Posts Tagged ‘Bohdan Khmelnytsky’

Grumble, Grumble

November 3, 2014

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad they are adding things to the holidays. But this Contender suit thing for Day of the Dead is not my cup of tea. I logged on and bought one … then when I realized that I have to duel other people who are wearing the suits in order to get the achievement I said ‘screw this’ and logged back off. Sure, at some point a friend will need the achievement too and want to trade duels. (I probably should have bought one on Alliance too just in case … oops.) But I don’t care enough about random achievement points to bother with it until then.

In other news … I hadn’t taken the other obsession far enough yet, so I bought a print of Khmelnytsky to hang on my wall. Now he watches over my campaign for Cossack domination.

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I walked into the main hall at Chernigov the other day and was greeted by this large gathering of Cossack colonels. Someone’s city is going to be in big trouble when this group shows up to start a siege.

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Obsession

September 8, 2014

When does an interest or hobby cross over into obsession? And is it necessarily always a *bad* thing? I know you all know what I am talking about here. I’m sure we all have some sort of WoW memorabilia, many of you have gone to Blizzcon, you’ve had guild meetups, etc. Heck, my old guild all went to Disney World together.

So I’m probably preaching to the choir here, but … I want to talk about my With Fire and Sword obsession (again). And yes, I have reasons for why it’s a good thing instead of a bad thing. Hear me out.

My main point here is that it has actually gotten me *away* from the computer. Sounds crazy when you look at my Steam profile and see that I have spent 300 hours playing the game. Ok fine. But I’ve done several things other than play the game.

I’ve spent a lot of time on Wikipedia, learning about the Khmelnytsky Uprising, Cossacks, the Polish Commonwealth, the Ukraine, and vodka. Ok, maybe that wasn’t ‘away from the computer’ but it was learning! Give me a break here eh?

I’ve read the book With Fire and Sword by Henryk Sienkiewicz.

I’ve watched the Jerzy Hoffman movie, in Polish with subtitles. My mom hates subtitles and is annoyed that I always turn them on, but even in regular programming it’s easy to miss what someone says … not so much if I can read it at the same time. Plus, with this, it’s a great way to learn some of the pronunciations. Skrzetuski sounds NOTHING like it is spelled. I mean, the -tuski part does but the first part is not even close.

I bought some vodka. That could possibly go under the ‘bad’ category, but hey, it got me out of the house and to the liquor store, right?

Then, on Saturday as I was going to the grocery store, I saw a banner for a Ukrainian festival. As luck would have it, it was happening on Sunday (yesterday) at a nearby Ukrainian Catholic Church. You KNOW I had to go. HAD. TO. It was a perfect day for it, too … 70 and sunny. Just gorgeous. They had Ukrainian music playing and of course plenty of Ukrainian food. I ate pyrogys, kielbasa, cabbage rolls, and sauerkraut. I washed it down with Obolon, a brand of beer brewed in Kyiv.

They had all kinds of things for sale, too. Ethnic costumes, the little decorated eggs, beaded jewelry, decals for your car, scarves, hats, flasks, t-shirts … you name it, they had it, with a Ukrainian flag or symbol on it. I bought these colorful coasters because I’ve been moving the one that I had back and forth between the computer desk and the end table next to the easy chair, so I *needed* them.

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I bought this magnet for my fridge in the shape of modern-day Ukraine, in the colors of the flag and with all of the ‘states’ outlined. Except they don’t call them states there, I forgot the word, I think it starts with O …(brb wiki) … ah yes, oblasts.

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They also had CDs. Even better, they are in MP3 format so there are really 5 full CDs on each disk. Only problem was, well … I definitely can’t read Ukrainian. So I have no idea what’s actually on any of them. How am I going to pick one out? Well, in the end it was quite easy, because this one …

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has a picture of the statue of Khmelnytsky that stands in Kyiv, so I bought it as much for the photo as I did for the music.

So … obsessed? Yeah maybe. But is it really so bad to immerse myself in the history and culture of something REAL?

AFK, working on my winged hussar Halloween costume.

My First Siege!

August 7, 2014

Last night, I noticed that Minsk had been besieged enough recently to severely deplete its garrison. It was down to less than 100 defenders. I had 120 men or so in my army, but I was afraid that would be cutting it too close. After all, my personal specialty is cavalry, and while that extra long Hussar lance is superbly effective when mounted, it is a clumsy hindrance on foot. So I rode back over towards Cossack lands in hopes of finding assistance. As I drew near Chernigov, who should I see but my favourite buddy Les’ Gritsenko patrolling the area. In the past when I had chosen the dialog ‘Would you follow me? I have some ideas …’ the answer would be ‘That would hardly be appropriate, why don’t you follow me instead.’ But my renown has grown to the point where it is higher than many of the other Cossacks, so this time, he said something like ‘Lead the way. Together we will bring mayhem to our enemies.’

So, with Les’ following, I rode back to Minsk and blew a hole in the wall. We entered the city and fought off all of the defenders. The fortress was ours! Or rather, mine. I was given the option to request that it be awarded to me. Since my relationship with Hetman Hmelnitski is 100 and I led the attack, I had faith that he would give it to me anyway, so I chose not to ask for it. Within a few minutes, I received notice that he awarded it to me … although I was also given the option to accept or reject it. Of course, accepting it meant I was expected to defend it, which … well … 900 Poles showed up to take it back before I could even begin to get the garrison built back up, so it was only mine for a day or two. But still … now that others will follow me, I will be able to lead more of my own sieges! Well … once Colonel Jan Skrzetuski releases me from captivity, that is. /sigh

Charge!

July 22, 2014

Who knew being a Cossack would be so much fun?

A couple of weekends ago, I was on Steam deciding which game to play, when I noticed that something called Mount & Blade: Warband was free to play for the weekend. I vaguely recalled seeing the title somewhere else and thinking it might be interesting, so I downloaded it. I had so much fun with it that I bought the complete set of Mount & Blade titles before the free time was even up.

Warband is fun but it takes place in a made-up land. The newest title in the series, though, Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword, takes place in Eastern Europe in the 17th century. The Cossack Hetmanate, led by Hetman Bogdan Hmelnitski (Bohdan Khmelnytsky if you look him up on Wikipedia) and situated in the area of modern Ukraine, had risen up against their rulers in the Polish Commonwealth. At the end of that uprising they signed the Treaty of Pereyaslav (Pereiaslav … spellings differ because all of it is translated from Cyrillic Script which is a completely different alphabet than what we are used to in the Western hemisphere) which allied them with Muscovy, although in reality they ended up being their subjects rather than allies and did not obtain actual independence until the fall of the USSR. The game starts in 1655, right after the signing of this treaty. This is a chance for the player to either join up with one of the large powers and bring the Cossacks under their control, or to change history and give them the autonomy they so desperately wanted.

Ok, that was all probably WAY more history than any of you care about, but I spent many hours playing Koei’s historical simulations, have a degree in history, and spent most of jr. high and high school on the back of a horse, so yeah … this game is SO right up my alley.

The game drops you off near Smolensk in Polish territory, and you are instructed to go around and do little jobs like take out bandits and protect trade caravans while you get to know some of the lords and decide who you would like to support… if anyone. You can totally play as a neutral mercenary if you so desire. Eventually, my dude was given a quest that took him to see Company Commander Les’ Gritsenko of the Cossack Hetmanate and as soon as I met him I knew I was going to dedicate my service to the Cossacks.

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Why him? I dunno, I just like him. All of the NPCs use the same lines, so it’s not like his personality is any different or anything. He’s just my favorite guy. So of course, I made a second game with myself as a female character. This does change the game somewhat, but not like I was hoping … it’s not the Sims.

As a dude, all I had to do is get on favorable terms with Hetman Hmelnitski and I could pledge my sword to his service … and be named a noble and awarded my own village. As a chick, I have made friends with damn near every single noble in the Hetmanate (to the point where my relationship with Les’ is 100/100 and with Hmelnitski is 97/100) and won enough battles to get my renown well over 100, and still I am stuck being a neutral mercenary. Maybe if I can get my relationship with the nation itself up higher … we’ll see. I know I could just look it up but that ruins it for me. The discovery is part of the fun.

As a noble, you get to do things like develop your village and train your peasants to defend themselves …

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participate in votes to determine who will be the Marshall and lead the next military campaign …

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as well as be asked by that person to come and join their campaign …

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After riding around for a bit they decided to lay siege to one of the Swedish castles. (Sweden and the Crimean Khanate make up the rest of the factions for a total of five.) They’ve been determined to take one of these castles far from our home territory and I don’t know why, because in the meantime, the Swedes and Muscovites have taken two of our fortresses, right next to Kiev! Personally, I would be taking back my home territory first but whatevs.

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You can see some Swedes to the right there coming to check out our siege. Obviously a battle is forthcoming! They gather more forces and we hit the battlefield. Now, there are many options for weapons and weapon skills. They give you a firearm and a saber to start out with with. I dislike the firearms because hey, it’s 1655, we’re talking muskets with a 6-10 second reload time after each shot. Booooooring. But using just a one hand sword seems, well … it’s ok but some guys have pikes, and bows, and throw javelins or something, so getting your horse in melee to actually hit anything with it is dangerous to say the least. You can win loot off of your enemies after battles, or buy new things at the market in any fortress. So I experimented with many options before finding THE weapon for me…the lance.

Your character holds it up when not moving or after a charge.

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When charging, it is couched, like so …

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At first I was trying to thrust with it, but once I understood that the best way to use it is to couch it and basically ram things with it, like a knight at a joust, I became a deadly force on the battlefield. I was nothing more than a field decoration with any other weapon. With this … I basically one-shot anything that I do couched lance damage to. Oftentimes I just get the other guy’s horse, but once he’s on foot he’s a sitting duck for my troops … or for another charge by me. There were multiple battles where it came down to me vs. half a dozen opponents, both mounted and not, and I patiently picked them off one by one and prevailed. So now every time I suffer defeat and get taken prisoner (hey it happens, especially when I am accompanying Les’ and he rides right through the Poles’ siege of Minsk so it’s 500 to 200 in favour of them! Watch where you are riding, buddy!) as soon as I am released I head straight for a large fortress and buy a new lance. I’m downright useless without one. I also bought myself a very fine Courser … faster and more maneuverable than almost anyone else’s steed.

Ok, this is long enough. But now you know one of the main reasons I haven’t logged into WoW much lately. 😛