Monday, June 23, 2008

Vegetables at War!

Jennifer Shoonover's series, "The Vegetative State of Your Campaign" is currently in the middle of a series about plants in warfare. The latest article deals specifically with plants used in warfare during the Middle Ages. The primary focus is on Europe, but we get a few Asian touches as well. I love this sort of stuff:

Ash was the traditional wood for spear shafts—being light and very springy—so as to absorb the bending force applied when the spear point engaged the target armor without failing.

Axes, other handled weaponry
The favored Early Medieval wood for shafts was in Old English called 'corntreow' or 'gatetreow', this translates as cornel cherry. As this is from an english text and the cornel cherry is thought to have been a 16th C. introduction the dogwood seems more likely.

Hickory was for axe handles, a very tough wood that absorbed the shock impact forces generated in use.

She also talks about plants as aids to healing, as wards against sorcery, and their use in heraldry. She finishes with a list of ideas for incorporating some of the ideas in your campaign. I love to use this sort of stuff for color and character, such as when I describe what happens when a character uses non-magical or herb-based healing skills, or discussing the weapons and equipment of soldiers and enemies.


ktrey said...

The last paragraph of the History section of the Wikipedia article concerning the English Longbow is pretty fascinating.

The environmental and social/trade impact of the raw materials for weapon production could be easily borrowed to become a central campaign element.

trollsmyth said...

Very cool! Thanks for the link.