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Sunday, March 22, 2015

One Million Years Braunstein!

Growing up in the 1970s, you might remember those excellent Tor comics by Joe Kubert.  Or perhaps you thrilled to One Million Years B.C., the version with animation by Ray Harryhausen.  Either way, you're dealing with prehistoric fantasy, an imagined past where man and dinosaurs lived side by side.  

Consider this.  Human prehistory is the closest thing to a traditional fantasy world.  One where different intelligent species coexisted with incredible monsters in the form of mammoths and voracious saber tooth cats, etc.  Prehistoric fantasy ups the ante by introducing dinosaurs to the mix and leaves the door open for whatever other ideas one might imagine...

Joe Kubert's Tor only ran for six issues,
but captured the feeling of this conversion... 

Our own Braunstein! is a historical fantasy game that can easily become pre-historical with the following additions:

(1) Check out the above comics and/or film(s).

(2) Characters can be Bone Children (Neanderthals) or Stone People, being modern humans (Cro-Magnon), and literacy is replaced with tribe per the following:

Bone children are illiterate.  They cannot fight with ranged weapons, but have the greater LUCK that comes from being physically robust and cold-adapted in general.

Stone People are literate, speaking their own tongue and that of Neanderthals, but with no written form.  They, alone, can employ prehistoric ranged weaponry, but will not add +1 for two-handed attacks (only the Bone Children have that strength).

Assume Cro-Magnons add +1 recalling facts.   

(3) Armor is cured hide, with no shields available. 

(4) Money is not used.  Instead, use barter points (BP) that are otherwise treated as silver. 

(5) Weaponry is limited to that appropriate to the period, and the judge should research this.  Ranged weapons were also limited, including the following early types:

effective spear thrower
Thrown melee
includes axes and spears, etc.

The judge should research these to become familiar.

(6) Dinosaurs have the following stats:

powerful bite (+2)
trample (+1)
horns/trample (+2-3)
claws/bite (+1)

*May be split between multiple targets

Of course, the judge should research individual dinosaurs and interpret statistics accordingly.  Otherwise, mammals more closely resemble the animals in Braunstein! proper...

This ceratosaurus (+2) is fighting a
triceratops (+3), with statistics per the judge... 

(7) Characters are a mixed band of social outcasts travelling from place to place and/or tribe to tribe.  Once again, Joe Kubert's great Tor comic (and reboot) has great ideas... 

(8) Optionally, the judge can allow shaman from either tribe, who call and command animal spirits per the rulebook.  

If nothing else, we hope this post encourages you to explore prehistoric fantasy (and fact).  But if you've a mind to really do so, you can use Braunstein! to create gripping adventures in an actual fantasy world complete with monsters that really were, even if we're off by a million years or so!  And if you do this, post your materials on the Braunstein! community at Google+!  

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