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Faction : Nomads Xiongnu


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Guys, IMHO, in keeping in 0ad's theme of striving for high historical accuracy, I think we should try to keep the speculation/artistic licence to a minimum and focus on what we already know.


Xiongnu as a nomadic minifaction can actually do fine without many features that we think should be a staple for any Age of Empire-style/0ad-style RTS faction. For example, we don't really know what a Xiongnu Shaman looks/dressed like, but Xiongnu can do perfectly fine without a monk/healer unit (just garrison the unit inside a house/yurt for healing).

In fact, I think Xiongnu can do fine with just Civic Center (Chanyu's hall), house/yurt (doubles as barrack, dropsite and corral/sheep producing building), blacksmith (for upgrades), no infantry except female citizen & trader, and no Phase upgrade.


On the other hand, as nomads they need to have the ability to build stuffs anywhere (including enemy territory), recycle their own building efficiently, and preferably have some plunder mechanic and "force-trading with enemy" mechanic.

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Then can be only 6 buildings for the faction wich is the most accurate:

  • Yurts: Houses
  • Royal yurt instead of calling civic center or Chanyu's hall because it can't be called a civic center
  • Food deposit/market:
  • Barracks: 2 Yurts with a battleground/Archers practice ground with fences
  • Blacksmith: The one i showed
  • Horses corral: circle fences with props for horse living

Maybe with the wagoons i've made the houses should work with packed/unpacked properties so the faction can actualy work as nomads.

Similar to Warcraft 3 Elf's tree's but whitout attack.

Also yurts shouldn't attack they don't have windows and can be annoying having a nomad faction placing their's yurts around other faction and using the yurts as siege weapons firing arrows near the town. 

Edited by Alexandermb
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Born-on-the-saddle nomads really did not train troops like the sedentary cultures. They didn't go to an archery range to train archery skill, and didn't train in a barrack either. Instead, they honed their skill by hunting and herding. Every single male in their society (that's not an elderly or cripple) is a warrior. Unlike the concept of citizen-soldier, making war was not PART of their lives. For the nomads, war was almost indistinguishable from daily lives. It WAS their lives.



Or to put it in another word, NO barrack, NO archery range. NO stable (they don't need it, they just let the horses roam free). Train the troops directly from civic center & houses, and allows them to gain experience by hunting. Personally I envision nomads gameplay as extremely FAST. Not only their troops are fast (all mounted), they should be able to get a base running in the shortest time possible (< 4 buildings), amass an army quickly (civic center and all houses churn up troops), and gain experience through resource collecting (i.e. hunting or plundering).


On the other hand, nomads do build corral, though.




Single-edged blades (two on the left) should be complete straight. Double-edged Sword could be longer.

Spear...should follow the Chinese design, although last I checked Han Dynasty spear simply used generic spearhead.

Shouldn't put ring on the spears/polearms, just leave it bare.


Also, I don't think Xiongnu used any chopping polearm.

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1 minute ago, wolflance said:

Born-on-the-saddle nomads really did not train troops like the sedentary cultures. They didn't go to an archery range to train archery skill, and didn't train in a barrack either.

Well, if you want to be pedantic, then neither did many sedentary cultures. Greeks, besides Spartans, did not have standing armies, and most ranged units like archers and slingers were home-trained. :) Barracks and Archery Ranges and whatnot in the game are abstract concepts for gameplay purposes. 

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This Huns religion.

can be nearly close?



The Huns were never converted to Christianity by their Roman contemporaries. Indeed, the Huns remained Pagan throughout the entire time that they were mentioned in the historical chronicles. Through archaeological and literary evidence, it is believed that the Huns practiced a form of shamanism, (also called Tengerism). Shamanism is an animistic belief system in which all things have spirits. This includes everything from animals and plants, to rocks and rivers. Animals can also have significance. Among the Huns, bears symbolized peace while wolverines symbolized war. Birds of prey such as eagles and hawks were often the symbols of Hun royalty. When the spirits needed to be consulted, the Huns would turn to a spiritual specialist called a kam (shaman). Chroniclers of the time state that the Huns would never go to battle without consulting a shaman first. Priscus wrote that Ernak was Attila’s favorite son because the shamans favored him. (journal of Priscus of Panium- P.fr.8 ctd)

Maenchen-Helfen writes, “That the Huns had shamans is certain.  Kam in the names Atakam and Eskam is qam, the common Turkish word for shaman. To judge from the two names of high ranking Huns, the shamans seem to have belonged to the upper stratum of Hun society.” (The World of the Huns pg 269)

Archaeological evidence shows that the Huns practiced the Altaic form of scapulimancy which is heating up the scapula bone of an animal- usually a sheep- and reading the cracks in the bone to tell the future. The graves also gave evidence of eidola (idols) that are referred to as ongons in Altai and Sayan regions. These eidola were made from felt, wood, bone, and metal and served as houses for spirit-helpers. The shaman would call upon the spirit helpers to help him/her in their spiritual work. These discoveries show a strong connection to Shamanism practiced in Mongolia, Siberia, and among many Turkic peoples throughout Central Asia where the Huns originated from.








Edited by Lion.Kanzen
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Huns and Xiongnu

 Many believe the Huns descended from tribes referred to by the Chinese as the Xiongnu. Irma Marx of the Silk Road Foundation wrote: “The Xiongnu stemmed basically from the Siberian branch of the Mongolian race. During the third and second centuries B.C. they rose to great power and became a tribal confederation. During Emperor Mo-tun reign (208-175 B.C.), the Xiongnu were at the zenith of their might and occupied a huge territory from Lake Baikal on the north to the Ordos plateau on the south and the Liao River on the east. By 55-34 B.C. their political influence reached as far as the lower Volga and the Ureal foothills. This expansion westwards significantly increased the trade with the western world. The trade route was leading now from the west through the northern oasis of east Turkestan to the Xiongnus' headquarters in north Mongolia and southward to north China. [Source: Irma Marx, Silk Road Foundation <|>]

 “The basis of the Xiongnus' economy was herding, mostly pastoral nomads who lived in felt-cobbled tents, using bow and arrow from horseback. By the first century B.C. there were also large settled populations with well-developed agriculture of millet, barley and wheat. The production of crafts flourished as wll, iron and bronze was smelted in their workshops and fine tools, weaponry, household utensils, jewelry and ceramics were produced. <|>

 “Chinese sources inform us that the Xiongnu worshiped the sun, moon, heaven, earth, and to their ancestors. They had shamans or medicine men who had great influence over the tribesmen. The horse played a leading role in the herder's migration, hunting and war. In special ceremonies they sacrificed white horses and drank the blood. When a man died his widows were married either to a younger brother or a son. When a great chief died, concubines and retainers were often killed and buried with him. The Xiongnu apparently had no writing. It is believed that they spoke one of the Turkic languages (Guniley, 1960, pp. 48-49; Meanchen-Helfen, 1973, pp. 376-443). However, the question of language is far from being resolved. <|>

 “During the newly established Chinese Han dynasty (AD 206-220), China expanded its borders and the Xiongnu empire lost ground. Weakened by the loss of men and animals because of their constant battles, and the split by internal dissension, the tribes of the confederation began one by one to accept a position of vassalage under China. The northern Xiongnu moved from Outer Mongolia into what was than Dzaungaria, where they conquered a new but short lived empire. With the beheading of their leader by a Chinese army the group disappeared from history. <|>

 “The southern Xiongnu, who replaced their northern kindred in Outer Mongolia, remained at peace with China for some years. With the turn of the Christian Era these Xiongnu extended their power west into Dzungaria and reasserted their independence from China, although some tribes along the borderlands remained vassals of the Chinese and served as buffers against their independent kinsmen. In the first of this millenium the Hsien Pei, a Tungusic or Mongol people, appeared north of China and conquered Mongolia, forcing the independent Xiongnu into Dzungaria. A century later the Hsien Pei also gained control of Dzungaria. The Xiongnu who had remained on the borders of China lingered on in history until the fifth century. Those who were forced out of Dzungaria by the Hsien Pei disappeared from notice in A.D. 170. <|>

Hunnu: Ancient Chinese Account of Huns?

 Chinese description of the Hunnu or Hu are believed to be primarily accounts of the Xiongnu, and possibly the Huns, According to Mongolia Today: ““The Hunnu kingdom stretched from Baikal Lake in the north to Great Chinese Wall in south, from Yellow Sea to the oases of Central Asia. The state, ruled by a king or Shanyu elected by assembly of all tribe chieftains- khurultai, was built on the principle of military democracy under which all the nomadic herders were warriors and subjects at the same time. Chinese historical records noted that each autumn all men and cattle were counted to decide the amount of taxes and army subscripts. Hunnu army was based on decimal system and was well armed. Rock paintings from that period depict armored knights and horses protected with aprons embroidered with metal plates. [Source: Mongolia Today, June 18, 2007 <<>>]

 “Hunnu domesticated various animals including camels and grew crops. Inside graveyards corn grindstone and parts of plough prove that their grew crops. Hunnu knew metal works as the amazing number variety of their arms suggest. Each and very Hunnu warrior had various arms for close and distance combat. Plenty of bronze and potter kitchenware proves that Hunnu had well developed craftsmen. <<>>

 “The decline of Hunnu empire began in the first century B.C. starting from the rivalry of two princes, Huhan’e and Zhizhi. After several major battles the younger brother fled, leading his men to West, towards the Caspian Sea. Five hundred years later, their descendants migrated further reaching Dunai River and setting up own kingdom headed by . The remaining and weakened Hunnu fell under the repeated assaults of a neighboring nomadic tribe, Xianbi, which appeared on the eastern flanks of the Hunnu empire. <<>>

 “Recent research suggests that Hunnu did not differ much from modern Mongols in their appearance and may represent their ancestors. Anthropological studies show that the Mongoloid race or Central Asian type was already well shaped by the time of Hunnu. This a final conclusion made by Prof. G.Tumen, Chair of the Anthropology and Archeology of the Mongolian National University, after more than 30 years of comparative study of skulls from Stone Age to modern times. DNA analysis also proved the consistency of genetic lines between Hunnu and modern Mongols. This scientific conclusion implies that Atilla the Hun was indeed an ancestor of the Mongols." <<>>

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17 minutes ago, Alexandermb said:

Wood for make the arrows/bows/spears and also if in case the blacksmith work as resource depot for wood and metal and houses/food deposit-market for food

Most of the space will be filled with helmets shields and weapons once they are done 

Ad don't carpetener stuff and they must use iron especially for arrow head and spearhead?

, especialmente para las puntas. Como se dice puntas en inglés? Hay varias palabras. No estoy seguro.

Edited by Lion.Kanzen
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I'm not an expert on the Xiognu, but I'm pretty sure Lion's references on shamans is entirely spot on! It's the oldest form of spiritualism, pre-dating Buddhism, practiced by Xiognu, Mongols, Huns and Turkic people alike.

This is a nice visual source on Xiognu, from "a special exhibit about the ancient Xiongnu people held at Henan Provincial Museum in Zhengzhou in April and May, 2012": https://www.flickr.com/photos/101561334@N08/albums/72157636669830915/page1


Special Exhibit: Xiongnu, Henan Provincial Museum, Zhengzhou:


Yes, I know, it looks similar to Native American attire... This is simply explained by the Siberian origin of many of the first settlers of North America. Their spiritual beliefs were born out of the same substrate. Anyway, we can be pretty sure those references are what "priests" really looked like, and what the shamans of their Mongol descendants still look like today!




And some more really nice paintings of the Xiognu:


Attack at Chinese Wall by Xiongnu, Unknown Artist - İstanbul Military Museum 




special exhibit about the ancient Xiongnu people held at Henan Provincial Museum in Zhengzhou in April and May, 2012.





Xiognu/Chinese wedding



Also remember that these Xiognu lived in close proximity to, sedentary populations, which they often dominated, including the (northern) Chinese, and Silk Road cities. These urban populations would have provided the Xiognu with some of their equipment, and influenced them culturally and materially. 

Edited by Sundiata
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7 hours ago, Sundiata said:

Also remember that these Xiognu lived in close proximity to, sedentary populations, which they often dominated, including the (northern) Chinese, and Silk Road cities. These urban population would have provided the Xiognu with some of their equipment, and influenced them culturally and materially. 

I used some of the swords of the other post for a low probability of spawn those swords on the xiongnu, because if they were nomads, they attack and steal everything including swords/spears so i assumed they can have a little probability of use enemy swords.

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