Sunday, 17 May 2020

NEOLITHIC SETTLEMENTS

Though pariahs roam out in the wilderness and come from hunter-gatherer societies, the world they inhabit is Neolithic. It is a world of agriculture, trade and permanent settlements—even burgeoning cities. The people of those settlements represent potential trade partners, sources of  rumours, possible allied or even enemies.

I've made a Neolithic settlement generator which you can access here:
https://aloneinthelabyrinth.blogspot.com/2021/01/more-neolithic-settlementscity-of.html




I. ARABLE LAND

Pariahs feel uncomfortable when entering land that has been worked extensively: likewise the inhabitants of that land will view outsiders with suspicion and fear. However, settled peoples will draw no distinction between pariahs  and other hunter-gatherers, and so such communities represent a good opportunity to trade.

Arable land is usually found in lowland areas close to rivers, although terraced highlands and irrigated deserts are another possibility. One 6 mile hex will support approximately 3000 people: some of those will be found in settlements scattered throughout the hex, though many will be found in larger, central settlements approaching the size of primitive cities, subsisting upon the surplus produced by the surrounding satellites.

II. TYPICAL ENCOUNTERS 

When moving through arable land, roll for encounters on this modified table:

GENERIC ARABLE ENCOUNTERS TABLE
Roll
Lowland plain
Highland terrace
Cultivated wetland
Irrigated Desert
1 or less
No encounter
2
Animal
Animal
Swimmer
Insect
3
Animal
Animal
Insect
Flyer
4
Insect
Animal
Flyer
Animal
5
Human
Insect
Human
Human
6
Human
Human
Human
Human
7
Human
Human
Human
Animal
8
Human
Human
Swimmer
Weird
9 or more
Weird
Weird
Weird
Spirit

The human encounters has been detailed before, but for the sake of convenience:

HUMAN ENCOUNTERS
1d12
Arable land/ settlement
1
Chieftain
2
Farm labourers 
3
Farm labourers 
4
Farm labourers 
5
Farm labourers 
6
Farm labourers 
7
Farm labourers
8
Herder + 5d6 animals
9
Priest
10
Raiders (hunting party)
11
Warriors
12
Wisewoman (witch)

Chieftain

The chieftain is a martial leader of a settled community. Roll 1d6: on a 1-2 they are on a hunting trip with their retinue, on 3-6 they are within 1d6 x10 minutes of their settlement.

The chieftain is wary of outsiders and will want to know their business. They will be reluctant to allow the pariahs to stay in their hex without offering some form of tribute, and even so it will be a temporary stay. The chieftain and their retinue may even escort the party to the next hex.



Chieftain
HD:             
Attack:
Attack value:
Defence:
Speed:
No. app
Morale:
Size:
Mind:

2d8+6
1 spear or club
13 (1d8+1)
12 (carries shield)
40’(120’)
1
9
Medium
10
The chieftain usually opens combat by throwing their spear.
They then close in for melee with a wooden club. The chieftain wears bone armour that provides 6 temp HP. Slashing damage is halved while the armour is intact.

The chieftain is accompanied 1d4 warriors with the following stats:


Warrior
HD:             
Attack:
Attack value:
Defence:
Speed:
No. app
Morale:
Size:
Mind:

1d6
1 spear, bow or club
11 (1d6)
11 
40’(120’)
1d4
8
Medium
10
Warriors will either have spears (2 in 3) or bows (1 in 3). They will suppress from afar before closing in with clubs. They are wary of non-settled peoples.

Farm labourers

Farm labourers work in gangs of 1-12. Approximately ⅔ will be male. For every female present, there is a 1 in 4 chance she has an infant strapped to her back.

Labourers are wary of wilderness dwellers, and will not want to talk or trade unless they feel it is absolutely necessary. Due to linguistic differences, treat their language as Dc 12 . They will not fight unless they are threatened, and will use their simple tools as light weapons.

Labourers are indentured servants of either a chieftain or priest. Their settlement will be no more than 1d6 x* 10 minutes away.

Labourer
HD:             
Attack:
Attack value:
Defence:
Speed:
No. app
Morale:
Size:
Mind:

1d4
1 tool
10 (Roll 2d4, pick lowest- light weapon)
10
30’(90’)
1d12
5
Medium
8
Male and female labourers will only fight if directly threatened. 

Herder 

Herders exist somewhere on a continuum between the settled peoples and hunter-gatherers: they live in the wilderness, but supply milk or meat to the settled peoples. They may be family groups, clans or independent. They are usually friendly towards pariahs.

Herders are accompanied by 5d6 herd animals.

Herder
HD:             
Attack:
Attack value:
Defence:
Speed:
No. app
Morale:
Size:
Mind:

1d6 / 1d8
1 club
11 (12d6 or 1d7)
11
35’(105’)
1d8
7
Medium
9
Herders will defend their herd unless their life is in imminent danger.

Priest

The priest is one of the most senior figures among settled peoples, though they possess their own hierarchy obscure to outsiders.

Priests believe they can communicate with powerful spirits whom they refer to as gods or deities, and they believe the most important gift these spirits impart is knowledge. They guard this knowledge jealously, believing it to be unworthy of most mortals, thought they are willing to share in some of the bounty with those less worthy.

1d10
Type
1-5
Artisan A priest of an art, craft or technology
6-7
Healer. A priest of the healing arts.
8
Oracle. A priest of divination.
9
Funerary cult. A group of priests venerating the dead.
10
Magus. A priest of magic

  
Artisan Priest
HD:             
Attack:
Attack value:
Defence:
Speed:
No. app
Morale:
Size:
Mind:

1d6
1 club or tool
10 (1d6)
12 
30’(90’)
1d3 + others
8
Medium
13
These priests are artisans of a particular settled technology. They possess tools and goods related to that craft. They will be accompanied by 1d3 warriors to protect their sacred tools. The priest will avoid combat unless their sacred tools are directly threatened. They will also be accompanied by an entourage of:
- 1d3 apprentices (treat as labourers).

Roll 1d6: 1-4 they are travelling between settlements.
5-6 their settlement is 1d6 turns away.

Healer
HD:             
Attack:
Attack value:
Defence:
Speed:
No. app
Morale:
Size:
Mind:

1d4
1 staff
10 (1d4)
10 
30’(90’)
1d6
7
Medium
14
The priest(s) servea goddess who it is claimed can heal the sick. They possess no magic, but roll for healing on 1d10 + mind They carry a variety of healing herbs and texts: (unintelligible to non-settled peoples). They are travelling the countryside in search of a new settlement.

These priests will avoid combat but are accompanied by a retinue of: - 1d4 devoted acolytes with clubs (treat as labourers but morale 9). 


Oracle
HD:             
Attack:
Attack value:
Defence:
Speed:
No. app
Morale:
Size:
Mind:

3d4
1 rod
12 (1d4)
11 
30’(90’)
1
9
Medium
14
The oracle is said to have been gifted with great power. There is a 50% chance this is temporal only, but 50% they are spirit-bound to a moon spirit (granting them spellcasting power)
Additionally, they will carry 1d4-1 additional magical devices.

The oracle will either be the leader of a great city or the lieutenant of its leader: they will therefore be accompanied by - the equivalent of 2 x chieftains as a retinue.
They will be travelling to a medium settlement within this hex to receive tribute.


Funerary Cult
HD:             
Attack:
Attack value:
Defence:
Speed:
No. app
Morale:
Size:
Mind:

2d6
1 two-handed bonesword
12 (2d6, choose highest then add 1)
10 
40’(120’)
1d6
9
Medium
12
This death cult is also weirdly martial. They carry with them the body of a fallen dignitary that they are taking to a remote place to perform their ritual funerary rites. They believe that along the way this entitles them to alms from all they cross. So far everyone has obliged.

In addition to a single corpse wrapped in muslin, they carry the grave goods of the deceased in addition to the treasures they pilfered from the locals along the way. 

50% chance they are also accompanied by 1d4 scavengers (vultures, hyenas, jackals etc.)


Magus
HD:             
Attack:
Attack value:
Defence:
Speed:
No. app
Morale:
Size:
Mind:

3d4 (5 HP)
1 curved metal blade
11 (1d4, crits on 18-20)
10 
30’(90’)
1
9
Medium
15
This priest is a powerful magician on some secret mission for themselves
or their master. They will have two separate spirits (belonging to 2 different realms) bound to them, and have a spirit-bound device of some kind and 1d3 -1 additional magical items. 

They will be accompanied by 1d4 warrior guards and 1d6 slaves (treat as labourers), pulling behind them a sled laden with magical texts on papyrus and stone.


Raiders (hunting party)

Hunter-gatherers will occasionally make raids against the settled peoples, especially when the settlements are encroaching on ancestral lands.

Roll (or choose) the raiding parties purpose.

1d6
Purpose of the Raid
1-2
To steal resources: livestock, vegetables, tools etc. are all up for grabs... ...but the raiders aren’t being very subtle about it.
3-4
To intimidate: the raiders want to scare the settled peoples. They intend to do this by destroying their property and, if necessary, shedding some blood.
5
To take prisoners: the raiders want to take prisoners back to their band.
6
To kill everyone: they plan on murdering everyone in sight, including the pariahs.

The settlement they are raiding will be 1d6*10 minutes away. Use the guidelines in the hunter-gatherer section for a hunting party.

Warriors

This group of armed settled people are in the service of a chieftain or priest at a nearby settlement. They are on patrol 1d4 x 10 minutes from their settlement. Use the statblock under the chieftain entry.

Wisewoman (witch)

The settled peoples have a confusing relationship with the spirits, but those who cleave most closely to the traditional ways are the wisewomen or witches. Typically they live outside of (but close to) the settled peoples villages, usually within 1d6 x 20 minutes walking distance.


Wisewoman
HD:             
Attack:
Attack value:
Defence:
Speed:
No. app
Morale:
Size:
Mind:

2d4 (5 HP)
Stone axe 
12 (1d4)
10 
35’(105’)
1
8
Medium
16
The witch is usually female but (2 in 6) can be of any other gender. They prefer isolation but for their animals, at least two of which will be spirit-bound familiars (treat as devices).

The witch herself will have a spirit (usually dawn or moon) bound to herself, and also carries a magical staff or wand.

Her simple dwelling contains numerous entheogens, healing herbs and macabre relics.

The wisewoman is genuinely more positively disposed to pariahs than other settled peoples, but she is not naïve and still suspicious of strangers.

III. SETTLEMENTS

Most of the settled people encounters mention a settlement within one hour’s walk of the encounter site. These sites consist of permanent structures made from wood, stone, other plant matter, earthworks or mudbrick. Choose a material you feel suits the technological level of your campaign.

A quick and easy way to map out these settlements is to drop a set of dice onto some hex paper in accordance with the encounter type, as outlined below:
Chieftain

The chieftain leads a large settlement of up to 102 people. 
Drop 1d12 and 9d10 onto a piece of paper:

  • The D12 marks the location of the chieftain’s hut.
  • The number on the D12 is the number of warriors in that hut.
  • The D10s indicate the position of labourers’ huts.
  • The number on the D10 indicates the current number of occupants (could be elders, youths, infants or labourers).
  • The site will also have 3d6 domestic animals including (but not limited to) dogs, cats, pigs, monkeys, cattle, goats, silkworms, lizards, chickens or geese.
  • One building may be a dedicated spirit house or shrine (see above).
Mark out the positions and draw a stockade around the site. It is likely that the settlement will have been constructed on a mound, and may even have a defensive ditch.

What is the source of this Chieftain’s Power?
1
Their utter ruthlessness. They are able to bully their followers through their decisiveness, certainty, and lack of mercy.
2
A magical animal spirit. This talking animal is either openly perceived (and worshipped) or works behind the scenes as a spy and magical interloper.
3
A wisewoman. She foretold of a great destiny for this one: all they needed to do was follow her advice (she is the true power behind the chieftain).
4
A weapon of great power… or at least symbolic value.
5
A secret medicine/ technology/ entheogen only the chieftain can reproduce.
6
A distant city-state who sends finely crafted polished stone axes and well-trained warriors (improve their guards accordingly).




Farm labourers
There is a 25% chance the labourers come from a chieftain's settlement, constructed using the guidelines above. Otherwise:

  • Take 1d8 for each labourer initially encountered, maximum of 5.
  • Drop the dice onto a sheet of paper: this indicates the location of all residential buildings and the number of current occupants, as described above
  • There will be one domestic animal for each member of the settled community.

What do this community do apart from growing crops?
1
Animal husbandry. They are breeding productive and tame animals.
2
Burn charcoal: they know the secret to producing super fuel.
3
Get drunk: they brew a very potent wine from a local fruit.
4
Polish axe heads: at the orders of a greater power, they make weapons.
5
Make music: they play exquisite homemade instruments beautifully.
6
Cure meats: they air-dry meat (or fish) from the local game they catch.


What is their horrible secret?
1
They are cannibals, but they won’t kill the PCs unless they can be sure of victory.
2
They worship some weird creatures (glaucons, blood-drinkers, zoanthropes etc.) they believe to be the servants of a greater spirit.
3
They murdered their matriarch and are terrified of divine punishment for their crime.
4
They long to run away to the wilderness alongside the pariahs. All of them… but they will never admit it to one another.
5
They have a ghoul trapped in their spirit-house. It is an ancestor of theirs: they can’t bring themselves to destroy. It only wants to die.
6
They are actually pariahs who murdered the previous inhabitants and are now trying to live as farmers, but they have no idea about agriculture.


Priests
Priests may be travelling from a  chieftain’s settlement, a smaller community, or even a city. .

Warriors
The warriors will have come from a chieftain's settlement, constructed using the guidelines above.

This post was amended on Friday 8th January 2021.

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