The plains, forests, steppes, and rivers of Eastern Europe saw numerous conflicts during the 17th Century. Rising states sought to expand into new territories, while established powers fought to hold on to the gains of previous eras. Four major religions clashed on the frontier of Europe as cultures fought for dominance in the hearts and minds of vast populations.
With the collapse of the Mongol Golden Horde, a power vacuum developed in Eastern Europe, especially in what is today Ukraine. Soon Polish and Lithuanian nobles began settling serfs on its fertile fields, while Muscovite tsars expanded their autocracy southward towards their forebears' city, Kiev. Not willing to let these Christian nations expand unchecked, the Crimean Khanate, with the backing of the mighty Ottoman Empire, yearly raided the new settlements for slaves and plunder. In the north, the Protestant Swedes, battle-hardened by the Thirty Years' War, sought to create a Baltic empire at the expense of the Catholic and Orthodox powers in the region.
Hot Lead, Cold SteelEdit
New technological developments spread like brush fire over the steppes during this century. Improvements in firearms, from the matchlock pistol and the brand-new flintlock musket, to the hand grenade and newly mobile field cannon, ran head on into the lance charges of the Polish hussars and the equestrian skill of the Khans. New firearms could devastate a cavalry charge or drive infantry from the field, but it never hurt to keep one's saber loose in its scabbard.
Each nation features an associated Mercenary Camp which hires out:
- Mercenary Infantry
- Mercenary Marksmen
- Mercenary Cavalry
Mercenaries are more expensive to recruit than faction troops. However, mercenaries can be equipped with selected equipment, permitting employers to tailor equipment to preferred tactics.