Scythia, Ocean of Grass

Welcome, traveler, to the Windswept Plains, the Ocean of Grass, home of nothing but the fierce horse-borne tribes of the Empty Lands. Here, traveler, are men and women who fight as do none other, who rely not on battle face-to-face, but on their skills of killing from afar to grind their foes into submission. Welcome to Scythia!

The Land

Scythia proper is located around our civitas, our capital city of Campus Scythii. Here, near the Danube, our main tribes have settled near the Thracians, since the land is fertile and the summer sun feels good on our skin. Here we have built a Warlord's Hold and surrounded it with a palisade to keep the horses in and the Thracians out. We also have a Muster Field and a shrine to Kolaksay here, about which you will learn more later. To the east, toward the middle of our realm, Tanais lies along the shores of the tiny sea just above the Euxine Sea, north of Pontus. Tanais does not start large, but it can grow significantly during your reign to make it a powerful entity. It begins with but a Warrior's Hold, not even a proper village, but can grow strong with time. The tillers of the earth near Tanais have learned Land Clearance, you see, which allows its crops to grow significantly and have a higher surplus than elsewhere. There is also a Muster Field in Tanais, from which you may call to arms our Horse Archers.

To the north of Tanais lies Campus Sarmatae, nothing more than a collection of hovels surrounding a Warrior's Hold and a Muster Field. To its east, almost to the shores of the Great Inland Sea, lies its twin, Campus Alanni.

Campus Alanni sits inland from the shores of a great inland sea. Other realms border this sea- the Armenians to the south and the Parthians to the north. Campus Alanni is a useful place if one has designs against these other peoples, but is too far away to gain much support from our powerful western cities. Campus Alanni thus fights its own war.

Bordering our lands is little but rebels. On the Crimean there is one tiny rebel town, and to the west of Campus Sarmatii lies another- known by its Latin name meaning Home Sweet Home (Domus Dulcis Domus). There are only two real lands which can plague us early on- the Parthians in Campus Sakae to the far northeast, and the previously-mentioned Thracians in Campus Getae. Eliminating these threats secures our immediate borders, but opens us up to war against the remainder of these peoples, and those they border. A clever warlord may ally with our enemy's neighbors, to bring their warhosts into action against our foes, but few will readily ally themselves with us. Our warhost is simply too powerful, though under-respected.

Our lands were blessed with little in the way of resources. We are scattered tribes, scratching an existence from the soil, or living in the saddle where we cannot. Our way of life, verily even our weapons, reflect this desperate position. But we are Scythians. We do not complain about the lack of iron in the soil, or the lack of cattle on the plains. We take what the gods give us and make the best of it- to where even we can become rulers of the Known World should we so choose.

The Warhost

Iron is scarce on the Ocean of Grass, thus expensive. Only our nobles can afford it. The rest of us make do with what we can scavenge from these empty plains- wood, bone, and sinew. With this we can make bows and arrows. Thus our most powerful and plentiful weapon is the bow, and thus the most numerous of our warbands is the lowly horse archer. This common warrior, available from first-tier Muster Field in every Scythian burg, is the staple of the Scythian warhost. He is not strong, nor powerful, nor armored. He will die like a fly in a fire if brought to melee, nor will he take many with him. Swordwork is not for our people.

But when employed correctly, this useless swordsman on his light pony and armed with but a bent twig and some shafts, can annihilate legions, cut apart phalanxes, and slay whole hosts of spearmen. For the horse archer is a mobile archer. He can ride faster than infantry can walk, he can shoot farther than a skirmisher can hurl his javelin, and kill from a distance greater than a spear can reach. Keep him away from thy foe's warhost where they cannot touch him, and have him launch arrow after arrow into the unprotected flanks and rear of the enemy, and you will see this lowly warrior slay whole armies.

For melee there are Scythian nobles, and mercenary Sarmatian cavalry. These are our heavy hammers- though expensive! You can use them, and they will die bravely and slay many, but they are very expensive and generally the horse archer will get the better result.

We have footmen as well- the axeman for storming burgs, and the foot archer to serve with him, and the Chosen Archer. These men slow a warhost down, so are often used solely for defense- or for the storm, in which case they travel apart so that the fleet horse archers can engage any threats to the plodding footborne before they can engaged.

The Gods

We have but three gods upon the plains. To each we can build a shrine, then expand it to a Sacred Grove, then improve it to the ultimate Sacred Circle.

Kolaksay is the founder of the Scythians. It is said he battled the gods and won from them three golden treasures. This hero then took his place among the gods. Temples dedicated to him grant our warriors experience. He is also the only one of our gods who is honored with a shrine at the beginning of the campaign- the Shrine of Kolaksay in our capital.

Papay is the All-Father, the Lawgiver, and chief of our gods. As one can expect, he grants a bonus of law to towns and burgs with shrines dedicated to him.

Api is the Earth Mother, a deity of fertility- and sexuality, for do not the two go hand in hand? Women are no strangers to the ways of the world, and those in service to Api can do everything a man can do- to include fighting on a battlefield.

Maidens come to her Sacred Groves to serve as her Head Hunting Maidens, who go into battle and refuse to marry until they have drawn blood. To her Sacred Circles come noblewomen to bind themselves to her service. These she arms with long-reaching bows of immense power, and grants them swift horses.

Scythian women are no gentle roses to laze about doing little but breeding. No, on the plains, everyone works, everyone fights. It is the only way to survive a cold and blustering land that has trouble even growing a decent forest.

The Mods

Here there are many! Most install foot-borne warriors to our rosters, such as the Maiden Axes by SubRosa, or the Dismounted Scythia Mod from Marcus Orentius, or even the Scythia Extra Units by StefanL. The Additional Unit Pack by Andalus also adds spearmen to our roster- a good choice that, as spears do not use much iron!