Saturday, August 4, 2018

Roll up a human tribe

The wilderness is a dangerous place and humans are some of its most fearsome inhabitants.  Bold, intelligent tool-users that can pursue prey for days, humans are a species you want on your side, not chasing you through the forest into an ambush.

If you need a quick human tribe, get your dice out and start rolling.  (If any results don't work, the first roll is what they did before the apocalypse; roll again to see what they do nowadays.)

I'll roll up an example as we go along, results in italics.

(M. François-Girard)



Start with this tribe's reputation: what people say about them, whether it's true or not:


Reputation (d10)
1fearsome and ferocious, avoid at all costs
2treacherous snakes
3old-fashioned, stuck in their ways
4generous and kind-hearted
5bold and courageous, good to have at your side
6clever and hard working
7stern and cold, but very reliable
8pitiful wretches, deserving only scorn and charity
9keepers of secret wealth
10skilled craftsmen who know secret ways

1: This tribe is said to be fearsome and ferocious, to be avoided at all costs, so of course the party will end up in their territory.

(Reza Afshar)

The starving time broke everything down and when the survivors rebuilt their world, something was lost forever.  See what these people lost in the dark days:

Starving Time (d10)
1They lost their history.
2No one is left who can do their craft.
3Their sacred items went missing.
4No one knows how to plant or harvest their old crop.
5They're all that's left of a powerful city/kingdom.
6Several groups of refugees came together to form this tribe.
7There was once a great hunt among this tribe.
8They abandoned their old religion.
9Danger drove them far from their old home.
10The elders are ashamed of what they did in the dark days.

3: Their sacred items went missing after the apocalypse.  What if they were rediscovered?  And what if half the tribe had converted to a new religion and didn't want them anymore?

(David Wright)

So what do they eat?  Food influences just about everything, from settlement to warfare to technology. Roll for their most traditional food, then if you'd like more depth, roll again for their next main food source.

Food (d20)food/methodsettlementswarfarerelated features
1-3hunting(d12) 1-3: deer/moose, 4-6: wild pigs, 7: buffalo, 8: mountain goats, 9: rabbits, 10-11: turkeys, 12: quail/pheasants(d6) 1-3: lean-tos, 4-5: hides over a wooden frame, 6: dugout housesarchery, sneaking up on enemiesanimal disguises, hunting expeditions, smoking meats, scraping and stretching hides, drums
4-7fishing(d12) 1-3: salmon, 4: cod, 5-7: trout, 8-9: herring, 10: snapping turtles, 11-12: bullfrogs(d6) 1-2: bark over a wooden frame, 3-4: wooden plank houses, 5: houses on stilts over water, 6: living on boatsspears, nets, hiding in marshesswimming, small boats, smoking and drying fish, fish grease, shell beads
8-11gathering(d12) 1: huckleberries, 2-4: wild rice, 5: ferns, 6: bird/turtle eggs, 7: maple sap for sugar and syrup, 8-10: acorns, 11-12: digging for clams(d6) 1-2: simple grass huts, 3-4: conical bark huts, 5-6: small hide tentsknives, driving enemies awaybaskets, stones for mashing and grinding food, trade with other tribes
12-16farming(d12) 1-3: potatoes, 4-5: corn, 6: beans, 7: pumpkins/squash, 8: sunflowers, 9: peanuts, 10-11: turkeys, 12: pigsfortified towns that move every few years (d6) 1-2: plank houses with a wooden palisade, 3: log houses with a simple fence, 4: sod-roofed wooden houses in a raised earthen enclosure, 5: thatched wooden huts on a hill, 6: wooden longhouses in a palisade on a raised hillaxes, spears, burning down townspowerful chiefs, pottery, copper ornaments, stones for grinding food, burning forests to clear undergrowth
17-20whaling/sealing(d12) 1-6: hunting on the open sea, 7-9: waiting in bays and inlets to drive whales to the beach, 10-12: hunting seals/otters on shore(d6) 1-2: communal plank houses, 3-4: small stone huts, 5-6: hides over wood/bone framesharpoons, raiding partieslarge canoes, catamarans, sails, woodworking, oil lamps, teamwork, large feasts


6, 2, 6: salmon fishers who live on their boats.  They use spears and nets, drying and smoking their catch to preserve it.  Living on the water, these people can strike coastal settlements at will, and can disperse and sail away when pursued.

Adding a bit more variety, I rolled again: 17, 1, 3: whaling/sealing on the open sea, with stone huts and raiding parties.

(Herb Kawainui)

Humans build boats for everything from ponds to rivers to the ocean. This tribe's method of subsistence may suggest a certain type of boat, or you can roll.

Boats (d10)
1no boats at allsledges pulled by dogs over grass and snow
2raftslogs lashed together as a floating platform
3-5birchbark canoeswooden frame covered in birchbark, easy to carry over portages
6-7seaworthy dugoutsdugouts up to 50 feet long, made of cedar, fir, or redwood, with steam-shaped sides
8-9dugouts w/sailsocean-going dugouts with sails to allow long voyages
10sails and outriggersocean-going dugouts with sails and outriggers for added stability

3: birchbark canoes, which changes their focus a bit.  These people aren't sailing out on the open ocean, they're sticking to the bays and channels, retreating to rocky islets off shore, but also raiding far upriver.

(Ray Troll)

This tribe probably treats captives from raids or warfare the same way the other tribes nearby do, but if you'd like something different, roll:

Captives (d4)
1enslavedCaptives are kept as slaves to do menial work.
2ransomedCaptives are ransomed back to their own people.
3cannibalizedCaptives are killed and eaten.
4adoptedCaptives are adopted as members of the tribe.

4: adopted.  Those they spare in battle are adopted into the tribe, raised as their own.  Those who won't join are dealt with swiftly.


Next up: the inner workings of the tribe.



For faster results, try this automatic roller below.  It doesn't work on mobile (yet), but I just threw it together, so I'm just glad it does something at all.

random human tribe
reputation
what they lost
food
boats
captives

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