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SSgt Baloo

How can you make the stone age cool?

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Re: How can you make the stone age cool?

 

You might want to check out the movie 10' date='000 BC - it could give you some ideas[/quote']

Er... I would disagree with that. That movie was made by people who had so little clue about the stone ages and prehistory, that they knew less than someone who had bothered to make a forum post. Actually, it is just possible that they knew more, but couldn't 'care' less.

 

Sorry, it's a major peeve of mine how Hollywood always assumes that the audience never knows anything. But every time they make a movie and the cop is walking around with his finger on the trigger, they loose all the cops, soldiers or even every decently trained civilian's suspension of disbelief, every time they do the miracle resurrection of CPR, they loose everyone who knows anything about first aid, and the list is long. Shoot, every time their revolver fires 9 or 10 times without reloading, they loose everyone who can fracking count! They care nothing for such details because (they think) that so few people know the details. And be that as it may, when you mulitply those who 'do' know the details by the length of the list, most movies blow the audience's suspension of disbelief due to this conceit on the part of the film makers. 10,000 BC was exceptionally guilty of this.

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Re: How can you make the stone age cool?

 

OTOH it could still make a great RPG setting...

Yes, you are right. An RPG setting doesn't have to have anything to do with reality. I have a knee jerk reaction is seems when one of my pet peeves pops up. I should watch that.

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Re: How can you make the stone age cool?

 

Er... I would disagree with that. That movie was made by people who had so little clue about the stone ages and prehistory, that they knew less than someone who had bothered to make a forum post. Actually, it is just possible that they knew more, but couldn't 'care' less.

 

Sorry, it's a major peeve of mine how Hollywood always assumes that the audience never knows anything. But every time they make a movie and the cop is walking around with his finger on the trigger, they loose all the cops, soldiers or even every decently trained civilian's suspension of disbelief, every time they do the miracle resurrection of CPR, they loose everyone who knows anything about first aid, and the list is long. Shoot, every time their revolver fires 9 or 10 times without reloading, they loose everyone who can fracking count! They care nothing for such details because (they think) that so few people know the details. And be that as it may, when you mulitply those who 'do' know the details by the length of the list, most movies blow the audience's suspension of disbelief due to this conceit on the part of the film makers. 10,000 BC was exceptionally guilty of this.

 

I gotta say, that I don't have a problem with this. It's only when a movie claims that it is a historical movie, and then they take liberties with it is when I don't like it as much. I don't believe that 10,000 BC was to be a historical movie. Oh, a funny thing about CPR, I used to be an EMT and my wife is a nurse, evertime she jokingly complains about how CPR is done in shows (because it is way to shallow to be effective), I remind her that the actor appreciates the fact that they are not getting their ribs broken for the scene. :)

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Re: How can you make the stone age cool?

 

...So how about it? What kinds of scenarios and campaigns can you do for a stone-age setting?

 

Having watched (part) of 10KBC, I imagine that Shamans would have little in the way of offensive magic, except maybe if they could control a nearby animal to defend them or attack an enemy.

 

Stone weapons would probably require some maintenance after use. Stone spearpoints would tend to break off in wounds, but I imagine bludgeons (rock-on-end-of-stick-type clubs, etc.) would be resistant to breaking when used.

 

Keep in mind that the Aztecs had "swords" (really just flat clubs) edged with obsidian blades (see below). In a world without much in the way of armor (hides, animal skins, etc.) any killing attack is extremely dangerous.

 

aztec_26.jpg

 

One way of passing information from one generation to the next before writing would have been to make a chant or song with all the information contained in the lyrics. Isn't that how the Vikings kept their culture and

laws stable for centuries?

 

I've noticed that some people have suggested that our stone-age ancestors weren't "smart enough" to invent the wheel, create fire, etc. Actually, they did. Try inventing something no-one ever thought of before you sometime. The only reason progress was slow was that there weren't more people sharing information freely. Who knows how many "modern" inventions were thought of and discarded because materials and technology weren't available? Don't discount the smarts of stone-age people.

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Re: How can you make the stone age cool?

 

Stone weapons would probably require some maintenance after use....[/left]

 

"Curating." The experts say "curating."

The ultimate Stone Age weapon is the bow and arrow. (Ancient) Americanists believe that they can trace its revolutionary impact in North America between about the 400s and 800s, and IIRC, this book even posits a north-to-south wave of innovation. The atlatl (spear thrower) is the symbol of kingship in pre-Columbian Central America in much the same way as the sword in Europe and bow-and-arrow in East Asia. Obsidian swords like the macahuitl have been found in China. And remember that any tip that breaks off in a warrior's body is a locus of infection. It has to be removed, and with Stone Age tools, a shaman had to be very skilled to do this. Anyone who has ever wondered what a shaman did for his living should read accounts of practitioners extracting an arrowhead embedded in a muscle with very little more than a stick and a sharp-edged rock. (Which is used to split and pith the stick, not to cut flesh.)

 

As for offensive magic, I wouldn't underrate a good shaman, who can probably strike people dead with a glance, call lightning, turn people into deer, and teleport vast distances.

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Re: How can you make the stone age cool?

 

As for offensive magic' date=' I wouldn't underrate a good shaman, who can probably strike people dead with a glance, call lightning, turn people into deer, and teleport vast distances.[/quote']

 

Historically, the role of the shaman is as interlocutor for his people with the spirit world, persuading the spirits to do everything from bring rain, to draw animals within hunters' reach, to leave the bodies of people they were making ill. So it really depends on how broad and pervasive you want to make the spirits' influence, as to how powerful a shaman's "real magic" could be.

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Re: How can you make the stone age cool?

 

How about a campaign featuring the rise of the first kingdom/empire? A people who have become more settled and organized than their neighbors begin a program of assimilation over the smaller, less sophisticated tribes surrounding them. PCs could be members of the smaller tribes, fighting a despotic realm that seeks to conquer and absorb them. Conversely, they could be heroes of the new kingdom, bringing peace, order, and prosperity to a chaotic, strife-filled land, by diplomacy when they can, by force if they must.

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Re: How can you make the stone age cool?

 

how about a campaign featuring the rise of the first kingdom/empire? A people who have become more settled and organized than their neighbors begin a program of assimilation over the smaller' date=' less sophisticated tribes surrounding them. Pcs could be members of the smaller tribes, fighting a despotic realm that seeks to conquer and absorb them. Conversely, they could be heroes of the new kingdom, bringing peace, order, and prosperity to a chaotic, strife-filled land, by diplomacy when they can, by force if they must.[/quote']

 

resistance is futile. You will be assimilated

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Re: How can you make the stone age cool?

 

I think a few concepts could be "benchmarked" from Civ II, like the technology tree (you need to know certain things before you can "discover" certain other things, etc.) A game of ice-age hunter-gatherers seeking more productive hunting/gathering grounds when the ice sheets advance would be quite different from a village society sending out pioneers to find suitable sites for colonies. A campaign about a stone-age city-state might revolve around internal politics, threats from other city-states, or overpopulation requiring the PCs to lead settlers to a new site for a new city.

 

Stealing Discovering or inventing new technologies might be the focus of some campaigns. Has anyone had a campaign where inventing new technology was the focus? How did you handle the process?

 

Would the quest for more/better materials to craft weapons, tools and clothing be the focus of a campaign? How about trading? Even prehistoric peoples ranged far and wide to exchange things they had in abundance for things they didn't have at all, be it obsidian or flint for arrowheads, cloth woven from plant or animal fibers, finely-crafted items such as bone or horn needles, beads, shells, etc, or resources such as natural dyes and pigments. Sure, here it's just dirt, but three days east, the Og-people will give [prehistoric unit-of-measure] hides for [different prehistoric unit-of-measure] the stuff.

 

The information in this thread is helping a lot. Let's keep brainstorming.

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Re: How can you make the stone age cool?

 

Actually, there's a great deal to be said for trading dirt --or, rather, rocks. In a Stone Age society, rocks have contextual value. Archaeologists have scoured the British Isles like few other places, and they keep finding stone where it isn't supposed to be. People are moving it, and it is not just because it is pretty. Stonehenge is an obvious example of where rock is moved long distances, probably to reference the place it came from, although the cynic would point out its capacity to impress. But there's more to it. There are mines on top of mountains, for example. Clearly someone is saying, "this isn't just any stone ax. The stone comes from the highest mountain around, and that makes it more valuable."

Or magically potent. Whichever.

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Re: How can you make the stone age cool?

 

I'm beginning to realize that "stone-age" and "prehistoric" aren't genres, but settings. As such, you could concievably use these settings for Champoins, Dark Champions, Fantasy HERO, Pulp Hero, or even Star Hero (prehistoric cultures?). Would the Mods be so kind as to move this thread to the HERO System Discussion forum?

 

Until then, how can you "stone-age" or "prehistory" a fantasy scenario?

 

How about superheroics or realistic (not fantasy) settings?

 

What useful skills does a shaman have? If there is no magic what use is he? If there is magic, what can he do?

 

What about stone-age weapons? What's an atl-atl look like when transformed to game terms? Clubs are easy, but spears? What are the relative advantages of sharpened wood, stone, or antler speartips and/or arrowheads? Bows-and arrows? How are they made and how are they maintained?

 

How about the vital importance of survival skills? Most stone-age peoples would have these to some degree.

 

What sort of technologies should we not take for granted? Examples (and anyone else with ideas add your own thoughts):

  • making stone tools
  • making rope
  • curing hides
  • making clothing
  • What else?

Should languages be limited because there aren't all that many words yet?

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Re: How can you make the stone age cool?

 

Should languages be limited because there aren't all that many words yet?

 

remember, these guys are modern humans for all intents and purposes, they had words for everything in their environment (real AND imagined)

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Re: How can you make the stone age cool?

 

...

One way of passing information from one generation to the next before writing would have been to make a chant or song with all the information contained in the lyrics. Isn't that how the Vikings kept their culture and

laws stable for centuries?

 

 

 

Songs and stories is how pretty much EVERYONE in preliterate cultures preserved their lore.

 

And to this day even highly literate people use rhyme, assonance, rhythm, and other poetic tools, to encode information in easily memorized form.

 

"Red by yellow, kill a fellow; red by black, friend to Jack" will help you know which kind of snake is poisonous by looking at its color bands, if you don't have your Illustrated Field Guide to North American Snakes handy.

 

Someone whose tribal role involves keeping lore, such as a shaman, storyteller, geneologist, lawkeeper, etc. may have Eidetic Memory or some limited form of Eidetic Memory for information cast in the form of chants, etc.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary doesn't know how human beings could ever survive without music and poetry; it seems they would have no chants.

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Re: How can you make the stone age cool?

 

>>> Thread: How can you make the stone age cool?

 

You're gonna puke when you read this, but hear me out.

Look at the Survivor TV show. It's highly rated for a reason.

 

People get hooked on the perceived drama.

 

So even if the setting is stone knives and bearskins,

The characters and players will get all wrapped in who did what to whom and why.

 

Yes you could run adventure after adventure where they kill bigger and bigger dinosaurs,

but what they're going to remember longer is tracking down and skinning alive

that jackass from the Standing Wolf Tribe that tried to rape their own Chieftain's middle wife.

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Re: How can you make the stone age cool?

 

[quote=Egyptoid;1960244You're gonna puke when you read this, but hear me out.

Look at the Survivor TV show. It's highly rated for a reason.

 

*Sigh.* Oh, well, I suppose I'd better go watch a few episodes now.

 

BTW, can anyone recommend some good fiction (fantasy or otherwise) set in the stone age?

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Re: How can you make the stone age cool?

 

*Sigh.* Oh, well, I suppose I'd better go watch a few episodes now.

 

BTW, can anyone recommend some good fiction (fantasy or otherwise) set in the stone age?

 

Fist one to come to mind is the Earth's Children series starts with Clan of the Cave Bear.

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Re: How can you make the stone age cool?

 

Until then' date=' how can you "stone-age" or "prehistory" a fantasy scenario?[/quote']

You could set it in a MesoAmerican type culture. They had warriors, shamen, hunters and people who lived by guile or their skill with words. Make magic real and ritualistic in nature.

 

How about superheroics or realistic (not fantasy) settings??

Read a bunch of myths. The heroes of myths always seem to be doing things that seem superheroic in nature (like outrunning the sun or swallowing the sea). One PC could be the hunter who can single-handedly kill a mammoth with a stone-tipped spear...

 

What useful skills does a shaman have? If there is no magic what use is he? If there is magic' date=' what can he do?[/quote']

If there is no magic, the shaman is an authority figure. People listen to him and do what he says. He is the advisor that has to tell people how to solve their own problems, and convince them that it was his power that was responsible.

 

If magic is real, than there the sky (literally) could be the limit. But shamanistic magic seems to be ritualistic in nature (extra time, OAF, activation roll or skill roll to determine if the shaman persuaded the spirits to do as he asked...)

 

As an intermediate step, the shaman could be a seer, receiving information through dreams and portents, though not necessarily able to cause changes to occur directly.

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Re: How can you make the stone age cool?

 

BTW, can anyone recommend some good fiction (fantasy or otherwise) set in the stone age?

 

Harry Harrison wrote a sci-fi series where dinosaurs only became extinct in North America, and by the time modern humans were around to worry about it, the sapient dino-descendants were colonizing. "East of Eden" I think...but it could have been "West of Eden". They're both valid names for books/movies/etc, but I forget which one is Harrison's. And since I've never seen Eden on the map, I couldn't guess based on geography...

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Re: How can you make the stone age cool?

 

Harry Harrison wrote a sci-fi series where dinosaurs only became extinct in North America' date=' and by the time modern humans were around to worry about it, the sapient dino-descendants were colonizing. "East of Eden" I think...but it could have been "West of Eden". They're both valid names for books/movies/etc, but I forget which one is Harrison's. And since I've never seen Eden on the map, I couldn't guess based on geography...[/quote']

 

Harrison wrote West of Eden. I think East of Eden was Steinbeck.

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Re: How can you make the stone age cool?

 

*Sigh.* Oh, well, I suppose I'd better go watch a few episodes now.

 

BTW, can anyone recommend some good fiction (fantasy or otherwise) set in the stone age?

 

"Spear and Fang" by Robert E. Howard

Manly Wade Wellman's Hok stories are also very good.

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Re: How can you make the stone age cool?

 

Fist one to come to mind is the Earth's Children series starts with Clan of the Cave Bear.

 

If you read nothing else, read Clan of the Cave Bear.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

Clan of the Palindromedary

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