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Stone Age Equipment for BECMI

by Håvard

I've been playing the console game Far Cry Primal this fall and this has really inspired me to do a Stone Age technology level campaign at some point. One of the things one could borrow from the game is the range of weapons and equipment. Note: Not all these weapons are taken from the console game. I also added weapons from the D&D Rules Cyclopedia, Gaz12 and HWA2 that could be appropriate for a campaign like this.

Stone Age Technology
In my campaign Stone Age Weapons and Armor have the following features:
1) Inferior technology: Weapons function normally, but suffer a -2 to Hit penalty against opponents wearing metal armor or shields of Bronze Age or higher technology. Leather Armor is the only armor available at this level of technology.*
2) Breaks easily: Melee Weapons made with Stone Age technology have a number of "uses" similar to how Staffs and Wands work. A club or spear will typically have 10 "uses" before they are rendered useless. Stone Age characters typically carry multiple spears, clubs etc.
3) Easily replaced: Although they break easily, these weapons are also easy to make. A DM should allow the PCs to create new weapons from materials collected in the wild. This process should only take a few hours. If the General Skills rules are used, a DM may require a Craft check. If not a Dex check could be used.
4) Magic supersedes technology: If a Stone Age piece of equipment is enchanted, ignore all limitations mentioned above.

*=Partial armor could also be allowed (See HWA2)

Melee Weapons of the Stone Age
All these weapons suffer the limitations mentioned under Stone Age Technology above.

Missile Weapons of the Stone Age
All these weapons suffer the limitations mentioned under Stone Age Technology above.

*= Optional Rule: Instead of the rules in Gaz12, the DM may allow the PCs to add their strength bonus to damage with composite bows. Range as longbow.
**=Optional Rule: In order to use this Bow, the character must select a special "Double Bow" skill (General Skill) similar to weapon skills from HWA2.

Thrown Weapons of the Stone Age
Unless noted, all these weapons suffer the limitations mentioned under Stone Age Technology above.

*=DMs may choose not to allow these weapons.

Clothes and Armor

I would like to create some simple rules for that focusing on activities such as:

Foraging (Food Resources)
Collecting edible berries, musrooms and plants as well as hunting animals for food is part of the daily routine of any Stone Age tech level character. I think these characters should be allowed to travel at their normal movement rate per day while searching for food. In terms of equipment, I would handle this as follows: Every character has a Food Bag. The contents of the Food Bag is measured in days of rations. If you want to add some realism to the game you might want to have a rule about when such rations are depleted, but I think you could just as easily simply rule that PCs have to roll at the end of each gaming session for how much fresh food they have been able to stock up on during the adventure. A failed roll means they will have to start the adventure without any food. This means they will have to spend the next session searching for food, which could result in encounters.
Linked Skills: Perception, Survival, Cooking

Gathering Equipment Resources
Just like food going bad, Stone Age weapons are more difficult to maintain than medieval weapons. Stone Age characters collect sharp rocks, different types of wood, animal furs etc. Players and DM's don't really have to keep track of each item the PCs collect. Instead, allow every character to have an Equipment Resource Bag. The contents of the bag is measured in GP value. Assume that when the PC wants to replace a piece of equipment, he will need to spend the value of the equipment from his bag. The DM may also require Craft Skill checks in order to see if the character is able to replace damaged items. A high success on the Crafting Skill could mean that fewer resources are spent or that the item is of a superior quality.
Linked Skills: Perception, Survival, Craft

Gathering Village Resources
In addition to resources useful to replace equipment, the DM might require the PCs to keep a separate Village Resource Bag where the PCs can collect resources useful for improving the village of the players. My idea is that the Village will replace the Stronghold rules from the Companion Set. When the character becomes 9th level he can gain special advantages from his village, but DM's could allow for the village to provide advantages for the PCs even at lower levels. If you want to simplify the system, you could combine the Equipment and Village Resources.
Linked Skills: Perception, Survival, Craft

Gathering Plant Resources (Herbalism)
Stone Age characters have a greater knowledge of plants with unusual properties than characters from more advanced cultures. While some herbs and plants should probably be tracked individually due to very rare properties, DMs might also allow all Stone Age characters to keep a Plant Resource Bag to keep track of plants that could be used to prepare concoctions for medicinal or other special uses. Note that creation of some potions and concoctions will be limited to spellcasters, but some herbal use might be accessible to any Stone Age character. I will have to return to more detailed rules later.
Linked Skills: Perception, Survival, Craft

DMs may give out rewards for all of these resource categories, just like he would hand out gold pieces, gems and jewelry to standard D&D parties. He may also allow characters to search specifically for resources, though he might want to limit rolls to once per day and only searching for one type of resources per day. If the game involves lots of travel, the DM might wish to limit dice rolling to once per journey, but should adjust difficulty and rewards accordingly if players spend alot of time gathering. Such activity could also trigger encounters so PCs need to determine if they really need to go out of their way to get that extra piece of flint rock.