Monday, 9 December 2019

Cave Campaign Start

This has been a popular series and more coming.
Thanks to everyone dropping more links on this.
GURPs dinosaurs proved to be better than just a monster book with good cave folk stuff.

Video games are doing this well too - i played farcry primal for 11 hours and hoping i can get it to run on my pc when i can afford net.

So as my setting will be refugees from disaster in the south will be initially unfamiliar with area they are exploring and not skilled at local survival. The area is colder than their homeland and animals will be strange.

Most larger prehistoric versions of animals are +2HD +1AC and bump up dice to next higher for damage. They may well be dumber.

Survival rolls

Probably the most important skill and common with women
Unskilled cave folk are still better than a civilised person at this.
Unskilled just means not specialised really.
Mostly it takes 8 hours to try survival in the region but it takes less in a tropical forest.

Cave Folk unskilled in survival - 8 hours
Roll Under INT Bonus - feed  2 persons and find some craft goods
Roll Under 1/2 INT - comfortably feed self
Roll Under INT - barley feed yourself but still hungry
Roll Above INT - 8 hours wasted starving + encounter

Cave Folk skilled in survival
Roll Under INT Bonus - feed 2d4 persons with lucky find in 2 hours
Roll Under 1/2 INT - feed yourself in 2 hours or find some craft goods
Roll Under INT -  feed yourself in 4 hours
Roll Above INT - eat some bugs but still hungry after 8 hours

1HD of animal makes 8 meals as well as bones and furs for craft
Water is reasonably easy to find but storage harder...

Common Skills

Cooking - make food last, remove poisons from some food, use scraps
Butchery - divide kills according to custom and to maximise use, make glue, use sinew
Skins - can preserve furs and make clothes and tents
Stone - can make stone tools and objects
Wood - make wooden tools, collect good fire wood, make resin glues
Bone - make tools and ornaments from bone or horns or ivory
Weave - make rope, mats, baskets, string, even houses
Clay - make containers and artworks,
Fishing - catch fish and make traps and hooks, seasonal and tidal habits of fish
Herbalist - can make medicine or mild poison
First Aid - basics of bandaging, cauterising wounds, and boring holes in skulls to let out demons
Trap Lore - making traps to catch game or as a alarm
Boat - can make improvised log and raft but also canoe or skin or wicker coracle
Swim - handy if you live near water
Climb - handy for reaching things or escaping
Farming - gathering grains, nuts, seeds, encouraging desirable plants to thrive where you choose
Disguise - dress as an animal to get close to game

Obviously lots of skills will be irrelevant
Literacy is used to read pictographs and symbols used in rock art and decorations

Back in the south game was plentiful in forests and grasslands.
Then came fires and famine then the floods came drowning the land.
On a worst possible roll tool breaks
- on a 1 to hit breaks weapon
- on a 20 with a stat based skill roll tool breaks

Players start with loin cloths and one hand tool and one trinket when their raft lands on the beach.

They are cold and hungry.
A search of the beach reveals some dead fish and some sea bird nests in cliffs
The raft is a mass of reeds and some wood for fire or tool making
If nobody has skill or a tool the tribe lack technology
Players will be alone but have a follower per + CHA bonus

The party starts with one older adult, who should promptly die fighting a monster saving someone, one of the adults who saved lives of everyone in party as youths in the exodus from the south.

 The party has one elder, who is slow, has trouble moving without help who is a physical wreck but knows lots and is a 3rd level druid. They could also die, be used for food or might just walk out into the night if they feel they are a burden or might be murdered by someone who just says they wandered off.

d20 Hand Tool
1 Darts with flint heads x3 for d3 damage
2 Bone needles d3
3 Stone hand axe d6 damage
4 Flint knife d3 damage

5 Flint scraper or firestarter
6 Club or staff d6 damage
7 Bag of herbs heal d4
8 Basket with d4 days dried food
9 Bone fish hooks d3
10 Ochre for painting
11 Javelin d6 damage
12 Wooden bowl
13 Tiny hand lamp, bowl with fat and wick
14 Wooden torches with bitumen d4
15 Hair rope d4+2 yards or 3d4+3 yards or cord
16 Sling d4
17 Bola d4
18 Throwing Sticks x3 for d4 damage can entangle legs of running animal
19 Net mostly for small game or fish but possibly person
20 Bag with a sling

d12 Trinkets
1 Piece of coral on cord
2 Carved tusk of a animal totem
3 Tooth necklace
4 Amber bead on cord

5 Flint scraper
6 Shells necklace
7 Bag of herbs
8 Basket with d4 days dried food
9 Clay figurine of animal or ancestor
10 Ancestors skull in bag around neck
11 Copper "coin" good scraper and high status
12 Antler hat

d6 Follower

1 Wife/Husband
2 Young Child
3 Older Child near adult hood
4 Old person, lame but wise
5 Slave taken from enemy tribe
6 Dog or other pet
7 Demihuman companion

8 Humanoid companion

More tools and weapons and food will be needed
Furs for clothes, cloaks, tents and moccasins.
Shelter to face the cold, fire wood (or dried seaweed)

Main Quests

These are short term threats that can be played during the first few weeks
-Food and shelter
-find a home, explore area
-meet the locals

While the coast has bird nests (which will be depleted rapidly) and some fishing the coast is bleak and battered by increasing cold winds. Driftwood is common and seaweed. Dead sea creatures wash up but a flock of terror birds daily run along the beach gobbling them up and will take great interest in humans. Occasional something snacking on the beach gets a carnivorous cetacean or plesiosaur will beach itself to gobble them up. Let characters witness this.

Players should consider moving inland.

Longer Quests

Once settled these quests will be available.
Large amounts of time can pass quickly such as months.
Eventually you can advance seasons or years.
-find brides and children and others to increase the tribe
-survive first winter
-fight enemy tribe
-fight dangerous predator
-something spooky in the dark scares everyone
-explore the strange caves
-explore valleys
-explore and find a way to the plateau


  1. Interesting post but I think survival should require a Wisdom roll, not Intelligence. The survival skills in 5e fall under Wisdom which makes sense in the real world because most survival skills are learned through experience and not innate.

    I think you cover the combat and exploration pillars well but are lacking in the area of social interactions.

    1. i dont play 5th ed dnd and hapily never will again

      the definition of Wisdom has changed every edition and i use BX and my definition of wisdom is not like dnd5

      actually in my house rules i changed all the stat names to greater clarify this

      wisdom to me is peity, will power and forsight

      it has nothing to do with perception or knowledge which has crept into dnd over the years and im not a fan of

      you can do as you please in your games

      im not dictating social interaction
      entirely up to players

      will do post on tribe gen which will feature interactions but players can interact with encounters as they please and i will give them mods on reaction table if they do a good job.

      There is very little about combat here but mention of some weapons. Its a survival game with meeting other peoples being very dangerous and without common language.


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