Stone Age hominid races

Ashtagon's homebrew rules set.
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Ashtagon
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Stone Age hominid races

Post by Ashtagon » Wed May 07, 2014 2:13 pm

Something I brewed a while back but thought I'd lost. All are Medium size.

Homo Sapiens (Wise Man)
* No special modifiers.

Homo neanderthalensis (Neanderthal Man)
* +2 Strength
* +2 Constitution
* -2 Charisma

Homo erectus (Upright Man)
* +2 Strength
* -2 Intelligence
* -4 Charisma
* +2 racial bonus on Perception checks

Homo habilis (Handy Man)
* -4 Intelligence
* -4 Charisma
* Slight Build: Carrying capacity as if Small size
* +2 racial bonus on Perception checks

Australopithecus afarensis (Gracile Australopithecus)
* -6 Intelligence
* -4 Charisma
* Primitive Skill Set: Cannot spend skill points on Craft, Knowledge, Handle Animal, Perform, or Ride.
* Slight Build: Carrying capacity as if Small size
* +2 racial bonus on Climb checks
* +2 racial bonus on Perception checks

Paranthropus robustus (Robust Australopithecus)
* +2 Strength
* +2 Constitution
* -6 Intelligence
* -4 Charisma
* Natural bite attack (1d4)
* Primitive Skill Set: Cannot spend skill points on Craft, Knowledge, Handle Animal, Perform, or Ride.
* +2 racial bonus on Climb checks
* +2 racial bonus on Perception checks
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Justinov
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Re: Stone Age hominid races

Post by Justinov » Wed May 07, 2014 5:47 pm

Ashtagon wrote:Something I brewed a while back but thought I'd lost. All are Medium size.

Homo Sapiens (Wise Man)
* No special modifiers.

Homo neanderthalensis (Neanderthal Man)
* +2 Strength
* +2 Constitution
* -2 Charisma

Homo erectus (Upright Man)
* +2 Strength
* -2 Intelligence
* -4 Charisma
* +2 racial bonus on Perception checks

Homo habilis (Handy Man)
* -4 Intelligence
* -4 Charisma
* Slight Build: Carrying capacity as if Small size
* +2 racial bonus on Perception checks

Australopithecus afarensis (Gracile Australopithecus)
* -6 Intelligence
* -4 Charisma
* Primitive Skill Set: Cannot spend skill points on Craft, Knowledge, Handle Animal, Perform, or Ride.
* Slight Build: Carrying capacity as if Small size
* +2 racial bonus on Climb checks
* +2 racial bonus on Perception checks

Paranthropus robustus (Robust Australopithecus)
* +2 Strength
* +2 Constitution
* -6 Intelligence
* -4 Charisma
* Natural bite attack (1d4)
* Primitive Skill Set: Cannot spend skill points on Craft, Knowledge, Handle Animal, Perform, or Ride.
* +2 racial bonus on Climb checks
* +2 racial bonus on Perception checks
Good list.
Since I'm a palæontologist I would just add the following remarks.
Archaic Homo sapiens have very much more robust form than modern humans. The “Cro Magnon“ man of Europe are actually very physical and would be a +1 str compared to modern humans and perhaps also con +1.
Good to see that you haven't given -1 int for Neanderthals. They actually had bigger brain than us, but likely were not symbolic thinkers. So even if they were intelligent, they don't seem to have been creative. But they certainly had some physique :mrgreen: even though they weren't very tall.

Homo erectus is from a palæontological view only the Asian forms with evolved features (Peking & Java man), while the African form are regarded as other species. Physical anthropologists calls all these forms Homo erectus, which causes some confusion. The African Homo ergaster is quite tall and slender (the Turkana boy), but likely not significantly more strong than modern humans.

Homo habilis is only slightly more brainy than australopithecines and not all are convinced they really are a Homo species. Why should they get a Perception check?
They are very small.

I would almost argue that Homo habilis and Australopithecus afarensis could almost be small size (pygmy, hobbit size) - they are 1.1-1.3 meter or so.

Also charisma scores I would use it like in Orcs of Thar. Charisma is off course species specific, so the substraction must be in the eyes of modern humans?
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,/But I have promises to keep,/And miles to go before I sleep,
[Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening - By Robert Frost]

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—/I took the one less traveled by,/And that has made all the difference.
[The Road Not Taken - By Robert Frost]

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Re: Stone Age hominid races

Post by Ashtagon » Wed May 07, 2014 6:19 pm

About the modifiers...

I deliberately did not do archaic H. sapiens. One-point modifiers are non-standard in D&D, and a two-point modifier would be too large for a creature that is supposed to be such a close cousin to modern man.

I use Charisma to represent a mixture of ability to conceive abstract art at all (ie. cave paintings), and a measure of the level of social cohesion and size of community. For creatures that do not have a supernatural background (such as these hominids), I don't allow it to represent a strength of will and/or ability to impose their will upon reality.

I'm not quite sure why I gave erectus a Strength bonus; I meant that only for neanderthal man.

Neanderthal man got no Intelligence modifier, because he actually had a brain box bigger than modern man, although archaeological evidence indicated that Neanderthal man was slightly behind his H. sapiens contemporaries in the technology stakes; I assumed they balanced out. For the rest, I used a formula (now lost) based on brain cavity size relative to body mass.

Neanderthals and paranthropus got a Constitution bonus to reflect their more robust builds. Others had no modifier. Those species that had notably slight builds (habilis and afarensis) received the Slight Build trait.

All of them were Medium size as D&D defined it based on height, even the smallest of them. They have to be below 3 feet tall (0.9 m) to be Small. The Slight Build feature accomplishes one of the primary aspects of Small size in any case.

I gave no modifiers for Wisdom or Dexterity.

Perception bonuses reflect being closer to great apes and monkeys in the evolutionary path, and not yet having lost the heightened senses of their ancestors.
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Re: Stone Age hominid races

Post by Justinov » Fri May 09, 2014 5:52 pm

Ashtagon wrote:About the modifiers...

I deliberately did not do archaic H. sapiens. One-point modifiers are non-standard in D&D, and a two-point modifier would be too large for a creature that is supposed to be such a close cousin to modern man.

I use Charisma to represent a mixture of ability to conceive abstract art at all (ie. cave paintings), and a measure of the level of social cohesion and size of community. For creatures that do not have a supernatural background (such as these hominids), I don't allow it to represent a strength of will and/or ability to impose their will upon reality.

I'm not quite sure why I gave erectus a Strength bonus; I meant that only for neanderthal man.

Neanderthal man got no Intelligence modifier, because he actually had a brain box bigger than modern man, although archaeological evidence indicated that Neanderthal man was slightly behind his H. sapiens contemporaries in the technology stakes; I assumed they balanced out. For the rest, I used a formula (now lost) based on brain cavity size relative to body mass.

Neanderthals and paranthropus got a Constitution bonus to reflect their more robust builds. Others had no modifier. Those species that had notably slight builds (habilis and afarensis) received the Slight Build trait.

All of them were Medium size as D&D defined it based on height, even the smallest of them. They have to be below 3 feet tall (0.9 m) to be Small. The Slight Build feature accomplishes one of the primary aspects of Small size in any case.

I gave no modifiers for Wisdom or Dexterity.

Perception bonuses reflect being closer to great apes and monkeys in the evolutionary path, and not yet having lost the heightened senses of their ancestors.
Great job. Makes sense if you use charisma as a more artsy and group cohesion skill.
Neanderthals seems to actually make a technological push just before they went extinct, but it was probably forced by the superior numbers of modern humans with use of creative technology. They apparently lived in family groups and never learned to cooperate in larger numbers (which might be possible for us because of “religion“).
We can possibly envision that modern Homo sapiens with groups of greater numbers and a technology of ranged weapons forced the Neanderthals into easily defended hill and mountain regions. But that also meant that no gene flow to these isolated groups and slowly drove them to into extinction. The Neanderthals becoming isolated pockets.
Perhaps the Gibraltar rock was one of the last standoff areas of the Neanderthals, where they actually evolved from hunters to fishermen to survive.

About perception, it's known that modern humans can rediscover senses, they didn't know they had. From veterans of jungle warfare you learned never to brush your teeth as you can be smelled by other humans from a great distance. The !Kung San (Bushmen) have tracking skills, that are simply supernatural from a city dwelling modern human point of view. They can apparently tell how are person and animal is feeling emotionally from the footprints alone. So modern humans have perception skills that are actually more refined than great apes to some extent. They hunt pray for days (basically run it down) using the creative human mind of putting yourself in the animals “hooves“ - “what would I do when I'm chased“.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=826HMLoiE_o
Probably the only animals that can compare with human stamina are wild dogs and hyenas (that also hunt as the !Kung San does).......

Actually I don't really think there is really any real difference into sensory abilities for different groups of Great Apes (including us).

From siberian hunters (Rane Willerslev's work on the Yughakir) it is also important that these lonesome hunters after tracking animals for weeks comes back and talk with other humans, so they avoid changing into animals. They think so much like the animals they hunt, that they have to rediscover how to be human!
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,/But I have promises to keep,/And miles to go before I sleep,
[Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening - By Robert Frost]

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—/I took the one less traveled by,/And that has made all the difference.
[The Road Not Taken - By Robert Frost]

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