“Remember, Kal is not stronger than the whole tribe.”

st--1a38So you’ve decided to have cave men as your antagonists. A typical stat block might look like this:

Awareness: 2, Coordination: 2, Ingenuity: 1, Presence: 1, Resolve: 2, Strength: 5

We want to have most of the intelligence related attributes very low, reflecting their limited minds. It is difficult for them to come up with new concepts, understand things that are happening and they can become easily distracted, thinking in the moment rather than planning ahead.

Leaders of the tribe can have higher presence attributes while wise elders or shamans can increase their ingenuity and awareness while lowering their strength.

Traits should be selected to further customise the individual members of the tribe but good choices include: Brave, Indomitable, Keen Senses, clumsy, cowardly, impulsive, insatiable curiosity and unattractive.

Athletics, fighting and survival should be the primary skills, including marksman ship if they have reached the stage of using bows and arrows or spears. Those members of the tribe who don’t hunt would have levels in craft instead of combat related skills.

Fighting cave people shouldn’t normally be an option unless the player characters have superior weaponry. The tribe members will normally be stronger and have superior numbers. It is best either to run or surrender, hoping that they are planning on being sacrificed any time soon.

When roleplaying encounters with tribes remember that the majority of the tribe will follow whatever their leader says. They mostly lack an opinion and are quite happy to agree with whoever is loudest.

If a player character wants to sway them it is best to target the leader. Their low ingenuity and presence makes it easy to trick or persuade them. Just look at the scene where the Doctor gets Kal to admit that he murdered Old Mother. He plays on the cave man’s pride to make Kal boast about the murder, which until just moments before he’d been trying to pin on Za.

st--1a30It can be difficult to educate tribes people, their knowledge base is so limited that most concepts would require to much explaining to make sense to them. The best a time traveller can do is put things in terms the tribe will understand, simplifying it as much as they can.

The Doctor talks in terms of blood on knives. The tribes people understand that blood on a knife means that it was used to kill. He demonstrates that Za’s knife doesn’t have blood on it while Kal’s does, pointing him out as the guilty party.

A more sophisticated audience might have wanted more proof, after all the blood on Kal’s knife could have come from an animal, but these are simple folk and the Doctor has already established that blood equals guilt.

A superstitious lot cave men are easy to spook, especially with advanced technology. A way to reflect this is bestowing a +2 fear factor bonus for every two levels of difference between the targets native tech level and the tech level of the device being used.

For example Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart has been flung into the past and is attacked by a cave man. He fires his pistol in the air to frighten the savage away. The cave man has a tech level of 1 while the pistol has a tech level of 4. This grants the Brigadier a +2 to his attempt to frighten the cave man.

In addition the technological level can provide a +1 bonus to any ingenuity checks intended to trick or distract a target for each level difference between the target’s technological level and the device used.

Leela showed that a savage background can make for a memorable character. They treat everything they encounter with the same level of wonder, from a trip to the 15th century to encounters with aliens in the far future. It is all magic and monsters to them.

Their way of dealing with any challenge is direct, lacking any subtlety. This can get them into trouble and certainly cause embarrassment for their travelling companions. If nothing else they will be honest and truthful, if not bright.

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