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Author Topic: NEOLITHIC Campaign Miliue  (Read 332 times)

SHARK

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NEOLITHIC Campaign Miliue
« on: May 17, 2021, 08:51:13 PM »
Greetings!

Have any of you run a Neolithic Campaign? Essentially, a world running from hunter-gatherers to the advent of agriculture, and the Copper Age. In our own historical frame, something like 10,000 BC to about 4,000 BC. This would be *before* the rise of China or Egypt, let alone Greece or Rome. India, too, was similarly primitive during this period. This would also be *before* the Bronze Age.

In my campaign world of Thandor, I have some regions, or entire continents that are more or less in the Neolithic Age.

Very interesting time period, to be sure! All kinds of tribes wandering around, huge migrations going on.

A land of immense forests, glaciers, ice walls. Lots of marshes and bogs. People riding around on horses, but definitely no stirrups. Mostly getting about by walking, or by using a primitive kind of boat. Some also using rough, four-wheeled wagons pulled by two horses. Weapons crafted from bone, animal horn, wood, and copper. Obsidian is also popular. Seashells, amber, furs, and pottery are popular trade goods.

During such a rough time period, there are no kings yet, or much of a social stratification. Huge numbers of wild animals everywhere.

It is also pretty neat that during such times, there can be dramatic climactic changes, resulting in islands and peninsulas being created, or some islands disappearing beneath the waves.

Interesting stuff!

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK
"It is the Marine Corps that will strip away the façade so easily confused with self. It is the Corps that will offer the pain needed to buy the truth. And at last, each will own the privilege of looking inside himself  to discover what truly resides there. Comfort is an illusion. A false security bred from familiar things and familiar ways. It narrows the mind. Weakens the body. And robs the soul of spirit and determination. Comfort is neither welcome nor tolerated here."

"Courage is not the absence of fear, but is doing what you have to, in spite of the fear."
"Let Death and Fire Be Their Portion!"
"Delenda Est Parthia!"

Pat

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Re: NEOLITHIC Campaign Miliue
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2021, 09:08:04 PM »
Nope, but a long time ago I ran an Ice Age game, with the emphasis on tribe and survival. Expanding into the neolithic would allow more complex social structures and a more diverse world.

Have you seen Arthdal Chronicles? It's a Korean historical fantasy tv show. It's based in the Bronze Age, but in a very early part of it (bronze is a secret of one clan), with lots of throwbacks to more primitive periods. It's amazingly rich, with cities, politics, religion, and more.

Tantavalist

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Re: NEOLITHIC Campaign Miliue
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2021, 09:36:02 PM »
Not a TTRPG, or even a CRPG, but the Dawn of Man computer game has given me thoughts on using a Neolithic society as a setting.  The game is very good at showing exactly what kind of technology was available in the Stone Age- it was far more than the skin-clad cavemen the most people think was what pre-dated the Bronze Age. In reality, even just thinking about things for a moment should tell people that there must have been a few more steps in between Mammoth Hunter Tribes and Gilgamesh's Sumeria. And these represent a longer period than the whole of recorded history.

Obviously we don't have anything concrete about what cultures were like back then. But Native Americans would be a good place to learn more- prior to the arrival of Europeans most of the Americas would still count as Neolithic in terms of technology. And they were surprisingly sophisticated- proof that primitive and stupid are not the same thing. (And the Aztecs and Incas showed that despite the name you could technically advance to something resembling the Bronze Age without discovering Bronze.)

Pat

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Re: NEOLITHIC Campaign Miliue
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2021, 09:56:43 PM »
(And the Aztecs and Incas showed that despite the name you could technically advance to something resembling the Bronze Age without discovering Bronze.)
And even without Bronze-equivalents, there was a lot range in the Neolithic. Fixed settlements growing into fortified cities, wars, farming, domesticated animals and plants, complex trade arrangements, art, and religion. The towers, burial mounds, henges, and so on all required a lot of labor, so there were probably kings/queens and dynasties able to command the people, with the emergence of empires toward the end.

SHARK

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Re: NEOLITHIC Campaign Miliue
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2021, 10:00:35 PM »
Nope, but a long time ago I ran an Ice Age game, with the emphasis on tribe and survival. Expanding into the neolithic would allow more complex social structures and a more diverse world.

Have you seen Arthdal Chronicles? It's a Korean historical fantasy tv show. It's based in the Bronze Age, but in a very early part of it (bronze is a secret of one clan), with lots of throwbacks to more primitive periods. It's amazingly rich, with cities, politics, religion, and more.

Greetings!

Hmmm...The Arthdal Chronicles? No, I'm afraid I've never heard of that series, Pat! It sounds cool, though! How did you come across it?

Indeed, as more and more archeology and research comes out about the Neolithic Age, especially so in Europe, it is very exciting. Huge towns/Cities have been uncovered in the Ukraine and Danube regions--that held 10,000 to 15,000 people, in 6000 BC. Before Egypt, and this one historian said at the time, these Neolithic European urban centers were the *largest* anywhere on earth. Fascinating!

The ancient Bulgarians were crafting fine gold, and the whole Danube region was exploding with civilization, agriculture, and increasingly sophisticated knowledge.

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK
"It is the Marine Corps that will strip away the façade so easily confused with self. It is the Corps that will offer the pain needed to buy the truth. And at last, each will own the privilege of looking inside himself  to discover what truly resides there. Comfort is an illusion. A false security bred from familiar things and familiar ways. It narrows the mind. Weakens the body. And robs the soul of spirit and determination. Comfort is neither welcome nor tolerated here."

"Courage is not the absence of fear, but is doing what you have to, in spite of the fear."
"Let Death and Fire Be Their Portion!"
"Delenda Est Parthia!"

SHARK

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Re: NEOLITHIC Campaign Miliue
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2021, 10:11:57 PM »
Not a TTRPG, or even a CRPG, but the Dawn of Man computer game has given me thoughts on using a Neolithic society as a setting.  The game is very good at showing exactly what kind of technology was available in the Stone Age- it was far more than the skin-clad cavemen the most people think was what pre-dated the Bronze Age. In reality, even just thinking about things for a moment should tell people that there must have been a few more steps in between Mammoth Hunter Tribes and Gilgamesh's Sumeria. And these represent a longer period than the whole of recorded history.

Obviously we don't have anything concrete about what cultures were like back then. But Native Americans would be a good place to learn more- prior to the arrival of Europeans most of the Americas would still count as Neolithic in terms of technology. And they were surprisingly sophisticated- proof that primitive and stupid are not the same thing. (And the Aztecs and Incas showed that despite the name you could technically advance to something resembling the Bronze Age without discovering Bronze.)

Greetings!

Excellent, Tantavalist! Indeed, that's an aspect that I really like about the whole Neolithic period. There are many *steps* between cave-dwelling mammoth hunters, and the Sumerian Kings ruling elaborate cities. Ad yet, the Neolithic period embraces all of that.

I was watching this one documentary, where they were discussing how while the Indo-Europeans were pouring into southern and central Europe--and transforming the "Corded Ware Culture"--throughout Scandinavia and north-eastern Europe, there was a sophisticated culture of Neolithic Europeans--early Western European Hunter Gatherer Tribes, mixed with Eastern European Hunter Gatherer tribes--that forged a culture based on traditional hunting and gathering, only embracing light agriculture--but very much into fishing and boats! They maintained this sophisticated, ancient way of life for some thousand years *after* the arrival of the Indo-Europeans.

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK
"It is the Marine Corps that will strip away the façade so easily confused with self. It is the Corps that will offer the pain needed to buy the truth. And at last, each will own the privilege of looking inside himself  to discover what truly resides there. Comfort is an illusion. A false security bred from familiar things and familiar ways. It narrows the mind. Weakens the body. And robs the soul of spirit and determination. Comfort is neither welcome nor tolerated here."

"Courage is not the absence of fear, but is doing what you have to, in spite of the fear."
"Let Death and Fire Be Their Portion!"
"Delenda Est Parthia!"

Pat

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Re: NEOLITHIC Campaign Miliue
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2021, 10:19:05 PM »

Greetings!

Hmmm...The Arthdal Chronicles? No, I'm afraid I've never heard of that series, Pat! It sounds cool, though! How did you come across it?

Indeed, as more and more archeology and research comes out about the Neolithic Age, especially so in Europe, it is very exciting. Huge towns/Cities have been uncovered in the Ukraine and Danube regions--that held 10,000 to 15,000 people, in 6000 BC. Before Egypt, and this one historian said at the time, these Neolithic European urban centers were the *largest* anywhere on earth. Fascinating!

The ancient Bulgarians were crafting fine gold, and the whole Danube region was exploding with civilization, agriculture, and increasingly sophisticated knowledge.

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK
Civilization didn't appear out of nowhere. It was part of a process that took thousands of years.

I stumbled across Arthdal on Netflix. It's fascinating because 1) it's not European, 2) it basically covers the transition between the Neolithic and the Bronze Ages, 3) it's a remarkably complex world, and 4) it's really good.

The Thing

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Re: NEOLITHIC Campaign Miliue
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2021, 11:07:11 PM »
If you like primitive settings there is a Gor RPG out there. I wouldn't touch it with someone else's hands, just like a Gor book as the ONLY gor fan i ever met was an avowed neonazi. (Yes, literally.)

Tantavalist

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Re: NEOLITHIC Campaign Miliue
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2021, 11:06:14 AM »
Gor is an iron-age tech Sword & Planet setting and therefore doesn't really have any relevance to the topic of discussion. Imperial Rome or Westeros are also "Primitive" settings by our standards, but they're not Neolithic.

My main comparison for Gor is the Anita Blake series. Both of them had some interesting stuff that made for an entertaining read in the beginning. Unfortunately the sexual elements took up a higher percentage of the page count with every new book until it became unreadable. The point at which you'd stop reading is down to personal preference, but even the first books aren't something I'd recommend when these days it's easier to get access to better things.


Back to the main topic of the thread...

You can also find videos on YouTube of people making stone-age tools. A lot are American ones re-creating techniques used by Native Tribes but these are still essentially Neolithic technologies.

One thing that stands out is that stone tools and weapons are not, in fact, less effective than metal ones. Every RPG I've seen gives stone weapons significant penalties to damage or skill use. This would seem to be inaccurate. The drawback to stone tools seems to be that they have a high chance of breaking and once broken have to be completely replaced rather than sharpened or reforged.

To adapt an RPG ruleset to stone age weapons, use the same stats as metal ones and then give a small chance of breaking in use (1 in 20 actually seems about right). And PCs will carry a number of extra spear/axe heads to replace broken weapons after a fight.

Omega

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Re: NEOLITHIC Campaign Miliue
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2021, 11:19:02 AM »
Check out the old microgame Sticks and Stones if can ever find it.

Theres an older thread here on playing stone-age and ice-age campaigns.

TSR had at least two articles on running ice-age campaigns.
gurps had a book for it.
One of two pulp hero themed RPGs have Lost World/Pellucidar type settings.
Then theres the Living Land for the original TORG RPG.

All have their own takes on how to approach playing.

Tantavalist

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Re: NEOLITHIC Campaign Miliue
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2021, 12:25:50 PM »
Check out the old microgame Sticks and Stones if can ever find it.

Theres an older thread here on playing stone-age and ice-age campaigns.

TSR had at least two articles on running ice-age campaigns.
gurps had a book for it.
One of two pulp hero themed RPGs have Lost World/Pellucidar type settings.
Then theres the Living Land for the original TORG RPG.

All have their own takes on how to approach playing.


The problem with these suggestions is that all of these are based in the Paleolithic era. This is what most people think of when they hear "Stone Age". But the Stone Age is actually divided into three periods and the difference between them is easily as great as between the Bronze Age and Medieval.

This thread is discussing the Neolithic period precisely because it's so unknown. The Neolithic is not the Ice Age. It's what stone age tribes blossomed into once the Ice Age was over and technologies like farming became widespread.

SHARK

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Re: NEOLITHIC Campaign Miliue
« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2021, 02:22:12 PM »
Check out the old microgame Sticks and Stones if can ever find it.

Theres an older thread here on playing stone-age and ice-age campaigns.

TSR had at least two articles on running ice-age campaigns.
gurps had a book for it.
One of two pulp hero themed RPGs have Lost World/Pellucidar type settings.
Then theres the Living Land for the original TORG RPG.

All have their own takes on how to approach playing.


The problem with these suggestions is that all of these are based in the Paleolithic era. This is what most people think of when they hear "Stone Age". But the Stone Age is actually divided into three periods and the difference between them is easily as great as between the Bronze Age and Medieval.

This thread is discussing the Neolithic period precisely because it's so unknown. The Neolithic is not the Ice Age. It's what stone age tribes blossomed into once the Ice Age was over and technologies like farming became widespread.

Greetings!

Exactly, Tantavalist! ;D

I've been watching a good number of documentaries about the Neolithic Age. Geesus, it's all quite fascinating! They indeed hunted Aurochs, as testified by Roman sources.

I wonder if there were any mammoths still running about?

Nonetheless, yes, in our Neolithic Campaign, I'm sure you can still have mammoths running about.

That's part of the time-frame's wondrous appeal, I think, is you still have absolute primitive hunter-gatherers, while at the same time, there are people organizing into early cities and urban centers--and also at the same time, you have nomadic groups, and other groups which embrace different levels and styles of agriculture. There is so much going on there, everywhere, you know?

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK
"It is the Marine Corps that will strip away the façade so easily confused with self. It is the Corps that will offer the pain needed to buy the truth. And at last, each will own the privilege of looking inside himself  to discover what truly resides there. Comfort is an illusion. A false security bred from familiar things and familiar ways. It narrows the mind. Weakens the body. And robs the soul of spirit and determination. Comfort is neither welcome nor tolerated here."

"Courage is not the absence of fear, but is doing what you have to, in spite of the fear."
"Let Death and Fire Be Their Portion!"
"Delenda Est Parthia!"

Omega

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Re: NEOLITHIC Campaign Miliue
« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2021, 02:37:03 PM »
This thread is discussing the Neolithic period precisely because it's so unknown. The Neolithic is not the Ice Age. It's what stone age tribes blossomed into once the Ice Age was over and technologies like farming became widespread.

That is why noted Sticks and Stones first as its set in the neolithic era I believe.
Also some of the others suggested also cover the neolithic a little, or are fully that.

Pat

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Re: NEOLITHIC Campaign Miliue
« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2021, 10:45:53 PM »

I wonder if there were any mammoths still running about?
Absolutely, though they were hidden in very remote locations: A population of woolly mammoths survived on Wrangel Island, off northern Siberia, until about 4,000 years ago. They were still around when the Egyptians were building the pyramids. They've also discovered mammoths on St. Paul Island, in the Bering Sea off Alaska, dating to about 6,500 years ago.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2021, 10:53:56 PM by Pat »

SHARK

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Re: NEOLITHIC Campaign Miliue
« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2021, 11:20:56 PM »

I wonder if there were any mammoths still running about?
Absolutely, though they were hidden in very remote locations: A population of woolly mammoths survived on Wrangel Island, off northern Siberia, until about 4,000 years ago. They were still around when the Egyptians were building the pyramids. They've also discovered mammoths on St. Paul Island, in the Bering Sea off Alaska, dating to about 6,500 years ago.

Greetings!

Goddamn! ;D That's right, Pat! That's fucking awesome! Mammoths up in Alaska? I'd never heard of that before, though I have always thought it was a natural habitat for them. I figured they would like it up there!

I love Mammoths! Can you just imagine seeing them up close? That would be so cool. I have ridden on normal, African elephants. They are cool. I've loved elephants ever since I was a kid. ;D

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK
"It is the Marine Corps that will strip away the façade so easily confused with self. It is the Corps that will offer the pain needed to buy the truth. And at last, each will own the privilege of looking inside himself  to discover what truly resides there. Comfort is an illusion. A false security bred from familiar things and familiar ways. It narrows the mind. Weakens the body. And robs the soul of spirit and determination. Comfort is neither welcome nor tolerated here."

"Courage is not the absence of fear, but is doing what you have to, in spite of the fear."
"Let Death and Fire Be Their Portion!"
"Delenda Est Parthia!"