Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Have you ever gotten a word or a phrase stuck in your head? One embedded so deeply that no matter what lengths you go to; it still remains there, just below the surface, waiting to escape into conversation?

That was my week.

At the risk of sounding snobbish, I don’t watch a lot of random television. I’m more prone to pursue other activities to kill time rather than to channel-surf and hope that something half-way decent is on to pass the time. Most of my T.V. watching is “destination programming,” or shows that I make a specific effort to catch a few times a week. Like with my reading habits, as I get older I find that most of the television I watch has some educational merit, usually being programs shown on History or the Discovery Channel. This is where my problem began this week.

I’m a fan of the Discovery Channel’s “Mythbusters.” It’s the kind of edutainment programming that meets my need to walk away from a show with some new fact in my head AND tends to feature a lot of explosions. The dichotomy of human nature: the elevation of the spirit and the satiation of the animal.

This past episode featured an examination of the “hwacha,” a medieval Korean siege weapon that functioned by firing 200 rocket-powered arrows that detonated on impact. In other words, a very impressive piece of war machinery. Take a look:

Pretty neat, right?

The thing is that despite the utter coolness of the hwacha, it was the word “hwacha” that got me. It’s one of those words that you can just savor. A word that begs to be dropped into any conversation, relevant or not to the discussion on hand. A word to be completely over-used until your friends and acquaintances threaten bodily harm until you stop with the “hwacha!”

Go on. Say it. Nobody’s looking.

It’s a good one, no?

On Saturday night, I simply could not stop using this one. First, I had to make sure that I mentioned the episode of “Mythbusters” at least three times, just to ease it into conversation. Quite easy to do, as our gaming group seems to have a fixation with siege weapons after The Ballista Incident. Then it progressed to my general battle-cry during combat. Finally, it suffered a definition-shift to now mean “to attack stealthily from behind,” as in: “Mike, what does Zoltan do?” “I’m going to hwacha those two goblins!” By Sunday afternoon, “hwacha” had become the name of a game played on a trampoline. One that involved many rubber balls and sneak attacks by people lurking underneath the trampoline.

What can I say? It just wouldn’t let go of my brain.

In fact, I’m pretty sure that hwacha is going to continue to live a very long life deep within the bowel of the Dungeon Not Yet Named™. I’m not quite sure yet how, but rest assured it’ll be there. Perhaps as the actual device itself (consider this fair warning, would-be adventurers), or maybe as my own personal version of “Bree-yark!” One way or another, it’s too fun of a word to let slip to the wayside.

Or at least I think so. My fellow gaming group members may be of another frame of mind.


Patrick W. Rollens said...

That video is awesome! Thanks for sharing.

Jonathan Jacobs said...

best friggen time wasting I've done all day. RULZ!

Anonymous said...

When viewed from the correct angle the rooms themselves should spell Hwacha!

Max said...

Saw this the other night myself. Wild! I too have notions of using the hwacha in a game somehow.

Also: Hwacha hwacha hwacha want?
Hwacha you business or I breaka you face.


Michael Curtis said...

One can only wish that the little styrofoam army was standing in the area of effect. That, I would have liked to have seen.

@mr scratch: That might be going a bit too far, even for the high weirdness of Ol' Nameless.

@max: See? WAY too much fun to let slide...

K JIN said...

I was searching for some articles about a hwacha to write a post on my blog.
Thank you for sharing :)

There's another good article about a hwacha on the Seoul Searcher blog(, so whoever is interested in a hwacah, visit the blog! You can get some information^^

Anyway, a hwacha is definitely amazing! I've never expected such a divine weapon existed 500 years ago..!!!