Monday, 4 February 2019

Exiles of the Grey Wolf Clan (part 1)

I'm delighted to be able to publish some more prehistoric fun following the travels and travails of Mark's Grey Wolf Clan.


It’s February already, which means it’s time to visit the Palaeo Diet: Eat or be Eaten rules and the Grey Wolf Clan again ... Avid readers may recall that at the end of last season we left the Grey Wolf Clan after a successful winter-provisioning hunt, with plenty of biltong to last until spring. This turned out to be a mixed blessing. Plenty to eat and nothing to do during the winter led to bickering between the Elders and a breakaway group of young hunters led by half-brothers Rurik and Grendel.

And now as the snow melts the renegades prepare to leave the Clan and strike out into the unknown. The Elders agree they can take the supplies they will need, anxious to see them on their way so normal life can continue. This seasons set of games will see if the breakaway party is successful.

(1) Into the unknown
Here is a shot of the party as they cross a stream and head toward an area of steep bluffs and maquis thickets. They’ve been on the march for several days into unknown country and food is running low. 

In front are the two hounds belonging to Rurik and Grendel. The foremost hunter is Rurik (club) followed by his wife Hannah (spear) and young son Cricket (stone, counts as spear but attacks at -1). Grendel (spear) is on the left flank. Smokey is the fire carrier. The two young hunters at the back are Boy (knife, counts as club at -1) and Brand (bow).

And here’s another shot showing the tabletop as a whole. The group has to cross the table and exit off the far side (following travelers’ tales about how to reach the sunlit uplands). Before leaving they must kill at least three bulk of food, otherwise in their next game they’ll be weakened (no loping, all attacks at -1).

At the start of each new turn (in this game) when at least one group member is on the table, I’ll roll 1D6 against the following table: 1,2,3 nothing happens. 4,5 a small group of herd grazers is found. 6 roll again: 1,2,3  pack predators appear; 4,5,6 an apex predator shows up. Animals will be positioned in LOS but at least 1xL away.

So the hunters crossed the stream and moved forward at an easy pace, though Smokey stopped to look for fish and fell behind the others. Then a cave bear popped up to see who was coming, and Rurik signaled everyone to stop while Smokey dropped his fish and came up quickly (three successes rolled for movement). Luckily the bear fled from the threat of fire. Then a small herd of deer were sighted. 

To R, the cave bear beats a retreat from the fire but is still on the table and could decide to get aggressive. To L, lunch awaits but will need to be stalked. How will Rurik and Grendel and their folk handle this sticky wicket?

Not all that well, it turned out. While Grendel and most of the rest of the hunters stalked the deer, Rurik took Smokey and went after the cave bear. He thought a cave bear kill would demonstrate his prowess to the band and consolidate his leadership. The cave bear was quite willing to retreat, especially from the fire, but Rurik provoked it into returning to attack - twice - and the annoyed bear obliged by killing him. Elsewhere the rest of the hunters managed to wound a deer but were a bit unlucky and the herd fled. 

But then things got better. Grendel and the other hunters (unaware of Rurik’s demise) didn’t give up and with help from Grendel’s hound (let’s call it Beowolf) brought down two of the deer (4 bulk of food). Just in time too. Anyway the band of hunters regrouped, butchered the deer, buried Rurik, ignored the warthogs who had appeared and moved off to find a safe resting place.

(2) Nice valley you’ve got there
Some days later our re-provisioned and regrouped party, with Grendel leading, entered a highly desirable valley with a little late snow still on the ground. All agreed it would make a good Clan territory. Regrettably a plume of cooking fire smoke from one of the bluffs announced it was already occupied. Undeterred but cautious the hunters approached to see how the ground lay.

The next photo shows our party looking towards the folk who have preempted them for ownership of the valley. The Grey Wolf exiles recognize them as Trout Clan “others” and know very well what happened last season when the two last encountered each other: three GW hunters were killed and eaten.

But there seem to be only three Trout hunters - and some women (Trout Clan women are non-combatants). It doesn’t take long to do the maths, and the hunting party advances with conquest aforethought.

This game is going to be all-hominid so I’ll be using the “Outfolk hunters” stats and reaction table Nic has thoughtfully provided in p23 of the Palaeo Diet: Fireside Tales supplement. The Trout Clan will be the Outfolk (and thus react to the GW hunters actions) this time.

The next photo shows how the attack on the Trout Clan camp unfolded over 2 or 3 turns. Two of their hunters moved back from the stream, but one rushed across to attack Grendel’s hound and wounded it, receiving a wound in return. Grendel himself joined the attack but the valiant Trout hunter wounded him too. Other hunters from Grendel’s party have moved up to the stream, and Brand the archer has wounded one of the hunters who are hanging back.

The vicious little fight continued. Grendel was killed by the Trout champion hunter, but he in turn was then killed by a spear thrown by Hannah. Brand the archer killed the hunter across the stream he had wounded previously. Only one Trout hunter was still standing, and he fled.

So it seems our little group of refuseniks has fought for and won a new, rather promising territory. But both the leaders they started with have been killed: Rurik by the cave bear, Grendel by the redoubtable Trout Clan hunter. Their hounds have also deserted following their masters’ deaths. But there is a bonus, two Trout Clan women have become the property of the group. So with Hannah included there are three women and three men, plus Cricket the boy. He will doubtless be OK (despite losing his father) but any younglings in the Trout Camp are toast.

But it’s not over yet ... see the next installment coming soon (I hope).


  1. Very interesting, however, sandly, the images can't be watched.

    1. Thanks. Not sure what went wrong - but should be fixed now.