[OGL Ancients] Playing Hittites

Here are some suggestions for playing Hittite characters of the 13th century B.C. with OGL Ancients. Maybe they will be useful or otherwise interesting to some of you.

Social Classes
All Social Classes presented in OGL Ancients pp.8-10 are appropriate for Hittite characters.

Hittite Warriors
Warriors from a Hittite background, irrespective of social rank, are proficient with all martial weapons. For their Weapon Focus, they may choose between the spear, the javelin, the axe, the sickle sword, the short stabbing sword, the composite self bow or the composite recurved bow.

The Lands of Hatti (Regional Backgrounds)

The Hittite heartland lies roughly inside the great bend of the Marassanta river (known to the Greeks as the Halys, today: Kizil Irmak). Here the Hittite capital Khattusha (modern Bogazköy) is situated as well as other important religious centres. Characters from this region receive two levels in Knowledge: Hittite Religion for free.

Sprazzi Udne (The Upper Land): To the north and east lies the Upper Land. It is often subject to raids from the barbarious Kashka people. Living under the constant threat of an attack characters from this region recieve a +1 bonus to all (perception-based) checks made to see if they are surprised.

Katteran Udne (The Lower Land): South of the Hittite heartland there is the Katteran Udne, the Lower Land. Here, especially in the city of Purushkhanda, is the center of Hittite iron technology (the throne and sceptre of iron that are part of the Hittite royal regalia originally came from Purushkhanda). Characters from this region receive a +2 bonus to all Craft checks involving iron.

Kizzuwatna: Kizzuwatna is located in southeast Anatolia, beyond the Taurus mountains. Of all Hittite lands it was influenced the most by Hurrian culture. Characters from Kizzuwatna can speak Hurlili for free and receive two levels in Knowledge: Hurrian Culture for free.

Tarkhuntassha: This land lies south of the Lower Land and west of Kizzuwatna. Muwattlli II. (ca. 1290-1272) moved the Hittite capital hither, but his successor Murshili III. moved it back to Khattusha. In the second half of the 13th century BC Tarkhuntassha was transformed into a appanage kingdom. That didn’t prevent a power struggle between its ruler Kurunta and the Hittite king Tudkhaliya III. (ca. 1240-1215), though. The conflict between Khattusha and Tarkhuntassha seems to have dragged on till the downfall of the Hittite empire. – The people of Tarkhuntasha are known for their craving for power and their arrogance. Characters from this region receive a +2 bonus to all Willsaving throws, but suffer a –1 malus to all CHA checks when dealing with Hittites from other provinces.

Khalpa and Karkamissa: Khalpa (Aleppo) and Karkamissa (Karkamish) are not part of the “inner lands” proper, nor are they mere vassals. Ever since they were conquered by Shuppiluliuma I. (ca. 1355-1320) they are ruled by viceroys out of the Hittite royal family. Both kingdoms are important centres of trade and craftmanship. Characters from Khapla or Karkamissa receive a +2 bonus to all Appraise checks.
Hittite Vassals

Ugaritta: Ugarit (today: Ras Shamra), an important trading city in northern Syria. Nowadays it is a Hittite vassal but relations to the erstwhile master Egypt are still good. When dealing with Egyptians Ugaritic characters receive a +2 bonus to all CHA checks.
Amurra: better known as Amurru. The kingdom is the southernmost vassal of Hatti. Traditionally contested between the Hittites and the Egyptians Amurra is in a diplomatic precarious position. Characters from this region recieve a +2 bonus to all checks involving political diplomacy.
Alashiya: the island of Cyprus, famous for its seafaring traders. Characters from Alashiya receive two levels in Profession: Sailor for free.
Arzawa: The Luwian Arzawa lands in western Anatolia are Wilusa (Troy), Khaballa, the Sekha River Land and Mira. There is a lot of contact with Akhiyawa – sometimes peacefully, sometimes violently. Greek coastal raids require fast reactions: characters from Arzawa receive +1 bonus to all Reflex saving throws.

Other Lands

Kashka: In northern Anatolia, on the coast to the Black Sea, there lies the land Kashka. The Kashkeans are fierce, semi-nomadic people. They sometimes serve as soldiers for the Hittites, but more often they make raids into Hittite territory. As they share no central authority and live in a rugged country, they are difficult to subjugate. Kashkean characters count as “barbarians” (OGL Ancients p.11).
Lukka: Lukka (the Lycia of classical times) is situated south of Arzawa and west of Tarkhuntassha. It lies in the Hittite sphere of influence but as the Luwian speaking Lukka people are proud and independence-minded they are not really vassals. They are also known as good seafarers. Characters from Lukka recieve a +1 bonus to all Will saving throws and to all Profession: Sailor checks.
Akhiyawa: The Hittite name for Greece. Until the middle of the 13th century BC Greece had a foothold on the Asian coast in the form of the city Millawanda (Miletos, a Minoan colony taken over by the Myceneans). There is often conflict between Akhiyawa and Arzawa but there is not much Hatti (lacking an own fleet) can do to prevent Greek raids.
Mittanna: Mittanna (Mitanni, Assyrian: Khanigalbat), once a mighty empire, is now reduced to be a battleground between Hatti and Assura. To survive such hard times the Mitannian people have to be tough. Characters from this region receive a +1 bonus to all Fortitude saving throws.
Assura: Assyria. In the 13th century BC a growing power threatening both Khatti and Egypt.
Mizra: Egypt. Before 1259 BC, when Khatushili III. and Ramesses II. conclude a peace treaty, Mizra is an enemy of the Hittites, afterwards an ally.
Languages appropriate for Hittite characters:
Neshili: the Hittite language, named after the old Hittite (political and cultural) centre Nesha (Kanesh, modern Kültepe).
Luwili: Luwian, closely related to Hittite. It is widely spoken in western and southern Anatolia, but also in the rest of Anatolia and in northern Syria. Luwian was the dominant language in the Neo-Hittite kingdoms which formed after the demise of the empire at the beginning of the 12th century BC.
Hurlili: Hurrian, the language of the erstwhile rulers of Mittanna. It is spoken in eastern Anatolia, northern Mesopotamia and northern Syria. Hurrian culture had a strong impact on Hittite culture.
Babilili: Akkadian (Assyrian-Babylonian). The diplomatic language of the Bronze Age.
Kashkean: the language of the Kashka people.
Ugaritic: spoken in the trading city of Ugaritta and in its region.
Amorite: a collective name for the various Semitic dialects spoken in Syria, excluding Ugaritic (counts as one skill.)
Canaanite: a collective name for the various Semitic dialects spoken in Palestine, including early forms of Phoenician (counts as one skill).

I’d suggest that characters don’t gain literacy as a feat, but have to learn scripts as Speak Language skills.
Cuneiform: originally developed for Sumerian, nowadays used for Babilili, Neshili, Hurlili, and Luwili. Characters must speak Babilili before they can buy Cuneiform and they have to pay two skill points to acquire it (four points if not a class skill). They only have to buy it once (*not* once for each language Cuneiform is used for), but they must speak the language in question to understand a text written in Cuneiform.
Hieroglyphic Luwian: a hieroglyphic script used exclusively for Luwian. If common Hittites are literate at all, then they are probably versed in Hieroglyphic Luwian. Characters must speak Luwili before buying Hieroglyphic Luwian.
Egyptian Hieroglyphs: includes the hieratic variant. Characters must speak Egyptian before buying Egyptian Hieroglyphs.
Ugaritic: an early (pre-) form of an alphabetic script. Used (of course) for the Ugaritic language. Characters must speak Ugaritic before buying the Ugaritic script skill.

Mythic Background
Most appropriate is Divine Patronage, less so Divine Bonus. Divine Blood may not be chosen.


Here are some names to use for Hittite characters. Note that they are not all Hittite, but also Luwian, Hurrian and from other languages. It was not unusual for a Hittite to have, for example, a Hurrian name or for a Hurrian to have a Hittite name.
Male names: Ammuna, Anitta, Appu, Arnuwanda, Ashkhapa, Assharta, Azzi-Hajasa, Gulla, Hannuzzi, Hartapu, Hukkana, Hurlu, Isputashu, Kasshu, Khantili, Khannutti, Khattushili, Khuzziya, Kupatuta-Kurunta, Kurunta, Kuziteshup, Kuwaliya, Madi, Malaziti, Mashuiluwa, Mashuitta, Murshili, Paddatissu, Pitkhana, Pulli, Pulliyanni, Pumuwanda, Sarri-Kushu, Sharmashu, Shipazziti, Shuppiluliuma, Takhurwaili, Tanturwaili, Tarkhuntadaru, Tashmisharrumma, Telipinu, Titti, Tudkhaliya, Tulpi, Tushratta, Ushapa, Walmu, Warshiya, Zida, Zidanta, Ziti.
Female names: Anniwiyanni, Ashmunikal, Ayatarsha, Gassulawiya, Khenti, Kuwanni, Nawila, Nikkalmadi, Manikkal, Puduhepa, Tanukhepa.

Character Classes
Hittite characters may choose from (the class feature “Literate” means that the character receives Babilili and Cuneiform for free):
Bard: Hittite bards usually play the lyre.
Hittite Priest: basically as the Greek Priest. Additional class skills: Teshup: Knowledge (Weather), Presence. Shaushka: Knowledge (Warfare), Presence. Arinna: Medicine, Sense Motiv. Ea: Gather Information, Solve Conundrum. Telipinu: Knowledge (Agriculture and Nature), Handle Animal. Kushukh and Nikkal: Craft (Herbalism), Knowledge (Mysteries). Zababa: Knowledge (Warfare). Jarri: Medicine, Move Silently. Kubaba: Handle Animal, Knowledge (Nature). Zaliyanu: Climb, Knowledge (Weather). The Great Sea: Bluff, Swim.
Noble Warrior: Hittite noble warriors must select the Chariot Combat feat at first level.
Witch: While invoking magic to harm others is forbidden under Hittite law, the “white magic” of the Wise Women is widely accepted.

The two Phalanx Formation feats are not available for Hittite characters (nor for anyone else in that period). Furthermore, all feats involving fighting from horseback are not appropriate because cavalry still didn’t have an active role in battle.
Hittite Gods
The Hittites themselves spoke of the “thousend gods of Khatti”. Here are just a few of them:

The storm god, supreme ruler of all gods and men, the keeper of justice. The great king of Khattusha reigns as his worldly deputy. If the Hittite cause is just, the storm god will ride in his chariot that is drawn by the two bulls Sherri and Khurri before the Hittite army, leading it to victory.
Keywords: authority, justice, duty.
Virtues: obedience to the true king, acting just, honoring the gods.
Sins: Disobedience to true authority, neglect of the religious duties, acting unjust.
Disfavour: Presence checks.
Favoured Checks: Knowledge (Weather), Fortitude, Presence, Rhetoric, Sense Motiv, Strength, Survival.

The sister of Teshub, also known as Ishtar. Her star is the Venus. As the morning star she is the war goddess, as the evening star the goddess of love and sexuality. Her sacred animels are the dove and the falcon.
Keywords: love, war, passion.
Virtues: protecting what you love, kindness, celebrating life.
Sins: cruelty, needless destruction, dullness.
Disfavour: Reflex saving throws.
Favoured Checks: Active Defense, Heal, Perform, Presence, Reflex, Sleight of Hand.

Also called Khepat. The sun-goddess. As the wife of Teshub she is the queen of the gods. Her sacred animal is the leopard.
Keywords: life, light, rulership.
Virtues: Respecting life, protecting your kinsmen, showing mercy.
Sins: needless killing, disrespect of traditions, dishonesty.
Disfavour: Fortitude saving throws.
Favoured Checks: Fortitude, Heal, Knowledge (Nature), Presence, Sense Motiv, Spot.

Also known as Iya. Among the gods he is one of the best friends of mankind. He resides in the underground realm Apshuwa, the source of sweet water. His animal is the turtle. Sometimes he is depicted as a goat-fish (a creature with the forepart of a goat and the backside of a fish).
Keywords: wisdom, knowledge, craftmanship.
Virtues: furthering knowledge, creating, building civilization.
Sins: destroying knowledge and fine arts, stupidity, barbarious behaviour.
Disfavour: Gather Information and Knowledge skill checks.
Favoured Checks: Craft, Gather Information, Knowledge, Listen, Solve Conundrum.

The son of Teshub and Arinna. God of agriculture. His wife is Khatepuna, the Daughter of the Great Sea.
Keywords: earth, growth, fertility.
Virtues: generosity, productivity, strength.
Sins: defilement of the earth, wasting resources, cruelty.
Disfavour: Strength attribute checks.
Favoured Checks: Knowledge (Agriculture and Nature), Handle Animal, Heal, Strength, Survival.

Kushukh and Nikkal
Kushukh (also known as Umbu) and his wife Nikkal are the moon gods. Their animal is the sheep.
Keywords: birth, death, cycle.
Virtues: secrecy, accepting the circle of life, seeking wisdom.
Sins: defiling the dead, refusing to aid a birth or to carry out burial rites, betraying secrets.
Disfavour: Heal skill checks.
Favoured Checks: Craft (Herbalism), Heal, Hide,Knowledge (Mysteries), Witchcraft.

Also called Kheshue. The god of war and destruction. He doesn’t need a cause but likes fighting for its own sake. Seldom, though, he acts without an order from Teshub. The Lion is his sacred animal.
Keywords: war, violence, destruction.
Virtues: bravery, fighting prowess, obedience to your military commanders.
Sins: cowardice, refusal to obey orders, showing mercy.
Disfavour: Active and Shield Defense rolls.
Favoured Checks: Active and Shield Defense, Jump, Knowledge (Warfare), Melee attack.

Zababa’s brother. He brings pestilence and hunger, but only to those having commited sins. While Zababa prefers close combat, Jarri’s weapon of choice is the bow. His sacred animal is the dog.
Keywords: pestilence, deprivation, punishment.
Virtues: avenging crimes, cunning, swiftness.
Sins: sentimentality, waste, overindulgence.
Disfavour: Fortitude saving throws vs. sickness and poisons.
Favoured Checks: Balance, Medicine, Move Silently, Ranged attacks with bow, Ride.

An earth goddess, later known to the Phrygians as Kybele. Kubaba is especially worshiped in Karkamish.
Keywords: life, fertility, animal.
Virtues: respect for life, industry, respecting women.
Sins: needless killing, mistreating animals, direspecting women.
Disfavour: Survival checks.
Favoured Checks: Handle Animal, Fortitude, Healing, Knowledge (Nature), Survival.

The Hittites revered a lot of mountain gods and spirits. For the sake of simplicity I subsumed them into one god with the name Zaliyanu. Once a rival of Teshub, he nows accepts the storm god’s authority.
Keywords: mountain, weather, persistence.
Virtues: steadtfastness, pride, righteous anger.
Sins: defiling mountains and rocks, showing weakness, theft.
Disfavour: Climb skill checks.
Favoured Checks: Climb, Fortitude, Knowledge (Weather), Melee attacks with clubs.

The Great Sea
The Mediterranean. Not personalized, but still – cautiously - revered by the Hittites as a godly power. The Great Sea is often allied to Kumarbi.
Keywords: water, change, opacity.
Virtues: patience, willpower, independence.
Sins: defiling waters, stagnation, servility.
Disfavour: Swim skill checks.
Favoured checks: Concentration, Presence, Swim, Will.

The father (and at the same time: mother) of Teshub. Once, the gods were ruled by Alalu. When Alalu was overthrown by his son Anu, he went into the netherworld (the realm of the goddess Allani). Anu himself was overthrown by his son Kumarbi; Anu then went upwards to become the god of heaven. With the help of Ea and Anu Theshub succeeded his father Kumarbi. Ever since, Kumarbi tries to regain his power, thereby endangering the world to fall back into chaos. Thrice Kumarbi begot a monstrosity – a silver demon, the gigantic stone creature Ullikummi and the amphibious dragon Khedammu - but each time the other gods were victorious in the end. - Kumarbi may not be chosen by player characters as their god.
Hittite Weapons, Shields and Armor
Important Note: The Hittites did not use iron weapons extensively – iron was not their secret weapon granting them military success.
Martial Weapons: hand axe, large axe, medium shield, short stabbing sword, sickle sword (same as Kopesh), greatclub, all ranged weapons.
Shields: The Figure-of-Eight Shield (OGL Ancients p. 101) is the most famous Hittite shield from. Rectancular forms, though, are used, too (same as Standard Egyptian Shield, pp.96-97 ).
Armor: Infantry usually doesn’t wear armor. Charioteers wear either no armor, too, or leather or scale armor (pp. 97-98 ). The Hittite helmet is high, with a crest, ear and neck flaps and a long streamer hanging down behind (use the stats of the Egyptian Metal Helmet, p. 98 ).

Hittites did not, of course, use coins. As in Mesopotamia, silver was used as a kind of money. Though totally out of proportion, I’d suggest to convert 1 shekel of silver = 1 silver obolus (so) and 1 mina = 1 silver drachma (sd) for the sake of simplicity.

Hittite males wear tunics (either short or ankle-length), with short sleeves and sometimes fringed or colored borders. Women wear belted robes with baggy sleeves secured at the wrist, or all-enveloping shawls. Clothes are white/off-white or brightly colored (yellow, red, green or blue – purple is only available to the super-rich). Hittites wear shoes with upturned toes.
Faces are clean shaven and the hair is worn long, either falling loosely on the shoulders or plaited into a pig-tail.
Campaign Ideas
Political Adventures: Power struggles and backstabbing inside the extensive royal familiy is a proud Hitite tradition. Intrigues, assassinations, open civil war – everything is possible. The player characters might be members of the Panku (a kind of council consisting of the highest aristocrats), striving for power. Or they could be part of the royal bodyguard, trying to protect the king’s life. (The Great King had not only one unit of bodyguards, but two: the Meshedi and the Golden-Spear Men.)

Military Campaigns: The Hittite empire is surrounded by enemies. Thus there are plenty of opportunities for martial action. The player characters can follow the Great King into battle against the Assyrians or the Egyptians. If they want to fight Greeks they can try to conquer Millwanda or help the Trojans defend their city (also suitable for a mythical campaign). Interesting should be the northern frontier: The Hittites are beginning to counter the Kashkean hit-and-run raids with a guerilla tactic of their own. The player characters could lead one of the small commandos operating on Kashkean territory.

Diplomatic Missions: In Syria and Palestine the interests of three great powers – Khatti, Assura, Mizra –clash. Therefore envoys and spies are abundant in the region’s petty kingdoms. There is a lot of intrigue, espionage and counterintelligence happening.

Mythical Campaigns: In Hittite myths it is not unusual that the gods need the assistence of humankind. The player characters could support the gods in their ongoing struggle against Kumarbi. Fell free to invent new monstrosities unleashed by Kumarbi upon the world.

Further Reading
Just a few hints to help you start your own research. Trevor Bryce: The Kingdom of the Hittites (Oxford: Oxford University Press 1999) is good introduction into Hittite history. Invaluable for everyone interested in the Near East of the Bronze and Early Iron Age is Jack M. Sasson (Ed.): Civilizations of the Ancient Near East (New York: Scribner 1995). And for my fellow Germans: Birgit Brandau, Hartmunt Schickert: Hethiter. Unbekannte Weltmacht (München 2003 – Piper Taschenbuch) is an inexpensive and good-readable introduction.

That’s all, folks!
At least for now. Comments and corrections are welcome, of course. (But please keep in mind that naturally I had to simplify and make up a lot of stuff.)

The King

Cosmic Mongoose
Excellent. I had Canaan, Israel, Babylon, Egypt, Troy and Greece but missed the Hittite Empire to link that geographical part. Many thanks indeed. :D
Now if you have the same for Carthago and Northern Africa... :wink:
Excellent. I had Canaan, Israel, Babylon, Egypt, Troy and Greece but missed the Hittite Empire to link that geographical part. Many thanks indeed.

You're welcome!

Now if you have the same for Carthago and Northern Africa...

That's something I'd like to see, too. Unfortunately I don't know much about that topic.

Any other volunteers?