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kronovan

Kits that are both Weapons and Mundane Tools?

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I finally ordered my physical copy of the Mythras CRB, so I'm wanting to get a bit more serious with a homebrew I've been brewing. The challenge with my homebrew, is that it's set in a mesolithic (albeit the transition from upper-paleolithic) timeline where threats are much more in the form of megafauna like Short-face Bears, Polar Bears, Scimitar Cats, Woolly Rhinos, Flat-headed Precarys, Smilodons, etc. Combat occurs most commonly around the activity of hunting and defense during gathering/foraging, while human Vs human conflict is rare - albeit not completely unheard of. With humans as hunter-gatherers, what would be weapon kits in a typical Mythras setting mostly are also the tools used for common activities in daily life.

The geography and topography in my setting is a bit unique for the historical era. There's 2 seas (northern that's icelocked for most of the year and a warmer, southern ice-free), many large lakes (2 are over 500 long x 250 km wide) dominating  the central plane, 5 small (albeit one is 800x200 km) & distinct plateaus,  high mountains along the entire east & west with massive icefields at their highest extents, and many large rivers with either lake or melting glacial sources. My thinking is that makes Humans with a lower state of tech, are much more impacted by the environments of the land. So my cultures are a bit more diverse and numerous than standard Mythras ones. These are the cultures I have so far: 
Nomads
Alpine/Highlander
Plateau
Coastal (sea)
Lakeside
Riverside

Despite there not being near as much variation in hunting weapons, there's still a few. Here's what I have so far:
Knife (stone & bone)
Stone Adze (hardwood handle fitted with a stone celt)
Spears (both stone & bone tipped)
Harpoon (both stone & bone tipped)
Atlatl (spear thrower)
Club
Bow & Stone-tipped arrows
Bolas
Sedge Net

Where I struggle is with filling out a weapons kit with the sort of variety that a typical Mythras kit has; just don't have enough diversity of weapons for that. Meanwhile, with cultures being much more environ/site specific, most wouldn't have every weapon in that list. So I'm thinking that my setting's kits would include both weapon and non-damaging tools. That way a kit could still provide a decent number of items. The other daily items in a kit could be things like sheaths, fishing nets, bowls, packs, wood-slitted snow goggles, spirit talismans, etc. Being new to Mythras and having had minimal time GMing it, I'm wondering if such an approach might negatively impact Economics and equipment?

I'm also not sure of the damage values for my weapons. My bow is the original, prehistoric deal and certainly not the ingenious composite bow of the Mongols or the sophisticated recurve of the Persians - an arrow hurled from an atlatl might even be more damaging? The same would be true of the celt-fitted adze compared to a battlaxe (heck even a hatchet for that matter) and my spears probably shouldn't do anywhere near the damage of a Longspear. And with quality woods being limited in my setting, my club would no doubt not as damaging as the Mythras club and great club. So while I'm thinking their size would be the same, I'm not at all sure of the damage values?

My approach is to begin with something historical and mundane as a foundation and then eventually turn up the dials to arrive at something closer to Historical Fantasy. So later I'll create the setting background for more human conflict and probably intro Animism magic for Shamans. This is the first time I've done a setting like this with any RPG though, so I want to initially try to create something that's more historic and credible - if that makes any sense?

If anyone could give me any feedback or suggestions, it'd be much appreciated.

Edited by kronovan
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Well, I’m not sure I’m reading you right, but it seems like you are suggesting putting non-weapons in a combat style? That doesn’t seem like it would make sense. 

for other weapons, how about a stone axe and the dart? The latter is used with an atlatl anyways. How about a sling? How about bolas? 

frankly, some cultures just don’t have that many. This is seen in monster island and mythic Britain where the cultures have extremely limited lists. 

for your cultures, I might suggest, instead of like 8 different cultures, limit the career list for a couple of cultures.  Clearly horse nomads might be different than lakeside folks, but river and lakeside folks are going to look very similar in skill set. The coastal folks might have access to the sailor profession where as the other two probably won’t. 
 

an arrow hurled from an atlatl is called a dart :) use the stats from the book. They should work fine.  The adze isn’t a battle axe. It’s going to be a hatched. Your Spears are short Spears, etc.  the quality of the wood probably impacts the toughness of your objects, though unless it is quite a lot worse, I wouldn’t alter it much. At most I think I would drop the AP by 1 and maybe a hit point or two, but only if I really really wanted to call out how bad the wood is. I would stick to the stats and just use the prehistoric Milieu weapons in the book. There are very few of them. Dagger, spear, club, etc. use The short bow, which is not the recurve that the mongols used. 

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Many thanks for the reply Raleel.

2 hours ago, Raleel said:

Well, I’m not sure I’m reading you right, but it seems like you are suggesting putting non-weapons in a combat style? That doesn’t seem like it would make sense. 

for other weapons, how about a stone axe and the dart? The latter is used with an atlatl anyways. How about a sling? How about bolas? 

frankly, some cultures just don’t have that many. This is seen in monster island and mythic Britain where the cultures have extremely limited lists. 

Yep, my bad; should have used the word Styles instead of kits.  My thought was to have Cultural Styles that included both combat weapons and mundane tools, and then flag those items that are weapons. I did a bit of the brain fart with my adze though, as I was thinking it's the same as a stone axe, but in fact it's a horizontal mounted stone celt/blade instead of a vertical one. I did have bolas, but I don't know how I missed the sling as it seems like a natural. A dart being used without an atlatl by a few of the cultures is a possibility too.  I do own Mythic Britain, so I'll give that section a read again. With having up to 12 weapons now, there probably is enough to make complete Combat Styles.  ;) 

2 hours ago, Raleel said:

for your cultures, I might suggest, instead of like 8 different cultures, limit the career list for a couple of cultures.  Clearly horse nomads might be different than lakeside folks, but river and lakeside folks are going to look very similar in skill set. The coastal folks might have access to the sailor profession where as the other two probably won’t.

I've gone back and forth on the Lakeside and Riverside cultures, with the thought of consolidating them into a single Shoreline or Waterside culture; can't decide which makes also having a Coastal culture less confusing? The other cultures are reasonably distinct from one another in both careers and combat styles. Even though the Highland and Plateau descriptors may sound similar, the geography of the settings actually leads to them being a very different type of subsistence. I have already limited career lists by culture, but admittedly the Riverside and Lakeside lists are too similar. I also don't have as many careers as the default Mythras primitive culture, with my setting being too prehistoric for Scholar and a Scout by my thinking is just a Hunter for similar reasons.  For the careers, I am considering borrowing the Socio-political Medicine Person, Healer Medicine Person, Shaman triad found in some Native American cultures.  And in a sense those Medicine Persons really are the Scholar/Sage and Physicians of the culture. I'm also not sure about a Thief, as a setting in the Mesolithic era seems too early to have the social stratification to support it. I have considered creating a Pillager or Raider career, but just aren't sure yet?

2 hours ago, Raleel said:

an arrow hurled from an atlatl is called a dart :) use the stats from the book. They should work fine.  The adze isn’t a battle axe. It’s going to be a hatched. Your Spears are short Spears, etc.  the quality of the wood probably impacts the toughness of your objects, though unless it is quite a lot worse, I wouldn’t alter it much. At most I think I would drop the AP by 1 and maybe a hit point or two, but only if I really really wanted to call out how bad the wood is. I would stick to the stats and just use the prehistoric Milieu weapons in the book. There are very few of them. Dagger, spear, club, etc. use The short bow, which is not the recurve that the mongols used. 

All great advice. Quality, tough wood can only really be found in the highland mountains where dense-wood evergreens grow. I do plan on factoring trading into the setting in a significant way though, so maybe a PC can trade and then add a better quality club or spear to their style. As I think more about it though, there are some humongous, tusk-bearing megafauna in the setting like Woolly Rhinos, Mastadons and Woolly Mammoths and large marine mammals with big, hard bones and even Narwhal tusks. So most of the cultures likely have access to large and tough, carve-able materials.  ;)

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Edited by kronovan

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4 minutes ago, kronovan said:

I've gone back and forth on the Lakeside and Riverside cultures, with the thought of consolidating them into a single Shoreline or Waterside culture; can't decide which makes also having a Coastal culture less confusing? The other cultures are reasonably distinct from one another in both careers and combat styles. Even though the Highland and Plateau descriptors may sound similar, the geography of the settings actually leads to them being a very different type of subsistence. I have already limited career lists by culture, but admittedly the Riverside and Lakeside lists are too similar. I also don't have as many careers as the default Mythras primitive culture, with my setting being too prehistoric for Scholar and a Scout by my thinking is just a Hunter for similar reasons.  For the careers, I am considering borrowing the Socio-political Medicine Person, Healer Medicine Person, Shaman triad found in some Native American cultures.  And in a sense those Medicine Persons really are the Scholar/Sage and Physicians of the culture. I'm also not sure about a Thief, as a setting in the Mesolithic era seems too early to have the social stratification to support it. I have considered creating a Pillager or Raider career, but just aren't sure yet?

So, what makes the culture different? how is society structured differently? how does their government differ? Do they have reading and writing? Consider the Native American tribes - I am not sure that I would count a strong difference at this level between the static societies that lived in the forests of the north east vs those in the north west vs those in the south west, even though they clearly have many differences. I would consider them to be quite different than the nomadic planes tribes, despite some similar structures because fundamentally, they move their people and follow the herd, where the others don't really do that at all.

i'm not trying to really discourage you from new cultures, but "static living by the river" and "static living by the lake" and "static living by the ocean" are very similar and could be distinguished at the career level. The Coastal is a little more distinct because I would expect it would have Seamanship somewhere in a career that is available to it, where I wouldn't expect the others to have it. I just don't think I have enough context, and my assumptions make them feel very close to each other

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I've gotta point at MRQ/Legend's "Land of Ice & Stone" here!  The mechanics are about 92.5% Mythras (the directly-ancestral system).  @soltakss might have more to say... 😉  ?

 

I agree that one shouldn't add non-weapons into a "Combat Style," however...  At what point do you just slide down to have a single skill, e.g. "Hunter"?  Some Hunters will be better with weapons-use; some will be better at tracking; some will have better field-skills with twine and glue and field-repairs; etc etc etc ...

What is it you want to achieve by rolling other skills into the Combat Style (and thus reducing the number of Skills the characters have, other niches than Weapons/Fighty Guy)?

There's some odd crossovers in this space, too... e.g. "hunting" vs "fishing" vs "trapping."  All get meat to eat, but ...   Spearfishing looks a lot like "hunting," while hiding with a net and then throwing it when someone flushes birds your way sits neatly in a hunting/trapping intersection; net-fishing and weir-fishing are pretty much trapping in the water; etc...

 

"Coastal" vs. other waterside tribes:  I expect they will ALL have some form of boats.  The bigger the water -- and that includes big lakes -- the more likely to include sails, though oars will always remain a thing, of course!

 

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On 11/13/2019 at 7:50 PM, g33k said:

I've gotta point at MRQ/Legend's "Land of Ice & Stone" here!  The mechanics are about 92.5% Mythras (the directly-ancestral system).  @soltakss might have more to say... 😉  ?

Thanks for the mention. Yes, Land of Ice and Stone is Palaeolithic Southern Europe, but could easily be used for a Mesolithic setting.

What I did was keep things very simple. Everyone is a version of Primitive, so I used different types of people, so we have Red Men (Neanderthals), Long Men (Cro Magnon) and Short Men (Modern Humans), each with subtle differences. professions are similarly Primitive in nature.

On 11/12/2019 at 7:49 PM, kronovan said:

Where I struggle is with filling out a weapons kit with the sort of variety that a typical Mythras kit has; just don't have enough diversity of weapons for that. Meanwhile, with cultures being much more environ/site specific, most wouldn't have every weapon in that list. So I'm thinking that my setting's kits would include both weapon and non-damaging tools. That way a kit could still provide a decent number of items. The other daily items in a kit could be things like sheaths, fishing nets, bowls, packs, wood-slitted snow goggles, spirit talismans, etc. Being new to Mythras and having had minimal time GMing it, I'm wondering if such an approach might negatively impact Economics and equipment?

I can see what you are trying to do, but can't really see the point.

What I would do, in Mythras, would be to have everyone use similar weapons, or have each Clan have its own weapons. So, one clan might use Spear and have the Keep Distance Special Effect, but another might have Spear with an Impale Special Effect and so on. There are limited weapons, so one clan might use spears, another might use clubs, another the jawbones of wild asses and so on. I am a firm believer in the clans being specialised, as in Raquel Welsh's One Million Years BC. 

Also, having a limited number of weapons isn't really an issue. You need one weapon to keep things at a distance while you hit them (spears), something to throw at them (thrown spears, bows/arrows, slings) and something to hit them up close (Daggers, hand axes, jawbones of wild asses). Anything else is a luxury and, pretty pointless. Sure, you might have a club or even a mace, although they tend to be neolithic, but what's a club going to do that a hand axe or spear doesn't?

As for an Adventurer Kit, I'd include the things that you mentioned, but they would just be equipment. You wouldn't need a separate skill to use them, Survival should be enough to make a fire or do some fishing, or mend a net.

On 11/12/2019 at 7:49 PM, kronovan said:

I'm also not sure of the damage values for my weapons. My bow is the original, prehistoric deal and certainly not the ingenious composite bow of the Mongols or the sophisticated recurve of the Persians - an arrow hurled from an atlatl might even be more damaging? The same would be true of the celt-fitted adze compared to a battlaxe (heck even a hatchet for that matter) and my spears probably shouldn't do anywhere near the damage of a Longspear. And with quality woods being limited in my setting, my club would no doubt not as damaging as the Mythras club and great club. So while I'm thinking their size would be the same, I'm not at all sure of the damage values?

Have a look at Land of Ice and Stone, it has damage for Legend, which is pretty close to Mythras. I think I dropped any +1s and ignored any other things. So, a spear is a spear is a spear, whether tipped with stone, bronze or iron.

I used self bows, short spears and clubs, I think, from memory.

On 11/12/2019 at 7:49 PM, kronovan said:

My approach is to begin with something historical and mundane as a foundation and then eventually turn up the dials to arrive at something closer to Historical Fantasy. So later I'll create the setting background for more human conflict and probably intro Animism magic for Shamans. This is the first time I've done a setting like this with any RPG though, so I want to initially try to create something that's more historic and credible - if that makes any sense?

Land of Ice and Stone touches on this as well. Shamans are Wise Ones, who can contact the spirits and bring back some gifts. There are rudimentary deities, Great Mother, Moon, Sun and Hunter are the main ones. The stars are the Campfires/Hearths of the Ancestors. All magic is Common Magic, Folk magic in Mythras. No Sorcery, Divine/theistic Magic and no Spirit magic from Mythras/Legend. Why no Spirit Magic? I think that is quite advanced animism and am not convinced that the Palaeolithic people had that kind of knowledge of the Spirit World.

On 11/13/2019 at 12:42 AM, kronovan said:

I've gone back and forth on the Lakeside and Riverside cultures, with the thought of consolidating them into a single Shoreline or Waterside culture; can't decide which makes also having a Coastal culture less confusing? The other cultures are reasonably distinct from one another in both careers and combat styles. Even though the Highland and Plateau descriptors may sound similar, the geography of the settings actually leads to them being a very different type of subsistence. I have already limited career lists by culture, but admittedly the Riverside and Lakeside lists are too similar. I also don't have as many careers as the default Mythras primitive culture, with my setting being too prehistoric for Scholar and a Scout by my thinking is just a Hunter for similar reasons.  For the careers, I am considering borrowing the Socio-political Medicine Person, Healer Medicine Person, Shaman triad found in some Native American cultures.  And in a sense those Medicine Persons really are the Scholar/Sage and Physicians of the culture. I'm also not sure about a Thief, as a setting in the Mesolithic era seems too early to have the social stratification to support it. I have considered creating a Pillager or Raider career, but just aren't sure yet?

What I did was make everyone effective Primitive, but with variations.

So, those who live on the shore might use dugout canoes and might be able to fish and swim. Those on the Great Steppe would be good endurance runners and good at making camps and so on. Those living in the great marshes have access to ways of hunting wildfowl and so on. Not all of those ideas are in Land of Ice and Stone, but that's how I'd do them.

Scout is fine, as it is a form of hunter who ranges far and wide. I used a form of Merchant that I might have called a Farwalker. Wise Ones are like shamans, but less powerful. Crafters include all kinds of people who make things, for example stone knappers, canoe makers and so on. Pillagers and raiders would tend to be later, in my opinion, as most people are struggling to survive instead of making war on other clans, although you could have a mad Clan who did this. However, the Mesolithic is far less hostile than the Palaeolithic, so maybe they are OK. A Thief is, perhaps, OK, but he would be chased out of so many clans that he might find it hard to survive.

On 11/13/2019 at 7:50 PM, g33k said:

There's some odd crossovers in this space, too... e.g. "hunting" vs "fishing" vs "trapping."  All get meat to eat, but ...   Spearfishing looks a lot like "hunting," while hiding with a net and then throwing it when someone flushes birds your way sits neatly in a hunting/trapping intersection; net-fishing and weir-fishing are pretty much trapping in the water; etc...

In some respects, knowing how to jab fish with spears is just a Survival roll. Knowing how to make a fish trap is a Craft roll and knowing how to go out in a canoe with a net to catch fish is a Craft (Fisher) roll. However, you can use whatever roll suits your PC best.

On 11/13/2019 at 7:50 PM, g33k said:

"Coastal" vs. other waterside tribes:  I expect they will ALL have some form of boats.  The bigger the water -- and that includes big lakes -- the more likely to include sails, though oars will always remain a thing, of course!

I don't have sails in a Palaeolithic or Mesolithic setting. Dugout canoes are fine, perhaps with outriggers. They are fine for island hopping or going across short stretches. They were enough to reach Australia, for example.

 

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My apologies for taking some time to get back to this thread, but many thanks for all the feedback.

I decided I needed to re-read the Mythras character related and gear & economic chapters and with my print copy about to arrive any day,  thought I'd wait until I had it in hand. I also do own the Legend RPG, but do prefer Mythras to it. That said, I'm going to purchase Land of Ice & Stones in the Thanksgiving sale, as it sounds like it'll have content that's applicable to my homebrew.

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