Orcs, Orcs, Orcs. , everywhere you look, there are more Orcs! View in browser
Paul J Bennett's Medieval Musings
October 17, 2020

On the Homefront

Wargames at the table with Paul

This week Amazon had its Prime Days sale. For those who are unfamiliar with it, it’s a two-day sale with significant savings on a wide range of things. Like many others, we found ourselves pulled into the event. Admittedly, there were things we needed, so the savings definitely made it worthwhile. On the other hand, there were a whole host of exciting things to look at.

I won’t go into a list of everything we ended up ordering, but one thing that really grabbed my attention was the 3D printers. As a gamer and avid Role-Playing enthusiast, I’ve been using miniatures for years, but their cost has skyrocketed. In my youth, one could purchase a pack of six metal figures for about $5.00 (Canadian). These days a three-pack goes for $30.00 or more, with mounted units, like knights costing upwards of $60.00. A 3D printer, on the other hand, can produce figures at the low cost of about 10-20 cents. Of course, these would be plastic rather than metal, but the savings on a small army would more than pay for the printer.

The printer uses a file format called .stl, and there are lots available for free. Also, many incredible artists create their own designs, and these can often be purchased (as files) for amounts ranging from $3 to $8. The advantage here is that once you have the file, you can print however many you want.

I shan’t go into the details of how such printing works, but if it’s something that interests you, check out youtube. There’s plenty of folks offering advice and demonstrations of such things.

Now, you must excuse me. I have an army to build out.

What's this? Another Orc tribe?

And so it begins...

"I would rather be here with you than anywhere else in the world," she said.

"I feel the same." He was about to say more, but when he felt the prick of a metal point at the back of his neck, he froze.

Natalia turned her head slightly to see the tip of a spear only a finger's breadth from her face. Her eyes drifted up the wooden shaft to where strong, green hands gripped the weapon. A massive Orc stood staring down at them while his two companions held the spears. He knelt, bringing his face close to Athgar's.

"He has the grey eyes of the Torkul," the Orc announced in the guttural speech of his race.

"Greetings," said Athgar, using the same language. "I am Athgar, of the Orcs of the Red Hand."

A look of surprise erupted on the Orc's face. "You speak our language! What manner of magic is this?"

"It's not magic," insisted Athgar. "I am a member of the tribe. Move your spears, and I shall prove it."

The Orc looked at one of his companions. "This is most unexpected."

"It is a trick, Urughar," insisted his comrade. "A trap set by the Torkul. Do not trust him."

The Orc turned his attention to Natalia. "And what of this female?" asked Urughar. "She is not of the Torkul."

"Is she his prisoner?"

"No," said Athgar, "she is my bondmate."

Urughar turned his attention back to the Therengian. "You know our culture, I will grant you that, but give me a good reason why I should not kill you both here, right now."

"I know the way of your people," the Human replied. "It is not the Orc custom to kill uninjured prisoners. Take us to your chieftain, and let the tribe decide our fate."

The Orc stood, stretching his back while looking around the pine forest. He glanced at the third Orc, a somewhat rotund fellow. "What think you, Ogda?"

"Let Kirak decide," he replied. "It is not for us to make that decision."

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Agnes Hotot

I was researching medieval tournaments this week and ended up following a trail of links, as most of us do. The article that grabbed my attention was actually in Wikipedia, where I ended up reading about the honorific ‘Dame’. As many people know, Dame is the feminine form of address for a knight. According to the article, the first order of chivalry to accept women was the Order of the Ermine, which was begun by John V, Duke of Brittany. However, of more interest was the footnote indicating that female knights existed for centuries in many places around the world.

One such individual was Agnes Hotot. She was an English noblewoman who lived in the late 1300s. Her father, Sir John Hotot, got into a dispute with someone named Ringsley, and a duel was arranged, with lances being the weapons of choice. Before the duel, her father fell ill and rather than lose, she disguised herself by wearing her father’s armour and fought in his stead at the tourney. She managed to knock her opponent from the saddle and then removed her helmet, revealing her true identity. Such was her renown that she later married into the Dudley family, and they created a new crest to celebrate her victory.

Truth can often be far more intriguing than fiction.

The Battle of Hastings

On October 14, 1066, the invading army of William, Duke of Normandy, defeated the Anglo-Saxon army of Harold Godwinson, King of England. The campaign leading up to this saw an end to the age of Vikings in Britain, as well as the emergence of cavalry on the battlefield. It also established the Normans as the ruling class, with their leader being crowned king on Christmas day, 1066.

The question I find myself asking is: How many soldiers fought at Hastings? The fact is, we don’t really know. Norman sources claim that Harold had anywhere from 400,000 to 1.2 Million men, an outrageous figure. On the other hand, modern historians suggest that King Harold’s army had a much more modest strength of between 5,000 to 13,000 warriors, while William’s numbers ranged from a low of 7,000 to a high of 12,000. In any event, it was an incredibly long battle, lasting most of the day. It was also a very close call, with the struggle see-sawing back and forth as they fought. It is often cited as one of the most influential battles of history.

For a more detailed examination of the battle, check out the Wikipedia entry.


Congrats to Marta for winning last week's eBook Giveaway! Based on your votes, Heir to the Crown is the most popular of my series, followed by those who could not choose between all three.

Remember, all you need to do answer the question below, then you will automatically be entered into the Giveaway to win your choice of any of my ebooks, even the recently released Tempered Steel!

Work in Progress Update

This week was short for us, mainly thanks to Canadian Thanksgiving on Monday, but I still managed a few chapters on Warrior Knight. The story is from the viewpoint of Ludwig Altenburg and begins with his decision to participate in a tournament. In order to capture the right feeling in my prose, I watched several modern-day jousts and read up on how such things were organized. The long and the short of all this is that they varied greatly. To solve my dilemma, I wrote up my own ‘historical’ analysis for my fantasy world, detailing how they evolved and how they’re run.

In this context, the tournament consists of a number of contests, but the real cream of the crop, at least from the story’s point of view, is the jousting. It is open only to nobles, not through any insistence of proving family lines, but rather through the imposition of entrance fees that are too expensive for commoners. It is also a place where knights can make a name for themselves, for good or ill. Into this world, I have dropped Ludwig, fresh from his sheltered life under the roof of his father, the baron.

I look forward to continuing his story.

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