Monday, November 15, 2010

The Hussite Wars: Final Thoughts

I've mentioned the importance of individuals both in starting wars and in fighting wars.

I've mentioned naming conventions and how things are named after people. The Orebites, after Zizka's death, labelled themselves 'The Orpahns', because of the loss they had suffered. People have historically had names that might sound odd even at a gaming table. For example, the successors to Jan Zikka, Prokop the Great and Prokop the lesser. The Great and the Lesser? I know which one I'm going after first.

Don't know if I'm mentioned the use of heraldry or how important it could be. The Hussites used a few symbols. These went on their shields, surcoats, and horse barding usually. Symbols include the chalice and a goose. Some illustrations combine the two. I can't imagine a player today using a goose as his herald symbol but there it is in history.

Women: Don't know if I mentioned it before, but women fought in the Hussite armies. Yeah, Women At Work In Medieval Europe points out women doctors on the field of battle and the Hussite armies bring the peasant women with them into the actual field of combat.

Historical importance: The events of the time may leave their mark on the landscape for centuries to come. Jan has several statues dedicated to him. Some of the ideas and issues of the initial Hussite Heresy come to the foreground in the Reformation. In a fantasy game, it would probably go a lot further.

For example, magic items.  The Mace of Zizka could be a high powered Rod of Lordly Might. When he died he supposedly ordered his men make a drum out of his skin and beat it at the front of the Hussite Army. Drum of Zizka? Oh yeah. Anything a hero uses could be said to be of his power and by taking those names and events into the campaign, the GM can turn even a +1 item into something a bit more.

Now mind you this won't work in a magic item heavy campagin because the players will still turn in that Mace of Zizka if it's just a +1 mace and it's easier to get a +2 mace, but if the mace is used to improve moral, build troops, and other non-combat activities, even if it's not as powerful, it has greater appeal.

Artwork: The material by Angus is up to his usual standards.  Several powerful illustrations of the movers and shakers of the time as well as an excellent illustration of a war wagon.

The Hussite Wars showcase how one event can lead to others and to decades of warfare and in doing so, sparks the imagination with wonder and awe at the strength of the principle characters brought to the foreground in its wake.