I'm afraid it was back in August that we last heard of my prehistory heroine Ayah, I can't believe how fast time moves, anyway she is back.
Ayah escaped the demon Monkey men and is now trying to make her way north and hopefully join up with the rest of her Clan. She must find food and so I’m using the standard Palaeo diet rules for food and all the rest of it.
I rolled a dice to see if she had a trait in the game and it turned out she had the Hungry Trait which was quite appropriate as she hadn’t eaten for 2 days.
She has found the Big River and just has to follow the left hand bank until she arrives at the big white rock and then she can cross where the water is shallower and then continue her journey north to the where the Clan should be. They usually hang out in the summer in an area that’s the size of Europe, well realistically it’s maybe only one percent the size of Europe but it’s still a pretty big place. She has to find them or she will almost certainly die or be killed, which is pretty much the same thing. She has been lucky so far and you don’t get to survive before social security without a little bit of luck and skill, but it’s been touch and go these last 2 days on her own.
Ayah looks along the river back and is fairly sure she is in the right place. She’s been making this journey north each year for as long as she can remember and survival depends on certain markers on the journey.
Then she sees it, the large white rock and knows she was right. There is the possibility that the Clan might have waited here, it’s a specific spot that they will certainly have to go past.
In addition to the normal Palaeo rules I have 13 encounter tokens on the table, each one means turning over a card from a normal playing card deck, each Club represents a specific encounter, Lion, Crocodile, Goats etc, the King of Clubs represents the Clan. I am using the full deck (in spite of what Mrs V believes) and so there is likely to be about 3 specific encounters and 9 phantom ones. Obviously only 1 in 52 chance of it being the Clan.
My plan with this series of games was to reduce the odds of Ayah finding the Clan in each game. So providing she survives there is going to be a good chance that eventually she will re-join them. I was thinking this might take 5 games or so.
The vegetation along the river bank looks fairly benign and she can’t see anything that might be a danger, so she starts to move towards the rock.
She moves carefully and in the rules each time a character takes an action they roll a die, they can take 3 actions, the first 2 anything but a 1 is OK but the 3rd needs a 4,5 or 6 to succeed. Failing an action has repercussions, mainly by scaring any animals you might be hunting. Similarly there are 3 movement speeds, stealthy, normal or amble and fast or run. The faster you move the more you may scare the animals, so she takes one stealth and 1 normal action and forgoes the 3rd and most risky one.
That’s when she comes across 3 pygmies discussing the headlines in today’s paper (Jack of Clubs encounter). As she has moved slowly and successfully they don’t see her and she decides even though they are small, three of them might be more than she can manage at one sitting, so she avoids confrontation.
I cropped the picture to make it more dramatic, as well as fill a bit of space. As Ayah crosses some open ground the discussion about the headlines becomes heated and they still don’t see her.
Ayah searched the thicket that is between her and the pygmies as she entered it she saw a rabbit, a critter in the rules, it runs away from her. She had a spare action at that point and successfully used it to pelt the critter by slinging a stone at it. She needed a 6 to hit and kill it, she got a 6. In the previous 2 games I forgot she had a sling and was quite handy with it, at least she hit things in the past which is handy in my book.
The Hungry Trait means that she eats 1 portion of the first kill. A rabbit is 1 portion, so with blood running down her chin but her hunger assuaged she carries on circumnavigating the pygmies who failed to hear the rabbits plaintive rabbit noises, what ever they are.
Just to show the encounter tokens, as I said the pennies represent various encounters, good, bad or evil, usually the later two options prevail and she has to take her chances on the turn of 2 cards. In this instance they both turn out to be nothing more than the breeze stirring the trees and she prepares to carry on to the next thicket on the hill.
In this scenario in the rules, small animals or fruit and nuts can be found either in undergrowth, on hills and somewhere else that I can’t remember at the moment, the encounter tokens are down to me.
Just to show where she is in relation to the pygmies and the river. She is the one with blonde hair mid way up and off to the left but you probably knew that. Ahead of her is the lightning blasted tree and at it’s base is the offering stone.
If you look carefully you can see a penny not far behind the pygmies. The encounter tokens move in a random direction and random distance.
This turns out to be a small group of Mouflon Sheep and the Pygmies are not the sort to look a gift Mouflon in the mouth and move towards them very slowly. In Paeleo Diet each action has a possibility of causing noise and animals will react to that, usually by moving away but I’ve had some innocuous grass eating mammals attack my hunters in the past and so I’m usually very careful.
In this instance the hunters shoot and kill one of the animals and the other 2 run away, a most sensible option under the circumstances. They don’t usually run far and have come to a stop by a small thicket on their left and the last time we saw Ayah she was very close to the same thicket.
She was searching this particular area of undergrowth and had found half a portion of berries, which she was able to save now that she had satisfied her initial hunger, she will need them later. However a nice juicy Mouflon would be a very nice evening meal and you can just see her head to the left of one of the sheep, it’s probably easier to spot her base than her head in the picture.
She pelted it with her sling but missed and the sheep ran away. She failed her next activation and it continued to move away. She decided it was too dangerous to follow it across the open ground in sight of the pygmies, even though they were preoccupied skinning and butchering the sheep they had killed. So she continued towards the blasted tree and the offering stone taking care to keep well hidden. There is another thicket in front of her and hopefully she will find more food there.
This is the offering stone, the Clan always offer something of value to the Spirit of the river before they cross and Ayah must do the same or she will risk bad luck for the rest of the journey. You may think that she hasn’t had much good luck since getting separated from the Clan but at least she’s alive. At the moment, at least.
She has half a portion of berries, this is her last food and so is a worthy offering to the Water Spirits and she hopes it will bring her good luck.
One last stand of growth before she must cross the river, she searches it carefully but finds nothing. With a heavy heart and an fairly empty belly she moves towards the river. There is one more encounter marker close by.
It is the King of Clubs, the rest of her Clan, they are just preparing to cross the river having waited at this spot for two days to see if she would arrive. This is the sort of luck that making a special offering brings and she will always remember to thank the Water Spirit in future years.
There was great joy and rejoicing and they swapped tales of their daring deeds over the last few days but Ayah’s story was the most entertaining.
As this was going on another of the encounter tokens crested the small hill between the Clan and the river, neither of the parties wanted to tangle with the other and so the large monkey went on its way and the Clan made a successful crossing of the river and headed north.
Well that put paid to my projected series of adventures for Ayah, but I’m sure the Shell Clan will return in the future.