plants, which they used to care for their lands in such a way as to have ample basic commodities and did not use up their resources, so could sustain their people and continue to raise their levies. Unlike many other Elven peoples, the Hylar did not think of themselves as immortal because they accept that each nír and nís would one day inevitably be slain, as all of their early founders were in Beleriand or in their journey eastwards to their present home. They therefore developed arts by which the memory of their forebears could be retained and known to their children, and they married young and had larger families than is most usual for Elves.


Proposed commodities:
Food
Wood
Gold
Wisdom

Proposed usable goods (**can produce; *cannot produce but has technologies):
Iron
Mithril*
Leather*
Jewelry**
Wine**
Knowledge**
Horses*
Silver*
Gems**

Proposed Units:
Citizen
Student*
Banner-bearer
Harper
Herald
Guard
Spearman
Marchwarden
Archer
Mounted Scout
Mounted Archer
Lord

*Most of the units are self-explanatory, but the student is one special unit of the Hylar. The student is a unit costing wisdom at the University and fills a large number of roles. A student generally functions as a citizen, although better at gathering knowledge. Any student can be tasked to any resource or unit-producing building and, after a time, it can become a master of a skill corresponding to that building at an additional wisdom cost. If the building was for resource gathering, the student is now much more effective at gathering said resource, moreso than a normal citizen. If the building produces units, the master can become one of any unit the building can produce (the wisdom cost varies depending upon the unit), but still retains all of the abilities of a student. For most units (other than the marchwarden or lord), the new master is generally better than the normal unit it is emulating. Students, like citizens, can be male or female, and retain their sexes even after they have acquired the ability to function as something else.

Proposed Buildings:
Living Hall (produces citizen, harper, guard, herald; gathers all resources)
Dwelling
Mineshaft (gathers gold and gems
Timber Camp (gathers wood)
Guildhouse (produces jewelery)
Marketplace (self-explanatory)
Orchard (produces food)
Vinyard (produces wine)
Conservatory (heals if tended by harper; gathers knowledge if by citizen or student)
Library (gathers wisdom)
University (produces student)
School of War (produces banner-bearer, spearman, marchwarden, archer)
Outpost (produces mounted scout, mounted archer; fires arrows)
Castle (produces lord, deposits all resources)

Proposed Technologies:

Living Hall:
Elven Skill (Increases citizen/student gather rate)
Elven Talent (Increases citizen building rate)
Winemaking (Increases Wine production rate)
Wine Aging (Increases bonus of Wine)
Ainulindalë (Increases effects of Harpers)
Foriegn Relations (Improves relations with minor civilizations)

Guildhouse:
Gemcutting (Increases benefits of Jewelry)
Gem-lore (Increases bonus of Gems)
Minerology (Increases Gem production rate)
Silverwork (Increses boni of Silver and Mithril)

Conservatory:
Elven Empathy (Increases healing effect)
Grace of the Valar (Decreases Food cost of all units)

Libary:
Valaquenta (Increases Knowledge gather rate)
Scholarship (Increases Wisdom gather rate)
Secrets of Lúthien (Decreases cost of Students)

University:
Lore of Kelvar [a.k.a. zoology] (Increase Wisdom gather rate; allows Hunting and cavalry-related upgrades)
Lore of Olvar [a.k.a. botany] (Increases Wisdom gather rate; allows Timber Camp and Orchard upgrades)
Lore of Cemen [a.k.a. geology] (Increases Wisdom gather rate; allows Mine Shaft upgrades)
Tapestry of Vairë (Increases benefits of Knowledge)

School of War:
Tactics (Increases Military Attack)
Strategy (Increases Military Hack and Pierce armor)
Military Organization (Decreases cost of Banner-bearers, Heralds, and Harpers)

Outpost:
Fortification (Increases building hit points)
Accuracy (Increases building attack)
Reconasaince (Improves all stats of Mounted Scout and Mounted Archer)

Castle:
Diplomacy (Increases relations with initially friendly civilizations)
Legends of Heroes (Increases benefits of Harpers, Lords, Leaders, and Heroes)

Edited by Beren IV, 29 June 2006 - 05:44 AM.

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#2 rohirwine

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 10:50 AM

Well, this sounds interesting, the point is that we do not know if TLA will strictly follow the "Age of *****" economic kind of mechanics... ;) :) :P
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#3 Deacon_Raptor

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 01:14 PM

rofl@ Age of *******.

At the end of the Third Age, they were again at war with the Forces of Darkness in the service of and allied to Sauron, but the peoples of the West know little of them largely because of the multi-front nature of the War of the Ring; like the Woodland Realm, Esgaroth, Dale, and Erebor, they fought their wars close to and on their own lands, and did little to aid the Quest of Mount Doom or the Kingdoms of Men apart from providing yet another front to keep Sauron distracted and draw off his military strength that might otherwise have been sent west of Mordor instead of east.


I haven't read it all yet but I felt I just had to comment on this. It's a shame that Tolkien never explored expanding the mythos of the rest of the war. As you note, the War of the Ring was a MASSIVE war, and there were many fronts that he only hinted at. It would have been fascinating if he had gone back and done like even a short story on, say, the Erebor front. It would've been interesting to "visit" Erebor again after the Hobbit.

I'm not saying he didn't do enough as it was - and he had his hands full anyway splitting his attention between Frodo and the Ring-quest vs Aragon and the undead vs Gandalf and Gondor. It would have been crazy for him to add yet a FOURTH front to LotR - I'm just saying it's a shame nothing concrete (that I know about anyway) exists about the other fronts.

I'll read over the rest of this later and give more input.
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#4 Beren IV

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Posted 02 July 2006 - 02:24 AM

I thought that the research idea had been fairly worked: that there would be research areas, that were researched continuously, and that the benefits followed an S-curve, and that one could only research three at a time. This is what Adam said - I know he's gone, now, but that was a very innovative idea; the only place I have seen anything like it is in Master of Orion III, and I hope it isn't being discarded! ;)

Edited by Beren IV, 02 July 2006 - 04:51 AM.

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#5 dathui

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 07:54 AM

in the first installation it probably won't appear(we haven't actually decided yet but i doubt it will), but don't worry. It hasn't gone away.
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#6 rohirwine

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 02:20 PM

I thought that the research idea had been fairly worked: that there would be research areas, that were researched continuously, and that the benefits followed an S-curve, and that one could only research three at a time. This is what Adam said - I know he's gone, now, but that was a very innovative idea; the only place I have seen anything like it is in Master of Orion III, and I hope it isn't being discarded! :)


Well, actually in Imperialism II you could research onlt three (or four?) techs at a time as well... ;)
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#7 Beren IV

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 06:59 PM

I was referring more specifically to the fact that you have to divide your resources (and time!) among different tech directions, that are researched continuously, and although they enable individual quantifiable upgrades they themselves provide long-term benefits, and the direction you choose allows you to customize your civilization.
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#8 Enarwaen

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 08:00 AM

this feature is still in the design document - although it won't make it into Nern Ennorath ... so don't worry
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#9 Rinion

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Posted 17 September 2006 - 08:23 AM

Are there any magical aspects to the Hylar?
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#10 Beren IV

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 02:00 AM

I am not sure that I understand what you mean. What do you mean "magical aspects?"

The Hylar in TLA will be similarly magical to other Elven civilizations of Arda. Unlike some of the cultures of western Middle Earth, the decline of the knowledge and arts of the Hylar do not decline as much with time, so they are probably among the most magical civilizations in Arda in the Second and Third Ages, but they are not strange or unusual in comparison to First Age Elven civilizations. As such, they have abundant arts and crafts and in particular powers that allow them to live easily off of the bounty of nature, and their technologies reflect this: they have Elven Empathy, Grace of the Valar, and the Secrets of Lúthien, all of which augment their civilization in ways that could be considered magical. I do not intend to include any magic-using units for the Hylar other than those that other Elven civilizations already possess, such as the Harper. The Student, I suppose, is something of a magical oddity in that it can be bred with a cost only of wisdom and thus gives the Hylar far more rapid regenerative/reproductive capabilities than other Elven cultures, but students will not hurl fireballs or anything like that.

Now, if I am making the Hylar for a different game engine - say, Age of Wonders or Warlords - they will be more overtly magical, more like the races, particularly the Elven races, of the other game. Again, the Hylar will be more magical than just about any culture of Elves that is contemporary to them, but will not be much more magical to the Noldor or the Sindar in the First Age.
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#11 amish13

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 11:23 AM

I like this idea, the concept of the student is very original.
About the elves being "Magical", I don't they should because Tolkien himself said that what the elves to should not be mistaken as magic, it is rather their knowledge and grace which enables them to do what they do.
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#12 Beren IV

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Posted 01 February 2009 - 08:37 PM

The student concept is supposed to represent a combination of several attributes of the Hylar, including their scholarship, the relatively egalitarian nature of their society, and also their rapid birth rate. :)

About the elves being "Magical", I don't they should because Tolkien himself said that what the elves to should not be mistaken as magic, it is rather their knowledge and grace which enables them to do what they do.


Tolkien in his later years said that - in The Hobbit, he just goes ahead and calls the Elves' powers magic (ditto for the early versions of the Silmarillion, too).

My point, however, was this: the Hylar are intended to be about as fantastical a people as are the Sindar of the First Age. The fantastical element in Arda fades with passing ages, but the Hylar resist this trend better than anybody else. As a consequence, in the Third Age, the Hylar will be the most fantastical civilization in the game - but would only be roughly average if set among the various First Age civilizations.
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